UNICORNS!

The biggest concerns for Edmonton Oilers fans this fall? How much time do you have? It’s the depth at center, the top pairing, the goaltending, the power play, the faceoff circle and the left coast.

THREE EFFECTIVE SCORING LINES

The Oilers have a great, rocking line of $6 million dollar men in Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Taylor Hall and Jordan Eberle. I’ve projected them to score 87 goals this season. That’s the “G-A-G plus 5″ line should it happen, and it would be a nice step up from 74 a year ago from the trio.

I think most of us believe the club could cobble together a quality 2line from the group of remaining skill wingers (David Perron, Teddy Purcell, Benoit Pouliot and Nail Yakupov), but the worry is the pivot on the line. If we’re honest, the ‘safe’ selection is Mark Arcobello—he filled the role well one year ago when Sam Gagner was drinking meat through a straw—and it’s conceivable Perron, Arco and Teddy Purcell could compete against reasonably difficult opposition.

The third line? Well, Benoit Pouliot was effective in the role as recently as the SCF, and Nail Yakupov led all rookies in scoring just two years ago. I’m not certain any of us sees Leon and Nail on the same line in the NHL as soon as October, but a soft ZS diet might deliver reasonable results. That gets us to the 4line, which is Boyd Gordon, Matt Hendricks and one of Anton Lander, Tyler Pitlick, et cetera, et cetera.

How do I feel about this? Craig MacTavish should have paid Mikhail Grabovski whatever he was asking.

petry3I had a chat with Rob Vollman on Friday, and we spoke at length about the Oilers defense. Rob believes the ideal shutdown pairing for Edmonton this winter is Mark Fayne with Jeff Petry. Severe zone starts, toughest comp, heavy minutes at evens and penalty kill. It makes sense artistically—they are absolutely the best defenders on the team—but two righties on the same pairing is more rare than a unicorn. In fact, since everyone else is a lefty, my guess is we never see the duo back out of the driveway together.

I think it’s a fabulous idea. You may say “bad idea, two RD never play together, it goes against the grain’ and my reaction is ‘so does being down by three goals entering the third period’ so choose your poison.

Which brings us to the best partner for Justin Schultz. Let’s begin with the WOWYs.

JUSTIN SCHULTZ 5X5 WOWY 2013-14

PLAYER CORSI FOR 5X5%
5X5 TOGETHER
MARTIN MARINCIN 49.6 61:27
ANTON BELOV 49.0 215:07
DENIS GREBESHKOV 47.4 46:57
OSCAR KLEFBOM 44.3 126:26
MARK FRASER 42.9 50:56
PHIL LARSEN 42.3 36:37
ANDREW FERENCE 42.1 464:16
NICK SCHULTZ 38.4 262:59

I’ve ranked them by their 5×5 CF%, and as you can see the two veterans Schultz played with rank at the very bottom of the list. Schultz actually played fairly well with Marincin, Belov and Grebeshkov, and one wonders if Marincin may end up playing with Schultz this year. Darnell Nurse or Oscar Klefbom may eventually fill that role, but for now we’ve seen evidence (the OKC season and this very small sample size in 2013-14) to at least put them together during preseason.

If the Oilers use Marincin for Justin Schultz, then we’re left with:

  • Andrew Ference—Jeff Petry
  • Nikita Nikitin—Mark Fayne

Hmmmm. I’m liking this Fayne-Petry combo more and more. I do expect we’ll see Ference with Justin Schultz again, but if Dallas Eakins can move Schultz to a different spot in the sledgehammer it could work.

VOLLMAN SLEDGEHAMMER (COMPLETE 2013-14)

vollman complete oilers 2013-14

Eakins will need (and I discussed this with Vollman last week as well) to put Schultz in the ‘soft parade’ zone whenever possible. The soft parade zone is populated by only Luke Gazdic here, Schultz is a little inside the “shutdown” corridor and that’s the worst place for him. Because Schultz will be playing with skill it may not be possible to get him over to the soft parade, but if Petry-Fayne were up in the Gordon region it would give the coach more freedom to use Schultz in the best possible way.

  • Fayne—Petry
  • Marincin—Nikitin
  • Ference—Schultz

Thoughts?

LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE

Mad-Hatter-Tea-Party-GIF

It’s September! Lowdown hits the air on TSN 1260 at 10 this morning. We begin with Scott Burnside from ESPN at 10:05, talking about the Schultz contract and the remaining RFA’s. Next up: Andrew Bucholtz from 55-yard Line to talk CFL weekend and NFL cuts that may impact the Canadian league. At 11, Jonathan Willis will pop in and we’ll take about the Oilers in 2014-15 and where they might land. At 11:25-ish, Rob Soria pops in to talk US Open tennis.

@Lowetide_ or 10-1260 text. Kids are back in school, drive carefully!

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59 Responses to "UNICORNS!"

  1. tlatos says:

    Problem with those pairings is you not only have the two righties together but you are putting Marincin in a position to fail on the wrong side as well!

    I’m all for getting Schultz into offensive zone situations/limiting d zone to help the team win but he’s got to be able to carry his weight in the back end as well. If his point totals are juiced up with easy starts and competition his contract will be hugely inflated while his actual value to the team winning will not match considering how much he will have to be sheltered to achieve that great performance.

  2. leadfarmer says:

    If you could clone gordon, or Pick someone up like Anisimov, I would be ok if you put together a soft line of them centerin Yak and Put Drysaddle on a wing.

  3. Dicky94 says:

    I think you try Leon between Perron and Teddy to start with just to see how he fairs. Arco, Yak and and Pouliot would be a great line too. Both Pouliot and Arco don’t mind getting in on the forecheck which would set up Yak for some serious one timers in the slot.

  4. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    One item on the Schultz issue is that he most certainly given harder jobs to do (more TOI, against higher QC) when with the vet.

    Him and Ference led the team in ES TOI/G

    http://www.nhl.com/ice/playerstats.htm?fetchKey=20142EDMDADALL&sort=avgEvenStrengthTOIPerGame&viewName=timeOnIce

    That’s a huge part of the problem right there. I’d be very curious to see how that pairing goes if it was dialed way back at ES to 3rd pairing minutes.

    I have a feeling we are going to see them together (Eakins loves his ‘veteran presence’ talk) regardless. I just hope it is in a more limited role.

    ————–
    Fayne—Petry
    Nikitin—Marincin
    Ference—Schultz

    it’s funny after all the talk about righty-righty pairing to see Marincin as the one flipped. Wouldn’t it make more sense to see Nikitin over there? Hasn’t he played on the right side. IIRC he was on the right side with Tyutin.

    At any rate, this looks fine to me. I’d be reticent to break up the Marincin-Petry duo if I were the coach. That was the only time last year Eakins stopped sweating.

    ————
    Final note… I hope Dellow has Eakins looking at these WOWY numbers. I saw that Belov number (he had good numbers with Petry too) early and pitched it often.

  5. Bank Shot says:

    In 05/06 the two righties Staios and Smith played the entire regular season on the same pairing did they not?.

    Pronger played with Bergeron and then Spacek. Cross and Ulanov was the third before being replaced by MAB and Greene.

    I don’t remember seeing Pronger-Smith together until the playoffs.

    I’m not as tied to the left D must play left side as most so I would have no problems playing Fayne-Petry together and agree that it’s probably the Oilers best shot at having a pairing that can hold their heads above water at ES.

    I’m not as convinced as most that Ference is done being useful, so I’d be fine with a Nikitin-Ference second paring to start the season. Ference is comfortable on both sides.

    Marincin-Schultz for weak opp.

  6. Showerhead says:

    Bank Shot:
    In 05/06 the two righties Staios and Smith played the entire regular season on the same pairing did they not?.

    Pronger played with Bergeron and then Spacek. Cross and Ulanov was the third before being replaced by MAB and Greene.

    I don’t remember seeing Pronger-Smith together until the playoffs.

    You’re spot on, here. Pronger and Spacek started the playoffs together until partway through the Detroit series when Spacek got walked just inside the blueline. I’m not sure if it was that moment exactly or an overall idea but by the end of the Detroit series, Pronger and Smith were #1 and Spacek/Staios were #2.

    You know, assuming my memory can be trusted.

  7. Showerhead says:

    Showerhead: You’re spot on, here. Pronger and Spacek started the playoffs together until partway through the Detroit series when Spacek got walked just inside the blueline. I’m not sure if it was that moment exactly or an overall idea but by the end of the Detroit series, Pronger and Smith were #1 and Spacek/Staios were #2.

    You know, assuming my memory can be trusted.

    GAH. Our defense was so GOOD once.

  8. Lowetide says:

    In regard to Nikitin-Marincin, absolutely should have flipped them. Late wakeup this morning. I had forgotten about Smith-Staios and now it rings a bell. So good memory Bank Shot!

  9. Frank The Dog says:

    Seeing its a contract year, put Jultz and Petry on a FYPM (F##k you Pay Me) pairing.

  10. Manitoba Oilers says:

    All im going to say is Ference needs to go

  11. Hammers says:

    Why do you insist on Ference Schultz . I just don’t get it . As for Petry / Fayne I guess I could live with that but my preference is still Petry / Nikitan ; Schultz / Marincin ; Fayne / Ference with no particular order other than Schultz & Marincin get the softer slots . Either we believe in Nikitan or we don’t and I feel he can take some tougher time ( with Petry ) in fact splitting those tough minutes with Fayne & Ference . Also would try Purcell with Hall & RNH but as discussed before there are so many combos available I’m sure the coaches will work it out at camp .

  12. Lowetide says:

    Hammers:
    Why do you insist on Ference Schultz . I just don’t get it .

    I don’t insist, just trying to find a place on the roster where Ference will do the least damage. As mentioned above, the soft parade/zone start should/would help.

  13. oliveoilers says:

    Frank The Dog:
    Seeing its a contract year, put Jultz and Petry on a FYPM (F##k you Pay Me) pairing.

    OK, but i’ll call it the FYDS pairing. (F@#K You, Do Something)

  14. Genjutsu says:

    I am still baffled why people want to put the guy who led the team in TOI in the bottom pairing.

    Also why no one want him with Nikitin. That’s the pairing I like with heavy OZS.

    Marty played well in the shut down roll last year and all the evidence show Fayne is excellent at the roll.

    Ference Petry in the other pairing seems to make the most sense with the understanding it won’t last.

  15. oliveoilers says:

    Manitoba Oilers:
    All im going to say is Ference needs to go

    If DE had his way, Ference would be in the Marlie hall of fame. He isn’t going anywhere.

  16. slopitch says:

    My biggest concerns are:

    1) “Sam Gagner”ing Leon Draisatl. At this point, I think LD makes it so at this point all we can do is cheer for him. With regards to Gagner, I think there were other factors including the onus being on Gagner but I still cringe at the idea of an 18 year old C playing 2C when they are better off long term developing their trade in lesser leagues.
    2) Not getting full value for Jeff Petry or not resigning him.

    I think the 2C need is a bit overstated. It exists but last year the Oilers started without Nuge and Gagner and yes we sucked but they actually survived it ok if the goaltender could save a beach ball. I think MacT will find a player during the year (Neilson or Anisomov come to mind). Over the year I’m gonna be cheering the hardest for Nuge and Yak. Both #1 picks are behind the pack when compared to JT, Stamkos, Hall and Mackinnon. Its not really a concern (yet) but I think of all the things that matter, these 2 guys having breakout seasons would impact the team the most.

  17. Manitoba Oilers says:

    oliveoilers: If DE had his way, Ference would be in the Marlie hall of fame.He isn’t going anywhere.

    MacT i believe is a smart man and will get rid of him of he is no longer needed but for now jut have to hope he gets injured

  18. Hammers says:

    slopitch: My biggest concerns are:1) “Sam Gagner”ing Leon Draisatl. At this point, I think LD makes it so at this point all we can do is cheer for him. With regards to Gagner, I think there were other factors including the onus being on Gagner but I still cringe at the idea of an 18 year old C playing 2C when they are better off long term developing their trade in lesser leagues.2) Not getting full value for Jeff Petry or not resigning him.I think the 2C need is a bit overstated. It exists but last year the Oilers started without Nuge and Gagner and yes we sucked but they actually survived it ok if the goaltender could save a beach ball. I think MacT will find a player during the year (Neilson or Anisomov come to mind). Over the year I’m gonna be cheering the hardest for Nuge and Yak. Both #1 picks are behind the pack when compared to JT, Stamkos, Hall and Mackinnon. Its not really a concern (yet) but I think of all the things that matter, these 2 guys having breakout seasons would impact the team the most.

    Tend to agree with your assesment but if McT wants Leon in Edmonton he will be here

  19. RexLibris says:

    Putting Fayne and Petry together makes sense, the RD/LD issue be damned if it means giving the other 19 guys on the team a fighting chance.

    Ideally it’d be nice to have a LD/RD balance 1 through 6, but I think it makes more sense to see who plays best with whom and work the rest out as you go.

    With regards to the 2C spot, Arcobello may be half-season spackle or a real fix for the whole season. I’d argue that he isn’t necessarily an improvement over Gagner, but rather his skill sheet is more well-rounded than his predecessor and he doesn’t have the “waiting for breakout season” sword hanging over his head.

    I think the strength added to the wings will help offset the ongoing weakness in the middle. Not fix it, but at least help out in more meaningful ways than players like Joensuu or Petrell could hope to.

  20. Hammers says:

    Lowetide: I don’t insist, just trying to find a place on the roster where Ference will do the least damage. As mentioned above, the soft parade/zone start should/would help.

    Actually I’m not totally sold on Ference not cutting it but he didn’t play well with Schultz and doesn’t deserve those minutes . I still think he can be a 4-5 type of “D” especially with the right partner . Schultz will get his 24 minutes , 4 on PP and I think Martin can handle 20 .

  21. bob beers says:

    I may have missed it, but has anyone considered that the reason the “fancy stats” guys have been hired by NHL clubs is more for leverage in contract negotiations?

  22. hoser313 says:

    Don’t see the Oil going with Marincin/Schultz. They would see that as “too soft” and “too young”.

    I reckon the Oil start the season as LT suggests:

    Petry/Fayne
    Ference/Schultz (yes, the Oil see this as the 2nd pair)
    Nikitin/Marincin

    2nd choice from management’s perspective:

    Ference/Fayne (D-zone)
    Petry/Marincin (all purpose)
    Schultz/Nikitin (O-zone)

  23. oliveoilers says:

    RexLibris:
    Putting Fayne and Petry together makes sense, the RD/LD issue be damned if it means giving the other 19 guys on the team a fighting chance.

    Ideally it’d be nice to have a LD/RD balance 1 through 6, but I think it makes more sense to see who plays best with whom and work the rest out as you go.

    With regards to the 2C spot, Arcobello may be half-season spackle or a real fix for the whole season. I’d argue that he isn’t necessarily an improvement over Gagner, but rather his skill sheet is more well-rounded than his predecessor and he doesn’t have the “waiting for breakout season” sword hanging over his head.

    I think the strength added to the wings will help offset the ongoing weakness in the middle. Not fix it, but at least help out in more meaningful ways than players like Joensuu or Petrell could hope to.

    We’ll have to see if Rom or WG can come up with a statistical reason as to why RDs rarely play together. Could just be pure chance that there are no top RD pairings in the NHL at present. Could be that the same reason that most are better stopping with their right foot as most rinks public skates are counter-clockwise! It just always been that way!

  24. matt says:

    Has anyone asked Mactavish why he didn’t chase Grabovski/Legwand/Jokinen harder? The risk at 2C/3C existed at this time last year. Gagner’s injury made it blindingly obvious. Gagner’s trade should therefore not have happened without a firm plan to replace the position at any cost. In medical terms, showing up to camp lean, quick and trim with a rehabilitated shoulder mean precisely nothing when accompanied by a sucking chest wound.

  25. oliveoilers says:

    http://www.nhl.com/ice/news.htm?id=678900

    The above link is actually an article about the glut of right-handed defence available to Team Canada during the recent Olympics.

  26. Bruce McCurdy says:

    Manitoba Oilers: MacT i believe is a smart man and will get rid of him of he is no longer needed but for now jut have to hope he gets injured

    Puh-leeze.

    I for one will not be hoping for Andrew Ference to get injured. Or for anyone to get injured, for that matter.

  27. Bruce McCurdy says:

    Righty-righty pairings are scarcer than hen’s teeth, I’ve seen a few of them but damn few. Somebody mentioned Staios-J.Smith. Perhaps the best duo that played a fair bit together, at least at times, was Rob Blake and Adam Foote.

    Majority of d-men/hockey players shoot left, so when a team gets a right shooter they will slot him in on the right side by default. Right from minor hockey on up, so that by far the lion’s share of his experience will be on that side. A lefty on the other hand is likely to have played on teams with more lefties than righties where somebody has to make the switch, so a good one is more apt to have some experience on both sides.

    And I don’t recall ever seeing a left-right pairing where both players were on the “wrong side”. You see it up front very occasionally — think Perron and Yakupov on the same line — but defence deployment tends to old-school “strong along the wall” thinking, and not without reason.

  28. o1l3rsf@n says:

    I think it may look like this

    Nikita Fayne
    Marincin Petry
    Ferrence Schultz

    I also have a feeling Nurse will get 9 games, and Marincin will start off in OKC with Kelfbom.

    As for the forwards i think this would work fine

    Hall RNH Ebs
    Perron arco Yakapov
    Poiliot Leon Purcell
    Henricks Gordon Lander

    definately not perfect, but a hell of a lot better than last year.

    not to mention we have way better goaltending.

    i think its safe to say the oil will get another 10 wins this year

  29. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    oliveoilers: We’ll have to see if Rom or WG can come up with a statistical reason as to why RDs rarely play together.Could just be pure chance that there are no top RD pairings in the NHL at present.Could be that the same reason that most are better stopping with their right foot as most rinks public skates are counter-clockwise!It just always been that way!

    The simple answer is that right shot hockey players (like south paw pitchers) are always in short supply and therefore at a premium.

    the philosophical answer is that, in general, coaches prefer to have D play on the correct side. See Oates taking about Ference in this 30 thoughts from last year:

    http://www.cbc.ca/sports-content/hockey/opinion/2013/03/30-thoughts-ryan-oreilly-situation-still-a-hot-topic.html

  30. commonfan14 says:

    slopitch: Over the year I’m gonna be cheering the hardest for Nuge and Yak. Both #1 picks are behind the pack when compared to JT, Stamkos, Hall and Mackinnon.

    Fun Fact: Nuge had a higher PPG than MacKinnon in their respective rookie years.

  31. o1l3rsf@n says:

    hoser313,

    the second option makes a lot of sense

  32. Frank The Dog says:

    bob beers:
    I may have missed it, but has anyone considered that the reason the “fancy stats” guys have been hired by NHL clubs is more for leverage in contract negotiations?

    That would cut both ways, and should. Effective players are more valuable than players that aren’t. “Stats”, when properly refined and applied, separate the effective from the ineffective.

  33. RexLibris says:

    Bruce McCurdy,

    Bruce, are you sure you don’t have a Peplinski, Risebrough, Otto or Sheehy voodoo doll stashed away somewhere?

    I’m thinking of the Corner Gas episode where everytime Brent curses Darryl Sittler he hits his thumb with a hammer or hurts his fingers opening a beer bottle.

  34. RexLibris says:

    Romulus Apotheosis: The simple answer is that right shot hockey players (like south paw pitchers) are always in short supply and therefore at a premium.the philosophical answer is that, in general, coaches prefer to have D play on the correct side. See Oates taking about Ference in this 30 thoughts from last year:http://www.cbc.ca/sports-content/hockey/opinion/2013/03/30-thoughts-ryan-oreilly-situation-still-a-hot-topic.html

    That’s what I was thinking. The general shortage of left-handers in the general population makes RD, or RC even, a valuable commodity.

    Now, maybe if we took a LD and hooked them up to several thousand watts of electricity we could rewire some of that Broca and Wenicke white matter that helps determine this stuff and make ourselves some RDs.

    I can see Eakins in a lab coat, surrounded by some cool-looking tesla coils, shouting “It’s alive!”

  35. Frank The Dog says:

    Let’s look at lines by minutes and scoring:
    Top scoring strength against strength line: Hall-Nuge-Eberle
    Secondary scoring/line: Pouliot-Arco-Purcell
    Soft minutes scoring line: Yak-Drei-Perron
    Shutdown line: Hendricks-Gordon-Lander

    D:
    Shutdown: Fayne-Petry As per Vollman
    #2 minutes: Marincin-Nikitin because Nikitin has more experience than Marincin and should be better adapted to switching sides.
    Scoring: Klefbom-Schultz because they seemd to work pretty well last year and Klef has the hockey sense to anticipate what Jultz is likely to do next and the speed to respond in good time.
    Reserve: Ference because D will never send him down in 1,000 years.

    But this is all moot until training camp, when we’ll see what shape they were in. If Ference was playing injured last year then he may not be the disaster he appeared to be last year. Also, he has an Assistant Coach that has a good track record to find the right combinations. I’m good with whatever he picks as long as political agendas aren’t forced upon him. Such as
    “Play Ference”. Outside of that all I would ask is that the opening night line-up[ is injury free and represents the best performers from training camp.

  36. matt says:

    o1l3rsf@n: I think it may look like this
    Nikita Fayne
    Marincin Petry
    Ferrence Schultz
    I also have a feeling Nurse will get 9 games, and Marincin will start off in OKC with Kelfbom.
    As for the forwards i think this would work fine
    Hall RNH Ebs
    Perron arco Yakapov
    Poiliot Leon Purcell
    Henricks Gordon Lander
    definately not perfect, but a hell of a lot better than last year.
    not to mention we have way better goaltending.
    i think its safe to say the oil will get another 10 wins this year

    This all makes sense to me, with the minor caveat that I think the goaltending should be expected to do as well as last year’s goaltending should have been expected to do. Which is to say, average and an improvement over what happened at the start of last year.

  37. RexLibris says:

    Kent Wilson has a good article up on the integration of advanced stats into NHL management.

    A very nice piece.

    http://flamesnation.ca/2014/9/2/an-outsiders-inside-view-of-the-nhl-stats-revolution-part-1

  38. Jujhar says:

    Anyone listen to Dellow on OilerNow? I’d like to hear what he had to say.

  39. justDOit says:

    Jujhar,

    http://www.630ched.com/oilers-now/

    They will post it at the bottom of the page some time soon – either later today or tomorrow-ish.

  40. Ribs says:

    “There are a lot of guys who can play in the league. But [the real questions are] can you help the team, and is it good for you?” Treliving asks. “I would be shocked [if Bennett sticks]. He will have to come in here and show beyond a shadow of a doubt that, not only is he ready to be here, but this is what’s best for him.”

    Pretty stark contrast to MacT’s comments on young Leon.

    http://www.sportsnet.ca/hockey/nhl/gm-treliving-faced-with-tough-task-in-calgary/

  41. B S says:

    Ribs,

    To be fair, Leon was touted as the most “NHL-ready” of the top forward prospects in the draft, although iirc Bennett was next on that list.

  42. knighttown says:

    You touched on one of the issues with Schultz but then left it. I don’t have time to check the WOWY’s but it seems like Coach put Schultz on with the Hall line quite a bit and not without good reason. I expect a huge percent of his production came against that line. The problem is that, in today’s NHL you rarely get a team match up your beast with their checkers anymore. Hall faces Getzlaf/Perry a lot and therefore Schultz faces Getzlaf/Perry a lot. It seems like the right strategy because at least the Hall line are notorious puck movers but dammit, so are everyone they play against.

    So if you follow this along a bit, you make your first priority to detach Schultz from Hall to avoid the beasts that always face Hall. Maybe he goes behind Acro’s line but that line is likely going to be facing (best case) Kesler’s line. I say Best Case because Kesler versus Draisatl is frightening. Arco can’t hang with Kesler any better than Nuge can hang with Getzlaf so hmmm.

    You play him behind Draisatl/New Poo/Yak. Well now you’ve got your three largest own-zone liabilities on one line. If you’re on the road you’re completely effed.

    The likely answer is that Gordon moves up to 3C on the road to shelter Schultz and Yak from that sort of challenge.

    Until the script is flipped and we pose matchup problems for other teams we’ll always be a step or two behind.

  43. russ99 says:

    Frank The Dog,

    That shutdown line is going to get slaughtered, especially in the division.

    The only shutdown line that makes sense is Pouliot – Gordon – Purcell, which I’m convinced we’ll need some nights. Otherwise, try and run 3-4 scoring lines and keep teams on their toes – and that would likely require the breakup of the Hall – RNH – Eberle line for most effective balance.

    I’m going with:

    Tougher opposition (LA, Ana, Chi, Col, Min, StL and the bigger Easter teams):

    Hall – RNH – Ebs
    Pouliot – Gordon – Purcell
    Perron – Draisaitl – Yak – butter soft minutes/zone starts
    Hendricks – Arcobello – Pitlick (until Gazdic gets back)

    Weaker opposition:

    Hall – RNH – Yak
    Pouliot – Draisaitl – Ebs
    Perron – Gordon – Pitlick
    Hendricks – Arcobello – Purcell

  44. Lowetide says:

    B S:
    Ribs,

    To be fair, Leon was touted as the most “NHL-ready” of the top forward prospects in the draft, although iirc Bennett was next on that list.

    Bennett is so much younger, he’s probably not going to be able to survive in the NHL. Nuge had that crazy skating that allowed him to avoid opponents, Bennett has a different skill set. Leon? He’s much older, bigger and (at least in passing ability) ready.

    The footspeed and defensive coverage issues are the worry with Leon.

  45. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    the cynical type might think the Flames are setting up a narrative here: we set the bar really high and he’s just that good!

  46. jake70 says:

    Off topic, but if you have 3 hours and Turner Classic Movies, A Bridge over the River Kwai is on. Like doing homework to understand some of LT’s photos….lol. Bonus, you get to see a youner “obiwan”. ;-)

    carry on..

  47. Lowetide says:

    jake70:
    Off topic, but if you have 3 hours and Turner Classic Movies, A Bridge over the River Kwai is on. Like doing homework to understand some of LT’s photos….lol.Bonus, you get to see a youner “obiwan”.;-)

    carry on..

    GREAT movie. Outstanding.

  48. Bruce McCurdy says:

    Romulus Apotheosis: The simple answer is that right shot hockey players (like south paw pitchers) are always in short supply and therefore at a premium.

    I had this exact analogy re: baseball southpaws in my comment & edited it out. You don’t find strong-armed lefties playing catcher because they are too valuable as pitchers, right from early days.

  49. Bruce McCurdy says:

    RexLibris:
    Bruce McCurdy,

    Bruce, are you sure you don’t have a Peplinski, Risebrough, Otto or Sheehy voodoo doll stashed away somewhere?

    I’m thinking of the Corner Gas episode where everytime Brent curses Darryl Sittler he hits his thumb with a hammer or hurts his fingers opening a beer bottle.

    So happens this morning I stabbed myself with a large fork right under the nail of my, uhhm, birding finger (middle finger, right hand). Many suters, sheehys,and baxters were uttered in the moments that followed.

  50. nycoil says:

    commonfan14: Fun Fact: Nuge had ahigher PPG than MacKinnon in their respective rookie years.

    Fun Cherry-picked fact #2:
    MacKinnon EV Pts/G :.56
    Nuge rookie year EV Pts/G: .47

    Both similar ice time at evens.
    Love the Nuge, the Power Play Witch. However, it is likely MacKinnon will be the more dynamic 5×5 scorer going forward, depending on line mates for both.

    P.S. on the topic of Alec Guiness, “Kind Hearts and Coronets” has been adapted into “A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder” on Broadway, and won the best musical Tony this year. Took my sister to see it when she was visiting this weekend. Not bad.

  51. Ribs says:

    Romulus Apotheosis:
    the cynical type might think the Flames are setting up a narrative here: we set the bar really high and he’s just that good!

    Sam Gagner 2.0?

  52. RexLibris says:

    Romulus Apotheosis: Rex

    They have Stajan, Backlund and the second coming of Jonathan Toews (according to some) in Monahan, so Bennett would have to o’erleap them all.

    Draisaitl, as LT said, is older and bigger, but also only has to beat out Arcobello and Lander (realistically) to get a job.

    But yes, cynical types are going to draw parallels between the two regardless of fact or extenuating circumstance.

  53. B S says:

    Lowetide: Bennett is so much younger, he’s probably not going to be able to survive in the NHL. Nuge had that crazy skating that allowed him to avoid opponents, Bennett has a different skill set. Leon? He’s much older, bigger and (at least in passing ability) ready.

    The footspeed and defensive coverage issues are the worry with Leon.

    Definitely the cause of the difference in perception of the prospects. I was just commenting on the difference in verbal between the Calgary *spit* and Edmonton GMs, and how it doesn’t necessarily reflect differences in management strategies (although those certainly will exist), but rather it may be more from differences in prospect readiness for the NHL. If Bennett were bigger and older, would Treliving be tempering expectations so much?

  54. Lowetide says:

    B S: Definitely the cause of the difference in perception of the prospects. I was just commenting on the difference in verbal between the Calgary *spit* and Edmonton GMs, and how it doesn’t necessarily reflect differences in management strategies (although those certainly will exist), but rather it may be more from differences in prospect readiness for the NHL. If Bennett were bigger and older, would Treliving be tempering expectations so much?

    Ah yes. Agreed. As Ken Holland said somewhere (Stauffer?) if he was drafting first in Detroit they’d be sending these kids straight to the NHL, too.

  55. nycoil says:

    RexLibris,

    I posed the question earlier this summer, and I do again, especially as you have been writing for the enemy of late ;), why does Calgary get a free pass for throwing Monahan in the deep end and letting him drown after a hot start, while Edmonton gets universally lambasted for rushing prospects?

    Freak injury aside, Nuge his rookie year was much more NHL-ready and maintained his strong play (aside from one dry spell late) for most of the season.

    Note: I am not saying you are giving Calgary and Monahan the free pass here, just asking why/where the dialogue out there has become so anti-Edmonton / pro-Calgary.

    Woodguy and others have agreed it doesn’t jive to the objective eye, but there’s still a lot of that narrative going around. It will be interesting to see how they deploy Monahan this year, and yes, I have read each of your RE series for the Flames.

    It is interesting that Draisaitl is set up to almost guarantee he makes the team while Bennett is set up to almost guarantee he doesn’t, at least unless they break him in on the wing, which is the Islanders’ current model and one which I wish the Oilers would apply with Draisaitl, Lander, Khaira, Yakimov, etc., when they are ready to make the big club. Alas, I digress.

  56. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    RexLibris: They have Stajan, Backlund and the second coming of Jonathan Toews (according to some) in Monahan, so Bennett would have to o’erleap them all.

    Draisaitl, as LT said, is older and bigger, but also only has to beat out Arcobello and Lander (realistically) to get a job.

    But yes, cynical types are going to draw parallels between the two regardless of fact or extenuating circumstance.

    they could put him on the wing.

  57. nycoil says:

    Romulus Apotheosis: they could put him on the wing.

    Great minds… (probably more like broken clock on my part, actually)

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