The Oilers win 4-1. That is all.
Except that it’s not all, if you catch my drift.
Sticking with the title of this post, some fun stats lines – not to be taken too seriously, given the number of games involved, but fun all the same:
- Martin Gerber: 2-0-0, 1.50 GAA, 0.950 SV%
- Devan Dubnyk: 1-2-3, 3.24 GAA, 0.911 SV%
- Nikolai Khabibulin: 4-10-1, 4.07 GAA, 0.879 SV%
Martin Gerber’s been fantastic since being recalled and I couldn’t be happier for him. Jim Matheson wrote a nice piece on the veteran in the Journal a couple of days ago, and to go from breaking his neck in the KHL to a couple of NHL victories has to feel pretty nice. I know it’s probably not in the best interests of the Oilers organization, but I hope that Gerber’s strong play means that he gets some attention from other clubs when the Oilers eventually try to return him to the minors.
No World Juniors For Paajarvi
Another subheading, another link to a Jim Matheson piece. This time, he’s quoting Oilers GM Steve Tambellini, who says that Magnus Paajarvi will be staying with the Oilers for the World Juniors. Given that Sam Gagner wasn’t sent away when he struggled as an 18-year old rookie this isn’t an especially surprising development. It would have been nice to see Paajarvi cruise over players his own age, but given that he’s getting minutes at the NHL level, there isn’t much to complain about here.
That said, I wouldn’t have complained if they had sent him off and let us look at one of those players tearing up the AHL.
World Juniors For Other Oilers Prospects
But while Paajarvi won’t be going, a couple of other Oiler picks might be. News broke earlier today that Olivier Roy and Curtis Hamilton had been invited to the Canadian camp (by none other than Kevin Prendergast, who has found a new job), and I’d expect both players to be competing for Canada when the tournament rolls around in December.
Roy is the oldest goaltender invited to the camp, and entering this season had a decent shot at being the starter, but despite a good year he’ll have his work cut out to even make the team. Calvin Pickard (11-6-6, 0.930 SV%) and Mark Visentin (10-4-3, 0.912 SV%) are both higher draft picks, and have had strong starts to their seasons, but the most interesting player to follow is probably Sharks prospect J.P. Anderson. Anderson was undrafted this past season after a middling OHL run, but the Sharks opted to sign him and it’s a move that looks like it might pay off. Currently, Anderson is sitting pretty with a 16-2 record and 0.920 SV% in the OHL.
Meanwhile, I haven’t talked much about Curtis Hamilton’s season. I liked the pick this summer, and put together a comprehensive report on him over at Copper & Blue where I summed him up thusly:
Hamilton’s a gamble. His scouting report points to a well-rounded player, his pre-injury numbers suggest he could be a high-end guy, and his size makes him extra attractive for the Oilers. On the other hand, his injury situation is a serious one and makes it difficult to get an accurate read on where he’s at relative to the rest of his draft class.
Hamilton has been spectacular. 25 games into the season, he leads the Saskatoon Blades in goals (15), points (36), plus/minus (+27) and has basically been everything that anyone could have imagined he would be. Those injuries in his draft year dropped his stock a bunch, and I really think the Oilers got a steal. Prendergast talks about using him in a bottom-six role if he makes the team, but with no returning forwards and his season to date, it’s possible that Hamilton could steal more of the spotlight. Even if he doesn’t, he’s on the right track as a prospect.
Back To The NHL
One more set of fun stats lines before I close off this article:
- Gilbert Brule, first 19 games: 2G – 1A – 3PTS, -9
- Gilbert Brule, last three games: 2G – 1A – 3PTS, +2
- Andrew Cogliano, first 20 games: 1G – 3A – 4PTS, -11
- Andrew Cogliano, last three games: 2G – 1A – 3PTS, +2
With any luck, this isn’t a temporary anomaly but a sign that these two players are waking from their early season doldrums. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that their return to life coincides with the arrival of Dustin Penner on their line; both players have performed markedly better over the last year and a bit when the big man is on the wing.