Frozen Days, He Thinks of You

by Lowetide

Dmitri Samorukov begins an important season in his career today in faraway Moscow, at the CSKA Ice Palace. He is one of nine defensemen listed on the roster, one of three offseason arrivals. Samorukov is an important piece of the Oilers future and his range of skills will be needed when he arrives in Edmonton.

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.

SAMORUKOV

I remain convinced this player has an NHL future, in spite of being slow played in Bakersfield as a rookie pro. He has a massive wingspan, mobility, strength, a mean streak, and enough offensive ability to be considered a two-way defender (he has all the shutdown skills, so there’s a temptation to label him in that way).

KIRILL MAKSIMOV

Also on the CSKA Moscow roster (one of 15 forwards) is Maksimov. He is facing a real challenge, this is a solid team. Last year’s top returnees are Anton Slepyshev (54, 18-27-45), Konstantin Okulov (56, 17-21-38) and Maxim Mamin (51, 10-18-28). There will be opportunities and I believe Maksimov has the talent to break out, but there are other options.

Adam Larsson is No. 15 on the list, he’ll bring value if dealt and using the GM hand guide this is the offseason to deal him. I think Oscar Klefbom, Kris Russell, Matt Benning and Alex Chiasson may also be vulnerable. If Klefbom is leaving it would be substantial return.

On the list and attractive as an option for Edmonton: Patrik Laine, Kyle Palmieri, Max Domi, Nikolaj Ehlers, Alex Killorn, Jared McCann, Andreas Johnsson, Frederik Andersen and Dougie Hamilton.

KAIDEN GUHLE

I have been married for 37 years. In that time I have come to know my partner better than anyone else on earth could possibly know her. And vice versa. After a time, you begin to recognize things in early stages and so I’ll know (as a for instance) by 4 this afternoon if we’re drinking wine tonight and she knows I’ll be rambling about turkey approximately two weeks before any long weekend.

If you pay attention, trends emerge. Do you remember last spring, when no one was mentioning Philip Broberg? Then Ken Holland was hired? And that was followed by everyone mentioning Philip Broberg? And then Broberg got drafted? Do you remember that?

In recent hours, the name Kaiden Guhle has come to the fore. I had him No. 26 before my final list but moved him to No. 20 at the end. Why? He has a nice range of skills (I value that), delivered offense similar to Darnell Nurse in his draft year (that’s good) and posted an even strength goal differential of 72-52 (58.1 percent goal differential). He would be playing tough minutes on a good team, his off ice GF-GA at even strength (87-60, 59.1 percent) is about even with on-ice results. That’s at age 17.

Nurse at the same age had an even strength goal differential of 77-70 (52.3 percent) with an off ice number that showed some separation (99-101, 49.5 percent). Nurse had better arrows defensively.

I don’t have Guhle No. 14 overall, and I think that would be a reach. Edmonton most certainly should take a skill forward there, I have several (Seth Jarvis, Jacob Perreault, Noel Gunler, Jan Mysak) on my list in that range who should be available. I do think Guhle could go in that range and no one would be surprised. Oilers fans? I can hear the outrage already. A reminder: Teams can draft a defenseman and trade/sign a forward. It’s possible.

LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE

TSN1260, at 10 this morning, it’s going to be a helluva show. Bruce McCurdy from the Cult of Hockey at the Edmonton Journal will join us at 10, we’ll talk about the young puck-moving blue driving all four Western survivors, namely Theodore, Hughes, Makar, Heiskanen, and how important that aspect is to the current NHL. Joe Osborne from OddsShark will drop in at 11 to make sense of the NHL playoffs, the NBA playoffs and what the trade deadline tells us about the Jays. 10-1260 text, @Lowetide on twitter. Talk soon!

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OriginalPouzar

Konovalov stops 29 of 31 in a 7-2 win.

Good start to the year!

OriginalPouzar

Konovalov is playing and has let in one goal on 24 shots so far – 3rd period and they are up 6-1.

Good start to the season so far.

Jaxon

BONE207: Personally, I would go with Lafrenierre as my first choice until he’s not there at which time I would pare down my list…

I like him but he’s more of a passer and the Oilers need some more goal scorers. Plus, there is some major risk with his injury history. He’s a bit like Benson that way. I think one of MTL at 16 (Q connection), NJD at 20 (2nd pick in 1st round), OTT at 22 (Q connection and 3rd pick in 1st round), or NYR at 24 (play with fellow Q Lafrieniere and 2nd pick in 1st round) takes him. I don’t think the Oilers should even consider him. Too risky and he hasn’t really proved himself as a top prospect.

Kinger_Oil.redux

Lowetide: He is a defenseman.

– LOL! I was thinking of the Russian winger who had a poor first year: Maxi!

– But yeah later round D don’t really make it either. Unless they do like Jones (who played his first NHL game 3 years ago) or Bear who was consensus behind Jones

– Anyway I cheer for Dimitri (he has more chance as a D to make it than as a winger to be sure!). But it’s not likely and not anytime soon.

Unfriendly Regional Arachnid Individual

Harpers Hair:
Nathan MacKinnon is the best player in the National Hockey League.

Worth remembering that he’s 2 years older than McDavid and has a much better supporting cast. That said, I think it’s at least closer than many might want to admit. Mackinnon is full beast-mode right now. Give McDavid a supporting cast that includes elite puckmovers, secondary scoring, and a bottom-6 that can be counted on and I’m confident McDavid will come out on top- and that’s without including the two extra years of prime growth.

maudite

jp: It will be really interesting to see how it all plays out.

I kinda wonder whether the expectations on teams spending less and the available bargains are overblown. Of course I have no actual idea (and I suppose no one knows for certain at this point).

For sure this would be a nice off season to have some cap to spend (no question there will be more deals, just how many and how good). But it could be a lot worse too, at least Katz is willing to spend to the cap and the team doesn’t have an internal budget.

And hell, we have the 2nd and 3rd best players in the league.

1. N. Mackinnon
2. Rayban Braggerty
3. Maybe another canuck or whatever best player is left at conference finals time
4. Someone else not an oiler

Maybe 5&6th best players obviously….

jp

Ryan: Yeah, it will make for an interesting free agency period.

The bargain aisle could be replete with talent.

It will be interesting to see who blinks first.

I’m guessing there could be some high-end talent on one-year value deals

It’s a great time for teams with cap space and deep pockets.

It will be really interesting to see how it all plays out.

I kinda wonder whether the expectations on teams spending less and the available bargains are overblown. Of course I have no actual idea (and I suppose no one knows for certain at this point).

For sure this would be a nice off season to have some cap to spend (no question there will be more deals, just how many and how good). But it could be a lot worse too, at least Katz is willing to spend to the cap and the team doesn’t have an internal budget.

And hell, we have the 2nd and 3rd best players in the league.

BornInAGretzkyJersey

Munny,

I’ve heard that since the Duchene trade build up.

Material Elvis

Harpers Hair:
Nathan MacKinnon is the best player in the National Hockey League.

Well if that isn’t definitive evidence, I don’t know what is. McDavid will just have to take his scoring titles, MVP trophy, multiple Lindsays and find another line of work.

Harpers Hair

leadfarmer: You spelled 2nd best wrong

Let’s see…does it start with a C?

Harpers Hair

Munny: Will the Avs be spending a whole lot of money?

The owners refuse to show me their books, the bastards.

Kroenke has a ton of exposure to shopping centres and malls though, and they’re taking a beating.

Hasn’t there also been rumours of an internal cap in Denver for several years?

They may not and they certainly don’t have to.

They have one of the best prospect pools in the league.

leadfarmer

Harpers Hair:
Nathan MacKinnon is the best player in the National Hockey League.

You spelled 2nd best wrong

leadfarmer

Munny: Will the Avs be spending a whole lot of money?

The owners refuse to show me their books, the bastards.

Kroenke has a ton of exposure to shopping centres and malls though, and they’re taking a beating.

Hasn’t there also been rumours of an internal cap in Denver for several years?

Denver has had an internal cap for years,
Also most of Denver can’t watch Avs games because of a long dispute between altitude and tv networks
It’s too bad cause I grew up on those Detroit avs series

Ryan

frjohnk: Who has the highest time outs/60 (comments)?

You and JP are amongst the most civil and diplomatic, so both of you would be at the bottom of the leaderboard.

In over ten years here, I don’t think I’ve ever been timed out, but maybe I came close once. This of course, would not constitute a defining accomplishment in my life.

I never post about anything outside of hockey, so that helps.

On the other hand, I’m aware that I have a propensity for coming across like a self-proclaimed know-iit-al, but that’s more my inherent temperament than actual personality.

I’m opinionated, that’s for sure.

While I don’t engage in vituperative attacks against other posters, a few have managed to get under my skin on occasion, but I still continue to engage in friendly debate with them.

Munny

Harpers Hair: Sakic can add Hall without working up a sweat.

The retained money on Barrie, Oorpik and replacing Burakovsky with Hall totals $7.5 million.

The question is, does Hall provide that much surplus value over Burakovsky?

Would sure be fun to watch though.

Will the Avs be spending a whole lot of money?

The owners refuse to show me their books, the bastards.

Kroenke has a ton of exposure to shopping centres and malls though, and they’re taking a beating.

Hasn’t there also been rumours of an internal cap in Denver for several years?

Harpers Hair

Corey Masisak (@cmasisak22) Tweeted:
Nathan MacKinnon is almost as fast as Connor McDavid but he also just bulldozes guys sometimes like a smaller Eric Lindros and I’m not really sure what you’re supposed to do to stop that combination of things.

Harpers Hair

Nathan MacKinnon is the best player in the National Hockey League.

Munny

Lowetide: Oh Bohologo is always hitting home runs. A great poster.

Seconded.

Munny

Lowetide: He is a defenseman.

Lol… so what you’re saying is very very remote

Munny

And it goes 7.

Ryan

OriginalPouzar:
I agree that the likelihood of him making the NHL as a top 6 forward is remote.

Not many d-men do that.

Look at the bright side.

At least this leaves the door open for a classic “bang on, I nailed it”

post from Kinger two years from now where he can pat himself on the back for correctly predicting that Samorukov didn’t make the NHL as a top six forward.

OriginalPouzar

I agree that the likelihood of him making the NHL as a top 6 forward is remote.

Not many d-men do that.

Kinger_Oil.redux

– The likelihood of Dimitri making the NHL is very low (as is any third rounder)

– The likelihood of Dimitri making a difference as a top-6 forward is very remote (as is any third rounder)

– Dimitri, emerging as an important player in the next few years to help the Oil is really not at all likely. I cheer for him but at best he’s a few years from being in the NHL and even more to make an impact.

Ryan

leadfarmer: As I was saying
The UFA window will come and everyone’s going to wonder why teams with lots of cap space aren’t doing anything

Yeah, it will make for an interesting free agency period.

The bargain aisle could be replete with talent.

It will be interesting to see who blinks first.

I’m guessing there could be some high-end talent on one-year value deals.

It’s a great time for teams with cap space and deep pockets.

Glovjuice

Bag of Pucks:
For those so inclined, here’s an interesting article about conventional wisdom and why human beings are so inclined to lean on it. Hint, going with the herd provides comfort in a chaotic world.

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/financial-life-focus/201102/conventional-wisdom-and-financial-success

“Get good players, keep good players.” “The team that gets the best player always wins the trade.”

These are examples of conventional wisdom tropes, and yes, there is some wisdom inherent in them, hence why they live on.

But are they ALWAYS accurate? Like almost all conventional wisdom, context is important. The world evolves and what was true 20 years ago isn’t always true now. Which brings us to the salary cap.

Getting the best players and keeping them was absolutely true when money was no object for some teams and team payrolls were never threatened by a cap ceiling. But that is no longer the case. If you spend all your cap on 4 amazing players with no money left for the rest, you’re that guy who spends his monthly grocery budget on 4 cuts of Kobe beef and 900 packs of Ramen noodles. Not exactly a recipe for nutritional success.

According to Capfriendly, in 2019/20, the Oilers spend $46.3M of the cap on their Fs with an astonishing $21M of that total spent on two players. 45%

By contrast, the New York Islanders spent 51.9M on their Fs with their two highest paid Fs pulling down 13M. That’s 25% for those playing along at home.

Which team is having a better time of it in the bubble?

It’s no longer enough just to chase and acquire talented players at any cost. It really doesn’t matter how good the player is if his contract is toxic, because the piper will have to be paid elsewhere on the roster in terms of opportunity cost and talent drain.

Now, none of this suggests that the Oilers can’t win with the McDavid and Draisaitl contracts. But we need to be realistic, these two superstars consume a massive % of available payroll (and deservedly so), so Holland can’t simply add one inflated contract after another to build out the roster. Simple tropes like keep good players (at any cost?) or don’t trade the best player in the deal (even if they have a lousy contract?) simply don’t hold up as bulletproof when additional context is applied.

Winning the Cup in a cap system is a process of cost effectively building depth through the roster, by accumulating value contracts (which can be gauged as production vs expenditure) and minimizing, if not eliminating outright, overpays and NMCs.

Historically, the amateur draft has always been the best source of value contracts, and this is still the case for teams fortunate enough to consistently acquire productive players on ELC deals. However, those teams smart enough to compile cap space are also demonstrating another viable option, trading for or FA signing proven productive players from cash strapped teams unable to maintain their embarrassment of riches. Unlike draft picks, these players can slot in immediately with far less risk of their busting or enduring a protracted development process which greatly reduces their ELC value. Of equal importance, they provide more immediate clarity for expected roster production for GMs seeking more predictable and expedient competitive windows. See JT Miller and Mark Stone as the current poster boys for this approach.

Get value contracts, keep value contracts. The team that gets the best value contracts win the trades. These should be the new mantras in a salary cap world. Simplistically evaluating a players production without the additional context of their cap and roster balance implications gets us nowhere.

Yesterday, it was suggested that the Oilers should build the unicorn with 3 outscoring lines based around RNH as the 3C. Great, that puts 27M of your current 2021/22 F cap of 43.3M on three Cs (a massive 62%). Ken Holland’s a smart guy, but asking him to staff 9 F positions with 16.3M (average cap hit of 1.8M) to achieve the unicorn would acquire a run of success at the draft board that is unprecedented in NHL history.

Holland’s way forward is clear. He has to properly identify and trade out the poor value contracts on his roster, and consistently acquire qualify contracts or prospects in return. And he needs players that will pop quickly because he really needs to show Connor and Leon this is moving in the right direction asap.

Examples? The Bruins can’t afford Acciari. The Panthers sign him for a cap hit of $1.66M and he pops 20 goals in 66 games. Excellent value for a player that was available to the entire league for the price of a reasonable contract. Robbie Fabbri. Again, always a good idea to get players that the top clubs can’t retain. For the price of a fringe W, the Red Wings got 14 goals for a cap hit of $900k.

But additions like this aren’t possible if you overpay players like Koskinen, Nurse, RNH, Kassian, Russell, etc. It has to be a twofold solution. Get value contracts. Get rid of overpays. That’s the only way forward for a team paying nearly half of it’s F payroll to 2 players.

The actually good, smart Eberle – Strome trade was totally wasted.

Glovjuice

Bohologo:
I don’t know much about hockey, but I know a little about hockey in Moscow, having lived there for many years until recently.

Not unlike moving to Buenos Aires and immediately facing demands to declare your allegiance to one of the city’s half-dozen premier division fútbol clubs (River Plate [olé!], Boca Jrs [boo!], Vélez Sarsfield, Huracán, San Lorenzo de Almagro, Argentinos Juniors) which not only informs your social circle and commensurate loyalties going forward but also let’s face it is a tell for your social class leanings and political beliefs, when you get to Moscow you need to sort out which hockey club to cheer for, preferably before the first puck drops.

Your choices are CSKA, the Central Army Sports Club (ЦСКА Москва, Центральный Спортивный Клуб Армии), Spartak (ХК Спартак Москва), Dynamo (ХК Динамо Москва), and I guess if you want to live that way HC Vityaz (ХК Витязь) which is in a Moscow suburb pretty much as if Leduc had its own NHL franchise.

Now, CSKA are the Habs of the KHL: long and glorious history, retired sweaters from the likes of Fetisov, Tretiak, Makarov, and the legendary #17 Kharlamov.This club has foundations in the Soviet army, which saved the world in WW II.This is clearly the ideal choice of clubs to support if you like winning.

Spartak is named after Spartacus (very cool, no?), and has roots in the Soviet youth communist party apparatus but has long been tied to labour unions, so it’s the working class club if you are a woman/man of the people.A decent second choice.

Dynamo was founded by the father of the Soviet internal security apparatus Felix Dzerzhinsky, and although the name is a call-out to the industrial apparatus it was long tied to the Ministry of Interior with all that association conveys.Also a choice.

Suburban Poldolk’s Vityaz (Knights) club has a short and inglorious history marked by goonery and the tragic death of Alexei Cherepanov, so they are a hard team to cheer for.

I will assume you will all join me in cheering for Red Army for the reasons provided, but also because our man Anton Slepyshev is on the roster, and as LT notes, so is Dmitry Samorukov-but please don’t call him Sammy, his friends call him Dima.Also, Alberta boy Matt Robinson wears an A for the team, which is a considerable honour for a gringo playing in Russia.

In closing, please join me in singing the Russian answer to Take Me Out To The Ballgame, a much better ditty called Трус не игра́ет в хокке́й, Cowards Don’t Play Hockey:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wEF3WcsOdZI

This post absolutely rules.

Turning Tikkanese

I can’t believe I nailed it. Woohoo!

“Red blood, white snow. He knows frozen rivers don’t flow…” LOVE that whole album.

Turning Tikkanese

LT, today’s title isn’t a reference to something from Annie Haslam and Renaissance, is it? It certainly sounds like one of her lyrics…

OriginalPouzar

A couple more goals for Jesse in exhibition:

https://twitter.com/tusen_bitar/status/1301244094551818246?s=21

frjohnk

jp: V and ends with 2.0

Personally, I just think he needs a snickers.

Someone get that guy some fricking food.

unca miltie

Munny: …in Wetaskiwin!

Wait—wut?

if i remember correctly, that was LT’s first job, working in Wetaskiwin.

jp

frjohnk,

Amazing, I replied and even the posters name put my reply in moderation (or maybe that’s how the filter works).

I think the answer starts with V and ends with 2.0.

frjohnk

Lowetide: I have timed out a member of our community

Who has the highest time outs/60 (comments)?

leadfarmer

Harpers Hair:
Just listened to an interview with LeBrun.

Says he’s hearing multiple teams are having internal caps imposed by owners because their core businesses are struggling.

Could make for some interesting times.

As I was saying
The UFA window will come and everyone’s going to wonder why teams with lots of cap space aren’t doing anything

jp

SwedishPoster,

Thanks. That’s definitely positive stuff for Lavoie starting out.

Harpers Hair

Just listened to an interview with LeBrun.

Says he’s hearing multiple teams are having internal caps imposed by owners because their core businesses are struggling.

Could make for some interesting times.

SwedishPoster

Seems like Lavoie will start tomorrow’s pre-season match up against Växjö(with Joel Persson on the team) on the third line with a former college star who couldn’t grab an AHL spot wity the Marlies in Brady Ferguson as his center and Canucks prospect Nils Höglander on the other wing. Pretty much where I expected him to end up on the depth chart, though maybe not right away so good on him.
Should be a pretty good fit with the creative Höglander though Höglander has struggled with efficency when playing against men, mixes highlight reel stuff with being utterly meaningless for long stretches. Maybe Lavoie’s size and willingness to go to the net can open up the ice for him to be more like the player he is at the junior level. I assume that’s what Rögle is hoping for. Either way it should be a fun line to follow if it sticks.

jp

Bag of Pucks:
Sorry jp not jv. My mistake.

Bag of Pucks:
Yesterday, it was suggested that the Oilers should build the unicorn with 3 outscoring lines based around RNH as the 3C.

I’ll note again that I suggested Nuge at 3C ONLY because you claimed Kessel as a $6.8M 3rd wheel didn’t count since he drove a 3rd line. So Nuge at 3C ought to make sense by your logic.

Bag of Pucks:
Great, that puts 27M of your current 2021/22 F cap of 43.3M on three Cs (a massive 62%). Ken Holland’s a smart guy, but asking him to staff 9 F positions with 16.3M (average cap hit of 1.8M) to achieve the unicorn would acquire a run of success at the draft board that is unprecedented in NHL history.

To your cap concerns here. Well first off your math is funky. You went from the Oilers spending $46.3M last season on their forwards earlier in your post (and in reality) to $43.3M here. And teams have 14 forwards on them rather than 12, so you’d need to add 11 players to McDavid/Draisaitl/Nuge to complete the forward group.

The Oilers currently have signed or the rights to:
7 NHL D (including Bear + Benning)
1 NHL G
13 forwards who played regularly for the Oilers (Including AA but not Benson here)
Also Ennis, Puljujarv, Bensoni as potential additions.

The 7D plus Bear at $1.3M and Benning at his QO ($1.9M) costs ~22.0M

Koskinen plus a cheap backup like DeSmith or Dell at $1.25M costs $5.75M

The Oilers have dead cap of $4.58M and probably a bonus overage of $335k next season (total is ~$4.9M)

That leaves $48.2M for forwards plus 800k as a cushion. (this would be $21.2M for the 11 non-McDavid/Drai/Nuge forwards vs your $16.3M for 9 forwards above)

$48.2M can pay the Oilers signed forwards, plus AA at his $3M QO, plus Ennis at $1.0M.

More significant additions anywhere require contracts out (Russell, Benning, Neal, AA, Larsson, Kass etc.) (I should add Nuge to the potential out list too I guess).

I showed you yesterday that the group of complementary forwards the Oilers have (and can afford next season) actually scored better than the complementary forwards the Pens won the cup with in 2016.

2016 Penguins (pts/game) (top 9 forwards who played with Crosby, Malkin and Kessel)
Hornqvist 0.62
Kunitz 0.50
Hagelin 0.49
Bonino 0.46
Rust 0.27 (0.39 in the playoffs)
Sheary 0.23 (0.43 in the playoffs)

2020 Oilers (top 9 forwards who could play with McDavid, Draisaitl, Nuge)
Yamamoto 0.96
Kassian 0.58
Neal 0.56
Ennis 0.53
Athanasiou 0.47
Chiasson 0.39

I don’t think the Oilers will or should run Nuge at 3C next year but I don’t actually think it would be that bad. The Oilers have pretty decent winger depth IMO. Historical runs of draft success aren’t needed I don’t think.

buck yoakam

BONE207,
we are three hours ahead of all you westerners here…so the sun is over the yard arm a little earlier!

flyfish1168

leadfarmer:
I can only imagine this place if we pick a LHD

If Nurse is traded for Ehlers It will increase chances of Oilers interested in drafting a LHD. He would be ready just in time to trade Oscar when his contract is up.

buck yoakam

OriginalPouzar,

Thanks! thats great…

Bag of Pucks

godot10: No it isn’t.People mostly don’t change.They are who we thought they are.

What a depressing view of humanity.

Harpers Hair

OriginalPouzar:
Applicable to the Oilers:Good players show themselves early

Applicable to Canucks: The best things are worth waiting for

Narratives…..

Applicable to some: No sense of humor.

OriginalPouzar

PennersPancakes: Thats insane. Bergevin what is you doing baby? He paid for the privilege to solve St Louis’ cap problem.

Allen is a decent goaltender but I dunno. If they flip him you have to look at Lehners return (a much better goalie) which was only a second after some retention. They must be banking on a condensed schedule burning out goalies but still weird.

Maybe its a coy ploy to black the Leafs from signing Pieterangelo – opening up STL to re-sign him?

Harpers Hair

Bag of Pucks:
I think Hall lands in Colorado. He’s a western lad that want to contend for Cups and they’ve got capspace. Assuming Taylor’s open to a value contract, I think Sakic will like him more than some of his other free agents. Although he may also want to chase a top tier tender.

MacKinnon and Hall racing through the neutral zone? Fasten your seatbelts.

Sakic can add Hall without working up a sweat.

The retained money on Barrie, Oorpik and replacing Burakovsky with Hall totals $7.5 million.

The question is, does Hall provide that much surplus value over Burakovsky?

Would sure be fun to watch though.