March 09 2012 07:25AM
Oscar Klefbom had a strong World Junior tournament and played another season in the pro Swedish Elite League. Klefbom even scored a couple of goals right at season's end to eclipse last year's boxcars. Now, the young man--regarded as the top blueline prospect in the Oilers system--will have to hurdle many, many older kids hoping for the same thing: a pro contract this summer.
March 08 2012 12:28PM
It’s not a game with meaning in a good way, but it is a meaningful game all the same. The Edmonton Oilers and Montreal Canadiens will face off tonight in a battle of the second-worst: a regulation win for the Oilers would move them out of 29th and into a tie for 28th, and with a game in hand on the Canadiens too.
March 07 2012 08:39PM
Big Matt Greene headlines a solid group of rookies that made their NHL debuts with the Oilers in the 5-year period after the lockout. Greene and a few others no longer play for the Oilers, but several are still productive NHLers.
THE ROOKIES 05-06
The spring of 2006 was a wonderful time to be an Oiler fan. The lockout cluster that included so many value contracts from the old era (Hemsky, Horcoff, Stoll, Bergeron, Pisani, Torres) gave Edmonton an exceptional opportunity and the club rode it all the way to G7 SCF. Rookies didn't contribute a lot, but there were some fine young guns in the group.
- Matt Greene 27, 0-2-2
- Kyle Brodziak 10, 0-0-0
The Oilers brought up two youngsters for their rookie season in 05-06, and both have gone on to solid careers. Greene is a tough, physical defender but was sent away (with Jarret Stoll) in the blockbuster Lubo deal; Brodziak was flushed for picks and he too found a home in another city.
THE ROOKIES 06-07
This was a watershed season for rookies. The first rebuild began with the trading of Chris Pronger and the offloading of all those trade deadline pickups spring 2006.
- Patrick Thoresen 68, 4-12-16
- Marc Pouliot 46, 4-7-11
- Ladislav Smid 77, 3-7-10
- Brad Winchester 59, 4-5-9
- Zack Stortini 29, 1-0-1
- Danny Syvret 16, 0-1-1
- JF Jacques 37, 0-0-0
- Bryan Young 15, 0-0-0
- Alexei Mikhnov 2, 0-0-0
- Sebastian Bisaillon 2, 0-0-0
Well, they sure had a lot of them in 06-07! JF Jacques was noteworthy for playing 37 games and not getting a point. Patrick Thoresen impressed many but didn't have an NHL career in him, and it looks the same for Marc Pouliot and others. The best rookie from this season is Laddy Smid, a fine NHL defenseman who is key to the Oilers rebuild. All of them.
THE ROOKIES 07-08
This is the season when the first rebuild saw full bloom. A lottery pick, a graduating college center and a young defenseman with a nice range of skills made their debut.
- Sam Gagner 79, 13-36-49
- Andrew Cogliano 82, 18-27-45
- Tom Gilbert 82, 13-20-33
- Curtis Glencross 26, 9-4-13
- Mathieu Roy 13, 0-1-1
A strong rookie crop here, probably the best in the 5 year period we're looking at right now. Gagner is now at the 350 game mark and along with Smid looks like the best candidate from the group to have the longest NHL career. Cogliano is a speed burner and should have a long career as well.
Tom Gilbert was payment for a spent Tommy Salo and showed extremely well as a rookie. Edmonton acquired Curtis Glencross during the season and he impressed everyone, including the Calgary Flames. Oiler fans will no doubt be watching him for years.
THE ROOKIES 08-09
After the two seasons that basically emptied the cupboard there wasn't much left for the Oilers to elevate to the NHL level in 08-09. The season did involve a lot of former first round selections trying to establish themselves with the team.
- Liam Reddox 46, 5-7-12
- Theo Peckham 15, 0-0-0
Peckham's NHL career has had some fits and starts, but he's approaching 150 NHL games and outlasted a lot of higher picks on his way to the best league in the world.
THE ROOKIES 09-10
This was the season in which the wheels fell off, injuries were the order of the day and the Oilers began the "fall for Hall" and the second rebuild.
- Jeff Deslauriers 48, 3.26 .901
- Ryan Stone 27, 0-6-6
- Taylor Chorney 42, 0-3-3
Oilers didn't get a lot done rookie-wise in this season, although the club did play JDD enough to make a decision on him. Like 05-06, this season was the calm before the storm.
WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?
The Oilers had some nice things during this 5 year period, but the depth the club badly needs today was dealt away early. Men like Matt Greene, Kyle Brodziak and now Tom Gilbert would be important pieces in the puzzle as the club looks forward to a winning season and playoff run un 2012-13.
NO REALLY, WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?
The best Oilers of this 5-year period:
- GOAL: Jeff Deslauriers
- DEFENSE: Tom Gilbert, Ladislav Smid, Matt Greene, Theo Peckham
- CENTER: Sam Gagner, Andrew Cogliano, Marc Pouliot
- LEFT WING: Curtis Glencross, Patrick Thoresen, Liam Reddox
- RIGHT WING: Kyle Brodziak, Brad Winchester, Zack Stortini
This group has three nice defensemen and some useful items up front in Gagner, Glencross, Brodziak and Cogliano. The group has questionable "star" power--there's no Hemsky, Smyth or Arnott in the group (unless Gagner emerges). How does this group's depth--especially on defense--compare to the others in the group?
- GOAL: Jussi Markkanen, Ty Conklin
- DEFENSE: MA Bergeron, Alexei Semenov
- CENTER: Mike Comrie, Shawn Horcoff, Jarret Stoll
- LEFT WING: Jason Chimera, Dan Lacouture
- RIGHT WING: Ales Hemsky, Fernando Pisani
- GOAL: Joacquin Gage
- DEFENSE: Dan McGillis, Greg DeVries, Tom Poti, Sean Brown
- CENTER: Todd Marchant, Rem Murray, Mats Lindgren
- LEFT WING: Ryan Smyth
- RIGHT WING: Miro Satan, Mike Grier, Georges Laraque
- GOAL: Fred Braithwaite
- DEFENSE:Boris Mironov, Geoff Smith
- CENTER:Jason Arnott, Shaun Van Allen
- LEFT WING: Martin Gelinas, Dean McAmmond, Shjon Podein
- RIGHT WING: Josef Beranek, Steven Rice, Kirk Maltby
- DEFENSE: Steve Smith, Craig Muni, Jeff Beukeboom, Chris Joseph
- LEFT WING: Esa Tikkanen, Raimo Summanen
- RIGHT WING: Kelly Bucherger
- GOAL: Grant Fuhr, Andy Moog
- DEFENSE: Paul Coffey, Kevin Lowe, Charlie Huddy, Randy Gregg, Risto Siltanen
- CENTER: Wayne Gretzky, Mark Messier, Pat Conacher
- LEFT WING: Jaroslav Pouzar, Dave Hunter, Dave Semenko
- RIGHT WING: Jari Kurri, Glenn Anderson, Dave Lumley
There are two seasons (or there will be) from the next 5-year window and I'll have a look at the group after this NHL season is over.
The current cluster is a monster. Seriously.
March 07 2012 01:49PM
Edmonton Oilers coach Tom Renney has a long resume that still includes a notation as holder of the all-time best winning percentage in the CHL, a .714 clip he compiled with the Kamloops Blazers on the way to two WHL titles and a Memorial Cup. Renney is smart. He's driven. He's honest.
March 07 2012 11:01AM
While virtually every club around espouses “best player available” as their draft strategy, there’s no doubt that the Oilers pay attention to the position played by the guys they’re drafting. If there was any doubt of that, the last episode of Oil Change should have removed it.