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.
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#51 Ivan Drago
September 10 2013, 08:56AM
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David S wrote:

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

*puts finger in mouth*

That better not be sarcasm I'm detecting lol

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#53 Batfink
September 09 2013, 08:27PM
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@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?

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#54 Citizen David
September 09 2013, 08:34PM
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Jamie B. wrote:

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

All we need is Joensuu and one of the new defencemen ex. Belov to play above expectations and the roster looks pretty good. Of course all we need is an injury to Hall or Nuge to miss a lengthy amount of time and the roster looks bad.

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#55 michael
September 09 2013, 08:59PM
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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.

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#56 Craig1981
September 09 2013, 09:40PM
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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.

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#57 OilClog
September 09 2013, 09:41PM
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Craig1981 wrote:

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.

Actually in person.. Zero.. On youtube.. plenty. Stat sheets in the KHL for last season.. Lots.. All of the gleaming overseas media reports about him being the "Best" in the KHL.. Lets ignore all of this evidence.

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#58 Craig1981
September 09 2013, 09:51PM
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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...

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#59 Racki
September 09 2013, 10:06PM
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At what point did we time warp back 30 years and start using the expression "good grief" again? I'm pretty sure DSF is 65 years old, so it's acceptable in his case.

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#60 Jordan Nugent-Hallkins
September 09 2013, 11:57PM
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I understand booting NewAgeSys, the guy was a windbag. But I've seen people get away with posting a lot worse than this OilClog fella.

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#61 The Oilers Shot Clock
September 10 2013, 12:47AM
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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.

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#62 Ivan Drago
September 10 2013, 07:18AM
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Jordan Nugent-Hallkins wrote:

I understand booting NewAgeSys, the guy was a windbag. But I've seen people get away with posting a lot worse than this OilClog fella.

I don't understand the problem with his comments either. Seems everytime Robin writes an article, later in the comments he's threatening to ban someone.

I don't notice that with Gregor, Lowetide, or Willis articles. Posters disagree with their opinions, and they always get a classy response, stating their case. Robin gets huffy and bans ppl. Not very professional imo.

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#63 j
September 10 2013, 08:26AM
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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.

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#64 G Money
September 10 2013, 09:30AM
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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.

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#65 Dan 1919
September 10 2013, 09:46AM
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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.

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#66 Dan 1919
September 10 2013, 10:58AM
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My favourite over-hype of this offseason is how big and invincible Ana, SJ, and Van are. They Oilers team is pretty much hovering around 6' in the front.

That's plenty enough size to compete with these teams if the Oilers can gel their game (speed, possession, and skill). Useable size is always a great thing, but it's certainly not as big of a concern as it's being made out to be.

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#67 Rama Lama
September 10 2013, 01:01PM
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I think for the most part your assessment is bang on! I do wonder if Ryan Hamilton may be a better forward option for Eakins than maybe Josseneu and Brown?

He is bigger and more skilled than either one......as far as I can tell? I'm not sure how tough he is?

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#68 Coppperhead
September 10 2013, 01:59PM
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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?

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#69 freelancer
September 09 2013, 08:12PM
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I'm not huge on him myself Robin, but do you see any scenario in which Omark cracks the lineup opening night?

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#70 Jamie B.
September 09 2013, 08:29PM
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Nuge's face in that picture is about how I feel about the roster: eh.

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#71 Citizen David
September 09 2013, 08:30PM
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I'm to young for the Oilers glory days so I grew up loving Smyth and placing most of my hopes in him. The guy was a legend, the player that symbolized the best the Oilers had going for them. Funny thing is people actually seem to forget that he was actually a really good player. A 39 goal season and a 36 goal season. ten 50+point seasons.

I say all this to try to avoid all the hate that's going to come my way when I say last season and the second half of 2011-2012 make me believe he's done. I think he can be a good fourth liner. But if he's taking time away from Omark or he's a boat anchor on Eb's line or Yak's line it's wrong. Great Oiler, but he's past his time.

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#72 Citizen David
September 09 2013, 08:38PM
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Oilers42 wrote:

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

If Omark's good enough I like those lines. I always liked Omark though. I thought he did more good than bad and was never given actual good situations to flourish. He's a tough little bugger to knock off the puck and very crafty. Remember when he stepped on the puck on the corner and skated it away from two players? Great passes too. If he can commit to better Defense and less turnovers that line would be great.

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#73 Racki
September 09 2013, 08:43PM
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I'll predict a return to form for Hemsky. Can't possibly do any worse than last season, and he's got some better talent to play with now, most likely... unless he gets stuck with Jones or Joensuu or something. I assume he'll play with Gordon centering him, at worst, and he might have a more capable guy on the left wing than he had last year when he was struggling.

I'm not really a big fan of his, but I'm all for making the most of what we've got.. so as long as he's in the lineup, I'd love to see him do really well and regain the excitement fans used to have for him.

Very interested to see how Hall does at center, and who he will play with.

Can we find someone to marry Belov before camp starts?

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#74 Citizen David
September 09 2013, 08:48PM
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The most promising thing about the Oilers is Dallas Eakins. The reason that the Red wings stay so good no matter how many times people predict them to die is because Mike Babcock understands that the number one priority in a game is possession. You need to have possession of the puck. It sounds like Eakins is a disciple of this truth and if so this will have great affect on our performance.

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#75 David S
September 09 2013, 09:41PM
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Is it just me or does Dallas Eakins look perpetually pissed off?

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#76 Woodguy
September 09 2013, 09:46PM
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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.

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#77 Craig1981
September 09 2013, 09:57PM
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OilClog wrote:

Actually in person.. Zero.. On youtube.. plenty. Stat sheets in the KHL for last season.. Lots.. All of the gleaming overseas media reports about him being the "Best" in the KHL.. Lets ignore all of this evidence.

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.

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#78 Bucknuck
September 09 2013, 11:13PM
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I don't see Klefbom making the team out of camp, I put Grebeskhov, Belov and Potter ahead of him on the chart right now. I think they send him to the AHL to prime his game, then when the inevitable injury happens he will get a look.

I hope that they try Hall for a few games, but if it doesn't work that they just call up Arcobello for second line duty. I daydream that Hall will be amazing at centre, but I suspect he's more a winger.

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#79 striker777
September 10 2013, 12:22AM
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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.

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#80 justDOit
September 10 2013, 12:28AM
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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

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#81 Devolution
September 10 2013, 01:43AM
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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.

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#82 Oilerz4life
September 10 2013, 02:25AM
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Bit of a soap opera today on Oilersnation.

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#83 Woodguy
September 10 2013, 08:00AM
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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

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#84 CaptainLander
September 10 2013, 08:35AM
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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

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#85 WhattaMike
September 10 2013, 09:09AM
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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.

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#86 tileguy
September 10 2013, 09:11AM
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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.

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#87 TigerUnderGlass
September 10 2013, 09:25AM
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@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.

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#88 Gordie Wayne
September 10 2013, 10:15AM
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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.?

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#89 RexLibris
September 10 2013, 10:51AM
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@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.

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#90 Woodguy
September 10 2013, 11:06AM
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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.

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#91 Serious Gord
September 10 2013, 11:26AM
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Dan 1919 wrote:

My favourite over-hype of this offseason is how big and invincible Ana, SJ, and Van are. They Oilers team is pretty much hovering around 6' in the front.

That's plenty enough size to compete with these teams if the Oilers can gel their game (speed, possession, and skill). Useable size is always a great thing, but it's certainly not as big of a concern as it's being made out to be.

its not the size of the dog...

and the oil is very much the underdog physically.

maybe eakins conditioning demands will alleviate some of the teams weakness in this regard, but it likely wont eliminate it and i wonder if a side effect could be burn out late in the season.

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#92 tileguy
September 10 2013, 12:03PM
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Was it Charlie Brown who would say "Good Grief"?

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#93 Jordan Nugent-Hallkins
September 10 2013, 02:14PM
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@Coppperhead

I'd offer sheet just about anyone on the Flames just to see Burkie's pudgy little face turn beet red while he sputtered away on Sportsnet.

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#94 Citizen David
September 09 2013, 08:17PM
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I'm expecting Belov to be very good. Wouldn't be surprised if he's a top four d man by the end of the season.

Hall is a left winger, Gagner is a center, and Yakupov is a right winger. I'm looking forward to seeing if Eakins will understand this. I'm ok with temporary fixes if Nuge is out for a short term for Hall to play center but if Yak is playing left I'll have a meltdown.

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#95 OilClog
September 09 2013, 09:45PM
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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.

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#96 tom.MTL
September 10 2013, 05:56AM
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Klefbom ahead of Belov? You're dreaming in Technicolour, Brownlee. The kid needs some seasoning in OKC before throwing him into the deep end. Guess you didn't catch the Rookie Tournament...

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#97 Woodguy
September 10 2013, 06:58AM
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Next up, is Connor McJesus. wrote:

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

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

What did I write that indicated I was on glue?

The 8th-11th prediction is Western Conference standings, not overall.

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#98 Romulus' Apotheosis
September 10 2013, 09:24AM
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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?

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#99 916oiler
September 10 2013, 12:28PM
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Not sure how you have Grebs above Belov. Sure Mac T LOVES Grebs, but he's also the reason Belov is coming over and it's no secret who has been better recently. The visa issues are going to hurt Belov, true. However, Grebs is going to need to have a magical transformation to slot above the “…best defenseman in the KHL last year…”.

Also, after that rookie tourney how do you have Klefbom anywhere but OKC to start the season? Seriously?? Ya he hasn’t played in a long time, but that’s just it – he hasn’t played in a LONG time. Let him work out the kinks in his game where it won’t hurt the Oilers! When he proves himself, trade N. Shultz and bring him on up!

With RNH on the shelf for at least a decent chunk of games, I’d speculate Omark could pencil in at 2L LW with Perron up top. It’s going to be tricky with Omark and waivers, as far as if he gets returned to OKC sooner or later. I’m personally rooting for him – undeniable skill, sounds like he’s going to listen to the coaches this time around. If he sucks, throw him to the dogs. What’s not to like?

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#100 RexLibris
September 10 2013, 01:38PM
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Spydyr wrote:

This is just a guess nothing more. I bet his immigration delay is fixed by main camp. Perhaps something to do with not wanting to go through rookie camp. Again 100% conjecture.

Could be. I just find it baffling that in the modern international sports business, and given a lead time of approximately two and half months, that this wasn't sorted out earlier.

And if you don't want to go through rookie camp, just say so. Don't screw around with immigration papers on the grounds that you don't want to bag-skate with the newbies. That kind of prioritization is on par with putting your shoes on before your pants in the morning.

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