Archive for 2016-10-02

What The Yak Is Going on With the Oilers?

The Edmonton Oilers were the news of the day on Friday as they made three moves, all of which were more than just mere tweaks to a roster that was pretty much set. Fan reaction has been mixed. My reaction is that these moves should have been expected.

As much as I cheered for a player like Nail Yakupov, seeing him moved doesn't shock me in the least. What he was moved for, shocks me only a little.



Griffin Reinhart


He didn't get it done when it mattered the most. The opportunity was there, he simply didn't seize it. Edmonton struggled on the power play and penalty kill, they were down defensemen due to injury and were trying out players on PTO's. All of these could have been seen as opportunities for Reinhart to grab hold of a job, yet he didn't.

He'll get plenty of time in the AHL to show he deserves another shot, but less than 24 hours after being demoted, his position was filled by another player who joined the Oilers later on Friday.


Nail Yakupov


The return was troubling, but it's what the market would bare. It's a sad state of affairs when a first-overall pick gets you a throw-in prospect needed to count against a 50-man roster and a conditional pick that gets better if Yakupov scores a mere 15 goals. To think that someone who had Yak's pedigree is now questionable for only 15 goals as an NHL player in a season tells you everything you need to know about the trade.

Yakupov wanted out and the Oilers didn't really have a spot for him after he was surpassed by others at right wing. Edmonton's depth at the position is solid and the Oilers moved out a player they might not have kept past this season anyway.


Kris Russell


He's not the shiny new toy that you'll play with until you wear it out. In fact, Russell should be the opposite of that. The way to use him best is in areas where he excels — the penalty kill and the power play. Both are areas of trouble for the Oilers and likely a large reason Edmonton gave Russell $3.1 million to play a more limited role.



What this means for a player like Eric Gryba is uncertain. That all depends on how badly the Oilers determine this right-shot, right-side defensive positioning to be.

Edmonton made three not huge, but significant moves. For fans who want to know what the hell is going on with their team, ask yourself only one question. It;s the same question you would have had to ask yourself after Edmonton traded Taylor Hall.

Are the Oilers a better and deeper team now than there were before all this took place? It's hard not to say yes.

But, who cares what I think right? For now, I'll just keep my mouth shut until I feel like spilling my guts again.





Jim Parsons is a business owner, husband, father and sports fan. For more information about Oilersnetwork.com founder and Oil Spill articles author Jim Parsons, click here.




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WIN A FREE OILERS ROOMOVER!

Just in time for the start of the 2016 season, Wayfair is giving away a hockey roomover for six superfans!

Enter for a chance to win a new couch, dart board, bar stools, coffee table, and more! After you enter, friends can vote to increase your chances of winning your favourite team’s gear.

Wayfair reached out to us here at the OilersNetwork.com to see if we'd help let our readers know about this contest and it makes sense that as a big-time Oilers fan, it would be cool to see a reader from our site win the contest. 


Contestants can enter their email for the chance to deck out their space with décor items from their favourite Canadian NHL team, including: Vancouver Canucks, Toronto Maple Leafs, Ottawa Senators, Calgary Flames, Edmonton Oilers, and Winnipeg Jets. Winners can score team-inspired prizes – from a new couch, dart board, bar stools, coffee table and more.

Here’s some additional key details:
  • ·         Entry Frequency: Enter your email once, however, you can have friends/family vote for you to increase your chances of winning.
  • ·         End Date: October 19, 2016 at 11:59 PM ET.
  • ·         Eligibility: Open to legal residents of Canada (excluding Quebec) who have reached the age majority in their province or territory of residence as the date of entry.
  • ·         Winners will be drawn at random. More votes you have, the greater chance you have to win. However, contestants with no votes still can win since it’s a random draw.


Contest End Date: October 19, 2016



Yakupov to Chicago a Done Deal?

It's catching on like crazy that the Edmonton Oilers and Nail Yakupov are close to a deal that would send Nail Yakupov to the Chicago Blackhawks. Speculation on the return varies, from Edmonton needing to take back some salary, to Edmonton getting no roster players in return.



Ryan a.k.a The Barstool Chief, a Chicago hockey blogger for Barstool Sports first broke the story and then TSN's Bob McKenzie picked it up. Then Mark Spector added his two cents and after that, it was everywhere. 

Some suggest that the Oilers will retain salary in the deal and are simply dumping the player. If so, this is going to get Yakupov supporters fired up. I, for one, am not in the camp of simply dumping this player. 

No, he has not been what he's projected to be and no, maybe he doesn't deserve to be handed a first-line spot to get him going, but I saw some good things in the most recent preseason game where Yakupov was paired with Draisaitl and there could be a player there — at least one better than spare parts, which is what his market value looks to be. 



More to come as news breaks...

EDMONTON OILERS: THURSDAY HITS

A lot has happened in the last 24 hours of Edmonton Oilers hockey. Connor McDavid was named the youngest captain NHL history, the Oilers announced their roster for their Thursday night match-up against the Jets and some injuries are still in the forefront of the Oilers roster.

Connor McDavid as Captain

It was one of the worst-kept secrets in the NHL, it just needed to made official. McDavid was named the Oilers' 15th captain in franchise history, just one game before he takes the ice at Rogers Place for the first time.

Even as the youngest player ever to be named captain in the NHL, his teammates all unanimously endorsed the decision and seem to think he's the most logical choice.

Lucic:

Coming here and seeing what he's all about, I don't think anyone deserves to be captain more than him. I know he's going to do a good job and lead this team in the right direction.
Eberle:

He's a once-in-a-lifetime player. He has the ability to change the game in a moment. He has a high respect from the players. I'm excited to be along him and help him out. 
Hendricks:

He's confident in his ability as a hockey player, but he never puts himself first. It's always team first with Connor.

Injuries

Speaking of Matt Hendricks, he's the latest in a long line of injuries that has hit the Oilers thus far in preseason. Along with Patrick Maroon, Iiro Pakarinen, Brandon Davidson, Oscar Klefbom and Kris Versteeg, the Oilers have been ravaged by health issues.


While some injuries are not short-term, fortunately, players like Maroon, Klefbom and Davidson have returned and are now back in game action. If the trend continues, Oiler fans will thank their lucky stars that general manager Peter Chiarelli was so proactive in bringing depth to the roster this summer.

The way things are going, both Versteeg and defenseman Eric Gryba will likely turn their professional tryouts into regular NHL contracts and some of that will be a result of some of the injury issues plaguing this team.

Tonight vs the Jets

Starting lineup for tonight's game is as follows: (courtesy of Oilers.nhl.com)

Forward Lines:
Lucic-McDavid-Eberle
Pouliot-Draisaitl-Puljujarvi
Maroon-Caggiula-Yakupov
Pitlick-Letestu-Kassian
Defencemen:
Klefbom-Larsson
Sekera-Benning
Reinhart-Gryba
Goaltenders:
Jonas Gustavsson starts in goal 

Expect big things from McDavid who will be the first Oilers' captain on Rogers Place ice. He seems to live for moments like this.

But, who cares what I think right? For now, I'll just keep my mouth shut until I feel like spilling my guts again.





Jim Parsons is a business owner, husband, father and sports fan. For more information about Oilersnetwork.com founder and Oil Spill articles author Jim Parsons, click here.




Want to start spilling your sports gut? We're looking for writers. Go here.

Oesterle, Brossoit and Simpson Sent to Bakersfield

In a bit of a surprising move, the Edmonton Oilers made some cuts to the team. This time, the list included a player some thought had a chance to be in the opening day lineup as a 6th or 7th defenseman.


Jordan Oesterle, along with fellow defenseman Dillon Simpson and goaltender Laurent Brossoit will be heading back to the Bakersfield Condors of the AHL, where each will be given plenty of ice-time and leadership roles as major contributors to that team. All three players had good showings in camp and excellent preseason play with Oesterle playing well enough as a puck-moving d-man to warrant consideration as an Oiler.

Laurent Brossoit going down means that it's the Talbot and Gustavsson show until an injury or someone falters. In the case of Gustavsson, who has looked a bit shaky in preseason, Brossoit may come to Edmonton sooner than later. The decision to assign Brossoit isn't a huge surprise as it was the plan laid out in the summer, but Brossoit showing well is good news for the Oilers who will now have options.

The Simpson and Oesterle demotions mean that the Oilers are seeing good things in Matthew Benning and Griffin Reinhart. It could also mean that Eric Gryba is one step closer to converting his PTO into a full-time NHL contract.

These latest round of cuts are signalling that the Oilers are leaning toward experienced players. Perhaps a bit of surprise based on the preseason play, but also not a bad plan from where I sit.

But, who cares what I think right? For now, I'll just keep my mouth shut until I feel like spilling my guts again.





Jim Parsons is a business owner, husband, father and sports fan. For more information about Oilersnetwork.com founder and Oil Spill articles author Jim Parsons, click here.




Want to start spilling your sports gut? We're looking for writers. Go here.


Tampa Releases Wisniewski from PTO

The Edmonton Oilers extended a PTO (professional tryout) to James Wisniewski this summer. Instead, of coming to the Oilers, he chose the Tampa Bay Lightning. Today we learned that the Lightning have released Wisniewski from his tryout and it could be salary cap related, it could be rust or it could be that his knee, which was a worry for many NHL teams, isn't 100%.

We may never know what the issue in Tampa was, but it may create an opportunity for another NHL team, including the Edmonton Oilers.



Power Play Specialist 


It's been pretty clear the Oilers miss the threat of a shot from the point. The Oilers power play over the previous two preseason games has gone 1-for-10 and it's an issue that the Oilers will certainly want to address prior to the regular season. Whether that be finding an internal solution during the rest of camp, or going outside the franchise and bringing in a blueliner who can shoot the puck.

That is the type of specialty Wisniewski brings to a team. He's not the best defensively, he's not the fastest, but you can put him on the first unit power play and you know he'll shoot the puck and put up some points for you.

Oilers?


If Wisniewski's struggles were not injury related, could we see the Oilers once again get in touch with Wisniewski and invite him to camp? Edmonton potentially gives him the best opportunity for NHL employment, albeit in a limited role. He could fit into a couple games toward the end of preseason and his stats in Tampa weren't terrible. 

But, who cares what I think right? For now, I'll just keep my mouth shut until I feel like spilling my guts again.





Jim Parsons is a business owner, husband, father and sports fan. For more information about Oilersnetwork.com founder and Oil Spill articles author Jim Parsons, click here.




Want to start spilling your sports gut? We're looking for writers. Go here.