TAKING CARE OF BUSINESS

Todd McLellan is approaching his first season behind the Oilers bench with a refreshing urgency. When asked about the roster and getting things rolling, McLellan was blunt and to the point.

  • McLellan: “The quicker the better for the coaches and management staff, because it’s relatively new. If we were in Year 4 or 5 and we were comfortable with relationships, we could be around longer.” Source

We don’t know (really) but here’s my guess as to what McLellan will do for opening night (and until PC makes some deals):

  • L1: Pouliot—Nuge—Eberle (This combination worked last season)
  • L2: Hall—McDavid—Purcell (Veterans with a kid; McLellan does this a lot)
  • L3: Korpikoski—Letestu—Yakupov (Veterans with a kid; McLellan does this a lot)
  • L4: Hendricks—Lander—Klinkhammer (Lander may win out over Letestu)
  • D1: Klefbom—Sekera (McLellan runs a shutdown pairing, this might be it)
  • D2: Nikitin—Fayne (Two veterans, coaches love veterans)
  • D3: Ference—Schultz (Soft parade and ZS push)
  • G1: Cam Talbot (Ben Scrivens)

Concerns? Well, Purcell may not be able to keep up  to the bullet train of Hall and McDavid, and Yakupov will die offensively (one suspects) as 3R. Switching those two men is the obvious option and I do hope it happens, but there’s no real two-way (or established veteran with a conscience) guy on a Hall—McDavid—Yakupov line.

Defensively, Klefbom has some NHL experience and McLellan has thrust young blue (albeit exceptional young blue) into the deep end when they had less than 300 games of NHL experience in the past. I know what Peter Chiarelli said but for me Fayne is going to play in the minutes when each game is in doubt and that means top 4D in overall TOI.

CULLEN’S PROJECTIONS

Scott Cullen does a great job with projections each season and his Oilers 2015-16 are fun and provocative (my projections in brackets):

  1. Taylor Hall 70GP, 22-42-64 .914 (1.14)
  2. Connor McDavid 78GP, 27-43-70 .897 (.886)
  3. Jordan Eberle 81GP, 26-38-64 .790 (.825)
  4. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins 77GP, 19-35-54 .701 (.768)
  5. Nail Yakupov 75GP, 20-22-42 .560 (.494)
  6. Benoit Pouliot 67GP, 19-18-37 .552 (.615)
  7. Teddy Purcell 80GP 12-25-37 .463 (.481)
  8. Justin Schultz 79GP, 8-24-32 .405 (.473)
  9. Andrej Sekera 73GP, 5-25-30 .411 (.400)
  10. Leon Draisaitl 76GP, 10-18-28 .368 (.488)

Cullen’s Top 300 is here, my list is here. Scott will join me today at 11 on the Lowdown to discuss these numbers and his fine look at the Oilers for 2015-16. We agree on most of these projections, I’m out in front with Hall, Nuge, Pouliot, Schultz and Leon, Scott is more bullish on Nail.

NURSE

They’re going to send down Nurse, I can’t see any way he impresses enough during TC to make the team. Peter Chiarelli’s comments yesterday tell me that the 10 men applying for work (Sekera, Klefbom, Nikitin, Fayne, Schultz, Ference, Gryba, Davidson, Reinhart, Nurse) may in fact be nine.

  • Chiarelli: “He’s been a good leader out there, but there’s a lot of nuances to a defensive game that he has to smooth out. The enthusiasm is there and there’s a lot of good parts, but the puck retrievals and when to funnel off passes and such has to get better. It’ll come. He’ll skate into a funnel (of players) a bit, but those things will come from coaching. He’s exuberant and a real coachable kid.” Source

The lack of structure in a tournament like the Young Stars lends itself to risk taking and chaos, but Nurse looked good at main camp a year ago and I suspect he will again this season. However, it’s also true that Peter Chiarelli, a veteran GM, is slow-playing Nurse’s season and there’s a good chance the young defender begins his pro career in Bakersfield. I remain convinced the current defensive depth chart offers little resistance for Nurse and he’s probably already one of the six best defensemen heading to Edmonton. Does that mean he makes it to the Oilers this season? Chiarelli’s words cannot be ignored, there are lessons to be learned. One way to get rid of all this speculation: Trade for a bona fide top 4D to go with Sekera, Klefbom and Fayne.

hennesseyj

LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE

A fluid show (Bruce, Jon and Scott Burnside will all join me tomorrow in a special tee up for training camp edition) so you can expect Scott Cullen at 11, plenty of football talk and a way you can help kids in Edmonton. TSN 1260, 10 this morning.

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92 Responses to "TAKING CARE OF BUSINESS"

  1. smellyglove says:

    LT,

    I find you’re generally sunny on RE predictions for Oilers players. Do you ever evaluate how close you were on an aggregate basis for previous years?

  2. Lowetide says:

    smellyglove:
    LT,

    I find you’re generally sunny on RE predictions for Oilers players. Do you ever evaluate how close you were on an aggregate basis for previous years?

    Yes, David Staples has as well and my RE’s are generally conservative compared to other blogs/projections.

  3. book¡je says:

    smellyglove:
    LT,

    I find you’re generally sunny on RE predictions for Oilers players. Do you ever evaluate how close you were on an aggregate basis for previous years?

    On this blog LT certainly gets hammered for his optimistic predictions during the RE series.

  4. Doug McLachlan says:

    Ah, Jill Hennessy. The reason I went to law school.

    My life was sort of going nowhere in particular after my undergrad and I was working jobs that were clearly not taxing my abilities. A good friend ended up having, in essence, a massive stroke and was laid up in hospital for months while his body and brain recovered so every night after work I’d head over to the hospital and we’d sit around chatting and watching A&E’s steady diet of Law and Order re-runs. My friend was a young doctor and seeing him struck down out of the blue I was presented a pretty clear “life is short” message. I took the LSAT and sent out my Law School applications before the snow began to fly.

    Life has turned out ok thanks to that wake up call and while the motivation was clearly seeing what happened to my friend, the association with Jill Hennessy always stuck. I’m currently in the midst of a multi-week trial filled with more ugliness than I usually have to deal with. To be honest, it has been dragging on me and my energy but this picture, unexpected, is a nice reminder that I chose this life and all in all I have no complaints.

    As always LT, thanks for all the work on the blog.

  5. RMGS says:

    A relatively small pre-season roster that is culled early is certainly the refreshing way to go. There really are only 3-4 spots up for debate, so the faster the team starts playing McLellan hockey the better.

    I have to agree with the GM’s assessment of Nurse’s game. Given that we were watching a rookies tournament with plenty of try-out longshots, I was surprised with some of the categorical statements on this blog saying Darnell was NHL ready. Penciling him into a D line-up lacking depth is the same folly that had Leon as 2C last year.

  6. Ca$h-McMoney! says:

    RMGS,

    I think the comments are generally broader than that, but there is an element making those claims, sure.

    By my eye, Darnell is currently, at a very minimum, the 5th best Dman on the team right now.

    He might be 3rd. Right now.

    With that in mind, I’m fine with him going to Bakersfield.

  7. delooper says:

    RMGS:
    I have to agree with the GM’s assessment of Nurse’s game.Given that we were watching a rookies tournament with plenty of try-out longshots, I was surprised with some of the categorical statements on this blog saying Darnell was NHL ready.Penciling him into a D line-up lacking depth is the same folly that had Leon as 2C last year.

    Nurse is NHL ready is probably brought on more by a lack of competition for the job than whether or not Nurse, in isolation, has all the abstract properties we’d hope he has.

  8. John Chambers says:

    Cullen’s projections appear to be a mathematical averaging of a player’s last few years of GP, G, A, and PTS. As a result, nobody is projected to have a career season, while of course nobody is projected to lose half a season to injury.

    Long story short, Cullen’s predictions will be ostensibly lower while it would be fair to predict 1/8th of all players to have a ‘career season’. Given Taylor Hall’s relatively lousy, injury-plagued season in ’14-’15, I think it’s fair to count on him to score above his career average, especially if he’s going to run port-side on AHJ’s line.

  9. dessert1111 says:

    I think Nurse needs to work on decision making based on Young Stars but it’s difficult to say how much of what we saw will carry over to main camp. I think it’s possible he makes the team but he’ll have to look great and someone else will have to look bad.

    I was really impressed at the AHL deal guys and a couple of the invites. If Christoffer shows he is hands down better than Moroz, how long until their TOI reflects that?

    I think you could argue a number of the AHL young guys look better than their peers with NHL contracts, but of course time will tell. I can’t remember a time in the past several years where the Oilers has so many guys in the system not on the 50 man list who look like legitimate prospects.

  10. John Chambers says:

    RMGS,

    I agree here. I would rather Nurse learn the nuances of playing defense in professional hockey at the AAA level. There are bound to be a few bumps to his game that will produce a much more polished player by the turn of the New Year.

    Making those mistakes in the NHL will reduce the confidence of his coach, as well as his own self-confidence. Better to have him graduate to the big leagues once it’s proven that he has nothing left to learn in the A.

  11. hags9k says:

    Doug McLachlan,

    Good stuff Doug. Hang in there on the trial. Remember, McDavid!

  12. Braden88 says:

    I agree that Nurse should be sent down. And i also Agree that he is in the top 6 best defensemen on the Team. You can be a stud and still have wrinkles to iron out of your game. A mediocre team will let that player do it at the NHL level (Petry, Smid) a good team will let them do it in the minors, or at least at the NHL level when there is enough trusted D to cover for your mistakes.

    Why does patience always make sense for the lower level prospects, yet its unacceptable when its a higher level prospect? I dont hear anyone complaining about how long it took Davidson to see NHL action. The talent level changes perspective yes. But from a coaching and management point of view you need to develop trust with a player if your going to put him out there. Everyone knows Nurse can do everything, i personally dont trust him yet to the the right thing in the right situation.But I also dont think it will take him very long to develop that consistency.

  13. Armchair GM says:

    The question really isn’t whether Darnell is NHL-ready or not. He is certainly better than many current NHL defencemen who patrol the blue across the league. The question that needs to be answered is “what is the correct development plan to increase the probability (like using that word on a blog attended by math geeks) that Nurse will provide maximum value to the Oilers through his career?” If starting in the AHL maximizes the return, that’s the logical place for him to begin.

    The schedule that a NHL-ready player advances to the Show isn’t up to him. In the 6 team days there were lots of NHL-ready players that only got a chance due to injury. There were some that never got the chance as the coveted opening never happened. That’s less likely to occur today with RFA, UFA and waivers in place (Colin MacDonald, etc). You can probably slot Darnell into the NHL roster some time during the year. Depending how long that takes, does he return to the Bakersfield for the AHL playoffs if Edmonton is out of the running (expected) and a return to the ‘A’ would allow him to get some playoff experience?

  14. supernova says:

    Training Camps are key to see how a coaching staff works and what its priorities are.

    First few days are usually meet the roster.
    Then you get down to serious business.

    Ralph Kreuger never got a real training camp.
    Dallas Eakins IMO used training camp brutally. Decisions were still being made the first 3-4 games of regular season that should have been made in training Camp. Wasn’t a fan at the time, wrote it on this blog.

    Excited to see how McLellan works the preseason and how he uses the transition from training camp to regular season.

  15. mit167 says:

    This is completely random, but I have a pair of tickets to the Winnipeg pre season game on the 23rd of September. I’d like to donate them to the Site.

    I can shoot them to you directly or if you choose to raffle them off or give them away to someone I can email them directly as well.

    I hope you enjoy the tickets as much as I enjoy coming to your site for my daily dose of hockey.

  16. Snowman says:

    To me expectations of Nurse are being slow played the way he slow played Mcdavid’s points. This is a veteran GM managing expectations and sending a message to his young blue about expectations.

  17. Hammers says:

    Not sure why but my gut says play Nurse with Schultz . As for players not being ready like both Nurse and Reinhart there is another thing to look at, players over the hill. Ference is one for sure and there is no way he helps to get closer to playoffs . There was a time some players got thrown into the deep end and played there way into top players . The other point is this team needs Gryba to start on 3 Rd line . Finally I’m not positive McD and Hall start together . Crazy maybe but I would consider a line of Leon , McD and Yak . Keep them guessing

  18. RMGS says:

    delooper: Nurse is NHL ready is probably brought on more by a lack of competition for the job than whether or not Nurse, in isolation, has all the abstract properties we’d hope he has.

    Indeed, Darnell may be Edmonton Oilers D roster ready but not NHL (never mind Western Conference) ready.

    Ca$h-McMoney!: By my eye, Darnell is currently, at a very minimum, the 5th best Dman on the team right now.
    He might be 3rd. Right now.

    Perhaps, but if we reluctantly agree that Sekera, Klefbom, Fayne, Schultz, and Ference have guaranteed spots, that leaves at most 3 up for grabs. With that fat expiring contract, Nikitin will get his chance for a bounce back. Gryba and Reinhart both have more pro experience than Darnell, and they’re the GM’s men to boot. Playing top pairing minutes in Bakersfield while waiting for an inevitable trade or injury on the big league roster is Darnell’s likeliest (and probably best) route.

  19. JamesL says:

    Doug McLachlan,

    Good story, Doug — thanks for sharing.

    It’s funny, a “life is short” moment inspired me to go to law school, as well. And another “life is short” moment inspired me to leave the legal profession, too. Definitely a career that can take a lot out of you, though rewarding in a lot of ways if you find a niche that works for you. Best of luck with your trial.

  20. verdad2.0 says:

    If this Oiler coaching and management group is so obtuse to start the season with all of the NSF black hole then they may be even worse than the clowns that they were to improve upon.

  21. RMGS says:

    verdad2.0:
    If this Oiler coaching and management group is so obtuse to start the season with all of the NSF black hole then they may be even worse than the clowns that they were to improve upon.

    ¿Qué tal, Verdad?

  22. slopitch says:

    Nurse and Drai should start in the AHL. And the Oilers should trade Schultz+ for a real D.

  23. Ca$h-McMoney! says:

    Perhaps, but if we reluctantly agree that Sekera, Klefbom, Fayne, Schultz, and Ference have guaranteed spots, that leaves at most 3 up for grabs.With that fat expiring contract, Nikitin will get his chance for a bounce back.Gryba and Reinhart both have more pro experience than Darnell, and they’re the GM’s men to boot.Playing top pairing minutes in Bakersfield while waiting for an inevitable trade or injury on the big league roster is Darnell’s likeliest (and probably best) route.

    That’s exactly what I’m saying. He might be the 3rd best Dman on the team right now, he’s certainly the 5th, but he’s still probably going to Bakersfield and that’s OK in my book.

  24. verdad2.0 says:

    Ca$h-McMoney!,

    Insane, simply writing off the season.
    I assume you all saw NSF play last year?

  25. rickithebear says:

    Going to look at individual dmen broken down in Comp and Pairs.

  26. dustrock says:

    Doug McLachlan,

    Doug’s just upset that he actually has to run a trial. 😉

    I think regarding Nurse and the Young Stars, people talk about some bad decision-making he had, but to me, that was mostly apparent when he’d skate the puck up and then have nobody to pass to.

    A couple of times, he was in too deep to really dump the puck in, but didn’t really hold the puck either, and the other team got it back pretty quickly. To me, that’s just Nurse getting accustomed to his own speed, and on a real team, with real NHL players and a real system, those errors would be reduced.

    We were warned not to read too much into the performance of guys like McDavid and Nurse at the Young Stars, and we saw Nurse play an extremely disciplined shutdown game at the WJHC this year.

    I think even Chiarelli might be reading a bit too much into Nurse’s performance at Young Stars. Let’s see how he does in the final 2 preseason games before we say he’s not ready.

    Let’s not forget that Klefbom actually said playing in the NHL is easier than the AHL in some ways, because the system work is better and it’s less chaotic.

  27. Pouzar says:

    RE: Nurse

    If were are choosing ridiculously small sample sizes I will go with the 4 game AHL playoffs over the Young Stars tourney. The kid was dominate.

    That being said, I’m with LT. He starts in Bakersfield.

  28. Pouzar says:

    verdad2.0: I assume you all saw NSF play last year?

    I haven’t change my position on that.

  29. Bootstrap Effexor says:

    The web design team at the Edmonton Journal have added seven lbs of page crap to Cult of Hockey and they’ve taken off the bylines and dates off the blog post front page.

    Move over, telephone sanitizers, you’ve been supplanted by metrosexual potted plants.

    Lordy fjordi Swedish Geordi, you can’t even make up a proper curse for the human race’s seven degrees of separation from common sense.

    We’ll I’m so done with that. From now on I visit only the following URLs:

    http://edmontonjournal.com/author/bruce-mccurdy-edmonton-journal
    http://edmontonjournal.com/author/jonathan-willis-edmonton-journal
    http://edmontonjournal.com/author/david-staples-edmonton-journal

    Same great content, minus the new clusterfuck front page (unfortunately, by no means is it the first site where I’ve had to do this).

    Perhaps fellow Lowetiders will let me know when there’s a guest author of note who isn’t flying under one of the three banners above.

  30. Well Oiled and Enthusiastic says:

    If they are making room for a rookie D to start the year, I think its Reinhart before Nurse. Not on merit alone, but simply because this is Chiarelli’s bold play this summer. He seems to have a deep rooted adoration for Reinhart dating to his Memorial Cup performance (based on his verbal). I think he believes Reinhart has done the AHL marinating and will lean his direction to insert into the main roster first. Doesn’t mean they don’t also make room for Nurse, but I just think Reinhart’s ticket gets punched first given he is Chiarelli’s ‘guy’. By end of season, both are on and active in the full time roster.

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

    Bootstrap Effexor,

    When I first saw that hot mess of a CoH page recently, my immediate thought was how to fool it into thinking my computer was a mobile browser, but I like your idea of using their profile pages better. Thanks!

  32. RexLibris says:

    verdad2.0: I assume you all saw NSF play last year?

    Not me.

    Whenever they had the puck I’d cover my eyes.

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

    You know what? Mark me down as a fan of Ference, Nikitin, and Schultz, who thinks they are going to have a much better season with a proper coach, a little more help on the blueline, and goalies who don’t employ the bearskin maneuver.

    NIKITIN SCHULTZ FERENCE!

    NIKITIN SCHULTZ FERENCE!!

    NIKITIN SCHULTZ FERENCE!!!

  34. RexLibris says:

    On Nurse: he may be better than three of the other defensemen in camp, but that isn’t the point.

    The point is to make him better than at least half of the other d-men on NHL rosters.

    That is the goal – to maximize his potential (if you’ll forgive the pseudo-science lifestyle coach terminology crap).

    So, when you wrap up camp and keep Nikitin, Ference and Schultz over a clearly better Nurse and Reinhart, this is what you tell them:

    “Guys, you are going to be tremendous NHL players. Right now, here’s what I need you to work on – Darnell, we need to see you develop your shutdown capability and decision-making. Griffin, we need to see you defend against forwards with speed, move the puck quickly and efficiently with outlet passes and work on controlling your lanes.”

    “There will be roster moves made during the season and if you guys can work on those things we mentioned then you’ll be our first call-ups. And when I call you up, I want you to stick permanently.”

    “So go work with Gerry and make yourselves into the best damned defensemen possible and come back here and help us kick some ____.”

    Or something to that effect.

    Give them a place to go forward from and towards. Make it clear that you are sending them to the AHL because you believe in them, not because they aren’t good enough.

  35. RexLibris says:

    JD¡™ David O’Connor’s Reel:
    You know what?Mark me down as a fan of Ference, Nikitin, and Schultz, who thinks they are going to have a much better season with a proper coach, a little more help on the blueline, and goalies who don’t employ the bearskin maneuver.

    NIKITIN SCHULTZ FERENCE!

    NIKITIN SCHULTZ FERENCE!!

    NIKITIN SCHULTZ FERENCE!!!

    I’d enlist the rule of three here.

    One improves, one stabilizes and one sinks.

    I’ll let you guess which I believe will be which.

  36. SwedishPoster says:

    Bootstrap Effexor,

    Swedish Geordi? A swede from Newcastle? The only swede I know of from Newcastle was Andreas Andersson, a swedish soccer player. Striker who was renamed jigsaw by the supporters ” because he falls apart in the box”. Not a huge success in northern England as you might understand.

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

    SwedishPoster: who was renamed jigsaw by the supporters ” because he falls apart in the box”

    That’s good. And it’s applicable to NHL defenders. We wait.

  38. v4ance says:

    http://espn.go.com/nhl/story/_/id/13630466/2016-world-cup-hockey-team-canada-roster-projections

    LeBrun’s predictions.

    Jaden Schwartz Sidney Crosby Steven Stamkos
    Jamie Benn Ryan Getzlaf Corey Perry
    Ryan O’Reilly Jonathan Toews Jeff Carter
    Tyler Seguin John Tavares Claude Giroux
    Patrice Bergeron

    ?
    ?
    ?

    He’d rather have Schwartz on 1st line and Seguin on 4th line rather than the natural left winger in Hall? Really?

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

    RexLibris: I’ll let you guess

    This bell doesn’t troll for thee, Rex.

  40. russ99 says:

    I hope McLellan doesn’t repeat Eakins’ mistake of putting Schultz on a line with Ference (or Nikitin), as we need someone who can mentor Schultz and take on some heavy lifting from time to time, as well as be able to get back and help out when things break down, which Ference and Nikitin couldn’t do last year.

    If you’re breaking up the fairly successful Klefbom – Schultz pairing to move Schultz to the third pairing, Gryba should be his partner. He can’t skate well either, but at least he can clear the crease and as more of a stay at home guy, he won’t be caught too far up the neutral zone as much.

  41. Melman says:

    Doug McLachlan,

    I too recall the inspiration of Jill, but I went the solicitor route. It’s completely unsurprising that they don’t make tv shows about what we do!

  42. Магия 10 says:

    RexLibris: I’d enlist the rule of three here.
    One improves, one stabilizes and one sinks.
    I’ll let you guess which I believe will be which

    There are other rules of three that might apply:

    avionics: 3 miles of travel should be allowed for every 1,000 feet of descent

    military: one for preparation, one for operations, one for recuperation.

  43. commonfan14 says:

    RexLibris: Make it clear that you are sending them to the AHL because you believe in them, not because they aren’t good enough.

    That’s all fine, but the bus riding and getting only a tiny fraction of their NHL paycheck makes this a tough sell to any young kid.

    Send them down when they know they performed well enough to make the team, and they’re going to be pissed no matter what.

    It’s an unavoidable issue that comes with not giving them adequate competition on the roster.

  44. v4ance says:

    http://www.csnne.com/boston-bruins/boston-bruins-aim-in-new-season-reunite-a-divided-team

    Hatchet job by Joe Haggerty. Slams Chiarelli, Reilly, Hamilton for the struggles of the team last year. Sounds like he’s carrying the water for those old school hockey guys Neely/Sweeney by being their mouthpieces.

    I’m sure all their declining vets will be happy adding more “gritty” vets like Matt Beleskey, Jimmy Hayes and Zac Rinaldo. Dougie Hamilton, Reilly Smith and Carl Soderberg can take all that “soft” youthful skill and go play elsewhere!

    I’m super glad that Vancouver imported some of that awesome old school hockey mindset with Jim Benning joining Trevor Linden. Expect to see another Boston Vancouver Stanley Cup rematch this year!

  45. RexLibris says:

    Магия 10: There are other rules of three that might apply:

    avionics: 3 miles of travel should be allowed for every 1,000 feet of descent

    military: one for preparation, one for operations, one for recuperation.

    You forgot Murphy’s.

    Bad things happen in threes.

    Of course we could go off on a tangent about folkloric rules of three, but after McDavid I think we’re clear out of wishes for the time being. Damn though, we owe that djinni something for that.

  46. RexLibris says:

    commonfan14: That’s all fine, but the bus riding and getting only a tiny fraction of their NHL paycheck makes this a tough sell to any young kid.

    Send them down when they know they performed well enough to make the team, and they’re going to be pissed no matter what.

    It’s an unavoidable issue that comes with not giving them adequate competition on the roster.

    Draisaitl accepted the demotion knowing that he needed to improve, and he was going back to junior (no pay and worse buses).

    It is a part of the process and if they have a fit at getting sent down then you’d have real character issues to deal with.

    I’d hope they’d be a little ticked off, but it is still important to let them know the why behind it so they know it isn’t personal or a hopeless.

  47. Real_Hockey_Fan says:

    Is McLellan an elite coach? Can he win the big game???? Hopefully the Oilers make the playoffs and face Boudreau’s Ducks. A stalemate of lack of clutch coaches.

  48. godot10 says:

    I have enough confidence in McLellan that we will NEVER see all three of Schultz, Nikitin, and Ference in the game day lineup at the same time, unless there are lots of injuries.

    I think that we will rarely see two of them in the game day lineup at the same time.

    The Oilers will be pummelled by St. Louis if they start with Lowetide’s opening game D above. Gryba is going to be in the lineup against St. Louis, barring injury.

  49. Bag of Pucks says:

    Rishaug had an interesting point about Nurse on the Gregor show last night. He suggested Nurse may play more undisciplined against lesser talent ( like that in a rookie tournament) coz he knows he’s got the range to cover any mistakes against that kind of competition.

    If that were true, Darnell may be well served by an early stint in the show this season, to learn the invaluable lessons of discipline, positioning and gap control required at this level.

    If he’s dominating in the A but that is encouraging bad habits, is that optimal development?

  50. Pouzar says:

    godot10: I have enough confidence in McLellan that we will NEVER see all three of Schultz, Nikitin, and Ference in the game day lineup at the same time,

    I would say that is optimistic. I expect it.

  51. ashley says:

    I would like to see Nurse make the team. He’s going to be a good dman, but he needs to steady himself. Dynamic is what we want in forwards, not really defense. How quickly can he make the adjustment?

    On the other hand, it sounds like Reinhart is going to get more NHL games this year than we are giving credit. I think there is a good chance he makes the roster out of camp. Hopefully he’ll adjust to the NHL quickly and serve a large part of the season on the third pairing. He’s a huge part of this team in the next decade. Of all the prospects, I’m most excited about him.

    Next stop, training camp.

  52. LoDog says:

    godot10:
    I have enough confidence in McLellan that we will NEVER see all three of Schultz, Nikitin, and Ference in the game day lineup at the same time, unless there are lots of injuries.

    I think that we will rarely see two of them in the game day lineup at the same time.

    The Oilers will be pummelled by St. Louis if they start with Lowetide’s opening game D above.Gryba is going to be in the lineup against St. Louis, barring injury.

    I’m with you on this one. I def see Gryba and Reinhart on the opening roster which puts at least one of those three (Ference) in the press box.

  53. blainer says:

    If FSN are in the lineup at the same time again I have to believe that MacT is in TMCc’s head. This just cannot happen. Playing Shultz with Ference will be a huge black hole that will suck all the energy from the team.

    I expect Drai to make the team and suspect after a couple of games the top lines will be..

    1a. Poo Nuge Drai

    1b. Hall CMD Eberle

    2/3 Purcell Lander Yak

    D

    Sekera Shultz

    Klefbom Fayne

    Reinhart Gryba

    Nurse will be up after 20 games. I believe They have decided to go with GR over Nurse already. Now that may change though if Reinhart has a bad camp ..

  54. LadiesloveSmid says:

    NYI has a rule that if you don’t show up to the start of training camp (contracted), then you don’t play the entire season. Deadline is 7AM thursday, Brock Nelson is without a contract and apparently hasn’t been in contact with management in weeks.

    A lot of fuss was made about a different dimension in the oilers top 6. Brock Nelson? Does Yakupov get the job done?

  55. Diesel says:

    It’s generally reliable to take a GM at his word (re: Nurse) however this is the same GM that publicly stated CMD has an RE of 40 points.

    Over time I’m sure we will get a better understanding of how PC wades into the public waters, but for now I’m just going to sit back and watch the dominoes fall.

  56. RexLibris says:

    Some rumblings that Calgary is looking at a bid for the 2026 winter Olympics as a way to fund the CalgaryNEXT project.

    Presumably there would be a great deal of federal money that would go to help building that project.

    Say it with me now: the money from taxes paid by Oilers fans helping build a rink in Calgary.

    Diabolical!

  57. Ducey says:

    Ah, another day, more whining about Ference, Nikitin and Schultz.

    I thought we had established that Nikitin wasn’t actually that bad last year, and that Schultz is a good candidate to take on slightly tougher minutes?

    I look for decent seasons from two of these three, coupled with a great season from Hall and a last place finish for OEL and ARI.

    Then we will know the Truth.

  58. kinger_OIL says:

    Diesel:
    It’s generally reliable to take a GM at his word (re: Nurse) however this is the same GM that publicly stated CMD has an RE of 40 points.

    Diesel – In fact its exactly the opposite. When talking to the press, its prudent to believe they are lying actually. That was MacT’s problem (among many): he said what he thought to the press.

    – Good GM’s don’t tip their hand to the press.

    – Bad GM’s shove naratives to the press, and bad press feeds this to the people unfettered (this was Old Boys School network playbook for a generation)

  59. Pouzar says:

    Ducey:
    Ah, another day, more whining about Ference, Nikitin and Schultz.

    I thought we had established that Nikitin wasn’t actually that bad last year, and that Schultz is a good candidate to take on slightly tougher minutes?

    I look for decent seasons from two of these three, coupled with a great season from Hall and a last place finish for OEL and ARI.

    Then we will know the Truth.

    I have hope for Schultz in a bottom pairing role.
    No hope for NN’s wonky back.
    No hope at all for Ference.

  60. LoDog says:

    RexLibris:
    Some rumblings that Calgary is looking at a bid for the 2026 winter Olympics as a way to fund the CalgaryNEXT project.

    Presumably there would be a great deal of federal money that would go to help building that project.

    Say it with me now: the money from taxes paid by Oilers fans helping build a rink in Calgary.

    Diabolical!

    They can rumble all they want. Can’t see any level of government supporting a bid, these things cost like 10-15 billion these days! 50 in Russia!

  61. Ca$h-McMoney! says:

    LadiesloveSmid:
    NYI has a rule that if you don’t show up to the start of training camp (contracted), then you don’t play the entire season. Deadline is 7AM thursday, Brock Nelson is without a contract and apparently hasn’t been in contact with management in weeks.

    A lot of fuss was made about a different dimension in the oilers top 6. Brock Nelson? Does Yakupov get the job done?

    Nope.

    It’s not like he doesn’t have a contract because they forgot about him. He doesn’t have one because he wants to get paid w/ term.

    I’m a Nelson fan, he was super helpful for me early in my pool last year and I owe him for that. But this deal makes no sense for us.

    Nelson doesn’t have a contract because he wants to get paid like a top 6 forward. He wants to be a hybrid w/c in the top 6 and paid accordingly.

    Yakupov is making $2.5million or so for the next two years. Nelson will want more than 4 on a longer term. That’s not going to be good value when we’ve got Draisaitl on the team.

  62. RexLibris says:

    Jonathan Willis retweeted
    Sportsnet ‏@Sportsnet 3h Brian Burke believes the Calgary Flames have hired the best analytics staff in the league.

    A guy who said that advanced analytics doesn’t bring anything of value to the table is eminently qualified to declare who is the best in the field and it just so happens to be the guy he hired.

    I think we can safely add “bluster” to truculence, testosterone and pugnacity as Brian Burke’s calling cards.

  63. Pouzar says:

    RexLibris: Jonathan Willis retweeted
    Sportsnet ‏@Sportsnet 3h Brian Burke believes the Calgary Flames have hired the best analytics staff in the league.

    I wonder if he has told BB the bad news.

  64. LadiesloveSmid says:

    Ca$h-McMoney!: Nope.

    It’s not like he doesn’t have a contract because they forgot about him.He doesn’t have one because he wants to get paid w/ term.

    I’m a Nelson fan, he was super helpful for me early in my pool last year and I owe him for that.But this deal makes no sense for us.

    Nelson doesn’t have a contract because he wants to get paid like a top 6 forward.He wants to be a hybrid w/c in the top 6 and paid accordingly.

    Yakupov is making $2.5million or so for the next two years.Nelson will want more than 4 on a longer term.That’s not going to be good value when we’ve got Draisaitl on the team.

    think Nelson wants Anders Lee money ($3.75M), and NYI is just issuing his qualifying offer. I’d probably personally take Nelson at $3.75M over Yak at $2.5M, especially with the structure of the team.

  65. godot10 says:

    RexLibris:
    Some rumblings that Calgary is looking at a bid for the 2026 winter Olympics as a way to fund the CalgaryNEXT project.

    Presumably there would be a great deal of federal money that would go to help building that project.

    Say it with me now: the money from taxes paid by Oilers fans helping build a rink in Calgary.

    Diabolical!

    Do you appreciate the size of the structural budget deficit in Alberta?

    Do you see Wildrose or the NDP (in Alberta) ever supporting such a ridiculous boondoggle like the Olympics?

    Suppose their is another oil boom, the thing about an oil boom, is that it inflates the costs of everything.

    Plus, will there even be any snow in them thar hills by 2026?

    Plus, it is Quebec City’s turn.

    Calgary would be butting in front of Quebec City’s desire for a Winter Olympics, and Toronto’s desire for a Summer Olympics.

    Brazil next year is setting up to be a fiasco of colossal proportions.

  66. RexLibris says:

    Pouzar: I wonder if he has told BB the bad news.

    What bad news?

    That they’ve been regressing in possession metrics the last four years?

    Or that three of those four seasons had results that lined up almost perfectly with their place in the standings?

    Or that the additions this off-season may only mitigate the flagging possession game by a few percentage points?

    Or that his tie is undone?

  67. RexLibris says:

    godot10,

    The majority of the money would be coming from federal sources.

    And I never underestimate either a politician’s desire to purchase a regional voting bloc nor a population’s ability to delude itself about immediate gains in reputation at the cost of two or three generations’ worth of debt.

  68. v4ance says:

    RexLibris: What bad news?

    That they’ve been regressing in possession metrics the last four years?

    Or that three of those four seasons had results that lined up almost perfectly with their place in the standings?

    Or that the additions this off-season may only mitigate the flagging possession game by a few percentage points?

    Or that his tie is undone?

    That should be “undone ties/60” for those of you watching at home.

  69. RexLibris says:

    v4ance: That should be “undone ties/60” for those of you watching at home.

    Knots Above Replacement?

  70. wheatnoil says:

    RexLibris: Knots Above Replacement?

    Knots Over Replacement Suit Index

    KORSI

  71. v4ance says:

    http://www.courierpostonline.com/story/sports/nhl/flyers/2015/09/15/ron-hextall-values-teaching-over-rookie-tournaments-philadelphia-flyers/72330044/

    Flyers, Avs and Isles are the only 3 teams that aren’t participating in rookie tournaments. The Flyers specifically, are mainly doing drills, orientation and teaching. Kinda curious to see if this leads to better prospect development.

    One thing that instantly popped into my head was that without rookie tournament involvement, the Flyers would be less likely to find the next Braden Christoffer. With more drills and less actual games, it’s harder for the longshots at rookie camp to make a positive impression that will get them the next opportunity to go to the full camp.

  72. Woogie63 says:

    LT that opening day line up makes some sense. If I apply a “heavy player filter” that PC spoke about,

    Narrow defination – Korpi-Hendricks-Klink
    Broadest defination – Klefblom, Letestu

    That leave 13/18 skaters including the entire top 2 lines as not heavy players.

    McL will need some systems to address or PC is not done yet?

  73. Kmart99 says:

    RexLibris: I’d enlist the rule of three here.

    One improves, one stabilizes and one sinks.

    I’ll let you guess which I believe will be which.

    Schultz improves because of coaching, maturity, and depth ahead of him.
    Nikitin stabilizes because he can’t be that bad and he isn’t that old.
    Ference sinks. Father time is undefeated.

  74. striatic says:

    v4ance: One thing that instantly popped into my head was that without rookie tournament involvement, the Flyers would be less likely to find the next Braden Christoffer. With more drills and less actual games, it’s harder for the longshots at rookie camp to make a positive impression that will get them the next opportunity to go to the full camp.

    You can make the opposite argument that by not holding a rookie tournament, these teams don’t become distracted by players performing well over an extremely short sample size in an extremely weird format [first hockey of the year with new coach and teams almost completely unfamiliar with one another].

    You could say Tkachev exploited early season chaos and outside of that scenario wasn’t able to sustain his success in junior. Something like that.

    I don’t know how valid that counter argument is but until a Tkachev or a Christoffer cracks an NHL lineup it is difficult to say the found long shot factor is a benefit of these tournaments.

  75. Soup Fascist says:

    Two things:

    Are we at the point yet that we have analytics to analyze the comparative effectiveness of all the NHL organization’s Analytics Teams?

    Jill Hennesy has an identical twin sister, named Jacqueline.

    ….. I will let that one sink in for a minute.

  76. NYCOIL "Gentleman Backpacker" says:

    Nurse does show more discipline with his sorties against stiffer competition. We saw that with the WJCs and AHL playoffs.

    As I said in my guest post at CoH he is, in my opinion, third behind Sekera and Klefbom right now in terms of ability.

    Be that as it may, I am completely on board with starting him in the AHL. I even wrote that he is going to be gutted when they most likely do send him there.

  77. v4ance says:

    RexLibris,

    I’ve already posted before that the stadium site is a transportation disaster waiting to happen. As a Calgarian living across the river in Sunnyside, I’ve walked through the West Village area numerous times. In my experience, the infrastucure in that area is nowhere near close to being able to handle the traffic for the proposed venue.

    Based on the $71 million cost of the massive Transcanada interchange at C.O.P., a new ~$100+ million elevated interchange would be needed for Crowchild Trail, Bow Trail and Memorial Drive to handle the traffic that the stadium would generate from the west. Plus they would need anther $50 million to revamp the 14th street bridge, the 10th street bridge and Bow Trail to the east of the site. Those costs are in addition to the $100-300 million cost of cleaning up the contaminated land. All of these “extras” aren’t included in the $890 million pricetag of the project. Realistically, the total cost of the project would balloon to around $1.5 billion with the taxpayers paying about $1.1 billion.

  78. NYCOIL "Gentleman Backpacker" says:

    Bootstrap Effexor,

    You didn’t enjoy my guest posts, I take it. Ha ha.

  79. G Money says:

    Hammers: Not sure why but my gut says play Nurse with Schultz .

    Data tidbit:

    In his brief NHL appearance last year, Nurse’s EV score-adjusted Corsi was 52.3%. (YES! I NOW HAVE SCORE ADJUSTMENTS IMPLEMENTED! Only danger-adjustments to go and I will have achieved hockey-data nerdvana!)

    He spent some of that time with Justin Schultz. Their EV score-adjusted CF% as a defensive pair was 59.5%.

    Against LA.

    Tiny sample size warning, etc. but even in sheltered minutes, if you can rack up almost 60% CF% against the Kings …

  80. Jordan says:

    Soup Fascist:
    Two things:

    Are we at the point yet that we have analytics to analyze the comparative effectiveness of all the NHL organization’s Analytics Teams?

    Jill Hennesy has an identical twin sister, named Jacqueline.

    ….. I will let that one sink in for a minute.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jacqueline_Hennessy

  81. wheatnoil says:

    G Money: Data tidbit:

    In his brief NHL appearance last year, Nurse’s EV score-adjusted Corsi was 52.3%.(YES!I NOW HAVE SCORE ADJUSTMENTS IMPLEMENTED!Only danger-adjustments to go and I will have achieved hockey-data nerdvana!)

    Awesome!

    By danger-adjustments, do you mean shot distance? Shots that are close in time therefore likely to be rebounds?

    Or are you waiting to reveal it all in a blog post? May I suggest calling it “g-corsi”?

  82. Pouzar says:

    RexLibris: What bad news?

    That they’ve been regressing in possession metrics the last four years?

    Or that three of those four seasons had results that lined up almost perfectly with their place in the standings?

    Or that the additions this off-season may only mitigate the flagging possession game by a few percentage points?

    Or that his tie is undone?

    Easy…let’s not give the poor guy a stroke!

  83. RexLibris says:

    v4ance: Those costs are in addition to the $100-300 million cost of cleaning up the contaminated land.

    This is what I never understood about the proposal.

    Why clean up the land if you’re just going to contaminate it again.

  84. RexLibris says:

    G Money: Data tidbit:

    In his brief NHL appearance last year, Nurse’s EV score-adjusted Corsi was 52.3%.(YES!I NOW HAVE SCORE ADJUSTMENTS IMPLEMENTED!Only danger-adjustments to go and I will have achieved hockey-data nerdvana!)

    He spent some of that time with Justin Schultz.Their EV score-adjusted CF% as a defensive pair was 59.5%.

    Against LA.

    Tiny sample size warning, etc. but even in sheltered minutes, if you can rack up almost 60% CF% against the Kings …

    Nice work.

    And congratulations on the near-completion of your data-monster.

    I don’t know if you’ve ever seen it, but if not, you must watch Kung Fury.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bS5P_LAqiVg

    If only for the awesome HackerMan bit.

    Perhaps 30 of the best youtube minutes I’ve ever spent.

    Okay, that’s a low bar, granted, but still…

  85. commonfan14 says:

    Nuge says some nice things about him here, but I think it was unfair of the org to ask Marcus to try coaching while also continuing to play for the Hawks.

    http://sports.yahoo.com/blogs/nhl-puck-daddy/ryan-nugent-hopkins-tired-of-getting-oilers-coaches-fired-222320141.html?soc_src=mediacontentstory&soc_trk=tw

    His rookie coach was Tom Renney, in 2011-12. Then came Marcus Krueger for 48 games, post lockout. Then Dallas Eakins, for part of two seasons before Todd Nelson took over last year with an assist from Craig MacTavish.

    Nugent-Hopkins sees Krueger, who will coach Team Europe in the World Cup of Hockey next fall, as the one that got away.

    “We all really liked Ralph,” he said. “Super intelligent guy. Really knew how to handle the players well, and we only had a short season with him. It was tough to lose him.”

  86. G Money says:

    wheatnoil: By danger-adjustments, do you mean shot distance? Shots that are close in time therefore likely to be rebounds?
    Or are you waiting to reveal it all in a blog post? May I suggest calling it “g-corsi”?

    Shot location, type, AND time.

    I do incorporate time now, both rebounds and rush shots (I was trying to build my own definitions, but I gave up and just use the war-on-ice databases directly to get that now).

    I also use shot location, but unlike the war-on-ice chance measure, which uses the distinct locations on the ice (I’ve never understood why you need that false granularity and the artificial boundaries), I use the actual shot locations.

    The ‘danger level’ associated with any specific shot location is not only location specific, but also shot specific e.g. a slap shot from 20 ft away is a helluva lot more dangerous than a backhand from the same place. For whatever reason, w-o-i does not incorporate shot types into their assessment of ‘dangerous’, so they will treat a tip-in the same as a wrap-around (from 2 ft away, a tip-in is incredibly dangerous and a wrap-around is almost never dangerous).

    Shot type matters a tremendous amount (as I showed quite a few months ago with my shot-specific danger heatmaps), I’ve never understood why it gets ignored. I think a long time ago the grand poohbahs of fancystats showed it wasn’t that repeatable. (haven’t found this exact measure, if anyone has, please point me at it!)

    I’m a bit OCD about repeatability – so I get the concern. But what that means is that you don’t use it as a predictive measure – you don’t ignore it altogether! Even if it’s not predictive, it can be tremendously descriptive and/or diagnostic. Especially (I’m hypothesizing) for the defensive side of the equation.

    We know that sv% is tremendously variable too, and generally can’t be used for prediction, but no-one would ever ignore sv% when trying to understand what happened in a game, a win or lose streak, or a season. Poorly predictive, but extremely descriptive and diagnostic! Ditto shot types.

    And finally, rather than separate all the wonder-data out into low/medium/high chances, I’m just going to weight each chance. So in the end, like score-adjusted Corsi vs looking at both Corsi and Corsi Close, you get a single measure of shot attempts, but it incorporates volume, location, and type of chance.

    After months and months and months of coding, the end is in sight – I can finally almost taste the juicy flesh of sweet sweet data!

  87. G Money says:

    RexLibris: I don’t know if you’ve ever seen it, but if not, you must watch Kung Fury.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bS5P_LAqiVg
    If only for the awesome HackerMan bit.

    Man, as if the name and concept wasn’t enough, the production company’s name is: LASER UNICORNS!

    I mean, forget about a unicorn third scoring line. I WANT A LASER UNICORN THIRD SCORING LINE.

  88. spoiler says:

    G Money,

    This is beautiful.

    However, it is not as beautiful as… LASER UNICORNS!!!

  89. pts2pndr says:

    delooper,

    Nurse it’s sown his ability in AHL playoffs and his ability to skate and move the puck is on par with the best Oilers have on the current roster. I understand the rational for AHL but if it were not for the numbers of 5/6 defense on the roster he would be better off to graduate and progress with his NHL contemporaries!

  90. frjohnk says:

    G Money,

    Great stuff GMoney. Cant wait to see the end result. And if possible, playing around with the data 🙂

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