THE 2017-18 EDMONTON OILERS: NEVER KEPT A DOLLAR PAST SUNSET

The Edmonton Oilers 2016-17 will long be remembered as the group that pulled the franchise out of the depths and allowed the fanbase to dream of Stanley again. The breathtaking Connor McDavid and emerging Leon Draisaitl provided ample torque for the team, while Cam Talbot was outstanding all year long for Edmonton. Can this trio repeat, or push beyond 2016-17? Will they get more support this time?

YEAR OVER YEAR

My RE projections a year ago didn’t give enough credit to the scorers or the defenders. I think Connor McDavid’s injury as a rookie obscured progress, and we’re probably more in line this time around. One thing that should be mentioned about the RE: No way we could have predicted the kind of good health enjoyed by Edmonton last season. It’s guaranteed the luck won’t hold, as Andrej Sekera’s injury has already derailed at least a portion of the 2017-18 campaign.

I have the goals against slightly increasing, while the offense increases close to an equal amount, due mostly to Connor McDavid. I also believe the team will have more power-play opportunities and the presence of expansion Las Vegas (Oilers play them four times) should mean increased power in the lineup.

The Oilers were No. 6 in goal differential a year ago. I don’t have Edmonton winning the Pacific, but rather second place in a close finish behind the Anaheim Ducks.

COMPLETE ROSTER PROJECTIONS 2017-18

I don’t really expect 12 forwards to score 10+ goals but had a helluva time projecting the RW’s on this roster. Ironically, one of the RW’s we may see this season is Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, who I have projected at center. I’m also projectinga free-for-all on defense until Andrej Sekera gets back, with his return coming around mid-season in this model.

I have Leon Draisaitl and Ryan Strome as mirror men and also see Drake Caggiula as a candidate for 1RW alongside Connor McDavid. Getting mighty crowded there, hopefully we’ll know a lot more this time next summer. Notice the lack of rookies? Heh. This team is becoming a veteran group.

THE MCDAVID CLUSTER

I count the department of youth portion of the cluster as ages 18-22, so the McDavid cluster is far smaller than one year ago. Two players left (Yakupov, Reinhart) via trade and expansion, while several moved into the ‘prime’ cluster. There are additional candidates (Kailer Yamamoto, Caleb Jones, Ethan Bear) but a more veteran group is a good thing for the Oilers. This is the heart of the Edmonton Oilers.

THE PRIME CLUSTER

On a traditional team, this would be the heart of the order. With McDavid still in the youth department, this section lacks the star power but there is substantial talent here. RNH, Oscar Klefbom and Adam Larsson are important pieces and the emerging Matt Benning may join them. Ryan Strome is going to get a massive chance to fill some roster holes on this team and I think Zack Kassian, Anton Slepyshev and Drake Caggiula all have a chance to be around these team for the next few seasons. This portion of the team needs to own 50 percent of the goals and 50 percent of the possession even when Connor McDavid isn’t on the roster.

THE VETERAN CLUSTER

This is the group that needs to pay for itself, but that’s no easy task. Plenty of turnover from last year in this category, with Jordan Eberle, Benoit Pouliot and Matt Hendricks gone from last fall. Milan Lucic will have plenty of pressure on him to post offense 5×5, my guess is he’ll improve markedly while also helping on the 5×4.

THE 2017-18 OILERS

  • Final record: 82GP, 46-28-8 100PTS
  • Finish: No. 2 in the Pacific Division, No. 4 in the Western Conference, No. 10 overall
  • All-Star Team: Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl, Oscar Klefbom, Cam Talbot
  • Traded by deadline: Anton Slepyshev, Caleb Jones

The Oilers aren’t aggressively pursuing talent and that tells me Peter Chiarelli is concerned enough about max cap to hold back his water on some of the available free agents (Cody Franson) who might be able to help. I’ll also allow for the possibility that he doesn’t value Cody Franson as much as me.

If things change from here on in, we’ll cover them but this is the projection for 2017-18 for the RE. As soon as I publish this I assume we’ll see three trades, four acts of God and one college free-agent signing.

RE 17-18

This brings us to the end of the RE series for another summer. Thanks so much for reading, I hope the prose helped you through the thunder and rain. I think this team could win the Stanley Cup next spring, and that’s a wonderful feeling.

written by

The author didn‘t add any Information to his profile yet.
Related Posts

50 Responses to "THE 2017-18 EDMONTON OILERS: NEVER KEPT A DOLLAR PAST SUNSET"

  1. OriginalPouzar says:

    The re: for the forwards must have been extremely tough given the versatility of the forwards (as far as position – players that can play both wings or C and W, and as far as players that can play up and down the lineup).

    Great job overall!

    Wait, we shouldn’t expect another 70 plus increase in goal differential year over year – what is Chiarelli doing, resting on his laurels.

    Looking at the GA total, I think it might be a little low – the Sekera injury really hurts. It takes away a rock from the 2nd pairing, it takes away Russell’s rock, it elevates a 3rd pairing d-man to the 2nd due to necessity and not merit and it inserts the #7 in to the lineup as an every day player.

    I don’t know if Talbot can play any better and he should see the back-up more this year – combine that with the Sekera injury and I think we might let in more goals.

  2. stush18 says:

    Awesome work LT. Well thought out as always.

    Anyone else getting a serious itch for hockey to start?

  3. Lowetide says:

    OP: On the other hand, Peter Chiarelli’s choice of backup last season had an .878SP. That part of the roster should be better this season, even if a trade is required.

  4. OriginalPouzar says:

    So many wild cards:

    1) Can one of the wingers show top 6 production allowing Drai to play 2C?

    2) Can Strome cement a role as the 3C of the near future?

    3) Can Klef take another stop and become close to elite?

    4) Can JP take a step forward and provide consistant production?

    5) Is Slepy able to show offence at the NHL level?

    6) Can Drake show offence at the NHL level or will he run in place as a bottom 6 spark plug?

    7) Can Kharia earn an every day NHL role and show that he might be the 4C of the future?

    8) Can Jokinen take Pouliiot’s spot on the PK and have a bounce back year providing some production from the bottom 6?

    9) Can Talbot repeat the consistency of last year?

    10) Can either Benning or Nurse run with a 2nd pairing opportunity and never look back?

  5. OriginalPouzar says:

    Lowetide:
    OP: On the other hand, Peter Chiarelli’s choice of backup last season had an .878SP. That part of the roster should be better this season, even if a trade is required.

    Good point.

    I can’t imagine that LB will be that poor and, if he is, can Ellis run with an opportunity?

  6. OriginalPouzar says:

    stush18:
    Awesome work LT. Well thought out as always.

    Anyone else getting a serious itch for hockey to start?

    Yup, I get it very early – I love the Oilers.

    Usually by August I’m going crazy but I’ve actually been OK – the days are trucking by and its coming.

  7. hunter1909 says:

    OriginalPouzar:
    So many wild cards:

    1) Can one of the wingers show top 6 production allowing Drai to play 2C?

    2) Can Strome cement a role as the 3C of the near future?

    3) Can Klef take another stop and become close to elite?

    4) Can JP take a step forward and provide consistant production?

    5) Is Slepy able to show offence at the NHL level?

    6) Can Drake show offence at the NHL level or will he run in place as a bottom 6 spark plug?

    7) Can Kharia earn an every day NHL role and show that he might be the 4C of the future?

    8) Can Jokinen take Pouliiot’s spot on the PK and have a bounce back year providing some production from the bottom 6?

    9) Can Talbot repeat the consistency of last year?

    10) Can either Benning or Nurse run with a 2nd pairing opportunity and never look back?

    In other words: While most of us chased summertime – you were deep in some Hitlerian bunker lol

    Hunter1909’s Early top picks for early and consistent break out: Darnell Nurse. Darnell Nurse.

  8. hunter1909 says:

    Darnell Nurse is somewhere right now; making JC Van Damme look like a pansy re his intestinal fortitude etc etc.

    Pre Season predictions: Nurse turns up and instantly Oilers have got a star LOL

  9. hunter1909 says:

    OriginalPouzar,

    Oilers seriously need to step up this season: Because: It won’t be 97’s or the German’s fault, lol

  10. Psyche says:

    Thank you for the RE series LT.
    Terrific work as usual! Helped me get through the hot days of August (along with a few bevvies) on the Prairies.

  11. Lowetide says:

    hunter1909:
    Darnell Nurse is somewhere right now; making JC Van Damme look like a pansy re his intestinal fortitude etc etc.

    Pre Season predictions: Nurse turns up and instantly Oilers have got a star LOL

    Apparently Nurse is even stronger than last year. He was at the Biosteel thing and fast as lightning.

  12. OriginalPouzar says:

    I don’t think anyone would question Darnell’s desire to get better and work ethic.

    Hockey IQ, on the other hand, that one I’m still trying to make a determination on.

  13. Psyche says:

    Lowetide,

    Nurse likely finished growing last year. This summer would have been a major window of trainability for him.

    McDavid will see a similar window next summer.

  14. godot10 says:

    Anaheim might be missing Lindholm and Vatanen till Christmas. When healthy, they are a top contender, and they will likely be healthy by the playoffs, but they are unlikely to finish first in the West because of their injuries on D.

    Fowler Manson
    Beachemin Montour
    Larsson, Bieksa
    Holzer

    Till Christmas.

  15. Lowetide says:

    I think the only thing Nurse is missing is calm feet. He is still rapido in his own zone with the puck on his stick. If he can skate it out he’s fine, but he needs to recognize passing outlets and then execute them. Sometimes players never find that calm, but I believe Nurse can do it. We’ll see.

  16. Thinker says:

    Nurse has a family of pro athletes from a sport where players actually work out hard. Of course he got stronger.

  17. OriginalPouzar says:

    Lowetide:
    I think the only thing Nurse is missing is calm feet. He is still rapido in his own zone with the puck on his stick. If he can skate it out he’s fine, but he needs to recognize passing outlets and then execute them. Sometimes players never find that calm, but I believe Nurse can do it. We’ll see.

    I’m still not convinced on his decision-making.

    I believe he has pretty much all the physical tools to be a first pairing d-man but am not sure he’ll be able to put them all together. With that said, can’t see him being anything less than a very good 2nd pairing d-man and one with heart and aggression – that’s a good player.

  18. Professor Q says:

    Lowetide: Apparently Nurse is even stronger than last year. He was at the Biosteel thing and fast as lightning.

    Was he Kung Fu fighting?

  19. Thinker says:

    Professor Q: Was he Kung Fu fighting?

    Everybody was

  20. blainer says:

    My RE and prediction is 108 points and 1st in our division.

    A decent deadline deal puts us over the top for the playoffs and a Stanley cup win over Pittsburgh at home in game six.

    This prediction depends on the health of our top six and top 4 D.

  21. Professor Q says:

    Thinker: Everybody was

    This was expert timing.

  22. VOR says:

    I am going to thread jack and respond to some questions and comments from Bag of Pucks, JT Black, and I think it was Dustrock about scouting from a previous thread.

    First, do I think teams are maxing out their scouting and drafting of players?

    Hell no, I think they have barely scratched the surface of what is possible. On the other hand they may be approaching some pragmatic limits. When you are coaching at the elite level in amateur sport you can engage in performance maximizing exercises that simply aren’t possible in pro sports. For example, I took part in a program where I and all my athletes took the full Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory 2 and a number of specialized psychological tests. What these tests showed was that most of my best athletes were extraordinarily good fits for my personality type. I was doing a crap job of coaching people with non complimentary personality types, their careers were regressing.

    I thought that the answer was to alter my coaching style and personality when working with those poorly served athletes. The psychologists we were working with, provided to us by the COA, maintained that is hard to do and would distract from my work with the athletes who were a fit. Their answer was to redirect those athletes who weren’t a good fit to other coaches that were a good fit and recruit more athletes for me to coach who were a good fit for me. This made me a much more effective coach and allowed me to focus on my core psychological strengths. I had years where every athlete I coached achieved new personal bests. Not only that, we all got along.

    Psychological matching is now widely used in amateur sports. Imagine trying to get an NHL coaching staff to submit to this process? It is not going to happen. But teams have tried to get their existing players to agree to being tested so they can then psychologically match prospects to existing teams. Some teams have even gotten buy in. But mostly the existing players are more than a little reluctant to participate. So again, the methodology is there but it isn’t easy to implement in the real world.

    There is a lot of emerging research into ways of predicting draft rankings. Michael Schuckers, for example, is working on a demographic algorithm that outperforms conventional scouting in beta testing. So essentially it looks at age, place of birth, location of playing career, height, weight, etc. It only increases draft success marginally but it does it with no scouting whatsoever. Other interesting areas of research include data mining what is said about the player on social media and blog sites. Combined with scouting that gives a better ranking order than Schuckers achieved. Then there is intersects – think of this as a bizarre sort of quality of competition measure – essentially imagine player X spent 15% of his junior career playing against the top ten ranked players in the draft but this kid is only ranked 150 by Central Scouting. Player X is probably a sleeper pick. Put all of these things together and you should see a very visible improvement in scouting.

    2. So why isn’t drafting improving?

    It probably is improving. We just can’t see the impact of these new methodologies yet. None of these new approaches rises that much above random chance. Combined you might be able to get the draft rankings to correlate to career numbers at an r value of around .70. In other words a good but not great fit. Which means we need years of career data, a decade or more post draft to fairly evaluate the methodology and possibly multiple draft years to follow. It will take large data sets to be sure we are seeing a positive effect because of the small differences from previous success rates.

    Additionally, nothing matters more to the overall success of a draft class than opportunity. The more kids you draft and give real opportunities to, major minutes with sheltering and talented teammates the more draft success you are going to have. And the more different roles that young players are given the opportunity to fill the more success your draft class is going to have. Overall draft success comes from players like Daniel Cleary, Kirk Maltby, Lee Stempniak, and Kyle Brodziak.

    Team after team kills its draft success by stifling the chance these sorts of players have to hone their craft at the AHL by hiring AHL vets to fill the big minutes. (I think there is a balance, players need to earn their minutes, but the roster can’t be top heavy with 25 year olds). Others kill their draft success by press boxing their prospects. More screw up by dumping players into the deep end where they have no chance to succeed. But a giant problem is that teams give up way too early on players with lower draft pedigrees while probably hanging on to top picks way too long.

    There is also environmental opportunity. The 2003 draft class shows what happens when more than 200 jobs suddenly open up in a single year in the NHL. Joe Pavelski is sort of the poster child. He got an opportunity that wouldn’t have come his way if he had been drafted in say 2000 and give him credit, he ran with it. But if there isn’t an opportunity with the team that drafts you and you get taken after the second round you are well hooped. Either you will get lucky and get traded to a team were there is an opportunity or you end up playing in Europe, being a career AHLer, or out of hockey all together.

    Statistically, there has simply been less opportunity lately – there are cycles in NHL retirements and it is down lately – around 95 players a year over the last decade from 111 in the ten years before that. Additionally teams are making their draft outcomes look worse by picking up college free agents. These players because of age are a coach’s dream but take development time from drafted players.

    3. Scouting in the NHL is beginning to change. Work on scouting bias is causing teams, albeit at a glacial pace, to adopt better scouting practices and to do a better job of training scouts. It is also leading more and more teams to have in house draft analytics people to support their scouts and to use more psychological and socio-demographic testing and analysis in assessing prospects. Technology is allowing for highly refined data-bases and assessment tools to literally be in the scouts hand while he is watching the prospect. This includes tracking software for video analysis by the way.

    Ultimately, however the NHL draft will remain something of a crap shoot. This is because you can’t know the size of the fight in the player until they have something to fight against. And I don’t mean on the ice. I mean you can’t really know if an athlete has the right stuff until life knocks the crap out of them and somehow they get up and go on. We don’t have to go any further than our fourth line right winger to see an example of somebody who chose to climb out of the blackness that was trying to engulf him. The same character traits that saved his life has enabled Zack Kassian to improve his on ice performance.

    The point is you couldn’t have predicted either the challenges Zack Kassian would face or how he would overcome them to become a good player and a great teammate at the time he was drafted. There may come a day when we can but it is many years in the future. So for now it may appear that potatoes can still scout in the NHL but there is a tidal wave of change building and one day we will see it in the actual match between ranking and career outcome.

  23. flyfish1168 says:

    Lowetide:
    I think the only thing Nurse is missing is calm feet. He is still rapido in his own zone with the puck on his stick. If he can skate it out he’s fine, but he needs to recognize passing outlets and then execute them. Sometimes players never find that calm, but I believe Nurse can do it. We’ll see.

    I agree with your assessment. Sometimes a game or two upstairs will help you see the lanes, escape routes and time you have. Seeing from a different perspective. JMHO

  24. OriginalPouzar says:

    blainer:
    My RE and prediction is 108 points and 1st in our division.

    A decent deadline deal puts us over the top for the playoffs and a Stanley cup win over Pittsburgh at home in game six.

    This prediction depends on the health of our top six and top 4 D.

    Our top 4D has already taken a major hit – another hit would be fairly devastating.

  25. Woodguy v2.0 says:

    Lowetide:
    I think the only thing Nurse is missing is calm feet. He is still rapido in his own zone with the puck on his stick. If he can skate it out he’s fine, but he needs to recognize passing outlets and then execute them. Sometimes players never find that calm, but I believe Nurse can do it. We’ll see.

    If he could tone down the Yakupovian Heat that is on his passes, that would help too.

  26. Woodguy v2.0 says:

    Excellent RE: series LT.

    I think you’re a bit optimistic, but “McDavid”.

    The amount of work you put into this is incredible and I thank you for it.

  27. Woodguy v2.0 says:

    I’ve started my pre-season rankings for my betting and such.

    I rank each team by goalie, Dcorps, Forwards and Special Teams then combine those rankings to predict where they finish in the division. Not all of those are weighted evenly. I weight Dcrops and Goalies heavier than Forwards for instance.

    Using this method I came 7th in MIcah Blake McCurdy’s (@IneffectiveMath) “predict the standings contest” last year out of 62 entrants.

    Lots of guys using sophisticated models finished in the 50’s like Manny Elk and Matt Cane.

    Anyhow, I’m coming up with 3rd or 4th in the Pacific for EDM this year.

    Hope I’m undershooting it.

    Most of the issue is Dcorps.

    Right now with the Sekera injury I have this as my Dcorps ranking in the Pacific:

    CGY
    ANA
    SJS
    LAK
    EDM
    ARI
    VAN
    VGK

    There’s an argument that with Hjarlmasson playing with OEL and bumping Goligoski to 2nd pair might put them over a Sekera-less EDM team too.

    If Chychrun wasn’t out with knee surgery I might have ranked EDM 6th instead of 5th for Dcorps in the Pacific.

    Go McDavid!!!

  28. OriginalPouzar says:

    How much of an effect have you factored in for the Lindholm and Vatanan injuries?

  29. Woodguy v2.0 says:

    Dinged them a bit, but here’s my thinking:

    Lindholm will miss ~10 games and with a shoulder injury it won’t effect his skating.

    I think Montour can step into Vatanen’s spot very well and they won’t miss a beat in the top 4, but will hurt the bottom pair

  30. dustrock says:

    Woodguy v2.0,

    Do you put Edmonton over LA if Sekera is healthy?

  31. Brantford Boy says:

    Great RE Series LT, really enjoyed it…
    Still think Kassian’s RE song was by far the best… and with that, he is my dark horse to take reigns on RW in the top 6… free Kassian!

  32. digger50 says:

    Brilliant summary today and brilliant work on the RE series.

    I really enjoyed it, thank you.

  33. OmJo says:

    Late to the party but awesome work LT. I’ve been around for two of these series now and have to day they’re quickly becoming one of my favourite parts of August.

    Re the RE (heh), with the Oilers giving up 1 extra goal this season over last, would that mean we wouldn’t miss Sekera as much as we might think? Or that the Oilers with Sekera will be significantly better defensively than they were last season? That seems more likely, IMO at least.

  34. JDî says:

    Well, nobody wants a hole in their pants.

  35. Lowetide says:

    OmJo:
    Late to the party but awesome work LT. I’ve been around for two of these series now and have to day they’re quickly becoming one of my favourite parts of August.

    Re the RE (heh), with the Oilers giving up 1 extra goal this season over last, would that mean we wouldn’t miss Sekera as much as we might think? Or that the Oilers with Sekera will be significantly better defensively than they were last season? That seems more likely, IMO at least.

    I looked at the Pacific, and honestly Vancouver and Vegas are poor. Calgary will be much better, Arizona probably too, but I think the Oilers are going to be better. Defensively, I think the Oilers will miss Sekera, but Benning looked good playing tougher opponents last season and I think he’ll be able to do it again. For me, the third pairing is a concern, although Cody Franson is still out there. 🙂

  36. stush18 says:

    Lowetide,

    Who’s Cody franson?

    I haven’t heard mention of him before.

  37. Johnny says:

    Woodguy v2.0:
    I’ve started my pre-season rankings for my betting and such.

    I rank each team by goalie, Dcorps, Forwards and Special Teams then combine those rankings to predict where they finish in the division.Not all of those are weighted evenly.I weight Dcrops and Goalies heavier than Forwards for instance.

    Using this method I came 7th in MIcah Blake McCurdy’s (@IneffectiveMath) “predict the standings contest” last year out of 62 entrants.

    Lots of guys using sophisticated models finished in the 50’s like Manny Elk and Matt Cane.

    Anyhow, I’m coming up with 3rd or 4th in the Pacific for EDM this year.

    Hope I’m undershooting it.

    Most of the issue is Dcorps.

    Right now with the Sekera injury I have this as my Dcorps ranking in the Pacific:

    CGY
    ANA
    SJS
    LAK
    EDM
    ARI
    VAN
    VGK

    There’s an argument that with Hjarlmasson playing with OEL and bumping Goligoski to 2nd pair might put them over a Sekera-less EDM team too.

    If Chychrun wasn’t out with knee surgery I might have ranked EDM 6th instead of 5th for Dcorps in the Pacific.

    Go McDavid!!!

    LA over Edm? Sorry, I just don’t know who Paul Ladue and Kevin Gravel are.

  38. YKOil says:

    Fantastic work as always LT, thanks for this.

    Barring a massive step forward by Nurse I find myself in agreement with WG, the loss of Sekera will hurt.

  39. Woogie63 says:

    A 22 year old Nurse is going to grab that number 4 dman spot from Benning, and it will not be close.

    Klefblom-Larsson
    Nurse-Russell

    Are going to play a lot of minutes until Sekera is ready to contribute.

  40. OriginalPouzar says:

    Woogie63:
    A 22 year old Nurse is going to grab that number 4 dman spot from Benning, and it will not be close.

    Klefblom-Larsson
    Nurse-Russell

    Are going to play a lot of minutes until Sekera is ready to contribute.

    Russell on the right side of the 2nd pairing scares me, it scares me more without a steady veteran like Reggie with him and it scares me even more with young player with chaos in his game like Nurse with him.

    Don’t get me wrong, I love me some Darnell but he’s got a few more steps to take before he’s the puck mover on a top 4 pairing.

  41. Soup Fascist says:

    Johnny: LA over Edm?Sorry, I just don’t know who Paul Ladue and Kevin Gravel are.

    That third pairing is made up of a couple of guys who aren’t exactly household names – even in their own “households” – sorry couldn’t resist.

    Looking at LA as a whole and some of their putrid contracts. Lots of people talking about a bounce back season – I just don’t see it.

    May get an early bump on the coaching change but this is bad team. Unless Quick is all universe – WOOF.

  42. frjohnk says:

    Johnny: LA over Edm?Sorry, I just don’t know who Paul Ladue and Kevin Gravel are.

    The Kings top 4 is better than our top 4.

    But like you say, their bottom 2 D is sketchy. They did sign Chris Lee to a PTO, lit up the KHL last few years. Played well for Canada in the World Championships. But has never played in the NHL. Our 3rd pair of Nurse Benning is one of the better ones in the league. The Kings 3rd pair could be one of the worst.

    A healthy Sekera and I take the Oilers D over the Kings without a doubt.
    But he may not be close to 100% for half the year.

    With the way things are, I still take the Oilers D over the Kings. But its close.

  43. Soup Fascist says:

    Woodguy v2.0:
    I’ve started my pre-season rankings for my betting and such.

    I rank each team by goalie, Dcorps, Forwards and Special Teams then combine those rankings to predict where they finish in the division.Not all of those are weighted evenly.I weight Dcrops and Goalies heavier than Forwards for instance.

    Using this method I came 7th in MIcah Blake McCurdy’s (@IneffectiveMath) “predict the standings contest” last year out of 62 entrants.

    Lots of guys using sophisticated models finished in the 50’s like Manny Elk and Matt Cane.

    Anyhow, I’m coming up with 3rd or 4th in the Pacific for EDM this year.

    Hope I’m undershooting it.

    Most of the issue is Dcorps.

    Right now with the Sekera injury I have this as my Dcorps ranking in the Pacific:

    CGY
    ANA
    SJS
    LAK
    EDM
    ARI
    VAN
    VGK

    There’s an argument that with Hjarlmasson playing with OEL and bumping Goligoski to 2nd pair might put them over a Sekera-less EDM team too.

    If Chychrun wasn’t out with knee surgery I might have ranked EDM 6th instead of 5th for Dcorps in the Pacific.

    Go McDavid!!!

    Unless a significant injury occurs or Talbot takes a big step back. I just don’t see a finish below 2nd.

    I don’t disagree with your D rankings (save LA) but every other team in the division has warts. Having the best player in the league and very capable sidekick has to count for something.

    I just don’t see LA or San Jose in the hunt. Calgary needs to rediscover some scoring AND hope a goalie putting out on the 17th hole of his career is going to find some magic.

    3rd or 4th in this division would be a shock, honestly.

  44. OriginalPouzar says:

    frjohnk: The Kings top 4 is better than our top 4.

    But like you say, their bottom 2 D is sketchy.They did sign Chris Lee to a PTO, lit up the KHL last few years.Played well for Canada in the World Championships. But has never played in the NHL.Our 3rd pair of Nurse Benning is one of the better ones in the league.The Kings 3rd pair could be one of the worst.

    A healthy Sekera and I take the Oilers D over the Kings without a doubt.
    But he may not be close to 100% for half the year.

    With the way things are, I still take the Oilers D over the Kings.But its close.

    Part of the problem is our third pair won’t be Nurse/Benning to start the year – one of those two will be up on the 2nd pairing. The 2nd pairing is weakened as is the third pairing.

    I think one of Nurse or Benning will prove to be ready for the 2nd pairing and we have plenty of option for the 3rd pairing (Stanton, Fayne, Simpson), however, another injury in the top 2 pairs and we will be in a battle for a playoff spot.

  45. OriginalPouzar says:

    Soup Fascist: Unless a significant injury occurs or Talbot takes a big step back. I just don’t see a finish below 2nd.

    I don’t disagree with your D rankings (save LA) but every other team in the division has warts. Having the best player in the league and very capable sidekick has to count for something.

    I just don’t see LA or San Jose in the hunt. Calgary needs to rediscover some scoring AND hope a goalie putting out on the 17th hole of his career is going to find some magic.

    3rd or 4th in this division would be a shock, honestly.

    3rd or 4th would be disappointing, however, one additional injury to the top 3D before Reggie is back and we will be fighting for the wild card.

    We have plenty of depth for the bottom pairing that I’m comfortable with, however, pending Benning and/or Nurse showing that they are ready for 2nd pairing duty, we don’t really have much cover for the top 4 and we are already light with the Sekera injury.

    I know, every team will have issues if important injuries hurt – its just that we are going in to the season with a major injury and I think fans may be discounting how important Sekera is to our D corps and how important he was to Russell’s solid defensive play last season.

  46. russ99 says:

    Good RE, those are reasonable numbers and if a young player or three take a step forward we can exceed that.

    The key is Russell – Benning making a serviceable second pairing while Sekera is out and then getting his groove back, which seems a safe bet with both players good defensively and Benning as the puck mover, and Russell better with the puck on his natural left side.

    As for in-season trades, I agree that the least producing of one of the three young forwards could be moved, between Strome, Caggiula and Slepyshev, to reduce the number of RFAs in the summer. Slepyshev is the most likely at this point but who knows, the proof will be in the results.

    But I also think that unless we see a dramatic change, it’s foolish to keep RNH until the summer when Chia will have zero leverage around the league to make a good deal, especially if his timid play continues when we’re thinking about deadline moves to improve for the playoffs.

    Wouldn’t be surprised to see a better playoff defensive C brought in similar to the Hanzal trade last year, and RNH moved at the deadline.

  47. OriginalPouzar says:

    Can’t possibly imagine Nuge being moved at the deadline if the team is in a playoff spot.

    Notwithstanding the fact that teams rarely take on big money contracts with term at the deadline, a Nuge trade will be mainly for cap relief and almost surely will hurt the active roster.

    Its the type of trade that would rarely be made mid-season/trade deadline time.

  48. pts2pndr says:

    OriginalPouzar,

    I felt confident in saying yes to 1/2 of you questions but believe that even 1/3 would put us in a very good position moving forward!

  49. pts2pndr says:

    OriginalPouzar,

    I think your comment re injury to one of our top three defense men prior to Sekera’s return could be problematic I feel we have a team much more able to deal with adversity starting this year than last!
    This team will be a much more confident group going in!, The coach has agroup that play for one another and have been tested under the pressure of playoff hockey! I believe we need to look at our team as the one that finished the year not the team that started the year. There are very few jobs that are easily available this fall. I think we all have a sense that something bad will happen because of our decade of losing! Glass is actualy half full and things are getting better! We as a fan base have to stay classy but drop the inferiority complex! JMHO! Go Oilers Go!

  50. Munny says:

    Probably one of the toughest REs you’ve had to do, LT. Lots of question marks, options. Don’t envy the job you had to suss this one out.

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!
© Copyright - Lowetide.ca