So as mentioned the last GDT, pretty much every game from here on out, or until the Oilers spiral back into the abyss, is important. I don’t have to state that anymore. All the good teams that were sluffing off (with exception to maybe San Jose) are starting to fight hard for playoff spots. This is definitely the down part of the roller coaster ride for Oilers fans… I’d say we’re not going to make it. But hey, that doesn’t mean this team can’t try. I think tonight the Oilers will come out with a good effort this time around.
It is unconfirmed, but it’s unlikely Ryan Nugent-Hopkins will suit up for this one. He seems to be battling a solid case of the flu (“Sam…… Sam…. (whimpers)… can you call my mom?“). It’s expected that Dubnyk will start in this one. I’d imagine the lines won’t change much. It would be nice if this team had a more offensive center to play with Yakupov.
I noticed that Jim Matheson is also questioning the lack of waiver claim on Halpern. The Oilers I believe are at 49, even after signing Travis Ewanyk last week. He is 19 and playing in junior, so he shouldn’t count until next season. And really, the Oilers need to drop some dead weight before then anyways. It’s possible Tambellini and co. are leaving a spot open for the trade deadline, but that would be pretty optimistic to think that, given our inability to really act on team need.
So there is strong talk about the latest D prospect out there, Danny Dekeyser. Dekeyser is Michigan born, which leads most people to believe the Red Wings, who are very interested, are the front runner. The Oilers are doing what they can to make a play for this guy though. Daryl Katz has already called and talked to him (I’d imagine the conversation going along the fashion of this phone call), and Justin Schultz has texted with him about it, apparently. Hopefully it wasn’t a series of warning texts. Anyways.. what do I know about this guy? I haven’t watched him at all, unfortunately, so I’m relying on the internet here. He’s big, at 6’3″ and 198 lbs and apparently very mobile. He’s been described as a two-way guy who is solid in his own zone, but can make a strong outlet pass as well. Most of what I’m reading makes this guy sound more of a defensive specialist than an offensive specialist. Sounds like his offensive game is fairly limited, so I don’t expect much there. However, he seems to also bring a good physical game, is a strong shot blocker and a PK specialist. He is also said to be a strong skater too, so if he can eat up minutes, that might make him a good even strength partner for Justin Schultz as they might complement each other.
Enjoy the game, folks..
UPDATE: sounds like Nuge is in, and Whitney and Petrell are scratches. Word is that the Nuge centers Smyth and Yakupov. Call me crazy, but I’m interested in what happens there. Sure, Smyth has been sluggish this year, but you never know.. might rejuvinate him. He’s looked a little like he’s ready to have an, albeit brief, break out.
Hartikainen shown talking to Ralph Krueger.. pretty sure that is the “hey kid, we’ll have to send you back to Oklahoma City for a bit” speech.
OILERS LINES (CONFIRMED by multiple media sources)
Hall – Horcoff – Hemsky
Paajarvi – Gagner – Eberle
Smyth – Nuge – Yakupov
Brown – Belanger – Jones
Smid – Petry
N. Schultz – J.Schultz
Fistric – Potter
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