Edmonton Oilers Calm Before The Storm


This is as quiet as the Edmonton Oilers news cycle will get, between now and August 15th. It is funny how, at least in a city like Edmonton, the hockey cycle spikes so dramatically during the hottest months of the year. But right about now, all that we have is anticipation. And so with that…9 Things:

9. Unless a spot opens up in Detroit’s system, and he is a perfect fit there, I see Todd Nelson back behind the Edmonton Oilers bench in an Associate or Assistant Coach’s role in 2016-16. Having already sufficiently proven himself at the AHL level, it would be a good career decision to stay with the organization for “Todd-1”. Or is that “Todd-2”? I’m unsure. Apologies to Dr. Suess.

8. At the lowest point in his career, Nail Yakupov disappeared from social media. This Spring, he is back on-line, in a big way. Yes, that means something. It means the kid is feeling confident and having some fun again. There is a type of player, like Yak, that thrives on that “feel”. It may seem frivolous to you, but when dealing with high-end talent, its very real…to them, at least. Wait and see.

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7. The Oilers will go out and get a goalie. That’s not science, after all they won’t be going with a pairing of Ben Scrivens and Laurent Broissoit. But don’t be surprised if, no matter who they get, Ben Scrivens makes it difficult for the new guy to stay in the net. Scrivens has a decent past history at the NHL level. His Save % last year was way off his career average. Don’t count him out.

6. I have to think that the Edmonton Oilers plan to trade an existing asset for a goaltender, and not one of their 2015 picks. I think if THAT pick is in play, it is for a top-tier D-man. Why? The D-man will be the hardest to acquire, as the UFA market was thin to begin with at that position, and it has been picked pretty clean since then. It’s the old saying: “Got to give up something good to get something good”.

5. Connor McDavid.

4. Do Darnell Nurse and Leon Draisaitl make the team this Fall? Well, I don’t know, do they? I’ve said this before and I will say it again: If they are Top 6 (in Nurse’s case) or Top 9 (in Leon’s), then yes. Because they are among your best players, and they’ll get appropriate TOI. But if they are NOT in those top tiers of the lineup, one or both of them are probably better off playing LOTS in Bakersfield, instead.

3. Connor McDavid.

2. Are the Oilers best players poised to be the Oilers best players in 2015-16? Well, based on their performances at Worlds, Taylor Hall and Jordan Eberle are well-positioned to take that next step. But there are a lot of much bigger question marks after that: Is Ryan Nugent-Hopkins ready to be the de-facto 1C? Who will be the 1D? The 1G? The Oilers have a lot of tantalizing pieces. But how big of a step can they reasonably take in one year?

1. Connor McDavid.

Think I am just being “cute” with the whole McDavid thing, above? Well, sure, but seriously: His presence all but eliminates the expense of going out and acquiring a Top 6 Center. That, in turns frees up greater assets to fill more urgent holes in the lineup. And the McDavid presence has no doubt had an impact in the signing of the clubs’ experiences General Manager and bench boss.

And he hasn’t even played a shift for the Oilers, yet. Just wait.

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