HOPE IS A GOOD THING

by Lowetide

The Edmonton Oilers have reached a point where fans can be genuinely disappointed by an effort that would have been considered usual fare not so long ago. Ahead 3-1 last night, they stepped into an elevator shaft and blew a winnable game. They have major issues, including a momentum-killing power play and a problem with pressure. It is December 28: They remain in the conversation for the playoffs, but last night’s win makes draft talk in January far more likely.

JIGSAW PUZZLE, YEAR OVER YEAR

  • Oilers in October 2014: 4-5-1
  • Oilers in October 2015: 4-8-0
  • Oilers in November 2014: 2-9-3
  • Oilers in November 2015: 4-7-2
  • Oilers in December 2014: 2-8-4
  • Oilers in December 2015: 7-4-1
  • Oilers after 37 in 2014-15: 8-22-7, 23 points (-54 GD)
  • Oilers after 37 in 2015-16: 15-19-3, 33 points (-18 GD)

It will be a damn shame if the Oilers can’t grab at least one win in their last two December games (Los Angeles and Anaheim). There will be better days ahead—the IR has exceptional quality—but the club has shown impressive resilience in this first half of the season.

THE BLUE, LAST NIGHT

oilers blue nov 30

  • Nikitin—Gryba had a strong night by the numbers and visually both men had good moments. Gryba is as advertised (he can defend but is not a strong puck manager), so his partner should be better with the biscuit—enter Brad Hunt. I saw Nikitin good last night, he was more aggressive with the puck, but his wheels won’t turn and that is a fact.
  • Sekera—Fayne played a lot together but were a tale of two cities. Sekera won the Gaudreau Corsi events battle (8-6) in 5:47, but was only 11-17 with Fayne (5-1 with Gryba). Fayne’s numbers were the least impressive of the group, I like him but will admit he is often in the middle of nowhere and standing up at the blue is alien to him (his game is more passive, he cheats because of foot speed—that’s my guess). He won’t play a feature role for McLellan when the injured return.
  • Nurse—Schultz had a good night against the feature group, sawing off Gaudreau at 5×5. Nurse was splendid to my eye, this was one of his better games during the days of heavy work. He finished 12-11 in 7:06 against Gaudreau and that kid is magic. Schultz was 9-12 against Gaudreau and of course made a poor decision on goal four against—but it is important to remember it’s possible to have good numbers and get noticed for negative things—single moments and events can have super importance while being exactly single moments and events.

Brad Hunt is on the roster and will play soon, suspect he will receive plenty of power-play time. Who comes out, based on merit? Nikita Nikitin and it is not close. I believe NN’s deadline trade value is something akin to ‘Nikitin and a second for a third’ with Oilers keeping some of the money. The Oilers biggest issue (imo) this morning is the power play, and Hunt should help with that hammer.

CENTERS, LAST NIGHT

oil c nov 30

A very nice recovery evening from Nugent-Hopkins, skated miles, posted two assists (one a dandy) and spent 5:16 against Gaudreau (going 7-8). He was 30 percent in the dot, but overall this was a solid effort. Leon Draisaitl also had a positive outing, getting an assist on the Purcell goal. He isn’t on fire currently but still has an impact. Mark Letestu is bringing a consistent level of play now, the veteran (like many Chiarelli hires) seems to have settled in. His speed is exposed on a night like last one, but for me there is value in this player. Anton Lander was the only regular C at 50 perent on the dot, and battled the Bennett line to 6-3 Corsi events at 5×5. A good night from the centers to my eye.

WINGERS, LAST NIGHT

oilers f nov 30

  • Hall—Purcell hooked up on the third goal and had five and six shots on goal, respectively. It is hard to fault this line, they cashed once and could have had another. The power play issues are clearly team driven, so my grade is positive (save for an ill-advised Hall hit attempt on the PP that contributed to the PK goal by CGY—a devastating moment that involved a lot of culprits).
  • Pouliot—Eberle had a splendid night, hard to believe this trio were the same bunch who played so poorly in Vancouver. If they can keep that momentum up, Edmonton will win some games in this next stretch because two scoring lines—and it has been awhile.
  • Hendricks—Korpikoski had an effective night by the numbers, I am still mad about the bobbled pass by Hendricks but that is a single event and this is a substantial veteran. Hendricks does seem to have some issues at the blue lately, probably just a blip on the radar and he will settle down.
  • Gazdic—Pakarinen played the McLellan 4line minutes, meaning not a helluva lot. I would like to see the Finn in a bigger role, but the guys ahead of him are playing well so there is no daylight.

It’s possible to have good numbers and get noticed for negative things—single moments and events can have super importance while being exactly single moments and events. Put another way, shit happens.

REDEMPTION SONG

This is a Glen Sather move all the way. Zack Kassian brings issues to his new team (described briefly here) and the Oilers fanbase is going to be asked to adjust their thinking on this player. On the negative, he has a back story that would have had Steve Tambellini puking into a bucket dawn to dusk. There is also the Sam Gagner stick-swinging assault to deal with and Kassian’s poor display of sportsmanship that followed it.

Once beyond that mess, we have a somewhat unique hockey player. He is 6.03, 214, can win battles along the wall and in front of the net, and is a world class agitator. He can fight, and has real skill (12.86 even-strength goals per 82GP in the NHL) and is the definition of a power forward. Since Edmonton doesn’t have one, Kassian goes to the top of the table.

Adding Kassian brings competition to the RW position and it is my belief we could see him on a skill line as soon as he is ready (Kassian hasn’t played since last season) in Bakersfield. Will he ever play for the Oilers? Yes. Will he have success? There is a very good chance. Will he conquer his demons? One always hopes for it. Can we cheer for him? Let me get back to you.

SAIL ON, SPRUCE GROVE SAINT

He came to us in times of trouble and for a time stilled the waters. Playing goal for Team Chaos is a giant task and Mr. Scrivens could not sustain the confidence and performance, becoming another in a long line of goaltenders crushed under the incredible weight of playing Oilers goal.

Year two of his deal featured the humiliation of being sent to the minors and toiling in a lesser league. I didn’t hear one complaint from him and he delivered solid netminding once he got established (.957, .921 and .923 last three Condors outings).

BEN

scrivens11

You remain a unique personality in the game of hockey, and we will follow your career in Montreal. There is quite a collection of former Oilers there, suspect one day you will be able to laugh about your experiences in Edmonton. I hope you earn an NHL contract for next season and build your career back to previous levels. Don’t become one in a long line of players who lost their NHL careers because playing for the Oilers sewered value. Seize the day, Ben Scrivens. Grab that rope and start climbing. Sail on, Ben Scrivens. All the best.

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Justthestatsman

Pouzar:
I don’t think Matt Henderson likes the trade.

http://www.hockeybuzz.com/blog/Matt-Henderson/Oilers-Downgrade-In-Class-And-Character/191/73563

I’m trying to think of an Oilers player in the past that would be similar to Kassian and I can’t come up with one. There’s been tough guys like Dave Semenko, Dave Brown and Geoges Laraque, over the edge nasty, like Marty McSorley, cheap shot guys like Bryan Marchment and Raffi Torres, agitators like Esa Tikkanen. I may have my Oilers blinders on here, but my recollection is that as much as they may have been disposed by other teams these guys always answered the bell when they were challenged and never would have mocked someone who he had injured like Kassian has done.

People can change and I really hope Kassian is able to straighten his life out as I suspect there’s more to this than just the substance abuse issue. Right now though, I feel a lot like Matt does.

Rondo

http://www.vancitybuzz.com/2015/12/former-canuck-zack-kassian-traded-to-oilers/

“I think it’s safe to say at this point that Kassian is not, and never will be, a player who protects other players with revenge hits or fights.
Yes, he will drop the gloves and throw down, but he doesn’t do it as often as you think. Aside from his second year in in the OHL (63 points in 61 games, 13 fights), he usually averages less than five fights or less in a season.
As for hits, he really doesn’t land many big ones, at least not in the way you’d imagine a 6″3 220 pound player might.
As many fans in Vancouver witnessed, even his protection of the puck wasn’t what you’d expect from a player of his size.
It’s not just Edmonton that has these expectations, though, as even Montreal bought into the power forward hype train, wondering if “the Canadiens found the power forward they have been looking for” when they traded for him at the 2016 draft.”

PhrankLee

Water Fire: Strombolopolous wowed my wife and I in a post game solo recap he did on the weekend, saying somebody had an ‘ass-ist’ using the same calibre of humour my 10 year old would use, 4 years ago. That is job losing worthy childishness IMO. Terrible idea to have him on sports, or the public broadcaster. I’m not sure ‘bar star old man sleeze’ or whatever he’s trying to go for is hip even to the millenials.
Time for the CBC to move on from the failed attempt to appeal to youth by being some weird version of edgy, that included Gomeshi, and Bambury’s great pro drug and sex comments on his teen oriented weekend show. All class, all the time. It’s awesome I get to pay for that kind of garbage whether I want to or not! /End rant

The only other guy I just have to constantly mute is the Canucks super-apologist, and usually uncomfortably behind on the play by play Jim Hughson.

cadooo,

That’s the kind of advice I treasure, thanks. Very cool.

stevezie

RexLibris,

Really that entire draft is incredibly underwhelming. It actually forms a better defence of Nail than his own play does.

Sure there are some fine players, maybe even future all-stars, but no one who at this point is at the level where you can say, “He’s playing like you’d want a first overall to be playing at this age. I’m so glad it was our year to pick first!” (Though I like Trouba)

And the only impact player for the 1st round is Fredrick Anderson. Next Best is Severson.

If there was a re-draft you trade down.

RexLibris

sliderule:
RexLibris,

I am glad I am not alone.

My wife comes into room and says”why are you watching game with no sound”

She says “wierd””

When people ask me I usually say there’s nothing those guys can tell me that I can’t see for myself or will be explained more intelligently online (meaning this site).

Now, what we need is to find a way to broadcast the game but have LT, Bruce and WG doing colour/analysis.

It’d be rated NC-17, but worth the price of admission!

RexLibris

Lowetide: The weird thing for me? Edmonton didn’t invite Galchenyuk in for a visit. They invited the other Russian C.

Grigorenko.

It was about this same time that year, maybe January, I was listening to the radio and some ex-hockey playing insider was saying that Grigorenko was “their guy” because they’d been chasing a large center for so long.

For me it was Galchenyuk, Murray, Yakupov with very, very little separating the three – essentially it was position played that determined it for me. And I liked Murray’s style of game being smooth skating and strong passing, per the scouting reports to that point.

Once we got to March/April I recall Reilly entering the picture as he’d been out some time with a knee injury, iirc, and having played some in the WHL playoffs that year. Or course Reinhart was discussed but I think fans here had concerns about him having enough offensive potential.

So I don’t debate the fact that Yakupov was a very strong choice, hindsight is 20/20.

square_wheels

4th_Line_Plug,

I’ve seen that same nightmare play out in front of me far too many times at rec hockey as well. I live in Calgary and play at the Oval often, watching the speed skaters drives home the importance to keeping those blades on the ice.

Dig up a Lidstrom YouTube video of him patrolling his own zone defending the cycle, absolute thing of beauty. He would never cross his legs over, not once, just rolled his ankles and weighted each leg to stay square to the attacking forward. Why he’s a legend…..his skating and edge work was near perfect, just stunning how he could cover a forward.

Funny thing about skating is how little most recognize the importance of feet, especially in edge work. Wobble boards are money for developing foot and ankle strength. I somehow struck gold in the 80’s as I grew up in a small town full of amazing hockey players, shit tones of ice time and a figure skating/Can-Skate instructor that drilled us mercilessly on stride and edge work.

godot10

So MacT didn’t sign a defensemen good enough to make the Chicago Blackhawks. People on this blog gave Tambellini hell for not signing Jeremy Blain.

So Rieder is playing in Phoenix, Gustafsson in Chicago, Davidson in Edmonton, and Hartikainen will be at some point (he was just in an organization run by idiots), and Stu MacGregor is bashed by the media for not finding players outside the top two rounds.

Let’s see how MacT’s boy Hunt does in his 2nd chance. I wonder if Hunt would make Chicago.

Pouzar

NYCOIL “Gentleman Backpacker”: I only need Schultz to put up 36 points in the final 45 games to win my bet! Piece of cake.

If he gets sent to Bakersfield you have a chance!

Pouzar:

I only need Schultz to put up 36 points in the final 45 games to win my bet! Piece of cake.

Pouzar

Ryan: I just cleared my debt on our Lander bet.

36 gp, 0-2-2 (-9)

Lordy, now that’s setting the world on fire.

I swear Mclellan and Chiarelli have kept him on the roster because they read this blog and they’re just trolling me.

🙂

Flames fan friend of mine living in Singspore to me:

“Sat we lost to vancouver. Sun we lost to the flames. Mon we traded for kassian. Happy holidays.”

Kind of funny.

Water Fire

PhrankLee: We have taken to watching the “goalie cam” feed especially when Hrudey is on air.

Strombolopolous wowed my wife and I in a post game solo recap he did on the weekend, saying somebody had an ‘ass-ist’ using the same calibre of humour my 10 year old would use, 4 years ago. That is job losing worthy childishness IMO. Terrible idea to have him on sports, or the public broadcaster. I’m not sure ‘bar star old man sleeze’ or whatever he’s trying to go for is hip even to the millenials.

Time for the CBC to move on from the failed attempt to appeal to youth by being some weird version of edgy, that included Gomeshi, and Bambury’s great pro drug and sex comments on his teen oriented weekend show. All class, all the time. It’s awesome I get to pay for that kind of garbage whether I want to or not! /End rant

cadooo: If you have 5.1 sound you can disconnect the center speaker to just hear arena sound. I discovered this during 2006 playoffs because I wanted to crank the arena sounds but the announcers were too loud.

I often listen to music or a podcast when watching to be honest. WTF with Marc Maron is a good pairing with the Oilers.

Good tip. I have been on the road for the last 14.5 months, though. So, no 5.1. Even at my last home, though, I graduated a while back from 5.1 once I got custom made Symphonic Line speakers and a 2 channel amp together. 🙂

Ryan

Pouzar: I’ll take that bet.

Stakes?

I just cleared my debt on our Lander bet.

36 gp, 0-2-2 (-9)

Lordy, now that’s setting the world on fire.

I swear Mclellan and Chiarelli have kept him on the roster because they read this blog and they’re just trolling me. 🙂

DRFNsuperstar

square_wheels,

You nailed it. Hip and ankle flexibility is key to a powerful stride. Video can provide amazing feedback and coaching now too. If Tiger Woods can totally rebuild his swing, players can learn to reshape their stride…granted it did more harm than good to Woods.

I can’t speak to coaching in Sweden but in Canada minor hockey sucks at skills development. There was a peewee practice on the ice before us the other day, they practiced faceoff plays for 45 minutes…it was F’n crazy! You’re ruining the beauty of the game when you don’t coach skills and creativity every practice until atleast midget or major junior.

square_wheels

4th_Line_Plug,

Eek, yes that’s a decent chopper. I’ve always been astonished by how little emphasis is placed on advanced skating techniques at young ages, it’s THE foundational skill required to excel in this game.

25yr old’s are unlikely to vastly improve their stride, it’s possible yes, but would require an advanced coach and significant off-ice work. Lengthening the stride is the hardest to correct, as you need to change your stick length as you squat further down and that completely changes how you handle the puck, shoot and most importantly see the ice. Sometimes genetics just don’t allow it, flexibility in the hips and ankles and even the type of foot you have all make significant contributions.

I might take the chance on him if I had the skating coach and he had the willingness to rebuild that technique.

Chaos Magician

NYCOIL “Gentleman Backpacker”:
RexLibris,

Listening to the Flames, I meant HNIC broadcast last night was painful. Don’t know how you all put up with it.

To be honest I would prefer most to have just the sounds of the game with zero commentary. Wish that were an option.

If you have 5.1 sound you can disconnect the center speaker to just hear arena sound. I discovered this during 2006 playoffs because I wanted to crank the arena sounds but the announcers were too loud.

I often listen to music or a podcast when watching to be honest. WTF with Marc Maron is a good pairing with the Oilers.

square_wheels

sliderule,

I’ve switched over to the Omni feed in Punjabi, figure if I’m going to watch on mute I might as well provide them the ratings.

PhrankLee

sliderule: I am glad I am not alone.
My wife comes into room and says”why are you watching game with no sound”
She says “wierd””

We have taken to watching the “goalie cam” feed especially when Hrudey is on air.

rope-a-dope

leadfarmer:
For anyone interested I found this to be a fun read, from Kuznetzov

http://www.theplayerstribune.com/evgeny-kuznetsov-capitals-russia-hockey/

Good article, I could not help but read it with a thick Russian accent in my head.

Ca$h-McMoney!

Lowetide,

I don’t have proof, but I can say I got to know a lot about Yakupov from other posters in his draft -1 year, and that was at a point of my life where I didn’t know anything about prospects, or drafts, etc., because I was just starting to get hooked into the online community. Admitedly more of an Oilersnation thing at the time, so perhaps I’m the only one that remembers things that way.

Centre of attention,

He has done so much this year to prove the C belongs on his Jersey, both on and off the ice.

Centre of attention

Hall is heaping praise on Kassian. Great to see there is no hard feelings, can’t help but believe he’s a great leader.

Hall could easily just turn his nose up and nobody would care. Instead hes offering support.

Psyche

leadfarmer,

Terrific read. Thanks for recommending the article.

alice13

Re Schulz, LT said ” Lack of confidence is killing his career. ”

I was just going to mention something along those lines myself. Watching the replay of his late penalty sequence, he loses the puck and his man at the blueline, shit happens. Follows him, takes a – pretty soft – hooking penalty trying to nterfere with the guy. Not exectly a Norris-candidate move, but still a normal hockey play.

But after he releases buddy, instead of stopping up there (on the right side, his side) and turning forward to face whatever might be coming behind, he proceeds behind and around the net to the opposite side, during this transit completely out of any position to defend, and not even following a Flame player on said journey. By himself, behind his own net!

On the one hand you want to pull your hair out, but assuming he has made it this far with at least some of the instincts any 14yr old would have, I wondered is it mental, has he just completely lost confidence? The alternative means he’s valueless, so I wonder that maybe they should just send him down for a month to blow out the cobwebs. Best case he clears waivers and gets back on track, worst case he gets picked up and blows out the cobwebs on someone else’s blue line. But there’s no point continuing what they’re doing with him now, he’s worse than NN, potential or not.

sliderule

RexLibris,

I am glad I am not alone.

My wife comes into room and says”why are you watching game with no sound”

She says “wierd””

Psyche

frjohnk,

Slow ??…slow ?? It only took a 1 for 1 million run on the PP to move Schultz to the 2nd unit. Our coaching staff may be brilliant, but they’re definitely stubborn. Job security early in a contract allows them that luxury.

Unlocking Schultz’s confidence means putting him in a position to have success. They need to play him in a role he is comfortable (feels safe) with a partner who complements his skill set.

Unlike San Jose, there is a bit more pressure and focus on their work. Curious to see how they adapt over the years.

leadfarmer

Dicky94,

Or suspended

leadfarmer

For anyone interested I found this to be a fun read, from Kuznetzov

http://www.theplayerstribune.com/evgeny-kuznetsov-capitals-russia-hockey/

Centre of attention

Fowler blew a knee, so that will help the Oilers later this week.

frjohnk

Edmonton Oilers ‏@EdmontonOilers · 10m10 minutes ago
“We’re here to support him… If Zack happens to come back and have a great NHL career, we’ll be very proud of him.” Coach McLellan

Edmonton Oilers ‏@EdmontonOilers · 11m11 minutes ago
“The first thing that comes to me is size and a skill-set that goes with it.” Coach McLellan on facing Zack Kassian in previous seasons

flyfish1168

i am one that truly believe yak has been an orphan winger. Without a truly good veteran centerman to help him develop. That one is on MacT. The 2nd part is a coach that understands how to work with what you have not one a rookie coach that was trying to find his way around.

Dicky94

Pouzar,

I give him two games this weekend and then he is up.

frjohnk

✔ @Bob_Stauffer

Oilers will spend some time on PP this morning: Hall-Draisaitl-Purcell-Lander-Hunt and Pouliot-RNH-Eberle-Letestu-Schultz/Sekera

1st unit finally has someone at the point who has a bomb, and cant be much worse than Schultz defensively. I suspect Lander in front to try and recreate some of last years PP magic.

When McDavid and Yak come back Id just say fuck it and have the 2nd unit go Pouliot-RNH-Eberle-McDavid-Yak.

Jethro Tull

smellyglove: Polishing the brass on the Titanic.

The brass on the Titanic was polished. They didn’t know it was going to sink.

Unless you subscribe to the conspiracy theory it was a massive insurance fraud.

http://www.titanicuniverse.com/the-titanic-conspiracy-investigating-the-titanic-conspiracy-theory/124

PhrankLee

Ca$h-McMoney!: People forget about Yakupov.

I agree. There was really no argument that held water to not draft him.

Strongest consensus in several years.

Ca$h-McMoney!

Lowetide,

From a career management perspective, no GM is using a first overall pick on a guy who played as few games as Galchenyuk played. If he doesn’t turn out you’re going to be out of a job for sure.

People forget about Yakupov.

I first started regularly visiting these blogs around the time we drafted Hall. I was about 1 year in when we drafted RNH. You know what the #1 sentiment on these blogs was when we had the 1st overall pick in 2011?

“I wish we could have the first overall pick next year, because that Yakupov kid is going to be something special”. Of course no one figured there was any chance we wouldn’t turn North and not pick 1st overall at the time.

Long answer to a short question, but there was a 0% chance we would have taken Galchenyuk 1st overall. 0%. And that would have been true for any other team as well.

frjohnk

Lowetide: The weird thing for me? Edmonton didn’t invite Galchenyuk in for a visit. They invited the other Russian C.

Grigorenko?

Lewis Grant

Zack Kassian an Oiler?

Why don’t we just pick up Jesse Boulerice while we’re at it?

This is the guy that effectively ended Gagner’s career. (And he has off-ice issues to boot.)

Even without that, he’s on, what, his fourth team? Does anybody really think he’ll be any better than, say, Ben Eager?

RexLibris

NYCOIL “Gentleman Backpacker”:
RexLibris,

I, and others here, liked Galchenyuk plenty, too. But he missed an entire year, basically. Would have been hugely ballsy to take him over Yak at #1. People would have been talking about it being a reach pick.

Yes, it would have been.

He went out at game 11 of the season, iirc, due to a blown knee injury, which for a league based more and more on skating is no small thing.

I just liked that he was a center and had been integral in Yakupov’s scoring in junior.

Funny that Yakupov missed time that same year due to injury but he was having such a phenomenal season that there really wasn’t any thought of another forward entering the picture by that point.

The really funny part is that the Jets waited until #9 to get Trouba and I would argue they got a better defenseman than any of the teams ahead.

Although that Severson kid who went 60th overall to Jersey doesn’t look too bad. 😉

Centre of attention

From Oilers official twitter:

“Kassian has been skating for three weeks, is said to be in good shape & could play for @Condors this weekend, according to GM Chiarelli.”

Centre of attention

“You offer support, treat him like one of the guys & try to be the best teammate you can… I’m rooting for him.” @hallsy04 on Kassian

Future captain taylor hall has his 2 cents on Kassian.

Oil2Oilers

2016-17 Oilers
Pou-McDavid-Yak
Slepyshev-Draisaitl-Hall
Kassian-Nuge-Ebs
Hendricks-FaceCage-Lander

Klefbom-Buff
Nurse-sekera
Davidson-Reinhart

And not one damn person bitch’n about lack of size.

RexLibris

NYCOIL “Gentleman Backpacker”:
RexLibris,

Listening to the Flames, I meant HNIC broadcast last night was painful. Don’t know how you all put up with it.

To be honest I would prefer most to have just the sounds of the game with zero commentary. Wish that were an option.

I didn’t un-mute the television once.

Why should I bother?

It was a Flames telecast, which confused me given that it was a Flames home game.

But a Flames telecast, on a Flames home game, with Gaudreau setting December on fire, and the team going for a franchise record 11th straight win at home?

Yeah, thanks, I think I’ll mute and listen to the seconds of my life tick away instead.

RexLibris,

I, and others here, liked Galchenyuk plenty, too. But he missed an entire year, basically. Would have been hugely ballsy to take him over Yak at #1. People would have been talking about it being a reach pick.

PhrankLee:
What I like about the trade is it may indicate the cork is finally out of the bottle and assessment is complete.

Time for action. This is housekeeping too.A nice opportunity for both players to resurrect their respective careers.

OR we could be making a mountain out of a molehill (me included), and it was doing Scrivens a solid, while putting someone on the farm who is something of a scratch and win lottery ticket.

Maybe he never plays a minute for the Oilers. Or maybe he works hard the next few weeks until the trade deadline and then they give him a look-see.

I will say the assessment phase is done and the trading season is upon us when a current roster player is moved to address the glaring problem on the blueline.

RexLibris

Lowetide: Lots of people (including blog author) thought Nail was the right pick.

I had argued at the time that I felt Galchenyuk was a better “fit” for the team.

At the time the talent was arguably equal and the team still needed to build down the middle, while Galchenyuk was listed as a center in his draft year.

The injury was serious and cost a year, but I felt the Oilers at the time could afford to take a small gamble there based on how well he had played up to that point.

I less certain of Murray.

I had no real concerns about Yakupov, but was prioritizing Galchenyuk based on position.

I’ve generally been bullish on Yakupov while also describing one of his challenges as being that I question whether he had ever received real systems coaching at any time earlier in his career.

My point for this year’s draft re: CBJ/EDM is more tongue-in-cheek than anything.