RE 15-16 TODD MCLELLAN: A TOWN CALLED MALICE

Todd McLellan’s career decisions have been pretty solid all down the line. When his playing career ended, he took a job with the North Battleford North Stars (I listened to their games as a child on CJNB Radio), then moved up to Swift Current (WHL), Cleveland Lumberjacks (IHL) and Houston Aeroes (AHL) where he coached that team to a championship. He moved up to Detroit in 2006, won a Stanley as assistant coach under Mike Babcock, and headed for the coast as San Jose’s head coach in 2008. He won often in California but couldn’t find a lot of playoff success. His career path brings him to Edmonton at a time when youthful players with tremendous talent run rampant.

MCLELLAN 14-15: 82GP, 40-33-9 89PTS (No. 12 in WC)

MCLELLAN RE 15-16: 82GP, 41-30-11 93PTS (No. 10 in WC)

  1. They run rampant all right. Well, part of the issue is certainly young players not taking care of the puck. That’s not totally fair, as they were kids learning on the job and for many learning from ill-suited mentors (or no mentor at all).
  2. Hard to lay blame in one area? Yeah. It’s hard to know how much of this is player discipline and how much of this is lousy players. And save for Pat Quinn in 2009-10 (the game had passed him a little) I’m not sure how much of the disaster was about coaching. Edmonton’s roster hasn’t been balanced in a decade. The defense can’t get the puck out and have been trying to club it square October to April since 2006 fall.
  3. Why couldn’t they turn north, even a little? Well, the Oilers were always offering up a fresh new rookie who was the new saviour—and very often these summers included a new free agent who was both old and overpaid. If you look at those teams, very few men were in their prime (say 24 to 29), most of the roster was at the fringes—too young to push much or too old to get around.
  4. Nice. Yes, it was a terrible combination and Todd McLellan has some of those things on his roster as we speak. The issues of the rebuild continue.
  5. How many careers ended in Edmonton? Including players and coaches? I’ll say 20, that could be low. The sheer number of skill forwards (Robert Nilsson, Patrick O’Sullivan) probably counts five or six. NHL teams don’t go searching for gems in the rubble amongst teams in the second division.
  6. What changes will we see under McLellan? I think the biggest difference will be less time in the defensive zone. Even if they change nothing else, taking care of the puck and skating around in the other end doodling, that’s less time defending.
  7. So less time in Edmonton’s end. How will he do that? Well, first of all I expect he’ll have a puck mover on every pairing and the team will have one or several ‘under pressure’ breakouts. Fear the Fin has some interesting takes on McLellan’s Sharks “OVER” strategy—something we may see in Edmonton. It’s about strategy and execution. Shorter passes, wingers lower, breakout as a unit.
  8. Who are the Oilers puck movers? My list would be Sekera, Nikitin, Klefbom, Schultz and Ference among those with significant experience.
  9. How will he employ them? I like Sekera—Fayne, Klefbom—Gryba and am warming to the idea of Nikitin—Schultz, but that’s only because Darcy and Bruce are tag-teaming me and they’re pretty damn convincing.
  10. What’s your second favorite alignment? I sometimes wonder if they moved Sekera over to RH side and what they might look like. Klefbom—Sekera, Ference—Fayne, Nikitin—Schultz, but I don’t think it works because Ference isn’t going to be able to handle what will probably be tough minutes.
  11. If there’s one thing you could gift McLellan, what would it be? A strong RH option for the second pairing with Klefbom. I honestly think this team is close to being a playoff contender. Add that player and we can start dreaming.
  12. And the pressure will be less for them? I think they’ll have fewer sorties to defend because the real estate game will be more favorable. McLellan’s teams are possession teams and they are bandits on the forecheck. See Fear the Fin.
  13. That’s it? I also think there are going to be consequences when players don’t have a care and trust will have to be earned. And finally, I do believe the Oilers are going to slow play the kids and that probably includes (on defense) all of Justin Schultz, Darnell Nurse and Griffin Reinhart. I think they have no choice but to feature Klefbom, although the club may attempt to run all four veterans (Sekera, Fayne, Nikitin and Ference) early days. I doubt that ends well.
  14. Power play? It’s gold, fabulous gold. I don’t know what it will look like but would suggest we’ll see a forward on defense on at least one of the PP’s. And the No. 1 PP will be on A LOT this season.
  15. How will he handle the forwards. It’s weird, he had some strange things going on last season and really all down the line. He kind of has pillars and then small revolvers coming in and out. I don’t know if he looks for offense from the Melker Karlsson’s and suspect he’s just trying to stretch the offense and make matchups harder. I also don’t know if it works better than piling three great players on one line—Thornton with Pavelski and Burns two years ago were on another level—but McLellan liked bringing along a Hertl or a Karlsson. I’m intrigued by what he’ll do with the Oilers forwards.
  16. What will he do with McDavid? I think we’ll see him line up at center and on the wing and with and without Hall and Eberle. It’s anyone’s guess how this turns out, we might see the future this year or it might take some time.
  17. What about Yakupov? Sure. Nail led the Oilers in shots last season and McDavid will need someone to cash those passes. I think we’ll see a lot of mix and match, especially early in the year.
  18. How much did Chiarelli help McLellan over the summer? Very much, for sure. Adding Cam Talbot, who was the best bet available, and Andrej Sekera, also at the top of the defensive list, gives the team a lot more order and balance.
  19. What one player move this summer will have the biggest impact on the team? Cam Talbot, if he can sustain a .920 SP and play in anything approaching 50 games, will save this team exactly one large mountain in goals. If you look back at last year, the GA sewered some interesting things (possession numbers, etc) that appeared to be good arrows. You can work hard on everything but if your goaler doesn’t goal you’re screwed and that’s a fact since Bert Lindsay.
  20. You’re a dolt. It’s McDavid. Well, we’ll see. I think Edmonton’s offense will improve but the GA will be the real key. I think we Oiler fans got so used to the bleeding that we’ll be shocked with a week of 2 goals against, let alone a full year of competent goaling.
  21. How much will McLellan impact things? A lot. I’ll be speaking to Rob Vollman today on the Lowdown, he has an article up about the importance of coaching and the overall impact on teams. I think McLellan’s Oilers are going to be a much tougher team to play against, they’ll battle for the puck, for real estate and they’ll be in more places because they can skate better.
  22. And they’ll be ready for opening night. Yes! The last two games of this year’s pre-season will probably include most of the opening night lineup and things will be set earlier in training camp.
  23. Why did Eakins wait so long? I think it had to do with timeline. The urgency wasn’t going to occur for him under MacTavish until this season, and as such Eakins was evaluating talent longer term. That’s no fun to say and certainly ticket holders would be upset if that were public, but for me there’s no other way to explain the opening night defensive roster of one year ago. Martin Marincin said something, it was a teachable moment (get your ass to OKC, rookie!) and there was no real worry because everyone’s job was safe.
  24. You should write an Eakins piece. God, people don’t want to see that.
  25. Why this song? It’s about how bad things are really (“A whole street’s belief in Sunday’s roast beef
    Gets dashed against the Co-op, To either cut down on beer or the kid’s new gear, It’s a big decision in a town called malice”) and how approach (“I could go on for hours and I probably will, But I’d sooner put some joy back, In this town called malice”) and attitude are the only real weapons in those godawful moments. As rosy as things look today, it could be a long December this year. Focus on the things you can control, one foot in front of the other and work hard. All that talent doesn’t mean jack shit if you can’t execute a breakout under pressure. The last 10 years have hammered that into my brain again and again and again and again and again. Make it stop, man from Melville. Make it stop.

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105 Responses to "RE 15-16 TODD MCLELLAN: A TOWN CALLED MALICE"

  1. Lowetide says:

    Today on the Lowdown, 10am TSN1260:

    10:20 Scott Burnside
    10:40 Rob Vollman
    11:00 Pending
    11:20 Bob Weeks
    11:40 Dave Jamieson.

    10-1260 text @Lowetide twitter. Maybe the Oilers add a defenseman today.

  2. zatch says:

    Presumably, I’m not the only one who thinks TMc looks a bit like Eddie Izzard.

  3. Ca$h-McMoney! says:

    Isn’t Brett Bellmore still available? I remember hearing he was the best Dman in the league… maybe second behind Mark Fayne.

  4. jonrmcleod says:

    I’ve been waiting all summer for the Eakins RE, but I now doubt it’s coming.

    I think the start of the 2014-15 season could be summed up with the following statement: The hockey gords heard the barking of the corgis but refused to answer with regression to the meat.

  5. Lowetide says:

    jonrmcleod:
    I’ve been waiting all summer for the Eakins RE, but I now doubt it’s coming.

    I think the start of the 2014-15 season could be summed up with the following statement: The hockey gords heard the barking of the corgis but refused to answer with regression to the meat.

    I’ve actually written it. I just don’t think there’s a lot of interest.

  6. jonrmcleod says:

    I think if I wrote a book, it would have to be A Theology of the Sports Gods.

  7. Ducey says:

    I really like how Nelson stepped up the competitiveness of the team once he took over. Apparently they were practicing harder and doing more compete drills. It showed in their efforts to fight for the puck.

    The Oilers have always had a lot of talent but somewhere along the way they forgot that you need to work as hard or harder than the other team before the talent can make a difference.

    Compete. That’s what I hope TMc brings to the Oilers.

  8. Snowman says:

    Lowetide,

    Post it man!

  9. engineer says:

    I would love to read an Eakins write-up from you, LT. Just don’t pull your punches.

  10. spoiler says:

    engineer:
    I would love to read an Eakins write-up from you, LT. Just don’t pull your punches.

    Really?

    You are so into Eakins that you are going to follow him this year and would like a guide as to what to expect from Lowetide?

    I’m with LT… I seriously doubt there’s serious interest other than a bashing session which is already beyond ridiculous in the comments on this site.

  11. stephen sheps says:

    Hello from Tennessee!

    I actually do have a bit of interest in seeing the Eakins RE, not in the hopes of rubbernecking at the written equivalent of a slow-mo train wreck, but because the RE series is actually generally very fair. A lot of time has passed since Dallas left and it would be nice to actually have a bit of sanity restored to that conversation. I’ll never be an Eakins apologist, and we’ve all made mistakes about what we expect out of coaches (I predicted Quinn would replace MacT 6 months before it happened, and I’ll swallow a lot of pride for getting that one oh so very wrong even to this day), but I don’t expect an LT RE post to suddenly become revisionist history.

    It may actually provide a bit of catharsis and sanity.

    and if it doesn’t, your team of moderators can always shut down the comment section… 🙂

  12. stephen sheps says:

    Ducey:
    I really like how Nelson stepped up the competitiveness of the team once he took over.Apparently they were practicing harder and doing more compete drills.It showed in their efforts to fight for the puck.

    The Oilers have always had a lot of talent but somewhere along the way they forgot that you need to work as hard or harder than the other team before the talent can make a difference.

    Compete. That’s what I hope TMc brings to the Oilers.

    agreed wholeheartedly with this sentiment. That is my hope as well

  13. spoiler says:

    stephen sheps:
    Hello from Tennessee!

    I actually do have a bit of interest in seeing the Eakins RE, not in the hopes of rubbernecking at the written equivalent of a slow-mo train wreck, but because the RE series is actually generally very fair. A lot of time has passed since Dallas left and it would be nice to actually have a bit of sanity restored to that conversation. I’ll never be an Eakins apologist, and we’ve all made mistakes about what we expect out of coaches (I predicted Quinn would replace MacT 6 months before it happened, and I’ll swallow a lot of pride for getting that one oh so very wrong even to this day), but I don’t expect an LT RE post to suddenly become revisionist history.

    It may actually provide a bit of catharsis and sanity.

    and if it doesn’t, your team of moderators can always shut down the comment section…

    Awesome. So we can expect Eakins updates from you throughout the season?

    Had no idea there was this level of interest in his career going forward.

  14. Snowman says:

    spoiler,

    Some of us enjoy reading Lowetide’s opinions on things. Even if they aren’t directly applicable to the Oilers this year.

    I have no desire to bash him or anything of the sort. Just curious as to what LT has to say about the man. If anyone will be fair about it don’t you think it would be LT?

    I am interested in his career going forward. He did some good things and some bad things. It’ll be interesting to see how he moves forward and what he learned. You might not be interested in it but don’t begrudge those of us who are.

  15. spoiler says:

    Snowman,

    I would still bet your interest is cursory at best. And I would still question motives. There was no call for this after Renney, Quinn or Krueger.

    Off the top of your head, inside of 5 seconds, can you name a player off Eakins’s team? His assistants?

  16. stephen sheps says:

    spoiler: Awesome. So we can expect Eakins updates from you throughout the season?

    Had no idea there was this level of interest in his career going forward.

    Really Spoiler? wow, way to escalate things to a level I hadn’t anticipated or come to expect from you. I don’t really care what Eakins’ year looks like, I just really appreciate reading LT’s perspective. That’s all I was trying to say.

  17. Ca$h-McMoney! says:

    The best thing about having TMac on board is that, in the event that we fail this year, we should be able to say with a fair degree of certainty that the coach wasn’t the problem. We haven’t been able to say that with any conviction for years.

    Don’t get me wrong, few people were flat out laying blame at the coaches feet over the last few years, and I’m not sure either way if it was warranted. I just mean that, with Quinn, Renney, Krugger, and Eakins, there was always this idea that maybe, just maybe, switching the coach would result in a big bump in wins. That’s gone now.

    Now, if we consistently lose in the playoffs, we can start to second guess the man (I don’t support this but the narrative will persist).

  18. spoiler says:

    stephen sheps,

    Calling BS is hardly escalating.

  19. G Money says:

    spoiler: I would still bet your interest is cursory at best. And I would still question motives. There was no call for this after Renney, Quinn or Krueger.

    None of those coaches were as polarizing as Eakins. Most here disagreed with Renney’s firing as I recall. Most agreed with Quinn’s. Opinions were split on Krueger, but all agreed the process of termination was classless and the process for hiring his replacement clueless.

    But Eakins is a whole different story. The spite is off the charts.

    I think there are those interested to hear LT’s take on Eakins because it will be balanced and fair. Not because they’re particularly interested in Eakins’ career heretofore.

    (Personally I’m with LT in that I’m long since tired of deconstructing his time with the Oilers and am looking forward to the new McSeason).

  20. Hammers says:

    Todd has a few jobs this year . First is getting the most out of McDavid then Yak and the best way maybe giving that line Pouliot .

  21. Doug McLachlan says:

    If we are agreed that the top d-man is Sekera, and I think we all are. And that the most disappointing d-man, based on potential, is Schultz why not pair them?

    Run with:
    Sekera-Schultz – responsible grownup to cover skilled youth
    Klefbom-Fayne – free Klefbom from covering up for Schultz
    Nikitin-Gryba
    Ference

    Nurse and Reinhart await the hoped for Nikitin trade (or expected injury) to move up from Bakersfield.

  22. spoiler says:

    G Money:

    (Personally I’m with LT in that I’m long since tired of deconstructing his time with the Oilers and am looking forward to the new McSeason).

    This. Not to mention this wouldn’t be a deconstruction of the past but an RE for the coming season on a coach of a team no one here cares about. It’s absurd.

  23. Hammers says:

    GM has his job , procuring players and coaches coach what they have not what they would like. The GM has to dump 2 D and add 1 D . Most times the GM and coach discuss younger players like Leon ,Nurse , Reinhart but it’s normally the GM who makes final decision on those borderline decisions and I think that will be the case hear .

  24. Jordan says:

    Lowetide:
    You should write an Eakins piece. God, people don’t want to see that.

    —————————–

    I’ve actually written it. I just don’t think there’s a lot of interest.

    You’re shameless LT. The reverse psychology, the teasers, the warnings about how people won’t like it.

    You keep on like this, someone will think you’re in advertising and marketing, and not some cheese eating teenager blogging out of his parent’s basement.

  25. spoiler says:

    stephen sheps,

    I’m not pissed off at all. I’m laughing at the absurdity of it. You seem a little defensive though…

  26. stephen sheps says:

    spoiler,

    fair enough Spoiler. I just don’t like being told I’m BS’ing when I’m not – that sort of accusatory tone tends to make people a bit defensive. All good on my end.

    And admittedly I think it’s hilarious too – that an RE for a departed coach who was so divisive even exists is absurd. But it doesn’t make me want to read it any less, purely because of how balanced and dare I say it ‘reasonable’ I am sure it is.

  27. vishcosity says:

    I’ve been following Renney since he left, I know what Kruger is doing, and I too am curious to see what happen’s with Eakins. Similar, im curious what happened to Ryan Jones. Not enough to go look myself, but if an article appeared I would totally read it with interest.

    IAlso, it would be easier for me if there were less variables to this season. i will likely never really know whether change in this team is a result of coaching, kids growing up,, mgmt, roster, or McD.

  28. frjohnk says:

    A RE on Eakins?

    The Interwebs just may in fact blow up.

    LT, it could be the one article you post here that maybe should not allow comments.

    I think you would give a fair and balanced approach and I would love to read it, but I think the comment section could get out of hand before the 1st comment.

  29. spoiler says:

    stephen sheps,

    And you know… when you are questioned on something… maybe respond to the questions rather than crying escalation and mistreatment and throwing out ultimatums about your fu6tyre here.

    I have yet to hear a good reason for an Eakins RE other than we like LT’s opinion on things.

    I do too bit would much rather hear it on the Eskies or Jays than a thing of the past that no longet has ties to the present and who takes abuse here nearly daily anyways.

  30. stephen sheps says:

    spoiler,

    you’re not wrong – and my original response to you was edited accordingly.

    sorry Spoiler. This internet spat is on me… I’ll own that. I don’t usually respond that way, but we all have moments of poor behaviour on the internet.

  31. spoiler says:

    stephen sheps,

    BS didn’t appear in the convo till after you cried escalation. But thank you for further developing your reasons… it IS appreciated.

  32. spoiler says:

    stephen sheps,

    Hey no worries… apologies from my end too.

  33. wheatnoil says:

    I find it impressive that LT has been throwing up 2 posts a day this whole long summer and he STILL has ones written that he hasn’t posted.

  34. stephen sheps says:

    spoiler,

    anyhoo… how ’bout this new coach? I hear real good things about his power play configuration. Maybe he unlocks Yak?

    *ducks for cover*

    I am happy to report that I will be going to the game in Nashville on Oct. 10th, and I think I may have convinced a few of my new southern friends to join me. Most of them have never seen a hockey game before, and I figure if they want to teach me how to shoot guns and drink moonshine (an actual conversation from Saturday night – seriously where am I?), I should get them to become hockey fans.

  35. spoiler says:

    wheatnoil,

    And a radio show!!

  36. rickithebear says:

    Ca$h-McMoney!:
    Isn’t Brett Bellmore still available?I remember hearing he was the best Dman in the league… maybe second behind Mark Fayne.

    Avg of the players:
    league average for HSCA/60 is 15.00
    Fayne 3yr @ 3.625m 1st comp .112 EVAPG 10.05 1.03 HITPG 1.30 BLKPG 52.9% ZS
    Sekera (6yr @ 5.5M) 1st/2nd comp .254 EVAPG 13.51 .84 HITPG 1.20 BLKPG 49.1% ZS
    Nikitin 1yr @ 4.5M 1st/2nd comp .198 EVAPG 13.56 .88 HITPG 1.41 BLKPG 52.0% ZS
    Bellimore (still UFA) 1st/2nd comp .132 EVAPG 14.65 2.81 HITPG 1.36 BLKPG 44.4% ZS
    ————————————————————————————- Below average
    Petry (6yr @ 5.5M) 1st/2nd comp .140 EVAPG 17.82 2.13 HITPG 1.59 BLKPG 55.0 % ZS

    You were one of THOSE GUYS that wanted Petry @ 5.5

    I am seeing signs of a trend of low hit count and Stronger HSCA play.
    Less time away from Box?

    XXX-Fayne
    Sekera-Nikitin
    XXX-Kllef
    Bellimore

    Nurse and Reinhart?

    Nurse and FAyne 1st comp 1gm sub 47.00

    I want
    -Defence
    – Even puck movement
    -to win games!

  37. dustrock says:

    frjohnk: A RE on Eakins?The Interwebs just may in fact blow up.LT, it could be the one article you post here that maybe should not allow comments.I think you would give a fair and balanced approach and I would love to read it, but I think the comment section could get out of hand before the 1st comment.

    LT is balanced. The commenters may not be, but we’ve had months now, amazing good luck in McDavid, good hires and trades to water down the vitriol. I’m very curious to see what he says about Eakins.

  38. dustrock says:

    Doug McLachlan: If we are agreed that the top d-man is Sekera, and I think we all are. And that the most disappointing d-man, based on potential, is Schultz why not pair them?Run with:Sekera-Schultz – responsible grownup to cover skilled youthKlefbom-Fayne – free Klefbom from covering up for SchultzNikitin-GrybaFerenceNurse and Reinhart await the hoped for Nikitin trade (or expected injury) to move up from Bakersfield.

    Certainly Schultz wouldn’t be able to say that he wasn’t given every opportunity if they paired him with Sekera.

    Regarding McLellan, as you can’t be paranoid enough as an Oilers fan, the only thing that worries me is that he went from being an assistant on a successful, Cup-winning Detroit team, to head coach of an already-pretty-successful Sharks team, to taking the helm of the Flying Dutchman.

    This may be the first time he has to convince young players to play the right way. Fortunately, he does have the notches in his belt to back up his words, whereas Krueger and Eakins did not.

    One wonders just how important the positive result at the Worlds for Team Canada, and especially Hall and Eberle, was for the Oilers coming up this next season.,

  39. Rondo says:

    Oilers should offer Jan Hejda a PTO in September.

  40. Woodguy says:

    How will he employ them? I like Sekera—Fayne, Klefbom—Gryba and am warming to the idea of Nikitin—Schultz, but that’s only because Darcy and Bruce are tag-teaming me and they’re pretty damn convincing.

    Ha!

    Had no idea Bruce was on the train too.

    Great minds and all…..

  41. wheatnoil says:

    Woodguy:
    How will he employ them? I like Sekera—Fayne, Klefbom—Gryba and am warming to the idea of Nikitin—Schultz, but that’s only because Darcy and Bruce are tag-teaming me and they’re pretty damn convincing.

    Ha!

    Had no idea Bruce was on the train too.

    Great minds and all…..

    If Nikitin can make an outlet pass, I’m on board as well. (Edit: So you’ll have a lesser mind to join… does that make it 2.5 minds?)

    Maybe all the offensive zone starts will help him rack up the secondary assists, which may aid in a mid-season salary-retained trade.

  42. godot10 says:

    Godot’s RE on The Dementor:

    I told you so, early and first. He was who I told you he was. The best thing is that he will be ruining Ducks’ prospects. He produced NOTHING with the Marlies in terms of skaters from outside the 1st round.

  43. godot10 says:

    The Oilers are not going to waste Gryba’s season on Nikitin or Ference. He was brought in to break in Reinhart or Nurse.

  44. Woodguy says:

    godot10:
    The Oilers are not going to waste Gryba’s season on Nikitin or Ference.He was brought in to break in Reinhart or Nurse.

    I think you’re mis-reading it.

    My guess is that they run Klef-Gryba on 2nd toughs and if he does it well they’ll re-sign him.

  45. Concur says:

    Woodguy,

    Do you care to post your defensive pairings? I would be interested to see what you have if you have Klefbom – Gryba

    I myself have
    Sekera – Fayne
    Klefbom – Shultz
    Nikitin – Ference

    I see Gryba as the 7th because I do not see them putting Ference in the pressbox. I could see a regular rotation of Niktin and Gryba swapping out but I am convinced thata Ference plays 90% of the games, unless injury.

    I also do not like my pairings but I do not see a solution for Shultz

  46. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    I’d read an Eakins re. Happy to. Interested.

    And, for clarity… LT’s referring to the end of the season re. The recap. Not the projection re for the upcoming year. (In case there was any question about it)

  47. Woodguy says:

    Here’s Eakins’ RE for the Oilers this year: 0-0-0

    He’s not employed by the Oilers.

  48. NYCOIL "Gentleman Backpacker" says:

    .500 hockey? That would be something. Feels to me like this RE is high while most others have been reasonable. I would say 80+ pts is reasonable. 90 would be very good.

  49. jonrmcleod says:

    For clarity’s sake, the RE on Eakins I was looking for was a review of his RE prior to last season. If you remember, there was a series of these done after the season.

  50. Ca$h-McMoney! says:

    rickithebear,

    Thanks Ricki. I hope you know my post was all in good fun.

    I also want to win games. I’m down with whatever results in that, at this point.

  51. Ducey says:

    Woodguy:
    Here’s Eakins’ RE for the Oilers this year: 0-0-0

    Beautiful

  52. Snowman says:

    Concur,

    If Ference plays 90% of the games, this season is sunk. Unless he’s playing 2 minutes a night. After his results last year I cannot imagine them being better this year and if he plays like he did last year I can’t imagine any coach or GM choosing to give him ice on a regular basis when there are better options.

  53. Rip Fan Winkle says:

    I don’t think Gryba was brought in for hockey skills, he’s not going to mentor anyone, maybe protect them. I can see Nurse needing some back up in his first year with his attitude.

    I could see him going at the deadline if the youngsters show anything along with Nikitin, Purcell, Klink and Ference if he waives.

  54. Woodguy says:

    Concur,

    Sekera-Fayne

    You need a pair to play against the Toews, Kopitar, Getzlaf etc of the world, and these guys are the two best on the team in regards to experience in playing these types of minutes.

    Klefbom-Gryba

    Gryba played 2nd toughs with the toughest zone starts on OTT last year.

    When he wasn’t with Borowiecke he wasn’t bad at it.

    Klefbom is the 2nd best LHD on the Oilers and can be the puckmover of the pair. He’s ready for 2nd toughs.

    Nikitin-Schultz

    Nikitin (if healthy) moves the puck in the right direction and is capable of the 3rd pairing defensive conscience role, he played it in his last year in CBJ

    Schultz needs to be in the Yandle role of 3rd toughs and easiest zone starts if he’s playing. If he doesn’t move north, you move him.

    Ference as 7/8 and Reinhart as 7/8.

    I move Ference if I can and Reinhart has a year of playing toughs in the AHL.

    Nurse is first call up.

    Assuming it works under the cap (Reinhart’s bonuses cause some issues there)

  55. Woodguy says:

    Rip Fan Winkle:
    I don’t think Gryba was brought in for hockey skills, he’s not going to mentor anyone, maybe protect them. I can see Nurse needing some back up in his first year with his attitude.

    I could see him going at the deadline if the youngsters show anything along with Nikitin, Purcell, Klink and Ference if he waives.

    Gryba was a better Dman than Borowiecki or Cowen on OTT.

    If he performs well I see them re-signing him.

    He’s a tough Dman, but he’s world’s better than Fraser and better than Fistric.

  56. Ducey says:

    godot10:
    Godot’s RE on The Dementor:

    I told you so, early and first. He was who I told you he was.

    Congratulations! While most greeted Eakins’ hiring with an open mind and hope, you immediately jumped to a conclusion based on the guy’s appearance and it was borne out when he was fired.

    You are a wonderful example of the predictive abilities of confirmation bias.

  57. kinger_OIL says:

    LT – Great write up. I think NYC alluded to it, but I’ve always looked at RE as your “line in the sand”.

    – Florida went from 66 to 91 Points, your RE calls for a 6 more point improvement than that

    – Florida has the single largest points improvement y-o-y for a team in the 60’s, post-lockout. That’s a bold call…

    – Most teams post lock-out that are in the 60’s tend to stay in the 60’s the next year (If the OIL finish the year with less than 70 points next year, I will give up watching NHL Hockey!)

    – I guess the 3 x 3 is potentially a game changer in terms of gaining additional points given roster

  58. Concur says:

    Ference will be here all year, I can not see the team moving him and I also can not see Ference waving his NMC. I also see him as more consistent than Nikitin. Ference may have lost his effectiveness but he is by no ways done. I am not a Ference supporter, but I can read the tea leaves.

    Unless they move someone it will be a miracle to see Reinhart or Nurse not sent down.

  59. JD¡™ David O'Connor's Reel says:

    Eakins’ RE: “Flock, er – swarm, uh… can anyone play defense here? My bad.”

  60. v4ance says:

    Following the conversation from a previous thread, the point was stated that Pouliot and Nuge were the two most capable defensive forwards in the top 6. If TMac wants a defensive conscience on both of the first two lines, I could see him rolling with this in St. Louis for the first game:

    Hall-RNH-Yak/Draisaitl
    Poo-McD-Eberle

    Both lines have a rookie/inexperienced forward, at least one guy to cover defensively and both should still be able to put up points if they can find chemistry.

  61. Soup Fascist says:

    Woodguy: Gryba was a better Dman than Borowiecki or Cowen on OTT.If he performs well I see them re-signing him.He’s a tough Dman, but he’s world’s better than Fraser and better than Fistric.

    To be fair, my German Shepard would likely have been more effective than Mark Fraser. I think Gryba will be a reasonable addition. You would have to think that Gryba on his proper side would be an upgrade over Ference or Nikitin playing on RD.

    Do you think ther is any chance Ference can be moved this year (to a team he is willing to waive NMC)? I would be willing to do it even if it meant a bad FWD contract coming back and / or mid to late round drafts going the other way. I keep thinking a Ference+ / Bickell trade would work. Same term / a bit worse cap hit, but arguably a player who possible fits a need for the Oilers. As good as their top 4 is, Hawks do not have a ton of depth on D. Ference as a 6th / 7th in Chi is manageable.

    Easy to move a Klinkhammer / Korpikoski type if Bickell is effective.

  62. dustrock says:

    Can one of the smarter hockey guys explain to me what the Oilers can do with Nikitin?

    What happens if they send him to the AHL? Only a small portion of his salary is cap savings, right?

    It obviously depends what kind of shape NN shows up in, but I wonder if the Oilers would consider just eating his $4.5m and playing Nurse or Reinhart over him.

  63. book¡je says:

    I think we should discuss Eakins

    I think we should NOT discuss Eakins.

    Dammit, we haven’t even discussed the need to discuss discussing Eakins yet and here you are doing it. We need to have that conversation first!

    Ok fine, I think we should have a discussion about discussing the decision as to whether or not we should discuss Eakins!

    I disagree

  64. Bootstrap Effexor says:

    Ca$h-McMoney!: We haven’t been able to say that with any conviction for years.

    If firing people is your primary diagnostic aid, we might be able to stretch that out to years and years.

    When I have a flaky computer system and I decide to swap in an elite power supply or an elite video card just to see if the problem abates, I don’t have to first convince the elite PSU or the elite video card that it won’t do permanent damage to its career prospects.

    Therefore, in major professional sports, it’s probably a pretty good idea to generate some competence at evaluating the bird in hand.

    The only reason the conversation changed from MacT to TMac is because we drew the gold card on 10:1 odds.

    Focus on the things you can control, one foot in front of the other and work hard.

    Lucky gold card:
    1) is not something that you control,
    2) does not count as putting one foot in front of the other,
    3) does not count as working hard.

    Pretty much anyone in management (or coaching) with a reputation of sustained competence is far too aware of just how precarious such a reputation can be to risk jumping out of a good situation into a bad situation out of a purely mercenary motive.

    How Companies Learn Your Secrets

    And so Febreze, a product originally conceived as a revolutionary way to destroy odors, became an air freshener used once things are already clean. The Febreze revamp occurred in the summer of 1998. Within two months, sales doubled. A year later, the product brought in $230 million.

    Not that we should complain about our good fortune.

    “It’s nice, you know?” she said. “Spraying feels like a little minicelebration when I’m done with a room.”

  65. wheatnoil says:

    I’m intrigued by what differences we might see in possession with McLellan coming in. We know that systems impact possession. When forwards switch teams between seasons, they take some of their corsi-for with them, but there’s almost no correlation with their corsi against from their previous team to their new one. Even when defensemen change teams, there’s some correlation of their corsi-rel, but not so much their raw corsi against. There does seem to be some evidence that systems impacts corsi, particularly corsi against… which makes intuitive sense.

    Against that back-drop, the Oilers are an interesting case study as a team that has had 5 coaches in 6 years.

    2009/10 – Pat Quin
    CA/60 = 62.2 (30th in the league)

    2010/11 – Tom Renney
    CA/60 = 57.8 (24th)

    2011/12 – Tom Renney
    CA/60 = 56.6 (25th)

    2012/13 – Ralph Krueger (lockout shortened, only Western Conference)
    CA/60 = 60.3 (29th)

    2013/14 – Dallas Eakins
    CA/60 = 60.9 (28th)

    2014/15 – Dallas Eakins (until Dec. 15)
    CA/60 = 52.0 (12th!)

    2014/15 – Todd Nelson (starting Dec. 26 to remove MacT’s time)
    CA/60 = 58.9 (26th)

    Now, at no point during this time did the Oilers actually ice a reasonable NHL defense, so the numbers are unlikely to be good. That said, there appears to be an interesting pattern.

    We see a clear improvement from Quinn to Renney . I maintain that firing Tom was an under-rated bad move by Tambellini.

    We drop back to near Quinn levels with Krueger (while acknowledging a lack of training camp and tougher competition, which may have impacted those numbers). I don’t know how much Krueger adjusted the systems given his lack of training camp.

    When Eakins comes on board, there’s no improvement and even worsening, despite a full training camp and the inclusion of the Eastern Conference.

    Then we have a clear and definite change this last year. Call it the Dellow-effect, or “gaming for corsi”, or fluke or just playing better possession hockey while the team is sewered by goaltending… whatever it was, the Oilers corsi-against was drastically better. It was actually just ahead of Los Angeles.

    When we switch over to Nelson, we see the numbers drop again, to something between Renney and Quinn/Krueger/Eakins first season.

    There’s probably a million different caveats and of course the roster changed between these coaches (while never being adequate), but I think it’s an interesting broad look. I’ll be curious to see what the McLellan data point looks like.

  66. Centre of attention says:

    On the topic of how McLellan will use the forwards, I present this terrific mash-up of complete assumptions:

    Draisaitl-Nuge-Eberle
    Hall-McDavid-Letestu
    Pouliot-Lander-Yakupov
    Hendricks-Yakimov-Pakarinen

    I want to see this in Pre-Season. By the end of the season I would love for Yakimov to be full time on the 4th line puttin’ in work.

    Pouliot can be the 2-way vet Yakupov needs, last time I checked they have decent Chem. Those 2 would give Lander some scoring wingers, and they could match up against anyone almost. Pou-Lander would also be part of the PK unit.

    McLellan likes to load up on centres in the top 6, so having Mark next to McDavid will not only provide a vet presence, but the man has a shot and can score with it. Of course his defensive acumen could provide a nice mix to that line as well. Like LT said, McLellan likes to roll 2 kings with a 9.

    Mark could pot 15 goals on that line and finish with ~40 points, and be a much better fit then Yakupov, which would just be chaos while also only scoring ~40 points

    Also, Letestu could use his right-handed face-off skills to step in for McDavid on the dot against lets say Kopitar or Getzlaf, kind of performing like a hybrid winger/center, giving McDavid the easy match ups so he can work on his face off skills without getting crushed by the Kopitars. Just watching how Mark takes face-offs could do wonders for McDavids development.

    Draisaitl would be the second Hybrid, working the 1a line with Nuge, and the same principle stands. Drai will learn the 2-way game from Nuge while trading places on the dot. Drai can also use his smooth passing ability to set up Eb’s and Nuge for quite a few goals.

    Thoughts?

  67. vinotintazo says:

    Centre of attention,

    Where is Purcell?

  68. Centre of attention says:

    vinotintazo:
    Centre of attention,

    Where is Purcell?

    Don’t worry about him. Its Pre-Season. He might take Yakupovs lunch, I don’t know.
    One thing is certain, I don’t see either player fitting in long term. I would love to slot Miller into the 3R role and have Yakupov AND Purcell just disappear.

    But this is just my 2 cents on a fantasy roster using Oilers prospects/players, as I said its all complete assumptions. But you can’t argue with the on-paper balance it has.

  69. pocession charge says:

    JD¡™ David O’Connor’s Reel:
    Eakins’ RE: “Flock, er – swarm, uh… can anyone play defense here? My bad.”

    Early thread winner, although Bookije remains convincing.

  70. pocession charge says:

    Woodguy:
    Here’s Eakins’ RE for the Oilers this year: 0-0-0

    He’s not employed by the Oilers.

    Pffft. How can we make unreasonable, vitriolic commentary based on that?

    I guess I’ll have to go back to the Yakupov thread (I think I lost brain cells reading the commentary on that one….and I don’t have many more to lose dammit).

  71. SwedishPoster says:

    Just a little over 8 mins tonight for Ziyat Paigin but in that time he was +2 and added a helper.

  72. Kevin McCartney says:

    I don’t mean to disparage anyone’s work, but I think the stuff from Fear the Fin needs to be re-framed a little. PatrickD sorts out his language in his great piece about the weak-side lock forecheck, but the breakout piece is a bit hard to understand.

    The pattern he calls an ‘over’ system is actually a flow breakout. That is, it moves the puck strong to weak side and then up the weak side wing while the forwards re-group in one direction. The intention is to trap the lead forechecker behind the puck after the first vertical pass and force the opponent into their NZ set immediately. It’s a very simple set used by many teams after a dump-in. It typically creates a 2-man overload break-in against a static NZ set, and a dump-in against an overload NZ set (I know that sounds weird, but there aren’t many different hockey patterns in the NHL these days so the language overlaps).

    The images PatrickD uses in his breakout piece are actually of a broken play – 1) because Hannan is an Oilers’ quality defenceman who kicks a puck to space instead of collecting on his off-hand off the wall, and 2) because Hamhuis tries to surprise Burns by sliding down the boards too far. That’s why Galiardi takes off behind the Canucks’ defence. What’s shown isn’t really a system.

    (Also, an ‘over’ breakout was used by the Carlyle Leafs and looks very different – http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1843192-the-good-the-bad-and-the-ugly-of-the-toronto-maple-leafs-system)

    So I don’t think we have a conclusive word on the SJ breakout. Also, we should be most interested in their static BO – that is, what happens when the forecheck gets established? Or off the faceoff? If I remember correctly (I haven’t looked it up and I might be remembering it from one of PatrickD’s pieces), they most commonly used an unusual set play off the faceoff that depends on the weak side winger interfering with the forecheck and the the strong side winger heading to the farthest boards for an end-around pass by the defenceman. Most teams use the back of the net and breakout weak side after the faceoff (too much chaos otherwise), but the Sharks just dumped it around instead of skating it around and making an outlet pass. I think that’s because their D-group was generally awful with the puck and all left handed. So we might see the same thing with the Oilers, who match that description well.

    McLellan’s breakout systems without Boyle are all predicated on simplicity – very few reads, outlets to specific spaces so you don’t need your head up, only one horizontal play and always behind the net. But with Boyle, he had a much more Detroit-like breakout, with Boyle carrying the puck beyond the hashmarks, multiple options, set plays that let Thornton advance without the puck. There were lots of changes to the team season-over-season, but they went from 51 wins to 40 after Boyle left (and Scott came in etc.).

    I love McLellan, but it’s hard for me to imagine how he gets much more out of this defence than any other coach. The PP will be better, maybe the simple outs will help, maybe Talbot will be the next Craig Anderson. McDavid. Oh, McDavid. But 5 more points than the Sharks had last season seems overly optimistic to me.

  73. russ99 says:

    Despite some obvious adjustments needed due to roster differences, I still think that McLellan will run the lines similarly here as he did in San Jose: 2 scoring lines, 1 defense-first line, 1 toughness line.

    Pouliot – Nuge – Eberle
    Hall – McDavid – Yakupov
    Korpikoski – Letestu – Purcell (for now)
    Hendricks – Lander – Gazdic

    I suspect further moves to be made in camp or in season to get better fits for the bottom six lines, with Hendricks and Purcell the obvious changes.

    Man, I’d love to see us invite Glencross for that 4th line…

  74. Pouzar says:

    Kevin McCartney,

    Excellent stuff here. Thx!

    And I agree with that last paragraph especially.

  75. Ca$h-McMoney! says:

    russ99,

    It’s amazing how quickly the value of Glencross has dropped. As I recall he was sent away from Calgary in large part because the line of thinking was that he “wouldn’t be taking a home town discount” on this contract and would be looking for several million/year with some term, something like 4×4.

    Now we’re talking about a PTO.

  76. Woodguy says:

    Cameron,

    I’m just going to drop this here and walk away;

    Its good if you just go away.

  77. Drew says:

    Woodguy: I think you’re mis-reading it.

    My guess is that they run Klef-Gryba on 2nd toughs and if he does it well they’ll re-sign him.

    I know I have crawled out of the woodwork on several occasions to express my agreement with this view.
    I believe the management really values the heavy game “grabber” brings and he will be a candidate to be resigned. In view of them moving Marincin this (heavy game) has to be important to them, right?

  78. Drew says:

    Cameron:
    I’m just going to drop this here and walk away;

    http://www.pensionplanpuppets.com/toronto-maple-leafs-top-25-prospects-under-25/2015/8/31/9223503/maple-leafs-top-25-under-25-10-martin-marincin

    Go to your room and do not come out for a least a day.

  79. Pouzar says:

    Woodguy:
    Cameron,

    I’m just going to drop this here and walk away;

    Its good if you just go away.

    Like

  80. Pouzar says:

    http://oilersnation.com/2015/8/31/defensive-tandem-performance

    Highlights for me:

    RE: Andrew Ference: “….Nothing here screams “actual NHL defenceman”. ”

    “Martin Marincin’s handling remains baffling in hindsight. All of his partners fared better with him.”

    “Nikita Nikitin comes across better here than I really expected.”

    Willis’ Take:

    What I take away from this:
    •Schultz looks like he needs a skating partner (his success with the reasonably mobile Aulie suggests this); in other words keep him far, far away from Ference and Nikitin.
    •Klefbom isn’t terribly needy, but probably would work best with a puck-mover; so avoid Gryba and Fayne.
    •Fayne’s past history in New Jersey suggests he needs a puck-mover to enjoy success; unfortunately his recent history indicates that Klefbom isn’t the guy.
    •Nikitin’s going to be an interesting guy to watch this year, and I wonder if we’ll see a bounce-back campaign. He can slot in on either side and away from Schultz he really wasn’t bad.
    •Ference probably shouldn’t be in the starting six.

  81. Cameron says:

    Woodguy:
    Cameron,

    I’m just going to drop this here and walk away;

    Its good if you just go away.

    Well, since you insist, I guess I’ll stay.

  82. Bruce McCurdy says:

    Pouzar:
    http://oilersnation.com/2015/8/31/defensive-tandem-performance

    Willis’ Take:

    •Schultz looks like he needs a skating partner (his success with the reasonably mobile Aulie suggests this); in other words keep him far, far away from Ference and Nikitin.

    •Nikitin’s going to be an interesting guy to watch this year, and I wonder if we’ll see a bounce-back campaign. He can slot in on either side and away from Schultz he really wasn’t bad.

    Haha, I was going to cite this exact article about Young Willis’ take on Nikitin with Schultz. Whereas early last season, an overly-optimistic Bruce McCurdy wrote this.

    Can’t win ’em all.

  83. Bruce McCurdy says:

    Kevin McCartney:
    I don’t mean to disparage anyone’s work, but I think the stuff from Fear the Fin needs to be re-framed a little. PatrickD sorts out his language in his great piece about the weak-side lock forecheck, but the breakout piece is a bit hard to understand.

    The pattern he calls an ‘over’ system is actually a flow breakout. That is, it moves the puck strong to weak side and then up the weak side wing while the forwards re-group in one direction. The intention is to trap the lead forechecker behind the puck after the first vertical pass and force the opponent into their NZ set immediately. It’s a very simple set used by many teams after a dump-in. It typically creates a 2-man overload break-in against a static NZ set, and a dump-in against an overload NZ set (I know that sounds weird, but there aren’t many different hockey patterns in the NHL these days so the language overlaps).

    The images PatrickD uses in his breakout piece are actually of a broken play – 1) because Hannan is an Oilers’ quality defenceman who kicks a puck to space instead of collecting on his off-hand off the wall, and 2) because Hamhuis tries to surprise Burns by sliding down the boards too far. That’s why Galiardi takes off behind the Canucks’ defence. What’s shown isn’t really a system.

    (Also, an ‘over’ breakout was used by the Carlyle Leafs and looks very different – http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1843192-the-good-the-bad-and-the-ugly-of-the-toronto-maple-leafs-system)

    So I don’t think we have a conclusive word on the SJ breakout. Also, we should be most interested in their static BO – that is, what happens when the forecheck gets established? Or off the faceoff? If I remember correctly (I haven’t looked it up and I might be remembering it from one of PatrickD’s pieces), they most commonly used an unusual set play off the faceoff that depends on the weak side winger interfering with the forecheck and the the strong side winger heading to the farthest boards for an end-around pass by the defenceman. Most teams use the back of the net and breakout weak side after the faceoff (too much chaos otherwise), but the Sharks just dumped it around instead of skating it around and making an outlet pass. I think that’s because their D-group was generally awful with the puck and all left handed. So we might see the same thing with the Oilers, who match that description well.

    McLellan’s breakout systems without Boyle are all predicated on simplicity – very few reads, outlets to specific spaces so you don’t need your head up, only one horizontal play and always behind the net. But with Boyle, he had a much more Detroit-like breakout, with Boyle carrying the puck beyond the hashmarks, multiple options, set plays that let Thornton advance without the puck. There were lots of changes to the team season-over-season, but they went from 51 wins to 40 after Boyle left (and Scott came in etc.).

    I love McLellan, but it’s hard for me to imagine how he gets much more out of this defence than any other coach. The PP will be better, maybe the simple outs will help, maybe Talbot will be the next Craig Anderson. McDavid. Oh, McDavid. But 5 more points than the Sharks had last season seems overly optimistic to me.

    Terrific post, I really learned some stuff reading this. Your point about Dan Boyle is well-taken, and in hindsight it’s clear the Sharks weren’t the same team without him.

  84. wheatnoil says:

    Kevin McCartney,

    Always appreciate your posts.

  85. verdad2.0 says:

    Eakins needs to exorcised, but that means the same goes for MacTavish.

    But ultimately it is about winning this year.
    That brings us back to fixing the defense.

    So, lets stay focused on still salvaging this upcoming season.
    Flush the SNF black hole, for a start.
    Then on to OEL.

  86. Drew says:

    verdad2.0:
    Eakins needs to exorcised, but that means the same goes for MacTavish.

    But ultimately it is about winning this year.
    That brings us back to fixing the defense.

    So, lets stay focused on still salvaging this upcoming season.
    Flush the SNF black hole, for a start.
    Then on to OEL.

    For a joke I was going to suggest the OEL option, but here you are. Is that you _SF and you just jerking our chains? Tell me, I promise not to let everyone know!

  87. JD¡™ David O'Connor's Reel says:

    verdad2.0: Then on to OEL.

    I prefer ELO. Don’t bring me down…

  88. spoiler says:

    Woodguy:
    Here’s Eakins’ RE for the Oilers this year: 0-0-0

    He’s not employed by the Oilers.

    Lol!

    Precisely.

  89. Drew says:

    JD¡™ David O’Connor’s Reel: I prefer ELO. Don’t bring me down…

    what about LEO

    LEO Strength:
    – Confident
    – Ambitious
    – Generous
    – Loyal
    – Encouraging

    LEO Weakness:
    – Pretentious
    – Domineering
    – Melodramatic
    – Stubborn
    – Vain

  90. Bruce McCurdy says:

    verdad2.0:
    Eakins needs to exorcised, but that means the same goes for MacTavish.

    But ultimately it is about winning this year.
    That brings us back to fixing the defense.

    So, lets stay focused on still salvaging this upcoming season.
    Flush the SNF black hole, for a start.
    Then on to OEL.

    Still waiting your explanation as to how the $11,650,000 salary cap COMMITMENT gets flushed. or do you think if you post it enough times you can simply wish it away?

    Or how Don Maloney gets convinced to part with the one key piece he’s clearly hanging on to for his own rebuild.

  91. TheGreatMcMutato says:

    whoops

  92. wheatnoil says:

    Bruce McCurdy: Haha, I was going to cite this exact article about Young Willis’ take on Nikitin with Schultz. Whereas early last season, an overly-optimist Bruce McCurdy wrote this.

    Can’t win ’em all.

    It’s strange that Nikitin worked well with Fayne but not with Schultz. Maybe Nikitin’s injuries kept him from breaking the cycle easily. Thus, Fayne was able to break the cycles so Nikitin could make the outlet passes, where as with Schultz, neither of them could break the cycle.

    Or… maybe it has nothing to do with defensive zone play. Perhaps Nikitin’s injuries impacted his mobility in the neutral zone so he and Schultz together allowed too many uncontested zone entries.

    It’s also strange that Klefbom did poorly with Fayne.

    I’d be tempted to give either (Klef-Fayne, Nikitin-Schultz) another shot despite the numbers. WOWY analysis is prone to sample size and mitigating factors. Of course, if it goes badly again, I wouldn’t be able to say that we didn’t see it coming.

  93. Ducey says:

    Bruce McCurdy: Still waiting your explanation as to how the $11,650,000 salary cap COMMITMENT gets flushed. or do you think if you post it enough times you can simply wish it away?

    Or how Don Maloney gets convinced to part with the one key piece he’s clearly hanging on to for his own rebuild.

    Come on Bruce. Use your imagination:

    Nurse, Leon, Reinhart, Hall, Ebs, Nuge, Ference, Nikitin, Schultz, Yak2, Broisoitt, and the Oilers’ 1st, 2nd, and 3rd round choices for the next decade for ELO. Retain some salary and presto, the Oilers can plan the parade.

    If Chia should be committed, he would do it.

  94. Pouzar says:

    Bruce McCurdy: Haha, I was going to cite this exact article about Young Willis’ take on Nikitin with Schultz. Whereas early last season, an overly-optimist Bruce McCurdy wrote this.

    Can’t win ’em all.

    Hee hee…
    Being right is overrated. Last year I came within a few points of predicting the Oilers final point total and that the Canucks would make the playoffs. Being right never felt so wrong (or dirty).

  95. JD¡™ David O'Connor's Reel says:

    Bruce McCurdy: Still waiting your explanation as to how the $11,650,000 salary cap COMMITMENT gets flushed.

    Oliver Ekman-Larceny?

  96. spoiler says:

    JD¡™ David O’Connor’s Reel: I prefer ELO. Don’t bring me down…

    Lol, I’m probably the only one on the planet who likes this ELO just as much. Well, other than maybe McCurdy.

  97. dustrock says:

    Forgot to mention how much I love Town Called Malice.

    I hadn’t really considered Nikitin on the RHD for some reason.

    Would you run:

    Sekera – Fayne
    Klefbom-Schultz
    Nurse-Nikitin?

  98. Bruce McCurdy says:

    spoiler: Lol, I’m probably the only one on the planet who likes this ELO just as much. Well, other than maybe McCurdy.

    Yeah, I liked ELO just fine. Was also a big fan of their predecessor, The Move.

  99. JD¡™ David O'Connor's Reel says:

    spoiler: Well, other than maybe McCurdy.

    Lyne is definitely one of the greats. When guys like Dylan, Harrison, Petty and Orbison want to work with you, that’s telling.

    Interesting tidbit from wiki:

    “Wilbury” was a slang term first used by Harrison during the recording of Cloud Nine with Jeff Lynne. Referring to recording errors created by some faulty equipment, Harrison jokingly remarked to Lynne, “We’ll bury ’em in the mix”.

  100. spoiler says:

    Bruce McCurdy,

    I wasn’t sure but that song has such a galactic, astral feel lol, that it felt like a natural.

  101. Melman says:

    I know rookie D are supposed to stay in the kiddie pool, but if Nurse can come in and pull a rabbit out of his ascot a whole lot goodness lands into place. Klef-Sekera, Nurse-Fayne, NN-Gyrba.

    Dare to dream…can’t wait for GR and Nurse to get up to speed. Is it too late for Griffin to learn to shoot right?

  102. verdad2.0 says:

    Bruce McCurdy,

    Schultz could have simply been not resigned. Full stop.
    The buyouts were available.
    Addition by subtraction, if nothing else.
    We will rue any game these three bumblers are dressed for.
    Any odds the Oilers go 0-4 to start the season?

    As for what price OEL becomes available may be uncertain, but from the OIlers side it starts with offering up Hall to start the bargaining.

    At some point, Arizona has to care about finding some offensive quality in thier line-up.

  103. russ99 says:

    verdad2.0:
    Bruce McCurdy,

    Schultz could have simply been not resigned. Full stop.
    The buyouts were available.
    Addition by subtraction, if nothing else.
    We will rue any game these three bumblers are dressed for.
    Any odds the Oilers go 0-4 to start the season?

    As for what price OEL becomes available may be uncertain, but from the OIlers side it starts with offering up Hall to start the bargaining.

    At some point, Arizona has to care about finding some offensive quality in thier line-up.

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