Mustang Sally

by Lowetide

The Edmonton Oilers shopped the (available) world for secondary scoring one year ago, finally uncovering some offense via a trade with the Vancouver Canucks. Samwise has a handsome contract and that makes his situation complicated. Does he bring enough to the bottom six to stick around, despite the cost?

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 OFFER IS HERE!

  • New Lowetide: NHL Combine brings Oilers dual problems into focus for Ken Holland
  • New Lowetide: Analyzing the Oilers roster to see which players fit Dave Tippett’s ‘aggressive, fast team’ approach
  • New Daniel Nugent-Bowman: Dave Tippett’s coaching philosophy, how he relays information to his players and why information is king
  • Lowetide: What will Ken Holland see in Evan Bouchard?
  • Lowetide: Does Oilers’ signing of Joakim Nygard signal a measured approach to summer 2019?
  • Lowetide: Dave Tippett’s roster deployment in Arizona and what it might mean for the Oilers
  • Jonathan Willis: Why Ken Holland’s worst years in Detroit tell us the most about how he’ll fare in Edmonton
  • Jonathan Willis: Three offseason scenarios and how each one would affect the Oilers salary cap
  • Lowetide: Examining the Oilers’ goaltending options in free agency.
  • Lowetide: Ken Holland’s Oilers could go the high octane procurement route but will need a driver
  • Lowetide: How much can Connor Brown help the Oilers?
  • Lowetide: Dmitri Samorukov is off to the Memorial Cup and is the Oilers’ fastest rising prospect
  • Jonathan Willis: Craig MacTavish leaves the Oilers, signalling the first major front office change under Ken Holland
  • Lowetide: What kind of coach should Ken Holland hire for the Oilers?
  • Jonathan Willis: Every Oilers AHL prospect, rated by how close they are to the NHL
  • Jonathan Willis: A resurgent Andrej Sekera gives the Oilers much-needed defensive options
  • Lowetide: Is Joe Gambardella destined to become the Oilers’ next Fernando Pisani?
  • Daniel Nugent-Bowman: Protector, supporter, confidant: Connor McDavid’s mom, Kelly, is his off-ice rock through good times and bad
  • Lowetide: An offseason plan for Ken Holland to remodel the Oilers roster.
  • Daniel Nugent-Bowman: Ken Holland steadfast that buck stops with him as new Oilers GM.
  • Lowetide: How will Ken Holland proceed in Year 1 as Oilers general manager?
  • Jonathan Willis: What does the arrival of Ken Holland mean for the Oilers coaching search?
  • Daniel Nugent-Bowman: Prioritizing the roster issues that await Ken Holland in Edmonton.
  • Lowetide: Ken Holland’s procurement list for his rumored move to Edmonton will include front-office personnel
  • Jonathan Willis: A Milan Lucic trade is at the top of the to-do list for the Oilers’ next GM.

SAM GAGNER

Yesterday we looked at Jujhar Khaira and decided he was worthy of returning in 2019-20 inside the bottom-six forwards. Today it’s Sam Gagner. We are looking for players who can: PK, score at 5-on-5, play more than one position, forecheck, win battles and play with an edge. 

Gagner can score at 5-on-5, his 1.62 total last season for two teams has him close to second-line production (there are 186 forwards at any given time who are top-six, Gagner was No. 196 at 5-on-5 points per 60. He’s a bona fide scorer in the discipline). Gags can also score on the power play, a luxury for a bottom-six forward.

Gagner is not a great center, but his faceoff percentage suggests he might be able to help on strong-side faceoffs. He remains a fine passer and has great vision.

At $3.15 million he is overpriced for the role he’ll play, but I think the offensive element he brings makes Sam a worthwhile roster player. A buyout saves $2.1 million this coming season. My vote is to keep him. You?

NIKITA ZAITSEV

His contract is a major stumbling block, but also an opportunity. If the Oilers could send Kris Russell to Toronto and take on Zaitsev’s deal with no retention, surely an attractive piece would also slide west? Zaitsev’s contract is $4.5 million times five more years, so the Oilers are a goner (they can’t take on that kind of cap for so many years), especially considering Bouchard and others are on the way. So, it’s a no-go for Edmonton. Just for kicks, what does Zaitsev look like using the Puck IQ numbers?

He doesn’t bring much offense, but did have a strong PP campaign in 2016-17. Moves the puck well, skates well, never skated under 20 minutes per game in any season. Here are the Leafs numbers from a year ago:

This is sorted by DFF Rel, Zaitsev struggled in the role this season but still played more (as a percentage) than anyone but Rielly. Toronto’s left side (assuming it is Rielly, Muzzin and Dermott) looks damned good. To bring it back to Edmonton, in terms of minutes versus elites and DFF% Rel, Zaitsev is a reasonable match for Adam Larsson’s season:

JAY WOODCROFT

Every day that passes without an announcement that Jay Woodcroft will return to Bakersfield is another nail in my heart. I’m going to suggest close to 10 prospects spiked under Woodcroft in his one Condors season, heaven help the poor bastard who has to follow him.

A coach with Dave Tippett’s resume is going to have a long list of people who he knows, we’ve heard Hakstol and Lamb as candidates before. It’s uncertain when we’ll finally get the news but with the draft and free agency ahead, suspect it can wait until summer.

HERE COMES THE SUN

My list is complete, I promised a top 100 but there are 120 names on my final list. The USHL and WHL dominate, a rare off year for the OHL but still plenty of talent from the Ontario league. It’ll be up tomorrow morning (I always publish final final June 1) and there’s a mock draft included with reasons for selections. One thing we don’t know: How much influence Ken Holland will have on the final selections.

I like Noel Hoefenmayer from this list, he’s a player my numbers liked in his draft year. I also like Jocktan Chainey, mostly because you can substitute his name for the title in this song.

LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE

At 10 this morning, TSN1260, we kickstart the weekend under blue skies and sunshine! I promise never to take either for granted again. At 10:20, Steve Lansky joins us from BigMouthSports to talk Raptors and SCF. At 10:45, Frank Seravalli will be live with his weekly segment, SCF, Oilers way forward and trade rumors. Matt Iwanyk talks Raptors, CFL and how he can help you be a better you, at 11:05! 10-1260 text @Lowetide on twitter. Talk soon!

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Jethro Tull

“Well, having a bunch of Ryans didn’t work. How about we get some Daves?”

OilersFuture

Could the Oiler’s run Gagner as a soft minutes offensive line with the kids? I think it was Woodyguy who mentioned that perhaps Sammy could play in a bottom six center role.

The last time that Gagner played center semi-regularly was with CBJ. Gagner formed a line with Sedlak & Hartnell. Sedlak & Gagner split time at center from what I could see. Their CF%As a line in 58 GP they had 53.91% CF & 66.67 GF% in over 280 (5on5) minutes played together per natural statrick.

If Gagner could be the vet presence between Benson and Puljujarvi and matched up against 3rd/4th lines.
If sheltered they could generate enough offense to hide their probable defensive mistakes.
This could be the double shift line for Drai, McDavid & Nuge for line matching. Which would also benefit Benson & JP some time with the big boys.

Reja

Never is there any mention of the Goaltending coach all three Talbot Kosh Brossoit down on their knees way to often (is it coached) all three get beat up high both sides at high rates when between the pipes for the Oil. It’s like the goaltending coach has diplomatic immunity where his techniques and name can and will never be mentioned.

OriginalPouzar

There should be no buyouts of any player in my opinion. Lets not extend term with dead cap hits.

Also, saving $2.1M but then needing to replace a middle six player – there will be no ultimate cost savings.

Sam’s 5 on 5 scoring rate surprised me and I note its increased to 1.76 P/60 as an Oiler – his most common linemate was Nuge but then Cave, Reider, Lucic, Khaira.

I know he is slow but there is a chance he can fill in as a top 6 RW for stints – he produced as 2nd line rates with some bottom 6 linemates.

He loves being an Oiler and “wants to be here”.

He’s got offensive IQ and can play on the PP.

He’s got his flaws and is likely a bit overpaid but he’s a keeper for now and there is a chance he actually provides value for that contract.

OriginalPouzar

LT, I got worried when you started talking about Zaitsev as an opportunity but then you basically laid out my thoughts

I honestly don’t know if he is better than Russell or not or more able to handle the Oilers 2RD spot. What I do know is that he’s another player with a bloated contract that underperforms his cap hit which is the exact opposite of what this team needs. Now Russell is the same so swapping these types of contracts could have merit but 5 years makes it a non-starter. It makes it a non-starter even when not taking in to account the player would very likely be passed by multiple players in the next few years.

YKOil

Jethro Tull:
“Well, having a bunch of Ryans didn’t work. How about we get some Daves?”

These are the Daves I know I know…

Optimism is like heroin

OriginalPouzar:
LT, I got worried when you started talking aboutZaitsev as an opportunity but then you basically laid out my thoughts

I honestly don’t know if he is better than Russell or not or more able to handle the Oilers 2RD spot.What I do know is that he’s another player with a bloated contract that underperforms his cap hit which is the exact opposite of what this team needs.Now Russell is the same so swapping these types of contracts could have merit but 5 years makes it a non-starter. It makes it a non-starter even when not taking in to account the player would very likely be passed by multiple players in the next few years.

and if the sweetner for this deal was Kappanen? Does that make it more palatable?

OriginalPouzar

Every day there is no announcement on Woody is also a day that he isn’t announced as heading back to LA which is a good thing.

I think he’ll be back in Bakersfield and Yawney will be joining T-Mac in LA.

YKOil

If you are paying $3m a year for Zaitsev, running him 2nd pair and he is playing with someone who complements his play… then you are doing okay.

To be locked in for a whack of years, paying more than you should on each one and STILL looking for someone he can play with… nope.

Even were I running a team light on d-men with loads of Cap to spare, I wouldn’t be offering more than a 3rd rounder for Zaitsev.

Greenberg

If we picked up Zaitzev, the Leafs fans wouldn’t stop laughing at us for years. Last season it was a battle between him (results for dollars spent) and Hainsey (so slow and old) every game to see which one had the worse review.

dustrock

ALL YOU WANT TO DO IS RIDE AROUND SALLY, RIDE, SALLY, RIDE

JJS

OriginalPouzar:
There should be no buyouts of any player in my opinion.Lets not extend term with dead cap hits.

Also, saving $2.1M but then needing to replace a middle six player – there will be no ultimate cost savings.

Sam’s 5 on 5 scoring rate surprised me and I note its increased to 1.76 P/60 as an Oiler – his most common linemate was Nuge but then Cave, Reider, Lucic, Khaira.

I know he is slow but there is a chance he can fill in as a top 6 RW for stints – he produced as 2nd line rates with some bottom 6 linemates.

He loves being an Oiler and “wants to be here”.

He’s got offensive IQ and can play on the PP.

He’s got his flaws and is likely a bit overpaid but he’s a keeper for now and there is a chance he actually provides value for that contract.

It works if the talent coming in exceeds the talent being bought out and the money is similar over the term of the buy out.

If there is a player that brings considerably more to the table than Samwise, and can be acquired for a lower cap hit (i.e. the combined hit of buyout and new contract are somewhat equal), it absolutely makes sense.

Also, if the new talent has room to grow with the team, make the deal.

Despite being a decent fit for the time being, Sam will likely not be part of the team past this season.

But otherwise, I agree with your comments

John Chambers

How good is Zaitsev?

Should we have traded Taylor Hall for him?

Yeti

When you gonna slow your Jocktan down?

oilersfan

What if the leafs retained half in Zaitsev would he be a decent second pair then?

texmex

I’ll puke if LA help the LEafs get out of cap trouble.

Pierre LeBrun
@PierreVLeBrun
·
8m
Hearing the Leafs and Kings have talked about a potential Patrick Marleau trade. Obviously there’s the Todd McLellan connection there for Marleau so he might waive. But as of now I don’t think the two teams have found a fit. Kings would need to unload a contract or two as well…

Hankster

That’s not enough considering how much is being talked about Zaitsev. Hall + Ebs might get you Zaitsev and Brown who can apparently walk on water.

The teams that the Oilers should target are Winnipeg, Tampa and Vegas given their need to fit in their upcoming signings. Ehlers, Miller, etc are players who can actually help this team. Granted have to clear some cap space.

I’m more interested to see where Karlson and Duchene lands as their destined teams might need to move some of their players.

Summer’s almost here so what else is there to ground hog day us…

John Chambers:
How good is Zaitsev?

Should we have traded Taylor Hall for him?

Rondo

If Hughes, Kakko, Byram, Turcotte, Cozens, and Dach are gone, who will Oilers pick at # 8?

Off the board picks at #8 Newhook Broberg

Death By Misadventure

Rondo:
Hughes,Kakko, Byram, Turcotte, Cozens, and Dach are gone who will Oilers pick at # 8?

Krebs

incubo_nero

texmex:
I’ll puke if LA help the LEafs get out of cap trouble.

Pierre LeBrun
@PierreVLeBrun
·
8m
Hearing the Leafs and Kings have talked about a potential Patrick Marleau trade. Obviously there’s the Todd McLellan connection there for Marleau so he might waive. But as of now I don’t think the two teams have found a fit. Kings would need to unload a contract or two as well…

Maybe Toffoli shakes loose but he might just be the piece going the other way

Kinger_Oil.redux

OilersFuture,

– I really think that counting on Sam for anything next year is a lot.

– He was out of Hockey: and because of his pedigree (2nd generation player), and by all accounts just an awesome dude, Vancouver did him a favor and lent him to the Marlies so he could be close to his family. He’s too slow, doesn’t have a shot, gets moved off the puck.

– He’s had a few second opinions. So I cheer for him, but he’s just an another expensive vet who got his final contract that he deserves good for him.

– The most likely scenario by far is what has happened to him last few years and teams: he will get every chance to start given his contract, and just being an awesome guy that coaches and teammates like, but he will get passed by other players who do more, and will be sent down.

– It’s really hard to acquire replacement hockey players: Gagner hasn’t been one for a few years…

GMB3

What would you guys be willing to give up to get Jason Zucker from Minnesota?

Cape Breton Oilers 4EVR

It’s only one more year for Gagner. You can play him all over the lineup. He’s a veteran. Decent PP guy. Why buy him out and then need to replace him for less than a million to make it feasable? Just keep him, and maybe flip him at the trade deadline for even a 4th or 5th round pick? Better than having him on the cap for around a million for the next 2 years to not play for us.

I suspect if Chia was still here, he’d get bought out. Hopefully Holland thinks about how transactions affect the team in the present and down the road.

Bag of Pucks

Death By Misadventure: Krebs

Dick Panik & Krebs? I’d avoid that locker room.

Kinger_Oil.redux

Cape Breton Oilers 4EVR,

– Yeah buying him out is crazy-talk (unless you want to get into playoffs at all cost, and think you can do more with the savings short-term and accept a lower DCF on future cap

– Let him play some games in the bigs, be a good presence in locker, get surpassed by the Marody’s, Jars, Benson or not: that’s how good hockey teams work.

Unfriendly Regional Arachnid Individual

GMB3,

2020 1st, Puljujarvi and maybe try to toss some salary in there. Given how much other teams seem to be offering (Bennet & Frolik), I could maybe start lower, but I’d be willing to work my way up to around there.

gimme shelter

I did a scan of those drafted players that needed to be signed. I checked Detroit because that is where ken is from. 2017 must have been a bad year. Two 3rd picks were not signed. I do not know a lot of these players but I will throw out my general rule. Players from rounds 5-7 that are not signed,O.K the scouts made a mistake. You notice that is where the majority are.But when you are at round three and you miss,something else is the problem.Pittsburgh missed with a round 2 .That could be a one time thing. I am not basing this on any scientific,stats or whatever. It just does not look good.

LadiesloveSmid

Rondo:
If Hughes,Kakko, Byram, Turcotte, Cozens, and Dach are gone, who will Oilers pick at # 8?

Zegras

dustrock

Rondo:
If Hughes,Kakko, Byram, Turcotte, Cozens, and Dach are gone, who will Oilers pick at # 8?

Probably Krebs.

Although with Holland aboard, could be Zegras or Caufield.

texmex

Jason Gregor
@JasonGregor
·
39s
The #Oilers have parted ways with assistant coaches Trent Yawney and Manny Vivieros.

Kinger_Oil.redux

texmex:
Jason Gregor
@JasonGregor
·
39s
The #Oilers have parted ways with assistant coaches Trent Yawney and Manny Vivieros.

– I just went onto the Oil web site: the extent of authority being explicitly laid out made me laugh: Just in case anyone was wondering, they mean bidness now: “Holland will oversee all hockey operations for the Edmonton Oilers with full autonomy, reporting directly to OEG CEO Bob Nicholson.

– We are talking Full.

CrazyCoach

Jethro Tull:
“Well, having a bunch of Ryans didn’t work. How about we get some Daves?”

Then we can revive this classic ditty! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8nvzEqsZIGo

digger50

Rondo:
If Hughes,Kakko, Byram, Turcotte, Cozens, and Dach are gone, who will Oilers pick at # 8?

I would package the #8 expansion exempt draft pick plus proven third pair RD Benning, put a bow around them and go shopping.

Cap team that wants asset out, and a decent low cost defenceman.

That should be reasonable Kapenen trade.

CrazyCoach

texmex: The #Oilers have parted ways with assistant coaches Trent Yawney and Manny Vivieros.

I think it was inevitable. The new head coach will want his own guys, so I wouldn’t be surprised if more changes are coming.

Question is, who replaces those guys? I’ve heard Dave Hakstol, Mark Lamb, and Jimmy Playfair as names tossed around.

digger50

The young d men are coming
Some young wingers are coming

The depth will arrive and can be subsidized with value veterans.

But no goalie so assets have to go towards a goalie.

And we need to boost the core. Yes we could use a #8 in the pipeline, but we need a talented 22 year old top line player today. This thing can be turned around in a hurry.

GMB3

silasbengtsson:
GMB3,

2020 1st, Puljujarvi and maybe try to toss some salary in there. Given how much other teams seem to be offering (Bennet & Frolik), I could maybe start lower, but I’d be willing to work my way up to around there.

</blockquote
He would be a material add to the roster. I was thinking JP out, but I’m not sure if that’s enough to get it done.

For whatever JP turns into as a player, Zucker would make the team immediately more competitive and his fancy stats suggest he creates a lot of opportunities in the offensive zone and has some solid defensive numbers too.

texmex

Jason Gregor
@JasonGregor
·
47s
Also hearing Jay Woodcroft will stay in Bakersfield. He really enjoyed being a HC and running the bench. #Oilers

Kinger_Oil.redux

texmex:
Jason Gregor
@JasonGregor
·
47s
Also hearing Jay Woodcroft will stay in Bakersfield. He really enjoyed being a HC and running the bench. #Oilers

– I wonder if the 3 years to Tippet is a “nod” to Woodcroft having the opportunity to be head coach someday? Wouldnt’ that be something….

Oilman99

Optimism is like heroin: and if the sweetner for this deal was Kappanen?Does that make it more palatable?

Zaitsev’s contract size and tenure make him a non-issue. The team is in enough cap-hell already, plus they are going to need the room to resign Nurse next year. The team has a resource of young d-men to draw on with as good or better abilities at a fraction of the price.

who

Okay.. Back to ways to dispose of Lucic.
Let’s just say you had 2 options to move him.
Option 1 is to package him with one, or even two, of Benning/Bear/Lagesson. You retain 3 million on Lucic and get back a 7th round pick.
Option 2 is to package him with Caleb Jones. You retain nothing on Lucic and get back a 7th round pick.
Which option do you prefer?

CrazyCoach

who: Option 1 is to package him with one, or even two, of Benning/Bear/Lagesson. You retain 3 million on Lucic and get back a 7th round pick.
Option 2 is to package him with Caleb Jones. You retain nothing on Lucic and get back a 7th round pick.
Which option do you prefer?

I think I would go for option 1 with Benning.

The upside on Jones is tremendous.

N64

Kinger_Oil.redux: – I just went onto the Oil web site

Comparing the coach/mgmt page to last fall:

OUT: chia. mact, sutter, tmc, yawney, viveros

IN: holland, tippet, hitchcock (advisor). No analytics guy added yet at this level.

STILL THERE: kretzky, scott, howson, green, gulutzan plus goalie, video and skating coaches.

who

CrazyCoach: I think I would go for option 1 with Benning.

The upside on Jones is tremendous.

Fair enough. Do you think either scenario is realistic?
My reasoning on Jones is that maybe Samarukov will be just as good. And you have 2 veteran lefties in Sekera and Russell to hold the fort until Samarukov gets to where Jones is now.

LadiesloveSmid

GMB3:
What would you guys be willing to give up to get Jason Zucker from Minnesota?

Need to shed some cap but Pulju or Yamamoto +

OriginalPouzar

It was basically a foregone conclusion that (a) Yawney was going to head to LA to join McLellan and (b) Gully was going to stick around.

Viverios was a bit of an unknown, I was hoping he would stay and be given a real role this coming season but its not surprising that he is moving on.

I am hopeful that Yawney to LA (assuming it does happen) helps keep Woodcroft in Bakersfield – still worried about him heading to LA

N64

another departure yesterday on the communication side:

https://edmontonsun.com/sports/hockey/nhl/edmonton-oilers/jones-oilers-all-star-broadcast-director-moving-on-after-decades-working-with-nhl-club

Friedman joked today about Staufer’s cushy job. Staufer joked about it potentially being available.

Scungilli Slushy

OilersFuture:
Could the Oiler’s run Gagner as a soft minutes offensive line with the kids?I think it was Woodyguy who mentioned that perhaps Sammy could play in a bottom six center role.

The last time that Gagner played center semi-regularly was with CBJ.Gagner formed a line with Sedlak & Hartnell.Sedlak & Gagner split time at center from what I could see.Their CF%As a line in 58 GP they had 53.91% CF & 66.67 GF% in over 280 (5on5) minutesplayed together per natural statrick.

If Gagner could be the vet presence between Benson and Puljujarvi and matched up against 3rd/4th lines.
If sheltered they could generate enough offense to hide their probable defensive mistakes.
This could be the double shift line for Drai, McDavid & Nuge for line matching.Which would also benefit Benson & JP some time with the big boys.

Somebody has to be able to defend properly. Gagner’s strength is his offensive ability. He’s a below average skater, on the smaller side, non-physical, not great on the boards, not great at faceoffs, and he’s not consistent defensively, all of which are why he almost lost his career.

Strong teams don’t have a weak bottom 6 anymore. Gagner with solid experienced wingers as he had in Columbus might work, or a solid centre and he plays RW. With a rookie and a struggling young guy they wouldn’t last long as a line IMO.

They should have kept Strome. He is exactly what they need, a capable 3 RC. He probably could carry Benson and JP.

Rich M

texmex:
Jason Gregor
@JasonGregor
·
47s
Also hearing Jay Woodcroft will stay in Bakersfield. He really enjoyed being a HC and running the bench. #Oilers

This is good news.

OriginalPouzar

Haven’t read through the comments yet so this may be old news but Gregor is reporting that Woody will be staying in Bakersfield – he enjoyed being a head coach and running the bench.

Munny

texmex:
Jason Gregor
@JasonGregor
·
47s
Also hearing Jay Woodcroft will stay in Bakersfield. He really enjoyed being a HC and running the bench. #Oilers

Great news!