Well we are 20 games into the NHL and the Oilers are once again...wait the Oilers are in second in the NW... currently in the top 8 in the West... huh. With the season 1/4 gone and the team looking great I thought I'd use this chance to grade each player on the team.
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Taylor Hall A- Hall started the season off slow points wise but was still his unbelievably fast self and played more physical than last year. In the last 5 games he has 6 points, he's recorded his second career hat trick already this season and all arrows seem to be pointing up.
Jordan Eberle A+ All who doubted this kids ability to keep at the same pace as Hall and Nuge please leave now. The kid has 22 points in 21 games, he's great defensively, makes smart passes and has a laser of a shot.
Ryan Nugent Hopkins A+ Remember last summer when most people thought he wouldn't play in the NHL this year any longer than 9 games, or if he did he'd probably get no more than 30-40 points? Unbelievable passer, his vision and play-making ability were not overhyped and we've also discovered he has a fast shot. His work ethic...wasn't doing great in the circle, look at him now.
Ales Hemsky B After starting the year injured....again Hesmky is finally starting to look healthy again and back to his ppg self. His last 3 games has him at 3 points.
Shawn Horcoff B+ Great to see less and less Horcoff critics as this guy brings so much to this team both on and off the ice. The return of Smyth seems to have brought back a bit of the ol' 06 Shawn and he's been playing great. However it's his work as captain and mentor to the kids that really makes him special.
Ryan Smyth A+ What is there to say really. The Mullet is back in Edmonton and all is good. But did anyone really expect him to be playing like he's 25 again? Man wouldn't it be something to see Smyth with a 70 point season.
Ryan Jones B Put this guy anywhere on your lineup and he'll be the hardest working guy there. Not sure if he can match his goal total from last year but he's bee a great shutdown player for the Oil.
Eric Belanger B- I love what this guy brings to the team both in the circle and defensively but jeez he needs to get some points. I thought he was supposed to be a regular 40 point player. PLenty of season left for that to change so here's hoping.
Sam Gagner C- Remember when he used to be the future of this franchise? He does. This was the year most fans said was make or break for Sammy and he has yet to prove he can be a top 6 offensive player. However last game against Nashville with an assist and a spirited fight shows he isn't ready to quit yet.
Anton Lander C- Looked alright as a fourth line center at the beginning of the year and on the PK, but hasn't done much for me lately. Might be time soon to send him down to OK.
Lennart Petrell C Great on the PK but that's about it. Only reason I grade him so high is because of how good he is on the PK.
Ben Eager D Didn't we bring his guy in to fight, hit, and stir poop? Hasn't done any of that yet.
Darcy Hordichuk D Hard to grade him considering how little he has played but at least he has thrown a few hits.
Magnus Paajarvi D- Kid looks lost out there. People are saying they don't want to send him down and lose the rest of his confidence but he isn't working out up here now.
Looking at my results I'd say for the most part our team is doing great. We have excellent scoring opportunities from our top 2 lines and our special teams have really been a highlight this year. However our fourth line needs to play with a more physical edge and our third line needs to do something. Have a great day, I'll do defense on another day if anyone actually reads this.
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