Five Oilers on All-Star ballot

DEREK VAN DIEST, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:21 AM ET

EDMONTON - It’s been a long time since Edmonton Oilers fans had choices when it came to the NHL All-Star game.

But with five players on this year’s ballot, not including Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, the Oilers are hoping to have strong representation at this season’s event in Ottawa.

They just need fans to fill out ballots.

“It’s really exciting for the organization,” said Oilers president of hockey operations Kevin Lowe. “For the fans and the players to have five guys on the ballot is something that hasn’t happened in many years.

“I know all the indicators state that we’re heading in the right direction, but this is just another one that is real positive for the organization.”

Lowe was the last Oilers to be voted on as a starter for an all-star game, when selected to play in the 1990 contest.

This year Jordan Eberle, Taylor Hall, Ryan Smyth, Ryan Whitney and Nikolai Khabibulin are all on the ballot for the Jan. 29 event. Nugent-Hopkins should garner some write-in votes as well.

“They are great players in their own right,” said Lowe. “A bunch of them deserve to be in the All-Star game. Whether that happens or not, we can ask help from our fans to vote them in. But it doesn’t take us or people locally to recognize the ability of these players, we’re hearing it from other people in the hockey industry, which is nice to hear.”

On the mend

Corey Potter is starting to find his stride, having returned from an ankle injury, but admits he’s not quite not there yet.

The Oilers defenceman played his third game Monday and is expected to be in the lineup Thursday when the Oilers host the Minnesota Wild.

“I think things are starting to come around. I’m not at 100% yet. You feel like you’re a little bit of a step behind,” Potter said. “But each game you continue to build and get better and I think I’m getting there.”

Signed as a free agent this summer, Potter has fit in well on the Oilers blue line. However, a promising start to the year was derailed after he turned his ankle.

Potter sat out 12 games waiting for the ankle to heal.

“I think it’s just the speed and getting back into the groove is definitely the hardest thing to get back,” he said. “I feel healthy, I think the ankle feels fine. There are some times when you can feel it out there, but you have to put that in the back of your head and get out there and go.”

derek.vandiest@sunmedia.ca

@SUNdvandiest


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