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08-09-2013, 12:44 AM
  #61
Steve BachIntyre
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Oilers Shut down guys used to be legit, and were able to put up points, and things at one point looked decent..

http://www.hockeyforum.com/edmonton-...ars-print.html

Oilers captain Jason Smith has a pain threshold normally reserved for those who endure childbirth, cracked ribs, and Dharma+Greg marathons. At any point during the season, you can usually bet he’s playing with pain that would leave most NHL players watching from the press box, and most other human beings lying in hospital beds.

Smith has provided toughness and quality leadership for the Oilers since he was acquired from the Toronto Maple Leafs during the 1998-99 season. Oilers GM Kevin Lowe is rumored to be working on a multi-year deal for the 30-year-old free agent that should be finalized once the Petr Nedved situation is resolved.

The play of rookie defenseman Marc-Andre Bergeron may have been the Oilers biggest surprise last season, posting 26 points and a +13 in only 54 games. If he hadn’t spent 17 games playing for the Toronto Roadrunners he may have garnered a fistful of Calder trophy votes as well. The 23-year-old has always put up huge numbers playing in the QMJHL and AHL, and the reason he went undrafted is a mystery fit for Columbo.

Despite being small in stature at 5-feet-10 and 197-pounds, Bergeron plays an aggressive style, always looking to make hits in open-ice. The Oilers are expected to sign the restricted free agent to a healthy increase over the $410,000 he made last season, and he should continue to improve as he gains NHL experience and increased time on the power play.

When the Oilers signed Steve Staios in the summer of 2001, nobody expected him to develop into a solid defensive presence. However, in three seasons with Edmonton the rugged defenseman has seen his stock rise dramatically. Last season, as he was facing the possibility of unrestricted free agency, the Oilers signed him to a three-year contract extension worth $7.05 million. The 31-year-old native of Hamilton, Ontario provided the club with a dominating physical presence and registered 28 points in 82 games, leading all Oilers defensemen. Few players are quicker to stand up for their teammates than Staios, and he has become a fan favorite because of his rugged physical play.

Igor Ulanov blocks shots that make grown men cringe and babies cry. The 34-year-old veteran is the Edmonton Oiler most likely to block shots with his face, giving him an intimidating appearance and keeping him far from beauty contests of any kind. Ulanov has suited up for 8 different NHL teams over his career, but he’s always produced his best play draped in the copper and blue. The Oilers signed the big Russian back in January and he played surprisingly well down the stretch, posting 18 points and a +19 in 42 games last season. The Oilers picked up Ulanov’s one-year option in June that will keep him with the club, making $750,000 this season.

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