New name, same content. My monthly 15 Points to Consider has now become a weekly 15 Prime Cuts. 15 of my thoughts from the week that was in the world of hockey. This week, I take a look at Jiri Hudler, Brendan Gallagher, the mess in Edmonton (once again), Brayden Schenn, and more.


1. Jiri Hudler already has more goals (11) in 38 games than he did all of last season (10 in 73 games). He was an afterthought in the offseason for most Wings fans and poolies, but he’s bounced back and is playing a key role for Detroit up front. He’s on place for 24 goals and 54 points, and his ice time is just below the 15 minute mark. Could be a trade chip if the Wings are looking to add something at the deadline, as he is still only 27. I'm not really sure what the Wings would need to add - likely a depth blueliner and a big checking winger.


I bet they'd love to trade 2011-12 Zetterberg for the 2007-08 edition, too.


2. I really enjoyed the HBO Winter Classic special this season. It wasn’t as good as the Pittsbugh/Washington match up from 2011, but it was another great look behind-the-scenes at the players and off-ice personnel in the league. Hard to hate any of the players after you get a glimpse into their off-ice lives. The Rangers, in particular, really hold true to their reputation as a blue collar team with all of the elements to win.


Best part of the show was Claude Giroux’s on ice banter with the opposition.


3. I mentioned a few Minnesota prospects last week, and they had two players play key roles on Sweden’s way to winning the Gold at the World Juniors – Jonas Brodin and Johan Larsson. Larsson is a skilled and tenacious winger with 23 points in 31 SEL games. Brodin is a poised and steady defenseman who could make the Wild out of training camp next season. Even though the NHL club is really struggling, things are looking good for the next few seasons.


4. Edmonton is really going to miss Jordan Eberle, however long he may be out. He’s been the best player for the team this season, and was well on his way to flirting with 80-85 points (an impressive total considering the lack of talent on that roster).


5. Sticking with the Oilers… it really is time they clean house with management. The team has been spinning tires for about four years, and looks to be on the way to contending for another 1st overall draft pick. The fact that they did nothing last summer to address a crippling weakness on defense (no, signing Andy Sutton and Cam Barker doesn’t count) is even more of an oversight now considering Ryan Whitney’s lack of progress in rehabbing his injury.


They have also screwed up the Ales Hemsky situation, and they’ll probably be forced to trade a really good winger for less than his real value.


6. If you would redraft the 2008 first round, what would your top five be? Mine, in order: Stamkos, Karlsson, Doughty, Eberle, Pietrangelo. Carlson, Hodgson and Myers wouldn’t be far behind.


7. Anze Kopitar has one goal since November 23rd . The Kings are last in the league in goals for. I wonder if the two are related?


8. Ducks prospect defenseman Justin Schultz is tearing up the NCAA. The skilled puck mover is the only defenseman in the overall top 20 in scoring (32 points in 20 games), and he is the first Wisconson defenseman to surpass the career 100-point mark since Brian Rafalski. He was picked in the second round back in 2008 and should be a lock to play with the Ducks next season (if he decides to forego his final year of college).


9. Montreal prospect and a favourite of mine, Brendan Gallagher, had a very impressive World Juniors tournament for Canada. Not much was known about Gallagher outside of Vancouver until he almost made the Canadiens out of training camp this season. He is the prototypical undersized and skilled winger who plays bigger than his size.


He is getting a mention today because he had a dominant game against one of the best teams in the WHL (the 26-12-2-1 Portland Winterhawks) last night – three goals and four assists (on the same night that Habs legend Guy Lafleur was honoured at the game - the kid already has a flair for the dramatic).


10. It took Shane Doan 1161 career NHL regular season games, but he finally recorded his first hat trick last night. Coincidentally, it was the same night in which Jarome Iginla finally buried his 500th career goal. Two of the most universally respected and liked players in the entire game.


11. Pittsburgh is now without their best player (Crosby), best defenseman (Letang), best shutdown forward (Staal), and best winger (Neal). The team kept its head above water for a while, but injuries to so many top players can only be contended with for so long. Look for the Pens to make a trade to bring a forward in, as it doesn’t sound like any of the aforementioned players will be back soon. They sure could use Mark Letestu right now. (Timing is everything, isn't it?)


12. Derek Roy is on the trading block (although it seems like we hear this every season). Sabres GM Darcy Regier is notoriously tough to trade with, as he values his own players quite highly. Roy would be a great fit with the Chicago Blackhawks, who desperately need to add a second line center behind Toews. Would the Sabres be interested in something involving Jeremy Morin? What are Buffalo’s needs right now? Roy is a really good player, and definitely holds more value than his current production shows (on pace for a measly 16 goals and 49 points).


13. Bryan Little had an assist on Saturday night, his first game back since missing eight with a bone bruise in his foot. He centered the top line with Kane and Wheeler. Little was moved to the wing early on in his pro career, but has successfully made the move over to center in the past few seasons. He’s going to be a really good player, but the production won’t take off until the Jets other young guns (like Kane, Burmistrov, Bogosian, and so on) take the next step, as well. A good keeper league investment.

14. Brayden Schenn scored his first career goal during the Winter Classic. He also now has points in three straight games. According to the Frozen Pool line combinations tool, Schenn is playing most of his shifts on a line with Wayne Simmonds and James van Riemsdyk.  Schenn was my top-rated fantasy forward prospect back in March of 2011. Philadelphia will be harder for him to get prime minutes right away than Los Angeles would have been, but he is still one of the best young players in the game.


15. Lots of great comeback stories this year in the league. Joffrey Lupul is playing like a superstar after battling a serious blood-related infection a few years ago. Ray Emery is playing great hockey for Chicago after rebuilding one of his hips (the same injury that forced Bo Jackson to retire). Find out more on Emery’s injury here (a really interesting read).

Write comment
Comments (11)add comment

Big Ev said:

Big Ev
... Gotta agree with Angus about Tambellini. His offense-first plan from the get-go is one that will win you some regular season games but probably fail in the playoffs. This is a team with no current high upside defensemen in their prospect pool (Klefbom is a solid 2nd pairing, others just ok potential IMO). They will never be a Chicago or Pittsburgh because of this. Tambellini goes up to the podium with a smug look on his face every year, but the fact is that most other teams aren't jealous because they know you don' need 1st overall picks to succeed in this league.

So I'd wait for Tambellini to go up the the podium with a smug look on his face, and if his staff pick yet another forward then I might can them.
January 09, 2012
Votes: -1

bogans said:

... You have got to acknowledge Derek Stepan in the redraft 2008 even though he is not a first rounder. Surprised still how many teams overlooked this guy.

If I was able to do it today the draft would go Stamkos, Doughty, Karlsson, Stepan, Eberle.
January 09, 2012
Votes: +0

Mr Sausage said:

Oilers They have been spinning their tires for a while now. But Kevin Lowe really handcuffed this team with awful signings(Penner/Horcoff) and mismanagement. Imo he was the worst GM in hockey while he was the GM. And I'm an Oiler fan. Tambellini is close to getting it right. You are right that the offseason defensive signings were not up to snuff. But Sutton is a great vet that the team needs. He hasn't played poorly. He's played like Andy Sutton if you know what I mean. I'd like to give Tambellini more time but Lowe needs to go. Tambellini is stuck with Horcoff so he's trying to make lemonade out of that lemon contract.

I'm not sure how they screwed up the Hemsky situation. When he signed that contract I thought it was a great price for a potential 80pt player. He was supposed to be a centre piece for the team and not trade bait. The Oil don't need to trade him for more prospects. They need immediate defensive help and I'd rather see Gagner dealt. Their team is still just way too young and have been riddled with injuries to key players to really make the next step yet. Before the season started I predicted them to finish 10th in the conference. If RNH/Eberle and Whitney don't come back soon they will not finish that high.
January 09, 2012
Votes: +1

mick said:


Fair enough Steve, I just couldn't help pointing those two items out.

The oilers have the assets to get another dman, but i think the plan is to compete in 2013 after they get another top draft pick.
Its pretty obvious they made the right choice with RNH, i would think they go for dman in 2012.

January 08, 2012
Votes: +0

steve laidlaw said:

... Mick. I think you are proving that it is the exception not the rule. My point.

You also can't criticize a team for not being able to swindle a top notch level defenseman. That's another situation that's an exception rather than the rule.
January 08, 2012
Votes: +0

mick said:

lol @ coilers Love the coiler canucks rivalry!!! I have a great rivalry going with 4 or 5 guys i have done pools with for like ten years!

quote Vancouver Sun Feb 17th 2011:
"With today’s announcement that top blueliner Kevin Bieksa (left) will be sidelined for roughly three weeks with a broken foot, it would seem that the news can’t get much worse. Indeed, the number and calibre of defensemen on the Canucks’ injured list alone would represent a back-end that most teams would love to have (Bieksa, Dan Hamhuis, Keith Ballard, Alex Edler, Andrew Alberts and Lee Sweatt)."

not only did they survive they won the president's trophy.

and Vancouver MGMT picked up Erhoff for 2 bags of used pucks....................

Edmonton does need a change upstairs, they should be fired just for picking up Eager and Hordichuck
January 08, 2012
Votes: +0

Andrew K said:

2008 Draft Agree with your list and order. I'd also have Stepan ahead of Hodgson and MDZ would be right after Myers.
January 08, 2012
Votes: +1

lcbtd said:

@Steve Laidlaw Great work Steve! It's posts like that, intelligent and thought-provoking that keep people coming back . . . That and great articles like 15 Points, um, I mean 15 Prime Cuts! Angus, my favourite article on DH by far!

January 08, 2012
Votes: +0

steve laidlaw said:

oilers front office I emphatically disagree with you regarding the Oilers front office. They've done a ton to change the culture in Edmonton from top to bottom and have made the franchise much healthier for the long term. I don't see what anyone else is doing differently to solve this thing. The Oilers are well on their way to competing and have been ravaged by injuries losing 139 man games across 13 players, six of whom are defensemen. I don't care how deep you are, you aren't surviving the loss of six defensemen.

No Barker and Sutton are not long term solutions but they are understandable. Sutton sucks but he plays his role reasonably enough. Barker's skillset seems to be what the Oilers are missing as a left-handed puckmover. I know he sucks too but as a former third overall pick you can understand his signing. Kick the tires on a guy with huge pedigree to see what shakes out. Both are low risk signings for a team that wasn't realistically going for the Cup this year anyhow.

And look at the defense market this summer. Who were they gonna get? The big free agents were Ehrhoff, Kaberle, Wisniewski and Hamrlik. I'm going to assume Ehrhoff and Hamrlik were only considering contenders. Kaberle was only picking teams in the East. Wisniewski is a player I am personally not a fan of and have no disappointment the Oilers didn't choose to overpay him.

Then there's the trade market. Regher, Liles and Burns were all in house options. Campbell is still vastly overpaid. The price for Franson was eating Lombardi's contract.

That leaves lesser free agents like Montador, Hejda, I. White, C. White, Campoli and Jovo. Is Edmonton outbidding for Jovo? Can they compete with San Jose, Detroit, or Chicago for Montador or the Whites? Is Campoli a real solution? Are they outbidding for Hejda? You can criticize them for not making it happen with at least one of these guys? Yeah for sure but realistically they are probably only getting one and most would be just as big of bandaids as Sutton or Barker and we do not know what the mindset of these players was.

The Hemsky situation may not be all it appears to be. Why can't he be a part of the solution? Do we know what the specific offers for him have been over the years? Do we know what the internal conversations have been between player and organization regarding an extention? If they move him does that not make them just as lacking for depth up front as they are on D?

I just don't see what a new GM is doing over what the Oilers have done. Tambo started in the summer of 2008 so this is year four of the rebuild. How long did the Pittsburgh GM get? How long did the Washington GM get? It takes time to change the culture of a franchise that was bare bones when Tambo took over.

You can rip Lowe for his job as GM but as President he has helped establish a strong competitive team in the AHL which will help the youngsters learn to win as they come through the system. Also head scout Stu MacGregor has been fantastic and completely changed the way Edmonton evaluates youngsters. Is he a part of this house cleaning?

I just think that calling for a house cleaning is a simple solution and really you are just kicking this franchise when it is down. Where was this talk before all the injuries?

I know this is a rant and it's defensive in nature but I see a lot of people losing faith and jumping off the bandwagon just as quick as they jumped on it. I know you have had your criticisms of the Oilers franchise for a couple of years now but front office is adapting and you'll note they addressed a lot of issues regarding not having enough veteran talent on the main roster.
January 08, 2012
Votes: +5

Nigel said:

... I'm glad to hear good news about Justin Schultz....picked him up for $1 at the end of my first keeper league auction draft in September and threw him on the farm.

Biggest improvement of Angus' 15 -- the title. I cringed every time I read "15 Points to Consider". The new title is perfect, as is the news that this will now be a weekly column. Can't wait for next week!
January 08, 2012
Votes: +1

netwolf said:

... Letestu is out with a broken hand. The injuries extends to ex-Pens as well apparently.

Dusting Jeffrey is supposedly getting close. Pens could really use him, especially if he can come back anywhere near last year's form.
January 08, 2012
Votes: +0
You must be logged in to post a comment. Please register if you do not have an account yet.