Caught a train from Alexandria

by Lowetide

The Edmonton Oilers signed Tyler Vesel on Monday, he represents a successful “draft and follow” and I think some proof that analytics can find you useful talent. He was chosen in the sixth round (No. 153 overall) in the 2014 entry draft. Only two players—Kevin Lebanc and Ondrej Kase—have played over 100 NHL games among those drafted after Vesel. He is the third Oilers pick (Leon Draisaitl, William Lagesson) to sign an NHL deal, and probably (Zach Nagelvoort, Liam Coughlin, Keven Bouchard) the last. Was this an astute signing?

THE ATHLETIC!

Great playoff special! Try The Athletic on for size free and see if they enjoy the in-depth, ad-free coverage on the site. Offer is here.

NHLE (FORWARDS)

I did not have Tyler Vesel among my Top 20 Prospects during the winter but he has talent (as shown in the NHLE for forwards). For me, everyone from Benson up has a chance to play in the NHL (mostly in a secondary offensive role) and Vesey is in that group. He’ll help a solid group that may include Kailer Yamamoto, Cooper Marody, Cameron Hebig and Tyler Benson.

NEW 50-MAN

The team will have 20 forwards (above) playing pro hockey in Edmonton, Bakersfield and Wichita. The roster as you see it doesn’t represent lines, or a depth chart, but I will say the NHL players are at the top of each position. Here’s my shot at the opening night lineup for Edmonton and Bakersfield (with the understanding there are moves ahead):

  • Ryan Nugent-Hopkins—Connor McDavid—Ty Rattie
  • Milan Lucic—Leon Draisaitl—Pontus Aberg
  • Jujhar Khaira—Ryan Strome—Jesse Puljujarvi
  • Drake Caggiula—Brad Malone—Zack Kassian
  • Oscar Klefbom—Adam Larsson
  • Andrej Sekera—Kris Russell
  • Darnell Nurse—Matt Benning
  • Cam Talbot (Mikko Koskinen)
  • Joe Gambardella—Cooper Marody—Kailer Yamamoto
  • Tyler Benson—Cameron Hebig—Tyler Vesel
  • ???—Colin Larkin—Mitch Callahan
  • Ryan Stanton—Ethan Bear
  • Caleb Jones—Eric Gryba
  • William Lagesson-Ryan Mantha
  • Al Montoya (Shane Starrett)

MORE ABOUT VESEL

Vesel’s career is similar offensively to Nic Dowd, who is a bigger player and a depth checker in the NHL. I think that’s probably Vesel’s future (if he has one) even considering those early AHL games mentioned above. I’m going to write an item this weekend for The Athletic on draft and follow types, I think analytics may have contributed to this selection.

THE 2014 DRAFT

Vesel is the third signing from the draft, Leon Draisaitl was the first-round selection followed by William Lagesson in the fourth round. To give you an idea about just how much harm trading away picks in 2014 and 2015 has caused the depth chart, here’s how the draft looks with no traded selections.

  • No. 3 overall C Leon Draisaitl
  • No. 33 overall C Ivan Barbashev (part of David Perron trade)
  • No. 63 overall C Dominic Turgeon (part of Ben Scrivens deal)
  • No. 93 overall R Nick Magyar (Mike Brown)
  • No. 123 overall LD Matthew Berkovitz (Viktor Fasth)
  • No. 153 overall RC Tyler Vesel
  • No. 183 overall G Keven Bouchard

That’s a pretty good draft list, except the heart of the order was ripped away because the organization wanted immediate help. We’ve talked about this before but 2015 was even more devastating.

THE SUMMER

In early April I wrote about an ideal summer for the Oilers at The Athletic.

  • Oilers management doesn’t have $8-million in walking around money this summer, so they have to be innovative and make some smaller bets. I count the main issues as a scoring winger for Draisaitl’s line and backup goaltender (we’ll call him 1B). I know the Oilers are going to push hard for a righty blue who can help on the power play, but for me that’s a luxury the club can’t afford.
  • Milan Lucic—Leon Draisaitl—Pontus Aberg

The No. 2 right-winger is a bigger need than replacing Kris Russell as No. 2 RD. That’s a fact. I’m watching Aaron Ekblad hammer Connor McDavid shots into twine at the World Hockey Championships so get the idea of a hammer from the point. It’s a very small pool of talent that qualifies for that role and Ethan Bear might fill it a year from now. How much are you willing to spend on Ryan Pulock?

THE LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE

A full boat this morning, big brains and big fan starting at 10, TSN1260. Scheduled to appear:

  • Bruce McCurdy, Cult of Hockey. Aaron Ekblad isn’t coming to Edmonton, so should the Oilers pursue a Pulock even if it means another overpay? Or keep their powder dry?
  • Andrew Stoeten, The Athletic Toronto. It has been a devastating 24 hours for the Blue Jays.
  • Eric Koreen, The Athletic Toronto. The Raptors brilliant season met a sudden end and it sounds like head coach Dwane Casey may not return.
  • Murat Ates, The Athletic Winnipeg. Showerhead makes his Lowdown debut! Big brain, good fellow.

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

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Jethro Tull: No, i think it’s a fair question.A “a myopic mistake by the Alberta organizations that fails to consider what their fans really want.”

You cited your source in the touney’s organizers, but what do Flames and Oilers fans really want? Do you know?Was there a poll? Some will want to stay in the Okanagan,but that’s just not practical for a lot of hockey starved fans who can’t afford the time or money to go see their prospects play.

Red Deer is a smart choice.The Jets absolutely have the right to stay in the Penticton tourney.Equally, they have the right to go to one in the Sahara desert if they so chose.Their prerogative.

You’re an international jet-setter – travel is no object for you.But I just might be able to go watch a game in Central Alberta whilst keeping costs down.You don’t like it.That’s cool.But judging by your reaction, I don’t think I’m the one stretching anything.

A few things: no Red Deer announcement yet. So one possibility is no Young Stars at all. Is that better than Penticton?

If they have a watered down ‘Young Stars’ where it is Flames vs Oil every year, is that also what you want? In a McDavid year, maybe, but fans miss out on the likes of Laine, Ehlers, Morrissey, Petterson, Boeser etc.

It was a very well run tournament and tickets are very affordable. It’s a nice drive out there, so you wouldn’t have to ay for a flight, but not day-trippable like Red Deer or somewhere like that would be for a Flames or Oilers fan based in Edmlnton or Calgary, so you have a point there.

The Jets can do whatever they want. Never said otherwise. So, too can the Oilers and Flames. They don’t need anyone’s input.

If they want to have a 2 game mini camp between their prospects that’s up to them to do, but there has been a ‘why do the Canucks get to have it in BC’ bitterness over what is a well run event that has been gaining a lot of traction and fans over 8 years. It’s becoming something a lot of folks circle on their calendar in September. So that’s where the blindness to what they have created comes in.

You prefer Red Deer–fine. But a 2-team mini camp is just another ho-hum thing–they have rookie camp for that already, remember? Why do they need another? To pocket more money for themselves?

If you would rather have that, no problem.

A simple– some fans, including me prefer a mini camp in Red Deer or no tournament participation at all would bave probably sufficed. Instead it’s trying to make me look like a privileged jet-setter out of touch with reality. I don’t judge you, Jethro, and did not think you were the type to do the same. I make next to nothing, but I find ways to incorporate travel into what I do. Many folks do the same. In Penticton I stayed with a friend. I spent 250 dollars on flights and 150 bucks on a tournament pass. I photographed and wrote for Bruce, so I could write off my costs as a business expense at least.

But you’d rather paint me with a different brush because it is easier. It’s lazy. You’d rather say I am rich and not taking into account what hockey starved poor folks can pay.

What is rookie camp for then? The Young Stars was a separate event, with a very different purpose.

I am hockey starved, too. That’s not a privilege reserved for people in Alberta.

But make it personal, why don’t you, while my only ire was directed at the franchises.

So I should have added “many” in front of “fans.” Evidently I should have said “rich jet-setter fans.”

Sheesh.

Jethro Tull

NYC-Back-to-Tokyo Oil (Gentleman Backpacker): Don’t hurt yourself stretching that far.

No, i think it’s a fair question. A “a myopic mistake by the Alberta organizations that fails to consider what their fans really want.”

You cited your source in the touney’s organizers, but what do Flames and Oilers fans really want? Do you know? Was there a poll? Some will want to stay in the Okanagan, but that’s just not practical for a lot of hockey starved fans who can’t afford the time or money to go see their prospects play.

Red Deer is a smart choice. The Jets absolutely have the right to stay in the Penticton tourney. Equally, they have the right to go to one in the Sahara desert if they so chose. Their prerogative.

You’re an international jet-setter – travel is no object for you. But I just might be able to go watch a game in Central Alberta whilst keeping costs down. You don’t like it. That’s cool. But judging by your reaction, I don’t think I’m the one stretching anything.

VOR

sliderule:
VOR,

Merkley is a fine skater but eye test scouting reports are over the top in assessment

Both Dobson and Smith tested better in on ice testing at top prospect game .

Dobson and Smith even outperformed the forwards in several areas

I am in a potential conflict with a clients’ interests.

I will say this “skating” is a complex skill consisting of many component skills. For hockey what matters is your ability to deploy those skills on an as needed basis during game play. To me an elite skater is one who possesses all the component skills and performs them all at an elite level in all game states. The eye test is much better at detecting that than any artificial non-game test.

Smith and Dobson are in my view and by this definition elite skaters. I have seen them good. Others have seen them good and they tested very well.

However, there is elite and then there is exceptional.

There are two guys in this draft who numerous sources struggle to describe their skating as seen in real time. They default to terms like otherworldly and ridiculous comparisons like Orr and Coffey. Ryan Merkley is one of them, Rasmus Dahlen is the other.

If it was 1 or 2 people saying these kids have “wow” level skating I would go with the test results. But as you point out yourself it isn’t. And all those comments are based on in game observations.

Until such time as their is reliable software for measuring and analyzing skating during game play (and believe me it is coming) we are left deciding which we trust more, the one-off tests with zero significance statistically or the extremely unreliable eye tests out sourced to crowds or experts.

Interestingly more and more teams are putting prospects through extensive batteries of skating tests/drills designed to measure all the components of skating skill. Why the combine doesn’t is beyond me. Yes, these tests are still just a proxy of the real thing (and possibly a poor one at that) but they would surely be better than the current state of affairs.

sliderule

VOR,

Merkley is a fine skater but eye test scouting reports are over the top in assessment

Both Dobson and Smith tested better in on ice testing at top prospect game .

Dobson and Smith even outperformed the forwards in several areas

OriginalPouzar

Stuart Skinner with a 33 save shutout as the Broncos win 1-0 and take a 3-1 series lead – WOW!

Oooops – guess I’m late to this party – that’s what happens when you wake up at 2:30am so need to go to bed before 10.

Jethro Tull: And your source for what all Flames and Oilers fans want?

Don’t hurt yourself stretching that far.

SwedishPoster

VOR,

Merkley sounds like one of those rare cases where it’s beneficial to rush him to the pros. Surround him with grown ups and guys who are actually more talented than him, guys he might respect. These guys usually needs to be challenged to develop their play. Having him dominating juniors could potentially stall him.

€√¥£€^$

Wilde,

I always enjoy your posts!

I like Matt Peca as a 4C target, quite a play maker, lots of speed and great on the dot. Might mesh well with shooters on his wings.

I am not onboard with JJ as a C, especially not 3C.

I would be onboard to move Strome for Pageau, wonder if Ottawa would do this trade…

I think, as mentioned in this thread the glaring weakness of this roster is the lack of puck moving D. I would be onboard with moving Nurse, despite his toolkit. Nurse for Hanifin perhaps?
– Heard rumblings of the team not happy with Hanifin and also wanting to add toughness…thoughts?

Then Russell + Benning + 3rd for Tanev + Goldobin yeah?
Doubtful, I know Tanev is valued, not sure how Goldobin is viewed by Van.

3rd RHD 1 of Folin or Pateryn 4 RHD 1 of Sproul/Redmond/Wiseman

Ribs

Hard not to get excited about Skinner’s run here. Really hoping there is something to it! I’d really like to remember this Oilers season as the one where McDavid won his second scoring title and Skinner started his ascension to franchise goalie (and forget everything else).

--hudson--

Wilde:
Not the most impressive show of goaltending tonight though, because Alex Lyon has 78 saves on 79 shots so far in a quadruple overtime AHL game.

e: 88 in 89, 5th OT ahead.

Mike Krushelnyski’s kid with the OT winner for the Phantoms.

Wilde

Not the most impressive show of goaltending tonight though, because Alex Lyon has 78 saves on 79 shots so far in a quadruple overtime AHL game.

e: 88 in 89, 5th OT ahead.

Wilde

Lowetide,

5th shutout of the playoffs for Skinner

Scungilli Slushy

I’ve advocated for some extreme trade ideas this year and before, based on the draft.

The reason is that top players are rare. I would happily trade 3 good players for one top player.

Good players are obtainable, top players aren’t once established very easily.

This year we have the top two draft picks residing with teams under new or newish ownership in weak markets under financial pressure as I see it. The Oilers haven’t been under financial pressure like this for a long time.

I would give up a lot, making a deal that is helpful to them by filling their roster with good players in a hurry advancing their cause quickly helping their cash position, while receiving a potentially elite but at least good player in return.

This draft has two cracking players in it. Maybe more but two are pretty certain.

If Burke did it why not again? Maybe they should hire him to negotiate it.

leadfarmer

rickithebear:
Adam Larson playing 1 sr comp min took NJD to a cup final.
Adam Larson playing 1st comp min got oilers to playoffs since 05-06
When Spacek was our HD anchor.

In 16-17 Sekera – Russel were the 2nd best 2nd comp d pair in hockey.

This year we learned a coach running a perimeter pressure system can fuck up
The def affect oftop 5 HD dman and a top 10 HD dpair.

Nurse a bottom 5 HD dman his whole career is showing what he is when he staples to HD area.
Like WJC and current WHC.

XXX – Larson
Sekera – Russell
Nurse – xxx
Benning

I want to make playoffs again.

Having Russell as your second pairing D means you are not making playoffs again. Only reason it worked last year cause Sekera was able to polish that turd. Game has only moved away from Russell’s strengths and hopefully Sekera can regain his form.
Russell is a third pairing D that can fill in higher in the batting order for periods of time. We are not strong enough at forward to compensate for a poor 2nd pairing D

Scungilli Slushy

VOR: Most mock drafts, prospect rankings, and talking heads have him going from 20-31. The highest I have read is 11 and the lowest is 42. If I recall correctly the 11 is from Bob MacKenzie.

The kid is carrying serious baggage. And a lot of that baggage is unsourced gossip.

What we know is this:

-Ryan Merkley is a truly extraordinary skater. He and Dahlen share an ability to float across the ice at incredible speeds.

-Ryan Merkley is virtually impossible to forecheck. He can skate the puck out but is an incredible passer. This is not a kid who has ever heard of off the glass and out. (Actually this is one of many things he has “fought” with his coaches about. They think he forces offence rather than making the simple play). In any case he can execute the home run, breakaway-creating pass with ease.

-Ryan Merkley can quarterback a power play like nobody else in this draft,probably in a number of drafts. He dances down the blue line like Nick Lidstrom changing angles at astonishing speed. He possesses a plus shot, or rather a bunch of them, slap shot, wrist shot, snap shot, change of pace knuckler, he has a range of weapons and tricky releases for all of them. But mostly he sees the open man before the man comes open and can thread a pass through the eye of a needle.

There is a consensus among scouts I’ve talked with (and a number have said this publicly) that he thinks the game better than anybody but Dahlen and possibly than Dahlen.

The comparable used is usually Ryan Ellis. And then the scouts pause and say, “except Merley is a better skater”. Then they add. “He also thinks the game better.”

High praise indeed.

So a top ten pick at least.

If it wasn’t for the defence thing. How high Merkley will go will depend which narrative you choose to believe best explains his atrocious defensive performance.

Option 1. As well as he thinks the game on offence he has just never learned how to play defence. His coach says Merkley is working hard on it and getting better.

Option 2. Merkley thinks the game on defence every bit as well as on offence but just doesn’t give a shit about even trying to play defence. In fact, the kid has a shitty work ethic all over the ice, it is just worst when he doesn’t have the puck.

If you believe the first option Merkley is probably a top ten pick. If you believe the second he is likely a mid second round project.

Then we get to the baggage part of the equation. We know the kid has a very thin skin. He gets hooked and slashed a lot. Shades of Connor McDavid for some of the same reasons. But he is undisciplined and retaliates and those retaliatory penalties are getting more obvious and more vicious. It culminated in a two handed hatchet job that was an very obvious attempt to injure.

Next we have scouts, normally as tight lipped a group as you will ever meet, saying in public that the kid comes across as temperamental and very high maintenance.

Then there is the unsourced shit, like that he has come to blows with two different teammates, that in fact his teammates very actively dislike him. Plus there are stories of him refusing to talk to or even listen to his coach. And I could go on and on.

The thing is there is no over arching narrative that explains the on and off ice behaviour.

Hockey culture has a well earned reputation for being tough on outliers. And Ryan Merkley is temperamental, thin skinned, super smart, and incredibly gifted. And whatever else we can say it seems certain Ryan Merkley is the silent stoic heroic figure hockey culture idolizes.

I am betting he falls far further than the end of the first round. Yes it only takes 1 team to be prepared to take a chance. I am just guessing that none does.

Nice comment. If due diligence is done, as in looking at his family background and it’s not full of red flags like O’Sullivan’s was you take the first reasonable shot.

Most high end players are ‘out there’, that is what makes them different, and why McDavid is such a gift because he’s so well adjusted.

Although I worry about him because he is so intense. They really need to get things in order, people like that need to move forward always or can become bitter.

flea

Thanks for the kind words. I have two little girls under 5, one of my biggest fears is having something happen to me when they are still so young.

smellyglove

Tyler Vesel:

2016-2017: NCAA (NCHC) Sportsmanship Award
2017-2018: NCAA (NCHC) Scholar-Athlete of the Year

Looks like he earned that Sportsmanship Award: 150 NCAA games and only 15 penalty minutes!

rickithebear

Yes LT
I did get the Gary Carter perm!

rickithebear

CA corrected for
A. forward turnover affect,
B. Forward non NZ trap.
C. ZS FO affect
D. ZS bench affect.

Leaves vary little CA dictated by dmen.

But please someone explain to me how Russell’s CA is dictated by him.

I am fucking giddy with anticipation for reasons presented with the play mechanics I have left to explain this.

Let the circus begin!

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=slMub4NtrSk

rickithebear

3% corsi compared to the reduction of CA by coaches ZS FO decisions which can be +/- 12-13 corsi against.
13/50 = 26%
Have seen as high as 13/44 = 29.5%

That does not include the CA affect of a coaches ZS bench decision to send a player on with or without pocession.

3% corsi variance of what corsi count
40 corsi x .03 = 1.2 corsi
45 corsi = 1.35 corsi
50 corsi = 1.5corsi
55corsi = 1.65 corsi
60 corsi = 1.8 corsi
3% corsi % spread over standard 40-60 corsi range can have on error factor of +/- 20%

LMHF#1

VOR,

I like this kid – the stories would likely increase the odds of me taking him with that stat line.

Always trying to bring the different ones down. And one of my favorite Oilers was Joni Pitkanen.

Wilde

JimmyV1965,

Debrincat, they were linemates in Erie

Jethro Tull

NYC-Back-to-Tokyo Oil (Gentleman Backpacker):
So it seems the Oilers and Flames have indeed decided not to do Penticton this year, allegedly because they thought the tournament should rotate into Red Deer.

This ignores that Penticton is almost halfway between Calgary and Vancouver, and that many Albertans vacation in Penticton, which has a nice resort feel to it that is less pronounced in Red Deer.

Penticton will now consist of the Canucks, U of A, UBC and the Jets, who evidently would rather go to the Okanagan than the rival tournament put on by Calgary and Edmonton.

Rumours about this were swirling a few months back. But what a shame. I really think this is a myopic mistake by the Alberta organizations that fails to consider what their fans really want.

I flew up from Tucson to Penticton for Young Stars 2 years ago and loved it. Was considering flying from Tokyo this year or next as well. But I won’t be doing that now. But I am just a 2nd tier fan.

PS. My source is an organizer of the tournament.

And your source for what all Flames and Oilers fans want?

Wilde

VOR,

I’m torn.

I’m pro-Merkley, and I view any team with him on their no-draft as defeatists of their own developmental system.

But… I feel that weak way about the Oilers group.

rickithebear

Adam Larson playing 1 sr comp min took NJD to a cup final.
Adam Larson playing 1st comp min got oilers to playoffs since 05-06
When Spacek was our HD anchor.

In 16-17 Sekera – Russel were the 2nd best 2nd comp d pair in hockey.

This year we learned a coach running a perimeter pressure system can fuck up
The def affect of top 5 HD dman and a top 10 HD dpair.

Nurse a bottom 5 HD dman his whole career is showing what he is when he staples to HD area.
Like WJC and current WHC.

XXX – Larson
Sekera – Russell
Nurse – xxx
Benning

I want to make playoffs again.

JimmyV1965

McSorley33:
Oilman99,

Please note the Oilers have been one of the worst teams in the NHL.

Random chance or gross mismanagement?

Some McDavid fellow had some really, really interesting things to say about Alex.

But, Oiler management knows better, right?

Alex who? And what did McDavid say)

who

Wonder Llama:
IMO the first thing in training camp the coaching staff should find out who among Sekera, Nurse, or Klefbom is most comfortable and effective playing on the right side.

Russell can play 3LD. I’d anticipate:

Klefbom – Llarsson
Nurse – Sekera
Russel – Benning

I just don’t think there is cap room to do much back there. Maybe pick up some cheap depth. If PC can trade Klefbom for the equivalent RHD with as nice a contract, fine. I’ve llittle to no faith in that scenario, though.

We wait for Bear, Jones, et al.

I agree. On everything above.

jtblack

flea,

Sorry to hear Flea.

Crazy Pedestrian

NYC-Back-to-Tokyo Oil (Gentleman Backpacker):
So it seems the Oilers and Flames have indeed decided not to do Penticton this year, allegedly because they thought the tournament should rotate into Red Deer.

This ignores that Penticton is almost halfway between Calgary and Vancouver, and that many Albertans vacation in Penticton, which has a nice resort feel to it that is less pronounced in Red Deer.

Penticton will now consist of the Canucks, U of A, UBC and the Jets, who evidently would rather go to the Okanagan than the rival tournament put on by Calgary and Edmonton.

Rumours about this were swirling a few months back. But what a shame. I really think this is a myopic mistake by the Alberta organizations that fails to consider what their fans really want.

I flew up from Tucson to Penticton for Young Stars 2 years ago and loved it. Was considering flying from Tokyo this year or next as well. But I won’t be doing that now. But I am just a 2nd tier fan.

PS. My source is an organizer of the tournament.

Just pulling at straws here, but do you think that the whole Trans-Mountain pipeline issue has influenced their decision in any way?

VOR

stevebergeron97:
Just curious how far Merkley will fall this year? I can’t stop watching highlights of him running a PP. I know everyone is concerned with his “character” issues off the ice, and his play in the defensive zone. How can you pass up an elite offensive talent like that?

Most mock drafts, prospect rankings, and talking heads have him going from 20-31. The highest I have read is 11 and the lowest is 42. If I recall correctly the 11 is from Bob MacKenzie.

The kid is carrying serious baggage. And a lot of that baggage is unsourced gossip.

What we know is this:

-Ryan Merkley is a truly extraordinary skater. He and Dahlen share an ability to float across the ice at incredible speeds.

-Ryan Merkley is virtually impossible to forecheck. He can skate the puck out but is an incredible passer. This is not a kid who has ever heard of off the glass and out. (Actually this is one of many things he has “fought” with his coaches about. They think he forces offence rather than making the simple play). In any case he can execute the home run, breakaway-creating pass with ease.

-Ryan Merkley can quarterback a power play like nobody else in this draft, probably in a number of drafts. He dances down the blue line like Nick Lidstrom changing angles at astonishing speed. He possesses a plus shot, or rather a bunch of them, slap shot, wrist shot, snap shot, change of pace knuckler, he has a range of weapons and tricky releases for all of them. But mostly he sees the open man before the man comes open and can thread a pass through the eye of a needle.

There is a consensus among scouts I’ve talked with (and a number have said this publicly) that he thinks the game better than anybody but Dahlen and possibly than Dahlen.

The comparable used is usually Ryan Ellis. And then the scouts pause and say, “except Merley is a better skater”. Then they add. “He also thinks the game better.”

High praise indeed.

So a top ten pick at least.

If it wasn’t for the defence thing. How high Merkley will go will depend which narrative you choose to believe best explains his atrocious defensive performance.

Option 1. As well as he thinks the game on offence he has just never learned how to play defence. His coach says Merkley is working hard on it and getting better.

Option 2. Merkley thinks the game on defence every bit as well as on offence but just doesn’t give a shit about even trying to play defence. In fact, the kid has a shitty work ethic all over the ice, it is just worst when he doesn’t have the puck.

If you believe the first option Merkley is probably a top ten pick. If you believe the second he is likely a mid second round project.

Then we get to the baggage part of the equation. We know the kid has a very thin skin. He gets hooked and slashed a lot. Shades of Connor McDavid for some of the same reasons. But he is undisciplined and retaliates and those retaliatory penalties are getting more obvious and more vicious. It culminated in a two handed hatchet job that was an very obvious attempt to injure.

Next we have scouts, normally as tight lipped a group as you will ever meet, saying in public that the kid comes across as temperamental and very high maintenance.

Then there is the unsourced shit, like that he has come to blows with two different teammates, that in fact his teammates very actively dislike him. Plus there are stories of him refusing to talk to or even listen to his coach. And I could go on and on.

The thing is there is no over arching narrative that explains the on and off ice behaviour.

Hockey culture has a well earned reputation for being tough on outliers. And Ryan Merkley is temperamental, thin skinned, super smart, and incredibly gifted. And whatever else we can say it seems certain Ryan Merkley is the silent stoic heroic figure hockey culture idolizes.

I am betting he falls far further than the end of the first round. Yes it only takes 1 team to be prepared to take a chance. I am just guessing that none does.

Scungilli Slushy

McSorley33:
Oilman99,

Please note the Oilers have been one of the worst teams in the NHL.

Random chance or gross mismanagement?

Some McDavid fellow had some really, really interesting things to say about Alex.

But, Oiler management knows better, right?

I didn’t see this, when?

LMHF#1

McSorley33:
Oilman99,

Please note the Oilers have been one of the worst teams in the NHL.

Random chance or gross mismanagement?

Some McDavid fellow had some really, really interesting things to say about Alex.

But, Oiler management knows better, right?

Another firing offence racked up with no accountability.

If McDavid said anything other than “I hate him – don’t pick him.” The pick was obvious. With an endorsement not taking him was utter madness and is only getting worse.

McSorley33

OriginalPouzar,

I am on your page….good post.

Our D transition was/is a nightmare……

A puck moving RD unlocks Connor and Drai….

McSorley33

Oilman99,

Please note the Oilers have been one of the worst teams in the NHL.

Random chance or gross mismanagement?

Some McDavid fellow had some really, really interesting things to say about Alex.

But, Oiler management knows better, right?

LMHF#1

Interesting seeing the Brindamour talk earlier today.

The Yankees didn’t bring back Joe Girardi after being one game from the WS. Aaron Boone had never been a manager before. Both decisions looking rather good so far. And the logic letting Girardi go was sound.

I can only imagine the howls around here if the Oilers did something similar. Instead stagnancy and mediocrity gets defended to the death by the org, commentators and many posters as well.

Rocknrolla: JUST BRUTAL!

My brother and I have done this as a boys trip the last 4 years in a row…such a great time, and very reasonable price wise.Another great OEG decision!

So are they doing it in red deer with just Calgary and Edmonton?

Dunno if they are going to do one or not this year. Calgary going to China and Oilers to Europe, as Munny pointed out.

But the Alberta teams, especially Calgary, have been trying to have the tournament location rotate into Alberta for years.

Wilde

pts2pndr,

How have you determined that the top 100 prospects list referenced is both A) from the mainstream media and B) anti-Oiler? Are you familiar with the article or the author?

Rocknrolla

NYC-Back-to-Tokyo Oil (Gentleman Backpacker): NYC

JUST BRUTAL!

My brother and I have done this as a boys trip the last 4 years in a row…such a great time, and very reasonable price wise. Another great OEG decision!

So are they doing it in red deer with just Calgary and Edmonton?

pts2pndr

Cassandra,

Cassandra:
Kinger_Oil.redux,

That is a lot of prospects, but it isn’t a lot of actual prospects.

The only one on that list who is in the top 100 of prospects is Yamamoto.

So how many of those 14 or 15 count depends upon how loose a definition of prospect you employ.

By your telling it seems like the Oilers have a good farm system, but the lack of high end prospects means that by most outside accounts the Oilers have one of the worst.

The main stream media has had an anti-oiler bias for a lengthy period of time. This is the same group of people that raved over a certain Marlie coach when MacT brought him in as head coach. I am so angry with their bias that I regularily mute them! If they are your informed source it might be prudent to remember many of them are legends in their own mind!

Munny:
NYC-Back-to-Tokyo Oil (Gentleman Backpacker),

Having also travelled to Penticton for the YS Tournament, this is indeed disappointing. Does the European start play into the decision at all, maybe?

If it does, it did not influence Winnipeg.

VOR

flea:
Hey LT,

If this isn’t allowed feel free to remove it.

A friend of mine and his wife were both killed in a motorcycle collision on the weekend. They have left behind two young children ages 3 & 6. He was a big Oilers fan, and it’s really a tragic situation. The kids are moving in with family, but they are trying to raise money to help out. If you can help out at all, here is the GoFundMe.

https://www.gofundme.com/arielleampliam

Flea,

That is gut wrenchingly tragic. Your friends sound like great people. My condolences.

Munny

NYC-Back-to-Tokyo Oil (Gentleman Backpacker),

Having also travelled to Penticton for the YS Tournament, this is indeed disappointing. Does the European start play into the decision at all, maybe?

flea,

Very sorry to hear this.

So it seems the Oilers and Flames have indeed decided not to do Penticton this year, allegedly because they thought the tournament should rotate into Red Deer.

This ignores that Penticton is almost halfway between Calgary and Vancouver, and that many Albertans vacation in Penticton, which has a nice resort feel to it that is less pronounced in Red Deer.

Penticton will now consist of the Canucks, U of A, UBC and the Jets, who evidently would rather go to the Okanagan than the rival tournament put on by Calgary and Edmonton.

Rumours about this were swirling a few months back. But what a shame. I really think this is a myopic mistake by the Alberta organizations that fails to consider what their fans really want.

I flew up from Tucson to Penticton for Young Stars 2 years ago and loved it. Was considering flying from Tokyo this year or next as well. But I won’t be doing that now. But I am just a 2nd tier fan.

PS. My source is an organizer of the tournament.

Munny

Pretty ominous song choice, LT.

I’m guessing that’s more about the draft hole than Vesel.

Munny

flea,

Jesus H.

Will send something their way.

Heaps of condolences.