THE YAKUPOV SELECTION

Lowetide
January 13 2014 01:53PM

 

The Edmonton Oilers selection of Nail Yakupov No. 1 overall in the 2012 NHL Entry draft remains a story 18 months later. For one reason or another, the Yak City pick hasn't settled in like the Hall and Nuge drafts. The story got a little publicity this morning, and one wonders if we'll be dealing with it for years. 

OCTOBER 2013—CONFIRMED

Bob McKenzie confirmed a well known Edmonton rumor in October, tweeting out that the "majority of Edmonton scouts wanted Murray, and the decision to take Yakupov came from a higher authority. 

The story came up this morning when I was on the air at TSN 1260, and I wanted to mention it today. The push from media came courtesy Eric Duhatschek

  • Lots of people in Edmonton believe that owner Darryl Katz had some significant input into the decision to draft Nail Yakupov first overall in 2012 rather than opt for the safer choice, defenceman Ryan Murray, who would have filled a greater organizational need. With every passing day, that decision looks more and more suspect. Murray was limited to 23 games with the Everett Silvertips last year because of major knee surgery, but even as an NHL rookie, has looked good on the Columbus defence, playing a lot with James Wisniewski and providing the defensive presence on that pair. What if Murray turns out to be Alex Pietrangelo good – and they left him on the table to draft another offensive player, of which they had plenty already? How do you assess blame there? Or maybe they already have, since the GM that called Yakupov’s name, Steve Tambellini, is no longer running the show.

WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?

I find the conversation surprising. Although there's no doubt Nail Yakupov has struggled this season, Mr. Duhatschek's story is the first time "blame" has been mentioned. Presumptive? Certainly, but it's out there now, and should Nail Yakupov not deliver on promise, the scouting staff would appear to be free and clear. 

I'd still bet on Yakupov. All day. 

In a period where Oilers owner Daryl Katz is taking some heat for his team's won-loss record, perhaps fans need to be reminded that (reportedly) his draft day decisions are very likely to deliver. It remains very risky to take defensemen at #1 overall, and 45 NHL games don't change that at all. 

C2a6955161684b5e3189319acfa5ebe4
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 Team 1260.
Avatar
#1 Tikkanese
January 13 2014, 02:02PM
Trash it!
8
trashes
Cheers
94
cheers

Sure Murray would have addressed an organizational need better but I'm confident that Yakupov will be by far the best of that draft class in years to come. Drafting defense and goalies for that matter 1st overall rarely works out.

Avatar
#2 JDP
January 13 2014, 02:02PM
Trash it!
7
trashes
Cheers
25
cheers

If you believe that "BOB" knows everything.

Avatar
#3 Ricky's Jalapeno Chips
January 13 2014, 02:05PM
Trash it!
37
trashes
Cheers
16
cheers

I supported picking Yakupov at the time, but can't help but wonder how trading down and taking Griffin Reinhart would have have worked out.

Avatar
#4 BC BOY
January 13 2014, 02:05PM
Trash it!
7
trashes
Cheers
94
cheers

But I could see Nurse being better then Murray so I'm still happy with the Yakupov selection

Avatar
#5 D
January 13 2014, 02:05PM
Trash it!
9
trashes
Cheers
76
cheers

I was and continue to be ecstatic that the Oilers drafted Yakupov.

Avatar
#6 Micbilly99
January 13 2014, 02:08PM
Trash it!
11
trashes
Cheers
120
cheers

Stop blaming everyone for picking the kid, start teaching the talented kid how to play in the NHL. It's called COACHING, and it's high time someone starts doing it.

Avatar
#7 HOFFFF
January 13 2014, 02:10PM
Trash it!
8
trashes
Cheers
65
cheers

.....and what if Murray's knee failed again or in the future. Why is this even being discussed? Hindsight Heroes. Yak will be great.

Avatar
#8 T__Bone88
January 13 2014, 02:10PM
Trash it!
6
trashes
Cheers
32
cheers

Deciding that the Oilers should taken Murray based upon how Yakupov and the team is playing today is very short sighted. Sure Murray has looked good this year but a lot of rookies played good in their rookie year only to slump the next year and play average the years after. There is a lot of should of/could of, but the Oilers took the best player as of draft day and within a few years Yakupov will become an elite player. I am sure that the Oilers will draft Ekblad this draft who will become the franchise defenseman they need.

Avatar
#9 Zarny
January 13 2014, 02:11PM
Trash it!
2
trashes
Cheers
86
cheers

I would have been fine with the Oilers drafting either Yakupov, Galchenyuk or Murray.

It's not like Murray would be making a world of difference for the Oilers this year. He's not even as good as Petry yet.

And Yakupov can always be traded for a D that is as good as Murray only 5 years further developed.

Players are simply assets which is why you typically take the best player available.

Avatar
#10 Oilbaron
January 13 2014, 02:12PM
Trash it!
5
trashes
Cheers
52
cheers

Murray would have looked great as an Oiler, but I suspect when all is said and done Yakupov will look even better

Avatar
#11 Slanto
January 13 2014, 02:12PM
Trash it!
9
trashes
Cheers
57
cheers

Two words...... YAK CITY

That is all.

Avatar
#12 Zarny
January 13 2014, 02:14PM
Trash it!
14
trashes
Cheers
20
cheers
T__Bone88 wrote:

Deciding that the Oilers should taken Murray based upon how Yakupov and the team is playing today is very short sighted. Sure Murray has looked good this year but a lot of rookies played good in their rookie year only to slump the next year and play average the years after. There is a lot of should of/could of, but the Oilers took the best player as of draft day and within a few years Yakupov will become an elite player. I am sure that the Oilers will draft Ekblad this draft who will become the franchise defenseman they need.

The Oilers likely won't get a chance to draft Ekblad I'm afraid.

Ekblad is going 1st or 2nd overall. The Oilers will leapfrog the Flames and possibly a couple of other teams over the rest of the season so it's more likely they pick 3-7th unless they win the lottery.

Avatar
#13 G-Unit
January 13 2014, 02:16PM
Trash it!
7
trashes
Cheers
19
cheers
JDP wrote:

If you believe that "BOB" knows everything.

Many media types cover up their conjecture by using unnamed sources. I find it highly unlikely that anyone within in a professional organization would tip their hands to the media, pointing a finger at their boss. I don't necessarily doubt the opinion of Bob, but I think he "knows" the validity no more than most people. If it came from the other Bob in town I would never doubt the sources. He keeps telling us how plugged in he is, so it must be so.

With 8 hours of Oiler talk on the radio everyday they need content for the airwaves. Whether it is fan discontent with (insert player name here) or trade rumors. Their call-in shows are full of clowns with stupid trade ideas and they paint us all with that brush.

How many players have you and I run out of town? zero. We get blamed with running (insert names here) out of town, but I have never had the pull to chase Comrie, Brewer, Arnott, etc from Edmonton.

If I had that kind of sway old Rubber Boots would have had a can tied to his ass after bungling the Pronger trade so badly.

Avatar
#14 He Who Knows
January 13 2014, 02:25PM
Trash it!
12
trashes
Cheers
13
cheers

I like Yak and believe that his ceiling is quite high, but I would have liked to see the Oilers trade that pick down to #3 with Montreal. The Oilers would have gotten a player and Galchenyuk, who would have been the perfect fit. The Oilers probably thought the injury that Alex sustained in junior was too big of a risk. I guess the jury will be out on this for awhile. #Lowemustgo

Avatar
#15 Frankie
January 13 2014, 02:26PM
Trash it!
67
trashes
Cheers
14
cheers

Murray DID NOT have a knee injury he had shoulder surgery, just like Taylor Hall and RNH. And he WILL be the better player.

Avatar
#16 Oiler Al
January 13 2014, 02:35PM
Trash it!
16
trashes
Cheers
15
cheers

Someone on the coaching staff needs to teach this kid how to play positional hockey. He is totally lost out there, particularly without the puck. Even with the puck he is terrible, in that he isnt using other players on the ice, and trys to be a one man show. Maybe watching Hall to much.

Avatar
#17 book¡e
January 13 2014, 02:37PM
Trash it!
3
trashes
Cheers
15
cheers

That quote about "the majority of scouts" is not as informative as some people make it out to be.

Who cares what the rank and file want. Those guys just can't accept that they advise the head scout, who advises the GM, who gets to make the decision unless the President or Owner have a strong opinion.

Some regional scout thought that it was a democracy and ended up spouting the pick to a reporter and was shocked when his superiors disagreed.

Its good info, but its simply a look into how organizations function.

Avatar
#18 Taylor Gang
January 13 2014, 02:37PM
Trash it!
8
trashes
Cheers
44
cheers
Zarny wrote:

The Oilers likely won't get a chance to draft Ekblad I'm afraid.

Ekblad is going 1st or 2nd overall. The Oilers will leapfrog the Flames and possibly a couple of other teams over the rest of the season so it's more likely they pick 3-7th unless they win the lottery.

I wouldn't hold your breath on Edmonton leap frogging teams...

Avatar
#19 bazmagoo
January 13 2014, 02:40PM
Trash it!
8
trashes
Cheers
31
cheers

Yak will prove everyone wrong!

Avatar
#20 reaperfunkss (2nd tier fan)
January 13 2014, 02:41PM
Trash it!
4
trashes
Cheers
21
cheers

I don`t think the point here is actually Murray v Yakupov. It is more of Who is making the important decisions on this club.

Did the Oilers need D Help? Yes

Did they need another medium to smallish forward who can score ? No

Is Yak gonna be better or worse than Murray? Time will tell but there is no mistaking that Yak has some serious skills. Just needs to be developed.

The question here is did katz make the pick? His team, so he can do what he wants obviously. However, letting a non hockey owner make hockey decisions is a bad way to run a club. ( I can see 6rings thinking its a good idea though)

Owners rarely make good decisions on personel. See the Cowboys or the Raiders (Al was actually a great GM until he got old and the game evolved). Redskins are horrendous. Yankees were pretty bad until Steinbrenner stopped putting his hand in all the player decisions. Anyone recall Ballard? He made the Leafs and Ticats bad so he scored a double.

I believe Murray would have been a better fit for the needs but I recognize Yaks talent and it is way to early to say what the better call is. Just get someone with Hockey intelligence to make the call is what the fans would like to see.

Avatar
#21 Taylor Gang
January 13 2014, 02:41PM
Trash it!
9
trashes
Cheers
13
cheers

As much as I love Yak, you can't help but wonder why the scouts liked Murray more.

I mean, between Hall and Seguin, Hall is clearly the superior player.

Nugent-Hopkins doesn't really have anyone in his draft class that is on his level.

They were bang on with these choices, so I wonder why Yakupov wasn't the popular choice amongst the scouts

Avatar
#22 Wintoon
January 13 2014, 02:43PM
Trash it!
4
trashes
Cheers
62
cheers

I cannot believe the amount of backbiting hysteria that is creeping onto these sites. Are we really second guessing draft picks less than 1 season into an NHL career. Get a grip people.

Avatar
#23 sizzay
January 13 2014, 02:46PM
Trash it!
1
trashes
Cheers
54
cheers

Yakupov was #1 on all lists. He had great offensive numbers and a game breaking shot.

I don't know why people think Murray was the safe pick. Defensemen are hard to predict and there is historical evidence showing that.

Galchenyuk would've been a risky pick as well. He played 3 games in his draft year. 3 games. We knew Yakupov could score without Galchenyuk, we didn't have evidence of Gally scoring without Yakupov until AFTER the draft.

Yakupov put up excellent offensive numbers in his 2 years in the OHL. The only issue is his use and adjustment to the pro game. He shows flashes of brilliance, I'd be worried if there were no flashes.

Avatar
#24 S cottV
January 13 2014, 02:48PM
Trash it!
34
trashes
Cheers
8
cheers

Taking another small skill winger - who is quirky with no idea how to really play the game, was the wrong move.

If the story is true, at least the hockey people knew it.

Geez - maybe it was Katz's son, hanging around the room - that convinced dad to put his foot down.

Avatar
#25 Impartial Oilers Fan
January 13 2014, 03:01PM
Trash it!
23
trashes
Cheers
22
cheers

@Lowetide

I don't understand why fans and bloggers like Lowetide or mc79hockey defend Yakupov and go out of their way to pump his tires.

I find it troubling when even the Russian Olympic team didn't take Yakupov, yet they took apparently inferior KHL players (I guess based on experience), but they also took Valeri Nichushkin (18 years old, so there goes the experience theory). Plus, they can't have any anti Russian bias like great YakCity fan clubs says is the only thing critics have against him.

So if the Russian team and Eakins are seeing the same deficiencies in his game, why is it that fans and bloggers don't give any credence to the theory that maybe, just maybe, he's not as good as hoped? I believe that's a fair question and look forward to the responses that are logical, not just the ones that scream YakCity and say he can shoot a puck real hard.

Avatar
#26 Everyday I'm Byfuglien
January 13 2014, 03:03PM
Trash it!
7
trashes
Cheers
24
cheers

I'd take Yakupov every single time. The fact that he's already opened the door to Russian players like Yakimov and Slepyshev is valuable in itself.

Avatar
#27 tileguy
January 13 2014, 03:04PM
Trash it!
9
trashes
Cheers
9
cheers

Ottawa looking to trade youth for veteran.

21-year-old defenseman Fredrik Claesson(6' 200lbs), who’s drawing rave reviews this season and a pick for Hemsky.

Avatar
#28 oilcountryforlife
January 13 2014, 03:07PM
Trash it!
1
trashes
Cheers
14
cheers

@Micbilly99

Agreed...not going to happen however with subpar assistant coaches like Acton, Buchberger, and Smith...three products of Lowe idiocy.

Avatar
#29 Micbilly99
January 13 2014, 03:09PM
Trash it!
9
trashes
Cheers
3
cheers

@Everyday I'm Byfuglien

Like these two will ever see the NHL. When Yakupov was or was not take is not relevant.

Avatar
#30 RexHolez
January 13 2014, 03:11PM
Trash it!
2
trashes
Cheers
8
cheers

Haven't read the article or any comments. My initial reactions to the title of the article:

He has just recently played a full season in the NHL. He's 20 years old, playing his off wing and led his team in scoring his first 48 games. I will now read....

Avatar
#31 Walter Sobchak
January 13 2014, 03:12PM
Trash it!
1
trashes
Cheers
19
cheers

Yakupov, I tend to think it gives MSM something to write about, and for the most part people become short sighted and fail to see the bigger picture, we’ve seen this before with players like Spezza, Bobby Ryan and even to some extent Duchene.

Its clear Yakupov had trouble adjusting to Eakins style & Eakins handling of Yakupov at times has been questionable but give the kid a couple years before we really judge a 20 year old kid.

Avatar
#32 sizzay
January 13 2014, 03:14PM
Trash it!
4
trashes
Cheers
15
cheers
Impartial Oilers Fan wrote:

@Lowetide

I don't understand why fans and bloggers like Lowetide or mc79hockey defend Yakupov and go out of their way to pump his tires.

I find it troubling when even the Russian Olympic team didn't take Yakupov, yet they took apparently inferior KHL players (I guess based on experience), but they also took Valeri Nichushkin (18 years old, so there goes the experience theory). Plus, they can't have any anti Russian bias like great YakCity fan clubs says is the only thing critics have against him.

So if the Russian team and Eakins are seeing the same deficiencies in his game, why is it that fans and bloggers don't give any credence to the theory that maybe, just maybe, he's not as good as hoped? I believe that's a fair question and look forward to the responses that are logical, not just the ones that scream YakCity and say he can shoot a puck real hard.

While you make good points, I also want to point out that it isn't fair to pile on the kid for all of his defensive deficiencies.

When you have TSN pointing out every single one of his mistakes and none of his good attributes I think it is fair for our bloggers to defend the kid.

Example: Ray Ferraro couldn't even compliment Yakupov on a nice assist that led directly to a goal. He goes "He should've passed it sooner". This wasn't last TSN game, but earlier in the year. If he let the puck go sooner, no goal would've happen.

Avatar
#33 RexHolez
January 13 2014, 03:14PM
Trash it!
6
trashes
Cheers
5
cheers

If Katz made the decision to pick Yack..... Congrats!! You bought and pay the bills and picking yak was the right decision!! How's Murray doing anyways??? Better Katz making the decisions than Lowe!

Avatar
#34 -30-
January 13 2014, 03:19PM
Trash it!
2
trashes
Cheers
14
cheers

Listening to Ed Olczyk who has an outsiders impartial perspective, he couldn't sing enough praises for Yakupov.

Give the guy a chance. Not many players get their groove right away.

Too many posters on here jump on and off the bandwagon the same way they change their underwear.

Loved one game and hated the next.

-30-

Avatar
#35 Lawndemon
January 13 2014, 03:24PM
Trash it!
8
trashes
Cheers
13
cheers

Should I be upset with the fact that the Oiler brass were debating between Yakupov and Murray when Galchenyuk was the best option from a "need" perspective? How good would he look playing 2C right now?

Avatar
#36 michael
January 13 2014, 03:27PM
Trash it!
4
trashes
Cheers
5
cheers
Zarny wrote:

The Oilers likely won't get a chance to draft Ekblad I'm afraid.

Ekblad is going 1st or 2nd overall. The Oilers will leapfrog the Flames and possibly a couple of other teams over the rest of the season so it's more likely they pick 3-7th unless they win the lottery.

Exactly my thought. Flames lost Cammy to concusion. Can't score into an ocean. The Jets are in freefall. The Predators refuse to have an offence. The Leafs are lost in the wild. Carlyle will be done in time for the Olympic break. The Panthers may be showing some piss but that is short term. The Oilers will likely finish 25th or 24th.Leon Draistl or the Ritchie kid are more likely to be drafted. BIG and Skilled

Avatar
#37 Bryzarro World
January 13 2014, 03:34PM
Trash it!
6
trashes
Cheers
13
cheers

I wanted Galchenyuk...

Avatar
#38 Zarny
January 13 2014, 03:40PM
Trash it!
2
trashes
Cheers
5
cheers
Taylor Gang wrote:

I wouldn't hold your breath on Edmonton leap frogging teams...

Their first 20 games means they won't likely leapfrog many but they will finish ahead of Calgary and Buffalo for sure and they probably only have to be a few games above 0.500 the rest of the way to catch Florida, NYI and Winnipeg.

Even if they draft 3rd Ekblad is off the board.

Avatar
#39 Lochenzo
January 13 2014, 03:42PM
Trash it!
1
trashes
Cheers
10
cheers

The only player I may have taken over Yakupov was Galchenyuk because he's a tall centre. We just didn't know enough about him because of all the time he missed with his knee injury.

Avatar
#40 Zarny
January 13 2014, 03:43PM
Trash it!
2
trashes
Cheers
6
cheers
Taylor Gang wrote:

As much as I love Yak, you can't help but wonder why the scouts liked Murray more.

I mean, between Hall and Seguin, Hall is clearly the superior player.

Nugent-Hopkins doesn't really have anyone in his draft class that is on his level.

They were bang on with these choices, so I wonder why Yakupov wasn't the popular choice amongst the scouts

It's possible the scouts saw more upside in Murray; but I suspect the scouts liked Murray more simply because he was a position of need.

Avatar
#41 Ryan2
January 13 2014, 03:45PM
Trash it!
1
trashes
Cheers
16
cheers

The only player the Oilers should have strongly looked at taking ahead of Yak that year is Galchenyuk. If he had not been injured and missed a good chunk of that season they likely would have. I would have taken him instead as you can never have enough top two centermen.

Murray is like going to be a #3 d-man in the end that is good at a lot of things but not great. While every team needs players like that, drafting a #3 d-man first overall is a whiff. In the end Murray will likely not be the best d-man in his class either (in fact, Lindholm is oupacing him now).

Yak or Galchenyuk were the only two players to consider at #1 overall that year.

Avatar
#42 Ryan2
January 13 2014, 03:45PM
Trash it!
3
trashes
Cheers
1
cheers

The only player the Oilers should have strongly looked at taking ahead of Yak that year is Galchenyuk. If he had not been injured and missed a good chunk of that season they likely would have. I would have taken him instead as you can never have enough top two centermen.

Murray is like going to be a #3 d-man in the end that is good at a lot of things but not great. While every team needs players like that, drafting a #3 d-man first overall is a whiff. In the end Murray will likely not be the best d-man in his class either (in fact, Lindholm is oupacing him now).

Yak or Galchenyuk were the only two players to consider at #1 overall that year.

Avatar
#43 A-Mc
January 13 2014, 03:49PM
Trash it!
2
trashes
Cheers
5
cheers

Ugh, the only thing worse than sucking as much as the Oilers have this season.. is to somehow also miss out on guys like Ekblad and S. Reinhart.

I'll be so disappointed if we dont land the #2 pick.

Avatar
#44 A-Mc
January 13 2014, 03:52PM
Trash it!
3
trashes
Cheers
4
cheers
Ryan2 wrote:

The only player the Oilers should have strongly looked at taking ahead of Yak that year is Galchenyuk. If he had not been injured and missed a good chunk of that season they likely would have. I would have taken him instead as you can never have enough top two centermen.

Murray is like going to be a #3 d-man in the end that is good at a lot of things but not great. While every team needs players like that, drafting a #3 d-man first overall is a whiff. In the end Murray will likely not be the best d-man in his class either (in fact, Lindholm is oupacing him now).

Yak or Galchenyuk were the only two players to consider at #1 overall that year.

I'd take #2/3 Dman at #1. For this club, it's exactly what we need. Free agency hasn't been nice.

Infact if the Oilers somehow get 1st over all this year, I'd be pissed if they didn't take Ekblad

Avatar
#45 OilClog
January 13 2014, 03:56PM
Trash it!
3
trashes
Cheers
3
cheers

Who would ever take anyone but Yakupov 1st overall. Absolute madness. Anyone that would of took Murray 1st is now on the opposite list in management. Anything they suggest, opposite!!!

Murray is playing with a partner in Columbus that Edmonton has no comparables to provide. Nurse is better then Murray, let alone Yakupov.

If next year Yakupov is still struggling then I'll start to worry. This is his real first season in the NHL. Watch his game from here until the end of the season resemble more like last years ending.

Avatar
#46 rickithebear
January 13 2014, 03:58PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
18
cheers

Last 10 years: 19-20 year old Goals per game rates. 1. Ovechkin .64

5. Hall .39

6. Skinner .31

7. P. Kane .28; Radulov .28; t. Ruuto .28; Yakupov .28

12. Benn .27

14. Eberle .26; Landeskog .26

16. Kessel .21

18. Perron.20

Yeah yakupov needs to learn a more linear game. and back checking can be taught. Goal scoring not so much!

Avatar
#47 Fresh Mess
January 13 2014, 03:59PM
Trash it!
32
trashes
Cheers
5
cheers

I don't find the conversation surprising at all.

The Oilers made another colossal blunder in taking Fail. Murray clearly would have been the better choice. Some of us advocated trading that pick. Now they have added another coach killer who will be an ongoing problem.

Edmonton Oilers daycare. Spaces available.

Avatar
#48 S cottV
January 13 2014, 04:01PM
Trash it!
16
trashes
Cheers
3
cheers

We have to eventually surpass teams like Anaheim, Los Angelas, San Jose and Vancouver for a playoff spot.

The only way we do it - is if guys like Yak were playing on those teams....

Avatar
#49 Fresh Mess
January 13 2014, 04:04PM
Trash it!
32
trashes
Cheers
6
cheers
Taylor Gang wrote:

As much as I love Yak, you can't help but wonder why the scouts liked Murray more.

I mean, between Hall and Seguin, Hall is clearly the superior player.

Nugent-Hopkins doesn't really have anyone in his draft class that is on his level.

They were bang on with these choices, so I wonder why Yakupov wasn't the popular choice amongst the scouts

because he's a cancer.

Avatar
#50 pkam
January 13 2014, 04:09PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
9
cheers
Zarny wrote:

Their first 20 games means they won't likely leapfrog many but they will finish ahead of Calgary and Buffalo for sure and they probably only have to be a few games above 0.500 the rest of the way to catch Florida, NYI and Winnipeg.

Even if they draft 3rd Ekblad is off the board.

Seth Jones never ranked below 2nd but was drafted 4th last year. Ebklad is ranked 3rd today by central scouts in mid term ranking. Just saying.

I agree the Calgary will finish last. But I am not so certain that we can finish ahead of Sabres.

Sabres last 10 games was 600 (5-3-2). They are just 4 pts behind the Oilers and have 4 games in hand. The majority of their remaining 38 games will be against weaker Eastern Conference teams. And majority of the remaining 34 Oilers games are against the big strong Western Conference teams. If it is a playoff series between the Oilers and the Sabres, I'll put all my money on the Oilers. But I am not as certain that the Oilers will finish ahead of them. I think it will be a dog fight between the 2.

And Panthers are 6 pts ahead of us and 3 games in hand facing mostly the weaker Eastern Conference. It will be a tall task to catch up to them.

To catch up to the Jets and Preds, we have to play 500 and they play 350 or worse for the rest of the year. Not impossible, but very unlikely.

Comments are closed for this article.