The Point is Moot!

It’s fun to ponder which of the Oilers rookies had the best season, and to ask which of them will have the better career. A better question might be "can these kids help the Oilers win the Stanley in the next decade?"

If we take each rookie (just the ones who qualify as rookies, let’s not get ahead of ourselves with small sample sizes) and ask the question, it becomes clear just how many holes have/may have been filled during this long, dreary (and unending, apparently) winter.

  1. Will the Oilers be able to count on Taylor Hall to deliver quality on the top line? No need to shake the big 8-ball on this question, Hall showed flashes of elite-level talent during the season and delivered 22 goals in a shortened year. It’s best not to project too far into the future, but a reasonable progression year over year has Hall north of 30 goals in 11-12. And he’s still a teenager.
  2. Will the Oilers be able to count on Jordan Eberle as a 2-way player on a quality team? Of all the 10-11 rookies, Eberle showed beyond expectations. Smart player, quick hands and a hard worker. I think he might end up playing center, but even if Eberle doesn’t change position he has all of the skills required to be a complete player.
  3. Can Magnus Pääjärvi find an effective role in the top 9? The 8-ball doesn’t come back completely convinced about his offense, but the young man is much better without the puck than what you expect from a rookie. It didn’t show up as much in the stats as we’d like (he appears to have been playing in some bad puck luck when on the Gagner-Omark line) but Pääjärvi’s natural instincts have him leaving the zone early and playing middle linebacker at the slightest hint of trouble. If his offense doesn’t come (MP wasn’t among the top flight offensive rookies like the two men above) the Oilers will have a quality checker with size and an idea about defense. That’s a useful player.
  4. Can Linus Omark play in the top 6F? Omark’s season is a little bit of a riddle, as he has some mixed up math in his resume. By eye he’s remarkable with the puck, tough to knock it away from and capable of stickhandling in a phone booth. However, he’s generally out of position and on the wrong side of the puck when it’s turned over, so I’d guess he’ll be a one dimensional offensive player who can quarterback the powerplay. You can’t have too many of these guys, but if he can stay in the league and learn on the job Omark might end up being an integral part of a contending team. He’s certainly talented enough to survive, but because of size bias he’ll need a little luck to stay. Teams often flush these player types as soon as they slump, and everyone slumps.
  5. Can Jeff Petry play a prominent role on a championship team? Petry has an exceptional skill set: size, mobility, intelligence, quality head-man passing ability and he can help on the powerplay. I don’t think Petry will play the heart of his career as an Oiler. Why? Oiler fans aren’t fond of "finesse defensemen" and sooner or later he’s going to pass up an opportunity to make a hit or make a coverage error that looks obvious on television. Fans turn on these guys, we have decades of proof in this regard. Want to know Petry’s future in Edmonton? Ask Tom Gilbert. I don’t think he’ll be here when the team is contending for the Stanley. Too bad, I think he’s an exceptional talent.
  6. Can Devan Dubnyk backstop a championship team? As with all of these questions, we’re not going to know the answer for awhile. However, Dubnyk’s rookie season was good. Really good. He went 12-13-8 on a horrible team, and his GAA (2.71) towers over Super Bowl Sunday’s. His .916SP ranked third among rookies and in a tie for 18th among all qualifying goalers in the NHL. If he can build on that impressive season–winning 12 games for the Sisters of the Poor orphanage team–Devan Dubnyk is going to have a career.

Next season won’t be as plentiful for Oiler rookies. Teemu Hartikainen would appear to be a strong candidate and a couple of defensemen (Plante, Teubert) may also qualify. No worries, as this year’s crop has quality and quantity. If the fans can get out of their own way re:Petry, maybe there’s even a defenseman in the group.

  • BarryS

    Remember a few years ago when we had Smith, and Staios, and the rest of our plugs who would hit like crazy and then rim the puck around the boards? We were all crying for a puckmovingdefenseman, or PMD. The scales have tilted the other way now. We need a Staois and Smith again to balance it out.

  • misfit

    hey lowetide…..you gotta be joking about Tom Gilbert..this guy is a defensive liability!!!Do you not watch games and see how he panics in his own zone? With his size he should at least be able to squeeze opponents into the boards! He is totally UNRELIABLE!!!

  • misfit

    I dont think people are giving Petry the credit he needs when it comes to hitting and being strong on the puck. He is alot like Gilbert but Petry hits with a purpose and leans on guys alot harder and more often then Gilbert. For example the game against Calgary, Petry absolutely lambasted Langkow who was looking the other way at his drop pass. Have I ever seen Gilbert do that no. I think Petry is going to be more loved by Oil fans then Gilbert and stay longer than Gilbert. Every Oiler fan knows we dont have great superstar dman in our system and with the way Petry has played it would be foolish to dump on a player so early in his career.

  • 24% body fat

    Does anyone remember that Kyle Turris, and JVR were both scouted higher than Patrick Kane on some scouting reports. This goes to show that hype is not always a guarentee of being good. Seguin has a long way to come, and his circumstances are playing a large part in it.

    Gagner has turned out to be the 2nd or 3rd best pick of that draft, or at least statistically wise the 2nd best. Time will tell.

    But to trade away a proven player and next years hype for last years hype (with a year of ELC gone), who as it stands is behind, hall, fowler, and skinner is a little obscure.

    Turris is benind Kane, Gagner, Couture, Voracek and even JVR. Situation looks familiar.

    As noted, Seguin is in the past for the oilers, so leave him there as it is unlikely he will be here.

      • 24% body fat

        Satistically Gagner is the 2nd best player in that draft.

        Furthermore I am not saying Seguing couldnt fill gagners shoes, (dont think he could yet), but he is not worth 1st overall and gagner. He isnt even worth a first overall draft pick in his own year.

      • 24% body fat

        Satistically Gagner is the 2nd best player in that draft.

        Furthermore I am not saying Seguin couldnt fill gagners shoes, (dont think he could yet), but he is not worth 1st overall and gagner. He isnt even worth a first overall draft pick in his own year.

  • a lg dubl dubl

    Better be careful about saying Eberle might be a centerman someday LT, there’s alot of fans that might think he’s to “small” to be a top line center lol 😉

    Good read on this friday afternoon btw

  • 24% body fat

    Seguin is still behind Bergeron and Kreiji for the top offensive centre roles, and rightly so. You CANNOT judge Seguin’s future at this point. His odds of unseating either of those players as a rookie is astromonically small. And guess what, most coaches would not want to have a rookie anchor thier shut down line. There are no indication out of Boston that Seguin can’t be the real deal. Sheesh.

    I would trade Gager for Seguin in a heartbeat. We don’t know what Seguin will become, but we sure as heck know what Gagner will not become, and that’s an elite centre in the NHL. I would trade the Oil’s 1st overall and Gagner for Seguin and Toronto’s pick and smile all the way to the bank.

    Would be a good pick for both teams if Boston like Larsson or Landeskog. Oil get a potential elite centre (which Boston does not need at this time) and a shot at a strong defensive prospect at 9 (Siemens?). Boston fills a need (wing or d) through the draft and can play Gagner at RW, where he belongs.

    Doubt Boston would go there, though. With bergeron’s soft noggin, I think they will hold on to Seguin for at least one more season to see how Patrice holds up.