THE BUCKET

It’s 2001 June, I’m driving to Medicine Hat with Mrs. Lowetide and the kids. We stop in Viking (back then, the kids were small, and stops were frequent because because because) and I turn the radio on to check on the news (this was before 24-hour sports hit our town). The man on the radio says “Oilers make a trade—more next!” and I curse the man who (correctly) identified the tease. I wait through the car commercials and the dental commercials and the financial commercials (they were all my clients, so I didn’t mind) and the man comes back and says “Oilers traded Sergei Zholtok to Minnesota for a conditional draft pick.”

The pick? J-F Dufort. His career ended iirc due to a concussion but I could be wrong (I’m not).

I’m thrilled! Why? Doug Weight wasn’t traded! Maybe, just maybe, the Oilers would keep our wonderful center who made so much happen with his vision and saucer passes and temper (Doug Weight had a temper). Two days later, Doug Weight was traded to St. Louis. I was barbecuing hamburgers at my father-in-law’s house, having a beer with a man who saw Howe, the Bentley’s and lord knows who else over the years. As he did so often during our chats, Wes used few words and hammered things home: “They got robbed.” Thanks, Wes.

The names over the years came and went, Comrie and Horcoff (he was my favorite) and Peca for a time. Then the kids came straight from the draft, Sam Gagner and that group and things didn’t really begin to look up at center until the Nuge. The Nuge. Even now, in all the excitement over Connor McDavid, we all value the Nuge and know how good and humble and fabulous he will be this winter. No one, all summer, has even mentioned what RNH’s role will be, we all know it. He’s a fine young two-way center and will be for a long time. I don’t think he’ll get the attention he’ll earn now through 2022 but we’ll know it, our little corner of the world.

Leon Draisaitl came to us in 2014. He was not the highest ranked player when it came Edmonton’s turn but there was no chance—none at all—the Oilers would pass on him. Big, strong, fantastic passer and great vision and creativity, all in a very determined package with considerable straightaway speed.

  • Cody Nickolet, WHL from Above: Draisaitl has arguably the most raw talent of any WHL prospect for the 2014 NHL Draft. From my viewings, his best asset is his vision. He has a great ability to slow the play down and set up linemates with super feeds on either the forehand or backhand, with his backhand sauce being something to sit back and marvel at. That ability to slow down the play has been seen as a knock by some, as he tends to attempt to slow the pace down constantly, instead of showing an ability to play in a faster environment. His skating is also another area of concern as he’s got a choppy, ugly stride. I think that’s definitely an area of concern, but has been an area that many players have improved upon in the past. He really had a great second half of the season, putting the Raiders on his back and shrugging off a sub-par appearance at the World Juniors for team Germany. He also put together a strong performance for Germany at the World Championships, proving that he can look pretty good on the ice against some NHL talent, despite his skating concerns. Overall I think he might have the most potential of any WHL player in the draft and I wouldn’t be shocked if a team took him in the top 3 picks. Source

Connor McDavid. He changes everything, including (for all I know brain chemistry) the depth chart but let’s all remember Leon Draisaitl this fall. The young German is no less a talent than he was one year ago, in fact the extra year of experience should make him more formidable.

Leon Draisaitl is a ridiculous young talent and I for one hope like hell he spends the heart of his Oilers career as a center. Call me selfish, but I well remember the day Wes said “they got robbed” and we talked about the young man Comrie over beers (too many beers). Leon Draisaitl. I’m thrilled he’s still an Oiler (there was some danger here over draft weekend) and hope he finds his way.

As a center.

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56 Responses to "THE BUCKET"

  1. WeirsBeard says:

    All those lean years of facing Modano and Nieuwendyk, Sakic and Forsberg, Yzerman and Fedorov.

    We have the hammer now.

    Can’t wait.

  2. stush18 says:

    I often look at our current depth chart at center and wonder what’s going to budge first? Who’s going to move to the wing or get traded?

    My requirements for a center are good in face offs, quick, hard on the stick, and defensively aware. They, along with the dmen, have to be able to pick up players in the triangle, gain position, and move the puck out quickly and smartly.

    I actually wonder if nuge moves to wing when pouliots contract runs up. He’s smart defensively, unless his faceoffs improve I could see him become the secondary option on his line for faceoffs.

    Hall-mcdavid-xxx
    Nuge-drai-ebs
    Yak2-lander-slepy
    Xxx-JJ-iro

    What a wonderful problem to have.

  3. Woodguy says:

    I’ll never understand the people who immediately wanted to trade DrySaddle after the Oilers won the lottery.

    “The Oilers have their top 2 C’s, Draisaitl doesn’t fit now”

    Bullshit.

    The Oilers have an opportunity to run Crosby, Datsyuk and Kopitar as their C’s for the next (at least) 5 years.

    Why the hell would you mess with that?????

    You think 2 lines with skill give opposing coaches match up head aches? Run 3 and watch their heads explode.

    Here’s what the Cup Champs ran as their top 9 (via TOI/gm):

    Patrick Kane
    Jonathan Toews
    Marian Hossa
    Patrick Sharp
    Brad Richards
    Andrew Shaw
    Brandon Saad
    Teuvo Teravainen
    Antoine Vermette

    All guns baby.

    Here’s what TBY ran as their top 9.

    Alex Killorn
    Valtteri Filppula
    Ondrej Palat
    Steven Stamkos
    Tyler Johnson
    Nikita Kucherov
    Ryan Callahan
    Brian Boyle
    Cedric Paquette

    A little shy of what CHI was able to put out there, but trying to get to the same spot.

    Cooper held back Drouin and Namestnikov from the top 9. They will have the horses to do it this year.

    The next time someone mentions “Top 6 Forwards”, tell them:

    “No thanks, the Oilers aren’t crap anymore. Winning teams run a top 9 of scoring forwards, with a checking line that can actually play”

    Seriously,

    The whole “Top 6” thing came about after expansion and the league was diluted.

    When the “Top 6″ guy starts talking about ‘the old days”, throw this at him:

    Oilers Top 9 Forwards via TOI/gm from the last time they won the Cup:

    Craig Simpson
    Mark Messier
    Jari Kurri
    Esa Tikkanen
    Glenn Anderson
    Mark Lamb
    Joe Murphy
    Adam Graves
    Craig MacTavish

    Winning teams run a top 9.

    Oilers have an AMAZING opportunity to do it with 3 very, very good C’s.

    You don’t throw that away.

    Ever.

  4. Stud Muffin says:

    3 scoring lines? McDavid, RNH and Draisaitl the C’s, sign me up!

  5. Bank Shot says:

    3 great lines would be nice.

    So would having a top pairing guy on defence.

    If RNH or Draisaitl can fetch you a player like that a year or two down the road, then its negligent not to explore the option.

    If the Oilers continue to pick more forwards out of the first round than D-men, than odds are they can replenish that good 3C at some point.

  6. RexLibris says:

    Woodguy,

    Here’s what I’ve been working on in reviewing the Oilers for FN.

    The first two lines we get.

    Eberle/RNH and Hall/McDavid (I know, I know, but let’s not argue that right now)

    So that leaves you a possible 3rd line of Yakupov/Lander plus guest.

    Now we’ll disregard home ice advantage because McLellan is a damned sight smarter at the hockeys than I am.

    So we’ll go straight to what he does on the road when he doesn’t get the matchups he wants.

    A good team has four top-four Ds and a good coach will make sure that those guys are on the ice all the time against the Oilers’ top six.

    Then along comes the 3rd line with, let’s say by springtime, Draisaitl, Lander and Yakupov.

    Does the coach double-shift his top four D or send out his third-pairing guys to shut down that young group?

    Either one carries risk.

    The former means the opposition top six might have more gas in the tank by game’s end.

    The latter means the 3rd line could sneak a goal in and change the game.

    So, to reinforce your point, it means McLellan, even on the road, can run four lines with the Hendricks line getting 8 to 10 minutes a night banging bodies, and say to the opposing coach “you’ve got last change, how do you wanna play this?”

    It took four 1st overall picks and the German Gretzky to do it, but by heaven we might just have unicorns in our yard at last.

  7. gd says:

    Woodguy,

    I think the key to the 3 C’s is to ensure that Connor is so comfortable and happy here that he takes a hometown discount on his second contract with a number that starts with an 8. With RNH at 6 until he is 28 there will be no need to break up the 3 until his contract is up.

    Quite a few wingers in our system are going to get some value boost playing with this 3. That should be the plan for the decade. We should be able to start a pump and dump cycle and continue to have a couple of wingers scoring 20 goals for a $1Mill a year for the McD, RNH, Drai years.

  8. Mr DeBakey says:

    Two days later, Doug Weight was traded to St. Louis

    We were at a cabin near a lake in the BC interior when the trade was made, not paying atttention to nuthin. A few days later picked up a Vancouver paper and read something like”With Doug Weight now in St Louis…”

    Steamed.

    With Weight and Comrie the previous winter, the Oilers finally had a one-two punch at Center.

    That trade killed me.

  9. vishcosity says:

    Woodguy,

    “you don’t throw that away. Ever.”

    Not even in a salary cap world?

    I’m not sure that pre salary cap rosters are usable here for examples exactly, and I for one would personally rather see LT’s photo of balance than all power up front.

    Unless you trade the whole top line for a single defenseman who is kinda small but fun to watch. Then whatever.

  10. TheOtherJohn says:

    Woodguy,

    Truly hope we look back in 10 years and say that McDavid, Nuge and Draisaitl are the next decade’s Crsoby, Datysuk and Kopitar. If so, that would be 3 of the 30 best players in the world. If that happens Oil fans should be ecstatic because we will have won another 3-4 Cups.

    It is also unlikely we can keep 3 elite C in a today’s cap world

  11. knighttown says:

    Can anyone please help me deal with crashes at this site? I’ve come here since Day 1 and have followed LT since the hf days but if I get to a post that isn’t the newest it crashes every time. I’m not hearing any other complaints so it must be something I’m doing. Want to read the Chia and MacLellan articles so badly!

    I’m using safari on an iPad which is my only option.

  12. Woodguy says:

    vishcosity:
    Woodguy,

    “you don’t throw that away.Ever.”

    Not even in a salary cap world?

    I’m not sure that pre salary cap rosters are usable here for examples exactly, and I for one would personally rather see LT’s photo of balance than all power up front.

    Unless you trade the whole top line for a single defenseman who is kinda small but fun to watch.Then whatever.

    My first two examples were of teams in the SCF last year, so it was a salary cap world.

    Also,

    With that much offence to go around DrySaddle isn’t going to get enough points to earn a big second contract

    That is why I said “for at least 5 years”, which is how long the Oilers can have DrySaddle cheap.

    By the time it comes to pay him, there may be a way, but yes in a Cap world you can do this while DrySaddle is a RFA.

  13. Woodguy says:

    TheOtherJohn,

    It is also unlikely we can keep 3 elite C in a today’s cap world

    No one reads for content anymore.

    The Oilers have an opportunity to run Crosby, Datsyuk and Kopitar as their C’s for the next (at least) 5 years.

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

    knighttown: safari

    There is another browser available for iOS, but I can’t remember it’s name. Others here have suggested using it over Safari.

  15. Water Fire says:

    TheOtherJohn:
    Woodguy,

    Truly hope we look back in 10 years and say that McDavid, Nuge and Draisaitl are the next decade’s Crsoby, Datysuk and Kopitar. If so, that would be 3 of the 30 best players in the world. If that happens Oil fansshould be ecstatic because we will have won another 3-4 Cups.

    It is also unlikely we can keep 3 elite C in a today’s cap world

    Keep the centres and rotate wingers for money reasons.

  16. JJ says:

    Woodguy
    says:

    September 1, 2015 at 5:31 pm

    I’ll never understand the people who immediately wanted to trade DrySaddle after the Oilers won the lottery.

    “The Oilers have their top 2 C’s, Draisaitl doesn’t fit now”

    Bullshit.

    The Oilers have an opportunity to run Crosby, Datsyuk and Kopitar as their C’s for the next (at least) 5 years.

    Why the hell would you mess with that?????

    You think 2 lines with skill give opposing coaches match up head aches? Run 3 and watch their heads explode.

    Here’s what the Cup Champs ran as their top 9 (via TOI/gm):

    Patrick Kane
    Jonathan Toews
    Marian Hossa
    Patrick Sharp
    Brad Richards
    Andrew Shaw
    Brandon Saad
    Teuvo Teravainen
    Antoine Vermette

    All guns baby.

    Here’s what TBY ran as their top 9.

    Alex Killorn
    Valtteri Filppula
    Ondrej Palat
    Steven Stamkos
    Tyler Johnson
    Nikita Kucherov
    Ryan Callahan
    Brian Boyle
    Cedric Paquette

    A little shy of what CHI was able to put out there, but trying to get to the same spot.

    Cooper held back Drouin and Namestnikov from the top 9. They will have the horses to do it this year.

    The next time someone mentions “Top 6 Forwards”, tell them:

    “No thanks, the Oilers aren’t crap anymore. Winning teams run a top 9 of scoring forwards, with a checking line that can actually play”

    Seriously,

    The whole “Top 6” thing came about after expansion and the league was diluted.

    When the “Top 6″ guy starts talking about ‘the old days”, throw this at him:

    Oilers Top 9 Forwards via TOI/gm from the last time they won the Cup:

    Craig Simpson
    Mark Messier
    Jari Kurri
    Esa Tikkanen
    Glenn Anderson
    Mark Lamb
    Joe Murphy
    Adam Graves
    Craig MacTavish

    Winning teams run a top 9.

    Oilers have an AMAZING opportunity to do it with 3 very, very good C’s.

    You don’t throw that away.

    Ever.
    ———————————————————————————-

    What he said, times ten!

    Get (draft, develop, trade for) exceptional players, keep exceptional players.

  17. stush18 says:

    knighttown:
    Can anyone please help me deal with crashes at this site?I’ve come here since Day 1 and have followed LT since the hf days but if I get to a post that isn’t the newest it crashes every time. I’m not hearing any other complaints so it must be something I’m doing. Want to read the Chia and MacLellan articles so badly!

    I’m using safari on an iPad which is my only option.

    It happens to me on my iPhone all the time. I have learnt to copy and repast the article in case it crashes or it tells me I have timed out. I only get these issues on my iPhone, although I use Chrome on my iPhone.

    I’ve mentioned it before as well, but I don’t know how to fix it.

    LT, why do you hate us?

  18. Woodguy says:

    Eberle’s contract is up in 4 years.

    Hall’s contract is up in 5 years.

    No one’s crystal ball is better than anyone else’s so saying unequivocally that you can’t keep all 3 C’s in a Cap world doesn’t hold water.

    No one has had that kind of C talent on the roster as a test case.

    COL has been the closest, but they’d rather pay Iginla, Brad Stuart, and Beauchimin ~$13.4MM and sign Soderburg for $4.5MM (!) than keep O’Reilly.

  19. Ryan says:

    Woodguy,

    Why are we talking about the Oilers? Taylor Swift farted last night and consequently the internet is melting.

  20. The Hermit says:

    knighttown,

    Puffin browser works OK.

  21. Ryan says:

    knighttown,

    I have the same issue with the iPad/Saffari as well as Chrome browsers. Problem solved with Skyfire browser.

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

    Ryan: Taylor Swift farted last night

    Relevant: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ineHGnSAhKA

  23. Snowman says:

    Bank Shot:
    3 great lines would be nice.

    So would having a top pairing guy on defence.

    If RNH or Draisaitl can fetch you a player like that a year or two down the road, then its negligent not to explore the option.

    If the Oilers continue to pick more forwards out of the first round than D-men, than odds are they can replenish that good 3C at some point.

    First of all RNH or Drai don’t get you that Dman yet. So it would be RNH or Drai plus. Second of all trading Nuge now is insane. What does your top 4 center depth look like without him. Two rookies? Back to square one and the lottery. Thirdly, Nuge is going to have a Datsyuk like career. Would you trade Datsyuk at 21? I wouldn’t. Fourth, nobody knows how good Drai is yet so you may be selling low. Fifth, Nurse is tracking on a development curve very similar to Pietrangelo. He may play significant minutes as a top 4 dman this year in a significant role. Meaning next year he’s a bargain on his elc and your D problems are probably solved on the cheap with him and Reinhart.

    Now is not the time to bail. Now is the time to wait. If you can clear somebody not under 25 out to make space for another top 4 D go for it. But for sweet actual hockey jesus sake, don’t blow up the center depth you just got before you’ve even got to enjoy it.

  24. stephen sheps says:

    Woodguy:
    I’ll never understand the people who immediately wanted to trade DrySaddle after the Oilers won the lottery.

    “The Oilers have their top 2 C’s, Draisaitl doesn’t fit now”

    Bullshit.

    The Oilers have an opportunity to run Crosby, Datsyuk and Kopitar as their C’s for the next (at least) 5 years.

    Why the hell would you mess with that?????

    You think 2 lines with skill give opposing coaches match up head aches?Run 3 and watch their heads explode.

    Here’s what the Cup Champs ran as their top 9 (via TOI/gm):

    Patrick Kane
    Jonathan Toews
    Marian Hossa
    Patrick Sharp
    Brad Richards
    Andrew Shaw
    Brandon Saad
    Teuvo Teravainen
    Antoine Vermette

    All guns baby.

    Here’s what TBY ran as their top 9.

    Alex Killorn
    Valtteri Filppula
    Ondrej Palat
    Steven Stamkos
    Tyler Johnson
    Nikita Kucherov
    Ryan Callahan
    Brian Boyle
    Cedric Paquette

    A little shy of what CHI was able to put out there, but trying to get to the same spot.

    Cooper held back Drouin and Namestnikov from the top 9.They will have the horses to do it this year.

    The next time someone mentions “Top 6 Forwards”, tell them:

    “No thanks, the Oilers aren’t crap anymore.Winning teams run a top 9 of scoring forwards, with a checking line that can actually play”

    Seriously,

    The whole “Top 6” thing came about after expansion and the league was diluted.

    When the “Top 6″ guy starts talking about ‘the old days”, throw this at him:

    Oilers Top 9 Forwards via TOI/gm from the last time they won the Cup:

    Craig Simpson
    Mark Messier
    Jari Kurri
    Esa Tikkanen
    Glenn Anderson
    Mark Lamb
    Joe Murphy
    Adam Graves
    Craig MacTavish

    Winning teams run a top 9.

    Oilers have an AMAZING opportunity to do it with 3 very, very good C’s.

    You don’t throw that away.

    Ever.

    LT, where’s that “like” button feature that’s been bandied about. Between your post and Woodguy’s response, I’m getting a little misty eyed just thinking about what was and what very well could be.

    Top 9. Yes. Please.

  25. vishcosity says:

    Woodguy,

    They’re at the cap now and to me seem one LHS injury from yet another lottery berth.

    I guess I’m just not convinced this is a contending roster. Maybe coaching and kids can make a 30 point swing over the next couple years, but as for me I think trading from strength to cover some of the significant depth problems could still prove I mportant.

    P.S. Did you ever find those deep fried artichokes near pebble beach?
    P.P.S. Also, if you find it weird scoping college kids, I suggest parking by California pilates studios apparently around 5:30 PST. (I just learned about this moments ago.) They seem in age closer to me than to my boy. Fwiw.

  26. Lloyd B. says:

    I just got punted while writing this so I hope there isn’t a double post.

    I am seeing a long term core of 7 players. McDavid, Nuge, Drai, Klefbom, Nurse, Reinhart, Talbot. (Presuming Talbot is the goods that Woodguy has me sold on.) Strength up the middle !!

    You rotate all the other players out as money and cap management dictates. Ideally these 7 realize that if they all play for $6M instead of two guys at 12M they win for a long time. Not going to happen. Just listen to Reyes now in Colorado saying he only wants to win at this stage of his career.

  27. Spoils says:

    Woodguy,

    i love the top 9 story, but speaking of 9, look at the last 9 Stanley Cup winners. discounting Letang leaves 8/9 that had a serious game changing superstar on D (Doughty, Keith, Chara, Lidstrom, Pronger/Neidermeyer)…

    Nurse?
    Klefbom?
    Jultz?
    Reinhart?

    There’s a good chance that is NOT enough. I would definitely sacrifice one of the top 9 in a trade.

    e.g. – Yak, 1st in 2016, 1st in 2017, Gryba/Nikitin plus prospects for OEL?

    would that be enough?

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

    Spoils: OEL?

    Even Maloney’s dog doesn’t agree with trading OEL, or ELO.

  29. Lloyd B. says:

    Spoils,

    Nope. Not even close. Take our garbage and low 1st round draft picks. Not going to happen. OEL isn’t going anywhere. Lets turn our attention elsewhere.

    There may be a Dman somewhere that may be available for Hall, Shultz, and our 1st next year on a team that needs some offence to move up to contender status. Nashville? NOT WEBER !!

    I’ll let Chiarelli do the looking.

  30. Hammers says:

    You keep the 3 centres and wingers fill out your forwards then add another young D even if his another Reinhart type plus in the age group . Quit shooting for a top D and hope Nurse , Klefbom become that for you . It will happen .

  31. kinger_OIL says:

    Great post LT: loved the story telling mixed in with hockey: in my humble opinion its that tone that really makes you shine!

    – Sorry to rain on party but did anyone notice how bad Drai was last year in the NHL? Like really really bad.

    – Best case scenario in three years he is a difference maker, but did I mention how bad he was last year?

    – He’s not going to be MacKinnon, Barkov, Lindholm, Monahan, this season, and they are all a year further along than Drai. Even Philip Forsberg the year before would be good, and that’s a few more seasons away…

    – Bottom line: patience, and quit talking about how good we are in C now, when we have one C who is emerging after 4 years, one C who played decent for 40 games last year (after he was waived), a guy we traded for who is ok filler, and yes McD, who is a rookie, no matter what you project.

    How ’bout those Blue Jays!

  32. One-Timer says:

    Spoils:
    Woodguy,
    e.g. – Yak, 1st in 2016, 1st in 2017, Gryba/Nikitin plus prospects for OEL?

    would that be enough?

    What the HELL, people!

    Enough already. It’s just beyond ridiculous.

  33. Bruce McCurdy says:

    We need to get creative on this LEO thing. I say we hire a crack team of Mossad agents to slip into Glendale under cover of darkness and kidnap the mofo.

  34. Lowetide says:

    One-Timer: What the HELL, people!

    Enough already.It’s just beyond ridiculous.

    Okay, I’ve got it. Empire State Building, Acme Hat Company, Royal Bank, one shoe. For OEL.

  35. ashley says:

    And the highway is alive tonight
    Nobody’s foolin’ nobody is to where it goes
    I’m sitting down here in the campfire light
    With the ghost of CFP

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

    Lowetide,

    Throw in a Woolworth’s franchise, and that’s about right.

  37. Snowman says:

    kinger_OIL,

    You have a hilariously pessimistic view of things.

    Nuge is one of the absolute best two way centers in the league. To say he’s “just emerging” is just not in touch with reality. He had more even strength goals (22) than Toews (20), Crosby(18) and Malkin(19) . He had more even strength points(41) than Kopitar (40) and Bergeron (39). His P/60 (2.01) is just between Ryan Johansen (2.03) and Ryan OReilly (2.00). He was a positive possession player on a terrible team doing all the pushing himself for the majority of the season. Don’t forget he’s 21.

    Its a pretty fair assumption that his powerplay points will regress to his career average and increase and then increase again as a result of having a great powerplay coach this season. He’s going to be among the top point getting centers in the league while facing top competition as a 22 year old. I’m going to guess somewhere in the 70-80 point range.

    That doesn’t sound like an emerging C to me. That sounds like someone who is already kicking ass.

  38. godot10 says:

    Woodguy:

    With that much offence to go around DrySaddle isn’t going to get enough points to earn a big second contract

    Offer sheet. See Brandon Saad. If Leon is who Lowetide thinks he is, somebody is not going to care about the boxcars.

    And remember, McDavid’s 2nd contract is likely a max contract.

  39. Bruce McCurdy says:

    Woodguy:

    Here’s what the Cup Champs ran as their top 9 (via TOI/gm):

    Patrick Kane
    Jonathan Toews – C
    Marian Hossa
    Patrick Sharp
    Brad Richards – C
    Andrew Shaw – C
    Brandon Saad
    Teuvo Teravainen
    Antoine Vermette – C

    PLUS: Marcus Kruger – C

    Here’s what TBY ran as their top 9.

    Alex Killorn
    Valtteri Filppula – C
    Ondrej Palat
    Steven Stamkos – C
    Tyler Johnson – C
    Nikita Kucherov
    Ryan Callahan
    Brian Boyle – C
    Cedric Paquette

    Oilers Top 9 Forwards via TOI/gm from the last time they won the Cup:

    Craig Simpson
    Mark Messier – C
    Jari Kurri
    Esa Tikkanen
    Glenn Anderson
    Mark Lamb – C
    Joe Murphy
    Adam Graves – C
    Craig MacTavish – C

    Winning teams run a top 9.

    Good stuff, Woodguy. Though I note the presence of four pivots in the top 9 in all cases, even before adding in the missing Marcus Kruger on Chicago.

    That makes me happy because it leaves room for my man Anton Lander in a top 9 role alongside my other main men McD, Nuge, & Leon. Can’t have enough centres.

    Think of the 2002 Red Wings, who ran Yzerman, Fedorov, Larionov and Datsyuk — four Hall of Famers FFS — down the middle. Oh yeah, AND Kris Draper, who played a lot of minutes on that team. A man for every situation, with a second to fill in in case the first one got kicked out of the circle.

    That team featured Shanahan, Hull, and Robitaille on the flanks, Lidstrom and Chelios on the blue, Hasek between the pipes, and Bowman behind the bench. I’d argue it was the best team to date of the current century. But its greatest strength and depth was down the middle. Impossible to have “too many” good pivots.

  40. godot10 says:

    The probable core:

    McDavid, Nugent-Hopkins, Hall, Eberle, Sekera, Klefbom, Nurse, Reinhart, Talbot.

    Two elite pairs >> Three centres (and no wingers). McDavid won’t be happy playing with slugs.

    Draisaitl might be the winger replacing Hall or Eberle above if neither is reasonable when renegotiating their next contracts.

    Ditto Yakupov.

  41. frjohnk says:

    Bruce McCurdy: Good stuff, Woodguy. Though I note the presence of four pivots in the top 9 in all cases, even before adding in the missing Marcus Kruger on Chicago.

    That makes me happy because it leaves room for my man Anton Lander in a top 9 role alongside my other main men McD, Nuge, & Leon. Can’t have enough centres.

    Think of the 2002 Red Wings, who ran Yzerman, Fedorov, Larionov and Datsyuk — four Hall of Famers FFS — down the middle. Oh yeah, AND Kris Draper, who played a lot of minutes on that team. A man for every situation, with a second to fill in in case the first one got kicked out of the circle.

    That team featured Shanahan, Hull, and Robitaille on the flanks, Lidstrom and Chelios on the blue, Hasek between the pipes, and Bowman behind the bench. I’d argue it was the best team to date of the current century. But its greatest strength and depth was down the middle. Impossible to have “too many” good pivots.

    That Detroit team was BS.

    Before Salary ( Cap)

  42. Bruce McCurdy says:

    frjohnk: That Detroit team was BS.

    Before Salary ( Cap)

    Beyond Sensational

  43. Drew says:

    knighttown,

    i crash when i re-size the screen, fine if i do not.

  44. Drew says:

    Bruce McCurdy,

    Hey, if it kills this topic I will volunteer to be fodder for the mission. I do great distractions!

  45. Well Oiled and Enthusiastic says:

    I like Leon fine. But he will need to take that 3C job away from Lander. Lander isn’t fully bonafide, but the battle will be on for who owns that role on the team. Having said that, either can slide to wing. I see the perfect 3C emerging in Lander. Defensively responsible, 40 Pts/yr, hard on the puck, tenacious, loads of leadership and quite possibly the right price point for the role for years to come.

  46. vishcosity says:

    Well I think it’d be great if the current crop of Oilers even vaguely resembled that Red Wings team.

    In an after cap world, I watched Bilichick to be the grand poo-bah. He kept almost no hall of famers, traded dudes at peak value, and for years was miles from the cap.

    So in a post salary cap NHL (sans expansion draft) how best for PC to proceed? He’s gotta win before they split, and ideally may be able to pawn the big tickets for shiny baubles and master a dynasty. I was in central Massachusetts the day they drafted Ty Law (Darnell Nurse). We could see the dream forming, then Bill traded him. At which point they really kinda became a machine. As it turned out.

    To build a dynasty, I think they gotta win early, and I just can’t see how they’re going to do it with all their tickets on the front line.

  47. G Money says:

    True story: in his 37 game audition with the Oilers, Leon Draisaitl:

    1 – led the team in CF% at 52.3%

    2 – led the team in shots generated per 60 at 50.97 (next best was Taylor Hall at 46.2).

    3 – was fourth on the team in CF% rel (after Eb, Hall, Poo)

    (all individual Draisaitl figures use a 20 game minimum for comparison)

    Other interesting tidbits.

    In limited action (about 2 games worth), Hall and Draisaitl rang in at SIXTY THREE PERCENT CF%. Tiny sample, but its off the charts ridiculous. The trio of Hall-Drai-Yak rang in at close to 60%.

    So why the idea that Draisaitl did “lousy”?

    Because his sh% was worst on the team at 4.1%. (!!!).

    And because his primary scoring linemate during that time, Nail Yakupov, was skating around in a fog of Eakins, mired in his own horrendous confidence-destroying sh% slump during that time.

    Yakupov of course had a huge post-Eakins bump, jumping his sh% from a similar 5ish level to 7.3 on the season – still second worst on the team ultimately, but it just goes to show how many miles better he was than in his first 37 games.

    When we talk of Leon Draisaitl being a possession monster, it is no exaggeration.

    And next year, I expect he’ll come back bigger, better prepared, and more confident – and I expect neither he nor Yak are going to be mired in that kind of confidence-destroying slump.

    In fact, the unicorn scoring duos everyone figures TMc will be looking to run may turn out to be RNH-Eb, Hall-Mc, and Dry Yak.

    I’ll tell you this: everyone seems to assume that Draisaitl will start in the AHL, but personally, I sure as f*** am not betting against a possession monster with touch and vision, who I suspect will show up faster, stronger, and pushing the scales at 220 lbs and hell bent on making the team.

    Who’s planning to try and stop him?

  48. rickithebear says:

    G Money: In fact, the unicorn scoring duos everyone figures TMc will be looking to run may turn out to be RNH-Eb, Hall-Mc, and Dry Yak.

    Slepyshev-Yakimov to replace the expensive contracts!
    thank you Mact!

  49. vishcosity says:

    G Money,

    Fine. But could he get you OEL?

  50. Adam Wu says:

    Bruce McCurdy:
    We need to get creative on this LEO thing. I say we hire a crack team of Mossad agents to slip into Glendale under cover of darkness and kidnap the mofo.

    Or perhaps we can get some crack hackers to plant a virus in his ipod causing it to play the following on infrasound on continuous loop: “you want to play with Conner McDavid. you will demand a trade to the Edmonton Oilers.”

    Then give a pair of bobble head dolls of Arizona’s GM and owner to a voodoo priest and hire him to continously poke the “rational brain chakra point” of each with a 16 guage needle.

  51. Adam Wu says:

    kinger_OIL:
    Great post LT: loved the story telling mixed in with hockey: in my humble opinion its that tone that really makes you shine!

    – Sorry to rain on party but did anyone notice how bad Drai was last year in the NHL?Like really really bad.

    – Best case scenario in three years he is a difference maker, but did I mention how bad he was last year?

    Bad?

    As an 18 year old, playing 2C, and coached by Dallas Eakins, he held his head above water on possession.

    If that’s your version of “bad”, I’d hate to find out what you consider “middling” to be.

  52. PhrankLee says:

    Lowetide,

    And a partridge in a pear tree..

    Leon has been on my mind a lot since draft day. I am so happy we were able to hang on to him. I hope he makes it as a center but he needs to realize his opportunity to stick will hinge on his versatility. A commodity he seems to possess buckets of.

    Bruce makes a good point that 4 Cs within the top 9 is effective and successful.

    Anton and Leon hanging around makes me pretty optimistic and that’s not a high event situation for me on the best of days, ha ha.

  53. G Money says:

    vishcosity:

    Fine.But could he get you OEL?

    Throw in the Royal Bank, a shoe, and the royalties from Connor McDavid’s Adidas ad and I think there’s a deal to be made.

  54. rickithebear says:

    Here’s what the Cup Champs ran as their top 9 (via TOI/gm):
    G for the season
    Patrick Kane 27G
    Jonathan Toews 30G
    Marian Hossa 26G
    Patrick Sharp 16G to DAL
    Brad Richards 12G to DET
    Andrew Shaw 15G
    Brandon Saad 23G to CLB
    Teuvo Teravainen 34gm 4G
    Antoine Vermette 19gm 0G to ARZ
    Versteeg 14G
    Bickell 14G
    Krueger 7G
    Smith 61gm 5G

    Here’s what TBY ran as their top 9.

    Alex Killorn 15G
    Valtteri Filppula 12G
    Ondrej Palat 16g
    Steven Stamkos 43G
    Tyler Johnson 29G
    Nikita Kucherov 29G
    Ryan Callahan 24G
    Brian Boyle 15G
    Cedric Paquette 12G
    Connolly 50gm 12G
    Namestnikov 43gm 9G

    EDM
    Hall 15.90 14G avg 25-27G
    Eberle 15.76 24G avg 29G
    RNH 15.70 24G
    Purcell 13.42 12G
    avg 20G w/ top 3 fwd; Avg 12G with top 9 fwd
    Yakupov 13.25 14G
    avg 28G w/ Krueger AVG 25G w/ Nelson
    Roy 13.25 46gm 11G UFA
    Pouliot 13.15 19G
    Lander 11.85 27gm 6G 19G pace
    Fraser 10.68 36gm 5G UFA

    hendricks 8G
    Arcobello 36gm 7G traded
    Gordon 6G traded
    Perron 38GM 6G traded

    Mcdavid???
    Letestu AVG 14G
    Korpikoski
    w/ Top 6 fwd 14.5 Shooting % 1.56SH/gm 18G
    3rd/4th line fwd 7.9 shooting % 1.35 sh/gm 8G

  55. rickithebear says:

    vishcosity:
    G Money,

    Fine.But could he get you OEL?

    OEl is not good enough Defensively to win a cup as a 1st comp D.

    Period!

  56. GCW_69 says:

    Woodguy:
    I’ll never understand the people who immediately wanted to trade DrySaddle after the Oilers won the lottery.

    “The Oilers have their top 2 C’s, Draisaitl doesn’t fit now”

    Bullshit.

    The Oilers have an opportunity to run Crosby, Datsyuk and Kopitar as their C’s for the next (at least) 5 years.

    Why the hell would you mess with that?????

    You think 2 lines with skill give opposing coaches match up head aches?Run 3 and watch their heads explode.

    Here’s what the Cup Champs ran as their top 9 (via TOI/gm):

    Patrick Kane
    Jonathan Toews
    Marian Hossa
    Patrick Sharp
    Brad Richards
    Andrew Shaw
    Brandon Saad
    Teuvo Teravainen
    Antoine Vermette

    All guns baby.

    Here’s what TBY ran as their top 9.

    Alex Killorn
    Valtteri Filppula
    Ondrej Palat
    Steven Stamkos
    Tyler Johnson
    Nikita Kucherov
    Ryan Callahan
    Brian Boyle
    Cedric Paquette

    A little shy of what CHI was able to put out there, but trying to get to the same spot.

    Cooper held back Drouin and Namestnikov from the top 9.They will have the horses to do it this year.

    The next time someone mentions “Top 6 Forwards”, tell them:

    “No thanks, the Oilers aren’t crap anymore.Winning teams run a top 9 of scoring forwards, with a checking line that can actually play”

    Seriously,

    The whole “Top 6” thing came about after expansion and the league was diluted.

    When the “Top 6″ guy starts talking about ‘the old days”, throw this at him:

    Oilers Top 9 Forwards via TOI/gm from the last time they won the Cup:

    Craig Simpson
    Mark Messier
    Jari Kurri
    Esa Tikkanen
    Glenn Anderson
    Mark Lamb
    Joe Murphy
    Adam Graves
    Craig MacTavish

    Winning teams run a top 9.

    Oilers have an AMAZING opportunity to do it with 3 very, very good C’s.

    You don’t throw that away.

    Ever.

    The Oilers have gaping holes on defence and they have Lander and Yak2 and if they don’t work out a reasonable third line centre can be had in free agency. I don’t think you trade Leon just because, but if trading Leon gets you Seth Jones or Vlasic I think you make the trade. Balance matters and the Oilers don’t have it yet.

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