Strange Town

by Lowetide

This is Colby Cave. I tracked him during his draft year (2014) and had Cave ranked No. 81 on my top 100 list that summer. Now my list is not an expert draft 100, but it does value things like 5-on-5 offense and at that time some of the secondary stats were finding their way (estimated points-per-60, etc). Cave has been working hard since 2014 summer, and appears to be winning the NHL job assigned to Kyle Brodziak. Who knows what tomorrow brings, but Colby Cave is making the case and finding success.

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.

  • New Lowetide: The career destination for Oilers phenom Jesse Puljujarvi remains unknown.
  • New Jonathan Willis: Learning from a flawed argument I made about Leon Draisaitl in 2016.
  • Black Dog Pat: How the Oilers can emerge from the Bob Pulford-like era they’re stuck in.
  • Daniel Nugent-Bowman: Oilers given harsh lesson by Leafs as playoff hopes on life support.
  • Lowetide: The Oilers’ deadline decisions inform what may come in spring and summer
  • Jonathan Willis: From Mikko Koskinen to Bakersfield, the next two months will reveal a lot about the Oilers
  • Daniel Nugent-Bowman: After bringing in Sam Gagner and shipping out Cam Talbot, Oilers stand pat on deadline day.
  • Jonathan Willis: Jesse Puljujarvi needs a fresh start, but there’s no reason it can’t be in Edmonton
  • Lowetide: The Edmonton Oilers and the OHL.
  • Lowetide: Are the 2018-19 Bakersfield Condors the best Edmonton Oilers affiliate ever?
  • Daniel Nugent-Bowman: ‘One of the best hockey games ever’: An oral history of the 2014 women’s Olympic gold-medal game.
  • Lowetide: How can the Oilers successfully sell the new regime to a fan base that is openly angry?
  • Jonathan Willis: Edmonton’s trade for Sam Gagner is a gamble well worth making.
  • Jonathan Willis: Inside the success of the Bakersfield Condors, and what it means for Edmonton
  • Lowetide: The Oilers sure have a lot of problems, but there is a simple solution.
  • Daniel Nugent-Bowman: Q&A: Keith Gretzky on the Oilers trade deadline plan, Andrej Sekera’s return and Jesse Puljujarvi’s season
  • Lowetide: Oilers’ potential roster upheaval might set a record for summer activity
  • Lowetide: It’s time for Oilers owner Daryl Katz to stand and deliver a winning organization.
  • Jonathan Willis: An Oilers blueprint for the 2019 NHL free agency period
  • Lowetide: Edmonton’s 2019 entry draft plans may change with new GM but needs are clear
  • Lowetide: Complete Oilers top 20 prospects, Winter 2018

OILERS AFTER 64

  • Oilers in 2015: 23-34-7, 53 points; goal differential -33
  • Oilers in 2016: 34-22-8, 76 points; goal differential +12
  • Oilers in 2017: 27-33-4, 58 points; goal differential -37
  • Oilers in 2018: 27-30-7, 61 points; goal differential -26

This year’s team is basically a sliver more successful than the one a year ago. It makes no real difference, but the 2017-18 team finished 9-7-2. Can this year’s team manage to duplicate that finish? If they do, the 2018-19 club will complete the schedule 36-37-9, 81 points.

OILERS IN FEBRUARY

  • Oilers in February 2016: 3-10-1, seven points; goal differential -21
  • Oilers in February 2017: 6-6-0, 12 points; goal differential -1
  • Oilers in February 2018: 5-7-1, 11 points; goal differential -4
  • Oilers in February 2019: 4-6-4, 12 points; goal differential -13

WHAT TO EXPECT IN FEBRUARY

  • On the road to: Philadelphia, Montreal (Expected 1-1-0) (Actual 0-0-2)
  • At home to: Chicago (Expected 1-0-0) (Actual 0-1-0)
  • On the road to: Minnesota (Expected 0-0-1) (Actual 1-0-0)
  • At home to: San Jose (Expected 0-1-0) (Actual 0-1-0)
  • On the road to: Pittsburgh, Carolina, NY Islanders (Expected 2-1-0) (Actual 0-3-0)
  • At home to: Arizona, NY Islanders, Anaheim (Expected 2-1-0) (Actual 2-0-1)
  • On the road to: Nashville, Toronto, Ottawa (Expected 1-2-0) (Actual 1-1-1)
  • Overall expected result: 7-6-1, 15 points in 14 games
  • Current results: 4-6-4, 12 points in 14 games

DEFENSE, LAST NIGHT

  • Sekera-Benning went 17-14 in 12:28, 5-7 shots, 2-0 goals and 5-5 HDSC. The best part of the HDSC totals comes in the knowledge 97 was responsible for just one of them. Strong pairing on the evening.
  • Nurse-Russell were 13-24 in 17:25, 10-10 shots, 0-1 goals and 2-3 HDSC. It was another night of defending because both men have abandoned the idea of tape to tape, and Russell’s performance on the Borowiecki goal was farce.
  • Klefbom-Larsson went 6-24 in 16:51, 4-10 shots, 0-1 goals and 1-8 HDSC. The pairing has struggled of late and that continued, it’s Larsson who is having the tough time. One wonders about injury but they’ll need to be better.
  • Mikko Koskinen stopped 35 of 37, .946.
  • NaturalStatTrick and NHL.com.

FORWARDS, LAST NIGHT

  • Nuge-McDavid-Kassian were 6-11 in 8:43, 5-1 shots, no goals and 2-1 HDSC. I thought Kassian looked out of time with the other two.
  • Draisaitl-McDavid-Kassian went 6-10 in 7:52, 3-4 shots, 0-1 goals and 0-4 HDSC. Not strong. Kassian is the problem and I like Kassian.
  • Malone-Gagner-Rattie were 6-12 in 5:51, 4-7 shots, no goals and 1-3 HDSC.
  • Lucic-Cave-Currie went 5-3 in 5:42, 3-1 shots, 1-0 goals and 2-0 HDSC. At this point I can’t see a reason to break up the trio.
  • Rieder-Draisaitl-Chiasson were 1-7 in 4:16, 0-4 shots, no goals and 0-2 HDSC.

Ryan McLeod and Filip Berglund are the two main names, with the college kids coming due when their respective seasons end. John Marino has emerged as a bonafide NHL prospect, and that may mean he is ready to come out (after his junior season this year). If he won’t sign, there’s a chance we see his rights traded. It would be similar to what happened with Cooper Marody one year ago. Other college players who might be signed include Hayden Hawkey, Vincent Desharnais and Joey Dudek.

The Lightning are lapping the field in amateur procurement and this is another reason. Jimmy Huntington has 20 goals at 5-on-5 this season, .7 primary points per game at 5-on-5. He’s a good prospect Tampa Bay grabbed for only money and a spot on the 50-man list. He has far more value than someone like Colin Larkin as a bet (no offense to Colin Larkin) for future NHL employment.

LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE

A fun morning begins at 10 on TSN1260. Scheduled to appear:

  • Steve Lansky, BigMouthSports. Senators fire their coach, Leafs-Oilers, Jesse Puljujarvi’s season ending injury and Johnny Manziel getting punted from the CFL.
  • Matt Iwanyk, TSN1260. Oilers GM search, NFL combine.
  • Tom Reed, The Athletic Columbus. We’ll chat about the Blue Jackets after the deadline acquisitions.

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

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OriginalPouzar

I think what we’ll see is a limitation on high signing bonus/low salary nature of the contracts that leads to the egregious buyout structures.

Kmart99

When negotiating the next CBA I wonder if players and owners will agree to change buy-out structure in such a way that favours players financially, but favours teams capwise. The primary purpose of imposing the cap was to prevent rich teams from dominating and to create parity, not necessarily to punish fanbases who’s gms overpay for bad players.

I’d also imagine that certain players might even welcome buyouts if the back end of their deals was much lower than their AAV and they believe they could get more in FA. Not sure this would be the case for Lucic, but the principle still remains.

The fact that a contract as bad as Lucic’s($/pts) ISN’T worth a buyout seems to defeat the purpose of having the option in the first place to me.

OriginalPouzar

Whoa – 11am start today – that’s an early game.

Go Oilers!

OriginalPouzar

The streak ends at 17 games. I didn’t see the third period but the Condors were not able to tie it up and end up losing 1-0.

Andrew Hammond was the only reason through 2.

Back at it tonight against San Jose.

godot10

Glass:
If you draft Byram you’d expect him to return to the WHL in his draft+1, get a full season in the AHL draft +2, then have a real strong chance at 3LD for us in his draft +3.

We’d have the depth to take our time with him.

Byram can’t go to the AHL in his draft+2. Too young. He is also a June birthday, which means he will be one of the younger players in the draft. Which makes his stats more impressive.

Bouchard was one of the older players in his draft. Byram is 21 months younger than Bouchard.

Glass

Iowa really turtling for the W right now. 11:40 left in the 3rd and they still haven’t gotten a shot on net.

It’d really suck to see the streak be stopped because they ran into a hot goalie.

oilersfan

Are any of you smart hockey fans familiar with Daniel Carr? He has 70 points in 49 games this season.

He had close to half a ppg for Montreal last season. He was signed by Vegas to a one way deal but has spent this season in The ahl. He is from Sherwood park. Scouting report says his skating is average but shot and hockey sense is very good. Shoots left. I wonder if he could come in and compete for the Ty Rattie complementary skill/ depth position and be signed to a sort of one year 1 million contract that could be buried.

Scouting report welcome. How is his skating?

Also, same idea for Brandon Pirrii if Vegas doesn’t re-sign him.

OriginalPouzar

Condors PP letting them down through 2.

1-0 Iowa but shots are 23-9 Condors.

Glass

If you draft Byram you’d expect him to return to the WHL in his draft+1, get a full season in the AHL draft +2, then have a real strong chance at 3LD for us in his draft +3.

We’d have the depth to take our time with him.

OriginalPouzar

My goodness, Condors coming in waves 5 on 5 and Andrew Hammond the only reason the Condors aren’t up by a couple.

Shots 19-6 with 12 to go in the second period.

who

JimmyV1965: My point stands. The dman you draft this summer won’t be ready for at least three years and won’t bea number one dman for five years. It really can’t be connected to Nurse trade today. Trading Nurse for a winger is truly shuffling deck chairs. Of course every player can be traded and of course it makes sense if you fleece some team and get way more value than the player you traded, but none of that can be assumed. We need to add good players to the core.Every one of our dmen has warts, but the top three are good players. Trading them doesn’t make sense, unless you fleece someone in a trade, or add something else of value and get a much better player.

This is bang on.

JimmyV1965

Alpine: There isn’t one in this draft. Byram and Broberg are good but not that far ahead of someone like Bouchard.

Broberg looked really good at the Ivan Hlinka

OriginalPouzar
OriginalPouzar

Marody the best Condor in the first period – he just drew a PIM, won the faceoff, set up a couple of teammates and then dangled around the D to get in all alone (didn’t score) – all within 90 seconds.

Andrew Hammond is the only reason that Iowa is up 1-0.

13 saves with a minute left in the first.

emonkee

Glass,

Exactly, the refs let it go already but when u repeatedly do it, hard for them to ignore

OriginalPouzar

Condors really starting to take the game over and dominate 5 on 5 – still down one though.

Glass

emonkee,

Got away with hacking at a guy’s legs once but still continues to do it until getting caught like wtf lol

emonkee

Glass,

Manning one especially…

OriginalPouzar

Condors kill off the rest of the PP and then rush up the ice – drop pass to Day who smashes one off the cross-bar from the top of the circles.

Glass

OriginalPouzar,

That was just really really bad… the penalties taken were awful too.

OriginalPouzar

Whoa, with the second PP winding down, the Condors take another PP and then while killing off the second 5 on 3, they take yet another penalty and the Wild score on the delay.

4 straight penalties within a few minutes and Iowa is still on the PP for 110 seconds.

OriginalPouzar

Condors down 5 on 3 for a lengthy period of time as well and a couple huge blocks by Esposito and they kill it off as well.

OriginalPouzar

A couple nice chances on the PP – both created by Marody – Hammond comes up big – no goals on the early opportunities.

Now shorthanded – yikes.

OriginalPouzar

Lots of player movement on the PP, more player movement that puck movement mind you.

OriginalPouzar

Marody, Yamamoto, Joe G. on the PP with Benson and Jones on the point.

Kailer with a strong rush on the boards and draws a second penalthy – 5 on 3 coming up.

OriginalPouzar

Olivier Rodrigue with a tough nice – faced 42 shots and gave up 6 in a 6-1 loss.

OriginalPouzar

No Ethan Bear, again, tonight.

As an aside, Andrew Hammond in net for Iowa.

OriginalPouzar

Samorukov’s goal – the tending wasn’t great but real nice move at the blue line and drive:

https://twitter.com/Storm_City/status/1101659235836821505

OriginalPouzar

Good night for the college d-men as both Marino and Kemp had assists tonight.

OriginalPouzar

OriginalPouzar:
Bouchard with two first period assists – one on a SH goal and the other on a PP goal.

Bouchard with another assist and a goal – so 1G/3A, still in the second period.

Samorukov with a second period goal as he continues to produce.

Sierra

Bag of Pucks: I said when he’s ready. I don’t advocate Bouchard starting the season in the dance.

Anyhoo it seems your primary argument against drafting a potential 1D is handedness? That seems kind of weak.

Where did I say I’m against drafting a 1D. You suggesting I did is pretty weak.

Like others I’m against your plan to draft a potential 1D AND trade either Klef or Larsson because of shiny new toy and then start that freshly drafted Dman as a 1D next season. It’s a terrible idea and sounds like a typical Oiler move. Trading Larsson would be even worse because of the shit behind him at RD, but again that would be so Oiler because of shiny new toy EB.

OriginalPouzar

OriginalPouzar:
Maksimov with a 2nd period goal.

Maksimov adds a 2nd second period goal.

OriginalPouzar

Maksimov with a 2nd period goal.

OriginalPouzar

Bouchard with two first period assists – one on a SH goal and the other on a PP goal.

GP Oiler Fan

ArmchairGM,

Myers is going to sign in Vancouver, book it. From a very close source.

leadfarmer

Bag of Pucks:
Classy move from Leafs fans today

#TavaresDayTO

Will see how classy they are in 5 years when Matthews heads home

Gret99zky

Dicky94:
I wonder if we see some more kids called up if they ever do lose another game in Bakersfield. If the Oilers can win the next two it could get interesting down the stretch. Some reinforcements might help the Oilers. (Yes I still think the Oilers make the playoffs)

haha

The odds are 1.4%

Cue the Jim Carrey meme…

McSorley33

Kinger_Oil.redux,

– Next year the team is likely going to be better than this year
***************************************************************************
Heard this line once or twice in the last 10 years….

Alpine

Bag of Pucks: If a true stud 1D is available when the Oil pick, like an Ekblad, Jones or Doughty, those guys are plug and play. No 3 year waiting period.

There isn’t one in this draft. Byram and Broberg are good but not that far ahead of someone like Bouchard.

Bag of Pucks

Classy move from Leafs fans today

#TavaresDayTO

Bag of Pucks

Andy Dufresne,

HCs have shelf lives. Hawks were probably starting to tune out Coach Q

Bag of Pucks

Sierra: So starting the season with a rookie 1RD and 3RD is going to make things better? I have my doubts.

I said when he’s ready. I don’t advocate Bouchard starting the season in the dance.

Anyhoo it seems your primary argument against drafting a potential 1D is handedness? That seems kind of weak.

JimmyV1965

OriginalPouzar: So:

1) Lucic plays well against Toronto – no credit is due because everyone is watching and its easy to play well when all eyes are on.He should only get credit when noone is watching.

2) Lucic plays well against Ottawa (“noone watching”) – no credit because its a glorified AHL team.

Seems like excuses to fit a narrative….

I think Lucic has played better recently. I don’t think he’s played well. He stickwork is still awful and he gives the puck away multiple times a game with little or no pressure. He has made some nice plays recently, but he’s still ugh.

OriginalPouzar

dustrock: Agree with all of this.But if there is one area we have strength besides our 3 centers we aren’t trading, it’s LHD.

If you think Lagesson or Jones can be bottom pairing LHD, do you need all of Klefbom/Nurse/Sekera?

Sekera is the biggest salary hit there and he might have trade value if he continues to play well.

If you think Jones playing 3RHD is better than Benning playing 3RHD, then you can move Benning, Lagesson can be the rotation in for when Klefbom or Sekera get hurt.

I think that Lagesson and Jones can cover 3LD. I think that Jones could maybe cover 3RD but none of these things have been proven and, as I stated a few minutes ago, the organization needs to stop trading the incumbent on the premise that the kid(s) should be ready and wait for the kid(s) to actually prove it and win a job.

The left side depth chart is currently:

Klef
Nurse
Sekera
Russell
Jones
Lagesson

I think the best way forward is to try and make a clean disposition of that Russell contract and acquire a 2 year 2RD stop-gap. I know, easier said than done.

This would allow Sekera to mentor a kid on that third pairing (if the kid beats out Benning for ice) and that is a much better scenario than Russell mentoring a kid. He may currently be having a negative effect on Nurse. Russell is a serviceable guy for us and he’s been huge over the last few years, however, I don’t think we want younger d-men modelling their games after him:

Nurse/Larsson
Klefbom/Stralman
Sekera (Persson, Jones, Benning, Bear, Lagesson, etc.).

Sierra

Bag of Pucks: My preferences would be to trade Klefbom and Russell. If the drafted 1D is leftie, Larsson stays up. If the pick is a RHD, then Larsson moves down to anchor the 2nd. Ideally Bouchard starts on 3rd pairing when he’s ready.

I cant speak to specific draft targets as I’m beyond sick of having to look at prospect porn this time of the season.

So starting the season with a rookie 1RD and 3RD is going to make things better? I have my doubts.

Sierra

Dr. Taboggan:
Sierra,

And Larsson.

He’s suggesting trading Larsson

OriginalPouzar

godot10: Lucic will deserve credit from me when his production and contribution is commensurate with his salary.

So, not what you said the other day, but a new position b/c he actually did what you said he needed to do to get credit.

Got it – I understand the position.

OriginalPouzar

OmJo:
Please for the love of God break up the Nurse-Russell pair.

Klefbom-Larsson
Nurse-Sekera
Russell-Benning

Or

Klefbom-Larsson
Nurse-Benning
Sekera-Russell

You first statement is 100% correct. I also think, at this point, the Swedish pairing should be broken up for now as they’ve been struggling just as much.

Nurse/Larsson
Klefbom/Sekera
Russell/Benning

In conjunction with seeing how Sekera looks on the right side given the likelihood that management will actually be able to find a 2RD for next year is probably low and we should get some information on Reggie.

OriginalPouzar

YKOil:
Benning can only be traded if you get a true #1 or #2 RHD imo.Russell has to be moved out of that #2RHD spot.

Trade Russell out to free up Cap.Get a true RHD for 1st or 2nd pair.THEN trade Benning and bring up Persson, et al.

Yup, a real 2RD needs to be a primary objective and it needs to be done in conjunction with a clean disposition of the Russell contract for cap space.

I am hopeful for a shot term stop gap for 2 years to bridge the gap for some development of Bouchard and Jones – the two that I believe have top 4 potential (in addition to guys like Samorukov who are a little farther away).

dustrock

OriginalPouzar: 1) Don’t discount Lagesson and Jones as options on the 3rd pairing. I don’t think that Bouchard should be an option out of camp.He is too important of a prospect to not give him AHL time – this is a d-man, not a forward – few make the jump directly from the CHL to the NHL.We will finally have the depth to not force him in to the NHL lineup and that must be taken advantage of no matter how many stretch passes he makes in the exhibition schedule.

2) Benning is playing great right now with Sekera as 3RD and he always has very good metrics on the 3rd pairing.2 years running now, we’ve gone in to the season hoping he can play 2RD and he’s failed each time and Kris Russell has proven to be better.I don’t think we can count on Benning being the 2RD – maybe, just maybe, with Sekera as the polished though?

3) Sekera looking like he may get back to close to previous form should not “allow” the team to trade Nurse, it should “allow” them to trade Russell, in my opinion

4) Jones has played more right side than left side as a Condor.

Agree with all of this. But if there is one area we have strength besides our 3 centers we aren’t trading, it’s LHD.

If you think Lagesson or Jones can be bottom pairing LHD, do you need all of Klefbom/Nurse/Sekera?

Sekera is the biggest salary hit there and he might have trade value if he continues to play well.

If you think Jones playing 3RHD is better than Benning playing 3RHD, then you can move Benning, Lagesson can be the rotation in for when Klefbom or Sekera get hurt.