Redemption Song

Last night, all the tumblers clicked in unison. Todd McLellan, Drake Caggiula, Matt Benning, Mikko Koskinen, Jason Garrison and Peter Chiarelli, all under pressure from a fan base with varying degrees of unrest ranging from disdain to rage, delivered in one fell swoop. Music! I have absolutely no idea how much satisfaction must have been derived by that collective last night, but it was a big damned redemption song.

THE ATHLETIC!

The Athletic Edmonton is going to bring it all season long. Proud to be part of a lineup that is ready to cover the coming year. Outstanding coverage from a large group, including Daniel Nugent-Bowman and Jonathan Willis, Lowetide, Minnia Feng and Pat McLean. If you haven’t subscribed yet, now’s your chance. Special offer is here, less than $3.50 a month!

  • New Daniel Nugent-Bowman: Forty years later, remembering the forgotten trade that brought Wayne Gretzky to Edmonton.
  • New Tyler Dellow: Isolating issues with the NHL’s slower paced power plays.
  • New Lowetide: Oilers reach a pressure point on defence and right wing
  • New Daniel Nugent-Bowman: Does Caggiula’s recent performance warrant another chance alongside McDavid?
  • New Jonathan Willis: Predicting the impact Ethan Bear and Edmonton’s other top AHL prospects will make at the NHL level.
  • Lowetide: Zack Kassian market value.
  • Lowetide: Everything’s coming up Oilers as young AHL hopefuls in Bakersfield hammer Flames’ farmhands.
  • Lowetide: Jesse Puljujarvi gets scratched, so what’s next for Edmonton’s lottery winger?
  • Jonathan Willis: Connor McDavid finds another gear, but Oilers still lack scoring on the wing.
  • Lowetide: Todd McLellan finds a suitable spot in the order for Milan Lucic.
  • Jonathan Willis: Four reasons why the Oilers should return Evan Bouchard to junior.
  • Lowetide: Drake Caggiula might be hearing footsteps as the Oilers look for offence to replace injured Ty Rattie.

DEFENSE, LAST NIGHT

  • Klefbom-Larsson were 22-10 in 16:40, 11-8 shots and 1-0 goals, 7-5 HDSC. Larsson went 9-5 without McDavid, Klefbom 10-4. That’s impressive. Duo were 9-8 against Kahun-Toews-DeBrincat in 9:31 (1-0 goals). This pairing is a big reason for Edmonton’s success this season, in my opinion. Oscar is whatever happens after dreamy this year. Larsson needs to stay out of the penalty box.
  • Garrison-Benning went 7-10 in 8:58, 5-7 shots, 1-0 goals and 2-0 high dangers. Both men posted a point, that’s a bonus for a third pairing. Went 3-4 against Fortin-Johnson-Hayden and yes, men in Chicago uniforms with those names played on a line last night.
  • Nurse-Russell were 8-26 in 16:51, absolutely filleted by Chicago. Koskinen saved them in the goals against, and someone has to explain the 1-13 Corsi for 5-on-5 Nurse posted with McDavid on the ice. How in hell does that happen? The 1-9 with Russell was also poor. Were 3-16 against Saad-Anisimov-Kane. Hell’s bells. Nurse vs. Davidson would have been thrilling and sad all at once. I wished the fight into the cornfield.
  • Mikko Koskinen stopped all 40 shots. I imagine Peter Chiarelli ordered the world’s largest martini and giggled until dawn. I know I would.
  • NaturalStatTrick and NHL.com.

FORWARDS, LAST NIGHT

  • Rieder-Drasaitl-Chiasson are humming like David Bowie in “Warszawa” while posting offense every night now. Went 13-11 in 11:19, 5-6 shots, 1-0 goals and 3-0 HDSC. I don’t think anyone can criticize this line right now. Impressive run. Went 7-5 in 6:36 against Gustafsson-Seabrook. That reminds me, you should buy “Low” if you’ve never heard it.
  • Nuge-McDavid-Caggiula had offensive success, struggled in possession. Went 15-16 in 12:55, 9-11 shots, 1-0 goals and 7-5 HDSC. Went 11-10 in 11:51 against Keith-Jokiharju. The McDavid possession numbers are not strong but the scoring numbers were impressive. The goal by this line (Caggiula) guarantees they’ll be playing together for the next game and possibly beyond—unless Rattie gets the nod upon returning from IR.
  • Lucic-Strome-Puljujarvi went 7-10 in 8:36, I thought they had some good moments and could easily have cashed. Went 5-8 shots, 1-2 HDSC. Jesse had a 10-bell chance, I would have paid money (me!) if it had gone in. Went 6-2 in 4:21 against Gustafsson-Seabrook.
  • Khaira-Brodziak-Kassian were 5-9 in 9:58, 3-3 in shots and 1-0 in HDSC. Khaira’s pass to Caggiula for the PK goal was sublime, I have been cheering for him to come around offensively. Don’t trade him! Went 3-2 against Manning-Davidson.

OILERS AFTER 12

  • Oilers in October 20154-8-0, eight points; goal differential -7
  • Oilers in October 2016: 8-3-1, 17 points; goal differential +7
  • Oilers in October 2017: 4-7-1, nine points; goal differential -9
  • Oilers in October 2018: 7-4-1, 15 points; goal differential +2

Edmonton 2018 is absolutely clear of the non-playoff teams and a whisper from the 2016 playoff party. The goal differential is finally in the black, and the balance on the roster (we’ll talk more in a minute) seems to be getting better.

OILERS IN NOVEMBER

  • Oilers in November 2015: 1-0-0, two points; goal differential +2
  • Oilers in November 2016: 0-0-1, one point; goal differential -1
  • Oilers in November 2017: 0-1-0, no points; goal differential -1
  • Oilers in November 2018: 1-0-0, two points; goal differential +4

The Oilers needed a blowout game and it came against one of the few teams that would be considered an easy mark through the first dozen. Need to win Saturday to keep it going.

WHAT TO EXPECT IN NOVEMBER

  • At home to: Chicago (Expected 1-0-0) Actual (1-0-0)
  • On the road to: Detroit, Washington, Tampa Bay, Florida  (Expected 2-2-0) (Actual 0-0-0)
  • At home to: Colorado, Montreal (Expected 1-1-0) (Actual 0-0-0)
  • On the road to: Calgary (Expected 0-1-0) (Actual 0-0-0)
  • At home to: Vegas (Expected 1-0-0) (Actual 0-0-0)
  • On the road to: San Jose, Anaheim, Los Angeles (Expected 2-1-0) (Actual 0-0-0)
  • At home to: Dallas, Los Angeles  (Expected 1-0-1) (Actual 0-0-0)
  • Overall expected result: 8-5-1, 17 points in 14 games 
  • Current results: 1-0-0, 2 points in 1 game

If the Oilers can get four points on the coming road trip, they’ll be coming home over .500 for the month and ready for the Avs/Habs/Flames/Vegas. I’ll tell you it is that portion of this month’s schedule that was difficult to cipher. That will probably be the part of the schedule that defines the month.

BALANCE

Is there roster balance on this roster? It’s improving but miles from being there. Mikko Koskinen is two games into his NHL career, that’s the ultimate example of small sample size. His two wins and .955 save percentage are fabulous but there will be difficult times ahead for him (as there is for every goalie). He’s pushing, and has played in 17 percent of Edmonton’s games so far.

Drake Caggiula has scored four goals in eight games, does he add to the balance? I wrote about Caggiula recently, suggesting his injury history has impacted progress, while his possession numbers (I know many of you don’t believe in Corsi but I do) have lagged since he arrived. He has speed, aggression and the confidence of the coach, and enough skill to have scored 18 goals in his most recent 82 games. He is a drag on possession. I don’t think he can be counted on as a long-term option but we’ll see. Staying healthy is a big issue for him, he’s missed 33 percent of this team’s games in 2018-19.

Tobias Rieder and Alex Chiasson are the two additions over the summer who I believe we can count as moving the needle on balance. I don’t expect either man to score at current levels for the whole season, but they are veteran hands who can play up and down the roster. He are the 5-on-5 per 60 scoring numbers this morning:

  1. Alex Chiasson 4.09
  2. Connor McDavid 2.44
  3. Tobias Rieder 2.33
  4. Leon Draisaitl 2.19
  5. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins 1.99
  6. Ty Rattie 1.80

That’s a pretty solid set of numbers for a top-six forward group, the names are a surprise and of course expecting Chiasson to stay ahead of McDavid is folly. The veteran combination on Leon’s wings is a tell imo, the coach has found him two men who can help in possession and are less likely to be on the wrong side of the puck. I think the ‘balance’ photo would be pleased with the current No. 2 line. Here are the bottom six forwards:

  1. Drake Caggiula 1.37
  2. Zack Kassian 0.74
  3. Jesse Puljujarvi 0.67
  4. Jujhar Khaira 0.61
  5. Milan Lucic 0.44
  6. Kailer Yamamoto 0.43
  7. Kyle Brodziak 0.00
  8. Ryan Strome 0.00

Balance, by its definition (“a condition in which different elements are in the correct proportions”) scoffs at the scoring rates of the No. 3 line, and rightly so. I would suggest the line has done a good job in keeping the offense at a low ebb both ways (Strome’s 5-on-5 GF-GA through 12 games is 2-2) but you want that line to hammer weaker competition like Dick Pound on drug test media day.

LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE

Friday! Oilers in a playoff spot! Music! Scheduled to appear, beginning at 10 on TSN1260:

  • Steve Lansky, Big Mouth Sports. Oh Canada! in the NHL standings and Calgary’s Olympic bid discussion.
  • Andrew Peard, TSN1260’s Oil Kings Play-by-Play. Jake Neighbours to Dylan Myskiw, this Oil Kings team has some interesting newer faces.
  • Matthew Iwanyk, TSN1260. What should the Eskimos do this offseason? What can Oilers fans expect in November?

10-1260 text, @Lowetide on twitter. Talk soon!

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242 Responses to "Redemption Song"

« Older Comments
  1. Richard Roma says:

    OriginalPouzar: Not anymore – revised wake-up time (2:52am – revised from 2:25) – there is an extra half hour for all of you now.

    Are you human?

  2. OriginalPouzar says:

    Marino picks up an assist for Harvard.

    McLeod with an apple as well so far.

    No Maksimov tonight – he’s got the flu.

    Both games humming along in the third.

  3. Paddy Morans Jockstrap says:

    OriginalPouzar: Demers is playing the 2nd most 5 on 5 minutes on the team and big PK role.

    ARI is hot and giving up less than 2 goals/game.

    Why would they mess with their defence to acquire a second underpeforming Stome (and I like Ryan Strome)?

    Team do weird things for odd reasons – like brother acts – so that’s my only reason. Agree it’s unlikely.

  4. pts2pndr says:

    Paddy Morans Jockstrap: I’d actually send Yamo down and keep Marody and start playing him at 4C to give Brodziak less games against faster teams.

    Khaira/Caggiula Brodziak/Marody Kassian/Chiasson

    Yamo needs to go down and learn how to score against men while still playing decent defense. No shame in this and I worry about killing his scoring instincts keeping up with the big team this year. He’s a year of experience and 10 pounds away from playing in the NHL. It’s the right thing to do.

    Ride the Chiasson heater but there is nothing in his history to suggest a regression to mean will not happen. He’s scored a career high of 13 with DAL 5 years ago and 12 with CAL 2 years ago, but looks like he gave up a lot in return as well. Maybe he learned a bit of defense in WAS last year, and if so, he could be a useful player. Enjoy the heater but don’t expect it to continue.

    The reality as I see it is if we are going to send down a young winger to develope his offense we have to have an offensive center for him to play with. Marody is that player!

  5. pts2pndr says:

    hunter1909: Talbot can like it or lump it?

    A good team needs two goal tenders it makes us better. Friendly competition helps the players and the team. If they both play well they both will get payed! One may move on but we still will have a good tender. Seems like a win win to me!

  6. pts2pndr says:

    dustrock:
    OriginalPouzar,

    Well played, OP.

    Lot of crow eating last night, although we’ll be back, MARK MY WORDS

    I’ve been looking for some crow recipes myself. If this keeps up,crows will become an endangered species. One game does not make Caggiula a first line right winger,Garrison the correct man for the seventh D slot or McLellan a great coach! It is fun to watch the team grow! Small steps and I am going to enjoy the ride!

  7. OriginalPouzar says:

    Samorukov held off the scoresheet and finishes -2 in a 4-3 OTL.

    Rodrigue stops 28 of 31 in a 6-3 win.

    B. College loses 2-1 – no points for any of the 3 prospects but each of McPhee and Dudek had 5 shots.

    Phil Kemp held off the scoresheet in a 4-2 Yale loss.

  8. pts2pndr says:

    dustrock: I’m fine with either Khaira or Kassian coming out of the lineup.Still think neither of them have shown much this year (although great play by Khaira on the SHG for sure).

    Khaira should stay in the lineup! He is good on the PK and can fill in at center if required. He also has a physical presence. Yamamoto doesn’t have the versatiliy of Khaira or Kassian for that matter.

  9. LMHF#1 says:

    pts2pndr: Khaira should stay in the lineup! He is good on the PK and can fill in at center if required. He also has a physical presence. Yamamoto doesn’t have the versatiliy of Khaira or Kassian for that matter.

    He was quite awful against Chicago. I’m a fan of the guy but he was a turnover machine out there.

  10. LMHF#1 says:

    Paddy Morans Jockstrap: We are pushing the envelope in a big way if we don’t get some help at 2RD pretty soon.

    This.

    But this is also the mistake/excuse this team makes every time.

    Winning? Can’t change anything. (When in reality it is time to add)

    Losing? We have to be patient. (Modern pro sports is not for the patient)

    They need a 2RD and a winger something like Chiasson.

    Make it so you don’t have any reliance on Rattie, Yamamoto and JP. Then this *might* just keep on going.

  11. Gerta Rauss says:

    tileguy: Maybe Chase can become our next Dave Lumley, holder of the Oilers record for longest consecutive goal scoring streak (12).

    I remember following that streak on the radio (primarily)

    Rod Phillips was pretty excited when Lummer scored and kept the streak alive

  12. Richard Roma says:

    Anyway farbeit for me to prosthelytize to people here.

    However, I do feel that this blog was built on egalitarian principles in which it has always been fair game to attack ideas themselves but never people. Let’s abstain from ad hominem attacks and such. Let’s aspire to refrain from hate language as well.

    Let’s not spit out our gum on the concrete nor our cigarette butts on the ground. Let’s keep this place a clean and well lighted place.

    Let’s aspire to treat each other with mutual respect.

    Cheers Lowetididians.

  13. JimmyV1965 says:

    The Yotes have seven goals on the PK already!!

  14. Side says:

    Richard Roma:
    Anyway farbeit for me to prosthelytize to people here.

    However, I do feel that this blog was built on egalitarian principles in which it has always been fair game to attack ideas themselves but never people. Let’s abstain from ad hominem attacks and such. Let’s aspire to refrain from hate language as well.

    Let’s not spit out our gum on the concrete nor our cigarette butts on the ground. Let’s keep this place a clean and well lighted place.

    Let’s aspire to treat each other with mutual respect.

    Cheers Lowetididians.

    Whatever, Dick!

  15. Simba says:

    pts2pndr,

    Do you play Koski next game? Ride the hot hand?

  16. Scungilli Slushy says:

    Caggiula has that fine Oiler DoD trait of making critical mistakes. Poor kid, when he messes up its puck in net too often.

    He won’t stick long anywhere if he can’t calm his D game down, he doesn’t have Kassian’s pugilistic abilities to float him and he doesn’t score that much to offset the whiffs.

    Chiasson won’t stay hot but looking at his career he’s always been a shooter. Lots of goals compared to assists in his point totals , albeit low totals.

    If he can skate well and play two ways and be a threat to score that’s a good player at the right price.

  17. JimmyV1965 says:

    I know I’m getting way way ahead of myself here, but if our two goalies continue to play well maybe we have a good trade chip.

  18. pts2pndr says:

    Simba:
    pts2pndr,

    Do you play Koski next game? Ride the hot hand?

    Thats a very good question. I would go back to Talbot. i don’t think there is a bad choice and there are valid aurguments for either one!

  19. GMB3 says:

    Pescador: You posted this exact comment yesterday, why did you feel the need to re-post it today?
    While I agree with the overall premise, its not quite as profound as you are making it out to be.
    Plus, you are guilty of taking his words a bit out of context to fit your argument.
    Despite your claims, vulgarity is Not running rampant around this blog & making it entirely unsavoury.
    Free speech as long as you agree with what they say?

    I didn’t realize twat would be found so offensive. Being a snowflake millennial one would think I would be more in tune with those kinds of things.

  20. GMB3 says:

    Kinger_Oil.redux: – Et tu, LT?Drake played 1 more game in the first 2 seasons than injury-prone Taylor Hall

    Taylor Hall and Drake Caggiula are not what I would consider comparable. Let us not forget that Taylor Hall was a teenager when he broke into the league.

    Love me some Kinger Oil contrarian narratives

  21. Material Elvis says:

    Richard Roma: There was a time in which uncouth vulgarians didn’t populate this blog.

    I miss those times.

    Nothing gold can stay ponyboy.

    Can we all try to maintain a level of decorum here?

    This is supposed to be a clean well lighted place.

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=MgGCIZi1UjY

    I don’t see GHB3’s comment as offside in any way.

  22. hunter1909 says:

    GMB3: I didn’t realize twat would be found so offensive. Being a snowflake millennial one would think I would be more in tune with those kinds of things.

    Lowetide is the sheriff around here.

    Don’t listen to the peanut gallery, many whom wish to live out their “progressive” dreams via NHL hockey passive aggressiveness laid out at the feet of others.

    Every now and again one of them tries to hijack the blog with this exact kind of baloney. It’s really just bullying.

    Lowetide is the only voice that matters, and so far he’s always been incredibly fair minded(except the time he booted me off for shooting my big mouth off for the 1,127th time).

  23. Lowetide says:

    Kinger_Oil.redux: – Et tu, LT?Drake played 1 more game in the first 2 seasons than injury-prone Taylor Hall

    Hall’s injury were also a worry. Caggiula has injuries as a worry and several other issues Hall didn’t have. I would like to see him play in the same spot for 40 games. Without a cage (remember when he didn’t have range of vision?) and see how he shines. I’m a believer in those possession numbers, but he has 18 goals in 82 games (or some such) and on a goal starved team like the Oilers that has value. Needs to stay healthy.

  24. HT Joe says:

    Melvis: Cheers Richard Roma…
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=69y6JR-hMMU
    LMAO

    Yeah… that scene came to mind for me too. Damn vulgarians! 🙂

  25. Fourth Hanson says:

    LMHF#1,

    Lucic is the turn over king. Gets puck gives up puck, gets puck gives up puck over and over. Put jj with jp and stroke.

  26. Revolved says:

    The debates over players like Caggiula are the reason hockey metrics are so much fun to follow. I would not want to pick sides on him vs Rattie on the first line because they’re both similar bets.

    Perhaps for the same reasons, neither of them drive possession or can be relied on defensively. However, they can both put the puck in the net given the opportunity. This is the opposite of Yamamoto and is probably more important next to McDavid.

    I would like Puljujarvi on the first line, but cannot deny the results from Caggiula and Rattie. The only question is whether they can out score their mistakes over a whole season? At least the high event guys make things fun to watch.

  27. OriginalPouzar says:

    Very curious to see what coach does with the lineup tonight:

    – Does Koskinen get the start again or does he go back to Talbot – back to backs coming up Monday/Tuesday. Lets not forget, Koskinen split the next the last couple of years – 21 and 29 appearances – he isn’t used to a heavy workload

    – With Rattie ready to do does he get the 1RW spot back or does Caggiula get another shot there after a decent game. Drake scored and the line was OK but it was just OK – McDavid did have a negative relative Corsi as the top line did spend more time in their own zone than normal. Coach did imply in his last verbal that the Drake does deserve another shot tehre.

    – Who comes out of the lineup for Rattie? Kharia had another poor game until the third and his nice play on the shortie. Brodz?

    – Does Gravel come in for Garrison? Garrison had one of his more solid games in 12-13 minutes against CHI but Gravel is the more solid option in my opinion.

  28. OriginalPouzar says:

    JimmyV1965:
    The Yotes have seven goals on the PK already!!

    4 straigh games with a shortie!

  29. 106 and 106 says:

    Most other teams have great third lines too. Strome is a great third line, at least he is trying to leave the game even and let line 1 and 2 outscore the opposition.

    Line 4? Well if they score, oilers win.

  30. drglen says:

    We should be happy ( and I am,, very happy) but fact is Koskinen won them that game.

    I guess we really are not going to see Ethan Bear until 2 defensemen get injured.

    Bit sad to see marody being sent down, he didn’t get much of a chance. Coach seems to like Strome for his defense and some good passing. But I could see him being traded, plus a player or prospect, for an offensive upgrade.

    Maybe Lucic is actually a 4th line energy guy?

    I’d hang on to Kassian.

    Put Rattie back with McD , Drake either sits or takes Khaira’s spot. Yammo sits. Id say sit Brodz but he was brought in, really, just to win faceoffs and not get scored on on 4th line.

  31. Professor Q says:

    drglen,

    I thought Bear was injured himself?

  32. Woodguy v2.0 says:

    OriginalPouzar: I think he’s trying to say that an individual has more of a direct effect on his own point total that on the goals scored by either team.Points vs. GF/GA.

    Ah, that makes sense. My bad.

    That’s where the use of WOWY with QoC context comes in.

    I think we can tease individual player effects on shots/scoring chances/goals this way in big enough samples.

  33. Glovjuice says:

    OriginalPouzar:
    Very curious to see what coach does with the lineup tonight:

    – Does Koskinen get the start again or does he go back to Talbot – back to backs coming up Monday/Tuesday. Lets not forget, Koskinen split the next the last couple of years – 21 and 29 appearances – he isn’t used to a heavy workload

    – With Rattie ready to do does he get the 1RW spot back or does Caggiula get another shot there after a decent game.Drake scored and the line was OK but it was just OK – McDavid did have a negative relative Corsi as the top line did spend more time in their own zone than normal. Coach did imply in his last verbal that the Drake does deserve another shot tehre.

    – Who comes out of the lineup for Rattie? Kharia had another poor game until the third and his nice play on the shortie.Brodz?

    – Does Gravel come in for Garrison? Garrison had one of his more solid games in 12-13 minutes against CHI but Gravel is the more solid option in my opinion.

    5 PM Sat. game. Woo hoo. Fits into my very controlled, minor alcoholism plan.

  34. Woodguy v2.0 says:

    Buddy: We ran the gamut of emotions in those days. Oilers (still without Gretzky and Kurri) managed to lose 11-0 in Hartford a few days later. Genesis were in town that night — Phil Collins announced the score from the stage. One doesn’t forget moments like that.

    I was ice fishing at Wabamun Lake listening to the 11-0 game.

  35. Woodguy v2.0 says:

    Wilde: I think he may be right at replacement 10th-12th as is

    That’s fair

    The amount of times his check directly helps create a goal is at Kassian levels though….it would be good if he cleaned that up

  36. ArmchairGM says:

    texmex:
    godot10,

    I have no idea…… but I’d wager it’s equal to or better than:

    Lucic – 11g in 94 games
    Strome -13g in 94 games
    JP – 13g in 73 games
    Kassian – 8g in 83 games
    JJ – 11g in 80 games
    Brodziak – 10g in 92 games

    I’ll take that bet:

    Brodziak 40GF – 36GA (+4) +0.24/60
    Strome 34GF – 38GA (-4) -0.21/60
    Puljujarvi 32GF – 37GA (-5) -0.33/60
    Lucic 47GF – 55GA (-8) -0.39/60
    Khaira 25GF – 33GA (-8) -0.57/60
    Kassian 25GF – 38GA (-13) -0.95/60
    Caggiula 29GF – 43GA (-14) -0.97/60

    all 5v5, 17-18 + 18-19 stats combined.

  37. Woodguy v2.0 says:

    Abbeef: Not trying to say, that is exactly what I did say, lol.Team GF/team GA is +/- and not as useful as individual goals.Information can definitely be gleaned from every stat but an individual’s own production correlates better to what they are doing on the ice than a team stat in my opinion. This is also one of the reasons why reliable defensive stats are so hard to find.

    Yeah, I misread it and didn’t catch the nuance. Sorry.

    As I said to OP I think we can tease this info our of the shot/scoring chance/goal data with WOWY when the samples are big enough.

    Puck and player movement data (if public) would help immensely

  38. Wilde says:

    Woodguy v2.0: That’s fair

    The amount of times his check directly helps create a goal is at Kassian levels though….it would be good if he cleaned that up

    In the exact same ways, too.

    It’s weird how McLellan’s signature OZ structures have played around point releases and distributions, yet he doesn’t mind his high guy in the DZ getting abused by other team’s point men.

    And that’s not just “haha McLellan sucks” but something that’s just logically incongruent and one of the things I’d ask him (in a more diplomatic way) if I had the chance.

    It’s basically like, if you think this is important to your team’s offense, why is defending it well (player-side) not also important?

    The way to use this player, I think, is to know he has more finishing ability than some on the roster but he also hurts possession up the lineup and DZ coverage all over the lineup. The answer to the question of balance then, is to put him with players who are good for possession and DZ coverage but lack finishing ability, and aren’t needed higher up the lineup so they can play softs.

    This is Ryan Strome’s unit. I’m not certain, but if you include OTF shenanigans along with QoC and ZS they might get softer minutes than the fourth line.

    Then of course you’ve got to finish off the line, and since Strome & Caggiula balance each other’s attributes out, it’s a clean canvas for a prospect – you could sent 98, 56, 65 all down to BAK and then call up the best performer and put him there. The 2nd unit powerplay’s personnel should also have this line as its basis in order to get more TOI out of them. A double shifted McDavid, those three forwards and Matt Benning and later Ethan Bear or Caleb Jones when they get their cup of coffee.

    (Matt Benning is an underrated OZ distributor imo, so is Russell but he’s getting run on the 3nd pairing and PK already)

    I think Caggiula – Strome – x should be the third line for dozens of games, even half the season.

    Start with Khaira I guess.

  39. OriginalPouzar says:

    Glovjuice: 5 PM Sat. game. Woo hoo. Fits into my very controlled, minor alcoholism plan.

    Fits in to my wake up a 2:52 am plan.

    Love the early starts (used to HATE them).

    Now hate the 8pm starts (used to LOVE them).

    Issue with this coming week though: busy as eff at the office and the 5 and 5:30 starts may not be do-able – no worries, that’s what PVRs are for and I simply stay off all social media until I watch the game in its entirety. Used to do it all the time when I was a junior/associate and could rarely get home even at 7 for the start of games.

  40. LMHF#1 says:

    Fourth Hanson:
    LMHF#1,

    Lucic is the turn over king. Gets puck gives up puck, gets puck gives up puck over and over. Put jj with jp and stroke.

    No love for Lucic coming from me. I’d ship him out with a pick if necessary to free that cap space and get a more appropriate winger.

  41. drglen says:

    LMHF#1,

    I don’t think he’s going to suddenly ‘find his touch’… … Old news now but LA was certainly willing to part with him, and I remember when Edmonton played LA, we really weren’t too worried about Lucic.

    But the money has been spent… I see him as a 4th line player with 2nd unit powerplay time, overpaid but that’s OK if he has an effective role and the team is sound in front of him. it’s always a mix of overpays and bargains..

    Really you look at NYI willing to part with Strome too, there’s a reason for that, they had seen enough and knew he was not going to score, and you can’t win if you can’t score. But I dont’ think Edmonton necessarily lost that deal either… it was clear to everyone the you cannot go to war with Eberle.

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