Oilers get a first-hand look at their future

taylorhall3.jpgA lot of teams are holding their development camps to get a look at the prospects they’ve been harvesting through the draft the last few years. One place that is getting a lot of attention from its own fans is Edmonton and with good reason. With this year’s top pick Taylor Hall, Canadian junior hockey star Jordan Eberle and Swedish phenom Magnus Paajarvi-Svensson there’s a lot of reason to have hope for the not-so distant future of a once proud franchise and the fans and media in Edmonton know it as David Staples of the Edmonton Journal shares.

As fellow fan, Bruce McCurdy of Copper & Blue, who watched over the drills with me, put it, “I’ve been following these names as lines on a screen for a long time. I wanted to see them. This is the nucleus of the new Oilers. I’m not sure that the 20 guys out there on the ice aren’t more important for the future of the team than the 20 guys who finished the season with the Oilers. This is a turning of the page.”

It’s hard not to get excited about seeing the fruits of past drafts all coming together and all with the distinct possibility of starting next season in the NHL. Hall most certainly will be in Edmonton, and with Paajarvi and Eberle both showing their abilities on the ice at the World Junior Championships and IIHF World Championships this past year, there’s not a lot more for them to prove to show that they’re NHL-ready. As for Tom Renney, the new coach of the Oilers and the guy with the task of managing (or mismanaging) three potential stars, he’s perhaps more excited than the fans are although he’s being sensible with his approach.

“What I’m OK with is putting the best team on the ice we can,” Renney said when asked if all three could make the team this season. “Whoever those spots go to, so be it. We might have more than three guys for that matter. Who’s to say? I don’t know.

“We can project until we’re blue in the face as to who might be here, but there’s a process involved. The beauty of it is nobody knows that better than those three kids.”

Hope is a fun, yet perilous, thing when you’re a fan of a team that’s missed the playoffs four years straight and managed to be, by far, the worst team in the NHL last year. The amount of talent in those three players is astounding but there’s even a handful more of guys who could turn out to be NHL players as well. Whether Hall, Eberle and Paajarvi turn out in Edmonton this year could be a big draw for the Oilers but getting them to the NHL when they’re most ready to be there and big players is more important. That said, the Oilers talent ranks have thinned out enough so that having all three start in the NHL might actually be the best thing to happen to the franchise.

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    Ducks come to terms with Lindholm, so what happens now?

    ANAHEIM, CA - OCTOBER 14:  Hampus Lindholm #47 of the Anaheim Ducks  at Honda Center on October 14, 2015 in Anaheim, California.  (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

    And now we wait for the other shoe to drop, because according to TSN’s Bob McKenzie, the Anaheim Ducks have come to terms with defenseman Hampus Lindholm on a six-year contract extension with a cap hit of $5.25 million.

    It’s a win for the Ducks, who succeed in their quest to get Lindholm locked up with a lower cap hit than the Sabres got Rasmus Ristolainen ($5.4 million).

    But will the Ducks now have to make a trade? It’s been rumored for a while that Cam Fowler could be dealt once Lindholm’s deal got done. Anaheim may prefer to trade a veteran like Kevin Bieksa or Clayton Stoner, but Bieksa has a no-movement clause, and there may not be a market for those two anyway.

    The Ducks won’t get Lindholm back in the lineup right away, so there’s plenty of time for GM Bob Murray to make any moves that need to be made.

    Lindholm, 22, had 10 goals and 18 assists in 80 games last season, logging 22:00 of ice time per game.

    Pastrnak to have hearing for Girardi headshot


    Bruins forward David Pastrnak will have a hearing for his illegal check to the head of Rangers d-man Dan Girardi, the NHL’s Department of Player Safety announced.

    Pastrnak was whistled for a minor penalty on the play, which occurred in the second period of Boston’s 5-2 loss at MSG on Wednesday night. Girardi left the contest momentarily, but was able to return and finished with 16:15 TOI.

    “I don’t really know it makes contact with my face at first, but it is what it is, I’m kind of vulnerable,” Girardi said of the hit, per the New York Post. “He’s going to try to make a hit. He just hit me in the front of the face, so it wasn’t like it was the side-of-the-head hit or something.

    “As soon as I got up, I was fine.”

    Pastrnak, who did appear to leave his feet to make the hit, doesn’t have any history with the DoPS, and has never been subjected to supplemental discipline from the department.

    His hearing will take place on Friday.

    Former Isles goalie Kevin Poulin signs with KHL club

    GLENDALE, AZ - DECEMBER 12:  Goaltender Kevin Poulin #60 of the New York Islanders in action during the NHL game against the Phoenix Coyotes at Jobing.com Arena on December 12, 2013 in Glendale, Arizona. The Coyotes defeated the Islanders 6-3.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
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    Kevin Poulin is leaving the pro hockey scene in North America to sign with the KHL’s Astana Barys.

    It’s a one-year deal, per Igor Eronko of Sports-Express.

    The former Islanders goalie spent last season with the Stockton Heat of the AHL, where he had a 14-11-3 record with a 2.86 goals-against-average and a .909 save percentage in 29 games.

    The 26-year-old last played in the NHL during the 2014-15 season. He made one appearance with the Isles that year.

    He had a few opportunities with the Islanders, but it was usually the result of players ahead of him on the depth chart getting injured.

    Poulin leaves the NHL with a career 18-25-3 record, a 3.07 goals-against-average and a .899 save percentage in 50 games.

    He’ll join former NHLers Vitaly Kolesnik and Henrik Karlsson in Astana Barys’ crease. Nigel Dawes, Brandon Bochenski, Martin St. Pierre, Cam Barker and Kevin Dallman are also on the roster.

    PHT Morning Skate: Hockey’s spookiest goalie masks

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    PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.

    –Here are some of hockey’s all-time spookiest goalie masks. (Sports Illustrated)

    Beau Bennett‘s funny response to his name being left off the Stanley Cup. (BarDown)

    Alex Ovechkin made this young fan’s night by giving him one of his sticks. (Sportsnet)

    –Watch the highlights from last night’s game between the Rangers and Bruins. (Top)

    –Everybody remembers Grant Fuhr, Curtis Joseph, Jacques Plante, Tom Barrasso and Sean Burke, but these are the teams you don’t remember them playing for. (The Hockey News)

    –Bruins goalie Zane McIntyre honors his late grandmother on the back of his goalie mask. (The Score)

    –Former NHL goalie Niklas Svedberg made an incredible stick save in a KHL game: