To be honest, I had a tough time figuring out Peter Chiarelli’s language. He used vague terms. “Heavy sticks” and “higher pace” but was quick to add that didn’t necessarily mean speed.
PC once said the following: “Thinking more quickly, moving the puck through all three zones more quickly. You know you start at some point on the rink, whether it’s breaking out, whether it’s recovering in the neutral zone, whether it’s how you attack in the offensive zone, how you manage odd man rushes. It’s across the spectrum.”
I have yet to hear a coherent statement about the difference between speed and pace. Grover taught near and far, maybe he can tackle speed and pace.
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.INSANE NEW OFFER IS HERE!
- New Lowetide: Ron Hextall’s patient approach as GM would be shock to Oilers’ system
- New Jonathan Willis: Michael Futa’s success at the NHL Draft makes him a credible GM candidate for the Oilers
- Lowetide: The Oilers possible summer trade pieces, and which longtime players might be saying goodbye.
- Daniel Nugent-Bowman: Ten prospects likely to be available when the Oilers make their first-round pick.
- Jonathan Willis: Bob Nicholson mostly says the right things, but stalls on making changes to the Oilers.
- Daniel Nugent-Bowman: The pressure’s squarely on Bob Nicholson to make right GM hire for Oilers.
- Daniel Nugent-Bowman: Oilers Report Cards: Few passing grades remain in season full of failure.
- Lowetide: How winning the draft lottery and drafting Jack Hughes could transform the Oilers.
- Lowetide: The Oilers have a trio of Condors blue pushing and all three are tracking well. How does this group compare to the Petry, Chorney, Wild college men from a decade ago?
- Jonathan Willis: Connor McDavid’s frustration should be seen by the Oilers as a warning of possible disaster.
- Daniel Nugent-Bowman: Oilers have another problem to solve: Lifting the cloud over a clearly frustrated Connor McDavid
- Lowetide: What Mark Hunter’s draft record in Toronto means for his Oilers GM candidacy.
- Lowetide: The Edmonton Oilers, the republic of Finland and the 2019 draft.
- Lowetide: The Oilers made a rare move and shopped the QMJHL at the 2018 draft. It could happen again.
- Lowetide: The Edmonton Oilers draft early, the WHL is loaded and there’s a lot of history.
- Lowetide: The Edmonton Oilers and the OHL.
CHIARELLI’S NEEDS LIST ONE YEAR AGO
Defense: “I think our speed starts at the back end and getting the puck up through the zones quickly. That’s not putting all the onus on the defense, but I that’s part of it, and so that’s an area where we’ll have to tweak.”
He was counting on a healthy Oscar Klefbom, a healthy Andrej Sekera and enough from Darnell Nurse, Adam Larsson and Matt Benning to make outlet passing something better than a weakness. Sekera got hurt before training camp, Klefbom went down when the team was 17-12-2 (won the game in which he and Russell were hurt) but went 18-26-7 afterward.
Chiarelli didn’t add enough after Sekera’s injury signing only Jakub Jerabek and Jason Garrison for 2018-19. Slim pickings out there, I get it, but the Oilers once again left the station without balance.
Scoring forward(s): “So we could do a better job finding a winger or two, it’s certainly on the to-do list, but I think our wingers, you know they’re obviously not good enough as a whole when you look at our performance this year, but I don’t think we should just pin it on the wingers.”
Le sigh. Chiarelli would get exceptional value in a late signing of Alex Chiasson, but Tobias Rieder was the only other substantial addition. What’s more, Chiarelli’s mid-season moves to shore up the position proved worthy of a Poe novella.
Backup goalie: “I know we have contracted goalies for next year, Cam and Al Montoya. But it’s (upgrading backup) certainly, that’s closer near the top of the list of things to look at, and it’s something that we’ll have to look at closely, because there are rigors of the travel schedule, there are rigors of playing a lot of games. I would hope that Cam is our goalie going forward, like beyond next year, contractually he goes to next year, so we have to put him in a position to succeed too. And we have to manage that better, and I’ve talked to Todd and the staff, about managing that better. Managing it better means maybe you need a better alternative too.”
I think PC did a good job here, although the second Koskinen contract was premature and an overpay. That said, Mikko Koskinen gives the Oilers an NHL starter, albeit at the lower end and requiring a substantial backpup. There’s plenty of room to be critical, but with so much low hanging fruit I find it difficult to dig in on the decision to make the original signing.
The 1994-born forwards: “Did we over project on a couple of young guys? Maybe early on we did, and you know part of what we’re trying to accomplish here, is getting each age group of players to progress, and whether it’s the earlier really top end players to inherit, not just more responsibility playing but more responsibility leading, whether it’s those group of 94’s, get them to take the next step so that we have a real good gradual churn that’ll take place, and it’s hard. So that was as a management perspective, that is in part what we were trying to do, and you know when you talk about the under-performance of wingers, there’s some young wingers you’re talking about, whether it’s Jesse or the 94s. So we’re trying to do that, sometimes it’s a little bit forcing it, but that’s kind of part of the overall plan that we’re trying to accomplish here, and that plays a part of it.“
The “94’s” were Drake Caggila, Anton Slepyshev and Jujhar Khaira, and Jesse Puljujarvi was also mentioned. You could include Ty Rattie and Valentin Zykov if so inclined. Anyway, only Khaira and JP are left and the Finn is hanging by a thread.
What a summer. Tomorrow, we’ll suss out the needs for 2019 June-July.
One player likely to be in camp who both plays wing and has skill is Kailer Yamamoto. Edmonton’s AHL prospects have enjoyed mostly positive seasons, but Yamamoto has struggled with injury and in posting numbers. Our friend Eric Rodgers last ran his numbers March 19, here are the forwards NHL equivalencies. You’d like 30+ for all legit prospects, anything over 35 points is excellent.
- Cooper Marody 41.75
- Jesse Puljujarvi 38.54
- Tyler Benson 36.55
- Joe Gambardella 36.13
- Josh Currie 29.1
- Cam Hebig 27.35
- Patrick Russell 27.30
- Kailer Yamamoto 25.2
- Brad Malone 22.56
- Mitch Callahan 18.59
- Dave Gust 17.66
- Evan Polei 16.13
- Tyler Vesel 12.85
- Nolan Vesey 8.56
- Braden Christoffer 8.26
- Luke Esposito 6.88
Yamamoto has also missed many games with injury, thereby giving this season the overall feeling of being lost. He hasn’t played since March 22 and was dressed in just five games in the entire month. His wrist injury may well have impact the offense, but a return soon and a strong playoff would allay fears and possibly put him in position to push for NHL employment in the fall.
As I suspected, KG is still in the running for the big job. At this point, he’s been included to the point where one imagines he would have to consider walking if excluded now. You can’t promise a man consideration, then tell him he’s out before he gets to have his interview. As of the media avail, it was obvious to me (he has a plan but isn’t going to share it) the opportunity is still in front of him. The Oilers are going to need Gretzky for the draft, it would be foolish to drop the hammer now.
What happened with the rumor? There may have been a point after Chiarelli’s firing when KG was told he would not be under consideration. Things have changed. That’s my reasoning.
This. is. big. This is what is beyond Corsi, shot differential and goal differential. Binning opposition is the single biggest advancement we’ve seen in many years, in my opinion. Congrats to a wonderful team of brilliant math men. We are lucky to have you.
After last night’s vague release, you knew it wouldn’t take long for someone to track down more information. No surgery, he’ll be ready for camp. You are safe to go about your business. Please place your tray tables up and your seat back in the full upright position. We will be departing to summer shortly.