The Oilers have added four players since the weekend began. There’s still work to be done, but the 23-man roster is taking shape.
The Oilers 23-man roster as I see it:
- G Devan Dubnyk: I think (based on recent verbal from Tambellini) we can expect 55 starts for the young man. A massive season for DD on the way.
- G Nikolai Khabibulin: Oilers clearly think he’s good to go, but the Danis signing (he got a lot of cash to hang in OKC next winter if things don’t work out in the NHL) tells us the club won’t watch W’s fly out the window.
- D Ladislav Smid: Has a nice run ahead of him as a 22+ minutes a night defender for the Oilers. Patience is a virtue and thank goodness the Oilers showed it–unlike some of you mean, mean fans who wanted him dealt!
- D Jeff Petry: Petry played a ton down the stretch last season and performed well. He’ll need a veteran partner (Smid likely) but his development as a player is one of the few examples of a complete defender drafted and developed by the club.
- D Ryan Whitney: We start him here because his health should be at its best during TC and early in the season. A healthy Ryan Whitney is a pretty damn exciting idea, and those young forwards can gas the blue and beat the goalie with a skilled headman pass.
- D Justin Schultz: NHLE of 82, 15-25-40 gets your attention and the scouting reports are almost too good to be true. I don’t give a rat’s ass what anyone says, this young man is a dynamite arrow.
- D Nick Schultz: Calm feet for the third pairing and a steady hand at evens and on the PK. Schultz takes awhile to appreciate but that’s been the story of these player types since Don Awrey was making $7,000 a year.
- D Andy Sutton: The punisher will probably play 50-55 games this coming season with suspensions and injuries robbing him of playing time. He certainly played well this past season, might be trade bait at the deadline.
- D Theo Peckham or Corey Potter: Not sure which one they’ll keep so we’ll list them both and assume someone in the group is injured at the time. I expect both will play a lot in the NHL next season.
- C Ryan Nugent-Hopkins: He’ll get lots of playing time at evens and PP and management is talking a little about having the skilled men play PK too. A gifted young man whose personality sometimes allows one to overlook him, but his on ice performance is electric.
- C Sam Gagner: I think this will be an important season for him and am really looking forward to seeing how the big brained Sam I Am clicks with coach Krueger as the head man. Tougher minutes ahead.
- C Shawn Horcoff: They’ll get him some help this winter, although it might be the same depth chart. Horcoff is moving slower now and I think they’ll need to cut back on his special teams minutes.
- C Eric Belanger: Interesting comments from the new coach, sounds to me like Krueger has identified a disconnect or possibly a misunderstanding of role. Lets not go crazy, he was awful. But Belanger should be better in 12-13 based on his own history.
- L Taylor Hall: Man he’s emerging as the leader of this team. Exceptional talent who looks ready to go super nova, the hockey Gods need to protect him against the abandon he shows every shift.
- L Teemu Hartikainen: This is an enormous chance for the Finn, imo he gets the shot at playing with the gifted kids based on size. Edmonton has other options so he’ll need to have a fast start–something he hasn’t enjoyed so far in hus pro career.
- L Ryan Smyth: Outstanding contract and easily the higlight of July 1st for the organization. Krueger praised him for his abilities and versatility, suspect he’s off the PP.
- L Ben Eager: I’m not sure how much playing time he’ll get, could be more if coach Krueger feels he can slot him on an effective 4th line. Eager has size and speed but the motor skills are wanting. I don’t know what a coach like Krueger does with that combination.
- L Darcy Hordichuk: Enforcer gets 40 games and 160 minutes to walk on the wild side for the Edmonton Oilers.
- R Ales Hemsky: Health is the big item and of course one suspects they’ll trade him as he’s sleeping but man it would be nice to see him post 80 points in a dream season for this young club.
- R Jordan Eberle: Coming off a career season, we should probably assume he’ll fall back a little statistically. Fine, fine young player and emerging as the heart of the young cluster.
- R Nail Yakupov. Oh my God there’s another one! I don’t want to get ahead of myself but he sure looks like a marksman. Remember when the Oilers didn’t have any above average shooters? Lordy.
- R Ryan Jones: I’m not certain of his role and do know that the walkabouts will need to stop, but Jones has shown an uncanny ability to score goals over the last two seasons.
- R Lennart Petrell: Finn gives the team an aggressive forechecker and a PK savant. I expect he’ll spend time in OKC too.
This would mean Paajarvi and Lander in the minors which is fine, but it seems reasonable that the Oilers deal two of these characters from the 23 man list to address blue and prune the prospect tree.
Fun little weekend being an Oiler fan.