Thursday, July 18, 2013

What's the expectation moving forward?

"I'm not going to put limitations on myself" - Darnell Nurse

Going into this years draft the majority of Oilers brass, fans, writers and amateur bloggers felt that the position with the biggest void was on defense. Studly GM Craig MacTavish make the right choice by selecting 18 year-old, 6'5, 192-pound defenceman Darnell Nurse from the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds. Nurse isn't expected to make a large impact in his first year or two, but he will be a staple on this team once he grows into his monstrous frame and catches up to the NHL caliber pace.

Who else did we draft? 

RW Marc-Olivier Roy was drafted in the 2nd Round, 56th Overall
 from the Blainville-Boisbraind Armada of the QMJHL.

The rest of the draft, unlike many other years was filled with depth right down to the last pick in the draft. The Oilers fared well drafting players like Marc-Olivier Roy, Bogdan Yakimov and Anton Slepyshev. Most players drafted in round 3-7 often do not turn out however we drafted a group of guys that could, with some work, maybe see some NHL action with us one day. The positions we drafted are all of need: 

Big Center? Bogdan Yakimov.
Big Strong Winger? Anton Slepyshev.
Stay at home, strong, tough Defenceman? Ben Betker.

Free Agent Frenzy

A homecoming of sorts.

This years free agent frenzy couldn't of been handled any better by the Oilers Brass. As soon as free agency opened up at 10:00 AM on July 5th, the Oilers made a few splashes over the next few hours quickly signing Journeyman players D Andrew Ference to a 4-year contract and G Jason LaBarbera to a one year deal. They continued on by signing C Boyd Gordon to a three year deal as well as LW Jesse Joensuu to a two year deal. Like in the draft, Craig MacTavish's signings will directly help the team in their goal of reaching the playoffs this year.

Andrew Ference is a direct upgrade over any of Potter, N. Schultz, Ryan Whitney and to an extent Mark Fistric. Andrew will add leadership, grit, toughness and an all-around positive feeling to the locker room. He has been known throughout his career for being a great locker room guy as well as a valiant leader. It is also a definite possibility he will wear a patch this season. 

Jason LaBarbera was brought in to help challenge and push Devan Dubnyk. LaBarbera wouldn't be unable to carry the load of what's expected from a Starting goalie, however unlike Khabibulin, he will get his fair share of games this year. This will only benefit Dubnyk as it takes a slight bit of the load off his shoulders. 

Boyd Gordon has been brought in to fight for the 3rd/4th line center role. He has been known as a great faceoff guy as well as a defensive forward who is constantly giving it his all everytime he steps on the ice.

Jesse Joensuu has supposedly been brought in to fight for a 3rd/4th line role. His 6'4, 209 lb frame along with his aggressive fore-checking ability and his two-way play could be a large addition to the Oilers bottom 6.

Out with the Old, In with the new

Out with the old, in with the new

On July 4th, the Oilers traded longtime player Shawn Horcoff to the Dallas Stars for D Philip Larsen and a bag of pucks. Unfortunately, Horcoff was a victim of the system. His large cap hit ($5.5 million/year) was just to large for the Oilers, especially with having to sign Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Justin Schultz to their first non-ELC NHL contracts. Since I grew up watching Shawn Horcoff being an Edmonton Oilers, it definitely sucks to see him leave but it truly isn't his fault for signing that monster contract. The trade of our Captain opened up the possibility to acquire LW David Perron from the St. Louis Blues for F Magnus Paajarvi and a 2nd round pick in the 2014 NHL Draft. This trade immediately improves our roster as Perron is a player who will be playing top 6 minutes the whole year and he's also proven to be consistent offensively as well as defensively. David's toughness and willingness to use his body to get to the dirty areas is something that Paajarvi lacked. Although time will tell, I feel that the addition of David Perron will be a key piece moving forward.

What's next?

New Head Coach Dallas Eakins has a lot on his plate this offseason as he will be meeting players as well as getting their offseason training started. He also has the daunting task of assigning the 14th Captain in Edmonton Oilers history. His options are plentiful with guys like Taylor Hall, Ryan Smyth and Jordan Eberle being the top 3 candidates. Based on last seasons efforts, I think that Taylor Hall would get the nod over Jordan Eberle. Personally I would like to see Ryan Smyth become the next captain, however Eakins may elect to do what Chicago and Pittsburgh did by naming a young star captain.

The next few seasons very well could be the most exciting for Oilers fans to watch since the Dynasty Days. With players like Hall, RNH, Eberle, Yakupov and J. Schultz this team is stacked full of young talent that's just waiting to blossom into an NHL powerhouse. While I don't think the Oilers will be a Top 5 team in the NHL next year, I expect nothing less than a Playoff berth and a run into the Semifinals.

Here's what some fans have to say about expectations moving forward:

Yours Truly,


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1 comment:

David S said...

Nice post there boys but you could use some NEW GOD DAMN CONTENT!

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