Sad Songs and Waltzes

In describing his team and things he would like to acquire, Peter Chiarelli often uses vague terms. “Heavy sticks” was one he used in the early days of 2015 and more recently (last week) he spoke a lot about “higher pace” but was quick to add that didn’t necessarily mean speed. PC then discussed areas and gave a litany of examples: “Thinking more quickly, moving the puck through all three zones more quickly. You know you start at some point on the rink, whether it’s breaking out, whether it’s recovering in the neutral zone, whether it’s how you attack in the offensive zone, how you manage odd man rushes. It’s across the spectrum.”

THE ATHLETIC!

Great playoff special! Try The Athletic on for size free and see if they enjoy the in-depth, ad-free coverage on the site. Offer is here.

  • New Lowetide: Milan Lucic at a crossroads after disastrous season.
  • New Jonathan Willis: The problem was never Ryan Strome, it was Oilers’ expectations.
  • New Justin Bourne: What the other 30 GM’s can learn from Vegas Golden Knights.
  • Jonathan Willis: William Lagesson ready to compete for a job with the Oilers.
  • Lowetide: Connor McDavid’s outstanding 2017-18 season.
  • Jonathan Willis: Leon had a good season but should be better 2018-19.
  • Jonathan Willis: Oilers Prospects and how they fared this season.
  • Lowetide: Oilers summer to-do list short and sweet.
  • Lowetide: Draft 2018: The Oilers and Russia: A draft tragedy.
  • Lowetide: Draft 2018: The Oilers and the Republic of Finland
  • Lowetide: Draft 2018: The Oilers and Sweden.
  • Lowetide: Draft 2018: The Oilers and the QMJHL.
  • Lowetide: Draft 2018Oilers and the WHL.
  • Lowetide: Draft 2018: Oilers draft history and the OHL
  • Lowetide: Draft 2018: The Oilers and the NCAA.

PETER CHIARELLI’S SUMMER LIST

  • Defense. Chiarelli stated a righty was preferable but a puck mover was the key. PC: “I think our speed starts at the back end and getting the puck up through the zones quickly. That’s not putting all the onus on the defense, but I that’s part of it, and so that’s an area where we’ll have to tweak.”

Edmonton wants better outlet passing and I endorse this plan wholeheartedly. I don’t endorse sending away any of the good passing or transporting blue that are currently on the roster and within spitting distance of the NHL. That means no Oscar Klefbom, no Andrej Sekera, no Darnell Nurse, no Ethan Bear traded.

Leaving us with Adam Larsson (the Oilers aren’t going to deal him), Kris Russell (he has a NMC) and Matt Benning. I think Benning and the first-round pick for a RHD is a possibility. I don’t like it, because Benning is a good young defenseman. It might come to that over the summer.

 

  • Scoring winger. It might be two, but one is possible. The general manager likes his forwards and feels they are making their way. PC: “So we could do a better job finding a winger or two, it’s certainly on the to-do list, but I think our wingers, you know they’re obviously not good enough as a whole when you look at our performance this year, but I don’t think we should just pin it on the wingers.”

LW depth is Nuge, Lucic, Khaira and Caggiula. RW is (in no specific order) Ty Rattie, Kailer Yamamoto, Jesse Puljujarvi, Iiro Pakarinen, Pontus Aberg. How many of these men can we project to score 20 goals next season? Now, take away McDavid’s two wingers, how many beyond 97’s line? I don’t think we should pin this on the wingers, either. We’ll find out if the general manager believes in his wingers in the fall. If most or all of this group return, that would be amazing.

 

  • Backup goaltender. I think this is an admission that Laurent Brossoit isn’t going to get more audition time and that Al Montoya isn’t the answer. PC: “I know we have contracted goalies for next year, Cam and Al Montoya. But it’s (upgrading backup) certainly, that’s closer near the top of the list of things to look at, and it’s something that we’ll have to look at closely, because there are rigors of the travel schedule, there are rigors of playing a lot of games. I would hope that Cam is our goalie going forward, like beyond next year, contractually he goes to next year, so we have to put him in a position to succeed too. And we have to manage that better, and I’ve talked to Todd and the staff, about managing that better. Managing it better means maybe you need a better alternative too.”

They don’t like Montoya as a 30-game option and that Flames game on HNIC was the Brossoit stand and deliver moment. They’re moving on.

 

  • Increase the footprint of the ’94s. Peter Chiarelli spent extended time on this area during his media avail. The ’94s, as I understand it, are Drake Caggiula, Jujhar Khaira, Anton Slepyshev, and probably names around that birth year like Pontus Aberg and Ty Rattie. PC: Did we over project on a couple of young guys? Maybe early on we did, and you know part of what we’re trying to accomplish here, is getting each age group of players to progress, and whether it’s the earlier really top end players to inherit, not just more responsibility playing but more responsibility leading, whether it’s those group of 94s, get them to take the next step so that we have a real good gradual churn that’ll take place, and it’s hard. So that was as a management perspective, that is in part what we were trying to do, and you know when you talk about the underperformance of wingers, there’s some young wingers you’re talking about, whether it’s Jesse or the 94s. So we’re trying to do that, sometimes it’s a little bit forcing it, but that’s kind of part of the overall plan that we’re trying to accomplish here, and that plays a part of it.

The auditions look like they will continue next season, at least for Drake Caggiula, Jujhar Khaira, Pontus Aberg and Ty Rattie. I suspect Anton Slepyshev is Ten Years After at Woodstock.

Steve’s Top 62 is unique as his mock draft. Some names in his ranking may not be familiar to you, making it a worthwhile exercise. His take at the top of the draft has been expressed to me by scouts as well. Mock is fascinating. I’ll have Steve on the show today.

PROJECTED 18-19 OPENING NIGHT AND CAP

I ran this yesterday and a few people came up with different numbers, so I’ve re-done and shown my work. You need to add $1.33 million for the Pouliot buyout and there is in fact $1 million more in cap room than I estimated yesterday. My thanks to those who posted, getting it right is the most important thing. I blame Woodguy’s phone.

LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE

A fun morning with all kinds of things busting out. Spring, NFL schedule, Ducks lose! At 10 this morning, scheduled to appear:

  • Steve Kournianos, The Draft Analyst. Steve’s take on the 2018 draft and what might be available at No. 9 overall.
  • Rob Vollman, ESPN and NHL.com. Gulutzan’s firing in Calgary, Sid’s record, curious Vezina.
  • Frank Seravalli, TSN. NHL playoffs are down to 14 stories and heartbreak in California.

10-1260 text, @Lowetide on twitter. See you on the radio.

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148 Responses to "Sad Songs and Waltzes"

  1. Pink Socks says:

    Thanks LT, great write up.

    Reading some of PC’s comments again and I can see that there is a jab at the head coach in nearly every comment. Whether it is direct, or mostly veiled, it’s pretty clear that if it was up to PC, TMac would be done. Unfortunately it doesn’t appear that PC has full control. The wine summits with the OBC just reeks of incompetence, or even worse, indifference. If this type of management was on another team I would point and laugh. But here we are, looking forward to the lottery for one more golden envelope.

  2. Confused says:

    Lots of joy over the Ducks!!!!!

    Czech media, rough Google Translate, suggests Francouz deciding between three NHL teams, hope we are still in.

  3. jtblack says:

    A lot of ppl seem to think “Good Health” will return this team to the Playoffs. Edm missed by 22 Points?

    Also, injuries are going to happen. So even if the Sekera, Klef and Larsson are healthier; somebody will be injured.

    This roster does not seem playoff bound.

    Also PC is already talking about extending Talbot. Things could get ugly this coming season. Making the playoffs in 2017 bought some patience.

    A poor season next year and ?????????

  4. p3rsonman says:

    Lowetide – April 2nd, 2018:

    A trade involving Milan Lucic, Andrej Sekera, Kris Russell out needs to happen this summer.

    Lowetide – April 19th, 2018:

    I don’t endorse sending away any of the good passing or transporting blue that are currently on the roster and within spitting distance of the NHL. That means no Oscar Klefbom, no Andrej Sekera, no Darnell Nurse, no Ethan Bear traded.

  5. godot10 says:

    A team can’t add pace if it is coached to be slow. Most everyone knows how to stifle McLellan’s systems. #OneTrickPony

  6. leadfarmer says:

    So I’m guessing were going Russell and our first for Brodie and play Brodie on his offside where he turns better towards the boards

  7. thatoneguy says:

    If the Oilers have 7M in cap room I think the priority should be 2 forwards. D and G can be upgraded through creative deals without taking salary back if you have to but solving the lack of scoring beyond McDavid, Draisaitl, and RNH with trades requires assets the Oilers just don’t have/can’t part with.

    Patrick Maroon and Michael Grabner would cost about 7M/yr in FA.

  8. leadfarmer says:

    godot10,

    Cant play fast when your team cant pass. Look at NJ and Vegas play. Tape to tape passes even if they are greater than 30 feet. Our guys cant take and make a 10 foot pass

  9. godot10 says:

    Confused:
    Lots of joy over theDucks!!!!!

    Czech media, rough Google Translate, suggests Francouz deciding between three NHL teams, hope we are still in.

    Why would you go to a team where the coach will only play you 10 games at most?

  10. leadfarmer says:

    Damn Ducks you just ruined my playoff bracket. I though they were going to goon their way into the western conference finals before losing to Nashville

  11. godot10 says:

    leadfarmer:
    godot10,

    Cant play fast when your team cant pass.Look at NJ and Vegas play.Tape to tape passes even if they are greater than 30 feet.Our guys cant take and make a 10 foot pass

    That is a combination of systems and practice. The Oilers have the wrong systems, and don’t practice the right things.

  12. Confused says:

    godot10,

    Todd needs to go, please do not break my heart saying he is coming back. Running out of hair.

  13. Jaxon says:

    “I think our speed starts at the back end and getting the puck up through the zones quickly.”

    That is the antithesis of Russell, the let-them-enter-deep, hesitate, circle-back, pass-across king. Chiarelli gave him the NMC.

  14. slopitch says:

    jtblack,

    Sekera was our best dman in 16/17. Id say he was our worst last year. Health was a factor. Klefbom was also worse due to health.

    Its not just health. There should be some positive regression from Talbot, the PK and the PP. Id think Drai returns to beast mode on the PP next year.

    22 points does seem like a lot but the roster really wasnt worse then the 102 pt season. Eberle vs Strome isnt a 40 point team drop 😉

  15. dustrock says:

    If Chia really believes that his wingers weren’t a problem, man I just don’t know what to say.

  16. Pescador says:

    Jaxon:
    “I think our speed starts at the back end and getting the puck up through the zones quickly.”

    That is the antithesis of Russell, the let-them-enter-deep, hesitate, circle-back, pass-across king. Chiarelli gave him the NMC.

    Technically,
    Hard off the glass gets the puck up through the zones quickly,
    what more do you want?
    hockey is confusing

  17. Primetime says:

    jtblack:

    Also PC is already talking about extending Talbot.Things could get ugly this coming season.Making the playoffs in 2017 bought some patience.

    As I mentioned in the last thread, I really feel like we are in a trap year with Talbot:
    – plays poorly again and we miss the playoffs (unacceptable)
    – plays well and we won’t be able to afford him on his next contract (unless we sell off another good player that doesn’t have a NTC/NMC).

    Given that his 3 years here have been very inconsistent, is he someone we should bet on, even if he has a good year?

    No idea, as LT says, goalies are voodoo…

  18. VanIsleOil says:

    I just love our man-child Jessie. This clip is a classic. So refreshing to see!!!! Love the driver too!!

    https://oilersnation.com/2018/04/13/jesse-puljujarvi-hitches-a-ride-home-with-an-oilers-fan/

  19. leadfarmer says:

    Jaxon,

    Getting rid of Russell should be a big priority for this team. He does protect the HD area but he just cant pass the puck well enough for this league. So essentially he is a slightly better Gryba but a lot more expensive and next to impossible to move

  20. russ99 says:

    Jaxon:
    “I think our speed starts at the back end and getting the puck up through the zones quickly.”

    That is the antithesis of Russell, the let-them-enter-deep, hesitate, circle-back, pass-across king. Chiarelli gave him the NMC.

    Entry and exit are two different things. Sick of the Corsi/Defense doesn’t exist/all puck movers narrative.

    Stepping up and trying to prevent entry causes mismatches when they inevitably do enter, especially by our poor defensive forward group who can’t rotate effectively.

    Besides, I’ve seen good long passes from Russell and our other defensemen, it’s more the forwards leaving early (the “cheating” in Chia’s presser) isolating a smaller group of players behind the opposing forecheckers causing the side to side and bad exit passes than the defensemen.

  21. jtblack says:

    Primetime: Given that his 3 years here have been very inconsistent, is he someone we should bet on, even if he has a good year?

    I would say NO. WOODGUY might say NO.

    The trap is if he plays well or OK, PC prob wont have a better option, so he will sign him to 3 or 4 more years. Thats my worry.

    I dont see Talbot as a Championship Calibre Goalie. He is also going to be 32 when he needs a new contract. #RUN

  22. Primetime says:

    Also, for those not watching, TSN is showing the Canada/USA U18 game right now. A great showcase of potential future Oilers including:

    Ty Smith
    Akil Thomas
    Ryan Merkely
    Oliver Wahlstrom
    Quinton Hughes
    Bode Wilde

    Without a doubt the most exciting is Wahlstrom…holy crap what a shot…can only dream of him on the wing of EITHER McDavid or Leon…

    Honestly, if we end up at #3, I would consider Wahlstrom over Zadina

  23. Gret99zky says:

    The Nurse and Benning estimated salaries seem to be very low.

  24. Kinger_Oil.redux says:

    jtblack,

    – 22 points isn’t actually a lot..

    – I don’t think anyone is saying we are injury-free status quo. But easily identifiable upgrades:

    1) Conners wingers
    2) 2nd line anchored by Drai
    3) Better some all of Sek/Klef/Larsson (which is different than hoping for injury-free)
    4) Talbot + backup better, and trusted

    – Between RNH, Pool, Lucic, Rattie, New guy(s): finding 4 wingers to perform with Drai and McD is not that tough IMO

    – Based on Sek at the Championships you are going to have a better idea of where he is. RNH and McD on a line will be sweet for Chem, and Nurse there as well

    – Coach (or new one) needs to coach up, and have a better PP and PK: not that tough IMO

    – People seem very very negative it seems. Lots of cap room, identifiable issues and solutions, sh$t happens in the league: learn from last year, get better

  25. Jaxon says:

    godot10: Why would you go to a team where the coach will only play you 10 games at most?

    Because Talbot faltered this season and they don’t have a decent backup and Talbot’s contract is up next year. If Talbot doesn’t improve, then his #1 position will be challenged. If Francouz overtakes him, then Talbot may not get another contract, or at the very least, Chiarelli will have some leverage to not pay him the moon on the next contract. Talbot was 48th in 5-on-5 SV%. That is nowhere near a starting goalie. They played Talbot way too much because they didn’t have a suitable alternative and they don’t see a future with Montoya. There weren’t many worse goaltending teams in the NHL this season. Lehner had a better SV% in BUF. Even Cam Ward had a better SV% in CAR. Pittsburgh, San Jose and New Jersey didn’t have better goaltending this season but they made the playoffs and their goalies are re-writing the narrative in the playoffs and will not be let go. I don’t think there is another team in the NHL that had a worse starter and no solid backup. Price had a terrible season in MTL but he’s not going anywhere. I think Ottawa may be of interest to a goalie as Anderson had a terrible season, but they have Condon waiting in the wings. I think a goalie might see an opportunity in EDM. Replacing Halak in NYI might be an option if they don’t re-sign Halak.

  26. Cassandra says:

    russ99: Entry and exit are two different things. Sick of the Corsi/Defense doesn’t exist/all puck movers narrative.

    Besides, I’ve seen good long passes from Russell and our other defensemen, it’s more the forwards leaving early (the “cheating” in Chia’s presser) isolating a smaller group of players behind the opposing forecheckers causing the side to side and bad exit passes than the defensemen.

    The thing is Russ, no one thinks defense doesn’t exist. You are tilting with windmills here.

    Moreover, you don’t seem to understand that shot metrics, of whatever kind, count shots against and weigh them exactly half. So the metrics you rail against measure defense.

    And if you are talking shot quality rather than shot quantity, well there are shot metrics to measure that too.

    You also don’t seem to understand how hockey systems work. What you call cheating for offense is, and can be, an intentional tactic to both relieve pressure, as well as create offense. Indeed, no good system makes a hard distinction between offense and defense. That is what makes it a system (as opposed to isolated pieces). The point of a system is to be able to transition seamlessly from one phase of play to the next. Good defensive zone coverage leaves people in position for breakouts, which leads to quick transitions through the neutral zone, which allows for zone entry and shots on net. These aren’t separate pieces.

    Systems play is designed around the blue lines, which provide the central tactical element in hockey. Everything revolves around controlling the blue line. Getting the puck into the zone with control, keeping the puck in the zone, on the one hand, while keeping the puck out of the zone, and getting it out under control. From a tactical perspective this is the whole game.

    As a result of the tactical importance of the bluelines, and the way that systems are designed around the blue lines, the most important part of defending, by far, is gap control (which denies zone entries) and controlled passing (which provides zone entry).

    Defensemen with poor gap control are always going to struggle. Players who panic under pressure and “punt” the puck are always going to struggle.

  27. Gret99zky says:

    jtblack:

    A poor season next year and ?????????

    Todd gets fired and replaced with MacT or a castoff HC that was unable to get hired by another org in the summer.

    Chia gets fired and replaced with a Friend of Gretzky or a castoff that was unable to land a gig with another org in the summer.

    Poor health and bad luck will be used as an excuse/reason.

    Introduction to a new and improved “5 year plan”.

    Season ticket prices will increase.

  28. Scungilli Slushy says:

    Jaxon:
    “I think our speed starts at the back end and getting the puck up through the zones quickly.”

    That is the antithesis of Russell, the let-them-enter-deep, hesitate, circle-back, pass-across king. Chiarelli gave him the NMC.

    Yes, and I think a big part of that is the forwards don’t support the puck well. Their line changes were awful IMO as well. The D needs forwards to pass to, and that forward needs someone to pass to or someone with speed entering the zone that can beat or pressure the D for the puck.

    This is why I think they need some vets that can play. Too many tweeners and rookies and they aren’t playing the systems well enough, and the coaches can’t seem to teach them how to do it.

    It can be done, but this coaching group didn’t get far with them. They were better toward the end, but a lot of the games to me were they played better was more about the opponent giving them space.

    When there isn’t time and space they aren’t able to do what they need to and aren’t playing with enough tempo. To me this is about starting to think too much. A young team needs a clear plan that they do over and over so when situations arise they make the play they are supposed to and the others know where to be to support the puck.

    When they get that down maybe more can be added or more freedom. The PK was a prime example, maybe a vet team could operate a fancy system and keep their coverages, our guys couldn’t, but played well with a traditional set up.

    Connor’s line should be directed to play in a way that supports what he can do. Often players that are far above the rest have different rules than the rest. His wingers should be playing in a way to get him the puck and get open.

    I think this is why Nuge did so well, he is so smart he quickly adjusted and played off Connor’s game. Maroon as well, but I really liked more speed on that line. Speed with skill and IQ that is.

  29. jtblack says:

    Kinger_Oil.redux:
    jtblack,

    – 22 points isn’t actually a lot..

    – I don’t think anyone is saying we are injury-free status quo.But easily identifiable upgrades:

    1) Conners wingers
    2) 2nd line anchored by Drai
    3) Better some all of Sek/Klef/Larsson (which is different than hoping for injury-free)
    4) Talbot + backup better, and trusted

    – Between RNH, Pool, Lucic, Rattie, New guy(s): finding 4 wingers to perform with Drai and McD is not that tough IMO

    – Based on Sek at the Championships you are going to have a better idea of where he is.RNH and McD on a line will be sweet for Chem, and Nurse there as well

    – Coach (or new one) needs to coach up, and have a better PP and PK: not that tough IMO

    – People seem very very negative it seems.Lots of cap room, identifiable issues and solutions, sh$t happens in the league: learn from last year, get better

    So then what happened this year?

    “Not that tough IMO” – Well i am glad these are all fairly easy fixes.

    I still see a bottom 6 that can’t score.

    Goalering still a question mark. PC has failed bigtime in 3 seasons to properly address the Backup Position with a competent backup, Let alone a high calibre backup that could push Talbot and play 30 games

    Coach is all of a sudden gonna have a good PP and PK? really?

    The D should definitely be improved, but how good is that group? Watxhing the Playoffs makes me think we do not have 1 Elite puck transporter / passer.

    WE WAIT

  30. jtblack says:

    Gret99zky: Todd gets fired and replaced with MacT or a castoff HC that was unable to get hired by another org in the summer.

    Made me Laugh.
    Chia gets fired and replaced with a Friend of Gretzky or a castoff that was unable to land a gig with another org in the summer.

    Poor health and bad luck will be used as an excuse/reason.

    Introduction to a new and improved “5 year plan”.

    Season ticket prices will increase.

    Made me Laugh.

  31. digger50 says:

    leadfarmer:
    godot10,

    Cant play fast when your team cant pass.Look at NJ and Vegas play.Tape to tape passes even if they are greater than 30 feet.Our guys cant take and make a 10 foot pass

    Our guys have the best d to d passes in the league!

  32. Oilman99 says:

    leadfarmer:
    Damn Ducks you just ruined my playoff bracket.I though they were going to goon their way into the western conference finals before losing to Nashville

    The lead foot Ducks are dead. Quack,quack, quaaaaaak!! Shame on you for picking any team with Kesler and Perry on it.

  33. Primetime says:

    As I say that, Wahlstrom falls into the boards and injures his shoulder….

    Maybe he will slide in the draft to us now! Perfect Oiler…shoulder injury!!!!

  34. Oilman99 says:

    Extended auditions for the 94’s is a recipe for the same disaster as this year. Drai needs a bonafide scoring winger if this team has any hope of making the playoffs next year.

  35. Rondo says:

    Primetime:
    As I say that, Wahlstrom falls into the boards and injures his shoulder….

    Maybe he will slide in the draft to us now!Perfect Oiler…shoulder injury!!!!

    They had a chance last year to take Eeli Tolvanen at #22 and didn’t. I doubt they would take Wahlstrom at #3 if they won the lottery.

  36. Brantford Boy says:

    LT; “We’ll find out if the general manager believes in his wingers in the fall. If most or all of this group return, that would be amazing.”

    I see what you did there… amazing = bad…

    Learning is fun…

  37. Jethro Tull says:

    A lot of ‘Cart before Horse” here today.

    A good outlet pass from the D does not start with the D. It starts with the forwards being in a situation in which to receive a pass.

    Ever wonder why the ‘Rusty Reset’ happened? I didn’t get it until I went to see a game and could see all the ice; often the wingers or centers have either skated straight behind an opposing player, or the opposing player is doing his job disrupting passing lanes.

    On TV, it looks like we should be breaking out schnell machen; you see a winger skate just off screen and the ‘Rusty Reset’ happens and you’re thinking, “that player was open!” Not always.

    I’m not saying it happened too much, but I am saying that we might have the D capable of making such passes. But do we have the forwards able to shake the man, skate into open lanes instead of hoping the puck will magically materialize through an opposing player?

    Having played team sports, soccer, basketball, hockey, etc., I have seen it a lot…..

  38. Oilman99 says:

    Take a look at the way Vegas plays diciplined in their own end zone. If the coach could get the Oilers to buy in like the Vegas players have, l’m not sure they would have to look at finding any defensive help. It was so frustrating to see them make the same minor hockey mistakes leaving forwards unchecked for wide open chances time after time.

  39. dustrock says:

    Primetime:
    As I say that, Wahlstrom falls into the boards and injures his shoulder….

    Maybe he will slide in the draft to us now!Perfect Oiler…shoulder injury!!!!

    How have Ty Smith and Merkley been?

  40. godot10 says:

    leadfarmer:
    Jaxon,

    Getting rid of Russell should be a big priority for this team.He does protect the HD area but he just cant pass the puck well enough for this league.So essentially he is a slightly better Gryba but a lot more expensive and next to impossible to move

    I don’t think snow angels on your belly all the time constitute protecting the HD area.

  41. Brantford Boy says:

    Gret99zky: Season ticket prices will increase.

    If they raise season ticket prices I’m done with this team I swear…

  42. godot10 says:

    Jaxon: Because Talbot faltered this season and they don’t have a decent backup and Talbot’s contract is up next year. If Talbot doesn’t improve, then his #1 position will be challenged. If Francouz overtakes him, then Talbot may not get another contract, or at the very least, Chiarelli will have some leverage to not pay him the moon on the next contract. Talbot was 48th in 5-on-5 SV%. That is nowhere near a starting goalie. They played Talbot way too much because they didn’t have a suitable alternative and they don’t see a future with Montoya. There weren’t many worse goaltending teams in the NHL this season. Lehner had a better SV% in BUF. Even Cam Ward had a better SV% in CAR. Pittsburgh, San Jose and New Jersey didn’t have better goaltending this season but they made the playoffs and their goalies are re-writing the narrative in the playoffs and will not be let go. I don’t think there is another team in the NHL that had a worse starter and no solid backup. Price had a terrible season in MTL but he’s not going anywhere. I think Ottawa may be of interest to a goalie as Anderson had a terrible season, but they have Condon waiting in the wings. I think a goalie might see an opportunity in EDM. Replacing Halak in NYI might be an option if they don’t re-sign Halak.

    If Talbot falters, McLellan is just going to play him more, rather than play the backup goaltender. More is more with this coach.

    This coach doesn’t play backups on a regular basis.

    If he is your coach, why invest heavily in a backup. It makes no sense.

    If you think it wise to invest in a backup, you have to change the coach.

  43. SwedishPoster says:

    They’ll need some smart moves to cover all areas. Doubt it’s doable without losing ground elsewhere. I think the key is to have the right prorities. Recognize your strengths, the top two centres+Nuge, a solid group of young D who should only get better the next few seasons, a bunch of young forwards who could form a pretty good and cheap bottom six, two young RW who’ll need some patience but have upside. I think Chia has to decide if he wants to go all in short term and risk not having a big time contender through a lot of Connor’s contract. Or go long term and be a bubble team next season and maybe the year after that and risk his job in the process but have a fairly big shot at a long window of contention. So far he’s sort of tried to do both and failed. Thing is going all in won’t guarantee a cup, the margin of error is small, run into a hot goalie and you’re gone and suddenly your window is closed. But thinking long term could bite you to, if players won’t develop, get injured, you make bad bets and you end up a middle of the road team. It’s no easy choice but I personally would look long term over all in due to the make up of the team being what it is, I don’t see how you get the team into enough of a contender short term, you risk betting the farm on what ends up an outsider tops. But it’s not obvious what to do.

    In prospect news. Jonatan Berggren with a nice hattrick for Sweden’s u18 team to start off the u18 wjc. I’ve had him as a first rounder since around christmas, he’s been on fire the last two months, wonder how high he can climb with a strong tournament? Serious skill and vision, great skater who can dangle at top speed, smart. Small and lacks strength but man there’s a player there.

  44. Andy Dufresne says:

    “Edmonton wants better outlet passing and I endorse this plan wholeheartedly. I don’t endorse sending away any of the good passing or transporting blue that are currently on the roster and within spitting distance of the NHL. That means no Oscar Klefbom, no Andrej Sekera, no Darnell Nurse, no Ethan Bear traded.

    Leaving us with Adam Larsson (the Oilers aren’t going to deal him), Kris Russell (he has a NMC) and Matt Benning. I think Benning and the first-round pick for a RHD is a possibility. I don’t like it, because Benning is a good young defenseman. It might come to that over the summer.”

    I think I understand what you are saying. But it leaves me feeling uncertain on a couple of levels.

    Are you saying you believe the Oilers have a strong puck moving Defensive core?

    What do we use to measure the strength of this skill set? Zone exits? QofC? other?

    AND on different point. You state what you would like to see (or not see) but in terms of what might actually happen given the statements from every level of the organization that they are going to take steps to improve thier Defense, which of the alternatives do you favour?

    Benning and the 9th seems like small price to pay to upgrade 2RHD and keep Klefbom. Problem is cap.

    Would you approve moving some package like Benning, Kassian and the 9th(and whatever you have to add) to Carolina for Faulk?

    Or any such package….Benning, Kassian, Jones, 9th, (anything with Benning and the 9th)

    Would you be willing to lose the trade (overpay) if it meant you get to upgrade 2RHD and keep Oscar?

  45. Pink Socks says:

    Cassandra: The thing is Russ, no one thinks defense doesn’t exist. You are tilting with windmills here.

    Moreover, you don’t seem to understand that shot metrics, of whatever kind, count shots against and weigh them exactly half.So the metrics you rail against measure defense.

    And if you are talking shot quality rather than shot quantity, well there are shot metrics to measure that too.

    You also don’t seem to understand how hockey systems work.What you call cheating for offense is, and can be, an intentional tactic to both relieve pressure, as well as create offense.Indeed, no good system makes a hard distinction between offense and defense.That is what makes it a system (as opposed to isolated pieces).The point of a system is to be able to transition seamlessly from one phase of play to the next.Good defensive zone coverage leaves people in position for breakouts, which leads to quick transitions through the neutral zone, which allows for zone entry and shots on net.These aren’t separate pieces.

    Systems play is designed around the blue lines, which provide the central tactical element in hockey.Everything revolves around controlling the blue line.Getting the puck into the zone with control, keeping the puck in the zone, on the one hand, while keeping the puck out of the zone, and getting it out under control.From a tactical perspective this is the whole game.

    As a result of the tactical importance of the bluelines, and the way that systems are designed around the blue lines, the most important part of defending, by far, is gap control (which denies zone entries) and controlled passing (which provides zone entry).

    Defensemen with poor gap control are always going to struggle.Players who panic under pressure and “punt” the puck are always going to struggle.

    While I agree with most of this, especially controlling the blue lines, the tactics that TMac employs involves the wingers at the tops of the circles or out of the zone completely. This causes the team to lose control of the defensive blueline as there is limited to zero support for the D. Because we have some D (looking at Russell) who have a tough time moving the puck, it is essential to have additional forward support lower in the defensive zone to provide outlets for the D. This “transition” is the central element of how the Oilers had a tire fire of losing control of the defensive blue. Nearly every other team playing a zone defense has their wingers lower at the hashmarks without cheating for offense at such a high clip. While cheating for offense has its benefits, as you say to relieve pressure or create offense, when the D is coached to flip the puck off the glass or reset, it results in a never ending snail paced transition game as the puck is not able to be moved up ice unless Nurse lugs it out, or McDavid has control of the puck.

    With that said, I am genuinely curious of your opinion in regards to TMacs defensive zone coverage and transition game.

  46. Pink Socks says:

    Andy Dufresne:
    “Edmonton wants better outlet passing and I endorse this plan wholeheartedly. I don’t endorse sending away any of the good passing or transporting blue that are currently on the roster and within spitting distance of the NHL. That means no Oscar Klefbom, no Andrej Sekera, no Darnell Nurse, no Ethan Bear traded.

    Leaving us with Adam Larsson (the Oilers aren’t going to deal him), Kris Russell (he has a NMC) and Matt Benning. I think Benning and the first-round pick for a RHD is a possibility. I don’t like it, because Benning is a good young defenseman. It might come to that over the summer.”

    I think I understand what you are saying. But it leaves me feeling uncertain on a couple of levels.

    Are you saying you believe the Oilers have a strong puck moving Defensive core?

    What do we use to measure the strength of this skill set? Zone exits? QofC? other?

    AND on different point. You state what you would like to see (or not see) but in terms of what might actually happen given the statements from every level of the organization that they are going to take steps to improve thier Defense, which of the alternatives do you favour?

    Benning and the 9th seems like small price to pay to upgrade 2RHD and keep Klefbom. Problem is cap.

    Would you approve moving some package like Benning, Kassian and the 9th(and whatever you have to add) to Carolina for Faulk?

    Or any such package….Benning, Kassian, Jones, 9th, (anything with Benning and the 9th)

    Would you be willing to lose the trade (overpay) if it meant you get to upgrade 2RHD and keep Oscar?

    If I am in PC’s shoes, I am not giving up anything of value for Faulk. Aim higher or internally. His numbers have been hot garbage and he is has regressed each year, especially when accounting for zone starts (58%!!!) offensive and his QoC.

  47. McSorley33 says:

    Defense. Chiarelli stated a righty was preferable but a puck mover was the key. PC: “I think our speed starts at the back end and getting the puck up through the zones quickly. That’s not putting all the onus on the defense, but I that’s part of it, and so that’s an area where we’ll have to tweak.”
    ****************************************************************************************************************
    A need – since the beginning of time.

  48. Andy Dufresne says:

    SwedishPoster,

    Thanks for all the updates. Keep them coming.

    When you ask, ” I think Chia has to decide if he wants to go all in short term and risk not having a big time contender through a lot of Connor’s contract. Or go long term and be a bubble team next season and maybe the year after that and risk his job in the process but have a fairly big shot at a long window of contention. So far he’s sort of tried to do both and failed.”

    I get your point. And would agree that the situation that Chiarelli finds himself in does not lend itself to standing pat or tinkering at the edges this summmer. I think it would be more accurate to qualify that fact with the fact that he is a professional and that he definitley plans to be here beyond 2018. So of course hes concerned for the longer term (2 to 3 years) and will conduct himself accordingly. I think both of these facts are good things. We want a sense of urgency and an eye toward the future. The two things are not mutually exclusive. As you point out, whether he succeeds or fails is another story.

  49. Andy Dufresne says:

    Pink Socks: If I am in PC’s shoes, I am not giving up anything of value for Faulk.Aim higher or internally.His numbers have been hot garbage and he is has regressed each year, especially when accounting for zone starts (58%!!!) offensive and his QoC.

    To be clear, you would not give up Benning and the 9th for Faulk? (assuming the 9th is someone like Ty Smith)

  50. Melvis says:

    Pink Socks: With that said, I am genuinely curious of your opinion in regards to TMacs defensive zone coverage and transition game.

    Our D to Lucic….then fumbling around with the skate laces….enuff said.

    Vegas would laugh in our faces if we offered him up for nothing, plus 65% salary retention.

    I tend to agree with a lot of Cassandra above.

    As for Vegas and San Jose. The former id (sic) going to take it up a notch, and play hell on wheels with the latter. Those boys are high pace, hungry and disciplined. Watch out. They’re going to make it interwesting, – in the west.

  51. godot10 says:

    The Oilers D appear to be poor puck movers because of the breakout systems and the coaching. McLellan hasn’t kept up with the times.

  52. Pink Socks says:

    Andy Dufresne: To be clear, you would not give up Benning and the 9th for Faulk? (assuming the 9th is someone like Ty Smith)

    That is correct. I would absolutely not trade a high end prospect (9th overall) for a floundering defenseman who can’t defend.

  53. Andy Dufresne says:

    Melvis: Our D to Lucic….then fumbling around with the skate laces….enuff said.

    Vegas would laugh in our faces if we offered him up for nothing, plus 65% salary retention.

    I tend to agree with a lot of Cassandra above.

    As for Vegas and San Jose. The former id (sic) going to take it up a notch, and play hell on wheels with the latter. Those boys are high pace, hungry and disciplined. Watch out. They’re going to make it interwesting, – in the west.

    Sweeping the Kings makes Vegas co-favorites with Nashville to come out of the West for me. Incredible.

  54. Cassandra says:

    Pink Socks: While I agree with most of this, especially controlling the blue lines, the tactics that TMac employs involves the wingers at the tops of the circles or out of the zone completely.This causes the team to lose control of the defensive blueline as there is limited to zero support for the D.Because we have some D (looking at Russell) who have a tough time moving the puck, it is essential to have additional forward support lower in the defensive zone to provide outlets for the D.This “transition” is the central element of how the Oilers had a tire fire of losing control of the defensive blue.Nearly every other team playing a zone defense has their wingers lower at the hashmarks without cheating for offense at such a high clip.While cheating for offense has its benefits, as you say to relieve pressure or create offense, when the D is coached to flip the puck off the glass or reset, it results in a never ending snail paced transition game as the puck is not able to be moved up ice unless Nurse lugs it out, or McDavid has control of the puck.

    With that said, I am genuinely curious of your opinion in regards to TMacs defensive zone coverage and transition game.

    I agree with all this. My preference is for wingers to come lower.

    I didn’t watch the Oilers much the last half of the season, and when I was watching it wasn’t for this, so I wouldn’t swear to this opinion. But from my watching, the Oilers play a controlled game, too controlled. The wingers don’t fly the zone with speed, if anything it is the opposite, the are too stationary on the boards. The breakouts when McDavid is on the ice seem designed to get him the puck early and let him do it himself. When he isn’t on the ice, they seem designed to slow things down.

    But this is a hard thing to evaluate watching a team in real time. The game is fluid and fast, and it is hard to tell the difference between what the team is doing and what they are supposed to be doing.

    But my read is the team plays now more or less the way Russ wants them to play. They focus on defense, everyone makes the safe play, breakouts are controlled and slow, a lot of dump and chase from lines 2-4, keep the score 0-0 until McDavid does something awesome.

    This is why I am in favour of firing the coach in addition to the general manager. I think they are on the same page here.

    I also would like the defense to be more aggressive in the neutral zone by keeping tighter gaps and turning more pucks over in the neutral zone. We should conceive of hockey as a battle for territory with a line of scrimmage. The team that pushes the line of scrimmage past center ice is going to control the puck, they are going to get more shots, and they are going to get more chances to score.
    w
    The risk is if your defense can’t skate well enough or the other team is very fast you can get blitzed doing this. See Kessel’s goal last night. However, if your defense can’t skate you are going to lose in the end no matter what you do.

  55. Cassandra says:

    Pink Socks: That is correct.I would absolutely not trade a high end prospect (9th overall) for a floundering defenseman who can’t defend.

    Completely agree. Benning and the first for Faulk is terrible. The first pick alone for Faulk is terrible. I might think about Benning for Faulk straight up.

    But that is questionable too. You can’t pay a player that much money + give up assets unless you are sure about them. And what I am sure of is that there are better players than Faulk.

  56. Andy Dufresne says:

    Pink Socks,

    I would do it. In large part because it allows us to keep Oscar.

    Not a comment on your opinion………..Im sure we would agree that it is interesting how 26 yr old Faulk can go from trade rumours involving Nuge to not worth Benning and a 9th.

    Buy low candidate?

  57. Pink Socks says:

    Melvis: Our D to Lucic….then fumbling around with the skate laces….enuff said.

    Vegas would laugh in our faces if we offered him up for nothing, plus 65% salary retention.

    I tend to agree with a lot of Cassandra above.

    As for Vegas and San Jose. The former id (sic) going to take it up a notch, and play hell on wheels with the latter. Those boys are high pace, hungry and disciplined. Watch out. They’re going to make it interwesting, – in the west.

    It will be a tremendously exciting series to watch between SJ and Vegas.

    Our D to Lucic is a disaster nearly everytime it happened. But our D to anyone else shouldn’t result in a turnover. Lucic is the outlier since he is now a confirmed mess. Each and every game I see the Oiler wingers leaving the defensive zone early resulting in a very poor transition. When in the defensive zone, since it is a man to man scheme, they are too high covering the opposing D to provide outlet support to our own D. That also doesn’t mention the countless times they actually lost their assignment and the d-zone tire fire would continue. Such a mess from the start of the season to the end.

    I agree with much of Cassandra as well when it comes to the principles of the game. Something that has passed our HC and he has been unwilling or unable to adapt and custom tailor a system that works with the roster he has been given. Other coaches within the decade of darkness have accomplished much more with much less.

  58. Pink Socks says:

    Cassandra: Completely agree.Benning and the first for Faulk is terrible.The first pick alone for Faulk is terrible.I might think about Benning for Faulk straight up.

    But that is questionable too.You can’t pay a player that much money + give up assets unless you are sure about them.And what I am sure of is that there are better players than Faulk.

    Agreed, the 9th alone is a massive overpay, and straight up for Benning also is risky. Aiming higher than Faulk or rolling the dice on Benning or Bear taking that role is the only option.

  59. Pink Socks says:

    Andy Dufresne:
    Pink Socks,

    I would do it. In large part because it allows us to keep Oscar.

    Not a comment on your opinion………..Im sure we would agree that it is interesting how 26 yr old Faulk can go from trade rumours involving Nuge to not worth Benning and a 9th.

    Buy low candidate?

    If he is a buy low candidate thats great, but losing assets in the current situation is not advisable IMO. I don’t think Klefbom and Faulk on the roster is necessarily better than Klefbom and Benning (not high on Benning either), but especially when factoring what the #9 could bring to the prospect crop.

    The only way I would do a Faulk trade is if it was Benning and Lucic for Faulk, or Russell and a lower end prospect for Faulk…. and I highly doubt either Lucic or Russell waives for Raleigh.

  60. Cassandra says:

    Melvis: Our D to Lucic….then fumbling around with the skate laces….enuff said.

    Vegas would laugh in our faces if we offered him up for nothing, plus 65% salary retention.

    I tend to agree with a lot of Cassandra above.

    As for Vegas and San Jose. The former id (sic) going to take it up a notch, and play hell on wheels with the latter. Those boys are high pace, hungry and disciplined. Watch out. They’re going to make it interwesting, – in the west.

    The disaster that is Lucic on breakouts is an unreported aspect of his play. While the talk is all about the 1 goal in the second half of the season, and whether or not he will bounce back (the Dead Cat Bounce) there hasn’t been enough talk about how bad he is at breaking the puck out.

  61. Melvis says:

    Pink Socks,

    Thanks for filling in all the detail, with which I get a little impatient. I’ve got family over, so a bit of liquid breakfast. Not so much hocket science today as chutzpah.;-)

  62. Pink Socks says:

    Cassandra: I agree with all this.My preference is for wingers to come lower.

    I didn’t watch the Oilers much the last half of the season, and when I was watching it wasn’t for this, so I wouldn’t swear to this opinion.But from my watching, the Oilers play a controlled game, too controlled.The wingers don’t fly the zone with speed, if anything it is the opposite, the are too stationary on the boards.The breakouts when McDavid is on the ice seem designed to get him the puck early and let him do it himself.When he isn’t on the ice, they seem designed to slow things down.

    But this is a hard thing to evaluate watching a team in real time.The game is fluid and fast, and it is hard to tell the difference between what the team is doing and what they are supposed to be doing.

    But my read is the team plays now more or less the way Russ wants them to play.They focus on defense, everyone makes the safe play, breakouts are controlled and slow, a lot of dump and chase from lines 2-4, keep the score 0-0 until McDavid does something awesome.

    This is why I am in favour of firing the coach in addition to the general manager.I think they are on the same page here.

    I also would like the defense to be more aggressive in the neutral zone by keeping tighter gaps and turning more pucks over in the neutral zone.We should conceive of hockey as a battle for territory with a line of scrimmage.The team that pushes the line of scrimmage past center ice is going to control the puck, they are going to get more shots, and they are going to get more chances to score.
    w
    The risk is if your defense can’t skate well enough or the other team is very fast you can get blitzed doing this.See Kessel’s goal last night.However, if your defense can’t skate you are going to lose in the end no matter what you do.

    I think you are exactly right. I watched the last half of the season, but less so for entertainment and more to understand what the hell happened to a team that despite losing talent should not have been this bad.

    So agreed on all hockey points, although I am a bit skeptical as to whether or not PC and TMac are on the same page. I think PC is genuinely furious about a number of deployment issues with the coach, among other things, and that despite PC’s many errors in judgement, this still should be a playoff team. It should be a cup contender, but regardless, I think it’s a wait and see for the GM since he is not going anywhere this offseason, TMac definitely has to go, and depending on the summer and next season’s performance, then PC is replaced with a repeat of this year.

  63. JJS says:

    I keep hoping the Leafs will smash the Bruins with heavy hockey which inevitably would lead to the Bruins reminiscing about the days of Lucic and ask for him back.

    LA losing in 4 straight ruined my other fantasy which, surprisingly, had a similar theme.

    I should stop drinking. But then what?

  64. Andy Dufresne says:

    What its going to cost to get RFA Grubauer out of Washington?

  65. Pescador says:

    JJS:
    I keep hoping the Leafs will smash the Bruins with heavy hockey which inevitably would lead to the Bruins reminiscing about the days of Lucic and ask for him back.

    LA losing in 4 straight ruined my other fantasy which, surprisingly, had a similar theme.

    I should stop drinking.But then what?

    Freeze it in the ice cube tray & eat it

  66. Primetime says:

    dustrock: How have Ty Smith and Merkley been?

    Keep in mind that I am not a hockey scout, and I missed most of the 3rd period…

    Ty Smith looked good. He is the Captain of Team Canada, and looks calm and poised. Did run into trouble a few times with a heavy American forecheck (they seemed to target him for physical punishment). Able to escape most times but coughed up the puck on a few occasions…will be interesting to see how he holds up playing against men but the skill is obviously there.

    Merkley is a riverboat gambler, plain and simple. Just oozes natural talent, but very raw. Threw out some amazing breakout passes and nice plays on PP but some of the forwards seemed surprised by the passes and would end up bobbling and losing the puck. Definitely not a lot of structure in his game this early on. Merkley on our team next year would be a tire fire. Merkley on our team in 2-3 years after careful development may be steal of the draft. I’ll let you decide if that last sentence is even possible in Oilerville.

    By the way, Wahlstrom was player of the game for USA (2 goals). Craig Button was doing color, and man is he entertaining to listen to. Keeping in mind he is prone to wild hyperbole, but the name he brought up with Wahlstrom was Mike Bossy. Pure sniper. I honestly don’t think he would be a huge reach at 3 and will likely be gone by 5.

    ADDED NOTE: 16 year old Jack Hughes is a stud.

  67. 1d-aint-no-thing says:

    Our highest priority is goals against. I think an overworked goalie is a thing. Talbot played 67 times that’s more than any other goalie, except Hellebuyk, and he’s got a .908 sv %(I can’t find him in the top 50). It’s not voodoo this time. We need a backup who can get Talbot down to reasonable so 50 games. We really can’t say much about Talbot until he has a workload that’s average then the sv% is something we can look at. Our GF/GA differential is back to last year’s levels if we get .920 sv %.

    Our wings are the second issue. We should not have a 20th ranked offense with 3 excellent players occupying the top 6. I’ll assume Lucic is not able to break the top 6 given all the rope he’s been given with the world’s best players. So, PP2 and third line minutes at 5v5 for Lucic. If he’s not against the best all year, it’s possible he plays better giving us a somewhat useful 3rd line.

    So we need two wingers, one on the Left and one on the right. On right side cover for the young guys and if they hit the cover off the ball a great opportunity to trade him away for a draft pick or a more specialist winger to support the bottom six. Our Left should get a 2-3 year deal who can play with Drai, help the power play and be that useful veteran to the young guys in the system. The difference between us and Tampa is 61 goals. I’m curious how much ground we can cover in a summer of decent moves and mild progress from our young guys.

    My biggest concern is the GM goes after an RD with a draft pick and/or Benning or Poolparty. Our GA problem is basically Talbot and backup not being average. Our GF is Lucic wasted the top 6’s time and no cover for when Lucic proved to be bottom 6; also, no Eberle. Put most wingers in that position of the top 6 and they hit 20 goals. Anyone know the free agency market for D this summer? If we did low level signings or trades for better puck moving D men, I’m fine with that.

    Also, Kass looks like a possible trade target for a 2nd or 3rd pick and 2 mil freed up in cap space. Room to work and Chia is good at small deals when he doesn’t swing for the fences at the junk balls.

    No Talbot backup, Sekera place holder and Eberle replacement were self inflicted wounds on really terrible bets. I can only hope Chia learns from his worst habits and we see a quiet summer. If he just does small bets were in the playoffs and our youth pipeline is intact. If he does more than that, enjoy a couple playoffs but were not staying.

  68. Primetime says:

    Darren Dreger

    Verified account

    @DarrenDreger
    38m38 minutes ago
    More
    Patrick Laine just got pied in the face by Matt Hendricks. Birthday hijinks at its best.

    Clearly, Hendy was what the Oil were missing this year…

  69. AshetonisGod says:

    Cassandra: The disaster that is Lucic on breakouts is an unreported aspect of his play. While the talk is all about the 1 goal in the second half of the season, and whether or not he will bounce back (the Dead Cat Bounce) there hasn’t been enough talk about how bad he is at breaking the puck out.

    Agreed. In addition to breakouts, Lucic struggled just everywhere else. Inability to handle pucks. Inability to reach passes (… just out of the reach of Lucic…), blind passes to center of the ice, standing around on defense, failing to back check. And sure, he might regress, but what does it mean to regress from 1 goal in half a season? We can expect 10 goals over the year? Only four blind passes to the each game?

  70. who says:

    Cassandra: The thing is Russ, no one thinks defense doesn’t exist. You are tilting with windmills here.

    Moreover, you don’t seem to understand that shot metrics, of whatever kind, count shots against and weigh them exactly half.So the metrics you rail against measure defense.

    And if you are talking shot quality rather than shot quantity, well there are shot metrics to measure that too.

    You also don’t seem to understand how hockey systems work.What you call cheating for offense is, and can be, an intentional tactic to both relieve pressure, as well as create offense.Indeed, no good system makes a hard distinction between offense and defense.That is what makes it a system (as opposed to isolated pieces).The point of a system is to be able to transition seamlessly from one phase of play to the next.Good defensive zone coverage leaves people in position for breakouts, which leads to quick transitions through the neutral zone, which allows for zone entry and shots on net.These aren’t separate pieces.

    Systems play is designed around the blue lines, which provide the central tactical element in hockey.Everything revolves around controlling the blue line.Getting the puck into the zone with control, keeping the puck in the zone, on the one hand, while keeping the puck out of the zone, and getting it out under control.From a tactical perspective this is the whole game.

    As a result of the tactical importance of the bluelines, and the way that systems are designed around the blue lines, the most important part of defending, by far, is gap control (which denies zone entries) and controlled passing (which provides zone entry).

    Defensemen with poor gap control are always going to struggle.Players who panic under pressure and “punt” the puck are always going to struggle.

    I agree with everything you are saying here except your last sentence
    I’m guessing that coaches prefer players that “punt” the puck under pressure to players that turn the puck over in the dzone under pressure.
    The trick is to find the players who recognize when they have time and when they don’t.

  71. Pink Socks says:

    AshetonisGod: Agreed. In addition to breakouts, Lucic struggled just everywhere else. Inability to handle pucks. Inability to reach passes (… just out of the reach of Lucic…), blind passes to center of the ice, standing around on defense, failing to back check. And sure, he might regress, but what does it mean to regress from 1 goal in half a season? We can expect 10 goals over the year? Only four blind passes to the each game?

    To be fair to Lucic, I think his blind passes reduced in the last half of the season. He was making better decisions with the puck. Granted that got us 1 goal and 4 points in the last half, so I’m guessing he would regress to 7 or 8 goals for the full season and only 3 blind pass giveaways for 2018-19.

  72. ArmchairGM says:

    You have Benning at $1.1M (est), what comps did you use to come up with that? I looked at it a few months ago and figured he’d cost $1.7 – $2.1M on a 2 or 3 year contract.

  73. who says:

    Andy Dufresne:
    “Edmonton wants better outlet passing and I endorse this plan wholeheartedly. I don’t endorse sending away any of the good passing or transporting blue that are currently on the roster and within spitting distance of the NHL. That means no Oscar Klefbom, no Andrej Sekera, no Darnell Nurse, no Ethan Bear traded.

    Leaving us with Adam Larsson (the Oilers aren’t going to deal him), Kris Russell (he has a NMC) and Matt Benning. I think Benning and the first-round pick for a RHD is a possibility. I don’t like it, because Benning is a good young defenseman. It might come to that over the summer.”

    I think I understand what you are saying. But it leaves me feeling uncertain on a couple of levels.

    Are you saying you believe the Oilers have a strong puck moving Defensive core?

    What do we use to measure the strength of this skill set? Zone exits? QofC? other?

    AND on different point. You state what you would like to see (or not see) but in terms of what might actually happen given the statements from every level of the organization that they are going to take steps to improve thier Defense, which of the alternatives do you favour?

    Benning and the 9th seems like small price to pay to upgrade 2RHD and keep Klefbom. Problem is cap.

    Would you approve moving some package like Benning, Kassian and the 9th(and whatever you have to add) to Carolina for Faulk?

    Or any such package….Benning, Kassian, Jones, 9th, (anything with Benning and the 9th)

    Would you be willing to lose the trade (overpay) if it meant you get to upgrade 2RHD and keep Oscar?

    Are you kidding me?
    The 9OV is too much for Faulk!

  74. Scungilli Slushy says:

    Pink Socks: It will be a tremendously exciting series to watch between SJ and Vegas.

    Our D to Lucic is a disaster nearly everytime it happened.But our D to anyone else shouldn’t result in a turnover.Lucic is the outlier since he is now a confirmed mess.Each and every game I see the Oiler wingers leaving the defensive zone early resulting in a very poor transition.When in the defensive zone, since it is a man to man scheme, they are too high covering the opposing D to provide outlet support to our own D.That also doesn’t mention the countless times they actually lost their assignment and the d-zone tire fire would continue.Such a mess from the start of the season to the end.

    I agree with much of Cassandra as well when it comes to the principles of the game.Something that has passed our HC and he has been unwilling or unable to adapt and custom tailor a system that works with the roster he has been given.Other coaches within the decade of darkness have accomplished much more with much less.

    Yes my impression of what McLellan is doing is that he is trying to force the players to play a certain way. At the same time leaving some things open to them. Aberg said he was told to try to make a play entering the O zone, the Preds had him dumping and chasing.

    I know McL isn’t dense, but it’s odd what ends up displaying on the ice. The players mostly don’t seem to know what to do at either end and are so often out of position, late back and picking up the wrong players.

    I think they need to create more structure around what players in a given position should try to do. When they cycle there are too many that don’t seem to have a plan and the play goes nowhere, unless it’s McD.

    More puck support in the D zone, not getting 3 guys trapped deep in the O zone giving up odd man rushes constantly, a plan for attacking the net off the wall on the cycle, and play as fast as you can. I think knowing what to do will increase speed, indecision slows them down.

    When they get good at that maybe spice it up a bit.

  75. OriginalPouzar says:

    godot10:
    A team can’t add pace if it is coached to be slow.Most everyone knows how to stifle McLellan’s systems. #OneTrickPony

    Team isn’t coached to be slow, team played slow due to personnel and their inability to move puck quickly.

    Team is not coached to re-set or go D to D as the primary options but only if they do not have a primary option up the ice.

    With Klefbom and Sekera injured and Nurse still transporting the puck primarily via the skate (and not the pass), the back-end did not have the ability to use option A, transport the puck up the ice quickly, very often and had to default to the secondary and tertiary options.

    A healthy Klefbom, a healthy Sekera and a real right shot 2RD will do wonders for the pace of this team.

  76. Cassandra says:

    who: I agree with everything you are saying here except your last sentence
    I’m guessing that coaches prefer players that “punt” the puck under pressure to players that turn the puck over in the dzone under pressure.
    The trick is to find the players who recognize when they have time and when they don’t.

    I don’t disagree. The only qualification is that D who turn it over in their own zone regularly get filtered out pretty fast. Meanwhile, those whose instinct is to punt the puck find a way to survive because they look less obviously bad.

    But yes, the key is knowing how much time you have and using it appropriately. There are times when you have no choice but to try and live to fight another day.

  77. Pink Socks says:

    Scungilli Slushy: Yes my impression of what McLellan is doing is that he is trying to force the players to play a certain way. At the same time leaving some things open to them. Aberg said he was told to try to make a play entering the O zone, the Preds had him dumping and chasing.

    I know McL isn’t dense, but it’s odd what ends up displaying on the ice. The players mostly don’t seem to know what to do at either end and are so often out of position, late back and picking up the wrong players.

    I think they need to create more structure around what players in a given position should try to do. When they cycle there are too many that don’t seem to have a plan and the play goes nowhere, unless it’s McD.

    More puck support in the D zone, not getting 3 guys trapped deep in the O zone giving up odd man rushes constantly, a plan for attacking the net off the wall on the cycle, and play as fast as you can. I think knowing what to do will increase speed, indecision slows them down.

    When they get good at that maybe spice it up a bit.

    I agree, and this is very telling. Ultimately it comes down to either A) TMac’s systems are archaic, don’t work with his roster, and are generally slow, or B) TMac can’t get the players to play within his system effectively. Either way, he has to be replaced.

  78. Bulging Twine says:

    Giroux and Simmonds look slow
    Hakstoll may be done. Philly has no answers. They look like an AHL team against Pitt.

    Chiarelli please DO NOT TRADE THE FIRST ROUNDER FOR WAYNE (SLOW) SIMMONDS

  79. Pink Socks says:

    OriginalPouzar,

    I am not sure you are right on this one OP.

    OriginalPouzar: Team isn’t coached to be slow, team played slow due to personnel and their inability to move puck quickly.

    I agree, no team is coached specifically to be slow, but they can be coached to be low-risk and controlled which results in the transition being very slow.

    OriginalPouzar:
    Team is not coached to re-set or go D to D as the primary options but only if they do not have a primary option up the ice.

    I believe they are coached to reset and go D to D as an element of control. If they do not have a primary option as outlet support, then they reset. The problem is that the forwards, wingers specifically, are in the mid to deep neutral zone while the D are resetting. A well coached team has winger support down low to speed up the transition game.

    OriginalPouzar:

    A healthy Klefbom, a healthy Sekera and a real right shot 2RD will do wonders for the pace of this team.

    Healthy 77 and 2 helps, but it won’t change the transition and breakout schemes that resort to resets and D to D in order to slow the game down. Sure there will be opportunities to quickly move the puck up ice, but the primary problem is the D zone coverage and transition, both are slow and as a result of the coaching staff.

  80. --hudson-- says:

    SwedishPoster: I think Chia has to decide if he wants to go all in short term and risk not having a big time contender through a lot of Connor’s contract. Or go long term and be a bubble team next season and maybe the year after that and risk his job in the process but have a fairly big shot at a long window of contention. So far he’s sort of tried to do both and failed.

    This captures the conflict within Chiarelli very nicely. Well done!

    With only 2 years left in his contract, what will make Chiarelli rehireable in that time frame, even if it means he’s not staying in Edmonton? He can either load up the Oilers and trade picks and the few prospects we have or he can build a pipeline.

    Like you mention, winning will secure his position in Edmonton, but then presumably the future window with Connor will be reduced. Building the pipeline in Edmonton if he can do it, makes him an attractive GM for any rebuilding club.

    Also very few of the GMs with expiring contracts sold the future to save their jobs, if you look at Cliff Fletcher, Ken Holland or Doug Armstrong this year. If Chiarelli does sell the future and doesn’t win the cup in the next two years, he’s done as an NHL GM in my opinion.

  81. Pink Socks says:

    Bulging Twine:
    Chiarelli please DO NOT TRADE THE FIRST ROUNDER FOR WAYNE (SLOW) SIMMONDS

    All pitchforks will be activated if PC does this.

  82. digger50 says:

    “ breakouts were a hot mess from start of season to end”

    “Lots of players just not doing thier jobs”

    Or are they? Seems to me if they have been doing the same things, failing at the same things all season then the responsibility comes back to the coach.

    Either he is coaching the players to execute as they do – and responsible for the failure

    Or

    Coach is allowing players to make same mistakes over and over , all season, without correction. Back to coaches responsibility.

    The coach could infer the players just are not executing properly but however you slice it, all of the observations described today were prevalent throughout the year, and that comes back to poor coaching.

  83. Bulging Twine says:

    Maybe Seattle will hire Lombardi as GM and he’ll take Lucic

  84. Melvis says:

    I know I’m a bit of a rant about Vegas, but I’m seeing something about that team in year one of their existence that will become the norm for others in the next few years. Along CONCEPTUAL lines. It’s post modern hockey at it’s finest.

    The last time we saw a significant revolution in the game, we we’re still buying into some weird myth. Our best vs their best. We were the best, apparently. Paul Henderson scores! Big deal and bullshit. Our best were dominated throughout. We had to break faces and fibulas to win. Sather noticed, if no one else did. Therein lies the Oilers legacy – the fuckin commies.

    There’s a bit more going on with Vegas than speed, pace, relentless puck pursuit, transitions, and all the rest of it. Total buy in from GM to HC, following through all four lines of systems play. On O and D.
    They don’t even expend a hell of a lot of time and energy on O zone corner cycling. F1 and F2 with puck possession passing to F3…HDSC and back to square one. Doesn’t work?

    F1, and F2 hustling back. F3 already on the D blue line sucking up time and space, gap control and opposing entry. And it’s relentless.

    And it’s quite exciting, as pure entertainment, and as hockey science, to boot. Because Vegas. Because Flying Wallendas.

    We’ve got one guy among 23 that’s got that figured out. We’ll need a couple more in the next couple of years. And it’s not Pete and Todd.

  85. godot10 says:

    OriginalPouzar:

    Team is not coached to re-set or go D to D as the primary options but only if they do not have a primary option up the ice.

    Exactly. As you describe, they are coached to be slow. For teams playing fast, the only options coached are options up the ice.

    McLellan’s secondary options for the D are all playing slow options. The other teams know what McLellan’s primary options for his D are. They shut them down. So the Oilers end up playing slow.

  86. jtblack says:

    godot10: Exactly.As you describe, they are coached to be slow.For teams playing fast, the only options coached are options up the ice.

    McLellan’s secondary options for the D are all playing slow options.The other teams know what McLellan’s primary options for his D are.They shut them down.So the Oilers end up playing slow.

    +1.

    All teams utilize the D to D pass, but not to the extent Edm does.. Talent on the bluekine helps but Coaching is the more important factor.

    Explain VGS or TOR? D core are average and they play fast. They move the puck north and pinch a lot in the O zone. Pressure and pace. Pressure and pace.

    TMac has mutliple issues.

    1) He is content with his D man slowing the pace by playing catch OR doing a full reset
    2) His system seems to have to big a gap between D and F’s. So its either 60 ft pass or the D man has to reset.

    Even when the Oil were healthy and winning in 2016/17; they were not a team that played with pace and pressure.

  87. Rocknrolla says:

    Serious question…

    Let’s say the oilers had a better start, and squeak into the playoffs.

    How do they do against the Knights? I don’t think we get swept, but do we win?

  88. Pink Socks says:

    Rocknrolla:
    Serious question…

    Let’s say the oilers had a better start, and squeak into the playoffs.

    How do they do against the Knights?I don’t think we get swept, but do we win?

    It would be close but likely a loss. Better goaltending and their systems play has been perfected under Gallant, and nothing about it includes slowing down the play.

  89. Ribs says:

    Rocknrolla:
    Serious question…

    Let’s say the oilers had a better start, and squeak into the playoffs.

    How do they do against the Knights?I don’t think we get swept, but do we win?

    Non Serious Answer…. GGGGOOOOOOOOAAAAAALLLLLSSSSSS!!!!!!

  90. jtblack says:

    Rocknrolla:
    Serious question…

    Let’s say the oilers had a better start, and squeak into the playoffs.

    How do they do against the Knights?I don’t think we get swept, but do we win?

    LA. squeked into the Playoffs. they didnt do to well. Not sure why Edm would be any different.?

    Most of the Favorites are taking care of business againat the “squeked in” teams.

  91. Kinger_Oil.redux says:

    Rocknrolla:
    Serious question…

    Let’s say the oilers had a better start, and squeak into the playoffs.

    How do they do against the Knights?I don’t think we get swept, but do we win?

    – Depends on which goalering we get.

    – They were all tight games, I say we win if we have the better goalie

  92. flea says:

    Rocknrolla,

    I think the Oilers would’ve made the first round much more exciting. The NHL needs Connor McDavid in the playoffs. Time to fix it in Edmonton’s favor.

    First round’s been a dud so fan. Chance tonight that all series will go to 3-1

  93. geowal says:

    “…aren’t selling this year…”. 🎵🎶

  94. ArmchairGM says:

    Andy Dufresne: “I think our speed starts at the back end and getting the puck up through the zones quickly. That’s not putting all the onus on the defense, but I that’s part of it, and so that’s an area where we’ll have to tweak.”

    Why would you? Benning scored 21 points, Faulk 31. If you gave Benning the same treatment (cherry PP minutes, 58% OZ starts) he’d probably make up that 10 point difference. Also, Benning will cost less than $2M for at least the duration of Faulk current contract. Throw in Ty Smith too? Crazy talk!

    If you want a Faulk-type d-man, just sign UFA Mike Green. No need to give up assets.

  95. ArmchairGM says:

    ArmchairGM: Why would you? Benning scored 21 points, Faulk 31. If you gave Benning the same treatment (cherry PP minutes, 58% OZ starts) he’d probably make up that 10 point difference. Also, Benning will cost less than $2M for at least the duration of Faulk current contract. Throw in Ty Smith too? Crazy talk!

    If you want a Faulk-type d-man, just sign UFA Mike Green. No need to give up assets.

    Haven’t looked up PP TOI, but ES boxcars is a tell:

    Faulk: 76, 5-7-12
    Benning: 73, 6-13-19

  96. Bulging Twine says:

    Down by one, third period, goalie pulled, 4 FW on the ice in elimination game and 8.6 cap hit Corey Perry was on the bench.

  97. Bulging Twine says:

    SLOW IS DEATH

    lesson learned from last few playoffs

  98. OriginalPouzar says:

    Pink Socks:
    OriginalPouzar,

    I am not sure you are right on this one OP.

    I agree, no team is coached specifically to be slow, but they can be coached to be low-risk and controlled which results in the transition being very slow.

    I believe they are coached to reset and go D to D as an element of control. If they do not have a primary option as outlet support, then they reset.The problem is that the forwards, wingers specifically, are in the mid to deep neutral zone while the D are resetting.A well coached team has winger support down low to speed up the transition game.

    Healthy 77 and 2 helps, but it won’t change the transition and breakout schemes that resort to resets and D to D in order to slow the game down.Sure there will be opportunities to quickly move the puck up ice, but the primary problem is the D zone coverage and transition, both are slow and as a result of the coaching staff.

    I agree and disagree at the same time.

    Absolutely they are coached to go D to D and to reset in order to maintain control and possession but I don’t believe they are coached to do so as the primary or secondary options. I believe the primary and secondary options are to move the puck forward quickly and efficiently by, first, pass and, second skating it.

    If those options aren’t there, then they are coached to re-set or go D to D to maintain possession.

    The issue is, with the two best puck movers out and/or injured (Klefbom and Sekera) and the third best puck mover (Nurse) better at skating the puck than passing it, the default to control was used more often than not. The defensive group didn’t have the ability to move the puck forward quickly and efficiently so often defaulted to the safe “maintain possession” option.

  99. Munny says:

    A week doesn’t pass by without me watching Alvin Lee own that guitar on Woodstock’s stage.

    Amazing performance.

  100. Bos8 says:

    OriginalPouzar,

    Very astute on D options. Good post.

    The question is can TMac buy in, adapt and change. The PK remained stagnant till much too late. It’s not that he’s stupid so much as stubborn.

    He overplayed Talbot to the bitter end.

  101. Bulging Twine says:

    “So we could do a better job finding a winger or two, it’s certainly on the to-do list,…”

    I made a comment a couple of days ago saying that I listened to his press conference and didn’t hear any indication that he intends to upgrade the wingers.
    Wow! Don’t know how I missed THAT! Sheesh!

  102. Scungilli Slushy says:

    OriginalPouzar: I agree and disagree at the same time.

    L
    Absolutely they are coached to go D to D and to reset in order to maintain control and possession but I don’t believe they are coached to do so as the primary or secondary options.I believe the primary and secondary options are to move the puck forward quickly and efficiently by, first, pass and, second skating it.

    If those options aren’t there, then they are coached to re-set or go D to D to maintain possession.

    The issue is, with the two best puck movers out and/or injured (Klefbom and Sekera) and the third best puck mover (Nurse) better at skating the puck than passing it, the default to control was used more often than not. The defensive group didn’t have the ability to move the puck forward quickly and efficiently so often defaulted to the safe “maintain possession” option.

    Good points. I think the comment about the gap between F and D gets to the heart of the breakout issue. The D need someone to pass to and the forwards receiving in the neutral zone need options to pass for a controlled entry.

    The whole team playing the system better would make them all look better. At the least the Oilers when healthy ice 6 NHL worthy D , which is a huge change from the DoD. They could use upgrades, but at what cost?

    Most teams that trade firsts and seconds lose in the long run, the mitigating factor being if it was an emerging high end 23 YO RHD there wouldn’t be a talent loss, but those guys aren’t easy to get especially for Edmonton with it’s trading history.

  103. leadfarmer says:

    Scungilli Slushy,

    Health isn’t enough to improve the breakouts. We’ve been playing whack-a-puck this year just like last year. It’s just last year special teams were better and Talbot stood on his head.

  104. Scungilli Slushy says:

    leadfarmer:
    Scungilli Slushy,

    Health isn’t enough to improve the breakouts.We’ve been playing whack-a-puck this year just like last year.It’s just last year special teams were better and Talbot stood on his head.

    I was talking about forward support, puck support in general and D to F gap, I think OP and others referred to health.

  105. JimmyV1965 says:

    Cassandra: Completely agree.Benning and the first for Faulk is terrible.The first pick alone for Faulk is terrible.I might think about Benning for Faulk straight up.

    But that is questionable too.You can’t pay a player that much money + give up assets unless you are sure about them.And what I am sure of is that there are better players than Faulk.

    You wouldn’t trade Benning straight across for Faulk? Thank our lucky stars you’re not running the team.

  106. JimmyV1965 says:

    Andy Dufresne:
    Pink Socks,

    I would do it. In large part because it allows us to keep Oscar.

    Not a comment on your opinion………..Im sure we would agree that it is interesting how 26 yr old Faulk can go from trade rumours involving Nuge to not worth Benning and a 9th.

    Buy low candidate?

    Definitely. There’s a malaise in Carolina we are all familiar with. Let’s be on the other end for once.

  107. pts2pndr says:

    OriginalPouzar: Team isn’t coached to be slow, team played slow due to personnel and their inability to move puck quickly.

    Team is not coached to re-set or go D to D as the primary options but only if they do not have a primary option up the ice.

    With Klefbom and Sekera injured and Nurse still transporting the puck primarily via the skate (and not the pass), the back-end did not have the ability to use option A, transport the puck up the ice quickly, very often and had to default to the secondary and tertiary options.

    A healthy Klefbom, a healthy Sekera and a real right shot 2RD will do wonders for the pace of this team.

    I watched Draisaital almost go postal because he would swing back with speed make make the turn wait to take the pass to be totally ignored by the D on numerous occasions. Russel being the biggest culprit. If we keep same coach we keep same results. Health alone will not fix the problem IMO.

  108. WayneKenov says:

    This may be too simplistic, but how much of the breakout was due to the fact that outside of a select few individuals, this team cannot make a tape to tape pass?

  109. Scungilli Slushy says:

    pts2pndr: I watched Draisaitalalmost go postal because he would swing back with speed make make the turn wait to take the pass to be totally ignored by the D on numerous occasions. Russel being the biggest culprit. If we keep same coach we keep same results. Health alone will not fix the problem IMO.

    A team should only be limited by its roster which on the GM. There is more talent on the Oilers than this season showed.

    There are many reasons we’ve discussed, and I think PC addressed this in his avail. The coaches didn’t get enough, certainly goal was an issue, but stubborn as a mule on that too. You have to play the hand you’re dealt.

  110. JimmyV1965 says:

    Pink Socks: If he is a buy low candidate thats great, but losing assets in the current situation is not advisable IMO.I don’t think Klefbom and Faulk on the roster is necessarily better than Klefbom and Benning (not high on Benning either), but especially when factoring what the #9 could bring to the prospect crop.

    The only way I would do a Faulk trade is if it was Benning and Lucic for Faulk, or Russell and a lower end prospect for Faulk…. and I highly doubt either Lucic or Russell waives for Raleigh.

    I don’t even know how to respond to this. Faulk has scored more than 15 goals 3 of the last 4 years. And you think he’s basically worth a salary dump? I think a good strategy is trading for guys coming off unusually bad years.

  111. OriginalPouzar says:

    pts2pndr: I watched Draisaitalalmost go postal because he would swing back with speed make make the turn wait to take the pass to be totally ignored by the D on numerous occasions. Russel being the biggest culprit. If we keep same coach we keep same results. Health alone will not fix the problem IMO.

    I do not believe for a split second that the team is coached not to move the puck to a forward with speed through the neutral zone and instead to allow the defence to set for their controlled/slow breakout.

    I know exactly the situations you speak of and I believe that’s a personnel issue with an inability to get Drai the puck.

    Health on its own won’t fix it but it will certainly help plus an actual right shot d-man to play in the 2nd pairing – not a poor puck moving Kris Russell on his off-side (where he is ever worse at moving the puck).

    Yes, maybe the forwards need to read the play better and provide better options but I don’t believe that resetting and lateral passes are coached as primary options prior to moving the puck up to forwards with speed.

  112. Scungilli Slushy says:

    JimmyV1965: I don’t even know how to respond to this. Faulk has scored more than 15 goals 3 of the last 4 years. And you think he’s basically worth a salary dump? I think a good strategy is trading for guys coming off unusually bad years.

    I think the issue is more what he gives up. If decent O ability is desired with lesser D ability they have that already in Benning and Bear. Cheaper.

  113. Scungilli Slushy says:

    Marchand wrote a piece on Athletic and it is worth reading. Explains a lot about our GM.

  114. JimmyV1965 says:

    WayneKenov:
    This may be too simplistic, but how much of the breakout was due to the fact that outside of a select few individuals, this team cannot make a tape to tape pass?

    Bingo. You hit the mark there.

  115. JimmyV1965 says:

    Scungilli Slushy: I think the issue is more what he gives up. If decent O ability is desired with lesser D ability they have that already in Benning and Bear. Cheaper.

    The difference in offence between Matt Benning and Justin Faulk is absolutely massive. There’s not even a comparison. Faulk has a bomb from the point and is an excellent passer. He can run a PP and has done so since he was 20 years old. Prior to this season, he scored 15 or more goals three years in a row. How many dmen have done that? Maybe 5. I’m not a huge Faulk guy, but if you can get him cheap, you run, don’t walk. We can only hope they follow the Oiler history of trading good players after bad years.

  116. Bulging Twine says:

    Scungilli Slushy:
    Marchand wrote a piece on Athletic and it is worth reading. Explains a lot about our GM.

    “All right boys, time to leave the city”
    ha

  117. pts2pndr says:

    Bos8,

    To buy in and change he would have to admit he was wrong. That flies in the face of old school thinking. He may be able to do this coaching a new team. Advance scouting for this team is either not very good or the coaching believes it is not necessary.

  118. pts2pndr says:

    Scungilli Slushy,

    I agree completely. There has been a definite disconnect between GM and Coach!

  119. who says:

    pts2pndr: I watched Draisaitalalmost go postal because he would swing back with speed make make the turn wait to take the pass to be totally ignored by the D on numerous occasions. Russel being the biggest culprit. If we keep same coach we keep same results. Health alone will not fix the problem IMO.

    Yeah.
    I noticed this more than a few times.

  120. pts2pndr says:

    OriginalPouzar,

    If as a fan I pick out these things a professional coach should be able to not only pick it out but rectify the problem. I do believe that is a large part of the coaches responsibility! Our coach seems to believe the player unable to change so changes the player. We call it the Mcblender!

  121. Scungilli Slushy says:

    JimmyV1965: The difference in offence between Matt Benning and Justin Faulk is absolutely massive.There’s not even a comparison.Faulk has a bomb from the point and is an excellent passer.He can run a PP and has done so since he was 20 years old. Prior to this season, he scored 15 or more goals three years in a row. How many dmen have done that? Maybe 5. I’m not a huge Faulk guy, but if you can get him cheap, you run, don’t walk.We can only hope they follow the Oiler history of trading good players after bad years.

    Woodguy felt his WOWYs showed issues. His usage is O zone push and lots of PP. Weaker on D, Do the Oilers need more players that want to play loose and light going for offense getting scored on, or players that can and will do the hard stuff and execute details? I think the latter.

    There are also a lot of young players on the horizon that might win jobs. Yama, Marody etc. They need experienced cover. From players still capable especially with skating.

    PCs comments about playing faster through being smart are valid, but the game is changing and those players IMO are rare, so smart a lack of speed skating ability doesn’t matter. Particularly on a team with young players that need help, don’t provide help yet in important aspects.

    The core is in place, they need support around the edges . Unless Faulk can play goal 🙂

  122. who says:

    OriginalPouzar: I do not believe for a split second that the team is coached not to move the puck to a forward with speed through the neutral zone and instead to allow the defence to set for their controlled/slow breakout.

    I know exactly the situations you speak of and I believe that’s a personnel issue with an inability to get Drai the puck.

    Health on its own won’t fix it but it will certainly help plus an actual right shot d-man to play in the 2nd pairing – not a poor puck moving Kris Russell on his off-side (where he is ever worse at moving the puck).

    Yes, maybe the forwards need to read the play better and provide better options but I don’t believe that resetting and lateral passes are coached as primary options prior to moving the puck up to forwards with speed.

    I don’t believe that it’s a personel issue. Most of the posters on this blog could make that play. It’s a 6 or 8 ft pass, with NO pressure, to a wide open teammate.
    For some reason our dmen, and Russell in particular, are reluctant to make that pass. Maybe they are coached to look up ice for the stretch pass first? I don’t know.
    If I’m coaching, and Drai or Mcdavid are skating with open ice in front of them, I’m telling my dmen to give em the f__king puck. EVERY DAMM TIME.

  123. sliderule says:

    Not much talk here about Joel Farabee.
    LT has him as slight but elite prospects has him at 6-0 and 168 lbs
    Scored a goal ,hit a post and two breakaways against Canada at u18s

  124. OriginalPouzar says:

    who: I don’t believe that it’s a personel issue. Most of the posters on this blog could make that play.It’s a 6 or 8 ft pass, with NO pressure, to a wide open teammate.
    For some reason our dmen, and Russell in particular, are reluctant to make that pass. Maybe they are coached to look up ice for the stretch pass first? I don’t know.
    If I’m coaching, and Drai or Mcdavid are skating with open ice in front of them, I’m telling my dmen to give em the f__king puck. EVERY DAMM TIME.

    You nailed it when you mentioned Russell being the main culprit – he can’t make that 6-8 foot pass quickly when playing his off side . I can’t imagine he’s coached not to give Drai or McDavid the puck with speed coming out of our zone – that’s the crux of our game plan. If we had a proper 2RD, the play would be made.

  125. Bobcaygeon says:

    Andy Dufresne:
    What its going to cost to get RFA Grubauer out of Washington?

    Good question, It will be more than what Edmonton will want to pay.

  126. who says:

    OriginalPouzar: You nailed it when you mentioned Russell being the main culprit – he can’t make that 6-8 foot pass quickly when playing his off side . I can’t imagine he’s coached not to give Drai or McDavid the puck with speed coming out of our zone – that’s the crux of our game plan. If we had a proper 2RD, the play would be made.

    There is no way Russell, or any other NHL dman playing his offside, can’t make that pass. There is usually no forecheck pressure and the forward is looping 6 ft in front of him. For some reason, he just chooses not to make it.
    You could make that pass OP. It is not a skill issue.

  127. rickithebear says:

    I still cannot comprehend people using NHLE to compare a fwd who turns 17 12 months in the draft year and a 22 year old NCAA fwd.
    The sept 17 playing in OHL has a age translation of 74.5% of chl production. League translation of .32/.32 ; age/league translation of (74.5% x 1.0) = .745
    A USHL player same age as OHL player .30/.32 Lge; age .745; age/Lge .700
    A 22 year old NCHC fwd has age translation of .29; lge translation of .393/.323
    Age/NHLE .29 x 1.2167 = .353

    Looking at fwds in top half of draft:
    #8 Wahlstrom age/lge .652 conversion
    82gm 45g 47a 92p
    33evg 27 Eva 60evp
    9ppg 18ppa 27ppp
    3shg 2sha 5shp

    #2 Svechnikov Age/lge .632
    82gm 47g 38a 85p
    34evg 21eva 55evp
    11ppg 14ppa 25ppp
    2shg 3sha 5shp

    #9 Farabee age/lge .582
    82gm 27g 46a 73p
    13evg 36eva 49evp
    10ppg 8ppa 18ppp
    4shg 2sha 6shp

    #11 Veleno age/nhle .582
    82gm 23g 46a 69p
    19evg 18eva 37evp
    4ppg 28ppa 32ppp

    #3 Zadina age/lge .499
    82gm 32g 27a 59p
    24evg 18eva 42evp
    6ppg 8ppa 14 ppp
    2shg 1sha 3shp

    #14 hayton age/lge .683
    82gm 19g 34a 53p
    12evg 21eva 33 Evp
    7ppg 12ppa 19ppp
    0shg 1sha 1 shp
    2shg 1sha 3 shp

    #21 Noel .725
    82gm 27g 24a 51p
    23evg 18eva 41evp
    4ppg 6ppa 10ppp

    #18 McLeod .503
    82gm 13g 24a 37p
    9evg 11eva 20evp
    4ppg 13ppa 17ppp

    USHL translates well.
    Should be pulling top end fwd production from the league.

  128. rickithebear says:

    leadfarmer:
    SoI’m guessing were going Russell and our first for Brodie and play Brodie on his offside where he turns better towards the boards

    Brodie – Larsson would be 1st or 2nd best 1st comp HD pr in the league.

  129. rickithebear says:

    Thier are tier 3 bantam d who cover the HD area better than Faulk.
    We have a bot 30 HD d making 4.167m
    A RFA bottom 5 HD dman who skates the puck up cause he is the worst transition passing dman on the team. Misses passes by meters not feet.

  130. cc says:

    Confused:
    godot10,

    Todd needs to go, please do not break my heart saying he is coming back. Running out of hair.

    Boy does he ever…..

  131. WayneKenov says:

    rickithebear:
    I still cannot comprehend people using NHLE to compare a fwd who turns 17 12 months in the draft year and a 22 year old NCAA fwd.
    The sept 17 playing in OHL has a age translation of 74.5% of chl production. League translation of .32/.32 ; age/league translation of (74.5% x 1.0) = .745
    A USHL player same age as OHL player .30/.32 Lge; age .745; age/Lge .700
    A22 year old NCHC fwd has age translation of .29; lge translation of .393/.323
    Age/NHLE .29 x 1.2167 = .353

    Looking at fwds in top half of draft:
    #8 Wahlstrom age/lge .652 conversion
    82gm 45g 47a 92p
    33evg 27 Eva 60evp
    9ppg 18ppa 27ppp
    3shg 2sha 5shp

    #2 Svechnikov Age/lge .632
    82gm 47g 38a 85p
    34evg 21eva 55evp
    11ppg 14ppa 25ppp
    2shg 3sha 5shp

    #9 Farabee age/lge .582
    82gm 27g 46a 73p
    13evg 36eva 49evp
    10ppg 8ppa 18ppp
    4shg 2sha 6shp

    #11 Veleno age/nhle .582
    82gm 23g 46a 69p
    19evg 18eva 37evp
    4ppg 28ppa 32ppp

    #3 Zadina age/lge .499
    82gm 32g 27a 59p
    24evg 18eva 42evp
    6ppg 8ppa 14 ppp
    2shg 1sha 3shp

    #14 hayton age/lge .683
    82gm 19g 34a 53p
    12evg 21eva 33 Evp7ppg 12ppa 19ppp
    0shg 1sha 1 shp
    2shg 1sha 3 shp

    #21 Noel .725
    82gm 27g 24a 51p
    23evg 18eva 41evp
    4ppg 6ppa 10ppp

    #18 McLeod .503
    82gm 13g 24a 37p
    9evg 11eva 20evp
    4ppg 13ppa 17ppp

    USHL translates well.
    Should be pulling top end fwd production from the league.

    Ricki, you are 100% right. NHLe as a broad number is not good. If you were to break it out by age you would be much better off. I also think you should be binning the points scored so that a CHL player with sub 1ppg doesn’t screw with the data. This also helps project guys, as you would see powerplay time in the bigs more directly related to NHLe, since comparisons are to similarily skilled players.

  132. TartanArmy says:

    Is Khaira not our 4th line centre? I thought he was…why is he projected as our 3rd line LW?

  133. rickithebear says:

    Scungilli Slushy: Woodguy felt his WOWYs showed issues. His usage is O zone push and lots of PP. Weaker on D, Do the Oilers need more players that want to play loose and light going for offense getting scored on, or players that can and will do the hard stuff and execute details? I think the latter.

    There are also a lot of young players on the horizon that might win jobs. Yama, Marody etc. They need experienced cover. From players still capable especially with skating.

    PCs comments about playing faster through being smart are valid, but the game is changing and those players IMO are rare, so smart a lack of speed skating ability doesn’t matter. Particularly on a team with young players that need help, don’t provide help yet in important aspects.

    The core is in place, they need support around the edges . Unless Faulk can play goal

    You have 3 top 60 HD dmen
    An elite 0% corsi dman to get HD results equal to partners HD rank.
    Get rid of the bottom 30 and 5 Dman.

    You want Dmen with High Eva and maintain top HD protection. These type of d will have HD on line
    Dmen EVA total 15-16 to 17-18
    Cole 45 HD ufa
    DeHaan 43 HD & 0% C UFA
    Schultz 43
    Green 41
    Shattenkirk 41
    Fowler 40
    Russell 39 0% C
    Strallman 39 HD
    Phanuef 39
    Larsson 38eva HD
    Sekera 34 HD
    K. Miller 34 HD
    Brodie 34 HD
    J. Faulk 34
    C. Miller 32 HD
    Nurse 31
    Emelin 28 0% C ufa
    Klefbom 28

    XXX – larsson
    Sekera – Russell

    Dump Nurse and Klefbom for assets

    DeHaan ?
    Cole?

  134. rickithebear says:

    WayneKenov: Ricki, you are 100% right. NHLe as a broad number is not good. If you were to break it out by age you would be much better off. I also think you should be binning the points scored so that a CHL player with sub 1ppg doesn’t screw with the data. This also helps project guys, as you would see powerplay time in the bigsmore directly related to NHLe, since comparisons are to similarily skilled players.

    Identifying a reasonable PP ratio 70-75% even and 20 – 25% pp
    Want top end ev production and turn 17 after July 1 UFA age line
    Picks who slide and reach age 27 1 yr latter than the pre July 1 picks in draft year.

  135. deardylan says:

    Lowetide,

    Its a good thing you didn’t post the profound lyrics or deep personal memories behind this song (as I listen to it the first time as the LP record rotates on my own 43 spins around the sun during this milky way year galaxy gyration milli-microsecond)

    Its a good thing

    Willie is not a star

    But I’ve got no need to fear it, cause no one will read it
    Though my podcasts may say it no one will play it
    Cause sad youtube videos and waltzes aren’t selling this year

    its a good thing

    its a good thing

    its a good thing

    PS. even though this link might say it, no one will play it

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C_zPbsDViQY

  136. OriginalPouzar says:

    who: There is no wayRussell, or any other NHL dman playing his offside,can’t make that pass. There is usually no forecheck pressure and the forward is looping 6 ft in front of him. For some reason, he just chooses not to make it.
    You could make that pass OP.It is not a skill issue.

    I’ve seen him mess up that pass and not make the pass – I don’t believe the d-men our coached not to give the puck to our forwards with speed coming out of our zone – I believe they are unable to make the pass either due to skill itself or not being able to think fast enough to make the pass on time.

    It seems simple but we’ve seen this team mess up short passes on a consistent basis. There is no way the D are coached not to transition the puck to our forwards with speed.

  137. OriginalPouzar says:

    TartanArmy:
    Is Khaira not our 4th line centre? I thought he was…why is he projected as our 3rd line LW?

    I’ve had him pencilled in as our 4C for a while, however, we need a middle 6 left winger and there is a thought that Khaira may be able to fill that role cheaply ($675K) and we can then acquire another 4C. Lots want D. Ryan – he’d be great but he had 38 points this year and likely prices himself out of our cap structure. Maybe a D. Winnik on the cheap.

    I’m willing to give JJ a shot in the middle 6 at LW but he’s far from a lock there – his shooting percentage from this past year is bound to regress.

  138. GMB3 says:

    OriginalPouzar:

    I don’t think the coach necessarily coaches them to go D to D so often, but a staple of Tmacs controlled break out back in his SJ days was the high forwards and low d, pass to a forward posted up at the red line to chip it in.

    If the D pinches in on the guy at the red line at all it changes the dynamic of the dump in. I think SJ had better players so it was more successful. I also think with the league-wide trend towards quicker defenseman it makes this a less effective method of creating offensive zone time.

    I’d also like to add that some coaches place more emphasis on specifically not going D to D, a recent example of a coach on record is torts last year.

    Columbus seems to always get the puck forward as quick as possible, making it more difficult for the opposing team to change and get set up defensively. This creates mismatches and can cause breakdowns in coverage.

  139. JimmyV1965 says:

    OriginalPouzar: I’ve seen him mess up that pass and not make the pass – I don’t believe the d-men our coached not to give the puck to our forwards with speed coming out of our zone – I believe they are unable to make the pass either due to skill itself or not being able to think fast enough to make the pass on time.

    It seems simple but we’ve seen this team mess up short passes on a consistent basis.There is no way the D are coached not to transition the puck to our forwards with speed.

    Common sense has no business here. Winning arguments with walls ain’t possible.

  140. OriginalPouzar says:

    GMB3: I don’t think the coach necessarily coaches them to go D to D so often, but a staple of Tmacs controlled break out back in his SJ days was the high forwards and low d, pass to a forward posted up at the red line to chip it in.

    If the D pinches in on the guy at the red line at all it changes the dynamic of the dump in. I think SJ had better players so it was more successful. I also think with the league-wide trend towards quicker defenseman it makes this a less effective method of creating offensive zone time.

    I’d also like to add that some coaches place more emphasis on specifically not going D to D, a recent example of a coach on record is torts last year.

    Columbus seems to always get the puck forward as quick as possible, making it more difficult for the opposing team to change and get set up defensively. This creates mismatches and can cause breakdowns in coverage.

    Yes, Columbus is a good example of a team that moves the puck forward quickly and efficiently – largely a function of personnel, in my opinion – Seth Jones, David Savard, Jack Johnson, Z. Werensky – shit even Ian Cole and T. Chorney can move the puck better than Kris Russell on his off-side.

    If TMac coached the CBJ defensive group, I would posit they would be moving the puck up the ice just as quickly as they do now.

  141. OriginalPouzar says:

    JimmyV1965: Common sense has no business here. Winning arguments with walls ain’t possible.

    I’m not sure if you are agreeing with my position or now. I seem to be in the minority here but I just can’t imagine the defensive group is coached to go D to D or rest when there is an option up the ice such as a quick pass to a forward with speed. I just believe our D (as it was set up last year with injuries and everyone playing a few levels up) was not able to make that decision quick enough and defaulted to a cautious option due to lack of ability.

  142. Lowetide says:

    OriginalPouzar: I’m not sure if you are agreeing with my position or now. I seem to be in the minority here but I just can’t imagine the defensive group is coached to go D to D or rest when there is an option up the ice such as a quick pass to a forward with speed.I just believe our D (as it was set up last year with injuries and everyone playing a few levels up) was not able to make that decision quick enough and defaulted to a cautious option due to lack of ability.

    Two things: Forwards sometimes bugger up the gap by stretching things out, not offering a viable target. Second, opponents used pressure on Oilers blue effectively, realizing there was weakness. Some of that was injury, some inexperience. Lots of blame for the defense but those forwards can’t just peel out when possession is gained.

  143. JimmyV1965 says:

    OriginalPouzar: I’m not sure if you are agreeing with my position or now. I seem to be in the minority here but I just can’t imagine the defensive group is coached to go D to D or rest when there is an option up the ice such as a quick pass to a forward with speed.I just believe our D (as it was set up last year with injuries and everyone playing a few levels up) was not able to make that decision quick enough and defaulted to a cautious option due to lack of ability.

    Anyone who has watched the Oilers has seen the inability to make even short passes. Dmen and forwards.

  144. OriginalPouzar says:

    Lowetide: Two things: Forwards sometimes bugger up the gap by stretching things out, not offering a viable target. Second, opponents used pressure on Oilers blue effectively, realizing there was weakness. Some of that was injury, some inexperience. Lots of blame for the defense but those forwards can’t just peel out when possession is gained.

    Good points and I definitely agree – with that said, this doesn’t change my position that the team isn’t coached to not move the puck quickly up the ice – what you state above is, to me, an execution of the system issue – the forwards aren’t providing the defence the proper options and I don’t think that is being coached but is a poor execution of the system and/or poor hockey IQ by the forwards.

  145. godot10 says:

    OriginalPouzar: Good points and I definitely agree – with that said, this doesn’t change my position that the team isn’t coached to not move the puck quickly up the ice – what you state above is, to me, an execution of the system issue – the forwards aren’t providing the defence the proper options and I don’t think that is being coached but is a poor execution of the system and/or poor hockey IQ by the forwards.

    If the systems don’t work, or the players fail to execute the system, that is primarily a coaching problem.

    The Oilers personnel have been much worse, and they have still managed 70-something point seasons.

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