Pick Up The Pieces

A year ago around this time, the TSN trade board had two Oilers as possible exit options (Cam Talbot No. 8, Jesse Puljujarvi No. 34) along with three completed deals (the trifecta: trading Chris Wideman, acquiring Brandon Manning and Alex Petrovic). Vancouver’s Sam Gagner was on the list at No. 44, he would eventually find his way back to Edmonton.

This year’s list is just 20 deep, but there’s more interest among Oilers fans than a year ago. Why? Edmonton could be buyers. Hallelujah! Amen.

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 Athletic, less than two coffees a month offer here. 

  • New Lowetide: ‘Connor McDavid: Whatever It Takes’ works as breaking news, drama and personality profile
  • New Lowetide: Oilers prospects Evan Bouchard and Tyler Benson deliver best minor league performances in 20 years
  • Daniel Nugent-Bowman: ‘Hey, Sparky, can you do that?’: How the Oilers’ AHL video coach got his start as the Islanders’ mascot.
  • Eric Duhatschek: He’s special’: The people who know him best tell the story of how Leon Draisaitl took the NHL by storm
  • Pierre Lebrun: Where all 31 teams stand one month before the trade deadline
  • Lowetide: What do Connor McDavid’s best lines tell us about his optimal linemates?
  • Daniel Nugent-Bowman: I was an AHL coach for a day: Here’s what I learned
  • Daniel Nugent-Bowman and Jonathan Willis: Oilers player poll: From the serious to the silly, the players weigh in on best dressed, most superstitious and more
  • Thomas Drance: Inside how ‘Okanagan boy’ Ken Holland helped bring back the Penticton Young Stars tournament
  • Jonathan Willis: Oilers minor-league defenceman Brandon Manning suspended five games for racial slur
  • Jonathan Willis: An updated list of which Oilers are most likely to be traded in 2019-20
  • Lowetide: Kailer Yamamoto gives Oilers a midseason spark, one of the best in team history
  • Lowetide: With the Oilers’ minor-league goaltending not good enough, Ilya Konovalov might be the answer
  • Daniel Nugent-Bowman: Josh Archibald, Riley Sheahan show the upward trend of Ken Holland’s offseason moves for the Oilers
  • Lowetide: Post-Christmas performance spike has Evan Bouchard pushing for an NHL job with the Oilers
  • Lowetide:  Central Scouting’s midseason list offers Oilers some strong draft options
  • Jonathan Willis: The Oilers’ road forward — and perhaps to a Stanley Cup — requires trusting the kids on defence
  • Daniel Nugent-Bowman: Deciding what to do with Darnell Nurse, Mike Smith, Tyler Benson and Evan Bouchard
  • LowetideKen Holland’s targets for his first trade deadline with the Oilers.
  • Lowetide: Ken Holland’s trade deadline options for the Oilers
  • Jonathan Willis: Zack Kassian’s breakout performance presents Oilers GM Ken Holland with a familiar dilemma
  • Lowetide: Complete Oilers top 20 prospects list, winter 2019

KEITH GRETZKY’S DEADLINE LIST LAST YEAR

I suggested at the deadline last year the interim general manager Keith Gretzky should try to offload as many veterans as possible. That list included Cam Talbot, Alex Petrovic, Brandon Manning, Matt Benning, Alex Chiasson, Ryan Spooner and Tobias Rieder. Gretzky did in fact deal Talbot and Spooner, with Petrovic and Rieder leaving over the summer.

I also suggested Gretzky acquire a scoring forward with term, and he grabbed Sam Gagner. My idea was to aim higher but teams aren’t selling players they need at the deadline.

I further suggested Gretzky find a righty defenceman (with term) who could play between Larsson on the top pair and Benning, Bear, Bouchard or Persson on the third pair. The answer was Bear.

Finally, I recommended a backup goalie who could push Koskinen. He was playing for Calgary at the time, and Mike Smith has had two solid runs this season for Edmonton.

OILERS CURRENT 50-MAN

KEN HOLLAND’S DEADLINE LIST

It looks like the Oilers will arrive at the deadline as a buyer. The TSN list has several quality options that would be ideal for Edmonton. I think the Oilers would do well to pursue a player under control. That would include Detroit Red Wings winger Andreas Athanasiou, or Columbus RW Josh Anderson. The price point on either man would be dear, not sure there’s a match there for Holland.

The top end of the rental (UFA) side will also be dear. The idea of having Chris Kreider on McDavid’s wing is a dream, but it’s going to cost the moon. I think Jean-Gabriel Pageau and Tyler Toffoli will also come in at prices the club will consider too expensive.

At the lower end of the Chiarelli list there are names like Ryan Donato (has a year left) and Craig Smith that might offer Holland an upgrade for the current roster while also working on a budget. I’ll throw NJD Miles Wood in here too, although he’s not on the TSN list, and Jason Zucker because he may be on the TSN list again if the Wild slide down the standings in the West.

REMNANTS AND ROLL ENDS

Jesse Puljujarvi is having a solid year and would have value, I always thought he would fit with the Rangers, Hurricanes or Blues. We’ll see and it’s probably a summer trade.

William Lagesson has to be traded before fall and waivers at the start of the 2020 season. It’s him or Caleb Jones and Jones has the contract. I think the deadline might be the place to make the trade, although Holland moves by sundial.

Jujhar Khaira gets mentioned as a player who could be heading out of Edmonton, but his poor play over the last while (month?) have him outside the lineup. If value is going to be built between now and the deadline, Khaira will need to play and play well. He is a strong PKer.

I will guess that Holland has decided to offer his second-round pick at the deadline, in hopes he can give the team a push into the playoffs. He might be able to get it back on the draft floor (Puljujarvi) this summer.

CONDORS 2019-20

Stuart Skinner is making all the stops in January and the Condors are back in the playoff race after winning three in a row. Noticeable are Stuart Skinner, Evan Bouchard, William Lagesson, Matt Benning and Dmitri Samorukov. Adding Benning has given the team’s defense real structure, there’s a lesson there.

Up front, Josh Currie has been scoring at an impressive clip, Tyler Benson went 1-2-3 on the weekend and Markus Granlund is a top flight player at this level. Will we see a recall in the coming days?

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236 Responses to "Pick Up The Pieces"

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  1. leadfarmer says:

    Dont be silly
    Antti Raanta is never healthy

    Are you expecting points from Johns?
    Preventing goals is not an issue. Doesnt help them scoring goals

    St. Louis is in their own league so it doesnt concern us.

    Arizona made the mistake of thinking 935 sp was the team and bought on Hall who is their only first line player. If they dont get 935 sp back they will be selling him

    Ferland is a walking concussion and a near future buyout.
    Jets only go as far as they one goaler takes them

  2. OriginalPouzar says:

    ArmchairGM: Again,a hockey trade for a player with similar value at a different position might work – say Darren Helm for 3C, for instance.

    That type of trade seems highly unlikely to me. In that particular proposal, I don’t see Rusty waiving his clause.

  3. Harpers Hair says:

    Woodguy v2.0:
    73pts in his last 105 AHL games for 0.70/gm which is nothing to sneeze at.

    High-ish PIMs, but not “fighter high”, although he probably does fight occasionally.

    With that size and those point totals my guess is that he can’t skate at the NHL level.

    If he could he’d be there.

    There’s more to Buddy Robinson than meets the eye.

    He’s described as a good skater and is a childhood friend of Gaudreau who was instrumental in getting Robinson into the Calgary system.

    https://www.sportsnet.ca/hockey/nhl/flames-robinson-hopes-achieve-dream-playing-bff-gaudreau/

  4. OriginalPouzar says:

    Harpers Hair: Zack Kassians career high is 28 points and he’s almost 30.

    Is he a top 6 winger ?

    Many say no but what does that have to do with your post.

    You used the player as an example of the team’s great pro scouting finding these top 6 players for cheap.

    Whether Kassian is a legit top 6 winger has nothing to do with your incorrectly used example.

    Tough night for Rafferty at the skills………

  5. OriginalPouzar says:

    Harpers Hair: If only slap shots from the point were an important part of the game.

    If only age mattered when discussing prospects….

  6. OriginalPouzar says:

    GordieHoweHatTrick: Showcasing /advertising) Jones for trade
    Letting Lags get paid a bit more to keep him happy and get him familiar with nhl routine

    I think Holland and Tippett are focussed on winning games as opposed to showcasing depth d-men for trades.

  7. Harpers Hair says:

    Rafferty missed the last four Comets games with an injury.
    Understandable.
    I’m surprised he showed up.

  8. Harpers Hair says:

    OriginalPouzar: Many say no but what does that have to do with your post.

    You used the player as an example of the team’s great pro scouting finding these top 6 players for cheap.

    Whether Kassian is a legit top 6 winger has nothing to do with your incorrectly used example.

    Tough night for Rafferty at the skills………

    Leivo was on pace for more than 40 points when injured.

    Opportunity is a thing.

  9. OriginalPouzar says:

    Reja: I love Larsson but if I can grab the dynamic Ehlers I do it.

    I was talking about the Bouchard call-up.

  10. JimmyV1965 says:

    OriginalPouzar: Larsson can be traded in a hockey trade to potentially improve the team. Something like Larsson for Kapanen – it may improve the team – it may not.

    Kassian can’t be traded to improve the team – he’s a pending UFA, a rental – a team acquiring Kassian is looking to improve their roster and it would be a pick/prospect coming back.

    Russell can’t be traded to improve the team – I think teams would be interested in acquiring the player, however, as we know, his contract provides negative value.

    Of course, there is no “selling” – Holland has said that he won’t be a seller – he may or may not be a buyer, but won’t be a seller – his verbal.

    Of course, if the team loses then next 6 games, that could change, but that’s not expected.

    If we trade roster players for picks, it’s like we’re giving up on the season. Imagine the reaction from players if Kassian is traded for a late second round pick. Geez, that would be ugly.

  11. leadfarmer says:

    Yawn
    Top top pp TOI per game guys get 4 min and they eat up all the pp min
    Canucks guys get 4 min plus
    And Leivo gets 2 min
    The amount of pp time they get is absurd

  12. JimmyV1965 says:

    Woodguy v2.0: You’re welcome.Glad those posts get read.

    I am of the opinon that if McDavid plays with An Actual NHL Top 6 Talent he might crack 60% GF on a regular basis and that covers a lot of team sins.

    He and Drai fell apart and I think it was because they tried to pass to each other too often and seemed to be confused on who F1 was (they both did flybys the slot a little too often, and didn’t seem to worry about picking up their check, but Drai was much worse)

    It seems that both Drai and McDavid have been coached up by Tippett in this respect and are both doing better.

    I don’t necessarily want them back together, but McDavid really needs some skill on his line.

    The amount of scoring opportunities he creates that get missed and plays that die with his wingers is soul crushing when they lose.

    Weakest spot today (as LT showed) is Neal at LW so I agree Benson should get some time there before Holland decides to spend on that spot.

    Upgrading both RW and LW would be great.

    +1000

  13. leadfarmer says:

    Leivos pp time a game is 30 seconds or less than guys like Seguin and Barzal

  14. Harpers Hair says:

    leadfarmer:
    Leivos pp time a game is 30 seconds or less than guys like Seguin and Barzal

    Really?

    Leivo’s PP TOI/game is 228th in the league at 1:51

    But carry on.

    https://www.hockey-reference.com/leagues/NHL_2020_skaters-time-on-ice.html

  15. OriginalPouzar says:

    JimmyV1965: If we trade roster players for picks, it’s like we’re giving up on the season. Imagine the reaction from players if Kassian is traded for a late second round pick. Geez, that would be ugly.

    Of course it would but, of course, its not going to happen.

    Holland said straight up we aren’t selling – we may not be buying but we won’t be selling.

    Anything short of a collapse and we won’t be selling.

    We actually have lots to sell if we were out of it – not high end but Kass would get a solid return, Archie and Sheahan would have a bit of value for middling picks. Not sure Haas or Nygard would get much but the other three.

  16. jp says:

    Harpers Hair: There’s more to Buddy Robinson than meets the eye.

    He’s described as a good skater and is a childhood friend of Gaudreau who was instrumental in getting Robinson into the Calgary system.

    https://www.sportsnet.ca/hockey/nhl/flames-robinson-hopes-achieve-dream-playing-bff-gaudreau/

    Why do you figure it took him 1.5+ yrs in the Flames system to get a call to the bigs?

  17. jp says:

    Woodguy v2.0:
    I posted the 5v5 “McDavid On/Off” with the monthly splits a few days ago..

    Bottom 6 is (25-26) 49% since Nov 1.

    Lots of good teams (who do well in the playoffs) have a bottom 6 that goes 49% if the top 2 lines beat their minutes (I’ve looked at every team in every season in this detail since 07/08)

    EDM also has the best player to lace em up since Lemieux playing almost a period 5v5 per night.

    That’s handy.

    I agree that

    xx-McDavid-xx
    Nuge-Draisaitl-Yamamoto

    Should be able to keep winning their minutes.

    I posted similar stuff this week on the bottom 6 holding their own since Nov 1. The question is can they keep it up? Is this real?

    I still find it difficult to believe/accept after 2.5 months. What’s your take? Do you think it’s real?

  18. jp says:

    Woodguy v2.0: There is a theory that they like Lagesson more than Jones long term.

    Jones having cost certainty for the next two year at 850K along with a longer NHL track record make him a more attractive trade asset.

    Just a theory I heard.

    Any more you can give us on this? (sorry if you elaborated at some point and I missed it).

    A somewhat reputable source? Or true speculation/theory?

    Fascinating, and a ton of implications if there’s any truth to the theory.

  19. jp says:

    JimmyV1965: Miller is a legit top six winger. He was when the Canucks traded for him. He helped their team immediately. We don’t know if Broberg will ever be a top four dmen. And if he does become a top four dman, it will be five years from now. If we sit around waiting for prospects to develop, the players on the roster now could get frustrated.

    I don’t disagree with anything you’ve said (though Broberg *could* be a top 4 D sooner than that).

    But trading a potential 10 year solution for 4 years of a top 6 winger isn’t always a good decision.

  20. BillyTheKidRanford says:

    If they call up Benson, likely not for a game or two, what are your thoughts on these lines….Unicorns
    Neal-McD-Kass
    Nygard-Draisaitl-Yamo
    Benson-Nuge-Archie
    JJ/Haas-She-Chiass/Gags

    Never really played with lines before however this could give us some depth and allow Benson to break in on the third line with skill…

    Let me hear your thoughts…..no need to hear your thoughts Godot….Kassian plays way too high up here and he is being zoomed by 97…
    Got it!

    GordieHoweHatTrick:
    From yesterday post
    LT suggestedlineup
    Joakim Nygard—Connor McDavid—Josh Archibald
    Ryan Nugent-Hopkins—Leon Draisaitl—Kailer Yamamoto
    Jujhar Khaira—Gaetan Haas—Zack Kassian
    Tyler Benson—Riley Sheahan—Alex Chiasson/Sam Gagner

    I agree with trying the first 2 lines. I was thinking similar in a post last week Speed on that first line would be a real handful for opposing D! 2nd line is humming along right now. Don’t fix what ain’t broke.

    I would suggest Benson up to 3 (with a few shifts at 1LW after a few games. JJ down to 4 and possibly rotate Neal on 4RW with some power play time. See if that works and/or motivates Neal. if not Chia in for Neal.
    Waive Gag
    Keep Russell up

    See what Besnon does for 9 games then make trade decisions

    See how Kass plays on (mostly) 3RW over this stretch before finalizing the next contract.

  21. Bulging Twine says:

    thank you

  22. duct tape and foil says:

    Woodguy v2.0: FOIL

    I think the nature of the cap is that we will never, except for brief periods, have elite talent all over the top 6. It’s just too expensive when you are paying 2 guys $21 million. Having high picks pan out helps a lot though for those brief windows at the end of ELC where they can really out-play their contract. Benson and Yamo both paid peanuts next year, and if they can play top 6 minutes. that will be wicked good.

    I think Benson has elite passing, not as good as Drai, but really skilled. His boardwork is also plus and those 2 traits could make him a nice fit with McDavid. Shifting him and Neal between L1 and L4 for the rest of this year might work out well for both guys.

    3C is where I try make a splash. If Nashville is out then you push hard for Bonino.

  23. ArmchairGM says:

    OriginalPouzar: That type of trade seems highly unlikely to me.In that particular proposal, I don’t see Rusty waiving his clause.

    It seems highly unlikely because we don’t have access to Russell’s 10-team trade list. If we did, picking targets would be much easier. But my point is that, in the absence of that information, there are hockey trades out there that make sense.

  24. Woodguy v2.0 says:

    Just a theory/speculation that I didn’t come up with.

    No source.

  25. Woodguy v2.0 says:

    duct tape and foil: I think the nature of the cap is that we will never, except for brief periods, have elite talent all over the top 6. It’s just too expensive when you are paying 2 guys $21 million. Having high picks pan out helps a lot though for those brief windows at the end of ELC where they can really out-play their contract. Benson and Yamo both paid peanuts next year, and if they can play top 6 minutes. that will be wicked good.

    I think Benson has elite passing, not as good as Drai, but really skilled. His boardwork is also plus and those 2 traits could make him a nice fit with McDavid. Shifting him and Neal between L1 and L4 for the rest of this year might work out well for both guys.

    3C is where I try make a splash. If Nashville is out then you push hard for Bonino.

    I don’t think they need Elite talent to play with McDavid.

    They just need higher end “middle” players, which is very doable in a cap system, especially if you draft well.

    EDM is playing lower end “middle” players or “gritensity” players (using the puckiq data) in that spot now.

    Even McDavid gets help from higher end help.

  26. jp says:

    Thanks. Interesting idea regardless.

  27. v4ance says:

    Woodguy v2.0:
    If you don’t listen to the PDOcast with Dimitri Filapovich you should.It’s good.

    His recent episode with Kevin Woodly from In Goal magazine is so, so good.

    Reset my own thoughts on a few players to and is full of good stuff.

    Also learned that In Goal has their own podcast and will start to listen to a lot of that as well.

    Those podcast are available for free. I use a free account at Spotify.

    Golden! I love the insight on defensive environment affecting goalie performance and cross slot plays affecting goalie styles. It makes total sense.

    I really liked their suggestion of Lehner to Edmonton…

  28. GordieHoweHatTrick says:

    OriginalPouzar: I think Holland and Tippett are focussed on winning games as opposed to showcasing depth d-men for trades.

    No fucking kidding
    They are playing Jones because he helps the team as well
    You were speculating why Lagesso. Wasn’t playing. I was suggesting a possible reason.

  29. GordieHoweHatTrick says:

    BillyTheKidRanford:
    If they call up Benson, likely not for a game or two,what are your thoughts on these lines….Unicorns
    Neal-McD-Kass
    Nygard-Draisaitl-Yamo
    Benson-Nuge-Archie
    JJ/Haas-She-Chiass/Gags

    Never really played with lines before however this could give us some depth and allow Benson to break in on the third line with skill…

    Let me hear your thoughts…..no need to hear your thoughts Godot….Kassian plays way too high up here and he is being zoomed by 97…
    Got it!

    It would be nice to see unicorns but I think the team is shy on top 6 W to make this happen. Maybe next year???
    If I were to get all Unic- horny with the current line up + Benson.and I were coach I would try this…After seeing if Benson can contribute and be effective @ NHL level…
    Benson-McDavid-Kass
    Nyg-Drai-Yamo
    Arch-Nuge-Neal
    Shea-Haas-Chia (Shea taming most faceoffs, but bigger body for the boards and Haas is faster and a better play maker)

    Nurse-Bear
    Klef-Lars
    Jones-Benning

    If Neal still blows goats at 5-5 then L3 becomes
    JJ-Nuge-Arch

  30. Woodguy v2.0 says:

    v4ance: Golden!I love the insight on defensive environment affecting goalie performance and cross slot plays affecting goalie styles.It makes total sense.

    I really liked their suggestion of Lehner to Edmonton…

    Me too.

  31. Woodguy v2.0 says:

    Harpers Hair: There’s more to Buddy Robinson than meets the eye.

    He’s described as a good skater and is a childhood friend of Gaudreau who was instrumental in getting Robinson into the Calgary system.

    https://www.sportsnet.ca/hockey/nhl/flames-robinson-hopes-achieve-dream-playing-bff-gaudreau/

    He certainly doesn’t seem to be a Peluso type face puncher.

    That said, he’s 28, a monster, and not in the NHL. He’d be there if he could be there.

    That said, his AHL salary is $350K so he’s valued by the CGY org.

  32. Woodguy v2.0 says:

    v4ance: Golden!I love the insight on defensive environment affecting goalie performance and cross slot plays affecting goalie styles.It makes total sense.

    I really liked their suggestion of Lehner to Edmonton…

    A lot of the goalie opinions that I respect (Woodley and Cat SIlverman at the top of that list) all rave about Clear Sight Analytics and how they measure expected goals.

    That’s the company that ex-NHL goalie Steve Valiquette started.

    Its not *way* for off what the public stuff has as far as I have been able to tell (which isn’t too much…), but it is different enough that one will be superior to the other and I’d bet on CSA.

    There is no doubt that teams are using this data to make better goalie hiring decisions.

    I highly doubt EDM is among those teams.

  33. v4ance says:

    Woodguy v2.0: A lot of the goalie opinions that I respect (Woodley and Cat SIlverman at the top of that list) all rave about Clear Sight Analytics and how they measure expected goals.

    That’s the company that ex-NHL goalie Steve Valiquettestarted.

    Its not *way* for off what the public stuff has as far as I have been able to tell (which isn’t too much…), but it is different enough that one will be superior to the other and I’d bet on CSA.

    There is no doubt that teams are using this data to make better goalie hiring decisions.

    I highly doubt EDM is among those teams.

    That line about how Chayka used the CSA data to glean that one of Keumper’s goaltending attributes was a strong “fit” for their defensive tendencies is exactly how I’d want the Oilers to identify the next goalie they acquire.

    Sadly, I believe you’re right and the Oilers are just opening NHL.com and looking at the top save percentages

  34. Harpers Hair says:

    jp: Why do you figure it took him 1.5+ yrs in the Flames system to get a call to the bigs?

    Must be something missing from his game.

    No idea what that might be.

  35. v4ance says:

    Woodguy v2.0: A lot of the goalie opinions that I respect (Woodley and Cat SIlverman at the top of that list) all rave about Clear Sight Analytics and how they measure expected goals.

    That’s the company that ex-NHL goalie Steve Valiquettestarted.

    Its not *way* for off what the public stuff has as far as I have been able to tell (which isn’t too much…), but it is different enough that one will be superior to the other and I’d bet on CSA.

    There is no doubt that teams are using this data to make better goalie hiring decisions.

    I highly doubt EDM is among those teams.

    I also liked the part of the discussion where they pretty much wrote off Vancouver in the playoffs. The Canucks regular success is dependant on generating lots of PP chances and when the refs put away their whistles, the Canucks may not be able to win the games with less PP opportunities.

    On the other hand, that bodes well for Edmonton as we don’t generate near as many PPs but the ones we get, we’re more efficient at scoring goals. In playoff games, that could easily tilt the balance on a close series.

  36. Woodguy v2.0 says:

    v4ance: That line about how Chayka used the CSA data to glean that one of Keumper’s goaltending attributes was a strong “fit” for their defensive tendencies is exactly how I’d want the Oilers to identify the next goalie they acquire.

    Sadly, I believe you’re right and the Oilers are just opening NHL.com and looking at the top save percentages

    NHL Guide and Record book. 🙂

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