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Photo Credit: Bakersfield Condors

Looking at the next wave

During Ken Holland’s time with the Detroit Red Wings, the organization were the golden standard for developing prospects. They found gems late in the draft and when they had high-end prospects, they would keep them stashed in the minors until they were “over-ripened.”

I put that term in quotations because Holland himself has used it multiple times and he said it again last Tuesday at his introductory. Lots of Oilers fans want to the new Oilers President of Hockey Operations to bring that same level of patience to Edmonton.

That’s fair considering that Oilersnation has watched this organization rush through the likes of Sam Gagner, Nail Yakupov, Jesse Puljujarvi, and to some extent, Leon Draisaitl. There’s more, but you don’t need me to beat a dead horse.

The Red Wings did the opposite during their glory years and they could afford to because all they did was win. They were perennial Stanley Cup contenders so it made sense that it was tough for 19 or 20-year-olds to crack the roster. While I do think that Holland will bring a level of patience, I don’t think Oilers fans should expect it to resemble that of the dynasty Red Wings. There are a few reasons for that.

First, the Oilers simply aren’t as good as those Red Wings teams. Those teams in Detroit’s were locks to make the playoffs and they had a deep and talented group of veterans available to help them breeze through the first 82 games of the season. The Oilers need all of the help that they can get.

Secondly, it’s the salary cap era now. The Oilers have $33 million tied up in their four highest paid forwards right now and if you want to add a few more established players to that group, you need to find savings elsewhere in the lineup.

I’m not saying that the Oilers should keep forcing players to the NHL like they have for the past 13 years, but what I’m saying is that if a player appears to be ready, then the Oilers need to let him contribute.

Caleb Jones is a great example. We’ve seen him play at the NHL level and while he had some good moments, he clearly wasn’t ready. Some say that you need to send him right back down to start next season, but I think he deserves a fair shot to make this team. From a salary cap perspective, if Jones or even Ethan Bear make this team, it could give the Oilers a bit of salary relief on their third pairing.

Both of those guys will be 22-years-old when the 2019-20 season starts. If the Oilers plan is to “over ripen” prospects, then both of those guys would likely be in the AHL for another season, but I don’t think that’s the smartest play for the Oilers.

It’s assumed that both of Evan Bouchard and Dmitri Samorukov will both start in the AHL next season, but both are coming off of exceptional seasons. I can understand both of them starting in the minors, but if they excel while playing 20 minutes in the minors, why not give them an honest look in the NHL halfway through the season. If they can help you win, bring them up. That should be the philosophy.

There are some interesting conversations to have around the forward group as well.

If Tyler Benson or Cooper Marody can step in and give inject an offensive pulse into the Oilers bottom six, well then the organization shouldn’t send them back just for the sake of “over-ripening”. If they can play and contribute on entry-level contracts, let them play. Skating is a concern for both of those players, but that’s something that can change over the course of an offseason.

A lot of the Bakersfield Condors success this season came on the backs of veterans like Josh Currie or Patrick Russell. We saw Russell for six NHL games this season and didn’t look out of place. We saw Currie for 21 games with the Oilers and at first, he was producing offence at a decent rate but eventually fell off. Still, he looked good and injected some energy into the team’s bottom six. Those are two guys who could be back next year at league minimum and would be more than okay as the Oilers 13th or 14th forwards.

I can see the value in bringing in some veterans who can contribute, but I think the Oilers need to establish a balance in their roster. Sometimes young players can surprise you and based on how some performed this year in Bakersfield, the Oilers should be prepared to have more than a couple on their roster next season.

One way out of cap hell is to find players who can contribute on their entry level contracts and the Oilers have some players who may be able to do that.

      • Gravis82

        this site sells me nothing except a place to go to read things and contribute my thoughts. The articles are not as good anymore and there are ads over the comment box. I wouldn’t say that is a strategy for success. That was free market research someone just offered. Learn to business.

        • rnj

          Also the lack of edit button and constant browser hijack ads. It’s a free site though and the writings pretty good. The comment section is always full of conversation with insight here and there. Would be nice if they addressed these issues though

  • Rama Lama

    The problem is we can bring these guys up, but there is little room and playing time allotted…….at least in the past. If you are a top 3 player in the AHL and then play limited minutes on the fourth line with a bunch of plugs, what exactly does that tell us?

    The new coach needs to put players in their natural positions, and on lines that match their skill sets………….all else seems a waste of time.

    • Randaman

      All well and good but then we get fans on here b!tching to high heaven that we are losing. One day everybody preaches patience and the next, the knives come out. Happens all the time.

    • All Ice

      I get your argument for the younger guys but guys like Currie or gambardella while top 6 in the AHL aren’t skilled or fast enough for 17 min a night in the NHL. What they can do for the team is play 9 min a night on the fourth line on league minimum contracts and save us from paying 2mil for expensive fourth line vets. That money adds up to decent middle six winger. Plus those guys get to collect an NHL paycheck and maybe one turns out to be a good penalty killer or whatever. This comes down to talent assessment, if you’re projecting a player to fill in the top six then wait till he’s ready for that role, if not then get him up here when he’s ready for the fourth line and use the cap savings.

  • BobbyCanuck

    It’s because of all this talk about the Oilers ‘have to make the play offs next season’, load of garbage, anyone with half an eyeball can see this team is at least 2 yrs away from the play-offs.

    Bring up any players that is playing well, give them a cup of coffee, send them back down, and bring in the next 2 cups of coffee, rinse and repeat. The youngsters will get a taste of the bigs, and a better understanding of what it takes to get, and stay there

    • crabman

      Like it or not the organization is going to feel enormous pressure to make the playoffs next year. As unrealistic as this may be the internal pressure is still there.
      I just hope that Holland can balance the teams desire to make the playoffs with making decisions tobuild a contender long term.

    • I wouldn’t exactly say we’re 2 years away from making the playoffs. The Avs made it to the playoffs the year after hitting 48 points. Squeezing into a wildcard spot next year isn’t as impossible as it seems. We don’t need an almost perfect season like we had 2 years ago to make the playoffs. I’d like to see who the new coach is atleast before I set my expectations.However competing in the playoffs is a different story

  • Obelisk

    I understand what you are saying but even Holland admitted if Detroit was picking in the top 5 they may have started some of them as an 18 year old. It is easy to bury players in the minors and in junior when you are picking in the 20 to 30 range.

  • theJason

    Hey Tyler…
    Don’t you ever, ever, EVER put Sam Gagner, Nail Yakupov and Jesse Puljujarvi in the same sentence as Leon Draisaitl. In fact, don’t even put them in the same paragraph together. Do I really need to sing the song for you? “One of these things is not like the other.”

  • Kneedroptalbot

    How is Ken Holland planning to rid the Franchise of the Lucic contract?
    Keith Gretzky unloaded the Talbot (waiting for the bonceback) contract. Thank You.
    That is the question. After that mess is cleared up, and he has some cap space he can start assembling a hockey team.

      • OilerForLife

        Koskinen was a mistake on term and salary. 2.5M on two years should have been good, because they were forced to do a salary cap dump and didn’t want to be caught without a goaltender. I think they needed more salary cap space in order to fit Sekera back into the lineup when they traded Talbot. Then Koskinen started to play badly and here we are. Signing a solid veteran goaltender will be a real difficult with the amount of cap space available. I hope he can do it, but we are in tough.

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  • VvV

    The Oilers didn’t rush Yakupov. 1st overalls always play straight away in the NHL that’s the reality of it. Even then he didn’t go straight to NHL he played half a season in Russia due to the lockout and then he lead the NHL rookies in scoring that initial year. He did not fail because he was rushed he failed partly because of his coaching, but mostly because of himself

  • ed from edmonton

    “If they can help you win, bring them up. That should be the philosophy.” If any GM doesn’t have this philosophy he should be fired. How could a GM justify taking 100s of dollars from paying customers and not putting the best team possible on the ice. If the 19/20/21 year old is better than the 30 year old, he absolutely is the one playing.

    So for the Oil the reason so many 19/20/21 years olds have been playing is because their 30 year olds have been so bad. I will use LD as an example. As a 19 year old he was in way over his head during the 39 games he played in the NHL. But he was still at least as good and probably better than the centers he had to beat out to play. That year RNH was the only NHL center in the Oil organization. LD had to be better than a group of career AHLers like Anton Landner, Marc Arcobello and Kieth Acton’s son (can’t remember his 1st name).

  • TKB2677

    The one thing that the Oilers need to be careful of is they have to judge how much of the success a player in the AHL has can actually translate to the NHL. Just because a player is a really good AHLer, doesn’t mean they are good enough to be a good NHLer. How much of the AHLers success is because they are older and more experienced? Take Brad Malone. Malone is an excellent AHLer. He had 13 pts in 10 games in the playoffs. He’s one of Bakersfields best players. He’s also 30 yrs old, more experience and bigger and stronger than most in the AHL. When he comes up to the NHL, he’s a borderline player who can barely score.

    A good chunk of the really good AHLers who take a few years to develop, end up being 3rd and 4th liners. Those guys need to be able to skate.

  • Big Nuggets

    I think 2 years is the right time frame for this team to compete. next season we will still be bogged down by cumbersome contracts and the young players, although they might do well when they step into the line up, they shouldn’t be counted on to contribute too much. After this season Sekera’s 5.5 million will likely be moveable, and who know, maybe even Lucic could be traded. The way I see it, this year they shouldn’t try to force any trades or big moves for the sake of change. If a nice trade opportunity comes along, by all means take it, but next season we could have an influx of youth along with offloading some big contracts, that’s the time to go after a big addition.

  • RJ

    Yakupov and Puljujarvi seem to be pretty good cautionary tales, not just in making sure they’re over-ripened in the minors but also in making sure they’re properly slotted in the NHL.

    Playing Puljujarvi limited minutes on the 3/4 line and then criticizing him for limited production is silly, but that’s also the Oilers way in recent years.

    • Randaman

      He hasn’t lived up to his end either. His English sucks. Learn something in three years! Communications must be top priority. Learn to skate in straight lines instead of big circles. Improve your shot and your passing. This isn’t only on the Oilers

    • TKB2677

      I get what you are saying and I agree that the Oilers didn’t handle Yak or Puljujarvi very well. But go down the list of #1 overalls in the last 10-12 years. Those guys typically make the team immediately and make some kind of an impact. You don’t see other teams sending them back to junior or sending them to the minors or babying them. They play and they do well.

      When it comes to Puljujarvi. The Oilers again didn’t do right by him but I would say that the massive majority of players taken in the top 5 don’t need 3 years of development just to be able to be a full time NHLer. If you look at the 2016 draft:
      #1 Matthews – Play immediately and inpactful
      #2 – Laine – Played immediately and impactful
      #3 Dubois – Went to junior for 1 more year, then full time NHLer at 19 and has been impactful.
      #5 Juelevi – Bad pick.
      #6 Tkachuk -Played immediately and impactful
      #7 Keller – Played 1 year of College and in the NHL at 19 and impactful.
      #8 Nylander – Looks to be a bad pick
      #9 Sergachev – Played 1 year of junior then in the league at 19 and impactful as a dman.
      #10 Jost – He’s starting to come but he was a BCHL guy so a longer road but is a decent full time NHLer now.

      If you look at the whole top 10, 2 picks were bad, Jost took a good chunk of the 3 years to be an NHLer and then there was JP. 60% of the top 10 played either immediately or within a year of getting drafted. So the expectation of JP at #4 is he should have been a full time NHLer within his first year and a bit. When I watch JP play. I don’t think even if the Oilers had to put him in the AHL for 2 years, he’d be a lock to be a full time NHLer. Obviously Columbus’s Finnish GM had some secret intel because if you could re-draft, I don’t even think JP is in the top 10.

      • crabman

        Every prospect is different and it shouldn’t matter where he was taken. At first sign he wasn’t ready he shouldn’t have been in the NHL. As a European that couldn’t speak english and has never played on the smaller ice, also a bigger kid which typically take longer to develope he had a perfect storm of a player that would need time. Instead he was thrust into the lineup and then used in limited minutes. The hope and expectation was that he would play right away. Judging by usage the coach didn’t feel he was ready to be an impactful player. At that point his developement plan should have changed.

  • ifiwasgm

    Sooo… Sounds like Yaremchuk wants at least 4, possibly 6 rookies in the lineup next year.
    Ya I’m glad Holland in the GM.
    Or this is what would probably happen.

  • Datsyukian

    Unfortunately, all of the Condors top forwards only seem good enough to crack the Oilers’ bottom five. Yes, players are known to develop and evolve and sometimes move from a bottom-sixer to a top-sixer, but from what I saw from Currie, Marody or Gambardella, I don’t see that potential in them.

    • camdog

      If the Oilers have some forwards in the system that can have an Ethan Moreau career – kill penalties and play strong positionally, have cheap contracts and are ready next year that’s a big win for this team. Those type of players you can move up and down the line up based on how they are playing/how the game is being played. Oilers are fortunate they have the high end skill already on the the team.

    • Big Nuggets

      That’s true. But it is still good to have some cheap bottom 6 wingers available to the team. Too bad Yamo was hurt because it would have been interesting to see how he would have fared in the playoffs. Right now Benson looks like the best forward prospect, hopefully he can continue to get better.

  • Oilersforever

    The problem is that Bouchard, Jones, Samorukov are ready for the NHL. The problem is that there are no level 1-2 d-men in the Oilers. The problem is that you need to make room for young d-men. The problem is Holland and the old boys club don’t trust young people, especially after JP and Yamamoto. The problem is, no one at the club wants to trade Larsson, klefbom, the Nurse for wingers.

    • QuitForRealThisTime

      Jones did not look ready last year, close but not ready. Bouchard played 8 games so difficult to tell if he is ready. Samorukov has never played a pro game and you can claim he is ready? How? Larsson, Klef and Nurse are all proven NHL d-men coming into there prime and although Klef and larsson struggled last year still remain better NHL defensemen today then the three rookies. The problem has always been a lack of NHL depth because the Oiler felt their young players were ready when they were not, and Oil fans have fallen into this rut where they only like their new toys and drive out good players before they get a chance to succeed and bleed skill to other teams. How many people here would like to have Petry instead of Russel and Schultz instead of Benning? Trading one of Klef, Larsson or Nurse for anything but a better defensman is just stupid.

      • Oilersforever

        Кlefbom will not be able to play due to injuries and did not go because of this to Slovakia-2019, Larsson is not a D-man 1-2 – he is constantly the worst and not only last season, the Nurse is not a D-man – rather a winger. Why half the GM’s in the NHL want to exchange we have Bouchard and Samorukova?

        • IRONman

          Keep 77 and 6. Russel plays with Bouchard. Trade nurse now. He will want PK $8,000,000 if he scores 50 pts. Not a team player. – in plus minus and MAKES stupid mistakes still. If you are a defence guy stay in position. Nurse can fetch a scoring winger for Nuge

      • FanBoy

        I see where you’re going but I think a better comparable could be Petry or Sekera and Russell and Schultz. Petry was let go and created a hole in the top 4, we replaced him with LHD Sekera when we already had Nurse and Klefbom.

        Imagine we could’ve had Nurse/Petry and Klefbom/Schultz (he probably should’ve played 2nd or 3rd pairing minutes while he was here)

        • Big Nuggets

          don’t imagine what we could’ve had. It’s just depressing. luckily we are within 2 years of having some defensive depth. just need to flesh out the forwards and we’ll be competitive.

          • QuitForRealThisTime

            My point is about the what we could have had and not making new ‘what we could have hads’ or in three years we will have this same conversation. ‘We could have had Larsson and Klefbom but traded them away because Klefbom was to injured and Larsson had a bad year in 2019″ Turns out that a the 19 year old and 21 year old replacements are not ready for top 4 minutes, but don’t worry we can trade our wingers for defence.

        • TKB2677

          Petry was a guy they should have kept. He was OK in Edmonton but has shown steady improvement in Montreal to where he is a pretty solid top 4 dman. He’s not a nasty dman what he has a physical edge to his game and doesn’t shy away from mixing it up. I have always thought that you don’t have to beat the hell out of everyone to be a solid dman but you can’t be afraid of contract and not afraid to battle.

          Schultz, I was never a fan of when he was and Oiler and I still don’t want any part of him. He went to a stacked Pens team, played in the 3rd pair with extremely sheltered mins and got a ring. He had 1 really good year with 51 pts. Got himself a fat contract and now he coasts. He doesn’t battle, won’t mix it up what so ever, has always been a lousy defender and is afraid of contact. I don’t see how a dman can be effective if you won’t touch anyone. After his 51 pt season, he had 27 in 63 games, that pro rates out to 35 pts over 82. He had 15 pts in 29 games. At 5.5 mill, he’s overpaid and if he wasn’t a right shot, no one would in Oilers nation would care.

  • ed from edmonton

    Some one noted that the Oil were the only NHL team that did not have an entry level contract on their roster at the end of the year (JP was on IR and didn’t count). To be competitive a team needs few value contracts and entry levels are often that. The over ripening philosophy might be a thing of the past.

  • Jimmer

    I’d be happy with Tyler Benson as a $800K 4th line LW and Caleb Jones as a 3rd pairing D at $720K. Both are signed to those numbers next season. That is how we slowly get out of cap hell.

    • crabman

      If Benson is slotted in as an 8 minute a nihht 4th liner I would be very disappointed. He projects to be at least a 3rd line winger and burying him in a 4th line role would hurt his development. If he isn’t good enough to play a regular shift on the 3rs line or better he should be kept in the AHL for further development. The team older players like Gambardella and Currie that could be cheap 4th line wingers, or they could go find a cheap 4th line winger in free agency.
      Jones I fully expect to start the year as a bottom pair defenceman. The difference is even as a bottom pair defenceman he will get plenty of minutes. Benning averaged the fewest minutes/game of the Oilers regulars and still played just under 15 minutes a game.

  • FanBoy

    Way I see it, we shouldn’t recall Benson/Marody/Yamamoto until we’ve got an injury in the top 9. We shouldn’t recall Jones/Bear/Bouchard/Lagesson until there’s an injury on defence. Let them play over the 7th D when injuries come up.

    Injuries to the 4th liners, we can use Currie/Malone or if we sign a guy like Daniel Carr. I have Gambardella making the team out of camp. Brodziak and Cave are scratches.

      • FanBoy

        I might be too conservative but this is Jones’ first year in the AHL where he played excellent and I’d give him a B+ on his NHL call-up. I’d rather watch Sekera/Benning get burned as a 3rd pair rather than seeing Jones get lit up and have his confidence burned. We saw it at the tail end of his stay here last year, he kept getting burned and was sent down.

        I don’t know what to expect from Lagesson yet. We haven’t seen him in NHL action so I’d hope he gets a couple games in to see if his foot speed can keep up to NHL play. From scouting reports it seems he’s an OK skater and pretty good at everything else.

        Persson is the guy I see being the 7th D and as stated below, playing the Auvitu role.

        • OilerForLife

          I think he is better that Auvitu, certainly is younger and from what I hear, he can walk the line and is a PP specialist. There is enough potential that I think we can see a number of players finally advancing to the NHL. Exciting time, it’s been a long time.Overripe is good with some players, but you can’t let somebody rot.

        • crabman

          @FanBoy,
          You might be right to be conservative about Jones. I only saw him in Edmonton and he obviously wasn’t ready but he did well on the 3rd pairing. It wasn’t until he moved up and played with Larsson that he seemed out of place, much like Nurse in his 1st year playing above his head with Sekera on hos off side. Jones looks like he has all the tools and I’m just going by his time in Edmonton and reports from people that have been wating him all year in Bakersfield. By all accounts he is ready and the team needs to start graduating some players while they still have the flexibility to pass back down through wa6if needed.

          • Leichs

            “It wasn’t until he moved up and played with Larsson that he seemed out of place.”
            To be fair, Larsson was like -28 last year lol. Was Jones out of place or was Larsson out of place with his brutal footspeed and inablility to skate the puck out or make a clean breakout pass? No hate on Lars but the last two seasons have been awful awful hockey from him. The league has gotten faster and Lars’s footspeed has been exposed more often then not. Hope he can bounce back.

      • crabman

        @Randaman, I could see Jones on the bottom pair and Persson as the 7th D playing a similar role as Auvitu did a couple years ago. He is already 25 and at this point is less of a prospect and sitting in the press box for games at a time wouldn’t hurt him the same is it would the young D in Bakersfield.

        • OILERSORDEATH

          I like Caleb’s chances as a 5-6 dman to start the season. Hes got similar numbers as his brother seth and Even Seth didn’t exactly set the world on fire his first three yearsas a pro. Hes just had the swag about him, and he’s a damn good skater as well.

    • crabman

      I like your thinking with the forwards. I believe they could all use some more seasoning and I would like to see the Oilers find enough depth and secondary scoring in the offseason so that Benson, Marody, and Yamamoto aren’t the best option out of camp. If they dominate the first quarter of the AHL season the team might not have a choice but to promote someone but at that point they would be forcing their way onto the team.
      But as far as defence goes I think someone makes the team out of camp. Partly to save some cap space on the bottom pair to use for help up front but also because the waiver clock is running out on 3 of their top defensive prospects. I doubt they start more than 1 rookie on defence to open the season but if they want these guys in the organization they need to start giving them an opportunity. If Jones starts the year on the bottom pair he will have a bit more experience before the 1st call up. I have to assume someone of Jones, Bear, or Lagesson will be traded before openning night 2020, when they are all no longer waiver eligible, and the team needs to know what they have in each player before that time.

      • FanBoy

        I hope the team looks like this opening night:
        Draisaitl/McDavid/Kassian
        ????/RNH/Puljujarvi
        Lucic/????/Chiasson
        Gambardella/Khaira/Gagner

        Klefbom/Larsson
        Nurse/????
        Sekera/Benning

        Koskinen/????

        Whoever we get to replace Russell I’d assume is an older guy, and then give Lagesson/Jones/Bear time to play in there when everyone’s playing where they’re supposed to be.

        • TKB2677

          I think your bottom 6 is way too slow.

          Lucic, Chiasson and Gagner are all slow. That’s half your bottom 6.

          I like Gambardella because he gets after it, so if he is on your 4th line, it’s probably OK but correct me if I am wrong but I don’t think he is a speedster either. I think he’s an OK skater but not great. So that means you have 4 out of 6 of your bottom 6 who aren’t fast. I think that is a problem.

          I also think that counting on Puljujarvi is a bad idea, especially as a top 6. The Oilers didn’t develop him properly but he can’t go to the minors without having to waive him. I think he can’t play higher than the 3rd line.

          • FanBoy

            That’s just me not banking on any trades. Yes trading Lucic and Gagner and replacing them with faster players are the goal however I’m not sure we know what the price is to get rid of these guys so I didn’t go too in depth.

            No way is JP a top 6 player at this point. Would you say Kassian is though? Seems we don’t have a problem slotting him with McDavid and Draisaitl as the third wheel. I believe JP would be a solid third wheel on a line with Nuge as long as he’s the worst player on that line. I want JP to play with skilled players and not 3rd/4th liners.

        • crabman

          I don’t think that lineup gets a sniff at the playoffs unless the 2LW and the 2RD are huge upgrades. But I think it illustrates just how hard of a job Holland has this offseason.
          I agree with TKB2677 that Puljujarvi is a 3RW at best and if that is the case that 3C spot is even more important. I think it needs to be a good veteran to mentor Puljujarvi. But at this point honestly I think the best move with Puljjjarvi might be to qualify him, retaining his rights, and let him sign with a European team that will allow him to play a bigger role and develope playing bigger minutes. The NHL isn’t a development league and the team missed the window to send him to the AHL without risking losing him. This could be a reset for him all the while learning english and growing into his big frame. In a year or 2 try again.

          • TKB2677

            I agree with you on Puljujarvi. He’s just not there yet. The Oilers really screwed up with him. He should have played at least 2 years in the minors. The fact that he can’t get sent down to the AHL without waivers is a real problem.

            I don’t like the idea of letting Chiasson go. I don’t expect him to score 22 goals again but he scored 22 goals for your team. You can’t keep letting goals leave your line up. Of course if he want’s stupid money, you have to let him go but he’d be nice on the 3rd line.

            The more I think about it, the more I think you can’t have Gagner on the team. I like Gagner, I think he can contribute but they need more speed. Unless you can get rid of Lucic somehow, I don’t see how you can have/afford another expensive, slow forward in your bottom 6.

    • Reg Dunlop

      This used to be THE go to site for Oiler fans. Just how much it has deteriorated is astounding, from the quality of content to site format. What was once a daily must -visit is now a once a week check in ONLY when I have the patience to navigate the invasive ads and repost comments multiple times before they appear. And, of course, proof read because there is no editing or deleting allowed. Tell me this isn’t a government operation.

  • BR

    Keep the kids on the farm – in terms of bottom six help, we will inevitably need to use a mix of Currie/Gambardella/Malone at times but our NHL D is relatively deep in terms of veterans so unless we make some serious moves there’s not a lot of space, if anything I expect to see Joel Persson given every opportunity to play with the big club.

    Klef – Larsson
    Nurse – Benning
    Sekera – Russel
    Persson

    Maybe Kenny can unload one of Sekera or Russel as well as Benning (who I’d keep still too)

    • TKB2677

      So all you would do is switch out the #7 dman with Persson and play with the exact same 6 guys as last year? So you clearly don’t want the Oilers to be any better next year I take it.

        • TKB2677

          With the West being the way it was this year, the Oilers were in the playoff hunt for most of the year. The Oilers had those 6 guys for almost 2 months and they couldn’t make a push to get in. So I don’t agree that the Oilers were good enough with those 6.

  • camdog

    I seen Jones ready last year as a third pairing d-man. I don’t know if he’s even the best d-man on Bakersfield. He definitely was bad in top 4. It didn’t help having Larsson playing his worst hockey of his professional career.

  • I still believe the Oilers should make a big trade to get a true young top pairing d-man who could be a stud for the next 7/8 years. It won’t come cheap but it would allow them the ability not to have to rush their young d-men in the minors. When the kids are ready they would have a good role model to learn from. The only thing is who do the Oilers go after and what would they give up to get him.