The Edmonton Oilers have no part in this year’s Stanley Cup playoffs, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t still hockey to watch for Oilers fans.
In addition to the NHL playoffs, there are also the World Hockey Championships currently being played in Prague, Czech Republic.
While it may not be Olympic or World Cup calibre, it is the best hockey being played outside the NHL right now and with some of the world’s biggest stars taking part.
Even the game’s best player in Sidney Crosby has decided to lace ‘em up and is hoping to captain Canada to another gold medal.
Due to being outside of the playoff picture for some time, the Edmonton Oilers have always been well represented at the World Championships and this year is no different.
Jordan Eberle & Taylor Hall
Eberle and Hall have looked good early in the tournament playing on the same line, flanking centre Matt Duchene.
Their line could be technically considered Canada’s 2nd or 3rd line, if you assume whoever is playing with Crosby (Nathan MacKinnon and Jason Spezza in this case) is the team’s top line.
Canada’s “other” secondary scoring in Tyler Ennis-Claude Giroux-Tyler Seguin is no slouch either. The point is that Canada has three dynamic scoring lines, and no other team has the scoring depth Canada has.
The Hall-Duchene-Eberle line has been the most productive so far and are Canada’s top three scorers. Hall and Duchene currently lead the tournament in scoring with 6 points a piece, with Eberle registering 4 so far.
Anton Lander & Oscar Klefbom
Both players came into their own this season and took strides towards proving they are legitimate NHL contributors.
Klefbom emerged as the Oilers best overall defenseman, and Lander showed promise that he could handle being a top nine forward.
On a Sweden squad that lacks star power, both players will be given a chance to play prominent roles as the tournament goes on.
The World Championships are a perfect opportunity for players without a chance to make a name for themselves in the NHL playoffs, to prove they have what it takes to play on a big stage and in pressure situations.
Lander and Klefbom are two players that can certainly endear themselves to a new management and potentially new head coach with their play in Prague.
Hendricks will captain a young USA squad into the tournament and is a perfect role model for many young players. Not a high profile player in terms of offensive production or big time minutes, but a very valuable one and certainly underrated.
A tireless worker, tough competitor and excellent penalty killer, Hendricks is a glue guy that every team needs. He is a perfect fit in the Oilers dressing room and brings a component they need more of on the ice.
He will be needed in his leadership role in Prague as the United Stated bring one of their youngest teams ever to the tournament.
Note: If it weren’t for injuries both Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (Canada) and Nail Yakupov (Russia) would also be participating in the tournament.