Like a Hurricane

One of the things Ken Holland said after arriving in Edmonton surrounded improving the bottom-six forwards. Two of his moves, adding Markus Granlund and Josh Archibald, are designed to shore up that area of the roster. Both men bring some offense and utility. Holland needs a third-line center and a scoring winger. He isn’t done. Right?

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, here’s an incredible Offer!

  • New Daniel Nugent-Bowman: Potential free-agent options for the Oilers in 2020
  • New Jonathan Willis: Which Oilers defencemen can make an outlet pass?
  • New Kent Wilson and Lowetide: Why the Flames and Oilers would (and wouldn’t) trade Sam Bennett for Jesse Puljujarvi
  • New Lowetide: Looking ahead to Oilers training camp: 35 players for 23 jobs
  • New Jonathan Willis: What the Oilers’ 2020 cap situation suggests about Ken Holland’s master plan.
  • New Daniel Nugent-Bowman: With free agency all but over, Oilers’ Ken Holland has tough work ahead on the trade front
  • Jonathan Willis: Josh Archibald won’t fix the Oilers’ biggest problems, but he’ll help with some key issues.
  • Lowetide: Is there anyone left in free agency who can help the Oilers?
  • Lowetide: Will the 2019-20 Bakersfield Condors be the Oilers’ best minor-league team ever?
  • Daniel Nugent-Bowman: The Oilers have a new amateur scouting director. What can we learn from Tyler Wright’s track record at the draft?
  • Lowetide: The Oilers are finally recovering from the wayward 2014 Draft
  • Lowetide: Projecting Darnell Nurse’s next contract and possible trades
  • Daniel Nugent-Bowman: A missing mom, aching feet and looking for Kevin Lowe: A week in the life of Oilers prospect Raphael Lavoie
  • Lowetide: What to do when Connor McDavid rests: The Oilers’ ideal No. 2 line for 2019-20
  • Lowetide: Adding a scorer will be Ken Holland’s first big move as Oilers GM
  • Daniel Nugent-Bowman: What the Oilers’ depth chart looks like now and where they go from here
  • Jonathan Willis: How often do goalies like the Oilers’ Mike Smith rebound?
  • Lowetide: Ken Holland’s roster moves clear the way for Oilers top prospects Tyler Benson and Kailer Yamamoto.
  • Jonathan Willis: Oilers GM Ken Holland promises long-term rewards for an approach light on short-term improvements
  • Daniel Nugent-Bowman: Trade market now most likely place for Oilers to find scoring winger
  • Daniel Nugent-Bowman: ‘He comes as advertised’: Philip Broberg’s skating makes him development camp standout for Oilers
  • Daniel Nugent-Bowman: Oilers plan to skew younger on defence could open the door for Evan Bouchard, Dmitri Samorukov
  • Lowetide: Oilers top 20 prospects summer 2019.
  • Lowetide: Are these Jesse Puljujarvi’s final days with the Edmonton Oilers?
  • Daniel Nugent-Bowman: Ranking the Oilers’ trade assets from the high-priced diamonds to those needing fresh starts
  • Lowetide: Oilers GM Ken Holland is shopping for 20-goal scorers on a budget. What will he find?

COYOTES 2016-17 FORWARDS

Dave Tippett’s final Coyotes team didn’t have a lot of scoring power up front and there weren’t many useful veterans. He ran his best young offensive forward (Domi) with his best center and scoring winger (Hanzal and Vrbata). Then he cobbled together something resembling a checking line (Martinook trio) and ran what was left on the 2 and 4 lines. His most successful line was Perlini-Dvorak-Doan, outscoring opponents 12-6 in 292 minutes. What is the Oilers equivalent of Perlini-Dvorak-Doan?

OILERS 2018-19 FORWARDS

Tippett’s top line in Edmonton should be able to outscore opponents this season, but the 2-4 lines are going to be a challenge. I’ve put together a checking line (sans center) for the No. 3 group and a fourth line that should be able to outscore the soft parade. Nuge is an orphan again. I’m fascinated to see how Tippett runs his lines. Note: I’m not running Gagner on the Nuge line because I don’t like Samwise against elites 35-40 percent of the time. He should be a more productive player on the No. 4 line imo.

A quick note on Josh Archibald. I think Tippett will use him up and down the order, but am hopeful the team finds a No. 3 center who can run with him. If the duo can outscore at five-on-five and PK, that’s a helluva value for a $1 million winger.

It’s 70 percent yes after 4,000 votes, I think it’ll finish around that number. Twitter isn’t the best gauge but it does give us an indication of the direction of the fan base.

BENSON VERSUS LUCIC

This is a battle that is likely to be fought during the 2019-20 season. Odds favor Benson starting the year in Bakersfield, as new management and coaching staff talk up Lucic (“he’s in the best shape of his life!”). The long game favors the youngster. Let’s review the production of each man during the final 25 games of 2018-19:

Milan Lucic: 25, 1-5-6, 22 shots (NHL)

Tyler Benson: 25, 10-22-32, 63 shots (AHL)

Even if you cut the Benson numbers in half, there’s plenty of horsepower there. Holland and Tippett may plan to slow play the yutes, but they’re not going to be ridiculous about elevating men like Benson.

THE KIDS ON BLUE

I assume you read all of Jonathan Willis’ pieces, so recommending one seems a bit over the top. Still, his article on puck movers (here) is outstanding and a must read. If you look at the depth charts for left and right defense (here), and remember Tippett took Chychrun for his NHL roster while he was still a child, suddenly training camp becomes a lot more interesting.

LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE

Friday!! We kickstart the weekend at 10 this morning, TSN1260. Steve Lansky from BigMouthSports at 10:20 to talk media, live mic CFL and summer holidays. Matt Iwanyk will be live at 11:05 to talk about the Eskimos and The Open. 10-1260 text, @Lowetide on twitter.

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436 Responses to "Like a Hurricane"

« Older Comments
  1. Andy Dufresne says:

    401

  2. jtblack says:

    Andy Dufresne: Thats dark on an otherwise sunny day.

    Its just dawning on me now,

    The J is for Joe. Joe Black……………from Meet Joe Black……

    You are death incarnate !:

    (Put down the scicle, Im just messin with ya Couldnt resist given the tone and the moniker.)

    I get JACK BLACK a lot and of couse JOE BLACK.

    But I am a JAMES BLACK

  3. GordieHoweHatTrick says:

    There is always risk but this is a step in the right direction.
    The bottom six is better (addition by subtraction).
    And the top six has the potential to be better.

  4. GBandQ says:

    slopitch:
    You gotta wonder if the oilers are thinking of adding Maroon and moving Drai to RW.

    Bring in JP Pageau?

    Move Russell?

    Trade JP.

    If the over under on the Oilers remaining moves this summer was 1.5, what would u take? Id bet over.

    I’d rather Holland try to pry Pavel Buchnevich out of NYR. JP + something?

  5. jtblack says:

    jp: Maroon would be a good add for sure. I think I’d put him with Nuge (they were good together too) and leave McDavid’s line intact.

    Draisaitl-McDavid-Kassian
    Maroon-Nuge-Neal

    We might be calling Holland the magic man.

    It would open a lot if he could find a taker for Russell. I’d assume a cheaper vet D would be brought in then – 4 NHL D and a bunch of kids could go off the rails pretty quickly due to injury. Kronwall, Phaneuf, Hutton? There’s a few still out there that could handle the 4/5 slot I think.

    But Russell out and a D under $2M in would open up enough for a JP for JP+ trade (since Pageau is only 1 yr from UFA).

    i disagree. we dont need more slow players. Neal was the price you pay to rid of Lucic. a good bet. Dont bring in more slow players. Pattty had a poor yr outside of a decent playoffs.

    More speed pls

  6. jtblack says:

    GordieHoweHatTrick:
    There is always risk but this is a step in the right direction.
    The bottom six is better (addition by subtraction).
    And the top six has the potential to be better.

    +1

  7. Bulging Twine says:

    Interesting that they didn’t put in trade protection in case Lucic scores 21 or more and Neal gets 10 less? Hm? 🙂

  8. jp says:

    GordieHoweHatTrick:
    There is always risk but this is a step in the right direction.

    That’s the beauty of the Neal-Lucic deal. There is no risk (unless I suppose if Lucic can rebound to a 20G/40P player).

    1) Neal is far more likely (IMO) to rebound to a top 6 player than Lucic.
    2) If that doesn’t happen the Neal buyout is far far more forgiving than a Lucic buyout.

    As I see it there is no risk. It’s effectively 100% certain that James Neal (the player or the buyout) will be better for the Oilers than Milan Lucic would have been.

  9. jp says:

    jtblack: i disagree.we dont need more slow players. Neal was the price you pay to rid of Lucic. a good bet. Dont bring in more slow players.Pattty had a poor yr outside of a decent playoffs.

    More speed pls

    I hear you, but Maroon was a strong player for the Oilers. He was 59.6GF% with McDavid and 53.6GF% without. Speed is great, but Maroon got results. His year wasn’t that bad. I would definitely be open to bringing him back, especially given the price at this point in the summer.

  10. jtblack says:

    jp: That’s the beauty of the Neal-Lucic deal. There is no risk (unless I suppose if Lucic can rebound to a 20G/40P player).

    1) Neal is far more likely (IMO) to rebound to a top 6 player than Lucic.
    2) If that doesn’t happen the Neal buyout is far far more forgiving than a Lucic buyout.

    As I see it there is no risk. It’s effectively 100% certain that James Neal (the player or the buyout) will bebetter for the Oilers than Milan Lucic would have been.

    In KEN WE TRUST

  11. Well Oiled and Enthusiastic says:

    Andy Dufresne,

    How do I square this with the ‘culture change’ Milan was going to bring to the organization on the press day to announce him as Oiler. Thats a regrettable quote not the least of which is the shade thrown towards Connor.

  12. Oddspell says:

    Well Oiled and Enthusiastic:
    Andy Dufresne,

    How do I square this with the ‘culture change’ Milan was going to bring to the organization on the press day to announce him as Oiler. Thats a regrettable quote not the least of which is the shade thrown towards Connor.

    Either “Culture” is simply the aura of winning that is slowly worn from players who have been ground into losers by inept leaders… or culture is a buzzword that basically means “guys I like”.

  13. Well Oiled and Enthusiastic says:

    oilersfan,

    Isn’t it fair to look at this trade as signing a reclamation player (see Chiasson but with far better pedigree) for $500k/yr x term IF you assumed Lucic was a sunk cost (untradeable). You did potentially give up a third round pick, but you save a roster spot, create the ability to trade the contract, shorten term or reduce cap hit if bought out. Am I looking at this wrong? Feels better than having Lucic and signing Marleau.

  14. Dr. Taboggan says:

    Seems like a reasonable trade for both teams. Retention on Lucic makes him easier to trade next season. Neal is more likely to rebound, better buyout.

  15. Gerta Rauss says:

    Back of the napkin calculation shows the Oilers/Katz took on approx $7M in real dollars with the transaction today

  16. who says:

    Happily eating crow tonight. The untradeable player has been traded.
    Retaining 750k hurts a little but it’s a small price to pay. I’m betting the conditional 3rd doesn’t happen, but if it does, Oilers easily win the trade this year.
    I’m guessing Neal will be just as bad, or worse, than Lucic next year. AND IT JUST DOESN’T MATTER. Holland can buy him out next summer and have 3.3 million in cap space.
    Hard to believe some posters still won’t give Holland any credit but this was the move that had to be made. Lucic was 6 million of dead cap space for the next 4 yesrs. I think Holland looked at his year to year depth chart over that time and realized he was always going to struggle as long as that contract was on the books. Easily his biggest accomplishment so far, and honestly more than I was hoping for this summer.

  17. jtblack says:

    Ken has brought in a little bit more Talent and upgraded seem slightly overall but this is a 78 Point team but even then maybe there in 85 point team now at least have a chance.

    “You’re telling me there’s a chance”

  18. jeetz says:

    McDavid and Draisaitl can set the high tempo for 19-20min per game scoring 80 goals between them and RNH and Neal can put in 45-50 goals on the 2nd line between the 2 of them at 16-17 min per game. In a perfect world with current players:

    Kassian McDavid Draisaitl
    Puljujarvi RNH Neal
    Chaisson Granlund Achibibald/Hass
    Nygard Kharia Gagner/Jurco

    Man that looks so much better than last year. I honestly think that if some of these new forwards have a strong start we could trade Gagner. And if a couple rookie defensemen step up we can trade Russell freeing up a total of 7 plus million this season while getting some draft picks.

    Holland’s strategy is looking pretty good so far. We need a couple of his gambles to pay off though.

  19. rickithebear says:

    Since 05-06 to 18-19
    Top 10 LW evg season rank
    1 – Maroon 16-17 81gm 24 evg
    2 – Hall 15-16 82gm 22 evg
    4 – Hall 13-14 75gm 20 evg
    10 – Maroon 17-18 57gm 14 evg; played 17 gm in NJ for 3 evg.

    Have allways beat the drum for Maroon.
    He is a superior option for winger on Mcdavid line.
    But would his play take away from Draisaitl,s production
    or
    a perfect compliment to Draisaitl s new right side tight angle release.
    Mcdavid & Draisaitl were 24 evg each in 888 EVTOI this year.

    Over 154 games
    maroon w/
    Mcdavid 1392 29 evg
    Draisaitl 1138 24 Evg
    XXX – Mcdavid – Draisaitl
    Neal – RNH – Kassian
    XXX – XXX – granlund
    Would be 6 forwards with 1st line evg seasons by position in last 3 seasons.

    We sit with
    Chaisson LW/RW31 evg last 3 seasons @ wing 10.3333 evg per
    He was 1 evg shy of 1st line RW production.
    Archibald RW physical #12 PK forward in league
    with 17 evg 1237 EVTOI last 2 years.
    13.75 evg per 1000 EVTOI a 1st line pace.
    Gagner RW/C 22 evg in 2.3 season of games last 3 yr @ wing 9.5 evg per.
    Jurco
    Khaira #31 PK forward last year.
    Brodziak a DZ% eater.

    We need to run a physical presence when lucic is on the ice with Mcdavid.
    To me that screams Maroon.

    Would love to dump 1 of our rovers but Klefbom & Nurse need the opportunity to prove they can attack without abandoning their defensive responsibility which Holland, Tippett, Playfair want.

    Tippett was able to have OEL play a Def responsible game.
    Who he learned from a good HD dman group in Phoenix.
    Not top but all above average
    Aucoin
    Schlemko
    Rozival
    Klesla
    Michalek
    Yandle
    Which lead to 3 playoff seasons with
    202 ga
    224 ga
    206 ga

    In 12-13 his team yeilded a 131 goals a 222ga season pace.

    Next 4 years saw a move to a 3-1-1-1 sentric roster.
    231ga
    272ga
    245ga
    260ga
    Not his style of game.

    We shall see how Klefbom does.
    With the current insane wages for Dmen.
    An avg HD Klefbom @ 4.167M would be fine on the roster if he faces lower comp.

  20. SwedishPoster says:

    Holland’s strategy this summer is clearly to build carefully on hope and prayers for this season while opening up cap space for next years UFA crop/cap space casualities. His legacy as Oiler GM will come down to the 2020 summer spending being fruitful and not a bunch of anchor contracts.

    This season comes down to hope. I do believe there’s better hope in Neal actually doing something useful but the big win is likely the buyout structure. IF Neal can be a proper top 6 winger it’s a massive win but that if is even more massive than the possible win.
    If Lucic gone means a locker room issue gone that’s a good thing as well but when media starts leaking tyat type of stuff when a player has left/is about to leave after lauding his leadership all through his struggles the last couple of season I start to wonder if it’s just spin. The older captain comment is kind of a smoking gun though as it’s not exactly an endorsment of Connor’s leadership qualities. But that could just as likely be clumsy phrasing from Milan.

  21. London Jon says:

    The ‘Ken Holland doesn’t know what he’s doIng’ bandwagon has gone very quiet…

  22. London Jon says:

    Seems like neither player was happy where he was and limited shits were given.

    Neal is going to have a nice little rebound to prove himself, we get one good year out of him and then we buy him out.

    Lovely jubbly

  23. geowal says:

    I think it’s fair to say we’ll all be pretty happy if the Oilers send that pick over

  24. geowal says:

    Jethro Tull:
    Where were you when”the trade” happened?

    I was near Balls Creek Nova Scotia (seriously) for a wedding rehearsal (wife standing not me) when my phone started blowing up about the trade and I didn’t have enough service to get the details and see if I’d be happy about it.

    I’m happy!

  25. GordieHoweHatTrick says:

    jp: That’s the beauty of the Neal-Lucic deal. There is no risk (unless I suppose if Lucic can rebound to a 20G/40P player).

    1) Neal is far more likely (IMO) to rebound to a top 6 player than Lucic.
    2) If that doesn’t happen the Neal buyout is far far more forgiving than a Lucic buyout.

    As I see it there is no risk. It’s effectively 100% certain that James Neal (the player or the buyout) will bebetter for the Oilers than Milan Lucic would have been.

    Of course. Yes the buy out and skill potential/production upgrades are obvious.
    Just trying to temper my enthusiasm with a small dose of reoilty

  26. London Jon says:

    I bet Peter Chiarelli saw the news, chuckled to himself knowingly and said to no-one in particular

    ‘That’s a terrible trade. See, missing me already’

  27. OriginalPouzar says:

    gogliano: I think the comparison is $5.25 v. $6.5 million (Neal’s $5.75 plus Lucic’s 750k).

    I’d rather have Neal, even apart from the better buyout terms and the extra expansion draft slot netted by shipping out a NTC.Lucic has been going downhill too long to expect it was an aberration, Neal might pot 20 this year.

    I think the comparison is:

    Neal at $6.5M – with his current contract

    vs

    Lucic at $6M – with his current contract

    That’s the swap.

  28. russ99 says:

    OriginalPouzar,

    It counts as retained salary for the next 4 years, it’s not tied to Neal. So if we trade or buy out Neal it’s not part of those transactions.

    I’d like to think of it as Chiarelli tax.

  29. OriginalPouzar says:

    Holland says Neal will get a real opportunity in the top 6 to play with the skilled centres.

    Neal says he thinks he can score 30.

    Seems aggressive but, shit, why not? The man can shoot the pill.

    Let’s go this!

  30. OriginalPouzar says:

    London Jon:
    The ‘Ken Holland doesn’t know what he’s doIng’ bandwagon has gone very quiet…

    London Jon:
    The ‘Ken Holland doesn’t know what he’s doIng’ bandwagon has gone very quiet…

    London Jon:
    The ‘Ken Holland doesn’t know what he’s doIng’ bandwagon has gone very quiet…

    I think there is one contributor in particular that was uneasy about the trade and hasn’t been seen since the details were made official.

  31. geowal says:

    So for a plausible scenario, let’s say Neal is good enough this year they don’t buy him out, but the following season he falls off a cliff again, seemingly for good. What does a 2021 buyout look like? 2020 appears to be just under 2MM for the next 6 seasons if I’ve read right.

  32. Revolved says:

    Although I would still not trade 18-19 Lucic for Neal, the trajectory in Lucic’s last three years of TOI and P/60 makes Neal a much better bet for 19-20. Last year was his first really bad one.

  33. StixMalone says:

    It’s a beautiful morning…….

  34. McNuge93 says:

    geowal:
    So for a plausible scenario, let’s say Neal is good enough this year they don’t buy him out, but the following season he falls off a cliff again, seemingly for good. What does a 2021 buyout look like? 2020 appears to be just under 2MM for the next 6 seasons if I’ve read right.

    My understanding is it’s the same since Neal does not have bonuses in his contract. That is buy him out next year and it’s about $1.9 mil times 6 against the cap. Buy him out 2021 and it’s 4 times $1.9 mil. That is of course ignoring the Lucic retention costs.

    This is the biggest win for the Oilers. We were all hoping we could somehow get out of Looch contract and most would have been happy at half the cost.

  35. slopitch says:

    GBandQ: I’d rather Holland try to pry Pavel Buchnevich out of NYR. JP + something?

    I agree. I was just throwing Maroon out as a suggestion. I like the idea of acquiring speedy players who are good 5 on 5. Maroon was good in the playoffs but didnt do much 5 on 5 for the blues all year. I also think Benson might already be a better option.

    Id target a 3C now and then move Russell once 2 of Jones, Bouchard and Samorukov seem ready to open up cap space for next year. This team is still on the outside of playoffs imo unless goaltending surprises.

    Good trade for Holland. More smart bets please 🙂

  36. Jordan says:

    Bad contract for bad contract. I can live with this.

    I hope Neal can be be a good setup man next year for Nuge. Last thing I want is for the Oilers to have to cough up that 3rd next year.

    I really hope they don’t play him with McD – That would be beyond foolish, IMO.

    Regardless of performance, it looks like another smart bet.

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