The Edmonton Oilers sent Anton Lander down after the game last night, but Oscar Klefbom remains. If he stays with the big club for the next game and is healthy scratched, he counts as a callup.
I hope he gets to play, for two reasons. First, I always enjoy watching the draft picks finally arrive at their goal—even if it’s only for one game and a cup of coffee. The other thing is there’s every chance he’s better than at least one of the guys currently playing defense for the Oilers. That isn’t a terribly high bar, not mentioning names.
PASSING AND MAKING A PASS
- Eakins: “We made our mistakes. Tonight, for some reason, we weren’t coming out of zone clean, we were very quick to give up that puck, made some questionable plays that cost us a lot of zone time. That will be the fire that we put out Monday in practice.”
It is SUCH an underrated skill. Taking and making a pass on the fly, hitting that stick and allowing the skater to stay in stride, it’s like being shot out of a cannon: good things are going to happen. Being an Oiler fan these years has tricked our minds into thinking that a player can be
- either big, strong and aggressive
- or capable of doing skilled things like taking and making a pass.
It’s like the JF Jacques experiment failed but left an impression that the two things cannot exist in the same player. Except for the other team. Mark Fraser is not a good passer. Taylor Chorney couldn’t win a battle. And yet, Martin Marincin can do both! That’s the promise of Klefbom. That’s why they should play the guy. Big strong guy, fast skater, can handle himself physically. Oiler fans: you CAN have it all! It exists! Just not here, yet. Maybe Klefbom adds a piece to the puzzle Tuesday night.
THE SMARTEST MAN IN THE ROOM IS DARRYL SUTTER?
- From Matty, Sutter’s response to the idea that the LAK are always defending: “misconception The big thing in today’s game is you have to be able forecheck and backcheck, and you have to have the puck. You can’t give the puck up. We don’t play in our zone, so there’s not much defending. I’ve coached in three decades now and this stuff where they said Marian had to play in Jacques’s system is a bunch of bull-crap. The game’s changed. They think there’s defending in today’s game. Nah, it’s how much you have the puck. Teams that play around in their own zone think they’re defending but they’re generally getting scored on or taking face-offs and they need a goalie to stand on his head if that’s the way they play.”
In last night’s game, Taylor Hall faced the following players for more than 6 minutes: Drew Doughty, Jeff Carter, Jarret Stoll, Dwight King. Anze Kopitar faced the following players for more than 6 minutes: Andrew Ference, Justin Schultz, Matt Hendricks, Boyd Gordon. The second defenseman for LAK was either Mitchell or Regehr. I would have liked to see Petry/Marincin out against Kopitar.
One area Eakins continues to drive the action is defensive zone starts. Boyd Gordon (84.6), Matt Hendricks (81.8), Jesse Joensuu (81.8), Ryan Smyth, Ryan Jones and Luke Gazdic (75) didn’t see much clean air all night. Is Boyd Gordon this team’s MVP? You could make a case.
I think there’s a very good chance the Oilers select 2nd or 3rd this year in the draft, and thought we might (if you’re interested this early) begin the discussion about trading up/down and the actual ranking of the top 10. Here’s my list:
- D Aaron Ekblad
- C Sam Reinhart
- C Sam Bennett
- C Leon Draisaitl
- L Michael Dal Colle
- L Jake Virtanen
- C Ivan Barbashev
- R David Pastrnak
- D Julius Honka
- L Brandon Perlini
I believe the Oilers will try to secure Ekblad, but if Buffalo won’t back away and in fact selects him, it offers the club a difficult decision. There’s every chance they would be just as happy with Draisaitl as Reinhart or Bennett. So do you deal down? Or grab your player? I’m also fascinated by Virtanen, Barbashev, Patrnak and Honka these days. Interesting draft on the way.
LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE
The long winter chill has finally left us, and the warmth of the sun delivers Edmonton out of the deep freeze beginning this week. One of these years I’m just going to drive to the damn airport and fly away, but I love this place in spring (and fall, and summer, winter too but Jesus not lately). Anyway, a busy show (TSN 1260, 10am) today:
- Scott Burnside, ESPN. The biggest names and stories from the deadline, and who won? SC favorites?
- Travis Yost, Hockeybuzz. Senators acquired Hemsky, he looks fabulous. Will they sign him?
- Ryan Pike. Flames Nation. Weird deadline for Burke, we’ll talk about it.
- Bruce McCurdy, Cult of Hockey. We’ll break down last night’s game and look forward to the Klefbom.
- Guy Flaming, Pipeline Show. A deeper look into the 2014 entry draft.
10-1260 via text, @Lowetide_ on twitter. I still can’t get over Sutter.
(Marincin photo by Rob Ferguson, all rights reserved).