We don’t know what we don’t know

by Lowetide

Although this is a math blog, I also pay a great deal of attention to what the industry says specifically about prospects. Scouts are charged with looking far into the future and it’s my belief they do a great job. Not every player works out but the words from the scouts (along with the math) guides the way.

Consider this quote from a rival general manager about an Oilers draft pick earlier in this decade (on the day the player signed his first NHL contract): “Physically mature, great skater. Projects to play against best players and some offense.” I’m not going to give you the name, you already know who it is from the description.

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 Jonathan Willis: Projecting the Oilers’ opening night lineup, line combinations and more.
  • Lowetide: Does the James Neal acquisition impact Oilers’ prospects in 2019-20?
  • Lowetide: Oilers’ acquisition of James Neal could add badly needed scoring to the top two lines.
  • Daniel Nugent-Bowman: Ken Holland puts his stamp on the Oilers with first big move in Lucic-Neal trade
  • Jonathan Willis: Ken Holland ends an ugly situation for the Oilers by trading Milan Lucic for James Neal
  • Daniel Nugent-Bowman: Potential free-agent options for the Oilers in 2020
  • Jonathan Willis: Which Oilers defencemen can make an outlet pass?
  • Kent Wilson and Lowetide: Why the Flames and Oilers would (and wouldn’t) trade Sam Bennett for Jesse Puljujarvi
  • 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: 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: 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
  • Jonathan Willis: How often do goalies like the Oilers’ Mike Smith rebound?
  • 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.

THINGS THAT MAKE YOU GO ‘OH DEAR’

Currently in the comments section of this blog we’re steaming toward a showdown that will take place in the next 15 months. As was the case in the old hippie days of “Petry, Chorney and Wild” posters are choosing sides on the collective futures of William Lagesson, Caleb Jones and Ethan Bear.

There are math arguments, saw him good arguments, and they are well reasoned arguments. Here’s the thing: There’s so much you don’t know, that you can’t know. There are injuries and coaching biases and management decisions and trades all ahead.

If you believe in Caleb Jones, or William Lagesson, or Ethan Bear, you keep on rocking. I have been impressed by all three at various times, and have landed on a pecking order (Jones, Lagesson, Bear) that may or may not line up with your own views.

In 2013-14, Oscar Klefbom and David Musil manned the blue for Oklahoma City. Both men were chosen in the top 35 during the 2011 draft, but Klefbom was the faster man and could move the puck. Musil was the better shutdown defenseman, but lacked foot speed. One of them made it as an NHL player.

In 2016-17, Griffin Reinhart and Jordan Oesterle both posted strong even-strength goal differentials. Oesterle, who has great wheels, beat the odds and made it as an NHL defenseman despite having far less pedigree. Oesterle entered the 2016-17 very deep on Edmonton’s pro LHD depth chart (Klefbom, Sekera, Davidson, Nurse, Reinhart, Oesterle, Musil) and played well enough to get an NHL contract and stick with the Chicago Blackhawks the following season. That might be the career path of one of the young defensemen were are discussing.

Caleb Jones is my pick to emerge as the best of the three men. He is fast, like Klefbom and Oesterle. His five-on-five goal differential went from -24 to +18 year over year. That’s jumping the Snake River Canyon. On a bicycle. Am I sure he’s going to make the NHL over the other two? God no. Too soon to know. This is a big year for the trio.

Player types

William Lagession is in competition for a job as a shutdown blue, so his route to the NHL doesn’t run through the same towns as Jones or Bear. The men who are blocking his path, Kris Russell, Adam Larsson, are unique to him. If Lagesson is the real deal, then the way forward includes a trade of Kris Russell or an injury. If he makes it to the opening night roster, that should be considered an enormous accomplishment. He has the shutdown chops, as reflected by his +22 even-strength goal differential. I hope the Oilers make sure to keep him around long enough to find out who he is as a player.

Caleb Jones has all the good arrows and they’re all shining bright. He’s an electric skater and his improvement in year two at the pro level was outstanding. His NHL debut showed his potential and I believe the Sekera buyout was (in part) executed to get him on the 2019-20 opening night roster. His competition for that job, which includes Lagesson, Bear, Evan Bouchard, Joel Persson and others, are likely to wait in line for Jones to adjust and move up the NHL depth chart. His speed, his experience, his readiness, are a deadly combination in this competition.

Ethan Bear was the first of the trio to make his NHL debut, but staying healthy is emerging as a major issue. Bear is an excellent passer and owns a howitzer from the point, but (as is the case with Lagesson) foot speed is a factor. He is a RH defenseman, an advantage for sure. His acension to the NHL is complicated by Joel Persson and Evan Bouchard, as well as the difficulty in introducing all of these kids into the NHL at the same time. Like all of these youngsters, he’s a year away from waivers, meaning a trade could be in his future.

Draft day scouting reports

Caleb Jones, via Phil Myre at International Scouting Services: “Competitive defenseman, Plays with a lot of urgency, takes the body, competes. He is a good skater with good mobility. Not creative, he can make a good first pass. Not committed and drafted by Portland in the WHL. Will follow his brother’s footstep in the W but not as talented. Work ethic will help his projection but not dominant in any area”.

William Lagesson, via McKeens: “A scrappy, physical hard-nosed competitor who competes for every inch on the ice. An ‘in your face’type of defender who reacts quickly to loose pucks and is able to identify threats. Under-stated offensive ability as the third highest scoring defenseman in the SuperElit J20 behind only Aho and Kylington, both of whom graduated to the SHL. Employs a better than average shot and good hockey sense, improved on his puck handling ability following the 5 Nations tournament in February showing the ability to shift out of danger to create added time and space for himself and not just dumping it down the ice. Feet are subpar especially when defending in a reverse movement, resorting to skating forward which makes him easy to blow by. Speed and power is not quite there yet despite having a short, stocky build with a developed core. Plays with sand paper and is not unlike Ulf Samuellson in his ability to get under the opponents skin to goad them into penalties.”

Ethan Bear, via Red Line Report: Shutdown rearguard plays against opposing teams’ top line every night and refuses to give away even an inch of space. Owns a laser shot that often finds the net – keeps it low and often produces dangerous rebounds. A good skater who likes to take the puck deep into the offensive zone and create chances, yet still has the speed to get back on defence. Excellent lateral agility makes it easy for him to mirror puckhandlers and stick with quicker forwards down low in 1- on-1 coverage. Sharp tape-to-tape passer. Will block shots and uses an active, aggressive stick to challenge puck carriers and strip pucks. Needs to refine his defensive zone positioning; plays a hard, physical game, but takes himself out of position looking for big hits. Gets good leverage in board battles. Not a good fighter and was injured in an early season scrap.

I think this is a quality trio, don’t know if there’s a Jeff Petry in the group but will say that imo the three listed here are better as a group than Petry, Chorney and Wild. We wait, but not for much longer.

LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE

At 10 this morning, TSN1260, it’s going to be a fun show with great guests. Jonathan Willis kicks things off at 10:20, we’ll talk about the big Neal-Lucic deal and what may come, plus Jon’s terrific overview of the entire Oilers organization (link above), just published. Scott Miller will be by from Bleacher Report to talk mlb trade deadline in what is a crazy run up to the end of the month. 10-1260 text, @Lowetide on twitter. See you on the radio!

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Bruce McCurdy

Drew: Hey Bruce “some dude on the internet” could be interpreted as a kind of attack. We are all “some dude on the internet”?

It was a joke. And yes, we are.

HT Joe

Drew: Hey Bruce “some dude on the internet” could be interpreted as a kind of attack. We are all “some dude on the internet”?

Drew… you referenced something about hating the “appeal to authority” argument, and if you re-read your initial comments to Bruce, they come off pretty strong (calling his argument a “shtick” isn’t friendly and is pretty dismissive). Later, your responses evolved into some form of “you’re wrong… admit it”. Your actual arguments seem interesting, but the way you’re communicating them probably won’t get you a lot of positive responses.

I thought Bruce’s comment about “some dude on the internet” was a light-hearted jab – it was funny. Well, I laughed anyways.

I found myself in a similar situation several weeks ago, in which I was needlessly snarky with JimmyV1965 – I didn’t like the way he framed his argument, but instead of responding to the argument, I took it personally and didn’t interact appropriately. Jimmy absolutely schooled me by saying “Ya. You’re reading maybe possibly just a tad too much into my comments. But it’s your right to be offended. Some people enjoy it.” I have taken that to heart (thanks Jimmy), and I feel that my commenting is better now as a result. If you don’t like an innocent reference to “some dude on the internet”, you may benefit by taking a friendlier approach with your posts.

russ99

jp,

If all goes to plan and one of the younger players passes him, we should be able to move Russell and his low last year salary to a cap rich, cash poor team at the deadline, even with his NMC.

But as we’ve seen, things don’t go to plan in an NHL season. How many defensemen did we run through last year? Unless we have a rabbit’s foot and somehow avoid injury on the backline there will be plenty of games to see which young defensemen are ready to make the jump.

Side

Cassandra: This thread is typical McCurdy MO.He always argues from authority and is quick to make passive aggressive attacks on those that disagree with him, especially when it is just “some guy on the internet.”

This post, coming from you?

L O L

Cassandra

Drew: Hey Bruce “some dude on the internet” could be interpreted as a kind of attack. We are all “some dude on the internet”?

This thread is typical McCurdy MO. He always argues from authority and is quick to make passive aggressive attacks on those that disagree with him, especially when it is just “some guy on the internet.”

Drew

Bruce McCurdy: Even when Some Dude on the Internet says something different?

Hey Bruce “some dude on the internet” could be interpreted as a kind of attack. We are all “some dude on the internet”?

Drew

Bruce McCurdy: How is it appealing to authority when it is FOUR different NHL coaches all independently reaching a similar concluson for the best of his own team? To me that is a cnsensus, not appealing to authority.Idiotic and biased? They collectively coached for about60 seasons, man.

and no, Kris Russell has never been bought out. He is on his sixth NHl contract with no blemishes in the record.

How many times have those 4 coaches been fired? Who is still working in the NHL? Its been said that coaches sometime use the only solutions they have in front of them (bad roster design) or a player is on a development path and they need to find out what they have in them.

Russell is what he is, a nice 5 – 6 who can play up in the lineup when needed. Sadly Chia decided to pay him (and give term like he was a long term solution) like a top 4, and here we are.

Pouzar

OriginalPouzar: I don’t believe those coaches though/think that Russ was/is a legit 2RD but he was “the best they’ve had” for the spot.

Truth.

What’s for supper?

Pouzar

LoDog: Except for last year due to back and family issues Larsson is the polisher of all turds. Away from Larsson would be the numbers I look at.

I think you need to look at 17/18 in that case.

jp

OriginalPouzar: “Making the best out of what they have” – there it is.

Yes, those coaches often played Russell at 2RD, at Russ did OK for stretches but it was clear to all (many) that he was playing above his pay grade and (a) is better on the left side and (b) more suited to a 3rd pairing and PK deployement.

I don’t believe those coaches though/think that Russ was/is a legit 2RD but he was “the best they’ve had” for the spot.

Kassian isn’t a true 1RW but he’s “the best they have”.

To be fair to the comparison though, Russell has played top 4 D far more consistently than Kassian has played 1st line, 2nd line, even in a top 9 role.

Teams and coaches have continued to find Russell among the best available options, whatever their best intentions. Kassian occasionally, but not so much.

OriginalPouzar

Bruce McCurdy:
Scungilli Slushy,

4 old school coaches >>> 1 old school coach. Nearly 5000 games among them, 2 Stanleys & a ton of experience in making the best out of what they have. Not sure how it’s an appeal to authority when they all came to a similar conclusion. Not that “he must be good” but that he was the best available option to fill out their top 4.

“Making the best out of what they have” – there it is.

Yes, those coaches often played Russell at 2RD, at Russ did OK for stretches but it was clear to all (many) that he was playing above his pay grade and (a) is better on the left side and (b) more suited to a 3rd pairing and PK deployement.

I don’t believe those coaches though/think that Russ was/is a legit 2RD but he was “the best they’ve had” for the spot.

Kassian isn’t a true 1RW but he’s “the best they have”.

Kinger_Oil.redux

Bruce McCurdy,

– Russell might not be perfect and his contract maybe not perfect. And his value isn’t perfectly captured by stats.

– another imperfect stat is +- and when nurse Russell were together last year they were -4. If all are pairings are – 4 5×5 we are a playoff team

– that stat sums it up perfectly: Russell isn’t the problem. And when we have better D on the roster who will do the same job on a 2nd pairing then he can be moved. As it is all the Persson jones Bouchard Lagesson bear etc aren’t better

– Best case scenario is Nurse Benning prove a better 2nd pairing and you move Russell to 3rd pair where his 4mm appears expensive.

– But he’s the 4th best D on the roster right now. Warts and all

– Just thought I’d add to your stuff

jp

rickithebear:

William Lagesson is one of the best Def prospects we have had in AHL in 20 years.

Ricki, what’s the basis for calling Lagesson an elite defensive D prospect? Just eye test?

You’re only talking about his offense in this post.

ArmchairGM

Professor Q: I think now is the time for Bergevin et al. to offer sheet Marner, if they were to ever do it.

I doubt Marner would sign it.

ArmchairGM

Oilman99: Benning is not quick enough, or strong enough to be a true top 4 d-man. The top 4 guys have to be big,mobile, good passers, and shooters, as per the Blue’s boys.

Open yer eyes, man! There are lots of top-4 defensemen who are smaller than Benning, that’s a ridiculous statement. He isn’t that small anyhow:

Benning: 6’1 / 203
Doughty: 6’1 / 202
Giordano: 6’1 / 200
Keith: 6’1 / 192
Subban: 6’0 / 210
Letang: 6’0 / 201
Karlsson: 6’0 / 190

I’m not saying Benning’s skillset is comparable to any of these guys, but your concerns about size aren’t valid. Benning, like Doughty, is an accomplished open-ice hitter. And Benning’s passing and shooting abilities are probably top 2 or 3 among the Oilers 5 regular defensemen.

rickithebear

Bruce McCurdy: I’ll freely admit i’m not a fan of the contract, in fact I wrote this the morning it was announced, questioning its term right in the headline.

But the discussion in this thread was triggered not by that contract but by your assertion that “we know Russell isn’t a top 4 Dman”. Or should i say *I* was triggered, enough to respond with some hard facts about his ice time with several teams & coaches. Which says to me he’s a top 4 Dman in reality, regardless of whether you or I think he should be.

Bruce:

In academia most are creating narratives
or
generating low resolution an analysis of science.

When the sciences generate perceived theorems.
It regarded as Nobel level of work.
It is often a move to a correct increase of understanding at a deeper level of resolution.

As science advances the less resolution work can often be proven to be wrong
But it can often be proven to be correct.

My father and the great multivariable thinkers of his generation were not trying to look at perceived beliefs but find/ look at real physical solutions & science.

The day I found out you chased meteorites.
I knew you were one who looked for new physical science learning.
Not perceived.

You have stated that
Holland a championship GM
Tippett a coach who advanced to playoffs with 5 above avg ( not top) HD dmen & top HD goalie
Think Russell is a good def fit for the roster.

Holland talks of d prospects who fit their notion of championship dmen
(Have to go back on my notes!)
Lagesson, (AHL) Broberg, Bouchard ( pp fit), ?…..
Could not find the 3 rd drafted prospect. Was it jones

18-19
Even 1313:52 54ga 2.47 evga/60
5×5 1278:40 49ga 2.30 evga/60
Russell had an awful 24:37 with Larsson this year.

Nurse 1054:36 2.16 evga/60

rickithebear

I only want dmen who are top forward PPG & PPA results competative on PP.
Top 45 forward is 8 ppg
0 dmen generated 8 ppg

Top 90 forward is 7 ppg – 3 fwd PP1
3 dmen generated 7 ppg

Top 125 forward is 4 ppg – 4 fwd PP1
21 dmen generated 4 ppg

Top 160 forwards is 3 ppg – 5 fwd PP2
33 dmen generate 3 ppg

Power play assists.
Top 45 fwd recieve 13 ppa
22 dmen recieve 13 ppa

Top 90 fwd recieve 8 ppa
38 dmen recieve 8 ppa

Top 125 fwd recieve 6 ppa
51 dmen recieve 6 ppa

Top 160 fwd recieve 4 ppa
74 dmen recieve 4 ppa

This is why you should run a 4 fwd – 1 dman PP1 for 4+ min a night.
Hopefully ( based on most rosters) younare getting superior PPG producing fwds paired with a
Top 90 EVA dman who may be one of 5 the top 160 ppg dmen
Running less productive units for a substantial time is a reduction in team performance.

rickithebear

LT:

William Lagesson is one of the best Def prospects we have had in AHL in 20 years.

But to say he comes from a diffrent route than Jones & bear.

The most important and pocession efficient thing a fwd can do is score an evg.

I Instated earlier in a post their were 119 Dmen seasons of top 6 fwd 8+ evg seasons the last 5 years.
21 of those were top HD dmen seasons.

Last year Lagesson had 8 evg in the AHL reg season.
I could only find 4 of the even goals.
1 was a Def responsible wrist shot from the point.
3 were def responsible uncovered 4th options at top of circles.

Our best even offensive scoring ( not pointing) option is Lagesson.
100% of the goals I saw were def responsible
75% of them were as 4 th option.
Lagesson has shown the skill to be a top 31 (#1) evg dman in NHL.
Like Giordano, Murse, Klefbom.

He has the skill to be a top HD dman and top evg dman like
Hedman
Josi
Weber
Vlasic
Chara
Stralman

Lagesson had 16 Eva in the AHL
Last year 170 forward (top 6) received 16 assists compliments of evg scorers.
76 dmen received 16 Eva.

LT: stated a lot of things can happen.

Oilers coaches and GM want off production and 4th/5th option ( 5 player attacking) from dmen.
While understanding not sacrificing their def responsibility.
From their mouths in interviews.
Not a narative.

I do not see playing the game the way it gets you championships as a Bias.
That is common sense.

Jones will likely at some point understand to play that game.
Bear can be cooked in AHL for another year and traded to one of the rover loving ( non championship) GM’s.

Excluding players cause of not playing or not wanting to play, non championship style of game would be bias.
And Stupid!
See Dallas Eakins!

Question how many of 76 16 Eva dmen were HD responsible dmen to their side?
Josi
Ekholm
Montour
Dillon
Vlasic
Spurgeon
Pesce
Hainsey
Lindell
Weber
Benn
A. Larsson
Dumoulin
Nutivari

14 of them.

LT: Have you wonder why, thru the past how, it has allways been said great scoring forward.

We clearly have lost the understanding of what past fans meant.
Scoring goals is scoring.
Some players get a lot of points.

Bruce McCurdy

Drew: yes you are correct, was allowed to leave without being offered a contract. Consensus, that makes me laugh, you know very well how many bad decisions are made over and over again in the old boys NHL. It’s the reason analytics sprang up in the blogosphere. people were trying to explain why the consensus kept making decisions that didn’t make sense.
Russell would be a nice player at 2M on 1 or 2 year term. his contract blocked better solutions at 2RD.
admit it

I’ll freely admit i’m not a fan of the contract, in fact I wrote this the morning it was announced, questioning its term right in the headline.

But the discussion in this thread was triggered not by that contract but by your assertion that “we know Russell isn’t a top 4 Dman”. Or should i say *I* was triggered, enough to respond with some hard facts about his ice time with several teams & coaches. Which says to me he’s a top 4 Dman in reality, regardless of whether you or I think he should be.

Bruce McCurdy

JimmyV1965:
I’m the last person to argue from consensus or appeal to authority, but as fans our lack of information is staggering. How can we even pretend to have the information the coaches do? The only thing we ever see or analyze are the games, the final result. We don’t see the practices. We don’t see the team meetings. We don’t see any of the off ice stuff. This is not an endorsement of Russell, but when four coaches say the same thing, maybe it’s time to pay attention.

Even when Some Dude on the Internet says something different?

JimmyV1965

I’m the last person to argue from consensus or appeal to authority, but as fans our lack of information is staggering. How can we even pretend to have the information the coaches do? The only thing we ever see or analyze are the games, the final result. We don’t see the practices. We don’t see the team meetings. We don’t see any of the off ice stuff. This is not an endorsement of Russell, but when four coaches say the same thing, maybe it’s time to pay attention.

defmn

jp: It really depends though. The range out outcomes from Oilers players this year is pretty wide, and has a massive impact on whether signing Nurse to a $7M deal is easy or whether it’s all the Oilers will be able to do next off season.

1) Is Koskinen a starter? If he is, the Oilers can spend $2M or less on a backup. Maybe less than $1M if Starrett has a another strong AHL year. If Koskinen flops then finding a passable starter will likely dominate Oilers moves next off-season.

2) Do the young D push? And how hard? If a couple show they’re ready then the Oilers can (in theory) offload Russell and save $3M relative to his replacement for 20-21.

3) Is Neal passable in the top 6? If they need to buy him out it eats away at the cap (as you note) AND he needs to be replaced.

If all of these hands fall in the Oilers favour they’re n a really good spot. If any or all fail, not so much.

Here’s my optimistic 2020-21 team: https://www.capfriendly.com/armchair-gm/team/1346552

– Koskinen is OK, budgeted for a $2M backup
– Three of Jones, Lagesson, Bouchard, Persson, Bear, etc. populate the Oilers 5-7D
– Thus Russell can be moved without a major downgrade (and without requiring assets out)
– Neal can manage a top 6 role well enough not to be bought out
– Benson, Marody and Yamamoto (or other ELC forward) can manage 3rd or 4th line minutes.

Pending the above, the Oilers could:
– Re-sign Nurse at $7M for term
– Re-sign Kassian (UFA) at $2.5M
– Re-sign Benning at $2M
– Re-sign Granlund (UFA) at $1.4M

– Sign a UFA winger at $5M
– Sign a UFA 3C at $2.5M
– Sign a UFA backup at $2M

Yes, if everything or almost everything goes well the situation improves. Then it becomes a question of value rather than affordability.

rickithebear

Most on here are not apposed to a Russell trade.

I have looked at championship & playoff success.
Top GA teams are 40% more successful than GF teams.
>7 out of 8 final 4 teams are top GA teams.

Rovers who abandon the HD area create a 3-1-1-1 structure subjecting the 1D-1G to many odd man attacks to our DZ.
Often leading to unchallenged forward attacks of Goaltender.

In what world does a coach say let’s give the opposition as many breakaways as possible.

Yet greater than 50% of current NHL GM’s think it is a great idea.

All you rover lovers.

How many EVG do dmen score from roving sorties.
Heck how many HD area shots do they get.

How many HD shots do forwards get from a Dman sortie.
How many HD shots do forwards get from Transition passes
Video recall most forwards are often covered by opposition Forwards on dman sorties.

My observations see A lot of Dmen goals from 4th & 5 th option shots coming down from point uncovered.

A few years back when I watched a lot of league games.
I started to look at Dmen who I remember being 4 th option shots in games.

Over the last 5 years 119 dmen have generated top 6 fwd 8 evg rates.
Last year 20 dmen generated top 6 fwd 9 evg rate.

Most of the dmen I remember being 4th option attackers.
Have had top 9+ evg seasons.

4 th option is a superior way for dmen to generate even offence.

The most watched games last 4 years Edmonton & CGY match the seasons.
Giordano
15-16 11 evg
17-18 11 evg
18-19 10 evg

Klefbom
16-17 9 evg

Nurse
18-19 9 evg
Of this group only Klefboms 16-17 season was a somewhat responsible HD def season.

Top HD dmen with number of 8+ evg seasons the last 5 league years.

Some of you offensive dmen lovers are going to say. HIM!

Headman – 4
Josi – 2
K. Klein – 2
Spurgeon – 2
Vlasic – 2
Weber – 2
Chara – 1
Scandella – 1
N. Schmidt – 1
Beauchemin – 1
Stralman – 1
Theodore – 1
Lindholm -1 his one top HD season.

21 of 119 8+ evg seasons are def responsible Dmen.

GA wins championships!

Def responsible HD Dmen who generate top 6 forward evg rates help you win championships as well.

jp

Lowetide: I think the Oilers would be wise to keep Russell this year. Sekera is gone, you want veteran defenders. There’s a spot open now I think Jones lands the job. Maybe Persson does too, and that means possibly 33 percent of your blue is brand new to the NHL every night. Russell has value and can help. If you want to deal him, perhaps the trade deadline if EDM is out of the race.

I strongly agree. IMO one of the incumbent 6 should have been moved to open a spot for a youngster. As it turned out that was Sekera.

Moving another established D would need to be accompanied by a cheaper UFA signing IMO (like Kronwall or Phaneuf?).

You absolutely can’t move out Russell (or one of the others) and go into the season hoping for zero injuries to Klefbom-Larsson and zero injuries to Nurse-Benning. It would be a guarantee a rookie D is playing top 4 minutes at some point, probably for extended periods.

Drew

Bruce McCurdy: How is it appealing to authority when it is FOUR different NHL coaches all independently reaching a similar concluson for the best of his own team? To me that is a cnsensus, not appealing to authority.Idiotic and biased? They collectively coached for about60 seasons, man.

and no, Kris Russell has never been bought out. He is on his sixth NHl contract with no blemishes in the record.

yes you are correct, was allowed to leave without being offered a contract. Consensus, that makes me laugh, you know very well how many bad decisions are made over and over again in the old boys NHL. It’s the reason analytics sprang up in the blogosphere. people were trying to explain why the consensus kept making decisions that didn’t make sense.
Russell would be a nice player at 2M on 1 or 2 year term. his contract blocked better solutions at 2RD.
admit it

Bruce McCurdy

Drew: don’t try the authority shtick Bruce your better than that. Should i list off the idiotic decisions those same folks made. How about all the biased errors from professionals hockey evaluators? Russell was bought out no? and signed to play far beyond his capability?

How is it appealing to authority when it is FOUR different NHL coaches all independently reaching a similar concluson for the best of his own team? To me that is a cnsensus, not appealing to authority. Idiotic and biased? They collectively coached for about 60 seasons, man.

and no, Kris Russell has never been bought out. He is on his sixth NHl contract with no blemishes in the record.

Drew

Oz:
Drew,

Not sure I agree Drew that everyone plays their ass off. From what is reported KR has the respect of coaches and teammates while playing his off side. At 3 LD he is our best option because he has played and will play up the roster if required. I would like the opportunity to see what he can bring at 3 LD.

i agree, he can’t be exited yet, because the last stanley cup winning GM left no other alternative. I just hope his contract can be jettisoned before we lose a good young prospect before we have time to make a good decision

jp

defmn: Not quite imo. What the top 4 dmen make is only part of the equation. There is $5 mil in dead cap space on this team next year and two forwards that combine to account for about 44% of the $48 mil a forward group would command in a balanced budget of $81 mil so the forwards have to “steal” from the dmen in order to fill out the other 12 spots. Add in bad contracts that don’t come close to value and this team is tight.

And it doesn’t help that the cap will go up in a couple of years with a new TV deal etc. because the cap is the same for every year of the deal.

I’m not saying the Oilers can’t pay him but I am saying that if they do then they need to have another off season like this off season as it pertains to UFA’s.

It is fine to say that Neal is easier to buyout than Lucic but even that pushes the dead cap space close to $7 mil. We keep borrowing from Peter to pay Paul.

It really depends though. The range out outcomes from Oilers players this year is pretty wide, and has a massive impact on whether signing Nurse to a $7M deal is easy or whether it’s all the Oilers will be able to do next off season.

1) Is Koskinen a starter? If he is, the Oilers can spend $2M or less on a backup. Maybe less than $1M if Starrett has a another strong AHL year. If Koskinen flops then finding a passable starter will likely dominate Oilers moves next off-season.

2) Do the young D push? And how hard? If a couple show they’re ready then the Oilers can (in theory) offload Russell and save $3M relative to his replacement for 20-21.

3) Is Neal passable in the top 6? If they need to buy him out it eats away at the cap (as you note) AND he needs to be replaced.

If all of these hands fall in the Oilers favour they’re n a really good spot. If any or all fail, not so much.

Here’s my optimistic 2020-21 team: https://www.capfriendly.com/armchair-gm/team/1346552

– Koskinen is OK, budgeted for a $2M backup
– Three of Jones, Lagesson, Bouchard, Persson, Bear, etc. populate the Oilers 5-7D
– Thus Russell can be moved without a major downgrade (and without requiring assets out)
– Neal can manage a top 6 role well enough not to be bought out
– Benson, Marody and Yamamoto (or other ELC forward) can manage 3rd or 4th line minutes.

Pending the above, the Oilers could:
– Re-sign Nurse at $7M for term
– Re-sign Kassian (UFA) at $2.5M
– Re-sign Benning at $2M
– Re-sign Granlund (UFA) at $1.4M

– Sign a UFA winger at $5M
– Sign a UFA 3C at $2.5M
– Sign a UFA backup at $2M

Oz

Drew,

Not sure I agree Drew that everyone plays their ass off. From what is reported KR has the respect of coaches and teammates while playing his off side. At 3 LD he is our best option because he has played and will play up the roster if required. I would like the opportunity to see what he can bring at 3 LD.

Drew

Lowetide: I think the Oilers would be wise to keep Russell this year. Sekera is gone, you want veteran defenders. There’s a spot open now I think Jones lands the job. Maybe Persson does too, and that means possibly 33 percent of your blue is brand new to the NHL every night. Russell has value and can help. If you want to deal him, perhaps the trade deadline if EDM is out of the race.

never said Russell is bad, is a bad contract. i used to beat this drum (do not overpay for mediocrity) years ago and was brow beaten because these were hockey professionals making these decisions.
I go into many industries to clean up the crap left by subject matter experts who make bad decisions over and over. I hate the authority argument.
cogent thoughtful reasoned is better, the oil need to get an understanding on their young d this year with waivers being an issue next year.

Oz

Lowetide,

Man that would be sweet if Persson could handle 2RD,

Drew

Bruce McCurdy: I’m not opposed to a Russell trade, which would open up cap space even as it would rip a bandaid off an unhealed wound. In solving one problem it would exacerbate another. Maybe for the greater good long term depending on return & also on who gets asked to step up the depth chart & how they respond.

In the meantime he has value to his team, as all of his coaches seem to agree. He’s almost never an ideal solution, just a better option than the other available solutions. He’s a placeholder who’s been holding his place for 3 years now.

The guy has done nothing but play his ass off for the team since he first donned the Oil drop. He’s a long way from my favourite player & a longer way from perfect but i think he warrants more respect than he frequently seems to get.

everyone plays their ass off, what does that have to do with anything? he is overpaid for what he brings, a nice 5 or 6 at <2M. with the kids coming up they need at bats and he is blocking them. bad asset management to keep him, that contract already cost a portion of a scoring winger or a proper right shot 3-4 dman

Drew

Walter Gretzkys Neighbour: Quite agree Bruce. What was that about “the smartest man in the room”? How is it that fan bloggers are far better at all this than, you know, the people who do this for a living?

quoted for authority again. was a guy named Vic who used to hear this. Now he runs the analytics department for a stanley cup winner.

Drew

Bruce McCurdy: Somebody should tell Bob Hartley, Lindy Ruff, Todd McLellan and Ken Hitchcock, the four uber experienced NHL coaches who have given Russell almost 22 minutes a night for the last 6 years.

don’t try the authority shtick Bruce your better than that. Should i list off the idiotic decisions those same folks made. How about all the biased errors from professionals hockey evaluators? Russell was bought out no? and signed to play far beyond his capability?

Sunnyboy

Agree with Bruce and others on KR, playing on the left side would be a thing for Tip to do. If pushed out by younger defenders excelling, that is another thing. Maybe he’ll have a clean stay.

Scungilli Slushy

Bruce McCurdy:
Scungilli Slushy,

4 old school coaches >>> 1 old school coach. Nearly 5000 games among them, 2 Stanleys & a ton of experience in making the best out of what they have. Not sure how it’s an appeal to authority when they all came to a similar conclusion. Not that “he must be good” but that he was the best available option to fill out their top 4.

Yes that is true, he was the best option to them.

Oz

Jiminey: AMEN!!!

I agree, and would like to see him get the opportunity to play his natural side, if for no other reason than what he has brought to the team ….. “play his ass off”

Jiminey

Bruce McCurdy: I’m not opposed to a Russell trade, which would open up cap space even as it would rip a bandaid off an unhealed wound. In solving one problem it would exacerbate another. Maybe for the greater good long term depending on return & also on who gets asked to step up the depth chart & how they respond.

In the meantime he has value to his team, as all of his coaches seem to agree. He’s almost never an ideal solution, just a better option than the other available solutions. He’s a placeholder who’s been holding his place for 3 years now.

The guy has done nothing but play his ass off for the team since he first donned the Oil drop. He’s a long way from my favourite player & a longer way from perfect but i think he warrants more respect than he frequently seems to get.

AMEN!!!

Bruce McCurdy

Scungilli Slushy,

4 old school coaches >>> 1 old school coach. Nearly 5000 games among them, 2 Stanleys & a ton of experience in making the best out of what they have. Not sure how it’s an appeal to authority when they all came to a similar conclusion. Not that “he must be good” but that he was the best available option to fill out their top 4.

OriginalPouzar

GordieHoweHatTrick:
“Unwinding” and decided to watch the last home game of the season against SJS
The current roster and line up options are much improved.
For example, next year PP2 will not include Lucic and Cave

Wonder how people feel about running RNH on PP2? Separate he and McD, so they can each run their own unit. That could give significant balance to 2 units allowing a full 2 min significant offensive threat. Possibly:
PP1
Chia-McD-Drai-Neal-Klef

PP2
Gag-RNH-Haas-JP-Nurse

Next year Klef will be Bouch

I’ve been suggesting Nuge running PP2 for years now.

It makes total sense to me given one of his top skill sets is the half-boards on the PP and he’s wasted on the same unit as McDavid.

GMB3

Scungilli Slushy: This is true. But the Oilers are not the Predators. They currently have 3 experienced top level forwards and a lot of skill on the way. Preds always and still lack elite forward skill.

The Oilers are closer than any team to a dominant roster despite the gloom here.

They have the core forwards, 3 very good D in Larsson Klefbom and Nurse who are all normal NHL size, and tons bubbling under.

The Avs are interesting again, but those slick D are all small types, and after the brilliant Mackinnon and blossoming Rantanen they are no better than many. And those two are not as good as our top two IMO.

The Leafs aren’t as close. D is lesser and only Marner is close to our two IMO. The cap is also coming to call.

We should never forget the luck of Connor coming to us. In the league right now it’s himand Syd at the top. That’s it in terms of game in game out play driving hyper competitive hyper skilled players. No one else breathes that rare air for long. For a few years.

Are there people who aren’t from Toronto that actually think Marner is better than Matthews? How????

Scungilli Slushy

Russell is a trooper for sure. He has been tasked with roles outside of what are his strengths.

I still think there are options that can take his job soon left side, as in 20-30 games. Right side I don’t think I’d rely on Jones to play there for long. I agree to try Nurse first with Godot. So unless a trade happens he has to stay this year.

Bruce I don’t agree with the appeal to authority that 4 coaches used him a lot so he must be good. He may do what they value, but all of those games between them doesn’t mean they are not old school guys that miss the bigger picture. Not a lot of cups among them.

HT Joe

OriginalPouzar,

Hi OP, thanks for the response.

I respect your high level approach. I need to think about it. I’m shutting down for the evening soon so I can’t provide a thorough response right now, but maybe $18M for 12 players works depending on circumstances…

2020-2021:
The big 3 forwards + Neal: $32.75
Chiasson + Khaira: ~$3.4
Klefbom + Larsson + Russel: $12.34
**Nurse: $7 **
Koskinen: $4.5
Players paid to not play: $4.53
Total: $64.67-ish

Current salary cap: $81.5
Cap should go up ~$2 or so by next offseason (no evidence here… only a guess)

Okay… $18-19M left… but the above list of players may represent the Oilers’ top six forwards, top for defenders, and starting goaltender.
– 3rd line centre ($3?)
– backup goalie ($3?)
– 5x bottom six wingers ($1.2×5=$6?)
– 2x 4th line centres ($1.5×2=$3?)
– 3x bottom pairing defenders ($1.33×3=$4?)
=~$19

The bottom six wingers and centres and bottom pairing defenders would have to be a mix of end-of-the-line wiley veterans, buyout players from other teams with lots to prove (like Perry this year?), Euro or college signings, PTO gems, and ELC league minimum youngsters.

As the amount of dead space drops and the cap hopefully climbs, Holland has some breathing room. But until then, he’s going to have to walk a tightrope to keep Nurse and the gang together.