Ten Points: Talking Actual Hockey

The NHL isn’t in session, and we’ve talked about it to death. Plenty of guys are actually playing hockey, though, so nine of the following ten points will focus on action in the AHL and overseas.

1. Taylor Hall to play in Oklahoma this weekend. An Oklahoma radio station is reporting that Taylor Hall will play in Oklahoma’s next game, on Friday, but that he’ll be held out of back-to-back games for now (which would mean he would play Friday and likely Sunday, skipping the Barons’ second game against Lake Erie on Saturday). This is not unexpected news – Jason Gregor had previously written here that Hall could end up in Oklahoma this week, and early November has been bandied about as a timeline for some time now.

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What does it mean? Well, for one, it means I get to watch Taylor Hall playing hockey again and that’s a good thing. Hall’s arrival might mean interesting times for a few players currently on the roster, though. Teemu Hartikainen and Magnus Paajarvi will get less ice-time, and they’re both off to solid starts – given the positional logjam, I wonder if we’ll see Hall move to center or Paajarvi move to the right side at some point. It will also mean that one of the fringe guys gets fewer games – we’re talking here about Curtis Hamilton, Ryan Martindale, Kristians Pelss, Tanner House and possibly Antti Tyrvainen. I wonder whether Martindale might not be reassigned to the ECHL; he, Hamilton and Pelss could all probably play full-time but spending time as a scratch can’t be ideal for the development of any of those three.

2. Are the kids targets in the AHL? While many have been pleased to see Colten Teubert lay out some immediate retribution for nasty hits in the AHL, the fact that Jordan Eberle and Justin Schultz have been targets has worried some. Both guys have been targets, and both – along with Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Taylor Hall – will continue to take punishment.

I don’t see as the Oilers have a choice though. These guys need to be playing. All four have things to work on in their game, and all four will be best served by playing high-level hockey during the lockout. More than that, they’d be – and most of them have been – targets in the NHL, too. Injuries and hard hits are just part of professional hockey. In this case the payoff – having good players in key developmental years playing hockey rather than sitting – is easily worth the risk.

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3. Linus Omark is dominating the Swiss league. Omark has 25 points in 17 games in the top league in Switzerland. He’s playing for Zug with a pair of Detroit Red Wings – Damien Brunner (24 points in 14 games) and Henrik Zetterberg (eight points in four games), and that trio are outperforming a host of NHL stars. Even guys like Logan Couture, Tyler Seguin and Rick Nash trail Omark/Brunner in the Swiss-A scoring race. The thing I wonder is what the Red Wings are thinking about him, given that he’s playing with a pair of their guys. Even if they aren’t overly interested, someone else very well might be – and Omark’s quote in August (“[A]t this moment, all I can do is to have one heck of a season (in Switzerland) and hopefully that could open up for [an NHL] return”) sounds good right now.

4. Ales Hemsky leads HC Paradubice in scoring. Ales Hemsky’s back playing for his home town team, and he’s posted 16 points (including seven goals) in 14 contests to date. It’s a number that compares favourably with teammate David Krejci (10GP-7G-4A-11PTS) and it’s a good sign for Oilers fans. The last time Hemsky played for Paradubice was during the 2004-05 lockout, where he was the playoff MVP for the entire league, and he used that season to transition from a useful young player to a bona fide difference maker at the NHL level.

5. Ladislav Smid shows his offensive side. Playing for the Liberec White Tigers, Ladislav Smid’s been surprisingly offensive. He has eight points through 14 games, good for third place in team scoring. Liberec has struggled in the early going, with Petr Nedved (18 points in 17 games) their best scorer. Things might be on the up-swing, though – NHL’ers Wayne Simmonds and Chris Stewart have recently joined the team (though it hasn’t been all good for Simmonds).

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6. Lennart Petrell: all goals, no assists. Petrell got off to a hot start in Finland with an opening night hat-trick, and he’s continued to rack up the goals. Through 12 contests, Petrell has scored eight times and one plus-5, but strangely he has yet to record a single assist. I know he has a good, hard shot, but it’s a little odd to see the imbalance.

7. Daniil Zharkov’s off to a poor start. Last year’s third-round pick – a Russina winger in the OHL listed at 6’4” and with a gift for scoring goals – is not having the kind of season a scout wants to see. Through 13 contests, Zharkov has managed only six points.His goal-scoring has started to come back, though – over Belleville’s last five games, Zharkov has scored three times.

8. Remember Alexander Bumagin? There’s no special reason to recall Bumagin; the Oilers took a flyer on him with a sixth round pick in 2006 after a solid year in Russia, and to date the player has shown no particular interest in coming to North America. As things have happened, the Oilers haven’t really had a lot of reason to recruit him, either. However, 2012-13 is shaping up as a career year for the 25-year old Russian – with 18 points in 22 KHL games, he’s just three points back from his best points total over a full KHL campaign. As far as I can tell, the Oilers still own his NHL rights.

9. Remember Rob Schremp? Of course, there are all kinds of special reasons to remember Rob Schremp, one of the Oilers first round picks in 2004. He too has found KHL employment, with Riga Dynamo, where he’s struggled badly with just a single goal and six points over 20 games. Former Oilers farmhand Alexandre Giroux plays for the same team – he has seven goals and nine points over 21 contests.

10. A full-season to buyout players? On Oilers Now yesterday, Bob Stauffer suggested that NHL owners might be wise to copy the NBA model and have a full season after the new collective bargaining agreement to buyout players. It makes some sense – particularly since he tied it together with the idea of a “transition year” to get down from the current 57/43 percent split of hockey-related revenue down to 50/50. He tied it together with the “wow factor” move we talked about yesterday but the most obvious application is a guy already on the Oilers roster. Shawn Horcoff makes $6 million next season; over the two following years he’ll be paid a combined total of $7 million. If there’s a full season buyout window, as Stauffer suggests, it would be a slam dunk for the Oilers to play the year with Horcoff and then buy him out in the summer of 2013.

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Of course, we’re speaking entirely in hypotheticals here, but if there’s a transition window – which is one of the options the NHL and NHLPA have to bridge the gap between their respective positions – it would make a lot of sense.

Recently by Jonathan Willis

  • HardBoiledOil 1.0

    i’m all for a buyout of players….there are many who just aren’t living up to what they are being paid! interesting read though Jonathan…i hope Linus continues to play well in Europe….maybe we can actually trade him for something more than a bucket of pucks because there is just no room for him in the top 6 up front.

  • Mark-LW

    Letting Hall play is stupid. The kid will never have a change like this again to rest that shoulder, and he is the player amongst the kids who probably least needs the ice time given where he is in his development.

    Dumb move by the player and the organization.

    • Spydyr

      He needs to play and stay well tuned. I don’t think the Oilers are returning him prematurely and playing in the AHL will give him time to maybe play some center. Players are going to play, some are going to get injured. Not playing if a season is going to return is worse. There is nothing dumn here. If he doesn’t play here he going to play somewhere like the KHL, or Swiss League. Be thankful hes chosen to play over here.

  • Mark-LW

    I remember reading somewhere, I think on the Oilers website, that Hall was playing some C in practice with the Barons. I wouldn’t expect it, but I also wouldn’t be too surprised if they tried this Hall at C experiment right away on the farm. Wonder if this big trade involves Gagner? (It’d be dumb if it did at this point.)

  • Mark-LW

    A point of clarification if you know Jonathan. Under the buyout plan possibly being considered would teams be limited to buying out one player without it counting on the cap or could they buy out as many as they wanted? I know this is just an idea that is maybe being floated but did the NBA limit it to one player?

    Listening to Stauffer yesterday on the ‘Wow” move he seemed to be fudging on whether A) The Oilers had concrete plans to make a move with another team in the short window between the end of the lockout and the season openers, or B) that since Lowe swooped in on financially vulnerable teams for Pronger and Peca in that short window at the end of the last lockout it was very much in his mind again, but nothing was necessarily teed up. After all, there won’t be a window this year unless there is a deal.

    • 24% body fat

      This may sound stupid, but a major loophole here if there is a buyout clause. Of course we would want to do this on the last possible day so no other teams do it, and based on if these loop holes exist.

      If there is a one time complete buy out clause with no cap hits. We should buy out Taylor Hall, and resign him to a new lower cap hit. This way he gets paid what he wants plus maybe some and we could get him at a ridiculously cheap hit.

      Ex. Buy out is 50 cents on the dollar with no cap hit. Taylor Hall would get 3M for 7 years. Now we sign him for 7 years 3.5-4M. Cap hit is lower and he makes more money.

      I know the NHL is not that stupid, but there were some weird loopholes in the last CBA. Horcoff is paid a lot of money but his cap is not much longer. His contract might also be tradeable next year to cap floor starved teams.

      Just trying to play Lou today. LOL

  • 24% body fat

    So how do the oilers still have the rights to an unsigned 2006 draft pick?

    Drafted player rights confuse me.

    Maybe the ducks should pursue him once the oilers lose his rights. You know, to bring balance to the force.

    • Peterborough

      Looks like he could be a dandy Hudler replacement. Detroit is stacked with prospects we could use and would most likely be willing to move a pick that could be a fine addition in a deep draft.

  • admiralmark

    I always felt that Smid has some offensive talent there. I think he’s an underrated skater and stickhandler then he gets credit for. And any offensive flair he might of had was quashed in his development years focusing on Defense only. I wonder if this lockout could actually better his offensive development as he would not of had that opportunity playing in the NHL?

  • admiralmark

    Speaking of players playing in other leagues, I noticed several players are now playing for their ECHL affiliates, which is interesting. Maybe Cornet and Bunz will be getting a test down there after all with some of those teams.

    Which leads me to the question, why haven’t guys like Petry and Peckham signed up to play somewhere by now? I will give the pass to Petry, but Peckham, with his history of poor fitness and since he is a fringe NHLer, I can’t understand why he isn’t trying his best to play something besides paintball to make sure he is 100% ready to go and to improve. Corey Potter is playing.

  • TeddyTurnbuckle

    For anyone wondering if they should pay for the AHL live package to watch theses guys don’t waste your time. I payed for two games and turned it off after the first period of game number one. It looked like someone was shooting it with their cellphone and the audio was beyond awful. It was almost impossible to hear what the play by play guy was saying behind all the feedback. Not to mention the the camera guy can’t even follow the play. Honestly the quality is so bad that you can’t even tell who the players are. I can’t believe they have the gull to try and charge people for their coverage.

  • Spydyr

    Oil Kings just traded for Musil . Stauffer was maybe right on his prediction , only it was the Oil Kings not the Oilers with a big deal . Will be nice to see Musil play here for the next while . Maybe make him NBR.11 ?

  • Rocknrolla

    Wonder if Krueger has got some feelers out to his old buddies in the Swiss League on Omark and other Oilers. Would be interesting if based on this the oilers bring Omark back in for another shot with Krueger. I loved his toughness to knock off the puck, but hate how small he is.

    Likely trade bait, but stock will certainly rise with this performance.

  • 24% body fat

    “Injuries and hard hits are just part of professional hockey. In this case the payoff – having good players in key developmental years playing hockey rather than sitting – is easily worth the risk.”

    If Taylor Hall blows out his new shoulder or Ebbs catches one of those lowball knees again ,or if Nuge ends up concussed ,I hope to god you re-read this thread.We will never forget the consequences of a serious injury sustained playing in a non-NHL game by one of our studs, it will be history making and franchise defining.

    This is not the type of history and franchise defining action I was hoping for out of these gold coins we waited so many years to see and have.But you know what peer pressure can do to certain managment types,it can define them.Another little lockout and everyone takes their eyes off of the prize,Moma2 says thats bad news.

    I am not interested in what the status quo says,the risk seems to great.The reward is non-existant- because these guys could stay in shape playing non-contact ball hockey.When hockey resumes all things being considered equal ,as young men they will have a tidy advantage over older vets hands down in terms of readiness– I believe there is no return value to justify the risk.

    Looks like another Square Table decision to me.