According to online bookmaker Bodog, the Edmonton Oilers are most likely to draft Russian forward Nail Yakupov (-200) with the first overall pick this summer. After Yakupov, Canadian defenseman Ryan Murray (+150) is the next likeliest option, with “trade the pick/any other player” the longshot at +600.
Those who like to bet on this sort of stuff might want to note what Oilers president Kevin Lowe told 630 CHED in Edmonton yesterday (via Eye on Hockey) about Murray, who’s currently playing for Team Canada at the world championships.
“He’s played remarkably well for a young fellow and I’ve talked to the other GMs and scouts that are here and they all agree that he’s going to play in the National Hockey League next year, no question,” Lowe said.
”There’s no surprise why Central Scouting has him rated second. He’s the top player. And often with the top players, or occasionally with the top players, they’re not ready to play in the National Hockey League, but I don’t question his readiness for next year.”
If there’s one area the Oilers need to upgrade, it’s the back end. Up front, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Jordan Eberle and Taylor Hall should provide offense for years to come.
Edmonton has some good prospects in defensemen Jeff Petry, Oscar Klefbom, and David Musil. However, Murray could be too good to pass up, and if he can play in the NHL next season, even better.
If we had to bet, we’d sooner wager $100 (to win $150) on Murray than $100 (to win $50) on Yakupov.
Related: Tambellini willing to trade Oilers’ first overall pick
Keith Urban sang the national anthem for Game 3. Kelly Clarkson did the honors for the Nashville Predators before Game 4. Next up: Trisha Yearwood for Game 6.
The Predators hope to close out the Anaheim Ducks on Monday, and they got off to a nice start with Austin Watson scoring a quick 1-0 goal. Not long after, the Predators added another to build to a 2-0 lead.
Garth Brooks spoiled Yearwood’s appearance a bit before the contest.
Brooks also revealed Yearwood’s early fan creds:
Anaheim Ducks forward Nick Ritchie scored a goal in Game 4, but he won’t be able to provide such a scoring boost for his team in Game 6.
That’s because he was ejected during the first period after hitting rising Nashville Predators star Viktor Arvidsson from behind, bloodying the slick Swede.
Ritchie was whistled for a game misconduct and major. Remarkably, the Ducks killed the entire five-minute power-play opportunity, with Ryan Kesler‘s shorthanded chance being one of the better opportunities for either team.
It’s still a big blunder, but if the Ducks can get back in it, remember that big kill.
Video of the hit is coming soon. For now, check out the GIF:
Oddly, Arvidsson left the ice with a wound that more or less spelled out “R,” presumably for Ritchie, maybe celebrating the return of “Twin Peaks.”
(Such an obvious move might not be surreal enough for David Lynch, though. Alex Prewitt’s Zorro reference might be more, um, on the mark.)
It was already loud at Bridgestone Arena, but the Nashville Predators are making it a madhouse with a strong start against the Anaheim Ducks in Game 6.
First, it was Austin Watson, who sent a puck off a Ducks skate to score a 1-0 goal on Nashville’s first shot on Jonathan Bernier, who is starting instead of John Gibson. That came about 90 seconds into the game, really revving up the crowd.
Colton Sissons scored his first goal of the Western Conference Final – on his first shot on goal of the series – to make it 2-0. At that point, Bernier had allowed two goals on three shots on goal. Bernier’s made a few stops since then, but it’s a shaky start for a Ducks team facing elimination.
There’s some solace in that Anaheim’s often at its best in dire situations, though you have to wonder how many times they can bounce back from this?
The Anaheim Ducks won’t have John Gibson back, but the Nashville Predators are dealing with some injury-related letdowns, too.
Craig Smith skated before Game 6, but he opted not to play on Monday. Mike Fisher is also unable to go for the Predators as they aim to eliminate Anaheim.
The Ducks also won’t have Rickard Rakell back in the mix, so this physical Western Conference Final continues to feel like a battle of attrition.
Click here for the official roster report.
Game 5 is airing on NBCSN right now. You can watch online and via the NBC Sports App.
CLICK HERE TO WATCH LIVE.