NO SUGAR TONIGHT

The RE series (just completed) suggests we are about to see a drastic downturn in rookie Oilers this coming season. That is generally a good thing, although impact rookies are always in season.

2015-16 ACTUAL ROOKIE TOTALS, EDMONTON OILERS

OILERS ROOKIES 15-16

  • Connor McDavid made last year’s rookie crop the best for Edmonton since the boys on the bus—no matter who else joined him as part of the rookie class.
  • Brandon Davidson, Darnell Nurse, Griffin Reinhart, Jordan Oesterle. Jujhar Khaira and Laurent Brossoit have a chance to have NHL careers.
  • For the coming year, Edmonton will rely on McDavid and men like Nurse, Davidson, Reinhart and Brossoit could play substantial roles.

2016-17 RE ROOKIE PROJECTIONS, EDMONTON OILERS

OILERS PROJECTED ROOKIES 16-17

  • The RE projection has Jesse Puljujarvi as the only substantial rookie, but guys like Khaira, Caggiula and Brossoit have a chance to play larger roles.
  • Joey Laleggia, David Musil and Dillon Simpson all have a chance to get some NHL time this year, should be interesting to see if any emerge.
  • I completed the RE projections long before Matt Benning arrived on the scene, but there is a good chance he makes his NHL debut this season.

Paigin has now missed two games in a row after playing the first two games of the year. This is disappointing, and resembles his handling a year ago (before Paigin was traded to Sochi and blossomed). It could be injury—Russian information on this kind of thing is often slow—but the start of Paigin’s season is not going well. Playing time is important for a young player, this is the kind of thing that can happen to young players in those European leagues. Long season, plenty of track to go.

MINOR LEAGUE DEALS

The Bakersfield Condors have quite a few AHL contracts at this point, and most of them have been spent on physical players. Let’s have a quick look at the group:

  • L Scott Allen, 26. He played for Norfolk a year ago and my guess is that he plays a major role in 2016-17 Bakersfield.
  • C Joey Benik, 24. Small, nifty offensive player who will need to push his way into the lineup.
  • C Josh Currie, 23. Effective forward a year ago returns on a one-year deal.
  • R Jaedon Descheneau, 21. Highly skilled junior winger turning pro. Scored over 100 goals in his final three WHL seasons.
  • L Ryan Hamilton, 31. Veteran leader will play major minutes and fill a mentor role.
  • R Joel Rechlicz, 29. Enforcer will no doubt be a popular player in Bakersfield.
  • RD Frank Simonelli, 23. Minor league option, he is righthanded and has pro experience.
  • LD Mikael Tam, 25. A bit of a wild card, suspect he may see Norfolk in the fall.

A year ago, Bakersfield had AHL contracts like Josh Winquist and Marco Roy, this year (I feel) there are fewer skill players and more beef. The players I am most interested in following in this group? Benik Currie, Descheneau.

HE HAS TO EARN IT!

I had another exchange—it is now over 30, I am sure—about deploying Nail Yakupov on the top line with Connor McDavid. I have suggested for some time that this is a wise idea for multiple reasons—chief among them is that it spreads the wealth over three lines and makes Edmonton more dangerous 5×5. The other major reason I have Yakupov on the top line? He is ill-suited for the Nuge line and I refuse to believe Yakupov need to go on a soft minutes line ahead of Puljujarvi.

OILERS PROJECTED OPENING NIGHT LINEUP

OILERS PROJECTED ROSTER AUG 17

NAIL YAKUPOV 15-16

  • 5×5 points per 60: 1.35 (8th among regular forwards)
  • 5×4 points per 60: 3.46 (7th among regular forwards)
  • Corsi for % 5×5: 49.2
  • Qual Comp: 10th toughest among regular forwards (4line opp)
  • Qual Team: 8th best teammates among regular forwards (fourth-line teammates)
  • Corsi for % Rel 5×5: 2.3
  • Shots on goal/percentage: 127/6.3
  • Boxcars: 60GP, 8-15-23 .383

VOLLMAN SLEDGEHAMMER

VOLLMAN RW

Yakupov is in an area of the graph where we would want to see more production, but remember he was also hurt so part of last season was spent at less than 100 percent. Yakupov playing with McDavid makes so much sense, and the only argument against it is ‘he hasn’t earned it’ and that isn’t really an argument that holds water. If the Oilers are determined to win as many games as possible, then spreading the wealth over the entire roster makes sense. Nail is a divisive figure, I get that, so let’s frame the issue a different way. Let’s ask ourselves all the ways we can find three somewhat equal lines on this team? Nail on Connor’s wing: It’s the right thing to do.

LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE

A fun, busy show with a universal theme. 10 this morning, TSN1260 and scheduled to appear:

  • Bruce McCurdy, Cult of Hockey. Where to play Yak and is there something out there?
  • Derek Taylor, TSN. CFL stats fetishist is compelling and interesting.
  • Don Landry, CFL.ca. Massive weekend, probably the biggest of the regular season, straight ahead.
  • Jeff Krushell, Krush Performance. The man who has you sleeping 8 hours a night and drinking coffee guilt free now has amazing evidence about sugar. A must listen.

10-1260 text, @Lowetide on twitter.

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74 Responses to "NO SUGAR TONIGHT"

  1. npanciroli says:

    The team really should be better this year. I think the team is better plus less injuries, better schedule etc.

    Your ideal roster lines up exactly as mine, LT.

    With that said, I am more concerned the Oilers use Draisaitl as a winger and Letestu as the 3C than I am with Yakupov getting on McDavids line.

    If we could add another RHD this team could make the playoffs.

  2. anonymous says:

    Agreed. Strange how Nuge and Ebs both get ‘playing with injuries’ brought up right away when they slump but Yaks high ankle sprain gets buried.

  3. Offside says:

    You agree with Stauffer’s projected lineup except for the right wing order. He has Eberle, Puljujarvi, Yak. Unfortunately, he is probably more accurate at this time

  4. Oilspill says:

    Our bad contracts may cost us a playoff spot. Held out for trade rather than buyouts. Might haunt us.

  5. Ca$h-McMoney! says:

    I still say try to trade for a useful but overpaid player from a team near the cap (Tommy Wingels from SJ being my pick) to fill a hole at F and D.

    I just want so badly to have a good, certainly competent but not great, but complete NHL hockey team BEFORE we start talking about adding anyone under the age of 20 (or even 21) to the roster, generation talents excluded.

    Maroon/Drai/Wingels as the 3rd line please. JP, The Drake, and Sleppy can compete for the skill spot open due to injury in December. Khaira/Pitlick can compete for the bottom 6 injury replacement spot.

  6. npanciroli says:

    Offside:
    You agree with Stauffer’s projected lineup except for the right wing order. He has Eberle, Puljujarvi, Yak. Unfortunately, he is probably more accurate at this time

    I think so too. With that said I’m totally okay with his projected roster as I think worse decisions could be made.

  7. kr55 says:

    Agreed. I want to see Ebs and Nuge together against top competition. They are our veterans now, and we badly need them to earn that 6M producing offense while neutralizing good players. I would still consider a Pouliot-Nuge-Ebs line as our “top line”. That line was awesome for us a couple years back before (I think) Pouliot got injured. That lets McDavid’s line mop up against 2nd best comp, and a line of Lucic-McDavid-Yak should be able to dominate. That’s as good as it gets, 2 good balanced offensive lines, and we still have talent in Drai and Poolparty to have a line that could potentially dominate against 3rd best comp.

  8. Offside says:

    To play devil’s advocate for a second: If we agree that scoring goals in the NHL is very hard to do – is the balanced approach of 3 very good scoring lines a better bet to produce than one supernova line with 2 above average lines? I think reasonable people can have differing opinions on this

  9. stevezie says:

    Fair is a pointless word anyway.

    What is best for the team?

  10. Ducey says:

    anonymous:
    Agreed. Strange how Nuge and Ebs both get ‘playing with injuries’ brought up right away when they slump but Yaks high ankle sprain gets buried.

    Yak has a career high of 33 points. He had 23 in 60 last year.

    Eberle has a career high of 76 points. He had 47 in 69 last year.

    Nuge has had 56 points twice. He had 34 in 55 last year.

    The reason Yak doesn’t get the injury excuse is because he has done F all when healthy. He has not earned the benefit of the doubt – just doubt.

  11. VOR says:

    The thing about Yak is the math is saying he is getting better each and every year. His detractors on the other hand continue to see him bad. In the early days the math and our eyeballs told us the same thing. Now they are telling us different things. The math says this is a vastly improved and improving player who has gotten better while playing for different coaches some of whom really didn’t like him much. He has also been deployed in weird ways. Yet he keeps getting better. Anybody who can lift Korpikoski up can play in the NHL.

    Additionally, I want to say to all those fans who keep saying Lucic will beat some sense into Yakupov or the bees out: I think you misunderstand both players. One of the benefits of playing Yak with Lucic is that Lucic and Yak play a very similar style. They both love the forecheck and the cycle and Lucic is very skilled at it. Yakupov is more wild enthusiasm. From Lucic he will learn how to do it right, when to hold me and when to fold em as it were. Judging by press reports Lucic is demanding of his teammates and believes in accountability but is also an immensely patient teacher. The one thing we know about Yak is he learns. That is what the math tells us. So let’s see, gifted teacher meets gifted student, one loves to pass, one loves to shoot, that couldn’t possibly end well could it?

    Never mind that the two share an other important trait in common. They both love to play hockey. And they aren’t reluctant to let it show. Two heart on their sleeve demon forecheckers playing with the greatest player of his generation, no way that ends well is there?

  12. kinger_OIL says:

    – Great post LT!: I’m willing to wager baring a trade that Sek-Fayne are a pairing next year

    – Hope you are wrong re: Slepy: if he plays 1 game in the NHL next year, he is done as a prospect, and rightly move back to Russia. He needs to win that spot, grow pool-party in AHL.

    – Why is pool-party, 4 years younger, no North American experience, injury, less developed, (but way higher ceiling), any different than Slepy last year? (hint: shiny new toy)

    – Unless they gift him PP minutes with MCD, but that seems like a waste.

    – Will drive me nuts if pool-party gets the royal treatment this year, and Yak: the dregs (again)

  13. Ducey says:

    kinger_OIL:
    – Great post LT!: I’m willing to wager baring a trade that Sek-Fayne are a pairing next year

    – I hope you are wrong about Slepy: if he plays 1 game in the NHL next year, he is done as a prospect, and would rightly move back to Russia.Slepy needs to win that spot, and keep pool-party in AHL…

    – I can’t see pool-party, 4 years younger, no North American experience, coming off an injury, with a performance pedigree similar to Slepy (but way higher ceiling), being any different than Slepy last year

    – Unless they gift him PP minutes with MCD, but that seems like a waste.

    – Will drive me nuts if pool-party gets the royal treatment this year, and Yak: the dregs (again)

    I hope the bonus convinces them to keep JP on the farm for 40 games.

  14. npanciroli says:

    Ducey: I hope the bonus convinces them to keep JP on the farm for 40 games.

    I actually think he brings too much of what the team needs to be successful the first 40 they need him on the team.

    RH shot on the PP (Ovie one timer spot) being the biggest thing. Being a strong possession RW.

    I know a lot of people want to be overly cautious rushing another prospect onto the team, but this team is more balance with better centers than they have had for a long time, JP has played against men and by all accounts is ready for NHL action.

    Also, if Stauffer is on the right track they will play him with Pouliot and RNH – players that have a lot of NHL experience especially playing the tough assignments.

  15. Clay says:

    With the top two D pairings of Klef-Larssson and Sekera-Davidson, and with several big “if’s” (Klefbom healthly, Davidson not regressing), you could make the arguement that Sekera is the 4th best defenceman in the group.

    A defence corps with Sekera as #4 is playoff-calibre.

    Edit: Yes, I’ve been postulating for 4 months on hockey and it’s about this time of year that I’ve warmed up to each edition of the Oilers for the past decade…

  16. B S says:

    npanciroli,

    Played against men in a Swedish league, for limited minutes. Big ice slows the game down, there is more time to read and react. The european leagues are also considerably less physical. add to that his numbers, while excellent for an 18 year old, are not terribly impressive for an NHL player. I expect Puljujarvi to be an excellent winger in a couple of years, but he has little to no experience on NA ice, and is a Rookie. Rookie is gonna rook, regardless of his 2-way reputation. Even McDavid had an adjustment period. It wasn’t until he lined up with Yak that he started producing the way we expected him too. I say give the new toy a year in the AHL to work out the kinks, with occasional NHL spot duty if he warrants it based on his play. Also gives him lots of practice time to recover from his injury and learn the systems.

    As it stands I’m not convinced that Puljujarvi on day one is going to help this team more than Kassian, let alone Yakupov. Need a RH winger, then sign a veteran on a cheap contract.

  17. Henry says:

    A wild-card for the bottom six of the Oilers is Slepyshev. He looked to me to be a better player than he showed with the Condors last year. If he figured out whatever difficulty he was having over this summer, there could be a player there to compete for time on the big club.

  18. rickithebear says:

    Offside:
    To play devil’s advocatefor a second: If we agree that scoring goals in the NHL is very hard to do – is the balanced approach of 3 very good scoring lines a better bet to produce than one supernova line with 2 above average lines? I think reasonable people can have differing opinions on this

    The one that stands out to me is the potential to gain Goals.

    we know
    Lucic LW 80gm will get
    21/22G with a Draisatl and RNH at center.

    Eberle RW
    77gm 26G last 3 years with largely RNH

    Pouliot LW racked
    56gm 16/17G 2 season w/ oilers.

    Kassian RW 73gm will get
    14-15 G with a Draisatl/RNH type center

    Maroon LW with quality center IN ANA
    66gm 10G 22A 32P
    he was showing a 23-30G pace playing w/ McDavid
    A huge potential GF gain!

    Yakupov last 3 years
    13-15
    72gm 12G 16A 28p -34

    15-16
    W/ mcdavid at start of season
    9gm 2G 7A +3
    72gm pace 16G 56A 72P +24

    other games
    51gm 6G 8A -9;
    72gm pace of 8/9G 11A -27

    Playing Yak with Mcdavid likely drags him down on Assists.
    making him a lower 70 point player rather than a 80 point player.

    Yak experienced a
    40%+ increase in Shots/gm
    but his SH% stayed the same. 7.7% (clear targeting issue)

    Maroon
    65%+ increase in shots/gm for a lower shot/gm players.

    Is it better to get a larger SH/gm Bump for a player like Kassin (1.24) who has the 15th best SH% in the league last 3 seasons 14.12%
    likely 8-11G GF jump
    or
    try to salvage yaks career
    with a 3-4 +ve GF affect for the team.

  19. Drew says:

    VOR:
    The thing about Yak is the math is saying he is getting better each and every year. His detractors on the other hand continue to see him bad. In the early days the math and our eyeballs told us the same thing. Now they are telling us different things. The math says this is a vastly improved and improving player who has gotten better while playing for different coaches some of whom really didn’t like him much. He has also been deployed in weird ways. Yet he keeps getting better. Anybody who can lift Korpikoski up can play in the NHL.

    Additionally, I want to say to all those fans who keep saying Lucic will beat some sense into Yakupov or the bees out: I think you misunderstand both players. One of the benefits of playing Yak with Lucic is that Lucic and Yak play a very similar style. They both love the forecheck and the cycle and Lucic is very skilled at it. Yakupov is more wild enthusiasm. From Lucic he will learn how to do it right, when to hold me and when to fold em as it were. Judging by press reports Lucic is demanding of his teammates and believes in accountability but is also an immensely patient teacher. The one thing we know about Yak is he learns. That is what the math tells us. So let’s see, gifted teacher meets gifted student, one loves to pass, one loves to shoot, that couldn’t possibly end well could it?

    Never mind that the two share an other important trait in common. They both love to play hockey. And they aren’t reluctant to let it show. Two heart on their sleeve demon forecheckers playing with the greatest player of his generation, no way that ends well is there?

    why can’t you post more?

    please

    please

    please

  20. Drew says:

    Clay:
    With the top two D pairings of Klef-Larssson and Sekera-Davidson, and with several big “if’s” (Klefbom healthly, Davidson not regressing), you could make the arguement that Sekera is the 4th best defenceman in the group.

    A defence corps with Sekera as #4 is playoff-calibre.

    Edit: Yes, I’ve been postulating for 4 months on hockey and it’s about this time of year that I’ve warmed up to each edition of the Oilers for the past decade…

    i don’t buy, referencing all the good work on “handedness for Dmen” that Davidson on his off wing is better than Sekera playing second pair minutes.
    not trying to be jerk.

  21. VOR says:

    rickithebear,

    I keep meaning to ask you where you were a park warden? I worked in Jasper and Banff a lifetime ago.

    Anyway, I disagree with your analysis. You are contradicting yourself. Ask where Kassian shoots from. Ask where Lucic and McDavid pass the puck to. Kassian is not the right line mate for Lucic or McDavid. Yak and Eberle are. Both shoot from the right area to be effective on a pass from Lucic or McDavid, Puljujarvi might be and is the wild card here but as a newcomer to the NHL we can’t really forecast him. Bascially Kassian needs to get the puck deeper. That would force Lucic and McDavid to alter their games, almost certainly for the worse. You also might want to consider that you need to do what is best for the team, which means what gives the four lines that end up producing the best goals for/goals against.

    For me it isn’t about salvaging Yak’s career. It is about utilizing the best combinations of players to produce the best outcome. Yak with McDavid and RNH with Eberle gives you better possession numbers than any other combination you can propose and possession is at the heart of winning hockey. Or don’t you want to win?

  22. G Money says:

    Drew,

    Seconded and thirded.

  23. npanciroli says:

    B S:
    npanciroli,

    Played against men in a Swedish league, for limited minutes. Big ice slows the game down, there is more time to read and react. The european leagues are also considerably less physical. add to that his numbers, while excellent for an 18 year old, are not terribly impressive for an NHL player. I expect Puljujarvi to be an excellent winger in a couple of years, but he has little to no experience on NA ice, and is a Rookie. Rookie is gonna rook, regardless of his 2-way reputation. Even McDavid had an adjustment period. It wasn’t until he lined up with Yak that he started producing the way we expected him too. I say give the new toy a year in the AHL to work out the kinks, with occasional NHL spot duty if he warrants it based on his play. Also gives him lots of practice time to recover from his injury and learn the systems.

    As it stands I’m not convinced that Puljujarvi on day one is going to help this team more than Kassian, let alone Yakupov. Need a RH winger, then sign a veteran on a cheap contract.

    I think the smart play would have been to sign a player like Vrbata and play it slow with JP, definitely. As it stands he is probably the second or third best RW on the team and likely the best RH option for the PP. That is more of a roster issue though than anything.

    With that said, starting him in the AHL or if he is struggling in the NHL absolutely he should spend time in the AHL. But the same thing should happen if he is dominating the AHL and can help the NHL team.

    I bet he produces well in the NHL though.

    I think developing him in the NHL with our centers isn’t necessarily worse than the AHL, just depends on the player and how it goes. I know that is crazy talk for a lot of people but I don’t buy the NHL can’t be a development league.

  24. rickithebear says:

    VOR:
    Yakupov
    Shooting % last 3 years 7.5% #312/368 forwards
    w/ Mcdavid
    7.7% would be #308/368 forwards.
    so that efficiency of shooting is a very important part of

    Better?
    Well
    -34
    to
    -26 with everyone but Mcdavid is an improvement I guess

    That would rank
    15-16
    #895/898 players
    14-15
    #868/882 players
    13/14
    #876/886

    I sure hope you are correct in Lucic having a settling influence.
    the big one for me is
    PC emphasizing controlled targeting of release.
    which leads to a much higher success rate.
    Yak is 2.04 SH/gm
    get his in the 10.7(first 3 season avg) – 13.7% (first 2 seasons)
    meaning 16-21 goal seasons.

  25. B S says:

    npanciroli,

    Deeper teams can develop players in the NHL, but if the Oilers want to win, they need to stop doing that. Their veteran forward depth includes top 3 centers who are all under 25 years old. two veteran left wings, one veteran skilled RW and Yakupov. I don’t think there’s enough there to shelter JP through his growing pains.

  26. littleenglish says:

    VOR,

    The thing is if Yakupov liked the cycle, he wouldn’t be featured in a starring role as “Verbal” Kint in the Usual Suspects.

    PS. I am not a Yak hater

  27. G Money says:

    rickithebear: Maroon LW with quality center IN ANA
    66gm 10G 22A 32P
    he was showing a 23-30G pace playing w/ McDavid
    A huge potential GF gain!

    Maroon
    65%+ increase in shots/gm for a lower shot/gm players.

    Ah, rickistats. Where sample size concerns can apparently be done away with by sheer volume of numbers!

    No mention that Maroon ran 20+% sh% in his short stint with McDavid, more than double his average over the last five years, and one that if sustained would make him perhaps the most accurate shooter in the history of the NHL.

    No, let’s assume that at age 28, *that’s* the one that will stick!

    No mention that Maroon was the only linemate with regular McDavid icetime who managed to drag McDavid’s line notably below 50% CF%.

    No, let’s assume the small sample less repeatable value will regress towards the large sample more repeatable value, and not the other way around.

    I have no problem with the Oilers trying Maroon on McDavid’s wing again – I mean, lightning sometimes does strike the same place twice, and Maroon’s willingness to dig in corners and to stand in front of the net might overcome speed and defensive issues and continue to prove to be gold for McDavid.

    The numbers don’t suggest the success will be repeatable, but all it will cost you is a bit of experimenting and time to test it out.

    So go ahead and try it. But counting on results that were so anomalous to be the new norm is silly.

    One would hope the Oilers will instead use actual results from last year plus practice and pre-season and early season time (World Cup absences obviously problematic) as the basis for selecting next years wingers that maximize the benefits to the team in the short and long term.

    One suspects it will end up being pre-determined pairs, plus recent draft pedigree that will rule the day.

    So dumb.

    And so very very Oilers.

  28. Woodguy says:

    VOR:
    The thing about Yak is the math is saying he is getting better each and every year. His detractors on the other hand continue to see him bad. In the early days the math and our eyeballs told us the same thing. Now they are telling us different things. The math says this is a vastly improved and improving player who has gotten better while playing for different coaches some of whom really didn’t like him much. He has also been deployed in weird ways. Yet he keeps getting better. Anybody who can lift Korpikoski up can play in the NHL.

    Additionally, I want to say to all those fans who keep saying Lucic will beat some sense into Yakupov or the bees out: I think you misunderstand both players. One of the benefits of playing Yak with Lucic is that Lucic and Yak play a very similar style. They both love the forecheck and the cycle and Lucic is very skilled at it. Yakupov is more wild enthusiasm. From Lucic he will learn how to do it right, when to hold me and when to fold em as it were. Judging by press reports Lucic is demanding of his teammates and believes in accountability but is also an immensely patient teacher. The one thing we know about Yak is he learns. That is what the math tells us. So let’s see, gifted teacher meets gifted student, one loves to pass, one loves to shoot, that couldn’t possibly end well could it?

    Never mind that the two share an other important trait in common. They both love to play hockey. And they aren’t reluctant to let it show. Two heart on their sleeve demon forecheckers playing with the greatest player of his generation, no way that ends well is there?

    Excellent post sir.

    Thank you.

  29. Melman says:

    I too favour Yak with Lucic and McD. In addition to Yak’s past (albeit brief) chem with McD and the benefit of learning from Lucic, I think he’ll also receive the benefit of being the least dangerous option on that line. Opposing D will sphincter tight worrying about McD’s speed and Lucic’s beef. Yak will be an afterthought. Very different from him lining up with Leon and Marroon.

    As fun an exercise as it is to create 3 lines, in truth it’ll be more pairs and juggling Ws as injury and hot/cold streaks work through the season. How many teams lock in 3 lines for 82 games…

  30. Centre of attention says:

    G Money,

    Woodguy,

    Is Cody Franson a possible top 4 option on the right side? Is he better or worse than Fayne at even strength? They are probably equally slow.

    What I’m getting at is that If we acquired Franson, would he bump Fayne to the third pair in your opinion?

    Thanks in advance for any replies.

  31. Ca$h-McMoney! says:

    Centre of attention,

    Worse.

    Different.

    Franson is acceptable as a 3rd pairing guy with PP time. He’s basically an MA Bergeron.

    Fayne is acceptable as a 2nd pairing guy as long as he gets Sekera as a partner, and he can PK.

    I for one am surprised by how far the opinion of Fayne has fallen. I mean, he hasn’t met my expectations from when we signed him (I bought into the stats arguments harder than I should have) but I still feel comfortable with him on my team. Franson I’m not sure I’m comfortable with. Thank god we didn’t give him the 5x5ish contract some were pushing for.

  32. Centre of attention says:

    Ca$h-McMoney!:
    Centre of attention,

    Worse.

    Different.

    Franson is acceptable as a 3rd pairing guy with PP time.He’s basically an MA Bergeron.

    Fayne is acceptable as a 2nd pairing guy as long as he gets Sekera as a partner, and he can PK.

    I for one am surprised by how far the opinion of Fayne has fallen.I mean, he hasn’t met my expectations from when we signed him (I bought into the stats arguments harder than I should have) but I still feel comfortable with him on my team.Franson I’m not sure I’m comfortable with.Thank god we didn’t give him the 5x5ish contract some were pushing for.

    I’m interested to see how they compare at 5 on 5. I have a feeling Cody Franson is just as underrated as Fayne is.

    Very curious to see how they compare vs second pair competition. That’s why I asked the resident analytic wizards to work their magic 😛 I’m no good at gathering numbers let alone understand them.

  33. frjohnk says:

    We have to remember that McDavid is only 19 and with Hall gone, will be facing more of the tough competition compared to last year.

    At the start of the year the Oilers will want to put their best wingers with McDavid so he is put into the best spot to succeed.
    Those wingers are Lucic and EBERLE.

    Doesn’t mean Yak won’t play with McDavid at some pointing the year as injuries, hot/cold streaks happen, but I’d be surprised to see Yak start the season with McDavid.

    But on the other hand, because it’s the Oilers and they have those scratches they need to itch, don’t count out JP on the right side of McDavid early in the year.

  34. G Money says:

    Centre of attention,

    At Cash-Money’s request, I posted a summary of my interpretation of the WoodMoney numbers for Franson in a previous thread, sometime in the last day or two.

    The numbers jump around a bit in a comparison between Fayne & Franson i.e. one is better here, the other better there, but I don’t think the numbers diverge between the two anywhere near enough to reliably choose one or the other at 5v5 (5v4 impact may be another matter).

    Ideally, you don’t want either of them above third pairing, where you can minimize their exposure to top rank competition (where both get caved in a big way).

  35. G Money says:

    If you are comfortable reading my WoodMoney viz (video walkthrough forthcoming!), you can take a look here:

    Fayne: http://i.imgur.com/AZPUq1Z.png

    Franson: http://i.imgur.com/PRykNXO.png

  36. godot10 says:

    GMoney on Franson, from yesterday’s morning thread:

    Taylor Haul 9000 has this to say:
    – Franson was heavily sheltered (23, 36, 41 Elite/Middle/Gritensity TOI%)
    – His raw shot metrics (CF%) make him look like a good second pair option (45%, 50%, 52% vs the same three tiers), as do his CF%Rel vs comp (+1%, +2%, +2%).
    In other words, he seems to do as well or better than the rest of his team vs the same level of competition.
    – The DangerFens agree with Godot’s harsh assessment: 41%, 46%, 55% – he makes all his hay vs the bottom tier players but gets killed vs both top and middle competition. His Rels are negative -2%, -3%, +1% vs the top two tiers as well.
    In other words, even as a sheltered third pair defensemen, he still spends 60% of his time vs top and middle comp, and the sphincters are going to get a helluva workout whenever that happens.
    Which I guess also speaks to Godot’s idea that he needs a vet defenseman to cover for him.
    No wonder Godot is a fan of the WoodMoneys!
    Interesting aside: contrary to what you’d think, Franson’s defense against the middle tier is not that bad (at 35 DFA/60, he’s actually in solid territory). It’s just his ability to create offense (30 DFF/60) disappears against that tier.
    What appears to be happening is that he tries to open up his offense against the top tiers (his DFF/CF rates are actually downsloping i.e. get worse as the competition gets worse, which is *very* unusual), but he gets absolutely smoked by them in terms of what he gives up.
    It’s not until he’s facing the Gazdic’s of the world that he’s able to suppress more chances than he is creating.
    Caveat 1: Have not looked at WOWYs and the effect of his partners, that can make a huge difference
    Caveat 2: He might still be worth it as a sheltered third pairing guy partnered with the highly capable Davidson (*crosses fingers for avoidance of regression*) if he helps create a more dangerous powerplay

  37. Ca$h-McMoney! says:

    G Money,

    My belief, and I could be wrong, is that Fayne is a reasonable though not ideal second pairing guy when paired with Sekera. We don’t know if that’s also true for Franson, hence my preference for Fayne.

    That said if anyone wants to prove me wrong I’ll easily concede the point.

  38. godot10 says:

    Centre of attention: I’m interested to see how they compare at 5 on 5. I have a feeling Cody Franson is just as underrated as Fayne is.

    Franson is a 3rd pairing defensemen at best, who has to play with a veteran to be effective even at that level.

    Fayne can be a 2nd pairing defensemen if he is paired with a mobile puck moving veteran.

    Neither is capable of playing with a young developing D, as both disintegrate when structure breaks down, and are incapable of recovery.

    So Franson is basically useless to the Oilers, a net negative, IMHO. A foreseeable error, just like last year, when people were arguing for duration and money for him.

  39. RPG says:

    VOR,

    More please! This is exactly how I see it as well.

  40. G Money says:

    Ca$h-McMoney!,

    I think that’s quite reasonable.

    Assuming Klef/Larss can handle top comp as well as we think they can as a pair (*crosses fingers for Swedish Nobel-level chemistry*), that will leave Sekera/Fayne with a much easier task.

    One thing that perhaps also needs investigation is what effect the TOI vs intensity has on players.

    If you play easier minutes, it might very well be the case that you do better against the lower comp than you did when you were playing tougher minutes, because of potentially lowered levels of both stress and fatigue. (*pure conjecture warning!*)

    So not only would having Sek/Fayne as a second pairing rather than a first pairing be of significant benefit no matter what, but we might actually see them do better.

  41. godot10 says:

    If Chiarelli doesn’t acquire another D before the season, I expect a Yakupov and Musil for Streit and Read deal, with Philly retaining half of Streit’s salary.

  42. RPG says:

    G Money:
    If you are comfortable reading my WoodMoney viz (video walkthrough forthcoming!), you can take a look here:

    Fayne: http://i.imgur.com/AZPUq1Z.png

    Franson: http://i.imgur.com/PRykNXO.png

    I can’t wait for the video walkthrough, because I simply don’t understand what I’m looking at in those charts.

  43. Woodguy says:

    Centre of attention:
    G Money,

    Woodguy,

    Is Cody Franson a possible top 4 option on the right side? Is he better or worse than Fayne at even strength? They are probably equally slow.

    WhatI’m getting at is that If we acquired Franson, would he bump Fayne to the third pair in your opinion?

    Thanks in advance for any replies.

    I wouldn’t want Franson above 3rd pairing.

  44. rickithebear says:

    VOR:
    At no time do I think Lucic and Kassian should be on the same line.

    I do not think lucic should play with Mcdavid.
    watch his video and space eating.

    Of the goals I watched
    29.7% Front of net.
    23.4% center slot
    14.1% LW/RW to Center slot
    17.2% Driving LW
    15.6% Driving RW

    He
    -direct attacks center dominate
    -right side board attacks
    -Left side board attacks
    -with a cycle option to right side.
    you see a lot of the same Feeding the slot like Gaudreau. it is quit surprising how many.!
    Do not see him cycle under net to left side.

  45. G Money says:

    RPG,

    Acknowledged! I’m also mulling on how to make the viz more readable.

    The challenge of course is that the viz tries to summarize a rather hefty block of information:

    http://i.imgur.com/ERI7nLe.png

    So my walkthrough might also need to include a second mini-tutorial on how to filter the raw data file down to usable amounts of info, for those inclined to do some digging before the site comes online.

  46. rickithebear says:

    G money:

    small sample sizes normalize.

    when looking at the stast we discuss.
    you need about 1 and 2/3 rd seasons data to have faith in the data.

    Trending wise you can look at the start of a trend.
    it can often be at the high or low end of the spectrum.
    and
    will move towards the center.

    the nice thing is you can use video and watch the mechanics of plays to identify any sort of variance in play that leads to an shift in trend.

    Let me know in about Oct 17-18 your opinion, once enough large sampleing has occurred.

    Cause your woodmoney data base is all about Practise; Video………
    and
    Half the game.

    Since day one on any of my discussions relative to WOWY.
    for any data column.

    1. Identify trend
    SH/gm count goes up.

    2. look at as many players to see if trend repeats.
    Sh/gm count goes up.

    3. look for secondary trend.
    shooting % improves

    4. look for reasons players do not follow trend.
    Yaks utter shit targeting Sh% held to approx. 7.5%

    Discuss on Lowetide.

    Continue to follow data for the needed 2-4 years to achieve 1 2/3 seasons TOI.
    provide normalized range for trend.

    I am sorry you are pissy about discussing possible trends.

    we probably should not discuss 1-2 month Game logs.
    cause coaching and systems holds for 3+ years with the oilers.

  47. Frank the dog says:

    VOR:
    The thing about Yak is the math is saying he is getting better each and every year. His detractors on the other hand continue to see him bad. In the early days the math and our eyeballs told us the same thing. Now they are telling us different things. The math says this is a vastly improved and improving player who has gotten better while playing for different coaches some of whom really didn’t like him much. He has also been deployed in weird ways. Yet he keeps getting better. Anybody who can lift Korpikoski up can play in the NHL.

    Additionally, I want to say to all those fans who keep saying Lucic will beat some sense into Yakupov or the bees out: I think you misunderstand both players. One of the benefits of playing Yak with Lucic is that Lucic and Yak play a very similar style. They both love the forecheck and the cycle and Lucic is very skilled at it. Yakupov is more wild enthusiasm. From Lucic he will learn how to do it right, when to hold me and when to fold em as it were. Judging by press reports Lucic is demanding of his teammates and believes in accountability but is also an immensely patient teacher. The one thing we know about Yak is he learns. That is what the math tells us. So let’s see, gifted teacher meets gifted student, one loves to pass, one loves to shoot, that couldn’t possibly end well could it?

    Never mind that the two share an other important trait in common. They both love to play hockey. And they aren’t reluctant to let it show. Two heart on their sleeve demon forecheckers playing with the greatest player of his generation, no way that ends well is there?

    Yak also likes to rough it up a bit, I suspect more so with Lucic hanging around.

  48. Frank the dog says:

    I think many will be surprised at how much better Yak performs this year. I will leave it at that.
    But I agree with you, LT, that the right place for Yak is on CMD’s right wing. Yak will by no means hold either line mate back, I agree that Yak is a one trick pony, but it happens that his trick is a player of cmd’s hockey sense. CMD will tell him where to be and what do and Lucic will tell him how to do it.

  49. RPG says:

    G Money,

    Also, please understand that this is not meant to be negative at all. I find extreme value in analytics. I simply often have difficulty deciphering them. I like the hero charts and the Vollman sledgehammer because I can easily read/understand them.

  50. Bruce McCurdy says:

    Yakupov playing with McDavid makes so much sense, and the only argument against it is ‘he hasn’t earned it’ and that isn’t really an argument that holds water. If the Oilers are determined to win as many games as possible, then spreading the wealth over the entire roster makes sense.

    I’m not sure that Conor Sheary and Bryan Rust “earned” playing time with Sidney Crosby either, yet there they were clicking for overtime goals in the playoffs on their way to the Cup. Putting depth wingers with Sid allowed the Pens to leave Malkin and Kessel on different lines and create matchup hell for the opposition.

    Agree with LT that it’s not about “deserve”, it’s about maximizing your personnel.

  51. LadiesloveSmid says:

    I’ve always processed the “he hasn’t earned it” being in reference to Stauffer talking about Yak’s practice habits dipping as the year went on and he played more and more with Letestu. Where the question is how can you reward him the lottery spot when he’s not earning it in practice

    McD or Drai will do as linemates for me, I think RNH-Eberle click too much to ignore and separate

  52. Centre of attention says:

    Woodguy,

    G Money,

    Thanks for the replies! I pretty much came to the same conclusion.

    The fact you haven’t looked at WOWY’s leaves me slightly interested still. I think Franson has been affected by bad partners and it may have an effect on his DFF% against middle comp.

    Definitely prefer him as a bottom pair option though. It would be difficult to make the money work as well, which is another cause for concern.

    godot10: Franson is a 3rd pairing defensemen at best, who has to play with a veteran to be effective even at that level.

    Fayne can be a 2nd pairing defensemen if he is paired with a mobile puck moving veteran.

    Neither is capable of playing with a young developing D, as both disintegrate when structure breaks down, and are incapable of recovery.

    So Franson is basically useless to the Oilers, a net negative, IMHO.A foreseeable error, just like last year, when people were arguing for duration and money for him.

    Disagree that he is useless, and he wouldn’t be a net negative. This would only be a temporary power play solution IMO, I agree spending term and high dollars on this player is not worth it.

  53. Spengler says:

    G Money,

    One thought I had while reading these, and please forgive me if I’m exposing a horrible (or even mildly distasteful) amount of ignorance about the capabilities of the woodmoney metrics, but would a frequency distribution curve representing the range and frequency of each of the data points be possible? Perhaps with a dot representing the location of said player within the range. This would allow you to clearly see not just the percentage but also where the player fits relatively.

    There’s at least a 78.9% chance I’might completely out to lunch but this fascinates me as I do love a great visual!

  54. G Money says:

    Spengler,

    Oh not at all my good sir (or maam) – that’s a very intriguing idea. Not sure it would be helpful for all the metrics, but I’m thinking showing DFA/60 (i.e. the shots you give up adjusted for danger and TOI) on the curve for defensemen and DFF/60 (i.e. shots you generate adjusted for danger and TOI) on the curve for forwards might be really interesting.

  55. RPG says:

    Bruce McCurdy,

    Excellent point Bruce!

  56. G Money says:

    rickithebear,

    I know trends. I have the best trends. I have a great relationship with the trends.

    I still won’t call an anomaly a trend.

    Oh yeah, and what the hell does this:

    small sample sizes normalize

    even mean?

    Yes, small sample sizes normalize. You can normalize a population, you can normalize a sample size of two.

    The problem is that when you normalize your variance, which for hockey statistics is very high for pretty much anything we track but is especially so for things like sh%, small sample sizes do not decrease the variance enough to draw any remotely valid conclusions from a small sample.

    That’s why we need large samples, Ricki.

    Square root of n, remember? Square root of n. Write it on your pillow!!!

  57. Water Fire says:

    VOR:
    The thing about Yak is the math is saying he is getting better each and every year. His detractors on the other hand continue to see him bad. In the early days the math and our eyeballs told us the same thing. Now they are telling us different things. The math says this is a vastly improved and improving player who has gotten better while playing for different coaches some of whom really didn’t like him much. He has also been deployed in weird ways. Yet he keeps getting better. Anybody who can lift Korpikoski up can play in the NHL.

    Additionally, I want to say to all those fans who keep saying Lucic will beat some sense into Yakupov or the bees out: I think you misunderstand both players. One of the benefits of playing Yak with Lucic is that Lucic and Yak play a very similar style. They both love the forecheck and the cycle and Lucic is very skilled at it. Yakupov is more wild enthusiasm. From Lucic he will learn how to do it right, when to hold me and when to fold em as it were. Judging by press reports Lucic is demanding of his teammates and believes in accountability but is also an immensely patient teacher. The one thing we know about Yak is he learns. That is what the math tells us. So let’s see, gifted teacher meets gifted student, one loves to pass, one loves to shoot, that couldn’t possibly end well could it?

    Never mind that the two share an other important trait in common. They both love to play hockey. And they aren’t reluctant to let it show. Two heart on their sleeve demon forecheckers playing with the greatest player of his generation, no way that ends well is there?

    There is nothing wrong with developing the team ‘s assets to at least retain value. In fact son teams might consider it the way to do it.

    The Oilers aren’t going to win the Stanley this season so it’s not like playing Yak with McDavid will torpedo the year.

    The other aspect is cap strategy. If Yak can produce near to Eberle I’m sure he will work for less and that is going to matter a lot soon enough

  58. RPG says:

    Given that Yak plays poorly with Nuge, it would seem to me the best coarse of action is to put Yak in a position to maximize his production. We know Eberle, Nuge and Pou can get the job done in the absence of Hall. In actual fact, they were dynamite when Hall was out with injury. We also know (sample size alert), that there isn’t a drop in production with 97, whether he plays with 10 or 14. What remains is an opportunity for Maroon/Drai/Puljujarvi to feast on the soft parade, and thus unicorns. I realize there is many ways to look at this, but IMO this IS the best way to achieve a balanced lineup this season. Now just pray for health, goaltending and the Tre Kronor. Simple right?

  59. godot10 says:

    G Money,

    Visualization idea: A Vollman type of chart.

    x-axis: Gritensity (DFF%-50)
    y-axis: Middle (DFF%-50)
    bubble: Elite (DFF%-50) colour-coded

    So every defensemen in quadrant 2 and 3 where Gritensity is negative is a horrible defensemen.

    Every defensemen in quadrant 4 where Gritensity is positive and Middle is negative is a 3rd pairing D.

    Every defensemen in quadrant 1 where Gritensity and Middle are both positive is a 2nd pairing D.

    For defensemen in quadrant 1 with a positively coloured bubble is a 1st pairing D. With a negatively coloured bubble, a 2nd pairing D.

    Roughly speaking.

  60. G Money says:

    godot10,

    Interesting. I will code that up and see what it looks like.

    (Also, the name would be easy to derive.

    GoWoodMoney charts!)

  61. Spengler says:

    G Money,

    Cheers G! I’d say you can call me sir, but that sounds rather pretentious!

    The issue for me, and I feel like I have a fairly solid grasp on what the visualization is trying to represent, is that I can’t quite picture how the player is situated without really working at it. This could be a failure of imagination however.

    Really appreciate the work behind these though. No imagination could fail to see that!

  62. LadiesloveSmid says:

    G Money,

    and make the background of the cartisian plain a nice eggshell white

    ok so now the LadiesloveGoWoodMoney charts

  63. Woodguy says:

    godot10:
    G Money,

    Visualization idea: A Vollman type of chart.

    x-axis: Gritensity (DFF%-50)
    y-axis: Middle (DFF%-50)
    bubble: Elite (DFF%-50) colour-coded

    So every defensemen in quadrant 2 and 3 where Gritensity is negative is a horrible defensemen.

    Every defensemen in quadrant 4 where Gritensity is positive and Middle is negative is a 3rd pairing D.

    Every defensemen in quadrant 1 where Gritensity and Middle are both positive is a 2nd pairing D.

    For defensemen in quadrant 1 with a positively coloured bubble is a 1st pairing D. With a negatively coloured bubble, a 2nd pairing D.

    Roughly speaking.

    I don’t think we can come to those conclusions yet.

    Many good Dmen do worse against gritensity than Middle.

    G has a theory that 1st pair Dmen *rest* a bit during their gritensity minutes.

    I think we’ve included some very good defensive players in gritensity that shouldn’t be there.

    The truth is somewhere in there……

  64. Water Fire says:

    Bruce McCurdy:
    Yakupov playing with McDavid makes so much sense, and the only argument against it is ‘he hasn’t earned it’ and that isn’t really an argument that holds water. If the Oilers are determined to win as many games as possible, then spreading the wealth over the entire roster makes sense.

    I’m not sure that Conor Sheary and Bryan Rust “earned” playing time with Sidney Crosby either, yet there they were clicking for overtime goals in the playoffs on their way to the Cup. Putting depth wingers with Sid allowed the Pens to leave Malkin and Kessel on different lines and create matchup hell for the opposition.

    Agree with LT that it’s not about “deserve”, it’s about maximizing your personnel.

    Bang on. A strong tough minutes line without McDavid key to things. If teams key on Connor someone else will score or Connor might get easier comp

  65. G Money says:

    RPG,

    Yes.

    Couple of things to throw in:

    – Yak actually also plays well with Draisaitl on a shot metrics basis. Their time together was not very productive goal wise, but it wasn’t a lack of chances, it was a lack of finishing. I think that will sort itself out (for no other reason than it usually does). So this isn’t a case of “Yak can only play with McDavid”, it is very much a case of “Yak and RNH just don’t play well together”

    – In fact, you can extend that a little bit to say this: RNH generally doesn’t play well with forwards that are defensively poor and/or unpredictable. It’s not just Yak.

    Looking back over the last couple of seasons, RNH does not fit well with: Hero, Korpi (38.8%!), Purcell (to some minor extent), Pitlick, Hendricks …

    – Conversely, RNH and Eberle have established synergy. They struggled somewhat this year, but both were stricken with injuries and illness that limited their time together and their effectiveness. Going back to 2014, their WOWYs are quite indicative I think:

    RNH & Ebs together: 51.5%
    RNH without Ebs: 44.6%
    Ebs without RNH: 47.3%

    They were significantly better together than they were separate.

    The point comes back to the same thing that’s been said a few times: this is about maximizing the effectiveness of the team.

    If Yak-Mac and RNH-Ebs lines can both run at 51+%, why on earth would you run Mac-Ebs and Yak-RNH to generate 53% and 40%? Especially when that also allows you to shelter a Drai-JP combo that might very well run 50%+ as well.

    Three 50%+ lines. Goddamn unicorns.

    So … who wants to bet they’ll go with the 53% / 40% / 45% option instead?

    Because Oilers.

  66. G Money says:

    Woodguy,

    Yeah, it’s really quite noticeable with high minutes defensemen who spend a ton of time against the best of the best (guys like Weber, Doughty, Keith).

    I believe I’ve deciphered that one – the secret is in looking at the rates, especially DFF and DFA per 60.

    You can really see this complete character change when these guys that play ridiculous minutes, mostly against the best, but then play against the Gritensity types.

    A guy like e.g. Weber shuts his game down – his DFA remains low, but his DFF drops way down. Suspect that is a combination of him conserving energy and playing with fourth line types who he knows can’t score anyway.

    A guy like e.g. Keith does the opposite – his event rates for and against skyrocket against gritensity types. Unlike Weber, it seems Keith prefers to play firewagon hockey against fourth lines. “Go ahead, trade chances, make my day.”

    In both cases, the result is that their absolute numbers go down against the Grit types (who they play very little against, Keith is 20%, Weber is 22%).

    Doughty is a bit of an anomaly – he simply stays at about the same level vs the grit types as against the middle, which causes his absolute numbers to be about the same, but his “Rel” to drop.

    He’s also an anomaly in that LA runs a top four rather than a top pair, and Doughty only sees a 36/35/29 split, which is far more even than what most top pair D see.

    The character of what you see looking at the D across the league is really very interesting. That’s why I’m curious to see if the GoWoodMoney (or the LadiesGoWoodMoney variant) shows anything in a different light.

  67. godot10 says:

    G Money:
    godot10,

    Interesting. I will code that up and see what it looks like.

    (Also, the name would be easy to derive.

    GoWoodMoney charts!)

    And if bubbles are big enough, put the percentage of ice time against elite competition inside, or if that is makes the plot too noisy/crowded, in a legend beside the graph.

  68. godot10 says:

    Woodguy: I don’t think we can come to those conclusions yet.

    Many good Dmen do worse against gritensity than Middle.

    G has a theory that 1st pair Dmen *rest* a bit during their gritensity minutes.

    I think we’ve included some very good defensive players in gritensity that shouldn’t be there.

    The truth is somewhere in there……

    That is why I said “roughly speaking”. I just wanted to suggest how the chart would be useful in providing Woodmoney “separation” between defensemen in quality visually.

  69. Centre of attention says:

    godot10,

    G Money,

    Woodguy,

    Random thought on a possible reason why good defenders sometimes perform worse against Gritensity than middle competition:

    You know how sometimes when a top pair gets caught out on an iceing call, forced to stay out for an extended shift, a suriprising amount of the time opposing coaches will throw their fourth line out to try and keep them pinned and lean on them a bit. The top pair will struggle for that shift and get caved in the shots, not because they are bad at defending vs fourth liners but because they are stuck being really tired. I know the sample size of when they get stuck out and an opposition coach rolls out their bottom 6 to keep them pinned isnt huge but then again the time a top pair spends against gritensity isn’t huge either so maybe I’m onto something? They aren’t resting, they are stuck imo.

    A reason that coaches throw their third or fourth line out when a top pair is stuck like that, is usually because their own top 6 forwards are tired from playing the shift before the top pair got stuck. Sometimes you can’t get the match up so you try and keep them pinned and lean on them with your Grit a little bit.

    Just an idea, would love every ones feed back.

  70. Woodguy says:

    G Money,

    CoA also mentioned in twitter DM that QoT probably plays a big role in the gritensity numbers and I’m inclined to agree

  71. dangilitis says:

    I love the forward lines and completely agree that yakupov makes sense on McDavids wing. My only argument is for the same reasons that yakupovs past shouldn’t prevent him from playing with McDavid, lucic shouldn’t be guaranteed time on McDavids wing because he came here for 6 mil a year. Eg the only line combo that IMO may work even better is swapping Lucic and McDavid. Last years stretch before yak got injured suggests that line could work. Meanwhile I suspect lucics style may help RNH and Eberle better than pouliot. Basically they should mix and match those 2 to find the combo that works the best

  72. Lowetide says:

    dangilitis:
    I love the forward lines and completely agree that yakupov makes sense on McDavids wing. My only argument is for the same reasons that yakupovs past shouldn’t prevent him from playing with McDavid, lucic shouldn’t be guaranteed time on McDavids wing because he came here for 6 mil a year. Eg the only line combo that IMO may work even better is swapping Lucic and McDavid. Last years stretch before yak got injured suggests that line could work. Meanwhile I suspect lucics style may help RNH and Eberle better than pouliot. Basically they should mix and match those 2 to find the combo that works the best

    I agree, and am encouraged by the retention of Pouliot. 97-Poo had chem, I wonder if that is one reason the big winger is still here.

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