Every Monday, Oilers radio colour analyst and Oilers Now
host Bob Stauffer answers questions submitted by fans about the team.
- One recipe for a cup contender is a stud goalie + a stud defenceman + stud forward. By 'stud' I assume they mean one of the top 10 in the game. Do you think this is true and what the Oilers are lacking? P.S. Can you ask Jack Michaels if a sweet pass from #2 is called a 'Petry dish" ? :)
-- Dave from St. Thomas, Ontario
Right now it is fair to say that the Oilers don’t have a stud defenceman or a stud goaltender.
In my opinion there are not a lot of stud defencemen in the National Hockey League.
The Canadian Olympic team had four right-shot stud D in Drew Doughty, Shea Weber, Alex Pietrangelo and PK Subban and one stud on the left side in Duncan Keith. It is interesting that three of those guys were drafted in the second round with Doughty (second overall) and Pietrangelo (4th overall) going in the 2008 draft.
Justin Schultz has pretty good offensive instincts but still needs work on his defensive game and to improve his shot to become an all-around stud D.
The guy in the Oilers organization who might have the best chance of becoming a stud “D” down the road is probably Darnell Nurse.
Again, with the goaltenders I have a pretty limited group that I see as studs. The Oilers will face two back-to-back as the New York Rangers Henrik Lundqvist and Nashville’s Pekka Rinne have to be considered studs. I would also add Tuukka Rask, Carey Price and Jonathan Quick to that list with Ben Bishop pushing to be in that group as well.
As for the “Petry Dish” wouldn’t Gene Principe be a better guy to ask, as he is the master of puns? Hey Bob, from your observations, would you say that the dressing room environment is good?
-- Len from Nisku, Alberta
In my opinion the environment in the dressing room took has taken a positive step partially because of the on-going maturation of players like Taylor Hall and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and with the addition of character players like Matt Hendricks.
Hendricks is a positive guy, who treats everyone around him with respect and stands up for his teammates on the ice and has a great sense of “gamesmanship” as to when to try to change the momentum in a game.
Hall has been far more composed on the ice this season and Nugent-Hopkins has taken a massive step forward and joined Hall as a second “driver” on the team up front.
Nail Yakupov is another young Oiler who is playing a far more mature game.
When the Oilers were 0-4-1, I didn’t get a sense that there was panic in the room. When the Oilers won four straight I didn’t feel that the room was too sky-high. In the last two wins over Buffalo and New York you got the sense that the group is just focused on going out and playing the right way.
To me this is a good sign.
Players like Leon Draisaitl need at least 2 years to enhance their skills in the minor leagues. Why do the Oilers not allow sufficient time for these young players to develop their skills (in the minor league)?
-- Kevin in Edmonton
According to the CBA, sending Leon Draisaitl to the American Hockey League is not an option. It was Edmonton or back to Junior for Leon.
Draisaitl has the size, strength and intelligence to play in the NHL, his issue to me is quickness and speed.
Practicing and playing on a day-to-day basis in the NHL against elite players will help improve Draisaitl’s game in my opinion.
Not sold that going back to Junior when he can physically dominate 16-to-20 year-olds would help in Draisaitl’s development at this time. Bob Stauffer is Colour Analyst on the Oilers Radio Network and Hosts “Oilers Now” each day Noon to 2:00 PM Monday thru Friday on 630 CHED and you can follow him on Twitter at @Bob_Stauffer