It’s Always Something

The Edmonton Oilers chose small forward Toni Rajala No. 101 overall in 2009, over a decade ago. I was aware of him because Red Line Report had a fascinating view of the player. They ranked him No. 43 (Bob McKenzie had him No. 50) and the scouting report was impressive:

Toni Rajala may be both tiny and mostly a perimeter player, but his ultra-high skill level and goal scoring prowess simply can’t be ignored.

Cover photo by Rob Ferguson.

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.

Best Laid Plans

One of the derailments of the decade just past involves three forwards chosen after the first round in 2010. Tyler Pitlick, Curtis Hamilton and Ryan Martindale were all important picks for Edmonton, cashing at least one of them to the NHL was a big deal.

In draft plus one, all three players performed well in junior hockey. Pitlick (56, 27-35-62 in Medicine Hat) and Hamilton (62, 26-56-82 in Saskatoon) had impressive years, with Martindale (65, 34-49-83 in Ottawa) delivering a strong final junior season in the OHL.

Draft plus two saw all three turn pro, although none of them was 20 until late October. Pitlick had some injury issues and was slow out of the gate, but got into 62 games with the Oklahoma City Barons (7-16-23) as a rookie pro. Hamilton played 61 games, but on a depth line and scored just five goals and nine points. Martindale split time between the ECHL and AHL and didn’t move the needle much offensively. Year two pro loomed large. Barons coach Todd Nelson knew it, addressed it. Nelson about Pitlick: “He has to play in a top-six role, that’s where we have him slotted. He might play on a line with Josh Green. I see him as a winger right now. I used him both as a centreman and as a winger last year. He said that he felt more comfortable on the wing and he has tremendous speed as we all know, so to have him flying down the wing has been a sight to see. I think the biggest thing with him is just like with a lot of players, he just has to work on his consistency; always finishing your checks game in and game out.”

He also had a plan for Curtis Hamilton: “He is entering his second year. Guys like him and Pitlick are going to be relied on a lot more.  I watched some game tape last summer when Curtis played in the world juniors and he played the penalty kill very well. He’s certainly a very smart hockey player and he’s going to be one of our go to guys on the PK.”

And then the rains came. This was the lockout season and upper management sent all the gifted kids to the AHL. That lockout meant several forwards who were only in the minors due to circumstance took all of the air in the room for the kids who really needed playing time. It’s always something.

Here are the leading scorers on the team through 29 games, end of December 2012:

  1. Jordan Eberle 31, 23-24-47
  2. Justin Schultz 31, 17-28-45
  3. Taylor Hall 24, 12-20-32
  4. Mark Arcobello 29, 9-19-28
  5. Teemu Hartikainen 31, 10-11-21
  6. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins 19, 8-12-20
  7. Martin Marincin 28, 3-10-13
  8. Chris VandeVelde 26, 1-8-9
  9. Magnus Paajarvi 12, 4-4-8
  10. Taylor Fedun 28, 2-6-8
  11. Anton Lander 27, 2-4-6
  12. Josh Green 14, 2-3-5
  13. Curtis Hamilton 26, 2-2-4
  14. Tyler Pitlick 24, 1-2-3
  15. Tanner House 19, 2-1-3
  16. Ryan Martindale 7, 0-3-3
  17. Toni Rajala 5, 1-1-2
  18. Phil Cornet 8, 0-0-0

Incredible timing for Pitlick, Hamilton and Martindale. How in hell were they supposed to compete with Hall, Nuge and Eberle? Holy Dinah. Eventually, the NHL started back up again, with Pitlick, Hamilton and Martindale ready to strike. Nelson, who is an excellent coach, could finally institute his plan and rely more on Pitlick and Hamilton, with Martindale hopefully pushing up from the underground. Let’s have a look at January 1, 2013 through end of season scoring:

  1. Toni Rajala 39, 16-27-43
  2. Mark Arcobello 45, 13-27-40
  3. Phil Cornet 38, 15-18-33
  4. Josh Green 35, 7-12-19
  5. Taylor Fedun 42, 6-13-19
  6. Martin Marincin 41, 4-13-17
  7. Teemu Hartikainen 16, 4-12-16
  8. Anton Lander 20, 7-7-14
  9. Magnus Paajarvi 26, 0-12-12
  10. Chris VandeVelde 31, 6-5-11
  11. Ryan Martindale 34, 6-5-11
  12. Tyler Pitlick 20, 2-5-7
  13. Tanner House 36, 5-1-6
  14. Curtis Hamilton 35, 3-2-5
  15. Jordan Eberle 3, 2-2-4
  16. Justin Schultz 3, 1-2-3
  17. Taylor Hall 2, 2-0-2

Small forwards Rajala and Cornet took advantage and moved up the depth chart, with all of Paajarvi, Pitlick, Hamilton and Martindale faltering. Including his ECHL numbers, Rajala scored 83 points in 75 regular season games.

Here’s the kicker: Edmonton and Rajala mutually agreed to end their professional relationship that summer. He was scoring up a storm the next winter for HV71 in the SHL and remains a productive offensive winger in the Swiss league these many years later.

The reason I bring this up is the following: The Oilers have returned to a level of “normalcy” in regard to the farm team in recent years. The Bakersfield Condors are being run in a fashion similar to the Hamilton Bulldogs at the turn of the century.

Hamilton Bulldogs 2000-01

  • Rookie pros progressing: Shawn Horcoff, Fernando Pisani, Michael Henrich, Chris Madden, Alexander Fomitchev
  • Year 2 progressing: Jason Chimera, Peter Sarno, Brian Swanson, Chad Hinz, Alex Henry
  • Year 3 progressing: Michel Riesen, Chris Hajt
  • Entry level stall: Brian Urick, Maxim Spiridonov, Eric Heffler
  • Minor league veteran: Paul Healey, Scott Ferguson, Alain Nasreddine, Brad Norton, Ryan Risidore, Joaquin Gage

Not every player makes it, but if you look at the system Glen Sather left to Kevin Lowe, there’s an order to things. The pipeline was about to produce Horcoff, Pisani, Chimera, and had just sent Daniel Cleary up top.

Meanwhile in 2012-13, Toni Rajala was in his first season in the ECHL/AHL at 21, a year after playing very well in the Sm-liiga.

I’m not saying he would have emerged as an NHL player, only that if would have been a good idea to let the river run.

Bakersfield Condors 2019-20

  • Rookie pros progressing: Evan Bouchard, Ryan McLeod, Kirill Maksimov, Dmitri Samorukov
  • Year 2 progressing: Tyler Benson, Cooper Marody, Kailer Yamamoto, Logan Day, William Lagesson, Stuart Skinner
  • Year 3 progressing: Joe Gambardella, Caleb Jones, Shane Starrett
  • Entry level stall: Nolan Vesey, Cameron Hebig, Dylan Wells
  • Minor league veteran: Josh Currie, Brad Malone, Luke Esposito, Markus Granlund, Brandon Manning, Tomas Jurco, Keegan Lowe

And we’re back to something that resembles the Sather system. Each of the entry levels 1-3 contains at least one significant player and five years from now we’ll look back and see true development and success.

You may say ‘where the hell were they going to send Hall, Nuge and Eberle in 2012’? and that’s a good question. However, those three didn’t need to dominate AHL hockey at the expense of development.

It’s like that Byrds song ‘Turn Turn Turn’ that says to every thing there is a season and purpose. Every nuance, every turn, seemed to negatively impact development in the hungry years of this organization. Todd Nelson has a plan for Pitlick? Let’s send him Eberle! The Barons have some complainers? Let’s send Rajala on his merry way. Omark might have been the ultimate, honestly the Oilers as an organization did a ‘Sonny at the Causeway’ on him after signing him twice!

Let the river run. Normal is a good thing. We’re back.

LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE

A fantastic show today, we start at 10, TSN1260. Bruce McCurdy joins me from the Cult of Hockey at the Edmonton Journal to talk about Ethan Bear and what the defense might look like in 2020-21. Jonathan Willis from The Athletic pops in at 10:40 to chat about goalies, the NHL’s return and the urgency of improving over the offseason. Joe Osborne from OddsShark joins the show just after 11 to discuss Nascar, KBO and golf’s return. 10-1260 text, @Lowetide on twitter. See you on the radio!

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87 Responses to "It’s Always Something"

  1. OriginalPouzar says:

    Over under on Toni Rajala being mentioned by the host solely so that the fact he plays in the Swiss league with MA Pouliot can be mentioned???

  2. N64 says:

    As expected:

    Healthy people may continue to cross the border for “non-discretionary” reasons – for work and employment purposes – and NHL players and team personnel fall into that category.

    https://www.tsn.ca/border-closure-extension-not-expected-to-affect-nhl-planning-1.1477094

  3. OriginalPouzar says:

    N64:
    As expected:

    “I remain hopeful that today’s announcement will not materially impact our return to play planning,” NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly said.

    The reason for that hope is that the border only remains closed for “non-essential travel,” which is defined as tourism, recreation and entertainment.

    Healthy people may continue to cross the border for “non-discretionary” reasons – for work and employment purposes – and NHL players and team personnel fall into that category.

    https://www.tsn.ca/border-closure-extension-not-expected-to-affect-nhl-planning-1.1477094

    It seems that the ability to cross the border is likely a non-issue but the 14-day mandatory quarantine is not ideal.

  4. Elgin R says:

    Hope there is an AHL season for these players next year. What they are doing in Bakersfield now is good for development – players with potential to help the NHL team are the top priority over AHL vets. You may lose more than you win but the young players develop.

    Mcleod on the PK for the Condors is perfect as his ceiling with the Oilers is 3C with PK duties.

    Let some of the minor league veterans go (Granlund, Manning, Lowe, Jurco etc) as well as stalled players (Hebig, Vessey) making room for young players to get lots of ice time.

    To keep this pipeline going, Oilers need to draft some high skill forwards and RHD.

  5. N64 says:

    OriginalPouzar: It seems that the ability to cross the border is likely a non-issue but the 14-day mandatory quarantine is not ideal.

    If the neutral sites games are conducted in a bubble that’s a quarantine, so that’s an issue that can be clarified.

    If they do Vegas without a serious bubble they’re betting against the house for months.

    Whatever they do it will all be in one country i.e. the U.S. Not maximizing the pitch to US rights holders and US fans is non-ideal.

  6. Optimism is like heroin says:

    Just a thought here regarding the rumours regarding NY and Puljujarvi. Instead of trying for the 1st round pick why not look to fill a need in goal?

    Would Puljujarvi and Lagesson get you Andersson and Georgiev?

  7. OriginalPouzar says:

    This is likely something to keep in mind more for the 2020/21 season:

    John Shannon
    @JShannonhl
    ·
    6m
    The NHL and teams have done social distancing models for people in seats…most arenas, based on people being 6 feet apart in every direction…would only be able to host 2000 to 2500 fans at a game. A bit of a non-starter.

  8. tileguy says:

    OriginalPouzar:
    This is likely something to keep in mind more for the 2020/21 season:

    John Shannon
    @JShannonhl
    ·
    6m
    The NHL and teams have done social distancing models for people in seats…most arenas, based on people being 6 feet apart in every direction…would only be able to host 2000 to 2500 fans at a game.A bit of a non-starter.

    I bet you could find 2000 fans willing to pay $1000 a seat for playoffs. That’s a gate of 2million. Hotdog and a beer, $50.

  9. N64 says:

    tileguy: I bet you could find 2000 fans willing to pay $1000 a seat for playoffs. That’s a gate of 2million. Hotdog and a beer, $50.

    The ideal playoff seat? A big playoff bubble in Ice District and hotel staff embedded in the bubble getting free gold playoff seats off shift.

  10. tileguy says:

    A thousand Calgary fans on one side of the arena against a thousand Edmonton fans on the other side. You could have a chantoff, echoing throughout the arena, tv microphones picking this up generating excitement for those watching on tv, put a few sex dolls in the stands as well like they did in Korea. Don’t forget to have them wearing a mask to cover their pie hole.
    https://www.nytimes.com/2020/05/18/world/asia/south-korea-sex-dolls-soccer.html

  11. Darth Tu says:

    OriginalPouzar:
    This is likely something to keep in mind more for the 2020/21 season:

    John Shannon
    @JShannonhl
    ·
    6m
    The NHL and teams have done social distancing models for people in seats…most arenas, based on people being 6 feet apart in every direction…would only be able to host 2000 to 2500 fans at a game.A bit of a non-starter.

    Every game will be like a Panthers home game!

  12. Brantford Boy says:

    Yeah that lockout season really screwed up the development of those Barons players… but:
    “Justin Schultz 31, 17-28-45”
    Sounds like a Norris candidate if I ever saw one…

    I remember that Hamilton Bulldogs team pretty well, my last year of college in the Steel City…

  13. Darth Tu says:

    Brantford Boy,

    He’s no Gerry Rafferty.

  14. jp says:

    tileguy: I bet you could find 2000 fans willing to pay $1000 a seat for playoffs. That’s a gate of 2million. Hotdog and a beer, $50.

    That’s been my thought too, those tickets (even for next regular season) could/would be premium.

    Another thing is that families wouldn’t need to distance from each other. If you had groups distanced from each other that would allow way more total people than if it was all singles.

  15. ArmchairGM says:

    tileguy:
    A thousand Calgary fans on one side of the arena against a thousand Edmonton fans on the other side. You could have a chantoff, echoing throughout the arena, tv microphones picking this up generating excitement for those watching on tv, put a few sex dolls in the stands as well like they did in Korea. Don’t forget to have them wearing a mask to cover their pie hole.
    https://www.nytimes.com/2020/05/18/world/asia/south-korea-sex-dolls-soccer.html

    That’s not a pie-hole… and that’s not a mask.

  16. jp says:

    Elgin R: Hope there is an AHL season for these players next year.

    Just thinking about the likelihood of an AHL season next year.

    The Condors have continued signing players to AHL deals through April and May. I wonder if that indicates they have confidence in the health of their franchise in the face of Covid?

    Certainly if there’s no season those players won’t need to be paid, but you could imagine a franchise that was touch an go on their own financial survival might be more cautious with their money (thinking in particular of a guy like Malone who will likely be paid $300k when his lineup spot could be filled for cheaper).

  17. OriginalPouzar says:

    Jokke Nevalainen
    @JokkeNevalainen
    Level 1:
    So both the #SHL and #Liiga are planning on starting next season in September (as usual) but the SHL is prepared to play without any audience (if needed) whereas Liiga is prepared to make “special arrangements” which likely means limited number of audience.

  18. LMHF#1 says:

    LT – I assume it unlikely you’d be so bold as to compile a list of the talented players’ careers derailed by the Eakins years…and I know there are many that disagree with the idea that once you’re on the wrong track it is hard to come back…but it would still be an interesting exercise.

    There was a lot of talent that was sacrificed to the 2nd worst Coach (Burnett is #1) and most negatively impactful Coach in this franchise’s history.

  19. defmn says:

    Harpers Hair:
    The 3 on 3 Hockey League.

    https://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/hockey/2020/05/20/3-ice-new-3-on-3-hockey-league-coming/5209480002/

    If it is organized and marketed properly I can see them carving out a business. It is an exciting spectator sport.

  20. Pescador says:

    tileguy:
    A thousand Calgary fans on one side of the arena against a thousand Edmonton fans on the other side. You could have a chantoff, echoing throughout the arena, tv microphones picking this up generating excitement for those watching on tv, put a few sex dolls in the stands as well like they did in Korea. Don’t forget to have them wearing a mask to cover their pie hole.
    https://www.nytimes.com/2020/05/18/world/asia/south-korea-sex-dolls-soccer.html

    So if I buy a ticket, does this mean I can bring my +1?
    Also,
    anyone know if a leather mask will protect against the virus?
    asking for a friend

  21. Harpers Hair says:

    defmn: If it is organized and marketed properly I can see them carving out a business. It is an excitingspectator sport.

    Was surprised they already have TV deals with TSN and CBS Sports.

    Could be a great opportunity for small skilled fringe players.

  22. jtblack says:

    I don’t think it was bad luck or poor timing for Hamilton or Martindale … at the time of them being drafted, and based on draft position; Hamilton probably had a 15% chance of an NHL career? Martindale a 10% chance?

    The minors and Europe are littered with players just like them. Decent junior players, but not close to dominant (even as 19 yr olds) …

    Even without the Lockout, I don’t see it playing out much different for those two players …

  23. N64 says:

    Harpers Hair:
    Why the 24 team playoffs will likely become the norm.

    https://nationalpost.com/sports/hockey/nhl/nhls-proposed-24-team-playoff-format-could-become-the-norm/wcm/07b97fc6-ee51-4674-855c-899a79dfaaa7

    Not keen to see that. Fairer for this year and a better precedent would be a 20 team playoff. This year that would require a sudden death tiebreak for the 10th spot in the East,

    But even more importantly for this year byes could potentially be crippling with the best teams playing teams with game experience.

    For that reason I like the round robin idea with starting points based pts%. Should be able to roughly preserve playoff odds whether 22 or 24 teams.

  24. N64 says:

    Kenney this morning confirmed that, as expected, the feds are agreeable in principle to an Ice District playoff bubble qualifying as the required 14 day quarantine. No surprise there, but on the record.

  25. Harpers Hair says:

    N64: Not keen to see that. Fairer for this year and a better precedent would be a 20 team playoff. This year that would require a sudden death tiebreak for the 10th spot in the East,

    But even more importantly for this year byes could potentially be crippling with the best teams playing teams with game experience.

    For that reason I like the round robin idea with starting points based pts%. Should be able to roughly preserve playoff odds whether 22 or 24 teams.

    In the early 80s, 16 of 21 teams made the playoffs.

    So, when Seattle is added, the chances of making the playoffs under the 24 team playoff format, would be about the same.

    Given that the NHL will desperately need to grow revenues, I expect expanding the playoffs, when players aren’t being paid, will become an imperative.

    Follow the money.

  26. N64 says:

    Harpers Hair: In the early 80s, 16 of 21 teams made the playoffs.

    So, when Seattle is added, the chances of making the playoffs under the 24 team playoff format, would be about the same.

    Given that the NHL will desperately need to grow revenues, I expect expanding the playoffs, when players aren’t being paid, will become an imperative.

    Follow the money.

    No problem with expanding the playoffs THIS YEAR, but the PA is not keen on throwing out the season.

    The fairest way to get up to 22 or 24 teams would be the round robin approach. If they want to cover the TV markets in Chicago and Montreal fine but they should have a steep road in.

    Next year it’s their call approaching 32 teams, but I’d follow the other leagues with the evolutionary approach. In this case 20 teams in with 12 bye teams is the logical step.

  27. jp says:

    LMHF#1:
    LT – I assume it unlikely you’d be so bold as to compile a list of the talented players’ careers derailed by the Eakins years…and I know there are many that disagree with the idea that once you’re on the wrong track it is hard to come back…but it would still be an interesting exercise.

    There was a lot of talent that was sacrificed to the 2nd worst Coach (Burnett is #1) and most negatively impactful Coach in this franchise’s history.

    I dunno. Who’s career could you plausibly lay blame on Eakins for? Yakupov could be fair. Possibly Justin Schultz. Lander? I’m not sure i see anyone else you could make an argument for at all. Is there anyone I’m forgetting?

  28. Munny says:

    jp,

    Dubnyk, maybe?

  29. jp says:

    Munny:
    jp,

    Dubnyk, maybe?

    Also fair.

    I’m not sure I’d agree on the inclusion of Lander or Schultz though, personally.

    And Dubnyk’s at least was a career detour rather than a derailment.

  30. Harpers Hair says:

    The AHL first and second All Star teams.

    https://theahl.com/2019-20-ahl-first-second-all-star-teams

  31. jp says:

    jtblack:
    I don’t think it was bad luck or poor timing for Hamilton or Martindale …at the time of them being drafted, and based on draft position; Hamilton probably had a 15% chance of an NHL career?Martindale a 10% chance?

    The minors and Europe are littered with players just like them. Decent junior players, but not close to dominant (even as 19 yr olds) …

    Even without the Lockout, I don’t see it playing out much different for those two players …

    Didn’t HH or someone post a much more recent draft pick success article recently? The proportion of successful players was much higher than you’re saying IIRC.

    In 2010 even, of the 30 players drafted in the 2nd round (all of Pitlick, Marincin and Hamilton were, plus Martindale with the 1st pick of the 3rd) what happened?

    100 games 15/30 players
    200 games 13/30 (including both Pitlick and Marincin)
    300 games 9/30
    400 games 4/30 (13%)

    Considering those players from 2010 are still only 28 I’ll leave it there, many of those totals will continue to rise.

    About 1/3 of the players have already played 300 games, the Oilers picked zero of them with (effectively) 4 2nd round picks. That is bad drafting, or bad development, or bad luck.

  32. jp says:

    Harpers Hair: The AHL first and second All Star teams.
    https://theahl.com/2019-20-ahl-first-second-all-star-teams

    It’s interesting, just one player from last years teams played 25 NHL games this season.

    https://theahl.com/2018-19-ahl-first-second-all-star-teams

  33. hunter1909 says:

    jp: I dunno. Who’s career could you plausibly lay blame on Eakins for?

    By fucking up team chemistry by installing the quisling from Boston, the bottom pairing defenceman elevated to the freaking captaincy by Eakins…

    You can literally blame the entire destruction of a potential mini dynasty led by future Hart winner Taylor Hall who of course was run out of town in classic Lowe+MacT fashion…

    On the other hand I get it. The Oilers, the Oilers, the Oilers.

  34. hunter1909 says:

    jp: Is there anyone I’m forgetting?

    Fifteen years of cack handed management and you stand by the side of the road begging for details?

  35. jp says:

    hunter1909: Fifteen years of cack handed management and you stand by the side of the road begging for details?

    The 15 years part was kind of my point. Focusing too much blame on one individual blurs the collective ineptitude of many men over many years.

  36. Pescador says:

    jp: Didn’t HH or someone post a much more recent draft pick success article recently? The proportion of successful players was much higher than you’re saying IIRC.

    In 2010 even, of the 30 players drafted in the 2nd round (all of Pitlick, Marincin and Hamilton were, plus Martindale with the 1st pick of the 3rd) what happened?

    100 games 15/30 players
    200 games 13/30 (including both Pitlick and Marincin)
    300 games 9/30
    400 games 4/30 (13%)

    Considering those players from 2010 are still only 28 I’ll leave it there, many of those totals will continue to rise.

    About 1/3 of the players have already played 300 games, the Oilers picked zero of them with (effectively) 4 2nd round picks.
    *That is bad drafting, or bad development, or bad luck.*

    I feel confident in saying that it was a healthy mix of all 3 ingredients.
    A delectable cocktail to say the least
    A “shit martini” as it were.
    RIP mr. Lahey

  37. OriginalPouzar says:

    Elgin R:
    Hope there is an AHL season for these players next year.What they are doing in Bakersfield now is good for development – players with potential to help the NHL team are the top priority over AHL vets.You may lose more than you win but the young players develop.

    Mcleod on the PK for the Condors is perfect as his ceiling with the Oilers is 3C with PK duties.

    Let some of the minor league veterans go (Granlund, Manning, Lowe, Jurco etc) as well as stalled players (Hebig, Vessey) making room for young players to get lots of ice time.

    To keep this pipeline going, Oilers need to draft some high skill forwards and RHD.

    Man, it would be a pure shame if the AHL couldn’t go forward next year – although all NHL teams will take hits but it would suck for the likes of Lavoie, Rodrigue, Skinner, Maksimov, Safin, McLeod and Sammy – even Bouchard.

    I’ve got to think that with apx 2/3 of the teams owned by their NHL affiliates they will find a way to provide funding to the league even if there aren’t fans in the stands or normal fans in the stands. Perhaps “the NHL” can help with the non-affiliates teams (or their players can be dispersed).

    Something has to happen so these players have a place to play.

    ———-

    With respect to personnel – rumors are Granny has already agreed to a contract in the KHL (can’t be official as he’s still under contract with the Oilers).

    Jurco is rumored to be returning.

    Can’t imagine Vessy, Lowe, Manning, Hebig, etc. being re-upped.

    Hope they get Currie signed – potentially they can throw some extra coin at him to sign an AHL deal – like Malone.

  38. OriginalPouzar says:

    tileguy: I bet you could find 2000 fans willing to pay $1000 a seat for playoffs. That’s a gate of 2million. Hotdog and a beer, $50.

    I don’t think that would work for the playoffs this year – limits on gatherings still exist (although maybe not in all jurisdictions…….).

  39. jeetz says:

    jp: I dunno. Who’s career could you plausibly lay blame on Eakins for? Yakupov could be fair. Possibly Justin Schultz. Lander? I’m not sure i see anyone else you could make an argument for at all. Is there anyone I’m forgetting?

    Yak city and Schultz. That’s a lot of blame already. Based upon those 2, there is probably collateral damage we will never know about

  40. OriginalPouzar says:

    jp: Just thinking about the likelihood of an AHL season next year.

    The Condors have continued signing players to AHL deals through April and May. I wonder if that indicates they have confidence in the health of their franchise in the face of Covid?

    Certainly if there’s no season those players won’t need to be paid, but you could imagine a franchise that was touch an go on their own financial survival might be more cautious with their money (thinking in particular of a guy like Malone who will likely be paid $300k when his lineup spot could be filled for cheaper).

    The Condors are owned by the Oilers and, ultimiately, Katz.

    I think the Condors will survive finanically.

  41. Pescador says:

    OriginalPouzar: Man, it would be a pure shame if the AHL couldn’t go forward next year – although all NHL teams will take hits but it would suck for the likes of Lavoie, Rodrigue, Skinner, Maksimov, Safin, McLeod and Sammy – even Bouchard.

    I’ve got to think that with apx 2/3 of the teams owned by their NHL affiliates they will find a way to provide funding to the league even if there aren’t fans in the stands or normal fans in the stands. Perhaps “the NHL” can help with the non-affiliates teams (or their players can be dispersed).

    Something has to happen so these players have a place to play.

    ———-

    With respect to personnel – rumors are Granny has already agreed to a contract in the KHL (can’t be official as he’s still under contract with the Oilers).

    Jurco is rumored to be returning.

    Can’t imagine Vessy, Lowe, Manning, Hebig, etc. being re-upped.

    Hope they get Currie signed – potentially they can throw some extra coin at him to sign an AHL deal – like Malone.

    There are infinite possibilities with regards to playing AHL games next season.
    Here are a few of my random thoughts:
    Limited amounts of fans is practically the AHL league standard.
    A restructured salary cap with no player getting paid more than $100,000.
    A reduced schedule to around 40 games with limited travel soley within each division.
    Limited amounts of players for each roster.
    No player over the age of 24 should ever be considered to be a ‘rookie’

  42. defmn says:

    OriginalPouzar: Man, it would be a pure shame if the AHL couldn’t go forward next year – although all NHL teams will take hits but it would suck for the likes of Lavoie, Rodrigue, Skinner, Maksimov, Safin, McLeod and Sammy – even Bouchard.

    I’ve got to think that with apx 2/3 of the teams owned by their NHL affiliates they will find a way to provide funding to the league even if there aren’t fans in the stands or normal fans in the stands. Perhaps “the NHL” can help with the non-affiliates teams (or their players can be dispersed).

    Something has to happen so these players have a place to play.

    As I mentioned once before I wouldn’t be surprised to hear that a couple of AHL teams get bought up by deep pocketed NHL owners who have been in licensing agreements up until now.

    Nothing like a financial crisis for those who already have to try and get more.

  43. defmn says:

    Harpers Hair:

    Follow the money.

    It doesn’t lead to every answer but it works in the 90-93% range in my experience. 😉

  44. Harpers Hair says:

    defmn: As I mentioned once before I wouldn’t be surprised to hear that a couple of AHL teams get bought up by deep pocketed NHL owners who have been in licensing agreements up until now.

    Nothing like a financial crisis for those who already have to try and get more.

    There is a rumor out there that an NHL team will swoop in and buy the Portland Winterhawks out of bankruptcy, shut down the franchise and install an AHL team in the Rose Garden.

    It might make sense for the Canucks to do this.

  45. Harpers Hair says:

    Pescador: There are infinite possibilities with regards to playing AHL games next season.
    Here are a few of my random thoughts:
    Limited amounts of fans is practically the AHL league standard.
    A restructured salary cap with no player getting paid more than $100,000.
    A reduced schedule to around 40 games with limited travel soley within each division.
    Limited amounts of players for each roster.
    No player over the age of 24 should ever be considered to be a ‘rookie’

    So essentially, NCAA grads wouldn’t qualify.

  46. OriginalPouzar says:

    jp: It’s interesting, just one player from last years teams played 25 NHL games this season.

    https://theahl.com/2018-19-ahl-first-second-all-star-teams

    I think its likely because generally a good half of them (give or take) are more “AHL vets” and not “real prospects” – 27 year olds, 28 year olds, etc.

  47. OriginalPouzar says:

    jeetz: Yak city and Schultz. That’s a lot of blame already. Based upon those 2, there is probably collateral damage we will never know about

    I think Shultz’s development issues as an Oiler can be linked just as much to management (MacT) than coaching – the Petry show-me contract and inevitable trade leaving Shultz to play 1RD (give or take a Mark Fayne…..)

  48. pts2pndr says:

    Munny:
    jp,

    Dubnyk, maybe?

    No maybe about that one. He was a victim of the Eakin swarm. The number of two one ones two on nothings and three on ones was without precedent! The Brylcreem boy was a total joke as a head coach. His knocking heads with Hall was also on him and in my opinion the reason Hall was ultimately moved.

  49. defmn says:

    Harpers Hair: There is a rumor out there that an NHL team will swoop in and buy the Portland Winterhawks out of bankruptcy, shut down the franchise and install an AHL team in the Rose Garden.

    It might make sense for the Canucks to do this.

    Yeah, it makes sense for sure. I don’t have a list of which NHL teams own their AHL franchise and which ones just have contracts but IF an NHL owner thinks this current situation is a blip rather than long term and the farm team owner is hurting for cash now is the time to make an offer.

    Totally other topic but I would say the same is going to be true for those wanting to get into the restaurant business when this is over or has just become part of life.

    I’ll bet there are going to be a lot of restaurants all set up and ready to go where the current owners couldn’t make it through the shutdown.

  50. OriginalPouzar says:

    LT’s article at The Athletic produced a very interesting name in Chris Tierney who I think would be a wonderful fit (almost perfect if he shot right).

    His QO would come in right around $3M and he’s likely due a raise on that number so perhaps Melnyk will be looking to, or amenable to, trading for some more unproven put cheaper talent.

    Puljujarvi plus….. plus what?

    This would need to be made in conjunction with shedding cap as we couldn’t afford Tierney’s next contract but is this something that would be reasonable?

  51. OriginalPouzar says:

    As per Friedman, the NHL and NHLPA are actively working on a format with 24 teams.

    Top 4 in each conference (P%) would get a bye but would play some sort of games – like a 3-game tourney.

    Other 8 in each would be seeded for the play-in.

    This is not something new, we’ve been hearing about it for a bit now, but it seems its got some traction but approval may only be a few days away.

  52. duct tape and foil says:

    We have two obvious holes in the roster…..1bG and 3C. The return for JP must address these holes or backfill the picks we used to obtain AA who filled a different hole at top 6 LW. Georgiev could potentially fill the 1bG and getting a 2nd round draft pick along with him seems decent value that both fills an immediate hole and returns a draft pick. Not really interested in Andesson.

    Optimism is like heroin:
    Just a thought here regarding the rumours regarding NY and Puljujarvi.Instead of trying for the 1st round pick why not look to fill a need in goal?

    Would Puljujarvi and Lagesson get you Andersson and Georgiev?

  53. Harpers Hair says:

    duct tape and foil:
    We have two obvious holes in the roster…..1bG and 3C. The return for JP must address these holes or backfill the picks we used to obtain AA who filled a different hole at top 6 LW.Georgiev could potentially fill the1bG and getting a 2nd round draft pick along with him seems decent value that both fills an immediate hole and returns a draft pick. Not really interested in Andesson.

    It’s most likely NYR buy out King Henrik and keep the young guys.

  54. godot10 says:

    Harpers Hair: There is a rumor out there that an NHL team will swoop in and buy the Portland Winterhawks out of bankruptcy, shut down the franchise and install an AHL team in the Rose Garden.

    It might make sense for the Canucks to do this.

    It would make sense for Seattle to do this.

  55. Harpers Hair says:

    godot10: It would make sense for Seattle to do this.

    Seattle has already been awarded an AHL expansion team in Palm Springs.

  56. Lowetide says:

    Harpers Hair: It’s most likely NYR buy out King Henrik and keep the young guys.

    That would be a PR nightmare, but keeping the young goalies makes sense. Wonder if Holland would acquire Henrik, probably not old enough.

  57. Harpers Hair says:

    Lowetide: That would be a PR nightmare, but keeping the young goalies makes sense. Wonder if Holland would acquire Henrik, probably not old enough.

    As mentioned earlier, the Rangers would likely offer him a high profile job in the organization.

    They have nothing but money.

  58. defmn says:

    Lowetide: That would be a PR nightmare, but keeping the young goalies makes sense. Wonder if Holland would acquire Henrik, probably not old enough.

    I agree on the PR nightmare. It wouldn’t surprise me, though, if he retired due to a ‘chronic back problem’ or some such and took a job in management with the team.

    No way they move either of their young goalies.

    EDIT: I see HH’s nimble fingers beat me to it.

  59. Harpers Hair says:

    San Diego
    Ontario
    Bakersfield
    Stockton
    San Jose
    Tucson
    Texas
    San Antonio
    Colorado
    Portland
    Palm Springs

    Makes for a great 11 team division or league.

    If Vegas were to put a team in this league rather than their affiliation with the Chicago Wolves you would be looking at at 12 teams relatively close in proximity with no need to cross borders to play games.

  60. defmn says:

    Harpers Hair:
    San Diego
    Ontario
    Bakersfield
    Stockton
    San Jose
    Tucson
    Texas
    San Antonio
    Colorado
    Portland
    Palm Springs

    Makes for a great 11 team division or league.

    If Vegas were to put a team in this league rather than their affiliation with the Chicago Wolves you would be looking at at 12 teams relatively close in proximity with no need to cross borders to play games.

    Leaves the Central Division light. When Palm Springs is added they will have 32 teams in 4 divisions. Gary’s wet dream for the NHL. They just have to find a way to not lose any teams over the next 12 months.

  61. Harpers Hair says:

    defmn: Leaves the Central Division light. When Palm Springs is added they will have 32 teams in 4 divisions. Gary’s wet dream for the NHL. They just have to find a way to not lose any teams over the next 12 months.

    I think it’s likely we will see a big retrenchment in the AHL.

    Already Carolina has cut the Checkers loose with more to come.

  62. jp says:

    Lowetide: Wonder if Holland would acquire Henrik, probably not old enough.

    <3

  63. jp says:

    Harpers Hair: So essentially, NCAA grads wouldn’t qualify.

    Only if they spent an overage (and rookie) season in the USHL before entering college age 21.

    Benning and Caggiula, for instance, were both NHL regulars at 22.

  64. OriginalPouzar says:

    Harpers Hair: It’s most likely NYR buy out King Henrik and keep the young guys.

    I don’t think they’d do that to an all-time Ranger great and still keep a dead-cap hit of $5.5MM.

  65. jp says:

    Pescador: I feel confident in saying that it was a healthy mix of all 3 ingredients.
    A delectable cocktail to say the least
    A “shit martini” as it were.
    RIP mr. Lahey

    Yup.

    You take some shit apples.
    Make them try to climb the shit rope.
    Add a dash of… well, shit luck.

    And there you have your shit martini.

    RIP.

  66. Harpers Hair says:

    jp: Only if they spent an overage (and rookie) season in the USHL before entering college age 21.

    Benning and Caggiula, for instance, were both NHL regulars at 22.

    So what age are you suggesting?

    21?

  67. Harpers Hair says:

    OriginalPouzar: I don’t think they’d do that to an all-time Ranger great and still keep a dead-cap hit of $5.5MM.

    Saves them more than $3M the first year and only a $1.5M cap hit the next season.

    It’s a no brainer.

  68. jp says:

    jeetz: Yak city and Schultz. That’s a lot of blame already. Based upon those 2, there is probably collateral damage we will never know about

    Yakupov and Dubnyk have a reasonable argument. But not everyone makes it. And Dubnyk had a very nice post-Oilers career (the original comment indicated ruined careers).

    Schultz was ultimately a disappointment but he was -17 on a -9 Oilers team under Kruger then -22 on a -67 Oilers team under Eakins. He was never going to make it as a 1st pair D on those Oilers teams.

  69. jp says:

    Harpers Hair: So what age are you suggesting?

    21?

    I’m suggesting most NCAA grads are not 24 when entering pro hockey.

  70. jp says:

    OriginalPouzar: The Condors are owned by the Oilers and, ultimiately, Katz.

    I think the Condors will survive finanically.

    I agree but there’s been lots of talk of AHL franchises going under if the AHL can’t play in front of fans. Just speculating the Condors continued signing of AHL contracts indicates they’re healthy (likely including assurances from said owners that they can continue business as usual).

  71. Harpers Hair says:

    jp: I’m suggesting most NCAA grads are not 24 when entering pro hockey.

    But some are.

    Why should they be excluded?

  72. jp says:

    I didn’t suggest 24 year olds shouldn’t be eligible.

    I replied to your post saying such a rule would exempt all NCAA grads. In fact is would only exclude a select minority.

  73. Harpers Hair says:

    jp:
    I didn’t suggest 24 year olds shouldn’t be eligible.

    I replied to your post saying such a rule would exempt all NCAA grads. In fact is would only exclude a select minority.

    So, 24 is okay then…just like now.

  74. jp says:

    Harpers Hair: So, 24 is okay then…just like now.

    I never suggested it wasn’t.

    I suppose you could make an argument since it’s a development league you could shift the eligibility younger. A 20 year old is not the same as a 24 year old. I don’t particularly care though.

  75. OriginalPouzar says:

    Harpers Hair: Saves them more than $3M the first year and only a $1.5M cap hit the next season.

    It’s a no brainer.

    I disagree that its a no-brainer, for reasons stated.

    $3MM savings but a combined $6.5MM of dead cap hit including the added year for $1.5M.

    I’d be shocked if they used a normal course buyout.

  76. Harpers Hair says:

    OriginalPouzar: I disagree that its a no-brainer, for reasons stated.

    $3MM savings but a combined $6.5MM of dead cap hit including the added year for $1.5M.

    I’d be shocked if they used a normal course buyout.

    Prepare to be shocked.

  77. duct tape and foil says:

    Sure it makes sense for the Rangers. But Georgiev might not be too happy being a backup at this stage of his career, and that’s exactly what he would be playing behind Shesterkin who is amazing.

    I would not be sad with a straight up trade of Georgiev for JP, trading JP as part of a package for a 3C, getting two 2nd round picks for him to replace assets we dealt for AA, or trading him for a similar player like Kapanen with a higher salary. Any of those work for me.

    Lowetide: https://www.sportsnet.ca/hockey/nhl/nhl-nhlpa-working-24-team-conference-based-playoff-setup/sn-amp/?__twitter_impression=true

  78. Harpers Hair says:

    duct tape and foil:
    Sure it makes sense for the Rangers. But Georgiev might not be too happy being a backup at this stage of his career, and that’s exactly what he would be playing behind Shesterkin who is amazing.

    I would not be sad with a straight up trade of Georgiev for JP, trading JP as part of a package for a 3C, getting two 2nd round picks for him to replace assets we dealt for AA, or trading him for a similar player like Kapanen with a higher salary. Any of those work for me.

    Would Georgiev be happier as a back up in New York or Edmonton?

  79. maudite says:

    That first 5 game series with top of conference getting bye…cant imagine their warmup games be as damaging as pit fight.

    Makes it even more uphill in my head for any of 5-12
    Harpers Hair,

  80. JimmyV1965 says:

    duct tape and foil:
    Sure it makes sense for the Rangers. But Georgiev might not be too happy being a backup at this stage of his career, and that’s exactly what he would be playing behind Shesterkin who is amazing.

    I would not be sad with a straight up trade of Georgiev for JP, trading JP as part of a package for a 3C, getting two 2nd round picks for him to replace assets we dealt for AA, or trading him for a similar player like Kapanen with a higher salary. Any of those work for me.

    If Holland can get any of those assets for JP, I’m writing him into my will.

  81. Munny says:

    I’m not so sure I’d want the bye.

  82. OriginalPouzar says:

    As per LeBrun:

    Things continue to inch closer on a Return to Play format. Still not done, however. My sense is the league now waiting to hear back from the NHLPA on latest 24-team format tweaks. Expectation is both sides will chat again on this today or tomorrow…

  83. duct tape and foil says:

    He would be 1bG in EDM and 2G in NYR

    Harpers Hair: Would Georgiev be happier as a back up in New York or Edmonton?

  84. gwdsfo says:

    Watched Rajala in the Fall of 2012 playing ECHL with Stockton against the SF Bulls in the Cow Palace. He was easily the most talented player on the ice skating Connor McDavid fast – a step or two ahead everyone else including SF Bulls defenseman Theo Peckham which isn’t saying much. Incredibly fast and talented player. It would be fun to see him back in Norte America.

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