IMPACT FROM WITHIN?

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The Edmonton Oilers have been in rebuild mode for years, and while they’ve seen some solid individual progress, the team hasn’t seen any improvement where it matters most: in the standings.

Taylor Hall, Jordan Eberle, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Nail Yakupov and Justin Schultz are the young, skilled players this team hopes to build around, but do they have any support players from within the organization who can help this team contend for a playoff spot?

Those five players aren’t experienced or talented enough to lead this team on their own just yet, and if they reach the point where they are, they will need a solid group of complementary players around them.

We’ve examined the the free agent market for the past few weeks, and outside of a few names there isn’t a lot to choose from, so the Oilers will likely have to hope some players within the organization can step up and contribute.

CANDIDATES

Martin Marincin and Oscar Klefbom are the best bets to be impact players next season.

Klefbom looked more comfortable in every game he played. He only dressed for 17 games, but he rarely looked overmatched physically. He skates well, has good vision and very good hockey sense. He finished the season at 213 pounds, and he very easily could come to camp at 220 next year.

I see him as the best internal candidate to solidify the blueline. If he can stay healthy he could become that minute-eating D-man they desperately need on the left side.

Marincin was solid, but I felt we saw his lack of strength become more of an issue as the season went along. He is a very good passer, skates well has a very good stick and a long reach. I feel he has all the tools to be successful, but he needs to dedicate himself in the off-season. Marincin needs to get stronger. He needs to put some meat on his lanky 6′ 4″ frame. I hope that getting a taste of life in the NHL will inspire him to workout harder and eat better this summer. If he does, he should be a solid defender.

Darnell Nurse is the other D-man who could compete for an NHL job. I still believe he’d be better off going back to junior, playing for Canada at the World Juniors and continue to develop. He is very competitive and he’ll come to camp expecting to make the team. He would need to be better than both Klefbom and Marincin to make the team, and that’s why I believe he’ll play one more season in junior.

Dillon Simpson, Martin Gernat, David Musil, Brandon Davidson and Jordan Oesterle should give OKC a solid young D corps. Simpson and Osterle need at least one year to develop in the AHL. Musil has to improve his footspeed if he ever hopes to play in Edmonton, while Davidson and Gernat should be looking at playing more minutes in the AHL this year.

FORWARDS

Mark Arcobello

Mark Arcobello, Anton Lander and Tyler Pitlick (when he re-signs) will have the best chance to make an impact.

Arcobello had a great start, 10 points in his first 10 games, but finished with 8 in his next 31. He won’t be a point-per-game player, but he has the potential to produce more than 1 point every 4 games. Arcobello’s work ethic and willingness to do anything to earn icetime will get him a long look in training camp. When he was sent back to the AHL, he proved he was too good for that league, scoring 28 points in 15 games. He should come to camp with a lot of confidence, and if he can produce in training camp he could earn a spot in the top-9.

Lander is coming off his best offensive season, but that was at the AHL level. He has struggled to produce in the NHL, and right now he seems more likely to start on the 4th line in a defensive role, rather than higher in the lineup. “I have to get stronger and faster,” Lander told me when he signed a one year contract extension. “I have to prove I can produce in the NHL if I want to stay there,” continued the 2009 2nd round pick. Lander knows what he has to do, but can he accomplish that?

Pitlick is an RFA, but I expect the Oilers to sign him to a one-year deal. Staying healthy has been his biggest hurdle. He scored his first NHL goal in Phoenix, but he got hurt a few shifts later. Every time it looks like he is ready to take the next step in his development, his progress is halted by an injury. He has the size and speed to help this team on the wing, but he needs to stay healthy if he wants to make a contribution.

THE REST…

 Wil Acton and Ryan Hamilton are AHLers who could fill in, but I don’t see them as regular NHL players. The rest of the forward prospects need time to develop. Bogdan Yakimov, Mitch Moroz and Jujhar Khaira will play their first season in the AHL this fall, while Kale Kessy and Travis Ewanyk need to continue to develop and hope that they can be energy guys in the future.

I didn’t include Taylor Fedun, because I have a hunch he will test free agency. I’m curious to see if the Oilers will qualify Curtis Hamilton, or let him walk. He missed half of the season due to surgery, but in his three seasons in the organization he hasn’t made much progress. He did produce more this season, so the Oilers might give him one more year to see if he can produce and develop like they hoped when they took him 48th overall in 2010.

WHAT DOES IT MEAN?

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The Oilers best prospects are on the blueline, and while that is great, it also means they might get younger at a position they desperately need to improve. Craig MacTavish must sign at least one, and maybe two veterans to help nurture his young blueliners.

The Oilers forward depth should look much better once Yakimov, Khaira, Moroz and Greg Chase mature, but unless Arcobello or Lander take a big step next season, it doesn’t look like the Oilers will get much help from within next season.

ULTIMATE SPORTS FAN PACKAGE…

For the fourth consecutive year we are doing our Ultimate Sports Fan package in support of charity. On June 7th I am riding in the 190km MS Bike Tour, and I’ve come up with a pretty good package for the diehard sports fan.

How it works is you make a $100 donation and you get 1 entry. If you make a $200 donation you get two entries.

We only take 100 entries and we will raise $10,000 for MS.  The draw is Thursday June 5th, and we’ve already sold 30 on the first day..

This year’s winner will get the following: The final package will be value at over $5,000.00

  1. A pair of tickets to the Oilers home opener in October.
  2. A pair of Edmonton Eskimos season tickets in the lower bowl.
  3. A signed, game used Ryan Nugent-Hopkins stick.
  4. 20 tickets to the Oil Kings opening night game and banner raising night. Also, you will get an Oil King of your choice to come to your backyard rink or minor hockey practice for an hour. ( Between November 1st and December 15th.)
  5. A pair of Edmonton Rush season tickets.
  6. Two VIP floor seats to MFC 41 on October 3rd. That includes dinner before the fights, and you will also get to watch the prelims at ringside with the MFC broadcast team.
  7. The Nation’s own Jason Strudwick and one of his former NHL friends will play a game with your Men’s League team next season. Struds will bring the beer, a few good stories and some shootout moves.
  8. Four infield passes to the Canadian Derby on Saturday August 16th.
  9. Pizza for a year (1 pizza a week) from Papa Johns Pizza. When you want to watch the big games Papa Johns will ensure you have great pizza.

Keep in mind this sold out in two weeks last year, so if you want a chance to win and help end MS get in the draw today.

You can make your donation here. (click on Donate Now beside my bad picture). Thanks and good luck.

Recently by Jason Gregor:

  • bazmagoo

    One things for sure about the internal competition, if we end up drafting a center in the first round it’s going to be an old school battle royale for the 3rd line center spot. Now if only we had a 2nd line center ……….

  • Quicksilver ballet

    Very little if any progress has been made with Darnell playing in that nursery for the Greyhounds. The kid is just wasting his time there against C level competition. If he can’t make a 28th place hockey clubs blueline this fall, another yr playing with kids sure won’t help.

    He needs to run with the lions, and not the domestic floozie types wandering your local neighbourhood throughout the night. Throw him in the deep end and he’ll be just fine, like Marincin and Klefbom appear to be. Send one of them D’men down to the AHL if you have to, since they’re eligible. The Oilers will be wandering the desert for another 3 yrs no matter what happens this summer anyways. Play him about 40 games here this season, and another 40’ish the following season is probably what’s best for this kid. Let him play at the World Juniors if he wants both years.

      • Quicksilver ballet

        A team that’s made the playoffs 23 consecutive years. Versus, a team that has been the laughing stock of the league for 5 years.

        I totally see why you see these situations as comparables.

        • Reg Dunlop

          You proved my point for me.

          Would the team with the playoff streak chuck their young, vitally important prospect into the majors two, even three, years early? Not a chance.

          But you want the Oil to do just that. Send Kevin a resume, bud. Never know…

    • Zarny

      PK Subban…you know the guy who won the Norris trophy last year…went back to Belleville for 2 seasons after being drafted.

      Kris Letang? Same deal. Brent Seabrook? Yep, 2 more years of Jr.

      SHEA WEBER…you betcha…2 more years with the Kelowna Rockets after being drafted.

      Nurse doesn’t need to “run with the lions” or whatever dumb catchphrase you want to use. And throwing any prospect into the deep end is flat out stupid.

      As is burning off a year on an entry level contract to only play 40 games in a season let alone doing it twice.

      • Quicksilver ballet

        Two can play that game…

        Let me drop a few names on you, since you’re so inclined…

        Alex Plante

        Thomas Hickey

        Nick Petrecky

        Nick Ross

        First rounders, all of them, followed up with extensive time with the junior clubs followed up by years in the AHL. If Nurse plays 40’ish games for his first 2 seasons. The Oilers control him for 8 yrs, and not the previously established 7 before becoming an eligible UFA.

        What was your point again, Cherry Picker? The catchphrase of the day, is an irritant, intended to tick you off. You really should start wearing a ball cap to help mask your go button there Zarny.

        Right back at ya, kid.

        • Zarny

          What’s your point is what you should ask yourself.

          Nick Petrecky never played Jr. and is a career AHLer.

          Alex Plante simply isn’t good enough to make the NHL no matter how many years he plays in Jr. or the minors or Europe.

          Nick Ross? Another failed prospect who wasn’t good enough despite extra years in Jr. and the AHL.

          Are you really dumb enough to suggest any of them would have had a better chance of making it had they been rushed to the NHL to “run with the Lions” lol? If so, that’s dumb.

          The point is simple.

          There was nothing wasteful about playing 2 extra years of Jr. for Subban, Letang, Weber, Seabrook or Hickey just like it would not be wasteful for Nurse.

          As for only playing Nurse 40 games a season it’s a stupid idea.

          First, an accrued season is one where a player spends 40 or more games on the roster. So playing 40 games does not allow the Oilers to control Nurse for 8 years instead of 7 I’m afraid. He’d have to be on the roster for 39 or less.

          Second, as soon as Nurse plays 10 games you burn a year off his ELC. Wasting 2 years of Nurse’s ELC to only get a max 78 of a possible 164 games from him in order to “control” him for an extra year is dumb.

          Which is why no team ever does it.

          • Quicksilver ballet

            Well I apologize then. You can “select” your examples, but I shouldn’t do the same to support my argument. I can’t imagine how good Drew Doughty would have been if he had maxed out and remained in junior all of his eligible years. Your theory/painting every kid with the same brush has holes in it, you must admit.

            40’ish games in each of his first two seasons. Is that close enough to the 39 you suggested? The Predators did exactly that with Shea Weber. Which may be the ultimate example of why sometimes teams do, or should do it. He’s going to be a Rod Langway type, far from the offensive examples you suggested he’ll become by spending another year or two in junior/AHL. He feels mentally ready, along with being physically ready, what’s the hold up? Edmontons rebuild is unique and has it’s own set of special circumstances. There is no blueprint on hand that anyone can copy. Trust in these kids abilities/where they’re headed is all the Oilers have.

            Free Darnell Nurse! Rome is burning anyways…

          • Sorensenator

            Quicksilver, you are almost as dumb as your name suggests,

            I agree with Zarny over this argument you two are having. It will be a recipe for disaster having Klefbom, Marincin, Schultz, and Nurse all on the backend with a combined, what? 100 NHL games? Maybe? Are you serious?

      • Quicksilver ballet

        Following that sentiment – that would have Hall at about 2 years NHL experience , Hopkins at one and Yakupov starting this year . Eberle had one year I believe before bought up making him year 3 I believe instead of two.

        That might have been the right route in retrospect , and maybe they would have centered on a much better base in order to surround them rather than also rushing so many young AHL’ers as well to make matters even worse.

  • Craig MacTambeloweni

    I seem to recall watching a porn named The Impact from within, it starred Kevin Lowe and Asa Akira. He had on 6 stanley cup rings so he knew a thing or two about winning, if there’s ever a concern.

  • Quicksilver ballet

    If you care talking strictly from within [because no one wants to come to the Oilers ], I would
    convert Larsen to a forward..

    Joensus, Arcobello, and Larsen as your third line.
    This would be a good checking line with speed, and
    chasing down the puck.[ Larsen needs to report at
    something closer to 200 lbs. and hopefully Arco can put on 10 lbs. Larsen could also cover the 2 nd unit PP on the backend.[ you could flip Gordon for Arcco as well.]

  • Quicksilver ballet

    I thought the two games where Larsen played forward illustrated best, where he needs to fit in to make this team.

    Larsen looked very promising playing forward………I know that it was only a couple of games but in those two games he dominated his position. Now if we can convince Eakins to bring back donuts just maybe he can gain a few pounds and compete physically.

    I suspect from a coaching standpoint it’s nice to have a spare defenseman on your roster.

    I for one am hoping that one of our prospects has a strong training camp and makes the team……..let it be JK, we need his size!

    • bazmagoo

      I think signing Larsen to a 1 year deal would likely be a good move for the Oilers. Even though he’s small and hasn’t proven he’s a fit long term, it’s never a bad thing to have a utility player who can play forward and defence imo. He’s an RFA so could likely be signed for not much more than a million per season.

      1.15 million per season is his qualifying amount, according to capgeek.com. Not much risk involved.

  • Wax Man Riley

    The Canucks site has a great article on Hockey Analytics dealing with drafting of the Canucks , against a simple system by Sham . The results will surprise/amaze you perhaps . How much better Canucks would have been with no scouting and a simple method anyone could do . The simple method was points players accumulated in their 17th year only in the CHL . The results leading to players playing a year or more is amazing in comparison . Finally a template has been done with remarkable results . It is the first article in column . Check it out .

  • Anton CP

    To be honest, this is the 4th year of rebuilding, even they have missed playoffs for 8 years. The first 4 years were the time that they experienced a series of quick-fix, they have only start to think of rebuild in the last 4 years after Oilers won first overall pick for Hall.

    I don’t quite understand the fandom surround Arco, I meant, he has some nice numbers last year but isn’t he the type of the player that Oilers really don’t need? If the whole idea of Oilers are too small to compete in west, then isn’t Arco will just make this team even smaller? He is obviously not St.Louis or Gionta which means his frame will only work against this team and himself. Most of Arco’s number came from playing against smaller eastern team (13 out of 18 points were against eastern team, -9 against western team). His number may not be so pretty if he actually play another 3 more months.

    • Zarny

      I really don’t see how you can say at this point that Arco is not a Gionta. He has done nothing to show that he isn’t a Gionta and a lot to show that he could be.

      He has speed, heart and can put up points which he showed in AHL and the NHL when he was played in the top 6.

      Is he a saviour? Likely not. But he belongs on this team no matter how you slice it IMO.

  • WeridAl

    I get a kick out of you Gregor, you clearly didn’t do your homework. Jordan Oesterle is clearly a bust, best bet he ends up in the ECHL as will Dillon Simpson, whose skating is a lot worst than Musil’s. Musil skating has taken a big step, but he’s not that puck moving D, but the big tough stay at home D the Oilers desperately need. He has a good shot, grit, and loves to play that physical game, this cannot be said about Simpson. If your going talk about someones skating talk about Simpson’s. Nurse is beautiful to watch when he’s carry the puck and when playing 4on4, but his D game is severely lacking. You can clearly see why he wasn’t picked for the WJC. He also needs to add some mass, was often knocked off the puck in the 8-9 games he played with the Barons, and some cases knocked to his ass. Agree Nurse sees another year in the OHL and maybe a year or two in the AHL. Sometimes I wonder is the Oilers are feeding these kids, because Gernat, Marincin, and Nurse all look like bean poles. I notice you failed to mention Brad Hunt in your piece, the latter third of the season Davidson and Hunt was the Barons best pairing. Davidson will surprise some people. Curtis Hamilton took a big step towards the end of last season, and I understand Stu is still very high on him, would be a major brain fart if he’s not resigned for another year.

    • Jason Gregor

      Oesterle is a bust after playing a few AHL games. He is a project, but to say with confidence he is a bust is premature.

      Musil needs to improve his footwork. Just because he is a stay at home D-man, and the OIlers need one, doesn’t mean he is a lock. Far from it.

      Brad Hunt is 5′ 9″ and he will not be a regular NHL player. He is 25 so he should be more polished at the AHL level, but he is not ahead of the young Oilers as far as long term potential. Not close.

      Nurse it 18. I said I’d send him back to juniors and not rush him. He has a lot of upside. It seems you expect him to have man strength at 18. He doesn’t, so it isn’t a surprise he struggled against men.

      His future looks bright and he will improve. I don’t expect him to play next year, but that doesn’t mean he won’t be very good in the future.

  • Zarny

    Lets call a spade a spade . Oilers like every other team is in constant rebuild . We have been in constant tearing apart to compliment it for over 8 years and are even escalating it under MacT.. Somehow they figured all the new draftees could somehow make up for the losses in all the dumpings . It did not work and not surprisingly either . We are still in that constant dumping template expecting the impossible draftees to fix all the problems in the core or base adequately . When is this cycle going to end or are we going to continue to be the garbage dump for mediocer or less than adequate NHL players ? Fix everything with fillins of low quality never works on such a grand scale as we have produced -nor is it going to work in the future .

  • Quicksilver ballet

    Can we officially replace the phrase “Oilers have been rebuilding for years” with “Oilers have been terrible for years”?

    Maybe it’s just semantics, but whatever the hell the Oilers have been doing for the past decade has not been rebuilding.

    If they had been “rebuilding” they wouldn’t be in the desperate postion of hoping their prospects can fill top 6 forward positions. Those postions would be solid amd prospects would be in botom 6 positons, being groomed to one day move into top 6.

    Not a rebuild.

  • Zarny

    @madjam

    Eberle went back to Jr. for an extra 2 years (’08-’10) and it was the right call. He put up 74 and then 106 pts as an overage player. His rookie season and 1st year on his ELC was when he was 20.

    IMO both Nuge and Yakupov should have been sent back for at least 1 extra year of Jr. 52 pt in 62 games shows Nuge was good enough but he needed to mature physically. Yak needed to work on his game away from the puck. The Oilers wasted Nuge’s entire ELC finishing 29th, 24th and 28th.

    Gagner is an even better example of who should have been sent back to Jr. for an extra year or two. He needed to both mature physically and work on his game away from the puck. Wasting his ELC also put the Oilers at risk to lose him as a UFA at 25 y/o.

    IMO Hall is the only one who should have made the jump right to the NHL. His pro-rated pt totals over 82 games are 53, 71, 91 and 87. He certainly could have worked on his 200 ft game with an extra year in Jr. and the Oilers could have saved a year on his ELC but he was elite in the NHL after 1 year. And unlike the rest he was a back to back Memorial Cup winner and back to back Memorial Cup MVP. He literally had nothing left to prove in Jr.

  • Right now, this is how I see this thing:

    Hall-RNH-Eberle
    Perron-????-Yakupov
    Hendricks-Gordon-Gagner

    You need that center for the 2nd line. It will make a world of difference. Who is that center? No clue. Maybe they try this years 1st (if they draft a center) or a UFA. Or a trade. There’s always that…

    I’d guess it’s a UFA.

    IF Gagner is here next year try him on the third as wing. Why not? Less D-responsibilities and he would add an offensive upside to that line.

    If he’s gone and you have to replace him internally I would try Arcobello there or Larson. The latter wasn’t too bad in the forward cluster last year and I would lean more to him. Brief as the experiment was I saw some good things. He would add the offense that Gagner could but with more speed.

    Not even sure Larson gets resigned, but if they think they can make him a forward I suspect they do it. We wait.

    Gazdic/Arcobello-Lander/Acton-Pitlick

    That’s how I see the fourth right now. As you can see I would go with the youth. Lets gets some enthusiasm on that line. True energy with some skill.

    Gazdic in and out every other game. Gotta keep people honest.

    I do believe Acton warrants his name in the convo too. Got better as the year went on.

    Obviously the Draft, Free Agency and any Trades will change my outlook, but that’s how I see it right now. Though, it all means sh*t if they can’t add, and I agree, two solid, veteran D-men.

  • Zarny

    @Quicksilver ballet

    The thing is names who couldn’t make the NHL even with an extra 2 years in Jr doesn’t support your argument. Your point is that Nurse would benefit more from making the jump to the NHL next year so names who successfully transitioned to the NHL with 0-1 extra years of Jr do.

    Drew Doughty is certainly one of those names; but he’s also the Sidney Crosby of D prospects. There probably hasn’t been a D this good since Orr. Nurse certainly isn’t in the same category as Doughty. Erik Karlsson and OEL only played 1 extra year in Europe before making the jump but both were playing in men’s leagues not against teenagers. Suter and Keith didn’t go the Jr. route so both ended up in the AHL as 20 y/o. The AHL isn’t an option for Nurse next year however.

    I agree you can’t paint every kid with the same brush; but it’s foolish to think there is something special or unique about Nurse compared to the the best D in the game today. Weber, Subban, Letang, Pietrangelo, Seabrook, McDonagh, Phaneuf, Beauchemin…it’s a long list of players who went back to Jr for 2 extra years.

    The list of players who made the jump right away or after 1 year is much shorter. And usually it’s a detriment to the player. Bouwmeester made the jump as an 18 y/o but was also demoted to the AHL after 2 seasons because he was struggling. Eric Gudbranson made the jump to the NHL after only 1 extra year of Jr and 2 seasons later was a healthy scratch for a few games because he was struggling.

    You should also do some more research on Shea Weber. Nashville did not limit him as you say.

    After playing 2 extra seasons of Jr with the Kelowna Rockets Weber started 2005-2006 in the AHL with the Milwaukee Admirals. He played 46 games in the AHL before being called up for 28 games in the NHL to finish his first pro year. In his 2nd pro season Weber played 78 games in the NHL. Weber wasn’t limited to 28 NHL games to avoid accruing a season anymore than Marincin or Klefbom this year. He simply wasn’t ready to start the season in the NHL.

    And no 40 ish games is not close enough to 39. If you play 40 you might as well play all 82 because it counts the same. For a season to not count as an accrued season it has to be 39 games or less.

    • One thing to to keep in mind is that the majority of those elite players you mention who went back for 2 years were not as highly regarded as Nurse in their draft year.

      I’m not necessarily disagreeing with the idea that he should go back, but I don’t believe that “(insert second round pick who became a star) went back” is a valid reason to send him down either.

      He’s either ready or he’s not.

  • Zarny

    @TigerUnderGlass

    Nurse is a 7th overall pick not a 2nd rounder like Weber and Subban etc. Fair comment. That certainly makes him a candidate to make the jump earlier. And I agree it comes down to is Nurse ready or not. I think history shows even most high draft picks are not.

    Hedman, Karlsson and OEL were drafted from men’s leagues. Doughty is Doughty; but Fowler, Murray and Maatta also jumped to the NHL quickly. The list who made the jump from Jr. quickly though also includes Zack Bogosian, Luke Schenn, Eric Gudbranson and Tyler Myers.

    That contrasts with Pietrangelo, Alzner, Hickey, Cowan, Hamilton, Ellis who took an extra year before transitioning and have been more consistent once they arrived.

    I agree 100% a blueline of Schultz, Klefbom, Marincin and Nurse will be an unmitigated disaster. Throw in Ekblad and it’s even worse. I think long term if Nurse is the left-side 1D then the Oilers only keep one of Marincin and Klefbom and trade the other.

    • Quicksilver ballet

      According to you and your crystal ball, he’ll never be eligible for/in that 1 more year of junior/into the bigs. Don’t claim to know what’s best for him. You’re not a paid professional inside the sport, but you know better than the rest who are. And don’t throw another hissy fit when he makes it this year.

      I never claimed the Oilers should start the season with 4 rookies on the blueline. One maybe even two could be dealt for now help to address one or two other holes on this roster.

      Don’t claim to know what’s best for all these kids. Hell, the Oilers themselves don’t even know what they have most of the time. This probably has a lot to do with finishes averaging 29th place finish these last 5 seasons.

      Let Darnell show he’s capable. He’ll certainly surprise this group of incompetent pucks in management. Making the decision on his behalf only confirms it.

  • Zarny

    @Quicksilver ballet

    I have no crystal ball. I don’t know what’s best for Nurse anymore than you. And unlike you, I don’t throw hissy fits.

    My comments were based on history that Weber, Subban, Pietrangelo and many of the top D in the league went back to Jr for 2 extra years and none of them were hurt by it; which is what you insinuated would be the case with Darnell.

    Otherwise I simply pointed out that if you want to refute my point use names that actually support your argument like Doughty, Fowler, Murray and Maatta.

    Randomly listing failed prospects like Plante, Petrecky and Ross does not support your argument. They didn’t fail because they weren’t allowed to run with the lions soon enough. Neither does Thomas Hickey who played 2 extra years of Jr as I suggested was the more proven path.

    Claiming Nashville limited Weber to less than 40 games for 2 seasons also doesn’t help your cause when he played half a season in the AHL and never again.

    Considering the Oilers have routinely thrown prospects into the deep end before they were ready I agree 100% the Oilers don’t know what is best for their prospects. That seems rhetorical to me.

    If Nurse shows up in September and is clearly better than Marincin and Klefbom then bob’s your uncle; get the man an Oilers jersey and away we go. I think history shows that is unlikely and that the greater risk to Nurse’s development is to rush him to the NHL too soon like Bogosian, Schenn and Gudbranson. The only risk with sending Nurse back to Jr is injury which applies no matter where he plays.

    • Quicksilver ballet

      Everybody who plays the game comes in as a nobody. All those guys (Weber,OEL,Karlsson,yada yada yada) came in as unknowns, just like Ekblad and Nurse are now. Just because he was drafted by a dysfunctional organization, doesn’t mean he can’t separate himself from the older more experienced players on that blueline. Look at what playing with even a few actual NHL players has done for Klefbom and Marincin.

      Perhaps the best d’man in camp last season, they chose to keep household names like Potter, Grabeshkov, Belov and Larsson over Darnell. Most if not all of those quality grizzled veterans punted at seasons end, instead of letting Nurse get 750 mins in last season. He’d have been much further ahead going into next season I’m sure. How much worse would it have gotten last season with him in the lineup, 29th?

      Can’t stand it when people say, “they know” when they don’t know.

      • Sorensenator

        He will get a chance to make the big club, just like he did last year.

        There are defensive holes in his game and he needs to fill out. An ideal situation would be for him to play a couple years in OKC to grow and develop but its not an option right now.

  • Lofty

    Actually I dont find Hall or Yak to be soft, and given more than just a couple of years to develop, Yak could very well become the power winger we yearn for. That is, if we’re not stupid and trade him away early. But, this is Edmonton, and we love to make panic moves and sell low.

    If Arco hadn’t been tied to a boat anchor on the 4th line for several games last year, his numbers undoubtedly would have been much better. But hey, who needs goals and points when you can have “grit” and “intensity” on your bottom lines.

    You say that the Oilers aren’t an offensive team. Do you know why? Because Hall, Nuge and Ebs don’t deliver? Nope. Because we have no depth scoring. We love these refrigerators, and so we get no goals from our 3/4 lines. So, your solution to the problem of acquiring more “size” will actually make the problem worse. Size isnt what this team needs. Scoring. Scoring. Hockey players that can, you know, play hockey?

    • Lofty

      How often do you have the desire , need or ability to sell players at the high level you seem to imply ? Not very often . We sell low more often than not because their values appear to be getting worse as time goes on . Other unexpected factors also can be player wanting a trade , etc..

  • Sorensenator

    We are talking Oilers here , not some team that’s already competitive and full of useful veterans . If Nurse and even Ekblad if we get him , are in our top 6 then I expect they will play . The organization will make the call . If it’s our best option then they play , and lets hope it’s before the season is over in 10 games like last year .

    However , I believe we will add a veteran or 2 by way of draft , trade , Ufa , etc. to alleviate having to do such . Lately in the past , we have not had that luxury to bring them along slowly . We may even rush a new center in draft simply because he might be our best option in top 1-3 centers . Depends on how fast MacT. wants us to climb out of rebuild and onto being a more competitive and entertaining hockey club .

    Right now we are not sure which way MacT. is leading us . More veterans , or a continuation of more draftees and AHL fillins ?

  • S cottV

    There is a serious lack of real leadership amongst the core group.

    Hendricks is the only guy you would want to go to war with and he is a 4th liner on a good team, if he makes that kind of team at all.

    Hall, RNH, Eberle, Yak and Schultz? – leading the charge? Better take cover….

    Oilers need 2 or 3 strong leaders to take charge of this show, or it’s not going anywhere.