Welcome ladies and Gents to another Beer League Heroes Sunday Night Pint! If this is your first time frequenting the weekly SNP let me tell you what you’re in for. Hard hitting questions regarding the Edmonton Oilers! It’s not all serious though, we toss in a bit of fun at the end to lighten the mood.
This week we’ve got the wonderful Corey Mitchell (@corn-cwm) joining us, Zach Laing (@loweded) is driving this beast and riding shotgun is our Draft Guru, Brennen York (@draftgeekdotca)! We’re going to be touching on Leon Draisaitl, the Calgary Flames, and the playoffs! Also, what does the perfect hockey player look like?
Is Leon Draisaitl Part of the Team in 5 Years?
CM – McDavid has changed everything with this team, including Draisaitl’s place on the roster. I’m strongly of the opinion that Drats should be playing this whole upcoming season in the AHL. He benefits more playing a 1C or 2C role in the AHL than he would playing third line winger with the Oilers. That being said, the top two spots in the middle are locked up long term, as I can’t see McDavid or Nuge going anywhere. So where does that leave Drats? As much flak as I might get for this, it leaves him as trade bait. If it comes down to him and Lander competing for the 3C slot, I think Lander is much more suited to the role, and will cost less to lock up long term than Drats will. So in five years, is Drats an Oiler? I’m guessing unless he becomes world class like McDavid and Nuge, he’ll have become the centre piece, pardon the pun, in a trade that makes the Oilers a serious contender.
ZL – Definitely. I foresee him moving to the wing and being a dominant top 6 player for the Oilers for years to come.
BY – With the lack of sizeable forwards in the organization I would say yes. He was unfairly rushed into the NHL last season, and we didn’t get to see the dominant game he possesses. Five years from now he’s going to be too good to be a third line center, so it’s a question of whether or not Ryan Nugent Hopkins is traded. If he is (in a package for a defenceman), then LD takes over that spot quite easily, if not then he fills in the second line left wing spot.
BLH – In 5 years the Oilers are going to be contending with some mad contracts. Every notable player on the team will have been extended and not cheaply. I think we’ll see Leon playing for the Oilers at the expense of maybe Nail Yakupov and/or Jordan Eberle. His size, his ability to protect the puck and his vision are all things I believe the Oilers would be better off having.
What Will it Take to Make This Team a Legitimate Playoff Contender?
CM – There’s work to be done, that’s for sure. But the easiest answer to this question is experience. This team needs to learn what it takes to win together. And then they need to learn what it means to lose together. Yes, they have already experienced losing. Too much, in fact. But they haven’t lost in the playoffs yet. I look back to the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2007. After losing to the Senators in the first round that year, I didn’t see disappointment on the Pens bench. I saw determination. I saw Crosby talking to Gary Roberts and Mark Recchi, asking what it would take to reach the next level. The following year, they made it to the Cup Finals, and won the Cup the year after that. Much like those Penguins, and even the Oilers in the 80’s, this team needs to learn what losing in the playoffs means, so they can learn what winning in the playoffs gains.
ZL – A little bit of luck, and a lot of hard work. I don’t believe the Oilers are very far out of being a playoff team. However, I think this team needs a few years (2-3) to gel and for a lot of the players to get their legs underneath themselves. I do think the team needs another solid top 4 defender to help round things out.
BY – Defence. Plain and simple. If you look back at the previous Stanley Cup Champions (Chicago, LA), their top two or three defenders have all been homegrown draft picks. That being said I think the most critical thing the Oilers have to do to become a contender is develop Darnell Nurse and Oscar Klefbom. Along with the development of the defence, I still feel the right side is something that’s been forgotten about. Grabbing a guy like Dougie Hamilton would’ve meant playoffs sooner than later, so if they go out and grab a top flight right defenceman, I believe the process of making playoffs will be much quicker.
BLH – Brent Seabrook and David Backes. I’m of the belief that the team is STILL too young and is lacking players that play in an assertive manner. The experience that Seabrook and Backes would bring to the team would be felt instantly in the squad and in the standings.
Are the Flames still the Oilers biggest rivals?
CM – After the moves both teams made this summer, the Battle of Alberta should be alive and well. But to say the Flames are the Oilers biggest rivals? I’m not sure about that. Not yet. The Flames have been running the Oilers show the last few years, much like every other team in the NHL. Hard to say it’s a rivalry when it’s been so one sided. From a fans point of few, and mine, it’s got to be the Canucks. Whenever the Oilers and Canucks play, twitter blows up with absolute resentment for Vancouver. But as for an official rivalry? We need to get some deep seeded hatred through playoff series, much like when Edmonton would face Dallas yearly. The new format should help with that, and with teams in the Pacific Division all improving, we should be treated to some of that soon
ZL – Living in Calgary, let me tell you that whenever I wear my Oilers gear around town I have people giving me slack. The rivalry is still there.
BY – Not right now, but they will be. I believe the Canucks are the Oilers biggest rivals given the Kassian incident, the Nuge – Hamhuis fight, and the fact there always seems to be some tension in the air when they come together. That will change quickly given the additions to both the Oilers and Flames roster and it will be exciting to watch.
BLH – Oh yeah! Both teams are young and are on the up swing. I love the idea of McDavid going head to head with Sam Bennett. Nuge going up against Monahan. Hall vs. Gaudreau, Nurse vs. Hamilton… It’s on like Donkey Kong but I don’t know if we’ll ever see the viciousness that was displayed in the 80s.
Using Attributes From Players Past and Present, How Would You Build the Perfect Hockey Player?
CM – Gretzky’s vision, Coffey’s skating, Lemieux’s size, Smytty’s character, Weber’s shot, Pronger’s nastiness, and Pat Kane’s skill
ZL – Someone (on Oilers Now) was quoted as saying Connor McDavid has the speed of Bure, skill of Lemieux and the head of Gretzky. I think that sounds like a pretty good hockey player to me.
BY – Can I just clone Connor McDavid and give him Pronger’s size and nastiness? That would be fun to watch. If I were to pick apart different players best assets I couldn’t pass up on P.K. Subban’s mindset. He’s such a smart player and brings this excitement factor not every player has. I’d mix in some of RNH’s skills (he’s going to have a big year), and I’d also throw in Brendan Gallagher’s give-a-shit levels. Throw all that into Jaromir Jagr’s body and you’ll have one hell of a player.
BLH – The perfect player would have Gretzky’s vision and passing, Lemieux’s hands, Paul Coffey’s skating, Bobby Hull’s shot and Brett Hull’s release. Said player would have Mark Messier’s character and Wendel Clark’s fearlessness. All of this would be packaged in the body of Gordie Howe.
Thank you for reading everyone and let us know in the comments below what your feelings are on the topics discussed today!
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