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Monday, April 29, 2013

'is there HOPE for tomorrow in Oil Country'? Part 2

Well Oiler fans, Pt 2 today in my series of blogs on 'hope' for the Oilers in the future has one area we will talk about today. trades...(we will discuss coaching tomorrow)

Before we begin, with the news that big Russian Valeri Nischuskin has stated he will NOT play in Canadian Jr hockey and/Or the AHL. He states that 'why' should he play in AHL when he can play in the KHL and in his homeland. While that is a fair comment, it is not a attitude that the Oilers will be high on. Let's say , I will go on record and say with those comments (provided the information is not false of his statements) that the Oilers 100% will NOT be drafting Big Valeri even if he is available. They will either take someone they feel is just as good or they will trade down in the draft as a possibility. Enough said on that front, carrying over from yesterday's blog.

Yakupov will NOW stay on the RW, he showed the coaches and Management that he fits better on the right side and is most comfortable there. He will be 1st or 2nd line RW. That puts Hemsky in play. Ales has been a wonderful Oiler and always (usually) had a good attitude. He wants to play top 6 but does not look like it will be in Edmonton. My best guess is Ales Hemsky will be traded at the draft table and if they don't find a suitor they will move him sometime in the summer. Possibly going out with a draft pick and or a prospect.

We know Paajarvi is looking good and liked in Edmonton. He showed well this season as things moved forward, however what Magnus showed us was he can be a big body (not a banger) and win the battle in the corners in the offensive zone. Magnus will play the 3rd line LW. He could very well start the year on 2nd line LW, IF the Oilers can not find themselves a top 6 LW via trade market or Free Agency. It is possible if the Oilers were offered a consistent top 6 LW who is a big power forward for Paajarvi and a draft pick or prospect, he could be gone.

Gagner is liked by several coaches (outside our organization as well) as well as management. As long as Sam does not price himself too high , he has a chance to remain another season at least with the Oilers.

Jones if his contract can be reasonable, will most likely be back and the Oilers will honour Ryan Smyth and his last year of his contract. (Sorry Smyth haters) Belanger will not start the season next year with the Oilers and neither will Smithson. Horcoff will NOT be bought out and like it or not will still be with Edmonton next year again.

Hartikainen is still only potential, making him possible trade bait for a big winger like himself who is more established possibly. Chances are lower but the NY Islanders have had interest in Teemu before and could potentially again? We will have to wait and see. Petrell will likely not be back again unless he is ok with 13th forward position with Brown. Mike will be kept as he showed he had game even if for a smaller tough guy.

Where does that leave the forward lines currently? Lines currently would carry the look like this...
? / Nugent-Hopkins / Eberle
Hall / Gagner / Yakupov
Paajarvi / Horcoff / Jones
Smyth / Lander / Hartikainen

Now those lines have some flexibility but most that roster is likely filled with the exception of a TOP 6 big power forward on LW.

On defence Whitney is gone (we all saw it coming) as well as Peckham which leaves...Smid, Petry, J.Schultz, N.Schultz, and Mark Fistric and Corey Potter as your 6th and or 7th defencemen.
It is likely Klefbom will have a chance to make the team out of camp but they will be trying their best to bring in a top 4 LH d-man for camp.

Currently our line-up starting next year could potentially look like...
Smid / Petry
J.Schultz / ?
N.Schultz / Klefbom

In the end, the Oilers need a TOP 4 D-Man who is a LH shot.

In Goal, Dubynk is not being given #1 spot but this will be his last chance to show staff he is ready to take the reigns. They will be bringing in a goalie along the lines of Mike Smith or a Ben Bishop.

In my estimates the Oilers need Top 6 LW Power forward and a Top 4 LH Defencemen and a 1a or 1b Goaltender in net.

I do believe the Oilers will answer 2 out of the 3 shortfalls this coming season, but there could be a couple potential surprises and how the Oilers do in this years draft could change everything.

Who is potential to go? Paajarvi, Eberle, and maybe Belanger. Likely only first two are even tradeable. Before I am crucified for my suggestion, there is only 1 trade that makes Eberle tradeable IMO....Milan Lucic COULD be had but it will take a high price to get him. That high price could very well mean Eberle and a prospect and/or pick. I don't believe MacT would want to offer that and it could be possible they offer up Paajarvi and Hartikainen plus a switch of draft positions in a later round. This potential trade would only up the ante around the league and I think other teams would offer more, pushing the Oilers to include Eberle if they want to get him.

As Oiler fans, I realize we dont want to touch our elite talent but to get top players almost always means you need to deal top players. I can guarantee you that if Edmonton is not trading Hall, Eberle, RNH, Yakupov and or J.Schultz, they will NOT be picking up a top 6 forward or Top 4 d-man via trade. Free Agency will be there only option. The only potential other possibility is if they are able to offer up their #7 draft pick and a top prospect like Paajarvi? If something is going to change, it will mean Paajarvi or Eberle will be gone IMO.

One last potential thought on a trade could be with Columbus. They have 3 draft picks and could use a Ales Hemsky, let your thoughts wander now...hmmmm!!  In regards to a Goalie, I can very well see MacT signing a Free Agent Goalie this summer. Could it be expensive? Absolutely! That's the cost of getting a good goalie.

Anyway that is some thoughts to ponder from here at

Cheers everyone, looking forward to Wednesdays opener in Pittsburgh as the Penquins take on the Islanders. Go Pens!


  1. Valeri Nischuskin is already in the KHL and makes total sense for him to stay there if he doesn't make the NHL club. Nobody said much about Yakupov's decision to NOT play in the CHL this past season...which in many fans opinion was probably best for his development anyways.

    It was unlikely Valeri Nischuskin was going to be available at the seventh spot. Some have him as high as the 3rd best player in this draft. However, with that comment he may very well slip. If he slips to seventh I think the Oilers need to take him. He's that big body player they desperately need and I think Yakupov on the Oilers will eliminate the "Russian factor". Nischuskin on the left wing with Yakupov on the right would be deadly.

    Besides, stating he doesn't want to play in the AHL is a lot different than saying he won't play in the NHL. This kid could very well play NHL hockey as early as next season and if he isn't NHL ready no harm done staying where he's at.

    If not Nischuskin at 7th (which is a steal) than Monahan or Lindholm has to be on the Oilers radar. A bigger two way centre is probably the best alternative for the Oil.

    1. I hear what your saying about Valeri and his contract in Russia and all however, I am not telling you what you may want to hear but actually how the brain trust works within the Oilers organization.

      Comparing Valeri to Yakupov is not even a comparable. Yakupov is a 1st OV and contrary to some draft lists for the NHL, I would be shocked if he was drafted before Jones, MacKinnon, Drouin and Barkov. anywhere from #5 spot back is a possibility IMO.

      In regards to Yakupov not playing in the CHL after being drafted, that is understandable as he was head and shoulders above the rest of the competition. Valeri is not but I would say he will grow more from playing with big men as he is one himself. Stating you WILL not play in the AHL is NOT a team first attitude and that attitude was one Linus Omark had as well. The KHL is a different game and while Valeri is a power forward on wing he has never competed like a power forward in the North American style of game. Telling a team before your drafted where you will only play is not a sign of a team player.

      Don't get me wrong, I like Valeri's game a lot, I have been following him for some time. The Oilers want team first players and like to see the humility where a player will follow the suggestion of the development staff. Klefbom preferred to stay in Sweden longer and they were ok with that. What Oscar did not do is 'tell' the Oilers what he would not do. Now, in fairness to Valeri, maybe something has been lost in translation and he is stating the same as Klefbom and if that is the case, I would think the Oilers would be fine with it as well.

      One thing to note, as far as I can gather, Valeri signed a contract with the KHL for the next 2 seasons. If it was me, I would be fine with that cause he would be more physically mature and in the end would be sitting around Klefbom as far as time waited before coming over to play in Training Camp.

      Having said all that, the Oilers do need a two-way centermen who has top 6 potential not a winger unless it's this year or next for sure and he can step right in. If it comes down to Monahan and Nischuskin, I am pretty sure they take the center. If Valeri falls that low, which I doubt he will, all I hope is the Oilers don't take a run at Lindholm, I am not high on his ability to translate his game to North America any better then Paajarvi.


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