Over my head

by Lowetide

The Edmonton Oilers gave home fans a fun game with lots of goals and a win at the end last night. The highlight: Three points by Connor McDavid (all brilliant) and the low light was defense so loose it reminded some of the free form jazz set performed by Spinal Tap at the Hollywood Bowl. In a tough season, that was a fun night for everyone but the coaches.

THE ATHLETIC!

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MYSTERY TO ME, YEAR OVER YEAR

  • Oilers in April 2016: 1-1-0, goal differential -1, two points
  • Oilers in April 2017: 1-1-0, goal differential -1, two points 
  • Oilers in April 2018: 1-1-0, goal differential -2, two points

Looks like April is going to start the same every year under Todd McLellan’s run as Oilers coach. Not much to choose one from another, although making the playoffs is a better way.

AFTER 81, YEAR OVER YEAR

  • Oilers 15-16: 31-43-7, goal differential -49 (69 points)
  • Oilers 16-17: 46-26-9, goal differential +41 (101 points)
  • Oilers 17-18: 35-40-6, goal differential -33 (76 points)

The won loss record is criminal but the goal differential is impossible. How on earth can a team ice a 106-point impact player and finish dash 33? What on earth are they doing when he’s at rest? Lordy.

WHAT TO EXPECT FROM APRIL

  • On the road to: Minnesota (Expected 0-1-0) (Actual 0-1-0)
  • At home to: Vegas, Vancouver (Expected 1-1-0) (Actual 1-0-0)
  • Overall expected results: 1-2-0, two points in three games
  • Overall actual results: 1-1-0, two points in two games

DEFENSE, LAST NIGHT

  • Nurse-Larsson went 18-9 in 17:40, shots 14-6, 2-1 GF. Were 9-3 in HD, McDavid’s line 3-2 HD, but 2-0 in GF. Went 8-7 against Pirri-Karlsson-Tuch. I think this pairing could work next season but prefer Klefbom with Larsson. Woodguy tells me that Nurse is the better match, perhaps I’ll warm to the idea. Pairing was exposed on the third goal, otherwise solid.
  • Russell-Bear were 13-12 in 15:34, 6-6 SF and 4-4 in HDSC. That was a goal, nice one too. Russell had a good passing evening, Bear looked sharp on several decisions but he’s awkward on that power-play back pass. I like Bear a lot but he needs more AHL time. Went 4-7 in five minutes against Pirri-Karlsson-Tuch.
  • Lowe-Benning were 11-16 in 10:43, 6-11 SF and 1-2 GF. Were 5-4 against Nosek-Linbderg-Reaves. I thought Lowe was nervous early (misstep on GA) but settled in. Benning’s goal is the reason you keep him around. You can be critical of Lowe (he was wrong place, right time a few times) but there was plenty to like. I’d be fine with him re-signing and remaining a recall option.
  • Cam Talbot stopped 30 of 33, .909. Made some big stops, got win No. 30.
  • NaturalStatTrick and NHL.com.

FORWARDS, LAST NIGHT

  • Khaira-Draisaitl-Puljujarvi played well, going 15-8 in 13:22. Were 9-5 in SC and 5-1 in HDSC’s, Puljujarvi getting two brilliant looks and setting up Leon on another glorious chance (Subban was good, and lucky). Leon was terrific in this game, his linemates both benefited and helped the performance.
  • Lucic-Strome-Caggiula were 9-7 in 9:37, 1-1 GF. Were 7-4 against Nosek-Linbderg-Reaves. Strome and Caggiula are small but had some chem. Caggiula had three HDSC, Lucic one, the big man needs to impact the offense more often.
  • Nuge-McDavid-Rattie were 13-18 in 12:48, 2-1 GF and 8-8 in shots. The trio was 7-5 in HDSC’s but there possession numbers are trailing the overall scoring success. I think Rattie has earned a contract. Ran 11-9 against Tatar-Haula-Neal, 2-0 GF.
  • Slepyshev-Cammalleri-Kassian were 6-10 in 9:46. They were 0-1 in GF but 4-4 in HDSC. I think all three men are in danger in terms of return (although Kassian is likely to be back). Between the other two, I expect Cammalleri has a better chance to return but that’s a guess.

No idea if the Oilers can get him signed in time for tomorrow night, but there are a bunch of AHL games to come (5) so we wait. Marody’s numbers in Michigan (40gp, 16-35-51) and NHLE (36.5) suggest he’s a solid prospect. Drake Caggiula had an NHLE of 44 coming out of UND, but he may have been zoomed a little by linemates (and he does have 20 points this season). Interesting prospect, he should help if he signs.

NUGE-MCDAVID-RATTIE

Interesting line. Corsica has them at 116 minutes, 112-121 Corsi 5×5 events (48.07), 13-7 GF (65 percent). I think you have to wait at least 200 minutes but the trend suggests this line is scoring well past expectations. Part of that is 97 for sure, but you don’t want the world’s best player on a line that is a possession drag. I do think both wingers have earned more time in the fall on McDavid’s line. Not certain Rattie will have an NHL career but he is taking advantage of a brilliant chance and credit to him. Nuge fits like a wonderful, expensive, ludicrously well-tailored glove.

TYLER BENSON

Benson is off to Bakersfield and should see some action before the end of the schedule. Kailer Yamamoto was playing hurt during Spokane’s series so his debut in the AHL will be delayed (and may not happen at all). Plenty of hope for both men as they begin pro careers in an organization with enormous needs at their positions.

DRAFT LOTTERY

Oilers aren’t locked in at No. 7, the club could move up a significant amount with a win Saturday (and losses in the tri-state area). At this point you’d like to get the best odds, if Edmonton ends up at the No. 7 spot they could still move down because of the lottery.

LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE

We are live at United Cycle this morning, 10-noon, to celebrate an Edmonton treasure. How old were you the first time you hit United Cycle? We’ll help celebrate this morning. Scheduled to appear:

  • Steve Lansky, BigMouthSports. The Masters already has an outstanding leaderboard, NHL playoffs straight ahead.
  • Mark Zecchino, Golf Talk Canada. The Masters!
  • Matt Iwanyk, TSN1260. Can the Jays hang with the Yankees? Plus, should the Oilers sign Ty Rattie and bring him to camp as McDavid’s right-wing?

10-1260 text, @Lowetide on twitter. See you on the radio!

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frjohnk

If Connor only played 45 games this year due to injury, with the way things have gone, not sure this Oiler team gets more points than the 15-16 Oiler team.

And 17-18 McDavid > 15-16 McDavid

Kinger_Oil.redux

– I still wonder if RNH is the guy they move for that mythical RHD? As you say its expensive pairing: but they seem to have chem, and think the game well. I wonder if they pair up at the World’s?

russ99

“You can’t do a freeform jazz exploration for a festival crowd.”

knighttown

It’s not folly to be worried about jumping a couple of spots with a useless win on Saturday night LT. Good on ya. So close to being able to grab Quinn Hughes. No chance he makes it by the Rangers and the Rangers aren’t beating Philly in a big game for the Flyers so the Oilers need to let the Sedins have their moment on Saturday.

frjohnk

Kinger_Oil.redux:
– I still wonder if RNH is the guy they move for that mythical RHD?As you say its expensive pairing: but they seem to have chem, and think the game well.I wonder if they pair up at the World’s?

More than likely they keep RNH for at least the coming year.
The draft and salary cap could have a say on how the dominoes will fall in the upcoming season.
Win the lottery…those dominoes will be fun to watch.

But in the case RNH is traded for a RHD, one expensive pairing would be our 3rd pairing of Sekera and Russell. Add that in the bottom 6, we would have 3 players who would command around $11M (Lucic, Strome, Kassian)

$20M not well spent.

But we are not the only team with too much money tied up with non impactful players. Lots of teams are guilty of this. ( Usually after a few years of being a Cup contender though)

The easy part of overpaying complimentary players is done. Now the hard part, find and or develop complimentary players who can impact but at low cost.

Not saying Rattie is that guy, but has shown well in a few games sample that warrants a contract that pays him on a one way deal around $1M that would reward him but is also easily buried and does not hurt the cap if he faceplants next fall or there are better options.

godot10

McDavid and Nugent-Hopkins are carrying around an AHL’er/tweener against the toughest opposition, scoring two goals for every one they give up. The AHL’er/tweener is what impacts the possession number. Think what they would do if they had an NHL’er on RW.

They are also scoring off the rush and quickly, which impacts the possession number.

McDavid with Nugent-Hopkins > McDavid without Nugent-Hopkins. Took the coach 2.75 seasons, and two lost seasons to figure that out.

Draisaitl gets some competent wingers to play with and looks fine again. Strange how that works.

frjohnk

knighttown: so the Oilers need to let the Sedins have their moment on Saturday.

Connor will not hear that and score 4 points.

110 points looks good

Bobcaygeon

godot10:
McDavid and Nugent-Hopkins are carrying around an AHL’er/tweener against the toughest opposition, scoring two goals for every one they give up.The AHL’er/tweener is what impacts the possession number.Think what they would do if they had an NHL’er on RW.

McDavid with Nugent-Hopkins > McDavid without Nugent-Hopkins.Took the coach 2.75 seasons, and two lost seasons to figure that out.

Draisaitl gets some competent wingers to play with and looks fine again.Strange how that works.

In here lies the truth…..

Whoever the GM is by the time the draft starts, that GM will have had time to have an honest reflection of the season and the roster…He will have come to the conclusion
There is no way you can have Lucic, Russell and Sekera and those contract on the roster and be a contender for the Stanley Cup.
The Edmonton Oilers have far to many Tweener’s on the roster
The coaches are a problem
Talbot replacement is a must.
If there isn’t at least one elite winger coming in the Oilers are in trouble

dustrock

https://dobberprospects.com/prospect-ramblings-breaking-down-ty-smith-evan-bouchard-noah-dobson/

Just reviewed this on a comp of Bouchard/Dobson/Smith.

I really like Ty Smith a lot, but I’m a touch concerned he’s shooting <3 shots per game and has a shooting percentage of over 13%!!!

Is this luck? Skill? Playing on a good team?

knighttown

Best guesses for the first 7-8 picks:

1. Buffalo- Dahlin

2. Ottawa- Svechnikov
Don’t think they’ll realistically move Karlsson unless they draft #1 OV. They’ll take the best forward as none of Stone, Hoffman or Duchene are necessarily there long term.

3. Arizona- Zadina
I think they look at Hughes here if the plan is to move OEL but they’ve got a sneaky good defense already and probably plan to stick to the plan and add another piece up front.

4. Montreal- Tkachuk
Always looking for that #1C they may go off the board with Joe Veleno from the Q but chances are another team that makes decisions for the wrong reasons grabs Tkachuk here as a replacement for Pacioretty.

5.Detroit- Hughes
No chance the Michigan kid slides past the Wings is there.

6. Vancouver- Boqvist
They’ve got some nice pieces up front already in Boeser, Horvat and Petterson. Juolevi isn’t looking like a legit top pairing guy so Boqvist comes in to a logical spot.

7. Edmonton- Wahlstrom or Bouchard

I have no clue what they’d do here. Do they grab the first shot scorer for Leon or McDavid here or do they look to find that elusive scoring RHD. I think they lean defense.

McSorley33

The won loss record is criminal but the goal differential is impossible. How on earth can a team ice a 106-point impact player and finish dash 33? What on earth are they doing when he’s at rest? Lordy.
******************************************************************************************************************
Pure Gold.

I wonder how many NHL execs thought this might happen when McDavid was gifted to the
famous Katz organization.

We are approaching the 3 year anniversary of when those magic balls fell our way.

knighttown

frjohnk: Connor will not hear that and score 4 points.

110 points looks good

I know. Damn guy doesn’t have an off switch.

godot10

McSorley33:
The won loss record is criminal but the goal differential is impossible. How on earth can a team ice a 106-point impact player and finish dash 33? What on earth are they doing when he’s at rest? Lordy.
******************************************************************************************************************
Pure Gold.

I wonder how many NHL execs thought this might happen when McDavid was gifted to the
famous Katz organization.

We are approaching the 3 year anniversary of when those magic balls fell our way.

Connor is lucky that they won’t/can’t blame him like everyone blamed Hall.

Rondo

knighttown,

Moot point.

If Oilers win tomorrow they will finish either 9th or 10thin my opinion. Meaning they could pick 13th at worst.

9th– 5% chance of winning
10th- 3.5%

McSorley33

knighttown,

I have no clue what they’d do here. Do they grab the first shot scorer for Leon or McDavid here or do they look to find that elusive scoring RHD. I think they lean defense.
**************************************************************************************
I think this is the kind of decision the OIlers will be faced with as well….barring any lottery jumps.

To make up for the Reinhart deal – this org. needs to find a diamond in the 2nd round or 3rd round.

meanashell11

frjohnk: Connor will not hear that and score 4 points.

110 points looks good

I would like him to get 7 goals and the team lose by 1!

russ99

Willis’ article on the Athletic had an interesting point, when Rattie was on McDavid’s line they had 13 goals for and 12 against and an unsustainable 18.6 shooting percentage for with a .872 save percentage.

Is that line sacrificing defense for offense? Especially since the center is usually responsible to be the first forward back to help the defensemen?

Wilde

@Condors

#Oilers 2016 2nd round pick Tyler Benson and 2017 3rd round pick Dmitri Samorukov have joined the team in Winnipeg and will play tonight.

leadfarmer

Wow. Raanta only cost 4 mil per for 3 years. That’s a crazy good contract

Wilde

russ99,

I swear to god every second shift of theirs is a DZFO against a top line where they lose possession and then chase around for minutes at a time, demand Talbot make a save or two, and then promptly go on the rush and outplay the shit out of a top D pairing and score a goal.

Not sure how I feel about it. The list of problems that occur when this team loses a DZ draw is biblical.

Todd Macallan

Currently involved in a mock draft as the Oil, first 4 picks as follows.

7 – Ty Smith
38 – Ty Dellandrea
69 – Cam Hillis
100 – Samuel Fagemo

I think LT’s ranking list must have seeped into my subconscious. Nevertheless I’d be some stoked if the real draft went this way.

Should mention Bouchard, Boqvist and Wahlstrom were already gone by 7, but I have Smith in that group anyway.

frjohnk

russ99:
Willis’ article on the Athletic had an interesting point, when Rattie was on McDavid’s line they had 13 goals for and 12 against and an unsustainable 18.6 shooting percentage for with a .872 save percentage.

Is that line sacrificing defense for offense? Especially since the center is usually responsible to be the first forward back to help the defensemen?

Small sample sizes
Drai-McDavid-Rattie have a .800 save % in 25 minutes
RNH-McDavid-Rattie have .903 save % in 113 minutes
RNH-McDavid W/O Rattie have a .948 save % in 76 minutes

A right winger is not going to sway the save % at all.

Rondo

Todd Macallan,

Oilers win tommorow they probably finish 9th or 10th. Meaning 13th at the worst after the lottery.

Doug McLachlan

leadfarmer:
Wow.Raanta only cost 4 mil per for 3 years. That’s a crazy good contract

The Bobfather has it at an AAV of $4.25M. Nice work by Arizona.

Wilde

frjohnk,

The thing is, their shot/chance stuff is really bad for a 97 line too. And it really matches the eye to be honest… Rattie is not a good zone exit artist. The perfect complement to that line is 98, probably.

That said, our breakout structure just sucks. It’s really, really hard to suss out where the suspect players are in terms of the transition game when the DZ systems play seems to wet-blanket the whole roster.

russ99

Wilde:
russ99,

I swear to god every second shift of theirs is a DZFO against a top line where they lose possession and then chase around for minutes at a time, demand Talbot make a save or two, and then promptly go on the rush and outplay the shit out of a top D pairing and score a goal.

Not sure how I feel about it. The list of problems that occur when this team loses a DZ draw is biblical.

Yeah. That goal scoring is nice but I’d prefer better balance and our forward play when the opponent has the puck leaves a lot to be desired this year, a factor on our fall in the standings this year, especially on the PK.

Defense is a 5-man job, not just for the defenseman or the goalie to always clean up blown coverages and open looks.

Jaxon

I’ve reviewed the highest and lowest rankings of each player by some reputable scouting services since January 9th (ISS, Marek at Sportsnet, Hockey Prospect, Wheeler at The Athletic, McKeen’s Hockey, Cosentino at Sportsnet, Harling at Dobber Prospects, Peters at ESPN, Pronman at The Athletic, Kennedy at The Hockey News, Future Considerations, The Draft ANalyst, and Robinson at Dobber Prospects) . I’ve forced myself to keep each player within that range (gambling on some scout being correct about their potential or their flaws). Then I tried to sort them by team need with this order of preference: RD, C, C/W, W/C, W, LD. Then I went through a few scouting reports for each player. If they mentioned good skating, speed or agility I moved them up, if they didn’t mention skating at all, I left them ranked as is, if they mentioned poor skating or needing improvement I moved them down. This is what I think Edmonton should draft based on where they pick. My list against a consensus list based on those scouts done by “MyNHLDraft”.

#1 – Dahlin
#2 to #3 – Svechnikov (I think Zadina could be the Yakupov/Daigle of this draft)
There is no scenario where Edmonton drafts 4th, 5th, or 6th.
#7 to #10 – Veleno (at least 1 scout had him 4th)
#11 to #13 – Merkley (at least 1 scout had him 6th)

This list drafts BPA (at least according to one reputable scouting service) and considers team need and speed. I don’t think Veleno is a gamble at all. I’ve never seen a negative comment about him and he provides the coach with more flexibility. He has outscored Zadina in the Q since being traded in January. He’s fast, smart, skilled with great vision and a 2-way game in a decent frame. The Oilers are short on C if Nuge or Draisaitl or both play wing. I’m sure Veleno can play wing as well, but it is rare to happen the other way around to have a winger switch to C. Merkley, on the other hand, may be a complete gamble but one that could be absolutely worth it. Many great D had issues in their draft year (Doughty was overweight, Karlsson had “character issues”, Subban had “defensive liabilities”). I think Merkley’s upside may see him as one of the best in this draft. Check out Pronman’s article about him at The Athletic and you might see the value in “gambling” on him anytime after #10. I think Merkley could prove the naysayers wrong in a big big way.

godot10

Wilde:
frjohnk,

The thing is, their shot/chance stuff is really bad for a 97 line too. And it really matches the eye to be honest… Rattie is not a good zone exit artist. The perfect complement to that line is 98, probably.

That said, our breakout structure just sucks. It’s really, really hard to suss out where the suspect players are in terms of the transition game when the DZ systems play seems to wet-blanket the whole roster.

Pairs.

Nugent-Hopkins McDavid
Draisaitl-Puljujarvi

One has to give Draisaitl somebody half decent.

Rattie isn’t good enough for McDavid’s line as a regular. As a sub only. Too bad the Oilers gave up on Pitlick. He would be ideal there. I’d look for a UFA vet on a one-year deal, or a vet in trade with one year left o his contract.

Khaira is probably good enough left wing for Draisaitl-Puljujarvi.

russ99

godot10,

The problem with Khaira – Draisaitl – Puljujari is only one player seems to be able to put the puck in the net with any regularity. We can assume Pulju can get there eventually, but we need more of a sure thing on the left side.

I’d like to see two wingers with shooting acumen acquired, one elite shooter for McDavid and a lesser, less-expensive player for Draisaitl.

I’d like to see the third line become a tough minutes line who can handle shot quality reduction vs. the toughs and hold possession and cycle in the offensive zone chipping in the occasional goal, Winnipeg-style. Khaira is a better fit there, maybe with Lucic if he can get more fit and stop trying to push the skate-pass game and embrace the checker/cycler/net presence that he can be best at.

Winnik is my wish center for that line, Strome doesn’t bring enough to the table in such a role and Winnik could be signed for well under Strome’s $3M QO.

pboy

I really enjoyed the Gene-Spec-Louie segment during the 2nd period intermission. For those that didn’t get a chance to watch it, they explained that Drai needs to take that next step next season, like Malkin did in Pittsburgh where he learns to carry his own line and him and Connor become Crosby & Malkin. At no point did they discuss the quality of wingers on this team or how Chia has bleed talent and offense or paraphrase anything other than Drai needs to step up. I know that Gene is there for comedy relief more than anything else but Louie is paid to be an analyst and Spec is supposed to be a journalist. I generally like the job Louie does and he’s a giant improvement on PvP over Remenda but Oiler’s fans deserve better than Spector.

who

Wilde:
frjohnk,

The thing is, their shot/chance stuff is really bad for a 97 line too. And it really matches the eye to be honest… Rattie is not a good zone exit artist. The perfect complement to that line is 98, probably.

That said, our breakout structure just sucks. It’s really, really hard to suss out where the suspect players are in terms of the transition game when the DZ systems play seems to wet-blanket the whole roster.

My eye sees Rattie good at getting pucks out along the wall.

russ99

pboy:
I really enjoyed the Gene-Spec-Louie segment during the 2nd period intermission. For those that didn’t get a chance to watch it, they explained that Drai needs to take that next step next season, like Malkin did in Pittsburgh where he learns to carry his own line and him and Connor become Crosby & Malkin. At no point did they discuss the quality of wingers on this team or how Chia has bleed talent and offense or paraphrase anything other than Drai needs to step up. I know that Gene is there for comedy relief more than anything else but Louie is paid to be an analyst and Spec is supposed to be a journalist. I generally like the job Louie does and he’s a giant improvement on PvP over Remenda but Oiler’s fans deserve better than Spector.

Would rather see them focus about moving forward from here instead of crying over spilled milk. Been there, done that, ad nauseum.

Ribs

Wilde: The thing is, their shot/chance stuff is really bad for a 97 line too. And it really matches the eye to be honest… Rattie is not a good zone exit artist. The perfect complement to that line is 98, probably.

I was trying to picture Rattie in his own zone in my mind… Couldn’t do it. He has played back behind the Oilers blue line, right? Hah, strange.

who

Wilde:
frjohnk,

The thing is, their shot/chance stuff is really bad for a 97 line too. And it really matches the eye to be honest… Rattie is not a good zone exit artist. The perfect complement to that line is 98, probably.

That said, our breakout structure just sucks. It’s really, really hard to suss out where the suspect players are in terms of the transition game when the DZ systems play seems to wet-blanket the whole roster.

I think it’s way too small a sample size to read much into this lines zone exits or corsi.
Mcdavids line has had issues with getting hemmed in their zone all year. A lot of that is on Mcdavid. He is very soft in coverage down low and tends to just float around the zone looking for a loose puck.
He is very good at jumping on those loose pucks and does create instant offense from them. But he doesn’t separate his man from the puck very often in the dzone. His line really struggles to break up a cycle.

Wilde

russ99,

I’m pretty sure they would be perfectly rounded out by the best zone-exit RW on the team, Jesse Puljujarvi.

He also has the lowest rate of goals against as McDavid’s RW.

But that is the exact opposite thing to do in face of the cap.

Another reason to bridge Nurse.

pboy

russ99,

Don’t you think that by looking back at the decisions this management group has made already it gives you an idea of how they will proceed in the future? Are you happy with the moves Chia has made so far? Do you trust him to win some trades to balance the team? Those are pretty fair points and the MSM in this town are either to ignorant, to protective of their access or to incompetent to do their jobs. IMO, they way the MSM is in lockstep with Katz and his management team is one of the reasons that the Oilers are where they are. I don’t include folks like LT, Gregor, Brownlee or some others in that blanket MSM, there are some excellent people with a voice in Edmonton but I think most of them are to afraid to ask the questions they would really like because they are afraid their access to the team will be taken away.

JimmyV1965

Jaxon:
I’ve reviewed the highest and lowest rankings of each player by some reputable scouting services since January 9th (ISS, Marek at Sportsnet, Hockey Prospect, Wheeler at The Athletic, McKeen’s Hockey, Cosentino at Sportsnet, Harling at Dobber Prospects, Peters at ESPN, Pronman at The Athletic, Kennedy at The Hockey News, Future Considerations, The Draft ANalyst, and Robinson at Dobber Prospects) . I’ve forced myself to keep each player within that range (gambling on some scout being correct about their potential or their flaws). Then I tried to sort them by team need with this order of preference: RD, C, C/W, W/C, W, LD. Then I went through a few scouting reports for each player. If they mentioned good skating, speed or agility I moved them up, if they didn’t mention skating at all, I left them ranked as is, if they mentioned poor skating or needing improvement I moved them down.This is what I think Edmonton should draft based on where they pick. My list against a consensus list based on those scouts done by “MyNHLDraft”.

#1 – Dahlin
#2 to #3 – Svechnikov (I think Zadina could be the Yakupov/Daigle of this draft)
There is no scenario where Edmonton drafts 4th, 5th, or 6th.
#7 to #10 – Veleno (at least 1 scout had him 4th)
#11 to #13 – Merkley (at least 1 scout had him 6th)

This list drafts BPA (at least according to one reputable scouting service) and considers team need and speed. I don’t think Veleno is a gamble at all. I’ve never seen a negative comment about him and he provides the coach with more flexibility. He has outscored Zadina in the Q since being traded in January. He’s fast, smart, skilled with great vision and a 2-way game in a decent frame. The Oilers are short on C if Nuge or Draisaitl or both play wing. I’m sure Veleno can play wing as well, but it is rare to happen the other way around to have a winger switch to C. Merkley, on the other hand, may be a complete gamble but one that could be absolutely worth it. Many great D had issues in their draft year (Doughty was overweight, Karlsson had “character issues”, Subban had “defensive liabilities”). I think Merkley’s upside may see him as one of the best in this draft. Check out Pronman’s article about him at The Athletic and you might see the value in “gambling” on him anytime after #10. I think Merkley could prove the naysayers wrong in a big big way.

I would trade down before drafting Merkley #10. You can still likely get him mid 20s.

ArmchairGM

I agree that Rattie deserves to be given reps with McNuge in the fall (if he re-signs), but I’d also like to see Kassian get some, too. He could bring some of what Maroon did to the McDavid line, but with more speed. Although I’m enjoying the current run of the 1-line, the possession numbers are worrisome, and a skill-set like Zack’s could be a boon here.

Also, I wish there were more games left now to test the new 2-line, but early returns are good.

Lucic – Strome seems to be a useful pair on the third line, providing they both return next year. Hopefully they can shelter Yamamoto.

So we need a 4-line, probably the easiest things to find in professional hockey.

Wilde

who: I think it’s way too small a sample size to read much into this lines zone exits or corsi.
Mcdavids line has had issues with getting hemmed in their zone all year. A lot of that is on Mcdavid. He is very soft in coverage down low and tends to just float around the zone looking for a loose puck.
He is very good at jumping on those loose pucks and does create instant offense from them.But he doesn’t separate his man from the puck very often in the dzone. His line really struggles to break up a cycle.

I should clarifiy, I am absolutely not basing my assertion that Rattie doesn’t facilitate zone-exits well in any stats or anything besides my subjective opinion.

I do know that 97’s line is always vulnerable to getting hemmed in(partially because he plays/slays nightmare comp every shift), but with this particular set of players I seem to notice it’s almost always Nuge and not Rattie who breaks up the play.

As stated in another post about this line, it’s also just that the DZFOL structure/exectution is Benny-Hill worthy no matter who’s on the ice.

As always, I’d say keep them together until the numbers start to rhyme, whichever way they do.

If it’s the goal share that chases the shot share, I won’t be terribly surprised and I’ll also have the zone-exit play on my short list of suspects.

Oilin4

To solidify the draft position and to make the point about the roster he was given this year, McClellan should sit McDavid Saturday.

Doug McLachlan

dustrock,

I have been high on Bouchard but would be pleased with any of the three. Need to continue to and top end talent.

Woogie63

I have often wondered if Kassian could play RD? Burns and Buff started as forwards and have made the transition.

russ99

Wilde:
russ99,

I’m pretty sure they would be perfectly rounded out by the best zone-exit RW on the team, Jesse Puljujarvi.

He also has the lowest rate of goals against as McDavid’s RW.

But that is the exact opposite thing to do in face of the cap.

Another reason to bridge Nurse.

While our zone exit game is pretty sad, I put more value on shot quality reduction when the opponent has the puck. The opposition could have multiple quality scoring chances well before we re-acquire.

Turnovers on exit passes are moments that look bad, but in the grand scheme, this is less of an issue than frequently letting the opposition get clear looks in on the goaltender due to breakdowns, bad assignments or blown coverage/missed switches.

godot10

I think the RW (or one of them) that the Oilers should target in the off-season is Tobias Rieder.

One could then experiment with him and Puljujarvi as to whom works better with McDavid/Nugent-Hopkins and who works better with Draisaitl/Khaira.

Rieder and Nugent-Hopkins would be the reliable wingers who could compensate for McDavid in the defensive zone.

Doug McLachlan

godot10:
I think the RW (or one of them) that the Oilers should target in the off-season is Tobias Rieder.

One could then experiment with him and Puljujarvi as to whom works better with McDavid/Nugent-Hopkins and who works better with Draisaitl/Khaira.

Rieder and Nugent-Hopkins would be the reliable wingers who could compensate for McDavid in the defensive zone.

I like this idea.

He’s an RFA, right?

who

Woogie63:
I have often wondered if Kassian could play RD?Burns and Buff started as forwards and have made the transition.

Burns and Buff were dmen in junior and maybe early in their pro careers. They were then played at forward for a year or two before converting back to defense.
HUGE difference between their situations and converting Kassian into a dman at age 27. I bet Kassian hasn’t played defense since PeeWee, if he ever did.
Pretty big reach to think that this would even have a chance at being successful.

Jaxon

JimmyV1965: I would trade down before drafting Merkley #10. You can still likely get him mid 20s.

I wouldn’t be so sure. If a team is happy with his interview and likes his potential they may not risk waiting and missing him. Also, as mentioned, he has been ranked as high as #6. I was recently reading how Gostisbehere was a reach where he was taken as he was ranked lower by most scouts. Flyers may have missed out on him had they waited to take him closer to where he was ranked. Of the 14 scouting lists used at MyNHLDraft, 2 had Merkley at #6, and 2 had him at #12. I think if you’re drafting at #10,#11,#12 or #13 you take a chance as almost everybody taken at that stage is a bit of a gamble or has some flaw. I’d gamble on the fast one with the biggest offensive upside, who fills a need, which I believe is RHD Merkley.

ashley

Even at 7, it’s very unlikely that there is anyone in the draft that can help next season and perhaps not even the season after that. If a dman is taken, it could be several years from now.

There is a better than average chance that the player drafted will never play top 6 F or top 4 D, and if luck is poor, he may not have much of an NHL career at all (20%).

At the draft we get a project and hope for the best. If the roster needs improvement, it must come from elsewhere.

Prospects are important, but with McDavid in his prime, the Oilers may want to think more present tense.

Rondo

Jaxon,

Rather have Bode Wilde a real defenseman.

Woodguy v2.0

pboy:
I really enjoyed the Gene-Spec-Louie segment during the 2nd period intermission. For those that didn’t get a chance to watch it, they explained that Drai needs to take that next step next season, like Malkin did in Pittsburgh where he learns to carry his own line and him and Connor become Crosby & Malkin. At no point did they discuss the quality of wingers on this team or how Chia has bleed talent and offense or paraphrase anything other than Drai needs to step up. I know that Gene is there for comedy relief more than anything else but Louie is paid to be an analyst and Spec is supposed to be a journalist. I generally like the job Louie does and he’s a giant improvement on PvP over Remenda but Oiler’s fans deserve better than Spector.

The best players are always the issue.