HEARTBREAK HOTEL

by Lowetide

The face of the Edmonton Oilers is a little older this morning, a little more mature. As fans, we can see the coming glory, but nothing helps progress like experience, and experience involves failure. This young team showed us so much, while also giving management clear indications re: path to improvement. We are going to be saying goodbye to some long time Oilers (well, long time for this group) over the coming months, and new hires will renew our hopes. This season, the one just past, was mostly about Connor McDavid in full sail, Leon Draisaitl’s power, and improving up the middle. Next: Balance and real depth. That’s the play here, that’s the culprit last night. Working on a building, a worthwhile one, takes some time. Balance: It’s the real thing.

The key play last night was the 2-1 goal, well executed by the Ducks and putting a young team on their heels after the fact. Edmonton didn’t get a lot of clean air, but last night they also seemed a little nervous and perplexed. The breakouts were a tragedy and this team simply must figure out how to deal with aggressive forechecking.

I know it hurts, I know there are things unfair (officiating, Kesler’s crosschecks, McDavid’s handling). Bottom line: These Edmonton Oilers had no respect from anyone at the beginning of the season, and have earned plenty of it now. Next year, the decade-long trend of getting the shaft on calls will begin to turn. You may say that’s not fair, and I agree. It’s the way it is. Same as it ever was.

YOUR EDMONTON OILERS!

I’m not going to run the numbers this morning, they don’t matter now and we’ve got all summer to chat about the math. Instead, I’d like to spend our time together doing bullet points about the future for each man on the roster. Cool? Here we go.

  • C Connor McDavid.  The franchise. McDavid won the scoring championship and fought through insane checking to post solid offense in the playoffs. It was a learning experience no doubt, there are things he can improve on (believe it or not!). Connor McDavid is a special player, touched by the hand of God special, and we are insanely fortunate he plays in our city and for the Oilers.
  • C Leon Draisaitl. People may get grumpy about the coming contract, but all indications available suggest this man is going to be an impact player and a big part of the coming success in Edmonton. He blossomed beyond any reasonable expectation, showing a range of ability that was not obvious on his draft day. Astounding step forward in one season.
  • G Cam Talbot. Having a goalie you don’t have to worry over means a far greater chance for any fan to pass a sanity hearing. Talbot was splendid all year long, I think it’s reasonable to suggest he was one of the 10 best goalies in the NHL this past season.

  • LD Oscar Klefbom. A real homegrown defender with the complete range of skills is extremely rare, but Klefbom is such a player. One of the most valuable young defenders in the game, he emerged offensively this year and settled down defensively. Wonderful!
  • RD Adam Larsson. He gave the Oilers an edge on the top pairing we haven’t seen in these parts in years. Some sneaky offense also helped and his durability and pain threshold is impressive. I remember Todd Cordell saying last summer that we all had to see him for a year to appreciate him, expect it will turn out just that way.
  • L Patrick Maroon. Incredible season for the big man, he scored 27-goals while impacting the cap at $1.5 million. That’s a value contract. Guess what? He will make the same dollars next season! A contract that over performs at this level is a major plus for Edmonton.
  • LD Andrej Sekera. They missed him awful in the games recently, the calm feet and the passing no longer available. Sekera was quality all season, had some struggles in the playoffs, and will play a big part on this team in 2017-18.

  • LC Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. One of the most disappointing things for me this season came in watching his offense being so far away. Nuge is a splendid two-way center but 43 points for $6 million may not make the cut. I think Todd McLellan is a big fan of his work, so maybe they find a way to make it work for another season or two.
  • LD Kris Russell. I think the Oilers may decide to sign him, but the dollar amount would be key to the Oilers. If Russell hits the open market, he’s gone, but there will be a window of opportunity after the expansion draft. One thing Russell taught me: Todd McLellan would value Mark Fayne if he was a little faster, a little quicker in retrieval, and brought a little more physicality to his game. I think he’ll stay.
  • RD Matt Benning. One of the most pleasant surprises we’ve seen in exactly one forever. Benning was unknown to Oilers fans until we got word the club was in the running for his services. Smart, mobile, skilled, rugged, he is a born Oiler and a perfect fit for what this team needs so badly. As is the case with Nurse, another season third-pair seems best.

  • LD Darnell Nurse. Made good progress during the regular season, his mobility a welcome addition to a blue line that is perhaps a little slow on the third pairing. He has a big future on this team, another year on the third pair (with Benning) is ideal.
  • R Jordan Eberle. When the tight checking of the playoffs arrived, Eberle had no separation gear and that’s a worry. People focus on the dusting off of the shot, I worry about his boots. The fan vitriol aside, Eberle’s future with the team may not involve another season. Trading him gives the team a fairly naked RW depth chart, but the Oilers need cap help in a quick hurry.
  • L Milan Lucic. He had a truly strange year, impressive power-play numbers attached to a career crisis at 5×5 offense. He is going to need to hurry up his foot speed and we need to see more of that impressive passing he delivered with the Bruins. We all agreed the end days of this contract were going to be poor, but this is too soon for low boxcars.
  • R Zack Kassian. An impressive season and likely a contract that could be two or three years in length. Kassian is a physical winger with some skill, and a 12-to-15 goal season doesn’t seem out of the question. Start him on 4R and move him up as needed? Seems reasonable.

  • R Jesse Puljujarvi. One of the things about this season that really surprised me was JP’s length of time in Bakersfield. I sincerely thought he would get called up later in the year. Very talented player, he will get a top 9F role in the fall barring something rash.
  • RC Mark Letestu. One of the best seasons by a fourth-line Oiler in the team’s history, Letestu has a unique ‘Casey Candaele’ role on the team. Utility forwards who score this often are very valuable, suspect he may play less at 5×5 but remain a big part of special teams next season.
  • R Anton Slepyshev. One of the really encouraging things about the late season and playoffs is his emergence as a bona fide option on the skill lines. Can he emerge as a 15-goal winger? It would help the cap immensely, and give Edmonton that depth and balance we are going to talk about all summer. Again.
  • L Drake Caggiula. It took a long time for him to find his way, probably injury had something to do with it. Caggiula’s future isn’t likely at center, but he is in the mix for extended minutes with Connor McDavid next season. Is he going to be Dave Lumley or Pat Conacher as an Oiler? It’s out in the ether, waiting for us to find out.
  • R Tyler Pitlick. I think there’s a reasonable chance they sign him. Pitlick stayed with the team, skated, was a part of it. That’s a tell.
  • LC Jujhar Khaira. A disappointing season, not due to performance but rather injury. He is probably on the protected list for the expansion draft, but if the Oilers expose him, good chance they lose Khaira. He is likely a plug-and-play at 4L this fall.
  • LD Griffin Reinhart. Ideally, I think Peter Chiarelli would like him as 7D in the coming year. I’ve mentioned this before, and gotten some push back, but 7D play quite a bit and I can’t see him passing Klefbom, Sekera or Nurse. We know he isn’t strong RH side, so 7D is his probable landing spot. He is also the most likely man on this roster to be a Golden Knight come the fall.
  • G Laurent Brossoit. The Oilers are probably wise to bring him in as de facto backup, give him two starts a month, and then see how things look at the deadline. He is not yet established, but has also done everything asked and this is the next logical step.
  • RD Eric Gryba. I suspect he will move along, perhaps to LV, if Griffin Reinhart survives the expansion draft. If not, we could be seeing him right back in Edmonton as 7D.
  • R Iiro Pakarinen. It’s diffiult to see where he fits, which is different than saying there is no fit at all. I think a lot will depend on what happens with Tyler Pitlick, who is a better player at this point in his career.
  • L Joey Laleggia. His season, especially after the move to LW, should not be forgotten. I think the Oilers are going to need cheap scoring this coming season and JL is a candidate.
  • LD Jordan Oesterle. If he’s smart, Oesterle takes that back door UFA option and shops around. If he signs in Edmonton, Oesterle could be a 7D option.
  • LC Joe Gambardella. Don’t forget about this player, he could push up for playing time in the coming season. Definitely a Chiarelli type, suspect McLellan notices him early in training camp.
  • G Nick Ellis. Had a strong AHL debut and may see some action this coming season. Brossoit’s performance may lead to an opening, and Ellis has real promise.
  • RD Ethan Bear. Still playing in the WHL playoffs, Bear’s handedness combined with a big shot makes him a little unique. A very long shot, but worth listing.
  • LD Caleb Jones. He makes my list because of his foot speed. That’s going to give the Oilers a chance to fast-track him in case of trade or injury. Watch out for Jones.
  • RD Mark Fayne. Buyout seems likely, although the club could muddle through one final year as things are (if required). Perhaps they can move him at the deadline, there are defensemen in the NHL with less to offer.
  • C David Desharnais. Scored a massive goal and had moments, but I think PC will probably go for a more substantial (size) two-way type at the position. Moving Leon to center full time may mean Nuge plays here.
  • L Matt Hendricks. His absence from the playoffs is telling. Noble warrior, sail on.
  • L Benoit Pouliot. If they could put him on a garbage barge or sheet of ice, I’m sure it would have been done by now. Suspect PC will attempt to trade him and a buyout is possible. I still like his ability, one of the things the Oilers might want to review is their handling of this player. Very little confidence offensively, he was a productive player in previous seasons.
  • LC Anton Lander. Sail on, Anton Fanders, I still think you can play.

OILERS 2017 DRAFT

  • First Round: No. 22 overall
  • Third Round: No. 84 overall (FROM ST. LOUIS—this is payment for Nail Yakupov)
  • Third Round: No. 86 overall
  • Fourth Round: No. 115 overall
  • Fifth Round: No. 126 overall (FROM Vancouver—this is payment for Phil Larsen)
  • Fifth Round: No. 146 overall
  • Sixth Round: No. 177 overall
  • Seventh Round: No. 208 overall

I believe this to be correct, will cast about over the day and correct if my math is wrong (I did reach out to Steve Kournianos for direction). I think we’ll see Edmonton pick a forward at No. 22 overall (I’ll guess LC Michael Rasmussen of the Tri-City Americans), but last night taught us that this team is going to need more puck movers. There are a bunch in this draft, so we could see PC use No. 84 and No. 115 to move up to No. 70 and grab someone like Mario Ferraro.

MARIO FERRARO

  • Red Line Report, March 2017: Took this smooth, offensive blueliner a while to settle in to a new level of competition, but he has been dynamite since Christmas. Source

Edmonton needs mobile puck movers who can make the outlet pass quickly and under control. On the current team, I count Oscar Klefbom, Andrej Sekera and Matt Benning as being quality (Darnell Nurse can transport, but needs to improve on the head-man pass). Among AHL types, Jordan Oesterle impresses me, and we hope Ethan Bear and Caleb Jones can do it (both men were strong in this area during their junior careers). Ferraro makes a lot of sense for Edmonton.

 

THIS TEAM, THIS SEASON

I want to thank the Edmonton Oilers this morning. This season was a pure pleasure to witness, incredible to see through the lens that 10 years of failure have brought us. Thank you Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl, thanks to all players who made this season the best one in a long time. I’ve seen Stanley years and I saw 2009-10, and can say with authority that this one was badly needed and so very welcome. We’ve had a lot of bad crops in a lot of years, but the rains came on time and the sunshine too, and this harvest will sustain us all summer. Next year, the Finals!

LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE

A busy Oilers-heavy show today and some moving parts as well. Scheduled to appear:

  • Bruce McCurdy, Cult of Hockey. I can’t think of a better man to talk to after last night, Bruce will make sense of it all.
  • Jason Rogers, Japers Rink. Brave man will talk about the Capitals.
  • Alex Thomas, The Oilers Rig. Alex will help break down last night, and begin the look ahead to summer.

10-1260 text, @Lowetide on twitter. Talk soon!

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theres oil in virginia

People focus on the dusting off of the shot, I worry about his boots.

That’s the long and the sort of it right there. He needs to call Wayne Simmonds up and ask him what he worked on to improve his game.

Speed kills. Still, McDavid has that in spades and look how many goals he scored in the playoffs. NHL playoff hockey gets worse every year.

StixMalone

DBO,

Awesome. Lose a player yet not really lose a player. Lol. Russel will get paid somewhere. I enjoyed what he did/didn’t bring to the table this year for us! Not gonna complain. VGK could use him for sure but what at what price point? Will he take a homeboy discount? I doubt it. Money talks and I hope he gets an offer he can’t refuse. He deserves it……

rickithebear

When our offence tries to enter the zone:
they can:
1. Fail 0% shot (give away)
2. Succeed
3. get a low or High danger Corsi
high danger 5 times more successful than low danger.
x,y is dictated at this point.

The corsi can:
4. be blocked 0% shot
5. Miss 0% shot
6. hit the goalie 0% shot
7. hit an open area. 19-90% shot

When
1, 4, 5, 6, there is a high chance of opposition pocession with counter attack.

its important that the forwards and off D be in proper Def position.
to pressure the neutral zone.
So the Dmen can pressure the Blue line.

If the forwards and off D are not in position. The Def D must back up allow entry and try to forse play to perimeter.
Prevent Hd penetration.

CA is completely dependent on
-Offensive Zone penetration (low giveaway’s)
-HD corsi generation (x,y)
-low Shot suppression (low block, Miss rates)
-Fwd neutral zone & Off D Blue line positioning.

So stating CF% for a Def Dman is a utter waste of time!

As for Dman offence:
We say we want 3 lines of close to top 6 Forward play.
Why would we want almaost any of the Dman carrying the puck?
#5 Dman/ #233 (#8) Fwd 1.34 EVP/60 M. Stajan
#15 Dman/ #306 (#11) Fwd 1.11 EVP/60; Matt hendricks
#30 Dman/ #328 (#11) Fwd 1.01 EVP/60; Van de Velde
#60 Dman/ #353 (#12) Fwd .87 EVP/60; Cody Mcleod
#90 Dman/ #367 (#13) Fwd .73 EVP/60; Jordon Nolan
#120 Dman/ #385 (#13) Fwd .64 EVP/60; Steve Ott
#150 Dman/ #391 (#14) Fwd .57 EVP/60; Curtis Lazar
#180 Dman/ #400 (#14) Fwd .45 EVP/60; Thorburn

Professor Q

delooper:
Darnell Nurse is 22 years old people.The panic attacks over his development are completely out of place.He’ll be fine.22 years old!With a suitable partner on the 2nd or 3rd pairing, he’ll be fine.Patience.Time to dial down the anxiety levels.The Oilers are officially a **good** NHL team.A whole notch and a half better than what we all hoped for this season — to just be mediocre would have been a pleasant surprise for me.

There were a lot of freaking out over Jones both pre- and post-trade until early season this year, too.

Professor Q

highgloveside:
If Ferraro took a while to get used to the step up in competition at an amateur level, the risk is far too high that he will not be able to take the step as a professional.To me that statement is a huge red flag.

He did well in Pittsburgh.

highgloveside

If Ferraro took a while to get used to the step up in competition at an amateur level, the risk is far too high that he will not be able to take the step as a professional. To me that statement is a huge red flag.

LadiesloveSmid

I’m not in love with Nurse either, really miss last year’s Davidson. A year’s gone by and I’m still on the train that if you can get a top 4D for Nurse, do it yesterday.

Jethro Tull

Professor Q: McPhee is no fool.

He isn’t but he also must play the hand dealt him. Will be interesting to see. Gary will help him, as will some of the other GMs, but some will not. Lou, i’m looking at you…

McSorley33

Besides Pouzar, there is no bigger fan of Nurse. None.

How many players come along with his size and meanness that can actually skate?

I think in 3 or 4 years he will be the *preeminent* shut down man in the league. Offense may be a little light. Granted.

Darnell has not yet grown into his body. Will get a lot stronger. Thicker.

Now, having said all that Darnell has a lot to learn and I am very grateful he was a 3rd pairing guy this year.

So, the people that question his development – I get it. His decision making at times is frustrating. And sometimes he is all over the place.

Bullish Nurse.

Professor Q

Jethro Tull,

I think their Russian and Overage signings will surprise people.

McPhee is no fool.

Jethro Tull

It would be fun if Vegas turn out to be a team made up of all the insane GM decisions posted here. We could end up seeing a team with Kris Russell on the top pairing and Kris Versteeg on the top line.

It’d be great to have either a complete team of ‘seen him good’ or a complete team of advanced analytic darlings, just to see how they’d do. I have no doubt either team would crash and burn.

Which leads me to an interesting exercise: I would be intrigued to see WG or GMoney’s best team by stats vs. the yearly team picked by the media writers. Not to prove either one wrong or right, you understand.

McSorley33

striatic,

Possibly the best lesson for McDavid this season is that he can’t do it alone. Something for him to consider when deciding his cap hit. A decision that is pretty much his alone.
******************************************************************************
Such a good point….

I realize it will never factor in and the NHLPA will be all over this to push the price…but Connor is going to make a ton of “other ‘ income.

Hoping for reasonable. But willing to pay what he wants.

Melman

DBO,

I didn’t realize that. Russell was excellent this season and looking back at how he played it’s remarkable he was still without a contract when Chia signed him. Although, I’d be happy to see him in Edm. next year for the right price, if he gets a lucrative deal this summer good for him, it will be well earned.

McSorley33

Bag of Pucks,

Candidly, Lucic disappointed me in these playoffs. During his latter years with the Bruins, Chia showed a blindspot for this player type giving an overvalued contract to a well past his prime Iginla for instance.
**********************************************************************************************
With a few exceptions….Looch regularly pulled the pin on the pineapple along the wall.

Which, I thought was going to be his strong suit.

DBO

As the comments section spirals into negative. Here is a positive

In the leadup to the expansion draft, Las Vegas can sign a UFA and it counts as their pick from the team who loses that players rights. After the gutsy leadership showing playoffs by Kris Russell, and the cap constraints of the oil due to upcoming RFA deals, the Las Vegas Knights sign Kris Russell to anm 4 year $18 million dollar deal to be their vet leader on the backend. And with last year’s long wait until a contract for Mr. Russell , he gladly signs the deal.

So have hope my friends. The Knights will sign russell, and no worries about who we lose. He priced himself out of Edmonton with a good playoff, and Vegas will need solid top 4 vets for their team. It could happen.

Melman

Ducey,

The ???? on the second D line will be interesting. Since the Nuckleheads are in re-whatever mode (they’re not allowed to say rebuild), would you do RNH for Tanev+Virtanen? I love the Nuge and thought he had a terrific playoffs despite not scoring, but that would lock down your D until Bear/Jones and co. are ready. Virtanen is in the doghouse, but he’s too young to write off. Plus, me thinks it’s easier to find a 3C than a 2RD.

LT might block me for proposing this.

Side

godot10:
So McLellan is still hanging out at the table with Boudreau, Ruff, Vigneault, and Trotz.Is he ever going to manage to sit at the big boy table?

Ultimately, outcoached again in this series by being stubborn on players and being unimaginative with systems and adjustments.

The good news is

#EvenBylsmaWonACupWithCrosby.

The bad news is

#BylsmaOnlyWonONECupWithCrosby

#MediocrityIsADifferentKindOfHell

Though I will admit that mediocrity is a big step up from being #LostInDementorville.

Outcoached?

Is that what you call it when refs give the Ducks 4 goals that should have been disallowed?

I guess the Oilers had to do enough to win 6 games in this series instead of 5.

godot10

So McLellan is still hanging out at the table with Boudreau, Ruff, Vigneault, and Trotz. Is he ever going to manage to sit at the big boy table?

Ultimately, outcoached again in this series by being stubborn on players and being unimaginative with systems and adjustments.

The good news is

#EvenBylsmaWonACupWithCrosby.

The bad news is

#BylsmaOnlyWonONECupWithCrosby

#MediocrityIsADifferentKindOfHell

Though I will admit that mediocrity is a big step up from being #LostInDementorville.

Jethro Tull

Pouzar:
Seriously. How many D-men are we going to run out of town before 200 gms?
Same ol same ol around here.

Did you know that out of the 270 men to play defense for the Oil, only 26 played over 200 games?

Side

Ducey: Next Year

Klefbom – Larsson
Sekera – ?
Nurse – Benning *

Four Years

Klefbom – Larsson
Nurse – Benning
Maybe Jones – Bear/ Mantha

*People get too caught up on labels. Nurse- Benning can stay “third pairing” but can take increasing roles on special teams (Nurse played less than 50 min of PK time this year), move on up occasionally, and can play perhaps more defense zones starts, etc. I think its reasonable to assume they will need less and less protection the more experience they get.

If anybody thinks that because Nurse wasn’t great last year, or only played third pairing this year, that that is his ceiling, they are not paying attention.

See, I agree with this.

Just surprised because it seems like there’s a lot of “Nurse sucks” or “top pairing now or bust” in this thread.

Ducey

Side:
Let me get this straight..

Last year, Nurse wasn’t doing very well. People were saying it was because he was playing against too tough competition for him, he was playing too many minutes and he wasn’t being developed properly because of this. Then these people blamed Oilers management for poorly handling Nurse’s development (which was true).

This year, Darnell plays a shortened season on a lower pairing playing less minutes and he looks better than he did last year (it’s almost like they were developing him this year or something!) and he even plays a couple of games with Larsson on the top line and he looked good. But, on these lower pairings he was also making rookie mistakes and when given more minutes on a higher pairing, he also made some pretty bad and costly mistakes.

So now for next year, people don’t think we need another top 4 D and instead want Darnell to go right back to the top pairing playing top minutes? As if 40 or 50 something games this year playing on the third pairing was all he needed to join Larsson on the top pairing for the year?

Am I missing something, here?

Next Year

Klefbom – Larsson
Sekera – ?
Nurse – Benning *

Four Years

Klefbom – Larsson
Nurse – Benning
Maybe Jones – Bear/ Mantha

*People get too caught up on labels. Nurse- Benning can stay “third pairing” but can take increasing roles on special teams (Nurse played less than 50 min of PK time this year), move on up occasionally, and can play perhaps more defense zones starts, etc. I think its reasonable to assume they will need less and less protection the more experience they get.

If anybody thinks that because Nurse wasn’t great last year, or only played third pairing this year, that that is his ceiling, they are not paying attention.

Scungilli Slushy

Nurse right now is fine. If he progresses next season he’s right on track to being a top 4. He might not become a top 2 because of a lack of steadiness, so be it. The only problem will be if he doesn’t start working the chasing and yips out of his game. He has great coaches, I think he will.

Part of the defensemen’s issues is the team is still not settled into their system, lots of personnel and system changes in these 2 McLellan Chia years. Anaheim and San Jose have been good teams for a long time and have veteran centres. The growth in system play will help a ton on the breakouts especially for younger guys. It will help the team offense as well. This is partly why Russell looked really good at times – he’s smart and had experience.

Side

Let me get this straight..

Last year, Nurse wasn’t doing very well. People were saying it was because he was playing against too tough competition for him, he was playing too many minutes and he wasn’t being developed properly because of this. Then these people blamed Oilers management for poorly handling Nurse’s development (which was true).

This year, Darnell plays a shortened season on a lower pairing playing less minutes and he looks better than he did last year (it’s almost like they were developing him this year or something!) and he even plays a couple of games with Larsson on the top line and he looked good. But, on these lower pairings he was also making rookie mistakes and when given more minutes on a higher pairing, he also made some pretty bad and costly mistakes.

So now for next year, people don’t think we need another top 4 D and instead want Darnell to go right back to the top pairing playing top minutes? As if 40 or 50 something games this year playing on the third pairing was all he needed to join Larsson on the top pairing for the year?

Am I missing something, here?

Material Elvis

Side: I didn’t say that Nurse isn’t going to be a good or great defenseman down the road in any of my posts. Kind of the opposite, actually.

Some folks either struggle with reading comprehension or just like to put words in other people’s mouths.

Who knows how Darnell Nurse will turn out? He could be an All-Star or a third pairing defenseman. Slotting him into a top four spot next year in hopes that he will be that good is folly. Same thing with Puljujarvi — get veteran coverage and force these guys to climb the depth chart.

OmJo

Schultz didn’t figure things out until he was 24/25 and put in a position to succeed. Giving up on Nurse when he’s shown he can be a good NHL defenceman at 22 years old makes no sense to me. Not sure when this changed, but I thought it was widely accepted that defensemen take longer to develop.

IIRC, Petry didn’t become a top 4 NHL D until he was 24.

russ99

Ducey: Who says (besides you)?

I think he looked pretty good.

Oilers D by CF%:
Benning 52.1
Gryba 51.8
Nurse 51.0
Klefboom 50.4
Larsson 50.0
Sekera 49.1
Russell 46.4

I get that CF% isn’t the end all, but its an indication that the shots were going the right way.It would appear that Nurse, Gryba and Benning covered the third pairing just fine.

I really hope there’s an online source for player by player HDSCA% next season, I’m so tired of “the puck going the other way” as the key metric for individual player defense.

Side

Ducey: Who says (besides you)?

I think he looked pretty good.

Oilers D by CF%:
Benning 52.1
Gryba 51.8
Nurse 51.0
Klefboom 50.4
Larsson 50.0
Sekera 49.1
Russell 46.4

I get that CF% isn’t the end all, but its an indication that the shots were going the right way.It would appear that Nurse, Gryba and Benning covered the third pairing just fine.

But you just described Nurse as being “pretty good” and “fine”

I said he didn’t look great.

Nurse looks good on the third line. Not great. So why the rush to push him to the top pairing again?

delooper

Darnell Nurse is 22 years old people. The panic attacks over his development are completely out of place. He’ll be fine. 22 years old! With a suitable partner on the 2nd or 3rd pairing, he’ll be fine. Patience. Time to dial down the anxiety levels. The Oilers are officially a **good** NHL team. A whole notch and a half better than what we all hoped for this season — to just be mediocre would have been a pleasant surprise for me.

Glass

I kind of still figure next year is a growth year. Slepyshev and Caggiula could prove to be great value players, but they are still developing and need to establish themselves.

I see Puljujarvi and Nurse as a big part of the core, and they are both still developing. My expectation is for Nurse to be sheltered in the 3rd pairing, and Puljujarvi to be either sheltered on the 3rd line (preferably with Nuge), or given more playing time with the Condors up until the deadline.

In the regular season, I’d prefer to run Sekera/Benning second pair, and Nurse/Veteran on the third pair. It would be better for these player’s development if they aren’t stuck with someone inexperienced at the NHL level.

Ducey

Side: But Nurse also didn’t look great when he was on lower pairings playing against weaker comp.

Who says (besides you)?

I think he looked pretty good.

Oilers D by CF%:
Benning 52.1
Gryba 51.8
Nurse 51.0
Klefboom 50.4
Larsson 50.0
Sekera 49.1
Russell 46.4

I get that CF% isn’t the end all, but its an indication that the shots were going the right way. It would appear that Nurse, Gryba and Benning covered the third pairing just fine.

Side

Pouzar: This.

They looked excellent together. People are severely discounting the effect Nurse’s injury had on his development this year too.Coincidentally, at the time he suffered said injury in WPG, Nurse was moved up with Larsson and again they looked great.

But Nurse also didn’t look great when he was on lower pairings playing against weaker comp.

Gaining consistency is part of a player’s development, isn’t it?

Or do you think Nurse should be fixed with Larsson as one of the top pairs going forward?

Ducey

LT,

FWIW Wikipedia has the Oilers picking 22, 82, 84, 115, 126, 146, 177, and 208

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2017_NHL_Entry_Draft

Not sure why your third rounders are different.

Kinger_Oil.redux

– Great post LT!

– I want to thank you for this blog (for those who don’t “thank” LT with paypal, a reminder to do so).

– My rekindling with this team is attributed greatly to this wonderful blog and community.

Thanks.

Scungilli Slushy

OF17:
Starting the season with Nurse in the top 4 would be a MacT move. I’m hopeful the days of those unforced errors are over, because it leaves you with exactly zero depth and coverage.

No doubt, not ready yet. Benning would also be better of pushing his way into 2RD instead of being gifted it on potential.

Pouzar

treevojo: I honestly don’t know how someone can watch Nurse play with Larsson in the top pairing of a game 6 against a very good team and think there is no possible way this guy can handle top 4 minutes in the regular season after another good summer of strength and skills training.

This.

They looked excellent together. People are severely discounting the effect Nurse’s injury had on his development this year too. Coincidentally, at the time he suffered said injury in WPG, Nurse was moved up with Larsson and again they looked great.

Pouzar

Seriously. How many D-men are we going to run out of town before 200 gms?
Same ol same ol around here.

Steve4

I have a lot of thoughts on the 2017/18 roster. I don’t often have opportunities to get into these discussions so I’m going to consolidate these into a massive post. Enjoy or skip to the end…

Preface: I have read this blog regularly for about 2 years. It is my favorite site. I only comment when I think I have something of value to contribute (so 5 or 6 times across that 2 years). This is one of the few bastions of online intellectual discussion. A wonderful arena for the honest combat of ideas both new and old. Mr. Lowtide mentioned on the radio that everyone in his family suffer with “black thumbs,” and are unable to grow anything successfully. I want to say that you sir have created and cared for this beautiful garden of hockey talk. You plant seeds, pull weeds, fertilize ideas, and harvest the ripe ones. All in a regular seasonal cycle. You, in my humble opinion, have a prolific, magnificent green thumb.

Centers:

–McDavid: “touched by God” etc.
–Draisaitl: Second line center. No more goosing the top line. Let our new $7 million center run his own show 5×5.
–Nuge: Third line center. The $6 million is too much for the position, but this is our reality. There won’t be a better option coming this summer. We have no prospects pushing up, and free agency offers very little. Hanzal is the only possible upgrade, but he is more injury prone and will be just as expensive. Stick with Nuge. Get him to figure out faceoffs. He’s a smart guy, he can at least get to the high 40s.
–Letestu: Excellent utility 4th C. He’ll get an extension for sure. Not great foot-speed so he needs some fast wingers.

Wingers: The biggest problem I saw in game 7 was that the wingers could not carry the puck through the neutral zone, even though the Anaheim was keying on McDavid and Draisaitl. We desperately need two legitimate top-six wingers with skill. Puljujarvi may be an internal solution by 2018. Caggiula may put it together soon (he was the primary puck carrier in college)
–1st line: Maroon was a capable support piece all year, but he needs to be a distant third for the line. He was just that with McDavid and Draisatl, but with Drai running L2 the Oilers will need to acquire a high-end wing. Justin Williams would be a decent bet because if he isn’t enough for the line he can dominate with Nuge for a couple years. Though if Williams is the RW, Caggiula (or another fast player, perhaps Slepyshev) should be the LW.
–2nd line: Lucic, Slepy and Drai should be the group. Lucic should have at least one more year of top-6 competence (though the NHL is quickly moving away from a league where Lucic is a top-6 forward). Slepy is a big, fast, skilled wing who probably has enough spunk to be a long-term, top-6 option.
–3rd line: Caggiula, Puljujarvi are a nice mix of competent two-way players with size, skill, and speed. This may not be a great line in October, but should grow into a tenacious, hungry line. I also think Nuge would benefit from playing with hungry young men who want to become full-time NHLers. Kassian is another good option, but Puljujarvi needs a more skilled C than Letestu.
–4th line: Kassian… and Pouliot. For the most expensive 4th line in the league (4+1.8+2ish = 7.8+). I know everyone wants to purge Pouliot and I am with you… sort of. If there is a specific need for the ~$2.7 million we could save in a buyout then do it, if not, why get rid of a useful player? {rhetorical} He kills penalties, forechecks with speed, agitates, and seems like a decent dude in the room. Furthermore, if we keep him one more season and do the buyout in 2018 we will save a $1.333 million cap hit in 2020.

Defense:
–1st Pair: Klefbom Larsson
–2nd Pair: Sekera and a veteran D. Russell (if he returns), or a new acquisition. Hamonic is oft mentioned. He had a rough 2015/16 and a disastrous 2016/17. He may be best served by going to a new team. I could see him sent to NJ for Kovalchuck, but perhaps there is an opportunity to move Ebs in a player for player (as our host mentioned numerous times).
–3rd Pair: Nurse and Benning. Neither is ready for top-four time, but both are promising and should get some opportunities to move up during the year. Sekera was healthy all season (and the one before), which is not the norm for him. He often misses 10+ games a year.
–7th D: Gryba, Reinhart, or some other $1 million or less guy.

Goal:
–Talbot and some guy at $1 million or less (Brossoit?)

Acquisitions/Losses:
–Eberle Trade: Eberle must go, not because of his on-ice issues, but because his contact (6×2) is not conducive to balancing this roster. Perhaps there is a competent, similarly priced forward that would be better suited to McDavid’s wing. Jason Pominville (5.6×2) comes to mind. He is well past 30 and may decline at any moment, but can shoot, move the puck well, is fast, and is defensively responsible. Perhaps Minnesota is open to shipping him here for a much younger player, at a similar number. If Pominville drops off significantly he can be put out to the LTIR pasture. Minnesota may be less able to pay a guy on LTIR than Edmonton, which would help along a potential deal. There’s also Hamonic (Lowetide) and Vegas. I think it would be ridiculous to leave him unprotected. Vegas needs top-end players and Eberle can be that for two years, during which they won’t make the playoffs anyway. I think Vegas would be willing to trade decent bit-players for Eberle. Impossible to say what that deal would look like.
–Free Agency: No Hanzal-HEY! DON’T MAKE ME ROLL UP THIS NEWSPAPER! Justin Williams would be just lovely. He’s 36 in October, but maybe he’s a Canadian Matt Cullen..? I think he’d be a big help for 2+ years. I’d offer a 3.3×3. If we do Eberle for Hamonic, we can sign Williams and keep Pouliot. If we do Eberle for Pominville and resign Russell, we’ll have to buyout Pouliot to sign Williams. Either way I’d be happy.
–Expansion Draft is greatly overrated as a losing proposition. It offers all kinds of opportunity for maneuvers across the league. Vegas should be seen as an off-season catalyst. There is no reason to worry after losing Reinhart or Khaira, and losing Pouliot would be a boon worth trading a 4th to make happen.

TL;DR:
1-Trade Eberle for something of value (DON’T EXPOSE HIM!). 2-Keep Nuge. 3-Get at least one legitimate top-6 winger with puck skills (Justin Williams & Jason Pominville). 4-DO NOT SIGN HANZAL! 5-Try to get Hamonic (or similar) before free agency or resign Russell at no-more-than 4×3. 6-Let the young guys continue to develop at their pace.

Lord Stanley is only coming home if our young guys effectively fill important roles. We need a couple more good veterans to show them the way.

treevojo

RENNAVATE: Automatically slotting him in the top 4 to start the season would be a mistake. If he can force the issue and end up there by season’s end, I’ll be thrilled.

I never automatically slotted him top 4 to start the year.

I do believe that he will be playing top four minutes by the playoffs next year.

I’m not too worried about chia.

He’s seems to have a good grasp on dmen.

jonf19

dustrock,

Well said couldn’t possibly agree more.

SwedishPoster

Anton Fanders? Fanders is swedish slang for hell. Why so harsh LT?

Very encouraged by this season. This team is on a great upwards trajectory. I’m sure one or two of the surprise stories of the year, Benning, Slepy, Caggiula et al will hit a bit of a rough patch next year but there are enough guys who look like they are getting better by the week that I think they’ll manage a few slumps very well.

jonf19

What an incredible ride. Thank you Lowetide for making it just as enjoyable to come into work every morning and read what you had to say every step along the way. Your words are truly appreciated and I look forward to continue reading throughout the summer. Keep up the awesome work and best wishes.

Doug McLachlan

So much to say but I’ll start with a huge THANK YOU to LT and this whole, dysfunctional, passionate rabid, irrational, well-informed, funny and thin-skinned lot who hang out here. As so many have said, it is a nice home to have. LT, extra thanks for not turning this car right around – lord knows we’ve given you occasion to.

Thanks to Chia, TMac, Connor and all the Oilers. What a season. What a ride. Can’t wait to try this all again – soon.

I had figured this team to make a jump from last season – but to me a jump meant finishing where the Kings did. Close to the post-season but not in the dance. To not only make it but win 7 games (or 8/9 depending on how you count a couple of them) is fantastic. I am happy to accept the narrative that the sting from this loss becomes fodder for future victories of the Stanley variety. Here’s hoping.

I know that there is a real desire to focus on RNH and Eberle’s contracts but I am far more concerned with the plan to clear out Poulot’s $4M over the next two years. Eberle is no bargain but he isn’t grossly overpaid for 20-25 goals per year and Nuge’s 2-way game is something winning teams use. Again, no great cap win for the Oilers but it’s a hit you can take if the true anchor contracts, like Pouliot, can be moved along.

Oilin4

RE: Nurse being put in Top 4 next year: I think one thing we learned this year it’s the value of NOT gifting young defencemen top 4 minutes before they’ve proven with a long track record that they’re ready. See Schultz, Justin; Russell, Kris.

Oilin4

Ducey: Nurse has 115 NHL regular season games, 13 playoff games, and 13 AHL games. He turns 23 in February.

He is still a pup by NHL defenseman standards..

He was the best Dman in junior in his draft +2 season.

When he is 24 or 25 with 300+ NHL games and weighs 225 lbs, he will be very, very good.

The Oilers have a chance (especially with teams losing some D thru expansion) to have one of the best D corps in the league, and for quite a while. This is the reason we can expect to enjoy some more playoff runs in years to come.

If I am Chia, getting Nurse locked up on a long term sweet deal is a priority this offseason.

I can’t remember the source but someone compared where Nurse was tracking compared to other D of the same age and GPs last year, and he didn’t compare well.

Side

godot10: You saw Theodore’s blunder yesterday.Young defensemen make mistakes.It does not mean that they are not going to be good or great defensemen down the road.

I didn’t say that Nurse isn’t going to be a good or great defenseman down the road in any of my posts. Kind of the opposite, actually.

Pink Socks

Bag of Pucks:
Can’t see Chia thinking this way, but would anyone be included to move on from Lucic sooner rather than later, and pay Maroon instead?

Candidly, Lucic disappointed me in these playoffs. During his latter years with the Bruins, Chia showed a blindspot for this player type giving an overvalued contract to a well past his prime Iginla for instance.

Or maybe you just look at him as a Holmstrom type, and say, a player that can excel in that role is worth the cash no matter how slow their boots look elsewhere?

I know one thing. I don’t want to go back to watching a team where nobody goes to the paint.

I agree. Admittedly I have always been a big fan of Lucic, but my goodness was he dreadful last night and for big chunks of the season. I will say though, I genuinely hope he comes into camp a little lighter a la Patrick Maroon. He always seems to be completely gassed save for a few explosions per game. He’s not getting any younger, and if he weighs in (230 lbs if I remember correctly from fall ’17) at the same number, he is not going to make any strides in the right direction. Come in 10 pounds lighter and a good portion of the season on 29’s wing and we may be singing a different tune come next spring.

su_dhillon

This was fun.
I had a hard time getting into his season after the summer deals and then really busy year professionally and personally didn’t leave a lot of time to get back in but man playoff runs are just the best

Setting your schedule to every second night, having genuine hatred for the other side, the refs, reveling in wins and sinking with losses its all so god damn fun. the 3rd period last night was excurciating but still would take that over anything in the last decade.

And McDavid. Even when nothing is going his way, you know he is just one rush from making it go his way.

I’m not sue what to comapre this run and loss too as an Oiler fan. I don;t remember early glory years, 87-88 were the first 2 I really remember watching and caring so none of those losses felt like this.

Nothing from the Dougie Weight era, those teams were never threats.

Not 2005. That was soul crushing. the most fun run ever and you can;t get any closer. That is one of the 2 toughest losses I have ever felt as a fan, the other is the 2002 NFC title game loss for Eagles to TB.

This is a tough loss because they were legitimately as good as anyone left and had every opportunity to end up at the end holding up the big trophy.

It certainly feels like it was the first run of many but you sure would have liked to bank one when nobody expected you to because as teams like Caps and Sharks have shown, you don’t always get one when everyone expects you too.

All that being said, the season ended up being one of the most fun in a long long while.

Clap Clap

godot10

dustrock:
Willis says look at Kopitar’s 7 year, $6.8m for Draisaitl contract.

Look at Tarasenko’s $7.5 million per season contract.

Bag of Pucks

godot10: But you plan for him to be #3LD, because injuries happen and he will end up playing top four quite a bit.

Nugent-Hopkins for Faulk (modulo stuff) or Eberle for Hamonic (modulo stuff) is the play.Saves Chiarelli from stepping into the Russell trap.

I do like an RNH for Faulk scenario as it potentially gives you that additional PP QB component as well.