Timing is everything. One year ago, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins was coming off a strong season personally and things were looking up for the modern Keon.
RYAN NUGENT-HOPKINS 14-15
- 5×5 points per 60: 2.01 (3rd among regular forwards)
- 5×4 points per 60: 3.62 (5th among regular forwards)
- Corsi for % 5×5: 50.0
- Qual Comp: toughest among regular forwards (1st line opp)
- Qual Team: best teammates among regular forwards (1st line teammates)
- Corsi Rel: 6.5
- Shots on goal/percentage: 178/10.7% (4th among F’s>100 shots)
- Boxcars: 76, 24-32-56
Nuge was playing tough minutes, scored well at evens and was productive with linemates Jordan Eberle and Taylor Hall (with Benoit Pouliot replacing Hall as needed). This past season was not a good one, Nuge was ill and injured and was not as productive with linemates Jordan Eberle and Taylor Hall (with Benoit Pouliot replacing Hall as needed).
RYAN NUGENT-HOPKINS 15-16
- 5×5 points per 60: 1.36 (7th among regular forwards)
- 5×4 points per 60: 4.84 (2nd among regular forwards)
- Corsi for % 5×5: 47.9
- Qual Comp: 2nd toughest among regular forwards (1st line opp)
- Qual Team: 7th best among regular forwards (3rd line teammates)
- Corsi Rel: -0.5
- Shots on goal/percentage: 108/11.1
- Boxcars: 55, 12-22-34
I wonder if Nuge had posted last year’s numbers, would he have been traded by now? RNH is still here, I believe at least partly because the season just past is the freshest memory NHL general managers have of him. Is he the payment for Tyson Barrie? Does that mean a veteran center is also coming in to replace RNH’s minutes? I think those are the biggest questions remaining this summer.
During the second through seventh rounds of the draft, it is pretty easy to miss a few important facts about one of more players chosen. In the case of the Oilers and this blog, I think Matt Cairns may be such a player. The draft day post congratulated this blog for having him on the Top 150 list, and then a brief scouting report. As the days have gone by, I have had a chance to read more about this player—it is an impressive resume.
- Red Line Report (No. 115 overall). We had high hopes for the big d-man early on, but he can’t seem to decide if he’s an offensive puckhandler (which he’s not) or a tough baggage smasher (which he’s not). Source
- Future Considerations (No. 110 overall). Cairns is a highly intelligent, two-way defender who impacts the game in all three zones. A defender that exudes confidence, he could easily fit into most OHL teams’ top four defensively right now. He is a relatively low-upside player, but also a solid bet to play in the NHL with his skill set.
- Black Book (No. 77 overall). Matthew is a big defenseman with a good frame. His skating has experienced some improvements but his first few steps are still a little choppy. Simple has been the key for Cairns. He does a good job playing his man one on one letting the play come to him and attacking at the right time.
- Bob Green: “Big kid, good puck mover, good hockey sense. A little bit raw, maybe, but a big guy that can skate and move the puck.” Source
If the Oilers are done (I think there are additions to come), then Brandon Davidson becomes a very important player. If Oscar Klefom isn’t able to go to begin the season, Davidson would be the obvious choice to step into the top 4D. Of course, Davidson had health issues of his own last year—Dustin Byfuglien is a big man—but he is a key to this defense no matter where he plays.
I have a policy of not quoting articles for 24 hours after they appear via MSM, so will not directly quote this Rob Tychkowski article from the Edmonton Journal. It is highly recommended, as Todd McLellan speaks about the team and what needed (and needs) to be done. In reading the article, one gets the feeling we are far from seeing the final moves of summer.
I think the Oilers will fit Todd McLellan’s style (and Peter Chiarelli’s) this fall, and we should expect changes that reflect those styles. The things that are driving the procurement in Edmonton—size, grit, battle, whatever word you want to use—are not analytics needs and the overall skill of this roster has and will take a beating.
We have discussed many times that there is more than one way to win, and this Edmonton team is getting a makeover that fits the coach and management. Is Nuge the next man out? On the face of it, I would say no. He absolutely plays a two-way game—something Edmonton has precious little of up front—and has been effective when healthy in these years. Should the Oilers flush RNH to add Tyson Barrie, it is imperative to replace his minutes with a veteran. No way on earth Leon Draisaitl can be asked to step into that role this fall. That said, the blue remains unclear. We wait.
LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE
A fun show this morning, fluid because of a few things happening. At 10, TSN1260:
- Jason de Vos, TSN Soccer Analyst. We will preview the Euro semis. Go Bale!
- Bruce McCurdy, Cult of Hockey. Jupiter, Oilers and other things.
- Andrew Bucholtz, 55-Yard Line. CFL Week 3 just about ready to roll.
- Kirk Luedeke, Red Line Report and New England Hockey Journal. Bruins summer and some draft talk.
10-1260 text, @Lowetide on twitter. See you on the radio!