It’s GAMEDAY, as the city waits with baited breath to see whether Connor McDavid draws back into the lineup for tonight’s game with the waning Chicago Blackhawks. Oscar Klefbom left practice early, too, but I didn’t get the impression he was as likely to miss tonight’s game as McDavid was.
Of course, the team did its best to control the narrative after they left practice, sending a veritable army of reporters onto their smartphones with the exact same message — that their brief appearances were ‘the plan all along’.
One thing I know about ‘all along’ plans: you tend to know about them before ‘the thing’ happens. It would be easier to believe them had they mentioned this plan before practice, rather than via a human centipede of reporters eating the same piece of shit from Oilers PR and passing it along after two of their most important players left early.
Perhaps I’m being a bit unfair to the club here, but at the same time, am I? Remember when we were lead to believe that McDavid had a boo-boo when in fact his leg was absolutely frigged?!
Anyway, I digress.
More discussion about the Darnell Nurse extension, including: Why? How? What does it all mean moving forward?
Jason Zucker was among the more desirable targets for an in-season addition but that ship has sailed on through to Pittsburgh, with the two teams making a high-profile swap last night that saw the Penguins pay a pretty penny for his services.
Sunil did a deep dive into the Western Conference, noting that outside of St. Louis and Colorado, there are no other powerhouses in the conference. He digs into the numbers a little more and notes that the Pacific Division is ripe for the taking for our heroes.
That’ll do it for the high notes today, folks, so get yourselves acquainted with them and get your asses back here in time for puck drop at 7PM MST. See you then!
Hot Links: Monday, February 10 (Copper and Blue)
UPDATE: Oilers, Darnell Nurse Agree to Extension (Copper and Blue)
2019-20 Game 56: Blackhawks At Oilers (Lowetide)
Game Notes Oilers Vs Blackhawks: McDavid And Nurse (Oilersnation)
Oilers Rumor Roundup: Zucker, Pageau & More (Oilers Rig)
Stand Down, Say McDavid And Oilers, McBruise Is Nothing Serious (Sun)
Tracking The Western Conference (Super Fan)
LAING: Cap Crunch Still Looms For The Edmonton Oilers (Oilersnation)
Darnell Nurse Was Hoping For 5-Year Deal, But Loves It In Edmonton (Sportsnet)
Oilers’ Connor McDavid Says Sore Knee Unrelated To Off-Season Injury (Sportsnet)
Oilers Sign Defenceman Darnell Nurse To 2-Year Extension (CBC)
Trying To Make Sense Of Connor McDavid’s Injury And Darnell Nurse’s New Contract With Oilers (Athletic)
Faced with uncertainty, Oilers hedge their bet on Darnell Nurse (Athletic)
Projected Deadline Cap Space: $3.33 million
Notable UFAs: Sam Gagner, Joakim Nygard, Gaetan Haas, Josh Archibald, Riley Sheahan, Mike Smith, Kyle Brodziak
Notable RFAs: Ethan Bear, Matthew Benning, William Lagesson
Interesting days ahead for Edmonton GM Ken Holland as he approaches his first deadline with the Oilers. The Oilers, like all playoff-hopeful teams in the Pacific, have been prone to bouts of wildly uneven play. But unlike those other teams, the Oilers possess two Hart Trophy-worthy players in Leon Draisaitl and Connor McDavid. There have been some positive signs of the emergence of depth scoring, including a nice turn by youngster Kailer Yamamoto. But it’s clear to be a legitimate threat to come out of the Pacific, the Oilers need more and better offensive depth. What is Holland willing to spend? Specifically, this team needs more finish on the wings. Chris Kreider would be ideal, but will Holland give up a first-round pick (or even a conditional first-round pick) for a straight rental? Doubtful. That means if he’s going after the big fish like Kreider or J.G. Pageau in Ottawa or even Tyler Toffoli, Holland will need to have some certainty of keeping the player beyond this spring if he’s going to shed his first-round pick or a package of attractive second/third-round picks. Are there lesser options? Mikael Granlund never got it in Nashville and won’t cost much if the Preds continue to sink, but that looks less likely every day. Alex Galchenyuk might be too much of a gamble but the kid has talent and will cost next to nothing as Pittsburgh has bigger fish to fry. As for assets going out, it will be interesting to see if Holland can leverage the erstwhile Jesse Puljujarvi into immediate help.
— Scott Burnside, The Athletic