Thursday, November 3, 2011

October's Oiler Notes

The Oilers have played October's games and I thought I'd share at least one line on each player:

Tom Gilbert has been exceptional to start this campaign.  I've seen 2 or 3 games in which I would describe him as a solid 2nd pairing player who was getting some good bounces, and the rest of the games where he flat out looked like a first pairing guy.  His fumbles behind his own blue line, particularly when being fore-checked from the other team (under pressure) have almost dried up.  I'm on board with this Tom Gilbert.

Nikolai Khabibulin is playing like Dwayne Roloson circa the '06 run right now.  Out of his skull good.  Looks like he's getting a better result than he honestly deserves on technical merit, but his effort, concentration and feel for the puck right now are incredible.  This is the goalie I hoped we were getting a few years back.  I think Khabibulin feels confidence in his conditioning, ability and experience right now and is using the challenge being put forth by Dubynk and the energy of a young and exciting team in front of him to bring the best out of a quality veteran who had a lot to prove coming into the season.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins kept the Pen

That's the Nuge by thumb in the top corner of the top pic.  The hardest one to read is the Eberle autograph on the Oilers logo on the top of the brim, the only one signed with a black sharpie (it was already in his hand).

I was the first person RNH (and many of the Oilers) signed for but when Hoppy came by ( last Oiler to leave ) I told him he could keep the silver sharpie and that he was probably in more need of it now than I was.  I also told him he was the easiest pick in my multi-contest winning mock-draft.  On pace for 82 this year, eh Ryan?

Thanks to all the boys who so graciously signed my ballin' hat.

Sunday, October 9, 2011


Tonight would be incredible if it was as good as last years home opener.  Even if it isn't, it's good to get going again.  GO OILERS GO!!!!!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

2011 Oilers Projected Opening Day, oops, too late

Well, I'm about half an hour late for this post to be able to be compared to the results but here is (was) my projected opening night roster with injured players in red:

Hall ( L ) Nugent-Hopkins ( L ) Eberle ( R )
Smyth ( L ) Horcoff ( L ) Hemsky ( R )
Paajarvi ( L ) Lander ( L ) Omark ( L )
Hordichuk ( L ) Belanger ( L ) R. Jones ( L )
Petrell ( L ) Brule ( R )

Gagner ( R ) Eager ( L )

Jeff Petry Tom Gilbert
Theo Peckham Cam Barker
Andy Sutton Corey Potter
Taylor Chorney Ladislav Smid
Taylor Fedun Ryan Whitney



In this case we would not add another D-man to the roster at this time and Brule would stick with the team.  Obviously Brule has since been waived and if all D-men in red remain unhealthy we have a spot on D for a call-up or waiver claim.  I suspect at least one of the D-men in red will become healthy prior to October 9th, filling the spot.

Petrell, I would have argued, will make the team or the Oilers lose him to Europe.  We can always cut him later if we want.

Lander deserves to be here, even more than Hartikainen, who also deserves to be here.  Lander plays centre too.  'Nuff said.

RNH was almost always for sure going to get his 9 games at least.  Health and RNH's first 9 will determine the make-up of this team going forward.

Oilers Defensive Depth Chart: October 2011

  This is a reflection of where I see the Oilers defencemen slotting in on a depth chart to start the 2011-2012 season. I've actually created a chart listing the players in order according to their handedness and then have a 2nd chart reflecting their "overall" depth spot on the team, handedness aside.

Unlike the forwards, I have not given any opinion on progress because almost everyone here has completed their development or appears to be developing well (aside from perhaps Motin).  Even Plante looked better this year.  With defence in particular, age and draft position played heavily in some decisions and I suspect these charts will be very different a year from now.  For the time being though, I see it as so:

Oilers Forward Depth Chart: October 2011

This is a reflection of where I see the Oilers forwards slotting in on a depth chart to start the 2011-2012 season.  I suspect some movement before the trade deadline, particularly from Tyler Pitlick and Ryan Martindale, whom I expect to be moving up faster than anyone else on the chart.

I've included some opinion on how each player is trending on a whole as well.  There may be a few degrees of difference between one player whose development appears to be “trending up” and another in terms of the speed the respective players are progressing at (some are getting better by the heartbeat while others are getting better season over season) but I think the general idea will get across.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Summer Post: This 'n That II

Well it's obviously been some time since I posted.  Thus, before it ends, I give you a dog days of summer post.    There have been only a few interesting things that have happened for the Oilers, but there are some things of note that I would like to address.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Opening Day Roster

Correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe just about everyone under the sun has the Oilers opening day roster figured (or we all believe we have it figured ) and it looks like so:

Hall Nugent-Hopkins Eberle
Smyth Gagner  Hemsky
Paajarvi Horcoff Omark
Eager Belanger Jones
Hordichuk Brule

Whitney Gilbert
Peckham Barker
Sutton Smid



The lines may not be set but the players seem to be.  If Brule is bought out then it leaves an opening for a training camp stand-out.  If not, the only player that I could see possibly squeezing someone out is Jeff Petry.  Anton Lander is probably good enough too but he'll probably get some seasoning in the AHL before his call-up.  The real question is what will the roster look like after game 9.  Will RNH stay or be sent to junior?  Who will replace him on the roster if he does?  We wait and speculate...

Monday, July 11, 2011

This post was brought to you by the # 5

This is what Ryan Strome saw on his garage when he came home from the draft.  I guess it was getting dark.  It's probably a lower number than many thought it would be, and that is understandable. Ryan Strome went ahead of other talented and highly rated forwards Sean Couturier and Mika Zibanejad.  That being said he's not as controversial as Mark Scheifele at 7 ( and even that can be rationalized as I did here on darft day).

I guess I was in a larger minority than I thought, however, being of the opinion that the Islanders were taking him 5th, as now I have won not just ONE but TWO radio/internet draft contests this year based largely on this selection.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Final Day Observations at Oilers Development Camp

I mostly watched as a fan today and I missed the shoot-out.  Also no autographs ( so no "single question interviews" ).  That's the bad news.

The good news is that Nugent-Hopkins looked better today than yesterday.  In the 3-on-3 he used his speed both laterally and in straight-away bursts effectively.  He found open ice, created open ice and made quick accurate passes look too easy (not flashy, just highly effective).  He darted around, circled, and indeed always had his head up.

 I did make just a few specific observations:

Pictures from the last day of Oilers Development Camp

Nothing exceptional here, just some amateur photos of the kids.  I'll be posting some observations from today a little later this afternoon. 

Friday, July 8, 2011

Today's Oiler Prospect Fan Fodder: The single question interview

I'm not a guy who would likely take an autograph from a fresh 3rd rounder that's far from a guaranteed NHL'er but I figured, if nothing else, he has solid blood lines.

So I let Dillon Simpson ( Dillon is on the right in the above pic and Tanner House is front and centre ) sign a hat I had earmarked for RNH or any established pro I may have seen lurking ( Doug Weight is in town, Ales Hemsky was on the ice testing his shoulder in a light skate with the kids a few days ago, Ryan Smyth and/or Shawn Horcoff might be the kinds of guys to consider popping by to see the kids etc ).

 I didn't take any other autographs but I had the opportunity to ask a quick question to each of 4 Oilers prospect invitees.  The question I chose:

Oilers Development Camp Observations:

My viewing of the Oilers development camp today presents a small sample size but I've tried to make good use of it.  I focused in on Colten Teubert, Anton Lander and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins.  I made only a few observations on the other players but I'll share what I have.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Bryan Helmer receives the AHL President’s Award

As per a release on the the OKC Barons official site.  Some more info at the official AHL site here.

As per the AHL's site:

"The President’s Awards are given to an AHL organization for excellence in all areas off the ice, and to an AHL player in recognition of his outstanding accomplishments in the past year."

P.K. Subban is another former winner.  The award seems to have fairly broad parameters for who is eligible.  A player and a franchise receive the award and the player does not have to play for the franchise that is co-winning.

Interesting to note, Bryan Helmer and Andrew Lord are already on board for OKC next season, so if making AHL lines, their names should be included.  I'll add a note to my current depth charts on the subject.

Change of plan today (but keep the course to Stanley)

I didn't make it out to development camp this morning for a variety of reasons. So I'm going to try again tomorrow and Saturday, but for now, some fodder:

 This is a projection of what the Oilers lines / depth chart might look like around the time we are competing for Stanley. Think of this as being our '14-'15 year or maybe our '15-'16 year. I decided to assume that any player drafted by the Oilers currently in the Oilers system has a great chance of sticking with the team for the next few years if we want them. Players with longer contracts also got a push to likely be here ( see: Ryan Whitney ). By this same standard I decided not to bank on Andy Sutton, Ryan Jones, Cam Barker, Eric Belanger or Ben Eager being there. Give or take trade / free agent signings and releases / future first rounders ( imo ) the Oilers Stanley Cup lineup / depth chart could look like this:

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Going to Development Camp

I'm going tomorrow morning so you can expect I'll post about it tomorrow afternoon.  I wonder if #83 will show up for some more light exercise.   I'm very interested in all the players but will probably be looking hardest at are Anton Lander, Colten Teubert, and RNH to see if any of them look sharp in early July.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

More Draft News?

I think that the Dean Millard and Guy Flaming of the The Pipeline Show have another solid program lined up tonight!  They also post on and operate one of my favorite blogs Coming Down The Pipe.

The show airs on the radio on the TEAM 1260 AM Tuesdays from 7pm to 9pm and Saturdays from 10am to 12pm ( followed on Saturday by Nation Radio, another favorite program of mine).

Zack Stortini Signs in Nashville per the Predators official sight.

I'm glad he got a new contract.  I really liked the person and felt bad he wasn't a fit here anymore but the fact was he wasn't.  He was a loyal Oiler and a hard worker.  People who have read my Todd Marchant piece will know I value those things highly.  The Huggy Bear didn't always look pretty and the Zack Attack was somewhat over-rated, but he was a willing thrower most of the time and did a lot of heavy lifting ( and above his weight class at times ) in his day.

Good luck in Nashville, Zack.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Oilers Defensive Depth Chart **UPDATED**

Below is a chart of how I see the defensive depth from the NHL locks to the guys likely to get a look at camp for NHL or AHL duty.  They are listed by handedness they shoot. This should be a good guide for anyone trying to make their pairings for the NHL or AHL teams.

Puck Passionate on Nation Radio !!! ( well kind of...)

Big Thanks to Allan Mitchell of Lowetide and Oilers Nation for giving a shout out to the blog on the air!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Todd Marchant... and how important he was

Todd Marchant was the dramatic hero of an overtime goal in game 7 of the first round of the playoffs in 1997.
 The goal lead to the Oilers' first playoff series victory in 5 years or my entire memory of the Oilers.  It was a huge thrill and easily one of my most memorable hockey memories period.  I was crazy excited, and pumped because CuJo had made one of the most memorable saves I remember in my life only moments earlier.  Doug Weight and Jason Arnott were the only stars, but Todd Marchant and his big time play allowed a generation to believe in the Edmonton Oilers for what they were at a time when they weren't what they once were, and everyone knew it.  Hell, Todd Marchant is second only to Ryan Smyth as the poster boy for what the Oilers of his era were.

Oiler Forward Depth Chart **UPDATED**

Below is a chart of how I see the forward depth, from the NHL locks, to the guys likely to get a look at camp for NHL or AHL duty.  They are listed by position and have the handedness they shoot beside them.  This should be a good guide for anyone trying to make their lines for the NHL or AHL teams ( at least for forwards ).











Saturday, June 25, 2011

Some Thoughts On The Draft

  • The Oilers, Islanders, Red Wings, Blackhawks, Panthers, Senators and Blues had great drafts. 
  • Guys I wanted but we didn't get: Dougie Hamilton, Mark McNeill, Boone Jenner, Ryan Sprool, Kale Kessy, Justin Sefton, Jeremy Boyce Rotrall and Myles Bell. 
  • Guys I wanted that we DID get: Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Oskar Klefbom, David Musil, Samu Perhonen and Tobias Rieder. 
  • Some guys that have a little risk for some potential reward: Travis Ewanyk and Dillon Simpson.
  • A guy we took that I didn't know anything about coming into the draft , but that I'm already starting to like: Martin Gernat
  • A late pick I know even less about ( but am looking forward to getting to know) : Frans Tuohimma. 
EDIT: ALSO I nailed the top 6 in my mock, check it out here 

I'm headed to the lake for a week starting tonight and will be back with more thoughts on many Oilers related items such as a more thorough draft review, our new depth chart,  a prospect ranking by position ( and perhaps overall ) and other goodies.

I hope we finalize the Smyth deal (soon). I know we have something of a break from serious hockey for a while but I look forward to sharing more of my thoughts soon!


Welcome FRANS TUOHIMAA, a 6'2 goalie that played for Jokerit Jr in Finland. the 182nd overall selection of the Edmonton Oilers!!!  Welcome to the Taylor Gang!


I don't know who you are yet but I bet you know the Taylor Gang!  You've just been sponsored to join it!  WELCOME, drafted by Edmonton at 122 overall!

Edit: For some good information on see Kirk Luedeke's interview with Red Line Report Czech/Slovak scout Radim Jelinek here.

The key information:

"Radim Jelinek: I won´t be surprised if [Peter] Ceresnak is first and the only one Slovak still playing in Europe selected in June in Minnesota. However I´m not a big fan of him and I´m personally much more interested in 6-4 tall D from Kosice Martin Gernat who also belongs into the group of sleepers I mentioned in previous answer. Gernat is a smooth skater with fluid stride and decent footwork for his size. Has very good vision and hands, moves the puck well, handles the puck with confidence making solid decision with puck. Likes to join the rush regularly and shows good instinct in sliding from the point into scoring positions. Just started developing physical play in his game, still very inconsistent using his body, needs to play aggressive, physical game all the time. When he uses it then he is tough to beat 1 on 1, angles forwards to the outside, tights forward up at the boards, hits hard. Lacks strength right now and still growing but has frame to fill it out. D-zone coverage is still very average, needs to read the play better defensively, improve positional play and play much tighter game. Very raw but I like his progress throughout the season and see some similar things in his game as in Martin Marincin´s. He is far from him as Marincin was first rounder in my eyes while Gernat is later-round pick but upside is there." 


RW 5'10 169, Kitchener, 65-23-26-49-35pim of German heritage.  Fast and works hard.  Drafted 114 by Edmonton!  WELCOME TO THE TAYLOR GANG!


Son of former Oiler Craig Simpson!!!!!!!! Drafted at 92nd by the Oilers!


WELCOME TRAVIS EWANYK!!!!!!! Drafted 74 overall by our Edmonton Oilers!  An Oil King to the Oilers!!!!

Keegan Lowe picked one pick earlier to Carolina!



My pick at 62

Myles Bell?


IMO a better pick than Plante at 15 in 2007.  If you are going to draft this player type, here is where you do it and you take a safer pick.  Will be a player *thumbs up* !

My Short List at 31

1. Scott Mayfield - Best defensemen left, American, faller in the rankings through the year

2. Boone Jenner - Captain material, I understand he's like a Canadian Lander

3. Rocco Grimaldi - Best offensive talent left

4. Victor Rask - risk/reward pick

5. Brandon Saad - Big faller in the rankings from the beginning/middle of the year, American power forward

6. David Musil - safe defensemen

7. Ryan Sprool - risk/reward pick

8. John Gibson - best goalie available

9. Thomas Jurco - best puck skills of any player left

10. Shane Prince - all offense no defense

honorable mention: Ty Rattie

The day after

I had a fun time watching the draft, analyzing the picks and trades.  Maybe too much fun.  But I'm back for day 2.  Did we get Smyth?  More to come as well as my top picks for E-Town at 31.

Edit: For sake of ease, there are a bunch of the best suggestions being posted by Scott Reynolds over at the Copper n' Blue here.  And lowetide has a good one here

Also check out my Final Prospect Rankings to get an idea of who the BPA's are.

Friday, June 24, 2011

WELCOME OSKAR KLEFBOM!!!! (Champagne, Whiskey and Beer)

Top 4 defensemen too!!!!

Off the board!

Mark Scheifele was selected almost 6 picks higher than almost anyone had him to Winnipeg.  Unfortunately this doesn't help the Oilers if they keep their pick at 19.

Continued Edit: Way I see it, they wanted a centre, wanted a Canadian, didn't want Couturier and thought Scheifele was the best western kid. I guess not a terrible pick.

Maybe Hemsky to Jersey?

Only big move that I could anticipate (involving Hemsky anyways).

RNH, Hoppie, The Nuge, Welcome to the Taylor Gang!!!


(Wait for the beat to drop)

Last year when we lost, it was with this destiny ahead.

And that destiny was to Drop Wins for Hopkins!

Welcome Back RYAN SMYTH!!!! or soon at least?

Moments before we we pick first, we have re-acquired Ryan Smyth!  This is a huge day for the righting of the hockey world!  Things feel really positive in Edmonton today!


Calm before the Storm

There will be big news tonight, even if it's just the order of the picks ( something tells me more though ).

  • Maybe Edmonton would pass on Joe Morrow at 19 because he is from Edmonton.  Hope we can get Klefbom, Brodin, Beaulieu or Oleksiak.  If not go for a forward.

  • I would like to see the Winnipeg franchise called The Falcons, as in the fighter jet, the F-16 Fighting Falcon.  The Jets died in the desert.  The team can even be nicknamed "the jets" and they use an historical Manitoba hockey team name.  That being said my 2nd choice is Jets. 

  • I want Hamilton more than Larsson, here at the end of the road. 

  • We must keep the Smyth thing in perspective.  If he goes to Calgary, it will be remembered when when Edmontonions look back at Ryan's career as an Oiler all-time.  Maybe even Doug Weight will look like a better Oiler in the long run.  I love them both and they are equals now.  Honestly the future is here now and it looks better then much of the past.

Christmas Morning

This day has been my favourite hockey day of the year for probably the fifth straight year now... Well the first regular season game last year was pretty good too, but this is where it all starts.  Good luck MBS, Steve Tambo, K-Lowe, the Oilers organization and us all.

I took today and tomorrow off work (my vacation is about to start on Sunday but these were THE most important days for me to have off).  I'll be heading out to the lake after tomorrows rounds and barring me getting my hands on an Ipad or laptop today I may not be posting much after that point for about a week.  For the next 2 days though, you can bet I'll be near my computer, television, radio and beer fridge.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

A note regarding todays trades:

I still have Dougie Hamilton in the 8 spot on my mock draft, just to Philly now.  Two more Team Canada members out west to destroy us for a few years.

Smyth may go to Calgary....( *barf )

What a conflict this would present.

If Ryan Smyth was willing to play in the battle of Alberta for the Flames, I might have to boo him.  Maybe he's ok with that, considering we let him go, but I'm not.  This might be "one of those things" that I have to do.

Kevin Lowe better not find his way onto the jumbo-tron that night or he's in for an earful too!  "YOU SEE THIS, K-LOWE?  THIS IS WHY WE CAN'T HAVE NICE THINGS!" (like good free agents, or winning teams.)  I'm not a huge K-Lowe hater usually, but this would be wrong on all kinds of levels!

I might have to boo Ryan Smyth....  I'm in shambles over the mere thought.  I might cry while booing but, I'd boo.

What a mess.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Mock top 12 ( Boo Calgary )

I'm going to take a stab at predicting some of the draft here. I believe that I've got a good feel for a lot of the early teams but in the teens I start to be less specific.  I'm hoping to make up my mind before Friday but here is a sample of what's to come, where I'm leaning (and why) and give perspective into the logic and process of elimination in deciding what I decided.

To see some of my earlier thoughts on the draft see my Skeleton Mock Darft or you can check out my my Final Prospect Rankings.

1. Edmonton Oilers

Ryan Nugent Hopkins -
  • WHL scoring phenom from the same town as Joe Sakic.  
  • Playing in Red Deer next best thing to right in town.  
  • Lit up the Edmonton team in the playoffs (and apparently the Oil Kings didn't do that bad a job defending him, how's that possible?).  
  • Had a strong back half, including going on a tirade for a few weeks. 
  • Had a great final few games of the regular season.  
  • Rated #1 overall everywhere. 
  • Plays centre.  
  • Comparisons to Datsyuk (Oilers love the idea of looking like Detroit and Datsyuk is probably the 2nd best forward on Earth).
  • He's humble, says the right things, is a "regular kid" who is well mannered and extremely good at hockey.  
  • Room to fill out still.  
  • Is the guy they should take.

2. Colorado Avalanche

Gabriel Landeskog - Forsberg sold Colorado on swedes but they haven't had much opportunity to get quality Swedish help... until now.  A modern version of Sakic/Forsberg with Duchene/Landeskog is too much to pass up.

3. Florida Panthers

Jonathan Huberdeau - A dynamic phenom much like Hopkins.  Florida needs to get a star and Huberdeau's it.  They took care of defense with Gudbranson last year.

4. New Jersey Devils

Adam Larsson - Lou Lamerello seems to like to build through defense and Adam Larsson will provide that at least.

5. New York Islanders

Ryan Strome - Another Centre so they have a 1-2 with Tavares.  They are doing ok with young wingers and defense.

6. Ottawa Senators

Mika Zibanejad - I've heard this name here a lot. Alfredson would be a great mentor for this kid.

7. Winnipeg

Sean Couturier - What a name for Winnipeg to get in their first draft year.  They look good on the back end anyway.  A big name.  A splash.  A good pick for that franchise.

8. Columbus Blue Jackets

Dougie Hamilton - They took a stud centre last year in Johansen.  Stud D here.  Where ever Columbus moves will have a good team ( I kid ).

9. Boston Bruins (via Toronto)

Ryan Murphy - The puck moving D-man they need.  Modern Bobby Orr comparisons begin here (plus they took Seguin last year)

10. Minnesota Wild

Mark McNeill - They need depth help everywhere but maybe down the middle most.  They wanted a goal scorer but the real high end goal scoring centres are gone and and McNeill is the best centre left.

11. Colorado Avalanche (via St. Louis)

Oskar Klefbom - Colorado gets a Swedish mate for Landeskog to grow up with and addresses both wing and defense with their picks.  Bet they are happy.

12. Carolina Hurricanes

Nathan Beaulieu - I think they get a puck moving blueliner here and I think either Beaulieu or Brodin are the best ones left.  They take the North American kid.

13. Calgary Flames

I don't know what Calgary does here.  They need so much help everywhere.  There is still so much here.  They wanted Mark McNeill almost for sure but I have him gone.  I hope they take Duncan Siemens - I hope. Please take him out of the Oilers way.  They can have a new Phaneuf and we can get someone who plays better offensively.  Other candidates are: Mark Scheifele, Jamieson Oleksiak, Joel Armia, Sven Bartschi, Rocco Grimaldi, Boone Jenner, Scott Mayfield, Tyler Biggs,  Brandon Saad and Nicklas Jensen.

14. Dallas Stars

Basically they like the same list as Cow Town.

15. New York Rangers

Same plus add Matt Puempel, Zack Phillips and Ty Rattie names to the list of possibles here.

16. Buffalo Sabres

Add Thomas Jurco and Joe Morrow's names here.

17. Montreal Canadiens

Add Phillip Danault for this spot for obvious reasons.

18. Chicago Blackhawks

The guy we want goes here in all cruel likelihood.  Also add  Jonas Brodin's name as a possibility here.

19. Edmonton Oilers (via Los Angeles)

A pick out of what ever is left of that group minus Zack Phillips and Phillip Danault.  I hope we choose well.

Total cop out between 13 and 19, I know,  but I wanted to give you an idea of what it really looks like from my perspective.  I feel really good that if no team trades their pick / no other major hockey moves happen for these teams in the next 2 days, my top 12 are solid.  If I was more of a betting man I might place money on 1-12.  Cow Town really screws everything here though because their needs are so many and their drafting record a little shabby.  I think they shy away from Armia a little and Brodin a lot after the Tim Erixon fiasco.

"Consolation Day" approaches

"i can't lose anything
so what's left is mine
and I win this time

consolation day
i'll make up a way
i'll know now just what to say

i'll get away from you
wait and I'll be begging
i'll pull you down

i saw it all again
fading memory became clear to me
i try but I can't say
that I'm yours for good
support me you said you would

i'll get away from you
wait and I'll be begging
i'll pull you down

awake and dreaming
 I'm only sleeping"

- Scott Anderson of Finger Eleven. From the album "Tip" circa 1998

This is before Finger Eleven, a west coast Canadian Rock group, changed their sound and became somewhat commercial.  They lost a lot of soul between 2000 and 2003 and even more after 2003.

I'm having trouble getting enough sleep.  I'm involved in Draft Hysteria.  I'm reading everything, before it becomes stale (news changes by the hour now, seemingly) and also trying to invest my time, for the first time, in reporting my side of things.

But the truth is I'm Excited with a capital "E".  This draft could be enough to cement the Oilers as "the next team".  I also would have to say part of me has a sense of anticipation that is less than positive.  I think that the future of this franchise, as far as reaching our upper limit, could be drastically altered at the draft if the team management doesn't keep calm.  I didn't feel this last year.  I had zero doubt that the Oilers would a) pick first, b) make an exceptional selection and c) not screw around.  Today I would like to say I'm about 90% sure of those things.  I sure hope those 10% feelings are unjustified.

I want "my" players this year.  If we do things right this year, we go from walking to running.  Before Taylor Hall we were having trouble getting to our feet.  If we maybe make some decisions that are a little "rash", we could be stalling progress (not regressing mind you, but still, I want things done right). By 2013 - 2014 I want to have Lord Stanley's Mug squarely in our sights.  A Pittsburgh / Edmonton Final maybe.  I truly believe that Hall is likely to be better than Stamkos.  That's a big suggestion but I believe in the guy.  Team Canada's best players in 2014 could be 1) Sydney Crosby (hopefully he fully recovers from that concussion, best player of this era) and 2) Taylor Hall.  If we can find that guy to pivot Hall and Eberle, watch out.  That being said the back end is where we need the most improvement.

I have not seen enough of Adam Larsson or Dougie Hamilton to say for sure, but I think we need to take a forward 1st.  I would suggest that that guy is Ryan Nugent-Hopkins but I won't be really disappointed if I hear Landeskog, Couturier or Strome's name on Friday at #1.  Obviously we need help at the back end but maybe that will be easier to find with later picks than some would suggest and also, D-men are much more available for trade on free agency than top flight offensive forwards.  In Stu we must all Trust.  And Steve, god help him make the right moves (or no move if that's best).  I feel that you can grab a difference maker with any of the top 25 players I'd say.  At 19 we will be fine if we choose well.  No need to overpay to move that pick up.  31 will be an ok pick too, much like Pitlick last year.  Please don't give away too may bullets Steve, unless you trade multiple body shots for a headshot (i.e. for sure kill shot).  I suppose it is possible to hit one from this distance, but at what cost?

All of this and Ryan Smyth wants back in.  So much to think about, so much to anticipate.  Maybe only fans in Winnipeg have more to think about these days.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

$24,869.80 tip given by Bruins to bar staff!

In case you didn't hear, the Boston Bruins Stanley Cup after-party bar tab was upwards of 1.5 beans ( that's $150K).  I herd Jim Rome talking about it on his show this afternoon.  Hilarious. SixteenWins has a great visual on the Bruins Bar tab story here.

Puck Passionate on The Pipeline Show (well kind of)!!!!

 Big thanks to Dean Millard, Guy Flaming and their guest Ross MacLean (the head scout from International Scouting Services)!!!! got a shout out on the show today right at the end of the 2-hour draft preview show!  Thanks again guys, the show has been a great resourse for learning about this years prospects!

I also got a quick question in with Ross earlier in the show! (I asked about Boone Jenner)

Obviously I'm a fan.  I rarely get to listen live and usually download their show from their amazing online show archive and listen to it on my ipod.

Edit: You can download that show here.

2011 NHL Entry Draft Final Prospect Rankings

This is not a mock draft.  This is an evaluation of the prospects potential overall impact on the game in the players prime based on available information.

 Here are my Top 65 Ranked: 
  1. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins
  2. Jonathan Huberdeau
  3. Adam Larsson
  4. Sean Couturier
  5. Gabriel Landeskog
  6. Dougie Hamilton
  7. Ryan Murphy
  8. Ryan Strome
  9. Mika Zibanejad
  10. Sven Bartschi
  11. Joel Armia
  12. Nathan Beaulieu
  13. Mark McNeill
  14. Oskar Klefbom
  15. Mark Scheifele
  16. Jamieson Oleksiak
  17. Joseph Morrow
  18. Jonas Brodin
  19. Nicklas Jensen
  20. Duncan Siemens
  21. Scott Mayfield
  22. Rocco Grimaldi
  23. Matt Puempel
  24. Brandon Saad
  25. Thomas Jurco
  26. Alexander Khokhlachev
  27. Tyler Biggs
  28. Dmitri Jaskin
  29. Zach Phillips
  30. Ty Rattie
  31. Stefan Nosen
  32. Vladislav Namestnikov
  33. Victor Rask
  34. Boone Jenner
  35. David Musil
  36. Ryan Sprool
  37. Ricard Rakell
  38. Daniel Catenacci
  39. Connor Murphy
  40. Mario Lucia
  41. Shane Prince
  42. Myles Bell
  43. John Gibson
  44. Marcel Nobels
  45. Tyler Wotherspoon
  46. Ramus Bengtsson
  47. Phillip Danault
  48. Adam Clendening
  49. Lucas Lessio
  50. Robbie Russo
  51. J.T. Miller
  52. Brett Ritchie
  53. Christopher Gibson
  54. Seth Ambrose
  55. Xavier Ouellet
  56. Stuart Percy
  57. Mikka Salomaki
  58. Marcus Grunland
  59. Joel Edmundson
  60. Reece Scarlett
  61. Vincent Trocheck
  62. Colin Jackobs
  63. Mattew Nieto
  64. Nick Shore
  65. Samu Perhonen


Kale Kessy
Jeremy Boyce Rotrall
Michael St. Croix
Nick Cousins
Jordan Binnington

Not as much background as on other sites so see Lowetide and Bruins Draft Watch for good player descriptions.  Also I would buy a copy of The Hockey News Draft Preview 2011.  If you want to be a real nerd, listen to the team 1260 all day, everyday (almost) and the Dan Tencer Show on CHED, all of which are available on the links lists.  

I've spent a lot of time mulling over the options and as such am fairly satisfied with my list.  I'm a dedicated draft observer but by no means a scout.  I started following the draft closely for the first time in 2007 and had Sam Gagner circled and then when it came time for the Oilers to pick I had him as the BPA.  With my early success (and Gagner's) I was inspired to follow the draft from that day forward.  Since then I have had nearly the exact same experience for Paarjavi, Eberle, Hall and Pitlick.  Last year was the first year I spent much time beyond the first round hopefuls and as such when I herd about our later round selections (I was at the on the way to the Lake for the 2nd round last year and couldn't get control of the radio in the car) I was familiar with most of our selections. I'm hoping to extend my reach this year into the 3rd round.  Hope you enjoy. 

EDIT: My initial rankings can be found here.~~~~~ It was my first post on this blog! 

The Perfect Storm?

It's been raining in Edmonton for what seems like weeks, and sometimes when it rains, it pours.
And sometimes things get crazy.
Could Edmonton load up for a crazy cup run as soon as this year?  It's not impossible... but it's a reach.

It's sounds like a good idea/bad idea. Everyone likes the Oilers and winning in the same sentence, but it looks like we're trying to force it too hard in some ways, kinda like Colorado with Foote and Forsberg in 2007–08.  It's not like me to entertain foolish nonsense or people suggesting "Well we should trade for (insert persons favorite player/ media flavor player of the month here)".  Trust me, (you'll have to likely as this blog is new) I am NOT a guy who would EVER suggest that we should rush things.

To this point it's been my belief that this team will be a lock as a  playoff team in say the 2013-2014 season with it's current look.  Before that is gravy and after that we're hoping to keep moving forward to become a perennial strong contender for the cup.  Come about 2014-2015 some of the stronger picks from the Stu MacGregor era will require new contracts and Hall Eberle and Paarjavi may already be signed to higher end money so our future gets blurry.

But things have been starting to get interesting.  Really, is it possible that we in Edmonton, as conservative as everyone (the media, the fans) have been with expectations for this team, that we have missed the bigger picture forming around us?  It's a long shot even still, but the evidence mounts.  In the back of your mind, you should be aware that these things are happening.


1) Jagr

April 30th 2009 - article here

"If I ever go to (the NHL), they would be my No. 1 pick because they showed the interest first. I never forget that and I respect that. They would be my first pick." - Jaromir Jagr

 June 21st, 2011 artical here

"Jaromir Jagr appears NHL-bound and it's only a question of which team he'll sign with, his agent told on Tuesday morning.

Agent Petr Svoboda said Pittsburgh, Detroit "plus another team I can't name" are the three options for his veteran client."

We all know Jagr and Hemsky have a friendship and mutual respect.  I believe Hemsky would need to remain an Oiler for this part to happen.  Edmonton has  Jagr would also know what's happening here in Edmonton with all the quality young talent and know he doesn't necessarily have to be the go to guy while still being a difference maker.

2) Smyth

June 20th, 2011 - article here

"sources tell TSN the 35-year-old left winger has indicated to the Kings his preference would be to play next season in Edmonton if a trade can be worked out." 

The report is denied by Smyth here

But confirmed here

3) Salary Cap Room

Cap geek committed numbers here.  Bottom line we're sitting with $22,150,000 with

A list of UFA's can be found here and a list of RFA's can be found here

Keep in mind our RFA's are:
Ladislav Smid, Theo Peckham, Andrew Cogliano, Taylor Chorney, Ryan O’Marra, Zack Stortini, Jean-Francois Jacques, Kevin Montgomery, Matt Marquardt, Jordan Bendfeld and Bryan Pitton.

4) High Draft Picks in Deep Draft

The Oilers draft picks are
1st, 19th, 31st, 62nd, 74th, 92nd, 114th, 122nd and 182nd as they sit now.  The first 5 picks should be good prospects at least.  1 and or 19 could play this season depending on the players.  Plus there is speculation of us trying to move up.

I don't know which players with trade value move if we keep Hemsky.  Not much comes to mind.  Gagner, Cogliano, Brule, Gilbert.... How much value is there and would it be worth moving?  Am I missing something/one?

5) We already broke in the rookies, successfully

Hall, Eberle and Paarjavi are tracking (very) well.

Bottom line the waters are not still.

Monday, June 20, 2011

You better mean it, Bob

Don't pull my heart strings needlessly.

A word about the process

Bob McKenzie is a smart man with a reputation for accurate predictions.  His list is not a list of the top prospects as he states here.  These are the key lines:

"Finally, a word about the process used to determine these rankings.

This is not a subjective analysis of who TSN believes will develop into the best prospects or the order that they should be taken. It's not a scouting report, per se.

It is a more objective numerical ranking based on the consensus of opinion gathered from 10 NHL scouts, a barometer of where we think a player is most likely to be taken in the draft."

This is something to consider when deciding what we believe to be a good pick or not.  Just because J.T. miller cracked the top 30 does not mean he is one of the 30 best prospects, just that it's highly likely that someone will take him in the 2nd half of the first round (my bet is Toronto if he's still available).

Looks like Connor Murphy is on the edge and Bob acknowledges this by placing him 30th.  Injurys are a large concern.  A Curtis Hamilton type of situation?  Maybe more like Brett Connolly (in regards to to injury situation in the draft year)?

Connor Murphy moving up.

I always wanted to move Conner Murphy up based on his skills, 2-way game, size, stregnth, speed and timing  reportedly shown in his his strong (although limited) viewings.  Injurys are also a consideration with this prospect and back issues can kill a career early (see J.F. Jacques).

After getting such a good review from Bob McKenzie in his final player ranking for the 2011 Entry Draft, I'm sold enough to move him up past two very good and physical shutdown d-men in Ramus Bengtsson and  Tyler Wotherspoon and now would consider him a valuable selection for any team in the 20-30 range... basicly outside what I'd like to see the Oilers take at 19 but in the conversation for 31 should he be there.

Is Rask realistic?

Victor Rask sounds like he'll be available at 19 and maybe even at 31.  A skilled Centre for Paarjavi?  I understand we already have Lander, but his game is more 2-way and Rask may have more high end skill. Also why not stock the shelves?  Rask may really be worth a look at 31 to fill out the depth chart up the middle.

I would have to probably pass at 19 but I think at 31 he should be long considered if he's there.  Too Soon? Will he even be available?.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Defensemen in the Draft

This is an Oilers specific target list, considering what WE should want in conjunction with his rankings.

I believe the Oilers should target their defensemen in this order:
  1. Adam Larsson
  2. Dougie Hamilton
  3. Ryan Murphy
  4. Nathan Beaulieu
  5. Joe Morrow
  6. Oskar Klefbom
  7. Jamie Oleksiak
  8. Duncan Siemens
  9. Scott Mayfield
  10. Jonas Brodin
  11. Ryan Sprool
  12. David Musil
  13. Myles Bell

    Beyond that should not be considered for a top 31 selection.  We should pick a forward at 31 if all these guys are gone, even if we haven't picked a D-man yet.
  14. Tyler Wotherspoon
  15. Ramus Bengtsson
  16. Connor Murphy
  17. Adam Clendening
  18. Robbie Russo
  19. Xavier Ouellet
  20. Stuart Percy
  21. Joel Edmundson 
Fourteen through 21 look to be solid in the 2nd round.  Forwards for the early rounds to be broken down soon.

Black and Yellow and next years 1st

The Boston Bruin's must feel pretty good right now. Tyler Seguin (a good kid and very good hockey player that's only getting better) can now feel comfort that going 2nd wasn't as bad as maybe it looked like at the draft last year.  I remember him looking disappointed.  "For every door that closes, another opens" or so the saying goes, I believe.  I wonder if this motivates Hall at all?  A little?

More likely Taylor Hall Has all the internal motivation he needs, and will become the player we all believe is possible sooner rather than later.  Why would I say that (it invites disappointment)?  Well I believe it.  His player type tends to trend well early in the career, sometimes meaning he'll be less effective at 34 than 21 or 22 (give or take a Teemu Selanne).

Does this mean the Oilers will be a far better team next year with a rapidly developing superstar, already the best player on the team?

In a word, "no".

Next year I believe the Oilers will suffer from lack of depth, injuries, and young quality players that can't keep up with the development of Hall.  Next year I expect to draft in the single digits, meaning with Stu MacGregor at the helm we can continue to built on our young depth.  Most of the players I expect to be on our contending team that are already in our system are 22 or younger.  Many under 20.

As we know a team of 20 year olds rarely if ever has success and playing those players in the NHL too early could sully their development.  So we must wait, with veteran players that are injury prone and/or can pull their weight.

I don't like dealing draft picks. Even in situations where it's to acquire a better draft pick or a proven player, in some cases I have reservations, and I like to pick over everything.  I like acquiring draft picks but we must be cautious of loosing too much of our veteran depth.  We may actually be at or beyond that point already.

I'm on the fence with trading Hemsky, I must say, and I don't like loosing too many bullets even if it means a better one.  I'll likely be critical of any trade involving our 1st pick next year.  
 "For every door that closes, another opens."
If we miss out on something this year, something comparable may be there next year and we're not out of good draft territory yet.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Skeleton Mock Draft

I don't even pretend to know where everyone will go in this years draft but have started with this skeleton base of knowledge.  If I really like a prospect in a place I'll bold them.  If I think there's a good chance but things might get in the way, I'll italicize them.  Here are some of my inklings:

1. Edmonton Oilers

Ryan Nugent Hopkins -  I think there is enough evidence present to be fairly sure here.  Larsson has an outside chance.

2. Colorado Avalanche

Landeskog or Larsson - I don't think Colorado will take Huberdeau.  Forsberg sold Colorado on swedes but they haven't had much opportunity to get quality Swedish help... until now.  A modern version of Sakic/Forsberg with Duchene/Landeskog might be too much to pass up.

3. Florida Panthers

I haven't got much of a read here. Florida needs help everywhere. Last year they took Gudbranson 3rd but have yet to sign him.  Is he available?  I wish I knew.  But don't count on Florida to blow the pick like they may have in years past.  Huberdeau would be likely I should think.

4. New Jersey Devils

Again, not quite sure.  Parise issues, Kovalchuck and lack of top end defense make murky waters here.  Who knows if they even keep the selection.  I've heard Larsson here a lot though.

5. New York Islanders

Another organization that needs help everywhere.  I think maybe they lean towards a defensemen if they consider need highest but the forwards available here are still probably the better options. Maybe Murphy or Huberdeau if he's available go here.

6. Ottawa Senators

Mika Zibanejad - assuming he has not been chosen yet, this is where I think he's going.

7. Winnipeg

No idea.

8. Columbus Blue Jackets

They probably trade this pick.

9. Boston Bruins (via Toronto)

Nathan Beaulieu - Would make sense here for Boston.  Or maybe a winger for Seguin like Bartschi, but I think Boston is deeper up front so they'll lean towards the Blue.

10. Minnesota Wild

Mark McNeill - He's what they need.  If he's there I think they'll take him. Brandon Saad looks good here too.  Would they stretch and take Mario Lucia here, or risk a pick on Seth Ambrose?  They're from Minnesota.

11. Colorado Avalanche (via St. Louis)

Oskar Klefbom - This is the guy that has me leaning towards Landeskog being taken 2nd.  I think Colorado will take a pair of Swedish players in the first.  Maybe only Scott Mayfield could leave them waiting until the last second to decide. Darkhorse Nick Shore.

12. Carolina Hurricanes

I think they wanted Beaulieu.  Maybe a different d-man will do but unless he's there I don't know.  Maybe instead they'll take an American forward like Grimaldi or Saad.  Puck mover on the back end is what they want though I think.  Is Connor Murphy too much of a stretch?

13. Calgary Flames

Duncan Siemens - I think they wanted Mark McNeill (like almost 20 other teams will have) but they'll take a new Dion Phanuff.  Calgary will almost for sure take a WHL kid unless there is a top end talent still available.

14. Dallas Stars

An American forward.  Grimaldi or Saad would be good choices but they may take a Texas kid like Stefan Noesen or Colin Jacobs.

15. New York Rangers

Not sure at all. Is Shane Prince or Adam Clendening a stretch? Probably but with Prince maybe not.

16. Buffalo Sabres

A forward here too, I think. Matt Puempel's name should start coming up around here.

17. Montreal Canadiens

Help up front, I would imagine. How about Phillip Danault?

18. Chicago Blackhawks

Probably what ever guy we all think would be great for the Oilers and is still left over after Montreal will be swiped away.  I fear that 19 may be one pick too late.  Boone Jenner maybe.

19. Edmonton Oilers (via Los Angeles)

I think Joe Morrow would be a great fit here, more offense then Siemens I gather.  Hope he's available.

20. Phoenix Coyotes

Not Sure.

21. Ottawa Senators (via Nashville)

Don't really know.  I'll Guess maybe Zach Phillips.

22. Anaheim Ducks

An American forward I will guess.  How about Grimaldi or Matthew Nieto.

23. Pittsburgh Penguins

I think maybe Nicklas Jensen goes here if he's available. They want a goal scoring winger.  They would love to get Brandon Saad but I think he's gone by here. Highly rated Pennsylvania products Vincent Trocheck and John Gibson may be in the discussion.

24. Detroit Red Wings

Jonas Brodin - Detroit will make everyone look stupid for not taking him.

26. Washington Capitals

Alexander Khokhlachev - Is he a lock here?  I think it might be close. Maybe Dmitri Jaskin gives him a run for his money. Darkhorse Ricard Rakell.

27. Tampa Bay Lightning

Defense is a priority, but I also like Rocco Grimaldi here. Maybe he's already gone.

28. San Jose Sharks

Defense is a priority.

29. Vancouver Canucks

David Musil - If he's here still or Tyler Wotherspoon.

25. Toronto Maple Leafs (via Philadelphia)
30. Toronto Maple Leafs (via Boston)

If they keep both, the names competing for these spots are: J.T. Miller, John Gibson, Tyler Biggs and other lesser Americans that Burke may fancy.  Lucas Lessio, Daniel Catenacci, Brett Ritchie and Boone Jenner may have chances here too.

There are many player's who will be picked in the 1st round whose name I didn't mention.  This is because there is widespread interest in these players and there are still many teams I struggle for a read on.  I'll have an updated mock draft before draft day.

The Pardubice Prince of Edmonton

If you named the top 8 Oilers of all time is might look like this:

1. Wayne Gretzky
2. Mark Messier
3. Jari Kurri
4. Paul Coffey
5. Glen Anderson
6. Grant Fhur
7. Kevin Lowe
8. Craig Simpson

Maybe Esa Tikkanen or Charley Huddy fits in next.  Or maybe not. But the last time any of those players laced up skates was in the NHL was 2004 and as an Oiler you have to go back to 97-98.

I submit a list of the 8 best Oilers (min. 300 games played as Oiler) that only includes players from 98-99 and beyond.

1. Doug Weight
2. Ryan Smyth
3. Ales Hemsky
4. Shawn Horcoff
5. Todd Marchant
6. Janne Niinimaa
7. Boris Mironov
8. Tommy Salo

Maybe you have Eric Brewer in there or realized "Hey, Kelly Buchberger's not there".  Well maybe he should be.
That being said number's one and two on this list are gone.  Number 3 could be on his way out this season and it saddens me as this second list more clearly represents what I know as the Edmonton Oilers.  Of the Oilers on the first list  I have dvd's and highlight clips, books and memorabilia, but see them live, I did not.

I did see every player on that 2nd list.  And I'll be damned if Ales Hemsky did not bring me out of my seat more then any of them.  In a word, "WOW".

I don't know if he still fits.  I would love to see it work somehow but there is too much else going on for me to lay my biggest dreams here.
And so I give myself permission to dream about what Hemsky may yield in return at this years draft.

Possible Returns for Hemsky?:
  • 4th Overall from New Jersey - Hemsky is out of the West. We would need to take back salary.  
  • Zach Parise from New Jersey - Doubt it but the Devils may be looking to unload him.
  • 8th Overall from Columbus - I would want more in return.  Probably the 37th Overall pick.  Maybe even more because Columbus is in the West.  Dorset?  Also we would need to take salary in all likelihood.
  • 9th Overall from Boston (from Toronto) -  I would want more and would safely guess salary is coming back here too.  Hemsky is out of the West.
  • 12th Overall from Carolina -  Would they be interested in Hemsky? The Hurricanes have the 42nd Overall pick too.
  • 15th Overall from New York - Would Slats commit one of his famous overpays here? Dylan McIlrath or Derek Stepan involved perhaps?  Take salary here too.
  • Jeff Carter from Philadelphia  - We would need to give more.  I dunno if I'm on board.  Dressing room issues and excessive partying are things we've seen here before.