With the Edmonton Oilers in town as tonight's opponent for the Phoenix Coyotes, Derek Zona from SB Nation's Oilers blog, Copper and Blue, was kind enough to agree to answer three questions about Edmonton's hockey squad for us.
Do you think a number of the young Oilers playing together in Oklahoma City during the lockout has benefited the Oilers so far this season and/or will benefit them as the season goes along?
Not really. The Oklahoma City thing was a nice story to start the season, but that's all it is. Yes, they're clicking on the power play right now, but so is San Jose and those guys were scattered all over the place during the lockout. In the end, it was probably a good thing for inter-personal relationships on the team, but does it really matter? Nah, it's just a narrative that replaces the "best shape of his life" narrative from training camp.
Which happens first, the new arena gets built or the Oilers have a bona fide #1 starting netminder on their roster?
The last time the Oilers had an actual #1 goaltender on the roster, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins was 15 years old and playing midgets. The hallmark of this Edmonton management team is imbalance: when the forwards are strong, the defense is a mess. When the defense is strong, there are no real NHL forwards. However, one thing is certain - since the departure of Dwayne Roloson, goaltending is always a mess. One of the Oilers' paid shills tweeted something about the Oilers focusing on goaltending in this year's draft, which means a bona fide goaltender is only 5 years away!
Whichever one plays the longest. At this point I'm going to guess Nugent-Hopkins. He's a fantastic play maker and he's got the luxury of all of these goal-scorers around him. He's still only 19 years old, so he's got 7 years of his peak surrounded by #1 picks to play with. Beyond that, he's going to remain a playmaker as he ages and if avoids injury, he could play a very long time in the NHL. That's not to say I believe he's the best of the bunch, but in the end, he should have the most points.
Thanks to Derek for answering our questions. For more on the Oilers head over to Copper and Blue.