OUR LONG NATION NIGHTMARE IS OVER

Todd McLellan mentioned at his media avail yesterday that older fading players, up and coming players and emerging impact players all needed to ‘mesh’ together as a team. If we look at the Sharks from any year, including last season, we can see what he’s talking about in this regard.

  • Todd McLellan: “I think there’s veterans within this organization right now. Matty Hendricks, Boyd Gordon, Ference. The important thing is to blend that, you can’t have separation of older players with warrior wounds on them and younger players coming along without those wounds. You can have ‘the grizzled veteran’, maybe his game is more on the decline than an incline, and you have the young superstars coming up, they have to find ways to intermingle and to mesh so that their assets come out on a daily basis. I don’t know the group well enough yet to say that that exists, I think there’s work to do there.  You have to create the right environment, the right foundation to bring that out.” Source

THORNTON LINE, 2014-15

  • C Joe Thornton. 58.4% Corsi for 5×5. Sublime passer and playmaker, he’s a big center and has been one of the best in the business forever. He is slowing but remained an effective player in 2014-15. Scored 31 EV points in 1081 minutes and played most often with Pavelski (890) and Melker Karlsson (459 minutes).
  • C-W Joe Pavelski. 56.9% Corsi 5×5. A fine passer and a prolific shooter, he scored 37 goals on 261 shots this season. Had 33 points (on 159 shots) at evens and played mostly with Thornton (890 minutes) and Melker Karlsson (497 minutes).
  • W Melker Karlsson. 54.8 Corsi 5×5. Two-way winger just getting established as an NHL player, has good skill level and average size (he is 24 and this was his rookie season). 19 points in 721 EV minutes, mostly with Pavelski (497) and Thornton (459).
  • L Tomas Hertl. 54.2 Corsi 5×5. Big skill winger, he has some durability issues and was not as strong offensively this past season. He played 1040 EV minutes and had 22 points, mostly with Joe Thornton (395 minutes), Joe Pavelski (364) and James Sheppard (228).

I think that’s the mesh. Todd McLellan’s style is to marry talents from different parts of the roster to come up with more depth and allow youngsters to flourish. Instead of placing Patrick Marleau or Logan Couture on this line, McLellan auditioned two young wingers (Karlsson, Hertl) on the line.

Applying that to the Oilers is easy, I’d argue Todd Nelson did just that with Pouliot being added to Nuge and Eberle. Of course, the Oilers also ran Tyler Pitlick with Taylor Hall and Nuge for an hour at evens last year—some days are diamonds and some days are stone. For fun, let’s see if we can marry the Oilers lines and pairings using this kind of thinking.

  • Hall—McDavid—Eberle
  • Pouliot—Nuge—Yakupov
  • Hendricks—Lander—Purcell
  • Pakarinen—Gordon—Klinkhammer

Does that look about right? Let’s try the blue:

  • Klefbom—Fayne
  • Nurse—Nikitin
  • Ference—Schultz

Well, the idea has its limits.

WHO WILL FLOURISH IN A MCLELLAN WORLD?

There’s a real danger here in projecting any of these men into a McLellan system and touting an explosion. We can assume that Hall, Nuge, Eberle, Pouliot will flourish because that’s their established level of ability. I think McLellan’s track record with young players suggests we should be encouraged about the future of Yakupov, Lander, Klefbom, Nurse and others. That said, one or two of those names could be headed out the door, so it’s folly to make sweeping statements about any of this stuff.

Instead, it might be interesting to see if we can identify a group of Melker Karlsson’s in the Oilers system or on the roster. If Karlsson can make it to a big production line, what about Iiro Pakarkainen?

THE KARLSSON PROFILE

Melker Karlsson was signed as a free agent by San Jose on May 30, 2014 (Oilers would sign Pakarinen on June 15). The Hockey News profile tells us about Karlsson as a player:

  • 6.0, 181
  • Is solid at both ends of the ice and can produce good offensive totals at lower levels. Plays with a high skill level and can score goals, too.
  • Doesn’t have ideal size for the NHL game, so he must get stronger in order to win enough board battles to stick in the long run.
  • Solid, skilled two-way forward with a little upside.
  • He arrived in the NHL last fall, age 24.
  • Source

He scored 20GP, 5-5-10 in the AHL and then 53GP, 13-11-24 in the AHL. I’d say Pakarinen is a very good (almost identical) comparison.

  • 6.1, 215 (even bigger, that’s a good thing based on Chiarelli’s verbal)
  • Has pretty good size for the National Hockey League game, plus the ability to score goals at all lower levels. Can raise his game when the competition picks up, which adds to his overall value.
  • Must prove he can make the necessary adjustments over time to become a consistent producer in the NHL. Also, he has played a fairly aggressive game overseas but can he do it in North America.
  • Scoring winger with some upside.
  • He arrived in the NHL last fall, age 23.
  • Source

He scored at a superior rate in the AHL (39GP, 17-11-28) but didn’t get the same NHL push (17GP, 1-2-3) but did play with Anton Lander, Benoit Pouliot and Teddy Purcell. I’d say this fellow is a strong candidate to play on a McLellan team. The only difference between these two men is a ‘two-way’ description of Karlsson .

parkatti pakarinenFRANCHISE DIRECTION

It’s been so long, and so hopeless, and because of that the last month seems even more surreal. One day in the future maybe the last decade of Oilers fandom will have a name—the Oilers syndrome, perhaps—but it’s fair to suggest that the last month should represent a real and obvious turn north for the franchise. If we look at their history, there are surprisingly few forks in the road for the Oilers:

  • 1979-1990: The Boys on The Bus Glory Years
  • 1991-2004: Holding Pattern and Stayin’ Alive
  • 2005-2006: The run for Stanley
  • 2007-2014: The Shawshank Laundry Scene

Fair? I think that’s fair. So, this would represent the fifth stanza in Oilers history and the first one (ever) with the following items in tow:

  • A rich and increasingly responsible owner
  • A veteran GM
  • A veteran coach
  • Insane young talent in the organization
  • The No. 1 overall pick in a year that houses a generational talent in Connor McDavid

Josie said it: The Oilers fans deserve this. Daryl Katz didn’t start his ownership with five years experience, he gained one year’s experience five times, but after that something happened, the tumblers clicked, and Bob Nicholson, Peter Chiarelli and Todd McLellan were the result. There’s plenty of work to do, but the way is clear and experienced men are at the helm.

Our long nation nightmare is over.

Texas Stars vs. OKC Barons 4-16-14

The Barons play tonight, G7 against Utica for the right to move on. A loss means the franchise becomes defunct, the scariest word in pro sports. I think they have a shot, fine goaltending and some good (but young) defense have held the team in. Brad Hunt and Matt Ford are leading the offense, OKC will need some secondary scoring to win tonight and of course Bachman to be brilliant (but he’s got that covered). I’ll have a GDT thread up at five.

One wonders even more about Craig Anderson. I suspect the Senators will shop Robin Lehner, not sure if there’s a market based on recent performance and injury issues. I doubt Edmonton trades for Lehner with an eye to making him the starter—too risky.

LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE

  • 10:05 Bruce McCurdy, Cult of Hockey. McLellan’s media avail: Best ever or best ever?
  • 10:25 Open line. Your thoughts and tweets.
  • 10:40 Jeff Krushell. Impact show tonight at 7 about the message we’re sending to kids and why it’s harmful. Incredible insight.
  • 11:05 Bill Hoppe, Olean Times Herald. Mike Babcock’s decision day.
  • 11:25 Antony Bent, FC Edmonton. Eddies tonight against the Vancouver Whitecaps at Clark!
  • 11:45 Dave Jamieson. Argo’s sale going through today. 9 teams, 9 owners, 1 team named the Roughriders. Music!

10-1260 text, @Lowetide on twitter. Rock the casbah at 10! TSN 1260.

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219 Responses to "OUR LONG NATION NIGHTMARE IS OVER"

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  1. NYCOIL "Taking Photos" says:

    hunter1909: I grew up worrying about the German Army freezing in Russia. Then I checked and discovered that Edmonton weather was identical.

    All those trips to school, I could have been doing guard duty at Smolensk.

    This is all kinds of awesome!

  2. NYCOIL "Taking Photos" says:

    wheatnoil,

    Hey, we all have something in common, being part of this community LT’s created. Every once in a while, a little sharing is OK, I think. I’ve learned a lot from being here, and I guess more important than trying to prove G Money wrong (I don’t think I quite did) was to show any younger folks around here that money isn’t always everything (I know it’s hard when you don’t have any, though), and it’s (almost) never too late to pursue your dreams.

  3. Adam Wu says:

    Only in DSF world would a player who has had 62 decent games in a single season for a bottom feeding team count as an “established 3C”.

    Except, of course, if that player was an Edmonton Oiler.

    THEN, he’d be over the hill and fading fast.

  4. Магия 10 says:

    NYCOIL “Taking Photos”: And most of the people I have met in my life so far, well the ones without money seem to be happier as a group than the ones with.

    Never meet a happy rich person unless money was extremely secondary. The rest are “upper middle class” with never enough zeroes.

    NYCOIL “Taking Photos”: if I ever have a family, so this is my own personal last chance Texaco to do something more meaningful to me

    Second last. Cuz that family thing? Meaningful from start to end. Work that fits you now is great practice for work that fits them later. Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose.

  5. Магия 10 says:

    Adam Wu: Except, of course, if that player was an Edmonton Oiler.

    picked by the last management group.

    FIXED.

  6. Bad Seed says:

    NYCOIL “Taking Photos”,

    That was a great story, NYC.

    One point is that supposedly Buffalo had the same offer on the table as the Leaves. So what does that say? He likes a challenge or perhaps Buffalo is indeed the last destination anyone wants to be? Buffalo must feel the way Edmonton did a few years back chasing all those free agents and coming up empty.

  7. NYCOIL "Taking Photos" says:

    Bad Seed,

    Hmm, maybe it was the player personnel input bit? Can’t see Murray giving him that.

  8. Pouzar says:

    My Gord dem Utica dancers…

  9. Магия 10 says:

    NYCOIL “Taking Photos”:
    Bad Seed,

    Hmm, maybe it was the player personnel input bit? Can’t see Murray giving him that.

    Bad Seed:
    NYCOIL “Taking Photos”,

    That was a great story, NYC.

    One point is that supposedly Buffalo had the same offer on the table as the Leaves.So what does that say?He likes a challenge or perhaps Buffalo is indeed the last destination anyone wants to be?Buffalo must feel the way Edmonton did a few years back chasing all those free agents and coming up empty.

    perhaps toronto matched on dollars and went longer and heavier up front.

    Clear that buffalo was trying to close 2 days ago. Hope they didn’t do anything desperate like press DVDs.

  10. grim.oil says:

    I think starting Forward lines should look something like:

    (1)Pouliot—Nuge—Eberle
    This line was great last year. It has the right mix. They’ve proven that. If its not broken dont fix it.
    (2)Hall—Lander—McDavid
    2/3rds of this line was excellent. Lander is probably better at face offs than McD from what I have heard. They can switch as needed and get softer competition.
    (3)_____—Roy*—Yakupov
    _____ can be filled in with whoever earns the spot (Pakarinen/Miller/etc.), Yakupov has not earned top-6. He can earn his spot moving up making McD move to center and Lander to 3rd line. Roy is included only cause he fit the spot last year. Replace him (Soderberg/Matthias/etc.) if needed.
    (4)Hendricks—Gordon—_____
    _____ can be filled with Klinkhammer probably unless he is beat out. Hendricks and Gordon have made their case. Its solid.

    Defense:

    (1)Klefbom—_____
    Klefbom is only guy worth mentioning for top-pair. He’s going to need some help. _____ filled via trade/FA.
    (2)Marincin—_____
    Marincin is a keeper. Only way I would trade is if its a package deal with an Elite (Weber/OEL/Buff/Seabrook)coming back. Guys that are not likely getting moved. _____ again filled via trade/FA
    (3)Fayne/Schultz
    Because you put your best defensive guy with your least defensive guy. You play Schultz like Boston plays Krug. 3rd pair, PP, easy competition.

    Nikitin/Ference.. Get rid of one however possible and other can stay as a 7 if not able to move both.

    Goal:

    _____
    _____
    Hopefully Niemi fills first spot as he doesn’t cost anything to acquire. Scrivens gets traded to someone who needs a backup goalie. 2nd spot gets filled with another unproven (Talbot/Vasilevsky/Neuvirth/etc.) via trade or if price is too steep than bring in Bachman.

    This adds Nikitin/Ference, Purcell and Scrivens to the trade block. Could be pieces needed to swing a trade. Puzzle is looking mighty filled with just 4-5 additions. Lets gooo Oilers!

  11. Halfwise says:

    NYCOIL “Taking Photos”,

    Thank you for sharing that background.

    From the 70s through the 80s I was a rising star at a big company familiar with all the ropes to skip and the ropes to know, and a close friend (similar age on a similar career path) dropped dead playing racquetball.

    It hit me pretty hard, and the most important thing I took away was to aim to live a life without regrets. I quit that company a few years later and have swung from comfortable to poor to comfortable again over the past decades. But being your own man counts for far more than money.

    Follow that dream, and let the rest work itself out.

  12. NYCOIL "Taking Photos" says:

    Halfwise,

    And thank you for sharing back. That would be an extremely shocking thing to go through and I am sorry it happened. There are many strong characters (such as you) on this site and that’s what keeps me coming back.

  13. V.XIV.VI.I says:

    NYCOIL “Taking Photos”,

    How do you afford your world travel hobby?

  14. NYCOIL "Taking Photos" says:

    V.XIV.VI.I:
    NYCOIL “Taking Photos”,

    How do you afford your world travel hobby?

    Gotta pick your spots, investigate deals, and otherwise work for a while, save, quit and then go travel.
    First time I did it was 2008. Then 2010 and then 2013 and now this one will be the longest one yet.

    My first round-the-world air ticket went: Tokyo-LA-Las Vegas-Miami-Buenos Aires (bot a side ticket to Iguazu Falls)-Lima-Cusco (side rail trip Machu Picchu)-Quito (threw in the Galapgos by boat in there)-Madrid-Barcelona-Lisbon-Vienna-(went to Salzburg and Prague by train)-Budapest-Istanbul-Cairo(took a crazy train down to Aswan High Dam, did Abu Simbel, etc., then sailed back down the Nile to Luxor)-London-Bangkok-Koh Samui-Tokyo. It cost me about $5,500 Canadian for that whole ticket. Business class. The whole way. Now, surcharges and taxes have gone up, so my next round-the-world trip in 2010 cost about 25% more, and it’s gone up some more since. However, the round-the-world airfare is still one of the best deals in existence.

    You can choose:
    http://www.oneworld.com
    http://www.staralliance.com

    Just as an example.

  15. G Money says:

    NYCOIL “Taking Photos”,

    Ahem!

    George, you’ve certainly led an interesting life, and made some interesting choices.

    Methinks, however, that you’ve stretched the analogy with Babcock – and even my slightly more general version of the Babcock scenario – all the way from Tokyo to New York to Toronto and back to Tokyo, doncha think?

    Leaving aside that your particular situation entailed a LOT less money (a minor point really), but more importantly, you are not talking about taking a lousier version of exactly the same job in a different city for hella more money. You are talking about changing entire lifestyles.

    If I were to try and fit the Babcock situation back to something more similar to what you’re describing, what I’d say is that you are choosing between:
    – Being paid $4M a year to photograph 20 year old supermodels in Detroit, or
    – Being paid $6M a year to photograph 25 year old supermodels in Toronto (or any other N American city for that matter).

    Are you really still in Detroit?

  16. NYCOIL "Taking Photos" says:

    G Money,

    Fair, don’t know if you saw, but I said in a follow-up comment that I don’t think I quite managed to prove you wrong upon further reflection. So, no argument from me. You win, and we’re all some what hypocritical from time to time.

  17. G Money says:

    NYCOIL “Taking Photos”,

    Fair enough. As I mentioned earlier, I have given up much moolah (not $2M much, but much) in exchange for a slower pace lower stress more-time-with-family more-time-to-spend-on-Lowetide lifestyle, and I am and remain comfortable with my decisions.

    To that extent, I’m not trying to “prove” or “win” anything! Just pointing out that I find the idea of criticizing Babcock for taking a jorb in Toronto for a bonus $2M ludicrous (and to be fair, I don’t think you ever did that).

    He’s choosing between essentially the same job but in different locales, each with different plusses and minuses. Even the arguments that taking the job in TO goes against his desire for winning strike me as inaccurate. DSF’s silly assessment aside, Toronto is currently Draking and with the #4 pick, has nowhere to go but up. Whereas Detroit has to face that Kronwall (33), Datsyuk (36), and Zetterberg (33), their ice time leaders on defense and forward, are far far closer to end of career than beginning. And when they retire, Detroit will be a shadow of the current team. I can’t imagine that hasn’t occurred to someone as bright as Babcock.

    So there you have it … one job offers that much more money, and its hard to see what other singular factors that wouldn’t grossly outweigh, so taking the money and running is probably the smartest thing to do. And that’s what he did. And more power to him.

    That, however, bears little similarity to those who would give up large sums of money to pursue their dreams, or whatever other entirely different and more personally fulfilling lines or places of work. And if you do or have done that, more power to you too.

  18. NYCOIL "Taking Photos" says:

    G Money,

    Amen to that. I know you to be extremely smart and also have known you’ve given up money for quality of life choices so I wasn’t having a go at you in anyway. I took your comment and applied too broad of a context, thinking you mean we’d all just take the money, when you mean we’d take the money to do the same exact type of job in a different locale under these circumstances.

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