ROCKIN’ NEW YEARS?

by Lowetide

The Edmonton Oilers are being careful about updates on Connor McDavid, with good reason. Unless they have a rink 200 miles under the city, there is no way to put him on skates without fanfare. A McDavid spotting would be front-page news. I have stated that (for me) New Year’s Eve would be a reasonable estimate, but the MSM suggests mid-January. They have access, I do not. Still….we wait.

LIFE WITHOUT TREBLE KLEF

OILERS DEFENSE OVER SEASON

Oscar Klefbom is having a terrific season, and that is an impressive thing based on age, experience and where he is on the depth chart. The numbers here have been acquired against some very good NHL players and represent a significant step forward for the young player. His injury (fractured finger) will keep him out of some or all of the road trip, possibly longer.

Brandon Davidson is the obvious choice to step up, although recall Nikita Nikitin will draw in and could play up the depth chart if Todd McLellan decides to keep two pairings together.

Darnell Nurse—Andrej Sekera are an interesting top pairing, their Corsi For 5×5 % is going south but the SC against actually improved in the last game. This road trip is going to be an interesting test for them, Edmonton’s last road trip had some major issues.

We may also see a recall, although Griffin Reinhart and Mark Fayne just got to Bakersfield and other options (like David Musil) lack NHL experience.

NUGE CLIMBS A MOUNTAIN

oilers centers over season

Leon Draisaitl is on the kind of roll we have not seen from an Oilers center since Doug Weight passed 100 points. His performances this year have forced us to revise our own view of him—almost daily—even though he is just 20 years old.

Connor McDavid has not played for the Oilers in weeks, and yet the young man remains in daily conversation. In a real way, the current situation for Oilers fans is half anticipation of his return and half growing excitement over the season live.

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins is digging out from that illness awhile back, and the 5×5 numbers are improving (and he is doing it against the tough opposition). One thing I looked for this week: Home/road scoring splits. My working theory was Nuge would be stronger on the road, where Todd McClellan would be less able to get RNH out against the toughest opposition. In fact, his scoring totals are striking in the other direction:

  • Home: 15GP, 4-8-12 +2
  • Road: 14GP, 3-5-8 -9

Nuge is a battler and my money is on him to have a far better road trip this time. Anton Lander and Mark Letestu both appear to be contributing more of late, although for Lander the offense remains elusive.

https://twitter.com/MrsLethal/status/675710099084607489

WONDER HALL

oil forwards over season

Taylor Hall is finally getting the recognition he has earned since the early days of his career, with some even suggesting he should be in the conversation for season-ending awards. I would have to think long and hard to come up an example of a player with this kind of performance over his first 5+ seasons who has had the boots put to him as badly as Hall. If I did come up with an example, that player would be European, and small.

  • Bob McKenzie: “I don’t know that he’s uncoachable. I suspect that – if I had to guess, and it’s only a guess – if they’re thinking of trading Taylor Hall, Taylor Hall might be the first guy to say, ‘great’ after everything he’s been through. But when I look at this, I think Dregs is right. I think everything is going to be on the table and that includes, potentially, Taylor Hall.” Source

The best thing Daryl Katz did this summer? Hire Peter Chiarelli. If you are upset about Jeff Petry leaving for draft picks, imagine how much the internet would have exploded over the package for Hall. More reading on the subject of a time where people discussed Hall being dealt is here, and it serves as sober reminder of what we were discussing one year ago.

Jordan Eberle is rounding into form offensively, as with Nuge it is the 5×5/60 total that stands out as especially counter to his career. One thing this road trip needs: Benoit Pouliot. I like Jujhar Khaira, and hope he stays in the lineup, but for me Pouliot is a smart veteran with the ability to cash offensively and delay progress for the opposition sorties. He is about time and space for the Nuge line, and he is an experienced veteran. Hope he plays in Boston.

One player who is finding his way now is Iiro Pakarinen. I am still unsure of him offensively, but he is certainly a candidate for one of the complementary wingers on one of the Oilers three scoring lines once they head in that direction. I like his ability to think on his feet and he gives his center a good passing target. Hockey sense has gotten a bad name because people throw it around a lot but I like Pakarinen’s ability to think on his feet.

NIKITIN

Our man Nikitin is back in the city and very likely to play against Boston (I assume any call up today won’t get to Boston in time). He appears to have improved his conditioning and there is no real reason for him to be in the minors if he can turn and has passable mobility. We need to remember he spent much of last season injured and because of that fitness was always an issue. I wrote this during the RE series in the summer:

  • If he’s healthy, Nikitin has a chance to increase his playing time (19:38) from a year ago. Counting on a defender with back issues is a bad idea. Nikitin’s EV time from last season (16 minutes) and his special teams minutes (1:45 for both) mean he’s among the more complete options on the team. I’m not confident he’ll be as mobile as needed, but the Oilers have the intel on conditioning/back and if he’s good to go we must assume he’s a big part of the team in 2015-16. Source

Todd McLellan and Peter Chiarelli have Mark Fayne in the minors and Nikita Nikitin in the majors. This does not make sense to me, even if there is a trade market for NN. That said, I don’t coach an NHL team and maybe Nikitin’s back is good enough this year to the point he can stay in shape and has improved mobility. I will say this: Nikita Nikitin will never get a better chance to step into the breach and save the day.

standings

 

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[…] Oilers are in tough after losing Klefbom, and I think they’ve made it harder on themselves by calling up Nikitin to play next to Schultz. […]

stevezie

Lowetide,

That makes sense. I have long thought Hanzel is the ideal 2c for us. I know you were throwing out a fake hypothetical deal, but i like it.

stevezie

oilswell,

I think most people (not everyone) are down with the idea of winning any given trade. Taylor Hall is amazing, but obviously we win a deal for Jamie Benn and a second so we make that deal. Anyone here who wouldn’t trade RNH for Subban is being silly.

I think most people who say “don’t trade Eberle!” are pretty close to Caramel’s position. Basically, it’s a “devil you know” kind of scenario except the devil we know is 1) Good and B) Undervalued, so we don’t like the odds of an upgrade. I think the common fear is we move him for talent that’s ether declining or unproven, and neither of those suit our present needs as much an established player starting his prime on a secure and acceptable contract.

But yes, like you, I reject the idea of “untouchable”. Everyone is theoretically touchable. Even The Kid.

oilswell

Caramel Obvious:
Neither RNH nor Eberle is going to get you a #1 D.Until they do, trading them is a bad idea.

I keep hearing this and related arguments, like OEL not being available.

If one believes that one can’t get a #1D for RNH or Eberle, shouldn’t one value a #1D more than either RNH or Eberle? And thus be at least theoretically tolerant of the idea of trading RNH for such a player?

I’m not sure why some are piling onto AsiaOil here. He’s clearly not trying to actively trade RNH, only establishing a reasoned argument for the conditions for the trade.

His rationale is founded on a theory of roster effectiveness maximization in a cap league. I think he has done a great job of making this theory explicit and clear, and I might suggest that it would be a better argument to attack that theory rather than suggesting AsiaOil doesn’t love RNH enough.

The theory is strong, but perhaps there are reasonable arguments against it. For example:

1. Unicorns + Mustang-D >> 2-scoring-lines + Maserati-D. Resilience in face of injury, for example.
2. goal-diff/$ >> ES-points/$.
3. We will fill the #1D slot internally before RNH’s contract becomes a problem.
4. Draisaitl@RW + RNH@3C >> Draisaitl@2C + $3MM@3C + $3MM upgrade elsewhere

Cassandra

I’ve never thought RNH was as good as the hype. Nonetheless, trading him is a terrible idea. To wit:

Remember when Asiaoil wanted to trade RNH and Eberle for Shea Weber and a decent forward. I do.

That would be one terrible trade. Man.

So sure I’d trade one of those guys for a #1 D. But you want to trade both for a guy in his thirties. That’s simply awful.

Neither RNH nor Eberle is going to get you a #1 D. Until they do, trading them is a bad idea. That’s why people hate the idea. RNH isn’t going to get you P.K. Subban. He might get you some generic guy with a good reputation. That’s not a winning proposition.

AsiaOil

Ahhh……no.

Eakins and MacT hammered home a few things – but that was not one of them. Taylor Hall is simply happy to be working with competent professionals who know how to maximize his talents – and the results speak for themselves.

Really?: It is very interesting that Hall is going “supernova” this year and is playing a far better 200 foot game while managing his turnovers much better. Could this, in any way, be attributed to Eakins and MacT hammering home the need to play both offensively and defensively?

wintoon

Adam Wu,

Exactly right.

wintoon

godot10:
People forget that Hall was going supernova during Krueger’s season.He was 2nd in scoring in the Western Conference in an all Western Conference schedule.He nearly willed the Oilers to the playoffs that season.

MacT and Eakins believed Hall was the problem and put a jackboot to his throat for two seasons.They explicitly came in saying that they were going to change Taylor Hall’s game.And they did…taking him from 55% Corsi to 45% Corsi.

Hall is “free” again.McLellan, like Krueger, lets his alpha dogs run.McLellan has a much better roster, and much better systems.But Krueger would have fixed his systems once he had gotten a proven assistant coach.

It is very interesting that Hall is going “supernova” this year and is playing a far better 200 foot game while managing his turnovers much better. Could this, in any way, be attributed to Eakins and MacT hammering home the need to play both offensively and defensively?

AsiaOil

Agree completely Speeds – I only move Nuge if a #1 RH dman is coming back and I’m in no bloody hurry to do anything. Let the cap crunch hit – know your targets ahead of time – then get the damn guy. If nuge is the price so be it and I’m fine with that since we have Drai and CMD. There is no rush and in the mean time it’s good for nuge to know that the bar has been raised. Eventually one of the three centers gets moved for the right dman and having competition is good.

Ebs is a different issue and I would be inclined to keep him if not for the price tag compared to Yak. Need to see a bit more of Yak to make sure it’s the right move. Ebs for Hamonic is a fair deal but not for NYI since RW is not a need – need a 3rd party like NASH to get something done there.

speeds:
AsiaOil,

There is, IMO, a relatively big difference between moving RNH and Eberle though.

I don’t see the need to look at moving RNH (barring a great deal) before the team plays together for awhile and we see how that looks, and also before exhausting other avenues by, say, August 2016.Even then not sure I’d do it, but what’s the rush prior to that time?

jm363561

Woodguy: That tweet is only 5v5 play.

Then NHL numbers are all game states.

Thanks for taking the time to clarify that. Incredible effort by TH.

tcho

Canucks losing to the Blackhawks. So sad.

godot10

Adam Wu: Since when has +/- been a useful stat for assessing an individual player’s defensive ability, or even his progress in learning defensive play? Or anything else with respect to an individual player at all, really?

For elite players, plus/minus is not a bad stat, because they are always playing the best players on the opposition. One doesn’t have to worry about context of usage as one does with an average player.

Hall was also 55% or so Corsi under Krueger vs. 45% with Eakins the following season.

Water Fire

bendelson:
AsiaOil,

It’s interesting you mentioned Craig Smith.The other night, I was contemplating what would constitute a ‘balanced’ trade involving both RNH and Eberle at this point in time.The closest I came to something ‘somewhat’ logical was Seth Jones and Craig Smith.Based on your comments, I assume YOU make this move in a heartbeat and work hard to find a solid 3C next summer?Fair?

For me Nuge gets those two straight up with a lower pick and prospect. Pedigree, established level of abililty etc.

I would have to be convinced Jones is the real deal still.

speeds

AsiaOil,

There is, IMO, a relatively big difference between moving RNH and Eberle though.

I don’t see the need to look at moving RNH (barring a great deal) before the team plays together for awhile and we see how that looks, and also before exhausting other avenues by, say, August 2016. Even then not sure I’d do it, but what’s the rush prior to that time?

Zelepukin

slopitch:
I’m in the camp that wouldn’t move Nuge until McDavid plays 100 games. At all (unless it’s for Crosby).

Ya you do absolutely nothing until you see how fast and far these unicorns can run together.

Halfwise

AsiaOil: Nobody is saying RNH is a bad player, nobody is saying that RNH is worthless, no one is saying that RNH cannot help a team, no one is saying trade him for draft picks. This is all about balance and using your cap space to best effect.

Nuge is tied up at $6M per year. CMD is on his entry level deal for this season and two more.

What is the rush to move Nuge, exactly?

Water Fire

Nuge has been playing toughs without consistent help. He never complains or seems mopey, he plays sick at 110%, he nearly saws off. Not many other centres do that, seriously. I think he’s a genius player.

Every great player needs help. Gretzky didn’t win again after being sold. Although he almost did which is a testament to his outrageous will and skill. Still the Gretzky Kings were not the Gretzkyless Oilers. Were are looking at that again – it’s nobody’s team, it’s a team of devastatingly skilled forwards of which CMD will almost certainly become the most dominant.

Nuge needs players to compliment him as most do. I’d play him between Hall and Neon. They play the toughs and destroy them, then Connor follows up with a quality shooter and a quality board-man and it’s scorched earth.

Which line scores more? Healthy competition.

Woodguy

jm363561:

That tweet is only 5v5 play.

Then NHL numbers are all game states.

slopitch

I’m in the camp that wouldn’t move Nuge until McDavid plays 100 games. At all (unless it’s for Crosby).

At that point, if they still haven’t acquired a #1 dman you consider it. I’m not sure it’s necessary though – it maybe ok to roll with Nurse, Sekera, Klefbom.

Speaking of #1 dman. It seems Chirelli is content out waiting Snow on his ask for Hamonic. With Klefbom out a Hamonic pickup would sure boost the team. You could announce the trade at noon for the Jaimeson show and he could still play tomorrow night 🙂

flyfish1168

In time I would like to see RNH used as a winger/center in the top 6 rotation. This works well for Dallas with Benn and Seguin. JMHO

AsiaOil

Nuge always got over-used when we had zero options. Last year’s stats:

Taves is #13 center @ 2.17 ES PPG
RNH is # 39 center @ 1.92 ES PPG

Yes comparable – but pointless – he’s also comparable in this sense to Mike Ribeiro and Jussi Jokinen.
But who is saying RNH is not a good hockey player? Certainly not me. I’m simply saying we may have 2 better ES centers (which is pretty bloody unbelievable) and if RNH is the bait that gets us a #1 RH defenseman then the team is further ahead. If someone wants to trade us a #1 RH dman for Yak and Purcell – please identify this target and text Chia immediately.

Nobody is saying RNH is a bad player, nobody is saying that RNH is worthless, no one is saying that RNH cannot help a team, no one is saying trade him for draft picks. This is all about balance and using your cap space to best effect. I’ll say it again. If RNH can get us a first pair minute munching RH defenseman who pushes the river (and you need to trade a serious player to get that guy) then the team is much further ahead than having him play 3rd fiddle behind Drai and CMD with lesser players. Royal flushes need more than just jacks and queens.

Some people want to smear anyone who critiques RNH and Ebs as clueless – but that requires putting words into people’s mouths. Let me be clear – RNH and Ebs are good hockey players – I just think the team will be better with a different mix of good hockey players. People always say take BPA then trade to address need – here is a chance to see if people actually believe that – or are just happy being fan boys.

NYCOIL “Gentleman Backpacker”:
Normally Asia, your posts are pretty solid, but have to disagree with you here. Nuge and Eberle will improve as the season goes on. Nuge was comparable to Toews on even strength scoring last season.

The whole system on the Oilers was messed up for years but now is the time for patience. And that approach has been rewarded already with the slow start. And it will continue to get better.

bendelson

AsiaOil,

It’s interesting you mentioned Craig Smith. The other night, I was contemplating what would constitute a ‘balanced’ trade involving both RNH and Eberle at this point in time. The closest I came to something ‘somewhat’ logical was Seth Jones and Craig Smith. Based on your comments, I assume YOU make this move in a heartbeat and work hard to find a solid 3C next summer? Fair?

jm363561

Dicky94:
Maybe I’m just being really optimistic here or a few beers in while sitting in my fish shack. But I have a funny feeling Nikki is going to perform really well in the next few months. If anything he should help the pp with his shot from the point.Hopefully he bought a new helmet too. Last one was pretty tight on his head. Go Nikki!!This is what a five game winning streak does to you.

Who needs fancy stats when a trip to the fridge (and a quick perusal of the data on Beer on Ice) gives you all you need? We need more posts like this! Hope you are right about NN. For statistical completeness could you report how many six packs had to be consumed, and the alcohol content, to get this “funny feeling”???. Maybe all the Corsi fans should sink a few cold ones to help them understand why MFayne is in the AHL!!

Beer and spreadsheets. Man, I love the diversity on this site.

Oil2Oilers

Out of the currently available options I would choose;

Nurse-Sekera
Nikitin-Fayne
Davidson-Gryba

I hope in the spring to see an extended Davidson-Reinhart or even Kelfbom-Reinhart. Seasoning Reinhart into a top 6 defender or washing him out seems pretty important business for the team.

marty62

LadiesloveSmid,

yeah if they lose 3 or more everyone will be trying to trade Hall again… never ends….

admiralmark

marty62: We on this blog may rag on Schultz but I dont think Chia has given up on him yet.That will be a summertime decision I think

I’m holding out for hopefully a trade deadline deal. But I think you may be right.

blainer

AsiaOil:
I’ll ignore Puzar’s data-less, class-less reply – really grow up and try argue like an adult

Taking last year and this year up to last night into account – only centers with over 100 minutes – RNH is #72 center in ES points/60. Sample size issues recognized – Drai is #1 and CMD is #5 – but those guys both look to be ES monsters going forward. This is not news – I argued with Bruce when RNH was drafted about his ES numbers – and not much has changed about that argument. RNH will always be a great 2 way player and PP witch who is challenged to put up numbers at ES. Funny how the draft profile characterizes players (good and bad) 5 years later. As for the other poor RNH excuses – Hall has a rookie and broken down vet on his line – see we can frame things any way you want

RNH is a great player – I like him a lot – but he’s complimentary not a driver. For many years he was the best (only) thing we had. But that has changed and we have 3 drivers (Hall, RNH, CMD) and we will have to pay the latter two in full soon enough. What we need going forward is complementary skill: bigger, stronger on the wall, still skilled but less expensive. Pouliot is one guy, Purcell fakes it well enough for now, Yak may be a 3rd. We also need a #1 dman and likely a #1 goalie who both be expensive. Same argument for Ebs – great little player and if you haven’t noticed my comp for him is a guy who scored 500 in Mullins. But Ebs is also complimentary to bigger skilled players and we have the opposite issue. I like Craig Smith in Nash a ton, bigger, great shot, ES stud and $2 million less – that’s what we need to compliment CMD, Drai and Hall going forward.

Crosby – 19 pts

Tavares 22 pts

Stamkos 22 pts

Towes 17 pts

RNH 20 pts

I could go on.. this a tough league. Those are all Elite players.

RNH holds up well to all those players at the age of only 22.

I am quite confident that you will not be commenting on this player in this way very soon.

When this team gets healthy other teams will be matching hard against the Hall line.

I would like to see a stacked line of RNH CMD and Eberle.

Hoppy will be a point per game plus.. Chia is no hurry to trade another Seguin as he went supernova AFTER the trade. Unless of course Doughty is on the table and that ain’t happening..

Fix the D in the off season.

LadiesloveSmid

marty62:
Heres a thought, before we start trading away guys, lets get a little look at these 3 pairs on offense

Hall – Drai

Nuge – Ebs

Mcdavid – Yak

Because of injuries and Drai starting in the minors, we havent seen what this looks like in an NHL game.I think Chia is smart enough that he wants to see the above for a few games before he starts trading away players like Nuge and Eberle

Seeing a top 9 of:
Hall-Dari-Purcell
Khaira/Hendricks-RNH-Eberle
Pouliot-McDavid-Yak

is what keeps me going.

It’s nice that they’ve gone on this streak and are in the mix, but I’m thinking some ugly games coming up with a depleted lineup is gonna hurt morale around here.

marty62

admiralmark: Which of course is the reason we need to stop ragging on Schultz and stop trying to trade him!…………. I keed i keed.

We on this blog may rag on Schultz but I dont think Chia has given up on him yet. That will be a summertime decision I think

flyfish1168

The best trade that never happened with RNH will be the best one.

marty62

Heres a thought, before we start trading away guys, lets get a little look at these 3 pairs on offense

Hall – Drai

Nuge – Ebs

Mcdavid – Yak

Because of injuries and Drai starting in the minors, we havent seen what this looks like in an NHL game. I think Chia is smart enough that he wants to see the above for a few games before he starts trading away players like Nuge and Eberle

admiralmark

marty62: Yes well look at the player he was..Alot of Oiler fans prefer the Jason Smith type defenders….Once Coffee and Huddy started playing together that talk died down a bit……

Which of course is the reason we need to stop ragging on Schultz and stop trying to trade him!…………. I keed i keed.

Normally Asia, your posts are pretty solid, but have to disagree with you here. Nuge and Eberle will improve as the season goes on. Nuge was comparable to Toews on even strength scoring last season.

The whole system on the Oilers was messed up for years but now is the time for patience. And that approach has been rewarded already with the slow start. And it will continue to get better.

jm363561

Woodguy:
CorsiHockeyLeague ‏@CorsiHL7m7 minutes ago
#Oilera update – 5v5 stats this season:

Oilers w/ Hall on ice: 28GF, 15GA (65.1% GF%)

Oilers w/o Hall on ice: 24GF, 50GA (32.4% GF%)
=====
Astonishing stat. Help please – per the league tables, our goals For / Against are 82 / 90, -8. On the stat above 52 / 65, -13.

marty62

delooper:
marty62,

For some reason I remember the “get rid of Coffee” slogan being repeated louder and more often than any of the others.

Yes well look at the player he was.. Alot of Oiler fans prefer the Jason Smith type defenders…. Once Coffee and Huddy started playing together that talk died down a bit……

LadiesloveSmid

Eberle has 2 ES points in 17 games. Khaira sub .5PPG in his best AHL stretch to date. Meanwhile taking top match-ups.

Where are we getting that RNH is the problem here?

delooper

marty62,

For some reason I remember the “get rid of Coffee” slogan being repeated louder and more often than any of the others.

LadiesloveSmid

AsiaOil:
I’ll ignore Puzar’s data-less, class-less reply – really grow up and try argue like an adult

As for the other poor RNH excuses – Hall has a rookie and broken down vet on his line – see we can frame things any way you want

your data was…? salaries? Nielsen’s boxcars?

is Hall dragging Drai with him? I’d argue that’s a 2-way relationship. Eberle clearly isn’t himself and Khaira isn’t top 6 in the AHL. Draisaitl leads the team in on ice SCF/60, 1 more than Hall who he’s a drag on. Purcell’s established as a complementary player to skill, look at his numbers in TB. Just don’t play him with Lander/Letestu.

that isn’t “framing it how you want”, that’s flailing half-assed narratives when too many people aren’t agreeing with you. Where’s the “class” in that

OilFire

Pouzar: WOW!

LOOK AT ALL THE DATA!

*head spinning*

Hahahahah. Perfect.

Dicky94

Pouzar,

I used to have an 83 Mercury Cougar. It was really fast and reliable. I used to fly by Mustangs and almost beat a Grand National once. We need more 83 Cougars.

marty62

Some of us old timers remember that the Glory Oilers had their dark days too. I recall after they shit the bed in the playoffs in 82 against the LA Kings there was a major out cry in the media that the Oilers had to dump some of the kids… Sather believed in his young core thankfully or I dont think we would have seen those 4 cups in 5 years…

stephen sheps

Lowetide: This is it, exactly. Get good players, keep good players. Oilers fans just aren’t used to having more than two or three good ones.

This is exactly the case – and of course when the team did have more than 2 or 3 good players, they’d inevitably be sold for picks and spare parts. (I still firmly believe that Weight and Guerin deserved better, but perhaps Sather’s finest work as GM was in that era, making the most of what his limited budget and even more limited autonomy could provide). Our fanbase is incredible for its collective memory – a collective memory that is mostly filled sadness, disappointment and frustration as far too few of us are old enough to remember more than a trace of the glory days (myself included – I remember ’87 & ’88 but 1990 will always be my cup).

This new era of having many nice things is simply confusing, and perhaps it’s a sort of traumatic repetition – we talk ourselves into trading away the talent because that is all we’ve ever really known. Let’s break the cycle; no need to even think about trading any of the ‘core’ until we see what they can all do together over an extended period of time.

Pouzar

AsiaOil:
The “poor boy” excuses for Ebs and RNH are 2 years out of date. They are 5 & 6 year VETERANS now and take up a collective $12 million in cap space. Forwards taking up this much cap and with this much experience need to do better than getting their heads kicked in by the Brassard line at home (for example). Drai and others have been sick as well. Saying that they “need” another $4 or $5 million player on their line to compete is simply wrong – they should be pushing the river and carrying a cheaper player. With Hall doing so well on his own – guess we know who was carrying who on the old kid lines. Purcell appear reborn – don’t be fooled – we will be able to sell high.

Next year I would prefer to leave Drai at center and get a Fran Neilsen type on the 3rd line – bigger, capable of playing against top guys, has some offense (12-10-22 so far this season which is more than Crosby this season – what a dumb comparison) and a $2.75 million cap hit. Obviously recognize that Nilssen is 31 and that RNH is 22 – but I’m talking player “type” not a specific guy. Instead of Ebs I would prefer a Craig Smith type on RW. Again bigger, killer ES performance and a $4 million cap hit. Nilssen and Smith collectively make about $7 million – that’s value that RNH and Ebs are not delivering this season as we can see the W/WO Hall ES scoring numbers Woodguy tossed up.

This will not be popular – don’t care about that – saying that MacT and Eakins were going to be tire-fire of epic proportions was not popular in the summer of 2013 either. We’ve got our key offensive forward pieces: Hall, CMD, Drai. Everyone else is a complimentary piece who needs to deliver size, defense and strong ES production at a good cap hit. Skilled size at a good price if you require a shorter description – like Pouliot, Nilssen and Smith. Then you use the extra dollars to bolster defense. Ebs and RNH are like keeping 2 Nissan 370Z in the garage when you already havea Ferrari, Lambo and Maserati. Sure the Z cars are nice – but Italian studs are better – and you still need a 4×4 for days when it snows and an F150 to haul the dirt bikers out for a run. It’s called balance and some folks seem to forget all about this when talking about their precious kids.

WOW!

LOOK AT ALL THE DATA!

*head spinning*

AsiaOil

I’ll ignore Puzar’s data-less, class-less reply – really grow up and try argue like an adult

Taking last year and this year up to last night into account – only centers with over 100 minutes – RNH is #72 center in ES points/60. Sample size issues recognized – Drai is #1 and CMD is #5 – but those guys both look to be ES monsters going forward. This is not news – I argued with Bruce when RNH was drafted about his ES numbers – and not much has changed about that argument. RNH will always be a great 2 way player and PP witch who is challenged to put up numbers at ES. Funny how the draft profile characterizes players (good and bad) 5 years later. As for the other poor RNH excuses – Hall has a rookie and broken down vet on his line – see we can frame things any way you want 🙂

RNH is a great player – I like him a lot – but he’s complimentary not a driver. For many years he was the best (only) thing we had. But that has changed and we have 3 drivers (Hall, RNH, CMD) and we will have to pay the latter two in full soon enough. What we need going forward is complementary skill: bigger, stronger on the wall, still skilled but less expensive. Pouliot is one guy, Purcell fakes it well enough for now, Yak may be a 3rd. We also need a #1 dman and likely a #1 goalie who both be expensive. Same argument for Ebs – great little player and if you haven’t noticed my comp for him is a guy who scored 500 in Mullins. But Ebs is also complimentary to bigger skilled players and we have the opposite issue. I like Craig Smith in Nash a ton, bigger, great shot, ES stud and $2 million less – that’s what we need to compliment CMD, Drai and Hall going forward.

Dicky94

Maybe I’m just being really optimistic here or a few beers in while sitting in my fish shack. But I have a funny feeling Nikki is going to perform really well in the next few months. If anything he should help the pp with his shot from the point. Hopefully he bought a new helmet too. Last one was pretty tight on his head. Go Nikki!! This is what a five game winning streak does to you.

PaperDesigner

Hey guys, remember when half the fan base wanted to trade Hall because of a short run of comparatively poor games? Ha, what a gong show. On an unrelated note, Nugent-Hopkins and Eberle have been poor of late, so how about we deal them for picks?

Ryan

Woodguy: If Eberle was healthy and this was his 30th game this year I’d agree more with you.

He’s not though and its his 17th game.

Coming off a shoulder injury is tough too as it seriously affects how much down pressure you can put on a stick.

His stick handling and scoring are not affected, but his ability to battle is and we can’t ignore that.

You will also see that many PvP lines have 3 good and high paid players.

Is Kopitar less of a player becausehe has Brown and Gaborik on his wings?

One of the best PvP lines is Ladd-Little-Wheeler.There is an argument that they are the best 3 forwards on that team.

Is Backes less of a player because he results are better with Steen and Brower?

Sure, sometimes you can plug a lesser light with 2 good NHLers and not miss a beat.

Bergeron-Marchand are doing well with Connolly, but that’s a former 6th overall draft pick with 166 NHL games under his belt.

Sometime Pearson takes Brown spot with Kopitar.

What I disagree with is holding RNH to a standard that is :

“Haul around a guy who missed camp and has one shoulder and a 21 year old rookie from the 3rd round to play against the best and fuck you if you can’t do it”

That’s just not fair and you know it.

Quoted for sheer awesomeness.