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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The Coke Machine Prospect Group

Jonathan Willis
September 13 2014 11:20AM

Yakimov, Bogdan

Rookie games are dicey things to take impressions away from. The usual problem of sample size is there, plus the fact that the talent level of the tournament is pretty low relative even to exhibition games. The players are coming in after long and varied summers and often have very limited knowledge of their teammates. Coaches haven’t had time to get system buy-in. The format tends to favour prospects who are older and from what I’ve seen smaller guys have an easier time of the tourney than they do in the pro game.

With all that said, it’s a time where some individuals stand out, and where general trends can be seen. On Friday night in Penticton, the general trend with the Oilers was that the forward group was the one the team has been looking for forever: big, reasonably talented and aggressive.

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