The key is Caleb Jones

by Lowetide
Photo by Mark Williams

Ken Holland has done a solid job in creating real competition at the upcoming training camp. There are areas of the roster he has been unable to create training camp battles, like skill center, but that’s a tough assignment with Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl already on board. That’s a position he can probably consider solved, at least at No. 1 and No. 2 center.

There are spots on the roster that are thin heading to camp and at this point it doesn’t appear any more cavalry are coming. What are the most concerning positions?

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.

TOP-SIX FORWARDS

Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Kailer Yamamoto are locks for top-six employment in 2020-21.

After that, there are several incumbents who will spend time on the top two lines. Zack Kassian, Alex Chiasson, James Neal and even Josh Archibald will or could see time in the top-six forwards. Joakim Nygard could spend the season in Europe or the minors or on an extended taxi squad, but he too could line up on the wing with a skill center.

Ken Holland added Dominik Kahun, Tyler Ennis and Jesse Puljujarvi to that group and the result is a fascinating group of forwards who will be available to Dave Tippett. Every general manager and coach wants competition and qualified competition.

I think Holland has created it here, within limits. There is no Taylor Hall here, but the days of Ty Rattie lining up with McDavid due to cap concerns appear to be fading.

Opening night: Nuge-McDavid-Kassian; Kahun-Draisaitl-Yamamoto

BOTTOM-SIX FORWARDS

The key get for Holland in this area is Kyle Turris, who will (imo) increase offense at both ends of the ice. Bottom six centers were outscored badly at five on five scoring last year: Riley Sheahan 17-37; Jujhar Khaira 15-34; Gaetan Haas 12-15.

The center position on the bottom two lines has Turris, Khaira and Haas returning, and I suspect Alan Quine is going to play more games than most believe at this time. The wildcard, and I do believe he’ll play in Edmonton at some point this season, is Ryan McLeod.

Opening Night: Ennis-Turris-Puljujarvi; Neal-Khaira-Chiasson

TOP-FOUR DEFENSE

Assuming good health for all but Oscar Klefbom, the top two pairings should be a combination of Adam Larsson, Darnell Nurse, Ethan Bear and Caleb Jones. Tyson Barrie will no doubt get top-four minutes too, and I suspect Dave Tippett will trust his third pairing more than he did one year ago.

Jones is the key. I would have preferred he play on the third pairing for a year, but he’s a fine choice in a feature role in the absence of alternatives. I believe in Jones as a long-term fix, and he will be a big part of this 2020-21 Oilers club. Like 20 minutes a night big.

Kris Russell is an interesting part of this defensive unit for the coming season. If you look at his ice time a year ago, he appeared to be on the downbeat. If that continues, William Lagesson is the most likely youngster to benefit.

Philip Broberg is a complete wildcard, he could land as No. 3 LD opening night based on his bubble moment and SHL performance. Evan Bouchard could push too, although it seems to me the RH side is established if everyone stays healthy. Plenty of competition created by Holland on defense, I believe that to be true.

Opening night: Nurse-Bear; Jones-Larsson; Russell-Barrie.

GOALTENDING

This is the one area that Holland was unable to upgrade adequately, but it’s my belief we’ll see more movement here during the year. Mikko Koskinen is a good NHL goalie, I think he may start 50 games. Mike Smith is a wildcard now, suspect he’ll be on a short leash (Holland won’t lose the season to a struggling goalie). After that, we’re looking at Anton Forsberg, who I think is Smith’s equal and more likely to stay healthy. There’s also an opportunity to deal for someone like Adin Hill and that’s the path forward in my opinion. Holland has added a fine prospect in Ilya Konovalov but he’s under contract for another year. Hill could slide in and be a useful piece for this team.

Opening night: Mikko Koskinen (Mike Smith)

LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE

At 10 this morning, we get rolling on two hours of sports talk and fun. Bruce McCurdy from the Cult of Hockey at the Edmonton Journal joins me to chat Dominik Kahun and his role. Joe Osborne from OddsShark talks NFL at 11. And we’ll have plenty of chatter about WHL teams loaning out players to AJHL clubs and some baseball offseason talk. 10-1260 text, @Lowetide on twitter. See you on the radio!

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MushedPeas

Thanks for moving that collapsible-but-not-removable ad from the top of the screen to the bottom. Much better!

jp

OriginalPouzar

November 4, 2020 12:11 pm

With Jones taking a step and Broberg and Samorukov both having their arrows straight up this season, I’m projecting a substantial left shot d-man out prior to the Seattle expansion draft.

One issue with this is pre-expansion draft will be the literal worst time to trade a defenseman. There’s basically no way to get fair value since most teams will be protecting 7-3.

jp

OriginalPouzar

 November 4, 2020 11:52 am

I agree that Phillip Broberg is a bit of a wild card and the 19 minutes plus per game in Skelefteea with PP time is a massive massive up arrow.

At the same time, he is 19 and Ken Holland is the Oilers GM – I really don’t see him impacting the NHL roster this coming season. Its not totally out of the realm of possibility but I think it remains a pretty big reach at this point.

We talk a lot about Holland over-ripening prospects. And he does do it a lot, but there are also a number of (recent) examples to the contrary.

Zadina played more NHL than AHL games in draft+2.

Rasmussen played 62 NHL games in his draft+2.

Larkin played 80 games draft+2.

I wouldn’t rule Broberg out just because Ken Holland is the GM.

OriginalPouzar

Sure, fair enough.

I hate the phrase “over-ripening” because, even though Holland used it himself once I think, its not about over-ripening, its about ripening. Its not like Holland has an intent of leaving prospects outside the NHL when they are ready for the NHL and their development isn’t best served outside it.

I would note that the 3 players you bring up are forwards and Broberg is a d-man, both had at least one year of North American hockey (Zadina) or full North American junior careers and the Rasumssen and Zadina both spent material time in the AHL after that initial NHL sting – Rasumssen, just coming off an “OK” season in the AHL.
Perhaps those two are arguments against the early NHL deployment?

jp

Yeah it’s possible Holland would be more patient with a Dman.

On your examples though, Zadina started in the AHL and finished in the NHL (but was injured in Feb). It looks likely he’s in the NHL to stay.

Rasmussen for sure struggled after spending his year in the NHL.

In any case, Holland promoting a 19 year old 1st rounder to the NHL roster turns out not to be a rare thing (in fact, he’s done it 3 of the past 5 seasons).

If Holland thinks Broberg can help the team I expect he’ll be on hand (AHL/NHL/taxi squad). And my take is that Broberg, if he’s in NA, is a fair bit more likely to find his way into the Oilers lineup ahead of Russell than Lagesson is.

OriginalPouzar

Fair enough but there is a massive difference between him being in the AHL and the NHL.

jp

There is, but if he comes to NA I think Broberg’s play will dictate whether he’s in the NHL or AHL.

Holland playing 19 year old (forwards) in the NHL 3 of the past 5 seasons shows, I think, that he’s willing to promote players when they can help the team.

Broberg is a Holland pick, he apparently looked like an NHLer in the summer camp, he’s been an all situations D in the SHL this season.

The Oilers are entering the season with Nurse and a couple of question marks at LD (unless Klefbom feels up to playing).

I’m not saying it’s probable, but I really wouldn’t be surprised if Broberg plays NHL games this season. Guess we’ll see.

defmn

Yup. Total wild card. I wouldn’t count on it and wouldn’t bet against it.

OriginalPouzar

I’m not overly disagreeing – he could stay in North American and he could play NHL games – I do think the latter is still quite unlikely at this point.

Yup, he “looked like an NHLer at training camp” – how many years in a row do the Oilers need to be fooled by that? Ryan McLeod almost made the team in his draft plus 1.

Great skating and skilled players almost alway shine during training camps.

jp

The summer camp where Broberg shone was a much higher level of competition than a typical training camp. Everyone there was an NHL player or close.

I’m not saying “he is NHL ready” based on it but it’s clearly a good arrow for a guy who’s also the first and highest draft pick by the current GM. And who plays a position that’s the team’s biggest question mark entering the season.

FWIW, those training camp performances by McLeod are really the biggest reason our host and many others believe McLeod will get NHL games this season (his draft +3).

OriginalPouzar

OmJo

You’re only losing an asset if you look at it in a vacuum. Exposing Klefbom means protecting somebody who may very well be more valuable to the team going forward. If he gets picked, then you’ve essentially protected two assets for an injury plagued defenceman. This is part where I say I’m a big Klefbom fan and would hate to see him go. That in itself is a risk.

If you trade him, not only are you trading him at arguably his lowest value, but it limits what you can get back in return. Trading him for somebody who has to be protected puts you in the same situation.

To the extent the decision is made that there are three more valuable d-men to protect than Klef then I can’t imagine any scenario where a trade doesn’t make more sense than exposing him. Even if that trade is at low value, that value is likely better than losing him for nothing.

He can be traded for picks or expansion exempt assets. His cap hit is low enough that there should be plenty of teams that can take it on without needing to give cap back. Thinking about it further, the asset return doesn’t even need to be exempt as its likely a forward and I don’t imagine 7 non-exempt forwards to protect ahead of a Klefbom return, even at low value.

OriginalPouzar

dessert1111

 November 4, 2020 4:31 pm

I’m surprised the first year of the new Lagesson deal is a two way. I would speculate that this could represent some ‘penny’ pinching by Katz if Quine wasn’t just signed to a 1 way and Griffith signed to a 2 way with such a generous AHL component.

You could be right and I found the 2-way nature of the first year a bit odd but I think that its all but a non-factor as I don’t imagine Lagesson being assigned this year – I mean, maybe they keep Bouch as 8D and expose Lagesson to waivers but I really don’t see it.

OriginalPouzar

Elgin R

 Reply to  Fuge Udvar

 November 4, 2020 3:44 pm

Barrie came here for the PP opportunity. Who he plays with, and against what competition at 5v5 were probably not even discussed. He is here for to do what he does best (PP QB) and win – and he will will accomplish both with the Oilers.

Yes, having the PP1 job was highly likely a major factor in him signing with the Oilers and he’s stated as such.

At the same time, personally, I think his biggest impact will be at 5 on 5.

Tyson Barrie is an elite drives of offence at even strength. After November 20, when Keefe took over, he was 3rd in the NHL in 5 on 5 points among d-men (and he’s 8th overall over the last 3 years).

He’s not “great” defensively but he’s also not a black hole. He’s generally played apx 28%-32% of his TOI against elites and generally had positive goal share. He is absolutely capable of top 4 minutes at 5 on 5.

During those minutes, sure, there will be some running around in the defensive zone but, once the puck is recovered, he is one of the best puck transitioners in the NHL and now he’s transitioning the puck to the Oiler forwards.

McDavid produces off the rush – he’ll be taking passes from an elite breakout passer.

Drai, while not as much of a rush producer as McDavid, is still a great rush producer and, the same, passes from Tyson Barrie.

I think his impact at 5 on 5 will be massive.

I’m actually concerned about taking some time to fit in with the PP. Don’t get me wrong, he’s much better and dynamic on the PP than Klef but Klef learned how to play the point in the Oilers PP. He learned that the point shot is not a primary, secondary or even tertiary option and the puck needs to go through Nuge and McDavid on the sidewalls. He became quite adept at smart distribution in that regard.

Yes, Tyson Barrie and his point shot will be an option but he may need to learn that its not a primary option – the PP will still need to go through the half-walls. His right shot at the point and his more dynamic ability than Klef will open up options and could very well make the PP even more dangerous but Barrie will need to learn to not “fire away” too often.

OriginalPouzar

flyfish1168

 November 4, 2020 9:57 am

Has there been any updates on Ethan? Are we just waiting to announce Oscar going on LTIR than use the money to sign Ethan? or should we start to worry just a little?

Tons of time to get the deal done. This list of RFAs, more substantial than Bear, is long.

I have zero concern and won’t have any until a training camp date has been announced and its starting to approach.

Nope, don’t imagine Holland is relying on any Klefbom LTIR money to sign Bear. He won’t use off-season LTIR and will get cap compliant on day one prior to placing Klef on LTIR (and he won’t wait until camp is over to sign Bear – that’s a non-starter, even with the potential for camp insurance to be bought by the player).

There is a chance that he’s waiting to see if Klef will be on LTIR at all – there is still a chance that Klef starts the season on the active roster – the implication from some of the verbal is that he is likely waiting until close to camp to see how the rehab is and if it might be good to go.

OriginalPouzar

dustrock

Don’t overpay your defencemen unless you’re really, really sure they are top pairing.

Larsson has to be gone if he won’t take a reasonable salary – but this will be his last kick at the can and he’ll want to extract as much value as possible.

For sure, a Larsson extension would have to come at a reduced AAV, vastly reduced, but why is this his last kick at the can? He’s 27 years old and, frankly, the “chronic back issues” may be over-stated (given he’s missed 2 games with a back since 2017).

OriginalPouzar

godot10

Yamamoto may be a lock for the top six to start the season, but he has hardly scored without both Draisaitl AND Nugent-Hopkins on his line, so he is hardly a lock for the top two lines, if Tippett insists on forcing Nugent-Hopkins to do McDavid’s checking.

One is assuming that Yamamoto can be the #2 on the top two lines, when all he has proven is that he can be a #3 in some situations on the top two lines.

The indicators are good that Yamamoto will be a legit #2 on the top two lines in the medium term, but one is hoping at this point.

Do you honestly think that Yamamoto is the same player that he was in his 9 games as teenager in his draft plus 1 year and in his 20 or so in his draft plus 2 year prior to getting some time in Bakersfield?

To state that he wasn’t able to produce with certain players doesn’t equate to how he would perform with those players now.

Yamamoto has grown as a player since then.

dessert1111

I’m surprised the first year of the new Lagesson deal is a two way. I would speculate that this could represent some ‘penny’ pinching by Katz if Quine wasn’t just signed to a 1 way and Griffith signed to a 2 way with such a generous AHL component.

OriginalPouzar

Elgin R

 Reply to  OriginalPouzar

 November 4, 2020 3:36 pm

Is there enough need for Broberg this year? Because doing so would negate the long-term advantage. Leaving Broberg in Sweden this year means his contract slides. Therefore, when he makes the team for the 21/21 season, the Oilers will have a good defenseman on an ELC for the full three years. Advantage Holland.

I agree – the potential for his contract to continue to slide is one of the factors in my presumption that he will not be in the NHL at the start of the upcoming season. Of course, is he does come to camp and blows the door off and clearly makes the team better in early games, well, that trumps ELC slide factors.

He could stay in North America after the World Juniors and play in the AHL and his contract would still slide…..

Cassandra

If the Oilers resign RNH to a reasonable deal, and Klefbom is either healthy or they have to protect him because he is not, and Puljujarvi has a good season the protection list is pretty straightforward.

McDavid
Draisatl
RNH
Yamamoto
Puljujavie
forward
forward

Klefbom
Bear
Jones

Under this scenario not protecting Nurse is an easy decision. If Puljujarvi or Yamamoto really struggle, or RNH is a pending free agent, then you can go 4 and 4 and protect Nurse, but in the best case scenario there is no place for him on this team. You only protect Nurse if things have gone wrong.

who

Wouldn’t it be an easier decision to trade Klefbom or Nurse for a forward than expose 1 of them in expansion?

I mean, we are making a lot of assumptions here, but basically if the Oilers feel that Klefbom, Nurse, Bear and Jones are all worth keeping or protecting, AND they have 5 or 6 forwards they feel the same way about, then trading a dman for a forward of equal value makes the most sense.
Especially when they will have 3 legit, expansion exempt dmen pushing for playing time in the year after expansion.

Ryan

The one consideration is that the closer you get to the expansion draft, the harder it will be to trade a defenseman. Everyone will be in the same market trying to optimize their protected assets. The rules are designed to make good NHL defensemen available which results in devaluing them (temporarily). Consequently, the trade value of defensemen will continue to drop from here until the Kraken draft (with some blips prior to the trade deadline etc).

We saw that with the Vegas draft when Bob Murray just exposed Shea Theodore (presumably, he couldn’t trade him and the owner would let him buyout Bieksa’s NMC).

Last edited 11 months ago by Ryan
jp

Agreed, and sorry to post same many hours later.

Seems like folks aren’t listening though.

It won’t be possible to trade Nurse/Klefbom/Jones for an equivalent value forward between the end of the season and the expansion draft. 20-odd teams will be trying to do the same.

If Klefbom is healthy and Jones takes the big step many seem to expect, the prudent move might be to protect all 4 D (Bear) and then trade one after the draft.

The season may well provide more clarity too, of course.

OriginalPouzar

This is what I was getting at when I brought the expansion draft up in this thread.

The new found depth of the forward group (with Puljujarvi and Kahun – both under team control and pre-prime, well, early prime for Kahun) may lead to the trade of a d-man prior to the expansion draft.

Nurse, if they so choose, could be traded for value, even one year from UFA status – he would not be exposed – at least in my opinion.

pts2pndr

Under no circumstances is a manager stupid enough to not protect Nurse. His value even if the team decides to trade him is equal to or greater than any two of the three you have the team protecting.

Cassandra

And I am suggesting that this wrong, obviously so. It might be greater, but it is not clearly greater. Expensive players are hard to trade and they do not always give the return one would expect. If you are doing it for the expansion draft you can only trade to teams that 1) have cap space, 2) are contenders (why else trade for an expiring contracts, and 3) don’t have enough D that they want to protect.

How many teams will fit all three criteria? It could easily be zero, and if it isn’t zero those factors are going to reduce the return.

To Pouzar, even if it is true that you can trade Nurse, but unless the value is excellent, and Ryan points out why it may not be, I don’t see why you have to? To avoid losing him? You are going to lose someone no matter what.

The only reason to trade any player because of the expansion draft is when the gap between the value of your best unprotected player and your next best unprotected player is vast enough that you don’t care about losing the second one.

In general, it is a fool’s gambit to make trades to avoid losing a player in the expansion draft, when you are going to lose a player no matter what. The only way this makes any sense is if you rearrange your players by trading from surplus D to plug a deficit of forwards. But this kind of trade is very difficult to arrange and unlikely to produce value.

But the larger point is that healthy Klefbom, Bear, and Jones all have significantly more value to the Oilers than Nurse. The only way to suggest otherwise is to ignore contracts.

wolf8888

When comparing Nurse’s contract with Klefbom’s have you look at cost per game played? That is a real and significant issue. Nurse plays every game, is always ready for work. Having an employee that does good work at a fair wage is good but less so when he doesn’t come to work. To state that Nurse has less value because of his contract is ignoring this fact.

OriginalPouzar

Lagesson signs 2 years with a cap hit of $725K.

He’ll have a cap hit in year two below the NHL min salary. Year 1 is a 2-way contract – although little risk of them exposing him to waivers.

Great work by Holland.

I guess Willie didn’t want to “explore other options” as suggested a few days ago and I didn’t need to be concerned about his not being signed, as was suggested last night…..

Last edited 11 months ago by OriginalPouzar
defmn

Hehe. One day after Holland said he wasn’t close to signing him or Bear.

I like it.

Probably $700,000 & $750,000.

Last edited 11 months ago by defmn
OriginalPouzar

Yup, those are the numbers and year 1 is actually a 2-way contract.

defmn

$275,000 in Bakersfield according to CapFriendly. Nice job by Holland.

OriginalPouzar

Yup, not that he’ll be in the Bake though (they won’t expose him to waivers to start this coming season, I wouldn’t think).

Elgin R

Compressed season coming and the Oilers will need lots of D. This young man is a good player (as good or better than Jones and Bear in the AHL) and is a keeper at $725k. Most, if not all, teams have a ‘Lagesson-type’. A LHD trying to establish themselves in the NHL, but are they all as good as WL? Probably not (except for RD Brogan Rafferty – future Norris winner). WL will play in the NHL this year and exceed expectations.

Harpers Hair

Expansion fodder.

OriginalPouzar

He will almost assuredly be exposed but unlikely to be chosen.

What’s the point of this post? Is there one?

Well, I know the point is to try an find a negative and, given how weak the attempt is, that shows there is no negative.

No staying in Europe (as was made very clear in the piece out Sweden on his a few days ago). No “exploring his options”. Just battling to get in to a deep Oilers lineup.

Fuge Udvar

Seattle picking Lagesson is a dream situation

Sierra

I guess tax rates weren’t in his favour.

Oddspell

A lot will hinge on Nurse’s development also

We haven’t spoken about this much but is he capable of stepping up or have we seen his ceiling?

If he can settle his feet and calm his passing/decision making, we may have a legitimate stud on our hands

If being an Oilers fan has taught me anything, it’s that high potential defencemen tend to solidify themselves the exact season after they’ve been deemed beyond redemption by the fan base.

They’re usually playing for another team at this point.

Fuge Udvar

I’m don’t see Barrie coming here on a one year “show me” contract to drag Russel around the ice. It might not be the most balanced pairings but I see the opening night six as:

Nurse-Barrie 25 min/g
Russel-Bear 20 min/g
Jones-Larsson 15 min/g

defmn

I think Barrie was signed to feed McDavid breakout passes. Not sure how he can do that paired with Russell.

GordieHoweHatTrick

KRusty can push the puck over to Barrie with his nose, then Barrie to McD and…goal.
EZPZ 😉

Crazy Pedestrian

I can. Russell strictly plays defense and passes the puck to Barrie every time he gets possession.

Its foolproof! 😃 👍

Elgin R

Barrie came here for the PP opportunity. Who he plays with, and against what competition at 5v5 were probably not even discussed. He is here for to do what he does best (PP QB) and win – and he will will accomplish both with the Oilers.

OriginalPouzar

Puljujarvi with the OT winner on the PP – he went almost 4 games without a point……

OriginalPouzar

Listening to Josh Yohe on the Gregor Show yesterday (he covers the Pens for The Athletic) as well as Mike Rupp on Oilers Now yesterday and both mentioned the chemistry that Kahun was finding with Malkin as the season wore on last year and how Malkin wasn’t happy he was traded (and he was traded because Crosby really likes playing with Sheary).

Anyways, don’t “we” always say or hear that Drai is our Malkin?

I do see some similarities in their games and Drai is closer to Malkin in style than McDavid is.

Given we are all but assured that Nuge will start with Connor (even Holland intimated that in Matty’s piece yesterday), I’m enthused about the potential fit with Kahun on Drai’s line (and that has little to do with their success together as teenagers or in international play which means little to me).

OriginalPouzar

One thing related to the Kahun signing that I don’t think we’ve talked about is the potential expansion draft ramifications.

I will continue to assume that:

1) Nuge will be re-signed prior the expansion draft as I think its, by far, the most likely scenario; and

2) Klefbom will NOT be exempt as there is a LONG ways to go for LTIR exempt parameters to be hit (missed 60 games in a row and injury deemed career threatening and, even of those two are hit, its not 100% exempt as the league MAY determine the player is exempt).

That leaves four must protect forwards in McDavid, Drai, Nuge, Yamamoto.

That leaves three must protect d-men in Klefbom, Nurse and Bear (yes, assuming not exempt, I don’t think Klefbom will be exposed).

Up until recently, the question was really Jones vs. Puljujarvi.

I have anticipated that Jones will play himself in to a “must-protect”.

The question needs to be updated now to Jones vs. Puljujarvi/Kahun

This doesn’t even take in to account the fact that Benson could pop or what if Turris reinvents himself as a legit producer at 5 on 5?

Even if Kahun is the same player he has shown early in his NHL career, that is a player the Oilers will likely want to protect given they have a few more RFA years of team control.

I think the Kahun signing almost solidifies the need to move a d-man prior to the expansion draft. Caleb Jones at $850K for another year would be something Holland is remiss to move I would think (assuming he does take another step – he may not).

With Jones taking a step and Broberg and Samorukov both having their arrows straight up this season, I’m projecting a substantial left shot d-man out prior to the Seattle expansion draft.

DieHard

7-3-1 is the way to go. Klefbom might get exposed depending on how Jones does this year. It would be Kraken’s risk to take him.

OriginalPouzar

I agree that, with the additions of Puljujarvi and Kahun to the roster, its trending towards 7-3-1 but I will continue to stop short at any “official proclamations” as we have a season to play out.

I still don’t imagine Klef being exposed – we are a LONG ways from that scenario and I would think that, if Jones does indeed take that next step and 7-3-1 is the way to go, its finally time to use the LD depth chart and move one out for value.

Reja

I wanted Zegras but if Kelfbom doesn’t get magically better and who knows he might of finished playing his last game in Oilerville. He could conceivably milk the LTIR until his contract is up. If this scenario plays out the Broberg pick is massive.

OriginalPouzar

“Robidas Island”, as many like to call it, would be an awful, awful scenario for the Oilers.

Having to use LTIR relief for a cap cushion for three years were markedly reduce the Oilers’ chances of contending for Stanley Cups in that period.

Cassandra

Why is Nurse a must protect?

With one year left on his contract before becoming an UFA his asset value is lower than the other D.

You don’t lose Nurse. You lose one year of Nurse with the option to overpay or let him leave as a UFA.

If Jones or Puljujarvi or Yamamoto have good seasons they are way more valuable than that?

Nurse is the easy choice. His asset value is the lowest and the money you would use to overpay him can be better spent elsewhere.

wolf8888

Only an idiot would let an asset like Nurse leave for nothing….KH is not an idiot

Cassandra

This is nonsense. Teams let players like Nurse leave for nothing all the time. That’s what free agency is. Letting players leave for nothing is not simply business, but good business.

OriginalPouzar

Of course, he won’t be a free agent and its not even close to comparable to exposing a contracted player in the expansion draft.

Why would they give the player away for free when they could get a solid return in a trade?

OriginalPouzar

Nurse is a must-protect because he is a legit top 4 d-man that is about to enter his prime years.

He may not be a legit top pairing guy but he has played the role, as he did for much of this past year (leading the team in TOI vs. elites along with Bear) and didn’t get caved (McDavid TOI or not).

He is highly durable and has the ability to play upwards of 30 minutes per game when needed.

He gets the puck out of the zone with possession even if he isn’t a great outlet passer and he gets the puck in to the opposition zone with possession and, while it may not meet the eye test, the numbers show good things happen when he carries it in.

He produces points at even among the tops in the league – McDavid TOI or not, he does it better than any other d-man on the team.

He is part of the leadership group.

Will his contract status be an issue? Sure and I have no desire to pay him over $6M or so per year but my goodness he is not a player that is left exposed in the expansion draft.

As I said, a trade is likely to be effected at that time and, even with just one year to free agency, Darnell Nurse will have solid trade value – he is the type of player that many GMs love.

Cassandra

This is non-responsive. These are reasons why Nurse is a valuable player. I even agree with some of them. However, the question is not whether Nurse is a valuable player. The Oilers stand to lose a valuable player no matter what.

So this is looking at it wrong. Indeed, the Oilers aren’t losing a player, they are losing contract. So the question is, which contract has the least value?

Now perhaps, Nurse’s one year contract has more value than the other contracts under discussion, but surely the fact that it is a one year contract is relevant.

And trading Nurse to avoid losing him doesn’t make as much sense as you might think. You’ll still lose another valuable player.

And protecting him to avoid losing him, and then signing him to an overpay free agent contract means you both lose the valuable contract you didn’t protect and you have kept Nurse at negative contract value.

Put it altogether and Nurse is not a player that should be obviously protected. No player one year away from free agency should be obviously protected, especially with a high salary and a flat cap. It depends on the alternatives.

Remember if Nurse gets taken in the expansion draft they gain the other player they would have lost (say Puljujarvi) + 5.6 M in free agency.

I

Drew

Nurse’s willingness to sign a reasonable contract in the new reality will predicate what Ken H does. What you say could well come to pass, i would prefer some sort of sign and trade for several assets minimizing the downside on the expansion draft.

pts2pndr

And exactly who do you propose takes on Nurse’s big minutes on the the first pairing?

Elgin R

Uhm Nurse is a must protect because he is the Oilers best defensman – full stop.

pts2pndr

Regardless of what some posters might think the numbers support exactly what you are saying. Last year he did it with a rookie as his right side D partner. Get good players, KEEP good players!

pts2pndr

In your scenario if Jones plays himself into a must protect it only makes sense that Klefbom will not be protected. The Oilers have a plethora of left shot D and due Klefboms health problems it is reasonable to assume he will be the one left unprotected.

OriginalPouzar

This presumes that Klef doesn’t play at all next season – which could be the case but is far from determined at this point.

Even if he does take take the year off, anticipating he will be participating in 2021/22, I see no chance he’s left exposed.

I can’t imagine either of Klefbom or Nurse being exposed – trade the player as oppossed to losing a valuable asset of that level.

OmJo

You’re only losing an asset if you look at it in a vacuum. Exposing Klefbom means protecting somebody who may very well be more valuable to the team going forward. If he gets picked, then you’ve essentially protected two assets for an injury plagued defenceman. This is part where I say I’m a big Klefbom fan and would hate to see him go. That in itself is a risk.

If you trade him, not only are you trading him at arguably his lowest value, but it limits what you can get back in return. Trading him for somebody who has to be protected puts you in the same situation.

rickithebear

Godot:
Looking at all NHL teams last 30gm of reg ssn:
Yamamoto was one of 10 fwds with 9 evg and 24 evp.
His was in 27gm.

I hope for a Kucherov bridge 2-3yr @ 4.7-4.8 if he continues a #1 fwd pace.

As for AB Economy.
Looks like no oil railway to Alaska.

wolf8888

What happened?

fishman

Assuming Democrat win and veto by Biden??

OriginalPouzar

I agree that Phillip Broberg is a bit of a wild card and the 19 minutes plus per game in Skelefteea with PP time is a massive massive up arrow.

At the same time, he is 19 and Ken Holland is the Oilers GM – I really don’t see him impacting the NHL roster this coming season. Its not totally out of the realm of possibility but I think it remains a pretty big reach at this point.

If camps do open shortly after the World Juniors finish (which is when I think they will) and the AHL does start in early February, I think there may be a chance that Broberg gets assigned to the AHL as oppossed to send back over the Atlantic but I still think the likely scenario is he finishes his SHL season and we see him in March/April.

Elgin R

Is there enough need for Broberg this year? Because doing so would negate the long-term advantage. Leaving Broberg in Sweden this year means his contract slides. Therefore, when he makes the team for the 21/21 season, the Oilers will have a good defenseman on an ELC for the full three years. Advantage Holland.

OriginalPouzar

I agree – the potential for his contract to continue to slide is one of the factors in my presumption that he will not be in the NHL at the start of the upcoming season. Of course, is he does come to camp and blows the door off and clearly makes the team better in early games, well, that trumps ELC slide factors.
He could stay in North America after the World Juniors and play in the AHL and his contract would still slide…..

OriginalPouzar

I agree – the ELC sliding is certainly a factor
He could stay after the World Juniors and play in the AHL and his contract would still slide…..

OriginalPouzar

Quite a bit to digest in this write-up but, with Jones, we are on the same page and I have been positing for a while now that he is one of the main keys to the season.

While on the right side, I believe there are 3 d-man that are able to play top 4 minutes at 5 on 5. Each of Bear, Larsson and Barrie are fully capable of 20-23 minutes per night and a good 18 minutes at 5 on 5. In fact, subject to how things are working on the left side, I think there could be relative equal deployment of the three pairings at evens given the right side acumen.

With that said, as of right now, there is only one lock for top 4 ability on the left side and that is Darnell Nurse. Russell can handle 2LD minutes and comp in short stretches but its not ideal, in my opinion, and he will wear down in effectiveness with too many 5 on 5 minutes (as we’ve seen with him at 2RD) as he’ll be leaned up to pick up some Klefbom slack on the PP.

Can Caleb Jones handle 18 top 4 5 on 5 minutes per night – 30% TOI vs. elites? We saw him to a fantastic job in an 8-game stretch with Larsson last season but we haven’t seen him do it over the grind of a regular season and those are two different things.

If Jones can play the way he did with Larssson last year over the course of the season, subject to other injury issues, the defensive group will be an asset and will provide further options for team building going forward.

Jones is a key!

buck yoakam

well said!…I also have faith in lagesson and he might really surprise …The D corp for the oil as it stands is very promising

OriginalPouzar

We don’t know if Lagesson is a legit every day 3LD but its time to find out (and I’m still annoyed that Tip/Playfair didn’t take that opportunity last year and played Manning so much).

To have a player him at 4LD, the first injury replacement on the left side, is a solid option. He may not pass the test when the it come but he very well may. Shit, maybe he eats Rusty’s lunch at camp and slides in to opening night 3LD (unlikely, in particular given Rusty will be needed to pick up some Klef slack on the PK).

OriginalPouzar

Nice snipe by Maxim Denezhkin for a VHL goal…

https://twitter.com/Dylan_Griffing/status/1324037869732847620

Scungilli Slushy

Elgin R

Holland laid the law of the land recently.

He said all NHL players can play defensively if they want to do the work, that learning to do that was easier than learning how to score.

And that if they didn’t want to someone else would get the chance.

Shot across the bow for a few, particularly Kassian. If he wants the sweet gig as Connor’s RW, which I imagine is his to lose, he will have to support the line properly.

So maybe Kahun can slot in with Connor and Kassian, both wingers charged with playing 200 ft and supporting the best player on earth and getting all the points and props that come with that.

Holland did also say he sees Kahun getting a shot with Leon. Maybe because he is also a playmaker Yam won’t drop off a cliff if Nuge gets the tough gig being the defensive conscience, as always.

Last edited 11 months ago by Scungilli Slushy
defmn

Things are getting interesting on the island. NYI just signed Pulock for 2 years at an AAV of $5M according to Friedman leaving them with $4M to sign Barzal and one other to fill the roster to 23.

Anybody see an offer sheet coming?

Elgin R

First two forward lines are not OK. Hopefully Tippet learned from his mistake of breaking up the best line in hockey (DRY) and keeps them together. Kahun with McDavid.

Third line looks really good against the soft parade.

Forth line MUST include Archie for PK duties. Neither Neal or Chiasson have significant PK experience in their careers and played almost none under Tippet (both less than 17 seconds / game). Also, is Hass more capable than Khaira?
Neal / Chiasson – Khara / Hass – Archie

Caleb Jones had good advanced stats last year with PDO = 100.7 and Corsi/Fenwick relatives both positive. Sure it was mostly in a 3rd pairing role, but progression can be expected as he is 23 1/2 years old, not a 20 year old 2nd year player.

Oilers now have legitimate NHL players fighting for roles all over the roster. This is a team that finished 2nd in the Pacific and Holland has improved the team. Now up to Tippet and the players.

flyfish1168

Has there been any updates on Ethan? Are we just waiting to announce Oscar going on LTIR than use the money to sign Ethan? or should we start to worry just a little?

defmn

Holland told Spector or Matheson (I forget which) yesterday they were not close to contracts for either.

dustrock

https://theathletic.com/2153756/2020/11/04/nhl-worst-contracts-2020/

Dom on the 10 worst contracts in the NHL.

8 are defencemen.

Doughty #1 of course.
Vlasic
OEL
Trouba
Morrissey
Faulk
Matheson
Zaitsev

Don’t overpay your defencemen unless you’re really, really sure they are top pairing.

Larsson has to be gone if he won’t take a reasonable salary – but this will be his last kick at the can and he’ll want to extract as much value as possible.

Nurse they have to be very careful with.

Elgin R

Nurse needs to choose whether he wants to play for the Oilers (and win a cup) or go for the money. He cannot have both in Edmonton. More than $6m per year? See you when your team visits Edmonton Darnell.

What Nurse he did in the game against Calgary (Feb 1, 2020) is unacceptable. Other players, including the goalies, are fighting and there is Nurse standing around while Bear, Gagner etc (even Hass was in there) are standing up for the team. What is Nurse doing? Telling the other team’s goalie what Oiler player to fight. Nurse is overrated with respect to toughness. 2nd pairing player should get 2nd pairing money.

pts2pndr

I think that what Nurse will ask for and what will be fair value moving forward will become clearer after this season. I believe that Nurse will come in at 6.5 or thereabouts depending on term. Given the money coming off the books and given the economics at the time this is very doable. We fortunately have a number of young D coming up that should keep salaries reasonable, basic law of supply and demand. Nurse has Value! I think that setting a hard line at this time is unnecessary.

106 and 106

I think if Nurse didn’t tell Talbot to fight Smith, we would have all been robbed of something I will never forget. That headnod by Darnell was part of the story, too.

BONE207

I think we read somewhere that Adam likes it here & would sign a friendly contract. If that’s true, if he is healthy & if it’s for 3 years or so, he might still be of value to this team. This might mean he can play 2nd pairing if Nurse & Jones step forward. Lots in play this upcoming season.

Unfriendly Regional Arachnid Individual

How is Morrissey included on that list? He seems to be full value- or at least close- for his long term, 6.25mil contract.

Last edited 11 months ago by Unfriendly Regional Arachnid Individual
godot10

Yamamoto may be a lock for the top six to start the season, but he has hardly scored without both Draisaitl AND Nugent-Hopkins on his line, so he is hardly a lock for the top two lines, if Tippett insists on forcing Nugent-Hopkins to do McDavid’s checking.

One is assuming that Yamamoto can be the #2 on the top two lines, when all he has proven is that he can be a #3 in some situations on the top two lines.

The indicators are good that Yamamoto will be a legit #2 on the top two lines in the medium term, but one is hoping at this point.

106 and 106

He’s a stick-check wizard – his puck retrieval and takeaway skills are off the chart. Stealing pucks and feeding DRY will get him a good decade in YEG, hopefully.

JJS

A lot will hinge on Nurse’s development also

We haven’t spoken about this much but is he capable of stepping up or have we seen his ceiling?

If he can settle his feet and calm his passing/decision making, we may have a legitimate stud on our hands