HEAVEN AND HELL IN THE NHL

The Edmonton Oilers should improve this season–I don’t really know anyone who is suggesting a downturn–but is there a consensus among us for the Oilers this season? Can we hang a number on our expectations?

I have the Oilers finishing 8th in the conference and losing in the first round to Los Angeles. Where do you have them finishing? If you’d like to share in the comments maybe we’ll re-visit at the end of the season and see who has it right (remind me).

Teams have to be down to 23 men by 3pm our time today, I think the Oilers will send Peckham to IR, which I believe means he won’t count on the roster but his cap hit applies. It’ll give Paajarvi half a chance to make his NHL debut before the trade deadline. I also believe Khabibulin starts on IR.

 

  • G: Devan Dubnyk, Yann Danis.
  • D: Ladislav Smid, Jeff Petry, Nick Schultz, Justin Schultz, Ryan Whitney, Mark Fistric, Corey Potter
  • C: Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Sam Gagner, Shawn Horcoff, Eric Belanger
  • L: Taylor Hall, Nail Yakupov, Ryan Smyth, Ben Eager, Darcy Hordichuk
  • R: Ales Hemsky, Jordan Eberle, Teemu Hartikainen, Lennart Petrell, Magnus Paajarvi

IR: Nikolai Khabibulin, Theo Peckham, Andy Sutton, Ryan Jones

Bob McKenzie says Wade Redden and Scott Gomez are likely to sign today. I don’t see either of them coming to the Oilers.

Of the 4 underagers likely to stick in the NHL this season (according to BM), two are Oilers (Nuge and Nail). The others are Jonathan Huberdeau and Dougie Hamilton. I wouldn’t count out the kid Montreal drafted, either.

I am so impressed with the Leafs. First, fans won’t pay a dime for the first home game–that’s a tremendous gesture–and second, they are apparently keeping both Nazem Kadri and Matt Frattin. Toronto has a long history of dealing the future for the past, and sending away veterans and keeping younger players will benefit them long term. Send the kid Rielly back to the WHL, suffer through the growing pains and grab your lottery pick next summer.

I think the Oilers have done a fine job of lowering expectations for Justin Schultz. The guy was kicking ass in the AHL, but the Oilers and coach Krueger have re-framed the issue a little. He’s going to make mistakes and he is unlikely to get as many pucks through. Schultz is still a helluva talent and the best free agent signing for the Oilers in about forever.

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107 Responses to "HEAVEN AND HELL IN THE NHL"

  1. wunderbar says:

    I’ve got them between 8th and 10th, and it’s going to be a heck of a season with the reduced number of games.

    Also, another underager made the NHL, I saw a Tweet last night that Matt Dumba made the Wild.

  2. Oilogosphere.com says:

    I’m going with Oilers at 7th and Dallas at 2nd (meaning LA would slide to 4th). An Oilers win over Dallas; a return to 1997 a la Todd Marchant.

    I think Dallas will be a better team than many are predicting.

    Raine

  3. Oilogosphere.com says:

    wunderbar,

    But he couldn’t crack the world juniors. Dumba if you ask me…regarding team Canada that is.

  4. Bruce McCurdy says:

    Good stuff, LT. (As usual) Love that vid.

    You do know your header was the title of a book, right? Punch Imlach’s “autobiography”, with the great Scott Young (Neil’s dad) doing the ghostwriting.

    Better free agent signings than Justin Schultz? You’d have to go back to the ’80s for the signings of Charlie Huddy, Randy Gregg, and Craig MacTavish, all of whom did big things in this town. Of course their book has already been written, with a lot more heaven than hell for all three guys (14 Cups!) Schultz? We’ll see, but he sure is a nice add.

  5. Lowetide says:

    Bruce: One of my favorite books. Read it about twice a year, along with his Hockey is a Battle.

  6. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    On Toronto’s deal…

    Season’s ticket holders get free seats for home game… and they are giving 1000 tickets away to randoms on the street today wearing leaf gear.

    http://mapleleafs.nhl.com/club/news.htm?id=650841

  7. mumbai max says:

    7th in the west – 56 points

  8. OilOnWhyte says:

    Sixth in the west. They’ll even win a playoff game.

    Boy, this is fun.

  9. B_Oilers says:

    “I think the Oilers will send Peckham to IR, which I believe means he won’t count on the roster but his cap hit applies”

    I saw a tweet from Dan Tencer this morning that says he will count: “@dantencer: Placing Theo on a conditioning assignment wouldn’t cut the roster number. He’d still be paid NHL salary and be active on the 23 man.”

  10. B_Oilers says:

    7th in the west, first round exit by Vancouver. I’d still be happy to see us take the step and make it into the playoffs!

  11. leadfarmer says:

    9th in the west. D is one key injury away from repeat disaster. Teams will prepare more and have a more specific gameplan other than just shut down one line.

  12. M Parkatti says:

    Hey LT,

    I’ve got them down for 8th as well, basing this on how teams from the past sustained similar year-over-year improvements:

    http://www.boysonthebus.com/2013/01/17/finding-comparables-for-the-oilers-2013-season/

  13. Bruce McCurdy says:

    B_Oilers:
    “I think the Oilers will send Peckham to IR, which I believe means he won’t count on the roster but his cap hit applies”

    I saw a tweet from Dan Tencer this morning that says he will count: “@dantencer: Placing Theo on a conditioning assignment wouldn’t cut the roster number. He’d still be paid NHL salary and be active on the 23 man.”

    IR and conditioning assignment are two different things. You have to be on the active roster to take a conditioning assignment, which involves playing games. IR means no games anywhere, and not on active roster.

  14. OilClog says:

    3rd.. Playing Vancouver in the 1st.

    The debate of Cory vs Devon will consume us all well maybe just DSF.

    That’s right.. We win the division.

  15. ashley says:

    9th in the West. I could buy 8th in a normal season, but the all West competition hurts them here. Two Eastern teams (7th and 8th place) are going to make the playoffs but never would have with a regular schedule/interconference games.

    Injuries, especially on D could push them to 10-11th.

    I think DAL will both be close to last with CBUS.

    CGY misses again (I know that’s an easy one).

    I think LA will struggle, and may miss the second season.

    VAN will be #1.

  16. Loxy says:

    10th. But mighty close to the playoffs.

  17. Woodguy says:

    Conference standings prediction:

    STL
    LAK
    VAN
    MIN
    CHI
    EDM
    SJS
    ANA
    DET
    PHX
    CBJ
    COL
    NAS
    DAL
    CAL

    I know EDM and MIN had poor possession numbers last year, but assuming general health both teams added significant pieces.

    MIN added Suter, Parise, a healthy Koivu and Gilbert. That’s a lot of minutes by guys who can dominate minutes. They have some good kids too.

    EDM adds a healthy Whitney and Hemsky who can both drive possession when healthy and a healthy Hall who looks ready to explode. They also have a starting goalie whose SV% is actually that of a starting goaltender.

    DET falls off the face of the earth with losing major possession players and a lack of depth on the blue.

    VAN’s injuries and older core has me thinking they might struggle, but their D is very strong.

    CBJ has a deep D corps and no scoring, but like PHX last year showed a good Dcorps can carry you a long way. JJ is way over rated, but Wiz, Tyutin and Nikitin are very under rated.

    ANA is very under rated on D as well. Souray and Allen both had great possession numbers last year against tough comp.

    CHI has a chance to fall as well. D is not deep and if Crawford looks like Crawford they may have to fight for a playoff spot.

    STL is scary deep, big and skilled everywhere.

    I have PIT beating STL in the SCF.

  18. jonrmcleod says:

    My head says 9th, my gut says 7th.

  19. FPB94 says:

    Galchenyuk and Gallagher make the club:

    Subban and Nookelainen to join the club soon, two will be cut: I think there’s place for Belanger.

  20. Ice Sage says:

    Woodguy,

    Agree mostly with this – PHX interchangeable with SJS & ANA for 2nd Pac Div spot.
    Young legs in game shape will carry the day in March

  21. spoiler says:

    Rishaug tweet from an hour ago advises that Krueger said last night if Peckham is healthy for the opener he may go with 8 defenseman and 13 forwards.

    Which, in a compressed season, is the way to go, IMHO.

    In fact, I’d like to see them dress 7 dmen for the games. Plenty of young legs up front to double shift.

  22. justDOit says:

    2 points out of the show, tied for 10th with Dallas.

    And did I see a headline that suggested Holland suspects that his team might miss the playoffs this year? Whoa. Need more coffee.

  23. Bruce McCurdy says:

    Lowetide:
    Bruce: One of my favorite books. Read it about twice a year, along with his Hockey is a Battle.

    Yeah, I was sure you knew it. I’ve read both, though not for a long, long time.

  24. spoiler says:

    As for the season, I wrote a week ago that the Oil will have to beat one of Phoenix, Detroit, Anaheim and San Jose to make the playoffs in the 8 slot.

    However, Woodguy, I wasn’t expecting them to beat all four!!!

    Lol. It’s definitely possible, and if this team gets a little mo’ and a little belief, they could terrorize opposing netminders… but I’d rather be conservative and end up pleasantly surprised.

    I will say 8th/9th.

    3 point games are going to be so much more important this year.

  25. commonfan14 says:

    A question for the many people picking the Blues to finish at or near the top this year:

    Is that based on a belief that Elliot and Halak can replicate their .940 and .926 save percentages from last year, or that they won’t but the team will significantly increase its goal scoring from 21st in the league?

  26. jonrmcleod says:

    Glad Galchenyuk made the team and hope he stays. I picked him up for my fantasy team bench, hoping it would be a home run selection.

  27. Bruce McCurdy says:

    Btw, that pic up top is one of my favourite hockey pix of all time. Not just the look, but who is its recipient. You can practically see Ladi’s nose wrinkling.

  28. Captain Happy says:

    MIN
    STL
    LAK
    VCR
    CHI
    DET
    SJS
    COL
    DAL
    COL
    EDM
    NSH
    ANA
    CAL
    CLB

    1) Many observers are overlooking the additional assets Minny has acquired above and beyond Parise and Suter. Mikael Granlund is my choice as Rookie of the Year.
    Mikko Koivu healthy all season, P.M. Bouchard apparently fully recovered and the addition of Zenon Konopka and Torrey Mitchell in their bottom 6 will make this team very tough to play against. Some lingering questions on D but top rate forwards and two great goaltenders should be enough in a weak division.

    2) STL IMO is the best team in the WC but is playing in a tough division so will lose a few points there. Just a solid, solid, big, tough team and they are adding some significant offense in Tarasenko and Schwartz.

    3) The deepest team in the WC and could easily finish first. May lose a few early because of the Kopitar injury.

    4) The Canucks traditionally start slowly and with Kesler and Booth on the shelf, I think history repeats. They will have to rely much more on team defense this season but they have the deep D and great goaltending to pull that off.

    5) Have the offensive firepower and 2 great defensemen but goaltending still questionable.

    6) A bit of a retooling year for DET but those expecting the Wings to fall off a cliff get a surprise. While you can’t replace Nik with one player, Brendan Smith seems ready to go and with $10 million in cap space available, Holland has the cash and moxie to add as needed.

    7) Too much talent to fall too far.

    8) The final playoff position likely is the result of injury, luck and other forms of serendipity. I think any of COL, EDM, DAL or NSH could grab this spot.

  29. ashley says:

    Woodguy,

    I see you have the blues #1.

    I was convinced STL was going to win the championship last year. I’m still confused by the STL-LA series. What happened there? Wire-to-wire, it wasn’t even close. Was it just a small sample, or is STL not as good as they looked otherwise?

    So now I don’t know what to make of STL.

  30. leadfarmer says:

    Captain Happy,

    Well I think that confirms your true identity, and you are a “Tyler Cuma is a blue chip prospect ” comment away from sealing the deal.

    Addind Sutter and Dumba to Gilbert and crap is not enought to beat out Van, Stl, LAK

  31. leadfarmer says:

    ashley,

    I also have STL as number 1. Last year they just hit a hot team that was in full stride.

  32. justDOit says:

    commonfan14:
    A question for the many people picking the Blues to finish at or near the top this year:

    Is that based on a belief that Elliot and Halak can replicate their .940 and .926 save percentages from last year, or that they won’t but the team will significantly increase its goal scoring from 21st in the league?

    I could be considered to be one of these people.

    I believe the reason for continued growth and success for the Blues, aside from not losing any players from the roster and potentially adding a Calder nominee, is (shudder), Hitchcock. He was the key to their turn-around after the first 10 games or so, and will continue to drive them through the pack in the west. His schtick will grow old in the dressing room, given time, but not this year.

  33. WeridAl says:

    10th, still lack the physical size and grit in the top 6, will get pushed around by the bigger teams.

  34. Нинтендо⁶⁴ says:

    9th in West. Then Tambi wins the lottery. Which spooks the NHL to change the rule again.

  35. Captain Happy says:

    leadfarmer:
    Captain Happy,

    Well I think that confirms your true identity, and you are a “Tyler Cuma is a blue chip prospect ” comment away from sealing the deal.

    Addind Sutter and Dumba to Gilbert and crap is not enought to beat out Van, Stl, LAK

    I think you’re under rating the impact a player of Suter’s capability can bring to stabilzing a team’s D.

    With both Scandella and Brodin likely to join the team at some point, their D should likely be above average.

    I wouldn’t exactly call Spurgeon, Scandella, Brodin and Falk “crap”.

  36. Нинтендо⁶⁴ says:

    Captain Happy,

    leadfarmer,

    He’ll change name again and his gm fanboi pick again in a hurry if the wild miss the playoffs or finish below oil, abs, or flames.

  37. Captain Happy says:

    The “pundits” have their prediction up over at ON this morning.

    The one who has actually played the game, Strudwick, sees it this way.

    1. St. Louis

    2. Minnesota

    3. Los Angeles

    4. Chicago

    5. San Jose

    6. Vancouver

    7. Detroit

    8. Phoenix

    9. Nashville

    10. Dallas

    11. Edmonton

    Overall, pretty much the same although I think he hasn’t accounted for how to tough it will be for STL in a division that features 3 playoff teams.

    I’ve counted PHX out for a couple of years now and think the loss of Ray Whitney will hurt a lot but they just seem to find a way to win.

  38. leadfarmer says:

    Captain Happy,

    Yes thats why they will make the playoffs. You should see who LAK and St.Louis have stabilizing their defense.

  39. Gerta Rauss says:

    I pick the Oilers finishing in 10th with a playoff push falling short in the last handful of games. I would love for them to make the playoffs however, even if we lose in the 1st round.

  40. VOR says:

    I’m with Captain Happy, Minnesota looks like a good team. Their offence should be much improved. They need Pierre-Marc Bouchard to stay healthy and Setoguchi, Koivu, and Cullen to perform at what is for them average levels. None of that seems particularly unlikely. Granlund and Parise add serious punch.

    The defence is soft and a bit inexperienced but they can move the puck (with or without Suter). The one real problem is goaltending. How healthy is poor Josh Harding – how is his battle with MS going? If Harding isn’t 100% either an injury to Backstrom or a return to his 2009-2010 form leaves them in deep trouble.

    So I’d say they are a good team with a fair number of question marks.

    The main problem us they have to win this year. After that they are in serious trouble. Next year they have $12,000,000 to sign $17,000,000 worth of players. Worse four of the seven key RFA/UFAs are due huge raises. Minimally they are going to have to buy out Dany Heatley, possibly Koivu as well.

  41. Derek says:

    Minnesota is not going to make the playoffs as a top seed, if they make it at all. Two UFA acquisitions do not erase a -49 goal differential, nor do they turn around one of the worst possession teams in the league single handedly.

    Minnesota is a team of key players with injury concerns, much like the Edmonton Oilers. The difference between the two teams in the standings will likely be completely dependant on games lost due to injury,

    Suter will be a stabilizing presence on the back end and we all know and appreciate what Gilbert brings but after that its pretty bleak. Matthew Dumba and Jonas Brodin in the top 6? Breaking in two NHL rookies at the same time on the blueline? I think we all know how that goes.

    Zach Parise is going to take a hit in offensive output moving to the WCF.

    I hate the Wild so I may be a bit bias, but I also hate the Canucks and I see them finishing Top 3 in the conference so there you go.

    I think anyone who has Minnesota slotted as a top seed is putting far too much stock in UFA acquisitions and shiny new rookies.

  42. Truth says:

    I’m guessing Oilers finish 9th in the west missing the playoffs by a very small margin. The Oilers will then win the draft lottery and draft Seth Jones at #1 (since that is apparently possible now). Leafs fans will cry.

  43. rich says:

    I’ll go with 9th, just ahead of Detroit, just behind Chicago and missing the playoffs be a point. Oilers this year are like Chicago 2 years before they won the cup, just missing the playoffs, then taking the big step the next year going to the conference final’s and then winning the cup the 3rd year. Oil should be pointing to 2014-15 as “the year”. But this year will actually give us something exciting to watch. Long time coming.

  44. spoiler says:

    Redden singing the Blues this year. One year, $800k.

  45. Undisclosed_Personal_Reasons says:

    Prediction?
    .
    .
    .
    Pain.

  46. russ99 says:

    Remember- conference schedule only:

    1. LA
    2. DET
    3. VAN
    4. STL
    5. MIN
    6. PHX
    7. CHI
    8. SJ

    9. EDM
    10. NSH
    11. COL
    12. ANA
    13. CGY
    14. DAL
    15. CBJ

  47. Captain Happy says:

    Derek:
    Minnesota is not going to make the playoffs as a top seed, if they make it at all.Two UFA acquisitions do not erase a -49 goal differential, nor do they turn around one of the worst possession teams in the league single handedly.

    Minnesota is a team of key players with injury concerns, much like the Edmonton Oilers.The difference between the two teams in the standings will likely be completely dependant on games lost due to injury,

    Suter will be a stabilizing presence on the back end and we all know and appreciate what Gilbert brings but after that its pretty bleak.Matthew Dumba and Jonas Brodin in the top 6?Breaking in two NHL rookies at the same time on the blueline?I think we all know how that goes.

    Zach Parise is going to take a hit in offensive output moving to the WCF.

    I hate the Wild so I may be a bit bias, but I also hate the Canucks and I see them finishing Top 3 in the conference so there you go.

    I think anyone who has Minnesota slotted as a top seed is putting far too much stock in UFA acquisitions and shiny new rookies.

    The haven’t just made “two free agent acquisitions”

    VOR:
    I’m with Captain Happy, Minnesota looks like a good team. Their offence should be much improved. They need Pierre-Marc Bouchard to stay healthy and Setoguchi, Koivu, and Cullen to perform at what is for them average levels. None of that seems particularly unlikely. Granlund and Parise add serious punch.

    The defence is soft and a bit inexperienced but they can move the puck (with or without Suter). The one real problem is goaltending. How healthy is poor Josh Harding – how is his battle with MS going? If Harding isn’t 100% either an injury to Backstrom or a return to his 2009-2010 form leaves them in deep trouble.

    So I’d say they are a good team with a fair number of question marks.

    The main problem us they have to win this year. After that they are in serious trouble. Next year they have $12,000,000 to sign $17,000,000 worth of players. Worse four of the seven key RFA/UFAs are due huge raises. Minimally they are going to have to buy out Dany Heatley, possibly Koivu as well.

    .

    Suter
    Parise
    Granlund
    Konopka
    Torrey Mitchell
    Brodin
    Dumba

    In addition, they will likely benefit a great deal from a healthy Koivu and P.M. Bouchard.

    Folks tend to forget the Wild were leading the WC in December last season until injuries decimated their lineup and they fell into an elevator shaft.

    Could that happen again, sure.

    But it could happen to any team.

    I think it’s highly unlike they go with 2 rookie D in their top 6 as you’ve suggested…it’s more likely that Dumba is sent back to junior after 5 games.

    However, Brodin is reportedly not that far away from returning and he looked very good in his AHL stint before being injured.

  48. denny33 says:

    Captain Happy,

    I am going to be the first to admit that I am a glass is half full kind of guy…..for some reason – I am very optimistic about this year……and maybe I am drunk of getting a magic ball and getting Nail Yakupov AND signing Justin Schutz..in the same year but I can’t see us finishing lower than 6th.

    With this top 6 forward group – that has been playing high level hockey during the lockout – and with a healthy Whitney and Just in Schultz we should be not just a little better than last year but a lot better. Does anyyone remember the first 20% of our season last year…I think that beginning was a glimpse into what we might see this year.

    From what I have read – granted from Edmonton sources – Nick Schultz has bee n outstanding in his own end. I think Smid on one paring and Nick Schultz on the 2nd pairing will give us big defensive bonus compared to prior years.. Nick was only there for 20 games last year.

    Have to assume our top 6 is going to score the only question could be goaltending. Can Dubnyk provide elite level goaltending.

    Please don’t tell me Dallas will be good because they signed TWO 40 year old men….Even Brendan Morrow is 34.

    Have to assume Detroit will take a step back with no Lidstrom ….a lot of minutes to eat up by who? Coliacovo?Quincey? Ian White? Jakub Kindl? Lashoff? Bertuzzi is 37 – Datsyk 34

    San Jose – Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau are now 33 and big Joe was slow last year…Handzus is 35.

    Minnesota should rise. Chicago might rise. St. Louis is proably the best of the class. Even LA – can’t see same motivation to sart…

    Vancouver is yet another year older …still so deep on D.

    Will Nashville be better without Suter? Probably not.

    With the exception of Minnesota ( obviously ) not sure which team has improved themselves in the west. Oilers added Justin Schultz and nail Yakupov – that has to close the gap betwen them and most of teams in th west.

    Only other concern is our size – I guess we could get man handled this year….

    If the chips falll the right way – I could see us finishing 4th or 5h in the West…

  49. Captain Happy says:

    VOR,

    Just took a close look at Minny’s cap situation next year.

    With a Heatley buyout ($7.5M) they will have almost $20M to play with.

    Scandella, Falk, Spurgeon and Clutterbuck are their only significant RFA’s and I can’t get see any of them getting huge raises.

    Matt Cullen and Bouchard hitting UFA status is likely also a godsend for the Wild since, by then, players like Coyle, Zucker and Larsson should be ready to step up and they are all on ELC’s.

    The big question will be Backstrom who will be a UFA and is coming off a deal with a cap hit of $6M.

  50. justDOit says:

    A big thanks to LT for getting Ronny James Dio’s growl stuck in my head this morning – Heaven and Hell!

  51. nelson88 says:

    Oil In the hunt until the last two weeks of the season (whenever that is) but finish in 10th. Good improvement and allows us to trade up to get the one key piece we are missing. A big two way centre with skill.

    Canucks make the playoffs but barely. Minnesota is improved but no where near tops in the conference. Parise and Suter are very good players but those contracts are going to look awfully rich in 2 – 3 years so they better make hay quickly.

  52. SK Oiler Fan says:

    Specific comments reagrding the Oil’s chances of making the second season:
    Too many divisional games against opponents they don’t match up well against (except Col).
    They would be battling with Wash and Carolina for tops in the SE division this year
    Not enough depth anywhere – If they get 2 concurrent injuries in the top 9 F or top 4 D, or DD gets hurt for more than a week they finish bottom 3 in the conference

    Central
    2. St. Louis -Goaltending and Petrangelo
    6. Nashville – Goaltending and Weber
    8. Detroit – never underestimate Babcock – Holland will find some useful pieces somewhere
    9. Chicago – no goaltending
    15. CBus – just bad – might win 12 games

    Northwest
    3. Van – once Kesler is back they’ll recover and squeek out the division
    5. Minn – Improvements all over the roster and goaltending
    10. Cal – Fashionable to predict they drop to the basement, but will be better than you think – Kipper
    11. Edm – Improved, but still bottom 4 D in the league and still unproven goaltending – no depth
    13. Col – no goaltending, young D

    Pacific
    1. LA – Depth all over and G – should be in cup final
    4. SJ – Like the B Stuart pickup
    7. Pho – Mike Smith, I like their D, but Doan is a year older
    12. Dal – Thin on D and G questions
    14. Ann – No depth, no G, tough top 3 in their division

  53. VOR says:

    Cal Clutterbuck plays the toughs and comes out ahead. He hits everything that moves, has a terrible zone start and occasionally scores. In today’s NHL that makes you a $3.5 Million dollar player. Scandella is a rising young star. He will get at least 2.5 maybe even 3. Then there is the problem of Faulk and Spurgeon, two guys who have shown real promise at times. That is another 3 to 4 million. Backstrom is not re-signing for less than $5,000,000 so that means you are at conservatively 14 million. Over the cap.

    That means you have to buy out Heatley (or let Backstrom walk). Now you have roughly 6M left to spend. Or 3 million if you pay your free agents fair market value.

    In your plan you put two cheap guys in place of Bouchard and Cullen. Your problem is they are replacing two second line guys (good solid second line pros). Coyle isn’t proving he can get the job done in the AHL never mind the NHL. Larsson looks like a solid thrid liner with some upside but he is looking at a big jump.

    Bottom line, to make your plan work you are probably giving up 30 to 50 goals and counting on kids to excel. The playoffs you will probably achieve this year are nothing but a distant memory unless both Coyle and Larsson’s offence transfers 1 to 1 to the NHL in their rookie years. Even then it will be a battle.

  54. VOR says:

    To return to the thread topic I think the Oilers finish tenth about 4 points out of a playoff spot. Though that would change if they added another solid defenceman. I keep thinking once Lubo gives up and returns to the NHL that Mark Streit is headed here.

  55. Derek says:

    Zenon Konopka is handy on the dot but bleeds shots against facing the worst competition.

    Torrey Mitchell is routinely outshot by competition not better and has a career high of 23 points.

    Granlund is a supremely talented 5’10 180 pound forward who has never played a full pro season without missing time to injuries.

    Brodin and Dumba are about to play their first games in the NHL.

    There is evidence strewn across the internet about how the Wild were a poor team riding luck and percentages to their hot start a year ago, and were bound to come back down to earth injuries or no.

  56. Captain Happy says:

    VOR,

    Parise ($7.5) – Koivu ($6.7) Coyle ($975K)

    Zucker ($800K) Granlund ($2.1M) Setoguchi ($3M)

    Powe ($1M)) Brodziak ($2.8M) Clutterbuck ($3M)

    Kassian ($575K) Konopka ($925K) Dowell ($700K)

    Extra $700K

    About $33M for forwards.

    Suter ($7.5M) Gilbert ($4M)

    Scandella ($1.5M) Brodin ($1.5M)

    Falk ($1M) Spurgeon ($1M)

    Dumba ($1.6M)

    $18M for 7 defensemen.

    Backstrom ($5M)
    Harding ($1.9M)

    $6.8M for goaltending.

    That’s about $57M total (leaving almost $7M in cap space) so you could easily replace Coyle on the first line with a more experienced player.

    I certainly don’t see a problem here unless Coyle, Zucker or Brodin don’t develop as projected.

    If they don’t there is certainly cap space available to deal with it.

  57. rickithebear says:

    DD started 42 games last year.
    He played 14 games with
    a top pair of Smid- Gilbert and 2 of whitney, Barker, Potter
    he played 2 games with no smid-petry and barker, tuebert,
    which Cannot Happen this year
    He was
    2W – 13L – 1 OTL 3.47GA .886Sv%

    He played 26 games were he had 4 of
    Smid, Petry, Sutton, Schultz, Whitney, Peckham, Potter
    He was
    18W – 6L – 2 OTL 2.26GA .932SV%

    Smid-Petry
    N. Schultz-J.Schultz
    Whitney-Fistric
    Peckham-potter

    the top goalies average 65 games in a 82 game season.
    I would expect DD to get 40 games in this schedule.
    Is it unrealistic to expect hs win rate from Jan .
    15W – 10L-3 OTL .590 win%

    We better be challenging for the playoffs!

  58. Marc says:

    If Minnesota makes the playoffs this season they will have made an almost unprecedented improvement from last season. Last season only two teams made the post season with a negative goal differential (and both were in the Southeast). During the entire length of the last CBA, only two teams improved their previous season’s goal differential by 50 or more goals. Minnesota’s goal differential last season was -49.

    Given that it would be a historic improvement for Minnesota to even make the playoffs, I just don’t see them being the dominant team that some are expecting – in a year or two, certainly – but not this season.

    A couple of other things to note about Minnesota:
    – Gilbert and Suter are very good defensemen, but Minnesota’s 3-7 Dmen have a TOTAL of 420 games on NHL experience – and that’s counting Scandella, who’s hurt. If you count Dumba (who didn’t make the Canadian Junior team) and it falls to 337 total games. Can anyone point to an example of an elite NHL team that was that inexperienced on the blueline?
    – Backstom’s Sv% over the past 3 seasons: .919, .916, .903. Harding’s is: .917, .905, .929. That’s pretty average. And they have one of the most inexperienced bluelines in the league in front of them.
    – Parise and Suter have never played for their current coach or with their new teammates, and have had one week of practice to learn the system. Suter has also played for only 1 coach his entire NHL career.
    – Tavares, Stamkos, Duschene, Skinner, Hall, Eberle and RNH all scored 40+ points their rookie season, but were all minus players. Granlund is a great talent, but he is still likely to give up more than he produces in his first season in the league.

    If Minnesota get every bounce their way this season, they might sneak into the playoffs as a 7 or 8 seed. A far more likely scenario is that they considerably improve their goal differential (like Edmonton did last season) but still miss the playoffs. Next season though, they should be a serious contender.

  59. VOR says:

    Captain Happy,

    What did you do with Mitchell, Stoner, and Prosser and the 4 million dollars you owe them next year. I assume you bought Heatley out. Then there is the fact you just signed 3 of the worst zone start best zone finish against decent to tough competition defencemen in the NHL for a combined raise of 1.274 Million dollars. or an average of $425,000 a piece. You are now the greatest GM who ever lived. Bye-bye Koivu. Oh and Zucker and Coyle, Brodin and Dumba – teams with four rookies in key positions end up dead last.

  60. sliderule says:

    I predict that all the predictions for the west could look really bad.

    Nearly everyone has the Kings at one or two.This is the team that barely snuck into the last playoff spot and rode Quick to the cup.Quick has had surgery and his backup has Habi like save percentage..Could be lots of egg on faces if Quick doesn’t recover from back surgery.

    Vancouver are going to be down to one line that hasn’t hit the ice this winter.The newly anointed goalie has never had to carry the load and two of the D additions are failed oilers.If Kesler and Booth don’t recover fast they could slide big time.

    I think you could make a decent case for all of the eight who made it last year to either drop out or slide down a lot.

  61. Kris11 says:

    I think DSF is right that Minny will he a good team this year. A top 1D brings so much to a club, just like Pronger did for the Oilers, so will Suter do for Minny. If Koivu is healthy (big if?), they have a good club and should be ahead of the Oilers.

    I do think they have cap trouble next year. And if you dump Heatley, (as disappointing as he’s been) you have to replace his offense. If Parise is Healtley’s replacement, that is an improvement, but not as much as adding Parise to a team with Heatley so that you can run Heatley against weaker comp.

    All in all. though, Minny is on a good path. (I’d have wanted Suter but not necessarily Parise at that price. As we see with Heatley, big money forwards do sometimes stumble.)

    DSF seems to see this as a battle of who has the better team going forward (its not a debate so much as a rah, rah, my team thing) Minny/Florida or Edmonton. In terms of young talent, I’d say it’s Edmonton hands down. But Edmonton is handicapped by Tambellini-worst-in-the-league GM. But really, there isn’t a competition here. Minny. Florida, and EDM all have good youth/prospects. There’s nothing to debate here. A more interesting debate would be to compare individual propsects, say Brodin with Schultz, or something like that.

  62. leadfarmer says:

    Captain DSF,

    Why did you change your name here but not on oilersnation?

  63. knighttown says:

    I think St. Louis is as close to a perfectly built team as there is in the cap era; especially since they have no superstar forward. Their forwards are big, fast and skilled plus they are young and outperforming their cap hits. They’ve got two blue chippers in Tarasenko and Jaden Schwartz added to the group this year.

    Oshie-Backes-Perron
    McDonald-Berglund-Tarasenko
    Stewart-Steen-Schwartz
    Sobtoka-Nichol-D’Agostini
    Langenbrunner

    That group of forwards in insanely deep.

    Pietrangelo-Shattenkirk
    Polack-Jackman
    Cole-Redden
    Russell

    They’ve got a terrific shutdown pair in Polak-Jackman and an awesome two way pair in Petro-Shattenkirk. The Redden add replaces Russell who was their weak spot.

    Halak/Elliott/Hitchcock

    I think Elliott sucks but Hitch is so great he makes any goalie look great.

    This teams goal differential will be frightening this year.

  64. Zipdot says:

    Todd Nelson was on the Gregor show on Jan 16. Worth a listen to hear about what he thinks about the OKC D and their predicament.

    Coach Nelson is a class act, I always like to hear him talk about players. He is very good at telling it like it is but being constructive about it.

  65. commonfan14 says:

    knighttown: This teams goal differential will be frightening this year.

    If Halak and Elliot had posted only their career average save percentages last year (averages that include what they did last year), the team’s differential would have dropped from +45 to +13: good for worst of the 8 playoff teams in the West.

  66. LoDog says:

    I see DSF/captain happy has COL coming in 7th and 9th and PHO got contracted just like at ON.

    LAK
    CHI
    VAN
    NSH
    SJ
    STL
    EDM
    DET
    PHO
    MIN
    DAL
    COL
    ANH
    CAL
    CLB

  67. DeadmanWaking says:

    I’m a horrific homer. I barely know the other teams.

    One thing I’m not going to do is make the error of predicting the recent past. I think our D is underestimated because it recently sucked donkey balls at Carnival Barker. I think a team or two that hasn’t missed the playoffs much in recent memory is due for a fall (maybe Detroit or SJ). You could even see a pretty good team missing the playoffs if they catch some bad breaks. We have many question marks, but I think most teams have question marks under the parity formula. Calgary might pull the chute early. Anyone lucky enough to play them after the trade deadline might be lining up against a hollow shell. I think I’d cross Calgary off as our litmus test this season, and pencil in Minnesota. We’ve got to take some points from those pests to have a legitimate shot.

    I’m not very far into Antifragile yet. Taleb is about as subtle in his writing style as Lieutenant Colonel Bill Kilgore, and nearly as entertaining–from a safe intellectual distance. Kilgore despises safe intellectual distance. He also despises conventional notions of balance.

    Kilgore defines having excess strength in one place and weakness in another as a learning opportunity. He’d ask what kind of sissy-assed operation we’re running here if our offensive Hydra of Hall, Nugent, Yakupov, Eberle can’t find some way to take a bit of the pressure off our below-grade defensive crew.

    Under Biology and Economic Systems, he lists “efficiency/optimized” as fragile, “redundancy” as robust, and “functional redundancy” as antifragile. Translation: If our elite forwards contribute nothing to turning the puck around in our own end, we’re in deep doodoo. I mentally map “functional redundancy” as redundancy across roles, having read only two chapters.

    Robust would be having good a good AHL pantry in every position: goaltending, forwards, defensemen. Antifragile is having the elite talent where a stacked offense finds a way to bail out a decimated defense. Taleb wouldn’t even agree to call a player elite, unless the player had that magic gift of finding a way.

    Taleb doesn’t agree that perfect balance is worth striving toward. He regards that as the domain of bureaucrats and bankers (if the later case greatly facilitated once you arrange for someone else to bear the downside). Taleb would advocate a growth path moving from strength to strength. This year, young legs and sick hands. Three years from now, a tight cluster entering their prime. Another three years: battle experience. Taleb would not trade rookie Yakupov for seasoned Matt Green just to even out the books. Less weakness, but also less strength. If the strength was worth having–if it is the right kind of strength–you’re just trading away the bumpy path of real growth for the smooth path of going nowhere impressive.

    I’m all-in on the bumpy road.

    Kilgore also smacks his shoe onto a murky puddle to emphasize that forecasting is a dysentery dung heap. I read Silver’s book last week–he’s a professional forecaster, and even so, between the lines he doesn’t paint a rosy picture, either. Fasten your seatbelts, you are now boarding team turbulence. Arrows in all directions.

    Here’s what going to happen. Our loser-tainted troops are going to head out onto the ice for the third period nursing a one goal lead against a division-leading rival. We’re going to get hemmed into our own zone for five minutes solid. Dub will make a succession of five bell saves. Then Yak will reach eight feet out to bat a bouncing puck out of thin air, and three seconds later a goal is scored. The whole time we’re pinned in our zone, Quick is going to have sphincter puckers shooting into his cold legs every time the puck cycles out to the point. Yak is going to feast on other teams once they begin to press out of their shell. Then Dub gases an easy one, the Kings pot the equalizer with 15 seconds left in the game, and we walk away from the shootout with a win after only four shots exchanged. Robust? No. Antifragile? Yes.

    When I dig into my gut I get 9th. But I won’t be the least surprised by any finish from 5th to 13th.

  68. gogliano says:

    I think the Oilers finish 1st in the conference.

    They added J. Schultz and Yakupov. I don’t see any reason why the addition of two players won’t lead to a +75 goal swing in goal differential.

    In all seriousness, I think the 48-game, intra-conference schedule means the luck factor is going to play a huge role. I can see the Oil finishing as a high as 4/5 and as low as 15th. If DD plays well out of the gate and doesn’t get injured the shot at the playoffs is pretty high. If he doesn’t this team is doomed.

  69. Lucinius says:

    Well Rishaug says Peckham has been designated as unfit to play, thus won’t count against the roster, will be tested again on Monday.

    Redden signing in St. Louis is interesting.

    As for how things will shake out, I’m thinking;

    1. St. Louis
    2. Los Angeles
    3. Vancouver
    4. Minnesota
    5. Nashville
    6. Chicago
    7. Detroit
    8. Edmonton

    9. Phoenix
    10. San Jose
    11. Colorado
    12. Dallas
    13. Anaheim
    14. Calgary
    15. Columbus

    In a normal season I’d drop Minnesota a bit, but with all the divisional and conference play I think it actually benefits them. I see Colorado and Calgary bearing the brunt of the divisional play, with the Oilers picking up enough points against Vancouver and Minnesota to squeek into the playoffs by a point.

    Anaheim will move one of Getzlaf/Perry and will begin a proper rebuild and will see that reflected. Calgary will suck because they are Calgary and refuse to acknowledge reality. San Jose’s window is closed. Phoenix will suffer due to no Whitney and Smith not having the same kind of year.

  70. spoiler says:

    Lucinius: Well Rishaug says Peckham has been designated as unfit to play, thus won’t count against the roster, will be tested again on Monday.

    Rishaug also confirmed that reKhab’s not ready yet and Danis will be on the opening night roster.

  71. gogliano says:

    Peckman’s SF episode seemed pretty strange to me. Hard to see him being a long term piece in Edmonton by this point.

  72. Woodguy says:

    Derek,

    Koivu, Parise and Suter and 5v5 killers. Gilbert kept his head nearlevel 5v5 on horrid EDM teams.

    That’s why MIN wil go from being horribly outshot to an outshooting team.

    I agree that listing Konopka as an asset is like ranking Mental Petrell as an asset.

    Suter and Gilbert are not playing as a pair, so I think they’ll have 45 minutes of one of those two on the ice.

    I also agree that listing rookies as reasons a team will improve is way off……unless its a 22 year old Dman.

    Also,

    NAS was horribly outshot last year too, but defied the odds and finished with a lot of points.

    Their luck ends without Suter and having to play STL, CHI and even DET a lot.

    I love no-neck and think he should have two Jack Adams awards, but I don’t think he can do it this year.

    Also,

    Beside Whitney, Hemsky, Doobie and Hall being my main reasons for picking EDM to make the playoffs, its also the PP.

    The refs always call the first 50 games tighter than the last 32, and this year the first 50 are the whole season.

    The Oiler’s have the best 1-2 PP punch in the league. Its ridiculous.

    Their 5v4 SH% may regress, but I bet they convert more PPs into goals.

  73. hunter1909 says:

    WTF like everyone is making suggestions?

    Okay I’ll pick them for 6th

  74. Lowetide says:

    Looks like the roster posted in the post this morning is the one the Oilers gave the NHL. Honest question: does Khabibulin being out give you more or less confidence about this season?

  75. striatic says:

    Lowetide,

    more, but not a lot.

    judging by Khabibulin’s verbal at the last press conference, it sounds like he might be done for good.

    i trust Danis more than i trust Khabi, but that isn’t saying much.

  76. Gerta Rauss says:

    Unfit to play…?…Jesus, how much did he eat over the holidays…? We read a couple interviews in the fall that said he was off the cheeseburgers and was in good shape(at that time)

    That is really disappointing.

  77. Dipstick says:

    Woodguy:
    Derek,

    The refs always call the first 50 games tighter than the last 32, and this year the first 50 are the whole season.

    Are they the first 48 or the last 48?

  78. Spydyr says:

    If they want to make the playoffs they better start hot. 8-2 or 7-3 at worst.

    It still will be 50/50 on making the big party.Goaltending and a questionable defence.along with not much grit in the top 6 all hurt.

    They were the easiest team in the league to play against last year.Only made one change to address that.Not near enough.

  79. Captain Happy says:

    Woodguy:
    Derek,

    Koivu, Parise and Suter and 5v5 killers.Gilbert kept his head nearlevel 5v5 on horrid EDM teams.

    That’s why MIN wil go from being horribly outshot to an outshooting team.

    I agree that listing Konopka as an asset is like ranking Mental Petrell as an asset.

    Suter and Gilbert are not playing as a pair, so I think they’ll have 45 minutes of one of those two on the ice.

    I also agree that listing rookies as reasons a team will improve is way off……unless its a 22 year old Dman.

    Also,

    NAS was horribly outshot last year too, but defied the odds and finished with a lot of points.

    Their luck ends without Suter and having to play STL, CHI and even DET a lot.

    I love no-neck and think he should have two Jack Adams awards, but I don’t think he can do it this year.

    Also,

    Beside Whitney, Hemsky, Doobie and Hall being my main reasons for picking EDM to make the playoffs, its also the PP.

    The refs always call the first 50 games tighter than the last 32, and this year the first 50 are the whole season.

    The Oiler’s have the best 1-2 PP punch in the league. Its ridiculous.

    Their 5v4 SH% may regress, but I bet they convert more PPs into goals.

    Yes, of course, only 22 year old rookies who play for the Oilers but a 21 year old who has been playing in the SM LIga since he was 17 likely won’t have an impact?

    Also worth noting, another 21 year old rookie who might also make you look sillier is Tarasenko who has more than 5 seasons in the KHL under his belt.

    These aren’t your garden variety Gagner rookies..

  80. Woodguy says:

    ashley,

    Someone else mentioned that LAK was hot.

    That’s true, and they were also very, very good at the time.

    STL can bet that good too.

    Especially with Hitchcock.

  81. Woodguy says:

    Captain Happy,

    Also worth noting, another 21 year old rookie who might also make you look sillier is Tarasenko who has more than 5 seasons in the KHL under his belt.

    So a rookie doing well on a team I pick to go to the SCF will make me look silly.

    Well, as long as we are all on the same page then…..

  82. Captain Happy says:

    Woodguy:
    Captain Happy,

    Also worth noting, another 21 year old rookie who might also make you look sillier is Tarasenko who has more than 5 seasons in the KHL under his belt.

    So a rookie doing well on a team I pick to go to the SCF will make me look silly.

    Well, as long as we are all on the same page then…..

    I agree with you on the Blues going to to the finals but that certainly doesn’t diminish the potential of Granlund.

    He’s a Finn!

  83. Woodguy says:

    Dipstick,

    First 48 no question.

    Refs aren’t in game shape either at the start and always err on the side of calling a marginal penalty.

    When they can keep up with the game they let them go more.

    If a ref eats a lot of donuts, they call a lot of marginal calls.

    At least that’s what Jim Shoenfeld taught me.

  84. Woodguy says:

    Captain Happy,

    And Granlund is a fine Finn.

    He’s still a small rookie this year and shouldn’t be counted on doing anything but going -5 while being sheltered and scoring 20 goals. (20 goals pro-rated over 82 games….maybe 22)

  85. Woodguy says:

    striatic:
    Lowetide,

    more, but not a lot.

    judging by Khabibulin’s verbal at the last press conference, it sounds like he might be done for good.

    i trust Danis more than i trust Khabi, but that isn’t saying much.

    If the Oilers announce Khabi is on the IR for the rest of the season I fear for LT’s liver.

    He’ll have one, then another one, and they’d he’d lose count.

  86. Lowetide says:

    Man, if the Oilers score Ben Bishop here then NK’s IR stint is a very good thing.

  87. Woodguy says:

    Lowetide:
    Man, if the Oilers score Ben Bishop here then NK’s IR stint is a very good thing.

    Is Bishop being shopped?

    Price?

    What would you give up?

    Cue Bras and Panties tweeting that the Oilers have interest in Bishop.

  88. Lowetide says:

    Rajala (Pelss, Lander). These ECHL kids are pretty damn good hockey players.

  89. Lowetide says:

    Woodguy: Is Bishop being shopped?

    Price?

    What would you give up?

    Cue Bras and Panties tweeting that the Oilers have interest in Bishop.

    I think it was Dreger that mentioned tonight there’s interest from EDM and CAL. I’d give this year’s second, although OTT needs D. Peckham plus?

  90. Woodguy says:

    Lowetide,

    Peckham?

    Really?

    Does Bishop drink or something?

    Oiler’s have 2 seconds this year. 3rd is gone for Fistric.

    I think Ralph is going to let him take Potter’s job rather than hand it to him, and that’s a good thing.

  91. Ducey says:

    I think the Oilers will finish within 5 pts of the playoffs but won’t make it. So 9th or 10th in the West.

    They will score but all those youngsters will struggle with keeping the puck out of their net and will lose a lot of one goal games. The experience that often wins tight games just isn’t there yet.

  92. CrazyCoach says:

    Bruce McCurdy: Scott Young (Neil’s dad)

    This is going to sound crazy and you can revoke my Canadian citizenship if you like, but I never made the connection between the two until I read, “Neil and Me-The Neil Young Story”. I read, “A Boy at Leafs Camp”, way back in grade 5 and wore out my copy of “Harvest” when I was 18, but never made the connection.

    Anyway, I say 7th place for the Oilers and first round matchup with LA. They will scare the Kings by going 6 and comparisons will be drawn to the spring of 81 team.

  93. jb says:

    commonfan14:
    A question for the many people picking the Blues to finish at or near the top this year:

    Is that based on a belief that Elliot and Halak can replicate their .940 and .926 save percentages from last year, or that they won’t but the team will significantly increase its goal scoring from 21st in the league?

    They’re still a great defensive team so of course goalie x will post a lopsided SV% again. There offense hasn’t gotten any worse. Top 3 team in the west imo.

    While it was too easy to predict standings last year, its far to hard to predict them this year… I can see Edmonton anywhere from 3rd-12th in the conference.

  94. Woodguy says:

    Ducey:
    I think the Oilers will finish within 5 pts of the playoffs but won’t make it.So 9th or 10th in the West.

    They will score but all those youngsters will struggle with keeping the puck out of their net and will lose a lot of one goal games.The experience that often wins tight games just isn’t there yet.

    The OIlers have a good 1st pass Dman on each pair.

    Petry
    Shultz the Younger
    Whitney

    Been a long time since they could say that.

    With all the fast kids up front and D who can pass the Oilers are going to be the hockey version of a fast break offense.

    Going to be pretty fun to watch.

    Lots of suspects 2nd pairing in the Western Conference and the Oilers should have two good offensive lines.

    Agree that they’ll give up a bunch, but I think they have a goalie.

  95. melancholyculkin says:

    I assume everyone who thinks MIN is going to win the NW have placed bets accordingly. They’re listed as 18/1 to win stanley this year. If you think they’re good enough to win the NW then you likely think they can be considered a legitimate contender and should be salivating at the thought of making a tidy sum.

    The Wild were 100 goals worse than VAN last year. In a normal season that is 1.21 GPG worse. So in a full season there would have to be a 1.21 GPG swing just to make up the gap between the teams. In a 48 game season, there will have to be a 2.08 GPG swing between the teams. Basically, MIN will have to be, through some combination of them improving and VAN declining, 2 GPG better than VAN to have a real shot at winning the division. I assume bets have been made accordingly.

    MIN has to improve by 50 goals to be a bubble playoff team. The same team that has had the worst possession numbers in the league for two straight years and has never, over the past 5 seasons, been even a 50% possession team. I would be loathe to bet on MIN even making the playoffs.

  96. Captain Happy says:

    melancholyculkin:
    I assume everyone who thinks MIN is going to win the NW have placed bets accordingly. They’re listed as 18/1 to win stanley this year. If you think they’re good enough to win the NW then you likely think they can be considered a legitimate contender and should be salivating at the thought of making a tidy sum.

    The Wild were 100 goals worse than VAN last year. In a normal season that is 1.21 GPG worse. So in a full season there would have to be a 1.21 GPG swing just to make up the gap between the teams. In a 48 game season, there will have to be a 2.08 GPG swing between the teams. Basically, MIN will have to be, through some combination of them improving and VAN declining, 2 GPG better than VAN to have a real shot at winning the division. I assume bets have been made accordingly.

    MIN has to improve by 50 goals to be a bubble playoff team. The same team that has had the worst possession numbers in the league for two straight years and has never, over the past 5 seasons, been even a 50% possession team. I would be loathe to bet on MIN even making the playoffs.

    Comparing this year’s Wild to last year’s Wild is an exercise in futility.

    They have turned over almost half their roster by adding a top 10 defenseman, a top 10 scoring winger, the best young prospect in the game and could have a full season from one of the best two way centres in the league.

    It’s far more instructive to look at the way the team is currently constructed.

    Above average goaltending with solid backup √

    Dominating #1 D √

    Depth at centre √ (almost embarrassing how good this is)

    Scoring wingers who can put the puck in the net √

    A bottom 6 forward group that is a bitch to play against √

    Great young talent on ELC’s √

    A great talent base maturing in the minors. √

    This is the template for a winner outlined early in the book “Behind the Moves” and adhered to by GM’s like Holland from time immemorial.

    Now, it may take some time for the new talent to gel but they’re on the right track.

    STL has been built in a similar fashion and is likely a year closer to success but the Wild are doing absolutely everything right.

    If you would like to entertain a bet on whether or not they make the playoffs, I would happily oblige.

    (As an aside, the STL Blues, who most are picking as a top team in the WC, are currently almost $16 million under the cap and are only paying their 7 defensmen a total of $14 million)

    A smart GM makes all the difference in the world.

  97. jfry says:

    10th. Better than Calgary. Pp killers. Still bad at 5on5 although better than last year. 4th in west next season. Better without rekhab

  98. VOR says:

    Captain Happy – the Wild have a #1 D – where are they hiding him? Suter is a 2, not a 1 and dominated while playing with a defence first coach and team and while paired with probably the top D-man in all of hockey. Suter has proven he can out play the toughs when paired with the best. The best are not to be found in Minnesota.

    As for center being an organizational strength – last year none of the Wild centers made it into the top 50 in points per 60 minutes played (not even when only centers with 50 or more games are considered.) Only Koivu came close to holding his own in corsi or plus/minus. To that less that stellar group you are adding Granlund. He has shown he can put up points in the AHL. He has also shown he can’t play defence in the AHL. The smart money bet is his offence shrinks a bit in the NHL and his defensive inadequacies will be even more exposed. It is pray Koivu is healthy and then pray he can play 60 minutes a game. Center is a great bleeding wound on the Wild.

    Even goal has some issues. Harding with his MS and Hackett looking a little lost in Houston.

    The defence is all question marks – starting with discovering who Suter is without Weber. The press are saying the plan is to split Gilbert and Suter up which makes sense given one would be playing out of position – so who are they playing with? I’m thinking not Shea Weber – probably not even Kevin Klein.

    I think they make the playoffs, probably. However, you are way overstating the odds.

    Have you found poor Torrey Mitchell, Clayton Stoner and Nate Prosser yet?

  99. hunter1909 says:

    Captain Happy: the best young prospect in the game

    LOL coming from an Oilers fan.

    Yakupov and Justin Schultz say hi.

    Captain Happy: This is the template for a winner

    LOL once again, coming from an alleged Oilers fan.

    Just a fucking troll, living in Mom’s basement Rupert Pupkin style.

  100. Woodguy says:

    VOR,

    Here are Suter and Weber WOWY for Corsi 5v5 when the score is close (also adjusted for zone starts) for the last 4 years: (they didn’t play much together in 07/08)

    The first number is percentage of shots their team takes when together, then the players apart from each other.

    11/12
    Together .485
    Suter .406
    Weber .532

    Weber driving the bus last year, surprised at how low Suter is apart. That’s a bad number.

    10/11
    Together .548
    Suter .556
    Weber .501

    Now Suter seems to be driving

    09/10
    Together .533
    Suter .487
    Weber .509

    Better together than apart

    08/09
    Together .532
    Suter .428
    Weber .426

    Waaaay better together than apart. Might speak to strength of team mates as well.

    Certainly looks like Weber drives the bus more often than not, but its not a slam dunk.

  101. PerryK says:

    Captain Happy:
    MIN
    STL
    LAK
    VCR
    CHI
    DET
    SJS
    COL
    DAL
    COL
    EDM
    NSH
    ANA
    CAL
    CLB

    1) Many observers are overlooking the additional assets Minny has acquired above and beyond Parise and Suter. Mikael Granlund is my choice as Rookie of the Year.
    Mikko Koivu healthy all season, P.M. Bouchard apparently fully recovered and the addition of Zenon Konopka and Torrey Mitchell in their bottom 6 will make this team very tough to play against. Some lingering questions on D but top rate forwards and two great goaltendersshould be enough in a weak division.

    2) STL IMO is the best team in the WC but is playing in a tough division so will lose a few points there. Just a solid, solid, big, tough team and they are adding some significant offense in Tarasenko and Schwartz.

    3) The deepest team in the WC and could easily finish first. May lose a few early because of the Kopitar injury.

    4) The Canucks traditionally start slowly and with Kesler and Booth on the shelf, I think history repeats. They will have to rely much more on team defense this season but they have the deep D and great goaltending to pull that off.

    5) Have the offensive firepower and 2 great defensemen but goaltending still questionable.

    6) A bit of a retooling year for DET but those expecting the Wings to fall off a cliff geta surprise. While you can’t replace Nik with one player, Brendan Smith seems ready to go and with $10 million in cap space available, Holland has the cash and moxie to add as needed.

    7) Too much talent to fall too far.

    8) The final playoff position likely is the result of injury, luck and other forms of serendipity. I think any of COL, EDM, DAL or NSH could grab this spot.

    I hate to agree with DSF on anything, but it sure seems like he has nailed this one! Except that I would drop MIN to just below LAK.

  102. ashley says:

    ashley:
    9th in the West.I could buy 8th in a normal season, but the all West competition hurts them here.Two Eastern teams (7th and 8th place) are going to make the playoffs but never would have with a regular schedule/interconference games.

    Injuries, especially on Dcould push them to 10-11th.

    I think DAL will both be close to last with CBUS.

    CGY misses again (I know that’s an easy one).

    I think LA will struggle, and may miss the second season.

    VAN will be #1.

    I know some of you probably caught the error in my logic above, but perhaps are too gentlemanly to point it out (or perhaps just ignored it, which seems worse, actually).

    All teams competing for 8 playoff spots in each conference will face the same level of competition whether it be in an interconference schedule or an intraconference schedule. Assuming the same effort, luck, and injury variables in both circumstances, the same 8 teams in each conference should make the playoffs regardless of whether the schedule is intra or interconference. West is tougher than East, but it does not affect playoff position.

    If there was an “embarrassed” smiley face thing, I would insert it right about here.

    So maybe the Oil make 8th after all.

  103. hunter1909 says:

    ashley,

    I’m a perennial pick the Oilers for 6th type, although this year I’d prefer to have them anywhere from 3rd in the conference(3% chance) to 13th in the conference(>3% chance.

    At this time of year, everyone’s a pundit. :)

  104. VOR says:

    Woodguy,

    My point was that they aren’t playing together in Minnesota and expecting Suter to be as good with out Weber seems to be like a bad bet. I’m not expecting Weber to be as good without Suter I just think the drop off will be less. A lot of the progressions for Minnesota are based on Suter being as good there as he was in Nashville. It might work out that way but I would think the odds are against it.

  105. Rebilled says:

    9th

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