Monday Musings: Centre Options

Jason Gregor
August 29 2016 01:15PM

Screen Shot 2016-08-29 at 1.12.03 PM

A two-week break has me refreshed and fired up for the next two sporting months. September and October are wonderful if you are a sports fan. The CFL season heats up, baseball races to the playoffs, while the NFL, NHL and NBA get going. It's freaking awesome.

This year, the World Cup will wet the appetite of hockey fans earlier than usual and NHL training camps are a mere 25 days away. There are still many unsigned UFAs, and NHL teams will announce late signings and/or PTOs in the coming weeks.

Much of the off-season focus has been on the Oilers' right defence, and I expect Peter Chiarelli to add another RD before training camp, but I also expect they will bring in a centre on a tryout contract as well.

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Monday Musings: Are NCAA free agents overrated?

Jason Gregor
August 15 2016 01:09PM

"NCAA free agents have become the most overrated and over-hyped asset in hockey," an NHL scout said to me at the 2016 draft over breakfast.

"I'm not saying they aren't good players, but teams treat them like they are going to be stars. They get into bidding wars and pay them like they are top-three draft picks. It's crazy," he said.

Jimmy Vesey is officially a free agent tomorrow and many teams want to sign the 23-year-old. He went undrafted in 2011, and then the Predators selected him 66th overall in 2012. He has spent the past four seasons honing his skills with Harvard, but he elected not to sign with the Predators. They traded his rights to the Buffalo Sabres on June 20th for the 76th overall pick in the 2016 draft.

The Sabres have yet to sign him, and starting at 10 p.m MDT tonight the Maple Leafs, Rangers, Devils, Blackhawks and Bruins (the rumoured teams with the best chance so sign him) will be able to "officially" talk to him about a contract.

How good is he, and is he worth the courtship?

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Questions on coaching, PTOs and Gretzky to Red Wings

Jason Gregor
August 11 2016 10:09AM

I love the Olympics. Watching young Penny Oleksiak and the swimming team has been fantastic and a welcome reprieve from another long NHL off-season in Edmonton. I'm looking forward to track and field starting Friday, as well as the playoff rounds in soccer, basketball and Oleksiak going for gold in the 100m freestyle. Yesterday the powerful 16-year-old was 0.01 seconds behind Cate Campbell, who set the Olympic record in their semi-final race. Oleksiak has a legit shot at her fourth medal of the games tonight at 8:18 MDT. She is must-watch TV.

Here are some Oilers thoughts regarding coaching, PTOs and story from Wayne Gretzky that could have significantly altered the NHL landscape to hope pass the time until you watch Oleksiak, and hopefully some other Canadians, reach the podium later today.

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Home sweet home

Jason Gregor
August 09 2016 02:00PM

RogersPlace

In 65 days the Edmonton Oilers will play their first game in their new arena. The place will be magnificent, and while you will enjoy the comfortable new seats, spacious concourses, new food and the utterly massive scoreboard, the players will have to focus on ensuring they rack up some wins in their new home, and the schedule maker has put extra pressure on the Oilers to win at home in October.

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Was Gretzky good, average or bad at drafting?

Jason Gregor
August 05 2016 08:43AM

LookingBack

What should we consider a success when looking at a five-year span of NHL drafts? If a team lands one superstar and a few solid players is that good? Do you need to have one solid player from each year? I think we will all have different views of success, and after a conversation on twitter with Jonathan Willis I wanted to look at all 30 teams draft success between 2007-2011.

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