This is Brett Callighen. He came out of nowhere to establish himself as a solid WHA/NHL player before injury ended his career. His was an unlikely story (quit organized hockey at 16 to become a ski instructor, returned to the game at a small college age 21, caught the attention of scouts and signed a pro contract and followed it up with a trip through Flint on the way to the show) but one of the best in Oilers history.
The current Oilers have a Brett Callighen-type story in Dustin Penner. The first blip on the radar screen for Penner was at Minot State-Bottineau.
The rest of the roster is packed with first and second rounders. I don’t think the Oilers have ever had as many top 10 picks on their roster as they do now (Hall, Gagner, Brule, Whitney, Pääjärvi, Smid) and there are likely more to come.
I’ve seen so many line combinations over the last few days the lines for tonight’s game are a mystery. Based on yesterdays’ Renney comments, a good guess would be the Gagner line stays intact, Horcoff-Eberle welcome Pääjärvi, Hall moves onto the Cogliano-Brule line. However, it could be any number of combinations.
The hot topics going in are the penalty-kill, the defense and their ability to send outlet passes that work, and faceoff wins. The real issue (as it will be all season) is development. At-bats. Sorties. Small steps.