December 18 2013 09:03PM
Taylor Hall played his 200th NHL game for the Edmonton Oilers in a 3-0 loss to the Los Angeles Kings at the Staples Center Wednesday. In many ways, the milepost was a microcosm of his tenure since the Oilers made him the first overall pick in the 2010 Entry Draft.
Hall, 22, roared up and down the ice like a freight train coming off the rails most shifts, driving the attack on many of them, getting little accomplished on others. Hall pumped seven shots on goal. He busted to the net on a partial breakaway down the left wing, went to the backhand, fumbled the puck and crashed into the corner boards.
December 18 2013 11:37AM
This is what the Oilers blueline and depth chart looked like at the start of the season. It looks even worse now with the trade of Ladislav Smid, but it is obvious that the Oilers D corps will look significantly different at the start of next season. Nick Schultz, Corey Potter, Anton Belov and Denis Grebeshkov are unrestricted free agents, and Belov is the only one they might re-sign.
Jeff Petry, Justin Schultz, Taylor Fedun and Philip Larsen are restricted free agents. The first three will likely be re-signed, while Larsen should be let go.
How will Craig MacTavish re-build his blueline, and who should he be looking to sign?
December 17 2013 05:19PM
If we can agree that it takes 5 years to properly evaluate a draft (and sometimes—especially with college men—it can take longer), then rage over the 2010+ entry drafts for Edmonton is probably misplaced. If we look back to 2009, 2008 and 2007, what do we see? Is there a culprit? Yes. More than one, actually.
December 17 2013 01:00PM
|Jeff Carter||6' 4"||212||Jesse Joensuu||6' 4"||210|
|Dwight King||6' 4"||230||Luke Gazdic||6' 3"||240|
|Anze Kopitar||6' 3"||224||Ryan Smyth||6' 2"||191|
|Jordan Nolan||6' 3"||221||Taylor Hall||6' 1"||201|
|Kyle Clifford||6' 2"||211||Ryan Jones||6' 1"||208|
|Trevor Lewis||6' 1"||198||Ryan Nugent-Hopkins||6' 1"||180|
|Jarret Stoll||6' 1"||213||Boyd Gordon||6' 0"||202|
|Tyler Toffoli||6' 1"||196||Ales Hemsky||6' 0"||185|
|Justin Williams||6' 1"||189||David Perron||6' 0"||198|
|Dustin Brown||6' 0"||207||Mark Arcobello||5' 8"||166|
|Daniel Carcillo||6' 0"||200||Jordan Eberle||5' 11"||180|
|Matt Frattin||6' 0"||205||Sam Gagner||5' 11"||202|
|Mike Richards||5' 11"||196||Nail Yakupov||5' 11"||186|
|Matt Greene||6' 3"||234||Anton Belov||6' 4"||218|
|Willie Mitchell||6' 3"||210||Jeff Petry||6' 3"||195|
|Jake Muzzin||6' 3"||214||Corey Potter||6' 3"||203|
|Robyn Regehr||6' 3"||222||Justin Schultz||6' 2"||188|
|Drew Doughty||6' 1"||213||Nick Schultz||6' 1"||203|
|Alec Martinez||6' 1"||209||Philip Larsen||6' 0"||182|
|Slava Voynov||6' 0"||194||Andrew Ference||5' 11"||187|
When you compare the two rosters it is easy to see where the Oilers fall short. They aren't as experienced as the Kings, and they severely lack the size and overall heaviness of the Kings. Dustin Brown is one of the smaller Kings forwards in stature, but he plays big, and he's one of the best hitters in the game. Same as Mike Richards.
The Kings have a lot of size, but even their "smaller" players play a physical style. The Oilers can't match the Kings' size or abrasiveness, so they need to play a fast-paced, up tempo style to try and defeat the Kings.
**Also for those who keep suggesting the Oilers are an average team in size because one article listed them at an average of 203 pounds. Don't believe everything you read. Add up the numbers above. The Oilers average weight is 196.2 pounds, while the Kings are 209.9. That is an average difference of almost 15 pounds a player. Stop suggesting the Oilers aren't small. They are, and not only are they small, very few of them play big. That isn't a knock, that is just who they are and management will need to adjust the roster accordingly moving forward. The Oilers blueline isn't heavy enough and collectively they lack the aggression needed to shut down a good team.***
December 17 2013 08:44AM
This summer, the clear consensus in Edmonton seemed to be that Taylor Hall was the most important part of the team’s long-term core. The year before, Jordan Eberle’s 34-goal, 76-point season likely would have won him that honour.
But if we held a poll today I’m guessing that Ryan Nugent-Hopkins would be the name on the lips of most.