As this season slowly fades (my GOD it’s slowly fading) into the record books, those of us who still care begin to look forward to a new tomorrow. The talk turns, as it always seems to, toward the defensive side of the ice and building up the middle. I still have the ‘balance’ photo in my arsenal, one day, one sweet day, we’ll see it.
THE MAN EHRHOFF
He looks very consistent from here, the Corsi for % is down but the team is too, and his REL shows he’s delivering. I like the idea of acquiring Ehrhoff, but I’m not sure Oiler fans would enjoy him. He is not an overly physical fellow, but can help with possession at even-strength. He may or may not be available, but the Oilers are probably knocking on new GM Tim Murray’s door every day.
This is a nice player. Remember, the Flames are no screaming hell and look at the linescore on his season. Very good offense, Corsi for % 5×5 excellent and of course he’s quality compared to his own group. I wonder if the Oilers can convince Burke that having two of the top three picks is more valuable than having Giordano?
NIKITA NIKITIN PLAYER CARD
This is a Scott Howson acquisition for Columbus who has emerged as a very useful NHL defenseman for the Jackets. He’s a free agent this summer, and I’m sure that CBJ will try to retain him, but the Oilers have some nice things to offer and should be backing up the money truck if he reaches free agency.
JAKE GARDINER PLAYING CARD
Gardiner is known to the Oilers coach and hasn’t been able to get any traction with Carlyle. Gardiner is a key to the massive Oiler-Leaf trade this summer (Reimer, Gardiner, Kulemin and Kadri for Glenn Anderson, Grant Fuhr and Craig Berube).
ALEX EDLER PLAYING CARD
That’s a really nice level of consistency for Edler, and despite a struggling season I like this player. In the last two seasons he’s been moved around by the coach in terms of pairings, and it keeps coming up roses. I like Edler, always have
OLLI MAATA PLAYING CARD
I’m including him because there seems to be some idea he might shake loose. Young, young, young, but he’s played (well) in the NHL and could be an outstanding NHL player for years.
I’m thinking Christian Ehrhoff and Michalek out of Phoenix. Something like that. Add those two and have Ference-Petry followed by Marincin-J Schultz (that was a good OKC pairing). Give Nurse another year of junior, don’t draft Ekblad (I think his dominance comes from being a man before his age group) and let the other kids boil in OKC until there’s a need or one of them pushes Marincn/Ference out of the way.
NO MORE PATIENCE
The problem goes back to expectations. The Oilers were supposed to be pushing for the playoffs this year, and instead find themselves in the dungeon for the 40th time in 40 years. In the modern era, the Oilers are approaching some impressive totals for ‘most years of suck’ and at this point need to be headed in a better direction.
That means veterans. Experience. Ben Scrivens added to Jonas Hiller. Ehrhoff and Michalek added to the current blue. Winnik and Hanzal (as if) added to the top 9F’s, that sort of thing.
The key for Craig MacTavish is to have the right scouts looking at the right things. That’s where the Matt Hendricks worry comes in. The Oilers have talked about him batting higher in the lineup than he should based on his ability. Strictly 4th line, but he was playing 3rd line on the weekend. I know the Oilers want heavier men at the top of the lineup, but they also need to be skilled or it’ll be a case of JF Jacques all over again. Take a pass, make a pass. Can they do it?
The Oilers should be looking for a Wayne Cashman-Ryan Smyth type player. A guy who can play it rough, can win board battles but can also take and make a pass tape to tape on the fly. MacT always talks abot players who don’t have the play die on their stick, that kind of guy. Imagine a 28-year old Billy Guerin on the Nuge-Hall line. James Neal is that kind of player, and of course they come available once every 5 years so drafting one is probably the better plan.
OHL PROSPECTS: MICHAEL DAL COLLE
- Dal Colle has been on a roll all season long. With or without Scott Laughton, Dal Colle has been able to use his big body to create offense in Oshawa. His skating is noticeably improved over last year and it’s made him quicker to the net and to loose pucks, which has resulted in his line generally dominating time of possession. I’m not sure I see him being a true power forward in the NHL, more like a Bobby Ryan, but he still holds a ton of value and (like Bennett) should be a definite top 10 selection in 2014.
- Scored a beautiful goal on a great shot. Had another shot on a pretty much identical play, hit the post. Was able to show his terrific release and pro scoring potential. Was also able to show that his skating has improved in the last year. Might not have been as consistent of a scoring chance producer as a few other guys in the game, but he still showed strongly. (this was from the Top Prospects game review)
I think the Oilers draft a future power forward in 2014 with their top pick, and Dal Colle has the look of being a good one.
LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE
A busy show today, 10 this morning on TSN 1260. Scheduled to appear:
- Tyler Dellow, mc79 hockey. We’ll discuss Hall’s year and reasonable expectations for the rest of this season.
- Travis Yost, Hockeybuzz. The Senators have solved a lot of problems, can they make the postseason?
- Rob Vollman, ESPN and Bleacher Report. Trade deadline, Olympics and Hall.
- Jeff Hauser, Radio Hauser. We’ll talk about the incredible NFL weekend.
10-1260 on text, twitter @Lowetide_ and we’ll have some fun today. Stay tuned!