The Importance of (Robert) Being Earnest

Robert Nilsson is in danger of taking a (called) strike two in his major league career. Already sent along (from NYI) as part of a three-pronged trade for a rental, Nilsson had one strong season that led to a payday and has been skipping classes and allowing his mind to wander since that day. Most of us can relate at some level. As someone whose reports cards often contained the phrase “needs to apply himself” there’s no doubt Nilsson’s plight has an ‘everyman’ quality to it.

However, it is incredibly galling to watch someone with his talent level waste opportunity after opportunity. Nilsson is an exceptionally talented player that math has adored (2.37 5×5/60 in 07-08) in the past and condemned in the most recent full season. This year? Math and circumstance appear to be conspiring against Kenta’s kid and it looks for all the world like he’ll be down in the count 0-2 in another town very soon.

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36 Responses to "The Importance of (Robert) Being Earnest"

  1. Bling says:

    I agree.

    I was a Nilsson booster in TC, but his game has just fallen off the map after a mediocre showing for much of last year. I was banking on a bounce back year from him, but from the looks of things that isn't going to happen.

    His exceptional passing ability combined with his skating ability is what got him a job in the NHL, but both have seemingly vanished from his tool kit. I don't see him backing guys off with his speed any more, and his passes are hitting skates more often than anyone on the roster.

    I was wrong on him.

    Hindsight being what it is, there's an argument to be made that Eberle would have delivered more in Nilsson's role (soft comp, good linemates).

    Eberle's time will come. For now, Tambo has to go out and find another guy to do the job.

  2. hunter1909 says:

    Nilsson is a waste of space, and a pansy.

    I might have been told to work harder as a small child, and bored as I was I've never regretted ignoring that bad advice, but once I grew up and went to the big city I sure as hell didn't need anyone to light a fire under my arse.

    Nilsson is useless.

  3. FlamingPavelBure says:

    Hunter: At this point, i can count too much Oilers that fit in your description, just replacing names.

    Yes that concerns you thecaptainethanmoreau

  4. Yeti says:

    He's so cute.

  5. FlamingPavelBure says:

    But yeah, come on Nilsson my boy, with the attack struggling to do jackshit, it's your last chance.

    Please stop making me look like someone that can't tell his ass from his elbow.

  6. hunter1909 says:

    FlamingPavelBure: Don't be too hard on yourself. All of us were drooling at the idea of having that incredible Schremp/Nilsson AHL duet, that were all but guaranteed to bring it to the NHL.

    Kevin Lowe promised us, don't forget. And Mister Lowe won 6 cups. Not that anyone is ever allowed to forget. Ever.

  7. kris says:

    I was a Nilsson fan. Thought he had some bad habits last year and the year before, but showed some things.

    This year he's terrible. It looks like the bad habits are just part of his game.

    He turns 25 in January. He may turn into a decent player, but at this point, even if he does, the best possible player he could ever become is the kind of player who is easily purchased as a FA or in a trade. Barring a miracle, anyway, but really any player we sign in his spot could have a miracle improvement, so miracles are beside the point.

    There is virtually no reason to keep him anymore, IMO. (Except that Katz will have to pay him to play in Shelbyville, which is a big deal, IMO.) Dumping him frees a roster spot and -presuming he's replaced with someone dirt cheap- about 1MM in cap space.

    That roster spot and that cap space are important. We could've used them to buy a decent 3rd pairing guy, who can play well now that injuries have hit. Still could.

    I know I sound hyperbolic and irrational going after Nilsson and POS so early in the season. I admit that they may improve and develop, but while we're waiting for that to happen, we're gonna spend the rest of the season in our zone, and out of the playoffs.

    There's lots of youth on the team that has a better chance of developing into greatness: Gagner,MPS,Cogliano,etc.

    So there's no need to care about Nilsson and POS's futures.


  8. hunter1909 says:

    Cogliano and greatness?


  9. kris says:

    "Chance of greatness," Hunter.

    Big difference.

    But I hear you.

  10. Lowetide says:

    The argument I've always made for Cogliano is we don't know what he is yet. And we don't. He's very raw but does have talent and one plus skill (foot speed).

    On the other hand, we do know what Nilsson is and although there's always a chance the light goes on someday I don't think the Oilers can wait any longer.

  11. hunter1909 says:

    Nilsson's problem is incredibly simple: He wants to play no contact hockey.

  12. Schitzo says:

    So have we come full circle yet, and O'Marra is the best prospect in the package?

  13. hunter1909 says:

    Plante's my fave of that trio.

    He looks like Frankenstein out there.

  14. kris says:


    You said it better than I could've.

    I'll add that Cogliano has two 18 goal seasons without much PP time or great linemates. (A bit of luck in the SH%, probably, though.) And this year he's seeing a lot of 4th line time, playing center, when he seems more suited for wing.

    And Hemsky didn't break out until he was about Cogliano's age and some guys take a little longer.

    Until an offensive forward is about 23 I'm willing to give them a lot of leeway, and a little leeway after that.

    Nilsson is just past the leeway phase, IMO. Cogliano is at it

    Is this wrong? Are there a lot of offensive forwards who are really crappy all the way until they're 25?

  15. SK Oiler Fan says:

    "Nilsson's problem is incredibly simple: He wants to play no contact hockey."

    And this is why he will end up lighting it up in Europe in a few years.

    If he's not provinding secondary offense he's useless. He's pissed it away.

    It's time to utilize the waiver wire Tambo and dump some salary.

  16. kris says:

    Not so sure about the Butch Goring comp anymore though LT. And Marchant comparisons are way off now.

    I'd say Briere-lite is likely.

    That is: good second line LW. scores 23-26 a year, doesn't do great against tough comp., but isn't terrible. Does best playing on a line with at least one guy who can pass. (On this team, maybe Cogliano-Pouliot-Pisani)

    If he can learn to PK some, he'll be a good one.

  17. Lowetide says:

    kris: Yeah, he's certainly not tracking close to Marchant or Goring. I keep thinking these college kids should be coming out with more complete skills.

  18. shepso says:

    So because I live in Ontario I have the unfortunate pain of being forced to endure leaf games more
    often then I would like. I have watched as many leaf games as oilers in the last week, 3 games each and as much as I love tagging on the laffs for their perpetual suck, they might actually be a better team then the oil right now, especially with kessel in the lineup. Sure they lose all the time, but I'd rather see a loss with some effort as opposed to a loss filled with no heart.

    On the subject of kessel, his first game back and he was absolutely dominant. No goals but about 7 really quality chances and like 10 or 11 shots. They can't buy a goal as a team mind you, but that team doesn't stop trying.

    Another beauty player Is Ryan Malone. It's strange being east and watching so many players I never get to see. It's giving me a greater appreciation for the game on it's own, especially because of the lack of emotion attached to the other teams… And because I'm getting tired of watching the oilers lose. The last few games aside from Detroit have been horrible to watch. I don't want to pick on the players or the coaches or anything else that been discussed. I'm having a hard time watching the oilers play because the quality of the games themselves are really subpar. And it's making me sad…

  19. shepso says:

    That should have said ragging on the laffs. Stupid iPhone keyboard…

  20. PunjabiOil says:

    Rumour is MPS got a concussion today.


  21. Lowetide says:

    MPS injury would be a concern, but from what I've read he skated to the bench under his own steam.

    Too bad, he's having a nice run.

  22. spOILer says:

    Nilsson's turnaround is going to take a team or two more.

  23. Hockey Noob says:

    Hey, I will own up to my own bad judgment. Initially, I was excited about watching Ryan Stone. After a few games with his dwindling hit count, and the play dying on his stick, I started to lament the fact that he was taking Nilsson's spot.

    I had hoped that my boy Nilhouse would get another chance to play… Enough said.

  24. Kristopher Milligan says:

    As there was discussion regarding aquiring a 3rd pairing defender… I thought i would pimp my new blog (i hope that is ok LT, remove post if not!)

    Large physical vetran Defender, Kyle Mclaren…

  25. bookie says:

    I would make Penner cough directly into Nilsson's face…just in case whatever Penner has is contagious.

    I guess there is an argument that if sans Mact made Penner better that it has done nothing at all for Mr. Nilsson.

  26. Fake Craig McTavish says:

    shepso said…

    I don't want to pick on the players or the coaches or anything else that been discussed. I'm having a hard time watching the oilers play because the quality of the games themselves are really subpar. And it's making me sad…

    Anyone who has watched a lot of non-Oiler hockey in the past 3 years feels the same.


  27. Dennis says:

    The funny thing about 12's game right now is I believe he's thrown more real hits in the last four or five games than he did in the last two seasons combined.

    Well, not really but you get the point.

    But, he's still prone to giveaways and he's still a guy who'd rather pass the puck into the net than actually take a shot at goal.

    And right now he's just another smallish guy trying to make his way.

    BTW, I don't want to close the book on 13 just yet because he's playing with crap and last year his linemates weren't stellar either so it's not like he's been given a lot of help.

    BTW2, I love posting in your blog LT and I admire that you still have enough interest to keep posting topics. Most of the game problems that we had in Oct of '06 are the same ones we have now – the D's been improved when everyone in-house is healthy – and kudos to you for keeping up the interest.

  28. woody says:


    I know Kyle McLaren's bother socially here in Lethbridge and spoke with him about what his brother is up to these days as I had not heard his name attached to an NHL roster this fall…

    As it turns out Kyle went to the NYR camp on a try-out basis and suffered a pretty bad knee injury. He immediately had surgery, some new technique, and will attempt to catch on again somewhere next fall.

    So, no McLaren in Oil silks in 09/10.

  29. Bill Needle says:

    What are the chances the Islanders give up on Schremp and the Oilers getting him back on recall?

  30. Lowetide says:

    Dennis: Thank you. Honestly, one of the main reasons I post stuff is to hear what you and others have to say. I've had my mind changed on a few things over the years and consider it time well spent. :-)

  31. Kristopher Milligan says:

    Thanks Woody. Ill have to change the title from "Meet Kyle Mclaren" to "Meet a type of defender we could use if he wasnet injured" ;)

    All joking aside, my main point was that there are good third pairing defenders available, either via free agency, overseas, minor leagues. Why do we have to watch our D get its lunch taken every game that souray is out… Although 5 has been a revelation this season.

  32. knighttown says:


    I know you weren't intending to compliment #12 but the comments were 100% accurate. Not only has Nilsson hit more guys in the past few games he's actually hammered a few of them.

    I can get behind moving Nilsson for a more useful piece or waiving him for salary cap relief but I hesitate to say he's been any less effective than Cogliano, Jacques or Brule.

  33. Rob Gilgan says:

    I'm with knighttown. Nillson doesn't have a ton to throw around, but what he's got, he's using effectively. I sense an expectation that he become a player that he isn't yet, on a timetable that's unrealistic. I think he wants a career where he doesn't end up a cripple -which isn't a bad first priority.

  34. gary b says:

    good luck in Carolina, Row-bear.

  35. Dennis says:

    Gary B: Not cool, dude! I thought we had a trade to discuss there for a second;)

  36. gary b says:

    sorry Dennis, just a hunch.

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