POSSESSION PLAYERS

Lowetide
September 27 2013 11:36PM

Steve MacIntyre was hurt tonight (well, he hurt himself) and may be headed to IR along with four other guys. The Oilers played what observers described as a "poor" final pre-season game and will now ready themselves for the regular season debut this coming week.

The Oilers could recall Ryan Jones from Oklahoma City (I don't think he's cleared Edmonton airspace yet) and they could reach down and grab Tyler Pitlick. I'm not certain the club needs a nuclear deterrent like MacIntyre, and they can probably use a good skater for the forecheck and the penalty kill.

What they could really use is another forward who can help with puck possession. Craig MacTavish spoke about it during the spring, Dallas Eakins spoke about it when talking to the media about the kind of team he wanted to ice, and we know what a possession team might look like in an NHL game. It would look like the Red Wings.

ALL PUCK, ALL THE TIME

Possession players have the puck more than the other guy (and have a positive shot differential), can make and take a pass and if they do turn the puck over it's often miles away from the home net and there is recovery time for linemates. Taylor Hall is a possession player, the high end youngsters coming up behind him are/will be too, and Ryan Smyth in his prime was a helluva possession player.

  • Mike Babcock: “We really believe in toughness and we believe toughness is toughness on the puck. To me, you’ve got to have the puck. I like 12 forwards that can all skate and handle the puck, and I like six D who can all skate and handle the puck.”

If we take a look at the Edmonton Oilers roster that dressed tonight in Oklahoma City, are there any players we can apply Babcock's words to and get a negative answer? I think there are, and that's the trouble with dressing players for reasons other than winning the game on the scoresheet. When a team is out to announce their presence with authority, they're no longer concentrating all of their energy on puck possession.

I understand the need to have a physical element, but that's best served by having possession players who can also use their size/strength to win battles.

CANDIDATES?

At some point this weekend, there will be an interesting name on the waiver wire or offered in trade. The Oilers are trying out two wingers with size who may be possession players (Jesse Joensuu, Ryan Hamilton) given the right situation. If they can add another, I believe they'll have a better chance to win hockey games.

And so does Mike Babcock.

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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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#51 michael
September 28 2013, 11:12AM
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Batfink wrote:

I think the argument is some what specious. This team has been "in it's infancy" for five years now. I think it is reasonable to expect some dividends to have paid off. while I accept the fact we are not winning the Cup this year, I believe the investment of sucking for so long should yield play-offs this year. You could also look at Eakin's diaper comment and take it as not his understanding of this team's youth, but more that "you are paid professionals. Play like it." Just another way of looking at it.

The turnover in players on this roster vs last year vs the past 4 years is mindboggling. What other team out there has has had roster turnover like Edmonton. Is Calgary's roster had as many change's? Someone do the research and tell me. Because sure as heck when you have nearly a 50% turnover on your roster you have to to lower your expectations. Never mind the fact that we have 1st year GM,Coach and assistant coach. New system. New players. New attitude.

I see the dividends in terms of player growth and development. Hall to center is an enormous move. It bolds well for the future of this franchise. But there will short term pain as he learns the center position. Eberle and Perron will grow as they adapt to each others style. Yakupov will be given ample opportunity to develop under Eakins. Justin Shultz will given a comfort blanket in Ference and will be unleashed onn the rush.

But in terms of "team" it will be a certainty that this group of players will have a long way to go before they can "identify" themselves as a team. Heck we won't see a complete roster until Gagner's return in 2-3 months.

By then who knows what changes will have occurred on this team.

I think your right about dividends in terms of individual players. Hall,Eberle,Yak, and J Shultz. But in terms of the this group of Oilers we are definitely in the infancy stages of its development. to say otherwise is putting the cart before the horse.

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#52 a lg dubl dubl
September 28 2013, 11:18AM
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Rotten Ron wrote:

I find it odd/troubling that nepotism has brought us an Acton, Musil , Simpson etc. And didnt bring us Keegan Lowe.

Keegan Lowe asked not to be drafted by the Oilers, didn't want to have the pressure of living up to his dads "I have 6 rings, what do you have"

Jones stayed back in case another team did pick him up

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#53 TigerUnderGlass
September 28 2013, 11:22AM
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@Rickithebear

Since they haven't played a game yet they are on pace for even.

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#54 SammyD
September 28 2013, 11:39AM
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Rotten Ron wrote:

I find it odd/troubling that nepotism has brought us an Acton, Musil , Simpson etc. And didnt bring us Keegan Lowe.

Keegan asked his father specifically not to draft him. Dad listened.

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#55 BorjeSalming-IanTurnbull
September 28 2013, 07:21PM
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D wrote:

Consensus? Was tonight an aberration or a sign of things to come this season? I'm curious as to what most who comment here think.

It looked like the vets where a little gun shy after what happened Gags and then witness an injury to there newly acquired tough guy. The ice looked bad for the boys because the puck was bouncing like a tennis ball out there.

My three questions entering the season

1. Can Ryan Smyth keep up with the play of the 2013 game? Playing him with two of the fastest Hall and Hemsky seems counterproductive.

2. Can Mr. Dubnyk steal 10 or so games for a young and fragile team going on the road for much of Oct. and Nov?

3. Why has the management of the Oilers refused to address the centerman and functional toughness in the bottom 6? Can't wait to see a tired Acton-Brown-Big Mac take on Thorton-Marleau-Pavelski

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