EDGE OF ’17 (STANDING ON THE SHORELINE)

by Lowetide

On my blog posts that mark the turning of the new year, there is a certain sadness about the passing of another year, as we come to grips with another failed crop, yet another roster badly wanting for balance and experience. Finding a brand new day has proven to be incredibly difficult, but this season—more than any other I can recall since the Pronger deal—offers hope for the coming year, and beyond.

LANDSLIDE, YEAR OVER YEAR

  • Oilers in October 2015: 4-8-0, goal differential -7
  • Oilers in October 2016: 7-2-0, goal differential +10
  • Oilers in November 2015: 4-7-2, goal differential -6
  • Oilers in November 2016: 5-8-2 goal differential -3
  • Oilers in December 2015: 7-6-1, goal differential -9
  • Oilers in December 2016: 7-2-5, goal differential +3
  • Oilers after 38, 2015: 15-20-3, goal differential -23
  • Oilers after 38, 2016: 19-12-7, goal differential +10

November was a difficult month, but the club recovered in December and enter the second half of the season in a playoff spot. The Oilers are a better team than I thought they would be, and have solved more problems than I thought they would in 2016-17. What’s more, the remaining issues are obvious and should be solvable. If management addresses these issues during the summer, standing on the shoreline may involve pure joy one year from now.

WHAT TO EXPECT FROM JANUARY

  • On the road to: Columbus, Boston, New Jersey, Ottawa (Expected Result: 2-1-1)
  • At home to: San Jose, New Jersey, Calgary, Arizona, Florida, Nashville (Expected Result: 3-1-2)
  • On the road to: Calgary, Anaheim, San Jose (Expected Result: 2-1-0)
  • At home to: Minnesota (Expected Result: 0-1-0)
  • Overall expected result: 7-4-3, 17 points in 14 games

Barring injury, I think the Oilers should be able to cash 17 points this coming month. If they do, the overall record will be 26-16-10, good for 62 points after 52 games. At that point, should it come to pass, we may be talking about the possibility of a 100-point season—the first since 1987. Incredibly, this team will have done it while never coming close to balance. Impressive impact from 97, Talbot, Leon and an ever deepening blue line.

THE GOOD

Up front, the story really revolves around young Connor McDavid. He will turn 20 in just 11 days, and is on pace for a 93-point season (30-63-93). Leon Draisaitl is not yet at the point where we can suggest he pushes the river, we need to see him eclipse that 2.00/60 number at 5×5—he is currently at 1.84—and that day may be close at hand (he would need to have scored two more points in his 500 5×5 minutes).

A quick note before we move on, a nod toward three role players who really did perform beyond expectations in the first half of the season. Tyler Pitlick (2.22/60 at 5×5) and Mark Letestu (1.66/60 at 5×5) delivered quality performances and moved the needle for this team in a pretty solid first half run. Patrick Maroon (1.56 5×5/60), has 10 goals at 5×5, which ties McDavid. Maroon could do the Oilers a solid by taking full advantage of the move to 97s line that is taking place as we speak

Among defenders, I would rank Andrej Sekera (50.1 Corsi for 5×5 against toughest competition) and Matt Benning (55.9 Corsi for 5×5 against mid to lower competition) as the two outstanding performers so far this year. Darnell Nurse (53.2) and Eric Gryba (54.0) also deserve mention, although injuries took a chunk out of their first 38 games.

Cam Talbot (2.45, .919) is the only other player on the roster not named McDavid who has a claim on Team MVP status at this time. You can still find detractors, but that is almost always the case when it comes to discussing goaltending.

THE WOBBLES

Several Oilers players have given uneven performances, through injury or slump of lord knows what else. Among this group we find Jesse Puljujarvi (1.52),  who only scores on the McDavid line and Todd McLellan doesn’t put him there, but the young man can do a lot of good things aside from scoring. I think he might be a big story in this second half, if he gets a push on one of the skill lines.

Zack Kassian (1.48) is firing on all cylinders now, the only thing left is the scoring touch and there are signs of that humming, too. If we merely add in his three recent disallowed goals, that 5×5 number spikes to 1.97. He is close, and may cost more in a new contract than we are calculating at this time.

Anton Lander (1.47) and Anton Slepyshev (1.45) are in the minors, but did good things up in Edmonton that should not be forgotten. When the deadline hits, I think one or both men may be back for the stretch run. Slepyshev especially has impressed the coach based on verbal.

Milan Lucic (7.11 5×4/60) and Jordan Eberle (6.03 5×4/60) make the list here due to terrific power-play performances. However, their 5×5 scoring is very poor (1.21 and 1.34, respectively) and that cannot stand. If you are looking for players who have been underperforming in areas where they are established, 5×5 points/60 totals by Lucic and Eberle is a mighty fine place to start.

Drake Caggiula (0.86 5×5/60 and 6.36 5×5/60) makes this list in the same way as Lucic and Eberle—strong 5×4 performance. I am impressed with his game, but consistency is an issue and he isn’t 18. I wonder if he, like Matt Benning, simply got worn out from the pace of the schedule at points in the first half. More rest may be required with this player in the second half of the season.

Oscar Klefbom (52.3 Corsi for 5×5 percentage) makes the wobble list only because of some specific and costly mistakes. I am not one to harp on specific moments in a game, the wider view makes the most sense to me. That said, when a young player repeats vapor lock many times, well, let’s say a few great ones who have been through this town had the same issue (hello, Mr. Coffey). I expect Oscar will have  a long and productive career, hopefully in Edmonton.

Adam Larsson (49.8 Corsi for 5×5 percentage) has been all I thought he would be defensively, facing tough opponents and battling back hard. Teams coming into Edmonton can no longer wheel in the Oilers end as they did in yesteryear, because Larsson has a nasty edge to him. I have placed Larsson in this area because of the lack of offense—more to the point, the lack of effective outlet passing. He needs to improve on it, and that shouldn’t be difficult. We saw glimpses in New Jersey, perhaps it is still a matter of trust and getting his feet on the ground.

Brandon Davidson (51.8) lands here, probably unfair because we haven’t seen much of him. That said, it has taken a little time to get rolling and a couple of nights have been an adventure. I really like his long-term future if he can stay healthy.

Kris Russell (45.6) also makes the list, despite performing poorly in my chosen metric. Russell ranks No. 2 (behind Sekera) in Shots-against per 60, and that appears to be what the Oilers value in a defender. I think Oilers fans who are not especially bullish on Russell may have to come to grips with his presence for the next several years. The Oilers like him, full stop. If he does sign, probably puts the future of men like Klefbom and Davidson in jeopardy as Oilers.

FAILING GRADES

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (1.24 5×5/60, and 3.66 5×4/60) is my favorite player, so it gives me no pleasure in placing him here. His recent move up the depth chart to run with better players seems to be helping, perhaps that is the best medicine. Simply put, RNH hasn’t done enough—not in the dot, not at 5×5, not on the power play—to justify a higher grade. I think he is a quality NHL player and hope he has a massive second half, making this grade look silly. Godspeed, young man.

Matt Hendricks (1.33 5×5/60) has been an adventure defensively, and has lost another step. Neither is acceptable for a player of his type, and it is a tribute to Hendricks that he knows it better than anyone. I expect he will go at the deadline, having impressed the hell out of Oilers Nation with his consistent effort and exceptional utility.

Benoit Pouliot (1.09 5×5/60) had a truly weird first half of the season. It is rare to see a veteran lose confidence in his own abilities, but that appears to have been the case here. The veteran winger took some bad penalties, got himself into the doghouse, and solved the problem by being less aggressive—and that is a key to his game. Showing signs of coming out of it, and more important Todd McLellan is showing signs of trust. Oilers need him to be all he can be in order to make the playoffs.

Jonas Gustavsson (6gp, 2.90 .893) has not played well, and fans worry about his starts. That is an interesting curio, but what is alarming is Todd McLellan’s hesitancy to play him. If you are a backup goalie in the NHL, and the coach runs his non-elite starter into the ground in order to avoid playing you, rent everything. Car, house, television.

Coming at 5pm: Who is out there that might be of interest to Edmonton at the deadline, and beyond.

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theres oil in virginia

jm363561: There is a degree of calculated risk here as I doubt Vegas would take Ebs – Brossoit may be more likely.

I really struggle to see how you can come to the conclusion that an expansion team, with zero NHL talent to start with, would take an AHL goalie who has struggled in limited NHL action, (but has some potential) over an established 25+ NHL goal scorer.

theres oil in virginia

jm363561: I stumbled across this article on a satisfaction survey of NHL fans by Yahoo Sports:

http://sports.yahoo.com/news/how-do-fans-rate-the-nhls-current-product-162828924.html

There are quite a few complaints on this site but the survey indicates a pretty high degree of satisfaction with NHL hockey – 21% Excellent; 47% Good; just 2% poor. Highest ratings came from younger supporters and those who consider themselves die hard hockey fans. (Are LoweTide posters disproportionately old, lukewarm fans? Hmmm. Of course, we all know how accurate these surveys are!)

Key phrase:

According to a new Yahoo Sports/YouGov poll, 68 percent of U.S. hockey fans believe the currently [sic] product is “good.”

Note: “U.S. hockey fans”

I’m not going to comment further, except to say these two things:

1) What do most Americans know about hockey? This includes Florida, Texas, Tennessee, etc which have NHL teams. Not exactly hotbeds of the sport.

2) 68% is not exactly a seal of approval.

Alright, one more comment:

A year or so ago, when I was religiously watching Oilers games, I generally watched the non-Oilers feed, for reasons I won’t elaborate on here. I noticed that in certain markets, namely St. Louis, Dallas, Nashville, and the Florida markets, etc, the commercials advertising the NHL games featured fights and crushing hits at least as prominently as they featured anything resembling skill plays.

Alright one more more comment:

A couple of months ago, on ESPN radio, I heard some jackass show-host state something to the effect that he much prefers blue-collar toughness over the pansy skill of Sidney Crosby, and he thought the NHL would be much better without players like him.

Sooo, about that survey…

jm363561: You can, of course, trade Ebs and get something back, similarly Davidson et al. Unless you trade away all players of value above the protected number someone is exposed. I would prefer not to expose Davidson and Maroon, and expose Ebs, assuming no trades or deals. There is a degree of calculated risk here as I doubt Vegas would take Ebs – Brossoit may be more likely. JMHO.

How would we score goals without him? We said the same thing when THall left and, so far, no problem. (And, finally, ALander has been recalled. That replaces one goal. ).

Hmm, yes, the first portion of your comment addresses mine and I am in agreement with you: if you are going to move Eberle, I think you make a deal. At this time I cannot get behind the idea of exposing him to the expansion draft and risking losing him for nothing.

If you decide to trade him, trade him with salary retained and get a good deal, and then replace him with someone who has room to grow with 97.

YKOil

NYCOIL “Gentleman Backpacker”: I hate bidding against yourself when in this type of situation. I get it if you find a real gem or have a blossoming RFA and want to lock him up quick, but neither applies here.

This is one of my fears on the deal. My read on PC is that he makes his worst moves when he thinks he ‘has’ to make a move. I think we will be lucky if the deal is for less than $3.5 million a year and less than 4 years. I be expecting bad things.

jm363561

NYCOIL “Gentleman Backpacker”: I am a firm believer in bird in the hand theory.
I am not saying you can’t replace Eberle’s goal scoring, what I am saying is that unless you have a viable plan for doing so it is not a good idea to give him away for free in the expansion draft. Why give away an asset like that for nothing.

You can trade him and get an asset back that is valuable and then reposition yourself to replace him. I do believe Chia is thinking this way. I would be shocked if Chia kept Eberle only to expose him in the expansion draft.

======

You can, of course, trade Ebs and get something back, similarly Davidson et al. Unless you trade away all players of value above the protected number someone is exposed. I would prefer not to expose Davidson and Maroon, and expose Ebs, assuming no trades or deals. There is a degree of calculated risk here as I doubt Vegas would take Ebs – Brossoit may be more likely. JMHO.

How would we score goals without him? We said the same thing when THall left and, so far, no problem. (And, finally, ALander has been recalled. That replaces one goal. ?).

Jethro Tull

3Rd in division, 6th in conference. + infinity over the last ten years.

+10 gd, +33 from last year.

Who have we to blame for this bullshit situation?

Why, Jordan Eberle of course. And possibly Kris Russell and Adam Larsson.

The goat triumvirate abides!

Little Johnny Frostbite

NYCOIL “Gentleman Backpacker”,

Sir, and I’m blushing. 🙂

I’ve been following you on twitter for ages, so right back at you. Amazing photos. Much obliged.

PigeonCamera,

Sardines or sea bass, Dread Pirate Lander…some great references, not to mention a great handle (had not heard that song in a long time–thanks for reminding me). Hat tip to you sir/ma’am.

Little Johnny Frostbite

Also, I love the Dread Pirate Lander, and I’m glad to seem him back!!

Little Johnny Frostbite

I’m not an Eberle fan. Full stop…just qualifying my comments.

He irritates the crap out of me with his fly-by defense and stupid break out collapses. That being said, when he is committed and digs for the puck, which he does ever so selectively, I become an Eberle fan, because, man…what a player. I want/don’t want to see him go. I want that committed Ebs who is balls out awesome. I want to see his shooting coach roasted over an open fire. I want to look at the 14 jersey hanging on my wall and say…man…there’s a player! I don’t want to see him given away like Hemsky, Petry, and all other players ending in eeee. If he’s moved, there had better be a fucking back up plan, because Yak’s a Blue, and the cupboard has a couple of dry beans and a can of sardines from 1978. I think I’d be a bit more dispassionate about Ebs if Yak was still here, but he’s eating a lot of Hitch’s popcorn at the moment, and that train has sailed.

Kick ass, EbsSeabass. Please? Seriously, I’m begging here.

jm363561

theres oil in virginia:
Also, has anyone noticed the direction that goal-scoring is taking in the NHL?Fuck you Gary.

=======

I stumbled across this article on a satisfaction survey of NHL fans by Yahoo Sports:

http://sports.yahoo.com/news/how-do-fans-rate-the-nhls-current-product-162828924.html

There are quite a few complaints on this site but the survey indicates a pretty high degree of satisfaction with NHL hockey – 21% Excellent; 47% Good; just 2% poor. Highest ratings came from younger supporters and those who consider themselves die hard hockey fans. (Are LoweTide posters disproportionately old, lukewarm fans? Hmmm. Of course, we all know how accurate these surveys are!)

Hairbag:
NYCOIL “Gentleman Backpacker”,

Jmho – I think Russell had other offers long before training camp but was waiting for two shoes to drop in Calgary 1) Calgary needed to settle Jonny Hockey’s contract and 2) I think the Flames were hoping to dump Wideman freeing up 5+million.He’s a Caroline kid who loved playing in Calgary close to friends and family.I haven’t looked at their cap situation for next season but I could the Flames signing Russell in free agency on July 1.I would prefer to keep Davidson if possible…..

Thanks for offering your take. If that is true does that not help Chia’s cause? Only Calgary can offer that proximity to home. Russell is familiar with both. Calgary’s blue is more established than Edmonton’s.

Chia can say, look Kris, I know you want to stay, and we want you to stay, but I am going 7-3-1 and I can’t give you an NMC because I need to protect some other assets. I am thinking ballpark 4 years and 14m total for you. If that works for you, you can sign now and risk getting claimed, or we can have a conversation in the summer come July 1.

Chia can say this knowing Russell’s desires. If he is about money he signs even without the NMC. If location matters and he does not want to risk Vegas then Chia can revisit in the summer knowing it is Calgary or Edmonton (and can even trade him for a pick at the deadline).

Or am I way off base?

Woodguy

JimmyV1965: I’m not sure what you mean LT. Why should Russell wait until after the expansion draft and why is he in the driver’s seat?I would think he’s not in the driver’s seat.

Russell is a UFA in June.

If he is not signed to a contract and exposed in the expansion draft he cannot go to Vegas.

Technically he could be selected by Vegas (from EDM’s roster) but Russell could sign somewhere else on July 1, 2017.

So by not signing a contract, Russell can guarantee he’s not going to Vegas and is free to sign anywhere, he’s in the driver’s seat.

If Russell does sign a contract without a NMC he could be exposed in the expansion draft and selected by Vegas and forced to play there.

Primetime

NYCOIL “Gentleman Backpacker”: Well, we already have some pretty good indication that Chia tried to shop Eberle to get back a top 4D (possibly Hamonic, likely Larsson) and got no bites. So I don’t think those paying attention will be upset.

Agree NYC…there were definitely suggestions that Ebs wasn’t returning much in trade, probably worth more to us at the time than to other teams.

That being said, as you know, markets change. In the summer, Snow was playing hardball with Hamonic and his trade request. He held the asset, with no desire to move him unless the perfect deal came. At the time, the Isles were an up and coming team, with expectations to do well.

Now look at today…near bottom of conference, flagging attendance, and perhaps most importantly, a franchise player one year away from free agency. Many players that Tavares has liked playing with have been traded away (Moulson, Okposo, Neilsen)…no problem while he was under contract, but now they need to convince him to re-up in a place where the future looks less bright than a year ago (queue the stories of little Johnny T’s childhood Maple leafs PJs that he dreamt in every night).

Would giving him a bona fide RW/friend/Team Canada WJC linemate be part of a pitch to keep Tavares? Does keeping the steady but unspectacular Hamonic help sign JT or attract attendance, especially if you are not winning?

Would holding back enough salary on Ebs ($1 mill) to make salaries equal ($5 mill/year) get you Hamonic straight up now that NYI situation has changed? Would you do it? That allows you to NOT sign Russell and use that cash to find a mid range RW replacement/Play Pulju…keep 2 of Davidson/Reinhart/Nurse for 3 D pair with Benning?

JimmyV1965

OF17: That’s true. I think this season has bought us a lot of sway with potential UFAs. We’re no longer such a wild card, and verbal from opposing coaches and players pegs us as a team to not take lightly. I’d imagine Russell isn’t the only one who might feel that way. “Mr. Oshie, how would you like playoff games on McDavid’s wing?”

Hanzal, Berglund, Vanek, Bonino, all of those guys are more attainable now. No idea what it means for other forwards, but adding one of those guys would certainly be nice.

No offence, but I’m hoping our days of needing to sign big name free agents is over. I think the really good teams don’t do this because you always overpay for the big guns.

jm363561

pocession charge: Who cares what people think?Getting off that $6M per year is the benefit.They are already going to overpay Lucic and RNH going forward.In a cap world, it is crucial to get outperforming players on value deals to supplement the stars (CMD and LD).

That is my way of looking at it.

Woodguy

Lowetide: This blog needs a ‘save quote until you need it’ option.

I was also going to put something about LH/RH in there too, but didn’t want to make it too easy.

fifthcartel

I think a Kris Russell contract extension would be pretty bad, but some comments here make me think it won’t happen.

I find it doubtful, although not impossible, they would protect Russell in the expansion draft (3D = Klefbom/Larsson/Sekera) . It would make more sense if they waited until after if they wanted to protect 4D + sign Russell.

But even if they wait, that means Russell’s agent can talk to whoever, even though that didn’t go as well last summer. There’s been some stuff about Russell wanting to stay in Alberta but I feel like that’s just the agent pandering to the Oilers/fans.

Waiting post-expansion makes the most since for the Oilers for either option, and I have a feeling (and hoping) that once he hits free agency they take a better offer than Edmontons.

JimmyV1965

JDï™:
YKOil,

It will be interesting to see if McPhee agrees to any side deals to not take a certain player from any team.

I can’t imagine what it felt like to have his boss issue a seven no SIX season Cup guarantee at their press conference. If the Knights aren’t competitive by the end of year two, I think McPhee is going to be feeling more than just desert heat.

So aside from hitting the entry draft out of the park in the first three seasons, McPhee is going to have to choose wisely in the expansion draft, and of course he’s probably going to build from the back end out.

The good news for him is that there should be a good goalie available, but I can’t see him picking Pouliot over an impressive young defender like Davey, unless that side deal is very attractive.

What really sucks for McPhee is his first draft and the team’s first ever pick will likely be blah.

JimmyV1965

Lowetide: I think it would be folly for him to sign a deal before the expansion draft that allows him to be selected. He is in the driver’s seat now, in this regard.

I’m not sure what you mean LT. Why should Russell wait until after the expansion draft and why is he in the driver’s seat? I would think he’s not in the driver’s seat.

Hairbag

NYCOIL “Gentleman Backpacker”,

Jmho – I think Russell had other offers long before training camp but was waiting for two shoes to drop in Calgary 1) Calgary needed to settle Jonny Hockey’s contract and 2) I think the Flames were hoping to dump Wideman freeing up 5+million. He’s a Caroline kid who loved playing in Calgary close to friends and family. I haven’t looked at their cap situation for next season but I could the Flames signing Russell in free agency on July 1. I would prefer to keep Davidson if possible…..

OF17

russ99: The only curveball is that not many veterans are going to want to play in Vegas unless they really like it there, for weather reasons, and/or the money is vastly better, since the Golden Knights are sure to be a losing team for multiple seasons. Being one of the few veterans being leaned on by kids is a difficult NHL role, as we’ve seen here.

I see Russell vastly preferring to re-sign with a good young up and coming playoff team and a coach who knows how to utilize him here.

That’s true. I think this season has bought us a lot of sway with potential UFAs. We’re no longer such a wild card, and verbal from opposing coaches and players pegs us as a team to not take lightly. I’d imagine Russell isn’t the only one who might feel that way. “Mr. Oshie, how would you like playoff games on McDavid’s wing?”

Hanzal, Berglund, Vanek, Bonino, all of those guys are more attainable now. No idea what it means for other forwards, but adding one of those guys would certainly be nice.

Professor Q

Tarasenko would look so nice next to McDavid.

russ99,

Weather reasons? Vegas in winter and spring has pretty good weather. Only rare snow.

russ99

OF17: Protection issues aside, Russell would be passing up an extremely rare opportunity to get concrete offers from two teams before the free agent period if he signed before the expansion draft. I believe Vegas gets a couple of days to negotiate with UFAs before the expansion draft, and should they reach a contract with them, they can sign immediately and count as the player lost for their former team. Russell’s camp talks to the Oilers, talks to the Knights, and if the Knights’ offer is better, you can maybe get more from Edmonton, assuming that’s where you want to stay. If the Vegas offer is worse, you’re back where you started, no harm no foul.

If Russell’s camp can get a good enough offer to sign with a promise of being protected, I don’t think they’ll need to use that advantage, but it’s an unusual one for UFAs this year. Don’t think Chiarelli would need to give a NMC. A promise to protect should be enough, since Chiarelli’s reputation would be so greatly damaged by reneging that I can’t see him backing out if it’s part of the agreement.

The only curveball is that not many veterans are going to want to play in Vegas unless they really like it there, for weather reasons, and/or the money is vastly better, since the Golden Knights are sure to be a losing team for multiple seasons. Being one of the few veterans being leaned on by kids is a difficult NHL role, as we’ve seen here.

I see Russell vastly preferring to re-sign with a good young up and coming playoff team and a coach who knows how to utilize him here.

JD_Wry

YKOil,

It will be interesting to see if McPhee agrees to any side deals to not take a certain player from any team.

I can’t imagine what it felt like to have his boss issue a seven no SIX season Cup guarantee at their press conference. If the Knights aren’t competitive by the end of year two, I think McPhee is going to be feeling more than just desert heat.

So aside from hitting the entry draft out of the park in the first three seasons, McPhee is going to have to choose wisely in the expansion draft, and of course he’s probably going to build from the back end out.

The good news for him is that there should be a good goalie available, but I can’t see him picking Pouliot over an impressive young defender like Davey, unless that side deal is very attractive.

Professor Q

gogliano:
Just to play devil’s advocate here, should we expose Connor McDavid and replace him with a few cheaper players?Dude has been off pace since November and he is going to get a whale of a contract being the Hockey Jesus and all.

Technically he’s already exempt. I understand the humour but in McDavid’s case it’s moot anyway.

OF17

Lowetide: I think it would be folly for him to sign a deal before the expansion draft that allows him to be selected. He is in the driver’s seat now, in this regard.

Protection issues aside, Russell would be passing up an extremely rare opportunity to get concrete offers from two teams before the free agent period if he signed before the expansion draft. I believe Vegas gets a couple of days to negotiate with UFAs before the expansion draft, and should they reach a contract with them, they can sign immediately and count as the player lost for their former team. Russell’s camp talks to the Oilers, talks to the Knights, and if the Knights’ offer is better, you can maybe get more from Edmonton, assuming that’s where you want to stay. If the Vegas offer is worse, you’re back where you started, no harm no foul.

If Russell’s camp can get a good enough offer to sign with a promise of being protected, I don’t think they’ll need to use that advantage, but it’s an unusual one for UFAs this year. Don’t think Chiarelli would need to give a NMC. A promise to protect should be enough, since Chiarelli’s reputation would be so greatly damaged by reneging that I can’t see him backing out if it’s part of the agreement.

Lowetide: I think it would be folly for him to sign a deal before the expansion draft that allows him to be selected. He is in the driver’s seat now, in this regard.

Agreed, and that’s why if I am Chia I offer him a fair deal with no NMC now and if he refuses then I let him go to July 1 and tell him to shop around for a better offer and then let Chia know so he can choose to match/beat/pass. He would be doing Russell a solid either way, and let’s not forget Russell had no deal going into camp. I hate bidding against yourself when in this type of situation. I get it if you find a real gem or have a blossoming RFA and want to lock him up quick, but neither applies here.

YKOil

In regards to expansion I think McPhee would jump at a Pouliot expansion pick if, say, Lander and Musil were made available in a trade that flips 7th round picks.

McPhee gets:

In Pouliot:

– two years of an established veteran NHL forward, with speed, scoring ability and the ability to play 18+ min a night
– $4 million towards the salary floor now and value at the 2018 trade deadline

In Lander:

– control over an established (practically a veteran) 4th line forward who excels at faceoffs, is quite competent on the PK and is capable of playing all 3 spots
– said forward is also young enough to be ‘young’, is of remarkable character (to my eye), is looking for the opportunity to make a difference, has offensive potential that may yet by untapped and is affordable going forward

In Musil:

– control over a 1st pair AHL defender who will, on a team with depth as poor as that of Vegas (remember, Vegas will be dumping a fair number of the expansion draft d-men they take at the trade deadline) be ready to play spot-duty in the NHL

Vegas will get 30 players with which to stock an NHL team AND an AHL team – quality, young, depth will be high on their shopping list. I also think PC could dump Fayne on them.

– veteran RHD
– will bring anywhere from a 2nd to a 4th round pick at the trade deadline (depending on playing time and performance) and
– the $2 million Vegas would spend on his salary is a small price to pay for a shot at a 2nd (if things break right)

For PC expansion represents a chance to correct some mistakes (Fayne), deal with some leftorium (Musil) and [potential] cap issues (Fayne/Pouliot) and protect existing assets he values (Davidson/Russel).

I know Vegas has said they won’t take teams salary dumps but there is a big difference between Fayne (expiring contract almost immediately tradeable) and, say, Dustin Brown (albatross contract that will never die).

My 2 cents.

In regards to the post LT – great work as always. I have no doubt RNH will rebound in the 2nd half with better line usage. I fear the Russell contract; I do, I do.

DieHard

Regarding Russell. Could the Oilers sign him for 2-3 years and not protect him. Probably won’t lose him and I think he’s good for second/third pairing. He seems to be able to get the puck out of the zone fairly well. I know stats are against him but by eye seems to get the job done most times. 3M per year sounds about right.

russ99

Woodguy: That’s because Sekera and Benning absolutely owned souls when they play together.

59.2% CF and 66.7% GF.

Imma wanting that as the 2nd pair.

Small sample size.

Also, I firmly believe that Sekera needs a good defense-first pairing mate to play his best, and Benning has had his shaky moments in the D-zone, as most rookies do.

russ99

Good article on the increasing value of good NHL defensemen:

http://www.prohockeyrumors.com/2017/01/disastrous-drafting-defensemen.html

JimmyV1965

I really detest the Hall trade, but I do think Chia has done a remarkable job of rebuilding this defence. We don’t have an Ace but we have as many face cards as any team in the league. Ironically, his best deals have been the small moves.

Timeisnow

Woodguy,

Yes I misread what you said with regards to Russell. You mentioned him as a Top 4. I thought you were referring to Russell as a #4 dman. I agree he’s a below average top 4.

I like to look at dmen as top pairing, second paring, and bottom paring. Oilers, in my opinion don’t have a #1 dman. Sekera as a average #2 or above average #3 dman. Klef and Larsson average to below #3 dman. Russell an average #4 to above #5 dman. Benning and Nurse average #4 dman.

I realyl like Benning and think he could and up being a #2 in the Sekera mold.

Woodguy

Ryan: Thanks.

I’ll chalk that up to my iPhone and some other distractions.Sorry guys.

Only fools blame their phone.

Woodguy

frjohnk: Corsica has his expected +- at – 3.13, which puts him 203rd ( min 50 min)Only Russell with an expected +- of 5.06 is worse.
Here are how our D look
MATTHEW.BENNING4.62
ANDREJ.SEKERA0.51
DARNELL.NURSE-0.16
OSCAR.KLEFBOM-0.35
ERIC.GRYBA-0.76
BRANDON.DAVIDSON-1.47
ADAM.LARSSON-3.13
KRIS.RUSSELL -5.06

Amazing that Sekera is positive, even he has played more than half his time with Russell who is at -5.06.

That’s because Sekera and Benning absolutely owned souls when they play together.

59.2% CF and 66.7% GF.

Imma wanting that as the 2nd pair.

Woodguy

Ryan: Should we be concerned that Chiarelli believes that it’s possible for a denfenseman with no particular offensive ability could even in theory drive a team’s on ice shooting percentage?

I would be.

I’m not sure Peter actually believes it though.

I think he was defending his move more than anything.

frjohnk: Right now we have 2 2nd pairing pairs if we look at Q of T and Q of C which is evenly distributed between the top 4 in TOI/game

Rank Player TOI/game ( all situations)
61Andrej Sekera21.7
65Kris Russell21.4
68Oscar Klefbom21.3
94Adam Larsson20.1

Sekera is our best Dman, Id probably slot him as a 2/3, Klefbom and Larsson are 3’s, Russell a 4/5

Yup, no argument from me. I believe I said “in a couple of years. ”
That would put Klefbom at ~ 300 games played–still 100 shy of where I think D-men need to get to before we can get to where we can say we have the player surrounded. Larsson is at 312 games played. so 160 on top would have him at ~475 and Klef at just over 300.

I believe if the Oilers stick with these two they will be a below average top pair, with neither one a true number one, but both solid #2s.

Edit- BAH I may have forgotten to put the “in a couple of years” part, which was crucial to my whole argument!! D’oh! My apologies.

Woodguy

pocession charge: CMD can elevate a lesser player.The goal is to find a value deal (say 75% of Eberle’s production but at a fraction of the cost).They sort of attempted this with Kris Versteeg but it didn’t work out.

I agree that CMD doesn’t need the high priced help.

RNH and Drai do though, as do all centers not named Crosby or McDavid.

Woodguy

OilClog:
DUCHENE, MATT2.58

If Peter can pry Duchene out of COL I *might* start to forgive the Hall trade.

Might.

Ryan

NYCOIL “Gentleman Backpacker”:
Ryan,

“all situations”

Thanks.

I’ll chalk that up to my iPhone and some other distractions. Sorry guys.

frjohnk

NYCOIL “Gentleman Backpacker”: I think if we do not run out of patience we will be talking about Klef-Larsson as a bonafide, below-average top pair D combo.

I know that sounds odd, but if there are 31 top pairings in the league, I would say that these guys will wind up in the range of average-to-below average. That’s not bad. Pittsburgh certainly makes it work with high end Cs and the Oilers have two, and a solid 3rd at the moment. The real kicker will be if they can find one more guy to come in over the top of Klefbom-Larsson. Like if Nurse could put it all together (or they find some other gem–maybe from outside the org. or maybe inside like a Caleb Jones or something).

Right now we have 2 2nd pairing pairs if we look at Q of T and Q of C which is evenly distributed between the top 4 in TOI/game

Rank Player TOI/game ( all situations)
61 Andrej Sekera 21.7
65 Kris Russell 21.4
68 Oscar Klefbom 21.3
94 Adam Larsson 20.1

Sekera is our best Dman, Id probably slot him as a 2/3, Klefbom and Larsson are 3’s, Russell a 4/5

Woodguy

knighttown,

I know it isn’t the point of your analysis but wouldn’t a fair measure of his worth be how he’s performing versus Sekera, Larsson or Klefbom. We know he is playing the same competition level with the same teammates. If he’s comparable to these guys who are all well established good players making more money isn’t that a sign of success?

I did that in my 23 game review of all the Oilers DMen here: http://becauseoilers.blogspot.ca/2016/12/an-in-depth-look-at-oiler-dmen-at-23.html

I only used Fenwick there, but I could re-visit it.

You’re right that I was very specific in what I looked at as my goal was to:

1) Test the veracity of the claims of the micro-stats
2) Not to use shot metrics to do it as it would be dismissed out of hand by many as Peter has stated he prefers metrics which tend to be goal based metrics

Woodguy

knighttown,

Russell played 38% of his time last year (don’t have the year before) vs. Elite Forwards

He’s 36% this year, so essentially getting the same minutes.

He played top 4 in Calgary and Dallas and you really can’t hide a 2nd pair Dman unless you go super heavy vs Elite with the top pair.

Off the top of my head CHI and NJD did that last year, but very few did and CGY/DAL didn’t.

frjohnk

Woodguy: I don’t fully understand DTMA’s xPM stat so I’m hesitant to comment.

The fact that his most common partner rates much higher by the same metric tells me his results are being zoomed a bit.

Corsica has his expected +- at – 3.13, which puts him 203rd ( min 50 min) Only Russell with an expected +- of 5.06 is worse.
Here are how our D look
MATTHEW.BENNING 4.62
ANDREJ.SEKERA 0.51
DARNELL.NURSE -0.16
OSCAR.KLEFBOM -0.35
ERIC.GRYBA -0.76
BRANDON.DAVIDSON -1.47
ADAM.LARSSON -3.13
KRIS.RUSSELL -5.06

Amazing that Sekera is positive, even he has played more than half his time with Russell who is at -5.06.

Ryan,

“all situations”