March 29 2010 10:06AM
With less than two weeks to go in the season, how much can we take out of these final games?
Are five consecutive solid starts enough that the Oilers need to be concerned that a team will claim Devan Dubnyk next year? Or are they enough that the Oilers will keep him and waive Jeff Deslauriers? Or is trading one of them the best option for Steve Tambellini?
If he trades one then they have zero depth in the organization and with Nikolai Khabibulin’s age and recent back surgery I don’t know if that's the best option. The only way they trade one of them is if they can sign a journeyman veteran who won’t get claimed on waivers.
I don’t think Dubnyk has shown enough for a team to grab him and keep him as their back up next season.
Robert Nilsson and Patrick O’Sullivan are exact replicas. Soft and inconsistent yet they can tantalize you skill that gives you a false sense that they have turned the corner. O’Sullivan is a bit grittier, but like his consistency that facet of his game only appears from time-to-time. Does Tambellini keep one of them, or both?
Both of them are under 26 years of age, so they can be bought out for 1/3 of their salary, but I don’t see both of them getting the pink slip. If I had to choose I’d get rid of O’Sullivan first, but I bet the team parts ways with Nilsson.
Can the Oilers move forward with Sam Gagner and Andrew Cogliano as centremen? Not if they want to be a contender some day, but Cogliano has put up some decent numbers since being promoted off the 4th line. He has four goals and nine points in his last 11 games, after scoring five goals and 14 points in the first 64.
I think his promotion has been a showcase and he’ll be moved this summer. I like his game and I think he’ll be a 20-goal man very soon, but he just doesn’t fit in the long term plans with Gagner and Tyler Seguin in the mix. Yes, I said Seguin. I think that is who the Oilers should choose on June 1st, if they get the first pick.
The Oilers will move Cogliano for a winger with size or a solid D-man.
The more I think about it, the more realistic it seems that the Oilers might move Ales Hemsky. Hemsky likes Edmonton, but he is tired of losing. Either they move Hemsky or they improve his supporting cast so this team can make the playoffs. I don’t think the latter is that easy, so Hemsky might be dangled.
I know a majority of fans are dreaming of getting the top two picks, but that slim, and I mean slim, possibility will only happen if Boston or Columbus is the other team in the top two. Carolina, Tampa and the Islanders won’t trade the pick, but Boston and Columbus would at least consider it. Scott Howson and Peter Chiarelli need to win next season, while the other three can be patient.
Once again it looks like the east will have four of the top five picks. It’s no wonder many of the top young stars play in the east. Since the 2000 draft only once, 2007, has the west had three picks in the top five. Every other year the east has had at least three choices, and three times they have had four of the top five picks.
Here is who the east and west have drafted since 2000.
|Rick Dipietro||Marian Gaborik|
|Dany Heatley||Rostislav Klesla|
|Raffi Torres||Stanislav Chistov|
|Ilya Kovalchuk||Rick Nash|
|Jason Spezza||Nikolai Zherdev|
|Alexandr Svitov||Cam Barker|
|Stephan Weiss||Blake Wheeler|
|Kari Lehtonen||Bobby Ryan|
|Jay Bouwmeester||Benoit Pouliot|
|Joni Pitkanen||Erik Johnson|
|Ryan Whitney||Jonathon Toews|
|Marc-Andre Fleury||Patrick Kane|
|Eric Staal||Kyle Turris|
|Nathan Horton||Thomas Hickey|
|Thomas Vanek||Drew Doughty|
|Alex Ovechkin||Alex Pietrangelo|
|Evgeni Malkin||Matt Duchene|
|Sidney Crosby||Brayden Schenn|
|James Van Riemsdyk|
The western teams need to learn how to suck better down the stretch. The Blue Jackets are 6-2-2 in their last ten and are now out of the bottom five, and if they keep rolling them might find themselves drafting 9th. Just more proof that you can’t get teams to purposely tank it down the stretch. The Jackets beat the Hawks twice in the last week.
With four straight wins it looks the Sharks have woke up and will get home ice advantage in the west. They won’t face Detroit in the first round, so I will pick the Sharks to represent the west in the Cup. I know they have Joe “I can’t play with emotion” Thornton, but I believe the Olympic experience will help him and with Dan Boyle, Dany Heatley and Patrick Marleau all winning the gold, the Sharks will finally make it to the fourth round.
I don’t like the Hawks goaltending, and I don’t think Vancouver’s defence is deep enough to win three rounds.
And it will be sweet to watch the Flames scratch and claw their way to 9th place in the west. They are dreaming if they think they will catch Colorado. They play each other this Friday, but it won’t matter. The Avs have five of their seven remaining games at home where they are 23-11-2. Sorry Flamers you won’t be going to the dance.
I wonder if the Flames would be in the playoffs if they showed as much fire as Jim Playfair, the head coach of their AHL team in Abbotsford.
Playfair lost it over the weekend. To bad he didn’t rip off his shirt,that would have been even funnier.