A Bit More About the Oilers Picks

#31 Tyler Pitlick

With the #31 pick the Oilers selected centre Tyler Pitlick. Pitlick, who plays for Minnesota State, was ranked all over the place but as high as 18th by the NHL's Central Scouting Bureau.

Pitlick was a choice that Edmonton always had on its radar and a good grab at the #31 spot. Other rankings included: ISS: 20, Redline: 30, Bob McKenzie: 25. Feels like a no brainer selection and with Edmonton having the night to sit on this choice, they feel they've got a keeper here.

Tyler Pitlick is the nephew of former NHL defenceman Lance Pitlick. He was an offensive player in the Minnesota high school system but will have to prove he can put up numbers with each step up in competition. Pitlick plays a solid enough all-around game to garner first round consideration so his slip to #31 was a bit of surprise.

Word is that Pitlick has speed, finess, an NHL calibur shot which he can blast off on the move or standing still and is a patient playmaker. Comparisons from James Neal and Ryan Kesler have been made.

# 46: Martin Marincin

The Oilers traded never to be Oiler Riley Nash to get this pick. Marincin is 6'4" and 187 pounds. He was ranked #34 in the Hockey News rankings and #40 with ISO.

Marincin competed for Team Slovakia at the 2010 World Junior Championships, as well as the 2009 and 2010 Under-18 World Championships and had a good showing at the Under 18’s this year which got him noticed.

Marincin is big and plays with an edge. This seems to keep with the philosophy of the Oilers mandate going into this years draft.

# 48: Curtis Hamilton

Another big kid, Hamilton is a prospect the Oilers really wanted and hoped to get as early as #48. Plays LW and comes in at 6'2" and 211 lbs.

The problem with Hamilton is his injury history. A broken collar bone twice and a separated shoulder, he's still be cleared to play in Canada's World Junior evaluation camp.

Saskatoon Blades Assistant GM Jarrod Brodsky says of Hamilton "a good skating winger with a powerful skating stride; good two-way player who is smart at both ends of the ice; takes puck to the net and is learning to use his size and strength more; has been out for majority of the season with a broken collarbone.”

Hamilton projects to be an effective third line winger who can compete hard and bring a physical element to his team.

# 61: Ryan Martindale

Martindale was taken right at where ISO had him ranked at #61. His coach Ottawa 67’s head coach Chris Byrne says "Ryan Martindale is a tall, skilled, swift-skating center who can play in all situations. Ryan has worked hard on playing a 2 way game this season. He has a nose for the net and can beat defenders one-on-one with his size, speed or skill.”

Martindale lacks one thing -- consistency. He has a knack for not showing up fully prepared mentally for games and that is something the Oilers hope he works on and improves.

#91: Jeremie Blain

Another big defender at 6'2 and 194 lbs. He was taken by the Oilers above his ranking.

Last season was a breakout year for Blain, who finished as the top-scoring defenseman for Acadie-Bathurst. He scored 4 goals and added 34 assists for 38 points in 64 games. He added 72 penatly minutes to his offensive totals. In 5 playoff games, Blain scored 2 goals and chipped in 2 assists for 4 points. (stats courtest of Hockey Futures)

#121 - Tyler Bunz

Tyler is the first goaltender taken in this years draft for Edmonton, who while they have Olivier Roy in the system aren't deep in goalie prospects.

At height 6.01 and 198 lbs, the Oilers have drafted all players this year who are over 6 feet tall. If you include the fact that one of these players is a goalie, that's a crazy stat.

In 57 games for the Medicine Hat Tigers in 2009-2010, Bunz finished with a 31-19-3-2 record. He posted a 2.91 goals-against average and a .898 save percentage. In 12 playoff games, Bunz went 6-5-1 while finishing with a 2.92 goals-against average and a .899 save percentage.

Bunz possesses good overall quickness, decent size and good footwork, but has a tendancy to go down early and get a bit scrambly. He's not looked at as ever really being a #1 goalie, but a quality back-up.

#162 Brandon Davidson

Brandon Davidson is a strong defenseman for the Regina Pats. Davidson provides production on both defense and offense.

Not the greatest skater in the draft, but can move the puck up ice and has strong hockey sense.

#166 Drew Czerwonka

According to Lowetide, Czerwonka is a sizeable left winger who likes to play physical and be a presence infront of the net. Needs a lot of work though.

#181 Kristians Pelss

Sizeable forward for someone who looks so young and really is only 17. Player comes from Latvia, which in and of itself might be a first. I'd have to look that up.

#202 - Kellen Jones

Small skilled 20 yr old forward out of the BCJHL. There are a few questionable picks in this years draft, but this would be the biggest one. He went down in points this past season and is a real project, but perhaps the scouting staff see something here. Time will tell -- I mean, a lot of time will tell.


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Rumors and News Heading Into Day Two

With the draft a few minutes from starting and the Oilers set to make the first pick on the second day, there are a few items of note to watch for:

The Oilers have drafted forward Tyler Pitlick with pick #31. Pitlick had dropped out of the first round by most rankings and is a good pick up at #31 for Edmonton. The way things are moving and the choices being made, another good prospect is going to land with the Oil at #48.

Marc Savard is being shopped and is more than a rumor at this point. Chiarelli really thinks that Seguin can play and with the depth at center, Savard is more expendable than ever. Atlanta is in the mix as are other teams.

Tomas Kaberle has moved back down to about 50/50 on getting moved. No teams came forward yesterday to improve their offers, thus conversation has settled and nothing is happening there.

Sheldon Souray is not expected to move today. Teams haven't expressed much interest and Tambellini doesn't have much in the works, but could do some wheeling and dealing after July 1st with a couple of western teams who have expressed a little bit of interest.

11:30am Oilers draft Martin Merincin at #46 after trading Riley Nash to Carolina. With the #48 pick they draft Curtis Hamilton out of Saskatoon.
11:45 Oilers draft Ryan Martindale at #61. Man the Oil are drafting size. All four picks today are big boys.


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One "Hall" of a Good Start

Months of speculation led to one monumental moment for the Edmonton Oilers. With the franchise's first ever number one selection in the NHL entry draft the Oilers have selected Taylor Hall.

Even though the city of Edmonton and Oiler fans were almost split down the middle, it won't take long for fans to jump on the Taylor Hall bus and Hall, more than any other young prospect at the draft, is poised to lead the Oilers through a critical rebuild.

Seguin had his share of supporters, but really, how can anyone argue with Taylor Hall's accomplishments? Hall is poised to make the jump to the NHL now. He's ready, he's willing, he's a winner and best of all he's modest about it. In short, Hall is a franchise player and he's going to be asked to do what he's already proven he can do and that's turn a team and it's successes around.

It's all of these qualities that led Stu Macgregor and Steve Tambellini to make this choice, not Friday, but more than three weeks ago. Hall was almost always the choice, it was never in doubt.

The Trade That Never Happened

For about an hour before the Oilers made Hall their guy, it was reported Tambellini was looking to make waves by selecting both 1st and 2nd and offered up a huge deal to land Seguin with the second pick. Word was, Hemsky, Eberle and/or Penner were names included in the conversation.

I like Seguin, but this could turn out to be the best trade to never happen. Hall along with Eberle, Paajarvi, Penner, Hemsky, Gagner and Horcoff give the Oilers a competitive top six. Do I think they're a playoff team yet? Perhaps no. Do I expect the Oilers to all of a sudden be an elite team? Of course not.

But moving Penner and Hemsky, then adding one of Edmonton's best propsects is simply too much to give for a potential first line center.

The Oilers Not Getting Back Into the First With a Second Pick

Earlier we had reported our thought that Edmonton would be drafting again in the top 30. All of that changed the minute Scott Howson drafted Ryan Johansen. From that moment forward GM's kept with the names on their list and two big name defencemen in Cam Fowler and Brandon Gormley fell like rain down to #12 and #13 respectively.

Tambellini has been taking some slack for his lack of moves to get into the range in which he could have drafted one of those two prospects, but consider what Tambellini was faced with.

Once players who were projected in the late second rounds started getting drafted in the first round, the Oilers had no reason to give up additional second round picks to move up from #31. Knowing they'd be getting a player projected at higher than what should have been available at that spot, the Oilers are best to take the night, think it through make the best pick first tomorrow.

The Oilers made an attempt to draft at #15, but who they wanted was gone at #10 and only Austin Watson was on their list at that point. The likelihood was that moving wouldn't have gotten you what you wanted and Oiler fans have to remember, the scouts came in with a list and a plan.

After months of planning, Macgregor and staff knew who if available would be worth moving to obtain and we as fans should accept that either the move wasn't possible with the teams to whom the offers were made or the Oilers didn't have the name on their list they wanted to move for.

What fans should remember, is the Oilers drafted a game changer in Taylor Hall. They'll get another chance to make an educated steal first thing to start round two. This is a great day for the Edmonton Oilers.


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And the Oilers Draft ... Taylor Hall

Congratulations to the Oilers who have drafted Taylor Hall.

Taylor Hall will play immediately and the Oilers are super excited to have him and Hall is super excited to be an Oiler.

This situation suits a player like Hall perfectly. As a big time, big game player who excels in high pressure situations, playing in Edmonton on a rebuilding team where you'll be the key to the future is a scenario that will test Hall's ability to do what he's known for. My guess is that Hall will do just fine.

This is a huge day for the Edmonton Oilers franchise and Edmonton fans can rest well knowing with Eberle, Paajarvi, Hall, Gagner, and other young stars, the future is bright.


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What Would You Give For 1 and 2?

The big word coming from all sorts of reliable sources is that Steve Tambellini is doing everything he can to convince Boston GM Peter Chiarelli to move the 2nd overall pick and let the Oilers draft one and two.

We've heard everything from roster players to Edmonton's highest end prospects and players to some crazy theories and the response has been everything from "noooo!" to "I'd do anything to get both".

David Staples for example tweeted "Tambellini of Oilers is going hard after Seguin AND Hall, might offer up some combo of Eberle, Paajarvi, Hemsky." I sure hope that by combo it's not all three.

I had reported earlier on twitter that I had word that Eberle and Hemsky was offered and turned down. What else has to be included? Would it really be worth moving the Oilers big name prospects from the last two drafts and the Oilers best player to obtain these two top tier picks?

To me, if the offer is really that high and from what we hear Peter Chiarelli sticks to his guns and isn't going to move the 2nd pick, this would be one the best trades to never happen.

Hemsky, Paarjarvi and Eberle is a huge overpayment. While nothing is confirmed and the offer not confirmed to have been made, why would Boston say no? Obviously Edmonton would also have to take some salary back and even if we were to overrate our prospects, which we often tend to do, this by anyones standards is a lot to give.

What would you give?

Less than an hour to go... it's starting to get crazy.


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Big Oilers Updates Starting to Come In?

Just a quick hit here on some news that might be of interest to Oilers fans. It sounds like the Oilers and Florida have had more than a few talks about the #15 pick. Those discussions have gotten stronger and the Oilers plus a few other teams have sent out a few more feelers and a name that has popped up more than once is Keith Ballard.

Ballard is a veteran d-man that the Oilers could use and doesn't get enough credit. Could Penner be moved for #15 and Keith Ballard?

It has also been reported that Steve Tambellini phoned Boston GM Peter Chiarelli and made a pitch for the 2nd overall pick. We've heard that the offer was nothing to scoff at and Chiarelli quickly said no.

That tells me two things. Nothing will get Boston to move the 2nd pick and Edmonton is drafting Taylor Hall. If Edmonton is going to the Bruins and not the other way around, both teams are now settled and know who they're taking.

If the Oilers were taking Seguin, Edmonton wouldn't be making a call for #2. They'd be expecting Boston to call them.


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The Oilers Will Get Back Into the First Round...Again

TSN is reporting that as many as four first round picks are available in trade leading up to the draft today. The Edmonton Oilers are sure to take advantage of one of them.

* Update: Dreger has added the New York Islanders #5 overall to the list of available first rounders. This will get interesting.

According to sources, the Atlanta Thrashers are looking to move the 8th overall pick. I'm a bit surprised by this seeing as Atlanta moved a couple of picks in the Byfuglien trade, but TSN reports this is general manager Rick Dudley's sixth draft as a GM and he has traded a first round pick five times. He's already moved the 24th pick in tonight's draft, so I suppose adding one more to the list wouldn't be out of the ordinary.

My guess is the Oilers kick tires here, but this isn't a realistic option. The draft prospects really start to move and NHL GM's will start to go off the board around this spot, thus giving up what the Oilers would have to give to obtain this pick just isn't likely.

Hockey Insider Darren Dreger is also reporting that the Columbus Blue Jackets are open to dealing the 4th overall pick. If the Oilers are trying to move up and in a big way, I would suggest the #4 is more likely than the #8. The problem as Dreger reports is that Columbus doesn't want to exit the first round and the Oilers would have to obtain a higher pick to get #4.

Would Edmonton love to add a #4 and pick up a franchise defenceman? Yes, but the cost would be Ales Hemsky and some additional moves before this trade could happen. That's a lot to consider if moving an Andrew Cogliano, Riley Nash and #31 gets you #8instead of moving argueably your best forward and other peices first to get into the first round twice so to speak.

In addition, the Florida Panthers general manager Dale Tallon is having a lot of discussion with teams for 15th overall pick. One of those teams we know is the Oilers and the Oilers are focusing a lot of their energy here.

Florida has said that their goal is to move that pick and another forward (likely Steven Weiss) for a younger and proven scoring forward. The only thing that makes sense here is Dustin Penner and again, that's a tougher decision for the Oilers to make as Penner was Edmonton's deadliest weapon and all around star last season. Should the Oilers be able to obtain this pick without moving Penner they'd like to, but with Weiss coming back, it makes Penner a bit more moveable.

Edmonton's interest in obtaining the #15 pick is more than likely to obtain big tough guy Dylan McIlrath who should be around and still available in the draft at that position. It's not a guarantee however because McIlrath is a draft climber, but Edmonton is considering things.

The Phoenix Coyotes are also said to be shopping the 22nd overall pick and Phoenix is looking for either a young player and a lower pick in return or a package with multiple picks. This is a settle pick for Edmonton if all other options fall through, but Edmonton has contacted Phoenix about this pick. Something like Cogliano and a second rounder could do it and I won't be surprised if this happens should all other discussions fall through.

Edmonton badly wants to be in the first round again. With four legit chances to do so, expect some trade announcements later this afternoon by a few teams. I'd bet a beer that one of them is Edmonton.


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I Hope It Went Well, It's A Team I Want To Go To"

For any doubters out there that thought Taylor Hall would be the type of player to mad tail it out of Edmonton the first chance he gets if drafted by the Oilers, watch the 'Oil Change' documentary that aired on TSN tonight.

I have no doubt at all now that Hall and Edmonton are a perfect match and that Taylor Hall excudes everything the Oilers could want in a kid joining their team. Edmonton has obviously made character a key criteria in whomever they choose to draft first overall and Taylor Hall passed all tests with flying colors.

It leaves little doubt in my mind, that unless a deal gets done between Boston and Edmonton mere minutes before the draft, Edmonton will be taking Taylor Hall and Taylor Hall will be as excited as any draftee on draft day to be going to Edmonton.

I was like many that tried to figure out what these kids might be thinking. I assumed that with Bobby Orr as Hall's agent, Taylor fitting in depth chart wise better with the Bruins than with Edmonton and of course Edmonton...being well Edmonton, that Hall wouldn't welcome the city as his new home. In terms of who I thought might stick it out as an Oiler, I was on Seguin's side.

The documentary changed everything for me and one sentence (the title of this article) and the way in which Taylor Hall said it gave me goose bumps as an Oiler fan. This kid is going to be exciting, he wants to be one of the best players in the NHL and he loves the spotlight that will come with this city's fans. Taylor Hall and Edmonton just seem to make sense.

Having said all of the above, I won't be upset should the Oilers choose Seguin. After all, I was always of the thought he'd welcome being drafted here. I also think he's a great player and a tremendous prospect who much like Hall, the Oilers can build around.

But something about how Taylor Hall wanted so badly to have impressed the Oilers after his scouts meeting has put me more clearly on Hall's side than at anytime leading up to Friday. With the character of both Hall and Seguin, I'm not at all surprised that rumblings exist that Tambellini might make a pitch to Boston for the #2 pick to draft both kids.

Spend this much time with and following anyone and you're bound to find reasons to want them both on your side.


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Oilers and Panthers Talking Pick #15

Darren Dreger reports that the Florida Panthers who now have three picks in the first round are shopping that #15 pick and Edmonton, who already had eyes on that pick, is interested.

Florida despite moving Nathan Horton out, would like to bring some scoring in and speculation is that Dustin Penner could be a name involved.

If I'm Edmonton, Dustin Penner for the 15th overall is too much for Edmonton to give and I don't suspect those to be the only two parts involved in that kind of trade. If it were, the Oilers and Bruins might have already done some wheeling and dealing. That said, I also think Dustin Penner is enough to get the 3rd overall.

Perhaps making the trade a tad bigger and including other names from Florida like Steven Weiss with the #15 pick for Dustin Penner and Riley Nash or Patrick O'Sullivan is a bit more realistic? That is of course if Florida was actually thinking about moving both Horton and Weiss.

What could be interesting is the news just coming down. Rumblings are the questions about the possible availability of Edmonton forward Gilbert Brule. Jason Gregor reports that Brule is going to be qualified as an RFA by Edmonton, but possibly headed for arbitration as the two sides aren't finding common ground and Brule wants somewhere in the neighbourhood of $2 million per year for more than one year.

Gregor sites the mistake of signing Nilsson as something the Oilers would never repeat, but I don't see Brule and Nilsson as compareable. Brule is just more of what Edmonton is hoping to become in terms of in your face offense, while Nilsson is what the Oilers want to move away from.

Oiler fans were wondering when Edmonton might start to sign some of its many RFA's, but it doesn't look like Brule is going to be one that happens anytime soon. This could make Brule an asset that is available to other teams in trade and because Brule has the potential to be a 20 goal scorer, could Florida be interested?

What about Penner, Brule and the #31 pick for the #3 pick and Steven Weiss? Pure speculation on my part, but something both teams might consider. That still gives Florida two first rounders but also allows them to add a possible 40-50 goals to their lineup and a high second round pick. At the same time, it gives Edmonton a 50 point forward and a franchise d-man who can be part of the Oiler rebuild.

I would hope however, that the #15 straight across for Dustin Penner isn't the crux of the conversation between the two GM's.
That's simply an overpayment for the Oilers.


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Oilers Pick Up Colin Fraser and July 1st Just Got A Lot More Boring

The Edmonton Oilers made the first of what I hope is many great depth trades by picking up Colin Fraser from the Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks. I won't go into a ton of detail about Fraser as there are some great reviews here and here.

Fraser does a lot of things for this organization that they haven't been able to do since Kyle Brodziak left. An even better comparison might be elements he brings since Jarret Stoll left.

No, he won't score like Stoll can, but Fraser is just hitting his prime and his potential could be fantastic considering he was buried under a huge depth pool at center in Chicago. Fraser seems to be taking steps in the right direction to already improving on what he does well -- faceoffs, penalty killing, crashing and banging and forechecking -- but he also looks as though he might be adding an element of scoring touch.

As is, this trade gives the Oilers a much more viable depth option at 4th line center. Pouliot and Potulny were taking turns trying to fill that role, but neither were the crasher/banger type that meshed well with the like of a Ryan Jones or Zack Stortini. Fraser should do well here and get plenty of chances to move up the depth chart.

Fraser is an RFA, which means something in the neighborhood of $900,000 for two years ought to get a deal done, but time will tell, and a 6th round draft choice to pick up a 25 yr old with veteran and winning qualities is a great pickup.

We're wondering if this means either Pouliot or Potulny won't be returning or that a trade for Andrew Cogliano is imminent.

Marleau and Pavelski Remain Sharks

Patrick Marleau and Joe Pavelski will remain San Jose Sharks. These were two players that would have fetched some interest come July 1st, which leaves very little left outside of what happens with Ilya Kovalchuk to get excited about.

Marleau signs a 4yr deal for $6.9 million per season. This is an interesting one as the trend was to hand out longer terms to decrease the cap hit per year, but Marleau's deal does nothing of the kind. At almost $7 million, that leaves the Sharks with Joe Thornton, Dany Heatley, Patrick Marleau and Dan Boyle all dancing in and around that $7 million mark.

The Sharks will free up some space when they choose not to bring back goalie Evgeni Nabokov, but this is a lot of money tied up in 4 players. Could Joe Thornton be on the move? If not, does Wilson do this deal knowing that the increase cap for this season and Thornton a UFA next season still gives him some options?

I have a feeling the Sharks will still do a lot before the start of the season.

Souray Gone?

It is being reported that Sheldon Souray is about to be shipped to either Dallas or the New York Rangers.

Souray flew from L.A. to Edmonton yesterday to get a final examination done on his hand to clear him for a trade. I don't expect the Oilers to do something like that unless their is a trade proposal on the table and it's a matter of the final steps to complete it in the NHL's eyes.

Jim Kerr from New 880 in Calgary is reporting that Tambellini is hoping to deal Souray by the weekend.

Here's to hoping its to Dallas who has far less crappy high end contracts to send back and the Oilers might actually get something of value besides Rosival or Redden.

Kaberle Trade Odds Go Up

I reported about 60/40 that Kaberle gets traded on Friday. I think those odds went up to about 80/20 as TSN is reporting that Brian Burke has as many as five offers on the table for Kaberle's services.

At this point the offers are not packed enough to make the trade happen, but one or two of those teams will throw in a draft pick or prospect to get it done.

Montreal Deciding Who To Keep?

The Montreal Canadiens have made qualifying offers to forwards Maxim Lapierre, Tom Pyatt and Sergei Kostitsyn, as well as goaltender Carey Price; all of which are set to become restricted free agents on July 1.

The only name surprisingly absent from the list is Benoit Pouliot who played extremely well for the Canadiens after coming over from Minnesota part way through last season.

Ales Hemsky To Columbus?

This is nothing more than a rumor right now, but Robin Brownlee is reporting that Tambellini made a call to Scott Howsen about what it might take to get the 4th overall pick in this years draft. The name that came back was Ales Hemsky.

I wouldn't do it, but Tambellini might and I could see his argument if he does.

The Oilers with that pick will obtain a franchise defenceman. They need one, far more than they need a winger who may or may not stay with the Oilers after the next two seasons. When Hemsky is ready to make his decision, the Oilers should have a group of talented young wingers ready to step in and at that point, perhaps Hemsky becomes a bit more of a luxury than the need he currently is for the Oilers.

I would like to see what Hemsky can do with whomever the Oilers draft first overall, but that's just me. The other option that is still out there is Jason Spezza to Columbus for the 4th, but my guess, is that Howsen chooses Hemmer over Spezza.

Hemsky brings a smaller cap hit, less term and a familiarity with the Blue Jackets GM. I've also read that Ottawa GM Murray has stated only one team has expressed interest in Spezza and that if not traded before July 1st, when Spezza gets his $4 million dollar bonus, Spezza won't be traded period.

Savard about 50/50

TSN's Darren Dreger reports he does have confirmation that Marc Savard has been discussed in trade possibilities with other teams, but that Chiarelli isn't pushing a trade thanks to Savard's respectable cap hit.

I can see that Boston gets a ton of offers for Savard, which is why I placed the odds around 50/50. Toronto is kicking tires I'm sure, and I would hope so is Edmonton. A $4 million dollar cap hit for a 90 point player signed long term is a great player to have.

The only downside to Savard, is his age and how old he'll be when his contract expires in 2016. Injuries and lack of production will catch up to him and he'll be a far greater bargain during the first half of his deal than the second half.

More to come... I have a feeling this is just getting started.


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Is There A Chance Wednesday Could Be As Busy For Oiler Fans As Tuesday?

Tuesday was busy. Ok, busy is an understatement, especially for the Oilers who made the biggest change they'll make all year.

Head coach Pat Quinn was moved out of his role as bench boss and Tom Renney was moved in. A slightly jumbled up presser took place and an obviously disappointed Pat Quinn said he didn't really see it coming, but the end result, is that the Oilers players and likely many of the younger soon to be Oilers players will benefit from this move.

In other news, the Boston Bruins landed Nathan Horton while shipping out the #15 overall pick. This was the very same #15 overall pick that was in play as Boston and Edmonton talked about swapping the 1st and 2nd overall picks for Friday. With that #15 now in Florida, a trade between the Bruins and Oilers seems less likely and I believe the Bruins move of Dennis Wideman has made bringing a Tomas Kaberle and very real possibility, while the subtle hint that Taylor Hall will soon be an Oiler is out there.

Scott Neidermayer announced his retirement which leads me to believe that Bobby Ryan is days away from signing a long term deal with Anaheim and Tomas Plekanec made July 1st a little less exciting by signing an overpriced six year $30 million dollar extension with the Habs.

The Hockey Hall of Fame let us know that female players Angela James and Cammi Granato were among those elected to the Hall of Fame. They were joined in the players category by former star NHL forward Dino Ciccarelli, longtime Red Wings executive Jimmy Devellano and the late Daryl (Doc) Seaman as builders.

San Jose has informed Evgeni Nabokov that he won't be returning to the Sharks and I think we can add Tampa, Ottawa and Washington to list of possible destinations for Nabokov's services and oh yeah, did I say the Oilers have a new coach?

In an interview yesterday, Tambellini all but squashed rumors that the Oilers would be adding any new players with big tickets. Whether through trade or free agency, if the Oilers are going to move anyone on this current roster, it looks like it will be to get the team another 1st round draft choice and focusing on #3 and #4 defencemen and bottom six forwards who can play more defined roles.

Does this mean that Spezza or Carter are out of the question? Sounds like it, but never say never if the right deal presents itself.

Wednesday Can't Be as Busy Can It?

Wednesday has started off strong, but it's not bound to keep up with Tuesdays pace. Darren Dreger reports that the Bruins are so interested in Kaberle, that Marc Savards name has been tossed around. I'm thinking that Burke would sell his left nut to reunite Kessel and Savard if this is true.

McKenzie said this would be a busy two weeks. If Tuesday is any indication, he wasn't kidding..


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Quinn Out, Renney In...#15 Pick Goes to Florida

Pat Quinn has been moved onwards and upwards. Tom Renney has been named the new head coach of the Edmonton Oilers.

This really comes as little surprise. The two headed monster was rearing it's head last season and many thought a change would be made where one voice, that of Tom Renney would be the voice to lead this new Oilers team through a rebuild.

Pat Quinn wasn't likely to be fired as he was a personal hire of Steve Tambellini, so moving him into the organization in other areas where his vast NHL experience will be greatly used makes sense.


In other news, the Florida Panthers have traded Nathan Horton to the Boston Bruins for Dennis Wiedman the 15th overall pick and a 2011 3rd round draft selection. We knew Boston had Horton on their radar, but we thought it might come after the draft selection of one and two.

This could be a possible hint.

Either Boston has settled on drafting Seguin and there won't be a trade happening with Edmonton, or that trade just got a whole lot bigger than the 1st for the 2nd and 15th overall.

With Wideman gone, does this open things up for a discussion about Souray? Perhaps. Could Souray staying away from Hall and something else equal out to Seguin, Ryder and something else?

It's all wild speculation now, but its something to keep our eyes on.


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Oilers 2010/2011 Schedule Released

Fans don't have to wait any longer for this coming seasons schedule.

In the past while we may have looked at the schedule and attempted to determine whether or not the team stood a fighting chance to get off to a good start or had a tough month here or there that could hurt them in the standings and their chances of making the playoffs, expectations aren't exactly that high this year.

The Oilers are rebuilding and with the NHL set to have one of its busiest 10 days or so, names like Dustin Penner, Ales Hemsky, Sheldon Souray or Sam Gagner who had been counted on as the stars of this Oilers squad in previous seasons could all be gone in the face of some possible sweeping changes.

Instead, the Oilers will ice a young, inexperienced but high potential team that in all reality could be another lottery pick team in 2011. Names and faces like Hall/Seguin, Eberle, MPS, Gilbert, Whitney and Smid will usher in a new area and the Oilers will hope to simply build a bit of chemistry and eliminate major problems in the lockerroom and financially over the next season of NHL action.

But, for many fans, these sweeping changes bring as much interest in the team as a team that could battle for 8th and fans will get to see this new team and the rookies who make the final cut starting on Thursday Oct 7th when the Oilers face the Calgary Flames at home. That same month the Oilers will play three more games at Rexall Place and five games on the road.

All in all, the Oilers schedule isn't terrible. Their worst road trip consists of five games away over a span of seven days and their largest home stands come twice throughout the year when Edmonton plays six games in a row at Rexall.

The only other real areas of note are that the Oilers have 11 back-to-back games throughout the season. In addition, Edmonton won't host either the Penguins and Sidney Crosby nor the Capitals and Alex Ovechkin instead playing both teams in away games.

For fans who like to get riled up and relive negative history, the Oilers fans won't have a chance to boo Chris Pronger at all as the Flyers don't come to Edmonton and Heatley haters will only get satisfaction in jeering the Shark twice. Small victories perhaps, but when the team isn't expected to win much, it's those little battles that can get fans pumped for each game.

For me the release of the schedule is the first time of the year that hockey seems closer to happening than father away. Days after the schedule is released comes the draft. Days after the draft comes free agency which holds some intrigue for a couple weeks and then before you know it, pre-season is around the corner.

The schedule tells me hockey is coming. I always find that interesting considering hockey just ended.


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McKenzie Ranks Hall #1 and Oilers Ending Up With Dylan McIlrath?

TSN's Bob McKenzie has come out with his final NHL draft ranking for Fridays draft. Not surprisingly, he's got LW Windsor Spitfire star Taylor Hall ranked at the top of the heap.

Meanwhile, Sportsnet is reporting that Boston GM Peter Chiarelli and Oilers GM Steve Tambellini spoke on Saturday about the potential of trading picks.

The Oilers and Bruins seem to have similar final lists in terms of who they would take as the consensus number one. While neither is showing their hand as to who they've ranked at the top, it sounds as though Hall has edged out Seguin in both teams eyes. The difference here is that the Oilers are leaning much closer to "settling" with Tyler Seguin.

The Oilers really wouldn't be settling, but I use the term to suggest that moreso than Boston, Edmonton would move the required pieces needed to facilitate drafting Seguin and moving up into the first round at the same time.

To do so, would put the Oilers right at the #15 spot, ironically where big and tough defenceman Dylan McIlrath is listed on TSN's rankings. For Edmonton to pick up both Seguin and McIlrath would be a great day for the franchise and fill two needs quickly.

McIlrath by TSN's report is "big, physical, mean and tough defensive defenceman who is the unanimous choice of scouts surveyed by TSN as the “toughest player” in the entire draft. He had 19 fighting majors this season and didn’t lose too many, by all accounts. Say no more."

Tell me that's not what the Oilers need right now. A strong d-man who while not a shoe-in to play this season, won't be that far off knowing he possesses skills that make him a quicker jump than most d-men out of an NHL draft might be. Right in time to protect a number of the young, skilled stars Edmonton has joining the team.

Sportsnet does go on to suggest that the Bruins and Oilers might talk a bigger package than just the 1st and 2nd picks, even including a name like Dustin Penner. I would hope not as without another trade over the weekend to bring in a bonafide NHL'er, the Oilers would be lacking in proven ready players.

The intrigue usually starts with McKenzie's list. This year will be no exception. His twitter feed suggesting this may be the busiest two weeks in the NHL he can remember have many of us really excited.


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