It seems to me Craig MacTavish is being a little less forthcoming this spring than last, and his vague answers leave us to wonder and speculate. Based on various reports previous to last night, I think we’ve established the club is interested in at least one (possibly more) bridge contract that gives the team another Ference. This would allow the kids to grow into their roles and the team to contend for more wins in the interim.
Last night, and this is tea leaves here, I got the feeling:
- Craig MacTavish is a big fan of Oscar Klefbom
- The organization highly values Justin Schultz and what he brings.
- Martin Marincin received a mention, but it was out of order with what many of us believe he brings. It’s probably nothing, but we should keep it in mind as the spring and summer wears along.
- Suggested they would offer Darnell Nurse the option of going to OKC.
- The Oilers haven’t decided if they’ll draft a C or D with any degree of certainty. My own personal feeling is that if Ekblad is there, the club will select him, and that Reinhart and Draisaitl are also high on the list. I don’t think we have any idea about the Oilers list beyond those three, but it’s clear they have heavily scouted Michael Dal Colle.
- Mentioned he would focus on improving the second line.
- The names Sam Gagner and Nail Yakupov are going to be interesting to follow this spring and summer. Call it a hunch on Yakupov, but suspect we all have that idea in the back of our minds.
- The final item, and the most important one: MacT left us with the feeling they are prepared to wheel with a very young blue next season, if it comes to that. We should be prepared for a team that boasts veterans Andrew Ference and Jeff Petry, the new hire, and a shock of young blue.
BLUE, BLUE WINDOWS BEHIND THE STARS (2014-15)
- Martin Marincin: Playing 19:09 a night, some time on the PK. He’s also starting to find his way offensively a little more. Eakins is running him out there every chance he gets now, I’m confident he’s going to have a very good career. We’ll hear about more mistakes now, he’s going to be out there for the heavy artillery, but this is a gem right here.
- Jeff Petry: A play last night will have him in the soup all day today among the fanbase, but he’s a top 4D in the NHL. This is an area where it’s fairly obvious the math delivers what the eye cannot. When a defenseman makes a mistake, he’s the last line and there’s not a lot between the mistake and the net. A guy like Petry gets hammered on goals against, but there’s no support many nights. On a good, structured team, Petry would be solid.
- Oscar Klefbom: Eakins has him up to 15:30 a night, and they are tough zone starts (although the qual comp is lower Yemen). I think we should prepare for Klefbom to be on the team next season.
- Justin Schultz: He plays 23:26 a night, and the Oilers estimation of Schultz doesn’t jive with the results. The absolute best thing that can happen this summer? Enough arrivals for Schultz to have that TOI back off quite a bit. We’re all over the guy, but he’s playing way too much. A lesser role might see him play a more effective game in all disciplines.
- Andrew Ference: He played over 21 minutes a night this season, that’s about 90 seconds longer than a year ago, and of course in more chaotic circumstances. Ference has been pretty much universally panned by Oilers Nation, I find myself pretty much alone is wishing the team had two more. I’d be happy if Edmonton added another Ference this summer, especially a righty.
The guys over 20 minutes a night this season for Edmonton: Schultz, Ference and Petry. For Boston: Chara, Seidenberg, Boychuk.
NURSE, SIMPSON, EKBLAD, ASHTON, GARDNER AND DYKE
- Dillon Simpson: “Freshman year, after a tough year, to be able to get drafted by the Oilers was a great feeling for me and I’m still excited when I talk about it. Then this year, I’m trying to cap off a great year with a good run here. I’ve got all the faith in the world in our team. Then from there, hopefully being able to be a part of the Oilers organization somewhere and trying to play professional hockey will be a fun experience for me.”
Great news! I think we should consider Simpson as a possible Gilbert-Petry, in that he may spend less than one full season in the minor leagues before making his presence known in the NHL. One never knows, but he’s progressed a great deal since heading to North Dakota.
It looks like Nurse is heading to the Barons, I thought it might be a plan (since OKC is fighting for a playoff spot) to bring him right to the NHL for a week. Maybe have him play Saturday, practice with the team for a day, and then head down to the AHL next week. Either way, there’s every chance Nurse has played his final junior game. We’ll see.
The Oilers will draft 1,2,3 or 4 this summer. My guess for their list:
- Aaron Ekblad
- Sam Reinhart
- Leon Draisaitl
- Michael Dal Colle
I think there’s a chance they trade the pick if they select fourth and Ekblad, Reinhart and Draisaitl are chosen.
LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE
At 10 this morning, the Lowdown gets busy on several fronts. Scheduled to appear:
- Bruce McCurdy, Cult of Hockey: Oilers, draft, some of those Barons.
- Nathan Dempsey, former NHLer and Instructor at Vimy Hockey. We’ll discuss the Alzheimer’s Faceoff fundraiser this weekend.
- Corey Graham, Oil Kings pbp. Train keeps rolling! A big night for Moroz and the OK last night.
- Harrison Mooney, Puck Daddy and Pass it to Bulis. They’ve crowned Trevor Linden King of the Left Coast!
- Andrew Bucholtz, 55 yard line. Eskimos and the draft.
@Lowetide_ or 10-1260 text. It’ll be a fun morning!