It was a fairly big weekend for Oilers’ prospects.
Of course, none of the Oilers’ current prospects – even the two best, both of whom are playing at the World Championships this summer – are quite as exciting as the Oilers’ first overall pick. Oilers’ G.M. Steve Tambellini has made a point of spending time with both of them, but he made it very clear that will only be one ingredient in the evaluation:
“It’s an overall picture. Is this important, when you get into the pressure of championship hockey? Yes, of course it is. But it’s also maybe over 100 games a season for the last couple of years for our scouts and Stu MacGregor to really make a true assessment.”
One of the reasons that I emphasize statistics so much is that they present a big picture. When a spectator watches one game, he doesn’t know how a player performs game in and game out, so it’s nice to hear that the Oilers have been focused on these two players for a very long time, and that they’ll have a wealth of viewings on both. Of course, we’d expect no less but there was always the fear that Tambellini might want to make the decision himself based on a more limited viewing window; his proclamation earlier that he was going to rely on his scouts to make the pick was a positive sign.
This And That
Many Oilers fans, including here at Oilers Nation, were incredibly excited after Jordan Eberle’s strong performance against Norway at the World Championships. His play against Sweden was less impressive, and I’m worried that expectations are going to be too high for Eberle when he makes his NHL debut. I’m expecting a performance similar to the rookie years of Gagner and Cogliano – in the 40 to 50 point range.
While Eberle has been good, the performance of Magnus Paajarvi-Svensson has me actually more excited. He’s younger than Eberle, has played the whole tournament, and leads Sweden in goals, points and plus/minus. He also adds size and speed that Eberle doesn’t, and while both will be players I still think Paajarvi-Svensson might be the more important piece for the Oilers down the road.
The Oilers signed Finn Teemu Hartikainen a couple of days ago and according to Copper & Blue this marks the first time the Oilers have signed a complete draft class. Hartikainen is a good player with an intriguing scoring touch who may end up in either a scoring role or further down the line-up. He has size, nastiness and goal-scoring, but skating has been an area of concern.
The Oilers AHL affiliate in Oklahoma looks to be getting one of two names. Derek Zona’s been tracking this closely and two names have now been trademarked – the Oklahoma City Roughnecks and the Oklahoma City Barons. I don’t think either is a bad choice, but my personal preference is the Barons moniker.