WHAT'S IN THE DRAWERS?

Lowetide
December 24 2012 10:52AM

By the time the calendar turned over to December, Taylor Hall was starting to find the range. The tremendous start by Justin Schultz should have been fading and the machine that is Jordan Eberle could certainly be excused for flagging. What DOES the December scoring in OKC reveal?

THE TOP DRAWER

  1. Jordan Eberle 8, 7-6-13 (1.625ppg) 22 shots (2.75 per game)
  2. Justin Schultz 8, 5-4-9 (1.125ppg) 20 shots (2.5 per game)
  3. Taylor Hall 8, 4-4-8 (1.00ppg) 31 shots (3.875 per game)
  4. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (did not play in December)
  5. Yann Danis 6, 2.49 .925

Eberle's hot start gave way to a watershed month that has him at the top of the AHL scoring race (along with Schultz). Schultz has slowed a little, but is thus far enjoying a "season for the ages" as a rookie defenseman in pro hockey. Both players have shattered what we might expect for them this season, and both are 10 points ahead of the nearest competitor in the scoring race.

Taylor Hall has his timing back, and the points are coming. However, that shots on goal total suggests we'll see more offense in the coming months and that Hall is once again pushing the river. The Nuge is in Ufa, but will no doubt return to the Barons in the new year (barring a CBA).

Yann Danis has returned to the MVP form of one year ago and could end up seeing NHL action if the lockout ends in January.

THE MIDDLE DRAWER

  1. Mark Arcobello 8, 2-8-10 (1.25ppg) 22 shots (2.75 per game)
  2. Magnus Paajarvi 8, 2-3-5 (.625ppg) 19 shots (2.38 per game)
  3. Chris VandeVelde 8, 0-4-4 (.500ppg) 7 shots (.875 per game)
  4. Teemu Hartikainen 8, 2-1-3 (.375ppg) 12 shots (1.5 per game)
  5. Martin Marincin 7, 0-2-2 (.286ppg) 13 shots (1.86 per game)
  6. Josh Green 8, 0-2-2 (.250ppg) 9 shots (1.125 per game)
  7. Taylor Fedun 7, 0-1-1 (.143ppg) 10 shots (1.43 per game)

Arcobello jumped onto the top line when RNH flew to Edmonton, and he's settled in as a productive member of the group. Paajarvi is doing a little better as the season wears on, perhaps making that battle for an NHL roster spot a little tougher for the Oilers to figure out (I felt--and feel--Hartikainen has earned a job).

Chris VandeVelde is imo clearly established as the first center called up, moving ahead of Lander and House on the depth chart. Hartikainen has struggled a little, but there's nothing a good game couldn't cure and he's also been moved off the scoring lines recently. Martin Marincin has had a tough month but we should expect that, and Taylor Fedun has improved his play over the last month but its in defensive area and not reflected in the stats. 

Josh Green has been injured, so his disappointing December is likely to be followed by a strong Jan/Feb.

THE BOTTOM DRAWER

  1. Anton Lander 8, 1-3-4 (.5 ppg) 7 shots (.875 per game)
  2. Nathan Deck 8, 0-3-3 (.375ppg) 7 shots (.875 per game)
  3. Tanner House 4, 1-1-2 (.5ppg) 3 shots (.750 per game)
  4. Colten Teubert 8, 1-2-3 (.375ppg) 6 shots (.75 per game)
  5. Jordan Henry 6, 0-2-2 (.333ppg) 10 shots (1.667 per game)
  6. Tyler Pitlick 7, 1-0-1 (.143ppg) 8 shots (1.14 per game)
  7. Curtis Hamilton 8, 0-1-1 (.125ppg) 8 shots (1 per game)
  8. Dane Byers 8, 0-0-0 (nil) 11 shots (1.38 per game)
  9. Alex Plante 4, 0-0-0 (nil) 2 shots (.50 per game)
  10. Phil Cornet 4, 0-0-0 (nil) 4 shots (1 per game)
  11. Ryan Martindale 1, 0-0-0 (nil) 1 shot (1 per game)
  12. Olivier Roy 2, 3.02 .898

Lander has recovered some this month, getting a goal and three helpers--most coming after he got a push up the depth chart. Nathan Deck has been outstanding alongside Justin Schultz, and the future will tell us how much is Deck and how much is the opportunity to play with JS.

House and Teubert are improving as the season wears on, Pitlick and Hamilton are still waiting for the engine to turn over and Dane Byers and Alex Plante are having a tough time. Roy hasn't played much, he's been slightly better of late.

WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?

The top drawer is full of goodies and they remain fresh and productive. The middle drawer has some nice things, with Paajarvi and Arcobello trending and perhaps Marincin and Hartikainen flagging towards Christmas.

The bottom drawer remains a bit of a junk drawer, with Pitlick, Hamilton and Roy struggling. However, Anton Lander and the "came out of nowhere" Nathan Deck have a chance to move up a drawer if they continue to play at this level.

Merry Christmas, everyone! We'll talk again on Boxing Day about the WJ's and Team Canada. All the best, LT.

(some photos in this article courtesy Rob Ferguson. All rights reserved).

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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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#1 Light, Sweet, Crude
December 24 2012, 11:00AM
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Happy Holidays, LT! Thanks for another years worth of reading!

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#3 Peacecountry
December 24 2012, 11:02AM
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It's a Christmas maricle! My first fist!

Merry Christmas all! I wish you all the best in 2013. Even DSF!;)

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#4 Peacecountry
December 24 2012, 11:04AM
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@ Peacecountry

Damn

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#5 VK63
December 24 2012, 12:02PM
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Lowetide wrote:

Right back at you! I've enjoyed the year as always, and am thankful for the AHL, WHL, OHL, QMJHL and KHL! I haven't forgotten about the other H-L, but sincerely hope they receive coal for Christmas!!!!

:-)

A most excellent twitter discussion revealed that the lump of coal is passe'.

The new version of said "naughty" prize is a nickelback cd.

I have no opinion on the findings but did laugh our loud at said discussions revelations. And fwiw!.

It wasn't horcoffs fault!

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#6 David
December 24 2012, 12:08PM
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I'm curious what you think Arcobello's NHL upside is LT. With fellow smurfs Gerbe, Ennis, Desharnais, Marchand and soon Drouin finding some NHL success Could Arcobello find a role?

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#8 Romulus' Apotheosis
December 24 2012, 12:37PM
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never heard of this Deck kid... guess I missed the call up:

http://video.oilers.nhl.com/videocenter/console?id=190517

so, he's an undrafted Stockton sign that wormed his way up, is that right?

how common is that? and what the outside limit on that kind of player... I imagine the chances of 200 nhl games via that route is very, very, very slim.

still wish him well, looks like he's fighting the good fight.

Aside from him... that middle drawer is the most interesting to watch, who's going to rise above the crowd and who's going to sink.

Interesting to see Cornet struggle so mightily after what has to be considered an exceptional year for him last year. must be disappointing for him to go all the way to an NHL game and then find oneself struggle to stay on the AHL team with any regularity... strong dose of reality.

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#9 David S
December 24 2012, 12:51PM
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Hall, Eberle and baby NUUUUUUGE are top shelf NHL'ers playing in a tier 2 league. I'd really be worried if they WEREN'T kicking the snot out of the competition.

Schultz is a pleasant find, but I'll reserve my fanboy swooning until he gets some time in the big boys league. Harski is looking like he's nailed a spot and that's a good thing.

The rest? Meh. Never got excited about players making their way in lower leagues. Although I must say I'm very, very disappointed in PRV. But with the recent drafting success a bad nut in the bunch was bound to happen.

Merry Christmas to all you bums out there in Oilerland. I'll even include the spreadsheet jockeys and DSF in that wish. Here's to NHL hockey for all of us in 2013.

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#10 RexLibris
December 24 2012, 01:32PM
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What does it all mean? It means I should really revisit Twin Peaks. Some damn fine TV there, Diane.

Also, in regards to Arcobello: this organization has gotten in its own way time after time when it comes to size of player. Too often it seems they overlook ability because they are so blinkered about height and weight.

It is as if the franchise fell in love with the Messier player-type and can't see past that first love to recognize all the attractive suitors who can come along since.

Or something like that.

Thanks for the great year, LT. And all the best to you and your family.

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#12 Walter Sobchak
December 24 2012, 03:29PM
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@David S

Well said David props.

Merry Christmas LT, keep'm coming.

Merry Christmas and happy new year all. (Including DSF) :)

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#13 GVBlackhawk
December 24 2012, 11:08PM
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Taylor Fedun has really improved from the start of the season. He is turning into a real 'steady Eddie' on the backend. His skating is much stronger and he is really reducing his number of mistakes. I thought that Teubert would be ahead of him at this point in the season, but that is definitely not the case. Fedun reads and anticipates the play much better than Teubert. Unfortunately, Colten is far from NHL-ready and I'm starting to lose hope that he will ever be. Here's hoping he can 'figure it out' in the New Year.

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#14 Mumbai Max
December 25 2012, 03:00AM
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Merry Christmas from Sweden. If this is an analysis of December results, using kitchen drawers as a metaphor, then why is Harti in the middle drawer and Lander in the bottom drawer. Seems like a bit of unintentional Christmas bias to our Finnish friend. While I am in Sweden I need to make sure the Finns do not get an unfair advantage! I think 4 points in 8 games should get Lander a call up to the second drawer!

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#15 thebiggestmanintheworld
December 25 2012, 08:15AM
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You know what's in my top drawer?

A fine bottle of single malt.

I'll be in the bottom drawer come game time tomorrow morning.........

Merry Christmas everyone!

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