Strong in Reason

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!

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225 Responses to "Strong in Reason"

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  1. Wilde says:

    Scungilli Slushy:

    At the nhl level I don’t want rookies playing wrong side

    We do have positive evidence of Jones being able to play 3RD though

  2. Wilde says:

    Wilde: No, I didn’t, but I can tell you that there was either 1 or 0 DZ starts

    It was a very conscious, very cautious sheltering. Pretty much turning the dial all the way to the left.

    There’s definitely more to get out of him and I think we’ll see more, but Jay’s got a series to win and he’s humbled me as a critic before.

    When it comes to the fall, I think you can make an argument that he should start in Bakersfield almost certainly, in order to use his time efficiently. There’s no way to be sure about him before the actual season starts, therefore making whoever’s the coach start him at the deployment he was asked of in his first NHL games in 2018 – and figuring him out slowly.

    Whereas in the AHL, you can figure that out much faster, and make some kind of inference about how he’ll transition and fit him to a better deployment curve based on that greater pool of information.

    I guess what I’m saying, is that you probably know more about him after he’s played 12 AHL game than you do after 12 NHL games, though I realise I’m biased by thinking that the transition between top-rung AHL and bottom-rung NHL is both closer, and less threshold-y than probably 90% of observers. As in, the AHL is more translatable than what is popular belief.

    To add to this, we could project the difference between Bouchard at the AHL and at the NHL to be over a six minute difference per game at 5v5, based on how much Jones played at the same age in the AHL and how much Bouchard got played in the NHL last fall.

    At 16 minutes per game, it would take thirteen games to hit a 208-minute sample size at 5v5, and at 10 minutes per game it would obviously take 20.

    I suppose the schedule also comes into play, though.

  3. YKOil says:

    leadfarmer:
    We need to make room in the next year for some of these guys.how long can you hold some of these guys back?Bouchard, a year maybe.Samurokov 2 at most, Jones 1/2 a year?Bear? A year?Lagesson Persson

    Following the current slow-play timeline:

    Jones can take Gravels spot right off the top and Persson, at his age, will show right away if he is going to show at all.

    Bouchard will take Bennings spot after a year in the AHL. Samurokov will get two years in the AHL and then he can take a Sekera/Russell spot.

    Lagesson and Bear are the two that there is no ‘obvious’ plan for… well, expansion will take care of one of Jones / Lagesson / Bear so that leaves figuring out to do with whoever is left of Bear / Lagesson.

    The painful part is living with, mostly, status quo for two more years.

  4. YKOil says:

    Wilde: To add to this, we could project the difference between Bouchard at the AHL and at the NHL to be over a six minute difference per game at 5v5, based on how much Jones played at the same age in the AHL and how much Bouchard got played in the NHL last fall.

    At 16 minutes per game, it would take thirteen games to hit a 208-minute sample size at 5v5, and at 10 minutes per game it would obviously take 20. I suppose the schedule also comes into play, though.

    Yeah, in the AHL they can feed him 16-20 mins a game EV and 2+ mins a game PP and figure out exactly where he needs help and then work on that.

    In the NHL he’ll be lucky to get 12-16 mins a game and it will be harder to figure where he needs help because of the combination of:

    a. not enough time on ice to watch
    b. the pressure he is under at NHL speed and size will make it harder to isolate the actual issue at hand

    Just keep him in Bakersfield and call up as needed. Keep him at less than 10 games if at all possible.

  5. jp says:

    ArmchairGM:
    Looking at the past 3 years combined, the Lucic – McDavid – Puljujarvi combo has an amazing GA/60 number. Small sample size issue? I don’t know, but I wouldn’t put my money on it continuing going forward. Here’s the Lucic – McDavid – Puljujarvi WOWY’s for the past 3 season’s combined, looking at on-ice GF/60 – GA/60 = DIFF/60 (TOI):

    All three: 3.32 – 1.42 = 1.90 (252:58)
    w/o ML: 3.88 – 3.49 = 0.39 (154:46)
    w/o JP: 2.93 – 2.59 = 0.34 (717:00)

    So what does the HC do? Pulls JP off the line and gives 700+ McDavid minutes to Lucic… yeah, that didn’t work.

    For sure 1.42 GA/60 won’t continue, but they were over 55% in every other metric, so the line was doing good things.

    And agreed it’s too bad the trio didn’t get more of a chance, but I’m unclear how you (seem to be) concluding Lucic/McDavid = bad while McDavid/JP = good from this. Your numbers clearly show that each player (with McDavid) suffered without the other, though for different reasons.

    ArmchairGM:
    Yeah, Lucic is still an NHL player, some of the guys JP has been playing with are not.

    Puljujarvi’s most common linemates for his career are:
    Lucic 670 min
    McDavid 407
    Nuge 399
    Strome 307
    Khaira 293
    Draisaitl 283
    Caggiula 163
    Maroon 154
    Kassian 83
    Pouliot 79
    Rieder 73
    Letestu 64
    Slepyshev 64
    Brodziak 51
    Cave 34

    I don’t know where your cutoff for NHL player is, but JP has had pretty damn solid linemates basically always.

    ArmchairGM:
    I know it’s not what you asked for, but for interest’s sake here are Puljujarvi’s 5v5 scoring rates with McDavid, with and without Lucic.

    Draft+1
    Puljujarvi w/ McDavid: 2.86 (84:01)
    Puljujarvi w/ McDavid [w/o Lucic]: 6.58 (18:15)

    Draft+2
    Puljujarvi w/ McDavid: 1.87 (256:57)
    Puljujarvi w/ McDavid [w/o Lucic]: 2.42 (74:34)

    Draft+3
    Puljujarvi w/ McDavid: 1.80 (66:46)
    Puljujarvi w/ McDavid [w/o Lucic]: 1.92 (62:31)

    Comparison with other top young European wingers in the 3 years after draft, points/60 posted when playing with each teams top center:

    Puljujarvi 2.70 (155:20 with McDavid w/o Lucic)
    Laine: 2.47 (849:32 with Scheifele)
    Pastrnak: 2.13 (648:27 with Bergeron)
    Puljujarvi: 2.08 (407:44 with McDavid and Lucic)
    Rantanen: 2.02 (1632:30 with MacKinnon)
    Nylander: 1.82 (624:42 with Matthews)

    This is encouraging, and I certainly haven’t given up on Puljujarvi being a contributor. The concern is that Puljujarvi can’t score at all without McDavid (0.83 P/60 without). And that McDavid-Puljujarvi, as you showed above, have given up a ton without Lucic on the ice with them. The P/60 is nice, but it’s been a wash with the added GA.

    ArmchairGM:
    Lucic suppresses offence at elite levels (don’t laugh – it’s true!), the trouble is that he does it to both friend and foe alike. The other thing is, he isn’t elite at suppressing the elites, although he does okay there too. Doesn’t piss a drop in tough minutes though. For these reasons I would keep him off the top-6 altogether, find a mobile 2-way center for him (right shot, preferably) and give them a bunch of d-zone work. This will give McDavid a little more clean air against lesser comp – Hitchcock had him ~40% against elites and this stunted his output.

    McDavid needs wingers that help create offense. Over the past 3 seasons combined, here’s a look at McDavid’s 5v5 p/60 (TOI) with:

    Draisaitl: 3.24 (1981:04)
    Puljujarvi: 3.24 (407:45)
    Kassian: 3.16 (513:21)
    Nugent-Hopkins: 3.15 (590:01)
    Chaisson: 2.96 (284:12)
    Maroon: 2.76 (1258:37)
    Lucic: 2.29 (969:58)
    Eberle: 2.08 (403:28)

    I don’t disagree with this, but my original comment was that IF McDavid can make Lucic and Puljujarvi 55GF% wingers (both are sub 40GF% for their [Oiler} careers without McDavid) it would likely be a net positive for the team, acknowledging that that isn’t optimal use of McDavid himself. If one can find another role where Lucic is useful that’s fine too.

    I do think though that Lucic gets an unreasonable amount of flack for suppressing McDavid’s offence. The bottom line is that Lucic-McDavid have been a successful combo. For comparison, goal differential/60, sorted by TOI together:
    Draisaitl +1.03
    Maroon +0.91
    Lucic +0.74
    Nuge +0.79
    Kassian -0.48
    Puljujarvi +1.32
    Eberle +1.19
    Rattie 0
    Caggiula +0.51
    Chiasson -0.50
    (McDavid total +0.78)

    Lucic doesn’t look out of place, does he?

    And yes, Draisaitl+Puljujarvi among existing players seems like a solid plan A.

  6. godot10 says:

    Lowetide: Bouchard is going to have some wobble upon NHL arrival, they all do (even Jones toward the end of his audition). Edmonton should have the depth to send him down, but a (say) Sekera-Bouchard pairing opening night wouldn’t shock me, and my guess is they’d play pretty well.

    It is much better for Bouchard to get 20 games in the AHL before that happens. Skipping a step can ruin a whole season of development. There is no reason to risk skipping a step. Check off every box on the damn checklist.

  7. godot10 says:

    pts2pndr: . If a young player struggles then put him back in the AHL until he is ready.

    That is NOT how good development organizations do it.

    They start a player at a level they are fairly certain he will succeed. When he masters that level, they move him up.

    Throwing a child in the deep end is not a good way to them them to swim.

  8. kgo says:

    Lowetide: Bouchard is going to have some wobble upon NHL arrival, they all do (even Jones toward the end of his audition). Edmonton should have the depth to send him down, but a (say) Sekera-Bouchard pairing opening night wouldn’t shock me, and my guess is they’d play pretty well.

    Jones had more than “wobble” toward the end of his audition, he was directly at fault for one goal per game…His offensive instincts were marvelous though, I’m excited to see how much he has improved when he inevitably returns to the NHL.

  9. OriginalPouzar says:

    leadfarmer:
    OriginalPouzar,

    Yes but not talking at the start of next season.Talking throughout next season for the next.
    Salary cap constraints mean you can’t have that much money tied in a 3rd pairing
    No one is taking these overweight contracts with 2 years left

    At the end of the day, it doesnt’ matter how much cap is allocated to each position as long as management is able to provide a 23 man roster that is compliant. If the best deployment of resources is with Sekera and his $5.5M on the 3rd pairing then so be it. Its not ideal but its mitigate by the top 4 having at least 3 value contracts – the top pairing comes in under $8.5M and the 2nd pairing anchored by a $3.2M 40 point producer. Over the next few years, Russell and Sekera will be replaced by young cheap d-men. Hopefully Russell right away and Sekera to follow next off-season. I have hesitation about moving the incumbents to “make room” – injuries will happen, these kids will get their chance and we don’t need to be trading away our cover for the sake of opening up a spot.

  10. OriginalPouzar says:

    godot10: It is much better for Bouchard to get 20 games in the AHL before that happens.Skipping a step can ruin a whole season of development.There is no reason to risk skipping a step. Check off every box on the damn checklist.

    Honest question: Would 12–15 AHL playoff games check that box off (assuming he shows he doesn’t need the shelter and ends up playing significant minutes and being a plus player)?

  11. OriginalPouzar says:

    kgo: Jones had more than “wobble” toward the end of his audition, he was directly at fault for one goal per game…His offensive instincts were marvelous though, I’m excited to see how much he has improved when he inevitably returns to the NHL.

    This isn’t much different than Bouchard at the beginning of last year that was making a couple very high even mistakes each and every game – directly leading to goals against.

    The difference is that Bouchard was doing that while being highly sheltered whereas, when sheltered in the 3rd pairing, Jones played very well with Gravel and the wobble started when he was vaulted up the lineup to play top 4 minutes with Larsson (who struggled for much of last year as we know).

  12. YKOil says:

    OriginalPouzar: Honest question: Would 12–15 AHL playoff games check that box off (assuming he shows he doesn’t need the shelter and ends up playing significant minutes and being a plus player)?

    Not for me. Seen a fair number of players play above their heads and/or impress for a 5-15 game swing before they tumble back to earth (hell, at one time we thought we had something in Aberg).

    I want 20-40 games, playing 16-18 mins a game EV and another 2+ mins on the power-play and if I had my druthers some decent penalty kill time too.

    I want to see how he does when the drag of a season sets in and I want to see how he does when he has to carry a pairing because of injury or call up.

    I don’t need to see him absolutely dominate at the AHL level, though that would be great, and I don’t need him to be the team leader, though that would be great – what I need to see is how he adapts to a higher level of hockey, how his skills translate and what needs work, whether or not he can get a step ahead of the tempo of the AHL game (because he needs to be that for the pro-game), and how that looks over a decently long period of time.

    If he can ‘show’ that he is legit for 20-40 games (closer to 40 than 20) then I don’t need to wait for him to be ‘over-ripe’, I just need to find the right opportunity to bring him up.

    I say all of that with the caveat that I prefer to use entry-level slides to extend contracts. I believe Bouchard’s contract can slide 1 yr.

  13. OriginalPouzar says:

    Yes, Bouchard’s signing age is 18 so his contract can slide twice – if he doesn’t play 10 NHL games next season, it slides one more year.

  14. ArmchairGM says:

    YKOil: Following the current slow-play timeline:

    Jones can take Gravels spot right off the top

    I’d rather see Lagesson take the 7D spot right out of training camp. Jones is a more material(*tm) prospect, I don’t want him sitting in the press box most games, I want him playing 1st pairing minutes every night in the AHL.

  15. ArmchairGM says:

    jp:And agreed it’s too bad the trio didn’t get more of a chance, but I’m unclear how you (seem to be) concluding Lucic/McDavid = bad while McDavid/JP = good from this. Your numbers clearly show that each player (with McDavid) suffered without the other, though for different reasons.

    I guess my comments in this section were poorly written, I only meant that McDavid-JP was a BETTER combo than Lucic-McDavid for goal differential, not that the latter one was a bad.

    As for the trio, Lucic went cold at the beginning of 2018 and they got split up. I’m not sure why McLellan never went back to it, but then there’s a lot of things TMac did that I’ll probably never understand.

    jp:
    Puljujarvi’s most common linemates for his career are:
    Lucic 670 min
    McDavid 407
    Nuge 399
    Strome 307
    Khaira 293
    Draisaitl 283
    Caggiula 163
    Maroon 154
    Kassian 83
    Pouliot 79
    Rieder 73
    Letestu 64
    Slepyshev 64
    Brodziak 51
    Cave 34

    I don’t know where your cutoff for NHL player is, but JP has had pretty damn solid linemates basically always.

    Again, I was unclear. I was referring to this year with that comment; Puljujarvi’s linemates were:

    RNH 241
    Khaira 156 – 3 goals all year
    Lucic 126 – couldn’t piss a drop
    Caggiula 82 – tweener unless with high skill
    Draisaitl 74 – terrible start to the season
    Rieder 73 – couldn’t piss a drop
    Strome 68 – couldn’t piss a drop
    McDavid 66
    Brodziak 52 – AHL
    Cave 34 – AHL
    Malone 23 – AHL
    Spooner 22 – AHL
    … Rattie, Russell, Yamamoto, Gambardella, Zykov, etc.

    Not an astute list of players, to be sure. I count just 2 players who were producing at a top-6 level when Puljujarvi was playing with them: McDavid and Nugent-Hopkins.

  16. OriginalPouzar says:

    ArmchairGM: I’d rather see Lagesson take the 7D spot right out of training camp. Jones is a more material(*tm) prospect, I don’t want him sitting in the press box most games, I want him playing 1st pairing minutes every night in the AHL.

    I would put Lagesson right up there with Jones – he’s just as material of a prospect in my mind and shoudn’t be sitting any more than Jones.

    They are partners and the 1st pairing in Bakersfield.

  17. Professor Q says:

    godot10: That is NOT how good development organizations do it.

    They start a player at a level they are fairly certain he will succeed.When he masters that level, they move him up.

    Throwing a child in the deep end is not a good way to them them to swim.

    As much as I’d want to see Bouchard in the AHL, partly to see what he can do with the other prospects for an extended amount of time, as well as sliding the contract to reduce cap issues for another year, the thought keeps popping in my head that he’s having a Werenski style of development path (plays Draft +1 on pre-drafted team, then plays AHL playoffs, then starts the next season on NHL team with a Calder performance).

    Werenski isn’t the only one, but is the one who is recent and keeps popping to mind. We even have a Jones to partner up with him!

    Hopefully, he wins both Calders, one this year and the other next year.

  18. jp says:

    ArmchairGM: I guess my comments in this section were poorly written, I only meant that McDavid-JP was a BETTER combo than Lucic-McDavid for goal differential, not that the latter one was a bad.

    As for the trio, Lucic went cold at the beginning of 2018 and they got split up. I’m not sure why McLellan never went back to it, but then there’s a lot of things TMac did that I’ll probably never understand.

    Fair enough. Though I guess I’m not sure that’s even true. Your quoted numbers show that McDavid-Puljujarvi (no Lucic) have been +0.39 G/60 (+1 in 155 min) while Lucic-McDavid (no JP) have been +0.34 (+4 in 717 min). Basically identical. The overall McDavid-JP numbers are only better than Lucic-McDavid’s because the time all 3 were together makes up a greater proportion of JP’s minutes than Lucic’s.

    ArmchairGM:
    Again, I was unclear. I was referring to this year with that comment; Puljujarvi’s linemates were:

    RNH 241
    Khaira 156 – 3 goals all year
    Lucic 126 – couldn’t piss a drop
    Caggiula 82 – tweener unless with high skill
    Draisaitl 74 – terrible start to the season
    Rieder 73 – couldn’t piss a drop
    Strome 68 – couldn’t piss a drop
    McDavid 66
    Brodziak 52 – AHL
    Cave 34 – AHL
    Malone 23 – AHL
    Spooner 22 – AHL
    … Rattie, Russell, Yamamoto, Gambardella, Zykov, etc.

    Not an astute list of players, to be sure. I count just 2 players who were producing at a top-6 level when Puljujarvi was playing with them: McDavid and Nugent-Hopkins.

    Yes, no question Puljujarvi’s linemates this past year were nothing special. And for almost the first time he actually got relegated to playing with the likes of Cave and Brodziak for a bit.

    In terms of top 6 players though, the Oilers really only had 3, period. It’s difficult for me to feel like JP was slighted when he still played more than half of his minutes this season with one of RNH, Draisaitl or McDavid as his C.

    All that said, I do agree with you that revisiting McDavid-JP is a solid move going forward. I hope the young man remains an Oiler, can get things figured out, and becomes an answer to one the Oilers questions in 2019-20.

  19. godot10 says:

    OriginalPouzar: Honest question: Would 12–15 AHL playoff games check that box off (assuming he shows he doesn’t need the shelter and ends up playing significant minutes and being a plus player)?

    Do you seriously think that he is going to play higher than 3rd pairing protected minutes in the AHL in the playoffs? Do you think he is going to climb over six D in ten games and be able to defend at a first pairing level in the AHL?

    You are not doing a young D any favours if you bring him to the NHL before he is able to defend at an NHL level.

  20. ArmchairGM says:

    OriginalPouzar: I would put Lagesson right up there with Jones – he’s just as material of a prospect in my mind and shoudn’t be sitting any more than Jones.

    They are partners and the 1st pairing in Bakersfield.

    Their numbers appear pretty even (I’d give Jones the edge) but Jones is nearly 1.5 years younger. That means his ceiling is higher, which means (at least to me) that he’s the more material prospect.

  21. Lowetide says:

    For The Athletic: Is this the season the Oilers take the plunge and draft a USHL player in the first round?

    https://theathletic.com/941104/2019/04/25/lowetide-is-this-the-season-the-oilers-take-the-plunge-and-draft-a-ushl-player-in-the-first-round/

  22. ArmchairGM says:

    Lowetide:
    For The Athletic: Is this the season the Oilers take the plunge and draft a USHL player in the first round?

    https://theathletic.com/941104/2019/04/25/lowetide-is-this-the-season-the-oilers-take-the-plunge-and-draft-a-ushl-player-in-the-first-round/

    Yes.

  23. OriginalPouzar says:

    godot10: Do you seriously think that he is going to play higher than 3rd pairing protected minutes in the AHL in the playoffs?Do you think he is going to climb over six D in ten games and be able to defend at a first pairing level in the AHL?

    You are not doing a young D any favours if you bring him to the NHL before he is able to defend at an NHL level.

    Who knows how Jay W. will use him if he plays well at 5 on 5. For all we know Bear gets hurt or re-aggravates the inury that has had him in and out of the lineup all year and Bouchard moves up to play 2nd pairing.

    We don’t know how he can defend at the AHL level – that’s what we are hoping to find out.

  24. OriginalPouzar says:

    ArmchairGM: Their numbers appear pretty even (I’d give Jones the edge) but Jones is nearly 1.5 years younger. That means his ceiling is higher, which means (at least to me) that he’s the more material prospect.

    I don’t necessarily think that means his ceiling is higher. I also wouldn’t compare their numbers as they are different types of defenders (and, on that note, if you are talking offensive numbers then the fact that they are close to even props Lagesson up more as Jones’ calling card is more offence and puck moving than Lagesson).

    I feel they both are essentially at the same level of NHL readiness – from what I’ve seen.

    Jones likely has the higher ceiling as far as where in the lineup he can play, I’ll give you that but I wouldn’t be surprised if Lagesson develops in to a solid 2LD – our very own Robyn Regher!

  25. Kmart99 says:

    I’d like to see the Oilers buy low, and make a move to trade for Kadri. The atmosphere around him in Toronto right now is clearly bad, and lately players where “attitude” or controversy surround someone has been leading to one sided trades. Hoffman, Kessell, Hall, Evander Kane, Duchene(to Ottawa), PK Subban… to name a few.

    I don’t doubt for a second that Kadri could be had for a more than reasonable price.

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