OILERS 12-13: PORT SIDE

Left wing for the Oilers is a nice mixture of youth and experience, and there is sufficient quality and quantity for the club to make a move if necessary. The top end (Hall) and the experience (Smyth) are top drawer at the position.

2011-12 EVEN STRENGTH TOI/GM AND 5X5/60

  1. Taylor Hall 15:06/2.07
  2. Ryan Smyth 14:26/1.93
  3. Teemu Hartikainen 12:59/1.36
  4. Magnus Paajarvi 11:56/0.75
  5. Ben Eager 8:29/1.46
  6. Darcy Hordichuk 4:20/.096

SH TOI GAME

  1. Ryan Smyth 2:09

PP TOI GAME AND 5X4/60

  1. Taylor Hall 3:03/5.95
  2. Ryan Smyth 2:28/2.39
  3. Magnus Paajarvi 1:01/2.84

#1 overall Nail Yakupov is the leading new contender for a spot on LW, owing mostly to coach Krueger wanting to have the rookie pointed in the right direction in his own zone. I honestly don’t know how important it is, but young Nail did play both sides in the KHL this season so it shouldn’t be a huge adjustment. Hartikainen and Paajarvi are listed on this side, but both can play the other.

If anything I believe the Hall minutes above will increase this year, and Smyth’s playing time is likely to fade (although not as much as one might think–Smyth remains a solid NHL player). Eager offers a “loose cannon” option and should get into 25+ games, Hordichuk in 20 or more.

ROSTER SPOTS AND 12-13 RE (5 roster spots)

  1. Taylor Hall (39, 21-19-40)
  2. Nail Yakupov (45, 11-15-26)
  3. Ryan Smyth (40, 9-13-22)
  4. Teemu Hartikainen (29, 5-5-10)
  5. Ben Eager (29, 3-2-5)
  6. Darcy Hordichuk (26, 0-1-1)

WOWY

  • Taylor Hall, plays well with Hemsky, Gagner, Nuge, things go better with Hall.
  • Ryan Smyth, plays well with Hemsky and Gagner but has crazy good chem with Ryan Jones. I mean it’s eerie. Hat tip to Woodguy for pointing it out.
  • Teemu Hartikainen and the Nuge looked nice in a small sample size.
  • Magnus Paajarvi played well with Horcoff, Hemsky and Omark in a small sample.
  • Ben Eager has a large group of people who shouldn’t play with him.
  • Darcy Hordichuk and Magnus Paajarvi spent 3.5 beautiful minutes together.

SUMMARY

If a healthy Taylor Hall can make one small step forward (reasonable) he’ll be among the 2 or 3 best LW’s in the division. If he goes super nova, he could end up being the best man on the NW portside this season. Veteran Ryan Smyth gives the team a reliable hand and a player who can deliver in all three disciplines. Nail Yakupov’s spot on LW is not set–he could end up on RW–but the skilled Russian rocket will probably play a little on both wings this season and should be considered a gifted yet uncertain option. The organization is very high on Teemu Hartikainen and one can see him taking away some of the Smyth PP minutes during the season.

We’re going to get an early indication about how coach Krueger uses his muscle when we get a gander at TOI totals and games dressed for Eager and Hordichuk. The Oilers have 4 better players ahead of them and available, so every game and every minute they play is one devoted to agitation, intimidation and the belief that protecting the kids with a 4line Coke Machine option is a worthy plan.

LW ASSESSMENT

  • Is this position strong enough for the Oilers to make the playoffs? Yes. Taylor Hall was pushing the river last season with a bum shoulder. Recovered and having played in OKC, he should hit the ground running and some NHL defensemen aren’t going to have an answer. Smyth is an important part of the group, able to slide up and down the depth chart as needed, and Hartikainen will likely do much the same thing. The Oilers keep talking up his physical game and he can hit, but I don’t think we should expect him to be as involved in that part of the game as someone like Smyth–but spending a year learning from the master can only help the Finn.
  • Is there enough depth? Certainly. All these Euro kids can play both wings and one would hope we see a better Ben Eager this year.
  • Wildcard? Yakupov, who I would put on RW (with Smyth and Horcoff). Coach Krueger has mentioned LW for Yakupov enough times I’m comfortable placing him here to start the season. He could struggle and get sent back to the KHL after 5 games, or he could force his way onto the 1PP with his finishing skills. Completely wide open canvas for the Russian and we would do well to remember that the Oilers have so many offensive weapons it might be difficult to find a spot for Yak at points in the season. I’m never going to bet against him, though.
  • Will they add at the deadline? I honestly don’t think they’ll need to, unless injuries hit. Hall is a fast car, and he might see double shifts even in a short season with so many back to backs like this one.
  • Who is in danger? Eager and Hordichuk, to a lesser extent Hartikainen. In the cases of Eager and Hordichuk, they need to make themselves useful without costing the Oilers PK sorties. I don’t know that either player has that discipline, and from the sounds of things Hordichuk feels Krueger will give him a longer leash. I expect the Oilers will lose a few goals early getting that sussed out.

Checkers vs. Oklahoma City Barons 1-12-13 Teemu Hartikainen (photo by Rob Ferguson. All rights reserved)

  • Hartikainen is in danger? Only in the sense that production is important. If he delivers offensively his role will increase, but the club has outstanding options for the skill minutes. It wouldn’t hurt him to run over a Sedin first shift next Sunday, either.

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56 Responses to "OILERS 12-13: PORT SIDE"

  1. ashley says:

    Cue the square pegs and round holes discussion. :)

    I’m not buying all the “compressed schedule”, “sprint” propaganda. I guess they need to get the attention away from the negativity of the lockout. But are we this gullible?

    Last year, the Oilers finished the season from Dec 29 to April 7….a 99 day stretch with 47 games played. That included a 7 game road trip that spanned 11 days.

    This year they will play Jan 20-April 27….a 98 day stretch with 48 games played. Approximately the same period of time, a single extra game. It will include a similar length road trip.

    I guess the press needs something to write about. I saw in the Herald they stretched for a “Don’t underestimate the Bob Hartley-Alex Tanguay connection.”

  2. Lowetide says:

    Hartley is a complete wild card imo. He might get that old car going again, but I suspect fenders will be flying off once he gets it out on the highway and takes it to the limit.

  3. Lowetide says:

    TC roster coming over twitter. Khabibulin is listed as injured, Danis is in camp. We’d talked about it, Khabibulin was “close to ready” last time the Oilers talked about it so this might be a short term item. Or not.

    GOALIES: Danis, Dubnyk, Khabibulin DEFENCE: Peckham, Petry, Potter, N-Schultz, J-Schultz, Smid, Teubert, Whitney, Sutton

  4. Lowetide says:

    Jones is listed but out a month. Chris VandeVelde, Hartikainen and Paajarvi are the callups.

    FWD: Belanger, Eager, Ebs, Gagner, Hall, Hartikainen, Hemsky, Horcoff, Hordichuk, RNH, Paajarvi, Petrell, Smyth, VandeVelde, Yakupov, Jones

  5. bookje says:

    It’s unfortunate that Danis had such poor stretches in OKC this season. I would prefer Khabi as a backup. I think he might be really good for 8-10 games this season.

  6. hunter1909 says:

    I’d like to see Hemsky and Yakupov put together with anyone the coach feels like at the moment. The reason being that Hemsky looked unreal playing with Hall and the gang midway to late in the season, not that I care to remember much about the last 3-4 seasons.

    Since everyone else seems to think they’re experts then come up with line combinations, Hunter’s Hype(tm) wants a go:

    Hall RNH Eberle

    Yakupov Gagner Hemsky

    That was easy!

    The other day I was imagining:

    Hartikienen RNH Eberle

    Hall Gagner Yakupov

    Smyth Horcoff Hemsky

    I like that one also.

    The Hall/Gags/Yaks line piques my imagination, when wondering what opposition coaches plan to do to stop this line.

  7. hunter1909 says:

    Ideally the Oilers would like six Gassoff brothers to follow the top six ha ha.

  8. Thinker says:

    Yakupov Nuge Eberle. Slightly less soft minutes from last year.
    Hall gagner hemsky. Power vs power.
    Smyth horcoff paajarvi. Defensive specialist line. Should contribute a little bit, but main job is to open softer minutes for the top two line.
    Hartikainen belanger jones. Physical, should chip in the odd goal.
    Extra’s-petrell, eager, hordichuck

    Smid schultz – allows schultz to play with the big guns, and not be a defensive liability.
    Petry whitney- banking on a return to form for whitney. Range of all skils pairing.
    N. schultz sutton 2.0- shutdown pairing.
    Peckham -showed top four potential at one point, hopefully he finds that again.

    Dubnyk- take it and run boy
    Pylon- poor rebound control, but nhl ready
    Khabi- go to ahl please

  9. Thinker says:

    Want to see a veteran c added. Brunette and arnott are options.
    Yak nuge ebs
    Hall gagner hemsky
    Smyth arnott jones – two way line
    Hartikainen horcoff paajarvi -horcoff mentors the youth
    Extra: belanger, eager

    I don’t think toughness is so important in the traditional sense. I believe in team toughness, not in pim machines. There might be a player in eager, and thats why i hold on to him, but my ideal player is penner. Didn’t get pushed around, but didn’t run around using his stick as a tomohawk.

  10. Traktor says:

    I thought Edmonton was supposed to make a big trade? I know that it had to do with cap implications ect but I’m pretty sure Stauffer said that Edmonton had a lot of pieces they could package to help now.. something like what AA done with the Jays.

    How funny would it be if DD got injured? And when I say funny I mean the reaction of the fans around the league when Edmonton drafts first overall again.

    Note: I think DD’s top end potential is average goaltending so I’m not expecting much this year anyways.

    Funny how Toronto management is getting lambasted for not addressing the G position yet Ben Scrivens and Rynnas are much better than anything we have in the minors and James Reimer is a better goalie than Dubnyk.

  11. Lowetide says:

    Traktor: I think Toronto is doing the right thing staying the course. No reason to bring in Luongo, they’re miles from being able to take full advantage of a big acquisition.

  12. Traktor says:

    Given that Horcoff will likely be bought out in the summer shouldn’t we be doing the same thing that Montreal is doing with Gomez?

  13. russ99 says:

    Don’t get why Montreal won’t play Gomez and similarly Redden in NY.

    If you have to pay the player the rest of the season,and you’re going to buy him out in the summer, what good is it to not have him play? Is there something in the CBA where a player can’t be amnesty/bought out if injured?

    Like Horcoff – he’ll surely be bought out, but he’s a useful player until then.

  14. justDOit says:

    russ99,

    Yes, players can not be bought out if they’re injured. So the teams have to weight how much the player will benefit the team in playing vs the risk of not being able to buy them out. In order to get to a $64M cap next season, the Rangers and Habs can’t afford to eat those cap hits next year.

  15. Traktor says:

    RUSS:

    If Redden, Gomez, or Horcoff gets injured they can’t be bought out.

  16. russ99 says:

    Hmm.. How close are we to the cap next year?

    Maybe we could take the hit if Horc is injured. And again, we still have to pay him, the only amnesty benefit is increased cap room. Also, there are two cap-free buyouts per summer the next two summers.

    If we had any cover at center, I could see the Oilers considering that.

  17. justDOit says:

    russ99,

    There are only 2 cap-free buyouts total. They can be used either this coming summer or next, but only 2 in total.

  18. Ducey says:

    Funny how Toronto management is getting lambasted for not addressing the G position yet Ben Scrivens and Rynnas are much better than anything we have in the minors and James Reimer is a better goalie than Dubnyk.

    Huh?

    2011-12

    DD 2.67 GAA .914 save % in 42 starts (47 GP)
    Reimer 3.10 GAA .900 save % in 34 GP

  19. justDOit says:

    Ducey,

    Yeah, I’ve been looking at their stats too. Besides the fact that the Oilers suck and never do anything right, and that the grass is always greener in Toronto, I can’t see anything to support those claims.

  20. Ducey says:

    Lowetide:
    Traktor: I think Toronto is doing the right thing staying the course. No reason to bring in Luongo, they’re miles from being able to take full advantage of a big acquisition.

    They have only had 12 hrs. It might be a bit early to say they are staying the course. :)

  21. dessert1111 says:

    Maybe they are considering keeping VVD up as the 4C and bumping Belanger to 3C and sending Horcoff home?

    I doubt it though. If Horcoff played wing I could see it, but centre depth is very poor and unless they really want to tank the season they need Horcoff in the lineup.

  22. FPB94 says:

    Also Gomez sucks ass. Now that he lost his offense he’s useless, a sieve.

  23. Traktor says:

    Ducey:
    Funny how Toronto management is getting lambasted for not addressing the G position yet Ben Scrivens and Rynnas are much better than anything we have in the minors and James Reimer is a better goalie than Dubnyk.

    Huh?

    2011-12

    DD 2.67 GAA .914 save % in 42 starts (47 GP)
    Reimer 3.10 GAA .900 save % in 34 GP

    Dubnyk 36-43- 13 .910
    Reimer 34-24 -9 .911

    Reimer also had much better numbers in the AHL.

  24. Traktor says:

    dessert1111:
    but centre depth is very poor and unless they really want to tank the season they need Horcoff in the lineup.

    1. Horcoff doesn’t do anything to prevent a tank.

    2. Edmonton could easily sign a scrub like Dom Moore.

  25. hunter1909 says:

    Traktor: 1. Horcoff doesn’t do anything to prevent a tank.

    2. Edmonton could easily sign a scrub like Dom Moore.

    With respect, I doubt Oiler’s management is in a panic to shed themselves of Horcoff’s contract this season. They don’t care about the money, need bodies, and Horcoff’s their fucking captain!

    Thanks for putting the idea of Horcoff getting himself injured into my head. It’s obviously been rattling around in yours for a while.

  26. Ducey says:

    Traktor: Dubnyk36-43- 13 .910
    Reimer34-24 -9 .911

    Reimer also had much better numbers in the AHL.

    That .001 in save % clearly makes Reimer “better”.

  27. DeadmanWaking says:

    ashley,

    Usually it’s the men discounting the soft ramp. But you are quite right to point out that the event ends with the same 26 mile run–minus the swim (training camp) and the bike (first half of the season).

  28. leadfarmer says:

    Looks like MDZ staying in New york

  29. justDOit says:

    Traktor: Dubnyk36-43- 13 .910
    Reimer34-24 -9 .911

    Reimer also had much better numbers in the AHL.

    Not sure where those numbers come from, but here’s what I found.

    From nhl.com for the 2011-2012 season:

    ————-GP—-W—L—-OT—GA—SA—SV–SV%-GAA
    REIMER 34 14 14 4 97 974 877 .900 3.10

    DUBNYK 47 20 20 3 118 1,380 1,262 .914 2.67

    Doobie faced a lot more rubber, played more games.

  30. Traktor says:

    lol

    What a bunch of Tencer’s.

    Later.

  31. Ducey says:

    justDOit,

    I think Traktor is using their career NHL numbers. Expect their junior numbers next – unless they don’t help him.

  32. Simmer24 says:

    Random question fellas. Does anyone know much about HockeyStreams.com and whether or not it is worth paying for? Does it stream good? Can you watch on an iPad or Apple TV? Thank you for all your help.

  33. Bar_Qu says:

    I really like hunter’s idea of running Hall-Gagner-Yakupov (Gagner-Hall-Yak) as a change-up to get Eberle and Nuge some clear sledding, but overall, I think Yak deserves a soft minutes role (a 2/3 line).

    With Krueger’s stated intent to spread the minutes more evenly this season I think this makes sense.

    Traktor,

    Hey, I’m in Calgary, so I just want to know what direction I need to look in to see the mushroom cloud resulting from your fury when the buyout period ends and Horcoff remains an Oiler.

    TIA
    ;-)

  34. Lowetide says:

    Simmer24:
    Random question fellas. Does anyone know much about HockeyStreams.com and whether or not it is worth paying for? Does it stream good? Can you watch on an iPad or Apple TV? Thank you for all your help.

    I have it and enjoy it on my laptop, the feeds vary widely from league to league. I have not seen the NHL feeds and do not have an Ipad, Apple TV or anything electronic that is of interest to others. :-)

  35. justDOit says:

    Ducey:
    justDOit,

    I think Traktor is using their career NHL numbers.Expect their junior numbers next – unless they don’t help him.

    I think last year’s stats are much more revealing about both young players’ progression. Doobie’s inclusion in the WHCs and Spengler only serves to provide a broader basis of support for how his game has improved.

    Oh, and I see that I just got called a Tencer. What a zinger! At least I’m not a hater.

  36. nelson88 says:

    LeBrun has the Canucks signing Barker to a one year deal. First round draft picks sure get a bushel full of chances….

  37. Bar_Qu says:

    nelson88,

    This signing, as much as anything we have seen the past few years, exemplifies how broken the thinking of NHL managers can be when it comes to players. The numbers the guy put up, even basic non-advanced stat stuff, scream ‘not a player’. To sign him to a one yr deal even a league minimum? Unfathomable.

  38. Captain Happy says:

    Bar_Qu:
    nelson88,

    This signing, as much as anything we have seen the past few years, exemplifies how broken the thinking of NHL managers can be when it comes to players. The numbers the guy put up, even basic non-advanced stat stuff, scream ‘not a player’. To sign him to a one yr deal even a league minimum? Unfathomable.

    A one year deal at league minimum is about as low risk as you can get.

    Considering Barker is #8 on the D chart, it’s unlikely he’ll see a lot of action and is just insurance for a short intense season.

    The Canucks also have a pretty good record of getting the most out of players whose career has gone off the rails…see Chris Higgins for reference.

    Not sure Barker will ever be much more than he is, but loading up on D for this season is a very smart strategy.

    The Oilers should be all over Campoli et al.

  39. hunter1909 says:

    Bar_Qu,

    Allow me to compliment your excellent hockey mind. :P

    I reckon Kreuger’s going to give this combination a try. I also think they’re going to click into place in a nanosecond, and viola! Oilers have imo the 2 deadliest scoring lines since prior to The Second Lockout.

    I bet Gagner’s going to get 50 points!

  40. Bar_Qu says:

    Captain Happy,

    I won’t argue on Campoli (its a great idea really) but Barker is terrible. Just terrible. He couldn’t do a good job in the AHL this year. How is he going to hold up in the NHL? (that last was rhetorical-we saw last season how he held up in the AHL; like a limp scarecrow on a NASCAR track)

  41. "Steve Smith" says:

    Captain Happy,

    It’s funny, because that’s exactly what you would have said if the Oilers had signed him on the same terms.

  42. jp says:

    FWIW Anaheim placed Patrick Maroon is waivers today. There was some talk about him here over the past 6 months, no? Much of the talk not that positive iirc, but thought it was interesting he’s available for free.

  43. Captain Happy says:

    “Steve Smith”:
    Captain Happy,

    It’s funny, because that’s exactly what you would have said if the Oilers had signed him on the same terms.

    The Canucks aren’t counting on him to play in their top 6D.

    Tambellini did.

  44. Lowetide says:

    jp:
    FWIW Anaheim placed Patrick Maroon is waivers today. There was some talk about him here over the past 6 months, no? Much of the talk not that positive iirc, but thought it was interesting he’s available for free.

    I like that kid.

    http://oilersnation.com/2012/8/5/minor-league-all-stars-2

  45. Captain Happy says:

    Jason Brough ‏@JasonPHT

    Re: Cam Barker. Remember, can send down to minors with no cap hit and no re-entry waivers anymore. Low risk signing. Not your money.

  46. jp says:

    “Steve Smith”,

    Yes, the completely unbiased commentary is extremely refreshing.

  47. Captain Happy says:

    Paul Ranger scores a goal this afternoon and is then pulled from the lineup mid game.

    I expect the Leafs may have signed him.

  48. Lowetide says:

    Makes sense. The guy looks very good in the AHL and has a lot of NHL experience.

  49. Bushed says:

    Ashley: great point re. the “compressed” schedule. Thank you. I can now, with confidence, yell “BS” at the TV every time the compressed schedule is mentioned by an analyst this year.

    Lowetide: I think you are correct that Kreuger will start with Yak on the left side; I hope on a line with Hemsky. (Note to Kreuger: please keep Horcoff away from Hemsky and Yak, and on the third line where he belongs.)

    Kreuger will be very interesting to watch–I’m very curious to see how Eager’s and Hordi’s roles evolve on this team.

    Also, with the extended lockout, does this mean Tambo will now need to restart the “evaluation” all over again? (Lord, please save my sanity…)

  50. Captain Happy says:

    Pierre LeBrun ‏@Real_ESPNLeBrun

    To wit: the Oilers paid Barker $2.5M to be a top 4 defenceman. Van will pay him $700K to be a 7-8 defenceman. Ok. I’m moving on now :)

  51. "Steve Smith" says:

    Captain Happy,

    You have many things to learn about the conditional tense.

  52. Lowetide says:

    lol. I don’t know about the NHL, but our training camp is coming along very well!

  53. "Steve Smith" says:

    Lowetide,

    I spent part of the lockout period being asinine in Germany, so I shouldn’t be showing much rust.

  54. Lowetide says:

    "Steve Smith":
    Lowetide,

    I spent part of the lockout period being asinine in Germany, so I shouldn’t be showing much rust.

    I’m sure you spent a lot of time in schlosswirtschaft’s getting prepared.

  55. hunter1909 says:

    "Steve Smith",

    Ich konnte Sie als Deutscher sehen, Steve Schmidt. Dieser endlose Strom von Techniken, die Sie als ein Beispiel steuern.

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