East of the Sun

The Edmonton Oilers signed Evan Bouchard on Tuesday, he is potentially the most substantial offensive defenseman drafted by the organization since Paul Coffey. Bouchard is not similar in style to Coffey, but if you enjoy the outlet pass to daylight and a defenseman who can get his shot through to the net, Bouchard will have appeal.

THE ATHLETIC!

Give The Athletic as a gift or get it yourself and join the fun! Offer is here, less than $4 a month! I find myself reading both the hockey (Willis, Dellow, Pronman, et cetera) and the baseball coverage a lot, it’s a pure pleasure to visit. We’ll sell you the whole seat, but you’ll only need the edge.

NHLE (OILERS DEFENSIVE PROSPECTS)

  • Craig Button, TSN:I watched Evan Bouchard for four years. I saw him first in midget, then three years with London. Over 50 times in all kinds of different games, plus playoffs. I can tell you this: After awhile, you just say ‘he’s this good’. He’s not sexy, there’s no end-to-end rushes, there’s not dashes or flashes of brilliance. But what there is, is this great intelligence, this great ability to impact the game, great with the puck. He reminds me of Larry Murphy. I’m not saying he’s Larry Murphy, but that’s the type of game he plays.”

I like Button’s scouting reports, he gives you a real idea about the player and ability. We’re not discussing another Paul Coffey here, but rather an expert in the headman pass who possesses a big shot and offensive creativity. His skating has been the subject of much discussion, Brock Otten’s nuanced scouting report gives us the lowdown.

  • Brock Otten: “He is one of those cerebral offensive defencemen. He is not a dynamic skater, although not a poor skater, his backward and lateral mobility are better than his forward because he doesn’t have that explosive first step. He runs the point on the power play exceptionally well, he picks his spots to jump into the play well, he is very aggressive in shooting the puck and does a very good job of getting his shot through to the net. He’s a very smart offensive player. He’s a good defensive player but will need to improve his play below the hash marks.” (TSN)

One of the main discussion points for fans after the signing surrounded Bouchard’s chances of making the Oilers roster this fall. I’d say the chances are very strong when considering the Oilers own history in fast tracking, Bouchard’s age (turns 19 in October) and physical maturity. The pressure point will come after nine NHL games.

EDMONTON OILERS PROJECTED 2018-19 DEPTH CHART

  • Center: Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl, Ryan Strome, Kyle Brodziak, Brad Malone
  • Left Wing: Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Milan Lucic, Jujhar Khaira, Drake Caggiula, Pontus Aberg
  • Right WingTy Rattie, Tobias Rieder, Jesse Puljujarvi, Zack Kassian
  • Left DefenseOscar Klefbom, Darnell Nurse, Andrej Sekera, Kevin Gravel
  • Right DefenseAdam Larsson, Matt Benning, Kris Russell, Evan Bouchard
  • GoalCam Talbot, Mikko Koskinen, Al Montoya

This is not a roster built to go deep into the playoffs, but Connor McDavid’s presence means the playoffs are never out of the conversation. One difference between this year’s team and last? I doubt Peter Chiarelli waits on the goaltending as he did in 2017-18.

I have Al Montoya and Evan Bouchard listed as roster possibilities, you could also include Kailer Yamamoto, Keegan Lowe, Ryan Stanton, Ethan Bear. Maybe a couple of others and suspect we’ll see an invite or two from the Jason Chimera wing of free agency.

BAKERSFIELD CONDORS PROJECTED 2018-19 DEPTH CHART

  • Center: Cooper Marody, Cameron Hebig, Josh Currie, Colin Larkin
  • Left Wing: Tyler Benson, Joe Gambardella, Nolan Vesey, Braden Christoffer, Evan Polei
  • Right Wing: Kailer Yamamoto, Tyler Vesel, Patrick Russell, Mitch Callahan, Ryan Van Stralen
  • Left Defense: Keegan Lowe, Ryan Stanton, Caleb Jones, William Lagesson, Marc-Olivier Crevier-Morin
  • Right Defense: Ethan Bear, Ryan Mantha, Logan Day
  • GoalShane Starrett, Dylan Wells, Stuart Skinner

Ryan Mantha’s eye issues may mean we’ll see an addition on the blue line, that may not come until closer to the beginning of the season. One hopes Mantha recovers completely, he had a promising rookie campaign in the AHL.

I’m also uncertain about what direction the goaltending will go. Stuart Skinner is probably the best in the group, but the Oilers don’t place their 20-year old goalie prospects in the starting role in the AHL. We might see Skinner in the ECHL, or even junior, this fall.

Note: In Chiarelli’s later Boston years, Malcolm Subban played in 33 games for the Providence Bruins, age 20. Perhaps that’s a new wrinkle we’ll see the for Oilers organization.

OILERS FREE AGENTS

  • G Nick Ellis RFA. Retired.
  • G Laurent Brossoit UFA. Signed with the Jets ($650,000).
  • LD Darnell Nurse RFA. Qualified, sounds like a bridge.
  • RD Matt Benning RFA. Signed, more responsibility on the way.
  • RD Eric Gryba UFA. Signed with New Jersey.
  • LD Yohann Auvitu UFA. Signed with Sochi (KHL).
  • RD Mark Fayne UFA. Crickets on his next destination.
  • LD Keegan Lowe UFA. Signed, he will push for No. 7D.
  • LD Dillon Simpson UFA. Signed with Columbus.
  • LD Joey Laleggia UFA. Signed by St. Louis Blues.
  • LD Ben Betker RFA. Destination unknown.
  • RC Ryan Strome RFA. Signed, he’ll likely play No. 3 center.
  • RC Kyle Platzer RFA. Destination unknown.
  • LC Grayson Downing UFALikely to land another AHL deal.
  • L Mike Cammalleri UFA. Unsigned, the waiting is the hardest part.
  • L Drake Caggiula RFA. Signed, everyone loves the contract.
  • L Braden Christoffer RFA. Signed an AHL deal.
  • R Anton Slepyshev RFA. Signed with CSKA Moscow, two years.
  • R Iiro Pakarinen RFA. Signed one-year deal with Magnita, KHL.
  • R Patrick Russell. RFA. Signed, outside chance he sees NHL cup of coffee.
  • R Brian Ferlin UFAHealth is the big story. Destination unknown.

50-MAN ROSTER

  • This is not meant to be a depth chart nor a suggestion of lines and pairings. I did put my depth chart above (it’s the one that says ‘PROJECTED 2018-19 DEPTH CHART’).
  • The Oilers have one remaining contract (Darnell Nurse) to solve, and may tweak around here and there at the edges of the roster. Unless something falls in their laps, I doubt we’ll see a major change.
  • Evan Bouchard and Ostap Safin are the two slides of interest, one or both could end up in pro hockey this fall. Even if they do, 46 is a low number to begin the season. We should see some action around veteran invites (Jason Chimera, etc) and possibly a skill center for Yamamoto in Bakersfield (Bob has hinted at this for some time).
  • Bouchard’s status (if they return him to junior, he cannot be retrieved) probably gives him the edge over Ethan Bear through training camp. It’s a similar situation to the one we saw last fall when the Oilers kept junior player Kailer Yamamoto and sent out Jesse Puljujarvi.

 

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149 Responses to "East of the Sun"

  1. OriginalPouzar says:

    The arbitration filings show that Trouba is seeking $7M while the Jets are offering $4M.

  2. Brantford Boy says:

    OriginalPouzar,
    I’ll field this one…
    $7M – $4M = $3M… thats a big gap…

  3. OriginalPouzar says:

    How common is it for a player like this to markedly improve his skating/edge work post draft?

    I’m super excited about this player (and I think he’s going to have a great career) but I’m slightly worried about his ability to defend outside speed off the rush.

    I understand his ability to skate backwards is likely better than his forward skating but I still worry about general lack of agility.

  4. OriginalPouzar says:

    Given his compilation of injuries over the last few years and general lack of productivity, I wouldn’t want to offer Hemsky a contract but I wouldn’t be adverse to bringing him to camp on a PTO and seeing what, if anything, he has left.

  5. Professor Q says:

    OriginalPouzar:
    The arbitration filings show that Trouba is seeking $7M while the Jets are offering $4M.

    An advanced Nurse situation?

  6. OriginalPouzar says:

    I wouldn’t mind one more cheap veteran addition to the forwards to put another player between Brad Malone and the NHL – a Nick Shore type.

  7. Oz says:

    OriginalPouzar,

    Don’t worry, be happy

  8. Professor Q says:

    Speaking of Nurse, and not hockey related, but damn.

    DeRozan gone. That hurts. Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green for DeRozan and Poeltl and a 1st (or 2 2nds).

    The most loyal Raptor for the least.

  9. OriginalPouzar says:

    I would imagine that Bouchard breaks camp with the team and sticks with the team through Europe and the Eastern road trip.

    I like Ethan Bear and, even though he’s 3 years older and has a year of pro under his belt, do we think that Bouchard will be any more egregious in the defensive zone? I’m confident that Bouchard will be as dynamic offensively (probably even more), even at 19.

    I think Bouchard is great for Bear as it means that we can slow play Bear even more.

  10. Professor Q says:

    OriginalPouzar,

    Why not slow-play them both?

    Or perhaps play them on intermittent games at reduced minutes?

  11. Chelios is a Dinosaur says:

    Love this (man) boy. He’s not going to have nearly the time in the NHL for that huge wind up but I’m more impressed by his quick wristers that make it through. Maybe outside speed will catch up to him, we’ll know very quickly whether or not his head can make up any difference.

    I fully agree that the Oilers have rushed prospects to their own (and the prospect’s) detriment in the past but I don’t know if Bouhard spinning his extremely mature wheels in London is better for his development than sheltered minutes in the NHL. Just cause it was the wrong move with Gagner/Yakupov etc… Bouchard in isolation looks like a different call here potentially.

  12. VOR says:

    OriginalPouzar:
    How common is it for a player like this to markedly improve his skating/edge work post draft?

    I’m super excited about this player (and I think he’s going to have a great career) but I’m slightly worried about his ability to defend outside speed off the rush.

    It is quite common for players to improve all facets of their skating post draft. Larry Murphy improved immensely not that he ever got to be a great skater.

    Bouchard isn’t Larry Murphy bad. In junior he doesn’t get turned into a pylon. It is down low things can get interesting.

    Great defensive dmen can cover a large part of the area between the hash marks. They move side to side with remarkable agility and power. Bouchard anticipates/thinks D very well but is vulnerable to quick puck movement because he doesn’t have the agility of (to be absurd) Larry Robinson.

  13. Kinger_Oil.redux says:

    Chelios is a Dinosaur,

    – I’d bet a lot he gets the 40 game pool year 1 treatment and goes to world juniors etc.

  14. Ben says:

    Would love to see him paired with (a recovered) Sekera.

    Also, it seems I’m way more excited about Bear than most.

    Of all the deficiencies of this team over the past decade, its inability to get the puck cleanly from the d-zone up to its skilled Fs has been the most frustrating to watch.

  15. Chelios is a Dinosaur says:

    Kinger_Oil.redux,

    That could be. How many games does Bear get in this scenario?

  16. Jaxon says:

    “I’d say the chances are very strong when considering the Oilers own history in fast-tracking”

    Who have they fast-tracked that was drafted #2 or lower?
    It is very rare for a 1st overall player to not go straight to the NHL. Nobody would argue against Hall (19 draft+1), McDavid (19 draft+1), Nugent-Hopkins (18 draft+1) playing in the NHL in their draft+1. Some would argue against Yakupov (19-year-old draft+1 rookie), but only in hindsight and they have to ignore that he did very well in his draft+1 and was a Calder candidate. He had one of the better rookie seasons since 2005. His 5v5 Primary Pts/60 was one of the best in the last 11 years for Canadian Jrs:

    DRAFT Name Age, Era & TOI Adjusted 5v5 Primary Points for Canadian Jr Draft+1 Rookies:
    2012 Alex Galchenyuk 51
    2015 Connor McDavid 42
    2017 Nico Hischier 39
    2010 Jeff Skinner 39
    2012 Nail Yakupov 37
    2007 Sam Gagner 37
    2011 Ryan Nugent-Hopkins 34
    2009 Evander Kane 33
    2007 Patrick Kane 33
    2013 Nathan MacKinnon 33
    2016 Matthew Tkachuk 33
    2013 Sean Monahan 28
    2010 Tyler Seguin 28
    2011 Sean Couturier 27
    2009 Matt Duchene 27
    2008 Steven Stamkos 27
    2010 Nino Niederreiter 24
    2009 John Tavares 23
    2011 Gabriel Landeskog 23
    2012 Mikhail Grigorenko 23
    2010 Taylor Hall 21
    2014 Leon Draisaitl 21
    2017 Nolan Patrick 19
    2008 Mikkel Boedker 18
    2015 Daniel Sprong 18
    2009 Ryan O’Reilly 17
    2010 Alexander Burmistrov 15
    2008 Joshua Bailey 12

    Are these the players who were fast-tracked? You could make an argument but I don’t think the argument stands up to scrutiny as detrimental:

    Draisaitl? He was drafted #3 and played 37 NHL games (as a draft+1 19-year-old) before being sent back to the WHL and was the Memorial Cup MVP. Then he started his draft+2 in the AHL for 6 games. Personally, I think he was handled very well. Plus he was big, fast and responsible (in Jr) so a good candidate to make it.

    Puljujarvi? He was drafted #4 and played 28 NHL and 39 AHL games in his draft+1 18-year-old season, and then started his draft+2 in the AHL for 10 games. Also big, fast and responsible playing against men already. I think he’s been handled very well. The Yamamoto/Puljujarvi split for the 1st 9 games was fine in my opinion. It allowed Yamamoto to get a taste of pro hockey and Puljujarvi to work on a few things down on the farm before coming up.

    Gagner? He was drafted #6 and played a full season (as a draft+1 18-year-old) and performed very well getting 49 points in 79 games. Fast-tracked? Maybe. Detrimental? I don’t think so.

    Yamamoto? I wouldn’t count 9 games as fast-tracking. I think he showed very well. Had the best Corsi and “High Danger Chances For and Against Percentage” of all Oilers last year (with & without McDavid) in his small sample size. He got a great taste of what it takes and was able to go back to the WHL and work on his game. This summer he knows exactly what he needs to do to make the club. I think he was handled perfectly.

    Hemsky, Nurse, and Paajarvi were 19 in their draft+2 rookie seasons. Lander, Cogliano, and Eberle were 20. Bear’s first 18 games came as a 20-year-old last season still has rookie status this season. Klefbom, Stoll, and Marincin were 21. Slepyshev was 22. Greene was 23. Khaira, Omark, Dubnyk, & Petry were 23. Pitlick’s rookie season was at 25 years old. Most of these players had what many would consider decent rookie seasons or had proved all they could at lower levels prior to making the NHL.

    This Oilers rushing prospects narrative has taken on a life of its own over the years, but I really don’t think it’s warranted or portrayed by the evidence.

  17. Jaxon says:

    I’ve been a bit lax in posting this for a while, so here goes:

    Tristen Nielsen!!!! Sign him!

  18. VOR says:

    Actually it is a shame the Oilers don’t have a Silent Bob to pair with Evan Bouchard. Jay Wells, known throughout hockey as Silent Bob was a second round draft pick in his sophomore season. He played something like 68 games of 5 minutes a game as a rookie. Nobody in their right mind would have suggested he could shelter a rookie phenom with poor skating, huge defensive liabilities, and a tendency to throw snow (the kid was afraid of his own shadow)

    I am not slagging a legend. I am paraphrasing how Larry Murphy describes himself the day, late in his rookie training camp that the coach paired him with the defensive savant Silent Bob. Nobody ran Larry Murphy more than once that season (Silent Bob was menacing and the menace was backed by a high degree of I don’t give a shit if I end your career) and Larry Murphy says he felt physically safe playing against men with Silent Bob by his side. Eventually he got man strength and developed a number of tools for defending himself and had one of the longest careers in hockey history. Every time Murphy goofed defensively there was Jay Wells covering his ass and he says it freed him up to concentrate on moving the puck. And Murphy says Wells spent hundreds of hours teaching him to skate and play defence and yes, protect himself

    .

  19. Jaxon says:

    VOR: Actually it is a shame the Oilers don’t have a Silent Bob to pair with Evan Bouchard

    If Sekera plays to his previous ability and pairs with Benning or Russell on the 2nd pair, and Klefbom and Larsson play 1st pair, then Nurse could play Silent Bob to Bouchard on a 3rd pairing that could do some real damage. I think if they played out this way, it would be more of a 1A, 1B, 1C roll the pairs situation than a 1st, 2nd, 3rd pair situation. He may not have the veteran presence of Wells, but playing on the 3rd pair, he could definitely handle the defensive responsibilities, protect Bouchard and teach him a few things. Plus, Nurse is a great skater and comes form the same league as Bouchard. Is this likely? No. But in a blue skying it scenario, it could work. But it requires Sekera, Klefbom, Larsson and Russell to all play at close-to career year levels again. Fingers crossed.

  20. Chelios is a Dinosaur says:

    Jaxon,

    Wait I thought Bouchard was going to get ice time because Nurse holds out for Trouba money.

    J/k I like the idea.

  21. J-Bo says:

    Jaxon,

    Thank you Jaxon for pointing this out with detailed evidence! LT, I’m curious your response to this as nobody has pushed the rushing prospects narrative more then you these past few years. I agree with Jaxon that it has been overblown due to all the no. 1’s. What say you LT?

  22. godot10 says:

    I hope that he skates a whole lot better than Larry Murphy. The league has gotten much faster. Murphy could do everything but skate.

  23. godot10 says:

    OriginalPouzar:
    The arbitration filings show that Trouba is seeking $7M while the Jets are offering $4M.

    I think Trouba will go to arbitration this year and next to get to a massive UFA deal in summer 2020. Arbitration means he Willett paid fairly till then, and the Jets are a contender at the moment.

  24. godot10 says:

    OriginalPouzar:
    I wouldn’t mind one more cheap veteran addition to the forwards to put another player between Brad Malone and the NHL – a Nick Shore type.

    Wait for waivers.

  25. OilClog says:

    this Kawhi-Derozan trade is terrible, it’s a wrap for the Raps.

  26. Jaxon says:

    J-Bo:
    Jaxon,

    Thank you Jaxon for pointing this out with detailed evidence! LT, I’m curious your response to this as nobody has pushed the rushing prospects narrative more then you these past few years. I agree with Jaxon that it has been overblown due to all the no. 1’s. What say you LT?

    Woah, nelly. I don’t think this is on Lowetide. That narrative is everywhere. Mainstream media, going back to CoppernBlue days, OilersNation, it’s everywhere. I think it’s a case of perception becoming reality from having 7 top 6 picks in 10 years, and 4 #1 picks in 6 years. I think it’s quite normal all around the league for most top 6 picks and almost all #1 picks to jump directly into the NHL, especially for forwards which all those top 6 picks were.

  27. Jethro Tull says:

    MSM: The Hall-Larsson trade will surely be remembered as one of the most controversial trades made in mainstream sports, considering it didn’t have to be made.

    Toronto Raptors: Hold my beer.

  28. Jethro Tull says:

    A thing with slow playing prospects, which I am an advocate of: Some of them actually have to make the team at some point.

  29. godot10 says:

    Jethro Tull:
    MSM: The Hall-Larsson trade will surely be remembered as one of the most controversial trades made in mainstream sports, considering it didn’t have to be made.

    Toronto Raptors: Hold my beer.

    The Raptors are swinging for the fences with 2 strikes, 2 outs, bottom of the ninth. If they strike out, if this fails, they rebuild.

    They’ve abandoned steady as she goes for now. The chips are all pushed in.

  30. Jethro Tull says:

    godot10: The Raptors are swinging for the fences with 2 strikes, 2 outs, bottom of the ninth.If they strike out, if this fails, they rebuild.

    They’ve abandoned steady as she goes for now.The chips are all pushed in.

    Thay had a young star that loves the franchise and wanted to be a part of the success that was coming.

    Am I talking about the Oilers or the Raptors?

    Of course one of these fired their popular head coach for losing to Lebron James, the best player in the world.

  31. Bag of Pucks says:

    J-Bo:
    Jaxon,

    Thank you Jaxon for pointing this out with detailed evidence! LT, I’m curious your response to this as nobody has pushed the rushing prospects narrative more then you these past few years. I agree with Jaxon that it has been overblown due to all the no. 1’s. What say you LT?

    The belief that the Oilers rush their prospects doesn’t came from the age at which they start playing. It comes from putting the prospect in a situation in which they’re swimming in deep water from the start. So Gagner is expected to perform as a 2C before he’s shown any indication that he’s better even than the 3C and 4C options. Yakupov eventually landed where he belonged (on the 3rd and 4th lines), but it wasn’t until after considerable drowning in the Top 6. Justin Schultz on top pairing? You get the idea.

    The issue here is we don’t know if these decisions were a function of mindset or simply because they were bereft of depth in the org. I suspect it’s a little of both. The BOTB played as youngsters so they likely endorse the ‘learn as you go’ model. And for the better part of the past two decades, this organization has always sold its latest draft picks as the immediate future instead of slow play them as what they are, young talent with the possibility of becoming an actual NHL player – but no guarantees.

  32. J-Bo says:

    Jaxon: Woah, nelly. I don’t think this is on Lowetide. That narrative is everywhere. Mainstream media, going back to CoppernBlue days, OilersNation, it’s everywhere. I think it’s a case of perception becoming reality from having 7 top 6 picks in 10 years, and 4 #1 picks in 6 years. I think it’s quite normal all around the league for most top 6 picks and almost all #1 picks to jump directly into the NHL, especially for forwards which all those top 6 picks were.

    Good point. I worded too strong… Lowetide is my favourite blog and so the one I read the most and respect the most and so have likely taken the message from the most. Lowetide tends to pose it as a question. If i hear a mainstream media like say Spector, i largely ignore the narrative. Lowetide’s view and the view of the commenters here tends to hold more weight for me.

  33. PennersPancakes says:

    Jethro Tull,

    Derozan will be 30 when his contract ends and who knows what type of contract he’ll want. They had a star and traded for a top 5 player in the league. It might only be one year but that’s also what they said about Paul George so who knows.

    Worst case Ontario this fast tracks the rebuild one year. Am I happy DD was traded, no. Is it nearly as bad as some people are making out, no.

    Don’t think its so much losing to Cleaveland as much as getting swept by them twice. Even if the team is just as good as last year talent wise, big shake ups like this can get teams past a plateau.

  34. greenshifter says:

    Please no more 9 or 40 game trials! Have your best lineup and line combinations ready for game #1 of the season and play that game like it’s game #60.

    So tired of this team never being prepared and ready at the start of season/games.

    This organization is the poster child for playing kids who weren’t ready for NHL competition. It’s a narrative because it’s true!

  35. PennersPancakes says:

    godot10: The Raptors are swinging for the fences with 2 strikes, 2 outs, bottom of the ninth.If they strike out, if this fails, they rebuild.

    They’ve abandoned steady as she goes for now.The chips are all pushed in.

    I’m not even mad. Lebron out west, team with an aging core, go big or go home. Maybe they will have the honor of being the team to lose to GS this year.

  36. J-Bo says:

    Bag of Pucks,

    This I also agree with. The Oilers have been very guilty of this and destroying players confidence. This was likely due to such a lack of both prospects and NHLers through the DOD that they pushed guys to sell some hope and some tickets. They ended up ruining guys or sending them down the river. When it comes to Bouchard they should have the depth not to do this. He could be brought along on a third pair with a veteran partner and some power play time. This is why LT talks so much about soft minute lines for guys like Puljujarvi and hiring Pisani’s for the group. LT, in the dog days of summer it could be a lot of fun to break down this issue over several blogs and look at prospects and whether they were rushed to the NHL, rushed up the depth chart, both, or brought along properly, and give the Oilers some more in depth grades in this area. Here or the Athletic would be sweet…

  37. Lowetide says:

    Oilers teenage rookies since 2007: Sam Gagner, Magnus Paajarvi, Taylor Hall, Nuge, Nail, Leon, McDavid, JP, Yamamoto and now Bouchard. That’s 10. Now, let’s run the same list taking out No. 1 overall picks.

    Sam Gagner, Magnus Paajarvi, Leon, JP, Yamamoto and now Bouchard. That’s six. Hmm.

    PLUS we have things like Anton Lander playing at 20 despite being a special teams player all year. Edmonton kept Yamamoto last season for nine games. That’s kind of severe, ladies.

    PS, Bouchard is a defenseman.

  38. Jethro Tull says:

    PennersPancakes:
    Jethro Tull,

    Derozan will be 30 when his contract ends and who knows what type of contract he’ll want. They had a star and traded for a top 5 player in the league. It might only be one year but that’s also what they said about Paul George so who knows.

    Worst case Ontario this fast tracks the rebuild one year. Am I happy DD was traded, no. Is it nearly as bad as some people are making out, no.

    Don’t think its so much losing to Cleaveland as much as getting swept by them twice. Even if the team is just as good as last year talent wise, big shake ups like this can get teams past a plateau.

    Ok, take what you posted and swap DeRozan with Draisaitl and the guy with 1yr of Erik Karlsson.

    Would you be happy that if Erik walked after a year, we’d just start the rebuild early?

    And the Raptors are a good team, not like the Oilers. The Raps are looking at either win next year or lose DeRozan AND a top 5 league player AND still not have won.

    Bad bet, even if it has some success.

  39. John Chambers says:

    Lowetide,

    Relative to the rest of the league they have been drafting more NHL-ready players due to their high draft position.

    But yeah, it’s been easy for talented teenagers to summit the Oilers’ pathetic depth chart.

  40. Jaxon says:

    Bag of Pucks: The belief that the Oilers rush their prospects doesn’t came from the age at which they start playing. It comes from putting the prospect in a situation in which they’re swimming in deep water from the start. So Gagner is expected to perform as a 2C before he’s shown any indication that he’s better even than the 3C and 4C options. Yakupov eventually landed where he belonged (on the 3rd and 4th lines), but it wasn’t until after considerable drowning in the Top 6. Justin Schultz on top pairing? You get the idea.

    The issue here is we don’t know if these decisions were a function of mindset or simply because they were bereft of depth in the org. I suspect it’s a little of both. The BOTB played as youngsters so they likely endorse the ‘learn as you go’ model. And for the better part of the past two decades, this organization has always sold its latest draft picks as the immediate future instead of slow play them as what they are, young talent with the possibility of becoming an actual NHL player – but no guarantees.

    “The issue here is we don’t know if these decisions were a function of mindset or simply because they were bereft of depth in the org. I suspect it’s a little of both.” I think this is a pretty good point. But I don’t believe the BOTB had a lot of influence. I think most teams would have made similar decisions regarding those individual players.

    Yakupov and Gagner and Schultz all performed quite well in their rookie seasons. It was their deployment post-rookie season which may have been where mistakes were made. I think they were all ready to play in the NHL.

    Yakupov played at a 53 point pace in his rookie season. I’ll admit, defensively, he was a tire fire, but nobody expects a #1 to not play in the NHL and most believe they will adjust over time as they figure things out. Yakupov never could figure it out as expected. I think most teams would have struggled similarly.

    Schultz played at a 46 point pace in his rookie season as a 23-year-old who had proved all he could at the NCAA and AHL levels and he ended up with the 3rd best Corsi Rel among Oilers D and had more D Zone starts than OZone starts and played 21.5 minutes per game on a shitty team. He certainly looked ready that season.

    Gagner is a similar case to Yakupov. He played well in his rookie season but had some defensive issues. He scored at a 51 point pace. His D issues weren’t as great as Yak’s and he did improve over time. He was the 2nd best C on the Oilers behind Horcoff and did quite well. They gave Brodziak the tougher assignments as far as zones go and Gagner got O-zone and more minutes as a player with more offensive upside.

    I think being on a shitty team was more detrimental than rushing them.

  41. Bag of Pucks says:

    Jaxon,

    It’s not just what you get (points production), it’s what you give up. And also your ability to play a role within a larger system.

    A big factor in rushing these players is they didn’t learn the defensive chops to be effective two way players first in the A and then later by graduating up the pro depth chart.

    I’m not a huge MacLellan fan but he’s taking the right approach with JP imo. Job #1 for Jesse is his play away from the puck. When TMac is satisfied with that, he gives Puli the carrot of more mins or better linemates. As it should be.

  42. PennersPancakes says:

    Jethro Tull: Ok, take what you posted and swap DeRozan with Draisaitl and the guy with 1yr of Erik Karlsson.

    Would you be happy that if Erik walked after a year, we’d just start the rebuild early?

    And the Raptors are a good team, not like the Oilers. The Raps are looking at either win next year or lose DeRozan AND a top 5 league player AND still not have won.

    Bad bet, even if it has some success.

    No I would not be happy but that comparison is wildly inaccurate. Drai (22 Years Old) is under contract for 7 years compared to DeRozans (28 Years Old) 2 years. Drai has (small sample size) stepped it up in the playoffs while DeRozan hasn’t peformed. Theres no guarantee the Raptors sign DeRozan in 20-21 anyways.

    The Oilers core is younger and locked up longer (McDavid, Drai, Nurse, Yamamoto, Klefbom, Larsson, Pulju) while the Raptors are a few years older with Lowry being 32, Serge 28, Val 26.

  43. Concur says:

    The issue of rushing the young draft picks actually comes about as putting them into a position to succeed. No one can fault, playing the #1s, yes Yakupov had a good rookie shortened season but was handled poorly after that. Yakupov coupled with Gagner not reaching rookie totals can show a trend. They were both handled the same way, poorly.

    A strong impression I have seen of not putting players in a position to succeed are Leon and JP, people forget the outcry over their rookie seasons and what to do with them. Neither showed true success abd bith had question marks. The confusing part with both of them was why it took so ling to make a decision. Being sent back to junior should have been identified much sooner, as well as being sent to the AHL for JP.

    We await the handling for Yamamoto and Bouchard.

  44. Oilman99 says:

    OriginalPouzar:
    I wouldn’t mind one more cheap veteran addition to the forwards to put another player between Brad Malone and the NHL – a Nick Shore type.

    And love for Malone goes on,Shore hasn’t been able to stick any of his past teams,don’t waste the money.

  45. Kinger_Oil.redux says:

    Jaxon: If Sekera plays to his previous ability and pairs with Benning or Russell on the 2nd pair, and Klefbom and Larsson play 1st pair, then Nurse could play Silent Bob to Bouchard on a 3rd pairing that could do some real damage. . But it requires Sekera, Klefbom, Larsson and Russell to all play at close-to career year levels again. Fingers crossed.

    – I like this blue-print: this team goes deep with a healthy Klef and Sek IMO

    – I also like the architect design for the Blue. by next off-season, Russel and Sek are tradeable.

    – We are going to know by end oftraining camp how Klef and Sek are

    – Between Bouchard and Bear, I think they get 60 games this year: awesome development

    – If one or both emerge: we have more NHL RHD than LHD!

    – This an elite projectable NHL group in 1 year IMO:

    Klef-Larsson
    Sek-Benning
    Nurse-Bouchard

    – Maybe no stud, but D are “blocked”, you get trade from strength, Bear is chomping

    – All of Benning, Sek, Russel are tradeable in a year because you’ve got D that are better emerging

    In an ideal world you hope for this development in the next 2 years:

    Nurse > Sek
    Benning > Russell
    Bouchard > Benning
    Bear > Benning

    – No “stud” D, but lots of internal competition and potential upgrades. Well thought out IMO

  46. Munny says:

    Jaxon,

    The “rush” narrative is usually centered around Anton Lander.

    Not mentioned in your post (maybe I missed it) is how the Oilers handle defensemen, and since we are talking about a D prospect, this is especially relevant.

    The Oil have been far more consistent at slow-playing defensemen in my opinion.

    The problem with Bouchard is that the scouts and pundits pretty much agree he has nothing left to learn in Junior. He’s already spent 3 years there and is dominating despite no QualTeam.

    So what do you do with a guy like that? Seems like Europe or NHL or a half-season like Drai.

  47. JimmyV1965 says:

    godot10: The Raptors are swinging for the fences with 2 strikes, 2 outs, bottom of the ninth.If they strike out, if this fails, they rebuild.

    They’ve abandoned steady as she goes for now.The chips are all pushed in.

    The Raptors have a couple great prospects who should be ready in two years, if not next year.

  48. Oilman99 says:

    OriginalPouzar:
    How common is it for a player like this to markedly improve his skating/edge work post draft?

    I’m super excited about this player (and I think he’s going to have a great career) but I’m slightly worried about his ability to defend outside speed off the rush.

    I understand his ability to skate backwards is likely better than his forward skating but I still worry about general lack of agility.

    The guy has good hockey smarts, a good backwards skater doesn’t get beat wide,l think worries are unfounded.

  49. Jordan says:

    East of the Sun – Never heard the song before, until now.

    Was not expecting it to have anywhere near the history or range of musicians who’ve performed it.

    I quite enjoy the versions I’ve listened to, and I really like the lyrics and their application to Bouchard and the hopes of Oilerdom on who he could be for the franchise.

    LT, how did you find this gem, and link it to the theme of this article?

    “Up among the stars we’ll find a harmony of life to a lovely tune”

    I hope that our stars find harmony soon, and it stays for a while. It makes for a wonderful winter in Edmonton.

  50. Oilman99 says:

    OriginalPouzar:
    The arbitration filings show that Trouba is seeking $7M while the Jets are offering $4M.

    Trouba needs a new agent, looking for pie in the sky again. Could be sitting for a long time unless he sees the light.

  51. anjinsan says:

    A reflection on the fearless leader —
    If you err regarding high-end trades, high-end contracting, and high-end team building (building a team to where the puck (in his case game) is going, it says you don’t have high end hockey GM IQ.
    I’ve come to conclude that Chiarelli is the well-spoken, intelligent GM for a grinder/character team.

  52. Lowetide says:

    Jordan:
    East of the Sun – Never heard the song before, until now.

    Was not expecting it to have anywhere near the history or range of musicians who’ve performed it.

    I quite enjoy the versions I’ve listened to, and I really like the lyrics and their application to Bouchard and the hopes of Oilerdom on who he could be for the franchise.

    LT, how did you find this gem, and link it to the theme of this article?

    “Up among the stars we’ll find a harmony of life to a lovely tune”

    I hope that our stars find harmony soon, and it stays for a while.It makes for a wonderful winter in Edmonton.

    My Grandpa, when I was a kid. Music was a big part of my early life and I was blessed to live in a house that tolerated all forms of music.

  53. VOR says:

    Jaxon: If Sekera plays to his previous ability and pairs with Benning or Russell on the 2nd pair, and Klefbom and Larsson play 1st pair, then Nurse could play Silent Bob to Bouchard on a 3rd pairing that could do some real damage. I think if they played out this way, it would be more of a 1A, 1B, 1C roll the pairs situation than a 1st, 2nd, 3rd pair situation. He may not have the veteran presence of Wells, but playing on the 3rd pair, he could definitely handle the defensive responsibilities, protect Bouchard and teach him a few things. Plus, Nurse is a great skater and comes form the same league as Bouchard. Is this likely? No. But in a blue skying it scenario, it could work. But it requires Sekera, Klefbom, Larsson and Russell to all play at close-to career year levels again. Fingers crossed.

    The interesting thing about Murphy’s rookie year is it is like a textbook for how to develop an offensive Dman.

    First, nearly every time the Triple Crown Line were on the ice so was Larry Murphy usually paired with King Kong, Jerry Korab. Murphy’s line mates tilted the ice deep into the other team’s end. It would be like playing Bouchard with McDavid’s line and Klefbom. Most games the rest of Murphy’s time on ice was with Wells. But he saw time with Dave Lewis who at that point was (injuries aside) an outstanding D. Usually they were together in games that had become run and gun shootouts. Wells spent a lot of time in the penalty box in these games.

    So Murphy got cherry minutes with the first unit and played with them on the 1st PP. When they were off the ice he was paired with either of two great defensive Dmen. One of whom played enforcer for him.

    I can see Bouchard being utilized in a similar way. 1st unit EV’s with McDavid, Nuge, and Klefbom. And 1st unit power play. The rest of the time with Nurse. And occasionally Sekera when Nurse is hurt or in the penalty box, I just don’t think Nurse can carry the defensive load Wells could. Sekera is a better player than Lewis but injuries are a concern.

  54. Georges says:

    Lowetide:
    Oilers teenage rookies since 2007: Sam Gagner, Magnus Paajarvi, Taylor Hall, Nuge, Nail, Leon, McDavid, JP, Yamamoto and now Bouchard. That’s 10. Now, let’s run the same list taking out No. 1 overall picks.

    Sam Gagner, Magnus Paajarvi, Leon, JP, Yamamoto and now Bouchard. That’s six. Hmm.

    PLUS we have things like Anton Lander playing at 20 despite being a special teams player all year. Edmonton kept Yamamoto last season for nine games. That’s kind of severe, ladies.

    PS, Bouchard is a defenseman.

    I don’t think it’s severe.

    Using your criteria:

    – since 2007
    – teenage rookie
    – not drafted first overall

    We’re one of 7 teams with 6 players that fit. There are 9 teams that had more than 6 players that fit.

    I didn’t check the players’ ages in their first game, though. I calculated a player’s age at the end of December in the season that they debuted. So the results could change with exact ages. But when I included 20 year olds into the mix using my method, EDM was still not “out there.”

  55. Professor Q says:

    The one interesting thing about the trade is Toronto could end up trading Leonard to the Clippers for Alexander, and then make a trade for the top 2019 pick (R.J. Barrett).

    If they’re a Top 10 team and go deep the 1st rounder doesn’t matter, and if they’re a Bottom 20 Team the 2 2nds don’t matter and the 1st can be used in a trade for Barrett.

    Toronto going all in on Canadian talent (they were trying to trade for Wiggins earlier).

    It just sucks that it took DeRozan to do it.

  56. Lowetide says:

    Georges: I don’t think it’s severe.

    Using your criteria:

    – since 2007
    – teenage rookie
    – not drafted first overall

    We’re one of 7 teams with 6 players that fit. There are 9 teams that had more than 6 players that fit.

    I didn’t check the players’ ages in their first game, though. I calculated a player’s age at the end of December in the season that they debuted. So the results could change with exact ages. But when I included 20 year olds into the mix using my method, EDM was still not “out there.”

    Since we haven’t agreed on criteria, there isn’t much either of us can claim.

  57. Professor Q says:

    Lowetide:
    Oilers teenage rookies since 2007: Sam Gagner, Magnus Paajarvi, Taylor Hall, Nuge, Nail, Leon, McDavid, JP, Yamamoto and now Bouchard. That’s 10. Now, let’s run the same list taking out No. 1 overall picks.

    Sam Gagner, Magnus Paajarvi, Leon, JP, Yamamoto and now Bouchard. That’s six. Hmm.

    PLUS we have things like Anton Lander playing at 20 despite being a special teams player all year. Edmonton kept Yamamoto last season for nine games. That’s kind of severe, ladies.

    PS, Bouchard is a defenseman.

    Andrew Cogliano almost made the cut, if he were a few months younger!

  58. Woogie63 says:

    You can see the Bobby Burgers plan as clear as day in our D Corp.

    Sekera and Russell are here as our young turks get to 300 games

    Larsson, Kelfbom, Nurse are here as our young turks get to 300 games

    Bear, Jones, Benning are here as our young turks get to 300 games

    Bouchard, Lagesson, Berglund, Samorukov are here until ….

  59. Lowetide says:

    Oilers have signed Josh Currie to a two-year deal, as per Jason Gregor. He earned it.

  60. ArmchairGM says:

    What exactly is a skill center for Yamamoto in Bakersfield? Do Cooper Marody and Cameron Hebig not apply?

  61. Lowetide says:

    ArmchairGM:
    What exactly is a skill center for Yamamoto in Bakersfield? Do Cooper Marody and Cameron Hebig not apply?

    Josh Currie signed an NHL deal today. I suspect he’ll be in Bakersfield centering the No. 1 line until Marody or Benning grab it.

  62. PennersPancakes says:

    Lowetide: Benning

    ???

  63. defmn says:

    I would hope that TC will clarify where Bouchard is at but if he comes as advertised I would like to see the Oilers open the season dressing 7 dmen and 13 forwards for the first half dozen games or so. This would allow the team to use Bouchard on the PP to see if he is ready in that area without jeopordizing points in the standings. The fourth line can get minutes on the PK and double shifting forwards from the top 3 lines depending on situation.

    To me this is the way to use the 9 game period to assess and make a decision. Three years in junior is enough for most and since the AHL is not an option it is important to look for innovative ways to make this decision.

  64. Richard S.S. says:

    Opinions, the right or wrong is not in this discussion. Opinions once formed are almost always set in stone and very rarely, if ever changes. Discussions are rarely free and open, more one-sided than not. I’m really trying hard to be different, but I might be too set in my ways.

    Toronto thinks itself as a first class/world class city. It expects it’s entertainment whether concerts, events, performances, teams and others to be the same. As a result there are issues within and without that arise daily, almost hourly. I have found it’s usually best to ignore them and what they do, despite being a rabid Blue Jays’ fan.

  65. LadiesloveSmid says:

    DeRozan’s departure reads like Hall’s. Rep’d the city so hard and wanted to work and work until he got them to the promise land.

    I’d be heartbroken if I were a huge raps fan. At least they got a more skilled player in return, unlike the Hall trade.

  66. Lowetide says:

    PennersPancakes: ???

    Hebig. Hebig. Lord.

  67. leadfarmer says:

    VOR: The interesting thing about Murphy’s rookie year is it is like a textbook for how to develop an offensive Dman.

    First, nearly every time the Triple Crown Line were on the ice so was Larry Murphy usually paired with King Kong, Jerry Korab. Murphy’s line mates tilted the ice deep into the other team’s end. It would be like playing Bouchard with McDavid’s line and Klefbom. Most games the rest of Murphy’s time on ice was with Wells. But he saw time with Dave Lewis who at that point was (injuries aside) an outstanding D. Usually they were together in games that had become run and gun shootouts. Wells spent a lot of time in the penalty box in these games.

    So Murphy got cherry minutes with the first unit and played with them on the 1st PP. When they were off the ice he was paired with either of two great defensive Dmen. One of whom played enforcer for him.

    I can see Bouchard being utilized in a similar way. 1st unit EV’s with McDavid, Nuge, and Klefbom. And 1st unit power play. The rest of the time with Nurse. And occasionally Sekera when Nurse is hurt or in the penalty box, I just don’t think Nurse can carry the defensive load Wells could. Sekera is a better player than Lewis but injuries are a concern.

    And when he’s an RFA hes going to want to be paid for those cherry flavored minutes

  68. Professor Q says:

    Lowetide: Josh Currie signed an NHL deal today. I suspect he’ll be in Bakersfield centering the No. 1 line until Marody or Benning grab it.

    Benning is moving to Forward?

  69. LadiesloveSmid says:

    Do we expect Hebig to be better than Josh Winquist or Chad Butcher or whatever overage WHLer the oilers have signed? His numbers don’t jump off the page for a 21YO. One thing going for him is that he missed 16/17, I guess.

  70. ArmchairGM says:

    OriginalPouzar:
    How common is it for a player like this to markedly improve his skating/edge work post draft?

    I’m super excited about this player (and I think he’s going to have a great career) but I’m slightly worried about his ability to defend outside speed off the rush.

    I understand his ability to skate backwards is likely better than his forward skating but I still worry about general lack of agility.

    Where did you get the idea that Bouchard has a “general lack of agility”? First step quickness is the only issue I’ve read of – Otten specifically states that “lateral mobility (is) better than his forward (skating)”.

  71. Richard S.S. says:

    Oilers start the Season with a pre-Season game or two and the Regular Season Start in Europe. I expect at least 3 Goalies, at least 9 D and at least 16 forwards to go in case of possible injuries. The Roster may be as expected, with extras being a surprise.

  72. ArmchairGM says:

    Professor Q: An advanced Nurse situation?

    Love Nurse, but he isn’t on the same plane as Trouba.

  73. McSorley33 says:

    VOR,

    Great insights……thank you.

  74. Professor Q says:

    ArmchairGM: Love Nurse, but he isn’t on the same plane as Trouba.

    I did say advanced. His agent basically asking for $6 million per to stay with the team, before proving much, seems similar to Trouba’s holdout situation and now the greater distance between asking and offered prices ($7 million vs. $4 million).

  75. Professor Q says:

    ArmchairGM: Where did you get the idea that Bouchard has a “general lack of agility”? First step quickness is the only issue I’ve read of – Otten specifically states that “lateral mobility (is) better than his forward (skating)”.

    It became a viral narrative and it seems like many people are parroting that viewpoint without actually watching him play. Some reports have it as a positive so it really is weird that random obscure negative reports become the loudest.

  76. ArmchairGM says:

    Professor Q: seems similar to Trouba’s holdout situation

    I wouldn’t mind seeing Nurse signed to a 2 x $3M bridge at all. “Think you’re as good as Trouba? Then sign for what Trouba got!”

  77. OriginalPouzar says:

    Oilman99: And love for Malone goes on,Shore hasn’t been able to stick any of his past teams,don’t waste the money.

    There wouldn’t be a waste of money – he either makes the team or his cap hit will be fully buryable in the minors. It would take up a spot on the 50 mind you.

  78. VOR says:

    I want to be clear. I have watched Evan Bouchard play live and on tape. He is a good, possibly outstanding skater. But he lacks an explosive first step.

    In 7 games spread over the past year I never saw him get beaten to the outside, not once. Every scouting report is consistent. He is a really good backwards skater. Bouchard has a great cross over to either side and outstanding agility.. Not to mention for a junior player he has excellent gap control.

    The weakness as I see it, and I am not alone, is he isn’t aggressive enough between the hash marks. This combines with a lack of explosion on his first lateral stride to make him vulnerable to rapid puck movement. And we know there are lines in the NHL that can move the puck at incredible speed.

    Explosion can be trained/taught. Aggressiveness on the other hand is harder.

    Every Oilers’ fan is going to want Bouchard to clear out in front of his own net like Larsson. I doubt that will ever happen. But if he gets so he can cover more ice faster on defence we will forgive him because he has great defensive positioning.

    If we score skating skill from 1 to 100 with the average pro being a 50 then Evan Bouchard is a 75. This was just a draft with a handful of 80+ and 3 or 4 90+ defensemen. It is entirely possible that 10 years from now Bouchard will be seen as the best skater from this entire draft. He has outstanding fundamentals and as I said explosiveness is trainable.

  79. OriginalPouzar says:

    Munny:
    Jaxon,

    The “rush” narrative is usually centered around Anton Lander.

    Not mentioned in your post (maybe I missed it) is how the Oilers handle defensemen, and since we are talking about a D prospect, this is especially relevant.

    The Oil have been far more consistent at slow-playing defensemen in my opinion.

    The problem with Bouchard is that the scouts and pundits pretty much agree he has nothing left to learn in Junior. He’s already spent 3 years there and is dominating despite no QualTeam.

    So what do you do with a guy like that? Seems like Europe or NHL or a half-season like Drai.

    The last d-man drafted by the Oilers that went straight to the NHL as a teenager was Paul Coffey in 1980.

  80. OriginalPouzar says:

    Oilman99: The guy has good hockey smarts, a good backwards skater doesn’t get beat wide,l think worries are unfounded.

    Could be, I’ve only seen him play a few times (plus highlights) and when I did see him play it was before he was Oilers property so I wasn’t focusing on him.

  81. OriginalPouzar says:

    Oilman99: Trouba needs a new agent, looking for pie in the sky again. Could be sitting for a long time unless he sees the light.

    He won’t be sitting as an arbitrator will set the contract terms (although I believe the team has the option to walk away from it).

  82. OriginalPouzar says:

    defmn:
    I would hope that TC will clarify where Bouchard is at but if he comes as advertised I would like to see the Oilers open the season dressing 7 dmen and 13 forwards for the first half dozen games or so. This would allow the team to use Bouchard on the PP to see if he is ready in that area without jeopordizing points in the standings. The fourth line can get minutes on the PK and double shifting forwards from the top 3 lines depending on situation.

    To me this is the way to use the 9 game period to assess and make a decision. Three years in junior is enough for most and since the AHL is not an option it is important to look for innovative ways to make this decision.

    I think you mean 11 forwards (not 13).

    This has been discussed a bit in OilNation and I think the idea has some merits.

    Not sure our old-school coach would be in to it mind you.

  83. stephen sheps says:

    VOR:
    I want to be clear. I have watched Evan Bouchard play live and on tape. He is a good, possibly outstanding skater. But he lacks an explosive first step.

    In 7 games spread over the past year I never saw him get beaten to the outside, not once. Every scouting report is consistent. He is a really good backwards skater. Bouchard has a great cross over to either side and outstanding agility.. Not to mention for a junior player he has excellent gap control.

    The weakness as I see it, and I am not alone, is he isn’t aggressive enough between the hash marks. This combines with a lack of explosion on his first lateral stride to make him vulnerable to rapid puck movement. And we know there are lines in the NHL that can move the puck at incredible speed.

    Explosion can be trained/taught. Aggressiveness on the other hand is harder.

    Every Oilers’ fan is going to want Bouchard to clear out in front of his own net like Larsson. I doubt that will ever happen. But if he gets so he can cover more ice faster on defence we will forgive him because he has great defensive positioning.

    To be clear. If we score skating skill from 1 to 100 with the average pro being a 50 then Evan Bouchard is a 75. This was just a draft with a handful of 80+ and 3 or 4 90+ defensemen. It is entirely possible that 10 years from now Bouchard will be seen as the best skater from this entire draft. He has outstanding fundamentals and as I said explosiveness is trainable.

    Thank you for this post.

  84. OriginalPouzar says:

    LadiesloveSmid:
    Do we expect Hebig to be better than Josh Winquist or Chad Butcher or whatever overage WHLer the oilers have signed? His numbers don’t jump off the page for a 21YO. One thing going for him is that he missed 16/17, I guess.

    I think so – I’m not sure he’ll ever be an NHL player but he missed that entire year with a really bad concussion – he was fairly highly touted as an offensive player prior to the injury.

    The lost year of development is massive at the age.

    He could be a diamond in the ruff (or an middling AHL player). I think he’ll perform well in the AHL.

  85. Bruce McCurdy says:

    Jaxon: Hemsky, Nurse, and Paajarvi were 19 in their draft+2 rookie seasons. Lander, Cogliano, and Eberle were 20.

    One small mistake in your excellent post, by the time Nurse made it he was in his Draft +3 season, aged 20.

  86. Glass says:

    How does Bouchard compare to the Flames D prospects? Is he the best prospect between both clubs? They have a solid pipeline of young D and I’m curious how he stacks up against them.

  87. leadfarmer says:

    VOR,

    Majority of explosiveness is not trainable though. You either have the fast twitch muscles or you don’t. Keegan Lowe can keep working on his explosiveness, he can get better but he will never get to league average.
    I would say the other way. Aggressiveness can be taught more than fast twitch muscles. I can train myself to be more aggressive. I can improve my 40 yard dash time a bit, but not much

  88. VOR says:

    leadfarmer: And when he’s an RFA hes going to want to be paid for those cherry flavored minutes

    I personally hate the idea of managing to the salary cap.

    I prefer a strategy of managing to the window.

    I think a reasoned analysis of the situation suggests the Oilers next high probability window for winning. the Stanley Cup is in 2020-2021.

    We need Bouchard ready to play big impact minutes that season.

    To get there he probably needs NHL minutes this year. And those NHL minutes need to be a combination of cherry and hugely sheltered. It is about putting Evan Bouchard in a position to succeed and succeed spectacularly. Screw the cap implications.

    We can fix that in post production.

  89. Nix says:

    Bouchard doesnt have to be exposed like Shultz. He seems very mature and may find more value going ahead and learning from the Yawney/Coffey school and Sekeras patented turd polishing in sheltered minutes than going back to jr with Bovquist haunting the joint. And who here honestly doesnt think Yamamoto would be electric with McDavid? Already. Warts and all. He often looked the most reliable on the ice in that 10 game stretch as teammates flubbed simple passes left and right. Seemed a bit snakebit, but showed well. Could be some absolute electric hockey with McNuge and with any luck hes ‘bulked up’ even if just a tad.
    They dont have to carry, just contribute. I think these would be two additions that could flat out be fun as all hell and I maintain that funtowatch/60 is a criminally undervalued stat. Meanwhile, perhaps with some pressure off, Puljujarvi looms with a giant grin ready to bloom. I cant wait for the season.

  90. defmn says:

    OriginalPouzar: I think you mean 11 forwards (not 13).

    This has been discussed a bit in OilNation and I think the idea has some merits.

    Not sure our old-school coach would be in to it mind you.

    So much for my math skills. 😉

    Yeah, I mentioned it on my twitter around the draft – couldn’t remember if I posted it here before or not. I just think that with Nuge, McDavid & Leon you can rotate them to pick up a little time with the 4th line to find out if Bouchard’s play on the PP makes it worthwhile.

    And I agree it would take the coaching staff to think a little outside the box. After last season you would think they would be looking for anything that could help.

  91. pts2pndr says:

    OriginalPouzar:
    Given his compilation of injuries over the last few years and general lack of productivity, I wouldn’t want to offer Hemsky a contract but I wouldn’t be adverse to bringing him to camp on a PTO and seeing what, if anything, he has left.

    Here I am again disagreeing but given 3 new coaches and limited time would you not think it prudent for the new coaches to see what they currently have versus bringing in more bodies. It is imperative they hit the ground running with set lines and not have what happened last year! Logic and critical thinking must be the new way!

  92. VOR says:

    leadfarmer:
    VOR,

    Majority of explosiveness is not trainable though.You either have the fast twitch muscles or you don’t.Keegan Lowe can keep working on his explosiveness, he can get better but he will never get to league average.
    I would say the other way.Aggressiveness can be taught more than fast twitch muscles.I can train myself to be more aggressive.I can improve my 40 yard dash time a bit, but not much

    Your argument might be sound if it was the general population you were discussing. But you are not talking about the general population. You are talking about an elite level athlete who plays a sport that rewards reaction time, fast twitch fiber, tendon thickness, and explosiveness.

    This is a kid who routinely wins puck battles with better skaters, head mans the puck, and joins the rush. He has plenty of fast twitch fiber. It just isn’t trained or deployed to produce maximum power output on his first stride. That is highly trainable.

    As for aggressiveness could anybody make Dustin Penner more aggressive, or Kyle Brodziak, or Griffin Reinhart, or Sean Couturier or many, many others going back decades (Frank Mahovlich, Peter Mahovlich, Jean Ratelle, Pat Price, Al MacDonald)? Let’s face it “play more aggressively” is a common coaching request of big men with a passive attitude.

    Evan Bouchard is a high efficiency, cerebral player. Every brain cell he has is telling him to play the position not the man. I am guessing it won’t be as easy to convince him to play like Adam Larsson as one might think.

  93. VOR says:

    pts2pndr: Here I am again disagreeing but given 3 new coaches and limited time would you not think it prudent for the new coaches to see what they currently have versus bringing in more bodies. It is imperative they hit the ground running with set lines and not have what happened last year! Logic and critical thinking must be the new way!

    I really think all the pressure on this year is likely to produce bad decisions and bad strategies. You want to be planning for the future. If you win now great. But better to let the new coaches learn who fits the system, who they can help, who can grow by playing the kids.

    Maybe I am the only one who thinks this roster is nowhere near good enough to win but that you can see greatness coming.

  94. rickithebear says:

    Had time to revisit a Klefbom Data now that he clear
    Y had an injury.
    Klefbom – Larsson
    Had a slow start to pairing.
    Then they had a large period were they were inpenetratsble first comp pair.
    Best in the game.
    Then a clear decline in HD performance to Klefbom,s side.

    If we get non penatratable 1st comp pair again.
    I will be a happy Cup core camper.

    Guys saying Klefbom – Larsson maybe correct.

    The major issue is.
    SAMPLE SIZE! 😳

  95. OriginalPouzar says:

    Glass:
    How does Bouchard compare to the Flames D prospects? Is he the best prospect between both clubs? They have a solid pipeline of young D and I’m curious how he stacks up against them.

    Thankfully they just traded away the top of the group as a throw-in on the premise that they weren’t going to be able to sign him.

  96. Woodguy v2.0 says:

    rickithebear,

    Guys saying Klefbom – Larsson maybe correct.

    Its ABOUT TIME you were learning!

  97. jp says:

    rickithebear:
    Had time to revisit a Klefbom Data now that he clear
    Y had an injury.
    Klefbom – Larsson
    Had a slow start to pairing.
    Then they had a large period were they were inpenetratsble first comp pair.
    Best in the game.
    Then a clear decline in HD performance to Klefbom,s side.

    If we get non penatratable 1st comp pair again.
    I will be a happy Cup core camper.

    Guys saying Klefbom – Larsson maybe correct.

    The major issue is.
    SAMPLE SIZE!

    OK… Who stole your keyboard?? 🙂

  98. pts2pndr says:

    Nix:
    Bouchard doesnt have to be exposed like Shultz.He seems very mature and may find more value going ahead and learning from the Yawney/Coffey school and Sekeras patented turd polishing in sheltered minutes than going back to jr with Bovquist haunting the joint. And who here honestly doesnt think Yamamoto would be electric with McDavid? Already. Warts and all. He often looked the most reliable on the ice in that 10 game stretch as teammates flubbed simple passes left and right. Seemed a bit snakebit, but showed well. Could be some absolute electric hockey with McNuge and with any luck hes ‘bulked up’ even if just a tad.
    They dont have to carry, just contribute. I think these would be two additions that could flat out be fun as all hell and I maintain that funtowatch/60 is a criminally undervaued stat. Meanwhile, perhaps with some pressure off, Puljujarvi looms with a giant grin ready to bloom. I cant wait for the season.

    I do not think Yamamoto would be electric with McDavid if Nuge is on the other side. The line simply does not have balance. Yamamoto appears to be more mature and ready for the challenge this year. He has not however played against anywhere near the talent he will face if playing with McDavid on a regular basis! I think he should be allowed the requisite time in the AHL!

  99. pts2pndr says:

    VOR: I really think all the pressure on this year is likely to produce bad decisions and bad strategies. You want to be planning for the future. If you win now great. But better to let the new coaches learn who fits the system, who they can help, who can grow by playing the kids.

    Maybe I am the only one who thinks this roster is nowhere near good enough to win but that you can see greatness coming.

    Thanks and I fully agree!

  100. jp says:

    VOR:
    I want to be clear. I have watched Evan Bouchard play live and on tape. He is a good, possibly outstanding skater. But he lacks an explosive first step.

    In 7 games spread over the past year I never saw him get beaten to the outside, not once. Every scouting report is consistent. He is a really good backwards skater. Bouchard has a great cross over to either side and outstanding agility.. Not to mention for a junior player he has excellent gap control.

    The weakness as I see it, and I am not alone, is he isn’t aggressive enough between the hash marks. This combines with a lack of explosion on his first lateral stride to make him vulnerable to rapid puck movement. And we know there are lines in the NHL that can move the puck at incredible speed.

    Explosion can be trained/taught. Aggressiveness on the other hand is harder.

    Every Oilers’ fan is going to want Bouchard to clear out in front of his own net like Larsson. I doubt that will ever happen. But if he gets so he can cover more ice faster on defence we will forgive him because he has great defensive positioning.

    If we score skating skill from 1 to 100 with the average pro being a 50 then Evan Bouchard is a 75. This was just a draft with a handful of 80+ and 3 or 4 90+ defensemen. It is entirely possible that 10 years from now Bouchard will be seen as the best skater from this entire draft. He has outstanding fundamentals and as I said explosiveness is trainable.

    Thanks for posting this!

  101. leadfarmer says:

    VOR: Your argument might be sound if it was the general population you were discussing. But you are not talking about the general population. You are talking about an elite level athlete who plays a sport that rewards reaction time, fast twitch fiber, tendon thickness, and explosiveness.

    This is a kid who routinely wins puck battles with better skaters, head mans the puck, and joins the rush. He has plenty of fast twitch fiber. It just isn’t trained or deployed to produce maximum power output on his first stride. That is highly trainable.

    As for aggressiveness could anybody make Dustin Penner more aggressive, or Kyle Brodziak, or Griffin Reinhart, or Sean Couturier or many, many others going back decades (Frank Mahovlich, Peter Mahovlich, Jean Ratelle, Pat Price, Al MacDonald)? Let’s face it “play more aggressively” is a common coaching request of big men with a passive attitude.

    Evan Bouchard is a high efficiency, cerebral player. Every brain cell he has is telling him to play the position not the man. I am guessing it won’t be as easy to convince him to play like Adam Larsson as one might think.

    The same thing could be said about Griffin Reinhardt.
    There’s a huge difference between an elite junior player and a good NHLer
    Not saying those two players are comparable. Just saying that there’s a huge variance in elite junior players where they end up so all this talk about tendon thickness is really pretty bs. We really have no idea about his mitochondrial counts either.
    You can tune up your explosiveness but you either have that level of explosion or you don’t. There’s not a big issue with skating technique where he’s not converting energy well. If you have a 12 inch vertical with lot of explosiveness training and strength and conditioning training you may get 15 inches but you are not getting to two feet.
    There’s many levels of aggressiveness. You could be Scott Stevens aggressive, which yes is hard to train a person to be, or you can be Nik Lidstrom aggressive where you tie up the stick and mark the player, that is a teachable skill.
    I think Bouchard will be a very good player. Kind of Ryan Whitney type for the short period he was with us and healthy. I don’t expect an elite skating D.
    And please keep him away from the NHL this year. Rookie 18 year old D don’t help you win. I don’t think Dahlen will help the Sabres win much this year. The game is just so much faster than juniors that these guys are universally just not ready

  102. jp says:

    pts2pndr: Here I am again disagreeing but given 3 new coaches and limited time would you not think it prudent for the new coaches to see what they currently have versus bringing in more bodies. It is imperative they hit the ground running with set lines and not have what happened last year! Logic and critical thinking must be the new way!

    I’d love to see Hemsky on a tryout personally. Partly for old times, but also because there’s no one on the roster currently who ‘should’ be ready for 1R or 2R. If he earns a spot it pretty much assures Yamamoto of starting in the AHL. And if he earns a spot it also means the incumbents haven’t seized the day. I’m struggling to see the downside honestly.

  103. Scungilli Slushy says:

    Jethro Tull: Ok, take what you posted and swap DeRozan with Draisaitl and the guy with 1yr of Erik Karlsson.

    Would you be happy that if Erik walked after a year, we’d just start the rebuild early?

    And the Raptors are a good team, not like the Oilers. The Raps are looking at either win next year or lose DeRozan AND a top 5 league player AND still not have won.

    Bad bet, even if it has some success.

    I believe De R had an opt out after this season. Perhaps we don’t know what was discussed and the Raptors cut bait and rolled on a true top talent.

  104. OriginalPouzar says:

    VOR,

    Fantastic information, thank you.

  105. Scungilli Slushy says:

    Jaxon: “The issue here is we don’t know if these decisions were a function of mindset or simply because they were bereft of depth in the org. I suspect it’s a little of both.” I think this is a pretty good point. But I don’t believe the BOTB had a lot of influence. I think most teams would have made similar decisions regarding those individual players.

    Yakupov and Gagner and Schultz all performed quite well in their rookie seasons. It was their deployment post-rookie season which may have been where mistakes were made. I think they were all ready to play in the NHL.

    Yakupov played at a 53 point pace in his rookie season. I’ll admit, defensively, he was a tire fire, but nobody expects a #1 to not play in the NHL and most believe they will adjust over time as they figure things out. Yakupov never could figure it out as expected. I think most teams would have struggled similarly.

    Schultz played at a 46 point pace in his rookie season as a 23-year-old who had proved all he could at the NCAA and AHL levels and he ended up with the 3rd best Corsi Rel among Oilers D and had more D Zone starts than OZone starts and played 21.5 minutes per game on a shitty team. He certainly looked ready that season.

    Gagner is a similar case to Yakupov. He played well in his rookie season but had some defensive issues. He scored at a 51 point pace. His D issues weren’t as great as Yak’s and he did improve over time. He was the 2nd best C on the Oilers behind Horcoff and did quite well. They gave Brodziak the tougher assignments as far as zones go and Gagner got O-zone and more minutes as a player with more offensive upside.

    I think being on a shitty team was more detrimental than rushing them.

    Gagner and Yak despite talent are marginal NHL players. Schultz is a highly paid specialist that can’t play top comp, Yak and Gagner can’t either.

    For me one way O guys have to be tremendous scorers or it is a net loss. Schultz is the luckiest kid going , riding coattails to 2 Cups getting his points while others did the important work that wins games; especially playoff games.

    The young skilled Oilers of a few years ago could dazzle but they couldn’t win.

    For Bouchard, if he can pick up the system he’ll be on the team. They’ll forgo the miscues if he gets the big picture, which Bear struggled with as most do. I have no idea what they will do with an extra regular D. Maybe the pine makes someone waive an NMC.

  106. Scungilli Slushy says:

    Bag of Pucks:
    Jaxon,

    It’s not just what you get (points production), it’s what you give up. And also your ability to play a role within a larger system.

    A big factor in rushing these players is they didn’t learn the defensive chops to be effective two way players first in the A and then later by graduating up the pro depth chart.

    I’m not a huge MacLellan fan but he’s taking the right approach with JP imo. Job #1 for Jesse is his play away from the puck. When TMac is satisfied with that, he gives Puli the carrot of more mins or better linemates. As it should be.

    I get the impression TM takes age into account. JP is clearly a better player than Rattie or Cags to me, but they are older. Placeholders while the key youth get enough at bats.

    With Yama, I think he’s mentally ahead of JP, he might get the initial push, but if JP gets to where he can he’ll pass Yama.

  107. VOR says:

    leadfarmer: The same thing could be said about Griffin Reinhardt.
    There’s a huge difference between an elite junior player and a good NHLer
    Not saying those two players are comparable.Just saying that there’s a huge variance in elite junior players where they end up so all this talk about tendon thickness is really pretty bs.We really have no idea about his mitochondrial counts either.
    You can tune up your explosiveness but you either have that level of explosion or you don’t.There’s not a big issue with skating technique where he’s not converting energy well.If you have a 12 inch vertical with lot of explosiveness training and strength and conditioning training you may get 15 inches but you are not getting to two feet.
    There’s many levels of aggressiveness.You could be Scott Stevens aggressive, which yes is hard to train a person to be, or you can be Nik Lidstrom aggressive where you tie up the stick and mark the player, that is a teachable skill.
    I think Bouchard will be a very good player.Kind of Ryan Whitney type for the short period he was with us and healthy.I don’t expect an elite skating D.
    And please keep him away from the NHL this year.Rookie 18 year old D don’t help you win.I don’t think Dahlen will help the Sabres win much this year.The game is just so much faster than juniors that these guys are universally just not ready

    I don’t even know where to start.

    Tendon thickness is correlated quite strongly with injury risk. It also determines how much force you can generate in that tendon failure is sometimes rate limiting. It can be measured using ultrasound and software developed at Simon Fraser University. I have the software and use it all the time. Several NHL teams use it.

    You can’t be sure why somebody has a 12 inch vertical. Without knowing we can’t possibly predict their maximum vertical jump. You are making blanket statements you can’t actually know are true. I have worked with athletes who gained almost 2 feet in their vertical. These were jumpers, volleyball players, and throwers. All these sports rely on explosion. These athletes were young and good and became great as they matured and their explosive power increased.

    Evan Bouchard can almost certainly become more explosive. So can nearly everyone on this blog.

  108. jm363561 says:

    NIX says:
    July 18, 2018 at 4:41 pm
    And who here honestly doesnt think Yamamoto would be electric with McDavid? Already. Warts and all. He often looked the most reliable on the ice in that 10 game stretch as teammates flubbed simple passes left and right. Seemed a bit snakebit, but showed well. Could be some absolute electric hockey with McNuge and with any luck hes ‘bulked up’ even if just a tad.

    They dont have to carry, just contribute. I think these would be two additions that could flat out be fun as all hell and I maintain that funtowatch/60 is a criminally undervalued stat. Meanwhile, perhaps with some pressure off, Puljujarvi looms with a giant grin ready to bloom. I cant wait for the season.
    ========

    I have no great hope for the coming season – I gave up years ago on the whole off season to work on game / speed / bulking up / etc; improved health (Sek, Kbom); bounce back (Looch, Cam; special teams); break out (PJ, Yamo); new toys (Bouchard, Tobias, coaches); and blue sky thinking (Nuge can really play LW; with better wingers Drai can really drive a line; we really have a back up goalie and depth on D; new assistant coaches can really work with our neutered head coach.) Just too many stars to align.

    However, Yamo tearing it up with Connor, and JP banging and crashing with Leon is a really nice thought. Add in Boom Boom Booch on the power play, and Kiril shooting like Patrick Laine, and I can’t wait …… for the 2021 season.

  109. Munny says:

    VOR,

    You’ve had several extra base hits in this thread today, VOR. Thank you for your contributions.

  110. Slocanoil says:

    leadfarmer,

    Ryan Whitney pre ankle injury was a very good player, if Bouchard gets to there and progress further we are in great shape.

  111. Ryan says:

    VOR: I don’t even know where to start.

    Tendon thickness is correlated quite strongly with injury risk. It also determines how much force you can generate in that tendon failure is sometimes rate limiting. It can be measured using ultrasound and software developed at Simon Fraser University. I have the software and use it all the time. Several NHL teams use it.

    You can’t be sure why somebody has a 12 inch vertical. Without knowing we can’t possibly predict their maximum vertical jump. You are making blanket statements you can’t actually know are true. I have worked with athletes who gained almost 2 feet in their vertical. These were jumpers, volleyball players, and throwers. All these sports rely on explosion. These athletes were young and good and became great as they matured and their explosive power increased.

    Evan Bouchard can almost certainly become more explosive. So can nearly everyone on this blog.

    Let’s start with acknowledging that Lead Farmer is an interventional radiologist.

    I myself am not going to teach Python to Gmoney, Tort law to Original Pouzar, wood to Woodguy, physics to Godot, t scores to Georges, sociology to Stephen Sheps, hockey analytics to Tyler Dellow, or music to Melvis.

  112. jp says:

    jm363561:

    I have no great hope for the coming season – I gave up years ago on the whole off season to work on game / speed / bulking up / etc; improved health (Sek, Kbom); bounce back (Looch, Cam; special teams); break out (PJ, Yamo); new toys (Bouchard, Tobias, coaches); and blue sky thinking (Nuge can really play LW; with better wingers Drai can really drive a line; we really have a back up goalie and depth on D; new assistant coaches can really work with our neutered head coach.) Just too many stars to align.

    However, Yamo tearing it up with Connor, and JP banging and crashing with Leon is a really nice thought. Add in Boom Boom Booch on the power play, and Kiril shooting like Patrick Laine, and I can’t wait …… for the 2021 season.

    You know, a lot of what needs to happen is the (exact same) D and G need to play like 16-17. Stars need to align, but most of them are the same stars that aligned 2 yrs ago.

    Where are we at?
    Out: Eberle, Maroon, Letestu, Pouliot
    In: Strome, Rieder, Puljujarvi, Khaira, Brodziak

    Plus some chance Rattie, Aberg or Yamamoto become real contributors.

    It’s not all roses, but it’s a damn fine line between a top 10 season and a bottom 10 season. The Oilers could easily get back there despite all the question marks.

  113. jp says:

    Ryan: Let’s start with acknowledging that Lead Farmer is an interventional radiologist.

    I myself am not going to teach Python to Gmoney, Tort law to Original Pouzar, wood to Woodguy, physics to Godot, t scores to Georges, sociology to Stephen Sheps, hockey analytics to Tyler Dellow, or music to Melvis.

    Isn’t VOR a multisport trainer/coach/athletic guy? (VOR, what on earth do you call yourself?)

    Unless leadfarmer specializes in sports medicine I’m not sure why he would be any more an authority on this than VOR (and even then VOR’s experience in training athletes might be more relevant to the point in question).

    Leadfarmer and/or VOR, feel free to correct me on any of this. (and also acknowledging that leadfarmer himself never claimed to be an authority based on his profession)

  114. Wilde says:

    Anyone wanna talk about Anton Lander’s KHL season?

  115. VOR says:

    Ryan: Let’s start with acknowledging that Lead Farmer is an interventional radiologist.

    I myself am not going to teach Python to Gmoney, Tort law to Original Pouzar, wood to Woodguy, physics to Godot, t scores to Georges, sociology to Stephen Sheps, hockey analytics to Tyler Dellow, or music to Melvis.

    I have no idea why you would expect an interventional radiologist would have expert knowledge of physical medicine or sports medicine or anatomy. These are different specialities. And why would he have expertise in teaching/training explosive power?

  116. Munny says:

    Ryan: Let’s start with acknowledging that Lead Farmer is an interventional radiologist.

    Cool beans. Let us know when radiology comes up!

    Leadfarmer is a smart person, and can defend his/her statements, if they are worthy of it, without any such weak appeals to authority.

  117. VOR says:

    jp: Isn’t VOR a multisport trainer/coach/athletic guy? (VOR, what on earth do you call yourself?)

    Unless leadfarmer specializes in sports medicine I’m not sure why he would be any more an authority on this than VOR (and even then VOR’s experience in training athletes might be more relevant to the point in question).

    Leadfarmer and/or VOR, feel free to correct me on any of this. (and also acknowledging that leadfarmer himself never claimed to be an authority based on his profession)

    I am a Human Performance Scientist.

  118. Scungilli Slushy says:

    Professor Q: It became a viral narrative and it seems like many people are parroting that viewpoint without actually watching him play. Some reports have it as a positive so it really is weird that random obscure negative reports become the loudest.

    My read is that he isn’t an explosive skater. I think that is more important for forwards.

    Bouch was second fastest backward which to me is more important (won’t cave the D zone so he doesn’t get walked) and many have said his has good 4 way (lateral) skating.

    The other question is pivots as D have to turn around at speed, and being slow at it takes away time and space.

    I’m not concerned anymore about that. His passing is far more important, his read of play, and that he is now showing 2 way play which many of the fantastic skaters don’t. And he also has a typical NHL size meaning being undersized won’t mean he’s as big a risk with O translation as Hughes, Smith Merkely, Addison and Boqvist.

  119. jp says:

    VOR,

    Cool, that does capture what you’ve talked about nicely.

  120. VOR says:

    I assume lead-farmer was paying attention in medical school. He therefore knows a lot more about how the human body works than most posters here. I think he is wrong in this matter but I wouldn’t dream of disrespecting the years of training he has put in or the magic he has in his hands and brain. He is an elite performer of a highly physical skill.

  121. Scungilli Slushy says:

    VOR:
    I want to be clear. I have watched Evan Bouchard play live and on tape. He is a good, possibly outstanding skater. But he lacks an explosive first step.

    In 7 games spread over the past year I never saw him get beaten to the outside, not once. Every scouting report is consistent. He is a really good backwards skater. Bouchard has a great cross over to either side and outstanding agility.. Not to mention for a junior player he has excellent gap control.

    The weakness as I see it, and I am not alone, is he isn’t aggressive enough between the hash marks. This combines with a lack of explosion on his first lateral stride to make him vulnerable to rapid puck movement. And we know there are lines in the NHL that can move the puck at incredible speed.

    Explosion can be trained/taught. Aggressiveness on the other hand is harder.

    Every Oilers’ fan is going to want Bouchard to clear out in front of his own net like Larsson. I doubt that will ever happen. But if he gets so he can cover more ice faster on defence we will forgive him because he has great defensive positioning.

    If we score skating skill from 1 to 100 with the average pro being a 50 then Evan Bouchard is a 75. This was just a draft with a handful of 80+ and 3 or 4 90+ defensemen. It is entirely possible that 10 years from now Bouchard will be seen as the best skater from this entire draft. He has outstanding fundamentals and as I said explosiveness is trainable.

    Commented before I got here 🙂

  122. Jaxon says:

    Good thread everyone. This was fun. Wish I had the time to respond to a few more but it is part my bedtime and I need my beauty sleep. Later.

  123. Scungilli Slushy says:

    Glass:
    How does Bouchard compare to the Flames D prospects? Is he the best prospect between both clubs? They have a solid pipeline of young D and I’m curious how he stacks up against them.

    I would say Bouchard has more pedigree. Drafting a well rounded D with offensive chops that is NHL size and can skate normally is a coup. It’s hard to get all that in one player, which is why I’m sure the Oilers considered trading up.

  124. JimmyV1965 says:

    Just watched a couple games from last year and JP was fascinating. He made some sublime plays that Lucic and Strome flubbed regularly. He also made some bone headed plays that made me groan. You can see if the talent is there. I think the biggest issue will be confidence. The team has to handle him with care and be patient. Fans need to be patient too.

  125. slopitch says:

    Great thread guys and gals. Informative.

  126. Scungilli Slushy says:

    VOR: I really think all the pressure on this year is likely to produce bad decisions and bad strategies. You want to be planning for the future. If you win now great. But better to let the new coaches learn who fits the system, who they can help, who can grow by playing the kids.

    Maybe I am the only one who thinks this roster is nowhere near good enough to win but that you can see greatness coming.

    It certainly isn’t a perfect roster, but who has one?

    The Leafs are talented up front but have a lot of young forwards and a very suspect D which means likely Oilers of 4 years ago. They might make the playoffs, but I don’t see the experience and depth on D to get far. Tavares isn’t going to make enough diff for the rest of it.

    Really as teams get deep and good, the cap starts poaching on their land. I think next season is wide open. Whatever team finds a groove and stays healthyish will be tough, like every year. It’s fluid year to year.

    The Oilers have questions on the wing, but really there are few marginal NHL players talent wise on the roster, so different that before. There are few marginal skaters. They have an NHL starter quality goaler. Hopefully they have a competent backup. I feel the group has quality.

    I think the players will come in excited and motivated because of the quality PC hired in the assistants. I couldn’t have hoped for more, that is a dream team of hires again compared to the past.

    If they can get the players to at least hit their level the Oilers will be the team we saw when playing well, which was hard to beat even for top teams. If they can also inspire growth it will be better than that. If they can get the team bought in and playing the system with passion like the Knights it floats all boats.

    Of course for any Edmonton pro team health seems to be the Achilles heel. With health I think playoffs are reasonable, and when there it’s anybody’s if the goaler plays well.

  127. JimmyV1965 says:

    Glass:
    How does Bouchard compare to the Flames D prospects? Is he the best prospect between both clubs? They have a solid pipeline of young D and I’m curious how he stacks up against them.

    The Flames prospect cardboard is genuinely interesting. I’m no expert but IMO dman Rasmus Andersson is their best prospect. He may be better than Bouchard. I have no idea actually. Then they have Valimaki and Kylington, a pair of dmen who are likely their next best prospects. Losing Fox for basically nothing was a huge blow. Their only high profile forward prospect is Dillon Dube. I have no idea how good he really is. He put up great numbers in Kelowna but that team was loaded with studs. Their hot shot goalie prospects all took a step backwards last year. Will be fascinating to see the development of their prospects this year. I might be looking through Oiler coloured glasses, but their farm system could be in real trouble here soon.

  128. Scungilli Slushy says:

    VOR: I don’t even know where to start.

    Tendon thickness is correlated quite strongly with injury risk. It also determines how much force you can generate in that tendon failure is sometimes rate limiting. It can be measured using ultrasound and software developed at Simon Fraser University. I have the software and use it all the time. Several NHL teams use it.

    You can’t be sure why somebody has a 12 inch vertical. Without knowing we can’t possibly predict their maximum vertical jump. You are making blanket statements you can’t actually know are true. I have worked with athletes who gained almost 2 feet in their vertical. These were jumpers, volleyball players, and throwers. All these sports rely on explosion. These athletes were young and good and became great as they matured and their explosive power increased.

    Evan Bouchard can almost certainly become more explosive. So can nearly everyone on this blog.

    If I might, I wonder why some people can have such insane verticals. I watched a young guy probably 6 plus feet do standing jumps without stopping over a run of hurdles while my kid was at a B day party at the local gymnastics centre. He was getting incredible height. Pro athletes would be envious.

    Today I saw a TSN highlight package of ‘awesome’ things normal people do athletically, and a kid did an Air Jordan and he must have been 4 feet up and long it seemed 8 feet for a slam.

  129. Richard S.S. says:

    How do you know if the Player on his first NHL appearance is good enough to stay? If he doesn’t get caved/overwhelmed by elite competition and looks like he can do the job, you’ve got 1st Pairing D or better; or you’ve got 1st Line F or better. The first nine games – regular play, should/will show it.

  130. JimmyV1965 says:

    Scungilli Slushy: It certainly isn’t a perfect roster, but who has one?

    The Leafs are talented up front but have a lot of young forwards and a very suspect D which means likely Oilers of 4 years ago. They might make the playoffs, but I don’t see the experience and depth on D to get far. Tavares isn’t going to make enough diff for the rest of it.

    Really as teams get deep and good, the cap starts poaching on their land. I think next season is wide open. Whatever team finds a groove and stays healthyish will be tough, like every year. It’s fluid year to year.

    The Oilers have questions on the wing, but really there are few marginal NHL players talent wise on the roster, so different that before. There are few marginal skaters. They have an NHL starter quality goaler. Hopefully they have a competent backup. I feel the group has quality.

    I think the players will come in excited and motivated because of the quality PC hired in the assistants. I couldn’t have hoped for more, that is a dream team of hires again compared to the past.

    If they can get the players to at least hit their level the Oilers will be the team we saw when playing well, which was hard to beat even for top teams. If they can also inspire growth it will be better than that. If they can get the team bought in and playing the system with passion like the Knights it floats all boats.

    Of course for anyEdmonton pro team health seems to be the Achilles heel. With health I think playoffs are reasonable, and when there it’s anybody’s if the goaler plays well.

    I think the Oil are lucky to be in the Pacific Division. I think there are three teams in the Central that are almost a lock for the playoffs; the Jets, Preds and possibly the Blues.

    Not so much in the Pacific. I think the Flames have the best roster on paper and could win the division title. Yet I won’t be surprised if they fail to make the playoffs. Vegas is a total wild card. They were driven by one line and exceptional goaltending. Their roster just screams regression. With good goaltending and improved special teams, there’s no reason the Oil can’t make the playoffs or even win the division. The Pacific is absolutely wide open this year.

  131. JimmyV1965 says:

    I know +/- is a flawed stat, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen such a wide variance in numbers as the Golden Knights last year. I think they had three of the top seven in the league and just a massive drop off after that.

    http://www.hockeydb.com/ihdb/stats/leagues/seasons/teams/0077762018.html

  132. SwedishPoster says:

    VOR: Your argument might be sound if it was the general population you were discussing. But you are not talking about the general population. You are talking about an elite level athlete who plays a sport that rewards reaction time, fast twitch fiber, tendon thickness, and explosiveness.

    This is a kid who routinely wins puck battles with better skaters, head mans the puck, and joins the rush. He has plenty of fast twitch fiber. It just isn’t trained or deployed to produce maximum power output on his first stride. That is highly trainable.

    As for aggressiveness could anybody make Dustin Penner more aggressive, or Kyle Brodziak, or Griffin Reinhart, or Sean Couturier or many, many others going back decades (Frank Mahovlich, Peter Mahovlich, Jean Ratelle, Pat Price, Al MacDonald)? Let’s face it “play more aggressively” is a common coaching request of big men with a passive attitude.

    Evan Bouchard is a high efficiency, cerebral player. Every brain cell he has is telling him to play the position not the man. I am guessing it won’t be as easy to convince him to play like Adam Larsson as one might think.

    Adam Larsson wasn’t Adam Larsson aggressive when he was a teenager. Much more cerebral. He met Scott Stevens in New Jersey who upped the aggressiveness.

  133. VOR says:

    Scungilli Slushy: If I might, I wonder why some people can have such insane verticals. I watched a young guy probably 6 plus feet do standing jumps without stopping over a run of hurdles while my kid was at a B day party at the local gymnastics centre. He was getting incredible height. Pro athletes would be envious.

    Today I saw a TSN highlight package of ‘awesome’ things normal people do athletically, and a kid did an Air Jordan and he must have been 4 feet up and long it seemed 8 feet for a slam.

    It is immensely complicated but I will offer you a simple answer. Gerry Swan.

    Gerry was Captain of the Pandas and Golden Bears Track Teams at the UofA for several years. He was an elite triple jumper, world class. He came from one of the Caribbean islands but I can’t remember which one. The thing is he had this incredible vertical, just awe inspiring. He came to a class I was TAing, advanced physiology, and served as a Guinea Pig while we tried to figure out why he could fly.

    The obvious answer was:

    1. He was very strong. He squatted 3 times his body weight with ease.
    2. He was very lean. Body fat of about 7%.
    3. He was extraordinarily flexible. He taught yoga and worked with the men and women’s gymnastics teams teaching flexibility exercises. And he worked at it every day. Hard.
    4. He was explosive. For his weight class he had Olympis standard in both Snatch and Clean and Jerk.
    5. He had exceptional elastic strength. Watching him do boxes was to see gravity defied. He could land in a squat coming off one four foot high box and instantly spring up onto the next.
    6. And according to Gerry most importantly he had great technique.

    We discovered he also thought about jumping differently than most people. Different parts of his brain lit up and they lit up bright. We’d have him visualize his jump and watch on CT.

    Great vertical is about exceptional flexibility and great technique allowing the athlete to use a larger portion of their maximum strength to jump. This coupled with unusual strength in the involved muscles and above average explosiveness explains the phenomenon you are describing.

    A natural talent gets trained by repetition.

    And remember that is all a considerable simplification.

  134. OriginalPouzar says:

    Wilde:
    Anyone wanna talk about Anton Lander’s KHL season?

    As long as we can include some anecdotes re: Rob Klinkhammer!

    I would love to have Lander back in North America as the 13th/14th forward – he’d be a great body to put between Brad Malone and the NHL.

  135. London Jon says:

    VOR,

    Loving all the chat here about explosiveness and vertical. I played in the Bears volleyball system all the way up to University and then didn’t crack the lineup because my mediocre vertical wasn’t good enough to make up for being only 6’1”. It always bugs me looking back that I was about 13% body fat, did nothing on flexibility and did limited true power work. The only thing I did regularly to try and jump higher was some plyos. Gutting to (maybe) have left six inches plus of vertical on the table when I desperately needed it!

    I’m now a 40 year old beach volleyball player that gets a lot more of these things right and I jump five inches higher indoors than my PB at 19.

    What’s my point? Who knows if Bouchard has been doing all the right training with all the right people and he’s pretty much at his ceiling for explosiveness? Or he hasn’t and there’s a lot of room to improve. I guess that’s the dream – you discover that the elite junior player you’ve drafted was elite at that level without being anywhere near as flexible and explosive as he can be…

  136. London Jon says:

    London Jon,

    I wish I’d met Gerry Swan!!!

  137. Professor Q says:

    SwedishPoster: Adam Larsson wasn’t Adam Larsson aggressive when he was a teenager. Much more cerebral. He met Scott Stevens in New Jersey who upped the aggressiveness.

    Scott Stevens wasn’t Scott Stevens aggressive until later in his career either.

    St. Louis and Early New Jersey Scott Stevens was a talented Offensive Defenceman.

    Was it…the New Jersey System and Ken Daneyko for both of them, perhaps?

    EDIT: Forgot about Washington. Apparently Stevens was aggressive even then, like a young and hot-headed Messier and more offensive (even with a tendency to fight). Engblom and Brian Murray taught him to play better defensively, as well as playing smarter and harder as opposed to settling things solely with fists.

  138. rickithebear says:

    Jethro Tull:
    MSM: The Hall-Larsson trade will surely be remembered as one of the most controversial trades made in mainstream sports, considering it didn’t have to be made.

    Toronto Raptors: Hold my beer.

    You trade players based on
    1. Elite repeatable baseline performance in a system.
    2. Elite Goal differential affect
    3. Cup core structure.

    Last 2 season of Baseline performance repeatability from Hall when traded was.
    67gm 20g 31a 51p -3
    15gm of .25 win % 7-8 of possible 30 puts.
    95-8 = (87) /(67 x 2) = .650 x 82 = 107 season Pt pace
    No playoffs in 16-17 with hall and no Larsson.
    Larsson was a top 5 HD dman, who we now know can drag 1st comp results.

    Only thing controversial is Tmac defending Perimeter over HD area in 27-18
    We had 5 years of Larrson for 4 years of Hall.
    Made playoffs predicated on unit affect of our top 2 comp HD Dmen.
    Larsson +21
    Sekera +14
    And emergence of a young dman PC said MacT acquired.
    Benning +8

    Injuries and system change buried us.
    Larsson +21/78gm = +.269; +10/63gm = .159; (-11)
    Sekera +14/80gm = +.175; -15/36gm = -.420; (-29)
    Benning +8/62gm = +.129; +5/73gm = +.090; (-3)
    Klefbom +7/82gm = +.085; -12/66 = -.181; (-19)
    Russell +5/68gm = +.073; -7/78gm = -.090; (-12)
    Nurse EV/44gm = .000; +15/82gm = +.182; (+15)
    Auvitu +4/33gm = +.121
    Bear -11/18gm = -.611

    I would have loved to see Auvitu get some Yawney whispering.

  139. The Trade Guy says:

    Scungilli Slushy: I believe De R had an opt out after this season. Perhaps we don’t know what was discussed and the Raptors cut bait and rolled on a true top talent.

    No DeRozan has 3 years on his deal. 2 + 1 player option. Its not 100% certain he would have opt’d out either. The pressure on Toronto at the end of that deal would be to give him another max deal. Which I know they wouldn’t want to do.

    They have a 2 year window with their core. They shifted it to 1 year, with Kawhi but he’s one of the very best players in the NBA. There is no comparison you can use from the NHL, because no one positional player can impact a game consistenly in hockey like a star can in basketball. The closest might be like getting one year of prime Hasek for your allstar right winger or something.

    Kawhi is younger, cheaper and better than DeMar on both sides of the court. Especially, on defense where the defensive gap between the two is probably about the same as my defense vs. DD’s.

    And the Raptors had four years of awful playoff performances from DD. The metrics show he was a net negative in every series he played. He was awful in the ones they even won.

    In Game 3, when the Raps rallied against LeBron and Lowry was balling out. DD was on the bench. In game 4 he took a lame foul and got ejected. Ended up being his last game as a Raptor.

    DD will be fine. Not like he got exiled. He is playing on a first class franchise with the greatest coach of all time. Toronto loves him and always will. He’s fine.

  140. rickithebear says:

    Professor Q: Scott Stevens wasn’t Scott Stevens aggressive until later in his career either.

    St. Louis and Early New Jersey Scott Stevens was a talented Offensive Defenceman.

    Was it…the New Jersey System and Ken Daneyko for both of them, perhaps?

    New Jersey ran NZ trap, Allowed Dpairs to pressure the blue and destroy entry penetration.
    Then they collapsed and forced perimeter play while positioning for 0% corsi affect.

    I have stated many times before that Brodeur was the luckiest Goalie in the world.
    He faced low shot densities and he made open shot rates higher than they needed to be.
    Put JVB I thier they win more cups.

    5 deep HD dmen teams are not common.
    LAK 11-12 to 13-14
    Oilers 05-06
    NJD 02-03; 00-01; 97-98 to 99-00; 94-95; 93-94;

  141. rickithebear says:

    SwedishPoster: Adam Larsson wasn’t Adam Larsson aggressive when he was a teenager. Much more cerebral. He met Scott Stevens in New Jersey who upped the aggressiveness.

    Amen!
    Stevens the other HD dman horse whisperer.

  142. rickithebear says:

    VOR:
    Your points are like reading Soviet Sports Review thru the whole 80,s

    Got to use Apollo (60,s) and pilot (70,s) devices to increase visual range.
    Thier was a version of the periphery expanding device I saw in the kids area of Edmonton science centre.

    Points 1-4 & 6 were my mantra. In the 80,s
    Had explosion every wee but ankles and Calves.
    Tried every excersies talked about in the review.
    My 0 – 15 times were awful. But 4.6’s inthe 40,s

    Did good mornings up to 500lb and elevated rear large decline squats to develop the explosion from the knees up.
    Allowed for low hips like in line play.
    When my body fat was below 7% it allowed for tackle drive when facing players 30 Lb heavier.

    All these years I wonder how much of the philosophy was still retained.
    I recognized the mapping process was the way to go.
    But technology has taken it to an amazing level.

    I am jealous of your career.

    I walked away from Pharmacuetical research at corbon crystalline theory level in the mid 80,s
    With the groups that advanced many forms of organic study.
    Thin column GC.

    The study of human pivots at that level.
    You would discover things daily.

  143. Scungilli Slushy says:

    VOR: Scung

    Cheers for that Vor.

  144. rickithebear says:

    Woodguy v2.0:
    rickithebear,

    Guys saying Klefbom – Larsson maybe correct.

    Its ABOUT TIME you were learning!

    No admitting a mistake young man.

    Just a hint! 😇

  145. Woodguy v2.0 says:

    rickithebear: No admitting a mistake young man.

    Just a hint!

    Haha!

    I think I’m pretty quick to admitting mistakes when I realize I’ve made one.

    There have been many.

  146. rickithebear says:

    Jethro Tull: Thay had a young star that loves the franchise and wanted to be a part of the success that was coming.

    Am I talking about the Oilers or the Raptors?

    Of course one of these fired their popular head coach for losing to Lebron James, the best player in the world.

    The 7th best player in game history.

  147. rickithebear says:

    Woodguy v2.0: Haha!

    I think I’m pretty quick to admitting mistakes when I realize I’ve made one.

    There have been many.

    As a momma’s boy, try having your mom tell you on her dying bed that the former Cowboys waitress you are dating who is 15 yr younger than you is the women you were destined to marry. Got first Son from the marriage and realized a mistake.
    Do not follow advice from a brain Cancer patient on thier death bed.

    Or it could be the cowboys waitress thing.

  148. rickithebear says:

    JimmyV1965: The Flames prospect cardboard is genuinely interesting. I’m no expert but IMO dman Rasmus Andersson is their best prospect. He may be better than Bouchard. I have no idea actually. Then they have Valimaki and Kylington, a pair of dmen who are likely their next best prospects. Losing Fox for basically nothing was a huge blow. Their only high profile forward prospect is Dillon Dube. I have no idea how good he really is. He put up great numbers in Kelowna but that team was loaded with studs. Their hot shot goalie prospects all took a step backwards last year. Will be fascinating to see the development of their prospects this year. I might be looking through Oiler coloured glasses, but their farm system could be in real trouble here soon.

    You know Off dmen are 4 times more insefficient at even offence as Forwards.
    So that would be the second worst pocession approach in the game.

    Only beaten by pressuring area 5 times less efficient at getting goals as HD area.
    See Tmac’s coaching last year.

  149. rickithebear says:

    Jaxon: “The issue here is we don’t know if these decisions were a function of mindset or simply because they were bereft of depth in the org. I suspect it’s a little of both.” I think this is a pretty good point. But I don’t believe the BOTB had a lot of influence. I think most teams would have made similar decisions regarding those individual players.

    Yakupov and Gagner and Schultz all performed quite well in their rookie seasons. It was their deployment post-rookie season which may have been where mistakes were made. I think they were all ready to play in the NHL.

    Yakupov played at a 53 point pace in his rookie season. I’ll admit, defensively, he was a tire fire, but nobody expects a #1 to not play in the NHL and most believe they will adjust over time as they figure things out. Yakupov never could figure it out as expected. I think most teams would have struggled similarly.

    Schultz played at a 46 point pace in his rookie season as a 23-year-old who had proved all he could at the NCAA and AHL levels and he ended up with the 3rd best Corsi Rel among Oilers D and had more D Zone starts than OZone starts and played 21.5 minutes per game on a shitty team. He certainly looked ready that season.

    Gagner is a similar case to Yakupov. He played well in his rookie season but had some defensive issues. He scored at a 51 point pace. His D issues weren’t as great as Yak’s and he did improve over time. He was the 2nd best C on the Oilers behind Horcoff and did quite well. They gave Brodziak the tougher assignments as far as zones go and Gagner got O-zone and more minutes as a player with more offensive upside.

    I think being on a shitty team was more detrimental than rushing them.

    Realized your posting is like “Ron” from red deer whom posted on here from 05 to 07.

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