16 Items or Less

I’m not sure of the exact number of additional actual NHL players Edmonton needs next season, but it’s more than nine.

THE ATHLETIC!

The Athletic Edmonton features a fabulous cluster of stories (some linked below, some on the site). Great perspective from a ridiculous group of writers and analysts. Proud to be part of the group. Outstanding offer is here.

A CONVERSATION

  1. You never call. I’ve been busy.
  2. It’s been a busy year for realtors. Haha funny.
  3. When is the last time the Oilers were this bad? Incredibly, this is shaping up as one of the more successful seasons in the cap era. If this year’s team makes 82 points, it would be the second best year (2016-17) since MacT’s last year coaching in 2008-09.
  4. Is this about McDavid ON/OFF again? I think you mean still.
  5. How bad is it? At 5-on-5, the team is 51-46 (+5) with McDavid in 934 minutes. In the 1,729 minutes without 97, the team is being outscored 46-71 (-25).
  6. Are they any better anywhere? Bakersfield Condors are miles ahead of last year and the success is being driven by prospects.
  7. Big whoop! That’s important, not this instant but for next year and beyond. Quality recall options are something the Oilers haven’t enjoyed in many years.
  8. What does a strong recall season look like? In 2009-10, Edmonton recalled Devan Dubnyk, Theo Peckham, Taylor Chorney, Marc Pouliot, Liam Reddox.
  9. What does a strong recall season look like? The most you’re going to get from a single minor league team is maybe four players (01-02 Hamilton Bulldogs produced Fernando Pisani, Jason Chimera, Ty Conklin and Marc-Andre Bergeron).
  10. Who will make it from this year’s Condors? We’ve already talked about that during the Farm Workers post.
  11. Don’t you ever get tired of it all? I still cheer for the Expos and they’re dead. When I was 12, I collected Winston Churchill stamps. I’ve been to hell and back, man.
  12. Seriously man, this has been like 12 years of awful. That’s like 10 percent of your life! When I was a child, my family would go to Jehovah’s Witness conventions. Friday 6-midnight; Saturday 9a-7p; Sunday 8a-4p. I used to do play by play of Expos games in my head to keep from going insane. I’m here for the long haul. Besides the heart wants what it wants.
  13. Sekera is almost ready. Yeah, they might have to hobble him if he doesn’t get hurt in the third rehab game.
  14. How will they make room? Matt Benning trade is my guess, or they demote Manning, plus trade the Gryba cap hit and the first-round pick for a nice chianti.
  15. What do you hope to get from Sekera? If he can return to anything resembling the 2016-17 edition, I expect impressive top-4 minutes on defense and brilliant overtime performances.
  16. Where would you play him? To start, third pairing with Benning, but I’d like to see the Oilers fix that second pairing. So, Sekera with the best partner among Darnell Nurse and Kris Russell.
  17. What do you expect from the deadline? I think the Oilers will trade Cam Talbot and Alex Chiasson, but the trades of players with term remaining is the thing to watch. Matt Benning, Zack Kassian, Kyle Brodziak and Brandon Manning need to be shopped if only to ease the cap issue for summer.
  18. Cap problems are overblown. Right now the Oilers have 16 NHL players signed at $71,191,300. That leaves $11,808,700 for seven players. Trading Benning and Kassian frees up close to $4 million and allows Edmonton to address needs higher on the depth chart with the savings. The new general manager is going to have to be ruthless.
  19. Who should they buyout? I would buyout Ryan Spooner and Brandon Manning plus Andrej Sekera if he can’t be traded, which saves about $7 million.
  20. What about Lucic? I would attempt to trade him. Travis Yost was on twitter last night talking about the Senators needing cap in order to get to the floor if Stone and Duchene go at the deadline.
  21. Giddyup! Might cost you the first-round pick though, and that pick could get you a scoring winger.
  22. What will happen with the prospects? Same as always. Orphans be orphans. If Keith Gretzky becomes general manager, the 2017 and 2018 picks (Yamamoto, Bouchard groups) are safe. I imagine Bob Green’s connections to names like Tyler Benson and Ethan Bear give those men cover, and Caleb Jones has shown enough to be considered a prospect of value.
  23. Jesse Puljujarvi? It’s an ill wind she blows.
  24. What would you do? I’ve already mentioned the buyout stuff and my article at the The Athletic today gives what I’m hoping will be the template the new general manager adopts. I would target one younger player in free agency who could impact next season. That might include Brock Nelson, Anders Lee, Ryan Dzingel. I would also overpay Brandon Pirri, who I think is an example of MoneyPuck and could deliver value even if given a ridiculous raise. That gets me two wingers to add to Leon inside the top six forwards, and we’ll have to see if one of the youngsters can grab the other spot (or perhaps a trade gets it done).
  25. What about defence?  It is going to be difficult to fix over one summer. The Klefbom-Larsson pairing works and Nurse-someone who can outlet the puck should settle in as a good second duo. The third pair could be Caleb Jones-Tim Heed and Edmonton could offload Kris Russell in order to pay for the second goaltender. Something like that.

LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE

CFL free agency kicks off this morning, we’ll be balls out on coverage with lots of time to talk Oilers. Starting at 10, TSN1260:

  • Jonathan Willis, The Athletic. Oilers trade deadline and the new general manager.
  • Darrin Bauming, TSN1290 Winnipeg. Blue Bombers making moves.
  • Andy McNamara, TSN4Downs. We’ll chat NFL offseason and the Cleveland Browns early transactions.

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

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214 Responses to "16 Items or Less"

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  1. who says:

    OmJo: $1.9M for a 3RD isn’t bad. $4M for a 3LD is a lot worse. And Benning is only 24/25 years old. Still young enough to become a player.

    I’d rather Benning be here and Jones et al. have to compete with him for that roster spot instead of leaving 3RD open and letting 5 rookies fight for it. If they beat him out, you waive him and free up $1M in cap space or trade him. It encourages all of them to get better over the summer and at training camp.

    Russell is better than Benning. Benning has been gifted the 2RD spot for 2 years in a row and lost it both times to Russell.

  2. Crazy Pedestrian says:

    Kucherov now has 88 points in 57 games (same amount of points as the team), and He’s currently on a 127 point pace.That’s rediculous. It’s almost unfair that Tampa has already locked him in for 8 years at $9.5M staring next season at the rate everyone else is signing. Tampa Bay would make the playoffs in the west this season with 25 games to spare.

    McDavid has 81 points and is on a 121 point pace right now. I’m not sure he will catch Kucherov this time, especially since Hitchcock hockey has seemed to have a negative impact on his overall play.

  3. OmJo says:

    who: Russell is better than Benning. Benning has been gifted the 2RD spot for 2 years in a row and lost it both times to Russell.

    Russell has the 2RD for two reasons: 1) he’s being paid too much to be a 3LD, and 2) he’s a cowboy. In your opinion, is Russell twice as good as Benning? If you had to choose one of them to be 3RD next season, which would you pick, keeping in mind their respective cap hits?

    I’m going to take a page out of Woodguy’s book, brace yourselves because this is probably gonna be bad….

    Player A: CF% 45.52, Rel CF% -4.85, GF% 50%

    Player B: CF% 48.25, Rel CF% -0.47, GF% 59.18

    One of those is the Oilers $4M 2RD, one of them is the Oilers $2M 3RD.

    Personally I’d rather the team invest in Benning over Russell if they had to choose. But their choice seems pretty obvious so that doesn’t even matter.

  4. flea says:

    Wasn’t the whole deal with the Russell contract is that it was tradeable after the 2nd year? He submits a trade list correct?

    Team up the highway might be interested in him, maybe as soon as this deadline.

    The Oilers are pretty skilled at using LTIR after this season.

    Russell for Michael Stone?

  5. OriginalPouzar says:

    Glovjuice: He’s maybe a six D with a plus lefty five but that is it. And, that’s a stretch (short little strides and
    lack of D zone corner retrieval speed and all ).

    and at the same age Gustaffson wasn’t even an NHL d-man but an AHL guy.

    The point is simply that the developmental book is not closed on many of the young players we have (Benning, Puljujarvi, Yamamoto, Nurse

  6. OriginalPouzar says:

    OmJo: Russell has the 2RD for two reasons: 1) he’s being paid too much to be a 3LD, and 2) he’s a cowboy. In your opinion, is Russell twice as good as Benning? If you had to choose one of them to be 3RD next season, which would you pick, keeping in mind their respective cap hits?

    I’m going to take a page out of Woodguy’s book, brace yourselves because this is probably gonna be bad….

    Player A: CF% 45.52, Rel CF% -4.85, GF% 50%

    Player B: CF% 48.25, Rel CF% -0.47, GF% 59.18

    One of those is the Oilers $4M 2RD, one of them is the Oilers $2M 3RD.

    Personally I’d rather the team invest in Benning over Russell if they had to choose. But their choice seems pretty obvious so that doesn’t even matter.

    I don’t agree that Russell is playing above Benning in the lineup due to cap hit. Russell started the year on the 3rd pairing and Benning on the 2nd pairing (two years in a row now) and Benning was not able to handle the 2RD spot, two years in a row.

    Russell moved up to fill the spot that Benning couldn’t – Russell was actually doing a very good job at 2RD early in the year, even defending the gap aggressively, but has long since regressed to historical norms.

    I have posited for two years that the biggest hole on this team is 2RD and that, if Russell is filling that hole, the team is not good enough. I maintain that view but, at the same time, acknowledge that, over the last few years, Russell has done a better job there than Benning.

    I like Matt Benning, much more than most Oiler fans, however, he has failed up the lineup each and every time. The book is not closed on his development but, so far, he has’t been able to play above the third pairing but has been very good on the third pairing.

    I don’t think those numbers are an honest comparison as they provide Russell’s numbers in top 4 minutes with top 4 comp and Benning’s numbers in 3rd pairing minutes with 3rd pairing comp (generally).

  7. Zelepukin says:

    Crazy Pedestrian: Hitchcock hockey has seemed to have a negative impact on his overall play.

    LOL. No, it’s the fact the rest of the team is garbage. There is nothing Hitch can do to increase McD’s points other than the ridiculousness of double shifting him the entire game and putting him with Nuge and Drai.

  8. Wilde says:

    Woodguy v2.0

    Lowetide

    Thanks folks!!

    I’m just getting through this piece at the Athletic by one of their Vancouver guys on a microstat of ‘passes off the rush’ and it’s really exciting stuff for someone who’s doing some tracking + I’ll definitely be adding it to the stable, but it’s also just a very good article on its own:

    https://theathletic.com/813442/2019/02/12/what-the-predictive-power-of-passes-off-the-rush-means-for-jake-virtanens-top-six-potential/

    These would fall through the cracks in my project before, because passes that don’t result in shots didn’t get recorded.

  9. GordieHoweHatTrick says:

    OriginalPouzar: That one is on the coach – 100%.

    Actually a series of events.
    TMac clearly did not like Strome. While “vanilla” he was a serviceable 3RC that could penalty kill and also produce at RW. My feeling is TMac pushed chia et al. For a trade. Poor trade. Coach fired pretty much next game. Then Hitch comes in and Spooner doesn’t play the way Hitch wants. Doesn’t see top 6 minutes doesn’t produce in bottom 6 out of the lineup.
    As posted above Spooner’s play has dropped huge this year on both teams. If they can’t grt a decent return in trade, then bring him to camp next year with coach #9.
    Do not buy Spooner out. Quit bleeding out.

  10. GordieHoweHatTrick says:

    godot10: I’m not buying out Lucic.He can sit in the pressbox, and pick up practise pucks for 4 years.And spend half the year away from home.He will be well paid to do that.

    A buyout makes no sense.It gains nothing, and only extends the pain of his contract.

    Yes!!
    New chant for new management:
    No more buyouts! No more bleed outs!

  11. Professor Q says:

    Crazy Pedestrian:
    Kucherov now has 88 points in 57 games (same amount of points as the team), and He’s currently on a 127 point pace.That’s rediculous. It’s almost unfair that Tampa has already locked him in for 8 years at $9.5M staring next season at the rate everyone else is signing. Tampa Bay would make the playoffs in the west this season with 25 games to spare.

    McDavid has 81 points and is on a 121 point pace right now. I’m not sure he will catch Kucherov this time, especially since Hitchcock hockey has seemed to have a negative impact on his overall play.

    He was literally only 1 point back a game ago. Now is not the time to panic about McDavid.

  12. OriginalPouzar says:

    Zelepukin: LOL. No, it’s the fact the rest of the team is garbage. There is nothing Hitch can do to increase McD’s points other than the ridiculousness of double shifting him the entire game and putting him with Nuge and Drai.

    I don’t agree with this – there are things that Hitch can and cannot do – for once, he cannot force Alex Chiasson on to McDavid’s wing for over 250 5 on 5 minutes – the stats meet the eye test (McDavid has a negative Corsi% and a negative goal share when playing with Chiasson).

  13. who says:

    OmJo: Russell has the 2RD for two reasons: 1) he’s being paid too much to be a 3LD, and 2) he’s a cowboy. In your opinion, is Russell twice as good as Benning? If you had to choose one of them to be 3RD next season, which would you pick, keeping in mind their respective cap hits?

    I’m going to take a page out of Woodguy’s book, brace yourselves because this is probably gonna be bad….

    Player A: CF% 45.52, Rel CF% -4.85, GF% 50%

    Player B: CF% 48.25, Rel CF% -0.47, GF% 59.18

    One of those is the Oilers $4M 2RD, one of them is the Oilers $2M 3RD.

    Personally I’d rather the team invest in Benning over Russell if they had to choose. But their choice seems pretty obvious so that doesn’t even matter.

    1) What OP said
    2) I’m not picking a player to be 3RD. I’m picking a player to play 2RD. And I am willing to pay Russell 2 million more because he has proven he can handle it. I am fine with trading Russell, but not until there is a better, proven option at 2RD. I think he’s here for at least 1 more year.
    3) What do you have against cowboys?

  14. OriginalPouzar says:

    Will be interesting to see what happens after the Condors’ game tonight and Sekera’s third game. I know the team wants Sekera back as soon as possible but have informally talked to the league about the 2 game extension. I would think they would formally file after the game for the 2 game extension – I assume the league will grant it but, given the intent of the section being a determination of fitness to play, if Reggie plays another 20 plus minutes with no set-back or pain, the league may not.

    Excited to watch both the Oilers and the Condors tonight.

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