The Talent Show

Watching a team being built with a plan and vision can be a lot of fun. The Minnesota Twins are often referenced on this blog because they’re an excellent example of five years well spent.

The 1981 Twins was 17 of their first 56 games, and were mostly miserable save for brief appearances by young men like Kent Hrbek, Tim Laudner and Gary Gaetti. The ’82 Twins saw all three kids emerge as regulars, along with power bat Tom Brunansky and talented lefty starter Frank Voila. Kirby Puckett would come along a little later and these names formed the foundation for the World Series winner in 1987 and 1991.

Small victories are big steps.

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 Lowetide: Revisiting the Oilers’ 2016 draft and the opportunities missed
  • New Lowetide: Examining the potential waiver-wire opportunities at hand for the Oilers
  • New Lowetide: Cooper Marody’s utility gives him an edge for an Oilers roster spot in 2019-20
  • Lowetide: Ken Holland’s roster construction options for the Oilers over the next seven months.
  • Lowetide: Kailer Yamamoto has the talent to win a job with the Oilers on merit, if he’s healthy.
  • Jonathan Willis: Jesse Puljujarvi still has upside and the Oilers’ patient approach is the right one
  • Daniel Nugent-Bowman: Q&A: Dave Tippett on rounding out his coaching staff, fixing Oilers’ special teams and using Connor McDavid
  • Lowetide: Handicapping the Oilers’ young defencemen and their chances of replacing Andrej Sekera
  • Lowetide: Is Kirill Maksimov progressing as the Edmonton Oilers’ next great hope for a true homegrown sniper?
  • Jonathan Willis: Oilers ease pressure on crowded defensive pipeline by trading John Marino to the Penguins
  • Daniel Nugent-Bowman: What the 2021-22 Oilers might look like after their steady build toward contender status
  • Lowetide: Joel Persson is ideally situated to win an opening night roster spot with the Oilers
  • Daniel Nugent-Bowman: What the 2019-20 Oilers might look like without trade missteps.
  • Lowetide: Finding the best candidates for the final two spots on the Oilers skill lines in 2019-20.
  • 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?
  • Lowetide: Looking ahead to Oilers training camp: 35 players for 23 jobs
  • 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?
  • Lowetide: Oilers top 20 prospects summer 2019.

OILERS 2012-13 FORWARDS (GOALS)

After the 2012-13 season, Craig MacTavish talked about the forwards and the work ahead: “The year we went to Cup final [2006] we had lots of guys who could contribute offensively and last year we really didn’t. We had a lot of one or two or zero goal scorers who were out there a really the best you could hope for was they were a non-negative factor. We have to let the core players continue to develop a and we have to build that supporting cast around them.”

MacT’s moves that summer (he traded Shawn Horcoff to move him along, plus dealt Paajarvi and a pick for David Perrson) were designed to improve the supporting cast and to make room for D-zone faceoff specialist Boyd Gordon. Did it work? Well, the Oilers did have four men who scored 19+ goals and five more who scored between 8-11 goals, but the team remained below average offensively.

Building a group of successful forwards is difficult but Edmonton has all of the hard work done courtesy Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins.

1995-96

Glen Sather spent the early ’90s trading the remnants and roll ends from the dynasty team for useful pieces. It wasn’t perfect in every single transaction but did have an impressive impact over the rest of the decade.

The 1991-92 Oilers scored 295 goals, 17 goals more than NHL average that season. However, the 1992-93 club scored 242, a total that was 63 goals underwater. Trades of Glenn Anderson (September 1991), Mark Messier (October 1991), Vincent Damphousse (August 1992), plus losing Adam Graves for nothing, left Edmonton without an established impact forward in 1992-93. Craig Simpson, the closest thing to it, was battling the injuries that would end his career miles too soon.

Slats big move came at the deadline in 1993, as he traded Esa Tikkanen to the NY Rangers for Doug Weight. That kind of trade doesn’t happen anymore, teams don’t trade players who are 21 and have 40 points in 65 games. Still, the template for the trade (valuable vet dealt at the deadline) remains and Edmonton should be all over those deals at the 2020 deadline.

Edmonton had some good draft picks, both early (Jason Arnott, Ryan Smyth) and late (Miro Satan) but these trades 1993-1995 were key:

January 1993: Bernie Nicholls for Zdeno Ciger and Kevin Todd

February 1993: Joe Murphy for Dean McAmmond (and Igor Kravhcuk)

March 1994: Craig MacTavish for Todd Marchant

August 1995: Two first-round picks for Curtis Joseph and Mike Grier

January 1996: Bill Ranford for Mariusz Czerkawski

September 1996: Scott Thornton for Andrei Kovalenko

Not all of these deals worked out, and Sather dealt Satan and Martin Rucinsky in a time when they would have helped a great deal. That said, the additions of Weight and Marchant solidified the center position, and the wingers who auditioned (incredible list of talent) during the years 1993-1996 represent an outstanding pool of possible solutions.

I have noticed some hope emerging since Ken Holland arrived and that’s good (hope is a good thing). It’s also important to be realistic. Yes, acquiring James Neal for Milan Lucic was an enormous positive if only because of the buyout math. Yes, it would be good if Neal scores 20, too.

The names to follow are Puljujarvi (if he stays), Benson, Yamamoto, Maksimov, Lavoie. Maybe the team acquired someone who can score 20 for a season or two, or maybe Alex Chiasson chimes 20 times again. History tells us that a team that is 42 goals below average in a season has a tremendous amount of work to do.

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71 Responses to "The Talent Show"

  1. dmjkrash says:

    To find a Mike Grier type again. Was one of my favourites of that era. Scored lots of clutch goals and was a wrecking machine. Maybe Nygard will be our Marchant? Great post Lowetide.

  2. godot10 says:

    dmjkrash:
    To find a Mike Grier type again. Was one of my favourites of that era. Scored lots of clutch goals and was a wrecking machine. Maybe Nygard will be our Marchant? Great post Lowetide.

    Kassian and Khaira are Mike Grier types. Except Kassian has never worked hard enough to have a complete reliable game. He has been one of the most unreliable players in the league over his career.

    Khaira needs to breakthrough on providing some offense.

  3. OriginalPouzar says:

    Secondary scoring is likely to be a challenge again this year unless the coaching staff can find a way to split McDavid and Drai with both lines being less of a tire fire defensively.

    Someone like Benson or Puljujarvi stepping up to be a legit complementary player in the top 6 would be huge as it would allow guys like Khaira and Granlund and Gagner to remain in the bottom 6 helping its skill and secondary scoring.

    Hopefully in a year:

    – another forward like Maksi will “pop”
    – a young d-man or two will “pop” allowing a trade from D depth to help the forwards

  4. Reja says:

    dmjkrash:
    To find a Mike Grier type again. Was one of my favourites of that era. Scored lots of clutch goals and was a wrecking machine. Maybe Nygard will be our Marchant? Great post Lowetide.

    Mike was as tough as nails. Wonder how his shoulders are holding out.

  5. Wonder Llama says:

    Wish us luck if you can’t go

    Playing at the talent show

    An empty seat in the front row

    Might even win this time, you never know.

  6. russ99 says:

    Were underselling Neal and the bottom six players, there’s much more potential for goals from this group than last season.

    Seems we’re putting these players in a box and saying only highly skilled players can contribute.

  7. Reja says:

    russ99:
    Were underselling Neal and the bottom six players, there’s much more potential for goals from this group than last season.

    Seems we’re putting these players in a box and saying only highly skilled players can contribute.

    Also under selling Tippett’s coaching tactics

  8. Scungilli Slushy says:

    russ99:
    Were underselling Neal and the bottom six players, there’s much more potential for goals from this group than last season.

    Seems we’re putting these players in a box and saying only highly skilled players can contribute.

    I agree. Many people seem to think other team s are stacked with good players and the Oilers aren’t.

    Except we see players on other teams moved and suddenly they aren’t as good anymore. Or much better.

    For almost all players usage determines results. Systems and coaching determine results.

    The oilers in the last few seasons have had a roster full of NHL players, unlike in the Tambo McT eras – Petrell.

    McLellan over seasons couldn’t figure out how to get the team to do a proper breakout. His defensive system that Hitch kept was unplayable, obviously.

    Yes the goal diff is a big problem, but playing a normal system with a coach that runs a happy room is going to be a dramatic change for the better.

    I see no issue with them breaking even.

  9. JJS says:

    russ99:
    Were underselling Neal and the bottom six players, there’s much more potential for goals from this group than last season.

    Seems we’re putting these players in a box and saying only highly skilled players can contribute.

    I don’t believe we are underselling – rather being realistic based on history

    The team has auditioned many kids who should have worked in the bottom six but fell short

    Until they demonstrate otherwise, our bottom six cannot be counted on for positive offensive contributions

  10. London Jon says:

    Off topic but I really don’t get the love for Haas.

    He was a mediocre 2C in the very mediocre Swiss league. I’ve watched a fair bit of the Swiss League live and it is nowhere near the AHL let alone the NHL.

    Marody is younger and was an elite 1C in the AHL. I just don’t how Haas is going to beat him out for a job. Unless he is some sort of ultra shutdown center and PKer and he, Archibald and Granlund are going to be a shutdown line…

  11. GMB3 says:

    russ99:
    Were underselling Neal and the bottom six players, there’s much more potential for goals from this group than last season.

    Seems we’re putting these players in a box and saying only highly skilled players can contribute.

    Neal was one of the worst forwards in the NHL last season. What are we underselling? I think we are casually over-optimistic about him bouncing back around these parts

  12. Jethro Tull says:

    London Jon:
    Off topic but I really don’t get the love for Haas.

    He was a mediocre 2C in the very mediocre Swiss league. I’ve watched a fair bit of the Swiss League live and it is nowhere near the AHL let alone the NHL.

    Marody is younger and was an elite 1C in the AHL. I just don’t how Haas is going to beat him out for a job. Unless he is some sort of ultra shutdown center and PKer and he, Archibald and Granlund are going to be a shutdown line…

    Is Haas on a two way? If so, it might be because one of the kids is expected to come up at some point.

  13. Bling says:

    London Jon:
    Off topic but I really don’t get the love for Haas.

    He was a mediocre 2C in the very mediocre Swiss league. I’ve watched a fair bit of the Swiss League live and it is nowhere near the AHL let alone the NHL.

    Marody is younger and was an elite 1C in the AHL. I just don’t how Haas is going to beat him out for a job. Unless he is some sort of ultra shutdown center and PKer and he, Archibald and Granlund are going to be a shutdown line…

    Depth is a good thing and C is a tough position at the NHL level.

    Tippett has spoken of Khaira and Haas at the 3C spot, and maybe he prefers an experienced hand at a critical position. Maybe he envisions Marody in a different spot to start, perhaps on the wing, or potentially as part of a more offensive 4th line.

    I’m inclined to agree with that assessment.

  14. Jethro Tull says:

    Reja: Also underselling Tippett’s coaching tactics

    Tippett’s coaching tactics are going to be the same as TMac and Hitch:

    He’ll try to get the best from everyone not named Connor, Leon or Ryan but will then realize it’s futile and keep running Connor and Leon 26+ mins a game.

    Nothing personally against Dave. Hear he’s”good in the room” *eye roll* but we went with Todd, because veteran coach, we went with Hitchcock, who was the veterans’ veteran and now we have Tipps. I would have personally liked to have seen a younger more progressive coach to grow with the team.

  15. geowal says:

    GMB3: Neal was one of the worst forwards in the NHL last season. What are we underselling? I think we are casually over-optimistic about him bouncing back around these parts

    Yes. A lot are looking at his shooting % and deciding he’ll regress upwards. But by all accounts he was truly bad, not to mention disinterested, not just snake bitten. And he’s worked out with Gary Roberts for years, so it’s not like that’s a big change. It could be his new normal.
    I’m hopeful that the long summer rest etc and a good start sets him up for a good season. But we shouldn’t be stunned if he comes in at 10-12 goals either. And if so just remember the trade will always be a win, because contracts.

  16. Jethro Tull says:

    Bling: Depth is a good thing and C is a tough position at the NHL level.

    Tippett has spoken of Khaira and Haas at the 3C spot, and maybe he prefers an experienced hand at a critical position. Maybe he envisions Marody in a different spot to start, perhaps on the wing, or potentially as part of a more offensive 4th line.

    I’m inclined to agree with that assessment.

    3C is not a critical position. It’s the guy who should be making hay against the other team’s soft parade.

  17. Reja says:

    Scungilli Slushy: I agree. Many people seem to think other team s are stacked with good players and the Oilers aren’t.

    Except we see players on other teams moved and suddenly they aren’t as good anymore. Or much better.

    For almost all players usage determines results. Systems and coaching determine results.

    The oilers in the last few seasons have had a roster full of NHL players, unlike in the Tambo McT eras – Petrell.

    McLellan over seasons couldn’t figure out how to get the team to do a proper breakout. His defensive system that Hitch kept was unplayable, obviously.

    Yes the goal diff is a big problem, but playing a normal system with a coach that runs a happy room is going to be a dramatic change for the better.

    I see no issue with them breaking even.

    It’s almost all about a coach putting you in a position to succeed. Take Neal for example 20-25 lifetime goal scorer still is. In Calgary we all know he was coming off two gruelling long seasons with the Playoff runs unsure of games but has to be close to 50 games at the highest and most intense level possible.
    Tippett will kick start Neal early and often the difference between Neal and Lucic is huge Todd and even Hitch kept trying to put Lucic up the batting order way to high which messes the whole chemistry of the entire lineup.

    Neal did not receive a fair opportunity in the top 6 as Peters definitely had his favourite’s Lindholm etc.
    No one was going to question Peters employment in the top 6-9 as when your winning your a genius. The Flames sure could have used Neal’s shot and experience in the Colorado series but the damage was already done as Peters had no use for Neal and I’m sure the feeling was mutual. For me this is one of the more interesting story lines as to see how the classy Tippett handles Neal and what he produces for him and the Oilers.

  18. Oilman99 says:

    GMB3: Neal was one of the worst forwards in the NHL last season. What are we underselling? I think we are casually over-optimistic about him bouncing back around these parts

    Neal is not another Lucic, he has been a consistent goal scorer, and will be coming to camp with something to prove after last year. Besides that he can take and make a pass which Lucic couldn’t do.

  19. Oilman99 says:

    London Jon:
    Off topic but I really don’t get the love for Haas.

    He was a mediocre 2C in the very mediocre Swiss league. I’ve watched a fair bit of the Swiss League live and it is nowhere near the AHL let alone the NHL.

    Marody is younger and was an elite 1C in the AHL. I just don’t how Haas is going to beat him out for a job. Unless he is some sort of ultra shutdown center and PKer and he, Archibald and Granlund are going to be a shutdown line…

    Marody showed nothing in his stint with the big club last year, not sure his foot speed is NHL quality.

  20. GMB3 says:

    Oilman99: Neal is not another Lucic, he has been a consistent goal scorer, and will be coming to camp with something to prove after last year. Besides that he can take and make a pass which Lucic couldn’t do.

    True, it was a great trade for us, even if Neal doesn’t pan out. I’m just saying, as a group we are optimistic about him, not underselling him as Russ stated.

    In my opinion anyways

  21. JimmyV1965 says:

    Ottawa has the worst top six in the league and I don’t think It’s even close. IMO Edmonton is amongst a group of teams with the next worst top six; teams like the Ducks, Sabres, Kings and Red Wings. We’re obviously bolstered a bit because of McDavid and Drai, but IMO we are the only team in the league that doesn’t have at least four legit top six forwards.

  22. SkatinginSand says:

    Scungilli Slushy: I agree. Many people seem to think other team s are stacked with good players and the Oilers aren’t.

    Except we see players on other teams moved and suddenly they aren’t as good anymore. Or much better.

    For almost all players usage determines results. Systems and coaching determine results.

    The oilers in the last few seasons have had a roster full of NHL players, unlike in the Tambo McT eras – Petrell.

    McLellan over seasons couldn’t figure out how to get the team to do a proper breakout. His defensive system that Hitch kept was unplayable, obviously.

    Yes the goal diff is a big problem, but playing a normal system with a coach that runs a happy room is going to be a dramatic change for the better.

    I see no issue with them breaking even.

    The Oilers could not break out because of McLellan’s refusal to use the center of the ice, coupled with the forwards constantly trying to jailbreak before possession was secured. I think that although the defense are not elite passers, they will be adequate with good coaching.

    McLellan used a man to man defense in the Oilers end. Although many NHL teams use this, for the Oilers, it was a disaster. Hitchcock used a 2-1-2 zone. Even though it was also a disaster, (putting the finger directly on the players) it was far from the same defense.

  23. jp says:

    godot10: Kassian and Khaira are Mike Grier types. Except Kassian has never worked hard enough to have a complete reliable game.He has been one of the most unreliable players in the league over his career.

    Khaira needs to breakthrough on providing some offense.

    Grier is one of my all time favourites. We should recall that he only scored 12.5 goals per 82 for his career though. Khaira doesn’t have so so far to go.

  24. Mr DeBakey says:

    Oilman99: Neal is not another Lucic, he has been a consistent goal scorer, and will be coming to camp with something to prove after last year. Besides that he can take and make a pass which Lucic couldn’t do.

    Nothing in your comment refutes anything in GMB3’s highly accurate comment.
    Cautious optimism is what I’ve been reading.

  25. jfry says:

    watched almost all of calgary’s games last year. neal was horrible and peters gave him ice time accordingly. the season before he barely scored in the second half (not including playoffs). his dropoff mirrors Lucic like no other player in the league.

    i know he’s saying all the right things this offseason, but i think we should be prepared for 7 goal Neal in the bottom 6, not 20 goal Neal in the top 6.

    he has all the same issues that lucic has. he no longer has his wheels. he plays on the perimeter. takes low percentage shots that end the possession.

    i hope i’m wrong, but last year was tough to watch. we were having o/u bets on whether he’d even get a shot in a game (let alone a goal).

  26. Reja says:

    jfry:
    watched almost all of calgary’s games last year. neal was horrible and peters gave him ice time accordingly. the season before he barely scored in the second half (not including playoffs). his dropoff mirrors Lucic like no other player in the league.

    i know he’s saying all the right things this offseason, but i think we should be prepared for 7 goal Neal in the bottom 6, not 20 goal Neal in the top 6.

    he has all the same issues that lucic has. he no longer has his wheels. he plays on the perimeter. takes low percentage shots that end the possession.

    i hope i’m wrong, but last year was tough to watch. we were having o/u bets on whether he’d even get a shot in a game (let alone a goal).

    I feel bad that your flames lost in the first round so badly. Not.

  27. Genjutsu says:

    Jethro Tull: 3C is not a critical position. It’s the guy who should be making hay against the other team’s soft parade.

    Hard disagree I’m of the opinion that 3C is the 5th most important forward position.

    Might be a little less so on the oulers if Drai playing wing, however it’s still a vital position. Teams that have three talented centers generally do very well.

  28. oilersfan says:

    Neal is not a driver or a playmaker. He is a one dimensional player who has a good shot
    And needs a driver with play making abilities to get him the puck. In that situation he is a useful player. In Pittsburgh he played with Malkin, in Nashville with Ribeiro then Johansen. Malkin is similar to Drai and Ribeiro is similar to Nuge. In Calgary he played primarily with Jankowski who is a fourth line player.

    How would he be expected to play well with fourth liners when he has demonstrated very little playmaking or puck transporting abilities? I think the flames mis read what they got in him and played whim with the exact wrong type of players . The primary difference between him and Lucic is Neal
    Has been an excellent shooter. I am hopeful that with Nuge and some pp time he can score 15-20 goals

  29. Rube Foster says:

    Genjutsu: Hard disagree I’m of the opinion that 3C is the 5th most important forward position.

    Might be a little less so on the oulers if Drai playing wing, however it’s still a vital position. Teams that have three talented centers generally do very well.

    Hate to pile on Mr. Tull, But…

    The way the Oilers are currently constructed, 3C should be caving in the soft parade, AND also taking important defensive zone face-offs, killing penalties and sawing off the oppositions best on the road.

    The way the Oilers are currently constructed 3C is a vital position and with Nuge, Leon and Connor projected for our top six, we currently have what appears to be below average and unproven options to play the vital role of 3C.

    Where is Butch Goring when we need him? I’d happily settle for Oscar Lindberg.

  30. defmn says:

    I am also of the opinion that 3C is a very important position amongst the forwards.

    What I have never thought, though, is that there is any such thing as a ‘soft parade’ in the NHL.

    I know that is a common reference here but I have yet to see any examples of it other than maybe on losing teams late in the season when playoffs are no longer an option and the team is using the final 10-20 games to test drive their prospects.

  31. Bruce McCurdy says:

    The Soft Parade is an album by the Doors, not a line in the NHL.

  32. OriginalPouzar says:

    dmjkrash:
    To find a Mike Grier type again. Was one of my favourites of that era. Scored lots of clutch goals and was a wrecking machine. Maybe Nygard will be our Marchant? Great post Lowetide.

    I’m hopeful Ryan McLeod will be out Marchant, in time.

  33. OriginalPouzar says:

    godot: Kassian and Khaira are Mike Grier types. Except Kassian has never worked hard enough to have a complete reliable game.He has been one of the most unreliable players in the league over his career.

    Khaira needs to breakthrough on providing some offense.

    Many speak to Khaira’s poor season last year, and fair enough, but I really think it was injury related. He never got a chance to get on track – banged up all season long, in and out.

    WIth a healthy year and some solid time in the middle 6, I do suspect we might see 10-15 goals and maybe 30 points.

  34. Bruce McCurdy says:

    For all that Neal for Lucic is a contract “win” for the Oilers, fact is that if they both play out their four years, the Oilers will absorb $5 million more in cap hit than will the Flames. And while the buyout flexibility is nice, the Oil could wind up paying Neal nearly $2 million a year for up to 6 years to *not* play for them. This on top of pre-paying $8 million in real cash towards Lucic’s remaining years, & committing to paying another $2 million in cash ($3 million cap hit) in salary retention.

    And yet it *was* a defensible deal from the Oilers perspective. Speaks to how putrid was the Lucic contract.

  35. OriginalPouzar says:

    russ:
    Were underselling Neal and the bottom six players, there’s much more potential for goals from this group than last season.

    Seems we’re putting these players in a box and saying only highly skilled players can contribute.

    Potentially but I think most are being guarded because there really isn’t anything close to a sure thing:

    – Haas and Nygard – lets see if they are actual NHL players first and foremost

    – Khaira – I think he can put 10-15 this year if healthy but he’s only done it once and had a very high shooting percentage that season

    – Granlud – he scored 19 once playing with skill and, while a solid bottom 6 player, hasn’t provided much offence in that role

    – Gagner – where will he play? Probably a little bit of everywhere – he did have very nice P/60 away from McDavid last year – the man has skill and vision but needs some other skill to play with

    – Neal – well, he’s pencilled in to the top 6. Don’t think he’d be all that productive in the bottom 6 without a “driver” – I am optimistic he’ll mesh somewhere in the top 6 and provide 15-20, if not more.

  36. OriginalPouzar says:

    LondonJon:
    Off topic but I really don’t get the love for Haas.

    He was a mediocre 2C in the very mediocre Swiss league. I’ve watched a fair bit of the Swiss League live and it is nowhere near the AHL let alone the NHL.

    Marody is younger and was an elite 1C in the AHL. I just don’t how Haas is going to beat him out for a job. Unless he is some sort of ultra shutdown center and PKer and he, Archibald and Granlund are going to be a shutdown line…

    Yup, that’s what I’ve been wondering as well.

    He’s a better skater than Marody and has “experience” but, other than that, inferior offensive results in an inferior league and much much older (i.e. not getting better). I think they are counting on him for the PK but I’m not sure he will be a “shut down center” – he’s a poor faceoff guy making tough D-zone starts hard.

    Holland has been on him for years and Tippett keeps mentioning him as a 3C option – there must be something there that we don’t know about or else they are putting alot of stock in international play which, in my opinion, is a poor idea given the large ice if the great skill deterrent and can make middling skill teams look good.

  37. OriginalPouzar says:

    GMB: Neal was one of the worst forwards in the NHL last season. What are we underselling? I think we are casually over-optimistic about him bouncing back around these parts

    Definitely can’t discount his terrible season but, at the same time, need to acknowledge that it was one bad season, not 3 like Lucic, and players bounce back from off-seasons all the time.

    He’s not that old and just one season removed from scoring 20 plus every season of his NHL career – 10 plus seasons.

    Definitely not a sure thing to be a top 6 goal scorer again, however a decent bet to rebound and be just that.

    Lets not forget what he did the last time he played with centers anywhere near the level of McDavid (and Drai).

  38. OriginalPouzar says:

    JethroTull: Is Haas on a two way? If so, it might be because one of the kids is expected to come up at some point.

    Its an ELC so, yes, a 2-way but he’s essentially stated he’ll head back to Europe of sent to the AHL (unless its for a very short adjustment period).

    I’m sure that came up prior to signing so they must have NHL plans for him

  39. OriginalPouzar says:

    JethroTull: Tippett’s coaching tactics are going to be the same as TMac and Hitch:

    He’ll try to get the best from everyone not named Connor, Leon or Ryan but will then realize it’s futile and keep running Connor and Leon 26+ mins a game.

    Nothing personally against Dave. Hear he’s”good in the room” *eye roll* but we went with Todd, because veteran coach, we went with Hitchcock, who was the veterans’ veteran and now we have Tipps. I would have personally liked to have seen a younger more progressive coach to grow with the team.

    Recall the last young progressive coach – hired out of the Leaf organization.

    We have that coach in the system – he’s developing in the AHL.

  40. OriginalPouzar says:

    Oilman: Marody showed nothing in his stint with the big club last year, not sure his foot speed is NHL quality.

    He sure didn’t and he definitely looked a step behind the play generally.

    At the same time, he averaged under 7 min/game and his most common linemates were Brodziak and P. Russell. As LT pointed out, his shifts were sporadic so tough to “get in the game” essentially set up to fail.

    He’s a skill player and, while a top 6 NHL job may be out of his reach, it behooves the org to give him a chance with some decent players – even a Khaira and Gagner (as opposed to Brodz and P. Russell) for example.

  41. Pescador says:

    OriginalPouzar:
    Secondary scoring is likely to be a challenge again this year unless the coaching staff can find a way to split McDavid and Drai with both lines being less of a tire fire defensively.

    Someone like Benson or Puljujarvi stepping up to be a legit complementary player in the top 6 would be huge as it would allow guys like Khaira and Granlund and Gagner to remain in the bottom 6 helping its skill and secondary scoring.

    Hopefully in a year:

    – another forward like Maksi will “pop”
    – a young d-man or two will “pop” allowing a trade from D depth to help the forwards

    As of today the list of team/roster needs are substantial;
    A top 15 starting Goaltender
    Two top 6 wingers.
    One top 4 RD.
    One 3C.
    As always YMMV.

    Hopefully there are solutions from within, candidates are:
    Jones, Lagesson and Bouchard on D.
    Benson, Yamamoto and McLeod at F.
    Several unlikely names in G.

    Holland also will have a nice stipend of coin to spend next offseason on an impact free agent.
    Especially if he is able to offload the Russell contract, I would prefer it be this coming trade deadline for draft picks.
    Or preferably to take advantage of a cap strapped team,
    as it has been mentioned before here many times.
    20/21 season looks promising from here, we will also be losing a solid player in the coming expansion draft. My guess is Khaira.
    For me it’s extremely important for the Oilers to make the playoffs this season as I fear that RNH is already tired of being a perennial loser.
    Too much riding on the shoulders of Koskinen and Smith FFS!

  42. OriginalPouzar says:

    Not too much to disagree with there but I would like to add:

    – Samorukov and Broberg as top 4 D options

    – Maskimov and Lavoie as top 6 forward options

    – Konovolov as 1G option

    Timelines are longer but they are all potentials.

    There is no cap space for next season right now. With Nurse signed, there will be apx $18M for 12 players.

    A clean disposition of Russell for cap space is a 100% must – be it at this year’s deadline or in the off-season.

  43. Jethro Tull says:

    OriginalPouzar: Recall the last young progressive coach – hired out of the Leaf organization.

    We have that coach in the system – he’s developing in the AHL.

    Todd Nelson was in the Leafs?

  44. Jethro Tull says:

    Bruce McCurdy:
    The Soft Parade is an album by the Doors, not a line in the NHL.

    Sorry, Dad.

  45. Jethro Tull says:

    Genjutsu: Hard disagree I’m of the opinion that 3C is the 5th most important forward position.

    Might be a little less so on the oulers if Drai playing wing, however it’s still a vital position. Teams that have three talented centers generally do very well.

    We’ll, obviously.

  46. Rich M says:

    OriginalPouzar: He sure didn’t and he definitely looked a step behind the play generally.

    At the same time, he averaged under 7 min/game and his most common linemates were Brodziak and P. Russell. As LT pointed out, his shifts were sporadic so tough to “get in the game” essentially set up to fail.

    He’s a skill player and, while a top 6 NHL job may be out of his reach, it behooves the org to give him a chance with some decent players – even a Khaira and Gagner (as opposed to Brodz and P. Russell) for example.

    While Marody is not fast, there is more to the game than being a fast skater. Take a look at St. Louis last year and when Yeo was gassed as coach, all their slow guys did not get fast over night. They still had a lot of the same issues but the team “played faster” with a new coach and a different system. Breakouts that were a 5 man unit, better puck support all over the ice and hard back checking made them very difficult to play against.

    Reverse of that’s true too. Nashville supposedly had a lot of speed but played incredibly slow because Laviolette’s system became easy to defend (wings flying the zone early, no puck support and the d-men standing around behind the net waiting for the stretch pass).

    A good coach can help a lot here.

  47. OriginalPouzar says:

    JethroTull: Todd Nelson was in the Leafs?

    I was going to mention Nelson.

    Not sure how progressive he was but, in any event, not sure his reputation in the hockey world is quite what it is among some Oiler fans – I mean, he hasn’t been able to secure a head coaching job and was just passed over for that other young coach that didn’t work out for the Oilers, the one hired from the Leaf org, for a head coaching job.

  48. Gret99zky says:

    Bruce McCurdy:
    The Soft Parade is an album by the Doors, not a line in the NHL.

    The Monk. Bought. Lunch.

  49. Buddy says:

    defmn:
    I am also of the opinion that 3C is a very important position amongst the forwards.

    What I have never thought, though, is that there is any such thing as a ‘soft parade’ in the NHL.

    I know that is a common reference here but I have yet to see any examples of it other than maybe on losing teams late in the season when playoffs are no longer an option and the team is using the final 10-20 games to test drive their prospects.

    It’s a really easy concept to understand.

    “Butter minutes” against the “soft parade” are what other teams’ coaches assign when they’re playing the Oilers.

  50. Bank Shot says:

    I think you want a Sami Pahlsson type 3rd line center that can go out there and make nothing happen against any level of competition.

    Then you try to sneak McDavid out against the worst players as much as possible. No one is going to make hay against the dregs better than Connor.

  51. Jethro Tull says:

    OriginalPouzar: I was going to mention Nelson.

    Not sure how progressive he was but, in any event, not sure his reputation in the hockey world is quite what it is among some Oiler fans – I mean, he hasn’t been able to secure a head coaching job and was just passed over for that other young coach that didn’t work out for the Oilers, the one hired from the Leaf org, for a head coaching job.

    Ah, the old (until last year) “if Ovechkin is that good, he’d have won a cup” argument.

    Nelson deserved more than the Oilers. His record says so.

  52. Scungilli Slushy says:

    SkatinginSand: The Oilers could not break out because of McLellan’s refusal to use the center of the ice, coupled with the forwards constantly trying to jailbreak before possession was secured. I think that although the defense are not elite passers, they will be adequate with good coaching.

    McLellan used a man to man defense in the Oilers end. Although many NHL teams use this, for the Oilers, it was a disaster. Hitchcock used a 2-1-2 zone. Even though it was also a disaster, (putting the finger directly on the players) it was far from the same defense.

    Thanks.

    Is your assessment of tactics from your personal take or what you’ve read?

    As for the D, I don’t think passing is a problem as much as nobody to pass to. Babcock also has the Leafs constantly stretch passing, I think it’s a strategy their coaching tree uses for whatever reason.

  53. Scungilli Slushy says:

    Jethro Tull: Tippett’s coaching tactics are going to be the same as TMac and Hitch:

    He’ll try to get the best from everyone not named Connor, Leon or Ryan but will then realize it’s futile and keep running Connor and Leon 26+ mins a game.

    Nothing personally against Dave. Hear he’s”good in the room” *eye roll* but we went with Todd, because veteran coach, we went with Hitchcock, who was the veterans’ veteran and now we have Tipps. I would have personally liked to have seen a younger more progressive coach to grow with the team.

    Young coach young team. Very risky IMO. What young coaches have the chops? Many fail yearly on progressive minded teams.

    When Sather did it he made more salad than the majority of players. I agree with Holland that stability was the biggest issue with the Oilers. Stabilize and see who stays and who should go.

    It will also revolutionize prospect development and pro recruitment when the team isn’t a perpetual shit show.

  54. OriginalPouzar says:

    JethroTull: Ah, the old (until last year) “if Ovechkin is that good, he’d have won a cup” argument.

    Nelson deserved more than the Oilers. His record says so.

    I’m not sure what that means but the hockey community has not warranted him worthy of a head coaching job in the NHL and he was directly passed over for the guy he took over for during his only time as an NHL head coach, on an interim basis.

    I like(d) Nelson but he didn’t get more wins out of the team than Eakins did – at some point he may get an NHL head coaching job but hasn’t yet.

  55. Harpers Hair says:

    I clearly remember when Lowetidians were convinced Craig Ramsey was going to fix the Oilers.
    It’s the players.

  56. jp says:

    Harpers Hair:
    I clearly remember when Lowetidians were convinced Craig Ramsey was going to fix the Oilers.
    It’s the players.

    Only 4 Oilers who played under Ramsay played on the two most recent Oilers teams.

    Which players? Nuge? Klefbom? Draisaitl (37GP rookie)? Nurse (2GP rookie)?

    Probably Nuge.

  57. HT Joe says:

    OriginalPouzar: I like(d) Nelson but he didn’t get more wins out of the team than Eakins did – at some point he may get an NHL head coaching job but hasn’t yet.

    Wait, what?

    Dallas Eakins’ coaching record:
    – 2013–14 – GP 82, Wins 29, Losses 44, OTL 9, Points 67
    – 2014–15 – GP 31, Wins 7, Losses 19, OTL 5, Points 19
    Overall – GP 113, Wins 36 –> 0.318 wins per game played

    Todd Nelson coaching record:
    – 2014–15 – GP 51, Wins 17, Losses 25, OTL 9, Points 43
    Overall –> 0.333 wins per game played

    Nelson took over the team on December 15(?)

    Here’s the injury report for the Oilers in 2014-2015: https://www.nhl.com/oilers/news/injury-report-end-of-season/c-733293
    So in the 2014-2015 season (sorry I didn’t go through 2013-2014… just about to go to sleep)…
    – Eakins had to deal with 63 man games lost due to injury (including 9 games lost of top line forwards, and 2 games lost of top pairing blueliner)
    – Nelson had to deal with 190 man games lost due to injury (including 26 games lost of top line forwards, 2 games lost of top pairing blueliner)
    – Nelson also had to deal with Petry playing the last 19 games of 2014-2015 for the Habs

    So yes, Nelson just barely got more wins out the Oilers than Eakins… and he did it with way worse injuries.
    – Nelson did it with Jeff Petry and Taylor Hall not in the lineup for ~ 40% of the games.

    If Nelson had had a healthy Hall and MacTavish hadn’t traded Petry, I truly believe Nelson would have had a substantially better record than Eakins.

  58. godot10 says:

    HT Joe: Wait, what?

    Dallas Eakins’ coaching record:
    – 2013–14 – GP 82, Wins 29, Losses 44, OTL 9, Points 67
    – 2014–15 – GP 31, Wins 7, Losses 19, OTL 5, Points 19
    Overall – GP 113, Wins 36 –> 0.318 wins per game played

    Todd Nelson coaching record:
    – 2014–15 – GP 51, Wins 17, Losses 25, OTL 9, Points 43
    Overall –> 0.333 wins per game played

    Nelson took over the team on December 15(?)

    You are including MacT 4 losses in Nelson’s record.

  59. Glovjuice says:

    Is there anybody out there?

  60. Glovjuice says:

    Just nod if you can hear me.

  61. Glovjuice says:

    So all things time will mend
    And so this Oilers futility will end

  62. Bruce McCurdy says:

    Jethro Tull: Sorry, Dad.

    Just agreeing with whoever said there’s no such thing.

  63. London Jon says:

    Bling: Depth is a good thing and C is a tough position at the NHL level.

    Tippett has spoken of Khaira and Haas at the 3C spot, and maybe he prefers an experienced hand at a critical position. Maybe he envisions Marody in a different spot to start, perhaps on the wing, or potentially as part of a more offensive 4th line.

    I’m inclined to agree with that assessment.

    I just don’t see the point in signing Haas. He wasn’t even a top-5 C in the Swiss League, maybe not even top-10. Surely there are 30 better players in the KHL, Sweden or Finland to sign than Haas?

    Suspect they start him off in the AHL, he proves to be a mediocre C there and he’s back eating wonderful chocolate and pondering the next addition to his watch collection by Christmas.

  64. jp says:

    London Jon:
    Off topic but I really don’t get the love for Haas.

    He was a mediocre 2C in the very mediocre Swiss league. I’ve watched a fair bit of the Swiss League live and it is nowhere near the AHL let alone the NHL.

    London Jon: I just don’t see the point in signing Haas. He wasn’t even a top-5 C in the Swiss League, maybe not even top-10.

    What’s the basis for this?

    I agree Haas may not be NHL calibre, and that Marody may be a better bet. But why the hyperbole about what Haas is or is not?

    He tied for 10th and 11th in NLA scoring the past 2 seasons. He was an all-star both years. He’s been a fixture on the Swiss National team, and apparently trusted in key defensive situations.

    He is one of the better Swiss players and among the top players in the NLA. He’s not a mediocre 2C there.

    NHLE suggests Marody is a better player at a younger age, but Haas apparently has experience, speed and defensive acumen to his credit. Maybe Holland is right in his assessment that Haas can play in the NHL. If he proves to be a 3C, a 4C or a 14F it’s a positive for the Oilers, no? If Marody shows he’s better than that’s good too.

  65. tsunami says:

    London Jon:

    He was a mediocre 2C in the very mediocre Swiss league. I’ve watched a fair bit of the Swiss League live and it is nowhere near the AHL let alone the NHL.

    very mediocre Swiss league ? nowhere near the AHL ? sorry but I don’t think that’s true

  66. Lowetide says:

    New for The Athletic: Projecting the 2019-20 Edmonton Oilers opening-night lineup

    https://theathletic.com/1123117/2019/08/12/projecting-the-2019-20-edmonton-oilers-opening-night-lineup/

  67. London Jon says:

    tsunami: very mediocre Swiss league ? nowhere near the AHL ? sorry but I don’t think that’s true

    I’ve watched a decent number of Swiss NL games, including Bern. It is a v different game and for me it is a clear level below the AHL if the criteria is ‘how likely are these players likely to succeed in the NHL.’

    Smaller players do well in the league, hence why a lot of small players go there to play.

    Haas also wasn’t the 1C in either of the last two years. Maybe ‘co-1C’ last year and ‘co-2C’ last year. So he’s getting relatively easier minutes than the top C’s in the league. And when he’s played in the CHL he has struggled once the opposition got deeper and bigger.

    Keen followers of the Swiss League are v surprised he’s being given a shot.

    Take your points about it being a shot to nothing, but if he starts at 3C for the first 10 games and is out of his depth (or just hasn’t adjusted quickly enough) then there is some real downside there.

    My point is that he’s a strange bet to make it as an NHL centre. I just hope he’s starting in the AHL and that he’s asked to prove himself there first.

  68. Jethro Tull says:

    Harpers Hair:
    I clearly remember when Lowetidians were convinced Craig Ramsey was going to fix the Oilers.
    It’s the players.

    In the words of Colonel Hans Lander: “That’s a bingo!”

  69. tsunami says:

    London Jon,

    It is a different game, I will give you that ;)… It’s played on the big ice so a bit tricky to compare

    I am not talking about the likeliness of the NL players to play in the NHL (actually you didn’t mention anything in your first post about that ;)…), but “simply” trying to compare the level of play in the AHL and Swiss NL and find your “nowhere near the AHL” comment misleading and not corresponding to reality

    As to Haas, I saw him play for many years and basically agree with your comments… but I think you guys will be surprised about his skating which is really good… and he has a very nice accurate wrist shot, so who knows ? Personally I would be surprised if he makes it at the center position… but why not on the wings ? It’s not particularly overcrowded with proven players so it could happen

    He won’t play in the AHL long time, that’s for sure… Either he has what it takes to play in the NHL or he comes back to Switzerland

    But that’s also good for Edmonton imo, because if he’s not good enough then they will mutually agree to terminate the contract

  70. Silver Streak says:

    Flames LD Valimaki tore his ACL while training….he is their hope for an EL contract playing big minutes this year….apparently they are working the phones looking for an experienced LD…..THIS could be the answer to moving Russell…..we wait.

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