Smoke When I Drink

by Lowetide

I like using comparables when talking about prospects, it gives me a possible trajectory for the future. Blame Bill James. I marked a bushel for Jesse Puljujarvi this time last year—William Nylander, Mikko Rantanen and David Pastrnak—but a lot of people had those names when going in search of Jesse’s brothers. Statistical matches are fun, and are accurate sometimes. What about stylistic matches? What about situational matches? Interesting idea.

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. Best available offer is here!

  • New Jonathan Willis: Tobias Rieder will miss a critical month, creating problems for Edmonton but opportunities for its players.
  • New Tyler Dellow: If nothing changes, Oilers should buy out Milan Lucic next summer.
  • New Lowetide: The past, present and future of the Andrej Sekera contract.
  • Daniel Nugent-Bowman: Elmer Benning on his 47 years as a scout (excellent article).
  • Jonathan Willis: After several failed attempts to fix their issues on the wings, it’s time for the Oilers to explore the trade market.
  • Lowetide: Connor McDavid, a 50-goal season and chasing Phil Esposito’s magical 1970-71.
  • Lowetide: Oilers send Puljujarvi and Yamamoto to Bakersfield; recall Marody
  • Lowetide: Oilers trade options: Dealing from strength is finally a possibility.
  • Lowetide: What happens to the Oilers when Alex Chiasson’s hot streak ends?
  • Jonathan Willis: Under the circumstances, playing in the AHL affords Jesse Puljujarvi the best chance at career redemption.
  • Lowetide: A new day dawning for Oilers prospects in Bakersfield as increased usage means greater success.
  • Daniel Nugent-Bowman: In depth: Embattled Oilers GM Peter Chiarelli defends his record, remains bullish on the future.
  • Lowetide: Future Oilers bubbling under in Bakersfield may get a look sooner rather than later.
  • Lowetide: Oscar Klefbom takes a step forward for the Edmonton Oilers.
  • Daniel Nugent-Bowman: Forty years later, remembering the forgotten trade that brought Wayne Gretzky to Edmonton.
  • Lowetide: Oilers reach a pressure point on defence and right wing.

MACT AND THE HEMMER

It’s my experience that when a decade passes without agreement, we’re either talking about Middle East peace or an Edmonton Oiler. There was a time Ales Hemsky could part the Red Sea with his ability to divide people on the simplest issues–especially Oiler fans.

Ales Hemsky was supremely skilled, and delivered excitement during a period where there was very little. The one time he had a chance to play on a really good team he led that club in points and then had a terrific playoff run.

Hemsky arrived as a Czech playing in the QMJHL and by his second training camp Craig MacTavish didn’t want to send him back. The young Hemsky had much to learn away from the puck but he was talented offensively (MacT made several bets during his coaching career on offensive players) and from the fall of 2002 he was in the NHL when healthy or not locked out.

MacT gave him 9:26 (evens) a night (6-15-21) as a teenage rookie, 59 games. Hemsky got 2:36 on the PP (0-9-9) and he earned more time in year two: 11:13 (evens) and 2:42 (power play). A funny thing happened before year three, the NHL cancelled the season. Hemsky played in his hometown Pardubice, and when he returned, MacT released the kraken: 11:38 evens, 5:03 power play, 18 minutes a night. Hemsky led the team in scoring, delivered some memorable postseason moments and the two men shared their career highlight under the same sky. Hemsky was 22 that season.

The year away from each other might have helped, time away and the absence of alternatives (Edmonton didn’t have anyone like Hemsky, at least during the regular season) clears the mind.

I don’t know that Todd McLellan and Jesse Puljujarvi are ever going to go fishing together, but McLellan doesn’t have a lot of good alternatives who offer what JP brings. At 20, Hemsky was getting 11:13 a night at even strength. Jesse Puljujarvi? 11:09. You can look it up.

Rieder is out for a month, give or take a weekend. That’s a blow, because the team was running on 13 forwards and Cooper Marody is a flat out rookie. Edmonton’s recall is another man who doesn’t have NHL experience, although Patrick Russell (photo by Mark Williams) is in the final year of his entry deal. I was going to write about the PK options (I use SA/60) but Sunil Agnihotri did that and more here.

 

Patrick Russell got the call yesterday, he’s up to the NHL for the first time in his pro career. I love these stories, and in the case of Russell it all started in Holte, Denmark, which is a suburb of Copenhagen. I’ve seen him several times as a Condors forward and he’s a good penalty killer, can score shorties, anticipates well and is a throwback type in that he’s where you expect him to be most of the time. McLellan will like him.

CONDORS SCORING, FORWARDS, 5-ON-5

  • Cooper Marody and Patrick Russell are now in the NHL, with Jesse Puljujarvi and Kailer Yamamoto in Bakersfield.
  • Tyler Benson is starting to post crooked numbers at 5-on-5 that’s a terrific sign. The Oilers should resist any temptation to call him up, just let him flourish at that level. Cup of coffee late in the year if it makes sense.
  • Cameron Hebig is among the leading rookie scorers in the AHL, much of that coming on the power play.
  • Joe Gambardella is a player I thought we might see instead of Russell. Both men are playing well.
  • The Condors play in San Diego tonight.

CONDORS, DEFENSE, 5-ON-5

  • Jay Woodcroft is some kind of prospect whisperer, his best prospects are rising to the top.
  • Caleb Jones, Ethan Bear and William Lagesson are all playing well, with the numbers suggesting Jones might be the early recall option over the other two. Of course, lefty-righty and style would have an impact.
  • Kevin Gravel, Ryan Stanton and Keegan Lowe represent the veteran group, Gravel getting some NHL time.
  • Logan Day appears to be a chaos blue based on on-ice goal differential but he can play.

WINTER TOP 20

I’ll begin my ‘winter top 20’ at The Athletic tomorrow, with the No. 1 prospect in the Oilers’ system. Damn near half the list is new, it’s a stronger list than a year ago. I hope you enjoy it, one of my favourite things to do each year, this is year No. 16 for the winter list. The first No. 1 prospect in winter 2003? Jarrett Stoll. As a throwback bonus, here is the winter top 20, 2004 edition:

  1. Rob Schremp—Not a complete player by any means, but a potential impact player.
  2. Jeff Drouin-Deslauriers—Made a huge leap with early success.
  3. Marc-Antoine Pouliot—He’s a kid who could falter in one area and still make it to the show.
  4. Jeff Woywitka—Size, calm feet, makes a nice outlet pass and is progressing. Lots to like.
  5. Doug Lynch—Pretty much the same as Woywitka only more offense so far.
  6. Colin McDonald—Best PF prospect in the system imo.
  7. Jean Francois Jacques—Is stepping forward in a big way.
  8. Matt Greene—Possible impact defender.
  9. Devan Dubnyk—There’s a monster in net.
  10. Roman Tesliuk—I like how he handles the puck. Confident.
  11. Tony Salmelainen—Size only concern. Skilled.
  12. Brad Winchester—Has turned a corner.
  13. Jesse Niinimaki—The body of Ichabod Crane ain’t gonna get it done.
  14. Zack Stortini—Showing some promise.
  15. Troy Bodie—Ditto.
  16. Brock Radunske—Based on potential.
  17. Alexei Mikhnov—I give the hell up.
  18. Jani Rita—Boy, did the 90s blow or what?
  19. Liam Reddox—Skill.
  20. Mike Bishai—Has overcome exceptional odds.

LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE

A fun morning, we’re heading for the weekend and there’s much to discuss. At 10, TSN 1260, scheduled to appear:

  • Steve Lansky, BigMouthSports. CFL playoffs, Oilers putting McDavid-Draisaitl together, and best/worst broadcast teams of all time.
  • Danny Austin, Calgary Sun. The western final should be a fabulous game, we’ll preview.
  • Matt Iwanyk, TSN1260. Western final, Oilers big weekend on the way.

It’s been one year since Tyler Yaremchuk joined the show, we’ll celebrate by playing the most famous moment of the last 12 months at 11:20. You don’t want to miss it! 10-1260 text, @Lowetide on twitter.

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Bruce McCurdy

OriginalPouzar: Sure, Bruce, that is a fact and you are right but do you disagree with the premise that middle 6 AHL wingers at 26 rarely “make it”? Of course there are exceptions but they are just that, exceptions.

If Patrick Russell turns in to the Pisani that Lowetide craves, I’ll be one hell of a happy guy to eat all the crow!

Sure, I’m just saying “don’t write him off”. Odds are long but it’s been done before. Some players just keep right on improving into their late 20s and even into their 30s. If they’re natural tweeners it might be a long while before they break through the threshold into the NHL, but that doesn’t signal they are done improving just yet.
I always root for guys like this.

Sierra

Bruce McCurdy: Those piling on Strome after the Crosby magic were not being very fair in my estimation.That’s like piling on Ryan Suter or Duncan Keith after McDavid left them with 3rd degree burns.Sometimes, no matter how good a player is, the other guy is just better, as Crosby (& McDavid) have proven time & again.

Strome had nearly scored to win that game on a hard rush earlier on the shift & had no chance to change while Crosby was fresh. It was a mismatch.

It says a lot about those posters piling on Strome for being beat by the best player in the world for the last decade, at the end of his shift when Crosby just came over the boards. Oiler fans love to eat their own.

OriginalPouzar

Bruce McCurdy: You know who made his Oilers debut at age 26 after playing in college followed by 2.5 years in the AHL before he finally got a sniff?

Fernando Pisani. THE Pisani.

Sure, Bruce, that is a fact and you are right but do you disagree with the premise that middle 6 AHL wingers at 26 rarely “make it”? Of course there are exceptions but they are just that, exceptions.

If Patrick Russell turns in to the Pisani that Lowetide craves, I’ll be one hell of a happy guy to eat all the crow!

godot10

Bruce McCurdy: The furstrating part is here we are in bloody November, both Yamamoto & Puljujarvi who got a hard push over Aberg are in the minors, the Oilers are trading useful pieces for expensive secondary scorers, & Pontus F. (For “Free”) Aberg is leading the Ducks in goals at NhL minimum.

It is frustrating that Yamamoto and Puljujarvi are not ready to be called up because they spent the first month of the season twiddling their thumbs in Edmonton.

Bruce McCurdy

Crazy Pedestrian: Man, I would rather not hear how Aberg is playing anymore.
the ducks got us back for the Maroon trade by scooping Aberg up for free because TMac is too pig headed to play him to his strengths…
#becauseoilers

The furstrating part is here we are in bloody November, both Yamamoto & Puljujarvi who got a hard push over Aberg are in the minors, the Oilers are trading useful pieces for expensive secondary scorers, & Pontus F. (For “Free”) Aberg is leading the Ducks in goals at NhL minimum.

Bruce McCurdy

OriginalPouzar: He is not 24 – he is 26 in a month and a half.

Yes he’s had a very good offensive start to the season, however, it is completely out of line with his historical norms and he is not a young developing player.He is 26 years old in a month and a half and this is the first time he’s even been on an NHL roster.11 game heater aside, he is a soon to be 26 year old career middle 6 AHL winger.

It is extremely rare for this type of player to become an actual NHL player.

Players like this are important to AHL clubs – they can’t all be 20-22 year old prospects, some professional veterans are required.

You know who made his Oilers debut at age 26 after playing in college followed by 2.5 years in the AHL before he finally got a sniff?

Fernando Pisani. THE Pisani.

Bruce McCurdy

drglen:
Scungilli Slushy,

Actually strome didnt do anything wrong there that i can tell. He was just exhausted ftom long 3 on 3 shift and crosbys combination of strenghh balance coordination and skill on that play is top shelf.I dont even think mcdavid makes that play.Its well defended

Totally agree on eberle though. I remember the shift.And i thi k it is certain specific plays that sank jp

Those piling on Strome after the Crosby magic were not being very fair in my estimation. That’s like piling on Ryan Suter or Duncan Keith after McDavid left them with 3rd degree burns. Sometimes, no matter how good a player is, the other guy is just better, as Crosby (& McDavid) have proven time & again.

Strome had nearly scored to win that game on a hard rush earlier on the shift & had no chance to change while Crosby was fresh. It was a mismatch.

Glovjuice

OriginalPouzar: Yamamoto is a 22nd overall pick that turned 20 less than 2 months ago and just turned pro. The fact that he’s even played NHL games probably puts him ahead of reasonable expectations. AHL development time should be expected for a 22nd overall pick.

Nurse’s development is right on track.This is his first season off his ELC and he’s proven to be a top 4 d-man and has proven to be able to play 1st pairing minutes when paired with a solid defensive partner (i.e. last year with Adam Larsson).

Sure, Puljujarvi seems disappointing but that is mainly b/c he’s been around the NHL team for so long but likely shouldn’t have. When the regular season ends, he will still be 20. We are currently re-starting development with him and hopefully he’ll be in the AHL for at least a few months and is a more developed player when we see him next.

Sure, still poor conversion rate IMO. I was early on the Yak bust train (terrible draft year though).

Glovjuice

pts2pndr: Increasing Caggiula’s time on the pk is the equivalent of sending a fuel truck to an aircraft on fire, he is the least defensively skilled player on the team! One of the two goals against in the Montreal game because he couldn’t get the puck out of the zone or to good ice! He was one of the Pk that were scored on 2 of 3 chances. I guess that might be very McLellan! Good call!

I’m totally amazed Drake scores so many goals when he essentially plays with a broomball stick approach. Tough to argue with goals though. But, continual batting and swatting, in a seemingly random way, is not great for the PK.

godot10

Ribs:
From TSN site…

TOP HEADLINES
Rangers acquire Strome from Oilers

Why not “Oilers acquire Spooner from Rangers”?

Things that make you go hmmmm…

Strome is the more famous name, drafted higher, and from the GTA.

Wilde

OriginalPouzar:
London and Guelph is being show on Sportsnet this afternoon – 130 I believe (mountain).

Great chance to watch two top prospects.

Excellent.

Ryan Merkley and Ryan Merkley?

pts2pndr

OriginalPouzar: I’m being ripped apart on another platform for showing some concern about the loss of personnel on the PK. Premise being the PK is so bad already that it doesn’t matter.

A mind-boggling retort in my mind.

Unfortunately, I think we’ll see Caggiula’s PK minutes go back up (McLellan has made a nice adjustment recently at taking him off the PK).

I also think that a poor PK game or two might convince McLellan to insert Russell who is a plus PKer at the AHL level – not a good situation either.

Increasing Caggiula’s time on the pk is the equivalent of sending a fuel truck to an aircraft on fire, he is the least defensively skilled player on the team! One of the two goals against in the Montreal game because he couldn’t get the puck out of the zone or to good ice! He was one of the Pk that were scored on 2 of 3 chances. I guess that might be very McLellan! Good call!

OriginalPouzar

Glovjuice: Ya:Nuge, Yak, Nurse, and Pulji, and even Kailer (too small without killer speed) is yikes.

Yamamoto is a 22nd overall pick that turned 20 less than 2 months ago and just turned pro. The fact that he’s even played NHL games probably puts him ahead of reasonable expectations. AHL development time should be expected for a 22nd overall pick.

Nurse’s development is right on track. This is his first season off his ELC and he’s proven to be a top 4 d-man and has proven to be able to play 1st pairing minutes when paired with a solid defensive partner (i.e. last year with Adam Larsson).

Sure, Puljujarvi seems disappointing but that is mainly b/c he’s been around the NHL team for so long but likely shouldn’t have. When the regular season ends, he will still be 20. We are currently re-starting development with him and hopefully he’ll be in the AHL for at least a few months and is a more developed player when we see him next.

OriginalPouzar

London and Guelph is being show on Sportsnet this afternoon – 130 I believe (mountain).

Great chance to watch two top prospects.

Excellent.

OriginalPouzar

Condors lose 4-1.

No points for the kids.

Missed the 3rd but watched the first two and Puljujarvi was a very engaged player, probably the most noticeable. From accounts that continued in to the third and he even dropped the gloves for a fight on the third.

Ribs

From TSN site…

TOP HEADLINES
Rangers acquire Strome from Oilers

Why not “Oilers acquire Spooner from Rangers”?

Things that make you go hmmmm…

Ribs

texmex:
Pontus with his 6th of the season for the ducks

Now on pace for 30 goals!

Glovjuice

That’s like one top six F and 0 top 3 D in 5 x ave 5.5 overalls. Crap.

Glovjuice

Bank Shot: Hell compare RNH to 1st overalls and he is sadly lacking.

Ya: Nuge, Yak, Nurse, and Pulji, and even Kailer (too small without killer speed) is yikes.

Bank Shot

jtblack: There in lies the flaw. You are comparing Strome to a #1 overall (best 17/18 yr old hockey player in the world) .

Strome worked harrd enough to earn $10—$20 Mil and play longer than 95% of all players

Compare any player to #1’s overall & most won’t measure up

Hell compare RNH to 1st overalls and he is sadly lacking.

Glovjuice

Lowetide:
Seven of Nine is the most fantastic character. I honestly barely noticed the outfits.

The show went downhill when it arrived. Totally ruined it. First 2 years were amazing.

Glovjuice

jtblack,

Are there ANY 50 point 3Cs?

texmex

Pool party drops the gloves !?!?

Crazy Pedestrian

Just looked at the standings.

Only one team in the west is really out of it right now (LA), while everyone else is in a constant dog fight.

And even better, Only 1 team in the entire eastern conference is below .500 (Detroit by 1 game)
That’s taking parity to a whole new level. Bettmans grin must be bordering on the level of The Joker’s while he’s laughing

Really don’t know if the “American thanksgiving” playoff cut line is going to be a clear enough way to see who’s getting in this year…

jtblack

Scungilli Slushy: Thanks for clarifying that comment wasn’t sure what you were saying.

Nuge had the same points and was considered offensively shy but a better skater.

This is why I mentionedtalent (innate) and work.

Hall talked about working harder after the trade. Nuge I think works but doesn’t have the ‘package’ Hall has which includes physical attributes.

Strome has the size, but was considered not a dynamic offensive player at the NHL level (like Nuge), but was a bland skater. Nuge has and had excellent edges. In the case of these two players the draft predictions explained the NHL success perfectly IMO.

My point was Strome had opportunity to improve his game more than Nuge because it was technical and not size related. Nuge could still choose a stick thatimproved his shot which remains his weak point IMO.

There in lies the flaw. You are comparing Strome to a #1 overall (best 17/18 yr old hockey player in the world) .

Strome worked harrd enough to earn $10—$20 Mil and play longer than 95% of all players

Compare any player to #1’s overall & most won’t measure up

Crazy Pedestrian

texmex:
Pontus with his 6th of the season for the ducks

Man, I would rather not hear how Aberg is playing anymore.
the ducks got us back for the Maroon trade by scooping Aberg up for free because TMac is too pig headed to play him to his strengths…
#becauseoilers

drglen

texmex,

Yikes

drglen

kgo,

Yiu might have a point there

workaroundaccount

OriginalPouzar: I am not nitpicking – the point I was responding too was criticizing putting the player at center so early in his professional career and comparing it to when Caggiula was started as a center and, to me, there is a massive difference as the one player was a winger and the other actually is a center.

“You’re wrong”
-Trump 2016

Crazy Pedestrian

OriginalPouzar:
Benson/Currie/Puljujarvi now as Woodcroft switches the lines.

Yup… without Marody in the lineup, the trickle down effect seems to be causing issues. And of course the first game JP and KY get in on turns out like crap.

texmex

Pontus with his 6th of the season for the ducks

drglen

Scungilli Slushy,

Yes i agree. They remember. Evidence based at least

kgo

drglen:
Scungilli Slushy,

Actually strome didnt do anything wrong there that i can tell. He was just exhausted ftom long 3 on 3 shift and crosbys combination of strenghh balance coordination and skill on that play is top shelf.I dont even think mcdavid makes that play.Its well defended

Totally agree on eberle though. I remember the shift.And i thi k it is certain specific plays that sank jp

I think he had conditioning issue, no proof of this but I noticed him exhausted way more often then his teammates or opposition

drglen

Caggula doesnt quit and hes starting to convert. Todd and peter and probsbly upper brass. As the scouts identified. Drake is a winner He does not quit he is a warrior and has heart. He has that ntangible resilience and heart. And that is a guyyou want on tbe team.

They give him extra rope for that and i agree. Drake is oiler core in my view

Scungilli Slushy

drglen:
Scungilli Slushy,

Actually strome didnt do anything wrong there that i can tell. He was just exhausted ftom lo g 3 on 3 shift and crosbys combinatikn of strenghth bslance coordination and skill on that play is top shelf.I dont even thi k mcdavid makes thay play

Yes, I’m not laying blame but more referring to the fact the team has in the past reacted strongly to timely fails.

I have no idea if this is the case with Strome, just that it was a few games ago and now he’s got a zip code instead of a postal code.

Foege Foegele Torpe

<?

russ99:
After reading that Oilers.com article I wouldn’t mind an old school third line of Lucic – Spponer – Brodziak

Ya
This new line needs a nickname, we’ll call it the Forth
Swap new guy out for mama Kass

drglen

Scungilli Slushy,

Actually strome didnt do anything wrong there that i can tell. He was just exhausted ftom long 3 on 3 shift and crosbys combination of strenghh balance coordination and skill on that play is top shelf. I dont even think mcdavid makes that play. Its well defended

Totally agree on eberle though. I remember the shift. And i thi k it is certain specific plays that sank jp

OriginalPouzar

Benson/Currie/Puljujarvi now as Woodcroft switches the lines.

drglen

GMB3,

With jobs at risk theyd rather play a marginal vet than develop or risk young talent.

What i think it is is veteran cheats. Rob brown often talks about the need for young players to gradually figure out all the sneaky veteran tricks and cheats. And you only learn this in the pros. They are under such pressure they wont risk non nhl players even though they are on schedule in the minors and deserve a push

I honestly think the margin for error is so small in these next ten games they just cant risk it

€√¥£€^$

€√¥£€^$:
TSN2 is showing Minnesota-Duluth vs Denver.

This is shockingly fast game, rivalling any game I have EVER watched, if anyone is interested in tuning in.

Denver won 2-0, but were outshot 48 to 15.

OriginalPouzar

workaroundaccount: You’re nitpicking. The overall point was about the oilers throwing a kid to the wolves by putting them With poor helpers in a role that has them in over their head. Marody is now the 3C unless we are running with no top six wingers now. It’s the same as bring in Draisaitl to be the defact 2C. Caggiula being a wing in the NCAA was just an exaggeration of the overall trend. Marody at 3C is not as bad as Caggiula, you’re right, but it is still asinine, and fits with a long tradition of the exact same philosophy.

I am not nitpicking – the point I was responding too was criticizing putting the player at center so early in his professional career and comparing it to when Caggiula was started as a center and, to me, there is a massive difference as the one player was a winger and the other actually is a center.

OriginalPouzar

PPG for the Gulls and its 3-0.

Scungilli Slushy

The Oilers have always seemed to react to specific plays that LT refers to often. I remember when he called Eberle avoiding a hit in the playoffs and that it would be his swan song as an Oiler.

I just saw again Crosby walking Strome in OT, makes me wonder if that was it, the defining play. If you can’t score that would have been salt in wound to the GM and/or the RWS.

€√¥£€^$

TSN2 is showing Minnesota-Duluth vs Denver.

This is a shockingly fast game, rivalling any game I have EVER watched, if anyone is interested in tuning in.

OriginalPouzar

Condors come out flat in the 2nd and a really really poor effort/battle by Jones and he’s victimized for a quick break and a goal against.

OriginalPouzar

GMB3: Patrick Russell is 24 and has scored at near a point per game in the AHL while being a good penalty killer. What is the point of having an AHL team if players who grow and develop in the system do not deserve an opportunity to attempt and fill a depth role that the Oilers are sorely lacking??

He is not 24 – he is 26 in a month and a half.

Yes he’s had a very good offensive start to the season, however, it is completely out of line with his historical norms and he is not a young developing player. He is 26 years old in a month and a half and this is the first time he’s even been on an NHL roster. 11 game heater aside, he is a soon to be 26 year old career middle 6 AHL winger.

It is extremely rare for this type of player to become an actual NHL player.

Players like this are important to AHL clubs – they can’t all be 20-22 year old prospects, some professional veterans are required.

workaroundaccount

OriginalPouzar: I don’t think that starting a natural winger at center in the NHL in his first professional hockey game is comparable at all to starting a natural center at center in the NHL in his first NHL game (with 10 games or so at center in the AHL).

Starting Caggiula at center in his first pro game was one of the most mind-boggling coaching decisions I’ve seen made – even if he wasn’t coming off a six week injury.

Marody is a center.While some/many center prospects start their NHL careers on the wing, many start at center. He’s already played a few games in the NHL at wing, if he plays the next one at center, given its his natural position, its not odd at all – to me.

You’re nitpicking. The overall point was about the oilers throwing a kid to the wolves by putting them With poor helpers in a role that has them in over their head. Marody is now the 3C unless we are running with no top six wingers now. It’s the same as bring in Draisaitl to be the defact 2C. Caggiula being a wing in the NCAA was just an exaggeration of the overall trend. Marody at 3C is not as bad as Caggiula, you’re right, but it is still asinine, and fits with a long tradition of the exact same philosophy.

Scungilli Slushy

I don’t think PK is as hard as the Oilers make it seem. No reason a good AHL PK’er can’t get used to the increased speed and play the system soon. They are supposed to be using the same systems now in the A as the N now right?

Scoring is the tough part.

Scungilli Slushy

jtblack: Meant to say. Narrative is “successsful players work harder.“McD and Croz def work hard. But the AHL and Europe iss loaded with Super committed, hard working guys that don’t have the skill.

R Strome put up over 100 pts in junior. The list of players to do that is rather short. Dylan as well.

Many ultra committed players that don’t become Top 6 NHL forwards

Thanks for clarifying that comment wasn’t sure what you were saying.

Nuge had the same points and was considered offensively shy but a better skater.

This is why I mentioned talent (innate) and work.

Hall talked about working harder after the trade. Nuge I think works but doesn’t have the ‘package’ Hall has which includes physical attributes.

Strome has the size, but was considered not a dynamic offensive player at the NHL level (like Nuge), but was a bland skater. Nuge has and had excellent edges. In the case of these two players the draft predictions explained the NHL success perfectly IMO.

My point was Strome had opportunity to improve his game more than Nuge because it was technical and not size related. Nuge could still choose a stick that improved his shot which remains his weak point IMO.