It's been forever and a day since the Oilers weren't relying on rookies to start too early and do too much. This year will be no different. Though Jeff Petry technically isn't a rookie, he's only got 35 games under his belt. It's likely that he'll see significant playing time this season and with an injury or two, he's going to see tough minutes.
Though Petry's not Calder eligible, the Oilers have a variety of players who are and many of them may well play 30-50 games in 2011-12. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, the man the franchise is treating like a bonus baby; Anton Lander, the Swedish version of Bob Gainey; Teemu Hartikainen, the plowhorse that can't be held back; Alex Plante, the former first-round pick and Colten Teubert, the return on Dustin Penner.
Today we probe the panel to find out which Calder-eligible prospect will make the team as a regular.
Our lineup this time includes Pat, from Black Dog Hates Skunks, the blogosphere's version of David Mamet, Jeff Chapman, the big brain behind Oil On Whyte, Shepso and BCB, the philosopher kings from Bringing Back The Glory, Jerconjake, the insightful man behind Oil Acumen, Smokin' Ray, the only man covering the Oilers, Barons and Thunder and he does it all at Oilers Jambalaya, dawgbone98, 'sphere regular and resident lacrosse and hockey tactics expert, and sumoil, Copper & Blue's resident CHL tracker, the only man breaking down the top CHL prospects through detailed statistical tracking.
Today's Roundtable Question: Which player with less than thirty NHL regular season games will play the most for the Oilers this season?
Smokin' Ray: I would have to say Ryan Nugent-Hopkins will play the most. Since the team is basically set, the only real rookie that could make the team is RNH. I'd bet he plays at least 60 games.
Now if we were talking about a 35 game guy, then that would include Jeff Petry. He doesn't really count for this question, but I can see him staying here for the season.
BCB: Anton Lander. He is the only player on our list; since both Chorney and Petry have played more thirty games and Hartikainen is buried deep under the depth of veteran left-wingers.
Shepso: Agreed, Lander is the only one. The wings are too loaded for Harski to catch a break this year. If it ends up being O’Marra or VV, then it means another tank job, and I am so sick of watching suck.
Dawgbone: I'm hopeful it's either Harksi or Lander. That would mean Hopkins spends another season in the WHL and that our blueline is healthy (and good enough????) to not need a guy like Teubert, Chorney or Plante to do it. If it's anyone other than those two (or RNH), that means this team got decimated by injuries.
SumOil: I think it’s a toss up between Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Anton Lander. If Nugent-Hopkins stays then its him for obvious reasons. However, if he is sent back, then my bet is on Lander. I expect Gilbert Brule to take over the 4th line center role once Nugent-Hopkins is sent down. Then I expect Brule to get injured and Chris Vandevelde to be called up. However Vandevelde will end up being ineffective and next option will be Lander who should be getting rave reviews from the Oklahoma City media/coaches for his steady and smart play.
BDHS Pat: Oh good one. Depends on Nugent Hopkins. If he stays up then its him. If not then its Hartikainen. I’m thinking Nugent Hopkins stays.
Jeff Chapman: I really wanted to pick a defenceman. My first two guesses on the blue have just over thirty games in the NHL, and unless all hell breaks loose again, I don't think Colten Teubert sees the light of day in Edmonton this season. I'm going to guess Hartikainen will get the first (and possibly, longest) call-up if something funky happens on the wing.
Jerconjake: Ryan Nugent-Hopkins