KRUEGER: WE WILL PLAY WITH A HIGH PACE

Jason Gregor
January 11 2013 09:19AM

The Edmonton Oilers roster will have five new faces this year. Tom Gilbert, Anton Lander, Magnus Paajarvi, Andy Sutton (injured) and Tom Renney will be replaced by Nail Yakupov, Teemu Hartikainen, Nick Schultz and Justin Schultz, while the most important new face could be head coach Ralph Krueger.

Krueger inherits a young roster full of potential but also some veterans who underachieved last season. Many pundits and oddsmakers outside of Edmonton feel the Oilers are on the verge of a major breakout. Vegas gave them a mind-blowing 14-1 odds to win the Stanley Cup, while Sports Illustrated has them ranked #3 in their preseason rankings. Keep in mind those rankings change every week and are based on a belief the Oilers should get off to a quick start due to 12 players already being in game shape.

Krueger will be have to balance calming those expectations, while ensuring his team learns to compete every night and understand the sacrifice it takes to win regularly in the NHL.

It won't be easy.

The Oilers will have player medicals on Sunday and then hit the ice Monday for an abbreviated five-day training camp. It is not the ideal situation for a rookie NHL head coach, but Krueger is incredibly organized and he's been through short training camps numerous times before as the head coach of the Swiss National team between 1997-2010.

I caught up with Krueger earlier this week and picked his brain on line combinations, line matching, defence pairings, rolling four lines and his desire to play a high-tempo, fast-paced game.

Gregor: You’ve mentioned before that you are more of a believer in line duos than line trios. Should we expect some regular juggling of lines?

Krueger: I think a lot will depend on how the players come in to camp. Once we get a feel for everybody, there are some advantages everybody can well know to using the Oklahoma City line early on in the season, but also being flexible to adjust and to surprise the opposition. Maybe even have portions where we do it because of how teams are matching up against us or so forth. Generally we feel good about the options we have and it’s exciting. We’re still waiting to see how Nail Yakupov comes into camp, who is still an unknown at this level. We do have some lines in mind Jason, but they’re going to grow and develop here pretty quickly in the next ten days.

Gregor: Nugent-Hopkins, Eberle, and Hall played together in the American League, are they destined to start the season together?

Krueger: There’s a chance they’ll see playing together, but even down in Oklahoma City we had to take them apart in one phase. Once they came back together, they came on strong. They’ve had portions of last season where they really were a dominate line in the league, especially here at home. It’s an option that will certainly show up in some point in the season, if not early on. You’ll see the three of them together, and they also worked very well together on the powerplay down in Oklahoma City like they did last season here. Growing and continuing on that path is definitely an option that we’re looking at seriously.

Gregor: What are your thoughts on matching lines?

Krueger: That can not be a given or a definite. If you look at a season like this, using your bench and creating pace, for the fans out there they need to know we could be looking at seven games in fourteen days right through the whole season. A game every second day, with back- to-backs, we might have a two-day break every once in awhile but then probably return with back-to-backs. When you do line matching it’s dangerous in so far as you can lose your rhythm and lose the pace a little bit. We’ll adjust accordingly, but we’re going to be concentrating more on what we do and what we need to do to be successful than on tracking the opposition too intensely. The priority will be pace; the priority will be depth and using the bench.

Gregor: Do you want to make it more comfortable for Yakupov early on and keep him on the right wing, or would you contemplate a move to the left side?

Krueger: First of all, we have to see if there was an advantage for him playing with men in the KHL since the summer. On the other side, he also was playing both left and right wing. Those are conversations that we will have. I believe that Nail will be a player who can attack from both sides.

He Will be playing the right side on the powerplay, nonetheless, because of his excellent direct shot and the release that he has on his off wing. In the five-on-five game, we still need to see how he reacts to the NHL pressure of pinching, for instance, clearing the puck on your off side is difficult for forwards under that pressure. There are some things we still need to get to know about Nail to make sure whether or not he can play on that right side in the NHL, or if he is an option on both.

Gregor: Teemu Haritkainen has something most of your other forwards don’t have- size. What do you expect from him heading into camp?

Krueger: His development has been strong in that he worked hard in the summer and early in the season. He was really pushed to be a physical specimen down in Oklahoma City and it speaks for their professionalism, how they’ve developed him. He is an interesting option as we look to bring five forward lines and four sets of D into training camp. With the injuries to Ryan Jones and Andy Sutton, we will need one defenceman and two forwards from Oklahoma City.

 Teemu is a good guess on your part for having an opportunity, especially because he brings something unique to the table. Down on the powerplay in Oklahoma City he was the net front presence that allowed Eberle, Hall, Nugent-Hopkins, Arcobello, and Justin Schultz to have so much success as of late. So there have been some interesting things that he’s developed and grown in the direction that we like to see. Also, he has a mean streak in him and can play tough physically, which is an important asset that we’ll need in our lineup.

Gregor: What are your thoughts on Shawn Horcoff? He admitted that he didn’t necessarily accept his role as well as he should have late in the season. What are your plans on how to use him?

Krueger: I thought overall that he actually played a strong role in the team last year. When you look at his role on the powerplay, his winning draws, net front presence, puck retrievals, and at the same time he was a go-to player on the penalty kill.  On many nights he played against the top line of the other team at even strength. It didn’t show up maybe in offensive numbers, but he sacrificed with a lot of character for the team. I thought his role acceptance was quite strong.

He’ll be seeing similar opportunities this season and he’s always a player that comes in excellent shape, he always works very hard. He should be fine coming out of this time without games, but like all of our players he’ll need some adjustment. He will be an important piece in many different departments because of his ability to play multiple roles and to give us depth in those roles. He might not be the go-to finisher on the powerplay, but overall there are a lot of important elements that Shawn will help us at.

Gregor: Ben Eager came in last year to add a lot of size and muscle to a lineup that didn’t have a lot of it. In spurts he showed it, but then for long stretches he didn’t. He said there was some miscommunication between him and the former head coach. Have you had a chance to talk to Ben? What do you like about his game and what do you need to see from Ben Eager this year?

Krueger: Well I love Ben Eager’s passion and his style when he’s on and healthy, just like Lennart Petrell. They’re important players for us to create physical pressure on the opposition’s defence and to be hit finishing, aggressive leaders on our team. We need that element in our lineup. Ben Eager and I had an excellent talk in the summer. I felt extremely optimistic he was in excellent shape heading into a potential season and my reports are that he has continued to work hard, waiting for the opportunity that has arisen now. He’s an energy player. He’s somebody who can really create, with his size and battle-ability; he can create some room for the rest of our offense. These character guys, who aren’t maybe in the top of the list for a lot of people in points or in the goal category, will do a lot of things important for us. I feel good about where Ben is right now.

Gregor: You’ve talked a lot to me about pace. You want to be a coach and a team that is very aggressive, and constantly pushing the pace. In order to play that way you’re likely going to have to roll four lines. Is your plan to use 12 forwards consistently?

Krueger: A hundred percent Jason. The reason then for players like Petrell, Eager, if you look at our depth possibly Hartikainen coming in, that they play an important role in developing that depth and being able to roll your lineup. We need to them to also have minutes of responsibility. We need to get them up in double digits so that they really feel in the game. There was often times last year where they only hit five or six minutes and it’s difficult to create pace with that. So that’s going to be one of the challenges for me as a coach, to make sure that we can get those players into the game and get them their minutes so that they can produce the physicality necessary for us to wear down teams.

Gregor: Let’s move to the back end. Ladislav Smid and Jeff Petry was a very good tandem at the end of last year. Are you a guy who believes in continuity? Would you like to see them stay together, to start the season at least?

Krueger: That was really a solid pair right through the year, playing against the top lines of the other team day in and day out, on the road, and at home. There is a really good chance they will stay together. Again, I am looking forward to assessing the players as soon as we get them, running them through the test, making sure they are physically fit. That’s certainly a pair that has a good history and a good personality and their future is still ahead of them for sure.

Gregor: Nick Schultz and Ryan Whitney are the two obvious candidates to play beside Justin Schultz. Give me your thoughts on who would be a better partner for Schultz, potentially, based on styles?

Krueger: I would love to be able to answer that right away to you, and we are very excited about what Justin Schultz brings us as a player. The offensive threat of Justin Schultz was present all the time in the American League. He will need adjustment to the NHL, so we’re all clear, and he’ll need to focus on the game without the puck. We have some ideas of how we want to see our defensive core develop, but we also want to read the players a few days before we add pairs. I think it was easy to speak about Petry and Smid staying together, but the way the other pairs are going to work out will be dependant a lot on how players come into camp, and what we see as the best fit for the team.

Gregor: You are a huge believer in rest and how important that is to the success of your team. Talk about your strategy during an abbreviated training camp.

Krueger: Well one of the things I have mentioned a few times is my experience dealing with world tournaments and the Olympics, where you had a seven to ten day training camp. It’s very important that the quality of work is extremely high. We’re going to immediately set the tone with our off-ice work with the preparation.

If we look at the activation that we want to do physically in the weight room, to make sure that the soft tissue injuries that can jump up at you in a season that begins this quickly and a pace that we’re going to be going at so highly, that we can do a bit of preventative medicine. A lot of that will be important, while the on-ice work will focus on creating speed right away, and tempo. We want to create game-like situations for the players that haven’t been playing on a regular basis. It will be extremely important to really feel what the players are capable of.

We don’t want them going into game one with an empty tank. We want to make sure that tank is full and that’ll be important -- the awareness. We will also be looking at nutrition, looking at the regeneration and looking at getting good sleep patterns. That’ll also be a part of when we set up our schedule for travel. All those details, they will be magnified in a season like that. We need to get a hold of the things that we can control and take care of them as good as possible to have the team reach its potential.

Gregor: Devan Dubnyk got some playing time at the Spengler Cup. How much of a relief was it to see your starting goaltender get some action before the season starts?

Krueger: Well number one that he played, but number two that he played so well and so calm. I liked that he showed the same consistency at the world tournament to when he played those two games in the exhibition game just prior to that, as well as down the stretch for us last season. I’m happy for Devan that he was able to get some games in. There is nothing that can replace that and coming out of the tournament as a champion and a winner makes all that much more valuable. He definitely gave a good business card to the league right there. A lot of good players on his team got to know him better and I have nothing but respect for what he showed.

Gregor: When you start training camp on Monday, how do you balance conditioning to game strategy when you’re not going to have any pre-season games?

Krueger: Well that’s where the individualization is going to come in to the training processes that we have; whether it’s off-ice or on-ice, even at the end of practice, that we identify the groups and their needs. We’ve got some players that are mid-season shape, and some who have been working out really hard but haven’t seen contact in eight and a half months.

So identifying that and using the strong, supporting coaching staff here to be able to give each individual player what he needs in training camp. Whereas in a training camp that you would generally have, when he have like sixty-six players, every player would go through exactly the same processes for the first four or five days and then you would adjust. Here we’re trying to get a read on everybody as quick as possible and then individualize the way we prepare for the first game.

PARTING SHOTS

  • Interesting to hear Krueger mention he needs to see how Yakupov handles the pressure his own zone playing the right side. Yakupov shoots left, so playing LW might be easier in his own zone. That could lead to Ales Hemsky and Yakupov playing on the same line.
     
  • I suspect Krueger will require his forwards play a similar style to that of the Phoenix Coyotes under Dave Tippett. The Coyotes don't have many big forwards, but they are relentless on the forecheck and deliver more hits that separate the defender from the puck, rather than trying to knock them through the boards. The Oilers need to be much better at retrieving pucks and creating turnovers.
     
  • Krueger won't worry about matchups as much as Renney did last year. He wants all his players to stay in the game, and doesn't want them sitting on the bench for 10-14 minutes. He'll shorten his bench late in games, but don't expect many games with his fourth line playing only five minutes.
     
  • Krueger will also be more demanding that some think. His veterans, or even the young kids, won't get a free pass like some, mainly veterans, did under Renney last year. He will demand accountability from everyone. 
     
  • Sounds like the Oilers will open the season on Sunday in Vancouver. They are still trying to get a Saturday night home date on the 19th, but looks like Sunday will be season-opener.

RECENTLY BY JASON GREGOR

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One of Canada's most versatile sports personalities. Jason hosts The Jason Gregor Show, weekdays from 2 to 6 p.m., on TSN 1260, and he writes a column every Monday in the Edmonton Journal. You can follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/JasonGregor
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#51 justDOit
January 11 2013, 02:46PM
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DSF wrote:

Well, you never know how a player will fare in the NHL but Cervenka is a 27 year old pro so I doubt he will have too many issues.

He was considered to be the best player not in the NHL last season.

I'm sure Feaster would love to dump Stajan but I can't imagine there would be any takers.

Best player not in the NHL last year... best player not in the NHL last year... where have I heard that phrase before... (cough Dopita cough cough cough...)?

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#52 DSF
January 11 2013, 02:50PM
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Time Travelling Sean wrote:

If Granlund gets injured, which he probably will, he won't win, St.Louis is a defense first team, and if Tarasenko doesn't play that way he won't play at all.

Yak was playing on an island and almost put a PPG pace, was easily the best player on his line in the WJs and got 8 points, imagine him and Hemmer or Nuge feeding him passes.

Also about Tanguay at center I love it. They tried it before and it worked horribly.

Predicting Granlund will get injured is just as goofy as predicting Hopkins will get injured.

It's a crap shoot.

And don't think for a moment Tarasenko won't "play at all".

Despite being only 21 he's already got 5 1/2 pro seasons under his belt in the KHL and was +49 in his time in that league.

If you're judging how Yakupov will do based on his World Junior performance you may want to consider that a kid from Finland outscored Yak 12-8.

His name is Markus Granlund...Mikael's little brother.

And he's a Flames draft prospect.

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#53 DSF
January 11 2013, 02:52PM
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justDOit wrote:

Best player not in the NHL last year... best player not in the NHL last year... where have I heard that phrase before... (cough Dopita cough cough cough...)?

That could happen.

Then again...lets not forget about Nikita Filatov. (cough)

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#54 David S
January 11 2013, 02:53PM
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Hopkins is still a lil kid who already has shoulder issues. It's not IF he gets injured this year, it's WHEN and for how long.

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#55 justDOit
January 11 2013, 02:53PM
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OilClog wrote:

If Tarasenko would of came over before now he would of been playing, yaks 10 in 22 on a inferior team is more impressive.

If Granlund had the ceiling of Yakupov then he would of been playing also.

No one looks at the wild or blues and thinks success:-) give your head a shake man they have as many cups as the Nucks. Yak or Schultz will win the calder.

I certainly don't want to suggest that DSF can't defend his own points, but I've got to chime in here.

The Blues had over 100 points last year with a strong 'team first' style of play under Hitchcock. They lost no players and have a couple of good rookies to throw into the mix this year. Both goalies are capable of winning games.

The Wild are immediately better than last year, and they don't have to rely on rookies to get the job done. They also have two good goalies.

I would say both are safe bets to make noise this season. Sure the Oilers look better than last year, but have a look at the rest of the conference - there's only one team in the west that can be considered a punching bag - Columbus. Which means the Oilers just might be closer to the bag than the glove.

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#56 DSF
January 11 2013, 03:05PM
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justDOit wrote:

I certainly don't want to suggest that DSF can't defend his own points, but I've got to chime in here.

The Blues had over 100 points last year with a strong 'team first' style of play under Hitchcock. They lost no players and have a couple of good rookies to throw into the mix this year. Both goalies are capable of winning games.

The Wild are immediately better than last year, and they don't have to rely on rookies to get the job done. They also have two good goalies.

I would say both are safe bets to make noise this season. Sure the Oilers look better than last year, but have a look at the rest of the conference - there's only one team in the west that can be considered a punching bag - Columbus. Which means the Oilers just might be closer to the bag than the glove.

Actually, the Blues look to be much, much stronger.

Not only are they adding Tarasenko but David Perron is fully healthy (21 goals in only 57 games last season).

Ty Rattie may make the team and Jaden Schwartz may also make the jump.

They're loaded.

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#57 OilLeak
January 11 2013, 03:09PM
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@Jason Gregor

Very little mention of Paajarvi in this article, are we assuming that Paajarvi will be part of the opening day roster or assuming that he won't? Or perhaps will he be involved in a trade?

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#58 A-Mc
January 11 2013, 03:12PM
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OilLeak wrote:

Very little mention of Paajarvi in this article, are we assuming that Paajarvi will be part of the opening day roster or assuming that he won't? Or perhaps will he be involved in a trade?

It definitely feels like Harti is passing Paajarvi in terms of Hockey buzz for which AHLer is set to break the NHL lineup with any kind of consistency.

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#59 justDOit
January 11 2013, 03:12PM
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@DSF

The problem with Rattie and Schwartz is that they won't get much of a look in a short TC, nor will they get any preseason games. But yes, if any team can risk inserting some rookies, the Blues can. My nod goes to Rattie, with Schwartz's size being an issue there.

The most important part is, they don't HAVE to insert rookies.

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#60 DSF
January 11 2013, 03:20PM
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justDOit wrote:

The problem with Rattie and Schwartz is that they won't get much of a look in a short TC, nor will they get any preseason games. But yes, if any team can risk inserting some rookies, the Blues can. My nod goes to Rattie, with Schwartz's size being an issue there.

The most important part is, they don't HAVE to insert rookies.

Exactly.

Just found this on Tarasenko's arrivel in STL

Sounds like a combination of Hopkins and Yakupov:

"HAZELWOOD, MO - Vladimir Tarasenko has arrived.

The Blues’ forward landed at Lambert International Airport just before 6 p.m. on Thursday night and was on the ice with his teammates for Friday’s informal skate at the Ice Zone at the St. Louis Outlet Mall (formerly St. Louis Mills).

Tarasenko is the last of the Blues’ players to arrive in St. Louis in anticipation of the 2012-13 season, which is expected to begin later this month. The team has been holding informal skates daily at the Ice Zone in preparation for Training Camp.

“It’s a precamp skate, so it’s very different from what camp will be and what games will be. But from what I pick up, (Tarasenko) is very intelligent,” said Alex Steen. “He doesn’t seem shy to talk and that’s very important. He’s a very good hockey player.”

Fans turned out in droves for a chance to catch a glimpse of the Blues’ 2010 first-round draft pick (16th overall), who according to Head Coach Ken Hitchcock, will likely start camp on a line with Andy McDonald and Steen.

“I watched those guys. They skated out here as a group and the two or three times they skated together, they looked terrific,” Hitchcock told reporters back in October. “And both Alex and Andy had really embraced Vladi, and the whole team embraced Vladi…we really feel confident that it would be a good combination to start and go with.”

“I think he’s a pretty complete player,” added McDonald after skating with Tarasenko on Friday. “His awareness, his ability to get the puck, he’s got a great shot…just the awareness thing is a huge factor. Call it awareness or call it hockey sense, but your ability to read the play, where your teammates are around you, where the defenders are…players like that make it easy to play with.”

Tarasenko, who signed his first professional contract in June, was originally introduced to St. Louis in September. In 31 KHL games this season, the 21-year-old forward has 14 goals and 17 assists (31 points). He also boasts a plus/minus rating of plus-16.

He will wear No. 91.

“He doesn’t miss the net, the puck is on the net, he comes fast, the puck is on his stick and it’s gone…he’s a good offensive player," Hitchcock said. "The rest of the game, we’re going to teach him, and that’s going to be long-term, but if he can do the things offensively that we think he’s capable of, then he’s going to contribute to our hockey club and help us a lot.”

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#61 justDOit
January 11 2013, 03:23PM
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Alright. Enough of this Blues 'love-in'.

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#62 Matt Henderson
January 11 2013, 03:25PM
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DSF wrote:

LOL.

While I agree in general, calling Thoreson a "heavy hitter" is kind of funny:)

It was funny writing it, but there's no denying how good Thoresen has been in the KHL.

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#63 DieHard
January 11 2013, 03:27PM
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David S wrote:

Hopkins is still a lil kid who already has shoulder issues. It's not IF he gets injured this year, it's WHEN and for how long.

unprop

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#64 DSF
January 11 2013, 03:30PM
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Matt Henderson wrote:

It was funny writing it, but there's no denying how good Thoresen has been in the KHL.

Yeah, no idea why some team that could use some scoring doesn't pick him up.

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#65 justDOit
January 11 2013, 03:35PM
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DSF wrote:

Yeah, no idea why some team that could use some scoring doesn't pick him up.

Body language?

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#66 Old Soldier
January 11 2013, 03:41PM
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I too enjoy Kruegers thoughts and I cant help but wonder that by being healthy and playing a half season already this might be Taylor Halls chance to start stepping up and setting the pace in practice. He already has the other kids in the same mind set and this could be the ideal chance for Hall to make this his team, with some veterans in the background to help. The only concern I have in this, being I don’t know the players personally, is how would Smythe, Horcoff and Whitney react to Hall stepping up? Would their pride be wounded and be divisive in the room?

I think also for Yakupov nothing would be better than to have the spotlight on the other kids this season. I think if RNH/Hall/Ebs can start on fire, it will alleviate some of the pressure to perform on Yak and let him see if he can develop some chemistry with Gags and Hemsky.

In ref to pre-season rankings.....I think this is possibly the most difficult season to predict anything. First of all I believe there will be a ton of player movement prior to the season starting, whether its due to the cap issues or whatever, there will be movement. Secondly, how many players in the NHL are “half season” players. If you look at rosters and pick 48 game slices, some players are all world while others couldn’t play in the AHL. Coaching is going to be a huge issue, as is goaltending. Other than that, if a team can avoid losing 2 games in a row throughout, they should do well. Teams like Calgary, famous for slow starts, could be out before things really start.

In reference to DSF and his prediction that the Flames are better than last season, I am no expert in this, so I tend to defer to those who are, and to me no-one is more of an expert than those who make a living on predictions, ie vegas/bodog. And I tend to agree with their take on the Flames. I also have to wonder how a team that already has to call a press conference to deal with its Captains contract status (and no they aren’t announcing an extension) before the season start realize how much of a distraction that will be. Also before judging one teams prospects you might want to keep in mind the “only” prospect available to Calgary, Baerstchi is one nudge into the boards away from his second concussion of the year. And do we dare mention the reports out of Calgary that Wideman and Hudler are both being considered as buyout candidates?

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#67 DSF
January 11 2013, 03:54PM
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I agree that it is a very difficult season to handicap since any injury could be devastating and luck will play much more of a factor than normal.

As for the Flames, if they are adding Cervenka, Hudler, Baertschi and Wideman without losing anyone of consequence, it's pretty hard to argue they won't be better.

Why Calgary would consider buying out Wideman and Hudler when the Flames are $17 million UNDER the cap next season sound a little ridiculous. (source?)

I would imagine they might want to get a mulligan on Wideman , depending how he plays this season, it will be for hockey reasons not cap concerns.

No idea what that press conference will be about but it sounds like the team is trying to head off Iginla's status from being a distraction but that might be difficult to do no matter what.

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#68 John Chambers
January 11 2013, 04:00PM
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Man that 2010 draft:

Hall, Seguin, Skinner, Fowler, Granlund, Tarasenko ... all could be impact players this year.

Not to mention Ryan Johansson, Brett Connolly, Nino Nightrider, Brandon Gormley, and others who may grow into their game this season.

THAT would've been the year to trade Penner and possibly Souray for 1st rounders.

#TimingIsEverything

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#69 DSF
January 11 2013, 04:03PM
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John Chambers wrote:

Man that 2010 draft:

Hall, Seguin, Skinner, Fowler, Granlund, Tarasenko ... all could be impact players this year.

Not to mention Ryan Johansson, Brett Connolly, Nino Nightrider, Brandon Gormley, and others who may grow into their game this season.

THAT would've been the year to trade Penner and possibly Souray for 1st rounders.

#TimingIsEverything

Or Hemsky.

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#70 John Chambers
January 11 2013, 04:03PM
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@DSF

The Flamers could be better this year, but they're also subtracting Jokinen.

Baertschi and Cervenka have never played (much) against this level of competition, and Wideman ... well Wideman is only Wideman.

I'm not going to say the team finishes dead last, but a poor start + a fire sale could = a lottery pick for Calgary if it all goes pear-shaped.

I have them slotted to finish 12th in the Conf.

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#71 John Chambers
January 11 2013, 04:03PM
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DSF wrote:

Or Hemsky.

Indeed. But alas he was injured.

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#72 A-Mc
January 11 2013, 04:05PM
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I took a browse at the other nation sites, and Man are they ghost towns compared to OilersNation!

GJ ON!

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#73 MAC962
January 11 2013, 04:07PM
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I am as die hard Oil as they come, sitting here in my Knit jersey waiting for the drop of the disc.

We need to remember, these kids will get schooled by the veteran teams yet , more often than not, just as the Oilers of the 80's did. They will learn or they better learn from it. They will still be taken for granted on nights and will blow teams out who are not ready for their youthful exuberance and extreme talent. Keep the rookie mistakes to a minimum and play hard each and every shift and we will make the playoffs and perhaps surprise. Rexall is deadly in the playoffs, not many places louder and if we make it...i expect us to blow the roof off that old damn barn and help carry these guys through a upset , or 2 or 3...

Drop that damn black disc, its time copper and blue, its time.

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#74 DSF
January 11 2013, 04:10PM
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John Chambers wrote:

The Flamers could be better this year, but they're also subtracting Jokinen.

Baertschi and Cervenka have never played (much) against this level of competition, and Wideman ... well Wideman is only Wideman.

I'm not going to say the team finishes dead last, but a poor start + a fire sale could = a lottery pick for Calgary if it all goes pear-shaped.

I have them slotted to finish 12th in the Conf.

MIght be best for them in any event.

If they moved Iginla and Kipper at the deadline for a couple of first round picks, they could turn things around pretty quickly.

But they won't.

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#75 DSF
January 11 2013, 04:15PM
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John Chambers wrote:

Man that 2010 draft:

Hall, Seguin, Skinner, Fowler, Granlund, Tarasenko ... all could be impact players this year.

Not to mention Ryan Johansson, Brett Connolly, Nino Nightrider, Brandon Gormley, and others who may grow into their game this season.

THAT would've been the year to trade Penner and possibly Souray for 1st rounders.

#TimingIsEverything

Just went back and took a look at that draft...wow.

In addition to the players you mentioned:

Gudbranson, Burmistrov, Jack Campbell, Schwartz, Bjugstad, Sheahan, Tinordi, Coyle, Etem, and Faulk all tracking exceptionally well.

May turn out as an equal to the 2003 draft.

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#76 MAC962
January 11 2013, 04:16PM
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A-Mc wrote:

I took a browse at the other nation sites, and Man are they ghost towns compared to OilersNation!

GJ ON!

I noticed the same thing. What a joke they are.

2 comments - 3 comments... lol

ON RULES !!

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#77 Time Travelling Sean
January 11 2013, 04:25PM
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I wish we took Faulk :c

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#78 John Chambers
January 11 2013, 04:26PM
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@DSF

This upcoming draft looks like it will have a really good top-10, but Tarasenko might end up being the 4th or 5th best player in the 2010 and he was selected 16th.

I wonder if it would've been possible for the Oilers to have traded Hemsky and the #31 to grab Fowler at #12. Nobody would be crying about our D if that happened.

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#79 Antony Ta
January 11 2013, 04:40PM
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DSF wrote:

Predicting Granlund will get injured is just as goofy as predicting Hopkins will get injured.

It's a crap shoot.

And don't think for a moment Tarasenko won't "play at all".

Despite being only 21 he's already got 5 1/2 pro seasons under his belt in the KHL and was +49 in his time in that league.

If you're judging how Yakupov will do based on his World Junior performance you may want to consider that a kid from Finland outscored Yak 12-8.

His name is Markus Granlund...Mikael's little brother.

And he's a Flames draft prospect.

I definitely like Tarasenko's chances. I don't think enough people know how good this guy actually is, even after seeing him at the WJHC's a couple years ago.

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#80 OILERSORDEATH
January 11 2013, 05:08PM
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DSF wrote:

Actually, the Blues look to be much, much stronger.

Not only are they adding Tarasenko but David Perron is fully healthy (21 goals in only 57 games last season).

Ty Rattie may make the team and Jaden Schwartz may also make the jump.

They're loaded.

"Ty Rattie may make the team"

Not gonna happen man no way Rattie gets pulled from the Hawks this year. He's still a long way from the NHL.

Plus the Kings are going to Mop up the Blues and Wild like a bunch a chumps!

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#81 DSF
January 11 2013, 05:19PM
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OILERSORDEATH wrote:

"Ty Rattie may make the team"

Not gonna happen man no way Rattie gets pulled from the Hawks this year. He's still a long way from the NHL.

Plus the Kings are going to Mop up the Blues and Wild like a bunch a chumps!

You know they all play in different divisions, right?

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#82 dougtheslug
January 11 2013, 06:31PM
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DSF wrote:

No.

The Flames are moving Tanguay to centre.

Might look something like this.

Camalleri-Tanguay-Iginla

Baertschi-Cervenka-Hudler

Glencross-Backlund-Comeau

Stempniak-Stajan-Jackman

Certainly not world beaters but better than last season.

So Calgary's centers are Tanguay(13 goals last year playing the wing, never much help to Iginla playing center),Backlund (4 goals last year and moving inexorably toward the "bust" category),Cervenka( a couple of decent years in the KHL a couple of years ago, 6 goals in 14 games in the KHL and Czech leagues this year, hampered by injury and a disturbing "blood clot in leg"), and Matt Stajan (Matt Stajan. That is all. Yeesh. And you keep saying Oilers have the weakest depth at center.

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#83 cableguy - 2nd Tier Fan
January 11 2013, 06:35PM
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DSF wrote:

I'll be right here Sparky.

that might be the funniest thing you have ever said.

well done!

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#84 thebiggestmanintheworld
January 11 2013, 06:50PM
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How many points do the Oilers have to improve for Krueger to get a Jack Adams nomination?

This guy won the coaching lottery........

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#85 DSF
January 11 2013, 06:52PM
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dougtheslug wrote:

So Calgary's centers are Tanguay(13 goals last year playing the wing, never much help to Iginla playing center),Backlund (4 goals last year and moving inexorably toward the "bust" category),Cervenka( a couple of decent years in the KHL a couple of years ago, 6 goals in 14 games in the KHL and Czech leagues this year, hampered by injury and a disturbing "blood clot in leg"), and Matt Stajan (Matt Stajan. That is all. Yeesh. And you keep saying Oilers have the weakest depth at center.

Cervenka has a long history of success in the Czech league and KHL.

It doesn't always translate to the NHL but it often does.

Tanguay only played 64 games last season but still managed to match Gagner in points.

You should also bear in mind Camalleri is a natural centre so they have a few options.

Backlund and Stajan don't do much for me...but neither do Gagner, Horcoff or Belanger.

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#86 dougtheslug
January 11 2013, 07:05PM
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DSF wrote:

Cervenka has a long history of success in the Czech league and KHL.

It doesn't always translate to the NHL but it often does.

Tanguay only played 64 games last season but still managed to match Gagner in points.

You should also bear in mind Camalleri is a natural centre so they have a few options.

Backlund and Stajan don't do much for me...but neither do Gagner, Horcoff or Belanger.

I'll reserve judgement on Cervenka until I see him play in the NHL but I'm sceptical - he actually had only one good year in the KHL three years ago, feeding Jaromir Jagr in Omsk.Last year, without Jagr, he had 39 pts in 54 games and a -6 +/-. This year has been a bust so far due to worrying injuries. To me he has Juri Dopita written all over him.

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#87 DSF
January 11 2013, 07:20PM
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dougtheslug wrote:

I'll reserve judgement on Cervenka until I see him play in the NHL but I'm sceptical - he actually had only one good year in the KHL three years ago, feeding Jaromir Jagr in Omsk.Last year, without Jagr, he had 39 pts in 54 games and a -6 +/-. This year has been a bust so far due to worrying injuries. To me he has Juri Dopita written all over him.

Just like Yakupov has Filatov written all over him?

Your characterization of him having "one good year" is just nonsense.

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#88 dougtheslug
January 11 2013, 07:37PM
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DSF wrote:

Just like Yakupov has Filatov written all over him?

Your characterization of him having "one good year" is just nonsense.

I said he had one good yeqr in the KHL (out of three). Which is true. And given their respective records, I don't know what Filatov has to do with Yakupov.

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#89 DSF
January 11 2013, 07:45PM
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dougtheslug wrote:

I said he had one good yeqr in the KHL (out of three). Which is true. And given their respective records, I don't know what Filatov has to do with Yakupov.

Yakupov and Filatov have as much in common as Cervenka and Dopita.

In other words very little but it was your lame attempt to link them that triggered the comparison.

In addition to the two successful seasons in the KHL that you referenced, Cervenka also has 3 very production season in Czech league...scoring 73 points in his final season.

Here...educate yourself:

Červenka began playing with Slavia Praha's junior teams, playing for the under-18 team in 2000–01 and 2001–02, and the under-20 team in 2002–03 and 2003–04. During the 2003–04 season he also made his Extraliga debut, playing a total of 15 games with the top-level team.

After playing for various junior-level and 1 Liga teams during the 2004–05 and 2005–06 seasons, Červenka rejoined Slavia Praha in 2006–07. In 2008–09, Červenka recorded 59 points (28 goals, 31 assists) in 51 games.

Červenka has represented the Czech Republic with the national team on multiple occasions. He earned a bronze medal at the 2005 World Junior Championships. He also played at the 2009 IIHF World Championship and was selected to play for the 2010 Winter Olympics.

At the time of the Olympic team selection, Červenka was leading the Extraliga with 55 points in 35 games.

On 25 May 2010, Červenka signed a two-year deal with Avangard Omsk.

He immediately earned a place on the left wing of the first line alongside his countryman Jaromír Jágr and quickly established himself as a prolific KHL forward.

In his very first season, Červenka was selected to play in the Kontinental Hockey League All-Star Game collecting more fan votes than any other skater in the league.

Having scored 31 times in the 2010-11 season, the forward received the Top Goalscorer award from the league.

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#90 DSF
January 11 2013, 07:52PM
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Tracy ‏@TreenasOil

Oilers are opening in Vancouver not Calgary game on CBC as per Garfield

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#91 dougtheslug
January 11 2013, 08:01PM
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Wow. I can cut and paste form Wikipedia too! "By the late 1990s, some, such as the Hockey News, considered Dopita the best player outside the NHL. He was a member of the gold medal-winning Czech team at the 1998 Winter Olympics, and was named Czech player of the year in 2001, the first non-NHLer to win the award since Roman Turek in 1994. When it became clear that Dopita still did not seem to have interest in coming to North America, his NHL rights were moved again at the 2001 NHL Entry Draft to the Philadelphia Flyers for a 2nd round selection that year, the Flyers made a concerted effort to bring Dopita to the NHL.However, Dopita's time in the NHL was to be disappointing. He recorded respectable totals getting limited ice time with Philadelphia, but a knee injury limited him to 52 games. After the season, his rights were traded to the Edmonton Oilers, where he was expected to be a top-two centre. However, Dopita had a terrible season, recording only six points in 21 games."

Cervenka had success in the Czech League, and a good year in the KHL in 2009-2010, but had a step back last year, and has been struggling this year. The jury is out.

Filatov hadn't played in North America before joining the Blue Jackets and never made the adjustment . Yakupov is a known quantity, has played and excelled in North America, and was playing well in the KHL and the WJHC. He is far more likely to make a successful transition.

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#92 DSF
January 11 2013, 08:07PM
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dougtheslug wrote:

Wow. I can cut and paste form Wikipedia too! "By the late 1990s, some, such as the Hockey News, considered Dopita the best player outside the NHL. He was a member of the gold medal-winning Czech team at the 1998 Winter Olympics, and was named Czech player of the year in 2001, the first non-NHLer to win the award since Roman Turek in 1994. When it became clear that Dopita still did not seem to have interest in coming to North America, his NHL rights were moved again at the 2001 NHL Entry Draft to the Philadelphia Flyers for a 2nd round selection that year, the Flyers made a concerted effort to bring Dopita to the NHL.However, Dopita's time in the NHL was to be disappointing. He recorded respectable totals getting limited ice time with Philadelphia, but a knee injury limited him to 52 games. After the season, his rights were traded to the Edmonton Oilers, where he was expected to be a top-two centre. However, Dopita had a terrible season, recording only six points in 21 games."

Cervenka had success in the Czech League, and a good year in the KHL in 2009-2010, but had a step back last year, and has been struggling this year. The jury is out.

Filatov hadn't played in North America before joining the Blue Jackets and never made the adjustment . Yakupov is a known quantity, has played and excelled in North America, and was playing well in the KHL and the WJHC. He is far more likely to make a successful transition.

Keep banging that drum Pilgrim.

He had 6G and 15P in 14GP so far this season before coming to North America.

That's just an epic "struggle".

If you want a struggle...the Barons are losing 6-0 to Charlotte in the 3rd period tonight.

Paajarvi - 0G 0A 0P -3

Shooting percentage now 4.9%

Now that "struggling".

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#93 hemi
January 11 2013, 08:10PM
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100% agreement with #84 loosemoose. I bet Ralphy Boy is thanking his lucky stars that his time to shine is now. Look past all of the stats, draft picks and armchair coaches on this site, it comes down to him knowing full well how much talent he has on the bench.

I am very satisfied we have him as the coach at this time frame. With the transition from the old guard to the new gun slingers in town, his timing is perfect! This is two fold. He will succeed as will the team. Go OIL Go!

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#94 GVBlackhawk
January 11 2013, 08:23PM
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DSF wrote:

Actually, the Blues look to be much, much stronger.

Not only are they adding Tarasenko but David Perron is fully healthy (21 goals in only 57 games last season).

Ty Rattie may make the team and Jaden Schwartz may also make the jump.

They're loaded.

Wow you are finally getting it right. New Year's resolution?

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#95 DSF
January 11 2013, 08:31PM
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GVBlackhawk wrote:

Wow you are finally getting it right. New Year's resolution?

I called the STL rise a couple of years ago.

They'll be a power in the WC for many years.

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#96 Johe
January 11 2013, 08:34PM
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@DSF

You are so smrt!

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#97 GVBlackhawk
January 11 2013, 08:52PM
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DSF wrote:

I called the STL rise a couple of years ago.

They'll be a power in the WC for many years.

Captain Happy you should parlay your abilities into cash.

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#98 DSF
January 11 2013, 08:57PM
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GVBlackhawk wrote:

Captain Happy you should parlay your abilities into cash.

I have.

Lots of it.

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#99 dougtheslug
January 11 2013, 10:27PM
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DSF wrote:

Keep banging that drum Pilgrim.

He had 6G and 15P in 14GP so far this season before coming to North America.

That's just an epic "struggle".

If you want a struggle...the Barons are losing 6-0 to Charlotte in the 3rd period tonight.

Paajarvi - 0G 0A 0P -3

Shooting percentage now 4.9%

Now that "struggling".

I love the slight of hand, changing the topic when it suits you. What does Paarjarvi have to do with anything?

This year, Cervenka was injured after 8 games in the Czech Elite League, after a quick start, then returned for 5 games in the KHL, putting up 2 points, before getting injured again. Will he be a success in the NHL? I don't know and neither do you. The good news is, we won't have long to wait to find out.

But here's what I bet. I bet Sam Gagner outscores him this year. And I bet Yakupov gets more points in this shortened season than Filatov got in his 53 game NHL career. Care to make some money off this pilgrim?

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#100 OilClog
January 11 2013, 10:43PM
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If yakupov was a #1 pick for anyone else the crows would be going on and on about he is going to destroy the league.

Oilers aren't relying on rookies this season.

Yakupov yes rookie.. 2nd or 3rd line winger.

Schultz yes rookie.. 2nd defense set

Everyone else.. Not rookies. Hall, Ebs all 3rd year.

So it looks like the Oilers management plan of drafting their own horses is working out after all.

#1 picks are always expected to contribute immediately, they are special talents. Oilers would be fools to not do as every other team has done. Play them, rely on them.

I don't look at St. Louis and see success yet, a good season, some good prospects. But where is the organizational triumph, they're the Nucks of the Central. Bark no bite.

Oilers wouldn't trade any of the untouchables for Granlund, no one would. Great he's a second line center on the wild. Doubt he beats Gagners production heads up. Again.. Does anyone really look at minnesota and say.. Success!! No.

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