May 22 2013 06:24PM

It took absolutely forever for the Edmonton Oilers to embrace Mother Russia at the draft, and we're still wondering if it's a short term detente. Last season, the Oil plucked brilliant winger Nail Yakupov #1 overall, and incredibly, may have an opportunity to draft another elite talent from the same part of the world this summer.

In historic terms, two Russians drafted by the Oilers in the first round? in successive seasons? Impossible. And yet, it could happen a month from now.

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Jason Gregor
May 22 2013 12:18PM

From June 15th to the 30th NHL teams have a chance to rid themselves of their bad financial decisions; also know as the buyout period. This year the buyout period should be more active with the introduction of two potential compliance buyouts per team.

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Valeri Nichushkin just did the Edmonton Oilers a big favour

Jonathan Willis
May 22 2013 11:02AM

The x-factor at the top end of the draft this year was, without question, the status of Russian prospect Valeri Nichushkin. Playing in the KHL and under contract for time to come, there were significant red flags for any NHL team interested in picking a guy who most rate with the top four (Seth Jones, Nathan MacKinnon, Jonathan Drouin and Aleksander Barkov) in terms of talent.

Nichushkin made it easier for everybody today by telling a Russian newspaper he’s leaving the KHL for the NHL next year, and further that his team, Moscow Dynamo, was willing to release him from his contract. In so doing, he also made the draft much more interesting for the Edmonton Oilers.

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Robin Brownlee
May 21 2013 09:08PM

When I started with the Edmonton Journal back in 1989, columnist Cam Cole would fill days that didn't provide him with enough meat to churn out a full rant or rave with a bit he called "Items that might grow up to be columns, Volume XVI" etc.

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Jason Gregor
May 21 2013 01:42PM

There has been lots of speculation lately on the health of Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. The 2011 first overall pick had surgery on April 23rd to repair a torn labrum, and recently I've noticed some suggesting he will be out for a significant portion of next season.

Rather than speculate, I decided to put in a call to his agent Rick Valette to get an update on RNH's shoulder.

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