One Dozen Opinions

Lots of chatter about the Oiler loss last night, I don’t think any pre-season game is worth getting bothered over. Perhaps the Oilers will use it as impetus to tighten up the group earlier, but even then they don’t play a game that counts for more than two weeks. In the Bettman NHL, preseason is a marathon. I do have some opinions on some players, though.

  1. Devan Dubnyk: If the Oilers are paying attention, he’s the starter. I suggested in the RE series that NK would get 10 games this season and that seems about right. Oilers management appears to believe the elderly Russian can turn back time and there’s no harm in wheeling him out a couple of times in preseason. But let’s not kid ourselves: Dubnyk is the best goalie here, followed by Danis. That  is (imo) going to be this year’s tandem.
  2. Taylor Hall: I’ve decided to call him “Chance.” Hall has so much talent and can beat the other guy so many ways it is only a matter of time before we’re enjoying one of the NHL’s best players. Did you see that rocket shot that hit the post? Me either.
  3. Lennert Petrell: I thought he showed very well last night, and has excellent PK instincts. Petrell might have a real shot at an end of the roster slot, something we also discussed during the RE series.
  4. Tom Gilbert: Steady hand, plays all three disciplines (EV, PP, PK) but Oiler fans don’t think he’s a top 4 option. Meanwhile, the other defensemen dealt horribly with the pressure applied by Canucks forwards, but all we hear is about Gilbert’s poor play. Sheesh.
  5. Alex Plante: Skating is still an issue after all this time. I think he’s a better fighter and he does seem to have calmed down under pressure, but he can’t get to pucks in a timely fashion. Back in the days of clutch and grab Plante could have had a career, and I see the Sun has an article on him saying he’s developing on a reasonable timeline but that ’07 draft–with three first rounders–doesn’t look like it will deliver an NHL defender from the first round.
  6. Jeff Petry: I like his mobility and he’ll improve as the sorties keep coming. Really, I don’t know that the Oilers have the depth and quality to send him back. He had some tough moments a night ago, but there’s a player here. 
  7. Sam Gagner: Looked faster than a year ago and almost scored early and had chances after that to score but couldn’t cash. I’m genuinely surprised at how many people still consider Gagner completely unproven–he’s survived playing for horrible, horrible teams and looks primed to step up as the group improves. Coach Renney even compared him to Doug Gilmour the other day, something smart posters on this blog pointed out three years ago.
  8. Tyler Pitlick: Interesting player. He ran a few people and had some chances last night, I don’t know how long he’ll be in OKC but would guess at least one full season. The Oilers are sending people down today, suspect Pitlick might be on the bus to the airport.
  9. Linus Omark: Wasn’t effective (I thought) last night but he’s a beauty. I do worry that the Oilers will fly Hartikainen and flog Omark and lose a very good player in the exchange. Call me crazy, but losing organizations do just those things.
  10. Darcy Hordichuk: I thought he played well, hitting everything in sight and holding his own in the fights. Not my favorite player type, but he can take and make a pass; I think Oiler fans will love him.
  11. RNH: Impressed again, he got knocked off the puck but that’s going to happen. He’s done at least one thing to show he can turn over the puck in a good way (stick lift and then a quick pass to 14) and made a nice, simple feed to Eberle for the solo cash.
  12. Jordan Eberle: in all the fuss and bother over the lottery wins, it is sometimes easy to forget this kid from the flatlands. When Eberle plays, they’ll sell you the whole seat but you’ll only need the edge.

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