As the Oilers get closer to the draft and the NHL continues to march towards crowning another Stanley Cup Champion, it’s time for another round of Hot Takes.
Winner, Winner, Stuart Skinner…Again
Let’s start by looking back at one of my takes from last month
“Stuart Skinner is the goalie of the future for the Oilers. I know his WHL numbers haven’t been mind blowing but he has the size and athleticism you want in a goalie. He is also developing a reputation as a big game keeper, which is not a bad trait to have.
Talbot, and a better back up, for three more years and then Skinner takes over.”
I’m already feeling really good about this one. Stuart Skinner just put the finishing touches on a brilliant performance in the WHL playoffs. In 26 playoff games with Swift Current Skinner finished with a 2.20 GAA, .932 save percentage and tied the WHL record with six shutouts.
The former Lethbridge Hurricane outdueled future Flyer Carter Hart in the WHL final. Hart is thought by many to be the best goaltending prospect in all of hockey.
For the first time in close to a decade, I think the Oilers can finally say they have their goaltender of the future.
Waiting For Manny V.
Why have the Oilers not introduced their new coaching staff? The only reason I can think of would be that they are waiting for the Swift Current Broncos to wrap things up the Memorial Cup.
A source told me that the announcement would likely be made after the WHL Semi-Final. Yet we’ve heard nothing. Manny Viveiros has just coached the Broncos to a WHL title, he’s St. Albert guy and could fit in nicely on the Oilers coaching staff.
Todd McLellan on the bench alongside Trent Yawney and Glen Gulutzan with Viveiros upstairs? What else are they waiting for? Could it be Yawney and Viveiros as the assistants with no Gulutzan?
Nobody Will Miss Anton Slepyshev
It’s low hanging fruit to blame the Oilers for Anton Slepyshev’s inability to stick in North America. Anybody who thinks Slepyshev had the potential to contribute in an impactful way at the NHL level is delusional. He’s never really made an offensive impact anywhere. In his final year in the KHL before coming to North America, he had 25 points in 58 games. I’m not an NHLE expert like Lowetide but I’m assuming those numbers translate to about what we saw from him in the NHL.
His first year in the AHL he had 21 points in 49 games and in 102 NHL games, he scored 10 goals. If he wasn’t injured to start this season could things have gone a little differently? Possibly, but Slepyshevs are a dime a dozen.
All In On Grabner
The Oilers will not have a lot of money to spend this off-season. The good news is Michael Grabner will probably still be in their price range. Grabner is coming off of back-to-back seasons with at least 25 goals but I still don’t see him landing a big money deal anywhere.
After completing a 5-year deal worth $15,000,000 Grabner has earned just $1,650,000 each of the past two seasons. He signed his big deal following a 34-goal campaign and still only landed three million per season. I could see him in the three million range on a two-year deal and I think that’s a number the Oilers can work with. He could play with either McDavid or Draisaitl and become a key piece on the penalty kill.
Goal Machine Ethan Bear
Careful, this take is hot. Ethan Bear will lead the Oilers blue line in goals next season. Come at me, bro.
Ovechkin Tops Crosby
Not only will Alexander Ovechkin lead the Washington Capitals to a Stanley Cup, he’s going to score 16 or more times in the process. Crosby’s post-season high was 15 goals during the Penguins first push to a Cup. Ovechkin will top that, win the Conn Smythe and finally silence all of the haters.
Too Much Cash For Rick Nash
Whoever pays for Rick Nash will end up being disappointed, unless of course, you don’t plan on having any playoff success.
Rick Nash was not a failure in the 2018 NHL playoffs, he was just Rick Nash. The Boston Bruins must have ignored his constant playoff disappointments when they gave up a boatload to land him at the deadline. Over his post-season career, Nash scores at a 17 goal regular season pace. Even during the Rangers run to the Stanley Cup Final he only scored three goals in 25 games. I don’t care who the team is, if they pay more than $4,000,000 for 2018 Rick Nash, they are foolish.
Auston Matthews Isn’t Ready To Be Captain
If I go into any detail Leafs Nation will most certainly rip me so I’ll just say this: I don’t think it’s in the best interest of the player to slap a ‘C’ on his chest next season.
The Florida Panthers F’d Up Big Time
If the Florida Panthers had kept Gerard Gallant they would be in the Eastern Conference Final right now. There, I said it.
In Gallant’s last full season in Florida, the Panthers had over 100 points and made the playoffs with Jaromir Jagr and Jussi Jokinen finishing first and second in team scoring. Barkov, Huberdeau and Trochek had yet to take the next step in their careers. Give Gallant those three guys this year and the Panthers are Eastern Conference contenders.
The Carolina Hurricanes Will Do Something Stupid in Dallas
Will they trade the second pick and miss out on Andrei Svechnikov?
Will they give up a key piece just to save a few bucks?
Will they somehow trade for someone that’s even worse than Scott Darling?
On the other side of the coin, will they steal Puljujarvi from the Oilers? I hope not.