Big Opportunity

by Lowetide
Photo by Mark Williams

Today the NHL owners and general managers will get an idea about how things will roll out should the 2020-21 season proceed according to the recent agreement. For fans, it’s like staring at the walls in a hospital waiting room anticipating the results of surgery. Will the patient survive? What kind of limitations will there be? What will this new life look like?


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.


If the NHL and NHLPA agree to the terms presented, we’re going to see breakneck speed on all kinds of things. Players have to return to their NHL cities, or opt out, and that could wreck a team depending on player and position.

Edmonton has some cover, but signing Ethan Bear pdq would be a good idea. The training camp roster will be interesting but there won’t be much time to add players between the start of training camp and the start of the season.

I expect we might see a flurry of signings, and based on Edmonton’s roster a budget, any additions would have to be in the $1 million range. Who could help? There are no goalies or centers I can see, but some defensemen.

Zdeno Chara could help in my opinion, but he’s not going to play for $1 million and he’s going to sign with the Bruins. Travis Hamonic is still out there, but Edmonton is four deep at the position and Adam Larsson plays the shutdown role. I don’t see it. Slater Koekkoek would be a great fit, sounds like the Oilers want to have a long look at Lagesson and Lennstrom. Madison Bowey has been connected to the Oilers and would represent the No. 5 RH defenseman on the roster. On the off chance Bear doesn’t sign, he would be No. 4.





You may also like

4.4 7 votes
Article Rating
Oldest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Blumel back with Padurbice after scoring for the Czech’s yesterday and shows a Savoie-like release:


Per Friedman, Canucks players have been warned that they could be playing in Edmonton to start the year, either as road trip or as a home base or even a hub. Only team that doesn’t have approval to start training camp at home is Montreal.


We can all relate to that. Guests that no matter how hard you hint they just won’t leave.

Last edited 3 months ago by N64
Turning Tikkanese

It is my understanding that if a player opts out for COVID related reasons, they don’t get paid this season AND their contract effectively SLIDES for a year. No advantage for an older or end of the line player to opt out, other than cap space THIS season. In fact, their buyout situation becomes worse as it is pushed out a year…


I think it is a team option whether the contract year is tolled or not.


Team gets to choose if the contract slides or if the year burns


Has McCurdy said anything about the big Jupiter-Saturn “hookup” tomorrow night? Where are we supposed to look and at what time when they “kiss” in the night sky, for the first time in nearly a millenium.

Gamma Cassiopeiae

The planets are between 5 and 10 degrees above the horizon at sunset. Look southwest. For example, at 5:30pm they will be 7.5 degrees above the horizon (LOW) at a bearing of 220 degrees. SW is 225 degrees.



Harpers Hair

The Star of Bethlehem.

Last edited 3 months ago by Harpers Hair

One count of the Mayan calendar says Dec 21, 2021 is the last day of the age. Last year of the period.


Here is an interesting transition rule which may be applicable given the team will already be using LTIR relief and not accruing cap space daily (likely):

If a player tests positive for COVID, they are automatically eligible to be placed on Long Term Injured Reserve (LTIR) without any medical review or assessment. Normally, to go on LTIR a Doctor must do an examination and provide a long-term diagnosis.

The standard 10 game and 24 day time missed LTIR requirement remains, and the start date for this period begins from the positive COVID test result.


The game/time threshold could be a sticking point though to take advantage – that would longer than the player would likely be out with Covid (likely, you never know – most cases for the young recover fairly quickly but definitely not all – I think).


‘- Let’s say Neal “opts out”. Does his cap still count?

’- Despite the likely league-illegality of someone giving a high cap player tons of stacks of high society to “go away”I would imagine some teams might be announcing conveniently that some players are not going to play in the covid shortened season. Don’t ask don’t tell.


There are three prongs of opt out and the purely voluntary one for no injury or health reason – the player doesn’t get paid – Neal won’t be opting out I wouldn’t imagine.


Re: Captain Broberg:

“I gained a lot of experience being in the bubble this summer and being around the NHL guys and seeing how they prepare and execute,” he said. “The (pre-tournament) game I played against Calgary really helped me. It was really special to be able to compete against other NHL level players and see how big a difference it is.”

Swedish coach Joel Ronnmark said Broberg, in his third world junior championships, was the obvious choice on and off the ice.

“Philip is not shy to talk to the group and set a standard in our practices,” said Ronnmark. “We can use him in every situation on the ice in the games. He and some of the other guys have stepped up because we are really short with the coaching staff here. For a young guy, he’s really mature and he’s been very good in Skelleftea, where he plays.”


But depending on prevailing conditions, the NHL will be prepared to play games in one or more “neutral site” venues per division should it become necessary

That’s exactly the right flexible tone that Seravelli was reporting a few weeks ago Whatever’s necessary. Most provinces are onboard in principle, but as far as we know none has made any unconditional promises.

Whether they play in 7 Canadian cities or 6 or all in 1 without travel they’ll be fine without a full bubble


That last week of July is going to be something else: Expansion Draft, Draft and Free Agency opening within a week.


And my birthday. 😉


No idea yet if he can play hockey at the highest level but that is an NHL release imo.


I’ve watched all his games in full this year so am starting to get a pretty decent idea at his game.

His offensive talents are apparent and I have full confidence they will develop to the NHL level.

I have zero issues with his dedication to the defensive game or willingness to engage on the boards. I’ve seen him bust-ass to break up rushes, I’ve seen him dive to block passes and I’ve seen him throw a number of hits (mostly in the offensive zone).

I would say his main issues right now are:

1) battles – not his willingness but his effectiveness – he gets in there but isn’t great on the boards – should get better with strength and experience

2) skating – I see him as an average skater at best right now – kind of lumbers a bit. He doesn’t seem to have great speed but his edges are decent.

3) fitness – I only say this because he seems to fade at the end of shifts.

College seems the perfect place to work on those deficiencies for the next few year – in the best conference in the country!


Half way through the second, Savoie hits the gap hard, takes a nice little sauce pass from Guttman, quick release and he’s got his 7th of the year to open the scoring. 5 on 5 goal


Quiet period for Savoie in the first. One solid rush for a zone entry. One solid bang at the end of an offensive zone shift.

Played the right point on the one PP, tried to make a risky move around a defender and was foiled – bad decision but he made a plus effort play to ties the stick up of the opponent and prevent the rush back the other way – that was good (and good not to take a penalty).

unca miltie

This reminds me of the Petry situation. Got him to sign a value contract and then could not extend him. A prove yourself contract.


I obviously don’t like why it ended up happening but an all Canada division is going to be awesome imho.


My 36 skater training camp roster:

McDavid, Drai, Turris, Khaira, Haas, Marody (if healthy), McLeod, Quine
Nuge, Kahuan, Ennis, Neal, Nygard, Benson, Gambradell, Griffith
Yamamoto, Kassian, Puljujarvi, Archibald, Chiasson, Russell, Cracknell

Nurse, Jones, Russell, Lagesson, Lennstrom, Niemelainan
Bear, Larsson, Barrie, Bouchard

Room for a PTO

Koskinen, Smith, Forsberg, Skinner, Wells


Do you really think they will bring in that many guys for a 10 day TC?


Yup – much less than the 55 plus they normally bring in.

The distant bells will likely spend all but no time with the main group.


That would surprise me since there would really be no place to send those cut from camp other than back home.

I guess we will know soon enough.


Sounds like Stars will have apx 5000 fans for their home games.


Savoie’s last game until New Years Day coming up in under an hour.

3rd game in 4 nights (less than 4 nights actually) – lets see what his fitness level is like (he gets legit top line and top PP minutes).


Official NHL Statement (including plan is for home areans to be used, neutral site if necessary – i.e. no hubs, at least for now):

The NHL and NHL Players’ Association reached an agreement Sunday to play a 56-game regular season starting Jan. 13, 2021 and concluding on May 8.
The 2020-21 season has been delayed due to continuing concerns surrounding the coronavirus.

“The National Hockey League looks forward to the opening of our 2020-21 season, especially since the Return to Play in 2019-20 was so successful in crowning a Stanley Cup champion,” NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said. “While we are well aware of the challenges ahead, as was the case last spring and summer, we are continuing to prioritize the health and safety of our participants and the communities in which we live and play. And, as was the case last spring and summer, I thank the NHLPA, particularly Executive Director Don Fehr, for working cooperatively with us to get our League back on the ice.”

Formal training camps will begin on Jan. 3. There will be no pre-season games. The seven teams that did not participate in the 2019-20 Return to Play will be permitted to open their training camps as early as Dec. 31.

As part of the agreement, the Stanley Cup Playoffs would feature 16 teams in the traditional best-of-seven, four-round format and conclude around mid-July with the plan of returning to a “normal” hockey calendar for the 2021-22 season (regular season beginning in October). The NHL and NHLPA will release the Health and Safety
Protocols, transition rules and critical dates calendar as well as the 2020-21 schedule in the coming days.

Games will be within realigned divisions only, including a division of the seven teams based in Canada. In reaching agreement on the format for the 2020-21 season, the NHL and NHLPA determined that the ongoing closure of the U.S.-Canada border required realignment and the NHL and the players also sought to minimize team travel as much as possible by shifting to exclusively intradivisional play.

Each team in the East, Central and West divisions will play every other team in its division eight times while each team in the North Division (Canada teams) will play every other team in its division nine or 10 times.

The top four teams in each division will qualify for the Stanley Cup Playoffs, with intradivisional play in the first two rounds (No. 1 vs. No. 4; No. 2 vs. No. 3). The four teams that advance to the Semifinal Round would be seeded by their regular season points total.

It is the current plan to play games in the home arenas of participating teams while understanding that most arenas will not, at least in the initial part of the season, be able to host fans. But depending on prevailing conditions, the NHL will be prepared to play games in one or more “neutral site” venues per division should it become necessary.

The NHL and NHLPA have had to adjust to government regulations at all levels, from restrictions at the Canada-United States border to local limits on gatherings, and the coronavirus situation in each of the markets for the 31 NHL teams. The agreement includes health and safety protocols.

The last game of last season was played Sept. 28, when the Tampa Bay Lightning defeated the Dallas Stars 2-0 in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final.

“The Players are pleased to have finalized agreements for the upcoming season, which will be unique but also very exciting for the fans and Players alike,” NHLPA Executive Director Don Fehr said. “During these troubled times, we hope that NHL games will provide fans with some much needed entertainment as the players return to the ice.”

Harpers Hair

Dan Rosen (@drosennhl) Tweeted:
NHL and NHLPA have both approved the plan to start the 2020-21 season on Jan. 13, concluding the regular season on May 8 before a full Stanley Cup Playoffs. The schedule, health and safety protocols, critical dates and transition rules will be announced in the coming days.

Harpers Hair

NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) Tweeted:
The @NHLPA and @NHL have announced an agreement to play a 2020-21 regular-season schedule of 56 games beginning on Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2021.


Alright. Cross our fingers and our toes and hope for better times ahead.


Per Puckpedia, it a player is unfit to play due to Covid, they can be designated non-roster but still count towards the cap. I believe this is no different than an injury with the difference being no minimum amount of time on IR.

If a player is traded or claimed on waivers and has to quarantine, they can be designated non-roster but still count against the cap.

That second one will put the Canadian teams at a disadvantage as they will have a much smaller pool of players to trade for with immediate access.


When is going to be the first possible date when Konovalov can sign and play for the Oilers? Last season, the KHL cancelled playoffs then allowed free agents to sign with NHL teams on May 1st.


May 1 – that’s when his KHL deal expires.


Certainly not a beauty but Blumel with his first goal for the Czech National team – the game winner in their final Channell Cup game against Sweden:


GM’s call early this after – Holland will be in the know about the details, the parameters and cap implications of it all – Bear will be signed by Christmas is my prediction.


I may be in the minority but I don’t see any reason for a depth d-man add, right or left shot. Personally, I’m quite happy with Lagesson as 4LD and Bouchard as 4RD and I expect, and hope, for both to play material NHL games this season.

Each could be just as good or better than a Slater K. or a Bowey and I’d rather give them their shots when the opportunity arises.

Lennstrom can wheel and he’s in the conversation as well – on an ELC and waiver exempt and perfect for the taxi squad.


Chara is a different story than Koekkoek.

For me, I’d rather give Lagesson the 4LD reps – not only may he be as good if not better than Koekkoek (no given there), we don’t risk losing him on waivers.

Do we want all of Lennstrom, Lagesson and Bouchard on the taxi squad – takes away a spot from a forward.

I know Slater K. showed well in the play-in but so did O. Maata and, conversely, Nurse and Klefbom were awful – warning about putting too much stock in that 4 gamer.


Koekkoek had quality numbers during the regular season as well.

I’d count him as an established ‘NHL defenseman’, and he’s only 2 years older than Lagesson.


Koekkoek would be very good insurance if they can get him signed for the right price.


So do you waive the newly signed Koekkoek or Lagesson?


Depends on who plays better I would think.


A lot depends on the D health coming out of camp. This may be a year to carry 8 D. You could also start the season with one of Lagesson or Koekkoek on taxi squad. I am sure where there is a will there is a way.


OK, if you carry 8D then which of Archibald, Khaira or Hass do you waive (in addition to Nygard who I have as 14F)?

Personally, I see the Oilers with Lagesson as 4LD, Lennstrom as 5LD and Bouchard as 4RD and don’t really see the need to bring in another left D in and around the Russell/Lageson level – they seem covered and its time to see what Lagesson can do if an injury occurs.


Bob Stauffer
· 11h
Not that we are closing in on a RTP… Wouldn’t be a surprise if the Oilers sign a veteran (75+ NHL GP) left shot Defenceman that could act as a #6/#7 D.


Jim Matheson
Sounds a lot like Slater Koekkoek to me after his play for Chicago against Oilers in Return to Play last August…


Yeah, I read your previous post earlier and thought the same. Stauffer almost couldn’t be referring to anyone else. Koekkoek would be a really solid add IMO.


Fun fact:

Koekkoek scores pretty decently at even strength. And guess who he’s tied with in 5v5 points/60 over the last 3 seasons: Madison Bowey.
(both scored 0.96 5v5 P/60, tied also with Shea Theodore, right behind Seth Jones and right ahead of Noah Hanifin)
(for context, they were tied for 46th of 205 NHL D, Nurse was 29th at 1.03, Barrie was tied for 9th at 1.14)

Interesting maybe that both of the 6/7D linked to the Oilers have a recored of 5v5 scoring. And that Holland also added Barrie.

It seems pretty likely that Holland (or someone close to him) is looking at these numbers.


Yes, I’m aware of Stauff’s tweet and thoughts but i personally don’t see the point of adding someone in the Russell/Lagesson level, forcing Lagesson on to waivers and blocking him – let Lagesson play.

That’s my thoughts at least.


So do you waive the newly signed Koekkoek or Lagesson?

I wouldn’t have really any concern waiving Lagesson if they were to sign Koekkoek. I think Koekkoek is a far better bet as an NHL player this season. (and again, only 2 years older, Lagesson turns 25 in February).

I might actually pass Lagesson through waivers even if the Oilers don’t add anyone else. I see him and Bouchard as pretty even 7/8D, and no one wants to see Bouchard sit on the taxi squad all year.

If you pass Lagesson through at the end of camp when everyone else is sending their final cuts down then you can move him and Bouchard between the taxi squad and the roster for the first 30 days at least. When they’re on the roster the players are practicing with the team at least).

I think don’t think Lagesson would get claimed. And if nothing else, he’s less likely to get claimed at the end of camp than a few weeks later when other teams aren’t making their own moves.


The taxi squad players are also practicing with the team – they are essentially treated like they are on the roster except for financial and cap matters (the team has the choice to take taxi squad members on road trips).

I wouldn’t see any reason to keep Bouchard on the roster and risk Lagesson on waivers unless Bouch was getting in to the lineup (and then someone would need to be assigned subject to roster and cap implications at the time).

He likely doesn’t get claimed but I don’t see the reason to risk it if there is no practical effect.


I guess, at the end of the day, what it boils down to for me is that I don’t see Slater K. as this material upgrade on what Lagesson may bring. I did look at his puck IQ numbers last night, and they sparkled – maybe I’m undervaluing the player. I do want Lagesson to get his shot though.


Ah, I ‘d missed that taxi squad members could practice and travel with the team. The initial reports were suggesting those guys wouldn’t be allowed to.

So yeah, that makes a big difference (and good to hear for Bouchard and whoever else ends up on the taxi squad). And agreed then that passing Lagesson through waivers (if no one else is added) would be a risk for no purpose.

And yes, the key point is whether Koekkoek is an upgrade or more of the same. I do think he’s a very good bet to be an upgrade, so I’d be happy to see him added. His on ice numbers do sparkle (pretty sheltered I believe, but I only checked NST, not PuckIQ). He also seems to contribute even strength offense, as i mentioned last night.


Yeah, agreed.


I’ve been hoping for at least a pto or two for a 6/7/8 level dman just for cover and to hedge any bets of the young dmen faltering and/or to make sure they earn their spots.
If Chara was an option though, I’d hope Holland had him on the way here before the ink was dry on the contract.


ELC slide will be 7 games this year.

Really only applies to Broberg when he comes over on March/April but I don’t presume it will be an issue – he should be AHL bound – if no AHL, lots of practice and watching.


Two goals and an assist for Tullio today!!!

Brogan Rafferty's Uncle Steve

At the same age, Brogan Rafferty was already walking on water.


If Bear signs as the season starts or delayed until Feb; he might get more but his season might be derailed.
He won’t have camp and that’s a big deal !


Being at training camp for day 1 is important – he’s played four games since March.

I’m confident he’ll be there (contract signed).

Last edited 3 months ago by OriginalPouzar



Seems prudent. I think this has been rumoured for some time but the first time I have seen it confirmed by a source.

Chris Johnston
NHL teams are required to carry at least three goalies at all times this season, between the active roster and taxi squad.


Leavins, of course, lives on a different island on the west coast than HH so the smoke signals drift in from a different direction I guess. 😉

From his Sunday morning 9 things:

NHL Group II RFA’s must be signed by February 11th in order to play this season. That list of players includes Oilers D-man Ethan Bear. There is “zero” chance of a deal not getting done. But it’ll be on the austere side.


We all know HH lives on fantasy island an imaginary place in his own mind where everything Oilers is tainted! 😉


I anticipate, now that Holland knows all the parameters related to this coming season – roster numbers, taxi squad numbers, how bonuses and contract matters will be pro-rated for the season and all the cap implications, we’ll see a Bear signing before Christmas – certainly before camp!


Per Capfriendly :

Seattle #Kraken Expansion draft updates:

Player exposure requirements:
40GP requirement becomes 27GP [56/82]
70GP requirement becomes 54GP [(56+70)/164]

Career ending injury threshold of 60 consecutive GP becomes 41GP [56/82]


How do you see that playing out for the Klefbom situation? Does that preclude the Oilers having to protect him.


OP can give a more informed answer but my understanding is the 41 GP threshhold would not have anything to do with the Oilers needing to protect him or not. It just means that he would not count as the Oilers D that have a required experience level and at least one exposed. I think that is why Russell was extended because he should meet that threshhold and would be exposed.
Personally if Klef is out all year I would consider exposing him and protecting just 3 D.

Last edited 4 months ago by McNuge93

Tnx. Assuming that Jones is able to cover 2 left D that was what I would do based on the difficulty the team has in finding wingers and the pipeline of Left side D. It also in my opinion makes sense to protect the maximum number of assets.


Its one prong of a three-prong test that COULD lead to Klefbom being exempt from the expansion draft. To be exempt the player must have missed the designated number of games, the injury deemed to be career-threatening and then the league MAY deem the player exempt.

Missing the requisite number of games is not enough to make the player exempt and the third prong of the test has league discretion and, as we’ve seen over the years, league discretion rarely seems to favor the Oilers.

Not to mention, from accounts, Klefbom is currently preparing to be ready for camp in September and, at this point, I fully expect Klefbom to be ready to go for the 2021/22 season.


I think depending on how Jones does the smartest and or most logical move would be to leave Klefbom unprotected and protect the 7-3-1.


On the assumption that Klef is good to go for the 2021/22 season, and I expect he will be at this point (given recent verbal), I would not leave Klefbom exposed but would look to consume a trade from the left side and go 7-3-1 (to the extent that a few of Turris, JP, Benson, Kahun, etc. make protected more than 4 a necessity).

Of course, this is subject to Jones taking the step that I expect he will (and even if he doesn’t, at $850K, well, he’s already more than value for that hit).


If he’s not up to playing this year what makes you think he’ll be ready next year?


Klefbom? Ummmm, him taking care of the injury that’s keeping him out.

Odd question.


From what I’ve heard it’s chronic so how’s it going to be any different in 8 months. Nobody but himself knows how much pain he is playing through and the quality of life might trump the need to continue playing through the pain and possibly damaging it more in his post career life.


That’s the problem OP I don’t know there is a fix for arthritis. Depending on the severity as he ages it could become debilitating. Living the rest of his life in pain and without the ability to enjoy it is a very high price to pay for a few more years of playing hockey.


Could be or, on the other hand, he could come back in September, after resting and rehabbing (and whatever he’s doing for it) for a year, and feels as good as he has in years.

He knows the advise he’s getting from all the experts, not us. He knows what’s going on with it, not us. He is saying its feeling better and he’s shooting to return for camp in September.

I’m going with that for now.


I think your question is valid. Arthritis by all I know is not something that can be fixed. The more frightening part is if he is having the degree of pain and difficulty playing to wit he takes a year off his time after hockey will also come with pain an an inability to enjoy many of the things a healthy person can do such as golf to mention but one.


I don’t think the question is all that valid, personally, as its well know that he’s taking this year off to try and get the shoulder in the best shape possible and is aiming for a return to camp in September – so to ask why he would not play this year and then next doesn’t really makes sense.

Klef is the one making the decisions and we know his current intent.


Of course you don’t think it’s valid personally. You’re not the one dealing with arthritic pain.
We don’t know Klefbom’s current intent. He hasn’t said a word in regards to this. Unless I missed some statement he’s made towards this. Has he said anything since this has come about? Or has it all been what Holland has passed along?


Holland said he talked to Klefbom, the shoulder is feeling a bit better and he’s aiming for September.

Hence why I think its odd why someone would be mind-boggled that the player would not play this year but could play next season.


I agree, the question is valid. Arthritis doesn’t just go away. Once you have it, it’s there. He can attempt to aim to return next season, but if the pain keeps him out now, there’s a very real possibility it could keep him out next year as well. And the year after, and the year after etc. Trying to get his shoulder in shape doesn’t matter, it’s how much pain he can put up with to play with it.


Per Friedman, training camp will be maxed at 36 skaters (unlimited goalies).