Normally when I write my stuff, I try to have a somewhat entertaining opening. Yet the paragraph below is what I came up with. I don’t think you can count what I’m saying now, it’s not really entertaining. It’s just me talking about me. Me, sitting on my couch, writing, watching the Bills and Jets ruin my teaser bet I made on the game, occasionally flipping over to watch an increasingly depressing Jays team, having forgot to put on pants after work, it’s just not good.
It really gets going this weekend doesn’t it? “The puck drops” on the World Cup and as critical as I’ve been of it, the quality of hockey looks promising…even though it’s a total gimmick and means nothing. Add to that, the rookie tournament’s get going this weekend, and for Oilers fans that means they’ll finally have a chance to see Jesse Puljujarvi hit the ice, as he was hurt during the rookie camp back in July. But outside of preseason, I kind of hope Oilers fans don’t see him in an Oilers uniform for a while after October 8th.
Of course this blog was a lot more witty this time last week, prior to the team bringing in Kris Versteeg on a PTO. And prior to that, Darcy McLeod brought it up on Lowetide’s show that it was the smart move.
To me Versteeg is a virtual lock to get a deal and stick. So it’ll either be Yakupov or Puljujarvi’s spot that he’s taking. And this organization has been attempting to show more patience with the kids the last few seasons.
Don’t forget, last year they tried to keep Darnell Nurse and Leon Draisaitl in Bakersfield. The ridiculous amount of injuries forced their hand, otherwise I believe Draisaitl would have been there for 30-40 games, and Nurse would have spent the whole season there.
The Oilers reputation for rushing there kids is unwarranted when it comes to who people are referring to when they say that, but yet it is warranted…if any of that just made sense.
They didn’t rush Taylor Hall, Jordan Eberle, Justin Schultz or Nail Yakupov. They had no choice with Hall and Yakupov, Schultz obliterated the AHL with 48 points in 34 games, and Eberle was ready to play after two extra seasons in Regina. Nugent-Hopkins you can probably argue it either way. Talent wise he was ready as he showed with 52 points in just 62 games. But a lot of things could have been worked on with an extra season in Red Deer that has perhaps stunted his growth as a player. But these are who most believe they rushed.
The real answer as to whom they’ve rushed lies with guys no longer with the team, and all the way back to 2007. No way Ladislav Smid should have been in the NHL in 2007. Andrew Cogliano could have used a year in the AHL. Sam Gagner REALLY needed another season in London, if not two. Magnus Paajarvi is the one that REALLY bothers me because there was zero reason with Hall and Eberle both on the team in 2010-11 to not send Paajarvi to OKC for the season as a 19 year old. And then the next season it was the same thing with Anton Lander. Sure, Lander has seen more than his fair share of time in the AHL. But that first season in North America the NHL should have been a rumour to him, nothing more.
Why do they need Puljujarvi on the team right now? He isn’t going to make them much better than they already are. As an Oiler fan, I’d much rather see him get comfortable playing in North America, work on his 200 foot game and see first unit PP time rather than being on the Oilers third line and maybe fighting for second unit PP time.
I’m not saying he can’t make the jump, he can. But with being able to put him in the AHL right away, a benefit that doesn’t exist with players taken from the CHL, why not take advantage of it? I’m not even saying they keep him down there all season, but give him 30-40 games down there.
I won’t go as far to say “what’s the rush?” because for Oilers fans we all know what the freaking rush is!!! And he’ll likely shine the brightest of all the kids in Penticton this weekend with Laine off playing for Finland in the World Cup. He’ll probably look amazing in preseason too.
But the team needs to do the smart thing and send him down, let him get his feet wet, and be certain he’s ready. Not a chance starting him in the AHL hurts him. There is a chance starting him in the NHL does.
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