BOXING DAY

There are reports out this morning that KHL team Ak Bars Kazan has shown interest in acquiring the rights to Jesse Puljujarvi for the rest of the season—implication being the club feels there is a chance Edmonton would release him to play in the Russian league.

It isn’t a terrible bet, the rights could be acquired, the agent could be approached and the Oilers might feel the KHL offers better competition for JP—and he might be more comfortable there. Using google translate, we get this:

  • It’s hard to believe, but one of the most promising players in the world Jesse Pulyuyarvi, for our edition, this winter could be in the “Ak Bars”. Kazan look for options to strengthen the North American market, and the young Finn is not always found himself in the “Edmonton”. For both sides, this option would be beneficial: Pulyuyarvi would get match practice in the second-best league in the world, and “Ak Bars” would get excellent gain before the playoffs. The stumbling block was the fact that the right to belong to the KHL Pulyuyarvi “Torpedo”, drafted by Jesse last year. Kazan citizens would have to pay a substantial compensation of Nizhny Novgorod. Source

My opinion is this: The Oilers will prefer to keep Puljujarvi here for recall unless the plan is to have him off the roster for the rest of the season in order to retain an extra year of RFA rights. Forty games on the roster means Edmonton loses a year of RFA rights, but if they can get him to another league and leave him there without recall, then the only loss is one year off the ELC. They can basically do with JP the same thing they did with Leon Draisaitl. If this is the player’s preference, then I am in favor of it. Very much doubt it happens, and would reiterate that my personal preference would be to play the young man. Someone in the Oilers office is being stubborn.

DOUBLE TAKE, YEAR OVER YEAR

  • Oilers in October 2015: 4-8-0, goal differential -7
  • Oilers in October 2016: 7-2-0, goal differential +10
  • Oilers in November 2015: 4-7-2, goal differential -6
  • Oilers in November 2016: 5-8-2 goal differential -3
  • Oilers in December 2015: 7-6-1, goal differential -9
  • Oilers in December 2016: 6-2-4, goal differential +1
  • Oilers after 36, 2015: 15-18-3, goal differential -18
  • Oilers after 36, 2016: 18-12-6, goal differential +8

Our line in the sand was 14 points in 14 December games, Edmonton has posted 16 points with two games left to play. The team is +26 in GD year over year and on pace for 41 wins. This team has turned north!

OILERS IN NHL SCORING

  • No. 1 Connor McDavid 36gp, 13-29-42 (on track for 30-66-96)
  • No. 13 Leon Draisaitl 36gp, 14-17-31 (on track for 32-39-71)
  • No. 48 Milan Lucic 36gp, 10-14-24 (on track for 23-32-55)
  • No. 57 Jordan Eberle 36gp, 8-15-23 (on track for 18-34-52)
  • No. 144 Mark Letestu 33gp, 7-10-17 (on track for 17-24-41)
  • No. 144 Andrej Sekera 36gp, 4-13-17 (on track for 9-30-39)
  • No. 167 Patrick Maroon 36gp, 10-6-16 (on track 23-14-37)
  • No. 167 Ryan Nugent-Hopkins 36gp, 6-10-16 (on track 14-23-37)
  • No. 247 Oscar Klefbom 36gp, 5-7-12 (11-16-27)
  • No. 274 Tyler Pitlick 31gp, 8-3-11
  • No. 321 Zack Kassian 33gp, 2-7-9 (on track for 5-17-22)
  • No. 354 Jesse Puljujarvi 24gp, 1-7-8 (on track for 3-20-23)
  • No. 384 Benoit Pouliot 31gp, 5-2-7 (on track for 12-5-17)
  • No. 416 Adam Larsson 36gp, 2-4-6 (on track for 5-9-14)
  • No. 454 Drake Caggiula 18gp, 1-4-5 (on track for 4-14-18)

The Oilers are having issues with line chem, but the club sure can score. After popping 199 goals one year ago, this team is on pace for 235—and you can see where more goals will come as the team adds more substantial wingers (and some of the current Ws develop more).

The biggest surprise for me? Leon. I thought he would finish shy of last year’s point total (51) and am delighted to be wrong. He has shone this winter.

5×5 TEAM STATS (COMPARED TO LAST YEAR)

  • Goals For Percentage: 51.6 (44.3)
  • Goals For per 60: 2.30 (2.04)
  • Goals Against per 60: 2.16 (2.56)
  • Shots for per 60: 30.5 (28.4)
  • Shots against per 60: 29.5 (30.2)
  • Shots for percentage: 50.8 (48.5)
  • Fenwick: 51.1 (48.3)
  • Corsi: 51.0 (48.8)
  • Shooting percentage: 7.55 (7.17)
  • Save Percentage: .9266 (.9153)
  • PDO: 100.2 (98.7)

So many angry people on my timeline who cannot enjoy these numbers for love nor money. The Edmonton Oilers are winning hockey games and have good underlying numbers. It took exactly forever, and I am disappointed so few are here to enjoy it with me. I guess we all died a little in that damned war.

BENSON

The Edmonton Oilers chose Tyler Benson over Alex DeBrincat last summer, and that decision is something many fans and observers suggest was a mistake. DeBrincat cashed an actual pile of goals as McDavid’s winger in Erie, and if the club had chosen him in the second round of 2016, well maybe we are talking about a possible scoring winger for 97 next season.

Why didn’t Edmonton take DeBrincat? Two reasons, in my opinion. Let’s begin with DeBrincat, and what may have kept the Oilers away.

  • Ryan Lambert on why DeBrincat didn’t make Team USA this week for WJs: The probable guesses as to why have little to do with production, and everything to do with some rather tangible intangibles. DeBrincat is listed as 5-foot-7 and 170 pounds. And unlike, say Johnny Gaudrau, whose skating and speed are superlative, DeBrincat doesn’t get around at an elite level. So the feeling is that he’s a guy who’s going to score in junior, but it might not translate to the pros. Adding in the fact that he played pretty much his entire OHL career next to high-level talents, and you can see where teams rationalize the decision to drop him down the draft board. Source

Lambert is one of my favorite hockey thinkers and writers, guarantee you will walk away smarter if you click that link. As for our conversation, I do think there is some merit in staying away from small players who are average in speed—Sam Gagner being an example—but will go to my grave believing NHL teams badly underrate talents like DeBrincat.

The second reason I believe the Oilers liked Benson better is contained in a very strong scouting report from The Black Book. I recommend you grab the 2017 edition, really insightful writing and the entire report is basically the size of the Bible in 24 font.

  • The Black Book: Benson is not the speediest of skaters but does have above average acceleration and ability to create space with a powerful lower-body. He shows an ability to fend off body contact, using his body positioning well to hold off defenders and keep them on his back and away from the puck. He more often than not comes out of scrums with the puck. This flows from strong edge work where above average strength is obvious. At times can show flashes of high end puck handling but doesn’t consistently show the skill that we expect from a top end prospect. The strength of Benson’s game is his high-end accuracy on both his forehand and backhand passes. He exhibits soft hands and heads up play with a quick strike mentality. Benson shows a strong compete level with a bulldog mentality. He’s the type who would rather go through you than around you. 

There are about 20 trigger words in that scouting report that scream Chiarelli, and I think those things represent skills Edmonton values a lot. If the Oilers have a choice between a scorer with average speed and a gritty skill player with what sounds like equal speed, this regime will take the aggression over the skill.

How much skill are the Oilers leaving on the table? A tough question. CHL teams can differ greatly in terms of offense, as some teams have two impact lines and other clubs struggle to get one line that can beat you. Here are the boxcars for each man, along with goals-per-game by their respective teams this season.

DeBrincat is ripping up the OHL this season, he and Taylor Raddysh (28gp, 23-38-61) lead the OHL in points. Dylan Strome returning (seven games with the Otters now) should mean these boxcars increase in the second half of the season. Benson plays on a team with fewer dynamic offensive players. Radovan Bondra (29gp, 18-11-29) is the team’s No. 2 scorer so far this season.

I had DeBrincat No. 15 and Benson No. 34 on my list (here) last summer, but it came as no surprise to me when Benson was the name called. Peter Chiarelli’s Oilers will have smaller players (Drake Caggiula is 5.09, 185) but they are going to be skaters and play a rugged style. Brad Marchand is probably the gold standard.

You may say, well Jordan Eberle plays that style, and that is true. I don’t think Edmonton is going to draft a smaller winger for some time—unless finding a complementary scoring piece for Connor McDavid becomes a real problem. I am just in the beginning portions of looking at the 2017 draft and there are a pile of interesting players who can score but are also smaller men. Kailer Yamamoto of the Spokane Chiefs is such a player, and he will probably rank inside my top 30 in January. I do not think the Oilers will draft him. The template for Oilers draft picks is pretty clear by now and the job of sniper on McDavid’s wing is very likely going to be won by a man over 6.01 and 200 pounds. Pretty sure.

 

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69 Responses to "BOXING DAY"

  1. Woogie63 says:

    Send Jesse to Cali,

    1) The main reason to have an AHL team is to develop players.
    2) Oilers will want Jesse near the NHL team for the play-offs.
    3) Anton, Jesse and Anton would be a great line in the AHL for many reasons.
    4) Our practices.
    5) Our trainers.

  2. Professor Q says:

    Woogie63,

    I think Caggiula should be sent down as well. Lander could be called up with Khaira?

  3. Centre of attention says:

    Tyler Benson to me is a little bit like Nick Foligno. Average skater who’s strong on the puck plus has decent hands around the net and solid positional awareness on both sides of the puck.

    Powerplay, penalty kill. Can play the game any way you want it. Up and down the top 9 on the left side. Face wash, scrum in front of the net, score a goal, all in one shift. Will probably be an assistant captain later on in pro.

    I think Benson is going to be an NHL player (if healthy) because he has more than one way to make it.

    Where as DeBrincat, if those box cars are more Shremp than Mitch Marner in their integrity he is sunk. He has nothing else to lean on other than the box cars.

    Just my opinion.

  4. Woogie63 says:

    Professor Q:
    Woogie63,

    I think Caggiula should be sent down as well. Lander could be called up with Khaira?

    Drake, Anton S. and Jesse is a good AHL line and come the NHL play-off we would have the much coveted “Kid Line” to call up

  5. Centre of attention says:

    Dave Molinari ‏@MolinariPG 13m13 minutes ago
    Penguins sign coach Mike Sullivan to a three-year contract extension.

    Its going to be a shame when they fire him months before winning the cup again.

    Its just the way things work in Pittsburgh.

  6. trencan says:

    Another important factor for Benson is, he is from Edmonton and Oilers fan. I think it is very important to have this type of player in dressing room in the future.

    Puljujarvaa – Kazan is very disciplined team with focus on defense. I wouldnt expect big offensive productivity by Jesse in this team but it depends what do you expect by this loan. I think he needs to adapt to lifestyle in North America, gamestyle and learn language, so I believe AHL is the right solution for him. And also off ice lifestyle in Russia can be very tricky for young talented player.

  7. John Chambers says:

    I think it’s fair to say that overall Oiler wingers have fallen short of expectations, which is rather amazing given the pivots they play with.

    Lucic will obviously be a fixture, so too in time will be JP, and I predict that over the coming years we see a revolving door of wingers until we find guy’s who click with McDavid and Draisaitl.

    Benson, depending on his ability to finish, may be one of those guys, and we’ll find out soon enough.

  8. trencan says:

    The template for Oilers draft picks is pretty clear by now and the job of sniper on McDavid’s wing is very likely going to be won by a man over 6.01 and 200 pounds.

    I would expect to find Connors sniper via trade but completely agree with the draft template you described. There are some options outside top 20 draft ranking but it will be interesting to watch Adam Ruzicka on WJC20. In Canada roster surprised me the name Phillipe Myers who could be maybe available in some higher rounds.

  9. Lowetide says:

    trencan:
    Another important factor for Benson is, he is from Edmonton and Oilers fan. I think it is very important to have this type of player in dressing room in the future.

    I don’t agree with this at all. Benson is a fine prospect, but his being an Oilers fan and being from Edmonton should have no real impact on things. It was nice that Messier was from here, but if he was a Russian it wouldn’t have made any difference. Jmo.

  10. Oil2Oilers says:

    I dream of a Vancouver boxing day sale;

    Kris Russell + Reinhart for Chris Tanev

    Many teams have taken advantage of the Oilers mismanagement over the years, it is time to get some back.

  11. VanIsleOil says:

    I hope JPuls woke up Christmas morning to find a shiny new custom fit hockey helmet under the tree. His current helmet is so small on him, it doesn’t even look safe. (see pic at top of LT’s post)

    On another note, JPuls older brother came over to visit him for Christmas.

    http://tinyurl.com/z832pql

  12. digger50 says:

    Slightly off topic, but one thing that makes me angry was watching Connors interview the other night.

    Kid had a healed cut by left eye, a just removed set of stitches over his lip and some of his bottom teeth broken off. Ridiculous.

    From his team mates perspective, time to get angry today, not after he gets seriously hurt; cause at this rate a major injury is just a matter of time.

  13. Clarkenstein says:

    With the Oil’s recent history of player development I’m not sure what they will do with Jesse but rest assured they will f*ck it up!

  14. Bobbyoiler says:

    LT I am absolutely enjoying this season, they are learning to win and are just about always in the game… This is the best Oilers team in a long time….

  15. wheatnoil says:

    If the JP to the KHL thing does happen, it would shed an interesting insight into the organization’s viewpoint. The implication of the move would be that the Oilers don’t trust Bakersfield (or the AHL as a league?) to develop their real blue chip prospects.

    We’ve seen the Oilers seemingly under-utilize the AHL for development for a number of years (Nurse, Drai, now JP, Caggiula, arguably Paajarvi and maybe even Lander though not a blue chipper). There are numerous ways I looked at that but I hadn’t considered that perhaps the Oilers just don’t trust the AHL with their best prospects. Maybe they feel they can do a better job in the NHL but if they send JP to the KHL instead, perhaps it implies a problem they see with the A.

    Edit: On further reflection, I suppose their first year with Drai he was ineligible for the AHL and they were keeping him out of Junior instead. Arguably one concern there was sending him back to PA and encouraging a trade to get him somewhere else. In that case you could say it was a lack of trust in PA (a poor team) not the AHL.

  16. Lowetide says:

    Clarkenstein:
    With the Oil’s recent history of player development I’m not sure what they will do with Jesse but rest assured they will f*ck it up!

    I agree on this, for sure. For me, they have already screwed up JP by not playing him. I bet his agent is still wondering when this young man is going to get a real chance. A weird way to handle gifted young talent.

  17. Lowetide says:

    wheatnoil:
    If the JP to the KHL thing does happen,it would shed an interesting insight into the organization’s viewpoint. The implication of the move would be that the Oilers don’t trust Bakersfield (or the AHL as a league?) to develop their real blue chip prospects.

    We’ve seen the Oilers seemingly under-utilize the AHL for development for a number of years (Nurse, Drai, now JP, Caggiula, arguably Paajarvi and maybe even Lander though not a blue chipper). There are numerous ways I looked at that but I hadn’t considered that perhaps the Oilers just don’t trust the AHL with their best prospects. Maybe they feel they can do a better job in the NHL but if they send JP to the KHL instead, perhaps it implies a problem they see with the A.

    Great post. Oilers rarely trust their best prospects to the AHL staff.

  18. theres oil in virginia says:

    I never liked Steve Downie before, but I think I might be changing my opinion of him:

    http://www.espn.com/nhl/story/_/id/18342773/steve-downie-critical-don-cherry-arizona-coyotes-twitter-rant

  19. trencan says:

    Lowetide: I don’t agree with this at all. Benson is a fine prospect, but his being an Oilers fan and being from Edmonton should have no real impact on things. It was nice that Messier was from here, but if he was a Russian it wouldn’t have made any difference. Jmo.

    Hmm, probably you are right, in Europe it is a little bit different as all junior teams are mostly in the same town as A team. The professional path of many players is often very straightforward through all levels of the organization. The connection between player, team/town and fans is stronger then. NHL model is different. jmo 🙂

  20. LMHF#1 says:

    Can’t be positive on sending the Finn to Russia. I’m assuming they can’t get him back during the year if they do this? That would compromise depth, especially with Pitlick already out for the year. Don’t like the realities of life in the KHL either.

    As for Debrincat v Benson, everyone knows my take. Debrincat was and remains the one that should have been picked. ‘Style’ shouldn’t have mattered. The numbers equation was too tilted. Debrincat also scores goals – the hardest thing to do in the game. Even with Benson’s good numbers this year – his G/A ratio is tilted significantly toward assists. Take the goal scorer every single time.

  21. Jethro Tull says:

    Lowetide: Great post. Oilers rarely trust their best prospects to the AHL staff.

    I don’t think it’s quite as simplistic as painted here. For many years now, these draft picks have been de facto our best players in a particular position from the moment their name was called at the draft. So who have we been developing? 3rd round and down and you have already worked out the % probability of those guys making it.

    Bad trades and bad UFA signings crippled this team. As it stands, Jesse is the 3rd best RW in the organisation. To send him anywhere would be making a decision based on something other than winning.

    The major problem with prospects like Jesse, Drai and Nurse is that they’re too sweet for Peter and too sour for Paul. Not NHL ready but too good for the AHL. I don’t subscribe to the ‘dominate’ line of player development, but nor do i subscribe to the ‘getting your head kicked in every night’ style either.

    They should be challenged in a controlled environment, and work on the tools they need to succeed at the next level. Is it in the KHL?

    We wait.

  22. Johnny Larue says:

    I don’t think there is a snow balls chance in hell that JP is going to Russia. They are bringing him along like Leon except JP will be going to the AHL and we will be able to call him up,

  23. Professor Q says:

    Sweden has a D pairing where the LD is RH and the RD is LH.

    Woodguy’s nightmare.

  24. sliderule says:

    Sending JP to Russia would be the one of the dumbest things the oilers have done with prospects since they traded Rieder for an empty coke machine

    If they won’t or can’t send him to AHL send him to a junior team in Canada.A junior team would give him a chance to learn language as well as regain offence confidence a la Leon.

    The language seems to be a problem with teammates shown when they interviewed Connor he intimated it was a problem in playing with him.Linemates talk all the time off the ice ,between shifts and at practice about where to go and positioning.

    Oilers better figure this out or will end up pissing away another high pick.

  25. Professor Q says:

    sliderule,

    They can send him to the AHL. I don’t believe they can send him to the CHL. Not even the Oil Kings.

  26. Jethro Tull says:

    Professor Q:
    Sweden has a D pairing where the LD is RH and the RD is LH.

    Woodguy’s nightmare.

    And lo, the sky did darken and plague of locusts decended upon the land. And LHD did play as RHD and for one another also. Thus the end of days was heralded.

    Book of Woodguy, chapter x, verse viii.

  27. Lowetide says:

    Professor Q:
    Sweden has a D pairing where the LD is RH and the RD is LH.

    Woodguy’s nightmare.

    No worries. His phone will correct.

  28. wheatnoil says:

    Professor Q:
    Sweden has a D pairing where the LD is RH and the RD is LH.

    Woodguy’s nightmare.

    Up is down, down is up! They say hello when they leave, goodbye when they arrive!

  29. Fog of Warts says:

    LIGO is in the news as the biggest science story of 2016. Here’s one of tweaks in the pipeline to make it even better:

    This is done by injecting a “squeezed vacuum state” into the dark port (interferometer output) which is quieter, in the relevant parameter, than simple darkness.

    New, improved darkness. Proof positive that any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from satire.

    ———-

    Just imagine the Lord having make-believe tea with his eternal companion—the tea cozies were her idea, he insists to the vastness of unspace—while he peruses the various swatches of darkness.

    “Deeeeeep,” says the Lord, examining the first sample. “What do you think, honey?”

    “It’s a lovely unshade. Positively lovely. However, when you hold it beside your face like that, it makes your eyes look, er, a touch manic. Just a touch, mind you.”

    “Really?” says the Lord. “How about this one?”

    “Beautiful, too—but I’d say still just a touch on the manic side.”

    “Do you have any idea how much eternity it takes to prepare for a grand, one week performance?”

    “You read all the reviews on Yelp. Everyone said Creation Studies seems like a lark, then the final project is a real killer.”

    “And so I was informed. But I didn’t take into account all this last-moment indecision.”

    “Decor is a bitch,” says Mrs Lord, breaking imaginary character ever so much.

    This dark, that dark, another dark. Seriously, I think they do it just to mess with my mind.”

    “I’ll tell you what,” says Mrs Lord, shaking her imaginary crumpet with surprising vigor. “I say stick it to ’em.”

    “Why, what do you mean?” says the Lord, leaning forward, now with a great deal more than a somewhat manic glint.

    “Let there be light,” says Mrs Lord.

    “Light!” says the Lord, “what an idea!”

    And it was good.

  30. sliderule says:

    Professor Q:
    sliderule,

    They can send him to the AHL. I don’t believe they can send him to the CHL. Not even the Oil Kings.

    Maybe the rules have changed but Hossa was drafted out of Slovakia and was sent to Portland Winter Hawks were he proceeded to tear up the WHL.The next year he played well for Sens.
    I would think some CHL team holds Jesse’s rights and if the right team is there it would be best option for him.

  31. Woodguy says:

    So many angry people on my timeline who cannot enjoy these numbers for love nor money. The Edmonton Oilers are winning hockey games and have good underlying numbers. It took exactly forever, and I am disappointed so few are here to enjoy it with me. I guess we all died a little in that damned war.

    Well that really depends.

    A lot of last year’s results were without McDavid and all of this year’s results are with McDavid.

    If we look at the Oilers from Feb 1 – April 15 (32gp) and compare them to this year’s Oilers (36gp) the story is a bit different and both samples have McDavid in every game.

    CF%
    Last year 48.8
    This year 51.1

    SCF%
    Last year 54.2
    This year 50.1

    xGF%
    Last year 51.9
    This year 49.2

    GF%
    Last year 44.9
    This year 51.9

    PDO
    Last year 987
    This year 1003

    They are full value for their results this year, but last year’s team with McDavid and Hall were on the shitty end of PDO it seems.

    Now consider the Dmen TOI during both periods: (remember last year’s Nurse was almost a totally different Nurse than this years)

    Last year:
    Player TOI
    ANDREJ.SEKERA 528.76
    MARK.FAYNE 459.89
    DARNELL.NURSE 432.28
    JORDAN.OESTERLE 294.5
    ADAM.CLENDENING 279.84
    BRANDON.DAVIDSON 268.55
    GRIFFIN.REINHART 258.56
    ADAM.PARDY 153.45
    JUSTIN.SCHULTZ 135.02
    ERIC.GRYBA 113.54
    NIKITA.NIKITIN 55.37

    This year:
    ADAM.LARSSON 616.27
    OSCAR.KLEFBOM 572.69
    ANDREJ.SEKERA 572.44
    KRIS.RUSSELL 500.88
    DARNELL.NURSE 381.54
    MATTHEW.BENNING 351.95
    ERIC.GRYBA 250.07
    BRANDON.DAVIDSON 74.21
    MARK.FAYNE 31.67
    DILLON.SIMPSON 31.45

    So if the Oilers were able to achieve pretty similar results (GF% w/ shitty PDO excepted) with a Dcorps that was magnitudes worse than this year’s Dcorps, how much further ahead is this year’s team from last year’s team that played from Feb1 – April 15th?

    Are they even ahead of that team with the 1 top 4 NHL Dman compared to this year’s 3-ish? (depending on your view of Russell, if you like him its 4, if not its 3)

    Are this year’s Oilers results better than the entire season’s results last year? Absolutely.

    I love that every game means something and barring a 97/33 injury there should be hockey past April 15th.

    I, and many others who bitch are enjoying this season despite what you say.

    Are this year’s Oilers better than last years teams after McDavid came back from injury?

    I don’t think you can definitively say yes.

    If Chiarelli does nothing but sign Russell and Gryba in the off season, is that team better than they are today?

    Looks like they might be.

  32. Lowetide says:

    WG: Which of the underlying numbers I posted this year are not good? Seems to me they are pretty solid, even if we just compare them to what a contending team might look like.

  33. OilClog says:

    Talbot established, 9-10 dependable forwards per game, 9-10 actual defenders on the roster.

    Mcdavid a year older, Drai established.

    Might be better. Lol

  34. Woodguy says:

    Lowetide:
    WG: Which of the underlying numbers I posted this year are not good? Seems to me they are pretty solid, even if we just compare them to what a contending team might look like.

    I agree that the underlying numbers are good.

    My post shows they were pretty similar last year when McDavid came back from injury Feb 1 until April 15 despite having mostly a 3rd pairing and AHL Dcorps.

  35. A'bunadh says:

    Lowetide:
    WG: Which of the underlying numbers I posted this year are not good? Seems to me they are pretty solid, even if we just compare them to what a contending team might look like.

    For me, it’s not about being unhappy with the team overall or where we are, it’s about missed opportunities. It is so hard to win the cup in the cap world. Windows are generally small and with a handful of smarter moves we could be much better than we are. I attribute the majority of our improvements to a healthier McDavid and Klefbom plus a more consistent Talbot. I don’t see one off-season moves that helped improve the team substantially at all. Missed opportunities. I’m happy with better results but still unhappy we squandered the opportunity to be so much better.

  36. Lowetide says:

    Woodguy: I agree that the underlying numbers are good.

    My post shows they were pretty similar last year when McDavid came back from injury Feb 1 until April 15 despite having mostly a 3rd pairing and AHL Dcorps.

    What part of my original post led you to believe I was challenging the idea? Had the same experience on twitter today, want to word my sentences more carefully next time. Was not my intent to challenge that McDavid injury or Hall trade had no significance, merely hoping we could enjoy a moment of good numbers across the board. I find it frustrating having a conversation about these things, as it seems we end up in the same spot over and over again. Any help is appreciated.

  37. wheatnoil says:

    Woodguy,

    Lowetide,

    I’m with LT on this one WG. I agree that last year’s team was not as bad as their standings place would be. That doesn’t change the fact that this year’s team is actually pretty good.

    Also, that corsi difference is significant and a corsi greater than 50% is more predictive of playoffs than xG at this point (at least Manny Elk’s xG).

    Now, could this team be even better with a few different roster decisions? Did the Oilers make trades that caused them to lose value? I would think the answer to both is ‘yes’ but that is a separate question. The Oilers are actually legitimate playoff candidates at the Christmas break. You know I agree with you that we can be critical of this team, but LT’a point stands. This is actually a competitive team for the first time in a decade and it seems some people are losing sight of that.

  38. Woodguy says:

    Lowetide: What part of my original post led you to believe I was challenging the idea? Had the same experience on twitter today, want to word my sentences more carefully next time. Was not my intent to challenge that McDavid injury or Hall trade had no significance, merely hoping we could enjoy a moment of good numbers across the board. I find it frustrating having a conversation about these things, as it seems we end up in the same spot over and over again. Any help is appreciated.

    Its this:

    So many angry people on my timeline who cannot enjoy these numbers for love nor money. The Edmonton Oilers are winning hockey games and have good underlying numbers. It took exactly forever, and I am disappointed so few are here to enjoy it with me. I guess we all died a little in that damned war.

    I think you are painting a lot of us with a really broad brush.

    It is possible to both:

    1) Enjoy EDM winning games with good underlying numbers
    2) Complain the Chiarelli set the team back.

    This line particularly struck me:

    I am disappointed so few are here to enjoy it with me.

    Who’s gone?

    Dennis just recently mentioned that the he’s enjoying the Oilers most now than he has since 2006.

    Cam is watching every game and giving out bouquets and raspberries as they are earned, same as always.

    Batty still has season tickets.

    etc. etc.

    You’re framing the issue in a way that seems unnecessarily divisive.

    You follow 12,000 people on twitter and I only follow 1,000 so maybe you’re exposed to people who actually cannot enjoy this, but I don’t see it.

    When you say : “I am disappointed so few are here to enjoy it with me.”

    I take it to mean the regulars who have come and gone over the years on your blog, and I see those people on twitter enjoying the Oilers.

    It feels like saying “The Oilers would be better with Hall + Demers and not Lucic + Larsson” is viewed by you as “not enjoying the Oilers”

    Whereas saying in 2006 “this Oilers team would be great if Lowe would just get a goalie” wasn’t viewed as “not enjoying the Oilers”

    This is tough to describe, and I hope I’m making it somewhat clear.

  39. Lowetide says:

    WG: Ah,. Good. Very helpful. I guess because I agree with those things (Demers, Hall, Reinhart) I feel we can move on from them without making them (necessarily) central. And you are right, it is unfair to paint with a broad brush. I also think saying I was disappointed THAT people were no longer a part of it must have come off as I was disappointed in those people. Clearly not the intent, but we learn.

    Thanks!

  40. Aron_S says:

    LT, when you say this:

    “Forty games on the roster means Edmonton loses a year of RFA rights, but if they can get him to another league and leave him there without recall, then the only loss is one year off the ELC. ”

    Am I reading correctly that you understand that it’s 40 days on the 23 man NHL roster? Regardless of games played? Also, it’s not the case that his time on the AHL roster would count towards those 40 games correct?

    One more for the group: If JP (or any player) gets sent down to the AHL, before the clear day/trade deadline, is it the case that the NHL club can recall the player (assuming they have one of their 4 recalls left for regular season) for playoffs and the player would be eligible? I know it doesn’t work the other way (if they’re not on the AHL clear day roster, they can’t play in AHL playoffs).

    Once the playoffs start, can the NHL club carry as many extra players as they want?

    Lastly, loved yesterday’s story about ZIggy. Our dog has the same fetish and proud tradition of taking socks and underwear.

  41. Woodguy says:

    Lowetide:
    WG: Ah,. Good. Very helpful. I guess because I agree with those things (Demers, Hall, Reinhart) I feel we can move on from them without making them (necessarily) central. And you are right, it is unfair to paint with a broad brush. I also think saying I was disappointed THAT people were no longer a part of it must have come off as I was disappointed in those people. Clearly not the intent, but we learn.

    Thanks!

    I appreciate you taking that in the spirit it was intended.

    These things can be very “touchy” in writing without the verbal cues.

  42. Woodguy says:

    Aron_S,

    Am I reading correctly that you understand that it’s 40 days on the 23 man NHL roster? Regardless of games played? Also, it’s not the case that his time on the AHL roster would count towards those 40 games correct?

    1) Yes, its regardless of GP, but days on the roster.

    2) No, AHL gp does not count because the player is “loaned” to the AHL team.

    Here’s the relevant part of the CBA:

    “Accrued Season” means any League Year during which a Player was on a Club’s Active Roster for 40 (30 if the Player is a goalie) or more Regular Season Games, provided that, for the purposes of calculating an Accrued Season under this Agreement, games missed due to a hockey-related injury incurred while on a Club’s Active Roster shall count as games played for purposes of calculating an Accrued Season but only during the League Year in which the injury was incurred and a maximum of one additional season.

    “Active Roster” shall be determined as follows: Commencing on the day prior to the start of the Regular Season, and concluding with each respective Club’s last NHL Game in a League Year, Active Roster shall include all Players on a Club’s Reserve List who are signed to an approved and registered SPC, subject to the provisions of Article 11, and who are not on the Injured Reserve List, Injured Non-Roster, designated Non-Roster, or Loaned. A Player who is on a Conditioning Loan is included on a Club’s Active Roster. During Training Camp, a Player shall be deemed to be on the Club’s Active Roster only if he had been on the Club’s Active Roster after the Trade Deadline in the preceding season on other than an emergency recall basis.

  43. Lowetide says:

    Aron_S:
    LT, when you say this:

    “Forty games on the roster means Edmonton loses a year of RFA rights, but if they can get him to another league and leave him there without recall, then the only loss is one year off the ELC. ”

    Am I reading correctly that you understand that it’s 40 days on the 23 man NHL roster? Regardless of games played? Also, it’s not the case that his time on the AHL roster would count towards those 40 games correct?

    One more for the group: If JP (or any player) gets sent down to the AHL, before the clear day/trade deadline, is it the case that the NHL club can recall the player (assuming they have one of their 4 recalls left for regular season) for playoffs and the player would be eligible? I know it doesn’t work the other way (if they’re not on the AHL clear day roster, they can’t play in AHL playoffs).

    Once the playoffs start, can the NHL club carry as many extra players as they want?

    Lastly, loved yesterday’s story about ZIggy. Our dog has the same fetish and proud tradition of taking socks and underwear.

    40 Games is my understanding. He doesnt even have to play in the games, just be on the roster. That is my read, no idea about games. As for the dog, yeah. She and I are like peas and corn, because we basically have the same view of the world. 🙂

  44. Bruce Wayne says:

    Even I am enjoying the games (well moments in the games), though there is always something bittersweet of what a waste this season is,but I don’t post here to talk about enjoyment (cheering for the team online is boring), I come here for the intellectual exercise. And as an intellectual exercise this team is an abject failure, with one indefensible, unintelligible move after another.

    I’ve talked myself all the way around. At the end of the day, the failure of management does diminish my enjoyment of the team, that is undeniable. The question is whether it will eliminate my enjoyment entirely. Not yet.

  45. Lowetide says:

    Woodguy: I appreciate you taking that in the spirit it was intended.

    These things can be very “touchy” in writing without the verbal cues.

    Well, I have been wrong enough to know there is a slight chance of it happening again. Plus, since this is not a lefty-righty thing, I can trust you. 🙂

  46. Jethro Tull says:

    Bruce Wayne:
    Even I am enjoying the games (well moments in the games), though there is always something bittersweet of what a waste this season is,but I don’t post here to talk about enjoyment (cheering for the team online is boring), I come here for the intellectual exercise.And as an intellectual exercise this team is an abject failure, with one indefensible, unintelligible move after another.

    I’ve talked myself all the way around.At the end of the day, the failure of management does diminish my enjoyment of the team, that is undeniable.The question is whether it will eliminate my enjoyment entirely.Not yet.

    The Oilers a humbug, uncle? Surely you can’t mean that?

  47. --hudson-- says:

    Woodguy,

    I’m baffled the Oilers wouldn’t try to leave more buffer on the 40 game limit toward the end of the season. This clause could end up being triggered by a playoff run and unsure if Oilers or Jesses development benefitted from it.

    Thanks for the relevant CBA wording!

  48. Professor Q says:

    sliderule: Maybe the rules have changed but Hossa was drafted out of Slovakia and was sent to Portland Winter Hawks were he proceeded to tear up the WHL.The next year he played well for Sens.
    I would think some CHL team holds Jesse’s rights and if the right team is there it would be best option for him.

    I know, and that was the case with Gernat/Marincin and Draisaitl, correct?

    But I looked it up and apparently Puljujärvi is undrafted to the CHL. Plus teams in the CHL can only have 2 imports and 2 overagers.

    Laine’s rights belong to the Sarnia Sting. But one would think either player would be better off in the AHL than CHL, non?

  49. Mike says:

    Mr Lowetide, I hope you had a wonderful Christmas with your family 👍!
    As well I hope everyone else also enjoyed the holidays with family and Friends. Best regards.

    I definitely fall in line with being very happy for the wins, yet I am incredibly worried that PC will make a bad trade. I have a horrible feeling that:

    Loose Davidson to expansion
    Sign Russell
    Trade LHD – Klefbom ( I feel Nurse will not be moved)
    Acquire a shooter. But I worry that if it’s B.Ryan we have put ourselves in a very hard position with the cap. I also worry that the player whether it’s Ryan or someone else, won’t have the speed that I think should be with mcdavid.

    Side note- I would love to see what Nuge could do with MCD and Maroon/B.P 5×5. I think that they could complement eachother very well.

    What are some players with term that would be a good fit?

  50. Lowetide says:

    Mike:
    Mr Lowetide, I hope you had a wonderful Christmas with your family 👍!
    As well I hope everyone else also enjoyed the holidays with family and Friends. Best regards.

    I definitely fall in line with being very happy for the wins, yet I am incredibly worried that PC will make a bad trade. I have a horrible feeling that:

    Loose Davidson to expansion
    Sign Russell
    Trade LHD –Klefbom ( I feel Nurse will not be moved)
    Acquire a shooter. But I worry that if it’s B.Ryan we have put ourselves in a very hard position with the cap. I also worry that the player whether it’s Ryan or someone else, won’t have the speed that I think should be with mcdavid.

    Side note- I would love to see what Nuge could do with MCD and Maroon/B.P 5×5. I think that they could complement eachother very well.

    What are some players with term that would be a good fit?

    I agree with pretty much everything you wrote here. As for players to acquire with term, all or most of the good ones are making huge dollars or are so young it would require a very large investment.

  51. --hudson-- says:

    Some guy named Taylor Hall wrote a WJHC article for the Players Tribune
    http://www.theplayerstribune.com/taylor-hall-world-juniors-team-canada/

    Interesting considering his history with Hockey Canada

  52. norm_klassen says:

    I can’t complain this year because the oilers are in 95% of the games win or lose ;draw; or mud. Two years ago at the end if the eakins run they where in it to but lost like a crazy amount of one goal games. So i could say that year they where in it but the coins flipping in or direction more often then not. It will take a few seasons of winning before alot of people accept that the oilers have indeed turned north. Once bitten twice shy multiply ten.

  53. fifthcartel says:

    If the Oilers didn’t trust Bakersfield with their prospects then they should probably fire Fleming or sell the team. OEG owns the Condors so they should be telling Fleming to kick rocks if he’s just going to give all the AHL veterans heavy ice time so he can get the best coaching record possible.

    It’d be different if they didn’t own the team and had conflicting interests with the ownership, but this is their team and they should be utilizing it.

  54. Woodguy says:

    –hudson–:
    Woodguy,

    I’m baffled the Oilers wouldn’t try to leave more buffer on the 40 game limit toward the end of the season. This clause could end up being triggered by a playoff run and unsure if Oilers or Jesses development benefitted from it.

    Thanks for the relevant CBA wording!

    Thanks.

    Here is the other part of the CBA that is relevant:

    Group 2 Players and Free Agents.

    (i) (A) Any Player who meets the qualifications set forth in the following
    chart and: (1) is not a Group 1 Player or a Group 4 Player, and (2) is not
    an Unrestricted Free Agent, shall be deemed to be a “Group 2 Player” and
    shall, at the expiration of his SPC, become a Restricted Free Agent. Any
    such Player shall be completely free to negotiate and sign an SPC with any
    Club, and any Club shall be completely free to negotiate and sign an SPC
    with any such Player, subject to the provisions set forth in this Section. As
    used in this Section 10.2, “age,” including “First SPC Signing Age” means
    a Player’s age on September 15 of the calendar year in which he signs an
    SPC regardless of his actual age on the date he signs such SPC.

    First SPC Signing Age Eligible for Group 2 Free Agency
    18 – 21 3 years professional experience
    22 – 23 2 years professional experience
    24 or older 1 year professional experience

    Now here’s the important part:

    For the purposes of this Section 10.2(a), a Player aged 18 or 19 earns a
    year of professional experience by playing ten (10) or more NHL Games
    in a given NHL Season, and a Player aged 20 or older (or who turns 20
    between September 16 and December 31 of the year in which he signs his
    first SPC) earns a year of professional experience by playing ten (10) or
    more Professional Games under an SPC in a given League Year.

    So, in the end we have:

    1) Must be on the roster for 40 games for have an Accrued Season.
    2) Games in the AHL at 18 & 19 do not count towards “Accrued Season”, but do for 20 year olds.

    Its specific language to give the teams more control over their young players.

    That’s why you can burn a ELC year (10 game rule), but not burn a RFA year (accrued season rule)

  55. Georges says:

    If the Oilers were a lot better after 36 games played they’d be the Rangers, who are 5 points ahead of them in the standings. If they were a lot worse they’d be the Flames, who are 4 points behind them in the standings. It’s close either way.

    Personally I think the Oilers are better than their record so far. Lots of parts to improve. I’m worried about losing Pitlick. Optimistic overall.

  56. Mike says:

    Lowetide,

    Yes the investment would be huge, hard to find a player when we never seem to understand what management is doing. With Colorado situation I wonder if it’s possible to get Tyson Barrie out of there. I still think it could be possible, but I think with the success with Benning I don’t think that PC would want another smaller defenseman.

    I am starting to have some real concerns with McLellan and how he treats the players. I realize that Brent Burns is a amazing talent. But to me it seems like the last season and this season without McLellan he had a boost in his play. Even the media attention on him in my opinion is significantly higher than when MC was his coach. I think that his system is so rigid that it hinders creativity. It also seems that if you play outside the system, the player is punished unless it’s one of his favorites.

    I am not a coach so, I don’t really know. It just seems to me that for the second highest paid coach in the league he should be more creative in dealing with roster and line issues.

  57. norm_klassen says:

    Georges,

    The fact we win on the road translates to a good team. The schedule as always seems unbalanced. The oilers nay have another big win streak wheh the schedule balances.

  58. Gordies Elbow says:

    Mike:
    Mr Lowetide, I hope you had a wonderful Christmas with your family !
    As well I hope everyone else also enjoyed the holidays with family and Friends. Best regards.

    I definitely fall in line with being very happy for the wins, yet I am incredibly worried that PC will make a bad trade. I have a horrible feeling that:

    Loose Davidson to expansion
    Sign Russell
    Trade LHD –Klefbom ( I feel Nurse will not be moved)
    Acquire a shooter. But I worry that if it’s B.Ryan we have put ourselves in a very hard position with the cap. I also worry that the player whether it’s Ryan or someone else, won’t have the speed that I think should be with mcdavid.

    What are some players with term that would be a good fit?

    For the expansion draft – I expect that there will be a great deal of teeth gnashing around these parts when the protected roster is posted. While it is possible that Chiarelli signs Russell to a contract with an NMC, I can’t see that happening prior to the expansion draft. Davidson is exactly the player that McPhee would want, from an age and position perspective.

    I can’t see McPhee taking older, veteran players under contract for only 1 or 2 years. If he would like players like this, he’ll be able to sign them as free agents. As such, I can’t see him taking Pouliot, Fayne, Letestu, or Maroon.

    Similarly, there is a list of players at a variety of stages of development in the AHL who are unlikely to draw any interest. I’d say that players like Khaira, Simpson, Musil, Oesterle, Lander, Moroz, Yakimov, Pakarinen, Pochiro, and Beck have almost no chance to be picked.

    If it were me, I would protect 8+1: Talbot, Eberle, Nugent-Hopkins, Lucic, Draisaitl, Sekera, Klefbom,
    Larsson, and Davidson

    This leaves Brossoit, Pitlick, Kassian, and Reinhart.

    What do you think it would you give to have McPhee take Pouliot’s contract? If the ask was Ziyat Paigin, would you make the deal?

  59. Mike says:

    I personally like BP and would keep him and expose him. I also think that Khaira would be interesting player for Vegas to take as well. I agree with your protected list but I would be and I would offer Z.Paigin for them to grab Poo. But I would also try and unload Fayne and see if we could work some creative moves and turn the expansion draft into a opportunity to force some of the more ristricted teams to move players or assets that normally wouldn’t be moved. Sorry that is all over the map with no specifics, but this is why do we have a experience GM and a developing team we should be able to improve the team I said believe there’s going to be a lot of movement and a lot of uncertainty that could be preyed upon.

  60. jm363561 says:

    A few days ago WG posted that he would undo the Hall trade and I commented that this would be an interesting poll question. Low and behold the Rig did just that – and last time I looked 80% of the several hundred responses accepted it as something that needed to be done. A view I share (in the absence of full knowledge of all things Demers.)

    But looking at Chia’s moves on a deal by deal basis will probably result in missing the wood for the trees – you have to (try and) see the big picture which is impossible without full knowledge. My guess is changing the culture in the locker room was a key objective; getting moar bigger another; the build has another year or two to go (Hall’s kami kazi style by then might be slowing him down); McD, Drai, Klef et al are still developing.

    There seems to be some secret sauce in creating a successful hockey team and it is more than just talent – why Columbus and Minnesota? Why not Colorado? Notwithstanding the Reinhart bust I am okay with Chia and his roster (and I do not think Russell will be extended). It is TMac that worries me.

  61. Genjutsu says:

    Lowetide: I agree on this, for sure. For me, they have already screwed up JP by not playing him. I bet his agent is still wondering when this young man is going to get a real chance. A weird way to handle gifted young talent.

    This reminds me quite a bit of the treatment Tyler Seguin got in Boston his rookie year.

    He seemed to turn out okay.

  62. Lowetide says:

    Genjutsu: This reminds me quite a bit of the treatment Tyler Seguin got in Boston his rookie year.

    He seemed to turn out okay.

    Excellent point.

  63. PerryK says:

    Oil2Oilers:
    I dream of a Vancouver boxing day sale;

    Kris Russell + Reinhart for Chris Tanev

    Many teams have taken advantage of the Oilers mismanagement over the years, it is time to get some back.

    Prefer a trade with Winnipeg. Trouba and ? For Eberle and GR, maybe? Both teams get something they need.

  64. slopitch says:

    Bruce Wayne,

    We’ve gone from a management team that was a complete failure to one that is doing an ok job. Not exceptional, not really even good. But several moves over the past year have turned out fine and others quite well.

    Make a couple good trades here in the next 4 months and enjoy McDavid. This spring could be fun.

  65. PerryK says:

    Lowetide: I agree with pretty much everything you wrote here. As for players to acquire with term, all or most of the good ones are making huge dollars or are so young it would require a very large investment.

    I would submit Vrbata as the type of RW that might suit McDavid best. I think that he could be acquired without a lot of cost!

  66. Professor Q says:

    PerryK: I would submit Vrbata as the type of RW that might suit McDavid best. I think that he could be acquired without a lot of cost!

    Perhaps he could Radim the Oilers’ offence?

  67. who says:

    norm_klassen:
    Georges,

    The fact we win on the road translates to a good team. The schedule as always seems unbalanced. The oilers nay have another big win streak wheh the schedule balances.

    PerryK: Prefer a trade with Winnipeg. Trouba and ? For Eberle and GR, maybe? Both teams get something they need.

    Not even close to realistic. Explain why the Jets with Laine, wheeler and armia, need Eberle. They do need a lefty dman, but I don’t think anyone is sure Reinhart will be an nhl dman.

  68. dangilitis says:

    Lowetide: Excellent point.

    This is true, but Taylor got a head start as crazy as it sounds, because he was played far more. What happened to Tyler in Boston is essentially what happened to Thornton, there has to be a happy medium between what Edmonton does and Boston does. The cream will eventually rise to the top but I’m not sure we can claim Jesse is the same caliber of player as either of those 2. What if he’s more like a MPS? Development with those types is important and playing them in the right spot in the order is crucial

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