Happy New Year Oilersnation!! The Spengler Cup was amazing but it is nice to be back. So what did I miss? Any questionable deals or losing streaks that you all had to deal with? Yes, I know, things have been messy. I’ve got a bunch of random thoughts on pretty much everything I missed. Here we go.
CHIARELLI GETS HIS MANNING….FINALLY
This deal doesn’t make any sense to me and pretty much never will. The Hawks would have done anything to move Manning for NOTHING and yet they land a capable bottom six forward in Drake Caggiula. Adding to the misery Klefbom hasn’t even returned to the line up yet and Manning has already been healthy scratched.
This story is actually even more ridiculous than it sounds. I do believe it’s been mentioned that Chiarelli has always had Manning on his radar but how about this little tidbit: I’ve been told by a very reliable source that at one point over the last two years Chiarelli actually had a deal in place to acquire Manning. He was ready to pull the trigger but his coaching staff told him not to do it. I don’t know what that deal was but I find it fascinating he has wanted Manning for so long and was told by his last coaching staff the player wasn’t worth picking up. Looks like they were right.
I also snagged this quote from an NHL Scout shortly after the Manning deal was made. “I have no idea what Peter is hoping to accomplish with Manning. He’s a fringe bottom pairing d-man on his best day.”
PETROVIC FINALLY BECOMES AN OILER
Petrovic to the Oilers has been suggested more times than I can remember over the past couple of seasons. I would have felt better about this deal if it was a fourth round pick but I don’t hate it. Petrovic should be able to fight for third pairing minutes even when this blue line is healthy.
Seriously though. What does this blue line look like when it’s healthy? Is Sekera ever going to be ready to play?
Nurse – Russell
Gravel – Petrovic
Manning – Benning
Is that what they are looking at pre-Sekera? I like what I’ve seen from Caleb Jones but I’m still thinking he heads back to the AHL when they are healthy.
Maybe Jones can go back to Bako until one of the other d-men is moved for a forward. Why was the Caggiula trade made again?
BRIGHT FUTURE AHEAD?
Oilers fans should be very excited about what’s on the way on the backend. The World Juniors provided a pretty good glimpse of the future on the blue line. Evan Bouchard, as expected, was more than steady for the Canadians. Dmitri Samorukov was a workhorse for the Russian’s and is starting to trend towards having legit NHL potential.
The real surprise continues to be Philip Kemp, a seventh round pick in 2017. A pro career is now in the cards for Kemp. I’m not yet ready to say he will eventually make a significant impact on the Oilers but he’s a solid defender who will most certainly get an opportunity to develop in the American Hockey League when he is ready.
I wonder if the continued emergence of these three kids means Ethan Bear will now be in play prior to the trade deadline as Chiarelli continues his search for secondary scoring.
THE NUGE LINE
I’d like to see Hitchcock go back to Nugent-Hopkins between Jujhar and Jesse. I tweeted this same thing early in the game against the Ducks and I do believe we saw it a couple of times on Sunday night.
The Khaira-Nuge-Puljujarvi trio was probably the best second line the Oilers have managed to put together this season and it was only broken up due to Khaira’s suspension. I’m actually surprised Hitch hasn’t gone back to it yet. If they are going to try and run with three centers I’d say those two guys are the best bet with Nuge.
While I was overseas I had a number of people tweet me asking if there was anyone at that tournament who could help the Oilers. Zac Dalpe is a player I find intriguing but he’s currently under contract with the Columbus Blue Jackets. Dalpe has played just one game for the Blue Jackets this season but did have an assist in that game. He is putting up some excellent numbers in the American Hockey League with 15 goals and 28 points in 30 games. He’s 6’2, has decent speed and a very good shot. I get an Alex Chiasson vibe from him. He’s a player I think the Oilers should keep tabs on.
I’d also like to see an NHL team give Denis Godla a chance between the pipes. Godla was the MVP of the 2015 World Juniors and was brilliant in the Spengler Cup Final against Canada. He’s a member of the Slovakian National Team and is currently playing for Sami Kapanen in Finland. Kapanen told me Godla is good enough to play in the NHL right now. The only downside is that he’s just 5’11 but the guy is an absolute stud. He’s just 23-years-old and told our TSN crew that all he wants is a chance in North America. I hope he gets it.