CAMP PRIMER: THE WAY I SEE IT

Robin Brownlee
September 09 2013 08:06PM

Aside from when, exactly, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins will be ready to return to action from shoulder surgery, there isn’t a whole of intrigue to contemplate going into 2013 edition of training camp for the Edmonton Oilers, is there?

Really, aside from the exact date RNH is ready to roll, be it in the pre-season or once the Oilers start playing for points, Edmonton's roster looks pretty set from where I sit, give or take a few spots on the line-up card of new coach Dallas Eakins.

For me, the questions aren't so much about who the pieces will be on the 2013-14 edition of the Oilers, but how Eakins will put those pieces together in the form of forward lines, defense pairings and special teams.

We'll see about that through the pre-season schedule, of course, but as far as the roster goes, I think I can pretty much pick it right now – and so can you. Please tell me if I'm wrong. I'm sure you will.

HOW IT LOOKS TO ME

Assuming Eakins chooses to open with 13 forwards, I see 11 of those spots already filled by Nugent-Hopkins, Taylor Hall, Jordan Eberle, Nail Yakupov, Sam Gagner, Ales Hemsky, Ryan Jones, David Perron, Ryan Smyth, Boyd Gordon and Mike Brown.

The last two spots will be contested by Ben Eager, Will Acton, who has a bit of an inside track because he's familiar to Eakins and associate coach Keith Acton, his father, Anton Lander and Jesse Joensuu. There's another spot there to start the season, of course, if RNH isn’t ready to go.

If Eakins goes with eight defensemen, I expect the first six – stop the presses – to be Andrew Ference, Ladislav Smid, Justin Schultz, Jeff Petry, Nick Schultz and reclamation project Denis Grebeshkov. Oscar Klefbom, given his SEL experience, is the best bet to grab the seventh spot and could push for a spot in the third pairing, platooning with Grebeshkov.

Beyond Klefbom, I think it's a stretch to expect Anton Belov, who'll miss the start of camp because of visa problems, or Taylor Fedun to push for a roster spot for opening night Oct. 1. Corey Potter is the most likely insurance policy, and the most experienced, outside the top six.

Goal? There is nobody in camp capable of pushing Devan Dubnyk and Jason LaBarbera for the starting and cheerleading (aside from 15-17 games) spots.

FROM THE INSIDE (OR NOT)

For what it's worth, the Oilers website staff has the following depth chart posted (with a caveat at the top the chart is unofficial) as of right now. By position and in order, it reads as follows:

  • LW – Hall, Perron, Jones, Smyth.
  • C – RNH, Gagner, Gordon, Lander.
  • RW – Eberle, Yakupov, Hemsky, Brown.
  • LD – Smid, Ference, N. Schultz, Belov.
  • RD – Petry, J. Schultz, Potter, Philip Larsen, Grebeshkov.
  • G – Dubnyk, LaBarbera.

A FEW QUESTIONS

Jason Gregor posed seven questions in an item he posted earlier today. I have a few of my own, although they're a bit more frivolous than his.

  • 1. On what date will Eakins expose Wanye to untold ridicule for his story that Gagner will be named the next captain by announcing that Ference will wear the C this season?
  • 2. Will Yakupov begin this season on the same torrid pace he ended his rookie campaign? More important, which team will be the first to piss and moan about one of this 25 goal celebrations this season?
  • 3. How many minutes into his first game will Grebeshkov have a monumental brain fart in his own end that has fans recalling the reasons the Oilers bid farewell to him in the first place?
  • 4. Ken Hitchcock had his hands full with the talented Perron in St. Louis in terms of getting him to play within the system he wanted. If Hitch couldn’t do it, what makes Eakins think he can?
  • 5. Will Hemsky script an epic SIUTBOHC in a third-line role to start the season or will reporters be scribbling "Hemsky Wants Out" pieces six weeks into the season? Both?
  • 6. How many points for Justin Schultz this season? And, after running out of gas during his rookie campaign, can he play the point on both power play units this season?
  • 7. Playoffs this season? After last season's spasm of optimism, mark me down for a definite "no."

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.
Avatar
#51 Robin Brownlee
September 09 2013, 09:23PM
Trash it!
9
trashes
Cheers
7
cheers
Batfink wrote:

Do you expect the oilers to at least challenge for a play-off spot before dropping off? Where do you place us? Cellar dwellers again?

No, I don't see this team as a bottom-feeder or even a lottery team. If all the wildcards -- Eakins, Perron, a return to form by Jones and a better showing by the defense -- fall their way, I can see the Oilers hanging in and finishing 10-11th.

Avatar
#52 Next up, is Connor McJesus.
September 09 2013, 09:46PM
Trash it!
20
trashes
Cheers
7
cheers

@OilClog

Well, there goes any chance of you winning the highly sought after the 11 x 14 autographed Rueben Bronte framed photo.....

Was it worth it bud......and trashing his comment, you're now more than likely responsible for shattering his confidence.

Avatar
#53 D
September 09 2013, 09:49PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
7
cheers
David S wrote:

Is it just me or does Dallas Eakins look perpetually pissed off?

He looks perpetually pissed off and that is a good thing for the Oilers.

Avatar
#54 David S
September 10 2013, 08:33AM
Trash it!
23
trashes
Cheers
7
cheers
Ivan Drago wrote:

I absolutely agree personal remarks shouldn't be allowed. However, I have personally seen you dish a cpl out. As for sarcasm, it's done between posters on here all the time, shouldn't be an issue. Sarcasm is also easy to misinterpret in text format.

As a newspaper columnist, people couldn't reply to you personally if they disagreed with your column. On a blog they can, imo you don't handle it well. However this is simply my opinion, if you ban me or erase my post for expressing it, then that's all the proof needed.

You can always try Hockeybuzz or HF Boards. ~I hear those are quality reads.~

*puts finger in mouth*

Avatar
#55 Craig1981
September 09 2013, 09:40PM
Trash it!
3
trashes
Cheers
6
cheers
OilClog wrote:

Grebs over Belov? Aside from the Visa issue, not a chance of that happening. Or are we going to completely ignore Belov being the dominate player..

Good Grief

Exactly how much have you seen Belov play? I'm guessing you have watched him in zero games. What makes you sure enough Belov is the dominate player that you can add a snobby "good grief" at the end. With my knowledge my might have a top 4 dman for a playoff team or an absolute useless scratch.

Avatar
#57 TigerUnderGlass
September 10 2013, 09:25AM
Trash it!
2
trashes
Cheers
6
cheers

@Robin Brownlee

@woodguy

This is it exactly in my mind. I think it all comes down to when he gets here.

Belov has a lot to take in when he arrives, and if he gets here to late it makes a lot of sense to send him down until he gets his bearings. Something similar in theory to a conditioning stint.

If he doesn't miss much or adjusts quickly then things could change.

Avatar
#58 Dan 1919
September 10 2013, 09:46AM
Trash it!
3
trashes
Cheers
6
cheers

The Oilers LOST 9 of 10 games near the end of last season and still finished 12th in the West (10pts out).

If they turned that loosing streak into .500 hockey, they battle for the 8th spot until the last game.

I've said every year thus far in the rebuild the Oilers will not make the playoffs and are a weak team, largely because Tambi refused to help the team in any way.

Oilers make the playoffs... or just loose out in late season dog-fight.

Avatar
#59 freelancer
September 09 2013, 08:12PM
Trash it!
2
trashes
Cheers
5
cheers

I'm not huge on him myself Robin, but do you see any scenario in which Omark cracks the lineup opening night?

Avatar
#60 Jamie B.
September 09 2013, 08:29PM
Trash it!
2
trashes
Cheers
5
cheers

Nuge's face in that picture is about how I feel about the roster: eh.

Avatar
#61 Cody anderson
September 09 2013, 08:50PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
5
cheers

From Eakins comments about Acton he is actually one of the players I m most excited about in the bottom 6. I think if Eakins likes him that much there is a good chance he works his way onto the 4th line eaither as a replacement for Lander or as a winger.

Avatar
#62 Robin Brownlee
September 09 2013, 09:57PM
Trash it!
10
trashes
Cheers
5
cheers

@Woodguy

Agree on Belov's pedigree, but I'm reluctant to put a player on the roster I haven't seen against NHL competition and who, aside from having to deal with the change in culture, might get out of the blocks slowly with this visa delay.

I don't have him on the roster Oct. 1, but, like I said earlier, I can see him being around if/when Grebeshkov struggles.

As for my 10th-11th pick, the 8-11 or even 12th holes are tricky and often separated by only a handful of points. I want to see how the new alignment impacts this team. New head coach etc etc. Wildcards, as Gregor calls them.

Avatar
#63 OilClog
September 09 2013, 10:06PM
Trash it!
8
trashes
Cheers
5
cheers
Next up, is Connor McJesus. wrote:

Well, there goes any chance of you winning the highly sought after the 11 x 14 autographed Rueben Bronte framed photo.....

Was it worth it bud......and trashing his comment, you're now more than likely responsible for shattering his confidence.

Damn it.

Yes, yes it was.

Avatar
#64 SeriousGord
September 10 2013, 07:07AM
Trash it!
8
trashes
Cheers
5
cheers
The Oilers Shot Clock wrote:

Haven't had a season with this many variables and wild cards for as long as I can remember. With so many unknown factors playing a role, it's easy to lean on either end of the spectrum of optimism and pesimism when in all probability, like every thing else, the season will probably fall some where in the middle. Optimistic view: Oilers grab that eight spot. Pessimistic view: They go back to the lottery. My middle ground is an improvement on last year with important and meaningful games played right to the end of the year.

Not making the playoffs this year should be a firing offense.

Avatar
#65 French Toast Mafia
September 10 2013, 10:32AM
Trash it!
14
trashes
Cheers
5
cheers

We are now bashing writers for not spinning everything positively?

I am just as big a Oil fan as anyone but I'm not going to go the Flames fan route and say my favourite team is one player away from hoisting the cup.

This team still has big question marks on left wing, top 2d, and absolutely zero center depth. Because RB sees these holes and thinks the Oil won't make the playoffs he is a Nucks fan or a bad writer? cmon now, what happened to all these knowledgable Oilers fans?

I definitely like the Perron move and bringing in multiple guys on the back end to compete for jobs but I just don't see the Oil having a good enough forward group to compete with Anaheim, San Jose, LA, and Vancouver.

These statements, by the way, don't make me any less of an Oilers fan........

Avatar
#66 RexLibris
September 10 2013, 10:51AM
Trash it!
2
trashes
Cheers
5
cheers

@Robin Brownlee

I'm really curious to see more on Belov's immigration delay issue.

Certainly there was enough lead up time to get papers straightened out, but I know enough to know that I don't know very much about immigration and work visas.

I'm left wondering what factors are at play here in this delay: agent, player dragging his feet, fallout from previous suspensions, KHL paperwork "technicalities", etc.

Avatar
#67 michael
September 09 2013, 08:59PM
Trash it!
3
trashes
Cheers
4
cheers

I agree that Omark moves up during the preseason with RNH out. For me Robin the Oilers are in a position of strength with Hemsky and with Omark( If he performs well).

I like Omark on the left half boards PP passing to Yakupov on the either the right circle or to Justin Shultz on the right point.

Anton Lander has real opportunity to take a job by the throat if he can step up his game. For me Gordon would be a more effective 4th line guy. If.If. There are so many what ifs still with this team that I hope that we'll have at least half of the what ifs answered by the end of training camp.

Avatar
#68 Craig1981
September 09 2013, 09:51PM
Trash it!
3
trashes
Cheers
4
cheers

How long before the many oilers fan who are excited about Gordon, Belov, kelfbom, and joensuu being the next allstars turn on them like they have omark, Smyth, belanger, and grebs. I'm hopeful a couple of them will turn out, but I'm aware Gorden is the only one I remember watching...

Avatar
#69 OilClog
September 09 2013, 09:53PM
Trash it!
7
trashes
Cheers
4
cheers
David S wrote:

We'll have Taylor Hall playing woefully out of position for a month during a hellacious away schedule.

When Nuge gets back he'll still be feeling his way back until at least Christmas.

Ryan Jones and Ryan Smyth (need I say more).

D that "still needs work".

A starting goalie our GM still doesn't have confidence in.

Yes. By all means the Oilers will at the very least challenge for conference title.

*Slap*

Ryan Smyth isn't done, he had a couple coaches that kill horses..

Jones could be gone be end of training camp..

Nuge may be back Oct 1 and they're all screwing with the media.. like it's never happened..

Doobie, if he has confidence in himself and continues to play the way he has.. Goaltending isn't our issue!

I'm not saying conference title.. But 10-11th.. Ridiculous.

And "Good Grief" I thought was the DSF thing.. so it's fun to use.

Avatar
#70 OilClog
September 09 2013, 10:05PM
Trash it!
19
trashes
Cheers
4
cheers
Craig1981 wrote:

You actually think youtube highlights are a good way to judge a players?!?! I got some robbie schremp, and Linus omark clips that clearly show just a highlight reel isn't indicative of a player's nhl quality. I also have some Roman Cervanka stats (omark stats as well) that show khl stats don't translate all the time. I'm not saying he is a bust, but just not a for sure.

Linus Omark has already put up points in the NHL, successfully. And I have watched him many times, left wondering why he was scratched or benched.. when he was at various points.. one of the only players we had that could move the puck in the right FREAKING DIRECTION!! what do you watch exactly? or when Omark has played.. do you shut your mind off and walk into walls until they say a nice quality north american name.. Ryan Jones..

Avatar
#71 Butters
September 09 2013, 10:31PM
Trash it!
7
trashes
Cheers
4
cheers

"I'll also have some of what Woodguy is on." Quick, you're the Shea Weber can be an Oiler guy, sheesh. Same stuff, different pipe ;-)

Avatar
#72 Romulus' Apotheosis
September 10 2013, 09:24AM
Trash it!
1
trashes
Cheers
4
cheers

I think MacT has stacked the left side with players with actual NHL experience in order to force the team to not fall in love with Klefbom out of camp.

MacT has repeatedly said: AHL is good for you. Eat your AHL.

Also, I think Potter and Larson have a better shot here than is indicated to make the roster in the 7 or 8 spot. Both are RD, which the team is short of.

Unless the visa issue drags on well into the camp, I can't see it affecting Belov. But if he's like a month late... yes... for sure he'll have to sit and wait probably.

Any word on why there is an issue. The team has had all summer to sort it out, right?

Avatar
#73 G Money
September 10 2013, 09:30AM
Trash it!
3
trashes
Cheers
4
cheers

Point-counterpoint:

- Can't agree with putting Klefbom ahead of Potter. I know it's fun to hate on Harry, but for the most part he held his own last year as a 3rd pairing guy - he may not have been the solution, but he wasn't the problem either. Klefbom hasn't played a game of N American pro hockey, and his rust was practically littering the ice in the Rookie Tourney.

- Isn't the "Perron is a problem" just a continuation of the "Perron's attitude sucks because he wore white skates to practice" concept. i.e. almost certainly bullcrap? "White skates" has become a meme over at C&B.

- Playoffs? In order for that to happen: Joensuu has be to be a capable 3L (pushing Jones/Smyth down to fourth line where they will also be capable), Lander has to be a capable 4C i.e. can hold his own defensively and even put up a few points now and then, and RNH has to be healthy when he comes back and the Oilers can't lose too many games with him gone. Too much to ask for all that to happen. No playoffs this year.

- Bar sarcasm? The only thing that would make the entire interwebs blog world crash faster than that would be requiring a grammar and/or intelligence test before posting.

Avatar
#74 StHenriOilBomb
September 10 2013, 09:31AM
Trash it!
45
trashes
Cheers
4
cheers

I don't know about the rest of y'all, but I love seeing RB put posters in their place. He may go overboard kicking people off for minor infractions, but he's pretty damn witty and I find it quite funny when he slams posters for idiotic ideas and/or specious information.

Keep it up, RB!

Avatar
#75 DieHard
September 10 2013, 10:47AM
Trash it!
15
trashes
Cheers
4
cheers

I agree with RB. Ending a snide comment with a "good grief" is pushing the envelop. Way too DSFish which just stinks.

Avatar
#76 tileguy
September 10 2013, 12:03PM
Trash it!
2
trashes
Cheers
4
cheers

Was it Charlie Brown who would say "Good Grief"?

Avatar
#77 Craig1981
September 09 2013, 09:51PM
Trash it!
5
trashes
Cheers
3
cheers

How long before the many oilers fan who are excited about Gordon, Belov, kelfbom, and joensuu being the next allstars turn on them like they have omark, Smyth, belanger, and grebs. I'm hopeful a couple of them will turn out, but I'm aware Gorden is the only one I remember watching...

Avatar
#78 striker777
September 10 2013, 12:22AM
Trash it!
2
trashes
Cheers
3
cheers

Klefbom will rightfully start on the farm, with Belov starting the season in Edmonton. Where these 2 players end up in February is up to them. Oilers will finish somewhere between 16-20 this season, if Dubnik has the same or better save%.

I think most people underestimate Ferrence's influence from Player Development stand point. I would pair him up with J.Schultz and watch this kid flourish.

Avatar
#79 The Oilers Shot Clock
September 10 2013, 12:47AM
Trash it!
3
trashes
Cheers
3
cheers

Haven't had a season with this many variables and wild cards for as long as I can remember. With so many unknown factors playing a role, it's easy to lean on either end of the spectrum of optimism and pesimism when in all probability, like every thing else, the season will probably fall some where in the middle. Optimistic view: Oilers grab that eight spot. Pessimistic view: They go back to the lottery. My middle ground is an improvement on last year with important and meaningful games played right to the end of the year.

Avatar
#80 Devolution
September 10 2013, 01:43AM
Trash it!
2
trashes
Cheers
3
cheers
justDOit wrote:

He looks okay here:

https://pbs.twimg.com/media/BKG9d7NCEAA11mW.jpg:large

If he can still look angry with her on him then he is an angry, angry man.

Avatar
#81 tileguy
September 10 2013, 09:11AM
Trash it!
2
trashes
Cheers
3
cheers
Robin Brownlee wrote:

Yes, I recall the item you linked to. Every other skill aside, he brings a dimension the Oilers are short of on the back end -- physicality.

Now, about that paperwork . . .

Nothing a million rubles can't fix, comrade.

Avatar
#83 Spydyr
September 10 2013, 10:18AM
Trash it!
11
trashes
Cheers
3
cheers

My two cents:

The Hall's point total drops a bit this year but he becomes a more complete player.

Nuge has a slow start when he gets back.

Yak scores even more points but struggles without the puck and in his own end.

Smyth starts good but burns out after a couple months.

Gagner still cannot play in his own end.

Dubnyk provides the adequate goaltending his concentration level still falters and the bad goals continue.

Hemsky hates being 3RH but he wants an Olympic spot so he competes.

Eberle has a better year point wise still playing a sound game.

Smid continues along steady Smid.

Ference is named captain and provides leadership. Showing what it takes to win.

Schultz the younger starts great but hits a wall late in the season.

Petry picks it up a bit.

That's not everyone just some main players.

The Oil fight down to the last few games but sadly just miss out on the playoffs.Hope I'm wrong but there are to many holes in the bottom six and no true top pairing on defense,

Avatar
#84 Batfink
September 09 2013, 08:27PM
Trash it!
3
trashes
Cheers
2
cheers

@Robin Brownlee

Do you expect the oilers to at least challenge for a play-off spot before dropping off? Where do you place us? Cellar dwellers again?

Avatar
#85 D
September 09 2013, 08:29PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
2
cheers

RB,

What would need to change on the roster for your definite no to morph into a possible maybe or definite yes?

Avatar
#86 Oilers42
September 09 2013, 08:31PM
Trash it!
15
trashes
Cheers
2
cheers

Instead of hall playing centre I would get Perron to play centre Hall-Gagner-Yak Omark-Perron-Eberle

Avatar
#87 OilClog
September 09 2013, 09:45PM
Trash it!
1
trashes
Cheers
2
cheers
David S wrote:

Is it just me or does Dallas Eakins look perpetually pissed off?

I think this is great, look at what Chicago is sporting for goodness sakes.. Pissed off Coach wins the day, about time a coach has some piss in his step around here.

Avatar
#88 OilClog
September 09 2013, 10:02PM
Trash it!
13
trashes
Cheers
2
cheers
Craig1981 wrote:

You actually think youtube highlights are a good way to judge a players?!?! I got some robbie schremp, and Linus omark clips that clearly show just a highlight reel isn't indicative of a player's nhl quality. I also have some Roman Cervanka stats (omark stats as well) that show khl stats don't translate all the time. I'm not saying he is a bust, but just not a for sure.

Well when his youtube plays cover a very wide selection of different aspects of the game, instead of a couple fancy puck moves.. and the fact that you can watch freaking full games!!

Then lets again forget all the damn glowing gushing media reports about the guy! Jeebus.

Avatar
#89 Hammers
September 10 2013, 12:20AM
Trash it!
6
trashes
Cheers
2
cheers

Sorry but your way off so keep this for reference . On your forwards Brown is out and Lander , Joensuu and Omark make the cut . If he carries 14 add Acton . Re the "D" Belov in & Klefbom to AHL .Potter & Larsen go on injury list . Ference & Petry ,J Schultz & Smid ; N.Schultz & Belov with Grebs the #7 . If there is a chance for a decent return N.Schultz is traded .

Avatar
#90 j
September 10 2013, 08:26AM
Trash it!
3
trashes
Cheers
2
cheers

Every year over the past 7 we have seen the training camp line up and salivated over the 'potential' to succeed. I agree with Brownlee that we aren't quite there yet. I hope we can gel very quickly and we can overcome our deficits (i.e. depth at centre, size on the boards) but just can't quite squint hard enough to see this team getting into the post season. Maybe a move or two early in the season will change the makeup enough but it is impossible to predict. Sometimes the smallest changes can make tremendous impact but usually it is dependent upon having a stable/efficient core. We don't have that just yet.

Avatar
#91 Woodguy
September 10 2013, 11:06AM
Trash it!
2
trashes
Cheers
2
cheers
Gordie Wayne wrote:

I thought I heard Belov was this big as well, but any idea why in the H-E double hockey sticks does the official Oilers website list him as 6'3 185 lbs.?

The article I linked to has him as 6'4" 219lbs

Elite prospects has him at 6'4 216lbs http://www.eliteprospects.com/player.php?player=20523

Hockeydb has him at 6'3" 185lbs

http://www.hockeydb.com/ihdb/stats/pdisplay.php?pid=80671

My guess is Elite prospects has it the closest.

Avatar
#92 Coppperhead
September 10 2013, 01:59PM
Trash it!
3
trashes
Cheers
2
cheers
Jordan Nugent-Hallkins wrote:

I'd love Kadri in Oilers silks but I don't think the Leafs let him go after all the time they put into him.

Is there anyone on the Flames that we could offer sheet?

Avatar
#93 OilClog
September 09 2013, 10:00PM
Trash it!
6
trashes
Cheers
1
cheers
Woodguy wrote:

If Eakins goes with eight defensemen, I expect the first six – stop the presses – to be Andrew Ference, Ladislav Smid, Justin Schultz, Jeff Petry, Nick Schultz and reclamation project Denis Grebeshkov. Oscar Klefbom, given his SEL experience, is the best bet to grab the seventh spot and could push for a spot in the third pairing, platooning with Grebeshkov.

I see two things different on defense.

1) I like Klefbom a lot and think he'll be a good D for the Oilers for a long time (barring injury), but even MacTavish has mentioned that the rookie camp were his first games in a year and that the AHL is an option.

Belov was the highest scoring Dman in the KHL and was also on the Russian WHC team.

Since they brought all the way over from Russia and given his pedigree, I think he makes the team out of camp and would have to play his way off of it.

2) MacTavish hired 3 LHD men this summer in Ferrence, Grebeshkov and Belov (although Belov plays right as well)

Add to this LHD Smid signed to a long term contract and N.Shultz on his last year and I think N.Shultz may be moved sooner rather than later.

Some team will have an injury and need a D, and he's the odd man out.

Also,

I think the Oilers finish 4th or 5th in the Pacific and it might be good enough for the last playoff spot in the West.

Past CHI and STL no one is particularly strong in the Central and both 4th and 5th in the Pacific might be good enough for both wildcards.

ANA will also step back from last year's points/gm. They played out of their heads percentage wise and Big Sexy almost had a career year and now he's gone for over half the season.

I think 8th-11th is a reasonable range for the Oilers.

I also agree with the poster who mentioned Eberle at C might be worth a look.

It makes some sense for Eberle to play C.

Eberle, Yakupov and Hemsky can all play top 6 minutes, whereas there isn't much on the left side past Hall and Perron.

I think Hall would be fine at C, would just like to see more balance on the lines and Hall at C puts it out of whack a bit.

This ^

Avatar
#94 Next up, is Connor McJesus.
September 09 2013, 10:16PM
Trash it!
24
trashes
Cheers
1
cheers

I'll also have some of what Woodguy is on.

C'mon big guy, don't be holding out on us now.

Avatar
#95 justDOit
September 10 2013, 12:28AM
Trash it!
2
trashes
Cheers
1
cheers
David S wrote:

Is it just me or does Dallas Eakins look perpetually pissed off?

He looks okay here:

https://pbs.twimg.com/media/BKG9d7NCEAA11mW.jpg:large

Avatar
#96 CaptainLander
September 10 2013, 08:35AM
Trash it!
2
trashes
Cheers
1
cheers

I think the the D-man that can work well on the powerplay will find himself with a permanent roster spot. I know the Oil ran 4 forwards last year on the first line but there was a lack on the back end from the D on the second line. For my money I quess this as being Grebs and/or Belov. Depending on Schultz "can he play the point on both power play units this season?" I this case I still see Belov as the player on the opposite wing. A couple youtube videos show he has a decent point shot.

PP Hall Nuge Yak EBS Schultz

Perron Gags Smyth Grebs Belov

Avatar
#97 michael
September 10 2013, 08:42AM
Trash it!
5
trashes
Cheers
1
cheers
Serious Gord wrote:

Looking at the roster prediction I wonder if there is another team less physically imposing?

Could be a very long season.

Absolutely. Its my biggest concern. I fear that teams like LA and San Jose will just run the cycle and dominate us down low and just put the skates to us. My concern is that our defence does not have one guy who can handle the bigger players on LA ,Anaheim or San Jose.

If? If Jesse Jonessu can prove to be that guy up front I would be pleased as pinch. But really who will match up against guys like Thornton,Mareau and Getzlaf. Kopitar?

I really think we need to look at a dman with size who can play a defensive role. Not a Justin Shultz/Jeff Petry kind of guy. More of a brick craphouse kinda guy who can punish the opposing teams big men down low on the cycle.

For me MacT's been leaning way to far one way without looking at what we'll need to compete in the Pacific Division. Colburn would have been the guy I would have wanted. He has the size and grit to shut down the cycle and he has the shutzpah to handle guys like Thornton and Marleau.

Hopefully we'll see something give before end of camp.

Avatar
#98 WhattaMike
September 10 2013, 09:09AM
Trash it!
2
trashes
Cheers
1
cheers

Today is the day before the start of main caqmp and yet, there are still some of the pessimistic ones advising there's no hope for the Oilers...

IMO, I believe that the 4th line won't be too bad and over-all, this team will find its way under Eakins faster and a bit better...than under what Krueger tried to do last year.

I can see the following type forwards'line-up starting the reg season (based on no trades or TC injuries):

1st: Hall-RNH-Yakupov. 2nd: Perron-Gagner-Eberle. 3rd: Smyth-Gordon-Hemsky. 4th: Hamilton-Lander-Jones. Extras: Joensuu, Brown. Waived: Eager, Omark.

Note that if RNH misses the 1st month, then I see Omark staying for the 3rd line with Hall trying centre, Hemsky moving up and Yak switching wings on top line. Omark should get a good look too because the kid can score pts but, against him for now.... the Oilers like Jones for his extra PK skills/duties and that he can put up to 18-20 goals per year in a good season...and that Smyth deserves that warrio respect for his years of service.

IMO, the 7 man Oilers' defence will be :

Ference-J.Schultz...Smid-Petry...N.Schultz-Belov....with the extra guy being either Potter or Klefbom. Potter stays if Klefbom goes down to OKC.

Belov is more valuable by being a very good skater, offensive & defensive minded, he is bigger and rugged/loves to hit, etc, and because of this I see Grebeshkov, Larsen, to even Potter being waived/let go.

I believe the biggest issue for defence thru TC - will be whether Klefbom can stay up with the big club and ...who is clearly better of the two: Grebs or Belov. The only way Grebeshkov stays is that maybe N.Schultz is traded. Schultz is a UFA this coming summer and he should be moved soon.

Avatar
#99 Gordie Wayne
September 10 2013, 10:15AM
Trash it!
2
trashes
Cheers
1
cheers
Woodguy wrote:

MacTavish on Belov the day he signed him:

“I expect him to make the team. We’re planning on starting the season with him with us next season.”

6'4" 220lbs hits hard and can score.

Good bet to make the team.

Link to article: http://www.edmontonsun.com/2013/05/30/edmonton-oilers-gm-craid-mactavish-signs-russian-national-team-and-khl-defenceman-anton-belov

I thought I heard Belov was this big as well, but any idea why in the H-E double hockey sticks does the official Oilers website list him as 6'3 185 lbs.?

Avatar
#100 pkam
September 10 2013, 12:32PM
Trash it!
18
trashes
Cheers
1
cheers

With RNH out for at least a month and reading the contract negotiation of Kadri, I wonder if the Oilers should offer sheet Kadri.

I believe Kadri would be an adequate top 6 centre and worth gamble the 1st and 3rd round pick. 7.5M 2 year would put a lot of pressure on the Leafs. At the moment we have 24 players and 1.35M cap space left. We should be able to save at least 2M cap space from cutting 2 players and RNH LTIR will save a little more cap space to make up the 3.75M.

The immediate benefit is this addresses our need in centre when RNH is out. It will also add depth to our weak centre position. We will have 3 very good scoring line when RNH returns.

And we have more option moving forward with 3 top 6 centres. If we choose to trade any one of them away, I believe the return will be more than the 1st and 3rd round pick we give up for him.

What is your thought?

Comments are closed for this article.