We aren’t sure we can overstate just how much the entire crew at Team Ford bleeds orange and blue—a certain president could be impeached and we wouldn’t spend any time on the topic if there was an Oilers game the night before. Sadly, we are still in the midst of the longest season—the off season. Last time we checked in with a blog on the greatest hockey team of all time, the Oilers had snapped up Evan Bouchard in the draft and made a few depth signings in free agency. We also speculated on a player who needed to step up his game *cough* Lucic, ahem, and a free agent we’d love to see back in Oilers silks; sadly for us, Mr. Maroon decided to sign in St. Louis. However, I’m sure you all remember that absolutely heartwarming moment between him and his son, and now that he is back in his hometown he will be able to spend more time with his family. The selfish part of us is upset, but when a player is that much of a class-act you can’t help but cheer him on, no matter where he laces up the skates.
We also spent some time talking about which of the Oilers restricted free agents would be signed, and we were correct on one of our predictions. Ryan Strome will be back in an Oilers uniform for some time to come, at $3.1 million a season. We said $3 million, which was just a hair off—about as close as you can get with Ford’s Park Assist. We give Chiarelli a lot of grief around here but this deal makes a lot of sense, solidifying the team down the centre while allowing The Nuge to play wing with McDavid—an option which maybe took too long for the coaches to utilize, but one that showed enormous potential. With more consistent linemates, and a more defined role, it isn’t inconceivable to think that Strome could improve on last year’s 34 points and get closer to his career high of 50 points in the 2014-15 season. We’re still waiting to see what kind of deal Darnell Nurse signs, but the management team will certainly be doing all it can to sign a defender who came into his own last season. Nurse played all 82 games and more than doubling his career high in points, while still putting up a very respectable +15 on a team that, lets face it, did not have a strong season defensively.
While there isn’t much more hockey to talk about, we would be remiss if we didn’t mention Go Auto’s free (yes, free) contest to win hockey tickets and dinner for six, a limo for the evening to and from the game, and most importantly, a meet and greet with The Great One and The Next-Great One. We’re a little broken up over the whole thing, as Go Auto staff aren’t eligible, because spending some quality time with Gretzky and McDavid (hell, spending any time with them) is about the only constant among our staff members’ bucket lists. Lucky for you, you just have to visit this link to enter.
We still have another 66 days until the season starts—but who’s counting? In the meantime we’re going to do some heavy off-season training, by which we mean beer curls on a patio somewhere. Stay tuned to the Team Ford blog, and we’ll be back talking about the Oilers once the regular season starts.