DOWN THE ROAD APIECE

by Lowetide

In his two summers as Edmonton’s general manager, Peter Chiarelli has addressed some major needs. Goalie Cam Talbot, defenders Andrej Sekera and Adam Larsson, along with some nice forwards including Milan Lucic and Patrick Maroon. Additionally, I think his two drafts (with Bob Green) have shown balance and imagination.

The downside? His big trades cost the absolute moon. Griffin Reinhart was a tough negotiation, requiring two valuable picks. Adam Larsson cost Taylor Hall, at least partly because the organization telegraphed the need with its roster.

Another downside? In both seasons, the secondary solutions appeared weak on the day of procurement—and unnecessarily so. The summer of 2015 saw him choose Lauri Korpikoski as the Pisani—and that was not a good idea. This summer, his choice for backup goalie is Jonas Gustavsson, and I cannot see the logic and reason in this deal. Those secondary choices are a very big item, because today’s backup might be tomorrow’s starter.

talbot capture 2

CHIARELLI’S MAIN LIST

  1. Top-pairing RHD (Two-way skills—Adam Larsson)
  2. Find a replacement for Taylor Hall (Milan Lucic)
  3. Second-pairing RHD (Offensive defenseman)
  4. Acquire RHC with some skill
  5. Backup goalie (Jonas Gustavsson)
  • Peter Chiarelli: “We have to improve our defence, which we did. And we have to get bigger and heavier, with skill, which we did. I felt we’ve improved the team significantly. The proof will be in the pudding.” Source

I think Chiarelli has improved the team’s defense, and that has tremendous value. I think he hurt a very strong forward group and is taking a risk in changing out Taylor Hall for Milan Lucic. This team was no screaming hell offensively with Hall, it could be a train wreck without No. 4 on one line and the wonder McDavid on another.

His other main solution—Jonas Gustavsson—is not a strong option in my mind. What’s more, starter Cam Talbot is not among the 15 best options at even-strength save percentage (he ranks No. 20 among goalies who started 40 or more games, .920). Gustavsson’s even-strength save percentage was .914, ranking him No. 44 among those goalies who started 20 or more games.

I don’t think Chiarelli did a strong job addressing goaltending this summer. Calgary grabbed two goalies for a low cost (Brian Elliott had a .934 SP in 38 starts, Chad Johnson had a .926 SP in 40 starts) after going to to the draft looking for solutions.

If the goaltending ruptures again this fall, I do think we will look back on this summer and wonder what Edmonton was thinking. My guess? Laurent Brossoit. I believe Edmonton went mid-level in free agency because there was a feeling that Brossoit is ready and merely needs a little competition. Some may look at this as a strong read on a bona fide prospect, but I think it is a damned risky bet that was avoidable. Hope I am wrong. We wait.

puljujarvi capture 2

THE CHIARELLI EXTENDED PLAY LIST

  1. Add a “Pisani” who can mentor, score 15, and play a two-way role up and down the lineup.
  2. Re-stock the shelves via the draft (Puljujarvi and the entire draft)
  3. Improve overall team speed (Puljujarvi)
  4. Offload Lauri Korpikoski (Bought out)
  5. Improve goaltending depth (added Nick Ellis, Gustavsson—not enough).
  6. Improve AHL quality (Caggiula, Russell, Ellis, Gustavsson, Fraser).
  7. Cull the LHD herd (have, in fact, added to the LHD group).

Chiarelli may have a chance to address the Pisani, depending how difficult negotiations are going between the Arizona Coyotes and Tobias Rieder. The youngster would be a splendid addition to Edmonton’s third line and offer both the Pisani mentorship plus some cover on right wing if Jesse Puljujarvi and Nail Yakupov both falter.

THE ASSETS LIST

  1. Taylor Hall
  2. Cap space*
  3. Benoit Pouliot
  4. 2017 1st round selection
  5. Nail Yakupov
  6. Mark Fayne
  7. Griffin Reinhart

The hope at this point (for me) is that the futures portion of this list (2017 picks, LHD, et cetera) would be the big part of assets gone or going. I think they need a RHD, a Pisani and am still concerned about the goalie. A lot of this summer has been spent on venomous comments in regard to the Hall—Larsson, but another major point is this: Peter Chiarelli is repeating last season’s mistakes, adding subpar solutions to real problems. I don’t know if this team, as currently constructed, is going to climb very far in the standings. And that represents a great opportunity lost. If the Oilers finish 25th overall, and draft No. 6 next summer, is there a change in management? A coaching shuffle? All of these moves are important, and some of the procurement this summer is shy, in my opinion.

The good news? One expects a slow start will not be tolerated and the acquisitions department will be aggressive this coming season in addressing areas of weakness. I know this blog has stated that before, but Peter Chiarelli has placed his imprint on this team—there are no ghosts to blame for the current roster.

lucic capture 1

ROSTER LOCKS (100 PERCENT) (19)

  • Goal (1): Cam Talbot
  • Defense (6): Oscar Klefbom, Adam Larsson, Andrej Sekera, Mark Fayne, Brandon Davidson, Darnell Nurse
  • Center (4): Connor McDavid, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Leon Draisaitl, Mark Letestu
  • Left Wing (4): Milan Lucic, Benoit Pouliot, Patrick Maroon, Matt Hendricks
  • Right Wing (4): Jordan Eberle, Nail Yakupov, Zack Kassian, Iiro Pakarinen

2016-17 HOPEFULS

  1. R Jesse Puljujarvi. 70 percent. It is probably higher in reality, but the surgery is a factor—as is the ability to send JP to the AHL for a time. We should watch for his performance on the power play—if he can emerge as a feature player there, he will play all 82.
  2. LD Jordan Oesterle. 70 percent. Oesterle is in a very good spot as it relates to the fall NHL roster—things could change, but at this point he projects as 7D or early callup. Can play RH side, has mobility and experience.
  3. G Jonas Gustavsson. 70 percent. A career .902 SP and with recent seasons of .907, .911 and .908, Gustavsson is a curious choice.
  4. C Anton Lander. 65 percent. Lander enters the final year of his current deal with a lot to prove—but I believe he has the edge in the race for 13F. Offense and speed are the main issues, but he has almost 200 NHL games experience and Edmonton needs more players who are established in the league. He does have the skill set to play a two-way role in the bottom six F.
  5. C Jujhar Khaira. 35 percent. He is in a very good spot entering training camp. Khaira is in a position to push several forwards (Lander, Hendricks) and may end up as a regular on the 4line by season’s end.
  6. G Laurent Brossoit. 30 percent. He posted .918 and .920 save percentages in his last two AHL seasons, and the Oilers clearly believe in him. I think it is unlikely LB wins the job outright this fall, but the decision to make Gustavsson the third option is a tell all the same.
  7. L Drake Caggiula. 12 percent. I moved up his chances since the first posting of this list, I think there is a very good chance he sees NHL time in the coming year. Edmonton has some power-play needs and Caggiula is a high skill player. Training camp is going to be interesting.
  8. LD David Musil. 12 percent. Musil is my No. 2 choice for 7D if there is an internal solution. He has one big advantage—because he requires waivers, Edmonton may keep him if the club values him in a big way. As you may recall, Brandon Davidson was the No. 8 defender last fall when the season began.
  9. LD Mark Fraser. 12 percent. I think this is probably a Bakersfield signing, but you never know and Edmonton clearly wants an intimidating aspect to the defense during the 2016-17 season.
  10. R Tyler Pitlick. 10 percent. Perennial candidate for an NHL job, Pitlick has been a pro hockey player since the fall of 2011. In the five years since then, he has played 27 NHL games and almost 200 AHL games—meaning he is averaging fewer than 50 pro games a year.
  11. R Taylor Beck. 6 percent. One of the truly difficult player-types to project, because we don’t really know him and yet he has NHL experience. The contract ($650,000 NHL and $250,000 AHL) has the look of the AHL side being important—suggesting Beck will spend time there.
  12. LD Griffin Reinhart. 5 percent. I would rank him higher save the bonus worry. Reinhart is in a strange spot on this roster, he could help himself in a big way with a strong training camp. My RE has him playing close to half a season, we will see.
  13. LD Dillon Simpson. 1 percent. He is near the end of the prospect pool at the pro level, but continues to improve a little each season. I think he may get his first cup of coffee in the NHL.
  14. R Patrick Russell. 1 percent. A real long shot—new pro, speed a concern—but he has size and is physical so has a chance.
  15. R Anton Slepyshev. 1 percent. Makes the list because there are many elements Edmonton looks for in a player—size, speed and skill. He did not show enough offense last year, and that is  a concern.

LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE

This morning at 10, TSN1260. Scheduled to appear:

  • Jonathan Willis, Cult of Hockey at the Edmonton Journal. Grading Peter Chiarelli’s summer so far.
  • Don Landry, CFL.ca. Week 4 begins tomorrow night and things are getting very interesting.
  • Jesse Spector, The Sporting News. HR derby was sensational last night, All-Star game and who are his picks for playoffs at the AS break.

10-1260 text, @Lowetide on twitter.

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Southern Oil

Love me some Johnny Cash but am also big fan of Fleetwood Mac & Dire Straits.

meanashell11

Johnny Cash please

12 percent body fat

I think gustavsson was a price thing. As much cap space as possible with a likely just cause to drop at the end of the year. The problem is Broissoit is not ready. We have seen that first hand.

Stay in AHL.

Winning in AHL is important. But to be done with your prospects at the age of 22ish. Not with your 20 year olds not playing any minutes and 30 year old vets winning for you.

Dont get me wrong. Vets are needed, but when all the development time is given to them how do your guys get better. When you have a player at a young age that requires development and can help your AHL team win (broissoit) you play them there as much as you can.

ACalgaryOilFan

Full time lurker but going to throw Dave Mathews Band out there, lots of great song titles

Don’t Drink the Water
Last Stop
Hello Again
The Space Between
Fun the Way it is

But I’m with good Johnny Cash as well, as long as its none of the covers

npanciroli

Backstreet Boys

frjohnk

npanciroli:
Backstreet Boys

Please leave. 🙂

npanciroli

Good D can make average goalies look great.

If Klefbom and Davidson are healthy and Chiarelli can add another RHD I’m not concerned with goaltending at all.

speeds

The Replacements

JamesL

Paul Simon, please! Helluva reservoir to tap.

stephen sheps

Lowetide,

I still think the Beatles post-Beatles solo works would make for a really interesting (and likely contentious) list. I suggested it last year and still stand by it.

Edit: Speeds’ suggestion of the Replacements is a good one, too.

Also, LT I sent you an email the other day about a new project I’m working on that’s much more your speed than my conference stuff is/was… whenever you have a spare moment… thanks

12 percent body fat

How about WWE entrance themes, Yukon could help you

King of Kings – McDavid
Play the Game – Klefbom
Walls of Jericho – Talbot
Thuganomics – Kassian
The Shield, Special ops – Larsson
Retalitation – Nurse
Hellfire – Maroon
Here comes the money – Lucic

Special request. Ray Shero – TSN’s Dont take my goal away

Richard S.S.

The Beach Boys, AC/DC, Def Leppard, The Who, Kiss, Led Zeppelin, The Rolling Stones just to name a few.

Bohologo

Paul Simon stole The Myth of Fingerprints from Los Lobos:
http://www.glidemagazine.com/88297/steve-berlin-still-thinks-paul-simons-a-fucking-idiot/

frjohnk

” If the Oilers finish 25th overall, and draft No. 6 next summer is there a change in management? A coaching shuffle?”

In that case, I think both Chia and McClellan are gone.

But I have a strong belief that the Oilers will be at least competing for a playoff spot this coming year.
Can I TradeMark this sentence? I have written it on this blog it 5 years running 🙂

stephen sheps

Richard S.S.,

you must have missed the stones RE series from a couple years back. it was a good one, possibly LT’s finest.

Soup Fascist

With all due and deserved respect to the man in black, given the recent demise of Glen Frey, I think the Eagles would be a great choice.

Will the Oilers be able to get a Ducks d-man from the Hotel California?

Will McD score 5 One of These Nights ?

Was trading for Griff Wasted Time?

Should Fayne be sent to kick rocks down Seven Bridges Road?

Is Pool Party the best New Kid in Town?

Will Lucic be able to get the boys to Take it to the Limit?

Most importantly can Klefbom fix These Shoes?

I can’t tell you why, but I don’t have a peaceful easy feeling about this season. Maybe as a last resort we can find a D-man who can play the point like a desperado. If not – the Oilers playoff chances are already gone. Everyone is telling me to take it easy. What the hell – Life’s Been Good to me so far and eventually I will get over it.

12 percent body fat

frjohnk,

Will be interesting. Oilers should be watching this guy close. Callan Foote. Ranked 10-15

6’3″ 200lbs, probably rounds out to 6’4″ 215lbs Right handed
Kelowna Rockets WHL 71 8 28 36 36 16 | Playoffs 18 1 8 9 12 -2

If he plays like his Dad, we have a perfect fit in 4 years

HT Joe

Lowetide: If you’re concerned about Talbot’s performance last year, he’s expecting twins in November. Having kids 1 at a time has demolished many of my good habits (totally worth it obviously)… I cannot imagine how twins could impact Talbot’s habits and routines. I wish the young man the best, but Chia needed a better backup, and potentially even a 1B goalie this year to insure against this.

elgruntus

Lowetide,

Tragically Hip, for sentimental reasons (Connor with Gift Shop for example), but anything LT picks will probably be the right choice. hasn’t missed yet. 🙂

Connoreah

I find it difficult to assess the strength of the “new roster” as it stands today. LT, you express concerns (doubts?) that Chiarelli has moved the dial much based largely on the giant hole left by the Hall departure.

While I share your concern, my sense is that changing up the chemistry up front and more importantly, adding support on the back end, will have significant benefits for this offense. I know Hall was a beast, but even with him we never came close to the offensive powerhouse that our roster suggested we should be. I’m betting on chemistry and a few guys on the back end that can hit McDavid in stride in the neutral zone.

As of today I am optimistic (although I’d love to see another dman added over the summer for depth). I guess when you’ve been in the basement for so long, it’s difficult NOT to assume we’ll improve ‘next year.’

stephen sheps

Lowetide: You bet. The email is on my wife’s computer and she takes it upstairs evenings so she can yell at Donald Trump, so one day soon I will steal it from her and return emails/give input. ?

I’m so happy to be back in Canada, mostly because it means my evenings are not spent yelling at the Donald nearly as much as they used to be 🙂

And thanks – looking forward to your input!

Pretendergast

” I don’t know if this team, as currently constructed, is going to climb very far in the standings. And that represents a great opportunity lost.”

Completely agree. This roster, even with Mcdavid looks like a lot of maybes and crossing fingers.

The Larsson analysis says it all. Many trying to squint just right and see a top pairing guy are going to be disappointed. He’s a top 4 and good dman, but too much has to go right for him to bring the impact we need (ie.offense, puck movement)

Steve4

Tobias Rieder might be perfect as a third-line winger to Draistaitl. Tippett loves him though… The Coyotes will probably work out a contract. We’d have to offer something pretty sweet for them to move Rieder out.

kinger_OIL

– Great post LT! LT says: “His big trades cost the absolute moon”

– Had Reinhart been as good last year as Davey, we would have applauded the trade. The whole Dougie thing stung, and to the extent Chia had to rely on the existing scouts, management etc to determine Griff, that’s not on him as much: I give him a pass

– As for Larsson: I’m still on board with Chia, you might frame it as “costing the moon”, I frame it as: the best deal that was available for a potential #1 RHD”

– Subban was crazy trade, pool-party changes a lot in terms of potential top-6

– Agree on the G: Talbot is ok, but when he struggles, the Monster and Brossoit is a lot of hoping

– Going into next season without more bona-fide D was not an option.

– Plus wait untill start of season to see what else shakes out…

* Fleetwood Mac has a lot of nuance and story-telling, plus a good one for the younger posters, who might not be familiar with them…

YYC_Oil

Rush. So many great album and song titles to frame the RE Series

Rondo

stephen sheps,

I like Donald Trump especially when you compare him to the alternative.

Shane

elgruntus:
Lowetide,

Tragically Hip, for sentimental reasons (Connor with Gift Shop for example), but anything LT picks will probably be the right choice. hasn’t missed yet.

I second this

N64

Man in Black

ChewbaccasBarber

Eric Burdon and the Animals. Sky pilot was made for McDavid.

season not played

Man am I getting tired of reading everywhere the oilers are going to have trouble scoring goals without Taylor Hall.Good defence and puck transition breeds offence and the team will have a far more diversified attack substituting Halls toe dragging and low percentage shot attempts for a heavier cycle game and net front presence. The stars needed to line up for this team to score more than two goals in a game because the forward group was so reliant on the perfect play to score.

Chiarelli wasn’t going to get a top tier RHS D with Taylor Hall without adding substantially. Nobody was going to do that, so he went to the next level and grabbed a young, super high upside, considered as a first overall pick in his draft year, already top shut down, considered to be better than Hedman by some when they were both 18 on a beautiful contract. For a guy who has maybe had his peak offensive years and might be settling in as a 20-25 goal 60-65 point guy, and I’m sorry where there is smoke there is fire, a guy that needed to go. Not to mention his noted inability to play a two way game. The only way the oilers get more for Hall is if they traded him after his 80+ point year. After that Chiarelli realized he is dealing with a depreciating asset and made the smart move. A wonderful trade that improved the team.

I suspect all the Taylor Hall apologists will realize this when they watch the team next year.

MessyEH

I would like too suggest The Tragically Hip for the RE. Or Randy Bachman. Or April Wine.

How about a 90s Canadian Rock RE series.

stephen sheps

Rondo,

fair enough, but as far as I’m concerned, this election cycle is a real life version of what South Park did in 2004 with the race between a giant douche and a turd sandwich, (which was itself a fully realized spoof of the Simpsons’ classic Kang v. Kodos election of 1996). Something about twirling all the way to freedom?

anyhoo, that’s probably enough politics for today. we know this stuff isn’t productive or necessarily welcome on this blog, despite our venerable host invoking his name.

West

My vote: The Man in Black!

I’m trying, with and without my rose coloured glasses, but really don’t feel good about our RW depth after Ebs. I love the cast of characters, but they all kind of require special treatment.

Drew

season not played:
Man am I getting tired of reading everywhere the oilers are going to have trouble scoring goals without Taylor Hall.Good defence and puck transition breeds offence and the team will have a far more diversified attack substituting Halls toe dragging and low percentage shot attempts for a heavier cycle game and net front presence. The stars needed to line up for this team to score more than two goals in a game because the forward group was so reliant on the perfect play to score.

Chiarelli wasn’t going to get a top tier RHS D with Taylor Hall without adding substantially. Nobody was going to do that, so he went to the next level and grabbed a young, super high upside, considered as a first overall pick in his draft year, already top shut down, considered to be better than Hedman by some when they were both 18 on a beautiful contract. For a guy who has maybe had his peak offensive years and might be settling in as a 20-25 goal 60-65 point guy, and I’m sorry where there is smoke there is fire, a guy that needed to go. Not to mention his noted inability to play a two way game. The only way the oilers get more for Hall is if they traded him after his 80+ point year. After that Chiarelli realized he is dealing with a depreciating asset and made the smart move. A wonderful trade that improved the team.

I suspect all the Taylor Hall apologists will realize this when they watch the team next year.

Well played sir, well played. (sarcasm)

HiddenDarts

Seconding Soup Fascist’s The Eagles request.

Maybe it’s the summer thing, but I’ve recently taken even more of a liking to them.

slopitch

I’ll second the Hip vote. So many Canadian and hockey references to chose from.

You said you didn’t give a f*** about hockey
And I never saw someone say that before
You held my hand and we walked home the long way
You were loosening my grip on Bobby Orr

A uniquely Canadian thing that happens to many young lads. And to those of us married dudes reading this fantastic hockey blog during the summer in July, the hockey never really goes too far away.

jake70

frjohnk: Please leave.

Perfect choice don’t you think?……you could use the same song for every post……. “I want it that way” 🙂

(edit — Someone told me this is one of their songs….I swear…. 😉 )

Drew

Shane: I second this

i am on the that train as well, the recent news hit me hard. Their songs are worth and deep listen.

theres oil in virginia

stephen sheps: fair enough, but as far as I’m concerned, this election cycle is a real life version of what South Park did in 2004 with the race between a giant douche and a turd sandwich

I shit you not – I had that exact same thought about an hour ago.

stephen sheps
jm363561

I can’t tell you why, but I don’t have a peaceful easy feeling about this season. Maybe as a last resort we can find a D-man who can play the point like a desperado. If not – the Oilers playoff chances are already gone. Everyone is telling me to take it easy. What the hell – Life’s Been Good to me so far and eventually I will get over it.

The need for a power play quarter backing D still puzzles me. How did Todd Nelson create a league best unit with Nuge, Ebs, Purcel, and Yak / Lander QB’d by Shultz J, and yet with Hall (injured much of Nelson’s time) and McD added it was pitiful? Is this really a lack of the right personnel or a coaching issue?

Hemsky is a gangsta

Lowetide,

I’m going to suggest Canada’s own Drake once again. McDavid and Nurse appear to be big fans based on social media so we might be hearing a lot of him in the new building.

frjohnk

Donald Trump President?

Then hopefully Vince McMahon becomes Vice President.

Stone Cold Steve Austin Secretary of Defence. Every American can line up and get a Stunner.

If America is gonna go with Trump, might as well make it as entertaining as fuck.

ironsight

HeatTreaterJoe,

If this is true, this is indeed significant reason for concern. I’m convinced that 100% of Dubnyk’s collapse a few seasons back owed to his September baby. Speaking from experience, the most difficult (and rewarding) part of being a new parent is the selflessness required to do a good job. Young children require a level of focus and dedication that caps the time and effort you can devote to yourself, limiting your own capacity for sleeping, working, socializing, eating, etc. If Talbot is a good dad and husband (and I am sure he will be), it will be extremely difficult for him to maintain the focus necessary to perform his job at the absolute highest level. This is no fault of Cam’s and I wish him the best of luck.

That said, it is Chiarelli’s job to address needs and hedge risks. Talbot’s pending fatherhood is a massive risk that could sewer this season, and Chiarelli failed to provide his team with an adequate failsafe. Gustavsson is not good, plain and simple. And Chiarelli should know – Gustavsson in large part gifted him Tyler Seguin in 2010 and Douggie Hamilton in 2011.

OilSafety

Has CCR been done?

kinger_OIL

season not played,

– I won’t miss those bambi-strides that led to him falling down somewhere no where near the net what 10-15 times a game?

– Hall’s departure is an opportunity for another to step up. I remember looking it up: RNH’s best stretch of points was when Hall went down last year (or was it the year before)

– I’ll miss Hall, but he was only 10 points better than Lucic, who was the 67th best scorer last year.

Sevenseven

Any backups you see being on the trade block this summer LT? It would be a shame to go through another horrible start due to bad goaltending. Looking back, Mac T made a big mistake not moving the Nurse pick for Schnider. If you don’t have goaltending, you got nothing.

stephen sheps

ironsight:
HeatTreaterJoe,

Gustavsson is not good, plain and simple. And Chiarelli should know – Gustavsson in large part gifted him Tyler Seguin in 2010 and Douggie Hamilton in 2011.

To be fair, the monster looked pretty good in 2009-10 compared to the rest of the dumpster fire the leafs had in net that season. Toskala gave the B’s Seguin, though Gustavsson definitely played role in the Hamilton pick