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Photo Credit: Tom Kostiuk

Monday Mailbag – Should Chiarelli have brought in a veteran RW?

You didn’t get today off either, huh? I guess that means it’s Monday again. Fortunately, this here Mailbag is ripe full of 3000 words worth of company time killing wisdom that your brain will eager to soak up as we coast towards the season opener on Monday. Learning? On a Monday morning? That’s right, my friends. At the Nation, we’re not just about yellin’ about the Oilers, we’re also about learnin’ you stuff and making quitting time roll around just a little bit faster. As always, I need questions for next week so keep them coming in through email or Twitter. Keep your questions Oilers related or maybe you want to learn about life. Either way, we’ve got you covered. Until then, enjoy the break from productivity. 

May 5, 2017; Anaheim, CA, USA; Edmonton Oilers left wing Patrick Maroon (19) pushes Anaheim Ducks left wing Nicolas Kerdiles (58) after a save by goalie Cam Talbot (33) during the second period in game five of the second round of the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Honda Center. Mandatory Credit: Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

1) Grace asks – Who do you see as the Oilers’ biggest divisional rival this year and why?

Lowetide:

Anaheim Ducks because the team has a veteran group and is also brimming with a strong group of kids. It’s a well run organization (management) and guys like Getzlaf, Perry and Kesler are nearing the end of the line and want Stanley. They’ll be tough all year.

Robin Brownlee:

It’s Anaheim. Top two teams in the division, plus rivalries are really made in the playoffs. In that regard, the Oilers owe the Ducks one for taking them out in the second round last spring.

Jason Gregor:

Anaheim. Ducks knocked them out of the playoffs and they have won the division every year since this version of the Pacific Division came into existence four seasons ago.

Ryan Batty:

Calgary. For my money, it’s always going to be Calgary. Those are the games I look for first when the schedule comes out and the games that I look forward to the most. It’s just a matter of geography and history. This year, I hope the Oilers will be competing for a divisional title with the Ducks, possibly the Sharks, but the games against Calgary will still mean a little bit more to me.

Matt Henderson:

I’m going with the Anaheim Ducks. They’re on top until someone knocks them off. Special shout out to the Flames who tried to improve this offseason. If they find chemistry early they can take advantage of some weak clubs.

Cam Lewis:

It’s the Ducks. Sentimentally, it’s Calgary, but there won’t be genuine bad blood between those teams until they have a playoff series. After the one we had between the Oilers and Ducks with the lifted pad and all the chippy play from Anaheim? I’m sure the Oilers are ready to play them hard. There’s a good chance the Oilers and Ducks meet in the Pacific Division Final again too.

Chris the Intern:

If not Calgary, I gotta go with Anaheim. That’s the beautiful thing about playoffs is the rivalries it creates. Since we missed the post season for so long we never really created any rivalries with teams but I’m still infuriated with the Ducks from our series and I want them to pay all season long for it.

Baggedmilk:

Calgary is always going to be a fun rivalry because of the chirping that goes back and forth with Flamesnation. On a personal level, I love when FN’s fans come in here and beak before games and the ON crowd stuffs them in a body bag — it’s hilarious. In reality, I think the biggest rivalry will be with the Ducks. That playoff series got angry towards the end and I’m going to expect that the hatred carries over into the regular season as well.

Apr 9, 2017; Washington, DC, USA; Florida Panthers right wing Jaromir Jagr (68) skates with the puck as Washington Capitals defenseman Brooks Orpik (44) chases in the second period at Verizon Center. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

2) Frank G. asks – There seem to be high expectations on both Yamamoto and Puljujarvi to grab a roster spot this season and that seems unfair given their age and the way the team is made up. Do you think Chiarelli made a mistake by not bringing in a veteran RW on a short-term contract to bridge the gap and allow these young players more time to develop?

Lowetide:

No, I think he played it right by bringing the kids in and having a look during training camp. Adding a veteran can happen anytime but you want to know how far along the kids are and what slots they can cover this season.

Robin Brownlee:

The expectations of fans aren’t Chiarelli’s fault. I don’t think he counted on both of them making the team. Anton Slepyshev should be ready to go to start the season and Yamamoto is in the RW mix along with Strome and Kassian. Puljujarvi gets more time in Bakersfield and that’s fine. I don’t see depth on RW as a significant issue.

Jason Gregor:

I don’t believe the Oilers had many expectations for Yamamoto to make the team. Whatever games he gets, and it shouldn’t be more than nine, is a bonus. If Slepyshev was healthy it would be even less of an issue. The Oilers still have Slepyshev, Caggiula and Strome to play the RW. Puljujarvi has been given an opportunity to compete, which is what every young player wants. If he doesn’t stick to start the season, I don’t see it as a negative at all. He is only 19. Chiarelli’s plan was to see how the players reacted and as they get closer to the trade deadline he will add a RW, D or whichever position he feels needs an upgrade. They have over $7 million in cap space so he will have lots of options.

Ryan Batty:

It feels like I’ve spent years complaining about the Oilers using the NHL as a developmental league. If you look at the right side of the Oilers roster I think it’s fair to say that going into camp Chiarelli was assuming/hoping that one of the two would be able to step up and grab a roster spot. I would have much preferred that he fill that spot with a more known commodity in case neither proved to be ready, and then if one or both pushed their way onto the roster, well, that wouldn’t be the worst problem to have. Chiarelli’s gamble might pay off, but I don’t know that it was a smart bet to make.

Matt Henderson:

Yes. I think it was a mistake to downgrade at RW. Chiarelli’s plan appeared to have Puljujarvi and Strome in the top spots. I don’t think it included Yamamoto. It just turns out that JP wasn’t ready to challenge for a spot, it seems. As for Strome, he looks like a 3C or 3RW. Either way, not a solid plan. Naturally, there really needs to be someone added to the top two lines beyond Yamo. Jagr, please.

Cam Lewis:

Yes, absolutely. The Oilers are rolling with a lot of wild cards on the right side. If Yamamoto doesn’t work out, which is very possible for a small guy adjusting to the NHL when there’s actually hitting unlike in the pre-season, they’ll go back to Puljujarvi, who’s another wild card himself. I don’t see why they aren’t interested in adding someone like P.A. Parenteau, who in the past has been solid in a top- and bottom-six role. If he’s terrible, he can be waived. It’s really the only spot they have no depth.

Chris the Intern:

I think he missed an opportunity with it, but I wouldn’t call it a mistake. In a perfect world Puljujarvi would step up and perform but expecting him to be an all-star in his second pro season is a bit of a stretch. We also saw great things from Caggiula last season so you never really know what to expect heading into camp.

Baggedmilk:

I completely understand why Chiarelli would want to wait and see what he has with Puljujarvi and Yamamoto (Puljujarvi is only four months older than Yamamoto btw), but I do think the team would be better off with an experience RW that can play in the top six. That’s a lot of pressure on two young guys to be able to produce, and that’s without even mentioning that the Oilers could use another cheap year of Yamamoto three seasons from now and they could get that by sending him back to junior after nine games. Bring in Jagr. They have the space on the roster and under the cap and send both Yamamoto and Puljujarvi down for further development.

Apr 1, 2017; Edmonton, Alberta, CAN; The Edmonton Oilers celebrate an overtime goal by forward Leon Draisaitl (29) against the Anaheim Ducks at Rogers Place. Mandatory Credit: Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports

3) James E. asks – I heard Ray Ferraro mention on the Jason Gregor show that veterans go through the last couple pre-season games trying to stay healthy and it’s the young guys that that want to make an impression. With that in mind, do you think the pre-season is too long?

Lowetide:

I think it is for teams who have established lineups but probably about right for teams who are building and have many question marks. For fans, definitely too long.

Robin Brownlee:

Teams used to play more games than they do now but I wouldn’t be against seeing the pre-season shortened up even further. That won’t happen, of course, because that would cut revenue.

Jason Gregor:

You bet. Six games would be lots. I doubt the NHL ever changes it because they would be giving up revenue, but for players, coaches and fans it would be better to play fewer games.

Ryan Batty:

It is absolutely too long. You could cut the preseason in half and I don’t think it would impact regular season play at all. And while we’re at it, the season is too long too. The NHL could easily trim 20 games off the top there as well and probably improve their on-ice product at the same time. As a season ticket holder I’d even be happy to pay the same total amount, meaning more per game, knowing that each game would mean more and I would, in turn, see fewer nights where the give-a-shit meter reads zero.

Matt Henderson:

Yeah, I think they could probably drop to six games and get the same job done. Teams just need to stop messing about with 50 person rosters. Why start with guys who don’t have a hope? Get them to the AHL camp as fast as possible and let their coaching staff sort them out.

Cam Lewis:

They could probably play, like, three games in the pre-season and it would be fine. The exhibition games are so low intensity anyways that I’m not sure how much of a baring it has on players actually getting up to game speed. Seems pretty pointless to me.

Chris the Intern:

When you look at it on a calendar, two weeks isn’t that long. It feels like so much longer because we’re all just dying to watch some hockey. I would rather see guys have more team ice sessions and fewer pre-season games due to the risk of injury though.

Baggedmilk:

I wouldn’t mind if the pre-season got trimmed a little bit but I also think it’s reasonable when you have to evaluate 40 players. In the end, it’s only been two weeks and the regular season starts on Monday. I think, more than anything, we’re all just being impatient.

Feb 3, 2017; Raleigh, NC, USA; Edmonton Oilers forward Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (93) skates with the puck past Carolina Hurricanes forward Teuvo Teravainen (86) during the fist period at PNC Arena. Mandatory Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

4) Brenden L. asks – In your opinion, what does it mean when someone says that the ‘Oilers won’t fly under the radar’ this season? Does that imply that teams weren’t really preparing themselves to play Edmonton as much last year?

Lowetide:

I take it to mean other NHL teams will focus on the Edmonton games in a way they haven’t in the past. Remember when the old Oilers would always face the backup, or get the first start in a young goalie’s career against them? Starting goalies, full rosters, some time down the road perhaps teams will test themselves against the Oilers the way they do now against Pittsburgh or Chicago.

Robin Brownlee:

Everybody knows how good the Oilers are now. That wasn’t the case to start last season. Simple as that.

Jason Gregor:

I’ve never been completely comfortable with that statement. You can’t tell me that players and coaches don’t look at the standings regularly. In January the Oilers were a playoff team and playing well, I don’t see how they surprised teams four months into the season. I do believe teams respect them more now than they did last September, but when Edmonton was a bad team, they still respected the good teams, they just weren’t good enough to beat them most nights. The Oilers tougher test this year will be not playing down to the level of the opponent when they face weaker teams.

Ryan Batty:

Over the last decade, I would assume that a lot of players looked at games against the Oilers as a free space in the schedule since, more often than not, a good twenty minutes, sometimes less, was all that was required to beat the Oilers. That could mean that they were a little less focused at puck drop than they would have been if they were playing the Penguins or Blackhawks, but I kind of doubt that the effect was anything more than minimal on the outcome of the games. This is something you hear a lot during training camp and, really, I don’t think it means much at all. Just another in the long line of training camp cliches.

Matt Henderson:

I think there are a couple things there. One, Edmonton is now a game where the opposition is excited to play. It’s not a gimme anymore and contending teams will measure themselves against the Oilers. Two, last year was really McDavid’s first full season so now every club really understands what they’re up against. They have all the video they need to be ready (if such a thing exists for those stuck defending McDavid). Three, the Oilers actually matter again. It’s a big deal when they come through now.

Cam Lewis:

I think it means teams will circle games against Edmonton on the calendar. They won’t take it easy or view it as point night like so many years in the past. I’m not sure it matters much because players are competitive regardless, but the Oilers aren’t going to get any lazy, hungover games this year from opponents.

Chris the Intern:

I suppose so. I don’t really think we flew under the radar last season anyways but whatever. People are beginning to hate playing us because of guys like Kass, Looch, Maroon, and Connor. I think this was already a thing last year though. I couldn’t be more in love with that thought.

Baggedmilk:

People are saying that because the Oilers have been gross for a decade and were likely circled as an easy two points on the schedule for most teams. I think it’s important to remember how bad the OIlers were in order to truly appreciate how good they could be.

5) Mark T. asks – One comment I’m getting really sick of seeing lately is “stick to sports”. I, for one, like knowing how the writer I follow feels about certain issues. If I disagree then I’ll either end up unfollowing or simply skipping over their articles. How do you manage your responses to these types of comments and is there a balance you try to find between sports and “non-sports” posts?

Lowetide:

I think people should be free to share exactly as much as they are comfortable doing. Regarding people saying ‘stick to sports’ and such, I honestly don’t notice that kind of thing. I assume it’s a time waste and I’m too old to flush anytime I have left.

Robin Brownlee:

I’ve written a fair amount of non-sports items here over the years when the mood strikes me. If somebody doesn’t want that kind of content then they don’t have to read it. Same with Twitter. If you don’t like something I write then you are free to unfollow, just as I am free to block you if you get nasty about it. Bottom line: don’t like it, don’t read it.

Jason Gregor:

I laugh when someone tells me to stick to sports. “I follow you for sports,” is their line on twitter. I don’t tweet for any individual. I doubt everyone will be interested in every tweet. The great part of living where we do is we have the freedom to make our choices. If you don’t like what a person writes or tweets, don’t follow them. I’d never say to someone, “don’t tweet about this.” I never had anyone ask me to follow them, so it was my choice to click follow. If I dislike what they are tweeting, then I should be mad at myself first, since I opted to follow them.

Life is more important than sports, and I will never shy away from expressing thoughts on opinions on non-sport topics. If that offends someone, there is nothing I can do about it.

Ryan Batty:

Wow, Mark, “If I disagree then I’ll either end up unfollowing or simply skipping over their articles” seems like a common sense approach to social media. It’s like you grasp the very simple concept that you, and you alone, control what shows up in your timeline. I understand that most people follow me for Oilers related content but I’ve never felt like that matters when it comes to what I want to discuss on social media. I talk about whatever I want, whenever I want because it’s my account and I’m more than just an Oilers content robot. And when someone feels the need to tell me that that’s not why they follow me I’ll either ignore it or mock it depending on my mood at the time.

Matt Henderson:

I pretty much just write what I feel like writing. If something makes me mad enough to write about, it usually ends up being some of my more interesting stuff. The way I see it, I’m not a journalist and I don’t pretend to be one. I have no mandate to fake being impartial. I’m biased. I’m opinionated. I like disagreeing with people. I write better when I let myself into my work. The “right” balance is different for everyone. As long as what I write is interesting enough to read then that’s good enough.

Cam Lewis:

Stick to sports is a flawed ideal. To assume an athlete, coach, commentator, reporter, whatever is simply a sports guy is naive. The most important thing to a democracy is the agency we have in freedom of expression. I can empathize with wanting that escape from reality, but your comfort and convenience don’t come before somebody’s ability to express their experience. Most things are inherently political and if you’re one of the ones looking to avoid this reality, you’re incredibly fortunate.

The main function that sports serves in our society is not just entertainment, but a sense of belonging. It brings people together. In a contemporary context, professional sports has created such a massive special for communication. We can learn a lot from one another in such a situation where many people from different backgrounds and experiences come together. If you’re suggesting someone stick to sports and shut up about things they’re passionate about, you’ve essentially said you aren’t interested in learning anymore. That, I think, is a massive problem.

Chris the Intern:

Since I started working here and really got deep into the Internet I’ve just accepted that there is always someone who will have a different opinion than someone else. It’s infuriating but since I’ve accepted that I couldn’t really care less what anyone else thinks when it comes to comments like these. There will always be someone thinking irrationally and we just have to smile and nod…. or begin Twitter fights. Either one is good.

Baggedmilk:

The nice part about living in a free country is that you can talk about whatever you want. If I want to talk about politics, or Teen Mom, or music, or the Edmonton Oilers then I’m going to do that — it’s my opinion. The funny thing about Twitter is that you can follow whoever you want and if you don’t like what I say then you can stop. Seems easy enough.

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  • OriginalPouzar

    More important than bringing in another right winger is bringing in another right handed d-man.

    A huge “to be seen” for this season is if Benning can step in to the 2nd pairing role and run with the opportunity. Sekera left a huge hole on that 2nd pairing which our GM has decided we need to try and fill internally. Benning has been gifted that spot and, through camp, hasn’t been all that great.

    Yes, its just exhibition but he’s been very up and down and Kris Russell has been carrying the 2nd pairing. Hopefully Benning will calm down a bit once the season starts and settle in with better decision making and decisiveness.

    Thankfully Russell truly does look more efficient on the left side but Benning hasn’t provided confidence that he’s ready for the 2RD role – that still remains to be seen.

    Even moreso, with Benning elevated to the 2nd pairing and Gryba plunked in to the every day 3RD spot, Nurse has lost his puck-moving partner and, frankly, Nurse hasn’t show that his own decision making has got any better – that is the area he needs to improve – not raw skills but decision making, gap control, positioning, etc.

    Right now, both Gryba and Benning are playing in roles above their pay grades and Nurse is on an Island with a 7D as his every day partner.

    One 2RD to bump the other three down a spot would do wonders – a simple trade like Mantha and a 3rd for Collin Miller would have a material beneficial effect on the team.

      • the reasonable person

        Ya, it’s interesting how this problem on defense has been downplayed… The problem of going right from a top pairing to a third pairing to an AHL pairing. Hopefully everyone takes the opportunity to step up or we could be in for a much less successful season than everyone takes for granted that we are going to have.

    • AlexTheOilersFanSince2006

      I agree, but remember. Sekera is injured and the Oilers don’t really have much of a choice but to have Benning play on the 2nd line and Gryba on 3rd line.

  • Devolution

    “If you’re suggesting someone stick to sports and shut up about things they’re passionate about, you’ve essentially said you aren’t interested in learning anymore. That, I think, is a massive problem.”.

    I think most people read online not to learn, but rather to re-enforce the beliefs they already hold. With the flood of information available on the internet people can pick and choose in order to strengthen their confirmation bias.

    • Muddy

      I think we see how the next couple of weeks go with Sleppy. I have a very strong feeling Chia has had some discussions with Iggy over the summer about the potential of joining the team if needed. They have a history from Boston and I can see it as a good fit if the options run thin within the organization.

  • freelancer

    As of opening night the Oilers will have a roster that on paper is weaker than the year before. Management seems to be counting on internal growth and I wonder if they do not see the progression they are hoping for how long will it take for them to make improvements.

    With names like Jagr, and Colin Miller available now I would have hoped to see Chia pull the trigger on something instead of playing catch up in December.

      • Smitty

        I’m pretty sure 90% of oilersnation wanted him. Now that you lost another player to Calgary there is an excuse. Too old, can’t crack the line up, not good enough etc. You’re just mad another player chose Calgary. It’s comical to think players choose other teams over Edmonton even with having a chance to play with one of the best players in the league, they still decline. They probably know there will be no cups in Edmonton

        • camdog

          Edmonton Hasn’t been serious about Jagr since days of Hemsky. The greatest joy of Flames fans is thinking they scooped a player from Edmonton. Reality is Jagr has spent his entire career out east, he never wanted to come west in his younger days because he thought it would mess with training regime. Aka he works out more than any player in league and extra travel messes with his schedule. Playing west is something new for Jagr, we will see how it works….

          • Glencontrolurstik

            As well as playing “north”…
            I’ll bet he gets caught up in the media spotlight, as hockey here in Canada is much more mainstream than it is in Florida.
            Granted he did play in Pittsburgh & New York, but that was a much younger Jagr…
            This could go either way for Calgary. Either he “embraces” the added attention or it gets the best of him, coupled with the extra travel….?
            We’ll see…

  • madjam

    RW problem ? Maybe it is to early to take Leon as a RW away from McDavid for most of or all season ? Might be best for team not to have Leon with his own line this season . We have plenty of centers to cover the other 3 lines beyond Connor and/or Leon with little downside I believe . Keeping Draisaitl on RW certainly helps make RW better and less of a perceived weakness . Maybe after Yam, Strome , Gaguilla , Jesse , Slepy , etc . play better , then go back to Draisaitl with his own line . As others have stated , more of a pressing problem on defence than another addition to RW by the looks of it . I just don’t see how taking Leon away from Connor this year is going to make us a better club under the cap system . Maybe next season depending on how the other RW candidates pan out or a later trade, etc..

  • MrBung

    I don’t get this desire to bring in Jagr – short of just for the name. He is well passed his prime and was showing fall off last season compared to the one before that.

    • McRaj

      He had 46 points last year with Barkov and Huberdeau (his two linemates from the previous season) missing a big portion of the season.
      Can you tell me which Oiler RW on the team currently (and don’t say Drai, hes a C) had 46 points last year?
      He would have been our best RW and a player who can still produce.

  • #97TRAIN

    Just an observation but visitors to this site is down considerably. We use to dominate the amount of comments now Calgary does.
    Is it the new site? That should be the same for both cities?
    Any reason for this?

    • Derian Hatcher

      For myself…a couple reasons.

      #1 the juvinile trolling (here and on FN). It just gets old and tiresome to wade trhough the comments looking for quality, thought-provoking, constructive comments. A significant amount of commenting has devolved into “My dad’s tougher than your dad” Sigh.
      2) The new site. The way the comments are structured is not as reader-friendly as before IMO

      I still read some of my favourite writers (Brownlee, Lowtide, Gregor, Steinberg) and pass on some writers. Overall, I like reading the Game Day Blogs and game summaries. Some good things on these sites.

      • vetinari

        Amen, brother. I used to post her regularly but I find the trolls, mainly from FN, make this place unbearable. Add in the new comments section format, which I am not a fan of, and I have been spending more time browsing then posting, and viewing other sites. I would be thrilled if each Nation site was only open to those fans except on an open game day, head to head, matchups thread.

        • Hockeyfan6778

          I completely agree the trolling is out of control and really annoying. We have just as much oilers trolls on fn. Here’s to a good healthy rivalry in the coming seasons. I have allot of oilers fans as friends so I know your not all bad.

      • I’ve been around here for a long time. It used to be fun with guys just wanting to post up and have a laugh or two talking about sports. Now everybody is so damn serious like the next comment could get them a raise at work or something. Honestly, it gets tiresome. That and the fact we can’t edit comments or ad GIFs or pics. It takes a lot of the creativity out of what could be a really cool site. Don’t get me wrong because I love this place and I’m a big fan of the crew. Just wish we could get back to a “locker room after a game” style. Always loved the good natured chirping and stuff. Although I suppose it’s just a reflection of a more cynical time.

    • Hemi

      Without a doubt, the trolls and their immaturity is just too much to take at times. Most hockey fans in both cities want to talk hockey and not with little minded trolls whom seem to dominate the input these days.

      • Derian Hatcher

        To add to that…there are some excellent posters who provide some really insightful comments , which often get lost amongst the drivel of the trolls – and we all know who they are. Someone bites, and round and round we go, until we have a group of brave, anonymous keyboard warriors that lessen the quality of a really good thing. Just my opinion.

  • AlexTheOilersFanSince2006

    1. Is that Leon’s face in the photo at the top?
    2. Jagr signs in Calgary…ugh
    3. Anyone else actually concerned that Edmonton will suck this year? I don’t see it happening, but the possibility is there.
    4. What happens when Calgary wins the season series?
    5. Why didn’t Chiarelli get in on Hamonic?
    6. So many questions so little time.

    See you Wednesday Folks

  • CMG30

    Huge mistake not bringing in Jagr! This team needs to be as competitive as possible, we are no longer a training team. Make the kids earn their spot, if they can’t, no shame in being beat by a HOF legend!

    • Hemi

      As much as I would have liked Jagr in Oil Silks and the reason is “Just Because”, there are reasons that every other NHL team passed up the opportunity to sign him earlier. Could he have helped the Oil in the short term, I want to say yes but smarter hockey people than me think not.

      • Dr. Merkwurdigliebe

        I agree. Only a desperate team like the Flames will look to sign a 45-year-old player to help the forward group. If the Oilers need help on RW this season, there will be better options at the trade deadline I’m sure.

        • Not a First Tier Fan

          Oilers already have a slow veteran to deal with in Lucic… but at least Lucic brings more to the locker room. Jagr is a beast to still be playing at 45 … but Lucic is more of the kind of beast that the Oilers need.

  • Randaman

    This might not be overly popular but would Iginla be a good third line RW option? A north/south style suits him. Veteran leader with a very good shot. Might be a fit

  • AlexTheOilersFanSince2006

    My answers to the above.

    1. Anaheim for sure. After last year’s playoffs and the way the Ducks got away with so much crap, I think they’ll be Edmonton’s biggest rival. Caglary I’m not too worried about since I’m still not sold on their forward group or goaltending. The defence is strong, but we have McDraisitl.

    2. Obviously Chiarelli is banking on internal growth. Yamamoto has earned his right to play, Puljujarvi is always available and Strome should be able to grow as a player. However that’s still a lot of “ifs” and if they don’t work out, it won’t bode well for Chiarelli. I’ll look for him to add veteran RW help later this season.

    3. Yes. As fans, waiting through a bunch of “meaningless” games to get to the real games sucks. That being said, preseason does allow us to get a good look and up-and-coming players.

    4. I myself have never been onboard with that statement. During the first half of the season last year, that statement was passable. Based on how teams talked about the Oilers after playing them showed they were taken by surprise. However in the later half of the season, every team knew about them and everybody took them seriously. Not saying it’s going to be less this season, but everybody knew about Edmonton by about February of last season.

    5. No comment

    • madjam

      It generally takes a traded player 10-20 games to adjust to new team and get comfortable in team setting . We should see an improvement from Strome and Jokinen over the first 10 games of regular season from where they are at now .This adjustment time very noticeable at trade deadline as well , very seldom instantaneous .

  • ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

    The Oilers’ biggest divisional rival this year and why?
    Easy: The Zebras, based on how they handled the Oilers in the last two games of the playoffs against the lesser Ducks.