Connor McDavid was nominated for the Calder Trophy yesterday, the first Oiler to get the honor since Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (who should have won the award in 2012). I don’t think McDavid will win it, but the fact he was nominated tells us the NHL realizes how special the young man is—even with fewer than 50 games. I credit Elliotte Friedman, who publicly stated he felt McDavid was the best rookie and put his money where his mouth is on the issue.
CONNOR MCDAVID, 2015-16
- 5×5 points per 60: 2.69 (1st among regular forwards, No. 2 NHL)
- 5×4 points per 60: 6.68 (1st among regular forwards, No. 5 NHL)
- Corsi for 5×5 %: 51.3 (3rd among regular forwards)
- Qual Comp: 4th toughest competition among regulars (2line)
- Qual Team: 9th best among regulars (3line)
- Corsi for 5×5 % REL: 13.6(1st among regular forwards)
- Shots on goal/percentage: 105 shots/15.2%
- Boxcars: 45, 16-32-48
He posted 34 EV points in 45 games, as a teenage rookie. War-on-Ice has his Individual High-Danger Scoring chances at 64, No. 4 on the team despite the missed games. He had 17.25/60 On-Ice HDSC for, tremendous number. My favorite fancy is his 5×5/60 of 2.69, No. 2 in the entire league behind old man Jagr. I enjoyed every minute of his season, cherished it. One of my dear friends passed away before he played his first NHL game, and another fellow I respect a great deal passed away as his first season was just over. Enjoy these seasons, ladies and men. Nothing lasts forever anymore.
— Alex Thomas (@Alex_Thomas14) May 2, 2016
THE BLUE SKY LIST
- D Erik Karlsson, Ottawa Senators. Franchise player. He won’t move.
- D P.K. Subban, Montreal Canadiens. Franchise player. He won’t move. Right?
- D Tyson Barrie, Colorado Avalanche. He is close to a perfect fit for the puck-moving portion of this Oilers team, and might be available.
- D Jason Demers, Dallas Stars. Effective defenseman, he costs only money.
- D Travis Hamonic, NY Islanders. This is a solid player and a great option for Edmonton.
- D Sami Vatanen, Anaheim Ducks. I like his puck-moving ability but as with all young blue there is not a clearly established level of ability. What we see is very good offensively.
- D Justin Faulk, Carolina Hurricanes. The gap between Faulk and (say) Barrie is not large in my mind. He cooled off as the season wore on but he would be a nice option.
- D Michael Stone, Arizona Coyotes. Two-way D spiked offensively this year, you would like to have a little more track with those kind of boxcars.
- Jacob Trouba, Winnipeg Jets. Strange year for a talented young player. Could be a buy low situation or a waste of assets.
- D Mark Pysyk, Buffalo Sabres. He has had several false starts in Buffalo, but the numbers imply there is a player here. Might shake loose and could help.
- D Damon Severson, New Jersey Devils. Under the radar name, he did pretty well in 2015-16. I have no idea if he is available but this is a player who is young enough to grow with the group in Edmonton.
- D Jordan Schmaultz, St. Louis Blues. One thing we haven’t looked at a lot is the substantial offensive defensemen in the AHL. Schmaultz is such a player and we could see the Oilers acquire a player like Schmaultz. He is a very good prospect.
- D Anthony DeAngelo, Tampa Bay Lightning. Another player with a puck-moving element to his game but not yet estsblished as an NHL player. We have talked about him quite a bit, most recently here.
- D Brandon Montour, Anaheim Ducks. This could be a special player. He is not far from a point-per-game as a rookie defensemen in the AHL. No idea if he is available but worth the ask.
- D Colin Miller, Boston Bruins. He never gets mentioned, but if you look at the numbers this guy keeps showing up in interesting places. No idea if he has a future, but his now is interesting.
- D Eric Gryba, Edmonton Oilers. I doubt Mark Fayne returns, and Gryba could slide in as an inexpensive option in the stay-at-home department.
- D Ville Pokka, Chicago Blackhawks. Young defender in the Chicago system just posted a solid year in the AHL. Suspect they will keep him, but you never know.
- D Ryan Sproul, Detroit Red Wings. Puck-moving defender in the AHL, he might be ready for an NHL role this fall.
- D Dennis Wideman, Calgary Flames. A year removed from a fantastic offensive season, he would probably be available for less than zero. Wildly unpopular idea, it might work.
- D Taylor Aronson, Nashville Predators. Minor-league defender with some interesting numbers and he shouldn’t be expensive.
- Steve Kournianois, The Draft Analyst: A skillful tower of strength in the mold of Jamie Benn or Patrick Marleau, Dubois is a mature specimen who combines God-given physical talents with a sort of sixth sense rarely seen in a teenage prospect. He’s tough to play against on or off the puck, and uses a wide stance and long wingspan to keep the puck nestled within an impregnable zone of protection. Dubois has a long stride and reaches top speed quickly for a forward already above 200 pounds before his 18th birthday. He is a tough out in one-on-one situations, and changes gears fast enough to leave the smartest of positional defenders behind him. His pro shot and quick release are just part of a myriad of ways he can beat you. All that said, his hockey sense and ability to process plays in a nanosecond helps vault him to the upper tier of a very talented group of draft-eligible power forwards. Source
Kyle Woodlief's latest column is up at USA Today: Pierre-Luc Dubois, Adam Mascherin & sleeper D Cameron Clarke https://t.co/v9u1mSMzFj
— Red Line Report (@daredlinereport) March 23, 2016
- Red Line Report: His move to centre this season has taken his game to new heights. He’s got the size, hands, hockey sense, and creativity to become a true #1 centre in the NHL. Add in his dedication to getting better, mental make-up, and willingness to compete hard on every shift in all three zones,and he’s a fairly wart-proof prospect. The only minor pitfall is that he lacks first step explosion and a separation gear at the top end in his stride right now – but he is working on it diligently. Source
If I had a vote, PLD would be my choice for No. 4 overall (behind Matthews and the Finns).
- Dubois overall: 62gp, 42-57-99
- Dubois even strength: 62gp, 29-36-65
- Dubois power play: 62gp, 10-17-27
- Dubois penalty kill: 62gp, 3-4-7
- Tkachuk overall: 57gp, 30-77-107
- Tkachuk even strength: 57gp, 20-43-63
- Tkachuk power play: 57gp, 9-33-42
- Tkachuk penalty kill: 57gp, 1-1-2
The two men are about equal at even strength (1.05 for Dubois, 1.11 for Tkachuk) but Tkachuk wins the PP battle going away. Interesting to see Dubois gather so much of his offense (seven per cent) on the penalty kill. He is 6.03, 202 and was born June 24, 1988—Dubois is 195 days younger than Tkachuk. I don’t see either man as a center, Dubois or Tkachuk will likely be tied to Connor McDavid should Edmonton use the pick on either. The London Knights have churned out a lot of players over the years with gaudy numbers—it’s what they do—but the NHL results are uneven at best:
- Rob Schremp NHLE final junior season: 63 points; Per 82NHL games: 39 points
- Dave Bolland NHLE final junior season: 54 points; Per 82NHL games: 39 points
- Sergei Kostitsyn NHLE final junior season: 55 points; Per 82NHL games: 41 points
- Patrick Kane NHLE final junior season: 62 points; Per 82NHL games: 83 points
- Sam Gagner NHLE final junior season: 55 points; Per 82NHL games: 47 points
- Patrick Maroon NHLE final junior season: 35 points; Per 82NHL games: 35 points
- Nazem Kadri NHLE final junior season: 41 points; Per 82NHL games: 49 points
- Vladislav Namestnikov NHLE final junior season: 28 points; Per 82NHL games: 33 points
- Max Domi NHLE final junior season: 47 points; Per 82NHL games: 52 points
- Matt Tkachuk NHLE final junior season: 49 points; Per 82NHL games: ???
A couple things: Some of these players hung around for their 18 and 19 year old seasons, so that skews things a bit. Second, the underlined players are the ones who NHLE missed badly either way, Schremp to the poor and Kane to plus points (+21 as it turns out). So, Tkachuk most closely resembles Max Domi offensively here, but Domi hung around for two extra seasons. I think Tkachuk might be a better offensive player than pretty much all of the guys on this list—save Kane—and perhaps in a range with Kadri and Domi, with the understanding Tkachuk could spike in his next OHL season. Fair? Early days of course. I would still take the player from Quebec province.
— gary lawless (@garylawless) May 2, 2016
There is always a chance, however slight, one of the top three teams does something crazy. Now, Toronto looks like they know what they are doing (their entire 2015 draft took a step forward) and Winnipeg has a growing reputation for being a quality team at the draft (they had some wobble in their 2015 draft—Jansen Harkins, their second-round pick, struggled). Columbus had a solid draft and Jarmo Kekalainen will have fabulous intel on the Finns. I don’t think Edmonton gets a chance at any of the consensus top three overall, but a veteran GM like Peter Chiarelli will no doubt hold on to the pick just in case.
— Calgary Flames (@NHLFlames) May 3, 2016
Ack! Dammit! This is not good, people. Bruce Boudreau in Calgary would be ass in one way, fabulous in another. Hartley’s style fit my idea of the Flames (1970s) but Boudreau would have that team firing on all pistons by Christmas. Lordy.
Ann-Margret, 1962. Photo by Lawrence Schiller: pic.twitter.com/6q8NKugUI6
— Ryan Stewart (@crsryan) February 25, 2016
LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE
Today on the show, 10 this morning on TSN1260:
- Jonathan Willis, Cult of Hockey and Oilers Nation. What should the Oilers do at No. 4?
- Guy Flaming, Pipeline Show. Preview of WHL Finals.
- Scott Cullen, TSN. Draft lottery, playoffs, Blue Jays.
- Andrew Bucholtz, 55-Yard Line. Player safety, and all these retirements.
10-1260 text, @Lowetide on twitter. Talk soon!