Getting Ready for Summer Business

Ken Holland is signing contracts at a rapid clip lately, getting Caleb Jones, Zack Kassian and now Darnell Nurse sewn up for the future. The details of the Nurse contract are unique in my opinion, I wrote about it for The Athletic this morning.

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: Oilers reportedly finalizing short-term deal for Darnell Nurse to free up cap space for summer
  • New Lowetide:  The Oilers urgently need first-shot scorers, so expect a flood of additions this summer
  • Daniel Nugent-Bowman: Oilers Observations: A Connor McDavid scare, Leon Draisaitl’s back, boosting the top line and helping Zack Kassian
  • Lowetide: The Oilers trading their first-round pick is a bad idea
  • Daniel Nugent-Bowman: After a ‘long road’ to the NHL, Tyler Benson’s Oilers debut holds extra meaning
  • Mitch Brown: The Video Room: How Oilers’ Kailer Yamamoto overcomes his small stature to make dynamic plays
  • Daniel Nugent-Bowman: ‘Emotionless’ Oilers fail yet again to match passion from a week ago
  • Daniel Nugent-Bowman: 15 potential trade targets for the Oilers before the 2020 deadline
  • Lowetide: Drilling down on right-handed centres for the Oilers to target before the trade deadline
  • Jonathan Willis: Oilers trade suggestions: 50 proposals from readers, with our verdict
  • Lowetide: If fast is the new big, the Oilers are trending in a very good direction
  • Lowetide: Oilers’ 2016 draft and the value of waiting five years
  • Daniel Nugent-Bowman: ‘I got a text from Wayne Gretzky that I’ve still got saved’: 8 years later, Sam Gagner reflects on his 8-point night.
  • Lowetide: What’s next for Tyler Benson and William Lagesson after being called up by the Oilers?
  • Daniel Nugent-Bowman: ‘Now it’s over’: With a new contract in hand, Zack Kassian ready to move on after Matthew Tkachuk fight
  • Lowetide: Why the Oilers are more likely to trade Adam Larsson than Kris Russell
  • Lowetide: Oilers prospects Evan Bouchard and Tyler Benson deliver best minor league performances in 20 years
  • 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
  • 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

PROJECTED 2020-21 ROSTER

I’ve made a few moves, dealing Adam Larsson, Jesse Puljuarvi, buying out James Neal. Asterisks are estimated numbers for free agents and I’ve included the reported number for Nurse. Your mileage may vary on contracts (Bear’s number could be wildly wrong) and I have the cap at $83.5 million.

Holes remain, the right side of the defense is very young and the goalies are very old. Part of the reason I chose Mike Smith was to enrage you. I like the top two lines and the No. 3 center, and the left side of the defense should be fine. I kept Kris Russell as a swing man and because I think Larsson has more trade value.

THE 2020 DRAFT

I am preparing the next installment of draft coverage, it’ll be published next Tuesday (a week from tomorrow) as we enter into a busy period of games. It’s been a month since the last list.

Since I’m well into the piece, and can’t share it today (it is unready), thought I might share a few items. The top 10 has some changes but no new names have moved up, just a shuffle of the top group.

Tim Stuetzle and Jamie Drysdale were the big movers up the top 10, and there are three new members of the top 20 (Jack Quinn, Braden Schneider, Jake Sanderson).

The highest new addition (my list will grow from 32 to 62) is Seth Jarvis. Stay tuned!

THE EXTRA MONEY

In signing Nurse to this new deal, Ken Holland freed up (by my estimate) about $1 million in cap room this and next year. That’s a significant amount. How will Ken Holland use it? I’ve given my opinion above, acquiring a winger with a year left isn’t ideal but free agency is going to be spendy and a trade of assets (especially on defense) might be a better way. I’m looking forward to reading your ideas in the comments section.

LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE

At 10 this morning, we kickstart the week, TSN1260. Guests include Ben Gretch from CBS Sports who will give the latest on the Expos-Rays ‘shared team’ idea that appears to be closer to a reality. Jason Gregor will pop by with opinion on Darnell Nurse, the big Saturday win over Nashville. We’re also casting about for an XFL guest, just in case you want some crazy. 10-1260 text, @Lowetide on twitter. Talk soon!

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302 Responses to "Getting Ready for Summer Business"

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  1. Munny says:

    It’s getting close to the end of the day and I feel the same way as I did at the beginning of it…

    If we’re going big game hunting, and I don’t think we are, my target is Kapanen.

    TO is capstrung. Has needs. And he’s a flake. I think he could be obtained without the requisite overpay. He’s certainly a player I’d make a phone call on.

    I’m guessing that Kenny is still in small-ball mode, but will try to get better than a rental if he can.

  2. OriginalPouzar says:

    BornInAGretzkyJersey:
    FWIW, I’d already commented to the same effect, about twenty minutes after he posted.So clearly you saw that, yes?

    FWIW, nope.

    I read a post and respond to it after I read it if I feel the desire. I don’t search through the rest of the comments before I respond.

    Sorry if that bothers you.

  3. OriginalPouzar says:

    Harpers Hair:
    Jason Zucker to the Penguins for Galcheyuk and a bag of pucks.

    Oilers make a grievous error.

    Callen Addison and a 1st – HUGE RETURN.

    Oilers made no such grievous error – that is a massive haul by MIN and huge price to pay by the Penguins.

    I am confidant most Oiler fans would NOT be happy with given away those two major assets.

  4. OriginalPouzar says:

    Zucker would be a nice add to this team, for the now and the next few years.

    I don’t know his exact stats and metrics but I think the contract is very reasonable.

    It’s a hockey trade and not just a pure rental so the assets out, although very material, may be reasonable acquisition value.

    At the same time, the Oilers are not in the position to trade a massive value 1st round pick and a top prospect at this time. They are still building that asset base and they 1st is a key piece.

    Those are two massive expansion draft exempt assets out.

    PIT is a legit contender on the middle of their window – this is a trade to help out them over the top immediately.

    PIT will be in big big trouble on 3 years or so (unless they sell big time at the close of their window).

  5. ArmchairGM says:

    Bank Shot: I’d take that. Makes sense for them to trade their futures. They probably have about 5 years left of Croby/Malkin being elite players. Might as well make the most of it.

    They have already had a great run and a few years of pain at the end of a 20 year run would be easy to stomach.

    A few years of pain… wherein they draft generational talents in consecutive drafts, and the cycle starts all over again.

  6. Woodguy v2.0 says:

    Munny:
    Woodguy v2.0,

    From the Columbus Conference YouTube presentation.

    Sounded like it was what they’ve been waiting for… although it won’t revolutionize anything immediately as there won’t be any old data… they’re going to be starting from square one.

    Thanks for that.

  7. jp says:

    JimmyV1965: Free agents rarely solve problems. They’re more likely to create problems. Would love to get someone like Burakovsky for two second rounders, but I think doing nothing is worse than trading a first rounder. Zucker’s three years are a big damn deal. Maybe there’s a better deal out there, but I have no issue with the cost for Zucker. I guess what I really object to is the notion that a first rounder is out of the question for a player with term.

    Fair enough that you’d keep the 1st rounder on the table for a player with term. I suspect Holland does too for the right, though he’s not overly likely to pull the trigger.

    You say free agents rarely solve problems which I can understand. Lots of times they don’t work out, but there are also guys like Connolly who look like great bets at reasonable prices. Compare say Kreider as a UFA this summer for the Oilers to Zucker and the trade the Penguins just pulled off. The players are fairly comparable in age/performance/value. As a UFA Kreider is going to cost (say) $1.5M more per year than Zucker. Is having Zucker for 3.5 yrs and $1.5M or $2M less than Kreider (on a 4-5 year deal) worth the extra assets given up (1st round pick, top prospect, struggling, skilled 25 year old forward)? I’d say not in this case but you needn’t agree.

    And I agree a trade like for Burakovsky would be great too, but they don’t always work out like that. You don’t get guarantees of a young controlled 2nd line forward for 2 2nds. Burakovsky looks like he’s going to score 25 goals and 60 points with his new team but he’d never managed 20 goals or 40 points before this. His performance this year wasn’t a given, and that was reflected in the price tag.

  8. jp says:

    ArmchairGM: A few years of pain… wherein they draft generational talents in consecutive drafts, and the cycle starts all over again.

    BUT WHAT IF IT TAKES 10 YEARS?!?!

    OR MORE!?!??

  9. Woodguy v2.0 says:

    leadfarmer:
    Good move by Pens
    But they will be were Detroit is in a few years

    Flags fly forever and they’re playing very well this year.

    Not going all in while Crosby and Malkin can still dominate is a crime.

  10. ArmchairGM says:

    jtblack: galchenyuk is 48 pts/ 82 over his career with 1 – 30 Goal season. He’s 25. Obviously very inconsistent. Who would the Oilers have given up that is simliar? It’s not NEAL or SAMWISE …

    Galchenyuk
    2017-18: 0.46 G/60 … 1.39 P/60
    2018-19: 0.63 G/60 … 1.26 P/60
    2019-20: 0.41 G/60 … 1.51 P/60
    3-year total: 0.52 G/60 … 1.37 P/60 (2326:51 TOI)

    Gagner
    2017-18: 0.39 G/60 … 1.04 P/60
    2018-19: 0.59 G/60 … 1.62 P/60
    2019-20: 0.50 G/60 … 1.49 P/60
    3-year total: 0.46 G/60 … 1.27 P/60 (1696:12 TOI)

    These players aren’t as far apart as you think. Both are overpaid, Galchenyuk moreso. Neither is good defensively, neither PK’s. Both are UFA’s in July. The only advantage Galchenyuk has is age.

  11. jp says:

    Munny:
    It’s getting close to the end of the day and I feel the same way as I did at the beginning of it…

    If we’re going big game hunting, and I don’t think we are, my target is Kapanen.

    TO is capstrung.Has needs.And he’s a flake.I think he could be obtained without the requisite overpay.He’s certainly a player I’d make a phone call on.

    I’m guessing that Kenny is still in small-ball mode, but will try to get better than a rental if he can.

    Yeah getting a long term solution at a reasonable price would be amazing. Agree that Kapanen and Toronto are a good target, and they’d seemingly be interested some of the Oilers parts like Larsson in addition to futures.

    And on Larsson btw, I think you’re likely right about this being one of the very unlikely universes. Weird weird numbers. I do think at least one of he or Russell should be moved out by the start of next season. And I think there’s a good chance Larsson’s performance rebounds…

  12. ArmchairGM says:

    jp: BUT WHAT IF IT TAKES 10 YEARS?!?!

    OR MORE!?!??

    It could. Mario was drafted in ’84, Jagr didn’t come along until ’90.

  13. ArmchairGM says:

    Munny: If we’re going big game hunting, and I don’t think we are, my target is Kapanen.

    Is Kap really “big game” though?

  14. jp says:

    ArmchairGM: Galchenyuk
    2017-18: 0.46 G/60 … 1.39 P/60
    2018-19: 0.63 G/60 … 1.26 P/60
    2019-20: 0.41 G/60 … 1.51 P/60
    3-year total: 0.52 G/60 … 1.37 P/60 (2326:51 TOI)

    Gagner
    2017-18: 0.39 G/60 … 1.04 P/60
    2018-19: 0.59 G/60 … 1.62 P/60
    2019-20: 0.50 G/60 … 1.49 P/60
    3-year total: 0.46 G/60 … 1.27 P/60 (1696:12 TOI)

    These players aren’t as far apart as you think. Both are overpaid, Galchenyuk moreso. Neither is good defensively, neither PK’s. Both are UFA’s in July. The only advantage Galchenyuk has is age.

    This is part of the record too:
    Galchenyuk 199-43-66-109
    Gagner —– 136-20-35-55

    But fair enough there’s not a chasm between the players. And Galchenyuk appears like he may be heading down the wandering path Gagner did at a similar age.

  15. ArmchairGM says:

    jp: : I agree Holland needs to get McDavid a winger but it doesn’t HAVE to be a trade. And in particular not necessarily one in the Miller/Zucker ilk.

    There’s free agents available at various price points as well as shorter term trade fixes like Tatar or Palmieri.

    There’s a lot of options between doing nothing and overpaying (IMO) for a very nice player (Zucker).

    JimmyV1965:
    Free agents rarely solve problems. They’re more likely to create problems. Would love to get someone like Burakovsky for two second rounders, but I think doing nothing is worse than trading a first rounder. Zucker’s three years are a big damn deal. Maybe there’s a better deal out there, but I have no issue with the cost for Zucker. I guess what I really object to is the notion that a first rounder is out of the question for a player with term.

    I don’t understand this idea that free agents don’t solve problems and a team is better off giving up prime assets for the same player. It makes no sense. I don’t care how a player is acquired as long as the correct player is acquired and due diligence is done prior to the acquisition. If said player can be acquired for just money, isn’t that a better outcome? Then the team isn’t emptying out it’s farm system for every new player they want to bring in.

  16. ArmchairGM says:

    JimmyV1965: I agree with you here. I don’t know how people think we’re getting a player for McDavid. Lavoie is the most realistic internal option and he’s three years away, if ever.Holland has to make a trade. Maybe he can swing something for a second rounder, but doing nothing is worse than trading the first rounder.

    By the way, Jason Zucker is 18 months older than JT Miller.He’s scored 142 goals in 456 games. Miller has scored 116 goals in 491. Not sure how PP production impacts the numbers for either player.

    Here are their 5v5 scoring rates recently…

    Zucker
    2016-17: 1.08 G/60 … 2.38 P/60
    2017-18: 1.08 G/60 … 2.10 P/60
    2018-19: 0.63 G/60 … 1.37 P/60
    3 year total: 0.93 G/60 … 1.95 P/60
    2019-20: 0.73 G/60 … 1.89 P/60

    Miller
    2016-17: 0.73 G/60 … 1.91 P/60
    2017-18: 0.54 G/60 … 1.83 P/60
    2018-19: 0.62 G/60 … 1.64 P/60
    3 year total: 0.63 G/60 … 1.80 P/60
    2019-20: 1.05 G/60 … 2.48 P/60

    Miller’s numbers are WAY off the charts this year, not sure they’ll be sustainable going forward.

  17. GordieHoweHatTrick says:

    jtblack:
    NEAL 19 GOALS
    LUCIC6 GOALS

    In order for 3rd to go to CGY, Neal has to score min 21 Goals AND score at least 10 more than Lucic.

    So it’s not a given that Edm will lose their 3rd rounder; and it looked that way in Oct / Nov.

    It would be a shame if Neal had to rest his foot until April

  18. ArmchairGM says:

    jp: BUT WHAT IF IT TAKES 10 YEARS?!?!

    OR MORE!?!??

    Just to be clear, I was talking about the Pens, not the Oilers.

  19. jp says:

    ArmchairGM: Just to be clear, I was talking about the Pens, not the Oilers.

    🙂

    I know, but my mind immediately went to the DoD.

  20. jp says:

    GordieHoweHatTrick: It would be a shame if Neal had to rest his foot until April

    I was thinking something similar. K. Russell too for that matter.

    But despite his surface 5on5 numbers (P/60 and GF%) I’m not sure he’s actually been playing so badly. His underlying numbers are quite good. And the man has 19 goals (I know, most on the PP).

    His corsi, shot, scoring chance, xGoal numbers are all solid. His DFF% is solid. His PDO sucks but that’s not his fault.

    If nothing else, I still feel like Neal is probably one of the 2 best options currently available (leaving the 2nd line intact) to play with Connor McDavid.

    He would ideally be replaced for sure, but right now I think he can still help this team some.

  21. ArmchairGM says:

    “Anyone give any credibility to that “Mike Litorus” account on twitter? He broke the trade with LA perfectly, literally a few hours before it happened. He recently tweeted a big trade is coming because of a few players being very toxic in the room. He did not mention any names but based on recency, I’d have to guess its Kapanen?”

    From a Leafs fan on another forum. Comments?

    • Jethro Tull says:

      Mike Hunt and Jenny Tools do a good job breaking trades. I usually can’t find Mike Litorus.

      I think the best sleeper joke was from Are You Being Served, with Mrs. Slocombe (pronounced Slow- Comm, or with a short U) and the string of jokes about her pussy…… cat.

  22. JimmyV1965 says:

    jp: Fair enough that you’d keep the 1st rounder on the table for a player with term. I suspect Holland does too for the right, though he’s not overly likely to pull the trigger.

    You say free agents rarely solve problems which I can understand. Lots of times they don’t work out, but there are also guys like Connolly who look like great bets at reasonable prices. Compare say Kreider as a UFA this summer for the Oilers to Zucker and the trade the Penguins just pulled off. The players are fairly comparable in age/performance/value. As a UFA Kreider is going to cost (say) $1.5M more per year than Zucker. Is having Zucker for 3.5 yrs and $1.5M or $2M less than Kreider (on a 4-5 year deal) worth the extra assets given up (1st round pick, top prospect, struggling, skilled 25 year old forward)? I’d say not in this case but you needn’t agree.

    And I agree a trade like for Burakovsky would be great too, but they don’t always work out like that. You don’t get guarantees of a young controlled 2nd line forward for 2 2nds. Burakovsky looks like he’s going to score 25 goals and 60 points with his new team but he’d never managed 20 goals or 40 points before this. His performance this year wasn’t a given, and that was reflected in the price tag.

    The issue for Kreider won’t be the $7 mill, although he might get more. The issue will be the seven years for a player who will be 29 when the deal is signed.

  23. JimmyV1965 says:

    ArmchairGM: I don’t understand this idea that free agents don’t solve problems and a team is better off giving up prime assets for the same player. It makes no sense. I don’t care how a player is acquired as long as the correct player is acquired and due diligence is done prior to the acquisition. If said player can be acquired for just money, isn’t that a better outcome? Then the team isn’t emptying out it’s farm system for every new player they want to bring in.

    Well, the example JP cited is actually a problem. Kreider will get seven years. That’s a huge issue. The Blues traded for the playoff MVP. When was the last time a team signed a free agent MVP? There is value in free agency. Just very little of it.

  24. GordieHoweHatTrick says:

    jp: I was thinking something similar. K. Russell too for that matter.

    But despite his surface 5on5 numbers (P/60 and GF%) I’m not sure he’s actually been playing so badly. His underlying numbers are quite good. And the man has 19 goals (I know, most on the PP).

    His corsi, shot, scoring chance, xGoal numbers are all solid. His DFF% is solid. His PDO sucks but that’s not his fault.

    If nothing else, I still feel like Neal is probably one of the 2 best options currently available (leaving the 2nd line intact) to play with Connor McDavid.

    He would ideally be replaced for sure, but right now I think he can still help this team some.

    Agreed. But I was mostly referring to not losing the 3rd round draft pick!

  25. GordieHoweHatTrick says:

    ArmchairGM:
    “Anyone give any credibility to that “Mike Litorus” account on twitter? He broke the trade with LA perfectly, literally a few hours before it happened. He recently tweeted a big trade is coming because of a few players being very toxic in the room. He did not mention any names but based on recency, I’d have to guess its Kapanen?”

    From a Leafs fan on another forum. Comments?

    Curious: Which LA trade? The last one or Muzzin?

  26. GordieHoweHatTrick says:

    ArmchairGM:
    “Anyone give any credibility to that “Mike Litorus” account on twitter? He broke the trade with LA perfectly, literally a few hours before it happened. He recently tweeted a big trade is coming because of a few players being very toxic in the room. He did not mention any names but based on recency, I’d have to guess its Kapanen?”

    From a Leafs fan on another forum. Comments?

    My guess would be JT. I don’t think the Islanders missed him very much.

  27. jp says:

    GordieHoweHatTrick: Agreed. But I was mostly referring to not losing the 3rd round draft pick!

    Ha, I’d already forgotten about the pick figuring it was gone.

  28. ArmchairGM says:

    JimmyV1965: The issue for Kreider won’t be the $7 mill, although he might get more. The issue will be the seven years for a player who will be 29 when the deal is signed.

    Who says he’ll get 7 years? None of his comps got more than 4 IIRC.

  29. jp says:

    JimmyV1965: The issue for Kreider won’t be the $7 mill, although he might get more. The issue will be the seven years for a player who will be 29 when the deal is signed.

    Sure, he may want more term (and very well may get it).

    There’s tons of UFAs signing for less than 7 years these days though.

    Zuccarello for 5
    Nyquist for 4
    Eberle for 5
    Henrique for 5
    JVR for 5
    Hornqvist for 5
    Granlund for 3 (the other one)
    Tatar for 4
    Palat for 5
    Radulov for 5
    Hanzal for 3
    Bonino for 4
    Hoffman for 4

    Zucker himself just signed a 5 year extension in 2018.

    There could be a few mistakes in here (may be one RFA year included in some cases) but all these guys signed deals for more than $4M per for 3-5 yrs in the past 3 off-seasons.

    You do not HAVE to sign a UFA for 7 years. Just like you do not HAVE to trade your 1st to improve your team.

  30. godot10 says:

    ArmchairGM: Here are their 5v5 scoring rates recently…

    Zucker
    2016-17: 1.08 G/60 … 2.38 P/60
    2017-18: 1.08 G/60 … 2.10 P/60
    2018-19: 0.63 G/60 … 1.37 P/60
    3 year total: 0.93 G/60 … 1.95 P/60
    2019-20: 0.73 G/60 … 1.89 P/60

    Miller
    2016-17: 0.73 G/60 … 1.91 P/60
    2017-18: 0.54 G/60 … 1.83 P/60
    2018-19: 0.62 G/60 … 1.64 P/60
    3 year total: 0.63 G/60 … 1.80 P/60
    2019-20: 1.05 G/60 … 2.48 P/60

    Miller’s numbers are WAY off the charts this year, not sure they’ll be sustainable going forward.

    Data without context, i.e. how they were used, in what role, and quality of opposition and teammates, is deceiving.

    Miller >> Zucker

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