The Edmonton Oilers are 1-0-1 on this three game road trip and inside the top 8 in the western conference. Its much too early for us to be thinking playoffs, but a 4-2-1 record is a very nice start for a terribly young team with no track record for winning.
OFFENSIVE ZONE STARTS
Now that we’re 7 games in (after today, the Oilers will have played 1/6 of their season!) this chart looks MacTavian in nature. Kids with bullets get the push, older men with less offensive weapons but the experience of war getting the longer road.
Big improvement in Corsi Rel from the last listing: Nail Yakupov, Ales Hemsky and Sam Gagner, along with the Petrell. Major downturns include Paajarvi and Hartikainen.
PICARD AND DATHON AT EL-ADREL
I think the item we’re going to talk about down the stretch–and the item we’re going to be hammering on in the summer–will be “Picard and Dathon at el-adrel” and I do wonder if Ryan Smyth and Shawn Horcoff can fill this role on a championship team.
Please understand, I think Horcoff and Smyth represent the very best of the 2000′s Oilers and would dearly love for them to be part of a championship team. I also think this Oiler team could enter the window of opportunity fairly quickly–they have so much elite level talent under 24–and the usual problems are the usual problems.
If Ryan Smyth and Shawn Horcoff could combine with a Daniel Winnik to form that low-event, tough-minutes trio that we know an NHL team needs, then Hallelujah that’s one more hurdle in the past. I don’t know it to be true, guess we’ll find out.
Horcoff’s zone start/corsi rel is encouraging, Smyth’s death defying. It’s early.
Among the names who might be interesting trade acquisitions this spring is Dustin Penner. The big man is in the doghouse out on the coast and is on a one-year deal. By the deadline the Oilers should have a better idea of:
- where Teemu Hartikainen fits in the top 9
- if Paajarvi fits at all
- if Eager can perform despite the concussion history
- if they’ve finally figured out Darcy Hordichuk’s too expensive just for the roster spot
and adding a guy like Penner would give them a nice option for the top and bottom 6. I admit to always liking Penner (he scored such a sweet goal one night I was in the Journal suite–it was right in front of me) and he’s miles from being a spent force (he is 30). Can’t imagine he costs much, bet MacT would have nice things to say.
He’s a poor man’s Frank Mahovlich. That’s still a damn good hockey player.