Brick House

by Lowetide

When it comes to finding linemates for Connor McDavid, I expect we’re in the “Mats Sundin lines up with Mikael Renberg and Jonas Hoglund” territory. It’s cool, and it’ll work to an extent, but you know Gary Roberts and Alex Mogilny are on the next line and there’s something tragic about the whole enterprise.

THE ATHLETIC!

I’m proud to be writing for The Athletic, and pleased to be part of a great team with Daniel Nugent-Bowman and Jonathan Willis. Here is our recent work.

MCDAVID’S LINE

Connor McDavid

Tyler Ennis

Zack Kassian

There’s a “one and done” aspect to a McDavid sortie, and that’s reflected in his possession numbers via Puck IQ. That isn’t fatal, but the Oilers need his line to dominate five on five (all of these numbers are five on five) and during 365 minutes against ‘middle’ competition the team was flailing. Part of that might have been his health, and I do think the line shuffling later in the year had a negative impact. A healthy McDavid will improve on these numbers no matter the linemates but if you see the Nuge on his line, the Puck IQ numbers will be the reason Tippett is doing a shuffle.

The Ennis numbers are from Ottawa, there wasn’t enough from the Edmonton games to post. It looks like he has pretty good possession numbers, and he can roar against middle and gritensity. That may mean he lands on the Turris line. He’s the winger not named Nuge or Yamamoto who can score 20 goals next season, so one imagines Ennis gets a long look in a skill position.

Zack Kassian had such a fine season going until he lost the plot, and I do think he’ll play a lot with McDavid when the season gets underway. There is competition, but one suspects that Yamamoto stays put and that Puljujarvi is brought along at a pace that sees plenty of time with Kyle Turris.

ILYA KONOVALOV

After a long layoff (26 days) Ilya Konovalov is back in net for Yaroslavl Lokomotiv. It’s in the first period at this moment, he has stopped all 10 shots faced.

LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE

A busy morning on the Lowdown, we get started at 10. Bruce McCurdy from the Cult of Hockey at the Edmonton Journal will join us at 10:20 and we’ll talk Joey Moss, the World Series and a full moon Halloween night. Scott Wheeler from The Athletic pops by at 10:40 to discuss his latest look at Evan Bouchard and what he has improved upon in recent months. Joe Osborne from OddsShark will be on the radio at 11 to talk NFL week 7, college football’s unpredictability this fall and the World Series. 10-1260 text, @Lowetide on twitter. Talk soon!

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hunter1909

If I’m not mistaken there used to be a fairly good Left Winger around who’s currently reunited with Ralph Kreuger.

Trading away Kings for Jacks never pays off in the end.

JJS

I like Kassian

But having the success of the greatest player in the game hinge on Kassian’s play is disappointing 5 years in

Having one bona fide first line winger would change the script considerably

Despite the incredible success of the second line last year, I wonder if the Nuge should be the next legitimate audition with McD.

Ennis would be a better 2nd line option IMO

cowboy bill

I gotta say Nuge should be McDavid’s LW . Kassian should remain on the RW until there is a better option . They found a RW for Leon in Yamomoto , now they need to find him a suitable LW and I’m not sure that player is currently on the roster .

godot10

“Zack Kassian had such a fine season going until he lost the plot.”

I will fix that for you.

Zack Kassian had such a fine season going until he got his retirement contract.

Zack Kassian has only been a decent hockey player for the Oilers during the 3 months before signing a new contract.

Holland signed a corrosive anchor.

geowal

godot10:
“Zack Kassian had such a fine season going until he lost the plot.”

I will fix that for you.

Zack Kassian had such a fine season going until he got his retirement contract.

Zack Kassian has only been a decent hockey player for the Oilers during the 3 months before signing a new contract.

Holland signed a corrosive anchor.

Tell us how you really feel.

godot10

cowboy bill:
I gotta say Nuge should be McDavid’s LW . Kassian should remain on the RW until there is a better option . They found a RW for Leon in Yamomoto , now they need to find him a suitable LW and I’m not sure that player is currently on the roster .

It took one game to find a better option than Kassian in August.

The Oilers should do what is in the best interest of team success, not what is in the best interests of McDavid’s point totals.

The Oilers will have the most team success putting Nugent-Hopkins with Draisaitl. It is up to Tippett and McDavid to figure out how to cobble together another line.

With the Draisaitl line intact, the Oiler with have three 100 point players, plus a PPG player in Yamamoto.

Put Nugent-Hopkins with McDavid, and the Oilers will have two 100 point players, one PPG player, and a struggling Yamo barely putting up half a point per game.

It is not a close call.

hunter1909

Ken Holland has done a stand up job repairing the woke Oilers, to the point where at least they “made” the playoffs.

Play-in disaster aside, he gets another season from this disgruntled fan to keep repairing the Swiss Chalet.

Chiarelli would have traded Draisaitl by now for OEL. Seriously.

Woogie63

The degree of separation between McDavid and Driasaitl has closed significantly last year – both or elite 1C.

The center that get Hopkins on his left wing is the 1C the other is 2C. This a huge advantage for the coach.

Yamamoto had a fine season – but is early in his career if he regresses some next season, I wouldn’t be surprised.

Certain in top 6 – McDavid, Driasaitl, Hopkins
Possible top 6 – Yamamoto, Puljujarvi, Kassian,Neal,Benson, AA(?)

cowboy bill

Zack will get his head screwed on straight again . He better because he’s going to have Jesse breathing down his neck .
They still have too many RWer’s , ideally if they could move Chiasson to a team like , let’s say , Ottawa or Detroit , for a third rounder , to recoup the one they have to give to Calgary next year . Or even if they could find a taker for Neal and retain half his salary , that could work . They would have plenty of cap space to sign a player like Kahun and sign Bear & Lagesson . Regardless Holland will find a way , with Klefbom on LTIR for the full season , to make things work .

Melman

I didn’t like the Ennis-Drai-Yamo line: the 2 wingers are too similar. Unless/until their play drops Nuge has to go back with 29, and Tipp has to suffer the pain of finding the right mix for 97. It may well be Kass to start the year and JP to Finnish.

Harpers Hair

Pierre LeBrun (@PierreVLeBrun) Tweeted:
Hearing that the Ottawa Senators are close to signing UFA forward Alex Galchenyuk.

Oilpower

Not sure if anyone would find this interesting but if you compare Ethan bear and sekra’s 5 years post draft they are really close matches. Also same size and style of player. Hopefully Bear can have less injuries in his career though.

Elgin R

The Ennis #s against Elite 5v5 competition are not good but they may be a result of himself and his line mates not up to the task. Ennis has shown that he can dominate against the soft parade, so play him where he can succeed. McDavid pushes the play irrespective of his line mates. The DRY line was dominant during the short time they were together. If Holland does not change the current players Tippet has available, the following lines should provide a balanced forward group with three lines that outscore the competition.

Hass – 97 – Kassinator (Hass to take strong-side faceoffs)
RNH – Leon – Yammy (Do not mess with perfection)
Ennis – Turris – JP (Experience and talent)
Neal – JJ – Archie (PP and PK specialists)
Nygard – Chiasson (Speed and experience as required)

Bling

godot10: It took one game to find a better option than Kassian in August.

The Oilers should do what is in the best interest of team success, not what is in the best interests of McDavid’s point totals.

The Oilers will have the most team success puttingNugent-Hopkins with Draisaitl.It is up to Tippett and McDavid to figure out how to cobble together another line.

With the Draisaitl line intact, the Oiler with have three 100 point players, plus a PPG player in Yamamoto.

Put Nugent-Hopkins with McDavid, and the Oilers will have two 100 point players, one PPG player, and a struggling Yamo barely putting up half a point per game.

It is not a close call.

I don’t think you can project KY to be a PPG player yet. Your point about maximizing KY by having him play with RNH and Drai is taken, though.

One other way that I’m thinking about this is that one of the reasons the DRY line was so fun to watch was how adept all three players are at the give-and-go and quick touches.

One play springs to mind — KY was on the doorstep, collected a rebound, but had no open daylight to shoot at. Instead, he drops it to Drai who scored. Drai loved it and was pointing at KY while celebrating.

If you put RNH with McDavid, you lose some of that.

97 isn’t playing give and go with anyone; he’s a bit (more) of a soloist.

McDavid needs someone to muck in the corners, collect rebonds, shoot pucks (ideally be a volume shooter), and play defence.

RNH’s game is much better suited to playing with Drai, who is more of a distributor.

hunter1909

Oilpower:
Not sure if anyone would find this interesting but if you compare Ethan bear and sekra’s 5 years post draft they are really close matches. Also same size and style of player. Hopefully Bear can have less injuries in his career though.

Ethan Bear is a prime Oilers defenceman for the Cup winning future to come!

OriginalPouzar

Konovalov stops all shots faced on regulation but, after 22 saves, the 23rd shot in OT goes in.

A regulation shutout but an OTL.

OilersFuture

Woogie63: Possible top 6 – Yamamoto, Puljujarvi, Kassian,Neal,Benson, AA(?)

I read this quickly and thought it said, Neal Broten – he’d solve all our problems.

Harpers Hair

Harpers Hair:
Pierre LeBrun (@PierreVLeBrun) Tweeted:
Hearing that the Ottawa Senators are close to signing UFA forward Alex Galchenyuk.

Bruce Garrioch (@SunGarrioch) Tweeted:
Deal is expected to be worth one year at $1.05 million. #Sens

jp

I started looking at this last night in relation to McDavid needing a stronger defensive presence than Kassian on his wing. It remains relevant obviously to today’s discussion of McDavid’s line/linemates.

My take/opinion is that Draisaitl and McDavid played together too much over the years and started chasing offense more than they should have (this is understandable since it’s the biggest thing each of them brings to the team).

By year, when they’ve been on the ice together, the results have been:
16-17 677min 55.6%SF 59.4%GF
17-18 498min 56.0%SF 57.4%GF
18-19 806min 49.2%SF 56.4%GF
19-20 553min 46.0%SF 48.6%GF

Spectacular goal share results before this year, but if you look at the shots % something broke in 18-19. We didn’t really notice it until this year because their goal share held in 18-19 despite the cratering shots%, but this season the goals caught up to the shots.

The shots for/against that went into the McDavid+Draisaitl SF% each:
16-17 34.2SF 27.3SA (per 60)
17-18 39.1SF 30.7SA
18-19 32.6SF 33.7SA
19-20 32.0SF 37.5SA

McDavid+Draisaitl haven’t produced as many shots in the past couple of years as they did before that. Their shots against have steadily climbed every year.

So, WTF is going on?

Many seem to think Kassian is a/the issue. McDavid “needs an upgrade on Kassian not to leak GA”, for instance. And it’s true that Kassian’s presence on McDavid’s wing (mostly together with Draisaitl) HAS coincided with the worst of McDavid’s results.

But what then does one make of this seasons on ice splits:

McDavid+Draisaitl+Kassian —— 443min 46.2SF% (31.2SF 36.7SA) 52.8GF% (3.80GF 3.40GA)
McDavid+Draisaitl (noKassian) — 111min 45.3SF% (33.7SF 40.7SA) 35.3GF% (3.26GF 5.97GA)
McDavid+Kassian (noDraisaitl) — 221min 53.5SF% (33.4SF 30.7SA) 58.3GF% (3.81GF 2.72GA)
McDavid (noDraisaitl noKassian) 282min 46.3SF% (27.7SF 32.2SA) 53.9GF% (2.98GF 2.56GA)

Anyone who’s concluding Kassian is a problem (never mind THE problem) clearly isn’t looking at these WOWYs.

As I said at the outset, I think that McDavid/Draisaitl have developed an issue, gotten loose, whatever. I believe it’s correctable and regardless of that McDavid doesn’t seem to bleed shots/goals against when he’s away from Drasiaitl anyway.

All that to say that I don’t think upgrading on Kassian is an important/necessary part of McDavid cleanly winning his minutes. (Nor that Kassian is in any real way responsible for McDavid/Draisaitl bleeding goals against).

FWIW, McDavid without Draisaitl by year has performed like this:
16-17 639min 52.3%SF 65.5%GF
17-18 845min 50.4%SF 56.8%GF
18-19 557min 47.7%SF 39.2%GF
19-20 502min 49.6%SF 56.0%GF

Very tough year by GF/FA in 18-19 but otherwise McDavid’s had a 55%+ GF% and essentially 50%SF every season without Draisaitl helping him

IMO it’s very likely that McDavid can/will do the same this season with Ennis, Kassian, Puljujarvi, Neal and the like as his wingers.

Sierra

From yesterday. I did not reply due to not wanting to take the discussion away from Joey Moss tributes.

Bling:
The key to keeping the RNH-Draisaitl-Yamamoto line together may be Puljujarvi, and whether he is able to step in and play with McDavid at the mid-season mark.

In many ways, JP is ideally suited to that spot — big frame, good skater, big shot, and the defensive chops to put the 97 line over 55% GF.

I am optimistic. We have yet to see JP in NA action following surgery for his wonky hips. If the internet is to believed, this will be his first full season in which he will be fully recovered.

Another reason for optimism is that Joel Armia put up 10 G 9 A in 57 GP as a 23 year old, a 27 point pace. JP has outscored him at every level and was the better draft day talent.

Honest question, is there any evidence that JP has “defensive chops”? At the NHL level?

hunter1909

Sierra:
From yesterday. I did not reply due to not wanting to take the discussion away from Joey Moss tributes.

Honest question, is there any evidence that JP has “defensive chops”? At the NHL level?

When he played for the Oilers I remember how he always seemed to not be giving the puck away; to the point where yes, he appears to already possess NHL defensive talent.

PS: Opposition players used to bounce right off JP when he stood near the crease/was in the corners. JP on his part was concentrating on retrieving the puck lol

hunter1909

Harpers Hair: Bruce Garrioch (@SunGarrioch) Tweeted:
Deal is expected to be worth one year at $1.05 million. #Sens

What a shitty draft year.

defmn

One more of Mr. Moss being Joey.

https://twitter.com/i/status/1321152676680192001

Munny

defmn:
One more of Mr. Moss being Joey.

https://twitter.com/i/status/1321152676680192001

Joey wasn’t going to be around forever… he was already long past his “best before” date… and I think we all knew that.

But it is still so heart-breaking. Not as shocking as Sammy, I guess. But hits you right in the feels.

Rest peacefully, Joey, you’ve earned it.

Munny

Someone in the Gryba tweet thread suggested a statue of Joey to go with Gretzky’s.

I would totally be okay with that.

OriginalPouzar

McDavid having a 51% goal share through a season is simply not good enough if the Oilers are going to be a legit contender.

Both McDavid and Drai need to be at 55% or better (and likely with a 3rd line approaching 50%), in my opinion.

Yup, Oilers finished the season in a good spot even with McDavid at 51% – their year was driven by special teams dominance and a 77% goal share for Nuge/Drai/Yama in apx 30 games.

I don’t think either of those are sustainable. Yup, the PP should continue to be near the top of the league but to expect it to remain at 30%, among the best in the history of the league, is a bit unreasonable, in my opinion. I would expect more around 25% and that will need to be made up at 5 on 5.

Yup, Nuge/Drai/Yama could/should continue to dominate but 77% is insane and I would posit they come in under 60% if together.

McDavid needs to come up from apx 50%. He doesn’t need “help” to drive offence but he does need help to stop leaking goals against.

Those Kassian numbers, which we’ve seen before, are indeed surprisingly high given my eye shows him to be a poor defensive players (often) and inconsistent in his commitment thereto.

He indeed “lost the plot’ as LT said. The coach put him in the penalty box after his suspension but he did get a chance in the regular season back up at 1RW and again in the playoffs – he didn’t find the plot in either opportuity.

Realistically, Kass is the guy that is at 1RW to start. I don’t see another viable option except Jesse and that will likely take some time.

I would love to keep Nuge with Drai and Kailer and the 1LW spot is a key to the season. I don’t think Ennis is the long term solution. I think Nygard has a chance but, again, the small sample of success probably is just a blip and I”m not sure he fits there. Jesse on his off-wing in time? Kovalchuk?

In time, as I’ve been posting, I really like Holloway’s skill set as 1LW – so many attributes that are key to success with McDavid. Of course, that’s 3 plus years away.

Tyler Benson – tough to ask a rookie to play 18 minutes against toughs….. even zoomed by McDavid. you never know though – smart, skilled hockey player.

Sierra

In case anyone is interested:

“In lieu of flowers, his (Joey’s) family has asked for donations to the Winnifred Stewart Association, an organization that helps individuals with developmental disabilities. It has 11 group homes around Edmonton. They are known as Joey’s Homes.“

defmn

In a flat cap season that arrived with no warning I suspect very few teams start the season with all 23 positions filled the way they would like to end it. Staying in the playoff race and getting to the trade deadline with cap space becomes that much more important.

For me there are two questions that the season will answer.

1.) Is the Oilers top nine good enough to do that considering that it really only consists of a top 8.

2.) Does Barrie’s particular skill set mesh with the makeup of McDavid’s line well enough to compensate for the loss of Klefbom.

I know there are many who see Smith as a third question but imo we will see basically the same guy this year that we saw last year. He will cost the team some games where he is ghastly & at the end of the season he will have been in net for more wins than losses. Is that not what every coach hopes for from his backup?

pts2pndr

Munny:
Someone in the Gryba tweet thread suggested a statue of Joey to go with Gretzky’s.

I would totally be okay with that.

I would propose that Rogers Place be renamed the Rodgers “ Joey Moss Memorial Arena” it would both be. Fitting tribute and still hi-light Rodgers while defining the location as we now have a Rogers place in more than one city.

pts2pndr

hunter1909:
Ken Holland has done a stand up job repairing the woke Oilers, to the point where at least they “made” the playoffs.

Play-in disaster aside, he gets another season from this disgruntled fan to keep repairing the Swiss Chalet.

Chiarelli would have traded Draisaitl by now for OEL. Seriously.

Woke even in the contemporary sense not appropriate.

OriginalPouzar

Jeff Marek
@JeffMarek
·
24m
OHL GM’s meeting has concluded. Some details…
– Season starts Feb 4th
– Training camps start Jan 23rd
– European + American players arrive Jan 8 + quarantine
– 40 game season
– 4 teams from each conference make playoffs, so 8 teams total.

Wheeler points out that much information is missing including regarding the “contact” issue as well as what about the three US teams and the border.

jp

OriginalPouzar: McDavid having a 51% goal share through a season is simply not good enough if the Oilers are going to be a legit contender.
Both McDavid and Drai need to be at 55% or better (and likely with a 3rd line approaching 50%), in my opinion.

That was part of the point of my post though.

The struggles that McDavid and Draisaitl had this season came together. When they were apart both were over 55%GF.

Full-season WOWY (each combination >500 minutes):
McDavid and Draisaitl 32.0SF 37.5SA 3.69GF 3.90GA (48.6GF%)
McDavid -no- Drasiaitl 31.1SF 31.5SA 3.34GF 2.63GA (56.0GF%)
Draisaitl -no- McDavid 32.2SF 31.5SA 3.44GF 2.56GA (57.4GF%)

Both players kept most of their offense but dropped 6 SA and more than 1 GA per 60 minutes.

When apart, both players outscored by a significant margin. And McDavid did it with the likes of Kassian, Ennis, Athanasiou, Neal, Archibald and Nygard.

GordieHoweHatTrick

OriginalPouzar:
Konovalov stops all shots faced on regulation but, after 22 saves, the 23rd shot in OT goes in.

A regulation shutout but an OTL.

Thanks! Very good considering he was on the bench for over 3 weeks!

Lewis Grant

hunter1909,

Didn’t Chiarelli consider trading Draisaitl, Klefbom, and switching the #4 and #9 picks in the 2016 draft in exchange for Subban? A trade scuttled when Kekalainen drafted Dubois, whom the Canadiens dearly coveted at #4?

Thank goodness that trade didn’t happen. (In fairness to Chia, none of us knew how good Draisaitl would become, and some of us thought that trade might be a good one. And with Subban patrolling the D, Chia might not have traded Hall for Larsson.)

Woogie63

hunter1909:
If I’m not mistaken there used to be a fairly good Left Winger around who’s currently reunited with Ralph Kreuger.

Trading away Kings for Jacks never pays off in the end.

Taylor Hall – The anti Oiler/PC crowd remember this very flawed player in a more favorable way than a hockey math blog maybe should;

4 teams in 12 years (when joins Buffalo)
Averages 59.2 games a year (not using 19/20)
His team won 44% of regular season games
Had 2/11 season where his team won more than they lost
5 play-off games in 10 years (14 if you use 19/20) in 10 years

At this stage of his career he owns those results.

GordieHoweHatTrick

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

Keep the Nuge-Drai-KY line to start. If there are problems with the line or McD line not performing “well enough” after 5-10 games, then consider moving Nuge to McD.

There are many options to try first:

Ennis/Nygaard/Neal/Benson-McD-Kass/JP/Archie/Neal

I would start with either Ennis or Nygaard with McD-Kass and go from there…
Ennis and Nygaard both bring some speed, skill and forecheck and have shown rather complete 200 ft games (“defensively aware”). I am pretty confident that one of those combinations is going to rhyme while we continue the pursuit of the perfect wingers for McD…

OriginalPouzar

GordieHoweHatTrick: Thanks! Very good considering he was on the bench for over 3 weeks!

Ya, is it good enough to keep the net though??????

OilFire

Woogie63: Taylor Hall – The anti Oiler/PC crowd remember this very flawed player in a more favorable way than a hockey math blog maybe should;

4 teams in 12 years (when joins Buffalo)
Averages 59.2 games a year (not using 19/20)
His team won 44% of regular season games
Had 2/11 season where his team won more than they lost
5 play-off games in 10 years (14 if you use 19/20) in 10 years

At this stage of his career he owns those results.

This is an *excellent* example of how not to use statistics. If it weren’t so hockey-centric I’d use it when I teach stats.

Dino

Wake me up when we sign Kahun.

Kahun Mcdavid Kassian
RNH Draisaitl Yamamoto
Ennis Turris Puljujarvi
Neal Khaira Archibald

Scungilli Slushy

OilFire: This is an *excellent* example of how not to use statistics. If it weren’t so hockey-centric I’d use it when I teach stats.

How do you cope when you see stats being abused? I can barely handle listening to the radio with how they constantly reel off stats and numbers off with obviously no context, and most of my stats understanding was developed here 😀

Woogie63

OilFire: This is an *excellent* example of how not to use statistics. If it weren’t so hockey-centric I’d use it when I teach stats.

If Statistics are about probability, I am not trying to predict anything in this post.

Bling

Sierra:
From yesterday. I did not reply due to not wanting to take the discussion away from Joey Moss tributes.

Honest question, is there any evidence that JP has “defensive chops”? At the NHL level?

As per Natural Stat Trick:

From 2016-2017 to 2018-2019, there were 13 Oiler forwards who played >1000 minutes at even strength.

In terms of GA/60, Jesse placed 5th (5/13). Spots 1-4 were Slepyshev, Eberle, Strome, and Lucic. Pretty good result for a teenager learning the pro game and not knowing much English.

For reference sake, Kassian was 10th and Caggiula was 12th.

Caveat: some of this is quality of competition related. McDavid was 11th and Draisaitl 13th, for instance (those two more than made up for that with GF).

One interesting wrinkle to JP was the gulf between his GF% and xGF%. By GF% he ranked 10/13. By xGF%, he ranked 7/13.

7th doesn’t sound so impressive, but here are the names ahead of him (in order):

Pat Maroon
Connor McDavid
Leon Draisaitl
Jordan Eberle
Ryan Strome
Milan Lucic

Those are reasonably good players who all had better linemates than JP, the exception being Strome (shouldn’t have traded that guy).

JP’s tenure in NA was not a problem on the defensive end. The problem was on the offensive end, in converting chances (or having his teammates convert chances).

By the way, he did this on two bad hips. We never saw a completely healthy JP.

I can’t wait to see him in January. I am bullish on the player.

digger50

Dino:
Wake me up when we sign Kahun.

Kahun Mcdavid Kassian
RNH Draisaitl Yamamoto
Ennis Turris Puljujarvi
Neal Khaira Archibald

Exactly

Team is considered okay right now. Sign that one more player who can make a difference and suddenly it’s watch out for those Oilers.

Minus one roster player is 1m, swipe 1.5 from LTR and yes we can fit him under cap.

hunter1909

pts2pndr: Woke even in the contemporary sense notappropriate.

: p

who

Sierra:
From yesterday. I did not reply due to not wanting to take the discussion away from Joey Moss tributes.

Honest question, is there any evidence that JP has “defensive chops”? At the NHL level?

Yes.
I think there were plenty of examples of JP being the first forward back in the dzone and supporting down low. I think his defensive game was more polished than his offensive game his last year in Edmonton.
He looked like he had completely lost any offensive confidence he initially had, but he was still in good spots defensively.

Bling

jp:
I started looking at this last night in relation to McDavid needing a stronger defensive presence than Kassian on his wing. It remains relevant obviously to today’s discussion of McDavid’s line/linemates.

My take/opinion is that Draisaitl and McDavid played together too much over the years and started chasing offense more than they should have (this is understandable since it’s the biggest thing each of them brings to the team).

By year, when they’ve been on the ice together, the results have been:
16-17 677min 55.6%SF 59.4%GF
17-18 498min 56.0%SF 57.4%GF
18-19 806min 49.2%SF 56.4%GF
19-20 553min 46.0%SF 48.6%GF

Spectacular goal share results before this year, but if you look at the shots % something broke in 18-19. We didn’t really notice it until this year because their goal share held in 18-19 despite the cratering shots%, but this season the goals caught up to the shots.

The shots for/against that went into the McDavid+Draisaitl SF% each:
16-17 34.2SF 27.3SA (per 60)
17-18 39.1SF 30.7SA
18-19 32.6SF 33.7SA
19-20 32.0SF 37.5SA

McDavid+Draisaitl haven’t produced as many shots in the past couple of years as they did before that. Their shots against have steadily climbed every year.

So, WTF is going on?

Many seem to think Kassian is a/the issue. McDavid “needs an upgrade on Kassian not to leak GA”, for instance. And it’s true that Kassian’s presence on McDavid’s wing (mostly together with Draisaitl) HAS coincided with the worst of McDavid’s results.

But what then does one make of this seasons on ice splits:

McDavid+Draisaitl+Kassian —— 443min 46.2SF% (31.2SF 36.7SA) 52.8GF% (3.80GF 3.40GA)
McDavid+Draisaitl (noKassian) — 111min 45.3SF% (33.7SF 40.7SA) 35.3GF% (3.26GF 5.97GA)
McDavid+Kassian (noDraisaitl) — 221min 53.5SF% (33.4SF 30.7SA) 58.3GF% (3.81GF 2.72GA)
McDavid (noDraisaitl noKassian) 282min 46.3SF% (27.7SF 32.2SA) 53.9GF% (2.98GF 2.56GA)

Anyone who’s concluding Kassian is a problem (never mind THE problem) clearly isn’t looking at these WOWYs.

As I said at the outset, I think that McDavid/Draisaitl have developed an issue, gotten loose, whatever. I believe it’s correctable and regardless of that McDavid doesn’t seem to bleed shots/goals against when he’s away from Drasiaitl anyway.

All that to say that I don’t think upgrading on Kassian is an important/necessary part of McDavid cleanly winning his minutes. (Nor that Kassian is in any real way responsible for McDavid/Draisaitl bleeding goals against).

FWIW, McDavid without Draisaitl by year has performed like this:
16-17 639min 52.3%SF 65.5%GF
17-18 845min 50.4%SF 56.8%GF
18-19 557min 47.7%SF 39.2%GF
19-20 502min 49.6%SF 56.0%GF

Very tough year by GF/FA in 18-19 but otherwise McDavid’s had a 55%+ GF% and essentially 50%SF every season without Draisaitl helping him

IMO it’s very likely that McDavid can/will do the same this season with Ennis, Kassian, Puljujarvi, Neal and the like as his wingers.

Great post.

I can’t argue with those WOWYs, other than to say 97 is 97. Is 53 or 55 GF% a good enough mark for the best player in the world? 97 was able to carry Lucic until it became impossible.

How do we know he isn’t carrying Kassian?

Kassian’s three year record defensively, prior to last year, was abysmal. This was predominantly playing against 3rd and 4th line comp. He was basically performing at the level of Drake Caggiula over that time period.

I don’t see a reason for that player to be on the first line, unless there has been some kind of metamorphosis. I didn’t see that last season, but I may be wrong.

Let’s put this another way. Would you make Caggiula McDavid’s RW in the 2021 season?

Caggiula has almost the same three year defensive record as Kassian (2016-2017 to 2018-2019) and he is currently unsigned.

who

Lewis Grant:
hunter1909,

Didn’t Chiarelli consider trading Draisaitl, Klefbom, and switching the #4 and #9 picks in the 2016 draft in exchange for Subban?A trade scuttled when Kekalainen drafted Dubois, whom the Canadiens dearly coveted at #4?

Thank goodness that trade didn’t happen.(In fairness to Chia, none of us knew how good Draisaitl would become, and some of us thought that trade might be a good one.And with Subban patrolling the D, Chia might not have traded Hall for Larsson.)

Speak for yourself.
I never wanted to trade Draisaitl. I thought he was better than Hall. And I always thought Subban was an overpaid self-promoter.

OriginalPouzar

Per Friedman:

Hearing AHL is now targeting a Feb 5 start date. Board of Governors approved today

—————————–

Just a “target date” but a potentially workable date – LETS DO THIS!

buck yoakam

Dino,

I could get on board with that lineup…maybe one of our own rookies will pop…I seriously like that 2nd line

OriginalPouzar

OriginalPouzar:
Jeff Marek
@JeffMarek
·
24m
OHL GM’s meeting has concluded. Some details…
– Season starts Feb 4th
– Training camps start Jan 23rd
– European + American players arrive Jan 8 + quarantine
– 40 game season
– 4 teams from each conference make playoffs, so 8 teams total.

Wheeler points out that much information is missing including regarding the “contact” issue as well as what about the three US teams and the border.

Some speculation that the US teams will share Canadian rinks in Sarnia, Niagara and Windsor.