Rossy’s Thursday Ramblings




Saturday, June 30th


Rich here with some instant analysis on the big prospect news of the day. The Edmonton Oilers signed free-agent defenseman Justin Schultz today. This looks to be a great fit for both player and team, as the Oilers needed another puck-moving defenseman and Schultz will get an opportunity to play, and play a lot, right away. Getting power-play time with the likes of Jordan Eberle, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Taylor Hall and Nail Yakupov provides a great opportunity for Schultz, and he instantly becomes a Calder Candidate for the upcoming season. Schultz had 47 points in his final season at the University of Wisconsin, and at 22 years-old is a littl more mature than the typical NHL rookie. Schultz is also a native of British Columbia, so th chance to play closer to home may have been a factor in his decision.

Expect Schultz to play immediately, and get PP time right from the start. He is a polishd player, so you won’t have to worry about defensive lapses costing him playing time. He is a smart, mobile d-man who should adapt quickly to the NHL game.

Thursday, June 28th


Edit: The Toronto Maple Leafs announced their Prospect Camp roster. All of their 2012 selections will be in attendance when the camp starts July 2nd. I was quite pleased to see overage forward Charlie Sarault get an invite to camp. Sarault led the Sarnia Sting in scoring this past season after coming over from Kingston. For the complete roster click the link at the bottom of the ramblings.

The Justin Schultz sweepstakes are out in full force after officially becoming a free agent Sunday night. His agency started fielding offers yesterday and it appeared that 26 of the NHL’s 30 teams made a pitch for him. This is going to be interesting….my gut feeling is his list looks like:


  1. Edmonton
  2. Toronto
  3. Vancouver


However, I think Tampa Bay would be a tremendous fit as well. Steve Yzerman has done a great job bringing in talent and it’s just a team, which I personally, would consider playing for.


The arrival of Dennis Wideman in Calgary certainly doesn’t help TJ Brodie as he has some more competition for PP time.  Jay Bouwmeester, Mark Giordano and TJ Brodie are all left handed shots making it more complicated…unless J-Bo and his massive contract are dealt.


The hiring of Ralph Krueger as head coach in Edmonton is certainly an interesting one. During the times that Krueger took over as head coach (Tom Renney injury and MacTavish’s family obligations), the Edmonton Oilers’ young guns flourished under his supervision. One player who watched his ice time increase was Sam Gagner and he thrived. Keep an eye on how Krueger handles his youthful core full of elite talent. He is certainly going to have a challenge juggling the likes of Ales Hemsky, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Taylor Hall, Jordan Eberle, Nail Yakupov and Magnus Paajarvi.  We know that Ales Hemsky isn’t going anywhere with his new contract. RNH and Nail Yakupov will be featured in the Oilers’ lineup for the next little while and Jordan Eberle’s game is too valuable to move him.


In my opinion, it’s a matter of time before Sam Gagner and/or Magnus Paajarvi are moved for help in net or, more importantly, on the blue line. However, Tambellini should seriously consider moving Taylor Hall for that “elite” defenseman. His injuries are concerning and his value is still relatively high. I think I would at least, quietly, be shopping him to see what kind of return I could get. Would the Coyotes part with both Yandle and Hanzal (perfect #3 C) for Taylor Hall?


Something has to give in Edmonton on the front lines.




NHL Development camps are underway featuring the team’s top prospects from the 2012 NHL draft as well as previously drafted players and some invited walk-ons as well.


At the New York Rangers camp, first round pick Brady Skjei has apparently been playing as advertised – flawless hockey. Dylan McIlrath, the Rangers 10th overall selection in 2010, was helped off the ice after colliding knee-to-knee with a walk-on player. The injury does not to be too serious at this time. The Rangers had one of the longer lists of undrafted invities including some players with questionable issue