Wild @ Oilers Game 61 Preview

Only the idiotic will cheer your departure. - Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports

On with the show.


Minnesota

@

Oilers3
31-21-7, 1.17 p/g Ranks 20-33-7, .784 p/g
Western Conference: 7th Western Conference: 14th
10th P/G 29th
27th ST 26th
11th ES 28th
9th Goal 30th
7:30 PM MDT - Sportsnet West
Rexall Place
The opposing view: Hockey Wilderness


WE ARE BACK

The Winter Olympics were a nice diversionary tactic from this year's Edmonton Oilers season. The Oilers have 22 games remaining. Stick with your optimistic friends at Copper and Blue for step-by-step coverage throughout the remainder of the season and into the infinite rebuild. We've got you covered.

The Oilers are saying

There's been a considerable amount of hot air blown about this team since the Olympics have ended. Here's something from the GM.

"It's not rocket science where we are right now and what our strategy is going to be moving forward...We've got a number of guys that are UFAs that are veteran players that are going to illicit (sic) attention around the league from teams that are preparing for a playoff run that will be in all of those conversations. It's a tough market to predict tat this point, but we'll be having those discussions."
"I'd be disappointed if we weren't able to get our second or a third rounder back and potentially more than that . If we're sitting at the draft with our first pick and then we're not picking again until the fourth round, I think that'd be disappointing so that's exactly what we're going to try and do, is get those picks back"

That's Oilers general manager Craig MacTavish on where the Oilers stand a week before the NHL's Trade Deadline.

A second and a third? Whoa there, fella. While we're living so high on the hog, can we get some extra sprinkles on our hot fudge sundae?

Teams that buy expiring UFAs are usually teams that are contending. A second round pick on a contender is probably somewhere in the 50s, while a third rounder is probably somewhere in the 80s.

I don't think I need to tell you who I think would be the first candidate to be dealt for a second round pick would be. It's going to be fun to cheer for Hemsky on a contender, though. This also leads me to believe that MacTavish won't try and move Sam Gagner until the Summer (if at all).

The Opponent is saying

"Let's be honest, there's no question we want him to get back, he's a huge part of our team...but at the same time, when we get him back, we want to have him in the lineup at 100 percent or at the very least very close to that. More importantly we want to have him back for the rest of the season."
That's Minnesota Wild coach Mike Yeo on Mikko Koivu, who hasn't seen action since January 4th due to a fractured ankle. Although Koivu has missed significant time, he remains the team's third leading scorer (8-27-35).

Have some of this
  • Edmonton cruised into the Olympic break on a 5-1-1 run thanks largely in part to the incredible play of their goaltenders. The Wild average just under 27 shots per game, so with that in mind I'm thinking they amass around 40 shots against the Oilers. Look sharp, Scrivens!
  • Ales Hemsky on 2LW? Perron on the third line? Yakupov on line one? Line blender in full effect.
  • You'd think the team would try something other than Ryan Smyth at 4C, but here we are. Smyth is just fine on wing, but causes all kinds of questions down the middle.
  • Ference/Fraser appears to once again be a thing. Maybe I was being nice when I said "40 shots against"
  • The Wild have acquired forward Brad Winchester from Chicago for defenceman Brian Connelly. Winchester is not expected to play in today's game.
  • SO YOU'RE SAYIN' THERE'S A CHANCE: Wild goaltender Niklas Backstrom has a .928 SV% in 30 career games against the Oilers.

The Minnesota Wild

Zach Parise - Mikael Granlund - Jason Pominville

Dany Heatley - Charlie Coyle - Justin Fontaine

Matt Cooke - Kyle Brodziak - Nino Niederreiter

Stephane Veilleux - Erik Haula - Torrey Mitchell

Ryan Suter - Jared Spurgeon

Jonas Brodin - Nate Prosser

Clayton Stoner - Keith Ballard

Niklas Backstrom

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The Edmonton Oilers

Taylor Hall - Ryan Nugent-Hopkins - Nail Yakupov

Ales Hemsky - Sam Gagner - Jordan Eberle

Matt Hendricks - Boyd Gordon - David Perron

Luke Gazdic - Ryan Smyth - Ryan Jones

Andrew Ference - Mark Fraser

Jeff Petry - Martin Marincin

Nick Schultz - Justin Schultz

Ben Scrivens

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