GDB 74.0: Auditioning for Canada

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The Oilers and Avalanche are out of the playoffs. The Avalanche haven’t officially been eliminated, but their loss in Calgary on Monday pretty much sealed their fate. They are ten points behind Winnipeg for the final wildcard spot, so both of these teams will be playing for pride and some players will be auditioning for a roster spot at the World Championships.

Jordan Eberle, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Taylor Hall have all said they’d love to play for Canada, but will they make the team?

Eberle is a lock to make it. He leads all Canadian right wingers in points, including those on playoff bound teams, and unless he gets injured he will be going to Prague.

Canada doesn’t have a lot of right wingers having great seasons on non-playoff teams.

Eberle leads with 58 points and here are the other top-point producers on the right side.

Jarome Iginla          50 pts

Wayne Simmonds   49 pts

Reilly Smith             37 pts

Brad Boyes             35 pts

Shane Doan           32 pts

Iginla never went when he was in Calgary, so I doubt he’d go now. I think Simmonds makes the team, he has 29 goals and he and Claude Giroux would be a nice combo. Doan likely gets an invite, but at his age will he go? I could see a few centres moving to the right wing. If Ottawa goes cold and doesn’t make it then Mark Stone, 51 points, will garner some interest.

On the left wing, Hall has only played 44 games, but he is still 8th in points amongst left wingers not going to the postseason.

Jamie Benn                70pts

Scott Hartnell              50 pts

Patrick Marleau           49 pts

Jonathan Huberdeau  43 pts

Milan Lucic                  40 pts

Brad Marchand            39 pts

Mike Cammalleri          36 pts

Taylor Hall                   32 pts

Benn is a lock. Marleau has been on two Olympic teams, but he will be too old in 2018, so I’m not sure he will want to play more hockey this spring. Hartnell, Huberdeau, Hall and Lucic will be in the mix, but based on Hall’s last two seasons, he should get the call ahead of those three.

Nugent-Hopkins will be in the mix, but he faces the toughest competition.

Claude Giroux    67 pts

Tyler Seguin       65 pts

Joe Thornton      62 pts

Ryan Johansen   61 pts

Logan Couture    58 pts

Sean Monahan    55 pts

Jason Spezza      55 pts

Nugent-Hopkins   54 pts

Patrice Bergeron  51 pts

Matt Duchene       46 pts

Ryan O’Reilly        46 pts

Eric Staal              44 pts

Giroux has produced the most points in the NHL the past four seasons, but he didn’t make the 2014 Olympic team. He deserves to go and I suspect he will want to keep his name in the head of the decision makers at Hockey Canada for 2018. Seguin should be a lock, same with Johansen and Couture.

Monahan is having a great season, 29 goals, and  if the Flames miss out — I expect they will — he will be on the short list. I realize he doesn’t face the toughest competition, Backlund does for Calgary, but many other players don’t face top unit D and very few of them have 29 goals. He and RNH will both get strong consideration.

Bergeron and Staal have been on the Olympic team, so they might want a break, while Matt Duchene was  in Sochi, but like Giroux, I’m sure he wants to be top of mind amongst the Canadian brass.

The centre position is extremely competitive, and Nugent-Hopkins’ recent hot-streak — 15 points in his last eight games — has put him in a spot where Hockey Canada will look at him. Bob Nicholson could send Tom Renney a note regarding RNH.

WHO ELSE…

Nail Yakupov, Oscar Klefbom, Mark Fayne and Martin Marincin might get a look from their respective countries, with the three young players having the best chance. 

With no young Oilers injured, it would benefit the organization to have as many of them play in Prague as possible.

LINEUP…

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The Oilers didn’t skate today, and we won’t know Boyd Gordon’s status until Todd Nelson’s availability at 4 p.m. Gordon’s back seized up during Monday’s game and backs can be very finicky, so I’d rest him and move Matt Hendricks to the middle and put Luke Gazdic on the wing.

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Andrew Ference was also injured in the first period vs. the Jets. It is an upper body injury, and Nelson said he was doubtful for tonight. I expect Keith Aulie to take his place.

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Ben Scrivens gets the start.

QUICK HITS…

  • I’ve noticed many people worried about the lack of points from the league’s top scorers, but last year, outside of Sidney Crosby’s 104 points, only six other players topped 80 points. Ryan Getzlaf had 87, Giroux 86, Seguin 84, Corey Perry 82 and Hall had 80.

    Crosby’s production is down, but we still could have six or seven players reach 80 points again: John Tavares and Crosby have 74, Alex Ovechkin and Jakub Voracek have 73, Nick Backstrom has 72, while Vlad Tarasenko and Benn have 70.

    Scoring across the league is virtually the same as last year, but the focus on team defence, video and shot blocking has cut down on production for elite scorers. It sucks as a fan of offence, and I believe the NHL is getting less exciting each year, but this year’s scoring race isn’t much different than last year outside of Crosby being on another level in 2014.

  • I really hope I don’t have to write another article like this for a long time. They say things happen in threes, but I’m hoping that is not the case in this circumstance. The first article was difficult to write, but the second is just as bad. Sending positive vibes to Michelle and Aaron.

WHAT THEY’RE SAYING…

From Mile High Hockey

The Avs opponent Wednesday night is the sad story that is the Edmonton Oilers. At just 53 points and in the basement of the West, the Oilers look to be picking in the top five at the draft for the fifth time in the last six years. If not for the Coyotes’ latest free fall, the Oilers would still be sitting in last place in the West. The Oilers latest defeat came at the hands of the Jets, further injuring the Avs’ playoff chances. Despite the record, the Avs should not overlook the Oilers.

TONIGHT…

BuriedSnow

GAME DAY PREDICTION: Avs playoff hopes were dashed in Calgary, and the Oilers take advantage of a downtrodden team. Oilers win 4-2.

OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: RNH continues his torrid pace with two more points, giving him 17 points in his last nine games.

NOT-SO-OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: The Oilers out shot the Avalanche stretching their streak of outshooting opponents to six straight games.

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  • The Fish

    Spoiler alert next article on nation is ” Todd Nelson” and oilers coaching vacancy yet again… Should and should not???? Who would thought of that?!

  • BlazingSaitls

    RNH has the hardest competition but lets not forget team Canada brought Kunitz because of his “chemistry” with Crosby.

    RNH and Eberle have a great thing going right now. I sure hope team Canada sees that and invites RNH as well.

    omg…How has the world championships become so important to me? Whats next…Spengler Cup debates?

    #ThanksKevin

  • Armchair_Gm

    Hall better hope Lindy ruff isn’t the coach, he doesn’t like soft plays and has benched him the last time he played for ruff. Rnh will be on the team for sure

  • R U Kidding Me!

    I’m cheering for Phoenix to win both their home and home vs Buffalo. They are only 1 point behind (or ahead of) the Oilers now and there’s no way we’re catching the Sabres.

  • Over the last month Nuge and Ebs have been the top 2 scorers in the NHL… How has having the top 2 point producers in the league affected the W-L record? Not enough to even bring this team close to a playoff spot.

    The problems with this roster seem almost unfixeable.

  • R U Kidding Me!

    HALl, RNH AND EBERLE SHOULD HAVE NO PROBLEM QUALIFYING FOR TEAM CANADA

    Here are some of the forwards who played for Canada at the WHC last year:
    Braden Schenn, Huberdeau, Alex Burrows, Cody Hodgson (??!!), Troy Brouwer, Jason Chimera, Matt Read, Joel Ward.

    Many veterans will beg off. There are 18 days between the last Oilers game and the first game of the WHC. The Czech Republic is a beautiful country.

    Of course they will have to convince the current head of Hockey Canada…some guy named Tom Renney…AWKWARD!

  • it’s such a delicate balance trying to keep talented young players motivated and improving while also trying to secure a draft pick widely regarded to be in the same class as Sidney Crosby. you need nikita nikitin. you can just imagine the contract negotiation. “Nik, we’ll give you $4.5Million for 2 years, but you need to take a lot of heat, you’re going to be blamed for how poorly the team performs overall, you’ll probably miss half the season, and you might never play in the NHL again. We’ll also probably buy you out after the first season.”

  • MGD

    I’m not sure that the movie reference is at all accurate for the GDV. I get that the Oilers are dead in the water, but I don’t think there is ANYONE ANYWHERE who cares even remotely close about this sad team as much as Maverick cared for Goose. I mean EVERYONE loved Goose… NOBODY loves the Oilers – even us die-hard fans who’ve followed the team since the early 80’s (or later!) can’t muster much emotion at all for this team, right now.

  • vetinari

    Schultz, Nikitin and Aulie are all manning the RD spots for tonight’s game? Why do I suspect that Colorado’s game plan will be to drive hard or dump the puck to that side of the ice all night long?

    GDP: Oilers 3 Colorado 2 (OT)

    OGDP: Some talking head during the first intermission will talk about how Hall/Eberle/Yakupov are failing expectations/have attitude problems/don’t recycle and should expect to be traded in the offseason.

    NSOGDP: Tonight’s goals come from Nikitin, Schultz and Aulie playing SIUTBS hockey for one game and one game only.

  • S cottV

    Anyone catch more of what MacT told season ticket holders, as to his vision of what the Oilers are gonna look like, when in a position to contend?

    Someone said something about 3 scoring lines.

    I’m assuming he said more than that?

  • Sean17

    I’m sure there are enough stats nerds on here to gather the info but, I wonder how many home games the Canucks get against teams that just played in Edmonton or Calgary. I noticed this week they get Winnipeg, Colorado and Dallas the next night after those teams play in Edmonton. What a joke. It’s rigged!

  • Kevwan

    Wow Canada has a potentially loaded lineup. I think several of these vets take a pass though.

    I think Hall and Eberle are no brainers. Nuge makes it because of chemistry with those 2.

  • YFC Prez

    Remember when a large percentage of the nation wanted to trade Eberle ( squeeee) during the first quarter of the season?

    It’s fairly safe to say Ebbs has served a tall glass of shut the hell up. Let’s all remember this when the Hall hate fires up.

    • Spydyr

      I look at it from the other side. This summer would be a great time to trade Eberle while his value is at the highest. Trade him for a 200 foot player with some balls.Not a one dimensional, small ,skilled ,offensive player.

      Like say a Wayne Simmonds.

        • Spydyr

          Trading for a veteran player that brings missing pieces to your team is how you build a winner.Not by drafting small, skilled, one dimensional, offensive players.

          You need to trade something to get something. This team has continually traded players at their lowest value or as you say trade what isn’t working.Just look at the last nine years. How has that worked out?

          Build a complete team not just a bunch of the same player type.

    • Kevwan

      Eberle’s recent good play doesn’t change the fact that this team still needs a top 2 D and Eberle could be the key to acquire one.

      I like Eberle but that doesn’t change the fact that he disappears for games and this year for basically the first half of the season. If I can get Vlasic or Mark Staal for him I do it.

    • Randaman

      If you’re going to trade for a defenceman, then you’re going to have to give up value to get value. It won’t be RNH, it won’t be Hall, it won’t be Yak (but for different reasons). So the only player with any real value would be Eberle, Draisatl or Nurse. Trading a Draisatl or Nurse this early in their career makes no sense. A

  • Kevwan

    3-2, anyone surprised Edmonton let Colorado back into this. This team needs a ton of work. I would be pretty upset if this was in November but it’s not so I guess nobody should really care.

    Oilers are 13-3-5 after leading by 2, that actually really surprises me. Not a bad record actually.