Friday, June 8, 2012

The Case for Justin Schultz

As we all know, the Edmonton Oilers are in great need for a defenceman. Some people in Oil Country are thinking of Steve Tambellini drafting a young defenceman at the NHL Entry Draft in Pittsburgh this June, and with good reason. It became apparent to everyone that the Oilers need a good defender in the top 4, who can move the puck over the course of this past NHL Regular Season, as well as before. However, it seems that most people are forgetting about one person in particular whom the Oilers will send a major pitch for. His name is Justin Schultz of the Anaheim Ducks.

   Schultz, was drafted by Anaheim in 2008, 43rd Overall (second round), and has been playing for the University of Wisconsin Badgers in the WCHA and, was named to the All-WCHA Team this past season, as well as last season. At 6’ 1” 185lbs, he would be a good pick-up for the Edmonton Oilers. has said of Schultz;
 “He has a complete offensive game, capable of igniting plays from his own zone, carrying the puck through the neutral zone and making confident, creative plays in the offensive zone”.

   But how will the Oilers go about acquiring him? Right now, they have two options: they could wait for him to go to Free-Agency on July 1st or, they could make a trade to acquire him from the Ducks now. In my opinion, it could be pretty risky to wait until July 1st, as there will definitely be many teams vying for his signature on a contract. So, the second option would probably be the better of the two. But who/what does Edmonton give up? To me, Omark will be leaving Edmonton this off-season anyway, as he requested a trade after the season ended so, he is a good start. Omark was drafted by the Edmonton Oilers in the 4th Round of the 2007 NHL Entry Draft, 97th Overall. Omark, as we all have seen in Oil Country, he has some great potential as an offensive player, and would fit well in the Anaheim Ducks organization. Is he a Top-6 NHLer? That remains to be seen but, he is definitely a gifted player. He would probably do good to be in a different organization as well. Also, if the Oilers are serious about acquiring Justin Schultz (which they are), they may even offer a Draft Pick in the deal. I think that the 63rd Overall Pick in the 3rd Round would be the highest that they would send, if they were to also include a Draft Pick in the deal.

   Now even if the trade was consummated, it is not a 100% thing that Schultz would sign with Edmonton, but it isn’t a big risk. Think about it. Who in their right mind would not want to have a chance to play with Taylor Hall, Jordan Eberle, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, (Nail Yakupov) and the rest of this talented core of Edmonton Oilers?! Schultz will want a multi-year deal, probably 2-3 years, which isn’t a problem for the Oilers as they do have some cap space right now. It is also speculated that the NHL Salary Cap will go up to U.S. $70 Million+ with the new CBA next season which, will help the Oilers to retain all this talent in the long run.

   So Oilers Fans, it is apparent to me that the Oilers management will make a pitch to the Ducks for Schultz, which would make it MUCH easier for them to nail Yakupov at the NHL Entry Draft with their historic 3rd consecutive 1st Overall Pick. Be it before or after the Draft, we in Oil Country may see OUR team get the two players we need and want this off-season. Times are indeed beginning to be good to be Oilers fans.

   Go Oilers, Go!!!  

By Paul Neumann

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

'New Head Coach next up?'

Who will be the Edmonton Oilers next Head Coach?

I am pretty convinced that with everything that has transpired , in the end it will be Brent Sutter. Tamby tells the media the next coach will have to be able to take the team into the next phase of the rebuild. Don't think that means any current staff. Appearance must show within the Oilers organization that everyone has a chance. Does this not happen every training camp as well? The Oilers want each player to feel like they are competing for a spot opening night. We all know, unless they play better then the veterans, they won't be in the opening season game.

We also see this with call-ups. Good foot soldiers on the farm team who are veterans get a call here or there. Giroux last year, Green this year. You can write a book on the list of names. It's all about appearance. He also spoke about the next coach continuing to teach the team but motivate the team as well. Does that sound like anyone we currently employ on this team? Nope. Do I like Ralph? Absolutely. Do I think he would be good for the Oilers as the next Head Coach? Yup! However , I don't think the Edmonton Oilers do. This is all about paying 'lip service'

Tamby and Lowe talk about Nelson in OKC as well as 2 other coaches in the AHL. We all know they were currently playing and under contract so the name could not be mentioned. From my viewpoint, I see a cover up. It's Brent Sutter and I just wish they would say as much. If he was hired immediately, that would look bad on the Oilers.I mean, how can a GM whose contract is running out, tell a Head Coach whose contract is running out, he won't be returning unless he has a verbal agreement already in place?

It's no different with the whole 1st pick overall , three years running now. Every year, they act like they don't know and there are other players in the mix. In interviews, they have come right out later on and said, 'we knew by......'. They also know this year, but it's all about perception and leverage. They knew it was Hall when they brought him to Edmonton. They knew it was Nugent-Hopkins before he was invited and they knew it was Yakupov when they won the lottery.

Could something change to have the Oilers select someone else other then Sutter? Sure, but who? Really the choices are all risks and at least with Sutter, you have a coach who believes in this core group, the philosophy of the rebuild , can motivate, and keeps the game pretty simple. Not to mention, he actually is not a bad tactical coach. Also Tamby talked about how great a job Darryl has done in LA. You think he is not hinting at something? I can read between the lines.

Don't give me this, what has he done business. If they hired Crawford, people would be upset. What has he done? Won a Stanley Cup! But is it not, 'what have you done for me lately business?' Every successful coach in the last few years is wrapped up on a contract and unavailable. Hire within and who says they can win? Hire a AHL coach and people will freak if they falter and blame the bad coaching. Safest bet? BRENT SUTTER!

Brent Sutter? If your listening Brent and reading this blog, remember I am your biggest fan. Coach well and I will cheer for you, coach bad and I will boo you. Why? Cause that is what us fans do. My best advice in Oilerville though? Treat Hall, Eberle, Nugent-Hopkins and our new #1OV pick (Yakupov) right and with fear and trembling. If you don't , all the City will come crumbling down on you and beat on you like the Albertan you are. Last piece of advice? Beat Calgary 75% of the time and you will be hailed as the next 'Coach of the Year' in Oil Country.

Welcome to Oil Country Brent Sutter!

(should the Oilers not hire you, my apologies for jinxing your chance)
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Congrats To The LA Kings!!! 2012 Stanley Cup Champs

Here at Oilers Jambalaya, we would like to extend our congratulations to the Los Angeles Kings on becoming the 2012 Stanley Cup Champions.

We also congratulate former Edmonton Oiler players Jarrett Stoll, Matt Greene, Dustin Penner and Colin Fraser on a job well done.

We also can't forget goaltending coach Bill Ranford either. He's obviously done a wonderful job helping Jonathon Quick find his Conn Smythe performance.

Congrats Kings! You deserve it.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

How Does He Feel Right Now? A Year Later

It's no secret to Oiler fans on how and why Ryan Smyth became an Oiler for the second time in his career last year. He asked the LA Kings for a trade to Edmonton.

He simply wanted to come "home".

Now that his former team is one win away from winning the greatest championship a professional player could ever win (IMHO), how does he feel now about his decision now? Any regrets?

It would probably bug me to death watching my former teammates win the Stanley Cup without me, especially if you have never won before. I couldn't imagine how crushing that would feel.

I feel bad for Ryan Smyth. I really do. His former team will win the cup, and his current team finished 2nd to last in the league.

Bottom line, it was his choice to come back, but it still sucks to have to watch this.

Who knows... maybe he's not even tuning in?


Saturday, June 2, 2012

"Oilers Potential Draft Targets"

While there are some out there in Oilerland who can feed you deeper info on draft picks past the second round, I am not one of those. Each year I follow close to 50 prospects draft eligible across the world but mostly of course in the CHL. Following any more at any length would take up a whole lot of time and God knows, I spend enough time, year round on following prospects that are draft eligible in addition to those drafted already by the Edmonton Oilers.

I mentioned the list below a few blogs back so wanted to revisit the list today with Combine wrapping up and draft time quickly arriving. This list is what I believe would represent players the Oilers are interested in should there be a chance to draft one of them.


1) Nail Yakupov
2) Alex Galchenyuk
3) Ryan Murray
4) Morgan Rielly
5) Mikhail Grigorenko
6) Griffin Reinhart
7) Jacob Trouba
8) Radek Faksa
9) Olli Maatta
10) Brendan Gaunce
11) Zemgus Girgensons
12) Tom Wilson
13) Derrick Pouliot
14) Henrik Samuelsson
15) Slater Koekkoek

This list is a idea of really the top 2 picks at this years 2012 NHL Entry Draft. In other words, the Oilers will pick 1st or trade down maybe 2-4 picks and then get a second pick by the 31st pick OV. My guess is that the Oilers will select the 1OV as the asking price will be too high for other teams and the gamble will be too much of a factor to not pick Nail Yakupov. However let's go over the list of possibilities, even if I don't like some of those.

Possibility #1:
Oilers select Nail Yakupov as 1st OV then try to find a defencemen or potential big centermen but more likely a large power forward with 2nd pick.

Possibility #2: 
Oilers take Yakupov at #1 and then trade up from 31 by adding a prospect or current Oiler roster player

Possibility #3:
Oilers trade with Columbus and then select Murray with second pick. They will wait it out til #31 and go with BPA with hope that a power forward is available. (of course if this trade happens it would mean Marc Methot or Ryan Johansen is a Oiler)

Possibility #4:
Trade with Montreal and select Murray/Galchenyuk and or Grigorenko at that spot and in that order of availability. Next pick would be aimed at a big power forward still (This would mean that the Oilers have gotten PK Subban)

Possibility #5:
Trade picks with Islanders and take Murray, Galchenyuk or Grigorenko at that spot and in that order of availability. (This would mean the Islanders have likely traded Strome to the Oilers to make that happen)

Possibility #6:
I see no trade possibility with Toronto unless they were to do a Schenn, #5 pick and their 2nd round selection in exchange for #1 OV. (I highly doubt Toronto would throw in the 2nd round selection but anything less would not be worthwhile gamble for the Oilers)

 My prediction? 
1st pick: Nail Yakupov
2nd pick:Tom Wilson OR Henrik Samuelsson 

*Should the Oilers want a centermen it is possible they could try to trade up for a centre men like Faksa or Girgensons. If they have a good chance to get a good defencemen they could trade up also to snag one of Maatta, Ceci or Koekkoek. Maatta will not last past top 10 IMO.

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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.