Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Scott Burnside of ESPN,
So much time has been spent this season talking about the treasures that await the league's last-place team that you start to think in rainbow terms.
A handful of truly awful teams following that brightly colored arc down, down, down the standings with the hope that what lies at the bottom, the very bottom, is a pot of gold and a ticket up.
Certainly that's how great the promise of Connor McDavid and Jack Eichel is, with the duo poised to go first and second in June's draft in South Florida.
But among those teams lurching their way to the bottom as the season heads into its final two weeks is a team that is living proof that finding the "treasure" at the end of the arc guarantees nothing.
The Edmonton Oilers are once again among the worst teams in the league, despite a stretch dating back to 2009 that saw them pick first overall in the draft three times in a row (2010-12, only the second time in the history of the draft that happened), and pick third, seventh and 10th overall since then.
The Oilers have defied the odds by failing to turn such a treasure trove of picks into anything remotely resembling a playoff team, let alone a championship contender.
"By every measure, they seem to be failing," said longtime NHL executive Frank Provenzano, also a frequent contributor to ESPN's hockey coverage. "You shouldn't be picking that high and be that bad.
from Craig Custance of ESPN,
One of the most interesting decisions Edmonton Oilers GM Craig MacTavish will have to make this offseason is what to do with Nail Yakupov, who Yakupov scored again on Wednesday and added an assist, turning March into his most productive month of the season.
He appears to be earning the trust of coach Todd Nelson with his ice time this month at a season-high 18:02 per game. He also has seven points in eight games.
Yakupov is a restricted free agent after this season, and at some point MacTavish is going to have to spin off one of his forwards for more help on defense, especially if the Oilers somehow land one of the top two picks in the draft. But is now the time to sell on Yakupov, before he really starts tapping into his talent? It'll be fascinating to see how this plays out.
read on for Burnside and LeBrun on the Ducks, Powers on the Blackhawks and Strang on the salary cap...
Two minutes for illegal hit to the head for Kadri on this hit...
Andrew Ference with a message for Kadri, watch below...
Gene Principe caught up with Oilers GM Craig MacTavish to get his thoughts on his lone deadline deal, Jeff Petry to the Habs for two picks, and whether he was close on any others?
Lots of Oilers fans wonder how a team with such a weak defence can afford to let Jeff Petry go. They’re right — he’s going to leave a big hole next year. But last summer, when the time came to sign Petry long-term, his game wasn’t deserving of the commitment. Sure, he was the best guy on a poor defence, but in my opinion, someone will be having buyer’s remorse on Petry at this time next year, when he signs for four years and $18-19 million.
The key to the negotiations though, is that Petry wanted to go to UFA. There haven’t been any talks leading up to the deadline. The player simply wants to exercise his rights, play the field, and make a choice on a new team come July 1. It isn’t always a GM’s mistake when a player leaves. Sometimes the player, in this case an American-born player married to an American girl, wants to head south.
It’s no more complicated than that.
-Mark Spector of Sportsnet where you can read more NHL topics.
from Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal,
With the defending Cup champion Los Angeles Kings giving up a first-round draft pick in 2015 and a blue-chip prospect to acquire solid Carolina Hurricanes defenceman Andrej Sekera, the gauntlet has been thrown down at the feet of their rival, the Anaheim Ducks.
Can Edmonton Oilers general manager Craig MacTavish squeeze a first-rounder out of the Ducks now for Jeff Petry? Maybe.
Petry is the best available rental defenceman on the board now, unless you are a Zbynek Michalek fan from Arizona, and the dominoes usually start to fall in the West when one Cup threat makes a bold move.
Montreal, Detroit, Tampa, Washington, Pittsburgh, St. Louis and the Ducks are all looking for one more defenceman, and Sekera, 28, who plays hard and can make a good first pass and might sign with L.A. after the season, may have set the price for rental defencemen.
The feeling has long been that the Oilers were looking for a second-round pick and a solid blue-line prospect for teams, but maybe Sekera has changed MacTavish’s game plan somewhat.
from Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal,
The Ducks are one of the teams looking for defence reinforcements if they don’t have to give up too much as are Montreal, Detroit, Pittsburgh, Tampa and the Rangers. Oiler GM Craig MacTavish wants a draft pick and young body for Petry who was injured against Boston Bruins this past Wednesday when hit by an Adam McQuaid shot. The two games he’s just missed are the only two for medical reasons this year.
The Habs are looking for a second-pairing D to play with Alexei Emelin in a shutdown situation. The Wings have liked Russian rookie Alexey Marchenko, 23, a right-handed D like Petry, but are looking for one more experienced hand. The Ducks, who have Sami Vatanen out at least a month with a leg injury, are in the same boat as Detroit, as is Pittsburgh which wants to upgrade its third pairing. Tampa is getting Matt Carle back from abdominal surgery but has lost Radko Gudas (right knee) for the season. The Rangers are looking for a partner for Dan Boyle.
more with Matheson wondering if the Oilers should sit Petry to make sure he is healthy...
from Terry Jones of the Edmonton Sun,
You can talk about getting rid of the stand-around practices where Eakins drew up stuff on the board, bringing back the ping pong table, reorganizing the power play, the regular stats and the fancy stats, dollars or donuts, to me it comes down to one thing.
Eakins took it away.
Nelson instills it.
Look down the Oilers lineup and you can easily identify the three players Nelson has most managed to give the gift of confidence to in his first 23 games behind the bench.
• Nail Yakupov.
• Anton Lander.
• Oscar Klefbom.
You could even count, to some degree, Jordan Eberle and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins.
And there’s even evidence that before long Justin Schultz might get back to where he was when he showed up to play for Nelson in Oklahoma City during the latest lockout.
While playing for the Boston Bruins in 2013, Andrew Ference learned of a little girl who was coming to watch his team play. The five-year old child was battling a life-threatening disease and Ference was touched by her story.
About Kukla's Korner Hockey
Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.
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