How many players do the Oilers need to contend? What position do they play? If the Oilers could wave their magic wand and add Sergei Bobrovsky, Niklas Hjalmarsson and Martin Hanzal, are they suddenly a contending team? Is that enough? I don’t think the team is so far away that Craig MacTavish should consider a massive overhaul but that’s very possible in 2015 (Jan-July).
As you can see the story improved this season (I have no idea how much Dellow’s input impacted these numbers and am biased, so will mention that he started working with Eakins in time for fall 2014). These are good arrows ladies, and with good goaltending and a power play that worked, things might have worked out better. I’m not saying this is a great club, but as with Tom Renney the Edmonton Oilers appear to have cut bait with a coach heading in a good direction. There is NO guarantee Todd Nelson will adopt the policies of Dallas Eakins but there is evidence he should take entire parts of the train and use it as his own.
- Elliotte Friedman: There’s a teammate of [Jack Eichel] by the name of Matt O’Connor. He’s a goaltender, 6-foot-6, he’s going to be 23 in February, he has a 1.67 goals-against average. O’Connor is going to be a free agent after this year. There’s a lot of interest especially by Canadian teams. Toronto met briefly with him earlier today. Craig MacTavish met with him briefly after a game a couple of weeks ago and it’s expected Oilers will meet with him further. O’Connor is going to have a lot of interest, Vancouver and Ottawa also among those teams taking a look. Source
- Elliotte Friedman: Taylor Hall? Craig MacTavish has been trying to make trades for almost two years. Can something as complex as a Hall deal really get done now? Part of me wonders if Hall’s name is out there to see how he responds. Does he get to a higher level, showing a desire to stay? Lots of other questions, such as: who is making this decision? We know there is a “forensic audit” of the organization being done, with Bob Nicholson playing a major role.
I think trading Taylor Hall is insane. If you’re going to make a Seguin-style deal you lose 10 times out of 10. If you make a blockbuster “Hall for Johansen” trade then it’s probably going to be a premium (L for C) and screw them Hall’s signed for a long time at a great number. I honestly don’t see Edmonton winning a Taylor Hall trade. Unless his knees are spent, this is a major bad idea.
POSSIBLE LINEUPS (FORWARDS)
It’s a nice landing spot for Anton Lander, that could be an effective line. The young Swede is also getting power-play time (based on practice) so this last chance Texaco with the Oilers looks like a real jump to the pump. Good for him. I’ve always believed five years is a must when it comes to prospects and in Lander’s case an extra year was required because the organization handled him so badly in year one. I’m not convinced he’ll be a power-play stud, but he’s familiar with Nelson’s system and that’s a very big item as he tries to gain NHL traction. I’ll be cheering like hell for him.
I’m noticing lots of verbal about the transition to Todd Nelson paying immediate dividends. “They’re driving to the net with authority” and “Justin Schultz looks like a free man” are being shouted but the evidence suggests (to me) we’re seeing things in a way that has the script written and the mind searches for visual evidence. I’ll be looking for evidence of Justin Schultz playing well without the puck and will also check to see how many actual chances (and second chances) Edmonton gets this afternoon. Very important to find the evidence and then write the story.