Saturday, December 31, 2016

Oilers In Uncharted Territory

No matter how things play out in their New Year’s Eve tilt with the Vancouver Canucks, the Edmonton Oilers will close out 2016 as a playoff team in the Western Conference. For a franchise that has not come close to claiming a post-season berth since their run to the Stanley Cup Final in 2006, this can only be viewed as a step in the right direction and one that was long overdue. So much so that, if the Oilers were to miss out on qualifying for the playoffs by season’s end, it would be viewed by most as a surprise. 

Friday, December 30, 2016

Talbot Exactly What Oilers Needed

With the midway point of the 2015-16 season a week away, it is next to impossible to not be impressed with the Edmonton Oilers. They still have their flaws, but to be entrenched in a battle for top spot in the Pacific Division, 37 games into the year, and seemingly growing in confidence with every game is something almost no one could have seen coming. While an improved backend, emergence of Leon Draisaitl and presence of Connor McDavid have all played huge parts in the turnaround, one could make the argument that the play of Cam Talbot has been more critical than anything else.

Friday, December 23, 2016

Accepting Milan Lucic For What He Is

For an organization that has traditionally struggled to close the deal when it comes to signing premium free agents, this summer signaled a turning point of sorts for the Edmonton Oilers. While the presence of Connor McDavid and $42 million played huge roles in assisting Peter Chiarelli to convince Milan Lucic to ink a seven-year deal to come to out West, the fact a player of his stature actually signed on the dotted line is something that cannot be overlooked. 

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Oiler Fans Love Zack Kassian

As we near the one-year anniversary of the trade that saw the Edmonton Oilers send netminder Ben Scrivens to the Montreal Canadiens in exchange for forward Zack Kassian, one can’t help but to take a moment and reflect. While the former is currently playing goal for Minsk Dynamo in the KHL, the latter has managed to not only find himself a regular a spot in Todd McLellan’s starting lineup but also become a fan favourite in a city that once viewed him as Public Enemy No.1.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

RNH Sighting

In the eyes of many a hockey observer, Edmonton Oilers centre Ryan Nugent-Hopkins seemed poised for a bounce back season in 2016-17. After a rather disappointing campaign in 2015-16, it seemed almost like a foregone conclusion that the former first overall selection would put together a solid season playing second fiddle to Connor McDavid. While there is still plenty of hockey to be played, the opening two months of the season have not been kind to the Burnaby native.

Sunday, December 04, 2016

Opportunity Awaits Leon Draisaitl

It may have taken longer than yours truly was hoping but it looks as though the Edmonton Oilers have finally come to their senses and shifted Leon Draisaitl over to the wing. To be fair, it appeared as though Todd McLellan was leaning towards doing just that during training camp but an ill-timed injury to Drake Caggiula forced his hand and put the move on hold. While the duo of Connor McDavid and Cam Talbot carried much of the load early on, that was never going to be a viable long-term solution and everyone knew it.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Another Oilers Misstep

With three games left to go on their November schedule, the Edmonton Oilersseemed poised to close out what had been an inconsistent month of play on a positive note. After coming from behind to beat the Colorado Avalanche last week, Todd McLellan’s side had to grab just three points from their remaining games in order to finish the month with a .500 record. While not the most difficult of asks, it was one this group was unable to follow through on and it could come back to haunt them in early April.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Home Ice Power Outage

As disappointing as losing both ends of a home and home set with the Arizona Coyotes over the weekend might have been for the Edmonton Oilers and their fans, the greater concern appears to be this team’s inability to take care of business in their new shiny home. After years of being unable to gain any meaningful traction over at Rexall Place, the hope was the 2016-17 edition of the Orange and Blue would finally be able to take advantage of playing on their home sheet of ice.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

The Curious Case of Jordan Eberle

To suggest the opening quarter of the 2016-17 season hasn’t gone exactly as Edmonton Oilers winger Jordan Eberle had hoped would be an understatement. After suffering through and injury-filled and inconsistent campaign in 2015-16, the Regina native was hoping for a bounce back performance playing alongside Connor David on a full-time basis. While the first 22 games may have been a struggle, the three-time 25-goal man is surprisingly not far off his career goal scoring average. 

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Oilers Yo-Yo Season Continues

After last night’s 5-0 thumping of the Western Conference-leading Chicago Blackhawks, the Edmonton Oilers have officially reached the quarter pole of their season and they find themselves in some rather unfamiliar territory. While it has hardly been smooth sailing throughout, all that truly matters is their place in the standings and as of this moment, Todd McLellan’s crew finds itself perched atop the Pacific Division standings with an 11-8-1 record.

Monday, November 21, 2016

McDavid, Puljujarvi and Slepyshev

Like most hockey-crazed markets, Edmonton has its fair share of armchair general managers when it comes to their beloved Oilers. Win or lose, much of this fan base lives, breathes and thinks about ways to improve their team on daily basis. As sports fans, we have all been guilty of it at some point and many of our “solutions” are concocted in the heat of the moment. While most are off base and often unrealistic, there are some that make you take a step back and think long and hard about what you just heard or read.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Caggiula Pays Immediate Dividends

While it may not have been the road that either Drake Caggiula or the Edmonton Oilers had envisioned for the 22-year old to take en route to the NHL, his debut against the Dallas Stars could not have gone much better — and it was Hockey Night in Canada to boot.

Monday, November 14, 2016

A Taste Of Reality

We all knew it was coming. It was just a matter of when the Edmonton Oilers would hit the first bump in the road of the 2016-17 season. That moment came to fruition this past weekend, as the Pacific Division leaders dropped a pair of crucial contests to the visiting Dallas Stars and New York Rangers. While it may not be the result anyway wanted, everyone knew the month of November would be a tricky one for this club to maneuver through and it has proved to be exactly that.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Another Benchmark Moment for 2016-17 Oilers

Heading into the 2016-17 season, it was no secret that the Edmonton Oilers had something to prove. After making major changes to their roster over the course of the summer, Peter Chiarelli’s group was always going to have the spotlight squarely on them from the drop of the puck on opening night. No question it is still awfully early in the season, but this group has done a fantastic job of taking on every challenge thrown their way.

Sunday, November 06, 2016

Winning Ugly

After years of finding ways to lose hockey games, this year’s edition of the Edmonton Oilers appear to be doing their best to buck that trend. While it may still be early in the season and this team has already started to show signs of coming back down to earth from its red-hot start, for the first time in what feels like an eternity, they are actually finding ways to win games. It may be hard to believe but it does seem as though this group might finally be headed in the right direction. 

Friday, November 04, 2016

The Sky Isn't Falling

It may have taken a little longer than almost anyone had anticipated but for the first time this season, the Edmonton Oilers hit a wall of sorts on Thursday night at Madison Square Gardens. While yesterday’s 5-3 loss to the New York Rangers was their third straight, it was the first time in 2016-17 that Todd McLellan’s side were thoroughly dominated from start to finish. And yet, they were 1:21 from earning at least a single point for the ninth time in eleven games.

Monday, October 31, 2016

A Night To Remember

While most sports fans tend to ride the emotional rollercoaster that comes with cheering on their favourite team, at the end of the day, sports are nothing more than an enjoyable distraction from our day-to-day existence. As much as we may want our team or teams to be successful, in the grand scheme of things, we are still talking about a form of entertainment and not real life situations. That wasn’t necessarily the case on Sunday night in Edmonton, as the Oilers took on Craig Anderson and the Ottawa Senators over at Rogers Place.

Sunday, October 30, 2016

The Importance of Andrej Sekera

Back in the summer of 2015, the Edmonton Oilers turned more than a few heads by jumping with both feet into the unrestricted free agent market and landing one of its biggest prizes in defenceman Andrej Sekera. After agreeing to a six-year/$33 million pact, a large chunk of this fan base was under the impression Peter Chiarelli had finally secured the No. 1 rearguard this club so desperately needed. Unfortunately, in the real world, that was never the expectation and nor should it have been.

Saturday, October 29, 2016

What Will Oilers Do For An Encore?

So here we are. Two and a half weeks into the 2016-17 season and the Edmonton Oilers not only sit atop of the Pacific Division but the entire Western Conference with a 7-1-0 record. While tomorrow evening’s tilt with the Ottawa Senators will bring the month of October to a close, how this team responds to their next 15 games will go a long way towards determining if they will finally break their decade-long exile from partaking in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Making the Most of the Moment

It was five days ago, in this very spot, that I wrote about the Edmonton Oilers’ embarking on their only difficult stretch of games in the month of October. While they still need to deal with a visit from Alexander Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals on Wednesday night, this trifecta of games can be viewed as nothing but a rousing success for Todd McLellan’s crew. Yes, it’s still awfully early but Edmonton has taken full advantage of their current lot in life and should be applauded for it.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Stepping Up In Weight Class

While it certainly hasn’t always been pretty, the Edmonton Oilers have managed to do exactly what they needed to during the opening week of their 2016-17 season. Outside of an ugly showing against the Buffalo Sabres on Sunday night, this group has found ways to win hockey games and take advantage of what is arguably the easiest October schedule this organization has seen in ages. However, that will change this evening as Ken Hitchcock, Nail Yakupov and the rest of the St. Louis Blues pay their first-ever visit to Roger Place.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Blowing Off Unnecessary Steam

If nothing else, it has certainly been an interesting start to the 2016-17 season for the Edmonton Oilers. After laying the boots to the Calgary Flames in a home and home set to kick off the year, Todd McLellan’s side were brought back down to earth courtesy of the Buffalo Sabres on Sunday evening. While goaltender Cam Talbot had a night to forget in between the pipes, Dan Bylsma’s squad did a fantastic job of containing Connor McDavid and Co. in cruising to an easy 6-2 over at Rogers Place.

Friday, October 14, 2016

The Good Cam Talbot

It was by no means a perfect performance but the Edmonton Oilers could not have asked for the opening of their new shiny barn to have gone much better than it did.  With the anticipation surrounding the official unveiling of Rogers Place at a fevered pitch, the team did not disappoint by handing the Calgary Flames a 7-4 thumping to ring in another NHL season.  Not surprisingly, Connor McDavid led the offensive barrage in what turned out to be a night much of Oilers Nation won’t soon forgot. It may have only been one night but it was one this fan base was starving for. 

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

What About Plan B?

Offering an NHL veteran the opportunity to make your team via “Professional Try Out” is always a risky proposition for any organization. The Edmonton Oilers found that out the hard way earlier today, as Kris Versteeg decided to jump ship and sign a one-year $950,000 deal with the Calgary Flames. By the sounds of it, Peter Chiarelli offered the two-time Stanley Cup winner a contract but the 30-year old winger decided to go in a different direction. A tough break for sure but not one that should have come as a complete surprise to the former Boston Bruins general manager

Saturday, October 08, 2016

Low Risk With Potential High Reward

While his name had already worked its way through the rumour mill over the past few weeks, it appeared as though the Edmonton Oilers decided inking unrestricted free agent defenseman Kris Russell to a deal for the upcoming 2016-17 campaign was a road they did not want to go down. However, with the start of the season just around the corner and the club not satisfied with the current state of their backend, the two sides decided to circle back and take another kick at the proverbial can. 

A Predictable Ending

From the moment the Edmonton Oilers decided to use the No. 1 selection in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft to select Nail Yakupov, there were those who questioned the decision. After adding the quartet of Jordan Eberle, Magnus Paajarvi, Taylor Hall and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins over the previous four drafts, bringing in another forward seemed to be a bit of overkill in the minds of some. With that said, there is no question the vast majority of Oilers Nation wanted the club to use their first round pick on the talented Russian…yours truly included. 

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Maroon Time

After pulling the trigger on a last-second deal with the Anaheim Ducks during the 2016 NHL Trade Deadline, Peter Chiarelli was hoping he had found the proverbial “diamond in the rough” in landing Patrick Maroon. While he did pay what was deemed the going rate at the time, a bottom tier prospect in blueliner Martin Garnet and a fourth-round selection in last summer’s Entry Draft, he was acquired for what amounted to next to nothing. Well, if the initial stretch of his Edmonton Oilers career is any indication of what can be expected from the American winger, Chiarelli may have his wish granted. 

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Puljujarvi Time

While the hockey world is focused on Toronto and the start of the reinvented World Cup of Hockey, that isn’t the case in Edmonton. Keeping tabs on the trio of Leon Draisaitl, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, and Connor McDavid on the “world stage” is all well and good but fans in this neck of the woods are just as curious to see how this year’s batch of Oilers kids do in Penticton at the 2016 Young Stars Tournament

Monday, September 12, 2016

Getting Something Out of the Backend

It has been an extremely long and interesting summer for both the Edmonton Oilers organization and their fans. While it has been yet another off-season of substantial change in the Alberta capital, the Oilers are once again a team with many unanswered questions heading into what the masses are hoping will be a year in which this club makes substantial gains in the Western Conference standings. 

Sunday, August 07, 2016

Adjusting For Connor

It may be hard to believe but it appears as though the Edmonton Oilers have three capable centres of playing top six minutes for the first time in franchise history. While the guys wearing No. 99 and No. 11 drove the bus during the “Glory Years”, none of those teams featured the potential three-headed monster Todd McLellan will have at his disposal in 2016-17. With that said, one can’t help but wonder if the presence of Connor McDavid won’t ultimately force the Oilers to be a little more creative in their approach. 

Monday, July 25, 2016

What Are Reasonable Expectations?

If both players manage to stay relatively healthy throughout their NHL careers, there is no question that the Edmonton Oilers will end up on the wrong end of the Taylor Hall for Adam Larsson swap. Trading away a 24-year-old proven driver and point producer for a guy who “could” one day turn into a legit top pairing defenceman,  is a deal that has potential disaster written all over it. While the return was certainly underwhelming, the addition of the former New Jersey Devils blueliner will instantly upgrade Edmonton’s paper thin backend. 

Thursday, July 14, 2016

The Importance of Ryan Nugent-Hopkins

Life has certainly been busy for the Edmonton Oilers this summer. While the departure of Taylor Hall and additions of Adam Larsson, Milan Lucic, and Jesse Puljujarvi have made for a rather hectic last few weeks, there is one other player who has continually seen his name making the rounds in the NHL rumour mill. That player would be none other than Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and barring some kind of ridiculous return, it was all but guaranteed we would be seeing the 2011 first overall pick wearing Orange and Blue come October. 

Saturday, July 02, 2016

Milan Lucic and Playing the PR Game

Give the Edmonton Oilers credit. After trading away Taylor Hall to the New Jersey Devils for defenceman Adam Larsson, they were well aware of the fact there would be major pushback from much of the fan base after making such a deal. However, by pulling the trigger on the swap when he did, Peter Chiarelli gave both himself and the organization an easy out to help soften the blow. To their credit, they played it perfectly and after feeling the heat for the better part of 48 hours, all seemed to be forgiven after announcing the signing of Milan Lucic to a 7-year/$42 million pact. 

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Desperation Cost the Oilers Taylor Hall

It was a move we could all see happening but hoped would not come to fruition. Outside of the new shiny generational toy that is Connor McDavid, the best player to have pulled on an Edmonton Oilers jersey since the Dynasty Years was none other than Taylor Hall. The first of what turned out to be a quartet of first-overall selections for the Oilers over a six-year span was shipped out-of-town in exchange for former New Jersey Devils defenceman Adam Larsson on Tuesday afternoon in what was a crazy day across the NHL. 

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Lucic for Hall...No Thank You

Yesterday was a very interesting day for fans of the Edmonton Oilers. From the moment TSN Insider Pierre LeBrun broke the news that pending unrestricted free agents Jason Demers and Milan Lucic were in town on Tuesday to talk shop with Peter Chiarelli and company, Oilers Nation was abuzz with excitement. If we are to believe the rumours that are already making the rounds, it would appear to be a forgone conclusion that both players have already agreed to sign on the dotted line to play in the Alberta capital. 

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Betting On Benson

When the first-round of the 2016 NHL Entry Draft came to its conclusion and Vancouver Giants winger Tyler Benson was still available, there was little doubt as to where he would end up being selected on Saturday morning. After the Toronto Maple Leafs kicked things off by grabbing Russian winger Yegor Korschkov, theEdmonton Oilers surprised absolutely no one by taking the local product at No. 32. If not for an injury-plagued campaign in 2015-16 many felt the kid was a slam-dunk to be a mid to late first-round pick. 

Saturday, June 25, 2016

More Draft Day Magic For Edmonton

There is no question that the Edmonton Oilers were the big losers at this year’s NHL Draft Lottery.  The hope going in was to either win the lottery outright or hold their position at No. 2 but to be perfectly honest, sliding down a slot would have even been an acceptable outcome for Peter Chiarelli. After all, this year’s Entry Draft was always supposed to be about three players; Auston Matthews, Patrick Laine, and Jesse Puljujarvi. As long as one of them found their way to Edmonton, there would be no problems. 

Friday, June 24, 2016

What To Do At No. 4?

With rumours surrounding the potential trading of Montreal Canadiens defenceman P.K. Subban taking the hockey world by storm over the last 24 hours, it should surprise no one that the Edmonton Oilers were linked as the team most interested in acquiring the flamboyant rearguard. While it has certainly added a rather interesting dimension leading into tonight’s 2016 NHL Entry Draft, the focus should remain on what direction Peter Chiarelli and company decide to go in with the fourth overall pick. 

Time's Up For Nail

There has arguably been no player in recent Edmonton Oilers history that has created as a much a divide among the fan base as Nail Yakupov. After being selected first overall in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft and putting together a fairly productive rookie campaign, the sky appeared to be the limit for the former Sarina Sting standout. Yet here we are, four years later and Edmonton is on the verge of moving the 22-year old in a trade that will likely net this organization a rather underwhelming return. 

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

NHL, Rogers Miss Golden Opportunity

The NHL released its 2016-17 schedule on Tuesday and while there was never going to be any surprises when it came to match-ups, as it is the same drill each and every year, there was something that stood out as a bit of a headscratcher.  While it may not seem like that big of a deal to fans in the United States, the fact the Edmonton Oilers and Toronto Maple Leafs do not square off on Hockey Night in Canada in either one of their two meetings is rather perplexing. 

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Working From A Position Of Strength

Isn’t it funny how things can change? Following what was another difficult campaign in the overall standings, many believed Edmonton Oilers general manager Peter Chiarelli would be forced into making a splash at the 2016 NHL Entry Draft; be it dipping into the pool of “$6 million men” currently on his roster to make a move or trading the fourth overall selection in the draft. 

Monday, June 20, 2016

The Vatanen Effect

The Edmonton Oilers have not played an NHL game for two and a half months but from the standpoint of their fan base, this week could not come soon enough. Despite what was yet another disappointing season for Oilers Nation, the thought of what lies ahead continues to keep fans on the edge of their collective seats when it comes to seeing what this franchise does at the Entry Draft and via trade and/or free agency. 

Monday, May 30, 2016

Learning How To Win Again

From an Edmonton Oilers standpoint, the 2016 IIHF World Championship could not have gone much better. While the likes of Leon Draisaitl, Matt Hendricks, Patrick Maroon and Andrej Sekera enjoyed relative degrees of success, it was the trio of Canadians who had the biggest impact at the tournament. Heading into this year’s event all signs pointed towards Taylor Hall, Connor McDavid and Cam Talbot playing key roles on Bill Peters squad and all three were up to the challenge in helping Canada to their second consecutive Gold Medal. 

Sunday, May 29, 2016

No Need For Pouliot To Leave Town

In the minds of many a hockey expert, the Edmonton Oilers took a pretty big risk in signing Benoit Pouliot to a five-year/$20 million deal in the summer of 2014. After playing for five different teams over a five-year stretch, it took many by surprise that an organization would be willing to cough up that sort of dough and term for a guy who had never quite lived up to the expectations that came with being the fourth overall pick in the 2005 NHL Entry Draft. With that said, it is awfully difficult to not be tempted by the total package the 29-year old brings to the table. 

Saturday, May 28, 2016

RNH Should Expect Position Change For World Cup

Despite not being a part of Team North America’s initial roster for the 2016 World Cup of Hockey, there was never a doubt that Edmonton Oilers centre Ryan Nugent-Hopkins would be part of the team. While it was made official on Friday afternoon, the question now becomes whether or not the former first-overall pick will be used at centre or on the wing during the much-anticipated event. Lucky for him, the head coach is rather familiar with the strengths and weaknesses in his overall game and will slot him accordingly. 

Canada Says No Thanks To Taylor Hall

Prior to yesterday’s announcement of the final roster selections for the 2016 World Cup Hockey, many seemed to believe it was nothing more than a foregone conclusion that Hockey Canada would use one of those spots on Edmonton Oilers forward Taylor Hall. Coming off a second consecutive year in which the former first-overall selection starred for Team Canada at the IIHF World Championship and developing into one of the best left-wingers in the game today , it did seem to be a no-brainer of a move for Doug Armstrong and company to make. 

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Time For Kassian To Sink or Swim

There are different ways to tackle an off-season to-do list in the NHL. When it comes to addressing a roster’s most glaring needs, general managers usually have no choice but to wait until the summer months to make major changes. However, that is not necessarily the case when it comes to filling secondary roles in a lineup and the Edmonton Oilers took their first step in that direction by re-signing Zack Kassian to a one-year deal late last week. 

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Déjà vu

It is that time of year again. While it may be little later than normal, today is the day we find out who will have the honour of making the first overall pick in the 2016 NHL Entry Draft. Much to the chagrin of the other 29 clubs across the league and their collective fan bases, watching the Edmonton Oilers continued good fortune at the annual event hasn’t sat well with the masses. Despite the Draft Lottery being nothing more than a game of chance,  all anyone seemingly wants to do is whine and complain about the Oilers grabbing one talented youngster after another. 

Friday, April 29, 2016

Patrik Laine or Jesse Puljujarvi

So here we are again. On the eve of yet another NHL Draft Lottery and wondering out loud if the Edmonton Oilers can have lady luck on their side one more time. While they may not be the favourite to come away from tomorrow evening’s extravaganza as a back-to-back winner, hello Connor McDavid, history tends to suggest the Orange and Blue won’t be leaving Saturday’s festivities empty-handed. Another first overall pick may not be cards but don’t be surprised to see this organization walk away with another top-three pick in their back pocket. 

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

No. 1 = Auston Matthews

After drafting first overall in four of the last six years, it seems as though certain chunks of the Edmonton Oilers fan base have started to lose their collective marbles. How else can one explain the notion that Peter Chiarelli and company should seriously consider trading their first-round pick if they happen to win the 2016 NHL Draft Lottery? While the masses may have had their fill of watching one losing season after another, giving away the chance to add a player as talented as Auston Matthews to this organization would be bordering on insanity.