Ten Points: Magnus Paajarvi & Justin Schultz

Magnus Paajarvi and Justin Schultz are having different years in Oklahoma City, there’s some good and bad news on injuries to Oilers prospects, the NHL/NHLPA are going down the mediation path and some familiar names are eligible for this year’s NHL Entry Draft. This and more, after the jump.

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1. Don’t bet on Magnus Paajarvi turning into a goal-scorer. The following chart shows Magnus Paajarvi’s shooting percentage by league, by year. Those without strong stomachs may need to avert their eyes.

Season League GP G Shots SH%
2007-08 Swe. 35 1 25 4.00%
2008-09 Swe. 50 7 103 6.80%
2009-10 Swe. 49 12 160 7.50%
2010-11 NHL 80 15 180 8.33%
2011-12 NHL 41 2 79 2.53%
2011-12 AHL 34 7 100 7.00%
2012-13 AHL 18 2 44 4.55%

Paajarvi’s best shooting percentage year in the last five and a bit seasons was his NHL rookie campaign, where he was a modest 8.3% shooter. He’s young, but this is strong evidence that he’s never going to be a goal –scorer, despite being a pretty decent volume shooter.

2. Justin Schultz’s shooting percentage has always been ridiculous. Here are the numbers for Schultz over his college and AHL career to date:

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Season League GP G Shots SH%
2009-10 WCHA 43 6 60 10.00%
2010-11 WCHA 41 18 108 16.67%
2011-12 WCHA 37 16 110 14.55%
2012-13 AHL 18 10 54 18.52%

The question is how well those college shooting percentages are going to hold up at the NHL level. I can attest that Schultz has a wicked shot – honestly, watching him shoot when he sneaks in close he looks like a goal-scoring forward – but I just don’t know how high we can expect him to stay in the NHL. Possibly of interest: his University of Wisconsin teammate Jake Gardiner was a 6.9% career shooter in college and has been a 6.9% shooter in the minors (last year in the NHL Gardiner managed an 8.9 shooting percentage). (Related: Jason Gregor wrote about Schultz’s shooting percentage yesterday)

3. Oscar Klefbom is done for the season. This is not surprising, given the news of the last week, but even so confirmation that Klefbom is finished for the year is disappointing. I wonder if we’ll see Klefbom start next season in Edmonton – given that so much of this year has been lost, if he ends up in North America next season I suspect the smartest thing to do would be to start him in the AHL.

4. Good news on the Martin Gernat front. Jim Matheson reports that the Oilers prospect could be playing for the Oil Kings early in 2013. Gernat, despite his modest draft position, is an outstanding prospect and his loss to injury early this year was a significant negative. If he’s back relatively quickly in the new year he can play a significant amount of hockey; presumably that will make the transition to the professional game in 2013-14 a little easier.

5. The KHL’s leading scorer is Sergei Mozyakin. There is a lot of NHL talent in the KHL scoring race, with players like Evgeni Malkin and Ilya Kovalchuk leading the way, but so far the league’s top point producer is a guy who was a ninth-round Columbus draft pick 10 years ago. Mozyakin is an exceptional talent – he’s twice led the KHL and once the RSL in points – but is undersized for the NHL game and never spent much time in North America. He played four games in the QMJHL in the late-1990’s.

6. I don’t expect mediation to do much for the NHL/NHLPA. There doesn’t seem to be much way for mediation to hurt the negotiations, so I suppose it makes sense to try it, but it’s hard to imagine the mediators making much headway with these two parties. We’ve seen a wide range of proposals, and both Gary Bettman and Donald Fehr are old hands at this sort of thing. The problem doesn’t seem to be that the two sides don’t understand each other; the problem is that they understand each other just fine and disagree emphatically.

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7. That odd guy on Twitter mediates billion-dollar labour disputes for a living. One thing about mediation: it gave us the Guy Serota debacle yesterday. It’s hard not to feel a little bad for Serota, who far all I know is excellent at his job… but at the same time it’s hard to reconcile the weird Sarah Silverman obsession, partisan political commentary, sniper rifle ad and awkward YouTube videos with level-headed mediation.

8. Steve Tambellini has a draft-eligible son this year. Like his brother Jeff, Adam Tambellini s going the U.S. college route, which means that instead of playing in the WHL he’s in the BCHL. The 6’2” forward has 31 points in 25 games. For his sake, I hope the Oilers – as with Keegan Lowe a year ago – aren’t interested because there’s a lot of extra pressure that comes with being related to management.

9. And speaking of famous last names… Eric Comrie, the brother of former Oilers Mike and Paul, is the top-ranked WHL goaltender for the 2013 Draft. Central Scouting’s Al Jensen had the following to say about him:

He’s cool and relaxed, very durable and reliable. He always gives himself a chance to stop the puck with his excellent angle play and butterfly coverage. He’s smooth, controlled and well-balanced. Eric is good post-to-post and on wraparounds.

Comrie’s stats line (15-8-2, 0.916 SV%) is respectable, and he’s also earning some attention for work in the community.

10. Sabres G.M. Darcy Regier on the NHL Entry Draft. Regier has taken a lot of flak lately (and rightly given the Ville Leino signing) but he has enjoyed some success in tough circumstances over the years in Buffalo, and he’s one of the more interesting NHL executives to listen to because he thinks the game a little differently than many. His quote on the draft in Behind the Moves is a good example of that:

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The NHL Amateur Draft produces, on average, 54 players [who play at least 80 NHL gamesi n their career] a year – 1./8 per team – I think. So your challenge as a GM is how can you get that to three or four? Can you get that to three or four? For a team like Buffalo, that’s a critical factor because we can’t get involved in the free-agency pool, or if we do, it’s in the secondary market and in a limited way. So our lifeblood remains our ability to select players, and then the focus for us is going to revolve a lot on the development process.

For years, the Sabres hit exactly the target that Regier speaks about above – between 1997 (Regier’s first year with the team) and 2005 the Sabres got 3-4 80+ game NHL players in seven of nine drafts (and if Marc-Andre Gragnani plays seven more NHL games over his career, that figure jumps to eight of those nine drafts). They stumbled a little bit in 2006/2007 – a stumble I’ve always attributed to cost-cutting in the scouting department – but in recent drafts appear to be back on track.

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  • Woogie

    PRV will be nothing more than a 3rd liner. Not that there is anything wrong with that because he will be a solid third liner.

    Lander however… I’m less convinced he will have enough offense to ever be full time in the show. To only have 1 G so far this season in the AHL. That’s cause for some real concern.

  • OilClog

    However, MPS will move the puck in the proper direction and create open space for the high % shooters on this team.. for example, Ebs and Schultz. Both with a clear track record of blood thristy snipers, regardless of what DSF and the Wild believe.

    He is great on the defensive side of the puck, and this team is going to need a few of those. The Halls and Yaks will be that much better for it.

    • DSF

      You don’t waste a #10 pick on a guy who “creates open space”.

      Also interesting that the Barons have a goal differential this season of +9 while Paajarvi is -1 with only 2 other forwards, Hamilton and Pitlick, on the minus side of the ledger.

      Still a small sample size, but certainly no evidence that he’s “great on the defensive side of the puck”.

      Taking the plus/minus of the Barons’s forwards last year, you can see a more complete picture:

      Keller +22

      Green +19

      Arcobello +16

      O’Marra +15

      Grant +15

      Tremblay +14

      House +14

      Tyrvainen +9

      Rodney +9

      Pajaarvi +8

      Pitlick -1

      Vandevelde -4

      Considering that last year’s Barons had a goal differential of +37, +8 certainly doesn’t jump out at you as evidence of strong defensive play.

      • Even if I granted that we could look at plus/minus as anything but a rough indicator (given what we don’t know statistically at the AHL level), Paajarvi only played 34 games for the Barons. That projects to a plus-18 mark over a full season, which stacks up pretty well on that team.

        • DSF

          Yeah, without more info it’s tough to know definitively but, as you say, it can give you a rough idea of what’s going on.

          I don’t think, though, that we have any evidence that Pajaarvi is outstanding defensively since he’s -20 in the NHL while facing middling opposition.

        • DSF

          7th overall. Man did the Rangers ever blow that pick. They could have picked Horcoff!!!

          He never could score much (sound familiar?) so he had to change his game to stay in the league.

          Obviously, the same thing needs to happen to Paajarvi.

      • You don’t waste a #10 pick on a guy who “creates open space”.

        I think you’ve pretty badly overestimated what you are getting at #10.

        Every single year there a bunch of guys picked after #10 that should have gone before the guy taken at 10. Paajarvi is no anomaly in this. Interestingly most teams somehow fail to get the eventual best player remaining on the board fairly often.

        • DSF

          #10 is not the issue.

          The quality of the draft and the players you missed while drafting at #10 is the issue.

          Interestingly enough, TSN is just out with its AHL top 50 player rankings.

          Paajarvi is not on the list but many of the players I listed earlier are.

          11. Tatar

          19. Foligno

          39. Holland

          40. Erixon

          All were selected after Pajaarvi in the 09 draft.


          • Yet every year the same thing happens. Many players taken after 10 turn out to be much better than 10. Even when it’s not the Oiler’s drafting. There is nothing unusual about this.

            Did you happen to notice that even more of those guys were taken after the 10th pick in other years? Almost like it happens every year!

          • And only because most people here already know what your answer will be to this question….

            What exactly did you think during the draft, when guys like MacKenzie and Dreger were saying Paajarvi shouldn’t have even made it to 10th overall?

            When he was selected, did you already know that these players were going to be better than he is in 20 years?

            Your hindsight detection skills are magnificent!

          • The Soup Fascist

            To be fair, you can cherry pick draft overachievers and compare them to any team’s pick, any year. Let’s do Cody Hodgson in 2008.

            The Canucks could have taken:

            Erik Karlsson, Jordan Eberle, Tyler Ennis, John Carlson and Derek Stepan instead of Cody Hodgson.

            What a bunch of idiots those Canuck scouts are!

            ….. we can play that game all day long.

            It is the very definition of “pointless”.

            When MPS was chosen at 10, I recall most experts considered him a steal. Big fast kid who played extremely well internationally including being the youngest player ever to suit up at the WJHC for Sweden at 16. Maybe he is a viable contributing NHLer, maybe he is a tweener. Point is – at the time it was the right pick.

          • The Soup Fascist

            But saying that now is the equivalent of criticizing lottery number selections a week after the draw.

            “Jim in accounting is such a moron. If he would have chosen 19 instead of 24 and 37 instead of 42, he could have been a multi-millionaire”.

            IF the Oilers knew they were going to get Hall, RNH and Yak I am sure they would have passed on Paajarvi and taken a D-man. But the point is they did not and MPS was the BPA by almost every scouting service and, presumably, other team.

            My whole point is almost every pick made through the history of the draft can be subjected to the old “what if they took this guy instead …” routine. Like I said, pointless.

          • DSF

            I’ve always been of the opinion that winning hockey teams are built from the backend out and down the middle.

            Wingers are the easiest players to find through the draft, trade or free agency.

            If you have a choice between a centre and winger who are pretty much equal, (Hall/Seguin) you should take the centre.

            If you have a choice between a defenseman and a winger, you should take the defenseman.

            In this past draft, only one winger was picked in the top 10…Yakupov.

            When Burke says he thinks Rielly may be the best player, he just might be right and I don’t think you can argue the Oilers needed another winger more than they needed a defenseman or a centre.

          • The Soup Fascist

            As long as you take the right guy. As a previous poster said Dmen can be a crapshoot too. Burke can say what he wants but if he has 2nd overall he takes Murray over Reilly.

            I love Reilly’s game in junior but will he be Scott Neidermeyer or Marc Andre Bergeron? Who knows? That is the nature of the game.

            I will assume you would have gone Seguin / Landeskog. I think Hall and RNH will be spectacular but totally different players.

            The beauty is, DSF, we get to sit back and watch it all unfold. Eventually. Maybe.

        • Clyde Frog

          I think he badly overstimates a lot of things… But only after its in the history books and he has 20/20 vision…

          Although he did predict Henrik Samuelsson as the best forward outside the top 5 in his draft year. So we have that on the books as a wait and see proposition on how amazing DSF is at scouting talent himself as apposed to looking up numbers on HockeyDB and crying about why the Oilers didn’t make that move…

          • DSF

            Actually, I was yelling at my TV set that the Oilers should have picked Kulikov.

            All it took to see Pajaarvi was not a good pick was his lack of offense and horrid shooting percentage in the SEL.

            A no brainer.

            If you want to keep score, here are the players I would have drafted in the first round since the lockout.

            07 – Voracek, Cherapanov*, Perron

            08 – Eberle

            09 – Kulikov

            10 – Seguin

            11 – Landeskog

            12 – Galchenyuk.

            The Rangers got a second round pick in compensation for Cherapanov’s death and selected Ethan Werek who certainly isn’t ripping it up.

            The Oilers would look very different with Seguin, Perron and Galchenyuk at C with Voracek, Eberle and Landeskog on the wings and Kulikov on the blue line.

            It’ll be interesting to see how it all turns out in 5 years.

  • Clyde Frog

    On point 6. isn’t mediation really just part of any pretrial checklist in Canada and the US (Use of ADR (Alternative Dispute Resolution) mechanism); to show that both parties tried to resolve the issue before taking any major legal action and imposing on the courts time.

    I actually take it as a bad sign; as this is a necessary step for either side to take any court action.

    I would be happier if they were getting involved in Arbitration; but neither side would take that risk.

    Oh well, maybe this actually is a meaningful step towards a resolution…

  • MPS – I blame Ray Bourque. Did he not say during the WHCs in 2010 that MPS was “already an elite NHL winger”? without yet a minute of icetime. He sent our expectations too high, it’s his fault. 😉

  • Can this guy not win a faceoff at all? Why haven’t they tried him at center? On defense? Maybe I am just grasping at straws since when I watch him it seems like there’s a player there. Yet, when I glance at the stats there isn’t.

    Maybe both he and Lander need a few years. I’m worried.

      • DSF

        Is there anything wrong with having him turn out to be a Jason Chimera or a Dan Cleary?

        The difference this time around is – the Oilers have enough offensive depth to be patient with PRV and not force him into roles that he may not be suited for.

    • Time Travelling Sean

      I had suggested this a couple of times.. not sure there was response, but based on his skating, size and defensive abilties, would suggest he should be given a shot at center, provided he can pick up the face off game quickly. It appears he is not a sniper, but a center who can feed the puck to snipers is not a bad thing. This team still has not addressed the much needed center postion.

  • DSF

    Everytime Paajarvi “takes the puck to the net” I cringe. Most of the time he tries to beat a defender outside — which he sort of succeeds in doing — keeping only one hand on his stick and kind of hands it to the goaltender. Other than those “shots”, the others often come off the rush from a very wide angle when he instead chooses to go outside the defender. I think he might slow down a bit when he gets to the offensive zone, because he has great wheels but doesn’t get around the defense very well.

    But yes, a good possession player, good skater, can carry the puck and is hitting a bit more lately, should make a good third line player.

  • Big Cap

    After seeing both Barons games in Abbottsford, and watching internet games, I still see great value in MPS. I really liked the line with him, Lander and Hartikinen.

    He won’t crack the Top 6, but as a 3rd liner with outstanding speed, good size, defensive responsibility, good PK, he is has the all the tools to already be a big upgrade to our current rotating group of fringe players like Belanger, Jones, Petrell, etc.

    Having him on the wing with 94 and 10 would be decent 3rd line that would be responsible defensively, and still chip in with some Offense.

    He’s still very young and with his skills and positive attitude there’s no way to give up on him yet.

  • Time Travelling Sean

    Pajarrvi as a third liner? I’d be OK with that. I’ve watched each of the games this year (less 1 period.) and he’s looked strong and dependable.

    Was it a waste of a pick – looking at 10th overall players, not so much. Here they are from 1996 to 2010.

    Dylan McIlrath
    Magnus Paajarvi
    Cody Hodgson
    Keaton Ellerby
    Michael Frolik
    Luc Bourdon
    Boris Valabik
    Andrei Kostitsyn
    Eric Nystrom
    Dan Blackburn
    Mikhail Yakubov
    Branislav Mezei
    Nik Antropov
    Brad Ference
    Lance Ward

    Hodgson was traded for Zack Kassian (2009-13th) Kassian has a similar shooting percentage to Pajaarvi in the NHL, and based on what Vancouver fans wrote when that trade occurred, it appears that they thought that Hodgson should have more value. From this list, I see a few good players, and a number of players with flaws. If Pajaarvi becomes a 3rd line checking winger, so be it.

    • DSF

      It’s far more instructive to look at the players the Oilers passed on when they selected Paajarvi in the 2009 draft.

      While Paajarvi got a head start because of his draft pedigree and the Oiler injury situation in his rookie season, there is a growing group of players passing him in the fast lane.

      So far:

      Paajarvi 121GP 17G 25A 42P

      Kulikov D 198GP 15G 57A 70P

      Leddy D 128GP 7G 37A 44P

      Johanssen 149GP 27G 46A 73P

      O’Reilly 236GP 39G 68A 107P

      And that’s just the group that has played a significant number of NHL games.

      Others who are trending very well and could soon pass Pajaarvi:

      Peter Holland 9G 16P AHL

      David Rundblad D 2G 11P AHL

      Jacob Josefson 69GP 5G 14A 19P NHL

      Tim Erixon D 69GP 7G 45P AHL

      Chris Kreider NHL playoff star

      Tomas Tatar 10G 19P AHL

      Brandon Pirri 6G 14P AHL

      Drew Shore 5G 14P AHL

      Craig Smith 14G 36P NHL

      Marcus Foligno 6G 17P AHL.

      I’ve always thought the best comparable for Paajarvi is Jannik Hansen.

      Both big European wingers who can skate like the wind.

      In his 21 year old season, however, Hansen scored 50GP 21G 22A 43P for the Manitoba Moose of the AHL.

      Unfortunately, Paajarvi was selected #10 overall while Hansen was drafted in the 9th round.

      • OilClog

        This is ridiculous.. MPS has one of the best stats line you’ve shown. If he was anything but an Oiler your tune would clearly be different. All your soon to pass MPS players haven’t passed squat yet, thanks for providing all the stats we need to see that MPS is showing good arrows with his fellow draftees.

        I don’t believe anyone thinks MPS is going to be a scorer, but as the coach has said he plans on using duo’s with rotating wings.. whoever is going. A puck moving, fast as light MPS has all the chance in the world to be a 15g 25a guy.

        Where DSF are the 2nd year 21yr old players on the wild or Canucks that are eating top competition or middle? There isn’t.

        Where is there Tom Renney completely mishandling them? If MPS wasn’t jerked around like a dirty shovel last season his stats would closer reflect that. Be it the NHL or A.

        • DSF

          Many of those players drafted after Pajaarvi didn’t get the push he did as a rookie, either finishing college or going back to junior or spending a year in the AHL.

          Now that Paajarvi and many of the others are on equal footing in the AHL it’s much easier to see that more than a few of them are outscoring Pajaarvi in the AHL.

          For example:

          Pajaarvi 11pts

          Holland 16pts

          Rundblad 11pts (D)

          Tatar 19pts

          Pirri 14pts

          Shore 14pts

          Foligno 17pts

          And that doesn’t include Kulikov, Leddy, Johannssen and O’Reilly who have already surpassed him at the NHL level despite being picked after him.

          And, if Pajaarvi’s upside is 15 goals and 40 points, he’s pretty much exactly who I think he is.

          Jannik Hansen scored 16 goals and 39 points last season.

          Nothing wrong with that but certainly not meriting a top ten pick.

  • RexLibris

    Should Todd Nelson just get Paajarvi and Schultz to switch places? Their shooting % is reversed, so why not their positions as well?

    Kidding, of course, but sometimes I have to wonder.

  • The Soup Fascist

    And now for something completely different ….

    If you are going to have a celebrity obsession and creep someone on twitter – to the point of severely limiting your career – how does Sarah Silverman become “your hill to die on”?

    I mean if you are committing professional suicide at least stalk Sofia Vegara, Jessica Alba, Mila Kunis, Adrianna Lima, etc. Still a dumb decision, but at least it would not be as much of a head scratcher.

    Why he has this weird attraction for a comedy act with no discernable future or viable U.S. network deal in the works, who constantly slurs and disrespects fans …. hey wait a minute, …. this Serota guy may be PERFECT for the NHL.

  • DSF

    Our top six already includes the Nuge, Hall, Eberle, Yakupov, Hemsky, and Gagner. We don’t have room for another top six player.

    We’re going to need defensively responsible forwards to win a championship, so might as well develop them from within.

    PRV is going to be a great fit for the organization.

  • Time Travelling Sean

    What does merit a top 10 pick?

    Other than O’Reilly(who was drafted in the 2nd round), and Kulikov, I would rather have Paajarvi then any other prospect taken after.

    • DSF

      Depends on the draft.

      Interesting that you would only take O’Reilly or Kulikov instead.

      For example, Detroit took Tatar in the second round.

      24 goals and 58 points in the AHL last season.

      On pace for 47 goals and 85 points this season.

  • I have no problem with Magnus per se if he is given a defined role within the team that matches his skilset. If he’s put on the third line with players he gels with in a very specific role (that may or may not require scoring to be a primary component, I bet he’d do very well. Ralph Krueger sounds like just the guy who could make this sort of team concept happen. Of course Ralph will be in a rather unique position, that being a desire to “win games” (whatever that means).

    It’s my belief that our drive for high draft picks muddied the water as far as real team development went. Often I could see that so called “develomental decisions” were really just window dressing for “doing everything possible to ice the weakest team and still look legit”. While he was up here PRV was used in situations that pretty much guaranteed his failure due to inexperience and lack of proper development.

  • Woogie63

    Taking defenseman early is usually a mistake. Eric Johnson, Cam Barker, Luke Schenn, Thomas Hickey, Derrick Pouliot etc… So I give the oilers props for taking forwards with their first overall picks and grabbing defenseman like Klefbom and Marincin and Musil later. My two cents: Hall is superior to Segiun, enough to warrant taking him at least. He’s a game changer, when he’s in the line up the team wins more and scores more. I’m a huge Landeskog fan but believe RNH was the right choice. I don’t have any major problems with Pajaarvi. Of course in hindsight it wasn’t the best they could do.

  • Woogie63

    DSF, I’m curious as to what your opinion on RNH is since you value centers so much but would have taken Landeskog instead. Is that because you would have taken Seguin? I’ve never heard you talk about RNH.

  • DSF

    Love Yakupov, but if we’re talking who they should have taken instead I would say the other acceptable choice would be Grigorenko. If this guy was Canadian he would have been first or second overall. But because he’s Russian it gets fabricated that he’s got all sorts of problems. Tons of size, center, great offensive abilities, great hockey sense. He was critisized for not showing up in the playoffs when he mononucleosis. And when you compare him to RNH you get almost identical playoffs. RNH torched the Oil kings for 9 points in 4 games the first round but was a non factor the second only getting 2 points while his team got ousted in 5. Grigorenko had 10 points in eleven games picking up all of them in the first round before or maybe while he had mononucleosis. And yet no one says RNH didn’t try in the playoffs. There will be a lot of teams kicking themselves over passing on this guy.

  • Woogie63

    Wow that is a lot of threads about the projection of a number 10 draft pick.

    I think we are seeing one of the weaknesses of a total rebuild. Our first overall picks seem solid, but it is not so clear pros after that.

    It is a unique year in the AHL with lots of talent, are some of these prospects showing they will be significantly contributing NHLers –

    MPS, Lander, Plante, Teubert, Fedun, Hamilton, Martindale?

  • The Soup Fascist

    Regarding MP. I think there is a player there also. I liken him to a Dave Lumley type of guy. He can move up and down the lineup as needed and give you a good solid defensive presence on the third/fourth line.His speed and skill would compliment Ryan Jones well.I think that what he may turn out to be is 10-15 goal guy who is a flex player. I would like to see more grit,but if you compliment him with a Ryan Jones and an Anton Lander we’ll find ourselves with a 3rd/fourth line that can give us a solid 10-12 minutes a night and not be a liability.Lumley could give you the grit but his greatest asset was burying the oppositions best players in a defensive bear hug. He,Pat Hughes and Dave Hunter at one time were the best 3rd line in all of hockey. They could kill you 2 ways to sunday. They could score and they could shut the opposition down.

    I think that that is what we’ll ultimately get with MP and Anton Lander. I would be be fine with that.

    If. If the season lock outs for the year will we see a return of Darcy Hordichuck? Ben Eager and Eric Belanger? My thought is this. As the season NHL erodes further the narrower the gap becomes for guys like Anton Lander and MP and Teemu Hartikainen. Does Tambo decide to jettison atleast 2 of those aforementioned veterans in favor of a couple of OKC grads?

    BTW. what do you think the minimum NHL salary will be coming out of the lock out?