In a development that must give a lot of mediocrity-haters a case of bitter beer face, the Edmonton Oilers won the 2012 draft lottery. That allowed the NHL’s second worst team to get the top pick, which really isn’t that bad – but getting the No. 1 choice three years in a row is.
Still, there’s nothing that the disapproving masses can do other than gripe on Twitter. As fun as that might be, the more intriguing questions revolve around what the Oilers should do next.
Should they even keep the pick?
When asked what he’ll do with the No. 1 pick shortly after the Oilers were announced as winners, GM Steve Tambellini was noncommittal about whether he would use it or trade the selection for a more immediate bit of help. Considering Edmonton’s lack of recent results, it wouldn’t be that crazy to imagine Tambellini moving the pick to improve the present at some expense to the future – especially if his job is in some danger.
One can imagine all sorts of scenarios. Edmonton might take advantage of a solid overall draft by swapping a little quality for quantity. Then again, maybe they could offer the spurned Columbus Blue Jackets the No. 1 choice as part of a package for that Rick Nash fella we keep hearing about.
To start things off, let us know if the Oilers should even keep the No. 1 choice.
(Note: it’s technically possible that Edmonton could trade for a roster player and picks, but just consider those choices the “focal point” of a deal.)
Who should they draft?
OK, so let’s assume the Oilers follow the script and use that pick. Who should they go after? Choose from Central Scouting’s top 15 or write in a prospect of your own in the poll below (positions listed in parenthesis):
Stars end Capitals’ winning streak, pass Blackhawks for West lead
For two periods, the Dallas Stars seemed to say, “Are you sure the Washington Capitals are the best team in the NHL?”
They chased Braden Holtby and built a 4-0 lead through those first 40 minutes, and that was enough … but barely. The Stars beat the Capitals 4-3 on Saturday, which accomplished the following:
Dallas ended Washington’s winning streak at five games. The Stars have now won three straight.
This win slides the Stars ahead of the Chicago Blackhawks for first place in the highly competitive Central Division. While both teams sit at 77 standings points, Dallas holds three games in hand.
By passing Chicago, the Stars now lead the Western Conference as a whole.
Impressive stuff. Some might even call it a statement game, although others may hold that nail-biting ending against them (possibly arguing that the Stars’ flaws may come back to haunt them in the playoffs).
Dallas’ biggest concern likely has little to do with doubters. Instead, they must monitor the statuses of forwards Tyler Seguin and Cody Eakin.
The Chicago Blackhawks are on edge on Saturday, and it’s not because of what’s currently a close game against the Anaheim Ducks.
(Not that they’re indifferent toward a match against their opponents from last year’s conference final match, mind you.)
Instead, the Blackhawks are quite concerned about the health of Marian Hossa, who needed help off of the ice following an awkward, scary-looking crash into the boards. (Hampus Lindholm delivered the hip check that sent Hossa sprawling, in case you’re wondering.)
You can see that moment in the video above, while My Regular Face’s GIF also captures that troubling moment:
It’s unlikely that Chris Stewart will generate another 30-goal season in the NHL, but he still might be missed by the Anaheim Ducks.
The team announced that the ornery forward is expected to miss four-to-eight weeks with a fractured jaw. If that’s the recovery window, Stewart may go into the playoffs a little rusty (if he can get in any regular season games at all).
One bright side for Anaheim: if they believe that they need to replace what Stewart brings to the table (rugged play with a dash of offense), then at least this injury happened before the the Feb. 29 trade deadline.