DAYDREAM BELIEVER

Word today from Derek Roy’s agent that it’s crickets in regard to negotiations between his client and the Oilers. Makes sense, the Oilers won the lottery and have a new GM, changing things in a very real way for the organization. I think it’s reasonable to suggest that the Oilers opening night depth chart at center will be:

  1. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins
  2. Connor McDavid
  3. Anton Lander
  4. Boyd Gordon

And that brings us to Mr. Nail Yakupov and his future. After signing a two-year deal just after the season, things seemed to be going in a good direction—and that was news. Yakupov’s Oilers career is three years old and I don’t remember one month in the 36 without worry, but the new deal and the possibility of Roy’s return as his center offered hope for player, management and fan base.

  • Yakupov: “I feel amazing now. I was waiting for a centre for three years. It’s the first time I’ve had a really good centre and I’m really happy for it.” Source

The boxcars were better for Yakupov in 2015, that’s for sure. In October-December, Yakupov was 0.8 5×5/60 and 2.4 5×4/60. January+, he was 1.53 5×5/60 and 5.38 5×4/60. That’s a significant difference for sure, with the power-play number especially impressive. However, the possession stats went the wrong way: Yakupov’s Corsi for % 5×5 before New Year’s was 47.59%, and after it was 45.48%. Clearly, Craig MacTavish felt things were heading in a good direction:

  • MacT: “No denying Yak has turned the corner. Our growth is going to be internal growth and incremental growth, and Yakupov is part of that. I don’t think it’s good strategy to trade developing players. Yak has been rewarded with a 2-year contract.” Source

I think the plan was to bring Roy back (we heard rumblings late in the season) but we’re now left with the depth chart above and some decisions. One of the things we can probably agree on is that Jordan Eberle will be playing with one of Nuge or McDavid this coming season—with RNH the likely center for No. 14. That leave McDavid and Anton Lander as Yak’s options. Nail didn’t get much done with Lander (no points and a poor Corsi in an hour’s work—sample size alert!) so I think it might be McDavid at pivot for the young Russian. Add Taylor Hall to that line? Fantastic. The number one overall picks in 2010, 2012 and 2015 could make beautiful music together, and it’s highly skilled. I’m not certain there’s a puck retrieval winger or a two-way type who’ll know when to break off the surge, but that’s Todd McLellan’s job and we will say in the fall.

mcdavid draft

Collecting McDavid quotes is like trying to take a drink from a fire hose (still MacT’s best line), but we try.

  • Craig Button: “There hasn’t been a player like McDavid since Sidney Crosby; there just hasn’t. He’s that good. Is it unrealistic? No. Nobody is saying that McDavid is going to be Crosby, and I think when we compliment players and say he’s a generational player, that’s a heck of a compliment. I think Connor is deserving of it too.” Source
  • Crosby’s first point came on a goal by linemate Mark Recchi, with John LeClair also getting an assist. Other veterans on that team included Ziggy Palffy, Mario Lemieux, Sergei Gonchar and Ryan Malone. My guess is McDavid also has famous linemates on his first goal, but they’ll be hella-younger than 37 and 36, respectively.
  • Sidney Crosby: “I feel he does everything well; he’s a smart player, sees the ice and can beat guys 1-on-1 if he needs to. He uses his teammates and makes a lot of plays to set them up. If I had a chance to talk to him I’d tell him to just try and keep things as normal as possible, as hard as it is with all the expectations. I think you just need to remember that everything doesn’t happen all at once; it’s a process, so just enjoy it. Enjoy being an 18-year-old and all the things that come along with that. Because in the end his game will kind of speak for itself.” Source

Quick Notes:

  • Cody Nickolet of WHL From Above has his final 2015 list here. Outstanding job. I’ll try to get him on in the next week or so.
  • Looks like Dan Bylsma may be the next coach of the Buffalo Sabres. They’re going to be very good, very soon.
  • I’ll have the next RE up today at 5 barring anything crazy. I’ve had it ready for some time but hell’s a poppin’ these days.
  • Jason Gregor has a terrific article on Taylor Hall and the Oilers here. Great read.

hepburn

LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE

At 10 this morning, TSN 1260. I’m looking forward to this one for lots of reasons. Scheduled to appear:

  • Dennis King, Oilogosphere Icon. CFL training cam—ah, wrong King. NBA/NHL playoffs and we’ll probably talk about old Boston cassettes and summer time and women.
  • Brian King, NonStopSportsPicks. CFL training camps are basically underway, and we’ll have a long look at the Eskimos to see if they’ve improved enough to get past the (spits) Stampeders.
  • Mark Edwards, HockeyProspect.com. We’ll talk about the draft this year and its strengths, and I’ll ask if the assessment of a player like Nick Merkley continues through Memorial Cup (or does the book have enough on him by now).
  • Guy Flaming, Pipeline Show. The Bakersfield Condors signed a trio of new players yesterday, Guy brings the scouting reports.

10-1260 text, @Lowetide on twitter. Talk soon!

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104 Responses to "DAYDREAM BELIEVER"

  1. Rip Fan Winkle "OilOnslaught" says:

    If Yak can only have success with DR I think he’s doomed.

  2. Lowetide says:

    Rip Fan Winkle “OilOnslaught”:
    If Yak can only have success with DR I think he’s doomed.

    Sure, but now it’s a matter of choosing between a flat out rookie and a guy in Lander who doesn’t have a tremendous amount of experience. Nuge might be a fit but that hasn’t been a splendid match.

  3. Hammers says:

    Unless more forwards are added you need to throw Leon into that top 9 as well as Yak . So you may see those two with Lander , Same 1st as last year , McDavid Hall Purcell . What a problem to have as all 4 lines pick themselves with the coach having the job of deciding the wingers for each line . Most of us would love that challenge if you can call it a challenge . Get Goalie ! Get a “D” !

  4. Acumen says:

    I’ll keep harping on this until one or the other breaks out and makes the deal untenable, but a Larsson for Yakupov deal made sense in 2012 and hasn’t stopped since. Just makes perfect sense for both teams. They both even turned the proverbial corner at the same time this season.

    Having said that, if the thought is there to trade him it might make the most sense to throw him out in the easiest minutes possible with 97 and give him the McDavid bump before dealing him. Or, you know, that might turn him into a 40 goal scorer and its all out the window anyways.

    What do we do with our other other other first overall pick? So Oilers.

  5. kinger_OIL says:

    I’d still sign Roy or better (which isn’t much of an ask, Roy the proto-type pre-McD Oiler C: waiver wire, incomplete veteran) as a veteran rover C who can play up and down line-up, and one that can help Drai when he’s hopefully playing max 40 games this year, and to give Yak what he needs.

  6. sumaclab says:

    Training camp is going to be insane. The addition of Mcdavid changed everything. The need to play Yakupov in a feature role on the second line was one of those things that changed.Mcdavid’s arrival ensures that TM has better options for where to play Yakupov.

    I see a 3rd line of Lander,LD and Yakupov.
    Mcdavid,Hall and Ebs
    Rnh,BP and Justin Williams
    Wagon line.
    Nurse/Fayne
    Klefbom/JS
    MM/Paul martin
    Brandon Davidson
    Gazdic and Roy
    Talbot/scrivens

  7. Woogie63 says:

    Has Yak lost some attention be because we have so many number #1 picks?

    No other team work leave a number 1 overall winger without a great centre to work with for three years!

    With RNH, CMD, Draisaitl being pass first centres, i think we are going to find a combination that can excel with Yak

  8. wheatnoil says:

    Yakupov’s centers over the his first three years:

    Gagner: 596 min, GF% = 42.1, corsi = 45.5%
    Roy: 534 min, GF% = 40.4, corsi = 46.5%
    RNH: 349 min, GF% = 25.7, corsi = 39.8%
    Draisaitl: 180 min, GF% = 16.7, corsi = 49.3%
    Horcoff: 118 min, GF% = 83.3, corsi = 38.9%
    Lander: 100 min, GF% = 25.0, corsi = 43.1%
    Gordon: 71 min, GF% = 0, corsi = 40.8%
    Belanger: 54 min, GF% = 50, corsi = 39.4%
    Vandevelde: 18 min, GF% = 0, corsi = 37.5%

    This is every center he’s played with (except for 19 seconds of Yakimov, where there were no shot attempts either way). (stats.hockeyanalysis.com)

    You can categorize the centers into two groups:
    Centres without a two-way reputation: Gagner, Roy, Draisaitl (due to being a rookie)
    Centres with a two-way reputation: RNH, Lander, Gordon, Horcoff, Belanger, Vandevelde (rookie but lots of AHL experience by this time)

    Look who Yakupov has the best possession numbers with… every single centre with a two-way reputation has a very low corsi (40% or below, with Lander the only one pushing up to a 43%). The offensively minded centers without a two-way reputation? Draisaitl, Roy, Gagner… top 3 for Yakupov.

    Now, this is not the result I was expecting and it’s influenced by a million confounding variables, particularly zone starts, so I’ll do this again when I have a chance with zone-start adjusted corsi, but counter-intuitively, Yakupov seems to do better with offensively-minded centers without a two-way reputation.

    That doesn’t make sense, which is why I think it’s probably chance and I likely need to look at zone-start adjusted numbers, BUT if true, then maybe pairing him McDavid is exactly the right thing to do.

    Edit: Looking at the zone-start adjusted numbers, it doesn’t change the trend at all. WOWY is fraught with sample size related issues and is a flawed method of analysis, however, there is an interesting trend there.

    Yakupov seems to better with offensively geared centers even with their defensive issues. He seems to consistently do worse with two-way types. Weird.

  9. John Chambers says:

    Buffalo is 3-4 years away from contending for a playoff spot. Eichel, Reinhart, etc won’t be impact players during their rookie or sophomore seasons, and they have major holes to fill on D and in net.

    The trade for Kane I foresee being a regrettable one for Tim Murray.

  10. dustrock says:

    Such an exciting crop of forwards. Who will play D?

  11. raventalon40 says:

    There’s nothing wrong with signing Roy, having Lander and Draisaitl battle him for a roster spot. Worst case scenario is that Roy is beat out by both young centers in training camp (not such a bad problem to have…) and is put on waivers / sent to Bakersfield / both parties agree to nullify contract. I have a feeling he’d still have a thing or two to teach Lander coming out of camp.

    That being said, they should be other options for veteran 3rd line C on the free agent market as well. But I think it’s time to invest in some backup for guys like Gordon and RNH, since McDavid will likely get some buttery soft zonestarts.

    Gordon is a beast, but he’s not indestructible.

  12. raventalon40 says:

    Woogie63:
    Has Yak lost some attention be because we have so many number #1 picks?

    No other team work leave a number 1 overall winger without a great centre to work with for three years!

    With RNH, CMD, Draisaitl being pass first centres, i think we are going to find a combination that can excel with Yak

    This will be good for Yak. It will be like his first season again, when expecations were low and attention was focused elsewhere. I believe that season it was focused more on the AHL success that guys like Hall, RNH, Eberle, and Schultz had during the shortened season.

    But… at some point expectations have to change for him as a mainly offensive guy. I’m happy with his level of backcheck, I truly am. I think by the end of last season he was pretty noticeable in coming back in his own zone.

    But the offense!? The offense!

    Best of luck to Nail. Great guy.

  13. misfit says:

    Ryan Malone was 25 during Crosby’s rookie year, but he was only a sophomore himself.

    The vets Crosby had to play with had been around longer, but it’s not like the Oilers don’t have any players with NHL experience. We’re probably at the point where we can stop talking about Hall and Eberle as “the kids” and start recognizing that they’ve been in this league for a while now.

    Ference – 900+ GP (15 seasons)
    Gordon – 600+ GP (11 seasons)
    Purcell – 450+ GP (7 seasons)
    Pouliot – 400+ GP (8 seasons)
    Hendricks – 400+ GP (6 seasons)
    Eberle – 350+ GP (6 seasons)
    Fayne – 300+ GP (5 seasons)
    Hall – ~300 GP (6 seasons)
    Nugent-Hopkins – 250+ GP (5 seasons)

    As for Roy, it sounded like it was his camp that was lukewarm about returning at the end of the season and it was MacT and the Oilers who were trying to get him signed. If he’s legitimately interested in coming back and all he’s getting are crickets, it’s because he overplayed his hand (I’m not saying he doesn’t have the right to wait until free agency, but that’s the risk in waiting al the same).

    I’m not worried about Yakupov either*. I actually thought he and Draisaitl showed a lot of chemistry together even though the points didn’t come. I liked him with Roy too, and there’s definite value in him feeling more comfortable (confidence is huge with most players, but it seems to be EVERYTHING with Yak), so a return of Roy for another year would also be fine by me.

    * Not true. I worry about him all the time, going back to before he ever played a game in an Oilers sweater. I just don’t worry about him “having to” play with McDavid, Lander or Draisaitl instead of Roy.

  14. raventalon40 says:

    John Chambers:
    Buffalo is 3-4 years away from contending for a playoff spot. Eichel, Reinhart, etc won’t be impact players during their rookie or sophomore seasons, and they have major holes to fill on D and in net.

    The trade for Kane I foresee being a regrettable one for Tim Murray.

    Especially since they lost that trade so badly.

  15. wunderbar says:

    Been saying since the golden card was drawn that the top 6 needs to look like this:

    Pouliot-RNH-Eberle (this group gets the toughs, should still end up even or better)
    Hall-McDavid-Yakupov (this group gets the soft parade, and should dominate)

    you can also run hendricks-gordon-klinkhammer against the tougher minutes as well if you want to give the RNH line a push or a rest.

  16. v4ance says:

    As much as I’d like to see the Hall-McDavid-Yak trio score, I think the McLellan will want some sort of defensive conscience with any line that McDavid is on to help the rookie break into the NHL.

    That’s why I think it will end up Hall-Nuge-Ebs and Poo-McDavid-Yak

  17. rogue says:

    While I was not a fan of moving Yak, I think my opinion has changed. Although I have no idea of his worth on the Market, would Yak for Sharp be a possibility? That would give the Oil a veteran to run with McDavid. Not saying this would be the deal or exactly like this, but for a second line winger Yak should be enuff. Yes, we lose the deal, but I feel support for McDavid is paramount . If PC can sign a free agent winger, and I have no idea who is out there, then maybe he is moved for a 3-4 dman. Again, we lose the deal, but I see no other way to jump start what has happened in the last month. All because of Dirty Dingus McD!!!!

  18. Yeti says:

    One strategy would be to pair Yakupov with McConnor and give them buttery soft minutes, pump Yak’s tires, and then trade him next offseason as the key part of a package for a top pairing defenceman. I could see that playing out, and being ultimately beneficial for the team moving forward.

  19. wunderbar says:

    rogue:
    While I was not a fan of moving Yak, I think my opinion has changed.Although I have no idea of his worth on the Market, would Yak for Sharp be a possibility? That would give the Oil a veteran to run with McDavid. Not saying this would be the deal or exactly like this, but for a second line winger Yak should be enuff. Yes, we lose the deal, but I feel support for McDavid is paramount . If PC can sign a free agent winger, and I have no idea who is out there, then maybe he is moved for a 3-4 dman. Again, we lose the deal, but I see no other way to jump start what has happened in the last month. All because of Dirty Dingus McD!!!!

    Yak for Sharp straight up is not goign to happen. at all. it would have to be Yak+something+something for sharp.

    Even with the Hawks cap situation they’re not giving away sharp. the +something+something would likely be a prospect and a pick, but Yak wouldn’t get it done.

  20. Ducey says:

    Woogie63:

    No other team work leave a number 1 overall winger without a great centre to work with for three years!

    Uh, Hall has done all right. Tavares didn’t get much help. Evander Kane wasn’t a #1 but he has never had much help either.

    Yak hasn’t played with Nuge much because he doesn’t produce with Nuge. The opportunity was there. He didn’t take it.

    Lander can be the #1 C for Sweden at the IIHF, but that’s not good enough for Yak?

    I’ll give Yak some slack for the coaching carousel, but if you are the #1 overall YOU need to carry the mail, not complain about your team mates.

    There is a regime change and the daycare is now in Bakersfield. If Yak doesn’t get sorted by the trade deadline he will be gone. Another 33 points and a -35 isn’t going to cut it.

  21. raventalon40 says:

    wunderbar:
    Been saying since the golden card was drawn that the top 6 needs to look like this:

    Pouliot-RNH-Eberle(this group gets the toughs, should still end up even or better)
    Hall-McDavid-Yakupov (this group gets the soft parade, and should dominate)

    you can also run hendricks-gordon-klinkhammer against the tougher minutes as well if you want to give the RNH line a push or a rest.

    That’s not going to work. (IMHO)

    If there’s one lesson we should have learned by now after years of trying to run the Coglianos, Nilssons, Yakupovs, Riesens, Swansons…. kids lines are unnecessary pressure to put on young prospects and THEY DON’T WORK. Even the Hall-RNH-Eberle kid line was arguably unnecessary and was the product of a lack of actual forward depth on the roster. Great, we have talented kids, but where’s the support and guidance? Hall is somewhat of a veteran by now, but I’d rather support a larger veteran presence at this time in McDavid’s development.

    In my opinion, something closer to this:

    Pouliot-RNH-Eberle
    Hall-McDavid-Veteran RW (like a Troy Brouwer type by trade, or a Justin Williams or Erik Cole type by free agency)
    Upshall type – 3rd C (Lander/Roy/Brodziak/Horcoff/Stoll/Peverley) – Yakupov
    Insert 4th line forwards as you wish

    In this scenario I’ve traded Purcell for magic beans. But this could still change based on PC applying his own vision to this roster.

  22. Lloyd B. says:

    Interesting comments from Hall on McClellan in Gregors column. Eberle pretty much said the same thing. Perhaps with the success they had with the new coach in working a system they may be more amenable to having a role AND playing that way. If that’s the case and the other young bucks take their lead from Hall and Eberle we may see something special happen to this team this year. One other interesting bit from Halls comments..paraphrasing a bit.. the systems were easy to understand. Perhaps there was some over thinking of systems previously.

  23. Rational Zealot says:

    Trading Yakupov for Sharp would be a horrible deal for the Oilers, and I’m not a big fan of Yakupov.

    Sharp is 33 years old with a 5.9 million dollar cap hit, coming off a 16 goal season (half of which were on the powerplay). Trading Yakupov for him is one of the worst ideas I have ever heard.

    The idea that it would take more than that to acquire him is also ludicrous. That said, NHL general managers massively overvalue older, established players, so I guess it is possible.

    Trading for older players is a bad idea, don’t do it. Avoid players in their thirties like the plague.

    Don’t believe me, look at the rosters of the four remaining teams and come to your own judgement, if you are able.

    The guys in their thirties aren’t helping, they are shadows of themselves.

  24. BOLD OVER (5-14-6-1) says:

    Some definite weirdness with this site today. I think the hamster that powers LT’s modem at godaddy, has pulled a (wait for it) – hamstering!

  25. Jeremy says:

    Does anyone think that TMac moving Hall and Ebs to Crosby’s wings had anything to do with him having a deal in place with the Oilers? Give them the best centre in the game, not just a position to succeed but to excel, get them to buy in and be on board with TMac, after they both publicly supported Nelson?

  26. Kitchener says:

    It’s hard to imagine winning any trade that sends Yak away for a different forward.

    Trading Yak seems ridiculous (why on earth trade this player at this stage??), but if he brought in a Hedman/Larsson/Myers/Jones that would radically alter the team’s balance.

    Alternately, a trio of Slep-Yak-Yak is fun to think of on a May afternoon, even if it’s impossible (RNH/McJ/Drai/Gordon/Lander = no room for Yak2 as the 3C.)

  27. rickithebear says:

    Ducey: the mail, not complain about your team mates.
    There is a regime change and the daycare is now in Bakersfield. If Yak doesn’t get sorted by the trade deadline he will be gone. Another 33 points and a -35 isn’t going to cut it.

    Horcoff: 118 min, GF% = 83.3, corsi = 38.9%

    wheatnoil
    Show the Goal Differential:
    Yakupov’s centers over the his first three years:
    Gagner: 596 min, -0.90 Goals/60
    Roy: 534 min, -1.01 goals/60
    RNH: 349 min, -2.92 goals/60
    Draisaitl: 180 min, -3.98 goals/60
    Horcoff: 118 min, +4.05 goals/60
    Lander: 100 min, -2.38 goals/60
    Gordon: 71 min, -4.05 goals/60
    Belanger: 54 min, Even
    Vandevelde: 18 min, -6.46 goals/60

    Yakupov’s wandering looked staionary to horcoff.
    He was used to the rover wanderer extreme.
    Horcoff
    Belanger
    gagner
    Roy
    look good compared to the rest.
    yakupov’s -.3 to -.47per game is debilitating for teams that need to be near competitive GA of 2.55

    the best team in the league is mtl 2.24 GA

    the rest of the team has to play better than MTl to make up for yak’s Goal differential.

    if current Yakupov is on our roster. The playoffs are not reachable!

    Sometimes the unthinkable is the best move!

    Yak (22) + Schultz (25) for …………………..

    If I am playing forwards that can score like Kovalchuk; Malkin; Tarasenko.

    Let use the forwards who displayed strong 200 ft games get the development time.
    Slepyshev (21)6’2″ 195lb
    Yakimov (21 oct) 6’5″ 232lb

  28. SwedishPoster says:

    Maybe it’s time to start looking at Hall and Ebs as battle tested NHLers? They are heading into their 6th season next year. We should at least stop calling them kids. We also have Pou, Purcell, Hendricks. There’s no lack of experienced wingers on this team. I’m sure we’ll be able to find a combination that gives McDavid enough support without trading away a great contract in Yak for Sharp who’s 34, paid more than twice as much and has missed 15-20 games due to injury two of his last three seasons. Sharps contract will make it very hard to add the D and G we need this season. If we’re looking for wingers, which I don’t think we should, I’d look at free agency, Frolik, Justin Williams et al, Or why not bring Derek Roy along as a winger/center option.

    If we’re using Yak or anyone of importance else really it has to be for D or a legit #1 G.
    Imo the forward group is good enough, nice mix of young, prime and old, a bit lacking on two way forwads but with a lot of offensive firepower. I’d see what they can do with McLellan at the helm, McDavid in the mix and, hopefully, some better D before I go looking for alternatives.

    Oh and I’m not looking to trade Yak at all, unless there’s some great D coming back, which will not be the case. I still see an elite player there. I think he’ll be a good player already next year but I think he’ll be an amazing player at 24. Jmho.

  29. wheatnoil says:

    rickithebear,

    rickithebear,

    Oh Ricki, I actually had the goal differential but then I took it out deciding that it was too dependent on shooting percentages and non-repeatable events and it kind of made the data hard to read… but when I did that I knew you were going to chime in. I did keep the Goal differential as a percentage in there!

    For what it’s worth, Gagner and Roy both have similiar goal differentials and Yakupov continues to do better with them compared to any other forward, though Horcoff shows up extremely well here despite poor possession numbers. I suspect that’s due to Yakupov playing with Horcoff during his high shooting percentage run.

  30. knighttown says:

    I think it’s important to remember where the Wagon line actually falls in terms of importance. It can’t simply fall apart in the back half of the year like it did this year. It’s the 3rd line not the 4th so if you view it like this, does anything change?

    Poo-Nuge-Ebs
    Hall-McDavid-Yak
    Klink-Gordon-Hendricks
    Draisatl-Lander-Purcell

    Hmm…the only thing I see is Lander a bit too low and Klinkhammer a bit too high. What about flipping that?

    Lander-Gordon-Hendricks
    Klink-Draisatl-Purcell

    Then if/when Gordon starts to wear down or break down, Lander slides into the middle on that line and Klink can come up. If we get an injury in the top 6 Draisatl or Purcell can slide up there.

    The other thing that sticks out is that if Klink isn’t riding shotgun with Gordon and Hendricks is he really the best option with Draisatl and Purcell. I’d probably prefer IIro or Pitlick.

    Klink may end up as the 13th forward.

  31. SwedishPoster says:

    knighttown,

    To me Klinhammer should play 3-4 games, then sit a few games to be his most efficient. He brings energy and physicality and is great for waking the team up, get them forechecking harder, get the other teams D-men out of balance without gettting penalties but when he plays on a nightly basis he loses some energy and isn’t nearly as effective.

  32. bcoil says:

    We have to remember that Ladner and Yak did not play together under Nelson and his system .Lets wait on that one until they have played together under Todd M’s system to see if they mesh.

  33. Ca$h-McMoney! says:

    knighttown:
    I think it’s important to remember where the Wagon line actually falls in terms of importance.It can’t simply fall apart in the back half of the year like it did this year.It’s the 3rd line not the 4th so if you view it like this, does anything change?

    Poo-Nuge-Ebs
    Hall-McDavid-Yak
    Klink-Gordon-Hendricks
    Draisatl-Lander-Purcell

    Hmm…the only thing I see is Lander a bit too low and Klinkhammer a bit too high.What about flipping that?

    Lander-Gordon-Hendricks
    Klink-Draisatl-Purcell

    Then if/when Gordon starts to wear down or break down, Lander slides into the middle on that line and Klink can come up.If we get an injury in the top 6 Draisatl or Purcell can slide up there.

    The other thing that sticks out is that if Klink isn’t riding shotgun with Gordon and Hendricks is he really the best option with Draisatl and Purcell.I’d probably prefer IIro or Pitlick.

    Klink may end up as the 13th forward.

    That works, but it makes an effective case for having Drai start in the AHL and bringing in a low cost veteran (Roy) to play 4c. Then if Yak struggles you can move him down to play with Roy and Purcell up to play with McDavid.

    Drai can take Roy’s place halfway through if he’s succeeding, Roy can be traded for a 4th round pick.

  34. slopitch says:

    You do not trade Yak for Sharp. How does that trade lookin in 2 years when Sharp is 35 and Yak is 23 and should be a 30 goal scorer. Horrible. Like Forsberg for Erat bad.

  35. slopitch says:

    Lander-Yak and Drai could be a pretty sweet 3rd line. If the Oilers could improve as a team (they should) the % of OZ starts should go up. Once (if) the ice starts to tilt it could get fun around here with the amount of skill up front.

  36. sliderule says:

    Draisaitl could play his off wing.

    He likes to rush the puck from the right side as per his last short handed goal in memorial cup.

    He also passes as well backhand as forehand.

  37. raventalon40 says:

    Jeremy:
    Does anyone think that TMac moving Hall and Ebs to Crosby’s wings had anything to do with him having a deal in place with the Oilers?Give them the best centre in the game, not just a position to succeed but to excel, get them to buy in and be on board with TMac, after they both publicly supported Nelson?

    Given their results with and without Crosby at the WHC, I think it was not a favourites issue. It was simply good coaching and chemistry.

  38. raventalon40 says:

    knighttown:
    I think it’s important to remember where the Wagon line actually falls in terms of importance.It can’t simply fall apart in the back half of the year like it did this year.It’s the 3rd line not the 4th so if you view it like this, does anything change?

    Poo-Nuge-Ebs
    Hall-McDavid-Yak
    Klink-Gordon-Hendricks
    Draisatl-Lander-Purcell

    Hmm…the only thing I see is Lander a bit too low and Klinkhammer a bit too high.What about flipping that?

    Lander-Gordon-Hendricks
    Klink-Draisatl-Purcell

    Then if/when Gordon starts to wear down or break down, Lander slides into the middle on that line and Klink can come up.If we get an injury in the top 6 Draisatl or Purcell can slide up there.

    The other thing that sticks out is that if Klink isn’t riding shotgun with Gordon and Hendricks is he really the best option with Draisatl and Purcell.I’d probably prefer IIro or Pitlick.

    Klink may end up as the 13th forward.

    That’s an expensive 4th line. If it came to that you need to trade Purcell for some magic beans

  39. Doug McLachlan says:

    It’s my sense that 3 player lines are seldom set in stone anymore.

    At best you get pairings and then move the complimentary pieces around.

    Even then, see Stamkos’s shift to the wing this playoff or Quenville’s re-uniting Toews and Kane last night, even the “set” parts of one’s line-up can be shifted.

    Still, if we go with the pairing idea I would think the thought going into camp is to run with:

    xxx-RNH-Eberle as one pair.
    Throw Pouliot on LW to start, Hall when you need a push, maybe even a few shifts with Draisaitl (which actually intrigues me a lot – give Drai the protect the puck task)

    Hall-McDavid-xxx as your second pair.
    You normally run with Purcell on RW but if you need a goal you insert YakCity.

    xxx-Roy-Yak as the third pair
    (Roy will not be expensive and, sweet music, he worked with Yak! Why are we thinking of flushing that? There is no shame in having another NHL center on the roster.)
    Lots of options on LW from Drai to Pouliot to Lander.

    xxx-Gordon-Hendricks as the fourth pair
    Have always felt that if Gordon is your fourth center, things are looking up.
    We still have Klinkhammer or Lander who can go into the LW slot or even Gadzic if facepunching is deemed a required skill set.

  40. stevezie says:

    Recently someone posted an article about how the brain forms memories better in times of stress and trouble (oiler fans).
    If that person could repost the article, this person would be grateful.

  41. doritogrande says:

    Then if/when Gordon starts to wear down or break down, Lander slides into the middle on that line and Klink can come up. If we get an injury in the top 6 Draisatl or Purcell can slide up there.

    I think you’re undervaluing Lander, much the same way that Eakins did during his tenure. Anton may have a defensive clue, but he is not a checking line C. He’s got much more to offer than that. The one to slide over to Gordon’s C spot if he starts to wear down, IMO, is actually Hendricks. Has the checking line experience, and has also played C before.

    Lander’s a bit unique, and his apparent versatility may actually be a detraction for him. Kind of like that toolsy AAAA type of baseballer who can play 5 positions well, but has no true position (at least on the current roster). His ceiling was originally a defensively conscious 2-line C, and that’s what I see him doing on this roster. Call him McDavid’s insurance policy.

  42. Traktor says:

    Is a 2% difference in corsi significant?

    Someone convince me that it is. I admit to paying zero attention to advanced stats but my assumption is that the difference is maybe a shot or 2 a game…. which is almost in the who cares category. A block shot, big hit, drawn penalty, a good dump-in in an area where the goalie can’t get it ect probably has bigger impact in the long run.

    I mostly bring this up because if there is something telling us that Yak was worse in the second half of the season I’m inclined to believe that the whatever that is is a garbage metric. I’m not going to say WATCH THE GAME1!!11!!1 but seriously he looked like a different player out there.

  43. Rational Zealot says:

    The Oilers should be looking to trade Boyd Gordon this summer. That is the path.

  44. raventalon40 says:

    Rational Zealot:
    The Oilers should be looking to trade Boyd Gordon this summer.That is the path.

    To replace him with what center that can win key faceoffs?

  45. jm363561 says:

    doritogrande:
    Then if/when Gordon starts to wear down or break down, Lander slides into the middle on that line and Klink can come up. If we get an injury in the top 6 Draisatl or Purcell can slide up there.

    I think you’re undervaluing Lander, much the same way that Eakins did during his tenure. Anton may have a defensive clue, but he is not a checking line C. He’s got much more to offer than that. The one to slide over to Gordon’s C spot if he starts to wear down, IMO, is actually Hendricks. Has the checking line experience, and has also played C before.

    Lander’s a bit unique, and his apparent versatility may actually be a detraction for him. Kind of like that toolsy AAAA type of baseballer who can play 5 positions well, but has no true position (at least on the current roster). His ceiling was originally a defensively conscious 2-line C, and that’s what I see him doing on this roster. Call him McDavid’s insurance policy.

    Yep, anyone who saw Lander playing no. 1 centre for Sweden last month will expect him to blow the doors off with a decent coach and line mates.

  46. G Money says:

    Traktor,

    At a player level, I would say to you no – you can’t read much from that change, it is probably well within the error bars when comparing just two half seasons.

    And if anything, if you do take anything out of that number, it is that the second half decline is actually reflective of the improvement in Yak’s play. The team actually decreased about 3%, so Yak’s CorsiRel would presumably be +1% or +2% from first half to second half.

    Again – noisy as hell. But in my view, not inconsistent at all with what we saw by eye.

  47. thejonrmcleod says:

    Traktor,

    When people point to Yak’s drop in CF% I think they forget that the entire team’s CF% dropped by about the same amount.

    Edit: Or what G Money wrote.

  48. Kitchener says:

    doritogrande,

    What if Todd McClellan rolls 4 lines and matches lines according to quality of competition instead of zone starts? Instead of “2 scoring lines + 2 checking” or “3 scoring lines”, it would be “4 lines with the same job description”. Looking at the lower graph here (http://lowetide.ca/2015/05/18/the-times-they-are-a-changing-2/), this is conceivable.

    To my eye, this makes “Yak on the 4th line” a possibly smart move, considering that “4th line” would then mean “plays the opponent’s weakest line” rather than “defensive zone starts.”

    In this QoCLMS (quality of competition line matching system), here’s how the matchups would likely happen:

    – plays against QoC1: RNH
    – plays against QoC2: Gordon
    – plays against QoC3: McJesus/Lander/Drai
    – plays against QoC4: McJesus/Lander/Drai

    This system leaves no room for an enforcer and naturally allocates icetime so that RNH has the most and the “4C” has the least.

    Projecting this out into 4 lines, I’ll take the conventional wisdom here of Drai as LW and list the lines according to how they’d look in a QoCLMS where the burden of sheltering the team’s 4 forwards who need sheltering are evenly distributed:

    Drai-__-__
    __-Lander-__
    __-__-Yak
    __-McJ-__

    Fitting the other C’s and W’s around this frame is an interesting thought experiment. Quickly, here’s how I fill in the blanks:

    – plays against QoC1: Drai-RNH-Eberle
    – plays against QoC2: Hall-Lander-Miller
    – plays against QoC3: Purcell-Gordon-Yak
    – plays against QoC4: Pouliot-McJ-Hendricks
    – 13F: Klinkhammer

    There’s a lot I don’t like about this, but it’s a coherent option I don’t remember seeing here before.

  49. Bag of Pucks says:

    It’s pretty hilarious how bipolar Oiler fans are at the moment.

    If, like today, the conversation is focused on the forwards; the mood is unfailingly optimistic. When discussion centres on the D or G, it is invariably pessimistic/realistic.

    Cheering for the Oil right now is like having a gold digging trophy wife. When you consider it from the sex pov, life is good. When you consider her credit card statements, not so much.

    Which begs the question, can we call Visa and reverse the charges on Ference?

  50. Wolfpack says:

    One thing that excites me about Leon is his skill at making backhand passes. I have watched a ton of the WHL final and Memorial Cup and he passes better on the backhand than most guys do on their forehand. It almost does not matter if he is a LH or RH shot. Has anyone else noticed this?

  51. Oilanderp says:

    Does McDavid automatically play center next year?

  52. hunter1909 says:

    Bag of Pucks: Cheering for the Oil right now is like having a gold digging trophy wife. When you consider it from the sex pov, life is good. When you consider her credit card statements, not so much.
    Which begs the question, can we call Visa and reverse the charges on Ference?

    When you have the means, that trophy wife is great. Especially since, as soon as you run out of money she’s gone and then you don’t need to worry anymore, lol.

  53. wheatnoil says:

    Oilanderp:
    Does McDavid automatically play center next year?

    I think he does but it’s a valid point. It’s perfectly reasonable for him not to, at least for part of the year.

  54. rickithebear says:

    raventalon40: To replace him with what center that can win key faceoffs?

    Beagle; Malhotra.

  55. rickithebear says:

    wheatnoil:
    rickithebear,

    rickithebear,

    Oh Ricki, I actually had the goal differential but then I took it out deciding that it was too dependent on shooting percentages and non-repeatable events and it kind of made the data hard to read… but when I did that I knew you were going to chime in. I did keep the Goal differential as a percentage in there!

    For what it’s worth, Gagner and Roy both have similiar goal differentials and Yakupov continues to do better with them compared to any other forward, though Horcoff shows up extremely well here despite poor possession numbers. I suspect that’s due to Yakupov playing with Horcoff during his high shooting percentage run.

    there is a direct corelation between going to the chance area and open hole targeting.
    for GF and covering on lost pocesion.

  56. rickithebear says:

    Jeremy:
    Does anyone think that TMac moving Hall and Ebs to Crosby’s wings had anything to do with him having a deal in place with the Oilers?Give them the best centre in the game, not just a position to succeed but to excel, get them to buy in and be on board with TMac, after they both publicly supported Nelson?

    Crosby’s line was getting the shit kicked out of it by Landers line to the tune of a 3-0 Sweden lead.
    Crosby was moved away from lander and put in between Hall and Eberle. It turned the game.
    the same thing happen to malkin’s line versus landers line.
    Malkin’s line racked up the points against other opposition.

  57. Ducey says:

    Rational Zealot:
    The Oilers should be looking to trade Boyd Gordon this summer.That is the path.

    …to problems with balance, depth and prospect development.

    If you replace him with Lander that means someone else needs to play Lander’s 3rd line minutes.

    Gordon gets Hamburger Hill every night in terms of zone starts and competition. He takes on the toughs to help shelter the others and wins the majority of his faceoffs

    Here is the Oilers depth at C:
    Nuge 258 games (age 22)
    MacD 0 games (age 18)
    Lander 132 games (but really only 38 productive ones last year)(age 24)
    Gordon 628 games (age 30)
    Leon 37 games (age 19)

    Gordon has 200 more NHL games than the rest of the C’s put together.

    If everything breaks right, or he won’t re-sign, you could trade him at the deadline, but I don’t know why. You sure don’t trade him now. He is one of the few guys on this roster that actually shelters the kids. The Oilers actually have a useful 4th line – finally!

    In fact, getting his name on a 2 year extension might be a good thing to do this summer.

    And if you think he can be replaced by Roy? No.

  58. nelson88 says:

    Oilanderp:
    Does McDavid automatically play center next year?

    Not necessarily. Assuming that everyone agrees D and G are the glaring weaknesses you use your assets to address and the forward group is pretty much set I would be comfortable with;

    Poo – RNH – Ebs
    Hall – Lander – McJesus
    Teddy-Drai-Yak
    Hendricks – Gordon – Pitlick/Klink

    #1 tore it up in a reasonable sample size
    #2 – plenty of offensive juice and should be able to more than hold their own against reasonable competition.
    #3 – easy match ups. Yak gets an experienced winger he has played meaningful minutes with and a C who can get him the puck. Drai won’t be as overwhelmed as playing with Hall or mJesus
    #4 – shutdown

  59. AsiaOil says:

    I like Yak plenty but would trade him for Larsson straight up without hesitation. That is one of the few deals out there that makes hockey sense and the optics work (both high picks who have struggled but have found their way). The hockey side makes sense (NJD need a young scorer and we need RD) but optics make this a one for one swap – NJD can take it or leave it.

    If we don’t trade Yak – then at some point one of Yak and Eberle is traded since the top 6 is too small with all of RNH, Eberle, Hall, Yak and CMD. Substitute a RW version of Pouliot in for either Yak or Eberle and the lineup looks a lot better. But if you keep Yak you MUST give him an offensive push and decent linemates or you destroy his trade value – 4th line just does not cut it.

    I like Yak a lot but if a guy like Larssan is available – you pull the trigger. Use #16 on another dman and we are looking much better. Add UFA goalie and big top 6 RW – and hello playoffs.

  60. dannyboy says:

    Im against any trade regarding yak until we see how he performs with the new coach. Also i dislike mcdavid at the 2c position. Why not lander? He showed well at the world championships and is somewhat defensive. Give him hall and purcell/miller/parkerinan? until mcdavid and/or yak are ready.

    We have a gem in anton lander.

  61. digdeepnbleedblue says:

    Home Game Forward lines:

    Hall-McDavid-Eberle Two vets taking the rook under their wing.

    Pouliot-RNH-Yakupov Chemistry can be created…

    Purcell-Lander-Pitlick Play responsible and forecheck with some skillz.

    Hendricks-Gordon-Klinkhammer Chop wood, carry water… lol …I had to! Worst Coach ever! Dude…

    Away games:

    Hall-RNH-Eberle They already got some chem.

    Pouliot-Lander-Yakupov I see some potential here.

    Gazdic-McDavid-Pucell Cement Head faired ok, in a different era, with The Greatest.

    Same for the fourth.

    I still believe it’s best for Draisaitl and Nurse to play the majority of the year in the A. Unless, of course, they beat out others, but my hope is that there’s a plethora of depth that pushes them down for most of the year.

    Injuries will happen. They’ll get called up eventually.

    I’d like Seabrook, but I see no reason for Chi-town to hurt (shoot themselves in the face) themselves. I believe they try and move others well before they move him. Defensive is an issue for them. I expect they go into he season without their playoff team and acquire it at the deadline when the cap hits are easy to absorb.

    They’ll still be a contender.

    Never mind the draft, FA, when’s TC start? Man, I’m losing my shit over here!

  62. Barcs says:

    Lowetide said: “Cody Nickolet of WHL From Above has his final 2015 list here. Outstanding job. I’ll try to get him on in the next week or so

    Would love, love, love to see us take Tyler Soy in the 4th.

    Really liked his scouting report: quick player, good skater, good hockey sense, accurate shot, and some of the best hands in the draft. Almost 6ft, near ppg player in his draft year.

    Sounds like most of his deficiencies can be solved by adding strength as he matures.

    Played most of the year on a line with Greg Chase in Victoria.

  63. TheOrangeDesk says:

    I would love to see
    Pouliot-Nuge-ebs
    Hall-lander-McDavid
    Purcell-Roy-Yak
    wagon

    I think it sets a lot of players up for success. If not Roy then sign another Vet centre who can score. Lander and Yak are on track to have success and it would be nice to not derail that.
    allows an insertion of Drai on third line at ~50 game mark.

    -my 2 cents

  64. doritogrande says:

    Is it possible for scouting reports to be…too…detailed? Those analyses out of the Dub are absolutely fantastic. I’m a bakers dozen in and am fully behind drafting nothing but WHLers with each pick that won’t be McDavid. Gropp especially comes out looking particularly promising.

  65. Woogie63 says:

    Ducey,

    Blinding flash of the obvious….

    The league is way to good for one player to do it all.

    After five years in leagues Hall is a star ….but not a super star….. Why…. he does not have a star centre working with him, has to be one of the answers.

  66. Barcs says:

    doritogrande,

    This is the only report I can think of that has so much detail.

    It’s fantastic, really paints a more complete picture of the player (as opposed to “reminds me of Stevie Y/Scott Niedermeier/Jeff Carter”).

    I can’t even fathom how much work that must have been, though.

  67. Ducey says:

    Woogie63:
    Ducey,

    Blinding flash of the obvious….

    The league is way to good for one player to do it all.

    After five years inleagues Hall is a star ….but not a super star….. Why…. he does not have a star centre working with him, has to be one of the answers.

    But the issue is that Yak is hardly even a replacement level player. If Hall can be star, then Yak should be a lot better – with or without a centre.

  68. Woodguy says:

    wunderbar:
    Been saying since the golden card was drawn that the top 6 needs to look like this:

    Pouliot-RNH-Eberle(this group gets the toughs, should still end up even or better)
    Hall-McDavid-Yakupov (this group gets the soft parade, and should dominate)

    you can also run hendricks-gordon-klinkhammer against the tougher minutes as well if you want to give the RNH line a push or a rest.

    Opposing coaches will send out their best Dpair and checking forwards against Hall-CMD

    Nothing soft about those minutes.

  69. Truth says:

    dannyboy:
    . Also i dislike mcdavid at the 2c position. Why not lander? He showed well at the world championships and is somewhat defensive.Give him hall and purcell/miller/parkerinan? until mcdavid and/or yak are ready.

    McDavid should not be lower than 6th fewest minutes on the team as a F. Especially not if Purcell, Miller, or Pakarinen are any of the names higher than him, I’m confident in saying that without him even stepping on the ice as an NHL player.

    I do agree with sheltering McDavid early. This would be perfect for playing him on a line as the #1 option on the ice against lines 2-4 and d pairings 2-3 for the opposing team. Run Nuge against the top line and give McDavid the gravy. Play the other two lines when Nuge’s line and McDavid’s line are tired, and that’s about it.

  70. Truth says:

    Yak may be the big story this season. If he comes out and plays his 30% of the time game for the first 5 games or so he’ll have a fan in his new coach and new GM. If he comes out playing like he does 70% of the time it’ll be a long season for him as they try to find a spot for him on the 3rd or 4th line and he’ll be lost of confidence again.

    I’m hoping he finds chemistry with his linemates early on and gives the Oilers 30 goals. Otherwise I think he’s “Seguined” out of here. Except I’d expect the return to be considerably less, unfortunately.

  71. wheatnoil says:

    Woodguy: Opposing coaches will send out their best Dpair and checking forwards against Hall-CMD

    Nothing soft about those minutes.

    I think that’s why you split up Hall and McDavid.
    Hall-RNH-Eberle
    Pou-McDavid-Yakupov

    Let Gordon and Lander take more of the defensive zone starts and give RNH and McDavid the O-Zone starts.

  72. russ99 says:

    No Roy = better chance there’s no three scoring lines.

    Woodguy: Opposing coaches will send out their best Dpair and checking forwards against Hall-CMD

    Nothing soft about those minutes.

    Not at home with last change. The key is to find someone for the 2-way third line who can also play a Pouliot-like role on a line with Hall-McDavid when they face those toughs on the road.

  73. raventalon40 says:

    russ99:
    Not at home with last change. The key is to find someone for the 2-way third line who can also play a Pouliot-like role on a line with Hall-McDavid when they face those toughs on the road.

    I like Troy Brouwer for this role. With one year left at 3.75 and with Johansson and Kuznetzov to extend, I think he might shake loose from WSH. He’d likely sign an extension too, being a Vancouver product and in the prime of his career he’d probably love to play with Hall and McD.

    ————–

    Also, while we’re on the topic of pending free agents, how about flipping Schultz for young depth?

    How do we attain value for Schultz while saving money against the cap? I think we qualify him at the minimum and try to flip him for a backup to replace Scrivens, and a depth D with some room to grow.

    Would something like:

    J.Schultz and a low pick

    for

    Paul Postma
    Michael Hutchinson

    work? Then we can trade Scrivens and we’ve added a young D with decent size (6’3″, 195 lbs) who is not overly physical but from all indications is okay in his own zone, quick on his skates, and can play some 23 minutes a night once in a while.

    http://www.winnipegsun.com/2015/03/15/winnipeg-jets-defenceman-paul-postma-steps-up-when-called

    http://www.sbnation.com/nhl/players/72007/paul-postma?_ga=1.257197131.19801520.1432844376

  74. wheatnoil says:

    So here’s an interesting twist.

    Buffalo hires Bylsma. Pittsburgh wants compensation, which would be a 3rd round pick in one of the next 3 drafts (Buffalo’s choice). Buffalo negotiates with Pittsburgh and now they announced that the pick will be next year, but NOT Buffalo’s pick. Buffalo has like 3 or 4 3rd round choices next year and it’ll be the highest of the non-Buffalo picks. I imagine Buffalo told Pittsburgh, “Either you take next year’s 3rd from one of these other teams or we’ll give you the 2017 3rd.” A pick sooner is worth more than a pick later, so Pittsburgh accepts, even if one of these other picks would likely be lower than Buffalo’s.

    All of this so that Buffalo can retain their own pick next year.

    I can’t think of any clearer indication that Buffalo is going for an RFA offer sheet this summer.

    Speeds! You’re up! Who’s their target? Hamilton?

  75. G Money says:

    rickithebear: there is a direct corelation between going to the chance area and open hole targeting.
    for GF and covering on lost pocesion.

    Ricki – you need to prove it.

    You keep stating this, and then go on to generate a whole bunch of statistics that produce nonsense results.

    You need to demonstrate this correlation you claim actually exists. I do not for a second believe it.

    NOT because technically it isn’t true. Sure, there ought to be some sort of relationship there. The problem is with the statistic, especially GF and GA. There are all kinds of factors that play into GF, and I bet if you actually calculated GF on this basis, you would find that it would vary wildly for all kinds of weird and wonderful reasons (because its such a tiny sample size and so utterly dependent on goaltending) that had nothing to do with what you claim, and on balance you would therefore find almost no correlation.

    Also, just for your benefit, I have run a little thought experiment, showing a few different scenarios of how ridiculously sensitive EVGA/60 is to all kinds of factors (because its inherently such a tiny sample size statistic) and why it is therefore an utterly terrible measure to use for defensemen.

    I will be publishing later today at NerdAlert.

  76. oilswell says:

    v4ance:
    As much as I’d like to see the Hall-McDavid-Yak trio score, I think the McLellan will want some sort of defensive conscience with any line that McDavid is on to help the rookie break into the NHL.

    That’s why I think it will end up Hall-Nuge-Ebs and Poo-McDavid-Yak

    I have similar thoughts, at least for the first half. That Hall line will draw the top opposition, and I think having a good enough other line to draw attention away is nearly as important as surrounding McDavid with experience.

    Plus I suspect for Yakupov the play will look different with McClelland drawing the arrows on the whiteboard. It’s probably wise to see how that translates before drawing conclusions on his line mates.

  77. Ducey says:

    Looks like its a good thing the Oilers didn’t draft Fucale

    http://www.sportsnet.ca/hockey/juniors/canadiens-remparts-suffer-from-fucales-poor-showing/

    Maybe the Habs will take the rights for Marco Roy in exchange for him.

  78. Cameron says:

    John Chambers,

    Interesting, because I see them as 2-3 years ahead of the Oilers rebuild, largely because they have a quad of very good young D-men further along in development than Edm, and greater prospect depth at every position.

    Both teams could really use an NHL caliber goalie though.

  79. wheatnoil says:

    G Money,

    G Money, if you can convince Ricki to stop using EVGA for evaluating D-men, you’ll become the McJesus of this blog.

  80. DBO says:

    Hall-McD-Purcell (Purcell can play a two way game and still play with skill, and on road it protects McDavid)
    Pou-Nuge-Eberle (1b. Play anywhere on ice)
    Ericsson/Soderburgh-Lander-Yak (top line for swedes at worlds. Yak let lose with two responsible players and will feast on 3rd pair D)
    Hendricks-Gordon-Klink (d zone, d zone, d zone, PK. Repeat)

    That is a balanced lineup, and you could swap Purcell and Yak at home and give the McDavid line cherry O zone starts, and making the Lander line another tough matchup Defensive wise on road.

    That lineup can make the playoffs. Now the D and Goalie? In Chia we trust.

  81. G Money says:

    My thoughts on Yak.

    I fully admit that I am biased here. I really want Yak to succeed. I love his attitude on the ice (playing hard from start to finish, truly loves the game), his persona off the ice (he seems like a genuinely kindhearted and generous person, despite being I suspect a stranger in a strange land much of the time), and his swashbuckling style of play. I suspect these are the reasons he has so many fans despite his mediocre on-ice results.

    But it’s more than that. I have all the patience in the world for him. He’s been absolutely scapegoated since the Eakins era began. It is no surprise to me that he had decent seasons under Krueger and under Nelson – but suffered badly under Eakins.

    That reason alone is enough justification for the firing of Eakins.

    The way I look at Yak today is this: he’s had 48 games of development under Krueger. He’s had 50ish games of development under Nelson. Under those two coaches, he has looked anywhere from: a rookie, to the best player on the ice, to a future superstar in the making.

    My personal opinion therefore is that Yak is 98 games into his development as a player. We haven’t seen anything near his best yet. I trust in TMc, but this is one of the reasons I hope Nelson stays. Yak turning into the superstar sniper he can be will play a huge part in the future Oiler Stanley Cup run.

    Not sure if you’ve seen this article or not, but if you’re a Yak fan, it’s worth a read. I think it’s a bit over the top in his description of the Calder trophy (Yak lost because he came on strong late, after the votes were in, not because of xenophobia IMO) and of Eakins’ scapegoating … but kernels of truth, without a doubt. But very well written. I might even say that the article “has a lot of heart”.

    http://www.todaysslapshot.com/nhl-west/pacific/the-future-of-nail-yakupov-and-the-idiocy-of-the-russian-factor/

  82. Woodguy says:

    wheatnoil: I think that’s why you split up Hall and McDavid.
    Hall-RNH-Eberle
    Pou-McDavid-Yakupov

    Let Gordon and Lander take more of the defensive zone starts and give RNH and McDavid the O-Zone starts.

    Agreed.

    That’s how I would start.

    Opposing coached game plan against Hall.

    Have to have AHJ on a different line.

    Have to.

  83. Woodguy says:

    russ99:
    No Roy = better chance there’s no three scoring lines.

    Not at home with last change. The key is to find someone for the 2-way third line who can also play a Pouliot-like role on a line with Hall-McDavid when they face those toughs on the road.

    50% of the games are on the road and I’ve never seen a coach use different lines at home than on the road.

    AHD is a kid and shouldn’t be paired with Hall as he attracts the best the other team has to offer.

    He’ll draw those players on his own soon enough.

  84. Woodguy says:

    Ducey:
    Looks like its a good thing the Oilers didn’t draft Fucale

    http://www.sportsnet.ca/hockey/juniors/canadiens-remparts-suffer-from-fucales-poor-showing/

    Maybe the Habs will take the rights for Marco Roy in exchange for him.

    Many people (myself included) have wondered how Fucale became so famous in the first place.

    He’s never been a top goalie in the Q, let alone all of Canada for his age group.

    Strange situation.

    He’s no where near Jarry’s ability, who barely got a sniff at national teams.

  85. Woodguy says:

    wheatnoil:
    G Money,

    G Money, if you can convince Ricki to stop using EVGA for evaluating D-men, you’ll become the McJesus of this blog.

    Actual Lowetide Jesus.

    ALJ.

  86. Pajamah says:

    raventalon40: To replace him with what center that can win key faceoffs?

    Team ▾Face-off Win%
    1 Boston Bruins 53.6%
    2 St. Louis Blues 53.4%
    3 Carolina Hurricanes 53.0%
    4 Montreal Canadiens 52.1%
    5 Chicago Blackhawks 52.0%
    6 San Jose Sharks 51.9%
    7 Dallas Stars 51.8%
    8 Arizona Coyotes 51.8%
    9 Anaheim Ducks 51.6%
    10 Detroit Red Wings 51.5%
    11 Los Angeles Kings 51.3%
    12 Washington Capitals 51.2%
    13 Philadelphia Flyers 51.1%
    14 Colorado Avalanche 50.8%
    15 Minnesota Wild 49.9%
    16 Tampa Bay Lightning 49.7%
    17 Columbus Blue Jackets 49.3%
    18 New York Islanders 49.2%
    19 Pittsburgh Penguins 49.1%
    20 Toronto Maple Leafs 49.0%
    21 Nashville Predators 48.9%
    22 Winnipeg Jets 48.9%
    23 Florida Panthers 48.6%
    24 Ottawa Senators 48.2%
    25 Edmonton Oilers 48.2%
    26 Calgary Flames 47.5%
    27 New Jersey Devils 47.3%
    28 Vancouver Canucks 46.7%
    29 New York Rangers 46.7%
    30 Buffalo Sabres 44.9%

    We worry so much about faceoffs, because it used to be Stoll, Peca, Horcoff et al. leading the league. It is not all about possession off the draw, but getting the puck back.

    5 of 10 top face off teams did not make the playoffs. 6 of the bottom 10 did. The second worst team this season may win the cup.

    It is not the hill to die on, especially compared to simple possession numbers (which admittedly are affected by face off percentage somewhat).

    We’re still a bad faceoff team with Gordon, and its not like he walks the corgis alone. Give this team rockets up front to forecheck, and beasts out back to break up cycles, and the faceoff % will matter even less.

  87. G Money says:

    wheatnoil,

    Woodguy,

    LOL, that’s awesome, ALJ. I shall do my best!

  88. spoiler says:

    G Money: I love his attitude on the ice (playing hard from start to finish, truly loves the game), his persona off the ice (he seems like a genuinely kindhearted and generous person, despite being I suspect a stranger in a strange land much of the time), and his swashbuckling style of play.

    With “swashbuckling” in there, this seems almost like a double Heinlein reference.

  89. raventalon40 says:

    Pajamah: Team▾Face-off Win%
    1Boston Bruins53.6%
    2St. Louis Blues53.4%
    3Carolina Hurricanes53.0%
    4Montreal Canadiens52.1%
    5Chicago Blackhawks52.0%
    6San Jose Sharks51.9%
    7Dallas Stars51.8%
    8Arizona Coyotes51.8%
    9Anaheim Ducks51.6%
    10Detroit Red Wings51.5%
    11Los Angeles Kings51.3%
    12Washington Capitals51.2%
    13Philadelphia Flyers51.1%
    14Colorado Avalanche50.8%
    15Minnesota Wild49.9%
    16Tampa Bay Lightning49.7%
    17Columbus Blue Jackets49.3%
    18New York Islanders49.2%
    19Pittsburgh Penguins49.1%
    20Toronto Maple Leafs49.0%
    21Nashville Predators48.9%
    22Winnipeg Jets48.9%
    23Florida Panthers48.6%
    24Ottawa Senators48.2%
    25Edmonton Oilers48.2%
    26Calgary Flames 47.5%
    27New Jersey Devils47.3%
    28Vancouver Canucks46.7%
    29New York Rangers46.7%
    30Buffalo Sabres44.9%

    We worry so much about faceoffs, because it used to be Stoll, Peca, Horcoff et al. leading the league. It is not all about possession off the draw, but getting the puck back.

    5 of 10 top face off teams did not make the playoffs. 6 of the bottom 10 did. The second worst team this season may win the cup.

    It is not the hill to die on, especially compared to simple possession numbers (which admittedly are affected by face off percentage somewhat).

    We’re still a bad faceoff team with Gordon, and its not like he walks the corgis alone. Give this team rockets up front to forecheck, and beasts out back to break up cycles, and the faceoff % will matter even less.

    So I reiterate, to replace him with what center to win KEY faceoffs?

    We’re not talking about gaining or losing a Gordon making the difference between a 12th place team and a 7th place team. We’re talking about, over the long haul, if you have one Gordon versus no Gordon, what is the impact on the team?

    We don’t have to have Stoll, Peca, Horcoff, but we can’t have NO Gordons.

  90. godot10 says:

    Jeremy:
    Does anyone think that TMac moving Hall and Ebs to Crosby’s wings had anything to do with him having a deal in place with the Oilers?Give them the best centre in the game, not just a position to succeed but to excel, get them to buy in and be on board with TMac, after they both publicly supported Nelson?

    Crosby has sucked offensively in two Olympics because of the inability of Canada to find wingers able to play with him effectively. Hall and Eberle were the first two wingers to ever play well with Crosby internationally at the “senior” level. Hall and Eberle got the job because they were playing extremely well with Duschene, and the two guys who started with Crosby (MacKinnon and Giroux?) weren’t meshing at all.

    Even Benn struggled at Sochi when faced with the pressure of playing with Crosby. He was better away than with.

    Crosby (apart from the golden goal) was underwhelming at two Olympics. Toews was the far better player both times.

  91. raventalon40 says:

    rickithebear: Beagle; Malhotra.

    I can handle that if there’s a replacement plan

  92. vinotintazo says:

    Hall-RNH-Eberle
    Pou-McDavid-Yakupov
    Fehr-Lander-Purcell
    Hendricks-Gordon-Klink
    Pitlick

    Sekera-Fayne
    Klefbom-Schultz
    Ference-Marincin
    Nikitin

    AHL
    Nurse,Draisaitl, Davidson (hope he clears)

  93. godot10 says:

    Rational Zealot:
    The Oilers should be looking to trade Boyd Gordon this summer.That is the path.

    Trading Gordon would be really really stupid. No one knows the time line for McDavid or Draisaitl yet.

    Look how off MacT was on Draisaitl AND Yakimov last year.

    If the Oilers are out of the playoff hunt at the deadline, then one might consider trading Gordon then, or one might consider re-signing him, depending on exactly how Lander, Draisaitl, McDavid, Yakimov, and Khaira are tracking.

    Bird in the hand and all that.

    Gordon is pretty critical this season because he is the only right shot centre, Nugent-Hopkins, is still pretty awful on the draw, and rookies like McDavid and Draisaitl will likely be terrible.

  94. Ca$h-McMoney! says:

    vinotintazo,

    People almost always clear at the start of the season. If someone claims him the impact on team moral is significant usually, as you are choosing the other teams fringe player for your NHL club over one of your own, who just went through camp & preseason fighting for that spot. Mid season it becomes more of an issue.

  95. Pajamah says:

    raventalon40,

    Anyone who can win 48%. Shortened to “anyone”.

    I’m saying the Oilers don’t need a key face off guy. The defense at this stage cannot make a tape to tape pass. Them seem to lose possession, regardless if the guy on the dot wins the draw 52% of the time.

    Now, that is a new issue, and not something Gordon should be held accountable for, I just don’t see an enormous value in “Face Off Guy”, atleast not in terms of winning percentage.

    I’d be happy for the Oilers to be the 29th place team in face off percentages. the Rangers are on the cusp of a Stanley Cup final. The question is how much of an important role Dominic Moore plays. He is a carbon copy of Gordon on the draw, and every offensive option they have at C is between 46-48%.

    Moore is playing about 45 seconds more than JT Miller, and Brassard and Stepan have 3-5 more minutes per game than both. This includes Moore’s PK time.

    He is 10th in per game ice time (if you assume Zuccarello and Shephard combine for 1 forward spot). He is used as a 4th liner on EV.

    I guess what I am saying in a more concise manner is that I would rather see an incremental improvement in possession for anyone of Edmonton’s top 10 scoring forwards, than worry about 2-5% better face-off wins from a 4th liner who plays 11 minutes EV per game.

  96. Pajamah says:

    raventalon40,

    And to be honest, I am not saying trade him, just that if the Oilers can find value elsewhere, that I don’t believe they will fall off a cliff, possession wise.

  97. spoiler says:

    godot10: Crosby has sucked offensively in two Olympics because of the inability of Canada to find wingers able to play with him effectively.Hall and Eberle were the first two wingers to ever play well with Crosby internationally at the “senior” level. Hall and Eberle got the job because they were playing extremely well with Duschene, and the two guys who started with Crosby (MacKinnon and Giroux?) weren’t meshing at all.

    Even Benn struggled at Sochi when faced with the pressure of playing with Crosby.He was better away than with.

    Crosby (apart from the golden goal) was underwhelming at two Olympics.Toews was the far better player both times.

    It is to laugh.

  98. Ducey says:

    raventalon40: I can handle that if there’s a replacement plan

    Gordon 15.1 OZ 43.8 CF%
    Manny 15.2 OZ 35.7 CF%
    Beagle 29 OZ 50 CF%

    Beagle will be a free agent and is looking for a big wage increase. You can bet his CF% will drop a lot if he got the very poor zone starts. Especially moving from the Caps to the Oilers.

    Manny is done.

    Gordon isn’t just about faceoffs. He can survive with some pretty drastic defensive zone starts and competition.

  99. AnOmYnOuS1 says:

    Ducey: Gordon 15.1 OZ 43.8 CF%
    Manny 15.2 OZ 35.7 CF%
    Beagle 29 OZ 50 CF%

    Beagle will be a free agent and is looking for a big wage increase.You can bet his CF% will drop a lot if he got the very poor zone starts.Especially moving from the Caps to the Oilers.

    Manny is done.

    Gordon isn’t just about faceoffs.He can survive with some pretty drastic defensive zone starts and competition.

    Agreed. He has a brutal job and he does a good job of it. He wins the draws on the PK so they can (attempt) to ice the puck, on the PP so they can get the puck and start to set up, he blocks shots and he doesn’t leave the DZ until the puck does. He’s the defensive conscious for a team that needs more players concerned about it. He is expensive but I think he’s our best option. So long as his back holds up that is.
    Those who think Lander should replace him, I disagree. He has too much offence to suffocate with those brutal zone starts. He was the top C for Sweden for a reason.

  100. raventalon40 says:

    Ducey: Gordon 15.1 OZ 43.8 CF%
    Manny 15.2 OZ 35.7 CF%
    Beagle 29 OZ 50 CF%

    Beagle will be a free agent and is looking for a big wage increase.You can bet his CF% will drop a lot if he got the very poor zone starts.Especially moving from the Caps to the Oilers.

    Manny is done.

    Gordon isn’t just about faceoffs.He can survive with some pretty drastic defensive zone starts and competition.

    Trust me, I’m a big Gordon fan, I am arguing in a separate comment above that we can’t afford to lose him. But if the return warrants it, and we can “replace” him, I can get behind it, is all I am saying.

  101. Pajamah says:

    raventalon40: Trust me, I’m a big Gordon fan, I am arguing in a separate comment above that we can’t afford to lose him. But if the return warrants it, and we can “replace” him, I can get behind it, is all I am saying.

    Then we agree to agree?

    All joking aside, he does bring other value, I’d just hope you could acquire a Gordon as a 1.5M guy, or a young ELC. And Gordon’s value should be enough that he could get you a 2nd or emerging prospect to a team next season who wants Dominic Moore (again, my thoughts on that player type aside).

    Time for the Oilers to become incredibly saavy on contracts, or the window will shorten incredibly a la Boston or Pittsburgh. I’d say Chicago’s cap hell is something to worry about, but as a fan, I would take cap hell and cup final any day of the week.

  102. raventalon40 says:

    Pajamah:
    raventalon40,

    Anyone who can win 48%. Shortened to “anyone”.

    I’m saying the Oilers don’t need a key face off guy. The defense at this stage cannot make a tape to tape pass. Them seem to lose possession, regardless if the guy on the dot wins the draw 52% of the time.

    Now, that is a new issue, and not something Gordon should be held accountable for, I just don’t see an enormous value in “Face Off Guy”, atleast not in terms of winning percentage.

    I’d be happy for the Oilers to be the 29th place team in face off percentages. the Rangers are on the cusp of a Stanley Cup final. The question is how much of an important role Dominic Moore plays. He is a carbon copy of Gordon on the draw, and every offensive option they have at C is between 46-48%.

    Moore is playing about 45 seconds more than JT Miller, and Brassard and Stepan have 3-5 more minutes per game than both. This includes Moore’s PK time.

    He is 10th in per game ice time (if you assume Zuccarello and Shephard combine for 1 forward spot). He is used as a 4th liner on EV.

    I guess what I am saying in a more concise manner is that I would rather see an incremental improvement in possession for anyone of Edmonton’s top 10 scoring forwards, than worry about 2-5% better face-off wins from a 4th liner who plays 11 minutes EV per game.

    Dominic Moore played 1,132:24 total, in 82 games, and was ranked 47th in the league with 1074 draws taken with a 54.5% FO win%. This is a comparable TOI to the Ranger’s other options, who had 1,391:36 and 1,236:18 totals, with average 44 s/shift, respectively.

    Boyd Gordon played 906:08 total, in 68 games, and was ranked 30th in the league with 1218 draws taken with a 55.9% FO win% who plays 36 s/shift. Above him was RNH at 1,568:43 total, ranked 20th in the league, with 1356 draws taken with a 45.7% FO win%. The next closest guy? Derek Roy ranked 69th in the league with 44.8%, plays 48 s/shift and 909 draws taken in 72 games played.

    Your argument:

    1. it’s easy to find guys who can win 48% of their draws – I disagree
    2. faceoffs by committee – nope, not the way to go, we need more Gordons, not less, he’s getting run ragged out there; it’s already a center-by-committee approach for the Oilers we need continuity and better performance within the faceoff dot, and without
    3. puck retrieval affects FO% more than the centerman – puck retrieval is independent of FO% (it’s gonna be good or bad regardless of whether you win the draw), but I don’t disagree that the wingers have an effect on winning % in the dot, but I do disagree that removing Gordon from the equation will have a negligible affect

    So while Gordon plays 11 EV minutes per game, as you have observed, his usage by the team is very telling of how heavily they lean on him.

    I don’t have time to crunch this out on a spreadsheet, so hopefully everything I wrote above makes sense.

    http://espn.go.com/nhl/statistics/player/_/stat/faceoffs/sort/totalFaceOffs/seasontype/2/count/41

    ———–

    TL;DR

    Removing Gordon will not have a negligible affect on the Oilers and puck possession and FO performance is clearly a priority for the team.

  103. raventalon40 says:

    Pajamah: Then we agree to agree?

    All joking aside, he does bring other value, I’d just hope you could acquire a Gordon as a 1.5M guy, or a young ELC. And Gordon’s value should be enough that he could get you a 2nd or emerging prospect to a team next season who wants Dominic Moore (again, my thoughts on that player type aside).

    Time for the Oilers to become incredibly saavy on contracts, or the window will shorten incredibly a la Boston or Pittsburgh. I’d say Chicago’s cap hell is something to worry about, but as a fan,I would take cap hell and cup final any day of the week.

    You never provided a solution for replacing Gordon, you merely argued that removing him would have a negligible effect.

    EDIT: I didn’t see your second (follow up) comment until just now. I still maintain he is the better option though. We should add a Brodziak type and have him battle Lander for the job. 1.5 million veteran utility guys who win faceoff consistently are far and few between, if they still exist. And if they do, they hold definite value to winning teams. Winning teams add them, not subtract them.

  104. Pouzar says:

    Bruce McMcCurdy ‏@BruceMcCurdy 1h1 hour ago
    Ferraro on Anton Slepyshev: “That kid’s a player. I saw him at World Junior & loved him. He’s not a 3 years in the AHL” project. #Oilers

    Bruce McMcCurdy ‏@BruceMcCurdy 1h1 hour ago
    Ferraro: Real impressed with Anton Lander. Harder player than I realized, better with the puck. If he’s your 3rd guy you’re in good shape”

    Bruce McMcCurdy ‏@BruceMcCurdy 57m57 minutes ago
    Ferraro: “1st time you guys see McDavid in the neutral zone, you will be amazed. Other guys slow down with the puck, he seems to speed up.”

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