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Sunday, September 23, 2012

"8 Questions in Oil Country"

With Hockey now getting into full swing throughout the CHL, there are some exciting games taking place. Atom, Midget, Major Jr, Rec and Beer leagues alike are now upon us. Nothing like playing the good ol'Hockey game.

I have been getting lots of questions on twitter , facebook and emails and as promised I said I would try my best to answer your questions as honest and factual as I can. Sometimes I am fortunate to get some inside information and have no problem being bold telling you so. However that is not often so one thing you will not find from me is, making up rumours or spreading stories I am only guessing at and making it sound as legitimate NHL or Hockey Information. I will however tell you if it is only my opinion or rumour only. Many times, one can read behind the lines if you do some investigation and put 2+2 together.

Let's go ahead and cover some hockey related questions regarding our beloved Edmonton Oilers and other interests around hockey.

Will this Downtown Arena District get finalized, or is this deal going south and we are in trouble moving forward?
I am getting as impatient as everyone that the city and Katz can't seem to move very fast in getting this finalized. I could sit hear and throw out my opinions on why and who I think is at fault but that's not what I am being asked. Bottom line for me is to read between the lines. Katz and the city have needs. Katz needs a new arena where he can make more money for future sustainability of his franchise. 

He needs a city where fans show up at all times regardless of what kind of team they are going to ice. He has a desire to invest in development personally with his businesses around a new thriving downtown outside Katz interest in his hockey team.  The city needs to continue to move forward to build the downtown core and to do that they will need to invest millions of dollars into projects that stimulate growth. Pressure is on the council and mayor to get something done by probably 65% of  the Greater Edmonton Area. So, yes, I think it WILL get done, but how long this drags out and how this is financed in the end? I have only guesses like you.

Is there a possibility of playing a part NHL season or is this season going to be cancelled?
It is of no benefit to either the players or the NHL to write off a entire season. I think the NHLPA will break before the owners. I am expecting a 50-/50 split on HRR in the end. I have heard before the season started some outside sources felt that this would be a cancelled season. Plain common sense to me says we start this season November or December sometime and the NHL can still pick up their precious 'Winter Classic' game.

Should a season take place what is the most points possible the Oilers could move up in a draft position this year providing they continue to improve?
Last year the Oilers improved by 12 points but because the previous year was so terrible it still didn't move them  up far in the standings. Let's assume the Oilers can improve another 12 points in the standings, that would according to last season's totals, given them 21st OV. Therefore they would be picking the 9th OV pick at the 2013 NHL Entry draft if that trend continued. 

We do need to take into consideration however with a shortened season, it is that much more difficult to move up in points with less games played. I suspect they will make a slightly better jump in points this year but with a shortened season we are still looking at only a small jump in draft selection spots. Best position I see the Oilers attaining this year is 20th OV and worst is likely 26th OV.

Who do you think will be the Oilers Points leader this year?
I am going to give this one to Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. I am expecting him to put up at about a point/game this year but most likely will be neck and neck with Jordon Eberle all year.

How many points do you think Nail Yakupov will put up in the KHL and when he plays in his rookie season with Edmonton?
Nail playing in the KHL means he is playing against men and on a third line on a poor team. He may get more playing time as the team finds a right fit for him but likely he won't be able to produce more then .50pts/game. With a lack of good coaching on his team (IMO) he won't develop the same as the coaching he will receive in the NHL. If the season resumes this year, I suspect we are looking at .55pts/game pace he will be able to achieve. Anything over that is a bonus.

What prospect names can we expect to be hearing mentioned here in Edmonton come June 2013?
There are a few different names and I think with the range the Oilers may end up picking they will likely find the higher end skill guys are not bigger players that fans and team management may prefer but they will be skilled. Forwards like, Duclair, Domi, Drouin or Defencemen like Erne or Morrissey are likely names.  it is of course far to early to tell but any one of those players have great potential.

What 2013 Prospect will surprise and rise in the Draft Entry rankings throughout this year the most?
I believe Jonathan Drouin out of the CHL , he plays for the Halifax Mooseheads and is a winger for Nathan MacKinnon. He ended his playoffs last year on fire, did well with Curtis Lazar at the Ivan Hlinka and started this season right where he left off. Very few scouts have him rated in top 15 but this guy is a offensive dynamo and I know the 'Magnificant Bastard' already has had his eye on him along with several other scouts. I consider him to be the big riser. 

Will Smid get signed eventually at a decent price range for long term?
Smid has gone on record as loving Edmonton and the Oilers franchise absolutely loves Smid. He is a future part of this this growing franchise. Guessing his contract when signed will be 4-5 years in length.

For Oiler prospect news and the 2013 or 2014 NHL draft watch, go to


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