He’s back. The Nuge makes his long awaited, much anticipated, healthy return to the Edmonton Oilers’ lineup Monday night against the New Jersey Devils. No one, not one person could be more relieved than Taylor Hall, not even Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. Hall has had a good run playing first line centre, but it’s not a role the young winger relishes, nor is it something that Hall could master during his short span to start the season.
Year after year, Edmonton Oiler fans have been told to look to the future. Now that there is an entertaining, competitive team iced every night, you might think that the message might be different. But there are still a few holes the Oilers need to fill, a few players the team could use. A trade would of course be ideal, but with the ever changing salary cap ceiling, teams have to at least attempt to develop their own players to fill in the gaps. The ever elusive power forward, able to keep up with the fast moving top six would top the required list for most people, and so the interest in prospects such as Mitch Moroz of the Edmonton Oil Kings and Greg Chase of the Calgary Hitmen is high. Luckily for these players, they are off a good start this season.
Before their home opener at Rexall Place Tuesday night, the Oilers put together a string of highlight reel material to celebrate the return of the Jets not only to the NHL but also to Edmonton. If you weren't at the Edmonton home opener, you couldn't see this until now. Enjoy!
New NHL coach Dallas Eakins knows that he has a lot to prove this season. And the fans, media and Oilers’ management are not going to let him forget that. We’ve already heard about the food changes for the media, and the off-season letters to the players but now we start to hear about what is happening during the season, behind the scenes in the locker room. The key message is personal accountability, and personal responsibility, so some things don’t change. What has changed is that Eakins is trying to give this responsibility a physical thing.
Love him or hate him, Ryan Jones is a fan favourite in Edmonton. His community involvement, his passion for the game, and of course his hockey hair have all helped to carve him a place in the hearts of many Edmonton Oiler fans, but the Edmonton Oilers are finally in a position where the team has competition for each and every roster spot. Well, most every roster spot; they will still take anyone who can win a faceoff, with Ryan Nugent-Hopkins out of commission. And what this means is that Ryan Jones was the odd man out.
The Edmonton Oilers made some big moves this summer, big of course meaning more than one move. But then again, moving out your long time captain to make way for a new locker room “feel” can be considered big. Overall the Oilers’ GM Craig MacTavish did accomplish what he set out to do this off-season. But was it enough?
The Edmonton Oilers narrowly avoided making history Monday morning. By coming to an extension agreement with centreman Sam Gagner before his arbitration hearing, the Oilers will not be the team that sets a whole new standard for the youngest UFA in NHL history. Not this time at least.
Edmonton Oilers’ GM Craig MacTavish claimed to be done making moves with his roster this summer after trading winger Magnus Paajarvi and a second round pick in next year’s entry draft to St Louis in exchange for David Perron but signing yet another defenceman to his team’s roster Thursday afternoon, it would appear that that is just not the case. While the Oilers have been one of many NHL teams in recent history desperate for NHL calibre defencemen, they were usually listed as one of the most desperate. This season however, it looks as though there will be some competition on the blue line, or better yet, some trade bait for top 9 help on offence.
Thursday the Edmonton Oilers announces a new ECHL affiliation with the Bakersfield Condors, just 2 months after their previous team, the Stockton Thunder fell in the Kelly Cup Finals to the Reading Royals. The Thunder were the Oilers' ECHL affiliate for 7 seasons, and while they didn't win the Kelly Cup, the Thunder were still the Western champs, and so another strong, winning team to further develop Edmonton prospects.
The Edmonton Oilers’ development camp opened yesterday with a little less fanfare for the first time in years. Without another first overall pick, the crowds were smaller; less people felt inclined to take a morning off of work to check out the latest additions. The on ice spectacles were a little less flashy too without Nail Yakupov’s goal celebrations, and overall the air was serious. After years of disappointment in the Oilers’ rebuild, things are about to get very serious, and finally there will be competition for every entry level contract, every position with the Oilers and their farm teams. This year, things get real.
About Oil Patch
Lisa McRitchie is a fairly new writer, online at least, but makes up for inexperience with passion for the game of hockey and memories of Mrs. Leskiw’s English AP class; who knew they would pay off one day.
Oil Patch focuses on the Edmonton Oilers, the Edmonton Oil Kings, The Oklahoma City Barons and Team Canada Hockey with game coverage, news updates, speculation and interviews.
Although the Oilers have had a difficult past decade… or three, here at Oil Patch, the future looks bright.
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