Friday's Fifteen | - Edmonton Oilers News and Rumours

Friday's Fifteen

Every Friday, I'll be posting fifteen thoughts, items, or statements about the Edmonton Oilers. In much the same way that I call blog articles or opinion pieces "spilling my guts", these will be me spilling my guts but in a quick style format.

I won't go into as much depth on each topic, but instead provide more food for thought in an effort to give readers something think about and potentially provoke a little conversation.

But, hey, I mean who really cares what I think right?

1) I believe if Nail Yakupov is an Oiler by the start of this coming season, look for Todd McLellan to give him 10-12 games with Connor McDavid to prove he can be a contributor or showcase him to the point he becomes a trade piece that can be sold at a higher value than the absolute basement prices opposing GM's are willing to pay now. It would be a waste if Yakupov couldn't get going and I think with some confidence, he could get 25-30 goals with a bit of consistency.

Jonathan Willis wrote an interesting piece on this topic over at the Cult of Hockey. Worth the read.

2) If there's one thing that's for certain, the Oilers are a tougher, meaner team than they were last season. Lucic, Hendricks, Nurse, Maroon, Gryba (if signed) all have good chances to be on the ice at every point in a game. There won't be a time this season that other teams should or will take liberties where in the past the Oilers "tough guys" were often not on the ice. It should create some space for the skilled players to do what they do best.

3) The Oilers need a hard-shooting defenceman. The one thing they lacked all season last year was a bomb from the point, especially on the power play and I believe that was ultimately the biggest disappointment in Justin Schultz. There was never a fear by penalty killers on the opposing team that Edmonton could beat you with a bomb, thus they never had to defend it and the Oilers powerplay lacked any real threat. If Tyson Barrie isn't an option for Edmonton after arbitration, look for the Oilers to seek out a stop-gap such as James Wisniewski as a powerplay specialist.

4) In the same vein, if one of the Oilers younger defencemen, namely Brandon Davidson, can work on his shot, expect that player to make a major jump in point totals for the Oilers. I would love to see Darnell Nurse work on his shot, but I think Davidson's is highly underrated and Edmonton should try to take advantage.

5) If you haven't taken a look at how Rogers Place is coming along, visit their website and check out live camera views as things are happening.

6) There have been some interesting write-ups in the Oilers blogosphere about Adam Larrson. The one thing the Taylor Hall trade did, after of course almost causing a riot amongst fans; was create real interest into exactly who and what Larsson is. Edmonton fans didn't get to see him much and therefore don't know exactly what the Oilers are getting. Larsson played little to no time on the powerplay in New Jersey, but in Sweden he was a player often used on offense. He's going to by primarily a shut-down defenseman for Edmonton, but don't be surprised if he gets a little second-unit powerplay time.

7) How many games do you think Milan Lucic plays in an Oiler uniform before his first fight? I'll set the over/under at 2. The Oilers open their regular season against Calgary, so it might not even take that long.

8) Anton Lander gets forgotten in Edmonton. But, I see the potential for Lander to have a good season if the proper situation presents itself. There was a point in time two years ago that Lander was a highly productive player on the Oilers. I don't think that skill or drive has left and if given the right opportunity and a little chemistry, Lander could have a breakout year.

9) The Oilers need to obtain a 2nd round pick sometime this season in a trade to keep a selection in next years draft. Edmonton still owes Boston compensation for signing Chiarelli and it makes sense at the deadline, Edmonton may trade a prospect for a 2nd rounder to keep a selection for themselves.

10) With the entry-level bonuses due some of the Oilers higher draft pedigree players, we might want to watch for Edmonton to start a player like Reinhart in the minors or move his contract. Above board, the Oilers appear to be a team with cap space, but behind the scenes, those bonuses could cause potential cap issues. Edmonton may look to offload one of those contracts that is heavily bonus loaded.

11) Edmonton plays six of its first nine games in the new arena. If the Oilers don't get a good start to the season, it could be trouble as they play eight of the next ten on the road. There should be some real motivation in the new rink to perform at a higher level, but for the Oilers, in a way, it's almost like being a road team as they'll be more unfamiliar with the rink. A good start will be huge to the Oilers season.

12) Drake Caggiula is relatively unknown to Oiler fans, but not for long. I expect to see him get one of the first cracks at NHL duty if he doesn't make the team out of camp and upon the first real injury at forward for Edmonton. Caggiula has some real bite to his game and skill to score on any line. He'll be the type of forward who can move up and down the line-up easily. He's the type of "hard" player that Chiarelli and McLellan like.

13) Fans hoping for Tyson Barrie might be disappointed. Barrie is exactly what the Oilers are looking for, but he's not of interest to just the Oilers. If he shakes loose in Colorado, expect a few teams to be willing to offer something up.

14) I don't believe it would be wise to trade Ryan Nugent-Hopkins at this point. His name seems rumored most often in trades as the Oilers look for that powerplay specialst, but the Oilers are strong at center and Nugent-Hopkins has something to prove in what will be a rebound year for him. I'm calling it's not out the realm of possibility that the "Nuge" strings together a 65 point season.

15) I'll be doing some writing for the   as a Calgary Flames author. I'll dabble a bit on the Oilers and one day, may move over to cover Edmonton on that site exclusively, but it will be fun to take a closer look at the Battle of Alberta from the Flames perspective. I look forward to contributing regularly.

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