One of the more popular pieces I had last season was during the playoffs, when I did a ‘Meet the Kings’ bit. It was a comedic bit that talked a bit about the players on the roster.
Since the regular NHL season is pretty darn close and there’s a lot of hype surrounding the Canucks, I thought I’d take the spotlight off them and focus it on the rest of the Northwest Division. First up is a team that probably has had more hype and attention this offseason than any other team that is not the Toronto Maple Leafs: the Edmonton Oilers.
I thought it’d be fun to take a not-serious approach to things, and try and get all the other NW Division teams written up as well. We’ll see how it goes through the next couple of days. Keep in mind this is all in fun and is not meant to be a serious take on the Oilers, so calm down before sending me an angry e-mail.
The Oilers have long been a franchise living in the shadows of the past, fans fondly looking back at glory days that happened decades ago, alumni from those glory days doing a poor job of running things. Historically, they’ve been plagued with problems of all kinds (ownership, management, coaching, players, free agency, etc.) with a brief glimpse of hope mixed in (the 05/06 trip to the Finals), it’s easy to see why Oilers fans are looking for something, ANYTHING that would renew their hope in their struggling franchise.
Enter the ‘youth model’ of the new look Oilers. Armed with some solid draft picks, including the #1 overall pick from this year’s entry draft, the Oilers are looking to rebound from a horrible 09/10 season and are looking to have a strong 10/11 season.
The anointed one. A highly touted draft pick who is excited to be playing in Edmonton and will probably be making the opening day roster at age 18. Like most talented prospects drafted by the Oilers, expect Hall to bolt for greener pastures at the earliest opportunity and/or have his development completely ruined by a schizophrenic franchise that has no real idea on how to properly manage and develop talent. Added bonus: Hall is rumored to have attitude issues and is seen as being a bit of an asshole. Kind of reminds me of another ‘franchise’ player who used to play for the Oil…
Hero. Champion. Superstar. Words fail to describe the agent who represents for this piddling, middle of the road hockey player, who managed to earn him a sweetheart of a deal that saw him getting paid $7M this season and $6.5M this season. Horcoff is the oldest forward on the Oilers roster and is a living, breathing reminder for Sam Gagner and Andrew Cogliano of what they will probably be turning into in the next six or seven years. Hyped up as being one of the amazing talents on the Oilers roster up until he actually received his monstrous contract, Horcoff is the perfect embodiment of what the Oilers franchise stands for these days: average talent with a superstar pricetag.
With former Oilers executive Scott Howson jumping ship to Columbus and Kevin Lowe being moved from the GM position, it was important that the Oilers stay focused on their mission statement, which is taking promising young talent and bungling it in as horrific a fashion as possible. Gilbert Brule presents an interesting case study for the Oilers, as he was a promising young talent who was rushed into the NHL and handled by a just-as-incompetent GM in Columbus in the form of Doug MacLean. Always keen on finding new ways of ruining good things, the Oilers snapped up Brule when the opportunity presented itself, and are busy trying to sort him out. In typical Oiler fashion though, they managed to screw even that up: the former Vancouver Giant actually had a solid season last year under coach Pat Quinn.
Real deal did you hear he might be the real deal he’s the real deal REAL DEAL scored a hat trick against the TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING real deal. Real deal real deal real deal.
Another leftover from the Kevin Lowe regime, Dustin Penner was yet another in a long list of promising talent that failed to live up to expectations playing for the Oilers. Will forever be known as ‘that dude who Kevin Lowe and Brian Burke had a year long slapfight over.’ Like Brule, Penner was another player who went on to have a decent season under Pat Quinn and looked to be rebounding back into the player he was while with the Ducks. Naturally, the Oilers reaction to seeing two players who were struggling start to round into form was to can the head coach and bring in the brother-in-law of another member of the Oilers franchise.
At age 27, Hemsky is just entering his prime and is ready to make his debut within the NHL. Oilers fans look forward to seeing a decent return on Hemsky, who was brought in as part of a trade that saw a then-young Bill Guerin leave the Oilers development system, who then went on to win the Cup in Pittsburgh.
Captain material, is pretty darn good at hockey. One of the Oilers ‘young guns’, Gagner’s not quite the level of talent to be in high demand and get shipped out a la Arnott or Weight, so he’ll probably stick around with the club until the team decides to take him out behind the woodshed and execute him, a la former captains Ryan Smyth and Ethan Moreau.
Oilers fans are incredibly excited about this youngster. Per a preseason broadcast on Sunday, they were impressed with Eberle’s ability to ‘outshine’ a young prospect who had just recently returned from a 14 month long back injury. Other notable feats for Jordan Eberle include being able to totally deke out this 9 year olds playing ball hockey on his street, winning NHL 11 games against people with no thumbs and being able to dress himself.
Back when the Oilers were truly horrid, Cogliano was held up as being a prime example of the ‘dynamic youth’ that they have at their disposal and how he and Gagner were going to become unstoppable. Last year’s finish showed just how unstoppable ‘Cogs’ was: there were no depths too low for the Oilers to go and he and Gagner led the way.
Picked up off of waivers by the Oilers last year, Jones is a hard worker who plays with a lot of hustle. Not very adept in either end of the rink, he looks to make a mark on the Oilers third line. Or, if former head coach Craig MacTavish ever makes a comeback, on the Oilers top line alongside Ethan Moreau and Fernando Pisani. What do you mean they’re no longer on the team?
Colin Fraser is roughly the 1,000,000th player to have been accquired by the Oilers post-lockout where the adjective ‘tenacious forechecker’ has been used to describe their latest accquisition. Hard working and a great third liner, guys like Colin Fraser are a welcome deviation from what has been the traditional Oilers pickup: useless bottom six slug. And hey, Cup ring! I’m sure the babby Oilers will benefit from Fraser’s 3 games played in the playoffs.
The NHL’s friendliest goon, Stortini isn’t afraid to hug anyone and everyone. Although ‘being able to punch and fight’ is part of his job description, Stortini finds that it is bad manners to actually engage in fisticuffs, behavior which he finds boorish and ‘unbecoming of a gentleman.’ Signed for one more year with the Oilers, Stortini will find a wealth of opportunities once his current contract is up, including re-upping with the Oilers and continuing his tenure as part of the Oilers Ineffectual Empire, getting signed to a bloated contract by Glen Sather or starring up season 3 of CBC’s Battle of the Blades.
A few years ago, the Oilers put out a DVD promoting what a wonderful city they were in an attempt to try and attract free agents. They got JF Jacques. The Oilers PR department considered it an ‘enormous success.’
Is not welcome at the Oilers training camp. Hates the Oilers, think their management has no clue and cannot wait to be traded. Was put on waivers and had no one claim him. Is not expected to suit up for the Oilers at all this season.
Really loves the Edmonton Oilers and has always felt this way. Thinks management does a great job and understands that misunderstandings sometimes happen. Is totally not that Sheldon Souray dude, who, by the way, is a total dick.
Is a pretty swell guy and actually a pretty decent defenseman. Set a franchise record in March 2008 when he surpassed Paul Coffey and Marc Andre Bergeron’s record for most goals scored by a rookie defenseman against Predators goalie Dan Ellis. ( #DanEllisProblems ) That goal, Gilbert’s 10th of the season, also set an NHL record, as it was the first time a single player was responsible for more than 50% of a teams Goals For.
Oilers fans were delighted, nay, estatic to hear that management had swung a trade for a Pittsburgh Penguins player. As details began to emerge, the excitement ratcheted skywards. Former 1st round pick of the Pens? Has a no trade clause that he waived? Olympian? WHO COULD THIS MYSTERY MAN BE? Ryan Whitney? Oh. Ohhhhhh.
Per Wikipedia, Jim’s wife Stefanie resides in Scottsdale, Arizona with her three plugs, Jim, Dexter and Jackson.
Winner of the 2003-04 Yanick Dupre award, Foster is looking to repeat that performance this year, which is why he signed a one-way, two year deal with the Edmonton Oilers this offseason. Could actually be called the ‘centerpiece’ in a trade, as the other player packaged alongside him was Jeff Cowan.
One of the most highly valued and coveted players on the Oilers roster by GM Steve Tambellini, Smid was reluctantly included in the begging, pleading, cajoling and complete and utter loss of respectability and dignity that was the Edmonton Oilers offseason 2 years ago. A high-octane performer, Smid would be in the running for the Calder this season alongside teammates Jordan Eberle, Taylor Hall and Magnus Svensson-Paarjavi were it not for the fact that he has already played 253 games. And has scored 4 goals and 34 points in those 253 games.
Is not cool.
Has been enjoying working with new Oilers head coach Joe Arpaio. When asked about how he feels about the new coach, Khabibulin stated that while he is a bit of a slavedriver, he finds Arpaio’s methods more sensible than his predecessor Pat Quinn. Per Oilers goaltending criteria, Khabibulin fits one of two molds they like to have their goalies possess: being older than dirt and having a past due date of a couple of seasons ago. Thankfully, unlike the Oilers last geriatic goalie, Dwayne Roloson, Khabibulin doesn’t require the use of a walker to remain upright and doesn’t fall down when the slightest breeze happens to touch him, rather, he has difficultly standing given he’s typically sauced.
Fits the Oilers second set of criteria in what they look for in a goaltender, which is being a youngster who is hopelessly outclassed and unsuited for the role. Expect to see mediocre goaltending for the majority of the season until the Oilers have been mathematically eliminated from playoff contention, then prepare yourself to see some amazing netminding at the hands of this talented youngster.
Understudy to JDD. Part of GM Steve Tambellini’s plan to apply the magic of Voltron to the Oilers goaltending situation. Problem: Voltron, much like the Oilers, were last relevant in the 80s.
Understudy to Khabibulin, Gerber should be ready for the Oilers starting position in another 4 years when he is 39 years young. Signed in a moment of confusion when Tambellini said he wanted ‘that old Senators goalie.’ He had meant Dominik Hasek.