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With competition for eyeballs being as hot as it is, a lot of pundits in various sports have taken to calling themselves “insiders.” When it comes to consistently predicting what’s happening or is going to happen with the Edmonton Oilers, I can probably list all the people who have the real inside dope on one hand.

I’ve never counted the person who goes by the name Tracy Lane on Twitter among them. I’ve always considered the account sketchy, even if she/he apparently guessed right about two or three Oilers’ transactions back in 2011 or so. For starters, the source for this account is somebody named Garfield. Sure. Also, the picture of the woman on the account is actually somebody named Emma O’Neill, a retired model. The insiders I trust use their real names and photos. Then, there’s the track record.

Truth is, while I keep tabs on who is writing what about the Oilers out there, I hadn’t given this account a thought for years and years, since well before the term Fake News was hatched. No wonder – an old man moment by me – as I’ve had the account muted since I can’t remember when. Anyway, that changed today with discussion on one of the local radio shows about Taylor Hall based on a Tweet from the account. Just like that, she/he was back.

DOES IT MAKE SENSE?

I’d be all for @Taylor Hall returning — especially in a one-for-one trade for @Adam Larsson — given Edmonton’s lack of depth on the wings. Who wouldn’t? That said, I haven’t heard anything from anybody else about Hall letting it be known he’d like to return to the Oilers. Is it possible he feels that way? Sure. Would it make any sense for him to say that now? None.

The thing is, Hall, a year removed from an MVP campaign, has an entire season to see how things play out in New Jersey before he’s a UFA. It seems to me Devils’ GM Ray Shero has done good job of bolstering his line-up this off-season. Hall has said he likes living in New Jersey, but what’s most important to him at this point in his career is having a chance to win a Stanley Cup. Would his chances to do that be better in Edmonton than in New Jersey?

Hall, who’ll be coming off a six-year deal worth $36 million, is going to get paid no matter where he goes. A lot of people think he’ll get $10 million a season or more. Can the Oilers afford Hall? Not this coming season, but they’re in better shape in 2020-21. Might the Devils trade Hall before the deadline this season if he or the team has a bad year? Sure. Might Hall opt to hit the UFA market in the summer of 2020? That’s the smart move from where I sit.

I don’t know what Garfield has heard, but there are lots of ways it could go for Hall, and that includes a return to Edmonton, if you suspend belief he wants to win a Cup. Hey, it’s mid-August and I’m played out on what might happen with @Jesse Puljujarvi or what the Oilers line-up might look like next season, so no real harm and no foul with this grist for the rumor mill – there’s always lot of this stuff out there at this time of year. If it’s all the same, though, I’ll wait until there’s a name other than Tracy or Emma or Garfield attached to it before I put any weight in it.

THE OUTSIDERS

There’s already a lot of great podcasts out there, including one put together by the guys here at Oilersnation, but I’m going to throw my hat in the ring with veteran radio man and friend Bryn Griffiths and see if we can carve out a niche for ourselves. We’re calling it The Outsiders, and we’ll be putting together the first podcast this coming Monday. We’ve got a teaser for it here.

While Bryn and I have been around the sports business for going on 35 years each, we’ve committed to resisting the urge to make this two old farts yelling at clouds. We’ve both got some stories to tell, but more important than that, we know a lot of great story-tellers and those are the people we’ll be talking to. Much of our focus will be the Oilers and @Calgary Flames as well as the NHL at large, but we’ll also talk plenty of CFL and tackle issues that are grabbing the airwaves and sports pages locally and nationally.

We’ll start out doing just one a week and try to grow it from there until we’re big enough to get somebody like Baggedmilk or Wanye on as guests. If we’re any good, that’ll happen. If it sucks, it won’t. Really looking forward to this.

Previously by Robin Brownlee


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