Taylor Hall earned the first major award of his young career yesterday, and in doing so sent a clear message to the NHL: Taylor Hall has arrived. The 2nd All-Star nod is nothing to joke about, that’s a clear indication of a bright and promising future. It’s also confirmation for the Oilers ownership and management, in that they are heading in the right direction. Taylor Hall is the first Oiler in 23 years to have won this award–what an exceptional moment in club history.
I’m thrilled for the young man, may even buy the hockey card!
- Top 4 defender (Braydon Coburn???)
- Sign Sam Gagner to a multi-year deal that has begins with a number in the 4′s
- Get Paajarvi signed and then find a role that suits him (suspect it’s 3line).
- NHL goalie
- Find a 2line L who can complement Gagner-Yakupov with puck retrieval, blocking out the sun, etc
- Find a 3line R
- Find a 3line C
- Find a 4line C
- Deal Hemsky for immediate help (even if its a checker).
- Deal Horcoff or slot him into the 3line job for which he is actually ideal.
- Decide on Lander/Belanger or other for 13F (and 14F if they go with 7D).
- Better blue depth (MacT has done this with Belov, plus Klefbom/Fedun/Marincin)
- AHL #1/NHL #3 goalie
- Sign Paul Ranger
So far this season, MacTavish hasn’t done a lot to address the NHL team’s roster
- Endorsed Oscar Klefbom as a legit (but not certain) top 6D option in the fall
- Signed Anton Belov as an NHL option
- Allowed Hartikainen to bolt for Russia
- Signed C Mark Arcobello to a 2-way deal
- Added a coach (Eakins) and a new assistant (Acton)
- Excited the masses
There are rumblings here and there this morning about what might be happening. Nothing major, mind you, nothing as strong as the Schneider trade talk or Coburn discussions–we know those happened–but some pretty clear indications that things are progressing.
I had Clarkson #2 on my list of 15 possible free agent signings posted yesterday, but didn’t think the Oilers would get him (still don’t believe they will). The Oilers have to be careful in free agency because they could blow a lot of money on one player and that’s not terribly wise. This isn’t a team about to win Stanley if they can find just one more piece to the puzzle–they have a bunch of work to do. Still, interesting to see MacT jump into the deep end and he clearly identified the priorities (Clarkson is the top LW option with size and skill) for a major need this summer. Combined with the pursuit of Coburn and Schneider, it appears we have our ‘top priorities’ list in hand.
I wonder if the Oilers will be part of that circus? It could happen, the Flyers may be looking for some cap relief a few hours into free agency and perhaps Coburn will be an option at a lesser asset price because of it.
It always takes a little time to suss through a draft, and in doing so this year I’ve stumbled upon some cool things about Jackson Houcke. Kirk Luedeke from Redline was on the show yesterday and mentioned RR (notorious hard markers) had Houck at #40–mid second round saying “both our WHL scouts have fallen in love with his take-no-prisoners style and evolving offensive game.”
- Redline cout Mark Staudinger: “Establishes himself down low and out front with a great understanding of how to separate players off the puck. Accurate heads up passer can find teammates off the cycle. Playing in a better scenario any other year he should be a Top 60 pick, yet could easily be available for the Bruins second pick in the third (round).”
THE LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE
This should be a wild ride, with free agency a day away and trades/signings happening at a rapid clip. I’m not certain how much we’ll be talking to guests and how much we’ll be reading the news in the next couple of days (lots of breaking hockey news) but it should be fun. Scheduled to appear:
- James Mirtle from the Globe and Mail. From Schneider to Bolland, from Hall’s 2nd all-star nod to Vincent and the Liberty Bell, it’s been a helluva week. James will guide us through those stories and look ahead to this weekend.
- Jeff Chapman, Copper and Blue. We’ll talk draft, no buyouts, the ‘needs’ list and David Clarkson.
- Alan Hull, Copper and Blue. We’ll talk draft and the blueline: what do the Oilers need to do?
- Bruce McCurdy, Cult of Hockey. Bruce will be out at the Prospects camp and he’ll give us the rundown.
Text to 10-1260 or @Lowetide_ on twitter, and you can dump questions here too. Hope you can tune in!! Maybe the lead story will be the Oilers claiminng Gilbert Gilbert.