BLH Sunday Night Pint #2

We’re back for another edition of the BLH Sunday Night Pint! Coincidentally this is the anniversary of the Chris Pronger trade! So Happy Pronger Day everyone!!

This week we have Zach “The Ladies Man” Laing (@loweded), Grapplin’ Jack Gruninger (@jackgruninger), and Rob “Don’t Call Me Cookie” Cooke (@cooke_rob) to tackle the hard-hitting Oilers topics of the week!

We’re going to start things off with an easy question:

1.Have the Oilers Done Enough to Make the Playoffs in 2015/16?

Jack – Not yet, no. They could be close, but unless some younger guys can have a surprise impact at the NHL level, the Oilers aren’t playoff bound yet. I think there are still question marks at forward. Lauri Korpikoski was brought in in the Boyd Gordon trade, how will he do? In the right situation he could excel, but there are likely better options. Will Yakupov finally turn his game around and start producing like a first overall pick? He hasn’t been trending upwards. Matt Hendricks is aging, how much longer can he have an impact? Also, not much needs to be said about the team’s defensive woes. Sekera and Klefbom are good defencemen, but what about the rest? Schultz can produce offense, but the defensive side of his game is clearly lacking. Fayne had a poor first season in Edmonton, they need more from him. Can Darnell Nurse take on a top 4 role like we desperately need him to? If Ference and Nikitin are both in the lineup at any point this season I might lose my mind. Finally, this team isn’t getting out of the bottom 5 unless they can get a save.

Rob – The answer to this is no. Not necessarily for the reason that most people might think though. The Western Conference is a killer to begin with and unfortunately for the Oilers most of the teams that made the playoffs last season improved this summer. The obvious exceptions being the Canucks and the Blackhawks. No clue what Jim Benning is planning for the fall but it does appear that the Canucks are headed for a rebuild in the near future. The Blackhawks are worse than last season but that has been due to cap issues that required some really good players to be moved for less than full value. So out of eight teams that made it last year six either improved or at least remained at the same level. Add to that Los Angeles and San Jose were outside the playoffs last season and definitely will challenge for the post-season again.

2.Who Will Lead the Oilers in Scoring This Season?


Zach – Taylor Hall! He’s going to have a monster year. I can’t feel it in my bones.

Jack – If Hall could stay healthy, he would lead the team in scoring easily, but since coming into the league, and not counting the lockout year, he has only averaged 64 games a season. A lot of people might say Nugent-Hopkins, but with Gordon no longer on the team, they will need him to start taking some tougher defensive assignments, so I’m not expecting a huge increase offensively. Jordan Eberle can always be relied upon to put up 60-70 points. We can’t forget about McDavid, of course. It will be really interesting to see what he puts up. It could be a tight scoring race, but I’m going to say that Hall leads the team in points.

Rob – Taylor Hall. He is the only bona fide point per game player on the team right now. McDavid will get there in short order I believe but until he has done it the only guarantee is Hall when healthy. Hall is going to have a bounce back season after losing 29 games to injury last season. He will not only lead the team in scoring this year but he will also be back in the league top ten in scoring.

3.Who Will McDavid Benefit Most From Playing With?


Zach – Whoever he’s on the ice with. Connor is one of those players that will presumably be playing a good amount of time even-strength and will likely see power play minutes as well. His skill will raise the level of play of the teammates around him, and I look forward to seeing him build chemistry with different guys. If I had to pick one specific player, I would say Nail Yakupov as I see him being a winger for McDavid.

Jack – There have been a lot of line combinations thrown around, and a lot of suggestions regarding who McDavid should be played with. Hall is the choice of many people, but some think that McDavid should be put with two veterans to start the season, such as Pouliot and Purcell. From an offensive standpoint, Hall would obviously help McDavid the most, but it’s the third player on that line that could be key. I think Teddy Purcell could be a good fit, and he could really help McDavid out in his adjustment to the pro ranks. After all, Purcell does have a resume of playing with a certain young phenom in Tampa Bay.

Rob – To me this question is backwards and it should be who is going to benefit from 82 games of awesomeness the most. But either way my answer is still going to be the same. The player that will benefit McDavid and get the most benefit from having him on their line is Taylor Hall. Hallsy is a solid point per game guy and an absolute terror flying down the port side. Imagine Hall and McDavid going full tilt towards the opposition nets on a nightly basis. Probably going to be more than a few goalies that need to change their shorts during the intermission. This is not a knock against Nuge or Ebs as they are both fantastic players and hopefully Oilers for many years to come but Hall has never had the opportunity to play with a guy of this caliber. Hall to McDavid back to Hall. He shoots! He scores!!!! Sounds beautiful already doesn’t it?

We asked some of our biggest fans and friends of the blog for their opinions on the topics on Facebook and Twitter and these are some of the responses:

Dave Gordon (@rustyknuckler):
1 – No
2 – McDavid if he stays healthy
3 – Good question, depends on who McLennan puts him with, there aren’t any real skilled vets to play with him. Maybe Pouliot, the better question might be who benefits most playing with McDavid.

Shawn Kelemen (@sharkyzeee):
1) No. But by only a few points. It will be a year we are actually in the hunt towards the end of the year. But we need a few tweaks to put us over the hump. Plus another year of experience under a computing coach will help a lot.
2) Nugent-Hopkins/Hall will both tie for the lead this year. Hall will win goals and Nuge will win assists. Eberle will be a close third to them and McDavid will finish fourth with a strong second half after he figures things out and wins our teams first rookie award.
3) I have to go with a few guys. For his two way development I’d say letestu is going to help him. A guy with skill who adapted his game to be a great bottom six guy with all the little things he does. Plus help McDavid with his face offs and positioning(if he needs it). Hendricks and his balls to the wall is going to show him sacrifice/hard work aspects. And Hall will be the perfect line mate for him. Both with blazing speed, will be able to push back defenders so less guys try and come across at McDavid, trying to hurt him. Plus defenders and slower venters will go bananas trying to check two speed demons. While Nuge/Ebs cycle the puck and attack with skill to wear down top defenders.

Rob Soria (@Oil_Drop):
1. Not a chance
2. McDavid
3. Probably Hall

The player who could possibly benefit most from No. 97’s presence may very well end up being Mr. Justin Schultz.

For a nice little change up I asked the guys who their Edmonton Oilers All-Time Starting 6 were but none of my guys are original and they more or less picked the same 6… Lol. Just kidding guys! I’ll flip the switch a bit with mine though…

G – Grant Fuhr, D – Coffey/Pronger, LW – Ryan Smyth, C – Wayne Gretzky, RW – Jari Kurri
G – Grant Fuhr, D – Coffey/Pronger, LW – Mark Messier, C – Wayne Gretzky, RW – Jari Kurri
G – Grant Fuhr, D – Coffey/Pronger, LW – Mark Messier, C – Wayne Gretzky, RW – Jari Kurri
G – Curtis Joseph, D – Coffey/Lowe, LW – Glenn Anderson, C – Wayne Gretzky, RW – Jari Kurri

Well that’s a wrap for another BLH Sunday Night Pint! Thanks for joining us and a HUGE thanks to all of those who participated online! Let us know your thoughts below in the comments section!

And don’t forget to head on over to the BLH T-Shirt shop! We’ve got a massive collection of 16-bit Superstars waiting for you to take them home and show them the kind of love only a NHL fan can give.

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Take Care!


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Beer League Hero Written by:

I'm the Beer League Hero! I am from Camrose, Alberta but I make my home in Taipei City, Taiwan. I've been through the ups and downs and the highs and the Lowes, the Bonsignores and the McDavids, the Sathers and the Eakins but I'll never leave my Oilers, no matter what! They're with me until the end and then some. GO OILERS GO!