Entering tonight’s game, Taylor Hall is tied for 9th in points in the entire NHL. He’s also 7th in the league in 5×5/60, worthy of the kind of attention John Tavares is enjoying this season. Tavares is tied for 12th in scoring, tied for 49th in 5×5/60. I’m not saying the world should shun Tavares and exalt Hall, but some credit is clearly due.
The last time the Oilers drafted this kind of player I was in my 20′s and full of piss and vinegar. I’m in my 50′s now, and I promise not to take this fellow for granted. As long as Taylor Hall plays in an Oiler uniform, there will be at least one reason to watch Oilers hockey. He’s the real thing.
George Jones died yesterday. I used to watch him on television as a kid, and he was on the radio a lot too (my Dad loved country music, the more fiddle the better) and George Jones sang it his way. This was my favorite song, it seemed to have a happier ending than the other songs (country song writers kill off everything–the love, the marriage, the house, the booze, the guitar, the land, the money, the dog, the tractor, everyone gets it–especially the train) on the radio and television. The stories about him are legion and he was truly an original. RIP.
Ales Hemsky took the usual verbal from the Oiler fanbase and some media members this season, with cries of no heart etc. Coach Ralph Krueger told us this week that there was a lot more than attitude in play:
- Krueger: “He’s had a crack (bone) and won’t be a candidate for the worlds (Czech) team.” Story is here.
In a hockey mad city like Edmonton, Hemsky’s skills over a decade have been a wonder but there are issues. There is an entire wing of the fanbase who view him as a lollygagger who can’t be bothered to make an effort in practice or speak to the media when called upon. I was in conversation awhile with a hockey guy I respect and said “you know, the Oilers are going to trade that guy and he’s going to score 80 points and make the deal look foolish.” The response: you Hemsky fans always say that, he’s never scored 80 here and that’s what matters.
Sure. Except Hemsky HAS delivered over the years. Let’s look at his point-per-game totals by year:
- Age 19: .508
- Age 20: .479
- Age 21: lockout
- Age 22: .951 (Stanley run season)
- Age 23: .828
- Age 24: .959
- Age 25: .917
- Age 26: 1.000
- Age 27: .894
- Age 28: .522
- Age 29: .526
The last two seasons reflect role (Eberle’s presence and now Yakupov’s) and that is reflected in TOI:
- 2007-08: 14:31EV; 3:52 PP
- 2008-09: 14:18EV; 4:14 PP
- 2009-10: 14:08EV; 3:45 PP
- 2010-11: 14:16EV; 3:13 PP
- 2011-12: 15:25EV; 2:08 PP
- 2012-13: 13:00EV; 2:38 PP
If the Oilers run a RW depth chart of Eberle-Yakupov-Hemsky next season, I’d bet the EV and PP numbers either remain in this area or are reduced. So, we’re basically one year away from Hemsky taking less money to stay or leaving town. Whenever a new GM comes in there’s a roster reset, a change in philosophy that can change perception of a player (we may be seeing this with Dubnyk currently, as a for instance).
I don’t think there’s many in hockey who know Ales Hemsky better than MacT. I doubt he trades 83 for 50 cents on the dollar, and that means coach Krueger is going to have two solid pieces for his bottom 6F (Horcoff-Hemsky) this fall. Or at least I think he will.
The same article from Matty has Peckham getting mono, a fitting end to a horrible season for the young man (talk about a country song: “What made Gary Bettman famous, made a loser out of me!”). I can’t imagine he returns to the Oilers, but wish him the best in his new town.
Bob McKenzie talked about the possibility of the Oilers trading their pick at the draft this year:
- “What the Edmonton Oilers really don’t need is another 18-year-old blue chipper. They need some help right now and using that first round pick as currency could get them that help right now … (or) … They may use the pick, but they may try and parlay it into something immediate.”
I don’t see that happening, but a trade down is possible. If the Oilers end up drafting 7th (it’ll be 1st, 6th or 7th) it could mean that all of MacKinnon, Barkov, Monahan and Lindholm (the center’s) are off the board when they pick. We know from rumblings deep beneath the earth’s surface that Edmonton covets Curtis Lazar–who was ranked 25th on the mid-season McKenzie. Could the Oilers deal from from 7th to say 17th and get Lazar? Would that get them a useful piece?
It looks like there’s a spot after the top 5 players in this draft, so the value may not be high. My guess for the Oilers board (top 7):
- Seth Jones
- Nathan MacKinnon
- Jonathan Drouin
- Sasha Barkov
- Sean Monahan
- Elias Lindholm
- Anthony Mantha
After those players, Finn D Ristolainen and OHL defender Nurse are possibles but my guess is that the Oilers have Lazar in their top 10.
- Evan Daum: “Word on the street – or press box in this case – is the Edmonton Oilers are extremely high on draft prospect Curtis Lazar. The whispers of “wouldn’t he look good on the Oilers’ third line?” have gotten louder in recent weeks.”
The RE series will begin this coming week, we’ll have draft and review stuff for the next month and a half. I’ve chosen Bruce Springsteen as the artist for RE this spring, if that’s an issue please speak now and suggest an alternative. I’ve always loved this song–if you’ve ever felt like an outcast then Wild Bill’s Circus should feel a little like home.
A lot of people are pissed about last night’s win, but for me it feels right. The Oilers should be turning the corner, and 30th, 30th, 29th, 24th is at least some progress. And I do think that the hockey Gods were probably grumbling about the Oilers suckitude and discussing plans of action. Last night’s W appeased the Gods, and it was fun to watch Hall and Yak City confound and humiliate.