GDB 67.0: What Is Left To Play For?

Jonathan Willis
March 13 2014 12:17PM

57-Perron-9

It’s pretty easy to dismiss Thursday’s Oilers/Blues game as a meaningless affair, but the truth is that there’s still some point to the games being played – if not at the team level, than at least at the individual one.

Expected Lines

  • Taylor Hall – Sam Gagner – David Perron
  • Nail Yakupov – Ryan Nugent-Hopkins – Jordan Eberle
  • Matt Hendricks – Boyd Gordon – Jesse Joensuu
  • Luke Gazdic – Ryan Smyth – Ryan Jones
  • Martin Marincin – Jeff Petry
  • Mark Fraser – Justin Schultz
  • Oscar Klefbom – Andrew Ference
  • Ben Scrivens

Why It Should Matter

89-Gagner-5

The top line has at least two players for whom this game is important. For Sam Gagner, he’s at a crossroads in his career. He’s likely to be dealt in the off-season, and he can both increase his appeal to a contender and increase Edmonton’s likely trade return if he finishes the year strongly. He has seven points in his last five games and doubtless would like his recent run of effectiveness to continue. At right wing, there’s no question that David Perron would like to show well against his old team.

Joensuu, Jesse 2

A good game or a bad game isn’t likely to impact a bunch of the players in the middle of the lineup, but at the outer edges there are a few players who need to play well down the stretch. Jesse Joensuu is under contract for another season, but should certainly be seen as playing for a spot on next year’s team, as his contract is small enough to bury. Ryans Jones and Smyth are pending unrestricted free agents, and either could find himself outside the NHL next season.

5-Fraser-2

Defence is where things really matter. Three different players continue to fight for a spot next season. Mark Fraser is a pending unrestricted free agent and a fringe NHL’er; he has a shot at a depth job in Edmonton next year and needs to play well. Martin Marincin and Oscar Klefbom, meanwhile, need to show quickly that they belong; both guys have a bit of time but the fact is that players like Darnell Nurse and perhaps Aaron Ekblad are on the way – there are only so many jobs available for young guys and getting a leg up on the competition is massively important for both players.

30-Scrivens-3

Finally, Ben Scrivens looks likely to get first run at Edmonton’s starting job next year, but he’s hardly immoveable in that position. Every strong game is another data point in his favour, another reason for Dallas Eakins to stick with him long-term.

Predictions

GAME DAY PREDICTION: 3-0 St. Louis. These teams are at different ends of the NHL spectrum. 

OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Perron plays well, yet again, but he's one of the few Oilers with jump against arguably the NHL's best team. 

NOT-SO-OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Fraser continues to show fairly well on a pairing with Schultz.

RECENTLY BY JONATHAN WILLIS

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Jonathan Willis is a freelance writer. He currently works for Oilers Nation, Sportsnet, the Edmonton Journal and Bleacher Report. He's co-written three books and worked for myriad websites, including Grantland, ESPN, The Score, and Hockey Prospectus. He was previously the founder and managing editor of Copper & Blue.
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#151 **
March 13 2014, 09:08PM
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After this game, they got nothing left to play with.

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#152 **
March 13 2014, 09:09PM
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@@Oilanderp

I heard that, that's how much they don't give a $hit about the Oilers.

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#153 Anton CP
March 13 2014, 09:10PM
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MapleLeafer wrote:

Still grinding in the gutter I see, lol. I remember trolling on here a few years back when we hired Burke and all I heard here was dynasty this and dynasty that. Hahaha. And now the Flames have Burke and you'll still be toiling in your own filth while your southern neighbors are building a real team. Oiler domination to follow..... HAHAHAHA

Let me know when Leafs are in Conference Semi-Finals again. I heard that fans in Toronto throw a nice parade for making it that far.

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#154 Rod from Viking
March 13 2014, 09:15PM
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Anton CP wrote:

Let me know when Leafs are in Conference Semi-Finals again. I heard that fans in Toronto throw a nice parade for making it that far.

They are going to have to quit that yearly special night at the ACC for that team, not many of them still alive.

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#155 Gk1980
March 13 2014, 09:16PM
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Boys are showing heart, ref had missed a ton if calls. BS Reffing. This team might actually be coming together. Maybe...

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#156 Spydyr
March 13 2014, 09:22PM
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bazmagoo wrote:

God I hate our power play, two straight 2 on 1's on the PK for the Blues. Pathetic.

37 goals this season on the PP, 11 short handed goals against. Sad.

The only thing indefensible about the power play is the power play itself.

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#157 dougtheslug
March 13 2014, 09:26PM
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bazmagoo wrote:

God I hate our power play, two straight 2 on 1's on the PK for the Blues. Pathetic.

37 goals this season on the PP, 11 short handed goals against. Sad.

I remember when the Oilers scored 36 SHORTHANDED goals in the 83-84 season. Good thing Eakins removed any trace of those teams from the dressing room. Wouldn't want the Oilers to be reminded of what a real hockey team looked like

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#158 Anton CP
March 13 2014, 09:29PM
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dougtheslug wrote:

I remember when the Oilers scored 36 SHORTHANDED goals in the 83-84 season. Good thing Eakins removed any trace of those teams from the dressing room. Wouldn't want the Oilers to be reminded of what a real hockey team looked like

Like, Toronto Marlies?lol

I believe that Eakins is trying to build a winning AHL team in NHL.

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#159 Rod from Viking
March 13 2014, 09:32PM
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dougtheslug wrote:

I remember when the Oilers scored 36 SHORTHANDED goals in the 83-84 season. Good thing Eakins removed any trace of those teams from the dressing room. Wouldn't want the Oilers to be reminded of what a real hockey team looked like

Boy that was a great time, the NHL canned the 4on4 because the Oil were plus 50 on it.

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#160 Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty)
March 13 2014, 09:32PM
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MapleLeafer wrote:

Still grinding in the gutter I see, lol. I remember trolling on here a few years back when we hired Burke and all I heard here was dynasty this and dynasty that. Hahaha. And now the Flames have Burke and you'll still be toiling in your own filth while your southern neighbors are building a real team. Oiler domination to follow..... HAHAHAHA

Were you even alive in 1967?

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#161 dougtheslug
March 13 2014, 09:37PM
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Rod from Viking wrote:

Boy that was a great time, the NHL canned the 4on4 because the Oil were plus 50 on it.

And today, the NHL changes the rules about lottery picks, because the Oilers are 3 for 4. Nice to know the Oil are still having an impact on the rulebook. Sigh.

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#162 kale
March 13 2014, 09:39PM
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Where is serious gord these days, I miss his point of view

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#163 dougtheslug
March 13 2014, 09:43PM
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On a side note, I read in the paper today where Eskimo QB Mike Reilly added 25 pounds (twenty-five!!) of muscle over the off season. Either he is rockin' some pretty serious PEDs, or RNH, Marincin, and few others better get the name of that trainer and nutritionist, pronto.

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#164 Oiler Al
March 13 2014, 09:48PM
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Anton CP wrote:

Like, Toronto Marlies?lol

I believe that Eakins is trying to build a winning AHL team in NHL.

Why not, it makes sense, half the Oiler players are AHL level players..

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#165 Rod from Viking
March 13 2014, 09:48PM
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dougtheslug wrote:

On a side note, I read in the paper today where Eskimo QB Mike Reilly added 25 pounds (twenty-five!!) of muscle over the off season. Either he is rockin' some pretty serious PEDs, or RNH, Marincin, and few others better get the name of that trainer and nutritionist, pronto.

I think he actually was at that weight before or close but lost it to get faster, didn't like the results, hell I could put on 25lbs on a 10 day cruise, better rate of daily gain than a 4H calf.

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#166 hockey fan 1976
March 13 2014, 09:52PM
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if you want to have a good laugh and see again another reason why this team sucks so bad..watch Eakins post game interview..what a clown!! "we were right with them, we could have gotten at least 1 point and thought maybe even two..we can compete with these guys"

Are you serious? you high Dickens? St. Louis simply woke up and said enough is enough and played the heavy-game they play night in and night out...just thank your lucky stars they only played this style for 20 minutes or the score might have been 10-2. IDIOT!!!

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#167 G-Unit
March 13 2014, 09:54PM
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I love the blame the fans mentality that this cities media fuels and so many idiots on this site believe in. The fans demanded that we make the playoffs for years, so management complied by chasing b-level stars to make the playoffs. BS. I am an oiler fan since 79 and have never traded a player, signed a free-agent or ran anyone out of town. Time to own this mess Klowe and let someone else kick this can for a while. It is embarrassing to be an oiler fan. Hopefully the day will come where the team name deserves a capital letter again

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#168 dougtheslug
March 13 2014, 10:00PM
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Rod from Viking wrote:

I think he actually was at that weight before or close but lost it to get faster, didn't like the results, hell I could put on 25lbs on a 10 day cruise, better rate of daily gain than a 4H calf.

I said 25 lbs of muscle! Heck, only 25 on a 10 day cruise? Spending too much time at the salad bar.

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#169 kale
March 13 2014, 10:06PM
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G-Unit wrote:

I love the blame the fans mentality that this cities media fuels and so many idiots on this site believe in. The fans demanded that we make the playoffs for years, so management complied by chasing b-level stars to make the playoffs. BS. I am an oiler fan since 79 and have never traded a player, signed a free-agent or ran anyone out of town. Time to own this mess Klowe and let someone else kick this can for a while. It is embarrassing to be an oiler fan. Hopefully the day will come where the team name deserves a capital letter again

agree...extremely embarassing...the oilers management should go up to the draft floor with rexall bags over their heads

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#170 Reg Dunlop
March 13 2014, 10:08PM
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Oiler Al wrote:

Why not, it makes sense, half the Oiler players are AHL level players..

Why do you feel the need to insult AHL players?

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#171 hockey fan 1976
March 13 2014, 10:19PM
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Reg Dunlop wrote:

Why do you feel the need to insult AHL players?

Exactly..last time I checked the Oklahoma City has a chance to make the playoffs hahahah. Good on you Arco, you'll get to play some meaningful games in April, get your value even higher and go to a real NHL Team in the offseason.

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#172 G-Unit
March 13 2014, 10:32PM
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kale wrote:

agree...extremely embarassing...the oilers management should go up to the draft floor with rexall bags over their heads

Paper or plastic?

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#173 bazmagoo
March 14 2014, 12:47AM
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@hockey fan 1976

Eakins seriously irritates me, I can't watch his interviews without my blood pressure rising. Guess I shouldn't be surprised that the con-man who conned the con-men in the seats above him takes no responsibility in any way, shape or form for the teams performance. Better roster than last year, worse results - nuff said.

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#174 Ed in Edmotnon
March 14 2014, 08:45AM
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kale wrote:

Where is serious gord these days, I miss his point of view

Fire Lowe, MacT, Howson and Eakins.

Does that make you feel better?

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#175 Evilas
March 14 2014, 08:46AM
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Shifty203 wrote:

@ Willis

Your title really amuses me today. Based on what I've seen in the game so far, not one player on this team seems to know the definition of the word Pride. Can't actually say that there is one player on the team that seems to be interested in playing tonight.

Suckiest bunch of sucks that ever sucked.

#29 vs #1, hmmmmm what did you expect to see? They surprisingly hung in there for more than 40 minutes.

We know what they are, but playing the Blues exposes their weaknesses in 3D IMAX.

They have a long way to go, play-off team they are not, the Blues are poised to win the Cup this year.

That being said we saw who are the fighters are on this team, the players who will be an important part in moving this team out of the basement.

This team could have used Lander and Arco tonight in place of Jones and Gagner…….

Fraser should be waived

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#176 Oiler Al
March 14 2014, 09:11AM
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Reg Dunlop wrote:

Why do you feel the need to insult AHL players?

Sorry, stand corrected should haved said ECHL, instead.

But having said that, you saying that Fraser, Gadzic, Joensus, Larsen, Jones, are NHL players.

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