After two "maintenance" days, Nikolai Khabibulin was back on the ice and his mobility looked fine, however, after an injury-plagued past few seasons any hint of a tweak raises the caution flag. Khabibulin’s previous injuries helped the Oilers acquire Taylor Hall and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, but this year his play has been a major reason why the Oilers are still in the playoff hunt.

They can’t afford him to get injured if they want to stay in the hunt, and with Corey Potter ready to return the Oilers need to send someone to the minors. My guess is it will be Magnus Paajarvi.

It’s amazing how much can change from year-to-year in the NHL. Last year everyone felt Khabibulin’s best days were behind him, while Paajarvi’s best were ahead of him. I still fee Paajarvi will be a solid, maybe great, NHL player, but he is clearly struggling right now.

With Potter set to return to the lineup and be paired with Theo Peckham, and get some PP time, the Oilers have 24 guys on their roster. Andy Sutton is suspended, but he still counts towards the 23-man roster so the Oilers will need to make a move, and there is no reason why it won’t be Magnus Paajarvi.

Tom Renney confirmed to me they wouldn’t go with only six D-man for the next six games, so I don’t see Colten Teubert going down. The only options at forward are Lennart Petrell and Paajarvi, and with Sam Gagner, Taylor Hall and Ryan Smyth ahead of Paajarvi on the left wing, it sounds like he’ll get the ticket to OKC.

Paajarvi needs to play, and he’ll get plenty of minutes in OKC. He’ll play in every situation and I have no doubt he’ll be successful.

I’m sure this wasn’t the original plan for the Oilers, but good organizations need to adapt and react to unexpected situations, and I expect them to officially make an announcement soon. If it isn’t Paajarvi I’ll be stunned and shocked.

I asked Renney if now that Hall was back and the top six wingers seem to be locked in, if a stint in the AHL might be best for the second-year Swede?

"I think now that we have our bodies back it becomes a more serious conversation. We talk about it pretty much everyday, but now we have to have a good luck at what is in his best interest. It might take another game or two before we draw conclusions on that."

They only way they can wait another game or two is if they don’t activate Potter, or they send someone else down, which wouldn’t make much sense at this point. It is easier to get him to OKC from Phoenix rather than out of Edmonton, so we’ll likely hear something tomorrow.


Since getting rocked in Colorado many have wondered if Hall will change the way he plays.

"If I think this is going to be the first time I get injured in my career I’m lying to mys elf. There is going to be some growing pains. Last year was a freak injury, I hurt my ankle in a fight, this is really my first injury I’ve ever had. I’m not going to change my game too much. The shoulder feels really good and I’m not going to play tentative at all; I can’t afford to," said Hall to Brownlee and I.

Brownlee asked Renney if Hall needs to alter his game?

"You have to have the wherewithal to know what is going around you, certainly offensively and with the puck that is essential. Where he can get compromised, I suppose, is on the offensive side of the puck, but he’s going to have to play hockey and sort that out. We’ve already talked about some strategies to help him, playing safe is the wrong way to put it, but playing without the risk of injury."

Renney went on to say that you might see some "minor" adjustments. Mostly things like taking a different angle or possibly getting tighter against the boards before absorbing a hit.


We continue to help raise money in our HELPING OTHERS campaign on my show this week.

Today we have another fun package, and with a framed picture of Jordan Eberle involved I’m sure Wanye will be pestering everyone to help him have the highest bid.

Oiler fans stand up and ensure you don’t have a Leafs fan win this package!

 If you want to bid you can call 780.426.8326 or email Bidding starts at 2 p.m and ends at 5:45 MST with 100% of the money going to Santas Anonymous.

Thanks for you generosity in helping those who really need your help at this time of year.

    • A-Mc

      Lander does exactly what is asked of him. He is functioning alright in his assigned Role.

      Putting Gagner back at center is probably something Gagner would really like. But if that Center position came on the 4th line, I am willing to bet Gagner is happier up top with Nuge and Eberle to help keep the points-a-flowin.

      In all honesty i think Gagner has earned a spot on the top line with the effort he’s put forth. Shuffling him down to 4th line center looks more like a demotion of sorts.

      • OilLeak

        Lander is getting out chanced and outplayed when he’s on the ice. He will be a good player in the NHL some day, however today is not that day. He is amongst the worse(forwards) Corsi ratings on the team, besides the 2 goons.

        • Wax Man Riley

          Weren’t you one of the guys using this one stat to say Ryan Jones was a brutal player. I think it is safe to say this stat has lots of holes in it, if you are trying to evaluate one player and do so basing it on how many chances his line is producing/allowing. Too many uncontrollable variables to put on one player.

          Lander is doing fine for a rookie.

  • Quicksilver ballet

    No doubt about it, we’re pooched with Dubnyk and his .899 save % in goal rather than Khabby and his .933.

    Devan, just like i thought he would, isn’t the progressing goaltender some thought he’d be when the games have a little more importance attached to them.

    If Khabibulin could play till he’s 40, we’d still see Dubnyk as his understudy. Hopefully Bunz or Perhonen can make Dubnyk expendable sooner rather than later.

    • justDOit

      According to TSN, DD’s number is .903 – and .905 in his last 3 games, which might suggest that he’s getting better as the season goes on. He has had some tough opponents this year too.

      He might be in over his head this year, but I hardly think that he is washed up at the ripe ol’ age of 25. ?

      I think that worst thing that has happened to the Oilers this year was winning all those games early in the season. Expectations are too darned high!

    • A-Mc

      Duby has been given Nothing since the Oilers stopped their streak. He is left with a team of headless chickens running into each
      other while our opponent licks their chops before an Attack.

      Can you honestly say Duby has lost a game for the Oilers all season? If you can say that legitimately, i would ask that you point my attention to a specific game because i would like to summon it from my PVR’d collection so i can see what you’re on about.

      It looks to me like Duby hasn’t been afforded an environment to succeed in once Khabi went supernova and the 50/50 game split was abandoned.

      • Quicksilver ballet

        #1) For me the last 15 games fall squarely on the shoulders of Tomas Renney. He messed with the Oilers fung shway by starting the backup against the Bruins a few weeks ago. The Oilers, a team on a 5 game winning streak backstopped by the best goaltender on the planet(at that time) going up against the still struggling Boston Bruins. They throw Dubnyk in there which allows the Bruins to clean their teeth on the Oilers. Devan comes up just short in a close tight checking not so thrilling 6-3 Edmonton loss.Could’ve been a different outcome that game had Renney started a red hot Khabby.

        #2) HNIC loss to the Pheonix Coyotes two weeks ago. Nothing more need be said about this game/loss, the Oilers lost cuz the Coyote goaltender was just better that evening and laid a whuppin on Dubey, 2 goals that evening that shouldn’t go in would’ve made the difference..

        Burn in Hell Dubey….LOL

        • A-Mc

          Just so I understand the games you’re referring to.

          You’re blaming the 6-3 Loss to Boston and the 4-2 Loss To Phoenix (November 5th) on Dubnyk?


          During the Phoenix game, Duby made a number of fantastic saves but his team did little to prevent the early peppering that started in the second period. Halfway through the 2nd, The Oilers only registered 1 shot. By the end of the second, the Oilers (with 1.5 Power plays) managed to register 3 whole shots in total.

          3 shots in a period says a lot about which end the play was in more often than not. It also says a lot about the offenses ability to produce in an attempt to keep an even scoring game.

          The 3rd period was much better as the Oilers came out firing like they had in the 1st.

          For this game, IMO, the 5 skaters on the ice failed Dubnyk in the 2nd, even though Duby bailed them out a few times by making some great saves. Looking at 2 goals allowed in 8 shots definitely doesn’t inspire confidence, but success and failure are built on more than what simple stats imply.


          Boston wasn’t struggling by the time they met the Oilers on November 10th. In fact, they were already on Win #3 of what turned out to be a 10 game winning streak only shortened from 15 games by a 3-2 Shoot out loss to Detroit!

          I can go into the details of why i don’t blame Duby for the Boston game either but this post is already really long.

          I’m not convinced Duby was the problem in Either of these examples.

        • Wax Man Riley

          Is Dubnyk the new player to be run out of town?

          It used to be Gagner. I thought it was Hemsky.

          Dammit! Taylor Hall hasn’t put up a point in 7 games, trade him for a sack of dirty rags!

          That is like getting rid of Cam Ward or Ondrej Pavelec because you have Mike Murphy or Peter Mannino in backup! (they both have 100% sp) Come on Quicks……

          • cableguy - 2nd Tier Fan

            you have to take moneypuck with a grain of salt. His dubnyk rants were accompanied by thoughts of bringing in turco to be a better option in goal before strudwick knocked him down a peg.

          • Quicksilver ballet

            Lol, if i was the sheriff he’d be gone, but don’t let me stop you from believing in him, for the Oilers sake, i really hope you’re right.

            4 days and no hockey, my mind starts to wander at times like these. Need violence soon… hope the Oilers aren’t the roadkill on the menu this evening.

    • I’m not sure he’s as bad as you imply? never the less I agree he’s not consistent.

      He lets at least one bad goal in a game that’s pretty much a given.

      The game in November against the Avalanche and Hurricanes were absolute brutal goal-tending, only reason he was kept in the Hurricanes games is that Khabby had to play the next two game’s..

  • Mantastic

    i don’t think paajarvi playing 4th C will help him improve as a player. Lander can improve based on his first exposure to NA hockey but after MPS’s rookie debut, he wouldn’t be progressing by playing less minutes with worse line mates.

  • misfit

    I remember getting roasted last year for suggesting that Paajarvi could be more Dvorak than Hossa. I didn’t mean it as an insult either, as Dvorak had some pretty good years and is still an effective hockey player 17 years into his NHL career and has always been a personal favorite of mine. But it does loook like the offense could be harder to come by than originally expected/hoped for.

    He does seem like the most likely candidate for a stint in the AHL, even though I personally don’t see it fixing the problems he’s having. He’s been playing too much on the outside of the ice, and going to the minors will just make it more likely that he produces that way instead of forcing him to adjust his game. But I’m also not against the move, because I’ve never been one to worry about guys rotting away in the AHL, especially when they’re only 20 years old and not contributing in the NHL.

  • Pilgor09

    don’t really get it at this point of the season. wouldn’t do it. the problem management seems to have is making decisions that are more timely and possibly more constructive. if he was destined to eat so much popcorn early on then why not then, and why now?

  • I am still confused as to why we have yet to see a top 6 that includes these players?

    4, 14, 83, 89, 91, 93

    94, 10, 28 can be the 3rd (shutdown) line that will chip in it’s fair share.

    And Belanger can play with any combination of the remaining wingers.

      • Dipstick

        You only really need to key on one line in terms of shutting them down. Any combination of the top 6 a I mentioned should be able to go head to head with any other teams 2nd line.

        Putting Hemsky with a guy like Horcoff does not work.

  • OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F

    Give DD Some Defense and see what happens.
    We suck on the back end plain and simple. Wonder how good
    Pecker Rinne would be with our D ? Two different Goalies i know
    but man, Brodeur in his prime would look normal being the last stop
    with our D. DD May never be great but he is an NHL Caliber goalie.

  • bazmagoo

    Paajarvi to OKC! Reasons:

    – He doesn’t need to clear waivers
    – He makes the same amount of money whether he plays in Edmonton or there (unlike others)
    – He needs 20 – 25 minutes a night to get his game back

  • I think some time with Todd Nelson will do Pääjärvi some good. I’ve been very impressed with how the Barons keep rolling while their roster changes from week to week. I would imagine Nelson will get a long look once Renney runs the course.

  • Quicksilver ballet

    Get another top 4 D man or 2 [ somehow] and
    we watch Dubey and Habby’s save pct go up.

    We have below average D. Early in the year the Oilers
    played as a unit coming out of their end. One or 2 passes
    and they were in full flight. They are not doing this now either.

    When they use the stretch passes, the opposing teams
    D are less likely to pinch, somewhat scared of the speed we actually do
    have. Use the ice, stretch things out and play to your strengths.

    Almost sounds like i know what i am talking about eh ?

    I Predict a SO for the Oilers in either PHX or SJ. Preferably SJ.

  • a lg dubl dubl

    So why wouldn’t the oilers send down Pettrell instead of PRV?
    I still think PRV can give somethin to the team, Renney just has to put him in a spot to be successful like pp duty, and ST has to clear some room up front to help the defence. I’m sure PRV would be happy playing on the 3rd line with some pp time rather than sitting up in the rafters.

    Yes I realize that has been tried before but with Belanger doin NOTHING other than win faceoffs, I think everybody else who played with Belanger sucked while on that line.

    • I think it could do wonders for Paajarvi to go to OKC and play top-line minutes and situations. Probably for 3-5 weeks, and preferably the higher end. Seeing him get 8 minutes up here with the checking units is a waste and is hampering his development.

      When he returns in 5-6 weeks, he could be a completely different player. Now is EXACTLY the time that you send the kid to the minors to learn his craft…. as a Top-Line Player! (He is not a grinder, they knew that when they drafted him.)

      • a lg dubl dubl

        I do agree with not wanting him to play 8min a game but that’s why I said Renney should put him on the pp, when he gets his feet moving he can’t really get pushed off the puck and being a lefty he would be a huge upgrade to belanger on the pp. Make PRV work for his time like Gagner has done as of late.

        I just haven’t been all that impressed with Pettrell the last couple weeks and watching PRV he seems to be turning his mojo around lately.

  • Wax Man Riley

    I’d hate to see Hall change the way he plays overall. He may have to change the way he thinks the game possibly. He may have to calculate the risk vs reward on the sideboards and in the corners. He hopefully can maintain his unquestioned dynamism without putting himself in such risk of injury. I don’t know how you do that but somehow Hall will have to do that or be fubar’d for life before he’s 30.

    I wonder if the Oil have delayed sending Paajarvi down to OKC because they may be working on a trade of a current top-6 player which may make room for him on the 2nd line?

  • a lg dubl dubl

    I can’t wait to see Potter and Hall back in the line up tonight. Unfortunately, for PRV, he just seems so lost out there. He has so much force and so much speed but he needs to learn how to handle the puck on the boards a tad better IMO. Every time he dumps and drives behind the net the defenseman uses the boards to both rub him off the puck.

    He may not be a dump and chase guy… yet. I have a feeling that OKC would really benefit his game.

    Great article as always, JG.

  • A-Mc

    I completely forgot about Petrell. I suppose if i had a choice between Petrell or Paajarvi, I’d rather have Paajarvi around.


    Petrell will probably always be a 4th line type player. There is no tragedy in giving him low TOI; the opposite is true of Paajarvi. Paajarvi needs to play as much as possible if we want him to be what we’re hoping he can be. I’m not sure there is enough time in a game for Paajarvi to play as much as he needs.

    So maybe the best decision is to keep Petrell around and send PRV down to OKC EVEN THOUGH i’d rather see Paajarvi playing for the Oilers each night.

    I Hope Renney does what is best for Paajarvi’s Career.

  • A-Mc

    Pre-Game interview with Renney sounds like Paajarvi is about to get sent to OKC.

    Renney: “…I haven’t spoken to the guy who might be going (to OKC) but i think if you connect the dots i think you can figure that one out. But in fairness to him, i want to talk him before i mention who it is.”