On the Flipside

We all know about the Oilers struggles this year and if you don't then you haven't turned on a sports channel, a radio station or your twitter and Facebook accounts for the last month and a half. The talk is either been about their struggle to play a system being implemented by Dallas Eakins, their inability to put the puck in the net or their defensive woes, the Oilers have been considered a disappointment to this point in the season.

Well I am about to spread some sunshine in the world of the Edmonton Oiler fan with my optimism and it is mainly because of their horrid defensive play that I have this optimism.

The Oilers have given up the most goals so far this season in 83. They are only one of two teams that have given up more then 80 goals so far, the second being the Calgary Flames. If this pace continues the Oilers would have over 300 goals against by the end of the season. That is number has not been reached since the 2006-07 Philadelphia Flyers .

Why is this a good thing? It is highly unlikely that this pace will be kept. Not to say the Oilers are out of this funk but their defensive play has been better in the last 3 games, since MacT's presser. This better defensive play can be contributed to a few thing.

First the Oilers are actually doing a better job in the system. Their puck control is getting better They are starting to look more like a team on the ice and less like the ants on the ant hill you kid just kicked over. They are making better passes for breakouts and trying to dump the puck into the apposing end rater then trying to beat the 3-5 defenders that are waiting on the blue-line to stop them.

The Oilers are also starting to find their scoring touch. The game against the Columbus Blue Jackets was a blow out and partially because CBJ were really, really bad, but the Edmonton Oiler team that stepped on the ice that night was not the same team that we have seen play even just a few weeks ago. This team took advantage of a struggling and injured Blue Jackets team and kept their foot on the gas the whole game. Not letting up and allowing the Blue Jackets back into the game.

When it comes to the offense the Oilers are middle of the pack with 60 goals. This actually puts them ahead of the Eastern Conferences best team the Boston Bruins, interesting. If this struggling Oilers team who has been shutout 3 games this year yet have outscored 13 other teams in the NHL gets its confidence, look out. One would have to think that as they gain confidence the Oilers will score more. Scoring more means more time with the puck for the Oil and less time for their opponent.     

The start of this possible turn around for the Oilers started just two games ago in Calgary against the Flames. The Oilers scored a few goals on bounces, bounces that to this point in the season have not gone the Oilers way. They followed that up destroying a beat up Blue jackets team. A game that had to of helped young Oilers team with their confidence and with the addition of Ilya Bryzgalov seemingly pushing Devon Dubnyk to regain the form he had last year. The grass is getting greener...

The Oilers fans should be hopeful as the Oilers are showing signs that they are heading in the right direction and a solid game tonight against the Florida Panthers who have also won two in a row will help the Oilers and their fans to get back to doing what they do. Oiler winning games and the fans cheering instead of booing.

Laters,

It does not matter how the Oilers finish out the rest of this season. It does not matter who steps up and plays better defense. It does not matter how fast Darnell Nurse is ready for the  NHL. The Oilers are still in need of a "stud" defense as stated by their GM Craig MacTavish.

There are always teams out there that are in need of scoring. This year you have a few teams in the East that are contending for a playoff berth early and it may be a good idea to target them as a potential trade partner but what do they have to offer. Or maybe a team that no one expects would be the best to target and for good reason.

Carolina Hurricanes:

They are the first team that pops out for me because of their struggles this year to score goals. They are last in the league with only 40 goals to this point in the season and they received news today that Alexander Semin sustained a concussion during their game on Saturday and is out indefinitely. This adds pressure to a group of skilled players who are all under performing. 

A bit of the issue with trying a trade with the Canes is the fact that they don't have much to offer. The only way a trade happens here is if the Canes want to part with Cam Ward and I don't see that happening. Especially since the Oilers just signed Ilya Bryzgalov .

New Jersey Devils: 

This is another team that is knocking on the door to the playoffs early in the 2013-14 season but may need some help up front to do so. They maybe in a bit of a better position then the Canes because of the success of their goal tenders. Both of them have a GAA of 1.98 and SV%'s near the .920's but do they have what the Oilers are looking for? I don't think they do.

This is a team that has been built to keep the best players on the opposing teams in check and will more then likely be looking at trading prospects to add some more depth scoring to their roster. Unless they have a good center ice prospect to offer I don't think the Oilers would look at a trade with New Jersey.

New York Rangers:

This team that has been mentioned a lot over the last few weeks in trade rumor circles and would have some pieces that the Oilers would like. Michael Del Zotto is a name that keeps getting mentioned and is in the dog house with the coaching staff in New York as he has been a healthy scratch a few times this year.

As good as Del Zotto is he may not be the "stud" that the Oilers are looking for. With the Oilers spending a lot of effort on the recruitment of Justin Schultz they already have a puck moving defenceman that has the potential to develop to be one of the NHL's top power play, puck moving D-man. That being said the Oilers would have to target Ryan McDonagh who I think is the Rangers top guy on the back end and a stud in the league.

With that being said the Rangers have won 7 of their last ten and are getting healthier everyday. They are expecting Rick Nash to be back in the line up today against Boston and with the recent play of Henrik Lundqvist and Cam Talbot I have a feeling that the Rangers are no longer looking to make a trade but they would rather like get Del Zotto back on track. 

We will see what the near future holds for the Rangers but I think they ride the team they have for a bit longer as they look to be adjusting to any changes that the hew head coach has made. If they decide a change is needed it will be at the deadline.

Boston Bruins:

This team is a surprise on the list and only here because of some recent research. They are not in need of any scoring and right now may have the leagues best goalie in Tuukka Rask, the biggest "stud" of them all on defense in Zdeno Chara and no one has mentioned and rumors of Boston looking to make a trade so why are they on my list? 

With depth at the D position and kids like Dougie Hamilton and 2012 free agent signing Torey Krugplaying like 10 year vets it may be a good idea for the Oilers to look at giving up some of their minor leaguer's and their 1st draft pick from 2014 for a guy like Dennis Seidenberg.

Before you go all crazy on me let me explain why. A solid defenceman in his 14 year NHL career and playing in the rather large shadow of Chara since 2009-10. He has experience at the international level already with two Olympic appearances (2006 and 2010)and including u18 and junior he as played in 7 World Championships for Germany. This type of pedigree and experience would go a long way for the Edmonton Oilers back end that has very little confidence and experience. Not to mention he plays that sandpaper game that the Oilers management talked a bit about this preseason.

The Bruins well be needing to make some big decision in the next few years in regards to their back end. Krug a RFA at the end of this year and my guess Boston will be wanting to keep the slick puck mover around for years to come. Their number two guy and heir apparent to Chara, Hamilton is a RFA at the end of next season. Trading Seidenberg, who has a cap hit of four million over the next 5 years in a package for a guy like Ales Hemsky, who is a UFA at the end of the season, would free up the cap space that may be needed to keep these two your defensive stars in Boston.

I don't expect this is a move that Boston will want to do while they are play so well but if the production slows up front maybe, just maybe the 'BOLD' new GM in Edmonton should make a call. All Oiler fans can do is hope.

I was looking at current stats for Oiler players on the season and started comparing them to stats from previous seasons and the 2005-06 regular season intrigued me. Usually stats show how a team stood out and shows you how they made the playoffs, how, in the Oilers case they made the NHL finals. Here are my findings.

The idea behind every season is to make the playoffs and the Oilers did that by posting 95 points in the regular season. Finishing 8th in the west and 14th in the league. It was their highest point total since the 1987-88 season when they accumulated 99 points. They have not gotten to 90 points or the playoff since. 

How did they do this? If you look at the stats the Oilers needed everything to fall in to place for them to have a shot at the playoffs...and it did.

First the scoring. The post lock-out league average of 3.08 goals per game per team was the highest the league seen since 1995-96. 1.03 of those goals were scored on one of the 5.85 power plays opportunities per game. My findings say that could be the highest power play opportunities per game average in the history of the league...(Stat was being kept since 1977-78) 

The Oilers were 13th in the league with 256 goals for with a Power Play that was 14th at 18.14% and they managed to score 6 shorthanded goals. Compared to the previous year which was 2003-04 because of the lockout, the Oilers scored only 221 goals, they had the second worst power play in the league and they scored 15 shorthanded goals...and 7 of the top 10 Oilers scorers still managed to have career years. Having their most productive season as players in the NHL to this point in their careers with none of them reaching 80 points and none of them finishing in the top 30 in NHL scoring. These players included HemskyHorcoffStollTorresPisaniBergeron  and Steve Staios. 

Now the defense. As you could imagine with the scoring the way it was the defense must of been worst right. I think this was one of the toughest defenses that the Edmonton Oilers have ever put on the ice. They were big and they were lead by Chris Pronger. 

In 2005-06 the Oilers were 8th on the penalty kill at 84.10%. They had 251 goals against and allowed 5 shorthanded goals while on the power play. Compared to the previous year when they had a PK that was 27th in the league and they only allowed 208 goals against with 8 of them being scored while the Oilers were on the power play...So how did this team make the playoffs and the NHL finals? Chris Pronger? This has been the only season that the Oilers had a true number one defenseman for a long, long time and they have had no one even close ever since. 

The goal tending. The Average SV% in the league was .901% and the average goals against was 2.93 both of were the worst league average since, again 1995-96.

The Oilers had, what I thought to be bad goal tending and picked up Dwayne Roloson from the Wild part way through the season. He was 6-17-0-1 at the time but better then league average save percentage at .910 and a GAA of3.00. (He was one of the reasons for the playoff). He ended up having the Oilers highest save percentage at .905, better then league average and the lowest GAA of of the Oilers goalies at 2.42 in 18 appearances, 15 of those were starts. The other goalies stats were mind boggling, well for a team that made the playoffs.With save percentages that would have them playing back up in the junior leagues, but they managed wins. Jussi Markkanen was 15-12-0-6 with a .880 SV% and a GAA of 3.13. Ty Conklin was 8-5 with a SV% of .880 and a GAA of 2.80 and last but not least Michael Morrison had a .884 SV% and 2.83 GAA while going 10-4-0-2.

The only top 5 player that did not play the following season was Pronger. The Oilers finished 27th on the power play that year, scored a league worst 195 goals and finished the season with 71 points which was their worst point total since the 1995-96 season.

I guess a number one defenseman can win you championships...

Laters

I have to say, when I heard that Edmonton Oilers GM Craig MacTavish had called a press conference yesterday morning I was feeling a bit like my 8 year old self on Christmas morning in 1985, you know the year that the 8 bit Nintendo was released. It was the only thing that was on my wish list that year when I mailed my letter to Santa and just like Christmas morning 1985, when instead of getting the Nintendo game console I got a Sectaurs: Warriors of Symbion hand puppet toy, my boyish excitement quickly turned into stunned silence and then disappointment when from the press conference came nothing. No firing. No hiring. No trading.

I have had time now to think about and watch the MacT presser again and again. I have seen what Oilers fans are saying on Facebook and twitter. I have seen what the critics and reporters have had to say about it and now I have my opinion. 

The third time I watched it I came to the realization that this press conference that I am sure had everyone thinking that Lowe was a goner, was nothing more the a GM trying to take the heat off of his players and coaching staff. MacT was actually trying to get the team and coaching staff stop thinking about getting fired or traded and he was trying to get the the media and disgruntled fans to focus on him and not the team. Brilliant!? 

MacTavish has taken a road that not many GM's would, as we have seen in Buffalo and Florida. Instead of pleasing fans and media by telling us all that he is going to restart a rebuild that has taken 5 years already or that he was about to put everyone on the trading block and fire the rookie coach head coach he worked so hard to hire in the off season. He decided to show his support for the coaching staff and the players.

For the staff he said that they have this team going in the right direction, he has the utmost confidence in them and supportive of how they are handling the team. For the players, well don't expect any major changes. The young core guys are going nowhere. 

The one negative thing he mentioned in the press conference was that the defense was small and soft and that there is no player on the team that is able to improve their game enough to become that 'stud' defenseman that the Oilers are so desperately in need of and it sounded like he would be ready and willing to move their 1st round pick in 2014 in a package to get that defenseman, as MacTavish said "we don't need another 18 year old rookie on this team."

I know I am going to get a lot of slack for this one but In the end I think MacT may have done more positive for his young team by calling a press conference and telling them to expect no changes and stay the course then he could of done by announcing major changes are coming and no player or coach is safe. Maybe that public backing and reinforcement will help a bunch of highly skilled forwards to loosen the grip on their hockey sticks, play a relaxed and refocused game.

In the end for Oilers fans it may have been a major let down that no change is on the horizon and that more patients are needed. I actually do believe that we all may be surprised at what MacT may have accomplished for this team with this press conference.    

Laters  

What to say...

I will apologize for this blog ahead of time because I am sure it will be all over the place but I am writing this in response to an article that was written by The Edmonton Sun's Terry Jones...a piece of writing that has got me a little frustrated and now I am torn between the Yak has gotta stay bus and the Lowe has gotta go train...

One thing we have to love about our country is the fact that we have the freedom to write what we want and have these discussion. Like our friend Terry who tells us a player with 65 NHL games played is at fault for the Edmonton Oilers, who are 4-13-2 this year with major issues with their back end.

The quote that has seemed to of stirred the hornets nest on twitter was directed to Yakupov and said - "(Yakupov) whose defensive play is one of the biggest reasons the team is off to such a shameful start". This is one part that stood out but in the end the article is blaming the kids for the demise of the Oilers this season and he needs to go.

Where is this coming from? There are a bunch of players on this team who are under performing and the team is responsible for the "shameful start" and to throw the blame on the shoulders of this 20 year old kid who had enough pressure on him to perform this season is absolutely crazy.

I am not sure how this will effect the kids already shaken confidence and frustration but I am sure this will help the Oilers come out of the funk that they ALL are in. They will rally around this player who Terry Jones thinks is useless and they will become the team we all want them to be leading the way in the Pacific division and the Western Conference...for those of you who can't tell when someone is being sarcastic in writing that was a sample for you...

This is one of those pieces of writing that will end up being the final straw, not to Oilers management, not to the fans but to the players because of the power of the pencil, it is mightier then the sword after all...this will shape this team for the rest of the year.

Sure the Oilers players are not going to read janders blog but a Sun writer like Terry Jones they will and we will see what the response will be...

As all 15 of you who struggle threw, reading my blogs can see, I am frustrated with the finger pointing of individual players in a sport that so obviously needs team consistency and chemistry to succeed. No only player in the history of the NHL, not even The Great One has ever been singled out for a successful season so how is it possible for a second year first overall pick to be the sole blame for the Oilers start. A team who has been in this position they last few seasons with Nail Yakupov.

What Jones wrote in my mind was unprofessional and can be devastating to this young player who already is shaken...

Thanks for the motivation for the blog today Terry. I know you will not mind if I stop follow you on twitter but from now on I will be reading your articles in retweets only.


Laters.


Why Oilers will not give up on Nail Yakupov.

First of all for those of you who think the Oilers are trading Nail Yakupov I think you are going to be disappointed for a few reasons.

Number one, for the amount of effort and energy that was put in to acquiring Dallas Eakins over the summer the Oilers as an organization need to show him the confidence that they did then and trust that he can pull Yakupov out of this slump. For those of you who forgot Eakins said "Nail Yakupov is not being shopped, he's not going anywhere and I wanted him to hear that from me and look me in my eyes and let him know that, hey, we're attached at the hip. We're going to make him a better player and it's okay to struggle." Would anyone work for this organization if the went out and traded Yakupov now? I wonder how Eakins would feel?

Number two the guy has played 65 games in the NHL and has stats that are comparable to that of Hall, Gagner, Nugent-Hopkins and Eberle through their first seasons:

Nail Yakupov in his first 65 NHL games has 35p, 19g, 16a and is -18. (An unfortunate -14 this year)

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins in his first season played 62 games and had 18G, 34A for 52P and was -2 and if you are keeping track he is -12 this year.

Jordan Eberle played in 69 games in his first NHL season and accumulated 18G, 25A, 432P and was -12. (-3 this year)

Taylor Hall in his first season had 22G, 20A for 42P in 65 games and was -9. (-8 thus far in 2013-14)

Last but not least Sam Gagner played 79 games in his rookie season. He managed 13G with 36A for 49P and finished the season -21. He is -9 this year in just 9 games played.

Nail Yakupov is one of the most explosive players on the Oilers roster and maybe one of the most talented young players in the entire league today. To make a trade of this nature that early in an NHL players career would be idiotic to say the least.

So for all of you who want Yakupov gone you are going to have to deal with him a bit longer. I think even with what his agent has publicly said you gotta think the Oilers are going to do what ever they can to help Nail succeed in the NHL with the Oilers franchise...and if you don`t think he wants to be here this is what he said today...

"I love to be in Edmonton. I love the city, I love to play with these players... I just want to play, I want to help and I want to have fun. It's a simple thing. I want to play hockey." 

Laters,

Dazed and Confused

Last week The Oilers made a trade that left Oilers fans, the media and others in the hockey world dazed and confused...not because of the magnitude of the trade but because the Oilers traded another character guy in Ladislav Smid to their provincial rivals along side minor league goalie Olivier Roy for C Roman Horak, who has a bit of NHL experience with the Flames and goalie prospect Laurent Brossoit who has been to the WHL finals two years in a row with the Edmonton Oil Kings and won the WHL Championship in 2011-12. 

Another character guy bites the dust...

Here is what has left me  dazed and confused. The Oilers are having major issues on their back end this season that has set them up for another top five draft pick in the 2014. Trading away a guy like Smid who committed to this team in the spring, with a contract extension and without a no trade clause, for no back end help seems counter productive. He looked to be the only Oiler over the last few years that would sacrifice the body by either blocking a puck or dropping the mitts to help protect a skill guy. So now the Oilers are less experienced on the back end, a back end that is amongst the worst in the league. So there must be more trades to come right?

Enter the jester...

The other strange Oiler move was the signing of Ilya Bryzgalov. I guess that's their character guy, or maybe they were just looking for a character...I don't dislike this signing it just confuses me more. I may be wrong but Bryzy does not seem, at this point and time to be an upgrade in net. Sure he has had some good seasons with the Coyotes but they play a different system them these current Oilers play and if we can learn from Ilya's stint in Philly then it might be a struggle for him here in Edmonton, lets hope for the sake of Oiler fans I am wrong.

I can understand how he would be a motivated player after being bought out by the Flyers but he has not played in any games this season so I would think he needs a few weeks or more to be in any sort of game shape. His preseason was a tryout with the ECHL's Las Vegas Wranglers where he was released from the team...maybe MacT has been doing his job and has found a diamond in the rough or maybe that's the only move he had for a goalie.

One thing is certain, that is Oilers fans are not happy and that their expectation of a blockbuster trade is high. They feel that there is need to shake this team up and it is evident on twitter and other social websites so much that Oilers fans are ready to part with players like Eberle to make this happen.

Oilers fans have been waiting for this rebuild for longer then most and the frustration in Oil Country is at its max. Sure their are some fans that are more patient then others saying that a rebuild takes time which is true but you can't finish last every year and expect to rebuild just by drafting first overall. You need to develop the players in your system to sustain a winning franchise. Its not about making a playoff run every 10 years...this team may need a complete restructure from top to bottom and fans will be looking in the near future for a team that makes the playoffs on a consistent basis and a team that contends for the Stanley Cups.

But for now they are left dazed and confused...

Laters

The first 3...

Giving up on the fact that the Oilers are going to right the ship this year I have decided to see who, of the so called basement dwellers is in better condition looking into next season.

Buffalo Sabers - Trading off what was the center piece of their offence since the 2005-06 to an Islanders team that is on the cusp, the Sabers are attempting to rebuild a team that has seen little success in the last five years making the playoffs only once. 

They have a few key components to help them move forward like their 6'8" defenseman Tyler Myers who is the type of player you can build a team around and they will have a bunch of cap space with only 3 RFA's and 6 UFA's to sign.

A question mark is if they will spend the money on resigning goaltender Ryan Miller but with current trade rumors and a huge pool of tenders, some very capable number ones, it is unlikely that he will finish the season in Buffalo.

Philadelphia Flyers - Philly is most likely the team that will turn around their season just due to the amount of talent that they have on the team and that group has had success making the playoffs 4 of the last 5 seasons but you can since a trade on the horizon to try and wake this sleeping giant.

They may need to trade for that true number one Dman and get Luke Schenn a change of scenery As well as Wade Simmonds who would be a great addition to a team wanting to make a playoff run. To do this they will need to seek players on the trade market. If they wait for free agency they may be in trouble with only 9.95 million in cap space (although number will more then likely increase) they have 5 RFA's to sign and 7 UFA's...going to make for some upcoming budget talks in Philly.

Edmonton Oilers - On pace to miss the playoffs for the 8th consecutive time the Oilers may not, although there have been many talks, be ready to sell the farm yet. Although we may see Ales Hemsky on the move to get some sort of return on a UFA that the Oilers will more then likely not resign but could be a great fit if someone needs a puck moving forward.

With plenty of young talent up front the Oilers are in need of a proven NHL Dman and there are some UFA's out there this upcoming off-season that would fill this void for the Oilers and they will have some money to spend with 25.3 million available under the current cap. One issue of this is the fact that the Oilers will have to sign, or not 8 RFA's and 10 UFA's but I think with some junior players waiting in the wings we may see a different Oiler team on the ice next year, but not too different.

Laters

I always wanted to start a trade rumor...

So with the NHL season in full swing we have had a good look at most teams, some teams have had to many injuries to see what they are capable of, it's time to start the trade rumors. I usually eat this time of year up and this year even more so...I am going to start my own trade rumor.

The Oil "brass", not what some fans are calling them right now, are on their very own road trip with apparent visits to Ranger's, Ducks, Panthers (again tonight?), Bruins and Hurricanes play so something has got to be in the works right?

Here is what I say:

I don't think the Hurricanes have anything that I can see the Oilers wanting so they are out.

You would be only shopping in Anaheim if you were looking for a second line D-man cause that's all they will part with unless this brain trust in Oil Country thinks we need a goalie...anyone smell Hiller? I don't think this will happen, Oilers will resign Dubby once the year is done.

Being in Boston tonight could mean they are just getting another look at the Florida Panthers but if not the Bruins certainly do have a deep D-corp but what would the Bruins be looking for? Nothing, a deal between these teams does not happen in my eyes. Unless Iggy wants to retire in Edmonton...naw...

NYR and the Panthers are interesting and are most likely to do a deal with the Oilers so here is the rumors...

If NYR then the Oilers will have to give up a big piece of the future but that being said the Rangers are more dire right now being on the cusp of the playoffs and possibly moving forward without Nash for the remainder of the year, or so reports say, but I think this one would be easy
 and it would be Mark Staal for Hemskey straight up! That should get you talkin...

If its Florida I can only see it being Kulakov coming to Edmonton but Florida is rebuilding so in this one I would just see Oilers giving back draft picks, but how much? He is a restricted free agent so a contract at the end of the year will come into play.

Take it easy on me these are my first trade rumors...

Laters

Dallas Eakins the Hockey Player/Coach

When the Oilers announced they had signed Dallas Eakins as the new head coach in Edmonton I had mixed feelings. On one hand was the 'here we go again' scenario where Edmonton again blames the coach for issues that, I feel , stem much, much deeper and on the other hand you gotta think signing Eakins as the new head coach was like getting the first overall draft choice.

A highly touted coach that has a short but successful track record who, once Randy Carlyle was hired by the Toronto Maple Leafs had to figure that he must go elsewhere if he wants to Coach at the NHL level.

I can honestly say that before this I knew very little about the new Oiler Head Coach so I wanted to see what he brings to the table and here is what I found:

Dallas Eakins was drafted by the Washington Capitals in the 10th round 208th overall in the 1985 NHL draft as a hard nosed D man but never did suit up for the Caps.

He made his NHL debut in the 1992-93 season with the Winnipeg Jets playing in 14 games. He finished that season with no goals and 2 assists for 2 points and 38 penalty minutes and was a +2.

From there he jumped around from team to team including stints with the Panthers, Blues, Jets (again), Coyotes, Rangers, Panthers (again), Leafs, Islanders and a few seasons with the Flames.

Calgary is where he finished his NHL career in 2001-02 with a career 120 games played, 0 goals, 9 assists, plus 6 and 208 penalty Minutes.

He spent 3 more season's after that in the AHL ending a 19 year playing career after his 2003-04 campaign with the Manitoba Moose.

In 2005-06 he started his career in coaching as an assistant to Paul Maurice with the Toronto Marlies and from 2006-2008 he was given the chance to show what he could do on the NHL level as assistants to Maurice.

When Maurice went to the Hurricanes in 2008-09 Eakins went back down to the Leafs AHL affiliate the Toronto Marlies and became head coach replacing Greg Gilbert and in his 4 seasons as Marlies Head Coach he took the team from a .488 winning percentage to back to back playoff appearances in the 2011-12, 2012-13 and a winning percentage of .688.

After looking back at Eakins playing and coaching career I believe the Oilers are in good hands providing the Oilers front office can find the few, very few, missing pieces that the Oilers need. He has proven he can develop young talent into NHLers like Kadri, Gardiner and Frattin which will help him with the young talent in Edmonton and looking at the type of player he was he will probably bring an edge to the locker room and a coaching style that the Oilers fans have not seen behind the bench in a long time.

Good luck Coach Eakins.

Laters