POSTCARDS FROM THE EDGE

The Edmonton Oilers welcomed 29 athletes to the 2014 training camp today, kicking off seven months (or more!) of magic and mirth. Any team with Taylor Hall in the lineup is worth watching, and the slow climb up from the depths will continue on the frozen winter nights in Edmonton, Canada.

There were a few interesting items today. Mitchell Moroz is healthy:

  • Moroz: “It might have been three or four weeks ago if you had asked me that but I’ve come such a long way that I’m not thinking about those things on the ice anymore. It will be nice just to go in and play and be able to play my game right away. Hopefully I will be able to bang some bodies and create some stuff out there.”

Moroz is going to get a push this fall, ladies. I don’t think there’s any doubt. When camp breaks and the Barons start their preseason, expect Moroz to get some prime minutes at the expense of some veteran minor leaguers. Moroz and his group can start training camp off with some wins in Penticton—the Oilers were completely outclassed from beginning to end one year ago. A reminder that Kevin McCartney from Jets Nation will join Paul Almeida and I Saturday during SSE to give us the latest on Oiler prospects.

chaseoilersChase did his job last year, and from reports he’s slimmer and faster than a year ago. He was invited to the WJ summer camp and reportedly played well enough to be a legit option for the Christmas tournament. What’s next? A big season in the WHL and (hopefully) an NHL contract. This is a second-round talent delivering on promise. You can google ‘Oilers scouting’ and read thousands of angry assaults, but there’s not much negative to say about the club getting this guy.

nurse tcI have Darnell Nurse playing 9 games in the NHL to start the season, and after that we’ll see. If he’s big enough, strong enough, good enough, mobile enough, the Oilers won’t send him back. Good lord Almighty, if this century taught us anything about the Oilers it’s this: They keep their kids when management feels they’re ready, and that goes back to Hemsky.

draisiatl tcThe question about Draisaitl entering camp isn’t size, although an 18-year old athlete whose frame can support 215 is impressive. Leon Draisaitl needs to be quick and fast enough to keep up, and if he can do that Edmonton will play him 82. He gets 9 without a throw, and I remain absolutely flummoxed by it. Hammer on a drum I’m sure you’re tired of hearing, but it’s a complete damn mystery to me. He must be very fast.

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34 Responses to "POSTCARDS FROM THE EDGE"

  1. Younger Oil says:

    “There’s not much negative to say about the club getting this guy.”

    While we are incredibly lucky to have gotten Chase, I would argue that choosing Campbell and Muir before him is hardly something the scouting staff can be commended for. It’s hard to argue that either of them are better players, have more potential, or fill a bigger need on the team than Chase.

    Although I suppose 29 other teams passed on Chase multiple times before he was picked, so we should be happy that we eventually got him!

  2. In the Grease says:

    I also thought it was interesting that Chase noted in the interview, that although listed at C, he has been playing RW for the last 3 years, and considers himself a RW…. perhaps that had been noted previously, but I could see him being a legit challenge to a Pitllick, for example, maybe as soon as this camp. Thoughts?

  3. Ben says:

    Maybe a downer kind of a question, but how much more losing would it take for you guys to truly tune out? Is the cycle of failure/draft/optimism/failure infinitely sustainable in Edmonton? Are there just too few alternative entertainment options to ever really affect hockey revenues? What’s your breaking point?

  4. Lowetide says:

    In the Grease:
    I also thought it was interesting that Chase noted in the interview, that although listed at C, he has been playing RW for the last 3 years, and considers himself a RW…. perhaps that had been noted previously, but I could see him being a legit challenge to a Pitllick, for example, maybe as soon as this camp. Thoughts?

    I asked this question of several observers, and Chase has played both during his junior career. It’s anyone’s guess about where EDM will play him, but Chase considering himself a RW is probably a tell.

  5. Lowetide says:

    Ben:
    Maybe a downer kind of a question, but how much more losing would it take for you guys to truly tune out? Is the cycle of failure/draft/optimism/failure infinitely sustainable in Edmonton? Are there just too few alternative entertainment options to ever really affect hockey revenues? What’s your breaking point?

    I think it’s in our blood. I don’t think there’s a breaking point. It’s like asking when I’m going to give up beer.

  6. Dicky94 says:

    Lowetide,

    Lowetide,

    Bang on! Especially when beer has made the last eight years a little easier. Cheers to another exciting year of Oiler hockey! It’s going to be a good one!

  7. Kmart99 says:

    Ben,

    On some level it isn’t about wins or losses. Like fishing, it’s not about catching fish, it’s about going fishing.

  8. Ben says:

    Kmart99,

    I guess…though you could also make an argument that it’s more like being a 43 year old guy going back to the same club night after night even though he hasn’t managed to pick anyone up in 8 years.

    I only ask because I realize that I’m stuck with this team until endtimes – even though I barely remember the last two cups.

    What can you do. Thank your stars you’re not a Nucks fan and carry on, I suppose.

  9. Bank Shot says:

    Hockey is only a sleep away. Pretty pumped. I’m hoping both Leon and Nurse play in tomorrow night’s game.

  10. RexLibris says:

    And as if on cue: http://flamesnation.ca/2014/9/11/view-from-the-other-side

    My look at introducing the Oilers Young Stars roster to Flames fans.

  11. Bruce McCurdy says:

    Younger Oil:
    “There’s not much negative to say about the club getting this guy.”

    While we are incredibly lucky to have gotten Chase, I would argue that choosing Campbell and Muir before him is hardly something the scouting staff can be commended for. It’s hard to argue that either of them are better players, have more potential, or fill a bigger need on the team than Chase.

    Although I suppose 29 other teams passed on Chase multiple times before he was picked, so we should be happy that we eventually got him!

    Same as those damn Wings scouts who passed on Datsyuk and Zetterberg multiple times before finally picking them. Incompetent oafs.

  12. Lowetide says:

    Bruce McCurdy: Same as those damn Wings scouts who passed on Datsyuk and Zetterberg multiple times before finally picking them. Incompetent oafs.

    One of my favorite comments all summer was Holland saying ‘if we’d drafted Taylor Hall No. 1 we would have brought him right to the NHL, too!”

    Heh. 9,000,000 words spent on that the world over.

  13. Clay says:

    I hope Dr. Drai drops 60 points and wins the Calder, takes out Bennet and Gaudreau in one hit, and steals Phaneuf’s girlfriend. But even if all that happens, I’ll still be mad that he was gifted a roster spot instead of earning it in camp.

  14. RexLibris says:

    Bruce McCurdy: Same as those damn Wings scouts who passed on Datsyuk and Zetterberg multiple times before finally picking them. Incompetent oafs.

    I was thinking about what MacGregor said a few years back about Gernat being ranked 32nd on their list, but they knew they could get him in the 5th, so they waited.

    To draw upon a metaphor close to LT’s heart, drafting is like cribbage – knowing when to play the cards is as important as how you play them.

  15. RexLibris says:

    Lowetide,

    When I read your first item on Draisaitl which listed him as posting 40 points I was thinking this was in reference to the 3 games in Penticton.

    I thought “hmm, that seems rather bullish, but I could get behind that kind of sentiment.”

  16. Lowetide says:

    RexLibris:
    Lowetide,

    When I read your first item on Draisaitl which listed him as posting 40 points I was thinking this was in reference to the 3 games in Penticton.

    I thought “hmm, that seems rather bullish, but I could get behind that kind of sentiment.”

    Ha! If he gets 5 points the Oilers will hold a parade. Nice item at FN btw.

  17. RexLibris says:

    I have to pass along an apology, LT.

    I borrowed the quote you had from Alex Krushelnyski previously to use in my FN article and had posted a link to your site as the source, but during my edits it seems to have been dropped.

  18. RexLibris says:

    Lowetide: Ha! If he gets 5 points the Oilers will hold a parade. Nice item at FN btw.

    Thanks.

    It was fun to go through and offer up opinions on each prospect through as objective a perspective as I could manage.

    I am genuinely excited to see Gernat, Simpson, Moroz, Draisaitl, Khaira, and Yakimov this season. At the tournament my hope is that Tkachev matches Gaudreau step for step and Nurse keeps a lid on the opposition’s offensive prospects. Oh, and watch Chase bait some Canucks players, just for Karma’s sake.

  19. Kris11 says:

    Ben:
    Maybe a downer kind of a question, but how much more losing would it take for you guys to truly tune out? Is the cycle of failure/draft/optimism/failure infinitely sustainable in Edmonton? Are there just too few alternative entertainment options to ever really affect hockey revenues? What’s your breaking point?

    At one point in the movie The Departed, the Matt Damon Character says something like “I’m fucking Irish, I’ll deal with something being wrong for the rest of my life.”

    After the 1990’s, 2000’s, and now 2010’s, I believe you could sub in “Oilers fan” for “Irish” in that sentence.

    The “we need to boycott to put pressure on ownership” is not that persuasive unless you are a season ticket holder or regular ticket purchaser or corporate supporter, and then your support does carry some weight.

  20. Lowetide says:

    RexLibris:
    I have to pass along an apology, LT.

    I borrowed the quote you had from Alex Krushelnyski previously to use in my FN article and had posted a link to your site as the source, but during my edits it seems to have been dropped.

    No worries.

  21. Kris11 says:

    I am entertained by the Oilers these days, even the underperforming teams and the blue-chip kids playing out of their depth. (Though I usually become bored by mid season as the losing settles in.)

    I was not entertained so much by some of the loser teams that the Oilers sent out in the bad old days. Yikes.

    Though the bad old days had some teams with depth and too little star power, too. Where the few stars would leave too soon for money. That was worse.

  22. VanOil says:

    How many goals at the Rookie tournament does Tkachev have to score to get offered a contract, thus him legitimately becoming an Oilers property? My dream is he has a 4 point night playing on Yakimov’s wing.

    Why does Greg Chase not have a contract?

  23. flyfish1168 says:

    Bruce McCurdy,
    One of my favorite draft was 1984 9th round, Luc Robitaille ( 171) and Gary Suter (180 ). What the hell were scouts thinking picking a flier I guess.

  24. Lowetide says:

    VanOil:
    How many goals at the Rookie tournament does Tkachev have to score to get offered a contract, thus him legitimately becoming an Oilers property? My dream is he has a 4 point night playing on Yakimov’s wing.

    Why does Greg Chase not have a contract?

    I’m not nervous yet, but if this thing drags into the WHL season…

  25. Riggy says:

    “If he’s big enough, strong enough, good enough, mobile enough, the Oilers won’t send him back.”

    I wonder if anyone else had a SNL flashback of “Stuart Smalley” when reading Lowetide’s comments on Nurse;

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6ldAQ6Rh5ZI

    “…I’m good enough, I’m smart enough, and gosh darn it, people like me.”

  26. VanOil says:

    Lowetide: I’m not nervous yet, but if this thing drags into the WHL season…

    You mean that league that he has already been playing pre-season games for and the Hitman play there first game next weekend? Glad you are not nervous yet.

  27. Lowetide says:

    VanOil: You mean that league that he has already been playing pre-season games for and the Hitman play there first game next weekend? Glad you are not nervous yet.

    There’s still time to do it. Iirc the Oilers can sign Chase any time and it doesn’t burn a year (Roy is different, I think that’s correct) so there’s no reason to wait. They’ll want to get him signed before his has another big WHL season and goes to the WJ’s.

    So, it has to be fairly soon imo. But there’s time.

  28. VanOil says:

    Lowetide,

    If the day they cut him from main camp, they offer him a contract it would be a great way to soften the blow.

  29. Pouzar says:

    flyfish1168:
    Bruce McCurdy,
    One of my favorite draft was 1984 9th round,Luc Robitaille ( 171) and Gary Suter (180 ). What the hell were scouts thinking picking a flier I guess.

    Tom Glavine(HOF Pitcher…yeah that guy) was taken ahead of both those stiffs by your LA Kings (4th rd – 69th overall).

  30. Hammers says:

    Is it that so many had bad things to say about Moroz’s draft spot that nobody wants the kid to perform let alone overperform because my feeling is thats what’s required . He needs both a good camp in Penticton plus the training camp . Personally I will be happy to be able to say he deserves his shot , as I think he does . The proof as they say is in the pudding .All these kids need our support .

  31. judgedrude says:

    “Any team with Taylor Hall in the lineup is worth watching, ”

    Remember when that was said about Hemsky….I prefer our current situation though.

  32. Kmart99 says:

    Do any webpages out there separate corsi into 5 man combos? I’d like to see how each 5 man combo faired when adjusting for qualcomp and ZS’s … Wouldn’t you? Hockey is a game of styles and while some players may have a high level of quality linemates all year they may or may not work well together.

  33. Ca$h-Money! says:

    Kmart99:
    Do any webpages out there separate corsi into 5 man combos?I’d like to see how each 5 man combo faired when adjusting for qualcomp and ZS’s … Wouldn’t you?Hockey is a game of styles and while some players may have a high level of quality linemates all year they may or may not work well together.

    That would be interesting, but there would almost certainly be sample size issues. I know flames fans are doing something similar, touting the Backlund/Gio/Brodie trio as being amongst the best in the league.

  34. Kmart99 says:

    Ca$h-Money!,

    Since there’s an insane number of different combos that take place, I’d like to just see the twelve most common lines at 5V5 for each team. If you have 4 mildly stable forward lines and 3 fairly stable d pairings you could look at those twelve combos as possibly taking up 30-50%(guessing) of the total EV ice time by a team. Leaving the other myriad of combos to take up the rest.

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