Strong in Reason

by Lowetide

Evan Bouchard made his AHL debut last night, picking up a goal and two assists in helping the Condors to a 2-1 lead in the series. Bouchard is a key element of the 2019-20 team, we just don’t know if it’s Edmonton or Bakersfield. His progression will impact the careers of Matt Benning, Joel Persson, Ethan Bear and others. How close is he? I suspect he’s close.

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 Jonathan Willis: Top Oilers prospect Evan Bouchard stars in his first AHL game as Condors dominate.
  • New Lowetide: Adam Larsson’s importance to the Oilers and why trading him is a bad idea.
  • Lowetide: Tyler Benson’s comparables offer Oilers fans plenty of hope for the future.
  • 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: 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.

BOUCHARD AS AN NHL PLAYER

He has calm feet, too calm for an inexperienced defenseman. Recovery is going to be an issue in his early NHL career. I love his outlet passing and his AHL debut is a fabulous story. I mentioned this with Tyler Benson a few days ago, but Edmonton isn’t going to be able to keep these kids on the farm for long, or maybe at all, if they perform well. These prospects will tell us who they are in September and October, but Bouchard is a top-10 overall pick and he’s 20 just before Halloween. It’s go time, or damned close.

BOUCHARD’S REP

One of the weird things about Bouchard since he was drafted is the verbal surrounding him. Craig Button left him off a list of prospects during the winter, and that set fire to all conversations involving the player. It’s almost like people decided that he isn’t Cale Makar so he had no value. Let’s all calm our tits. Let’s go back to the beginning, the draft, and see what everyone thought at the time.

Bouchard wasn’t ranked inside the top 10 on all lists, but McKenzie and Button had him there. I ranked him No. 1 among Oilers prospects in January (complete list here) but the truth is he had a meandering start to his season.

Peter Chiarelli said after the draft there was no certainty about Bouchard making the team (“I know he wants to play in the league next year, we’ll see. Hockey sense is terrific”) but we know the Oilers way. He did have some success in his brief NHL stint. New management and coaching staff need to bring him to training camp, give him a chance to succeed, and make the call at that time. It’s my opinion the organization can safely shop Ethan Bear (another RH blue looking for work) but should keep Matt Benning around for another season.

TRADE PIECES

The reason Bouchard’s being NHL-ready is important now is that it gives the new general manager some room to make trades. Back a few days (“Pet Sounds”) I gave my list of possible assets out:

1 Adam Larsson
2 No. 8 overall 2019
3 Jesse Puljujarvi
4 First-round pick 2020
5 Jujhar Khaira
6 Matt Benning
7 Buyout/Retain

I think we can add Ethan Bear to that list, because there’s enough cover on RH defense behind Adam Larsson (Kris Russell, Bouchard, Joel Persson). It’s also possible to move Benning up the list. Now, the big question is how much value does Bear have? Enough to list him, I think.

What about Larsson? I wrote about the insanity of trading him over at The Athletic, he’s been money for two years and then among the best defensemen on the team in his down year. Still, his name was out there at the deadline, so I’m going to include him in my updated ranking (from most to least valuable this time). Here’s my new ‘assets out’ list:

1 Adam Larsson—As I mentioned yesterday, extreme insanity to deal Larsson, no one on the team can replace him. However, if the plan involves a more mobile blue, it might happen. Larsson would fetch quality.

2 No. 8 overall 2019—Another unpopular idea, but if (say) Mark Hunter has a chance to grab a scoring winger who can help this year and is under control for the next five? You have to look at it.

3 First-round pick 2020—Perhaps the most attractive (for fans) of the major assets that could be sent out, it’s too distant a bell to have the kind of impact the new GM will need in his first summer.

4 Jesse Puljujarvi —I think he’ll be dealt, a case of getting a second opinion. Tyler Yaremchuk suggested yesterday on the Lowdown a straight swap for fellow struggling prospect Eeli Tolvanen and that’s an interesting idea. I remain convinced keeping JP is the right call.

5 Kris Russell—The presence of Sekera allows Edmonton to shop Russell, and this might be the summer to send him away. A RH depth chart of Larsson, Benning and Bouchard isn’t strong, but getting Russell off the roster frees $4 million to sign a forward like Brett Connolly in free agency. It’s at least a consideration.

6 Matt Benning—His name was mentioned in deadline trade rumours, Connor Brown among those who were thought to be heading back. A depth chart opening night RH side of Larsson, Russell and Bouchard or Persson may better fit the new GM’s eye.

7 Jujhar Khaira—He’s one of the young players with value higher than the boxcars. I think Edmonton could acquire a valuable piece by trading a value contract like Khaira. I wouldn’t do it.

8 Ethan Bear—The change from “Pet Sounds” in my mind is that Bouchard is likely to get the push over Bear. I could be wrong, Bouchard would benefit from time in Bakersfield, but if Bear can be dealt to acquire a young forward, the new GM has enough cover at RHD to deal away this player. Sucks, because he’s a personal favourite.

9 Buyout/retain—Sekera is the easiest buyout, Gagner is another to consider. I hope any thought of a Lucic buyout has been flushed.

The smoke from a distant fire over Mark Hunter is getting closer to the outskirts of the city. Although there are over one million souls within easy driving distance of Rogers, it’s really about 20 communities of 50,000 people. Things go from a whisper to a scream in a quick hurry. If Kelly McCrimmon tells Bob Nicholson he isn’t interested, suspect Mark Hunter is announced in the next seven days, possibly as early as Friday.

LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE

We have a great show this morning, kicks off at 10 on TSN1260. Bruce McCurdy from the Cult of Hockey will talk Evan Bouchard, the Condors and the apparent choice between Kelly McCrimmon and Mark Hunter.

Andrew Beaton from Wall Street Journal Sports will drop in to talk NFL draft and Jon Campbell from OddsShark will tackle NHL & NBA playoffs, plus I have a Kentucky Derby question.

10-1260 text, @Lowetide on twitter. Crack the mic in 90 minutes!

225 comments
0

You may also like

0 0 vote
Article Rating
225 Comments
Oldest
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
LMHF#1

I sure hope the Leafs take leave of their senses and fire Babcock.

Right the wrong from several years ago. Give him the keys and this team with #s 97 and 29 will win.

v4ance

Information packed Twiiter thread from this morning:

Prashanth Iyer @iyer_prashanth
I think if we reflect on Babcock’s perception from 2015, he was perceived as unquestionably one of the 2 best coaches in the league (with Quenneville). With the clamoring for his firing now, I think it’s important to realize that he’s still likely a top-10 coach

(4-0) (3-3) Josh (garik16) @garik16
Yet another reminder that for all the best coaches in the league – and I think my old team has one of them – their impact isn’t as large as people think on the positive spectrum. (On the negative side, awful coaches can do a lot of damage)

Prashanth Iyer @iyer_prashanth
I just think it’s extraordinarily difficult to isolate coaching impact. I think there are instances where a coach has a substantial impact for a short period of time that isn’t sustainable and that the “average” impact isn’t substantial

(4-0) (3-3) Josh (garik16) @garik16
I think this is right. I’m doing work for a post on Trotz and his teams having allegedly xG#s better than their corsi ones, and the difference over 10 years is 0.8 percentage points, which seems about what I’d expect for a “large” coaching difference. Players still matter most

Prashanth Iyer @iyer_prashanth
Yup. I think we see isolated 40-50 game stretches where everything clicks and the puck luck is there and the team is at it’s *peak* but when you average it out, i think value above replacement is relatively small

Ryan Stimson @RK_Stimp
I remember Dawson finding the coach mattered more than qot. Think that post is gone now though. Even if it’s not that big, would we expect it to be considering many coaches are so similar?

(4-0) (3-3) Josh (garik16) @garik16
Not so much, no. This idea also would explain why the impact of awful coaches (Carlyle etc.) is so much higher seemingly than good ones – the good ones are very much imitated so the gap from average isn’t large.

Prashanth Iyer @iyer_prashanth
Replying to @garik16 @RK_Stimp
This from Sloan found that coaches had a larger impact on goals against compared to goals for which is interesting and makes a lot of sense to me after reading: http://www.sloansportsconference.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/Do-Coaches-Matter.pdf

***

Selected quotes from the Sloan paper “Do Coaches Matter.”:

Coaches of professional sports teams are often credited or blamed for the success or failure of their teams, and they are compensated as if they are one of the most important features of a franchise. Although we have anecdotal evidence that coaches matter, the sports analytics literature has generally concluded that they do not…

” Our estimates generally imply that coaches explain about 20-30 percent of the variation in a team’s success, although coaching effects vary notably across settings and across various outcomes”

***

Lastly, Table 6 shows results from NHL coaches from 1918 through 2017. As with the other sports, coaches matter and the results are statistically significant, although coaches appear to matter much more for goals allowed than for goals scored. We do not have a clear explanation for this result as we do in the case of baseball, and we defer to hockey experts who might have a good explanation for this and might also suggest additional outcomes of interest in this context.

***

So TL;DR:
SO, DO Coaches Matter? For the NHL, coaches, especially bad ones, affect GA (negatively).

My own thoughts… this leads to the implication that GF would be mostly affected by the roster talent which is a direct reflection of the GM’s ability.

***

Gallant rolled out a 6 forward deployment with the goalie pulled to tie the game in last night’s decisive game. It’s nice to see someone trying to innovate in real time with such high stakes. Balls man! balls!

russ99

I’m gunshy with the Oilers handling of prospects the last few years.

It would be prudent to give Bouchard roughly 30-40 games at the AHL level to adjust to defending pros, many top prospects are so far ahead of the competition at junior, that they don’t get this wake-up call until they hit the pros. Defensemen take longer too.

And as we see with Benning, there’s no amount of clean exit passes or point shots to make up for glaring, force the goalie into a difficult save deficiencies at defense. We need that goals against number to go down and we are already looking at questions in the crease, we can’t also run with only 3-4 defenders who can defend against NHL oppoisition.

Not to mention that Woodcroft is obviously sheltering him and using him in specific situations as the #7 D, the Oilers don’t have that luxury.

I’d give Bear or Jones first shot at NHL playing time, they’ve had the NHL cup of coffee and put in the requisite AHL development time.

OriginalPouzar

It was important that Bouchard get in to the game last night and have a plus performance which will keep him in the lineup. If the Condors can go on a run and Bouchard can play a good 12 plus games, that will give the organization alot of information on him heading in to camp – it would provide more information on NHL readiness than anything he could do in camp or exhibition (which we know is essentially meaningless as far as determining NHL readiness of young talented players).

leadfarmer

Pronman didn’t like Bouchard so he has that going for him.
I hope we can give him enough cover to develop in the Ahl for a year

OriginalPouzar

Bouch had a strong game last night but a couple of thing:

– at least through the first two periods (which I saw), his minutes were extremely sheltered – I don’t think he had an even strength shift until close to 5 minutes left in the 1st.

– the game last night didn’t provide much information on his game from the redline back to his own zone – defensive zone coverage, battles, angles, puck retrieval, etc. – reason being is that the Condors simply dominated play and possession – they were in the Eagles zone shift after shift. There wasn’t the opportunity to defend.

tileguy

Can somebody explain “pet sounds” and what I am to think of when reading that phrase. Thank you in advance.

Jaxon

D:
Kris Russell trade would be number one for me. First, to get his contract off the books. Second, to get rid of an overvalued player. Third, he has perceived value around the league and could fetch something in return. Larsson is top 3 D on this team and there may be nobody available for the foreseeable future to move into a definite top 4RD position. You keep Benning if Russell is traded until you have a bonified, proven 2RD. You try to keep Jones and Bear to move into 3LD & 3RD as Benning and Sekera age out or are sent out and Bouchard matures to 1RD or 2RD.

Forwards:
Keep Puljujarvi. He is still only 20!! He is fast and skilled and his fancy stats are actually quite good, so he doesn’t hurt the team in any way. There is still lots of time for his production to turn a corner. Keep Khaira, he is big, fast, skilled. I love watching him play. He plays hard, and he is quite calm when cycling down low and I find he makes good decisions with the puck. They’ll both be cheap, so getting rid of them is a bad idea. Khaira has amazing numbers with Draisaitl and Puljujarvi has great numbers with McDavid. Keep them!

Draft Picks:
You keep first round picks as they are cheap, will age with McDavid’s peak years and won’t get drafted in expansion. You keep 2nd round picks as well, as they are more likely to be potential gems.

Buyouts:
Don’t buy anyone out. Trade them and retain if needed, but buyouts just linger and hurt the team going forward as contracts get bigger. Also, wait on the next CBA to see if there is a chance at a compliance buyout for Lucic, otherwise, retain 50% and package with a fringe prospect or a 3rd or later round pick(s).

Alpine

So if Hunter or McCrimmon get the job, I suppose we can probably start talking about Misha Donskov as assistant GM? He’s worked in both London and Vegas. Seems like he would be an astute hire.

https://www.si.com/nhl/2016/11/17/misha-donskov-las-vegas-expansion-team-front-office

From the article:

For Hockey Canada, Donskov became what VP of hockey operations Scott Salmond calls “our Swiss army knife.” He developed the organization’s analytics portal, created an in-house app so everyone can stay in touch during the NHL regular season, and twice won gold at the IIHF World Championships.

“We hired him in video and analytics, and by the end I thought he could’ve been a GM of our teams and still helped in other areas,” Salmond says. “I relied on him as a sounding board. We did everything hand in hand, from coach prep to management to player evaluation.

Donskov’s responsibilities will be similar in Vegas. He had been prepping to leave for a Team Canada coaching staff retreat when McPhee called, formally asking him to come aboard, and leapt at the “once-in-a-lifetime-opportunity to start at ground zero.” Since then, he’s designed their scouting software, vetted outside analytics firms, and organized their video platform, logistical matters required before the coaching staff gets hired and the team gets on the ice next year. No wonder McPhee calls his hiring “automatic.”

RISTOOOOO SILTANEN!!!!

Me: Leafs are out!

Wife: Why can’t other Canadian teams win just because your stoopid team is out?

Me: Can’t I just have this moment?

N64

tileguy:
Can somebody explain “pet sounds” and what I am to think of when reading that phrase. Thank you in advance.

A new way of doing things.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pet_Sounds

Pet Sounds is regarded by musicologists as an early concept album that advanced the field of music production, introducing non-standard harmonies and timbres and incorporating elements of pop, jazz, exotica, classical, and the avant-garde. The album could not be replicated live and was the first time a group departed from the usual small-ensemble electric rock band format for a whole LP.

N64

Good night for interviewing. McCrimmon and Gilman knocked out of the playoffs in one evening.

GordieHoweHatTrick

Jaxon:
D:
Kris Russell trade would be number one for me. First, to get his contract off the books. Second, to get rid of an overvalued player. Third, he has perceived value around the league and could fetch something in return. Larsson is top 3 D on this team and there may be nobody available for the foreseeable future to move into a definite top 4RD position. You keep Benning if Russell is traded until you have a bonified, proven 2RD. You try to keep Jones and Bear to move into 3LD & 3RD as Benning and Sekera age out or are sent out and Bouchard matures to 1RD or 2RD.

Forwards:
Keep Puljujarvi. He is still only 20!! He is fast and skilled and his fancy stats are actually quite good, so he doesn’t hurt the team in any way. There is still lots of time for his production to turn a corner. Keep Khaira, he is big, fast, skilled. I love watching him play. He plays hard, and he is quite calm when cycling down low and I find he makes good decisions with the puck. They’ll both be cheap, so getting rid of them is a bad idea. Khaira has amazing numbers with Draisaitl and Puljujarvi has great numbers with McDavid. Keep them!

Draft Picks:
You keep first round picks as they are cheap, will age with McDavid’s peak years and won’t get drafted in expansion. You keep 2nd round picks as well, as they are more likely to be potential gems.

Buyouts:
Don’t buy anyone out. Trade them and retain if needed, but buyouts just linger and hurt the team going forward as contracts get bigger. Also, wait on the next CBA to see if there is a chance at a compliance buyout for Lucic, otherwise, retain 50% and package with a fringe prospect or a 3rd or later round pick(s).

Yes!

Scungilli Slushy

Bear has some nice attributes, unfortunately skating and defending at the NHL aren’t a part of that. At least not that we’ve seen.

Bouchard is probably the best option if someone is going straight to the bigs, unless Persson is able to make a rapid adjustment to smaller ice and bigger more aggressive forwards.

The real issue is all of the prospects are best suited for third pair including Benning. Benning, Bear, Persson are smaller players relative to average NHL D, and the mentor options at 3 LD are also smaller in Sekera and Russell. It matters in that somebody has to be able to defend the net front with physicality, none of these gents are Lidstrom with stick and positioning.

Rutherford according to TSN seems to think he’ll move a D this summer, easily, because do many teams are looking. A competent GM should be able to balance the Oilers D corp with all of the available assets and actually knowing what a helpful pro player looks like.

I think we’re all scarred because Chiarelli’s idea of helpful was big and tough, or just tough, skating and puck skills optional. Or going opposite and getting Wideman who with defending was optional.

It is possible to get better without gutting the team again. It starts with clearing cap and not getting jammed at the limit again. Katz spending isn’t the same as leaving no room to move. What a frustrating team.

Wilde

i can shed a little light on the specifics of Bouchard’s 5v5 situation last night-

– he played a total of eight shifts where a shot attempt occurred

– they ended up with counts of +9 / -4 (+5)

– he played every shift with either Stanton or Lowe

– he was a primary contributor on seven of the nine CF he was on the ice for (!)

– he made one pretty bad mistake with the puck but was otherwise smart

– the eagles are simultaneously a trash, unentertaining team AND tediously dirty during and between play

LadiesloveSmid

In Top 10 pick Werenski’s draft+1 he played 17 of Lake Erie’s playoff games after his sophomore college season. Played the next season firmly in CBJ’s top 4, averaging nearly 21 minutes a night.

Not saying Bouchard will have the same impact, but there’s a spectrum of where he might land on the depth chart.

We wait! Godspeed Evan!

Andy Dufresne

tileguy:
Can somebody explain “pet sounds” and what I am to think of when reading that phrase. Thank you in advance.

Pet Sounds is the eleventh studio album by American rock band the Beach Boys, released on May 16, 1966. … For Pet Sounds, the goal was to create “the greatest rock album ever made”—a personalized work with no filler tracks.

P.S Just picked this album up last month at a thrift store for $2 without really knowing what I was buying.

P.S.S if you get a chance, check out the movie/ Brian Wilson biopick “Love and Mercy”. Very well done.

Wilde

OriginalPouzar: I don’t think he had an even strength shift until close to 5 minutes left in the 1st.

i can verify this as correct

Jaxon

I’m still hoping for Verbeek. He’s been in the room with some amazing mentors/hockey minds and has been a pretty integral part of building possibly the best team in the cap era in Tampa.

He’s either played with was coached by, managed by, or worked with:
Scotty Bowman, Lou Lamiorello, Ken Holland, Jim Nill, Ken Hitchcock, Joel Quenneville, Mike Babcock, Brad McCrimmon, Bob Gainey, Steve Yzerman, Kevin Lowe, Brendan Shanahan, John Cooper.

If the main job is acquiring players then the man with the title of Director of Player Personnel and Assistant GM since 2012, and Dir. of Professional Scouting for 2 years prior to that in Tampa and 4 years as a Red Wing scout going back to the summer of 2006 looks pretty damn good. Hedman and Stamkos were the only 2 current players on the roster when he started with Tampa.

A quick look at how Tampa Bay acquired their current roster mostly outside of trades:
Player – Draft Position
Stamkos – 1
Hedman – 2
—————–
Erne – 33
Cernak – 43
Kucherov – 58!!!!!
Cirelli – 72!
Killorn – 77!
Point – 79!!!
Paquette – 101
Joseph – 120
Palat – 207!!
Gourde – undrafted!!
Johnson – undrafted!!

Good finds they mistakenly let go:
Connolly – 6 (in their defense, it took him way too long to arrive)
Gudas – 66
Marchessault – undrafted!!

They turned Drouin – 3, into Sergachaev – 9

I have no idea how much involvement Verbeek had on any of these transactions but as Director of Player Personnel and Assistant GM for all those years you’d have to think it would be substantial. He’d at least have a seat at the table and have a voice in these decisions and witness people often making the right decision on picks, trades, and signings. They’ve built one of the, if not the, best team in the cap era starting with just two core high draft picks.

Andy Dufresne

Alpine,

Very informative post. Thank You.

Ben

There’s gotta be at least a 1% chance that Nicholson holds a press conference to announce Hunter as GM and brings out the mascot, right?

Andy Dufresne

RISTOOOOO SILTANEN!!!!:
Me: Leafs are out!

Wife: Why can’t other Canadian teams win just because your stoopid team is out?

Me: Can’t I just have this moment?

lol. Nice. This reads like a Dilbert cartoon strip. Love it.

JimmyV1965

Curious LT. Why do you not have Kassian on your list? IMO he has more trade value than any other Oiler on the team outside the core six. On the Sportsnet broadcast last night they were talking about the Leafs’ need to add toughness. Heard the same thing about Pittsburgh and Tampa and Calgary.

Andy Dufresne

Jaxon,

Agree with everything you said.

Curious, Do you think a GM candidate that proposes all of this in his interview gets hired?

Andy Dufresne

Wilde:
i can shed a little light on the specifics of Bouchard’s 5v5 situation last night-

– he played a total of eight shifts where a shot attempt occurred

– they ended up with counts of +9 / -4 (+5)

– he played every shift with either Stanton or Lowe

– he was a primary contributor on seven of the nine CF he was on the ice for (!)

– he made one pretty bad mistake with the puck but was otherwise smart

– the eagles are simultaneously a trash, unentertaining team AND tediously dirty during and between play

Very concise. Paints a clear picture. Thank you.

JimmyV1965

Jaxon:
D:
Kris Russell trade would be number one for me. First, to get his contract off the books. Second, to get rid of an overvalued player. Third, he has perceived value around the league and could fetch something in return. Larsson is top 3 D on this team and there may be nobody available for the foreseeable future to move into a definite top 4RD position. You keep Benning if Russell is traded until you have a bonified, proven 2RD. You try to keep Jones and Bear to move into 3LD & 3RD as Benning and Sekera age out or are sent out and Bouchard matures to 1RD or 2RD.

Forwards:
Keep Puljujarvi. He is still only 20!! He is fast and skilled and his fancy stats are actually quite good, so he doesn’t hurt the team in any way. There is still lots of time for his production to turn a corner. Keep Khaira, he is big, fast, skilled. I love watching him play. He plays hard, and he is quite calm when cycling down low and I find he makes good decisions with the puck. They’ll both be cheap, so getting rid of them is a bad idea. Khaira has amazing numbers with Draisaitl and Puljujarvi has great numbers with McDavid. Keep them!

Draft Picks:
You keep first round picks as they are cheap, will age with McDavid’s peak years and won’t get drafted in expansion. You keep 2nd round picks as well, as they are more likely to be potential gems.

Buyouts:
Don’t buy anyone out. Trade them and retain if needed, but buyouts just linger and hurt the team going forward as contracts get bigger. Also, wait on the next CBA to see if there is a chance at a compliance buyout for Lucic, otherwise, retain 50% and package with a fringe prospect or a 3rd or later round pick(s).

Not trying to pick a fight here, but how would you improve the team? Seems like you’ve ruled out a bunch of options here.

N64

Ben:
There’s gotta be at least a 1% chance that Nicholson holds a press conference to announce Hunter as GM and brings out the mascot, right?

And our Hunter as POHO! Scare the kids and the grownups.

SayItAin'tSo, Gretz, SayItAin'tSo!

So a couple of thoughts

1) Toronto flamed out as expected, now they enter the offseason with a whole whack of questions: what do we do about Babs, no defense, no backup, forwards needing raises and potentially three guys making +10 million.

Everyone keeps saying Dubas is the future, well we’ll find out in the next couple of months whether that is true or whether he’s a kid that got lucky and sunk the ship the second those ELCs ran out. Myself, I think he screwed up royally last year when he tossed a brinks truck at Tavares. Not only was it a goofy expenditure at a position the leafs already had depth it showed straight up to his three homegrown forward RFAs “we care more about this FA than we do locking you guys up,” (both Lou and Hunter remarked about this after they left MLSE so this isn’t tilting at windmills) and it gave Babcock a known he could promote over that flashy kid from San Ramon.. Matthews with 18 minutes in a Game 7 while on a three game scoring streak, ok Babs whatever you think will work.

It pleases me to see the Islanders advance while the Leafs hit the links. The schadenfreude out of Nassau at the beginning of the next series is going to be something else.

2) Calgary needs MOAR GRIT! Wilted as per usual against a one line team. Neal collapsing, Tkachuk quite as a mouse and the Dynamic Duo (MonaGaudeau) up-font unable to find the twine. That was a fun series.

3) Intrigued by the post yesterday suggesting that deep AI analytics were behind Columbus strategy against Tampa. Basically been hockey strategy forever that when you have a fast skating, smallish rush opponent, you clog up the middle on their breakouts and hammer them on the fore-check as they get frustrated, but throw AI in front and everyone assumes you’ve discovered something new. Not sure I buy it, probably just added numbers to something that Torts has run since coaching his PeeWee teams back in the day.

Good on Columbus, they threw the kitchen sink at this playoff run at the deadline and on paper they matched up incredibly well with Tampa. Glad to see them get it together. That injury to Hedman was huge.

4) Vegas got robbed. I mean you still can’t let in 4 goals on the same PK but that call was an abject travesty. I hope Pavelski is ok but the NHL should be ashamed of itself, that was Saints in the NFC title game level bad.

tileguy

The reason Bouchard’s being NHL-ready is important now is that it gives the new general manager some room to make trades. Back a few days (“Pet Sounds”) I gave my list of possible assets out:

Ugh, I just can not make a connection.

Back a few days (the beach boys put out something totally different, trying to be the best ever) I gave my list of possible assets out.
So is LT trying to say he thought his idea was great but is backtracking?

I’ll go back to silent running mode now.

Andy Dufresne

I’ll take “Radom thought from an addled mind.” Alex:

In hiring a new GM, how important is it that the small group of elite coaches would want to, or consider, working for him?

IF you’ve set your sights on a specific small set of coaches, Quennville etc, does this affect your choice of GM?

If for example Quennville is interested, but has no interest in working under Hunter, is that a consideration and by what process is this determined?

OilSafety

I lean towards moving Russel if it can be done without retention as well as Bear and the 2020 first rounder.

Not sure if that thins up the right side too much though. But maybe they bring in help there. Then again, they probably need all those assets to just try and shore up the wingers on this team.

As much as I want something to happen, I hope they take the time to do it right. From the GM selection to player movement and beyond. Just. Get. It. Right. This. Time.

dustrock

Are there any good coaches now? Trotz?

McLellan is bad
Babcock is bad
Laviolette is bad
I thought Torts was bad but he destroyed Tampa Bay

N64

SayItAin’tSo, Gretz, SayItAin’tSo!: 4) Vegas got robbed. I mean you still can’t let in 4 goals on the same PK but that call was an abject travesty. I hope Pavelski is ok but the NHL should be ashamed of itself, that was Saints in the NFC title game level bad

4 goals allowed tied the NHL record. Set the playoff record. The call right or wrong absolutely let the Sharks back in the game. But did not outright win the game like some others.

RISTOOOOO SILTANEN!!!!

Andy Dufresne: lol.Nice.This reads like a Dilbert cartoon strip. Love it.

She doesn’t follow hockey at all. She’s just been able to make random “Oiler’s are terrible” jokes and hack on me for the past 10+ years. What’s scary is that her cracks are purely made up, but so often on the nose. That’s the part that hurts.

Side

dustrock:
Are there any good coaches now?Trotz?

McLellan is bad
Babcock is bad
Laviolette is bad
I thought Torts was bad but he destroyed Tampa Bay

I remember when Torts was coaching the US team and they got destroyed.

People were saying he would never get hired again.

This isn’t an endorsement of Torts, just funny to think about how quickly things change.

N64

Andy Dufresne:
I’ll take “Radom thought from an addled mind.” Alex:

In hiring a new GM, how important is it that the small group of elite coaches would want to, or consider, working for him?

IF you’ve set your sights on a specific small set of coaches, Quenville etc, does this affect your choice of GM?

If for example Quenville is interested, but has no interest in working under Hunter, is that a consideration and by what process is this determined?

Would be interesting to see a POHO, GM and coach team up and put themselves forward as a new management group for a backwards franchise. If you give me a few minutes I can probably find a backwards franchise. TIME.

OilSafety

Jaxon,

I like waiting for expansion for Luc as well, but more so to add a sweetener for Seattle to select him in the expansion draft. Say a second?

Luc’s roots are Vancouver and LA, whats in between…. Seattle.

Seattle needs a recognizable franchise name and character guy for first Captain….. Lucic.

Alpine

SayItAin’tSo, Gretz, SayItAin’tSo!,

I still think the Tavares contract was smart because it gives the Leafs the ability to move Nylander or someone else for a defenseman. He gives them a bird in hand, and hey he’s a local too.

Trading for a guy like that usually costs too much in assets so even if he’s overpaid through free agency, most of his comparables are making close to the same money anyways.

They could even do the unthinkable and move Matthews and still could probably come out on top since they have an elite C and another elite F so they don’t really have to try that hard to replace him.

Alpine

dustrock:
Are there any good coaches now?Trotz?

McLellan is bad
Babcock is bad
Laviolette is bad
I thought Torts was bad but he destroyed Tampa Bay

Quenneville is the only good coach. Uh, forget he missed the playoffs last year.

Andy Dufresne

tileguy: Ugh, I just can not make a connection.

Back a few days (the beach boys put out something totally different, trying to be the best ever) I gave my list of possible assets out.

I could be wrong, but I think the “Pet Sounds” reference is more of a motif, a running theme, of constructing something special (no filler tracks / no superfluous players) and thereby balanced, with a variety of sounds (role players). It is less specific to this post than it is to the general theme.

Or Im comletely out to lunch, and as John Lennon explained to a mentally challenged man who once rang his doorbell and asked about the hidden meaning of the song “I am the Walrus”….it has no meaning, it just words, it has whatever meaning you give it.

Edit: on another occasion Lennon described it this way:

“The words didn’t mean a lot. People draw so many conclusions, and it’s ridiculous. I’ve had tongue in cheek all along–all of them had tongue in cheek. Just because other people see depths of whatever in it…What does it really mean, ‘I am the Eggman?’ It could have been ‘The pudding Basin’ for all I care. It’s not that serious.” 🙂

Scungilli Slushy

So much of success is timing. Tampa had a great season but had it’s best player hurt and out, and the goalie that drives a lot of their success wasn’t sharp.

They are also quite an unbalanced team in having a very small forward group, and a lot of the D core is older. Hedman not at 100% was a huge kick in the junk.

They were ripe for the picking for a team that clogged the ice and could grind in the O zone, which Columbus did.

Whether that works against Boston is a different kettle of fish.

Kinger_Oil.redux

FUN FACTS

– Habs missed playoffs for 2nd year in a row for only the 2nd time since 1920!

– They also had highest non playoff points ever.

– At Bisons game to watch Vlaad in his likely last games in minors

– Tim Tebow playing.

– Devo White one of my all times is bisons first base coach

– Cold as heck here.

Andy Dufresne

OilSafety:
Jaxon,

I like waiting for expansion for Luc as well, but more so to add a sweetener for Seattle to select him in the expansion draft. Say a second?

Luc’s roots are Vancouver and LA, whats in between…. Seattle.

Seattle needs a recognizable franchise name and character guy for first Captain….. Lucic.

Kind of like Las Vegas choosing Deryk Engelland, who everyone thought was a slow footed, past his prime, anchor of a contract.

Andy Dufresne

Scungilli Slushy: Whether that works against Boston is a different kettle of fish.

Second Round matchups this year seem to be pitting alot of teams with similar styles to another up against each other.

Boston and CBJ play a similar style of game

St Louis and Dallas play a similar style of game

San Jose and Colorado

NYI and ???

Reja

JimmyV1965: Not trying to pick a fight here, but how would you improve the team? Seems like you’ve ruled out a bunch of options here.

As a unspecified amount of woman have spoken these words. You Have To Give To Get

DBO

Target the truly “disappointed teams” in trades. Vegas is not one of them. They were screwed.

Toronto, Nashville, Pittsburgh may be more succeptable to making panic type deals to change the makeup of their teams. Possibly Winnipeg as well (although it may be more of a cap crunch thing)

Nylander form Toronto
Ehlers from Winnipeg
One of the Dmen from Nashville

Means a bunch of salary out for us from somewhere, but capitalizing on their need to change would be huge.

As for GM, hoping for McCrimmon. Success building and running a whole team in major junior. Big part of Vegas (reports were he was the one pushing for Stone). And with his experience don’t expect the Old Boys would hold much sway.

N64

DBO: As for GM, hoping for McCrimmon.

You’d think he’s the perfect match for Seattle and vice versa. But would be nice.

Melman

Flames out
Leafs out
McCrimmon available for an interview after round 1

Bob is having a terrific off-season!!