HARSKI: OPPORTUNITY KNOCKS

Robin Brownlee
January 07 2013 07:27PM

One man's misfortune can be another's lucky break, and it's certainly shaping up as such for strapping Finnish forward Teemu Hartikainen as the Edmonton Oilers prepare to open training camp.

While the 22-year old winger would have had a shot at a roster spot this season because he brings dimensions lacking at forward – size and a measure of physicality combined with decent offensive instincts – Harski's chances of landing an NHL job improved with news Ryan Jones won't be ready to start the season after suffering an eye injury.

Having upped his stock with the Oklahoma City Barons by scoring 11-15-26 in 35 games, where and how Hartikainen might fit in with Jones out of the mix is an interesting question. He's shown enough sense around the net to lead some people to conclude he might be worth a look-see in the top-six. He's got enough grind in his game to play in the bottom six and maybe score a bit, too.

What to do with Harski?

COACH SAYS . . .

"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," coach Ralph Krueger told Jason Gregor today.

"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 defensemen and two forwards from Oklahoma City and Teemu is a good guess on your part for having an opportunity.

"Especially because he brings something unique to the table. Down on the power play in Oklahoma City, he was the net-front presence that allowed Eberle, Hall, Nugent-Hopkins, Arcobello and Justin Schultz to have so much success of late.

"So, there's been some interesting things that he's developed and grown in the direction we'd like to see and he also has a mean streak in him and can play tough physically, which is an important asset that we'll be needing in our line-up."

WHERE DOES HE FIT?

While I'm not so sure about the mean streak Krueger mentioned, there's no question, at six-foot-two and 215 pounds, Hartikainen is the kind mix of size and reasonable skill Krueger can put to use with this group of forwards.

With 5-5-10 in limited duty through 29 games with the Oilers, including three call-ups last season, we've seen glimpses of potential. Harski is neither simply a big-bodied glass-rattler nor is he a pure offensive player. He can score some. He bangs a bit. So, where does he fit? Depends.

I don't know if Krueger will plug rookie Nail Yakupov into the second line on left wing right away. If he doesn't, might Hartikainen start out playing with Sam Gagner and Ales Hemsky? If Yakupov gets the nod to start as the left winger on that line, then Hartikainen might be a good fit on the right side with Ryan Smyth and Shawn Horcoff on the third line.

At this point in Hartikainen's young career the safe bet, and my inclination, would be to ease him in as primarily a third-line player – where Jones is best-suited – and then take it from there based on what Krueger sees.

Listen to Robin Brownlee Wednesdays and Thursdays from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. on the Jason Gregor Show on TEAM 1260.

Aceb4a1816f5fa09879a023b07d1a9b4
A sports writer since 1983, including stints at The Edmonton Journal and The Sun 1989-2007, I happily co-host the Jason Gregor Show on TSN 1260 twice a week and write when so inclined. Have the best damn lawn on the internet. Most important, I am Sam's dad. Follow me on Twitter at Robin_Brownlee. Or don't.
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#1 Rama Lama
January 08 2013, 07:52AM
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Oiler Ala wrote:

With Sutton out of the line up, and who knows how Peckham will line up, I am concerned there is no "sandpaper" in the line up. Forget Eager and Hordicuk, they are both frauds in that regard, and should be waived .

Perhaps the most interesting player in my mind that truly does not get any respect is Eager!

"Rumor has it", he was given very tight and often conflicting order as to how he should play with Renny at the Helm. Last time I checked we do not have many 240 lb fighters that can skate like the wind.

This guy deserves a fresh start under Ralph!

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#2 Johe
January 07 2013, 11:35PM
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Nick wrote:

The "WOW" trade

Jordan Eberle for Adam Larsson

Wow that's dumb.

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#3 cableguy - 2nd Tier Fan
January 08 2013, 07:19AM
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Nick wrote:

The "WOW" trade

Jordan Eberle for Adam Larsson

you poor guy. i bet you still struggle with that second velcro strap on your shoe.

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#4 Walter Sobchak
January 08 2013, 12:21PM
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Nick wrote:

Your not getting OEL or Doughty or Hedman or Pietrangelo for Eberle.

Larsson is more of a defensive defenceman and can't be compared to J Schultz.

If you had to trade between the top 3 oilers Hall , RNH, and Eberle.

Eberle would be my choice.

The reason this deal makes sense to me is NJ needs wingers they lost Parise. Oilers need a number 1 d-man.

Won't happen anyway but call me in 2yrs see if you disagree with me then.

First, you don't need a marquee player to trade or a marquee player.

Example-Brewer and prospects for Pronger.

The Oilers have a prospect in Klefbom so the need for Larsson is not at all high.

I will guarantee you this!! Weber gets traded out of Nashville next year, I guarantee it will be for a top four defensmen, prospects and picks with zero marquee value going back.

Example from last year the Nash trade.

Stop with the freaking Eberle talk!!!

Jesus.

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#5 hags437
January 08 2013, 12:43PM
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Scuba Steve...get us Ryan Clowe a depth d-man. Do it

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#6 striker777
January 07 2013, 07:47PM
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For the love of God, do not put Yakupov on the opposite wing. Use him where he's been the most effective during his junior career. Maybe a year or two down the road, when the kid is used to the NHL.

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#7 Bushed
January 07 2013, 07:48PM
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Have to agree with you. The AHL games I watched showed Harski as a willing physical player, but didn't see a "mean streak" per se.

Thinking back, Kevin Lowe didn't start his career with a mean streak either, but seemed to develop one over time.

Maybe Harski can too?

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#8 hags437
January 07 2013, 07:51PM
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I've always liked this guy and hope he can find a spot on this team. IF he develops into what most project him to be then what a boost to the Oilers. We have the thouroghbreds but what we don't have enough of is some Clydesdales to do the heavy work. A big body that play big. More important than fighters in this league are in your face type players who can bang you around and create a little havoc. Teemu can be one of those guys and he's one of the guys I'm most excited about this season.

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#9 stevezie
January 07 2013, 10:56PM
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Bushed wrote:

Have to agree with you. The AHL games I watched showed Harski as a willing physical player, but didn't see a "mean streak" per se.

Thinking back, Kevin Lowe didn't start his career with a mean streak either, but seemed to develop one over time.

Maybe Harski can too?

Didn't Lowe get suspended his rookie year for stepping on a guy?

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#10 pelhem grenville
January 08 2013, 08:09AM
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Nick wrote:

The "WOW" trade

Jordan Eberle for Adam Larsson

...imagine how popular you'd be if there was the dreaded-of-all reverse props button...

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#11 The Oilers Shot Clock
January 08 2013, 08:40AM
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Rama Lama wrote:

Perhaps the most interesting player in my mind that truly does not get any respect is Eager!

"Rumor has it", he was given very tight and often conflicting order as to how he should play with Renny at the Helm. Last time I checked we do not have many 240 lb fighters that can skate like the wind.

This guy deserves a fresh start under Ralph!

Im on board with this...for 5 games. Hartski isnt the only one who can take advantage of Jones being out. Eager can salvage his time with us in this span if he plays smart. We'll see how much Renney had to do with it soon enough, and we'll see how expendable Jones is as well. MPS,Eager,Hartski,all have a shot at stepping up here.

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#12 Nick
January 08 2013, 09:34AM
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I believe if you take out the emotional factor, this trade Eberle for Adam Larsson is a reasonable hockey trade.

I also believe NJ would not jump at this.

I also believe hockey people would think this is a fair trade.

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#13 Light, Sweet, Crude
January 08 2013, 09:45AM
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@Rama Lama

I agree, I never really understood why people around here soured on Eager so harshly. Maybe I missed the game where he turned the other cheek on Nuge getting roughed up - that gets brought up a lot. I do recall reading somewhere that his assignments were conflicting last year. There is real potential for a improvement from him this year. He's got some good tools as you say.

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#14 justDOit
January 08 2013, 09:52AM
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@Light, Sweet, Crude

Eager was MIA on most of the shifts where the tough guys do the tough things last season. Granted, he did suffer a concussion to start the year, but the number of times he looked valuable are far outnumbered by his moments of 'wtf?'.

I shared your opinion of him last year, but I've lost most sense of optimism for him now. What I do hold out hope for, is that Coach K can provide an environment and structure for his players to succeed in.

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#15 MVParkerknox
January 08 2013, 10:14AM
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In fact....it really is hard to make a lineup card with all if these fine forwards we have to pick from. GOOD PROBLEM TO HAVE. Harti definitely gets in but I also want to see Magnus up here too. Can't have it all I guess. If anything it will push players to be on too of their game because so many are RIGHT THERE waiting to take their spot.

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#16 nick
January 08 2013, 10:25AM
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I'm surprised how much people here think of Eberle hockey talent. I think he is a very good player, but still has not proven he can play against the top lines.

His minutes have been soft as they should be he is still very young.

I also think finding winger's is easier than finding #1 D-men.

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#17 David
January 08 2013, 10:36AM
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nick wrote:

I'm surprised how much people here think of Eberle hockey talent. I think he is a very good player, but still has not proven he can play against the top lines.

His minutes have been soft as they should be he is still very young.

I also think finding winger's is easier than finding #1 D-men.

Part of your problem is using Adam Larsson. Hasn't shown anything yet suggesting he'll definitely be a number one. If you used a guy like Alex petrangelo it would be a little better. Problem is Eberle looks like a special player and the oilers future d looks pretty good there's a chance Justin Schultz could be that number one d.

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#18 justDOit
January 08 2013, 10:45AM
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nick wrote:

I'm surprised how much people here think of Eberle hockey talent. I think he is a very good player, but still has not proven he can play against the top lines.

His minutes have been soft as they should be he is still very young.

I also think finding winger's is easier than finding #1 D-men.

Ebs is showing to be an elite scoring winger, while Larsson has shown to be a young defenseman playing the 3rd pairing on a sound defensive team. He was benched or scratched quite a lot last season, which is quite normal.

But if you can find these winger's (sic) who can easily slot in on the top line and post at a point per game, then I think KLowe has a job opportunity for you.

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#19 Shaun
January 08 2013, 10:58AM
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justDOit wrote:

Even the softest of minutes in the NHL are not remotely close to being considered 'easy' minutes. Many players get the opportunity to play these 'soft minutes', and they do not come close to posting points at the 1.0 p/g rate.

No way Eberle is going to win the Art Ross trophy multiple times.

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#20 Where's Your Towel
January 08 2013, 11:38AM
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As dumb as this trade proposal (Ebs for Larsson) is, it does bring up a scary point:

At some point, unless management pulls off a miracle, we may have to spend some of the riches at forward to bring in help on D.

You won't be getting the kind of help we'll need for spare parts or high-drafted wingers that didn't pan out either.

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#21 David
January 08 2013, 12:34PM
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Nick wrote:

Your not getting OEL or Doughty or Hedman or Pietrangelo for Eberle.

Larsson is more of a defensive defenceman and can't be compared to J Schultz.

If you had to trade between the top 3 oilers Hall , RNH, and Eberle.

Eberle would be my choice.

The reason this deal makes sense to me is NJ needs wingers they lost Parise. Oilers need a number 1 d-man.

Won't happen anyway but call me in 2yrs see if you disagree with me then.

At this point Eberle is a more proven player where as Larsson is not. Could be giving away a first line winger for a good number three d man. Can't make that deal. Eberle Hall and Nuge will be oilers for as long as management can keep them and that sounds good to me.

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#22 Johe
January 07 2013, 07:36PM
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I really like Harski. I believe he brings something unique to the top 9 and is a perfect fit. This should be the year he becomes a regular NHLer.

Oh, and sorry to point this out Robin, but you have him with 25 assists this season- he only has 15.

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#23 OilClog
January 07 2013, 07:40PM
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If its between Teemu and Magnus for the wing spot beside 10 and 94. MPS should get the nod, as it would appear to benefit his game more, being a two way winger. If Teemu can't crack the top 6 or contribute with little time on the forth line. Then to OKC with him, I'm on the side that MPS' speed and defensive ability will win out the day due to the Jones injury.

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#25 Johe
January 07 2013, 07:48PM
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@Robin Brownlee

Question for you: Do you think Harski has the stuff to be a consistent top 6 forward at some point in his career? He's not there yet, but I can definitely see him as a complementary, rugged winger who can put up 40 plus points a season. Am I off base?

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#27 Johe
January 07 2013, 08:24PM
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@Robin Brownlee

In that kind of role he would definitely still have value, but I'm hoping and thinking he possesses a bit more skill. Maybe more than anything I just really want a guy on the top two lines who can put a defender on his ass rather than the other way around. And I would like that guy to be Harski.

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#28 The Soup Fascist
January 07 2013, 08:43PM
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Job 1 - get a new number. 56 sucks. Give him THE Teemu number: 8

Guarantees a 40 to 50 point pace. Minimum.

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#29 Clyde Frog
January 07 2013, 09:58PM
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So a little off-topic but was there wording in the potential CBA to stop a "rich" team from trading for a crappy-yet big contract and a decent player/prospect with the expectation of buying out the bad contract?

Which could possibly allow the original team to resign the original player at a better cap hit?

If not I wonder which GM explores a little post CBA hijinx first!

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#30 Jimmer
January 07 2013, 10:30PM
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@Robin

On the "high-side" could he turn out to be a Tomas Holmstrom type player? Or is that a pipe dream?

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#31 Oiler Ala
January 07 2013, 11:19PM
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With Sutton out of the line up, and who knows how Peckham will line up, I am concerned there is no "sandpaper" in the line up. Forget Eager and Hordicuk, they are both frauds in that regard, and should be waived .

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#32 Nick
January 07 2013, 11:19PM
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The "WOW" trade

Jordan Eberle for Adam Larsson

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#33 Wanyes bastard child
January 07 2013, 11:36PM
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Nick wrote:

The "WOW" trade

Jordan Eberle for Adam Larsson

Give your head a shake.

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#34 Randy
January 08 2013, 12:39AM
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@OilClog

Oilers desperately need a physical winger in their top 9. Paajarvi doesn't bring that. Hartikainon does and he's put up better numbers in OKC. Oilers don't need another soft winger. Hartikainon reminds me a bit of Tomas Holmstrum.

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#35 The Oilers Shot Clock
January 08 2013, 05:10AM
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Huge silver lining to the Jones injury.

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#36 justDOit
January 08 2013, 08:35AM
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Nick wrote:

The "WOW" trade

Jordan Eberle for Adam Larsson

You lost me at 'Jor..'

I would, however, be ok with Edm's 1st in 2013, a defensive prospect and Omark for Larsson.

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#37 Shane
January 08 2013, 08:39AM
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@Rama Lama

Well put Rama! Here here... Seems like he can take/make a pass as well

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#38 dessert1111
January 08 2013, 09:19AM
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It seems to me that Paajarvi benefits more from a Jones injury, since I think Hartikainen was slotted onto the NHL roster anyway.

The good thing about Hartikainen in relation is that he can reasonably slot into anywhere on the NHL lineup. At least, that argument can be made. With MPS, the only place I can see him on the current Oilers is 3RW, a spot he very well might get now, and I hope he is considered for.

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#39 The Fish
January 08 2013, 09:22AM
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Nick wrote:

The "WOW" trade

Jordan Eberle for Adam Larsson

There's about 3 players in the league that I would trade Jordan Eberle for and Adam Larsson is not one of them.

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#40 pelhem grenville
January 08 2013, 09:53AM
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Nick wrote:

I believe if you take out the emotional factor, this trade Eberle for Adam Larsson is a reasonable hockey trade.

I also believe NJ would not jump at this.

I also believe hockey people would think this is a fair trade.

...is that sound of you backpeddling ur a$$ outta this ridonckulous trade you proposed Nick??? well done ...im sure "hockey people" would be less 'emotional' now that you've come to your senses...at least you could say 14 my be worth trading after he's won three or four Stanley Cups with our side ala 99 for this Larrson guy...

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#41 OILERSORDEATH
January 08 2013, 09:53AM
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Johe wrote:

Wow that's dumb.

Double dumb! *Benny Hill slap to the side of your head*

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#42 Nick
January 08 2013, 09:58AM
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No backpeddling here. I would make the trade, I think the posters are wrong.

Eberle plays soft minutes and can be replaced, Larsson is going to be a #1 d-man in the NHL for a long time.

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#43 OILERSORDEATH
January 08 2013, 10:02AM
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Nick wrote:

I believe if you take out the emotional factor, this trade Eberle for Adam Larsson is a reasonable hockey trade.

I also believe NJ would not jump at this.

I also believe hockey people would think this is a fair trade.

Nothing to do with emotions at all, its just not even logical to make a trade that dumb. Drew Doughty....maybe I would think about it but not straight up for Larsson.

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#44 Fresh Mess
January 08 2013, 10:07AM
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Nick wrote:

The "WOW" trade

Jordan Eberle for Adam Larsson

Substitute Yak for Eberle, add a draft pick from Jersey, maybe a second or third rounder....and I'm down with it. I really would love to see Larsson, OEL, or Karlsson for Yakapov.

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#45 MVParkerknox
January 08 2013, 10:07AM
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Rama Lama wrote:

Perhaps the most interesting player in my mind that truly does not get any respect is Eager!

"Rumor has it", he was given very tight and often conflicting order as to how he should play with Renny at the Helm. Last time I checked we do not have many 240 lb fighters that can skate like the wind.

This guy deserves a fresh start under Ralph!

I've always thought Eager should get more ice time and maybe some better line mates. Sadly for him I believe that ship has sailed as there is no longer any room for him other than the fourth line. Renney's fault. Still I think he will be a good fit and can chip in with 12 or so goals if he plays every day.

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#46 tileguy
January 08 2013, 10:09AM
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Didn't Eager have a "dustup" in a bar this summer? Are the consequences of that altercation known?

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#47 tileguy
January 08 2013, 10:13AM
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A search of the internet does show he was charged with assault this summer. http://www.citynews.ca/2012/10/20/exclusive-edmonton-oiler-charged-after-toronto-bar-fight/

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#48 justDOit
January 08 2013, 10:14AM
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tileguy wrote:

Didn't Eager have a "dustup" in a bar this summer? Are the consequences of that altercation known?

Yes, he did get into some legal trouble lately. I haven't seen anything about it lately, but I remember thinking that Eager is set to become the next Corson of the league - all he needs to do is hit 'it' with a team-mates wife.

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#49 justDOit
January 08 2013, 10:16AM
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Nick wrote:

No backpeddling here. I would make the trade, I think the posters are wrong.

Eberle plays soft minutes and can be replaced, Larsson is going to be a #1 d-man in the NHL for a long time.

Even the softest of minutes in the NHL are not remotely close to being considered 'easy' minutes. Many players get the opportunity to play these 'soft minutes', and they do not come close to posting points at the 1.0 p/g rate.

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#50 justDOit
January 08 2013, 11:12AM
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@Shaun

Who said he was? He has, however, shown to be much more valuable at this time than Larsson.

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