After the events of yesterday, it’s difficult to focus on the final games of the season. I will watch this evening in hopes of a much better effort and will look forward to hearing what the players say about the firing of Steve Tambellini and moving Craig MacTavish to the GM job. Honestly though, I’d rather they scrap the game and let MacTavish talk for 2 hours about what he’s going to do this summer.
I think the deadline was a poor one for Tambellini, but remain convinced the inertia at center contributed more to his firing. Horcoff and Belanger went down the same night and the GM did nothing–and the team lost and lost and lost again. The deadline offered the team a chance to offload some expiring contracts in Ryan Whitney, Mark Fistric, Nikolai Khabibulin and Ryan Jones.
Let’s take these one at a time:
- Jim Matheson says he believes the Oilers could have gotten a 2nd round pick for Whitney, but I don’t think it’s true (or the club would have pulled the trigger). It’s far more likely other NHL teams’ pro scouts send back reports that suggested their club look elsewhere for deadline help.
- Fistric is a player Edmonton may some interest in keeping, I’d expect we’ll see more of him between now and the end of the season.
- Khabibulin may have had a market for his services, which makes it impossible to justify his presence on the current roster.
- Ryan Jones may have been offered around, but we don’t really know his league book value (it may be far less than one would expect based on his last two full seasons worth of offense. There are some warts and he did sustain an injury in the off-season).
Oklahoma City Barons defenseman Brandon Davidson, who returned after undergoing cancer treatment during the season, has been named the 2012-13 winner of the Fred Hunt Memorial Award as the American Hockey League player who best exemplifies the qualities of sportsmanship, determination and dedication to hockey.
Davidson was diagnosed with testicular cancer early in the season and returned to play three months after the initial diagnosis. In November, Davidson had the cancerous tissue removed and underwent one round of chemotherapy.
Following successful treatment, the 21-year-old Davidson returned to the Barons lineup in February.
MacT’s first move as GM was to improve team depth, as he recalled Teemu Hartikainen (why in hell he was in the AHL is a mystery) and Anton Lander as they get ready for a crazy schedule next week. I think the club may pull Whitney, Jones and Smithson out of the lineup as soon as tonight, the club might as well look at these fellows while they have a chance.
The Oilers are currently in 8th place in terms of draft order (if the season ended today). I think we can safely count out the following players (they’ll be off the board when they hit the podium):
- Seth Jones
- Jonathan Drouin
- Slava Barkov
- Nathan MacKinnon
- Sean Monahan
If any of those young men fall to #8, Oilers would no doubt grab them in a heartbeat. However, beyond that there appears to be a gap to the next group, and that might mean the club either trades out of their slot or deals the pick for a useful plug and play type. Among the group they would probably considerat #8:
- Elias Lindholm, a 2-way center with skill.
- Anthony Mantha, a big powerforward who scored 50 in the QMJHL this season.
- Valeri Nichushkin, a Russian winger with size (it would help if he was in the CHL).
- Rasmus Ristolainen, a fine 2-way defender with size and skill.
- Curtis Lazar, 2-way center with skill and physical element.
- Nikita Zadorov, a mountain on defense who flattens forwards with a single bound.