Nail Yakupov: Bigger, healthier, happier

Jonathan Willis
September 19 2014 07:00AM

Nail Yakupov

The relationship between 2012 first overall pick Nail Yakupov and Oilers head coach Dallas Eakins is one that’s been much written about. From the outside, we don’t actually know much about the dynamic, but it’s a critical one if Edmonton is to get the most out of the talented sniper who struggled so badly in 2013-14.

Judging from what was said on the first day of training camp, it’s a relationship that has improved greatly with communication and familiarity.

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The Leap of Faith: Ryan Johansen & Jordan Eberle

Jonathan Willis
September 18 2014 10:07AM

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Negotiations between Columbus and star centre Ryan Johansen seem to have imploded rather badly. Blue Jackets’ management is publicly very frustrated, and on Wednesday went so far as to release publicly the three offers they had made to the RFA centre.

It’s an interesting negotiation to watch from an Oilers perspective, because Edmonton has gone a different direction with its young players – and has to make decisions on others in the future.

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Bayesian Training Camp

Jonathan Willis
September 16 2014 03:22PM

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Pretty much without exception, there is always at least one surprise during the lead-up to the NHL season, and generally there are multiple surprises. How much weight should we give a standout performance from an unknown? How worried should we be about a struggling veteran?

Oddly enough, an 18th century Englishman can help us with the answer.

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What Klefbom and Nurse need to do to crack the Oilers’ 2014-15 roster

Jonathan Willis
September 15 2014 07:30AM

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It’s certainly fair to argue about the quality of the top-end guys, but the depth on the Oilers' blue line is unquestionably the best it’s been in some years. The team has six NHL veterans signed to one-way contracts, and Martin Marincin all but inked into a spot on the roster.

Given those numbers, how can two of the team’s most exceptional prospects – Darnell Nurse and Oscar Klefbom – possibly crack the roster? Craig MacTavish was recently asked by TSN’s Bob McKenzie whether those guys had a shot at making the team, and Edmonton’s general manager made it abundantly clear what would need to happen for either of them to be in the opening night roster.

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Jordan Oesterle is turning heads

Jonathan Willis
September 14 2014 01:04PM

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Over two Oilers’ rookie contests I’ve listened to a pair of interviews with general manager Craig MacTavish and one with head coach Dallas Eakins. In each of those interviews, they were asked to name an under-the-radar player who had impressed them favourably in the tournament to-date.

In all three cases, Jordan Oesterle was mentioned in answer.

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