April 20 2013 07:41AM
Edmonton Oilers fans have one eye on the standings and one eye on the draft lottery (where young men like Sasha Barkov--in photo--are available) as we hit the final stretch of this season. Oilers coach Ralph Krueger's goal may be the exact opposite of the Nation. Or is it?
I very much like Krueger's take on this situation. The Oilers have had THREE number one selections since 2010 summer and the time to turn the corner is now. Another week of losses might seem like a small deal, but the Oilers have to stand and deliver at some point and losing for the sake of draft position after those three long, losing years seems noxious to this Oiler fans. If they lose the games fair and square, so be it. However, the Oilers owe it to the spirit of sport to make every effort to do as Krueger suggests in the quote above--and I'm sure they will.
CAN THEY RUN THE TABLE?
The Oilers are currently tied for 23rd in the NHL, with 5 games left (they have a game in hand on several other clubs, but also have a ridiculous final week coming). Taylor Hall left last night's game with an arm injury, Ales Hemsky may not play again this season and there are no gimme's among the teams Edmonton faces this coming week (ANA x 2, Chicago, Minnesota, Vancouver).
Chances are Edmonton remains about where they are (the Flames may pass them, Calgary doesn't know how to lose properly) and a reasonable guess would have them drafting 6th-10th. The draft board on Kingsway might look like this:
- Seth Jones
- Jonathan Drouin
- Nathan MacKinnon
- Sasha Barkov
- Sean Monahan
- Elias Lindholm
- Valeri Nicushkin
and I'd think they would be thrilled with any of the top 5. There's still a lot to be sussed out about this year's edition and of course there's always a wild card (often a defenseman) in there somewhere. Darnell Nurse is a defenseman getting a lot of chatter, perhaps he ends up being this year's surprise selection in the draft.
WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?
Losing games to improve draft position isn't a sin on the scale of putting ketchup on spaghetti (what the hell?) but as a fan I'm pleased with Krueger's quote. To hell with losing, every damn Oiler fan has had enough for a lifetime. Seriously.
The Memorial Cup champion 1963 Oil Kings are appearing this weekend (along with Paul Henderson and others) at the Summit IV memorabilia and collectibles show at Millennium Place in Sherwood Park today (1:30 to 2:30 p.m.) and tomorrow (11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m).
We'll be broadcasting the show live today noon to 2pm, and interviewing many of the Oil Kings players at the event. The day is "fluid", but scheduled to appear:
- Members of the 1963 Oil Kings: Gregg Pilling, Bert Marshall, Bob Falkenberg, Dave Rochefort, Tom Bend, Russ Kirk, Vince Downey, Harold Fleming and Jim Brown.
- Scott Francis Winder will preview the FC's home game this week
- Evan Daum will discuss the FC's season, the Oil Kings and more.
- Kent Simpson (Oil Kings color commentator) gives us an update on what is turning into a very good series.
- Dennis King, to talk Oilers, Craig MacTavish, Kevin Lowe and more.