Home sweet home… at last. The Oilers return from their longest road trip in their history in which they had 3 wins, 4 losses, and 2 loser point losses. This point also sees them looking to extend their longest winning streak of the season.. that’s right.. a wopping 2 (which they also did previously at the end of January)!
There’s been a lot of talk lately about trade rumors, as well as contracts of Sam Gagner and Ladislav Smid. Those two guys need to get signed and kept here. They are heart and soul players for the Oilers and have success at their position. We don’t need to trade them away just to spend a lot of time finding ways to replace them. Mark Fistric is also a free agent.. and to me he’s been a diamond in the rough. I would really like to see the Oilers re-sign the physical blue liner.
So Ryan Whitney seems to have found his legs. Fans are enamored with him again, it would seem. I like Whitney because of his positive attitude (although I think all the health problems have done their best to drag him down), and that he can chip in on occasion when his game is on, however I still think we should move him. I think it’s great that he found his form right now, but in all likelihood it is temporary. It’s one thing to look good for a half dozen-ish games and another to do it over the course of the season. We should part ways. We have Petry and Justin Schultz in that offensive role currently looking good. Next year we might have Oscar Klefbom getting a tryout there.
Jake Gardiner’s agent sending out a “#freejakegardiner” tweet a few days ago has undoubtedly got some GMs calling about the young prospect. While young players aren’t really what we need most now, perhaps, Gardiner is getting rave reviews from his coach with the Marlies. These are the same sort of comments we heard from the likes of Todd Nelson regarding Justin Schultz. I don’t expect that Gardiner is on par with Schultz yet, but it wouldn’t be a terrible idea if the Oilers expressed interests. He would be pretty costly to pick up, however.
Chris Stewart is also apparently “available”. Good god, Tambellini has to be calling on that for sure. Stewart is a big body presence and can put up solid numbers. He’s basically a Dustin Penner that can push guys around. It addresses a need, so I’d say they should be a little aggressive on trying to make a deal work.
It’s hard to believe that before yesterday’s Canucks game, the Oilers were just 5 points away from 3rd place. The race in the West is super tight. Of course, we’ve also only played 26 games.. this shortened season has much to do with the gap being pretty slim.
Anyways, it is about time that the Oilers put in a win vs. the Red Wings… lets keep this high going!
UPDATE: Jones out (flu?), Hartikainen in. Fistric is also still out with his elbow injury.
OILERS LINES (Guessed..)
Hall – Horcoff – Hemsky
Hartikainen – Nuge – Eberle
Paajarvi – Gagner – Yakupov
Brown – Smyth – Petrell
Smid – J.Schultz
Whitney – Petry
N. Schultz – Potter