When you don’t know what you don’t know, some of us shut up until the knowledge arrives but most start tap dancing. I’ve waited as long as possible for the knowledge to arrive, now it’s time to start tap dancing.
For the Edmonton Oilers, Anton Belov went from unknown to greater unknown during a time when we’re furiously gathering information on all of the other new hires. A month ago, I couldn’t really tell you the difference between Corey Potter and Philip Larsen, now it’s obvious to all. A month ago, it wasn’t completely unreasonable to suggest Nick Schultz could be heading out of training camp before opening night 2013-14. Now? I think he’s going to be on the third pairing until at least the deadline.
CURRENT PROJECTED PAIRINGS
- Ference-Schultz: I think they’re going to play more minutes overall (including PK and PP)
- Smid-Petry: We don’t know how much ‘hard matching’ coach Eakins will do, but this will be the shutdown duo
- N Schultz-????: Lordy. There’s a long list of candidates, but the one who is emerging won’t turn 19 until February.
SEARCHING FOR CLUES
If you asked me today–based on merit–to rank the rest of the contending blue, it would look like this (remember, this isn’t a guess about who makes it, this is a reflection of current training camp body of work):
- #6 Darnell Nurse: Seems crazy, right? Honestly, he’s been outstanding. They have to play him again Saturday or next week, and then send him the hell down.
- #7 Anton Belov: He hasn’t gained any ground, but hasn’t lost any either. This is the nature of this race.
- #8 Phil Larsen: He’s looked good to my eye, I think Larsen has a very good chance to make the team now. Mobile, has NHL experience and you can use him on the PP. Plus, he’s right handed.
- #9 Taylor Fedun: We know he’s outside the top 8D, coach Eakins said as much. On merit? I have him 9th.
- #10 Martin Marincin: Based on viewing and reading reports, I’d have him in the mix for an NHL job this season.
- #11 Oscar Klefbom: I liked his most recent game, but as of now he’s well down my list. Plays a more subtle game perhaps best seen over a period of games, training camp isn’t his best showcase.
- #12 Corey Potter: Like Belov, not playing puts him ahead of some others.
- #13 Brad Hunt: The new Ruotsalainen? Not quite, but there’s clearly some ability here. I can see him getting into NHL games. Seriously.
- #14 Denis Grebeshkov: The one thing I know I know about this defense is Grebeshkov isn’t ready for an NHL season. Visual plus reports tell us that much. So, if he plays a lot between now and opening night we’ll know Grebs is in the mix (I think he makes the team). Based on proving himself this camp? Well outside good enough.
I know others see a center emerging, I can’t find him. Will Acton looks okay, I’d say he’s closer than Lander to winning the job, but he’s no screaming hell either. I’m also uncertain Arcobello stays with the big club deep into next week, and Andrew Miller has as much chance of making this team as Arthur Miller.
I think they make a trade (imagine! me predicting a trade!) for Zack Smith in Ottawa or Justin Abdelkader. They are not good enough at the position based on what we’ve seen–UNLESS they plan on moving Taylor Hall to center for the season.
LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE
Today on the show, 10am Team 1260, guests include:
- Steve Lansky from Big Mouth Sports.
- Andreas Morse from FC Edmonton. A big weekend for the Eddies!
- Corey Graham, Oil Kings PBP man. Oil Kings season gets underway tonight!
- Jungle Jim Hunter, we’ll talk about a kid in Burnaby who didn’t play hockey for a winter because his family couldn’t afford it. He made out okay!
10-1260 via text and @Lowetide_ on twitter. Oh, and if you’d like to advertise with LDWLT drop me an email (under contact) and we’ll talk!