Sunday, September 23, 2012

"8 Questions in Oil Country"

With Hockey now getting into full swing throughout the CHL, there are some exciting games taking place. Atom, Midget, Major Jr, Rec and Beer leagues alike are now upon us. Nothing like playing the good ol'Hockey game.

I have been getting lots of questions on twitter , facebook and emails and as promised I said I would try my best to answer your questions as honest and factual as I can. Sometimes I am fortunate to get some inside information and have no problem being bold telling you so. However that is not often so one thing you will not find from me is, making up rumours or spreading stories I am only guessing at and making it sound as legitimate NHL or Hockey Information. I will however tell you if it is only my opinion or rumour only. Many times, one can read behind the lines if you do some investigation and put 2+2 together.

Let's go ahead and cover some hockey related questions regarding our beloved Edmonton Oilers and other interests around hockey.

Will this Downtown Arena District get finalized, or is this deal going south and we are in trouble moving forward?
I am getting as impatient as everyone that the city and Katz can't seem to move very fast in getting this finalized. I could sit hear and throw out my opinions on why and who I think is at fault but that's not what I am being asked. Bottom line for me is to read between the lines. Katz and the city have needs. Katz needs a new arena where he can make more money for future sustainability of his franchise. 

He needs a city where fans show up at all times regardless of what kind of team they are going to ice. He has a desire to invest in development personally with his businesses around a new thriving downtown outside Katz interest in his hockey team.  The city needs to continue to move forward to build the downtown core and to do that they will need to invest millions of dollars into projects that stimulate growth. Pressure is on the council and mayor to get something done by probably 65% of  the Greater Edmonton Area. So, yes, I think it WILL get done, but how long this drags out and how this is financed in the end? I have only guesses like you.

Is there a possibility of playing a part NHL season or is this season going to be cancelled?
It is of no benefit to either the players or the NHL to write off a entire season. I think the NHLPA will break before the owners. I am expecting a 50-/50 split on HRR in the end. I have heard before the season started some outside sources felt that this would be a cancelled season. Plain common sense to me says we start this season November or December sometime and the NHL can still pick up their precious 'Winter Classic' game.

Should a season take place what is the most points possible the Oilers could move up in a draft position this year providing they continue to improve?
Last year the Oilers improved by 12 points but because the previous year was so terrible it still didn't move them  up far in the standings. Let's assume the Oilers can improve another 12 points in the standings, that would according to last season's totals, given them 21st OV. Therefore they would be picking the 9th OV pick at the 2013 NHL Entry draft if that trend continued. 

We do need to take into consideration however with a shortened season, it is that much more difficult to move up in points with less games played. I suspect they will make a slightly better jump in points this year but with a shortened season we are still looking at only a small jump in draft selection spots. Best position I see the Oilers attaining this year is 20th OV and worst is likely 26th OV.

Who do you think will be the Oilers Points leader this year?
I am going to give this one to Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. I am expecting him to put up at about a point/game this year but most likely will be neck and neck with Jordon Eberle all year.

How many points do you think Nail Yakupov will put up in the KHL and when he plays in his rookie season with Edmonton?
Nail playing in the KHL means he is playing against men and on a third line on a poor team. He may get more playing time as the team finds a right fit for him but likely he won't be able to produce more then .50pts/game. With a lack of good coaching on his team (IMO) he won't develop the same as the coaching he will receive in the NHL. If the season resumes this year, I suspect we are looking at .55pts/game pace he will be able to achieve. Anything over that is a bonus.

What prospect names can we expect to be hearing mentioned here in Edmonton come June 2013?
There are a few different names and I think with the range the Oilers may end up picking they will likely find the higher end skill guys are not bigger players that fans and team management may prefer but they will be skilled. Forwards like, Duclair, Domi, Drouin or Defencemen like Erne or Morrissey are likely names.  it is of course far to early to tell but any one of those players have great potential.

What 2013 Prospect will surprise and rise in the Draft Entry rankings throughout this year the most?
I believe Jonathan Drouin out of the CHL , he plays for the Halifax Mooseheads and is a winger for Nathan MacKinnon. He ended his playoffs last year on fire, did well with Curtis Lazar at the Ivan Hlinka and started this season right where he left off. Very few scouts have him rated in top 15 but this guy is a offensive dynamo and I know the 'Magnificant Bastard' already has had his eye on him along with several other scouts. I consider him to be the big riser. 

Will Smid get signed eventually at a decent price range for long term?
Smid has gone on record as loving Edmonton and the Oilers franchise absolutely loves Smid. He is a future part of this this growing franchise. Guessing his contract when signed will be 4-5 years in length.

For Oiler prospect news and the 2013 or 2014 NHL draft watch, go to

Thursday, September 20, 2012

REVS Top 15 NHL Draft Prospects "#1.Nathan MacKinnon"

#1. Nathan MacKinnon
Coveted since the age of 14, Nathan has been dealing with the limelight in hockey for some time. As an atom aged player, MacKinnon recorded 200 points in 50 games. When MacKinnon was 12 and 13, he played Bantam AAA for the Cole Harbour Red Wings, recording seasons of 110 and 145 points . Nathan chose to leave his hometown and attend Shattuck-Saint Mary's playing with the Bantam Tier I program, he scored 101 points in 58 games . Nathan finished his 2nd season at Shattuck-Saint Mary's with 93 points in 40 games played, scoring 45 goals.

Heading into the 2011 (QMJHL) Draft, MacKinnon was widely regarded as the favourite to be selected first overall and was ranked by QMJHL Central Scouting as the best available player. Despite this, MacKinnon spent the day of the draft skating with a (USHL) team, as he was considering playing either NCAA. Upon being traded to Halifax, Nathan choose the QMJHL and the rest is history. MacKinnon scored his first QMJHL hat trick on December 3, 2011, scoring five goals in a 6–4 victory over the Quebec Remparts. With 5 goals in one game, he tied the Mooseheads record for the most goals in a single game.

MacKinnon has been touted as the potential #1 pick in 2013 since he was only 15-years-old. Coming from the same hometown as Sidney Crosby and taking a similar development path, it’s not hard to see why expectations are high. MacKinnon is an outstanding skater and handles the puck extremely well in tight spaces. He competes hard and has an underrated physical game, giving him a very complete overall game. Of course, there’s no denying his natural skill-level which leads the pack in 2013. MacKinnon is expected to star front and centre on a strong Halifax team this year and potentially represent Canada at the World Junior as well. Projecting as a franchise caliber forward at the NHL level, Nathan MacKinnon is a player you’ll want to follow in 2013.
by 'The Scouting Report'

Nathan's skills level is beyond what most players are capable of. With his quickness and the way he can execute, read and react on the ice at those speeds , that is what makes him a elite level player and the reason he has been under close scrutiny since such a young age.

"For Oiler prospect news and the 2013 or 2014 NHL draft watch, go to

Wednesday, September 19, 2012


The questions are plentiful when it comes to drafting and predicting who the next best players are each year. The exciting part, nobody is wrong, until the draft actually has finished in June. There are several rankings out there for the fans to follow through credible sources and less credible. Last year I only listed each player one at a time. This year I am releasing my full Top 15 NHL Draft Prospects and then will be doing a brief write up of each player as the weeks go on. I have posted my predicted rankings of players for the top 15 for the past two years but last year was my first time posting here at Oilers Jambalaya. First a look back at my ranking last year. Here is the link... 

Each one of these players are ranked in the order I believe they will be ranked in by the top Prospect Guru's of the game. Teams do draft for need so it is not intended to be a mock draft.

1. Nathan Mackinnon
2. Seth Jones
3. Sean Monahan
4. Aleksander Barkov
5. Hunter Shinkaruk
6. Curtis Lazar
7.  Jonathan Drouin
8.  Ryan Pulock
9.  Elias Lindholm
10.  Valeri Nichushkin
11.  Anthony Duclair
12.  Max Domi
13.  J.T Compher
14.  Josh Morrissey,
15.   Adam Erne

For Oiler prospect news and the 2013 or 2014 NHL draft watch, go to

Sunday, September 16, 2012

"Pondering the future of the Oilers" pt2

While the NHL and NHLPA are fighting over Billions of dollars, the average fan is fighting to free up extra cash flow to spend that hard earned money to watch the game they love. 

Yesterday, news came down of the NHL teams assigning various players to their affiliate franchises , be it the AHL, ECHL or back to the CHL. I know some people are concerned that sending bonafide NHL players down to Minor pro leagues and Jr leagues will displace some players in the system. My thoughts? Absolutely, but truth is while some players will miss out on opportunities most teams are washed down with players who should not be playing on those teams anyway.

Providing there is no immediate change about to happen with this Lockout in the coming month, there is some exciting hockey coming especially to CHL teams and AHL teams. The one that I am about to discuss further is the OKC Barons. The reason? The Oilers are developing their future in OKC. If and that is a big IF, Hall gets cleared eventually and gets sent to OKC as well, this team will be lights out!

This year continues to be about development and if the lockout ends say sometime in December, the Oilers will likely have had Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Jordon Eberle, Taylor Hall, Justin Schultz all primed up and ready to go. They will likely have continued to build their chemistry,  therefore not wasting part of a year of development waiting for a lockout to end. In addition the bonus is, they will be playing with others on the Barons roster like Magnus Paajarvi, Teemu Hartikainen, Anton Lander and Tyler Pitlick.

The greatest benefactor is going to be the fans in OKC. Will they show up in higher numbers to see a elite level AHL team? Highly debatable, however it's good on the faithful fans that have been paying and going to their games regardless. The second biggest winner will be those AHL players who are on the edge of making it to the NHL. It can do nothing but positive things for the Oilers organization. 
Just looking into the possibilities myself but between radio and live streaming hockey games, I am one fan who will just spend more time on the OKC Barons website, message boards etc...

I have heard some rumblings that some are concerned Nail Yakupov is headed to Russia to play in the KHL. I don't think the concern is him playing somewhere other then Sarnia but more they seem worried if he will return to the NHL when this lockout ends. IMO, even if Yakupov stayed the full year in the KHL, it would only make him more prepared for the following year. Playing with men rather then boys would only push him to learn more of a team and all around game. For those worrying about him returning to the NHL, Yakupov wants to play in the best league in the world and should he stay for a year in the KHL and not report for this year, his ELC would not start til the following year anyway. Until he starts playing in the NHL he is Oilers property and his ELC will not start til he does. Yakupov wants to prove he is the best, and that can only be done with the best league in the world.

For Oiler prospect news and the 2013 or 2014 NHL draft watch, go to

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Edmonton Oilers Young Stars Head To Oklahoma City

The Edmonton Oilers assigned several players down to Oklahoma City today to play with the Barons during the NHL lockout. This is great news for Barons fans.

Here is the official press release from the Oilers;

"Edmonton Oilers General Manager Steve Tambellini announced today the club has assigned the following players to Oklahoma City of the American Hockey League.

Cameron Abney
Mark Arcobello
Tyler Bunz
Dane Byers
Philippe Cornet
Yann Danis
Brandon Davidson
Jordan Eberle
Taylor Fedun
Curtis Hamilton
Teemu Hartikainen
Tanner House
Anton Lander
Martin Marincin
Ryan Martindale
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins
Magnus Paajarvi
Kristians Pelss
Tyler Pitlick
Alex Plante
Toni Rajala
Olivier Roy
Justin Schultz
Colten Teubert
Antti Tyrvainen
Chris VandeVelde

Tambellini also announced defenceman David Musil has been assigned to the Vancouver Giants of the Western Hockey League and forward Nail Yakupov has been assigned to the Sarnia Sting of the Ontario Hockey League


"Pondering the future of the Oilers" pt1

  1. This past summer, I was able to get away to my Cousin's cabin on the Shuswap Lake in B.C. Having time to rest and ponder can be both good and bad. The good part was, I got lots of rest time during my week, time to catch some fun in the sun and maybe get a bit of a tan while at it.

You know your a fan of hockey that while on the water in beautiful sunshine, your holding out hope that the potential lockout will not come to fruition. How can something so trivial occupy my head space at a incredible time like that? I tried to come up with idea's on stories, tried to follow the young prospects getting ready for camp in only a few weeks. Nothing! Had no motivation at all, just because I was worried, I was about to miss some exciting hockey to start the year.

Think about it, ever since the 2010 draft with...
 Taylor Hall
There has been excitement about hockey in Oil Country since Taylor joined the club. There should be! Adding a #1 NHL Draft pick is nothing to sneeze at. Talk shows and the conversation everywhere was all about if we picked the right guy. He had the pedigree but was he going to help a team who desperately needed a center? With Development Camp in late June, early July each year, free agency on July 1st, we basically only had to wait from about July 15th-August 15th before Oiler players started turning up in the city for Perry Pearn's 3on3 camp.

The excitement in 2011 was the same with...
 Ryan Nugent-Hopkins
Once again, talk shows were all over the stories. Was Ryan big enough to play in the NHL at 18 when he was only 164 lbs coming out of the WHL playoffs? That along with the fact the city was excited about drafting a centermen, the talk was constant all the way through to the new season. A plethora of free agent signings and it was hard to not be able to talk about Oilers hockey.

Off-season 2012, the excitement continued as the Oilers won the lottery and were handed a a free gift in the likes of...
 Nail Yakupov
This guy not only made things exciting, for Oil Country on the ice, but also off the ice. The conversations on twitter, his interviews , all were a blast as Oil Country embraced this Charismatic Russian. We enjoyed development camp and then came the signing of...
Justin Schultz

Justin had his prime choice of almost every team in the NHL but in the end choose the Edmonton Oilers for what I am sure is a variety of reasons. Bottom line? It doesn't matter, cause he is a Edmonton Oiler now!

How can Oiler fans be anything but excited? In 5 years time, the Oilers have added Jordon Eberle, Magnus Paajarvi, Taylor Hall, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Nail Yakupov and now Justin Schultz. While the last two players still have lots to prove as does Paajarvi, the cast is starting to shape into a resemblance of something exciting.

Add to the mix, Jeff Petry, Oscar Klefbom, Teemu Hartikainen and a future goalie in Tyler Bunz now turning Pro, it makes for some excitement everywhere. The Oilers have some exciting development going on at all levels. From the NHL, AHL, ECHL, the CHL and NCAA hockey to even the SEL. Is there excitement? You bet your bottom end there is, however it's difficult to get excited about something you can't watch isn't it? And why is that? Because of $$$$$$$!

Who's side am I taking on this? Not happy with the NHL Commissioner or the NHLPA representative Donald Fehr. Both waited til last minute and then take hard lines in the sand affecting who the most? Those of us who have made the game of hockey what it is today. The FANS!!! Without fan interest, there is no big pay cheque for anybody. Believe me, if I could, I would forfeit hockey, take my money and walk. Problem is, to make a point, we fans would have to sacrifice the most and we know it is not going to happen. 

At this point of time I feel like the rabbit and the NHL and NHLPA are the bear  


For Oiler prospect news and the 2013 or 2014 NHL draft watch, go to

Friday, September 14, 2012

Is Ryan Nugent-Hopkins Gretzkyesque?

Before you shoot the messenger, I am in no way saying Nugent-Hopkins will or ever can match what the 'Great One' did in the record books. It's the way they both play the game. It's the way they move on the ice, see the ice, glide on the ice and let their actions speak more then their voice.

Here is a video clip of some of what Gretzky looked like on the ice during his days as a Oiler. I can not but help myself,  to notice so many similarities between the way they play the game. 

Wayne Gretzky

 As an 18-year-old NHL rookie in 1979, he was conspicuously underweight at just 160 pounds. Many critics stated at that time that Gretzky was "too small, too wiry, and too slow to be a force in the NHL". Although he managed to increase his weight to 185 pounds by the end of his career in 1999, that was still much less than the NHL average. Gretzky always finished dead last in peripheral vision, flexibility and strength for early season testing with the Oilers, and could only bench press 140 pounds. Gretzky had such an uncanny ability to judge the position of the other players on the ice that many suspected he enjoyed some kind of extrasensory perception.  Gretzky said he sensed other players more than he actually saw them. His intelligence and reading of the game was unrivaled, and he could consistently anticipate where the puck was going to be and execute the right move at the right time. Gretzky seemed to be able to, in effect, slow down time.  most elite athletes have "more room in the flow of time" than ordinary athletes. 

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins is a special player that only answers the bell when critics try to pick away at his game or his ability to perform at the next level. Take a look in this clip at the way Nugent-Hopkins plays on the ice and you will notice once again some similarities in the way they both play.

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins 

Ryan was questioned if at barely 6'1 and 164 lbs he could withstand the rigours of the NHL as a 18 year old. 4 months later Nugent-Hopkins started the season at 174 lbs and went on to display the same skills at the NHL level as he did in the WHL. This year, reports are coming out saying Ryan is now weighing in at 185 lbs. That would put him at Gretzky's size when he was wrapping up his career. Ryan has the intangibles required to battle in the corners with guys much larger then him, and more often than not, RNH comes out with the puck. He doesn't shy away from battling bigger players. Ryan is brilliant with his edge work and has the ability to out-manoeuvre defenders. His balance is notable. Most often he will be engaged from the back along the sideboards, stay up, and slide off the contact. Ryan's puck skills are elite and enough can't be said with what he does with the puck. His combination of vision, hands, and passing ability are a sight to see and separate him from other players.

With his elite hockey sense and agility, RNH does things at a quick and efficient pace while creating a ton of offense. When watching him on the ice you will notice he keeps his head up at all times, like his head is on a swivel, which helps him avoid checks but also gives him that uncanny ability to get passes through sticks and players to his open man who in most cases has a open net.

He is a perfectionist, who has a strong work ethic and gives lots of attention to detail. RNH is a cerebral player who can fool you when watching him. Just when you think you have kept him at bay, the puck is in the net. An underrated strength he has is his commitment to defence. He works hard to be in the right position and his stick in the right lanes. RNH makes the game look simple and slow out on the ice. He is a Very focused player. Hard worker and humble

For Oiler prospect news and the 2013 or 2014 NHL draft watch, go to

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

A Trio Of Oilers Playing Nice With The Red Wings?

Shawn Horcoff and Corey Potter are in Detroit right now and while there, they are participating in an informal skate with the Detroit Red Wings to get their skating legs under them.

While this isn't big news or anything, cause its happening all over the league, I can only imagine the rumors that could start because of it. Eklund could eat this up.

"Horcoff and Potter are being scouted by the Wings! Trade imminent."

Haha! Oiler fans could only be so lucky.

The third Oiler is Nail Yakupov and is also skating with that crew but isn't in the picture below. I wonder how they are treating the 1st overall pick? Is he recognizable in Motor City? When is he coming back to Edmonton?

We all have our fingers crossed that the NHL season gets underway soon. Well it better! I don't know how much longer I can look at Potter with a Wings jersey on. Seriously... Horcoff didn't have an extra in his bag?


*Photo courtesy of Bill Roose follow @Bill_Roose on twitter*


Tyler Pitlick
195 lbs

Season         GP   G   A   PTS   TEAM
2007/2008    21    23  23  46       Centennial High
2008/2009    25    31  33  64       Centennial High
2009/2010    38    11  8    19       Minnesota State University
2010/2011    56    27  35  62       Medicine Hat Tigers
2011/2012    62    7   16   23       OKC Barons

Some people already have considered Tyler to be a flop for a player that was not even expected to drop out of the 1st round of the NHL entry draft. Others looked at his injuries and adjustment to the pro game as a 'wait and see'. Then on the other hand, there are others that feel now that he is healthy and seemingly catching onto the pro game and he is poised for a big season in OKC with the Barons.

Last season Tyler was really starting to come on strong in his game. Coach Nelson has commented several times he likes his work ethic and his ability to play a two way game. At one point the Oilers were looking at him as a Center but that appears all behind now and they are working on grooming him more into a power forward. While not a overly big guy, Tyler is strong and should he come into camp this year beefed up some while not losing a step speed wise, this could be his year. In fact , let me go further and even say, this HAS too be his year if he plans to crack the Edmonton Oilers NHL Squad anytime soon.

Providing Tyler can stay healthy and with his work ethic, one would think this could be a very nice year for this 31st Overall pick.

Last August 2011 I wrote the following at Oilers Jamabalya......

Pitlick is eligible to play in the AHL this year if the club decides to go in that direction, however there’s a decent chance he heads back to the WHL’s Medicine Hat Tigers, especially if they are willing to use him at center (he played on the right side for much of last season). He is a hard-working forward who is listed as a center and right winger, but played wing for most of the season. A incredible tough player to get off the puck. Very confident (some could say cocky) but has ability and mad skills to back it up. He's a solid skater with a good first step who can get to a decent top speed, plays a grinder-style game. Pitlick has good size, isn’t afraid of getting physical and has a tremendous shot.

He also has a clue defensively, which will bode well if he needs to break into the league as a checking forward. Pitlick does well cycling the puck , shielding the puck effectively and has solid vision to be able to move the puck well when a hole opens up in the defensive coverage. Can definitely be a pure goal scorer in this league as future potential.

Tyler will need to be more selective in his offensive attempts so as not to get caught out of position to often. Wants to play in the AHL this year but if opportunity is there with his WHL team this year to play center , the Oilers may just do that, as the AHL team is loaded with alot of good players. Pitlick is coming off a serious ankle injury, and still adjusting to a longer schedule. He will need to endure a lengthy campaign, and stay healthy in order to further his development in the organization.

 REVS TAKE: Tyler is a determined player and does have the hockey sense and the skills to back it up. Biggest question for me remains can he stay healthy. A healthy season and I say he is definitely PROSPECT

For Oiler prospect news and the 2013 or 2014 NHL draft watch, go to

Two Guys & Hockey Talk NHL News (CLICK PIC FOR LINK)

The Faithful Followers

Oilers Jambalaya is in no way, shape or form associated with the Edmonton Oilers or the Bakersfield Condors. This is a fans blog for fans. We happen to love those teams, so we write about them.