GDB 38.0: NEW FACES IN NEW YEAR?

 

The Oilers recalled Teemu Hartikainen today and sent Lennart Petrell to OKC. Unless Hartikainen is going to play in the top-three lines I don’t see him making much of an impact. Realistically what more should we have expected from Petrell. He was 3rd on the team in hits, 49, and he was a solid shot-blocker, especially on the PK. Some will say he was getting killed 5×5, but didn’t people say the same about Ryan Jones last year? That stat has some merit, but it clearly doesn’t always equate the truth.

If Hartikainen slots in on the 4th line, it will be very difficult for him to make an impact and be a difference maker, although tonight might be a good night to start him on the 4th line. 

Tonight will be his third game in three nights, and fifth in seven so limiting his icetime might be a smart move for one game. He has also only played four games since being out with a separated shoulder. He was out for six weeks, so maybe there won’t be that much rust, but we’ve witnessed that is takes a few games, or months, before some guys get back up to speed. The dilemma for Tom Renney is there is no winger you would demote out of your top-nine for Hartikainen at this point. The obvious choice would be Eric Belanger, but is Renney willing to sacrifice faceoff wins at this point.

I say why not, because even though Belanger is winning 56.7% of his draws it isn’t leading to much offence. Losing faceoffs hasn’t limited Ryan Nugent-Hopkin’s production so why not move Gagner to the middle and have Hartikainen on your 3rd line after tonight?

RIPPLE EFFECT?

Sending a player to the minors, especially one who has been here all year, does create a ripple, albeit a minor one, in the dressing room. I doubt it is a miracle worker and will suddenly ignite the Oilers and have all of them collectively playing better, but it is clear they need a shake up.

I know many fans are demanding a trade be made, but do any of us really believe the return would be that good at this juncture. Ales Hemsky seems to be the new "trade him" flavour of the year, but now isn’t the time to move him, unless you want to get little in return.

I’m still not in favour of moving Hemsky, unless I can get top-six winger or a top-four D-man , or a bonafide prospect in return.

There is no debate that Hemsky is struggling, but he is also a proven top-six forward and those are hard to find. Remember when the Oilers and their fans thought Robert Nilsson, Andrew Cogliano and Sam Gagner were going to be legit top-six guys. Some can do it for 40 games, but very few can do it for numerous years and Hemsky proved he could. He is still only 28 and while his shoulders are a concern, what if the surgery works and his shoulder problems are a thing of the past? Do you believe he couldn’t be a 65-70 point player again, I believe he can, and I’d wait a few months to see if he regains that form before moving him.

HAWKS CIRCLING? 

The Oilers crushed the Hawks 9-2 the last time these two teams met and Joel Quenneville said this morning, "It’s hard to forget that game. I suspect we’ll be much better." It would be near impossible to be worse, but the Hawks will be ready for the Oilers and they’ll come out flying in the first ten minutes. Rather than try to calm the storm I’d like to see the Oilers attack v. the Hawks and match their emotion. 

The Hawks are 12-4-1 since the Oilers routed them at Rexall.

NEW LINES

Based on this morning line combos it looks like Renney fired up the Render and came up with some new line combinations.

Smyth – RNH – Eberle
Hall – Gagner – Hemsky
Lander – Horcoff – Jones
Eager – Belanger – Hartikainen

Same D pairings as last game and Devan Dubnyk starts again. Dubnyk needs to be better than he was in the 2nd period on Long Island. Dubnyk was solid in the 3rd, but the game was over then. He can’t allow weak goals, like the Matt Martin one, every second game if he wants to become a legitimate starter.

Bumping Belanger down to the 4th line was a no-brainer, hell I was even smart enough to see that, but if Renney doesn’t pull him off the 2nd PP then i’m completely lost on what the coach is seeing. If he starts the 2nd unit off a faceoff, then let Belanger take it, and once the puck is out of the offensive zone bring him to the bench. He isn’t a catalyst on the 2nd unit. At the very least give Gilbert some of Belanger’s 2nd unit minutes, just to see what he can do.

GAME DAY PREDICTION: The Oilers will score three, but they’ll still lose 5-3 and any hope of getting eight points (what Renney wanted at start of trip) on this road trip will be done. 

OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Oilers fans will go from loving hearing the Chelsea Dagger song at Rexall (after Canada scored) to once again hating it. I’m still a bit perplexed that Hockey Canada couldn’t have come up with a song that was connected to an NHL team.

NOT-SO-OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Eric Belanger scores a PP goal and after the game Renney calmly states, "That’s why I play him on the PP." Okay seriously no way that happens, but wow that would be a golden post-game quote if it did. Oilersnation would erupt if they heard it…

    • Romulus' Apotheosis

      Yea… I’m not sure what happened there… but their guess that he didn’t want to take the hit is a good a guess as any… more charitably you might simply say he thought he already had it… from the crappy feed I totally thought he got it…

  • m3sh

    A surprising but completely earned win given the losses incurred. RNH left with a sling on, and Gilbert out with knee injury now. We competed quite well, and honestly, Dubnyk still let in 2 softies (1 and 3).

    Are we at the event horizon of another inexorable implosion to the black hole of last place? Our D is even more useless now. Tambs going to do a damn thing about it you wonder?

    So… Potter /Smid is our top pairing tomorrow?

  • m3sh

    Man it is depressing when a guy who wasnt in the NHL last year is your top dman.
    No depth on D was Tambos only shortfall this summer. Hannan? Somebody? Hello? We chirped about that all summer.

    • Crash

      I gotta say….I’m over the top sick and tired of hearing about how Hannan was going to fix all that ails the Edmonton defence…..what the hell has Hannan accomplished in Calgary this year? He provides very little impact in any area…he’s small, he doesn’t score, he’s not tough, he can’t QB a PP, he’s a minus player…

      This team needs at least one top 2 d-man and the last time I looked they don’t grow on trees and they sure as hell don’t get traded very often. And I can guarantee you that Hannan isn’t a top 2….

      Everyone craps all over Barker for providing more positive results than Hannan has given the Flame outs but people still come in here and talk about how picking up Hannan would have been such a wonderful move…

      Really? Hannan? I ask again, what has he given Calgary this year? Calgary is just as bad defensively as the Oilers are.

      Hannan would not have improved this team one single iota….

      • OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F

        Here’s the thing Crash, Hannan is just an example of the kind of player the Oilers should have been adding this year if they were serious about flirting with a playoff spot. No one gives a squirt about Hannan, they care about bringing quality depth that can play resonable minutes on a dirt cheap contract. Picking up say Hannan for a million and change and then trading a 4th for say Joe Corvo and all of a sudden our defense looks like an NHL defense… Rather then the AHL defense we are currently sitting with. Here we are again, close to the halfway point of the season sitting near the bottom of the league with an defense that is once again ravaged by injuries and one of, if not the worst in the league on paper….. You should be comming in waiving the white flag admitting you were wrong in the summer and how we really should have brought in some proven defensive depth… But instead you come in guns blazzing, sticking to your story that we don’t need guys that consistantly play top 4 min on good teams. Ill give you one thing, at least you are willing to go down with the ship.

        • Crash

          If you truly believe the ship is going down then you aren’t paying attention.

          Our whole summer discussion was about adding Scott Hannan as a depth d-man….Scott Hannan is not quality, period.

          • OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F

            4th least amount of points in the last 10 games.

            8-16-1 record in the last 25.

            85 goals against in the last 25 games…. 3.4 per game…. that’s gotta be close to worst in the league… if not worst in that time period.

            So I guess you’re kind of right, the ship isn’t sinking. It’s already sunk.

            He isn’t quality….Yet once again Hannan is playing 20+ minutes per night on a team superior to ours…. maybe it’s time to realize that it isn’t all those pro coaches/GM’s/scouting staffs that are wrong, and that it is you.

          • Crash

            It appears as though you have trouble looking at the big picture and are only focused in the here and now….the ship is not sinking…in fact the ship has begun rising…maybe it isn’t rising as fast as you think it should but it is rising.

            That Hannan is playing 20 mins a night on the Calgary Flames means nothing….Hannan is junk, plain and simple…..he hasn’t made Calgary a better team and he wouldn’t have made the Oilers a better team. It’s been pointed out to you that Hannan’s minutes played have dropped 4 consecutive seasons. It’s been pointed out to you that there weren’t tons of suitors lining up to sign him in the off season. It’s been pointed out to you that his numbers are less than stellar but you refuse to acknowledge any of that. Maybe it’s time you realize that all the pro coaches/GM’s/scouting staffs that once used to think highly of Hannan no longer do….otherwise he wouldn’t have had to sign dirt cheap on a bad hockey team late in the summer.

            Spare me the Calgary Flames are a superior team BS

          • OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F

            I’m talking this year, the ship has sunk for this year…. another one wasted.

            Of course, top 4 minutes elsewhere means nothing….yup, he’s junk, you’ve figured it out but all these NHL teams that keep giving him top 4 minutes havent.

            The funniest part is that if the Oilers did sign Hannan you’d be singing their praise and talking about how wonderful of a player he is.

          • Crash

            I’ll thank you not to speak for me….what you haven’t figured out is that no one wanted him this year…

            There’s a reason for it…

            Look at his numbers and his minus 7 rating…he’s at the end of his rope…his nhl career won’t last much longer…he’ll soon be in the KHL or AHL.

            Colorado didn’t give him top 4 minutes…and Washington wanted no part of bringing him back this year…bottom line is Hannan would not have made the Oilers a better team just like he hasn’t made Calgary a better team.

          • OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F

            Right, Steve Staios is still kicking around the league, yet a guy playing top 4 minutes is at the end of his rope.

            I wouldn’t expect miricles from him, but he’d be arguable our best defensmen this year…. and that’s all that matters.

            20+ minutes per night, he’s a quality player – case closed.

  • I’m late to the Hannan thing. While Hannan himself might not be a worldbeater bringing in some more NHL defensemen would have a real positive effect on this roster.

    Gibby and Smid have exceeded expectations this year but having them play stupid amounts of minutes is not good either. We need to balance out the D we have as well.

    My family still hates Gibby and a guy I talked to on new years thinks Smid isnt even an NHL dman. But some people only remember one bad play and add that to their checklist and forget about the solid body of work theyve done all year. When Gibby is playing 25 min a night (against the toughs) having only one mistake worth really noting here or there is actually quite an accomplishment. Having some real NHL Dmen would go a long way. Hell, Gilbert could even start contributing offensivly again.