How Barry Fraser and the Edmonton Oilers’ scouting staff did their part to end a dynasty

Jonathan Willis
October 05 2012 07:17AM

It is commonly accepted that Barry Fraser and the Oilers’ scouting staff did tremendous work early in the team’s NHL existence, laying the foundation for the dynasty years.

It is also commonly accepted that during the mid-1990’s, the same group undermined the team, squandering a host of early picks and ultimately failing to produce an adequate supply of young talent for the team.

Less well known is this: that the poor work of that scouting staff during the dynasty years helped bring an end to the powerhouse Oilers.

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Nail Yakupov 3, St. Petersburg SKA 2

Jonathan Willis
October 04 2012 10:13AM

On Wedensday, Nail Yakupov and an underpowered Neftekhimik Nizhekamsk team took on a star-studded St. Petersburg roster that includes 13 players with NHL experience (including ex-Oilers Patrick Thoresen, Denis Grebshkov and Alexei Semenov) as well as star prospect Vladimir Tarasenko.

Neftekhimik won 3-2 in the shootout. Nail Yakupov scored both regulation goals, and tallied twice more in the shootout (including scoring the game winner). After the jump, my impression of his first game back in the KHL after an IIHF-enforced suspension.

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Will Ryan Nugent-Hopkins always be bad at faceoffs?

Jonathan Willis
October 03 2012 10:11AM

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins was the league’s worst face-off man last season, and it wasn’t particularly close. Of the league’s 120 most-used centers, Nugent-Hopkins was ranked 120th, with a 37.5 percent success rate (the only player on the list that lost more than 60 percent of his draws).

Is he always going to be a bad faceoff man, or is there hope for improvement?

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Annual article extolling the virtues of Patrick Thoresen

Jonathan Willis
October 02 2012 06:22AM

With the NHL locked out, the mantle of “world’s best hockey league” falls to the 26-team Kontinental Hockey League. That league’s second leading scorer is one-time Edmonton Oilers forward Patrick Thoresen.

Which makes it time for my annual piece wondering why he isn’t in the NHL.

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The Best of the Nation – 9.30.12

Jonathan Willis
September 30 2012 10:42AM

Photo: davidgsteadman/Wikimedia/CC BY-SA 2.0

Looking at a Roberto Luongo trade, the advantages for an NHL team that operates it's own junior club, the craziness that awaits any NHL'er heading to Sweden for the lockout, Dan Cloutier's return to the NHL, and more after the jump.

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