nurse and mcdavid by connor mah

Sometime tomorrow (possibly Wednesday) the Edmonton Oilers will release their rookie camp roster for the Penticton trip. The list is bound to include Darnell Nurse and Connor McDavid (in photo by Connor Mah) and several other future NHL players. We’ve grown accustomed to a ‘backwards season’ in Edmonton, where the draft and rookie camps represent the highlight and the playoffs are a time for draft watches and some other city raising Stanley. It’s been so long, and there’s probably some blacktop to go before we see the playoffs in Edmonton. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it now: This team HAS to turn north this season.


The Oilers have a new general manager, a new coach and assistants and a brand new franchise player—and this time he has an added feature—generational! All this talent and yet there are still questions in goal and on defense, plus if we’re honest there are a few worries up front. It’s the nature of losing and I’ve seen it across all sports and over many decades. The problem with losing teams is that last year’s successes often becomes this year’s heartbreak. There are questions.


  1. Will Anton Lander be able to fill that 3C role? Are you sure?
  2. Can Cam Talbot win the 1G job and play 50 (or so) games?
  3. Can Ben Scrivens (or Anders Nilsson) be an adequate backup?
  4. Who plays defense behind Andrej Sekera, Mark Fayne and Oscar Klefbom?
  5. Can Justin Schultz flourish with less pressure and fewer minutes?
  6. Will Griffin Reinhart and or Darnell Nurse push into the NHL this season?
  7. Can Connor McDavid win the Calder?
  8. Will the Nuge continue to develop as a top flight two-way C?
  9. Can Taylor Hall stay healthy?
  10. Can Benoit Pouliot stay healthy?
  11. Is this the year Nail Yakupov snaps off a big season?
  12. Can Todd McLellan and staff give Edmonton a consistent and successful special teams for the first time this century?
  13. Will Peter Chiarelli be the GM who makes sure the kids get enough time on the farm before coming to the NHL?
  14. Will Peter Chiarelli be the GM who makes sure the AHL prospects are actually playing as opposed to riding pine?

That’s 14, there are probably 20 more of greater or lesser import.


For me, the biggest question of all comes down to this: Will these Edmonton Oilers, the McLellan Oilers, stop the bleeding? Will they cut down on those frightening moments when the puck is in Edmonton’s zone and it’s only a matter of time before the score keeper writes down one of the big three events?

The big three events are a goal against, a penalty or a ridiculous save by the goalie. When you don’t have the puck, you better be trying to get it back. If you don’t have the puck and are chasing it in your own end, it’s just a matter of time.

  • Darryl Sutter:The
    big thing in today’s game is you have to be able forecheck and
    backcheck, and you have to have the puck. You can’t give the puck up. We
    don’t play in our zone, so there’s not much defending.  I’ve coached in
    three decades now and this stuff where they said Marian had to play in
    Jacques’s system is a bunch of bull-crap. The game’s changed. They think
    there’s defending in today’s game. Nah, it’s how much you have the
    puck. Teams that play around in their own zone think they’re defending
    but they’re generally getting scored on or taking face-offs and they
    need a goalie to stand on his head if that’s the way they play.”

Those moments, those chaos moments, those lost at sea moments, those are the moments I’d like to see erased from Oilers hockey. All teams have wobbly moments but Edmonton has had wobbly years. Make that stop and then we can start talking playoffs. We wait.

  • Joy S. Lee

    That sutter comment is bang on.
    A lot of questions surrounding opening night roster decisions, but man oh man. its a lot nicer to have depth and competition for spots then not.
    Win one for Joey!

  • Shit bitch cunt fuck

    I do believe we now have a respected coach along with his assistants. We have had a ridiculous amount of turnover at the head coach positions and assistants that can’t teach. We now have a head coach that has proven himself. This will help immensely if these players are willing to learn the system. I am hopeful Ference, Nikitan and schultz are not as bad a player and it was all because of the system they were playing before.

  • Oilers G- Nations Poet Laureate

    Who will emerge as our leader on ice and dressing room ? Who has the ability to up their game , call out the teammates , and carry it onto ice for them to follow ? I have not seen that in over a decade here , since maybe Pronger . Unless someone emerges /steps up with that type of leadership we will not get very far .

  • justDOit

    High Chance Shots 5-8 per game by team give up 51.5% of even goals. Med Chance shots give up 32.3% of Even goals.

    You want d that protect the box HSCA/60. You want D that pressure the MEd chance shots. these d do not chase hits. They take what is given by med chance area attacking opponents. th best at protecting high and medium shots average less than .75 hit/gm. They have 1.40 to 1.80 times more blocks than hits.

    HCa/60 yields -> HSCA/60 -> yield HCS/60

    MCA/60 yields -> MSCA/60 -> yield HVS/60

    the 210 done that played 1800 minutes last 5 years.

    Current top 15 D at HSCA/60
    #1Muzzin: #2Ekholm; #3 B. Smith; #4 A. greene

    #5 Sekera 2nd comp 12.06 #1 2nd comp d

    #6 Ellis; #7 Brodin; #8 Martinez;

    #9 Fayne 1st comp 12.43 #4 1st comp D; #1 d 10.05 when not in eakins system.

    #10 Nikitin 2nd comp 12.46 #2 2nd comp

    #11; Doughty; #12 M. Greene; #13 A. Larsson; #14 Shattenkirk 2nd comp 12.83; #15 Braun 1st/2nd comp 12.88

    You want goalies with Elite HCA save%. Last 2 years. Dubnyk .8095 13-14 ; Scrivens .8105 14-15. Eakins swarm/pinch system yielded awful High chance shots. Thankfully he is gone.
    Last 2 years;

    Goalie s with .8600+ HCS save% (1) Talbot

    Goalies with .8500+ HCS save% (0) none

    Goalies with .8400+ HCS save% (3) Price; Crawford; Halak

    Goalies with avg HCS save% .8320+ (5) Bernier; Reimer; Holtby; Lundquist; Hiller

    When you go back and look at coaches with 2 Conf finals since 03-04; they are coaches with an emphasis on protecting the box and med chance areas. Tmac is one of them.

    So we have the best goalie against HCS last 2 years who had a coach with 2 or more conf finals. Vigneault.

    We have 3D that have lead there team in HSCA d defence

    Fayne 1st comp 10.05 10-11 to 13-14 NJ

    Sekera 2nd comp 11.41 14-15 LAK

    Nikitin 2nd comp 12.46 11-2-12-13 CBJ

    We have a top 90 D in #88 Gryba 2nd/3rd comp 14.80; sea brook #87 2nd/3rd comp 14.79.

    I would suspect our GA goes way down!

  • Oilers G- Nations Poet Laureate

    1a) Yes. 1b) Yes
    2) Yes
    3) Yes
    4) Jultz, Nurse, Reinhart, Gryba
    5) Hopefully
    6) See #4
    7) Yes
    8) Yes
    9) Maybe
    11)Define a “Big Season”

  • 24% body fat

    You are right as to the most important issue for next season with the Oiler, defensive credibility
    That can only happen if the NSF are flushed before the end of the month
    And second, that certain wingers are offered up asap to acquire a genuine #1 defensiveman
    Until those two steps are taken, expect agony as Oilers fans
    No point in waiting any longer

    • justDOit

      Forwards have to play defensively too. We’re putting too much of the onus on our defenseman.

      This is what I expect from McLellan: get the team to play like a unit in our zone like the Sharks and Hawks do and stop forwards from cherry picking zone exits.

      If we expect only 2 guys to stop the opposition and one is out of position or too slow to react, Patrick Roy couldn’t keep it out of the net.

  • 24% body fat

    Lowetide : Are the kids coming out of junior last 5 years physical fitness freaks ? All with personnel trainers and doing hockey related activities 365 days a year from age 13-14 ? Many go back to junior one year and bypass AHL straight into NHL with little to no problem ,they are that physically fit .

  • Train#97

    I am positive the Oilers will be much better this season, but the team is still a work in progress. It will tale time for McDavid, Draisidal, Nurse, Reinhart and other to become the impact players they will eventually be and some of our fears will come true, but we will be better for sure. Unfortunately MacT and Eakins did a great deal of damage, despite the fantasies of some. Can you imagine the possibilities if we still had Petry and Dubnyk and weren’t stuck with the salaries of Nikitin, Ference and Purcell?
    Every one of our young stars regressed under Eakins. Our PP, which was excellent under Kreuger for 2 years (counting Rennie’s final year), fell off a cliff under Coach Cro-magnon, and perked up under Nelson. This year it will soar.
    No one can know what injuries we will suffer, which players will disappoint, and how fast the kids will develop, but things are in good hands now and that will make a huge difference this year and going forward. Book it.

  • 24% body fat

    This team is destiny…… if mac-t hadn’t had fired Krueger and hired Eakins. … we would have been picking 10-13th the last two years in the draft…

    We got a generational centreman and big centreman out of Eakins and mac-t. True we got some bad contracts and lost petry with mac-t…. but i think the oilers will see the light with the prospects they have now as opposed to where we would be with the 10-12th pick of the draft. ..

    This is destiny…

  • Reg Dunlop

    Lowetide,one question. I see the attached Darryl Sutter quote frequently. Is this view shared by Oiler mgmt.? Is it a common paradigm in today’s NHL locker rooms? It seems not long ago that successful teams relied on the left wing lock and circle the wagons in their own zone. Like the Devils. The Wild. The 2006 Oilers. I have the feeling that once a team has success with a physical, staunch defence, good goaltending and an opportunistic, counter-punching offence we will see a trend back to Lemaire hockey. What say you, fancy stat crowd? Will your love of puck movers fail when the next Scott Stevens appears?

  • Cowbell_Feva

    I think the #1 question wasn’t asked….will the blueline improve enough with kids and #5,6,7 defenseman to compete in the West.

    As I see it, there is no chance, unfortunately for us Oilers fans. As it has been duly noted, the Oilers blueline has been an atrocity since Pronged bolted. It makes the goaltending look worse, and doesn’t allow the offensive kids get the puck with speed and advantage when breaking out of the defensive zone.

    Every successful team has at least one stud, or 2 or 3 guys close enough that they are successful through team D. Duncan Keith is a perfect example. The Hawks don’t have near the hardware without him. He plays half the game and sometimes more. They have built around him on the blueline and gathered 3 cups in the process.
    Doughty in LA. Same thing. 2 cups.

    And I fully understand these guys don’t grow on trees, but if there is a team in the NHL with an abundance of young skill, it is Edmonton. I don’t really want to see any of the kids leave, but something has to give to get. We can toil with the current vision of “patience” but it has been all too obviously shown to be a bad mentality. HaD we built through the draft from the goalie out (as your supposed to) it would be different. Waiting 3 to 4 years for Nurse to become that guy…maybe…would be long hard years.

  • Train#97

    Hey Lowtide…
    what about Vladdy hockey? That kid got a raw deal last year; I was hoping the Oilers would be classy enough to offer him another tryout, and maybe a spot on the AHL team anyway.
    I know he didn’t show too well at the Memorial cup, but that kid has hands like water has wet.

    Your old pal
    Dave from Oldies 1260 days!

    • Train#97

      Didn’t show too well in The Memorial Cup ? Totally gave up on plays in the biggest junior tournament in the world outside of WJHC. That play will stick in my mind for a long time.
      Hopefully he doesn’t have that haunt him forever. He can still go back to junior in the right frame of mind and turn it around but I don’t think there is room for him right here right now.

    • justDOit

      Pretty hard to tank when you are just a bad managed club. Tanking had nothing to do with infi-rebuild. The generational talent was pure luck, lets not confuse the matter.

  • justDOit

    Lowetide : As well as several others not in organization have perhaps a better vision of what players can and cannot do than new organization does ? How can Chia and McLellan make needed assessments in such a short sample size culminating at end of exhibition ? I assume that is why MacT. and Howson are considered so valuable ?

  • I’m probably just being cynical, but I put McDavid’s Calder chances at close to 0. He’ll just have to be so much better than Eichel, Bennett, etc. to poke through the eastern, anti-Oiler bias – I don’t know if he’ll be able to beat win the rookie scoring race by 15-20 pts…

    • The Last Of Barrett's Privateers

      This is so true.

      McDavid will have to be lights out, infinitely better then his comp.

      We already lost Yakupov and RNH against Eastern Basis.

      No way RNH should have lost that Calder trophy

        • Train#97

          He didn’t lose to McKinnon, it was Landeskog. Although Nuge had higher points per game Landeskog played a great 2 way game even in his rookie year. On top of that he could hit like a beast. You wouldn’t expect it but next time you watch the Av’s keep an eye on Landeskog in the open ice, he lays guys out with momentum stealing open ice hits.

    • The Last Of Barrett's Privateers

      Are you crazy or delusional ? Did your other picks show you they were even close to him in their careers ? No . Chances the others beat him out is closer to Zero . Give your head a shake . A generational talent that has zero percent chance of being a Calder winner , now I think I’ve heard it all .

      • The Last Of Barrett's Privateers

        Crosby didn’t win the Calder.

        You’re right though, it’s not 0… I’m being cynical.

        BUT, remember that Eichel is an amazing talent as well, plus Bennett is a year older… writing them off from DERSERVING the Calder isn’t a great idea, throw in some bias… it’s not crazy to think McDavid doesn’t win.

        Does that make him any less of a talent? Heck no. It’s just not automatic.

  • Kind of related, but saw all the oiler prospects at the bar the other day. All but McDavid. Nurse, Draisaitl, Broissoit, Betker and Simpson is who I noticed. Draisaitl is such a solid guy. Really pulling for him. Whether it be 3rd Line center or 2nd line winger.

  • freelancer

    Young Stars roster has been officially announced. Looking at the height/weight on the site apparently McDavid and Draisaitl are both 6’1 209lbs… which I find very hard to believe.