On the Road to Zihuatanejo

by Lowetide

In the 43 games Zack Kassian played between January 1 and the end of the season, he scored (5-on-5) 1.84 per 60. That ranks No. 143 among NHL forwards who played 250 or more 5-on-5 minutes during that time. There are 31 teams in the NHL, each of them deploying three first-line forwards, meaning there are exactly (at any given time) 93 top-line forwards. Kassian is shy of those lofty heights, but he did score at an impressive rate for half a season. What are we to do with that?

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.INSANE NEW OFFER IS HERE!

  • New Lowetide: Tyler Benson’s comparables offer Oilers fans plenty of hope for the future.
  • New Lowetide: Making the call on the Oilers’ RFAs with a new general manager on the way.
  • Lowetide: Red Wings front office shuffle could impact Oilers’ future.
  • Jonathan Willis: Potential coaching candidates and why the Oilers don’t need to rush the GM search to get one
  • Lowetide: What would Glen Sather do with these Oilers?
  • Jonathan Willis: Some creative solutions to address the Oilers’ goalie problem
  • Lowetide: The Milan Lucic saga rolls into Year 4 for Oilers with no easy answers
  • Jonathan Willis: Who stays and who goes? An early projection of which players will remain on the Oilers’ roster in 2019-20
  • LowetideHow high can these Condors fly?
  • Lowetide: Ron Hextall’s patient approach as GM would be shock to Oilers’ system
  • 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: 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.

OILERS FORWARDS 5-ON-5 SCORING JAN. 1 TO END OF SEASON

Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl are 33 percent of the Oilers top-six forward group and (despite the Jan+ numbers) Ryan Nugent-Hopkins is part of it. That makes it 50 percent.

After that, a smart team would run Zack Kassian, Sam Gagner and Milan Lucic outside the top two lines. Great depth in case of injury and a veteran setup (we’re not talking cap here). So, how do these six men perform against elite competition?

What does it all mean? Hell if I know. It is interesting to see how these men performed last season. I believe the Oilers have three bona fide top-six forwards on the roster and that Kassian is best deployed as a fourth-line winger who can move up as required. DFF via Puck IQ.

We don’t have all of the names, but Hunter’s being mentioned publicly could be perceived as a trial balloon by management to see reaction. I imagine Nicholson has a few other candidates (Hextall? Guerin?) but I’m going to guess Mark Hunter has the inside track. We’ll see. I wrote about his draft record here.

Happy Easter!! I woke up early this morning, we’ve been leaving the window open lately and the damn birds were making a helluva noise around 5:30. I don’t mind, gives me an excuse to have a nap later when the turkey is in the oven.

We’re all fine. My son is off to NAIT in the fall, he’s taking the radio and television course. He’s very much into sound, I can see him being a producer but he’ll find his own way. Kind of cool to see him get excited about the career path I chose, have to say.

My daughter is well, retail appears to be her preference and all that artistic talent (she can draw and write so well) will have to find a way out at some later date. She’s like her Dad, if you push, the train stops moving. Gentle nudges are the way to go. She’s way smarter than me, it’s always been a major disadvantage.

Jo and I are in a good place, we’re coming up on 36 years in May. I outkicked my coverage my a mile, but she’s kind enough not to mention it. She’s the one person I know who is thrilled that the Saturday show isn’t on anymore. We go shopping for groceries and go for walks and bike rides (although Ziggy can’t go for those, so it’s not an every day thing).

The dog. Well, she’s 7 now, and even though the motor on these little ones goes forever there are changes as she gets older. We don’t wrestle as much, and she growls more, but she’s a sweetheart. The kids say I spoil her but what do they know. I’m going to be a mess when we lose her, can’t even think about it.

I hope you are well. I hope you are in a good place. You know, 36 years down the line the things I value most are the things that didn’t come easy. The struggle is the challenge, but it is also the reward. I didn’t always know that, but I do know.

I expect there will be more challenges in the coming year, that seems to be the way of things. I think the trick is to be there for each other and to remember kindness does not equal weakness. I think Brooks was right. The world went and got itself in a big damn hurry.

CONDORS DROP GAME TWO

After two games of the AHL playoffs, it’s veterans like Brad Malone and Patrick Russell (two points each) who are leading the way on the scoreboard.

Tyler Benson and Cooper Marody aren’t posting boxcar numbers, but the possession (5-on-5) numbers below shine like a diamond. They’re dominating, the pucks will go in. Benson is 43-23 (65.1 percent) in possession through two games 5-on-5. Home ice will also give Jay Woodcroft a chance to wheel.

Caleb Jones and William Lagesson have two points and both have been quality, while Ethan Bear and Logan Day have one point each. Shane Starrett has a 2.56 GAA and an .896 SP, but he was splendid in the opener. Game Three is in Bakersfield Tuesday.

Thanks to Wilde for these numbers. Wow. That’s an attractive set of possession stats (5-on-5) and the final score was 4-1 for the other guys. Hockey can be a flummoxing game. Quoting Wilde: ”
I don’t think I have a game on record of their Polei-Vesel-Gust line that’s half as strong as this one in terms of possession.”

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Munny

Old Timer: Did you see him chicken out in the last game versus the Capitals when Ovechkin skated into his area? He basically gave the Caps a goal because he was either afraid or apathetic.

I did. Just awful. Patrick O’Sullivan awful. He’s long been referred to as a “Gentle Giant”… Which is frustrating as hell for his coaches. I would pass if he’s available. At that sticker price I need some fortitude for my Franklins.

Jethro Tull

Old Timer:
Ryan,

You state that Dougie Hamilton is the goods. Did you see him chicken out in the last game versus the Capitals when Ovechkin skated into his area? He basically gave the Caps a goal because he was either afraid or apathetic.

He is the type of D man the Oilers can do without.

That play was weird……almost as if he thought he heard the goalie or ref call icing. Or maybe a little gamesmanship from the Caps forward?

OriginalPouzar

ArmchairGM: Larsson will be a UFA, no need to protect him.

To the extent they want him back and the plan is to re-sign him then, yes there is (as I pointed out in my post).

ArmchairGM

leadfarmer:
Fleury pretty soft goal
Game 7 to look forward to

That goal is on Theodore IMO. He had several seconds to execute a poke check and just decided to let Hertl shoot instead.

ArmchairGM

OriginalPouzar: That’s what its looking like – with protecting Klef, Nurse and Larsson (assuming we are re-signing him to a 3-4 year term), that leaves each of Benning, Jones, Bear, Lagesson available.Even if we go 4 and 4 then 3 of those guys are available.

If we did acquire a material 2RD with term (or re-sign with term), then we are looking to expose all of them.

Larsson will be a UFA, no need to protect him.

ArmchairGM

John Chambers:
It will be absolute misery for The Toronto Maple Leafs and their fans if they once again lose to the Bruins.

Back to Boston for game seven. I think the Leafs have barely a hope to win.

Well, I don’t know. They’re 2-1 in beantown in the series so far, I’d say that their odds are at least even to win G7.

Jaxon

Verbeek, please.

v4ance

Old Timer:
Ryan,

You state that Dougie Hamilton is the goods. Did you see him chicken out in the last game versus the Capitals when Ovechkin skated into his area? He basically gave the Caps a goal because he was either afraid or apathetic.

He is the type of D man the Oilers can do without.

Isn’t this the exact same mindset that drove Eberle out of town?

v4ance

Brendan Shanahan had 3 choices for the Leafs’ GM position.

Lou Lamoriello, the old school type who had built a winning NHL organization in the past and, while wise, would not be a strong proponent of analytics.

Mark Hunter, an experienced hockey man but not one who had built an NHL organization, just an OHL powerhouse. He’d probably be familiar with analytics but his claim to fame is a relentless work ethic to drive miles and miles each season to personally scout countless players. That fact makes me think he’d lean towards being an “eyes tell me the truth” instead of an analytics believer.

Kyle Dubas, a young aggressive cutting edge manager who would incorporate analytics into the organizational philosophy, similar to how he transformed the Soo Greyhounds from second tier team into a top contender in a short period of time.

I think it’s telling that when push came to shove, Shanahan shoved both Lamoriello and Hunter out and kept Dubas to run the Leafs.

Jaxon

Is it not possible to leave Nuge and Larsson without a new contract until late June so they don’t have to protect them. Seattle would get a crack at signing them but Nuge and Larsson don’t have to say yes and they can simply sign after the draft. I’m sure their agents wouldn’t be too thrilled with anything like that. Too much risk? Not sure if the Oilers could maneuver a gentleman’s agreement, but it sure would set up the team nicely to wait and retain more talent.

Trade Russell summer of 2019, spend money/assets on 2RD.
Trade Sekera next summer (2019) or in 2021 if Jones, Lagesson, or Samorukov prove to be dependable as 3LD who can jump into top 4 in case of injury.
Trade Lucic 50% Retained un June 1, 2021.

Protect:
FORWARDS: Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl, Cooper Marody (2021 RFA), Jesse Puljujarvi, Kailer Yamamoto (2021 RFA), Tyler Benson (2021 RFA), Jujhar Khaira. If any of those players aren’t working out by then then they can protect their replacement.

DEFENSEMEN: Oscar Klefbom, Darnell Nurse, and one of (a Parayko, Pesce, Myers, etc), Caleb Jones, Ethan Bear, Matt Benning or Joel Persson.

Re-Sign Ryan Nugent-Hopkins in late June after the expansion draft.
Re-Sign Adam Larsson in late June after the expansion draft.

YKOil

OriginalPouzar: That’s what its looking like – with protecting Klef, Nurse and Larsson (assuming we are re-signing him to a 3-4 year term), that leaves each of Benning, Jones, Bear, Lagesson available.Even if we go 4 and 4 then 3 of those guys are available.

If we did acquire a material 2RD with term (or re-sign with term), then we are looking to expose all of them.

lol, yep. That is my only worry with going after a difference making 2RHD in the nearer term; not sure I want to expend the assets it takes to get someone who will cost even more assets to keeps.

That said, fortune favours the bold and all that. If a player like Pesce or Trouba comes available for a decent cost then your job as GM is to get them and figure out the next steps as needed.

Jaxon

Lavoie Update:

This is now a 13 game playoff heater that has vaulted him to the top. He scored a hat trick and an assist last night to tie the series 1-1. He didn’t score in the first game so I wondered if this team had him figured out. I guess not.

Raphael Lavoie 6’4″ – 198lbs.Right-handed C/RW
A few scouts have him ranked in the 9-12 range but consensus has him around #21. This playoff heater may have him climb significantly.

Lavoie’s 16 goals in 13 games (along with 8 assists) in the middle of the 3rd round of playoffs (series tied 1-1) is special. Since 2004-05 (Crosby’s draft year), these are the top under-19-year-old goal scorers in the Q playoffs:
’08 – Paul Byron – 19GP – 21G (draft+1)
’19 – Raphael Lavoie – 13GP – 16G (draft season)
’07 – Brad Marchand – 20GP – 16G (draft+1)
’11 – Jonathan Huberdeau – 19GP – 16G (draft season)
’16 – Anthony Beauvillier – 21GP – 15G (draft+1)
’05 – Sidney Crosby – 13GP – 14G (draft season)
’14 – Jonathan Drouin – 16GP – 13G (draft+1)
’12 – Nathan MacKinnon – 17GP – 13G (draft-1)
’11 – Jean-Gabriel Pageau – 24GP – 13G (draft season)

Everyone on that list has scored at least 19 goals in a season.

I was filtering by age and realized it included draft+1 seasons. I’ve indicated draft+1, Draft, and draft-1 (MacKinnon). The list looks more like this for draft or draft-1 players:

’19 – Raphael Lavoie – 13GP – 16G
’11 – Jonathan Huberdeau – 19GP – 16G (draft season)
’05 – Sidney Crosby – 13GP – 14G (draft season)
’12 – Nathan MacKinnon – 17GP – 13G (draft-1)
’11 – Jean-Gabriel Pageau – 24GP – 13G (draft season)

OriginalPouzar

YKOil: I really like Lagesson.Seattle will get a hell of a good young d-man off of us.

That’s what its looking like – with protecting Klef, Nurse and Larsson (assuming we are re-signing him to a 3-4 year term), that leaves each of Benning, Jones, Bear, Lagesson available. Even if we go 4 and 4 then 3 of those guys are available.

If we did acquire a material 2RD with term (or re-sign with term), then we are looking to expose all of them.

pts2pndr

leadfarmer: Explain your math
Cause how does 4.8 – 2.75 = 8 mil

Advanced stats is a piece of the puzzle but one of the pieces not the only one.I get a kick how people completely disregard how coaches and coaching staff use a player.
Faulk is not perfect
If we start next season with Sekera or Russell as #2 RHD the season is dead in the water
We need more help on the pp
Puck moving defenseman do not get traded often and the price is high
The question isn’t would I trade Bear and second and offload half of Sekeras contract
The question is why would Carolina do that
They will ask for more

The cost for Faulk salary wise is his current 5.5 plus the 2.75 salary retained on Sekera. For the priviledge you give up Bear and a second round draft choice. When Faulk goes to ufa you once again have the hole on 2nd pairing right D. There has got to be a better way.

YKOil

OriginalPouzar: Lagesson likely remains a sleeper but I don’t know if he’ll let the organization sleep on him much longer – he is developing month over month and has an overall skillset that is prime for the new NHL.

I really like Lagesson. Seattle will get a hell of a good young d-man off of us.

Johnny skid

leadfarmer:
Fleury pretty soft goal
Game 7 to look forward to

if that would have been koskinen in net op would have lost his mind!

wintoon

Ryan,

You state that Dougie Hamilton is the goods. Did you see him chicken out in the last game versus the Capitals when Ovechkin skated into his area? He basically gave the Caps a goal because he was either afraid or apathetic.

He is the type of D man the Oilers can do without.

OriginalPouzar

leadfarmer: See if our brain trust is smart enough to do that
I could see them not addressing the issue in offseason and then doing something like JP for Halak when they are desperate

A Halak level tender would be perfect – one of the targets I mentioned last year when they went off the board on the Koskinen signing (I mentioned I’d prefer any of Halak, Lehner, Bernier, Mzarek) – of course, trading JP for this 1B is not an ideal approach.

leadfarmer

Fleury pretty soft goal
Game 7 to look forward to

David

OriginalPouzar: It wasn’t an article, it was a 15 minute spot on the radio that went very in depth in to how the Leafs drafted and were managed when Hunter was involved.

Personally I prefer to see success at the pro level, even at the assistant level (McCrimmon, Verbeek, Guerin) than success at the junior level (Hunter).

At the same time, I personally have no idea how integral these guys have been to the success of their incumbent teams – I don’t know how involved they were in scouting (both amateur and pro), drafting, cap analysis and management, other CBA matters, contract negotiation, trade negotiation, etc. Were they given primary responsibility for any of these? Were they simply another voice in the GM’s ear?

I’m not sure if any layman really knows the answer to these questions. I sure don’t and, in that regard, can’t really have too much of an informed opinion on these guys. I do know a bit more about the old school type of guys who have long track records (Gillis, Holland, etc.)

What I do know is that management decisions made by the Leafs when Hunter was involved were, on the whole, not successful.

I don’t equate developing players at the junior level in to high potential NHL players a skill that is something useful to an NHL GM.

There is no denying Hunter’s success at the junior level.At the same time, there has been no success at the NHL level, that I know of.

He was part of the management team that built the leafs into the strong team that they are now. When he joined, they were quite bad and had two seasons of 68 and 69 points. Under the management team that he was an assistant GM, they have playoffs three years in a row and back to back 100 point seasons, primed to be strong for many years. Isn’t that success at the NHL level?

leadfarmer

OriginalPouzar: Oh, 100% – an established veteran back-up goalie with recent starters success is a must – a Mike Smith or Ryan Miller – maybe trade for Greiss or think about Mrazek.

Someone that can reasonably take over, at least for stints.

See if our brain trust is smart enough to do that
I could see them not addressing the issue in offseason and then doing something like JP for Halak when they are desperate

OriginalPouzar

leadfarmer:
Bling,

Nurse needs someone who can play defense but also pass the puck and qb a pp
I don’t see this player being not only available but also us being able to afford
We need to patch things together next season
What we can’t do is count on Russell or Sekera being our 2nd pairing RHD

We likely have that player, he’s just a few years away from that top 4 role.

Wouldn’t it be nice if someone like Persson came out of nowhere and proved that ability or someone like Jones “pops”? Happens to other organizations….

OriginalPouzar

Bling: I think you cheer for him but you absolutely find a 1A/1B option for next season.

I wouldn’t mind bringing Brossoit back, or someone of that ilk. Young and cheap.

Oh, 100% – an established veteran back-up goalie with recent starters success is a must – a Mike Smith or Ryan Miller – maybe trade for Greiss or think about Mrazek.

Someone that can reasonably take over, at least for stints.

OriginalPouzar

leadfarmer:
OriginalPouzar,

So anyway you cut it he’s here for 2 years or less

Who, Sekera? Quite possibly and quite probably.

With that said, for this coming year, I would posit he provides the most valuable on ice and off ice performance – we don’t know if any of the prospect D are ready and I’m pretty sure we don’t want to count on any of them being injury fill-ins in the top 4.

Further, I would posit that Sekera’s trade value is much higher next off-season than this one – obviously I’m predicting solid play from him.

Yes, this team needs to find some cap space and I’m not positing that Sekera is untradeable in that regard – he is down on my list though at number 4 or so and I simply can’t get on board with trading this player without receiving some value back and definitely not “paying” to get rid of him (in the sense of retaining a dead cap hit).

jp

who: My reasoning is pretty simple.
I know that a lot of posters here hate Russell at 2RD, but he has at least shown the ability to survive those minutes. Benning has not. For all his warts, most coaches still seem to prefer Russell.

Zero question that at least 2 coaches prefer Russell.

In terms of Benning surviving 2RD minutes though, I think he has.

In the past 2 seasons Benning has played 933 min (5on5) with one of Klefbom, Nurse or Russell as his partner. Since Sekera has been injured or recovering all of the last 2 yrs (and has not been given top 4 minutes), the above Benning minutes should have been as 2RD. If not, who the hell was playing 2nd pairing?

In those 933 minutes (about 45% of his total TOI) Benning had positive corsi, shot and scoring chance metrics, as well as a 56% GF% (49GF-38GA).

I really think we’re selling Benning short as a dime a dozen 3rd pairing D.

leadfarmer

Bling,

Nurse needs someone who can play defense but also pass the puck and qb a pp
I don’t see this player being not only available but also us being able to afford
We need to patch things together next season
What we can’t do is count on Russell or Sekera being our 2nd pairing RHD

Bling

jp,

Good post.

I’m on record as not being a huge fan of Faulk. I suppose you can do worse, but I have seen him bad a few times at evens and can’t imagine him being a good counterpoint to Nurse, who I believe needs a partner that can settle things down.

JimmyV1965

OriginalPouzar: Perhaps – at the same time, Kassian at just under $2M likely also has more value to the Oilers than JT Miller at $5M.

Lets not forget, this team is in no position to take advantage of cap strapped teams – it is also a cap strapped team.

In a couple of years, if they don’t make large commitments to UFA type players, they should be in a position to take advantage of these situation but, for another off-season, for the forward group, I still think smart bets are the right approach (Carr, Pirri, Panik, etc.).

OriginalPouzar: Perhaps – at the same time, Kassian at just under $2M likely also has more value to the Oilers than JT Miller at $5M.

Lets not forget, this team is in no position to take advantage of cap strapped teams – it is also a cap strapped team.

In a couple of years, if they don’t make large commitments to UFA type players, they should be in a position to take advantage of these situation but, for another off-season, for the forward group, I still think smart bets are the right approach (Carr, Pirri, Panik, etc.).

IMO on non-playoff team has much more need of a skilled player like Miller than a playoff team like Tampa. Kassian is a luxury. I hope we can keep him, but we have to do something to move forward. The cap hit is a bit of a red herring. If the new GM can’t come up with $3 mill in cap space he’s doing something wrong. We need to get more skill on this team and there’s only so many ways to do it. We can’t trade the 8OV, we can’t trade the very few secondary players with any value. At some point you have to be willing to move an asset that has value to other teams. I hope the GM can improve the team by simply trading picks 2-7. I’m not sure it’s realistic.

Bling

OriginalPouzar: The goalie issue is likely the biggest gating issue for this team over the next 3 years.

I know I’ve railed hard on Koskinen, and I still feel its deserved, however, we are in the off-season and he will indeed be the starter come Game 1 in October so I’m going be very cautiously optimistic that he will simply be better and, importantly, more consistent next season.

Its unfortunate that the organization committed solid money to a player for three years and the position is not even close to solidified but, we are where we are, and I’m cheering like hell for Mikko.

I think you cheer for him but you absolutely find a 1A/1B option for next season.

I wouldn’t mind bringing Brossoit back, or someone of that ilk. Young and cheap.

Jethro Tull

OriginalPouzar: LT is pumping Joe G. for that role – he’s almost exactly the same age that Pisani was when he broke in to the NHL.

Last year at this time, I have no thought of Joe G having an NHL career but did he ever have a spike in his game this year – a very good overall and offensive season at the AHL level. Didn’t embarrass himself at the NHL level but will now be in the conversation at camp for a bottom six role.

Tenacity on the forecheck and PK is something this team does need.Can’t be a black hole offensively though.

You bet, but we could have both! I don’t count on Kass keeping up on the 1st line but I think he’s better than the 4th….

Joe G? If he can contribute, then music!

leadfarmer

OriginalPouzar,

So anyway you cut it he’s here for 2 years or less

GMB3

OriginalPouzar: LT is pumping Joe G. for that role – he’s almost exactly the same age that Pisani was when he broke in to the NHL.

Last year at this time, I have no thought of Joe G having an NHL career but did he ever have a spike in his game this year – a very good overall and offensive season at the AHL level. Didn’t embarrass himself at the NHL level but will now be in the conversation at camp for a bottom six role.

Tenacity on the forecheck and PK is something this team does need.Can’t be a black hole offensively though.

He strikes me as a throwback to some of the late 90’s/early 200’s 4th line Oilers. I have time for him in Edmonton to start the season next year. He has some intriguing aspects to his game.

jp

leadfarmer:

Advanced stats is a piece of the puzzle but one of the pieces not the only one.I get a kick how people completely disregard how coaches and coaching staff use a player.
Faulk is not perfect
If we start next season with Sekera or Russell as #2 RHD the season is dead in the water
We need more help on the pp

The coaches trusting a player as evidenced by TOI is a fair argument, but it goes both ways. Last year Russell played 18:14/game at even strength. Faulk only 17:45. So we already have the better player. I don’t believe that, but the TOI argument has its flaws too.

In terms of PP help, it’s not clear Faulk is a big asset there either (any more?). Last 3 seasons among D with 240+ PP minutes Faulk was 47th of 75 in P/60 (3.77) and 29th of 75 in GFon/60 (7.36). Klefbom was 52/75 in P/60 (3.60) and 18/75 in GFon/60 (7.74). Both were better than their team in GFon/60, 6.45 for Carolina and 7.09 for the Oilers.

This season among D with 100+ min Faulk was 62/69 in PP P/60 (2.49), 23/69 in GFon/60 (7.71) on a team that scored 6.54 GF/60. Klefbom was 32/69 in P/60 (4.09) and 22/69 in GFon/60 (7.72) while Nurse was 40/69 (3.57) and 10/69 (9.12) on a team that scored 7.85/60. Is Faulk notably better than Klefbom/Nurse/Sekera with the man advantage?

The problem with paying those kinds of assets for a 1 year Faulk addition is it’s not clear he’ll even be better than the Sekera part of the trade. I’d take the bet if it was 1 for 1, but don’t think I’d add Bear and a 2nd for him.

who

Ben:
who,

Having trouble understanding how anyone would move Benning before Russell, based on cost, age, position and performance. (I don’t think Benning’s untouchable, but nothing about Russell’s game tells me he’s a bonafide top-4 D either).

But yeah, those are the two guys I’d look at perhaps moving. Of course, moving Benning because Bouchard has a good training camp would be the Oilerest of all holy Oilernesses.

My reasoning is pretty simple.
I know that a lot of posters here hate Russell at 2RD, but he has at
least shown the ability to survive those minutes. Benning has not. For all his warts, most coaches still seem to prefer Russell.
You make a good point about salary. But that extra 2 million, plus the partial NMC, makes it a lot tougher to trade Russell.
Also, it’s a good bet that at least one of the rookies can handle Bennings minutes at 3RD. It’s a lot thinner bet that one of them is ready to step up to 2RD.

OriginalPouzar

For fear of arguing against myself regarding “making room” for the hopefully NHL ready prospects, I believe each of Lagesson, Jones and Bear lose their waiver exemptions after this season so it is important that the organization get a look at each of them (subject to major regression).

With that said, it would be rare for an NHL team to not use at least 10 d-men through the year so I don’t think this should be an issue.

If I recall correctly, in 2015/16, the playoff year when the D group was relatively healthy, I think the team still have 12 or so d-men play NHL games.

OriginalPouzar

leadfarmer:
OriginalPouzar,

So where are you playing Lagesson then?
He’s not waiting for Reggie to go away in 2 years
You need to make room for these guys
So yes Reggie may help the team and no doubt he will be better after a full training camp
But he’s still expensive and uncertain if he helps you in the spot you need help in 2 RHD pp qb

Assuming full health out of training camp, I only have one rookie on the opening night roster – it may be Jones, Lagesson, Bear or Persson – I don’t know.

I disagree that you make room for these guys at this point – not a single one of them has proven to be NHL ready yet – they have to earn that spot, then you make room, from a position of power and leverage.

I think Jones and Lagesson are ready, however, lets look at how dominant guys like Malone, Joe G, Currie, P. Russell are at the AHL level only to be tweeners at the NHL level. We think these guys are ready based on their AHL play but, until they prove it, I don’t make room for them by selling good players for pennies (and retaining salary in order to make room).

OriginalPouzar

leadfarmer:
OriginalPouzar,

I think for next year the goal should be to move Russell and Sekera with no retention
We don’t know if Sekera can recover and even if he does we still need a RHD pp qb D.We need space on left side for one of the young kids coming up and need that cap space to be used elsewhere
We don’t need Sekera at 5.5 million as 3rd pair LHD and one more injury and we are stuck with him for the rest of the contract

I agree on Russell but not on Sekera – I’m not as down on his 2nd pairing abilities as you and am not going to predict future injuries.

If a real 2RD stop gap can be acquired to replace Russell then, yes, he is slated to start on the 3rd pairing. Yes, very expensive but I can’t think of a better mentor for a rookie and, of course, if Benning is in, they form an elite 3rd pairing.

Of course, there will be injuries to the top 4 and Sekera will be fantastic cover in that regard.

Lets say Russell gets swapped for Collin Miller (no, not one transaction but the aggregate effect) and Sekera is slated to start on the 3rd pairing – how much time in the 3rd pairing will he end up playing? Chances are one of the starting top 4 will be out of the lineup for most of the year – nature of the game.

If we can dispose of Russell but can’t acquire a replacement 2RD then Sekera is a candidate and I would posit he will be more effective than Russell has been and will be a much better partner for Nurse.

Russell for cap space should be do-able but finding a legit 2RD that fits our depth chart (short term) will not be easy.

Ben

who,

Having trouble understanding how anyone would move Benning before Russell, based on cost, age, position and performance. (I don’t think Benning’s untouchable, but nothing about Russell’s game tells me he’s a bonafide top-4 D either).

But yeah, those are the two guys I’d look at perhaps moving. Of course, moving Benning because Bouchard has a good training camp would be the Oilerest of all holy Oilernesses.

who

You guys are really overthinking this.
The first dman you trade is Benning. I can think of 5 guys who are ready to challenge for his spot next fall. They would all be 1 million dollars cheaper with almost no risk of a drop off in play.
That’s the easy trade.
Now you can look at trading Sekera or Russell. But only if you have a 2RD, stopgap at least, in your back pocket. If you don’t, just hang on to both of them for 1 more year. By that time there is a pretty good chance that 1 of your rookie dmen, probably Jones or Bouchard, will be ready for a bigger role.

leadfarmer

OriginalPouzar,

So where are you playing Lagesson then?
He’s not waiting for Reggie to go away in 2 years
You need to make room for these guys
So yes Reggie may help the team and no doubt he will be better after a full training camp
But he’s still expensive and uncertain if he helps you in the spot you need help in 2 RHD pp qb

OriginalPouzar

leadfarmer: Except you can sell Faulk at the deadline for more than a 2nd round pick and b-c level prospect.And you get out of Sekera who is probably as likely to spend the two years injured again than the turd polisher he was

Sure, if that’s the value of Sekera then, yes, that trade would be fine, however, I would disagree on the value of Sekera.

I believe he is just as likely to be a solid 2nd pairing guy as he is to spend the next two years injured.

He already showed in his return this past year he can still polish and I don’t imagine he won’t be materially better without 2 years of rust, no training camp and not being 5 months of games behind the rest of the league.

Reggie is going to be a very important part of this team next year if management doesn’t panic and move him – that’s my prediction.

OriginalPouzar

YKOil:
Nice Benson article, I have him penciled in on my line-up card for 2019-20.Benson and Jones followed by Marody and Cave with an outside shot given to Persson.

That’s enough rookie for me.Making the 2019-20 Cup tourney will be touch and go barring a scorching-year by Koskinen.

Lagesson likely remains a sleeper but I don’t know if he’ll let the organization sleep on him much longer – he is developing month over month and has an overall skillset that is prime for the new NHL.

OriginalPouzar

Jethro Tull:
I think Kassian could be LT’s Pisani. Albeit he came from a different direction. Still, lemonade from lemons.

LT is pumping Joe G. for that role – he’s almost exactly the same age that Pisani was when he broke in to the NHL.

Last year at this time, I have no thought of Joe G having an NHL career but did he ever have a spike in his game this year – a very good overall and offensive season at the AHL level. Didn’t embarrass himself at the NHL level but will now be in the conversation at camp for a bottom six role.

Tenacity on the forecheck and PK is something this team does need. Can’t be a black hole offensively though.

OriginalPouzar

Bling:
One thing that bodes well for this Oiler team is that, so far in this playoffs, it looks like a dominant first line with passable depth elsewhere and good tending can win a series.

I’m not so sure about our goalie situation — might have to get a bit lucky there — but I think the rest will be rectified this off-season.

The goalie issue is likely the biggest gating issue for this team over the next 3 years.

I know I’ve railed hard on Koskinen, and I still feel its deserved, however, we are in the off-season and he will indeed be the starter come Game 1 in October so I’m going be very cautiously optimistic that he will simply be better and, importantly, more consistent next season.

Its unfortunate that the organization committed solid money to a player for three years and the position is not even close to solidified but, we are where we are, and I’m cheering like hell for Mikko.

OriginalPouzar

Bryan: I fully agree with this for the initial hiring of Chiarelli.Now that it has been a dumpster fire ever since and you are hiring the man who will make or break the Mcdavid years, as the owner I would want to know something about who is being considered.Perhaps Katz has more faith in Nicholson than I do but I would want to have some idea about what his thought process is for finding a new leader for my team.

I think the key is that, yes, Katz has more faith in Nicholson than you do (and more faith than almost all Oiler fans do).

Katz has to have complete faith in the guy that is in that position or else he needs to replace him with a guy he does have complete faith in. Reason being, Katz should have zero input on the decisions made by that person (except compensation).

Sure, that person could (or maybe even should) apprise the owner/boss of their process and thinking but, at the end of the day, that should just be an information only type discourse as opposed to an ownership sign-off (again, except compensation type matters).

leadfarmer

OriginalPouzar,

I think for next year the goal should be to move Russell and Sekera with no retention
We don’t know if Sekera can recover and even if he does we still need a RHD pp qb D. We need space on left side for one of the young kids coming up and need that cap space to be used elsewhere
We don’t need Sekera at 5.5 million as 3rd pair LHD and one more injury and we are stuck with him for the rest of the contract

OriginalPouzar

Ben:
I’m not confident that Sekera will outperform his contract, but no way the Oilers have six better defensemen than him–and they likely have zero defensemen smarter than him.

Love the idea of him on the other side of of Persson/Jones/Bouchard/Bear should one of them make the team, even if he’s off-side.

Yes, if we can get a clean disposition of Russell and actually add a real 2RD (short term) then Sekera would be a great third pairing mentor for whichever rookie is on that pairing and I’m comfortable with Reggie on either side on the third pairing. Yes, expensive as a 3rd pairing mentor but its an important position nonetheless.

OriginalPouzar

jjmclean:
OriginalPouzar,

Good points. Sekera played off side with Chara do you make him do that with Nurse??
They have to trade a Dman for cap space and to make room. Russell would be great. Maybe instead of Sekera you do Russell or Benning?

My priority for the off-season is a clean disposition of Russell (don’t care about anything in return as long as there is no retainment) and the cap space used to help with a true 2RD stop-gap. Stralman is a target but I don’t imagine we can get him to Edmonton without an overpay in term or cap (neither are acceptable). Faulk is an option for me but only with a rental acquisition cost (probably doesn’t work for Carolina). Collin Miller is another option – not sure what that would cost.

If we can’t fill the 2RD with an external stop-gap acquisition then, yes, Sekera at 2RD is an option – Many of us were clamoring for Hitch to try Nurse/Sekera for the last month of the regular season but, alas, Hitch wouldn’t budge from Nurse/Russell.

I don’t put too much stock in to Sekera with a closer to his prime Chara – Chara can shine Sekera just like Sekera has shined Benning and Russell. In a small sample size in Edmonton, Sekera wasn’t great on the right side, however, that was with a rookie Darnell Nurse and they were the first pairing – that’s a tough gig.

I’m sure Sekera wouldn’t be as effective at 2RD as he would be at 2LD, however, I am confident he would be superior to Russell in that spot and would have a material positive effect on Nurse.

If we can’t get a true 2RD stop-gap, something along the lines of the following looks decent to me:

Klef/Larsson
Nurse/Sekera
Jones (Lagesson)/Benning

Jones could be Persson or Bear depending on how camp goes – although all three of those d-men are right side guys (Jones a leftie who has played the right side almost exclusively over his two pro years).

I really think Lagesson is as ready as Jones is for the NHL – he has really gotten better every month through the year and is a force out there. He is not just a defensive d-man but can skate, move the puck and make plays.

In this case, we use the Russell $4M for the established 1B goalie and/or a forward.

leadfarmer

Puck moving D dont move often but this offseason Ristolainen Faulk and Brodie may all move and Karlsson gets a new home

OriginalPouzar

JimmyV1965: You could be right. Maybe I’m too optimistic about Kassian‘s trade value. I do think my contention that Kassian has inflated trade value is correct though. And I think you can make a strong case that Kassian at $2 mill has more value to a playoff team like Tampa than Miller at $5 mill.

Perhaps – at the same time, Kassian at just under $2M likely also has more value to the Oilers than JT Miller at $5M.

Lets not forget, this team is in no position to take advantage of cap strapped teams – it is also a cap strapped team.

In a couple of years, if they don’t make large commitments to UFA type players, they should be in a position to take advantage of these situation but, for another off-season, for the forward group, I still think smart bets are the right approach (Carr, Pirri, Panik, etc.).