The Edmonton Oilers have been developing kids at the NHL level since the fall of 2006. Just because they’re in the NHL doesn’t mean they’ve arrived as actual players–men who can contribute to winning, either in a narrow view at an impact level or as a player with a wide range of skills.
We’ve seen good ones stay (Gilbert, Grebeshkov) and good ones go (Hejda, Glencross) but when you are airlifting them in 6 at a time it’s hard to read the meter. Recently, we’ve agreed that Ladislav Smid has arrived as an actual NHL player–he has a variety of skills and is a somewhat unique talent on the roster.
Yesterday, Pat Quinn shook up the lines at practice and although I’m definitely jumping ahead here the fact that Sam Gagner is on the 1line is a big deal.
*Brule had the flu so Buchberger filled in yesterday at practice. Ryan Stone is apparently out for 2-4 weeks, so there’s not much depth and Laddy Smid has the flu too. No word on callups and apparently Pisani could be ready soon, but Souray and Staios aren’t back yet. I imagine things will change some before the road trip, and we need to begin asking how many people need to be hurt before Steve MacIntyre finds the ice.