The NHL is back, and the Oilers play their first game post-Olympics. Based on what we saw last night, expect skating in porridge for the first period and then some exciting play in the final 40. On December 27, the Oilers were 39GP, 12-24-3. In the 21 games since, Edmonton is 8-9-4. In their last 10: 5-3-2.
In recent days, Oilers coach Dallas Eakins and GM Craig MacTavish have gone out of their way to mention Justin Schultz as a trending player. MacT said he’d get after a Schultz contract in the days after the trade deadline; Eakins mentioned two players by name during the STH event (Schultz, Nuge) as having quietly improved their game over the season.
VOLLMAN SLEDGEHAMMER DECEMBER 19
There is no blue bubble here on the 19th of December. Justin Schultz is in the easy corridor and getting positive zone starts, while also delivering a bubble that isn’t close to blue. That’s not a good thing—and by eye Schultz struggled during the first half of the season.
VOLLMAN SLEDGEHAMMER AT THE BREAK
The color is the same, but he’s moved up a quadrant to ‘two-way’ and is clearly facing tougher competition. I wonder this: why no mention by Eakins or MacTavish about the new blue moon Marincin? Surely any fool can see (by eye, by math or by sledge) the Marincin-Petry pairing is running the heavy heavy fuel and lifting the biggest boulder.
WHO’S KILLING THE GREAT CHEFS OF EUROPE?
Ales Hemsky is leaving town soon, after spending the most bizarre post-SCF coda imaginable in our fair city. Long forgotten are his contributions to a winning team, 83 is looked upon with pity or sadness or both. I’ll not pity Hemsky, but rather rejoice if he finds a new town and breathes the clean air of top 6F minutes and power-play time. The Oilers under MacT are about to get a big one wrong in the name of draft picks.
Let’s say the Oilers trade Hemmer to St. Louis for their first round pick (and we’ll spot it at #29 overall). That would give the club the following picks:
- #2 overall
- #29 overall
- #116 overall
- #122 overall
- #152 overall
- #182 overall
All the info is here. This kind of transaction can be a real setback. Marco Roy is the payment for Andrew Cogliano, and despite some nice things his injuries this season are going to make him more of a long shot to ever make the NHL. Beyond that, it’s extremely unlikely he’ll cover the Cogs bet. That’s what we’re dealing with here. The only reason I can see to justify Hemsky’s exit for draft picks is:
- his refusal to sign an extension
- the Oilers exhaustive search for a more NHL ready option finds nothing
There’s no way to know those things are true, and I don’t believe they can afford to keep him through the season and see him walk. However, a draft pick—even #29 overall—is a distant bell. The question that comes after dealing Hemsky for a pick: who replaces him? Back come the answers: on Pitlick, on Horak, on Jones, on Hendricks.
The sky is crying.
10 this morning on TSN 1260, we hit the air with a terrific lineup. Scheduled to appear:
- Dennis King, Oilogosphere icon. Olympics, Hemsky trade, the youngsters.
- Guy Flaming, Pipeline Show. Guy had Dillon Simpson on his show recently, and got a clear indication about how the UND star is leaning as he comes out of college. We’ll discuss that story and the 2014 draft.
- Alan Hull, Copper and Blue. We’ll set the stage for the Oil-Wild tonight,and talk about the deadline.
- Harrison Mooney, Puck Daddy and Pass it to Bulis. Kesler moving? Canucks playoffs? Indoor/outdoor game?
10-1260 via text, @Lowetide_ on twitter. It’ll be fun!