HEARTBREAK HOTEL

The face of the Edmonton Oilers is a little older this morning, a little more mature. As fans, we can see the coming glory, but nothing helps progress like experience, and experience involves failure. This young team showed us so much, while also giving management clear indications re: path to improvement. We are going to be saying goodbye to some long time Oilers (well, long time for this group) over the coming months, and new hires will renew our hopes. This season, the one just past, was mostly about Connor McDavid in full sail, Leon Draisaitl’s power, and improving up the middle. Next: Balance and real depth. That’s the play here, that’s the culprit last night. Working on a building, a worthwhile one, takes some time. Balance: It’s the real thing.

The key play last night was the 2-1 goal, well executed by the Ducks and putting a young team on their heels after the fact. Edmonton didn’t get a lot of clean air, but last night they also seemed a little nervous and perplexed. The breakouts were a tragedy and this team simply must figure out how to deal with aggressive forechecking.

I know it hurts, I know there are things unfair (officiating, Kesler’s crosschecks, McDavid’s handling). Bottom line: These Edmonton Oilers had no respect from anyone at the beginning of the season, and have earned plenty of it now. Next year, the decade-long trend of getting the shaft on calls will begin to turn. You may say that’s not fair, and I agree. It’s the way it is. Same as it ever was.

YOUR EDMONTON OILERS!

I’m not going to run the numbers this morning, they don’t matter now and we’ve got all summer to chat about the math. Instead, I’d like to spend our time together doing bullet points about the future for each man on the roster. Cool? Here we go.

  • C Connor McDavid.  The franchise. McDavid won the scoring championship and fought through insane checking to post solid offense in the playoffs. It was a learning experience no doubt, there are things he can improve on (believe it or not!). Connor McDavid is a special player, touched by the hand of God special, and we are insanely fortunate he plays in our city and for the Oilers.
  • C Leon Draisaitl. People may get grumpy about the coming contract, but all indications available suggest this man is going to be an impact player and a big part of the coming success in Edmonton. He blossomed beyond any reasonable expectation, showing a range of ability that was not obvious on his draft day. Astounding step forward in one season.
  • G Cam Talbot. Having a goalie you don’t have to worry over means a far greater chance for any fan to pass a sanity hearing. Talbot was splendid all year long, I think it’s reasonable to suggest he was one of the 10 best goalies in the NHL this past season.

  • LD Oscar Klefbom. A real homegrown defender with the complete range of skills is extremely rare, but Klefbom is such a player. One of the most valuable young defenders in the game, he emerged offensively this year and settled down defensively. Wonderful!
  • RD Adam Larsson. He gave the Oilers an edge on the top pairing we haven’t seen in these parts in years. Some sneaky offense also helped and his durability and pain threshold is impressive. I remember Todd Cordell saying last summer that we all had to see him for a year to appreciate him, expect it will turn out just that way.
  • L Patrick Maroon. Incredible season for the big man, he scored 27-goals while impacting the cap at $1.5 million. That’s a value contract. Guess what? He will make the same dollars next season! A contract that over performs at this level is a major plus for Edmonton.
  • LD Andrej Sekera. They missed him awful in the games recently, the calm feet and the passing no longer available. Sekera was quality all season, had some struggles in the playoffs, and will play a big part on this team in 2017-18.

  • LC Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. One of the most disappointing things for me this season came in watching his offense being so far away. Nuge is a splendid two-way center but 43 points for $6 million may not make the cut. I think Todd McLellan is a big fan of his work, so maybe they find a way to make it work for another season or two.
  • LD Kris Russell. I think the Oilers may decide to sign him, but the dollar amount would be key to the Oilers. If Russell hits the open market, he’s gone, but there will be a window of opportunity after the expansion draft. One thing Russell taught me: Todd McLellan would value Mark Fayne if he was a little faster, a little quicker in retrieval, and brought a little more physicality to his game. I think he’ll stay.
  • RD Matt Benning. One of the most pleasant surprises we’ve seen in exactly one forever. Benning was unknown to Oilers fans until we got word the club was in the running for his services. Smart, mobile, skilled, rugged, he is a born Oiler and a perfect fit for what this team needs so badly. As is the case with Nurse, another season third-pair seems best.

  • LD Darnell Nurse. Made good progress during the regular season, his mobility a welcome addition to a blue line that is perhaps a little slow on the third pairing. He has a big future on this team, another year on the third pair (with Benning) is ideal.
  • R Jordan Eberle. When the tight checking of the playoffs arrived, Eberle had no separation gear and that’s a worry. People focus on the dusting off of the shot, I worry about his boots. The fan vitriol aside, Eberle’s future with the team may not involve another season. Trading him gives the team a fairly naked RW depth chart, but the Oilers need cap help in a quick hurry.
  • L Milan Lucic. He had a truly strange year, impressive power-play numbers attached to a career crisis at 5×5 offense. He is going to need to hurry up his foot speed and we need to see more of that impressive passing he delivered with the Bruins. We all agreed the end days of this contract were going to be poor, but this is too soon for low boxcars.
  • R Zack Kassian. An impressive season and likely a contract that could be two or three years in length. Kassian is a physical winger with some skill, and a 12-to-15 goal season doesn’t seem out of the question. Start him on 4R and move him up as needed? Seems reasonable.

  • R Jesse Puljujarvi. One of the things about this season that really surprised me was JP’s length of time in Bakersfield. I sincerely thought he would get called up later in the year. Very talented player, he will get a top 9F role in the fall barring something rash.
  • RC Mark Letestu. One of the best seasons by a fourth-line Oiler in the team’s history, Letestu has a unique ‘Casey Candaele’ role on the team. Utility forwards who score this often are very valuable, suspect he may play less at 5×5 but remain a big part of special teams next season.
  • R Anton Slepyshev. One of the really encouraging things about the late season and playoffs is his emergence as a bona fide option on the skill lines. Can he emerge as a 15-goal winger? It would help the cap immensely, and give Edmonton that depth and balance we are going to talk about all summer. Again.
  • L Drake Caggiula. It took a long time for him to find his way, probably injury had something to do with it. Caggiula’s future isn’t likely at center, but he is in the mix for extended minutes with Connor McDavid next season. Is he going to be Dave Lumley or Pat Conacher as an Oiler? It’s out in the ether, waiting for us to find out.
  • R Tyler Pitlick. I think there’s a reasonable chance they sign him. Pitlick stayed with the team, skated, was a part of it. That’s a tell.
  • LC Jujhar Khaira. A disappointing season, not due to performance but rather injury. He is probably on the protected list for the expansion draft, but if the Oilers expose him, good chance they lose Khaira. He is likely a plug-and-play at 4L this fall.
  • LD Griffin Reinhart. Ideally, I think Peter Chiarelli would like him as 7D in the coming year. I’ve mentioned this before, and gotten some push back, but 7D play quite a bit and I can’t see him passing Klefbom, Sekera or Nurse. We know he isn’t strong RH side, so 7D is his probable landing spot. He is also the most likely man on this roster to be a Golden Knight come the fall.
  • G Laurent Brossoit. The Oilers are probably wise to bring him in as de facto backup, give him two starts a month, and then see how things look at the deadline. He is not yet established, but has also done everything asked and this is the next logical step.
  • RD Eric Gryba. I suspect he will move along, perhaps to LV, if Griffin Reinhart survives the expansion draft. If not, we could be seeing him right back in Edmonton as 7D.
  • R Iiro Pakarinen. It’s diffiult to see where he fits, which is different than saying there is no fit at all. I think a lot will depend on what happens with Tyler Pitlick, who is a better player at this point in his career.
  • L Joey Laleggia. His season, especially after the move to LW, should not be forgotten. I think the Oilers are going to need cheap scoring this coming season and JL is a candidate.
  • LD Jordan Oesterle. If he’s smart, Oesterle takes that back door UFA option and shops around. If he signs in Edmonton, Oesterle could be a 7D option.
  • LC Joe Gambardella. Don’t forget about this player, he could push up for playing time in the coming season. Definitely a Chiarelli type, suspect McLellan notices him early in training camp.
  • G Nick Ellis. Had a strong AHL debut and may see some action this coming season. Brossoit’s performance may lead to an opening, and Ellis has real promise.
  • RD Ethan Bear. Still playing in the WHL playoffs, Bear’s handedness combined with a big shot makes him a little unique. A very long shot, but worth listing.
  • LD Caleb Jones. He makes my list because of his foot speed. That’s going to give the Oilers a chance to fast-track him in case of trade or injury. Watch out for Jones.
  • RD Mark Fayne. Buyout seems likely, although the club could muddle through one final year as things are (if required). Perhaps they can move him at the deadline, there are defensemen in the NHL with less to offer.
  • C David Desharnais. Scored a massive goal and had moments, but I think PC will probably go for a more substantial (size) two-way type at the position. Moving Leon to center full time may mean Nuge plays here.
  • L Matt Hendricks. His absence from the playoffs is telling. Noble warrior, sail on.
  • L Benoit Pouliot. If they could put him on a garbage barge or sheet of ice, I’m sure it would have been done by now. Suspect PC will attempt to trade him and a buyout is possible. I still like his ability, one of the things the Oilers might want to review is their handling of this player. Very little confidence offensively, he was a productive player in previous seasons.
  • LC Anton Lander. Sail on, Anton Fanders, I still think you can play.

OILERS 2017 DRAFT

  • First Round: No. 22 overall
  • Third Round: No. 84 overall (FROM ST. LOUIS—this is payment for Nail Yakupov)
  • Third Round: No. 86 overall
  • Fourth Round: No. 115 overall
  • Fifth Round: No. 126 overall (FROM Vancouver—this is payment for Phil Larsen)
  • Fifth Round: No. 146 overall
  • Sixth Round: No. 177 overall
  • Seventh Round: No. 208 overall

I believe this to be correct, will cast about over the day and correct if my math is wrong (I did reach out to Steve Kournianos for direction). I think we’ll see Edmonton pick a forward at No. 22 overall (I’ll guess LC Michael Rasmussen of the Tri-City Americans), but last night taught us that this team is going to need more puck movers. There are a bunch in this draft, so we could see PC use No. 84 and No. 115 to move up to No. 70 and grab someone like Mario Ferraro.

MARIO FERRARO

  • Red Line Report, March 2017: Took this smooth, offensive blueliner a while to settle in to a new level of competition, but he has been dynamite since Christmas. Source

Edmonton needs mobile puck movers who can make the outlet pass quickly and under control. On the current team, I count Oscar Klefbom, Andrej Sekera and Matt Benning as being quality (Darnell Nurse can transport, but needs to improve on the head-man pass). Among AHL types, Jordan Oesterle impresses me, and we hope Ethan Bear and Caleb Jones can do it (both men were strong in this area during their junior careers). Ferraro makes a lot of sense for Edmonton.

 

THIS TEAM, THIS SEASON

I want to thank the Edmonton Oilers this morning. This season was a pure pleasure to witness, incredible to see through the lens that 10 years of failure have brought us. Thank you Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl, thanks to all players who made this season the best one in a long time. I’ve seen Stanley years and I saw 2009-10, and can say with authority that this one was badly needed and so very welcome. We’ve had a lot of bad crops in a lot of years, but the rains came on time and the sunshine too, and this harvest will sustain us all summer. Next year, the Finals!

LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE

A busy Oilers-heavy show today and some moving parts as well. Scheduled to appear:

  • Bruce McCurdy, Cult of Hockey. I can’t think of a better man to talk to after last night, Bruce will make sense of it all.
  • Jason Rogers, Japers Rink. Brave man will talk about the Capitals.
  • Alex Thomas, The Oilers Rig. Alex will help break down last night, and begin the look ahead to summer.

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

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167 Responses to "HEARTBREAK HOTEL"

  1. russ99 says:

    Great summary LT, and thanks for all the words and a place to post this past season.

    Tons to be said on players but this is a good time to reflect instead.

    Looking forward to the Expansion Draft, there’s a real opportunity for Chia to make something big happen and find a player or two to give us a better chance at a Cup next year, something that will be even closer.

  2. Clay says:

    Credit to the Ducks, they were the better team last night.

    That said, it’s a lot to ask of a team to win 6 games in a 7 game series. They got to 5; that’s impressive.

    If that blasted Nuge line could’ve got a goal every other game, the series wouldn’t have been close. It’ll be really interesting to see how the summer shakes out for 67, 93, and 14. I’d love to be a fly on the wall to find out what the hell is up with Eberle. Not the same guy since Hall left.

    Fantastic season overall, thanks for the memories, fellas!

  3. leadfarmer says:

    Having the second best GSAA in the league while playing the most minutes suggests that Talbot isnt just a top 10 goalie. Having a GSAA of +28 is a vezina caliber year. Seriously ( although Bob does deserve it). Only one guy topped that number this year and last year only one had above +21.

    Anyway not that the playoffs are done time to talk about what really matters. The Hall trade.

  4. D says:

    Posting from LAX after seeing the game in Anaheim last night. Thank you Oilers. You made our city proud. You will dominate for the next decade.

  5. leadfarmer says:

    When is the last time college rookies got stronger after game 70. Very impressed with Caggula and Benning. Most college rookies crash and burn after game 40. What they did is truly underrated

  6. Ribs says:

    Perfect post, LT. I agree with pretty much everything. Maybe not Lander being an NHL regular, but Chris Vandevelde is still hanging around, so why not.

    I still see this series as an opportunity lost, but can accept that it is part of the process. Thanks Oilers for the much needed breath of fresh air! On to next year!

  7. hunter1909 says:

    Hunter1909 2017 Playoff Death March Final Standings:

    Coming from a 29th place season finish, this years team overachieved in too many ways to mention.

    Out of 227 entries, 9 players predicted not only the exact number of Oiler wins(7) but the losses(6) as well. These players are:

    Craig Zonit
    Stephen Sheps
    Side
    Centre of Attention
    Smelly Glove
    Jeng A66
    Cranky
    Tap Dog
    Adam James

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

    leadfarmer,

    I laughed and got extremely nervous at the exact same time with that last line haha.

  9. Jethro Tull says:

    What a rush! What a season!

    Great article LT, I’m glad you didn’t let the RE guy do the player evaluations in this one.

    One problem, however – the articles title. A more optimistic one – A New Day At Midnight (David Gray album), immediatley sprung to mind. This morning, I can’t be mad or sad, just full of pride and optimism.

    I echo your thanks to the Oilers. Teams will be a little more wary of them next year, and that first regular season game against Anaheim is going to be full of payback and retribution.

    I feel like a kid at the fair, just having got off the best roller coaster ever and shouting at my parents, “AGAIN, AGAIN.” I want to go again. Now. Bring it on.

    So i guess we start the period of acceptance, which as we know can take some of us a long time around here, and settle into the off season. I can’t fucking wait until October.

  10. Woogie63 says:

    When do the tickets go on sales for the Penticton Young Stars tournament?

    I can’t wait for the next competitive game.

  11. frjohnk says:

    EBERLE career 2.06 pts per 60.
    EBERLE with Hall 2.25 pts per 60
    EBERLE with McDavid 2.42 pts per 60
    EBERLE W/O Hall and McDavid 1.86 pts per 60.

    EBERLE this past year 1.76pts per 60.

    When EBERLE plays with a fast player, they give EBERLE more time and space. Fast players, not physical players, create time and space for their line. When EBERLE has time and space he can put up points. But as we see in the playoffs, there is no time and space and EBERLE had trouble creating.

  12. Profit says:

    Thank you Oilers. I had a huge amount of fun this year.

    After a decade in the dark, we’re back to exciting hockey. I’m down this morning, but I have to think the future looks bright.

    I’ll take my winnings off my “emotional insurance” ANA bet yesterday and take myself out for lunch.

  13. Ribs says:

    hunter1909:
    Hunter1909 2017 Playoff Death March Final Standings:

    Coming from a 29th place season finish, this years team overachieved in too many ways to mention.

    Out of 227 entries, 9 players predicted not only the exact number of Oiler wins(7) but the losses(6) as well. These players are:

    Craig Zonit
    Stephen Sheps
    Side
    Centre of Attention
    Smelly Glove
    Jeng A66
    Cranky
    Tap Dog
    Adam James

    Well these people are now dead to me.

    …Just kidding, hah.

  14. frjohnk says:

    leadfarmer:
    Having the second best GSAA in the league while playing the most minutes suggests that Talbot isnt just a top 10 goalie.Having a GSAA of +28 is a vezina caliber year.Seriously ( although Bob does deserve it).Only one guy topped that number this year and last year only one had above +21.

    Anyway not that the playoffs are done time to talk about what really matters.The Hall trade.

    With Hall we would have won the Cup already. And thats with 2 more rounds left to play.
    Other teams would have just forfeited.

    Thats how good he is.

  15. Whatif says:

    This season has been a real joy. Watching the McDavid Draisaitl show has been marvellous entertainment. Watching Cam Talbot blossom as a top notch goaltender has meant a great deal to this franchise and, perhaps most of all, the development and maturation of the Oilers D Corps has been truly special.

    As you have indicated LT, the road map for Chiarelli is fairly clear. Given the struggles and the success of this years version of the team he will be looking to shore up the Center position with a bigger man than Desharnais. Ideally he will find a player that can skate and play physically. I will call this player ‘Kesler Lite”.

    If we can then acquire via trade or otherwise, a RHD to balance out the top four then we can enter next season with valid optimism.

    As for now, Oiler fans will now slip into the ‘draft’ mode that we have become so accustomed to over the decade of darkness. This year is different because we are not looking at the top of the draft, rather toward the lower end of the first round. It should be very interesting to see what the analysis of prospects will yield in terms of draft targets for the Oilers.

    Is this a year in which the Oilers try to move up in the draft? If so, who might their target be?

  16. leadfarmer says:

    The Nuge line was like a weird version of the Rake in 06, when he was on the ice you knew the opposition wasnt going to score and was a good time to grab a beer. Except when the Nuge line was on the ice you knew they were not going to score.

    The game has changed. Speed is the new size. Eberle in the past couldnt create space for himself with his body but could with his speed. Now he can’t create much space for himself.

    Lucic like ive been saying is not the mythical Lucic type player everyone’s been looking for. His lack of speed is only going to be exposed more and more in the future as teams continue to build around speed. How many years is that contract going to be worth it?

    Nuge- 6 mil for a 40-50 point center who cant win faceoffs is too much but centers are more valueble so I think he gets more time with this team as a 2/3 center.

    Now how can we find a 2 RHD thats young and cost controlled

  17. leadfarmer says:

    frjohnk: With Hall we would have won the Cup already.And thats with 2 more rounds left to play.
    Other teams would have just forfeited.

    Thats how good he is.

    While also winning the draft lottery at the same time.

  18. PunjabiOil says:

    A few random thoughts:

    1. Missed opportunity. Predators were beatable and you had home ice advantage. Losing two overtime games did it. Coughed up 2-0 and 3-0 leads in those games respectively.

    2. Connor wasn’t himself and his defensive game has a way to go. Nothing he can’t correct but needs time and experience.

    3. Eberle – he can still be useful. I would still look to move him. A guy like Vrbata at a fraction of cost allows optimal cap allocation

    4. RNH – depends on the trade value (I.e brenden Gallagher) but comfortable keeping him. There will be internal growth for this player. I know people are sour with his point production, but he didn’t get puck luck nor PP TOI as in years past.

    5. Would let Russell walk. Need a RHD who can move puck north and deny zone entries. The only expendable D in the top 6. Avoid overpaying for depth players (kassian).

    6. GM should show some sense of urgency now. Moving 1st round picks before draft more optimal than moving them at the trade deadline.

    7. Moving Pouliot will be problematic. Fayne likely too. Retained salary may be required. Avoiding buyouts ideal

    8. Lots of work ahead and while difficult to play hardball with McDavid, Chiarelli should push for below 6.5m for draisaitl. 5 RFA years

    9. goes without saying, need an aggressive off-season. A passive one will be a huge step back as this group as of today not good enough. Scheduling may not be as favourable and the Oilers were able to avoid injuries.

  19. monsterbater says:

    LT,

    With a Sept 17, 1998 birthday for Ferraro, does this not make him one of the oldest players in the draft who is first time draft eligible?

    With him going to college next year i like this type of a pick in the 2-4 round.

    It’s interesting that i look to this draft this year not to magically save a team that is broken, but to help stock the cupboards for the next decade to sustain the type of success we saw this year. It is refreshing.

  20. Johnny Stomper says:

    All said it was an awesome year and I look forward to seeing how Charelli tinkers with the line-up going into next season.

    LT do you think Oilers should make an attempt at acquiring Tanev from the Canucks?

  21. hunter1909 says:

    frjohnk: With Hall we would have won the Cup already.And thats with 2 more rounds left to play.
    Other teams would have just forfeited.

    Thats how good he is.

    Don’t forget reversing the 1986 Steve Smith own goal and rewarding the Oilers the 1986 cup because…just because.

  22. Rube Foster says:

    LT,

    Thank you for an amazing and wonderful year. Your work and commitment are peerless. You have built this strange and wonderful place that has become a part of my routine. I am truly grateful for what you do and how you do it.

    Last night was a heartbreaker, but this morning I am filled with a hope and an optimism for our Oilers that I have not felt in forever.

    GOOILER!

  23. frjohnk says:

    leadfarmer: While also winning the draft lottery at the same time.

    But with our 2nd round pick from this year.

    Oops!

  24. Durag says:

    PunjabiOil:
    A few random thoughts:

    2.Connor wasn’t himself and his defensive game has a way to go. Nothing he can’t correct but needs time and experience.

    We all had a fun time speculating on what was ailing Connor, but I wonder if it wasn’t just some honest to goodness fatigue. He played 45 games last year, and 67 in junior the year before. This year was 95 games of heavy NHL minutes, including an all you can eat crosscheck buffet for the final 13. This was a baptism by fire that will help him shed the remnants of his mortality and go full hockey deity next year.

  25. Woogie63 says:

    I see the priorities for the organization as,

    1. Find Connor’s RW so he has quality to play with and Leon can move to our 2C.

    2. One year solution for the role Russell played this year. Around January 2018 Nurse and Benning should be ready for that role (Sekera might have to switch sides if it is Nurse).

    3. Make room for one-two rookies to graduate which make minutes available in Bakersfield.

    4. Play LB more early, one goalie system have inherently too much risk.

  26. Gino says:

    Thank you – Thank you – OILERS that was awesome, making the playoffs (I had you at 86 points) the run after the trade deadline, beating the SHARKS and winning your first playoff series. Taking the DUCKS to 7 games and proving that with some better luck and performances the series could’ve been won. I’m so excited and have nothing but a positive outlook for next year as all players will enter next year’s playoffs with more experience at all positions. Glen Sather always made roster changes even when the OILERS won Stanleys. Peter Chiarelli has the future cap and decisions on some players, Peter make the correct moves.

  27. McSorley33 says:

    frjohnk,

    When EBERLE plays with a fast player, they give EBERLE more time and space. Fast players, not physical players, create time and space for their line. When EBERLE has time and space he can put up points. But as we see in the playoffs, there is no time and space and EBERLE had trouble creating.
    ************************************************************************************************
    Is RNH not a fast player?

  28. Gino says:

    Thank you, LOWTIDE it was a fun year reading your insights all this past year on the OILERS their farm team, draft & follow and the RE: series. Have a great summer and waiting for more great reads in the future.

  29. Dino says:

    Heartbroken just like most Oilers fans today but I have to admit it’s been a wonderful season, saw a lot of growth and promise for this team and I hope they continue marching on in the right direction. My personal shopping list for this team has shrunk but it is so:

    1. 3rd line centre that can win FO (Hanzal, Bjustad,etc)
    2. Top 6 RW scorer (I expect 14 gone)
    3. 2nd pairing RHD
    4. Back up goalie

    That’s a reasonable list I think Chiapete will have to get creative but it’s a lot shorter than previous lists.

  30. Professor Q says:

    leadfarmer:
    When is the last time college rookies got stronger after game 70.Very impressed with Caggula and Benning.Most college rookies crash and burn after game 40.What they did is truly underrated

    Kariya was pretty good. :p

    (But you’re right, only played 47 games)

  31. McSorley33 says:

    Agree it was a great season…so many positives beyond the obvious Mcdavid, Drai Talbot trio.

    Kassian really emerged
    Benning – what a surprise
    Sleppy – size and can skate.
    Cags – started coming on

    My Summer Shopping List

    RHD who can QB PP
    3C – who can win faceoffs
    RW – who can play with McDavid

    I think the RW can come via Free Agency….maybe the 3C ( Boyle/Hanzal ? )

    Strongly suspect the RHD will have to be procured via a trade. I doubt Shatty has any interest in
    Canada.

  32. russ99 says:

    PunjabiOil:
    A few random thoughts:

    1.Missed opportunity. Predators were beatable and you had home ice advantage. Losing two overtime games did it.Coughed up 2-0 and 3-0 leads in those games respectively.

    2.Connor wasn’t himself and his defensive game has a way to go. Nothing he can’t correct but needs time and experience.

    3. Eberle – he can still be useful. I would still look to move him. A guy like Vrbata at a fraction of cost allows optimal cap allocation

    4.RNH – depends on the trade value (I.e brenden Gallagher) but comfortable keeping him. There will be internal growth for this player.I know people are sour with his point production, but he didn’t get puck luck nor PP TOI as in years past.

    5.Would let Russell walk. Need a RHD who can move puck north and deny zone entries. The only expendable D in the top 6. Avoid overpaying for depth players (kassian).

    6.GM should show some sense of urgency now. Moving 1st round picks before draft more optimal than moving them at the trade deadline.

    7. Moving Pouliot will be problematic. Fayne likely too. Retained salary may be required. Avoiding buyouts ideal

    8.Lots of work ahead and while difficult to play hardball with McDavid, Chiarelli should push for below 6.5m for draisaitl. 5 RFA years

    9. goes without saying, need an aggressive off-season. A passive one will be a huge step back as this group as of today not good enough.Scheduling may not be as favourable and the Oilers were able to avoid injuries.

    1. We lost all three to the Preds and had a really hard time solving Rinne, with many players lacking the precise high shot it takes to beat him, and he’s playing even better now.

    As much as I’d like more hockey, it’s almost better to take our lessons in a 7 game slog against a tough grizzled nasty Ducks team than it would have been to end the season getting trounced by Nashville.

    3/4: If given a choice between keeping Ebs and Nuge next year:

    Why I’d keep Ebs:
    Track record of scoring, stuck on an underproducing rush-happy line all year, never got his shot straight despite “coach”, shorter contract, no way we sign someone like Oshie for less.

    Why I’d move Nuge:
    Seems to have hit his scoring peak, higher trade value, longer contract, lets face it – he doesn’t have the frame or physicality to become a Kesler or Getzlaf, we have our Crosby and Malkin already.

    5/6/9: Big opportunity for Chia to make major cup-winning moves. GMs kill for a chance at this summer. Big fan of Russell, but also a big chance to get a better player.

  33. Bag of Pucks says:

    Absolutely nothing negative I can say about the team this morning after a 33 point improvement and a hugely entertaining playoff run.

    Some new heroes stepped into the spotlight. Some new zeroes look to be exiting stage left. Look forward to talking about that in the weeks and months ahead.

    For the time being, hugely satisfied with the massive step forward, the major accomplishments (Art Ross, possibly Hart, possibly Jack Adams) and the hard lessons learned.

    Don’t be surprised if next season is tougher however. They will not be sneaking up on anyone anymore.

  34. Oilin4 says:

    What a great time it’s been to be an Oilers fan since late March. 6 weeks that re-ignited my passion for this team and this sport. I had so much fun these last 3 weeks and a day in particular, I’m sad to see it end knowing it won’t start again for 11 months. In past years, I’d look forward to baseball or NFL or something, but playoffs reminded me it’s all a distant second to my Oilers.

    Offseason predictions #1 – What I Think the Oilers Will Do

    1. Sign Draisaitl 7 x 6.75
    2. Sign Connor (extension) 6 x 11; Connor gets two years less by taking a little less $$$
    3. Trade Eberle for a bad contract
    4. Trade RNH for a gamble at RD
    5. Sign Martin Hanzal
    6. Sign two solid NCAA free agents

    Offseason predictions #2 – What I Wish the Oilers Would / Could Do (Realistic)

    1. Sign Draistaitl 8 x 7M (the extra .25 price of business for the extra year)
    2. Sign Connor (extension) 7 x 12.5M (ditto)
    3. Trade Eberle for a second round pick
    4. Retain RNH
    5. Sign Vrbata or equivalent
    6. Sign two solid NCAA free agents

    Offseason predictions #3 – What I Think About While Draining the Bong Water

    1. Sign Draisaitl 8 x 7M
    2. Sign Connor (extension) 8 x 12.5M
    3. Trade Eberle, Nuge, Fayne, Pouliot and Caleb Jones to Vegas for Sliverberg or Pysyk
    4. Go shopping! Offer sheet Gostishbere hard or go balls to the wall for Shattenkirk (#4 allows craziness)
    5. Sign Justin Williams to be what we want Lucic to be
    6. Sign two solid NCAA free agents

    To get #2 they have to play hardball, which likely means Chiarelli gets fired within 5-6 years (before the 8 are up), but that would probably happen anyway.

    We’ll debate 3-5 endlessly, but 1, 2 and 6 are probably the most important parts

  35. Pink Socks says:

    First and foremost, LT thank you again for another year of morning coffee and evening bourbon reading. Everyone here owes you a great debt of gratitude for your hard work and dedication.

    What a great season, 29th to game 7 of the conference semi’s is an incredible improvement. I think this is the correct stepping stone for this organization. The Oil found success in the second season and with a game 7 loss it is only fuel for the fire for 2017/2018. I look forward to October.

  36. Pink Socks says:

    frjohnk: With Hall we would have won the Cup already.And thats with 2 more rounds left to play.
    Other teams would have just forfeited.

    Thats how good he is.

    Thank you for this.

  37. leadfarmer says:

    Vesey for example while having a decent playoffs shows what happens to a lot of college guys in first year. 4 points in last 20 games of regular season. Cagguila had 8

  38. Oilin4 says:

    Next season predictions.

    1. Oil fans stop panicking after every bad night September through March
    2. Oilers finish with 98 points (yes, I know we grow, but no way in hell we stay even nearly as healthy)
    3. Finish either 2nd or 3rd division, play ANA again in 2nd round (noone in Pacific can compete with EDM or ANA barring a goalie standing on his head)
    4. Oilers win 2nd round, but face Chicago third round and lose.

    #4 is why it hurts so much this morning.

  39. Professor Q says:

    So…now onto trades and signings and draft previews. And from a position of strength!

    Kovalchuk? Dadonov? Obtaining a 2nd RP? MacKinnon?

  40. HiddenDarts says:

    I appreciate all, LT. Helluva game last night, but I was almost immediately OK with the loss.

    No Reggie and a well rested and fast Predators team is not necessarily something I was psyched about. It would have been a short series, in my opinion, and not for the good guys!

    This was a fantastic learning year for the team (for me, too, as it was my first playoffs cheering for my team since 06, when I didn’t know they were “my team”). Just great hockey, and I think one main point was proven:

    The Edmonton Oilers can beat anyone.

    That is a sentence I never thought I’d be able to type without laughing. But it’s serious.

    Go Oilers!

  41. Professor Q says:

    Oilin4:
    Next season predictions.

    1. Oil fans stop panicking after every bad night September through March
    2. Oilers finish with 98 points (yes, I know we grow, but no way in hell we stay even nearly as healthy)
    3. Finish either 2nd or 3rd division, play ANA again in 2nd round (noone in Pacific can compete with EDM or ANA barring a goalie standing on his head)
    4. Oilers with 2nd round, but face Chicago third round and lose.

    #4 is why it hurts so much this morning.

    I don’t see Chicago making it that far. Nashville, Dallas, Winnipeg, or Minnesota will be our opponents.

  42. leadfarmer says:

    Well congrats to these guys for a good season. Would have been fun to see these guys against the Pens in the final but that was wishful thinking. At least we can go into the offseason proud of our team not like the Caps

  43. Stanley says:

    frjohnk: With Hall we would have won the Cup already.And thats with 2 more rounds left to play.
    Other teams would have just forfeited.

    Thats how good he is.

    Hall is a true #1 LW and his stupid replacement is only a #2 LW so obviously we would have won the cup if we had Hall. Now how do you make that sarcasm symbol?

  44. Pink Socks says:

    I think RNH will be here in October and for the foreseeable future. His salary is high for production, but we could have worse, plus he fills in quite nicely in all situations. With 97/29/93 that is some of the best centre depth in the league. If we need to stack a line and 29 moves up to play with 97, we need RNH in the 2C spot. Eberle is easier to replace than RNH in my opinion.

  45. leadfarmer says:

    Professor Q: I don’t see Chicago making it that far. Nashville, Dallas, Winnipeg, or Minnesota will be our opponents.

    Dallas needs to find like 3 top 4 defensemen in the offseason to do that. Lehtonen actually had a very good year. His GSAA was in the range of the Chicago duo and the Andersons Andersens. His defense in front of him was horrendous

  46. Chachi says:

    Professor Q: I don’t see Chicago making it that far. Nashville, Dallas, Winnipeg, or Minnesota will be our opponents.

    In order to win the cup the Oilers have to beat Winnipeg in the playoffs; thus has it always been, and thus shall it ever be.

  47. Seismic Source says:

    Meat Pies. So good.

    Why do we hotdog and taquito? Fucking meat Pies are my new standard.

    LT. I won’t say thanks for the year. I want to say thanks for all the other years. Thanks for the home. Thanks for the discourse. Thanks for the optimism and at the same time being realistic.

    Next year

  48. Bag of Pucks says:

    So, the prospect of Jultz getting a 2nd ring vs the last Canadian team left.

    Suddenly the thought of being a temporary Sens fan becomes highly palatable.

  49. dustrock says:

    PunjabiOil:
    A few random thoughts:

    1.Missed opportunity. Predators were beatable and you had home ice advantage. Losing two overtime games did it.Coughed up 2-0 and 3-0 leads in those games respectively.

    2.Connor wasn’t himself and his defensive game has a way to go. Nothing he can’t correct but needs time and experience.

    3. Eberle – he can still be useful. I would still look to move him. A guy like Vrbata at a fraction of cost allows optimal cap allocation

    4.RNH – depends on the trade value (I.e brenden Gallagher) but comfortable keeping him. There will be internal growth for this player.I know people are sour with his point production, but he didn’t get puck luck nor PP TOI as in years past.

    5.Would let Russell walk. Need a RHD who can move puck north and deny zone entries. The only expendable D in the top 6. Avoid overpaying for depth players (kassian).

    6.GM should show some sense of urgency now. Moving 1st round picks before draft more optimal than moving them at the trade deadline.

    7. Moving Pouliot will be problematic. Fayne likely too. Retained salary may be required. Avoiding buyouts ideal

    8.Lots of work ahead and while difficult to play hardball with McDavid, Chiarelli should push for below 6.5m for draisaitl. 5 RFA years

    9. goes without saying, need an aggressive off-season. A passive one will be a huge step back as this group as of today not good enough.Scheduling may not be as favourable and the Oilers were able to avoid injuries.

    I agree with all of this except I thought that Nashville would probably beat us in 5.

  50. dustrock says:

    LT, thank you so much for such an enjoyable experience, twice daily, day in, day out.

    Your writing I think is only improving with time and Oiler victories.

    The 9 a.m. sitdown with my coffee at the office is one of the most enjoyable parts of my day.

    Thanks to everyone here for the highest level hockey discussion I’ve ever been a part of, and I’ve learned a lot here, maybe least of all about hockey.

    Thanks to the Oilers for the most enjoyable season in a decade. Sure wish the NHL could address some of its systemic issues to make it more enjoyable, and to have the fans be able to watch a talent like Connor McDavid do what he was born to do: keep us on the edge of our seats.

  51. who says:

    Think Chias to do list, in order of importance, goes something like this;
    1)Sign Connor and Leon to long term contracts that won’t cripple this team. This is by far the most important item!
    2)Find a second pairing righty dman on a two or three year contract. If that ends up being Russell then so be it. I can live with that but Chia should look around first. Also make sure that the contract is tradeable or expires after two years. We should have a lot of homegrown d options in 2 years.
    3)Find a third line center who can win some faceoffs. This may be just as, or more important than, point 2. Another center would free up Leon to play with Connor when needed. This would eliminate the need to add the scoring winger that so many people are asking for. In my opinion a scoring winger, that is better than what the Oilers already have, is going to be too expensive.
    4)Unload as many bad contracts as you need to fit under the salary cap. Players like Fayne, Poo, Eberle need to go if you don’t have the space. Do not trade Nuge! Oilers need the center depth!

    If Peter can address these 4 points I will consider it a successful summer.

  52. Spengler says:

    Seismic Source:
    Meat Pies. So good.

    Why do we hotdog and taquito?Fucking meat Pies are my new standard.

    LT. I won’t say thanks for the year. I want to say thanks for all the other years. Thanks for the home. Thanks for the discourse. Thanks for the optimism and at the same time being realistic.

    Next year

    Amen to all of that. Meat pies and Lowetide. That’s living right in my book.

  53. John Chambers says:

    Thank you, Alan Mitchell.

    I consider you as core to the Oilers experience as Jim Matheson, Rod Philips, or Joey Moss. You’ve offered your dedication and brightened our spirits on the road to this place.

    Looking forward to a summer of LT prose. Tonight I’m having a 20-year aged malt in celebration of the season and then I’m going to have another one.

  54. Jethro Tull says:

    John Chambers: Tonight I’m having a 20-year aged malt in celebration of the season and then I’m going to have another one.

    You should have the 20yo then a 22yo…….as tribute to the foundations of our team – McDavid and Drai.

  55. Bag of Pucks says:

    LT, you don’t draft Nurse with the expectation of settling him permanently on the third pairing.

    So, with that in mind, why would you procure a Dman on a 2 or 3 year deal, that would effectively block Nurse from elevating up the depth chart? A prospect of this calibre is best seasoned alongside a Top 4 vet. Not alongside a bottom pairing rook or journeyman.

    I fear we’re not going to see your infamous balance photo, because I believe TMac and Chia will say to themselves, let’s give Darnell the season on the 2nd pairing alongside Sekera to take the next step in his development, If by midseason, we’re unsatisfied that he isn’t taking it to the next level, then we cast about for a potential midseason or deadline deal to bulwark the depth.

    I truly don’t believe you’re setting the preseason roster on the basis of what gives us the best chance to win the Cup immediately (which is what the ‘balance’ photo seems to suggest). You are also setting up some favourable developmental situations to groom your best prospects, because that is absolutely vital to achieve the value contracts you need in this cap era.

    There seems to be this meme that the Detroit model is creating a culture where prospects absolutely have to force their way into the conversation and up the depth chart. I think that’s true of middling prospects. But when the Wings get a very good prospect like a DeKeyser or Nyquist, they elevate them to learn the hard lessons asap like everyone else.

    Nurse needs mins now. That is the best course of action imho.

  56. Oilin4 says:

    John Chambers:
    Thank you, Alan Mitchell.

    I consider you as core to the Oilers experience as Jim Matheson, Rod Philips, or Joey Moss. You’ve offered your dedication and brightened our spirits on the road to this place.

    Looking forward to a summer of LT prose. Tonight I’m having a 20-year aged malt in celebration of the season and then I’m going to have another one.

    Agreed. If we couldn’t fit Allan Mitchell under the salary cap, I’d trade Draisaitl to make it work. Lowetide is an unreplaceable part of the Oil fan experience.

  57. Oilin4 says:

    Bag of Pucks:
    LT, you don’t draft Nurse with the expectation of settling him permanently on the third pairing.

    So, with that in mind, why would you procure a Dman on a 2 or 3 year deal, that would effectively block Nurse from elevating up the depth chart? A prospect of this calibre is best seasoned alongside a Top 4 vet. Not alongside a bottom pairing rook or journeyman.

    I fear we’re not going to see your infamous balance photo, because I believe TMac and Chia will say to themselves, let’s give Darnell the season on the 2nd pairing alongside Sekera to take the next step in his development, If by midseason, we’re unsatisfied that he isn’t taking it to the next level, then we cast about for a potential midseason or deadline deal to bulwark the depth.

    I truly don’t believe you’re setting the preseason roster on the basis of what gives us the best chance to win the Cup immediately. You are also setting up some favourable developmental situations to groom your best prospects, because that is absolutely vital to achieve the value contracts you need in this cap era.

    There seems to be this meme that the Detroit model is creating a culture where prospects absolutely have to force their way into the conversation and up the depth chart. I think that’s true of middling prospects. But when the Wings get a very good prospect like a DeKeyser or Nyquist, they elevate them to learn the hard lessons asap like everyone else.

    Nurse needs mins now. That is the best course of action imho.

    I fear Nurse may not put his whole game together. He has all the pieces but the decision making is poor. Plus, LH players really struggle to play RD, even with experience. He’s on the 3rd pairing for two reasons: 1. Klef and Sekera hold him back. 2. Despite having incredibly skill, his play reading and making isn’t good enough to hold his own in a Top 4. I hope he grows out of 2, but fear he may not. I feel like Woodguy or someone wrote about this last year.

  58. Side says:

    Bag of Pucks:
    LT, you don’t draft Nurse with the expectation of settling him permanently on the third pairing.

    So, with that in mind, why would you procure a Dman on a 2 or 3 year deal, that would effectively block Nurse from elevating up the depth chart? A prospect of this calibre is best seasoned alongside a Top 4 vet. Not alongside a bottom pairing rook or journeyman.

    I fear we’re not going to see your infamous balance photo, because I believe TMac and Chia will say to themselves, let’s give Darnell the season on the 2nd pairing alongside Sekera to take the next step in his development, If by midseason, we’re unsatisfied that he isn’t taking it to the next level, then we cast about for a potential midseason or deadline deal to bulwark the depth.

    I truly don’t believe you’re setting the preseason roster on the basis of what gives us the best chance to win the Cup immediately (which is what the ‘balance’ photo seems to suggest). You are also setting up some favourable developmental situations to groom your best prospects, because that is absolutely vital to achieve the value contracts you need in this cap era.

    There seems to be this meme that the Detroit model is creating a culture where prospects absolutely have to force their way into the conversation and up the depth chart. I think that’s true of middling prospects. But when the Wings get a very good prospect like a DeKeyser or Nyquist, they elevate them to learn the hard lessons asap like everyone else.

    Nurse needs mins now. That is the best course of action imho.

    Wasn’t Nurse given more minutes in previous years and didn’t do very well?

    He’s looking better this year,imo, because he is playing on a lower pairing with less minutes.

    Seems strange to go back to giving him more minutes when he’s finally being developed properly and getting into his groove.

    I don’t see anything wrong with acquiring a 2nd pairing D who we know can handle the minutes and being 2nd pair night in and out.

  59. Gino says:

    frjohnk,

    Hall is a NEW JERSEY DEVIL and Larsson is an OILER get over it already jeez !!!!!!

  60. fifthcartel says:

    The Oilers aren’t serious about winning if they play Nurse above the bottom pairing next year.

  61. Side says:

    Gino:
    frjohnk,

    Hall is a NEW JERSEY DEVIL and Larsson is an OILER get over it already jeez !!!!!!

    He made a joke.

    I thought this was obvious given the impossibility of winning the cup in round 2 like frjohnk jokingly suggested.

  62. russ99 says:

    fifthcartel:
    The Oilers aren’t serious about winning if they play Nurse above the bottom pairing next year.

    Sekera would be better with Benning on the third pairing with heavy special teams and 4×4 / 3×3 usage. Nurse needs a defensive rock and a better puck mover than Russell as his RH partner on the second pairing to reach his potential.

    Sekera’s contract and NMC could be as big a problem as Lucic’s contract and NMC in 2-3 years.

  63. Side says:

    fifthcartel:
    The Oilers aren’t serious about winning if they play Nurse above the bottom pairing next year.

    I honestly don’t know how someone could watch Nurse set up behind our net, have 3 Oilers skate by him, and instead of giving it to one of them for a breakout, Nurse decides to pass the puck along the board to Getzlaf who is basically just sitting there waiting for it and think:

    “we need to give Nurse more minutes on a higher pairing!”

  64. LMHF#1 says:

    I would imagine Slepyshev would be quite disappointed with a 15 goal season next year.

    He’s shown he can play top 6 in the playoffs. He would have shown a lot more if they’d deployed him properly in the regular season.

    Hell of a player there. And works with 97 or 29.

  65. russ99 says:

    Side: I honestly don’t know how someone could watch Nurse set up behind our net, have 3 Oilers skate by him, and instead of giving it to one of them for a breakout, Nurse decides to pass the puck along the board to Getzlaf who is basically just sitting there waiting for it and think:

    “we need to give Nurse more minutes on a higher pairing!”

    Setting up behind the net is a coaching choice to settle things down. All our defensemen have done it throughout the playoffs.

  66. Professor Q says:

    russ99: Setting up behind the net is a coaching choice to settle things down. All our defensemen have done it throughout the playoffs.

    And not only that, but many teams and players implement this scheme.

    Lidstrom and Detroit did it, too.

  67. Bag of Pucks says:

    Side: Wasn’t Nurse given more minutes in previous years and didn’t do very well?

    He’s looking better this year,imo, because he is playing on a lower pairing with less minutes.

    Seems strange to go back to giving him more minutes when he’s finally being developed properly and getting into his groove.

    I don’t see anything wrong with acquiring a 2nd pairing D who we know can handle the minutes and being 2nd pair night in and out.

    In terms of an NHL prospect, he’s still very young. Only 115 GPs total including playoffs. The light for Dmen usually goes off around the 150-200GPs mark.

    That’s why I’m such a big advocate of marinating him on the Top 4 for the entirety of next year’s regular season. Do that and there’s a very real possibly that as you enter the playoffs with him now having 197 GPs under his belt including a regular season of tough mins, you now enter the playoffs with a legitimate Top 4 D with the plus toolbox associated with a #7 OV pick.

    There is certainly argument against it and I appreciate them. Chief among those is Benning could regress in his sophomore season, and as Russel has shown, you will always appreciate a versatile vet. But if they go that route, a 1 year deal should be the goal. Chia can’t overpay for these interim solutions.

    Ironically, LT’s arguing for a vet RHD may cost him RNH. Is that the price you really want to pay?

  68. LMHF#1 says:

    russ99: Setting up behind the net is a coaching choice to settle things down. All our defensemen have done it throughout the playoffs.

    Except in game 6.

    Hope the coaches wake up.

  69. treevojo says:

    Side: I honestly don’t know how someone could watch Nurse set up behind our net, have 3 Oilers skate by him, and instead of giving it to one of them for a breakout, Nurse decides to pass the puck along the board to Getzlaf who is basically just sitting there waiting for it and think:

    “we need to give Nurse more minutes on a higher pairing!”

    I honestly don’t know how someone can watch Nurse play with Larsson in the top pairing of a game 6 against a very good team and think there is no possible way this guy can handle top 4 minutes in the regular season after another good summer of strength and skills training.

  70. jtblack says:

    LT, I read a lot of Oilers commentary and find myself anxiously awaiting your Post each Day. Thanks for expert opinion, backed up by some type of Statistical evidence stacked on top of Entertaining Writing!

    You are a Beauty!

    Oiler Nation was about 30 / 70 if this was a playoff team in November. The needle moved to 50/50 by February. Then the Oil safely cruised to a 100+ point season. We seriously came off of 67,62 & 70 point seasons. The Improvement overall was nothing short of Amazing. Not just for this club, but in the history of the NHL.

    We all know McD drives the Bus and his updraft is Amazing; but many more questions got answered in a positive way, than negative this yr. My quick points are.

    1) Neon Leon is the real deal. We can debate how real, but he’s a 21 yr old kid that finished Top 10 in Scoring and played well when the Heat got turned up
    2) Defense – Overall the improvement was Amazing. We went from AHL level Defense for 6 years to an NHL Defense. I would still classify our Defense as Average and think if we are to Hoist a Cup there is still need for improvement, balance, offense.
    3) Ebs – He must go. I agree with you, his boots don’t allow him to get scoring areas anymore. Also, in fairness to Ebs, a change of scenery is probably what he needs at this point. He’s clearly not a TMac guy
    4) RNH – 100% on the try metric. 10% on the execution metric. All year, Oiler Nation said RNH wasn’t delivering O because he was playing against Elites … Well that died quickly when Leon went to Centre, and still No O for Nugey. Not sure where he goes or if he can get his O back ..
    5)Too Many great parts to mention for the entire Year … Grateful this team has turned the corner. I think it’s clear that the Oilers are trending to being a Cup Contender for the next 2 – 3 years, possibly longer.

    Thanks LT

  71. dustrock says:

    I thought Russell had a pretty decent playoffs defensively, all things considered. But I don’t see him as any kind of long-term solution. It was a good stop-gap move by Chiarelli.

    I know defencemen take time, but I’m not sold on Nurse at all. I think somewhat similarly to Reinhart, his body and athleticism allowed him to dominate junior players, but I am not sure he has the skill set to be a top 4 defenceman. Just my humble opinion but my expectations are pretty low for him.

    If we’re supposed to sell high, I’d trade Nurse this offseason.

    Part of the problem is that we need to get some more offence out of the D I think; maybe Benning takes another step offensively, and Klefbom and Sekera will be pretty steady, but that’s about it.

    There’s no offence at all coming from Russell, Larsson, Nurse, Reinhart, and Gryba, and I think that’s a problem.

  72. jtblack says:

    treevojo,

    I think Nurse is at a Crossroads. Half the PPL think he’s Top 4 Material, Half aren’t sure .. Both sides of the discussion are correct …

    My take. What is his ceiling? I think his tool kit is all there, but the execution of 4 ft passes seems to not be there … Can that be taught? Stay tuned

  73. Side says:

    russ99: Setting up behind the net is a coaching choice to settle things down. All our defensemen have done it throughout the playoffs.

    Yes, he settled things down which I have no problem with. I don’t know how in the scenario I listed you picked out him setting up behind the net as the thing I have a gripe with.

    The thing I have an issue with, is Nurse had many options available to him and he picked the one, without being pressured, where he passed the puck to a player on the other team who scored a goal.

    I don’t recall watching Lidstrom set up behind the net, only to pass the puck to an opposing player who is sitting in his own zone which led to that player scoring against his team.

    I could be wrong though, maybe Lidstrom did do that once, but Nurse has a ways to go still and he’s no Lidstrom.

  74. Ducey says:

    Oilin4: I fear Nurse may not put his whole game together. He has all the pieces but the decision making is poor. Plus, LH players really struggle to play RD, even with experience. He’s on the 3rd pairing for two reasons: 1. Klef and Sekera hold him back. 2. Despite having incredibly skill, his play reading and making isn’t good enough to hold his own in a Top 4. I hope he grows out of 2, but fear he may not. I feel like Woodguy or someone wrote about this last year.

    Nurse has 115 NHL regular season games, 13 playoff games, and 13 AHL games. He turns 23 in February.

    He is still a pup by NHL defenseman standards..

    He was the best Dman in junior in his draft +2 season.

    When he is 24 or 25 with 300+ NHL games and weighs 225 lbs, he will be very, very good.

    The Oilers have a chance (especially with teams losing some D thru expansion) to have one of the best D corps in the league, and for quite a while. This is the reason we can expect to enjoy some more playoff runs in years to come.

    If I am Chia, getting Nurse locked up on a long term sweet deal is a priority this offseason.

  75. who says:

    fifthcartel:
    The Oilers aren’t serious about winning if they play Nurse above the bottom pairing next year.

    Actually I kind of agree with bag of pucks on this. As long as the oilers have a fall back option in place, like a Russell. Maybe next years pairings are Nurse/Sekera and Russel/Benning. Or Sekera/Benning and Nurse/Russell. As long as Tmac has the option of going back to Sekera / Russell when needed. Might be a good development path for both young dmen to be paired with a vet and playing slightly elevated minutes.

  76. Side says:

    treevojo: I honestly don’t know how someone can watch Nurse play with Larsson in the top pairing of a game 6 against a very good team and think there is no possible way this guy can handle top 4 minutes in the regular season after another good summer of strength and skills training.

    That’s one game, with Larsson.. in a 7-1 blowout game where everyone was solid.

    We watched Nurse play higher up in the pairings with more minutes in previous seasons. It didn’t go very well, if I recall.

  77. Professor Q says:

    Side,

    Okay, I was only referencing the method and system. Obviously Lidstrom was more smooth and poised and didn’t make mistakes.

    Nurse last night was indeed lazy with his passes and it cost the Oilers quite a few breakway opportunities, especially in the last 10 minutes. Lazy passes to McDavid that get easily picked off by the Ducks? You’re handing the game and series to them.

    But he’s still improving and I do believe he’ll be even better next year.

  78. Side says:

    Bag of Pucks: In terms of an NHL prospect, he’s still very young. Only 115 GPs total including playoffs. The light for Dmen usually goes off around the 150-200GPs mark.

    That’s why I’m such a big advocate of marinating him on the Top 4 for the entirety of next year’s regular season. Do that and there’s a very real possibly that as you enter the playoffs with him now having 197 GPs under his belt including a regular season of tough mins, you know enter the playoffs with a legitimate Top 4 D with the plus toolbox associated with a #7 OV pick.

    There is certainly argument against it and I appreciate them. Chief among those is Benning could regress in his sophomore season, and has Russel has shown, you will always appreciate a versatile vet. But if they go that route, a 1 year deal should be the goal. Chia can’t overpay for these interim solutions.

    Ironically, LT’s arguing for a vet RHD may cost him RNH. Is that the price you really want to pay?

    I would rather a vet RHD be acquired who we know is a top 4 D and have Nurse play in the bottom pairing. I’m not saying Nurse has to be playing in the bottom all year, but injuries inevitably happen, pairings are inevitably changed through the season, and the opportunity to play higher minutes on a higher pairing will be available to Nurse.

    I like Nurse, I really do. But we’ve already seen what Nurse is like on a higher pairing with more minutes. I’d rather him continue to develop in the bottom pairing and get more comfortable before penciling him as a top 4.

  79. Side says:

    Professor Q:
    Side,

    Okay, I was only referencing the method and system. Obviously Lidstrom was more smooth and poised and didn’t make mistakes.

    Nurse last night was indeed lazy with his passes and it cost the Oilers quite a few breakway opportunities, especially in the last 10 minutes. Lazy passes to McDavid that get easily picked off by the Ducks? You’re handing the game and series to them.

    But he’s still improving and I do believe he’ll be even better next year.

    I agree with all of this, which is why I think Nurse should develop longer on the bottom pairing facing softer competition for at least another year. If there are injuries to any of the top 4, then move Nurse up.

  80. Professor Q says:

    Side: I agree with all of this, which is why I think Nurse should develop longer on the bottom pairing facing softer competition for at least another year. If there are injuries to any of the top 4, then move Nurse up.

    I don’t disagree with that. There is no reason to play him on top line minutes when we have Sekera and Klefbom, let alone Russell. For the time being, and withholding any injury or in-game changeups.

  81. leadfarmer says:

    Nurse needs to get a lot better to be a second pairing defenseman. His scouting report of having all the tools just not the toolbox from draft year still remains today. He has the physical abilities of a top pairing defenseman but doesnt think the game like one. Now that can easily change with more reps but I would feel much more comfortable if those reps came in the third pair with a good partner.

  82. --hudson-- says:

    Side: Yes, he settled things down which I have no problem with. I don’t know how in the scenario I listed you picked out him setting up behind the net as the thing I have a gripe with.

    The thing I have an issue with, is Nurse had many options available to him and he picked the one, without being pressured, where he passed the puck to a player on the other team who scored a goal.

    I don’t recall watching Lidstrom set up behind the net,only to pass the puck to an opposing player who is sitting in his own zone which led to that player scoring against his team.

    I could be wrong though, maybe Lidstrom did do that once, but Nurse has a ways to go still and he’s no Lidstrom.

    A couple days ago VOR had an outstanding comment regarding decision making. It gets better with age and coaching. I agree Nurse currently makes curious decisions, but I expect regular improvement from him in that area and with this coaching staff

  83. Diablo says:

    Serious question – if Colorado (who right now is casting about desperately looking for LHD) calls and offers you Duchene for Nurse, would you turn it down?

    My feeling is the value for Nurse will never be higher after this long playoff run than it is right now. He’s got a great toolset, but I’m not sure he’ll ever have the toolbox to be more than a second pairing LHD. He’s just not in the same class as Lindholm or Reilly (or Jone and Risto if you want to compare him to D from his draft year).

  84. Rondo says:

    I’m a big fan of Nurse he has all the tools except his hockey IQ may be in question.

    Lucic is slow skater , with the game getting faster and faster he will be a very inconsistent player during his contract.

  85. Scungilli Slushy says:

    In the first minutes of the second period a dark feeling came to me that I had once before, in 2006. This time I finished the game out, I’m disappointed because I thought they had a good chance with Nashville, despite the reg season. Far less goonery and experience to deal with, not as much depth at centre.

    But what a fantastic season. I can’t wait to see what happens now, or who they choose to move. My first idea is that if NYI want a young scorer to keep Tavares happy if they can swing Eberle for Hamonic a lot of problems are solved.

    I think the improvement in the backend and that Ebs replacement can score 15 goals without it being a stretch the net offense would actually be an improvement. We’ve seen what a difference a strong two way D can make. Sekera’s play would take a step as well with a better partner that has a physical game.

    I’m happy for these young guys, there will be fire in their eyes next season.

  86. OF17 says:

    Starting the season with Nurse in the top 4 would be a MacT move. I’m hopeful the days of those unforced errors are over, because it leaves you with exactly zero depth and coverage.

  87. misfit says:

    I don’t see Connor’s contract being a major issue for this offseason. How much more expensive do you think he’s going to be next offseason than this one? Take care of the other, more pressing issues first.

    Getting Leon locked down to a reasonable long term deal is key though. Especially if we can do so before teams are able to tender offer sheets.

    I want an upgrade on the Desharnais 3C position too, but I don’t see it as a major offseason target either. I’d honestly prefer if we addressed this as a deadline move. Cap space and flexibility is a real thing and something we should pay close attention to. It also allows us to get the most out of my next point, which is…

    Don’t trade Eberle. Not only is he coming off his worst season statically, but he’s also losing value in the court of public opinion. If Leon spends the regular season at C, then that should mean more time in a prominent role at RW, which should improve his trade value for when we ACTUALLY need it (ie. next offseason when Connor’s extension hits). I see no point in selling off a player when his value is at its lowest and you don’t necessarily need the cap space. Waiting until next year (hopefully a major bounce back year) might allow us to gain the needed cap space, but get an actual asset in return.

    To me, the only spot I’d like to see us make a real effort in improving is the 2nd pairing RHD and backup goalie. We’ll need to make room under the cap, but Pouliot/Fayne are better avenues for cap relief IMO. Those should be priority 1 and 2.

  88. fifthcartel says:

    I’m not as high on Nurse as a lot of people here, but I’m a little surprise at the largely optimistic outlook on him still. I think he can be a top-four guy, but I’ve also grown fairly skeptical with his play the last couple seasons.

    I don’t think anything is guaranteed, but the way people talk about is incredible for how little he’s accomplished.

  89. dustrock says:

    Willis says look at Kopitar’s 7 year, $6.8m for Draisaitl contract.

  90. RENNAVATE says:

    Y’all are overrating Nurse something fierce right now. And I like the kid.

  91. treevojo says:

    Side: That’s one game, with Larsson.. in a 7-1 blowout game where everyone was solid.

    We watched Nurse play higher up in the pairings with more minutes in previous seasons. It didn’t go very well, if I recall.

    He was a rookie in previous seasons if I recall.

  92. treevojo says:

    leadfarmer:
    Nurse needs to get a lot better to be a second pairing defenseman.His scouting report of having all the tools just not the toolbox from draft year still remains today.He has the physical abilities of a top pairing defenseman but doesnt think the game like one.Now that can easily change with more reps but I would feel much more comfortable if those reps came in the third pair with a good partner.

    Point me to this scouting report.

    Do you have a link?

  93. Professor Q says:

    treevojo: Point me to this scouting report.

    Do you have a link?

    They forgot his sister, of course.

    http://www.hockeysfuture.com/prospects/darnell-nurse/

  94. --hudson-- says:

    Here is VOR’s comment from three days ago regarding decision making. Of course if you can trade him for something more valuable you trade him (like you would almost any player), but it’s more than reasonable to expect he’s eventually going to figure out the game at the NHL level.

    I was wondering if you know that there is a large and constantly growing body of evidence that shows:

    A) decision making is a teachable skill not purely an innate talent
    B) decision making gets better with age
    C) A and B are true in sports as well as a number of other fields of human endeavor
    D) it is even true in sports officiating

    Little tidbit, in social sports like hockey how good a ref is at the job is more dependent on their communication skill than any other factor but decision making improves as communication skills improve. As it happens there is recent research that shows as players learn to communicate better with each other, with their coach and with the officials the players’ in game decision making skills improve as well. What I am trying to say is that any team that gives up on a young player because of bad decision making is in need of better coaches not better players. Coaches who are better communicators and who can teach decision making. Veteran laden teams tend to win the StanleyCup because their decision making is better.

    Nurse will get better with age and with skilled instruction could improve quickly and significantly. If that improvement is rapid enough his decision making will develop to an acceptable level before his physical skills deteriorate to average.

    Maybe I should say, when I talk about working on the non-physical aspects of coaching decision making is one of the things I teach/coach. So I am sort of talking my book. However, if anyone is interested I can post numerous links on the subject.

    I bet Kyle Dubas would love to have him in Toronto if Chia decides to flush Nurse. They had a good history together in junior

  95. jtblack says:

    Diablo,

    This is interesting. Almost everyone agrees a GM should not sell at a players low point (Ebs); but sometimes that is neccessary … It’s even trickier to sell high or when a player is trending up .. I would do this ALL DAY long, as our position of strength in the Organziation is LHD … With Sekera & Kelfbom tied up long term, we can plug and play the 5/6 LHD …

  96. treevojo says:

    RENNAVATE:
    Y’all are overrating Nurse something fierce right now. And I like the kid.

    Saying that nurse can play top 4 minutes next year is overrating him something fierce?

  97. treevojo says:

    Professor Q: They forgot his sister, of course.

    http://www.hockeysfuture.com/prospects/darnell-nurse/

    Lol

    That’s a good link.

    I like the part referencing what he’s got in between his ears.

  98. Thinker says:

    Either we sign Connor now, or wait until late july early august. There is no real rush on him. I don’t know what he’ll want. Hopefully under 10 so we can keep building, but if he wants the max, give it to him.

    I don’t think we have to draft a fwd. The biggest thing going forward is getting value contracts. We will be losing guys all over as they start to get paid. It’s hard (nearly impossible) to project needs 3 years down the line and address them with picks.

    I hope PC principal is very pessimistic about this team, and has a big off-season. Relying on Caggiula, Slepyshev, Pitlick, etc could hurt us.

    I hate to say it, but now might be a good time to move Maroon. I love the guy, even if he goes back to what he was in ANA, but his value is at an all time high, and you will likely lose him for nothing next year if he performs the same way he did this season.

  99. McNuge93 says:

    I agree to leave Nurse and Benning at 3rd pair rather than count on them taking the next step. Better to get a 2RD and let them develope. If they do improve that much then we are that much better off in depth. Nurse has the tools and with age and experience he will be at least a very good 2nd pairing. It’s taken Klef and Larson a few years to develope and it will be the same for Nurse

  100. Side says:

    treevojo: He was a rookie in previous seasons if I recall.

    Well, he played like a rookie at some critical moments in this year’s playoffs that were costly.

    The number of years in the NHL does not dictate someone’s developmental path, the individual’s needs are what dictates how they should develop.

    “Darnell, in your rookie year we’ll put you in the third pairing. Once you lose your rookie status, we’ll bump you up to the 2nd pairing, then when you are considered a ‘vet’ in year 3, we’ll put you in the top pairing”. Not a huge fan of that path, personally.

  101. treevojo says:

    OF17:
    Starting the season with Nurse in the top 4 would be a MacT move. I’m hopeful the days of those unforced errors are over, because it leaves you with exactly zero depth and coverage.

    I’ve never said that you have to start him in the top four next year.

    I do believe he will be playing top four minutes by the end of the year.

  102. treevojo says:

    Side: Well, he played like a rookie at some critical moments in this year’s playoffs that were costly.

    The number of years in the NHL does not dictate someone’s developmental path, the individual’s needs are what dictates how they should develop.

    “Darnell, in your rookie year we’ll put you in the third pairing. Once you lose your rookie status, we’ll bump you up to the 2nd pairing, then when you are considered a ‘vet’ in year 3, we’ll put you in the top pairing”. Not a huge fan of that path, personally.

    There were a lot of the veterans at times making rookie mistakes that were costly as well in these playoffs.

    Once again I never said he has to start in the top four next year.

    I believe he will be playing top four minutes by the end.

  103. StixMalone says:

    A few of you want an upgrade on Brossoit. Not sure why we need to do this when we don’t play him enough to tell if he’s good or bad. Play the kid more often and find out what he can or can’t do. Then make a decision. Let the kid prove himself with gameplay. We have a good goalie coach and Talbot as a mentor. We give up on goalies too quickly here…..

  104. misfit says:

    Defensemen, especially ones who don’t have a tonne of offense to offset their defensive game should never really be expected to do any serious heavy lifting until they’ve had 250 to 300 NHL games under their belt. Judging Nurse’s game now is like trying to judge a draft class a year after it happened. There are obviously good an bad signs along the way, but it takes time. Eric Brewer, Braydon Coburn, Jason Smith, and on and on and on. Nurse will be fine, even if he’s not ready to be a top 4 guy this year. That doesn’t mean he won’t be a key member of our defense for years to come.

  105. Bag of Pucks says:

    Can’t see Chia thinking this way, but would anyone be included to move on from Lucic sooner rather than later, and pay Maroon instead?

    Candidly, Lucic disappointed me in these playoffs. During his latter years with the Bruins, Chia showed a blindspot for this player type giving an overvalued contract to a well past his prime Iginla for instance.

    Or maybe you just look at him as a Holmstrom type, and say, a player that can excel in that role is worth the cash no matter how slow their boots look elsewhere?

    I know one thing. I don’t want to go back to watching a team where nobody goes to the paint.

  106. StixMalone says:

    Bag of Pucks,

    Bruce W. might be thinking this right now. Oh wait that was all season….lol

  107. RENNAVATE says:

    treevojo: Saying that nurse can play top 4 minutes next year is overrating him something fierce?

    Automatically slotting him in the top 4 to start the season would be a mistake. If he can force the issue and end up there by season’s end, I’ll be thrilled.

  108. NYCOIL "Gentleman Backpacker" says:

    This is hard to say, but the loss last night is probably exactly what this team needed.

    Game 5 will haunt them as it should.

    If they had won last night I don’t think that loss in game 5 would have been the bitter tonic they are forced to drink all summer. If anything they might have thought they are good enough to get away with losses like that and still win. And even if they bowed out to Nashville in the next round the loss that lingers wouldn’t be round two game five at that point.

    Instead this will stew all summer in their young hearts and minds and they will learn and know they can never take the foot off the gas in the playoffs. They will know they can’t bank on officiating to be right, either, so they have to go for the jugular to make sure.

    When Game 6 was a blowout I had that sinking feeling we were seeing a repeat of SCF 2006. That game 7 at home is so valuable and you can win two on the road but asking a team to win three on the road is damn near impossible. Next year the Oilers will win the Division and host Game 7.

    If this loss propels this team to true greatness I can deal with it.

    I for one think it will, and this was just what this team needed. It is already ahead of schedule and we saw hockey in Mid-May for the first time in eleven years.

    Kudos to the team and thank you to Lowetide and Family for a great year.

  109. Bruce McCurdy says:

    Seismic Source:
    Meat Pies. So good.

    Why do we hotdog and taquito?Fucking meat Pies are my new standard.

    LT. I won’t say thanks for the year. I want to say thanks for all the other years. Thanks for the home. Thanks for the discourse. Thanks for the optimism and at the same time being realistic.

    Next year

    Great post, funny, succinct, meat pies, taquito-as-a-verb, and, oh yeah, everything you said about our genial host.

    Stick tap to you, Lowetide. To a loooongstanding Oilers fan your blog has been like found treasure these last years.

  110. Bag of Pucks says:

    K, I’m going commit to patiently letting Nurse force the issue in training camp, start of next season, etc.

    If however, Chiarelli spends dear assets and/or cap space in the offseason to bring in a second pairing D on a longer term deal, don’t be surprised if that results in a seriously motivated Darnell coming in with 10 more pounds of muscle and an axe to grind. Not necessarily a bad thing I guess….

  111. Bag of Pucks says:

    The thing that I’ll always treasure about this season is how this finally competitive Oilers team brought my two young lads back to the fold following the dark years when an admittedly pathetic organization couldn’t compete with their girlfriends, cellphones and X-Box.

    For that, I’m eternally grateful.

    “HD on demand hockey. You boys don’t know how good you’ve got it. When I was your age growing up on the farm, I had to monkey with our rooftop aerial to clear the snow out of the broadcast to watch the mighty Oil on ITV Wednesday night hockey, and they didn’t even broadcast all the games! Mind you, we did have the greatest collection of skill ever assembled ; ) “

  112. striatic says:

    Possibly the best lesson for McDavid this season is that he can’t do it alone. Something for him to consider when deciding his cap hit. A decision that is pretty much his alone.

  113. godot10 says:

    treevojo: I honestly don’t know how someone can watch Nurse play with Larsson in the top pairing of a game 6 against a very good team and think there is no possible way this guy can handle top 4 minutes in the regular season after another good summer of strength and skills training.

    But you plan for him to be #3LD, because injuries happen and he will end up playing top four quite a bit.

    Nugent-Hopkins for Faulk (modulo stuff) or Eberle for Hamonic (modulo stuff) is the play. Saves Chiarelli from stepping into the Russell trap.

  114. who says:

    Bag of Pucks:
    Can’t see Chia thinking this way, but would anyone be included to move on from Lucic sooner rather than later, and pay Maroon instead?

    Candidly, Lucic disappointed me in these playoffs. During his latter years with the Bruins, Chia showed a blindspot for this player type giving an overvalued contract to a well past his prime Iginla for instance.

    Or maybe you just look at him as a Holmstrom type, and say, a player that can excel in that role is worth the cash no matter how slow their boots look elsewhere?

    I know one thing. I don’t want to go back to watching a team where nobody goes to the paint.

    Would love to move on from him but that NMC makes it very difficult. Why would Lucic waive it and how many teams want to take that contract on.
    Maybe he is better in his second year with a new team. I hope so. Never liked this signing and after watching him in game 7 I wonder when we start talking about a buyout.

  115. godot10 says:

    Side: Yes, he settled things down which I have no problem with. I don’t know how in the scenario I listed you picked out him setting up behind the net as the thing I have a gripe with.

    The thing I have an issue with, is Nurse had many options available to him and he picked the one, without being pressured, where he passed the puck to a player on the other team who scored a goal.

    I don’t recall watching Lidstrom set up behind the net,only to pass the puck to an opposing player who is sitting in his own zone which led to that player scoring against his team.

    I could be wrong though, maybe Lidstrom did do that once, but Nurse has a ways to go still and he’s no Lidstrom.

    You saw Theodore’s blunder yesterday. Young defensemen make mistakes. It does not mean that they are not going to be good or great defensemen down the road.

  116. Professor Q says:

    Looking forward to seeing Draisaitl at the Worlds!

    Hopefully there’s a Germany-Finland game?

  117. godot10 says:

    Diablo:
    Serious question – if Colorado (who right now is casting about desperately looking for LHD) calls and offers you Duchene for Nurse, would you turn it down?

    Yes. Duchene is going to cost $8 million per season long term. Impossible to do with Draisaitl and McDavid. Nurse is probably going to cost Klefbom and Larsson money long term…$4 million something.

    See Dallas this year and the OIlers for the last decade and Colorado now….one cannot win without competent defensemen.

  118. Bag of Pucks says:

    godot10: But you plan for him to be #3LD, because injuries happen and he will end up playing top four quite a bit.

    Nugent-Hopkins for Faulk (modulo stuff) or Eberle for Hamonic (modulo stuff) is the play.Saves Chiarelli from stepping into the Russell trap.

    I do like an RNH for Faulk scenario as it potentially gives you that additional PP QB component as well.

  119. godot10 says:

    dustrock:
    Willis says look at Kopitar’s 7 year, $6.8m for Draisaitl contract.

    Look at Tarasenko’s $7.5 million per season contract.

  120. su_dhillon says:

    This was fun.
    I had a hard time getting into his season after the summer deals and then really busy year professionally and personally didn’t leave a lot of time to get back in but man playoff runs are just the best

    Setting your schedule to every second night, having genuine hatred for the other side, the refs, reveling in wins and sinking with losses its all so god damn fun. the 3rd period last night was excurciating but still would take that over anything in the last decade.

    And McDavid. Even when nothing is going his way, you know he is just one rush from making it go his way.

    I’m not sue what to comapre this run and loss too as an Oiler fan. I don;t remember early glory years, 87-88 were the first 2 I really remember watching and caring so none of those losses felt like this.

    Nothing from the Dougie Weight era, those teams were never threats.

    Not 2005. That was soul crushing. the most fun run ever and you can;t get any closer. That is one of the 2 toughest losses I have ever felt as a fan, the other is the 2002 NFC title game loss for Eagles to TB.

    This is a tough loss because they were legitimately as good as anyone left and had every opportunity to end up at the end holding up the big trophy.

    It certainly feels like it was the first run of many but you sure would have liked to bank one when nobody expected you to because as teams like Caps and Sharks have shown, you don’t always get one when everyone expects you too.

    All that being said, the season ended up being one of the most fun in a long long while.

    Clap Clap

  121. Pink Socks says:

    Bag of Pucks:
    Can’t see Chia thinking this way, but would anyone be included to move on from Lucic sooner rather than later, and pay Maroon instead?

    Candidly, Lucic disappointed me in these playoffs. During his latter years with the Bruins, Chia showed a blindspot for this player type giving an overvalued contract to a well past his prime Iginla for instance.

    Or maybe you just look at him as a Holmstrom type, and say, a player that can excel in that role is worth the cash no matter how slow their boots look elsewhere?

    I know one thing. I don’t want to go back to watching a team where nobody goes to the paint.

    I agree. Admittedly I have always been a big fan of Lucic, but my goodness was he dreadful last night and for big chunks of the season. I will say though, I genuinely hope he comes into camp a little lighter a la Patrick Maroon. He always seems to be completely gassed save for a few explosions per game. He’s not getting any younger, and if he weighs in (230 lbs if I remember correctly from fall ’17) at the same number, he is not going to make any strides in the right direction. Come in 10 pounds lighter and a good portion of the season on 29’s wing and we may be singing a different tune come next spring.

  122. Side says:

    godot10: You saw Theodore’s blunder yesterday.Young defensemen make mistakes.It does not mean that they are not going to be good or great defensemen down the road.

    I didn’t say that Nurse isn’t going to be a good or great defenseman down the road in any of my posts. Kind of the opposite, actually.

  123. Oilin4 says:

    Ducey: Nurse has 115 NHL regular season games, 13 playoff games, and 13 AHL games. He turns 23 in February.

    He is still a pup by NHL defenseman standards..

    He was the best Dman in junior in his draft +2 season.

    When he is 24 or 25 with 300+ NHL games and weighs 225 lbs, he will be very, very good.

    The Oilers have a chance (especially with teams losing some D thru expansion) to have one of the best D corps in the league, and for quite a while. This is the reason we can expect to enjoy some more playoff runs in years to come.

    If I am Chia, getting Nurse locked up on a long term sweet deal is a priority this offseason.

    I can’t remember the source but someone compared where Nurse was tracking compared to other D of the same age and GPs last year, and he didn’t compare well.

  124. Oilin4 says:

    RE: Nurse being put in Top 4 next year: I think one thing we learned this year it’s the value of NOT gifting young defencemen top 4 minutes before they’ve proven with a long track record that they’re ready. See Schultz, Justin; Russell, Kris.

  125. Doug McLachlan says:

    So much to say but I’ll start with a huge THANK YOU to LT and this whole, dysfunctional, passionate rabid, irrational, well-informed, funny and thin-skinned lot who hang out here. As so many have said, it is a nice home to have. LT, extra thanks for not turning this car right around – lord knows we’ve given you occasion to.

    Thanks to Chia, TMac, Connor and all the Oilers. What a season. What a ride. Can’t wait to try this all again – soon.

    I had figured this team to make a jump from last season – but to me a jump meant finishing where the Kings did. Close to the post-season but not in the dance. To not only make it but win 7 games (or 8/9 depending on how you count a couple of them) is fantastic. I am happy to accept the narrative that the sting from this loss becomes fodder for future victories of the Stanley variety. Here’s hoping.

    I know that there is a real desire to focus on RNH and Eberle’s contracts but I am far more concerned with the plan to clear out Poulot’s $4M over the next two years. Eberle is no bargain but he isn’t grossly overpaid for 20-25 goals per year and Nuge’s 2-way game is something winning teams use. Again, no great cap win for the Oilers but it’s a hit you can take if the true anchor contracts, like Pouliot, can be moved along.

  126. jonf19 says:

    What an incredible ride. Thank you Lowetide for making it just as enjoyable to come into work every morning and read what you had to say every step along the way. Your words are truly appreciated and I look forward to continue reading throughout the summer. Keep up the awesome work and best wishes.

  127. SwedishPoster says:

    Anton Fanders? Fanders is swedish slang for hell. Why so harsh LT?

    Very encouraged by this season. This team is on a great upwards trajectory. I’m sure one or two of the surprise stories of the year, Benning, Slepy, Caggiula et al will hit a bit of a rough patch next year but there are enough guys who look like they are getting better by the week that I think they’ll manage a few slumps very well.

  128. jonf19 says:

    dustrock,

    Well said couldn’t possibly agree more.

  129. treevojo says:

    RENNAVATE: Automatically slotting him in the top 4 to start the season would be a mistake. If he can force the issue and end up there by season’s end, I’ll be thrilled.

    I never automatically slotted him top 4 to start the year.

    I do believe that he will be playing top four minutes by the playoffs next year.

    I’m not too worried about chia.

    He’s seems to have a good grasp on dmen.

  130. Steve4 says:

    I have a lot of thoughts on the 2017/18 roster. I don’t often have opportunities to get into these discussions so I’m going to consolidate these into a massive post. Enjoy or skip to the end…

    Preface: I have read this blog regularly for about 2 years. It is my favorite site. I only comment when I think I have something of value to contribute (so 5 or 6 times across that 2 years). This is one of the few bastions of online intellectual discussion. A wonderful arena for the honest combat of ideas both new and old. Mr. Lowtide mentioned on the radio that everyone in his family suffer with “black thumbs,” and are unable to grow anything successfully. I want to say that you sir have created and cared for this beautiful garden of hockey talk. You plant seeds, pull weeds, fertilize ideas, and harvest the ripe ones. All in a regular seasonal cycle. You, in my humble opinion, have a prolific, magnificent green thumb.

    Centers:

    –McDavid: “touched by God” etc.
    –Draisaitl: Second line center. No more goosing the top line. Let our new $7 million center run his own show 5×5.
    –Nuge: Third line center. The $6 million is too much for the position, but this is our reality. There won’t be a better option coming this summer. We have no prospects pushing up, and free agency offers very little. Hanzal is the only possible upgrade, but he is more injury prone and will be just as expensive. Stick with Nuge. Get him to figure out faceoffs. He’s a smart guy, he can at least get to the high 40s.
    –Letestu: Excellent utility 4th C. He’ll get an extension for sure. Not great foot-speed so he needs some fast wingers.

    Wingers: The biggest problem I saw in game 7 was that the wingers could not carry the puck through the neutral zone, even though the Anaheim was keying on McDavid and Draisaitl. We desperately need two legitimate top-six wingers with skill. Puljujarvi may be an internal solution by 2018. Caggiula may put it together soon (he was the primary puck carrier in college)
    –1st line: Maroon was a capable support piece all year, but he needs to be a distant third for the line. He was just that with McDavid and Draisatl, but with Drai running L2 the Oilers will need to acquire a high-end wing. Justin Williams would be a decent bet because if he isn’t enough for the line he can dominate with Nuge for a couple years. Though if Williams is the RW, Caggiula (or another fast player, perhaps Slepyshev) should be the LW.
    –2nd line: Lucic, Slepy and Drai should be the group. Lucic should have at least one more year of top-6 competence (though the NHL is quickly moving away from a league where Lucic is a top-6 forward). Slepy is a big, fast, skilled wing who probably has enough spunk to be a long-term, top-6 option.
    –3rd line: Caggiula, Puljujarvi are a nice mix of competent two-way players with size, skill, and speed. This may not be a great line in October, but should grow into a tenacious, hungry line. I also think Nuge would benefit from playing with hungry young men who want to become full-time NHLers. Kassian is another good option, but Puljujarvi needs a more skilled C than Letestu.
    –4th line: Kassian… and Pouliot. For the most expensive 4th line in the league (4+1.8+2ish = 7.8+). I know everyone wants to purge Pouliot and I am with you… sort of. If there is a specific need for the ~$2.7 million we could save in a buyout then do it, if not, why get rid of a useful player? {rhetorical} He kills penalties, forechecks with speed, agitates, and seems like a decent dude in the room. Furthermore, if we keep him one more season and do the buyout in 2018 we will save a $1.333 million cap hit in 2020.

    Defense:
    –1st Pair: Klefbom Larsson
    –2nd Pair: Sekera and a veteran D. Russell (if he returns), or a new acquisition. Hamonic is oft mentioned. He had a rough 2015/16 and a disastrous 2016/17. He may be best served by going to a new team. I could see him sent to NJ for Kovalchuck, but perhaps there is an opportunity to move Ebs in a player for player (as our host mentioned numerous times).
    –3rd Pair: Nurse and Benning. Neither is ready for top-four time, but both are promising and should get some opportunities to move up during the year. Sekera was healthy all season (and the one before), which is not the norm for him. He often misses 10+ games a year.
    –7th D: Gryba, Reinhart, or some other $1 million or less guy.

    Goal:
    –Talbot and some guy at $1 million or less (Brossoit?)

    Acquisitions/Losses:
    –Eberle Trade: Eberle must go, not because of his on-ice issues, but because his contact (6×2) is not conducive to balancing this roster. Perhaps there is a competent, similarly priced forward that would be better suited to McDavid’s wing. Jason Pominville (5.6×2) comes to mind. He is well past 30 and may decline at any moment, but can shoot, move the puck well, is fast, and is defensively responsible. Perhaps Minnesota is open to shipping him here for a much younger player, at a similar number. If Pominville drops off significantly he can be put out to the LTIR pasture. Minnesota may be less able to pay a guy on LTIR than Edmonton, which would help along a potential deal. There’s also Hamonic (Lowetide) and Vegas. I think it would be ridiculous to leave him unprotected. Vegas needs top-end players and Eberle can be that for two years, during which they won’t make the playoffs anyway. I think Vegas would be willing to trade decent bit-players for Eberle. Impossible to say what that deal would look like.
    –Free Agency: No Hanzal-HEY! DON’T MAKE ME ROLL UP THIS NEWSPAPER! Justin Williams would be just lovely. He’s 36 in October, but maybe he’s a Canadian Matt Cullen..? I think he’d be a big help for 2+ years. I’d offer a 3.3×3. If we do Eberle for Hamonic, we can sign Williams and keep Pouliot. If we do Eberle for Pominville and resign Russell, we’ll have to buyout Pouliot to sign Williams. Either way I’d be happy.
    –Expansion Draft is greatly overrated as a losing proposition. It offers all kinds of opportunity for maneuvers across the league. Vegas should be seen as an off-season catalyst. There is no reason to worry after losing Reinhart or Khaira, and losing Pouliot would be a boon worth trading a 4th to make happen.

    TL;DR:
    1-Trade Eberle for something of value (DON’T EXPOSE HIM!). 2-Keep Nuge. 3-Get at least one legitimate top-6 winger with puck skills (Justin Williams & Jason Pominville). 4-DO NOT SIGN HANZAL! 5-Try to get Hamonic (or similar) before free agency or resign Russell at no-more-than 4×3. 6-Let the young guys continue to develop at their pace.

    Lord Stanley is only coming home if our young guys effectively fill important roles. We need a couple more good veterans to show them the way.

  131. Pouzar says:

    Seriously. How many D-men are we going to run out of town before 200 gms?
    Same ol same ol around here.

  132. Pouzar says:

    treevojo: I honestly don’t know how someone can watch Nurse play with Larsson in the top pairing of a game 6 against a very good team and think there is no possible way this guy can handle top 4 minutes in the regular season after another good summer of strength and skills training.

    This.

    They looked excellent together. People are severely discounting the effect Nurse’s injury had on his development this year too. Coincidentally, at the time he suffered said injury in WPG, Nurse was moved up with Larsson and again they looked great.

  133. Scungilli Slushy says:

    OF17:
    Starting the season with Nurse in the top 4 would be a MacT move. I’m hopeful the days of those unforced errors are over, because it leaves you with exactly zero depth and coverage.

    No doubt, not ready yet. Benning would also be better of pushing his way into 2RD instead of being gifted it on potential.

  134. Kinger_Oil.redux says:

    – Great post LT!

    – I want to thank you for this blog (for those who don’t “thank” LT with paypal, a reminder to do so).

    – My rekindling with this team is attributed greatly to this wonderful blog and community.

    Thanks.

  135. Ducey says:

    LT,

    FWIW Wikipedia has the Oilers picking 22, 82, 84, 115, 126, 146, 177, and 208

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2017_NHL_Entry_Draft

    Not sure why your third rounders are different.

  136. Side says:

    Pouzar: This.

    They looked excellent together. People are severely discounting the effect Nurse’s injury had on his development this year too.Coincidentally, at the time he suffered said injury in WPG, Nurse was moved up with Larsson and again they looked great.

    But Nurse also didn’t look great when he was on lower pairings playing against weaker comp.

    Gaining consistency is part of a player’s development, isn’t it?

    Or do you think Nurse should be fixed with Larsson as one of the top pairs going forward?

  137. Ducey says:

    Side: But Nurse also didn’t look great when he was on lower pairings playing against weaker comp.

    Who says (besides you)?

    I think he looked pretty good.

    Oilers D by CF%:
    Benning 52.1
    Gryba 51.8
    Nurse 51.0
    Klefboom 50.4
    Larsson 50.0
    Sekera 49.1
    Russell 46.4

    I get that CF% isn’t the end all, but its an indication that the shots were going the right way. It would appear that Nurse, Gryba and Benning covered the third pairing just fine.

  138. Glass says:

    I kind of still figure next year is a growth year. Slepyshev and Caggiula could prove to be great value players, but they are still developing and need to establish themselves.

    I see Puljujarvi and Nurse as a big part of the core, and they are both still developing. My expectation is for Nurse to be sheltered in the 3rd pairing, and Puljujarvi to be either sheltered on the 3rd line (preferably with Nuge), or given more playing time with the Condors up until the deadline.

    In the regular season, I’d prefer to run Sekera/Benning second pair, and Nurse/Veteran on the third pair. It would be better for these player’s development if they aren’t stuck with someone inexperienced at the NHL level.

  139. delooper says:

    Darnell Nurse is 22 years old people. The panic attacks over his development are completely out of place. He’ll be fine. 22 years old! With a suitable partner on the 2nd or 3rd pairing, he’ll be fine. Patience. Time to dial down the anxiety levels. The Oilers are officially a **good** NHL team. A whole notch and a half better than what we all hoped for this season — to just be mediocre would have been a pleasant surprise for me.

  140. Side says:

    Ducey: Who says (besides you)?

    I think he looked pretty good.

    Oilers D by CF%:
    Benning 52.1
    Gryba 51.8
    Nurse 51.0
    Klefboom 50.4
    Larsson 50.0
    Sekera 49.1
    Russell 46.4

    I get that CF% isn’t the end all, but its an indication that the shots were going the right way.It would appear that Nurse, Gryba and Benning covered the third pairing just fine.

    But you just described Nurse as being “pretty good” and “fine”

    I said he didn’t look great.

    Nurse looks good on the third line. Not great. So why the rush to push him to the top pairing again?

  141. russ99 says:

    Ducey: Who says (besides you)?

    I think he looked pretty good.

    Oilers D by CF%:
    Benning 52.1
    Gryba 51.8
    Nurse 51.0
    Klefboom 50.4
    Larsson 50.0
    Sekera 49.1
    Russell 46.4

    I get that CF% isn’t the end all, but its an indication that the shots were going the right way.It would appear that Nurse, Gryba and Benning covered the third pairing just fine.

    I really hope there’s an online source for player by player HDSCA% next season, I’m so tired of “the puck going the other way” as the key metric for individual player defense.

  142. OmJo says:

    Schultz didn’t figure things out until he was 24/25 and put in a position to succeed. Giving up on Nurse when he’s shown he can be a good NHL defenceman at 22 years old makes no sense to me. Not sure when this changed, but I thought it was widely accepted that defensemen take longer to develop.

    IIRC, Petry didn’t become a top 4 NHL D until he was 24.

  143. pocession charge says:

    Side: I didn’t say that Nurse isn’t going to be a good or great defenseman down the road in any of my posts. Kind of the opposite, actually.

    Some folks either struggle with reading comprehension or just like to put words in other people’s mouths.

    Who knows how Darnell Nurse will turn out? He could be an All-Star or a third pairing defenseman. Slotting him into a top four spot next year in hopes that he will be that good is folly. Same thing with Puljujarvi — get veteran coverage and force these guys to climb the depth chart.

  144. Side says:

    Let me get this straight..

    Last year, Nurse wasn’t doing very well. People were saying it was because he was playing against too tough competition for him, he was playing too many minutes and he wasn’t being developed properly because of this. Then these people blamed Oilers management for poorly handling Nurse’s development (which was true).

    This year, Darnell plays a shortened season on a lower pairing playing less minutes and he looks better than he did last year (it’s almost like they were developing him this year or something!) and he even plays a couple of games with Larsson on the top line and he looked good. But, on these lower pairings he was also making rookie mistakes and when given more minutes on a higher pairing, he also made some pretty bad and costly mistakes.

    So now for next year, people don’t think we need another top 4 D and instead want Darnell to go right back to the top pairing playing top minutes? As if 40 or 50 something games this year playing on the third pairing was all he needed to join Larsson on the top pairing for the year?

    Am I missing something, here?

  145. Scungilli Slushy says:

    Nurse right now is fine. If he progresses next season he’s right on track to being a top 4. He might not become a top 2 because of a lack of steadiness, so be it. The only problem will be if he doesn’t start working the chasing and yips out of his game. He has great coaches, I think he will.

    Part of the defensemen’s issues is the team is still not settled into their system, lots of personnel and system changes in these 2 McLellan Chia years. Anaheim and San Jose have been good teams for a long time and have veteran centres. The growth in system play will help a ton on the breakouts especially for younger guys. It will help the team offense as well. This is partly why Russell looked really good at times – he’s smart and had experience.

  146. Ducey says:

    Side:
    Let me get this straight..

    Last year, Nurse wasn’t doing very well. People were saying it was because he was playing against too tough competition for him, he was playing too many minutes and he wasn’t being developed properly because of this. Then these people blamed Oilers management for poorly handling Nurse’s development (which was true).

    This year, Darnell plays a shortened season on a lower pairing playing less minutes and he looks better than he did last year (it’s almost like they were developing him this year or something!) and he even plays a couple of games with Larsson on the top line and he looked good. But, on these lower pairings he was also making rookie mistakes and when given more minutes on a higher pairing, he also made some pretty bad and costly mistakes.

    So now for next year, people don’t think we need another top 4 D and instead want Darnell to go right back to the top pairing playing top minutes? As if 40 or 50 something games this year playing on the third pairing was all he needed to join Larsson on the top pairing for the year?

    Am I missing something, here?

    Next Year

    Klefbom – Larsson
    Sekera – ?
    Nurse – Benning *

    Four Years

    Klefbom – Larsson
    Nurse – Benning
    Maybe Jones – Bear/ Mantha

    *People get too caught up on labels. Nurse- Benning can stay “third pairing” but can take increasing roles on special teams (Nurse played less than 50 min of PK time this year), move on up occasionally, and can play perhaps more defense zones starts, etc. I think its reasonable to assume they will need less and less protection the more experience they get.

    If anybody thinks that because Nurse wasn’t great last year, or only played third pairing this year, that that is his ceiling, they are not paying attention.

  147. Side says:

    Ducey: Next Year

    Klefbom – Larsson
    Sekera – ?
    Nurse – Benning *

    Four Years

    Klefbom – Larsson
    Nurse – Benning
    Maybe Jones – Bear/ Mantha

    *People get too caught up on labels. Nurse- Benning can stay “third pairing” but can take increasing roles on special teams (Nurse played less than 50 min of PK time this year), move on up occasionally, and can play perhaps more defense zones starts, etc. I think its reasonable to assume they will need less and less protection the more experience they get.

    If anybody thinks that because Nurse wasn’t great last year, or only played third pairing this year, that that is his ceiling, they are not paying attention.

    See, I agree with this.

    Just surprised because it seems like there’s a lot of “Nurse sucks” or “top pairing now or bust” in this thread.

  148. Jethro Tull says:

    Pouzar:
    Seriously. How many D-men are we going to run out of town before 200 gms?
    Same ol same ol around here.

    Did you know that out of the 270 men to play defense for the Oil, only 26 played over 200 games?

  149. godot10 says:

    So McLellan is still hanging out at the table with Boudreau, Ruff, Vigneault, and Trotz. Is he ever going to manage to sit at the big boy table?

    Ultimately, outcoached again in this series by being stubborn on players and being unimaginative with systems and adjustments.

    The good news is

    #EvenBylsmaWonACupWithCrosby.

    The bad news is

    #BylsmaOnlyWonONECupWithCrosby

    #MediocrityIsADifferentKindOfHell

    Though I will admit that mediocrity is a big step up from being #LostInDementorville.

  150. Side says:

    godot10:
    So McLellan is still hanging out at the table with Boudreau, Ruff, Vigneault, and Trotz.Is he ever going to manage to sit at the big boy table?

    Ultimately, outcoached again in this series by being stubborn on players and being unimaginative with systems and adjustments.

    The good news is

    #EvenBylsmaWonACupWithCrosby.

    The bad news is

    #BylsmaOnlyWonONECupWithCrosby

    #MediocrityIsADifferentKindOfHell

    Though I will admit that mediocrity is a big step up from being #LostInDementorville.

    Outcoached?

    Is that what you call it when refs give the Ducks 4 goals that should have been disallowed?

    I guess the Oilers had to do enough to win 6 games in this series instead of 5.

  151. Melman says:

    Ducey,

    The ???? on the second D line will be interesting. Since the Nuckleheads are in re-whatever mode (they’re not allowed to say rebuild), would you do RNH for Tanev+Virtanen? I love the Nuge and thought he had a terrific playoffs despite not scoring, but that would lock down your D until Bear/Jones and co. are ready. Virtanen is in the doghouse, but he’s too young to write off. Plus, me thinks it’s easier to find a 3C than a 2RD.

    LT might block me for proposing this.

  152. DBO says:

    As the comments section spirals into negative. Here is a positive

    In the leadup to the expansion draft, Las Vegas can sign a UFA and it counts as their pick from the team who loses that players rights. After the gutsy leadership showing playoffs by Kris Russell, and the cap constraints of the oil due to upcoming RFA deals, the Las Vegas Knights sign Kris Russell to anm 4 year $18 million dollar deal to be their vet leader on the backend. And with last year’s long wait until a contract for Mr. Russell , he gladly signs the deal.

    So have hope my friends. The Knights will sign russell, and no worries about who we lose. He priced himself out of Edmonton with a good playoff, and Vegas will need solid top 4 vets for their team. It could happen.

  153. McSorley33 says:

    Bag of Pucks,

    Candidly, Lucic disappointed me in these playoffs. During his latter years with the Bruins, Chia showed a blindspot for this player type giving an overvalued contract to a well past his prime Iginla for instance.
    **********************************************************************************************
    With a few exceptions….Looch regularly pulled the pin on the pineapple along the wall.

    Which, I thought was going to be his strong suit.

  154. Melman says:

    DBO,

    I didn’t realize that. Russell was excellent this season and looking back at how he played it’s remarkable he was still without a contract when Chia signed him. Although, I’d be happy to see him in Edm. next year for the right price, if he gets a lucrative deal this summer good for him, it will be well earned.

  155. McSorley33 says:

    striatic,

    Possibly the best lesson for McDavid this season is that he can’t do it alone. Something for him to consider when deciding his cap hit. A decision that is pretty much his alone.
    ******************************************************************************
    Such a good point….

    I realize it will never factor in and the NHLPA will be all over this to push the price…but Connor is going to make a ton of “other ‘ income.

    Hoping for reasonable. But willing to pay what he wants.

  156. Jethro Tull says:

    It would be fun if Vegas turn out to be a team made up of all the insane GM decisions posted here. We could end up seeing a team with Kris Russell on the top pairing and Kris Versteeg on the top line.

    It’d be great to have either a complete team of ‘seen him good’ or a complete team of advanced analytic darlings, just to see how they’d do. I have no doubt either team would crash and burn.

    Which leads me to an interesting exercise: I would be intrigued to see WG or GMoney’s best team by stats vs. the yearly team picked by the media writers. Not to prove either one wrong or right, you understand.

  157. Professor Q says:

    Jethro Tull,

    I think their Russian and Overage signings will surprise people.

    McPhee is no fool.

  158. McSorley33 says:

    Besides Pouzar, there is no bigger fan of Nurse. None.

    How many players come along with his size and meanness that can actually skate?

    I think in 3 or 4 years he will be the *preeminent* shut down man in the league. Offense may be a little light. Granted.

    Darnell has not yet grown into his body. Will get a lot stronger. Thicker.

    Now, having said all that Darnell has a lot to learn and I am very grateful he was a 3rd pairing guy this year.

    So, the people that question his development – I get it. His decision making at times is frustrating. And sometimes he is all over the place.

    Bullish Nurse.

  159. Jethro Tull says:

    Professor Q: McPhee is no fool.

    He isn’t but he also must play the hand dealt him. Will be interesting to see. Gary will help him, as will some of the other GMs, but some will not. Lou, i’m looking at you…

  160. LadiesloveSmid says:

    I’m not in love with Nurse either, really miss last year’s Davidson. A year’s gone by and I’m still on the train that if you can get a top 4D for Nurse, do it yesterday.

  161. highgloveside says:

    If Ferraro took a while to get used to the step up in competition at an amateur level, the risk is far too high that he will not be able to take the step as a professional. To me that statement is a huge red flag.

  162. Professor Q says:

    highgloveside:
    If Ferraro took a while to get used to the step up in competition at an amateur level, the risk is far too high that he will not be able to take the step as a professional.To me that statement is a huge red flag.

    He did well in Pittsburgh.

  163. Professor Q says:

    delooper:
    Darnell Nurse is 22 years old people.The panic attacks over his development are completely out of place.He’ll be fine.22 years old!With a suitable partner on the 2nd or 3rd pairing, he’ll be fine.Patience.Time to dial down the anxiety levels.The Oilers are officially a **good** NHL team.A whole notch and a half better than what we all hoped for this season — to just be mediocre would have been a pleasant surprise for me.

    There were a lot of freaking out over Jones both pre- and post-trade until early season this year, too.

  164. rickithebear says:

    When our offence tries to enter the zone:
    they can:
    1. Fail 0% shot (give away)
    2. Succeed
    3. get a low or High danger Corsi
    high danger 5 times more successful than low danger.
    x,y is dictated at this point.

    The corsi can:
    4. be blocked 0% shot
    5. Miss 0% shot
    6. hit the goalie 0% shot
    7. hit an open area. 19-90% shot

    When
    1, 4, 5, 6, there is a high chance of opposition pocession with counter attack.

    its important that the forwards and off D be in proper Def position.
    to pressure the neutral zone.
    So the Dmen can pressure the Blue line.

    If the forwards and off D are not in position. The Def D must back up allow entry and try to forse play to perimeter.
    Prevent Hd penetration.

    CA is completely dependent on
    -Offensive Zone penetration (low giveaway’s)
    -HD corsi generation (x,y)
    -low Shot suppression (low block, Miss rates)
    -Fwd neutral zone & Off D Blue line positioning.

    So stating CF% for a Def Dman is a utter waste of time!

    As for Dman offence:
    We say we want 3 lines of close to top 6 Forward play.
    Why would we want almaost any of the Dman carrying the puck?
    #5 Dman/ #233 (#8) Fwd 1.34 EVP/60 M. Stajan
    #15 Dman/ #306 (#11) Fwd 1.11 EVP/60; Matt hendricks
    #30 Dman/ #328 (#11) Fwd 1.01 EVP/60; Van de Velde
    #60 Dman/ #353 (#12) Fwd .87 EVP/60; Cody Mcleod
    #90 Dman/ #367 (#13) Fwd .73 EVP/60; Jordon Nolan
    #120 Dman/ #385 (#13) Fwd .64 EVP/60; Steve Ott
    #150 Dman/ #391 (#14) Fwd .57 EVP/60; Curtis Lazar
    #180 Dman/ #400 (#14) Fwd .45 EVP/60; Thorburn

  165. StixMalone says:

    DBO,

    Awesome. Lose a player yet not really lose a player. Lol. Russel will get paid somewhere. I enjoyed what he did/didn’t bring to the table this year for us! Not gonna complain. VGK could use him for sure but what at what price point? Will he take a homeboy discount? I doubt it. Money talks and I hope he gets an offer he can’t refuse. He deserves it……

  166. theres oil in virginia says:

    People focus on the dusting off of the shot, I worry about his boots.

    That’s the long and the sort of it right there. He needs to call Wayne Simmonds up and ask him what he worked on to improve his game.

    Speed kills. Still, McDavid has that in spades and look how many goals he scored in the playoffs. NHL playoff hockey gets worse every year.

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