33 MEN FOR 23 JOBS

I believe we are at a point where we can project the 2017-18 Edmonton Oilers roster. The 50-man list is almost complete—there’s room for maybe one more straggler—and we can begin to discuss roles for the coming year.

There’s a lot that goes into a roster, things like penalty killers and power-play men, or running the roster 14-7-2 or 13-8-2 to begin the season. How many bubble players can clear waivers? How many cannot? And on it goes.

OPENING NIGHT ROSTER, 2016-17

  • Milan Lucic—Connor McDavid—Jordan Eberle
  • Patrick Maroon—Leon Draisaitl—Jesse Puljujarvi
  • Benoit Pouliot—Ryan Nugent-Hopkins—Anton Slepyshev
  • Tyler Pitlick—Mark Letestu—Zack Kassian
  • Oscar Klefbom—Adam Larsson
  • Andrej Sekera—Kris Russell
  • Darnell Nurse—Brandon Davidson
  • Cam Talbot (Jonas Gustavsson)
  • Scratches: Mark Fayne, Anton Lander, Matt Benning
  • Source
  • Source

That’s my recollection of the lineup, lots of movement during the game so your mileage may vary. As we sit here this morning, enjoying the summer breeze, we see what Todd McLellan was trying to accomplish. Things didn’t work out, but when we begin the process of cobbling together lines and pairings for the fall, it is worthwhile to look back in order to see the prevailing wisdom on roster deployment.

OPENING NIGHT LOCKS

  • Patrick Maroon—Connor McDavid—Leon Draisaitl/Ryan Strome
  • Milan Lucic—Leon Draisaitl/Ryan Strome—Anton Slepyshev
  • Jussi Jokinen—Ryan Nugent-Hopkins—Jesse Puljujarvi
  • Drake Caggiula—Mark Letestu—Zack Kassian
  • Oscar Klefbom—Adam Larsson
  • Kris Russell—Matt Benning
  • Darnell Nurse—Eric Gryba
  • Cam Talbot (Laurent Brossoit)
  • Scratches: Yohann Auvitu, Jujhar Khaira, Iiro Pakarinen

That’s a guess of course, but this roster has a lot of certainty to it. Many times when we get close to training camp, I list the roster + invites and run percentages for each player and chances of making the roster (it is called Riesen to Believe in honor of Michel Riesen and Rod Stewart). Since we have time, let’s do exactly that for the current 50-man list, with AHL-only and junior players thrown in.

THE 2017-18 EDMONTON OILERS (F)

  1. C Connor McDavid, 20. Won all the big awards, hit 100 points in year two and has now established himself as one of the two best players in the game. One opponent, the Calgary Flames, designed its offseason around finding a way to contain him (two electric pairings). That’s a compliment. 100%.
  2. C-R Leon Draisaitl, 21. I always like to return each summer to the draft day scouting report. You know that rule I have about waiting five years? Leon has two years to go. There were notes about his skating on draft day, but he beat that back and in doing so made himself into an impact player. Still some miles to go, can he push the river? Still waiting on the contract. 100%. 
  3. L Patrick Maroon, 29. All he’s done since arriving is score goals. Maroon has a sixth sense about location and has shown enough speed and skill to hang with 97. That has actual value, and another 25+ goal campaign will get him paid. Here or elsewhere. 100%. 
  4. L Milan Lucic, 29. Big winger scored at his established levels but has so much more to give based on those established abilities. He needs to get back where he once belonged, delivering 2.00/60 5×5 scoring or thereabouts. 100%.
  5. C Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, 24. I am no longer worried that Nuge will get traded, because I know it will arrive someday. Doesn’t  appear to be this summer, and that’s a good thing. He can help this team in multiple ways, I would love to see him stick around for the sixth Stanley. 100%.
  6. C-R Ryan Strome, 24. Today is his birthday but the present came last month when he was dealt to the Oilers. It looks to me as though he either gets a chance to cash McDavid’s passes or will center a soft parade 3line. A wonderful opportunity. 100%.
  7. L Drake Caggiula, 23. I like him, and the Oilers love him. The offense suggested by his NHLE (44) didn’t arrive in year one, we’ll see about this year. He could absolutely cement his status on this team moving forward with a 20-goal season. 100%.
  8. R Zack Kassian, 26. Rugged winger was a valuable contributor last year and show good offensive ability. PK’s and could have had 12 goals instead of seven. Young enough to hang around for several years, his foot speed is impressive. 100%.
  9. L Jussi Jokinen, 34. Acquired several days after the beginning of free agency, Jokinen brings clarity to the roster. He will be valued for his penalty killing and for his ability to play up and down the lineup. A very strong addition. 100%.
  10. RC Mark Letestu, 32. Unique skill set fits the Oilers perfectly, although Letestu may lose power-play time to Strome. That 4line needs to do better in possession but there’s zero doubt about him making the roster. 100%.
  11. R Anton Slepyshev, 23. I see him as being a big part of this year’s forward group, and would say there is a chance he emerges as a 15-20 goal man. That said, he can be sent to the minors without worry of waivers, so there’s a slight chance he gets beaten out for opening night roster spots. 90%.
  12. R Jesse Puljujarvi, 19. He is not a lock for the roster but I think it’s pretty damned close. Puljujarvi is an impressive prospect with great skills, it’s just a matter of waiting for him to show what he is as a mature player. Scorer? Playmaker? Brilliant two-way player? I think we’ll see it play out at the NHL level this year. 90%.
  13. L Jujhar Khaira, 23. He is in an excellent spot right now, with Matt Hendricks gone and his new status as a waiver eligible player. The Oilers like his size, speed and grit, with scoring the one worry. That’s the case for basically all of the kids, which could work against him this fall. 64%.
  14. R Iiro Pakarinen, 25. I went into the spring believing Pakarinen had a great shot at the roster, but the way things have worked out his hold on a roster spot isn’t as strong. Edmonton needs a fifth center on the roster and that could cost him. The club has added several PK options who project to play ahead of him, so this could be a difficult camp. 50%.
  15. LC Brad Malone, 28. He has a real shot to make this team. Malone can play center, wins faceoffs, penalty kills and it won’t hurt him to sit in the pressbox for long stretches. Edmonton signed him early in free agency, possibly for his ability to slip through waivers and back again. 40%.
  16. R Ty Rattie, 24. The new Tyler Pitlick is less rambunctious and more of a scoring option. Still a prospect, Peter Chiarelli said early this month he is a player the team has been interested in for some time. If Puljujarvi or Slepyshev falters, Rattie could benefit. 20%.
  17. L Joey Laleggia, 25. He is a long shot but what he brings is very valuable. If we see him getting some time with the NHLers and extra games in pre-season, we’ll have a story. 15%.
  18. R Mitch Callahan, 25. Consistent AHL performer, he brings skill with some physical play and that combination appeals to the Oilers. He may show very well in camp. 15%.
  19. R Kailer Yamamoto, 18. Electric skills and he can score goals. A small winger, he will impress if given chances. If he is here late in camp, the club may give him nine games. 15%.
  20. C Joe Gambardella, 23. He is not a high end prospect but could emerge as an NHL option (over time, likely a season or two). I’ll give him a slight chance to slide into a useful utility role at the back of the roster. 1%.

THE 2017-18 EDMONTON OILERS (D)

  1. L Oscar Klefbom, 24. He took a big step forward this past season and was healthy enough to play all 82 games. Klefbom has the full range of skills and looks comfortable with Larsson. He can wheel, his shot is a rocket and he is just coming into his own. 100%.
  2. R Adam Larsson, 24. I like this player type, forgot how much fun it is to see a rugged defenseman who can battle physically while also being able to think the game. Showed ability to make solid outlet passes and to jump into the play at times. 100%.
  3. L Andrej Sekera, 31. Delivered a strong season and playoff, he is absolutely one of the three best defenders on the team. He won’t be back for at least 20 games, maybe as many as 40 games. Edmonton will miss him in every one. 0.
  4. L Kris Russell, 30. One of the more divisive players on this roster over the last decade, good things happened with him on the ice early in the season. Todd McLellan values him highly, the Woodmoney tells us what he does well. Russell keeps the youngsters farther down the depth chart until ready, that may well be his biggest contribution. 100%.
  5. R Matt Benning, 23. One of the keys to success this coming season will be a repeat performance by Benning. He’s a smart player, good-to-excellent with the puck and cool as a cucumber in pressure situations. If he does it again, I’m calling him Dan Boyle. 100%.
  6. L Darnell Nurse, 22. Big, strong, fleet and with a substantial mean streak. He might be perfect, but there are still lessons to learn. It will be important to bring him along at pace, that will be a difficult task for Todd McLellan. 100%.
  7. R Eric Gryba, 29. Played 40 games as 7D last season, saw action in three playoff games. I think he’ll be in the mix for regular third-pairing activity but may not hold that job. As of now, he is a lock for the roster. 80%.
  8. L Yohann Auvitu, 27. New signing gives the team a much needed addition to the mobile passers on the roster. I don’t think he’s a lock for the roster but he has a good chance. 50%.
  9. L Ryan Stanton, 27. He appears poised to battle Auvitu for the 7D spot this fall, the edge goes to the player whose skill set best matches the required role. In a way, Stanton is more in competition with Gryba. 40%.
  10. R Mark Fayne, 30. He can defend but his foot speed isn’t great, he does not play a rugged game and the offense is minimal. I don’t think he’ll be on the team. 30%.

THE 2017-18 EDMONTON OILERS (G)

  1. Cam Talbot, 30. Aside from McDavid, the most important player on the roster. I don’t read many questioning his ability anymore, good to see. Plenty worry about injury, and based on proven depth at the position, it is reasonable to fret about it. 100%.
  2. Laurent Brossoit, 24. He has completed his minor league auditions and now is the time for Brossoit to stake his claim. I think he’ll play 20 games. 90%.
  3. Nick Ellis, 23. I include him because there’s always a chance someone gets hurt and the Ellis resume is very good. 10%.

OILERS PROJECTED TRAINING CAMP ROSTER

(The Rest)

  1. G Eddie Pasquale. AHL veteran could get some NHL time.
  2. G Shane Starrett. Another college goalie turning pro. Strong resume.
  3. G Dylan WellsSlide rule, he’ll spend one more year in junior.
  4. G Stuart Skinner. He has a solid resume and the Oilers love him.
  5. LD Dillon Simpson. Excellent chance he plays some NHL games this year.
  6. LD Keegan Lowe. Top 4D role in Bakersfield, where does he sit on callup list?
  7. LD Ziyat Paigin. The verbal coming out on him is very strong. Oilers later this year?
  8. LD Ben Betker. Big man should get a full AHL season.
  9. RD Ethan Bear. A player to watch in Bakersfield, could get NHL cup of coffee.
  10. LD Caleb Jones. Fastest and most mobile of the new pro defensemen.
  11. RD Ryan Mantha. Big man, big shot, good speed. Duplicates Bear’s skill set.
  12. LD Dmitri Samorukov. Intriguing two-way defender.
  13. C Grayson Downing. Skilled center coming off subpar second AHL season.
  14. RC Josh Currie. Back on an AHL deal, he has skill and two-way ability.
  15. RC Kyle Platzer. We’ll know by Christmas if the Oilers have any plan for him.
  16. L Ryan Hamilton. AHL only deal, he’ll get some time with the big club in camp.
  17. L Braden Christoffer. Final year of entry deal coming up.
  18. L Evan Polei. Size and skill (6.02, 227 and 33 WHL goals) are intriguing.
  19. L Tyler BensonSlide rule, may get some pre-season games if healthy.
  20. L Ostap Safin. Size, speed and skill. First Oilers camp on the way.
  21. R Zach O’Brien. May end up being an important player for the Condors.
  22. R Patrick Russell. Scored only 8 times as rookie pro. Needs to fill the net this year.
  23. R Greg Chase. Final year of entry-level deal ahead, has shown only flashes.
  24. R Brian Ferlin. Effective when healthy. Has had substantial injury issues.
  25. R Dave Gust. Small skill winger. AHL deal.
  26. R Chad Butcher. AHL deal, skilled RW played in Medicine Hat 2011-17.
  27. R Kirill Maksimov. High risk skill winger has some real skill.

That’s 60 names, although Andrej Sekera won’t be playing for a job. We’ll see all kinds of additions to that list, some likely to come from the orientation roster of last week.

POSSIBLES FROM ORIENTATION CAMP

  1. RC Steve Owre: WHL skill center is now finished in junior and at 21 will be looking for opportunities in pro.  88 points in 71 games.
  2. C Kevin Klima: Small skill center is 20 years old and scored 36 points in two QMJHL stops this season. He and twin brother Kelly (below) are both Petr’s boys.
  3. R Kelly Klima: Small skill winger is 20 years old and scored 49 points while with two teams in the QMJHL this year.

LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE

A busy show with a range of guests this morning, beginning at 10 on TSN1260. Scheduled to appear:

  • Todd Cordell, Hockeybuzz. We’ll talk Yohann Auvitu.
  • Derek Taylor, TSN. CFL Week 3 and looking ahead to the weekend.
  • Scott Cullen, TSN. Are the Oilers better? Have the Flames passed Edmonton?
  • Jeff Krushell, Krush Performance. Here comes the Judge!

10-1260 text, @Lowetide on twitter. See you on the radio!

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78 Responses to "33 MEN FOR 23 JOBS"

  1. Jordan says:

    I love how Leon is pencilled in to play both 1RW and 2C.

    Strome who?

  2. misfit says:

    As much as I love Leon, he’d probably be my 3rd choice for cloning behind Connor and Klefbom.

  3. Woogie63 says:

    Redemption for Fayne until Sekera comes back and is ready to play. Auvitu vs. a +300 NHL game defensemen is going to be an easy choice for a coach.

  4. N64 says:

    Jordan:
    I love how Leon is pencilled in to play both 1RW and 2C.

    Strome who?

    ~ If Draisaitl-Strome can double shift why can’t Nugent-Hopkins? ~

  5. Brantford Boy says:

    Great post LT, enjoyed the executive summary style… you’ve mentioned we are ‘friends’ here, so as a friend, I ask that you never do an RE series using Rod Stewart, or at least warn me it’s coming so I can decide to boycott the blog until its over, I F’n hate that guy!

  6. misfit says:

    Brantford Boy:
    Great post LT, enjoyed the executive summary style… you’ve mentioned we are ‘friends’ here, so as a friend, I ask that you never do an RE series using Rod Stewart, or at least warn me it’s coming so I can decide to boycott the blog until its over, I F’n hate that guy!

    But he always spoke so highly of you.

  7. Ducey says:

    Woogie63:
    Redemption for Fayne until Sekera comes back and is ready to play. Auvitu vs. a +300 NHL game defensemen is going to be an easy choice for a coach.

    It was a pretty easy choice for the coach to send him down last year. When he did come up (he only played 4 NHL games last year), he played 2:27 in his first game. He played 4:34 in his last game.

    When the coach would rather play with 5 D and sit you on the end of the bench, he is sending a pretty clear message to everyone, including the GM.

    Plus Auvitu in the pressbox is $325,000 cheaper than Fayne in the pressbox.

    Fayne could stick, but he needs to take a page from Gryba’s book and play nasty and physical. Unfortunately, he has little history of doing that.

  8. stephen sheps says:

    Woogie63:
    Redemption for Fayne until Sekera comes back and is ready to play. Auvitu vs. a +300 NHL game defensemen is going to be an easy choice for a coach.

    Matt Benning says hi…

    We’re in season 3 with McClellan as coach. He’s made his mind up about Fayne. I don’t see him suddenly changing his mind now.

    Auvitu has more of the skills this coaching staff values. He has a much better chance of making the team than Fayne, despite limited NHL at bats.

    I like Fayne plenty but he’s not a good fit for the Oilers. Maybe with enough salary retained, he might be able to get sent to a D-needy team in the east. Washington and Toronto come to mind.

  9. Doug McLachlan says:

    LT, why do you hate Yamamoto? 😊

    His speed will force the conversation and may even win a game or two before heading back to Spokane.

  10. jtblack says:

    a lot of core guys at 25 or younger. something doesn’t quite work for me on the D, even with Sekera back. hhmmmmm ….

    forwards look great.

    Talbot best stay healthy!

  11. leadfarmer says:

    Brantford Boy:
    Great post LT, enjoyed the executive summary style… you’ve mentioned we are ‘friends’ here, so as a friend, I ask that you never do an RE series using Rod Stewart, or at least warn me it’s coming so I can decide to boycott the blog until its over, I F’n hate that guy!

    Fine, Barry Manilow it is then.

  12. LoDog says:

    stephen sheps: Matt Benning says hi…

    We’re in season 3 with McClellan as coach. He’s made his mind up about Fayne. I don’t see him suddenly changing his mind now.

    Auvitu has more of the skills this coaching staff values. He has a much better chance of making the team than Fayne, despite limited NHL at bats.

    I like Fayne plenty but he’s not a good fit for the Oilers. Maybe with enough salary retained, he might be able to get sent to a D-needy team in the east. Washington and Toronto come to mind.

    I hear NJ is short on D maybe they can send him back there.

    Roster looks good LT but I think RNH gets a good look on McDavids right side,

  13. Woodguy v2.0 says:

    Ducey,

    It was a pretty easy choice for the coach to send him down last year. When he did come up (he only played 4 NHL games last year), he played 2:27 in his first game. He played 4:34 in his last game.

    When the coach would rather play with 5 D and sit you on the end of the bench, he is sending a pretty clear message to everyone, including the GM.

    Fayne was hurt in his first game (only 2:27 TOI) on October 18th.

    When he came off the IR on Nov 29 he was waived.

    As soon as he cleared he was brought back up Nov 30

    He then got into 2 games on Dec 3 (12:44) and Dec 4 (11:55)

    In his 4th game on Dec 6th he was hurt again (4:34)

    On December 30th he came off the IR and was assigned to Bakersfield.

    By then Benning had passed him and locked up 3RD.

    Why would you say the coach benched him and then build a little narrative around it when he was actually hurt in those games?

  14. D says:

    Can this roster win the Stanley Cup? It feels like it is close.

  15. stephen sheps says:

    Woodguy v2.0: As soon as he cleared he was brought back up Nov 30
    He then got into 2 games on Dec 3 (12:44) and Dec 4 (11:55)

    I’m not sure that the 2 other games worth of icetime supports your counter narrative, either. That’s still not a lot of TOI, even playing 3rd pairing minutes. Benning, Nurse and Gryba were all in the 16-17 minute range. Sure injuries were a factor, but it still appears as though the coach doesn’t care for what Fayne brings, even if it’s just a case of sideburns that nobody else can see.

  16. Side says:

    stephen sheps: I’m not sure that the 2 other games worth of icetime supports your counter narrative, either. That’s still not a lot of TOI, even playing 3rd pairing minutes. Benning, Nurse and Gryba were all in the 16-17 minute range. Sure injuries were a factor, but it still appears as though the coach doesn’t care for what Fayne brings, even if it’s just a case of sideburns that nobody else can see.

    If the coach didn’t care for what Fayne brought, then Fayne wouldn’t be called up at all, imo.

    Less ice time makes sense to me especially when a player has been down on the farm for awhile and needs time to adjust to the NHL speed + recovering from an injury.

  17. Rake 2.0 says:

    Woodguy v2.0,

    He also got into just enough games to meet the expansion draft criteria.

  18. trencan says:

    D:
    Can this roster win the Stanley Cup?It feels like it is close.

    The main question is how good Oilers will be without Mc David on ice. I dont see this roster win SC.

  19. Clarkenstein says:

    D:
    Can this roster win the Stanley Cup?It feels like it is close.

    Maybe but not this upcoming season. The SC chase for real starts in 18-19 imo.

  20. GMB3 says:

    If Drai centres his own line and his shooting percentage regresses to realistic levels and he posts similar production to the Nuge (my guess on what happens), that 8 million dollar contract will be a bitch.

    FWIW, I think RNH needs a trigger man more than McDavid. He is a sublime passer but doesn’t create the great scoring chances that McDavid does near the goal mouth. It’s a shame we will never see it in Oil country unless we somehow procure a shooter for him between now and 2018

  21. stephen sheps says:

    Side: If the coach didn’t care for what Fayne brought, then Fayne wouldn’t be called up at all, imo.

    Less ice time makes sense to me especially when a player has been down on the farm for awhile and needs time to adjust to the NHL speed + recovering from an injury.

    Oh sure, that’s exactly it. I was mostly trying to suggest that it’s not quite as black and white as what both Ducey and Darcy were suggesting. It’s something in between, probably, along with a whole host of other factors that we as fans aren’t privy to.

    That said, it’s still pretty clear to me that Fayne is the Mattingly to TMac’s Mr. Burns… and just in case we all haven’t watched the bit in a while, it’s still comedic gold.

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

  22. Genjutsu says:

    Woogie63:
    Redemption for Fayne until Sekera comes back and is ready to play. Auvitu vs. a +300 NHL game defensemen is going to be an easy choice for a coach.

    Johan Auvitu would be a savings of 250 000 on the cap over Fayne.

  23. Professor Q says:

    Steve Yzerman knows how to negotiate, it seems.

  24. Ducey says:

    Woodguy v2.0:
    Ducey,

    It was a pretty easy choice for the coach to send him down last year. When he did come up (he only played 4 NHL games last year), he played 2:27 in his first game. He played 4:34 in his last game.


    When the coach would rather play with 5 D and sit you on the end of the bench, he is sending a pretty clear message to everyone, including the GM.

    Fayne was hurt in his first game (only 2:27 TOI) on October 18th.

    When he came off the IR on Nov 29 he was waived.

    As soon as he cleared he was brought back up Nov 30

    He then got into 2 games on Dec 3 (12:44) and Dec 4 (11:55)

    In his 4th game on Dec 6th he was hurt again (4:34)

    On December 30th he came off the IR and was assigned to Bakersfield.

    By then Benning had passed him and locked up 3RD.

    Why would you say the coach benched him and then build a little narrative around it when he was actually hurt in those games?

    I did not know he had been hurt in those games.

  25. YELAK says:

    Maroon – McDavid- Draisaitl
    Lucic – Nuge – Strome
    Caggiula – Jokinen – Puljujarvi
    Slepyshev – Letestu – Kassian

    Think this would be a pretty good/balanced opening night lineup. See how it does and adjust from there if guys arnt clicking.

  26. striatic says:

    D:
    Can this roster win the Stanley Cup?It feels like it is close.

    I think this largely depends on Andrej Sekera’s ability to bounce back from injury, or for one of the young D to massively improve over the summer – enough to fully replace Sekera’s minutes and ability. All this without losing another prominent D to injury.

    The young D stepping up to that extent seems unlikely, so it is largely up to Sekera coming back and picking up where he left off. The Oilers can content and win a cup, but without any tolerance for injury on the back end and minimal tolerance for injury up front.

    Good health is critical this season, as it was last season.

    If the D remains intact it is good enough [along with Talbot] to fend off any team, and you can put Draisaitl and McDavid up against any D corps in the league and at least one of them will find their way through.

  27. Jordan says:

    I’ve been wondering about the Defense a lot, and have to say I don’t like the pairings people are suggesting until Sekera gets back. There ends up with one good pairing and two wobbly ones – with the 2nd pairing being over its head, especially since they played a fairly balanced top 4 D.

    During the playoffs, when Klef got hurt, we saw some of Nurse-Larsson. Now, I realize that Nurse doesn’t have the experience to be a good bet on a 1st pairing, but we already know that the Oilers didn’t run a 1st pairing last year – they ran a fairly balanced top4, with a sheltered bottom pairing.

    What if they ran a fairly balanced top 6 D, with the pairings like this:
    Nurse – Larsson
    Russell – Benning
    Klefbom – Gryba

    The more I think about this, the more I like it. It gives the coach 3 pairings that should be able to bend without breaking, and still be able to move the puck out and break a cycle if it gets going. Russell – Benning might be the closest thing to a bottom pairing, simply because Russell is a little smaller, so will have more difficulty cycle-breaking.

    Thoughts?

  28. godot10 says:

    Jordan:
    I’ve been wondering about the Defense a lot, and have to say I don’t like the pairings people are suggesting until Sekera gets back.There ends up with one good pairing and two wobbly ones – with the 2nd pairing being over its head, especially since they played a fairly balanced top 4 D.

    During the playoffs, when Klef got hurt, we saw some of Nurse-Larsson.Now, I realize that Nurse doesn’t have the experience to be a good bet on a 1st pairing, but we already know that the Oilers didn’t run a 1st pairing last year – they ran a fairly balanced top4, with a sheltered bottom pairing.

    What if they ran a fairly balanced top 6 D, with the pairings like this:
    Nurse – Larsson
    Russell – Benning
    Klefbom – Gryba

    The more I think about this, the more I like it.It gives the coach 3 pairings that should be able to bend without breaking, and still be able to move the puck out and break a cycle if it gets going.Russell – Benning might be the closest thing to a bottom pairing, simply because Russell is a little smaller, so will have more difficulty cycle-breaking.

    Thoughts?

    Russell with Benning is NOT going to work. Benning can’t handle all the D-zone time and defending that comes with playing with Russell.

    Russell with anyone but Sekera is not likely to work.

    Nurse, Larsson
    Klefbom, Benning
    Auvitu, Russell or Russell, Gryba.

    until Sekera is healthy.

    Larsson will give Nurse the stability he needs to play in the top 4 while Sekera is recuperating.

  29. Bruce McCurdy says:

    godot10: Russell with Benning is NOT going to work.Benning can’t handle all the D-zone time and defending that comes with playing with Russell.

    Russell with anyone but Sekera is not likely to work.

    Nurse, Larsson
    Klefbom, Benning
    Auvitu, Russell or Russell, Gryba.

    until Sekera is healthy.

    Larsson will give Nurse the stability he needs to play in the top 4 while Sekera is recuperating.

    Alternately, Benning is the ideal partner with the good first pass to complement Russell’s tenacious d-zone play. They looked pretty good together in Games 6 & 7 vs Anaheim. Russell himself moved the puck better on his natural side IMO.

  30. Jordan says:

    Bruce McCurdy: Alternately, Benning is the ideal partner with the good first pass to complement Russell’s tenacious d-zone play. They looked pretty good together in Games 6 & 7 vs Anaheim. Russell himself moved the puck better on his natural side IMO.

    That was my thinking too Bruce. There is risk with the pairing getting hemmed in by a line of bruisers, but I think with the added strength and structure that this forward group is playing with, there should be enough support to limit big opportunities. I also think the Oilers may consider this to get a better feel for what they have in Nurse and Benning individually – as both are going to be coming off their ELCs. I know if I was managing this team, I would want as clear an idea as I can get about who we have and how little I can afford to pay them. =)

  31. Richard S.S. says:

    When McDavid is not on the ice, the Oilers aren’t very good. However, how many times when McDavid was off the ice, was Draisaitl playing on his line and off the ice as well? It’s a problem because it says no one else is good enough to be there.

  32. season not played says:

    If the Oilers sign Draisaitl in time that he comes to camp in a good frame of mind I believe this team, as constructed, has as good a chance as anyone else to win the cup this year.

  33. jake70 says:

    YELAK:
    Maroon – McDavid- Draisaitl
    Lucic – Nuge – Strome
    Caggiula – Jokinen – Puljujarvi
    Slepyshev – Letestu – Kassian

    Think this would be a pretty good/balanced opening night lineup. See how it does and adjust from there if guys arnt clicking.

    You can’t just put anyone on the top line for the sake of having R handed shot, but there are goal scoring opportunities missed because there isn’t a R shot IMO – 97 leaving points on the table. Tough call because you do need a reliable goal scoring line.

  34. Side says:

    Richard S.S.:
    When McDavid is not on the ice, the Oilers aren’t very good.However, how many times when McDavid was off the ice, was Draisaitl playing on his line and off the ice as well?It’s a problem because it says no one else is good enough to be there.

    I thought in the tail end of the season and the playoffs, the Oilers were good without McDavid on the ice? I thought it was earlier – middle of the season the Oilers were bad without McDavid on the ice.

    Am I not remembering things correctly?

  35. LadiesloveSmid says:

    D:
    Can this roster win the Stanley Cup?It feels like it is close.

    Same team that didn’t make round 3 last year minus Eberle, plus Strome, minus Sekera for 3 months.

  36. GMB3 says:

    LadiesloveSmid: Same team that didn’t make round 3 last year minus Eberle, plus Strome, minus Sekera for 3 months.

    Plus Jussi, minus Poo. Plus another year of experience. I agree that a better GM does more to improve the team, relying on internal improvement is dicey.

    Also a team that came a bad bounce or two (or call) from advancing to the WCF during their first playoff run.

  37. Side says:

    LadiesloveSmid: Same team that didn’t make round 3 last year minus Eberle, plus Strome, minus Sekera for 3 months.

    Eberle didn’t have much of an impact in the playoffs and if the Oilers make the playoffs next year, Sekera being out 3 months is a non issue.

    I doubt the Oilers are going to miss the playoffs because Sekera is out for 3 months and Eberle isn’t on the team.

    If Talbot and McDavid get injured though…

    Oh and I know it’s bad form to blame the refs but, the Oilers should have advanced to play against Nashville multiple times if it weren’t for bad/non-existent calls.

  38. GMB3 says:

    Richard S.S.:
    When McDavid is not on the ice, the Oilers aren’t very good.However, how many times when McDavid was off the ice, was Draisaitl playing on his line and off the ice as well?It’s a problem because it says no one else is good enough to be there.

    Constructing narratives 101. Plenty of times during the season Drai didn’t get it done with his own line imo. Add in the fact Eberle was snake bit, Poo had the worst year of his career, and Lucic’s 5v5 play wasn’t very good speaks for a lot of this.

    I look at Mark Schiefele’s contract and comparison to Drai and what he is going to get and it makes me sad. Highly doubt Drai covers an 8 million dollar deal unless he has some serious help on the wings.

  39. VOR says:

    I was going to respond to GMB3 and his concerns about Draisaitl by telling the story of the most zoomed player of all time. It was going to be very short and to the point.

    Then I started wondering how many Oilers fans know the story of the most zoomed player in NHL history?

    I am guessing not a lot. So here is the story of Bill.

    Bill didn’t exactly get off to a great start in the NHL scoring two points in his first season and five in his second and getting sent down for more development each season even though he could clearly score at the NHL level. In his third year things improved significantly. Bill had 34 points, now mind you that was in 44 games. But the zoom was on – he played on a line with two of the top four scorers in the NHL.

    The next year Bill improved to 73 points. Now there was no question he was being zoomed his most common teammate was #1 in the NHL in scoring and well on his way to the Hall of Fame and a position in hockey’s top 100 players. His second most common teammate was second in the NHL in scoring and a truly generational player (having an off year). Next most common teammate – that would be the Norris trophy winner who led all defencemen in scoring while finishing second in assists in the entire league (headed to the Hall of Fame and a berth in the top 100). Next up would be the left winger who led the NHL in assists. So that is four truly great players Bill got to play with on a regular basis that year – they also made up the team’s terrifyingly good #1 PP unit.

    There were other warning flags as well. Bill had an utterly unsustainable shooting percentage (18%). Not to mention the team had not one but two great two way centers who did the heavy lifting in terms of opponents and zone starts.

    Bill had one cushy ride and people noticed. The press and a lot of fans thought Bill was being pumped up, trumped up, that he wasn’t all that good. And they said so.

    But a funny thing happened in the playoffs that year. All that offence Bill’s team had sputtered and failed and it was Bill against the world. While he only had 13 points in 10 games he totally dominated the ice. Not a single goal was scored against his team while he was on the ice. Mind you he also shot 24%. But he played the toughs and he beat them badly.

    Bill was a man on a mission the next few years. Three out of the next four years he led all that talent and the entire league in points/points per game/etc. However, he couldn’t sustain even though most of the time he was playing with truly great players. For example, over the next 8 years Bill averaged 74 points while playing with some of the greatest talent hockey has ever seen. So on average pretty much what he had accomplished in year 4. There were years mostly because of injury and illness where it looked like Bill’s career was in real jeopardy.

    Bill also had mixed success in the playoffs. Three times he led his team in scoring and they won the Stanley Cup and he won a Conn Smythe Trophy along the way. But he also had years were he didn’t look great, more like average or below. But if you look past that eight years Bill’s performance in his fourth year was it turns out pretty predictive of how good a playoff player he was. One who kept putting up insane shooting%s in the playoffs (four times he shot over 20% in the playoffs) and who continued to dominate at both ends of the ice. One of his greatest performances would come the year he retired where he would score 22 points in 20 games and carry his team to the Stanley Cup. He was 39. It was one hell of a final act.

    And for all that you could still truly make the argument that he played with an amazing collection of talent over his entire career. In fact, it is arguably the greatest collection of hockey talent the sport has ever seen. But at some point even the most jaded cynics came to admit Bill probably did more to make that talent great than the other way around. Though it did take a very long time for some of the haters to come around.

    Meanwhile, Bill became the face of the franchise. He was the perfect choice. Quietly, without fanfare or press coverage he spent hundreds and hundreds of hours doing charitable work. He’d visit sick kids in hospitals, the dying in old folks homes, lend his name and time to raise money for the fight against cancer, heart disease, and on and on. Those who met the public man called him a gentleman, a prince. Those who new him better called him a sweetheart. Eventually he wore the C and became one of the greatest teammates and team leaders in all of the history of hockey. It would be fair to say he became a spokesman, a fabulous one, for the game.

    In the end, though, all you have to do to understand that the most zoomed player in history was an epic talent in his own right is to get up close to the Stanley Cup and start counting. You will see Bill’s name 10 times as a player and 7 more times as an executive.

    The most zoomed player of all time turned out to be, as his teammates fondly called him, “Le Gros Bill”. Which they shortened to Bill during games. The rest of the world knows him as Jean Beliveau.

    And my point is simply this:

    Just because you are being zoomed doesn’t mean you aren’t a great player in your own right. The most zoomed player of all time ended up being one of the ten greatest players of all time. Pretty clearly better than all those players who zoomed him along the way.

  40. LadiesloveSmid says:

    GMB3: Plus Jussi, minus Poo. Plus another year of experience. I agree that a better GM does more to improve the team, relying on internal improvement is dicey.

    Also a team that came a bad bounce or two (or call) from advancing to the WCF during their first playoff run.

    Pou and Jokinen are washes as far as I’m concerned.

    Banking on growth and last year’s near perfect health to push them that extra step. Risky business

  41. JustWatt says:

    Richard S.S.:
    When McDavid is not on the ice, the Oilers aren’t very good.However, how many times when McDavid was off the ice, was Draisaitl playing on his line and off the ice as well?It’s a problem because it says no one else is good enough to be there.

    Woodguy was the big proponent of this idea until he actually looked at the numbers. The Oilers were not a poor team without 97 last year, they were average. I guess that doesn’t quite qualify as “very good” but lets give credit where its due.

  42. Side says:

    LadiesloveSmid: Pou and Jokinen are washes as far as I’m concerned.

    Banking on growth and last year’s near perfect health to push them that extra step. Risky business

    Near perfect health – yes

    But Pouliot, Eberle, Nuge and Lucic were all considered to have underperformed. Are you considering that in your evaluation?

  43. LubeOil says:

    LT, I respectfully disagree with your assessment of Maroon. He has not only scored goals. He has also tossed the knuckles many times since arriving, and every time he did, it was a well timed and effective demonstration of power/toughness. I realize many fans do not appreciate that aspect of the game, but as an old time hockey fan I certainly do. His 27 goals were great to see, but trading punches with guys like Chara, and smiling about it afterwards, has just as much value for this team dynamic as those goals do. The culture change is now almost complete based on what I have seen through last season and playoffs. Kudos to the management team. All of them.

  44. Richard S.S. says:

    Side,

    I listen to Lowetide’s Podcasts. That’s easier than trying to do it live.
    There are speakers on the show that talk about McDavid on and off the ice and how good the Oilers are. The theme is any time McDavid’s not on the ice this Team’s not good enough.

  45. Side says:

    Richard S.S.:
    Side,

    I listen to Lowetide’s Podcasts.That’s easier than trying to do it live.
    There are speakers on the show that talk about McDavid on and off the ice and how good the Oilers are.The theme is any time McDavid’s not on the ice this Team’s not good enough.

    JustWatt: Woodguy was the big proponent of this idea until he actually looked at the numbers. The Oilers were not a poor team without 97 last year, they were average. I guess that doesn’t quite qualify as “very good” but lets give credit where its due.

    Average – good without McDavid on the ice won’t make me lose any sleep. It could be better for sure, but it’s not as bad as people make it seem, imo.

  46. JustWatt says:

    LadiesloveSmid: Pou and Jokinen are washes as far as I’m concerned.

    Banking on growth and last year’s near perfect health to push them that extra step. Risky business

    I think that you are selling things a bit short. The health issue I’ll give you because it couldn’t possibly be much better. Missing Sekera for anywhere between 1/4 and 1/2 of a season is going to be a huge step backwards.

    BUT

    Betting on McDavid to grow is as sure to a certainty as we could ever ask for. Betting on RNH to not have his worst season 2 seasons in a row is pretty good bet too. The third line for much of last year didn’t have a real center and now it has 2 players who have actually played the position before (I wonder if Jokinen and Strome will platoon face-offs to whoever is on their strong side). For all Pouliot and Jokinen look very similar in their on ice numbers Jokinen is a proper veteran who might be able to pull off the long sought after Pisani/mentor role. And that’s not saying anything about the large batch of journeymen who all could take steps forward. Of course not all of them will, but it is equally unlikely that none of them will either. There will be some growth here. With the exception of 2RW this is a very balanced forward group and with the exception of missed Sekera time the D has never been strong in 12 seasons (and Sekera’s return is the guaranteed fix, eventually)

    I think it’s more likely that they have run in place. Finish 2-3 in the division, ~10th in the league, around 100 points. And the playoffs are a free-for-all. I think that Chiarelli has mitigated his risk pretty well.

  47. McNuge93 says:

    season not played:
    If the Oilers sign Draisaitl in time that he comes to camp in a good frame of mind I believe this team, as constructed, has as good a chance as anyone else to win the cup this year.

    I agree with the exception of Pittsburg. They just seem to know how to win similar to Chicago a few years back. But other than Pitt no one else stands out as clear top – tier favorites, so why not the Oil. Washington and Chicago are weaker, are the Preds and Sens for real. Montreal is always over-rated. Anaheim and San Jose are aging. Flames are better but how much. The Wild are good but don’t do it in the playoffs, etc. etc.

  48. frjohnk says:

    RE: Woodguy and his numbers look on how the Oilers fared with McDavid on and off the ice

    http://becauseoilers.blogspot.ca/2017/07/a-look-at-nhl-teams-results-with-and.html

    Woodguys conclusion

    “The Oilers are among the best NHL teams when McDavid is on the ice. WOOOT!!!!

    They are a middle ground team when he is not.

    I had stated on twitter that they were a lottery team when McDavid was off the ice.  This was incorrect.

    It seems clear that middle ground teams with their star off the ice are not Cup favorites like many consider Edmonton to be and there is lots of work for Peter Chiarelli to do when it comes to making the team better.

    Middle ground teams can make the playoffs, miss the playoffs, win a round, maybe two, but they’re not Cup favorites in my opinion.

    The Oilers need to significantly upgrade the team, especially in regards to playing against other team’s best players, in order to be a perennial Cup favorite.

    As it stands today, they are a middling team without their star on the ice, were blessed with great health of their top 6F and top 4D, got a great season from Talbot, and still only won one round in the playoffs.  That combination of good luck might not return.”

  49. Woodguy v2.0 says:

    stephen sheps: I’m not sure that the 2 other games worth of icetime supports your counter narrative, either. That’s still not a lot of TOI, even playing 3rd pairing minutes. Benning, Nurse and Gryba were all in the 16-17 minute range. Sure injuries were a factor, but it still appears as though the coach doesn’t care for what Fayne brings, even if it’s just a case of sideburns that nobody else can see.

    I don’t really have a narrative here.

    He didn’t get into his first game until Oct 18th. He wasn’t top 6 to start the season.

    When he came back his only 2 full games was 3rd pair.

    Benning came up Nov 1st and didn’t miss many games after that. He played in all 3 of Fayne’s December games and got way more ice time than Fayne.

    I was just curious about why Ducey was framing the issue of Fayne being benched when he was hurt .

  50. Side says:

    frjohnk:
    RE: Woodguy and his numbers look on how the Oilers fared with McDavid on and off the ice

    http://becauseoilers.blogspot.ca/2017/07/a-look-at-nhl-teams-results-with-and.html

    As it stands today, they are a middling team without their star on the ice, were blessed with great health of their top 6F and top 4D, got a great season from Talbot, and still only won one round in the playoffs. That combination of good luck might not return.”

    Is there a list that shows all teams and their team performance with their star on the ice vs without?

    I mean are the Oilers a middling team when McDavid is removed and are compared to other teams where their key player is removed? Or is it McDavidless Oilers compared to other teams that have their star players factored into their stats?

  51. N64 says:

    VOR: The most zoomed player of all time turned out to be, as his teammates fondly called him, “Le Gros Bill”. Which they shortened to Bill during games. The rest of the world knows him as Jean Beliveau.

    Hey Hunter. You still could be 1 for 2 on this one:

    http://lowetide.ca/2014/10/07/piss-cutter/comment-page-1/#comment-339852

    HUNTER1909 says:
    August 25, 2014 at 7:02 pm

    Just saw Draisaitl’s highlight reel and he plays like freaking Beliveau. Yakupov’s going to be Leon’s Richard.

  52. frjohnk says:

    Why I think we will be better than last year
    -majority of our roster is either not yet in their prime or are in their prime ( in aggregate, these guys should be better this year)
    -nobody that plays significant minutes is really exiting their prime ( Sekera, Russell, Lucic are not yet at the age where their play will fall off a cliff)
    -I believe Draisaitl will be the river pusher we need away from the 1st line.

    Why we could take a step back
    -if we have injury trouble like in 15-16, we could be a bubble team to make playoffs.
    -Our depth at the AHL level is either unproven ( Jones, Bear, Paigin) or is not NHL caliber.
    -an injury or stumble by Talbot

    If everything goes well, there could be a balance photo in season. But not right now.

  53. frjohnk says:

    Side: I mean are the Oilers a middling team when McDavid is removed and are compared to other teams where their key player is removed?

    yes

  54. jp says:

    Jordan:
    I love how Leon is pencilled in to play both 1RW and 2C.

    Strome who?

    I’m hoping he can be a 2nd team all-star at both C and RW once Ovie retires.

  55. Revolved says:

    I believe it has been posted long ago, but I would again like to see this team’s stats without McDavid AND Russell. Both break the numbers in opposite directions and played enough to affect the overalls.

    Is this team good enough to win the cup? Yes, but I think some combination of these things have to break right:

    Drai can drive his own line (Lucic gains a step?)

    Nuge’s line finds a way to score (Pulujujarvi and Jokinen click?)

    The fourth line stops being a black hole (Letestu to wing?)

    Russell plays LHD (likely on the third pair)

  56. stephen sheps says:

    Woodguy v2.0: I don’t really have a narrative here.

    I know. I just saw an opportunity to jokingly poke the bear 🙂

    Woodguy v2.0: When he came back his only 2 full games was 3rd pair.

    yup

    Woodguy v2.0: Benning came up Nov 1st

    that was a good day, both for the team and for me (I turned 35 that day)

    Woodguy v2.0: I was just curious about why Ducey was framing the issue of Fayne being benched when he was hurt.

    As was I, and now we know that Ducey didn’t realize he was injured.

    Much ado about nothing.

    I still believe that Fayne can play, just that it’s unlikely he makes the team out of camp this season, despite the Sekera injury.

  57. OilSafety says:

    I like that third line LT. If they see moderately soft oposition they could light it up. Not sure if drai is ready for the toughs but we’ll see

  58. GMB3 says:

    I’m not sure about the fancies, but I remember Sekera – Fayne being a decent pairing at one point in time. Just like Sekera and Russell were decent. Sekera is a turd polisher and he will be missed

  59. leadfarmer says:

    LadiesloveSmid: Same team that didn’t make round 3 last year minus Eberle, plus Strome, minus Sekera for 3 months.

    All depends on if Chia thinks its time to make a run and buys at the deadline

  60. digger50 says:

    trencan: The main question is how good Oilers will be without Mc David on ice. I dont see this roster win SC.

    This is absolutely the Stanly Cup question. And really a great measurement of how the Oilers are being built and coached. Take out Connor and just how good are they?

    If we could agree they are “good” to “pretty good” then add Connor and we should arrive at our destination

  61. Nuclear leak says:

    Cold day in hell before Strome is playing 2C over the Nuge.

  62. Lowetide says:

    digger50: This is absolutely the Stanly Cup question. And really a great measurement of how the Oilers are being built and coached. Take out Connor and just how good are they?

    If we could agree they are “good” to “pretty good” then add Connor and we should arrive at our destination

    How are you going to measure this progress? GD? Corsi? I think Leon at center is probably part of the solution.

  63. jm363561 says:

    Side: Is there a list that shows all teams and their team performance with their star on the ice vs without?

    I mean are the Oilers a middling team when McDavid is removed and are compared to other teams where their key player is removed? Or is it McDavidless Oilers compared to other teams that have their star players factored into their stats?

    ======
    I had a similar question – how good is Pittsburgh with Crosby off the ice?

  64. Genjutsu says:

    This only won one round narrative is really misleading and dishonest in how it’s presented.

    The team was a wisker away from playing in the East final end may well have gotten their if not for some suspect officiating.

    This is a good team.

    For reals

  65. digger50 says:

    I foresee Todd M make a huge effort to win the first 10 games. And if that is ever at risk, Drai is instantly a right winger again.

    Auditioning the newbs will be a much lower priority than establishing wins in those first ten games.

  66. McNuge93 says:

    Nuclear leak:
    Cold day in hell before Strome is playing 2C over the Nuge.

    So cold day in hell means sometime in January in northern Alberta?

  67. Ducey says:

    N64: Hey Hunter. You still could be 1 for 2 on this one:

    http://lowetide.ca/2014/10/07/piss-cutter/comment-page-1/#comment-339852

    HUNTER1909 says:
    August 25, 2014 at 7:02 pm

    Just saw Draisaitl’s highlight reel and he plays like freaking Beliveau. Yakupov’s going to be Leon’s Richard.

    Maybe Hunter is in fact Joe Sakic. He seems to be relying on Nail “Richard” Yakupov, Colin Wilson, and Bernier to turn the team around. They have not done much else except buy out Beauchemin.

    Same coach, same players, same problems?

    Weird.

  68. Ducey says:

    McNuge93: So cold day in hell means sometime in January in northern Alberta?

    Calgary. That’s what the flaming C stands for.

  69. digger50 says:

    Lowetide: How are you going to measure this progress? GD? Corsi? I think Leon at center is probably part of the solution.

    For smarter people than I to measure, but certainly where Leon plays makes a big difference. Still, isn’t it really the key indicator? We know what will happen when Connor is on the ice and how far he can influence results, but ultimately the season may be determined by what happens when he is off the ice, which is an unknown.

    When I look at the RE’s I’m usually assuming Connor does his thing, and paying closer attention to who is going to help.

    Going back to early Oiler days as we often do, I highly doubt many famous Oilers hit the same ceiling if they had not played with Gretzky. Just playing, practicing, watching an elite talent makes one better. It’s a truth. I do wonder how this will play out on the current Oilers.

    I only hope we do not get an absolute measurement, meaning Connor is injured and not on the ice at all.

  70. Thinker says:

    And if the sharks weren’t so banged up, we might not have won even 1 round. This team is a long way from being playoff locks. Calgary is improved, LA will be better with quick back. ANA is still strong. SJS is the only team in our division who have taken a step back besides us. I have that we basically ran in place, or maybe a half step back. A lot of things went right last year, and we should expect some regression. Lot’s of young teams make it 1 year, than miss the next. Especially ones with high PDO, and insane individual shooting
    percentages amongst key players.

    Does anybody think Ottawa is going back to the eastern final anytime soon?

  71. misfit says:

    GMB3:
    I’m not sure about the fancies, but I remember Sekera – Fayne being a decent pairing at one point in time. Just like Sekera and Russell were decent. Sekera is a turd polisher and he will be missed

    The loss of Sekera is going to be huge IMO. Having him in there gives us 2 quality pairings that you really don’t have to worry about regardless of opponent, and that’s without even knowing who his partner is.

    Take him out, and we’re down to one useful defense pairing. And I’m not a Russell hater, but he can’t be the best defensemen on his pairing and expect it to be useful.

  72. LadiesloveSmid says:

    Side: Near perfect health – yes

    But Pouliot, Eberle, Nuge and Lucic were all considered to have underperformed. Are you considering that in your evaluation?

    Draisaitl, Maroon, and Talbot over performed by my evaluation. Lucic’s PP luck made up for his 5v5 poor luck in my mind as well.

  73. Genjutsu says:

    Thinker,

    The same San Jose that went to the finals the year before?

    What insane shooting percentages are you referring to.

  74. Side says:

    LadiesloveSmid: Draisaitl, Maroon, and Talbot over performed by my evaluation. Lucic’s PP luck made up for his 5v5 poor luck in my mind as well.

    True. I am very curious to see how Maroon, Draisaitl, Lucic and Talbot will do this season. Here’s hoping for good health and no major performance regressions!

  75. Thinker says:

    Genjutsu:
    Thinker,

    The same San Jose that went to the finals the year before?

    What insane shooting percentages are you referring to.

    I think LLS highlighted the issue well.

  76. Truth says:

    I’d say the Oilers have done a good job of acquiring a bunch of replacement level players with potential. Any player from Malone down to Gambardella at F plus Stanton and Auvitu at D has enough mystery to be signed cheap, but have the ability to surprise and earn a permanent spot on the team. It’s so odd that they’ve done something like this I can’t remember if I’ve ever been as impressed.

    They certainly could have done without the Russell signing, but I’d rather that cap hit than that of some of the other relatively similar D signed on July 1. Now they must be patient with Draisaitl’s agent and come to terms on a reasonable long term contract, or sign him to a bridge deal and let him show his value by running Strome / Nuge / JP, etc. on McDavid’s wing while Drai runs his own line.

  77. Jaxon says:

    During the summer of 2016, I was searching for forwards who could be signed cheap (to replace Hendricks-Letestu-Korpikoski), who hit a lot, shot a lot and were good on the dot. My search uncovered the following names:

    Brad Malone,
    Ryan White,
    Jim O’Brien,
    Derek Ryan.

    Chiarelli signed Malone recently. We already have Pakarinen, who was one of the most frequent hitters in the NHL in 2015-16 (13.5 hits/60).

    If Chiarellis signed RHC Ryan White, he would give MacLellan the ability to deploy (Malone, White, Pakarinen) one of the most frequent hitting lines in the NHL. All 3 men hit at a rate of over 13 hits/60 in 2015-2016. The line would average over 40/hits/60 or between 6-7 hits per game if they played 10 minutes per game. They also shot at a decent rate of 15.9 shots/60 (avg 5.3 shots/60 each). Malone and White averaged over 54% on the dot together. He would certainly cost less then $1M. I’d give him a 2 year deal similar to Malones (probably at a bit higher price tag).

    Note – these stats are from the 2015-2016 season. I haven’t updated the data to reflect 2016-2017:
    Brad Malone 26yr, C/LW, 6’2″, 207lbs, left shot: (FO: 64.52% on 62 draws, H/60: 13.7, SOG/60: 3.4)
    Ryan White 28yr, C/RW, 6’0″, 201lbs, right shot: (FO: 52.42% on 351 draws, H/60: 13.6, SOG/60: 5.8)
    Iiro Pakarinen 24yr, RW, 6’1″, 194lbs, right shot: (FO: 38.46% on 13 draws, H/60: 13.5, SOG/60: 6.7)

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