The biggest news of this week is of course the 2011 NHL Entry Draft. Of course the Edmonton Oilers selected first overall. For their first selection, the Oilers took Ryan Nugent-Hopkins
In Copper & Blue news, our very own Scott Reynolds was on Nation Radio this past Saturday. Scott could have sounded a little holier, as Derek suggested, if he had a choir singing in the background, or even some continual harp music. When discussing the Oilers' recently signed Finnish player Antti Tyrvainen, Scott said "Well he's Matt Cooke." Scott discussed draft eligible players including Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Adam Larsson, and other defensmen.
The Oilers' pre-season schedule has been released. It is extremely disappointing that there were no games against the new Winnipeg team. Of course I want to call this team the Jets, and you may even catch me doing it while I am unaware. We anxiously await the new name and logo for this team. The interesting parts of the schedule are of course the split squad games. What those mean are that half of the team will be playing on the road and half in Rexall. It's a pretty safe bet that the Oilers' first overall draft pick Ryan Nugent-Hopkins will be on the home team Tuesday September 20th.
Oilers' GM Steve Tambellini had a press conference on Tuesday morning. In it, he didn't really answer any questions fans may have. There was talk that trades may happen in the scouts felt passionate about a player and didn't think that they could acquire them where they stood, but at the same time, they were unwilling to trade their young players. I also took this to mean that he is still fielding calls about Jordan Eberle. Tambellini did say that Ales Hemsky is healthy and excited to start the season. He has two healthy shoulders and sees a bright future. Tambellini did also mention the Ryan Smyth to Edmonton rumours, but due to those darn tampering rules, had to say that it was business between Smyth and the Kings. The deal seemed to change, looking as though Calgary may land Smyth, then Edmonton, then Calgary again. It has become clear that there was indeed a deal in place, but it wasn't finalized. I am trying to be like Ben and believing that if it is possible, a deal will be made.
In case there was any doubt in anyone's mind I would be one of the first people at the airport welcoming Smytty home. I would bring him a welcome wagon basket or bake him some welcome back home brownies. I think it's also clear that the Kings wouldn't be looking for much in return as they may or may not have some money issues if they go after a big fish this summer. Oilers fans have been on the other side of that coin before, but Smyth does have one year remaining on his contract, and is not a UFA.
NHL columnist and former Oilers' beat writer Robin Brownlee suggested earlier this week that Sheldon Souray should be given another chance with the Oilers. Brownlee does bring up some interesting points, but I can't see Tambellini doing it. With one year left on his contract, if Tambo can't make a deal I can see him being bought out.
In Nikolai Khabibulin news, the goaltender may not be in the clear even though he has filed an appeal to his court ruling. This week a complaint has been filed in court against Nikolai Khabibulin due to "non-compliance" with his case. What this means, well thanks to David Staples I have a better idea now. According to information received from Peter Kosednar of the ScottsdaleArizonaNews and told The Cult of Hockey "The Scottsdale City Court told me that it has to do with the Alcohol Screening Classes. No arrest warrant has been issued. No new court date set - yet." So, this story is still not over, but since the Oilers' season is over, one might think that Khabi would have the time to deal with this now?
The Oilers had a very successful draft this weekend in St. Paul. My feet are still sore, I'm still hungry and tired, and as you read this, I am likely on my way home. Derek has put together a great review of the draft from the Oilers perspective and you can look for more on the draft from me in the days to come.