ACQUIRING THE ENTIRE 2012 DRAFT

Oh for crying out loud. In the days before the 2012 draft, the entire city of Edmonton was abuzz about the Oilers and what they might do with the first overall selection. The rumors included:

  • The scouts wanted Ryan Murray.
  • Stu MacGregor preferred trading down for Griffin Reinhart.
  • Someone higher up (Katz? The newly hired Craig MacTavish?) wanted Nail Yakupov.

Now, this wasn’t intel gathered from inside sources, these rumors were floating around. I found out maybe two days before the draft that Mitch Moroz was second-round possible while golfing with three guys who worked in the food industry. Ryan Murray, so the story goes, thought the Oilers were taking him as late as draft day! It was a pretty loose spring.

You know Edmonton took Nail Yakupov, and then they traded for Griffin Reinhart four years later. Now comes this:

  • Elliotte Friedman: Ryan Murray’s name is out there, but the GM (Jarmo Kekelainen) refused to discuss him specifically. Source

The Jackets are looking for “a sniper in the key moments” and the Oilers do have a 20-goal scorer (Jordan Eberle) so that’s a possible match (Centre of Attention commented on same in last night’s thread). Murray is $2.8 million for one more year, and a LHD. I don’t see it being a fit, what with Oscar Klefbom, Andrej Sekera (when healthy) and Darnell Nurse likely patrolling the left hand side for the next few seasons. If Murray is coming here, one of those men is probably leaving.

DEFENSIVE TARGETS

  1. RD Josh Manson, Anaheim Ducks. Rugged, effective defensively and young.
  2. RD Radko Gudas, Philadelphia Flyers. Effective, filthy.
  3. RD Travis Hamonic, NY Islanders. An ideal fit.
  4. RD Mark Pysyk, Florida Panthers. Performs very well in 5×5/60 SA.
  5. RD Alex Petrovic, Florida Panthers. Rugged D, good possession numbers.
  6. RD Justin Faulk, Carolina Hurricanes. Attractive puck mover.
  7. RD David Savard, Columbus. Woodmoney vs. Elite: DFF 51.8; DFF Rel 2.8! Impressive.
  8. RD Sami  Vatanen, Anaheim Ducks. Mobile D with chaos.
  9. RD Jason Demers, Florida Panthers. Veteran D could be available.
  10. RD Kevin Shattenkirk FREE AGENT (80gp, 13-43-56). Too expensive.
  11. LD Kris Russell FREE AGENT. Likely to return.
  12. RD Matt Dumba, Minnesota Wild. Power play option, chaos in his game.
  13. LD Ryan Murray, Columbus Blue Jackets. Doesn’t seem a fit.
  14. RD Cody Franson FREE AGENT. His fancy stats: Out of the blue and into the black.
  15. RD Tyson Barrie, Colorado Avalanche. He had a poor year, but has talent.
  16. RD Chris Tanev, Vancouver Canucks. Shutdown D making  big $.
  17. LD Brian Campbell FREE AGENT (80gp, 5-12-17). The man can still wheel.
  18. LD Zdeno Chara, Boston Bruins. Played over 23 minutes a game this past season.
  19. RD Michael Stone FREE AGENT (64gp, 3-12-15). Last chance Texaco.

I got this list up to 23 a year ago, but didn’t list Adam Larsson. It’s interesting to compare the days before the 2012 draft, when rumors (that turned out to be correct) flew over beers on the golf course, to the weeks leading up to June 29. I might get this thing to 30, given time. At a guess, I’d suggest looking to Florida where Mark Pysyk, Alex Petrovic and Jason Demers are all reasonable options.

LEON DRAISAITL

Over the last month or so, I’ve been on the receiving end of several emails, dm’s tweets and live verbal about my 2014 draft rankings. First, thanks for reading! My final Top 30 for 2014 is here and Leon is No. 3.

One of the things I can’t quite understand about some of the communication I’ve gotten is the lack of credit given to Draisaitl. There were questions about him on draft day (inconsistent play, especially later in shifts and some concern about his boots) but he has worked hard (and developed) into the player we see today. Also important to note that while he has ripped through the competition in the 2014 draft, there are still bells to answer about our man Leon. Can he drive his own line? Is this his outer marker? Anyway, thrilled for Leon but when I ranked him No. 3 (or Red Line ranked him No. 4) there was a lot of verbal suggesting this was a tight group at the top. Leon’s hard work has made a helluva difference in the time since, in my opinion.

DEBRINCAT VERSUS YAMAMOTO

I was asked yesterday about the Oilers in regard to selecting Kailer Yamamoto with their first round selection. For me, he’s absolutely worth a top 15 pick (I have him No. 11) and he is in the same range as I had Alex DeBrincat a year ago (No. 15). Now we knew NHL scouts faded DeBrincat in 2016 (Bob McKenzie had him No. 33) and Yamamoto isn’t on McKenzie’s latest Top 15 list (here).

My guess is that the Oilers have Yamamoto on their list, but there will be another they like more at No. 22. Edmonton could trade down and if he is available at that time, he could be the best player on their board. I would take him anywhere after No. 10 and I do think he’ll cover the bet.

Yamamoto and DeBrincat give us a chance to look inside draft war rooms for these teams. Size still matters, and increasingly speed is king. My numbers had both of these men knocking on the top 10 overall, something kept DeBrincat from going in the first round. Size? Speed? Perhaps we’ll find out on draft day.

CHIARELLI LIST 2017

  1. Find a second pairing D with two-way acumen. (Mark Pysyk)
  2. Find a forward who can help the offense. (Spencer Foo)
  3. Offload Benoit Pouliot. (buyout)

I very much doubt Edmonton is as quiet as these moves imply, but I’m beginning to think PC will be active at the 2018 trade deadline when it comes to adding. This summer may end up being about culling the cap, adding a RHD who can grow with the group and signing another Drake Caggiula.

JAN RUTTA

Looks like we might know his destination in the next 24 hours and the rumors say Chicago. He is an interesting player and this represents (I hope) the Oilers shopping in bette European aisles. Real value is out there, Edmonton hasn’t been getting their fair share. Perhaps this young man represents a change in the weather.

 

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68 Responses to "ACQUIRING THE ENTIRE 2012 DRAFT"

  1. leadfarmer says:

    This offseason is very hard to predict. There’s going to be moves galore and Chia likes to wheel and deal. If Chia trades for Murray then I’d bet he is going to flip him for a righty. What’s the over/under on Chia moves before UFA signing window? 2.5?

  2. Scungilli Slushy says:

    Whatever he does I bet we don’t expect it.

  3. NativeNotFrench says:

    I love June for the draft and leadup to free agency because normally the Oilers have been done for 2 months and I can start looking to next year. I have no idea what is going to happen this June. Trades galore and as a hockey fan I couldn’t be more excited for that. If someone successfully predicts even half the moves that will happen this month they are a witch

  4. Westchester Oil says:

    LT – thanks for another informative post. Regarding Poo, can we really afford to buy him out and absorb $1.33 million x 4 years – especially with new contracts coming up for 97 + 29?

  5. Lowetide says:

    Westchester Oil:
    LT – thanks for another informative post. Regarding Poo, can we really afford to buy him out and absorb $1.33 million x 4 years – especially with new contracts coming up for 97 + 29?

    Yes. Korpikoski has one more year to go, so it’s a double up for one year but Edmonton can absorb it. This is the summer to get the cap house in order.

  6. jtblack says:

    2012 turned out to be poor draft. Really poor.

    2014 Turned out to be good. your list looked solid. I like how you emphasize Offense .. Hindsight proves well for that year …

    2017? Who knows. Always good players avail. Just gotta find the / get lucky.

    Will PC move his 2 – 3rd rounders for a 2nd?

  7. Greg says:

    If they’re going to acquire a whole draft does it have to be 2012?

  8. Rondo says:

    I think Oilers will have a pretty good chance of having Yamamoto available at #22. Not sure they would take him.

    Rasmussen will probably be a top 10 pick.

  9. leadfarmer says:

    jtblack:
    2012 turned out to be poor draft.Really poor.

    2014 Turned out to be good. your list looked solid.I like how you emphasize Offense ..Hindsight proves well for that year …

    2017?Who knows.Always good players avail. Just gotta find the / get lucky.

    Will PC move his 2 – 3rd rounders for a 2nd?

    When the draft looks poor I especially favor drafting defensemen. Unless you drafted Forsberg (and then stupidly traded him) no one is especially thrilled with their forward picks while the guys who drafted Lindholm, Reilly Trouba are very happy. Even later in the first round picking Skjei, Matheson and Maata are tracking a lot better than the forwards taken around them except for maybe Pearson they are all duds. In the second round Severson was found, and in the third Lindell and Ghost and Parayko. In the fourth round Carolina snagged one of the best young d last year in Slavin. There was some value in goalering with Vasilevsky in the first and Andersen and Murray in the 3rd and Helleybuck in the 5th. While the forwards taken throughout those rounds are fairly uniformly duds other than a scattering of bottom 6 players. Other than Forsberg the only forwards that are really interesting is Hertl and maybe arhanasiou.

    Weak drafts usually describe the forward depth. If you are drafting forwards in a weak draft you only have yourself to blame when you end up with a bunch of duds. If I was scouting director I’d be drafting d left and right this draft and maybe buy a couple lotto tickets in the goalers. I would let the others pick through the weak forward corp

  10. OriginalPouzar says:

    Is there not a market for Pouliot at a $3M cap hit?

    Can we not trade him with $1M of retained salary for a middling asset?

    No cap hit beyond next season in that case.

  11. Jaxon says:

    Not sure I like this scenario but it does address some needs.

    Eberle to CBJ for Murray. Nurse, Broissot, Fayne and #22 overall to DAL for Lehtonen and #3 overall (RC Gabriel Vilardi).

    Nugent-Hopkins and Pouliot to MTL for Gallagher and Plekanec.

    Sign Foo, Franson and RC Derek Ryan. Hopefully they’re still in on Rutta.

  12. Pescador says:

    Scungilli Slushy:
    Whatever he does I bet we don’t accept it.

    Either way, your right

  13. Pescador says:

    OriginalPouzar:
    Is there not a market for Pouliot at a $3M cap hit?

    Can we not trade him with $1M of retained salary for a middling asset?

    No cap hit beyond next season in that case.

    This is what I was thinking as well, Pouliot 50% salary retained for a 5th or 6th.
    Maroon type deal but going the other way

  14. Jaxon says:

    I’d prefer if DAL bit on taking Eberle instead of Nurse for Vilardi. Personally, I think they should keep Eberle, but so far when there has been smoke around a player on a Chiarelli team there is fire. So Vilardi would be about as good a return as you could get and would set Edmonton up for another cheap 3 year entry level contract and then another great asset down the road. As a right center he would fit in with TMac’s affinity for playing multiple centers in his lineup.

  15. Stud Muffin says:

    Lowetide: Yes. Korpikoski has one more year to go, so it’s a double up for one year but Edmonton can absorb it. This is the summer to get the cap house in order.

    I don’t think they can, 1.33m is a lot in dead cap, going to be hard to improve the roster. I think Pouliot is a good candidate for a bounce back season, I think they’ll find a home for him rather than buy him out.
    Vegas is going to need a lot of trades to be able to fill out the Chicago Wolves roster and 8 of the guys they select could be on waivers in the fall. I don’t see them getting players who are a lot better Pouliot.

  16. leadfarmer says:

    OriginalPouzar:
    Is there not a market for Pouliot at a $3M cap hit?

    Can we not trade him with $1M of retained salary for a middling asset?

    No cap hit beyond next season in that case.

    Probably not. But for 2.25 or maybe even 2.5 you might get a taker

  17. Professor Q says:

    Scungilli Slushy:
    Whatever he does I bet we don’t expect it.

    NO-body expects the Chiarelli Acquisition.

  18. Professor Q says:

    Jaxon:
    Not sure I like this scenario but it does address some needs.

    Eberle to CBJ for Murray. Nurse, Broissot, Fayne and #22 overall to DAL for Lehtonen and #3 overall (RC Gabriel Vilardi).

    Nugent-Hopkins and Pouliot to MTL for Gallagher and Plekanec.

    Sign Foo, Franson and RC Derek Ryan. Hopefully they’re still in on Rutta.

    The Nurse one is an overpay, I think. And I don’t think adding Murray while subtracting Nurse is a positive necessarily.

  19. Scungilli Slushy says:

    Jaxon:
    Not sure I like this scenario but it does address some needs.

    Eberle to CBJ for Murray. Nurse, Broissot, Fayne and #22 overall to DAL for Lehtonen and #3 overall (RC Gabriel Vilardi).

    Nugent-Hopkins and Pouliot to MTL for Gallagher and Plekanec.

    Sign Foo, Franson and RC Derek Ryan. Hopefully they’re still in on Rutta.

    Interesting ideas. There are some things that worry me in this scenario. Murray has missed 33% of his NHL career to injuries, last year 60 games. To me Nurse is better now, although #3 is a nice add but won’t be a strong overall contributor for a few years likely as this year’s class doesn’t have players that are likely to jump straight in and be strong overall.

    If the the team that gets the best player wins a trade, Nuge is far better than injury prone Gallagher and fading Plekanec. They already got a top pair capable RHD that is suited for today’s game for diddly squat from us, when an unestablished Jones got a young RC that has top line potential (I think Johansen isn’t as good overall as Nuge).

    Just my .02.

  20. Psyche says:

    I still think it’s unwise to move Eberle unless you have a proven player to replace the offensive production on the right side.

    I can’t see a good fit for a deal with CBJ and Murray. Although he would be a great LD replacement while Sekera is out. But the Oilers would still need to address the RD depth.

  21. Evilas says:

    How about adding Collin Miller to this list LT? I think he is a very good target of opportunity,. Fast, hard shot, young and on a cheap contract. He appears to be under valued and is low man on the totem pole in Boston behind Adam McQuaid, Kevan Miller, Carlie Macavoy and Brandon Carlo….Plus WG likes him….

  22. Lowetide says:

    Stud Muffin: I don’t think they can, 1.33m is a lot in dead cap, going to be hard to improve the roster. I think Pouliot is a good candidate for a bounce back season, I think they’ll find a home for him rather than buy him out.
    Vegas is going to need a lot of trades to be able to fill out the Chicago Wolves roster and 8 of the guys they select could be on waivers in the fall. I don’t see them getting players who are a lot better Pouliot.

    I would keep Pouliot as well. For me, he had great chem with McDavid when given a chance and I keep all of those guys because you might need them.

  23. Scungilli Slushy says:

    Professor Q: NO-body expects the Chiarelli Acquisition.

    NIce

  24. LadiesloveSmid says:

    With my name, who’d have known but I ran into SMID at the bar last night. Thought he’d be home in the Czech Republic. He had some not nice things to say about the flames. My brother and I told him how much we appreciated his tandem with Petry back in the day.

  25. Diablo says:

    leadfarmer: When the draft looks poor I especially favor drafting defensemen.Unless you drafted Forsberg (and then stupidly traded him) no one is especially thrilled with their forward picks while the guys who drafted Lindholm, Reilly Trouba are very happy.Even later in the first round picking Skjei, Matheson and Maata are tracking a lot better than the forwards taken around them except for maybe Pearson they are all duds.In the second round Severson was found, and in the third Lindell and Ghost and Parayko. In the fourth round Carolina snagged one of the best young d last year in Slavin.There was some value in goalering with Vasilevsky in the first and Andersen and Murray in the 3rd and Helleybuck in the 5th.While the forwards taken throughout those rounds are fairly uniformly duds other than a scattering of bottom 6 players.Other than Forsberg the only forwards that are really interesting is Hertl and maybe arhanasiou.

    Weak drafts usually describe the forward depth.If you are drafting forwards in a weak draft you only have yourself to blame when you end up with a bunch of duds.If I was scouting director I’d be drafting d left and right this draft and maybe buy a couple lotto tickets in the goalers.I would let the others pick through the weak forward corp

    Fantastic post – I completely agree with all of this.

    Furthermore, I completely disagree with this notion that we HAVE to restock the forward prospect depth via the draft – every year there are a plethora of 20-22 year old college FA forwards available, who are more projectable as NHLers than 18 year old kids. Any F picked in this draft will take 2-4 years to arrive, in that period of time you could sign and matriculate to the NHL several college FAs.

    Pick BPA, but keep your eye on the fact that the best D-men tend to get picked in the draft.

  26. Professor Q says:

    Diablo,

    A mix of both would do the trick better. Neglecting one or the other in this day and age and with Edmonton’s reputation as of late could hinder the team.

  27. supernova says:

    The thing I remember about the 2012 list is your Like for;

    David Pastranak

    Kevin Fiala

    I actually had picked Fiala for a big breakout next season, wonder how much the injury curtails that.

  28. supernova says:

    Evilas:
    How about adding Collin Miller to this list LT?I think heis a very good target of opportunity,. Fast, hard shot, young and on a cheap contract.He appears to be under valued and is low man on the totem pole in Boston behind Adam McQuaid, Kevan Miller, Carlie Macavoy and Brandon Carlo….Plus WG likes him….

    I have asked many times for Colin Miller on this list.

    His WoodMoney numbers are good in their limited TOI.

    Keith Gretzky AGM would also be familiar with him, as he was traded for Lucic.

  29. Thinker says:

    Could we see Chia trying to make another GR type trad for a RD? Who are possible targets? Anthony Deangelo?

  30. Thinker says:

    It would also be cool to see a series on the true market value of our players. For example, Eberle is regarded as underachieving his contract, but what would be a fair price for what he delivers. Would be interesting to see that and like Maroon. I think there is a lack of perspective on what players are worth around Etown sometimes.

  31. Lowetide says:

    Thinker:
    It would also be cool to see a series on the true market value of our players. For example, Eberle is regarded as underachieving his contract, but what would be a fair price for what he delivers. Would be interesting to see that and like Maroon. I think there is a lack of perspective on what players are worth around Etown sometimes.

    It’s interesting to think about what values are on the open market but as we saw one year ago there are the universal values and then there are the values to general managers place on specific players. A difficult target for sure.

  32. supernova says:

    Thinker:
    It would also be cool to see a series on the true market value of our players. For example, Eberle is regarded as underachieving his contract, but what would be a fair price for what he delivers. Would be interesting to see that and like Maroon. I think there is a lack of perspective on what players are worth around Etown sometimes.

    I seen something floating out there that Eberle produced this year at a $4.5M cap hit for Wingers.
    Centres get paid more and Defenders, as well as RH shot Defenders get an additional premium.
    Value was based off a 1 year contract, no consideration for Term.

    Also didnt mean trade Value, a $4.5 M Winger shouldn’t net you a $4.5M RH D in a vacuum.

  33. Doug McLachlan says:

    Regarding Eberle, think the playoff disappointment has worked itself out through the MSM, culminating in the Remenda rant. He is still here in the fall. When his shooting percentage reverts to normal all the Spectors of the world will be able to write their “lesson learned” articles.

    Pouliot is the bigger issue. His cap hit stretches into McDavid’s 2nd contract. So options are 1- induce Vegas to take him. Suspect that this discussion happened before the trade deadline and was why Chia felt he could deal Davidson to Montreal.

    If not Vegas, 2- trade him to Dallas (or other) for a 1 year cap problem. I like Pouliot for Noemi (2x$4 for 1x$4.5) but your mileage may vary. Alternatively you deal him with salary retained.

    3- Hold on for one more year. He could rebound and be a more valuable chip down the road.

    4- Last option, IMHO, is a buyout. Dead money sucks and stretching that out for 4 years is insane. If you do it you do it next year. Same $1.333M cost but pain ends in 2020 instead of 2021.

  34. godot10 says:

    Thinker:
    It would also be cool to see a series on the true market value of our players. For example, Eberle is regarded as underachieving his contract, but what would be a fair price for what he delivers. Would be interesting to see that and like Maroon. I think there is a lack of perspective on what players are worth around Etown sometimes.

    Eberle is not underperforming his contract. Try finding a guaranteed 20 something goals and 50 something point on the UFA market. It will cost you $6 million dollars.

    Last season was a down year. But Corey Perry has had two down years in his career too. Vrbata has had bad years.

  35. Diablo says:

    Professor Q:
    Diablo,

    A mix of both would do the trick better. Neglecting one or the other in this day and age and with Edmonton’s reputation as of late could hinder the team.

    Sure neither Leadfarmer or I are saying don’t draft forwards at all.

    But why is it a given that we are going to draft a forward in the first round? If Bannstrom or Liljgren is sitting there at 22 (not that I expect either of them to be there) I take the D and let them stay in Sweden and develop.

    Personally I’m hoping they move the 1st for immediate help on D – most of the forwards projected to go in the first round would be second round picks at best in other years. Yet the pick is going to be over-valued at this time due to the hype of the draft. There is a slim chance that the player we draft will have more value in 1-2 years from now than the value of the pick itself on draft day.

    But I’m also much less concerned about the prospect depth at F than others, when you can just supplement it with college FA signings.

  36. Diablo says:

    Doug McLachlan:
    Regarding Eberle, think the playoff disappointment has worked itself out through the MSM, culminating in the Remenda rant. He is still here in the fall.When his shooting percentage reverts to normal all the Spectors of the world will be able to write their “lesson learned” articles.

    Pouliot is the bigger issue.His cap hit stretches into McDavid’s 2nd contract. So options are 1- induceEva’s to take him. Suspect that this discussion happened before the trade deadline and was why Chia fly he could deal Davidson to Montreal.

    If not Vegas, 2- trade him to Dallas (or other) for a 1 year cap problem. I like Pouliot for Noemi (2x$4 for 1x$4.5) but your mileage may vary.Alternatively you deal him with salary retained.

    3- Hold on for one more year. He could rebound and be a more valuable chip down the road.

    4- Last option, IMHO, is a buyout. Dead money sucks and stretching that out for 4 years is insane.If you do it you do it next year. Same $1.333M cost but pain ends in 2020 instead of 2021.

    +1

  37. Professor Q says:

    Diablo,

    Oh, I don’t think it’s a given. I just think with the draft position and how the D prospects seem to have risen in ranking to nearer the Top 15 or dropped below 31, it is more likely Edmonton goes for scoring than D. They have holes everywhere.

    But depending on how things go on actual Draft Day, of course all bets are off.

  38. Lowetide says:

    Diablo: Sure neither Leadfarmer or I are saying don’t draft forwards at all.

    But why is it a given that we are going to draft a forward in the first round?

    It isn’t a given. I’m saying the Oilers will take a forward because they have enormous holes, but they might take a defenseman or goalie. I’m betting an F, but that’s far away from being a given.

  39. Diablo says:

    godot10: Eberle is not underperforming his contract.Try finding a guaranteed 20 something goals and 50 something point on the UFA market.It will cost you $6 million dollars.

    Last season was a down year.But Corey Perry has had two down years in his career too.Vrbata has had bad years.

    Exactly – I mean what an abysmal down year he had – he’s worthless now. Junk. Leave him exposed in the expansion draft and then trade LV our 1st round pick to get Ebs cap hit gone.

    What foolishness.

    Here’s a question for those more knowledgable about the CBA and the current economics of the NHL.
    How much (if any) will the cap go up next year after LV starts to generate revenue? Assuming a relatively stable dollar.

    I’ve seen lots said here that we need to move Eberle to afford everyone else, but are we sure that’s true?

  40. digger50 says:

    Diablo: Sure neither Leadfarmer or I are saying don’t draft forwards at all.

    But why is it a given that we are going to draft a forward in the first round? If Bannstrom or Liljgren is sitting there at 22 (not that I expect either of them to be there) I take the D and let them stay in Sweden and develop.

    Personally I’m hoping they move the 1st for immediate help on D – most of the forwards projected to go in the first round would be second round picks at best in other years. Yet the pick is going to be over-valued at this time due to the hype of the draft. There is a slim chance that the player we draft will have more value in 1-2 years from now than the value of the pick itself on draft day.

    But I’m also much less concerned about the prospect depth at F than others, when you can just supplement it with college FA signings.

    I like the idea of moving the first round pick. Obviously a first round draft pick does not have to be protected, so I feel there is good value right now from a team looking to turn a player they will lose in expansion into an asset.

    A team like Anaheim who may protect 4 dem and have to expose Silfverburg. That may free up an Oiler forward to go hunting Hamonic. Just As an example.

    Opportunity knocks? I think so.

  41. leadfarmer says:

    I’m not saying that you shouldn’t draft forwards. I’m saying that this draft kind of looks like 2012 where if you are drafting forwards you may be missing on all your picks and you may be better off drafting d and trading them as needed for other spots. Sure forwards are a need now but the odds that our first or third rounders are going to help in the next two years are slim. By the time any of these picks are ready who knows what our depth chart is like. There is a lot of people kicking themselves for drafting forwards in that 2012 draft.

  42. slopitch says:

    Not sure what David Savard would cost but he’s legit. If you can get him for futures you do it all day. I doubt Eberle would be enough. IMO the ideal lineup would be the same as last year but DD -> Hanzal and Russell -> Savard moving Fayne/Poiliot to free up cash. Could also use a good 2 way winger added at the deadline. It’s what I’d try. Hard to pull off though.

  43. Diablo says:

    slopitch:
    Not sure what David Savard would cost but he’s legit. If you can get him for futures you do it all day. I doubt Eberle would be enough. IMO the ideal lineup would be the same as last year but DD -> Hanzal and Russell -> Savard moving Fayne/Poiliot to free up cash. Could also use a good 2 way winger added at the deadline. It’s what I’d try. Hard to pull off though.

    I think Columbus looks to move Murray or Jack Johnson first – they should be able to find a taker for one of them.

  44. VOR says:

    leadfarmer, diablo,

    I would love to test the various hypotheses the two of you are presenting here. But you need to give me more to work with. For example Diablo, how do you know this is a bad draft year? How are you defining a good draft year and a bad draft year? If you are relying on the word of “experts” or “general consensus” I think I can prove to you that experts and the general consensus is neither statistically positively or negatively correlated with outcomes of drafts measured by high end talent, games played, goals scored, assists, points, or any other criteria I can come up with.

    In fact, I would argue that nhl drafts are currently random walks and you can’t predict a random event.

    Leadfarmer, how did you come up with the idea that bad drafts are marked by poor forwards. I would argue that the pattern again is utterly random. If you start in 1979 and rate the drafts from best advance press to worst advance press and then look at players drafted there is no significant pattern that I can see. But I would love to be wrong. So do you have more than a few years worth of random data? How have you adjusted for recency bias.

  45. leadfarmer says:

    VOR,

    Don’t have time to dig in this weekend but two main things to look at is NHL equivalency and variance in rankings between ranking services and within those services between postings. Other than the top two who are posting pretty meh numbers the rest is really a toss up.

    That’s one of the reasons I really like Petterson out of this year’s crop. Timra only had 3 guys above 20 pts and he was ppg

  46. GCW_69 says:

    Diablo: Exactly – I mean what an abysmal down year he had – he’s worthless now. Junk. Leave him exposed in the expansion draft and then trade LV our 1st round pick to get Ebs cap hit gone.

    What foolishness.

    Here’s a question for those more knowledgable about the CBA and the current economics of the NHL.
    How much (if any) will the cap go up next year after LV starts to generate revenue? Assuming a relatively stable dollar.

    I’ve seen lots said here that we need to move Eberle to afford everyone else, but are we sure that’s true?

    I have seen it posted that he was the 20th highest scoring right winger in the league last year.

    I think that sometimes we fail to distinguish between a down year and a bad year.

  47. godot10 says:

    This year Todd Nelson graduated Anthony Mantha, Andreas Athanasiou, Xavier Ouellet, and Ryan Sproul to the NHL, and has this years AHL team in the Calder Cup finals. And could graduate a couple of more players to the NHL next year.

    Somebody please give this guy a shot.

  48. VOR says:

    leadfarmer,

    In 1997 the advance press and the variance within rating services and word on the street and in the hockey community all predicted the same thing, the draft sucked and they were right.

    The top twenty players by game played were:

    Joe Thorton
    Patrick Marleau
    Marion Hossa
    Olli Jokinen
    Brian Campbell D
    Scott Hannan D
    Matt Cooke
    Jason Chimera
    Eric Brewer D
    Brenden Morrow
    Roberto Loungo
    Daniel Cleary
    Andrew Ference D
    Sergei Samsonov
    Paul Mara D
    Joe Corvo D
    Shawn Thorton
    Henrik Tallinder D
    Kristian Huselius
    Maxim Afinogenov

    In 1984 the world of mouth was terrible and the 3 rating agencies that existed at the time had huge variances. The hockey media dupped it the “Snow White and the seven dwarfs draft. It is a very strong contender for the greatest draft of all time. The top twenty players, again by games played, were:

    Scott Mellanby
    Luc Robitaille
    Kirk Muller
    Brett Hull
    Gary Roberts
    Sylvain Cote D
    Kevin Hatcher D
    Shayne Corson
    Gary Suter D
    Cliff Ronning
    Doug Bidger D
    Stephane Richer
    Ed Olczyk
    Patrick Roy
    Petr Svoboda D
    Paul Ranheim
    Todd Gill D
    Mario Lemieux
    JJ Daigneault D
    Shawn Burr

    No shortage of quality forwards.

  49. Diablo says:

    VOR:
    leadfarmer, diablo,

    I would love to test the various hypotheses the two of you are presenting here. But you need to give me more to work with. For example Diablo, how do you know this is a bad draft year? How are you defining a good draft year and a bad draft year?If you are relying on the word of “experts” or “general consensus” I think I can prove to you that experts and the general consensus is neither statistically positively or negatively correlated with outcomes of drafts measured by high end talent, games played, goals scored, assists, points, or any other criteria I can come up with.

    In fact, I would argue that nhl drafts are currently random walks and you can’t predict a random event.

    Leadfarmer, how did you come up with the idea that bad drafts are marked by poor forwards. I would argue that the pattern again is utterly random. If you start in 1979 and rate the drafts from best advance press toworst advance press and then look at players drafted there is no significant pattern that I can see. But I would love to be wrong. So do you have more than a few years worth of random data? How have you adjustedfor recency bias.

    You make some excellent points – its impossible to know really whether this is a good or bad draft year without a DeLorean, the Flux capacitor and some sort of fissionable material 😀

    All we have then (just like a real GM) is the present day evaluation of the scouts. And according to them this draft is lacklustre.

    As you say, there is a tremendous amount of variance in the draft, even in the first round. But what I think Leadfarmer is getting at, is that D-men drafted in the 1st and even 2nd round tend to hold their perceived trade value better 2-3 years post-draft than forwards do. So that on average, 2-3 years later you have a more marketable commodity – there’s no guarantee that commodity turns in to a good NHL player, but there is a better opportunity to trade that commodity into an actual NHL player.

    Part of the problem that we see with NHL GMs in places like Carolina or Philly is that they stockpile a bunch of young D but are unable to decide which ones to trade and which ones to keep – and then these D sit in the minors and lose their shine after awhile. That’s a separate issue.

    Looking at Edmonton for instance – I would like to see Chia move on from all of Oesterle, Simpson, and Betker this summer – none of those guys are going to be more than fringe D-men in the NHL – the best they can hope for is a Taylor Chorney-type career. Its better to give their playing time to the likes of Bear, Jones, Mantha and Paigin. History has taught us that only 1 of these types will turn into a top 4 D.

    Give them 2-3 years in the minors and by the time their ELCs run out, keep the best one (if he hasn’t already matriculated) and then trade the excess that still have value or flush them – don’t get sentimental about it.

    Rinse and repeat – if you can get 1 legit NHL D-man every 2-3 years, you’re team will never have to make another Hall for Larsson trade again.

  50. Professor Q says:

    godot10:
    This year Todd Nelson graduated Anthony Mantha, Andreas Athanasiou, Xavier Ouellet, and Ryan Sproul to the NHL, and has this years AHL team in the Calder Cup finals.And could graduate a couple of more players to the NHL next year.

    Somebody please give this guy a shot.

    They were there long before he was.

  51. VOR says:

    leadfarmer,

    If I understand you correctly you think NHLEs and variance among rating agencies allows you to predict if this is a good or bad draft year.

    I am open to being convinced of this but honestly I have to say, I am dubious.

    This is because NHLEs are not a very good tool for rating any young player.

    1. They are only an attempt to predict how the young men in question would perform next year in the NHL. They are not an attempt to rank how good the players might eventually be. Draft performance is about how good the drafted players become over time frames as long as two decades (or more).
    2. They do a piss poor job of 1. The variance is out of this world. Some research has shown they are plus are minus 15%, others have found more like 20% variance.

    I can’t imagine how they could be used to predict the outcomes of different draft years but would be fascinated to learn.

    As for variance among rating agencies I have to tell you I am pretty skeptical this can be used either. Or lets say I am skeptical it can be used by most people. The sample size here is tiny. So you would have to use statistical methods designed to deal with small sample size issues to get a robust and reliable outcome and I never seen any hockey blogger attempt to use any of these tools.

    My own, admittedly cursory examination of variances within the “scouting/drafting community” suggests, and you can understand intuitively why this would be the case, that the greater the variance of opinion the deeper the draft. Different experts/authorities/fans/metrics generate a large variance when there are a lot of players that might be NHL capable versus years where only a few are and thus they stand out more and there is less variance. But my data set is erratic. Ironically, there is a lot of variance in the variance. Perhaps you have ways to separate signal from noise.

    Unless I sound doctrinaire I haven’t yet studied the problem in depth and look forward to hearing your thoughts on the subject. I find the ideas you are proposing fascinating.

  52. Scungilli Slushy says:

    We have to factor in how much the cap factors into trades. Every team would keep the best and trade the least best except they can’t afford them.

    The Jackets have their two most promising and talented D on the right side. Unless they move one to left Savard has to go, unless he’s better than Jones and Werenski.

    A lot of players had down years across the league this season. Eberle was one, but GMs think about these things. They might say to Pete he’s one dimensional and you have to trade him anyway because cap so I’ll have a discount please, he can say how many guys have been more consistent, are young and get their goals close in?

    The expansion draft throws a million wrinkles in. The best time to do cap moves is this summer. If Chia waits a year to hope for higher value he could find the player does worse, and more importantly he loses leverage because he HAS to clear cap.

    I think he won’t be pressured into bad deals as he sees it because he doesn’t HAVE to, but I also think he will move all of the players on his list if the deals are there. That also allows the team to settle in sooner rather than later. Which matters because they are making a run every year now.

  53. Scungilli Slushy says:

    I have been looking at standard numbers for the 4 conference finalists to suss out what is different about them.

    They all had good goalering of course. There is variance in GF GA, most had injuries to deal with. Some players are shooting really hot as happens and earn stoopid contracts as happen yearly, Schultz is SH15% and is getting outscored 5v5 by three other D on the Pens, is getting a huge O zone push and playing mostly with Crosby and Malkin which makes sense, but is definitely zooming his possession numbers. Lookout!

    What I noticed that is unique is that all 4 finalists had face offs over 50%, and all the teams they defeated were well under. The Ducks were 55% but are really green on D and don’t have the depth that the Preds do. Getzlaf was let to find soft areas by all opponents and was killing them, but I dont see them as deep up front beyond his great play despite the guys who got hot like Silfverberg who was well above career. They also lost Gibson which dropped the SV% a bunch.

    What I take from this is that I know coaches are really strong on face offs despite recent stat opinion they aren’t that important overall. I don’t agree because the analysis they use isn’t known to absolutely correct – the math might be but the difficulty with stats is whether you are measuring the right thing or accounting for everything, very hard with a fluid sport. Face offs impact possession heavily, and I think impact offensive momentum heavily even if they aren’t shown to impact goals heavily, more work to be done here.

    Edit: or impact goals directly would be more accurate. I think they impact goals indirectly by increasing the number of possessions which means more offensive chances. Coaches all say good defence (face offs are defensive because they take the puck from the opponent) increases offense because you have the puck more. No offense when you are chasing the play.

    So, what makes me wonder is how concerned they are about it. McLellan was pretty direct in his comments about not enough work being put in to getting good at them. That leads me to think that he was unimpressed by those losing them and I’m sure he values them. I think this may lead to solutions that many won’t like and might be surprising.

  54. godot10 says:

    Scungilli Slushy:

    The Jackets have their two most promising and talented D on the right side. Unless they move one to left Savard has to go, unless he’s better than Jones and Werenski.

    Werenski is a left shot. Jones and Savard are their own two NHL quality RS defensemen.

  55. VOR says:

    Diablo,

    I am struggling to understand your position. Lets say I concede your point about first and second round D holding their trade value more in year 2 or 3 than forwards. Why would that mean you should draft more defencemen in “bad draft” years?

    In fact, what on earth would future trade value have to do with which player you would pick in a draft?

    It seems to require an assumption, that NHL GMs should or do draft players planning to trade them after two or three years.

    It certainly happens that players get traded in the first several years post draft but it really isn’t very common as far as I can tell. From the first two rounds of 2010 and 2011 the only players traded in the first three post draft years were Charlie Coyle, Johan Larsson, and Joe Morrow. In these years at least it would seem that making your draft choices based on trade value at year 2 or 3 post draft wasn’t a useful strategy.

    Maybe you could take a moment and explain to me how this strategy is supposed to work so I can understand it?

    It seems to me you want to be drafting players based on whether they can help you win. Chances are if they can help you they can help another team. Thus their trade value is baked into your choice.

  56. Chachi says:

    godot10:
    This year Todd Nelson graduated Anthony Mantha, Andreas Athanasiou, Xavier Ouellet, and Ryan Sproul to the NHL, and has this years AHL team in the Calder Cup finals.And could graduate a couple of more players to the NHL next year.

    Somebody please give this guy a shot.

    Without Todd Nelson and the steady pipeline of prospects graduated into the NHL through his amazing coaching the Detroit Red Wings may have had their worst season since the 1980’s! Someone give poor old Toddy a job right now!

  57. JDI says:

    I’m surprised that nobody gave The Zbig Brzezinski a RIP yesterday.

  58. VOR says:

    scungilli slushy,

    Minnesota 6
    Anaheim 1
    Toronto 15
    San Jose 23
    Ottawa 10
    Pittsburgh 28
    Montreal 12
    Boston 3
    Nashville 8
    Washington 16
    Columbus 20
    Chicago 29
    New York 22
    Calgary 19
    St Louis 13
    Edmonton 30

    These teams are listed in the order of their face off success in the playoffs. The number beside the name is their ranking during the regular season in face offs.

    In the first round of the playoffs the team with the better face off record won 4 times and lost four times.

    In the second round the team with the best face off record won 4 of 4.

    In the third round the team with the best face off record lost both series.

    The total to date is in 14 series played the better face off team has won 8 series and lost 6.

    The top five teams in face offs this playoff season have all been eliminated. The sixth and ninth best teams in face offs are meeting in the final. In the regular season those two teams were 28th and 8th best in the league.

    In the playoffs Pittsburgh is at 51%
    In the playoffs Nashville is at 50.1%

    In the regular season Pittsburgh was 47.6%
    In the regular season Nashville was 51.4%

    You could easily argue from all this that face offs are not correlated with winning.

  59. leadfarmer says:

    VOR:
    leadfarmer,

    In 1997 the advance press and the variance within rating services and word on the street and in the hockey community all predicted the same thing, the draft sucked and they were right.

    The top twenty players by game played were:

    Joe Thorton
    Patrick Marleau
    Marion Hossa
    Olli Jokinen
    Brian Campbell D
    Scott Hannan D
    Matt Cooke
    Jason Chimera
    Eric Brewer D
    Brenden Morrow
    Roberto Loungo
    Daniel Cleary
    Andrew Ference D
    Sergei Samsonov
    Paul Mara D
    Joe Corvo D
    Shawn Thorton
    Henrik Tallinder D
    Kristian Huselius
    Maxim Afinogenov

    In 1984 the world of mouth was terrible and the 3 rating agencies that existed at the time had huge variances. The hockey media dupped it the “Snow White and the seven dwarfs draft. It is a very strong contender for the greatest draft of all time. The top twenty players, again by games played, were:

    Scott Mellanby
    Luc Robitaille
    Kirk Muller
    Brett Hull
    Gary Roberts
    Sylvain Cote D
    Kevin Hatcher D
    Shayne Corson
    Gary Suter D
    Cliff Ronning
    Doug Bidger D
    Stephane Richer
    Ed Olczyk
    Patrick Roy
    Petr Svoboda D
    Paul Ranheim
    Todd Gill D
    Mario Lemieux
    JJ Daigneault D
    Shawn Burr

    No shortage of quality forwards.

    Scouting has changed a lot in the last 20 years. I doubt you could find another example like that now. I didn’t follow scouting in 90s and my three year old self wasn’t much of a judge of talent on that first draft. The game has changed several times and the guy you wanted to draft in the dead puck era is not the guy you want to draft in today’s NHL and many teams made bad drafting mistakes recently by not realizing

  60. Lowetide says:

    JDI:
    I’m surprised that nobody gave The Zbig Brzezinski a RIP yesterday.

    Yeah, I saw that. He was very prominent by the time I became aware of politics in the US and then went on for about 15 years after that. The world needs more not fewer.

  61. digger50 says:

    VOR,

    This is interesting.

    What I see by eye is many face offs are much less important than others, yet the stats are just a summary of all face offs.

    I swear when the Oilers have a power play and a face off in the offensive end, they lose that face off 90% of the time.

    Hey, but if the face off is in the neutral zone we’re pretty good!

  62. VOR says:

    leadfarmer,

    You see, this is what I meant when I asked what you are doing about recency bias. In its simplest form recency bias leads us to believe things that happened recently are more important than things that happened a longer time ago.

    The first dead puck era, according to sporting charts ran from 1993-94 to 2003-2004, and the new dead puck era began in 2006-2007 according to Andrew Wilson and The Hockey Writers. The worst dead puck years were from 1997-1998 to 2015-2016. In other words when the 1997 draft happened teams were painfully aware of the huge drop off in the scoring. The players drafted in that year, predicted to be a horrible draft, which it was, have played their entire careers (and yes some of them are still playing) in the dead puck era. It should be a perfect test case for your theory.

    Unfortunately, it doesn’t support your theory.

  63. leadfarmer says:

    VOR:
    leadfarmer,

    If I understand you correctly you think NHLEs and variance among rating agencies allows you to predict if this is a good or bad draft year.

    I am open to being convinced of this but honestly I have to say, I am dubious.

    This is because NHLEs are not a very good tool for rating any young player.

    1. They are only an attempt to predict how the young men in question would perform next year in the NHL. They are not an attempt to rank how good the players might eventually be. Draft performance is about how good the drafted players become over time frames as long as two decades (or more).
    2. They do a piss poor job of 1. The variance is out of this world. Some research has shown they are plus are minus 15%, others have found more like 20% variance.

    I can’t imagine how they could be used to predict the outcomes of different draft years but would be fascinated to learn.

    As for variance among rating agencies I have to tell you I am pretty skeptical this can be used either. Or lets say I am skeptical it can be used by most people. The sample size here is tiny. So you would have to use statistical methods designed to deal with small sample size issues to get a robust and reliable outcome and I never seen any hockey blogger attempt to use any of these tools.

    My own, admittedly cursory examination of variances within the “scouting/drafting community” suggests, and you can understand intuitively why this would be the case, that the greater the variance of opinion the deeper the draft. Different experts/authorities/fans/metrics generate a large variance when there are a lot of players that might be NHL capable versus years where only a few are and thus they stand out more and there is less variance. But my data set is erratic. Ironically, there is a lot of variance in the variance. Perhaps you have ways to separate signal from noise.

    Unless I sound doctrinaire I haven’t yet studied the problem in depth and look forward to hearing your thoughts on the subject. I find the ideas you are proposing fascinating.

    You are talking about the individual variances of a player instead of the sum of total variance. In the end that’s what we’re talking about. You are just placing bets and trying to have the highest chance of winning. Doesn’t mean you’re not walking out with Pou out of the 2003 draft.

    As far as strength of draft year you have to read the tea leaves kind of. NHL equivalency helps tell you that this year’s draft isn’t getting you a Matthews or Connor McDavid. You are probably getting someone below McKinnon and probably in the Nuge range. Doesn’t mean they won’t be better it means most likely they won’t. The variance tells you that after Patrick and Hischler scouts can’t tell who is ahead of others. 2011 draft they had trouble as well but did have a top 8 and then everyone else. What scouts say is important. 2015 draft they were all excited calling best draft since 2003 with value throughout. Value of first rounders at trade deadline usually helps but is pretty worthless this year

  64. VOR says:

    leadfarmer,

    How has scouting changed in twenty years? Serious question. I have asked dozens of working scouts who are mid career or later this question. The answers have been fascinating to say the least.

    I will share some of those results this evening if anyone is interested but for now I would love to hear from all of you about how you think it has changed, viewed from your perspective as avid fans.

  65. Diablo says:

    VOR:
    Diablo,

    I am struggling to understand your position. Lets say I concede your point about first and second round D holding their trade value more in year 2 or 3 than forwards. Why would that mean you should draft more defencemen in “bad draft” years?

    In fact, what on earth would future trade value have to do with which player you would pick in a draft?

    It seems to require an assumption, that NHL GMs should or do draft players planning to trade them after two or three years.

    It certainly happens that players get traded in the first several years post draft but it really isn’t very common as far as I can tell. From the first two rounds of 2010 and 2011 the only players traded in the first three post draft years were Charlie Coyle, Johan Larsson, and Joe Morrow. In these years at least it would seem that making your draft choices based on trade value at year 2 or 3 post draft wasn’t a useful strategy.

    Maybe you could take a moment and explain to me how this strategy is supposed to work so I can understand it?

    It seems to me you want to be drafting players based on whether they can help you win. Chances are if they can help you they can help another team. Thus their trade value is baked into your choice.

    Sorry perhaps I didn’t explain this well.

    I suppose I have a more pessimistic view than others regarding the chance of acquiring a player that can help you win before their ELC is over, with any picks made after the first 10-15 (depending on how deep the draft is purported to be) – to me they’re lottery tickets and magic beans.

    After the first 10-15 picks or so, the chance of drafting a player who will be a top 6 forward or top 4D trends pretty rapidly towards random chance, as you say (and which I agree with). One might argue that these picks have more value before they are used than after (on average) – Shrodinger’s cat tends to be overvalued by NHL GMs, particularly on draft day.

    So yes you still should aim to choose the BPA, hoping that you get something of quality that joins your roster down the road and helps you win. But the odds are stacked against you on that.

    So what if you take the view that these players drafted after the first 10-15 picks are simply commodities that you will almost certainly trade within 5 years.

    Looking at forwards vs defensemen who were traded within 5 years post-draft, the d-men seem to obtain more in a trade than forwards drafted at the same position on average. We’ve all acknowledged that forwards tend to develop faster than d-men …. but I think that also means that the “shine” tends to wear off sooner as well.

    I’ll admit that I haven’t done a systematic evaluation on all trades of 1st and 2nd round players that were traded within 5 years of being draft – though when I have time I will. So take this with a grain of salt – there could heavy observational/recency bias here.

    In essence though, I’m in favour of aiming to become a D-man factory like Nashville.

  66. VOR says:

    leadfarmer,

    You just lead me to think of a fascinating experiment. Lets say summed up all the NHLEs of each draft year, for all 210 players. Would it correlate at all with any success metric for drafting. Would NHLEs for the class predict goals produced by that class?

  67. New Improved Darkness says:

    Some efforts just end up wound too tight.

    If Kryten’s best- and better-kept secrets don’t float your inflatable boat, I’d suggest skipping along.

    ———

    Last night I read the first half of Sold on Language by Julie Sedivy, now out of the University of Calgary.

    Among other things, it’s a book from 2011 extolling the cleverly conceived BlackBerry brand. But then again, In Search of Excellence was high on Atari and Wang.

    Despite this treacherous trek over a lush septic subsidence, it’s a pretty good book.

    Unfortunately, not much so far I didn’t know already—apart from the neologism “genericide”, which turns out to be Japanese for “death by overdose”, as evidenced by the mighty brand Google bleeding out into a mitey bland verb “google”.

    ———

    Yet to come, the inevitable linguistic erosion, until finally it’s “ogle those for me, would you?”

    In this unmanly mayfly window of technology future, all search has become multisearch; the speaker is surely some hot-blooded yute so bedazzled by his iContact as to delegate iLVL fail IRL to his holographic wing man.

    ———

    “Nice, nice, free of lice” says Holo Kryten who can hardly believe his luck since passing over, having once figured humans to delegate tedium forevermore, only it worked out the iOther way. Every manly mechanoid enjoys a good ogle. Who knew that holo existence would be not half bad?

    For no reason he can halfway begin to understand, he’s even beginning to dabble in “chat”. As in “chit” chat.

    ———

    “You wouldn’t believe—” begins Kryten.

    “Yeah?” preempts a well-scanned bouncing Betty reflexively, without looking up.

    “—how I was once endowed.”

    “Srsly?” squeaks bouncing Betty, as if her slender wodge of fire-engine lip gloss were as astringent as the Sonoma savanna someday soon. “You shear don’t look it,” she sighs, after sparing her least sideways glance.

    “SssssssRSLY” affirms Kryten, trying to get his point across about the hook-up, without sucking toooooo much, but he fails to gain full attention of the ostentatiously outlined orbs above, nevertheless.

    “LOL I’m all thumbs!” Betty inputs into electronic oblivion with a single, slick thumb-swipe. Turns out, there’s something about Kryten’s presence, after all, that really has rattled her razor strip. Not that she’s letting on.

    [*] The funny thing is, the prevailing world Swype champion—through a highly disputed “freak” genetic accident—actually has four thumbs.

    ———

    All things considered, this brief interaction constitutes amazing personal progress.

    In his new, resplendent, holographic glory, Kryten is fine with sharing his once-embarrassing groinal attachment hook-up—so long as no-one ever catches wind of his Retractable Posterior Towing Hitch. Not now. Not EVAAAAAaaaaaaaaaaaaar.

    ———

    For all Kryten knows, his RPTH—at the time of his physical passing—was still clad in its factory-original bubble wrap. Though some combination of luck and good management, he had forever maintained his mechanoid RPTH virginhood.

    All the same, that day long ago, when he first read his own user manual had been as shocking an event in Kryten’s early existence as any experienced by a young girl who stumbles upon a sex manual way above an age-appropriate level.

    What!

    From wheeeeeeeeeeee-ee-i-ee-i-ee-ier!

    ———

    [*] This goes a long way toward explaining why Kryten—more than any other mechanoid—was preoccupied by permanently pressing forward in all matters “without a hitch”.

    ———

    Even so, there had been a couple of close calls.

    Kryten once threw a shoe at Rutger Hauer juicing his maker.

    “You bastard, if I squeezed half that hard, I’d give myself a hatchback hernia.” And Kryten would know. That one time, in bandit camp, he had practiced this very technique on a ripe cantaloupe, and did, indeed, nearly “pop” his hitch ball right through his pressure pants.

    And wouldn’t you know it, right at this moment, Lister pokes his head out from the airlock alcove.

    Loitering Lister: Hey, big guy, what’s a “hatchback hernia”?

    Kryten swivels around like never before: head first, torso second, hips third, rump fourth, knees fifth, and feet last.

    Loitering Lister: Cool.

    Kryten: You!

    Loitering Lister: Yeah, me. So what’s a “hatchback hernia”, big guy? Sounds painful.

    Kryten: NOTHING! Nothing! Nothing. nothing.

    1000% anti–smug-mode, and falling rapidly.

    Loitering Lister: Unbelievable, you look like a carotene cantina …

    Think cantaloupe mash continues to puddle down the gutters of Kryten’s pectoral plates.

    Kryten: Defective antelope.

    Loitering Lister: Antelope?

    Kryten: No, defective cantaloupe! Are you blind? and deaf, too? Clearly, a “hunchback hernia” is a painful repetitive stress injury induced by vacuuming cat hair out the cargo hold, for year upon year without number.

    Loitering Lister: For a man with in-built épée electronics, you think you’d have learned by now to lunge with your legs.

    Kryten: Excessive Ked wear.

    Retcon-mode 65% and rising.

    Kryten: Excessive Ked wear is so annoying.

    Lister arches his curry-stained eyebrows, but ventures nothing further.

    ———

    Truthfully, Listen is puzzled by many things: (A) Kryten throwing a shoe, (B) Kryten having a shoe [subtype: Keds], (C) at a Teutonic replicant; (D) while watching Blade Runner, (E) on an actual television, (F) after viciously imploding a cantaloupe, (G) and then clearly passing through some kind of Personal Mortification Singularity, (H) as a result of two wonderful, marvelous, stupendous, abasing words.

    But try as he might, he just couldn’t puzzle it out.

    ———

    Frankenstein: Worse that Rimmer’s gazpacho soup incident?

    Lister: If I know my dal makhani, this puts Rimmer’s gazpacho incident in the shade.

    Frankenstein: So, tell me do, what’s Kryten hiding, Hugh?

    Lister: More to the point, what’s Kryten hatching, hairball?

    Frankenstein: It seems you’re not biting on “hunch”?

    Lister: Naw, that was totally retconned. He’s got a module. Never saves him. Always a collar short, and a doily late.

    Frankenstein wanders over to the food replicator and begins demanding “eggs” by the dozen: sparrow eggs, robin eggs, starling eggs, canary eggs …

    Lister: Don’t even think about it! He’s too large, he tends not to sit still, and when he does sit still, he barely maintains room temperature. Yeah, and another thing, what the hey with the canary eggs? Shouldn’t you pick on something your own size?

    Frankenstein: Every cat dreams of wings, gizzard, and song.

    Lister: You know something, you kinda suck. His actual word was “hatchback“. What he actually said was “a hatchback hernia”. Almost sounds reverse-apron marsupial.

    Frankenstein: No one’s ever gonna catch me dead in a hatchback, not dead × 6, or seven times dead, or dead × 8. A hernia, however, would take some doing …

    For no particular reason, Frankenstein arches up and lays down three perfect standing back-flips. Using only his core. And then a solitary, standing, triple back-flip. Again using only his silky stomach.

    Lister: [Losing interest in Frankenstein] My god, you should have seen him recoiling from the very apex of an anti–smug-mode PMS, and I just can’t string it together, not for all the curry and beer in Tooting borough.

  68. Lowetide says:

    Rutger Hauer. In another life he could have been John Wayne. As it is he stared in two of my favorite movies.

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