THRASHER (COMBINE 2017)

We can call this the calm before the storm. In the next four weeks, the Edmonton Oilers will lose a player to expansion; draft a half-dozen or more prospects, add 10-12 names to its 50-man roster and decide on who is going to coach Bakersfield next season. Some of those decisions may linger past June 26, but this is going to be epic across the NHL. Stay close to your Al Gore!

50-MAN ROSTER (current)

The Oilers have 32 signed men and then another six RFA’s who are probably going to be signed (as listed here). Griffin Reinhart or Jujhar Khaira may be chosen in the draft and Kris Russell may be added, but the fact is we are 12 to 18 players away from the 50-man for next season. This is going to be amazing.

WAITING

  1. G Eetu Laurikainen RFA. Didn’t hear a thing about him after November. Unlikely to return.
  2. LD Kris Russell. Chiarelli sounded like Russell was coming back at his exit interview.
  3. RD Eric Gryba. PC also said the club would talk to Gryba, may depend on Reinhart.
  4. LD Jordan Oesterle. His speed will get him an NHL chance and he may grab a job.
  5. LD Mark Fraser. He was effective in his role, may return.
  6. LD Dillon Simpson RFA.. One of the few still outside who I believe will sign.
  7. LD David Musil RFA.. His “loan” to Tucson signaled the end, just waiting for destination.
  8. LC Anton Lander. Officially signs with Ak Bars of the KHL. 
  9. LC David Desharnais. Scored a huge goal versus San Jose, unlikely to be back.
  10. LC Jere Sallinen. Signed in Sweden (Orebro HK) after unsuccessful season. 
  11. RC Henrik Samuelsson, RFA. Major disappointment after trade. Future unknown.
  12. RC Zach Pochiro RFA. Remnant of Yakupov deal, unlikely to return.
  13. L Matt Hendricks. In the olden days, this is where we start talking roving minor  league coach.
  14. L Joey Laleggia. He scored enough on LW to be considered a bona fide prospect.
  15. R Tyler Pitlick. I would like to see him back, but Pakarinen’s signing confuse issue.
  16. R Justin Fontaine. He is an interesting player, I could see him signing.

Former Oilers and Barons coach Todd Nelson

CONDORS COACH?

Gerry Fleming is the odds-on favorite to return for next season but there are two prominent men who must at least be in the conversation for the Bakersfield job. At the Memorial Cup last night, Rocky Thompson’s Windsor Spitfires won the final against Kris Knoblauch and his Erie Otters. Both will probably get an opportunity to move up to pro, AHL and then possibly NHL.

No matter who ends up being the coach next season, that man has to play the kids. This has been an ongoing problem for the organization and it has to stop. Entry-level prospects have to play, and that may mean losing seasons for the AHL coach. That’s the job.

As you know, Eric Rodgers provides this blog with TOI estimates (and other metrics) for the AHL team.

2016-17 Estimated TOI (Condors)

Now these are estimates but I watched a lot of those games and fact is Anton Lander played with veterans like Taylor Beck, while Jesse Puljujarvi played with Josh Currie. Maybe that’s what the organization told the AHL staff to do, and if so then they must have had their reasons. Seems to me it would need to be a very strong reason for a No. 4 overall to get depth minutes in the minor leagues. Whatever else happened in Bakersfield doesn’t matter.

Jesse Puljujarvi was less a player at the end of the season than on the day he arrived in California. He lost confidence, did not progress and was unable to find his game during the WHC’s. Whatever the process in Bakersfield, it didn’t work with this young man. The Oilers may have to take a different approach, perhaps giving more playing time to prospects like Kyle Platzer and Greg Chase would also be a fine idea.

ALEXANDER KERFOOT

It looks like the New Jersey Devils won’t sign college forward Alexander Kerfoot (Source: North Jersey.com). He went 36gp, 16-29-45 (NHLE: 23.6) this season with Harvard and is a left shooting center-wing. He is skilled and could be a player of interest for Edmonton.

THE NHL COMBINE

The NHL combine begins today and runs all week. The Oilers drafted nine players a year ago, and six of them attended the combine. Here they are with Bob McKenzie rank:

 

  • Jesse Puljujarvi selected #4, ranked #3 (attended combine)
  • Tyler Benson selected #32, ranked #39 (attended combine)
  • Markus Niemelainen selected #63, ranked #38 (attended combine)
  • Matt Cairns selected #84, NR (attended combine)
  • Dylan Wells selected #123, NR (attended combine)
  • Graham McPhee selected #149, NR (attended combine)

 

  • Jim Devellano, The Road to Hockeytown: “We’re trying to determine if the player can get to the next level, that’s the real job. Most people can sit and watch a game and tell you who the best player on the ice is, but the good scout will be able to judge whether or not  a player can go a step or two higher. We in the hockey business call it projecting.”

There were 114 men who attended the combine a year ago, Edmonton took six of them. In a 30-team league, the NHL would have had to invite 180 players in order for Edmonton’s haul to represent average. I have been staring at this thing for years and the Oilers appear to really like the combine opportunities. What I have not been able to suss out? If Edmonton is one of the teams who get specific players invited (despite not being among the top 90 or so in rank). No list yet, but if will probably find daylight today and I will post a link on the 5pm.

Note: Later this week I will post my final 2017 list. Some tweaks but basically what you’ve already seen. After that, I will spend more time on discussing the draft on the Lowdown. My plan is to have lots of guests on over the month of June, including regulars and some new folks. If you’d like to hear from someone, let me know!

LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE

At 10 this morning, I get five swings this week and am going to make them all count. TSN 1260, scheduled to appear:

  • Scott Burnside. We set the stage for Game One of the Stanley Cup Final!
  • Kirk Luedeke, Red Line Report. The USHL has dozens of fabulous prospects, we’ll uncover some names you may not know.
  • Jason Gregor, TSN1260. Oilers summer just around the corner and the Eskimos boot up.
  • J.R. Lind, Patch.com. One of my favorite writers and a long-term observer of the Nashville Predators gives us a close up on Nashville as the SCF begins.

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

 

 

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59 Responses to "THRASHER (COMBINE 2017)"

  1. Rondo says:

    Regarding the Draft , Mark Edwards would be a good guest.

  2. TO10801 says:

    In regards to expansion, I wonder if LV takes Pouliot off Edmonton’s hands simply because there is no one better. LV would be unlikely to turn LB, JJ or Reinhart into more assets, as none have proven much in their career to date. JJ would likely be there 12th/13th F and Reinhart would be 7D based on the quality of defensive options available. It is fair to assume Pouliot will be most valuable to the team in the next 2 years and LV probably doesn’t even become competitive until after Pouliots contract expires. EDM is in a position where they have very few good options to pick from, whereas why would you take a big contract (kruger) off Chicago when you can take Van Riemsdyk who could play on your 2nd pair for 825K. Most of the league will not get a big contract taken from them, but EDM might get lucky.

  3. jonrmcleod says:

    You had me googling if Fleming had been fired.

  4. flea says:

    If Vegas were to negotiate and sign Pitlick, would that count as their selection from Edmonton? Pitlick would be a great low risk signing for them, and they could probably offer more than many teams (including Edmonton). Pitlick will be tough to retain, I think some team will take a chance on him with a multi year deal. With his history of injuries his agent will definitely tell him to take the biggest deal.

  5. OriginalPouzar says:

    Yes, Vegas has a window before the expansion draft to negotiate with pending UFAs and, if they do sign one, that counts as their pick from that team.

  6. John A says:

    Please have Simon Boisvert on for the draft. He thinks outside the box. It’s a nice change.

  7. dustrock says:

    The game is kerfoot, LT.

    Would be fascinated to know if the Oilers were asking for Dylan Wells. A guy who showed promise and then had a bad draft year.

    Maybe they want to see how athletic he is (within the context of the combine drills), and get a chance to interview him.

    Wells looks like a fantastic pick and I wonder how much the combine made a difference.

  8. TO10801 says:

    John A,

    Agreed. Boisvert is tremendous.

  9. Jaxon says:

    Would like to hear from Brad McPherson of Blue Bullet Report sometime before the draft.

    EDIT: I’ve noticed he hasn’t posted since October, so I’m not sure if he’s keeping up on this year’s draft. But he has done great work in the past and his opinion on the draft would still be valid from his previous research.

  10. Jaxon says:

    Have you considered ranking this guy?
    Johnny Kovacevic
    http://www.eliteprospects.com/player.php?player=239820
    He is 19 years old, but he’s 6’3″, 220lbs, RHD who got 19 pts in 36 games for Merrimack in the NCAA this season.

    From http://www.sbncollegehockey.com/2017/1/12/14252396/hockey-east-midseason-report-boston-college-boston-university-umass-lowell-providence-northeastern :
    ” The most pleasant surprise has been the play of freshman defenseman Jonathan Kovacevic. He’s come right in from the CCHL and played well in all three zones. He’s tough to play against, can skate well and has above average hockey IQ. Look for him to be another player to continue the trend of NHL organizations selecting second and third year eligible prospects in the draft this coming June.”

  11. VOR says:

    leadfarmer,

    I posted a response in last thread explaining why I think the NHL is replacing about 145 players per year and could replace more.

  12. geowal says:

    It seems to me we have overlooked a requirement in the expansion draft for exposure:
    “i) One defenseman who is a) under contract in 2017-18 and b) played in 40 or more NHL games the prior season OR played in 70 or more NHL games in the prior two seasons.”

    Who is this defenseman? Protect Sekera-Klefbom-Larson, nurse-Benning ineligible. Fayne will be exposed, and presumably Reinhart. But neither player fits the requirements as written there. Gryba and Russell no contract, and all the AHLers are in the A. It seems to me the Oilers need to sign a Gryba, ala Pakarrinen, simply as expansion bait. But I haven’t seen this talked about. Am I missing something?

  13. classict says:

    geowal,

    Fayne meets the requirements; He’s played 73 over the past two seasons.

  14. OriginalPouzar says:

    Yes, Vegas has a window before the expansion draft to negotiate with pending UFAs and, if they do sign one, that counts as their pick from that team.

    geowal:
    It seems to me we have overlooked a requirement in the expansion draft for exposure:
    “i) One defenseman who is a) under contract in 2017-18 and b) played in 40 or more NHL games the prior season OR played in 70 or more NHL games in the prior two seasons.”

    Who is this defenseman? Protect Sekera-Klefbom-Larson, nurse-Benning ineligible. Fayne will be exposed, and presumably Reinhart. But neither player fits the requirements as written there. Gryba and Russell no contract, and all the AHLers are in the A. It seems to me the Oilers need to sign a Gryba, ala Pakarrinen, simply as expansion bait. But I haven’t seen this talked about. Am I missing something?

    Fayne fits these requirements.

  15. leadfarmer says:

    VOR:
    leadfarmer,

    I posted a response in last thread explaining why I think the NHL is replacing about 145 players per year and could replace more.

    Yeah I was thinking more along the lines of 60-80% successful draft picks of what this blog uses to define success. 200 NHL games. It all depends on your definition. Personally I like 200 NHL games of top 6 forward or top 4 defenseman as a very successful draft pick cause does it really matter that you got 215 games of Anton Lander when you could have signed a college FA or UFA for slightly more. Having the cost controlled guys in top 6 or top 4d where they are playing in a 4-5 mil slot for cheaper (assuming you didn’t overpay for them) is important in the cap world

  16. Bag of Pucks says:

    I have tepid interest in this year’s entry draft. It’s a nice place to be as a fan for a change ; )

    Btw, sports memorabilia score over the weekend. Picked up an official throwback jersey of the player that made me an NFL fan, the Tyler Rose, Houston Oilers’ Earl Campbell.

    Nearly mint condition with sales tags still attached for $35 beans. Gots to love them garage sales!

  17. geowal says:

    OriginalPouzar:
    Yes, Vegas has a window before the expansion draft to negotiate with pending UFAs and, if they do sign one, that counts as their pick from that team.

    Fayne fits these requirements.

    Thanks guys. I had missed his 4 games this year, so thought he was stuck at 69. Almost seems like that Chiarelli guy knows what he’s doing…

  18. ziggy1397 says:

    Oilers would do well if they considered Trevor Elias as part of their coaching/development staff for the AHL. http://mrucougars.com/Trevor_Elias?view=bio

  19. Doug McLachlan says:

    geowal: Thanks guys. I had missed his 4 games this year, so thought he was stuck at 69. Almost seems like that Chiarelli guy knows what he’s doing…

    He got that little accounting piece, Fayne’s 70th game, completed by October 18th. 2:27 total TOI. Checkmark ticked.

  20. dustrock says:

    Jaxon:
    Would like to hear from Brad McPherson of Blue Bullet Report sometime before the draft.

    EDIT: I’ve noticed he hasn’t posted since October, so I’m not sure if he’s keeping up on this year’s draft. But he has done great work in the past and his opinion on the draft would still be valid from his previous research.

    I asked Brad on Twitter if he’d be doing anything for this draft, he said he’s mostly focused on being a new father, but was going to try to put together a draft rankings at least.

  21. Professor Q says:

    Professor Q:
    Strome looked like and sounded like a salty zombie for winning the MVP Cup but losing the Memorial Cup. Dead tired.

    I mean, people care about it. It’s not like *no one* does…although he is 20 so maybe it doesn’t mean as much as, say, when Draisaitl won it.

    And now he’s complaining about the format, both host getting a berth and shootout. Aya.

    I know many here want to trade for him, but perhaps it’d be best to pass? Get the other Strome. Go for winners and mature players (if either would be available and for reasonable costs, that is).

  22. VOR says:

    Ever wondered if the combine actually helped predict which players would make it in the NHL and which wouldn’t? The answers is the combine tells us nothing about forwards but a little about D men.

    https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Jamie_Burr/publication/304666934_Relationship_of_Physiological_Fitness_Tests_and_Early_Career_Hockey_Success_in_Elite_Ice_Hockey_Players_1454_Board_107_June_2_9_00_AM_-_10_30_AM/links/57a4adcc08aee07544b4a1f5.pdf?origin=publication_list

  23. Professor Q says:

    VOR:
    Ever wondered if the combine actually helped predict which players would make it in the NHL and which wouldn’t? The answers is the combine tells us nothing about forwards but a little about D men.

    https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Jamie_Burr/publication/304666934_Relationship_of_Physiological_Fitness_Tests_and_Early_Career_Hockey_Success_in_Elite_Ice_Hockey_Players_1454_Board_107_June_2_9_00_AM_-_10_30_AM/links/57a4adcc08aee07544b4a1f5.pdf?origin=publication_list

    Could there be a way that it could be improved in order to better showcase and add to the predictability?

    On-ice drills, similar to Pro Days in the NFL (team-hosted and league-hosted)? Other ice-based testing? More than one Top Prospects game, or a tournament (I know how in love we all are with small sample size tournaments…)?

  24. Ducey says:

    VOR:
    Ever wondered if the combine actually helped predict which players would make it in the NHL and which wouldn’t? The answers is the combine tells us nothing about forwards but a little about D men.

    https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Jamie_Burr/publication/304666934_Relationship_of_Physiological_Fitness_Tests_and_Early_Career_Hockey_Success_in_Elite_Ice_Hockey_Players_1454_Board_107_June_2_9_00_AM_-_10_30_AM/links/57a4adcc08aee07544b4a1f5.pdf?origin=publication_list

    I don’t think anyone puts much weight on the physical tests, but the combine also has interviews. I expect teams put some weight on those.

    Its all just a bit more data.

    In fact, if you have a kid who is really lousy in the combine tests, you might be MORE inclined to take him, if you can project him adding more strength and size. Some of these early developers dominate in junior using their size, but can’t continue it against men.

    I still don’t know why they don’t do some on ice stuff though. Speed of shot and skating, some agility stuff, seeing if they can handle the puck with their head up, all would be pretty helpful.

  25. Gerta Rauss says:

    geowal:Fayne meets these requirements
    – Thanks guys. I had missed his 4 games this year, so thought he was stuck at 69. Almost seems like that Chiarelli guy knows what he’s doing…

    Gryba also meets the games played requirements, but not the “signed contract for the 17/18 season”

    I think the only chance we have of moving Fayne is if a team needs a D that meets the expansion requirements, and the OIlers offer Fayne (salary retained) in a deal (this is a longshot, I know)

    A modest contract offer to Gryba then fulfills our requirement

  26. leadfarmer says:

    Ducey,

    If I was a scout one thing I’d want to see is a 60 yard dash running. Either you have lots of fast twitch muscles or you don’t. You can fix short choppy strides and bad technique but you can’t fix your genetics. But push ups, who really cares unless you are trying to draft a cross checking machine. Pull ups might tell you who might be a better rock climber out of the bunch but like push-ups it’s not very applicable motion to hockey

    I’d like to see the speed for 60 yard dash running next to a time for a lap skating. If running time is good but skating time poor you may be able to fix that. If both running and skating times are poor then you are screwed

  27. jtblack says:

    Just looking at that 50 man roster made me realize how much progress the Oilers have made in 2 years. Just look at one from 2013 or 2014 and you quickly get the picture. WOW.

    Still work to be done for sure, but the team above has depth at a few positions, balance and Potential . when is the last time we could say that?

    Gonna be a fun month ahead …

  28. Lowetide says:

    jtblack:
    Just looking at that 50 man roster made me realize how much progress the Oilers have made in 2 years.Just look at one from 2013 or 2014 and you quickly get the picture. WOW.

    Still work to be done for sure, but the team above has depth at a few positions, balance and Potential . when is the last time we could say that?

    Gonna be a fun month ahead …

    The balance is what strikes me. Chiarelli has been building up the middle since he got here. Lucky? You bet. But this team has improved in very important places.

  29. Ryan says:

    leadfarmer,

    How about the 40 yd dash and vertical jump test?

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26336338

  30. russ99 says:

    LT: as a follower of our AHL and once no-AHL team for many years, I think the overager thing is done on purpose, to make markets like OKC and Bakersfield viable. Ensure enough sellable players to garner fan support to keep the team in Bakersfield for a while.

    Would love a shift, its been a while since one of our prospects was on a young, dynamic skilled first line and close to the AHL lead in scoring.

  31. VOR says:

    leadfarmer,

    I am completely with you on this one. What I would do is Vertical Jump, 50 or 60 Meter Dash, Standing Long Jump, and max weight single rep below parallel squat. These all correlate to skating speed. Then I would measure skating speed in lap and blue line to blue line and center ice to blue line. Finally I would have them all do skating agility drills. If you are springy, fast, and powerful and have sub par skating you can probably be turned into an excellent skater.

    I would love to see them add a fun on ice drill where a tennis ball machine was used to fire tennis balls at them (on ice) while they tried to shoot it in the net from say the blue line. Measure eye hand coordination and ability to deal with a great degree of frustration.

    Professor Q,

    You could make it better by acknowledging a simple truth. At the elite level it is a lot more about your mind and a lot less about your body. You could measure decision making off ice (there are some wickedly fun tests developed at Laurentian, can’t remember the scientists name but they allow you to spot the people who are likely able to make the right play under pressure), on ice creativity (there are some exercises for that as well), cross sport performance in novel sports which oddly correlates with elite sport mental performance, and personality types, maybe an old fashioned Myers-Briggs.

    Ducey,

    The interview process and psych testing done at the combines are wonderful opportunities but the way they are done seem to be fraught with the risk of confirmation bias and of being gamed. What you really want to know is organizational fit. Is the player going to fit into your team culture or at least be able to function in it. Are they mentally and emotionally flexible enough to fit into a wide range of cultural settings. But you also want to know what kind of on ice team mate they will be and there are lots of activity tests that would tell you that.

    Right now teams are data mining media and fan posts about the players and what sort of person and teammate they are when they could learn that all at the combine.

  32. Professor Q says:

    Ryan:
    leadfarmer,

    How about the 40 yd dash and vertical jump test?

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26336338

    They do the jump tests. Just not the dashes (if I remember correctly).

    Although I don’t think the NFL does the VO2 Max…

  33. jtblack says:

    Lowetide,

    I agree with the Balance. I think all GM’s have some share of Luck. Pitt and Chi drafted an Elite core. PC inherited a mess, but he also inheritred some Great pieces. So far he has been able to turn those pieces into a Competitive team, which no all GM’s can (Mike Milbury, Doug MacLean, etc).

    More work lies ahead but even if that was our roster on Opening night, I think its a Top 10 club again. With the right additions it may well be Hunting for the Presidents Trophy

  34. admiralmark says:

    Pierre LeBrun 1m

    McPhee said he’s confident of trading for more picks in the June draft…

    Let the wheelin and dealin begin. O saviour of poor contracts.

  35. VOR says:

    russ99:
    LT: as a follower of our AHL and once no-AHL team for many years, I think the overager thing is done on purpose, to make markets like OKC and Bakersfield viable. Ensure enough sellable players to garner fan support to keep the team in Bakersfield for a while.

    Would love a shift, its been a while since one of our prospects was on a young, dynamic skilled first line and close to the AHL lead in scoring.

    Russ, from your lips to God’s ears. Or Chiarelli’s at least.

    I don’t think the two things are mutually exclusive. I loved triple A baseball, the idea you got to see the stars of tomorrow today. I followed some those kids for decades. Now that Edmonton has greater organizational depth you can offer exactly that option. Really, would you rather see wild exciting hockey played by talented kids or a bunch of journeymen competing for a championship most hockey fans can’t even name.

  36. jtblack says:

    I know there will probably be major moves in the coming month, but the roster above also has me wondering … Sign an affordable RHD (Psyk as LT says) and then sign Vrbata or competent trigger man for a 1 yr deal … Oesterle showed well a couple years ago .. then we have depth at all positions in case of injury and when healthy, would be a deep, big, talented team.

    The Oilers are not going to surprise anyone next year, so that has it’s own challenges, but they also won 18 of their last 22 or something. This is a GOOD Team. And the ice is so slanted for the 20 minutes connor plays, it’s a huge advantage. The rest of the team just has to be good, not great.

    Once the 2nd tier of players starts to be great, that is when the Cup will arrive. And I think that is PC’s focus. He has added depth, now he needs high end depth, which is why he is paid the big bucks (I hope :))

  37. Scungilli Slushy says:

    jtblack:
    I know there will probably be major moves in the coming month, but the roster above also has me wondering … Sign an affordable RHD (Psyk as LT says) and then sign Vrbata or competent trigger man for a 1 yr deal … Oesterle showed well a couple years ago .. then we have depth at all positions in case of injury and when healthy, would be a deep, big, talented team.

    The Oilers are not going to surprise anyone next year, so that has it’s own challenges, but they also won 18 of their last 22 or something.This is a GOOD Team. And the ice is so slanted for the 20 minutes connor plays, it’s a huge advantage.The rest of the team just has to be good, not great.

    Once the 2nd tier of players starts to be great, that is when the Cup will arrive.And I think that is PC’s focus.He has added depth, now he needs high end depth, which is why he is paid the big bucks (I hope :))

    I believe PC likes players who aren’t pc. you’re right the second line needs to be dangerous and effective, and the third line, no passengers.

    Nuge Eberle and Lucic need to be more aggressive offensively. They were too predictable and obvious. Need more desire to score and Nuge needs to keep his legs moving and us his edges to create space and get closer, oh , and hit the freakin net.

  38. Acumen says:

    Some noise from Vancouver bloggers over the last month that this summer may be the time to trade Tanev (because rebuild, remember that logic?). Not sure they would trade him inside the division but if they would, he would be a perfect addition despite being a little shy on offense. The man is a human eraser, and between him and Larsson (with Benning eating up the soft minutes), the right side would be damn near impenetrable in our zone.

    Can we add him to the list?

  39. Centre of attention says:

    important:

    Adam Vingan‏Verified account @AdamVingan 3m3 minutes ago
    More
    The Vegas Golden Knights will now have a 72-hour window to select their team, was previously 48 hours.

    Selection will be between June 18 and 21

  40. Centre of attention says:

    Acumen,

    he was on LT’s last list.

  41. Centre of attention says:

    Also important

    sportsology‏ @sportsology 6m6 minutes ago
    More
    Coaches challenge may have a running clock after a goal is scored. It’s in the discussion stage for next season. #StanleyCup

    I’m impressed, this Bettman interview isn’t completely fluff. Some decent information

  42. Scungilli Slushy says:

    On TSN talking about Pens lack of secondary scoring compared to last year.

    Every playoff brings a different group that has a good run outside of elite players, I’ll label elite as players that consistently bring a high level of play that is above what most players can do.

    Nobody can predict who will have a hit streak, and ‘clutch’ was shown to be an myth long ago for almost all players, guys get their 15 minutes but few will consistently repeat it.

    So what should a GM do? Well I think what ours does. Assertiveness is huge, if players sit back too much they will rarely be a threat and it is important to always put pressure and stress on the opponent to disrupt their plans. PC seems to favour quick assertive players that have some skills, and that is all you can do outside of finding or lucking into elit players.

    To come round to the playoff thing, because nobody can know who will contribute when, adding players that have the toolkit to be able to score is all you can do. Having Cags instead of Cracknell kind of thing. Or Letestu instead of Smithson.

  43. Centre of attention says:

    Dan Rosen‏Verified account @drosennhl 1m1 minute ago
    More
    Bettman once again says NHL players will not be going to the 2018 Olympics. He said it is definitive. That’s it.

    Ovechkin to the KHL after he gets suspended? Pulls a Kovalchuk?

    Interesting times.

  44. Centre of attention says:

    Adam Vingan‏Verified account
    @AdamVingan

    Bettman asked about Alex Ovechkin/players still going to Olympics: “We have an expectation that none of our players are going.”

    Ovechkin to CSKA Moscow. You heard it here first.

    Lol

  45. Centre of attention says:

    Frank Seravalli‏Verified account @frank_seravalli 29s29 seconds ago

    Bettman suggests Jim Rutherford’s comments today about Crosby’s treatment was a way of “tweaking the officials.” Called the timing “odd.”

    Does anybody hear a gong?

    Just me?

    Man this press conference went downhill fast. had some good moments when Bettman was just reading his cue cards but now he’s going down the “if you have to ask the question” path. Yikes,

  46. seanjohn667 says:

    what, no column on former Oilers soldier, Rocky Thompson?

    how about that, eh? In just his second year as head coach of the Windsor Spitfire, the local product (Hay Lakes) coached gem yesterday, to win the Memorial Cup.

    Very impressive, Rock!!!

  47. leadfarmer says:

    Ryan:
    leadfarmer,

    How about the 40 yd dash and vertical jump test?

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26336338

    Good find. One of the similar articles at the bottom of the page also has off ice sprints as one of top predictors of skating ability.

  48. Centre of attention says:

    Important for those who are analytically inclined:

    Chris Johnston‏Verified account @reporterchris 2m2 minutes ago
    More
    Bill Daly on player tracking: “It’s going to happen, I just can’t tell you when it’s going to happen.”

  49. Centre of attention says:

    Rob Rossi‏
    @Real_RobRossi

    Colin Campbell just stopped me after Bettman presser to say my question about head safety was “crazy” & “out of line.” #HockeyPlay

    Someone needs to check Colin Campbell for a possible concussion. Absolutely unacceptable to scold the media on legitimate questions and concerns.

  50. Lowetide says:

    Centre of attention:
    Important for those who are analytically inclined:

    Chris Johnston‏Verified account @reporterchris2m2 minutes ago
    MoreBill Daly on player tracking: “It’s going to happen, I just can’t tell you when it’s going to happen.”

    They don’t call it the most well run league for nothing!

  51. Centre of attention says:

    Lowetide,

    Did you catch the Colin Campbell thing?

    He’s calling the concussion stuff fake news & questions about it are apparently out of line.

    What a time to be alive.

  52. Lowetide says:

    Centre of attention:
    Lowetide,

    Did you catch the Colin Campbell thing?

    He’s calling the concussion stuff fake news & questions about it are apparently out of line.

    What a time to be alive.

    Campbell has a reputation for saying the unusual. 🙂

  53. JDI says:

    Lowetide: saying the unusual.

    Possibly too many head injuries from his playing time?

  54. Centre of attention says:

    JDI,

    I say this with the utmost respect and I do not wish to offend anyone here but Colin Campbell is a jackass. Full on.

  55. The Hermit says:

    Centre of attention: Did you catch the Colin Campbell thing?
    He’s calling the concussion stuff fake news & questions about it are apparently out of line.
    What a time to be alive.

    The NHL is in panic mode over the concussion lawsuit.

  56. Centre of attention says:

    The Hermit: The NHL is in panic mode over the concussion lawsuit.

    Like, on record, he pulled aside a credentialed reporter and told him questions about head safety are out of line.

    Campbell should have been fired long ago, and if the commissioner had a good lawyer he would say the same thing.

  57. The Hermit says:

    Centre of attention: Like, on record, he pulled aside a credentialed reporter and told him questions about head safety are out of line.
    Campbell should have been fired long ago, and if the commissioner had a good lawyer he would say the same thing.

    Hubris at its finest, no doubt.

  58. Professor Q says:

    Centre of attention: Like, on record, he pulled aside a credentialed reporter and told him questions about head safety are out of line.

    Campbell should have been fired long ago, and if the commissioner had a good lawyer he would say the same thing.

    The multiple email controversies couldn’t dent them, but now they’ve gone full on Trump.

    Sigh. NHL is becoming a bigger and bigger mockery every day.

  59. russ99 says:

    VOR: Russ, from your lips to God’s ears. Or Chiarelli’s at least.

    I don’t think the two things are mutually exclusive. I loved triple A baseball, the idea you got to see the stars of tomorrow today. I followed some those kids for decades. Now that Edmonton has greater organizational depth you can offer exactly that option. Really, would you rather see wild exciting hockey played by talented kids or a bunch of journeymen competing for a championship most hockey fans can’t even name.

    Agreed.,

    But when trying to build a lasting franchise in non-traditional hockey cities, journeymen players playing a nasty physical game and trying to win is an easier sell, since a majority of the fans in those cities don’t follow the draft or prospects like you or I would.

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