The Oilers lost Jordan Eberle to injury last night, and that’s a bad thing. Righty in a sea of lefties and the man is a first-shot scorer on a team with a lot of playmakers up and down the line. Ghastly turn, he had a slow start due to injury a year ago and this time it’s no start at all. Candidates to replace him on the Nuge line? Teddy Purcell, Lauri Korpikoski, Nail Yakupov, Anton Slepyshev, and Taylor Hall. Seriously. No. 4 hasn’t been good with McDavid, maybe a move back to Nuge’s line will get him straight. I think Leon is best suited for the McDavid line but he’s an option too. If I had a vote, the next eight weeks might go like this:
My goodness he is playing well. Slepyshev is a RH winger who has an attractive combination of size, speed and skill. Zero idea how the young man passed through one draft let alone lasted to No. 88 in the following draft. One reason he may have fallen: SlepSlappy’s game looks well suited to the NHL style, his physical play and willingness to engage definitely catches the eye. Looks like a smart player too, I’d still send him down. Too much youth on the top three lines as it is, Slepyshev is only a phone call a way if needed. Based on last night’s performance, I wouldn’t be surprised if he makes the team, however. Seriously.
I know he doesnt have any points yet but so far this has been McDavids best game IMO. Processing things on another level.
— Ryan Rishaug (@TSNRyanRishaug) September 30, 2015
NHL defensemen are going to have nightmares and pure hatred in their hearts by Christmas. McDavid is going to get stoned by opposition goalies (his shot won’t beat them clean based on what I’ve seen so far) but the defensemen are literally screwing themselves into the ice trying to keep up with him and his blasted passing ability. I don’t recall the last time an Oilers rookie had me looking forward to watching his career roll out like this guy. It was a long time ago.
That was a good game by Nikita Nikitin and yes he’s still too slow. Great, great pass on the first Lander goal and he made some nice plays without the puck. Sekera and Schultz looked very good, the puck was zipping all over the place. I’d love to see that pairing again. Reinhart was uneven as was his partner Fayne. I thought they’d be better together, but there were precious few crisp tape-to-tape passes when they were on the ice. Reinhart had a reasonable night defending to my eye, he’s a young defender who will need to increase the speed and quality of his decisions when handling the puck.
Thank God and Greyhound no one took him on waivers. Lordy. I know it was pre-season and a subpar Coyotes group but he can play a 200 foot game and has genuine skill. Oilers traded Shawn Horcoff in 2013 and got him back—younger version—in 2015. He’s got a wonderful range of skills and his offensive game has grown over the AHL seasons. New rule: You have to wait five years after draft for prospects to develop, six if your team is run by dummies. I added a little at the end there.
Lander’s range of skills could be a big deal for this team under Todd McLellan. The coach mentioned last night that he was told the Swede was a slow starter (insider intel from Oilers’ brass must border on Fawlty Towers hilarity) but he hadn’t seen it. Could the Oilers use Lander as a stealth offensive center, sneaking Hall, McDavid and others onto his line? Suspect he could mentor Leon too. My word having responsible centermen opens up the possibilities.
LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE
A fluid show this morning, TSN1260 beginning at 10. I’ll have Bruce McCurdy from the Cult of Hockey joining me at 10:20 and Andrew Bucholtz from 55-Yard Line at 10:40. The 11am hour looks like we’ll be visiting some eastern NHL cities to get a feel for their camp but as mentioned we’re not currently locked in. 10-1260 text, @Lowetide on twitter. 90 minutes!