I hope everyone is enjoying their Friday. Another weekend is about to begin and with that we are ever closer to the beginning of the 2017-2018 Oilers home opener. As we are fast approaching October 4th I thought it would be fun to bring something new to the mix. Therefore this shall be the first Friday Five.
Here's the deal. Either write your questions in the comment section below or PM me and every week I will choose five of your questions to answer. Now nobody wants to just read my responses so Matt Henderson has graciously agreed to accompany me on this endeavor.
This first one is simply some questions I have brought to the table. With that, let's get to it.
1.) Which Oilers player do you see improving the most from last season?
freelancer: There are several players that fit the bill here but I'm going to go with Anton Slepyshev. We saw his ability to finish come alive during the playoffs and with the right wing depth as it stands he should be able to find himself playing in the top 6. The recent news of his injury could change who starts on that second line but I am expecting big things from the Russian winger.
Matt Henderson: I think the person with the most improvement will be Jesse Puljujarvi. He had a brutal first season offensively. Even by accident he will likely improve by leagues. His struggles reminded me a lot of Draisaitl in the NHL at 18. He just wasn't ready, but there are skills there. I don't know what his upper limit really is, but I like him to have a great season.
2.) Which Oilers player do you see regressing the most?
freelancer: Patrick Maroon gets my vote. I think his will remain an effective complimentary player but shooting percentages like that usually fall the following year. If I had to pick a second candidate it would be Matt Benning. I think he certainly has top 4 potential in his future but I wonder how he will handle some tougher competition this season with Sekera gone.
Matt Henderson: My top 2 candidates are Maroon and Russell. Maroon's shooting percentage was through the roof. That's probably going to fall back down to Earth. It can be made back up with an increase in shot volume. Russell's on ice save percentage was the highest in his career and will be difficult for Talbot to repeat. If nothing changes except a correction in save percentage there is a major problem heading Edmonton's way.
3.) With The Young Stars Tournament approaching, which Oilers prospect do you think has the best chance of having a long NHL career?
freelancer: It has to be Ethan Bear in my opinion. He is a right shot defenseman. The Oilers need right shot defensemen. I would like to say Yamamoto but until he plays some games against men it's impossible to know if he's the real deal.
Matt Henderson: Tough question. I think Yamamoto has a chance at an NHL career, but if Ethan Bear can make the NHL then he will be in demand for a long time. Right handed defenders with offense can find a lot of fans in the pressbox. Maybe it's Caleb Jones because he has the skating to go along with better size. I'm really split on who has the potential for a "long" career. Let's say Ethan Bear today but that's subject to change if Yamamoto proves to be an NHL player.
4.) Which Non-Division Team would you like to see form a rivalry with the Oilers?
freelancer: For me the Jets have the makings of a great rivalry. The Oilers have a group of skilled forwards in McDavid, Draisaitl, RNH, Lucic, and Maroon. The Jets can certainly give them a run for their money with Ehlers, Wheeler, Laine, Schiefele, and Little. I'm certainly rooting for the Jets to have a successful season.
Matt Henderson: I would love to see the Oilers develop a real rivalry with the Predators. I love PK Subban and their whole defense. Amazing forwards vs amazing defenders. That's some great TV.
5.) If you could have drinks with one player on the Oilers roster who would it be?
freelancer: I would say Klefbom. I'm really hoping he can give me some workout tips on how to get my own set of chiseled abs. If Klef isn't available my next person would be Larsson to ask him how he doesn't get distracted by Klefbom's abs all the time.
Matt Henderson: I'd love to pick Nuge's brain for a while, but I don't think he's legal to drink for another 6-7 years. So I guess my 2nd pick would be Cam Talbot. Dude has Twins. He needs a night out drinking with a random blogger.