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Sunday, April 28, 2013

'is there HOPE for tomorrow in Oil Country'? Part 1

As you can tell from my absence of blogs over this season, it has been a long tough haul this season in Edmonton. Truth is, it has been such an up and down year emotionally that some days , I start a blog only to delete the entire thing, start over and then erase it all and put the laptop away.

It's not easy being a Oiler fan since 2006. From the highest of highs to the lowest of lows, I am not sure my heart can handle another season of rebuild as it has been called. I have good news and bad news but let's actually examine if there is HOPE that this rebuild is about to come around the corner or not?

Having drafted Taylor Hall, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Nail Yakupov now in 3 consecutive years, this tells us we are 3 seasons into a rebuild. I have mentioned this before and will mention it again. Yes a rebuild can take about 5 years but not with 3 #1 picks consecutively, this team should be further along. The argument that it takes some time to develop and improve over a longer period of time? Sure, that's why New jersey, Philadelphia, Montreal, Tampa Bay, etc..all seem to improve in giant steps (sometimes they falter quick as well). C'mon, look at Montreal this year after finishing 3rd OV. I agree it takes time but the Canadiens GM brought in players with compete for the supporting cast. It can be done, now the question is, can MacT be the GM to do it? Edmonton sure hopes so.

This year the worst our pick will be is #8 Overall, and that is only if a Team better then the Oilers in the standings wins the draft lottery. Chances are slim to none. We could win the lottery again but somehow the % chance to win a 4th consecutive time seems like a pipeline dream. This team has around a 95% chance to pick at the #7 slot. While drafting from the #7 slot probably took the oilers out of the reality of one of their favourite picks to make a difference on this team, I am proud they didn't just falter these last two games and gave us something to be proud of.

Who are the players on the Oilers radar? Well, this one is pretty easy with regards to position. Top 4 defencemen and a top 2 centermen. My guess if they were Rating the players who are already being pinned up on their draft board, it would go like this.....
1) Seth Jones
2)Nathan MacKinnon
3)Aleksander Barkov
4)Sean Monohan
5)Darnell Nurse
6)Valeri Nichushkin
7)Curtis Lazar
8)Nikita Zadorov
9)Ryan Pulock

I know I do not have Johnathan Drouin in that list and a couple others. I doubt they even have a chance at Drouin and or the top 3 on this list anyway. Chances are, it will be a player on this list rated from 4 down. Let's face it, if Drouin were available he would be selected but, the Oilers could then afford to trade a Jordon Eberle for a high end talent that is big. More on those possibilities down the road.

With Seth Jones, he is gone top 3 no matter what, likely #1 to Florida. Nathan MacKinnon is gone top 2 and my estimate is Drouin is gone top 3. Barkov will not last past top 5. Monahan could potentially fall back if Lindholm or Nichushkin moves up early and is selected. With big defencemen like Nurse and Zadorov available there is a outside chance he gets the benefit of falling into the Oilers lap. Nurse would be a interesting player with incredible size already but at #7, I think it's a crapshot he is a top 4 d-man. Valeri is too big of a power forward to pass up on but on the same note, it will take a year before he likely comes over due to a KHL contract situation. Could he play LW with Gagner centering him and Yakupov? Could be a interesting look. I don't think the Oilers go his direction but it is a possibility. Lazar is a dark horse player cause while he is on a loaded Oil Kings team in Edmonton he is a deadly goal scorer, two way center who plays the game consistent game in and game out. Is shorter at 6'0 but weighs in at that 200 lb mark already and could be a beautiful fit eventually on the Oilers second line. Lazar will be available for the Oil if they do not like their options. Size in Zadorov at 6'5 and 225 lbs makes him very attractive and he is only 18 years old. However Ryan Pulock is a good candidate at 6'1 and 210 lbs to play that point. His slap shot has been clocked already at his age around the 104 mph mark. That is insane. His size and former leadership as a captain could be a benefit.

In the end here is my predictions in order of availability of what will happen at that #7 or #8 spot...
Aleksander Barkov 6'2, 205 lbs
Sean Monohan 6'2, 190 lbs
Curtis Lazar 6'0 195 lbs
I really do believe they will be careful selecting a defencemen with a few in the pipeline if a center can be selected who they believe is a franchise centre to play 1st or 2nd line for many years to come. All 3 centres listed here could make some noise on the Oilers but depending who is selected, it will affect who stays and who goes.

Lots of questions to answer and the Oilers have plenty of time to work on those answers. In the next blog Part 2, we will look closer at Coaching and Potential Roster changes....until then, 'let's get ready for the Lottery Draft'? (oh, no, not again!)

to be continued...


  1. No way that the Oilers trade Ebs at this point unless he either asks for one or we get something really good.

  2. I will be addressing the trade possibilities in this series of blogs, dont expect continuation of same next year


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