ONE FOR KRUEGER

Edmonton Oilers fans have one eye on the standings and one eye on the draft lottery (where young men like Sasha Barkov–in photo–are available) as we hit the final stretch of this season. Oilers coach Ralph Krueger’s goal may be the exact opposite of the Nation. Or is it?

I very much like Krueger’s take on this situation. The Oilers have had THREE number one selections since 2010 summer and the time to turn the corner is now. Another week of losses might seem like a small deal, but the Oilers have to stand and deliver at some point and losing for the sake of draft position after those three long, losing years seems noxious to this Oiler fans. If they lose the games fair and square, so be it. However, the Oilers owe it to the spirit of sport to make every effort to do as Krueger suggests in the quote above–and I’m sure they will.

CAN THEY RUN THE TABLE?

The Oilers are currently tied for 23rd in the NHL, with 5 games left (they have a game in hand on several other clubs, but also have a ridiculous final week coming). Taylor Hall left last night’s game with an arm injury, Ales Hemsky may not play again this season and there are no gimme’s among the teams Edmonton faces this coming week (ANA x 2, Chicago, Minnesota, Vancouver).

Chances are Edmonton remains about where they are (the Flames may pass them, Calgary doesn’t know how to lose properly) and a reasonable guess would have them drafting 6th-10th. The draft board on Kingsway might look like this:

  1. Seth Jones
  2. Jonathan Drouin
  3. Nathan MacKinnon
  4. Sasha Barkov
  5. Sean Monahan
  6. Elias Lindholm
  7. Valeri Nicushkin

and I’d think they would be thrilled with any of the top 5. There’s still a lot to be sussed out about this year’s edition and of course there’s always a wild card (often a defenseman) in there somewhere. Darnell Nurse is a defenseman getting a lot of chatter, perhaps he ends up being this year’s surprise selection in the draft.

WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?

Losing games to improve draft position isn’t a sin on the scale of putting ketchup on spaghetti (what the hell?) but as a fan I’m pleased with Krueger’s quote. To hell with losing, every damn Oiler fan has had enough for a lifetime. Seriously.

The Memorial Cup champion 1963 Oil Kings are appearing this weekend (along with Paul Henderson and others) at the Summit IV memorabilia and collectibles show at Millennium Place in Sherwood Park today (1:30 to 2:30 p.m.) and tomorrow (11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m).

We’ll be broadcasting the show live today noon to 2pm, and interviewing many of the Oil Kings players at the event. The day is "fluid", but scheduled to appear:

  • Members of the 1963 Oil Kings: Gregg Pilling, Bert Marshall, Bob Falkenberg, Dave Rochefort, Tom Bend, Russ Kirk, Vince Downey, Harold Fleming and Jim Brown.
  • Scott Francis Winder will preview the FC’s home game this week
  • Evan Daum will discuss the FC’s season, the Oil Kings and more.
  • Kent Simpson (Oil Kings color commentator) gives us an update on what is turning into a very good series.
  • Dennis King, to talk Oilers, Craig MacTavish, Kevin Lowe and more.
  • Maggie the Monkey

    Last nights win was one of the 2 I thought we would win. I think the Oilers win the Sunday night game against Anaheim. The Ducks appear to be unmotivated going into the last part of the season. They have locked up a playoff position and they appear satisfied are playing without their previous urgency. The rest of the games I see us losing. I felt at the beginning of the season that we would finish 25th and I still think that now. My reasoning was based on the Oilers first line being asked to step up and first line minutes. I felt that it would take at least a season for the big 3 to adjust to the level of play expected of them. It has been exactly as I thought. They have thrived at times and other times have looked overmatched. Nagging injuries and a new system contributed to their lack of production early on. Especially RNH coming back from Russia. I felt for the first month that he was out of sorts. Hall showed me the most and he continues to impress.

    The other reason was the defence. The numbers at the end of the season will be ugly. Whitney continued to show me that he can’t play the defensive side of the puck. And for a defencemen that is death. Paired with rookie JS it was lethal combination. And way to soft. The shot blocking of Smid is nice but he isn’t that nasty I am going to make you pay kinda guy like Kevin Bieksa. Petry? Does not know how to throw a hit. Potter.Mr Marshmellow.
    The only thing that saved the Oilers defense was DD. He steped up his level of play and if he had a better defense would be rewarded with better numbers.He is my number 2 team MVP behind Hall.

    Next 5, 1-4. Finish 25th.Pick Barkov.

  • Lowetide

    leadfarmer: I’ve been very impressed with Lander since his return, and wonder if that’s the guy Horcoff will mentor next season. Could be an option for sure.

  • Maggie the Monkey

    Well of course the coach wants to be out of the lottery. If he finishes in the lottery there will be some calling for his head. He does have a better team than his predecessors and one should expect better results. I think they’ll give him another chance next year, which is the right thing to do, but if they are lagging outside of the playoff picture halfway through I could see a change.

    What did you think of Lander at the game last night. From my point of view he had a quiet night
    which is not a bad thing. Looks like he has been hitting the gym more than his fellow young oilers which is a good thing. Still think they should send him back and let him be for another year or two. I am Starting to think he might have a career at least.