(Wish I could fly like) Superman

by Lowetide

You never want to push a young player beyond his limits, but the Edmonton Oilers may be sorely tested in the fall by Ethan Bear. A team badly in need of a right-handed defenseman who can quarterback a power play sees in Bear a possible internal solution. If he can do it, music! Manna from heaven. Important not to lose the player by pushing him, Bear’s first 13 games surely give the organization something to think about over the summer. Perhaps some cover on a one-year deal with Cody Franson? I kid. Kind of.

THE ATHLETIC!

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UP AROUND THE BEND, YEAR OVER YEAR

  • March 2016: 7-6-0, goal differential 0 (14 points)
  • March 2017: 10-2-1, goal differential +21 (21 points)
  • March 2018: 7-4-2, goal differential +6 (16 points)

March 2018 is one of the stronger months this season for the Oilers, with the goal differential finally improving (albeit in a small way). I know there’s disappointment this morning because of the third period collapse and overtime loss, but we know this is a flawed team and we further know there will be improvements in the summer.

AFTER 76, YEAR OVER YEAR

  • Oilers 15-16: 29-40-7, goal differential -48 (65 points)
  • Oilers 16-17: 42-25-9, goal differential +38 (93 points)
  • Oilers 17-18: 34-36-6, goal differential -25 (74 points)

This was a tough week for the team in terms of quality of competition, and the Oilers went 3-0-1. We’re six games from the end of the regular season, Edmonton could hit 80 points before the curtain closes. After that, we’ll see what may come, but I’ve been observing this organization for a long time and would be willing to bet at least one job has been saved during March. That may or may not appeal to you.

WHAT TO EXPECT FROM MARCH

  • At home to: Nashville, NY Rangers, Arizona, NY Islanders, Minnesota (Expected 2-3-0) (Actual 3-2-0)
  • On the road to: Calgary (Expected 0-1-0) (Actual 0-1-0)
  • At home to: San Jose (Expected 0-0-1) (Actual 0-0-1)
  • On the road to: Florida, Tampa Bay, Carolina, Ottawa (Expected 1-2-1) (Actual 3-1-0)
  • At home to: Los Angeles, Anaheim, Columbus (Expected 2-1-0) (Actual 1-0-1)
  • On the road to: Vancouver, Calgary (Expected 1-0-1) (Actual 0-0-0)
  • Overall expected result: 6-7-3, 15 points in 16 games
  • Current results: 7-4-2, 16 points in 13 games

The team has posted a strong month and there are three more games to come. I think we’ll see a very difficult opponent in the Blue Jackets, followed by two winnable games on the road. Edmonton this season has played down to its competition often, so those road games shouldn’t be counted on. Canada’s western teams usually play each other tough no matter the sitatuation.

DEFENSE, LAST NIGHT

  • Russell-Bear were 15-15 in 14:07 together, 0-2 GF. I believe the team should play the third pairing more, and run this duo a little less. Great goal by Ethan Bear, who is doing enough to be in the conversation for next season. I’m not sure that’s a good idea, his shots-against rates are poor. I’m a fan, but this is a stretch from here. Went 8-10 against Cogliano-Kesler-Silfverberg in seven minutes, got drilled by Rakell-Getzlaf-Perry (0-2 GF) in just five minutes. Russell won’t like the photo on the Perry goal. Nice pass by Bear on the Leon goal.
  • Sekera-Benning went 13-19 in 10:58, 1-1 GF. Both men did good things with the puck and defended well, but the Ducks are a tough team against a pairing that can’t find the passing off ramp. Went 7-13 against Ritchie-Henrique-Kase. I think these two men should play more.
  • Nurse-Larsson were 11-19 in 15:57 on the evening. Spent 10:33 against Rakell-Getzlaf-Perry and were 10-15, but 1-0 GF. The pairing need help, but there’s none coming of course. Nurse’s Corsi for 5×5 is still over 51, but he’s been flagging for the last 25 games (or so) in possession. Larsson is also in that range, he’s had a difficult season for all kinds of reasons. Not sure we can drill down much on any wobble there, he’s been a rock all year.
  • Cam Talbot stopped 33 of 38, .868. I thought the Manson goal was either a perfect shot or Talbot wasn’t out far enough but that’s a guess.
  • NaturalStatTrick and NHL.com.

FORWARDS, LAST NIGHT

  • Caggiula-Draisaitl-Aberg were 9-9 in 14:21, 0-1 in GF. Caggiula was hurt and Khaira stepped in for a time, that’s when the goal was scored. Something to ponder. Went 9-5 against Rakell-Getzlaf-Perry, 1-1 GF. I think you’d take that deal 10 times out of 10, counting on the McDavid trio to outscore their assignment. I like Aberg, don’t know where he lands but suspect he is here in the fall.
  • Lucic-Strome-Puljujarvi went 16-18 in 10:49, 0-0 GF but all three men had some good looks. Were 11-17 against Ritchie-Henrique-Kase, 4-10 in HDSC. That’s a crazy scoring chance ratio, and to come out of it with zero goals is amazing. Strome needs to find the range with these great chances.
  • Nuge-McDavid-Rattie were 13-20 in 14:24, 2-1 GF. Scored 2-3-5 on the evening, going 13-14 against Cogliano-Kesler-Silfverberg (2-1 GF). Rattie is in a similar situation to Bear, in that he is exactly what the team is looking for, and having success while carrying an ideal contract. Mirage? I’d sign him and also bring in an established player on right-wing. If Rattie, Puljujarvi and Yamamoto all flourish next season, the team will have someone to offload for value at the deadline.
  • Slepyshev-Khaira-Pakarinen were 8-8 in 7:27, 1-1 GF. I like the group not only as a No. 4 line but as a parts department for the top three lines. Slepyshev has been passed by newcomers Rattie and Aberg, I still think he has enough skill to play in this league. Khaira may push beyond 4C, he has delivered pretty solid offense from outside the skill lines this year.

A great night for the young man, who is certainly forcing the issue when it comes to where he lands on the depth chart in the fall. His offensive instincts are quality, I love his ability to headman pass, you can see the elements he brings to a team—many of them unique to the rest of the group. That said, the NHL game is about outscoring opponents, and Bear (at this stage) gives a lot back. His Corsi for 5×5 (44.14) ranks No. 10 among Oilers defensemen, and his Shots-against 60 5×5 (39.66) is also last, by some margin. I think you know, if you’ve been reading this blog, that Ethan Bear is a personal favorite. Math screamed his name early, and Bear has made excellent progress. I think he might need 40 more games in Bakersfield. I don’t think the Oilers will agree.

https://twitter.com/FriedgeHNIC/status/978269924870144000

I don’t know much about Robertson, beyond the fact his NHLE (16) is shy of Joe Gambardella’s a year ago (39) and he has size (6.02, 201). He has never, at any time, been an outstanding scorer. Is he a checker? Robertson is 23 in June, making him one year younger than Drake Caggiula.

TY RATTIE

I’d sign him. He’s brilliant insurance for next season, and maybe more than that in actual fact. Rattie’s working his ass off, a one-year deal and a possible opportunity to establish himself as an NHL player is a no-brainer from the player side. Edmonton has Jesse Puljujarvi, Kailer Yamamoto and Pontus Aberg (plus the ghost of Anton Slepyshev) as possible options, and can sign/trade for more cover. Makes sense.

LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE

A busy Monday morning with plenty to discuss and excellent guests. 10 this morning, TSN1260, scheduled to appear:

  • Pierre Lebrun, The Athletic and TSN. McDavid for Hart? Winnipeg makes the playoffs! What does Calgary do?
  • Eric Fawcett, Press Basketball. Final Four is set, what a weekend! Plus, Raptors hit wall.
  • Jason Gregor, TSN1260. What about Bear? Rattie?

10-1260 text, @Lowetide on twitter.

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Munny

Wilde: I’m sorry that I baited you into a discussion that was beneath your time.

Just kidding, I’m really not.

What an obnoxious post.

My apologies, nothing personal was intended. You’re not doing anything different than many many other internet peeps. The fault was all mine actually, not yours. I know what I like, you don’t.

I’m not sure why I replied in the first place, I don’t usually these days. But that’s on me not you. I think I was just a little frustrated that the direction of the discussion was going down the same-old same-old paths. Once again, sorry.

Professor Q

OmJo:
Can somebody clarify this for me.

The Hart Trophy is awarded not to the leagues MVP, but the “player deemed most valuable to his team” – are these different things?

The player most valuable to his team in the regular season. Oddly dependent on the playoffs, however, even though it shouldn’t be.

JimmyV1965

Munny: If you go back to last summer, there were several people who wanted an improvement in net.I typically only post once or twice on these sorts of things, because I find the whole Godot-style of beating one drum the same way over and over to be more indicative of the poster than the problem.

It’s like replying to posts like the one I did above, that are typically just arguments over semantics.Life is too short to waste my time on those discussions and they never go anywhere anyway.So usually I just ignore them and don’t post.

Cags for eg I wanted traded back in TC and maybe mentioned it twice, and then I left the issue alone until the playoffs were out of reach and I needed a dead horse to beat so I could save on drywall repairs and lost shoes.

But I did mention it last summer, Gerta too & NYCOil IIRC, some others… and LT stated it repeatedly.

Broissoit was not going to be enough.Not if the plan was to be a contender.

I wasn’t too torn up over it at the season’s outset because finding a backup mid-season is the easiest of all possible deficiencies to fill.And hey, give LB a shot, I suppose.But a better backup was not a bad idea and I don’t blame TMac one bit for not trusting LB when the season went dire fast.

Will be interesting to see if the team addresses the goaltending issue this summer. I’m very fearful of relying on Talbot without someone who can start on an emergency basis for a month. If anything, Talbot has clearly demonstrated inconsistency. We need a decent backup in case Talbot starts the season in the tank. There’s about eight UFAs out there I would be comfortable getting. I’m sure we can get one of them cheap.

Wilde

Munny:

It’s like replying to posts like the one I did above, that are typically just arguments over semantics.Life is too short to waste my time on those discussions and they never go anywhere anyway.So usually I just ignore them and don’t post.

I’m sorry that I baited you into a discussion that was beneath your time.

Just kidding, I’m really not.

What an obnoxious post.

Munny

OmJo:
Munny,

Would you agree that coming into this season LB was a solid backup?

McLellan had shown if he doesn’t like a player, on particular a goaltender, he simply won’t play them, IMO.

So while I agree with you that it should be independent of who the HC is, I have to agree with Wilde – in this case, it is dependent. Because Mr. Stubborn is very stubborn.

If you go back to last summer, there were several people who wanted an improvement in net. I typically only post once or twice on these sorts of things, because I find the whole Godot-style of beating one drum the same way over and over to be more indicative of the poster than the problem.

It’s like replying to posts like the one I did above, that are typically just arguments over semantics. Life is too short to waste my time on those discussions and they never go anywhere anyway. So usually I just ignore them and don’t post.

Cags for eg I wanted traded back in TC and maybe mentioned it twice, and then I left the issue alone until the playoffs were out of reach and I needed a dead horse to beat so I could save on drywall repairs and lost shoes.

But I did mention it last summer, Gerta too & NYCOil IIRC, some others… and LT stated it repeatedly.

Broissoit was not going to be enough. Not if the plan was to be a contender.

I wasn’t too torn up over it at the season’s outset because finding a backup mid-season is the easiest of all possible deficiencies to fill. And hey, give LB a shot, I suppose. But a better backup was not a bad idea and I don’t blame TMac one bit for not trusting LB when the season went dire fast.

frjohnk

On my phone ( if Woodguy can use this excuse, so can I) so my calculations might be off but

Draisaitl

2.87 pts60 with McDavid 460 minutes

2.23 pts60 without McDavid 568 minutes

JimmyV1965

frjohnk: Draisaitl away from McDavid,has also had his pickings from the leagues worst winger depth.

He has done well away from McDavid.

Team has many issues.

Drai is not one.

And he is definitely a number 1 center

By my count, he would be first line C on 16 teams. I’m sure if he had anything resembling a top six winger, his numbers would be much bigger. Even McDavid has always played with a legit top six forward.

Confused

Think it is important to remember how few games Leon, Ryan and JJ have actually played as center in the NHL.

Still learning all the time so room for improvement.

frjohnk

Harpers Hair: Yes..

That’s true but he’s far from a 1st line C.

His production without McDavid is good but not great.

Draisaitl away from McDavid,has also had his pickings from the leagues worst winger depth.

He has done well away from McDavid.

Team has many issues.

Drai is not one.

And he is definitely a number 1 center

AshetonisGod

Lowetide,

Love Leon. I wonder, though, what happens to his production if Connor is hurt and Leon has to drive top line facing off vs. other team’s top line every night. Do we have 5×5 Ev points per 60 weighted by QoC?

frjohnk

€√¥£€^$:
New Improved Darkness,

Here is a revealing tweet from Jack Michaels that puts Connor’s value in perspective:

Put another way, here’s some MVP candidates and their teams’ respective points % when they do NOT have a point…

Kopitar.477
Hall.444
Kucherov.441
Malkin .400
MacKinnon .368

McDavid.182

I keep saying that without McDavid, with the way things went this year, this team would be battling the Sabres for last place.

AshetonisGod

€√¥£€^$:
New Improved Darkness,

Here is a revealing tweet from Jack Michaels that puts Connor’s value in perspective:

Put another way, here’s some MVP candidates and their teams’ respective points % when they do NOT have a point…

Kopitar.477
Hall.444
Kucherov.441
Malkin .400
MacKinnon .368

McDavid.182

The thought of Connor missing significant time to injury is terrifying in light of this.

Harpers Hair

Lowetide: Leon has established himself imo as a man who can push the river. Your point about McDavid getting hurt representing a sunk season is well taken. However, Leon as a 2C is a fabulous item.

Yes..

That’s true but he’s far from a 1st line C.

His production without McDavid is good but not great.

Harpers Hair

Important to remember going into next season that the Oilers are not a one line team.

They are a one player team.

McDavid has 32 more points than Driasaitl and 56 more than RNH.

No one else is even in the photo.

An injury to McDavid and the season is sunk.

JimmyV1965

godot10: Sheldon Souray
Milan Lucic

The whales turned out to be nearly dead white elephants.

Ya. Signing high priced free agents rately works. Causes more problems than it solves. By whales, I either think very large men like Lucic LOL or league leaders like Karlsson. Two very different fish.

godot10

JimmyV1965: I have to ask. Why do you think whale hunting is such an obvious mistake? I don’t recall this team ever landing a whale.

Sheldon Souray
Milan Lucic

The whales turned out to be nearly dead white elephants.

Scungilli Slushy

JimmyV1965: I have to ask. Why do you think whale hunting is such an obvious mistake? I don’t recall this team ever landing a whale.

Whale hunting tales for the Oilers of those unlanded have been fortunate in that they have saved disaster almost always.

Almost all deals for significant players approaching 30 fail for every team. They are buying rep not future, It’s not just Oilers.

The answer if looking for better talent is finding undervalued players, or vets with NHL skills at 1M contracts.

It’s hard to do or everyone would. But it’s based on players with current skill sets and requisite NHL drive,

There are more players with talent than the talent and drive to play a useful 82 +.

OmJo

Munny,

Would you agree that coming into this season LB was a solid backup?

McLellan had shown if he doesn’t like a player, on particular a goaltender, he simply won’t play them, IMO.

So while I agree with you that it should be independent of who the HC is, I have to agree with Wilde – in this case, it is dependent. Because Mr. Stubborn is very stubborn.

€√¥£€^$

Wilde,

Merkley has been on my radar since he was a 16 year old* and killing it, I think he will be at least as good as Tyson Barrie and will be a regular in the league within 3 years. Old School bias man, he will land with a savvy team.

Watch him get selected as late-first rounder.

*Which was actually last year

Wilde

Munny: No it doesn’t.MY definition of “solid backup” is independent of the head coach.

Wilde:
As for Drai, I don’t think Slepyshev has gotten a good enough look there. You can also simply acquire a player that 97 can carry, and move Nuge to Drai’s wing. 93-29-98 could be a deadly line, if you can afford it personnel-wise, which I think you can if you put Strome-Khaira together on the 3rd and fill the fourth line with 700k PKers.

No, you cannot “simply acquire”.A fair parade of wingers have lined up next to CMD with limited success.Some thought should probably be out into it and some level of quality obtained. IE, better than Slepyshev, who I like.

Not to mention this proposal is essentially what I said: “acquire a decent LWer”.Right now that hole is next to Drai. Lines are never set in stone, so it is still “acquire a decent LWer.”

And “your definition” matters even less than that of the management team, whose definition already means little to the HC. It’s less about ability and more about whether or not McLellan likes the guy.

I disagree that you can’t relatively easily acquire players to play with McDavid. I’d say the lion’s share of players have worked well with McDavid, but the ones that didn’t have been given disproportionate TOI totals, and vice versa.

Example on LW: Maroon and Lucic were some of the least productive partners in terms of McDavid’s and their own point rates, but played the most minutes with him.

The list of players that have played well with 97 is long, the list of players that haven’t is short. But the second list has spent the same amount of time on his wing, which warps the perception of the problem.

Which is a strong point on his own, but it’s entirely separate from the fact that my argument is really that the cost of a “decent LWer” for 97 is less than the cost of acquiring a “decent LWer” for 29,

€√¥£€^$

New Improved Darkness,

Here is a revealing tweet from Jack Michaels that puts Connor’s value in perspective:

Put another way, here’s some MVP candidates and their teams’ respective points % when they do NOT have a point…

Kopitar .477
Hall .444
Kucherov .441
Malkin .400
MacKinnon .368

McDavid .182

Munny

Wilde: The definition of a solid backup netminder changes depending if the HC stays.

No it doesn’t. MY definition of “solid backup” is independent of the head coach.

Wilde:
As for Drai, I don’t think Slepyshev has gotten a good enough look there. You can also simply acquire a player that 97 can carry, and move Nuge to Drai’s wing. 93-29-98 could be a deadly line, if you can afford it personnel-wise, which I think you can if you put Strome-Khaira together on the 3rd and fill the fourth line with 700k PKers.

No, you cannot “simply acquire”. A fair parade of wingers have lined up next to CMD with limited success. Some thought should probably be put into it and some level of quality obtained. Ie, better than Slepyshev (who I like).

Not to mention your proposal is essentially what I said: “acquire a decent LWer”. Right now that hole is next to Drai. Lines are never set in stone, so it is still “acquire a decent LWer.”

jake70

LT, Vladdy Guerrero junior on the field at the Big O with the Jays. Pretty neat. A few old Expos too, Valentine, Parrish, Cromartie, Speir all took the field in the pregame. No Doug Flynn or Argenis Salazary though….. 😉

JimmyV1965

Scungilli Slushy:
Mr Green is having surgery so not a stop gap, I was thinking he might help as well.

Stay the course with the roster unless a freebie falls in the lap. Other than a true backup goaler.

I don’t think a lack of talent is the issue anymore. PC has populated the team with NHL capable players even if he’s been foolish. The current team is really strong when they do the right things beating playoff contenders or playing with top teams.

Age young and old, injuries, and I think maybe coaching are the bigger problems. Whale hunting we know isn’t the answer.

Unless a real swindle can happen, I think not.

I have to ask. Why do you think whale hunting is such an obvious mistake? I don’t recall this team ever landing a whale.

JimmyV1965

Wayne Kenov:
Question for the group. Do we think this is a high tide point for Nuge? If you got a reasonable deal back, would this be a good time to trade him? Chia loses every deal, so just try to take that part out of it. Is Nuge more or less likely to be worth 6mil going forward? Is this a selling high period.

I’m not sold on this like I was on Maroon, Pouliot or Perron in years past, but I think it is still a reasonable question.

I keep RNH, unless there is a team willing to overpay to get him. And that’s a possibility, considering how many teams need a C. Having said that, if he plays a full season with McDavid, I think you can count on 65 pts easy.

Wilde

Munny,

The definition of a solid backup netminder changes depending if the HC stays.

As for Drai, I don’t think Slepyshev has gotten a good enough look there. You can also simply acquire a player that 97 can carry, and move Nuge to Drai’s wing. 93-29-98 could be a deadly line, if you can afford it personnel-wise, which I think you can if you put Strome-Khaira together on the 3rd and fill the fourth line with 700k PKers.

Also, does this Bouchard as a top 5 pick appear really, really short-sighted to anyone else? I can’t believe the level to which people are ignoring his maturity in regards to his results. The guy’s been 18 since October this season. Here’s a good comp to demonstrate this, using the invaluable compare-player tool on prospect-stats:

http://prospect-stats.com/OHL/compare/skaters

Search for Bouchard on one side, and the other side search Ryan Merkley.

Two big differences to notice, is eTOI and age.

For those that don’t care about having a visual representation I’ll post the data here:

x – Bouchard – Merkley

Age – 17.91 -17.09 / / <— This is a huge difference, 11 months.

eTOI/gp – 19.25 – 17.59

G/GP – 0.37 – 0.21 / / <— We can see here that most of the point differential is goals

A/GP – 0.92 – 0.86

P/GP – 1.30 – 1.06

eG/60 – 0.47 – 0.54 / / <— And, adjusted for TOI, the gap disappears.

eA1/60 – 0.93 – 0.76

Now, that's not as huge of a difference anymore now that we're not just looking at the gaudy 1.3 PPG that Bouchard has.

Let's level the playing field further, by switching to Bouchard's actual age 17 season, because that's what Merkley has played this year:

x – Bouchard – Merkley

Age – 16.91 – 17.09 / / – This represents a much, much better comparison

eTOI/gp – 15.55 – 17.59 / / <— flipped script?

G/GP – 0.16 – 0.21

A/GP – 0.49 – 0.85

P/GP – 0.65 – 1.06 / / <—script = flipped

eG/60 – 0.51 – 0.54

eA1/60 – 0.62 – 0.76 / / <— you can tell from the A/GP split that A2/60 would be a larger margin

So… yeah. The age-adjustment MORE than erases the numbers advantage Bouchard owns on the surface, and I think if you watch both play you'll notice Merkley's speed/skill/vision advantage as well.

Scungilli Slushy

I’m not big on bringing Maroon back.

Mainly because the Oilers can’t pay him, and he should look for the biggest contract given he hasn’t banked a lot yet, late start and that despite the 7 figure salaries a huge amount goes to taxes agents etc.

I also notice how much better the overall play is with more speed and more rounded players.
The Oilers have a bunch of players at the .5 PPG players or less, this is where offense goes to die when CMD is resting.

Khaira is a better option IMO. They need to find their cheap scorers. Now that the farm is being populated with players that can actually be called up and have a reasonable chance at contributing such as Bear ‘who bears down’ keep rolling with that.

The thing is to find an AHL coach that can deal with millennial cross cultural players. And a coach that can be considered an NHL promotion when whatever big league coach reaches his lifespan.

Sometimes or always it’s making the most of what you already have.

Toughest thing in life probably.

hunter1909

ps: Mark Messier wouldn’t trade RNH lol

Scungilli Slushy

Mr Green is having surgery so not a stop gap, I was thinking he might help as well.

Stay the course with the roster unless a freebie falls in the lap. Other than a true backup goaler.

I don’t think a lack of talent is the issue anymore. PC has populated the team with NHL capable players even if he’s been foolish. The current team is really strong when they do the right things beating playoff contenders or playing with top teams.

Age young and old, injuries, and I think maybe coaching are the bigger problems. Whale hunting we know isn’t the answer.

Unless a real swindle can happen, I think not.

hunter1909

Wayne Kenov:
Question for the group. Do we think this is a high tide point for Nuge? If you got a reasonable deal back, would this be a good time to trade him? Chia loses every deal, so just try to take that part out of it. Is Nuge more or less likely to be worth 6mil going forward? Is this a selling high period.

I’m not sold on this like I was on Maroon, Pouliot or Perron in years past, but I think it is still a reasonable question.

Trading RNH is so fucking stupid it makes me vomit.

Fire Chiarelli – asap

Munny

Last night I went to bed thinking all we really really need is a decent LW for Drai — and of course a solid backup netminder.

Wilde

Lowetide,

This is absolutely priceless.

I don’t know how you remember these things, seriously.

My sister has a similar ability, but I made sure she missed all of the good stuff.

Re Mike Green:

He’s not what we’re looking for. He costs too much for a PP specialist, and does too little at evens to warrant the contract. We already have a couple guys who can play 3RD, and that’s where Green slots in at 5v5.

Re Ho-Sang:

I’m obviously a fan of this player, but I don’t think ANYTHING happens regarding NYI before the Tavares thing.

They won’t do it, but bridging Nurse could get so much done for this team. Something’s gotta give, these books are ugly.

Munny

Lowetide,

Come for the hockey… stay for the best stories on the Al Gore!

There was a Robinson’s on Vermilion’s main street… just down from the Tomboy grocery store and the MacLeod’s hardware store. Next to it was Lee’s Restaurant, Cantonese food, first place I ever had an Orange Crush float. I can remember the taste of it still to this day.

I don’t remember any fun stories about the store, except that it was one of only two shops in town you could see toys outside of the Sear’s Wish Book (and damn did that thing get some serious wishing), and it was the only one of the two we regularly visited (Craig’s Department Store was for posh folk).

Westerns were just at the end of their heyday… the movies had finally played out, done in by the irony of the Sghapetti Westerns, but Gunsmoke was still going strong on TV. Back then there were really only two games boys played… Cops ‘n Robbers or Cowboys & Indians. Either way, a kid needed a decent fake piece, so the toy pistols and holsters and cowboy hats in Robinson’s got a workover by every kid that walked in the door… and me and my bro were no exception.

And not once did I walk out that door with a gun and a hat and a rig. The pain still lingers, lol. Damn you, Mum!

So I would comfort myself with a re-read of a Rawhide Kid comic book and wait excitedly for the next appearance of James Arness on the tube, cursing the fact I was born to British parents that had no understanding of how important a toy Colt 45 was to survival on the Alberta Prairies.

New Improved Darkness

Over at TSN, Frank Seravalli touts Connor’s almost 46% goal share as a lens into his MVP status.

But suppose we add enough secondary scoring to the Oilers to drop Connor from 46% to 40%. You’d have to add another 32 goals, our GD would be +10 instead of -22, and we would probably be in the thick of the playoff race (unless we emulate the Kings of Making Small Hay from a +31 GD—have they scored 6 on 5 even once this entire season?)

And the sad thing is, the first dozen (or two dozen) of those goals could most easily be squeezed from fewer linemates whiffing on Connor’s glorious feeds. Why do I suspect Looch could contribute a bungler’s dozen all by himself?

I wouldn’t mind sitting down with an All Inglorious Whiff highlight reel featuring the top five, or ten, or twenty, or forty events from each of the leading Hart candidates (it sure feels like Connor would have a solid candidate from nearly ever second game).

For the double header: the All Inglorious Hacks and Tugs. But not on a weeknight, all that zebra shut-eye would cost you too much sleep.

Biggus Dickus

Question for the group. Do we think this is a high tide point for Nuge? If you got a reasonable deal back, would this be a good time to trade him? Chia loses every deal, so just try to take that part out of it. Is Nuge more or less likely to be worth 6mil going forward? Is this a selling high period.

I’m not sold on this like I was on Maroon, Pouliot or Perron in years past, but I think it is still a reasonable question.

who

ArmchairGM: I like the idea of adding Green for 2RD – I’m pretty sure he’d be an upgrade over Russell, and most likely cheaper with less term. $3M x 1 sounds about right – we won’t need him once Bear is ready. That way Bear can spend another year in the minors honing his skills, while Larsson / Green / Benning hold the fort. I’d consider signing a guy like Folin to push Benning too, I don’t think he’ll cost much either. In this scenario Russell would be moved. Would he waive for Arizona? Lots of ranches / cowboy culture down there too… if we could get their two 2019 3rd rounders for him it’d be a win/win.

Caggiula now with 12 goals is a good thing, as it raises his value on the trade market. Could he be traded to NYI (I know, I know) for Ho-Sang? I know Islanders fans value Ho-Sang immensely, but if playing time is any indicator the team management doesn’t. JHS spent most of the season in AHL or as a HS. He’s 22, running out of time. I see him RW for the Lucic-Strome duo on the third line, he can add some splash and dash while being sheltered.

If Khaira plays LW (JJ-Draisaitl-Puljujarvi), what do you think of a guy like Derek Grant being signed for 4C? I don’t think he’d cost much and historically his shot metrics have outperformed his OZF%.

Last thought: is Rattie our Grabner? Their paths to the NHL are similar, and Rattie has put up as good or better numbers (and more consistently) at every level. Small sample size alert on the Rattie NHL numbers, of course. Lots of people touting a Grabner signing this summer, but I’d be very, very nervous that the Oilers wouldn’t be able to recreate the conditions that led to his success in New York. His production has been virtually nil (14, 2-1-3) since arriving in NJ.

WHL:

Rattie269 games, 0.56 goals/gm // 1.29 points/gm
Grabner180, 0.49 // 0.72

AHL:

Rattie 215, 0.33 // 0.66
Grabner 180, 0.37 // 0.67

NHL:

Rattie 43, 0.19 // 0.40
Grabner 546, 0.29 // 0.45

NHL this year:

Rattie8, 0.50 // 0.88
Grabner 73, 0.37 // 0.47

I don’t think your scenario for changing the defense is realistic at all.
1. You have Green signing a 3×1 contract. Do you really believe that is the best offer he will get?
2. You have Russell waiving his NMC to go to Arizona. This assumes he waives his NMC and that Arizona wants him and his contract. Why do you think either of these things happen?

Kinger_Oil.redux

ArmchairGM,

– I’m sure green is one of those guys that a lot of teams would like

– 10-15 teams would do that deal One of the challenges this blog has is ignoring the competitive reality of player procurement. Like there is some perfect pricing system. So that is we don’t get green the next guy who is almost as good costs x

– chasing this guy or needing that guy sets up the gm to fail because so many think they can do way better.

jtblack

Side,

Fair Enough!

ArmchairGM

flea:
To me, the TC battle next year should be Bear vs Benning (if he’s still here). Benning should win, but if he doesn’t then it should be on merit.

Get another veteran RHD to block Bear. I’m thinking Mike Green on a 1 year deal if possible.

Get another value winger. Wait out Maroon and sign him to another short term deal. Deal Kassian. Aberg looks like a massive win so far for Chiarelli. Bottom six guy with speed on a great deal for another year. RHS too.

A lot of their success late in the year here is obviously due to Connor, but also better balance on the team with Aberg and Bear playing big roles.

They are close, IMO. Hopefully this late season push by RNH and Klefbom’s injury keep them both on the team. If the Oilers could upgrade their D with Klefbom or Nurse I’d be ok with it, but only on a true upgrade.

Only Connor McDavid makes watching a team play out the string compelling.

I like the idea of adding Green for 2RD – I’m pretty sure he’d be an upgrade over Russell, and most likely cheaper with less term. $3M x 1 sounds about right – we won’t need him once Bear is ready. That way Bear can spend another year in the minors honing his skills, while Larsson / Green / Benning hold the fort. I’d consider signing a guy like Folin to push Benning too, I don’t think he’ll cost much either. In this scenario Russell would be moved. Would he waive for Arizona? Lots of ranches / cowboy culture down there too… if we could get their two 2019 3rd rounders for him it’d be a win/win.

Caggiula now with 12 goals is a good thing, as it raises his value on the trade market. Could he be traded to NYI (I know, I know) for Ho-Sang? I know Islanders fans value Ho-Sang immensely, but if playing time is any indicator the team management doesn’t. JHS spent most of the season in AHL or as a HS. He’s 22, running out of time. I see him RW for the Lucic-Strome duo on the third line, he can add some splash and dash while being sheltered.

If Khaira plays LW (JJ-Draisaitl-Puljujarvi), what do you think of a guy like Derek Grant being signed for 4C? I don’t think he’d cost much and historically his shot metrics have outperformed his OZF%.

Last thought: is Rattie our Grabner? Their paths to the NHL are similar, and Rattie has put up as good or better numbers (and more consistently) at every level. Small sample size alert on the Rattie NHL numbers, of course. Lots of people touting a Grabner signing this summer, but I’d be very, very nervous that the Oilers wouldn’t be able to recreate the conditions that led to his success in New York. His production has been virtually nil (14, 2-1-3) since arriving in NJ.

WHL:

Rattie 269 games, 0.56 goals/gm // 1.29 points/gm
Grabner 180, 0.49 // 0.72

AHL:

Rattie 215, 0.33 // 0.66
Grabner 180, 0.37 // 0.67

NHL:

Rattie 43, 0.19 // 0.40
Grabner 546, 0.29 // 0.45

NHL this year:

Rattie 8, 0.50 // 0.88
Grabner 73, 0.37 // 0.47

Munny

LT,

Do you remember the old Robinson’s stores, by any chance? Dry goods, housewares, some clothes too IIRC, and used to have a few toys too.

All this talk about Eric has me thinking about them.

Munny

Never a dull moment in Oil Country.

Come for the hockey… stay for the Soap Opera.

Sometimes even Actual Opera

Munny

–hudson–: Personally I won’t forget Laraque did this.He’s a rumor monger, not a trusted insider.

There is no doubt that he has seriously damaged his credibility.

hunter1909

Ethan Bear’s quickly rounding into an essential player for the team moving forward. He has talent galore, and makes mistakes but they’re entertaining mistakes. The kind talented players make, because they’re being creative.

Potential: Solid second liner with offence, maybe higher.

OmJo

Wayne Kenov: I would say they are two different things. The first suggests Most Outstanding Player, like in the CFL. The latter suggests Carey Price should win every year. The award is actually given to the player whose team improved the most year over year, and had an elite level season. This years Oilers season basically guaranteed Connor another Hart when they make the playoffs again.

See, that’s kind of how I interpret it as, too. It’s the player in the current season where, if you take him off his respective team, the team drops the furthest down in the standings (based on what, I don’t know – educated guesses?). If you take McDavid off the team we finish 31st – no doubt – but it’s not as far a drop as say the Devils would be without Hall, or Colorado without MacKinnon who himself is having an amazing season.

There’s nobody on the planet who can deny that McDavid is the league MVP, IMO. If this team had a capable power play he would very well be close to 120pts IMO. What he’s done this season with primarily 5v5 scoring is incredible to say the least. And while he’s just as equally valuable to the Oilers as Hall or MacKinnon, the results just aren’t there to say he deserves it any more than them.

I also agree, he’ll be a lock for it next season. Two Hart trophies in three years isn’t a bad thing! And the Art Ross is his, anyway. What a phenomenal player.

–hudson–: Sorry, had to do it.

FYI Robinson is a forward and the sixth highest scoring on his team.Doubtful he’s driving the bus on his team.

Oops! I was looking at this Eric Robinson (RD): http://www.hockeydb.com/ihdb/stats/pdisplay.php?pid=153869

Side

jtblack:
Side,

“of course they had the puck the entire time, they were afraid to do anything with it with McDavid on the ice.”

And there it is.Hence the “Strategy” of doing Nothing.That WAS the exact point.I hadn’t seen a team do it to that degree before.

I don’t know if I would call it a brilliant strategy to win a face off and hold on the puck in your zone hoping for the other team’s best player to leave. Other teams do it similarly, but Anaheim has more to lose so they played it especially safe.

And as Todd points out (from Hudson):

“Q: {before video begins}
A: I don’t know if that was the strategy, they got possession, and just like most teams they don’t want to give it up for nothing. So they held onto the puck, they turn it back when they didn’t have anything, nothing that we wouldn’t do. we want to maintain possession and when they when they finally got a chance to strike… I think we broke the play up, but we poked the puck to him. Connor helping to poke the puck to them. So it was, you know, it’s frustrating when you’re the team that doesn’t have the puck, yet if we had the puck we’d be happy with the way that play was going on. So give them credit, they won the opening faceoff and never gave it up after.”

Teams don’t like to throw away the puck, and when you’re up against McDavid you have to especially be careful. Even though the Ducks were careful, both McDavid AND Nurse almost got the puck. The Ducks just did what pretty much every team does in OT, except they did it to a more extreme degree, and they were able to execute it cause they won the initial face off.

Again, not something I see as a “Carlyle outcoached Todd” moment. More of a “McDavid and Nurse were unfortunate” moment, imo.

russ99

matt:
Problems with the Oilers: injury, illness, players performing below established ability, players failing to grow, PP, PK, team tenacity when trailing (at least during the first half of the season), roster gaps.

Problems I attribute to Chiarelli: betting on the wingers, backup goalie.

Problems I attribute to TMac et al: PK, PP, the length of the Yamamoto audition, and Slepyshev/Lucic/Puljujarvi.WTF is going on off-ice that sees all three key pieces underperform?Are the coaching staff unable to stage an intervention in the case of at least one?Or, is the treading water performance of Strome and Caggiula proof of their success?

Let’s not forget scoring chance quality against, goals against are way up this year, and it’s not all Talbot’s fault.

russ99

Material pocession:
I’m worried about Sekera going into next season.Instead of being the ultimate turd-polisher, he now looks like the turd.How long can they give him to play his way out of it before the writing is in the wall?How many games are they willing to lose playing underperforming veterans in key roles (Sekera, Lucic, Letestu)?

It can take up to a year to completely recover from his injury.

If he looks bad in camp next year, then we can start to worry.

Also, Benning is an RFA. I’d just as soon trade him than pay him $1.5-2M, we can get a veteran RHD that’s way better without the puck for that, and the jury is still out on if he can progress past 3rd pairing even with decent offensive chops.