Connor McDavid broke reasonable. Reasonable left town this morning, having lost its mind. It happened somewhere between midnight and the first rays of dawn. This blog pursues reasonable as a way to make sense of it all, Connor McDavid smashes the glass ceiling and sails away to a new shore. Reasonable expectations seemed like a pretty clear goal until 97 came along. Pull back the bias, the performances in short tournaments, the huge moments (good or bad) that might sway the view. We should be able to agree that reasonable expectations are right in the middle, halfway between “he’s been in a car accident” and “that’s Anton Slepyshev with his 30th goal of the season.”
On my trip to reasonable, there are logical and sound steps. I take a three year average, account for age, injury and opportunity within the realm of normal human existence, throw in NHL equivalencies where needed, then stare at the number for a time to see if it makes sense. I found reasonable this summer, wrote it all down. You know what I got for my trouble? A nagging voice in the back of my mind saying “what if Anton Slepyshev wins the McDavid prize, plays all year with him and scores 30?” and that’s the moment when I officially went half bubble off plumb. The answer my friends is blowing in the wind. Connor McDavid broke reasonable.
5X5 60 2016-17 AMONG PROJECTED OILERS FORWARDS
- Connor McDavid made everyone better, but the Oilers don’t play as well with him off the ice. Logic and reason dictate the club might want to put the best available roster out there with him to push the results even higher. Right?
- What if the Oilers could find the equvialent of Conor Seary, Jake Guentzel, Brian Rust. You know, inexpensive but skilled linemates for their best player? Two Patrick Maroons?
- What would that look like?
- Ryan Strome. Where does he fit?
CONNOR MCDAVID WITH
- 720 minutes with Patrick Maroon. 58.2 Dangerous Fenwick, 44-28 GF-GA. Puck IQ.
- 84 minutes with Jesse Puljujarvi. 58.8 Dangerous Fenwick, 8-3 GF-GA. Puck IQ.
- 67 minutes with Drake Caggiula. 52.2 Dangerous Fenwick, 6-3 GF-GA. Puck IQ.
- 38 minutes with Zack Kassian. 49.3 Dangerous Fenwick, 3-2 GF-GA. Puck IQ.
- 21 minutes with Anton Slepyshev. 51.6 Dangerous Fenwick, 2-1 GF-GA. Puck IQ.
Those Patrick Maroon numbers are exceptional, peak McDavid right there. I’m not fond of running Jesse Puljujarvi year two with 97 (he’s 19), so that leaves someone like Caggiula or Slepyshev. Remember, our goal is to have Leon, Nuge, McDavid for the other two lines. Strome on RW gives McDavid a different look and two centers who can take strong side faceoffs. Thoughts?
- 423 minutes with Milan Lucic. 47.1 Dangerous Fenwick, 15-16 GF-GA. Puck IQ.
- 217 minutes with Zack Kassian. 46.6 Dangerous Fenwick, 7-11 GF-GA. Puck IQ.
- 83 minutes with Leon Draisaitl. 40.8 Dangerous Fenwick, 4-2 GF-GA. Puck IQ.
- 60 minutes with Drake Caggiula. 42.5 Dangerous Fenwick, 3-6 GF-GA. Puck IQ.
I always like Nuge with veterans, maybe Lucic and Kassian or Lucic with Jussi Jokinen? Todd McLellan likes pairs, maybe that’s it: Nuge at center, Jokinen on LW, leaving Lucic for Draisaitl on another line. Nuge’s DFF looks bad because he didn’t play with McDavid, faced the toughest minutes on the team and didn’t piss a drop offensively. Hard to be underrated at $6 million a year, but many in the fan base have already moved on. Mistake.
- 208 minutes with Milan Lucic. 50.3 Dangerous Fenwick, 8-10 GF-GA. Puck IQ.
- 110 minutes with Anton Slepyshev. 48.0 Dangerous Fenwick, 6-2 GF-GA. Puck IQ.
- 107 minutes with Jesse Puljujarvi. 45.3 Dangerous Fenwick, 3-1 GF-GA. Puck IQ.
- 70 minutes with Drake Caggiula. 49.0 Dangerous Fenwick, 8-3 GF-GA. Puck IQ.
Leon with Lucic seems preordained, Slepyshev seems to be placed with them most often as well. What about Strome with Lucic and Leon? I didn’t run Kassian, he is faster than before and maybe he can wheel with this trio. What do you think?
POSSIBLE PAIRS (FORWARDS)
- Patrick Maroon—Connor McDavid—Anton Slepyshev
- Milan Lucic—Leon Draisaitl—Ryan Strome
- Jussi Jokinen—Ryan Nugent-Hopkins—Jesse Puljujarvi
If the Oilers can find two complementary wingers making less than $2 million a year to play successfully with Connor McDavid, we’re looking at a substantial group who can play on the second and third lines. There are four RW options who fit (Slepyshev, Strome, Puljujarvi, Caggiula) and I can’t reasonably put one ahead of the other in terms of odds.
MOST LIKELY PAIRS
- Patrick Maroon—Connor McDavid—Ryan Nugent-Hopkins
- Milan Lucic—Leon Draisaitl—Anton Slepyshev
- Jussi Jokinen—Ryan Strome—Jesse Puljujarvi
I’m assuming Drake Caggiula plays with Mark Letestu and Zack Kassian, but Slepyshev has no real hold on a major job nor does Jesse Puljujarvi. They’re all “in the mix” and we’ll see come training camp.
It makes no sense for the Detroit Red Wings to be squeezing a fast train who scored 18 goals in 64 games while playing 13:27 a night, but we are here. Unlike other areas of NHL negotiations, this sounds like Detroit is looking for an actual lowball signing because of team cap issues. That’s an opportunity. I’d love to see it happen.
— Paige (@nooorzy) September 5, 2017
My guess is that we see the rookie roster in the next 30 hours and that Jesse Puljujarvi may or may not be on it. Whenever they hit, I’ll have a post on it almost immediately with a follow up at 5pm today or tomorrow. I’m very interested in seeing the invite names.
LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE
A busy morning as we all get back to work, 10 this morning TSN1260. Scheduled to appear:
- Jonathan Willis, Oilers Nation. Jon has some big announcement to make this morning, it might be they have electricity in his town. We’ll talk rookie camp and Slepyshev’s chances of playing on a feature line.
- Don Landry, CFL.ca. The Labor Day Weekend slate of games was insane.
- Scott Cullen, TSN. CFL Power Rankings, how many points for McDavid, hurry up hockey!
10-1260 text, @Lowetide on twitter. Talk soon!