Fallow Ground

Future NHL skill forwards don’t spend much time in the AHL, unless they have some specific malady (Edward Purcell: foot speed) to overcome in the eyes of the high foreheads, or they’re 18 and the NHL coach isn’t sure about his overall game (Jesse Puljujarvi). (Photo by Rob Ferguson)

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Note: I wrote at length on the subject of farm development in a November article for The Athletic. It is here.

Future NHL two-way forwards and checkers also begin life as skilled forwards, in junior hockey. Example: Daniel Cleary. He scored 115 points for the Belleville Bulls at age 16 (1995-96) but he was unable to establish himself as an NHL player with his first team (Chicago Blackhawks). By the time Cleary became a productive NHLer, he was a hard-working winger, a man who accepted a role, worked hard to play in a tight-checking system, and used his God given talent to score 20 goals a season in aid of his team. That is a very useful player, but he had to adjust and become something other than the kid who ran circles around other teenagers at age 16.

The NHL is populated by men who were dominant at 16 in their various junior leagues, owning the puck for shifts at a time. But at 22 or 25, in the NHL, the player database (save a precious few) is filled with men who pressure and cut off lanes and force opposition from possession—without ever having the puck and controlling it as they did long ago. Learning that trade, and then learning to post some offense while being so disciplined, is the key to NHL success for AHL players.

Did we know the useful NHL players back in 2015-16 OKC were named Jujhar Khaira and Tyler Pitlick? No, we did not, but we knew they were trending in a good direction. Here are forward prospects (my definition is arbitrary) who scored .5-per-game or more, beginning in 2010.

2010-11 Oklahoma City Barons

  1. Linus Omark 28gp, 14-17-31 1.11
  2. Liam Reddox 37gp, 18-15-33 .892
  3. Mark Arcobello 26gp, 11-11-22 .846
  4. Colin McDonald 80gp, 42-16-58 .725
  5. Teemu Hartikainen 66gp, 17-25-42 .636

Remember: Skill doesn’t spend much time in the AHL, because if the offense is that good the NHL beckons. One dimensional players like Linus Omark have only one way to make it. Great bat, no glove.

Omark was a flat out ridiculous prospect whose biggest crime was arriving at the same time as Taylor Hall, Jordan Eberle and Magnus Paajarvi. He (like Paajarvi) got lost in the flood. Reddox played 100 games as a checker, Arcobello was a dandy center who worked like a bugger and willed himself into a utility role, McDonald took forever to find his way but carved out a reasonable NHL career (148 games). Teemu Hartikainen needed better boots, I liked him.

2011-12 Oklahoma City Barons

  1. Linus Omark 18gp, 6-10-16 .889
  2. Magnus Paajarvi 34gp, 7-18-25 .735
  3. Teemu Hartikainen 51gp, 14-18-32 .627
  4. Mark Arcobello 73gp, 17-26-43 .589
  5. Phil Cornet 67gp, 24-13-37 .552

Same group as a year before, the Oilers had hell popping up above with the parade of No. 1 overalls arriving every fall. Cornet was a tweener but the young man could score at the AHL level. Paajarvi lost his bat along the way, or that’s the story we tell each other. Truth is, MPS spent a helluva lot of his rookie season with Sam Gagner and Linus Omark, and those two guys created offense at both ends. The next year he played with a flagging Eric Belanger and he’s still looking for an exit ramp back to offense.

2012-13 Oklahoma City Barons

  1. Toni Rajala 46gp, 17-28-45 .978
  2. Mark Arcobello 74gp, 22-46-68 .919
  3. Teemu Hartikainen 47gp, 14-23-37 .787
  4. Phil Cornet 46gp, 15-18-33 .717
  5. Magnus Paajarvi 36gp, 4-16-20 .526

Rajala was really small and MacT sent him away 10 minutes after taking over. I don’t know if he was a player, but lordy the Oilers made decisions quickly in these years on their skilled men. The rest of the list remains the same (this was the lockout year).

2013-14 Oklahoma City Barons

  1. Mark Arcobello 15gp, 10-18-28 1.87
  2. Anton Lander 46gp, 18-34-52 1.13
  3. Linus Omark 29gp, 14-15-29 1.00
  4. Roman Horak 53gp, 21-27-48 .906
  5. Andrew Miller 52gp, 8-26-34 .654
  6. Tyler Pitlick 39gp, 8-14-22 .564

Anton Lander had a bit of Hartikainen’s issue (slow boots) but he was a fine AHL center. I liked Roman Horak but he bolted before you could say Podolsk Vityaz. Tyler Pitlick finally overcame injury and began to push toward the NHL job that would eventually arrive.

2014-15 Oklahoma City Barons

  1. Anton Lander 29gp, 9-22-31 1.07
  2. Andrew Miller 63gp, 27-33-60 .952
  3. Iiro Pakarinen 39gp, 17-11-28 .718
  4. Curtis Hamilton 63gp, 12-20-32 .508

Lander would have had a more substantial career if Todd Nelson had stayed, pretty sure we can agree on that one. Andrew Miller probably would have been better off staying in the organization but made the move to Charlotte. Iiro Pakarinen was a product of European scouting and he’s hanging in, maybe he has another 200 games in him. Curtis Hamilton played one NHL game and damned near got thrown out of the game in his first shift. Incredible.

2015-16 Bakersfield Condors

  1. Tyler Pitlick 37gp, 7-13-21 .568
  2. Jujhar Khaira 49gp, 10-17-27 .551

I don’t know that any of us saw it at the time, but these two gents look like the winners of the ‘forwards of Bakersfield’ sweepstakes. Both had issues offensively early days, and that might be a reflection of the team’s slow playing entry-level playing time. These two are what NHL teams need from their AHL clubs.

2016-17 Bakersfield Condors

  1. Anton Slepyshev 9gp, 3-7-10 1.11
  2. Jujhar Khaira 27gp, 8-12-20 .741
  3. Jesse Puljujarv 39gp, 12-16-28 .718
  4. Joey Laleggia 67gp, 20-18-38 .567

Jesse Puljujarvi is a teenager, so his numbers have to be viewed through a different lens. He’s going to have a long career. Slepyshev looks less likely to join him than I thought he would, maybe he’s the new Omark, although for me the big Russian winger has more range. Laleggia is from the one dimensional tree and doesn’t provide enough offense to get a real look.

2017-18 Bakersfield Condors

  1. Ty Rattie 43gp, 16-14-30 .698
  2. Joey Laleggia 43gp, 7-19-26 .605
  3. Jesse Puljujarvi 10gp, 1-4-5 .500

The problem with this year’s list is that Rattie and Laleggia are one dimensional (Omark class) without being dynamic enough to force a NHL audition. Puljujarvi is unique to this list, he’s not coming back to Bakersfield and hopefully he’ll score 25-30 a year in the NHL until 2040. He might end up being a two-way player but there’s absolutely no way to compare him to any other forward (lockout excluded) on this list who has played 49 AHL games.

Among this year’s prospects in Bakersfield, Patrick Russell (42, 8-8-16, .381) is probably closest to qualifying for the two-way prospect list.

The next Khaira?

I think it’s probably Tyler Benson. The other three junior forwards (below) are in the range offensively where they should project as legit skill prospects in the AHL and beyond. Yamamoto finally caught fire and he’s going to run his totals close to 2.00/game (is my guess), that will put him in Alex DeBrincat territory. The two guys at 18 are showing well, especially Maksimov who is absolutely emerging this year (I’ll be talking to Brock Otten from OHL Prospects about him today at 2:20). Safin has cooled off, mostly because his skill linemates have disappeared. It’s a nice group of four, if you’re the Oilers eight would be better.

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177 Responses to "Fallow Ground"

  1. OriginalPouzar says:

    Sure, we can agree that elite skill doesn’t spend much time in the AHL but does that mean it doesn’t spend any time in the AHL?

    I think Yamamoto might have a specific “skill” to work on – learning how to play and succeed in a league filled with big and strong men. Sure, Kailer isn’t going to get materially bigger (although I’m sure he’ll gain some weight and turn in to a “man” eventually) but knowing how to succeed in a league filled with big, strong and men men is a skill in itself and this might be something Kailer has to learn.

    Time will tell.

  2. OriginalPouzar says:

    Khaira is developing in to a valuable player at the NHL level, however, I’m not so sure i see Benson becoming the “next Khaira”.

    Khaira, to me, is showing more offence at the NHL level than his amateur and AHL careers show – he’s outperforming his development offensively.

    Benson was at one time an elite offensive prospect and is now a higher level offensive prospect that may develop in to a two-way player at the professional level – dominating against teenagers but not so much against pros – but still being a valuable player.

  3. OriginalPouzar says:

    I feel bad for Safin – the SeaDogs dressed 10 forwards tonight and Safin, again, had to play center which is not his natural position. He is a rookie playing out of position on a team devoid of offensive skill. It was like Jesse in Bakersfield (although he was working on non-offensive skils).

  4. OriginalPouzar says:

    Maksimov continues to excell and have a plus plus season – his size and shot are dreamy – lets hope it translates in time.

  5. frjohnk says:

    One comparison of Yamamoto would be Tyler Ennis.
    About same stature.
    Late birthdate.
    Drafted in later first round.
    Similar style of player with similar scoring rates in the WHL.

    Ennis played one year of jr after being drafted and then AHL for 2nd year with a cup of coffee in the NHL.
    Full time NHLer in his draft +3 year.

    So what does that mean?

    Because we are talking about the Oilers, we can throw that comparison of development into the garbage.

    Yamamoto will be McDavids 1st line right winger in draft +2 in the first game of the 18-19 regular season.

    By the 3rd period, Draisaitl will have replaced Yamamoto as McDavids right winger

  6. Woodguy v2.0 says:

    frjohnk:
    One comparison of Yamamoto would be Tyler Ennis.
    About same stature.
    Late birthdate.
    Drafted in later first round.
    Similar style of player with similar scoring rates in the WHL.

    Ennis played one year of jr after being drafted and then AHL for 2nd year with a cup of coffee in the NHL.
    Full time NHLer in his draft +3 year.

    So what does that mean?

    Because we are talking about the Oilers, we can throw that comparison of development into the garbage.

    Yamamoto will be McDavids 1st line right winger in draft +2 in the first game of the 18-19 regular season.

    By the 3rd period, Draisaitl will have replaced Yamamoto as McDavids right winger

    So you’re saying McLellan doesn’t get the pipe this summer?

  7. anjinsan says:

    LT, you’re generalizing and making somewhat empty assertions way too much about how the AHL factors in.
    Kyle Connor, for example, was sent down to the AHL twice.
    Players, particularly D, develop at their own pace, and the AHL is a great place for D to develop.
    Yakupov should really have ripened for a couple years in the AHL.
    Schultz should have ripened in the AHL and generally should have been handled much differently.

  8. Wilde says:

    frjohnk:
    One comparison of Yamamoto would be Tyler Ennis.
    About same stature.
    Late birthdate.
    Drafted in later first round.
    Similar style of player with similar scoring rates in the WHL.

    Ennis played one year of jr after being drafted and then AHL for 2nd year with a cup of coffee in the NHL.
    Full time NHLer in his draft +3 year.

    So what does that mean?

    Because we are talking about the Oilers, we can throw that comparison of development into the garbage.

    Yamamoto will be McDavids 1st line right winger in draft +2 in the first game of the 18-19 regular season.

    By the 3rd period, Draisaitl will have replaced Yamamoto as McDavids right winger

    The problem with the projection of small players in this way is that the more likely cause for them making the NHL late isn’t that they had to develop for that long, it’s that it takes them that much longer to earn a shot.

    They likely could have played in the NHL beforehand. I don’t believe any player at age 20-22 putting up PPG in the AHL can’t play in the NHL on some level.

    Jonathan Marchessault had to play SIX stints in the AHL before getting his due:

    2011-12: 64 in 76 —— 0.84 PPG
    2012-13: 67 in 74 —— 0.91 PPG
    2013-14: 41 in 56 —— 0.73 PPG and 15 in 21: ——- 0.71 PPG
    2014-15: 67 in 68 —— 0.98 PPG
    2015-16: 09 in 11 —— 0.81 PPG

    The theory I get from this isn’t that they needed to get to their mid 20’s, it’s that it takes them that long to stop getting ignored.

    TBL is running over the league with like 2 regular sized forwards in their top 9.

  9. OriginalPouzar says:

    The goal would be to bring in an established top 6 winger this off-season allowing Kailer the opportunity to develop some skills (learning how to play against men) in the AHL but I’m not so sure our cap structure will allow for it unless we can find this year’s Vanek.

    Personally, I’d prefer any material cap to be spent on the 1/2 RD hole and allow the top 6 winger role to be filled internally, in time (hopefully with a short term stop gap acquired this off-season).

  10. Clarkenstein says:

    LT I wish you wouldn’t keep revisiting the “suspects” that come from AAA! It’s puts me back into depression. Truly not much of a contribution to the “big” team. Not quite on topic but related obviously… Chia and the whole coaching staff have to go at season’s end. I know it seems like another step back to square one but it’s almost where the team is anyway. Chia can’t procure talent and overpays for almost everybody. TMac and staff don’t have a fat fcking clue how to run special teams. I’ve seen enough.

  11. Psyche says:

    Woodguy v2.0,

    That’s the real question. What happens with the current coaching staff?

    Hard to imagine a competitive team (in any pro sport) keeping the coach(es) responsible for the worst PK in the modern NHL era. But then – Because Oilers.

    Also, what am I missing about Caggiula? It seems he keeps getting opportunities regardless of performance. Makes the “accountability” the head coach likes to often refer to sound hypocritical.

    Drake is a good 7-10 forward on the Oilers. When Nuge was healthy he was getting reps higher up in the order, not to mention special teams.

    If JP was treated in a similar fashion he would be rolling on the 1st PP and riding shotgun to McDavid at evens.

  12. flyfish1168 says:

    OriginalPouzar:
    Khaira is developing in to a valuable player at the NHL level, however, I’m not so sure i see Benson becoming the “next Khaira”.

    Khaira, to me, is showing more offence at the NHL level than his amateur and AHL careers show – he’s outperforming his development offensively.

    Benson was at one time an elite offensive prospect and is now a higher level offensive prospect that may develop in to a two-way player at the professional level – dominating against teenagers but not so much against pros – but still being a valuable player.

    I see some similarities between Benson and Lazar. They dominated Bantom gets drafted 1 and 2 overall has a good junior career but problems bring it to the pro level. I hope Benson gets a good amount of development time in the AHL. Lazar probably would have benefitted. Being stronger than your opponents in the lower levels works but not in the NHL. JMHO

  13. Wilde says:

    Woodguy v2.0,

    Todd McLellan gets the pipe before every game and practice, from where I’m standing.

  14. dustrock says:

    I think if I’m the coaching staff I’d say “our road PK is top 3 and our home PK is historically bad and thoughts are that’s on the players”.

    Fans say “your job as coach is to stop the players from acting like that”.

    If McLellan can’t stop the team from having the jitters, I’m not sure that’s his fault, but if it’s not resolved, maybe you bring in someone else?

  15. Clarkenstein says:

    Psyche:
    Woodguy v2.0,

    That’s the real question. What happens with the current coaching staff?

    Hard to imagine a competitive team (in any pro sport) keeping the coach(es) responsible for the worst PK in the modern NHL era. But then – Because Oilers.

    Also, what am I missing about Caggiula? It seems he keeps getting opportunities regardless of performance. Makes the “accountability” the head coach likes to often refer to sound hypocritical.

    Drake is a good 7-10 forward on the Oilers. When Nuge was healthy he was getting reps higher up in the order, not to mention special teams.

    If JP was treated in a similar fashion he would be rolling on the 1st PP and riding shotgun to McDavid at evens.

    You have Caggiula and Strome out as the “next” best to 97 and 29 in OT and wonder why you lose the game? Of all the players on a 50 man roster this is your second group? FFS!!

  16. Lowetide says:

    Clarkenstein:
    LT I wish you wouldn’t keep revisiting the “suspects” that come from AAA! It’s puts me back into depression.Truly not much of a contribution to the “big” team. Not quite on topic but related obviously… Chia and the whole coaching staff have to go at season’s end. I know it seems like another step back to square one but it’s almost where the team is anyway. Chia can’t procure talent and overpays for almost everybody.TMac and staff don’t have a fat fcking clue how to run special teams.I’ve seen enough.

    Haha! I really don’t mean to, but did think of you when writing this. 🙂

  17. Wilde says:

    OriginalPouzar:
    The goal would be to bring in an established top 6 winger this off-season allowing Kailer the opportunity to develop some skills (learning how to play against men) in the AHL but I’m not so sure our cap structure will allow for it unless we can find this year’s Vanek.

    Personally, I’d prefer any material cap to be spent on the 1/2 RD hole and allow the top 6 winger role to be filled internally, in time (hopefully with a short term stop gap acquired this off-season).

    What part of ‘playing against men’ are people referring to when it’s said?

    What is your personal idea of it?

    I’m not teasing you, I’m actually curious.

  18. Munny says:

    I think there’s going to be some disappointed fans this summer. It is by no means certain that the coaching staff is turned over.

  19. Scungilli Slushy says:

    OriginalPouzar:
    Sure, we can agree that elite skill doesn’t spend much time in the AHL but does that mean it doesn’t spend any time in the AHL?

    I think Yamamoto might have a specific “skill” to work on – learning how to play and succeed in a league filled with big and strong men.Sure, Kailer isn’t going to get materially bigger (although I’m sure he’ll gain some weight and turn in to a “man” eventually) but knowing how to succeed in a league filled with big, strong and men men is a skill in itself and this might be something Kailer has to learn.

    Time will tell.

    I think it has to do a lot with what their skill set is.

    A small player that is fast and is a playmaker, can carry the puck and avoid players, create space, is going to have an easier time IMO. Size doesn’t enter the matter as much if you can’t get near them.

    If they are finishers more I think the road is harder and they would have to learn how to do that at the NHL and have a very hard shot for a smaller frame. They have to learn how to get looks at the NHL level. If they aren’t fast – as in faster than other players or explosive – another thing to suss out. DeBrincat seems to be able to shoot with velocity and accuracy.

    There is a lot of time in junior and players are often left open close in, and of course the goalies are far easier to beat.

  20. Munny says:

    Wilde,

    I thought LT described it pretty well:

    But at 22 or 25, in the NHL, the player database (save a precious few) is filled with men who pressure and cut off lanes and force opposition from possession—without ever having the puck and controlling it as they did long ago.

    Add increased physicality, gamesmanship, calm feet and we’re probably all the way there.

  21. Psyche says:

    Clarkenstein,

    Reminds me a bit of MacT and Toby Peterson.

    We are at the stage where you can’t predict what the coach will do next. That’s a bad spot for fans, players and for the coach.

    “Death by a thousand knives” is most appropriately applied to fans when used in the context of the Oilers’ organization. We are a relentless bunch.

  22. frjohnk says:

    Woodguy v2.0: So you’re saying McLellan doesn’t get the pipe this summer?

    I dont know if he does or doesnt, but in my opinion both GM and coaching should be gone this summer.

    Chias fumbling as a GM with trades and signings, to McClellans questionable roster deployment, special teams disaster, inability to get the most out of many players: Ive had enough.

    Add to the fact that there is a definite disconnect between the coach and GM when looking at roster construction and roster deployment. They just dont seem to be on the same page.

    Results are what matter.

    Fuck continuity.

    Load the cannon.

  23. Scungilli Slushy says:

    Wilde: The problem with the projection of small players in this way is that the more likely cause for them making the NHL late isn’t that they had to develop for that long, it’s that it takes them that much longer to earn a shot.

    They likely could have played in the NHL beforehand. I don’t believe any player at age 20-22 putting up PPG in the AHL can’t play in the NHL on some level.

    Jonathan Marchessault had to play SIX stints in the AHL before getting his due:

    2011-12: 64 in 76 —— 0.84 PPG
    2012-13: 67 in 74 —— 0.91 PPG
    2013-14: 41 in 56 —— 0.73 PPG and 15 in 21: ——- 0.71 PPG
    2014-15: 67 in 68 —— 0.98 PPG
    2015-16: 09 in 11 —— 0.81 PPG

    The theory I get from this isn’t that they needed to get to their mid 20’s, it’s that it takes them that long to stop getting ignored.

    TBL is running over the league with like 2 regular sized forwards in their top 9.

    They are pretty small but Hedman is behind them nearly half a game. If they had the Oilers D core this year they would seem very different IMO. Probably would be called too small with less success than they have.

    Yzerman knows the drill though, that is how the Wings found skill drafting low all the time. He knows they can be good with the right traits.

  24. OriginalPouzar says:

    Wilde: What part of ‘playing against men’ are people referring to when it’s said?

    What is your personal idea of it?

    I’m not teasing you, I’m actually curious.

    I don’t understand the question: I’m talking about learning how to play against 30 year old 6’3, 220 pound centers and d-men as opposed to 19 year old 6’1, 170 pound centers and d-men.

    Its a different world.

  25. frjohnk says:

    Clarkenstein: You have Caggiula and Strome out as the “next” best to 97 and 29 in OT and wonder why you lose the game?Of all the players on a 50 man roster this is your second group?FFS!!

    Yup.
    Calgary can send out a way better group after Gaudreau and Monahan.
    Same with Winnipeg
    Toronto
    Vancouver
    Ottawa

    Geez, I start going through the teams in the league and I have ask how many teams can not send out a 2nd unit in OT better than Strome and Cagguila?
    Arizona? Buffalo?
    I still think those bottom feeders have us beat.

    Man.

  26. Scungilli Slushy says:

    If they let McLellan go who is out there better? A rookie coach with a rookie team hasn’t seemed to work out before.

    Is Quenneville a better motivator than McL if he’s canned as well? The Hawks of today aren’t the Hawks with the most talent in the league that won Cups and couldn’t keep because of the cap.

    They also signed some bad contracts that the coach probably has player input with – keep or deal.

    The good guys are pretty much employed ATM.

    I’m not happy with how the team seems stressed out and underperforms, speaks of coaching issues for sure, but I don’t see a no brainer fix.

  27. J-Bo says:

    I’m beginning to feel like next year is going to be a write off. They simply don’t have the cap space to do anything. Also, after looking at the cap yesterday there is simply no chance Yamamoto doesn’t play all year in the Nhl. He is under a million bucks and his max bonuses are a little over 200 thousand. They need more contracts like that but I have no idea where they will possibly find them.

  28. BornInAGretzkyJersey says:

    OriginalPouzar: I don’t understand the question: I’m talking about learning how to play against 30 year old 6’3, 220 pound centers and d-men as opposed to 19 year old 6’1, 170 pound centers and d-men.

    Its a different world.

    Absolutely agree.

    There’s a reason Gregor talks about “man strength” so often. A guy standing 6′ 175 lbs at 18 years old isn’t nearly as strong as he will be at 25 and the same height/weight. Muscle fibre density increases with age (to a point ~30 years old, I believe).

    Then there’s the experience aspect that comes with being a pro (earned whilst playing against pros) for a number of years. Consequence: you play smarter with age, and you’re stronger to boot.

  29. frjohnk says:

    Munny:
    I think there’s going to be some disappointed fans this summer.It is by no means certain that the coaching staff is turned over.

    I’ll cheer for the club regardless if they stay or get fired, I made it through the scorched earth rebuild and now we have McDavid, I’ll always be a fan.
    The team could, for the rest of the year do well but not make the playoffs and I could see things staying the same.

    But for me, just like the OBC, I dont trust that these guys to do the job properly.

    With them, I see a mediocre team moving forward that might have a Cup run or two when McDavid puts the team on his back and the team gets .940 goaltending. But thats a few years away, if that even happens.

  30. OilClog says:

    OriginalPouzar:
    Khaira is developing in to a valuable player at the NHL level, however, I’m not so sure i see Benson becoming the “next Khaira”.

    Khaira, to me, is showing more offence at the NHL level than his amateur and AHL careers show – he’s outperforming his development offensively.

    Benson was at one time an elite offensive prospect and is now a higher level offensive prospect that may develop in to a two-way player at the professional level – dominating against teenagers but not so much against pros – but still being a valuable player.

    Lol! You’re reasoning is just something else.

    Maybe Benson will get a chance on the 2nd PP unit that Mcdavid has been bumped down to, while Leon QB’s the first unit feeding Khaira plates in the slot lol

    OriginalPouzar: I don’t understand the question: I’m talking about learning how to play against 30 year old 6’3, 220 pound centers and d-men as opposed to 19 year old 6’1, 170 pound centers and d-men.

    Its a different world.

    Yet it’s a world that you have absolutely no grasp of how it’s going to play out, Benson’s skill set may come to the forefront more impactful as he’s a bigger player that has much more sand paper to him then say Yamamoto and thus his skill will translate against 6’3 230lb centres or defenders organically then say Mighty Mouse.

    Your reasoning for Benson already failing to expectations are from a different world

  31. OilClog says:

    Crosby has won cups with multiple coaches, didn’t win a cup with his first coach either.

  32. Wilde says:

    OriginalPouzar: I don’t understand the question: I’m talking about learning how to play against 30 year old 6’3, 220 pound centers and d-men as opposed to 19 year old 6’1, 170 pound centers and d-men.

    Its a different world.

    But what exactly are these bigger players going to do against him?

    What are they going to stop him from doing, and what evidence is there that that’s the case?

    Scungilli Slushy: They are pretty small but Hedman is behind them nearly half a game. If they had the Oilers D core this year they would seem very different IMO. Probably would be called too small with less success than they have.

    Yzerman knows the drill though, that is how the Wings found skill drafting low all the time. He knows they can be good with the right traits.

    The forwards drive the bus on Tampa. Full stop.

    Tyler Johnson on ice GF/60 with and without Hedman: 3.13 and 3.11.
    (Difference in oish% is 0.9%)

    Brayden Point: 4.06 and 3.10.
    (difference in oish% is 3.4%, if they were the same then Point on ice would score 4.24GF without Hedman)

    Yanni Gourde: 3.99 and 3.44.
    (difference in oish% is 1.5%, if they were the same then Gourde on ice would would score 3.84GF without Hedman)

  33. Scungilli Slushy says:

    J-Bo: They simply don’t have the cap space to do anything.

    That isn’t likely a bad idea.

    I think the team if it shows up to camp healthy can be competitive. When you’re 3 best D aren’t healthy no team is very good.

    I also think if they were playing more evenly the blender would get used less letting the young guys find some rhythm.

    Hopefully the young guys with another year start playing the system better and stop missing so many assignments.

    Special teams aren’t the hardest fix. 5v5 has been pretty solid.

    Maybe some coaching help and low level tweaks, wouldn’t surprise me to see another quiet summer. There is enough talent to be good. A noisy summer could be disastrous unless Chia finds a trade/s that he hasn’t in years.

  34. J-Bo says:

    Of course what the Oil really need to be able to do for the salary cap is trade both Sekera and Russell, run Davidson and Benning as the defacto 3rd pair and trade for another top 4 RHD, but I digress…

  35. Wilde says:

    Munny:
    Wilde,

    I thought LT described it pretty well:

    But at 22 or 25, in the NHL, the player database (save a precious few) is filled with men who pressure and cut off lanes and force opposition from possession—without ever having the puck and controlling it as they did long ago.

    Add increased physicality, gamesmanship, calm feet and we’re probably all the way there.

    What evidence is there that Yamamoto failed at this in the NHL?

    Yamamoto failed at finishing, and his teammates failed at finishing when he was on the ice.

    I’m going to be the designated Yamamoto cheerleader until the fall, and you all can relentlessly mock me if he doesn’t pan out as a 0.4+PPG guy in the NHL, starting next year.

  36. J-Bo says:

    Scungilli Slushy,

    Hopefully. Another thing I hope is that the NFL bans NMC’s in the next CBA!

  37. Lowetide says:

    Wilde: What evidence is there that Yamamoto failed at this in the NHL?

    Yamamoto failed at finishing, and his teammates failed at finishing when he was on the ice.

    I’m going to be the designated Yamamoto cheerleader until the fall, and you all can relentlessly mock me if he doesn’t pan out as a 0.4+PPG guy in the NHL, starting next year.

    Yamamoto is an excellent prospect and there’s every chance he’s in the NHL this fall. It would behoove the Oilers to make his path difficult, thus giving them a quality winger matriculating in the AHL. Alas, this is not the Oilers Book of Eli master plan.

  38. Scungilli Slushy says:

    J-Bo:
    Of course what the Oil really need to be able to do for the salary cap is trade both Sekera and Russell, run Davidson and Benning as the defacto 3rd pair and trade for another top 4 RHD, but I digress…

    truth

  39. Oilman99 says:

    OriginalPouzar: RELATED

    In addition,every player is at an elite level,otherwise they wouldn’t be there. You’re always competing against five quality players every time you’re on the versus two or three at the junior level.

  40. Oilman99 says:

    Lowetide: Yamamoto is an excellent prospect and there’s every chance he’s in the NHL this fall. It would behoove the Oilers to make his path difficult, thus giving them a quality winger matriculating in the AHL. Alas, this is not the Oilers Book of Eli master plan.

    Do you not think it would be better for him to spend some time in the minors learning how to succeed against bigger stronger opponent?

  41. Scungilli Slushy says:

    Wilde: What evidence is there that Yamamoto failed at this in the NHL?

    Yamamoto failed at finishing, and his teammates failed at finishing when he was on the ice.

    I’m going to be the designated Yamamoto cheerleader until the fall, and you all can relentlessly mock me if he doesn’t pan out as a 0.4+PPG guy in the NHL, starting next year.

    Can we just start now, for fun? Nothing to do with Yama, he’s a good one.

  42. Wilde says:

    Lowetide: Yamamoto is an excellent prospect and there’s every chance he’s in the NHL this fall. It would behoove the Oilers to make his path difficult, thus giving them a quality winger matriculating in the AHL. Alas, this is not the Oilers Book of Eli master plan.

    The master plan?

    The master plan?!

    The master plan is we move up in the lottery and get one of the wingers, and put him in the NHL immediately.

    Why push a 19 year old into everyday NHL work, when you can push and 18 year old into it?!

  43. Wilde says:

    Scungilli Slushy: Can we just start now, for fun? Nothing to do with Yama, he’s a good one.

    Oh, of course.

    But it’ll be much more fun when I’m definitively wrong, I promise.

  44. OriginalPouzar says:

    OilClog: Lol! You’re reasoning is just something else.

    Maybe Benson will get a chance on the 2nd PP unit that Mcdavid has been bumped down to, while Leon QB’s the first unit feeding Khaira plates in the slot lol

    Yet it’s a world that you have absolutely no grasp of how it’s going to play out, Benson’s skill set may come to the forefront more impactful as he’s a bigger player that has much more sand paper to him then say Yamamoto and thus his skill will translate against 6’3 230lb centres or defenders organically then say Mighty Mouse.

    Your reasoning for Benson already failing to expectations are from a different world

    Its clear by your tone that you have a personal issue with me but, against my better judgement, I will respond:

    1) I wasn’t saying anything with respect to Benson’s ceiling. I was simply responding to a comparison regarding Khaira and Benson and their pre-pro development. Khaira was never a plus offensive player as an amateur or in Bakersfield – he is actually outperforming his draft day offensive pedigree. I simply don’t understand LT’s comment in the context of a skilled player in junior that turns in to more of a 3rd liner as a pro.

    2) I wasn’t even referring to Benson, I was talking about Yamamoto. Further, I’m higher on Benson’s ceiling that most – I was simply speaking to the fact that at one point he was an elite prospect, one that was almost granted exceptional status and had elite offensive potential – he’s changes as a prospect since those days but he is still a substantial prospect who I see as a 2nd liner but potentially as a 3rd or even a 1st liner.

    You disagree with me on McDavid’s PP abilities and various other things – that doesn’t give you the right to take shots at me or reply with complete condensation. Our host deserves a more amicable environment.

  45. Lowetide says:

    Oilman99: Do you not think it would be better for him to spend some time in the minors learning how to succeed against bigger stronger opponent?

    I think his NHL numbers suggest he can succeed against bigger and stronger opponents, but it doesn’t hurt to spend time in the minors. I’m not sure why people keep talking about big people who will crumple KY, he played nine games and his numbers suggest good things were happening (luck aside). People worry so much about size, but speed is the new big.

  46. Munny says:

    Wilde: What evidence is there that Yamamoto failed at this in the NHL?

    I was only answering the question asked in the post I replied to. The one you were “actually curious” about.. Ie. what constitutes playing against men.

    …You seem to be acting a little defensive?

  47. Scungilli Slushy says:

    I think Benson’s biggest issue is his pubis thing. He clearly has a lot of talent, but if he loses a step or half that doesn’t return that is what defines his NHL ceiling.

    It could push him out of a top 6 career very likely because although he’s fairly heavy he’s not a big guy, which of course makes most GMs drool and provides more kicks at the cat (no offense to cats) IMO. As LT and others have alluded to.

  48. russ99 says:

    Good article LT.

    Kind of a sobering 10 year record of how past regimes and current development staff have left lead us to the dearth of talent bubbling up from the system, and operating Bakersfield like it’s still in the ECHL doesn’t help.

    It doesn’t have to be this way, other organizations give prospects time to find themselves in a tough men’s league in the AHL. Detroit, famously, but there’s others. It’s doubtful the Pens would be where they are now without possibly the best development system in the league.

    It’s all on Katz to make the investments needed in Bakersfield operations, better coaching, dump the old boys out of player development and hopefully we can sign college players without NHL guarantees and string a few good drafts together to increase the talent level.

  49. Wilde says:

    Munny: i am only answering the question asked in the post I replied to.The one you were “actually curious” about..Ie. what constitutes playing against men.

    …You seem to be acting a little defensive?

    Oh of course, I’m asking a follow-up question, not accusing you of evasion.

    You don’t have to answer it if you don’t want to.

    And eh, I think the internet is tone-deaf and is basically up to the reader to interpret.

    I goad people like this in person, but make sure to not sound aggressive while I’m doing it.

    I discovered it’s entirely too time-consuming to try to influence people’s understanding of my tone through text.

  50. OriginalPouzar says:

    J-Bo:
    Of course what the Oil really need to be able to do for the salary cap is trade both Sekera and Russell, run Davidson and Benning as the defacto 3rd pair and trade for another top 4 RHD, but I digress…

    I don’t agree with the notion of trying to trade Sekera for cap space. If we are asking any player to waive their NMC (in addition to Russell), it must be Lucic, not Sekera.

    Sekera remains arguably this team’s best d-man. Nope, he sure isn’t playing like it right now but that was 100% expected. He stated the other day in an interview with Gregor that he has mobility issues that are causing him problems plus the brace he has to wear makes it even worse. He is far from 100% right now but trying to battle through.

    He will/should be 100% come camp and we are going to be adding a wonderful player that makes this team so much better. An elite 2nd pairing (low end 1st pairing) veteran d-man.

    I can’t wait for a healthy Reggie with a full summer of training plus camp!

  51. texmex says:

    Man, would I love to get Athanasiou out of Detroit. Highly unlikely he would be available though.

    What would you give up to get him?

  52. OriginalPouzar says:

    Lowetide: Yamamoto is an excellent prospect and there’s every chance he’s in the NHL this fall. It would behoove the Oilers to make his path difficult, thus giving them a quality winger matriculating in the AHL. Alas, this is not the Oilers Book of Eli master plan.

    If we can only fill one hole given cap space – would you like to see an established scoring winger acquired (not a stop gap like Vanek for a year but a player with term and material cap hit) or the 1/2RD hole plugged?

  53. jtblack says:

    Great Stuff LT. Cannot thank you enough for your work. It is like X Mas every morning! The blog generates great discussion amongst smart hockey people and others (subtle attempt at humor).

    Living in the West, I follow the WHL closely, but not able to keep with OHL and Q as much

    What is the overall sense that Maksimov or Safin could be NHL olayers in 2 – 3 years? And can either skate well?

    CHEERS

  54. JimmyV1965 says:

    Excellent article LT. The first thing I notice the list of skill AHL guys gets shorter and shorter each year.

  55. fifthcartel says:

    It’d be wise if the Oilers pump the breaks on Khaira a bit.

    He’s on a 17-goal, 33-point pace (over 82 games), but that’s with an 18% shooting percentage. It’d be great if the Oilers found a middle-six forward who can score 35 points and kill penalties/fill in at center, but most forwards don’t score on 18% of their shots.

    This isn’t to say Khaira isn’t an NHL player, but maybe he’s more of a 10 goals and ~20-point guy than a 30-point one. That doesn’t seem like much of a difference, what does 10 points matter?

    But it’s about placing players around their established ability and being aware of hot streaks so you don’t count on Drake Caggiula and Anton Slepyshev to replace a 50-point winger because they scored a few nice playoff goals. So you don’t think Leon Draisaitl is Evgeni Malkin and pay him as such because he ran shotgun with 97 then went on a tear in the playoffs

  56. jtblack says:

    “It’s a nice group of four, if you’re the Oilers eight would be better.”

    Superstar 1st round picks don’t spend a lot of time in the AHL. – Agreed.

    A few of the reasons we don’t have a deep prospect pipeline / AHL pipeline:

    1) SCOUTING – The Oilers have shown a history of poor player Analysis beyond Round 1 for what seems like; since 1981? I Honestly believe the last 3 years have been better, but there just havent been enough Picks to make …. which leads to …

    2) Trading / Losing 2nd / 3rd Round Picks – Reinhart Deal has been beat to death. But we also lost 2 – 2nd Rounders for PC and T Mac coming on board ? did we not? someone answer that.

    2013 – 2 picks in top 83
    2014- 1 pick in top 91
    2015 – 1 pick in top 117
    2016 – FULL DECK
    2017 – 1 pick in top 75

    The 2013 – 2015 Draft crop (non 1st round) are starting to make impacts in the NHL. But the Oilers have Nobody outside of their Lottery picks from those years.

    If we wonder why why don’t have enough Prospects perculating in the system, it’s simple. The OILERS have not keep (made) ennough draft picks in the Top 3 Rounds.

  57. OriginalPouzar says:

    jtblack:
    Great Stuff LT. Cannot thank you enough for your work. It is like X Mas every morning!The blog generates great discussion amongst smart hockey people and others (subtle attempt at humor).

    Living in the West, I gollow the WHL closely

    What is the overall sense that Maksimov or Safin could be NHL olayers in 2 – 3 years?Andcan either skate well?

    CHEERS

    From accounts, Safin is an “elite level skater” while Maksimov is a powerful skater with straight line speed but needs to work on his first step.

    WIth that said, Maksimov’s shot is plus plus and is exactly what we need.

    Clearly both these prospects are a few years away – neither are sure things but both decent bets – I would say that Maksimov is clearly trending to be a plus prospect.

    https://twitter.com/EDProspectWatch/status/959144612580311040

    https://twitter.com/EDProspectWatch/status/959144888758513664

  58. OriginalPouzar says:

    fifthcartel:
    It’d be wise if the Oilers pump the breaks on Khaira a bit.

    He’s on a 17-goal, 33-point pace (over 82 games), but that’s with an 18% shooting percentage. It’d be great if the Oilers found a middle-six forward who can score 35 points and kill penalties/fill in at center, but most forwards don’t score on 18% of their shots.

    This isn’t to say Khaira isn’t an NHL player, but maybe he’s more of a 10 goals and ~20-point guy than a 30-point one. That doesn’t seem like much of a difference, what does 10 points matter?

    But it’s about placing players around their established ability and being aware of hot streaks so you don’t count on Drake Caggiula and Anton Slepyshev to replace a 50-point winger because they scored a few nice playoff goals. So you don’t think Leon Draisaitl is Evgeni Malkin and pay him as such because he ran shotgun with 97 then went on a tear in the playoffs

    He’s providing more offense this year and showing more puck skills (carrying the puck through the neutral zone, smart plays in the offensive zone) than I ever thought he had but, yes, that shooting percentage is unsustainable and this offence does not mesh with his prior levels.

    I would like to pencil him in as 4C next season.

  59. Oil Fan 99 says:

    texmex,

    I like Athanasiou as well. Negotiations did not go well last year in Detroit and he is a bit of a negative procession player. I wonder if Caggiula may have similar value. He is a hitting machine.

  60. Scungilli Slushy says:

    russ99: It doesn’t have to be this way, other organizations give prospects time to find themselves in a tough men’s league in the AHL. Detroit, famously

    This is true Russ. It should be noted that in an interview a year or two back I read Holland spoke to that. They had a stacked team and there wasn’t always spots for youth.

    He said that if they could have drafted killed size they would have, that they would have been more aggressive like other teams probably if they had the right roster. At times they had some toughness.

    Their biggest triumph was making good choices with available options.

    For depleted teams things are different. The Oilers problem is that they are self depleting. Chiarelli seems to have improved drafting, but he needs to stop trading picks and skill as we know, the rest is just time, again, unfortunately.

  61. JimmyV1965 says:

    dustrock:
    I think if I’m the coaching staff I’d say “our road PK is top 3 and our home PK is historically bad and thoughts are that’s on the players”.

    Fans say “your job as coach is to stop the players from acting like that”.

    If McLellan can’t stop the team from having the jitters, I’m not sure that’s his fault, but if it’s not resolved, maybe you bring in someone else?

    This is what drives me crazy. The difference in PK is so monumental home and away I think it’s on the players. Not the coaching staff.

    But then I think back to the last game and the play of Lucic and Kass. Both those players did nothing in the first two periods and then suddenly turn the lights on in the third. And when they did it had a huge impact on the flow of play. I guess that’s on the players too. And then I think of McDavid and Drai cheating for offence in the dzone the entire game and that’s on the players too.

    I guess I want to know when the responsibility for all this falls on the coaching staff.

  62. Woogie63 says:

    Off season changes I see with the Oilers

    1. Jim Johnson moved to Senior Director of Player Developement
    2. Ian Herbers moves to the bench
    3. Cassie Campbell Pascal new Assistant coach in the press box
    4. Rick Carrierre retires
    5. Bill Scott pursue “personal exciting options”
    6. Darren Abbott “Assistant to the President – Cap Management

    Everyone else is coming back because their contracts are big buyouts

  63. fifthcartel says:

    OriginalPouzar: He’s providing more offense this year and showing more puck skills (carrying the puck through the neutral zone, smart plays in the offensive zone) than I ever thought he had but, yes, that shooting percentage is unsustainable and this offence does not mesh with his prior levels.

    I would like to pencil him in as 4C next season.

    For sure. Him playing 2C lately (albeit with RNH out) worries me. Khaira’s one of the few positive stories but he shouldn’t make them satisfied enough to not upgrade on the or at center imo.

  64. JimmyV1965 says:

    I think this team has a long track record of rushing players up to the NHL before they are ready. We either hamper their development or destroy it altogether.

    I’ve never heard of anyone whose career was ruined because they spent too much time in the minors. And before you respond Wilde I’m sure there is an exception or two. LOL.

    As an organization I think the Oilers need to stop doing this. Organizations that have a better track record are clearly more capable of determining if certain players can skip right to the NHL. This organization isn’t even close to that. Until this organization learns how to develop players and has some success, they should err on the side of caution and send players to the minors as the default decision.

  65. Scungilli Slushy says:

    I’m not sure Athanasiou is going to be worth the money he’ll be after. He’s not really a scorer either, fast but 23 pts is meh. If they are going to get a forward he needs to be a significant add, or might as well use the guys they have. Khaira isn’t far off his offense and will be far cheaper for example.

    Grabner has twice the goals and will be the same cap or less I think, and is a more rounded player that can help where the Oilers struggle with youth and slow boots. If he wants to come back west, but he’d have a strong shot at one of Connor’s wings IMO.

  66. Scungilli Slushy says:

    JimmyV1965: This is what drives me crazy. The difference in PK is so monumental home and away I think it’s on the players. Not the coaching staff.

    But then I think back to the last game and the play of Lucic and Kass. Both those players did nothing in the first two periods and then suddenly turn the lights on in the third. And when they did it had a huge impact on the flow of play. I guess that’s on the players too. And then I think of McDavid and Drai cheating for offence in the dzone the entire game and that’s on the players too.

    I guess I want to know when the responsibility for all this falls on the coaching staff.

    And it’s one thing when Drai and Connor cheat for offense (most high end players do), completely another when Slepy and Kassian are on the wrong side of the opponent on the wall and it goes in the net.

  67. Woogie63 says:

    Scungilli Slushy:
    I’m not sure Athanasiou is going to be worth the money he’ll be after. He’s not really a scorer either, fast but 23 pts is meh. If they are going to get a forward he needs to be a significant add, or might as well use the guys they have. Khaira isn’t far off his offense and will be far cheaper for example.

    Grabner has twice the goals and will be the same cap or less I think, and is a more rounded player that can help where the Oilers struggle with youth and slow boots. If he wants to come back west, but he’d have a strong shot at one of Connor’s wings IMO.

    Yes to Grabner and Haglin for Conner

  68. OriginalPouzar says:

    Woogie63: Yes to Grabner and Haglin for Conner

    I would not make that trade…….

    Kidding, clearly.

  69. JimmyV1965 says:

    Scungilli Slushy: And it’s one thing when Drai and Connor cheat for offense (most high end players do), completely another when Slepy and Kassian are on the wrong side of the opponent on the wall and it goes in the net.

    This is true. Kass and Schleppy both looked awful on that goal. But our first line spent a lot of time hemmed into their own zone because McDavid and Drai were not supporting their dmen. My bigger question. Is this on the coaching staff?

  70. Wilde says:

    Scungilli Slushy,

    Woogie63,

    I think Grabner’s value is that he could score away from Connor, at even strength.

    That’s a more dire area of need than slightly raising 97’s production, in my opinion.

  71. Scungilli Slushy says:

    JimmyV1965: This is true. Kass and Schleppy both looked awful on that goal. But our first line spent a lot of time hemmed into their own zone because McDavid and Drai were not supporting their dmen. My bigger question. Is this on the coaching staff?

    I think so. Training young high end players may be harder but that’s how their game matures.

  72. Pretendergast says:

    I wonder if the Oilers would try to innovate Leaf style and pay some higher skill AHL vets on primarily a bonus structure based on teammate performance. Would really encourage the guy to develop the new kids and take his linemates under his wing while also giving the vet a pretty good gig with top players.

    Maksimov or Safin with Brad Malone type vets on that kind of contract may be hard to find but would be a coup to development.

  73. Scungilli Slushy says:

    Wilde:
    Scungilli Slushy,

    Woogie63,

    I think Grabner’s value is that he could score away from Connor, at even strength.

    That’s a more dire area of need than slightly raising 97’s production, in my opinion.

    True. Put him with Drai and Yama. Connor and JP can live with Lucic. Drai might like having speed and skill on both wings for a change.

  74. Oil Fan 99 says:

    Scungilli Slushy:
    I’m not sure Athanasiou is going to be worth the money he’ll be after. He’s not really a scorer either, fast but 23 pts is meh. If they are going to get a forward he needs to be a significant add, or might as well use the guys they have. Khaira isn’t far off his offense and will be far cheaper for example.

    Grabner has twice the goals and will be the same cap or less I think, and is a more rounded player that can help where the Oilers struggle with youth and slow boots. If he wants to come back west, but he’d have a strong shot at one of Connor’s wings IMO.

    Grabner would be a good add. He can kill penalties, score some goals and is fast train. He would not be 97’s winger. He plays 14 mins a night.
    Hoffman would be a good target for 97’s wing. The trick would be adding him without subtracting Klefbom or Nugent-Hopkins plus having enough cap space to add a right shot defenceman.

  75. Wilde says:

    Oil Fan 99: Grabner would be a good add. He can kill penalties, score some goals and is fast train. He would not be 97’s winger. He plays 14 mins a night.
    Hoffman would be a good target for 97’s wing. The trick would be adding him without subtracting Klefbom or Nugent-Hopkins plus having enough cap space to add a right shot defenceman.

    I think if you can get a good haul at the deadline this year, then you can flip that to OTT for Hoffman without giving Klef or Nuge.

  76. PunjabiOil says:

    Benson hasn’t spiked offensively in his 19 year old season.

    Wonder if Ottawa does Benson + 2018 2nd for Hoffman.

  77. ChiliChunk says:

    OriginalPouzar: reply with complete condensation

    He rained on your parade?

    (just having fun OP – I enjoy your posts and optimism)

  78. OriginalPouzar says:

    Pretendergast:
    I wonder if the Oilers would try to innovate Leaf style and pay some higher skill AHL vets on primarily a bonus structure based on teammate performance. Would really encourage the guy to develop the new kids and take his linemates under his wing while also giving the vet a pretty good gig with top players.

    Maksimov or Safin with Brad Malone type vets on that kind of contract may be hard to find but would be a coup to development.

    If I’m not mistaken, haven’t the Oilers been “guilty” doing almost exactly that in the past – acquiring higher end AHL veterans and playing them over the real prospects?

  79. Scungilli Slushy says:

    Oil Fan 99: Grabner would be a good add. He can kill penalties, score some goals and is fast train. He would not be 97’s winger. He plays 14 mins a night.
    Hoffman would be a good target for 97’s wing. The trick would be adding him without subtracting Klefbom or Nugent-Hopkins plus having enough cap space to add a right shot defenceman.

    Yes or giving up too much for him. He’s a second tier talent IMO. Strome for him would be hilarious.

    Grabner I think is quirky and teams might undervalue him. he’s bounced a bit. His PTS/60 is 1.84 getting lower line minutes this year it seems. He usually has a high SH%, 8.5 shots/60.

  80. OriginalPouzar says:

    Oil Fan 99: Grabner would be a good add. He can kill penalties, score some goals and is fast train. He would not be 97’s winger. He plays 14 mins a night.
    Hoffman would be a good target for 97’s wing. The trick would be adding him without subtracting Klefbom or Nugent-Hopkins plus having enough cap space to add a right shot defenceman.

    There is the key – my preference is to focus first on that right shot d-man and, frankly, I can imagine any money being left over for a material winger with term.

    I think it definitely more important to fill the RHD slot as I think there is help coming in the top from internal sources – its just that the help is a year or two away. I’m willing to be patient to ensure the team is built within cap parameters.

    It would be great to get rid of Russell and his contract as he’s not needed if we can actually fill the RHD spot (he’d be great for depth but is too expensive for that).

  81. Professor Q says:

    PunjabiOil:
    Benson hasn’t spiked offensively in his 19 year old season.

    Wonder if Ottawa does Benson + 2018 2nd for Hoffman.

    He has a higher points per game than Kailer, (1.26 vs. 1.19), and is healthy and playing more games than he usually has.

    Still many more games to go yet.

  82. Wilde says:

    Professor Q: He has a higher points per game than Kailer, (1.26 vs. 1.19), and is healthy and playing more games than he usually has.

    Still many more games to go yet.

    Kailer has 36 in 22 this season for Spokane.

    *waves pom-poms*

  83. OriginalPouzar says:

    PunjabiOil:
    Benson hasn’t spiked offensively in his 19 year old season.

    Wonder if Ottawa does Benson + 2018 2nd for Hoffman.

    I guess technically that isn’t true but he essentially lost a full year of development and still isn’t even 100% – I think his offensive production in this season can be looked at as a plus. He’s still getting healthy and getting back to playing.

    That deal takes on material cap without any going back – can we afford it? It likely precludes a RHD addition without trading a material asset away.

    I’d like to focus on that RHD as we are less likely to fill that spot internally over the next few years and, frankly, I think its essential to have value contracts in the top 6, moreso than on D.

  84. Professor Q says:

    Wilde: Kailer has 36 in 22 this season for Spokane.

    *waves pom-poms*

    Shyte, I had those numbers mixed up somehow. My mistake, freely admitted, no pom-poms required.

    Regardless, I personally think they’re both doing well and I don’t think that “Benson’s numbers haven’t ‘spiked’ thus we should dump him” is a beneficial mindset.

  85. OriginalPouzar says:

    Yamamoto is up to 6th in the WHL in P/G – pretty good given how pedestrian his first half was.

  86. Munny says:

    Wilde,

    Well I’m not sure this is the relevant question:

    What evidence is there that Yamamoto failed at this in the NHL?

    Any determination on where he is playing next year will depend on where he is at come training camp. I think both he and Pujo have some defensive issues at present… stuff that comes with coaching and experience, so whether he plays in the NHL next year is likely dependent on what the coach can live with.

  87. Scungilli Slushy says:

    OriginalPouzar: I guess technically that isn’t true but he essentially lost a full year of development and still isn’t even 100% –I think his offensive production in this season can be looked at as a plus.He’s still getting healthy and getting back to playing.

    That deal takes on material cap without any going back – can we afford it?It likely precludes a RHD addition without trading a material asset away.

    I’d like to focus on that RHD as we are less likely to fill that spot internally over the next few years and, frankly, I think its essential to have value contracts in the top 6, moreso than on D.

    I think the Oilers would get as much offense (via the player’s points and improving puck movement to forwards) and lower GA with a good RD addition as opposed to a winger. And be a stronger team.

    However Sekera may be able to do that on second pair when his legs are back, for free. Benning maybe if he and Klef click but another role of the dice.

    Sekera playing right eases the logjam on the left and I think he’d do it far better than Russell.

  88. VOR says:

    Tiny piece of trivia. Tampa Bay has only 3 players, Stamkos, Hedman, and Sergachev who have never played in the AHL. I think it is only 5 (Stamkos, Hedman, Kucherov, Sergachev, and Point) who haven’t played at least 50 games in the AHL.

  89. prefonmich says:

    Scungilli Slushy,

    I agree that improved puck movement will result in more offense. This was the biggest issue to start this season. Chia underestimated the value of Sekera and overestimated.the value of Russell.

    I still think they need to see about trying to trade Russell and Davidson can fill in on right side bottom.pairing for cheaper.

    Both Klef and Sekera should be better next year plus nurse all capable of top pairing minutes on left side. Right side Larsson first, Benning and Davidson. I think this is a fine d corps with strength in puck movers on.left side and enough on the right.

    Given our need for speed and better offense on the wings I think our trade focus is better spent in this area. Our defense will be much improved next year with two players returning to form.

  90. OriginalPouzar says:

    Scungilli Slushy: I think the Oilers would get as much offense (via the player’s points and improving puck movement to forwards) and lower GA with a good RD addition as opposed to a winger. And be a stronger team.

    However Sekera may be able to do that on second pair when his legs are back, for free. Benning maybe if he and Klef click but another role of the dice.

    Sekera playing right eases the logjam on the left and I think he’d do it far better than Russell.

    The addition of a healthy Sekera (presumably) is going to be massive for next season.

    I know, I know, he looked good on the right side with Chara at the World Cup, however, I would till prefer him on his natural side and plugging that hole on the right side with a legit established top 4 RHD.

    You specifically mention the uptick in offence by the new RHD transitioning the puck – I don’t see that if Sekera is on his offside – its a physical matter of being on his back hand to the middle making it tougher and/or slower to transition.

    On the other hand, with Nurse’s new expensive contract, can we afford Nurse, Klef and Sekera on the left side and add a top 4 RHD? Sometimes I really wish we weren’t committed to Russell next season and had an extra $4M of cap space.

  91. prefonmich says:

    And in this vein I wonder if anyone.would trade Yamo straight up for Hoffman? Assuming Ottawa would do this of course.

    I don’t think I would because we need cheap skill given the contracts of McDavid and Drai and some overpaid free agent signings as well… Yamo potentially provides that in next few years.

  92. VOR says:

    I continue to be amazed how many smart people continue to believe in the myth of size. It is no wonder scouts fight with the same bias. Study after study has shown size is not correlated with NHL success anywhere near as powerfully as offensive performance pre-draft. This is particularly true for forwards from the CHL.

    If you don’t believe me go read Brad McPherson’s work at Blue Bullet Report.

    He has created a stat called NHLP which is kind of like NHLE but doesn’t look at first year in the NHL but best year in the NHL.

    Want to know who had the highest NHLP of any CHL forward in the draft: Kailer Yamamoto. At a max of 76 points.

    McPherson’s math says Yamamoto has more than a 70% chance of having a career in the NHL and of being above a .5 ppg player at that.

    At the moment, barring a late year surge by Zadina, no highly ranked draft eligible CHL forward is going to be close to that NHLP.

    Size bias is a thing. It is so profound that it shows up in the number of late first rounders who perform at a high first round rate. What they have in common as a group is that they are below average in size.

    This isn’t to say that Yamamoto shouldn’t go to the AHL.

    I think it would be an excellent idea for all our top prospects to mature in the AHL far from the hostile glare of the Edmonton media and the ire of impatient fans. It would be nice for the Oilers to be like Detroit and have no choice but to store good young players in the AHL until there was a roster spot available. But lets start by being like Tampa and making the AHL a rite of passage.

    If Kailer goes all Kucherov then bring him up. If his AHL career goes like Tyler Johnson give him the ice and the time to mature in the AHL. An NHLP of 76 is actually quite rare, to get it at 22nd OV, unheard of. So the Oilers really need not to screw this up.

  93. Bruce McCurdy says:

    Scungilli Slushy: I think the Oilers would get as much offense (via the player’s points and improving puck movement to forwards) and lower GA with a good RD addition as opposed to a winger. And be a stronger team.

    However Sekera may be able to do that on second pair when his legs are back, for free. Benning maybe if he and Klef click but another role of the dice.

    Sekera playing right eases the logjam on the left and I think he’d do it far better than Russell.

    & yet when Sekera & Russell play together the coaches always prefer Russell to play his off-side. It’s not an easy transition, one Sekera himself struggled mightily with when paired with Nurse a couple of years back.

    I know piling on Russell is a popular pastime on the ‘sphere — see: yesterday’s fantasy in this comments section about buying him out after one year of a four-year pact — but his versatily has significant value. $4 MM worth? That’s a different question. But he is a very long way from worthless, narrative notwithstanding.

  94. Todd Macallan says:

    One event through the Skills Comp and the pk is already 0/1

  95. Scungilli Slushy says:

    OriginalPouzar: The addition of a healthy Sekera (presumably) is going to be massive for next season.

    I know, I know, he looked good on the right side with Chara at the World Cup, however, I would till prefer him on his natural side and plugging that hole on the right side with a legit established top 4 RHD.

    You specifically mention the uptick in offence by the new RHD transitioning the puck – I don’t see that if Sekera is on his offside – its a physical matter of being on his back hand to the middle making it tougher and/or slower to transition.

    On the other hand, with Nurse’s new expensive contract, can we afford Nurse, Klef and Sekera on the left side and add a top 4 RHD?Sometimes I really wish we weren’t committed to Russell next season and had an extra $4M of cap space.

    There is also the issue of TOI. Good players don’t want to ride pine or get 8 minutes a game.

    Russell really is a third pair on a good team, but Sekera Klef and Nurse are top 4 and Klef Nurse might be in the discussion as first pair soon enough.

    In a perfect world you would trade Russell and Sekera and bring back a good return and run

    Klef Larsson
    Nurse XXX
    Davidson Benning
    XXX

    I don’t like Davie right side, thought he struggled a lot. In doing this deal they could add a lot up front and amp up the team speed.

    In an even more ideal world they’d move Lucic as well and keep a 4M Maroon to be the heavy and no more NMCs. If Connor doesn’t have one you don’t have one.

    And then add as much forward speed and skill as possible and make sure you can trust the nets.

    In that world the Oilers could be legit contenders next season or the one after.

    In this world it will be slower waiting for deals to be possible without a few minor miracles. I believe in miracles though.

  96. Todd Macallan says:

    Really though, it’s nice to see the boys having fun and man Strome with a truly ridiculous SO goal wow

  97. prefonmich says:

    Bruce McCurdy,

    I think the narrative regarding Russell is no different than the narrative regarding Lucic. Russell is discussed more on these boards for whatever reason but it’s not a matter of an issue with the player. The issue is with the contract. Same as Looch. I dont have a problem with either player being on this team and recognize the heart and versatility of Russell.but his contract like Lucics limits our ability to make the necessary moves to improve. This is on Chia not Russell or Lucic or Drai for that matter (whose contract is arguably another overpay).

  98. Pescador says:

    Todd Macallan:
    One event through the Skills Comp and the pk is already 0/1

    You will have a hard time convincing me that the PP scored.
    Wait it’s at Rogers, everybody scores

  99. Gayfish says:

    As painful as it is, I think it’s time to admit defeat and start rebuilding again. All the successful teams now are focussed on draft and develop over everything else. We probably pick around 10th, so take a dman and play the long game. Try to improve through UFA if possible, but don’t go making major trades unless you get a GM with a cigar. Also try to get the NMCs moved before the expansion draft comes again (not that I can name 8 skaters I want to protect). 7-3-1 isn’t likely if we need to protect all of Klef, Larsson, and Nurse plus presumably another dman (hopefully not Russel and Sekera). This another reason it would be best to keep KY in the AHL. We don’t know when seattle is coming, but best to keep our propects protected as long as possible.

  100. Todd Macallan says:

    Pescador: You will have a hard time convincing me that the PP scored.
    Wait it’s at Rogers, everybody scores

    Truly a case of the unstoppable force vs the immovable object

  101. OriginalPouzar says:

    Bruce McCurdy: & yet when Sekera & Russell play together the coaches always prefer Russell to play his off-side. It’s not an easy transition, one Sekera himself struggled mightily with when paired with Nurse a couple of years back.

    I know piling on Russell is a popular pastime on the ‘sphere — see: yesterday’s fantasy in this comments section about buying him out after one year of a four-year pact — but his versatily has significant value. $4 MM worth? That’s a different question. But he is a very long way from worthless, narrative notwithstanding.

    I am one that brought up the potential to buy him out in order to save some cap to try and plug other holes. At the same time I was very express that, in isolation, just buying out Russell makes us a worse team.

    At the same time, Russell is #4 on our LHD depth chart. He is a LHD who is versatile enough to play the right side, however, he is a worse d-man on the right side and his limited ability to transition the puck with efficiency and speed is all but gone on the right side.

    I would personally rather have a real RHD to fill the gaping hole on the right side. To the extent we have Russell in the top 4 on the right side, frankly, our defence isn’t good enough. To me, a legit top 4 RHD is the biggest hole on this team.

    I am fine with Russell on this team but he makes too much money to be a #4 on the left side depth chart (and #5 or 6 overall) and I think the money can be better spent on plugging that gaping hole.

  102. JimmyV1965 says:

    prefonmich:
    Scungilli Slushy,

    I agree that improved puck movement will result in more offense. This was the biggest issue to start this season. Chia underestimated the value of Sekera and overestimated.the value of Russell.

    I still think they need to see about trying to trade Russell and Davidson can fill in on right side bottom.pairing for cheaper.

    Both Klef and Sekera should be better next year plus nurse all capable of top pairing minutes on left side. Right side Larsson first, Benning and Davidson. I think this is a fine d corps with strength in puck movers on.left side and enough on the right.

    Given our need for speed and better offense on the wings I think our trade focus is better spent in this area. Our defense will be much improved next year with two players returning to form.

    If we do this, you’re making a bet that all of our dmen improve. While they will be better, this is wishful thinking IMO. At bare minimum we need a second pair RHD.

  103. OriginalPouzar says:

    Scungilli Slushy: There is also the issue of TOI. Good players don’t want to ride pine or get 8 minutes a game.

    Fair point but I’m not overly concerned. With Klef, Nurse, Sekera anchoring 3 pairings from the left side, we can almost run 3 20 minute pairings.

    Each of those 3 d-man can anchor a pairing from the left side.

    Doesn’t think look kind of nice:

    Kelfbom/Larsson
    Nurse/Colin Miller
    Sekera/Benning

    Davidson/Russel/Gryba

    Benning in over Russell solely due to handiness.

    I’d be OK with Russell as 3RD as the Skera/Russell pairing did fine as a 2nd pairing, they should be able to be good as a 3rd pairing with Sekera healthy.

  104. JimmyV1965 says:

    VOR:
    I continue to be amazed how many smart people continue to believe in the myth of size. It is no wonder scouts fight with the same bias. Study after study has shown size is not correlated with NHL success anywhere near as powerfully as offensive performance pre-draft. This is particularly true for forwards from the CHL.

    If you don’t believe me go read Brad McPherson’s work at Blue Bullet Report.

    He has created a stat called NHLP which is kind of like NHLE but doesn’t look at first year in the NHL but best year in the NHL.

    Want to know who had the highest NHLP of any CHL forward in the draft: Kailer Yamamoto. At a max of 76 points.

    McPherson’s math says Yamamoto has more than a 70% chance of having a career in the NHL and of being above a .5 ppg player at that.

    At the moment, barring a late year surge by Zadina, no highly ranked draft eligible CHL forward is going to be close to that NHLP.

    Size bias is a thing. It is so profound that it shows up in the number of late first rounders who perform at a high first round rate. What they have in common as a group is that they are below average in size.

    This isn’t to say that Yamamoto shouldn’t go to the AHL.

    I think it would be an excellent idea for all our top prospects to mature in the AHL far from the hostile glare of the Edmonton media and the ire of impatient fans. It would be nice for the Oilers to be like Detroit and have no choice but to store good young players in the AHL until there was a roster spot available. But lets start by being like Tampa and making the AHL a rite of passage.

    If Kailer goes all Kucherov then bring him up. If his AHL career goes like Tyler Johnson give him the ice and the time to mature in the AHL. An NHLP of 76 is actually quite rare, to get it at 22nd OV, unheard of. So the Oilers really need not to screw this up.

    You nailed it yet again VOR. However, I think the worm is turning on the size bias.

  105. sliderule says:

    OriginalPouzar: From accounts, Safin is an “elite level skater” while Maksimov is a powerful skater with straight line speed but needs to work on his first step.

    WIth that said, Maksimov’s shot is plus plus and is exactly what we need.

    Clearly both these prospects are a few years away – neither are sure things but both decent bets – I would say that Maksimov is clearly trending to be a plus prospect.

    https://twitter.com/EDProspectWatch/status/959144612580311040

    https://twitter.com/EDProspectWatch/status/959144888758513664

    At the world junior Safin’s skating looked awkward and he was consistently behind play .The reduction in ice time he got looked earned..It looks like he is having a growth spurt.
    Maksimov at oiler camp looked like a solid skater .In highlights on ohl site he has looked good and has shown pretty good speed for someon 6-2.
    The ice dogs have a good team and Maksimov is killing penalties and playing power play.He is also scoring goals which is the hardest thing to do in hockey.

  106. Scungilli Slushy says:

    prefonmich:
    Bruce McCurdy,

    I think the narrative regarding Russell is no different than the narrative regarding Lucic. Russell is discussed more on these boards for whatever reason but it’s not a matter of an issue with the player. The issue is with the contract. Same as Looch. I dont have a problem with either player being on this team and recognize the heart and versatility of Russell.but his contract like Lucics limits our ability to make the necessary moves to improve. This is on Chia not Russell or Lucic or Drai for that matter (whose contract is arguably another overpay).

    For me it’s performance. Lucic is slow but I think is a deterrent that stops teams from running around. It doesn’t stop all hacking and such, but teams don’t try to run the Oiler players anymore. If anything the Oilers run other teams now. I loved it when Getzlaf backed down from Lucic in the playoffs when he was getting uppety. Would barely look him in the eye.

    More importantly Lucic is producing. Drai is producing. Russell does what is asked but plays a lot of weak games and also is poor at the most important parts of the game – puck movement and puck retrieval. He blocks shots because he never has the puck.

    I admire his pluck but would rather have a player that doesn’t have to do that so much. Lucic and Drai are getting paid as and are top 6 forwards. Russell is getting paid top 4 and is a bottom pair if everyone is healthy.

  107. prefonmich says:

    JimmyV1965,

    Im betting they return to form. With the continued improvement of Nurse and the solid play of Davidson on bottom pairing I think it’s enough. We lost arguably our best dman for this season in Sekera. Klefbom has been playing hurt. Only Nurse improved this year but I would bet all Oilers who experienced this season will have a long and motivated summer of training and WILL come back ready to start 2018 fall better than this year. I think its enough with some focus on adding speed and offense on wings. A top 4 RHD is also too expensive compared to wing. I would be willing to wait for.next year to test this d minus Russell.

  108. Scungilli Slushy says:

    prefonmich:
    And in this vein I wonder if anyone.would trade Yamo straight up for Hoffman? Assuming Ottawa would do this of course.

    I don’t think I would because we need cheap skill given the contracts ofMcDavid and Drai and some overpaid free agent signings as well… Yamo potentially provides that in next few years.

    That trade gives up 10 years in age. Yama has more upside than Hoffman had. Those are the type of deals that look really bad in a couple of years like the Forsberg deal a few years back.

  109. who says:

    Munny:
    Wilde,

    Well I’m not sure this is the relevant question:

    What evidence is there that Yamamoto failed at this in the NHL?

    Any determination on where he is playing next year will depend on where he is at come training camp.I think both he and Pujo have some defensive issues at present… stuff that comes with coaching and experience, so whether he plays in the NHL next year is likely dependent on what the coach can live with.

    Interesting to read that you think JP has defensive issues.
    To my eye he has been one of the Oilers most defensively responsible forwards.
    I wonder what you are seeing that I am not. Or are you just assuming he is bad defensively because he is young.

  110. prefonmich says:

    Scungilli Slushy,

    Yes I agree with you. Unfortunately I don’t we think we have enough prospects to get a guy like Hoffman without giving up too much in futures. We.need both young cheap skill and a proven shooter. It’s a problem!

  111. Bruce McCurdy says:

    who: Interesting to read that you think JP has defensive issues.
    To my eye he has been one of the Oilers most defensively responsible forwards.
    I wonder what you are seeing that I am not. Or are you just assuming he is bad defensively because he is young.

    To interject, I see a lot of terrific defensive plays by JP & lots of upside. But I also see positioning & communication issues, things like botched switches & such & the occasional swoop into no man’s land. Rookie-type issues which should get smoothed out with experience.

  112. OriginalPouzar says:

    sliderule: At the world junior Safin’s skating looked awkward and he was consistentlybehind play .The reduction in ice time he got looked earned..It looks like he is having a growth spurt.
    Maksimov at oiler camp looked like a solid skater .In highlights on ohl site he has looked good and has shown pretty good speed for someon 6-2.
    The ice dogs have a good team and Maksimov is killing penalties and playing power play.He is also scoring goals which is the hardest thing to do in hockey.

    He is definitely scoring goals – up and till a few weeks ago and his four game suspension, he was 5th in the OHL in goals and he had played less games (some by 3 or 4) than all the 4 players ahead of him, one of which was a 20 year old over-ager and 2 of which were 2nd round picks.

    At that point, like 90% of his points were primary.

    His shot is something else – if he makes it, I think we may have our best one-shot scorer since Arnott – if he makes it.

    He’s also got some jam to his game – he’s been suspended twice this year – not to say that I think that’s a good think but he doesn’t shy away from physicality from what I can tell.

  113. fifthcartel says:

    Someone on Twitter brought up trading Sekera for a veteran RHD on a similar $$/term contract, they mentioned Boychuk, which IMO doesn’t make much sense given NYI’s lack of RHD. But that’s an interesting idea.

    My preference is to dump Russell for the least amount of salary coming back and find that RHD, if that’s possible + moving Sekera for a RHD is much more enticing than a Klefbom trade. Though, Peter’s NMC are again a factor.

  114. JD_Wry says:

    Someone’s trying to play their way off Melnyk Island:

    https://streamable.com/438c5

  115. Scungilli Slushy says:

    fifthcartel:
    Someone on Twitter brought up trading Sekera for a veteran RHD on a similar $$/term contract, they mentioned Boychuk, which IMO doesn’t make much sense given NYI’s lack of RHD. But that’s an interesting idea.

    My preference is to dump Russell for the least amount of salary coming back and find that RHD, if that’s possible + moving Sekera for a RHD is much more enticing than a Klefbom trade. Though, Peter’s NMC are again a factor.

    The only hope is TOI. Russell won’t be getting much if everybody is healthy. He is running out of time, I’m sure he wants to play as much as he can. I suppose his saving grace is he can play right side and they don’t have anyone to challenge him for 3RD. I think Benning will be better than Russell next season.

  116. Melman says:

    I like the idea of trying to buy low on Ho-Sang if possible

  117. jtblack says:

    Bruce McCurdy: & yet when Sekera & Russell play together the coaches always prefer Russell to play his off-side. It’s not an easy transition, one Sekera himself struggled mightily with when paired with Nurse a couple of years back.

    I know piling on Russell is a popular pastime on the ‘sphere — see: yesterday’s fantasy in this comments section about buying him out after one year of a four-year pact — but his versatily has significant value. $4 MM worth? That’s a different question. But he is a very long way from worthless, narrative notwithstanding.

    I know a few teams have not had the LEFT-RIGHT Balance on D and been successful (Bruce mentioned the ’87 Oilers) .. but this is the Exception; not the rule.

    Russell is versatile and tries his ass off, BUT that does not mean he is the best option for a team trying to build a perrenial contender. Russell is the Best option because the GM has not properly filled the void : The same way Jonathan Drouin is the best option for MTL as #1 C ; because the GM hasnt properly filled the position

  118. leadfarmer says:

    Scungilli Slushy: That trade gives up 10 years in age. Yama has more upside than Hoffman had. Those are the type of deals that look really bad in a couple of years like the Forsberg deal a few years back.

    Except Hoffman instantly becomes your best winger and your third best offensive player (draisatl is not a winger). If Yamamoto becomes as productive as Hoffman I would be extatic

  119. Wilde says:

    Munny:
    Wilde,

    Well I’m not sure this is the relevant question:

    What evidence is there that Yamamoto failed at this in the NHL?

    Any determination on where he is playing next year will depend on where he is at come training camp.I think both he and Pujo have some defensive issues at present… stuff that comes with coaching and experience, so whether he plays in the NHL next year is likely dependent on what the coach can live with.

    I mean I don’t know about relevance, but this line of questioning isn’t strange to me at all:

    OriginalPouzar: allowing Kailer the opportunity to develop some skills (learning how to play against men) in the AHL

    Wilde: What part of ‘playing against men’ are people referring to when it’s said?

    Munny:

    I thought LT described it pretty well:

    But at 22 or 25, in the NHL, the player database (save a precious few) is filled with men who pressure and cut off lanes and force opposition from possession—without ever having the puck and controlling it as they did long ago.

    Add increased physicality, gamesmanship, calm feet and we’re probably all the way there.

    Wilde: What evidence is there that Yamamoto failed at this in the NHL?

    Seems to make sense to me.

    I’m not trying to figure out if people think something, I’m trying to figure out why, so I had to find someone who thought it, ask what it was, then asked how it applied to the specific situation, in that order.

  120. Wilde says:

    Melman:
    I like the idea of trying to buy low on Ho-Sang if possible

    My dude!

  121. Santa says:

    Melman:
    I like the idea of trying to buy low on Ho-Sang if possible

    You want Chiarelli to attempt another trade with Snow? You prepared to lose Mcdavid?

  122. Bling says:

    Agree with Pouzar on Yamamoto.

    Special player. This recent hot streak is something to keep an eye on. I watched highlights from a game recently, in which he had a goal and three primary assists.

    His ability to win battles is just sick. Wonderful one timer as well.

    My bet is that he won’t see the AHL.

  123. JD_Wry says:

    I didn’t see the skills comp today, but I assume that Russell won the shot-blocking contest.

  124. Psyche says:

    JD_Wry:
    I didn’t see the skills comp today, but I’m assuming that Russell won the shot-blocking contest.

    Comment of the day!
    Awesome.

  125. who says:

    leadfarmer: Except Hoffman instantly becomes your best winger and your third best offensive player (draisatl is not a winger). If Yamamoto becomes as productive as Hoffman I would be extatic

    Problem is he becomes your best winger for the next two years. Are you willing to trade that for 7 years of Yamamoto at a lower salary?
    Also, assuming we are signing Nurse to a long term extension, I don’t see the cap room unless you are moving out a big contract. Are you willing to trade Nuge or Klefbom to make room for Hoffman. I see that as a sideways move, at best.

  126. thehop says:

    ***My bet is that he won’t see the AHL***

    If Yamamoto doesn’t spend a minute in the minors, it only indicates to me that this management group is no different than the tire fire that preceded it.

    Losers put 18/19 year olds in top 6 positions right off the bat. Pulujarvi is no different. He hasn’t shit the bed this year, thank god, but I’ll never understand why a GM would bank on these types of players playing a significant role as rookie or 2nd year pro’s.

  127. Pescador says:

    thehop,
    And we are here,
    Lack of better options, it’s a combination of stubbornness as well as an inability to bring in the necessary NHL talent, hence the constant overpays & NTC’s

  128. PunjabiOil says:

    Professor Q: Shyte, I had those numbers mixed up somehow. My mistake, freely admitted, no pom-poms required.

    Regardless, I personally think they’re both doing well and I don’t think that “Benson’s numbers haven’t ‘spiked’ thus we should dump him” is a beneficial mindset.

    Not necessarily saying we should dump him – but it fills a team need.

    If you think you could get a 2nd round pick for Maroon – the swap effectively becomes Benson for Hoffman.

  129. leadfarmer says:

    who,

    Not saying I’m advocating the move. Our salary cap disaster prevents us from doing this same as our lack of prospects. If you are the Sens management though I don’t see why they trade him for a lesser prospect. Like I said early in the season our contracts and lack of prospects pushes our window back 4 years. Time to rebuild the rebuild. Get rid of players that will not help you in 4 years. Trade Russell, Lucic, Latestube, Strome, even Maroon

  130. Bling says:

    thehop:
    ***My bet is that he won’t see the AHL***

    If Yamamoto doesn’t spend a minute in the minors, it only indicates to me that this management group is no different than the tire fire that preceded it.

    Losers put 18/19 year olds in top 6 positions right off the bat. Pulujarvi is no different. He hasn’t shit the bed this year, thank god, but I’ll never understand why a GM would bank on these types of players playing a significant role as rookie or 2nd year pro’s.

    I did not agree with having Yamamoto start the year with the club.

    However, he will be 20 at the beginning of next season. The Jets are known for slow playing their talent, and Kyle Connor still got into 20 games in his age 20 season. He became a full-time player this year and is tearing it up. Pastrnak on the Bruins was a full-time NHLer at age 20. The Leafs are very patient with their prospects, and Marner made it at 19.

    Suffice it to say that legit offensive talents — and I think Yamamoto is one — generally play in the NHL at age 20.

    The only real problem that Yamamoto has is his size, and playing in the AHL will not help that.

  131. leadfarmer says:

    PunjabiOil: Not necessarily saying we should dump him – but it fills a team need.

    If you think you could get a 2nd round pick for Maroon – the swap effectively becomes Benson for Hoffman.

    That’s not how math works. It becomes Benson + Maroon for Hoffman

  132. godot10 says:

    PunjabiOil:
    Benson hasn’t spiked offensively in his 19 year old season.

    Wonder if Ottawa does Benson + 2018 2nd for Hoffman.

    2 years of and expensive Hoffman for 14 years (many inexpensive) of Benson and the 2018 2nd. That type of trade for Hoffman is a trade a contender (with a deep prospect pool) makes, not a bottom ten team in the NHL with a skimpy prospect pool.

    There will be free agent wingers out there who won’t cost the Oilers two high end prospects. Rick Nash might be willing to sign for two years for a chance to play with McDavid.

  133. leadfarmer says:

    Bling: I did not agree with having Yamamoto start the year with the club.

    However, he will be 20 at the beginning of next season. The Jets are known for slow playing their talent, and Kyle Connor still got into 20 games in his age 20 season. He became a full-time player this year and is tearing it up. Pastrnak on the Bruins was a full-time NHLer at age 20. The Leafs are very patient with their prospects, and Marner made it at 19.

    Suffice it to say that legit offensive talents — and I think Yamamoto is one — generally play in the NHL at age 20.

    The only real problem that Yamamoto has is his size, and playing in the AHL will not help that.

    The big reason to play Yamamoto in the AHL next year isnt just for his development but for the development of other prospects. It is very important for these prospects including the defensive prospects to get used to playing with skill. If we start the season with Yamamoto pencilled in as a top 6 winger in the NHL we are in trouble.

  134. Scungilli Slushy says:

    godot10: 2 years of and expensive Hoffman for 14 years (many inexpensive) of Benson and the 2018 2nd.That type of trade for Hoffman is a trade a contender (with a deep prospect pool) makes, not a bottom ten team in the NHL with a skimpy prospect pool.

    There will be free agent wingers out there who won’t cost the Oilers two high end prospects.Rick Nash might be willing to sign for two years for a chance to play with McDavid.

    Hoffman is a good player but he’s 29 next season and is not ripping up the score sheet. Nuge has more goals and costs basically the same and is under contract. Giving up future would be a bad idea/

    If you you are talking a guy who is high end and under 25 maybe.

    Deals that seem to work out are for less costly undervalued players. For the Oilers at least.

    KYPD unless it’s a no brainer like Chia offers up. The team won’t likely be better off.

  135. godot10 says:

    jtblack: I know a few teams have not had the LEFT-RIGHT Balance on D and been successful (Bruce mentioned the ’87 Oilers) ..but this is the Exception; not the rule.

    No it isn’t. Orr’s Boston Bruins. The seventies Canadiens. The dynasty Islanders. The dynasty Oilers. The Blackhawks in the last decade. All dominated by left shot D,

  136. Professor Q says:

    godot10: No it isn’t.Orr’s Boston Bruins.The seventies Canadiens.The dynasty Islanders.The dynasty Oilers.The Blackhawks in the last decade.All dominated by left shot D,

    Dynasty Red Wings.

    The true trick it seems is getting good players with good chemistry with each other.

  137. prefonmich says:

    godot10,

    Hoffman for either of our two potential skilled prospects who may or may not make an offensive impact in the next 5 years may not be the best move BUT Rick Nash is not coming here for cheap to play with Mcdavid just like Lucic didn’t come at a discount. Maybe we will get another Ty Rattle to rock our world. That is more likely.
    Trade our assets for draft picks and draft well is the best bet and only course of action. Hope some of the bets this year play better next year. Chia already traded our most valuable assets for pennies on the dollar.

  138. Pescador says:

    Professor Q: Dynasty Red Wings.

    The true trick it seems is getting good players with good chemistry with each other.

    Ok Mr smarty pants, and just how do you propose we get these so called ‘good’ players?
    Trade? Free agency?
    You’ve just got it all figured out, don’t you

  139. who says:

    leadfarmer:
    who,

    Not saying I’m advocating the move.Our salary cap disaster prevents us from doing this same as our lack of prospects.If you are the Sens management though I don’t see why they trade him for a lesser prospect.Like I said early in the season our contracts and lack of prospects pushes our window back 4 years.Time to rebuild the rebuild.Get rid of players that will not help you in 4 years.Trade Russell, Lucic, Latestube, Strome, even Maroon

    Agreed
    Only I think the timeline for contention is shorter. Maybe two years. After next season the possibility of a Russell, or even Sekera, trade exists. That would coincide with when some of the current prospects are ready to contribute at the NHL level.
    That is best case scenario unless they start trading pieces like Nuge or Klefbom. And I don’t like the odds of these trades improving the team.

  140. OriginalPouzar says:

    Ooof, Dylan Wells give up 4 goals on 8 shots in the first ten minutes and is pulled.

  141. Munny says:

    who: Interesting to read that you think JP has defensive issues.
    To my eye he has been one of the Oilers most defensively responsible forwards.
    I wonder what you are seeing that I am not. Or are you just assuming he is bad defensively because he is young.

    Not at all. I see him misread plays here and there, over commit, make some puck management booboos. He has the mindset to be a great two way player, and he has made some amazing defensive plays this year. But he has also made some rookie errors, These will disapparate with time.

  142. GMB3 says:

    Is anyone else worried that Sekera doesn’t return to form? Major knee surgery, wrong side of 30, a lot of his game revolved around his skating ability.

  143. OriginalPouzar says:

    Maksimov with an assist on the go-ahead goal in the 2nd.

  144. OriginalPouzar says:

    GMB3:
    Is anyone else worried that Sekera doesn’t return to form? Major knee surgery, wrong side of 30, a lot of his game revolved around his skating ability.

    I’m not overly concerned – not any more than I was 3-4-5 months ago.

    His current mobility issues were expected.

    From accounts, it takes a good year to be 100% so I’m expecting him to have a great off-season of training and be ready for camp, 100%.

    I think there is a small risk that you are right but its 2018 and the medical world now works wonders – I’m sure he got the top end surgeon and has access to all the top end rehab equipment, personnel, etc.

  145. Professor Q says:

    Pescador: Ok Mr smarty pants, and just how do you propose we get these so called ‘good’ players?
    Trade? Free agency?
    You’ve just got it all figured out, don’t you

    I’m not sure if this is T.I.C. or serious.

  146. Scungilli Slushy says:

    The thing is the core is mostly in place. The top 6 is mostly there. There are 4 good D when healthy. A seemingly capable goalie.

    This is where teams make big mistakes based on disappointing seasons.

    Tampa missed the playoffs last season. They could have said the team is weak because they couldn’t live without Stamkos.They could have blamed it on Cooper.

    The Oilers need a better 2 pair D than Benning as he has played so far.

    They need better help from the bottom 6. Especially with PK.

    Do they look to add a possible 25 goal winger when their 5v5 scoring is solid, or find low cost players that can help where the issues really lay?

    If a reasonable deal comes up for a better right side D comes up I’d take it. If it doesn’t I’d look for better players in role positions. Khaira and JP are NHL players now.

    Strome is decent in the correct usage putting the trade aside. He needs to be paid for what he does not what his draft position was.

    McLellan might not use a full roster but he should have 4 lines and 3 pairs he can use in most games.

    I would upgrade (ha, phone autocorrected zombies) 4C and find penalty killers. Find vets that can skate still and do the job required.

    And let them play. Ask for a commitment to system play and let them run. Happy Happy Joy Joy.

    And be willing to change assistants that can’t get a proper response from the roster. What worked before might not work now with this group.

    The key is adapting. The league changes constantly over seasons. Rosters change.

  147. Bling says:

    leadfarmer: The big reason to play Yamamoto in the AHL next year isnt just for his development but for the development of other prospects.It is very important for these prospects including the defensive prospects to get used to playing with skill.If we start the season with Yamamoto pencilled in as a top 6 winger in the NHL we are in trouble.

    Benson will be on the AHL squad, Heibig as well.

    Jordan Eberle was the last 20 year old to come out of the WHL and play 1st line RW for the Oilers, and he didn’t do so badly.

    If a guy is ready, he’s ready. If Yamamoto is at 2 PPG at the end of this season, that puts him in Matthew Barzal territory.

  148. leadfarmer says:

    GMB3:
    Is anyone else worried that Sekera doesn’t return to form? Major knee surgery, wrong side of 30, a lot of his game revolved around his skating ability.

    None at all. This was a lost season for him as expected. He needs the offseason to recover. I’m glad they are limiting his minutes. I would even sit him on the second of back 2 back games in this lost season

  149. leadfarmer says:

    Bling: Benson will be on the AHL squad, Heibig as well.

    Jordan Eberle was the last 20 year old to come out of the WHL and play 1st line RW for the Oilers, and he didn’t do so badly.

    If a guy is ready, he’s ready. If Yamamoto is at 2 PPG at the end of this season, that puts him in Matthew Barzal territory.

    If he’s ready then he’s ready. But i don’t want him pencilled in for a top 6 spot. But if he’s close but not quite there I would let him percolate in the AHL until he is ready.

    He’s not a dynamic skater like Barzal. Barzal can skate his way out of trouble. So throw that comparison out the window

  150. Wilde says:

    leadfarmer: If he’s ready then he’s ready.But i don’t want him pencilled in for a top 6 spot.But if he’s close but not quite there I would let him percolate in the AHL until he is ready.

    He’s not a dynamic skater like Barzal.Barzal can skate his way out of trouble.So throw that comparison out the window

    Kailer Yamamoto is an excellent skater.

    *fires confetti*

  151. Confused says:

    HNIC has stated Leivo has asked for a trade ……

    Perhaps PC should investigate, cautiously

  152. OriginalPouzar says:

    Hebig with a 2nd period assist.

  153. OriginalPouzar says:

    I’ve been suggesting Leivo over the last week or so but I’m not sure there is a fit – they don’t really need Maroon, they could use some more depth on D I believe.

  154. OriginalPouzar says:

    OriginalPouzar:
    Hebig with a 2nd period assist.

    Hebig adds a second assist.

  155. Confused says:

    Toronto are at 50 contracts perhaps a pick they could flip while creating an opening may not be out of the question.

  156. OriginalPouzar says:

    Maksimov finishes with two assists.

  157. Wilde says:

    Leivo would be a great 4LW on this team.

  158. Confused says:

    Assuming we can go back into Unicorn mode

    Leivo RNH Strome

    Might make an interesting 3rd line

  159. Professor Q says:

    OriginalPouzar:
    Maksimov finishes with two assists.

    To the Maks!

  160. Jaxon says:

    BornInAGretzkyJersey: I’m talking about learning how to play against 30 year old 6’3, 220 pound centers and d-men as opposed to 19 year old 6’1, 170 pound centers and d-men.

    Its a different world.

    Absolutely agree.

    Agreed. I’d also add that the AHL and NHL are substantially faster, so if a small player was able to skate himself out of harms way in junior, that may not hold in the AHL or NHL. They may have to find new ways to find room without getting murdered out there. And if they can’t skate their way out or find room somehow then they have to learn to take the hits or roll off them while still making the plays they used to make with ease in junior.

  161. Bling says:

    Yes please to Leivo.

    1.77 EV points/60.

    I wonder how he would do in a top 6 role. Leafs have jerked him around, IMO. Not in a malicious sense; they just have too much forward depth.

    He deserves a shot at some real ice-time.

    If Chia can bring him in for a pick and get Kyrou out of St. Louis for Maroon, all is forgiven! 🙂

  162. leadfarmer says:

    I can’t imagine Leivo being expensive. Cmon Chia

  163. Wilde says:

    Bling:
    Yes please to Leivo.

    1.77 EV points/60.

    I wonder how he would do in a top 6 role. Leafs have jerked him around, IMO. Not in a malicious sense; they just have too much forward depth.

    He deserves a shot at some real ice-time.

    If Chia can bring him in for a pick and get Kyrou out of St. Louis for Maroon, all is forgiven! 🙂

    It’s a mix of them having the depth at forward, and Babcock clowning on his young forwards since the beginning of time

  164. leadfarmer says:

    Marc McNeil traded today in a depth move. He was once a popular prospect. Thankfully he got drafted before us so we had to settle for Klefbom

  165. Scungilli Slushy says:

    Confused:
    HNIC has stated Leivo has asked for a trade ……

    Perhaps PC should investigate, cautiously

    If Snow owns PCs soul I acn’t imagine what evil Lou will rain down on him.

  166. Confused says:

    Scungilli Slushy,

    Perhaps he can convince him he needs a vet Letestu as 4C cover 🙂

  167. Scungilli Slushy says:

    Wilde: It’s a mix of them having the depth at forward, and Babcock clowning on his young forwards since the beginning of time

    Boots. I don’t know a lot about Leivo, but LT mentioned that he’s not fast.

    Some players can get points but might not do anything else. Like Yak. It isn’t fair to the team unless they are an elite scorer. Yak and Leivo are not.

    Perhaps Lou takes Slepy whose sideburns now need their own postal code. And Babcock who can deal with Russians turns him into a 25 goal scoring fast big forecheck posession monster.

    And Chia hates a floater so declines to re up Leivo and Tampa makes him a 30 goal two way scorer.

  168. JD_Wry says:

    Scungilli Slushy: what evil Lou will…

    Yeah – y’take carah dat ting?

  169. OriginalPouzar says:

    Hebig finishes with a goal and two assists – goal was the OT winner.

    2 assists for Benson.

    Stuart Skinner stops 36 of 39 in a 5-3 win.

  170. maudite says:

    On a blog that has a pretty solid base principal in ensuring that statistics are as validated as they can manage to make them (sample size being major key):

    Why is anyone talking about home and road splits of special teams?

    PK sucks. More damning for coaches is it sucks more at home I guess but it isn’t a large enough sample to sensibly split the already small sample in half again and try to construct narratives to explain. Plain and simple the PK suck something fierce.

  171. GMB3 says:

    Munny: Not at all.I see him misread plays here and there, over commit, make some puck management booboos.He has the mindset to be a great two way player, and he has made some amazing defensive plays this year.But he has also made some rookie errors, These will disapparate with time.

    Agreed. He’s great on the backcheck and often shows the effort to try and break up a play but his defensive positioning isn’t the best

  172. OriginalPouzar says:

    maudite:
    On a blog that has a pretty solid base principal in ensuring that statistics are as validated as they can manage to make them (sample size being major key):

    Why is anyone talking about home and road splits of special teams?

    PK sucks.More damning for coaches is it sucks more at home I guess but it isn’t a large enough sample to sensibly split the already small sample in half again and try to construct narratives to explain.Plain and simple the PK suck something fierce.

    I don’t think I’ve read a single post that professes that the PK does not suck – some have expressed confusion regarding why there is the split or simply noted the fact or tried to figure out an explanation but, as far as professing that the PK doesn’t suck, I don’t think that has happened.

  173. OriginalPouzar says:

    GMB3: Agreed. He’s great on the backcheck and often shows the effort to try and break up a play but his defensive positioning isn’t the best

    He can often look lost in our own zone when we are hemmed in – just like Connor, Leon, Anton, Drake, etc.

    He is, though, 19 years old and he does have defensive awareness and the willingness to perform a 200 foot game – no doubt in my mind that he will be a very solid to great 200 foot player when developed, a player the coach will trust to defend a lead in the dying minutes.

  174. OriginalPouzar says:

    Kypreos reported that the price for Pacioretty is a first-rounder, a second-rounder, a warm roster body, and a top prospect.

    That is asinine and I’m confident that Chiarelli won’t pay that type of price for a scoring winger.

    I still think that the greater need for this team is a 1/2 RD and I’d like to keep any available cap space to upgrade at that area and the top 6 winger spot should be filled with a short term stop gap solution until it can be filled longer term with an internal option that will include value contracts for a few years. We need value contracts in the top 6, not higher priced aging veterans.

  175. flyfish1168 says:

    OriginalPouzar:
    Kypreos reported that the price for Pacioretty is a first-rounder, a second-rounder, a warm roster body, and a top prospect.

    That is asinine and I’m confident that Chiarelli won’t pay that type of price for a scoring winger.

    I still think that the greater need for this team is a 1/2 RD and I’d like to keep any available cap space to upgrade at that area and the top 6 winger spot should be filled with a short term stop gap solution until it can be filled longer term with an internal option that will include value contracts for a few years.We need value contracts in the top 6, not higher priced aging veterans.

    I hope Bergevin isn’t serious. 4 for 1 lmao

  176. Professor Q says:

    OriginalPouzar:
    Kypreos reported that the price for Pacioretty is a first-rounder, a second-rounder, a warm roster body, and a top prospect.

    That is asinine and I’m confident that Chiarelli won’t pay that type of price for a scoring winger.

    I still think that the greater need for this team is a 1/2 RD and I’d like to keep any available cap space to upgrade at that area and the top 6 winger spot should be filled with a short term stop gap solution until it can be filled longer term with an internal option that will include value contracts for a few years.We need value contracts in the top 6, not higher priced aging veterans.

    It’s likely just the starting offer, if Kypreos isn’t just full of shyte, that is.

    Not likely though. Before he started scoring again a bit ago the price was reportedly quite lower than that.

    But one would hope no one would be tricked into an aging scoring winger for that price, especially after the Subban and Drouin trades setting precedent.

    Would Hoffman be a better version of Pacioretty? Would the experience and Captaincy of Max offer a better fit with McDavid, despite the age difference?

    Are the Oilers even in the conversations? Winnipeg has been rumoured to be in on both as well, and they have more drive and reason to do it this season than Edmonton does.

  177. OriginalPouzar says:

    Although I would like to have either of those players (Hoffman or Max P.) in our top 6, I still don’t think the trade makes sense from the Oilers points of view. The acquisition cost will be material and, frankly, as I’ve stated, I think the cap space (and possible acquisition assets) are better suited to fill the 1/2RD hole.

    I think that we can fill the top 6 winger spots internally (in time) and, also, we require those spots to be filled by cheap contracts – ELC or 2nd contracts that are value contracts – that is our current cap structure.

    We have a gap until any prospects are ready to continue (subject to our 1st round pick and/or Yamamoto) and here is hoping that management can find a short term stop gap (similar to Vanek this past year).

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