I had a quick chat with Taylor Fedun at the Team 1260 Golf Tournament yesterday. He’s had a long comeback and will need to do more work but he’s excited for the oppotunity.
Fedun told me he was well looked after by the organization and that everyone is pleased with the progress. Then he stepped up to the tee and ripped a drive up the fairway. Friggin’ athletes.
Two Oilers are up for awards tonight, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins for Calder and Jordan Eberle for the Byng. I don’t want to dash hopes and certainly will cheer for both men, but the NHL awards have been a vast wasteland for the Oilers since the Stanley years. If the NHL wasn’t going to give Fernando Pisani an award for coming back after what he went through, we should expect Jack Diddly tonight.
Dean Millard and Guy Flaming did their big draft preview show on Team 1260 last night. Millard said (as he has before) that his sources tell him that the Oiler scouts are all over Ryan Murray, Kevin Lowe is strong on Griffin Reinhart and Steve Tambellini is trusting his scouts to give him the right order.
Heaven knows where Nail Yakupov is in the mix.
Oilers have taken great pains to say they’re keeping the pick, nothing is brewing and that they would have to be heavily overpaid to move down. If they follow their own past the club will take a forward #1 (Nail Yakupov) and then grab a defender (Dalton Thrower?) with their second round pick.
The Oilers have two trains rolling this summer: addressing amateur need with the last good draft pick (please, lord) on one track and then badly needing to shore up areas of the big league roster on the other track.
I felt going in that the Oilers needed two NHL defensemen, a rational option in goal and a solid 2-way winger in the Pisani/Dvorak role. The signing of Lennart Petrell does not solve the Pisani issue, so the club still hasn’t addresses any legit need for 12-13.
I do this every summer, ususally wait until the week of free agency but might as well do it this week with the possibility of draft week trades so high. Here are the offseason needs for the Edmonton Oilers:
- A coach who is clearly an upgrade on Tom Renney.
- A top pairing defenseman capable of playing the toughs and being deployed in all three disciplines.
- A young, NHL ready defender who can push the other candidates and perhaps serve as “Whitney” insurance.
- A reasonable goaltending option for the Khabibulin free fall.
- A Pisani 2.0 for the 3line, a mentor and a checker who can score 15 goals while turning Lander, Paajarvi and Hartikainen into Stoll and Torres 2.0
- Ryan Smyth or similar.
No disrespect to Lennart Petrell, but we’re not off to a rocking start.
There were some pretty knowledgable media people at the golf course yesterday and I came away with the impression the Oilers are the favorite in the Justin Schultz sweepstakes. I have no idea if its true, but expectations are high. Maybe that changes their draft board?
If the Oilers do trade Sam Gagner to Carolina for the #8 pick (which has been rumored on the Al Gore) then I think the club should select C Milhail Grigorenko. If we can agree that Yakupov is the most talented offensive player available (and he is) then Grigorenko would represent top value at about #4 or so. McKenzie has him at #12, this guy could be a steal based on what we know.
I still have no idea why he’s slipping.