Maybe I’m reaching for an angle in a season that’s been devoid of any intrigue for months, but with three games remaining for the Edmonton Oilers, the three-way race for the team goal-scoring lead being staged by Taylor Hall, Jordan Eberle and David Perron has my attention.

Part of it, I suppose, is Hall, Eberle and Perron are in a dead-heat for the goal-scoring lead with 27, which happens to be one of my favorite numbers. The other hook for me is that the Oilers haven’t had three players with 25-or-more goals in the same season since 1996-97, a campaign second only to the Stanley Cup run of 2006 in terms of giving fans something to cheer about since the last parade in 1990.

Hall, Eberle and Perron were in elementary school back when the Oilers upset the Dallas Stars in Game 7 of the Western Conference quarter-final, when Todd Marchant raced around a wooden-legged Grant Ledyard and fired a shot behind Andy Moog at Reunion Arena to send the Oilers to the second round versus the Colorado Avalanche. Good times.


That regular season, Ryan Smyth scored 39 goals. Andrei Kovalenko potted 32 and the Polish Prince, Mariusz Czerkawski, scored 26 goals. President of hockey operations Kevin Lowe was on the team that season. Likewise, assistant coach Kelly Buchberger.

Simply put, it’s been awhile.



Facing an eighth straight year out of the playoffs after a season in which fans were expecting more, a three-way goal-scoring race obviously doesn’t come close to generating the same excitement, but Hall, Eberle and Perron have at least provided something of a silver lining to what’s been a grey cloud.


Hall, 22, has put together a terrific last month. Offensive production aside, he’s tied up some loose ends in his game. He’s been more sound defensively and more focused – the overblown water bottle episode aside. His 27 goals equals his previous best, set in 2011-12 (in just 61 games). His 77 points is a career high. He’s been driving the bus.


Eberle, 23, won’t match the 34 goals he scored in 2011-12, but he’s looked a lot better since being reunited with Hall and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. It’s been an up-and-down campaign for Eberle to be sure, but we’re seeing a narrower margin between his best outings and his worst outings lately. He’ll push 30 goals with a shooting percentage that sits at 13.6 today, rather than the tough-to-replicate 18.9 he had during his 34-goal year.


Perron, 25, has delivered everything the Oilers could have hoped when GM Craig MacTavish acquired him from the St. Louis Blues in the Magnus Paajarvi trade. He’s been a pain-in-the-arse, as expected, and his 27 goals is a career high (he had 21 in 57 games in 2011-12). He’s provided grit and, most important, secondary scoring. So far, he’s been a steal.

Does this three-way race trump the drudgery of another season out of the playoffs? Obviously not. Does it matter, outside of bragging rights in the dressing room? Probably not. Like I said, though, it’s been a long, long time since the Oilers had three players with 25-or-more goals, so I’ll take it for what it’s worth and enjoy these next three games.

I’ll put a buck on Hall to finish on top.


  • With 77 points, Hall has a chance to reach 80 points, No Oiler has done that since 2000-01, when captain Doug Weight had 90 (25-65-90) in 82 games.

Listen to Robin Brownlee Wednesdays and Thursdays from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. on the Jason Gregor Show on TEAM 1260.

  • The Soup Fascist

    Three very different guys.

    Hall has been exceptional lately. Haters are gonna hate. Yeah he gives away the puck too much. He gives it away because he’s got it. It happens to guys who tend to control the play. Would love to see him run a few more guys and get a little more nasty to protect himself. Hopefully he can figure out the “nasties” before he gets run over one too many times.

    Perron has had a great year playing with a mixed bag of linemates. Guy is at times an absolute witch with the puck. Lately too many bad O-zone penalties. He plays with an edge which is great. He just needs to avoid the stinkers when the game is on the line. Not really a concern in April when you are toast since November, I suppose. Would be nice to see Eberle play with half his edge.

    Eberle was brutal for the bulk of the year. 30 goals or not. What I have seen lately is a bit more commitment to the backcheck and a willingness to occasionally go to tough places more often. The bulk of the year he has been very happy to be on the perimeter. Hopefully a corner has been turned.

  • I won’t allow my disappointment to be glazed over. They all sucked this year. Badly. None of them should be happy with their performance – 27+ goals or otherwise.

    They are in a dead heat for second LAST place in the entire league. What should the Oilers do? Don’t know, not my job. I’m a fan so my job is to not let them get away with this nonsense I’ve had to put up with for almost a decade. I will keep shaking my head and keep calling for theirs (not literally, you maniacs). I won’t boycott the games or toss a jersey on the ice but I will continue to be pissed off at them.

    Win and be better more often.

    There; my say. Appreciate the audience.

    • hankthetank

      You’re free not to take a respite from pissing and moaning about the disarray this team is in even though there’s an entire off-season to accentuate the negative — of which there is plenty.

      If you choose to believe Hall, Eberle and Perron all sucked this year, that’s fine. My take, knowing untold lament and consternation awaits, is that having three 27-goal scorers on a team that’s 29th, when there’s only 34 in the entire league, is worth mentioning.

      • Quicksilver ballet

        All fair. It’s worth mentioning absolutely.

        But our top three goal scorers, combined, have 1 less goal than Boston’s top three. Boston has 48 more points than us in the standings. And ask Washington what it’s like having Ovechkin get 50. Where would Gretzky’s legacy be if he didn’t win anything?

        27 goals each or 107 goals. I don’t care.

        Just WIN.

    • dougtheslug

      Not a dead heat for 29th,at all, at all.

      Oilers are in sole possession of 28th place (65points-64points over Florida,).

      Plus they have the clear edge in regulation wins (24-20). Credit where credit is due. Please.

      Plus, to keep on topic, Florida has only one player with as many as 20 goals (Brad Boyes has exactly 20). Their top scorer has an astonishing 36 points (Scottie Upshall). If Oilers win the lottery they should give it to Florida out of pity.

      On the other hand, the Panthers entire roster gets to live in Florida for the winter. Plus they are NEVER recognized on the street. So they got that going for them.

  • Lofty

    3 players scoring more than 25 goals for the first time in 16 years on a team lacking goal scoring… only highlights the massive holes in the teams lineup. Sad state of affairs.

    It would be nice to see what some of these players could do if they didn’t spend most of there time trying to regain the puck from the other team.

    In my opinion a lot of the problems start the D not standing players up at the blue line. Gap controle is a serious problem with this group.

  • Krusher

    thinking out loud(or maybe not thinking at all) wondering what the odds are in vegas for the oilers to win it all in 2015, get 100 people to throw in $10.00, 1000-1, 2000-1?

  • hankthetank

    With these 3 and RNH and the 2 good goalies that they now have and the defense becoming more mature and 2 solid trades over the summer (give up someone not mentioned above including 1st draft choice) I see the Oilers competing for a playoff spot in February.

    • Well maybe the GM will consider trading while their players value is high for a change. With all the optimism because of a win or two and that the number 1 line looks good as of late, the gap between us and Calgary has actually increased since the trade deadline-since MacT made his last trades.

      • hankthetank

        I’m not going to make excuses for the teams loses, but if it wouldn’t have taken the coaches 70 plus games to figure out to put Hall,Ebbs and RNH together, then the gap between the Oilers and Flames would probably be a lot closer. I still believe this team would be a lot better, if they changed ALL of the coaches. The Oilers have the schedule from hell for their last ten games of the season.

  • hankthetank

    The way the Oilers have played their last 25 games, they could be a decent team next year, if they can somehow get that top pairing, veteran D-man. They have to keep this draft pick and get the second line centre that they desperately need. (That is if Ekblad is not available) And upgrade the third line so they can get even a few goals from the line as well as, have it shut down the oppositions top line. Gordon and Hendricks could be a good fourth line and PK unit. Yakupov will get a lot better also, everybody just has to remember that he has only been in the league for a season and a half, and he is only 20 years old.

      • Not to completely disagree with that comment.

        However,allow me to play devils advocate, the Oilers need a different kind of player in the top six, call him a Simmons or even a Dubinsky as examples.

        How does one go about acquiring said type player? Peron is the only top six player on a short & cheap contract that has value but will become a UFA in two years.

        So what happens if you lose Peron in year 2? Is that part of the perpetual rebuild?

        Let’s keep Peron but trade Yakupov, year 2 rolls around only to find out Peron wants huge money, or he doesn’t want to be in Edmonton.

        So, you’ve lost Yakupov and now Peron.

        What’s the more likely hood of being in a preputual rebuild, trading youth for short term success…….isn’t that how the Oilers got in this mess in the first place?

        Trading youth, poor picks, trading picks for established players only to have those players age out.

        Unless you are absolutely without a doubt 100% sure Peron will sign for the Oilers long term then it’s absolutely MacTavish’s responsibility to use Peron as a asset now, not when his position is weakened by a trade deadline or UFA status.

        Hanging on to players to late is how you get into a rebuild.

        Just my thought on that subject, I felt the same way about Hemmer, waiting two years to long.

  • Quicksilver ballet

    In 3 yrs this team will be locked and loaded. Hall,RNH,Ebs,Yakupov,Marincin,Nurse and Ekblad……the whole famn damily!

    Rebuild from within, it’s this markets only option.

  • I tried it at home

    17 years? Its been that long since that great, beautiful upset game? Good lord, we’re overdue for some joy in these parts. All those years of squeaking into the playoffs to get booted by Dallas aside, that one season and the next where the Oilers did the same to Denver ( to lose to Dallas in the next round, of course) were what brought me into the fold as a fan again. Thanks for the memories, Brownlee, I think Ill go youtube a few and see whats there.

  • The Last Big Bear

    Perron should be Captain of the Oilers.

    He is the oldest top-6 forward, and he does everything the team as a whole needs to do more of.

    If I had to pick one current Oiler to build the team around, it would be Perron.

  • The Last Big Bear

    I doubt Oilers would draft Ekblad even if they win the lottery . They have plenty of young ones in system they are waiting on already , including Nurse . We already are waiting the benefits of improved play from Marincin , Klefbom , Schultz , etc.. Look for Oilers to draft a center with grit and size .

    If Oilers obtain E.Kane without seeing our young stars in trade , it might be quite a nice second line of Perron ,an improved Yak and E.Kane .

    Nice to see Eberle, Hall and Perron fighting for goal lead on team . A nice accomplishment ( bright light)considering where we are at in standings .

  • Quicksilver ballet

    It a shame Nail wasn’t allowed to be a part of this conversation. Dallas’ own personal whipping boy was crushed with criticism rather than fine tuned as the season went on.

    Just need to get rid of that All hat, no cattle coach and these kids could be on their way.

  • Quicksilver ballet

    This line should have been left intact all season long, instead of Eakins dicking around and MacT wanting SnowPants on the line to showcase him for a trade after giving him that awful contract.The entire line including Nuge would have thrity goals and would have won another dozen games.

    Lousey defense, goal tending and a bottom six made up of AHL players was a bigger issue than the top line not playing proper defense,not to mention Eakins power play.

  • Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty)

    Wake me up when Kevin Lowe is gone!! Hemsky leaves and lights it up. Bryzgalov leaves and lights it up. Anyone wonder if maybe the people in charge have a fundamentally losing style of play? 8 years running now….

  • Admiral Ackbar

    Wow, lots of venom here on the sight. Definitely not unwarranted. I still think the Oilers are only a few key pieces away from putting it all together.

    I know the teams are built in a different way, but Colorado did not add many pieces to its roster over the summer, and really turned their fortunes around.

    I am really pumped that our stars are getting it done for the most part. You look at teams like Washington with a 50 goal scorer and can’t understand why they wouldn’t be in the playoffs. Or how last year Tampa had the top two point producers int he league and were one of the worst teams. Again, they did not add many pieces over the summer, and even lost one huge piece for most of the year, but they turned it around.

    In both Tampa and Colorado, the major change was goal tending. I don’t think I need to even look at the numbers to know the team was better when our goal tending got better.

    I still see Nuge having a breakout year. And if Yak can get some consistent minutes instead of being used all throughout the damn line up, then we could have some pretty powerful top two lines.

    I hope they can add a Legwand or a Stasny for down the middle, as well as help out on the back end until all our D prospects have time to develop.

  • Doctor Smashy

    I am definitely (along with Mr. Brownlee) more interested in focusing on the positive after this horrible, horrible, horrible season. We have three 27 goal scorers (my bet is that two of them crack 30) and Nuge and Yak are capable of the same. We as Oiler fans have a lot to look forward to. Marincin is going to be a stallion, Klefbom looks better than I though he would, Schultz is a really good hockey player, Petry (regardless of what anyone thinks) is a good defenceman who must be reading this blog because he is starting to hit more, and Nurse is going to make the team next year. Gordon, Hendricks, Pinizzotto, Gazdic….money. The Perron for PRV trade will be on a top 10 list for most one-sided trades ever one day. The glass must not be half full but it is not empty.

    Go OILERS!!!!!!!

  • #ThereGoesTheOilers

    With all of us in the same miserable boat, these are the only stats that matter now, courtesy of NHL.com (current):

    Hall 27-50-77

    Eberle 27-37-64

    Perron 27-29-56

    Nugent-Hopkins 18-36-54

    Hudler 16-35-51

    Giordano 14-32-46

    Cammalleri 26-18-44

    Backlund 18-21-39

    H. Sedin 10-37-47

    D. Sedin 14-30-44

    Kesler 24-18-42

    Higgins 17-22-39

    We have something to be legitimately happy about.

    • #ThereGoesTheOilers

      If you compare teams Oilers vs Canucks., the Oilers have a slightly bettyer GF and GPgame over Vanc.
      The big problrem for OIlers is goals against..
      OIlers = 258 and Vanc -206 . Defense is still the missing link from Oilers team play.

      Most all playoff bound teams are not minus teams.

  • #ThereGoesTheOilers

    I like Brownlee’s point on how there is only 34 players in the entire league with 25+ goals. Puts us in the top ten. Shows the signs that we are weak on D and secondary scoring.

    I used to love watching the games, it has been a year I have been having trouble turning on the tube. I now attend more WHL games than Oiler games. I enjoy the compete level much more. Much is broke in oil country but I will always be a fan of the team even though most days I can’t bear the burden of watching 60 mins.