RANDOM THOUGHTS

Maybe you’ve never heard of Shay Maria, or maybe you have. She cracked the top 99 most gorgeous women in Askmen.ca, but I don’t know much more about her. Let’s say she is a bit of an unknown, which is exactly how most fans and pundits are looking at the Oilers this season.


Even the most diehard Oiler fan is wondering if this team can make the miraculous 30-point increase they will need to be in the playoff hunt. I’ll say no, but I do see them making at least a 20-point jump in the standings.

UNKNOWNS

Just like last year, the Oilers have plenty of unknown prospects and possibilities.

  • Will Taylor Hall score 35 goals? Could he score more?
     
  • How many games will Ryan Whitney play?
     
  • Will Steve Tambellini add the D-man that everyone feels he needs, or will he stand pat? 
     
  • Will Tom Gilbert continue to show a bit of a physical side to his game?
     
  • Can Gilbert become a 40-point man again?
     
  • Is this Cam Barker’s final chance, or will he finally find some consistency.
     
  • Is Devan Dubnyk ready to be a starter? Will he get that chance?
     

Those are just a few unknowns, but here’s what I see happening.

Hall will score at least 35 goals, and he might become the first 40-goal man in Edmonton since Petr Klima. He has the drive and determination necessary to be an elite player in the NHL.

Whitney will play 63 games, but he won’t come close to his offensive pace from last year. He will play well when he is in, but 33 points in 35 games is unrealistic.

Tambellini will finally add a D-man, but it won’t be until December at the earliest. Few teams will be willing to part with a top-four blueliner before then, and Tambellini will need 30 games to see that his backend just isn’t that good.

Gilbert will never be a dominant physical D-man, but Oiler fans will be surprised to see him show a pulse more often this year. I also see him between 34-38 points.

I haven’t liked Barker at all in the preseason. He looked lost at times. I hope I’m wrong, for the fan’s sake, but I don’t see him taking a huge leap towards respectability.

Dubnyk is ready and he’ll will force Renney to give him the majority of the games. He’ll start 48-52 games.

OTHER THOUGHTS

Everyone knows that Daryl Katz is a huge fan of Kevin Lowe and if they ever let Tambellini go, then Katz would want him back in. That is not new, the question would be if Lowe really wants that. Saying it could happen within the next two years is like saying the Oilers might make the playoffs in two years. It is possible.

Lowe has his detractors, but he also has some supporters. We all know he was too loyal to role players after the Cup run, but he was also the guy willing to pull the trigger on some great trades that got them to the Cup final. Rarely do players, managers or GMs return to a position they once held and have the same success.

If you are wondering why the Oilers didn’t claim any D-men on waivers, it’s because they feel Ladislav Smid and Ryan Whitney will be back very soon. They didn’t want to waste a contract on a "filler" type D-man. I understand that strategy, but only if they plan on going out and getting another D-man via trade. If they didn’t waste a contract spot on a "filler", but don’t add anyone in a trade, then I don’t agree at all with not grabbing someone like Matt Lashoff to see what he has to offer.

HOME OPENER AUCTION

 

You can watch Smyth and the boys take on the Penguins on Sunday and help out the MS Society at the same time. Today on the Jason Gregor Show between 2 and 6 p.m. we will be auctioning off this great package.

 If you are from out of town, or just want to get out of the house for a few nights, this is a great package.

 You will receive: TWO NIGHTS at the Courtyard Marriott Edmonton West.

 Two night’s lodging in a KING SUITE
1 Dinner for 2 at our AQUA Restaurant – Saturday Evening;
1 Bottle of Wine – choice of white or red included with dinner
Breakfast for 2 at our AQUA Restaurant – Sunday Morning – a la carte menu.

 TWO GOLD SEATS FOR OILERS/PENS courtesy of Sunny P Tickets. You also get $40 in Oilers bucks to spend on a bevy or two.

 We don’t want anyone drinking and driving so Budget Car and Truck Rental will pick you up in a Ford Explorer and take you to Rexall and back to the Marriott after the game.

 Big thank you toThe Marriott West, Sunny P Tickets and Budget for donating the prizes and helping out the MS Society.

 Bidding starts at2 p.m. You can call 1.780.426.8326 or email your bids to gregor@theteam1260.com If you send an email include your name and phone number.
 

      • Well, Hemsky’s Poweplay Points per Game or PPP/G was 0.19 last year. That isnt stellar but it still ranks higher than Hall and many others on the Oilers, so he isnt the worst player on the team by far.

        It also ranked higher than some notable players: Rick Nash, Ryan Smyth, and Bobby Ryan.

        Hemsky, is nowhere near the PP guy that Sedin was last year (42 PPP in 82 games!), but he isnt the worst on the team. Those are the facts.

          • Douche Nietzsche

            I’ve been reading for years, posting for less than a week, so to be honest, I don’t know the proper ON lingo; for sarcasm etc.

            I know there are many, but opinions are like a angry woman, everybody has one.

          • Once you establish your views on various topics it will be easier to pick up when you’re writing sarcasticly as well.

            I would suggest a 1500 word essay on Sam Gagner, The New Arena, Tambellini’s job so far, and How to fix the Defense.

            #ONhomework

          • Douche Nietzsche

            Thanks.

            I feel like Butters from South Park, when he goes to see the pimps to get some advice. I know what you saying, but, I’ll keep away from the “~” in my sarcasm. I suspect it will be way funnier sometimes without it. Like I always say, “knowledge is less valuable when you share it with everyone”.

            Also, that askmen.com list is crap. There is not a single porn”star” on the list.

      • book¡e

        I think this was close to being effective sarcasm. It just needs an additional level of ridiculousness to it. However, in my experience at ON you could suggest that Katz is actually the Devil put here to steal our souls by creating a gateway to hell with the new arena and people would take you literally – but then again – that is the fun of sarcasm (the split between those who get it right away, those that need it explained to them, and those that still don’t get it after the explanation).

  • Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach

    If Smid and Whitney are only to miss a game or two then passing on Lashoff makes sense, but I thought Smid was out a month?

    • longbottom/P.Biglow

      I did not think they were going to grab anyone off waivers unless someone of theirs got claimed. I believe with the contract situation the way it is (up against the 50 contract cap.
      If RNH goes back to Red Deer that gets changed. I can see a couple two for one trades coming but not yet.

  • Travis Dakin

    JG,

    I heard mention that Toronto and Edmonton are talking about a possible trade. This is something people have been speculating for a while now, as it makes sense for the two teams to complete a positional trade.

    Out of Toronto, I like Cody Franson a lot. I am curious to hear what you would give up for him and if you think there is potential for such a deal.

    Would you consider Omark for Franson? Would it take more or less than that?

    Thanks!

    • Jason Gregor

      On the surface it makes sense for those two teams to chat. The Leafs have depth on the blueline and the Oilers have depth in skilled forwards.

      Franson is an interesting player. He and Matt Lombardi were traded by the Preds, for Brett Lebda, who they bought out, and Robert Slaney.

      Clearly it was a salary dump by the Preds, but it makes me wonder how good Franson is. I wouldn’t trade Omark for him right now for a few reasons.

      I need to see more from Franson, especially now that he is on a more open-minded team than the Preds.

      Also I wouldn’t trade Omark until I had a better feeling about what Hemsky will do. If they trade Omark and then Hemsky doesn’t re-sign, they only have one scoring RW.

      There is no perfect scenario, and the Oilers will have to give up something to get something, but I’d rather go after a more established D-man if I’m giving up a Paajarvi, Gagner or Hemsky.

      • Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach

        The whole Hemsky/Omark thing makes me wonder if we really should be trying MPS at the right side more. Would it really hurt to see if he can play that side?

        Edit: I know this is a hockey forum, but awesome interview with Jimmo yesterday.

  • Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach

    Jason: Should we all start coming up with excuses to run pictures of hot dames with our stories to draw in readers?

    Seems like a cheap ploy. What’s next, unsubstantiated rumours?

  • Bob Cobb

    At the risk of sounding negative, waiting thirty games to come to the fairly obvious realization this blueline group isn’t good enough speaks to how incompetent Tambellini is. His inability to process information quickly, in combination with the poor job the pro scouting staff typically does evaluating players, are the most frustrating things to observe as a fan. I’d suggest that in no other sport would you find a team that’s performed as badly as this team has the last two years keep their management team intact.

  • Bob Cobb

    I think the 30 games to find out what the blueline has is smart. I must be the only optomistic person here but I don’t see as bad of a potential blueline group as everyone else. Once Whitney is back, that will solve alot of problems. A group of Whitney and Smid once their back with Peckham, Barker, Petry and Sutton doesn’t concern me as much as it does some people. They should be able to move the puck, thought they did ok against Vancouver, and block more shots. I say wait and see.

  • Jason,

    Your articles are always a great read. I like how you pose questions, but also offer solutions and answers based on your opinion. Alot of writers just ask questions, but don’t offer firm opinions on how they see things. That’s useless, we all know what the questions are.

    Boris

  • Eulers

    “Tambellini will need 30 games to see that his backend just isn’t that good.”

    That’s like Kirstie Alley saying she’ll need 3 months to see that her backend is too big!

    BA-BOOM!!!

  • smiliegirl15

    Tambellini will finally add a D-man, but it won’t be until December at the earliest. Few teams will be willing to part with a top-four blueliner before then, and Tambellini will need 30 games to see that his backend just isn’t that good.

    Do you think he could figure it out that fast?

    I think the biggest difference between KL1 and KL2 would be the fact he reported to the Investors’ Group the first time and only to Katz this time. Might be a more effective GM without having his hands tied by so many people to answer to?

  • stevezie

    This is the first season in four years that Blair Betts became available and the blogosphere didn’t erupt because we need a player like that. We now have a player like that! Forward progress! Celebration!!!

  • @ Gregor

    I haven’t liked Barker at all in the preseason. He looked lost at times. I hope I’m wrong, for the fan’s sake, but I don’t see him taking a huge leap towards respectability.

    I agree I have watched 3 games and for such a smoothe skater with the puck he plays on the periphery and refuses to engage and show some skilled hockey plays. Maybe we’ll see something more during the regular season.

  • Little Buttcheeks

    I hardly noticed Barker in the pre-season. I will give him the benefit of the doubt until the regular season is at least a few weeks old but if our D needs a big year out of him, then I am not too optimistic about our chances.