The Pages Of Oilers Jambalaya

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Yakupov #1

Well, Nail Yakupov is officially an Edmonton Oiler. The 2012 1st Overall Selection has joined a team which is absolutely loaded offensively with Hall/Eberle/Nugent-Hopkins/Pajaarvi…etc., a team many will be comparing to the Gretzky/Messier/Kurri/Anderson/Tikkanen combination of the Edmonton Oilers’ Dynasty of the 1980’s. 

This team has become even more of an offensive powerhouse in the last 24 hours and has given some of the old Edmonton Oilers fans from since 1979 flashbacks to those early glory years. The fans are excited, the city is satisfied and, the team itself is enthralled by it as well. Not since 1990 has this team had such a dangerous arsenal at its fingertips.

Yakupov is also on a team that has joined a very exclusive club in the NHL. The Edmonton Oilers are one of only two teams in NHL history to draft 1st Overall for 3 consecutive seasons; the other being les Nordiques des Quebec-the modern day Colorado Avalanche. Those three picks eventually paved the way for the Colorado Avalanche to win the 1996 Stanley Cup Championship (although Eric Lindros was traded in exchange for a considerable bounty), which is exactly what our Edmonton Oilers are building towards-a Stanley Cup Championship.

However, there are still some glaring questions surrounding our beloved Oilers. 
*What will they do with Linus Omark?
*When will they announce the Head Coach?
*When will Ryan Smyth finally be resigned? Why is it taking so long?
*Will Darcy Hordichuk be resigned?
*How will they improve the blue line?

These are questions that must be answered immediately for the team to have improved as a whole this off-season. The offence has become lethal, but the defence has been like the Berlin Wall in 1990-crumbling and falling apart from too much wear and punishment from the opposition.

Khabibulin can’t carry this team on his back for 50+ games, Dubnyk is still learning the angles of an NHL goaltender, Whitney’s ankle is a concern and, Hemsky’s shoulder continues to worry fans across Oil Country. The team showed a tendency to take stupid penalties in important situations of games, and a lack of execution in their own zone. The blue line is going to take some work; whether it will be via trade or Free Agency, Steve Tambellini will need to make some big decisions and execute them in the next little while, and will NEED to be aggressive on July 1st and beyond; to address the needs of the Edmonton Oilers.  

This team still has a little bit more work to do, but for now, let’s just sit and enjoy this moment for a while. Welcome to Oil Country, Nail!

Go Oilers Go!!

By Paul Neumann

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