Devan Dubnyk was so good last night his SP for the year jumped from .902 to .908. One of the things we can monitor in the season’s second half is progress from young players like DD, Paajarvi and Omark.
Devan Dubnyk won the battle of prospects over Jeff Deslauriers and it’ll be awhile before Tyler Bunz or Olivier Roy push for NHL employment, so the top job should be DD’s job to win in the fall. Among the other things we can watch for:
- any signs of offense from Paajarvi
- Hartikainen’s ability to at least compete along the boards (an item the Oilers need more of every night)
- Jeff Petry cutting down on rookie mistakes and establishing himself as a legit top 4 option down the road.
The Oilers have some positives from the season (RNH, continued development of Hall, Eberle) but two or three of those other things coming through for them would represent a lot of progress.
Ryan Whitney might be in the lineup tonight, he was apparently close to being part of last night’s lineup. I wonder if they might just roll the winning 20 from last night, giving Whitney over a week before he has to play. We’ll see.
The 24-hour Oilers news cycle brought us news of a new contract for Steve Tambellini and perhaps changes in the coaching staff. Oilers have turned over the head coach a lot lately, I wonder if it is a good idea to flush Renney. I also wonder who they have in mind if they do replace him. Todd Nelson hasn’t coached Hall, RNH or Eberle and the farm kids who are here have for the most part not yet established themselves. My guess is they’ll have Nelson coach the next wave (Bunz, Klefbom, Marincin) and then bring everyone up (including Pitlick and Hamilton) after the 2nd lockout.
I thought Hartikainen played well enough to earn another night on a veteran line with skill, here’s hoping he gets a long look over the next 30 games. If the Oilers spend some time getting to know Hartikainen, Omark and find a role for Paajarvi then this club will have accomplished quite a bit during a season from hell.
There still a lot that can be salvaged from this season. A lot. Starting Dubnyk again, playing Hartikainen on a skill line and giving Paajarvi some PP time tonight should also be considered good arrows.