April 17 2011 09:39AM
Learning to play defense in the NHL must be a difficult process. It's certainly difficult to watch. In the 2000's, the Edmonton Oilers cut off their collective noses to spite their face: no AHL team (or a shared one) in order to save a dollar or two meant those valuable years between 20-23 were a dead zone for defensemen. With the new attention to detail throughout the organization, the OKC Barons are an important stop for future NHL defensemen. Well. How's it going so far?
April 16 2011 08:25AM
This week saw all kinds of news breaking around the 2011 Entry Draft. New Jersey won the lottery (Lou must have found the Crossroads shortly after Robert Johnson, buddy's had a horseshoe implanted since the 80's) and the Edmonton Oilers won too. The town team will select first overall. Or will they?
April 15 2011 05:03PM
Last year the hot topic was Taylor or Tyler, and in the end it didn't become much of a debate amongst the Oiler brass, and after one NHL season it seems clear the Oilers made the right selection calling Hall instead of Seguin. Seguin will still likely turn out to be a very good player, I just don't see him being as dynamic as Hall. This year the debate isn't as much about individual players, but more about their position. Do you take a centre/forward like, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Gabriel Landeskog, Sean Couturier or Jonathon Huberdeau or do you opt for a defenceman like Adam Larsson.
From where I sit, it seems clear they should take a forward.
April 15 2011 12:07PM
Ryan Whitney is a very good offensive defenseman. He was taken with a lottery pick in the 2002 NHL Draft precisely because he married strong offensive ability to a 6’4” frame, and he’s shown time and again that he is well above average in the NHL at recording points from the blue line.
During his early years in Pittsburgh, Whitney showcased that skill, most memorably with a 59 point effort in 2006-07. That mark stood as the best of his career until this past season, which I think we must note as being superior. Through 35 games prior to injury, Ryan Whitney led the Edmonton Oilers in scoring with 27 points.
April 15 2011 07:42AM
It's fun to ponder which of the Oilers rookies had the best season, and to ask which of them will have the better career. A better question might be "can these kids help the Oilers win the Stanley in the next decade?"