Robin Brownlee
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.

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Jason Gregor
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?

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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. 

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Jason Gregor
December 17 2013 01:00PM


Name  Height  Weight    Name  Height  Weight 
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
Name  Height  Weight    Name  Height  Weight 
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.***

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The Face of the Franchise?

Jonathan Willis
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.

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