The Point is Moot!

Lowetide
April 15 2011 07:42AM

It's fun to ponder which of the Oilers rookies had the best season, and to ask which of them will have the better career. A better question might be "can these kids help the Oilers win the Stanley in the next decade?"

If we take each rookie (just the ones who qualify as rookies, let's not get ahead of ourselves with small sample sizes) and ask the question, it becomes clear just how many holes have/may have been filled during this long, dreary (and unending, apparently) winter.

  1. Will the Oilers be able to count on Taylor Hall to deliver quality on the top line? No need to shake the big 8-ball on this question, Hall showed flashes of elite-level talent during the season and delivered 22 goals in a shortened year. It's best not to project too far into the future, but a reasonable progression year over year has Hall north of 30 goals in 11-12. And he's still a teenager.
  2. Will the Oilers be able to count on Jordan Eberle as a 2-way player on a quality team? Of all the 10-11 rookies, Eberle showed beyond expectations. Smart player, quick hands and a hard worker. I think he might end up playing center, but even if Eberle doesn't change position he has all of the skills required to be a complete player.
  3. Can Magnus Pääjärvi find an effective role in the top 9? The 8-ball doesn't come back completely convinced about his offense, but the young man is much better without the puck than what you expect from a rookie. It didn't show up as much in the stats as we'd like (he appears to have been playing in some bad puck luck when on the Gagner-Omark line) but Pääjärvi's natural instincts have him leaving the zone early and playing middle linebacker at the slightest hint of trouble. If his offense doesn't come (MP wasn't among the top flight offensive rookies like the two men above) the Oilers will have a quality checker with size and an idea about defense. That's a useful player.
  4. Can Linus Omark play in the top 6F? Omark's season is a little bit of a riddle, as he has some mixed up math in his resume. By eye he's remarkable with the puck, tough to knock it away from and capable of stickhandling in a phone booth. However, he's generally out of position and on the wrong side of the puck when it's turned over, so I'd guess he'll be a one dimensional offensive player who can quarterback the powerplay. You can't have too many of these guys, but if he can stay in the league and learn on the job Omark might end up being an integral part of a contending team. He's certainly talented enough to survive, but because of size bias he'll need a little luck to stay. Teams often flush these player types as soon as they slump, and everyone slumps.
  5. Can Jeff Petry play a prominent role on a championship team? Petry has an exceptional skill set: size, mobility, intelligence, quality head-man passing ability and he can help on the powerplay. I don't think Petry will play the heart of his career as an Oiler. Why? Oiler fans aren't fond of "finesse defensemen" and sooner or later he's going to pass up an opportunity to make a hit or make a coverage error that looks obvious on television. Fans turn on these guys, we have decades of proof in this regard. Want to know Petry's future in Edmonton? Ask Tom Gilbert. I don't think he'll be here when the team is contending for the Stanley. Too bad, I think he's an exceptional talent.
  6. Can Devan Dubnyk backstop a championship team? As with all of these questions, we're not going to know the answer for awhile. However, Dubnyk's rookie season was good. Really good. He went 12-13-8 on a horrible team, and his GAA (2.71) towers over Super Bowl Sunday's. His .916SP ranked third among rookies and in a tie for 18th among all qualifying goalers in the NHL. If he can build on that impressive season--winning 12 games for the Sisters of the Poor orphanage team--Devan Dubnyk is going to have a career.

Next season won't be as plentiful for Oiler rookies. Teemu Hartikainen would appear to be a strong candidate and a couple of defensemen (Plante, Teubert) may also qualify. No worries, as this year's crop has quality and quantity. If the fans can get out of their own way re:Petry, maybe there's even a defenseman in the group.

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Lowetide has been one of the Oilogosphere's shining lights for over a century. You can check him out here at OilersNation and at lowetide.ca. He is also the host of Lowdown with Lowetide weekday mornings 10-noon on TSN 1260.
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#51 9 Inches Uncut
April 15 2011, 12:20PM
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It would be a shame if Taylor Hall's name isn't on the cup at some point in his career.

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#52 BarryS
April 15 2011, 12:24PM
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Milli wrote:

Sorry Barry, but where is Seguin? Is he scratched, because I didn't notice him in game 1.

Must have been because he didn'y play.

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#53 Zarf
April 15 2011, 12:46PM
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Quicksilver ballet wrote:

I don't feel this sophomore slump applies to these Oiler kids. In order for this to occur they need teammates to realize more on ice success than they may enjoy next year. There's nobody else going on this club to compare them to. With injuries (Horc,Hemsky and Whitney play lass than half a season each) and the minutes these kids will receive next year, there's no room for a sophomore slump. These kids will impose their will even more next year with the minutes they receive. With little/no new blood next season Hall adds 25 pts to last years totals and Eberle adds 20 to his totals to go with a 27th place finish.

Your guess is as good as mine, Quicksilver, but I'm not sure if I agree with you.

Actually, to be more precise, I'm not sure if I agree that ice time will be their remedy against any possible onset of the sophomore slump.

Yeah, they could end up playing a lot if all or some of the usual suspects get hurt again, but that doesn't mean that they won't hit the dreaded slump.

That said, it's also entirely possible that none of them will get the slump. They'll all train hard during the summer, build some strength and come to camp even fitter and wiser than they were last year.

But I'm still worried.

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#54 Team Centerman
April 15 2011, 12:48PM
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@ Dan the Man Great point. Agree with you 100%. The problem on our backend? Too many thoroughbreds and not enough Clydesdales. You put 2 more Peckhams on that back end and all of a sudden we have no problem with Gilby's puck-moving ability. Not every defenseman is Chris Pronger and can do everything.

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#55 Tayranchula
April 15 2011, 02:12PM
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I dont think people are giving Petry the credit he needs when it comes to hitting and being strong on the puck. He is alot like Gilbert but Petry hits with a purpose and leans on guys alot harder and more often then Gilbert. For example the game against Calgary, Petry absolutely lambasted Langkow who was looking the other way at his drop pass. Have I ever seen Gilbert do that no. I think Petry is going to be more loved by Oil fans then Gilbert and stay longer than Gilbert. Every Oiler fan knows we dont have great superstar dman in our system and with the way Petry has played it would be foolish to dump on a player so early in his career.

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#56 Ender
April 15 2011, 02:28PM
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BarryS wrote:

The Bruins are in real trouble at center at the moment and Sequin is where?

Come on folks, get over it, Sequin is yeterdays news.

Let's look at what one of his veteran teammates thinks:

Recchi drew upon his experience with Carolina in response to another question, chiefly whether rookie Tyler Seguin (a healthy scratch in Game 1) could make an impact in this series, or whether the idea of competing at this level and in this environment -- a playoff series in Montreal -- would be too much for the 19-year-old to handle.

"It all depends. Obviously, that’s a coach’s decision. Right now, he’s not playing, but I’m sure if he gets that opportunity, he’ll be ready," said Recchi. "Obviously, getting the first taste of it in a place like Montreal would be tough. At the same time, he’s a good young kid and he gets it. He’s a good hockey player.

"I played in Carolina when Cam Ward was a rookie there. He came in and Game 3 was his first [start]. In the Carolina series, when we beat Montreal and went on to win the Stanley Cup, [Ward] embraced it, grabbed it and went for a run. You never know with situations like that in the playoffs. Right now, we have a good lineup. I’m sure at some point, [Seguin] will got a shot in there, and he’ll be ready."

Might be a bit early to start writing off this glittery 'Sequin' kid just yet.

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#57 Crash
April 15 2011, 02:38PM
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BarryS wrote:

The Bruins are in real trouble at center at the moment and Sequin is where?

Come on folks, get over it, Sequin is yeterdays news.

Still many with the preverbial "you know what" on for Seguin and thinking Boston would never trade Seguin for that number one overall pick...

Maybe we can wait a couple of years and get him for a 4th round pick....

At this point I wouldn't think of trading that #1 pick for Seguin.

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#58 OilFan
April 15 2011, 02:45PM
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@Crash

I'd give up Gagner and the 1st for Seguin and Boston would hang up .

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#59 OilFan
April 15 2011, 03:01PM
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@Crash

I'm not a Seguin fan. I also don't drink oiler kool-aid. Gagner over Seguin thanks for the laugh. WOW

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#60 They're $hittie
April 15 2011, 03:45PM
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OilFan wrote:

I'd give up Gagner and the 1st for Seguin and Boston would hang up .

You would get rid of our best center (and an NHL player), and a possibly first line center or stud dman, for someone who has not proved anything at the top level and has not played much ice time all year.

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#61 OilFan
April 15 2011, 03:53PM
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@Crash

If he isn't he will end up as good as Gagner

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#62 OilFan
April 15 2011, 04:10PM
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@They're $hittie

look at round two also in the 2007 draft lots of good players. Ganger isn't bad but his shoes aren't to big for Seguin

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#63 misfit
April 15 2011, 04:14PM
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Owen wrote:

Big difference between Gagner and Eberle is Gagner is weak and gets pushed off the puck, Eberle does not and often comes up with the puck off the boards...also Eberle's shot is much better then Gagner's...Gagner and Eberle are a poor comparison, they are different players and Eberle has much better skills in my opinion.

I just wonder if you'll still be saying that in 3 years.

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#64 OilFan
April 15 2011, 04:28PM
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How many people wanted the Oilers to draft Seguin ? Lot's and the reason was since he played center was it not ?

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#65 a lg dubl dubl
April 15 2011, 04:36PM
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Better be careful about saying Eberle might be a centerman someday LT, there's alot of fans that might think he's to "small" to be a top line center lol ;)

Good read on this friday afternoon btw

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#66 They're $hittie
April 15 2011, 05:21PM
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OilFan wrote:

look at round two also in the 2007 draft lots of good players. Ganger isn't bad but his shoes aren't to big for Seguin

Satistically Gagner is the 2nd best player in that draft.

Furthermore I am not saying Seguing couldnt fill gagners shoes, (dont think he could yet), but he is not worth 1st overall and gagner. He isnt even worth a first overall draft pick in his own year.

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#67 They're $hittie
April 15 2011, 05:21PM
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OilFan wrote:

look at round two also in the 2007 draft lots of good players. Ganger isn't bad but his shoes aren't to big for Seguin

Satistically Gagner is the 2nd best player in that draft.

Furthermore I am not saying Seguin couldnt fill gagners shoes, (dont think he could yet), but he is not worth 1st overall and gagner. He isnt even worth a first overall draft pick in his own year.

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#68 OilFan
April 15 2011, 07:36PM
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@They're $hittie

fair points good buddy. like always time will tell

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#69 gcw_rocks
April 16 2011, 11:25AM
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Seguin is still behind Bergeron and Kreiji for the top offensive centre roles, and rightly so. You CANNOT judge Seguin's future at this point. His odds of unseating either of those players as a rookie is astromonically small. And guess what, most coaches would not want to have a rookie anchor thier shut down line. There are no indication out of Boston that Seguin can't be the real deal. Sheesh.

I would trade Gager for Seguin in a heartbeat. We don't know what Seguin will become, but we sure as heck know what Gagner will not become, and that's an elite centre in the NHL. I would trade the Oil's 1st overall and Gagner for Seguin and Toronto's pick and smile all the way to the bank.

Would be a good pick for both teams if Boston like Larsson or Landeskog. Oil get a potential elite centre (which Boston does not need at this time) and a shot at a strong defensive prospect at 9 (Siemens?). Boston fills a need (wing or d) through the draft and can play Gagner at RW, where he belongs.

Doubt Boston would go there, though. With bergeron's soft noggin, I think they will hold on to Seguin for at least one more season to see how Patrice holds up.

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