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Photo Credit: Scott Gries

Hot Takes!

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.

Recently by Dustin Nielson

  • Rob...

    Come on, Dustin, one more please. What’s your prediction for the total number of games Nasem Kadri is suspended for by the time the regular season ends? His recent playoff suspension is going to have a hug impact on the scrutiny he receives this season.

  • ubermiguel

    Predicting goalie development is voodoo; get the rights to some youngsters and see who gets good. Grabner, Kunitz, Comeau, Beagle, gotta fill the roster with some inexpensive veteran forwards. No more throwing young players into the deep end and hoping they don’t drown.

  • Consultant

    I like your Ethan Bear take.
    I was surprised how good he looked last year (apart from his first game).
    Hopefully Pete realizes he might have something here and doesn’t go making another horrible trade for a guy who was what Ethan might be in a year or two. Develop Pete, please no more trades.

    • Big Nuggets

      aia hope we don’t rush Bear. I think learning how to win in the AHL is a huge positive for development. It allows a player to iron out all parts of their game, not just focus on scoring on the powerplay and in over their head the rest of the game. Mayhe Bear will be ready next season but I highly doubt it and if he is in the line-up I think it will be due to wishful thinking more than being ready.

  • HardBoiledOil 1.0

    Yes to Manny, indeed nobody will miss Slepy and neither will I, and I also think Grabner with his speed is the guy we need to play with either McDavid or Draisaitl while staying far away from Nash. …and Florida did screw up by not finding a way to keep 70 point guy Marchassault or 60 point guy Reilly Smith! And it would seem that Carolina is quite satisfied with missing the playoffs the last 9 years in a row with 9000 fans in the seats every year….they have clearly taken over from the Oilers as the league’s most poorly run franchise!

  • Marshall Law

    You think that losing Gallant was more of a problem for the Panthers than giving away two top-six forwards to Vegas for nothing? If Dale Tallon wasn’t busy eating paste last off-season, the Panthers are a playoff team this year.

    • AlexTheOilersFanSince2006

      Gallant is the bigger loss imo. If players were the be-all-end-all, then we would’ve made the playoffs with McDavid alone. Coaching goes a LONG way in team success. Look at some of Todd’s decisions this past season.

  • OilersBro

    Agree with most of these except Bear will play in the AHL, Klefbom will score 16 goals. His previous career high of 10 was 2 years ago and with a healthy shoulder he will hit 45 points.

  • JSR

    Let’s not get too hyped up on a 19 or 20 yr. old yet…I seem to recall Laurent Brossoit won a WHL championship, as well…where is he now?? Trending downwards, is where…

  • RexHolez

    Manny V – I personally don’t care who the assistants are. If Mclellan wants to hire Roseanne, hire Roseanne. Just don’t suck next year.

    Anton Slepyshev – was a player the coach didn’t want to play on a bad team. I wish him well, but not a big loss

    Grabner – the money we spent on koskinen should’ve went to a guy like Grabner if he’d come here. We need a few wingers, not just one. I think Grabner would be a good fit

    Ethan Bear – if he’s the leading goal scorer on the back end we’ll probably have good odds in the lottery again. He’s a good player in the offensive zone, kills you in the defensive zone. Hopefully the oilers will have better options for playing time

    Ovechkin – I love Ovie. Best goal scorer of this generation. Hope he gets his cup finally

    Rick Nash – even 4 million would be too much.

    Matthews for captain – as an Oiler fan I’m not gonna say anything about the leafs. Oilers should take notes on how to properly rebuild a team. Oilers are an embarrassment

    Gallant – heck of a coach. Getting rid of him was almost an Oiler level failure. Did they use Skype to do it too?

    Saying Carolina will do something stupid is a pretty easy bet. Saying the oilers will do something stupid is an absolute lock

  • RexHolez

    Oh and pegging skinner as the future number one is lunacy. Pretty sure I heard the same thing about Brossoit. Hopefully he gets there, but it’s a long way from a lock. He could be a number but it’s probably more likely he won’t be. Time will tell, fingers crossed

  • TheMilhouse

    Hey Dusty, I put down my take on the stovetop not realizing I left a burner on, it’s pretty hot:

    Next season, riding shotgun with McDavid, Nuge gets a few points than Mark Scheifele and re-emerges as the best C from that draft, even though he’s playing the LW for now. Plus, his solid two-way game continues to develop which adds to his slight edge.

  • Braindead

    I saw an article out of Toronto that said something like “ Matthews and Barzel the next best young centers in the NHL.”
    Which was funny because before it was Matthews and McDavid lol I guess Toronto can put it to rest that Matthews is no where near as good as McDavid