BLUE RARE

The Oilers, most often during team existence, draft a forward with the first selection and follow with a defender. It’s a thing, or was a thing, you can check it out. Brock Otten mentioned to me yesterday that the Los Angeles Kings love the OHL (smart) and overage picks from the OHL later (smart again). I wonder if NHL teams have a book of tendencies, these patterns can be useful on draft weekend.

There’s a chance we are going to see some unusual things this winter in Edmonton, things that run counter to what I consider established trends going back over some time. Several of these established, universal trends are included in my annual Farm Workers post.

BLUE RARE

Men who are over 30 and come out of the minors to establish (or re-establish) themselves are pretty much a thing of the past.

This is beyond rare, it’s blue rare. Mark Fayne is now 30 and spent last season (mostly) in the AHL. Todd McLellan wanted a swifter defense group and one capable of moving the puck more efficiently, and Kris Russell happened along right on time. The only way Fayne makes it back with the Oilers is due to injury at the NHL  level, right?

CONDORS BLUE 2017-18

The qual comp is about the same across the board and the only real offense from the group is the now departed Oesterle. Dillon Simpson and Mark Fayne seem to be the most effective in the group based on these numbers. As you know, I’m doing the RE series now and one of the questions I had was “how difficult is it going to be for Mark Fayne to put himself into the conversation for NHL work?” With Andrej Sekera injured, Kris Russell might have to move to LH side, putting Eric Gryba as 6D until Andrej Sekera gets back. Now, maybe Yohann Auvitu puts this all to rest, but I think Mark Fayne is a reasonable candidate to be that rare blue who could re-emerge as an NHL player after turning 30. Perhaps some showcase NHL games during the early part of the season allows Edmonton to offload Fayne during the year or at the deadline. Crazy idea? We wait.

CHL FORWARDS

  • Source
  • I ran all the junior blue and thought it would be a fine idea to collect the information for the forwards, too.
  • Yamamoto is clearly the class of the group, he delivered his offense 5×5 against the toughest opponents (according to Prospect-Stats.com).
  • Tyler Benson shows well here, young man should post a very high number if he can stay healthy. Benson is a little over six months older than Yamamoto.
  • Rasanen posted solid numbers as well, a righty center has increased value and there’s some offense here for sure.

Pretty much everyone who is in the AHL past (say) 21 has some issues and is going to do some meandering. If you haven’t established yourself as a prospect of interest by 22 you are in trouble. The players who have graduated to useful NHL careers have at least played some NHL games by the end of their entry level deals. A large group of players on the current team could be described in the “tweener” division.

AHL FORWARDS

  • Source
  • Anton Lander wasn’t a tweener and he surely did some meandering. I’ll suggest an NHL team with some vision would have sent Anton to the AHL straightaway in his first North American season. I also believe he had some of the Mark Fayne (lacking foot speed) issue.
  • Anton Slepyshev qualifies as a “graduate” and he had a period in the AHL where offense wasn’t there. I count him as the first true Condor to graduate to the NHL, now it’s a matter of how  high can he fly?
  • Jujhar Khaira is somewhere between “tweener” and “graduate” we’ll just have to see how this plays out. Interesting season ahead.
  • Jesse Puljujarvi is on this list strictly because of his European status. I don’t believe any of the measures above describe him, he’ll be long in the NHL by age 21.
  • The rest are tweeners, save Laleggia and his late run to daylight via position change.

AHL FORWARD ACQUISITIONS

  • Source
  • Based on the information, Edmonton did get player who (at the AHL level) are on the ice in the big parts of the game.
  • The offense across the board from these men isn’t fantastic, perhaps giving us a clue as to their ‘tweener’ status (none have established themselves in the NHL).
  • Whenever I see Mitch Callahan, I think of Hal Holbrook yelling at Clint Eastwood in Dirty Harry. Maybe he finds a way to the NHL in the Matt Hendricks role.
  • Ty Rattie, although it isn’t on display here, probably has the best chance to make the Oilers among this group.

Exceptions are college menPlaying 4 NCAA seasons means turning pro at 22, meaning a “late start” for some quality prospects.

It’s true, we saw that one year ago when Matt Benning and Drake Caggiula jumped ahead of Edmonton’s minor league prospects to win NHL employment. It could happen again this season.

Joe Gambardella doesn’t have a lot of buzz around him but no one I know thought Matt Benning or Drake Caggiula would play as much NHL as they did in 2017-18. It’s something to keep in mind as we enter training camp.

WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?

The math tells us Jesse Puljujarvi, Anton Slepyshev, Kailer Yamamoto and Tyler Benson are the blue chip forwards, and that Aapeli Rasanen (Bruce McCurdy wrote about him here) may be able to hang with that group. One area I didn’t cover from Farm Workers was the college men, suspect Joe Gambardella will make his presence known as well.

JAROMIR?

It sounds like Kladno may win the lottery, Jaromir Jagr has some NHL interest but it doesn’t sound like a lot. I’d love to see him here, but for Peter Chiarelli it’s a matter of start as you mean to go. The plan is to find out about Jesse Puljujarvi, about Anton Slepyshev, about Drake Caggiula.

LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE

A busy morning on the Lowdown beginning at 10. TSN1260, scheduled to appear:

  • Bruce McCurdy, Cult of Hockey. Gretzky sale, Oilers prospects, Mud Lake!
  • Jimmy Morrison, Edmonton Prospects. A win last night and a chance to advance with a win tonight!
  • Dave Dawson, Onside CFL Fantasy. Another week of CFL action featuring the Eskimos injured and in tough in the nation’s capital.
  • Rob Vollman, ESPN and NHL.com. The new book is an instant best seller, and Sidney at 30.

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33 Responses to "BLUE RARE"

  1. Kinger_Oil.redux says:

    – Great post LT! LT says: “Perhaps some showcase NHL games during the early part of the season allows Edmonton to offload Fayne during the year or at the deadline”

    – this would be ideal: trade Fayne and say Nurse for an established 26 year old D on a long term contract (eat some of of Fayne’s salary to boot). Add another prospect or pick as necessary…

    Klef-Larsson
    Sek-26 year old stud (Faulk is the dream)
    Russell-Benning

    – Now we are humming. We are going to have to trade an established, emerging D plus other stuff for an even better D at some point IMO

  2. NYC-Back-to-Tokyo Oil (Gentleman Backpacker) says:

    Faulk? Prospect you speak of probably has to be Puljujarvi to get them to bite. Nurse, Pulju, Fayne

    Maybe aim for a Savard type instead? Underrated as a lesser known name, but solid top 4 skills. Less offense than Faulk but should be at far lower cost.

  3. Ducey says:

    Kinger_Oil.redux:
    – Great post LT!LT says: “Perhaps some showcase NHL games during the early part of the season allows Edmonton to offload Fayne during the year or at the deadline”

    – this would be ideal: trade Fayne and say Nurse for an established 26 year old D on a long term contract (eat some of of Fayne’s salary to boot).Add another prospect or pick as necessary…

    Klef-Larsson
    Sek-26 year old stud (Faulk is the dream)
    Russell-Benning

    – Now we are humming.We are going to have to trade an established, emerging D plus other stuff for an even better D at some point IMO

    Sorry man. Can’t agree.

    Keep the picks and prospects, wait until Fayne’s contract runs out at year end, and watch Nurse continue to develop.

    First, trading Fayne is a pipe dream. How many teams are going to take a salary dump mid season? Not many, and they are going to ask for the moon. Chia has kept enough cap room that he does not need to move him. Maybe Fayne will play 30 awesome games and some GM will be persuaded to ignore his salary and last two years to trade for him. Maybe Kate Beckinsale will call me up today too.

    Second, your 26 yr old established D is going to be expensive – too expensive for the next two years when the cap will be super tight. The better plan is to keep the prospects coming as cheap replacements and bridge Nurse for a couple of years.

  4. Thinker says:

    Jagr must just be pricing himself too high right? I don’t see why teams wouldn’t at least take a flyer on him.

  5. russ99 says:

    Fayne would be in demand if he were making $1M a year.

    Maybe at the deadline, we’ll have a taker, otherwise we’d need to eat much of his salary.

    Not the worst thing in the world to have him in the AHL teaching kids defensive positioning and crease clearing.

    Jagr isn’t happening, he has certain cities he wants to play in. If teams in those cities don’t bite, he’ll go back home.

  6. Kinger_Oil.redux says:

    NYC-Back-to-Tokyo Oil (Gentleman Backpacker):
    Faulk?

    Maybe aim for a Savard type instead?

    – Faulk is the dream: but I’d think they would want to trade for a player that is already what they “hope” Nurse could be, but still young kind of thing, on a longer-contract that would be around what Nurse might command if he has a decent season this year (so a guy who is on a 5 x 4 type thing)

    – Of course with CmD, it might not matter: Pitts D sucked big-time

    – I’d rather “have” Savard now than “hope” that Nurse becomes as efficient/better. that’s worth something IMO.

    – Anyway I can see the trading of less-established D for fully-developed you know what you’ve got, and how much they cost D

  7. Bag of Pucks says:

    Thinker:
    Jagr must just be pricing himself too high right? I don’t see why teams wouldn’t at least take a flyer on him.

    Suspect so. At this stage of his career, it’s all about the bank for Jagr.

    2nd all time in points. Was never going to catch Wayne but it would’ve been interesting to see where he landed points wise if hadn’t taken that sabbatical to the KHL.

    For my money, the best player in NHL history cycling off the boards.

  8. Silver Streak says:

    Kinger_Oil.redux,

    Faulk maybe in your dreams…but not many share that at the cost of moving Nurse…..Nurse has that edgy meanness that same stuff we all speak about when the name Pronger is mentioned….Faulk isn’t in the same mold.

  9. jake70 says:

    Bag of Pucks: Suspect so. At this stage of his career, it’s all about the bank for Jagr.

    If he can’t wear fiip flops and short sleeve heading to his sports car in an outside parking lot after practice in the middle of january, he isn’t going there.

  10. who says:

    Ducey: Sorry man. Can’t agree.

    Keep the picks and prospects, wait until Fayne’s contract runs out at year end, and watch Nurse continue to develop.

    First, trading Fayne is a pipe dream. How many teams are going to take a salary dump mid season? Not many, and they are going to ask for the moon. Chia has kept enough cap room that he does not need to move him. Maybe Fayne will play 30 awesome games and some GM will be persuaded to ignore his salary and last two years to trade for him. Maybe Kate Beckinsale will call me up today too.

    Second, your 26 yr old established D is going to be expensive – too expensive for the next two years when the cap will be super tight. The better plan is to keep the prospects coming as cheap replacements and bridge Nurse for a couple of years.

    Agreed. Trading young players for another veteran dman makes no sense to me at all. We’ve already got 4 dmen locked in to long term contracts. That should be our limit.
    In 2 years we may be able to move one of those contracts. And in 2 years one or both of Nurse and Benning should be ready for full time top 4 minutes, and 2 of our rookie pros should be ready for third pairing minutes. And so the cycle continues.
    If Chia bridges Nurse and Benning for 2 years he will haveset thisd core up for long term success. Beautiful job really,when you consider what he started with.

  11. Ribs says:

    Bag of Pucks: Suspect so. At this stage of his career, it’s all about the bank for Jagr.

    Was there a stage where it wasn’t? haha

  12. Ducey says:

    jake70: If he can’t wear fiip flops and short sleeve heading to his sports car in an outside parking lot after practice in the middle of january, he isn’t going there.

    Maybe. That article make it evident he seems a bit desperate. But he made $5.5 M last year ($4 M base plus bonus for game played) and I expect he could likely make at least $4 M playing in Europe somewhere. I imagine that’s the stumbling block.

  13. J-Bo says:

    I’m tiring of talk of trading for an established RHD like Faulk. Not because Faulk wouldn’t make a good addition but because considering our own defence and salary cap issues it makes little sense. I’m much happier that we have the opportunity to see how Benning and Nurse respond and how Bear, Jones, etc… grow then is trading for a Faulk and blocking them all. Also, if Nuge were to be traded at some point I would be happier with a deal similar to Tampa Bay acquiring Sergachev then bringing in a larger salary. Salary cap is the biggest issue for the Mcdavid Oilers and we can’t have everything. I’m excited for our future defense and think it is currently underrated. I much prefer the Longview over the immediate improvement.

  14. godot10 says:

    The Faulk ship sailed once Russell was signed to that monstrosity of a contract. Carolina would only be interested in a 1st line or high end 2nd line centre for him. They really have no need for Nurse, with Slavin, Hanifin, Fleury, and Bean as left shot D.

    Hainsey is to be paired with Rielly on Toronto’s first pair on a 2-year $3 million per season deal, after playing 1st pair at the end of the year and playoffs on the right side with Dumoulin. Russell got a 4 year NMC (effectively) front-loaded.

  15. Thinker says:

    jake70: If he can’t wear fiip flops and short sleeve heading to his sports car in an outside parking lot after practice in the middle of january, he isn’t going there.

    People keep saying that, but he played 3 years in Omsk.

  16. OriginalPouzar says:

    Jesus – 11:42am and I haven’t read Lowetide’s morning blog – damn clients interfering with my Oilers obsession.

  17. Melman says:

    Thinker: People keep saying that, but he played 3 years in Omsk.

    That was a while ago. If playing another year in the NHL for him means taking less than what he can get in Europe, I’m sure he’s after sunshine, short travel and nearby beaches. I sure would be. Although he will have the hassle of constantly having to put the top up and down on his Ferrari.

  18. LadiesloveSmid says:

    Jokinen-Strome-Jagr would be as good a situation as I can think of for a struggling player returning to centre.

  19. LadiesloveSmid says:

    godot10,

    Russell contract is biggest headache of the summer and if it hurts now I don’t wanna picture summer 2020.

    I know you don’t like Franson but I’m sure 3×3 to franson would be notably better. Lefty-righty, younger, cheaper

  20. Lowetide says:

    LadiesloveSmid:
    godot10,

    Russell contract is biggest headache of the summer and if it hurts now I don’t wanna picture summer 2020.

    I know you don’t like Franson but I’m sure 3×3 to franson would be notably better. Lefty-righty, younger, cheaper

    One of Russell or Sekera will be gone 2019 if needed, meaning Nuge next summer I expect. By 2020 all of Russell, Sekera and Nuge could be gone.

  21. Shane says:

    Lowetide,

    It would hurt a lot less if they all left wearing rings on their fingers..

  22. Thinker says:

    Melman: That was a while ago.If playing another year in the NHL for him means taking less than what he can get in Europe, I’m sure he’s after sunshine, short travel and nearby beaches.I sure would be.Although he will have the hassle of constantly having to put the top up and down on his Ferrari.

    That’s a lot of guesswork. If he wanted that, he should would just retire. He obviously still wants to play meaningful hockey. It sounds like he wants to break 2000z

  23. jp says:

    Thinker: That’s a lot of guesswork. If he wanted that, he should would just retire. He obviously still wants to play meaningful hockey. It sounds like he wants to break 2000z

    Agreed that’s a ton of speculation. Presumably he wants to play in the NHL or he’d have signed in the KHL/Czech already.

    We can’t know what’s going on in the man’s head, but what factors are likely involved in his decision?
    1) Money
    2) Location (whether that’s climate or particular cities he does/doesn’t want to to live in)
    3) Team (you’d assume he’s at least somewhat interested in another cup run)

    So why hasn’t he signed with an NHL team yet?
    1) The teams he’d play for haven’t shown interest
    2) Those teams have shown interest, but aren’t currently able to sign him

    It’s that latter one that has me holding a sliver of hope he’s interested in Edmonton, but PC can’t pull the trigger until Leon is signed.

    We will see. It would be amazing to have a legend like that lace up with McDavid’s Oilers for a year (never mind the actual roster hole it would fill).

  24. OriginalPouzar says:

    From recent accounts, Jaromir is contemplating heading to Europe to play for Kladno (the team he owns).

  25. Thinker says:

    OriginalPouzar:
    From recent accounts, Jaromir is contemplating heading to Europe to play for Kladno (the team he owns).

    Sounds like a joke, but if that’s his backup, he can wait til their first home game to head there.

  26. Side says:

    OriginalPouzar:
    From recent accounts, Jaromir is contemplating heading to Europe to play for Kladno (the team he owns).

    Doubt it, unless he can wear flip flops to and from the rink in the Czech Republic climate. Or so I’m told.

    The real question is, since he only seems to care about money, can he afford to hire himself?

  27. LadiesloveSmid says:

    Lowetide: One of Russell or Sekera will be gone 2019 if needed, meaning Nuge next summer I expect. By 2020 all of Russell, Sekera and Nuge could be gone.

    Stauffer says he sees only McDavid, Draisaitl, and Nurse as locks for 2020 😳😳.

    Nurse probably 5th among current D I’d like to see on the team in 2020, 4th if Sekera’s game deteriorates.

  28. Ribs says:

    TSN had a Jagr update earlier today… http://www.tsn.ca/jagr-surprised-by-lack-of-nhl-interest-1.826763

    “I know very well I’m not the same player like 10 or 15 years ago when I was able to win games by myself,” Jagr said. “It’s up to the coach what position he wants to use me. Maybe it would be even better for me if I played on a second or third line because I would play against worse players and worse defensemen. I didn’t have as much luck in my entire career, I always had to face the top defensemen. Even in Florida, I always played against the best, which was always very tough.”

    Classic Jags.

  29. Lowetide says:

    LadiesloveSmid: Stauffer says he sees only McDavid, Draisaitl, and Nurse as locks for 2020 😳😳.

    Nurse probably 5th among current D I’d like to see on the team in 2020, 4th if Sekera’s game deteriorates.

    I mentioned the possibility of trading JP a few months ago and folks were upset but that’s kind of how I see it to. Ryan Strome has a better chance at remaining an Oiler in 2020 than a bunch of others imo.

  30. Kinger_Oil.redux says:

    LadiesloveSmid,

    – I agree that in 3 seasons there will be a lot of turnover, but that’s a silly comment by Stauffer IMO: Contractually Lucic is a lock well past 2020. We can’t see the future but based on existing level of play: Klef at 4.2MM untill 2023 seems a lock, as well as Larsson untill 2021.

    – Nurse on the other hand, if this is his ceiling, that’s not a lock.

    – They either are very confident in predicting the future development of Nurse, or are telling Stauffer he’s a lock so other GM’s think they have to pay-up to get Nurse. The latter is a Slats play-book move

  31. striker says:

    Oilers sign Kailer Yamamoto to a 3 year entry level contract

  32. leadfarmer says:

    Kinger_Oil.redux,

    I would be willing to bet that we use a compliance buyout on Lucic after the 2020 NHL lockout. Not that he won’t be a useful player. I don’t think he will be worth the 6 mil by then. Although if that doesn’t happen his last 3 years he only costs 4,5, 4 mil in real money with a 3 mil signing bonus that first year so before he starts those last 3 years he is actually owed 1, 5 , 4 mil.

  33. Jaxon says:

    leadfarmer:
    Kinger_Oil.redux,

    I would be willing to bet that we use a compliance buyout on Lucic after the 2020 NHL lockout.Not that he won’t be a useful player.I don’t think he will be worth the 6 mil by then.Although if that doesn’t happen his last 3 years he only costs 4,5, 4 mil in real money with a 3 mil signing bonus that first year so before he starts those last 3 years he is actually owed 1, 5 , 4 mil.

    It may save the owner some money but doesn’t save the Oilers much at all in cap hit. If they buy Lucic out for his final 3 years in the summer of 2020, the final 3 years of cap hit will be $5.5M, $4M, $5.5M, so why even bother unless they really need that $500k in cap savings. They won’t be buying him out and probably won’t be able to trade him either unless Edmonton gives up more to dump him. It appears they are stuck with him and his contract no matter what. What a crap contract for the Oilers.

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