Now that we’ve established Taylor Hall is not a choir boy, we can return to the subject at hand: just how long is the corner the Oilers are trying to turn? At the end of the turn lies the playoffs, series wins, heartbreak in May, a river of tears come June and ultimately the return of Stanley to the Kingdom of the Silver Mug.
If we ask ourselves “can we win with Hall as 1line LW?” and “can we win with Sam Gagner as 2line C?” I come up with 8 yes answers out of 19 starters. Not bad. The 8 should be easy to figure out, and maybe we disagree on one or two but that’s okay. If I suggest to you that in 2 years the Oilers could make the elite 8 with Hall, Nuge, Eberle, Gagner, Yakupov, Hemsky, Schultz the younger, Petry, Smid and Dubnyk (that’s 10) added to:
- a big minutes defender who can play in two of three disciplines
- a complete 3-line that can calm the waters
would that be enough? Pretty close I’d say. Third paring and 4line are things you can shore up at the deadline.
Question: is there anyone in the organization (and outside the names listed above) who will be able to fulfill these roles down the line? Say 2015?
- Klefbom, Marincin and Gernat could end up filling the #1 role (big minutes D) but we don’t know the best one and we don’t know if they’ll be a top pairing defender.
- There are plenty of candidates for #2 role–the 3line–Paajarvi, Lander, Pelss, others–but we don’t really know who it is; chances are at least one is going to be from outside the organization.
The Oilers will get better just by watching Hall and the group grow a year older, but one hopes they aim a little higher via procurement.
Starting this Saturday, the Radio Show is back (noon to 2pm Edmonton time) on Team 1260. After the lockout, we quickly went to market in an attempt to find sponsors and I’m pleased to announce that several high quality businesses came through and joined the show. I am thrilled to announce Western GMC Buick as the title sponsor and Kitchen Studio and Wallbeds Etc, The Beer Hunter, St. Albert Source for Sports and EMHL have also signed up as sponsors. There’s still some room, if you’re interested in joining as a sponsor please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Our first week will feature Oiler talk, trade talk, Oil Kings, Barons and more. Please post guest suggestions or email me, love your input.
Aaron Volpatti (the anti-Grace Kelly) is on waivers this morning, I was going to write something but Jonathan Willis did it quicker and better. I think the Oilers might put a claim in on him, and run him on a 4line with Belanger and Petrell/Smyth. He’s a better player than Hordichuk and ‘when everyone is healthy’ doesn’t look like it is going to happen this season.
If the club has Paajarvi among the black aces (and they did yesterday) after his performance the other night then I think we can agree this isn’t going to be his season. Damn shame.
The COH folks are tracking zone entries, Willis has two items up here and here. This is really interesting information and worth following all season long. I’m not certain at what point we can begin to draw conclusions, but Nuge looks efficient and Gagner does not and I’m beginning to wonder if it is more than just Hall.
Important to find out with Samwise in need of a contract this summer
Oilers are in Death Valley tonight, “The Groin” is back in Edmonton and on the IR, the Stars haven’t lost in regulation at home to the Oilers since Pronger but #4 skates for the Oildrop and that’s always a good thing. Hot:
- Sam Gagner, 18 in 18
- Ryan Smyth, 4 in the last 5
- J Schultz and Nail Yakupov: 2 points in their last 2 games
The Oilers have enough firepower to blow the other team out, and maybe tonight Taylor Hall turns Dallas into his very own shooting gallery.
When I saw this, my first thought was “Ryan Whitney!” but there’s not much to scout and if you play the guy NHL scouts will see the troubles. That sublime passing ability is still there though, I think a team might take a chance when a few more dollars fall away from the contract.
So. Volpatti waivers, Whitney story, Hall returns and the minefield that is Dallas. Should be fun!