Alberta Moon

by Lowetide
Photo by Mark Williams

There have been many roster changes since the train left the station opening night 2019-20, and the Oilers are closer to balance now than they have been in years. How close is this team to winning the Pacific Division? Making the final four?

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.

THE COFFEE KLATCH

Barry Boyd was a legendary broadcaster who had major career success in Edmonton and San Diego in his many years in the industry. Every week I knew him, he would invite me to the Sunday ‘coffee klatch’ he and his friends would have at Tim Horton’s in the west end.

I didn’t go often, but it was fun. I thought it might be an idea to name the conversations I have with the grumpy guy from time to time, but couldn’t call it “Rain Delay” even though the Bill James’ Abstract chapters inspired the back and forth I use here.

So Coffee Klatch it is.

Well, that happened! Yes, it was an unusual offseason.

Which crushing disappointment do you want to discuss first? I think we’re going to disagree on some things here.

They blew the first-round pick! It was not my choice (I had Holloway No. 25), Dawson Mercer has my No. 10 prospect and I do believe he’ll have a more productive offensive career. New Jersey drafted Mercer No. 18 and he’s off to a strong start in the QMJHL (5 games, 4-3-7) but Holloway has a story to tell.

Sure: “How I worked my way into the banking industry by playing hockey” Holloway scored nine points in his final 10 games of the season and was five or six years younger than some of the men in his league. I think we’ll get a much better idea about this player in the coming year. I don’t think he’ll push the river offensively upon reaching the NHL, he could be a fine complementary winger for 97 or 29 in a couple of years.

Why did they sign Tyson Barrie instead of inserting Evan Bouchard? Honestly, that’s the best question you’ve ever asked me. I expect it has to do with wanting to improve this coming season and wanting to make sure Bouchard is over-ready. I would argue there’s nothing left to prove, but I believe the management and coaches would like to see him get better in the ability to both stand up at the blue line and then beat the competition to the end boards in order to get the puck secure. I’m not sure Bouchard will ever be outstanding in this area and also believe he can flourish without that gear. I would have him on the opening night roster. Either way, Larsson and Barrie are a year from free agency so Bouchard is close. I would argue he should be on the opening night roster.

The best question I ever asked you was ‘why are you such a dink?’ can’t believe you forgot that one. Anyway, the rest of the draft was strong on skill. Carter Savoie is an excellent prospect, he’ll hit college and have success. If he can improve a little in terms of foot speed, could be two and done on his way to an NHL career. Tyler Tullio is also two years away from a pro career, love his season and can’t wait to see how much offense he can post this season. The other player to watch is Berezhkin, he could be a fast riser.

Holland blew it with the goaltending. It was a poor bet in signing Mike Smith based on his last two seasons. I think he gave himself a potential hurdle but he won’t sacrifice a season for goaltending. In fact, I can see the Oilers dealing for an Adin Hill as soon as training camp, and Anton Forsberg may also see action.

He did nothing to improve the skill lines. Well, actually he did quite a bit. A year ago, Riley Sheahan’s on-ice goal differential was 21-37 (-16). Kyle Turris with Tyler Ennis and Jesse Puljujarvi may give up 37 goals at even strength, but should put more in the GF column. Skill should be welcomed on all four lines, and since 2005 Mike Peca wasn’t waiting in the crawl space, I can understand what Holland is thinking here.

What are the biggest potential improvements? When Dave Tippett moved Leon Draisaitl to center, that opened things up. Holland grabbed some more wingers (Yamamoto from the farm, then Athanasiou and Ennis at the deadline, finally Ennis, Puljujarvi and Kahun in the offseason), opened things up. Holland also added Tyson Barrie in free agency, increasing the number of good-to-great outlet passers to three with Evan Bouchard on the way.

LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE

At 10 this morning, TSN1260, we’ll have live updates constantly on the Masters tournament. They’re back underway after a long rain delay. Reid Fowler from Draft Kings will join us at 10:20 to talk Masters and who we expect to see in the final group on Sunday. Frank Seravalli from TSN drops by for his weekly visit, sounds like there’s some progress to report on negotiations between the league and players. We’ll also talk to AJHL commissioner Ryan Bartoshyk about his league’s start to the 2020-21 season. Plus you could win $4,200 in the $20,000 Mystery Moment! 10-1260 text, @Lowetide on twitter.

93 comments
1

You may also like

4.6 11 votes
Article Rating
93 Comments
Oldest
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
pts2pndr

I really enjoyed your article this morning in the Athletic. I am of the belief that Barrie was brought on board as insurance for the right side because of Larsson’s back issues. While not being ideal as cover for Larson’s defensive responsibilities he does give a veteran presence and can cover second pairing right D. I do believe that during the season Lagesson will take over the third pairing right D. Of note is that Lagesson when paired with both Jones and Bear did very well and also played some first pairing minutes with both men in the AHL.

Darth Tu

I was heading to the comment section to pretty much say exactly this. Excellent point.

With Klefbom already out (probably for the year) we’re already down a minute munching defender that’s a plus player in our end. Larsson is a beast when healthy, but if he picks up any of those niggling injuries, or heaven forbid, a major back issue, we’d have been way too weak on the right side. Barrie is more of an offensive option but crucially if Larsson goes down will be able to play increased minutes without being exposed. At that point Bouchard can slot in on the 3rd pair.

Lagesson I have high hopes for, I’ve been a fan of his AHL work for the last few seasons and think he’s definitely ready to make the jump to the NHL. Likely he’ll be a penalty killing 3rd pair D man, and that has real value. Like you say he had success with both Bear and Jones in the AHL, so in a pinch if something screwy happens could possibly slide in as a 2nd pair defender for a few games if need be. I’m not saying he could stick there for any length of time, but we’ll not know what we have until he gets some more at bats.

I’m more than happy with the NHL D depth, especially considering the Klefbom injury. In years past if our best defender went down before the season started we’d already be talking about the draft lottery. Onward and upward!

BornInAGretzkyJersey

I’d say Jones is more likely to sub in at RD than Lagesson considering the amount of time he’s spent on his off-side. Not to mention being more familiar/capable at the NHL level.

Of course this is assuming an injury to an incumbent RD as Bouchard is the presumptive first call-up.

pts2pndr

That was an oops on my part re Lagesson At right D. First cup of coffee thing. Bouchard would get the call if Larsson goes down. Lagesson and Jones when playing together had Jones on the right side. Prior to acquiring Barrie the team would have been forced to use a rookie in the top four or a veteran playing their off side. I like the way this sets up moving into the 21/22 season but some tough decisions may have to be made.

jp

I haven’t read LT’s Athletic article or most of the comments here yet. But my first thoughts on ideal 20-21 pairings spits out:

Nurse-Barrie
Klefbom-Bear
Broberg-Bouchard

(maybe flip Bear/Bouchard to have more veteran presence for the youngest Dmen?).

Enough brawn and defensive acumen on the left to cover for 3 more offensive D on the right…

wolf8888

Well….according to Holland Klefbom is presumed out for the foreseeable future and he has stated that Broberg won’t come over until after their season so maybe a couple of adjustments required?

Last edited 14 days ago by wolf8888
jp

And only now I realize the upcoming season is 20-21. I was posting 2021-22 pairings, whoops.

I expect Larsson will remain an important piece for at least this season, and yes, Broberg likely won’t be available/ready for much of the upcoming campaign.

dessert1111

I always enjoy this style of article, thanks.

Overall, it looks like the plan is for some improvement and maintaining flexibility for next offseason when I imagine some bigger and or longer term decisions will be made. I think this is a fair approach, but the improvement needs to be sustainable – McDavid and Leon won’t be in their primes forever.

defmn

It was a poor bet in signing Mike Smith based on his last two seasons.

I’m going to push back on this a bit. Not because I think Smith was first choice or best choice but because I don’t think he was the worst choice either.

The argument I hear is that he is too old and his save % and GAA has been decreasing the last few years.

My argument is that he was too old at 35 to be counted on if ‘typical’ is the standard. I just fail to see how being 39 necessarily makes him any worse than being 38 and yet the Oilers were 2nd in the Pacific DIvision playing him in just over half the games last season.

Age ends every athlete’s career eventually. This could be Smith’s year. So could last year or the year before if the argument is simply based upon age.

The stronger argument is is Save % and GAA but to my mind those numbers are indicators more than arguments. The point of playing goal isn’t your GAA or Save % but to win games. Mine is the argument people often use to talk about forwards – nobody asks ‘how’ at the end of the season. They just ask ‘how many’.

And I will note that goalie is the only position on the ice where their name lines up with wins and losses.

So, to return to the last two years where Smith’s GAA and Save % both dropped lets look at the win – loss records as well. The numbers that probably matter most to the team and the HC if we are being honest.

David Rittich started 42 games for Calgary in 2018-19 and won 27, lost 9 and lost 5 more in OT.

Smith started 40 games and won 23, lost 16 and lost two more in OT.

In 2019-20 Koskinen started 37 games and won 19, lost 12 and lost another 6 in OT.

Smith started 34 games and won 18, lost 13 and lost another 3 in OT.

Rittich’s Save % was .911 and his GAA was 2.61 compared to Smith’s abysmal .898 and 2.72 behind a strong defence but Smith still provided 23 wins to Rittich’s 27.

The story was much the same last year in Edmonton. Koskinen’s numbers were much stronger – .917 & 2.75 to Smith’s .902 & 2.95 – but the numbers that record how many points went into the win column – the numbers that actually matter at the end of the season – were remarkably similar.

In the end I understand the push back. This blog maintains a focus on numbers that it thinks predict the future better than the basic counting numbers that casual fans glance at. And a fair amount of time that turns out to be true. But they are just prognosticators and as with all statistical models they are most accurate in the centre rather than at the tails.

I think Holland, Tippett and his teammates care less about his GAA or Save % than they do about his win-loss record. At the end of the season they won’t care about how he won – just how many.

dustrock

Wasn’t Smith’s 5v5 save percentage poor? The worry I have about the Oilers is they drop from their oustanding PP/PK percentages and have to win more at 5v5. The forwards should be better, but are they good enough? If they can be league average at 5v5 for an entire season I’d argue they’ll easily make the playoffs, but goaltending comes into this and I don’t trust Smith.

defmn

I think not trusting Smith is reasonable. I think not trusting Smith last year was also reasonable and the Oilers ended up in 2nd place in the Pacific. I think not trusting Smith the year before that at age 36-37 was also reasonable and the Flames came in 12th in the league.

All I am saying is that not trusting older guys with declining numbers is quite normal. But Smith keeps winning games at a level that puts him ahead of a lot of backup goalies in the league who make a lot more money.

Underlying numbers tell a story. Winning also has a story to tell.

It’s not just ‘how’ it’s also ‘how many’.

buck yoakam

Do you think that smiths puck handling also contributes to his rather healthy numbers on the PK?…I would be more worried that Koski’s confidence is more shaken as we continue to find a different or more productive 1A

defmn

I think the goaltending remains a project for future improvement. I’m just not sure that Smith is the down beat that sinks the team though I am sure that he and Koskinen are not the pair that can take them to the top.

I read a lot of comments here about the young dmen arriving being used to improve the forwards but my suspicion is that Holland is looking for a goalie in return for whichever dman he decides to move.

But not this year. Next off season after the expansion draft leaves more than a few teams short of a top 4.

Last edited 14 days ago by defmn
oilersjo

I wonder how the dmen feel about smith saving them a lot of hits by his puck handling skills. It may be an adventure but he saves them some punishment.

jp

I’ve always enjoyed your Coffee Klatch posts, now they have a name. Another good one today!

Tarkus

If LT’s alter-ego adopted a curly wig and a Jewish accent, this could be Coffee Talk With Linda Richman. #ImGettingVerklempt

jp

That would certainly bring a different dynamic 🙂

cowboy bill

It’s going to be interesting to see if all these young D-men the Oilers have accumulated (Lagesson , Bouchard , Samarukov & Broberg) can impact the team in the coming season .
All four of them can play either side excepting Bouchard . But who knows ? So I’m going to suggest that all of them can step in an play at the NHL level , if the Oiler blue line is riddled with injury in the up coming season . All they need is a chance to shine .

OriginalPouzar

Come home from just an epic workout all excited to listen to Frank S. on the Lowedown knowing the Board of Governors are being updated today and the NHLPA executive committee is meeting – hoping for some sort of news on the path forward and all I get from Frank is doom and gloom – rising cases all over the US, likely lockdowns and needs to day, needing to delay to get fans in the stands, etc., etc.

With that said, Gary is still pressing for early January….

OriginalPouzar

I agree with Ty on the show this morning, I can see the Oilers winning the division (all-Canadian and, frankly, even the Pacific – eff Vegas) but i could also see them slide to the middle of the pack if a few things break the wrong way.

I also didn’t want Holloway on draft day but I was uneducated and have changed my tune reading/watching Wheeler’s piece and learning about his skill set which, to me, lines up almost perfectly for what I think McDavid needs on his left wing.

Develop Dylan, develop – take your time but don’t take too long…..

OriginalPouzar

I don’t think the Barrie signing was a decision not to insert Bouchard but a decision (a) slightly delay the insertion of Bouchard, (b) ensure there isn’t simply no other option but inserting Bouchard and (c) ensuring the insertion doesn’t come with an injury bump up the lineup prematurely (see Justin Schultz. see Darnell Nurse rookie season).

On a related note, listening to the Oil Spill this morning and Gazzola did drop a little tidbit that he knows management explored moving Larsson heading in to free agency. Clearly that exploration was about cap space and not a dislike for Larsson or a non-appreciation for his value to the team. Could also be an acknowledgement of Bouchard being damn close to ready.

defmn

I think Larsson is playing somewhere else next year. Barrie, Bear and Bouchard on the right side with some size and bite on the left to balance the pairings.

OriginalPouzar

Largest improvement might come from (a) legit LW for McDavid helping him with the goal share – be it Nuge or Kahun (or Ennis stepping in for stints) and (b) a more legit bottom 6 with players slotted in proper positions – its no longer two 4th lines but a legit bottom 6, shit, maybe even two third lines if Neal/Chiasson play on a 4th line and are as effective as they were together last season.

Not to mention, depth at the bottom of the roster and the potential ability to “load manage” – give guys like Neal a day off to ensure freshness, give Archie the odd day off given his style is heavier than his body, give Haas games off as, well, he’s slight for the grind of the NHL.

ArmchairGM

You touch on a good point. We all look to the improvements to the 3rd line – and rightfully so, Holland has done some good work there – but the potential for a greatly improved 1st line is going to be impactful too. McDavid sported a 50.00 GF% from January 1st onwards, while Draisaitl was at 67.35 during that period. I’m pretty sure the LD number will regress to the high fifties, but so too should the McDavid number. If the Oilers went .638 in 2020 with just one “outscoring” line (Haas was at 50.00 also), how good can they be with three? Especially if the 4th line isn’t giving up goals at the rate that Sheahan did (31.03 GF%).

OriginalPouzar

After giving up 2 goals in a win earlier this week, Eddie Pasquale kept his net and got the start today. He gave up another 2 (on 28 shots) in a 2-1 LOSS – maybe Konovalov can get a game now…..

leadfarmer

I think as the league tries to pack in as many games as possible and players being in and out of the lineup with + tests and close contact quarantines. I think 4 full defensive pairs are going to be a bare minimum to get through the season. And thats before injuries

pts2pndr

Depending on how they schedule it you could be correct. It is my thought that you are going to see a less onerous travel schedule which should help reduce the wear and tear on the body. If we have an all Canadian division it will be interesting to see how the travel affects our eastern rivals. By my own experience it is much easier east to west than vice versa.

JimmyV1965

I’m surprised we haven’t heard any discussion about ads on jerseys. It seems like a logical next move and a golden opportunity to generate new revenue. Fans might not like it, but they would be more willing to forgive right now. 

OriginalPouzar

pts2pndr

I really enjoyed your article this morning in the Athletic. I am of the belief that Barrie was brought on board as insurance for the right side because of Larsson’s back issues.

While not being ideal as cover for Larson’s defensive responsibilities he does give a veteran presence and can cover second pairing right D. I do believe that during the season Lagesson will take over the third pairing right D. Of note is that Lagesson when paired with both Jones and Bear did very well and also played some first pairing minutes with both men in the AHL.

With respect, I can’t imagine Lagesson playing on the right side. I’m not sure why they’d ask the inexperienced Lagesson to play his off-side when there are other legit options.

To the extent there is an injury on the right side to one of Barrie, Bear or Larsson, I think the question will be:

(1) do they simply call-up Bouchard and insert the top RD prospect that is NHL ready in to the lineup; or

(2) do they shift one of Jones or Russell over to the right side and insert the current 7D, Willie Lagesson, who is also NHL ready and chomping at the bit in to the lineup.

pts2pndr

Sorry OP that was my oops as I just explained. Acquiring Barrie had more to do with having veteran cover in the event of an injury to Larsson. Lagesson would not be a consideration for the right side except as a last resort.

OriginalPouzar

No need to apologize kind sir.

OriginalPouzar

jp

I haven’t read LT’s Athletic article or most of the comments here yet. But my first thoughts on ideal 20-21 pairings spits out:

Nurse-Barrie

Klefbom-Bear

Broberg-Bouchard

(maybe flip Bear/Bouchard to have more veteran presence for the youngest Dmen?).

Enough brawn and defensive acumen on the left to cover for 3 more offensive D on the right…

2020/21 or 2021/22?

I know there is talk about Broberg on the roster for the up coming season (and I think Al may have intimated the same at The Athletic this morning – haven’t had a chance to read the piece yet), but, frankly, I don’t imagine Broberg is on the opening night roster.

I know we are all enthused about his play at camp and the great offensive start to the season in Skelefteea but, at the end of the day, we are talking about a 19 year old d-man, with all but zero real experience with North America (and the ice and the game) that is having a solid development year with an impressive increase in ice time but is still having an up and down season as a 2nd pairing guy in Sweden.

I don’t imagine he’s NHL ready and definitely not without some AHL acclimatization time.

Just last week Holland said the plan is for him to finish off the season in Skelefteea and likely to come over after. I would anticipate an AHL assignment at that time.

Broberg is an important prospect and he should be developed with patience and reason. There is no need to try and fast-track him to the NHL as a teenager, the organization has depth and real NHL players ahead of him.

I imagine 15 games in the AHL to finish off 2020/21 would be a great help for him and would give him a real shot at the 2021/22 opening night roster (although I anticipate he may be a “call-up” in that year as well).

jp

Yes, my mistake (indicated above as well, though I can’t edit my original comment).

Those were my thoughts on possible 21-22 pairings.

I think Larsson will be an Oiler through this season. And I do not expect Broberg to be a regular this year.

OriginalPouzar

I figured you meant 2021/22 – agreed.

slopitch

I still think Keumper could be had. Makes 5.5m next in 21-22 and has a 4.5 cap hit. Could see Zona wanting out of paying that.

ArmchairGM

Sure, but how do you fit him in? And while he’s (at best) a slight upgrade on Koskinen, you can’t have both for 21-22 due to the expansion draft.

slopitch

Move salary or fit him in midseason or at the deadline.

I dont trust koskinen. His 906/917 sp the last 2 years doesnt stack up vs Kuempers 925/928. Thats a bigger gap than Koskinen vs Smith.

ArmchairGM

I think recent research indicated that HDSV% was a better indication of future performance and was linked to goalie contracts too.

2019-20, 5v5
MK: .851
DK: .841

2019-20, All Situations
MK: .838
DK: .834

Kuemper has a longer record of plus performance to go by, but I’m not convinced he’s an upgrade on Koskinen. We should be looking for an upgrade for Smith rather than throwing out Koskinen for no reason at all.

slopitch

Oh I’d def replace Smith before Kosk. It would be a pricey tandem but good. Id explore it now but likely a deadline move.

Harpers Hair

Gord Miller (@GMillerTSN) Tweeted:
How’s this for a road trip? Arizona State’s hockey team @SunDevilHockey are playing a 28 game schedule against Big 10 teams this season…all away games. They leave tomorrow for an 8 game, 22 day trip.

https://twitter.com/GMillerTSN/status/1326997925021544448?s=20

leadfarmer

They should be happy Big 10 adopted them

OriginalPouzar

defmn

I think Larsson is playing somewhere else next year. Barrie, Bear and Bouchard on the right side with some size and bite on the left to balance the pairings.

You very well could be right, although:

1) to the extent Barrie works out like expected this year – handling 30% TOI vs elites with positive goal share, apx 50 points, etc., what he normally does, I’m not sure how Holland handles his need for a term contract of $5M plus – entering his 30s; and

2) assuming Bouchard continues to progress, I’m not sure Barrie for term is the “need” on the right side to go along with Bear and Bouchard – lots of puck moving and PP acumen there.

Tyson Barrie aside, assuming Larsson is healthy this year and near his 2017 and 2020 forms, I wouldn’t be against a re-sign but it would have to be at a pretty drastic AAV cut on the premise that, instead of being 1RD/2RD he’ll be 2RD/3RD as Bouchard eventually moves up the depth chart. Not sure Larsson will sign for $2.5M per.

defmn

I’m not sure how Holland handles his need for a term contract of $5M plus

It’s all just speculation for fun but imo Larsson’s 4.166 M is gone and Barrie picks up maybe 1.5 M of that to go to 5.25 M and Bouchard’s ELC still leaves some over for other things such as a raise for Bear if he gets squeezed on a one year this season as seems likely.

Klef’s health leaves a cloud over things for sure since we still have no idea whether he shows up for TC or announces his retirement or something in between but change is coming on the back end the season after this for sure imo.

Last edited 14 days ago by defmn
ArmchairGM

Yeah, there’s some room in 21-22 due to ELC’s and expiring deals. I’d like to think Bear and Russell’s deals dovetail ($1.25M for Bear in 20-21 and $4M thereafter); Barrie and Larsson go to UFA saving $7.9M; and Bouchard takes the 3RD spot in the lineup. Net result: $7.05M in cap savings and one spot open on the right side. Ergo:

Nurse – Bear
Klefbom – x
Jones – Bouchard
Russell
(ignoring the expansion draft for the moment.)

If Jones proves capable of playing 2nd pairing and Broberg is ready for a regular gig, one of the veteran LHD can be moved for further savings.

$7.05M is more than enough for Barrie on a 3-year deal. The question is: how much will it take to sign Dougie Hamilton?

Last edited 14 days ago by ArmchairGM
defmn

Or a goalie?

ArmchairGM

Konovalov will sign for under $900k.

pts2pndr

What players get on contracts will depend on revenue for the abbreviated season assuming there is one. Best case scenario is not looking great and any new vaccines will take minimum of six to nine months minimum to allow anywhere close to normal attendance at arenas. The demand will be such that my estimate might be way too optimistic given that priorities will be given according to health risk.

pts2pndr

Given a flat cap or deflation for the next three to four years it will be interesting to see the ramifications on salaries. The only D that I see getting over 6.5 will be true number one D man and this will probably top out at 7.5. It will be a long time before we see a Doughty eleven million multi year contract. I would guess that salaries may go down a little more next year before levelling out and slowly recovering. Much depends on how the balance of the 21/21 abbreviated season plays out financially.

defmn

That sounds right to me. The question of when government will allow leagues to have fans back in is a totally different question than when will fans feel comfortable enough that they will fill arenas again.

OriginalPouzar

ArmchairGM

You touch on a good point. We all look to the improvements to the 3rd line – and rightfully so, Holland has done some good work there – but the potential for a greatly improved 1st line is going to be impactful too. McDavid sported a 50.00 GF% from January 1st onwards, while Draisaitl was at 67.35 during that period. I’m pretty sure the LD number will regress to the high fifties, but so too should the McDavid number. If the Oilers went .638 in 2020 with just one “outscoring” line (Haas was at 50.00 also), how good can they be with three? Especially if the 4th line isn’t giving up goals at the rate that Sheahan did (31.03 GF%).

Agreed completely – You are expressing the same opinion that I have been for months now – McDavid wasn’t winning the goal battle in 2020.

The team was winning due to an unsustainable 77% goal share from the Drai line and elite special teams (and a historically good PP was likely also not sustainable).

I understand the criticism Coach T. got for moving Nuge and breaking up the best line in the world but I understand the reasons behind it. McDavid needed some help in order to win the goal share – his line was leaking goals against. Realistically, the team has no sustained playoff success without the McDavid line being an outscoring line. The team should have both McDavid and Drai leading to 55%-60% goal share lines.

Don’t get me wrong, I really wish that Coach T. had another option other than a Nuge shift but the other options weren’t working.

Kahun should change that dynamic this year.

OriginalPouzar

Kahun with the snipe:

https://twitter.com/redbullmuenchen/status/1326964100992278533?s=21

a goal and 2 apples in a 3-2 win.

Benson with an assist to keep up his point per game pace.

OriginalPouzar

As per John Shannon, the Board of Governors meeting is over but there will be no official information released in connection therewith.

As anticipated, it seems like the meeting was more of a league update to the board on where they are at and their current plans (as oppossed to any sort of official negotation/agreement/etc.).

defmn

BTW – and not that anybody asked but this current version of the new format is, for me, the most user friendly since the changeover.

Thank you Ryan for all your work.

OriginalPouzar

pts2pndr

That was an oops on my part re Lagesson At right D. First cup of coffee thing. Bouchard would get the call if Larsson goes down. Lagesson and Jones when playing together had Jones on the right side. Prior to acquiring Barrie the team would have been forced to use a rookie in the top four or a veteran playing their off side. I like the way this sets up moving into the 21/22 season but some tough decisions may have to be made.

Yes, this makes more sense to me although it will be interesting to see what happens with the first RD injury hits – does Bouch get called up and inserted as 3RD or does one of Jones or Russell shift over and Lagesson get inserted on the left side?

Both Lagesson and Bouch are NHL ready and likely ready for the opportunity.

Additional factor could be calling up Bouch (assuming he’s off the roster to start the year, takes up cap which they may not have….)

OriginalPouzar

Seravelli pointing out one interesting potential that came out of the NHLPA Executive call today – as oppossed to a pro-rating of salaries down for this season, the players are expecting the ask to be for an additional deferral to aid with owner cash flow for this season.

We know the players are already deferring 10% of this year’s comp (which is mandated to paid in 2-3 years) – this would be an additional deferral. A better result for the players (as they do eventually get their “full comp” for this season) and the owners are, essentially, paying the players in full for this year (minus the 18% escrow which they are already owned) but delaying out certain of the payments.

If this goes through, its another big give by the owners – paying the player in full even though they are “working less”.

defmn

The one good thing that may come out of this horrible situation is a new level of trust & cooperation between the league and the players who have had to find a way to keep the league viable through this.

OriginalPouzar

You could be right.

We’ll see where they come out over the next few weeks and how contentious it is.

The return to play in the summer didn’t have the financial negotiations and implications that the two sides currently have to work for. The players were already paid for the season – the revenue was, essentially, extra revenue.

For the season, the owners are looking at paying players to play with massively decreased revenues.

OriginalPouzar

Samorukov played over 19 minutes today (second most on the team) and was plus 2 in the 5-3 win.

Broberg had a couple shots but ended up -1 in a 4-2 win – he played 15 minutes and, from accounts, was stapled to the bench for a stint (a very high event game for him apparently).

Broberg is a fantastic prospect and does seem to be developing a bit quicker than initial expectations – the arrows are great this year but projecting him in NHL games as a teenager seems a bit aggressive to me.

defmn

Loving what I am hearing about Samorukov in the KHL so far this year. I know he is ‘3rd string’ behind Bouchard & Broberg but he is still a guy I think has a NHL career in him and I expect him to arrive at some point in 2021-2022.

Not sure if you saw it or not but Staples was singing the praises of Lennstrom today as well off of viewing his play in a recent game.

OriginalPouzar

dessert1111

I always enjoy this style of article, thanks.

Overall, it looks like the plan is for some improvement and maintaining flexibility for next offseason when I imagine some bigger and or longer term decisions will be made. I think this is a fair approach, but the improvement needs to be sustainable – McDavid and Leon won’t be in their primes forever.

I would posit that they aren’t in their primes even yet.

Sure, their offensive primes, and they’ll be in those for 3-4 years (maybe more as elite players hang on to offensive primes longer) but they are both improving in their overall games.

For example, I believe Leon has the ability to be an absolutely dominant 2-way player – keeping the elite offensive production that he drives but also to be Huburdeau like in all areas of the ice. He was that player in October but cumulative fatigue from too many minutes led to him, well, being terrible in December but oveall less effective in certain areas of the ice – part of that is on the coach playing him too many minutes (i.e. too much on the PK early) but part is on Drai via his own shift management.

McDavid will undoubtably improve in defensive recognition and, he is so smart offensively, he’ll find ways to create offence even in those games where the officials allow the opposition to clog him in the neutral zone.

jp

OriginalPouzar

 November 12, 2020 2:41 pm

“ArmchairGM
You touch on a good point. We all look to the improvements to the 3rd line – and rightfully so, Holland has done some good work there – but the potential for a greatly improved 1st line is going to be impactful too. McDavid sported a 50.00 GF% from January 1st onwards, while Draisaitl was at 67.35 during that period. I’m pretty sure the LD number will regress to the high fifties, but so too should the McDavid number. If the Oilers went .638 in 2020 with just one “outscoring” line (Haas was at 50.00 also), how good can they be with three? Especially if the 4th line isn’t giving up goals at the rate that Sheahan did (31.03 GF%).”

Agreed completely – You are expressing the same opinion that I have been for months now – McDavid wasn’t winning the goal battle in 2020. 

The team was winning due to an unsustainable 77% goal share from the Drai line and elite special teams (and a historically good PP was likely also not sustainable).

I understand the criticism Coach T. got for moving Nuge and breaking up the best line in the world but I understand the reasons behind it. McDavid needed some help in order to win the goal share – his line was leaking goals against. Realistically, the team has no sustained playoff success without the McDavid line being an outscoring line. The team should have both McDavid and Drai leading to 55%-60% goal share lines.

Don’t get me wrong, I really wish that Coach T. had another option other than a Nuge shift but the other options weren’t working.

Kahun should change that dynamic this year.

My take has been that the Draisaitl regression (from impossible) and the McDavid regression (from 50%) even each other out.

Draisaitl + McDavid ON ice in the last 30 games were 52GF-38GA (58.7%GF). Tough to expect more than that from them on the whole.

Given that one or the other played 65% of the teams 5v5 minutes (about 33 of 50.5 minutes per game) it would set the Oilers up pretty damn well if McDavid/Draisaitl can manage those kinds of results again.

jp

OriginalPouzar

 November 12, 2020 2:33 pm

“defmn
I think Larsson is playing somewhere else next year. Barrie, Bear and Bouchard on the right side with some size and bite on the left to balance the pairings.
You very well could be right, although:”

1) to the extent Barrie works out like expected this year – handling 30% TOI vs elites with positive goal share, apx 50 points, etc., what he normally does, I’m not sure how Holland handles his need for a term contract of $5M plus – entering his 30s; and

2) assuming Bouchard continues to progress, I’m not sure Barrie for term is the “need” on the right side to go along with Bear and Bouchard – lots of puck moving and PP acumen there.

Tyson Barrie aside, assuming Larsson is healthy this year and near his 2017 and 2020 forms, I wouldn’t be against a re-sign but it would have to be at a pretty drastic AAV cut on the premise that, instead of being 1RD/2RD he’ll be 2RD/3RD as Bouchard eventually moves up the depth chart. Not sure Larsson will sign for $2.5M per.

If I’m guessing, Barrie will be the Oilers most used RD this season at 5v5.

Tippett is going to want to get him out there with the McDavid and Draisaitl lines to utilize on his 5v5 offense. And if he meshes with the team I think it’s highly likely he gets re-signed (very likely for longer and for more than many will be happy with, Krug got 7X$6.5M this off season, after all).

The other responses to your post show the money could work, I think. And having that kind of player on the team could sure help the forwards out compared to what (say) Russell and Larsson bring in the offensive end.

I don’t see an issue with a Barrie/Bear/Bouchard right side if the lefties are a little bit steadier/stronger (as would be the case with Nurse/Klefbom/Broberg). Maybe there’s room for Jones/Lagesson/Samorukov in there too.

defmn

So many unknowns at the moment. Kraken expansion draft, Klef’s health, Jones baptism under fire this season. Sammy & Broberg’s progression.

I mentioned Lennstrom as well just because Staples was oozing praise earlier today.

Change is coming within 12 months.

jp

Yup, true enough.

Change (on D) is about the only thing we can count on.

pts2pndr

Let’s hope we get the change correct! In Holland we trust.😇

OriginalPouzar

defmn

Loving what I am hearing about Samorukov in the KHL so far this year. I know he is ‘3rd string’ behind Bouchard & Broberg but he is still a guy I think has a NHL career in him and I expect him to arrive at some point in 2021-2022.

Not sure if you saw it or not but Staples was singing the praises of Lennstrom today as well off of viewing his play in a recent game.

I think I’m more bullish on Sammy than you are – I’d be surprised f he doesn’t have an NHL career and I think he’s got legit top 4 potential – his skill-set is very broad – it’s a matter of how many of those skills he can develop and translate to the NHL level.

I think his season and progression in the AHL last year has been a bit under-rated – 100% he struggled early but that was to be expected – he really did start to find traction mid-season and started making smarter and better decisions. He then had that facial injury and, when he returned, the team was a tire-fire and he never regained that traction.

He’s stepped up to top pairing on a very good KHL team and is among the league leaders in goal share – his current season is a massive pop in my opinion.

————–

Yup, I read Staples piece and actually chatted with him about it on twitter a bit earlier. It was good to read as his box-cars seemed to reflect a slow start to the year – hence the caveat about relying on simple numbers.

I think Lennstrom should be a legit top 4 in the AHL this year when we start up – him and Niemelainan could be the top two on the left side.

OriginalPouzar

dustrock

Wasn’t Smith’s 5v5 save percentage poor? The worry I have about the Oilers is they drop from their oustanding PP/PK percentages and have to win more at 5v5. The forwards should be better, but are they good enough? If they can be league average at 5v5 for an entire season I’d argue they’ll easily make the playoffs, but goaltending comes into this and I don’t trust Smith.

Smith was among the worst goalies in the league in 5 on 5 save percentage but was the best for 4 on 5 save percentage. Mikko was 8th (I believe) at 4 on 5 save percentage.

I think there is almost no doubt the special teams will regress, both of them. I believe a plus PP is generally sustainable yearly but I think the numbers show much for flux in the PK (and we’ve seen the Oilers’ PK swing from year to year). Even so, the PP produced at historic rates and, while it should still be near the top of the league, I don’t think its reasonable to project a drop of at least a few percentage points which makes a difference.

The Oilers will need to be a better 5 on 5 team and I think they very much should be.

The bottom six has gone from 2 fourth lines (or even a fourth and a fifth) to a legit 3rd and 4th line, maybe even two 3rd lines, with legit fill-in depth – at least on paper. They may not outscore but they should be MUCH closer to saw-off than last year.

On the other hand Drai/Yamo won’t produce at 77% like we say in 2020, with or without Nuge but, again, the addition of Kahun should solidify the LW in the top 6 and really help to have two legit material outscoring lines.

McDavid must be on a material outscoring line for this team to have success and I predict he will be.

Harpers Hair

Greg Wyshynski (@wyshynski) Tweeted:
NHL teams playing in own arenas for 20-21 is gaining steam. Sponsorship $$$ are one reason. Belief that, depending on how scheduling works, they could get more games in that way. Fears are hub plan could lead to more down days with teams periodically leaving for home. (1/2)

https://twitter.com/wyshynski/status/1327062291771248644?s=20

OriginalPouzar

cowboy bill

It’s going to be interesting to see if all these young D-men the Oilers have accumulated (Lagesson , Bouchard , Samarukov & Broberg) can impact the team in the coming season .

All four of them can play either side excepting Bouchard . But who knows ? So I’m going to suggest that all of them can step in an play at the NHL level , if the Oiler blue line is riddled with injury in the up coming season . All they need is a chance to shine .

With respect, I think the above is a bit aggresive. While I believe both Lagesson and Bouchard will impact the NHL lineup this season (as the current 7D and 8D), I don’t think Sammy or Broberg are there yet.

Sammy may be closer than Broberg in my opinion (which makes sense given a full AHL season and now a pop in an even better league (arguably) for developing d-men. With that said, he is not at liberty to play in the NHL until the KHL season is over – he could potentially see some games later in the year.

Broberg, in my opinion, is simply not ready. He’s starting to struggle a bit, with uneven performances in the SHL, and his ice time has been reduced (and he was benched for a bit today). He is having a nice season of development but don’t think he’s as close as many others are projecting. Holland said just last week he plans for Broberg to finish the season in Skelefteea but he could come over when its done. So, again, subject to a huge surprise, he won’t be on the opening night roster. I would also suggest that, when he does come over, the AHL will be the best place for him. He’s never played real games in North America – finishing the season in the AHL would be a great learning tool for him to get ready for 2021/22 where he could challenge for an opening night roster spot.

I would also suggest that a d-man playing their offside in any league other than the NHL should be taken with a bit of trepidation. The NHL is the fastest league in the world and there are few that don’t lose at least some effectiveness on their off-side in the NHL.

Caleb Jones spent most of his AHL time on his off-side and he is one with solid footwork that helps in the regard – he has still proven to be MUCH better on his left side than the right.

Harpers Hair

A further note on KHL contracts:

The contracts do not expire until the World Championships are concluded.

This may or may not be a factor this upcoming season.

OriginalPouzar

Has anyone figured out a way to watch the two Wisconsin games this weekend in Canada? I’ve generally found a way to stream college games on the TSN Ap (lots of Marody games at Michigan – fine, Quinn Hughes games, really) but am having trouble getting set up for the game tomorrow.

The game is on NBC Sports but that’s not available in Canada.

Harpers Hair

Get a VPN and subscribe to NBCSN.

OriginalPouzar

I was looking in to that – not sure exactly how to do that but I’ll figure it out.

Tks.

Side

Check out ExpressVPN. It’s one of the pricier VPNs but it has very fast speeds and is incredibly simple to use and is secure.

It’s honestly as simple as:

1) purchase a subscription
2) install on compatible devices (android/ios/pc/etc)
3) launch the program (or app)
4) select a region (Seattle for example)
5) press connect and there, now your device will put out an IP address based out of the region you selected and should now be able to browse region locked content

OriginalPouzar

Ivy League confirms what he pretty much already new: no hockey season.

Mr. Kemp – feel like signing an AHL contract?

https://ivyleague.com/news/2020/11/12/general-ivy-league-outlines-intercollegiate-athletics-plans-no-competition-for-winter-sports.aspx

OriginalPouzar

OriginalPouzar

As per John Shannon, the Board of Governors meeting is over but there will be no official information released in connection therewith.

As anticipated, it seems like the meeting was more of a league update to the board on where they are at and their current plans (as oppossed to any sort of official negotation/agreement/etc.).

A little more on return to play.

I think most of were anticipating some sort of hub model to start the season – teams fly in to one hub city and play a bunch of games over a 2 or so week stretch and then head back home for family time and practice.

I’d heard/read that some owners would prefer to play in their buildings but Seravelli put out a piece at TSN tonight that indicated it seemed to be a fairly strong preference among many.

Not only is it expensive to do the hubs (probably much less so than the bubbles though) but there are things like arena naming rights that require a certain amount of events, etc.

Seems like the owners, as a group, would prefer playing in their own arenas – probably more of a baseball like format where there would be multiple game series. They would also be able to get some fans in some arenas based on local restrictions and protocols.

Early days, but not that early. Going to be a very new/speculation based couple weeks.

Sorry guys (and gals) if you don’t like or want these tidbits – I’m not sure.

defmn

Thanks for the updates OP. Saves me the trouble of tracking down the stories elsewhere.

OriginalPouzar

No problem.

OK, cool, at least a few want the info.

jp

Definitely appreciated from here too.

OriginalPouzar

Harpers Hair

A further note on KHL contracts:

The contracts do not expire until the World Championships are concluded.

This may or may not be a factor this upcoming season.

Standard KHL contracts expire on April 30.

With a player like Samorukov, who has an NHL contract but is loan to a KHL team, I’m not certain if he can come back to the AHL once the KHL season is over or if he has to wait until May.

Ryan

Bias is a funny thing.

Saw him good…

Whenever we think of Bear’s shotcomings defensively, it’s counterbalanced with recollections of those thread the needle passes to 97 in full flight.

Holland also added Tyson Barrie in free agency, increasing the number of good-to-great outlet passers to three with Evan Bouchard on the way.

Bear
Barrie
Bouchard

Win or lose, that would be worth the price of admission most nights with 97 on the roster.

Just think of those outlet passes. Every time 97 stepped on the ice, there’d be passes on the tape.

defmn

And this is why I think Holland hopes/intends to sign Barrie and Larsson is moved or allowed to walk at the end of his contract.

I think Tippett and Holland see this team as built for speed and offence with two of the best centres in the league already here. Barrie fits into that more so than Larsson.

jp

Was thinking the same.

It might (might) not be the best path to winning, but it’d sure make for a fun ride.

OriginalPouzar

If its the path they take, I hope its the right path to winning.

Ideally, sure, I’d take high scoring runs to Stanley Cups but I’d take lower scoring runs to Stanley Cups over high scoring mediocrity.

As I mentioned earlier, I’d have lots of time for Larsson on a re-sign (2-3 years) at a vastly reduced price on the premise that he’d be 3RD for much of the contract and a 2RD fill-in. Of course, if he’s healthy this year and resembles 2017 and 2020 Larsson. He’s not that old and should have some good years left if healthy.

I’m not sure it happens as he could probably get a bigger contract that what makes sense for this team going forward (in the role he would play).

Maybe Barrie is a part of the future but he’s 30 after this season and, if he warrants a re-sign based on his play, it likely to be for 5 years plus (just guessing). He’s a year and half older than Larsson and I think his re-sign would be for much longer. Its a risk

defmn

I agree Barrie comes with risk but I don’t see Larsson signing for the kind of money a 3RD would warrant either.

I think Holland has a different vision of how he wants the back end to operate than Chiarelli did.

defmn

It’s going to test Tippett’s coaching skills to teach this group of forwards to play an all round game at both ends of the ice but I like what I see in terms of direction.

And his two first round picks kind of give a clue as to how he sees the game going, no?

Georgexs

Here’s how Leon has done at 5v5 away from CMD.

Season, TOI w/o CMD, GF-GA, GF%

15-16, 1047, 46-43, 51.7
16-17, 501, 19-24, 44.2
17-18, 628, 28-38, 42.4
18-19, 572, 17-29, 37.0
19-20, 610, 35-26, 57.4

In 15-16, Leon was playing with Hall and managed to keep his head above water even with CMD missing a big chunk of the season. Hall has been consistently good at 5v5 throughout his career, playing on some stinky Oilers and Devils teams.

In 19-20, Leon with RNH and w/o KY went 5-7 and Leon with KY and w/o RNH went 1-4. W/o either of them, Leon went 35-43. Playing with the both of them, Leon went 28-8. There was only one combination that unlocked the Leon 5v5 lock.

I think Tippett didn’t quite understand what he’d stumbled into with that line. He assumed things about Leon (and KY). There was no reason for him to believe Leon will win his 5v5 minutes with any old combination of players. Ask TMac. He doesn’t have that history.

In the past 10 years (11 actually), the Oilers have won at 5v5 just once: the playoff year. We finished 7th.

Tippett’s team finished 25th. The Oilers were actually 28th in 2019. But they zoomed up to 11th in 2020 once the Drai-RNH-KY line was formed. That’s Everest for recent versions of this franchise.

Because of regression to the mean, we can expect the Oilers PK to be worse (they finished 2nd) and we can expect the Oilers PP to be worse (they finished 1st).

But the team has been so stubbornly bad at 5v5 that it defies the regression to the mean suggested by the low year to year correlation of 5v5 GF% for teams. We can’t just expect to coast back to around the middle at 5v5.

Tippett didn’t fix 5v5 in 19-20. It’s hard to win 5v5 with so few scoring forwards though. You have to be maniacal on defense.

In 20-21, Tippett will have more scoring forwards, more than TMac had in 16-17. (I think TMac may have had even more in 15-16 but he also had to deal with a lot of injuries.) No excuses at that point.

He’ll still have to decide what to do with Drai, though, a Hart winner who can’t reliably win his 5v5 minutes. I think it’s important for him to think that one through.

Ryan

You’re just the person for this job.

I was always wondering about the relationship between TOI/g and GF% for Leon and McDavid.

Both players saw massive spikes in TOI during certain games.

I think usually if the Oilers had a significant lead, he would cut their minutes… or a significant deficit… but if the games was within reach, they would see some huge spikes.

Leon played more minutes some games than most number one d.

That has to be a factor in his GF%.

jp

OriginalPouzar

 Reply to  jp

 November 12, 2020 10:33 pm

If its the path they take, I hope its the right path to winning.

Ideally, sure, I’d take high scoring runs to Stanley Cups but I’d take lower scoring runs to Stanley Cups over high scoring mediocrity.

As I mentioned earlier, I’d have lots of time for Larsson on a re-sign (2-3 years) at a vastly reduced price on the premise that he’d be 3RD for much of the contract and a 2RD fill-in. Of course, if he’s healthy this year and resembles 2017 and 2020 Larsson. He’s not that old and should have some good years left if healthy.

I’m not sure it happens as he could probably get a bigger contract that what makes sense for this team going forward (in the role he would play).

Maybe Barrie is a part of the future but he’s 30 after this season and, if he warrants a re-sign based on his play, it likely to be for 5 years plus (just guessing). He’s a year and half older than Larsson and I think his re-sign would be for much longer. Its a risk.

I’d also take low scoring cup runs over high scoring mediocrity, no question.

And I’d absolutely be open to re-signing Larsson in theory as well. I don’t see him taking a 3rd pairing salary (or role) when other teams will see him as a 2nd pairing option, so I don’t think he’ll remaining an Oiler under the conditions you’re suggesting.

On Barrie, and the right path.

The Oilers are blessed with two of (the two?) best offensive forwards in the world. Surrounding them with players who can maximize those talents seems like the best way forward, while also of course not forsaking all team defensive play.

Barrie is by any measure one of the top 10 offensive defensemen in the league. If he gels with and compliments McDavid and Draisaitl I think that’s worth rather a lot.

We talk about re-signing Nuge for something under $7M. Barrie is 2 years older, but a 5 year deal at something in the same range seems potentially reasonable to me, if he clicks.

Food for thought: over the past 6 seasons Nuge is 55th in the NHL with 311 points. Barrie is 68th with 295 points. Of course Barrie did it without McDavid and Draisaitl.

Sorry to bring Nuge into this, but I think folks are underestimating Barrie because he signed late and for 1x$3.75M.

Edit: there would be risk for sure, but the upside is pretty significant too IMO.

Last edited 14 days ago by jp
jp

defmn

 Reply to  jp

 November 12, 2020 10:35 pm

It’s going to test Tippett’s coaching skills to teach this group of forwards to play an all round game at both ends of the ice but I like what I see in terms of direction. 

And his two first round picks kind of give a clue as to how he sees the game going, no?

————————————————

I think Holland has a different vision of how he wants the back end to operate than Chiarelli did.

I feel like the Turris signing was an even clearer indication of Holland’s vision than Barrie (not focusing on the D here obviously).

WG designed his whole series around replacing Sheahan and filling that specific role. I’d floated the idea of adding a Haula or similar but I didn’t really think it would happen.

Holland’s vision IS different, and it makes sense based on the major assets the team has. Barrie could be a major piece towards that vision, hopefully it works as hoped.

Agreed that Tippett will be tested. He’s claimed to adapt to get the best from his players so hopefully that holds true.

On the 1st round picks and where the game is going… I’m not actually sure what you mean here. My take on the commonality is ‘tools’ and ‘athleticism’. But in context of a discussion about Barrie… well he doesn’t fit that mold at all.

jp

Georgexs

 November 12, 2020 9:55 pm

Here’s how Leon has done at 5v5 away from CMD.

Season, TOI w/o CMD, GF-GA, GF%

15-16, 1047, 46-43, 51.7

16-17, 501, 19-24, 44.2

17-18, 628, 28-38, 42.4

18-19, 572, 17-29, 37.0

19-20, 610, 35-26, 57.4

In 15-16, Leon was playing with Hall and managed to keep his head above water even with CMD missing a big chunk of the season. Hall has been consistently good at 5v5 throughout his career, playing on some stinky Oilers and Devils teams.

In 19-20, Leon with RNH and w/o KY went 5-7 and Leon with KY and w/o RNH went 1-4. W/o either of them, Leon went 35-43. Playing with the both of them, Leon went 28-8. There was only one combination that unlocked the Leon 5v5 lock.

I think Tippett didn’t quite understand what he’d stumbled into with that line. He assumed things about Leon (and KY). There was no reason for him to believe Leon will win his 5v5 minutes with any old combination of players. Ask TMac. He doesn’t have that history.

In the past 10 years (11 actually), the Oilers have won at 5v5 just once: the playoff year. We finished 7th.

Tippett’s team finished 25th. The Oilers were actually 28th in 2019. But they zoomed up to 11th in 2020 once the Drai-RNH-KY line was formed. That’s Everest for recent versions of this franchise.

Because of regression to the mean, we can expect the Oilers PK to be worse (they finished 2nd) and we can expect the Oilers PP to be worse (they finished 1st).

But the team has been so stubbornly bad at 5v5 that it defies the regression to the mean suggested by the low year to year correlation of 5v5 GF% for teams. We can’t just expect to coast back to around the middle at 5v5.

Tippett didn’t fix 5v5 in 19-20. It’s hard to win 5v5 with so few scoring forwards though. You have to be maniacal on defense.

In 20-21, Tippett will have more scoring forwards, more than TMac had in 16-17. (I think TMac may have had even more in 15-16 but he also had to deal with a lot of injuries.) No excuses at that point.

He’ll still have to decide what to do with Drai, though, a Hart winner who can’t reliably win his 5v5 minutes. I think it’s important for him to think that one through.

This is a good point.

Likely the most compelling argument I’ve seen for keeping the Nuge-Draisaitl-Yamamoto line together. And it’s true, Draisaitl has struggled badly without McDavid up until 2020.

I’d taken the change as Drai taking a step forward this season (and he did take a step, if you look at points this year, and even if you discount who was on his line).

A nice point in support of this (really just suggesting that it could work) is that McDavid has generally won his minutes without Draisaitl.

16-17 65.4%GF
17-18 56.8%GF
18-19 39.2%GF
19-20 56.0%GF

18-19 was an ugly anomaly. I’m optimistic that McDavid will post numbers similar to the others there going forward. We’ll see I guess,

I think the actual situation ibouh linemates all familiar fluid, but is’ possible the historical bottom 6

jp

Seems I was drifting off to sleep at the end there. Ryan, what’s the statute for editing one’s posts? I’m no longer able to edit this one either.

But to finish the thought, McDavid (save 18-19) has virtually not missed playing without Draisaitl at all. His GF% without Draisaitl was better than with in 16-17 and 19-20 even.

defmn

I think you only get 5 minutes to edit and then you are immortalized forever. 😉