Green, Green Grass of Home

by Lowetide

What if the Oilers organization, and the key free agents currently on the club, decided to come back for 2020-21 and have a full lash at the Pacific Division? What would it look like? Could the Oilers push to win the division?

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, check it out here.

POSSIBLE OPENING NIGHT LINEUP 2020-21

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins—Connor McDavid—Zack Kassian. This is the trio Dave Tippett deployed against Winnipeg in the final game of the season. I expect we’ll see Andreas Athanasiou on this line in 2020-21, the investment in AA needs some time. I think Yamamoto, Nygard and Ennis are interesting backup options. Nuge gives the trio a concerned citizen defensively and that’s a good thing.

Tyler Ennis—Leon Draisaitl—Kailer Yamamoto. I imagine this line with Nuge will get lots of leeway at the start of the year, my suspicion is Yamamoto could slide up to 97’s line eventually as well. Ennis was quite useful in his nine games and the cost shouldn’t be too dear. If he could make things rhyme with Leon, it frees Nuge for work with 97 or a line of his own.

Andreas Athanasiou—Riley Sheahan—Josh Archibald. Sheahan hasn’t signed yet but is one of the experienced free-agent centers so one imagines he’ll get a small boost in salary. I’m intrigued by the speed on the wings. Athanasiou had a great game on this line, he was rambunctious and a real worry for the Jets. Archibald showed great utility all year and won a new contract.

James Neal—Jujhar Khaira—Alex Chiasson. The idea of having increased depth has appeal, and this ‘grumpy old men and Jujhar’ trio can play it as heavy as Spinal Tap at the airbase. They didn’t get much done against Winnipeg, though.

Gaetan Haas, Joakim Nygard. These two characters are more likely to play than some of the names listed above but the dollars make sense in terms of listing them as extras. I’m looking forward to seeing what both men can bring in the second year of their NHL journeys.

Oscar Klefbom—Adam Larsson. Veteran duo settles down the entire team when they’re on. Later in the campaign Larsson showed why he has great value and Klefbom is the team’s best defenseman by some margin.

Darnell Nurse—Ethan Bear. It would be ideal to have this pairing face elite competition less often in 2020-21. Both men played big minutes in 2019-20, but a ‘share the land’ deployment among all three pairings is likely a better idea.

Caleb Jones—Mike Green. This is a nice combination of old and new, and both men have the potential to move up the depth chart. Remember, Dave Tippett used Green as a second pairing option in that very brief time before the injury.

William Lagesson. This could be Matt Benning or Kris Russell but I have to pretend to be saving money somewhere. Lagesson is unproven but he ran with an impressive pack in Bakersfield.

Mikko Koskinen, Mike Smith. I know many of you will balk, but Tippett trusts him and Holland does not fear the reaper, in fact he embraces the elderly.

TOP 10 BAKERSFIELD RECALLS

Holland won’t have Detroit Red Wings 2005-06 levels of AHL depth to call upon but there’s some good things down on the farm.

  1. RD Evan Bouchard. Chances are he makes the team but as I wrote recently for The Athletic, Bouchard has not yet dominated the AHL. A big lift is possible if he’s a mid-season recall.
  2. LW Tyler Benson. His AHL career, now two seasons long, has been the most impressive for an Oilers prospect forward since Jason Chimera. He’ll need to adjust once in the NHL (speed, fast breaks the other way) but he’s very close.
  3. LD Theodore Lennstrom. It’s difficult to rank him but ‘need’ suggests he’ll be an early recall if required. NHL teams routinely use 10 or 11 blue in a season. Edmonton used 11 in 2019-20.
  4. RC Cooper Marody. He needs to rebound and the Oilers need Marody. He has enough skill to land an NHL job in my opinion, as long as he’s healthy.
  5. LW Joe Gambardella. The time is now for the two-way winger, I think he has an open shot at a roster spot in 2020-21.
  6. LC Ryan McLeod. He needs more time, perhaps an entire season. However, McLeod’s trajectory is impressive and I think he’ll be the eventual No. 3 center on the Oilers.
  7. G Stuart Skinner. Holland may bring in a more veteran option for the No. 3 job, hell the team might bring back Shane Starrett. As things stand, Skinner is the first recall option.
  8. LD Dmitri Samorukov. He played sheltered minutes last season, so the first thing to look for in 2020-21 is a feature role for the rangy blue. His even strength on ice numbers in the AHL as a rookie were better than Bear and Jones, look for a nice step forward in the year to come.
  9. RW Kirill Maksimov. Unlikely to get a call this year but I expect the young winger will emerge as a legit AHL scorer this season. Could get an NHL look.
  10. RW Raphael Lavoie. I have him playing the entire season in the minors but Lavoie will be getting lots of attention in Bakersfield.

LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE

Everybody’s working for the weekend, and we’ll start the fun at 10 this morning, TSN1260. For those who don’t live in Alberta, the Thursday before May long is for securing supplies and making sure everything is set for fleeing the city by 2pm Friday. Seriously.

At 10:20 Scott Wheeler from The Athletic will join me to talk about his brilliant article on Raphael Lavoie (link above). At 11 Gianluca Nesci will help us suss out the opening weekends for soccer, beginning with Alphonso Davies and the Bundesliga this weekend. At 11:25 Steve Hamilton, head coach of the Calgary Hitmen of the WHL, will help us look back on the Memorial Cup game in 2014 that made the Edmonton Oil Kings champions. It’ll play tonight at 6 on TSN1260. Stay tuned!

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London Jon

Harpers Hair: D drafted in 2018 or later

Ranked by games played.

Dahlin 141
Hughes 73
Boqvist 41
Dobson 34
Sandin 34
Heinola 8
Bouchard 7

I would wager Byram and Seider will be in that group before Bouchard.

My offer of $100 a point, Bouchard vs Rafferty over the next 5 years is still there for you to take up if you like…

meanashell11

JimmyV1965: Thisthing you have about Bouchard, I don’t know what to call it, is really really weird. He’s a very good prospect.Nothing more. Nothing less.

He’s an Oiler prospect so by definition HH hates him. Anything Oilers, HH hates.

jp

Brantford Boy:
jp,

Neal-Nuge-Chiasson

That was my 3rd line in this little exercise…

Have a great night everyone… cheers!

Looks like a good option, IF you’re going to run 3 centers 🙂

€√¥£€^$

defmn:
Bob Stauffer
@Bob_Stauffer
·
9m
Lots of ideas for a return on Jesse Puljujarvi out there.
Might need to target another prospect that could use a fresh start.
I have a lot of time for Henrik Borgstrom.
Not sure why he stagnated with FLA this season.
IMO he should for sure be at least a 3rd line C.

He has the same Agent as Jesse. Not a fan of this guy, he doesn’t seem to preach patience, or perhaps he sees Jesse’s popularity and is finding other opportunities for generating income with these kids.

HB has been in North America for several years now, seems strange that he decided to go home, or maybe Lehto sees an opportunity to have his players swap teams…..seems like a dumb ass move. I am thinking Henrik is on the verge of making it.

JimmyV1965

pts2pndr: You could be grasping at straws. Everyone has their right,to state their opinion, only time will tell who is right. The question should not be who is first but who has the most impact or best career. Getting to the NHL first is many times dependant on the team need and not on wether the player is ready. As an Oiler fan I can attest to this,

Bosqvist, Dobson and Sandin should not have been in the NHL. I’m not sure HH even believes half the junk he posts.

JimmyV1965

Harpers Hair: D drafted in 2018 or later

Ranked by games played.

Dahlin 141
Hughes 73
Boqvist 41
Dobson 34
Sandin 34
Heinola 8
Bouchard 7

I would wager Byram and Seider will be in that group before Bouchard.

This thing you have about Bouchard, I don’t know what to call it, is really really weird. He’s a very good prospect. Nothing more. Nothing less.

Genjutsu

pts2pndr: Arguably Vancouver had a better D than Boston. Chara was not the reason Vancouver lost. After a team has won, a D man I is brought forth as the conquering hero. After Coffey I think it would be reasonable to argue that there was no “ number one D “ in Edmonton’s cup wins. To me it is a chicken or egg controversy. The question however is valid.

Pretty sure Vancouver lost because of the .967 Timmy put up.

Maybe the greatest performance by tender in Stanley Cup history.

I don’t imagine a team loses very often when their goaler goes north of 950.

Munny

pts2pndr,

Well said.

pts2pndr

Harpers Hair: D drafted in 2018 or later

Ranked by games played.

Dahlin 141
Hughes 73
Boqvist 41
Dobson 34
Sandin 34
Heinola 8
Bouchard 7

I would wager Byram and Seider will be in that group before Bouchard.

You could be grasping at straws. Everyone has their right,to state their opinion, only time will tell who is right. The question should not be who is first but who has the most impact or best career. Getting to the NHL first is many times dependant on the team need and not on wether the player is ready. As an Oiler fan I can attest to this,

Munny

Harpers Hair: To me, the real question is…can you win a cup without a bonafide #1D?

By my estimation, the last team to do it was the Hurricanes in 2006 and I always look at that season as an anomaly due to the grievous injuries suffered by the Buffalo defense.

One summer, many many moons ago, Glen Sather asked himself the same question.

And then traded Paul Coffey and went on to win more Stanleys.

Harpers Hair: A balanced pool of mediocre defensemen will lose 9 times out of 10.
Chris Pronger left and the Oilers went into a 15 year tailspin.

Considering your original query, this is the ultimate in moving goalposts.

Your team of mediocre defensemen beat the team with the best defenseman in the League, regardless of what happened with Buffalo.

pts2pndr

Lowetide: Suspect Dave Tippett will keep them together, the lines you see are from the final game of the season. I used them because the theme over the next few days will be lines and possibilities. Nuge-Leon-KY will see plenty of time together I’m sure.

Thanks! I also think that Neal brings more to the table than most see. His savee on the use of his body to protect the puck and or to win board battles is obvious. His skating is sub par but his play otherwise is fun to watch. He is not value for his contract however he has value.

Harpers Hair

defmn:
Harpers Hair,

Anybody drafted in 2018 or later?

Not sure what your fascination with this is but I have to tell you it is getting really old.

D drafted in 2018 or later

Ranked by games played.

Dahlin 141
Hughes 73
Boqvist 41
Dobson 34
Sandin 34
Heinola 8
Bouchard 7

I would wager Byram and Seider will be in that group before Bouchard.

defmn

Bob Stauffer
@Bob_Stauffer
·
9m
Lots of ideas for a return on Jesse Puljujarvi out there.
Might need to target another prospect that could use a fresh start.
I have a lot of time for Henrik Borgstrom.
Not sure why he stagnated with FLA this season.
IMO he should for sure be at least a 3rd line C.

pts2pndr

LT

While I enjoy this site and have the utmost respect for your opinion I do have to ask one question. Given that the Oilers have finally found a line with Nuge, Draisaitl and Yamamoto that is arguably a number one line why is everyone so intent on breaking it up? Would it not make more sense to find a left winger for Connor? Why fix what isn’t broken? Worst case scenario McDavid’s line becomes the second line. Best case scenario AA becomes the third member of Conner’s line and the Oilers are bonafide challengers for the Cup. I subscribe to the don’t fix what is not broken! One great line and one above average line beats two above average lines every time.

defmn

Harpers Hair,

Anybody drafted in 2018 or later?

Not sure what your fascination with this is but I have to tell you it is getting really old.

Harpers Hair
jp

Harpers Hair: Yep.
But Finns win ?

Heh, fair.

Koskinen?

pts2pndr

Harpers Hair: To me, the real question is…can you win a cup without a bonafide #1D?

By my estimation, the last team to do it was the Hurricanes in 2006 and I always look at that season as an anomaly due to the grievous injuries suffered by the Buffalo defense.

Arguably Vancouver had a better D than Boston. Chara was not the reason Vancouver lost. After a team has won, a D man I is brought forth as the conquering hero. After Coffey I think it would be reasonable to argue that there was no “ number one D “ in Edmonton’s cup wins. To me it is a chicken or egg controversy. The question however is valid.

Harpers Hair

OriginalPouzar: I think two of the top 5 offensive players in the league (shit, maybe the two best offensive players in the league) could change the “required make-up” and a more balanced defence could be good enough.

Look at the Pens in, what, 2016/17, Letang was hurt for the playoffs – Justin Shultz was an important minute muncher I believe.

A balanced pool of mediocre defensemen will lose 9 times out of 10.
Chris Pronger left and the Oilers went into a 15 year tailspin.

Brogan Rafferty's Uncle Steve

Scungilli Slushy: Marc Crawford lost that series for them.

Crawford was not the coach of the 2011 Canucks.

OriginalPouzar

Harpers Hair: You can make the argument that if Chara was a Canuck instead of a Bruin, they would have won that series in a walk.

Makes my point perfectly.

That doesn’t make the #1D requirement argument.

One could argue that if David Krejci was on the Canucks and not on the Bruins the Canucks would have won the series.

All you argument was is subtracting a top player from one team and adding that top player to the other team – doesn’t have to be a d-man to vastly alter the dynamic of the two teams.

OriginalPouzar

Harpers Hair: To me, the real question is…can you win a cup without a bonafide #1D?

By my estimation, the last team to do it was the Hurricanes in 2006 and I always look at that season as an anomaly due to the grievous injuries suffered by the Buffalo defense.

I think two of the top 5 offensive players in the league (shit, maybe the two best offensive players in the league) could change the “required make-up” and a more balanced defence could be good enough.

Look at the Pens in, what, 2016/17, Letang was hurt for the playoffs – Justin Shultz was an important minute muncher I believe.

Harpers Hair

jp: For sure, though Sweden’s pretty far ahead in producing players at this point, are they not?

Yep.

But Finns win ?

Harpers Hair

Brantford Boy:
Harpers Hair,

A buddy shared a recipe with me years ago from some chef at a fancy restaurant… mind you, fancy to me is something without a pickup window…

Basically any ribs… boil them in a citrus juice, apple juice or pineapple juice work best (roughly 4 litres), for 4 hours… then bake or bbq them with your favourite sauce… meat falls off the bone… if you want them not falling off the bone, which makes bbq’ing a little easier, cut the time to like 2 or 3 hours… probably 3.

Appreciate your recipe posts… keep them up… nice to see some local ingredients too… having some Hertl’s bacon tomorrow…

Cheers!

You can cut all that time with an Instant Pot.

Does the same job in 20 minutes.

Love Hertl’s bacon.

It’s a staple in our house as is their chorizo and bratwurst.

jp

Harpers Hair: Finland too.

Both nations are allowing on ice workouts.

For sure, though Sweden’s pretty far ahead in producing players at this point, are they not?

jp

godot10:
Here we go, burpeeing. Here we go.

https://www.nhl.com/ducks/video/burpee-challenge-w-coach-eakins/t-277437084/c-5370918

I don’t know whether to laugh or cry. Jesus.

At least he wore a hat..

Brantford Boy

jp,

Neal-Nuge-Chiasson

That was my 3rd line in this little exercise…

Have a great night everyone… cheers!

Brantford Boy

Harpers Hair,

A buddy shared a recipe with me years ago from some chef at a fancy restaurant… mind you, fancy to me is something without a pickup window…

Basically any ribs… boil them in a citrus juice, apple juice or pineapple juice work best (roughly 4 litres), for 4 hours… then bake or bbq them with your favourite sauce… meat falls off the bone… if you want them not falling off the bone, which makes bbq’ing a little easier, cut the time to like 2 or 3 hours… probably 3.

Appreciate your recipe posts… keep them up… nice to see some local ingredients too… having some Hertl’s bacon tomorrow…

Cheers!

jp

Brantford Boy:
jp,

Great take… and I agree (on both posts)… although I was attempting to fill out this scenario with the current roster which you did a good job of line combos.Not sure I like Neal at 1LW though…

In short, was just watching the games, and got me to thinking what did Chicago have that we don’t… I see Bolland at 3C scored 15 G, 22 A, 37 P but also missed 20 games with a concussion.Is that what 3M can buy on the open market?If so, sign me up!

And for the record Toews/Kane are great but I’d take our big boys over them any day of the week.

Yeah the wingers don’t do justice to the C’s in that scenario for sure. Still, those wingers as a group are decent IMO.

Neal at 1LW didn’t produce results but Neal-McDavid had a 55% expected GF% despite being outscored 8-11. Maybe it would click if they stuck to it? I put him there really because I was trying to give Nuge more help. Neal-Nuge-Chiasson were actually good together too (56% GF and 62% xGF) so there are other ways things could potentially work.

As for Bolland at 3C changing the dynamic, that’s definitely a possibility. I don’t remember who he replaced but if they were bleeding like Sheahan did this year than the switch would have been huge. Bolland was a really strong player for a few years there. I’d say he might have been more effective in that role than Nuge would be (while likely also being less suited than Nuge to play top 6 W). And no, there’s no way $3M buys you peak Bolland.

godot10
Harpers Hair

jp: Sweden may be even more of a hockey hotbed assuming they continue to forge forward with life as they seem to have thus far.

Finland too.

Both nations are allowing on ice workouts.

jp

Brantford Boy:
jp,
+1

This was my way of thinking with the Nurse comparison… its a tedious exercise as were not talking about a true apples/oranges comparison…

So if Seabrook-Keith is the Swedish Duo Larsson-Klefbom (without as much offense)
Nurse gets you Campbell, and one of Bear or Jones gets you to Leddy (@19) /Hjalmarsson (@23) we can throw the 3rd pairings as a toss up or tie… it’s actually rather closer than you might think.

Yeah the Oilers D is deep and competent. It would be great to have a Pronger or a Lidstrom but I don’t think it’s a prerequisite. Having both McDavid and Draisaitl is not exactly a common occurrence either.

Scungilli Slushy

Genjutsu:
Harpers Hair,

Tim Thomas stole that series.

Vancouver was the better team.

Mostly goalie I’ve heard.

Marc Crawford lost that series for them.

Vancouver played right into the Bruin’s wheelhouse.

I knew it was going to go bad for the Dys once they started to play tough, although it was a tight. But the mindset was given up early. Crawford at that time was old school, and broke his HOF top 5 goalie of the last few decades. Being a thug is easier than a positive motivator. See the exodus of those types recently, including our own Ken Hitchcock.

As Oiler fans old enough witnessed, there isn’t one way to win. Adapting to the need is what makes teams win, there are so many variables with injuries, who is reffing, home and away, etc.

Sort of like life in general.

jp

Harpers Hair: Agents are telling him that many young European players will stay in their home countries because the future of the AHL is so shaky.

Sweden may be even more of a hockey hotbed assuming they continue to forge forward with life as they seem to have thus far.

OriginalPouzar

Lots of info from Friedman in his 31 thoughts:

https://www.sportsnet.ca/hockey/nhl/31-thoughts-24-team-nhl-playoff-structure-work/

– He spoke with Brad Treliving who thinks there could be a “Return to Work” proposal out next week

– The 24 team playoff is still being discussed but there has been push back as LeBrun mentioned earlier given some of the “lower teams” really don’t deserve it (the cut-off is too low)

– He spoke with Scott Howson who is planning for the AHL to start in October under a normal schedule but is also making contingency plans to start later and there could be more of a regional format. There was also the idea of teams arranging short tournaments for their prospects if the league can’t start on time.

– “Theorizing around 30 team rosters for the playoffs”

– Players have until May 15 to decide what they will do with their last (April 15) paycheque – they deferred the decision a month.

jp

OriginalPouzar: For sure, although I’m not sure that any of those things are do-able, let alone all three.

Of course, any one of them in isolation is possible (I do see Bear coming in around $2M on a one-year deal but I do think Green wants term and more than $2M – just my though on what that veteran at that age will look for).

That’s the “can” part of “can/will Holland do it?”.

It won’t be easy, and I don’t know exactly how, but I do think Holland will likely find the $ for a 3C upgrade.

Harpers Hair

Just listened to an interview with Rick Dhaliwal who is very plugged in to GMs and agents.

Some nuggets:

The June draft is pretty much dead.

It’s highly unlikely there will be compliance buyouts.

Edmonton, Vancouver, Toronto, Minnesota and Las Vegas are the leading contenders to be hub cities for the continuation of the season.

The AHL is likely to look very different when it comes back because the teams not owned by NHL teams won’t be able to operate.

Agents are telling him that many young European players will stay in their home countries because the future of the AHL is so shaky.

defmn

OriginalPouzar:

———-

On Neal – would you sign him for 3 year at just under $3M?

Of course not unless I could unload a player of my own and pick up Benning or Jesse for example – and they are examples only.

If I am a team that is far enough away from competing and can get rid of a contract I don’t want for, say half that amount and pick up an asset at the same time maybe I bite.

I wouldn’t be counting on it though and if Holland pulls it off he looks like a genius but it is an option he has to try for before just pulling the plug on a buyout.

And, of course, we both know what looks to be impossible is even more difficult given everything else that going on.

Harpers Hair

So, on the menu tonight…Instant Pot Tequila Lime Back Ribs.

If you like to cook, you need an Instant Pot. They are amazing.

INGREDIENTS

A rack or two of back ribs.

Half a cup of fresh lime juice.

A quarter cup of tequila

One teaspoon of smoked paprika.

Seasoning salt to taste.

PREPARATION

Cut the ribs into serving portions.

Sprinkle with seasoning salt.

Mix the lime juice and tequila

Place the ribs and marinade in a large freezer bag and place in the fridge for at least an hour.

Place the ribs on a trivet in the Instant Pot, pour the marinade over and cook on the manual setting for 15-20 minutes.

Release the pot pressure, remove the ribs and finish on the BBQ or in the oven until as crusty as you like.

The ribs will be falling off the bone so handle carefully.

Serve with red beans and rice. There are many recipes on line but we use Zatarains Louisiana mix which is widely available but we add additional diced onion, celery and red pepper.

A fresh cob of corn is also a great accompaniment.

Enjoy!

duct tape and foil

OP – pretty much agree with all of that. Need to clear out some extra bodies (Russell, Benning, and one of Neal or Chaisson, Smith) to improve the lineup with new players and give young guys some space to develop. Standing pat means falling behind as I’ve said countless times. Old Dutch will not do that I guarantee you.

I’m still interested in Georgiev from the Allaire goalie factory in NY. He’s a good age to carry a bit of load and support Koskinen going forward. Really appreciate the leadership and swagger Smith brought, but he was flagging again in his last several starts and the season ending when it did might have been opportune. Rolling the dice on him again seems very ill-advised.

LT – we did not bring in AA to be a 3rd line player. Paid too much for that and it’s below his established level of production on any kind of decent team. Put him on LW with Kass and McDavid and let them work it out for 10 games. The fact that coach and GM did not want to rock the boat too much after the trades doesn’t mean they don’t see him as a top 6 player.

OriginalPouzar:
Well, the lining is pushing for first place this year and, the lineup listed above does have three additions to the team that got them to that spot (generally) in AA, Ennis and Green.

Yes, I think that team can, again, challenge for top spot in the division but, with a couple of bad breaks or the tending dips, it could also very much be a bubble team.

The keys to taking it to the next level, in my opinion is improving that 3C position and crating a 4th line that has more speed/energy/tenacity and kills penalties.

I like Sheahan and would be fine having him back at a $1M-$1.2M price point to play 4C (in the mix with Khaira and Haas), PK and take draws but he is simply not a 3C. He played there for most of this year but like Rusty at 2RD, a contending team doesn’t have that player in that position.

Chiasson and Neal both have some individual value to the team (and it was interesting to hear Gullyearlier this week talk about the differences in the PP structure when one or the other is on the ice) but neither kill penalties, neither are great skaters and neither are great defensive players. I don’t see many 5 on 5 goals on that fourth line (no “creator”) and I don’t see it creating energy.

I would like an upgrade at 1bG – or at least a player that has some higher potential with some track ahead.Mike Smith won’t be better than he was this year (I wouldn’t imagine) and he could be worse – he’s 38 – DeSmith, Dell, Rannta, Griess, etc. – depends on price point.

pts2pndr

tileguy:
That 4th line was made for playoffs, not the regular season. Maybe they will get a chance to shine yet. In Bettman we trust.

You either like Bettman or not. I don’t trust the man but I believe he is very intelligent. I would love to see a Canadian division and three American divisions. Canadian teams are at a large disadvantage with both salaries in American dollars and big tax advantages to American teams. Canadian teams revenue in Canadian dollars. Add to that the TV revenue and as I see it the American teams should be sending us free Vaseline to ease the pain. The Canadian teams are betting on the “BIG” American T.V. Contract which is still only a fantasy.

OriginalPouzar

MushedPeas:
jp,

I’d take 1.5 X2 if it’s there.

AKA: The Archie contract!

Genjutsu

Harpers Hair,

Tim Thomas stole that series.

Vancouver was the better team.

Mostly goalie I’ve heard.

Brantford Boy

jp,

Great take… and I agree (on both posts)… although I was attempting to fill out this scenario with the current roster which you did a good job of line combos. Not sure I like Neal at 1LW though…

In short, was just watching the games, and got me to thinking what did Chicago have that we don’t… I see Bolland at 3C scored 15 G, 22 A, 37 P but also missed 20 games with a concussion. Is that what 3M can buy on the open market? If so, sign me up!

And for the record Toews/Kane are great but I’d take our big boys over them any day of the week.

Brantford Boy

jp,
+1

This was my way of thinking with the Nurse comparison… its a tedious exercise as were not talking about a true apples/oranges comparison…

So if Seabrook-Keith is the Swedish Duo Larsson-Klefbom (without as much offense)
Nurse gets you Campbell, and one of Bear or Jones gets you to Leddy (@19) /Hjalmarsson (@23) we can throw the 3rd pairings as a toss up or tie… it’s actually rather closer than you might think.

OriginalPouzar

defmn: Nice summation. 1B goalie and 3C are the offseason targets I am mostly focused on. If Jesse can be moved to fill either of those holes – plus or minus on either side – with a long term solution I would regard that as a win.

Between Ennis, Benson and AA I am comfortable on the wing for the coming year. Not a strength but enough potential given the centres on the team.

Defence is setting up nicely. No true #1 but a solid duo in Klefbom and Larsson imo.

I still think Neal should get bought out. Unfortunate. Not ideal. But necessary. Is a 50% retained trade too much to even hope for?

It would be a boon if Benson could “hit” – mesh with either Drai or McDavid and occupy a top 6 left-wing spot – no need to “drive play” but a complimentary player with high offensive instincts that can help get the puck to the right people at the right time with space and help create scoring chances.

It would open up so many options including moving Nuge down to 3C – yes, I know, that has been debated highly over time – I’m not concerned out his “minutes” not with PP and PK time. I’m not concerned about it meaning he won’t re-sign – I think Nuge wants to win and if the team is a contender, he’ll stay (if the sides can reach a reasonable deal).

I do like Nuge as a top 6 winger, however, if a $1M ELC player is able to mesh and pop 45 points in that role, it opens up the ability to fill that 3C role internally – doesn’t have to be every game and every shift.

———-

On Neal – would you sign him for 3 year at just under $3M?

Material Elvis

Harpers Hair: You can make the argument that if Chara was a Canuck instead of a Bruin, they would have won that series in a walk.

Makes my point perfectly.

Chara? Maybe. Tim Thomas? Definitely.

OriginalPouzar

jp:
Also, IF Russell can be moved without retaining, and IF Bear and Benning/Green sign for under $2M…

There should be room to spend ~$5.5M on the G and 3C. (with a flat cap and keeping Neal on the roster)

Can/will Holland do it?

For sure, although I’m not sure that any of those things are do-able, let alone all three.

Of course, any one of them in isolation is possible (I do see Bear coming in around $2M on a one-year deal but I do think Green wants term and more than $2M – just my though on what that veteran at that age will look for).

OriginalPouzar

defmn: I agree there is the 3C spot and then some ‘nibbling around the edges’ that could help for sure but to my mind the team is looking way closer to competing than last summer before Holland came on board.

What I find most interesting though is that talk of reinforcements is all about forwards and the backup goalie these days. You and I see the 3RD position slightly differently but I don’t think either one of us would regard any of the options as horrible. Green, Benning, when is Bouchard ready are the discussions. Nobody is talking about the need for reinforcements from outside this group and I can’t remember the last time defence wasn’t looking dreadful going into a season so that is a big thing in my mind.

Yup, we generally agree.

Lots of depth on the LD depth chart (even if Rusty is moved): Klef, Nurse, Jones, Lagesson, Lenstrom – that’s solid (although Lenny is a wildcard and may not be an NHL guy).

I’m comfortable on the right side for now with: Bear, Larsson, Benning, Bouchard (feel free to switch Green for Benning if required – I worry about cost).

If Benning is moved to recoup a pick (or for other reasons) the I feel strongly that an acquisition needs to be made, be it Green or another player than can gap Bouchard (and future injuries).

I know we’ve discussed Jones moving to 3RD in a pinch and, yes, that is a pinch option but, in my opinion, not ideal for the team or player so would prefer a real injury option.