Charlie Don’t Surf

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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126 Responses to "Charlie Don’t Surf"

  1. Todd Macallan says:

    Unfortunately, I wholeheartedly agree with your starting lineup in every conceivable way. Hope this helps.

  2. dessert1111 says:

    I’d start by switching Ennis and Athanasiou, but I think this is pretty much bang on. Well, I’d be tempted to put Nygard on the Sheahan line, bump Athanasiou to the 4 line and sit Neal, but that’s not going to happen.

    I hope other commenters will find more to disagree with!

  3. Brantford Boy says:

    I agree!

    Although these are “your” lines LT… I believe for game 1 we see Russell-Green…

  4. Brantford Boy says:

    An old friend of mine had today’s blog title printed on a shirt with a Charles Manson face print on the back in the 90’s… all was good and dandy and he got many compliments on it until we ran into some biker in Port Dover on a Friday the 13th with tattoo’s all over his face who was not impressed… the movie Scared Straight comes to mind, I never saw him wear that shirt again…

  5. GordieHoweHatTrick says:

    If would be great to seeTippett roll with this line up to start. Sorry I can’t disagree with you on any substantive matter with this line up.
    I think MK will get the starter
    There should be a real battle for bottom 2C with 5 possible contenders
    Nygaard on deck ready to replace any winger not on their game.
    There should also be fierce competition for the bottom d pairing

    The best part is there is adequate depth at all positions except G.

    I have been optimistically pessimistic about RTP, but it is getting harder not to be excited about the increasing likelihood that there will be playoffs in the weeks ahead….wahoo!!!

  6. dustrock says:

    Will Tippett fall into the “play the veterans” trap?

    Neal on the top 2 lines? Chiasson? Ennis?

    LT, your lineup is great, my only wonder is if some of these old boys will get prime minutes because experience or something.

  7. GordieHoweHatTrick says:

    I suspect we may see Connor playing at yet another higher level than we have seen before…

  8. meanashell11 says:

    Lines are lines, they last about a period if you are not winning.

    I am more concerned with what the Oil need to do to beat Chicago. We did not play well against them this season. We were maybe a bit unlucky but we need a plan unless our goalies are reincarnated Grant Fuhr versus the Flyers good…….

  9. deardylan says:

    Nuge 29 Yama
    Tyler 97 Kass
    Neal Riley Josh
    AA Haas Chia

    Nurse Smith Larsson
    Jones Miko Bear
    Klef Skinner Benning
    Kris Rodr Green

  10. cowboy bill says:

    You must have read my mind . Because these are the exact lines I had imagined . If AA doesn’t cut it with McDavid than we see Ennis . However I really like the possibilities of Ennis with Sheahan & Arch .

    Green with Jones in my mind is also a stronger pair to start with . If there’s injuries they have some depth with Russell & Benning .

    The only thing I disagree with is the starting net minder . That will be Smith and he will play as long as he wins . But I suspect we will see both .

    I see a strong next up attitude arising with the players so it won’t matter who’s in the line up we won’t see any drop off .

    I really like what Holland & Tippett have assembled .

  11. Darth Tu says:

    Rolling like a Jimmy Page solo, eh? Jimmy is one of my all time favourites and inspirations as a guitarist, however, he’s not exactly known for his consistency….

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fU9fTmTsssA

    This has the best description of Jimmy Page’s playing I’ve heard. If Oscar and Adam are like Jimmy Page’s solos, as long as they end on that Jimmy Page note then all is good.

    And yes, I agree, the guitar either goes above or below the dick.

  12. Elgin R says:

    Do not replace Khaira with Hass unless due to injury. JJ was the best PK forward for the Oilers this year and it was not even close. JJ – 0.08 goals against per 2 with the next best forward (The Nuge) at 0.13 (data from Cult of Hockey – David Staples).

    The line-up looks fine on paper. Actual will depend on who worked hard on conditioning during the pause. I have not disagreed with any of Tippet’s skater decisions unlike with TM who put Lucic out in 3-on-3 overtime (shockingly the Oilers lost).

    I am hoping that speed is the deciding factor as that is what got the Oilers to where they are. The 4th line is not a burner but should be able to cycle in the offensive zone very well. Also, Chaisson and Neal are good shooters so some goals may even come at 5 x 5.

  13. Darth Tu says:

    Nuge-Drai-Yam
    AA-McD-Kass
    Ennis-Sheahan-Arch
    Neal-Khaira-Chiasson

    I’ve moved things around and settled on this, and then realised it’s exactly what LT has above. I agree. Flip Ennis with either AA or Kassian dependent on play/situation.

  14. JJS says:

    I love watching sports while prepping a BBQ meal

    I love drinking beer while watching sports

    I love drinking beer while prepping a BBQ meal

    Hockey in August

    I can’t wait

  15. jtblack says:

    Aleksi Heponiemi, as a 20 year old put up 46 points in 50 LIGA games with Karpat in 2018/19. He then came over the AHL and put up 14 points in 49 games.

    He is just another comparable. But from what I see scoring in LIGA doesn’t gurantee any type of translation to NHL success. For every 1 success story there are probably 10 that don’t transalte to the NHL …

    I agree with your article, that Jesse is not ready or able to be a scorer in the NHL at this time. Feed him the soft parade and see if Tippett can unlock him …

  16. tileguy says:

    The 4th line will be newsworthy for 25 or so games. I am so pleased we will get to see this trio in playoff hockey.

  17. jtblack says:

    as Veteran players come to the end of the road, they can usually produce at a good clip when Completely Healthy. Ryan Smyth started off strong his last 2 or 3 years. Then nagging injuries would quickly catch up and he would fall off a cliff.

    I see James Neal the same way. Came out house on fire and then battled injuries and fell off a cliff.

    Neal could be VERY effective for the 1st series or two. He will be completely healthy and ready to go. His hands are still money.

  18. hunter1909 says:

    If Green turns up healthy…

  19. GB&Q says:

    i agree on the AK97 line, and i like Ennis as a plug and play if need be.
    Would like to see Nygaard in there somehow. I suspect line #5 becomes line #4 if Khaira, etc. struggle.

    and it’s gotta be Mikko Suave all the way.

  20. so polar says:

    deardylan:
    Nuge29 Yama
    Tyler 97 Kass
    Neal RileyJosh
    AAHaasChia

    NurseSmith Larsson
    JonesMiko Bear
    Klef Skinner Benning
    Kris Rodr Green

    Nothing against the lines, but geez what a mess that defensive depth chart is. Reminds me of when LT used to list lines as C-L-R.

  21. bod says:

    For the benefit of those of us who want to speculate and spread rumors, is COVID-19 considered an upper or lower body injury?

  22. N64 says:

    bod:
    For the benefit of those of us who want to speculate and spread rumors, is COVID-19 considered an upper or lower body injury?

    Upper

  23. meanashell11 says:

    N64: Upper

    Except when the blood clot moves into the leg and needs to be amputated.

    Then it’s definitely lower.

  24. OriginalPouzar says:

    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.

    For the third pairing D, I think deployment of Green in his two games and general reduction of Benning’s minutes after he came back from the injuries is a tell. On the left side, I think he wants to play Jones but may end up giving in to Rusty’s “experience”.

    Unless there is seperation at camp between the goalies, I think we know he’ll favor “his guy” in Mike Smith.

    I think, subject to surprises at camp (including potential out of shape players), we see the following for game 1:

    Ennis/McDavid/Kass
    Nuge/Drai/Yamamoto
    AA/Sheahan/Archie
    Neal/Khaira/Chiasson

    Klefbom/Larsson
    Nurse/Bear
    Rusty/Green

    Smith

    ————-

    I could see Neal or AA getting a shot at 1LW (maybe to start, maybe at some point).
    I could see Jones getting in over Rusty (maybe to star, maybe at some point).

    Personally, the main changes I would make:

    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 would play Jones over Russell. I think Jones’ skill-set makes the team better and he was playing very good hockey going in to the break. He’s better on his left side.

  25. N64 says:

    meanashell11: Except when the blood clot moves into the leg and needs to be amputated.

    Then it’s definitely lower.

    2nd week though. Odd as it sounds Covid scratches really could be listed as upper body

  26. till_horcoff_is_coach says:

    Agree with the lineup, except one detail.

    AA starts on the 4th line and Neal on the 1st. Neal brings a competitive spirit and swagger I think Tippett would want to have alongside McDavid. He’s a gamer and while the play may be lacking, instilling that attitude matters to a team and coach.

    AA gets an extra shift or two on the top line every period, so in the end has the same ice-time as Neal, but it puts AA in a position to exceed expectations as opposed to have to be pulled off the top line.

    Fans will shriek when seeing the opening line-up and clog the phone lines after, but once the ice-time is counted and shift-charts are analyzed I think it’ll come out close to what you have.

    The approach to put struggling players in positions to grow confidence first feels very Holland-Tippett.

  27. OriginalPouzar says:

    LT mentions potentially seeing Klefbom with Bear.

    I believe that may be the top pairing of next year or the future and think they would be spectacular together.

    As far as this post-season, I think it would take quite a bit to break up Nurse/Bear given how much they played together all season long – they were kept together despite periods of struggle together and struggles on the other pairs.

  28. doritogrande says:

    I’m all for speculating on lines and pairings, but maybe we should also be placing bets on which NHLers opt out.

    I’ve got Smith (4 young kids).

  29. N64 says:

    doritogrande:
    I’m all for speculating on lines and pairings, but maybe we should also be placing bets on which NHLers opt out.

    I’ve got Smith (4 young kids).

    Even more to the point: which coaches given their age/health?

  30. JimmyV1965 says:

    doritogrande:
    I’m all for speculating on lines and pairings, but maybe we should also be placing bets on which NHLers opt out.

    I’ve got Smith (4 young kids).

    I’ll be stunned if Smith sits out. He’s ultra competitive and this may be the best shot he’s ever had at winning the Stanley Cup as a starter. I don’t think the Oil will win the Cup, but they are a legit dark horse. Smith was never the starter in Dallas when they were good and this team is better than any other team he’s played for. He’s had a long career playing for mediocre to meh teams.

  31. Reja says:

    bod:
    For the benefit of those of us who want to speculate and spread rumors, is COVID-19 considered an upper or lower body injury?

    Personal problems.

  32. Reja says:

    doritogrande:
    I’m all for speculating on lines and pairings, but maybe we should also be placing bets on which NHLers opt out.

    I’ve got Smith (4 young kids).

    No way Smith’s a gamer. I’ll take JP as the only Oiler that doesn’t want to play with the team.

  33. OriginalPouzar says:

    There will be 30 skaters at camp but at least 2 won’t make it to phase 4 (as they can only bring 31 and need 3 goalies). Who doesn’t make it?

    Ennis/McDavid/Kass
    Nuge/Drai/Yamamoto
    AA/Sheahan/Archie
    Neal/Khaira/Chiasson

    (Nygard, Haas, Benson, Granlund, McLeod, Marody, P. Russell)

    Klefbom/Larsson
    Nurse/Bear
    Rusty/Green

    (Jones, Benning, Lagesson, Bouchard, Broberg)

    Smith

    (Koskinen, Skinner, Rodrigue)

    ———————

    I think that Rodrigue, Broberg and McLeod do not accompany the team to phase 4 if everyone else is healthy.

  34. Material Elvis says:

    doritogrande:
    I’m all for speculating on lines and pairings, but maybe we should also be placing bets on which NHLers opt out.

    I’ve got Smith (4 young kids).

    No way. He’s hyper competitive. I would bet that hockey will have the least number of opt-outs of all major sports.

  35. N64 says:

    Reja: Personal problems.

    The most likely scenario is that they stop commenting on injuries at all.

  36. Jaxon says:

    LW / C / RW
    Nugent-Hopkins / Draisaitl / Yamamoto
    Athanasiou / McDavid / Kassian
    Ennis / Khaira / Neal
    Chiasson / Sheahan / Archibald
    —————————————————-
    Benson / Haas / Nygard

    LD / RD
    Nurse / Bear
    Klefbom / Larsson
    Jones / Benning
    ————————-
    Russell / Green / Bouchard

    1A Koskinen
    1B Smith

    If Benning and Green are both unable to go or hampered by injury, I think Russell gets moved to RD. I’d love to see Bouchard get a chance at 3RD, but I’m guessing they’d move Russell over.

    I like Ennis and Neal with Khaira. I think they’re pretty calm hands who can gel if given a chance. If Benson does get a chance I’d like to see him play on the opposite side of Neal. With his vision, he could give Neal a lot of opportunities.

    If Athanasiou finds some chemistry he could turn into quite the playoff story. Scoring 30 goals 2 seasons ago with not very good linemates on a terrible team is no easy feat. There is good reason to believe he can top that with McDavid.

    So excited to have hockey again soon. Well, maybe not too excited as I’m afraid of getting my hopes up as it could still all come tumbling down before the playoffs even start.

  37. LadiesloveSmid says:

    I’m not sure I agree that the NHL should go back to play until maybe 2021. Watching oiler highlights from January on, it’s hard not to be excited.

  38. leadfarmer says:

    Pronman saying Seattle should target JP in expansion draft. Which I would much rather let them have than trading for a 2nd round pick and losing someone like Jones instead

  39. OriginalPouzar says:

    dessert1111:
    I’d start by switching Ennis and Athanasiou, but I think this is pretty much bang on. Well, I’d be tempted to put Nygard on the Sheahan line, bump Athanasiou to the 4 line and sit Neal, but that’s not going to happen.

    I hope other commenters will find more to disagree with!

    Nygard played well with Sheahan and Archie but so did AA, granted it was only two games for AA.

    I would think that Nygard may be pencilled in at that spot (and likely Chiasson to the pressbox) but for Tippett’s verbal re: concern that Nygard may take a bit longer to get the rust off of his puck skills.

    I would think that Neal may be given a shot at 1LW but for Coach T’s verbal re: really liking that fourth line of Neal/Khaira/Chiasson – can’t argue with 3-0 goals in 3 games (well, 35 minutes of ice).

    More than anything, I think the left wing spot (but for Nuge’s) is fluid and the other three (Neal, AA, Ennis) can and will be moved up and down depending on how the team and the lines are performing – Nygard will likely draw in at some point as well I would think.

  40. OriginalPouzar says:

    Brantford Boy:
    I agree!

    Although these are “your” lines LT… I believe for game 1 we see Russell-Green…

    I believe we will see Russell/Green as well but coach T does like puck-moving and I can see Jones’ winning the day in camp – I hope he does.

    I feel comfortable with Jones/Benning as a pair as well but, alas, I think that is unlikely to start.

    With Green, if Holland does have thoughts of moving Benning and re-signing Green, we need to see what he can bring in a solid stint of games.

  41. Reja says:

    Where’s the Rafferty update from H.H this afternoon. I was looking forward to hearing what he had for lunch today, I bet it was the Special.

  42. Harpers Hair says:

    Reja:
    Where’s the Rafferty update from H.H this afternoon. I was looking forward to hearing what he had for lunch today, I bet it was the Special.

    https://giphy.com/gifs/ZKsZDIsbIpD3i/html5

  43. jeetz says:

    I agree with your line up not including the 4th line. I get that you have to have Khara there for the PK. he could actually out play Sheehan 5V5. But that 2 slow boots on his wing. Nygard was money when he was healthy. I would go with 1 of Neal/Chiasson plus Nygard. Its a long playoff with not much time between games so I bet those 2 vets will need extra rest. I would rotate the 2 with Nygard.

    Also I love the Jones/Green 3rd pairing. Green is a great mentor for Jones. That could also be a 2nd pairing in a pinch. awesome def depth!

  44. Here Kitty Kitty says:

    N64: The most likely scenario is that they stop commenting on injuries at all.

    I would be shocked if they stop reporting injuries, because of the fact there is legal gambling on the NHL.

  45. N64 says:

    Here Kitty Kitty: I would be shocked if they stop reporting injuries, because of the fact there is legal gambling on the NHL.

    And yet the RTP says they will not disclose Covid status and there is legalized betting.

    Most obvious way to keep back Covid info is to lump all absences together.

  46. Dac189 says:

    Well, I’m gonna try to switch it up a bit.

    Nuge-McDavid-Kassian
    Ennis-Drai-Yamamoto
    Athanasiou-Sheahan-Archibald
    Neal-Khaira-Chiasson

    I think they’ll want to split up the top 4 forwards to make two good lines rather than the best line in hockey and McDavid with 3rd liners.
    AA made noticable mistakes in his few games here and I could see that keeping him off the top 2 lines.
    I am excited to see him after a full season with the team but right now he’s a question mark.
    Not a big fan of Kassian at 1Rw but what can you do. Maybe switch him with Archibald but I like him on the 3rd line

  47. barry.moore23 says:

    Harpers Hair,

    Well played, sir. (I’m not very creative)

  48. pts2pndr says:

    doritogrande:
    I’m all for speculating on lines and pairings, but maybe we should also be placing bets on which NHLers opt out.

    I’ve got Smith (4 young kids).

    Smith would climb off his death bed to compete! He would however sacrifice for his family if asked.

  49. pts2pndr says:

    Dac189:
    Well, I’m gonna try to switch it up a bit.

    Nuge-McDavid-Kassian
    Ennis-Drai-Yamamoto
    Athanasiou-Sheahan-Archibald
    Neal-Khaira-Chiasson

    I think they’ll want to split up the top 4 forwards to make two good lines rather than the best line in hockey and McDavid with 3rd liners.
    AA made noticable mistakes in his few games here and I could see that keeping him off the top 2 lines.
    I am excited to see him after a full season with the team but right now he’s a question mark.
    Not a big fan of Kassian at 1Rw but what can you do. Maybe switch him with Archibald but I like him on the 3rd line

    There is no way in the world that Tippet will use the blender approach. He will adjust his lineup In game as required to increase his odds of winning.

  50. pts2pndr says:

    jeetz:
    I agree with your line up not including the 4th line. I get that you have to have Khara there for the PK. he could actually out play Sheehan 5V5. But that 2 slow boots on his wing. Nygard was money when he was healthy. I would go with 1 of Neal/Chiasson plus Nygard. Its a long playoff with not much time between games so I bet those 2 vets will need extra rest. I would rotate the 2 with Nygard.

    Also I love the Jones/Green 3rd pairing. Green is a great mentor for Jones. That could also be a 2nd pairing in a pinch. awesome def depth!

    Green and Jones are a great pair with the puck! Neither player is known for his defensive capabilities.

  51. OriginalPouzar says:

    Holland will be live on Instgram on PJStalktalk at 5:15.

    I will try and listen – no idea if he’ll just talk about Hall of Fame type stuff and stories or if there will be Oiler type talk.

  52. OriginalPouzar says:

    GordieHoweHatTrick:
    ORIGINALPOUZARsays:
    July 7, 2020 at 5:11 pm
    Holland will be live on Instgram on PJStalktalk at 5:15.

    I will try and listen – no idea if he’ll just talk about Hall of Fame type stuff and stories or if there will be Oiler type talk.

    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.

  53. Harpers Hair says:

    Canucks prospect Jack Rathbone says the Ivy League will announce tomorrow if there will be hockey played next season.

  54. OriginalPouzar says:

    dustrock:
    Will Tippett fall into the “play the veterans” trap?

    Neal on the top 2 lines?Chiasson?Ennis?

    LT,your lineup is great, my only wonder is if some of these old boys will get prime minutes because experience or something.

    Well, Ennis should be in the opening night lineup, end stop.

    So should one of Chiasson or Neal.

    I do think he starts both Chiasson and Neal because of the way the Neal/Khira/Chiasson line played in their 35 minutes together before the pause. Coach T. likes Khaira at center between those two and likes the heavy, aggressive, forecheck, play-off type hockey they play. They were 3-0 in goals.

    The “veteran trap” would be Rusty over Jones and Smith over Mikko.

  55. OriginalPouzar says:

    GordieHoweHatTrick:
    I suspect we may see Connor playing at yet another higher level than we have seen before…

    Rishaug says that he is in “beast mode” at the skates.

  56. OriginalPouzar says:

    meanashell11:
    Lines are lines, they last about a period if you are not winning.

    I am more concerned with what the Oil need to do to beat Chicago. We did not play well against them this season. We were maybe a bit unlucky but we need a plan unless our goalies are reincarnated Grant Fuhr versus the Flyers good…….

    The plan is to start the winning, right away……

    The Oilers are not the same team that they were in earlier parts of the year:

    – the Yamamoto call-up and split of McDavid/Drai changed the entire dynamic 5 on 5.
    – the deadline acquisitions provide much depth and balance to the forward group (and the defence)

    – also, Chicago “sold” at the deadline.

  57. maudite says:

    Reja:
    Where’s the Rafferty update from H.H this afternoon. I was looking forward to hearing what he had for lunch today, I bet it was the Special.

    NO TO BABAR RHAPSODY

    I’m just a player
    turned quarter century
    still in the minors
    bottom pair likely

  58. OriginalPouzar says:

    Elgin R:
    Do not replace Khaira with Hass unless due to injury.JJ was the best PK forward for the Oilers this year and it was not even close.JJ – 0.08 goals against per 2 with the next best forward (The Nuge) at 0.13 (data from Cult of Hockey – David Staples).

    The line-up looks fine on paper.Actual will depend on who worked hard on conditioning during the pause.I have not disagreed with any of Tippet’s skater decisions unlike with TM who put Lucic out in 3-on-3 overtime (shockingly the Oilers lost).

    I am hoping that speed is the deciding factor as that is what got the Oilers to where they are.The 4th line is not a burner but should be able to cycle in the offensive zone very well.Also, Chaisson and Neal are good shooters so some goals may even come at 5 x 5.

    I agree – there is all but zero chance that Khaira isn’t playing game 1 (injury or lack of conditioning, which I don’t expect).

    His PK excellence this year is also not a fluke – he’s got elite numbers on the PK over the course of years and has developed a chemistry with Nuge on PK2.

    Yup, the 4th line of Neal/Khaira/Chiasson were very good in their 35 minutes, 3-0 in goals, Tippet likes the line. I can see Tippett moving Neal up the lineup but I am hopeful that, if he does play both Neal and Chiasson, that is the line.

    If anything, sub out Chiasson and play Haas as 4RW….

  59. OriginalPouzar says:

    jtblack:
    as Veteran players come to the end of the road, they can usually produce at a good clip when Completely Healthy.Ryan Smyth started off strong his last 2 or 3 years. Then nagging injuries would quickly catch up and he would fall off a cliff.

    I see James Neal the same way.Came out house on fire and then battled injuries and fell off a cliff.

    Neal could be VERY effective for the 1st series or two.He will be completely healthy and ready to go. His hands are still money.

    I agree with the premise and I agree the toe injury really hurt Neal’s effectiveness but he never really started out hot at 5 on 5 – it was pretty much all PP.

    He had three 5 on 5 goals in October and one in November, I believe.

  60. OriginalPouzar says:

    doritogrande:
    I’m all for speculating on lines and pairings, but maybe we should also be placing bets on which NHLers opt out.

    I’ve got Smith (4 young kids).

    I predict zero Oilers opt out.

  61. OriginalPouzar says:

    JimmyV1965: I’ll be stunned if Smith sits out. He’s ultra competitive and this may be the best shot he’s ever had at winning the Stanley Cup as a starter.I don’t think the Oil will win the Cup, but they are a legit dark horse. Smith was never the starter in Dallas when they were good and this team is better than any other team he’s played for. He’s had a long career playing for mediocre to meh teams.

    Not to mention, $750K worth of potential playoff bonuses…..

  62. OriginalPouzar says:

    jeetz:
    I agree with your line up not including the 4th line. I get that you have to have Khara there for the PK. he could actually out play Sheehan 5V5. But that 2 slow boots on his wing. Nygard was money when he was healthy. I would go with 1 of Neal/Chiasson plus Nygard. Its a long playoff with not much time between games so I bet those 2 vets will need extra rest. I would rotate the 2 with Nygard.

    Also I love the Jones/Green 3rd pairing. Green is a great mentor for Jones. That could also be a 2nd pairing in a pinch. awesome def depth!

    As far as fatigue. I think playing ever second day (essentially) with zero travel will be less fatiguing than normal. The travel, as much as anything is a huge factor in fatigue.

    I don’t disagree with your premise above and the Neal/Khaira/Chiasson does seem to have “slow boots” on the wing but that line was very good in 35 minutes, Tippett has mentioned that line a number of times over the last few months. He has also mentioned trepidation about extra rust on Nygard and his puck skills as he hasn’t had any sort of real NHL practice since January.

  63. OriginalPouzar says:

    OriginalPouzar:
    Holland will be live on Instgram on PJStalktalk at 5:15.

    I will try and listen – no idea if he’ll just talk about Hall of Fame type stuff and stories or if there will be Oiler type talk.

    30 minutes in and very little of interest so far.

    Most relevant piece of info – Holland will be one of the 52 the org have in the bubble.

  64. OriginalPouzar says:

    Some “substantive” stuff finally from Holland – nothing earth shattering or that we haven’t heard before:

    – Good progress this year – lots to do with young players – Bear establishing himself as a top 4, then Yamamoto coming up allowing them to split up McDavid and Drai.

    – Adding Yamamoto has been huge.

    – Addition of AA and Ennis was to try and get “3 lines deep” – need to find ways to win games when your big stars are shut down.

    – We were 2nd in division, 5th in the west by percentage points – progress need to build a team that can consistently make the playoffs. In order to win a cup you need multiple opportunities – so multiple playoff opportunities.

    – Once you are in you need some luck and some health.

    – We are building a culture and a program to consistently make the playoffs.

    Health and goaltending are two big keys in the playoffs.

    Need good luck with health with your best players to win a cup.

    – For opting out – each player will make their own decision and the org will support them no questions asked. If someone decides they want to opt out, the decision would be respected.

  65. Reja says:

    OriginalPouzar: I agree with the premise and I agree the toe injury really hurt Neal’s effectiveness but he never really started out hot at 5 on 5 – it was pretty much all PP.

    He had three 5 on 5 goals in October and one in November, I believe.

    A healthy Neal playing on the edge is going to be a handful for the opposition Neal can be sneaky dirty when he wants. I can guarantee you Tkachuk won’t fuck with Neal ever again after taking a nasty hit to the noggin in a game this year. I can’t remember what game but I had a good laugh and thought wait till the playoffs you need Veterans if your going to make a deep run.

  66. leadfarmer says:

    Prediction of
    Klef Larsson
    Nurse Bear
    Russell Green

    Koskinen

    Something about veteran presence makes coaches do stupid things

  67. OriginalPouzar says:

    Dac189:
    Well, I’m gonna try to switch it up a bit.

    Nuge-McDavid-Kassian
    Ennis-Drai-Yamamoto
    Athanasiou-Sheahan-Archibald
    Neal-Khaira-Chiasson

    I think they’ll want to split up the top 4 forwards to make two good lines rather than the best line in hockey and McDavid with 3rd liners.
    AA made noticable mistakes in his few games here and I could see that keeping him off the top 2 lines.
    I am excited to see him after a full season with the team but right now he’s a question mark.
    Not a big fan of Kassian at 1Rw but what can you do. Maybe switch him with Archibald but I like him on the 3rd line

    Given Nuge played with McDavid in the last game of the season, sure, there is a chance Coach T. goes that route but I would be shocked if he’s not with Kailer and Drai to start.

    I agree that Kassian at 1RW is not ideal and I would love him as the longer term 3RW – bringing size, speed, skill and aggression to that third line. With that said, he did produce at over 2.2 P/60 at evens this year – of course he was zoomed but he played the part. When he’s playing well, he can be a contributor to the line and not just riding coattails – his issue is massive inconsistency but I anticipate he starts game 1 guns blazing.

    Archie is solid to fill in for a game or two at 1RW but, if coach is looking at sustainable lines, its got to be Kass over Archie – in my opinion.

  68. OriginalPouzar says:

    Reja: A healthy Neal playing on the edge is going to be a handful for the oppositionNeal can be sneaky dirty when he wants.I can guarantee you Tkachuk won’t fuck with Neal ever againafter taking a nasty hit to the noggin in a game this year. I can’t remember what game but I had a good laugh and thought wait till the playoffs you needVeterans if your going to make a deep run.

    Agreed – Neal can be a dirty prick in the offensive zone – he can do so playing with Khaira and Chiasson (or Haas) of course.

  69. deardylan says:

    SO POLAR wrote…

    Nothing against the lines, but geez what a mess that defensive depth chart is. Reminds me of when LT used to list lines as C-L-R.

    SO POLAR. Yeah totally agree with the mess.

    For a laugh, I was trying out new lines based only on LT numbers thus Klefbom 48.5 on bottom 3 LD as Caleb 50.0 and Nurse 48.6 move up.

    Matt Benning 52.2 should have moved up higher (he should be 1st line RD based on numbers) on the above Bear 48.9 and Larsson 48.2. Benning on first line…would drive some posters bonkers!!! Haha

    Nuge 29 Yama
    Tyler 97 Kass
    Neal Riley Josh
    AA Haas Chia

    Nurse Smith Benning
    Jones Miko Bear
    Klef Skinner Larsson
    Kris Rodr Green

  70. Lowetide says:

    so polar: Reminds me of when LT used to list lines as C-L-R.

    THE GOLDEN ERA OF THE BLOG! I changed for the good of the people but rest assured C-L-R remains one of my favourite children!

  71. Harpers Hair says:

    maudite: NO TO BABAR RHAPSODY

    I’m just a player
    turned quarter century
    still in the minors
    bottom pair likely

    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?

  72. jp says:

    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?

    It’s got a nice ring. Very objective, and Balanced.

    Any official word yet on whether Brogan made the Canucks playin roster?

  73. leadfarmer says:

    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?

    You’d think a guy with such great predictions like Joe Colborne would have learned by now

  74. unca miltie says:

    Lowetide: THE GOLDEN ERA OF THE BLOG! I changed for the good of the people but rest assured C-L-R remains one of my favourite children!

    C-L-R is what I grew up with as well. lines always called out by the centre’s name.

  75. OriginalPouzar says:

    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.

  76. OriginalPouzar says:

    jp: It’s got a nice ring. Very objective, and Balanced.

    Any official word yet on whether Brogan made the Canucks playin roster?

    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…..

  77. jp says:

    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.

  78. Harpers Hair says:

    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.

  79. Harpers Hair says:

    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.

  80. GordieHoweHatTrick says:

    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

  81. OriginalPouzar says:

    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.

  82. OriginalPouzar says:

    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.

  83. Munny says:

    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.

  84. Munny says:

    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.

  85. OriginalPouzar says:

    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).

  86. OriginalPouzar says:

    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.

  87. OriginalPouzar says:

    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

  88. Harpers Hair says:

    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.

  89. OriginalPouzar says:

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

  90. Reja says:

    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.

  91. Munny says:

    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?

  92. frjohnk says:

    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.

  93. Reja says:

    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.

  94. Munny says:

    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.

  95. OriginalPouzar says:

    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….

  96. OriginalPouzar says:

    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.

  97. OriginalPouzar says:

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

  98. OriginalPouzar says:

    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?

  99. OriginalPouzar says:

    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.

  100. OriginalPouzar says:

    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.

  101. Material Elvis says:

    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”.

  102. jp says:

    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.

  103. BornInAGretzkyJersey says:

    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

  104. Reja says:

    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.

  105. Material Elvis says:

    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.

  106. Material Elvis says:

    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.

  107. Material Elvis says:

    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.

  108. JimmyV1965 says:

    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.

  109. Lowetide says:

    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/

  110. hunter1909 says:

    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

  111. hunter1909 says:

    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?

  112. hunter1909 says:

    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.

  113. Todd Macallan says:

    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.

  114. ArmchairGM says:

    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.

  115. BornInAGretzkyJersey says:

    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.

  116. jp says:

    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.

  117. ArmchairGM says:

    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.

  118. Harpers Hair says:

    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.

  119. OriginalPouzar says:

    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.

  120. OriginalPouzar says:

    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.

  121. PennersPancakes says:

    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.

  122. PennersPancakes says:

    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…

  123. Harpers Hair says:

    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.

  124. jp says:

    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.

  125. Harpers Hair says:

    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.

  126. jp says:

    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.

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