The Edmonton Oilers are just wrapping up a busy week at this year’s NHL Scouting Combine, a week that will have seen them interview nearly more than 80 players when all is said and done.
630 CHED’s Bob Stauffer put out the final number and shed some light in the process on Oilers Now on Thursday:
The interviews are about 20 minutes long. The Oilers are going to try and interview 82 players – originally they had 84 scheduled – and… they are going to do, I mean do the math, 20 minutes per day, that’s three guys an hour, over the course of an eight hour day. At the most that’s 24, somewhere between 16 and 24 guys per day. They interview Monday to Thursday and maybe a few on Friday and then the testing takes place on Saturday.
In an interview with Jack Michaels on the Oilers’ official website (posted above), Stu MacGregor downplayed the significance of the interviews, saying that in most cases the area scout will already have talked to the players in question and finished by saying that the interview process pales in comparison to what the scouts have seen over the year:
It doesn’t change anything of your impression of the player. It gives you an idea of what the person is all about. It can’t change anything significantly because they have to perform on the ice and that’s where your key evaluation has to come from. This is a confirmation of all those things and it just gives you a little bit better idea and a little bit better feel of what kind of guy they are.
Gazdic and Engelland
Stauffer also touched on that Deryk Engelland rumour we discussed here yesterday, and added an interesting perspective on a second reason the Oilers might be interested in the player: the possible early-season absence of Luke Gazdic.
“He’s a right shot,” said Stauffer, which is an important distinction as the Oilers could use one for their third pair. “And he’s at least an option as a fourth line winger as well. Let’s not forget Gazdic – and I assume that the Oilers will sign Gazdic to a two-year contract extension – but Gazdic is coming off a shoulder issue and may not be ready for day one. Engelland could give them some toughness.”
Stauffer, who guessed that Engelland would get a deal somewhere in the range of $0.8 – $1.2 million per season, also implied that he’d rather see the player in the No. 7 role than in the regular rotation if the Oilers pursued him:
“I hope the money isn’t stupid on him because frankly to me he’s been challenged to prove that he can be a regular defenceman in the NHL,” he said. “I do like his versatility and the fact that he can play some forward, he is legitimately tough, but we’re seeing less and less of that being important in the game.”
The versatility factor is a good point, though Engelland is limited in that he’d likely be playing the same role at forward that Gazdic does – fourth-line enforcer – and once Gazdic returns (all indications being that the Oilers will re-sign him) it’s all but impossible to imagine Dallas Eakins regularly using a line with Gazdic on one wing and Engelland on the other. It’s also not clear that enforcer is such an important position that the Oilers need to have a backup NHL guy in case their regular one goes down; it seems like the minor-league team would be the best place to stash that player.
At the right price (I’d suggest $800,000 qualifies), Engelland wouldn’t be a terrible option as the Oilers’ No. 7 defenceman and having a guy who can fill in on the wing some nights isn’t a bad thing, either. As long as he’s not slated for a top-six role it’s hard to get too worked up one way or the other.