QUIET STORM

The Edmonton Oilers lost at home last night, a 4-1 final that featured the hockey players in Edmonton being at least as frustrated as the fans watching. That is progress! I think Edmonton probably deserved a point last night, there were some brilliant chances. Connor McDavid might have been justified in clubbing at least one of his wingers into a fine white powder, but the interview after the second seemed to indicate he was laying responsibility at the feet of the captain. He is 20, you say? Huh. Must be a different kind of 20.

 THE NO NO SONG, 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: 7-2-5, goal differential +3
  • Oilers in January 2016: 4-5-2, goal differential -5
  • Oilers in January 2017: 9-4-1, goal differential +8
  • Oilers in February 2016: 3-8-2, goal differential -18
  • Oilers in February 2017: 6-6-0, goal differential -2
  • Oilers in March 2016: 8-8-0, goal differential +5
  • Oilers in March 2017: 1-1-0, goal differential -2
  • Oilers after 66, 2015-16: 25-34-7, goal differential -34
  • Oilers after 66, 2016-17: 35-23-8, goal differential +14

A disappointing result, but the chances favored (in my opinion) the home team. Islanders worked hard and earned the win, and I don’t think worldwide panic is an appropriate response at this time. Glad to see the comments section didn’t erupt into The Towering Inferno. The schedule for the rest of this week is tough, so we might have a little discomfort by Sunday night.

 WHAT TO EXPECT FROM MARCH

  • At home to: Detroit, NY Islanders, Pittsburgh, Montreal (Expected: 2-2-0) (Actual 1-1-0)
  • At home to: Dallas, Boston, Vancouver, Los Angeles (Expected: 3-1-0) (Actual 0-0-0)
  • On the road to: Anaheim, Colorado (Expected: 1-1-0) (Actual: 0-0-0)
  • At home to: Colorado, Los Angeles, San Jose (Expected 1-1-1) (Actual: 0-0-0)
  • Overall expected result: 7-5-1, 15 points in 13 games
  • Overall current results: 1-1-0, 2 points in two games 

Edmonton hasn’t posted a truly disappointing month since November, and I doubt they will this time around. Winning one of the next two games is suddenly more important than it was, though. Important to have 5 wins by the end of the Los Angeles home game next week.

DEFENSE LAST NIGHT

  • Sekera-Benning is my second favorite pairing, real quality. Went 14-5 in 14:21 together 5×5, that is good. Went 7-5 with 97 and 5-0 with Nuge. Went 5-3 against the Tavares (Anders Lee & Josh Bailey) line, but only 4-7 against Ladd-Strome-Chimera. Benning was 1-7 with Nurse, that pairing doesn’t have enough NHL experience.
  • Nurse-Gryba did pretty well in possession, and had some moments of prolonged chaos thrown in. Went 12-7 in 12:03 together, 6-2 with McDavid. Pairing went 4-6 against Tavares and are the most obvious partners for a third pairing on the roster at this time.
  • Klefbom-Larsson had some high wire moments and both men were in the glue in plus minus on the evening. At 5×5, Went 13-16 in 17:04 together, Larsson was rubbing bumpers all night. Oscar had some chaos in his game, that is going to happen when teams chase the score. Just 6-7 in 8:25 with McDavid, and went 8-8 against Ladd-Strome-Chimera.
  • I am seeing more and more verbal about Klefbom as a negative, which is actual full crazy. Although he has some defensive lapses, Klefbom has improved in leaps and bounds and is a perfect fit with Larsson. If you bunch run him out of town, I will never forgive you. Why can’t Oilers fans embrace the idea that a guy like Klefbom is a net positive. They don’t let you hold anymore, people. Gaining position and using man strength to defend the net front is a combination of strength and experience. He will get there, please don’t bugger this up! Doesn’t excuse the mistakes, but let’s remember he has played 172 NHL games. Still young, still learning.
  • 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.
  • Cam Talbot stopped 23 of 26, .885.
  • Numbers via NHL.com, HockeyStats.ca and NaturalStatTrick.

1LINE

  • This line had a large number of good chances, but the puck was bouncing (ice) and the motor skills seemed a little off on the wingers. I will guess that they should have scored twice with reasonable luck.
  • Went 5-4 (7:22) against the Kulemin-Beauvillier-Clutterbuck line, 8-10 (6:19) against Ladd-Strome-Chimera. Went 6-4 against Leddy-Pelech. McDavid was 6-6 against Hamonic in 6:28. It looks like there was very little line matching, which runs counter to my viewing (I noticed the Tavares line and Hamonic far more than the numbers at 5×5 reflect).
  • I think the Islanders got under McDavid’s skin, the first team to do so since the Flyers. There were times when the young captain and his mates seemed to lose the script and started chasing hits, but I thought they recovered for the push that never came.

2LINE

  • This line was strong for long periods last night, they should have scored but pucks were jumping and credit the goalie he was fine.
  • These last games have been the most encouraging all year for this trio, it would be grand to see these three men go on a hot streak down the backstretch. The line was 13-5 together, and that includes 7-4 against the Tavares line in 6:10.

3LINE

  • This line scored the goal, a nice bit of work for a trio that is getting chances every night. They look dangerous when in possession in the offensive zone, and do not turn over the puck immediately (something that has happened this winter for this line).
  • Went 6-5 against Ladd-Strome-Chimera,  but were challenged by the Tavares line 2-8 in three minutes. Line matching by the coach looks like an unused tool by morning light.

4LINE

  • This line got fed all night long. They were 0-4 against Ladd-Strome-Chimera  and were not close to getting a good look. I don’t believe the Oilers should make wholesale changes, but the 4line could use a freshening. Perhaps  moving out Matt Hendricks and inserting Anton Slepsyhev will do the trick (doubt the club will break up the 3line).

CURRENT STANDINGS

Opportunity missed, but still no danger here as long as the points come along at a reasonable pace. My expectation of the month is a little more than a point per game, but even 13 points in 13 games allows the Oilers to finish the month with 89 points on the season (after 77 games). Not perfect, but the Kings would need 21 points in their next 12 games to get to even. Such a tough thing, making up 10 points in the NHL.

SIGNING SEASON

Last spring and summer, Peter Chiarelli took action in the amateur procurement department. Leon Draisaitl had been long signed, but the rest of the draft crop (William Lagesson, Zach Nagelvoort, Liam Coughlin, Tyler Vesel, Keven Bouchard) were either years away from signing, would never be signed, or had been traded.

So, he cast about looking for college and CHL free agents, finally bringing in Matt Benning, Drake Caggiula and Nick Ellis (among others). That is a pretty impressive haul, and put the 2014 draft signing season in a new light. Leon is a fine first-round selection, and Benning in the second round would have been an extreme bargain.

Fast forward to this spring and summer, and the 2015 draft. Connor McDavid has already ascended to elite impact status in the NHL, and two defensemen (Caleb Jones and Ethan Bear) have been signed from that draft. At some point, we should see John Marino, Ziyat Paigin and Miroslav Svoboda signed, some of them this spring.

That said, and this should be a flood this spring and summer, Chiarelli needs forwards for the giant procurement beast. The team has signed RHD Ryan Mantha as a graduating CHL free agent, so defenders are unlikely to be a target now. Forwards? Oh my. Here are the AHL-level forwards with contracts for next season:

  1. Jesse Puljujarvi (likely in NHL)
  2. Anton Slepyshev (may be in NHL)
  3. Patrick Russell
  4. Kyle Platzer
  5. Greg Chase
  6. Braden Christoffer

No doubt PC will sign several RFA forwards (eligibles include Joey Laleggia, Bogdan Yakimov, Jere Sallinen, Henrik Samuelsson, Anton Lander, Jujhar Khaira), but a guy like Khaira will have to clear waivers and most of the rest are less than 50 percent based on performance. I will guess Laleggia, Khaira and Lander return.

LANDER

At this point, I think we are looking at a real problem. Anton Lander, he of the impact scoring in the AHL, cannot get a regular job in Edmonton to save his soul. Right now, on the current roster, Lander could help on the PK and possibly 3L, if given a chance.

As is the case with Mark Fayne, I believe we are dealing with actual NHL players whose foot speed (or lack of) is enough of an issue for Edmonton to consider them fringe NHLers (or worse). At some point, both men will be cast out of the organization and move on. Fayne is of an age where one assumes a full reboot and recovery is a distant bell.

Lander? Well, he may catch on somewhere, due to his unique set of skills. An NHL team looking for an inexpensive utility forward might find him to be a Swiss Army knife. They may also unlock his offense in the higher league. I have been using all 10 of my brain cells to find a comparable, and have none. How many players in AHL history have his skill set and cannot find regular work? Not many, I believe. Speed is becoming more important by the hour.

LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE

At 10, TSN1260. Scheduled to appear:

  • Darcy McLeod, Because Oilers. A look back at last night, ahead to the McDavid deal, and where should Matt Benning play?
  • Scott Mitchell, The Toronto Sun. A new CFL mock draft from Scott! Love it. We will discuss.
  • Simon Boisvert, Prospect Insider. Puljujarvi in Bakersfield, when should he get the call? Plus the Lander Mystery.

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

 

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100 Responses to "QUIET STORM"

  1. Pescador says:

    Lt writes “I don’t think worldwide panic is an appropriate response at this time”
    I agree, that can wait for Friday night

  2. Pouzar says:

    ” Speed is becoming more important by the hour.”

    2nd only to “good in the room”.

  3. BONE207 says:

    I saw only the last 7 minutes of the game last night. Looks like the Isles blocked out the sun as well as the shots. Some hockey shop is going to hit it big in shin pad sales today. Zack scores!!! How long will they let him keep this one??? Now if they would put Sleppy in for Matty and let them play, I think that would become a fine line for the playoffs.

  4. DBO says:

    Lander = Sideburns. Clearly the issue.

    Since I seem to lead the Free Anton brigade, I will stump one more time. But, LT you are correct. 20 years ago he is a solid 3rd line centre every team needs. Today, he is a touch slow, but he still gets the job done, he just doesn’t crash into the boards or come to the bench doubled over in exhaustion like Hendricks (so maybe the coach doesn’t think he works hard enough). He was dynamite on the PP a few years back under Nelson and played great in the World’s when centering Sweden’s first line that year (you now, play him with skill, shockingly he plays well), and he would seem to be a good fit at 3 LW. Kills me that other then speed, Cagguila brings pretty much nothing so far. Lander is a two way player, lacking in high end speed, who plays physical, can play with skill, muck it up, and is a great PKer and faceoff man (especially on this team). WTF.

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

    Great post LT!

    1) Agreed wholeheartedly on Klefbom, people need to calm down with this player something fierce. A few months ago some were ready to trade him for Tyson Barrie, yeesh. Getting out positioned in front happens and Lee is a big guy, personally I was more concerned with the blown pinches in the first that led to two or three odd man rushes. Getting beat down low happens, a bad pinch is wholly preventable. Work on the latter and be smart on the former.

    2) That PK man, ooof its just a pure dogs breakfast right now, looks very out of sync too me. Players don’t know if they should pressure or clog lanes and end up leaving both open. This needs to be fixed ASAP because it is leaking goals right now.

    3) That 4th line sucks and both JK and Hendo should sit for a game or two. Won’t happen I know but with so few games played in the last two weeks Sleppy needs to get a game in soonish and Poo is close to returning so hopefully a shakeup is in order.

    4) The Nuge-Lucic-Eberle line is starting to run right now and given the styles of the upcoming teams there might be a chance that they could catch fire before the slog begins against teh Cali teams. Here’s hoping.

    5) Seriously hating the schedule makers these days. The Oilers aren’t playing enough games right now. 3 games in 10 days? Seriously this is their 3rd “down time” period since the ASG, tough to get on a role when things are so up and down schedule wise. Hopefully these next two games against quicker teams will help shake the rust.

    6) So much holding, hooking and interference last night. I don’t like whining about reffing but the inconsistency this year (and this stretches to other teams as well) is pathetic. The NFL wouldn’t tolerate this crap, not sure why the NHL does.

  6. Dennis King says:

    Sounds like 67 will soon be ready to go and I hope both him and 42 see the light of day on Sat. Young 54 is big, strong and a fine skater but he pretty much shits his pants when he has the puck. I would farm him out so he can keep practicing his offensive MO

  7. JJS says:

    I would have really liked the Oil d-men to try and miss the net on purpose (thereby missing the block) and getting the puck in and around the net.

    Seemed like they were trying to force it through the maze. The 3rd goal against was after a wonderful powerplay that resulted in about 8 shots but none on net. Needed to adjust strategy about 1 min into the man advantage and turn the game on its ear.

    We have enough mass up front to stand around the blue paint waiting for tips/bounces off the boards.

    I like Sleps in for Hendo. Gets that line buzzing.

    I also think Lander on the 4th wing/PK would be a worthwhile experiment for 5 games.

  8. oilman says:

    Lander is our latest version of Shaun Van Allen – way too good for the minors and in need of an expansion team to carve out an 800 game NHL career,

  9. Pouzar says:

    DBO:
    Lander = Sideburns. Clearly the issue.

    Since I seem to lead the Free Anton brigade, I will stump one more time. But, LT you are correct. 20 years ago he is a solid 3rd line centre every team needs. Today, he is a touch slow, but he still gets the job done, he just doesn’t crash into the boards or come to the bench doubled over in exhaustion like Hendricks (so maybe the coach doesn’t think he works hard enough). He was dynamite on the PP a few years back under Nelson and played great in the World’s when centering Sweden’s first line that year (you now, play him with skill, shockingly he plays well), and he would seem to be a good fit at 3 LW. Kills me that other then speed, Cagguila brings pretty much nothing so far. Lander is a two way player, lacking in high end speed, who plays physical, can play with skill, muck it up, and is a great PKer and faceoff man (especially on this team). WTF.

    QFT

  10. hunter1909 says:

    Hunter1909’s 2016-17 Oilers Death March Update:

    Oilers lose last night and drop to a 96.9 season pace. Congrats to the 12 players who have accurately predicted 97 points. The dozen Death March players who predicted a 97 point finish are:

    Soup Fascist
    Oil 2 Oilers
    Water fire
    Yak Efron
    Ozzie Oiler
    PTS2PNDR
    Genjutsu
    Book;je
    Kashirat
    Lodog
    Say it ain’t so Gretz, Say it ain’t so!
    Country girl

  11. Pouzar says:

    Dennis King: but he pretty much shits his pants

    That’s cause when he looks up his linemates are 4 strides behind him.
    Hendricks/Letestu on the same line is All World slow.

  12. Glass says:

    SayItAin’tSo, Gretz, SayItAin’tSo!,

    Yeah I noticed a ton of holding last night, it was quite frustrating. I feel like the rules are there for them to manage the game, not for them to enforce & abide by.

  13. npanciroli says:

    Glass,

    I stand by that obstruction is ruining the game and the lack of offence in this league more than anything else. Stop worrying about goalie pads, net size etc. After teams go on the PK 5+ times a game they will stop interfering, hooking and holding.

    Time to put the most skill on the ice IMO.

    Maroon McDavid Drai
    Lucic RNH Eberle
    Pouliot DD Slepyshev
    Cagguila Letestu Kassian
    Lander

  14. dustrock says:

    Running Klefbom out of town would probably end my fandom.

    The PK is losing us games, just like the PP earlier in the year.

  15. Chachi says:

    I thought the team was kind of alright last night except for that horrid 4th line, but they were sloppy on the details again after having a longish break. I have no numbers to back it up, but good grief it seems to me that this team from the goalie on out cannot handle having more than a day off from playing actual games.

    Edited to add that scanning the schedule, the results haven’t been too putrid as far as wins and losses go so it just might be my eyeballs fooling me.

  16. jooks says:

    Ethan Moreau should give Lander his skating coach’s number. I forget which season it was, but after training with a new skating coach in the summer, Moreau really improved his footspeed (it looked like he was twice as fast!)

  17. Bruce Wayne says:

    Despite the loss, that was a fun game to watch, and a team worthy of cheering for. To wit:

    It was the second game all year I’ve watched that Lucic wasn’t the worst player on the ice. He looked almost useful, and as a result his line made some things happen. If the Oilers are to be worthy of cheering for they must have two lines that try and score. By definition a one line team is a team that deserves to lose.

    Adam Larsson also looked very good to me, he’s nothing like the guy who started the season. Combine him with Klefbom (my new favourite player) and that is a pairing worth cheering for. Trade is still bad, but Larsson is good. What really kills is the Lucic signing, which is all bad.

    I also like Sekera and Benning.

    Deshairnais looked reasonable. Certainly better than Caggiula.

    To the bad:

    Gryba and Nurse are terrible. Gryba especially, but Nurse is seriously overrated by Oiler fans. The Oilers are going to miss Davidson in the playoffs. He is better than both of these guys.

    Eberle and RNH”s numbers will never come back so long as they are banished to the second powerplay. I think the writing is on the wall for both of them. Prepare yourself for underwhelming trades. I think the template is set. Build a team of not too expensive defensively responsible players and then wait for McDavid to do something great. I find that a very underwhelming prospect, whether it works or not.

    It will be interesting to see what the future holds, and at what point Oiler fans start expecting something better than this.

  18. Pouzar says:

    In a small sample size JJ is very good with Letestu but Oil and Water with Hendricks.

    So my bottom 6 would be:

    Pou-DD-Kass
    Khaira-Testy-Slepy

  19. PhrankLee says:

    Love Klefbom for his youth, potential and surprise offence. His pinches need work as mentioned.

    Larsson is still so young. I am really confidant in the Resurrection of the d corps/e.

    Lander cannot play at pace, my friends. I love what he is doing for himself in the A.

    Summertime farewell. Saw us through the darkest nights I’ve ever known? Through the coldest winter in almost 14 years?

    Couldn’t believe you kept a smile.

  20. Mr. D. says:

    Thought Islanders defensive(including forecheck) was well done. Kept shots long and outside for most cases and won many of the battles on the forecheck.
    On the PK the high men are so important. They can’t give the guy the shot from the middle blue. The tender can’t cheat as the puck can be deflected 2 ways.
    We need to get physical in front during the shot to allow vision for Talbot. I think we are scared to take penalties.

  21. Chachi says:

    jooks:
    Ethan Moreau should give Lander his skating coach’s number.I forget which season it was, but after training with a new skating coach in the summer, Moreau really improved his footspeed (it looked like he was twice as fast!)

    It got him into position to take twice as many offensive zone penalties!

  22. Woodguy v2.0 says:

    WC standings using points %. Shown as “points over/under .500” to see spreads between teams.

    MIN 26
    CHI 24
    SJS 20
    EDM 12
    ANA 12
    CGY 10-1st wildcard
    NSH 8
    STL 6
    ——————–
    LAK 3
    WPG -1
    DAL -2
    VAN -2
    ARI -12
    COL -26

    STL beats MIN for some breathing room.

    EDM might be 1st wild card by Sunday night if everyone’s trends continue.

  23. Woodguy v2.0 says:

    EC standings using points %. Shown as “points over/under .500” to see spreads between teams.

    WSH 30
    CBJ 25
    PIT 24
    NYR 21-1st wildcard
    MTL 17
    OTT 14
    NYI 8
    BOS 8
    ——————
    TOR 7
    PHI 5
    TBY 4
    FLA 4
    BUF -1
    CAR -1
    DET -3
    NJD -4

    TOR stays close. PHI won’t go away (I love Gudas) and the Computer Boys break my heat and spreadsheets.

  24. PhrankLee says:

    Woodguy v2.0:
    WC standings using points %. Shown as “points over/under .500” to see spreads between teams.

    MIN26
    CHI24
    SJS20
    EDM12
    ANA12
    CGY10-1st wildcard
    NSH8
    STL6
    ——————–
    LAK3
    WPG-1
    DAL-2
    VAN-2
    ARI-12
    COL-26

    STL beats MIN for some breathing room.

    EDM might be 1st wild card by Sunday night if everyone’s trends continue.

    If ever there were a time to “Kick out the jams, motherfuckers!”- it’s now.

    My model (blind guess) had them just out with 91 points. But I had not expected Los Angeles to disappear this season.

  25. Silver Streak says:

    Hey Allan, what were our face-off numbers, looked to me our best on the dot this year.

  26. mit167 says:

    The Oilers seemed to be fighting the puck last night. My daughter kept asking if they wer playing hot potato. Not sure if it was the ice or the players were forcing the play and things just wouldn’t line up. My daughter plays U-19 ringette which depends on a lot of passing. If it’s not clicking then to quote her you need to make shorter passes and work to get yourself open

  27. JustWatt says:

    The team has the feel of a group that has too many players in slumps at the same time.

    1) Talbot: not sharp of late.

    2) Kelfbom and Benning: more wobble more often than the first half of the season

    3) McD’s wingers: not getting enough bounces.

    4) 4th line: possession black hole

    However, the third line has shown some early chemistry and the second line is finally clicking. Scoring feels like it has been an issue in 2017 but I wonder if these guys can get hot right in time for a playoff run. Need some things to start breaking the right way but the Oil looked like a team that was a few breaks from being the dominant team last night. Hope everyone gets up for the Pens!

  28. Dominoiler says:

    I’m loving the new format, LT.. nice work tinkering..

    WRT Kelfbom, we are starting a pitchfork registry in an attempt to combat the erratic rise in hostility towards young defensemen.. Before reclaiming your pitchfork from Woodguy’s front yard, you’ll be required to state the number of games your goat defensemen has played and verbally acknowledge it in relation to the 250 games milestone.. that is all..

    Please note, we will also be selling ALAS candles (torches) for those whom may be interested..

  29. admiralmark says:

    JustWatt:
    The team has the feel of a group that has too many players in slumps at the same time.

    1) Talbot: not sharp of late.

    2) Kelfbom and Benning: more wobble more often than the first half of the season

    3) McD’s wingers: not getting enough bounces.

    4) 4th line: possession black hole

    However, the third line has shown some early chemistry and the second line is finally clicking. Scoring feels like it has been an issue in 2017 but I wonder if these guys can get hot right in time for a playoff run. Need some things to start breaking the right way but the Oil looked like a team that was a few breaks from being the dominant team last night. Hope everyone gets up for the Pens!

    I feel pretty much the same way. More and more I feel both Maroon and Lucic are where the puck goes to kill the play. Lucic is regularly stripped of the puck and Maroon always seems 1 second behind and easy tap in. The long term plan needs to give McDavid an actual sniper to convert what he’s offering out there.

  30. flyfish1168 says:

    Anton may have his issues. But I think the elephant in the room is the coach. No disrespect to TMac. But if foot speed is an issue Khaira, Lucic and Hendricks should be an issue also. Lander maybe slow but I don’t see him being that much slower than those three. If the Oilers want to ice their best team possible Lander must be on this team.

  31. linkfromhyrule says:

    Pouzar:
    In a small sample size JJ is very good with Letestu but Oil and Water with Hendricks.

    So my bottom 6 would be:

    Pou-DD-Kass
    Khaira-Testy-Slepy

    This is what I would do also, that 3rd line could be great.

    But you just know McLellan is going to scratch Khaira and keep Hendo in.

    When this coach gets stubborn on a player, he REALLY gets stubborn. Goes both ways too. See Pouliot, Benoit.

    Also, McDavid and his wingers need to SHOOT. Unbelievably tired of these 2 on 1’s turning into no shot at all because they are looking for the perfect pass-back door play. Maroon hasn’t looked effective on McDavid’s wing for a couple of weeks now imo.

  32. Pouzar says:

    flyfish1168: Khaira

    Is not slow.

  33. JDï™ says:

    Pouzar: Is not slow.

    QFT

  34. who says:

    Probably should have had the win or at least a loser point. Three things that were obvious to me last night.
    1. Klefbom has all the tools to be a top pairing Dman but he is not there yet. Too many bad decisions and blown coverages but I think he will get there. I am willing to give him the time. I cringe when people suggest trading him and that contract.
    2. Too early to pencil in Benning as a top 4 option for next year. Showed his youth on the third goal last night. Made a panicked clearing attempt when he had plenty of time and then lost his man in front. Good player but like a lot of our dmen, he needs another year or two.
    3.WAY too early to talk about resigning DD. He is what he is. A small center with some offensive creativity who often forgets how to play in his own end. I think that is what got him benched for the third. Interesting decision considering the oilers were trailing and that line was creating a few chances earlier.

  35. Dicky94 says:

    Pouzar,

    Yes yes!! Looking forward to Pouliot coming back. Caggs (who I believe will be a great player for the Oil) is just not the right guy to have on that line. Slepy on the 4th brings a lot of speed to that line and possible trigger man. So ya…Hendo and Caggs out unless there is a injury once Pou is back.

  36. flyfish1168 says:

    Pouzar: Is not slow.

    http://www.hockeysfuture.com/prospects/jujhar_khaira/

    When you watch him he is not fast. He can’t cover on PK. Lander has enough speed besides hockey sense to know where to go. I like Khaira on the offensive cycle his best asset. He has problems finishing. We may never agree on him. JMHO

  37. flyfish1168 says:

    Dicky94:
    Pouzar,

    Yes yes!!Looking forward to Pouliot coming back. Caggs (who I believe will be a great player for the Oil) is just not the right guy to have on that line. Slepy on the 4th brings a lot of speed to that line and possible trigger man. So ya…Hendo and Caggs out unless there is a injury once Pou is back.

    I would like to see Pou, Letestu and Slepy as our 4th line

  38. Pouzar says:

    flyfish1168: http://www.hockeysfuture.com/prospects/jujhar_khaira/

    When you watch him he is not fast. He can’t cover on PK. Lander has enough speed besides hockey sense to know where to go. I like Khaira on the offensive cycle his best asset. He has problems finishing. We may never agree on him. JMHO

    I do watch him and he isn’t slow. IOW, speed is not an issue with JJ imho.

  39. Chachi says:

    flyfish1168: http://www.hockeysfuture.com/prospects/jujhar_khaira/

    When you watch him he is not fast. He can’t cover on PK. Lander has enough speed besides hockey sense to know where to go. I like Khaira on the offensive cycle his best asset. He has problems finishing. We may never agree on him. JMHO

    I’m not saying Lander is slow, but this is footage of him in the summer doing dryland training.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XYDIO8j239A

  40. LMHF#1 says:

    Most of the time, it isn’t an issue of speed – but instead skating technique.

    If you’re a good skater, proficient in getting around as efficiently as possible, you don’t have to be blazing fast. That part isn’t changing. The amount of sloppy skaters that still manage to make it is rather staggering.

  41. hoser313 says:

    Slepy deserves a game on that 3rd line.

    I like Cagguila but that’s two games in a row now where he has not cashed in on Grade A chances set up by his line mates.

    I always thought Lander deserved a better fate. But he hasn’t been able to bring offence in the NHL since Nelson was here.

  42. Pechetr says:

    Two valuable points last night . Had a chance to put some distance between the Ducks and the Lames. No issue with Klef, but he is not a number 1 yet. Still learning. Draisaitl is giving the puck away with a lot of blind passes lately and he sure gives the puck up easily along the boards. Seems tired. Shoot the damn puck! Too many times they are looking to pass.

  43. NYCOIL "Gentleman Backpacker" says:

    Dare I suggest Talbot has been overworked and is tired?
    Before you tell me I am wrong (again, as usual), yes I have seen the small sample size game logs of 3 days+, 2 days, 1 day, 0 day rest differences.
    When I said we needed a stronger back up for this spring than Brossoit so that Talbot could rest up a lot of folks said you know it works for injury insurance but Talbot plays better the more he plays. That may be true. But here comes the “but” and no, we aren’t talking about Ms. Lopez.

    But…
    Talbot has never had a starter’s workload until last year. In year 2 of his career as a starter he has the most minutes played of any goalie in the NHL. More than Holtby, for example. Workhorse indeed. When you go from 15-25 games a year to 60 games to almost 70 in rapid succession, oh, I don’t know, your body might need adjustment.

    Now here is my unscientific theory about playing worse on more rest. You know when you are so busy at work you are just going, going, going, fighting through everything and performing at a high level, and then you finally get a long weekend and then you get sick? And then you go back to work after and you just don’t have the energy?

    Something like that. While getting little time to recover, Talbot does every thing with the focus on that. On the road, riding the bike, ice baths, whatever. But over time, the work load is taking its toll. There is cumulative fatigue building.

    But then you get home. Twins are waiting and it is daddy duty time, and the fatigue hits you, even though you are getting more rest. Body says to you, “hey, it is recovery time.” And it just becomes a hair less responsive.

    Now Talbot is a pro, so I imagine he has every method available to aid him. I don’t imagine the slip will be too great. But he may slip from his recent run of .925 towards .915 and that may matter.

    I also don’t want him burned out by this time next year. The way he is being used it wouldn’t be surprising, even though he is fine now.

    Completely unscientific observation on my part. I just wish we had a backup that got in more games. Sure, maybe Talbot does better under a heavier workload…for now…but we don’t know in the future.

    As for the Klefbom issue…400 games, folks. He is 3 seasons away from that. Patience! I get frustrated with his gambles, pinches and failure to prevent easy passes into the slot for high danger chances again, too. But I have patience and I also feel more relaxed when the steady Adam Larsson is out there covering for him. Klef will be a dandy. Just wait.

  44. digger50 says:

    flyfish1168:
    Anton may have his issues. But I think the elephant in the room is the coach. No disrespect to TMac. But if foot speed is an issue Khaira, Lucic and Hendricks should be an issue also. Lander maybe slow but I don’t see him being that much slower than those three. If the Oilers want to ice their best team possible Lander must be on this team.

    I have to agree with you. As one of the best players in the AHL he is proving he can play NHL and will have others wondering why he’s not getting time with the Oilers. I hope this leads him to success elsewhere.

    As for this year the difference on the third line is Caggula back in his natural position and having him and Kassian tearing up the wings. Add a puck distributing center. There is no reason, no reason why Landers could not excel in that spot given the Oilers options.

    Going Into summer, they still need to chase another scoring winger or third line center. Certainly Lander gets cut loose then.

  45. russ99 says:

    I’m a huge fan of Klefbom (and Benning) so there’s no way I’d consider running either out of town, and I think both will eventually have the full game in place.

    But Oilers fans in general have this peccadillo of only looking at the offensive side of the game, so it does grate a bit when glaring defensive mistakes are glossed over in favor of offensive contributions. Also vice versa, where good defensive play is shunned because of lack of offense.

    Specifically those who overvalue Corsi For and don’t add something like Woodmoney or HDSC against in to balance the equation with defensive contribution.

    What really gets me is how the same fans that look past Klefbom’s defensive issues would grind against every single thing Schultz would do in the defensive zone under the microscope, and look where that got us.

    So yes, definite double standard at work: Dreamy vs. Jultz. Hopefully this is just maturity as a fanbase.

  46. Diablo says:

    Tough loss last night – Isles were playing desperate hockey and had horseshoes up their ass all night long. Still some issues to fix before the playoffs roll around though …

    1) PK – either be a team that pressures the puck carrier aggressively or be a team that loads 4 men in the box and keeps the opposing PP unit to the outside. Oilers are trying to do both right now, and they end up getting caught in no mans land.

    2) Hendricks – guy’s a warrior but its time for him to sit – he just can’t keep up to the play anymore. Sub in Pouliot for him – he’s basically a faster version of Hendricks.

    3) Caggiula needs to sit – Slepyshev should be on the third line.

    4) Who are these people suggesting we should trade Klef? Seriously – he’s played less than 200 games in the NHL. Dumb.

    5) Benning is playing too high in the batting order. He’s just not ready. Put Russell back with Sek.

    6) Leave Maroon alone – this mystical sniper that people keep talking about does not exist, and even if he does, then we can’t afford him under the cap anyways.. McDavid keeps forcing the pass on 2 on 1 situations – that’s not Maroon’s fault. Connor needs to shoot low and let Maroon crash the net for the rebound every now and then – right now he’s too predictable.

    7) Lander’s gone to LV next year – if not then he’s going back to Finland. Too bad, cause I think there’s a decent player there. The comparison to SVA was a good one.

    8) Lucic – RNH – Eberle look good together. Hopefully the coach leaves them together till the end of the playoffs.

    9) F&ck the godless Falmes.

  47. flyfish1168 says:

    digger50: I have to agree with you. As one of the best players in the AHL he is proving he can play NHL and will have others wondering why he’s not getting time with the Oilers. I hope this leads him to success elsewhere.

    As for this year the difference on the third line is Caggula back in his natural position and having him and Kassian tearing up the wings. Add a puck distributing center. There is no reason, no reason why Landers could not excel in that spot given the Oilers options.

    Going Into summer, they still need to chase another scoring winger or third line center. Certainly Lander gets cut loose then.

    This maybe an unfortunate situation that I believe has been overlooked. Trading Davidson to the Habs for Desharnais was a bad idea. I believe unless we get a decent prospect back that was not eligible for the LV draft would be a better way to go. We may end up losing Letestu, our all purpose player and only RC. Lander maybe able to replace Letesu in some areas being a utility player, but has been treated like crap. I am not betting on PC being able to make a deal and not show his desperation. So now we are looking at losing Davidson Plus,when the draft comes. Desharnais will be 31 when next season starts and only 5’7″ slippery slope. I would not resign him. JMHO

  48. cc says:

    LT: “I think Edmonton probably deserved a point last night, there were some brilliant chances.”

    I completely agree with you this morning LT. McD played great as did our second line. And my, is Kassian playing well. I wouldn’t mind the experiment of him on the second line left-side, his speed is impressive.

  49. Lloyd B. says:

    flyfish1168: This maybe an unfortunate situation that I believe has been overlooked. Trading Davidson to the Habs for Desharnais was a bad idea. I believe unless we get a decent prospect back that was not eligible for the LV draft would be a better way to go. We may end up losing Letestu, our all purpose player and only RC. Lander maybe able to replace Letesu in some areas being a utility player, but has been treated like crap. I am not betting on PC being able to make a deal and not show his desperation. So now we are looking at losing Davidson Plus,when the draft comes. Desharnais will be 31 when next season starts and only 5’7″ slippery slope. I would not resign him.JMHO

    Perhaps Chiarelli can convince LV to take Pouliot for cap relief and will trade him Lander for the privilege.

  50. NYCOIL "Gentleman Backpacker" says:

    russ99,

    I think the double standard you see is not a conscious one, but a perception gap between “smooth” players who look like they aren’t giving 100% of what they have v.s. someone who does look like it, but might not be in the right postion because of it.

    Klef gambles a lot. Loses a lot. And on the back end of late he has been wobbly. But while missing assignments and pucks he looks like he is trying hard and has every tool he has at work. He was expected to not post much offense so if his D is bad but he is trying hard and posting points people can forgive.

    Schultz was expected to post points and when he struggled or he would be weak defensively, oh well Mr. Smooth just looks like he isn’t trying. Rather, he is Jultzing.

    Now don’t get me wrong, I think Klefbom at the same age as Schultz when he came to the organization is a much more complete package.

    But I am not surprised to see Schultz’ scoring spike with a better team and better sheltering. The point-producing ability was always there and if your team has the puck a lot you have less chance to look bad defensively. The Oilers just weren’t a good fit for Schultz. Still wouldn’t be. At least not yet.

  51. NYCOIL "Gentleman Backpacker" says:

    flyfish1168,

    It may be many things, but that possibility has definitely not been “overlooked.” We debated it at great length here.

  52. doritogrande says:

    How many players in AHL history have his skill set and cannot find regular work?

    How was Bruce Boudreau’s footspeed?

    As a more recent example, have you considered former Oiler Alex Giroux?

  53. GMB3 says:

    Diablo,

    Why would Lander go to Finland?

  54. Bruce McCurdy says:

    The third line had some good offensive moments including the goal, but they took the penalty that resulted in the first NYI goal and then got burned directly for the second and the third. I don’t see that as a positive night for the trio.

  55. Bruce McCurdy says:

    doritogrande:
    How many players in AHL history have his skill set and cannot find regular work?

    How was Bruce Boudreau’s footspeed?

    As a more recent example, have you considered former Oiler Alex Giroux?

    Neither Boudreau nor Giroux was anywhere similar to Lander’s skill set. What they had in common was ability to score in AHL. But those guys weren’t exactly faceoff winning penalty killing d-zone starting gritty leader types, not even close. I share LT’s puzzlement

  56. flyfish1168 says:

    NYCOIL “Gentleman Backpacker”:
    flyfish1168,

    It may be many things, but that possibility has definitely not been “overlooked.” We debated it at great length here.

    Must have missed it. But good on you

  57. Pouzar says:

    Bruce McCurdy: Neither Boudreau nor Giroux was anywhere similar to Lander’s skill set. What they had in common was ability to score in AHL. But those guys weren’t exactly faceoff winning penalty killing d-zone starting gritty leader types, not even close.

    +1

    Lander’s skill set is exactly what this team needs.

  58. NYCOIL "Gentleman Backpacker" says:

    flyfish1168: Must have missed it. But good on you

    Oh, I wasn’t tooting my horn there. It was pretty divided here for weeks leading up to and after the BD trade for this very issue. Just thought you should know that it was hotly debated! Felt about 50/50 in terms of the split, I think.

  59. Mattaklap says:

    It’s probably been said, but if Anton had grown up in New Norway instead of Soviet Sweden he would be playing his 400th game on Friday.

  60. leadfarmer says:

    Pouzar: +1

    Lander’s skill set is exactly what this team needs.

    No, this team needs Landers skill set but two steps faster. I don’t think anyone denies he’d be a good player if he had a few more fast twitch muscle fibers. Unfortunately for him he didn’t get them and he’s trying to get established when the game sped up.

  61. jzed says:

    That slap in the face game will do wonders for this group. From Captain my Captain shielding his wingers from criticism, to the determined look on the Nuge’s face in the room afterward, this now signals to the rest of the team that this playoff race is real and each one of them needs to elevate their games. Make no other moves except Sleppy in for Hendricks for speed reasons only, and run them out there again. Their effort and their anger have convinced me of this, and it has been a very long time since I have felt this way about this team.

  62. Pouzar says:

    leadfarmer: No, this team needs Landers skill set but two steps faster.

    Don’t agree with this at all. I think the too slow narrative is way overplayed in these parts. JMO.

  63. npanciroli says:

    Pouzar,

    I don’t know how related this is, but I see this whenever a new “style” of team wins the cup. Bruins won a cup – everyone wants to get big and nasty. Pittsburgh wins a cup, everyone wants to deploy more speed.

    Realistically, get and play the best players then run a system that matches that IMO.

    I also think Lander could help this team in areas of need (PK, faceoffs)

  64. Pouzar says:

    npanciroli:
    Pouzar,

    I don’t know how related this is, but I see this whenever a new “style” of team wins the cup. Bruins won a cup – everyone wants to get big and nasty. Pittsburgh wins a cup, everyone wants to deploy more speed.

    Realistically, get and play the best players then run a system that matches that IMO.

    I also think Lander could help this team in areas of need (PK, faceoffs)

    Yeah I would agree with that.

    Looking at WOWYs, Lander also seems to have a nice synergy with his most common linemate this year (Letestu) and with Slepy/Kassian in smaller sample sizes. That’s a nice 4th line there.

  65. Georges says:

    Bruce McCurdy: Neither Boudreau nor Giroux was anywhere similar to Lander’s skill set. What they had in common was ability to score in AHL. But those guys weren’t exactly faceoff winning penalty killing d-zone starting gritty leader types, not even close. I share LT’s puzzlement

    Maybe this is an eye vs. numbers thing, Bruce. Some folks really like Anton. He even has an appreciation society.

    Anton Lander has played 215 games in the NHL since 2010-11.

    If you go to nhl.com and look up player stats for all forwards who have played at least 200 games since 2010-11, you’ll see that Anton Lander has scored 0.16 points per game. That puts him at 293 out of 305 players. At 295 is Matt Hendricks. He has played 378 games in that period and also scored 0.16 points per game.

    Anton’s numbers were helped by one season (2014-15) in which he scored 0.50 PPG under Eakins, who used him on the PP. He hasn’t come close to that mark in any other season.

    This season, MH is at 0.19 PPG, Lander is at 0.18.

    Lander’s career FOW% is 50.4. Hendricks is at 54.4.

    This season Anton is 17-17 in SH FO’s and Hendricks is 16-24. Is that enough?

    At 5v5, Anton’s GF-GA is 7-7. Hendricks is at 12-13.

    Here are their 4v5 results:

    Lander
    TOI 40.7
    SA60 51.62
    GF 2
    GA 4
    GF60 2.95
    GA60 5.90
    GF% 33.3
    sh% 50
    sv% 88.57
    PDO 133.57

    Hendricks
    TOI 58.8
    SA60 46.96
    GF 0
    GA 8
    GF60 0
    GA60 8.17
    sh% 0
    sv% 82.61
    PDO 82.61

    I can accept the argument that Lander is earning some of the high sv% because he’s making plays that limit the opponent’s quality chances, even if his shots allowed volume is worse than Hendricks.

    But corsica says that Lander’s SCA60 is 28.02. Hendricks is at 25.52.

    Hendricks’s numbers on the PK aren’t good. I’m no fan of Hendricks. But the fact that TMac doesn’t rush to sub in Lander, I guess I’m not as puzzled on this one as you and LT. Lander’s numbers suggest he isn’t an upgrade. And when the comparison between a 25-year-old and a 35-year-old journeyman is a draw, what kind of career can we project for the 25-year-old? Anton Lander is in that unhappy bin of players in the NHL labeled “makes no difference.” As much as his supporters want to lay the blame elsewhere, only Lander can get himself out of that bin. By making a difference.

    Tick, tick, tick…

  66. Bruce McCurdy says:

    Pouzar: Yeah I would agree with that.

    Looking at WOWYs, Lander also seems to have a nice synergy with his most common linemate this year (Letestu) and with Slepy/Kassian in smaller sample sizes. That’s a nice 4th line there.

    That Lander/Letestu duo had some nice chem in the first few weeks of the season. Club was mid-pack in faceoff % & near the top in PK. Both areas have sunk like a stone since.

    Moreover 51/55/XX were taking a huge amount of dzone draws, a L/R duo each working their strong side on the dot, which provided some nice shelter for the higher lines. But they ran into that losing streak and Lander forgot to shave his sideburns.

    Thing about role players is they always appear more valuable when a team is winning & less so when they are propping up a loser.

    For his part Hendricks has filled in beside Letestu a lot and is fine on the dot but his PK has been poor. I happened to be listening on radio to the St Louis game and when Jack Michaels said “Hendricks was slow to get out to the point” I didn’t even need to see the replay later cuz I’d seen it before too many times.

  67. Pouzar says:

    Georges: At 5v5, Anton’s GF-GA is 7-7. Hendricks is at 12-13.

    I think using GF/GA to make your point vis a vis 5 on 5 is a tad misleading.

    Lander is the superior possession player 5 on 5 and it’s not close……(49.4 vs 45.1 CF%).
    Almost every player on the Oilers outside of Pakarinen (Letestu is marginally better) is a better possession player without Hendricks. This is quite the opposite with Lander. Outside of 4 players the possession stats of players are increased with Lander and in some cases drastically SSS notwithstanding.

  68. 106 and 106 says:

    Bruce McCurdy,

    Well put, Bruce.

    “Thing about role players is they always appear more valuable when a team is winning & less so when they are propping up a loser.”

    In one year, we’ve gone from discussing the vital cogs of the team playing too high up (Schultz), to talking about who should swap for the 13rd/14th forward.

    In the end, none of these guys are going to move the needle on a nightly basis. The best thing you can hope for from a fourth line is to play 10 minutes and ideally do some PK work.

    A goal every 5 games , +1 over the other fourth line is the real win.

  69. Georges says:

    Pouzar,

    Fair enough. I’m not trying to defend Hendricks. I’m really trying to get at what’s so great about Lander. I acknowledge that I might be missing something that people who have followed him longer and liked his game more have seen. My main point is that his results suggest a certain type of player and that type seems to be at odds with the perception of the player that some around here have.

    Is the case for Lander, then, that he pushes the play in the right direction and makes the players on his team better at 5v5?

    Edit: Also, when evaluating players, I start with 5v5 +/- on goals and work outward from there. I usually discount corsi at the individual level. What you’re pointing out (Lander “makes” teammates better on corsi and Hendricks “makes” them worse) is something I would pay attention to.

  70. Pouzar says:

    Georges:
    Pouzar,

    Fair enough. I’m not trying to defend Hendricks. I’m really trying to get at what’s so great about Lander. I acknowledge that I might be missing something that people who have followed him longer and liked his game more have seen. My main point is that his results suggest a certain type of player and that type seems to be at odds with the perception of the player that some around here have.

    Is the case for Lander, then, that he pushes the play in the right direction and makes the players on his team better at 5v5?

    Different perspectives. For me is that I think Hendricks is done and Lander would be an upgrade. Not so much that Lander is great.

  71. Pouzar says:

    Georges: Is the case for Lander, then, that he pushes the play in the right direction and makes the players on his team better at 5v5?

    That’s a huge part of it for me. Like I mentioned, Hendricks is bad 5 on 5 and it’s getting worse. Hendricks is not good enough in other areas to make up for it so I don’t get why he gets the call time after time.

  72. leadfarmer says:

    Pouzar: Different perspectives. For me is that I think Hendricks is done and Lander would be an upgrade. Not so much that Lander is great.

    Wish they traded Hendricks last year to a team that needs leadership. I guess TMac values his experience and doesn’t find BeLander as a big enough upgrade.

  73. RexLibris says:

    Wait…there’s a negative chorus building around Klefbom?

    I want names, dammit!

    There is nothing in Klefbom’s game that deserves greater scrutiny or criticism than in any other player’s, save McDavid.

    Nothing.

    Harping on him for deficiencies, real or perceived, brings about no good end.

    I swear some people and groups are, perhaps inadvertently, determined to be the biggest obstacles to their own happiness.

  74. RexLibris says:

    Bruce McCurdy,

    Good points, Bruce.

    Veteran goggles seem to be fogging the view for McLellan.

    This is going to become a perpetual frustration for us, isn’t it?

  75. Georges says:

    Pouzar: That’s a huge part of it for me. Like I mentioned, Hendricks is bad 5 on 5 and it’s getting worse. Hendricks is not good enough in other areas to make up for it so I don’t get why he gets the call time after time.

    Hendricks has managed something that is very difficult to do. He has shaped a long career as a forward in the NHL without being able to score. Forwards who score at Hendricks’s rate (under 0.2 points per game) get selected out usually well before game #515.

    Here’s a list of other players with Hendricks’s level of scoring with lengthy careers:

    Chris Thorburn
    Jared Boll
    Matt Martin
    Tanner Glass
    Tim Jackman
    Travis Moen

    I could go on… No, I can’t. I think that’s it. There’s a clear relationship between scoring and career longevity for forwards. I don’t know how these guys managed to last out of all the other failed to launch NHL forwards. Lander’s scoring prowess so far lines right up with these guys.

    I understand the value of role players. I also understand the value of role players who can score. They have more value.

  76. OF17 says:

    Dominoiler:
    I’m loving the new format, LT.. nice work tinkering..

    WRT Kelfbom, we are starting a pitchfork registry in an attempt to combat the erratic rise in hostility towards young defensemen.. Before reclaiming your pitchfork from Woodguy’s front yard, you’ll be required to state the number of games your goat defensemen has played and verbally acknowledge it in relation to the 250 games milestone.. that is all..

    Please note, we will also be selling ALAS candles (torches) for those whom may be interested..

    “Alas” is Spanish for “wings.” Lander is a Red Wings-type player. Coincidence? I think not.

    In all seriousness though, it would be a very Detroit move to sign Lander for a looksie. For my money, he should be in our top-14 F next year. Cash one of Slepyshev or Khaira in a bigger deal (Caggiula is off limits IMO – keeps the Oilers attractive to UFA prospects), bring Lander back, and thus conserve value at the end of the roster.

    To be clear, I very much like both Slepyshev and Khaira.

  77. RexLibris says:

    Georges: Hendricks has managed something that is very difficult to do. He has shaped a long career as a forward in the NHL without being able to score. Forwards who score at Hendricks’s rate (under 0.2 points per game) get selected out usually well before game #515.

    Here’s a list of other players with Hendricks’s level of scoring with lengthy careers:

    Chris Thorburn
    Jared Boll
    Matt Martin
    Tanner Glass
    Tim Jackman
    Travis Moen

    I could go on… No, I can’t. I think that’s it. There’s a clear relationship between scoring and career longevity for forwards. I don’t know how these guys managed to last out of all the other failed to launch NHL forwards. Lander’s scoring prowess so far lines right up with these guys.

    I understand the value of role players. I also understand the value of role players who can score. They have more value.

    Interesting detail to that list you posted, many of them were traded-for or overvalued during their careers because they brought “character, grit and work ethic” to the roster.

    I’m not disparaging any of those characteristics. Anyone who has worked with skilled individuals who lack a work ethic or the ability to bring a consistent level of professionalism knows the value of someone who brings an honest effort every day, even if their level of ability isn’t as high.

    However, in terms of a hockey team, I’m not certain those characteristics can outweigh all of the consequences that come with that lack of skill or competency. It may only be a hair’s breadth difference between players at that range of the roster, but that is true of most players in the league today.

  78. russ99 says:

    There are qualities of hockey players where they can be seen as successful by doing things other than scoring goals.

    Sometimes I think there’s no helping this fanbase for its near bloodlust for goals.

    I get it, we had almost a decade as a all-time outlier of NHL offense, but there is a nuance to the game.

  79. Centre of attention says:

    RexLibris,

    “Veteran Goggles” plague every head coach.

    Every damn one.

    Even AV of the New York Rangers who this year helped pioneered the “four scoring lines” idea has a bad Tanner Glass addiction. Babcock has Martin / Ben Smith, on it goes.

    Perhaps only Boudreau refrains from leaning on fringe NHLer’s. I can’t think of a Hendricks type that he leans on regularly. (though Hendricks himself was rumored to have been looked at by Minnesota front office)

    IMO It’s up to NHL GM’s to take that option away from a coach.

  80. NYCOIL "Gentleman Backpacker" says:

    wow. a rare night with no scoreboard watching worthy games.
    enjoy the night off, all, and have a whisky, or two if you want to wear your “veteran goggles” tonight.

  81. classict says:

    russ99,

    Chris Thorburn – 2/10 seasons over 50 GF%, 2/10 seasons in the 30s
    Jared Boll – 1/10 seasons over 50 GF%, 3 in the 30s, 1 in the 20s
    Matt Martin – 1/10 over 50 GF%, 3 in the 30s (but has trended up)
    Tanner Glass – 2/10 over 50 GF%, 3 in the 30s, 1 in the 20s
    Tim Jackman – 1/8 over 50GF%, 2 in the 20s (one is 23 GF% !!!!)
    Travis Moen – 0/9 over 50GF%, 3 in the 30s

    Some of these guys have been on for 2 goals against for every goal for, for the a good chunk of their careers. Whatever else they’re bringing I don’t think it balances that out. The seasons I didn’t list are generally all in the 40-50% range.

    If someone is that bad at generating offense chances are they’re giving the other team tons if time to score instead.

  82. Georges says:

    russ99:
    There are qualities of hockey players where they can be seen as successful by doing things other than scoring goals.

    Sometimes I think there’s no helping this fanbase for its near bloodlust for goals.

    I get it, we had almost a decade as a all-time outlier of NHL offense, but there is a nuance to the game.

    Checkers or defensive-oriented players have a role in holding the other team’s scoring in check, on the PK, or by matching up against the other team’s top line. If they’re good at their job, compared to other role players, great, you come out a little less behind.

    But, whatever non-scoring qualities forwards possess, they are going to get scored on. If they can’t score enough (or be part of a line that scores enough) to make up the difference, that difference has to be made up by someone else. Getting outscored is not a good way to help your team succeed.

    Forwards who do all these other little things and can’t score should be replaced by forwards who can do all these other little things and can also score.

  83. Klima's_Bucket says:

    Centre of attention: Even AV of the New York Rangers who this year helped pioneered the “four scoring lines” idea has a bad Tanner Glass addiction. Babcock has Martin / Ben Smith, on it goes.

    For what it’s worth, Tanner Glass has been great in his 2 games.

  84. Georges says:

    RexLibris: Interesting detail to that list you posted, many of them were traded-for or overvalued during their careers because they brought “character, grit and work ethic” to the roster.

    I’m not disparaging any of those characteristics. Anyone who has worked with skilled individuals who lack a work ethic or the ability to bring a consistent level of professionalism knows the value of someone who brings an honest effort every day, even if their level of ability isn’t as high.

    However, in terms of a hockey team, I’m not certain those characteristics can outweigh all of the consequences that come with that lack of skill or competency. It may only be a hair’s breadth difference between players at that range of the roster, but that is true of most players in the league today.

    I think when a checking forward isn’t a threat to score, he becomes a target. Those are valuable shifts for the other team, because they’re basically going to play in your zone. We complain about Russell for exactly this reason, a little too noticeable for his defense. A forward has to present something of a threat to keep the other team honest. Difference in scoring ability may be a hair’s breadth at the bottom end of the roster (I think it’s more than that), but it’s going to be much bigger when these players are matched against the top end.

  85. Woodguy v2.0 says:

    Very cool piece on NHL.com about CBJ zone exits and the work of Ryan Stimson in this area:

    https://www.nhl.com/bluejackets/news/blue-jackets-defensemen-are-contributing-offensively-this-season-on-and-off-the-scoresheet/c-287468346

    Great quote by Torts:

    “It’s a speed game now,” head coach John Tortorella said during training camp. “It’s not 15-20 years ago (where you are) worrying about if your ‘D’ is going to be able to handle the physical play, it’s about moving the puck and getting going. The game has completely changed. It’s about tempo and skill. Getting out of your end zone as quickly as possible.”

    So what the fancystats guys have been saying for years turns out to be true.

    Huh.

  86. Bruce McCurdy says:

    106 and 106,

    RexLibris,

    Thanks both, especially for replying rather than quoting my initial comment which had 2 clanger typos in it (now fixed). AutoINcorrect has this nice way of turning an easily understood typo into something else altogether that distorts all meaning and understanding. Occasionally in another language, most frequently Gobbledygook.

    I think it’s an important point that role players are more appreciated in a winning environment. In many cases it is because they are superior players (good teams tend to be deeper) but more generally role players tend to bring specific skill sets, and those skills are generally more helpful when a team is ahead or tied on the scoreboard than when it is behind. I’m speaking here of “low event players” of a variety of stripes, a term which describes a lot of good bottom sixers.

    No better — or more extreme — example than Colin Fraser, who went from Cup champ Chicago to DFL Edmonton to Cup champ LA in consecutive seasons. A truly spectacular feat. While Fraser was here he was largely derided, with the issue being he wasn’t a difference maker, which was what the Oilers really needed. Whereas what the Hawks and Kings needed, was a guy who wasn’t a difference maker. As long as he could hold his own, fine.

    In Fraser’s case, he went from 67 GP, 3-2-5, -2 in Edmonton to 67 GP, 2-6-8, -2 in LA. Pretty much the same guy, eh. Except in the second case he went on to post 18 GP, 1-1-2, -1 in the post season as his team rolled to the Cup. Low event minutes are great when your team is out scoring during the other 80% of the game. When they’re not, those minutes become counterproductive.

    Colin Fraser was not a useless player in Edmonton, he was more a useless player FOR Edmonton for the very reason that he didn’t push the needle. Unfortunately (in an entertainment respect) such players actually do have value in the modern NHL, and even more so in the regular season when mutual low event hockey often forwards the agenda of both teams simultaneously.

  87. Centre of attention says:

    Klima’s_Bucket,

    Touche’, and yeah he’s definitely cut back on his abuse of Glass this season.

    Still, it’s so easy to relapse. Those two “great looking games” were enough to get him hooked again I bet.

    🙂

  88. Georges says:

    Georges,

    Looked at nhl.com. There are more players in Hendricks’s below 0.2 PPG, above 400 games played category:

    Ryan Carter
    Cody McLeod
    Kyle Clifford
    Shawn Thornton
    Ryan Reaves

  89. Bruce McCurdy says:

    Woodguy v2.0:
    Very cool piece on NHL.com about CBJ zone exits and the work of Ryan Stimson in this area:

    https://www.nhl.com/bluejackets/news/blue-jackets-defensemen-are-contributing-offensively-this-season-on-and-off-the-scoresheet/c-287468346

    Great quote by Torts:

    “It’s a speed game now,” head coach John Tortorella said during training camp. “It’s not 15-20 years ago (where you are) worrying about if your ‘D’ is going to be able to handle the physical play, it’s about moving the puck and getting going. The game has completely changed. It’s about tempo and skill. Getting out of your end zone as quickly as possible.”

    So what the fancystats guys have been saying for years turns out to be true.

    Huh.

    So because Torts said it it’s true? There you go appealing to authority again. 😜

  90. Professor Q says:

    doritogrande:
    How many players in AHL history have his skill set and cannot find regular work?

    How was Bruce Boudreau’s footspeed?

    As a more recent example, have you considered former Oiler Alex Giroux?

    Didn’t Chicago have an AHL prospect a few years ago who was always topping the AHL, was supposed to be a good NHL prospect, but never made it?

  91. Professor Q says:

    Vince Young in Saskatchewan. Should be fun!

  92. thebiggestmanintheworld says:

    Woodguy v2.0,

    So what the fancystats guys have been saying for years turns out to be true.
    Huh.

    ——-

    The irony of a fancystats guy using a John Tortorella quote to prove they were right all along is fantastic…

    Although, irony may not mean what I think it means either…

  93. thebiggestmanintheworld says:

    Bruce McCurdy,

    Don’t argue with Torts!

    His f*#k you/question% is league leading!

  94. Alpine says:

    Lander will need to go somewhere else where there’s no letestu to carve out a niche in this league. I’m not sure he’ll ever produce like a top 9 player unless he’s chained to a Taylor Hall type. He hasn’t been able to score much away from Hall and the Oilers don’t have a lack of centremen nor a surplus of outscorers on the wing to pair him with.

    I feel like there’s a minimal difference overall between him and 55 being in the lineup. He’s a nice useful player but he’s pretty much replacement level. Think his chance to make it here was squandered by the previous regime not knowing how to build a bottom six where he could be successful. I think some other team will find he can possibly be their own Letestu, and by the time our own version is done his contract I’m sure we’ll find another one from the many tweeners available in FA or waivers every year.

  95. Bag of Pucks says:

    Lander’s shot was last year. Unfortunately for him he posted 1G in 61GPs for the new HC.

    1G. To borrow liberally from LT, Lander pissed exactly one drop when it mattered last year.

    100% understandable why TMac doesn’t seem him as a legitimate roster option.

    Good for Anton, he’s an All Star in the A. Unfortunately, he’s a fire hydrant in the NHL.

  96. Woodguy v2.0 says:

    All,

    When a ol’ Timey throw-back coach like Torts sounds like a blogger you know you’ve won.

    Not an appeal to authority.

  97. JDï™ says:

    RexLibris: Wait…there’s a negative chorus building around Klefbom?

    I want names, dammit!

    Klefbum is the first to come to mind, but I’ll work on more if you really want me to.

    Edit: Klefburned, Klaffbom.

  98. Scungilli says:

    One of the main changes with the new regime is that they seem to honour players and criticism is general and not pointed.

    So there is some misdirection but either in a polite or strategic way. Davidson wasn’t part of the plan but was shown respect. I’m not sure DD was the goal as much as the roster spot. I do think Lander would do a better more versatile job but maybe that wasn’t the point.

    As for Hendricks. It has been stated this is a growth team. This management has a broader view of things. Hendricks has been a selfless leader and is being rewarded in his possibly last season. He put up with a lot of suck. It is a tribute that is about the future signing of players who the team would hope to see the Oilers as a class team.

  99. OilHub says:

    hunter1909,

    Hey Hunter I think you missed me in there for 97 as well.

  100. Mr. D. says:

    Coaches play who they have. Vets sit if the don’t contribute in some fashion( Nikita, Fayne, Ferrence) Can’t all be measured with fancies. First liners and 4th liners usually have different roles. That’s why 4th line guys aren’t making 10mil//yr.

    RexLibris:
    Bruce McCurdy,

    Good points, Bruce.

    Veteran goggles seem to be fogging the view for McLellan.

    This is going to become a perpetual frustration for us, isn’t it?

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