How Tough Can It be?

by Lowetide

Gilbert Perreault scored in his first NHL game, assists to Gerry Meehan (a talented journeyman forward who would have some good seasons in the 1970’s) and Kevin O’Shea (also his first NHL point). Perreault would play with multiple wingers that first season (Floyd Smith looked like a truck driver but he could skate) and wouldn’t find his “French Connection” until 1972 when the Sabres made a trade for Rene Robert. Chemistry: We know it when we see it. How hard can it be?


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.


Perreault was drafted in 1970 and Rick Martin came along a year later. When Buffalo traded for Robert, Joe Crozier (Sabres coach) put them together right away. “We needed someone who could put the puck in the net. They blended nicely right from the beginning,” Crozier said in the spring of 1973.

Connor McDavid has played well with damn near everyone, and the cap concerns mean dropping at least one inexpensive linemate on him every season. I think the original plan was to have him play with skilled men full stop. Here are the most common linemates with minutes and goal differential in 2015-16, 97’s rookie year:

  1. Jordan Eberle 375 minutes (24-21, +3)
  2. Benoit Pouliot 296 minutes (19-17, +2)
  3. Nail Yakupov 205 minutes (13-11, +2)
  4. Patrick Maroon 134 minutes (11-4, +7)

Maroon was stapled to McDavid after the trade deadline, I think Chiarelli was already thinking of Milan Lucic but damned if Maroon didn’t turn out better. Here are the top linemates for 2016-17, the Oilers sole breakout season of McDavid’s career:

  1. Patrick Maroon 735 minutes (44-27, +17)
  2. Leon Draisaitl 676 minutes (41-28, +13)
  3. Milan Lucic 452 minutes (22-12, +10)
  4. Jordan Eberle 403 minutes (20-12, +8)

This is a nice group of wingers, or more accurately everyone got zoomed by the teeange wonder. Maroon had the simplest approach possible, go to the net with the stick on the ice. He also won enough puck battles to keep Edmonton on the offensive in those shifts. McDavid-Draisaitl emerged that year, can’t blame McLellan for running with it but if he had split them up maybe he lasts longer in Edmonton. The 2017-18 season:

  1. Patrick Maroon 524 minutes (26-24, +2)
  2. Leon Draisaitl 498 minutes (31-23, +8)
  3. Milan Lucic 419 minutes (23-17, +6)
  4. Jesse Puljujarvi 257 minutes (13-8, +5)

Maroon faded, Leon ascended, and it looked like Puljujarvi was going to be a legit option. Perhaps we see it again. This is where Taylor Hall would have come in handy (as well as the previous two seasons). Here is 2018-19:

  1. Leon Draisaitl 806 minutes (57-44, +13)
  2. Zack Kassian 428 minutes (27-26, +1)
  3. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins 376 minutes (19-19)
  4. Alex Chiasson 284 minutes (15-15)
  5. Ty Rattie 244 minutes (11-12, -1)

This is where the money ran out and the engine blew for Peter Chiarelli and it shows here. Draisaitl was an amazing partner for 97 in these seasons (+34). Here is 2019-20:

  1. Zack Kassian 663 minutes (42-35, +7)
  2. Leon Draisaitl 553 minutes (34-36, -2)
  3. James Neal 226 minutes (8-11, -3)
  4. Josh Archibald 144 minutes (8-5, +3)

Draisaitl’s first half a year ago was difficult, it might have had something to do with McDavid’s summer rehab but the big man was turning the puck over a lot and that impacted the line bigly. Here is the trio through December 31:

  • Draisaitl-McDavid-Kassian: 439 minutes, 46 percent shot share, 28-25 goals

So, the trio was getting caved but won the goals battle, something we’ve seen increasingly from McDavid. Now, let’s run 97-29 before the New Year:

  • Draisaitl-McDavid: 77 minutes, 37 percent shot share, 4-9 goals

Wow. They were 3-2 goals with Alex Chiasson (19 minutes), 0-2 goals with James Neal (18 minutes), 0-2 with Sam Gagner (17 minutes), 0-1 with Patrick Russell (7 minutes), 0-0 goals with Josh Archibald (6 minutes), 2-1 with Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (4 minutes), 0-1 goals with Joakim Nygard (3 minutes), 0-0 with Jujhar Khaira (2 minutes), 0-0 with Markus Granlund (1 minute).

How many of these wingers is a superior option to Dominik Kahun? Tyler Ennis? Jesse Puljujarvi? Ken Holland addressed an area of need and Raphael Lavoie can’t get here soon enough.


  • Dylan Holloway [Big-10] 2 games, 2-0-2
  • Carter Savoie [NCHC] 1 game, 1-0-1
  • Maxim Berezkin [KHL] 21 games, 0-2-2
  • Filip Engaras [Hockey-East]
  • Jeremias Lindewall [Allsvenskan] 13 games, 2-2-4

The top two players are running well and Berezkin is also 4, 1-3-4 in the MHL. Lindewall is a pleasant surprise and Engaras is a fascinating player we’ll have to wait on a little. UNH games are canceled through December 5, so the earliest we’ll see him is December 11. I like this group and I like the early results. Impatient to see Tullio’s season get underway.

Holloway’s offense (in a small sample) is trending well. Rodion Amirov, drafted just behind him, is 5-3-8 in 23 KHL games. Dawson Mercer, who I ranked higher than Holloway, is off to a nice start (4-3-7 in 5 QMJHL games) but not enough to make the Oilers regret their pick.


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A great game for Savoie tonight:

– No major or apparent mistakes

– Two goals on the power play including one absolute snipe and one recognizing the danger area and creating the passing lane (also made the zone entry on the play and had an early shot towards the net)

– 3-4 additional offensive plays including (1) a great rush where he gain the zone, beat a defender and went in for a quick break, (2) a great area pass on a 2 on 2 setting up his linemate for a break which drew the PIM for his second PPG, (3) good quickness in 3 on 3 OT for a solid snap on net

– won a board battle in the defensive zone and a quick and slick pass to a teammate to start a one on one.


Savoie on the second forward unitl in 3 on 3 overtime – a quick rush and a shot on net – another plus play.

After a bit or pressure the play goes the other way – Savoie kind of beat off the rush for the winning goal against – not an easy defensive play to make so I don’t put too much blame on him.


Savoie out on the ice for the last 30 seconds of regulation in a tie game.

Curious to see how (if) he’s deployed in OT.



Ooop, doesn’t take Savoie long to get his second PPG of the night – walks in and snipes one to tie it up late!


Great play by Savoie – a great area pass on a quick break 2 on 2 to create a breakaway for a teammate- no goal but it drew a PP.

Savoie has made more offensive plays tonight than the first game – 3-4 solid offensive talent plays.


Savoie almost puts Denver in the lead late(ish) in the third – finds some soft ice, take a pass and a quick snap shot on net – good chance – no cash though.


Will tomorrow be Broberg’s last ever game in the SHL? The Swedish World Junior camp starts on Sunday and then they are off next weekend to Canada.

If NHL camp starts up in the first week of January maybe Holland brings Broberg in and he just forces his GM to keep him around (perhaps with a Bakersfield assignment).

Seems quite unlikely given Holland just last week re-upped on the plan for Broberg to finish the season over-seas but you never know…..


Savoie shows his skill on this PP rushes. Creates a break for himself and almost pots another:


Just like to say,watched that replay 2nd game Oilers beating Montreal,it brought back great memories.To me that was the moment Edmonton and the Oilers were big time and to his credit Danny Gallivan ,in my option by far the best broadcaster ever,could have made excuses for the Canadiens but showed the class of that generation and era.We need much more of this today.

Victoria Oil

Danny Gallivan was unequivocally the best play-by-play announcer ever. He had a scintillating vocabulary.


PP goal for Savoie. Again he started on PP1 playing the left point.!

A great play by Bobby Brink to set up Savoie for a wide-open net but Savioe did (a) gain the zone clean, (b) snuck down at the right time to create the passing lane and (c) previously skated the puck to the high slot from the left point for a snap shot that was blocked.

Last edited 10 months ago by OriginalPouzar

Here is the goal – doesn’t show the plus plays he made previously on that PP though:


open net..but still a nice quick release, looking forward to see Savoie develop.


Yup, the goal was an open net but, as per my post above, it was just one piece of his work on the shift. He was full value for the goal.


Keeping pace with Holloway 🙂


Nice play there by Savoie on his second shift – wins a puck battle on the boards in the defensive zone with a bump (a 50/50 battle) and makes a slick little pass to the middle for a breakout and a 1 on 1 break


Carter Savoie time baby – yup, that’s a pandemic Friday night (and, well, frankly probably what I’d be doing anyways…. ha).


Tullio is heading to play in the Slovak ExtraLiga until the WHL camps open:

Will be great to have him playing some games even though it won’t be for long as he’s committed to come back and get quarantine done prior to Jan 23 camp.

Last edited 10 months ago by OriginalPouzar
Harpers Hair

Lots of chatter today that the NHL could move to allowing advertising on jerseys to boost revenue during the pandemic.

Have heard both Pierre LeBrun and Ray Ferraro in support.



I have no issue with that.

The league has long been against the concept generally so I would anticipate that such advertising would be fairly innocuous and nothing close to what we see in Europe, etc.


Well that would be awful but certainly understand why they will likely end up doing it. All pro sports leagues are going to take a severe financial hit and they will be turning over every rock for revenue. Just to be clear I HATE THE IDEA!


Why do you hate it so much?

I would anticipate a couple small and well-placed patches – nothing overly obtrusive to the eye


Very simple. If you wear a team jersey it is to show support for your team not to be a walking advertisement and or reminder of same. It doesn’t matter how small the add on the jersey. For me it is the principle of the matter. Assuming you purchase a jersey after the advertising on jersey becomes a reality is your jersey a replica of the jersey without said adds. We already have adds on the boards and TV timeouts for adds. At what point is enough enough.


Sure, fair enough I guess – I couldn’t care less about any of those things you have issue with but that’s just me – I’m not a jersey or memorabilia guy at all.

With that said, can’t agree with the premise behind “at what point is enough enough?” – in normal course, the league agrees with that but this isn’t normal course. This is for the health of the league.


If the NHL decides to disrespect the jersey I have bought my last jersey.


The only thing I will say is what I said a week or so ago when the idea first re-appeared as a possibility.

Solutions to short term problems are rarely seen as best in the long term. Cash flow is addictive. Once you get a taste for it very few have the will to forego it. So if they agree to ads on jerseys expect that they will never go away.

Income tax is, I believe, the most obvious example.

Last edited 10 months ago by defmn
Harpers Hair

Yup I can see it becoming a permanent thing but I don’t really have problem with it if it’s done tastefully.

One suggestion I heard today was allowing a logo on the player’s helmets but nothing on the jerseys.

I would think a company like Canadian Tire would be all over that for the Canadian teams.


People will react differently. Personally I won’t buy clothes that have brand names on them so I know I wouldn’t buy a jersey with an ad on on it.

Some won’t care and eventually it will just be normal.

Like income tax.

Harpers Hair

Of course…a jersey, by its nature, already has an ad on it.


Yup. That’s why I have never bought one. People keep giving them to me though.


Exactly. That’s how the European leagues started I’m sure.

Just one more wafer, sir.


I’d hate it. Probably because I grew up without huge huge ads on my jerseys/sweaters and feel like keeping that distinction compared with many of my friends wearing soccer(futbol) jerseys while I was a kid.

Like anything, people will get used to it (as will I, I suppose), but let this comment represent my futile shout into the abyss against such a proposal.

As for the assuagements of OP and HH that we should not be concerned since the ads may be “small” “well-placed”, “innocuous”, or “tasteful” I’d urge you to watch the clip posted by jp as a rebuttal to such an argument.

Finally, since defm is waterboarding (Fraser Instituting?) me with his income taxes refrain, I’ll say it’s like setting up a sovereign wealth fund in 1976 to collect a portion of natural resource revenues for future generations but then starting to siphon off portions of the fund for pet projects until finally stopping any investment in the fund at all in 1987 such that our neighbors in Norway have a trillion dollar cushion when the oil dries up but my kids and grandkids won’t be afforded the same luxury (tangent?).

“It depends whether you are concerned with a geographical entity called Alberta and its long-term future after oil, or whether you think we’re all sort of camping out and when the oil runs out we’re going to pick up stakes and move somewhere else.”


Oh, and Denver plays its second game tonight at 6:30.

Lets see how Savoie follows up his solid, but unspectacular, college debut (although scoring the team’s lone goal at 5 on 5 as the 3LW is a good arrow no matter what!).


I agree, 100% – fitness and consistancy of effort.

I’m fully confident that the NCAA is the perfect place for his development – coaching, practice time, higher end facilities, etc. Not to mention a bit of a longer time line prior to needing to sign that ELC. Take your time Carter but get that work in!


You forgot nutritionists and physical fitness experts. I agree that if Savoie is serious about his career everything he needs will be available to him.


Those were included in “etc.” – ha.

I agree – The college route is perfect for this player.


Pasquale let in 3 on 27 shots and took a 3-1 loss – hey, coach, he needs a break!

Blumel with a nice PP goal as Pardubice is up 2-1 in the 2nd – nice recognition to sneak down and solid finish:

Blumel finished with a goal and an assist – he is really starting to produce in the top Czech league.

McLeod with 2 powerplay assists as Zug defeated Bern 3-1 – Gaetan Haas with the lone goal for Bern. Ooop, make that 4-1 with a late empty netter.

Lagesson had an assist on Kristiandstands lone goal. He did get a chance in the shootout, the 5th shooter, but he didn’t cash. He did play almost 24 minutes, on the right side.

Rodrigue with his second straight loss after starting off 7-0. Lost 4-3 in a shootout. Had a 3-1 lead going in to the third, game was tied with under 2 left and he let in both shootout attempts.

Lindewall with zeros across the board in 10:30 of ice.


Lindewall’s pointless night meant the end of a three game point streak.

Lagesson wasn’t alone in failing to score in the shootout he was one of 21(!) players to miss their shootout attempt in the game.


Maroon had the simplest approach possible, go to the net with the stick on the ice.

I believe Maroon did more than this for his success – he didn’t just go to the net with his stick on the ice – he went to the net AT THE RIGHT TIME with his stick on the net.

I’ve been posting about this for years – having “speed” is not a prerequisite to playing well with McDavid – its not just about keeping up, its about getting to the scoring areas at the right time, not getting there first.

Maroon had a knack for arriving in the danger area at the right time – part of the “offensive IQ” mantra.

Getting there at the right time is more important that getting there first or fast.


Maroon wasn’t a burner, but he thought the game at a high level.

That highlight clip of 97 burning past Duncan Keith and dishing sweet backhand sauce to Patty for the tap-in is a fine example of how well he thought the game and could accurately read Connor. Keep in mind Maroon had to keep up with that play to be in the right place… at the right time. And Keith can skate.


I’ll certainly take 52-56 games starting in mid-January and finishing by late June/early July – allowing for 2021/22 to start on time.

I anticipate that is enough games to appease NBC and vest the last year of the TV deal so the new deal(s) can be in place for 2021/22 and the important influx of HRR.

If camps start in early January, well, Phillip Broberg will be in Edmonton. Camps will be limited, likely to 35 players (or so) and I anticipate that, no matter what happens, as Holland has indicated, Broberg is going to finish the season in Skelefteea – given that and the limited numbers for camp, I wonder if he’ll attend the short camp? I think he might.


It’s tough to imagine Broberg wouldn’t attend if the timing lined up. IMO.


Except that camp will have a vastly reduced initial roster from initial and if Holland has already determined that he’s finishing the season in Skelefteea (as he has expressed repeatedly, as late as last week), he will be taking up a spot for a candidate and ice from players needing to get up to speed and get familiar with each other, etc.

With that said, if the timing is as such, he will probably attend camp.


I think that timing for Broberg to attend camp is a very narrow window if it is there at all. Broberg will miss at least 3 to 4 games for Skelleftea depending on how Sweden fairs at the tournament which wraps up Jan 4 (assuming no delays) and that does not include any potential quarantine going back to Sweden. If NHL camps start between January 1-6 he would be in Edmonton right around the start. Do they have him show up and join the team for a few days to a week at most before players are sent out and he is going to be sent back anyway? The Camp is likely to be 2 weeks and there are quarantine issues getting all the players into camp as well. The bubble had 31 players per team. Maybe they go to 35 for this camp, but even then, I would think they wouldn’t use one of those spots on him, again assuming he will be sent back anyway. While Swedish teams are always happy to send their players to play for their country, Broberg missing several more of their games at this time of their season for a pretty thin reason in their eyes might not sit well with them based on the arrangement they have with the Oilers even if they don’t have a choice.

One thought though – I’d be curious to know when the camp roster has to be determined? If Broberg lights it up at the WJHC and leads Sweden to gold with a Tournament MVP, could Holland change his mind on sending Broberg back?


Is there a time limit on being able to edit? Just wanted to correct “fairs” to “fares” but the edit button is unavailable.


5 minutes I believe.


All sorts of scenarios waiting to be determined by circumstance.

Is there enough evidence of safety & efficacy in the various vaccines to see the NHL try and gain early access for the players?

I don’t know if that is even possible but money talks and in discussing rolling out millions of doses that I keep reading about a couple of thousand doses for NHL players would ignite a fire storm of controversy but have no effect at all on making health officials and the elderly safe as quickly as possible.

Would the PA object? Don’t know that either but I would be very surprised if somebody at the league office hasn’t contacted Pfizer or Moderna to find out what is possible.

It doesn’t do anything to put fans in the stands but it might have a huge impact on delays and even travel restrictions.


I don’t imagine the NHL will try and “jump the queue” for its players for the vaccine.

Recall the flames and the controversy with SARS.

I don’t know what the vaccine rollout protocol is going to be for the US but, for Canadians, healthy 20 and 30 year olds will not be getting the vaccine prior to the end of the season.


I think it is unlikely but I wouldn’t totally discount it. There is a lot of money involved.

But, no, I don’t remember the Flames and SARS. What did they do or try to do?


I think it was H1N1, not SARS, now that I think about it but I believe the flames jumped the queue and all got vaccinated at a private clinic while thousands were “waiting in line”.

I would almost totally discount the NHL and/or its teams getting players vaccinated in the next few months – its going to take a few months at least to get through the “high risk”, front-line workers, etc. before the vaccine is generally available – at least in Canada.


Hehe. Given Gary’s aversion to bad press and law suits I am pretty sure you are right but money makes people do strange things.


I don’t even think the money will be enough to source the vaccines even if they wanted to get sketchy.


“I don’t imagine the NHL will try and “jump the queue” for its players for the vaccine.”

I wonder if hockey could be considered a high risk profession? Not to nearly the extent of healthcare professionals but maybe more so than the average job.

Perhaps professional athletes (at least in contact sports) could be 2nd or 3rd in line but before your average Joe. Seems a reasonable compromise to me.


I would hope and anticipate that even an all-star appearance at the tournament wouldn’t change Holland’s overall course of development with the players.

We are talking about a 19-year old d-man that, while having a great development year and still exceeding expectations, is having an up and down year as a 2nd pairing d-man in the SHL. Excelling in a small-sample size tournament against other teenagers doesn’t mean all that much as far as NHL-readiness.

Not to mention the contract ramifications of him playing 10 NHL games this season (and they may pro-rate that down to 6-7 games) of starting his ELC, etc.


I had to laugh at the title of this post. Two things my mother taught me that you should never ask:

1) How tough can it be?
2) What could possibly go wrong?


And never, never think “things can’t get any worse”. 😉


Beyond Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl and Ryan Nugent Hopkins, the Oilers haven’t had much consistent performance from any forwards over the past few years.  Big surprise to everyone – I know.  When all 3 were off the ice in the last 3 seasons 5 on 5, the Oiler’s goal share has been 38% – thus the need for finding the right mix of forwards for the bottom 6 who can get much closer to even play.  But even in the top 6, the various combinations of deploying the big 3 is a challenge for Tippett.  While the Oilers goal share over the last 3 year when any 2 of the big 3 is on the ice has been positive (54% 97-29, 55% 97-93 and 60% 29-93), only McDavid has a positive goal share without the other 2 (97 – 50.4%; 93-44% and 29-38%). The minimum minutes for all line possibilities except for all 3 playing together is ~600 minutes or more, so reasonable sample sizes, and shares are directionally similar over each of the 3 seasons. 

Based on recent history, Leon needs Ryan more that Connor does; however, having Connor only at a 50% goal share 5 on 5, while better than Leon at 38% is still a problem that Tippett/Holland need to solve.  Yamamoto hopefully continues where he left off as viable top 6 force, but, albeit in a small sample size, he and Draisaitl would seem to need a solid LW to make things work. Regular season in 75 minutes they had a goal share of 20% without Nuge and postseason they were 43% without Nuge in 43 minutes, though they did out chance the Hawks significantly.  A properly motivated, Kassian, who works both ends of the ice, remains viable for now on McDavid’s wing, but I doubt he is the long term solution.

But the return of Jesse, the addition of Kahun and perhaps good health for Nygard gives the Tippett something to work with to get 2 strong goal share lines. On the face of it, before joining the NHL, Nygard would have been an equal bet to succeed as Kahun, but injuries and deployment thus far have not given him the chance to really prove it. He spent only 53 minutes with McDavid, did very well and got even less time in total with either Hopkins or Draisaitl.  Chiasson and Neal are options for the top 6 if these other options do not click (or injuries), though Neal’s only good performance 5 on 5 seemed be when he played with Chiasson.  

I think with a short camp, barring injury or some real obvious bad chemistry, Tippett I think will start the regular season with Nuge/McDavid/Kassian and Kahun/Draisaitl/Yamamoto on the top two lines. If he gets 2020 Kassian or Kahun is not helping his line maintain positive possession, then he has more options available to adjust.


I too am super excited to watch Tullio play – I was watching some highlights of him last night and he’s an exciting player. I think he’s going to be more “fun” to watch than Savoie as Tullio is more of an active player (seemingly a Yamamoto/Archie mix of sorts) whereas Savoie is less active on a shift to shift basis but exciting with the puck on his stick.

Of course, Holloway, currently the best of the bunch with his skill, size, aggression, athleticism, work ethic, 2-way game and SPEED – closer to the NHL but still a few years I’m sure.

Elgin R

Is Tullio an NHL player or another Ty Rattie? Tulllio’s draft-year stats (goal, pts, height and weight) are very, very close to what Rattie had in his draft year. Lavoie’s stats where close except that he is 5-6 inches taller and heavier. Yamamoto’s stats were much higher than all of them (except for height – ha ha). We shall see what we have in 3 years.


Tullio was drafted in the 5th round (although generally rated two rounds higher) – I’ll let you know my answer to that question in 3 years.


I guess im in the minority but hard to get excited about a line of Kahun Drai Yamamoto. But at least we can hope that the 3rd line can keep its head above water this year


The good news and the bad news depending on your point of view is if Kahun knocks it out of the park on a line with Yamamoto and Draisaitl. it could end up having your number one line numbers wise, the one with the German connection at a cap cost of under 13M. The big money line at over 21M. As your second line. Cost not withstanding I am excited to see how teams try to stop the onslaught.


Two first lines with the cheaper one outscoring the more expensive sounds A-OK to me.


Care to explain how that isn’t a line to get excited for in your opinion – I’m quite looking forward to watching it and seeing how Kahun fits in – we know there is chemistry between Drai and Kailer and Kahun has played well as a complimentary player on skilled lines in the past.


Pasquale let in 3 on 27 shots and took a 3-1 loss – hey, coach, he needs a break!

Blumel with a nice PP goal as Pardubice is up 2-1 in the 2nd – nice recognition to sneak down and solid finish:


Somewhat nostalgic, what if Hall (not that guy again) would have signed a sweetheart Vid deal for $5 million?
Would Hall Connor Kass / DRY / AA Turris Poolparty, be good in regular season? Would this be a strong playoff team?
Maybe I’ll plug it in my NHL 95 game…🤣

Elgin R

Two top-tier scoring lines should lesson the line-matching pressure on each and unless the Oilers are chasing the game late, McDavid and Draisaitl will center the top 2 lines. Kassian has shown he can handle 1RW duties, so assume he will start there.

The question is where does RNH play. The DRY line was the best in hockey – so leave it intact – and see if Kahun can mesh with McDavid.


The key is we finally have a above average 3rd line that will lessen the minutes for Leon and Connor and allow them to finish games stronger. Turris is Tippetts boy he knows him well and Tippett will put him in a position to succeed. Turris is making good cash with no pressure because of the small cap hit. Besides Goaltending Turris is the answer that allows Tippett to keep the 4 lines rolling that will outscore any teams 4 lines night after night.


Agreed on fewer minutes for Leon and Connor. Last year they averaged just over 22 minutes for Leon and just under 22 for Connor. Turris played 15 & 1/2 in Nashville.

My calculator tells me that comes to 59 1/2 minutes of game time. PP time together for Leon & Connor takes, maybe 3 minutes off of total time but that still leaves whoever the 4th line centre turns out to be with not much time to stretch their legs on the PK.

It would be nice to see them scaled back to around 20 minutes.


As far as “chasing the game” and deployment in that scenario, one thing I am hoping makes a big difference this year is a 3rd line that can provide some semi-consistent offence (and a 4th line that can even chip in).

If that does show itself this season (and I think it might), it not only takes the pressure off McDavid and Drai to “score all the goals”, it allows Coach T. to not overly rely on them any time they are down – this makes McDavid and Drai better within games and, also, over the season reducing aggregate fatigue. Better 2-way players as well if there is less “cheating for offence” and less fatigue which leads to defensive mistakes.


I still think ‘good Kassian’ can be a legitimate answer on McDavid’s wing.

It’s far from a sure thing he can be that player consistently, but he’ll get another shot or two at it.

I’m interested to see how long he can hold off the competition (the range of outcomes is wide).


The “good” Kassian only appears 60-90 days before he needs a contract extension, which is 3.5 years from now. “Bad” Kassian is the norm.


‘Good Kassian’ was around for the entirety of the 2019 calendar year.

The guy who was 18th in the NHL in 5on5 points and 13th in 5on5 goals.


From Jan 1, 2019 through the end of the season, Kass produced at 1.32 P/60, all his possession numbers were below 50%, his GF% and GFx was below 50% – his relative possession was relatively neutral but his relative GF% slightly above (although his rel GFx negative).

I didn’t dig in to QoC or QoT or anything like that – just the above numbers.

I’m not so sure the January-April 2019 Kassian was the same as the October-November 2019 Kassian (although not the January-March and July Kassian either).


If you’re referring to the post above, which you quoted here (18th in points/13th in goals), those are for Jan 1 2019 through Dec. 31st 2019. So parts of 2 seasons.

In terms of January through April of 2019 (I think you are), I believe you made a mistake, you’re quoting the full season numbers for Kassian.

From Jan. 1 2019 through April 6 2019 (the last game) Kassian scored 1.84P/60, with 47.2%SF, 49.3%GF. The shot and goal numbers were below 50% but also better than either McDavid or Draisaitl at 5v5 (who were his main linemates). Only Lucic (ha!) had a better GF% among regular forwards during that period. So Kassian was quite good, considering.

And updating Kassian’s 5v5 scoring and on ice numbers for the entire Jan 1 2019 to March 2020 period since he started playing McDavid’s wing (to include the poorer Jan-Mar period) (this would be the Oilers last 114 regular season games, I believe):
5v5 Goals 25 (tied for 29th in the NHL)
5v5 Points 52 (tied for 51st in the NHL)
5v5 SF% 48.0 (slightly better than McDavid and Draisaitl)
5v5 GF% 51.5 (McDavid 49.1%, Draisaitl 50.0%).

McDavid and Draisaitl were by far Kassian’s 2 most common linemates in this period so that takes care of most of the QoC/QoT concerns.


I’ll add a little more on Kassian in 2020.

In 20 games he played after Jan. 1st he scored 2-5-7 at 5v5. 1.52P/60.

He played about half of his minutes with McDavid, 1/4 with Sheahan and 1/4 with some other C. He was 11GF-12GA (47.8%) at 5v5 in those games.

Kassian with McDavid 146min 51.5%SF 53.3%GF (8GF-7GA)
McDavid without Kass 207min 46.7%SF 45.8%GF (11GF-13GA)
Kassian with Sheahan 68min 51.9%SF 40.0%GF (2GF-3GA)
Kassian with other Cs 61min 47.1%SF 33.3%GF (1GF-2GA)

I don’t know the breakdown of Kassian’s scoring with and without McDavid but overall it doesn’t look to me like Kassian was playing terrible hockey. Obviously mileage will vary.


If “good Kassian” was consistent, he wouldn’t be only making $3.2 mil. His inconsistency keeps him from the Tom Wilson paycheque.


This is very true.


The old “Andre Kovalenko Maneuver”


Any one decent player stuck playing in the Oilers bottom 6 in 17 thru 19 didn’t come off looking well. In 17/18, Kassian’s most common linemates were Letestu (~400 min), and Khaira (186). The blender was the norm that season due to injuries and, well, TMac. When with skilled centers of varying degrees, McDavid (~50 min), Nugent-Hopkins (~60 min), Strome (~60 min) and Cammelleri (~115min) his on ice was a combined 11-12 GF/GA and he scored 7 points with those players, which is a minimum of 1.5 per 60 if all those TOI are mutually exclusive.  In 2018/2019, before being elevated to play with McDavid/Draisaitl, his two most common linemates were Brodziak and Lucic. Hard to believe Kassian wasn’t lighting it up with Letestu, Khaira, Brodziak and Lucic. 

Overall he did not look as good the last part of the season, but still managed a decent 1.98 p/60 with McDavid and a rotating collection of LWs though the McDavid/Kassian combo did not do as well overall post Draisaitl. And no doubt Kassian was a member of “OMG WTF” club in the 4 game Hawks series, though most of his bad play happened in the first 2 games, which got him demoted. Tippet’s reaction was reasonable in a short series with no room for error, but a little harder for Kassian to recover with half the ice time and 4th line linemates. The “OMG WTF” club probably had at least half the team join during that series so he deserves as much chance of redemption as any other member. Holland, with limited budget flexibility, is at least creating better options for Tippett so that if Kassian doesn’t return to fall/2019 form, he will be replaced on the top line.

Last edited 10 months ago by Redbird62

You need someone with size on that line that can play with skill. Zack has proven he can be that player. I am sure Godot will weigh in the side of anybody but Zack. Should make a nice start to the day.😉


I’m not sure McDavid *needs* someone with size, but it doesn’t hurt. And Kassian has been effective there for long stretches.


He has had very good success with Maroon, Draisaitl and Kassian. It may not be a need but the size on a line makes a difference especially against teams with heavy D.


One stretch of any length that I can recall – October/November 2020. Games and shifts here and there other than that, no?


I’d count the entire calendar year of 2019. So I guess Jan-Apr and Oct-Dec.

Kassian wasn’t actually that bad in 2020 either (regular season).

I know these WOWYs aren’t convincing anyone new, but any problems they show are not related to Kassian as far as I can tell.

From Jan. 1st 2019 until the league shutdown in March 2020:
McDavid+Kassian+Draisaitl — 719min 47.6%SF 53.2%GF
McDavid+Draisaitl(noKassian) 283min 47.2%SF 43.6%GF
McDavid+Kassian(noDraisaitl) 347min 49.9%SF 52.9%GF
McDavid(noKassian/Draisaitl)- 407min 44.8%SF 41.9%GF
Draisaitl(noMcDavid/Kassian)- 806min 49.5%SF 50.0%GF
Kassian(noMcDavid/Draisaitl)- 346min 50.0%SF 45.8%GF

I’m not sure what your bar for effective is.


Kassian has proven to be able to be that player but he hasn’t proven to be able to be the player consistently. I do believe he is the 1RW coming in to camp and likely on opening night but, ultimately, the team takes a step closer to contender status when they have a more “legit” player for the role – one that can be more consistent and, frankly, a higher skill level and offensive pedigree.

On the current roster, maybe Puljujarvi is that player with some development and re-adaption. Probably not but maybe.

Maybe that player is in the org and just not ready – Lavoie, Holloway, even Maksimov?


No doubt that Kassian is pencilled in to McDavid’s right wing going in to camp and I believe its likely to stay that way for opening night (although would love for Puljujarvi to just pop with him in practice and an exhibition game and, while their numbers together weren’t good last year, James Neal, if healthy and fresh, can play).

You mention the main thing that is Kassian’s issue – consistency. Unfortunately, he has not show that ever in him pro career and, at this age, its unlikely to come. One can hope that the October/November 2019 Kassian shows up for the next four seasons with only a few blips but it would be unreasonable to expect that.

Kassian CAN be a solid contributor to that line and actually help create offence and make plays – I saw it a year ago. On the other hand, Kassian CAN ALSO be a detriment to the line and the team with lazy board play in the defensive zone and bad decision making often as a result of giving in to the opposition’s game plan


Besides the inconsistency, and the occasional sortie too far over the edge, another negative trait he has in a seeming unwillingness to block shots which for his type of player is unusual. He has the fifth lowest shots blocked per 60 of any forward who has played 80 games since he entered the NHL at .59 blocks per 60. All his peers are little guys or offensive stars, not players with any kind of a 2 way reputation or at least should have a 2-way reputation. As evidenced by that one goal scored by Chicago in the play-ins, its like he goes out of his way to avoid them. I am not saying he should be dropping in front of everything even something approaching 1.0 to 1.5 per 60 would show an effort to get into the lane once more consistently.


I’m not at all attached to Kassian as McDavid’s winger. If Puljujarvi proves a better player in camp or at some time later in the season I agree that’s a good thing. And yes, Neal could also be an option potentially.

And agreed also that consistency is an issue for Kassian. As I said above I’d count a lot more good than bad on the whole in 2019 and 2020. Clearly not without blemishes (the play-ins were not at all good for Kassian, as well as a number of other key players), but Kassian’s overall body of work was quite good IMO. I feel like there’s been a disproportionate amount of focus on the player since he signed a contract that pays him like a (high end) 3rd line forward (the #188 forward cap hit this season).

Consistency going forward is definitely a question mark, but I don’t actually think it’s unlikely he’s improved in that area in recent years either. He’s clearly matured off the ice as a person, it’s quite possible that’s reflected on ice as well.