Random Thoughts: Dylan Holloway, Markus Niemelainen, and Hope Will Never Die

Photo credit:Walter Tychnowicz-USA TODAY Sports
1 year ago
Can you believe we’re less than a week away from the start of the NHL regular season? After two weeks of painful pre-season games, the next game the Oilers play will be for keeps and that has my brain spitting out a few Random Thoughts that I would love to have your help on.


I don’t think I’m talking out of school when I say that the Nation is as excited about Dylan Holloway as we’ve been about a prospect in quite some time. I don’t know that we’ve had a prospect since McDavid that has had Oilers fans this excited, and while the situations are completely different, the reason I make this comparison is that some fans have sky-high hopes for the young man even though he has yet to play a regular season game. As much as I think the kid will be a beauty, my concern is that we’re expecting too much from him too soon based solely on what’s happened in the pre-season. Now listen, I’m not saying that Holloway hasn’t played well — he’s done everything we could have asked him to do so far — all I’m saying is that we should probably keep our expectations for the kid in check until he shows he’s able to hang at the NHL level.


The amazing thing about Markus Niemelainen is that he provides a flavour of defence that no one else on this depth chart can match. I know I don’t have to tell anyone reading this how Niemelainen plays like he has no nerve endings in his body, and the way he throws his body around makes me happier than I can describe. If there’s one thing the Oilers have been missing over the last handful of years, it’s a bruising defenceman that can absolutely kill you if you’re not paying attention, and that’s exactly what Niemo is. He’s the type of player that makes you keep your head up, and even though we know he won’t be around for the season opener, he unquestionably deserves the chance to stick around through the end of the preseason. From my side of the computer screen, I see a player that may need a little bit more time developing, but I don’t think it’ll be that long before he makes the full-time leap to the Oilers. Opposing forwards beware.


This past week, I had Frank Seravalli on Better Lait Than Never and I asked him about the sad rumours out of Toronto that the Maple Leafs were planning to clear cap space for Connor McDavid fours years down the line when his contract wraps up. Even though the thought is ridiculous, Frank did me a solid and answered the question anyway:
BaggedMilk: I have no idea where some of this stuff came from, where it came from — a podcast, whoever — buy or sell, Frank Seravalli: in four years time, the Toronto Maple Leafs will be clearing cap space to try and sign Connor McDavid.
Seravalli: Sell. Unless the wheels absolutely fall off in Edmonton and they’re not competitive, I don’t think there’s any way Connor McDavid’s leaving.
Yesterday on Oilersnation Radio, Tyler made the observation that this kind of noise is probably going to increase significantly over the next four years and that we Oilers fans had better get used to letting it slide. Even though I know these rumours are silly, I have to admit that it was still nice to hear Frank confirm what everyone in Edmonton already knows.


Even though I know there are still holes in the Oilers roster and we can argue about what they are until we’re blue in the face, there’s nothing better than the feeling of hope that comes in the days leading up to a new NHL season. Regardless of what happened during the offseason, there’s always this feeling that this is the year when the boys can put it all together and make a push for the Cup. Hell, I remember the Eakins era and feeling like the Oilers were finally in line to get some work done, and even though that obviously didn’t happen, the eternal optimist in me will always drink the Kool-Aid until reality invariably slaps me in the face. 82-0 season on the way? Dare to dream.


As much as I hate to admit it, the Calgary Flames had a fantastic offseason when it looked like they were facing disaster, and as much as I would love nothing more than to watch them fail, having a Battle of Alberta that means something is so much better for hockey. The problem, as we know, is that the dummies at the NHL scheduling office felt like we only deserved three BOAs this season and that all of them should be wrapped up by New Year’s. Regardless of that massive failure, I’ve still got high hopes that this year’s Battle of Alberta will be as intense as it was in the Tkachuk/Gaudreau era even though I know it likely won’t be the same.


This week on BLTN, I welcomed Subscribe to Better Lait Than Never for FREE on SpotifyApple PodcastsGoogle Podcasts, and wherever else you get your podcasts.


For the first time in three seasons, we’re throwing a Season Launch Party at SOHO and you’re all invited to join us! What’s going on? I’m glad you asked.
  • Date: Saturday, October 15th, 2022
  • When:  5:00pm
  • Location: SOHO YEG (11454 Jasper Ave)
  • What’s Included: Entry to the event, Swag Bag (complete with w-shirt, stickers, GCs), entry to the giveaways, after party with RIFF/RAFF
As always, we will also be including a charity component with the event where a portion of all ticket sales will be donated directly to Sport Central to help with their mission of providing equipment and bicycles to children in need.

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