GDB 67.0: What Is Left To Play For?

57-Perron-9

It’s pretty easy to dismiss Thursday’s Oilers/Blues game as a meaningless affair, but the truth is that there’s still some point to the games being played – if not at the team level, than at least at the individual one.

Expected Lines

  • Taylor Hall – Sam Gagner – David Perron
  • Nail Yakupov – Ryan Nugent-Hopkins – Jordan Eberle
  • Matt Hendricks – Boyd Gordon – Jesse Joensuu
  • Luke Gazdic – Ryan Smyth – Ryan Jones
  • Martin Marincin – Jeff Petry
  • Mark Fraser – Justin Schultz
  • Oscar Klefbom – Andrew Ference
  • Ben Scrivens

Why It Should Matter

89-Gagner-5

The top line has at least two players for whom this game is important. For Sam Gagner, he’s at a crossroads in his career. He’s likely to be dealt in the off-season, and he can both increase his appeal to a contender and increase Edmonton’s likely trade return if he finishes the year strongly. He has seven points in his last five games and doubtless would like his recent run of effectiveness to continue. At right wing, there’s no question that David Perron would like to show well against his old team.

Joensuu, Jesse 2

A good game or a bad game isn’t likely to impact a bunch of the players in the middle of the lineup, but at the outer edges there are a few players who need to play well down the stretch. Jesse Joensuu is under contract for another season, but should certainly be seen as playing for a spot on next year’s team, as his contract is small enough to bury. Ryans Jones and Smyth are pending unrestricted free agents, and either could find himself outside the NHL next season.

5-Fraser-2

Defence is where things really matter. Three different players continue to fight for a spot next season. Mark Fraser is a pending unrestricted free agent and a fringe NHL’er; he has a shot at a depth job in Edmonton next year and needs to play well. Martin Marincin and Oscar Klefbom, meanwhile, need to show quickly that they belong; both guys have a bit of time but the fact is that players like Darnell Nurse and perhaps Aaron Ekblad are on the way – there are only so many jobs available for young guys and getting a leg up on the competition is massively important for both players.

30-Scrivens-3

Finally, Ben Scrivens looks likely to get first run at Edmonton’s starting job next year, but he’s hardly immoveable in that position. Every strong game is another data point in his favour, another reason for Dallas Eakins to stick with him long-term.

Predictions

GAME DAY PREDICTION: 3-0 St. Louis. These teams are at different ends of the NHL spectrum. 

OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Perron plays well, yet again, but he’s one of the few Oilers with jump against arguably the NHL’s best team. 

NOT-SO-OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Fraser continues to show fairly well on a pairing with Schultz.

RECENTLY BY JONATHAN WILLIS

  • bazmagoo

    God I hate our power play, two straight 2 on 1’s on the PK for the Blues. Pathetic.

    37 goals this season on the PP, 11 short handed goals against. Sad.

  • NsxZero

    Darryl Sutter is going for his 500th win tonight, how quick will Eakins get to 500 losses? I guess he will have to get a 3 year extension to get it with Edmonton.

  • NsxZero

    Eakins always complains about the team not getting the message…how long does it take him to get the message that they are not in a position to execute the 1-3-1? It is crazy

  • dougtheslug

    How do the Oiler apologists spin a game like this?

    “Wow, played the best team in the NHL even for 2 periods, just ran out of gas in the third – we’re making steady progress, rebuild right on schedule, wait ’til we take that next step…..”

    How do Oiler realists see an debacle like this?

    “Five (or four or six, whatever) years into the “rebuild”, and the gap between this team and the NHL elite is bigger, wider and deeper than at anytime in Oiler history. What an embarrassment. And how about that 1-3-1 power play. The greatest invention since the 8-track.”

  • Spydyr

    Still grinding in the gutter I see, lol. I remember trolling on here a few years back when we hired Burke and all I heard here was dynasty this and dynasty that. Hahaha. And now the Flames have Burke and you’ll still be toiling in your own filth while your southern neighbors are building a real team. Oiler domination to follow….. HAHAHAHA

  • dougtheslug

    On a side note, I read in the paper today where Eskimo QB Mike Reilly added 25 pounds (twenty-five!!) of muscle over the off season. Either he is rockin’ some pretty serious PEDs, or RNH, Marincin, and few others better get the name of that trainer and nutritionist, pronto.

  • dougtheslug

    if you want to have a good laugh and see again another reason why this team sucks so bad..watch Eakins post game interview..what a clown!! “we were right with them, we could have gotten at least 1 point and thought maybe even two..we can compete with these guys”

    Are you serious? you high Dickens? St. Louis simply woke up and said enough is enough and played the heavy-game they play night in and night out…just thank your lucky stars they only played this style for 20 minutes or the score might have been 10-2. IDIOT!!!

    • bazmagoo

      Eakins seriously irritates me, I can’t watch his interviews without my blood pressure rising. Guess I shouldn’t be surprised that the con-man who conned the con-men in the seats above him takes no responsibility in any way, shape or form for the teams performance. Better roster than last year, worse results – nuff said.

  • dougtheslug

    I love the blame the fans mentality that this cities media fuels and so many idiots on this site believe in. The fans demanded that we make the playoffs for years, so management complied by chasing b-level stars to make the playoffs. BS. I am an oiler fan since 79 and have never traded a player, signed a free-agent or ran anyone out of town. Time to own this mess Klowe and let someone else kick this can for a while. It is embarrassing to be an oiler fan. Hopefully the day will come where the team name deserves a capital letter again