WEEKEND WRAP

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We awoke to a dense fog hovering over Edmonton this morning, which is fitting for Oilers’ fans this time of the year. It sucks not being in an NHL playoff city. Watching the excitement on TV is fine, but it pales in comparison to feeling the energy and enthusiasm first hand.

At least the Oil Kings are still alive, and I’d recommend getting down to Rexall tomorrow or Wednesday to watch the WHL final. It is great hockey. Despite on NHL playoffs, there are still numerous story lines that impact Oilers fans.

QUICK HITS

  • David Perron had to pull out of the World Championships due to a hip injury. He played with the injury during the season, but he felt better at the end of the year. He aggravated it working out and wisely decided to take some time off. The Oilers need to be as healthy as possible next year, and they need to get some rest before working out.

    I thought it was very smart of Hall, Eberle and Nugent-Hopkins to decline a roster spot, and despite the odd fan questioning their motives, I assume most fans agree it was the right move. Rest, working out and getting stronger is much more important than playing a few games at the World Championships.

  • Rumours are out that Scott Hartnell might be on the block. I like Hartnell a lot as a player, but at 32 years of age and five more years on his contract, I’d be leery of acquiring him. I think he could still be a top-six forward for three more years, and maybe that is good enough and you worry about the final two years in 2017. The Flyers don’t need forwards, they need defencemen.

    If a deal happens it likely means moving Martin Marincin or maybe even Jeff Petry. I know Petry is a whipping boy for many — I’m not a huge fan of his consistency — but it would be a major gamble for the Oilers to trade him when they have so few right shot D-men on the roster. They have no one ready to replace him and I would only deal him if I’m getting a proven defender in return. The Oilers have many left shot D, so they can afford to give up Marincin, but that is a risk for a 32-year old. Unless the Oilers can make it a package of other pieces, I’m not sure they do it.

  • A source tells me that MacTavish was close to landing Brayden Coburn for multiple draft picks last year, and none were a first rounder. That would explain why Holmgren changed his mind at the final moments, but could MacTavish land Hartnell for a combination of picks and/or prospects? Hmmm
  • Further to Willis’ story on Kyle Brodziak. I remember that trade vividly. I was sitting in media row in Montreal at the 2009 draft when it was announced. I couldn’t believe they chose Marc Pouliot over Brodziak. That was the main reason they made the trade. They felt they didn’t have room for both. It was even more perplexing that they chose Pouliot, considering they’d traded Jarret Stoll the previous year. Brodziak was a right hand shot centre, who would kill penalties and was decent in the faceoff dot. They also wanted him to be more consistently gritty, which he has become in Minnesota, but the ridiculous part is that Pouliot wasn’t great in the dot, wasn’t considered a defensive checker and wasn’t gritty. It made no sense to keep him ahead of Brodziak. Tambellini and the Oilers analysis of the two players was incredibly inaccurate.

    Pouliot played 51 NHL games after Brodziak was traded. Brodziak has missed only 3 games since the trade and has tallied 63 goals and 149 points. He currently has 6 points in 8 playoff games for the Wild.

    I found out later that summer that the Oilers felt Brodziak had too many disruptions off the ice. He had many friends who would come to the games from Vegreville and the organization wondered if he was focused enough. This reasoning was asinine. Brodziak was exactly what the Oilers have very little of right now. A guy who lives year round in Edmonton, is a part of the community and is a solid two-way player.

  • I’ve been told P.K Subban and his agent are looking for $9 million/year contract. He won’t get that, but I suspect he ends up between $7.8 and $8.5 million/year. He will be 25 next week and an 8 year contract, the max the Habs can over, will expire when he is 32. He is just entering his prime and I don’t see any reason the Habs won’t sign him. They will negotiate and after watching how mature, rational and calm he was when he spoke about the racist tweets he received after game one, his stock within the Montreal fan base only increased. He’s a great player to have as one of the faces of your franchise.
  • Speaking of playoffs, the Edmonton Rush will host their first NLL playoff game next Friday vs. the Calgary Roughnecks. The Rush have never lost to Calgary in the playoffs, 2-0, but this is the first year they come in as the favourite. It should be a great series.
  • Will Donald Sterling’s suspension have any impact in sports? Sadly, I highly doubt it
  • I spoke with Leon Draisaitl last week. What a great kid. I will have the entire interview up later this week. What I like most about Draisaitl is his long term potential. He grew up in Germany and didn’t face quality competition like Canadian kids get to. You can improve more when you play against better players. He never played against high level competition until he came to the WHL. In his first year as a 17 year old (turned 17 in October) he tallied 21-37-58 in 64 games. This season he improved by almost 50 points scoring 38-67-105 in 64 games.I feel he has a lot of room to improve because he’s only been playing against elite competition in his age group for two years. The suggestions he is lazy or uninspired are grossly inflated. Every young player struggles with consistency, but the more I research Draisaitl the more I like what I uncover. If teams are patient with him, I think he will emerge as a very good NHL player. I’d give him another year in junior before I’d put play him in the NHL. 

  • I feel he has a lot of room to improve because he’s only been playing against elite competition in his age group for two years. The suggestions he is lazy or uninspired are grossly inflated. Every young player struggles with consistency, but the more I research Draisaitl the more I like what I uncover. If teams are patient with him, I think he will emerge as a very good NHL player. I’d give him another year in junior before I’d put play him in the NHL.

  • Sidney Crosby doesn’t have a goal in eight playoff games his year, combine that with going goalless in his final five playoff games last year and he’s at 13 games without a playoff goal. Suddenly he isn’t the best player in the world, some are suggesting. I’ve noticed many say Jonathan Toews should be considered. Okay, but last year Toews didn’t have a goal in his first 9 playoff games and he had only 1 in his first 20. Crosby is the best because he’s been more dominant than any other player for extended periods of time. A 13-game goal scoring slump doesn’t change that. Because he’s usually so dominant offensively no one mentions his overall game. He isn’t just a scorer. It is fun to have debate, but if you want to rip Crosby’s title away due to 13 bad games, then it seems odd to give it to a guy who struggled just as much offensively last year.
  • The more I think about it, I don’t see how the Oilers make the playoffs next year. I don’t see LA, San Jose or Anaheim taking a major step back, so that leaves one open spot in the Pacific division. I bring this up because as much as it sucks not to be in the playoffs, I believe making a desperate move will hurt them. As hard as it will be, MacTavish needs to remain patient when it comes to developing young prospects.

WIN $1,000 CASH…

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Our 2nd annual King/Queen of Karoake contest is on May 23rd. You have until May 15th to send in your audition video (at least 30 seconds long) to gregor@tsn1260.ca

This year’s winner receives $1,000 and a trophy (best part).

If you want to come watch, pick up your tickets here. They are over 60% sold out already. It will be a great time and we will have a few special celebrity Karoakiers as well.

Recently by Jason Gregor:

  • BobbyCanuck

    WHC: They should go, cause it may be a very long time before they get to play any ‘meaningful’ games.

    Oiler Brass: Get over it, the rink sells out, the team makes good revenue. Nobody is going to get fired, or tarred and feathered.

    Like some posters, my biggest fear these days is that are so-called core of budding super-stars demand a trade sometime early next season.

    As an aside, I read on some Hawks forum that Chicago will be shopping Seabrook around this summer, because he is UFA at the end of next season, and the Hawks will not be able to afford him. Now that would be a bold move.

    No idea what Chicago would want for him though…

  • Stompinstoms

    I’ve got to side with Reg Dunlop on this one. These guys are in their early 20s, and I don’t see why they shouldn’t be able to play hockey for another couple of weeks. Think of it as training for the 2017 Playoffs.*

    This whole ‘they should use the time to rest and workout’ isn’t really doing it for me. I’ve heard some stories of how these boys party DURING the season. I can’t imagine how much they must rip in the off-season with friends back home.

    *Oh my dear God, please let it happen by then.

  • 15w40

    I think the fan unrest will subside a great deal even if the Oilers are playing games that mean something in March.

    To be out of the picture by Nov 15th again would be a killer.

    If they can at least be in the conversation for a playoff spot in the last 2 weeks of the season that is a major step forward.

    Even finishing 12th is a big step if it means not needing a periscope to see where some of the fringe playoff teams are.

    I think Nurse will get his max regular season games before the ELC kicks in and unless he’s lighting world on fire he’s back in the OHL.

    Same thing if they draft a centreman this year.

    Don’t screw up the building blocks just to finish 1 or 2 spots higher than you would have letting them develop.

  • Word to the Bird

    I think the decisions by Hall, Eberle and RNH not to participate in the worlds was smart. Far better for them to train and workout for next season than to go to a basically meaningless tournament and run the risk of injury or just add to their level of exhaustion after the season.

    The belief that they will benefit from the exposure at this tournament is silly. They already play in the NHL and have all had international exposure before.

  • Reg Dunlop

    I guess that I am the ‘odd’ fan that has a problem with the youngsters declining to represent their country. There seems to be an inconsistency between the fact that Capt. Canada Ryan Smyth earned our respect by answering the bell each non-playoff year and rhetoric like ” I thought it was very smart of… to decline a roster spot”. I am not trying to be an ass about this but, honestly, these guys are 20ish and in primo physical shape. They would be just fine with a few weeks less rest as the Worlds experience would more than compensate for the sacrifice of a couple weeks partying at the lake.

    As for this years draft, picking 3rd is perfect. With a group of 3(or 4) that seems superior to the next group, let the Panthers and Sabres make the mistake of drafting pure skill- like RNH and Yak- leaving us what could become the better NHL player-like Landeskog and Galchenyuk.

    • Word to the Bird

      Who are you to say what the players should and shouldn’t do? Honestly, they have no obligation to represent Canada, stop acting like they do. It’s fans like you that unknowingly run the players out of town.

  • #ThereGoesTheOilers

    Draisaitl schmaitl. I mean I’m sure he’ll turn into a worthy 4th or 5th overall selection but judging by scouting service reports and the old boys panels Bennett sounds like a gamer who probably won’t need to be woke up halfway through a season, ya know?

    • #ThereGoesTheOilers

      The more I think about this draft, the more I am excited that there will be an excellent player there that fills a desperate long-term organizational need.

      I keep wondering – what if the unthinkable happens and at #3 you have the choice of Ekblad or Reinhart? How do you make that decision?

  • Rusty Patenaude

    Tambellini and the Oilers analysis of the two players was incredibly inaccurate.

    Me thinks that’s code for Lowe. Sounds like you would like to see him promoted to a different division of the Rexall empire.

  • Arius Mumin

    Who’s the sources for the Holmgren/Coburn report?

    If Brodziak didn’t get traded that year, he would have been the next. Both the Oilers and Brodzial knew he had no future with the team. What the sense in hindsight past?

    I don’t understand why the MainStreamMedia took some douchebad tweets from some punks and made it news. Why even give those kind of people the time of day? Any? That was not a worthy topic, nor was it worth the news or exposure. Maybe they were just feeding off the Sterling thing?

    Speaking of Sterling: I wonder if he will make more than 2.5 mill fined during the Clippers playoff run.

    Crosby is the best in the NHL because we are sold so, there is no sense in arguing otherwise.

  • Arius Mumin

    I do not believe it to be fair when the writers for this website ask for sources to reports when year round they are guilty of the same thing. Reporting without sources is unethical no matter what or who you are.

  • Retsinnab5

    The oilers give up on players and when they dump them their career takes off.
    Brodziak did not play aggressive enough according to management..Cogliano was to them cut from the same cloth not aggressive.Aggresive is the kind term for the way the management thinks.This is the same Cogs who played with an infected swollen lip that hurt just to look at.
    Kevin Lowe has been able to deflect accountability by hiring general managers but you only have to watch Oil Change to see that at least he puts his blessing on all decisions.
    The oiler fans are in for a lot more pain until Mr Katz finally realizes that dismally poor management starts at the top.

  • Retsinnab5

    Bennett vs Draisaitl . I think the decision is made, Draisaitl is their guy unless Bennett shows something at the combine. Or someone picks him before the Oilers

  • Arius Mumin

    The team is going nowhere for the foreseeable future , so its time to blow it up and start anew . We keep Hall and trade bulk of assets for a good goalie and 4 top defenceman . Then we get another top forward for next draft , and fill in the rest with a solid gritty core over 2 years . By end year two we should already be ahead of the game/rebuild that we are throttled with now . Might want to hold onto Nurse , Klefbom and Marincin for depth later/sooner . Work a deal for Ekblad this season might be advisable as part of new course depth . We build from backend this time around .

    • Reg Dunlop

      This is a legitimate option. at what point do the Oilers consider actually doing this? What is next year is the same as last year? At some point we will all have to admit that the “Kids” just aren’t going to cut it.

  • Retsinnab5

    As a Flames fan I certainly hope the Oilers do in fact take Bennett. He does fit the Oilers mold of highly talented but tiny forwards.

    On the other hand the Flames have a set plan to get bigger and heavier. Draistl is our boy! Big talented centre, tough to move off the puck!!

    • Quicksilver ballet

      How’s that Jankowsky kid working out for you folk down there.

      The words Big talented centre, tough to move off the puck were thrown around then as well.

    • Lofty

      Average height and weight of an NHL player is 6’1″ and 202lbs. Bennett is 6′ tall and 180 lbs at 17 years old. I don’t think it’s fair to label him as tiny.

      Part of the reason you let players develop in the minors is so they can grow into there bodies. Rarely should a 18 year old play in the best league in the world.

      Either way Ekbald, Bennett or Draisaitl would be better served not playing in the NHL next year. None of the 3 are close to the weight they ‘ll play in the league. Ekbald is have some serious weight behind him in a couple years which makes the combination of nurse and him very scary/sexy.

    • #ThereGoesTheOilers

      As an Oilers fan it was hard watching the Flames grab Monahan last year, then grabbing either a cerebral centre, a skilled gritty centre, or a big puck possession centre this year. If in both years the flames were just one down in the draft order, that would have been better for the Oilers.

      So the question will be going forward, whose eventual one two punch will be better. I like Monahan and maybe his ceiling will be higher with better wingers, but I think Nuge and whoever we get this year is going to be much better in the long run than Monahan and whomever the Flames pick up.

      I think every Oiler Fan should find a Calgary fan and they should place a friendly wager on who wins the West first. After all, being a perennial one and done team is nothing to brag about.

    • james_dean

      As an Oilers fan it was hard watching the Flames grab Monahan last year, then grabbing either a cerebral centre, a skilled gritty centre, or a big puck possession centre this year. If in both years the flames were just one down in the draft order, that would have been better for the Oilers.

      So the question will be going forward, whose eventual one two punch will be better. I like Monahan and maybe his ceiling will be higher with better wingers, but I think Nuge and whoever we get this year is going to be much better in the long run than Monahan and whomever the Flames pick up.

      I think every Oiler Fan should find a Calgary fan and they should place a friendly wager on who wins the West first. After all, being a perennial one and done team is nothing to brag about.

  • Retsinnab5

    @Bob_Stauffer: Assuming Aaron Ekblad is gone, and based on feedback from NON-Oilers sources, to me Leon Draisaitl makes the most sense as Oilers pick

  • Retsinnab5

    “I don’t see LA, San Jose or Anaheim taking a major step back, so that leaves one open spot in the Pacific division.”
    I’m confused. With the way the new playoff format is set up couldn’t you theoretically have 3 central teams make the playoffs and 5 Pacific teams?

    • Do what Weight did?

      As I write this, it’s 75-69 for Leon.

      My crystal ball tells me that one of these two players will turn out better than the other. If it’s the player the oilers choose, then we were right all along, and finally management did what we all knew they were supposed to. If we choose the wrong one, and Calgary drafts the other, and the player The Flamers get shows better in the NHL, then everybody (either the 69 or the 75) uses this to illustrate yet another example of incompetence on the part of the management team.

      It seems obvious to me that it’s a 50-50 chance. Edmonton’s scouts and management will do everything in their power to make the best prediction for who will be better. In reality, a huge vocal segment of posters here has already judged them to be incompetent, and whatever happens at this year’s draft, it will only confirm that judgement. I can’t wait.

      No, I don’t work for the Oilers.

  • Arius Mumin

    “I spoke with Leon Draisaitl last week. What a great kid. I will have the entire interview up later this week. What I like most about Draisaitl is his long term potential. He grew up in Germany and didn’t face quality competition like Canadian kids get to. You can improve more when you play against better players. He never played against high level competition until he came to the WHL. In his first year as a 17 year old (turned 17 in October) he tallied 21-37-58 in 64 games. This season he improved by almost 50 points scoring 38-67-105 in 64 games. ”

    I was thinking Bennett but your comment made me think Leon Draisaitl may have a higher upside.

    • #ThereGoesTheOilers

      reports out of Calgary suggested Hall and Ebs told friends in Calgary they wanted out 🙁 they both hang out in Calgary in the offseason apparently 🙁

        • Retsinnab5

          Because they are the face of the franchise? Because they want to prove they can be win in the NHL?

          You don’t just up and quit after signing a 6/7 year contract. Despite their age these guys are professionals that have a lot to prove to themselves and to everyone else.

          These guys have seen a lot of losing no doubt but as Gregor mentioned before so has other elite players in the past like Joe Sakic, and I doubt these guys are going to request trades despite all the made up “sources” people keep throwing out there that they want out.

          • The issue is not whether the reports are made up or not but whether the organization is looking at this as a potential action of the “elite” oilers.

            LeBron James left Clevland after 7 years with the team sitting that he waited long enough for the team to become competitive, yes the following media/PR was a nightmare for him, however a talented individual left for a chance to win.

            Hall and Eberle have been with the oilers 4 years, next y ear being 5 and if realistic Gregor is correct, they will miss the playoffs yet again. This will be 5 years, LeBron waited 7.

            And before I forget Lebron made the playoffs 5 of the 7 years.

            The organization/fans/media should be right to question when players of the team will start making request alla Nail Yakupov.

            Time is a ticking…I would not be surprised if some players start asking for a trade or more and more rumors suffers of the players wanting out.

          • Different scenario with Lebron, he had an out with the Miami Heat (who had the actual salary cap to bring him in and also had his best pal Chris Bosh knocking on the door also). On top of it all Dwyane Wade took a salary hit to bring those 2 players in.

            Now look at the NHL and their salaries, where do you see a fit for Hall/Eberle $6M cap hit for the next 6 years on a legitimate Stanley cup contender?

            You think Chicago is gonna give up Toews/Kane?

            LA going to give up Kopitar/Carter?

            Pittsburgh going to give up Crosby/Malkin?

            As of right now I don’t see a fit for those guys going anywhere as the same fit as Lebron James and Chris Bosh have with the Miami Heat.

            I don’t doubt that there is a time limit but the limit is a lot longer then year 1 of their respective contracts…. If its year 4 or 5 and we’re still in the same boat then yes I can see players requesting trades, however prior to signing these multi million dollar contracts they understand that its up to them to win and take the Oilers to the playoffs.

            Which once again Gregor pointed out the top 6 needs to be better. You can change your bottom 6 all day long but if your top 6 isn’t producing then you aren’t going to win games. So far I’ve only seen Hall live up to his contract consistently…. Time will tell.

          • Arius Mumin

            LeBron went to Miami, which had the potential to win with LeBron, as oppose to Clevand trying to land Dwayne Wade. Do you think Clevand could of brought in better players, yes probably, why they did not, is a great question that the fans in Clevand are still asking.

            To your other point, funny how you can read my mind…. I do not believe a Chicago or an LA will give up their best players in exchange for Hall or Eberle.

            I strongly believe that if the Oilers are in a similar position or a bit better, 25th rank team at the end of next year, players will begin to seak greener fields.

            And not to poo poo your Gregor love affair but if all it was is for the top 6 players to play better, there would not be as must fear and concern in the city.

            From an outsider looking in, Taylor Hall and David Perron and maybe Eberle are the only tangible top 6 inviduals we have. To say those 3 need to play better and we will be magically in a playoff spot is laughable on your part for quoting Gregor and Gregor for stating it.

          • Do what Weight did?

            Your Lebron comparison is hardly comparable with the current Oilers stated. Lebron served his contract and chose not to resign with Cleveland and saw opportunity to win a championship with Miami; Hall and Eberle just signed their contract and to believe they will up and quit after year 1 of their freshly signed contract is ridiculous no matter how you look at it. However, I do agree with you that time is ticking. Year 4 or 5 as I previously stated would be more plausible in a request to be traded if the Oilers are still in the position they are in right now. Year 1 or even next year as you’re suggesting is once again doubtful.

            No love affair with Gregor at all, he’s in the position he’s in for a reason and we’re just commenters who agree/disagree and can voice our opinion (but in reality doesn’t really matter what we say). I don’t think anyone is feared or concerned in the city as you’re claiming.

            Also from an outsider looking in, no one said those 3 in particular need to play better and we will magically be in a playoff spot. What was stated was our top 6 needs to play better as a whole. It’s a team game which is the entire point Gregor was originally making. If your top 6 competes and shows up every night you’re going to see results. Its all about making forward progress as a group not just as individuals. Of course its not solely on the top 6 but they are the ones that eat up the most minutes and are being paid to do so, I think you can agree with that.

      • Jason Gregor

        Reports?

        Also, Hall doesn’t hang out in Calgary in the summer. He is out east. Eberle does live there, but that is the only thing accurate about your “report.”