What Do the Oilers Really Think of the New Faces?

I can't say I've ordered many Oilers PPV's of late. With a team that is more than likely on the losing end of the stick and scoring 1 or 2 goals, adding $15.99 to my cable bill doesn't make a lot of sense when the games are so not entertaining.

I was however inclined on this instance, with a few new faces, to open my ever so tightly gripped money clip and see what newly aquired Ryan Whitney, Aaron Johnson and Ryan Jones would look like as possible futures on a rebuilding Edmonton Oilers team.

My first notion was that Ryan Whitney sure knows how to say the right things for someone who has to be dissappointed to go from a playoff possible club to a 30th place basement dweller. That said, he's been there before with Pittsburg and became part of a great team. In short, he's got the patience to grow with a team in the rebuilding stages and he'll be looked to as top billing going forward.

My second notion was that Ryan Jones was now joining the ever growing list of done for the year Oilers after a more than obvious and dirty knee on knee collision with Boogard. I'm 100% certain that play will result in some form of suspension or disciplinary action by the NHL and Boogard continues to show why he really has no place in todays NHL.

To see Jones even attempt to come back into the game, tells me a lot about this kid and his will to compete. It's a great sign if these are the type of players the Oilers are looking to aquire, even if Jones lacks some of the skillset the Oilers have flocked to in the past.

All in all, Ryan Whitney looked good. He led the Oilers with over 26 minutes of ice-time and outside of a couple scrambles where he seemed out of position, I'd watched him closely through the entire game and his lack of positioning seemed to me more about his infamiliarity with his team than a defensive breakdown in his game.

Whitney made some great passes out of the zone, which he's known for. He took the body a few times and seemed fairly calm for his first game with his new team taking on pretty much anyone who attempted to park themselves infront of his new goalie. Not a bad start for a guy known as sometimes kind of falling asleep at the wheel.

I was really surprised by Aaron Johnson. Granted, I didn't pay as close attention to him as I did a few others, but from what I did see, he's not the throw away I expected him to be in the Staios trade. At least not if he plays this way consistently.

What really impressed me, was his physical play and grit, but knowing when to turn it off for the benefit of the team. Owen Nolan running into Deslauriers was a prime example.

This was golden opportunity for a new Oiler and young kid fighting for a job on this team to take on a legit tough guy in Owen Nolan. Other players in Johnson's position would likely try to fight Nolan, but not this time. Johnson had a quick conversation with Deslauriers, was told his goalie was alright and allowed his new team to go on a powerplay by cooling his jets and choosing a more appropriate time to lose his cool.


Considering Johnson logged over 21 minutes, he looked good. You could tell he was tired, not being used to that much time, but he battled until the end. Maybe the Oilers won't consider Johnson a throw away after all and see taking a look at him as a 6 or 7 blueliner worth while.

For faces that weren't so new, I liked the play of Mike Comrie and have liked it all season. For some reason he's been in and out of the lineup since returning from illness, but if you think about it, Comrie has 8 goals in 28 games. If he'd have been healthy, he'd have scored 24 goals this season which is a steal at just over $1 mill a season and exactly why the Oilers thought to give him a shot.

I hope the Oilers give Comrie another chance to do what he wanted to do this year, which is come back and prove himself in the NHL. The Oilers should still be able to get a good price for him and he provides good mentorship on a rebuilding team. The combination of the two is what the Oilers will look for in the next one to two seasons.

Finally, I thought Deslauriers was the best I've seen him in a long time with the Oilers.

Maybe it's just me and I'm now completely sold on the idea of a rebuild. I'm looking at different things and noticing different facets of the team and this game showed me that there are bright spots on this team going forward. Sure, Tambellini has work to do, but not as much as people might think to at least be competitive.

1 comments:

Thanks for the review of the new Oilers. I am thinking that it is possible, with the sort of "castoff" players - Comrie, for example - that make comparatively little money, to build a roster that is under priced but competitive. This might be a start. A rebuild is certainly a good idea, given what this season has looked like - but perhaps rebuilds can be competitive.

I was happy to see O'Sullivan and Nilsson stay - I have a good feeling about them for the future. I know - there is no reason for such optimism, but still ....

Nice to see the Oilers win with the new guys.

Jim
March 6, 2010 at 6:48 AM comment-delete

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