WILD ON THE WING

Lots of verbal around town about Ryan Nugent-Hopkins playing on the same line as Connor McDavid this fall. I think the idea comes from two trains of thought: This club needs to get Nuge’s offense back on track, and also find out if Leon Draisaitl can drive his own line away from Connor McDavid. Nuge’s numbers a year ago weren’t fabulous and giving him a push offensively could improve trade value. Leon Draisaitl has done everything but push the river solo, perhaps now is the time (although finding out before the big contract would have been a wise choice).

As for McDavid, my bet is he can play with damned near anyone. In fact, I kind of like the idea of Leon and Nuge on a second scoring line, possibly with Milan Lucic. At the end of the day, my suspicion is that we see 97 with 29 and big Patrick Maroon for much of the winter. I had a chance to talk to Connor McDavid last winter, when the top line was flattening the wild west.

  • Connor McDavid on how long it takes to develop chemistry with a new linemate: “It definitely takes a few games, 5-6 games to really get a good idea. To really, fully get chemistry with someone you have to play together for a long, long time. It’s been nice that Leon, Patty and I have been able to stick together for a long time now and I definitely hope that continues. It’s easy to find each other out there, because we’re all pretty comfortable.”

Using that as a template, I imagine we see a lot of McDavid-Nuge together in the early days of preseason and the regular year. The two men didn’t play together much at all one year ago (less than seven minutes according to PuckIQ) but RNH is skilled at both ends of the ice.

Joey Laleggia (Photo by Mark Williams)

TRAINING CAMP BATTLES

“Sammy Pollock used to say all jobs are open in Montreal but who was he kidding? Nobody was going to take Larry Robinson’s job or Guy Lafleur’s. In our camp I refuse to tell the players that. But I’d love it if somebody took a job away from a returning player. If that happened, that would make our team stronger.” Glen Sather, fall 1983

There are battles this fall but I’ll call them internal. As an example, I’ll list Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Leon Draisaitl, Ryan Strome and Drake Caggiula as possibles for McDavid’s RW and may still have missed the actual guy. Hell, maybe Kailer Yamamoto grabs that job.

The thing is the answer seems so vague now but 12 months down the line the solution might appear to be as plain as the nose on your face when looking back. In August of 1980, Jari Kurri was a guy who didn’t speak English very well and was guaranteed nothing. A year later, he was one half of the most famous duo of the decade (and one of the most famous in the history of the game). The McDavid match may seem a distant bell, but the answer may come in a quick hurry.

POSSIBLE OPENING NIGHT LINEUP 2017-18

The defense is going to see some battles too, especially for the No. 7D job out of camp. I have Yohann Auvitu as the winner, and any number of candidates for first recall. One name that looks obscure now but could come into view in a big way? Keegan Lowe. I’ll be interested to see his usage in training camp. Is he playing with an NHL partner? How deep does he go into training camp?

INJURIES

  • Ranger defenseman Jim Neilson was knocked unconcious when hit on the right temple by a shot off the stick of Boom Boom Geoffrion during a practice. The injury is not considered serious. Saskatoon Star Phoenix, September 15, 1967.

We do it every summer, probably will forever. When we discuss lines and pairings in summer, everything seems so clear. As soon as skates cut ice, the possibility of injury, added to good and bad conditioning habits by individuals and the keen eye of the coach all combine to turn things overundersidewaysdown. We’re guessing, we all know it, but it is impossible to resist setting things in stone.

ZIYAT ZIYAT SOVIET

The Oilers like Ziyat Paigin. I think they like him enough to have a look at him in the NHL later this season (depending on performance). He’s a big guy and has mobility, plus a terrific shot from the point. If Darnell Nurse moves up to second pairing by the end of the year, I bet Paigin gets a long look in training camp 2018.

  • Oilers’ assistant general manager Keith Gretzky: “For a big man, he moves well and I think it’s like Jesse coming over here. He’s got to learn the language. He’s a happy, happy kid and there’s lots to like in his game. Give him some time and some development time. It’s good to see when those guys come over here and they know they have to go to Bakersfield, they want to go there, we have great coaching down there so it gives him some time and hopefully he develops and can be in Edmonton because he’s a big man and it’ll be good to see.” Source

LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE

A busy morning, TSN 1260, as we start getting back to hockey and the fall/winter to come. 10 this morning, scheduled to  appear:

  • Rob Soria, The Hockey Writers. U.S. Open, Oilers training camp, Los Angeles Dodgers.
  • Corey Graham, Oil Kings PBP. Training camp underway!
  • Jason Gregor, TSN1260. Eskimos lose two in front of Labor Day Classic, can they win a week from today?
  • Andy McNamara, TSN4Downs. Injuries and poor performances have NFL teams scrambling.

10-1260 text, @Lowetide on twitter. Talk in 90 minutes!

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54 Responses to "WILD ON THE WING"

  1. OriginalPouzar says:

    Yes, Leon is making big money this year and the verbal from the fanbase is that he now has to prove he can drive his own line.

    While there is merit to the above, at the end of the day, our coach should be deploying the bench in a way that gives the team the best chance to win each and every hockey game, irrespective of how much cap hit is taken up by each line.

    If that means Leon is playing 1RW then so be it.

    Personally, I think over the years the team will be better if Drai is spending most of his time at 2C but that might not be the case for this particular year.

    I think we’ll see Drai play with Connor quite a bit this season but, of course, he will spend time at center on the 2nd line as well.

  2. jp says:

    Has there been any official or semi-official (Stauffer or other insider) hints of RNH with McDavid? Or just “talk around the town” speculation?

  3. Lowetide says:

    OP: In my RE, I had Leon at 1R 70 percent of the season. I based it on Todd McLellan’s desire to win games. We’ll see, sounds like the verbal is strong on Nuge playing RW. At first, I thought it was Bob blue skying things, now I think the idea may have originated higher up the food chain.

  4. OriginalPouzar says:

    Lots of talk about Nuge playing the wing and maybe it makes sense and maybe it happens but, from what I can tell, its entirely fan, media and social media driven.

    Aside from the coach expressing in exit interviews that he wants Nuge to be more offensive this year, has there been any verbal from the coach on this?

    Personally, I’m a little remiss to take Nuge out of the middle given he’s our most responsible 200-foot center and, although not elite defensively, does an admiral job in tough minutes.

    Now, I don’t think he needs to play 42% of his minutes as a center again elite competition but I don’t think we go from the coach using him in that role to switching him to a pure winger.

  5. theDjdj says:

    I liked the chemistry Lucic showed with Draisaitl in the time they have together. What’s their statline look like?

    Nuge did the heavy lifting in facing elites. He needs to start the year playing top 6 minutes or I fear we’ll stutter out of the gates. The doors already creaking without Sekera.

  6. theDjdj says:

    LT, do you think it a possibility that Strome was brought into backfill and it is in fact RNH who is Draisaitls mirror man this year?

  7. Whatif says:

    Everybody seems to believe that Draisaitl must show he can push the river as the 2C this year.

    From my perspective, I have no problem if that does not happen until next year. After all, he is signed for 8 years.

    Are our expectations perhaps a little out of whack?

  8. dustrock says:

    Heading to Jasper with the tent trailer for a few nights, 2 old dogs and our 6 year old.

    Park wide fire ban. My wife refuses to go camping without a campfire so we have somehow jammed a propane “portable” firepit into the tent trailer.

    I trust we will be the envy of the campground.

  9. OriginalPouzar says:

    Lowetide:
    OP: In my RE, I had Leon at 1R 70 percent of the season. I based it on Todd McLellan’s desire to win games. We’ll see, sounds like the verbal is strong on Nuge playing RW. At first, I thought it was Bob blue skying things, now I think the idea may have originating higher up the food chain.

    Interesting – we do know that Chiarelli sees Strome as a center and maybe they want to give him considerable games in the 3C role to see if it looks like he can be the 3C of the near future.

  10. OriginalPouzar says:

    Whatif:
    Everybody seems to believe that Draisaitl must show he can push the river as the 2C this year.

    From my perspective, I have no problem if that does not happen until next year. After all, he is signed for 8 years.

    Are our expectations perhaps a little out of whack?

    Definitely agree – the coach needs to deploy the bench in the way he feels gives the team the best chance to win the game irrespective of the fanbase’s desire to see a certain player “earn his money”.

  11. Whatif says:

    OriginalPouzar,

    OriginalPouzar: Definitely agree – the coach needs to deploy the bench in the way he feels gives the team the best chance to win the game irrespective of the fanbase’s desire to see a certain player “earn his money”.

    That is exactly what I mean.

    How would it be a bad thing if Draisaitl has another season where he is in the top ten in scoring. To me it is up to Nuge to improve his offensive game. Surely, with the talent we have, this can be accomplished. He has skill. It would simply mean using him in more offensive situations rather than totally relying on him to have his finger in the defensive dyke.

  12. OriginalPouzar says:

    Interesting to see Lowetide with Rattie as the 14F over Pakarinan.

  13. OriginalPouzar says:

    I really wish the general fan could evaluate Keegan Lowe and his signing without regard to his last name.

    The guy is a legit top 4 AHL d-man with draft pedigree and young enough to have a shot at an NHL career.

    NHL teams sign these types of players each and every year – they are important to help the younger prospects in the AHL and to provide added depth in order to not have to rush a Jones or a Bear to the NHL if injuries pile up.

  14. geowal says:

    OriginalPouzar:
    I really wish the general fan could evaluate Keegan Lowe and his signing without regard to his last name.

    The guy is a legit top 4 AHL d-man with draft pedigree and young enough to have a shot at an NHL career.

    NHL teams sign these types of players each and every year – they are important to help the younger prospects in the AHL and to provide added depth in order to not have to rush a Jones or a Bear to the NHL if injuries pile up.

    I think you don’t give enough credit. While until I see him play the only thing I know is that he’s Kevin’s son, I think if he’s on the ice and makes some passes or whatever most fans will give him any credit deserved. It is if they don’t see him good first off but he gets seemingly undeserved further chances that his last name will be a problem.

  15. jonrmcleod says:

    jp:
    Has there been any official or semi-official (Stauffer or other insider) hints of RNH with McDavid? Or just “talk around the town” speculation?

    From July 9:

    Bob Stauffer
    @Bob_Stauffer
    Stauffer projected lines:
    Maroon-McDavid-RNH
    Lucic-Leon-Slepyshev
    Caggiula-Strome-Puljujarvi
    Jokinen-Letesu-Kassian
    Khaira-Pakarinen

    Also:

    Bob Stauffer
    @Bob_Stauffer
    Lots to happen before Summer ’18…but IMO RNH is a critical, versatile piece for the Oilers poised for bounce back campaign

  16. Silver Streak says:

    OriginalPouzar,

    Does the OBC not see the problem bringing Keegan back here…the young man is in an impossible position…while I believe he was in nowhere land in Carolina with the immense back end young talent they possess….anywhere but Edmonton would have been a better place for him.

    Hey Allan, with all our young players returning and our hopes of growth for all, after the team medicals and such, can you give some thought to running a report / study on the increased ( or decreased Lucic ) size …both height and weight on our kids with last years numbers as a comparison.

  17. OriginalPouzar says:

    jonrmcleod: From July 9:

    Bob Stauffer
    @Bob_Stauffer
    Stauffer projected lines:
    Maroon-McDavid-RNH
    Lucic-Leon-Slepyshev
    Caggiula-Strome-Puljujarvi
    Jokinen-Letesu-Kassian
    Khaira-Pakarinen

    Also:

    Bob Stauffer
    @Bob_Stauffer
    Lots to happen before Summer ’18…but IMO RNH is a critical, versatile piece for the Oilers poised for bounce back campaign

    I’ve got alot of time for Stauffer and trust in his info but, again, I think that’s just Bob’s thoughts on what we might see and not based off of any inside info (which he does have).

  18. Thinker says:

    Leon better be one of the top 12 players in the league including dmen and goalies. That’s what he’s paid being paid. Oilers paid an obsene amout for their two stars.

  19. OriginalPouzar says:

    Silver Streak:
    OriginalPouzar,

    Does the OBC not see the problem bringing Keegan back here…the young man is in an impossible position…while I believe he was in nowhere land in Carolina with the immense back end young talent they possess….anywhere but Edmonton would have been a better place for him.

    Hey Allan,with all our young players returning and our hopes of growth for all, after the team medicals and such, can you give some thought to running a report / study on the increased ( or decreased Lucic ) size …both height and weight on our kids with last years numbers as a comparison.

    This is exactly what I’m getting at – Keegan Lowe is, from all accounts, a solid top 4 D-man in the AHL with some (tiny sample) NHL experience and will be a good mentor and depth provider.

    It doesn’t/shouldn’t matter what his last name is – why can’t the fanbase evaluate the player on merit?

    I don’t imagine Chiarelli/McLellan will give this kid special treatment or elevated status beyond what’s earned based on his last name.

  20. OriginalPouzar says:

    Thinker:
    Leon better be one of the top 12 players in the league including dmen and goalies. That’s what he’s paid being paid. Oilers paid an obsene amout for their two stars.

    He’s being paid to provide that over the term of an 8 year contract and I’m confident he will.

    If McLellan determines that the Oilers best chance of winning games this year is having Leon as 1RW and he gets 74 points playing 1RW and the Oilers win the division and make it to the SCF, are you going to be upset about Leon not earning his elite contract?

  21. Side says:

    OriginalPouzar: He’s being paid to provide that over the term of an 8 year contract and I’m confident he will.

    If McLellan determines that the Oilers best chance of winning games this year is having Leon as 1RW and he gets 74 points playing 1RW and the Oilers win the division and make it to the SCF, are you going to be upset about Leon not earning his elite contract?

    I would be annoyed, because the supporters of Leon’s contract are saying he deserves the money because he’s a C.

    If Leon only plays on the wing, why are we paying him like a C?

  22. russ99 says:

    OriginalPouzar:
    Lots of talk about Nuge playing the wing and maybe it makes sense and maybe it happens but, from what I can tell, its entirely fan, media and social media driven.

    Aside from the coach expressing in exit interviews that he wants Nuge to be more offensive this year, has there been any verbal from the coach on this?

    Personally, I’m a little remiss to take Nuge out of the middle given he’s our most responsible 200-foot center and, although not elite defensively, does an admiral job in tough minutes.

    Now, I don’t think he needs to play 42% of his minutes as a center again elite competition but I don’t think we go from the coach using him in that role to switching him to a pure winger.

    Agree, this doesn’t jive with McLellan’s usage last year at center against the toughs and McLellan’s post-season comments about him needing to adapt and get to and play better on the tougher areas of the ice.

    Seems more a fan-ideal of RNH back to playing on the rush, coddling him to play the same to as during the rebuild to pump offense rather than challenging him to grow as a player and adapt to how the team plays now.

  23. Bag of Pucks says:

    LT, I agree with the two trains of thought cited that are driving the RNH to W discussion, but I would also add a third: Nuge’s contract.

    The Austin number set an expectation for this player of Top 6 echelon point production. If he can deliver that alongside either Connor or Leon, then I think the number becomes much more tenable for management going forward.

    If the production doesn’t ramp up, he likely goes the Jordan Staal with the Pens route (i.e. eventual tradebait).

    I also think the conversation should be RNH at LW and not R. Position change is hard enough without also playing the off wing. Intrigued by the possibilities of an RNH/McDavid/Kassian line.

    Could see Zach having a Maroon-esque breakout in that role and man would that give Chiarelli some leverage with his other power forwards going forward.

    Remember when this team had no legitimate ‘power forwards?’ My how things have changed. Great to have a GM who understands the importance of functional toughness.

  24. Professor Q says:

    Bag of Pucks,

    Off Wing is actually usually better, I believe. Different from Defence.

  25. OriginalPouzar says:

    Side: I would be annoyed, because the supporters of Leon’s contract are saying he deserves the money because he’s a C.

    If Leon only plays on the wing, why are we paying him like a C?

    This season is year 1 of an 8 year contract.

    Leon is 21 years old and he is still developing his game.

    We paid to lock him up during the entirety of his prime with no fear of skill regression during the term. I am sure he will play plenty of center during the term if the contract even if its determined that him playing 1RW 75% of the time in 17/18 gives the team the best chance of success.

    There is pretty much 0% chance I will be annoyed at roster deployment if the team wins the division and is in the SCF – even if Leon is on the 4th line for most of the year.

  26. Side says:

    OriginalPouzar: This season is year 1 of an 8 year contract.

    Leon is 21 years old and he is still developing his game.

    We paid to lock him up during the entirety of his prime with no fear of skill regression during the term. I am sure he will play plenty of center during the term if the contract even if its determined that him playing 1RW 75% of the time in 17/18 gives the team the best chance of success.

    There is pretty much 0% chance I will be annoyed at roster deployment if the team wins the division and is in the SCF – even if Leon is on the 4th line for most of the year.

    Paying someone that kind of money when they haven’t even proved they are a #1 C who can drive a line on their own is risky.

    Everyone assumes Leon will produce more, but what if he only puts up 60 points playing on McDavid’s wing?

    And if he does play on the 4th line, making that kind of money……… wow.

  27. Bag of Pucks says:

    Professor Q:
    Bag of Pucks,

    Off Wing is actually usually better, I believe. Different from Defence.

    It’s better from a shooting angle pov. It’s not better from a backchecking/defending or forechecking/retrieval pov.

    For instance, imagine the LD rimming the puck in around the dasher and RNH on the right side half-wall to knock it down. As a left shot, his blade is not naturally facing the boards so he has to pivot with his back to the net (and likely the defender) to retrieve that puck.

    What you see with most teams is they’ll let an exceptional sniper play the off wing because of the benefits from the shooter’s perspective, but mere mortals typically are better on their natural wing for the reasons above.

  28. Bank Shot says:

    OriginalPouzar: This is exactly what I’m getting at – Keegan Lowe is, from all accounts, a solid top 4 D-man in the AHL with some (tiny sample) NHL experience and will be a good mentor and depth provider.

    It doesn’t/shouldn’t matter what his last name is – why can’t the fanbase evaluate the player on merit?

    I don’t imagine Chiarelli/McLellan will give this kid special treatment or elevated status beyond what’s earned based on his last name.

    Solid top four AHL defencemen are a dime a dozen.

    The fact that they go out and get a guy that just happens to be the son of someone important in the org when they are literally 100 other choices says something about the org.

    Its not like left handed D was even an area of need at the AHL level.

    They have Stanton, Auvitu, Simpson, and Laleggia if need be.

    If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck.

    I’d say Keegan has to really impress with his play to prove this is not a nepotism move rather than give the team the benefit of the doubt.

  29. OmJo says:

    OriginalPouzar: This season is year 1 of an 8 year contract.

    Leon is 21 years old and he is still developing his game.

    We paid to lock him up during the entirety of his prime with no fear of skill regression during the term. I am sure he will play plenty of center during the term if the contract even if its determined that him playing 1RW 75% of the time in 17/18 gives the team the best chance of success.

    There is pretty much 0% chance I will be annoyed at roster deployment if the team wins the division and is in the SCF – even if Leon is on the 4th line for most of the year.

    The fear with Leon isn’t that he will regress skill-wise, rather that he’ll fall back down to earth without McDavid on his line.

    He’s a good player, an excellent player with McDavid. But good players shouldn’t be getting $8M/year. You can get 2 or 3 good players for that amount of money.

    If Draisaitl can’t push his own line, then what? We’re stuck with $20M of the cap on our top line. Essentially a one-line team. Granted, probably the best line in the league, but a one-line team nonetheless.

  30. NativeNotFrench says:

    Side: Paying someone that kind of money when they haven’t even proved they are a #1 C who can drive a line on their own is risky.
    Everyone assumes Leon will produce more, but what if he only puts up 60 points playing on McDavid’s wing?
    And if he does play on the 4th line, making that kind of money……… wow.

    The thing is though. It’s not even remotely reasonable to suggest he will be playing on the 4th line. There is risk in that contract but you have to take the long view of the contract now that it is signed. 8 years to “earn it”. I think it’s probably 1 million to high per year but that won’t be the downfall of this team. Pay the stars and I think it’s reasonable to suggest Leon is a star, how big of one you may disagree with me on

  31. geowal says:

    Finally took a look at the Oil schedule. Amazing this team continues to get the shaft on weekend home dates. TWO home Saturdays between Oct 28 and March 3rd, one of which is Dec 23 (useless for me). The NHL may like marketing McDavid, but they’re sure not making it easy for Albertans outside Edmonton to see him. Rant over.

  32. OmJo says:

    Bank Shot: Solid top four AHL defencemen are a dime a dozen.

    The fact that they go out and get a guy that just happens to be the son of someone important in the org when they are literally 100 other choices says something about the org.

    Its not like left handed D was even an area of need at the AHL level.

    They have Stanton, Auvitu, Simpson, and Laleggia if need be.

    If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck.

    I’d say Keegan has to really impress with his play to prove this is not a nepotism move rather than give the team the benefit of the doubt.

    Why are we complaining about having more depth? Even if its for LD.

    He’s not Will Acton. There’s no Keith Acton on the coaching staff this year. I’m sure Kevin knows the way fans will react if his son is given a spot in the lineup without earning it.

    I mean, fans actually paid for billboards and Edmonton Sun ads calling for Lowe to be fired years ago. I don’t think he’d throw his son to the wolves like that.

  33. Side says:

    NativeNotFrench: The thing is though. It’s not even remotely reasonable to suggest he will be playing on the 4th line. There is risk in that contract but you have to take the long view of the contract now that it is signed. 8 years to “earn it”. I think it’s probably 1 million to high per year but that won’t be the downfall of this team. Pay the stars and I think it’s reasonable to suggest Leon is a star, how big of one you may disagree with me on

    My whole thing is, Leon is already being overpaid for his current production.

    Everyone says “it’s fine if he’s overpaid $1 million”, that is until (or if) his production declines within the next couple of years.

    Then it’s “why are we paying Leon $8.5 million to put up 70 or less points?” and we can probably guess who the next Oiler to be run out of town will be if that’s the case.

  34. OriginalPouzar says:

    Side: Paying someone that kind of money when they haven’t even proved they are a #1 C who can drive a line on their own is risky.

    Everyone assumes Leon will produce more, but what if he only puts up 60 points playing on McDavid’s wing?

    And if he does play on the 4th line, making that kind of money……… wow.

    and if the Oilers are winning the division and in the SCF…….wow! I won’t care who is playing where

  35. NativeNotFrench says:

    Side: My whole thing is, Leon is already being overpaid for his current production.
    Everyone says “it’s fine if he’s overpaid $1 million”, that is until (or if) his production declines within the next couple of years.
    Then it’s “why are we paying Leon $8.5 million to put up 70 or less points?” and we can probably guess who the next Oiler to be run out of town will be if that’s the case.

    Why are you anticipating a decline on a 21 year old player though? He won’t continue to improve on point totals every year but if he’s within the top 20 league wide every year it’s hardly fair to call it a decline though? I agree that it is potentially an unforced error though and if he drastically underperforms he will absolutely be ran out of town but he won’t be untradeable by any means. He has value to a lot of teams unless injury derails his career

  36. OriginalPouzar says:

    Bank Shot: Solid top four AHL defencemen are a dime a dozen.

    The fact that they go out and get a guy that just happens to be the son of someone important in the org when they are literally 100 other choices says something about the org.

    Its not like left handed D was even an area of need at the AHL level.

    They have Stanton, Auvitu, Simpson, and Laleggia if need be.

    If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck.

    I’d say Keegan has to really impress with his play to prove this is not a nepotism move rather than give the team the benefit of the doubt.

    Two is Simpson, Stanton and Auvitu will likely be in the NHL to start the season and LaLeggia is now a winger.

    Signings to round out the AHL depth chart and provide cover for AHL rookies are important and happen every year with every team.

    Again, you, among many, are simply looking at this signing as Kevin Lowe’s son.

    I don’t give a crap if he’s Kevin Lowe’s son – if he was a player the organization wanted for that spot, then go for it. He’s a former 3rd overall, solid AHL pick with some NHL experience and some qualities they like in that role.

    I’m going to evaluate the player and his progression without giving any thought to who is father is.

  37. Bag of Pucks says:

    Bank Shot: Solid top four AHL defencemen are a dime a dozen.

    The fact that they go out and get a guy that just happens to be the son of someone important in the org when they are literally 100 other choices says something about the org.

    Its not like left handed D was even an area of need at the AHL level.

    They have Stanton, Auvitu, Simpson, and Laleggia if need be.

    If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck.

    I’d say Keegan has to really impress with his play to prove this is not a nepotism move rather than give the team the benefit of the doubt.

    Are you of the opinion that nepotism hires should never occur in any organization?

    Cos if that’s your take, you must be pretty against the Keith Gretzky hire as well. And honestly, why are the Oilers working with the charity run by the Katz kids?

    My take is this kind of thing is going to happen, so it’s better to find a way to make it work for you. People are not going to work hard to get themselves in a position of power with an organization, and then overlook an opportunity to leverage that power to benefit those they love. That completely flies in the face of human nature.

    Rather than looking at it from the pov of: the only reason Keegan is here is because of Kevin, I prefer to look it at it from the pov of: the organization is likely benefitting from inside info on this player because of the familial relationship. This eliminates the guesswork on things like the player’s work ethic, potential culture fit, injury history, etc.

    Where the line needs to be drawn is Kevin Lowe having no direct influence on personnel, contract or deployment decisions regarding his son. And given he no longer has a vote of consequence on personnel decisions in the current org structure, that shouldn’t be an issue.

    This idea that zero nepotism should exist in organizations is a utopian belief imo. We focus on the preferential treatment while ignoring the opposite perspective i.e. why should someone be penalized because of family status?

  38. Silver Streak says:

    OriginalPouzar,

    Dillon Simpson had 4 years at a great college ( North Dakota ) with a letter, with several years of AHL history under OUR AHL coaches, always been credited as a heads up leader on and off the ice….he is a huge reason why we dont need another Lowe hothead distraction….

  39. Side says:

    OriginalPouzar: and if the Oilers are winning the division and in the SCF…….wow! I won’t care who is playing where

    That’s a big if, though.

    NativeNotFrench: Why are you anticipating a decline on a 21 year old player though? He won’t continue to improve on point totals every year but if he’s within the top 20 league wide every year it’s hardly fair to call it a decline though? I agree that it is potentially an unforced error though and if he drastically underperforms he will absolutely be ran out of town but he won’t be untradeable by any means. He has value to a lot of teams unless injury derails his career

    Because it’s a lot of money for 8 years and stranger things have happened in sports.

    I think Leon is great, and pretty sure he will perform up to expectations. I’m not anticipating or hoping he will decline, but it’s still a possibility. A possibility which seems to be overlooked frequently, for whatever reason.

    Again, of the people I’ve seen supporting Leon and his new contract, they support it under the assumption that his point production will increase to match what he’s being paid. This I find bizarre.

  40. OriginalPouzar says:

    Yes, its a big if but its direct to my point.

    You said that he better be one the 10-12 best players in the NHL (all positions this year).

    I said, if he’s not one of the 10-12 best players in the NHL this year but the Oilers win the division and are in the SCF, I won’t care that he didn’t “earn his full paycheque” in year one of the 8 year contract.

    The example of him being on the 4th line but the team in the SCF was just a wild example to prove my point.

    I don’t care how the lineup is deployed, the coach’s deployment of the 23 man roster will be made irrespective of cap hit and in a way that the coach feels gives the team the best chance to win. If that’s with Leon as a winger in year 1 of his contract and the team has immense success – great!

  41. Thinker says:

    OriginalPouzar: He’s being paid to provide that over the term of an 8 year contract and I’m confident he will.

    If McLellan determines that the Oilers best chance of winning games this year is having Leon as 1RW and he gets 74 points playing 1RW and the Oilers win the division and make it to the SCF, are you going to be upset about Leon not earning his elite contract?

    Pretty sure he is getting paid that next year. If you want to just look at salary, he is making 9mil, but I don’t care about salary in the least. If Draisaitl is a drag on the team based on his cap number (If he is a 50pt guy for example), I will be livid that Chia overpaid him. If they win the cup, I could probably let it go, at least until they lose half the team due to salary cap problems.

  42. Side says:

    OriginalPouzar:
    Yes, its a big if but its direct to my point.

    You said that he better be one the 10-12 best players in the NHL (all positions this year).

    I said, if he’s not one of the 10-12 best players in the NHL this year but the Oilers win the division and are in the SCF, I won’t care that he didn’t “earn his full paycheque” in year one of the 8 year contract.

    The example of him being on the 4th line but the team in the SCF was just a wild example to prove my point.

    I don’t care how the lineup is deployed, the coach’s deployment of the 23 man roster will be made irrespective of cap hit and in a way that the coach feels gives the team the best chance to win. If that’s with Leon as a winger in year 1 of his contract and the team has immense success – great!

    And how would you feel if Leon is a winger in year 1 of his contract, puts up less than 70 points and the Oilers don’t go to the SCF or win their division?

  43. Jethro Tull says:

    OriginalPouzar: I’ve got alot of time for Stauffer and trust in his info but, again, I think that’s just Bob’s thoughts on what we might see and not based off of any inside info (which he does have).

    My experience with Bob is that he gives what us Brits call ‘Gypsie’s warnings’. He may not tell you word for word what the Oilers are going to do, but he’s a useful weather vane to see which direction the wind is blowing the good ship Oiler.

    He gives his opinion which is often parsed with snippets of gold between the lines. If he say “I wouldn’t be surprised if….”, then that’s a solid “Book it.” If he says, “the Oilers might be looking to add a XXX position,” then expect it to be a decent bit of gossip with a credible source. Never have i ever heard him make stuff up or sensationalize like his BFF Specs.

  44. OriginalPouzar says:

    Side: And how would you feel if Leon is a winger in year 1 of his contract, puts up less than 70 points and the Oilers don’t go to the SCF or win their division?

    That would be a disappointment.

    Again, I was just responding to the isolated statement that he better perform as one of the best 10-12 players in the NHL. My response to that being, if he doesn’t do that, but has a season similar to last years and the Oilers win the division and go to the SCF, I would have no problem.

    Again, speaking to a direct statement that I think, in my opinion, in isolation, is not looking at things the way I, in my opinion, would look at things.

  45. NativeNotFrench says:

    Side: Again, of the people I’ve seen supporting Leon and his new contract, they support it under the assumption that his point production will increase to match what he’s being paid. This I find bizarre.

    +1

    There is risk with this contract and my preference would have been to pay the man less but the die is cast and now it’s on the coach to use this player in the best way to help the roster win games. If that’s with Leon at 1RW and a berth in the cup final I am fine with it. If he can’t perform as a river pusher as 2C at any point during this deal then Chia made a mistake with the contact

  46. wigswag says:

    Side,

    You can look/post about positive possibilities or negative possibilities, the choice is yours. I for one get more excited about the positive ones. If it doesn’t work out that way, oh well. After 4 years of his (Drai) contract I think it’s a very good possibility we have 2, 100 point players on our team. Wouldn’t that be exciting.

  47. flea says:

    Anyone else feel that Draisaitl often acted as the center on the top line? He took a lot of the faceoffs, and he is often the first forward back to take the initial breakout pass. McDavid and Drai really shared the duties on that top line, playing to their strengths.

  48. NativeNotFrench says:

    flea: Anyone else feel that Draisaitl often acted as the center on the top line? He took a lot of the faceoffs, and he is often the first forward back to take the initial breakout pass. McDavid and Drai really shared the duties on that top line, playing to their strengths.

    I agree. The lines were blurred on who was centering that line and I think that played a big part in the success of the line. That also made it difficult to negotiate I think because of the shared duties

  49. Thinker says:

    I’d say that Leon at 8.5 is likely to be more of an overpay than eberle at 6. I would rather have Leon, but we are playing a zero sum game here.

  50. stush18 says:

    Thinker:
    I’d say that Leon at 8.5 is likely to be more of an overpay than eberle at 6. I would rather have Leon, but we are playing a zero sum game here.

    I would rather Leon at 8.5 than eberle at 6. It’s close, at worst a draw.

    Do we just completely discount physicality? Things like that? Leon is 21 and was manhandling getzlaf.

    Eberles die was cast when for the millionth time, he made a weak play along the boards, and coughed up the puck as perry was about to hit him. That turn over went into our net, and the decision to move eberle was set.

  51. Munny says:

    Jethro Tull: Never have i ever heard him make stuff up or sensationalize like his BFF Specs.

    Stauffer’s BFF in the industry is John Sexsmith.

  52. GMB3 says:

    russ99: Agree, this doesn’t jive with McLellan’s usage last year at center against the toughs and McLellan’s post-season comments about him needing to adapt and get to and play better on the tougher areas of the ice.

    Seems more a fan-ideal of RNH back to playing on the rush, coddling him to play the same to as during the rebuild to pump offense rather than challenging him to grow as a player and adapt to how the team plays now.

    You’re opinion about Nuge and Batmans opiniom about Milan Lucic being worth a seventh rounder make about the same amount of sense

  53. GMB3 says:

    Bag of Pucks: It’s better from a shooting angle pov. It’s not better from a backchecking/defending or forechecking/retrieval pov.

    For instance, imagine the LD rimming the puck in around the dasher and RNH on the right side half-wall to knock it down. As a left shot, his blade is not naturally facing the boards so he has to pivot with his back to the net (and likely the defender) to retrieve that puck.

    What you see with most teams is they’ll let an exceptional sniper play the off wing because of the benefits from the shooter’s perspective, but mere mortals typically are better on their natural wing for the reasons above.

    This is false. On a puck rimmed around the boards, the off hand winger can pick it up with their back to the boards. The direct pass to the backhand breaking it out tends to be weat off handed wingers run into trouble. This is part of the reason it’s more common on international ice, as they have more time and space. This coming from former teammates and friends of mine who have gone on to play in Europe anyways. And on the forecheck puck retrieval tends to go by F1 and f2 and so on. Some wingers are just fine playing on their off wing. Nuge is clever so I imagine the switch wouldn’t be a big deal for him.

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