It’s out with the old and in with the new per se. Taylor Hall, Jordan Eberle, and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins will be replaced by the new core…
I have to say for the first time in a very very long time I’m f’n pumped for this new season to get started. Not only that but I’m f’n pumped for the next 5 seasons.
But before I tell you why I’d like to announce an addition to the BLH team, Zach Laing! You might know Mr.Laing from his time as editor at Oil On Whyte or you might’ve read some of his posts over at Copper N Blue. We’re super pumped to have Zach on board and can’t wait to see what he churns out! Add him on Twitter (@loweded) if you haven’t already done so and take a stroll over to his personal page, zachlaing.com
Here’s why I’m excited for the Oilers circa 2015/16:
- We (Oilers fans) finally have a developing defenceman we can hang out hats on. Darnell Nurse is going to revolutionize the position. He’s going to bring back the need for teams to have snarl on the back end. Difference being they’re going to have to be able to skate and play the game too… If there was a defender in the Oilers system that actually has Norris potential, it’s Darnell Nurse. He may very well give Connor McDavid a run as fan favorite.
- The team has a spine. Apart from the most recent drafts, since 2005 the Oilers have managed to draft 3 real NHL-level centers (Cogliano, Gagner, Nugent-Hopkins). How can a team be built on that predicate? Now the Oilers have goaltending depth in Cam Talbot, Laurent Brossoit, and Eetu Laurikainen. There’s depth on defence in Sekera, Klefbom, Nurse, Schultz, Fayne, and Reinhart and the center position is finally NOT a question mark. McDavid, Nugent-Hopkins, Lander, Draisaitl, Letestu, Yakimov. A hockey team MUST be built from the spine out. Not from the wings in. Peter Chiarelli knows it.Note: Man am I glad the Oilers didn’t take Valeri Nichushkin instead of Darnell Nurse back in 2013 like some fans wanted…
- The Battle of Alberta is back baby! Instead of Messier v. Otto, it’s Nuge v. Monahan! Instead of Kurri v. Nieuwendyk, it’s Hall v. Gaudreau! There’ll be no Gretzky v. Gilmour, it’ll be McDavid v. Bennett!Amazing hockey has returned to the best province in Canada! Sure hope the bandwagons have good suspension…
Whoa! Whoooooaaa! Reel it back in there! Let’s get back to some real talk.
In three years does anybody think that the Edmonton Oilers will be icing Taylor Hall or Jordan Eberle, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins or Nail Yakupov? Will Justin Schultz still be an Edmonton Oiler? As I said above, there won’t be enough room under the cap for all of this elite talent and I don’t see a John Tavares in that group anywhere. Why Tavares? He took a huge discount when he re-signed with the Islanders in 2011 and his cap hit is only $5.5m per year until 2018. #dedication
Surely the team will keep it’s spine intact for the foreseeable future and this is how I see it panning out for the next 2-4 years.
From there you can pick and chose who you want on the wings and bottom 4 defence.
I know some will say that there’s now way that Draisaitl plays no.3 center and he can and is willing to play wing but I don’t see it that way. I look at the Stanley Cup winning Pittsburgh Penguins and the trifecta they deployed down the middle that year (Crosby-Malkin-Staal) and how they’ve been paying ever since they traded Staal. I’ve always wanted a Jordan Staal on the Oilers and I think we’ve got one here in Draisaitl.
I mean let’s just play around with some numbers for the hell of it. If McDavid is as superstitious as Crosby is you could probably see him asking for $9.7 million, Nuge will be north of $6 Million if not $7 million, Draisaitl I imagine would cost close to $6 million at some point and we can be assured that Lander will be a $3-4 million dollar man for the duration of his career.
I can see Darnell Nurse climbing into the PK Subban territory at about $7 million per and Klefbom should be comparable to say Jonas Brodin, so about $4-5 million. Griffin Reinhart, depending on how good he gets should be around the same as Klefbom.
Brossoit, IF he pans out, I can see him going in the $4 million to $4.5-ish range.
So that is well over half of your cap (if your cap is around $70 million) being spent on 8 guys. Now, I’m not saying it’s impossible for the Oilers to keep some skilled players on the wing but Chiarelli will have had to have learned a mighty good lesson from his time in Boston in order to do so. But as we know, it is far easier to add to the wing then it is to add in goal, on defence or at center.
- The Buy-Out Window – It’s open again for the Oilers and it seems like the time has come for the team to decide between Nikita Nikitin and Andrew Ference. The way I see it is neither of them are worthy but if I had to pick one to buy out I think I’d pick Ference. Nikitin is much younger and the possibility of him bouncing back is much higher than that of Ference turning into the next Steve Staios. Also if he doesn’t return to better form, he can be jettisoned to Europe ala Jesse Joensuu… Ference is just too old and too slow at his advanced age. The classy thing for him to do now is to hand the ‘C’ over.
- The Captaincy – Good friend of the blog Richard Cloutier recently wrote here about finally giving the ‘C’ to Taylor Hall. I can’t disagree more. Mr.Cloutier believes the the ‘C’ should be given to Hall because he’s got a bit of gumption and is emotional. I believe the captaincy should go to Nugent-Hopkins. I feel the the Nuge displays a lot more leadership in a less chaotic manner than Hall and there’s a good chance that Hall will not play his entire career in Edmonton. If he keeps getting injured Edmonton is going to have to consider an Oiler team that is…. Hall-less.
- Connor McDavid – Well #97 took his teammates to task the other night. Good Lord this guy is good. We should keep things grounded though. He wasn’t playing against NHL players aside from maybe Draisaitl and it was a game of glorified shinny. But the fact remains, whenever he was on the ice, a chance was created and/or a goal was scored. That tit-for-tat with Draisaitl was something interesting to see (skip ahead to 2:25).