Get Ready

by Lowetide

In the early fall of 2015, Todd McLellan was trying to figure out a way to use his three centers (Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl) in the most effective way. His reasoning and his decision, is fascinating these years later.

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.

BACK IN 2015

Todd McLellan“I look at Leon Draisiatl, and in my opinion Nugent-Hopkins and Connor McDavid are going to be #1 and #2 centremen in our organization for a long, long time, they’re that talented and that good. Not that Leon isn’t, but career-wise, he might love to be on one of their wings and playing in the top six rather than maybe being that third-line centre. I think it’s really unfair to peg him there, but we have to look at it from that perspective. [The defensive] responsibilities as a winger are somewhat less, his board work is quite good, and one of the things that impressed me the most about Leon is his ability to play on his backhand. Joe Thornton has incredible eyes and makes incredible passes on his backhand. For a young man like Leon, he did the exact same thing at our summer development camp, which is something I wasn’t aware of.” Source

McLellan ran some interesting lines and pairings in preseason 2015, including a fantastic trio (Hall—McDavid—Draisaitl) in the first pre-season game against the Calgary Flames. McLellan would move Teddy Purcell to the line with Hall-McDavid (trio would go 7-0 Corsi and 2-0 shots) while Leon landed with Anton Lander and Nail Yakupov (11-0 Corsi and 4-0 shots).

Dave Tippett’s first preseason game in 2019-20 saw him place McDavid with Leon and Kassian a trio that has played a lot together since.

Speed!

Yakimov is one of a pile of draft picks by Edmonton during the past decade who had foot speed as a concern. At last year’s draft, Philip Broberg’s scouting report suggested he was the best skating defenseman available. Edmonton took him. Here are the fast trains in this year’s draft:

  • LC Tim Stutzle, DEL. Dynamic player, highlight reel offense. Tremendous skater.
  • LC Connor Zary, WHL. Quick, smart two-way center effective across 200 feet. 
  • RC Seth Jarvis, WHL.  Jarvis is a fantastic player, undersized and skilled. Big second half.
  • LD Jake Sanderson, USHL. Smart, fast two-way defenseman has complete skill set.
  • RC Jacob Perreault, OHL. Skates well, great shot, great numbers, excellent passer.
  • LD Kaiden Guhle, WHL. Big defenseman has good foot speed and full skill set.
  • LW Brendan Brisson, USHL. Undersized speedster spiked late. Big riser.
  • RW Alexander Pashin, MHL. Small winger with impressive skill can score and pass.
  • LW John-Jason Peterka, DEL. A speedy winger with skill, survived in a men’s league.
  • RC Jean-Luc Foudy, OHL. Speedy center plus skill, mediocre season.

I don’t believe Holland and Wright will draft a defenseman but if Sanderson or Guhle are there it could get interesting. I think Holland will trade in to the second round for someone like Foudy.

LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE

At 10 this morning it’s a big day, TSN1260. The Seattle NHL team will be announcing its name. I’m going with Murder Sockeyes! We’ll talk to Geoff Baker from the Seattle Times about an exciting day in franchise history. Joe Osborne from OddsShark will set us up for opening day in major league baseball and we are searching for a Jays guest too. 10-1260 text @Lowetide on twitter. See you on the radio!

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Brantford Boy

You baited me right into the last paragraph LT… was thinking could you imagine if Holland took Sanderson or Guhle… should be some interesting comments today… bring out your dead…
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QcbR1J_4ICg

John Chambers

I think the Centres 3 model should be considered for next season.

Not long ago the Oilers has a shortage of quality wingers, but that is no longer so.

If Puljujarvi gets welcomed back, he, Yamamoto, and Kassian are the top-9’s right side, while Athanasiou, Neal, and let’s say Benson or Ennis can flank the left.

Kinger_Oil.redux

– A few years ago I was all about Hall and Drai as C’s on different lines. There was so much resistance

– I’m glad to see that thesis play out and work

– I’ve also been belief that they play all 3 Cs on different lines, and if need be have an all-star line at some point, and PP time, and 3×3 OT

– Having your three best players as Cs on 3 lines gives the team the best chance to be deadly

– It also makes it harder match-up for other teams. Sure individually in thoery maybe each of the them scores a little less (less ice time, and they aren’t playing with each other, the best players)

– But this less scoring individually (I don’t buy it), is compenstated and then some collectivey by a more potent 3 lines, plus less wear and tear long-term on them who play crazy minutes

– This gives 6 wingers a chance to play with skill. Wingers are better if their C is better. Right now there are only 3 wingers who get to play with skill.

– The same resistance to the 3C’s as seperating Drai and McD IMO. We will only know if it they try putting all 3 of them on lines when they are all healthy.

– Plus we arent’ then giving up assets for a player who is way worse than RNH as the 3C

– 3Cs of this calibre would be deadly: no one else in league has this

Kinger_Oil.redux

– Here are the candidates for those 6 wingers to play with the big 3 in the future:

1) Kailer
2) Chiasson
3) Kassian
4) AA
5) Ennis
6) Nygard
7) Neal
8) Pool (if he came back)
9) Off-season RFA
10) Off-season trade
11) One of the AHL’ers

– All of 1-11 would have track records of scoring well when paired with good C’s for 6 spots. Do it

Kinger_Oil.redux

John Chambers:
I think the Centres 3 model should be considered for next season.

– Ha! just saw this posted after I put mine up. If I recall you were also a Drai and CmD on different lines advocate as well

– Most of the analysis about why certain wingers don’t work has no data for them playing consistently with skilled Cs on 3 lines

– It’s obvious IMO. IT would be also innovative, and the way hockey is going: more scoring hopefully

OriginalPouzar

Solid write-up from Nugent-Bowman re: last night’s scrimmage:

https://theathletic.com/1946950/2020/07/23/notes-from-oilers-scrimmage-mcdavid-flies-jones-adapts-athanasiou-stalls/

Hi Level Notes:

– McDavid was the best player on the ice – was flying

– McDavid set up both of Nuge’s goals

– Broberg/Jones were a pair and switched playing left and right – notable that Jones wasn’t on the same team as Russell/Benning – its clear that will be the 3rd pairing

– AA was full credit for his snipe but, other than that, he didn’t do much.

– Smith did give up all 7 goals but had very little help. Advantage Mikko.

OriginalPouzar

LT – great job on the Handkerchief Podcast – great listen this morning.

ArmchairGM

Brantford Boy:
You baited me right into the last paragraph LT… was thinking could you imagine if Holland took Sanderson or Guhle… should be some interesting comments today… bring out your dead…
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QcbR1J_4ICg

If he takes Sanderson or Guhle, we’ll have to trade both Nurse AND Klefbom.

Too soon?

Brantford Boy

ArmchairGM,

As long as those two fetch us a quality 3C 🙂

ArmchairGM

OriginalPouzar:
Solid write-up from Nugent-Bowman re: last night’s scrimmage:

https://theathletic.com/1946950/2020/07/23/notes-from-oilers-scrimmage-mcdavid-flies-jones-adapts-athanasiou-stalls/

Hi Level Notes:

– McDavid was the best player on the ice – was flying

– McDavid set up both of Nuge’s goals

– Broberg/Jones were a pair and switched playing left and right – notable that Jones wasn’t on the same team as Russell/Benning – its clear that will be the 3rd pairing

– AA was full credit for his snipe but, other than that, he didn’t do much.

– Smith did give up all 7 goals but had very little help. Advantage Mikko.

– Bouchard is faster than Athanasiou

dustrock

I think the argument about putting Nuge as 3C is an interesting one, I agree the wingers should be better overall.

HOWEVER: Chemistry is a thing.

Darth Tu

OriginalPouzar:
Solid write-up from Nugent-Bowman re: last night’s scrimmage:

https://theathletic.com/1946950/2020/07/23/notes-from-oilers-scrimmage-mcdavid-flies-jones-adapts-athanasiou-stalls/

Hi Level Notes:

– McDavid was the best player on the ice – was flying

– McDavid set up both of Nuge’s goals

– Broberg/Jones were a pair and switched playing left and right – notable that Jones wasn’t on the same team as Russell/Benning – its clear that will be the 3rd pairing

– AA was full credit for his snipe but, other than that, he didn’t do much.

– Smith did give up all 7 goals but had very little help. Advantage Mikko.

Am I reading this incorrectly or are you saying that Jones/Broberg are the third pair?

dustrock

AA will be in Europe in 2 years. Doesn’t have the drive.

N64

If the name was available Seattle really missed if they don’t go Kraken. With apologies to our resident giant squid overlord I for one would welcome our new giant squid overlords

dustrock

Darth Tu,

I think he meant Tippett is set on Russell-Benning because they’ve been together from the beginning.

godot10

OriginalPouzar:

– Broberg/Jones were a pair and switched playing left and right – notable that Jones wasn’t on the same team as Russell/Benning – its clear that will be the 3rd pairing

Because Broberg/Jones might be the 3rd pairing, maybe not the first game, but sooner than you might think. But Russell and Benning are on notice.

dustrock

Regarding fans in the stands, I believe France has been letting limited numbers (5,000 I think) of fans in to watch soccer games.

I wonder if they’d do a lottery for season ticket holders and get 5,000 fans in Rogers safely.

I suspect they could do a lottery for the non-Oilers games as well, and still you’d get people interested.

Elgin R

If AA makes it as a very good 3rd-line player, the 2 x 2nd round picks are still value. Looking at lower second round picks (approximately #50 – #62) from 2012 – 2018 drafts shows only 5 players selected that play in the top 6 for their clubs (Greenway, Dvorak, Bertuzzi, Tierney and Sandford). None of these players have scored as many goals as AA. I would think that Holland was hoping for 2nd line deployment, but there is time we wait.

The Oilers will most probably draft in the 20 – 31 range. Would like to see Zary taken if available.

Draft speed, speed, speed. If a player cannot keep up, the impact of other skills is lessened.

Darth Tu

dustrock,

Got it. The two lefties as third pair surprised me.

LadiesloveSmid

I’m just hoping AA gels with an oiler centre.

He scored like a borderline 1st liner at 5v5 every season but 19/20. Draws a ton of penalties. Doesn’t appear to be an abhorrent possession drag.

€√¥£€^$

Hi LT,

Dylan Holloway is also a fast train.

N64

dustrock:
Regarding fans in the stands, I believe France has been letting limited numbers (5,000 I think) of fans in to watch soccer games.

I wonder if they’d do a lottery for season ticket holders and get 5,000 fans in Rogers safely.

I suspect they could do a lottery for the non-Oilers games as well, and still you’d get people interested.

6000 in an outdoor soccer stadiim

€√¥£€^$

LadiesloveSmid:
I’m just hoping AA gels with an oiler centre.

He scored like a borderline 1st liner at 5v5 every season but 19/20. Draws a ton of penalties. Doesn’t appear to be an abhorrent possession drag.

I have envisioned an AA – JP pairing since the acquisition, the C would have to be a very good 2-Way guy.

How does this 3rd line look:

Athanasiou – Brandon Sutter – Jesse

ArmchairGM

Elgin R: If AA makes it as a very good 3rd-line player, the 2 x 2nd round picks are still value. Looking at lower second round picks (approximately #50 – #62) from 2012 – 2018 drafts shows only 5 players selected that play in the top 6 for their clubs (Greenway, Dvorak, Bertuzzi, Tierney and Sandford). None of these players have scored as many goals as AA. I would think that Holland was hoping for 2nd line deployment, but there is time we wait.

Athanasiou has serious wrinkles in his game, but I think if anyone can iron them out its Tippett. I don’t think we can judge properly until he’s had 30+ games to work with him.

Elgin R: The Oilers will most probably draft in the 20 – 31 range. Would like to see Zary taken if available.

Draft speed, speed, speed. If a player cannot keep up, the impact of other skills is lessened.

These two paragraphs don’t make sense to me – Zary isn’t a good skater. Here’s Pronman:

“The major knock on Zary is his skating. Some scouts think it’ll be pro average, some think below-average. I lean to the former camp. It’s not great, and the stride breaks down at times, but I think the stride is good enough that he’ll be able to skate at the NHL pace.”

https://theathletic.com/1769140/2020/06/16/pronmans-2020-nhl-draft-board-top-122-prospects/

Jarvis, Amirov, Holloway, Reichel, Khusnutdinov and Wiesblatt are all top-shelf skaters that could be available in the 20-31 range.

Harpers Hair

It’s Kraken…best logo in hockey.

Harpers Hair

Brennan Klak (@nhlupdate) Tweeted:
The new jerseys for the Seattle Kraken:

#NHLSeattle https://t.co/K5KcXkcBzX

Harpers Hair

The video reveal.

Seattle Kraken (@NHLSeattle_) Tweeted:
A legend from the deep awakens.

Meet the Seattle Kraken → https://t.co/to5BtVVPh1 https://t.co/FQfOdaiGQQ

Darth Tu

Harpers Hair:
It’s Kraken…best logo in hockey.

Aye. I’m in. My name starts with S. I love nautical crap (also a Mariners fan).

This can be my Vegas*, or whatever the rest of you lads/ladettes do with your second team.

*until there’s some sort of horrible hate filled series in the playoffs and I hate the Kraken.

Chelios is a Dinosaur

Harpers Hair,

Good god man

OriginalPouzar

Darth Tu: Am I reading this incorrectly or are you saying that Jones/Broberg are the third pair?

I’m saying that they were paired together last night and Jones was on a team with Benning to take any reps. Its a fairly clear signal that the 3rd pairing on opening night will be Russell/Benning.

OriginalPouzar

ArmchairGM: – Bouchard is faster than Athanasiou

Yup, seems DNB was none too pleased with AA’s overall play given he singled out that play.

OriginalPouzar

godot10: Because Broberg/Jones might be the 3rd pairing, maybe not the first game, but sooner than you might think. But Russell and Benning are on notice.

At this point, I think Tippett/Playfair have Russell materially ahead of Jones and he’ll get rope. That could change with a tough game but, right now, Tippett hasn’t even given Jones a shot on the pairing.

Hype aside, I still believe Broberg is 10D right now and only playing if injuries really pile up – in particular on his off-side – yes, I know he’s been playing the right side quite a bit but I can’t imagine him playing 3RD over any of Benning, Bouchard, Russell, Jones at this point.

OriginalPouzar

John Chambers:
I think the Centres 3 model should be considered for next season.

Not long ago the Oilers has a shortage of quality wingers, but that is no longer so.

If Puljujarvi gets welcomed back, he, Yamamoto, and Kassian are the top-9’s right side, while Athanasiou, Neal, and let’s say Benson or Ennis can flank the left.

The Oilers are struggling at this very moment to find a 2LW that works and that’s with Nuge as 1LW.

If Nuge is placed back at 3C then the team is short 2 top six wingers (maybe even 3 depending on one’s thoughts on Kassian).

AA, Ennis, etc. are nice plug and play players but, for now, neither has solidified a top 6 LW spot. AA should get there but has struggled to do so to this point as an Oiler.

Also, Nuge is finding comfort at LW, do we really want to flip him back again in his contract year. I mean, I think the player wants to re-sign in Edmonton as is willing but some semblance of consistency would be nice for him.

Durag

Wow, back-to-back expansion teams with cool jerseys? This isn’t the NHL I grew up with.

When I was a kid we walked uphill to school both ways and our expansion team jerseys were teal monstrosities with cartoon ducks

GordieHoweHatTrick

€√¥£€^$: I have envisioned an AA – JP pairing since the acquisition, the C would have to be a very good 2-Way guy.

How does this 3rd line look:

Athanasiou – Brandon Sutter – Jesse

In keeping with today’s theme:
AA-RNH-JP
?

OriginalPouzar

Kinger_Oil.redux:
– Here are the candidates for those 6 wingers to play with the big 3 in the future:

1) Kailer
2) Chiasson
3) Kassian
4) AA
5) Ennis
6) Nygard
7) Neal
8) Pool (if he came back)
9) Off-season RFA
10) Off-season trade
11) One of the AHL’ers

– All of 1-11 would have track records of scoring well when paired with good C’s for 6 spots.Do it

The problem is that winger list:

1) Kailer – legit top 6 winger, check mark
2) Chiasson – 4th line scoring rates at 5 on 5 – even with plenty of McDavid/Drai time
3) Kassian – an OK top 6 fill-in but likely better suited to the middle 6 or 3rd line
4) AA – here is hoping but, to this point, he’s struggled to fit in in the Oilers top 6
5) Ennis – not on the team next year and a marginal fill-in
6) Nygard – barely proven as an NHL player – has had some success with McDavid in a small sample
7) Neal – 4th line scoring rates at 5 on 5 – even with plenty of McDavid/Drai time
8) Pool (if he came back) – a solid 3rd line and maybe top 6 guy but not reasonable to think he’ll play for the Oilers
9) Off-season RFA – with what money?
10) Off-season trade – with what money (unless cap is going out)
11) One of the AHL’ers – I could see Benson fitting in with skill

Harpers Hair

In other news….

The Babylon Bee (@TheBabylonBee) Tweeted:
Cracker Jack Changes Name To More Politically Correct Caucasian Jack https://t.co/3bXrh42YNa

Harpers Hair
OriginalPouzar

I believe DeHann and Murphy have both re-joined the Hawks.

No Crawford, yet again:

Scott Powers
@ByScottPowers
·
1h
Delia and Lankinen are currently practicing with the main group. Subban and Tomkins are with the second group on the other ice sheet.

defmn

Harpers Hair:
In other news….

The Babylon Bee (@TheBabylonBee) Tweeted:
Cracker Jack Changes Name To More Politically Correct Caucasian Jack https://t.co/3bXrh42YNa

In my experience humour is lost on the mirthless.

Kinger_Oil.redux

OriginalPouzar: The problem is that winger list:

1) Kailer – legit top 6 winger, check mark
2) Chiasson – 4th line scoring rates at 5 on 5 – even with plenty of McDavid/Drai time
3) Kassian – an OK top 6 fill-in but likely better suited to the middle 6 or 3rd line
4) AA – here is hoping but, to this point, he’s struggled to fit in in the Oilers top 6
5) Ennis – not on the team next year and a marginal fill-in
6) Nygard – barely proven as an NHL player – has had some success with McDavid in a small sample
7) Neal – 4th line scoring rates at 5 on 5 – even with plenty of McDavid/Drai time
8) Pool (if he came back) – a solid 3rd line and maybe top 6 guy but not reasonable to think he’ll play for the Oilers
9) Off-season RFA – with what money?
10) Off-season trade – with what money (unless cap is going out)
11) One of the AHL’ers – I could see Benson fitting in with skill

– The fallacy with this type of analysis, is taking old data, and projecting it onto new set of circumstances.

– Just as last year, based on the analysis, and flawed use of numbers, and expert opinion of many, Koski was deemed one of the worst goalies in the NHL going forward. But with a new set of circumstances, and clues from his past, he excelled

– I think there are enough clues, to find ways for the list above to work on a 3C set-up

– Trades are going to happen, players will be moved. While there isn’t money based on the past situation snapshot, things will change and there will be changes and UFA and trades to bring in more wingers. Dismissing RFAs and trades based on a current view of roster isn’t forward thinking

– Anyway it’s just a thoery I have about the 3 Cs. I’d love to see it happen. Takes some courage though, and 20 games injury free to allow the linemates to gel….

– The dynamics of three lines though, and who the opposition puts out vs them: that’s the opportunity

Unfriendly Regional Arachnid Individual

Elgin R:
Draft speed, speed, speed.If a player cannot keep up, the impact of other skills is lessened.

Disagree on the hard-focus on speed. Hockey IQ, some standout offensive skill and a hardened approach to the game are all either higher or just as high on my list of traits to look for in my assessment.

#1 Brains/Hockey IQ (position, play-reading/making, read & react, etc)
#2 Standout offensive skill (shot, hands, passing, net front, net drive)
#t3 Attitude that manifests in play style (do they attack the hard areas naturally)
#t3 Strong skating in at least 2 dimensions (top speed, acceleration, agility, balance, etc)

Kinger_Oil.redux

– Its funny that Smith let in 7 goals, yet he couldn’t be blamed on any of them so goes the narrative.

– Imagine if Koski did that: there would be blood on the streets, and his chance of getting a game in the playoffs would be minimal.

– As it is, the consensus is Smith is the starter for playoffs, and he can’t be faulted for those 7 goals. Smith will also get more leeway in playoffs, and be allowed more rope. ONe bad game from Koski, he’s done this playoffs if he gets a chance

Dee Dee

Pulled out Microsoft Paint and mirrored the Kraken’s logo:

comment image?dl=0

PokeCheck

Kinger_Oil.redux:
– Its funny that Smith let in 7 goals, yet he couldn’t be blamed on any of them so goes the narrative.

That narrative’s wrong. Bear’s goal and Neal’s (I think) one-handed backhand shovel towards the net were both bad goals. But don’t take my word for it, highlights from the scrimmage are available below:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hOENoP3dwPg

leadfarmer

Congrats to Seattle
Great city
Great sports city

It’s good to see the NHL knock it out of the park with back to back good expansion choices

defmn

Dee Dee:
Pulled out Microsoft Paint and mirrored the Kraken’s logo:

comment image?dl=0

I like that better than the original.

dustrock

Durag:
Wow, back-to-back expansion teams with cool jerseys? This isn’t the NHL I grew up with.

When I was a kid we walked uphill to school both ways and our expansion team jerseys were teal monstrosities with cartoon ducks

You take that back about the San Jose Sharks. Been one of my NHL favourites since Day 1.

Oiler_Kiwi97

Sorry but imo that logo for Seattle is pretty darn boring compared to what it could have been.

OriginalPouzar

dustrock:
I think the argument about putting Nuge as 3C is an interesting one, I agree the wingers should be better overall.

HOWEVER: Chemistry is a thing.

Haven’t we.seen the Nuge isn’t a “driver” with lesser talented wingers….. with the Nygard’s and Chiasson’s of the world?