I’ve been watching this Oilers season with one major worry: a long, sustained streak without points. A losing streak. Last night, Taylor Hall reminded me of the real worry: injury to your best player.
Of course, an injury to Hall no doubt leads to a free fall (the Oilers have talent, but not experience and no one pushes the river on this team like Taylor Hall). More than that, Hall is at a point in his career where a major breakout in total points and impact should (and is) happen:
- Age 19: 65, 22-20-42 .646
- Age 20: 61, 27-26-53 .869
- Age 21: 18, 4-14-18 1.000
This is an emerging talent, posting 1/1 against tough competition and a guy who (at even strength) is just outside the top 30 in league scoring. Hall makes things happen–like Hemsky–and losing him in this part of the season could be devastating.
The Radio show hits the airwaves today at noon Edmonton time on Team 1260. Scheduled to appear:
- Tyler Dellow from mc79hockey. Tyler has been delivering outstanding work for years now, and this season has written items on the Gagner-Hemsky mystery, powerplay zone entries, Ryan Smyth, Ryan Whitney and more. We’ll talk about those things and more, while attempting to reassure each other about Hall.
- Jim Byers, pbp man for the OKC Barons. I’ve been dying to talk to Jim about this season. The NHLers were flying early, giving the Baron faithful a taste of young talent at the top levels of the game. Now, the AHLers are back (Cheechoo is killing it) and some of the prospects are getting traction. We’ll talk to Jim about it.
- Corey Graham, pbp man for the Edmonton Oil Kings. There’s a buzz going on about Curtis Lazar (now has 35 goals) and we’ll talk to Corey about improvements in his game during the year. Also, Martin Gernat is back and the very talented Oilers draft pick is beginning to post numbers offensively. Moroz and more, we’ll also talk about the OK chances in the playoffs.
- Corey Pronman from Hockey Prospectus. It’s all about the 2013 draft, with the Jones-MacKinnon-Drouin at the top and some of the guys pushing into the top 5. We’ll talk about overall draft quality and then discuss some Oiler prospects Corey’s seen recently.
- Tom Lynn from Veritas Hockey. We’ll talk about the difficulty of figuring out the new CBA (perhaps Jay Feaster can tune in), how much impact the lockout had on players in Europe and the draft and preparing kids for that big day.
Comments and questions welcome, best way to reach me with comments and questions is lowetide_ on twitter or in the comments section. Thanks!
One of the things that we’re going to be looking at for the rest of this season is roster makeup beginning this fall. The wingers are a very interesting lot, because beyond the top 3 (as listed here) I can see any of the other wingers heading out at the deadline or over the summer:
- Taylor Hall
- Jordan Eberle
- Nail Yakupov
- Ales Hemsky
- Teemu Hartikainen
- Ryan Jones
- Ryan Smyth
- Ben Eager
- Lennart Petrell
- Magnus Paajarvi
- Darcy Hordichuk
The group of wingers below that are unlikely to push for regular employment any time soon:
- Toni Rajala
- Phil Cornet
- Kristians Pelss
- Tyler Pitlick
- Curtis Hamilton
- Antti Tyrvainen
- Dane Byers
- Cameron Abney
I think the Oilers SHOULD move out Jones, Petrell and Hordichuk while elevating Hartikainen, Paajarvi and adding someone like Dustin Penner. What will they do? I think the Aaron Volpatti waiver claim tells us exactly what they are looking for moving forward.
And it is NOT Paajarvi.