Had a chance to discuss the Oilers with Lowetide on Friday and share some of my thoughts on the teams problems at center. The full interview is here, starting around the six minute mark.
Couple notes I thought would be worth sharing:
- Allan had an excellent post up this morning that framed our discussion. Going into next season, the Oilers have RNH, Lander, Gordon and possibly Derek Roy, who is set to become a free agent this summer. It’s not a terrible list of players, but they would be one injury away from losing another season.
- The Oilers have finally (!) proven their ability to run an AHL franchise as the Barons have helped develop a number of players and coaches for the parent club. Here’s hoping the Oilers have the same success as they relocate the Barons to Bakersfield, California next season.
- Without a doubt, the AHL is the ideal place for centers to develop. A lot of the top centers in the game today had spent some time in the minors before making the jump, including Tyler Johnson, Joe Pavelski, Claude Giroux, and Ryan Getzlaf. I mentioned Nazem Kadri this morning, mainly because I think he’s one of the best young centers in the game, who was selected very high by the Leafs (7th overall) in the 2009 draft. He played four full seasons in the OHL, between Kitchener and London, before making the jump to pro, playing just under 100 games with the Marlies. (Note, I typically don’t credit players for playing in the AHL during the lockout.)
- The whole debate about where Hall should play when he returns this weekend is great, mostly because we finally have the depth to discuss such a case. Let’s not get crazy and start suggesting Hall should be moved because of Pouliots success with RNH and Eberle. Instead, we can start digging into what line combinations work based on player attributes and some of the underlying stats. My take is Hall should be on the top line, just to get back into game shape plus I think his style of play is too similar to Yakupov’s. Gregor had an excellent piece on why Hall playing with Roy and Yakupov might actually be a good fit, using the ever valuable WOWY stats.
- David Staples from the Cult of Hockey had a good piece on why Derek Roy should be re-signed by the Oilers using the scoring chances he tracks. I’d definitely look to sign Roy plus additional centers who can play wing, to solidify the depth at center and allow for guys like Draisatl and Yakimov to develop in the AHL next season.
- Good business article from MIT on why/how people make poor decisions during winning streaks. Thought it could apply to the Derek Roy situation as well.
- A mistake I made was saying that Vladimir Sobotka was an unrestricted free agent this summer. Bruce McCurdy from the Cult of Hockey pointed out that Sobotka still technically owes the Blues the one year term he was awarded in arbitration, as he left the club to play in the KHL. Having said that, there could still be a deal made if the Oilers get a little creative and take advantage of the Blues’ cap situation.
- Michael Frolik would be a nice addition at center, but he’ll likely stay in WInnepeg. He’s only 27 with over 500 NHL games, playing a big role in Winnipeg’s push for the playoffs. He’s a strong possession player that can play wing, plus he has a relatively impressive HERO chart.