OKC: The Outer Marker

Lowetide
September 21 2011 05:31PM

Any fool watching these whiz kids who will soon be headed for Oklahoma City can see good things ahead for the farm in 11-12. A good crop one year ago (Omark, Petry) may give way to a watershed (Lander, Hartikainen, Hamilton, Pitlick, Teubert) some day soon. Could this be the Oilers all time best farm team? 

I count the Oilers best all-time farm team as the 81-82 Wichita WInd. They didn't win the Calder Cup (by 92-93 the Cape Breton Oilers would win the coveted Calder) but it was a fine team and delivered a bounty to the NHL team. Here's a list of NHLers the Wichita Wind 81-82 team graduted to the world's best hockey league:

  • Andy Moog, who had a couple of cups of coffee before and during 81-82 but established himself as a quality NHL prospect during this season. The Oilers would eventually deal Moog, but he was certainly one of the finest goaltenders of his era.
  • Charlie Huddy, who would be a strong contributor to the best Oiler teams in history and play in over 1,000 NHL games. Huddy was not drafted, rather he was signed by the Oilers and spent parts of three seasons in the minors before graduating to the show. His development should serve as a strong reminder that good defensemen often take some time to develop. A splendid player.
  • Walt Poddubny, who would flourish in the NHL. He played 468 games and scored 184 goals, 116 of those in a stunning three season run from 86-89.
  • John Blum, who would play 250 NHL games (most with Boston) was signed by the organization from Michigan (NCAA) after his graduation from college.
  • Don Jackson, who rescued his career in Wichita and performed well for the Oilers during the first portion of the Stanley runs (dealt Oct 86). He was a solid role player for the Oilers during those years.
  • Tom Roulston, who played 195 NHL games (and 47 goals) for the Oilers just before they started bagging Stanley's every spring.

And there were a few cups of coffee, including Ray Cote who old timers like me will remember.

Once Moog and Huddy established themselves as NHL players, the Oilers were ready to run the table and they did it several times during the 1980's. That era ended too soon and for fans my age forced us to wake up to the reality of the situation: those kinds of teams come along (probably) once in a lifetime.

The new Oiler fan (basically anyone who doesn't have a strong memory of the 1990 team) is anywhere from 0 to 30 years old (or more depending how much you paid attention to hockey as a kid) at this time. A key element for the Oilers moving forward will be developing trade assets at the minor league level. If we can agree that this season's OKC team will likely send the big club Teemu Hartikainen and Anton Lander (as the main attractions) and then lesser lights like Chris VandeVelde, Corey Potter and Yann Danis, it's probably easy to identify possible trade items.

The OKC Barons are going to be extremely deep at center. The roster could boast all of Lander, Ryan O'Marra, Chris VandeVelde, Tanner House, Milan Kytnar, Ryan Martindale and Josh Green (who can also play wing) vying for time in the middle in the AHL.

Should the Oilers need to make toom for Martindale, a player like O'Marra may be offloaded during training camp or before the season begins. If the Oilers can get a draft pick--even a depth pick--that's another bullet for Stu MacGregor.

Who are this year's Moog and Huddy? 

There are no Gretzky's, but there should be some really talented players in Oklahoma City this season. Here's my guess for the opening night lineup in OKC and the players with legit NHL hopes in bold:

  • GOALYann Danis, David LeNeveu
  • DEFENSE: Bryan Helmer, Corey Potter, Taylor Chorney, Colten Teubert, Alex Plante, Kirill Tulupov, Taylor Fedun
  • CENTER: Anton Lander, Ryan O'Marra, Chris VandeVelde, Tanner House, Milan Kytnar*
  • LEFT WING: Teemu Hartikainen, Lennert Petrell, Curtis Hamilton, Josh Green, Phil Corent
  • RIGHT WING: Ryan Keller, Mark Arcobello, Antti Tyrvainen, Tyler Pitlick, Hunter Tremblay

I think Motin, Abney and Roy start in the ECHL and wonder about Kytnar's health (that's why he's an asterisk).

That's a lot of black ink, a lot of bolded names. Whatever else we can say about Steve Tambellini, he's added a tremendous number of players who could end up being NHL players. Luck, desire and determination will count for a lot, but these young man have been acquired because there's something about them that gives them a chance to succeed in pro hockey.

You could have written the same thing about Charlie Huddy or Andy Moog in 1981 fall. This is the function of the American Hockey League, to take all of those junior snipers, defensive stars and quick gloved goalies and grind them into useful role players for an NHL team.

 

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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 Team 1260.
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#1 Oilcruzer
September 21 2011, 05:33PM
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Look what happens when you shut down and snap open a beer! A new blog! (Everything else is after this post)

Tragically, Don Ashby I recall was killed in a car crash that season.

Also Ace Bailey was on that team- no? (Lost in 9/11)

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#2 Oilcruzer
September 21 2011, 05:42PM
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google is my friend

those guys were from the previous year.

But Curt Brackenberry!!! Who can forget him?

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#3 WOJO99
September 21 2011, 05:47PM
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I was born 81 makes me 30 years old! Too young to really understand or appreciate the dynasty years. The teen years through my twenty's I have a Todd Marchant goal and one cup run!

Empty seats at skyreach center with a free hotdog with your superstore bought tickets thats my great memories. Oh yah coach Burnette.

HERES HOPING THE THIRTY's are much better

PLEASE GOD

81 birthday SUX

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#4 a lg dubl dubl
September 21 2011, 06:05PM
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Is that Mike Krushelniski behind Huddy? Now thats a name bar!

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#5 Next up, is Connor McJesus.
September 21 2011, 06:09PM
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I don't see Sam Gagners name anywhere on your list, did he make the big club?

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#6 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
September 21 2011, 06:25PM
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Have to say this will be the first year I've had more then a passing interest in the AHL team.

Will give us a good oppertunity to see just how overated (or not) Mcgregor and the last 3 or so draft classes are.

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#7 Mason Storm
September 21 2011, 06:26PM
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Aren't the Oilers pushing for Pitlick at center. Do you think he will push some of the names you mentioned aside? If that's what the big team brass wants.

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#8 old guy...
September 21 2011, 06:35PM
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After watching that grainy utube of the sweet Kirill, I had a seniors moment, a flashback, are you sure thats not Eddie Shack!!!!, He who had his teammates point out that its the guys in the OTHER uniforms to go after.....

After all...the oilers need little help in ending in the infirmary...

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#11 Next up, is Connor McJesus.
September 21 2011, 06:54PM
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Lowetide wrote:

Should the Oilers attempt to send him down, I'm fairly certain Gagner would be claimed on waivers.

You're probably right. Do you think his compete level is where it needs to be?

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#13 spenner
September 21 2011, 06:59PM
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WOJO99 wrote:

I was born 81 makes me 30 years old! Too young to really understand or appreciate the dynasty years. The teen years through my twenty's I have a Todd Marchant goal and one cup run!

Empty seats at skyreach center with a free hotdog with your superstore bought tickets thats my great memories. Oh yah coach Burnette.

HERES HOPING THE THIRTY's are much better

PLEASE GOD

81 birthday SUX

I also was an 81 birthday. I remember the 90 cup but barely. And at that time I remember a lot of people were cheering against the Oilers because they won so much during that period. I was trying to decide whether I was an Oiler fan or not.

I hate to admit it but I was probably more of a Kings fan at that time because of the Gretzky fiasco. Plus my dad was a Kings fan so of course I followed what he did. It probably wasn't until the mid 90's that I became a die hard Oilers fan. I can remember that playoff OT goal against Dallas by hot Toddy like it was yesterday!

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#14 Chris.
September 21 2011, 07:01PM
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@Next up, is Connor McJesus.

People are piling on Gagner one roll back... Let's use this one to talk about OKC.

Why is every thread about Gagner lately?

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#15 spenner
September 21 2011, 07:07PM
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Chris. wrote:

People are piling on Gagner one roll back... Let's use this one to talk about OKC.

Why is every thread about Gagner lately?

Yeah I don't get it either. I can't wait until the season starts. If Gagner can stay healthy *knock on wood* I see him having a very solid to exceptional year.

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#17 D
September 21 2011, 07:16PM
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Man LT, your comment about the "new" Oiler fan makes me feel so old.

Anyway, here's to a repeat (even if partial) of the 1980s.

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#18 justincider
September 21 2011, 07:21PM
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Lowetide wrote:

It happens every year. There's two new centers and they look good early, so let's dump those bums who caused the 30th place finish. But you have to remember that all these teams Edmonton is playing feature a bunch of scrubs with a few NHLers peppered in.

PLUS if the Oilers ever get to the point where they can deal a C for D help, great! And if it's Gagner then so be it.

But I don't really understand a post about Gagner being optioned to OKC. I'm not certain if the poster was serious, but sometimes people get passionate about the damndest things.

To be fair, this is the same poster that told us Tambellini missed the boat when he didnt move Hemsky at the draft for the tenth overall,then move the tenth for the third overall. ( If I am correct, I believe he said Chorney was the name needed to make that happen. ) This is the same poster that posted " Hall better keep his pants on, I heard he slept with 80 girls last year, I hope this doesnt turn out to be another Arnott situation". I must say though, hes good for a laugh.

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#20 Chris.
September 21 2011, 07:38PM
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@Lowetide

I thought the organization wanted to groom Pitlick as a centerman... in either case: I'm not too impressed with the organizational depth on the right wing.

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#21 Next up, is Connor McJesus.
September 21 2011, 07:39PM
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Chris. wrote:

People are piling on Gagner one roll back... Let's use this one to talk about OKC.

Why is every thread about Gagner lately?

One roll back was a pre-meditated shot at Khabibulin, wasn't it?

We haven't seen much or heard any dialogue on 89 as far as i can remember. What kinda bully would want to pile on that cute little puddin cup?

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#24 OutDoorRink
September 21 2011, 07:44PM
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"Why is every thread about Gagner lately?"

Because we're so deep at center. There's a back up happening and Sam needs to prove that he's better than the screaming horde behind him.

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#25 Next up, is Connor McJesus.
September 21 2011, 08:14PM
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In an effort to remain on the specified topic....

Whose fault is it that the Miss Oklahoma image, is yet to accompany this article? The one that looks as though she was about a sq metre of red fabric short when she made that shirt.

Go Barons!

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#26 Archaeologuy
September 21 2011, 08:15PM
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Lowetide wrote:

Oh. Well, I didn't know that. Carry on. (note to self: ask Wanye for scouting report on all posters). :-)

I wonder what mine would be like.

"Consistent poster, never backs down from a confrontation, sometimes gets a little greasy in the corners but has a good compete level. Seems to favour Gagner but gets a little sloppy in the Omark zone."

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#27 Next up, is Connor McJesus.
September 21 2011, 08:25PM
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Archaeologuy wrote:

I wonder what mine would be like.

"Consistent poster, never backs down from a confrontation, sometimes gets a little greasy in the corners but has a good compete level. Seems to favour Gagner but gets a little sloppy in the Omark zone."

Thats against the rules Archie, you can't write your own scouting report. You could do one on someone else, like Obbie...but its not applicable if you're pumping your own tires.

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#28 Chris.
September 21 2011, 08:28PM
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Huddy must have been born with that mustache!

Isn't it funny how some guys seem to hit their 30's as teenagers and then just never age? What a beauty!

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#29 lumpjaw
September 21 2011, 08:32PM
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Off topic: Anyone care to take a shot at the 13-14 roster?

Thanks to the Magnificent Bastard, it surely does seem like the Oilers may have future talent coming out their ears.

If it's me, maybe it looks something like this:

Hall RNH Eberle Magnus Lander Omark Hamilton Pitlick Hartikainen Eager Horcoff One of the Finns

Extra: Martindale,/Tough Guy that can play/Smyth/Belanger

Whitney Petry Gilbert Musil Klefbom Marincin

Extra: Peckham

Dubnyk Bunz

Traded/

Hemsky Omarra Gagne Plante A raft of others

It's rather imprecise. Doesn't factor in 2 more drafts, trades or free agents. All in all, maybe not enough savvy, experience, and toughness. Still. Good luck to Stevey T. when it comes to identifying the core. He does it right, the Cup is ours in 14-15 and for years thereafter. (Short of difficulty signing, as in too much talent, too few dollars.)

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#30 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
September 21 2011, 08:38PM
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@ OutDoorRink. Sarcasm?

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#31 DSF
September 21 2011, 08:57PM
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That lineup is much more balanced than currently but there is no way you can pay someone $5.5M to play on the 4th line and still have the cap dollars to pay your top 6.

Hall, Eberle, Paajarvi and Omark will all be on their second contracts and, if they are are good as you hope, they're going to get paid.

The defense is also likely still below average since Whitney's health is unreliable and none of the others projects as a top pairing defenseman.

Counting on Dubnyk and Bunz to help you win a cup in 14-15 and "years after" is just goofy based on how little experience they have and how good the goaltending prospects of other teams are.

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#32 OilerPunch
September 21 2011, 09:13PM
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Where is motin? Is he at training camp?

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#33 Walter Sobchak
September 21 2011, 09:18PM
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My Gagner question is this. Did he get faster? and is his head in the right place?

Gagner speed is really my only concern. After that I think the Oiler's have bigger issues right now.

Defense!!! for the love of Pete just another 6-7 d-man please.

Waive Brule.

Sign Hemsky or trade him, move Gagner to the wing, keep Hopkins or Lander who ever proves themselves ready.

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#34 Oilcruzer
September 21 2011, 09:22PM
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Chris. wrote:

People are piling on Gagner one roll back... Let's use this one to talk about OKC.

Why is every thread about Gagner lately?

Cuz the Oil traded Penner

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#35 Professor Fatbot, PhD
September 21 2011, 09:41PM
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I am an '87 so my first real memory of anything Oilers is McGavin's bread hockey cards when I was 3 and 4 in the post-glory era. All I remember is Esa Tikkanen McGavin's cards, and nothing about the Oil until the late 90s playoff runs.

The real glory years for people my age is that miraculous 2006 playoff run. It was a once in forever thing and will always stick with the people of northern Alberta and all Oil fans.

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#36 Wanyes bastard child
September 21 2011, 10:22PM
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Next up, is Connor McJesus. wrote:

Thats against the rules Archie, you can't write your own scouting report. You could do one on someone else, like Obbie...but its not applicable if you're pumping your own tires.

That being said, I think justincider's scouting report on you is fairly accurate ;)

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#37 TreenasOil
September 21 2011, 11:24PM
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Some of the players you have in OKC won't pass through waivers.There is probably going to be some surprised players going on waivers too.

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#38 Daniel
September 22 2011, 02:40AM
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I'm curious what you think of Fedun, LT.

Based on my own analysis, based often on a heavy dose of the Oilogosphere's finest contributions, I see Barker, Sutton and Chorney either sitting in the PB or optioned to waivers/OKC by the end of the season. I think Potter gets promoted and takes over as the 6th d-man, and I see Fedun

I think Petry becomes a mainstay logging top-4 minutes, Potter becomes a 6th d-man, and Fedun comes up to the club due to injuries (and Teubert, Plante, Marincin are still rounding out and maturing on the farm...not a knock against them, I just think Fedun's more mature and readier for NHL action), and makes a case for himself to at least be the Oil's #7 d-man going into next season.

From what I've seen of Fedun, I think the Oilers really have a diamond in the rough. Also, based on the plethora of quality young d-men and prospects of the 'defensive d-man ilk' (Smid, Peckham, Teubert AND Plante), I think Fedun will prove himself capable of handling a two-way role and run/improve with it as an NHLer.

With that in mind, I think we're also going to see Tambellini in a great position this time next year, or even earlier in the summer, to make a deal using two very solid prospects/young NHLers to get a veteran or semi-veteran top-4 d-man. Cuz if this team's ready to push hard for a playoff spot, and I think they will be next season, they're going to need more quality, experienced depth than a depth chart that looks like:

Whitney Gilbert Petry Smid Peckham Potter Fedun

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#39 Daniel
September 22 2011, 02:42AM
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Cont'd from the last post...not sure what happened to my thoughts on Fedun, but must've accidentally deleted them. From the end of the first paragraph:

"I think Potter gets promoted and takes over as the 6th d-man, and I see Fedun" stepping up into a top-6 spot and making it very difficult for the Oilers to send him back down.

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#40 pelhem grenville
September 22 2011, 04:14AM
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Q = sh*t disturbing pot stirrer

you tried to start up the 89...thing...can we NOT go to that most boring place before we have 250+ comments over and over again about you-know-who and how wonderful it is here to be passionate again about how 89 is better than most and/or worse than the whole world debate...

i'd rather read about Miss OKC's haberdashery issues than ANYMORE of the crap about our 2C

what's the over/under on how many games Lander plays in OKC ???

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#41 Caper
September 22 2011, 04:57AM
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I never seen any hockey team dominate at any level like the 92-93 CB Oilers. Seems to be a forgotten story, some unreal performances and character. Chasing Felix Potvin/Damian Rhodes for 40 some goals in the first 4 games.

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#42 Oilers G- Nations Poet Laureate
September 22 2011, 05:27AM
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pelhem grenville wrote:

Q = sh*t disturbing pot stirrer

you tried to start up the 89...thing...can we NOT go to that most boring place before we have 250+ comments over and over again about you-know-who and how wonderful it is here to be passionate again about how 89 is better than most and/or worse than the whole world debate...

i'd rather read about Miss OKC's haberdashery issues than ANYMORE of the crap about our 2C

what's the over/under on how many games Lander plays in OKC ???

The over/under for Lander is 10 games, (RNH). I'm taking the under.

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#43 russ99
September 22 2011, 06:17AM
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Please, enough of this "just trade a forward for a decent defenseman" talk.

3 years ago it was "trade a defenseman for a forward" and now we're short on the blueline.

We have a nice collection of kids, and as we've all seen in the past, not all the kids will pan out.

We may have a few extras now, but there's no need just ditching one before the jury is out because we may need an extra blueliner now, in a non-contending year.

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#44 Max Powers - Team HME Evans
September 22 2011, 06:54AM
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Ahhh, yet another article indicating that the organization is heading in the right direction. Keep 'em comin' LT!

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#47 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
September 22 2011, 08:07AM
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Chris. wrote:

People are piling on Gagner one roll back... Let's use this one to talk about OKC.

Why is every thread about Gagner lately?

On the bright side, at least their aren't 394,842,291 posts about Horcoff.

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#49 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
September 22 2011, 08:28AM
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Lowetide wrote:

Well, the Oiler fans are like the young man who meets a girl and falls in love, then meets another girl and falls in love and keeps doing that over and over again.

The PROBLEM is that the Oilers seem to be the same way. Witness the Hemsky article by Bob Stauffer at the Oilers website.

Bob's already talking about the return and there is no new contract talk.

Extremely disappointing.

Middling prospect, 1st rounder.... maybe a roll player to boot.

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#50 Evan
September 22 2011, 08:32AM
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LT, maybe it is just the fact that I have always rooted for Plante, but I do not see what everyone sees so much more in Tuebert than in Plante? They are very similar players but yet everyone talks about Tuebert being a future Oiler and Plante being a 5th or 6th defenceman on OKC.

Also, I really expect big things from Hunter Tremblay. He was a really good player in the OHL and college. I know he is only on a one year contract but I think he will be a more dynamic offensive player than some of the guys you bolded.

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