July 28 2014 08:41AM
Let's be honest here for a minute... you're at work and you're not doing anything work related. I, for one, salute you slackers and encourage you to do so. With that, here is another rendition of the Monday mailbag. I need questions for next week so if you've got one email me at email@example.com.
***update*** I just added in Suds' answers. Being in Asia with the time difference makes things interesting
Not really, no. It'll take a while to adapt to the North American game and he doesn't even turn 20 until October. If he does get a shot, it's likely going to be because the Oilers' centre depth chart is laughably thin.
I see it as highly unlikely. He's probably physically ready, but you can't overstate the jump from KHL to NHL.
Yes. It's difficult to know about a player from Europe, but Yakimov plays in a good league we know he had dominant shifts in the WJ's. If we can agree (and I believe) the KHL and AHL are similar, Yakimov might show well enough this year as a Baron to get a look in the NHL before April.
I don’t think so. He has to adapt to the North American game which attacts and forechecks much more. He will get his chance in the future, but I’d put him in the AHL and let him stay there all year and get comfortable and gain confidence.
In a perfect world I think a year in the AHL would be ideal for Yakimov. He did play against men in the KHL but that league is not close to the style of play of the NHL. If the Oilers do not bring in another centre and there are injuries or poor play he could get a shot.
It will all depend on how he handles his time in the minors. Having never seen him play I can only imagine he starts there. Being a different game over here it may be an adjustment. He certainly has the size to play this year and I'm intrigued by the future of this player.
I think this is a great idea if only to hear Kevin Quinn absolutely massacre the two names all season. Just think of how many puns Gene will be able to bang out! Yak and Yak will be a wonderful time indeed.
2) Derek Lewis asks - Do you think the Oilers should retire Ryan Smyth's #94? Why or why not?
I'm a big fan of Smyth, but no. I don't like allowing the Hockey Hall of Fame to set the standard for which numbers get retired, but I do think it's an honour that should generally be reserved for HHOF-calibre players.
If there's a wall of honor or some other area in the new building, sure. Convention is it doesn't go to the rafters unless he goes to the HHOF, and he isn't getting in without a ticket.
Yes. He represents the best of the 1995-2009 era. Smyth was part of those late 90s teams and the 2006 SC run. You can't compare him to the Boys on the Bus, but that was a generation ago. Honor these men of this century, and Smyth is the obvious place to start.
They won’t because they have a rule that you need to be in the Hall of Fame to have your jersey retired. I think they will need to amend that in the future, but until they do they should have a wall of honour for guys like Smyth who was a fan favourite and a quality players in his time with the Oilers.
Yes. Since the last cup he is the most beloved Edmonton Oiler player. He earned the honour of putting his jersey up top.
If anyone deserves it in the last 15-20 years as an Oiler it's Smytty. I would not argue against it one bit, but the bar is set so high from all the glory years and I just don't think he's in that group. What he did for the city and community is exactly what this team/city needs. I think he should be honored, but I don't believe it gets retired.
Not only should they retire his jersey, they should forfeit the ad revenue from calling the new arena Rogers Place and rename it the Smytty Dome. They should also replace the Oilers logo, at centre ice, with Smytty's face. Ryan Smyth is, without a doubt, the most beloved player to wear an Oilers jersey since the glory days. A lot of us weren't alive then or are too young to remember. Ryan Smyth is an angel and the Oilers couldn't do enough to honour him.
3) Darryl Randolph asks - How much will having a whole summer to train, and possibly gaining a couple pounds, help Ryan Nugent-Hopkins this season?
Probably a fair bit, and people forget he's still several years away from the prime of his career. We should certainly expect improvement in general terms; the circumstances of the last couple of summers just make a slightly larger step forward possible.
It'll still be two or three years until RNH is physically mature. Every off-season, surgery or not, he has to gain size and strength for the next few years is a plus.
A lot. He's a year older and has a full summer to rest, then begin his preparation. I think Nuge is poised for a big offensive season.
I expect RNH to have a bounce back season. Gaining strength will be a huge benefit for him and he’ll have more experience. Of all the Oilers, I expect RNH to have the biggest improvement over last year.
Huge! I am really hoping we see a big jump in his strength. It will give him a lot of confidence going into a season feeling healthy and strong.
It should help a lot if he couldn't do anything last summer. He's a smaller guy to begin with and a young body build playing versus men. Last summer probably hurt him a lot. Every year he needs to be getting stronger. Feeling good physically entering another season a year older and wiser I would expect him to take another step this season.
The mental image of Lil Nugey lifting his little weights is just adorable. What was the question again?
4) Scott L asks - Is Michael Del Zotto worth a look by the Oilers? Wouldn't the acquisition of Del Zotto free up a young developing defenceman to package up for a 2nd line centre? Appreciate your thoughts.
In my view, no, because there are better UFA defencemen out there. I'm not opposed to the idea of the Oilers swapping a defender for a centre, but if they want to replace that defenceman via free agency I'd be looking at Brett Bellemore or Jamie McBain before I looked at Del Zotto.
Sure. He's coming off a bad season. He's young. He doesn't have an outrageous salary.
The Oilers have so many young options on defense. I haven't seen or looked enough at Del Zotto to say he's a bust, but there are two teams that passed him along now so he's a little bit suspect. I'd rather go with the group of kids currently compiled.
As for trading one of them for a 2line C, I think it'll be Jeff Petry. Only a matter of time.
Not at all. The Oilers don’t need a D-man who can’t play defence. They have Schultz and Nikitin for the PP, so I don’t see a need for Del Zotto.
No. He shouldn't be on the Oilers radar.
They already have a couple young Del Zotto type D-men and there is a reason he's still out there. I'd leave him there.
I would give Del Zotto a chance - what's the worst that could happen? Dude is only 24 so maybe he could figure this thing out.
For me, it's my best Tom Renney impression.
For the others, I picture Robin with a cigar and a shotgun (and/or lacrosse stick), Lowetide with a glass of scotch, an Expos ballcap and a dogeared copy of The Hockey News from 1982, and Gregor in rubber boots hauling a newborn calf out of its mother. Strudwick's statue must include a bag of those salted organic kale chips, and seeing as Sutherby's the overlord here maybe something involving the rest of us as his marionettes. Oh, and Baggedmilk? That's obvious, isn't it: A man carrying the world's worst milk conveying container.
Face-palming while reading the mailbag questions.
Staring at Orr and Gretzky from the crowd!
Chugging a beer. It is the only way to get through some of the comments.
Statue of David with a leaf
Something that shows off my amazing calfs
My statue pose is a no brainer... obviously I'm doing the D-Generation X suck it move. I would also be wearing a camel pack full of rum... and possibly an eye patch. I don't wear an eye patch normally but I think it would look bad ass.
For the others...
Jonathan Willis - This guy is a genius, so I picture him holding a Corsi bible and explaining it to peons like myself.
Robin Brownlee - Hugh Hefner outfit. Enough said
Wanye - Wanye would be wearing an Oodle Noodle box as a helmet and challenging a ram to a duel.
Sutherby and Strudwick would be immortalized in a statue of their fight.
Jason Gregor - His statue would be off himself, laying in a bathtub filled with cash, speaking into a radio mic.
Lowetide - His statue would be of him sitting around the fire telling hockey stories to the youngsters. The kids will listen, and they'll learn something.