I am a fan of clarity. Craig MacTavish had it, it was a pleasure to hear him discuss prospects and project them into NHL roles.
I especially enjoyed his take on Marc Pouliot back in the day (March 2007): “From what I’ve seen from him, he plays a responsible game. There’s no reason he can’t play a third-line role if he can’t fill a top-two line spot. There are a lot of players, of which we have a few, who have to play on your top two lines, otherwise they’re not going to play. He’s not one of those guys. He’s a guy who can play that third-line centre spot.”
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, check it out here.
- New Lowetide: Craig MacTavish’s most important Oilers moment? Picking Leon Draisaitl
- Daniel Nugent-Bowman: If play does not resume, 5 notable questions that will go unanswered in Edmonton
- Lowetide: Making the call on RFA and UFA players on the Oilers’ 50-man roster
- Jonathan Willis: The 2020 NHL broadcast rankings: The best and worst markets to watch the games
- Daniel Nugent-Bowman: Q&A: Scott Howson on new AHL job, Oilers’ unsung prospect and development updates
- Lowetide: A look back at reasonable expectations and the Oilers fantastic special teams in 2019-20.
- Lowetide: Will the Oilers rocket to Russia during free agency this summer
- Lowetide: Will Oilers drafts be less reliant on the WHL under new management?
- Daniel Nugent-Bowman: Connor McDavid on a ‘fair season’, working out and picking quarantine teammates
- Lowetide: Dave Tippett deploys unproven talent expertly in first Oilers season
- Lowetide, Daniel Nugent-Bowman and Jonathan Willis: Oilers ABC: Picking the best players in franchise history, from Anderson to Zuke
- Jonathan Willis: If the Oilers need to clear money with a buyout, they have one real option
- Daniel Nugent-Bowman: The 5 games that define Leon Draisaitl’s Hart Trophy-worthy season
- Lowetide: Final Oilers report cards: Second-half impact defines a successful season
- Jonathan Willis: Does Filip Berglund’s new SHL contract mean he’s done with the Oilers?
- Daniel Nugent-Bowman: Evolution of a star: Why Leon Draisaitl was our Hart pick
- Daniel Nugent-Bowman and Jonathan Willis: Which former Oiler has the best argument to have his jersey number retired?
- Lowetide: Which Oilers veterans are in roster peril?
- Jonathan Willis: How good is Anton Slepyshev and what will an NHL return mean for the Oilers?
- New Lowetide: Oilers’ challenge could be finding relief with a low cap ceiling
POULIOT AND MCLEOD AT 20
Pouliot was the superior offensive player at 20, although it has to be noted that his team (Hamilton Bulldogs) was a shared unit (Habs, Oilers). That said, the 2005-06 Bulldogs averaged 2.81 goals per game; this year’s Condors averaged 2.89, meaning they delivered similar numbers.
At even strength, and it’s important to compare these men in the same game state, Pouliot posted 65, 9-12-21 (.323) and McLeod 56, 5-13-18 (.321).
Pouliot’s linemates included future NHL players like Andrei Kostitsyn, Maxim Lapierre, Brad Winchester and J.F. Jacques. McLeod played most often with Kirill Maksimov and what appeared to be a revolving door (Tomas Jurco, Benson, Jakob Stukel, Anthony Peluso) on the other wing. Pouliot absolutely played with superior options to my eye.
Yesterday I wrote that Tyler Benson needs a skill center to make it in the NHL. I’m tempted to say double it and double it again with McLeod, but he has blazing speed and I suspect his chances of an NHL career are better because of the foot speed. If the Oilers can find a way for this young man to score 12 goals a year, I believe they’ll have a player. The player MacT thought he had in Pouliot.
BACK STORY ON SCORING
Do you remember a story I told you years ago about one of the old timey Habs wingers who was a shy scorer? His name was Gilles Tremblay. Legend has it that Toe Blake took him aside after his rookie season and talked to him about his game. The legendary coach lauded Tremblay’s defensive game, but told him he’d need to score more goals. “Take care of the checking and I’ll show you how to score enough to stay in the league” said coach Blake.
I suspect the coach talked to him about spending more time in the scoring zones. Jay Woodcroft had McLeod play on the wing for a time this past season and it’s my guess it was the Gilles Tremblay treatment.
Let’s be honest about this: McLeod’s speed and position on the ice (center) make him a compelling prospect. If the club can get him to go to the dirty areas and cash a dozen passes, with a couple more in off his ass? Music! If they can’t? Ryan Martindale.
POLITICS AND THE CORONAVIRUS
So, I’ve tweaked the words that will get caught in the moderation trap. There are just two names that will hold up your post, the Canadian Prime Minister and the American President. After that, feel free to share whatever you wish about the virus. As of now, we’re on the “we’re all adults” system, I once again request that we do our best not to lower ourselves into angry back and forth about things no one is going to change their minds on. Post away, and be safe.