Fly Like an Eagle

by Lowetide
Photo by Rob Ferguson

I had a heckuva time figuring out the top player at the 2011 draft. Math helped but there was a pile of prospects who landed in about the same spot. So, you look for position scarcity, skating, range of skills–and that’s where the Nuge emerged as a strong contender. Below is my scouting report for readers June 3, 2011, three weeks before the draft.


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.

Draft profile: Ryan Nugent-Hopkins

Ryan Nugent Hopkins interviewed with the Edmonton Oilers this week and “feels comfortable” with the team.

  • RNH: “Edmonton was the first team to interview me (on Wednesday), and it went really well. I got a good feeling from them and I’m starting to feel more comfortable around them now because I’ve had a couple of interviews with them, so it’s been going pretty well. I’m looking forward to draft day.”

His comparables (in style) range from Matt Duchene through Niklas Backstrom. ISS says he’s an instinctive and dynamic playmaker with legendary vision and set up skills. He’s listed as 6.00, 170 and pretty much everyone agrees the Oilers would be wise to leave him in junior for another year.

I think it’s a crapshoot. Ten years from now, the best player in this draft might be RNH, or Larsson, or Landeskog, or Huberdeau or Couturier. Hell, it COULD be Mika Zibanejad.

The back story tells so well and the skill set sounds like a dream. I’m not certain Ryan Nugent-Hopkins is the best player available, but I don’t know that he isn’t either. If MBS likes another better, so be it. However, these long days from the entry draft everything points to Nugent-Hopkins joining the Oilers later this month.


These years later I think Nikita Kucherov (Ross, Hart, Lindsay) is likely the overwhelming choice for best player in the draft. Others who have won individual awards include Gabriel Landeskog (Calder), Johnny Gaudreau (Byng), Jonathan Huberdeau (Calder), Sean Couturier (Selke) and John Gibson (Jennings).

Players who haven’t won awards but deserve to be considered among the best from 2011 are Mark Scheifele, Nuge, Mika Zibanejad and Dougie Hamilton.


It’s official, the stylish defender is gone for the entire 2020-21 season. It’s a hard knock but there was an expectation the news would involve a long-term absence. Klefbom has played in 80 percent of Edmonton’s games over the last three seasons, but he has also played hurt in many of those games. Best case scenario he gets healthy over the next eight months and comes back better.


It’s never good to have a player delayed by Covid-19, but Haas plays a position where the Oilers have strength. If Mikko Koskinen were in the same situation, that would be alarming. It sounds like Haas will be just a little behind and may be able to make it for opening night. As with all of these players, we hope for the best with this player.


Looks like Holland is making his signing a priority, makes sense as Bear played big minutes a year ago and will be counted on again this year. Edmonton’s RH depth chart looks strong to me, with Bear, Barrie and Larsson as the starters and Evan Bouchard waiting in the wings. Bear (two-way), Barrie (offensive) and Larsson (shutdown) offer the full range of skills.

On the left side, Nurse (two-way), Jones (two-way) and Russell (shutdown) don’t offer the same range, and Lagesson (two-way) is more of the same. I’m encouraged about rumours involving Slater Koekkoek, he would be a strong addition to the group.


A fun show this morning, it’s always a blast Christmas week because people are in good cheer (and probably not really working). At 10 this morning, TSN1260, we hit the ground running with Paul Sir from The Basketball Show and Basketball Alberta. Another NBA season gets underway today and we’ll preview the Raptors and their main competition. At 11, Chris Peters, who knows everything about junior hockey, will join us to talk about the World Juniors and what to expect from Team USA. 10-1260 text, @Lowetide on twitter. See you on the radio!


You may also like

4.8 9 votes
Article Rating
Oldest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

4pm (mountain) – Canada/Russia – pre-tourney game.


ooooo, do you know off hand if that’s televised?

Todd Macallan

Sure is, TSN has all wjc games Tele used, including pre tournament.


Yes, on a couple of the TSN channells.


Interesting trivia. Just started working on my preliminary draft rankings, and five of my top 10 centres play in the Canadian division.  


The division lacks many thing but firepower isn’t one of them.


Harpers Hair



He’s talking about centers, no?


I’ve actually got Pettersson 10th and Tavares 11th. So six of top 11.


Cool, thanks.

And no argument that Pettersson is that quality of player but he didn’t really play C this past year (only took 140 face-offs). I guess won’t this coming season either. Of course it’s your list!

So it’s Scheifele you’ve got above EP and JT?


Here’s what I have:

1. McDavid
2. MacKinnon
3. Drai
4. Eichel
5. Crosby
6. Matthews
7. Scheifele
8. Point
9. Zibanajead
10. Pettersson
11. Tavares

My list can and will likely change after revisions. Point looks a little high right now. EP could end up on the wing too, depending on league commissioner ruling. Will be weird this year. Normally we vote on positions in question, but it will be awkward because we aren’t doing it in person for the first time ever.


Seems reasonable. Could be high for Point, but a lot depends on what categories get counted.

And agreed it’s hard to see anyone ranking MacKinnon ahead of McDavid, as good as MacKinnon is. Good luck with it, it’s been a while since I’ve had time for any drafts/pools unfortunately.


Interesting note. Sports Forecaster has MacKinnon ranked first overall. Not sure how anyone can reach that conclusion. I think you can possibly maybe somehow rank a winger ahead of McDavid, but you’re not winning a lot of drafts if you have MacKinnon ahead of McDavid.


Funny I recall the last fellow that took Mackinnon over Mcdavid reneged on his bet like a little school girl.

Harpers Hair

Tony Saxon

Expect OHL to announce season is indefinitely delayed tomorrow.

Harpers Hair


#Panthers signed goalie Samuel Montembeault to a 1 year / 2-way contract earlier today.

NHL: $700,000
Minor: $85,000

Montembeault played 14 games with the Panthers last season, and is the first goalie they’ve signed since creating their Goaltending Excellence Department.


He has a surprisingly poor track record.

I guess the Goaltending Excellence Department doesn’t extend as far as scouting?

Harpers Hair

Perhaps they know something you don’t about him.

(in fact I would bet a sizeable sum on that).

Jacob Markstrom was a floundering prospect until he got to work with Ian Clark and is now one of the best goaltenders in the league.

Context is important.


Yes I’d certainly hope the Goaltending Excellence Department knows more about the player than I do, though that doesn’t mean they’re right.

Just surprised to see he hadn’t managed a .900 SV% as a pro until 11 AHL games last season. Still hasn’t managed a sub-3 GAA or a positive W-L record. Context and all that.

I guess the $85k bet on the eve of the season is fitting though. We’ll see if they can work their Excellence in this case.

Harpers Hair

Oh look…another team has signed a waivers exempt 3rd goaltender.

Might be a thing for teams paying attention.


What are you talking about?

He’s not waivers exempt just because he sucks. He’s a 4th year pro on a 2-way contract who’s not good enough to warrant a decent AHL salary.

He still has to clear waivers, though obviously no one is going to claim him.

Forsberg is a far better bet as 3rd goalie, and he’s only costing Katz $$ to sit on the taxi squad.

Some teams are paying attention, though it seems not everyone is following along.

Harpers Hair

Interesting. Seems like a mistake but maybe there are rules I don’t know about here.

Anyone got an idea how a 24 year-old who’s already played 3 full pro seasons (41GP, 50GP, 25GP between the AHL/NHL) could still be waivers eligible this upcoming year?

Not enough games last season?


Goalies have different parameters than skaters for waiver eligibility.

For a goalie with a 20-year signing age like this no-name, he needs to accrue 4 pro seasons or play 80 NHL games to be waiver eligible.

Of course, the point that was being made was non-sensical as, if this goalie is considered a legit NHL option for any period of time then Anton Forsberg should be considered in the Vezina competition.

Harpers Hair

Neither of them is a legit NHL option.

But one of them is waiver exempt.

Stupid is as stupid does.


Cool post – name calling and personal attacks – so much disrespect for your host.

Harpers Hair

Calling Oiler management stupid is hardly a revelation…it’s been going on for 30 years.


Cool thanks. Didn’t realize goalies had different waiver eligibility rules.

And yes, it is a bit nonsensical to argue that having a (very) poor waiver exempt goalie as your #3 is worse than having a (relatively) high end waiver eligible goalie in that spot.

But never underestimate the Department of Excellent Goaltending, I’m told.


Don’t be stupid.


I try. It’s hard sometimes.


Each NHL team should be allowed to veto one referee assignment to their division – Just say no to Tim Peel.


So you’d rather Steve Kozari?


Is he the crybaby that thought Mcdavid showed him up?

Steve Kozari is the ref that penalized McDavid after Connor told him to “check upstairs.” Since that game the Oilers are 2-11 with a 36-22 PP disadvantage with Steve Kozari reffing.

Last edited 10 months ago by BornInAGretzkyJersey
90s fan

Are you sure?

At what point do refs start giving players the benefit of the doubt, or respect if you will, ala Corey Perry and his infamous goaltender interference no call? How long before McDavid gets calls because he’s McDavid? Ever?


Elliotte Friedman
Hearing Mikael Granlund will return to NASH on a one-year deal, around $3.75M


A few tidbits coming out:

– Change to the off-side rule (mentioned earlier)

– Schedule coming out tomorrow (Wed) – will have 7 Canadian teams playing in home arenas but that is subject to change

– There will be one designated hotel for teams – no housekeeping, no guests in the room, etc.

– Coaches must wear face coverings (not the case in the summer).

– Any player that tests positive during the regular season will have it disclosed (not in camp)


NHL changes the offside rule. A player will NOT be offside if his skate is off the ice but over the blueline.


That’s fantastic.

It’s about time, too.


Cap Friendly reports that Cernak signed for 3 years at $2.95 million per season. A Bear comparable.

Last edited 10 months ago by godot10
Harpers Hair

But but cap strapped teams can’t pay their young players what they’re worth 🙂

Last edited 10 months ago by Harpers Hair

Cap strapped?
they’re in the cap stratosphere!!
I can’t imagine anyone bailing them out without Cirelli attached

Harpers Hair

With the Cernak signing, you have to know they have a plan in place.

Wouldn’t surprise me if Stamkos is involved.


Not sure. He refused to waive his NMC when they asked. All Kucherov does is buy them time.


I reckon the Lightning will be using Kucherov on LTIR to get cap compliant to start the season, however, unless he’s going to miss the entire regular season, they will still need find a way for a massive disposition of cap in order to activate him.


Yup. My guess way back at the end of the playoffs was that it would be Stamkos they put on LTIR to get compliant but Kucherov is the guy I guess. As you say it just buys them time, it doesn’t solve the problem.


The KHL back started now that the Channel One Cup is over. Just over 19 minutes of even hockey from Sammy in the top 4 – as he does.

Pasquale with the start for Yarsolav and a 2-1 win – blah.

Tullio held off the scoresheet.

Denezhkin haven’t a fantastic season in the VHL – making plus plays and producing.

Blumel with yet another goal – he continues to spike in the Chech ExtraLiga and I think he’s earning himself an ELC and a ticket to Bakersfield for September 2021!

Victoria Oil

Just what all young men dream of – a ticket to Bakersfield. 🙂

But yes, nice to see a prospect with up arrows.

Thanks for the updates OP.


At least its not Stockton………

With an NHL ELC (and a likey signing bonus of $92.5K), I think he’ll be smiling not the trip!

Harpers Hair

David Pagnotta (@TheFourthPeriod) Tweeted:
Capitals also unveil their sponsored helmet decals…


Harpers Hair

New Jersey Devils (@NJDevils) Tweeted:
We’re proud to be the first @NHL club to have brand placement on our helmets.

Proud to Rock with @Prudential, home and away.


Looks terrible, it’s a shame. Hopefully they don’t announce Jersey adds soon.
Gotta love the super hyped video reveal for adds though


I don’t agree. To be honest, I think it looks like more writing to ignore on the helmet.

I also think that Capital One having their branding on the Capitals jerseys is a smart co-branding alliance. Not that I want to see Suncor sponsoring the Oilers, but I have no issues with these teams looking for alternative revenue sources.

If it keeps the lights on and the teams on the ice and I can tell who’s logo is on the front of the jersey, go nuts.


I can’t understand why any hockey fan would have an issue with these insignificantly sized ad placements.

Lots seem to have strong feelings – its their right and their opinion – i don’t get it.


I’ve lived with some truly hideous product placement front and center for soccer for so many years the little helmet decals are barely noticeable to me lol

Harpers Hair

I expect after a few games, the average viewer won’t even notice them.

Darth Tu

I see Engelland has retired.


Another team will probably offer Nuge more money to be their #1C, like Wild, then we would as a top line winger. And while I would love to keep him, he is 28 this spring. 6-7 mil for 6 seasons is ok but any more i would be ok letting him go


His skating is well above average. Playing into his thirties at a high level should not be an issue.


Kassian skates pretty well too you know. 😉


But he has NEVER played at a decent level, except for the two months before he signs a new contract.


Just teasing you a bit.

But you know I don’t agree with that characterization.

As just one for instance, Kassian scored 0.66 goals/60 and 1.49 P/60 at 5on5 over his career before he ever played with McDavid (2011-12 through 2017-18). Those rates are just above (goals) and just below (points) the cutoff between 2nd/3rd line scoring rates for NHL forwards.

“NEVER played at a decent level” is supreme hyperbole.


I love me some Nuge, but I wanted Landeskog or Larsson at the time. I figured we should have picked Seguin in the first place and that Larsson would have been the natural fit at the time.

For those who have watched a lot of COL play over the years, I wonder looking back with the benefit of hindsight — wouldn’t Landeskog have been a better fit here?

Last edited 10 months ago by BornInAGretzkyJersey
Elgin R

If the players are very, very close in draft evaluation – always take the center. RNH was the right choice. I agree that it should have been Tyler over Taylor – center over the winger.


Can’t disagree.

Harpers Hair


He was my pick.


What about his play/style leads you to that position?


Nuge – definitely not the best player in the draft a decade later (Kucherov, Scheifele, Zibanegad) but a wonderful player nonetheless and a key player for this team – a glue guy and a veteran core player in his prime. The market is changing and in flux and it doesn’t make sense for either the player or the team to commit to such an important deal (for both) until things settle and there is a better sense. This will get done.

Klef – Holland confirmed what we essentially knew but now know with certainty. I’m hopeful to see him feeling great and raring to go in September as per Klef’s current plans. We all know that Jones’ ability to be consistent in the 2LD role through the course of the season is a key to the team. He did well in 3 weeks this past season. Lets do this Caleb.

Bear – HOlland intimated what I had been positing – once all the parameters for the new season were made official and known (roster sizes, taxi squads, bonus pro-ration, waiver mechanics, effect of taxi squad on the cap, etc.), the Bear contract would get hammered out. I expect to see that deal done in the next week give or take.

Veteran D Add – I get it, there are some question marks with the left side depth given Jones, as likely 2LD, is unproven in the role. With that said, I”m not sure adding another 3LD like Slater K. really mitigates that risk. We’ve got Russell and Lagesson for 3LD and Slater K. just adds to that and block Lagesson and puts him on the taxi squad after exposure to waivers. Yes, Slater K. is more proven than Lagesson, I get that. At the same time, is it a given that Slater K. is materially better? I’m not so sure. Lagesson has earned and deserves and is ready for that opportunity. I’m remiss to bump him to 5LD unless the upgrade is material (Chara).


I don’t agree that Mika Zibanejad is a better player than Nuge.

MK took longer to establish himself as a quality player, so long that the word bust was starting to surface in OTT before he was traded a season or so later.

Nuge has played more games and has more points, and his playoff production paces MK in basically half the games.

Granted, I haven’t delved into the fancies but for me RNH is a cut above MK. Not by a lot, but enough that I felt compelled to defend Nuge’s honour. haha

Last edited 10 months ago by BornInAGretzkyJersey

Zibanejad while having a slow start to career due to maturity and other interests such as DJ is currently elite and close to top 10 player in the NHL. Nuge is a big step below him


Zibinejad has been a neg player almost his entire career. Close to a top ten player only when he is skating by a true top ten player on the ice. There is a lot to like about Mika but Nuge is a more complete player in my opinion.


Zibinejad has been a neg player almost his entire career. Close to a top ten player only when he is skating by a true top ten player on the ice. There is a lot to like about Mika but Nuge is a more complete player in my opinion.

Can this exact statement not be made in connection with Nuge? I love Nuge but this statement 100% describes his career.


Zibanejad played primarily with Kreider and Buchnevich this past season. He’s not a product of Panarin and I agree with leadfarmer he’s a better player than Nuge today, though it took him a long time to get there.


You should take a look at 2 years ago when Zibanejad entered elite status
He single handedly tilted the ice a year before Panarin got there and has continued doing so
Zibanejads next contract will start with a 9
Nuges a 6


Actually I hope it stars with a 10. Value and cost are not necessarily the same. Unless the economy and the cap starts to escalate the actual market value will stay relatively low compared to the old norm. What we may see moving forward is non guaranteed contracts.



December 22, 2020 4:23 pm

Actually I hope it stars with a 10. Value and cost are not necessarily the same. Unless the economy and the cap starts to escalate the actual market value will stay relatively low compared to the old norm. What we may see moving forward is non guaranteed contracts.

You will have to wait at least 6 seasons for non-guaranteed contracts given the new CBA is just starting. Not that I think the players would ever give up guaranteed contracts.

I know, I know, the NFL – of course, the NFLPA is known as the weakest of the unions, by far.


I’m not sure how Canadian labour laws work or if non guaranteed contracts would be possible. I think it would be a dogs breakfast but all things are possible. The flat cap not withstanding there is also the law of supply and demand as seen by the number of UFA players still available.


My point was simply that guaranteed contracts are part of the CBA which won’t expire for 6 more seasons (and I don’t think the strong NHLPA would ever agree to a new CBA that doesn’t have guaranteed contracts).


I guess I’m considering the entire body of work and not only the recent uptick. It will be interesting to see Nuge perform with 29 & 56 for the better part of a season (hopefully all year).

It’s only plausible that fairly recently one would consider building a team around MK over RNH. If you’d asked that question every year they were in the leagu,e the balance of years would tip in RNH’s favour. No disrespect to MZ, he’s a terrific player and I was stoked that OTT drafted him at the time. But since being drafted Nuge has shown more range. That’s why I rank him higher.

Eh Team

And I’m not sure Scheifele is a better player either. More points certainly, but not as good as a two way player


Mika Z had

– 30 goals and 74 points in 2018/19
– 40 goals and 75 points in 57 games this year

I can’t argue Nuge over those numbers.


When Nugent-Hopkins was playing with Draisaitl, he was top five in league scoring at over a 100 point pace.

Was money with a bum shoulder for Krueger. And played like a legit first line centre for Nelson with Eberle and Pouliot on his wings.

The Nuge narrative is shaped by the dementor and flattop eras…and Tippett would rather use him to check for McDavid, rather than to use him as a legitimate weapon.

Nugent-Hopkins has been abused by bad coaching over and over again in Edmonton.

Would you stay, if your coach only sees your role as checking for McDavid?


I’m sure similar-type justifications could also be made about Mika Z. over the years.

I am not discrediting Nugent-Hopkins in any way – I very much want him re-signed for 5-6 years of term.

I’m simply acknowledging what Mika Z. has produced offensively over the last two years. Look at his numbers this past season.

Does that post seriously imply that “being forced” to be McDavid’s linemate would be a reason to want to leave the organization?


What you are seeing is what he produces and that is one bench mark. However with just a brief look at his career he has given up more than he makes with one exception over the last four years. Both players are assets for their team and quality NHL players, I give Nuge added points for his ability to be an asset on 5 on 5, PP and PK and also versatile enough to play wing or centre.


Of note, Nuge has historically given up more than he produces – except for his first couple of years (zoomed by Hall) and this past season (zoomed by Leon).

Of further Note, Mika Z. played almost a minute more per game on the PK than Nuge – 2:39 per game (to 1:43 for Nuge).


Mika is a helluva player.

But I’m considering the entire body of work, post draft.

I stand by my position.

Would you have rather drafted Mika #1OV? I doubt he would have lasted as long in EDM as he did in OTT with his early production.


I don’t get the angst with the Nuge signing.  Although he’s a great player and seems to be just reaching his outstanding potential, he is not an elite player in the McDavid and Drai model. 

The GM’s job is to build the best team possible. If the Nuge contract ask is too steep, you have to move on.  There will be very good players available for teams with extra cap space next year, either UFAs or through trades with teams over the cap. 

The biggest mistake a GM can make is overpaying a player with term and dollars in a flat cap world. My concern with Holland coming in as GM was overpaying his own UFAs.  The Kassian contract kinda reinforced this fear.  But Holland seems to have adapted quite strongly to the changing contract landscape.

I would suggest the AA contract talks should be the model going forward. If a player refuses to sign a reasonable deal, the best strategy is to walk away. That single move likely gave the team enough cap space to sign Turris and Kahun. 

Nuge is a much better player of course, but the contract is much higher as well.  If Nuge isn’t willing to sign a reasonable deal, move on and put that cap space to better use. 


I really hope Nuge stays, but I agree with all this.


Yup. The team comes first. Always should.

Elgin R

Holland’s penchant for over-pay/over-term contracts for vets was a problem in Detroit. Coming off a 0.512 pts / g season in 2015/16, Holland signed Abdelkader to a 7-year term at 5.82% cap hit ($4.25m) with a NTC. I would like RNH to be an Oiler for his entire playing career. However, if the ask is more than $6.5m then trade him at the deadline and get something.


I think it is safe to assume by the trade deadline the Oilers will be in a battle for a playoff spot and or trying to improve the team for a long playoff run. A trade of Nuge at that time would seem counterproductive. I would like to think that by that time there will be a much better idea of what works for the team along with being fair to the player. I also believe that it is the GM’s obligation to always do what is best for the team. I hope that this includes being able to get Nuge under a contract that works for him and the team.


Elgin R

December 22, 2020 12:02 pm

Holland’s penchant for over-pay/over-term contracts for vets was a problem in Detroit. Coming off a 0.512 pts / g season in 2015/16, Holland signed Abdelkader to a 7-year term at 5.82% cap hit ($4.25m) with a NTC. I would like RNH to be an Oiler for his entire playing career. However, if the ask is more than $6.5m then trade him at the deadline and get something.

Anticipating the Oilers are a play-off team, trading Nuge at the deadline would be a non-option I’m sure – well, unless it was a hockey trade for a material roster player coming back (which would be very strange at the deadline).

Sure, not trading him would be risking losing him for “nothing” except we must remember than apx $6.5M of cap space is definitely not nothing and cap space is becoming a more valuable asset by the year.


Virgin Magnetic Material does a lot of cool edits, including one of Fly like an Eagle. Editorial has released a couple of these edits on wax, including a cool edit of hall and oats as well.


Holland seems to be squeezing Bear on a contract. If Bear signs for around $1M (rather than ~$1.5M I’ve been assuming) that leaves Holland even more flexibility to add another player (or players).

I definitely agree Koekkoek would be a strong addition, but he’s not going to break the bank.

If Bear signs for $1M then Holland could add a $2.5M player (or players), by my calculations. It could easily be Koekkoek AND a forward. Looking forward to how seeing it plays out!

Last edited 10 months ago by jp

I was surprised to read yesterday that the Oilers had discussed 1, 2, and 3 year contracts with Bear. I still figure a one year deal is most likely but we will see.


I didn’t realize that, where did you read? Cool to hear longer terms are still on the table. I’d be happy to have Bear under contract for a few years, though if he’s going short and cheap then the money saved could be put to other use by Holland.


It was yesterday in one of the interviews he did. Matheson or Stauffer maybe.


Thanks, will have to look at those. Haven’t had a chance to yet.


Good to know. Thanks.


I have no memory.

The older you get the more that seems like a good thing. 😉




My experience is don’t go to that well to often with your spouse.😉

Harpers Hair

How do you think Bear (and his agent) feel about being squeezed?

Barrie has already taken his money and his roster spot as Holland has already indicated he will be playing a lesser role and minutes which of course means he will have a more difficult time establishing a floor for his following contract.

If he signs for $1 million or less, 10% salary holdback and 20% escrow mean he effectively is playing for the same amount as if he was on an ELC.

If Holland then uses whatever he can grind out of Bear to sign another player, Bear would have every right to be pissed since it sends the message that Bear is not an important piece of the team.


First, you should really stop talking about the 10% holdback and 20% escrow. Every player in the NHL is facing that. Bear is not alone.

On being squeezed, I’m sure Bear and his agent don’t love it. But again, it’s not like Bear is alone as a young player (without arbitration rights) being squeezed. I imagine Hoffman and Granlund and AA having no one offer them what they think they’re worth hurts a little too.

We also don’t know what Bear is asking or what Holland has offered. How much Bear is being squeezed is all just speculation until a deal is signed.

And if Holland turns around and spends money to sign a player other than Bear… sure it’s possible he’d be pissed. Who knows. I’d think having a better team around him would also be a motivator, and if the player is overly upset at the situation then maybe that’s on the player.


Barrie took Klefbom’s(LTIR) money, not Bear’s. Barrie is the defacto Klefbom replacement.


Players with no arbitration rights should always get squeezed. That is how the system is designed.

As I have mentioned on numerous occasions now Bear’s position and playing time last season was mostly the product of injuries and opportunity. He did better than expected with that opportunity without doubt but to me his comp on the team is Jones.

Jones had to wait a little longer for his opportunity and I think it is fair to say that his is a value contract but nonetheless he is the comp. Personally I have always thought Jones would be the better player long term but that remains to be seen.

Bear’s bargaining position is not strong. Bouchard is pushing & Hamonic is without a contract. It’s a buyer’s market this year. Bear is not alone in that.


Players with no arbitration rights should always get squeezed. That is how the system is designed.

To me, this is the key takeaway.

One cannot be pissed off about something that one was not entitled to in the first place.

The point of RFA contract years is to earn your payday. In a cap world teams need the flexibility offered by entry level and early pro contracts to be competitive. Once Bear’s contract progresses to RFA with arbitration, the leverage begins to shift. By that time, the player, team (and league) will have a better idea of what he brings. Thus a more fair contract value can be established and negotiated for term.

Harpers Hair

Good teams are built on fairness…either real or perceived.

While Jones might be a good comp, the reality is Bear DID perform at a higher level. Yes, the opportunity may have come through injury but Bear seized that opportunity and performed above expectations.

I am pretty sure he and his agent have noted Holland’s words that his role and minutes will be reduced which means his opportunity to build on that performance leading up to his next contract will also be reduced.

While I generally agree that teams need to maximize their cap dollars, I don’t think squeezing a young player for every penny is advisable if it results in a disincentive.

Harpers Hair

In other news…Rick Dhaliwal, who is absolutely plugged into numerous player agents says the Oilers are in on Sami Vatanen and Ben Hutton.

Eh Team

Not sure the Oilers need to be collecting #7D men. Sucks for Bear that he isn’t going to get paid yet, but that’s the system that the players negotiated. And it doesn’t matter that he isn’t happy about it.

He has no disincentive. His incentive is to play well in the circumstances that he is placed in. Play well and he will get paid in the future. No guarantee that either Barrie or Larsson are here next year.


Not sure the Oilers need to be collecting #7D men.

Vatanen is most certainly not a #7D.

Eh Team

Vatanen is a good power play guy (which the Oilers don’t need) but lousy defensively. There’s a reason he is unsigned


Are you sure? He’s been positive in GF% relative to team more often than not. And he’s played difficult opposition (35% TOI vs elites this past season and over 41% the previous 2 years. He’s never been below 31% TOI vs elites). Doesn’t sound anything like a #7D, nor one who’s particularly lousy defensively.

I’d assumed he’s unsigned because he’s been hoping for something similar to the $4.875M his last contract paid him.

Harpers Hair

An NHL player’s career is short. Bear will be 24 during the season.

Playing well will certainly help in his next contract negotiation but he will NEVER get back the money he would be giving up on a penurious second contract.

He will get paid whatever market value is at that time.


Well squeezing for every dollar would be a $700,000 contract for several years which nobody expects.

I actually really enjoy the way that you slip unlikely examples into your narrative in order to arrive at your preferred conclusion but I fear I am too old & have too many years of philosophy education to take things like that seriously enough to bother to respond to.

Let’s circle back after the contract is actually signed.

Oh, and Holland does not hand out ice time. Tippett does. Presumably based upon performance.


Good teams are built on fairness and squeezing young players for every penny is not advisable – someone should tell Joe Sakic vis-a-vis the Tyson Jost re-signing.

Harpers Hair

Tyson Jost has not reached his draft potential and was rumoured to be in trade discussions over the summer.

Bear had exceeded his draft pedigree by a mile.

Can’t believe I’m going to bat for an Oiler player while the Chief Cheerleader is arguing against him.


Draft pedigree? That has absolutely nothing to do with the player being squeezed coming off his ELC – in fact, one would think that high draft pedigree would lead to less squeezing.

Tyson Jost is younger than Bear and has played over double the amount of NHL games than Bear. He was squeezed by the GMs that all others aspire to be. Your statement above re: fair and blah blah blah only applies to your narrative unless it also applies to Joe Sakic.

Harpers Hair


Jost has been a massive disappointment based on his draft pedigree.

Bear has been a revelation.

Jesse Pulujjarvi who is a massive head case and just received a two year contract for $1.175 Million.

And yet you are suggesting Bear, who is a coveted RHD with a nice body of work is worth less than that?

Go talk to someone else.


None of that has anything to do with the point I was making and that you are arguing.

Joe Sakic squeezed Tyson Jost just like Ken Holland is squeezing Ethan Bear.

If you don’t respond, I will “go talk to someone else” – of course there is all but no chance that you will let it not feel the need to get the last word….

Last edited 10 months ago by OriginalPouzar

I’m not sure squeezed is the best term as it indicates that the team is muscling the player instead of frugally working within the guidelines of the current CBA. In a flat cap world adjustments are required for the benefit of the team. Each GM has to do what is best for his team according to the requirements determined by his teams financial situation. Most of the working people in our world do this as a matter of course, we call it budgeting.


You are not the individual who should ever ask that question as you have not once given any consideration to the feelings of the other posters on this site. Oh yes I forgot normal rules of conduct don’t apply to you.🙈

Drai by Shooting

I dont even know why he bothers to come here and comment. What a sad life


I must’ve missed the Bear contract amount. How did he get squeezed?


How about SK and Grabner or Brassard?


Koekkoek and Brassard (or Soderberg or Haula) makes a lot of sense to me.

I was thinking and talking about Grabner as a target before FA season, and there are things to recommend him. I feel like the inn if full now for wingers now with the additions of Kahun, Ennis, Puljujarvi (unless the addition were at the top, and Grabner doesn’t fit that bill).

I do think Koekkoek and one of the above Cs is plausible though.


Holland seems to be squeezing Bear on a contract. If Bear signs for around $1M (rather than ~$1.5M I’ve been assuming) that leaves Holland even more flexibility to add another player (or players).

I definitely agree Koekkoek would be a strong addition, but he’s not going to break the bank.

If Bear signs for $1M then Holland could add a $2.5M player (or players), by my calculations. It could easily be Koekkoek AND a forward. Looking forward to how seeing it plays out!

How much buffer would that leave Holland with? We know he wants at least $1.5M but that isn’t even enough to activate two players off the taxi squad in case of injury or illness (unless they are legit league min).


That’s with a full 23 player roster (they could run with less obviously) and about $1.5M cap space left for injuries/acquisitions in season.



Holland said yesterday they will run with a full 23 plus full six on the taxi squad – just FYI.


Cool, good to know. I still need to find time to listen to the Zoom call and other recent Q/A sessions!


LT, while you didn’t pick out Kucherov, that 2011 scouting report (and the uncertainty on who might be the best player 10 years out) still rings very true. Impressive work!


To my recollection, I remember Lowetide was raving about Sean Couturier for the 2011 draft. I’m not certain, but I thought that’s who LT had ranked #1 in 2011. Couturier’s one heck of a good tough minutes center…

Last edited 10 months ago by Ryan

I don’t remember the details of the talk at the time, but definitely lots of talk about Couturier around and after the draft. Nuge was tracking ahead in the early years but agreed, Couturier is a hell of a player in more recent years.


After the short season:

I remember trying to push to take advantage of philly being in it’s goal tending tailspin per usual, and looking itchy to make waves.

I was proposing eberle/yak/shultz


coutourier (not big on anyone’s radar at that point with grumbles growing)

Simmonds (there was grumbling after he just signed contract that off season and witch hunt for missing playoffs for first time since 2007 in full effect)

and like a 2nd rounder

Everyone that bothered to respond were certain it was an overpay…I was certain we were better off with PF and another potential solid center.

Last edited 9 months ago by maudite

Oof, it’s just sad how far Yak and Schultz ended up from their expectations. At least Schultz salvaged his career. And yes, Couturier turned int a beast gradually.

Brantford Boy

Collectively, I believe we all agree an RNH extension is critical to the success of the franchise moving forward. I’ve never connected LT’s Athletic articles on this site, but my heart sank a little after reading “What if Ryan Nugent-Hopkins Doesn’t Sign with the Oilers” article. With Holland’s remarks yesterday, although not dire, and today’s LT Athletic post brings more uncertainty. Get this guy signed! I’m a little surprised we haven’t started a fund raising campaign yet.

Of course Bear needs to get pen to paper quickly now too. Suspect that’s coming this week.


100% a Nuge re-sign is critical to the org going forward (notwithstanding what Holland may be able to acquire with an extra apx $6.5M of walking around money next off-season).

I’m not enthused about Holland’s comments yesterday but am also not concerned. Nuge was able to sign an extension starting October 9 and he and the organization had some initial talks at the at point – both expressed interest in getting a deal done. Of course, the market was changing and evolving and, as we are seeing, continues to change and evolve and aside from Gallagher there hasn’t really been any long-term extensions for higher end UFA forwards – its low value deals being signed. It simply doesn’t make sense for either side to sign a very important deal at this point. There is a ton of time and more pressing matters. They will let the market settle and get back to talks when its prudent.

I’ll start to get concerned in the spring if there isn’t some positive verbal.