Oh, Dallas. Dallas, Dallas, Dallas. The Oilers 94+ were in no way associated with the Boys on The Bus and the Dallas Stars were the dragon in need of slaying every spring. Man, that was some kind of run for the two teams.
- 1997: Oilers won conference QF 4-3
- 1998: Stars won conference SF 4-1
- 1999: Stars won conference QF 4-0
- 2000: Stars won conference QF 4-1
- 2001: Stars won conference QF 4-2
- 2003: Stars won conference QF 4-2
It looks painful but believe me it was worse. The 1997 and 1998 runs were all we had for many years after the Stanley run in 1990 (and the coda springs with BOTB that followed) but looking back that Weight era was golden compared to this one. Dallas has been the better team pretty much the entire century and at this point Edmonton may never get to the playoffs again, let alone win a round. Embrace the best of the century: 2006 run and the Dallas Stars telling us to go home every spring early in the century. No wonder Oilers fans don’t love the Dallas Stars.
MacT: more puck moving. Less chip and chase. #oilerluncheon
— Reggie (@regwald) March 26, 2015
That has to be good news for Oilers fans. Now, the Oilers have to GET defensemen who can move the puck effectively but the chip and chase is the hockey equivalent of a pop gun. The Oilers should have a more explosive offense, this change in direction (started under Dallas Eakins) should bode well for the future.
It’s the kind of quote that sounds good but Edmonton needs actual NHL players. It’s a fine line between bringing in respected veterans and finding men with years left in the heart of their careers who can help with the important minutes in a game.
- Jim Matheson: The Chicago Blackhawks have to decide on what to do with Brent Seabrook, who turns 30 next month, in short order because he’s UFA after next season. He makes $5 million a season now and will certainly want a raise. Some team might come at the Blackhawks at the draft offering a young defenceman and a first-round pick for Duncan Keith’s longtime partner. Source
I can see Edmonton bringing in Seabrook, absolutely. If they could get him for the Penguins pick, Marincin? Is that enough? I don’t know but suspect Edmonton would be willing to give more and take on a ghastly contract to top it off. The depth chart might look like this:
And they can recall Nurse to play with Fayne by Christmas. Make sense? Not really but MacT has added Ference (2013) and Fayne/Nikitin (2014) in consecutive summers. Seabrook fits the bill. The big question: What do they have to pay him per season to keep him beyond one year? That might make this moot.
BETKER SIGNED, WHO’S NEXT?
The 2013 draft has given Edmonton Darnell Nurse, Bogdan Yakimov, Greg Chase and now Ben Betker as signed prospects who will have an opportunity to further their hockey careers. It’s a big deal, because if a player doesn’t get signed their choices are limited: Go back in the draft (if eligible) or sign with another team—NHL, AHL, ECHL or Europe. The CIS option is also available (and I think very valuable but that’s for another day).
There are still a bunch of CHL kids who need to sign this spring or Edmonton loses their rights. We could see them sign an entry-level deal, get traded (ala Rieder for Kessy) for a useful asset, or cast away like Jeremie Blain or any number of prospects over the years. It’s an interesting time.
EV NUMBERS, CHL KIDS
We don’t have TOI but we do have the boxcars and even-strength totals usually give us enough insight into these youngsters for us to make an educated guess. If a player has average EV totals and does not possess a two-way reputation, that’s a concern. Let’s have a look under the hood.
- Leon Draisaitl 2014-15: 32GP, 10-18-28 (.875 points-per-game). The big German didn’t pout when sent back, he picked up his shovel and got to work. I’m so damn impressed by this guy. Last season’s EV numbers (64GP, 22-37-59, .922) were slightly better but Todd Cordell’s excellent work gives us a clue about why this might happen. A wonderful prospect.
- Greg Chase 2014-15: 61GP, 13-28-41 (.672 points-per-game). Chase had an enormous EV year in 2013-14 but this past season had some strange moments (sent home, had to wait for a trade, ended up on the coast and regained his touch). The EV numbers here are good, last year’s (70GP, 20-35-55 .786) were better. I don’t think it’s cause for alarm, for me Chase is a very promising NHL prospect. It’ll be interesting to see his scoring levels next year compared to Mitch Moroz in his rookie season in the AHL.
- Marco Roy 2014-15: 59GP, 23-15-38 (.644 points-per-game). His reputation is as a solid two-way center/wing, so Roy’s offense gets a kick from that while also receiving a sock in the jaw due to a lack of PP time. He’s a no-brainer to sign imo, but Matty has him needing a strong playoff. Too bad, he absolutely looks like a player. It’s a good test for the Oilers though, and will tell us if they’re listening/learning and paying attention to the numbers in the right way. Roy scored 39GP, 8-16-24 .615 ppg) last season, so improved slightly year over year. A very nice prospect.
- Darnell Nurse 2014-15: 36GP, 7-13-20 (.560 points-per-game). A very nice spike from last season (64GP, 6-14-20 .313) especially when taking into consideration what he does aside from offense. I think his offensive potential has been overrated by some (he should produce 25-30 points a season, maybe more when he peaks) but projecting defensemen into the NHL offensively is a fool’s game.
- Kyle Platzer 2014-15: 68GP, 19-19-38 (.560 points-per-game). Like Roy, he comes with a solid two-way reputation and added a significant power-play boost to his number last year of junior. I love players with a range of skills, this fellow could be a gem. He was 66GP, 12-11-23 (.348) a year ago, so spiked nicely at evens in his final junior season.
- Jackson Houck 2014-15: 55GP, 13-15-28 (.509 points-per-game). Interesting follow-up season to 2013-14 (69GP, 24-17-41 .594) and one of the reasons he’s in Oklahoma City now sans entry-level deal.
I’d sign Roy, Platzer and Houck to be honest but if forced to choose only one? It would be Marco Roy. I don’t know if the Oilers are thinking the same way but they should be. We wait.
MCKENZIE ON O’CONNOR
TSN 1260 this morning with Nielson and Fraser, Bob McKenzie talked about college goaltender Matt O’Connor and Edmonton’s chances.
- McKenzie: “As I understand it, the teams that it’s narrowed down to and at this point are the front-runners would include the Edmonton Oilers, the Ottawa Senators, the Buffalo Sabres, and surprisingly the New York Rangers. But we saw yesterday where Kyle Baun chose the Chicago Blackhawks, so don’t always discount the contending teams that have some depth because sometimes they make a good sales pitch and circumstances change. So that’s kind of where it’s at.” Source
This is important because a college goalie may mean Edmonton passes on taking a goaltender early in the draft. Perhaps Edmonton takes Noah Hanifin at No. 3, Jansen Harkins at No. 22 and are considering MacKenzie Blackwood at No. 33 but Jake DeBrusk is still available. That college goalie may give them cover.
BOHOLOGO UPDATES ON SLEPYSHEV
Anton Slepyshev Watch Update: yesterday in Sport Express he said he’s not thinking about signing in Edmonton right now:
- Q: Никита Сошников уехал в НХЛ, подписав контракт с “Торонто”. У вас есть такая цель, вы ведь “Эдмонтоном” задрафтованы.
A: Я пока об этом не думаю. Сейчас нахожусь в сборной, и все мысли только о ней.
- Q: Nikita Soshnikov went to the NHL, he signed a contract with Toronto. Edmonton drafted you, do you have such a goal?
A: I am not thinking about that. Now I’m with the team, and that’s all I’m thinking about.
So, he’s not saying no, he’s saying not right now. Admirable focus on his current responsibilities. Article is here.
All above from Bohologo. He and I go back (I think) forever so that’s a solid item there. Of all the kids not yet signed from the 2013 draft, I’d put Slepyshev at the top of the list, then Roy, then Platzer, then Houck. Will Edmonton sign all of them? I don’t think they will.
LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE
Lowdown at 10 this morning, TSN 1260. Scheduled to appear:
- Steve Lansky, Big Mouth Sports. We’ll talk NHL coaching shuffle, Edmonton passing the Leafs in the standings and the Senators.
- Guy Flaming, Pipeline Show. Oil Kings won last night! Plus a few draft items.
- Tom Lynn, Veritas Hockey. Our favorite hockey agent guides us through the college signing season and I’ll ask a few draft questions, too.
- Paul Almeida, SSE. Paul will regale us with stories of giving his tickets for all the good games away and what Edmonton should do this spring and summer.
10-1260 text @Lowetide_ on twitter. See you on the radio!