The Finnish Horse

As fans and observers of the Edmonton Oilers, we can get ahead of ourselves when it comes to projecting young players into the NHL, or veterans into new roles. The truth is most positional tweaks discussed in summer die on the vine when the leaves turn (witness Leon at center one year ago) and the hopes and dreams surrounding up and coming amateur talent also falls short. What is a fan looking for the truth to do? Ask the coach, and then think about why the coach gave you his answer. There’s always a reason and it’s most often a good one.

  • Dallas Eakins: “If (Lander) is going to play here, he has to be able to play centre, he has to play left-wing and he has to play right-wing. He has to be able to step in on the power play and kill penalties. He has to be able to wear a bunch of different hats.”

For Dallas Eakins, he saw Lander as a utility player (foot speed was the issue imo) and clearly believed the player was far from a lock on the roster (Will Acton eventually winning the job). A team hires a coach to assess and deploy, and (most of the time) the coach is straightforward about his thinking.

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.

TODD MCLELLAN TALKS JESSE PULJUJARVI

  • We’ve wanted to hurry him from the beginning. We thought he was ready. And at times last year he showed that he was. Then there were other times where he fell off. It’s hard to imagine he’s still a very, very young player. He’s such a big man. He’s a mature player off the ice. He’s a maturing player on the ice. I think we still have a diamond in the rough. I think that the belief system in him is still at very high level. He’ll have to learn to produce on a more consistent basis. But he’ll do that over time.” Source

Puljujarvi’s 2017-18 season was one wild ride. I chronicle all of the games the following morning, let’s have a quick look through JP’s early season.

  • Game One, versus NY Rangers November 11 (scored). Fantastic return! Music! I thought he was fast, strong and played an intelligent two-way game. Source
  • Game 10, versus Calgary Flames December 2 (scored twice). Six shots on goal! Huzzah! Music! Lucic-McDavid-Puljujarvi went 15-9, 2-0 in GF and 3-5 in HDSC. Line scored 3-3-6, Puljujarvi scored twice and that’s a big damned deal. Line went 11-9 against Tkachuk-Backlund-Frolik, 2-0  in GF. That’s a helluva battle but I think 97 won the day. JP, man. The Finnish Horse. Source
  • Game 15, versus Nashville Predators (-2). Two individual high danger scoring chances, so close. Lucic-McDavid-Puljujarvi were 21-13 (McDavid-Puljujarvi) and 15-13 (McDavid-Lucic) with another 4-0 McDavid-Slepyshev and 3-1 McDavid-Khaira. Folks, we’re going to see ML moving off this line soon, no doubt in my mind. I’m a fan of the big man, but passes have to be concise or they just bounce off of him now. Slepy, Khaira or maybe Caggiula could replace him, but it’s probably going to be Maroon. Trio went 9-6 against Johansen line. McDavid took a frustration penalty in a bad spot, that probably comes from getting the squeeze from officials. I can’t blame him, but he put his team in a tough spot. Puljujarvi had some 10-bell chances, just a little shy on getting there in time. He’s coming along nicely. Source
  • Game 16, versus Minnesota Wild (one goal). He is winning a job on 97’s line. Lucic-McDavid-Puljujarvi posted four points on the night, I think that was the best game we’ve seen from Lucic. He was a big part of the win. Puljujarvi drove to the net and lingered, that’s music! McDavid made a dandy play against Niederreiter that may have saved a goal and was his normal dangerous. He’s rocking the casbah at full health now. Line went 10-10 in 9:04, 3-1 in HD and 9-10 against Granlund-Koivu-Niederreiter. Source

After 16 games, Jesse Puljujarvi produced 6-2-8, plus 7 and had 42 shots on goals. That’s the player Edmonton needs and he was playing mostly with Connor McDavid. Later in the year nothing rhymed for the young Finn, but there was chem early. It will take a commitment from everyone involved, but the ideal outcome is McDavid-Puljujarvi based on age and skill set. That would allow McLellan to move Ryan Nugent-Hopkins onto a potentially explosive second line with Leon Draisaitl. Who plays left wing with 97? Lucic is the player I expect to play a prominent role, perhaps with McDavid.

AND NOW FOR SOMETHING COMPLETELY DIFFERENT

In yesterday’s blog posts, Woodguy posted the following: In regards to both Lucic in the top 6 and where JP starts, I think this is worth re-visiting:

  • 17/18
  • Lucic-Draisaitl-Puljujarvi
  • 48 minutes (micro sample)
  • CF% 53.6
  • Scoring Chance % 65.9
  • High Danger Scoring Chance % 76.9
  • Goals % 33 (2-4)

Small sample, but they seems to own the ice except for goals, I’d try that again. Here’s Lucic-Draisaitl without Puljujvarvi:

  • 230min
  • CF% 51.3
  • Scoring Chance % 50.5
  • High Danger Scoring Chance % 48.7
  • Goals % 38.5 (10-16)

That duo seemed to have benefited from Puljujarvi quite a bit. I think we see that at some point in pre-season.

I’d give money to hear the conversation between Todd McLellan and each player involved in this situation, to hear what the new coaches told him about that line and its usage. It could be a surprising preseason.

CERTAIN OILERS 2018-19

  • I ran these tables at the beginning of August, got some interesting feedback and wanted to discuss a little more.
  • I think the forwards listed are in fact the locks, Drake Caggiula’s contract puts him ahead of Pontus Aberg.
  • I ran this as lines and pairings, hopefully we see Puljujarvi up the lineup in training camp, preseason and into the regular year. Rieder on the No. 3 line would be a luxury but could be key to an effective line on the depth chart.

UNCERTAIN OILERS 2018-19

  • There are likely to be additions to this list, PTO’s like Jason Chimera, Lance Bouma and others should be announced in the coming days.
  • I think Aberg makes the team and Kailer Yamamoto gets sent out, but suspect there is zero chance both men make the club.
  • The PTO’s will likely impact the center position, Brad Malone is the 14F (No. 5 C) at this point and the Oilers will want some cover.
  • The open defensive spot appears to be fairly open for competition, moreso than anywhere else on the roster. I think Gravel wins the day.
  • Mikko Koskinen has the backup job locked up if he has 10 fingers and toes and can show well in preseason. He is a big favourite to win the job but I can’t count him as a sure thing yet.

DISTANT BELLS 2018-19

  • William Lagesson, Caleb Jones, Tyler Benson and Joe Gambardella are my picks to be the final group sent out from this list.
  • Josh Currie could surprise, he won an NHL contract and the team may want to reward/have a look at him until later in camp.

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71 Responses to "The Finnish Horse"

  1. OriginalPouzar says:

    Do we remember the reason that Jesse was moved off of McDavid’s right wing?

  2. hunter1909 says:

    JP = sublime talent.

  3. hunter1909 says:

    OriginalPouzar:
    Do we remember the reason that Jesse was moved off of McDavid’s right wing?

    McLellan’s diet was irking him and someone needed to pay?

    *runs off laughing hysterically*

  4. leadfarmer says:

    I think Lucic starts the year on Drais line trying to get him going and JP will be on the third line trying to get some scoring from that line

  5. ArmchairGM says:

    Re-post from last week:

    More evidence for putting Puljujarvi at 1RW:

    Puljujarvi with Nugent-Hopkins:
    TOI: 135:21
    CF%: 54.51
    FF%: 51.65
    SF%: 50.00
    GF%: 77.78
    GF: 7
    GA: 2
    GF/60: 3.10
    GA/60: 0.89
    +/-/60: +2.21
    OZ Start%: 52.94

    Puljujarvi with McDavid:
    TOI: 256:57
    CF%: 54.61
    FF%: 55.79
    SF%: 53.35
    GF%: 61.90
    GF: 13
    GA: 8
    GF/60: 3.04
    GA/60: 1.87
    +/-/60: +1.17
    OZ Start%: 54.91

    Nugent-Hopkins with McDavid:
    TOI: 300:31
    CF%: 54.73
    FF%: 55.03
    SF%: 55.46
    GF%: 62.22
    GF: 28
    GA: 17
    GF/60: 5.59
    GA/60: 3.39
    +/-/60: +2.20
    OZ Start%: 62.73

    Rattie with McDavid:
    TOI: 158:57
    CF%: 46.84
    FF%: 46.27
    SF%: 43.50
    GF%: 52.00
    GF: 13
    GA: 12
    GF/60: 4.91
    GA/60: 4.53
    +/-/60: +0.38
    OZ Start%: 56.84

    All numbers 5v5 for 2017-18 via naturalstattrick.com

    So Nugent-Hopkins sets McDavid on fire offensively, that we already knew. Rattie with the pair sinks the line down to almost even – most of his “w/McDavid” numbers were with Nuge on the other wing.

    Puljujarvi with Nugent-Hopkins is dynamite, that I didn’t know. To put that +2.21/60 into perspective, the best line in the league last year put up +2.07/60. Bergeron was +1.12, Stamkos +1.22 and McDavid +0.90. Now, those guys are playing top competition more often, but these are steller results.

    The Puljujarvi with McDavid numbers are interesting – reasonable amount of track and Nuge wasn’t on the ice at the same time, the most common LW’s were Lucic and Slepyshev. 3.04-1.87 is nearly exactly what Marchand-Bergeron posted last year: 3.10-1.88 for +1.22. I’m willing to bet a lot of money that adding RNH to the left side improves the offensive production of this line without giving up much (if anything) on the defensive side of the puck.

    Nugent-Hopkins – McDavid – Puljujarvi

    This is the 1-line of the future. How soon can we get Jesse signed to a Jarnkrok-like contract?

  6. OriginalPouzar says:

    There has been lots of verbal about Jesse not getting an opportunity but his linemates TOI shows that he got minutes with each of the skill centers at 5 on 5:

    McDavid – 257
    Strome – 237
    Nuge – 117
    Drai – 101
    Letestu – 46

    It seems to me that the issue might have been related to being moved all over the place and not getting time to find chemistry and rhythm with any center – the blender as many call it.

    I know many think Jesse should or will start at 3RW with Strome but will end up winning a top 6 RW spot on merit.

    To me, I think it makes sense to see if Jesse can grab the top 6 RW spot right off the bat (and maybe never ever give it up).

    Depending on Rattie and Kailer, that could mean that Rieder gets to play 3rd line which provides depth in the lineup.

  7. 36 percent body fat says:

    everyone is worried about the right side, but has any one looked at the left. makes me puke other than nuge. Lucic is one line to high and caggulia might be two. I seriously preger Khaira there, because in terms of liability he is less of one than the other 2, which would leave the offensive players on the line to do what they need.

    on the right side there are a lot of unproven options, however their are options, on the left side there is not. So if Rattie fails, we can try something different, when caggulia and lucic fail we can not.

    I wonder if the caggulia deal was to protect the coach and GM from themselves in having to call up benson, because I dont get signing a replacement level player of more than 900K, than again when he is in the line up the coach cant resist stabbing themselves over and over again

  8. OriginalPouzar says:

    With respect to the Lucic/Leon/Jesse trio, I think its interesting to note that Leon and Jesse together but without Lucic got caved – 42% Corsi and 43% goal share.

    This was in a small sample of 53 minutes (similar to the 48 minute sample of the trio together).

  9. OriginalPouzar says:

    Ya, Drake is a lock and Aberg is not but, at the same time, given how close to the cap we are (likely even to carry 22 bodies on the roster at times), Aberg’s $650K contract has great value and, if given the opportunity, the man very likely turns it in to a material value contract.

    Is Rattie a lock? What if Kailer eats his lunch and Jesse grabs a top 6 RW spot?

    I believe Koskinen is a lock even if outplayed by Montoya in the pre-season – I mean he’s listed in the letter…..

  10. Kinger_Oil.redux says:

    – LT: I like your approach on all this. GeorgesXO yesterday said: “Like a lot of us, I’m trying to figure out what being first-rate means.”

    – In 10 years we will have had a min. one more GM, and 2 more coaches during the “McD era”

    – What does the next 10 years look like?

    – For me: winning 2 Cups would be an outstanding achievement. Making the playoffs most every season as well. Some great performances from McD, Drai, and whoever steps up for the ride

    – That ride, we are projecting all of Kailer, Pool, Bouchard to step up.

    – Of course who knows, but If we win 1 Cup and get heart-broken a few times on some great runs, that’s OK too.

    – Anyway, that’s my take on “first rate”. Winning more than 2 Cups is incredibly difficult given the way the league is set up. Ovie only won one (so far). I suspect our over/under is 1.5

  11. OriginalPouzar says:

    I think they signed Gravel to be on the NHL roster and, frankly, I don’t see Lowe or Stanton taking the spot from him (I don’t think Bear is competing for the same roster spot).

    I don’t think Bouchard effects Gravel either as I think they go with 8D and 13F if Bouchard is with the team. Bouchard on the team, to me, likely effects Yamamoto more than anyone.

    Is it not predicatable that Bouchard breaks camp on the roster and Yamamoto heads to the AHL and, once Bouchard is re-assigned to London, Yamamoto gets called up?

  12. OriginalPouzar says:

    I see Willie Lagesson as a bit of a dark-horse to get some NHL games at some point in the year. In fact, I put him ahead of Jones as far as NHL-readiness (based on last season).

    Lagesson is older, has played against pros in Sweden and has plenty of North American experience. He can defend, skate and move the puck.

  13. Kinger_Oil.redux says:

    ArmchairGM:
    Re-post from last week:

    Nugent-Hopkins – McDavid – Puljujarvi

    This is the 1-line of the future. How soon can we get Jesse signed to a Jarnkrok-like contract?

    – By not playing him all season with that line

    – Assume Jessie goes off: he’s going to get paid. Good problem to have of course, but cap.

    – I doubt things are that sinister, but slow playing Jessie: giving him a little bit of exposure to your “dream line” that he will enjoy (just the tip mind you), makes some sense when planning long-term

  14. slopitch says:

    Some notes from DobberHockey on JP

    A victim of being drafted too high. Had he been drafted 12th overall in 2016 most fantasy owners would consider him a top prospect to own. Before his 20th birthday, he played his 93rd NHL game and scored his 13th career goal. What were you looking for, exactly? As I outlined in the Fantasy Guide, Puljujarvi took on much tougher minutes last season, possibly the toughest among forwards in terms of not seeing strict offensive zone starts and facing stronger competition. And he came away smelling like roses. What’s more, his 5on5 S% indicated that he was the victim of tough puck luck in terms of putting points on the board. So as a 19 year old he was one of the rare defensively responsible Oilers and even though his teammates shot just 6.6% when he was on the ice, he still got 20 points in 68 games. I think he is a safe bet for 35 points this year and has an outside shot at 55. My long-term projections for him remain exactly where they always were and consider him a serious buy-low in keeper leagues.

  15. frjohnk says:

    Kinger_Oil.redux:
    – LT: I like your approach on all this.GeorgesXO yesterday said: “Like a lot of us, I’m trying to figure out what being first-rate means.”

    – In 10 years we will have had a min. one more GM, and 2 more coaches during the “McD era”

    – What does the next 10 years look like?

    – For me: winning 2 Cups would be an outstanding achievement.Making the playoffs most every season as well.Some great performances from McD, Drai, and whoever steps up for the ride

    – That ride, we are projecting all of Kailer, Pool, Bouchard to step up.

    – Of course who knows, but If we win 1 Cup and get heart-broken a few times on some great runs, that’s OK too.

    – Anyway, that’s my take on “first rate”.Winning more than 2 Cups is incredibly difficult given the way the league is set up.Ovie only won one (so far).I suspect our over/under is 1.5

    Capitals have been an elite team more than not for over a decade.

    They ran into the Pens 3 times ( these were the years the Pens won) and ran into hot goaltending a couple of other times.

    Oilers are not close to elite, but if some of their draft picks hit, then that is possible.

    Even with that, its possible the Oilers could be off and on elite over the course of McDavids contract and not even make the finals in that time frame. Or we could also be like the 06 team a couple of times as well ( but hopefully be on the other side of the coin)

  16. slopitch says:

    I personally think the Oilers have done fine handling JP. Yes he did ok with McDavid and Leon. But there were times when he gave the puck away multiple times a game in his own zone – many times for 10 bell chances. He played well at times and struggled at times. 3rd line deployment let him get easier matchups and grow. When he’s ready I believe he’ll be a river pusher. That just doesnt happen overnight.

  17. Kinger_Oil.redux says:

    OriginalPouzar:

    Depending on Rattie and Kailer, that could mean that Rieder gets to play 3rd line which provides depth in the lineup.

    – OK last bit from me: I was in Europe for a week: good times!

    – This is why we can hopeful IMO this year:

    – Is Pool ready to be wing with skill: if not Rattie’s on it
    – Is Kailer ready to be wing with skill: if not Reider’s on it
    – Does Aberg really really want to step up and play with skill? Chance is there

    – Players play. Sure you’d like the GM to have given Coach just awesome wingers, and even more awesome back-up wingers, but it doesn’t work that way IMO.

    – Last year, Sleppy/Joki/Cags didn’t work out, Maroon was just OK, and Pool showed well sometimes, and Kailer got pushed around and his 66% sh% in pre-season went to 0%

    – And last year, they saved ammo that it turns out they didn’t need at trade-deadline

    – Sure we can say all of Reider/Rattie/Aberg/Pool/Kailer are going to disappoint. But what if a few of them don’t, and have good seasons?

    – Anyway, that’s how I see it: GM has given the new coaching staff a bunch of players that can compete to be the three other wingers to play with CmD and Drai.

    – That’s how rosters are: you get really good seasons when players have career years

  18. Kinger_Oil.redux says:

    frjohnk,

    – Yeah I think if we were the Caps for the next 10 years, it would be viewed generally as a dissapointment. I don’t know which team in our conference next 10 years is the next Pittsburgh

    – Would you take 10 years of Washington (1 Cup but awesome), or L.A: 2 Cups and some missed playoffs as well. I figure somewhere between the two: some Cup runs, some years where we are the best team in the league, maybe a Cup or two

    – Depends if McD + Drai > Crosby + Malkin if you are hoping for more than 2. (and a hot goalie)

  19. godot10 says:

    leadfarmer:
    I think Lucic starts the year on Drais line trying to get him going and JP will be on the third line trying to get some scoring from that line

    I can hear the fat lady singing already.

  20. godot10 says:

    OriginalPouzar:
    With respect to the Lucic/Leon/Jesse trio, I think its interesting to note that Leon and Jesse together but without Lucic got caved – 42% Corsi and 43% goal share.

    This was in a small sample of 53 minutes (similar to the 48 minute sample of the trio together).

    I hypothesize that it was the Caggiula black hole impacting those WOWY’s.

  21. frjohnk says:

    Kinger_Oil.redux: – Yeah I think if we were the Caps for the next 10 years, it would be viewed generally as a dissapointment. I don’t know which team in our conference next 10 years is the next Pittsburgh

    That team does not exist in our conference as of yet.
    Would say the Toronto is probably a team that is similar with the players they have

    Kinger_Oil.redux:
    frjohnk,

    – Yeah I think if we were the Caps for the next 10 years, it would be viewed generally as a dissapointment.I don’t know which team in our conference next 10 years is the next Pittsburgh

    – Would you take 10 years of Washington (1 Cup but awesome), or L.A: 2 Cups and some missed playoffs as well.I figure somewhere between the two: some Cup runs, some years where we are the best team in the league, maybe a Cup or two

    At this point, either would be good. Im not sure we make it to the level of Washington or LA as we are tight to the cap while being shy on having impact players that the elite teams have. We need a few of our prospects to pan out and a couple of them to overachieve.

    Kinger_Oil.redux: – Depends if McD + Drai > Crosby + Malkin if you are hoping for more than 2. (and a hot goalie)

    McDavid is close to Crosbys peak, if not already past it. Drai is a couple of steps below Malkin.
    Our D (if healthy) should be better than the Pens D when they won. We dont have the complimentary and depth players the Pens had when they won. And we have nobody close to Kessel ( 70 and 92 points in the last two years)

  22. Kinger_Oil.redux says:

    frjohnk,

    – Some good points. Leafs are the safe bet: with 4 impact players (D a little shaky still), but we only meet them in the Finals: and that would be awesome finals

    – Kessel is so effective because he’s playing third line mostly and scored 22 goals 5×5 (and throw in a dozen PP goals).

    – We could have an elite 3rd line if McD + Drai tire out the opposition like Pitts.

    – Pitts won with holes, but awesome elite talent: that’s our outer-marker: 3 Cups IMO

  23. ArmchairGM says:

    Kinger_Oil.redux: – By not playing him all season with that line

    – Assume Jessie goes off: he’s going to get paid.Good problem to have of course, but cap.

    – I doubt things are that sinister, but slow playing Jessie: giving him a little bit of exposure to your “dream line” that he will enjoy (just the tip mind you), makes some sense when planning long-term

    Nope, signing him right now makes the most sense to me. If they believe in the kid, that is.

  24. Jaxon says:

    I think only two of Rattie, Aberg, and Yamamoto make the opening night lineup. My bet is Rattie and Aberg make it while Yamamoto gets the Puljujarvi treatment from last year starting in the A as they try to give a high pick (Bouchard) 9 games. Marody will push Malone back to the minors early, but I think Malone is the safe bet to start the season as 13F sitting in the press box as they’re not worried about his development.

  25. Jaxon says:

    Re: AHL and Waiver pickups:

    Here are the players that met certain thresholds of 1.77 5v5 P1/60, 13.67 minutes 5v5 TOI/GP (meaning top line minutes against toughest competition), 25 years old max so they are still part of the Rieder, Rattie, Nugent-Hopkins, Strome, Aberg, Caggiula cluster up front, and not waiver exempt still. (from prospect-stats.com):

    Name Pos Age (Sep.15,2017) eTOI/GP eP1/60
    Phil Di Giuseppe LW 23.935 13.88 2.47
    Jonny Brodzinski RW 24.241 14.47 2.29
    Andreas Johnsson LW 22.818 13.73 2.27
    Reid Boucher LW 24.02 15.69 2.12
    Danick Martel LW 22.76 13.67 2.08
    Carter Verhaeghe C 22.089 14.21 1.82
    Zack Mitchell RW 24.688 15.06 1.8
    Nick Lappin RW 24.871 14.08 1.77

    I think any of these guys could be great pickups, especially Verhaeghe as he can play C or W. I doubt Toronto ever gets close to risking the loss of Johnsson. so he won’t be expressed.

  26. Jaxon says:

    They should also keep an eye out for Danny O’Regan. He won’t be exposed on waivers this year as he still has exemption. But he could be traded for or he may shake loose next year. He is in danger of not making the team again behind more famous prospects. See link below. He played at Boston University so Chiarelli is most likely familiar with him. He was drafted by San Jose in 2012 so MacLellan is most likely familiar with him from training camps. He was born in Germany (until about 4) where his father played against Draisaitl’s father, so he may know German. His father also played with Pittsburgh before and during Lemieux’s early years (10 games with Lemieux and 51 before Lemieux’s time). His dad also played at Boston U. Chiarelli and O’Regan Sr. just missed playing against each other in NCAA by 1 year. Danny played with both Eichel (50 pts to Eichel’s 71 and +40) and MacAvoy at Boston Univ. Danny’s 24, so in that age where teams are likely to cut bait, but still young enough to fit in with the Rieder, Nugent-Hopkins, Rattie, Strome, Aberg, Caggiula cluster going forward so he won’t be on a downswing before Edmonton’s prime years. He scored an impressive 1.94 5v5 Primary Pts / 60 last season with top line minutes of 14.53 5v5 TOI/GP. He’s now in Buffalo’s system as part of the Evander Kane trade. He was AHL rookie of the year in 2016-17.

    Hockey News Scouting Report: “Plays a solid two-way game and is quite reliable in all phases of the game at lower levels. Is a pretty good playmaker. Can play center at the highest level.”

    Dobber Scouting Report: “Versatile sniper with a high work-ethic that could earn him a middle-6 role with offensive opportunity.”

    Hockey’s Future: “O’Regan is an undersized but skilled offensive player who is among the better playmakers in the Sharks’ system. He has an accurate if not overpowering shot, significant puck skills, and the ability to make control the puck at his top speeds. He plays well under pressure and can thread passes effectively. O’Regan’s size will likely be an issue at the pro level but his electric though not reckless style reminds some of players like Tyler Johnson and former BC rival Johnny Gaudreau. He should continue getting stronger and become more defensively aware but his development to this point is encouraging.”

    https://www.diebytheblade.com/2018/5/11/17345940/dont-overlook-danny-oregan-buffalo-sabres-rochester-americans

    From the link above: “Everyone loves to put their ideal lines together for next season to pass the time and you don’t see a lot of mentions of O’Regan. Players like Justin Bailey, Nick Baptiste, CJ Smith, Alex Nylander and Sean Malone are usually the names that are talked about.”

  27. Jaxon says:

    One good thing about this Euro road trip is that Edmonton will be setting their roster earlier than most teams so they hit the ground running in Europe. Their last Canadian exhibition game is Sept. 29th so the roster should be pretty much set by then before they fly over. I suspect we see Rieder and Drasaitl playing together for the exhibition game in Germany. Larsson and Klefbom should get significant time as the top pair in the season opener against New Jersey in Sweden. I know a coach shouldn’t make decisions based on those game locations but they are worthy combinations to try out (in Draisaitl-Rieder case) anyhow and it is some good faith to highlight them in front of their hometown crowd.

  28. Kinger_Oil.redux says:

    frjohnk,

    – OK, last on promise! FR says: ” We dont have the complimentary and depth players the Pens had when they won”

    – That’s the rub: the years they didn’t win they didn’t have those complementary players either. Winning rises all boats: when they weren’t winning, they didn’t have the right mix.

    – We will win when whatever version of Kailer/Pool/Reider/Aberg/Strome outperform like say Guentzel/Shery/Hornqvist/Cullen/Kunitz when they last won.

    – That last Pitts team that won was Crosby/Malkin with Kessel soft-parade and a lot of meh that stepped up IMO

    – Or Backstrom/Kuz/Oshie/Carlson/Ovie: average age 29…

  29. Munny says:

    Yamo might get 20 games in Bakersfield out of sheer cap protection.

    The cap is also working against Bouchard getting a season.

  30. frjohnk says:

    Kinger_Oil.redux: – That’s the rub: the years they didn’t win they didn’t have those complementary players either. Winning rises all boats: when they weren’t winning, they didn’t have the right mix.

    I believe they had good complimentary players with pretty good depth throughout the lineup in that time period of 10-15. I think injuries to Malkin and Crosby and goaltending is why they didnt win or at least make the finals from 10-15.

    This is while back but I read that Crosby and Malkin both have only played 83% of all regular season games since Malkin entered the league.

  31. Wilde says:

    Jaxon,

    Seconding Danny O’Regan; haven’t brought him up because he checked my box of ‘recently acquired player’, hard to think those guys are available

  32. Jaxon says:

    Wilde:
    Jaxon,

    Seconding Danny O’Regan; haven’t brought him up because he checked my box of ‘recently acquired player’, hard to think those guys are available

    Agreed, as the year goes on, if he hasn’t made the team, they may consider trading him at the deadline as he may not be waive exempt next year (not sure where to check that). It shouldn’t take much to get a 24 year old with no NHL games. I imagine 4th round pick would be close to an overpay.

  33. Georgexs says:

    ArmchairGM,

    Your RNH-JP and RNH-CMD numbers don’t match NST. (5v5 for 17-18)

  34. Georgexs says:

    Ha!

    According to NST, JP was 12-1 GF-GA with Auvitu in 80 minutes of 5v5.

    That works out to, um, FIRE!

    GF60 8.99
    GA60 0.75
    G+/- 8.24

    Auvitu’s overall numbers at 5v5 in his brief NHL career with NJD and EDM look positively winsome.

    Do we have a Todd McLellan Talks Yohan Auvitu quote? What was Auvitu’s problem anyway? His belief system seemed very high level. Not enough battle? Not enough grit? Wouldn’t listen to Do What I Tell You To Do and Not The Other Things You Do That Help Us Win? All rough, no diamond, I guess.

  35. Georgexs says:

    The problem with the Drai-Lucic-JP concept is Drai.

    Drai isn’t winning. RNH isn’t winning. Strome isn’t winning. Only CMD is winning. OMG!

    Maybe it’s time for the HC to assess and deploy his svelte frame on a deck chair in Cabo this season. Or do we have to wait for the JP is a bust memes to break out first? … before we can say mission accomplished.

    Memo to Oilers Brain Collective: One thing other teams do with their top 5 forward draft picks is they play them on the PP. Real minutes. Sorta quickly. Without waiting for them to “earn” it by, I don’t know, putting up offense with Brodziak on the 4th line or working a second job at Harvey’s or solving crypto puzzles for some extra bitcoin.

  36. OriginalPouzar says:

    leadfarmer:
    I think Lucic starts the year on Drais line trying to get him going and JP will be on the third line trying to get some scoring from that line

    I agree that is likely the case (and i agree with Lucic getting a shot to start at 2LW) but I am hoping the Jesse at least gets a good shot to win a top 6 RW spot during camp and preseason.

    1) McDavid has loosely spoken about wanting steadier linemates – do we really see Rattie last there for more than a bit? To the extent a longer term option (JP, Yamamoto) can win that job at camp, that would go a long ways to solidifying the lines.

    2) For me, I see Puljujarvi as a top 6 player and Rieder as 3rd line player (middle 6 at best) and, I’d rather have them in roles that suit their games. Of course, this is contingent on Jesse proving that he’s ready for the top 6 and he can only do so if given a chance and not penned in to 3RW to start.

  37. OriginalPouzar says:

    Kinger_Oil.redux: – By not playing him all season with that line

    – Assume Jessie goes off: he’s going to get paid.Good problem to have of course, but cap.

    – I doubt things are that sinister, but slow playing Jessie: giving him a little bit of exposure to your “dream line” that he will enjoy (just the tip mind you), makes some sense when planning long-term

    This suggestion gets thrown around from time to time and I just don’t agree with it. Yes, i get it and totally understand it, but our coaching staff cannot coach while also thinking of future cap implications.

    The coaches must deploy the 23 man roster (and the lines for the 18 skaters each night) in a way that they believe gives the team the best chance to win the game that night – without regard to current cap hit of any player or potential implication of future cap (i.e. zooming a player in a contract year).

    Its hard enough to win games in the NHL, let alone with an “imperfect” rosters – further handcuffing the team by not deploying the roster optimally is egregious.

  38. Georgexs says:

    That Eakins quote is gold. Do y’all remember how we felt about Eakins after we found out his not so fancy walk didn’t match his fancy talk? He might as well have told Lander if you’re going to play here, you have to sell 10 boxes of Girl Guide cookies by Friday, you have to recite Genesis before every home game and Exodus after every road game, you have to be Batman, 24/7, and Jack Sparrow, the other 24/7. Here’s his hat. Wear it.

    Is there ANY player in the league that wears all the hats Eakins speaks of…?

    I think this was a not so straightforward way of saying it’s not me Anton, it’s you.

  39. OriginalPouzar says:

    ArmchairGM: Nope, signing him right now makes the most sense to me. If they believe in the kid, that is.

    What type of deal would you imagine that both parties are comfortable with?

    We’d be talking about a 7-8 year contract as shorter term/bridge deals do not get signed a year in advance.

  40. Jordan says:

    I think Aberg makes the team and Kailer Yamamoto gets sent out, but suspect there is zero chance both men make the club.

    When someone important gets hurt in pre-season, and both Pointy and Yammer make the opening night roster, I’m going to drag this post out and point fingers.

    Seriously LT – why would you do something like this… The Gords live to make teams pay for just this kinds of statements.

    You taking lessons from Nielson about how to troll your audience? =P

  41. godot10 says:

    Georgexs:
    Ha!

    According to NST, JP was 12-1 GF-GA with Auvitu in 80 minutes of 5v5.

    That works out to, um, FIRE!

    GF60 8.99
    GA60 0.75
    G+/- 8.24

    Auvitu’s overall numbers at 5v5 in his brief NHL career with NJD and EDM look positively winsome.

    Do we have a Todd McLellan Talks Yohan Auvitu quote? What was Auvitu’s problem anyway? His belief system seemed very high level. Not enough battle? Not enough grit? Wouldn’t listen to Do What I Tell You To Do and Not The Other Things You Do That Help Us Win? All rough, no diamond, I guess.

    Auvitu’s problem was a coach with a very constricted view of how the game should be played.

  42. ArmchairGM says:

    Georgexs:
    ArmchairGM,

    Your RNH-JP and RNH-CMD numbers don’t match NST. (5v5 for 17-18)

    Damn, some of those numbers are “all strengths”. Sorry for misleading.

  43. Side says:

    IDK how someone could say they laugh at other people for their thoughts on what a good defenseman is, and then say that Mark Fistric is a “defensive god”.

    You just can’t make this stuff up.

  44. Scungilli Slushy says:

    Kinger_Oil.redux:
    frjohnk,

    – Yeah I think if we were the Caps for the next 10 years, it would be viewed generally as a dissapointment.I don’t know which team in our conference next 10 years is the next Pittsburgh

    – Would you take 10 years of Washington (1 Cup but awesome), or L.A: 2 Cups and some missed playoffs as well.I figure somewhere between the two: some Cup runs, some years where we are the best team in the league, maybe a Cup or two

    – Depends if McD + Drai > Crosby + Malkin if you are hoping for more than 2.(and a hot goalie)

    My goal for the Oilers is to be the most dominant Cup team since the dynasties era. One more than Sid and P Kane does it I suppose. I hope for more.

    When you have a player like Connor only the managers stand in the way. Perennial powerhouses are aging out. The up and comers largely aren’t in as good a spot as the Oilers. Some teams have a mix but the key guys are peaked and fading like the Ducks.

    For example the Leafs have a lot of talent but don’t have the same balance on the roster and are going to find that having largely lighter offensive players might not get as far as they hope, as the Oilers found, somebody has to play the unfun parts of the game. J Bourne wrote about the world famous Leafs at the Athletic.

  45. theWaxCollector says:

    ArmchairGM:

    Nugent-Hopkins – McDavid – Puljujarvi

    This is the 1-line of the future. How soon can we get Jesse signed to a Jarnkrok-like contract?

    Here-Here!

  46. Lowetide says:

    I had to delete some posts today and have timed out a long time contributor. It is very upsetting to me. I don’t make these decisions lightly and do understand we can get (at times) upset or over the top.

    Abuse is abuse. Even when it comes from someone you respect, you cannot allow it. Especially when it comes from someone you respect.

  47. OriginalPouzar says:

    Lowetide:
    I had to delete some posts today and have timed out a long time contributor. It is very upsetting to me. I don’t make these decisions lightly and do understand we can get (at times) upset or over the top.

    Abuse is abuse. Even when it comes from someone you respect, you cannot allow it. Especially when it comes from someone you respect.

    I have a feeling I contributed to this and I apologize – should have bit my tongue and not engaged.

  48. OriginalPouzar says:

    Lowetide:
    Jonathan Willis with the No. 10 prospect summer 2018 at The Athletic

    https://theathletic.com/471186/2018/08/13/dmitri-samorukovs-development-is-on-track-and-hell-fill-a-pro-need-for-the-oilers/

    This was a solid pick by the Oilers and I think its worth mentioning that Samorukov signed an ELC last summer, before his draft plus 1 season, which is a bit unusual for a 3rd rounder. Maybe it had something to do with potential flight risk? I don’t buy that given that kid was motivated enough by the NHL to come overseas to play junior and has said all the right things about wanting to play in the NHL and about the Oilers.

    He also had a couple of assists in 5 games for the Condors at the end of the season which is nice production for a teenage d-man in the AHL.

    Pre-draft scouting reports did talk quite a bit about his defensive abilities (2-way skills) and physicality and, from accounts, he lost a bit of his defensive intensity and physicality last season. Here is hoping he gets it back.

    I think its also worth mentioning that his ice time increased throughout the World Juniors tournament and, while Russia had a disappointing showing, Samorukov was a bright spot and was playing big minutes at the end.

  49. spiggy says:

    frjohnk,

    Didn’t we sadly have our version of Kessel locked up to 6mill/per? I know, beating a dead horse.

  50. GMB3 says:

    I really hope the Nurse contract gets signed soon so we have so more clarity on the cap for the future. I don’t see JP fetching more than 4.5 million on his next deal unless he really explodes offensively.

    It’s imperative that one of Lagesson or Jones shows the ability to step into the role of 3LD in the next year or two so we can move on from both Sekera and Russell, saving nearly 10 million on the cap. That combined with a compliance buyout of Lucic during the next lockout should ease our cap space woes.

    I’ve not been a fan of Chiarelli’s work, but it’s nice that we are nearing a legit NHL top 4 D corps, where we only need two of our numerous D prospects to be ready to step into third pairing duty in the next couple of years. It’s a far cry from hoping unready young Dmen are able to step into the top 4 like Nurse needed to right out of junior.

    Bouchard to me is a lock to at least be a competent third pairing dman at the least and will likely be a strong offensive option in the top 4 within the next couple of seasons.

    Ideally, we can resign RNH, KY, and JP for reasonable deals (maybe unlikely with Chia at the helm) and move on from overpaying veteran players in free agency. We finally are building up a bit of a prospect pipeline and I think we will reap the benefits of a strong 2016 draft, with two great darkhorse prospects in Maksimov and Safin. One of those players could end up being a strong option in the middle 6 on the wing, both have some speed, size, and offensive acumen. I think if Maksimov’s arrows are still up after this season, he could potentially push Caggiula for his spot after a bit of time in the AHL.

    In 2-3 years we will have a seasoned core and hopefully some cap space to make a run at a player like Phil Kessel in free agency to push our team over the top.

  51. OriginalPouzar says:

    If Puljijarvi warrants a $4.5M contract next spring/summer, I would posit this team is playoff bound (subject to McDavid being healthy and Talbot being steady).

    I am hoping for a compliance buyout option with no lockout – simply negotiated as part of the next CBA with no labor stoppage.

    Yup, that is the plan, a steady stream of prospects to replace the aging veterans on expensive contract – we aren’t there yet but its coming, it really is.

  52. GMB3 says:

    I forgot to mention Tyler Benson, who by all accounts is a heady two-way player who may lack the speed to be a high end offensive option, but could be a prime candidate to grow into LT’s oft-mentioned Pisani role.

    It still is disappointing that we passed on Debrincat with the Benson pick, but his scouting reports profile him as the type of player who could be a vital cog lower in the lineup. I look forward to following his progress during his first full season of professional hockey, he may be a candidate to surprise us.

  53. GMB3 says:

    OriginalPouzar:
    If Puljijarvi warrants a $4.5M contract next spring/summer, I would posit this team is playoff bound (subject to McDavid being healthy and Talbot being steady).

    I am hoping for a compliance buyout option with no lockout – simply negotiated as part of the next CBA with no labor stoppage.

    Yup, that is the plan, a steady stream of prospects to replace the aging veterans on expensive contract – we aren’t there yet but its coming, it really is.

    Christian Dvorak just signed for 4.45 million, after 35 and 37 point seasons. He signed his deal as an older prospect than JP will be when his entry level deal expires, but also plays center. I think that could be in the range of JP’s offensive totals this season, so that might be the type of deal we are looking at in the future.

  54. danny says:

    JP’s draft day comparable amongst a few outlets was Jamie Benn.

    Benn spent two seasons in junior after his draft, followed by a good rookie season with Dal +3

    Benn speaks English too, so there’s that.

    JP is still a behemoth prospect, we’ve just become cynical.

  55. VOR says:

    Lowetide:
    I had to delete some posts today and have timed out a long time contributor. It is very upsetting to me. I don’t make these decisions lightly and do understand we can get (at times) upset or over the top.

    Abuse is abuse. Even when it comes from someone you respect, you cannot allow it. Especially when it comes from someone you respect.

    I thought in lieu of the deleted conversation I might offer an example of a letter filled with humility and braggadocio in equal measure. At its heart this is an amazing window into what it takes to be the GM of a professional sports franchise. It is also filled with insight into how to do that job better than the other 30 guys in the league.

    http://www.espn.com/pdf/2016/0406/nba_hinkie_redact.pdf

  56. VOR says:

    Lastly, a thought for those of you who bothered to read both posts.

    Here you have work by a former NBA GM and a data scientist who works for the Philadelphia Eagles of the NFL.

    Do either strike you as stupid people?

    Why do we assume NHL executives are dumb as fence posts?

    If no team in the NHL has been able to come close to perfect drafting over an extended period or for that matter to amass draft picks aka the 76ers it may not be for a lack of trying. It may be the challenge is greater than we assume. Every idea posited here may have been tried, possibly repeatedly, and discarded because of a proven lack of marginal utility.

    There is an idea that should give us all pause and inject a bit of humility into future certainty and ranting.

  57. Pescador says:

    VOR:
    Lastly, a thought for those of you who bothered to read both posts.

    Here you have work by a former NBA GM and a data scientist who works for the Philadelphia Eagles of the NFL.

    Do either strike you as stupid people?

    Why do we assume NHL executives are dumb as fence posts?

    If no team in the NHL has been able to come close to perfect drafting over an extended period or for that matter to amass draft picks aka the 76ers it may not be for a lack of trying. It may be the challenge is greater than we assume. Every idea posited here may have been tried, possibly repeatedly, and discarded because of a proven lack of marginal utility.

    There is an idea that should give us all pause and inject a bit of humility into future certainty and ranting.

    What if you are well aware of the fact that Chiarelli is not stupid but find it is a form of stress relief to point at some of the things he has done & say; “look at how stupid he is!”
    Does that make me stupid?
    Just kidding, excellent stuff as always,
    Vernon Orenthal Robertson,
    close?

  58. Pescador says:

    Pescador,

    Also,
    If P.C. stops trading away good talent for slightly less good talent and continues this trend of sound drafting,
    I believe the masses will come around.
    The fact that he can’t afford anymore free agent “splashes” should ironically help his cause going forward.

  59. Wilde says:

    VOR:
    And a repost of a key work by Namita Nandakumar.

    https://repository.upenn.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1029&context=joseph_wharton_scholars

    Namita is fucking brilliant and a great twitter follow as well

  60. Walter Gretzkys Neighbour says:

    VOR – I love your posts. Thoughtful, evocative, intriguing. Please keep it up!

    As for the “other issue” I was saddened to read the earlier post exchange that likely led to the deletion/timeout. I know LT that it is hard to do what you do here. But it is necessary sadly. You did the right thing. As always.

    This is an interesting and fun area to read about the Oilers. I enjoy it for the most part. There seem to be some here whose only goal is to irritate and annoy – not sure the rationale of that.

    I have very little time to keep up o the details of the analytics that most are familiar with which is too bad as I enjoy the concept of this analysis. Wish I had more time to steep myself in the details.

    For everyone who is on here regularly, lets stick to a hearty discussion. Difference of opinion are great, but denigrating others and consistent naysaying of every move the Oiler organization makes is tiresome and adds little to the discussion. Apropos this – here is one of my favourite Oscar Wilde quotes (there are so many!) “In all matters of opinion, our adversaries are insane.”

    I for one will start this season with at least some optimism that our team has taken some positive steps forward, other teams are aging, CMD is continually improving and management is not purposely destroying the team!

    Thanks for letting me express just an opinion!

  61. VOR says:

    Wilde: Namita is fucking brilliant and a great twitter follow as well

    By the way. Your extended piece on Kailer Yamamoto was excellent. Even if I disagreed I find it and your other blogs wonderful, insightful reading. I thought you were on a very promising line of thought with your criticism of BPA in the post that petered out.

  62. VOR says:

    Walter Gretzkys Neighbour:
    VOR – I love your posts. Thoughtful, evocative, intriguing. Please keep it up!

    As for the “other issue” I was saddened to read the earlier post exchange that likely led to the deletion/timeout. I know LT that it is hard to do what you do here. But it is necessary sadly. You did the right thing. As always.

    This is an interesting and fun area to read about the Oilers. I enjoy it for the most part. There seem to besome here whose only goal is to irritate and annoy – not sure the rationale of that.

    I have very little time to keep up o the details of the analytics that most are familiar with which is too bad as I enjoy the concept of this analysis. Wish I had more time to steep myself in the details.

    For everyone who is on here regularly, lets stick to a hearty discussion. Difference of opinion are great, but denigrating others and consistent naysaying of every move the Oiler organization makes is tiresome and adds little to the discussion. Apropos this – here is one of my favourite Oscar Wilde quotes (there are so many!) “In all matters of opinion, our adversaries are insane.”

    I for one will start this season with at least some optimism that our team has taken some positive steps forward, other teams are aging, CMD is continually improving and management is not purposely destroying the team!

    Thanks for letting me express just an opinion!

    It was sad. For some years I moderated a blog (and wrote for it) on cloning. There were times I’d just be spending my entire day deleting posts and timing people out. The worst abusers were the scientists defending their turf. It grew wearying.

    In any case I share your optimism about this year and the future.

  63. Wilde says:

    VOR: By the way. Your extended piece on Kailer Yamamoto was excellent. Even if I disagreed I find it and your other blogs wonderful, insightful reading. I thought you were on a very promising line of thought with your criticism of BPA in the post that petered out.

    Thank you, VOR, yours and everyone else’s support that’s been sent my way since I started means so, so much.

    I meant to continue our dialogue about Kailer but I was spent by the time I got to your last response.

  64. DennyB says:

    Not sure if anyone has suggested this but in my opinion the player who needs elite help is not McDavid. Let’s face it, he can push the river with a couple pylons. We don’t need McDavid to score 120pts and have a 60% corsi. 90pts and a 55% corsi is plenty for the top line, especially if it’s against the other teams top line. It’s the second and third lines that we are all worried about and for good reason. Stacking the top line obviously causes extreme chaos for the other team for about 18-20min/game. It’s the other 38-40min/game that are far to easy to defend against, win the goal share, and more often than not last year, win the game. To date I haven’t read of anyone suggestting we load up the second line to give Draisaitl as much as help as possible. It would create chaos for 2/3 of the game for opposition. My pie in the sky suggestion:

    Khaira McDavid Puljujarvi
    Nuge Drai Yamamoto
    Lucic Strome Reider
    Aberg Brodziak Kassian

    For the record I’ve never liked the idea of Rattie and think Yamamoto out plays him in camp.

    What say you?

  65. OriginalPouzar says:

    Letestu going to FLA camp on a PTO.

    Wouldn’t have been a bad option for 14th F at $800K – chance for a value contract there.

    Door isn’t closed but unlikely now.

  66. OriginalPouzar says:

    OriginalPouzar:
    Letestu going to FLA camp on a PTO.

    Wouldn’t have been a bad option for 14th F at $800K – chance for a value contract there.

    Door isn’t closed but unlikely now.

    Bouma signs in Switzerland.

  67. OriginalPouzar says:

    Even though it was announced months ago that the procedure Klef had was very successful, has led to his shoulder being healthier than its been in years and he’s had the full off-season to train, I’ve read posts here and there (on various platforms) about his shoulder and if he’s healthy for camp.

    Here is another new story that provides the exact same info – we can’t predict further injuries but the shoulder is 100% and he’s coming in to camp 100% healthy.

    https://www.nhl.com/oilers/news/roster-redux-oscar-klefbom/c-299758748

  68. OriginalPouzar says:

    I’m going to go with this Sekera torn achilles rumor being BS – stuff like that would be announced officially right away.

  69. JimmyV1965 says:

    Would still love to get McKeown out of Carolina. I think he’s something like eighth on their depth chart. He should be very close to NHL ready.

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