(LOOKING FOR) THE HEART OF SATURDAY NIGHT

How many complete defensemen have skated in an Oilers uniform since 1979? Seriously. I’m not talking about great defensemen or big hitters or powerful shooters, I’m talking complete defensemen. Chris Pronger? You bet. After that, we can make a list and check it twice but this is not a long list, not as impressive as (say) the Boston Bruins of my lifetime.

A complete defenseman is (my definition) able to play successfully in all three disciplines, bring a physical element while also being able to play a two-way game. In the olden days the guy could fight but that’s not necessary anymore. I don’t believe blocking shots is a value tool (it’s more a reflection of poor possession) so we’ll excuse that requirement, too.

My conversation with Corey Pronman yesterday had some fascinating aspects, including his assertion that Nurse has a wide range to his game.

  • Pronman:I think Nurse has a little more of a dynamic element to his game. Nurse’s skating is a little bit better and they both project as good defensive players, I think Nurse can bring a little more offense to the NHL.”

EVEN STRENGTH AT 17

nurse reinhart at 17At 17, the two players look similar (this is via CHLStats.com) during the even-strength portion of games. The points-per-60 estimate is a cool element and shows the two marching in lock step at this age. Nurse’s EV IPP is 0.37, Reinhart’s is 0.32—they look pretty close at evens during their draft seasons.

EVEN STRENGTH AT 19

nurse reinhart at 19At 19, Nurse is creating more offense across the board (although I’m not sure if the estimated time-on-ice machine can accurately estimate some of these 19-year-old ‘men in junior’ blue). Nurse’s EV IPP is 0.45, Reinhart’s is 0.38—Nurse has increased the gap a little, remains the more likely ‘complete’ bet.

POWER-PLAY

Both men have seen their share of power-play time in junior but it’s a difficult projection into pro for either player. Honestly, most amateur defenders don’t make the grade as PP contributors and leave much of their offense behind them. Why? As young blue, they’re probably behind a more established veteran and the skills they owned in junior or college fade away or are not utilized.

  • Griffin Reinhart at 17: 58GP, 5-12-17 .293 power play points per game
  • Darnell Nurse at 17: 68GP, 2-10-12 .176 power play points per game
  • Griffin Reinhart at 19: 45GP, 2-5-7 .155 power play points per game
  • Darnell Nurse at 19: 36GP, 3-8-11 .306 power play points per game

Reinhart played an extreme shutdown role on the Memorial Cup team (he was 19) and for me that’s a big part of the dip—the Oil Kings had an unreal junior defense and deployed the group in the most effective way available. However, that also offers us a hint about future roles for Reinhart and his usage in the NHL. It’s worth noting the men getting PP time ahead of Reinhart were not top flight NHL prospects. In his draft season, Martin Gernat got the power-play push, in his final year it was Cody Corbett.

Nurse was a different story on the power play. In his 17-year-old draft year, Nurse was on a team that boasted both Ryan Sproul and Colin Miller—substantial offensive players. In his final season, Anthony DeAngelo was acquired and romped with the man advantage.

I’m not sure either player will have a long NHL career on the power play and in this area both men may fall shy of being complete players.

  • Peter Chiarelli talks about Nurse:His game has got a lot more structure and he’s really come a long way from what I’ve seen. I really like his compete and we’re trying to build from the back end a bit in Edmonton and he’s a good fit with us right now.” Source
  • Peter Chiarelli talks about Reinhart: “I expect him to be in the opening day roster. His size, his strength, his head, his sense, his skating—despite what people say—is what we want in a big anchor defenceman. This kid’s a player, so he’s going to find his way. When? Hopefully sooner than later.”

I agree with Pronman, for me Nurse is a little higher end offensively and his speed makes him a more attractive prospect—but, as Pronman said on the Lowdown yesterday, the gap isn’t a massive one.

  • Pronman on Reinhart: “He’s high-end defensively, and average offensively, which is still a pretty good player. He performed well versus men this season in the AHL and could make the Oilers very soon.”
  • Pronman on Nurse: He is a gifted physical player who has all the natural tools a scout could want from a defenseman. He has slowly begun to emerge as a two-way player, but his value comes from his high-end work in his own end.”

I believe they’re both quality prospects and should (along with Oscar Klefbom) solve the defensive problem LH side for a decade if the Oilers keep the pair. I also think (and have stated before) it’s a stretch to expect either man to become a big offensive option.

I’ll place the line in the sand (total points in a season, outer marker) at 40 points for Nurse and 30 for Reinhart and would be delighted if they achieve or pass those numbers. The big part of their value is in playing defense, getting the puck headed north, and sealing out oncoming sorties. If there’s one thing we’ve learned in the past decade, sending also-rans, never were’s and fading legends into the breach is a ghastly option.

We wait, secure in the knowledge better days ahead. Strange feeling, no?

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57 Responses to "(LOOKING FOR) THE HEART OF SATURDAY NIGHT"

  1. Snowman says:

    I’m a big believer in Nurse. He won me over completely at WJC last year. He did it again in the OHL playoffs. Dynamic is the perfect word for Nurse.

    I’m very excited that Reinhart is right there with him. That is fantastic news. How this defense shakes out at training camp is going to be interesting.

    I hope the vets on this team bring their A game this year..

  2. Ryan says:

    I’ll nominate Ryan Whitney to the list pre-Rexall ice rut.

  3. Ryan says:

    Snowman:
    I’m a big believer in Nurse. He won me over completely at WJC last year. He did it again in the OHL playoffs. Dynamic is the perfect word for Nurse.

    I’m very excited that Reinhart is right there with him. That is fantastic news. How this defense shakes out at training camp is going to be interesting.

    I hope the vets on this team bring their A game this year..

    The problem is that there’s zero chance that our top six is adequate if we have 3/3 of NSF. I’d feel a lot better if Ference had been bought out.

  4. Woodguy says:

    There is one bonus if all of Klefbom, Nurse and Reinhart are shy offensively while being very good Dmen.

    They won’t cost as much.

    The NHL values points and pays Dmen who get points more than those who don’t.

    Sometimes its a smart thing (Subban/Karlsson) and sometimes its not (Yandle, Schultz) as some of the high point earners still give up more than they create.

    McLellen having a history of running 4F – 1D on the 5v4 also bodes well to keep Dmen point totals down.

    If Sekera is one of the 5v4 Dmen then only one 5v4 Dmen will need a contract in the next 4 or so years and that will help keep the cap flexible to pay all the talent up front.

  5. boopronger says:

    Ryan whitney was so overrated. During his little run there, (27 points in 35 games, only 2 goals), he was so bad defensively I started to wonder if I was watching the same games as everyone else. The errors were MA bergeron bad.

  6. Bar_Qu says:

    Woodguy,

    This is an excellent point. The best part of all those “defensive” players? They can make and take a pass.

    If they can provide a strong wall of defense, coupled with an ability to get the puck up to the gifted forwards without making them come all the way below their own red line every time, music. The icing on the cupcake would be if they didn’t command salaries in the top 30 D of the league.

  7. Snowman says:

    Ryan,

    I don’t worry about all three of them at all. I’d be shocked if Ference is a regular this year and I’d be just as shocked to see Nikitin stick around past the trade deadline.

    I’ve predicted Nurse in the opening night line up (bet Kinger on it). I think the name of the game for this team is speed and for that reason I see no way that Ference or Nikitin are regulars.

    Edit: Management isn’t loyal to anybody anymore. Chia will ice the best team he can. Decisions will be made based on winning hockey games. Good things are happening.

  8. slopitch says:

    I wonder how much temptation there would be to bring them up as a pair after 20 AHL games together. IE would familiarity be more valuable then playing with a vet?

    I think GR starts in the A unless Chai makes a move. Even if Chai makes a move I suspect a dman would be coming back.

  9. John Chambers says:

    boopronger:
    Ryan whitney was so overrated. During his little run there, (27 points in 35 games, only 2 goals), he was so bad defensively I started to wonder if I was watching the same games as everyone else. The errors were MA bergeron bad.

    You must be referring to Taylor Halls rookie season. I remember Whitney as Norris-calibre in terms of his puck-moving ability but don’t recall the defensive horrors. I believe he was paired with Tom Gilbert and they were the only reliable blueliners during the beginning of Tambellini’s rebuild.

  10. jonrmcleod says:

    Oilers fan problem: I googled “nurse” expecting to find Darnell in the results.

    I’m assuming that all of Sekera, Klefbom, Reinhart, and Nurse will be on the Oilers roster no later than the start of 2016-17. Which of the four will play on the right side?

  11. Soup Fascist says:

    Woodguy:
    There is one bonus if all of Klefbom, Nurse and Reinhart are shy offensively while being very good Dmen.

    They won’t cost as much.

    The NHL values points and pays Dmen who get points more than those who don’t.

    Sometimes its a smart thing (Subban/Karlsson) and sometimes its not (Yandle, Schultz) as some of the high point earners still give up more than they create.

    McLellen having a history of running 4F – 1D on the 5v4 also bodes well to keep Dmen point totals down.

    If Sekera is one of the 5v4 Dmen then only one 5v4 Dmen will need a contract in the next 4 or so years and that will help keep the cap flexible to pay all the talent up front.

    Very interesting point. My question would be is the relationship between D points and salary a fairly static relationship or more dynamic?

    Contracts to Mike Komiserak, Anton Volchenkov, Jeff Finger and Mike Commadore (primary defensive D men) were unworldly a few years ago. Just wondering if the value of Defensive defensemen is a bit cyclic or if 2008 – 2010 was an anomaly.

  12. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    Any particular reason why the 18 year old season was skipped over?

  13. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    Ryan Whitney was used on both the PP and SH a lot in his first truncated season with the Oil.

    BUT, that usage was clawed all the way back in his first full season with the team.

    Recently, the best approximation for “complete” by LT’s terms is Petry and Gilbert.

  14. Woodguy says:

    Bar_Qu:
    Woodguy,

    This is an excellent point. The best part of all those “defensive” players? They can make and take a pass.

    If they can provide a strong wall of defense, coupled with an ability to get the puck up to the gifted forwards without making them come all the way below their own red line every time, music. The icing on the cupcake would be if they didn’t command salaries in the top 30 D of the league.

    It seems the NHL is starting to pay the “good puck mover – shy on points” guys now. Petry and Stralman and Sekera being the latest examples.

    These are all UFA contracts though and these types of players don’t get paid during their RFA years until the end when they are combined with UFA years.

    I wonder what Chia is going to do for the Klefbom extension.

    Smart move would be to buy lots of UFA years and get that cap number under $4MM.

    Hamonic’s $3.8 x 7 years is a good example to follow.

  15. bassguy says:

    Hi LT, everyone..absolutely love this tom waits song!

  16. Woodguy says:

    Soup Fascist: Very interesting point. My question would be is the relationship between D points and salary a fairly static relationship or more dynamic?

    Contracts to Mike Komiserak, Anton Volchenkov, Jeff Finger and Mike Commadore (primary defensive D men) were unworldly a few years ago.Just wondering if the value of Defensive defensemen is a bit cyclic or if 2008 – 2010 was an anomaly.

    I think the NHL has changed and is getting better (somewhat) on who to pay.

    UFA vs RFA years are important to the conversation as well.

  17. bcoil says:

    I believe their talents complement each other .Imagine for a moment them as a first paring tandem in two years.

  18. B S says:

    jonrmcleod: I’m assuming that all of Sekera, Klefbom, Reinhart, and Nurse will be on the Oilers roster no later than the start of 2016-17. Which of the four will play on the right side?

    I’m running on memory on this one, so others can correct me if I’m wrong, but I though Reinhardt played mostly RHD during Junior, despite being a lefty.

  19. Lowetide says:

    Romulus Apotheosis:
    Any particular reason why the 18 year old season was skipped over?

    For me, those are the important seasons to look at, draft year and final junior season. You get an idea about their range of skills in draft year but there’s usually a Ryan Sproul holding back something. At 19, they should be pushing the river in all areas.

  20. Woodguy says:

    John Chambers: You must be referring to Taylor Halls rookie season. I remember Whitney as Norris-calibre in terms of his puck-moving ability but don’t recall the defensive horrors. I believe he was paired with Tom Gilbert and they were the only reliable blueliners during the beginning of Tambellini’s rebuild.

    Whitney’s results were all world during his 35 games in 10/11

    35gp 2g 25a 27pts +13 on a bad team.

    A little closer look shows why though:

    On ice SH% 12.5% (average was about 7.5%)
    On ice SV% .935 (average was about .902)

    So his PDO was 1060.

    That’s an crazy high number, and like the other numbers represent a career high.

    Rexall ice came up and ended his career (slowly) that year so we are left with memory of Whitney killing it, which he did, but if he had the other 47gp there was no way those numbers would have stayed that high.

  21. gd says:

    I think the top 5D for the Cup contending years starting 2017-18 should be Sekera, Klef, Nurse, Reinhart (or Fayne if one of the young guys doesn’t pan out) plus one more guy. Size will not be an issue, so logically the guy we are looking for is a smart, puck moving RD (Dan Boyle in his prime would be the perfect guy).

    Chia has two years to find this guy, so I like that he’s is being patient. Logic says that at least 75 percent of our tradeable assets will become more valuable as we move from the Eakins/MacT trainwreck to the McD/TMc bump. Spurgeon and Ellis are the most obvious candidates, but it could actually be Schultz, or even Larsson if New Jersey stays in the bottom 5 for the next couple of years. I also could see Montreal falling off a cliff in a couple of years as Buffalo, Florida and Toronto improve and all of the sudden Petry is available (with salary retained). I know everyone seems to hate him, but I still think Ryan Murphy is the type of guy who with a fresh start could become what we thought Schultz was going to become.

    PS The pressure point for OEL is before 2017-18 when he has only two years left on his contract. If the Coyotes are still bad I think that will be when he becomes tradeable.

  22. B S says:

    gd,

    Joey Legs could (as a possibility) be that guy.

  23. Lowetide says:

    Paigin only 4:01 today, two blocked shots. Vladimir Tkachev played for AK Bars as well.

  24. RexLibris says:

    Can’t think of this song without hearing the Holly Cole version in my head.

    Waits is an American poet, perfect for that nation – gritty, dark, beautifully captivating with his combination of tender-hearted sincerity soaked in a melancholy ferocity.

    Cole had a tremendous cover album of Waits’ stuff, Temptation.

    As to Nurse, Reinhart and Klefbom’s relative offensive production, I think Reinhart likely has the lowest offensive impact of the three, but would not yet sell short Nurse or Klefbom on account of how efficiently they move up the ice. Twice last season Klefbom snuck into the offensive zone to get a shot off which surprised the opposition. Nurse shows a similar skill set in his speed and once he can identify the best times to push he could become something like an extra forward pass option as the trailer.

    In and of themselves, they are not spectacular offensive options. However, they possess a strong skill set that provides offensive options that, paired with the forward group they will be working with – a group that will give defenders enough to worry about on most nights by themselves – I think they may have more offensive opportunities as a result.

    Consider Kevin Bieksa. Not a complete defenseman by most measures, his junior production had peaks and valleys but he looked like a solid 20pt defender. But by virtue of playing with the Sedins +1, a trio that has given the opposition conniption fits for a decade now, he could benefit simply by waiting until the defenders overcommitted to the forwards and left him space to get off a fair shot so that he managed three non-consecutive 40 pts seasons during his time with the Canucks.

  25. RexLibris says:

    Lowetide:
    Paigin only 4:01 today, two blocked shots. Vladimir Tkachev played for AK Bars as well.

    Weren’t we wringing our hands over Slepyshev’s first season post-draft due to ice time and shifts?

    It doesn’t help his development, but this seems to be a thing in the KHL.

    If I recall correctly, I think even Yakupov was getting 3rd line minutes or thereabouts when he went to the KHL during the first few weeks of the lockout. He eventually worked his way up in ice time and shots on goal, but the coach wasn’t handing him anything, and he was a hometown hero.

  26. mumbai max says:

    Love Tom Waits. This was one of his only commercial hits, but one of dozens of great tunes. You could do a wonderful Tom Waits RE series. Early vote for next year! Love those Blue Jays for distracting us from the long non hockey part of the calendar. Opening night for CMD and playoff baseball coming up in October, there really is a gord!!

  27. Lowetide says:

    RexLibris: Weren’t we wringing our hands over Slepyshev’s first season post-draft due to ice time and shifts?

    It doesn’t help his development, but this seems to be a thing in the KHL.

    If I recall correctly, I think even Yakupov was getting 3rd line minutes or thereabouts when he went to the KHL during the first few weeks of the lockout. He eventually worked his way up in ice time and shots on goal, but the coach wasn’t handing him anything, and he was a hometown hero.

    Sure. Still, you’d rather have him playing more, suspect he’ll see some minor league action if this continues (and rightly).

  28. RexLibris says:

    Lowetide: Sure. Still, you’d rather have him playing more, suspect he’ll see some minor league action if this continues (and rightly).

    Yeah, the MHL is always an option.

    But he was a 7th round pick and a rookie defender. Those scream limited minutes from a KHL perspective.

    I suppose where I am with him is similar to what I’ve witnessed now with Klefbom, Gustafsson, and other defenders taken from European leagues: be very, very, very patient with how the team overseas deploys them. If your scouts are right, and they have talent, trust that they will earn it in time.

    It does raise the topic of Katz buying a team in the SHL or (less likely) KHL so he could exercise some development influence on European prospects.

    Foreign ownership of a KHL team would be an extremely risky venture given that league’s role in Russian political positioning, but if it were located in Finland or a Baltic state perhaps it would be buffered against some potential interference.

    My point with Piagin (should we call him Pigeon?) is that I’ll take more notice of his ice time in late September than late August, once the coach and GM have a bead on where he fits best.

  29. Pastor of Disaster says:

    Does Lubo make the shortlist of complete(-ish) defensemen?
    Souray?

    …Igor?

  30. Bar_Qu says:

    RexLibris,

    I believe calling him “Pagan” has a more martial feel to it (h/t to whoever here coined that). Pigeon just feels like flying rats.

  31. SwedishPoster says:

    RexLibris,

    You can’t buy swedish teams, they are owned by their members basically and an investor is only allowed to own 49% of the club. You could ofc go in as the main sponsor and that gives you some weight in the board room but you can’t own the club. It’s been debated for years but the majority supports it strongly, especially the fans who don’t want people without any actual passion for the club coming in and taking power.

    I agree on Paigin being a guy you need to slowcook, I think he’ll get his minutes. We just need to be patient.

  32. goalie1976 says:

    I would disagree with a few posters that Petry and Gilbert would be included in the ‘complete’ defensemen list. One of LT requirement was to bring a physical element, and neither of those 2 could knock over my grandma, and she’s in a walker.

    Not trying to be a troll, but the physicality that should be considered for a complete dman, is more in the lines of Seabrook, and Petry/Gilbert are clearly well below that level of impact.

    That being said, complete dmen are few and far between, and I would much rather have Petry on this team with his shortcomings, than Schultz.

  33. Kris11 says:

    Eric Brewer? Roman Hamrlk? Mironov?

    All had some decent stretches. I don’ know what counts as complete, though.

  34. Kris11 says:

    I’d say healthy Souray in his prime counts. Just not that great.

  35. Kris11 says:

    Lubo is the best of this bunch, but is he an offensive guy or complete. I dunno the definitions here.

  36. goalie1976 says:

    I would agree with Souray and Brewer in their prime

  37. "Steve Smith" says:

    Pastor of Disaster:
    Does Lubo make the shortlist of complete(-ish) defensemen?
    Souray?

    …Igor?

    Ulanov or Kravchuk? Either way, no.

  38. Yeti says:

    Sébastien Bisaillon.

  39. Ryan says:

    Kris11:
    Eric Brewer? Roman Hamrlk? Mironov?

    All had some decent stretches. I don’ know what counts as complete, though.

    Let me help you out…

    From the second paragraph of today’s post, “A complete defenseman is (my definition) able to play successfully in all three disciplines, bring a physical element while also being able to play a two-way game.”

  40. Hammers says:

    I wonder if Schultz at last can be that D man we all hoped for . New coach may help . I hope so .

  41. Gordies Elbow says:

    Pouliot-Hopkins-Eberle
    Hall-McDavid-Letestu
    Purcell-Draisaitl-Yakupov
    Korpikowski-Lander-Hendricks

    Sekera-Fayne
    Klefbom-Reinhart
    Nikitin-Schultz

    Talbot
    Nilsson

    Never thought I’d be in Alberta in August, and wishing it was winter.

  42. jake70 says:

    Geezuz…….13-1 Jays, double E with 3 homers, one a grand slam and 9 RBIs……….game delay…they are throwing hats at Skydome for the hatrick…….never seen that before………

    Edit…..15-1 another 2 run homer by Martin….

  43. Bootstrap Effexor says:

    Kris11:
    I dunno the definitions here.

    If you don’t want to read the post, you can also work it out by induction using the singleton set { CFP } as your basis case, from which it appears that “complete” amounts to a larger, nastier Gordie Howe who can skate backwards.

    As his career just started going, however, Howe sustained the worst injury of his career, fracturing his skull after an attempt to check Toronto Maple Leafs captain Ted Kennedy into the boards went awry during the 1950 playoffs. The severity of the fracture was such that he was taken to the hospital for emergency surgery in order to relieve building pressure on his brain.

    Just imagine the repercussions of his cranial crater had Howe played 6″ taller.

    Another tidbit: Howe recorded only two of his namesake hat tricks over his career.

    Add “flair for notoriety” to a complete defenseman’s bag of tricks.

  44. rickithebear says:

    Korpikowski-Lander-Hendricks
    How good was lander last year offensively?

    Lander 6’0″190lb
    14-15 (23yr)
    PP was 40% with him in front of Net.
    In reg shift games
    27gm 6G 13A 19P
    a full season pace of 18G 39A 57P
    playing with Fraser 48.1%; Miller 23.2%; Hall 21.1%; Purcell 20%; Pakarinen 15%; Gazdic 14.3%
    14-15
    top 10 73 pt
    top 30 64 pt
    top 60 56 pt
    top 90 49 pt
    top 120 44 pt

    As reference.
    Bozak 6’1″ 195lb at 23yr 09-10
    reg shift games
    37gm 8G 19A 27P
    a full season pace of 18 g 41A 59P
    playing with Kessel 80.6%; Kulemin 63.5%; ponikarovsky 11.9%

    14-15
    top 10 86 pt
    top 30 70 pt
    top 60 58 pt
    top 90 52 pt
    top 120 47 pt

  45. Pastor of Disaster says:

    “Steve Smith”: Ulanov or Kravchuk?Either way, no.

    I meant Ulanov, the big Russian beauty, but I forgot to push the Sarcasm Indicator Button before hitting ‘post’.

  46. Doug McLachlan says:

    Ok, my buddy (and frequent poster) Cameron and I have been going at this question all summer: should Chia have already pulled the trigger on dealing a core forward for an established #1 D-man?

    My take is that I suspect he’s kicking tires already but that until McLellan and he know for certain what he has in Eberle or Yakupov etc before dealing one at pennies on the dollar.

    Cameron’s counter is that this d-corps is AHL+ quality at best (in a division with a league-elite Flames defense) and to even start McDavid’s ELC with such a sub-standard blueline is a epic fail.

    Thoughts?

  47. Gordies Elbow says:

    Doug McLachlan:
    Ok, my buddy (and frequent poster) Cameron and I have been going at this question all summer: should Chia have already pulled the trigger on dealing a core forward for an established #1 D-man?

    My take is that I suspect he’s kicking tires already but that until McLellan and he know for certain what he has in Eberle or Yakupov etc before dealing one at pennies on the dollar.

    Cameron’s counter is that this d-corps is AHL+ quality at best (in a division with a league-elite Flames defense) and to even start McDavid’s ELC with such a sub-standard blueline is a epic fail.

    Thoughts?

    I disagree with his assessment of the defense.

    Goaltending, I could agree was (and could still be AHL level.)

    I don’t know what is more shocking, the fact that in Schultz’s entire career, he’s never had an experienced NHL coach, or the fact that in his three seasons he has played #1 minutes for two of the three seasons, and #2 for the other.

    Coaching, and systems development, have a big impact on a team defense, as evidenced by the Flames, who have Engelland, Smid, Rusell, and Wideman.

    I’d wait to see what Jim Johnson and Ian Herbers can do with the current crew before trading at pennies on the dollar.

  48. Gordies Elbow says:

    rickithebear,

    I know that Lander has offensive upside, but I’d like to see another centre with McDavid, as he’ll likely be getting #2 minutes, and may need sheltering in the defensive zone. Letestu gives the coach options, and allows Purcell-Draisaitl-Yakupov to play the butter soft minutes.

  49. Pouzar says:

    Doug McLachlan:
    Ok, my buddy (and frequent poster) Cameron and I have been going at this question all summer: should Chia have already pulled the trigger on dealing a core forward for an established #1 D-man?

    My take is that I suspect he’s kicking tires already but that until McLellan and he know for certain what he has in Eberle or Yakupov etc before dealing one at pennies on the dollar.

    Cameron’s counter is that this d-corps is AHL+ quality at best (in a division with a league-elite Flames defense) and to even start McDavid’s ELC with such a sub-standard blueline is a epic fail.

    Thoughts?

    Mr. Context?

  50. RexLibris says:

    Bar_Qu:
    RexLibris,

    I believe calling him “Pagan” has a more martial feel to it (h/t to whoever here coined that). Pigeon just feels like flying rats.

    Disagree. Pagan has some pejorative religious connotations that I’ve never been on board with, and no matter how many times I hear that word I’ll never get the Dragnet reference out of my head (People Against Goodness And Normalcy).

    And besides, if we nickname him Pigeon, we can adopt a ready-made goal song!

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VDJsgtoizj8

    There’s a dance crazy poised to take the nation by storm.

  51. RexLibris says:

    Yeti:
    Sébastien Bisaillon.

    Went to that game.

    What a night.

    We thought that was the nadir.

    Then the Oilers schooled the fan base on what “rock bottom” actually means.

    Like when you hit a rock formation and think, that’s as far as we can drill, but then you develop fracturing to get at all the juicy reserves trapped beneath, so you can drill another four thousand miles until you break through to Hockey Hades itself and you know you’re home.*

    *I realize that is not a factual account of the fracking process, but it is a lazy Saturday afternoon and I’m mailing in the metaphors for the rest of the day now.

  52. RexLibris says:

    Doug McLachlan:
    Ok, my buddy (and frequent poster) Cameron and I have been going at this question all summer: should Chia have already pulled the trigger on dealing a core forward for an established #1 D-man?

    My take is that I suspect he’s kicking tires already but that until McLellan and he know for certain what he has in Eberle or Yakupov etc before dealing one at pennies on the dollar.

    Cameron’s counter is that this d-corps is AHL+ quality at best (in a division with a league-elite Flames defense) and to even start McDavid’s ELC with such a sub-standard blueline is a epic fail.

    Thoughts?

    I’d question Cameron’s motives in suggesting the Oilers trade one of Draisaitl or Nugent-Hopkins – his suggested assets for trade in previous comments.

    The Oilers are building one of the best offensive groups the league has seen in a long time. The defense is due to improve internally on pace with Nurse, Klefbom and Reinhart’s development. Sekera will be a reasonable addition and Fayne is a sufficient stopgap.

    What would work best for the Flames, given their superior defense but thin forward groups is if the Oilers were to even the scales a bit by selling off their most valuable assets (elite depth at C) for modest or temporary gains on the blueline.

    The weak point of Cameron’s argument is that Nugent-Hopkins alone does not get you the Chris Pronger-type it would take to completely exploit the early McDavid years. But it does mean you move out your most veteran center and put you back to icing two rookies at the middle.

    If you instead trade Hall then you’re winger depth is down to essentially just Eberle and he alone cannot make the impact necessary to win games.

    My point is, it is in the best interests of rival fans if the Oilers neuter their offensive abilities for non-offensive assets.

  53. LMHF#1 says:

    Pitkanen, Souray, Mironov, Dave Manson briefly, Spacek in limited time, Hamrlik and Niinimaa.

  54. Doug McLachlan says:

    RexLibris,

    Are you suggesting that Cameron’s assessment of the Oilers is somehow biased?!? I am shocked at the suggestion 😉

    I fear at some point, even before next year’s Draft, that the Oilers will deal a core forward for D. It may even be Nuge if Leon and McJesus show signs of being this generation’s Mess/Gretz 1-2 punch up the middle but only for a Weber-type return and certainly NOT today.

    How close to camp do we need to get before we start to ratchet back up the Seabrook rumours? Follow-up would we prefer Byufugulin or Seabrook?

  55. LadiesloveSmid says:

    Doug McLachlan,

    Cameron who thinks Gaudreau=>=Hall?

    grain of salt, my friend. Flames fans are a rare breed. There are diamonds in the rough in other fan bases, yet to meet an impartial flames fan.

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