When I was a kid, following the California Seals meant that by this point in the season you were heavily invested in important stats like 20-goal scorers. They had four of them in 1972-73 and that was very cool. My Boston Bruins? They had nine, same season.
This year’s Oilers will have four, according to tsn and their magic projection thingy.
- Taylor Hall 75GP, 28-50-78
- Jordan Eberle 81GP, 26-35-61
- Ryan Nugent-Hopkins 80GP, 20-38-58
- David Perron 78GP, 30-27-57
The four offensive stalwarts have played a high percentage of the season’s games, although Hall played a lot of games at less than 100%. I think Yakupov scores 20+ next season and doesn’t stop until 2030 or so. I also think Justin Schultz may join him a time or two.
YAK CITY INJURY
Nail Yakupov took a shot off the foot in Thursday’s game, but it sounds like he’s going to be okay. We don’t know if he’ll play tonight, but the young Russian was making progress before the Olympic break so one hopes he can get back to it soon.
- Yak: “I feel good … much better than yesterday. It’s nothing serious.”
We don’t know if he’ll be in the lineup tonight, but it sounds like the young Russian will be back out there soon. For me, his passing has improved a lot this season, and he was damn good at it before. I think the game is slowing down for him now, look out NHL!
OKLAHOMA CITY ARRIVALS
Tyler Pitlick had a goal (GW) and an assist last night, and is 30GP, 7-10-17 for the Barons this season. Since January 1, he is 15GP, 6-5-11. Pitlick looked good during his NHL debut earlier this season and has a terrific opportunity to grab Ryan Jones job should he be traded (or even if he isn’t).
Roman Horak is 39GP, 15-15-30 since coming over in trade. Since January, he is 21GP, 10-9-19 and playing very well on LW. His skill set dovetails nicely for the Oilers’ needs (two-way forward) and he was drafted in 2009 (he’s not an ancient prospect).
Anton Lander is on fair in Oklahoma. 38GP, 17-25-42 for the season, he’s 20GP, 8-19-27 since January 1st. Lander’s defensive skills have been his calling card, so if he can score some in Edmonton the Oilers might have a center who can play 4C and PK beginning now. Frankly, I’m surprised he isn’t there already, and that leads me to wonder if he may end up in another NHL city. Montreal and Chicago were scouting the Barons last night.
Mark Arcobello has been an Oiler for most of the season, but since he was sent out he’s 7GP, 5-9-14. I think those Habs and ‘Hawks scouts may also have been observing this player. His handling this season—along with the acquisition and deployment of guys like Hendricks on wing and Smyth at center—suggest Dallas Eakins and Craig MacTavish are not as devoted to possession hockey as we had hoped during the summer and fall.
Oscar Klefbom had a difficult transition to the AHL—we should have known missing an entire season would have a major impact—but he’s been doing good things in the last while. Jonathan Willis send back positive reviews, and his overall stats (43GP, 1-6-7 -10) are less impressive than his Jan 1+ numbers (16GP, 1-3-4 Even). I think the Oilers are probably wise to keep him in Oklahoma.
Taylor Fedun might be another guy teams like Montreal and Chicago have an interest in. Edmonton has Corey Potter and Phil Larsen for the role Fedun would fill, but it isn’t certain either are clearly superior. Fedun is 45GP, 7-19-26 for the season and 21GP, 4-8-12 since January 1.
TRADE DEADLINE VALUE TABLE
- Ales Hemsky: First-round draft pick (or a second and a fourth).
- Nick Schultz: A third round pick.
- Ryan Smyth: A fourth round pick.
- Corey Potter: A fourth round pick.
- Anton Belov: A fourth round pick.
- Ilya Bryzgalov: A fourth round pick.
- Jesse Joensuu: A fourth round pick.
- Taylor Fedun: A fourth round pick.
- Mark Fraser: A fourth round pick.
- Luke Gazdic: A fifth round pick.
- Ryan Jones: A sixth round pick.
- Denis Grebeshkov: A seventh round pick.
- Ben Eager: A seventh round pick.
I suspect we’ll see a trade in the next 48 hours (maybe Nick Schultz) and the Hemsky deal on Wednesday. My guess for trade total: three. I believe the Oilers will receive four draft picks overall.
In recent weeks, Alan Hull and I have been playing a game during his appearances: how many players do you keep for 2014-15? My answer is “11″ based on current roster, with a couple guys from the Barons likely to be part of the group next season.
- Goal: Ben Scrivens
- Defense: Jeff Petry, Justin Schultz, Martin Marincin, Andrew Ference
- Center: Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Boyd Gordon
- Left Wing: Taylor Hall, David Perron
- Right Wing: Jordan Eberle, Nail Yakupov
David Staples list is 8 deep (Hall, Nuge, Eberle, Yakupov, Schultz, Petry, Gordon, Marincin), the difference between his list and mine being the MacT impact. I would keep all of David Perron, Ben Scrivens, Andrew Ference and Boyd Gordon, David would keep only Gordon from the MacT revisions.
- David Perron: He’s a streaky scorer, but for me Perron was a home run this past summer. Oilers may consider dealing him in his walk season, but I don’t see any good reason to deal him now.
- Ben Scrivens: The only negative is that he is unsigned. I like Scrivens as a big part of the goalie solution 2014+ and consider the acquisition excellent value.
- Andrew Ference: After starting the season 42GP, 2-5-7 -2, Ference is 16GP, 0-4-4 -11. Plus minus is a terrible measure, but we know by eye that Ference has been exposed badly. The problem (imo) is that he’s playing 22 minutes a night and against competition he’s not going to handle. While the results are poor, I don’t think flushing a veteran NHL player is wise after asking him to pull down an impossible job all season. If he lags behind the team when they turn north, then you make a move with Ference. His 358 minutes with Justin Schultz tell us he isn’t going to last long with the youngster, but that doesn’t mean he can’t play a role. He may become a valuable mentore for Klefbom, Nurse and Ekblad in the coming seasons.
- Boyd Gordon: David and I agree on him, Gordon has been an absolute Godsend. I think you can make a case for him being a better pickup than Perron, and I’m absolutely thrilled with Perron.
This brings me to a question. How many of MacT’s moves (summer and in-season) do you consider quality additions? I count three (Perron, Gordon, Scrivens). How many do you see? And secondary: do you see the last 16 games as the real Ference, or do you see him as being a part of the team next season?
The concern for me in regard to Craig MacTavish as GM isn’t Ference, it’s the addition of players we would consider poor possession types. Matt Hendricks can play a role, but on the third line? Where does Mark Fraser fit? I’m far more concerned about those moves than Andrew Ference, who should be able to fill a role on this team next season.
And the major worry for me currently is the return on Hemsky.
What say you?
I’ll be on the air with Paul Almeida today noon to 1 (TSN 1260) for Saturday Sports Extra. We’ll tee up the Oiler-Flames game, as well as talk trade deadline possibilities.
(Barons photos by Rob Ferguson, all rights reserved)