TC: THE EDGE OF OPENING NIGHT

The Edmonton Oilers will ice a more experienced team on defense in 2014-15, and a stronger goaltending tandem. The team is NOT a veteran group and are going to suffer through growing pains. The coaching staff should be more able to handle the rigors of a long season, and special teams should be improved. Here’s my guess for the 23 man opening night roster for 2014-15.

  1. G Ben Scrivens—A chance to establish himself as an NHL starter this year. Monster opportunity.
  2. G Viktor Fasth—Slightly behind Scrivens, that could change in training camp.
  3. D Mark Fayne—Impressive seasons in New Jersey, massive job in Edmonton.
  4. D Jeff Petry—One-year deal, doubtful he’ll be an Oiler past the deadline. Quality.
  5. D Martin Marincin—He’ll get every chance to prove his first NHL season can be duplicated.
  6. D Nikita Nikitin—Offseason acquisition will get big minutes and evens and on the power play.
  7. D Andrew Ference—Team captain and a player who should get much needed help.
  8. D Justin Schultz—Oilers love him, he would be more valuable with better defensive execution.
  9. D Keith Aulie—Likely to get final blue line job, meaning Oscar Klefbom starts in Oklahoma City.
  10. C Ryan Nugent-Hopkins—They rode him last season, it’ll be more of the same this year. He’s golden.
  11. C Leon Draisaitl—Rookie gets the first chance to post crooked numbers against the soft parade.
  12. C Boyd Gordon—Important player, my belief is he’ll play the 2nd most minutes among C’s.
  13. C Mark Arcobello—Role player for the Oilers, first chance if Leon fails in 2C role.
  14. C Anton Lander—Utility player should get plenty of work.
  15. L Taylor Hall—The franchise.
  16. L Nail Yakupov—He’ll get a chance to score goals on the second scoring line.
  17. L Benoit Pouliot—Important addition, he should be able to fill multiple roles.
  18. L Matt Hendricks—Defensive zone starts, penalty-killing, muscle.
  19. R Jordan Eberle—Consistent offensive winger ready for another quality season.
  20. R David Perron—He could be in a very good spot with soft line minutes and young skill linemates.
  21. R Teddy Purcell—May end up in a two-way role for the Oilers. Skilled player.
  22. R Tyler Pitlick—I think he has an excellent chance to play 50 games in a two-way role.
  23. R Jesse Joensuu—He has until Gazdic is ready to show something imo.

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22 Responses to "TC: THE EDGE OF OPENING NIGHT"

  1. VanOil says:

    If Simpson shows up to TC and looks like a player, even if it is a player a year or two away, do you trade Schultz for a 2nd line center?

    I know the Oilers won’t but I would be tempted.

  2. John Chambers says:

    VanOil,

    I think Schultz will have a much better season playing on the 3rd pairing with the lion’s share of the team’s o-zone starts. He’s got two reliable righties playing in front of him.

    In that case it would be worthwhile to maximize his offensive output and minimize his horrendous +/-, and if either Klefbom or Simpson look like they could fill in as a 6 on the right side, trading him for Anisimov or Eakin would be nirvana.

  3. 8p0intgame says:

    Personally, I am in the “Trade Schultz Regardless” camp. It’s lonely over here. Anyone care to join me?

  4. Marcus Oilerius says:

    Found this in my email. http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2012/04/18/cocaine-prices-business-smuggling_n_1435028.html Why is Dan Tencer so concerned about the price of cocaine? Are these the 80s Oilers come again?

    On another note, despite LT’s optimism, I’m still somewhat skeptical about Eakins. Eakins showed so many mental blind spots last season that I’m certain that even if he fixes most of them, it won’t be enough. He’d have to go a perfect five of five on the issues of Yakupov, Schultz, “showing progress” at the end of the season, tryhard VO2Max vs results, and managing NHL players vs AHL players. I think that’s ultimately unlikely.

    As for the rest of the roster… it’s meh. Finishing 10th in the West will be an accomplishment. Neither Scrivens nor Fasth are particularly proven over the long run. The new defencemen and forwards will need time to gel. Our center depth is abysmal.

  5. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    Hmmm… I was under the impression you have Nurse breaking camp with the team for his 9 game sampler.

    ————

    VanOil:
    If Simpson shows up to TC and looks like a player, even if it is a player a year or two away, do you trade Schultz for a 2nd line center?

    I know the Oilers won’t but I would be tempted.

    Both these things could happen (Simpson looking like a player, even 2 years out; and Schultz being traded for a 2C)… but I no reason to suspect they would be contingent upon each other.

    Doesn’t make any sense.

  6. Ryan says:

    Ken Holland was on Oilers now today, anyone else catch the interview?

    He had a few cool things to say including about the ‘Detroit model.’ Basically he said that it was largely a product of having a competitive team and consequently late round draft picks. He said, “yeah, if I was drafting first overall, I’d be sending these players right into he nhl too. But when you’re drafting 26th overall, it takes more time for development. ” (quote not verbatim–from my recall.)

    He also went on to say that they had been looking for a right hand shot offenseman, but that they struck out in free agency. Not sure if that translates into him wanting Jultz or not.

  7. Lowetide says:

    Romulus Apotheosis:
    Hmmm… I was under the impression you have Nurse breaking camp with the team for his 9 game sampler.

    Yep. I think he gets it, but they’ll put Aulie on IR.

  8. Ryan says:

    Romulus Apotheosis:
    Hmmm… I was under the impression you have Nurse breaking camp with the team for his 9 game sampler.

    ————

    Both these things could happen (Simpson looking like a player, even 2 years out; and Schultz being traded for a 2C)… but I no reason to suspect they would be contingent upon each other.

    Doesn’t make any sense.

    I’m confused too. Dillon’s neither a RHS nor a candidate for our first unit power play this upcoming season.

    I’d sure think of putting in a call to Jamie mcbain’s agent though.

  9. Hammers says:

    Back to the LT synopsis . Joensuu only makes it if he plays the entire preseason like his first game last year ,so huge ? mark . Agree on Nurse getting 9 games but the what if factor is there . Actually the same goes for Leon but the other way if he doesn’t stand out . Those 2 could be an argument on there own .For me the biggest question is Eakins . Has he / did he learn last year because if he did (glass half full ) we will be knocking on the door in late March . If he didn’t we may be in the bottom 6 by Christmas .

  10. buddyboe says:

    Can someone explain to me why Petry has been determined in advance to be shipped out, and if he is quality as mentioned why would we send a young up and coming Dman away during the rebuild? Not sure I fully understand this one.

  11. anonymous says:

    Trading Shultz right now could be a good move. Shore up centre and klefbom likely brings a superior defensive game. Sign Petry long term.

  12. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    Lowetide: Yep. I think he gets it, but they’ll put Aulie on IR.

    Ok. Why isn’t he on the opening night projected roster?

    Am I missing some fine print here?

  13. Lowetide says:

    buddyboe:
    Can someone explain to me why Petry has been determined in advance to be shipped out, and if he is quality as mentioned why would we send a young up and coming Dman away during the rebuild? Not sure I fully understand this one.

    Petry is less than 12 months from free agency. The Oilers are not convinced, and with the cap going up costs will as well. Completely reasonable to proceed as if he’s going to be dealt. If they sign him, that’s a bonus.

  14. Lowetide says:

    Romulus Apotheosis: Ok. Why isn’t he on the opening night projected roster?

    Am I missing some fine print here?

    Aulie will make the team, but my guess is they IR someone and allow Nurse to play 9 games. They could send Marincin down, but my guess is the roster looks like the one above with Nurse staying do to IR.

  15. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    Lowetide: Aulie will make the team, but my guess is they IR someone and allow Nurse to play 9 games. They could send Marincin down, but my guess is the roster looks like the one above with Nurse staying do to IR.

    I see.

    But… you’ve got JJ on the roster and no Gazdic, who would be IRed… that’s where I got confused.

    At any rate, I think I’ve got your roster clear in my head.

    Now, where to slot Anisimov?

  16. Lowetide says:

    Romulus Apotheosis: I see.

    But… you’ve got JJ on the roster and no Gazdic, who would be IRed… that’s where I got confused.

    At any rate, I think I’ve got your roster clear in my head.

    Now, where to slot Anisimov?

    I wish. :-) I keep thinking MacT has something in his back pocket, but that’s probably wishful thinking.

  17. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    Lowetide: I wish. I keep thinking MacT has something in his back pocket, but that’s probably wishful thinking.

    Stauffer said weeks ago to wait for the the TCs to shake out. And to watch Islanders and CBJs.

    Makes too much sense as that’s what we’ve been talking about forever.

    Basically, the idea was teams need to see who can make their roster and who can’t and MacT might find sellers mid-to-late Fall. he even mentioned November.

  18. raventalon40 says:

    8p0intgame:
    Personally, I am in the “Trade Schultz Regardless” camp. It’s lonely over here. Anyone care to join me?

    I’ve been in that camp for a long time.

    I’d trade him now while the value is high

  19. Numenius says:

    I suppose everyone saw Draisaitl’s contract on capgeek.

    $175,000 more than Bennett in bonuses, but not maxed out. Makes sense.

  20. Clay says:

    So for the top six dmen on opening night, the change year over year is:

    Smid -> Fayne
    Belov -> Nikitin
    N. Schultz -> Marincin

    I believe these to all be clear upgrades, especially if Marincin avoids the sophomore ess-ell-you-emm-pee.

    Goaltending – both goalies change, and are a clear upgrade from last year.

    At forward:

    Hemsky -> Purcell
    Brown -> Pitlick
    Smytty -> Pouliot
    Gazdic -> Hendricks
    Acton -> Dr. Drai

    The Draisaitl upgrade on Acton is a no brainer I think, but really it’s Gagner -> Draisaitl but Gagner was still trying to find his teeth on opening night. So the jury is out on how much better (if at all) Draisaitl is than Gagner this year.

    So that said, the biggest upgrade here is Hendricks over Gazdic, because Gazdic. Pitlick over Brown as well, even though it’s not a huge boost in offense, Pitlick is an actual hockey player. Pouliot is an upgade on Smytty, but only because of Smytty’s age. And I’m sorry, but I’d rather have Hemmer than Purcell.

    Anyway, lots lots lots of change in one year. I think overall there’s a lot of improvement here (on paper at least), and added to the huge upgrade in coaching brains via Ramsey, I don’t think it’s unreasonable to believe they’ll improve by 10-12 wins. Almost all of it hinges on RNH staying healthy though. If he goes down, look out!

  21. jjerms12 says:

    So much riding on Fayne and Nikitin. If they can both deliver, the team is looking much better. If not… *shudders*

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