The Edmonton Oilers are faced with a dilemma.
Do you add a few pieces to make the team more competitive, while balancing a commitment to be patient in developing a strong organization long term, or do you continue to take it in the teeth in hope the lottery barrel in ‘Studio 6' at TSN spits out another top draft pick in April?
Oilers coach Tom Renney was outraged by his team's performance in a 5-0 loss to the Coyotes on Tuesday in Glendale.
"The pride in the jersey was not close to where it needed to be. It was an absolute joke...a travesty," Renney fumed in the postgame media scrum.
Renney doesn't coach through the media, so Tuesday's rant came from the heart.
Edmonton didn't compete and Oilers players acknowledged after the loss, they didn't come prepared to play.
On this night, the passengers outnumbered the participants.
Yes, this team is young and inexperienced; however birth certificates have little to do with what this team lacks most...competitiveness.
The Oilers blue line is weak and described by rivals as "soft."
Overall, their toughness is fine, but the Oilers lack depth players with "pop" up front, especially up the middle. Players who are willing to consistently battle and have a level of intensity that has been lacking in Edmonton this season.
The Oilers have been beaten by four or more goals in seven of 20 games this season, including five this month. It's evident, their belief system can't sustain big, or early leads.
Oilers' GM Steve Tambellini insists the rebuild plan will not be altered and he isn't in the market for a blockbuster trade, although teams will continue to ask about Ales Hemsky's availability right up to the trade deadline.
Tambellini is in the market for additional grit, a centreman and some help on the blueline.
However, unless a deal surfaces that doesn't include dealing away prospects or draft picks, the Oilers are more likely to utilize the players developing in Oklahoma City.
Liam Reddox, described by Oilers coaches in the preseason as a hard working energy guy, has 18 points in 20 games with the AHL's Barons, five points shy of Linus Omark who leads the Oilers affiliate in goals and points (12-11-23).
Both are small forwards, but is it time to give these players a chance?
An opportunity to show their willingness to play with hunger?
It can't hurt, as the inconsistency of this team's experienced players is taking its toll.