Looking at the Edmonton Oilers roster and watching America's Got Talent gave me an idea. I have combined the two into one wicked blog posting. I will look at 3 acts on the Edmonton Oilers and view them from Howie, Sharon and Piers points of view imagining they know something about the game we love. Howie might have some knowledge based on his place of origin, but I don't think the Brits actually do. The three acts will be the Oilers forwards, defense and goaltending. Each group will have an audition and then fall to the mercy of the judges.
First Up: The forwards:
Youngsters Taylor Hall, Jordan Eberle, Magnus Paajarvi, Linus Omark and Ryan Nugent Hopkins have the ability to put the crowd in a frenzy for the future in the Oil City. Veterans such as Ales Hemsky and Ryan Smyth have the game and experience to allow the team to maintain an even keel while also allowing for competition for ice time. They have many valuable assets that should come to fruition in the next few years. Is the supporting cast good enough now to move on in Edmonton's Got Talent? I do not think so. I believe that Eric Belanger is the best asset acquired by the Oilers this off season and also believe that Ben Eager will have a positive impact at times. He will also regress to his meat head ways at times as well. Sam Gagner could take a huge step this year, but he should not be supporting cast. He has to find a spot in the top 6 because his defense is not good enough. Finally, if Lander and/or Hartikainen are able to push their way into the line up the Oilers will be deep and dangerous almost throughout their roster.
Howie: I like the group. I thought you performed admirably from top to bottom, but the question I have is, " Can this be an entire show?" "Did you show us enough to move into the final 8 and make the playoffs this year. I like where you are going, but it might not be your time.
Sharon: I loved it. I thought you were amazing. You deserve to be here. I like the flash and fire that you show. Good Luck, you have my vote
Piers: I have to be completely honest here and I can't believe I'm about to say this out loud. I actually agree with Howie Mandel about something. It is a very impressive roster, but realistically the competition in you category (conference) is so strong that I don't think you stand a chance. There are just too many good groups to compete with and the Oilers are not polished enough to move on in the competition.
Next Up: The Defense
On defense the Oilers have begun stockpiling young talent such as Martin Marincin and Oscar Klefbom. The future is bright, but not close enough at the NHL level. Ryan Whitney is a bonafide top 2 defender in the NHL, but the talent falls off from there. When Whitney went down last season there was still hope for the Oilers to finish outside of the lottery. Without him, the team plummeted. Tom Gilbert may be a top 4 D man in the league at some point, but has not established himself yet and remains to be too soft. After that, the addition of Cam Barker could prove to be a great signing. He has not established himself either, butwas once considered a sure fire prospect. If he can prove he can play this year, the Oil will have a solid D man that is an RFA. Ladislav Smid wants to be a top 4 guy, but he has yet to show he can muster the offense and control his pace well enough. I like Smid, but don't think he is the guy. At least not until he proves it. Teddy Peckham is not a top 4 guy but is young and a stud physical d man. Andy Sutton is bad and will replace another person who could not keep up. Jeff Petry is a good prospect and a better Tom Gilbert, but needs to wait in the wings one more year
Piers: This has to be one of the worst performances I have ever seen on this show. I cannot take this group seriously. It looks like a group of performers bandaged together to temporarily fill holes and limp through a season. I will say one thing. It is a dangerous group in that if something goes wrong to the best athlete of the group it will be another long season in Oil Country.
Sharon: Oh stop it Piers I thought the group was great. You guys are awesome and have my vote. Good Luck
Howie: Now, I come from comedy so I understand why Piers doesn't get your group and your concept because he doesn't have a sense of humor. This performance was a trainwreck, but there is some hope to move on and I loved it. I couldn't look away and this group could be some people's guilty pleasure. I want to see what you do next.
This group is not good enough, but with the contracts that the Oilers have (49), addressing the problem is a difficult task until the Oilers can see where their assets are going to be come training camp. If youth shows up and earns a spot a couple veteran forwards could be shipped out for a d-man or open up space for a goaltender in Oklahoma City. Olivier Roy is not going to be able to play a large portion of games at the pro level this quickly. At the NHL level, expect Devan Dubnyk to play even more this year as he continues to earn minutes and cement himself as the goalie of the future as well as the present. Khabibulin should be better and should play 30 games or more depending on play. It's not a bad situation at the NHL level if Danis needs to step in. If Danis can play the entire season with the OKC club it will be a testament to Dubnyk and Khabby. However, if either goes down it will spell trouble in the AHL even if Danis deserves a spot more than Khabby.
Sharon: I just love these two boys and they have my vote. Good Luck the rest of the way.
Howie: These two young men are an interesting duo. Maybe we could call them the odd couple. Ones an elderly alcoholic with a criminal record while the other is a baby face goalie making a name for himself usurping the alcoholic. It might work and it might burn horribly in an awful wreck and I don't know which I would rather see.
Piers: This duo is as laughable as the defense core. Realistically, the young Dubnyk should drop the dead wait in Khabibulin and make it a solo act. He is by far the better goaltender and hasn't gotten the respect he should. In the next performance I expect to see just one goaltender as the focal point and continue to get better.
Needless to say, besides the lovely miss Osbourne, this is not the Oilers time, but it is coming. More changes need to be made to the bottom of the lineup and top of the D core and many of the pieces should fall into place.
Until next time...