WHERE THE STREET LIGHTS ALL TURN BLUE

We don’t know where this team will peak over the next nine seasons, but we do know the heart of the order, or most of it. Much of the script has been written, with this season bringing balance to a roster that hasn’t seen it since the spring of 2006. (Photo by Rob Ferguson).

PROJECTED OPENING NIGHT LINEUP, 2017-18

  • Please check the numbers. If true, the Oilers miles and miles of room. If every bonus penny came home to roost, Edmonton would still have over $2 million at the deadline for new hires.
  • Andrej Sekera is listed as active, with cap hit included, if there is a need to LTIR (or an advantage in doing it) that could create more room.
  • Unless the team maxes cap, the Eberle for Strome deal didn’t have to occur for only money. It was a trade the Oilers wanted to make player in, player out in my opinion.
  • Leon Draisaitl’s contract is somewhere down the highway waiting, like Rutger Hauer in The Hitcher. The contract absolutely has the potential to derail the heart of the order.

BAKERSFIELD CONDORS 2017-18 

  • My RE series will profile nine names on this (assumed) Bakersfield roster. One of the things we often underestimate with minor league/major league teams is the number of defenders used in a season. In 2016-17, Edmonton employed 12, the Condors 14.
  • Five Condors defenders took a little trip to the NHL during the year: Matt Benning, Jordan Oesterle, Griffin Reinhart, Mark Fayne, Dillon Simpson.
  • I have estimated five blue from the group above in the RE series.

CURRENT 50-MAN LIST

  • I wrote about Jussi Jokkinen over at ON last night, he could be the new Pisani for this roster of young forwards. I’m not sure who Stoll and Torres are on this roster, but if the veteran Finn can mentor (say) Strome and Puljujarvi for a season, that could be a helluva good thing.
  • For some reason, there’s a gigantic amount of talk about what might happen if Cam Talbot gets hurt. Folks, the Oilers were in the same situation a year ago, and most teams in the NHL are marching alongside. If Peter Chiarelli invested substantial money in a backup, the howls of misused dollars would no doubt be significant. It’s a risk, one that many NHL teams share.
  • I like many of the bets here. Jokinen as a sliding forward is a really nice fit and could be amazing value; Auvitu is not an established option to replace Sekera until his return but it seems a reasonable bet to me.
  • The Strome bet is the big one of summer. Chiarelli’s ‘Mirror Man’ for Leon Draisaitl came at a cost, and that is a lot of what we’re going to be talking about in the coming year. I think there are ways to ensure success for Strome, including expanded playing time as McDavid’s RW and using the former Islander in the Mark Letestu role. I imagine that will be a major part of the coming season.
  • If Strome on RW works, it gives Todd McLellan the chance to create a strong second line, possibly Lucic-Draisaitl-Slepyshev (who were effective at the end of the playoffs). If that line can score 70 goals, and McDavid’s line scores 85 (86 between McDavid, Draisaitl, Maroon a year ago), the Oilers should push for the division title.
  • The opportunity to cobble together a third scoring line out of Jokinen, Nuge and Puljujarvi exists, Drake Caggiula or Zack Kassian could also insert themselves into the conversation.
  • If Strome can’t deliver enough offense to remain in the heart of the order, mirror man may be Jussi Jokinen.

WHAT’S THE PROBLEM?

One of the things I’ve been watching this summer is just how satisfied the fanbase is with last season, and how much Oilers Nation is looking forward to the coming year. Most of the blogs have focused on the negative, probably going to take some time to believe the wins will continue. The worries about the coming season are:

  • Andrej Sekera’s injury and its impact on the season.
  • Strome’s ability to replace Eberle’s contribution.
  • The team’s youth will take a step back.

The Sekera worry is real, with the Auvitu addition a terrific bet but a bet all the same. Strome’s addition (for Eberle) looks like a net loss for sure, that’s a bet that is going to need a little help and could fail (with very little established help, possibly forcing Jokinen into a more substantial role).

The one thing being argued currently I don’t buy is the entire group of kids taking a step back. We don’t know what we don’t know, but the idea that Jesse Puljujarvi, Anton Slepyshev and Drake Caggiula all step back isn’t something I can buy. Betting against Puljujarvi for the coming season is one thing, but all of the kids? One of these youngsters is going to emerge, my only question in that area is timing. If Puljujarvi doesn’t emerge this fall, I’m not worried about him long term, but the current season would suffer from a 30-game audition. That’s the danger here, and the value of adding Jokinen becomes even more clear.

 

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65 Responses to "WHERE THE STREET LIGHTS ALL TURN BLUE"

  1. Nuclear leak says:

    Why isn’t the mirror man the Nuge with Strome patrolling a soft 3rd line?

    27/93/29 could be fairly lethal.

  2. Lowetide says:

    Nuclear leak:
    Why isn’t the mirror man the Nuge with Strome patrolling a soft 3rd line?

    27/93/29 could be fairly lethal.

    That may well be the case. That’s a helluva line potentially.

  3. dustrock says:

    I do like the availability of several mirror men to plug and play wherever they are needed.

    Trying to think back to McLellan’s SJ days how he developed young talent. Pavelski, Couture, Vlasic were all great successes and a guy like Pavelski was a late round pick.

    Draisaitl has clearly elevated his game to a level we didn’t expect for maybe a couple of years, if ever. Benning was immediately impressive. Klefbom has only gotten better.

    You’d think he has a decent track record for developing young talent so why would the players take a step back?

    A guy like Slepyshev played very well, the best hockey he’s ever played, in the playoffs. I can’t see Caggiula playing worse. I guess the unknown factor is Puljujarvi.

  4. Ryan says:

    Sure there are a lot bets Chiarelli is making… He definitely needs some offense from at least 2 of Slepy, Strome, and JP.

    My Ipad just autocorrected “Strome” to “Stromboli.” Lol.

    If we close our eyes, cross our fingers, forget about Eberle’s production, squint a bit… We can look to next season and see that…

    Strome looks awfully good in the 3c soft minutes center slot. Especially juxtaposed with Drake and Desharnais last season. Strome’s still a bit of a tweener and not great on draws, but he’s also a coveted right-handed center and those are hard to find…

  5. Ca$h-McMoney! says:

    Torres was a first round pick with disappointing offence who hit hard and was bat shit crazy, creating fear through sheer chaos. He was a checker most of the time but once in a while looked like an elite talent.

    That’s Kassian. All day.

  6. dustrock says:

    Assuming Puljujarvi is ready, the forward corps looks pretty great, with a lot of Plug & Play guys McLellan will love.

    It’s the D that concerns me. I think we’ll see immediately what missing Sekera means, and I think the main practical goal for the team is not to get too far behind in the first 20 games.

  7. speeds says:

    What’s your take on the “howls of misused dollars” argument maybe being a bit different if they were pressed tight to the cap?

  8. Woodguy v2.0 says:

    I see Strome and Nuge being the flopped wingers/C.

    They’re not going to pay Drai to play wing full time.

    Nuge can be the defensive conscious/dzone F1 for McDavid and I think that has a ton of value as it maximizes the biggest weapon on the Oilers which is McDavid’s skating.

    I know McLellan loved Drai with 97 but that won’t happen as often as they need to run him at C to make the team work long term.

    Combine that with RNH’s lack of progress in the faceoff circle and it makes the most sense.

  9. Richard S.S. says:

    Woodguy v2.0,

    Thank You, well said.

  10. prairieschooner says:

    I am not sure about the progress of JP
    I feel a full season in the AHL would develop him better than bringing him in too soon.
    Time to shake off the Laine comparisons and do what is best for the player and the team

  11. jm363561 says:

    “Unless the team maxes cap, the Eberle for Strome deal didn’t have to occur for only money.”

    The related question is why Pouliot was bought out instead of absorbing all of his remaining contract hit this coming season. There has to be a reason … please, someone tell me there is a reason.

  12. Ryan says:

    Woodguy v2.0:
    I see Strome and Nuge being the flopped wingers/C.

    They’re not going to pay Drai to play wing full time.

    Nuge can be the defensive conscious/dzone F1 for McDavid and I think that has a ton of value as it maximizes the biggest weapon on the Oilers which is McDavid’s skating.

    I know McLellan loved Drai with 97 but that won’t happen as often as they need to run him at C to make the team work long term.

    Combine that with RNH’s lack of progress in the faceoff circle and it makes the most sense.

    Maybe true.

    Only caveat is that if the Oilers are going to trade him in a year or so, I think his trade value will take an enormous hit if he’s seen as a six million dollar winger.

  13. Showerhead says:

    Things I worry about:

    Sekera’s injury – that middle pair only works if Benning or Nurse or Auvitu makes a step or a leap or a longjump. Count me in the “Russell can defend well but his style means he’s defending all of the time” camp – he needs a good player beside him if that top 4 is to work.

    Injuries in general – a worry for every team, I am sure. With Edmonton, we’re so used to key players missing large chunks of time that last season seems like an aberration as opposed to a dependable norm. No way of knowing what the truth is until it happens in this case but I’m certainly concerned – injuries could easily offset whatever organic growth is going on.

    The cap space – since the day he was drafted, I’ve been going on about how Connor McDavid’s 3rd season will represent the single biggest value contract in the cap era history of the NHL. To my way of thinking, the follow-up to that is to go for it in every way possible this year. Let’s be clear: the season is months away and the trade deadline is not until February. This means the thing I’m worried about may not be a worry by Christmas or February or the day Edmonton gets its round 2 revenge. I’m just saying I don’t feel confident here and now that Chiarelli agrees with me that McDavid’s contract makes season Edmonton’s best-ever chance.

    Things I am optimistic about:

    Connor McDavid is an Edmonton Oiler.
    I’m not sure that Drai is a river pusher but I’m optimistic that he will be. That top-6 looks great, especially with the Nuge-at-RW/F1 option.
    Cam Talbot is very good and probably will be again.
    The lower percentage bets (Caggiula, Slepyshev, Puljujarvi) are not in core positions. They’re not being asked to carry their line or anchor a pairing or save the franchise. They’ll be given opportunities and you have to think at least one of them will succeed.

    Obviously I’ve given more wordcount to concern than optimism but I weigh them pretty equally. It is my belief that Edmonton will be a good/very good team this year but remain a work in progress.

  14. Clarkenstein says:

    Here’s a question for you LT. Who will have more points next year. Connor or the Oil?

  15. GCW_69 says:

    Woodguy v2.0:
    I see Strome and Nuge being the flopped wingers/C.

    They’re not going to pay Drai to play wing full time.

    Nuge can be the defensive conscious/dzone F1 for McDavid and I think that has a ton of value as it maximizes the biggest weapon on the Oilers which is McDavid’s skating.

    I know McLellan loved Drai with 97 but that won’t happen as often as they need to run him at C to make the team work long term.

    Combine that with RNH’s lack of progress in the faceoff circle and it makes the most sense.

    You don’t worry about Nuge’s muffin quality shot? Hopefully he spent the summer working on his shot.

  16. Showerhead says:

    Ryan,

    My thought is that if he’s a $6M winger who makes hay alongside 97, his numbers are going to look more appealing than if he’s an offensively challenged center who is good-not-great vs. the toughs.

    Edit to add: if he plays wing and doesn’t make hay then uh oh.

  17. Woogie63 says:

    Lots of nice bets on improvements for the forwards.

    Auvitu/Benning/Nurse to replace our best defenseman is too big of a bet for my comfort. With the cap space he had for this year, PC could have improved his odds, for this +20 important minute a night role.

  18. Jaxon says:

    Lowetide: That may well be the case. That’s a helluva line potentially.

    I think it ma be a 3-way relationship depending on where Draisaitl is.
    If Draisaitl @ 2C, then Strome @ 1RW, Nuge @ 3C
    If Draisaitl @ 1RW, then Nuge @ 2C, Strome @ 3C

    However, if they experiment a bit with Nuge:
    Nuge @ 2LW? Draisaitl @2C, Strome @ 1RW

  19. Marc says:

    Lowetide,

    On your point about Sekera and LTIR, the Oilers can leave space for bonuses, or use LTIR, but not both. LTIR allows a team to exceed the cap, but you have to spend to the cap in the first place to get the benefit of it. Doing so means that any amount of bonuses earned this season will be taken off next season’s cap.

    This is why Toronto’s cap situation is such a mess.

    They used LTIR last season because the Horton and Lupul contracts took up $10.55M in cap space that they wanted to use. Using LTIR allowed them to exceed the normal cap. But spending enough to exceed the cap meant that they left no cushion for incurred bonuses, which can only be done by actually spending less than the cap for the entire season.

    The Leafs’ super crop of rookies earned $5.37M in bonuses last season, so the Leafs’ cap number this season will be $69.63M, not $75M. This means that they will again have to use LTIR for the Horton and Lupul contracts. Indeed they already have (http://www.sportsnet.ca/hockey/nhl/lamoriello-says-leafs-using-ltir-off-season-cap-relief/). Their cap situation is so bad that before they’d signed all their RFAs, they were close to exceeding the offseason cap, which is 110% of the playing season cap.

    By using LTIR again though, they will again no space for earned bonuses, which means that next season, assuming that their young guns don’t fall off a cliff, they will again be working against a cap that’s around $4M less that the rest of the league.

    Which in turn increases the likelihood that they’ll have to use LTIR again in the final years of Matthews and Marner’s ELCs. Which would mean that any bonuses that Matthews and Marner earn in the last year of their ELCs will reduce Leafs cap in the first year of Matthews and Marner’s second contracts.

    Good times.

  20. GMB3 says:

    Ryan: Maybe true.

    Only caveat is that if the Oilers are going to trade him in a year or so, I think his trade value will take an enormous hit if he’s seen as a six million dollar winger.

    What if he is a six million dollar winger who puts up 65-75 points with McDavid and nearly 30 goals? Is it higher or lower than a centreman who struggles to win face offs and doesn’t produce much offense?

    Ideal season would be offensive production centring his own line. I honestly believe the gap in skill level between RNH and Drai is smaller than most people on this blog think it is, if there is a gap at all. I know that plenty of Oilers fans are size queens so that’s not gonna jive with them, but I think it’s the truth

  21. Showerhead says:

    Marc,

    This is a terrific explanation – thank you Marc.

  22. Lowetide says:

    Clarkenstein:
    Here’s a question for you LT. Who will have more points next year.Connor or the Oil?

    Connor. Pretty sure.

  23. jtblack says:

    Clarkenstein,

    “Here’s a question for you LT. Who will have more points next year. Connor or the Oil?” – I iGive Connor the edge. 112 Connor. 97 Oilers.

    Great stuff LT!!!!! WOW. From all the commentary I see I get General feeling that people like the Oilers the way they are constructed, but don’t Love them. That’s where I fall. I think they will be a Good team and make the playoffs. I think Connor will go on 4 and 5 game tears that will give us wins in bunches … BUT, the beginning of the year could be a bit rocky …

    By December we should have some clarity on the youngsters; and Sekera back …

    I think PC will add at the deadline and go all in … for a Cup run ….

  24. GMB3 says:

    AT the end of the day Drai’s shooting % is bound to regress this year, and we will get a better view of who he is offensively. IMO

  25. jm363561 says:

    I see Strome and Nuge being the flopped wingers/C.
    ============
    I see Strome being groomed to play 3C in 2018.19 after RNH is traded. He may play some RW this year but you have to believe one of PJ, Sleps, Caggs, or Yamo will become Connor’s shooter in a year’s time.

  26. GMB3 says:

    GCW_69: You don’t worry about Nuge’s muffin quality shot?Hopefully he spent the summer working on his shot.

    Member when he scored 25 three years ago? Must be a spicy muffin

  27. GMB3 says:

    Ca$h-McMoney!:
    Torres was a first round pick with disappointing offence who hit hard and was bat shit crazy, creating fear through sheer chaos. He was a checker most of the time but once in a while looked like an elite talent.

    That’s Kassian. All day.

    Spot on

  28. Lowetide says:

    jtblack:
    Clarkenstein,

    “Here’s a question for you LT. Who will have more points next year. Connor or the Oil?” – I iGive Connor the edge.112 Connor.97 Oilers.

    Great stuff LT!!!!!WOW. From all the commentary I see I get General feeling that people like the Oilers the way they are constructed, but don’t Love them.That’s where I fall.I think they will be a Good team and make the playoffs.I think Connor will go on 4 and 5 game tears that will give us wins in bunches …BUT, the beginning of the year could be a bit rocky …

    By December we should have some clarity on the youngsters; and Sekera back …

    I think PC will add at the deadline and go all in … for a Cup run ….

    I think the Oilers have chosen 97’s final entry-level deal to find out about some people. It’s right there, signing veterans and using the LTIR Sekera, but PC is going in another direction (playing out the season and adding needed veterans at the deadline).

    I would be more aggressive about this season, to be honest. Chiarelli is taking the longer view. If he’s right, and the Oilers win Stanley this decade, only a few will express regret about what could have been had Petry not been traded.

    Me? I’m hoping for one and apologize to no one. Trade deadline is the next stop for procurement, doubt the Oilers draft in the first round 2018.

  29. OriginalPouzar says:

    jm363561:
    “Unless the team maxes cap, the Eberle for Strome deal didn’t have to occur for only money.”

    The related question is why Pouliot was bought out instead of absorbing all of his remaining contract hit this coming season. There has to be a reason … please, someone tell me there is a reason.

    I agreed initially, however, I think it might have something to do with getting rid of the contract. The team is at 50 contracts, 48 with two slide rules – Pouliot would make that 51/49 leaving almost no wiggle room for in-season improvements.

  30. speeds says:

    OriginalPouzar: I agreed initially, however, I think it might have something to do with getting rid of the contract.The team is at 50 contracts, 48 with two slide rules – Pouliot would make that 51/49 leaving almost no wiggle room for in-season improvements.

    They could have just not signed one or two of the AHL vets to 2way deals if they were concerned about contract numbers.

  31. Showerhead says:

    Lowetide,

    Well said – I think this sums up the situation perfectly.

    As far as tough decisions go, we all hope Connor will someday be made to choose who he’ll hand the Cup to. On that day, should it come, there will be no hand wringing or agonizing – just joy – no matter what Chiarelli does between now and then.

    Edit to add: Here and now, I still wish he were being more aggressive for 17/18.

  32. McNuge93 says:

    OriginalPouzar: I agreed initially, however, I think it might have something to do with getting rid of the contract.The team is at 50 contracts, 48 with two slide rules – Pouliot would make that 51/49 leaving almost no wiggle room for in-season improvements.

    I think it was likely two things. Free up a bit more cap space just in case. And 2 he is not a player Mclellan wants and thus move him out. I think Chia and McL don’t hesitate to move if they might not fit.

  33. jtblack says:

    Lowetide,

    “doubt the Oilers draft in the first round 2018.” …. I can see that happening, but don’t agree with it … 2 teams gave up their 1st round picks at the deadline and neither got further than the Oilers (Wash, Minny) … I think the deadline is better for depth additions … but PC will clearly do more than last year (which in hindsight some depth may have pushed us past Ana) ….

    I think it’s important to have Drai signed by camp and that the team starts well …

    Started last year 7 – 1; and ended the year on 18 -4 …. That’s a whole lot of mediocrity sandwiched in between …

  34. Woodguy v2.0 says:

    Showerhead:
    Ryan,

    My thought is that if he’s a $6M winger who makes hay alongside 97, his numbers are going to look more appealing than if he’s an offensively challenged center who is good-not-great vs. the toughs.

    Edit to add: if he plays wing and doesn’t make hay then uh oh.

    This exactly

  35. Woodguy v2.0 says:

    GCW_69: You don’t worry about Nuge’s muffin quality shot?Hopefully he spent the summer working on his shot.

    Nuge is a volume shooter comparatively on this team. He clocked over 8/60 last year. 3rd behind 97 and 14 among players with 500 5v5 min

    He’s also a career 10.7% shooter which isn’t bad from the center spot.

    97 will put him in some pretty slick shooting spots too.

    No worries at all.

  36. Dominoiler says:

    jm363561,

    Pouliot had two years remaining, iirc..

    I find it confusing how people don’t connect disappointing seasons (not meeting cap hit expectations) w the exit door, ala Pouliot and eberle..

    Also, all this talk of nuge being converted into a winger (rw in staples case, huh?!) is coming from where?.. i don’t see it happening.. ok, take drai out of a position of success (7th in scoring), replace him w nuge (as a rw?!) and there won’t be drop off?.. i think some people are letting the summer heat / boredom get to them.. maybe it goes that way, nuge sure is crap at the dot, but i don’t think it’s likely or a reasonable expectation..

  37. defmn says:

    McNuge93: I think it was likely two things. Free up a bit more cap space just in case. And 2 he is not a player Mclellan wants and thus move him out. I think Chia and McL don’t hesitate to move if they might not fit.

    Pretty much how I see it as well. Either Chiarelli or McLellan or both didn’t want them on the team. You can disagree with their assessment but there is no doubt in my mind that that was what led to the moves.

  38. jtblack says:

    Dominoiler,

    +1 …. Pouliot absolutely stinks the joint out last year and people are unhappy the Oil didn’t bring him back ….

    Imagine if PC traded for a 14 point winger who made $4 Million per season .. What would people say then …. other than it was a Mac T style pick up!

  39. PerryK says:

    Showerhead,

    “Count me in the “Russell can defend well but his style means he’s defending all of the time” camp – he needs a good player beside him if that top 4 is to work.”

    Russell can be a very good 2LD or a 4RD. He cannot control gaps on the RHS because he is too worried about getting beat on the outside. So he has to back off. The management and the coach need to read Dominic Galamini’s https://hockey-graphs.com/2016/03/04/quantifying-the-importance-of-handedness/.

    6.2 shot attempt differential with handedness! Not difficult or lengthy read! Find a 2RD! Heck we will settle for a good 3RD.

  40. Revolved says:

    prairieschooner:
    I am not sure about the progress of JP
    I feel a full season in the AHL would develop him better than bringing him in too soon.
    Time to shake off the Laine comparisons and do what is best for the player and the team

    It’s funny that the two players get compared at all, as one has gorgeous finish (2.33P/60) with poor two way play (-3.5% CorsiRel), while the other was quite the opposite (1.45P/60, +3.1 CorsiRel).

  41. RedArmy says:

    I close my eyes at night to sweet thoughts of crisp Nuge passes hitting McDavids tape at full speed. I sleep well.

  42. GMB3 says:

    jtblack:
    Dominoiler,

    +1 …. Pouliot absolutely stinks the joint out last year and people are unhappy the Oil didn’t bring him back ….

    Imagine if PC traded for a 14 point winger who made $4 Million per season .. What would people say then …. other than it was a Mac T style pick up!

    Except the downside is extending the cap hit of a player who had a dissapointing season. And dominoiler, Eberle still was third in scoring on the team. Logical posts are getting harder and harder to find here

  43. GMB3 says:

    Dominoiler:
    jm363561,

    Pouliot had two years remaining, iirc..

    I find it confusing how people don’t connect disappointing seasons (not meeting cap hit expectations) w the exit door, ala Pouliot and eberle..

    Also, all this talk of nuge being converted into a winger (rw in staples case, huh?!) is coming from where?.. i don’t see it happening.. ok, take drai out of a position of success (7th in scoring), replace him w nuge (as a rw?!) and there won’t be drop off?.. i think some people are letting the summer heat / boredom get to them.. maybe it goes that way, nuge sure is crap at the dot, but i don’t think it’s likely or a reasonable expectation..

    I can’t see how some people can’t connect the dots between why McDavids wing could be a logical landing spot for RNH. Let’s pay Drai 8 million dollars to play the wing with the best young player in the NHL.

    You should go for a dip in the pool…

  44. Pescador says:

    PerryK:
    Showerhead,

    “Count me in the “Russell can defend well but his style means he’s defending all of the time” camp – he needs a good player beside him if that top 4 is to work.”

    Russell can be a very good 2LD or a 4RD.He cannot control gaps on the RHS because he is too worried about getting beat on the outside.So he has to back off.The management and the coach need to read Dominic Galamini’s https://hockey-graphs.com/2016/03/04/quantifying-the-importance-of-handedness/.

    6.2 shot attempt differential with handedness!Not difficult or lengthy read!Find a 2RD!Heck we will settle for a good 3RD.

    This is why I would like to see:
    Reset. Benning. for the second pairing.
    I would bet McLellan runs this pairing & I wouldn’t be surprised he starts this way.

  45. Richard S.S. says:

    $!2.5 Million – $3.775 Million = $8.725 Million difference. That meant either Eberle or Nugent-Hopkins must go. Eberle had the better market. But even if they find a cheaper replacement – Strome – it means more salary must be cleared. There goes Pouliot, who had no market.

    The moves this year are not being done for just this year. They have major significance beyond this year. It’s all about bigger, stronger, faster, better, younger, cheap.
    Strome is bigger, stronger, faster, younger, cheaper than Eberle. Whether he’s better is a work in progress.

  46. Shizuka says:

    LT, another nice article to peruse. Incidentally, you and Hernan have a good rapport on the Saturday show. Keep it going man = )

  47. Oil2Oilers says:

    Pescador,

    For me Benning’s up coming season is the pivotal factor on the direction this team for the following reasons;

    Draisaitl’s deal will work or not – McTavish’s overthinking errors in his rookie season are to painful to revisit and are now spilled milk.

    Sekera’s injury has already lead to the worst possible result, a long term deal for Russell.

    Chia has long term form valuing grit over skill. See the trades of Kessel, Seguin, Hall and Eberle. He won the cup with a bunch of goons but wouldn’t have with out a generational defensive star and an incredibly hot goalie.

    So the direction of the team rests on Benning’s slight shoulders. By the end of the season he must win the #2 Right side D roll by a country mile. Why by a country mile? Because like being a women in the work force being a skill player of Chia team you must be twice as good to win your job.

    Nurses job and future contact is a given because of grit. Benning must beat out Russell and Chia’s proven love of him to win the day.

    A lot to ask of a sophomore and unlike with the auditioning young forwards where odds are one of them, or more, will catch fire he is the only short term hope for skill on the right side of the defence.

  48. Lowetide says:

    I’m working right now, gents, please be respectful of each other’s opinions.

  49. Dominoiler says:

    GMB3: Except the downside is extending the cap hit of a player who had a dissapointing season. And dominoiler, Eberle still was third in scoring on the team. Logical posts are getting harder and harder to find here

    Haha, ok, buds..
    0 goals in the playoffs is a thing; coughing up the puck to perry was a thing.. thanks, but no thanks..

  50. JustWatt says:

    Lowetide: I think the Oilers have chosen 97’s final entry-level deal to find out about some people. It’s right there, signing veterans and using the LTIR Sekera, but PC is going in another direction (playing out the season and adding needed veterans at the deadline).

    I would be more aggressive about this season, to be honest. Chiarelli is taking the longer view. If he’s right, and the Oilers win Stanley this decade, only a few will express regret about what could have been had Petry not been traded.

    Me? I’m hoping for one and apologize to no one. Trade deadline is the next stop for procurement, doubt the Oilers draft in the first round 2018.

    LT,

    I am starting to think this too. All the unspent cap space is working triple duty right now:

    1. It keeps the specter of offer sheets at bay and leaves room for Draisaitl’s contract.
    2. It keep next off season’s roster trimming to a manageable level when McDavid’s big contract comes on line.
    3. It keeps the powered dry for in-season/trade deadline deals.

    I think that Chiarelli feels like this team is good enough after last year’s success to allow him to make a batch of small bets on off-season procurements and internal improvements while staying with the pack. It gives him a window to assess these bets, say ~1/4 to 1/3 of a season, to determine who is stepping up and what holes will need to be filled mid-season.

    But come Christmas I don’t see how it isn’t pedal-to-the-metal, balls out, Woodstock-or-bust time. Sekera should be back and he should know pretty well what he has on his roster. And whatever this team lacks, he’s going to have all the bullets he needs to fill the holes. Open spots on the 50-man, space under the cap, a first-rounder next year (as you referenced).

    Chiarelli has not been as aggressive this offseason as many of us would have liked (myself included) but I have the same sneaking suspicion that you have that he is still looking at this coming year as one in which he expects to push hard for the Cup. He’s just not taking the route that we would have.

  51. Ryan says:

    Woodguy v2.0: This exactly

    I just don’t see it. What am I missing boys?

    I don’t see throwing Nuge on McDavid’s RW next year as a panacea to salvage Nuge’s trade value if the plan is to trade him after next season.

    Sure, if he fits on the line, he should put up some good numbers though Nuge is more of a playmaker than a trigger man. Last year in my mind’s eye, I mostly see the Ethan Rilfes Moreau cross the blue line and immediately fire a soft wrister at the goalie’s crest than a Brett Hall, but that’s just me. Of course, he’ll get better looks than that if he plays with 97.

    Even if he puts up good numbers, GM’s are going to see him as a guy who was zoomed by MacDavid from a mile away. That and his value as a possible top six center for a team in dire need of one will be eroded. That’s my opinion.

    As far as I can tell, correct me if I am wrong, but at six million dollar cap / winger coming offf a 20 goal/ 51 point campaign, Eberle’s trade value was nearly zilch. If it wasn’t then Chiarelli should be fired for trading him for Strome.

    If you prorate Eberle’s last seven seasons to 82 games, he’s been a lock for more than 20 goals every season.

    Applying that same process to the Nuge, he would have scored 20 plus goals twice out six seasons.

    I still think that there are team out there that you could sell the Nuge as a solution to their top six center woes. A poor man’s 1c or very good #2.

    But if you turn Nuge into a left shot winger who spent a season zoomed by 97. Lordy look out at the return when you try to move him while also clearing cap space.

  52. Bank Shot says:

    I like Lowetides initial lineup with the exception of Caggiula. I think that McLellan thinks that Drake is a player.

    Caggiula was chosen to fill in as a center despite being a rookie that hadn’t played there much throughout his college career if reports are accurate.

    Drake was also top 6 in ES icetime per game in the playoffs. More than Eberle.

    I think we might see Slepyshev and Caggiula swap places in the opening night line-up.

    Or if the Oilers want to go back to Draisaitl at center maybe we see this lineup:

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

    Also with the Oilers signing Auvitu, Stanton, and Lowe that seems like a sign that they aren’t too high on Paigin doesn’t it?

    Going to be tough for all of Jones, Bear, Mantha, and Paigin to be in the AHL lineup the way things are currently sitting. Especially when Auvitu gets sent back down when Sekera is ready.

  53. jtblack says:

    GMB3,

    If its too hard to find “good posts”, head to another sandbox … with Pouliot, Ebs & Hall ….

    IMO, there is a small, I repeat, small segment that over values the Oilers from the decade of darkness … IMO, I do not think Pouliot has ever been great, but certainly he was terrible last season. I thought they might buyout Fayne, shorter cap hit penalty … But they chose Pou …

    As for Eberle. I think Eberle is a good NHL player. IMO he is fairly one dimensional. He makes $6 million per. We cannot keep all the $6 million dollar players … He was moved out for a player that makes $2.5 million and is 3 years younger. The player is NOT as good as Eberle. But keep in mind, if Eberle may have managed 2, 3 or 5 goals in the playoffs, the Oilers likely move past Round 2. he turned into a ghost, 0 Goals and very few opportunities .. And I know his supporters say, just wait til next playoffs, this was a small sample size .. Guess we will have to see it in another uniform ..

    Everyone thought this team would fail without Taylor last year. For a host of reasons, it had a great year. Losing Ebs and Pouliot .. IMO it will not hurt the clubs success. It is a new core, and you can plug and play a whole bunch of different players around them.

    These are only my opinions. and my post. on the best Oiler Blog (thanks LT)

  54. jtblack says:

    Ryan,

    I really like a lot of your points on that post about RNH … being zoomed by 97 does little for his trade value, people wanted the Oil to do the same with Yak … as you pointed out, all GMs will see that a mile away ..

    **** I still think that there are team out there that you could sell the Nuge as a solution to their top six center woes. A poor man’s 1c or very good #2. **** Question: Do you really think other GMs see Nuge as a very good 2C …

    As a 1C his teams were never better than 25th in the league (not all his fault of course). As a 2C last year he delivered 43 pts. I think he would fall more in the poor mans 2C category … I guess in what statisical category does he do well in …. he has been -9 or worse each of the last 4 yrs. That is a dinosaur metric perhaps .. how is his corsi … other metrics …

    Usually when I see stuff on RNH it is about how he faced elite comp 42% of the time .. so that is why his possession, faceoff, boxcars are not strong …

    So I would rank him average to below average 2C

  55. russ99 says:

    Nugent-Hopkins has a lot to prove to this coaching staff before being gifted 1RW or 2C playing time.

    As of now they likely see Strome as a better fit in the top 6 within the system and know they’ll at least get good defensive play on a tough minutes line from RNH even if his offensive sorties are off the reservation.

  56. Munny says:

    Platzer and Chase… was hoping one of those two kids would be showing signs of life by now but they’re fading from the family photo like the McFlys without an Enchanting dance.

  57. Munny says:

    Woodguy v2.0,

    There wouldn’t by any chance be any heat maps of seasonal goals and shots attempted by Nuge running around somewhere, would there? I think GMon has game-by-game data, but not sure if he’s produced any seasonal analysis this summer… the lazy bugger!

  58. pocession charge says:

    Munny:
    Woodguy v2.0,

    There wouldn’t by any chance be any heat maps of seasonal goals and shots attempted by Nuge running around somewhere, would there?I think GMon has game-by-game data, but not sure if he’s produced any seasonal analysis this summer… the lazy bugger!

    Funny. I thought you were GMo using a new handle…..

  59. Munny says:

    pocession charge,

    Lol, while this is a new handle for me, unlike Gmon there are no NSXes in my garage, sadly.

  60. Woodguy v2.0 says:

    russ99:
    Nugent-Hopkins has a lot to prove to this coaching staff before being gifted 1RW or 2C playing time.

    As of now they likely see Strome as a better fit in the top 6 within the system and know they’ll at least get good defensive play on a tough minutes line from RNH even if his offensive sorties are off the reservation.

    Last year RNH had over 50% of the shots and over 50% of the goals when Russell wasn’t on the ice.

    51.8% of the goals and 51.4% of the shots to be precise.

    Is Russell on the reservation?

  61. Woodguy v2.0 says:

    Munny,

    hockeystats had some.

    he might be offline for the summer

    we don’t have any yet

  62. GMB3 says:

    Dominoiler: Haha, ok, buds..
    0 goals in the playoffs is a thing; coughing up the puck to perry was a thing.. thanks, but no thanks..

    Still clueless hey? You should have went for a dip in the pool. If playoff performance is so important for Ebs why didn’t it apply to McDavid and his contract? Because it was a sample size of 13 games. Basic high school math stuff

  63. GMB3 says:

    russ99:
    Nugent-Hopkins has a lot to prove to this coaching staff before being gifted 1RW or 2C playing time.

    As of now they likely see Strome as a better fit in the top 6 within the system and know they’ll at least get good defensive play on a tough minutes line from RNH even if his offensive sorties are off the reservation.

    Being gifted? Are you kidding me. We’re not talking about putting Nail Yakupov on the first line. Or do you still think he “doesn’t fit mclellans system” despite being leaned on heavily to play the tough minutes.

  64. Lowetide says:

    We are having respect issues, and people are being timed out. Sad.

  65. russ99 says:

    Woodguy v2.0: Last year RNH had over 50% of the shots and over 50% of the goals when Russell wasn’t on the ice.

    51.8% of the goals and 51.4% of the shots to be precise.

    Is Russell on the reservation?

    Go back and watch the playoff games again and tell me again how much RNH is involved in the offense and how often his play directly results in losing possession.

    A large swath of the fanbase is either playing favorites or isn’t looking closely enough, or not listening to McLellan’s post-playoff comments of what RNH needs to improve to claim a key offensive role on this year’s team.

    Russell has nothing to do with it, his job isn’t offense, it’s opposition shot quality reduction. If you don’t think that’s valuable, than you’re not looking at the right numbers.

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