Less than a month my friends, less than a month until the Edmonton Oilers begin their training camp on September 20th. At that point, we know that the season is truly just around the corner. In the meantime, oil country continues their breakdowns of exactly what happened last season, and what they think will happen next year. If only the predictions and projections were enough to take to the bank.
Expectations are high for all players this season, but there are of course a select group that will be under more scrutiny than others. With young and talented players waiting for their opportunity up the middle in Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Anton Lander, centreman Sam Gagner is one of those players that will be under the microscope. Some fans have soured on this young man within the past few years, I have not shied away from admitting that I have been far from his biggest fan, and even more fans seem to be making the switch daily. There are still a large number of fans that are Gagner supporters and see him with the Oilers in seasons to come."As a group, we're out to prove some people wrong," Gagner told Ryan Dittrick of edmontonoilers.com. Gagner discusses his personal and and team goals for this, his fifth professional season, all as an Oiler. "All everyone wants is to be on a winning team and to be a big part of it. There's an opportunity here for everyone to do that and make an impact." Gagner needs to make an impact. As David Staples notes, it seems that even the Oilers coaching staff may not be so sure of Gagner's role with the team.
The Oilers were also able to catch up with newly signed prospect Tyler Fedun. In case the summer has been too long, Fedun in the Princeton grad with an aerospace engineering degree. Fedun will continue where he left off last spring in Oklahoma City.
Taylor Hall is healthy, fit and as ready for the season to start as anyone reading this or joining Hall in the locker room. "I don't think you're going to see my game change at all.. I think you're going to see improvements. I'm not expecting a huge jump by any means, but I am expecting to be a major contributor this year," says Hall on his sophomore season to come. It's a good thing that Hall is expecting to be a major contributor, everyone else seems to be. Hall does have the talent and the supporting cast has been improved.
Tough guy Theo Peckham also caught up with the Oilers staff this week. "I thought I had a pretty good year... But you're only as good as your last game. Just getting my foot-speed and conditioning a little better and moving on from there will be good," Peckham recently spoke. Peckham has spent his summer training on and off of the ice. Working with Oilers' skating and skills coach Steve Serdachny Peckham hopes he has done enough to prepare him for what is to come.
The Edmonton Oilers have adjusted their professional scouting staff with the addition of a Sutter. No, not Daryl, Brian or Brent, but Duane. Sutter will join Semenko and hopefully help the Oilers prevent Patrick O`Sullivan trade returns before they even occur. I think that we would be pressed to find someone who is unhappy that the Oilers are looking to fix this branch of the organization. Bruce McCurdy takes a look at this signing at the Cult of Hockey.
There has been little news of Nikolai Khabibulin and his house arrest, in this situation let's hope that a no news is good news approach is best.
The NHL.com staff have decided to re-draft the NHL this summer, and with some hilarious results. The Oilers have selected first overall questionable return date Sidney Crosby, then the likes of Dany Heatley and Sheldon Souray as well as somehow making the Oilers goalie situation worse. Thankfully, this was all in fun.
The Oklahoma Barons will be playing in a smaller arena. No, they are not moving venues, but the Barons look to remove seating in the arena. I will admit, it looked depressing to see so little of the arena used when I was there last February, and since I have only attended two games at the Cox Convention Center in the first season of their existence. There is still hope that the crowds will grow in Oklahoma City, and Eric brings up some interesting pointsabout how other venues have dealt with sponsors and empty seats. This folks is another wait and see situation, and it reminds me of what the Edmonton Oil Kings do with the upper bowl of Rexall Place on game nights. The upper bowl of Rexall has large tarps that are spread out to close off sections that are not sold or used. Aesthetically I suppose it looks better, but it's painful to see so many empty seats at entertaining hockey games.
The Edmonton Oil Kings have opened their rookie training camp. The guys at coming down the pipe have put together an excellent listing of the players that are in attendance. The Oil Kings' training camp is in Fort Saskatchewan and open to the public. There is no fee, and a wrap up tournament will take place on Sunday if you are looking for a summer hockey fix.
Renney on Whitney’s injury: "There’s some trepidation there that it’s still a little tender." - Cult of Hockey Staples
Moreau, Strudwick, Pisani, Staios: any use for old Oilers warriors? - Cult of Hockey Staples
Futures Odds To Win The Stanley Cup - Copper & Blue Zona
Barons Season Review: Ryan O'Marra - Copper & Blue Rodgers
Going to Disneyland - Copper & Blue Reynolds
TEEMU HARTIKAINEN: A STEP BACK FOR HARSKI? - Oilers Nation Brownlee
RYAN WHITNEY: ABOUT THAT ANKLE . . . - Oilers Nation Brownlee
IRON IN HIS WORDS - Oilers Nation Lowetide
Omark: I want a regular spot in the Edmonton Oilers - Swedish Oil
Oilers' Schedule Woes 2012 Edition - Kukla's Korner McRitchie
Strudwick Waiting for Call - Lowetide
RE 11-12: Yann Danis - Lowetide
RE 11-12: Nikolai Khabibulin - Lowetide
RE 11-12: David LeNeveu - Lowetide
ETA Pitlick - Lowetide
Ten Second Tier Prospects That Hopefully Exceed Expectations, #6 Tyler Bunz - BBO
Development Players VI 'The Final Chapter' - Oilers Jambalaya