Lucky Star

by Lowetide
Evan Bouchard photo by Bruce McCurdy

Edmonton played its final playoff game of 1980 on April 11. During the series (Flyers swept them) the right wing depth chart consisted of Blair MacDonald, Dave Lumley, Donny Murdoch and (I believe) Peter Driscoll (Edmonton had 3 natural centers and right wings, and six natural left wings in the series).

MacDonald went 3, 0-3-3, Lumley 3, 1-0-1 (scored while playing the right point on the power play) and Murdoch who scored twice in those three games and looked right at home in an intense series against Philly that featured Bobby Clarke’s harpoon and Pat Quinn behind the bench.

If you watched the series, it would be easy to make the case for all three feature right wingers to return and to patrol RW for years. Instead, two of the three were a year (or less) away from being traded. Why? Progress.

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.

PROGRESS

On October 10, 1980 the Oilers began the second NHL season in team history with a loss to the Quebec Nordiques. The right wing depth chart looked a little different: Blair MacDonald (1-1-2), Dave Lumley (0-0-0) and Don Murdoch (0-0-0) were the holdovers, with Glenn Anderson (0-0-0) and Jari Kurri (0-1-1, got a point on a Gretzky power-play goal and may have been playing left wing) also in the lineup.

Coach Bryan Watson lost his first two at home, and sat Kurri (plus Matti Hagman) in game three. Edmonton got a goal from rookie Glenn Anderson (Watson said he was the best player on the ice) but the club was 0-3-0 to begin 1980-81. Kurri drew back in and scored in New York next game, a contest Paul Coffey saw from the pressbox.

MacDonald was traded in March 1981, Murdoch in August of 1981 and Lumley was claimed on waivers in October of 1984. Kurri would play a decade in Edmonton, Anderson 11 seasons.

DISTANT BELLS (15)

Some of these names won’t be here for camp but could play in the NHL later this season, as European teams finish their playoffs in the spring. It’s also true that impressions will have to be made pretty damn quick, so this list is under pressure starting now. I’ll mention Patrick Russell and Ryan McLeod as players of interest, and am curious about Adam Cracknell’s signing and possible strategery that would involve his skill set.

Speaking of 10-year careers with the Oilers, Klefbom is on a run of seven seasons in a row that is in jeopardy. His 378 games with the Oilers ranks the Swede No. 14 among all-time Oilers blue. The guy who is going to post a big number if he hangs around is Darnell Nurse, who at 350 games ranks No. 15 just seven years after his draft day.

UNCERTAIN OILERS (14)

Word this week that the NHL is talking about an increased roster (26) and four aces who will stand by in case of injury. Edmonton may not have enough cap room for 30 names, but could (as I understand it) run a roster of 20 players for cap purposes and then park four names on the taxi squad. Dangerous and unlikely, but it might happen for some cash strapped teams. One player who could be a 10-year option on this list? Evan Bouchard.

CERTAIN OILERS (18)

Barring injury, I think these players are going to make the team. Not sure of the pairings and lines but pretty sure Koskinen will play the majority of the minutes this season. The right side is better than the left side defensively, but Nurse-Jones on the left side is a solid solution until Klefbom returns. By the way, when that happens, Edmonton will have some difficult decisions. Nurse’s next contract is going to be a massive moment, especially with Broberg and Samorukov coming up behind Jones.

Bouchard

I don’t see any Kurri or Anderson but will tell you that in my opinion Evan Bouchard is a player to watch during 2020-21.

As fans and observers, we tend to deal in a black and white world. Bouchard is blocked by Larsson, Bear and Barrie, so therefore isn’t going to be a factor. Things can change in a heartbeat for defensemen.

Kurri got benched after two NHL games because the Oilers were giving up goals and (quoting Peter Gzowski) “Finns, the wisdom goes, don’t play a strong defensive game.” Jari bleeding Kurri was an amazing player without the puck. Ask anybody.

Watch out for Bouchard. I don’t know how they find room for him but when there’s a window expect Bouchard to make the most of it. I have him playing 30 (of 82) games this season in the reasonable expectations series.

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OriginalPouzar

I had read that Benson was back in Edmonton but I guess that’s not correct as he put up 2 assists in a 3-2 loss today.

godot10

Benson is close to an elite passer, as demonstrated by those Edmonton to Switzerland tape-to-tape passes. Tyler…you need goals to get to the NHL, not passes and assists. Goals would signify that he has improved his offensive play when he does NOT have the puck, which is what is keeping him from the NHL.

OriginalPouzar

Fillip Engras with his first college game for New Hampshire.

He had a shot (2 missed shot attempts) and was plus 1 in a 6-2 win. He played center but was 4 of 15 in the faceoff circle.

OriginalPouzar

Kesserling officially awarded with the assist on the NE’s first goal – on the outlet pass – announcers raving about his poise with the puck at the end of the shift.

Gamma Cassiopeiae

I wonder if we could spell Kesselring’s name correctly…

jp

Google’s told me I’ve spelled it wrong pretty much every time too. If the kid makes us say his name more we’ll get there.

jp

So is he playing forward?

OriginalPouzar

Kesserling now plus 2 on the night.

He was part of the zone entry – solid little pass in to the zone but wasn’t part of the scoring play – came off a turnover by Merimack in their defensive zone.

Kesserling is a giant out there and his size and skating are easily noticeable.

Harpers Hair

Scott Wheeler on the standouts and also rans from the WJHC camp.

Wheeler: Final thoughts on Team Canada’s 2021 world junior selection camp 
https://theathletic.com/2216908/2020/12/11/team-canada-2021-world-junior-selection-camp-final-thoughts/?source=user_shared_article

Last edited 2 months ago by Harpers Hair
OriginalPouzar

Missed the first period of the NorthEastern game – thought it started at 5 mountain, not 4 mountain. Kesserling is plus 1 so on for the one NE 5 on 5 goal in the first period (they are up 2-0, also had a PPG).

OriginalPouzar

Maybe Kesserling did pick up the 2nd assist – he’s not in the picture but the announcers imply that he headmanned the puck.

https://twitter.com/GoNUmhockey/status/1337903788787519488

Looks like Kesserling is playing 1RW today.

I’ll hopefully be able to watch most of the last two periods and get a sense.

jp

That would be… interesting.

I guess it’s good if he’s gone straight to the 1st line lol.

Brogan Rafferty's Uncle Steve

Mike Smith’s sv%?

OriginalPouzar

Just like last game, the announcers are absolutely raving about Savoie – all game long.

Savoie was out with the extra attacker (of course) and they were just talking about how it is the rookie Savoie that is directing traffic off the draw – lots of poise and confidence.

Reja

its early but between a power forward and a deadly snap shot shooter that goes to the right areas did we actually hit the Bells on last years draft. We’re going to get a good look at the WJC how valuable a power forward can open up the ice for his line mates and how much his coach leans on him as the games go on.

OriginalPouzar

Denver down 4-1 with 7 left in the 3rd – they got in to some penalty trouble which turned a very good and even game.

No points for Savoie so far but he’s played another good game (although took a penalty which led to a PP goal against and was on the ice for a 5 on 5 goal against).

Not a ton of open ice to work with this afternoon but he has been involved offensively, hit the post earlier and a couple of dangerous shots that “just missed” including one just now on a PP where he “hit the hole” perfectly time and took a pass even with the d-man on a quick break – just missed the shot. Couple solid passes including a nice stretch pass early for a quick break.

OriginalPouzar
OriginalPouzar

Phil Kemp isn’t the only recent Oilers 7th round pick with up arrows – 2019 7th rounder, Maxim Denezkhin is having a real nice year.

He’s in the VHL (the 2nd tier league, not the junior league) and spiking offensively.

I admit to never seeing him play but SPR, who I think has a real good eye for prospects, has been talking about him since drafted and sees him as a real prospect.

Goal and assist today:

https://twitter.com/TheOilKnight/status/1337842005578293253

Last edited 2 months ago by OriginalPouzar
leadfarmer

Broberg needs to show a step forward in the next half of the year to even bring over next year. I would leave him alone.

OriginalPouzar

I would 100% bring him over next year – the AHL would be the perfect place for him at that point.

leadfarmer

Disagree. In north america we have this elitist view on player development. That if we dont keep a close eye on development the player will not develop.
He will develop just fine at home. I wouldnt bring him over until hes ready for NHL work. There is nothing wrong with leaving him there until he is too good for that league

quade

Don’t you want him to adjust to North American ice size? I feel like next year in the AHL, then possibly NHL some or all of the following year seems like a fine development path.

leadfarmer

I think playing top pair minutes in Sweden is a much better developmental pathway than playing in Ahl.
And I may be completely wrong but just looking at his boxcars he’s not exactly blowing the socks off this year
Bringing a player over from Europe and sticking them in Ahl also has the risk of having a player get disgruntled and wanting to leave
Hes at a good place.

OriginalPouzar

Why would playing top pairing minutes in Skelefftea be better for NHL development than top pairing minutes in the AHL.

Looking at Broberg’s box-cars is not a valuable way of evaluating his development. Point totals for young SHL d-men are rarely eye-popping – there are many solid offensive d-man in the NHL that didn’t materially outpace Broberg’s production in the SHL at that age. In fact, Broberg is now out-pacing Klefbom in the SHL.

Broberg wouldn’t be “buried in the minors”, he’d be assigned there for continued development including, importantly, getting used to North American ice, the physicality and style of the North American game and learning the way the Oilers play the game. Not to mention learning from Dave Manson who has a good track record with young d-men (Bear, Jones, Bouchard).

Not to mention, being in the AHL brings potential call-up options and actually NHL playing time.

I can see arguments for a draft plus 3 season in the SHL but there are many arguments for North America development at that time and its a fairly common approach – see Klefbom for example.

leadfarmer

I was talking about the team worst -9. Couldn’t care less about the points.
Theres lots of LHD call up options already. The AHL is a good development league, but why move all the way here when you are already in a good development league.
Bakersfield isn’t exactly the highlight of North America

jp

“Disagree. In north america we have this elitist view on player development. That if we dont keep a close eye on development the player will not develop.”

Holland also has a history with many of his players of leaving them in good situations to develop.

Lidstrom was drafted at 19 and spent 2 more seasons in Sweden. Zetterberg spent 3 full seasons in Sweden after being drafted. Kronwall spent 3 years post draft in Sweden then time in the AHL after arriving. Those are the ones that come to mind, I’m sure there are others.

I don’t have a strong preference either way but definitely agree that the SHL is a good place for Broberg.

defmn

I think a lot of this depends on the player though, no? We have seen players flourish and fail following both paths.

One of the things I like about this current management group is that they seem to encourage the player to participate and use conversation rather than demands to work through decision making.

Bouchard will have a lot to say about how this plays out – hopefully in conjunction with the Oilers player development department.

BornInAGretzkyJersey

You’re correct to point out the improved process within the organization. Sidebar: was Howson particularly bad at player development, or is Holland (et al) just that much better? Ultimately it comes down to matching the ideal pathway for the player’s skill set, personality, and location on his development curve.

The AHL is full of grittensity types with one last shot to make The Show. The flow of play is often described as chaotic, where skilled players have difficulty reading off the play and their teammates.

Perhaps Broberg adapts well, it’s tough to say. I think at the end of the day seeing him dominate his peers at home before making any moves is prudent.

teamblue

Broberg might end up staying for camp after the WJC. Practicing and competing against actual NHLers for a couple weeks will show him what he has to improve on to get to that point better than a few games he’d miss in Sweden. Plus, being in mid season shape may push the dmen that haven’t been playing just a little more as well. As you say defmn, I’m sure management is keeping in contact with him to gauge his interest in heading right back to Sweden or staying here since he’s already here.
And we keep getting reminded of Holland saying he’s going to play the whole year in Sweden. But, we also heard Holland say before the RTP camp that Broberg was only coming for camp and not joining the team in the bubble. That’s the other part of Broberg having a say in what happens. His play may just change Holland’s mind again. I’d be surprised, but not really, if he stayed for camp and made the team, but you never know.

BornInAGretzkyJersey

This is, of course, the appropriate approach.

It’s what Pete should have done with JP.

OriginalPouzar

I have zero concerns about Bouchard being “blocked. He will be “around” and ready to play when the opportunity arises. For all we know, one of Bear, Larsson or Barrie is banged up in camp. I’m quite confident that all three won’t be healthy for 56 games each.

Not to mention, given the ability to keep Bouchard on an expanded roster or taxi squad, there will be some ability for “load management” – perhaps Larsson gets a night off here and there and Bouchard gets inserted.

There will be lots of ice for Evan – once he gets some, he may never give it back.

pts2pndr

I see the weak link at right D being Larson’s back issues. If Holland is going to sign Barrie long term he will have to be a legitimate second pairing D regardless of his offence to warrant the contract he will want. Holland gets the abbreviated season to see what Barrie can do. It is quite possible if Larsson goes down with injury that Bouchard plays third pairing right D for most of the year. The big test is will Jones be able to handle second pairing minutes.

OriginalPouzar

Its heartening that a player like P. Russell, who was on the roster all last season (and in the lineup nightly for the first half), is a distant bell this season – as he should be.

As far as uncertain Oilers, I can’t imagine Chiasson not being on the opening night roster and very likely Haas and Lagesson as well – I think all three are on the normal 23 man roster.

I think, barring injuries, Bouchard and Nygard are 8D (4RD) and 15F and off the roster but, given the expanded roster/taxi squad, both will be with the team.

I’m not sure the Oilers will be able to use the expanded roster – I would have thought there would be cap relief for those 3 spots but, from some accounts, there may not be – the Oilers don’t have cap room to run an expanded roster without cap relief.

They may be on the “taxi squad” but I’m not sure the league will allow for a taxi squad if the expanded roster spots are used up.

There are logistics that are unknown here that we need to have sorted before we can make a real roster prediction.

Reja

Bouchard was ready to see a handful of games last year. He is more than ready to see 3rd pairing and PP2 minutes this year. He is not a Holland pick and if he’s going to sit in the press box twiddling his thumbs all year while Barrie racks up the points on his way to a 5 year contract it just isn’t right. Either Bouchard is in the Oilers plans moving forward and if he isn’t trade him and set him free.

leadfarmer

The likelyhood of no injuries, no Covid outbreaks, and no struggles amongst the players presumed to be ahead of him in the pecking order is nill. While Holland didnt draft him he has had absolutely no interest in trading him during the rumor mills of potential trades.
The condensed year is clearly not ideal for prospect development but thankfully Holland got him a place that he will get most of a year in development. Cant say that about many other prospects in the league

€√¥£€^$

Bouchard is a second year pro. It takes most Dmen several years to develop, even 1st round picks.

I don’t think it would be very smart to trade away a top 10 pick, who posted historic numbers for draft eligible Dman in the OHL. Bouchard is only 21 years old and just completed a stint in the tier 2 Swedish league.

He won’t be eating Tyson Barrie’s lunch. Instead he will have a very good opportunity to learn from one of the past decade’s top offensive NHL Dmen, who is in fact still in his prime.

Much like Ethan Bear basically becoming a diet and fitness zealot from Andrej Sekera’s very short time in Bakersfield, it is possible Tyson Barrie’s presence in Edmonton could have a similar impact on Bouchard (and others hopefully).

I don’t understand your philosophy at all.

Reja

You ice the best possible team Barrie and Bouchard mirror each other. Barrie by the way signs a 5 year extension you heard it here first. If Larsson goes down does Bouchard get the call probably not. Top 10 D picks that are offensive and doing exactly what they were drafted for do not get buried past 21. All your doing now is fuking with his confidence and wasting his talents and yes confidence is a real thing.

defmn

Barrie by the way signs a 5 year extension you heard it here first.

Actually I said the day he was signed that I expected a long term extension – hopefully no more than 5 years.

It would hardly be a surprise. Barrie alluded to it himself in his first presser that it had been discussed between himself and Holland.

There are a lot of moving parts for Holland to sort out regarding the Oilers’ defence. Who to keep, who to trade, who to let walk. The expansion draft, Klef’s health, Bear’s sophomore year are all going to be part of those decisions.

If Bouchard hasn’t seen the ice as an Oiler 20-25 games into the season that will be plenty of time to start speculation on his future with the team imo.

HH loves to stir the pot on this but it isn’t like his prognostications have a particularly high success rate.

Harpers Hair

I’ve always said I see Bouchard’s ceiling as a second pairing D.

I have seen zero evidence to change my mind.

The Barrie acquisition and potential long term extension complicates things for Bouchard since the most likely near term casualty is Larsson and Bouchard has a different skill set.

defmn

Actually that is not all you have said about Bouchard. Not even close. 😉

I think 2nd pair as a ceiling is likely as well though. When assessing prospects I find that their biggest weakness plays a more important part in determining their role than their strength.

My opinion is based exclusively on highlight video and verbal though so is really worth little to nothing.

But as long as I keep reading that he is “working on his defensive game” I have to assume that it is problem because his skills when the puck is on his stick are already superior to most dmen in the league from what I have seen.

OriginalPouzar

Barrie and Bouchard don’t mirror each other. They are both offensively minded d-men with PP accumen but their 5 on 5 skill-sets certainly don’t mirror each other.

If Adam Larsson gets hurt, I would fully expect Evan Bouchard to be inserted in to the lineup.

We are a LONG ways away from signing a 30 year old d-man to a 5 year contract – lets see Barrie play one game as an Oiler first. Even if his play does warrant that type of contract, I would salivate at the thoughts of Bear, Barrie, Bouchard patrolling the right side for the next few years.

Bouchard is not being buried – he will, in all likelihood, play many NHL games this coming season – his 2nd season of a pro.

Reja

Who kills penalties and who’s the shutdown D on the right side if Bouchard replaces Larsson after he gets banged up.

defmn

Probably KRussell.

Yes, it is a concern.

OriginalPouzar

I’m not concerned about leftie/rightie on the PK – moving the puck out with possession isn’t a priority.

Bear was among the top PK TOI/G for the Oilers d-men this past season.

teamblue

I like Russell on the PK, but having a left shooting dman on the right side for PK is concerning. Being on the wrong side for PK opens up too many angles and openings for the PP. The stick of the defender isn’t in the right spots to block the passing lanes. Most PK systems rely on blocking passing lanes, and having the stick in the wrong hand puts it or your body in the wrong positions.

OriginalPouzar

Russell played 98 out of 118 minutes on the PK with Klefbom this past season.

teamblue

98 out of 128. His results with/without Klefbom prove my point. His numbers with right shooting defenders on the PK were much better when he got to play on his left.

OriginalPouzar

You said you were concerned about the PK with Russell on the right side and Russell played the right side of the PK last year, almost exclusively, and the PK was 2nd best in the league.

As a person with a history of bashing advanced stats as not providing context – the above reasoning, given a 20 minutes of ice sample size, is puzzling.

jp

That’s a tiny sample with RS defenders though, almost meaningless. You’re essentially comparing 98 minutes with Klefbom to 16 minutes with Larsson. Russell had good results, there wasn’t a problem. I expect if there’s a reason we’ll see him back on the right side.

Harpers Hair

It’s actually very rare for a top 10 D prospect to take “years” of development before making an impact in the NHL.

In looking at the past 10 years, almost every one who didn’t, the player had injury issues.

OriginalPouzar

Bouchard was not ready to see games last year until maybe later in the season.

His marked development from the beginning of the season to the end of the season is great evidence that AHL development was required.

There is nothing wrong with a rookie pro spending his first pro season in the AHL developing and finishing the season there.

Every single time Holland talks about the d-prospects and the future, Evan Bouchard is mentioned. Just because Holland did what any prudent GM would do and ensure he had 3 proven right shot NHL d-men this year does not mean he doesn’t have big plans for Bouchard.

Why you think he’ll be in the press box all year boggles my mind – that is not something that looks like it might happen and its not something that fits with Holland’s MO.

Acquiring a legit proven NHL RD was imperative this off-season (or re-signing Benning) – I didn’t expect one as substantial as Barrie but, with Klefbom not likely an option and Barrie willing to come for one year and massive value contract (likely), that was a no-brainer.

who

I love how you state your opinion as fact. Over and over and over again. Like you have some sort of direct line to Hollands brain.
Now let’s get real.
I’m pretty sure a proven RD wasn’t that high on Hollands list after last season. The Barrie signing was simply a function of opportunity, and Klefboms injury.
Benning would probably have been replaced by Bouchard or Jones at some point this season anyway. With or without the Barrie acquisition. Sorry to burst your bubble, but retaining Benning was not imperative to this season.

Last edited 2 months ago by who
OriginalPouzar

Am I the only one that needs to put “in my opinion” before every post or is that something that everyone posting needs to do?

Feel free to post in a less adversarial manner and we can have a discussion about this.

You opine that Holland was willing to go in to the season with Bouchard as the 3RD and opine that he would prefer to not gift the position to a rookie in his 2nd year pro (in particular given his history of putting a premium on depth on the back-end).

I post my opinion as fact no more than you – and I don’t use phrases like “lets get real” which essentially is saying “your opinion is wrong and mine is right” so, plesae.

who

No. I “opine” that Holland had any number of options for 3RD already in the organization. Bouchard, Jones and Russell to name three.
Klefboms injury increased the need to add but it was never a case of Benning, or acquisition, or bust.
I just hope the team can survive without Benning, whom you seemed to regard as crucial to the Oilers success.🙄

Last edited 2 months ago by who
OriginalPouzar

I see you’ve switched from aggressive to condescending.

I will reply one more time but will continue the discussion if you can reply with respect and maturity.

I never stated that Benning was “crucial to Oilers’ success” and I do note your unnecessary and condescending emoji.

I did opine that he was very good at 3RD role and that I thought he could play more minutes and potentially some more minutes up the line. I thought he was value for $2M.

Yes, I 100% had the opinion that either Benning should be re-signed or a replacement proven RD acquired. I had (and have) Bouchard as the highest rated Oilers D prospect and I do believe he is NHL ready.

At the same time, without a Benning re-sign or replacement there is absolutely zero cover on the right side – there is only emergency cover of moving left shot d-men over to the right side, Jones or Bear, as you mention and, of course, we’ve seen both of them be materially less effective on the right side.

Moving Jones or Bear to 2RD in the case of one single injury (or to 3RD and Bouchard to 2RD) as the primary move is not something a plan I believe Holland was willing to go in to the season with.

You have a different opinion, and that’s fine – we can continue to discuss but only if you can do so without condescension, aggressiveness, etc. and with respect and maturity.

who

I’m not looking for a discussion with you. Just pointing out where I think you are mistaken.
If you can post the wrong opinion 50 times, surely I can state the other side of the argument once.
Or is that immature? Or disrespectful?

OriginalPouzar

This is far from the first time you’ve provided your other side opinion on this.

Of course, you are free to provide your opposing opinion as much as you want – I would encourage you to do so when its warranted in the discussion – just as I did – I didn’t just post it randomly – it was in the context of a discussion about Bouchard.

What is immature is telling me that I’m posting my opinion as fact while that telling us to “get real” by posting your opinion (implying yours is fact and mine is just wrong) and then “rolling your eyes”.

OriginalPouzar

Personally, I think Phillip Broberg should be in the “distant bell” category along with Samorukov.

Not only does Holland keep re-upping on the plan for him to finish the season in Skelefftea but he simply doesn’t seem to be NHL ready. Don’t get me wrong, he’s having a great development year and the arrows are straight up but he’s also having a very inconsistent season as a 2nd pairing d-man in the SHL. Lots of great moments and highlight but lots of tough games and moments as well.

I am excited for him to come over in April and, presumably, head to the AHL. A solid stretch of AHL games to finish the season would really help him heading in to training camp in 2021 – I also presume that he will start 2021/22 in Bakersfield – may not finish the season there.

The organization has the depth to allow this prospect to develop and not rush him There is no reason for him to play NHL games this season unless there is a big spike in play in 2021.

theWaxCollector

Tullio:

-puts the puck in the net and can skate
-wins almost every fight he’s in on hockeyfights.com, at 5’10ish
-trains with Kassian in Windsor
-competes like a mofo

I’m getting very excited about this prospect.

theWaxCollector

Oshawa*

OriginalPouzar

I haven’t seen him play all that much but from what I have seen and mainly what I’ve read, he seems to be kind of a hybrid of Yamamoto and Archie – skilled, tenacious, etc.

Harpers Hair

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Harpers Hair
cowboy bill

I’m not so certain that James Neal should be listed as a certain Oiler . He’s never been a fourth liner . That seems to be the only slot available on the roster . My question is would he be happy in that role as well as see some PP time ? Wouldn’t the team be better off with a more rounded versatile player in that position ?

Last edited 2 months ago by cowboy bill
defmn

He could end up on the third line with Turris as well. As others have said this season could well see players rotating in and out in a compressed schedule. Especially the bottom half.

Jaxon

I like Ennis-Turris-Neal as 3rd line.

defmn

It definitely has potential. The parts seem to fit together. The question is Puljujarvi. Does he fit above or below that line or does he fit at all.

I also think we might see Neal-Turris-Puljujarvi at some point. Tippett has some work to do getting the bottom six and defensive pairs properly set.

Should be a great TC to watch unfold when they get going.

jp

I’d guess, because they were an effective line at the end of the regular season and through the play-in’s, that Neal-Khaira-Chiasson will at very least start as a line.

I also find it more difficult to project Ennis/Puljujarvi/Archibald as forming an effective line with Khaira or Haas vs Turris.

I could definitely see Neal-Turris-Chiasson also forming a line at some point (or Neal-Turris with Ennis or Puljujarvi as has been mentioned).

It definitely will be cool to see Tippett and the players work things out.

Likewise on the back end. LT keeps listing Barrie as 3RD but I don’t really see it. No idea what the pairs will look like in the end though.

pts2pndr

I would think a Turris with JP and Neal might work as well. A healthy fresh Neal has value, both ability and leadership wise.

OriginalPouzar

I can see Neal playing various places in the lineup.

I would think Neal starts on that 4th line with Khaira/Hass and Chiasson/Archie, the trio with Khaira and Chiasson showing well in their time together

If he’s skating as well as he was in the play-in, I could see him get some 1RW time if Kassian doesn’t recover to be “good Kassian” – notwithstanding poor results with McDavid last year.

I see some potential on that third line as well with Turris.

I would like to see Neal on the right side as he prefers that right but its tough with Kassian, Yamamoto, Archie, Puljujarvi, Chiasson all right wingers.

OriginalPouzar

I listened to the Casey Kesserling podcast when it dropped in the summer and I 100% agree – it was an amazing pod – he knows his college hockey – wow.

OriginalPouzar

Savoie lining up at 1LW again today – no surprise – that line was awesome last game. Game starts at 11am mountain.

Pasquale gets the start despite Konovalov winning the last game – he took the 3-2 loss today though.

Nygard stays red hot with two PP goals in a 4-2 win.

Harpers Hair

Nygard’s goals.

Edmonton Oilers (@EdmontonOilers) Tweeted:
So, uh, Nygard is absolutely on fire right now! 🔥

The #Oilers forward added two more goals for @Farjestad_BK today & now has six tallies in his last six @SHLse games!

( 🎥 @antonj85) https://t.co/d76kKsnnIv

https://twitter.com/EdmontonOilers/status/1337815890532859905?s=20

Woogie63

There is a chance this year’s training camp and season changes hockey for the better.

In the 50s,60s,70s; 20 Canadian players used training camp to get into shape and to cut down to one pack a day.

In the 80s, 90s, 00s; it was less about getting 22 players into shape and more around shaping a team around the international mosaic of player’s styles and languages.

In 10s it has become picking 18 starting skaters, and 3 subs that can hang in there when there is an injury, 1 goalie who can play 50-60 games and back-up that can hang in there when he plays 20 games. Then giving the prospects some time to see how they were developing.

In the 20s the coach can choose from 26 players (30 with the taxi squad) who are going to play great TONIGHT. This could change everything, no more playing through a nagging injury or flu. The coach no longer has to coddle good players that are not completely bought in. A roster of this size puts the pressure on the GM to supply more NHL ready players and the coach to use those resources to get more out of his team. Performance Management can be a difference maker this year.

Teams should plan to get more productions from the 4500 ish shifts that will make up this hockey season.

Last edited 2 months ago by Woogie63
Elgin R

Seen enough of Patrick Russell. 5 pts in 51 NHL games to go with CF% and FF% below 45.4 is not a legit NHL player (tweener at best). With JP coming back it is time to move on.

League-injury history from 2019/20 shows that a majority of teams lost multiple dmen for 10-games or more. Along with that, does Tippet do some load management due to the expected back-to-backs and 3-games in 4 nights? Bouchard will play this season and will surprise the doubters.

OriginalPouzar

Given, P. Russell is 17F or 18F, I think they’ve essentially moved on:

15F – Nygard
16F – Benson
17F – Quine
18F – Russell
19F – Cracknell

jp

What makes you conclude he’s the 17th or 18th forward though?

If I were to guess I’d put him behind Nygard on the depth chart, but even that’s not entirely clear. Through Jan 29th (the day of Nygard’s injury) Russell had played 32 games vs 33 for Nygard. And Russell played over Benson basically all season.

It’s possible you’re right, but it seems more your opinion than related to what the coaching staff likely thinks.

I certainly don’t expect Russell to play a lot of games for the Oilers this season (which is A-OK with me), but based on Tippett’s use of the players last season I don’t see any reason to think Russell is in line behind all of Nygard, Benson and Quine for a job.

OriginalPouzar

Of course its my opinion – Coach T. hasn’t yet sent me his current depth chart list.

I think the massive drop off in usage of P. Russell from the first half to the second half of the season is a good indication.

We know Coach T. does like and trust Russell but I believe Benson played over him in the 2nd half of the season (I know LW vs. RW) and obviously has greater upside.

My post did say 17F/18F – essentially not making a call as between Quine and Russell.

jp

Well you listed Quine as 17F and Russell as 18F so I figured that was making a call.

I guess you just worded it strangely. (‘Given, P. Russell is 17F or 18F, I think they’ve essentially moved on:’). It seems like you were using your own opinion to build your opinion off of.

I’m not sure your recollection of Russell’s usage is accurate either. Benson played Feb. 6th and 8th over Russell. Russell played Feb. 11th and 13th over Benson. They were both in the lineup on Feb 15, 16, 19, 21 and 23. Once Ennis and AA were added, Benson was sent down and Russell only played 3 of the remaining 9 games.

Russell played 12 of 14 February games, but 0 of 6 March games after Neal got healthy.

Anyway, perhaps we’ve both written too many words about Patrick Russell.

€√¥£€^$

I watched the Cult of Hockey podcast with the Casey Kesselring interview last night on YouTube. This is 3 or 4 months old. The man is a wealth of knowledge.

I can’t wait to see how Michael has progressed this year.

Speaking dmen on the Reserve list…. Matt Cairns has become an afterthought. I followed him for a couple years and then dismissed him as a non-prospect. The Oilers lose his rights after this summer.

He is the forgotten man on the Oilers RL, but only 1 of 2 dmen remaining on the entire list. In 5 games with Minnesota-Duluth he has 3 apples and is +4. In his previous 3 seasons he played in 61 NCAA games and scored 3 goals and had 3 assists and was +3. He transferred to UMD from Cornell, which is fortunate for him, since the Ivy League shutdown this season.

Perhaps he is a player we need to pay attention to as well….

Last edited 2 months ago by €√¥£€^$
Elgin R

Get drafted players signed and playing in the ECHL or AHL and then it is up to them. It is always a shame to lose draft picks (see Marino, John).

pts2pndr

I think this may be wrong way thinking to a certain extent. This is like planting a seed in the garden throwing some water on it and hoping it thrives. I am hoping that the team has a policy by which every player they draft has a team rep that checks in with them periodically to see how they are feeling about their game and career progression. Sometimes a change of coach or change of approach to training regimen can make a big difference.

OriginalPouzar

I know that Scott Howson performed that role with the prospects playing professionally when he was Director of Player Personnell. When he would do his radio hits on Oilers Now he would talk about checking in with the guys in Europe, etc. Not sure if it extended to the NCAA but I think it did.

jp

I’d almost forgotten about Cairns and all but written him off too. Nice to hear he’s showing a pulse.

OriginalPouzar

The announcers were talking pre-game about how good he’s been for M-D so far this season.

€√¥£€^$

From what I could tell in the Denver U VS UMD game, Cairns was +2, but he had 0 impact on these goals. He seemed to barely get ice time, something like only 3 or 4 shifts per period. It was almost like he was on the 4th pair.

In conclusion, he doesn’t look anywhere like a pro prospect, not a good skater, poor passer, with a bit of physicality. Otherwise a whole lot of meh to his game. So, despite his improved numbers, he is what we thought he was.

OriginalPouzar

I watched bits and pieces of the game but was focussing on Savoie so not really paying attention to Cairns. He was credited with three blocked shots in addition to going plus 2 – two more blocks than any other.

Todd Macallan

Excited to see Savoie hopefully continue his hot streak, as well as the 1st games for Kesselring and Engaras later today!

OriginalPouzar

Hopefully Engeras today – he wasn’t in the lineup for N. Hamphire last night.