LISTEN TO THE LION

Ever had a song rolling around in your mind for about 10 days? I loved top 40 radio, so the malady can creep up at any time. Seriously. I could be driving down the road and that damned Pipkins song (Gimme Dat Ting) might climb in, or Jeans On by David Dundas. My brother loved Tom Jones when I was a kid, so Delilah or She’s A Lady tries to get into my brain two, maybe three times a year. Like those catchy tunes, I have a few Oilers questions creeping in, and since we have an off day (call it a rain delay), this is a good time to get to them.

  • Who is going to play with Andrej Sekera?

This is a big one, depending on the return date for Kris Russell, Brandon Davidson and Mark Fayne. It seems as though the Klefbom—Larsson and Nurse—Gryba pairings are solid to good most nights, but the Sekera numbers are off. Here is a look at the blue and their numbers across a few categories over 14 games.

defense-fancies-after-14-games

I am a Corsi Rel man, and the early numbers suggest we should be reasonably happy with the Klefbom—Larsson and Nurse—Gryba pairings. That third pairing (and it feels like the third pairing now) is an issue—partly because of injury. Are the Oilers going to be able to solve this issue internally? Not sure. I do think it interesting that the Florida Panthers continue adding RHD unabated at this time.

  • Why do Klefbom—Larsson make so many mistakes?

One of the things we have to keep in mind with most of these defensemen is their inexperience. For instance, I love Oscar Klefbom’s game, but he has been in the NHL for a total of 121 games—less than two full seasons. He is going to have some poor games and because Oscar is on the top pairing those games could have a lot of wobble. Edmonton has a fine young defender, and that is a good thing, but not an ideal thing.

Ideal thing? When Guy Lapointe entered the NHL as a rookie in 1970 fall, he was 22 years old. If he looked around, Lapointe would see veterans J.C. Tremblay, Jacques Laperriere, Terry Harper, young veteran Serge Savard and fellow rookie Pierre Bouchard. That was a fine group, but the Lapointe-Savard-Robinson group that would bloom a few short years was even better.

Edmonton has no such depth and quality, so Oscar Klefbom is on the top pairing. How much should we punish him for poor performances at this point in his career? My view is this:

  • It’s possible to have good numbers and get noticed for negative things—single moments and events can have super importance while being exactly single moments and events.

Now. If Oscar Klefbom were playing with an organization that spent the last decade carefully plotting out a defense that had a mixture of youth and experience, our man would be about the spot in the batting order Darnell Nurse is today. No such luck for this young blue. So, fire away on Oscar all you wish, but chances are he is going to make you look like a donkey—and that right soon! Talent added to experience is a tremendous advantage—we just haven’t seen it much here lately.

  • Can you find room for Matt Hendricks? Drake Caggiula?

This is an issue, only in that once everyone gets healthy the team may have to send some good players to the AHL. That is a rare problem for Edmonton, but I imagine the answers to the above questions are Taylor Beck and Anton Slepyshev.

The bigger question is probably who do you take out of the lineup? For me, I keep Tyler Pitlick and Anton Lander with Mark Letestu, and that means Matt Hendricks is going to have a difficult time making it back into the lineup (sans injury).

Drake Caggiula? Hmmm.

forwards-fancies-after-14

  • There are some great numbers here, that McDavid line is top drawer. Turns 20 in January, thanks to baby Jesus.
  • Numbers via Corsica.Hockey and NaturalStatTrick.
  • If we create a line in the sand that requires 2.00/60 at 5×5, a Corsi for 5×5 of 50 percent or more and a shots percentage of more than 50 percent, how many players are in that range? McDavid, Maroon, Eberle. Edmonton needs to double that number, I would think Nuge, Pouliot, Leon and Lucic should all be there my season’s end.
  • Milan Lucic is struggling, but he is also doing things not in his character (errant passes being the major issue). I think he could learn something from Patrick Maroon—keep it simple, sir. (You can call ML stupid, but I won’t because it isn’t true—he is a smart player, but not everything rhymes right now. Important he finds his way).
  • Mark Letestu has had an interesting start to the season. Do not expect the 5×5/60 to hover in that area, but the Oilers 4line has produced offense this season. He also has more defensive zone starts (I have included the raw number, this does not mean I hate you so please keep your phasers on stun when realizing it is part of the graph). I think he has more importance to this team than many let on.
  • Leon Draisaitl and Nuge lines need to be more productive at 5×5. That aside, I think these two centers are doing well this season.
  • Tyler Pitlick is at 41 career games now, he will not make my Top 20 (by the time we get to his number, Pitlick will have reached 50 games). I am happy for the young man, his player card above and boxcars (14gp, 4-1-5) this season probably keeps him here even after everyone is healthy.
  • Where does Drake Caggiula go? 3C I imagine, with the top line (Maroon—97—Eberle) and the 2line (Pouliot—Nuge—Puljujarvi) will eventually be set. The 3line (Lucic—Leon—Caggiula—Slepyshev—Kassian) comes together from the rest of the available. Fair? Or do you have a better plan?

svoboda

  • Miroslav Svoboda is having an insane season. 10gp, 1.29 .959 is a great number even if you are playing in the basement using wool socks for a puck, and this guy is playing in the Czech 2 league (they use an actual puck). Here is his page on the team website, it appears to be a minor league in the Czech Republic. If he continues to play at a high level, one would think Svoboda will get some starts in the higher league later this year.

Reinhart has played in just four AHL games this season and now comes news of a back issue. With expansion coming, this would have been a good season for the young man to show well, and that could still happen. However, anyone who has ever had a back problem knows this could take some time, so Reinhart’s usage this season is likely to be reduced a great deal. He has played 67 and 59 games in his first two pro seasons, so this is not an injury prone defenseman. Hope for the best.

talbot-capture5

TALBOT UPDATE

Cam Talbot is a big part of this Oilers success, I would wager he and McDavid are the two MVPs of 2016-17 so far. Here are his numbers this morning compared to league (seven or more appearances):

  • Overall Save Percentage: .921 (No. 10 in NHL)
  • Even-Strength: .917 (No. 16 in NHL)
  • Power Play: .957 (No. 2 in NHL)

We are giving (rightly) credit to PK men like Anton Lander, Mark Letestu, Darnell Nurse and Eric Gryba, but Cam Talbot is fire in the discipline. MVP? You could make a strong case, and if this team makes the playoffs my guess is Talbot wins 40+ games.

LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE

A busy, fun show today on the Lowdown. Scheduled to appear:

  • Rob Vollman, Hockey Abstract. Can the Oilers make the playoffs with this roster? How important is a red hot Talbot? How good are Edmonton’s fancies?
  • Josh Lewenberg, TSN. The Raptors I see can shoot threes, play defense but badly need a tower for rebounds. We will talk to an expert.
  • Tom Lynn, Veritas Hockey. How often do NHL teams sign players with a verbal surrounding trade? Also, expansion chat.
  • Frank Seravalli, TSN. We are approaching the time of year where teams who are doing well should be expected to make or push for the playoffs. Edmonton is one of those teams.

10-1260 text, @Lowetide on twitter. Talk soon!

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72 Responses to "LISTEN TO THE LION"

  1. judgedrude says:

    Interesting that Pitlick hasn’t climbed into the Prospects Top 10. You would think that a 5×5/60 behind only McD would give him a bit of a bump.

  2. jm363561 says:

    http://www.coppernblue.com/2016/11/10/13582266/checking-in-on-the-oilers-penalty-kill

    Nice article at Copper and Blue on the PK – Talbot and Gryba starring, Nurse not so much.

    Cam leads the league in shots faced and it’s not even close – 15% more than second on the list. The guy will be worn out by Christmas.

  3. Lowetide says:

    judgedrude:
    Interesting that Pitlick hasn’t climbed into the Prospects Top 10.You would think that a 5×5/60 behind only McD would give him a bit of a bump.

    Yeah, it doesn’t work like that, though. Small sample sizes and all.

  4. russ99 says:

    CF% just doesn’t tell us how Russell is effective without the puck in the defensive zone and Klefbom is not, and this is not a single event or small sample size issue either, the same was true last year.

    So if we’re going to lean on that metric, then it’s flaws need to be realized as well.

  5. judgedrude says:

    Lowetide,

    Are you going to pass him by completely, or will you have a clue like

    Prospect #?? – Hi name is Lancelot.

  6. Lois Lowe says:

    I don’t know if this was mentioned yesterday, Barzal is headed back to junior.

  7. Truth says:

    Players should never lose a spot in the lineup due to injury. Give Cagguila a few games in the AHL to get up to speed and throw him on the 3rd line to see if he can replicate his preseason efforts.

    I haven’t heard anything on Pakarinen, but he is another interesting player potentially returning from injury. Between him, Hendricks, and Pitlick there is probably only one spot on the roster (if everyone is healthy). The way Pitlick is playing you just can’t take him out right now.

  8. Truth says:

    Lois Lowe:
    I don’t know if this was mentioned yesterday, Barzal is headed back to junior.

    And the entire nation will be watching over the Christmas holidays for everyone to see just how bad the Oilers screwed up that trade.

  9. JimmyV1965 says:

    Maybe I’m wrong, but I’m seeing Klef fine. I’m not seeing a whole bunch of unforced errors. He was -3 last game, but he and Larsson can be faulted on maybe one of them. He’s young and he’s going to make mistakes, but everyone does. I’m more worried about the brain cramps I’m seeing with Lucic and Drai. Benning will be good but he’s in over his head right now.

  10. npanciroli says:

    Klef and Larsson have been completely fine by me. They have been forced into bad positions by teammates more often than them making unforced errors (which all defencemen do).

    I’ve been more impressed by Nurse and Gryba as a pairing.

    Sekera has been dissapointing IMO. Hasn’t shown the poise he had last year. Could be Russell being a lefty and Benning being a rookie.

  11. Ca$h-McMoney! says:

    Truth,

    A pure offensive winger who can’t crack an NHL lineup in his draft +2 is usually in a troublesome spot. Pure offense types are the youngest group to crack into the top ranks. 2 way guys and power forwards usually take longer, etc. etc. There is reason to believe that Barzal isn’t looking like a sure fire top 6 guy.

    At the WHL level he’s been very good, but he hasn’t been better than undrafted Brayden Burke (who was just traded to Moose Jaw btw). So he’s not the homerun some are making him out to be.

  12. JimmyV1965 says:

    Truth:
    Players should never lose a spot in the lineup due to injury. Give Cagguila a few games in the AHL to get up to speed and throw him on the 3rd line to see if he can replicate his preseason efforts.

    I haven’t heard anything on Pakarinen, but he is another interesting player potentially returning from injury.Between him, Hendricks, and Pitlick there is probably only one spot on the roster (if everyone is healthy).The way Pitlick is playing you just can’t take him out right now.

    Caggs has never had a spot in our lineup. And right now I’m not sure you can put Hendricks in the lineup.

  13. TO10801 says:

    JimmyV1965,

    Agree on the Benning point. This team needs to find another RD soon if they want to avoid a slide. Stauffer said Russell could be awhile, Fayne isn’t close, and Davidson isn’t close to returning either. Oesterle is out 4-6 weeks I believe as well. Adding someone like Cody Franson, or finding a way to get Montour out of Anaheim would be great in plugging the hole until we get some guys back

  14. Ca$h-McMoney! says:

    npanciroli:

    Sekera has been dissapointing IMO. Hasn’t shown the poise he had last year. Could be Russell being a lefty and Benning being a rookie.

    He was also one of the most impressive players at the World Cup of Hockey… so we need to be really careful in terms of our evaluation of the guy.

  15. TO10801 says:

    npanciroli,

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t think McLellan has been impressed by Sekera either. He moved Nurse up to play with Russell in an early game. He’s a vet so maybe he’s just taking his time getting to top form, but definatley a point of concern, especially with all the injuries

  16. Fog of Warts says:

    jm363561: The guy will be worn out by Christmas.

    Oh, I get it. You want to have your xmas, and eat it too.

  17. dustrock says:

    Hendricks is a warrior but man I don’t know.

    Pitlick is scoring. That’s the hardest thing to do. He should stay.

  18. npanciroli says:

    TO10801,

    Agreed, McLellan seems to have:

    Klefbom Larsson
    Nurse Gryba
    Sekera Benning

    As the depth chart with injuries right now.

  19. dustrock says:

    TO10801:
    npanciroli,

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t think McLellan has been impressed by Sekera either. He moved Nurse up to play with Russell in an early game. He’s a vet so maybe he’s just taking his time getting to top form, but definatley a point of concern, especially with all the injuries

    Saw him good at the World Cup. Thought he was solid first 5 games. Not so much afterwards.

  20. Lois Lowe says:

    dustrock,

    Pitlick is also shooting 19%. Regression to the meat and all that.

    I’m not saying he should come out for Hendricks, but I think expecting him to keep scoring like he has is asking for trouble.

  21. DRFNsuperstar says:

    Get Larsson some time with Sekera, it was a nice idea having two young swedes on the top pair but Klefbom looks to be having a hard time limiting the high-dangers against the toplines. Oscar could use some O-zone starts and lesser competition with Benning or Petrovic to utilize that shot.

  22. Lowetide says:

    jm363561:
    http://www.coppernblue.com/2016/11/10/13582266/checking-in-on-the-oilers-penalty-kill

    Nice article at Copper and Blue on the PK – Talbot and Gryba starring, Nurse not so much.

    Cam leads the league in shots faced and it’s not even close – 15% more than second on the list. The guy will be worn out by Christmas.

    Sunil is just so good with this stuff. Recommended reading.

  23. Scungilli says:

    DRFNsuperstar:
    Get Larsson some time with Sekera, it was a nice idea having two young swedes on the top pair but Klefbom looks to be having a hard time limiting the high-dangers against the toplines. Oscar could use some O-zone starts and lesser competition with Benning or Petrovic to utilize that shot.

    I like the idea of capable experience with young talent. I was hoping for Sekera- Larrson, Klefbom- Davidson/Fayne, Nurse-Gryba/Davidson/Fayne. When the youth get solid with everything then maybe load the pairings up more.

  24. dustrock says:

    Lois Lowe:
    dustrock,

    Pitlick is also shooting 19%. Regression to the meat and all that.

    I’m not saying he should come out for Hendricks, but I think expecting him to keep scoring like he has is asking for trouble.

    Oh, I agree. But I should have mentioned Pakman. He’s the scoring concern for me.

  25. frjohnk says:

    Hard not to cheer for Pitlick.

    Guy will crash their net to score a goal.

    Will also crash our net to stop a goal.

    Hope he stays healthy.

  26. Jethro Tull says:

    Ever had a song rolling around in your mind for about 10 days?

    Yep.

    https://youtu.be/K9FILAkKinQ

  27. frjohnk says:

    Good article by Burnside
    http://www.espn.com/nhl/story/_/id/18013459/nhl-edmonton-oilers-story-nhl-season-far-trying-keep-success-perspective

    One sentence caught my eye.

    “Edmonton has dealt with some early injury adversity. They’re missing a slew of everyday players, including Kris Russell, who has arguably been the team’s best defender after signing as a free agent during the off-season.”

    I think there have been a couple of games where Russell has been our best Dman, but not sure Id call him our best defender.

    I think Larsson and Klefbom have both had a couple of games in which they were our best Dman.

    Same with Sekera and Nurse.

    Nice that we have 5 quality NHL Dmen.

    And if Davy can come back and play like he did last year.

    Thats 6 quality NHL Dmen.

  28. russ99 says:

    Klefbom is great along the wall but weak one-on-one without the puck in the crease, and he was last year too.

    Maybe Klefbom – Russell would be a better pairing when Kris is healthy, sliding Sekera up to the first pairing.

    That could cover weaknesses with strengths both with and without the puck.

  29. russ99 says:

    frjohnk,

    Defender, not Defenseman. When defending own zone sorties, Russell has been our best defender, though Larsson has been pretty good as well.

  30. su_dhillon says:

    Did Sekera not start off season playing really well? Is their a possible injury that he is playing through especially with everyone else hurt that might explain recent play?

    LT ” Josh Lewenberg, TSN. The Raptors I see can shoot threes, play defense but badly need a tower for rebounds. We will talk to an expert.”

    LT I think you have these mixed. Raps are 10th in rebounding rate, were 7th last year, not sure thats a problem. They are current;y 29th in 3pt%. Which is and will be a problem because only 2 of the starters (Lowry and Carrol)are proven efficient 3pt shooters.

  31. Walter Gretzkys Neighbour says:

    I had a Trident sugar-less gum commercial (does that stuff still exist?) rattling around in my head for three weeks once.

    Horrible.

  32. frjohnk says:

    russ99:
    frjohnk,

    Defender, not Defenseman. When defending own zone sorties, Russell has been our best defender, though Larsson has been pretty good as well.

    Fair enough.

    If we use some of against on ice metrics to gauge our D, this is how our top 6 D in minutes fair.

    Best to worst

    CA/60
    Eric Gryba 52.8
    Oscar Klefbom 53.2
    Andrej Sekera 55.8
    Darnell Nurse 56.3
    Adam Larsson 57.2
    Kris Russell 58.0

    SA/60
    Andrej Sekera 27.7
    Oscar Klefbom 28.2
    Adam Larsson 29.2
    Kris Russell 29.4
    Eric Gryba 30.3
    Darnell Nurse 32.8

    Scoring Chances Against/60
    Darnell Nurse 18.6
    Eric Gryba 18.8
    Andrej Sekera 20.0
    Kris Russell 20.0
    Oscar Klefbom 23.4
    Adam Larsson 24.7

    High Danger Chances Against/60
    Oscar Klefbom 10.1
    Andrej Sekera 10.9
    Eric Gryba 11.0
    Darnell Nurse 11.1
    Kris Russell 11.3
    Adam Larsson 11.7

    Medium Danger Chances Against/60
    Darnell Nurse 7.4
    Eric Gryba 7.8
    Kris Russell 8.8
    Andrej Sekera 9.2
    Adam Larsson 13.0
    Oscar Klefbom 13.3

    Using these numbers, I dont really see a clear cut winner in defending.

    Id like to see Larsson and Klefbom have lower medium danger chances against. Those numbers are way too high. But they are playing the toughs and are young enough they will only get better.

    Nurse and Gryba are looking pretty good for our “third pairing”.

  33. Dino says:

    Can’t wait to have Russell and Davidson back. I think Klefbom will be alright he’s learning on the fly but he has all the tools to be a top 2 defender. We also forget he played a total of 30 games last season then had an aggravated foot injury for months and months. That can’t be easy to come back from and we’re only 14 games in. I would wait until the 20-25 game mark to see how he finally adjusts and I know he will most likely be a stud on that blue line alongside our other stud Larsson.

  34. Pouzar says:

    You do not take Pitlick out of the lineup for any of these injured players. He’s a perfect bottom six player for this team.

  35. Lowetide says:

    Jack Haskins ‏@JHaskinsGlobal 8m8 minutes ago Edmonton, Alberta
    Matt Hendricks skating with the team this morning. He’ll be a welcome addition to the lineup when healthy. #Oilers
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  36. N64 says:

    LT: “However, anyone who has ever had a back problem knows this could take some time, so Reinhart’s usage this season is likely to be reduced a great deal. He has played 67 and 59 games in his first two pro seasons, so this is not an injury prone defenseman.”

    Backs and genetics and treatment are all tricky. So time with the best specialists is very wise to take advantage of everything that is out there today. First 4 seasons his Dad played 213 NHL games. Fought through 7 tough seasons after that (see below) and still got in 435 of 648 NHL games before forced retirement.

    – Missed most of 1983-84 regular season with back injury suffered in Calgary’s Nov. 24, 1983 game vs. Winnipeg (at age 23).
    – Missed part of 1984-85 season with back pain experienced in December 1984 (at age 24).
    – Missed most of 1987-88 season with back spasms, an injury suffered during Calgary’s Oct. 21, 1987 (at age 27)
    – Retired two days before the start of Vancouver’s 1990 training camp due to chronic back pain (at age 30).

    http://www.hockeydraftcentral.com/1979/79012.html

  37. N64 says:

    Lowetide: Matt Hendricks skating with the team this morning. He’ll be a welcome addition to the lineup when healthy.

    If only he were right handed we could put him out there with Sekera when he comes back.

  38. SkatinginSand says:

    Thanks to LT, had a Blue Rodeo “Bad Timing” earworm for two weeks last summer.

    Two 23 year old first pairing defencemen who are generally playing very well, and some all people want to do is harp on mistakes, rather than looking at the tough minutes they are playing without getting their heads kicked in. Rather, most of the time, they are completely in control of the situation. Howie Meeker always said that defencemen weren’t any use until they were 26 years old. LT uses games played (200 I believe) until they figure things out. Klefbom is still far below that number.

    Thank goodness for some sanity on this site. It doesn’t hurt to remember some of the previous regime’s attempts at obtaining defencemen and the results thereof.

  39. fifthcartel says:

    Hendricks just isn’t an NHL player anymore.

  40. ashley says:

    npanciroli:

    Sekera has been dissapointing IMO. Hasn’t shown the poise he had last year. Could be Russell being a lefty and Benning being a rookie.

    Easiest to blame the partners, especially when we’re locked in for big dollars and term, but it’s possible that Sekera himself is not that good. In fact, if the partners are the problem and this is his performance, then it suggest he is average at best. 1-2 Dmen can carry a pairing.

    I think he’s an average second or third pairing Dman making first pair dollars. Every team has a couple of contracts like this.

  41. ashley says:

    JimmyV1965: Caggs has never had a spot in our lineup.

    Indeed. Beware of projecting the preseason superstar.

  42. VanIsleOil says:

    Gimme Dat Ting was definitely one of the catchy tunes that would get stuck in your head all day. A few other ones that did the same thing back in the day.

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

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DohRa9lsx0Q&list=RDDohRa9lsx0Q#t=29

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YfdLh0MHqKw

  43. SayItAin'tSo, Gretz, SayItAin'tSo! says:

    ashley,

    Wow so now Sekera is no better than a 3rd pair? I suppose we’ll run the gamut this season and make everyone wear the horns but yeesh its a tough crowd.

    I think tomorrow night’s game is a biggie.

    Right now Dallas sucks, defence is suspect, injuries to forwards are piling up and their goaltending is a tire fire. They’ve lost three straight, have one win on the road and play the godless Flames in Cowtown tonight, meaning the Oil get the 2nd of a back to back.

    In seasons past I would have been extremely worried about this game. Alas this year I am not so much worried as I am intrigued. This is a very winnable game against a team on the ropes. This is where one expects the killer instinct of guys like McDavid, Lucic, Nuge, Eberle and Nurse kick into high gear, you have to smell blood in these instances. A few days of rest should have helped some guys recover and an extra practice session thrown in should help a couple d-pairings gel a bit more. I’m sure Talbot enjoyed the time with his youngins as well.

    And wouldn’t you know it the Oilers get another 2nd of a back to back on Sunday against that Rangers squad.

    Two games that I see little reason to not expect two wins from.

    Go Oilers!

  44. JDï™ says:

    Edmonton Oilers Verified account
    ‏@EdmontonOilers

    Coach McLellan says Kassian & Russell can be considered day-to-day with their ailments, Hendricks closest to return of longer-term guys.

  45. Lucinius says:

    ashley: Indeed.Beware of projecting the preseason superstar.

    This has baffled me; this idea floated by some that when Caggs comes back he should immediately slot in. Why? Because he had a good pre-season? So what? Pre-season doesn’t mean anything for a reason — the opposition is not as good as it is in the regular season.

    Who do you take out for Caggs? Pitlick, Lander? Slepy? Only one of those three I’d consider is Slepy and he’s played well enough to warrant his spot until Kassian comes back, imo.

    Same with Hendricks.. outside of Slepy I don’t really see anyone who hasn’t contributed positively amongst the forwards that you can actually send down. Lander, Pitlick and Maroon have earned their ice time, imo, and to see them get sat because of Caggs or Hendricks would be a sign of poor management, as I see it.

    Slepy I could see them sending down, as he just hasn’t delivered much (despite trying), and doesn’t provide the secondary benefits a player like Lander offers (face off acumen, PKing ability, defensive zone know-how).

  46. russ99 says:

    Lucinius: This has baffled me; this idea floated by some that when Caggs comes back he should immediately slot in. Why? Because he had a good pre-season? So what? Pre-season doesn’t mean anything for a reason — the opposition is not as good as it is in the regular season.

    Who do you take out for Caggs? Pitlick, Lander? Slepy? Only one of those three I’d consider is Slepy and he’s played well enough to warrant his spot until Kassian comes back, imo.

    Same with Hendricks.. outside of Slepy I don’t really see anyone who hasn’t contributed positively amongst the forwards that you can actually send down. Lander, Pitlick and Maroon have earned their ice time, imo, and to see them get sat because of Caggs or Hendricks would be a sign of poor management, as I see it.

    Slepy I could see them sending down, as he just hasn’t delivered much (despite trying), and doesn’t provide the secondary benefits a player like Lander offers (face off acumen, PKing ability, defensive zone know-how).

    Caggiula will need a rehab assignment at the very least, and since he has a two way contract, the Oilers could let him take his time getting back up to speed in Bakersfield.

  47. LMHF#1 says:

    Lowetide:
    Jack Haskins ‏@JHaskinsGlobal8m8 minutes ago Edmonton, Alberta
    Matt Hendricks skating with the team this morning. He’ll be a welcome addition to the lineup when healthy. #Oilers
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    Why would he even get to play other than vet status?

    He’s not better than anyone in the current lineup. Definitely not Pitlick or Slepyshev.

  48. russ99 says:

    LMHF#1: Why would he even get to play other than vet status?

    He’s not better than anyone in the current lineup. Definitely not Pitlick or Slepyshev.

    You forget who the coach and GM are.

    He could easily slot in over Slepyshev, due to his two-way, good cycle game and his ability to play center.

  49. LMHF#1 says:

    russ99: You forget who the coach and GM are.

    He could easily slot in over Slepyshev, due to his two-way, good cycle game and his ability to play center.

    Oh I don’t forget, I just register my discontent before the old-timey BS happens.

    Hendricks is done. Sad for him, but he’s been passed while repairing the tire on the side of the road and can’t catch up.

  50. Centre of attention says:

    ” .500 isn’t good enough”

    -Coach Todd McLellan

    Bless that good ol’ Saskatchewan hockey wizard.

  51. OilLeak says:

    Too much “saw him good” analysis going on. Sekera is easily one of our top defenders and no one wants to point to his partners as the source of some of his problems. Benning is a rookie and Kris Russell is awful(fancies included), but he racked up some early points and blocked a few shots and it’s convinced many on here that he’s part of the solution.

  52. geowal says:

    It would be batty to not send Cags down for at least a couple weeks, I.e conditioning stint.
    He’s never played a game of pro hockey, and it’ll have been 2 months since he played preseason. Themes the breaks.
    Established players are often given back their spot. But he is not.

  53. stush18 says:

    Centre of attention:
    ” .500 isn’t good enough”

    -Coach Todd McLellan

    Bless that good ol’ Saskatchewan hockey wizard.

    What was he referring now too?

  54. Woogie63 says:

    When Hendrick is ready I think he replaces Lander. Pulivarjarvi is getting good press, but still see him needing to work on the strength of his game (skating, strong on the stick and in the corners).

    I would like to see this line up for a few games against the bigger tougher teams.

    Maroon – McDavid – Eberle
    Lucic – Driasaitl – Pitlick
    Pouliot – Hopkins – Sle[yshev
    Hendricks – Letestu – Kassian

    Klefbom – Larsson
    Sekera – Russell
    Nurse – Gryba

    Talbot
    Monster

    Big, fast team!

  55. Lackadaisical says:

    I don’t think we could get it going this year due to inexperience, but maybe:

    Maroon-McDavid-Puljujarvi
    Lucic-Nuge-Eberle
    Pouliot-Draisaitl-Pitlick/Caggilua
    Lander-Letestu-Kassian

    McDavid elevates any problems at the top; Maroon gets in close to the net to wait for a tap in, Puljujarvi needs space and to be ready with a clapper. McDavid creates both situations regularly.

    Nuge line eats the lunch of opposing 2nd lines and takes the toughs at home. Great board work and cycle from Lucic and Nuge, Ebs finishes.

    Drai’s line takes the softs and chips in some goals while being a defensive liability.

    Swap Pouliot/Maroon, Drai/JP (with Cage going 3c) and Kass/Pitlick/Cage as necessary for matchups or inconsistent play. Hendricks probably gone at the deadline.

    Ebs/Nuge are great together, I think Lucic would fit in perfectly on that line. Scoring is distributed throughout, we’d be more than a one line team, with a deadly second line that forces teams to think about their matchups.

    I’d like to see it in the last ten games, thoughts?

  56. classict says:

    Lackadaisical:
    I don’t think we could get it going this year due to inexperience, but maybe:

    Maroon-McDavid-Puljujarvi
    Lucic-Nuge-Eberle
    Pouliot-Caggilua-Pitlick
    Lander-Letestu-Kassian

    McDavid elevates any problems at the top, Nuge line eats the lunch of opposing 2nd lines and takes the toughs at home, Cage’s line takes the softs and chips in some goals while being a defensive liability.

    Swap Pouliot/Maroon, and Kass/Pitlick as necessary for matchups or inconsistent play.Hendricks probably gone at the deadline.

    Ebs/Nuge are great together, I think Lucic would fit in perfectly on that line.Scoring is distributed throughout, we’d be more than a one line team, with a deadly second line that forces teams to think about their matchups.

    I’d like to see it in the last ten games, thoughts?

    Just a question, who did you trade Drai for?

  57. N64 says:

    russ99: and since he has a two way contract

    1.2.3…. Nevermind. 😉

  58. Lackadaisical says:

    classict,

    Simple brain fart, I’ll adjust it, haha.

  59. N64 says:

    Lackadaisical:
    classict,

    Simple brain fart, I’ll adjust it, haha.

    Not to worry. Just slot Drai in between Maroon and Puljujarvi. 😉

  60. JDï™ says:

    Lackadaisical:
    classict,

    Simple brain fart, I’ll adjust it, haha.

    I was hoping for something like all of Vancouver’s 2017 picks and Tanev.

  61. Lackadaisical says:

    Edited!

    Thoughts?

  62. threeputtdouble says:

    “He has played 67 and 59 games in his first two pro seasons, so this is not an injury prone defenseman.”

    Neither does it look like a young Ripken. Another down arrow surely,as if the kid needed more.

  63. JDï™ says:

    threeputtdouble: Neither does it look like a young Ripken. Another down arrow surely,as if the kid needed more.

    Right. Every player who doesn’t start a legendary ironman streak, gets a down arrow.

    Right.

  64. John Chambers says:

    OilLeak:
    Too much “saw him good” analysis going on.Sekera is easily one of our top defenders and no one wants to point to his partners as the source of some of his problems. Benning is a rookie and Kris Russell is awful(fancies included), but he racked up some early points and blocked a few shots and it’s convinced many on here that he’s part of the solution.

    Agree. Sekara by eye is a very good defenseman.

    McLellan seems to trust him most in high-leverage situations, like 3 on 3. He’s also the guy they seem to want playing with a weaker defenseman to provide cover.

  65. ashley says:

    OilLeak:
    Too much “saw him good” analysis going on.Sekera is easily one of our top defenders and no one wants to point to his partners as the source of some of his problems. Benning is a rookie and Kris Russell is awful(fancies included), but he racked up some early points and blocked a few shots and it’s convinced many on here that he’s part of the solution.

    I’m curious what you mean by “saw him good” analysis that there is too much of going on. What do you think this blog post and thread is discussing?

  66. threeputtdouble says:

    JDï™,

    So it’s an up arrow?

    I’m not condemning the kid, just stating what should be uncontroversial. It’s now apparently the third season in a row where he has a material injury. That is not a good thing for a guy trying to fashion an NHL career.

  67. frjohnk says:

    Just looking at some of the TOI by our Dmen and it looks like Nurse ( and mostly like Gryba) is in the top 4 since Russell went down.

    Counting the Rangers, Red Wings and Pens games ( cant get the Islander game data)
    Nurse has played with
    McDavid 23 minutes
    RNH 10 minutes
    Draisaitl 12 minutes
    Letestu 11 minutes

    On the road with McDavid, the D are playing the toughs.

    When Russell was in the lineup, Klefbom-Larsson and Sekera-Russell played the most with McDavid.

    Since Benning was swapped with Russell, it looks like Nurse and Gryba are the 2nd pairing ( and doing quite well) when Sekera with Benning are actually our 3rd pairing.

    Id like to see how our D group would do over a long period of time with Davidson and Russell in and Gryba( even though I like him) and Benning out.

    6 quality NHL Dmen.

  68. Woodguy says:

    frjohnk: Fair enough.

    If we use some of against on ice metrics to gauge our D, this is how our top 6 D in minutes fair.

    Best to worst

    CA/60
    Eric Gryba52.8
    Oscar Klefbom53.2
    Andrej Sekera55.8
    Darnell Nurse56.3
    Adam Larsson57.2
    Kris Russell58.0

    SA/60
    Andrej Sekera27.7
    Oscar Klefbom28.2
    Adam Larsson29.2
    Kris Russell29.4
    Eric Gryba30.3
    Darnell Nurse32.8

    Scoring Chances Against/60
    Darnell Nurse18.6
    Eric Gryba18.8
    Andrej Sekera20.0
    Kris Russell20.0
    Oscar Klefbom23.4
    Adam Larsson24.7

    High Danger Chances Against/60
    Oscar Klefbom10.1
    Andrej Sekera10.9
    Eric Gryba11.0
    Darnell Nurse11.1
    Kris Russell11.3
    Adam Larsson11.7

    Medium Danger Chances Against/60
    Darnell Nurse7.4
    Eric Gryba7.8
    Kris Russell8.8
    Andrej Sekera9.2
    Adam Larsson13.0
    Oscar Klefbom13.3

    Using these numbers, I dont really see a clear cut winner in defending.

    Id like to see Larsson and Klefbom have lower medium danger chances against.Those numbers are way too high.But they are playing the toughs and are young enough they will only get better.

    Nurse and Gryba are looking pretty good for our “third pairing”.

    Get your “facts” out of this thread!

    The McScoops don’t like Klef and love Russell and it doesn’t matter that the reality of hockey (shot attempts/shots/scoring chances) says otherwise.

  69. Lowetide says:

    threeputtdouble:
    “He has played 67 and 59 games in his first two pro seasons, so this is not an injury prone defenseman.”

    Neither does it look like a young Ripken. Another down arrow surely,as if the kid needed more.

    Some of those games missed were HS, so it is difficult to know exactly how many games missed by injury.

  70. Woodguy says:

    frjohnk,

    I would argue that RNH is getting the toughest assingments.

    McDavid’s TOI isn’t easy by any stretch, but McLellen will move McDavid’s match-up around while RNH defends Stalingrad.

  71. prairieschooner says:

    So this is what having depth looks like

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