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Hot Links: Monday, January 20

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Oilers off until Battle of Alberta II on January 29th, but at least it’s warm!

Arizona Coyotes v Edmonton Oilers Photo by Andy Devlin/NHLI via Getty Images

Morning, folks!

It’s warmer so the links are earlier. Won’t be long before we’re entirely back on schedule probably.

The Oilers are off for about a year, so what’s to talk about?

Well, the Oilers head into their lengthy hiatus on a nice little heater, running at a 6-1-1 clip in their last 8 games. Their depth scorers are contributing more, with guys like Riley Sheahan and Josh Archibald factoring in on the score sheet. Mike Smith is in the midst of a purple patch, too, going 5-0-0 with four of those games at or above 0.900%.

What else, what else what else....?

This broke somewhere around the start of the third period of the Oilers’ matinee win over Arizona on the weekend. It ruined the game for me. How couldn’t it?

I then spent the rest of the weekend having different versions of the same conversation with different versions of the same Oilers fan. I cannot believe in 2020 I’m still having to explain to fans of THIS TEAM, why it would be absolute madness to pay almost $4MM for a guy over four years who couldn’t make $2MM at 26. For a guy who was healthy scratched and given permission to speak to other teams and seek a future elsewhere on last year’s Oilers team. (You remember them, right, the team with the historically bad bottom six?) For a guy who’s never hit 30 points in the NHL. For a guy who’s currently DOUBLING his career shooting percentage. For a guy who’s never held down a regular role in any team’s top six (we’re talking teams like Buffalo, Vancouver and Edmonton here folks) before somehow falling ass backwards into the best spot in hockey. For a guy who apparently ‘wants to be here’ so long as the Oilers pay him 100% of what he’s worth.

I’d want to be wherever I get paid the most, too, I think. Especially if, as a bonus, I’d get Connor McDavid on my line to boot. Especially if the deal I sign FORCES the team to play me with McDavid to have any chance to cover the bet.

If you think I’m catastrophizing, go look at Justin Abdelkader’s contract.

Then remember that the Oilers have two more ‘stable vets’ in Adam Larsson and Kris Russell that either need to be gone or need new deals in the next little while. I know what I’d pick, and what they should pick, but I’m not even kind of confident Ken Holland does.

I can’t believe it. I’m so fucking tired. It’s exhausting. I’ve been having these same conversations with the same fans for a decade. How the hell are we still here?! How the hell are we still doing this?!

Anyway, at least we’ll have the next week to talk about it.

Stay warm. Eat Arby’s.

From Us

Edmonton Heads Into Break With 7-3 Win Against Arizona (Copper and Blue)

From Elsewhere

31 Thoughts Podcast: Talking To Coyotes President And CEO Ahron Cohen (Sportsnet)

Red Hot Edmonton Oilers Savouring Bye Week (Sun)

Oilers Assign Benning To AHL For Conditioning Stint (Oilersnation)

LAING: Well, Now What? (Oilersnation)

The Swing (Oilersnation)

The Heart Of Saturday Night (Lowetide)

REPORT: Oilers, Kassian Closing In On Contract (Oilers Rig)

For Money

Lowetide: With The Oilers’ Minor-League Goaltending Not Good Enough, Ilya Konovalov Might Be The Answer (Athletic)

Josh Archibald, Riley Sheahan Show The Upward Trend Of Ken Holland’s Offseason Moves For The Oilers (Athletic)