Great Weekend For Oilers Prospects

Jonathan Willis
May 17 2010 01:07PM

New York Islanders v Edmonton Oilers

It was a fairly big weekend for Oilers’ prospects.

Of course, none of the Oilers’ current prospects – even the two best, both of whom are playing at the World Championships this summer – are quite as exciting as the Oilers’ first overall pick. Oilers’ G.M. Steve Tambellini has made a point of spending time with both of them, but he made it very clear that will only be one ingredient in the evaluation:

“It’s an overall picture. Is this important, when you get into the pressure of championship hockey? Yes, of course it is. But it’s also maybe over 100 games a season for the last couple of years for our scouts and Stu MacGregor to really make a true assessment.”

One of the reasons that I emphasize statistics so much is that they present a big picture. When a spectator watches one game, he doesn’t know how a player performs game in and game out, so it’s nice to hear that the Oilers have been focused on these two players for a very long time, and that they’ll have a wealth of viewings on both. Of course, we’d expect no less but there was always the fear that Tambellini might want to make the decision himself based on a more limited viewing window; his proclamation earlier that he was going to rely on his scouts to make the pick was a positive sign.

This And That

Many Oilers fans, including here at Oilers Nation, were incredibly excited after Jordan Eberle’s strong performance against Norway at the World Championships. His play against Sweden was less impressive, and I’m worried that expectations are going to be too high for Eberle when he makes his NHL debut. I’m expecting a performance similar to the rookie years of Gagner and Cogliano – in the 40 to 50 point range.

While Eberle has been good, the performance of Magnus Paajarvi-Svensson has me actually more excited. He’s younger than Eberle, has played the whole tournament, and leads Sweden in goals, points and plus/minus. He also adds size and speed that Eberle doesn’t, and while both will be players I still think Paajarvi-Svensson might be the more important piece for the Oilers down the road.

The Oilers signed Finn Teemu Hartikainen a couple of days ago and according to Copper & Blue this marks the first time the Oilers have signed a complete draft class. Hartikainen is a good player with an intriguing scoring touch who may end up in either a scoring role or further down the line-up. He has size, nastiness and goal-scoring, but skating has been an area of concern.

The Oilers AHL affiliate in Oklahoma looks to be getting one of two names. Derek Zona’s been tracking this closely and two names have now been trademarked – the Oklahoma City Roughnecks and the Oklahoma City Barons. I don’t think either is a bad choice, but my personal preference is the Barons moniker.

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Jonathan Willis is a freelance writer. He currently works for Oilers Nation, Sportsnet, the Edmonton Journal and Bleacher Report. He's co-written three books and worked for myriad websites, including Grantland, ESPN, The Score, and Hockey Prospectus. He was previously the founder and managing editor of Copper & Blue.
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#1 The Towel Boy
May 17 2010, 01:14PM
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I found it strange that Eberle didn't get 4 or 5 points against Sweden. He must be injured or sick or something.

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#2 Ender
May 17 2010, 01:15PM
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I hope and pray that Chirp had nothing to do with inspiring this post.

And it's gotta be the Barons; there's a tie-in with Oil Barons, but Roughnecks is already tainted through association with Calgary's lacrosse boys.

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How do WHL stats tell you anything, they aren't as in depth as the NHL.

As for Eberle I'd be shocked if he hit 50 points, I'd be happy but 50 is the high end from my point of view on him next year.

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#5 Team Hall
May 17 2010, 01:19PM
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Ya, lets set the bar a little lower for Ebs. 40-50 pts in your first year is very good. Look at old Tavares. I am predicting a 40pt season for Ebs, which is great for your first year. Signing a complete draft class? Makes me think maybe wiley Stu MacGregor does know a thing or two about draft picks. I guess he can choose the first overall pick then, I won't supersede him (this time). (Pick Hall).

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#6 Team Hall
May 17 2010, 01:23PM
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Yes, put me down for the Oklahoma City Oil Barons. Roughnecks sounds like Rednecks which sounds too much like Calgary. You know what I mean? Barons has kind of an old school hockey sound to it too, I think there is some other team somewhere named the Barons, and that team is pretty cool as I recall.

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#7 Dyckster
May 17 2010, 01:24PM
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The Towel Boy wrote:

I found it strange that Eberle didn't get 4 or 5 points against Sweden. He must be injured or sick or something.

~Shremp all over again~

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#8 Archaeologuy
May 17 2010, 01:30PM
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It was a bad game for the entire Canadian team, I hope they bounce back because that last one was incredibly boring to watch.

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#9 Poo Czar
May 17 2010, 04:06PM
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I'm still down for the "Oklahoma City Bombers", featuring a panel van with a fuse.

Premptive Bad Taste defense: It's a joke people.

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#10 Senator Theo
May 17 2010, 04:54PM
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Of all the new kids, Jordan has always been my favorite. Wait, I don't know about the way that sounds...

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#11 Pajamah
May 17 2010, 06:34PM
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Poo Czar wrote:

I'm still down for the "Oklahoma City Bombers", featuring a panel van with a fuse.

Premptive Bad Taste defense: It's a joke people.

well played.

*slow clap*

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#12 RossCreekNation
May 17 2010, 06:57PM
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I dunno if this is official, but it's been around for 2 weeks, Barons logo and all...

http://twitter.com/OKC_Barons/status/13392423550

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#13 Bookie
May 17 2010, 08:07PM
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@Team Hall

Wow, my vote was for Roughnecks, but quite seriously your comment (old school, redneck, etc.) actually convinced me to change my vote. Go Barons!

Although the promotion from Roughneck to Oiler still sounds pretty good...

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#14 Dave
May 18 2010, 09:05AM
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I agree Willis. Going on nothing but my gut i think MPS will be better then any of the Oilers current prospects. Including Hall/Seguin.

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#15 Stall35
May 18 2010, 11:06AM
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Poo Czar wrote:

I'm still down for the "Oklahoma City Bombers", featuring a panel van with a fuse.

Premptive Bad Taste defense: It's a joke people.

WOW!!!...ballsy!!...lol

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#16 Samwise
May 18 2010, 08:20PM
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Senator Theo wrote:

Of all the new kids, Jordan has always been my favorite. Wait, I don't know about the way that sounds...

Way to Hang Tough on your comment.

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#17 Cowbell_Feva
May 19 2010, 12:24AM
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One player not mentioned is Toni Rajala. He played well in the Memorial Cup for the Wheat Kings with 2 Goals & 2 assists in 2 games.

That being said, Eberle is the most promising for the simple fact that he's CANADIAN!

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