“WE HAVE TWO NHL CENTERMEN RIGHT NOW”

It was quite the day for the Edmonton Oilers. The slow news days that run one on top of the other during summer gave way to a watershed this afternoon, as microphones picked up some stunning words in unusual order.

  1. Martin Marincin is 203 pounds, up 15 from the spring. He’s apparently still mobile and that’s a good thing. It’s important that he retains his foot speed in this effort to ‘get the Slovak pencils bigger’ plan by the Oilers.
  2. Dallas Eakins: “We have two NHL centre men right now, and I have no idea who the other two will be.” I thought he might mention Arcobello, but instead it sounds like this contest is wide open. More on that in a minute.
  3. Dallas Eakins said expectations of Nail Yakupov were too high last year.
  4. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins was 164 pounds on draft day. 190 today. Those aren’t the numbers people should be paying attention to, but the world is a strange place.

THE LINES

As much as we can read anything into the lines and pairings, I do think there are some young men who are getting a push from the Oilers this camp.

  1. Hall-Nugent-Hopkins-Eberle. Makes too much sense. Write this line in ink all 82 games.
  2. Pouliot-Draisaitl-Perron. Leon gets the major push among forwards, and the two wingers are a nice match. Cycle? Control? Protect? Yes.
  3. Yakupov-Arcobello-Purcell. Solid line, I like Arco for this job miles more than anyone else on the roster.
  4. Hendricks-Gordon-Joensuu. A-ha! The Finn gets the push. Interesting. Stay healthy, Jesse!
  5. Pakarinen-Lander-Pinizzotto. This line contains three fringe NHLers, so I think it’s the 5line.
  6. R. Hamilton-Acton-Pitlick. Uneasy news for Pitlick, this is an AHL line and he’s on it.
  7. Roy-Yakimov-Chase. Big Russian gets two interesting junior wingers to start.
  8. Winqvist-Williams-Tkachev. Interesting trio, Williams could be important to development in OKC.
  9. K. Jones-C. Jones-Ford. This could be the third line in OKC.
  10. C. Hamilton-Platzer-Miller. The hodge podge line.
  11. Moroz-Khaira-Baltisberger. Khaira and Moroz don’t get an early push. A little surprised Moroz is here.
  12. Kessy-Ewanyk-Holmberg. Another possible OKC trio.

THE PAIRINGS

  1. Nikitin-Fayne. It makes sense the two new actual NHLers would start together.
  2. Marincin-Schultz. They had great chem in OKC during the lockout.
  3. Nurse-Petry. A big push for Nurse, man that’s some action there. Good for him, hope he runs with it.
  4. Ference-Simpson. Another push, this time for Simpson. I hadn’t expected this.
  5. Aulie-Klefbom. The No. 7 and No. 8 blue entering camp, that’s my guess.
  6. Musil-Rowley. Musil has improved his foot speed, it’ll be fun to see him in pre-season.
  7. Hunt-Gernat. Gernat was poor in TC, Hunt’s a riverboat gambler.
  8. Oesterle-Ludwig. Not much to say, they’re minor league bound.
  9. Craig-Betker. Last rung on the ladder.

If you’re Leon Draisaitl, Darnell Nurse and Dillon Simpson this is a good day. (Photo by Rob Ferguson, all rights reserved)

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96 Responses to "“WE HAVE TWO NHL CENTERMEN RIGHT NOW”"

  1. Woodguy says:

    That’s a goddam hockey team.

    About bloody time.

    Not perfect.

    Not balanced.

    But not full of Ryan Jones, Pertrells, Strudwick’s, Barkers, Eagers, etc.

    Not one player who is done as a NHLer so he’s getting his last big paycheck with the Oilers.

    Hockey players.

    A hockey team.

    Thank Gord.

    Go Oilers!!!

    *clap, clap*

  2. TheOtherJohn says:

    Its noticeably better than a 28th place team.

    Do not expect MacT appreciated Eakins highlighting fact that team has 2 proven NHL C’s but it is reality.

    Still holes F, D and goaltenders both unproven as a #1 but the team is WAY better than last year

    10th in West?

  3. Lowetide says:

    TheOtherJohn:
    Its noticeably better than a 28th place team.

    Do not expect MacT appreciated Eakins highlighting fact that team has2 provenNHL C’s but it is reality.

    Still holes F, D and goaltenders bothunproven as a #1 but the team is WAY better than last year

    10th in West?

    That’s where I have the Oilers.

    http://oilersnation.com/2014/8/14/pacific-heights-2014-15

  4. godot10 says:

    Woodguy:

    Not one player who is done as a NHLer so he’s getting his last big paycheck with the Oilers.

    Andrew Ference looked done last year, and is getting his last big paycheque with the Oilers, for THREE MORE YEARS.

  5. Lowetide says:

    “God made me who I am. I cannot be (Sidney) Crosby or Shaquille O’Neill, but I can be Nail Yakupov and we’ll see what happens. I promise I’ll do 100 per cent.”

    Those are the words of a young man raised right. Full stop.

  6. Manitoba Oilers says:

    Lowetide:
    “God made me who I am. I cannot be (Sidney) Crosby or Shaquille O’Neill, but I can be Nail Yakupov and we’ll see what happens. I promise I’ll do 100 per cent.”

    Those are the words of a young man raised right. Full stop.

    Never seen a hockey player as genuine and happy in my life as Nail

  7. delooper says:

    godot10: Andrew Ference looked done last year, and is getting his last big paycheque with the Oilers, for THREE MORE YEARS.

    That’s a little extreme. Ference is an NHL defender who had too much on his plate last season. People have to stop expecting CFP.

  8. Woodguy says:

    godot10: Andrew Ference looked done last year, and is getting his last big paycheque with the Oilers, for THREE MORE YEARS.

    I almost added him as an exception, but if he’s not paired with young chaos vs. 2nd toughs I think he has some more to give

    6/7 NHL Dman.

    Not Struddy, not Barker.

  9. Frank The Dog says:

    TheOtherJohn:
    Its noticeably better than a 28th place team.

    Do not expect MacT appreciated Eakins highlighting fact that team has2 provenNHL C’s but it is reality.

    Still holes F, D and goaltenders bothunproven as a #1 but the team is WAY better than last year

    10th in West?

    I don’t think the lack of 2 x C’s is news to MacT. The point being that whoever was available likely wouldn’t come here (yet) or overpriced, also MacT has a better idea than we do of the likely ability to run with who we have, and in view of the overhaul he’s achieved in the last two years, I’m prepared to sit and wait on how that turns out. After all our HC and GM are sophomores now.

  10. Woodguy says:

    Lowetide:
    “God made me who I am. I cannot be (Sidney) Crosby or Shaquille O’Neill, but I can be Nail Yakupov and we’ll see what happens. I promise I’ll do 100 per cent.”

    Those are the words of a young man raised right. Full stop.

    If I wasn’t on my phone when I posted the link I would have also posted that part.

    Tears welled up.

    True story.

  11. Frank The Dog says:

    delooper: That’s a little extreme.Ference is an NHL defender who had too much on his plate last season.People have to stop expecting CFP.

    Wasn’t Ference also playing hurt last year?

  12. Braden88 says:

    Yak could end up a terrible player and i would still love him with that smile.

    Thats the smile thats going to win the hearts and minds of this team and its fans!

  13. Frank The Dog says:

    I suspect there’s something else about the organizational behaviour with these Oilers. Dallas won.
    As in, almost every year since MacT was coach, the Assistants stayed and the HC left.

    This time, Dallas is the undisputed HC, the supporting staff are united behind him, and an entirely different, positive, dynamic is emerging. Helped along by the size and caliber of players walking in through the doors, if you are one of the <190 lb players on the team you must be looking forward with less trepidation to the West Coast games this season.

    While it's fun to plan our parades at last, I'm wondering wha tour simple benchmark will be for a successful season this year? How much better than last year and by what measure?

  14. leadfarmer says:

    Just an injury to Nuge or Gordon away from absolute disaster. Another day in the life of an Oiler fan. Now lets start the season already

  15. Woodguy says:

    Frank The Dog:
    I suspect there’s something else about the organizational behaviour with these Oilers. Dallas won.
    As in, almost every year since MacT was coach, the Assistants stayed and the HC left.

    This time, Dallas is the undisputed HC, the supporting staff are united behind him, and an entirely different, positive, dynamic is emerging. Helped along by the size and caliber of players walking in through the doors, if you are one of the <190 lb players on the team you must be looking forward with less trepidation to the West Coast games this season.

    While it’s fun to plan our parades at last, I’m wondering wha tour simple benchmark will be for a successful season this year? How much better than last year and by what measure?

    LT has 10th in the conference as the benchmark.

    I think that’s fair.

  16. Woodguy says:

    leadfarmer:
    Just an injury to Nuge or Gordon away from absolute disaster.Another day in the life of an Oiler fan.Now lets start the season already

    CHI is a Toews injury from having sweet fuck all at center.

  17. Frank The Dog says:

    Happy days are here again……

  18. leadfarmer says:

    Woodguy,

    Yes but they have a solid d corps including 2 top pairing defensemen, something that we also lack.

  19. fifthcartel says:

    I’m expecting them to be pretty active on the waiver wire. If Mueller doesn’t make the Blues I could see the Oilers putting in a claim. Basically any half decent player who played center would probably be worth a claim.

  20. Factotum says:

    Frank The Dog,

    After careful and exhaustive mathematical analysis on my napkin (meaning that my tongue is ever-so-slightly in cheek here), I have determined that anything less than 91 points should be considered failure. This would probably be good enough for…

    10th in the conference.

    (Dallas made it with 91 pts. last year (10th place was 88 pts.), but I don’t see 91 points being enough this year.)

    91 points would also give Eakins an overall two-year combined points percentage equal to the final 82 games of his predecessors, so MacT could rightly claim that things hadn’t gotten worse since he gave Krueger the Skype heave-ho.

    91 points. No less.

  21. godot10 says:

    Frank The Dog: Wasn’t Ference also playing hurt last year?

    Wasn’t Justin Schultz?

  22. godot10 says:

    Woodguy: CHI is a Toews injury from having sweet fuck all at center.

    Patrick Sharp, Brad Richards.

    Kane can play soft minutes at centre in a pinch.

    Ben Smith is also a centre. Ditto Versteeg. Peter Regin. Teravainen draft year +2.

  23. stush18 says:

    Question about draistal,

    Did him and his agent stick it to the oilers when they said the would return to Germany for a year if he didn’t make the team this year? I’m no expert on what quality that league is, but how good for his development is it? Is the difference to sending him there versus keeping him here and maybe scratching him if he plays poorly a big difference?

    Can’t help but feel the oilers are willing to take this year and develop him in the nhl despite the team, even if we are losing, just so that they can keep a closer watch on his development.

  24. slopitch says:

    Lowetide:
    “God made me who I am. I cannot be (Sidney) Crosby or Shaquille O’Neill, but I can be Nail Yakupov and we’ll see what happens. I promise I’ll do 100 per cent.”

    Those are the words of a young man raised right. Full stop.

    A buddy of mine went to Russia for the world juniors. He met yakapovs parents. Said they were super nice, sat with him for almost 30 min. Their English wasn’t perfect but my buddy said all the kept saying was how excited they were for their son to play in Edmonton and they hope he plays well.

    All the best yak.

  25. godot10 says:

    stush18:
    Question about draistal,

    Did him and his agent stick it to the oilers when they said the would return to Germany for a year if he didn’t make the team this year? I’m no expert on what quality that league is, but how good for his development is it? Is the difference to sending him there versus keeping him here and maybe scratching him if he plays poorly a big difference?

    Can’t help but feel the oilers are willing to take this year and develop him in the nhl despite the team, even if we are losing, just so that they can keep a closer watch on his development.

    CHL players work for less than the minimum wage. Draisaitl can earn a few hundred thousand in Germany, so no.

  26. jfry says:

    godot10: CHL players work for less than the minimum wage.Draisaitl can earn a few hundred thousand in Germany, so no.

    Players drafted out of the CHL can’t go and play in Europe. I believe that was the conclusion several weeks ago when the idea was originally floated around.

  27. rickithebear says:

    Andrew ference and Petry were 2.34 EvGa/60 facing first comp with a Goalie who gave up a goal 27% of the time from shots inside the box.
    Andrew ference tore his pec and was 4.00+ evga/60 player.

    Tearing a pec often makes a player done for the year.

    Some play 23 games more than they should have.
    which is obvious when you watch his box leverage technique similar to an OG taking on a linebacker at the 2nd level.

    Which is no longer evident.
    Mid Jan.

    I am tired of english majors (MSM) and people more worried abiout Speillyng and proze.
    Than sitting down and looking at video that is supported by WOWY evidence.

  28. rickithebear says:

    jfry: Players drafted out of the CHL can’t go and play in Europe. I believe that was the conclusion several weeks ago when the idea was originally floated around.

    Tell that to the UWA.

  29. Younger Oil says:

    This might be overly critical of Eakins, but I don’t understand why he is being so stubborn about playing left hand shots on the left wing, and right hand shots on the right wing. I quickly searched the NHL website, and last year there were 15 LWs with RH shots, and 46 RWs with LH shots. That is an average of two per team. Now, that is a very rough estimate, as many of the players listed didn’t play much, but that doesn’t include multitudes of wrongly listed Centermen, so I’d say two players on their “off wing” per team at any given time is close to the average. We have two in Yakupov and Perron.

    I’m not sure I buy into his “it makes it easier to protect the puck” angle either. It’s certainly an asset in the defensive zone, but in the offensive zone, where one primarily protects the puck, you’re able to put your back/shoulder into the opposition while still staying on your forehand, making a pass back to a defender to keep possession easier.

    While it makes it harder to pass going forward, being on your “off wing” makes it easier to make a quick cut into the middle to get a shot on your forehand. The puck also gets to you quicker when you are being passed to, letting you get a quick shot off faster.

    I just think when you have a very high level shooter in Perron, and a potential elite sniper in Yakupov, you should play them where they are able to shoot the most. In my opinion they both look by far the most dangerous when they are playing on their preferred side.

    I could be completely wrong here, but it just doesn’t make a ton of sense to me. Having two people on the “off wing” also changes things up for the defenders, making the attack a bit less predictable. I know it doesn’t make sense to have every winger that way, but having none, especially when the players in question have great shots, makes just as little sense to me.

  30. Ca$h-Money! says:

    rickithebear,

    You are my favorite.

  31. Woodguy says:

    godot10: Patrick Sharp, Brad Richards.

    Kane can play soft minutes at centre in a pinch.

    Ben Smith is also a centre. Ditto Versteeg.Peter Regin. Teravainen draft year +2.

    Sharp is a good hockey player.

    Hasn’t played a pile of center in years.

    I’ll give you him.

    Richards is a reclamation project, old, slow, but still a step above Handzeus, which is saying something.

    CHI bucks the “must build down the middle” model.

    They done it with Toews and guys who play a lot like Arco for years now.

  32. Woodguy says:

    leadfarmer:
    Woodguy,

    Yes but they have a solid d corps including 2 top pairing defensemen, something that we also lack.

    Oilers D are much, much better than last year.

    Not near CHI yet.

    The point was C, not D though.

  33. Woodguy says:

    godot10: Wasn’t Justin Schultz?

    When you put 6ft tall people in a 7ft pool, everyone is over their head.

    Both of those players need shallower water…or someone who can put them on their shoulders.

  34. Pouzar says:

    Yak is key. I agree with WG.

    O/U 44.5 pts this year?

    I say OVER.

  35. Woodguy says:

    Younger Oil:
    This might be overly critical of Eakins, but I don’t understand why he is being so stubborn about playing left hand shots on the left wing, and right hand shots on the right wing. I quickly searched the NHL website, and last year there were 15 LWs with RH shots, and 46 RWs with LH shots. That is an average of two per team. Now, that is a very rough estimate, as many of the players listed didn’t play much, but that doesn’t include multitudes of wrongly listed Centermen, so I’d say two players on their “off wing” per team at any given time is close to the average. We have two in Yakupov and Perron.

    I’m not sure I buy into his “it makes it easier to protect the puck” angle either. It’s certainly an asset in the defensive zone, but in the offensive zone, where one primarily protects the puck, you’re able to put your back/shoulder into the opposition while still staying on your forehand, making a pass back to a defender to keep possession easier.

    While it makes it harder to pass going forward, being on your “off wing” makes it easier to make a quick cut into the middle to get a shot on your forehand. The puck also gets to you quicker when you are being passed to, letting you get a quick shot off faster.

    I just think when you have a very high level shooter in Perron, and a potential elite sniper in Yakupov, you should play them where they are able to shoot the most. In my opinion they both look by far the most dangerous when they are playing on their preferred side.

    I could be completely wrong here, but it just doesn’t make a ton of sense to me. Having two people on the “off wing” also changes things up for the defenders, making the attack a bit less predictable. I know it doesn’t make sense to have every winger that way, but having none, especially when the players in question have great shots, makes just as little sense to me.

    Why does everyone think that wingers stick on “their own side” in the ozone?

  36. Younger Oil says:

    Woodguy: Why does everyone think that wingers stick on “their own side” in the ozone?

    I agree it is true that wingers often do roam in the offensive zone, but to my eye Yak and Perron played miles better when they were penciled into their preferred sides in the lineup. Maybe it’s just me, or a coincidence, but the difference was always noticeable to me.

  37. Woodguy says:

    leadfarmer:
    Woodguy,

    Yes but they have a solid d corps including 2 top pairing defensemen, something that we also lack.

    I’m also happy that the Oilers look like a hockey team.

    I’m not saying they look like CHI, just and Actual NHL Hockey team (with ???? at 2C)

    Why are you trying to piss on my parade?

    I’ve been suffereing for years through the Tambo years and before.

    This team has been absolute horse shit with Mack Truck sized holes in multiple areas.

    Now we argue about 2C.

    Its a world from here to there and I’m going to be happy about it goddamit!

  38. Woodguy says:

    Younger Oil: I agree it is true that wingers often do roam in the offensive zone, but to my eye Yak and Perron played miles better when they were penciled into their preferred sides in the lineup. Maybe it’s just me, or a coincidence, but the difference was always noticeable to me.

    The Oilers couldn’t exit their zone last year with 5 sherpas, a map and 100ft of rope.

    The inability to exit the zone with the puck was the root of all evil last year (and year, and years, and years before)

    This move for the dzone.

    Ozone will be fine.

  39. blainer says:

    Man I just do not get moving Yak and Perron on to their off wings. Perron had a career year playing the left side so they move him to RW.. just don’t get that.. Yak looked absolutely lost on LW last year so they decide to put him back there… What a way to start Yak after all his struggles last year ..apparently he didn’t even know Eakins had did this… I hope to God Dellow has some DANDY analytics to support this move.. or.. here we go again..

  40. leadfarmer says:

    Woodguy,

    Sharp is currently better than all Oiler centers, although Nuge is getting close.
    Shaw scored 20 goals last year and had more points than all Oiler centers other than RNH and is 23. So no, the Blackhawks are not the deepest at center but I dont think the two situations are comparable. Plus if you think the following center depth is weak, I dont know what to tell you.
    Toews
    Sharp
    Shaw,
    Teravainen
    Handzus

  41. leadfarmer says:

    Woodguy, not trying to rain on your parade. My first comment was that this season hangs on by a thread and it will be a wild ride. Dont think its going to be pretty, but I think it will be fun

  42. blainer says:

    Woodguy: The Oilers couldn’t exit their zone last year with 5 sherpas, a map and 100ft of rope.

    The inability to exit the zone with the puck was the root of all evil last year (and year, and years, and years before)

    This move for the dzone.

    Ozone will be fine.

    I get it for the Dzone. Perron should be fine but moving Yak even in the Dzone will be too confusing for him at this stage. Leave him in his Natural position or it will be much of the same as last year.

  43. spoiler says:

    blainer: Perron should be fine but moving Yak even in the Dzone will be too confusing for him at this stage.

    Huh?

    How so?

  44. Ca$h-Money! says:

    leadfarmer:
    Woodguy,

    Sharp is currently better than all Oiler centers, although Nuge is getting close.
    Shaw scored 20 goals last year and had more points than all Oiler centers other than RNH and is 23.So no, the Blackhawks are not the deepest at center but I dont think the two situations are comparable.Plus if you think the following center depth is weak, I dont know what to tell you.
    Toews
    Sharp
    Shaw,
    Teravainen
    Handzus

    You are right. Chicago is better than we are.

  45. Caramel Obvious says:

    rickithebear:
    I am tired of english majors (MSM) and people more worried abiout Speillyng and proze.
    Than sitting down and looking at video that is supported by WOWY evidence.

    This my favourite post this year. Perfect.

  46. justDOit says:

    Woodguy: Its a world from here to there and I’m going to be happy about it goddamit!

    C’mon get happy! Katz’ son can play Danny!

  47. HiddenDarts says:

    Younger Oil:
    This might be overly critical of Eakins, but I don’t understand why he is being so stubborn about playing left hand shots on the left wing, and right hand shots on the right wing. I quickly searched the NHL website, and last year there were 15 LWs with RH shots, and 46 RWs with LH shots. That is an average of two per team. Now, that is a very rough estimate, as many of the players listed didn’t play much, but that doesn’t include multitudes of wrongly listed Centermen, so I’d say two players on their “off wing” per team at any given time is close to the average. We have two in Yakupov and Perron.

    I’m not sure I buy into his “it makes it easier to protect the puck” angle either. It’s certainly an asset in the defensive zone, but in the offensive zone, where one primarily protects the puck, you’re able to put your back/shoulder into the opposition while still staying on your forehand, making a pass back to a defender to keep possession easier.

    While it makes it harder to pass going forward, being on your “off wing” makes it easier to make a quick cut into the middle to get a shot on your forehand. The puck also gets to you quicker when you are being passed to, letting you get a quick shot off faster.

    I just think when you have a very high level shooter in Perron, and a potential elite sniper in Yakupov, you should play them where they are able to shoot the most. In my opinion they both look by far the most dangerous when they are playing on their preferred side.

    I could be completely wrong here, but it just doesn’t make a ton of sense to me. Having two people on the “off wing” also changes things up for the defenders, making the attack a bit less predictable. I know it doesn’t make sense to have every winger that way, but having none, especially when the players in question have great shots, makes just as little sense to me.

    This is something I talk about all the time. Defensively, it might be better, but as a shooter it’s gotta suck. If you’re a right handed right wing coming down the right side, that shot has only so many places to go.

    Obviously, you cut across to center, your shot is gone.

    That same right handed winger on the left side can power forward for the shot, or cut to the slot.

    On the other hand, it’s harder for the latter player to take a pass from the other side (which usually must be received on the backhand if skating forward.

    Anyway. It seems ridiculous to me. There’s already a shortage of good LWs in the league.

  48. blainer says:

    spoiler,

    In my viewing last year when he was playing the left wing he immediately skated over to his natural wing after the drop of the puck… We then had two RT wingers and Zero left wingers. For the rest of the shift he would then float and seem to not know where to be positioned. We cannot continue doing this with him as he is having a difficult time as it is grasping the defensive game. If someone can show me how analytics can make this move right with Yak and not other players I am open to listen .. otherwise this is a mistake.

  49. spoiler says:

    blainer:
    spoiler,

    In my viewing last year when he was playing the left wing he immediately skated over to his natural wing after the drop of the puck… We then had two RT wingers and Zero left wingers. For the rest of the shift he would then float and seem to not know where to be positioned. We cannot continue doing this with him as he is having a difficult time as it is grasping the defensive game. If someone can show me how analytics can make this move right with Yak and not other players I am open to listen .. otherwise this is a mistake.

    First of all, the defensive responsibilities of a RWer and a LWer are identical. Secondly I never once last year saw a puck dropped in our own end where Yak immediately skated over to the other side of the ice, abandoning his wing. Thirdly, they can figure out to do whatever they like in the neutral and offensive zone. Fourthly, I have great difficulty in believing Yak is as dumb as you make him out to be. Fifthly, this is being done to HELP him in his own zone, by making it easier on him to protect the puck against the forecheck on breakouts.

  50. RexLibris says:

    Hall-Nugent-Hopkins-Eberle – Music. Winspear with the lights low music.

    Pouliot-Draisaitl-Perron – Remember NIlsson, Gagner, Cogliano? This is not that and it is good.

    Yakupov-Arcobello-Purcell – It’s not training wheels on the Yakcycle, but it is help where help was required and setting a young man up to succeed with effort and industry.

    Hendricks-Gordon-Joensuu – As I’ve said earlier, they’ll be buried so deep Dracula would get claustrophobic.

    R. Hamilton-Acton-Pitlick – This looks like a tell. Hamilton and Acton are career AHLers. Either one of these things is not like the other, or it is and that is bad news for the 2010 draft.

    Roy-Yakimov-Chase – This line has three ways to score and rookie/journeymen defensemen hate all of them. Love this look on paper, we’ll see how things go on the ice.

    Winqvist-Williams-Tkachev – This is the minutiae test for Tkachev. They’ve seen what he can do with Yakimov, who proved himself away from Tkachev. If the small Russian can do the little things well with unfamiliar faces (and people who don’t speak a word of Russian) then I think they’ll sign him.

    K. Jones-C. Jones-Ford – Nelson probably has a crush on this line. Beautiful PK group.

    C. Hamilton-Platzer-Miller – The Leftover Line. Platzer looks good, but this is in the fashion of the Joneses above.

    Moroz-Khaira-Baltisberger – Opposing goalies and defensemen are going to loathe these two in the crease. How many goals could a line score from within 6 inches of the goal line?

    Kessy-Ewanyk-Holmberg -Kessy and Ewanyk together? Call it the Ice Bag Line, giving and receiving.

    Nikitin-Fayne – Why wouldn’t you? I mean really, you just bought them this summer and now you get to take them out for a test-drive.

    Marincin-Schultz – This could be good. Or it could be a disaster. Marincin looks calm, but can he handle the mechanical bull that is Schultz on D?

    Nurse-Petry – Beautiful. You can’t ask for much more than this if you are Darnell Nurse. It should be taken as a complement for Petry as well – like Dad giving you the keys to his car on a Friday night.

    Ference-Simpson – I think this could be an intriguing one to watch. Ference is all experience and veteran leadership while Simpson obviously has a good head on his shoulders. Best of luck to both of them.

    Aulie-Klefbom – Interesting. A lot of size there, and probably a good low-event pairing. Not sure either is really ready-for-primetime, but it could show well in a pre-season matchup.

    Musil-Rowley – Rowley apparently was a standout in the Bears game and the University/College kids usually play a smart game. This could be a very interesting pair if they can click.

    Hunt-Gernat – Did Mironov ever play with Hamrlik? Because that is what springs to mind seeing this.

    Oesterle-Ludwig – I’d have swapped one on this line with one from the line above. Oesterle and Gernat would’ve been nice, but whatever.

    Craig-Betker – Uh-huh.

  51. blainer says:

    I can and WILL say this . If Yak continues to struggle after Eakins has put him on his off wing I will have absolutely have no sympathy for Eakins when the Oilers have to decide between Yak and the coach. We should be doing everything we can to help Yak succeed.. This to me is trying to put a round peg in a square hole.

  52. ashley says:

    Woodguy: I’ve been suffereing for years through the Tambo years and before.
    This team has been absolute horse shit with Mack Truck sized holes in multiple areas.
    Now we argue about 2C.
    Its a world from here to there and I’m going to be happy about it goddamit!

    Opening Night 2009
    L1: Horcoff-Jacques-Hemsky
    L2: Cogliano-Penner-Brule
    L3: Comrie-O’Sullivan-Stone
    L4: Gagner-Moreau-Stortini
    D1: Grebeshkov-Gilbert
    D2: Souray-Staios
    D3: Visnovsky-Smid
    (From LT blog post July 4, 2011)

    OTC at the helm. Vis and Souray went down early if I recall. We’ve come a long way in 5 years.

  53. blainer says:

    spoiler,

    So let me get this right. Are you in support of Yak playing the left side? If so .. only in the defensive zone or at all times? Also did we see the same player last year looking lost way more than he should have been? And if so do you think moving him back and fourth from Right wing to Left wing was a good idea?

  54. Lois Lowe says:

    blainer,

    What if, and I know this seems crazy, the Oilers are doing everything they can to help Yak succeed?

  55. nycoil says:

    Lowetide: That’s where I have the Oilers.

    http://oilersnation.com/2014/8/14/pacific-heights-2014-15

    Not that my opinion matters one iota, but I’m much more in agreement with your expectations for this year than I was last year. I think 10th in the conference is a reasonable line in the sand as I see anything from 9~11th as a clear sign of progress. If this team were in the East, I would think that number would be closer to 8th/9th. Last year I just didn’t see playoffs, no way; however, neither did I see “eliminated before Halloween.”

    I still say spring 2016 we see playoffs, commemorating 10 years since the last time we saw the second season. And we’ll enjoy a decade of playoff runs after that to make up for the ten year scourge.

  56. jp says:

    ashley: Opening Night 2009
    L1: Horcoff-Jacques-Hemsky
    L2: Cogliano-Penner-Brule
    L3: Comrie-O’Sullivan-Stone
    L4: Gagner-Moreau-Stortini
    D1: Grebeshkov-Gilbert
    D2: Souray-Staios
    D3: Visnovsky-Smid
    (From LT blog post July 4, 2011)

    OTC at the helm.Vis and Souray went down early if I recall.We’ve come a long way in 5 years.

    Pretty good C depth though.

  57. blainer says:

    Lois Lowe:
    blainer,

    What if, and I know this seems crazy, the Oilers are doing everything they can to help Yak succeed?

    Fair Question. That is why I was hoping there might be some analytics on Yak to support this move. I have to say unlike LT I am really not a big believer in this player and believe if they move Yak to the opposite wing they need to leave him there but still think it’s a mistake. I actually find it funny after all the oilogosphere pissing on Eakins for his handling of Yak last year that he starts him on his off wing. I wonder is he listening or is he being stubborn. Time will tell.

  58. Oilanderp says:

    We have two NHL centremen right now. 0 injuries.

    There is no realistic positive spin here.

    I’m going to have to pre-apply to the liver organ donor program.

  59. Woodguy says:

    blainer,

    If Yak continues to struggle after Eakins has put him on his off wing I will have absolutely have no sympathy for Eakins

    Yak shoots left.

    Going by the definition of “off wing”, Yak playing LW is not his “off wing”

    Eakins let Yak play RW, his actual “off wing” quite a bit last year.

  60. Lowetide says:

    Jari Kurri was a LW in Finland, playing junior
    http://www.hockeydraftcentral.com/1980/80069.html

  61. Woodguy says:

    leadfarmer:
    Woodguy,

    Sharp is currently better than all Oiler centers, although Nuge is getting close.
    Shaw scored 20 goals last year and had more points than all Oiler centers other than RNH and is 23.So no, the Blackhawks are not the deepest at center but I dont think the two situations are comparable.Plus if you think the following center depth is weak, I dont know what to tell you.
    Toews
    Sharp
    Shaw,
    Teravainen
    Handzus

    Like I said before, I’ll buy Sharp, but not as being much better than RNH, not as a Center.

    Teravain looks like a good young player, but I think DrySaddle has much more upside.

    Shaw had worse numbers than Arco in the AHL, Arco just doesn’t have the NHL numbers to show his superiority yet in the NHL, but he will.

    Handzus doesn’t play in the NHL anymore.

    They hired Peter Regin to fill out their C’s

    http://www.hockeydb.com/ihdb/stats/pdisplay.php?pid=78679

    If the Oilers hired him people would scream about him not being as good as Belanger.

  62. Numenius says:

    Lowetide:
    “God made me who I am. I cannot be (Sidney) Crosby or Shaquille O’Neill, but I can be Nail Yakupov and we’ll see what happens. I promise I’ll do 100 per cent.”

    Those are the words of a young man raised right. Full stop.

    Woodguy: If I wasn’t on my phone when I posted the link I would have also posted that part.

    Tears welled up.

    True story.

    Loved that comment too.

    I also got the sense from the other things he said that he was reconciled with Eakins.

    There was no underlying bitterness, but rather a confidence and a sense that they were on the same side. Beautiful interview. Eakins gave the same sense in his interview.

    I believe the Dee Ess Eff-bots hunter and godot are going to be unpleasantly surprised this year.

  63. Bank Shot says:

    Woodguy: Like I said before, I’ll buy Sharp, but not as being much better than RNH, not as a Center.Teravain looks like a good young player, but I think DrySaddle has much more upside.Shaw had worse numbers than Arco in the AHL, Arco just doesn’t have the NHL numbers to show his superiority yet in the NHL, but he will.Handzus doesn’t play in the NHL anymore.They hired Peter Regin to fill out their C’shttp://www.hockeydb.com/ihdb/stats/pdisplay.php?pid=78679If the Oilers hired him people would scream about him not being as good as Belanger.

    The difference is that Chicago is capped out, and center depth is their one and only weak point.

    The Oilers on the other hand have ample cap space and every position besides scoring winger is held together with baler twine and duct tape.

    The Oilers could at least address the giant glaring weaknesses.

  64. jp says:

    RexLibris,

    You left out Pakarinen-Lander-Pinizzotto. Nice read otherwise 🙂

  65. Woodguy says:

    ashley: Opening Night 2009
    L1: Horcoff-Jacques-Hemsky
    L2: Cogliano-Penner-Brule
    L3: Comrie-O’Sullivan-Stone
    L4: Gagner-Moreau-Stortini
    D1: Grebeshkov-Gilbert
    D2: Souray-Staios
    D3: Visnovsky-Smid
    (From LT blog post July 4, 2011)

    OTC at the helm.Vis and Souray went down early if I recall.We’ve come a long way in 5 years.

    That was the last time the Oilers had a reasonable Dcorps until this year.

    Here are the GP for the Oilers D that year:

    Tom Gilbert 82
    Jason Strudwick 72
    Lubomir Visnovsky 57
    Ladislav Smid 51
    Denis Grebeshkov 47
    Taylor Chorney 42
    Steve Staios 40
    Sheldon Souray 37
    Ryan Whitney 19
    Aaron Johnson 19
    Theo Peckham 15
    Dean Arsene 13
    Alex Plante 4
    Johan Motin 1

    That year Tambo did:

    Lubo-Whitney trade

    Grebs for a 2nd (Curtis Hamilton)

    Souray breaking his hand and never playing for the Oilers again.

    Staois trade to CAL (actually a good trade)

    Fucking v4.2 sure took a big gas can to the D and let it burn eh?

  66. Woodguy says:

    Bank Shot,

    The Oilers on the other hand have ample cap space and every position besides scoring winger is held together with baler twine and duct tape

    The D is much better.

    So is G

    1C is good
    4C is good

    2C and 3C are big questions.

    “every position besides scoring winger is held together by baler twine and duct tape” is a little much.

    They are not LAK, CHI, SJS or STL but they are not a 28th place team.

  67. Frank The Dog says:

    Pity about the narrative turning up about Yak and his off-wing. I’m sure I heard Eakins himself say that this was the D-zone, that they are free to go wherever they like in the O-zone.

    So the narrative really should not have a breath of wind in its sails.

  68. jp says:

    Oilanderp:
    We have two NHL centremen right now. 0 injuries.

    There is no realistic positive spin here.

    I’m going to have to pre-apply to the liver organ donor program.

    Well things COULD work out fine with the current group. We do also have 3 “non-NHL” centers with NHLEs of >40. And maybe MacT actually does have a trade in his back pocket if things go awry.

    Not trying to suggest C depth isn’t a concern, but it’s a positive that this is the only really glaring hole on the roster. Teams don’t go from 28th to no question marks in one offseason.

  69. nycoil says:

    The Oilers would have to play Hall away from Nuge to make a comparison valid with Chicago.

    Hossa and Sharp are both good two-way wingers with Toews. Kane carries whatever line he is on, and the emergence of Saad helps make up for the mediocre center. So the Oilers would have to run something like Pouliot-Nuge-Perron, Hall-Arcobello-Eberle to be similar, but still not as good because Saad brings a different element to the game than Eberle, and Toews is considerably better than Nuge at everything bar the power play at this point (not slighting Nuge here).

  70. Bank Shot says:

    Woodguy: The D is much better.So is G1C is good4C is good2C and 3C are big questions.“every position besides scoring winger is held together by baler twine and duct tape” is a little much.They are not LAK, CHI, SJS or STL but they are not a 28th place team.

    Barring a break out RNH is probably the tenth best first line center out of 14 in the West.
    The D is in a similar boat if not worse.
    G is definitely not top half and could go either way really.

    Still so many question marks. I agree they aren’t a 28th team but probably more likely to be a 25th team then a 20th team in my mind.

  71. nycoil says:

    jp,

    Teams sometimes do and have gone from bottom 5 to playoffs in one season, though. Yes, Colorado had incredible goaltending last year, but not just them. Philly, Montreal, LA, etc.

  72. Diesel says:

    I’ve read and heard a lot of opinions today on winger placement vs. shot.

    To be honest, most of them have come across like a kid from Riverbend trying read a public transit schedule – not a lot of first hand familiarity.

    In reality, navigating the ice in a comfortable manner varies greatly depending on the player and their individual skills, preferences, and abilities. For example: a RHS may prefer the LW as it relates to presenting an outlet pass for their D as they can shield the puck from a pinching defender and avoid taking an unexpected hit. However, they may prefer to attack the neutral zone on the right side because their body is “open” to the middle of the ice, which allows for better vision and playmaking ability (This also helps to reduce having to dump the puck into the offensive zone). Contrarily, some RHS like to attack the defender in rush situations on the left side because they can make a quick move to the middle/net and be in a position to shoot quickly.

    There are many more examples of these nuances all over the ice, but they have one thing in common… they are all a matter of preference based on individual skills and habits.

    Wingers can play either side. It’s simply a matter of what they themselves value amongst all of these situations that determines which they actually prefer.

    I’m rambling now – partly distracted by the Thursday nighter. I guess my point is that just because the numbers may reflect that a player is more effective on one side vs the other, it doesn’t mean he enjoys it there. There are too many factors.

  73. nycoil says:

    Bank Shot,

    They’re probably somewhere around 18th-20th as a team, actually. But by being in the west they suffer more against the top teams.

    On paper, Buffalo, Calgary, Florida, Carolina, Ottawa, Arizona are clearly worse. Add in Winnipeg, Nashville, Toronto in the group of teams the Oilers likely would be better than. But given the unbalanced schedule I could see the Oilers finishing 10th or 11th in the 14team west, but finishing 23rd or 24th overall despite being better than maybe 10 teams.

  74. Bank Shot says:

    nycoil: Bank Shot, They’re probably somewhere around 18th-20th as a team, actually. But by being in the west they suffer more against the top teams.On paper, Buffalo, Calgary, Florida, Carolina, Ottawa, Arizona are clearly worse. Add in Winnipeg, Nashville, Toronto in the group of teams the Oilers likely would be better than. But given the unbalanced schedule I could see the Oilers finishing 10th or 11th in the 14team west, but finishing 23rd or 24th overall despite being better than maybe 10 teams.

    Maybe. A lot of those teams the Oilers should be better than had corsis that were miles better last season though. Ottawa, Florida, Carolina, Arizona, and Winnipeg were all around 50% or higher.

    The Oilers have to make a huge leap to get into that territory.

    I’d be pretty happy with a 20th overall finish with supporting numbers. If they finish 24th-25th then the lack of filling holes looks bad on MacT IMO.

    What is everyone else’s line in the sand for this season? If the team corsi improves to 46% does MacT get a vote of confidence? What’s the minimum level of improvement that has to take place for fans to be satisfied with the performance of the team?

  75. jp says:

    nycoil:
    jp,

    Teams sometimes do and have gone from bottom 5 to playoffs in one season, though. Yes, Colorado had incredible goaltending last year, but not just them.Philly, Montreal, LA, etc.

    Yeah, 100% agree. Just trying to say that it would be some kind of miracle if the roster looked perfectly balanced with no holes when the team finished bottom 3 the last time there was hockey.

    I actually posted something on that last month. Pleasantly surprising how many teams that finished at the bottom of the league multiple years in a row actually jumped into the playoffs, and often won the Cup in short order.

    Absolutely the Oilers could make the playoffs this year if things break right.

  76. nycoil says:

    Bank Shot,

    Sure, but Oilers were better against the East, and a lot of the teams mentioned above got worse on paper this off season. We shall see, but I don’t think it’s a stretch to say the Oilers on paper have improved the most this off season out of that group of teams, is it? Or am I out to lunch. Nashville did add some offense and will have Rinne back so maybe not with them.

    I’d say 10th or better in the west is a success, better than 22nd overall would be as well. 11th/24th no major disaster, worse than that, look out.

  77. Numenius says:

    Bank Shot: The Oilers on the other hand have ample cap space and every position besides scoring winger is held together with baler twine and duct tape.

    Not sure where this idea of ample cap space comes from.

    It’s true they have 4.1M of space right now this year. But this is mitigated by the 5.4M of bonuses they have to watch out for.

    Plus, they’re in tight for space next year (assuming no major roster changes). Most contracts remain and Yak, Marincin, Petry, and Schultz need new contracts (and Fasth, but let’s assume he or someone like him gets signed for the same amount). If the cap rises to 74M, they’ll have about 15.2M to sign these 4 players. Unless they’re let go or traded, Petry and Schultz will cost at least 5M each, leaving 5.2M at most for Yak and Marincin. Even if Yak signs a bridge for 3M and Marincin for 1.5M, that doesn’t leave room for adding anyone significant. There are also bonuses to take into account.

    So the Oilers cannot add anyone significant now (especially if it’s for more than 1 year) unless they have plans of trading or losing someone significant quite quickly (and certainly by next year). In my books, that means cap space is not ample.

  78. RexLibris says:

    Woodguy,

    Teravain looks like a good young player, but I think Jankowski has much more upside.

    Said Jay Feaster to John Weisbrod.

    Man, that’ll never get old.

  79. RexLibris says:

    nycoil:
    Bank Shot,

    They’re probably somewhere around 18th-20th as a team, actually. But by being in the west they suffer more against the top teams.

    On paper, Buffalo, Calgary, Florida, Carolina, Ottawa, Arizona are clearly worse. Add in Winnipeg, Nashville, Toronto in the group of teams the Oilers likely would be better than. But given the unbalanced schedule I could see the Oilers finishing 10th or 11th in the 14team west, but finishing 23rd or 24th overall despite being better than maybe 10 teams.

    Don’t you know? The rebuild is over in Calgary. Yep, they got ‘er done in two years flat because they are just that talented and smart. I suspect they’ll have the new ‘Dome up and ready to go by next fall using only private money, too. It won’t be downtown, but nobody in Calgary really minds driving out to Balzac to watch a Flames game.

    😉

  80. RexLibris says:

    So, Rule Britannia I guess then, eh?

    http://www.theguardian.com/politics/scottish-independence

    Speaking of which, saw this online the other day and thought it was absolutely hilarious.

    http://entertainment.guardianoffers.co.uk/i-cc-1119-nae/salmondsqueezy-g/?INTCMP=mic_233690

    An Alex Salmond squeezy doll. Check the posterior.

  81. stevezie says:

    Bank Shot: Barring a break out RNH is probably the tenth best first line center out of 14 in the West.

    Considering his age and pedigree, I think a breakout is as likely as not.

  82. RexLibris says:

    I could come up with eight 1st line centers who are arguably better than Nugent-Hopkins in Kopitar, Toews, Getzlaf, Thornton, Sedin, Statsny, Spezza and Duchene (and I’m not entirely certain about Duchene being that much better).

    Calgary, Arizona, Minnesota, Winnipeg, and Columbus all have what I would consider weaker 1st line centers as of the end of the season and following free-agency.

    Once this season is underway, I wonder whether Nugent-Hopkins surpasses any of those listed above.

  83. Well Oiled and Enthusiastic says:

    If those lines were chiseled in granite (and they are not of course), I would think your 2 line is Yak/Arco/Purcell not the other way round. I would guess they will have more offensive punch this year. Nice to see more balance and fluidity in the top 9. Also, if you had to make the call today it is Bogdan I keep and LD gets sent back. He has played in a higher level league and is simply bigger (that says something when you are comparing to LD). Arco will be the placeholder on 2C for this year. Bogdan can begin to learn the NA game in the bottom 6. But it’s early and the story must still unfold. LD has the offensive upside over time but just hasn’t looked ready so far regardless of draft pedigree. Will be interesting to see the outcome of TC and the first few regular season games. I truly hope they don’t force LD. I don’t think they will (ok…I hope they don’t).

  84. Old School G says:

    Is this season our tipping point?

    Holy shit, can you imagine?!

  85. TheNemesister says:

    Hello all 🙂
    I come to you this evening with a proposal I’d like you all to consider…
    let’s pick a day (Friday perhaps) to try our darndest to be positive about our beloved Oilers.
    I mean really, I can’t be the only one who’s growing weary of the people who feel the need to shit on others for attempting to look at the bright side of our situation here…
    if I wanted to read this many negative comments,
    I’d be at Copper N Blue… or Dead Cat Bouncing.
    Chin up chaps… Sometimes determined young men have a way of surprising you by surpassing your expectations of them 😉
    Cheers.

  86. TheNemesister says:

    & oh yes…
    Clap Clap

  87. HiddenDarts says:

    Hey. The brains are why I come here. But does anybody understand that trades just don’t happen now? This is a cap stricken league. Camps need to take place before GMs consider their options.

    Am I the only one who understands this?

    The center problem will change. Possibly into a new problem. But stretch out and wait a bit, you ninnys. This is getting old.

  88. Frank The Dog says:

    Bank Shot: Maybe. A lot of those teams the Oilers should be better than had corsis that were miles better last season though. Ottawa, Florida, Carolina, Arizona, and Winnipeg were all around 50% or higher.

    The Oilers have to make a huge leap to get into that territory.

    I’d be pretty happy with a 20th overall finish with supporting numbers. If they finish 24th-25th then the lack of filling holes looks bad on MacT IMO.

    What is everyone else’s line in the sand for this season? If the team corsi improves to 46% does MacT get a vote of confidence? What’s the minimum level of improvement that has to take place for fans to be satisfied with the performance of the team?

    21st.

  89. nycoil says:

    RexLibris,

    Missing Seguin.

  90. RexLibris says:

    nycoil:
    RexLibris,

    Missing Seguin.

    I was picking one per team on a 1st line basis. I’m not sure I’d rate Seguin as better than Nugent-Hopkins overall. Higher offensive production, certainly, but I don’t think his overall game is any more advanced.

  91. Ryan says:

    RexLibris: I was picking one per team on a 1st line basis. I’m not sure I’d rate Seguin as better than Nugent-Hopkins overall. Higher offensive production, certainly, but I don’t think his overall game is any more advanced.

    Huh ? 🙂

    Offensive production is a pretty integral part of being a 1st line centre,

    They’re both still very young and who knows which one will ultimately have the better career, but if you were to ask me which one is the better centre right now today… I think there’s little debate.

  92. gcw_rocks says:

    Woodguy,

    Fayne makes the defence better, but “much better” is a stretch.

    Petry is the real deal but might not make it to Christmas with the team if they get desperate for a centre. After that, it’s all question marks.

    Ference is another year older and defenders can decline rapidly at his age. Is he done?

    Was Marincin’s run last year a fluke, or is he really ready? Young defenders do not always progress in a straight line.

    Will Schultz improve his two way play? If not, do the Oilers have someone who can carry him and still have other pairings to play toughs?

    Who is Nikitin really? Was he misused in Columbus, or is he really a third pairing guy now being seriously overpaid?

    Real NHL defenses don’t have that many question marks.

  93. jake70 says:

    Woodguy: The Oilers couldn’t exit their zone last year with 5 sherpas, a map and 100ft of rope..

    Nice.

    But I have to correct you, we all know some players had the ability to exit the zone quite easily, (what’s the term? – “fly the zone”) problem was too often the puck was still well behind their own blue line.

    And let’s hope that Nikitin and Fayne aren’t just different versions of Foster because clearly they are upgrades on Barker and the like.

  94. PerryK says:

    blainer:
      

    There can’t be serious analytics to prove one way or the other on this subject. The sample size would be too small. We are back to good old fashioned coaching based on techniques and intuition for how to handle D responsibilities on your “off wing”.

  95. Pouzar says:

    gcw_rocks,

    Seems the Avalanche had a few questions this time last year. 😛

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