Patrick Maroon is having a terrific season for the Edmonton Oilers, and that is impacting the port side. Maroon, an extreme value contract, is above two substantial money deals (Milan Lucic and Benoit Pouliot) on the depth chart. Let’s use the Vollman Sledgehammer to suss it out.
VOLLMAN SLEDGEHAMMER, LW
- Patrick Maroon is playing (and scoring) on the McDavid line (18-8-26), and as long as he is productive there is not one chance in hell he moves down the depth chart. Maroon has played 325 productive 5×5 minutes with 97—scoring 2.40/60 at 5×5.
- Milan Lucic is playing on a line with Drake Caggiula line, but most of his overall offense (11-18-29) came on the power play. I suspect ML will be moving up to the 2line—or a more veteran center is about to be acquired. He has played 414 minutes with Connor McDavid this season—scoring 1.30/60 at 5×5.
- Benoit Pouliot is playing on a line with Nuge and Eberle, a line that has had real success in the past and is finally rhymin Simon in recent games. He is 5-5-10 in a trying season, and has played 26:52 with CMD this year, no points. Last year? 285:50 with 97, 2.94/60 at 5×5. Huh. Math. The worst. Rave on.
TODD MCLELLAN’S TRUST NUMBER (THE POULIOT FILE)
So, if you are keeping track at home, the Oilers traded Taylor Hall, added Milan Lucic, and took one EV minute plus a dollar 24 from Benoit Pouliot on the PP. He did get an extra minute on the PK, though. Now, remember, Pouliot was 2.94/60 a year ago with Connor McDavid on 5×5. I understand it is a different season, and that Taylor Hall was on another line, but 26:52? Huh.
Is this crazy? Well, NHL coaches make all kinds of curious decisions and this appears to be one. I think, and this is the highest level of thought I can manage, the Oilers brought in Milan Lucic to play with 97. When the chem refused to shine, Todd McLellan went to Patrick Maroon and the tumblers clicked to make that magic sound.
Benoit Pouliot’s 2.94/60 just kept idling in the driveway, all dressed up with no place to go. I believe, dear friends, we have what the gambling folks refer to as a tell. We will know in due time if what I have laid out (brilliantly) is true. I have made my bet. I think BP is gone by the deadline.
Connor McDavid is a human cheat code pic.twitter.com/yal9YcLaUp
— Marina Molnar (@mkmolnar) January 29, 2017
My goodness what a move, and what a player. I think we know Connor McDavid’s competitive spirit well enough to know he wanted to win that game yesterday. More fuel to drive him starting tomorrow night? Does he need any more? What a fantastic season for McDavid, who at this point has a major shot at the Art Ross and may grab the Hart too—just for fun.
PROJECTED 50-MAN, AFTER THE FLOOD
I am starting to have a look at spring, summer and free agency. One of the first things to look at is how Peter Chiarelli will cull the herd. I think PC can get down to 40 fairly easily (as above) and of course there will be trades. I am planning a post on this subject for 5pm, so if there is a name on this list who shouldn’t be, please make your argument today. Obviously the correct number is 39, since one of these men will be a Golden Knight by Canada Day.
The summer needs list is going to include center, goaltender, RHD, and maybe both wings depending on where and if the club sees Leon Draisaitl and Benoit Pouliot helping in the future. Culling the Leftorium may come this summer, a haircut remains necessary.
@Lowetide perhaps it's too early to know as well. I have been waiting for one or two to jump up tho
— SuperNova (@SuperNovs1) January 30, 2017
SuperNova brings us a great point, as some of the Oilers prospects are finally posting crooked numbers, which means playing time with more prominent names. Kyle Platzer and Greg Chase both delivered some offense this week, and the entire run is here. One of the truly puzzling things about the Oilers is their handling of prospects, specifically the forwards. Chase and Platzer showed pretty well as juniors, before and after their draft day. As a pro, I am still uncertain how much playing time Platzer has been receiving, and suspect Chase was lucky to get some ECHL time one year ago. As of January 1, Eric Rodgers had Platzer at 10 minutes a night (estimate) and Chase at 6 (estimate). AHLblogspot.ca confirms. Folks, if that is correct, I don’t see any way things can continue this way. The Oilers need these players to develop, and six minutes a night is useless. Perhaps this week has been a turning point, as SuperNova suggests.
LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE
At 10 this morning, TSN1260. Heavy on the Oil, scheduled to appear:
- Scott Burnside, ESPN. A terrific All-Star weekend, Connor McDavid is the fastest man on the planet.
- Rob Vollman, ESPN, author of Hockey Abstract. We will talk about the Sledgehammer (Player Usage Charts) and what they tell us about the Oilers re: The deadline.
- Jason Gregor, TSN1260. All-Star weekend and the Pro Bowl in the rear view, we look forward to the final 30 NHL games of the season, and the Super Bowl.
- Sunil Agnihotri, Copper & Blue plus The SuperFan. Trade deadline, trading the pick, and the week ahead.
10-1260 text, @Lowetide on twitter. Talk soon!