Charlie Don’t Surf

by Lowetide

It appears the NHL is on the verge of return, with the Coronavirus inspiring an extended CBA and world peace in our time. Now, after a long delay that involved this blog writing about every Oiler in history save Chris Hajt, it’s finally time to talk about the playoffs.

We begin with lines, pairings and starting goalie picks. Mine are below, and please, can we not have everyone agree with my lineup again? It gets tiresome. Look around. Surely we can disagree on something.

THE ATHLETIC!

Great perspective from a ridiculous group of writers and analysts. I am proud to be part of The Athletic. Here are the most recent Oilers stories.

  • New Daniel Nugent-Bowman: Oilers notebook: Bear’s contract quandary, Broberg’s mini camp, bubble goalies
  • New Lowetide: Jesse Puljujarvi’s comparables suggest a possible future with Oilers
  • New Jonathan Willis: Every Oilers AHL prospect rated by how close they are to the NHL
  • Lowetide: Setting the record straight on Oilers prospect Cooper Marody’s future
  • Lowetide: Tough decisions face Oilers’ Ken Holland as cap forces painful choices
  • Lowetide: How Oilers winger Kailer Yamamoto can increase his value
  • Lowetide: Everything you forgot (but need to know) about Oilers’ 2019-20 season
  • Eric Duhatschek: Q&A: Wayne Gretzky on making whisky, learning to like IPAs and loving cheap wine
  • Lowetide: Injury is biggest factor in the Oilers’ hopes for extended playoff run
  • Lowetide: Tyler Benson’s struggle to score might affect future role with Oilers
  • Lowetide: Ken Holland’s second Oilers draft should deliver high-octane offence
  • Daniel Nugent-Bowman: ‘It’s all surreal’: Kevin Lowe’s Hall of Fame nod nets surprise and satisfaction
  • Lowetide: 10 things to look for at Oilers training camp and the 2020 playoffs
  • Lowetide: Ethan Bear, Caleb Jones and the Oilers’ need for veteran insurance
  • Daniel Nugent-Bowman: Why the Oilers should protect these 8 skaters in the Seattle expansion draft
  • Jonathan Willis: Why Carl Soderberg is an intriguing free agent possibility for the Oilers
  • Lowetide: Oilers prospect Raphael Lavoie’s possible impact in his first year pro

OILERS PLAYOFF ROSTER, LINES AND PAIRINGS

I chose Andreas Athanasiou for the Connor McDavid line because he was productive five on five (1-1-2, 2.72 points per 60) with the captain. He was also over 50 percent Corsi for five on five with 97. Zack Kassian lands the RW spot but there’s enough depth to guarantee competition and replacement if quality of performance suffers. The big news here is that McDavid got some rest and should be fresh. Chicago defensemen are having nightmares about it as we speak.

I don’t know what remains to be said about the Nuge-Leon Draisaitl-Kailer Yamamoto line beyond reiterating no NHL team had an answer for them five on five. It took Dave Tippett three months to separate 97-29 successfully, after almost five years of trying. What a spectacle!

Riley Sheahan and Josh Archibald had good moments with Tyler Benson, Joakim Nygard and others, but I chose Tyler Ennis because he can flip with AA easily and he adds speed and some offense to any trio. Ennis can also play right wing, so might land a job on 97’s other wing if Kassian struggles. Ennis’ scoring rate with McDavid (2.62 per 60 five on five) was basically the same as Athanasiou’s.

Jujhar Khaira gets the nod from me as No. 4 C but that could change because Gaetan Haas brings a lot. James Neal and Alex Chiasson are my No. 4 wingers, it’s a slow line but they’re veterans and should be able to help McDavid when Tippett is double shifting him. Fans shouldn’t expect goals, the key is not to be outscored. Nygard and Benson are also in the conversation.

Oscar Klefbom and Adam Larsson were fabulous down the stretch for Edmonton, if the duo can duplicate the January-March performance this train is going to roll like a Jimmy Page Yardbirds solo (all night long).

Darnell Nurse and Ethan Bear played big minutes in 2019-20, ideally a playoff run that sees more mid-level competition might be preferable. A fascinating duo, still wonder if Bear lands with Klefbom or eventually Jones. We’ll see.

Caleb Jones and Mike Green are my choice for third pair but the coach has several options. Jones is here because he won the job over Russell and Lagesson needs a regular season in the NHL to get acclimated. I have Green over Benning but both men are capable. Evan Bouchard and Philip Broberg are here to catch the excitement of a playoff run in the NHL.

Mikko Koskinen is my starter all day and it isn’t close. Dave Tippett will run with Mike Smith. I’m a believer in Tippett, so we’ll see how this shines. Stuart Skinner appears to be the No. 3, Shane Starrett would be a more substantial option if healthy.

LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE

At 10 this morning, TSN1260, we have much to discuss including the NHL playoffs, new MLB schedule and more. Murat Ates from The Athletic will join us at 10:20 to talk Winnipeg Jets readiness and how he’ll cover the playoff run. Chris Meaney from FTN talks Mahomes contract and the NFL season ahead. Ryan Rishaug from TSN will drop by with a complete overview of RTP and the incredible amount of work to be done to create the playoff bubble. 10-1260 text, @Lowetide on twitter!

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jp

Harpers Hair: He was excellent at the World Juniors and is young enough to play in it again (if it happens.)

Having an opportunity to play on one team rather than three in the same season should also help his output.

Yeah it could. We’ll have to wait and see.

Podkolzin scored at a lower rate in the MHL last year than Denezhkin, who was picked 193rd and no one expects anything from. He played in a lower league than Denezhkin the year before.

To this point his offense has lagged behind expectations. Maybe it will catch up at some point.

Harpers Hair

jp: Yes, Wheeler clearly expects that.

My comment isn’t based only on the KHL/this season though. He didn’t produce as much as you’d expect at lower levels either (from a player this highly touted).

We’ll have to wait and see if the eye test is more predictive than actual production in Podkolzin’s case.

He was excellent at the World Juniors and is young enough to play in it again (if it happens.)

Having an opportunity to play on one team rather than three in the same season should also help his output.

jp

Harpers Hair: Podkholzin was yo-yodeled between the KHL, MHL and VHL last season and was one of the youngest players in the draft.

Listened to an extensive interview with Wheeler yesterday and he expects him to be a top six forward.

Yes, Wheeler clearly expects that.

My comment isn’t based only on the KHL/this season though. He didn’t produce as much as you’d expect at lower levels either (from a player this highly touted).

We’ll have to wait and see if the eye test is more predictive than actual production in Podkolzin’s case.

Harpers Hair

PennersPancakes: Something something young good prospects establish themselves early? Maybe Podkholzin should have considered playing better and forcing himself into the KHL. Yawn, Broberg is a a day younger.

I posted a link yesterday that explains that the new head coach of CKSA is planning to deploy a new kid line featuring Podkholzin on the wing.
I expect you’ll see much higher production next season.

PennersPancakes

OriginalPouzar:
Ya, I will have to agree – Russian teenagers in the KHL often get almost no ice time.I remember reading that he got like 43 seconds in his first game.I would expect him to play more in the Russian junior leagues but an 18 year old in the KHL gets less opportunity than the 18 year old d-men in the SHL, often.

Thats a fair point and his defenders will likely point to his playoff production. Is this not a huge concern when drafting Russian players then though? Not only do you need them to come to NA but their coaches need to be convinced to play them.

Yes lots can be learned in practice and being with a pro team but players get better by PLAYING. Before the playoffs he was only playing 8:49 a night, that seems crazy. Hopefully next year will be different for him. Interesting he was only 0.6 PPG in the VHL…

PennersPancakes

Harpers Hair: Podkholzin was yo-yodeled between the KHL, MHL and VHL last season and was one of the youngest players in the draft.

Listened to an extensive interview with Wheeler yesterday and he expects him to be a top six forward.

Something something young good prospects establish themselves early? Maybe Podkholzin should have considered playing better and forcing himself into the KHL. Yawn, Broberg is a a day younger.

OriginalPouzar

Ya, I will have to agree – Russian teenagers in the KHL often get almost no ice time. I remember reading that he got like 43 seconds in his first game. I would expect him to play more in the Russian junior leagues but an 18 year old in the KHL gets less opportunity than the 18 year old d-men in the SHL, often.

OriginalPouzar

Reja: Bouchard will be a top ten if not better point producing machine for years to come. He should be QB-ing the consistent top 3 PP for the next 6-7 years I see him being anywhere between Keith Yandle > Larry Murphy for his career.

I wonder if next year they transition to Bear on PP1 and give Bouchard Bear’s somewhat nominal PP2 time from this year (when Bouch is called up)?

I don’t imagine they just boot Klef off the PP though given hit was so darn good this year and, yes, he was a part of that. Gully was on Oilers Now a little while back and was descriptive of how Klef improved his PP abilities and was making the proper decisions for the system they were playing.

Harpers Hair

jp: Yeah my comparison was based just on expectations vs production for the two.

Seems like near everyone expects he can be more than a 3rd liner. His production doesn’t appear to project there though (numbers don’t tell the whole story of course).

I see Broberg as a Swedish Nurse too. That’s good value for a #8 IMO if he gets there. I’m sure HH will keep us updated on their progress moving forward.

Podkholzin was yo-yodeled between the KHL, MHL and VHL last season and was one of the youngest players in the draft.

Listened to an extensive interview with Wheeler yesterday and he expects him to be a top six forward.

ArmchairGM

Lowetide:
One player I haven’t seen too many get excited about is Jacob Perreault. I have him at 18, anyone high or low on him?

https://lowetide.ca/2020/06/01/here-comes-the-sun-2020/

His skating is average, hard to get too excited about that. I noticed Pronman has him at 18 and Mackenzie at 21, so you’re certainly in the range. I think early to mid 20’s is probably where he ends up going, I.e. there will be better players available at 20.

jp

Material Elvis: That’s pretty close.He might be more physical than VN.Seems like a third line kind of guy; not in the same realm as Petterson, Boeser, or Miller.I’d rather have our Swedish Nurse.

Yeah my comparison was based just on expectations vs production for the two.

Seems like near everyone expects he can be more than a 3rd liner. His production doesn’t appear to project there though (numbers don’t tell the whole story of course).

I see Broberg as a Swedish Nurse too. That’s good value for a #8 IMO if he gets there. I’m sure HH will keep us updated on their progress moving forward.

BornInAGretzkyJersey

Lowetide,

I had noticed your enthusiasm, and reading the blurb on him in that link I posted actually has me more intrigued. Interesting combo of attributes.

ArmchairGM

Harpers Hair: That Holland signed Green tells you all your need to know about what he thinks of Bouchard.

Holland hasn’t signed Green, and if he does I think it’s more indicative of what he thinks of Benning.

Todd Macallan

Lowetide:
One player I haven’t seen too many get excited about is Jacob Perreault. I have him at 18, anyone high or low on him?

https://lowetide.ca/2020/06/01/here-comes-the-sun-2020/

I believe I’m higher on him than most. Possibly best shot in draft, at least up there with Quinn and Holtz. Surprised all by dominating skating drills at the Top Prospects game testing, just doesn’t always seem to translate those abilities to game time. Limited viewings but found him to be quite impressive in the Prospects game. Would be just fine taking him at 20 or wherever we end up picking.

hunter1909

Reja: Bouchard will be a top ten if not better point producing machine for years to come. He should be QB-ing the consistent top 3 PP for the next 6-7 years I see him being anywhere between Keith Yandle > Larry Murphy for his career.

In 3 years when the Oilers are a top contender the defencemen will agree that having Mike green around helped them all big time.

hunter1909

OriginalPouzar: Puljujarvi is the 2016 fourth-overall pick who has a tremendous toolkit as a 6-foot-4 winger with very good speed for his size, great hands and a plus shot. He’s not a great playmaker and is a little soft

What tool wrote this dirge? JP might not be Gordie Howe, but he sure never was soft/intimidated – more like opposition players bounced right off of him. JP is a physical force out there, if memory serves me. But its late, or early, depending on what side of the cosmic wheel you’re on so maybe you have proof of his getting shown up as a softie? Hmm?

hunter1909

Harpers Hair: Hi there…my name is Evan.
NHL games…I’ve played just seven.
Rasmus, Quinn and Adam are blowing me away.
Noah and the other Rasmus are all in the NHL
I’m not and that’s a tell.
I might get there soon but Bowen, Mortitz, Victor and Tobias are all on my ass.
Those guys from the NCAA play against men.
Don’t they know I was picked number ten?

Hello my name is Harper
I chose it because it makes me seem smarter
I love to go to the Oilers blog, and wipe the floor with the silly slobs,
those deplorables, as Hillary says
But then I start to see
How trolling isn’t for me
I used to be home on the range
But now I’m far too gone to change

JimmyV1965

Harpers Hair: That Holland signed Green tells you all your need to know about what he thinks of Bouchard.

Yes. Because Holland has a history of rushing players to the NHL. This is getting beyond ridiculous.

Material Elvis

jp:
I’m really kind of intrigued by Podkolzin. He barely scored better than the D Broberg this year but everybody seems to think he’s good and Broberg is dogshit.

Wheeler had 8 point Podkolzin ranked 25th after being picked 10OV and 8 point Broberg unranked after being picked 8OV.

I just don’t see the offensive production from Podkolzin. Reminds me of Nichushkin.

That’s pretty close. He might be more physical than VN. Seems like a third line kind of guy; not in the same realm as Petterson, Boeser, or Miller. I’d rather have our Swedish Nurse.

Material Elvis

OriginalPouzar: Its the wrong play to start the goalie that was better on the season and was playing better going in to the break? Because of experience?

Tippett has a clear bias for veteran players and that has served him well to this point. That said, he isn’t an idiot and will go with Koskinen if Smith is dinged up or looking like shit in training camp. If he looks good and everything is equal, Smith will get the opening game.

Material Elvis

Reja: Bouchard will be a top ten if not better point producing machine for years to come. He should be QB-ing the consistent top 3 PP for the next 6-7 years I see him being anywhere between Keith Yandle > Larry Murphy for his career.

At some point he will take Klefbom’s spot, but I don’t think the coaching staff will be too quick to change the personnel on the best PP in the NHL. When he does take over, his passing and shot will serve him well. He is an elite passer and that will translate at 5v5 when he gets established. Like Ethan Bear, he has the ability to make those quick, heady passes that are so crucial to the defensive zone breakout. In his prime he will likely put up 40-60 points per season.

Reja

Material Elvis: The Green trade meant that Tippett didn’t trust Benning, both of whom are rightfully ahead of Bouchard.Why do you keep comparing Bouchard to guys drafted ahead of him?It’s very strange.“Bouchard isn’t as good as Bobby Orr so he sucks”.

Bouchard will be a top ten if not better point producing machine for years to come. He should be QB-ing the consistent top 3 PP for the next 6-7 years I see him being anywhere between Keith Yandle > Larry Murphy for his career.

BornInAGretzkyJersey

Haven’t had time to read the comments (or blog) yet so apologies if this has been posted already. Came up in my news feed and all I could think was it’s like the writer reads this blog and comments and mined it for his story idea.

Great short list for top targets where we project to draft in the first round.

ArmchairGM seems to have been right in being an early supporter of Reichel. And OP with Mysak. Very intriguing.

https://www.silversevensens.com/2020/7/7/21309637/2020-nhl-draft-profiles-first-round-forwards-bourque-mysak-perreault-reichel-ottawa-senators-nhl

jp

OriginalPouzar:
Acquiring Toffoli tells us everything we need to know about Benning’s thoughts on Vasili Podkolzin and Nls Hoglander….

OriginalPouzar: Acquiring Toffoli tells us everything we need to know about Benning’s thoughts on Vasili Podkolzin and Nls Hoglander….

I’m really kind of intrigued by Podkolzin. He barely scored better than the D Broberg this year but everybody seems to think he’s good and Broberg is dogshit.

Wheeler had 8 point Podkolzin ranked 25th after being picked 10OV and 8 point Broberg unranked after being picked 8OV.

I just don’t see the offensive production from Podkolzin. Reminds me of Nichushkin.

Material Elvis

Harpers Hair: That Holland signed Green tells you all your need to know about what he thinks of Bouchard.

The Green trade meant that Tippett didn’t trust Benning, both of whom are rightfully ahead of Bouchard. Why do you keep comparing Bouchard to guys drafted ahead of him? It’s very strange. “Bouchard isn’t as good as Bobby Orr so he sucks”.

OriginalPouzar

Pronman had a piece at The Athletic categorizing various players vis-a-vis Seattle and the expansion draft. Some Oiler content – seems he is higher on Puljujarvi than Benson (who he was high on a year ago):

https://theathletic.com/1911937/2020/07/07/pronman-prospects-seattle-should-target-and-avoid-in-the-expansion-draft/

The Targets (Players who project as average or better NHL players)
Jake Bean, D, Carolina
Tyson Jost, C, Colorado
Alexander Nylander, RW, Chicago
Jesse Puljujarvi, RW, Edmonton

Puljujarvi is the 2016 fourth-overall pick who has a tremendous toolkit as a 6-foot-4 winger with very good speed for his size, great hands and a plus shot. He’s not a great playmaker and is a little soft, but I think he has top-six upside even though he played outside the NHL last season.

The Pass Players

He had a whackload and had Benson included;

I rated Benson very highly a year ago this time, but I’ve backtracked on that one. His skill and vision are great, but his skating continues to be an issue and his lack of goal-scoring ability in his two seasons in the pros is a concern, too.

OriginalPouzar

I didn’t think Broberg would accompany the team in to the “secure zone” and Nugent Bowman essentially confirmed that today:

https://theathletic.com/1913692/2020/07/07/oilers-notebook-bears-contract-quandary-brobergs-mini-camp-bubble-goalies/

Philip Broberg attending Oilers training camp (Phase 3) has been well known for quite some time.

The 2019 first-rounder is eligible to play in the postseason, but Holland said his attendance is merely an opportunity to skate with NHLers before heading back to Skelleftea in time for SHL camp later this month. He had a goal and eight points in 45 SHL games in 2019-20.

OriginalPouzar

Munny:
The idea behind starting Smith over the NHL playoff rookie is to see if you can capture the same lightning in a bottle as he produced last year.Gives everyone some confidence having a bet back there.Gives Mikko a game to get used to the amped pressure.

And guess what.If it fails to wprk Gm 1… Mikko os still starting out fresh like he does at the beginning of a seadon for Gm 2.Playing Smith doesn’t change that amd ot sends a great message to the vet.

Starting Mikko, barring some health issue, is absolutely the wrong play.

Its the wrong play to start the goalie that was better on the season and was playing better going in to the break? Because of experience?

OriginalPouzar

Acquiring Toffoli tells us everything we need to know about Benning’s thoughts on Vasili Podkolzin and Nls Hoglander….

OriginalPouzar

Reja: Unless Smith has health problems he’s starting game 1 and it’s his job to lose.

I agree that Smith likely starts game 1.

As of now, I don’t agree with the decision but that doesn’t mean anything.

OriginalPouzar

Harpers Hair: That Holland signed Green tells you all your need to know about what he thinks of Bouchard.

Not even a little bit.

A team fighting for the division acquiring a rental UFA veteran d-man for the playoff run.

That has nothing to do with the team’s top prospect developing in the minors in his first year pro.

WIld comment….

Munny

The idea behind starting Smith over the NHL playoff rookie is to see if you can capture the same lightning in a bottle as he produced last year. Gives everyone some confidence having a vet back there. Gives Mikko a game to get used to the amped pressure.

And guess what. If it fails to work Gm 1… Mikko is still starting out fresh like he does at the beginning of a season for Gm 2. Playing Smith doesn’t change that and it sends a great message to the vet.

Starting Mikko, barring some health issue, is absolutely the wrong play.

Reja

Harpers Hair: That Holland signed Green tells you all your need to know about what he thinks of Bouchard.

Holland has been around long enough to know you can never have to many competent D men if your going deep in the playoffs. Why do you think he picked up A.A, Ennis and Green for Tippett’s playoff run it wasn’t just for shits and giggles.

frjohnk

Imagine being a guy who opts out and then your team goes on to win the Stanley Cup.

I think is going thru the players heads especially on teams that Have the best odds of winning.

Munny

OriginalPouzar: Recall how hot Mikko has started the last two seasons.

October to Nov 15 2019:.928/2.16

October to Nov 15 2019:.918/2.52

Flip a coin twice… if it comes up heads both times what is that proof of?

Reja

OriginalPouzar: Recall how hot Mikko has started the last two seasons.

October to Nov 15 2019:.928/2.16

October to Nov 15 2019:.918/2.52

Unless Smith has health problems he’s starting game 1 and it’s his job to lose.

OriginalPouzar

NHLP exec has approved the CBA and it’s now off to the full member vote.

Harpers Hair

OriginalPouzar: More shletered than the press box?

I am personally enthused about Bouchard’s development this past season and will take it over what Dobson got while burning his ELC’s first year.

20 points in the last 24 games while being a plus player while playing tough minutes on a team that was getting killed – that was fantastic.

That Holland signed Green tells you all your need to know about what he thinks of Bouchard.

OriginalPouzar

Munny:
The long layoff should be a real boon for an old fogey goaler like Smith.

Considering his playoff play last season, I give him the Game 1 start.

Recall how hot Mikko has started the last two seasons.

October to Nov 15 2019: .928/2.16

October to Nov 15 2019: .918/2.52

OriginalPouzar

Munny:
Wish Chiasson could play his off wing. Would give more options.

Also think they should use 3 on 3 OT for the play-in round if there are going to be B2B games scheduled.

Neal can play both wings – not sure I’ve seen Chiasson play the left.

My goodness, really? God no (for me). Having a post-season series decided in 3 on 3 isn’t far from having it decided in the shootout.

Gregor crunched the numbers (last week I think), in recent years its been quite rare for a playoff game to go past single OT.

OriginalPouzar

GordieHoweHatTrick: Because there is no 3G that has played an nhl game or is ready for an nhl game

Oh, OK, fair enough.

Personally, I’m not concerned about the 3G – if the 1A and 1B go down, well, I think we are looking towards next season (as most, may not all, but most, teams would be).

Munny

The long layoff should be a real boon for an old fogey goaler like Smith.

Considering his playoff play last season, I give him the Game 1 start.

Munny

Wish Chiasson could play his off wing. Would give more options.

Also think they should use 3 on 3 OT for the play-in round if there are going to be B2B games scheduled.

OriginalPouzar

Harpers Hair: Sheltering a top ten pick in the AHL is about as sheltered as you can get.

More shletered than the press box?

I am personally enthused about Bouchard’s development this past season and will take it over what Dobson got while burning his ELC’s first year.

20 points in the last 24 games while being a plus player while playing tough minutes on a team that was getting killed – that was fantastic.

OriginalPouzar

jp: I don’t disagree with you on this stuff at all. But I feel like a grain of salt on each of these things would be helpful for our expectations.

1) Neal-Khaira-Chiasson 3-0 in goals in 34 minutes. But 37% shots (11-18) and 34%xGoals.

2) Athanasiou-Sheahan-Archibald. They were 0-1 goals in 25 minutes. 14-14 shots but somehow 5-16 scoring chances (23%). 19% Ozone starts though.

3) Koskinen vs. Smith. Koskinen was 100% better at stopping pucks this season, even in the 2020 portion. But somehow the team did play better in front of Smith. The stuff about his puck handling helping the team may have something to it and offset the actual stopping the puck part. Still not 100% sure I believe it but it was a similar story for Smith vs Rittich last year too (less so back in Arizona)

SmithON — 49.3%SF 52.25%GF 52.45xGF%
KoskinenON 46.2%SF 51.0%GF 47.2xGF%
(this is all situations, there’s some interesting stuff going on with Smith on special teams)

I’m cool with all of the things you’re suggesting to start. I’m interested to see if they work and think they could. But definitely we should be prepared for things to not be as straight forward.

Good post and valid points.

On the 4th line, yes I know the possession metrics don’t sparkle like the goals but the goals did happen and, more than anything, I’m going on Coach’s verbal

On the 3rd line – hmmmm, I thought they had much better metrics together – interesting

On the goalie point – its really tough to say if the difference is due to the goalie and him helping the d-men transition the puck. Maybe. The save percentage and GSAA, however, mean more to me.

I do not discount your points.

GordieHoweHatTrick

OriginalPouzar: Yes, the Oilers finally have depth throughout most of the lineup – kind of all of a sudden.

In particular at the bottom of the defence.Having Jones or Russell and Benning or Green to fill in is massive.

How do you figure they don’t have depth at goalie. Both of our goalies have shown to be able to get hot for decent stretches and, well, that can win you playoff series.

I’m all for Mikko getting the start (although don’t think he will) but if he struggles then, boom, Mike Smith could very well come in a shut the door for a stretch – he was excellent in the playoffs last year.

Because there is no 3G that has played an nhl game or is ready for an nhl game

Harpers Hair

OriginalPouzar: He may opt out given the team opted out of calling him up and called up pretty much every other Utica d-man instead of him…..

He’s one of the black aces.

Harpers Hair

OriginalPouzar:
Yup, Noah Dobson was in the NHL this past year – of course, the poem above lacked context.The only real reason he was in the NHL was because he wasn’t eligible for the AHL.

He played 13.8% of his time against elites – by far the lowest I’ve ever seen – by far

He played over 51% of his time against gritensity – the highest I’ve seen ever – by far

Over 70% offensive zone starts and less than 12% defensive zone starts a led the defence in on-the-fly starts by a massive margin.

He was healthy scratched for half the games and, when he did play, about as heavily sheltered as possible.

I’ve never seen more sheltering.

Sheltering a top ten pick in the AHL is about as sheltered as you can get.

jp

OriginalPouzar:
There are a few things we know from Tippett’s verbal over the last little while including:

1) he liked what he saw from Khaira at center and like the heavy, aggressive forechecking, “playoff style hockey” of the Neal/Khaira/Chiasson line who did go 3-0 in goal in 35 minutes

2) given Nygard hasn’t had any sort of real NHL practice with puck since he broke his hand in January, Tippett is concerned that his hand/pucks skills will be lagging behind the rest.

We also know that AA played his last few games with Sheahan and Archie and the line played very well and AA played his best hockey as an Oiler.

Kosikinen to start – he was simply the better and more consistent tender on the year and, of course, was playing better going in to the break. Kevin Woodly had him as a top 5 tender in the NHL in 2020 when taking in to account shot quality and GSAA. He has also started off each of the last two seasons very hot. Subject to separation by Smith at camp, I would start Mikko

I don’t disagree with you on this stuff at all. But I feel like a grain of salt on each of these things would be helpful for our expectations.

1) Neal-Khaira-Chiasson 3-0 in goals in 34 minutes. But 37% shots (11-18) and 34%xGoals.

2) Athanasiou-Sheahan-Archibald. They were 0-1 goals in 25 minutes. 14-14 shots but somehow 5-16 scoring chances (23%). 19% Ozone starts though.

3) Koskinen vs. Smith. Koskinen was 100% better at stopping pucks this season, even in the 2020 portion. But somehow the team did play better in front of Smith. The stuff about his puck handling helping the team may have something to it and offset the actual stopping the puck part. Still not 100% sure I believe it but it was a similar story for Smith vs Rittich last year too (less so back in Arizona)

SmithON — 49.3%SF 52.25%GF 52.45xGF%
KoskinenON 46.2%SF 51.0%GF 47.2xGF%
(this is all situations, there’s some interesting stuff going on with Smith on special teams)

I’m cool with all of the things you’re suggesting to start. I’m interested to see if they work and think they could. But definitely we should be prepared for things to not be as straight forward.