Tom Renney announced that Ales Hemsky could be out up to a month with a groin problem, and he will meet with Steve Tambellini to discuss if they will call up a player, or if they will go with the current roster.
Linus Omark and Liam Reddox would seem like the most likely call ups, and when I spoke briefly with Steve Tambellini he said they will look at it closer and decide this week.
The main reason why they won’t call up someone right now is because of Ryan Jones.
Renney wanted to reward Jones for his solid, if not quietly stellar, play this year. Jones scored his 6th goal of the season Saturday, and sits 6th in goals on the Oilers behind, Taylor Hall, Sam Gagner, Dustin Penner, Ales Hemsky and Shawn Horcoff. Jones is producing with limited icetime compared to those five.
Jones is averaging 10:01 of icetime a game, while those five range between 17:31 (Hall) to 19:28 (Horcoff). In fact, Jones is averaging four fewer minutes of icetime than every forward except Colin Fraser, JF Jacques, Zack Stortini and Steve MacIntyre.
UNDER APPRECIATED OR OVERACHIEVING?
Jones hasn’t been an NHL regular long enough to know if this is just an hot streak, or if he has the potential to be an 18-20 goal man despite limited minutes. When you look at his SH%, 19.4, you’d think that he probably won’t maintain this pace. However, Jones doesn’t waste a lot of shots. He doesn’t take a lot of shots from the outside, and most of his goals come from within six feet of the goal.
Jones gets his nose dirty and his early season success illustrates that if you aren’t a highly-skilled player, going to net is the best way to score.
Jones is currently tied for 11th in SH% with Brandon Dubinsky. Andreas Nodl leads the league at 22.6%, with seven goals on 31 shots. Jones has six on 31 shots. Jones has some pretty good company in the top ten with Sidney Crosby sitting 7th at 20.7, Steven Stamkos 6th at 21, Daniel Sedin 8th at 20.6 and Claude Giroux 5th at 21.3%.
Jones has earned his promotion into the top nine, and he does add more grit and crust into the top nine, and if Jones can keep producing the Oilers might wait a few days to recall someone. My gut, however, tells me that the Oilers will be putting out the SOS to OKC before the weekend.
Omark has 13 goals, 26 points and his +6 in 25 games, while Reddox has 13 goals, 23 points and is +11 in the same amount of games. Omark is clearly more gifted, but Reddox has just as many goals, so I don’t think Omark is the obvious choice, although probably the guy who gets the call.
One question the Oilers have to be thinking about is, do you want to play Sam Gagner with two rookies, Magnus Paajarvi and Omark?
And there is no major rush to call up a player, because the Oilers have won four in a row, and I doubt they change their top-three lines during this streak, especially because Jones has earned his spot in the top nine.
DANCE TEAM DEBUT
The Oilers dance team was going to make their debut tomorrow night v. Anaheim, but the delivery of their outfits has been delayed so they will make their debut this Friday when Stamkos and the Lightning come to town. Stamkos will be the most exciting opposing player Oiler fans get to see this year, because Crosby and Alex Ovechkin won’t be here this year, and now that you throw in the dance team, Friday night’s game will be one of the hotter tickets this season.