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Edmonton Oilers’ superstar Connor McDavid will play in his 300th NHL game on Tuesday. In the 299 games he’s played, McDavid has amassed 134 goals, 259 assists, 393 points and 116 multi-point games. His 1.31 career points-per-game average ties him with Hockey Hall of Famer Marcel Dionne for the fifth-highest in NHL history among players with at least 200 games played.

Connor McDavid at the 2017 NHL Awards (Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports)

McDavid has won the Art Ross Trophy twice, the Ted Lindsay Award twice and the Hart Memorial Trophy once. He’s also been named to the NHL First All-Star Team three times. Not bad for a player who is still just 22.

Since he arrived in Edmonton in 2015-16, McDavid has delivered so many superb performances, that Oilers fans have begun to expect them on a nightly basis. He’s the type of special player who can put his team on his back and carry them to victory. Here are McDavid’s five most memorable games in the NHL.

1. McDavid Returns
After missing 37 games of his rookie season with a broken clavicle, McDavid returned to action on Feb. 2, 2016. It was another miserable season for the Oilers and their loyal fans, but there was a playoff-like buzz in Oil Country for McDavid’s return against the Columbus Blue Jackets. And he didn’t disappoint.

Midway through the second period with the game tied 1-1, Jordan Eberle picked up the puck in his own zone and pushed it ahead to Benoit Pouliot who left if for McDavid to work his magic. Then, McDavid turned on the jets and deked through three opponents and goalie Joonas Korpisalo to score a goal for the ages and give the Oilers a 2-1 lead.

Just over seven minutes later, McDavid picked up an assist on Pouliot’s power play goal to extend the lead to 3-1. In the third, McDavid set up Eberle from behind the net for a sneaky goal to complete a 5-1 win for Edmonton. McDavid’s goal that night is undoubtedly the most spectacular of his young career.

2. Lighting Up the Lightning
McDavid is a big-game player who elevates his game whenever he plays against another superstar. So, when Nikita Kucherov and the Tampa Bay Lightning rolled into Rogers Place on Feb. 5, 2018, McDavid was ready to put on a show for the home crowd.

Edmonton Oilers’ Connor McDavid
Edmonton Oilers’ Connor McDavid (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson)
Just under two minutes into the game, McDavid opened the scoring on the power play by deflecting a Ryan Strome shot into the top corner. After the Lightning tied it, McDavid got the secondary assist on Leon Draisaitl’s power play marker to give Edmonton back the lead.

In the second frame, McDavid received a touch pass from Draisaitl just outside Tampa’s zone, faked to the middle, then went back to the outside and walked around Matthews Peca before roofing the puck over Andrei Vasilevskiy from a near-impossible angle to make it 3-1 Oilers.

Related: Oilers’ McDavid Will Reach Elite Company

With less than seven minutes on the clock and the Oilers well in control of the game, McDavid tallied a breakaway goal for his third career NHL hat trick and scored from behind the opposing net on an odd bounce for his fourth goal of the night, powering the Oilers to an impressive 6-2 victory.

McDavid became the fifth-youngest player in NHL history to score four goals in a game (21 years and 23 days), and the first Oiler to achieve the feat since Sam Gagner on Feb. 2, 2012, in an 8-4 victory over the Chicago Blackhawks.

3. Facing His Childhood Team

Like many kids in Southern Ontario, McDavid was a fan of the Toronto Maple Leafs when he was growing up. On. Feb. 11, 2016, McDavid played against his childhood team for the first time, and made an intimidate impact on the game. Early in the opening frame, Pouliot chipped the puck to McDavid on a 2-on-1 and he deked around Jonathan Bernier to give the Oilers a 1-0 lead.

After the Maple Leafs tied it up, McDavid set up Eberle for two goals in a span of 12 minutes in the second period, including one beautiful pass on the power play through a maze of sticks and skates. Leading 3-2 in the third, McDavid added an insurance marker with a snipe from just above the hash marks.

calder finalists
Connor McDavid (Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports)
Then, with Toronto’s goalie pulled, McDavid had a clear shot at the net for his first career NHL hat trick, but showed exceptional character by giving Eberle his first three-goal game instead, as the Oilers defeated the Maple Leafs 5-2 at Rexall Place.

Although he gave up an opportunity for the hat trick, McDavid became the ninth-youngest player (19 years and 29 days) in NHL history to score five points in a game. He also joined Dave Lumley and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins as the only rookies in franchise history to accomplish the feat.

4. Home Sweet Home
The Oilers opened the state-of-the-art Rogers Place in downtown Edmonton on Oct. 12, 2016. That alone would have made this a historic date in team history. However, earlier that day, Wayne Gretzky rejoined the organization for the first time since he was traded to the Los Angeles Kings on Aug. 9, 1988. And when the Oilers faced the rival Calgary Flames that evening, McDavid became the youngest captain in NHL history (19 years and 266 days).

With the Oilers ahead by one late in the first period, McDavid gave the puck to Oscar Klefbom who sent in Zack Kassian on a breakaway that he buried to give the team a 3-1 lead. After the Flames battled back to tie the game 3-3 in the second period, McDavid banked in a backhand shot off Brian Elliott to put the Oilers back in front 4-3.

Less than two minutes after McDavid scored his first goal in his new home, he was hooked by Dennis Wideman on a breakaway and awarded a penalty shot. McDavid entered the zone with a burst of speed before slowing down his pace near the top of the circles to throw off Elliott’s timing, and then lifted the puck over his blocker to add to the Oilers’ lead.

Edmonton went on to win their home-opener by a score of 7-4, and McDavid earned first star honours with three points. That game was the launching pad for the Oilers’ best regular season record since 1986-87 and McDavid’s first scoring title.

5. McDavid Caps Off Great Performance in OT
Although the Oilers and perennial Stanley Cup contender Washington Capitals have been at opposite ends of the NHL standings for most of the last decade, Edmonton has played well at home against Washington in recent seasons. Still, the Oilers had a hill to climb on Thursday, trailing the Capitals 3-1 after 40 minutes.

McDavid, who had no points at this stage in the game, played perhaps his best period of hockey in the NHL in the final frame. Just over four minutes into the third period, McDavid finally got on the board with a great pass to Draisaitl, who fired the puck into the top corner to cut the Oilers’ deficit to one.

Every time he touched the ice, he seemingly created a brilliant scoring chance. McDavid legitimately could have had six points in a single period if not for the stellar play of Capitals’ goalie Braden Holtby. Fortunately for No. 97 and the Oilers, he was able to get one past Holtby with 1:44 remaining in regulation to send the game to overtime.

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The Edmonton Oilers’ CEO recently made the news after making comments about the play of former Coyote Tobias Rieder. Rieder has since responded in probably as diplomatically a way as possible when your boss publicly calls you. While Rieder isn’t having the best season, he is far from the biggest reason for Edmonton’s struggles this season. Unfortunately Rieder is just one of a few recent Arizona Coyotes who have struggled in Edmonton or had their NHL careers come to an end soon after going from Arizona to Edmonton.

Rob Klinkhammer
The then Phoenix Coyotes signed Rob Klinkhammer during the 2012 offseason and he would initially spend time in the AHL with the Portland Pirates. He did get called up during his first season and would score five goals and six assists in his first 22 games. His play was good enough that he would spend the entire 2013-14 season with the Yotes where he would register eleven goals and nine assists. Ultimately the Coyotes would trade Klinkhammer to the Pittsburgh Penguins for Philip Samuelsson in December of 2014.

Later during the 2014-15 season the Penguins would send a first-round pick and Klinkhammer to the Edmonton Oilers for David Perron. In 40 games with the Oilers Klinkhammer would tally a goal and two assists, enough to earn him a one-year extension. The 2015-16 season would see Klinkhammer splitting time between the Oilers and the Bakersfield Condors, and in his final fourteen games in the NHL he would register a single goal and no assists.

Since the 2015-16 season Klinkhammer has spent time in the KHL playing with HC Dinamo Minsk and the Ak Bars Kazan.

Lauri Korpikoski
Unlike Klinkhammer, Korpikoski managed to play in the NHL after playing for the Edmonton Oilers. After six season with the Coyotes where he would tally 62 goals and 83 assists, Arizona traded Korpikoski to the Oilers in for Boyd Gordon. After scoring ten goals and twelve assists during the 2015-16 season the Oilers would buy out the remaining year of Korpikoski’s four-year, $10 million contract. He would sign a one-year deal with the Dallas Stars, splitting the 2016-17 season between Dallas and the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Korpikoski would sign on with the ZSC Lions in the Swiss National League and has also played with TPS Turku in the SM-Iiiga league in Finland.

Boyd Gordon
After spending seven seasons with the Washington Capitals, Boyd Gordon found success with the Phoenix Coyotes as a penalty killer and one of the best faceoff artists on the team. The Oilers would sign Gordon as a free agent to a three-year, $9 million deal, but after two years they were ready to move him. The Coyotes would eventually reacquire him in the previously mentioned Korpikoski trade, and he would play in 64 games with Arizona registering two goals and two assists. During the 2016 offseason he would sign a one-year deal with the Philadelphia Flyers, only playing in thirteen games with the Flyers and spending time with the Lehigh Valley Phantoms.

Boyd Gordon appears to have retired from professional hockey and is not currently playing.

Ilya Bryzgalov
Ilya Bryzgalov will be remembered for some of the best quotes in hockey. But before he was pondering the nature of the universe on HBO he spent four season with the Coyotes as their starting goaltender. He would sign a humongous big nine-year, $41.88 million deal with the Philadelphia Flyers, which would prove to be a mistake for the Flyers. After two years into a nine year contract, his contract would be bought out and he would be out of a job. He would be one of six goaltenders to play for the Oilers during the 2013-14 season, along with another former goaltender Jason LaBabera. The Oilers traded him to the Minnesota Wild where he would play twelve games. The 2014-15 season would the end of Bryzgalov’s career, playing two games with the Norfolk Admirals and his final eight games in the NHL with the Anaheim Ducks.

Bryzgalov hasn’t played professional hockey since finishing his career in Anaheim, although he has been active. For a deeper dive check out Pucks of a Feather’s look into his career and life beyond.

Jason LaBarbera
LaBarbera spent four season with the Coyotes, backing up both Ilya Bryzgalov and Mike Smith after he was brought in. Before Smith’s first training camp there was talk of it being anyone’s crease, so Barbs could have potentially been the starter if Mike Smith hadn’t found massive success in his first season with the Coyotes. He would sign with the Oilers where he would back up Devan Dubnyk during Dubnyk’s last season in Edmonton. LaBarbera would get traded to the Chicago Blackhawks during the 2013-14 season where he would play for the Rockford Icehogs exclusively. He would play his last five games in the NHL with the Anaheim Ducks during the 2014-15 season, a season that also saw him play with the Norfolk Admirals. LaBarbera would ultimately sign with the Philadelphia Flyers during the 2015 offseason spending the entire season with the Lehigh Valley Phantoms.

Since retiring from playing Jason LaBarbera has been the goaltending coach of the Calgary Hitmen of the WHL.

So what can we learn from all of this? For many of these players their time with the Coyotes was the high point of their careers and they would struggle when removed from Arizona’s system. Going to Edmonton wasn’t always a career killer, but it ended up coinciding with the decline of their NHL careers. Edmonton hasn’t been the best run organization over the past few years, but the fact that Edmonton acquired a lot of players who didn’t have NHL careers after playing for them is telling. Probably the biggest lesson though is if you have played for the Coyotes you should probably avoid signing with Edmonton, and if you can work that into your free agent contract it will probably help you out. As for Tobias Rieder, he will hopefully be able to find success post-Edmonton.

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The Boston Bruins have invited veteran defenseman Mark Fayne to training camp on what appears to be a professional tryout.

Waived by the Oilers after failing to live up to the final two seasons of his $3.625 million per year contract, the 31-year-old Fayne comes to Boston after spending the last two seasons toiling in the American Hockey League between the Bakersfield Condors and Springfield Thunderbirds. Officially loaned to the Thunderbirds early in the 2017-18 season, it was with the Thunderbirds that the Nashua, N.H. native posted three goals and five points with a minus-10 rating in 39 games.

Before his two-year demotion to the minors, Fayne skated in four NHL games for the Oilers in 2016-17, with two assists. He also played a staggeringly low 31:40 of total time on ice over that span, and had two games with less than 4:35 of time on ice. Before he became another victim of the Oilers’ dysfunction and habitually reckless spending on middle-of-the-road talent, Fayne’s best year undoubtedly came in 2011-12, when he established a career-high in points (17) with the Devils and skated in 24 postseason contests in New Jersey’s unlikely run to the 2012 Stanley Cup Finals against the Los Angeles Kings.

A veteran of 389 NHL games between the Devils and Oilers, Fayne arrives to camp with 17 goals and 65 points in his pro career.

Given Boston’s current logjam of NHL-quality defenders, Fayne likely comes to the Bruins with the hopes of latching on with the hometown club on an AHL contract. It’s in Providence where the 6-foot-3 defender could skate in a depth/leadership role given the P-Bruins’ influx of youth, as well as the departure of longtime P-Bruins captain Tommy Cross.

In the now, though, Fayne will be part of the Black and Gold’s ‘domestic’ group, which will remain stateside while the other group of Bruins regulars and hopefuls begin their preseason with the 2018 O.R.G. NHL China Games.

Ty Anderson is a digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Ty? Follow him on Twitter @_TyAnderson.

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TORONTO — Three ways that you immediately knew that the Haggar Hall of Fame Legends Classic on Sunday wasn’t on the up and up:

Team captains Mats Sundin and Nicklas Lidstrom arrived at Scotiabank Arena together an hour before the game, chatting amiably as they walked toward their dressing rooms.

“This kind of pregame fraternizing must be against the rules,” Lidstrom was told, to which he replied, with a laugh, “The new NHL!”

One dressing room was assigned to the game’s three female players, the seats of Hayley Wickenheiser and Marie-Philip Poulin of Team Sundin flanking that of Jayna Hefford, of Team Lidstrom. No team secrets here, then.

“This is quite nerve-wracking,” Poulin said upon her arrival. “It’s quite amazing to be out there with those big names. I’ll take a moment at the beginning to pinch myself to be aware that I’m around them.”

Hayley Wickenheiser skates in the Legends Classic game at Scotiabank Arena on November 17, 2019 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

The current captain of Canada women’s national team and two-time Olympic gold medalist then admitted with a grin that not only had she not scouted her opponent, she didn’t even know who her coaches were.

And finally, referee Bill McCreary and linesman Ray Scapinello suited up in Team Sundin’s dressing room.

The Legends Classic, which consists of two periods plus a shootout, is a fan-friendly event that’s deemed a success if every player is vertical at the finish. It’s about camaraderie, about players and coaches renewing and making new friendships while entertaining fans with their antics and, sometimes, even their playmaking and goal-scoring.

The pregame ceremony featured the honorees of the Class of 2019, one day before their induction, being presented at center ice with their crested blazers by Hall chairman Lanny McDonald. Players Guy Carbonneau, Wickenheiser, Vaclav Nedomansky and Sergei Zubov, and builders Jim Rutherford and Jerry York were celebrated by the two teams and a crowd of about 10,000, the event beginning at 4 p.m. ET after downtown Toronto’s 115th annual Santa Claus parade.

Switching hats to that of a coach, McDonald wasn’t certain which player on his roster he’d be targeting for his game-long heckling, a trademark of his coaching style in this exhibition.

“There was no curfew last night,” McDonald said as he arrived, trying unsuccessfully to snarl. “So we’ll see.”

Unlike teammate Poulin, Team Sundin’s Wendel Clark said he had done plenty of scouting, but not of the opposition.

Wendel Clark and Guy Carbonneau share a laugh during the Legends Classic game at Scotiabank Arena on November 17, 2019 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

“Anybody under the age of 40 keeps getting the puck,” the 53-year-old said. “Give it to them, they can carry it.”

Carbonneau and Zubov, playing for Team Lidstrom, and Wickenheiser, playing for Team Sundin, all reported for second-period duty, having hustled into uniform following the blazer presentation.

In the end, Team Lidstrom would defeat Team Sundin 12-11 in a shootout, the game tied 8-8 at the end of regulation. Scoring for the winners: Michael Cammalleri and Ryan Smyth (two each), Joey Kocur, Stephane Richer, Lidstrom and Dino Ciccarelli. For Team Sundin: Clark and Sundin (two each), Wickenheiser, Poulin, Al Iafrate and Nik Antropov.

Zubov, Hefford, Lidstrom and Smyth scored for the winners in the shootout while Wickenheiser, Sundin and Steve Thomas scored for Team Sundin.

Sergei Zubov skates in the Legends Classic game at Scotiabank Arena on November 17, 2019 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

For Sundin, who was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2012, the day was all about friendship and making it from puck drop to the final siren, and trying to get an edge on fellow captain Lidstrom (Class of 2015).

“I play tennis and do other things to try to stay in shape,” he joked, later demonstrating his soccer skills by booting the puck off his stick to score in the shootout. “I laced up this morning — yeah, morning skate with Nicklas. Actually, he didn’t. I skated at the Maple Leafs training facility just to get a little edge on him. We had a pregame meal, too. Pizza and salad.”

Goal-scorer Poulin would eventually learn that her coaches were McDonald and York, and if there’d been an award for best line of the day, it would have gone to former Montreal Canadiens sniper Richer.

The two-time 50-goal scorer walked slowly down an arena corridor toward his dressing room before the game, studying many framed photographs of Maple Leafs Stanley Cup championship celebrations.

“You’ll notice,” Richer said with a grin, “that they’re all in black and white.”

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TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Victor Hedman scored a power-play goal with 56.8 seconds remaining to give the Tampa Bay Lightning a 3-2 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins on Wednesday night.

The defenseman scored from just inside the blue line off Steven Stamkos’ pass from the left circle.

Alex Killorn and Cedric Paquette also scored, and Andrei Vasilevskiy made 37 saves, including a pair of in-close chances in the final seconds of regulation. One of them, taken by Kris Letang, required a lengthy video review before it was confirmed that the puck go in.

Brandon Tanev and Jake Guentzel scored and Tristan Jarry stopped 45 shots for the Penguins. Sidney Crosby picked up an assist and moved past Norm Ullman into sole possession of 40th place on the NHL career points list with 1,230.

The injury-depleted Penguins are without forwards Evgeni Malkin, Alex Galchenyuk, Nick Bjugstad and Bryan Rust, and defensemen Brian Dumoulin and Zach Trotman. Malkin has 23 goals and 51 points in 38 games against Tampa Bay.

SENATORS 5, RED WINGS 2

OTTAWA, Ontario (AP) — Anthony Duclair scored twice and Ottawa snapped a four-game skid and extended Detroit’s losing streak to six.

Chris Tierney, Mark Borowiecki and Jean-Gabriel Pageau also scored to help the Senators improve to 2-6-1. Anders Nilsson made 34 saves for his first victory of the season.

Darren Helm and Tyler Bertuzzi scored for Detroit, and Jonathan Bernier stopped 33 shots. The Red Wings are 3-7-0.

After Detroit scored twice in a 1:40 span early in the second period to take a 2-1 lead, Borowiecki tied it at 3:15 and Pageau made it a two-goal game with a short-handed goal at 5:27. Duclair scored late in the second and added an empty-netter in the third.

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The New Jersey Devils have decided that they need to move on from Taylor Hall.

I see 3-5 NHL teams that should be the biggest bidders for the pending UFA’s services.

Does logic not dictate that the Edmonton Oilers would be among them?

That subject tops this week’s…

9 Things
9. The “referee refusing to whistle down a puck frozen along the boards” is the worst play in hockey today. It makes me nuts. It kills momentum and takes both the crowd and skill players out of the game. Blow it down and award the non-offending team a more preferential face-off position. When will the NHL wise up and fix this?

8. It has been reported that Ryan Nugent-Hopkins is out of the lineup due to a hand issue and that he had a “procedure” this past week. Nugent-Hopkins in fact had an injection. That often, but not always, suggests that pain is the primary issue. Pretty clear that they missed #93 on Saturday, especially on the Power Play. Find Bruce McCurdy’sCult of Hockey Game Grades here.

7. I know that Oilers television analyst Drew Remenda is not everyone’s particular brand of Vodka. But if you can set aside your biases (we all have them) and listen to his analysis then you might realize that he’s a great X’s and O’s guy. See’s the game like an NHL coach. And setting aside his past affinity for San Jose (which he has since corrected) Remenda is also a very neutral critic and doesn’t play favorites. I know some Oilers fans wish he would more. But as hockey purists, should we not appreciate the former?

6. Obstruction and Connor McDavid: The two things go together way too frequently. But in a 31-team NHL what do you expect? Less capable players use what tools that they have in order to try to stop him. The league sure loves the additional revenue from new franchises. But each time they add a team they also water down the talent pool. 23 players previously not good enough to play in the NHL now get regular paychecks. And guys like McDavid increasingly get interfered with by them. At what point does this stop being good for the game?

5. Mark Spector is a solid and reputable NHL reporter. Spector doesn’t publish anything about the Oilers without considerable thought and elbow grease. He Tweeted Saturday: “Barring a complete reversal of interest, it appears Jesse Puljujarvi will not be traded and signed by Sunday’s 3pm (sic) MT deadline, so he could play in the NHL this season. He will play the year out in Finland”. I have every reason to believe that Spector is correct on this point. And General Manager Ken Holland seemed to confirm as much on Hockey Night in Canada After Hours. However…

4. Do not assume that Jesse Puljujarvi will not be traded while playing overseas. Trading him at the draft may appear to make the most sense. But don’t for a second discount the value that a rebuilding team would put on the young Finn before then. Acquiring his rights without any risk of worsening your draft standing would be a strong play for a few franchises. You wouldn’t even have to count his contract this season. I seriously doubt that Holland would deal Puljujarvi to a Western Conference team. Way more likely that he would go East and to a team out of contention. Think: Detroit, the Rangers or the Devils. The spotlight for Jesse would be the least bright in the Garden State. That’s probably attractive for a young man who struggled under it in Edmonton.

3. The Devils thought they were better than they’ve ended up being. I’ve watched about half of the Devils games this season. Taylor Hall has been their best player by far in all but one of those. Still a dominant player. No one else has been close. Jack Hughes will be a really good NHL player someday, but he isn’t yet and is now hurt. He should have gone back to Junior and they know it. P.K. Subban is playing like a man 5 years older than he is. And Nico Hischier is a 2-3C, a fine player but not as good as Nugent-Hopkins. The Devils need to re-build. As a result a Taylor Hall in his UFA year will not be in the picture. So, New Jersey desperately needs to get something for him before the deadline. They can’t afford a John Tavares repeat. But what?

2. Most teams would have interest. But the ones at the top of the hit parade include the Oilers. Colorado would also be an attractive landing spot. Calgary would like Hall although that franchise might not be the most attractive place to be right now. Montreal has been inconsistent but in that market needs to be seen by the fans as a buyer. Boston? Maybe. Meanwhile, too many dismiss the possibility of Hall to Edmonton based on the salary cap. New Jersey has $4-5m in space. The Devils are positioned to retain salary for a team offering the best talent. Jersey may even be able to take back a contract that another club is looking to unload. Think a Brandon Manning. So, if you think that the cap is the reason why Edmonton couldn’t acquire Hall…think again. And coming off an injury I could even see Taylor considering a short-term contract.

1. So if I am Devils General Manager Ray Shero I’m asking the Hall camp today for a 5 team list of clubs where he is willing to go. That helps the Devils. They have not done anything to hurt the relationship. Yet it would increase the value that they may be able to realize. Meanwhile, no harm, no foul for the player. He gets to pick where he goes. And Taylor is a sports fan from a competitive, sports-minded background. Not only would he favor a return to a Hockey Hinterland like Edmonton or Denver, etc. He’d likely prefer it. And as I have written in this space before about Edmonton, the 4 people primarily responsible for trading Hall from this city (Peter Chiarelli, Craig MacTavish, Todd McLellan and Kelly Buchberger) are now gone. And oh yeah…he’d have Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl to play with.

Meanwhile, remember that Ken Holland has a history of adding when he thinks that his club has a chance to make some noise (Igor Larionov in 2000, Jiri Slegr in 2002, Todd Bertuzzi in 2007, Cory Cross,Robert Lang, etc.). I doubt Holland thinks that this version of the Edmonton Oilers is elite like Detroit was. But he probably figures that they are “good enough”. And with 2 consistently dangerous lines (Hall being on one of them) they could do some damage if they can just maintain their current pace and earn a playoff berth.

Holland has a talented young asset in Puljujarvi that he knows will never play for him in Edmonton. He has organizational depth on defence. That would allow Holland to move another promising young player in a package without moving a piece that he thinks would be a mainstay. So…no Evan Bouchard. No Phillip Broberg. No Ethan Bear. He would also probably need to include a high draft pick.

Wouldn’t you trade that for an elite performer that immediately becomes your 2nd or 3rd best player?

I would. Every day of the week, yes. And twice on Sundays.

Find me on Twitter @KurtLeavins

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EDMONTON, AB – If you’re wondering whether Czech Tomas Mazura had a picture of Ales Hemsky on his wall growing up, you may not be completely surprised by what you find out.

“Yeah, I did!” exclaimed the Oilers 2019 sixth-round selection Monday at Development Camp.

Mazura, taken 162nd-overall this past weekend at the 2019 NHL Draft, became a member of the Oilers organization alongside his best friend and compatriot Matej Blumel (Round 4,100th-overall). And although he doesn’t wear No. 83 on his jersey, he was a fan of Hemsky.

“I actually know him,” the 6-foot-2 centre said. “My dad is good friends with him and we play tennis in the summer and stuff. We’re not great friends but we know each other. I’ve been following him since when he played here.”

Mazura hails from Pardubice, CZE, where Hemsky derives, so it shouldn’t come as a shock that there’s a connection. Hemsky suited up in 652 games with the Oilers, scoring 142 goals and 335 assists for 477 points.

Now, Mazura – who thinks he plays a similar style as ‘Hemmer’ – is trying to carve out a path with the Orange & Blue.

DEV CAMP | Tomas Mazura
09:36 • June 25th, 2019

“I mean, I’ve been following him, so I try to use my skill,” Mazura, who had 14 goals and 40 assists with Kimball Union Academy last season, said.

“His hands are pretty good so the bar is pretty high for that. But I go home, train, and then I skate with – because it’s a small country so a lot of the guys, we know each other – a lot of NHL players and major junior players.”

Mazura said he was overlooked frequently in Czech hockey programs while growing up due to his frame but the 181-pound pivot has since sprouted. The middleman wants to put on more weight and has been working out with the same trainer that developed Hemsky.

“I train with the same person that Hemsky trained with when he played,” Mazura said. “I need to bulk up and put muscle on. That’s my main priority. He does great workouts for me.”

He’ll get some assistance from the Oilers brass in the development department this week at Oilers Development Camp, and hopes all his hard work pays off in the form of acknowledgment from the Czech national hockey program.

“It’s an honour to represent my country but at this point, I’ve worked hard for it and I think I deserve to be on it,” Mazura said of potentially joining Czechs U20 squad.

“I’ve never been to one camp.”

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It was just two short weeks ago that Edmonton Oilers reached the highest point of what remains a promising 2019-20 season. In the midst of a 5-game road trip the club rolled to a convincing 4-2 win at Vegas, then hung tough to produce a 4-3 shootout win at Arizona just 22 hours later.

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But storm clouds were on the horizon. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins missed the second of those contestss with a hand issue that would sideline him for six games. Then Zack Kassian had a back injury that would cost him three of those same games. Edmonton’s forward corps, already dangerously thin in top six-calibre players, suffered a double blow. The club would fall into a six-game slide in which they were extremely fortunate to garner 5 standings points with a 2-3-1 record.

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Thank a red-hot powerplay for all of those points, as the Oilers were outscored at 5v5 in all six of those games. But 2 powerplay goals turned a 2-1 deficit into a 3-2 win at Vancouver, 2 more PPG provided all the offence in a 2-1 nailbiter vs. Los Angeles, and a rare powerplay goal from the second unit produced the tying tally in an overtime loss against the Sabres.

Overall, a special team that has actually been special produced 6 of Edmonton’s 12 goals over that span. But at even strength the Oilers have been absolutely torched, with just 6 goals for, 17 against. Add in a shorty and 2 powerplay goals against and the net margin over the 6 games has been 12 goals for, 20 against, despite an overall +3 margin on special teams. Make it -11 at even strength, built convincingly on a shots rate of just 41%, a team shooting percentage barely above 5% and a save percentage below 90%. On a per-60 basis at evens the Oilers have scored 1.2 goals while allowing 3.5. Ugly, ugly numbers, all the way around.

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Four of those games have been at home, against teams that finished 23rd, 31st, 30th, and 27th in the NHL last season — not exactly Murderers’ Row. The Oilers scored just 2 goals in each of those games, all against teams which have allowed well north of 3 per game in both last season and this. 8 for, 14 against.

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The good news is that it’s “only” six games, and as mentioned the club has scraped out a few points against the flow of play. The bad? Edmonton’s top workhorses have collectively hit a Drai patch:

Leon Draisaitl has been a minus player in the last 7 consecutive games, and has been a net -12 over the past 11. No empty net goals in there either, in fact there have been no ENG for or against for the last 15 contests, many of which have been one-sided affairs. Over the past 6 Draisaitl has 5 points, but just 1 at even strength while being on the ice for 2 Oilers goals and 9 by the opposition. Leon was himself among the defensive culprits on 5 of those goals against by our analysis here at the Cult of Hockey.

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Connor McDavid has posted just 1-4-5 over the 6 games with a dash-4 of his own. McDavid has been a net -9 in his last 10 home games (3 wins) after posting a +9 in his first 5 (all wins).
James Neal has been goalless for his last … wait for it … 6 games, his longest drought of the season and also sports a dash-4 over that span. After an 11 goal October, Neal has struck for just 3 goals in 16 games since, with an ugly -12.
Oscar Klefbom may be the most concerning of the lot. The NHL’s top minute-muncher until recent days, Klefbom has posted just 1 (powerplay) point and a ghastly -12 over the last 6 games. Minus. Twelve. According to Natural Stat Trick the Oilers have been outshot just 56-51 during his 102 even-strength minutes (47%), but scoring chances tell a different tale at 32 for, 56 against (36%) and high-danger chances a dismal +10/-24 (29%). Our own project tagged Klefbom as a defensive culprit on 7 goals against over that period. Whether partnered with Caleb Jones, Adam Larsson, or Joel Persson, Klef has struggled.

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The Carolina Hurricanes (18-11-1, 37 pts) kick off a five-game road trip tonight when they face the Edmonton Oilers (18-10-4, 40 pts). It’s the first meeting of the year between the two teams; Carolina won both games against the Oilers last season.

Carolina Hurricanes (18-11-1, 37 pts) vs. Edmonton Oilers (18-10-4, 40 pts)

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Tuesday, Dec. 10, 2019 – 9:00 PM ET
Rogers Place – Edmonton, AB

Watch: Fox Sports Carolinas
Listen: 99.9 The Fan

SBN Opposition: The Copper & Blue

Follow Canes Country on Social Media

Twitter @CanesCountry
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The Canes roll into Edmonton following back-to-back wins in Raleigh. A 6-2 victory over the Minnesota Wild on Saturday saw Sebastian Aho post a career-best five-point night. The 22-year-old Finn recorded his third career hat trick and added two assists for good measure.

With the offense rolling (11 goals over the last 2 games), the Canes will attempt to keep their defense on track. They’ve held their opponents to two goals in each of the previous four games, losing only once, a 2-0 shutout in Boston.

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The goalie in that shutout loss? James Reimer. Notwithstanding the loss — which can hardly be blamed on Reimer (He held the Bruins scoreless for 50-plus minutes) — the 31-year-old has been playing great. He’s made 30 or more saves in all but one of his last four outings. The only exception was a 19-save shutout against the Detroit Red Wings — so yeah, he’s red-hot.

Adding to the positive vibes, the Canes should get one of their best players back from the injury list. Rookie Martin Necas looks poised to return to the lineup. Necas and his much needed right-handed shot will bring some balance to the second power play unit, where Brett Pesce has been filling in for him. On the bad news front, Erik Haula has not made the trip out west; the center continues to rehab from a knee injury. Julien Gauthier was recalled from Charlotte and should skate on the fourth line as Jordan Martinook handles the 4th line Center duties.

Here’s how the Canes are expected to take the ice:

Nino Niederreiter – Sebastian Aho – Teuvo Teravainen
Andrei Svechnikov – Jordan Staal – Warren Foegele
Ryan Dzingel – Lucas Wallmark – Martin Necas
Brock McGinn – Jordan Martinook – Julien Gauthier

Jaccob Slavin – Dougie Hamilton
Joel Edmundson – Brett Pesce
Jake Gardiner – Trevor van Riemsdyk

James Reimer
Petr Mrazek

Injuries and Scratches: Erik Haula (knee), Haydn Fleury (healthy)

The Edmonton Oilers are full of contradictions. They lead the Pacific Division; they boast two — two! — players that have already reached 50 points this year. Yet, they’re a collective minus-73 at even strength. For comparison, the Canes are plus-23.

Needless to say, the Oilers’ special teams are what make up the difference here. Their powerplay is tops in the league, with a sizzling 32.3% conversion rate. Their penalty kill ranks second at 87%.

Those two 50-point scorers — Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl — will clearly need to be contained. Still, like the rest of the Oilers, they do most of their damage on the power play. Obviously, staying out of the box will be crucial for the Canes.

In net, Mikko Koskinen (11-3-2, .921 SV%, 2.53 GAA) should get the nod.

Here’s how the Oilers are expected to take the ice:

Joakim Nygard – Connor McDavid – Zack Kassian
Jujhar Khaira – Ryan Nugent-Hopkins – Leon Draisaitl
James Neal – Gaetan Haas – Alex Chiasson
Markus Granlund – Riley Sheahan – Josh Archibald

It’s going relatively unnoticed because they’ve been so efficient on the power play, but the Edmonton Oilers are in a pretty bad five-on-five scoring drought.

They’ve managed just three even-strength goals in the last four games while giving up 10 against.

They’ve been able to survive it (2-1-1) because the power play scored six.