The Pages Of Oilers Jambalaya

Friday, January 18, 2013

"8 Questions in Oil Country" January 16th/13

Today we continue with our "8 Questions in Oil Country" series. Listening to questions that I get from various followers here at Oilers Jambalaya, the following are today's 8 Questions and my best response to them;(even though their is a Yakupov theme to most questions)

1) What has been your impressions of Kruger's Training Camp this year?

I have been extremely impressed with the work of Ralph's practices that I witnessed during the three practice days. The fast paced and prepared work the players knew beforehand seems to have been well executed at most times. Of course it will be a work in progress as the season carries on. In years past the players would appear sometimes confused with some of the drills required but Ralph appears to be keeping it simple. I like what I have seen and what I am hearing from the players but only time will tell. 

2) Do you think Whitney should have lost the A to Nick Schultz or do you think it is a mistake that the Oilers made?

In defence of Ryan, it can be a hard pill to swallow and it could even be a way of showing Ryan that the club expects more focus on his health and his game then on responsibility. Also picking a letter to go on a player who is actually playing and not injured most times can be helpful. Nick is underrated with how mature he is in the locker room and outside of it. A veteran of the game, I think he is a good pick for a letter but do find it curious to give it to him so early in his Oiler tenure. When trade deadline comes about, does this have a affect on which defencemen is dealt , should one be dealt? It is anyone's guess and I really am only thinking out loud.

3) Do you feel Hemsky should be on LW and not Yakupov?
I know some of you are up in arms and think Ralph is out to lunch putting Yakupov on the LW and keeping Hemmmer on the RW. Many have called for Yakupov to start on the RW to gain the greatest benefit coming out of the gates. Problem is, Yakupov is more adaptive then a more aged mature veteran in switching roles. Not to mention with Yakupov been a LH player it allows him better ability in the defensive zone to move the puck out then on his back hand. With both Hemsky and Yakupov, being two players who move east/west across the ice at top end speeds they just have to develop the chemistry in such a way that they can read off each other in the offensive zone. When back behind their blue, Yakupov will be placed on his strong side to transition that puck out easier though. I like the move and in practice Yakupov looked to be moving with no concerns. They look good, just need to have some time to build good chemistry.

4) What is your opinion on what the Oilers have done to say 'sorry' to the fans this far?
I liked the outdoor shinny game, I like the open practice and I like the free popcorn and pop. What I did not like? Only a couple hours notice for shinny game to go see. How does that benefit most fans if they don't even know. The Oilers staged this in advance and most fans think it was Hall and Eberle planning a last minute shinny game. Sorry folks, it was well planned and organized. Good on the players and organization but more planning was needing to let fans know or at least video the game for streaming or something simple. 

The Open Practice? Well I have attended training camp practice for years and for the Oilers to make it a big deal that they opened it up, like it was special? Well that to me is misleading. In the end it ended up being free popcorn and pop and because it was offered i saw how many kids actually showed up at the practice and took advantage of that. I liked that part cause it brought the players and game closer to the younger generation but in the end, I hope that is not it, and there is more to come. To me, it is not about how much they give away free, it's about how close fans can feel to their team. Only time will tell, cause we know the Oilers do not have to do anything and in the big picture it really would not matter much.

5) With the NHL Draft Entry players rankings having changed some since September and if the Oilers finish just outside the playoffs , who do you think is likely for the Oilers to pick?
Well, for starters I am estimating the Oilers could at maximum surprise and make the playoffs in a 7th-8th place finish but likely the 8th place eastern team will have more overall points. That would mean the Oilers would at worst pick at #15 or better. On the bad side, let's say they have injuries and the rookies struggle and RNH does as well, your looking at a 12th place finish in the west. So the highest the Oilers would likely pick would be #5. Having placed the high end and the low end, it would mean the Oilers would be selecting anywhere between 5th-15th Overall. Picking at a draft is always difficult further down because you never know which players you like get picked up early. According to my 'REVS Top 15 NHL Entry Draft Prospect Rankings', I will place in order from most likely if they picked early.Should they place further up in the standings obviously the higher players may be gone.

1) Sean Monohan 6'2 , 193 lbs ,CENTER 
2)Aleksander Barkov 6'2 , 194 lbs CENTER 
3)Ryan Pulock 6'1 , 211 lbs ,DEFENCE 
4)Curtis Lazar 6'0 , 192 lbs ,CENTER 
5)Valeri Nichushkin 6'4 , 196 lbs ,CENTER 
6)Josh Morrissey 6'0 , 175 lbs ,DEFENCE 
7)Elias Lindholm 6'0 , 185 lbs ,CENTER 
8) Darnel Nurse 6'5, 192 lbs ,DEFENCE 
9)Nikita Zadorov 6'5 , 228 lbs ,DEFENCE

You may notice their seems to be a method to the madness and maybe a organizational need? Center and Defence? Also no one under 6'0 tall.
6) Is #64 more likely to eventually take #10 in the future when Horcoff retires or when he leaves the organization?
Only a guess, however I know Bure made the change from #10 to #96 but then returned to the #10 once again. Believe he also wore one other number for a short period in New York but did not look that up. I can easily see Yakupov making that change even if it means next year or in 3 years. (maybe that is why I am hesitant to purchase a #64 Jersey?)

7) What are your Realistic Expectations for Yakupov this year in goals?
I believe Yakupov has the potential to be a 1.25 PPG player in his future but coming out of the gates he will not produce like that. I am going to estimate him at a .65 PPG player on this Young Oiler team as he has lots of possibilities to rack up points with second unit PP and second line playing time. Let's say he plays 45 of the 48 games, that would give him approx 29 points in a shortened season. 

8) Before the season begins on January 20/13, could you give us your predictions in what place the Oilers will finish?
As mentioned in a earlier question above, I expect the best and the worst the Oilers could do is finish anywhere from 7th to 12th in the Western Conference. I am going to actually go on a limb and say the Oilers grab 8th place for the last playoff spot.I know, drinking the kool-aid. Call it a hunch, call it being a fanatical follower but too many things could be working for the Oilers this year to not make it real close.

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

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