Three points out

Jonathan Willis
March 21 2013 12:19AM

The Edmonton Oilers played what might have been there most important game in three seasons on Wednesday night. A hot run, and some help in other cities had put them in a position to tie for the final playoff spot in the West. Their shootout loss to San Jose means that they’re now three points out of both that post-season berth and dead last in the West.

An eye on the post-season

According to sportsclubstats.com, six teams in the West have an 80 percent or better chance of making the playoffs. The exceptions are Detroit and San Jose – the Red Wings took a hit with their loss to Minnesota, but remain ahead of the Sharks (who were significantly boosted by their win over Edmonton). Both the Sharks and Red Wings are rated as over 50 percent likely to hang on to their spots, with the other six teams on the chart above all somewhere between 10 and 30 percent likely to make it to the post-season.

Edmonton closes out the month with very little chance to damage the hopes of those other teams. They play Nashville on March 25, and Columbus on March 28 – with three other games against St. Louis (twice) and Vancouver. A good run here, and despite tonight’s loss they’ll be in decent shape. Needless to say, they need a good run.

Some good news: Detroit and San Jose don’t have an easy schedule to conclude March - between them they will play a combined five of their final 10 games in the month against Chicago and Anaheim.

An eye on draft position

I completely understand that (virtually) nobody wants to watch the draft rankings. The organization is at a point where wins, not losses, are what will advance the rebuild. This remains the silver lining to a potential ugly losing streak, though. Colorado’s regulation win over Dallas on Wednesday worked out well for the Oilers, come what may. It kept the Stars tied with Edmonton, hurting playoff hopes in Texas, and moved Colorado up two points, hurting their draft position (and while nobody’s really out of the race in the West, Colorado is as close as it gets).

It’s March. A streak of wins, and the Oilers are buying at the deadline. A streak of losses, and the Oilers are buying at the draft. The Oilers’ on-ice results haven’t been this interesting this late in the season since the spring of 2009.

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Jonathan Willis is a freelance writer. He currently works for Oilers Nation, Sportsnet, the Edmonton Journal and Bleacher Report. He's co-written three books and worked for myriad websites, including Grantland, ESPN, The Score, and Hockey Prospectus. He was previously the founder and managing editor of Copper & Blue.
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#1 TayLordBalls
March 21 2013, 10:28AM
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you guys are tough to please

if the oilers continue this point streak, they are going to make the playoffs.

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#2 MooseMess
March 21 2013, 10:33AM
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'their' not 'there'

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#3 Romulus' Apotheosis
March 21 2013, 11:04AM
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nunyour wrote:

J.W. you still think Dudnyk is the starting goalie we need? Those weak goals are back breakers when the team needs him to shut the door.Too many soft goals for me.

he's in the top 11 in the league in save %. top 7 of Gs who have player at least 15 games.

he's not the problem.

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#4 geoilersgist
March 21 2013, 11:15AM
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@DSF

Did you watch the game? Gagner rang one off the post with only a few min left in the game.

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#5 Oiler Al
March 21 2013, 11:27AM
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Will wrote:

Being at the game last night, it really sucked to watch them blow a 2 goal lead with 12 minutes left. I blame Whitney for both goals. One was a penalty, the other was a bed play defensively that allowed a guy named wiggles to top cheese it on Dubnyk, who was also mediocre last night.

Our power play, even though we got a goal, struggled to get shots. It was sad watching Whitney constantly pass the puck around. He needs to go; I don't even care if we don't have a better option. Much like replacing Habby with Dubnyk, we didn't have an option that could possibly be any worse.

For the most part I thought Yak had another great game, including one shift where he had three hits, nearly got into a scrap, then had a rocket shot Niemi had to be really sharp on.

Horcoff was good again tonight, as was Hall. Though my friend and I noticed how Nuge does not look like he's trying that hard because he has amazing hockey sense. Where as Hall always looks like he's trying hard. We wonder if maybe Hall could always just get by on his natural talent, and never had to develop a smarter way to play. Does anyone else get this?

Hey Will, how many brewskys did you and your friend have... Nuge, didnt even play last night?

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#6 Romulus' Apotheosis
March 21 2013, 12:00PM
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@David S

"A #1 goalie makes ALL the saves he should and a few he shouldn't."

this person doesn't exist.

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#7 vetinari
March 21 2013, 02:16PM
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Anybody notice how in the last 10 games, Columbus has collected 17 out of a possible 20 points-- maybe there's something to firing your GM that we SHOULD explore?

Rather than looking at the games behind us, let's look ahead-- we have 19 games left with a possible 38 points on the table... most estimates say that 54 to 58 points will be the cut off point for this year's playoffs and most of our games will be against teams higher than us in the standings like Vancouver, Anaheim, St. Louis and Minnesota.

We will also need to almost double our current point total (29 points) in the 40% of the schedule that remains (19 games), and beat all these teams in regulation time because every three point game hurts the Oilers.

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#8 Oilfred
March 21 2013, 12:28AM
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FIST off it would be sweet to have a top 5 pick tis year.

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#9 Taylor Gang
March 21 2013, 12:30AM
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Joooooones is back

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#10 Rawdog
March 21 2013, 01:24AM
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@Bonvie

You would trade Yakupov (who has only played 29 NHL games) for Tyler Myers (who is in his fourth season and struggling big time)? Give your head a shake. People need to quit pulling the trigger so early on Yakupov. Throwing him under the bus,and putting him in trade situations is ludicrous. Give him a few years and let the kid play. As DSF would say, good grief

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#11 bdiddy18
March 21 2013, 09:56AM
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BEST RESULT - Oiler finish 4 points out of the playoffs making a steady and determined push with the kids feeling confident they got the goods for next year. However with all the parity and 3 pts distrubition in the league - even finishing 4pts out the Oilers finish 13th in the Conference meaning they are in the top 6 picks and collect another piece of the puzzle.

The real dealing will occur in the draft and the Oilers should set their sights on Shea Weber.. without a doubt the Oilers need a bonafide legitamate proven No. 1 Defencemen - then watch the team take off!

If it means Sam Gagner, Oscar Klefbom and a pick so be it - One thing you cannot deny about Chris Pronger, the defense changed dramatically when a legit No. 1 is in place.

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#12 justwondering
March 21 2013, 10:15AM
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I don't like to knock Dubnyk,because I really like the guy... but he stunk on the tying goal, and he crapped the bed in the shoot out. When you have a 2 goal lead in the third, your goalie needs to come up big for you once in awhile. He has been great at times this year, but he also has let in way to many softies. In a compressed season like this one it would have helped to have a back up capable of giving him a rest once in awhile. He started 11 in a row... that is too many for any goalie in this league. The Oil deserved to win last night, but the hockey Gods are not always fair.

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#13 DSF
March 21 2013, 10:23AM
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justwondering wrote:

I don't like to knock Dubnyk,because I really like the guy... but he stunk on the tying goal, and he crapped the bed in the shoot out. When you have a 2 goal lead in the third, your goalie needs to come up big for you once in awhile. He has been great at times this year, but he also has let in way to many softies. In a compressed season like this one it would have helped to have a back up capable of giving him a rest once in awhile. He started 11 in a row... that is too many for any goalie in this league. The Oil deserved to win last night, but the hockey Gods are not always fair.

San Jose out shot the Oilers 34-27.

San Jose out chanced the Oilers.

San Jose hit the post at least twice.

The Oilers had 5 PP's (a couple very questionable), while the Sharks had only 2.

The Oilers did NOT "deserve to win" last night.

They were lucky to be in the game.

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#14 Romulus' Apotheosis
March 21 2013, 10:47AM
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DSF wrote:

San Jose out shot the Oilers 34-27.

San Jose out chanced the Oilers.

San Jose hit the post at least twice.

The Oilers had 5 PP's (a couple very questionable), while the Sharks had only 2.

The Oilers did NOT "deserve to win" last night.

They were lucky to be in the game.

If your going to do this, at least be reasonable.

1. playing with a lead

2. see above and not by much:

https://twitter.com/DKingBH/status/314594156137807873

3. The Oil hit the post just as often

4. which were questionable? I'd say the interference, but that was matched by N. Schultz' call. the Sharks got some pretty sweet no calls too.

5. agreed. but neither did the sharks. Neither team was clearly better than the other.

6. bs trolling.

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#15 Top Cheddar
March 21 2013, 10:50AM
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What do you guys (JW) think is being said in the dressing room and on the bench by the "great motivator" when this team has a lead? I know talking and executing are two different things but...

When sixteen some odd thousand can sense a monumental momentum change and the coach doesn't utilize a timeout to rally cry the troops in third period crunch time baffles me; especially with such a young team. (After the Sharks' 3-2 PP goal; 8 min mark of the third against the wings when the Oil were outshot 8-1 and clearly came out flat; if the Preds have 5 more minutes, they tie that game also)

I know it's only thirty seconds, but a timeout can be effective to get everyone refocused. I know he's talking on the bench all the time (hoping the captains are too) but his Switzerland "defend the lead" tactics aren't working. He's being hypocritical by not rolling four lines to push the pace even with a lead; "staying aggressive". Yes, the fourth line can be a defensive liability but they can also be effective keeping the play in the other end. You are the home team with last change; find situations to make it work!

Does anyone know the Oil's records with leads in various periods? I'd be curious to see what those numbers are...

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#16 match16
March 21 2013, 11:06AM
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DSF wrote:

The title of this article should read "Four Points Out".

To finish in 8th, the Oilers need to finish one point AHEAD of the teams they are trying to vanquish.

If they end up tied for 8th, they would need to rely on tie breakers.

At the moment, they lose the ROW tie breaker to Phoenix and Dallas while being 1 ahead of Columbus and San Jose.

If it comes down to goal differential, the Oilers are currently worse than everyone ahead of them.

So basically, the Oilers are three points out to taking the Sharks position at 8th?

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#17 Romulus' Apotheosis
March 21 2013, 11:15AM
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nunyour wrote:

Hemsky is over rated imo,great talent,zero intensity,he has never found chemistry with anyone in all the years he has been here.i would be shopping him around for a d- man.

this crap again.

you guys just cycle through crap arguments don't you.

enjoy your goat!

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#18 Dangilitis
March 21 2013, 11:16AM
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DSF wrote:

At the moment, the playoffs cutoff appears to be 53 points.

In order to get 54 points, the Oilers need to go 11-5-3 in their remaining games.

They are 3-4-3 in their last 10 games.

I think it will be too little too late, but also agree with an earlier post that being in the mix and falling just short wouldn't be the worst thing in the world (they aren't winning the cup this year even if they make the playoffs, and could use another top 10 pick in 1st and 2nd rounds of a deep draft).

That being said I am pretty sure that TayLord wasn't referring to the last 10 games DSF, I think he was referring to continuing the pace of the last 5 games, where they are 3-0-2. If they kept that pace up, they would surely make the playoffs. As usual, out of either stupidity or sheer spite (look up the term oppositional defiant disorder), you were taking the positive thoughts of a fan and trying to turn them into a negative, even if it means being a hypocrite.

To further prove this point, you know I am a fan of Dubnyk's work. But last night, I will admit that I thought his stats didn't tell the story as he let in some suspect goals. He let the Sharks back in the 1st after the Oilers were taking over, and totally shifted the momentum of the period (Sharks had 3 shots before the goal, then I think 6 more after in the last few minutes). Then the PP goal there was lots of traffic but the melee would not have ensued had he controlled the rebound. I am sure he wanted the 3rd one back too. He was moving around too much and had poor rebound control. So he's allowed to have some average games, I am still a fan, but will be the first to admit that he certainly didn't help the cause last night. Dubnyk stinks, you have been saying night in and night out, but from your earlier post you imply he was the reason the Oilers were "even in the game." You are certainly a person of many contradictions, only to annoy fans on this site. Please go away...

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#19 A-Mc
March 21 2013, 11:47AM
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in pocket pool, i make ball contact every time 2 out of 3 times

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#21 TayLordBalls
March 21 2013, 12:10PM
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There are 19 games to go and the Oilers are in the playoff run.

They have points in 5 straight games.

We’re on a roll and you guys have counted them out already.

I don’t think this team has peaked and yes……

I do Believe!

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#22 oilerjed
March 21 2013, 12:20PM
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DSF wrote:

Sure...while the Oilers are getting those 3 points, the following will also happen:

DAL@LA

COL@DAL

MIN@DAL

SJS@MIN

VCR @PHX

DET@PHX

CAL@CLB

CLB@NSH

CLB@VCR

As long as Dallas, San Jose, Phoenix and Columbus lose ALL those games and NONE go to OT. the Oilers will be right there.

You said the exact same thing two nights ago and guess what, every team the oilers needed to lose did. So why dont you jump of the wagon already and be done with it. You sound as pathetic as the canuck fans on the coast.

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#23 Citizen David
March 21 2013, 12:56PM
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@DSF

Do I think the Oilers will make the playoffs? No. Do I think they have no holes still to fill? No. Do I think they are on the rise and have a bright future? Yes. Will I be bothered by your massive list of reasons you'll give me as to why every player on their team sucks and they will finish last for the next ten years? No. Go Oilers!

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#24 Citizen David
March 21 2013, 01:01PM
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I think Dubnyk is a goalie we can win with. I think Sam Gagner needs to be a pillar we build our team on. I think Hemsky is still an above average second line winger but we should trade him because skilled scoring wingers is a team strength. We have holes that trading Hemsky can help fill.

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#25 Chaz
March 21 2013, 02:27PM
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@DSF

Everytime I read your comments I can't help but think of the two old guys in the balcony of the Muppet Show who only show up to complain. Which one are you?

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#26 jonny94
March 21 2013, 06:16PM
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@DSF

Ya I'm just a hopeless optimistic fan, I believe the Oilers can honestly beat every team in the NHL but the record is rarely there to prove it, and we can always point fingers as to why the Oilers suck but for the first time in 6 seasons were 3 pts out of the playoffs in March as opposed to being out altogether. Of course the big asterisk is there due to a lock out but I'll take whatever positives i can get from this team and I'm sure many fans including the Oilers themselves can relate/agree

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#27 jonny94
March 21 2013, 06:22PM
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@DSF

Haha of course hence the comment about the lockout. I'm not saying the Oilers have made the leap to being a legitimate playoff team it's just nice to know they are still in it.

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#28 Wax Man Riley
March 21 2013, 06:33PM
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nunyour wrote:

He's one of them,i don't need stats to see he is not the 11 best goalie's in the league,no way i'm buying that argument.

Hahahaha!! Ya!!! get those stupid stats out of here, they don't actually mean anything! lol

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#29 Bonvie
March 21 2013, 12:35AM
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They didn't sell last year when they were clearly out of the playoffs I can't see them selling this year. I was clearly frustrated when depth D were fetching 2nd and thirds and we didn't move any of those D, same went for the depth forwards.

Nothing changes with this team from year to year they still need a top pair D man and depth at center is paper thin. These are the problems caused with the trade of Brodziak for nothing, and punishing Souray banishing him from the kingdom.

I would really like them to use Yakapov to get them Tyler Myers or another young top flight D-man. the center problem could have been dealt with in a minor trade or signing such as Arnott, maybe not a permanent fix but a better contract than having three Hordichuk type players two of them in the minors. At least Eager is a good player down there Hordichuk still is out of his league.

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#30 @Oilanderp
March 21 2013, 01:09AM
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Sorry everyone, they're not doing it this year. This year is about gaining that valuable experience of coming close but not quite pulling it together at the right time (in both the game and the season).

If this year's lessons are learned, then next year will be different.

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#31 Dangilitis
March 21 2013, 02:28AM
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Bonvie wrote:

They didn't sell last year when they were clearly out of the playoffs I can't see them selling this year. I was clearly frustrated when depth D were fetching 2nd and thirds and we didn't move any of those D, same went for the depth forwards.

Nothing changes with this team from year to year they still need a top pair D man and depth at center is paper thin. These are the problems caused with the trade of Brodziak for nothing, and punishing Souray banishing him from the kingdom.

I would really like them to use Yakapov to get them Tyler Myers or another young top flight D-man. the center problem could have been dealt with in a minor trade or signing such as Arnott, maybe not a permanent fix but a better contract than having three Hordichuk type players two of them in the minors. At least Eager is a good player down there Hordichuk still is out of his league.

Many discussions around Buffalo trade situations automatically exclude Myers, whose contract is thought to be awful at this point. His numbers have declined year after year. It sounds like he may be a casualty of the amnesty buyout by some accounts. And you want to give up Yakupov for him?

Yak had some great shifts in the game, including that sequence in the 3rd. I get why Kreuger does not want to throw him into the fire, but I can't understand why he is not trying to give him more responsibility in the late stages of the games. He wants to win more than anyone, and thrives to play in those tight games where there is more meaning (exhibit A - game tying goal in LA). I usually will defend RK, but his unwillingness to develop Yak in later stages in the game is in my mind a huge blunder, and is possibly costing this team points. Who was on the ice on the 3rd goal? Why, Petrell and Brown, those stalwarts that have the veteran experience and defensive presence that Yakupov lacks...

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#32 Oilers89
March 21 2013, 02:42AM
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Dangilitis wrote:

Many discussions around Buffalo trade situations automatically exclude Myers, whose contract is thought to be awful at this point. His numbers have declined year after year. It sounds like he may be a casualty of the amnesty buyout by some accounts. And you want to give up Yakupov for him?

Yak had some great shifts in the game, including that sequence in the 3rd. I get why Kreuger does not want to throw him into the fire, but I can't understand why he is not trying to give him more responsibility in the late stages of the games. He wants to win more than anyone, and thrives to play in those tight games where there is more meaning (exhibit A - game tying goal in LA). I usually will defend RK, but his unwillingness to develop Yak in later stages in the game is in my mind a huge blunder, and is possibly costing this team points. Who was on the ice on the 3rd goal? Why, Petrell and Brown, those stalwarts that have the veteran experience and defensive presence that Yakupov lacks...

The Yak situation appears to be a microcosm of what the oilers try to do too often. Which of course is trying not to lose instead of trying to win. Our 'defensive' players like petrell are almost guaranteed to never win you the game, but there is a chance they will lose it. At least with Yak he has a high chance at both ends (while not as bad in his own end as he is made out to be). I would highly prefer they go after the win, obviously you share the same feeling.

Side note: with all that said, I have liked the oilers game lately and other than the issue with Yak it appears as though the team might be learning how to be competitive.

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#33 OilLeak
March 21 2013, 03:02AM
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Taylor Gang wrote:

Joooooones is back

Back at what exactly? Did e suddenly became a better player because he finally scored after consistently cheating for offense and leaving the defensive work for his teammates? Seriously, watch Jones for a whole game. The guy is everywhere, but where he should be.

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#34 106 and 106
March 21 2013, 03:53AM
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@@Oilanderp

Tonight was quite telling boys, and though 3 points out is just 3 points out - we can't keep expecting teams to keep beating the sharks/detroit/phoenix and had a chance to reel them in tonight. If anything this year will finish really strong and light a spark for any UFA's considering Edmonton/the kids to rally around for next go.

And we were up 3-1 - sigh.

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#35 Curcro
March 21 2013, 05:07AM
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I think the Oilers need to trade their first round pick for a player that actually help them now.

Detroit has been successfully doing this for years, 10 of the last 16 years they have traded their 1st round pick away.

Yes we may end up being Brian Burked but it is worth the risk.

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#36 outdoorzguy
March 21 2013, 06:46AM
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"Three Points Out"?? The only three that should be out are Timid Tambellini, Loser Lowe and Junior coach Krueger.

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#37 jason
March 21 2013, 07:07AM
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@@Oilanderp

when has a good run that barely misses the playoffs ever translated into success the following year? not for this team. learn? these guys? they keep making the same mistakes, putting fourth a half a.. effort, making the same excuses, these guys don't learn and even when they seem like they might have they can't change on a consistent basis.

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#38 The Beaker
March 21 2013, 07:16AM
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Curcro wrote:

I think the Oilers need to trade their first round pick for a player that actually help them now.

Detroit has been successfully doing this for years, 10 of the last 16 years they have traded their 1st round pick away.

Yes we may end up being Brian Burked but it is worth the risk.

yes but those picks have consistently been later on in the draft then the top 10 where the oilers are currently picking....

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#39 The Beaker
March 21 2013, 07:18AM
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jason wrote:

when has a good run that barely misses the playoffs ever translated into success the following year? not for this team. learn? these guys? they keep making the same mistakes, putting fourth a half a.. effort, making the same excuses, these guys don't learn and even when they seem like they might have they can't change on a consistent basis.

Chicago, the year before they made the playoffs then the year before they won the bloody thing. (i could totally be misremembering and im too lazy to look)

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#40 Serious Gord
March 21 2013, 07:49AM
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Oilfred wrote:

FIST off it would be sweet to have a top 5 pick tis year.

You mean top fourteen. The lottery has been expanded. Finishing dead dogs ass last does not guarantee a top five any more.

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#41 non descript
March 21 2013, 08:02AM
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draft nail yakupov - check

sign justin schultz - check

ink hall and eberle to potential albatross contacts before required - check

shuffle a couple of deck chairs - check

play a meaningful game in march (results irrelevant) - check

i would think tambo is pretty happy with himself.

well done

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#42 RustyKnuckler
March 21 2013, 08:03AM
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Curcro wrote:

I think the Oilers need to trade their first round pick for a player that actually help them now.

Detroit has been successfully doing this for years, 10 of the last 16 years they have traded their 1st round pick away.

Yes we may end up being Brian Burked but it is worth the risk.

There are two problems with trading away the first round pick this year

1 - it's likely to be a top 10 pick in a deep draft year.

2 - What kind of top six roster player or top four d-man can the team really expect to get?

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#43 LinkfromHyrule
March 21 2013, 08:04AM
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Yet again a two goal lead blown in the third... I get the feeling that the task of grooming our crop of talented young players into real NHL players is above the head of RK. He seems like he is a good coach that understands his system but what he's been tasked with is too much for him.

And man, STOP MESSING WITH THE LINES IN THE THIRD. Our young players need to be put into those difficult situations so that they can grow as players. Instead you put out brown and petrell. That is a joke.

I think maybe a coaching change is needed for this team

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#44 outdoorzguy
March 21 2013, 08:26AM
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@Oilanderp wrote:

Sorry everyone, they're not doing it this year. This year is about gaining that valuable experience of coming close but not quite pulling it together at the right time (in both the game and the season).

If this year's lessons are learned, then next year will be different.

This has been said at this time of the year every year for the last 15 years!!!

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#45 The Oilers Shot Clock
March 21 2013, 08:38AM
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@Serious Gord

Isnt that for just the first overall. No team can move down more than one spot this year with 14 teams having a chance at the first overall. Finishing dead last should guarantee you the second overall at worst as I read it. http://www.nhl.com/ice/news.htm?id=658503

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#46 Marcus
March 21 2013, 08:45AM
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jason wrote:

when has a good run that barely misses the playoffs ever translated into success the following year? not for this team. learn? these guys? they keep making the same mistakes, putting fourth a half a.. effort, making the same excuses, these guys don't learn and even when they seem like they might have they can't change on a consistent basis.

But before the game, Eberle said the team had finally found it's identity.....

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#47 Phixieus666
March 21 2013, 08:49AM
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Serious Gord wrote:

You mean top fourteen. The lottery has been expanded. Finishing dead dogs ass last does not guarantee a top five any more.

actually I believe it does. I think they changed it so that its only a lottery for the first overall and winner goes to the bottom and everyone else just shuffles up one spot. So ya finished last means at least you'll get the second pick. Unless I'm wrong but that was my understanding of the lottery changes

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#48 Rambelaya
March 21 2013, 08:55AM
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@The Oilers Shot Clock

Yep, you nailed it.

Right in that link it says "No club will move down more than one position as a result of the Draft Lottery."

So finishing dead dog last will get you 2nd overall pick, at the worst (unless you trade it away).

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#49 HardBoiledOil
March 21 2013, 09:08AM
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Curcro wrote:

I think the Oilers need to trade their first round pick for a player that actually help them now.

Detroit has been successfully doing this for years, 10 of the last 16 years they have traded their 1st round pick away.

Yes we may end up being Brian Burked but it is worth the risk.

i'd be VERY cautious before the Oilers start doing this. i get worried when i hear people say let's trade Eberle or Marincin or Yakupov for a proven top end player....then after he's here, he wants to be traded, or doesn't want to sign long term here and leaves when he's a UFA, and we end up with nothing.

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#50 God
March 21 2013, 09:31AM
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Seriously, what the hell was up with Dub'er last night on Boyle's SO goal? Whenever you can throw out Ebs and Gags, you're likely to get at least 1 goal. Dub'er though needs some serious practice with this. Maybe he's just not that athletic, who knows.....?

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