September 24 2011 09:10AM
This is no time for the faint of heart. NHL jobs are in play, futures are being decided, riches and glory are within reach. This is the time to go balls out, to make an impression so indelible there is no question who wins the day. Lose that worried brow, step up today and secure a future in the finest hockey league in the world.
DANGER AND OPPORTUNITY ON D
With Ryan Whitney's injury coming along slowly, there's an opening--likely opening night and beyond--for one or more defensemen who were ticketed for OKC. Let's run the current depth chart:
- D Ryan Whitney (injured)
- D Tom Gilbert
- D Cam Barker
- D Ladislav Smid
- D Theo Peckham
- D Andy Sutton
- D Taylor Chorney
- D Jeff Petry
- D Corey Potter
- D Colten Teubert
- D Alex Plante
- D Taylor Fedun
- D Ryan Lowery
- D Kirill Tulupov
- D Martin Marincin
I've placed the top 6 in bold, but if Whitney goes on IR two of the three in italics will make the grade. I wouldn't count out Corey Potter in that contest, he has more experience than the other two (Chorney and Petry). Petry's chances are hurt imo because Whitney may have served as mentor for him through preseason and possibly into the regular campaign. My guess for opening night:
- extra: Chorney
This gives the club a chance to recall Petry when needed and Potter a chance to show he can grow into an NHL role. I've felt from the time of his signing that Potter might be a very good insurance policy against injury and the beginning of the season might be his best chance. Of course, all of this depends on Whitney's health.
SEIZE THE DAY AT F
There are all kinds of opportunities up front, owing mostly to the plethora of very good candidates. This isn't the Schremp-Pouliot discussion of yesteryear, this is RNH v. Lander and the only real question is who gets to go first. ALL of RNH, Lander and Hartikainen are likely to have NHL careers that exceed 200 games (the minimum requirement of an NHL career of note) and could help form the cornerstone of the franchise at forward for the next decade:
That's an impressive list, and three of the eight listed (RNH, Lander, Hartikainen) are vying for employment currently. Added to that list of three are some pretty good hockey players like Lennart Petrell (PK, checking winger), Chris VandeVelde (faceoffs, good size) and others. My guess for opening night lineup:
- extras: Brule, Hordichuk
WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?
There are jobs in play. Whitney's injury means there are two defense openings and three solid candidates. The battle at center rages on with all of RNH, Lander and Brule in the mix and Lennart Petrell keeps making himself useful. Preseason games are going to be worth watching, and we should pay special attention to the minutes given to men like Chorney, Petry, Potter, Nugent-Hopkins, Lander and Brule.
Nation Radio hits the airwaves today at noon on Team 1260. Scheduled to appear:
- Ted Wyman from the Winnipeg Sun. We'll talk about the huge ratings success of the Jets and try to define this team's personality.
- David Staples from Cult of Hockey. We'll talk about the excellent "Oilers Way" series that is wrapping up today at COH and about the arena, Whitney's injury and if we have time David and I will discuss our opposing views on Sam Gagner.
- Ian Walker from the Vancouver Sun. Walker is one of my favorites guests to have on because no subject is off the table. We could discuss everything from marine life to Ogopogo, but the questioning model has me inquiring about the 11-12 Canucks.
- Derek Zona from Copper and Blue. We'll discuss the Oilers and ask ourselves if they're better this year. We'll also try to figure out a way to shoe-horn Teemu Hartikainen into the starting lineup.
- Kent Simpson from Oil Kings broadcasts. I'll ask Kent about the Oil Kings and their chances this coming season and will get a scouting report on Griffin Reinhart--who could be the next first round selection for the Edmonton Oilers.
Emails and comments welcome at firstname.lastname@example.org and we get rolling at noon.