ALL OR NOTHING AT ALL

Since the turn of the century, the Edmonton Oilers have drafted the following Russian players (with NHL GP):

  1. Alexei Mikhnov 1st rd, 2000 (2)
  2. Alexander Ljubimov 3rd rd, 2000
  3. Evgeny Muratov 9th rd, 2000
  4. Ivan Koltsov 4th rd, 2002
  5. Roman Tesliuk 4th rd, 2004
  6. Slava Trukhno, 4th rd, 2005
  7. Alexander Bumagin 6th rd, 2006
  8. Nail Yakupov 1st rd, 2012 (252)
  9. Daniil Zharkov 3rd rd, 2012
  10. Bogdan Yakimov 3rd rd, 2013 (1)
  11. Anton Slepyshev 3rd rd, 2013 (11)
  12. Ziyat Paigin 7th rd, 2015

I think you could make a case for Yakupov, Yakimov, Slepyshev and Paigin all potentially having NHL careers. In the case of Yakupov, he enters this fall with (basically) the same questions surrounding him as he had in 2012. Last year began well, and then a ridiculous injury cost him a chunk of the season. As luck would have it, the Oilers have another young, unproven RW who will push him—maybe as early as training camp.

Edmonton is in a bit of a spot with the Russian. It is very important for the Edmonton Oilers to get value from Nail Yakupov. His trade value is very low at this time, so the smart play is to bring him to camp, place him on a skill line, and hope he flourishes. Right?

CURRENT DEPTH CHART (LIKELY)

  1. Jordan Eberle
  2. Nail Yakupov
  3. Jesse Puljujarvi (R)
  4. Zack Kassian
  5. Iiro Pakarinen

Problem. The latest draft pick plays the same position, and Nail’s chaos on one line added to a rookie on another may well be too much chaos by plenty. How do the Oilers solve this problem? I talked about this issue last night, and the more I think about it, the stronger I feel this could be an ‘either or’ situation for Nail Yakupov and Jesse Puljujarvi coming out of camp. If the Edmonton Oilers sent JP down, would you be surprised? If Nail ends up on a line with Mark Letestu, would it shock you? As I said yesterday, the Oilers top 9F should be competitive this season, but badly need both Yakupov and Puljujarvi to deliver. What are the odds of this happening?

The smart play might be to send Jesse Puljujarvi to Bakersfield, allowing the Oilers to have more of a ‘complete’ feel on RW. If the Oilers ran this:

  • Milan Lucic—Connor McDavid—Nail Yakupov
  • Benoit Pouliot—Ryan Nugent-Hopkins—Jordan Eberle
  • Patrick Maroon—Leon Draisaitl—Zack Kassian
  • Matt Hendricks—Mark Letestu—Iiro Pakarinen

As much as we might be hesitant to consider Kassian a top 9F option, having two RWs with so much chaos in their game (I assume Puljujarvi will have chaos, perhaps unfairly, but rookies are rookies) brings challenges of its own. My RE has JP playing 15-20 games in the AHL, suspect that is the best route to take with this group.

AND….

I think Lucic—McDavid needs a shooter (ML does not shoot a large amount) and that brings other elements into view. Who are the best shooters for Edmonton? Well, let’s look at shots per 60:

Shots per game

  1. Jesse Puljujarvi 3.06 (49 in 16—Sm-Liiga)*
  2. Eberle 2.51 (173 in 69)
  3. Maroon 2.44 (39 in 16)
  4. Yakupov 2.12 (127 in 60)
  5. Draisaitl 1.85 (133 in 72)
  6. Pakarinen 1.21 (76 in 63)
  7. Kassian 1.17 (42 in 36)

*Puljujarvi numbers based on October 22, 2015 article by Mike Morreale, detailing 49 shots in 16 games—14:38 per night. Source

It is going to be a very interesting fall and season. Edmonton has not placed Nail Yakupov in a good spot for much of his career, but at this point he is probably not as much a priority as in the past. The new reality: Jesse Puljujarvi is the future, Nail Yakupov is attached to a failed past. I suspect this may not end well for the young Russian, and the window is small—possibly 20 AHL games for JP, or less—for him to show well enough to be part of the solution. Narrow window, but he can shoot the puck and JP is somewhat vulnerable to a strong training camp showing by Yakupov.

cagguila

COLLEGE FREE AGENTS

Jimmy Vesey is a free agent today. I cannot imagine the Oilers are in on him but then again no one thought PC would be so active earlier in free agency. Edmonton signed Nick Ellis, Drake Caggiula and Patrick Russell, and Bakersfield signed Joey Benik—or as I like to call it, saving the 2014 draft. Anyone else out there?

John Gilmour is an interesting name (LHD, Calgary pick) who spiked offensively (34, 9-14-23 at Providence College) on the same team as Nick Ellis and Vincent Desharnais. Tanner Lane was an Atlanta Thrashers draft pick, incredible how quickly that team has been forgotten—the Oakland Seals never faded away like the Thrashers, not one time. Quentin Shore is 6.02, 183 and performed well (40, 13-15-28 Denver) in the NCAA last season. No idea why Ottawa couldn’t get him signed, but he is a good hockey player based on scouting reports and numbers.

LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE

A fun show this morning as we begin to climb out of the summer heat and get ready for the hockey season. TSN1260, beginning at 10:

  • Jonathan Willis, Cult of Hockey. We will discuss the depth of the forward group, and Nail v. JP.
  • Scott Cullen, TSN. When is he going to release his fantasy numbers for NHL scoring???? Also, CFL, Olympics, MLB.
  • Guy Flaming, Pipeline Show. Hlinka done, Oil Kings pretty close to rolling.

10-1260 text, @Lowetide on twitter. Giddyup!

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57 Responses to "ALL OR NOTHING AT ALL"

  1. flea says:

    Anyone else think Yakupov is the guy they lose in expansion? I can’t see McPhee passing on him if he’s still on the Oilers.

  2. PaperKurtRussell says:

    Rookies gonna Rook. Pretty safe assumption LT, especially on this team.

  3. Ca$h-McMoney! says:

    If I’m GM right now I’m looking for guys on 1 year contracts on teams at or near the cap that are overpaid relative to production, ideally on a team with a real shot at the cup.

    Could we pry Tommy Wingels (18 points last year after 38 and 36 point seasons) out of SJ? NHL roster(ish) player, maybe a pick, maybe a prospect as the price? $2.8 million dollar salary this year, If SJ takes back $1m or less then that frees up a ton of cap space for them to use at the deadline to acquire a big piece. Something built around Lander or Iiro maybe?

    Mark Streit ($5.2m) out of Philly would be my D target.

    You add these two players, then the following players are on the farm to start the year:

    Nurse
    Reinhart
    Caggiula (sic)
    Pulijarvi (sic sic)
    Slepyshev
    Khaira

    Lineup:

    Pouliot/Nuge/Ebs
    Lucic/McDavid/Yak
    Maroon/Drai/Wingels
    Hendricks/Letestu/Kassian
    Packattack

    Klef/Larsson
    Sekera/Streit
    Davidson/Fayne
    Oesterle

  4. corbs says:

    I like your line combos but I think I move Pouliot to the third line and have Lucic and Maroon swap in and out. If Lander has a good camp I play Leon on RW at times but it’s definitely a very short leash for Lander.

  5. mit167 says:

    LT, thanks for all the posts. You have been my hockey fix all summer, and I appreciate it.

    I’m still worried about Line ups. I think if the idea is to get bigger and tougher to play against then we need to insulate our skilled players with players that can cover the bet and then some. So who are the Lucic types.

    Players we should protect: RNH, CMD, Ebs

    Players that should be alright: Pou, Yak, Drai, Paki, Letestu

    Players that cover the bet and then some: Lucic Kassian, Maroon, Hendricks

    So if we started with a line up that spread out the last 4 across all lines could we still have a competitive team both physically and on the score board?

    Lucic ? ?
    Maroon ? ?
    ? ? Kassian
    Hendricks ? ?

    or

    Lucic ? ?
    ? ? Kassian
    Maroon ? ?
    Hendricks ? ?

  6. kinger_OIL says:

    – Great post LT!: I hadn’t fully appreciated the implication of pulju on Yak untill you framed it here.

    – You do a RE on the team, I look forward to it (and god bless you, predict playoffs almost every year!). If they can be .500 untill the trade deadline, that’s a god objective IMO

  7. Ca$h-McMoney! says:

    PaperKurtRussell,

    I thought your handle “paper kurt russell” was a play on the term “paper tiger” substituting in Kurt Russell, whom I remembered as being the sensei from the bad dojo in Karate Kid with a tiger logo.

    Then I realized that’s not Kurt Russell.

    Then I realized the bad dojo has a cobra, not a tiger, on the uniform.

    So now I’m just lost.

  8. Clay says:

    flea:
    Anyone else think Yakupov is the guy they lose in expansion? I can’t see McPhee passing on him if he’s still on the Oilers.

    If Davidson was also available, I’d take him 10 times out of 10. Not as sexy as far as name recognition to draw in attention in Vegas, but would go much farther in helping them win.

  9. dykema8 says:

    For the expansion draft we only risk losing one player total correct?

  10. Water Fire says:

    flea:
    Anyone else think Yakupov is the guy they lose in expansion? I can’t see McPhee passing on him if he’s still on the Oilers.

    Maybe he likes him, but as LT has said Las Vegas needs to come out strong, and unless Yak really hits his stride there are probably more knowingly helpful players on the Oilers.

    Add to that if Yak gets it going they might want to cash that value as opposed to giving it away, if trades are happening much this season.

  11. dustrock says:

    If McDavid told Yakupov to simply get to the net and keep your stick down last year, it really seemed to work.

    Yakupov works hard, has a hard shot, and can skate well enough.

    People spoke about his impact as a “trailer” or “finisher” on the play and I wonder if that’s how he works with McDavid.

    CM97 might be the only one who can work regularly with Yakupov’s chaos.

    LT, the only other factor here with JP is McLellan – typically in San Jose, he wasn’t a huge fan of overplaying rookies, and even if he did, they were playing with guys like Thornton and Pavelski.

    Then last year obviously he’s playing McDavid, but Draisaitl got sent down after a pretty decent training camp, and I think that’s significant. He identified Davidson pretty quickly but BD is a bit more seasoned.

    The only anomaly to me was really Nurse, but that might have been an issue of “I need to field the best D I have available, sorry Darnell”.

    So McLellan might be pushing Chiarelli (pray for Mojo) towards getting another veteran winger.

    Pray for Mojo.

  12. John Chambers says:

    flea:
    Anyone else think Yakupov is the guy they lose in expansion? I can’t see McPhee passing on him if he’s still on the Oilers.

    If I’m George McPhee I take Griffin Reinhart.

  13. leadfarmer says:

    So his coach in finland played him less than 15 min a night and he is coming off an injury. If he is on the opening night roster that means these guys have not learned their lessons or the lessons of their predecessors. He should play another season in Finland, start the following season in the AHL and if he is ready then he should be brought up and sheltered. One day I hope this team realizes that the NHL is not a development league.

  14. ironsight says:

    LT – just a quick note on your shot/game calculations. In the SM-Liiga, they count shots AT net, or what we’d define as individual Corsi events. With that context, here’s how each of the same players fared on a iCorsi/60 basis last season:

    Yakupov 15.5
    Eberle 14.4
    Jesse Puljujarvi 13.9 (SML)
    Pakarinen 12.4
    Maroon 11.28 (full season)
    Kassian 10.3
    Draisaitl 9.8

    Hall 18.0 **weeps**

    Also, somehow Ovie magically leads the NHL in iCorsi at 29, light years ahead of #2 Tarasenko at 22.2!

  15. Klima's_Bucket says:

    John Chambers,

    If you’re George McPhee you trade Filip Forsberg for Martin Erat.

  16. Klima's_Bucket says:

    From that list of college Free Agents you can cross FLA’s Eddie Wittchow off the list.
    He signed an AHL contract with the Panthers affiliate.

  17. dustrock says:

    leadfarmer:
    So his coach in finland played him less than 15 min a night and he is coming off an injury.If he is on the opening night roster that means these guys have not learned their lessons or the lessons of their predecessors.He should play another season in Finland, start the following season in the AHL and if he is ready then he should be brought up and sheltered.One day I hope this team realizes that the NHL is not a development league.

    Right – the injury factor is another big issue.

    Keep in mind with Draisaitl last season, Gord knows the Oilers weren’t drowning in talented forwards at that time, Draisaitl was coming off a WHL and Memorial Cup MVP season, and it was his 2nd kick at training camp.

    He played well and was still sent down. I think there’s a good chance the same happens to Jarvi.

  18. Lowetide says:

    ironsight:
    LT – just a quick note on your shot/game calculations. In the SM-Liiga, they count shots AT net, or what we’d define as individual Corsi events. With that context, here’s how each of the same players fared on a iCorsi/60 basis last season:

    Yakupov 15.5
    Eberle 14.4
    Jesse Puljujarvi 13.9 (SML)
    Pakarinen 12.4
    Maroon 11.28 (full season)
    Kassian 10.3
    Draisaitl 9.8

    Hall 18.0 **weeps**

    Also, somehow Ovie magically leads the NHL in iCorsi at 29, light years ahead of #2 Tarasenko at 22.2!

    Thanks so much for this! Will change when I am off the air. Appreciated! 🙂

  19. jimmers2 says:

    Bravo for the choice of song, LT. So fitting for this player.

  20. Klima's_Bucket says:

    Who are these quotes about?

    “He’s an elite scorer,” McDavid said “He’s used to finding those soft spots and getting open and getting it away quick. He’s pretty good at that.”

    “He’s a big body, has a great shot and he can skate,” said McDavid. “It’s that combination of size and skill that is pretty dangerous. Obviously, he’s a pretty elite player.”

    “He’s really starting to open our eyes to what he’s capable of doing,” said Oilers head coach Todd McLellan. “He has the ability to play a hard, heavy game and use his frame. He’s got a good shot and he’s able to play with speed and grinders. I think he’s getting better day after day and we’re excited about having him in the organization.”

  21. flea says:

    Water Fire: Maybe he likes him, but as LT has said Las Vegas needs to come out strong, and unless Yak really hits his stride there are probably more knowingly helpful players on the Oilers.

    Add to that if Yak gets it going they might want to cash that value as opposed to giving it away, if trades are happening much this season.

    Sure, but every team knows the Oilers will have to expose him. That is going to affect his value. Maybe he can appreciate to a first round pick at max? Any team that takes him will also have to protect him as well.

    What’s better? Losing Yak for nothing, or losing Reinhart and Yakupov for a 1st round pick (maximum). I’d prob rather hold on to Reinhart and drop Yakupov, even though there is no compensation.

  22. JDï™ says:

    Klima’s_Bucket: Who are these quotes about?

    Pou?

  23. Klima's_Bucket says:

    JDï™,

    Guess again.

  24. Jethro Tull says:

    Klima’s_Bucket:
    JDï™,

    Guess again.

    Lenny Pettrell?

  25. Klima's_Bucket says:

    ohhell,

    Bingo!

    Anton Slepyshev.

    I wouldn’t count him out on winning a spot on the right side.

  26. Soup Fascist says:

    Klima’s_Bucket:
    Who are these quotes about?

    “He’s an elite scorer,” McDavid said “He’s used to finding those soft spots and getting open and getting it away quick. He’s pretty good at that.”

    “He’s a big body, has a great shot and he can skate,” said McDavid. “It’s that combination of size and skill that is pretty dangerous. Obviously, he’s a pretty elite player.”

    “He’s really starting to open our eyes to what he’s capable of doing,” said Oilers head coach Todd McLellan. “He has the ability to play a hard, heavy game and use his frame. He’s got a good shot and he’s able to play with speed and grinders. I think he’s getting better day after day and we’re excited about having him in the organization.”

    Elite scorer was the give away – Anton Lander.

    Where do I pick up my prize?

  27. tlatos says:

    Yakupv should play with McDavid anything else and its bad asset management. Pump and dump or unlock the value in Yak. Also frees up Eberle for a solid second line (Poo-RNH-Ebs) which at one point was our first line….

    After that sign Hudler (~$2.5-$3mm) and Wisnieski (~$1.5-$2mm) both one year. JP starts in AHL for at least half year and to manage cap isssues.

    Thats a team i can believe in, right now 11 season out of playoffs for sure.

  28. Jethro Tull says:

    Ice time on the same line as one of the best players in the game should be earned. We have to stop gifting young developing players cherry minutes.

    He should play on the top line in order to pad his numbers and increase his trade value. He has to play with skill as he is a skill player.

    The two schools of thought that are represented here this wonderful blog.

    I’d like to weigh in. With analytics becoming increasingly in the public eye and available to all, the pump and dump is dead. Perhaps it’s never been a real thing anyway. All you’re proving is that a guy can play with another guy. And if he turns out to be successful there? Why trade him? You now have a guy on a value contract contributing meaningfully. If he turns out to be terrible? Great, you’ve just wasted cherry minutes that could have gone to a player that could have done something with them. Bravo. May even have cost you a game or two. Ouch. And now no-one will touch him.

    The whole point of putting someone in an elevated position, hoping they’ll succeed just so you can trade his ass doesn’t hold water. Unless you think that the other 29 GMs in the league don’t have the skinny on the player in question. I would rather play a guy in an elevated position and just hope he succeeds.

  29. Kepler62 says:

    “The Oakland Seals never faded away like the Thrashers, not one time”

    Except that time that you’d be be hard pressed to find a group of 10 “under-30’s” and have 2 of them name the Oakland Seals as a past NHL team.

  30. Oil2Oilers says:

    Yakupov living up to his promise is my biggest hope for the season. I can no longer even imagine an Oilers team making the playoff’s. But Yak spending the year on McDavid’s wing I can just about envision despite it being very unlikely.

  31. russ99 says:

    dustrock:

    People spoke about his impact as a “trailer” or “finisher” on the play and I wonder if that’s how he works with McDavid.

    CM97 might be the only one who can work regularly with Yakupov’s chaos.

    The problem is that Draisaitl would be a vastly better option as the RW trailer on a McDavid line and he’s better on the cycle and solid without the puck too, neither of which is a strength of Yak’s.

  32. stevezie says:

    dustrock: Pray for Mojo.

    We’re friends now

  33. GCW_69 says:

    I agree on the either or with Yak and JP. If this team wants to win, it’s the best scenario.

    Following the logic through, it has interesting implications for expansion.

    Potential outcomes:

    1: Yak craters at NHL level and JP rocks the AHL. Yak becomes expansion fodder, Davidson easier to protect.

    2: Yak rocks at NHL level and JP struggles in the AHL. You probably need to pick between Davidson and Yak for expansion, or trade one.

    3: Yak craters at NHL level and JP struggles in the AHL. Yak becomes expansion fodder, Davidson easier to protect. Team slides back towards lottery. Panic ensues with oilers management.

    4: Yak rocks at NHL level and JP rocks the AHL. Does Yak become trade bait with JP pushing him out?

    It’s the Oilers, so I don’t expect outcome 4 to come to pass, but it would be interesting if it did.

  34. Jethro Tull says:

    GCW_69,

    I’m not sure where Davidson comes in, as he’s a LHD who can play a bit of right.

    Yak playing badly doesn’t protect Davidson, as presumably a team looking at the Oilers roster will have a list of needs. If they need a skill top 6 RW and Ebs and Yak are protected, it’s unlikely that they’ll take Davidson instead.

  35. flyfish1168 says:

    GCW_69:
    I agree on the either or with Yak and JP. If this team wants to win, it’s the best scenario.

    Following the logic through, it has interesting implications for expansion.

    Potential outcomes:

    4: Yak rocks at NHL level and JP rocks the AHL. Does Yak become trade bait with JP pushing him out?

    It’s the Oilers, so I don’t expect outcome 4 to come to pass, but it would be interesting if it did.

    I would look at tading Eberle then. He would become UFA sooner and is more costly then the other 2.

    Don’t get me wrong I have an Eberle jersey but I think he would be worth more than Yak even if Yak rocks it.

  36. Oilspill says:

    flea:
    Anyone else think Yakupov is the guy they lose in expansion? I can’t see McPhee passing on him if he’s still on the Oilers.

    They can pick the BEST available player from any team. Will Yak be the best available?

  37. Oilspill says:

    John Chambers: If I’m George McPhee I take Griffin Reinhart.

    He’s a #8 guy. I’m assuming you’re jest in.

  38. Soup Fascist says:

    russ99: The problem is that Draisaitl would be a vastly better option as the RW trailer on a McDavid line and he’s better on the cycle and solid without the puck too, neither of which is a strength of Yak’s.

    I don’t necessarily disagree. I have long been advocating Drai as a RW until he gets his feet under him a bit in the league.

    Here is the cynic in me coming to the surface. Do you want Drai to have a “career year” in the last year of his ELC playing RW with the next great centre in the league? Or is it better for McD’s RW to be a veteran signed for the long term or a guy who has underperformed that you would like to “pump and dump”.

    Again not trying to go all tin foil hat here, but Drai putting up a ton of points going into his contract year and then having to re-up McDavid a year later to a 8 figure contract is not good for salary control.

    While I think Drai and McDavid could be a very good pair, I wouldn’t expect it to be a move the coach makes for a year or two.

  39. pts2pndr says:

    The entire hockey world was wrong when Yakipov was the unanimous choice as first overall selection??
    Yak did very well first year against western conference only his first year but shooting percentage unsustainable.
    Early in second year Yak benched for five games to set an example to rest of the team saying if I can do it to a first overall draft choice I can and will do it to YOU!
    Yak confidence destroyed and poster boy for whipping boy cover for remainder of tenure of new coach.
    Last year new coach has to work with a young man whose confidence has been shattered, while trying to implement a new system and fix an entire team that is broken!
    I believe that young Yakipov deserves a chance playing with skill players to prove that the conscensous choice for first overall draft pick was actually wise and make this a win win scenario for both him and the team!
    MSM and a number of Oiler fans want to jump on the throw Yakipov to the no value side of the ledger and I think this could be an epic error!

  40. Yeti says:

    Is it certain that Yak will be RW rather than LW? He’s played chunks on both sides.

  41. Soup Fascist says:

    Yeti:
    Is it certain that Yak will be RW rather than LW? He’s played chunks on both sides.

    Bumping Lucic, Pouliot or Maroon?

    Because Yak does NOT work as a 4th liner in this or any other Galaxy.

  42. John Chambers says:

    Oilspill: He’s a #8 guy. I’m assuming you’re jest in.

    No. Griff is a young cost-controlled defenseman who will just be emerging as an NHL player. If Las Vegas were to grab 29 similar players they would be positioning themselves very well for 3-4 seasons into their existence.

  43. GCW_69 says:

    Jethro Tull:
    GCW_69,

    I’m not sure where Davidson comes in, as he’s a LHD who can play a bit of right.

    Yak playing badly doesn’t protect Davidson, as presumably a team looking at the Oilers roster will have a list of needs.If they need a skill top 6 RW and Ebs and Yak are protected, it’s unlikely that they’ll take Davidson instead.

    The Oilers have to protect Lucic, Eberle, Nuge, Leon, Sekera, Larsson and Klefbom. That’s seven. From they’re they have to decide if they protect seven forwards and three defenders or any eight skaters. So, if Yak rocks it and you want to protect him, you have to expose Davidson. If you want to protect Davidson, you have to expose Yak, or trade him prior to expansion. How well Yak does is directly linked to Davidson.

  44. GCW_69 says:

    flyfish1168: I would look at tading Eberle then. He would become UFA sooner and is more costly then the other 2.

    Don’t get me wrong I have an Eberle jersey but I think he would be worth more than Yak even if Yak rocks it.

    That’s another way to go. Problem with that is, if you get an NHL player in return that is expansion eligible, you have to protect that player. Protecting that player still pushes Davidson into the draft.

    The expansion draft could not have come at a worst time for the Oilers.

  45. Ice Sage says:

    season not played:
    Interesting.

    http://edmontonjournal.com/sports/hockey/nhl/cult-of-hockey/connor-mcdavid-taylor-hall-and-how-the-kohler-effect-can-change-the-oilers-dynamic

    That’s an interesting, if wishy-washy read.
    I don’t think there’s any way to make trading Taylor Hall into an ‘addition by subtraction’ narrative but I agree with some of the subtext that Hall’s departure is removing a distraction.

    Damn these Olympics, stealing my Oiler mojo

  46. OF17 says:

    Ice Sage: That’s an interesting, if wishy-washy read.
    I don’t think there’s any way to make trading Taylor Hall into an ‘addition by subtraction’ narrative but I agree with some of the subtext that Hall’s departure is removing a distraction.

    Damn these Olympics, stealing my Oiler mojo

    I don’t think it’s addition by subtraction in the usual sense, but there could be something to the leadership mix, and thus team cohesion, being better with Hall out of the picture.

    We don’t get many views of the locker room dynamic, but those we got showed Hall as a dominant personality and guys like Eberle, Nuge, and Yak as more deferent. McDavid seems to be cut more from the Nuge cloth than from the Hall cloth, and as the undisputed leader among peers, he may free the others to stop deferring to Hall so much and assert themselves more.

    At the same time, Lucic fills the boisterous, in-your-face leadership role, but this time as a much more established and veteran player. In some ways he really is the perfect person for a young room that’s lacked direction. Top-line forward, been to two Stanley Cup Finals, won a Cup, played for organizations that account for 3 of the last 6 Cups, is known for his commitment to fitness, is known as one of the most difficult guys to play against in the league, is known for sticking up for teammates above all else. When a guy like that chews you out for something, you’re more likely to take it productively than if it were Hall because of the huge amount of respect he’s built over his years in the league.

    On-ice contributions aside, I think the swap of Hall for Lucic in that leadership role is an improvement, not because I think Hall is a dink or anything but because Lucic is the exact sort of leader this team has been lacking the entire rebuild. At the same time, I think McDavid’s personality is a better match for getting the most out of the rest of the team in the leader among peers role.

    All things being equal, I feel much better about the leadership mix now than I did at the beginning of the summer.

  47. Oilspill says:

    If they pick 29 guys who haven’t proven anything they are in a world of hurt.

    John Chambers: No. Griff is a young cost-controlled defenseman who will just be emerging as an NHL player. If Las Vegas were to grab 29 similar players they would be positioning themselves very well for 3-4 seasons into their existence.

  48. Yeti says:

    OF17,

    I don’t know. They’ve been trying to bring in the steely, veteran leadership, ‘really ties the room together’ kind of guy for a while now. Ference, Hendricks and now Lucic. This reflects a Lowe, MacT philosophy that character is the most important determinant of success. From my perspective, it’s not veteran leadership that the team has missed over the past five years, it’s good players. That and poise. Truckloads of poise.

  49. treevojo says:

    Yeti:
    OF17,

    I don’t know. They’ve been trying to bring in the steely, veteran leadership, ‘really ties the room together’ kind of guy for a while now. Ference, Hendricks and now Lucic. This reflects a Lowe, MacT philosophy that character is the most important determinant of success. From my perspective, it’s not veteran leadership that the team has missed over the past five years, it’s good players. That and poise. Truckloads of poise.

    Yeti,

    One of these things isn’t like the others. Lucic provides the same things as those guys but also is able to back it up with first line play.

  50. OF17 says:

    Yeti,

    I think the difference with Lucic is that he’s a better player by orders of magnitude. It’s one thing to know what to say, but if your actual on-ice ability is a 4th liner or 3rd pairing D, you don’t have much authority. The last legitimately good NHLer we had known for leadership was Horcoff, and you could see the difference he made with young players. Lucic being a good player also increases the number of things he can give guidance on. Hendricks isn’t much use in showing you how to transition a cycle into an offensive chance, for instance.

    Regardless though, I think the Oilers’ leadership troubles have come from not having enough Lucic-Hendricks-Ference presences, not from those presences being without merit. I of course agree that having good players is the first priority by a mile, but I find it hard to believe that the presence of a leader like Toews had no effect on the efficacy of others in the lineup. Lucic is the closest thing we’ve had to a Toews since who, Pronger?

    For clarity, not saying Lucic is Toews or Pronger, just that he’s from that tree of leaders.

  51. Revolved says:

    It is such a shame that Oilers fans have given up on Yakupov and placed their hopes in another rookie. I agree with others here that he showed very well last year – his near even xGF% and CF% are a big step – and that he just needs an opportunity to succeed.

    I believe Yakupov can help either McDavid or Draisaitl next year and that the Oilers would be foolish to play him with Letestu or trade him for less than full value. It hurt to lose Hall, but we also watched a whole winter of crap in order to acquire this young man. Maybe Katz will pull some strings in his favour again!

  52. Jethro Tull says:

    Revolved:
    It is such a shame that Oilers fans have given up on Yakupov and placed their hopes in another rookie. I agree with others here that he showed very well last year – his near even xGF% and CF% are a big step – and that he just needs an opportunity to succeed.

    I believe Yakupov can help either McDavid or Draisaitl next year and that the Oilers would be foolish to play him with Letestu or trade him for less than full value. It hurt to lose Hall, but we also watched a whole winter of crap in order to acquire this young man. Maybe Katz will pull some strings in his favour again!

    Well, SOME fans have given up on him.

    I think McDavid or Draisaitl will help Yak more than he will help them.

  53. Woogie63 says:

    I have tickets for the FC Barcelona v. Seville game Wednesday night….. Kick-off is 11:00 PM, local time.

    I am never going to complain about the Oilers playing the second game on HNIC..

  54. pocession charge says:

    Woogie63:
    I have tickets for the FC Barcelona v. Seville game Wednesday night….. Kick-off is 11:00 PM, local time.

    I am never going to complain about the Oilers playing the second game on HNIC..

    That’s Spain. 9 or 10pm dinner, 11pm game, go out to the club after and go to bed at 5 or 6am. Sleep all day.

  55. YKOil says:

    I like the ‘Yak on 1st’ idea. Best idea imo.

    Also, this team has pooched the bed many-a-time with butter minutes to emerging players (read: almost all high-pedigree forwards) and then overpaying them. The Gagner experience taught them nothing.

    THAT, as much or more than anything, is why 10 years. It is why, in my darkest fandom moments, I don’t see a Stanley Cup in this teams future.

    So expect Puljujarvi to get the big boost and if Drai gets big play with McDavid it won’t surprise me at all.

    The play here is to play Yak with McDavid and either trade him at the deadline or make him McPhee’s favoured Oiler. It is the Best play and the only play a smart team makes.

    McPhee will get one of Yakupov or Reinhart along with a 3rd or 4th to ensure he takes the one PC wants. Davidson could be on that list if he rocks the world again – which is as good a reason as any to play him off-hand on 3rd pair with Nurse – and NOT give him too many PP minutes.

    Here is a question – if Yakupov has a good year and Reinhart continues to improve and Davidson does well and get better (again) – if the Oilers 1st is in the 11-14 range… do you trade it to McPhee as long as he takes Fayne and one of Musil/Simpson/Oesterle/Laleggia?

    I admit, I do not know the market that will form come this expansion draft but if all the arrows on my established guys are good then maybe I do not want to watch them walk.

    It’s a question.

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