There are still things to look forward to in this long, miserable season. Five games left to click off the schedule, and little time to post crooked numbers for some of these Oilers. Here are 10 things I want to see before the schedule ends:
- Ryan Smyth scoring a power-play goal. I don’t care how he gets it—in fact, I’m a bit pissed Phil Larsen didn’t point at Smyth and say “it hit him, I saw it” the other night on his goal. Smyth was there in 1997 and 1998 and 2006, but most of his wonderful career has been spent on addled teams. I hope he comes back for one more season, I think he would be an exceptional 4line LW for this team.
- 80 points for Taylor Hall. No Oiler has reached that mark since Doug Weight posted 90 in 2000-01.
- Three wins and a tie. If the Oilers go 3-1-1 in their last five, their final record will be 29-43-10, and it will mean the club went 17-19-7 since starting 12-24-3. If they go 0-4-1, they’ll be 26-46-10, and go 14-22-7 since starting 12-24-3. I know, it doesn’t matter. But hang it all, TURN NORTH!
- Nuge scores 20. He needs two more.
- One of the three Oilers at 26 goals (Hall, Eberle and Perron) pops 30. Eberle did it a couple of years ago, would be nice to see one do it this season.
- More strong play from Marincin.
- The game slowing down for Klefbom.
- One good game from Gagner, so we’ll have something positive to remember him by.
- A hat-trick for Boyd Gordon. He’s earned it.
- A 12-save shutout for Ben Scrivens. Oilers owe him one. Or several.
I have a theory about this summer and it goes like this: Craig MacTavish is going to send a lot of players down the line. His in-season tinkering includes overhauling the goaltending (adding Scrivens, Fasth, Brossoit) but he’s had to keep his powder dry on the blueline. I believe we could see a lot of turnover this summer, and if the club starts next season with only Schultz, Ference and Marincin from the current group it wouldn’t be a surprise.
Which brings me to Jeff Petry. I have no evidence, beyond the rumblings of the media who have contact with the Oilers, but it does seem as though the bloom is off the rose in a Laddy Smid kind of way. Please don’t misunderstand, I think Petry is the best defenseman on the team, but I believe we should brace ourselves for a ‘Petry plus for Jason Smith-type’ trade over the summer.
Think Tom Gilbert for Nick Schultz, except MacT in charge and getting a better return.
The top 20 prospects from summer 2010 has just about sussed itself out. Edmonton got some very good value, and from surprise areas. Hall was a no-brainer, Eberle has been more than we could have hoped and I do think Jeff Petry is a solid NHL defenseman. There are still men trying to establish themselves these years later (I’ll include Paajarvi, Marincin, Pitlick, Lander, Dubnyk) but the overall thrust of that prospect list is Hall-Eberle and some support.
I thought Paajarvi would be a better player, and still think he’ll have a long, solid career. We cannot, at this point, question the trade for Perron though; that turned out to be a quality move.
Most disappointing? I’ll pick Curtis Hamilton. The numbers and scouting report were very promising, it just didn’t happen for him. I’ve seen and heard people talking about Pitlick and Hamilton being hurt by graduating a year early, but that doesn’t seem like enough to destroy a career. They weren’t 150 pounds or anything.
LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE
- Steve Lansky, Bigmouth Sports. Playoff race, Oates on Ovechkin, Gillis.
- Anthony Birchak, MMA Champion and anti-bullying champion. We’ll talk about both.
- Alex Thomas, Oilers Rig. I’ll make him say ‘chowda!’ and we’ll talk about Oilers moves this summer.
It’s a fluid (I’m not drinking) morning, will update as we roll along! @Lowetide_ on the twitter machine and 10-1260 texting.