Thanks to the NHL’s hard work, Vegas expansion should be as boring as humanly possible

Jonathan Willis
March 09 2017 02:00PM

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PHOTO CREDIT: GARY A. VASQUEZ/USA TODAY SPORTS

There’s an old line about every challenge being an opportunity in disguise, but the NHL operates under the reverse of that principle. For the league, opportunities are not openings to be exploited but rather problems in disguise.

So it should come as no shock that with an upcoming expansion draft, the league is once again doing its best to dampen down enthusiasm and sideline what should be a marquee event.

Let’s start with what an amazing opportunity this is, and the correct way to handle it.

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The Edmonton Oilers must fix their penalty kill before the postseason

Jonathan Willis
March 09 2017 11:20AM

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PHOTO CREDIT: PERRY NELSON/USA TODAY SPORTS

We got our first look at Todd McLellan’s revised penalty kill against the New York Islanders on Tuesday, as the Oilers took their first penalty in the month of March.

The good news is that it’s always a bad idea to draw firm conclusions from a sample of one. The bad news is that the Islanders scored, continuing an awful shorthanded run for Edmonton that stretches back to the start of 2017.

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Leon Draisaitl, Jack of all Trades?

Jonathan Willis
March 02 2017 03:22PM

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Even without a real third line centre this year, Todd McLellan and his staff kept bumping Leon Draisaitl over to right wing on the Edmonton Oilers’ top line. At the deadline, the Oilers brought a legitimate candidate in to fill that third line role in David Desharnais. Thus it seemed like a logical assumption that this would lead to full-time deployment of a McDavid/Draisaitl duo on the top line.

McLellan talked to the press on Thursday, and explained that such an assumption was not at all in line with his thinking on the subject.

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Carolina Hurricanes Trade Ron Hainsey to the Pittsburgh Penguins

Jonathan Willis
February 23 2017 09:44AM

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(Photo credit: James Guillory/USA TODAY Sports)

On Thursday the Pittsburgh Penguins moved to shore up their blue line in preparation for another run at the Stanley Cup, cashing in a second-round pick for 35-year-old left-shot rearguard Ron Hainsey

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Kris Russell: Trap or Opportunity?

Jonathan Willis
February 21 2017 11:00AM

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One of the larger individual decisions that the Edmonton Oilers have to make in the next few months is whether or not to sign Kris Russell to a contract extension. He is the team’s most prominent player bound for unrestricted free agency and handles key minutes on the blue line.

Before the Oilers make a decision on Russell one way or the other, a particular fact which should not escape their attention: Kris Russell’s reputation this season hinges on a single hot month.

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