Bulls & Bears: Flames, Oilers improving -- Canucks, not so much

 

Tom Mayenknecht hosts The Sport Market on TSN 1040 and TSN Radio, where he regularly rates and debates the Bulls & Bears of sports business. He reviews the major winners and losers of the past week every Saturday

 
 
 
 
Tom Mayenknecht, host of The Sport Market on TSN 1040 and the TSN Radio network, regularly rates and debates the Bulls & Bears of the sports business.
 

Tom Mayenknecht, host of The Sport Market on TSN 1040 and the TSN Radio network, regularly rates and debates the Bulls & Bears of the sports business.

Photograph by: Vancouver Sun graphics, .

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VANCOUVER — Sorting out the major winners and losers of this week — with a bottom-line twist — in the world of sports:

BULLS OF THE WEEK

It’s not the $107 per barrel of a year ago, but a sustained period with oil in the $58 to $60 range is fuelling cautious optimism in Alberta. Yet oil industry and Calgary Stampede aside, it’s the business of hockey in the province that is giving Alberta fans plenty to get excited about.

In the past 10 days, there was no bigger bull market in the National Hockey League than that of the Alberta hockey economy.

The benchmark was set by new Edmonton Oilers general manager Peter Chiarelli, who refused to rest on the laurels of No. 1 overall pick Connor McDavid. Instead, Chiarelli refashioned and rebalanced the Oilers young roster by trading for goaltender Cam Talbot and up-and-coming defenceman and former No. 4 overall draft pick Griffin Reinhart, and then signing free agent defenceman Andrej Sekera.

Not far behind was sophomore Calgary Flames GM Brad Treliving, who sneaked defenceman Dougie Hamilton away from the Boston Bruins and then surprised many by landing Michael Frolik in free agency.

Of course, the revitalized prospects for a long-running Battle of Alberta won’t replace the jobs lost in the oil sector over the past year, but the speculative stock that is the new-look Oilers and surging Flames will help sell new arena projects in both cities.

All things considered, there’s no franchise whose stock has soared more this year than that of Edmonton, where the on-ice buzz was made possible by the bullish off-ice leadership now in place under new Oilers CEO Bob Nicholson, 2011 Stanley Cup-winning GM Chiarelli and freshly minted head coach Todd McLellan. Credit for all of that goes to Oilers owner Daryl Katz, who finally saw the need to make the playoffs for the first time since Edmonton reached the Stanley Cup Final in 2006.

BEARS OF THE WEEK

While the Oilers and Flames have been headline makers in Alberta and their 1970 expansion cousins in Buffalo have added No. 2 pick Jack Eichel, new head coach Dan Bylsma and other pieces, it’s been a deflating week for the Vancouver Canucks and their front office. Despite a 101-point season in the first year under new President Trevor Linden and GM Jim Benning, the Canucks appear to have taken a few steps back in the stock market of hope in the Western Conference. Although there’s much to like about top draft pick Brock Boeser, Canucks fans couldn’t get past the departure of popular goaltender Eddie Lack, heart-and-soul veteran defenceman Kevin Bieksa and underachieving cowboy Zack Kassian. None of them represented a suitable return in picks to armchair GMs from around British Columbia. By standing still while most of the Pacific Division became stronger, the Canucks are among the bears of the week in the NHL.

Tom Mayenknecht is host of The Sport Market on TSN 1040 and TSN Radio, where he regularly rates and debates the Bulls & Bears of sports business. He reviews the major winners and losers of the past week every Saturday in The Vancouver Sun.

 
 
 
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Tom Mayenknecht, host of The Sport Market on TSN 1040 and the TSN Radio network, regularly rates and debates the Bulls & Bears of the sports business.
 

Tom Mayenknecht, host of The Sport Market on TSN 1040 and the TSN Radio network, regularly rates and debates the Bulls & Bears of the sports business.

Photograph by: Vancouver Sun graphics, .

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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