Edmonton Oilers prospects point to better future

eberle.jpgThe Edmonton Oilers had a disastrous 2009-10 season, there’s really no other way to slice it. If they decide to release a team video, they might as well call it “What Murphy’s Law Looks Like.”

You can’t blame their fans for feeling optimistic about the future, though. For one thing, their prospects have flourished in international play, even when facing big pressure and pro-level talent. During the 2010 World Junior Championships, Jordan Eberle achieved near-hero status despite falling short of a gold medal. After one game in the pro-packed 2010 IIHF World Championships in Germany, Eberle already had a masterful four-point performance.

When you combine his play with the Team Sweden-leading output of Magnus Paajarvi-Svensson (four goals and four assists in six games), things are looking up for some of the franchise’s richest prospects. Here’s a few thoughts on that via TSN.

“For myself, and I know Magnus and [Oilers prospect Linus] Omark, it’s only going to help us going into camp and kind of put us at that level where we can play with those guys,” said Eberle.

Tambellini has even visited the tournament in person and has spoken at length with Paajarvi-Svensson, who has four goals and four assists in six game.

“You feel if you can compare to them, and if you can skate with them or have the same skill level, then I think I can handle it,” said Paajarvi-Svensson.

Combine those two talents with the very probable drafting of Taylor Hall and it’s reasonable to wonder if the Oilers might go from famine to feast like the Penguins, Capitals and Blackhawks before them. I’ll leave you with this gushing review of Hall from the normally reserved Oilers blogger Lowetide. (Note: I am aware the Oilers might pick Tyler Seguin, but my guess at this moment is that Hall is far more likely.)

I have seen the future of the Edmonton Oilers and his name is Taylor Hall.

For a blog that prides itself on using math and discouraging the “saw him good” crowd, I’ll admit that this clearly runs across the grain.

But there’s too much. Taylor Hall has an extra something, call it a dash of Howe and a pinch of Messier to him. If you’re not comfortable with those names, we can use “Mark” Howe and I’ll still feel the same way.

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    Newest Coyote Schenn is looking forward to playing in a market with no ‘outside added pressure’

    SAN JOSE, CA - APRIL 20:  Luke Schenn #52 of the Los Angeles Kings looks back at Joe Thornton #19 of the San Jose Sharks after Schenn was called for roughing in Game Four of the Western Conference First Round during the NHL 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs at SAP Center on April 20, 2016 in San Jose, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
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    Since coming to the NHL as an 18-year-old in 2008, Luke Schenn has had the opportunity to play in Toronto, Philadelphia and Los Angeles. Playing in cities that love hockey is great, but it also comes with a certain amount of pressure.

    Schenn, who is a former fifth overall pick, hasn’t lived up to his lofty draft status and when you underachieve in Toronto and Philadelphia, the fans and media make sure you know it.

    On Saturday, Schenn signed a two-year deal in Arizona, which is a non-traditional hockey market. It sounds like it may have been done by design.

    “I’m looking forward to coming to a market where I can just worry about playing hockey and not outside added pressure, and hopefully growing with the team,” Schenn said of signing with the Coyotes, per the team’s website. “I know they have a lot of upside and I still feel like I’ve hopefully got some upside, too. (I’m) still at a good age where I can continue to grow with them and evolve.”

    The Coyotes have Oliver Ekman-Larsson and Alex Goligoski who are more than capable of moving the puck up the ice and players like Schenn and Zbynek Michalek will be counted on to provide some defensive stability.

    “They’ve got a lot of guys who can shoot the puck and move the puck well and (who’ve) got a good offensive instinct for the game, so I just want to try to play solid defensively and help out in the defensive zone and on the penalty kill and play physical,” added Schenn. “Obviously, the way the game is now there’s a lot of skating so you’ve definitely got to pick your spots to be physical, but I still think there’s definitely still a need for that.”

    Arizona still needs to work out deals with restricted free agents Michael Stone and Connor Murphy. Even if both players return next season, Schenn should still have a role as a four, five or six defenseman with the ‘Yotes.

    Flyers’ Couturier has street named after him in his hometown

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    Most people will never be able to say they have a street named after them, but Flyers center Sean Couturier isn’t most people.

    The 23-year-old’s name is now on a street sign in his hometown of Bathurst, New Brunswick. Sean Couturier Avenue leads to the rink where he began his minor hockey career.

    “It’s special, it’s a great honour,” Couturier said, per CBC.ca. “It’s not something you dream of growing up, but if you can be an example for other young kids and remind them even coming from a small town like Bathurst, anything is possible if you make the sacrifices and believe in what you can do.”

    The month of July has been kind to Couturier for the second straight year. Last year at around this time, he signed a six-year contract extension worth $26 million. The new deal kicks in at the start of the upcoming season.

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    Report: Veteran center Moore says he has offers on the table

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    The chaos of free agency has subsided. And the list of notable players out there has thinned down as the summer has carried on.

    Still looking to sign an NHL deal is veteran center Dominic Moore, who is about to turn 36 years old next month and is coming off a two-year deal with the New York Rangers that paid him an AAV of $1.5 million. It was evident way before free agency that Moore likely wouldn’t be back in New York, and would go to the open mark.

    “The free agency period goes in fits and starts. Things open up and close along the way. You just try to be proactive but patient. You also don’t want to put yourself in the wrong spot, so you wait to find the right fit, the right role,” Moore told Sportsnet.

    “You want to be on a good team that has a great chance to win but you also want to have a responsibility, some value on that team. It’s about marrying all of those factors and making the best decision.”

    Moore has never been known for offence. With the Tampa Bay Lightning in 2010-11, he hit 18 goals. That was a career high. His highest point total? Forty-one in 2008-09 with Toronto.

    But a team looking for a veteran player in the middle, on a reasonable contract and among the bottom six group of forwards, that can have success in the faceoff circle and play on the penalty kill may eventually get him under contract.

    According to Sportsnet, there have been offers made to Moore. Now, it appears, the ball is in his court.

    Related: Patrick Eaves bests big hockey names at Smashfest V

    Coyotes have work to do, with RFAs Murphy, Stone still unsigned

    BUFFALO, NY - JUNE 25: John Chayka of the Arizona Coyotes attends the 2016 NHL Draft on June 25, 2016 in Buffalo, New York.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
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    The Arizona Coyotes added a defenseman with a right shot to their roster, signing Luke Schenn on Saturday. And there could be more moves to the back end on the way for Arizona.

    They still have work left with respect to two restricted free agents. Defensemen Connor Murphy, 23, and Michael Stone, 26, are still looking for new contracts.

    Stone, another right-shot blue liner, had a career-best 36 points in 75 games last season for the Coyotes and has an arbitration hearing scheduled for Aug. 4.

    His previous contract was a three-year deal with an average annual value of $1.15 million. But he’s also coming off surgery to repair the ACL and MCL in his left knee, according to azcentral.com. In April, it was expected he could be out at least six months.

    “I know he’s running well and moving pretty well,” said Coyotes GM John Chayka, as per azcentral.com. “ … He’s a big part of our blue line, so we’re hoping to get him back as soon as we can.”

    However, when it comes to a new deal for Murphy, it appears there is some distance between the two sides.

    From Arizona Sports 98.7:

    While Chayka said the tenor of talks with Murphy has been good, Murphy’s agent, Brian Bartlett, said on July 18 that he was uncertain when a deal might be struck, and he reiterated on Saturday that nothing has changed in those negotiations.

    “I hope we are close,” he wrote via text message last week. “Still have a gap to bridge, but confident we will get it done eventually. Could wrap up with one phone call but I wouldn’t be surprised if it takes a little longer to get on the same page.”

    Murphy is a Coyotes first-round pick from 2011. His entry-level contract, with its AAV of more than $1,075 million, is expired.

    He appeared in 78 games for the Coyotes last season, increasing his point total from seven in 73 games in 2014-15, to 17 points in the 2015-16 campaign.