Bear signs for two years

by Lowetide

The Edmonton Oilers and Ethan Bear agreed on a two-year contract yesterday, an ideal move for the team and a solid bridge for the player. At $2 million times two, it gives cost certainty for a valuable young player. Bear will be an RFA with arbitration rights at the end of the deal, two years from being unrestricted and a $2.5 million second year cap number to build his third NHL contract. The best news is Bear will be in camp. He enters this year as a big piece of the puzzle for the first time, and the Oilers badly need his two-way skills.


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.


I’ve been trying to figure out how many good goalies will be available on waivers this fall, and if any would be able to help Edmonton without a 14-day isolation. I think there are three goalies of interest, not all of them in the Canadian division. Let’s start with the Oilers and their 23-man list, with assumed waiver eligibles.

  • Goalies: Mikko Koskinen, Mike Smith
  • Left Defense: Darnell Nurse, Caleb Jones, Kris Russell, Slater Koekkoek
  • Right Defense: Ethan Bear, Adam Larsson, Tyson Barrie
  • Center: Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl, Kyler Turris, Gaetan Haas, Jujhar Khaira
  • Left Wing: Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Dominik Kahun, Tyler Ennis, James Neal
  • Right Wing: Zack Kassian, Kailer Yamamoto, Josh Archibald, Alex Chiasson, Jesse Puljujarvi
  • Waiver eligible: Joakim Nygard, Alan Quine, Seth Griffith, Joe Gambardella, Adam Cracknell, Patrick Russell, William Lagesson, Anton Forsberg.

There are some interesting names on the list, specifically Nygard and Lagesson, but teams will be fretting over their own players too and we’ll see. Always worry about defensemen, you need a shyte tonne of them to get through a season. Here are the Canadian division goalies who could be available.

  • Calgary Flames: Louis Domingue
  • Montreal Canadiens: Charlie Lindgren
  • Toronto Maple Leafs: Aaron Dell, Michael Hutchinson
  • Winnipeg Jets: Eric Comrie

Dell is the most famous in the group, he had three strong seasons, then a poor one and rebounded a little last season. I don’t think the Oilers would grab him on waivers without an injury. Michael Hutchinson is 30 and has been up and down but would also be an option. Louis Domingue is a good goalie but he needs to stay in one spot for a year and re-establish his value.

Training camp stars

Some pretty crazy verbal comes at you in training camp. The head coach has lines, pairings, injuries and winning games rolling around in his mind and is desperate to find someone, anyone, who has matured enough in the last 12 months to make things interesting in camp.

Todd McLellan in camp 2015: “The interesting line for me is that Draisaitl-Lander-Yakupov line. If we can get them gelling and playing the right way, they can be very dangerous. That’s a goal of ours anyway.”

I think Evan Bouchard has a real chance to get some NHL games this year, that would start with a strong camp. Nygard, Lagesson and Forsberg are names who could shine early.


We can’t know who will get hurt but that will be a big part of the script, just as Adam Larsson’s injury gave oxygen to Ethan Bear’s chances last opening night.


This is a rock solid deal, far better than anyone I know (or read) thought it would be. The downbeat is that the club wasn’t in a position to go long on a deal in the $4.5-5 million range ala Klefbom and Larsson. Perhaps you don’t have that kind of confidence in Bear, I would have been delighted with such a move. Edmonton simply didn’t have the room. That isn’t on Ken Holland, the flat cap made it impossible.


Oilers can send any number of veterans to the farm, Neal alone would do it, in order to get under the cap. As I understand it, and this is Hart telling me so if I’m wrong then it’s me not getting it right, Holland will want to be as close to the cap without going over. Trading Alex Chiasson and running with 22 players at cutdown day would be ideal.


A busy morning, with Bear’s signing and the Jonathan Toews news plus WJ’s and more! TSN1260. Scott Wheeler from The Athletic will join me at 10:20 to talk about the World Juniors (it’s been a blast) and at 11 R.J. Anderson from CBS Sports MLB will pop in to talk about the Padres massive weekend. 10-1260 text, @Lowetide on twitter. See you on the radio!


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I’ve been wondering when we’d see the official training camp roster and wondering if Marody was on it – no update on his healthy since he came back from Europe re-injured after one game.

I don’t know where this list came from but it lines up exactly with what I have anticipated for camp and includes Marody:


The 14th-overall selection also received praise from Head Coach Andre Tourigny.

“His pursuit of the puck is relentless, to say the least,” the bench boss said. “When you watch the game, you see Dylan everywhere. He’s on the forecheck. He’s on the back track. He’s in every battle. He’s supporting his teammates. He is relentless.”


I believe a earlier poster alluded to Hollaway being the coaches pet. I don’t think it’ll take Tippett to long as well. If this kid fills out this year we might see him in Oiler silks sooner than most think. Leon Connor Nuge yamo Hollaway Lavoie and what the hell Savoie sounds like a lethal top 7 to me.


Seems to be quite a few Oiler fans/bloggers/etc. thinking Holloway may be an Oiler very soon and I would caution against putting unreasonable timeline expectations on these players. Out of the guys you mention:

Holloway – he’s played 2 games for Wisconsin post-draft. I think they should let him play the back half of the year out and asses but I would think that another year of college is probably prudent. Lets not forget, if they wait a year to sign him, they will have a more developed and mature player that will impact the lineup on his ELC.

Savoie – great, great start but I’m thinking 2 if not 3 years of college – he needs to get stronger more than anything from what I’ve seen (and I’ve watched all his games at Denver)

Lavoie – at least a full year, if not more, at the AHL level.

Those are my expected timelines – and Savoie and Lavoie aren’t assured of “making it” – good arrows so far though.

Scungilli Slushy

Are we really supposed to feel anything other than acknowledging their disappointment when elite at whatever level athletes don’t get what they want?

I focus my ‘empathy’ towards people a little further down the social structure.


People that are on their face “high on the social structure” cannot be deserving of empathy?


Yes they can but they rarely do receive it outside a circle of friends and family. Outside of that circle it isn’t worth much anyways.

Something, something, human nature, not a particularly nice species, etc.


Unfriendly Regional Arachnid Individual

 December 29, 2020 12:54 pm

Shore has some PK history. Not a huge amount, but had 2 seasons with regular deployment.

He was pretty good too, though he’s not been a primary PK guy generally as you say.

In 17-18 and 18-19 he played a bit over 200 minutes total. I checked all forwards with over 200 minutes those years (turns out there were only 103 forwards who played that much, so I think its fair to call Shore a regular penalty killer those 2 seasons).

Of the 103 forwards Shore was 31st in SA/60 4v5 and 33rd in GA/60 5v5, so well above average. Somewhat encouraging at least.


Thanks for this. Another interesting story line to follow through TC.


I would put quite a bit of stock in to the fact he went form regular penalty killer to, essentially, not killing penalties at all the following year (on the same team).

Kassian was once a regular PK guy for the Oilers…..


That makes some sense, but a few things.

First, the earlier 1.5 of the 2 years were with Dallas, then Shore was traded to Anaheim. Anaheim was the team that moved him off the PK the following year, so it’s not like he had a long history of PK with the Ducks.

Second, Kassian looks like he may not have been a bad penalty killer. I didn’t notice him in 103 player sample with Shore, but there he is with the 26th best SA/60 rate (and the best among the Oilers who qualified). He did have an ugly GA/60 (92nd of the 103), but that was accompanied by the 3rd worst on ice SV% of the 103 players. His xGA/60 was 33rd so it looks like he may have been a good but unlucky penalty killer.

Perhaps Shore and Kassian could form a 2nd or 3rd PK pair for the Oilers this season.


I take PK fancies with a bit of a grain of salt unless they are sustainable by a player year after year after year. I recall in my head Kassian not being very good on the PK and that doesn’t line up with the numbers you post above. On that note, some of the deficiencies in his game would also preclude being a plus PK guy, in particular commitment to get in the shooting lanes – something Zack simply does not have.


A grain of salt is fair.

But both of these players had good results over 2-3 year periods.

The Oilers are going to have to add some forwards without extensive PK experience to this years PK. Kassian and Shore have as much recent experience as the other available options, so discounting them doesn’t make a lot of sense to me.

We’ll see.


Maksimov playing everywhere in Russia – he was in the lineup for CSKA Moscow in the KHL the other day (13 minutes) and now, today, he’s scoring a goal for Zveda Moscow in the VHL.

Harpers Hair

Podkholzin with 3 points in the 1st period.

Perhaps the parrot was just napping after all.


Yup, took playing Austria to wake him up. Those poor kids will be be back in the 2nd tier next year. Count your good arrows where you can though I guess.

Harpers Hair

No relegation this year.


Ah, they get a reprieve. Good for them I guess? (or maybe not, given they’ve been outscored 0-19 to this point, that can’t be great for the confidence). Anyway, I don’t know that points against the Austria have much relevance to anything really.

Harpers Hair

Do have a formula you use to discount the performance of players who score against weaker teams?

Wondering how much you are discounting Broberg’s 3 points?

How about Holloway playing on the first line and going pointless in a 10-0 blowout of Switzerland?

Does he get a minus?

Last edited 3 months ago by Harpers Hair

Nope, no minuses for scoring against weak teams. But surely you agree that putting up points against Austria means little to nothing.

Broberg’s 3 points came against the Czech’s who shut out Podkolzin and the Russians. The Czech’s are consistently a 1st division team who win international medals from time to time, 3 points vs. a legit opponent.

That Podkolzin has been silent against the legitimate teams might be telling. Guess we’ll see if he’s still awake vs. Sweden tomorrow. What do you think?


Holloway is performing exactly like we need him to…relentless on the puck and support the play. I notice him on the ice everytime he plays…can’t say that about a lot of the Canadian players. Byfield had six points yesterday but was almost invisible this entire tournament.
I’m so happy we took Holloway as he fits what we need…constant effort to be a part of the play.
Nice to see him elevate himself to the top line of a team with over 15 1st round picks…that alone says this kid can play. Projected for the 4th line 1st game…playing on the top line by his second game. Yep…I’m just fine with his play so far.

McD and Drai are more than capable of scoring the points for this team. We need players that will get them the puck…not out-shine them.

Harpers Hair

Illegal Curve Hockey


LeBrun Report: Jack Roslovic’s agent indicted his client has asked the Winnipeg Jets for a trade.

Scungilli Slushy

A nice fit for The Dys or calgary.

Harpers Hair

Roslovic wants a more prominent role.

Don’t think either Vancouver or Calgary would be a good fit.

Scungilli Slushy



Good luck getting Cheveldayoff to bend. That guy has to be the slowest to move GM in the league.

Harpers Hair

Mike McIntyre
· 8h
Jack Roslovic will NOT be at #NHLJets training camp when it opens Sunday.

His agent, Claude Lemieux, tells me the 23-year-old restricted free agent is still in Columbus, awaiting either a trade or a new contract.

Harpers Hair

Aktyamov starts for Russia tonight – Askarov riding the pine.


If Holloway is going to play a Simpson/Smith role in the offensive zone they need to get him to have a go with a Draisaitl canue paddle stick. He will also become a local legend.


Looks like they have pulled him out of this game. I haven’t seen him since about half way through the second.


Bobby Mac suggested it could be an injury concern.

Last edited 3 months ago by BornInAGretzkyJersey

Yup. I’m hoping it is just precautionary because the game was in hand. Apparently the original injury was caused by the Scneider hit that got him suspended and Holloway was just unlucky enough to get caught up in that.


Could this be a case of load management too?

I haven’t been watching the game, but I wonder if Canada extending its lead wasn’t a factor in his removal.


And just like that he is back on the ice half way through the third – and in the PB.


Chicago could use a top 6 centre.


CAN faces off against SWI in the WJC right now on TSN1, or via an online stream (I’m using onhockey (dot) tv).


Holloway drew a (chintzy) tripping penalty while driving up the boards going for a zone entry.


The penalty was chintzy but Holloway showed a nice move to get past him.


I predicted Holloway would end up being a coach favourite and land himself on the first line. When this kid fills out he may become a force in the corners and in front net presence that we’ve been lacking for years


– I’d like to see the like/dislike thingy turned off in 2021: its’ very high-school clique/facebook: doesn’t add to the conversation. Getting a “reward” becasue other people “like” you, and getting a bunch of – becasue they don’t. I don’t care who in here thinks which ones are the cool kids, group-think. Its like a mini-targetting, seems mean-spirited. Add some value.

*Kinger waits to see 12 – reds on the bottom of this post*


Thicker skin is needed to post anonymously on the Internet, it would seem.


Thicker skin or total indifference. 😉


Agreed. It adds no value whatsoever IMO. Please consider getting rid of it LT…unless you are using it as some type of tracking measure it serves no purpose. It’s not at all congruent with the community you’ve created here.


‘- That’s a better articulation of what I was trying to get at Jofa: It isn’t congruent with the community created. If one wants to add value to a post, then comment. If one doesn’t, don’t. Or refute the post. Coloured + – is just noise distraction: turning the comment section into a popularity contest (or to be mean-spirited). But if that’s just my opnion, not my blog. If that’s the evolution, I will still engage, just not “vote” for people

*You got 2 negatives: your such a loser Jofa: haha. OP got 8 for his post, he’s such a winner: that’s how I read the prominent role of this subtle passive agressive feature. (I don’t think your a loser Jofa, just showing my point)


If one doesn’t value the plus/minus then why not just ignore it.

Why does it matter?

I don’t value it, I don’t use it and I don’t put any stock in to the numbers.

Some like it, they can enjoy it or get whatever they get out of it.

One would think those that don’t value it could just ignore it.


I’d rather see the horizontally scrolling gallery with links to the articles removed from the homepage. It seems redundant with the same articles shown just below. Instead of seeing 3 articles, you see two, but you see one of them twice.

I’m indifferent to the +/-. There’s some good. If you wanted to do an easy poll in the comment section, like “upvote this comment if you like that homepage gallery, and downvote if you’d like to see it removed.” Most people probably don’t feel strongly enough to reply about it, but might click a vote.

I think outside of half a dozen constant downvotes for DSF, most people are pretty good at voting for the content they like or dislike. I don’t mind showing appreciation for the content I enjoy here, like SwedishPoster’s insights into the action overseas, or OP’s updates on the college games he watches. Or even someone’s particularly sassy comment, like leadfarmer today. But I’ll downvote DSF and whoever he baits into something unproductive. Sometimes he’s got some quality content too, and he’ll get upvote. It’s just easier than leaving a comment. The longer it is around, the more mature people’ll be about it.

I also don’t think any of those people I just named are going to let up or down votes impact how they post. So it doesn’t really matter if it stays or goes.


Sheahan signs a PTO with Buffalo.


Confirmed in an article by Spec that Bear is indeed driving from Kelowna today. Should be in Edmonton well before the required Dec 31.

Some quotes on the D from coach:

He’ll likely be back on Nurse’s flank again when camp opens on Monday. 

“We’ll probably look at that for sure, and with a short camp you’re going to try to get a much familiarity as you can early on,” Tippett said. “But we have to figure out where all the parts fit. We have Bear, Larsson, Tyson Barrie on the right side — and Bouch (Evan Bouchard) is going to be pushing. And on the left side you’ve got Klef (injured Oscar Klefbom) out, but you’ve got Nursey, and (Caleb) Jones, and (Kris) Russell, and (Slater) Koekkoek, and (William) Lagesson…
There are lots of options there. 

“We’ve got to see where things play out, but I guarantee, you’re going to need a lot more than your top-four defencemen this year. You’ll need eight or nine guys who can play, and that’s what we feel like we have.”


One thing to keep an eye on is it’s a terrible year to break in rookies. Not much practice time, not much warm up time, no time in betWeen games, no breaks.
Teams breaking in more than one rookie need point projections shed


I was thinking the same thing earlier today when rookies for other teams were being touted. And I don’t expect a lot of fiddling with lines or pairs either. First day of TC is going to look a lot like the last day of TC imo.

Harpers Hair

Many of the rookies will be on the taxi squads which will give them ample practice time and of course exposure to the big team rather that being shunted to another city.

I expect it will actually help some of them if they are close to making the big team.


Medium term and in case of injury I agree. I don’t expect any rookies in the lineup for the Oilers on opening night though.

It is a nice step for the team, imo, from all those years where rookies were coming in as saviours.


Florian Elias is currently 3rd in scoring at the WJC, after having been passed over in the draft this past fall. It’s early yet, but he bears watching – might be a good pickup with a late-round pick next summer.


To me this team still badly needs a defensive/pk/face off specialist at center. Imagine this…. oilers up by one goal or tied with 5 minutes left in the game and get a penalty . The other team is throwing over Horvat or Monahan or Scheifele. Which current Pk forward do you want taking that important defensive zone Pk face off? Nuge? Might as well just give them possession… khaira? Only slightly better…Turris? Maybe but he is only a career 50%… this is a big hole and it’s surprising that Tippett has allowed it to get this far. Devin Shore also has no history to PK and is around 45% in his career. Big hole. Cmon Ken fill the gap…


Draisaitl. (though I agree with your larger point, a quality defensive C for the 4th line would be really nice)

Unfriendly Regional Arachnid Individual

Shore has some PK history. Not a huge amount, but had 2 seasons with regular deployment.


That would be Drai’s faceoff (and, no, Dom, he’s not the 6th worse defensive forward in the league, no matter what the model says).


Is that what Dom said? Sixth worst defensive forward in the league?

That’s not a model. That is more of a cause for ridicule.


I’ve been whining for years for a average 3C that can PK but most importantly win a goddamn face off from both sides when it counts. You would think after 10 years Nuge would have figured out that nice guys finish last and you have to cheat a bit to be a above average face off man. Anyhow I’m pumped with the Turris signing and hopefully he’ll be above 53 percent from the dot.


LT, you nailed the opening night roster I have been talking about for a little while now (Koekkoek replacing Laggeson on the roster).

I see the following taxi squad to start:

Laggeson, Bouchard, Lennstrom
Nygard, Benson

The AHL won’t be starting until February at the earliest so there is no point in sending Benson or Bouchard out.

If we are getting in to mid February and there are no injuries or need to manage load (i.e. Benson and Bouchard haven’t had a chance to play), then they can be switched with the likes of Quine and P. Russell – who will need to be assigned to the Condors come opening day).


I have been mentioning the likes of Dell and Hill likely on the waiver wire unless those teams carry 3 goalies on their active rosters. I doubt Holland makes a claim (he signed Smith with Dell still out there…..).


Dell might have said no, though, or just preferred the Toronto offer. We will know when waivers hit but my feeling is that Tippett is more comfortable with Smith than most on this board.


For sure, he may have. At the same time, he signed with a team to be their 3G so I anticipate he wouldn’t have turned down an offer to be a 2G. I’m just speculating but I don’t think Holland was interested in Dell.


Yeah. I think for better or worse Smith has Tippett’s confidence until he proves otherwise.

It is probably just my naturally sunny, optimistic nature 😉 but watching how Holland goes about his business I still think he has a backup trade if things go south that he would prefer to not have to make due to cost or whatever.


Solid signing – the second year is good for the Oilers and it got Bear some additional AAV (and a higher QO for contract 3). I guess Bear wasn’t being “squeezed” as much as some thought, it was simply negotiating what made sense for both the team and the player. Joe Sakic should take note.

Yes, Bear will be in camp – that is 100% key. Will he be in camp on Sunday though? This depends on if he is already in Edmonton. If he was waiting for the deal to be final prior to coming to Edmonton from Kelowna (where he had been skating), then he will miss part of camp.


Do we know if he is flying or driving? I think it makes a difference, no?


Yes, it makes a difference.

If he was flying, he needed to be in Edmonton by the 27th.

If he was driving, he needs to be in Edmonton by the 31st (if he doesn’t stop anywhere).

I have no idea how he’s getting to (or how he got to) Edmonton.

Coming from Kelowna, it he hasn’t made his way yet, I would anticipate he’d just drive in order to ensure he’s in camp for day 1.


Chicago Blackhawks
Captain Jonathan Toews will not join the team for training camp while dealing with medical issue; no timetable set for return.


Pulled his back carrying that cap hit around

Decidedly Skeptical Fan

You are on fire today, keep it coming.

Material Elvis



I wonder if Toews would feel healthier if Holland offered to trade Neal, Kassian, Khaira, Lagesson, and Benson for him.


I wondered the same thing when I saw it but didn’t want to comment since it doesn’t reflect very positively on Toews’ character if he is pouting because he wasn’t consulted on the ‘rebuild’.


From what his character seems like from a distance I don’t think thats likely but we can’t really tell from here. He seems like a pretty committed moral fellow.


That’s what I always thought. Just very strange timing on the announcement and seemed to catch the Hawks by surprise.


Throwing tiny sized rookies into 10 game divisional slugfests I’m sure will in no way backfire


Devin Shore and Ryan Stanton signed to PTO by the Oilers today. Hat tip to Tyler Yaremchuck for the heads up.

Edmonton Oilers




The #Oilers have signed forward Devin Shore & defenceman Ryan Stanton to professional tryout agreements.

Last edited 3 months ago by BornInAGretzkyJersey
Unfriendly Regional Arachnid Individual

A decent bet at an additional PK option. Some utility as a C, also. I’m not sure I think he’ll be able to win a contract with Khaira still around (assuming he’s still around, ofc).


Shore seems to be a bit better player than I realized. Tough year last season, but 33, 32, 29 points the 3 years before that. He could very well win a spot over Khaira or Haas I think.


Tippett just called him a versatile forward on ON with Bob.

I don’t think you can say the same for either JJ or Haas, even if both players have desirable traits to recommend them as roster players.

Plus those point totals by Shore a high bar for the other two to clear.


Yeah, neither Oiler has looked like they could approach 30 points in the NHL.

You’d think the team is legitimately interested in him if he agreed to a PTO (no point wasting your time with a team who isn’t going to give you a real shot).

Holland sure is making a lot of bubble Oilers unhappy this off season!


Holland specifically mentioned that Coach T. wants enough players at camp to be able to have two teams for intra squad scrimmages. He mentioned he would likely being in an AHL player or two and/or PTO in order to get the numbers Coach T. needs.

Not saying that Shore doesn’t have a shot to win a contract but just responding to “no point wasting your time…..” as, at the very least, he helps with the ability to have legit intra-squad scrimmages that Coach T. will be focussing on.


Holland was clear last week that he was going to bring in a few AHL players and/or PTO players primarily to get the camp numbers where they need to be see that Coach T. can have legit intra-squad games which he really wants to do.

Stanton is 100% solely in camp for numbers. I do look forward to having him back on the Condors this season (they signed him to an AHL deal in Sept) as they really missed him last year – he’s a fantastic veteran mentor, with legit AHL experience – he and Manson are great for the young D.

Shore probably has more of a chance to earn a contract but I anticipate that he’s mainly there as the Haas fill-in as we know Haas will miss the beginning of camp – I’m not sure how much of camp he will miss. Will shore earn a contract and take a job away from Haas or Khaira – maybe but I don’t see it.


Tippett said today Haas is only likely to miss a day or so of camp due to the Swiss quarantine rules.


Oh yeah, I get why the Oilers would invite players to fill out the 2 team TC roster. Like Stanton. It benefits the Oilers.

But a more established NHL player like Shore is looking for an opportunity where he has a real chance to make the team.

In agreeing to a PTO, I expect it means the Oilers convinced Shore he’s got a chance to grab a spot.

That, plus his history of play in the NHL, leads me to think he has a decent chance to actually make the team.


Holland has expressed a number of times that he’s a big believer in resumes.

All it takes is a passing glance at the resumes in question to see that Shore has a legit chance of making the team.


Oh, yes, I agree that Shore has a chance to make the team, I just don’t see him beating out Khaira and Haas to the extent of earning an ELC and waiving one of those two. It could happen but I think he’s got an up hill battle.

I agree that Shore likely thinks he’s got a shot to make the team – if he believes in himself. Of course, he isn’t just showcasing himself to the Oilers but to all teams as the PTO does not preclude him from signing a contract with another team.


Not to pick your nits, but Shore won’t be vying for an ELC.

And his resume suggests that he’s the superior player to either option (both of whom I like fine for the role). Some fine GM’ing by Kenny, in my estimation.


Yup, that’s picking a nit but no worries – i indeed nitted.


Well said, and agreed.


I can’t help to think that Holland has set himself up in a position where if Nurse is asking for too much money on another deal (7-8 Million) than that money will be allocated to long term deals for Bear and Jones (4.5 and 3 respectively). Would hate to see Nurse walk for nothing but locking in 2 quality blue is tempting.

Speaking of contracts, Nuge is an interesting case. Looking at Nashville the other day, both Johansen and Duchene are making 8 Million for 5-6 years and are about Nuge’s age. Is Nuge worth 8? I’d personally go Johansen at 7.5, Nuge at 7.2, and Duchene at 7.


I’m not ready to say either Bear or Jones are long term Oilers.

Jones in particular is looking at Broberg & Samorukov arriving in the next 18 months or so and the right side has some interesting permutations as well depending on how Barrie & Larsson’s seasons go. Not to mention Bouchard who I think is in the long term plans.

But, yeah, I think Holland has given himself some leverage in contract negotiations and that is what a competent GM should be doing.


If I’m Holland I do exactly the same contract as the last one 7 years at 6 million that’s around 88 million in career earnings. You also get to play with Connor and Leon and win a couple of cups along the way what more could you ask for. Sometimes it simply comes down to where the wife wants to live.


Why would he walk for nothing? Nurse would bring a strong return in a trade. Also those comparables for Nuge are in a different economic climate so I don’t see Nuge getting that money in a flat cap world, do you?


Interesting article on that lists the top 20 defensemen in the league. YMMV but there are a hefty number of them who did not arrive early.

I count:

Hedman – D1-D4 NHL, D5 breakout year

Josi – D1 Swiss-A, D2 Swiss-A, D3 AHL/NHL, D4 AHL, D5 Swiss-A/NHL, D6 NHL, D7 established NHL

Carlsson – D1 in OHL, D2 AHL/NHL, D3 NHL

Pietrangelo – D1 OHL/AHL/NHL, D2 OHL/NHL, D3 NHL

Jones – D1-3 NHL, D4 established after trade

Hamilton – D1 OHL, D2 OHL/NHL, D3 NHL, D4 established

Letang – D1 QMJHL, D2 QMJHL/AHL/NHL, D3 AHL/NHL, D4 NHL, D5 NHL, D6 established

Burns – D1 AHL/NHL, D2 AHL, D3 NHL, D4 NHL, D5 established

Theodore – D1 WHL/AHL, D2 WHL/AHL, D3 AHL/NHL, D4 AHL/NHL, D5 AHL/NHL, D6 NHL, D7 established

Weber – D1 WHL, D2 WHL, D3 AHL/NHL, D4 NHL

Slavin – D1 USHL, D2 NCHC, D3 NCHC, D4 AHL/NHL, D5 NHL

Karlsson – D1 SWE-1/SEL, D2 AHL/NHL, D3 NHL


That’s 13/20 who (arguably) DID NOT ARRIVE EARLY. The earliest arrivals were in D+3 (Carlsson, Karlsson, Pietrangelo). All are current players.

Last edited 3 months ago by BornInAGretzkyJersey

Elite players are elite early
except for all of the ones that aren’t.


Elite D are drafted by NSH, apparently.

Decidedly Skeptical Fan



I’m sure resident troll will list some far below avg size defensemen that made it earlier
but pretty much every defensemen above 6 foot 190lbs needs time to get to elite status

Harpers Hair

Hedman 6’06”

OEL 6’2″

Hamilton 6’6″

Ekblad 6’4″

Provorov 6’1″

Werenski 6’2″

Sergachev 6’3″

McAvoy 6’0″ (there’s one for ya)

Chychrun 6’2″

Heiskanen 6’1″

Coming soon:

Byram 6’1″

Broberg 6’3″

Byfield 6’4″

Sanderson 6’2″

Drysdale 5’11” (another one for ya.)

None of these players have, or are likely to, spend much of any time pissing around in the minors…they either have or will arrive early.

You are merely reacting to Hughes and Makar being exceptional players right out of the box.

90s fan

I read more than I post (you guys are much smarter than me), but I have to say I appreciate HH’s (I assume he is who you are referring to as the troll) comments as they often challenge others, then all y’all challenge back, and then I get to make a decision in my mind that is more well reasoned than if your thoughts were never challenged.


HH isn’t referred to as a troll because he challenges others.

Harpers Hair

I anticipated that response. I didn’t expect you would have have tried to fudge it so much.

I’ve always said elite D ARRIVE early not get “established” early. That takes almost any defenseman a bit of time and is subjective and is also subject to the roster construction of the team drafting him (see Shea Theodore for reference.)

So..Player – Games spent in the AHL or other minor league.

Hedman 0

John Carlson – 48

Pietrangelo – 1

Jones – 0

Hamilton – 0

Letang – 10

Burns – 73 (was drafted before the salary cap started the trend to youth.

Theodore -97 (was blocked on both Anaheim and Las Vegas rosters as we’ve discussed)

Weber- 46 (also drafted before the salary cap)

Slavin – 14

Karlsson – 12

Ellis – 61 (played 32 NHL games in his rookie season.

So, of your “exceptions” only Carlson, Burns, Weber and Theodore did not arrive early and two of them were drafted in a different era.

Defensemen who need a season or two in the minors are very likely not going to be elite and that trend has accelerated over the years.


Theodore being blocked and brought along slowly is a valid “excuse” “reason” “caveat” for him yet Bouchard being blocked and brought along slowly means meandering?

Harpers Hair

Bouchard has never been blocked unless you think Matt Benning. was too high a bar …he just wasn’t good enough defensively and was sent to the AHL to fix that.

Tippet made the decision in the play in not to play Bouchard although Larsson was struggling mightily.

In the offseason, Holland did block him by signing Barrie…do you have to ask why?

Material Elvis

Why did he sign Barrie? He’s smart — veteran depth. Past management would go into the season penciling a rookie into the starting lineup with no cover for injuries. What could possibly go wrong? It’s much smarter to have Bouchard waiting for the inevitable injury.


so Ellis was an NHL regular his rookie season before going back to the Ahl the following year for half season
you sure can spin em

Harpers Hair

How many NHL games did Bouchard play in his rookie season?


Did Ellis play an NHL game before his 21st birthday?


clearly you are just trolling as by now you know that Bouchard had the ability to play in the Ahl when other players don’t have that option
so yes Ellis spent half of his Post draft season 3 splitting time
this is Bouchards post season 3 which he will be splitting time
seems like he’s right on track


Ellis turned 21 on Jan. 3rd 2012. His first NHL game was Dec. 26th 2011, 8 days before his 21st birthday.

Bouchard turned 21 two months ago and actually played more NHL games before turning 21 than Ellis did.


And you know for a fact that Bouchard hasn’t started his ELC yet
but damn man you are wrong on pretty much everything


In an attempt to understand your (new) reasoning about seasoning, the following is a list of regular season games played post draft in any league not named the NHL, except during a lockout, until they became NHL regulars. Which, ought to be patently obvious, is not the same as announcing oneself as elite.

Josi – 142
Ellis – 167
Weber – 161
Jones – 0
Karlsson – 64
Carlsson – 107
Pietrangelo – 62
Slavin – 142
Theodore – 210
Burns – 74
Letang – 110
Hamilton – 82
Hedman – 0
Reilly – 74
Doughty – 0
Werenski – 7
Hughes – 32
Heiskanen – 30
McAvoy – 42
Makar – 75

1581 regular season GP outside the NHL total.
0GP for 3/20 players.
79 total GP outside the NHL on average before current #1D became regular roster players. Considering the schedule in most lesser leagues, that’s closer to two seasons than one. So that puts arrival in the league at aprox. two seasons, D+2. Hardly early.

GP data from

Last edited 3 months ago by BornInAGretzkyJersey

Anyone heard how the officiating crews will be allocated in the new season? I can’t see them being able to cross the border without quarantining for 2 weeks. While I am looking forward to the rivalries the all Canadian division will bring, I wonder if the players and officials are going to get tired of each other if it ends up being the same few officials doing the games all season.


Good point. I haven’t heard who is assigned where but I suspect you are correct that the Canadian division will have the same set of officials for the entire season.

Not sure I like that at all.


Yes, 100% the Canadian division will have their officials set for the season – they will just do Canadian division games – they have not been assigned yet (well, at least publically) as far as I know.


Dec 22

There will be a stable of officials designated to the North Division. There could be officials asked to cross the border to work games. They would have to quarantine. Teams will see the same officials a lot. Best of a tough situation.


Interesting I sure hope we don’t get that asshole that hates Mcdavid.

cowboy bill

Great contract for Bear , much better than I was expecting . If that was on the table from the start , why did it take so long for him to sign ?

Now with Koekoek I really wonder where Kris Russell fits ? If Slater impresses Kris just might end up as the #7 D .


Looks very plausible

Last edited 3 months ago by cowboy bill
Brantford Boy

Perhaps… we all know coaches like veteran defense… it could shake out:


or as LT has it above with the exception of Koekoek-Larsson.

We’re all routing for Jones like mad, and I get it… it’s good to have depth.


I think Bear getting $2M X 2 (effectively) in the end indicates he was asking for substantially more initially. Not sure how much he or Holland moved to get it done but it seems like Holland may not have been low-balling him nearly as much as was assumed.

Agree also that Russell could end up as #7, but really I could see any of those 3 in or out of the lineup and pretty much any combination of pairings. Tippett will tell us what he sees in 5 or so days.


Maybe. It could also just be that the agent or the GM wanted to wait to see how the comparables played out in a somewhat unpredictable off season.


Obviously Bear didn’t sign because he wanted to see how much shit HH could stir up on this blog by alleging stuff about irreconcilable gaps between the two parties and long term damage to the relationship between team and player… They’re in it together.


As per Berglund, Lagesson, Kemp, etc. – all within a week of them signing.

I look forward to some more talk about Nuge and Seattle signaling an extension with the Oilers will be imminent.


Yes, could be that as well I suppose.

Harpers Hair

Ray Ferraro on Podkholzin just now…

Is absolutely going to be an NHL top six forward.

Is a relentless worker in all three zones, a great forechecker and while he likely won’t put up a ton of points, he’ll be a valuable member of his line.

Sounds a bit like Holloway.


what a fall for the guy
just a year ago he was a top 10 prospect


Sounds exactly like Holloway.

I haven’t watched him enough to know how far the comparison holds though. Holloway really reminds me of a better skating Ryan Smyth in the one whole game I saw him play.

I think it is fair to say that Vancouver thought it was getting more offence when they chose Podholzin though, did they not?

Harpers Hair

I expect they did but in the long run it will depend on who he’s teamed with. Seems he would be a good fit with Horvat on their matchup line although Hoglander is already in camp and could beat out Virtanen for a top six spot.


This Robertson and Hoglander seem ready for top 6 minutes stuff is so 2011 Oilers. Glad the actual Oilers have real NHL players for those slots in 2021.


They will be known as Bo horvat and the Butter.
that top 6 would die in this division
you might actually break Boeser


Ya. We’ve seen that movie and know how it ends. Other than elite guys like McDavid or older rookies who spent time in the minors, young rookies rarely have an impact. Lafreniere will likely have little impact this year. Guys like Robertson will almost certainly have no impact.

Material Elvis

You really put a lot of stock in Ferraro’s assessment. Here is a 2017 quote:

Myself? I wouldn’t think anything less of him as a prospect if he goes to the American league. He 19 years old. He’s just a kid… I think highly of Puljujarvi as a prospect. I still think — and it’s goofy to say ‘I still think.’ He’s played one year, his first transitional year to North America. I think in 18 months people won’t be talking about this. I think he’ll be a productive NHL player.”

If Podkholzin can’t put up any offense, he won’t be playing in a top 6 role in the NHL.


Would make one change to LT’s lineup and that would be Haas in at centre replacing JJ, who did not play well again last year at 5 on 5. I am ready to cut bait on him.
Agree with Slater and Jessie out for the first game, but they will rotate in quickly and then we will see what they have. Russel slotted at 3LD is about right for him and concussions last year maybe reduced his ice time. Who really knows other than the player
Benson is not mentioned anywhere, I thought he would get a shot this year


Khaira did play well at center for a few games down the stretch and in the play-in round though…….

Small sample but encouraging.


Benson will get a shot but he’s on tough to make the team out of camp with Nuge, Kahun, Ennis and Neal on the roster (and 1 extra RW and 1 extras C almost a lock).

He and Nygard will likely be on the taxi squad and competing for 1st injury fill in on the left side.


So Dom has the Maple Leafs as clear favorites
is it just me or aren’t their forwards constructed just like ours were last year 3 great players and a giant black hole on bottom 6

Harpers Hair

Kerfoot, Mikayev and Robertson are all skilled players and Thornton even at his age is superior to any 4th line player the Oilers have employed in that time frame.


Thornton can’t skate anymore.
kerfoot is listed as their 2nd RW
That bottom 6 is worst in the division outside of Canucks
its team game.

Harpers Hair

Highly likely Robertson takes that LW spot with Kerfoot moving back to #3C.

Dom never includes rookies in his models.


If Robertson is ready it really balances their top 7.

stephen sheps

I’ve seen a lot of leafs games in the last couple of years. They’re better than you’re giving them credit for but also worse than Dom thinks they’re going to be (I don’t think his model is all that effective anymore).

Kerfoot is a useful player who plays anywhere from 1/2RW – 3C depending on what Keefe needs, a real Swiss army knife type. And even though Jumbo can’t skate, his passing is still a valuable tool on a team full of creative forwards. Depth is definitely an issue outside of the top 7 or 8, but Brodie is a big upgrade on the back end, and Bogosian is better than Ceci (which is not saying much, Ceci is awful). I don’t know who comes out on top in the Canadian division, but if the goaler gets his game back, they have as good a shot as anyone (that isn’t Ottawa… poor Ottawa).


With the condensed training cap and compressed schedule the top 6 will burn out quicker and the bottom 6 will decide more games than ever. Depth is a thing and from top to bottom Holland and Katz have put together the deepest team in the Division.


I think you proved his point. Kerfoot and Mikheyev play in the top-6 more often than not, while Thornton will be relied on to anchor Toronto’s 3rd line. That’s pretty sad depth.

Harpers Hair

Nothing of the sort.

Marner, Nylander, Hyman and Robertson will be the top 6 wingers if Robertson is ready which from many accounts I’ve seen, he is.

That allows Keefe to slot Kerfoot and Mikheyev on his third line with Jimmy Vesey.

The “greybeard” 4th line composed of some combination of Thornton, Simmonds and Spezza.


Since Keefe took over, Kerfoot played 75% of his TOI as a LW for Tavares. Mikheyev’s most common center last year? John Tavares. I don’t know how Keefe will set up the lines this year, but that was what he did last year.

Here are the two team’s top-9 forwards by P/GP, which according to this blog is a pretty good predictor for future scoring:

Draisaitl: 1.55 P/GP
McDavid: 1.52
Yamamoto: 0.96
Nugent-Hopkins: 0.94
Kassian: 0.58
Neal: 0.56
Kahun: 0.55
Ennis: 0.53
Turris: 0.50

Matthews: 1.14 P/GP
Marner: 1.14
Tavares: 0.95
Nylander: 0.87
Hyman: 0.73
Mikheyev: 0.59
Thornton: 0.44
Kerfoot: 0.43
Spezza: 0.43

Toronto’s depth just isn’t that special. And your suggestion to let the air out of Mikheyev and Kerfoot’s numbers due to not playing with Tavares anymore just makes it look worse.

Elgin R

Leafs were forced to let go both Kapanen and Johnsson – two good-fast-young players. Both played well in the middle 6 and are being replaced with Mikayev and Robertson have a combined 48 games in the NHL. Good luck with 2 rookies.

Harpers Hair

Yeah Mikeheyev is a 26 year old “rookie” who was a prolific scorer in the KHL.

Looks like one rookie to me and Robertson is the goods and is surrounded by high level veteran talent.


They are both very good at the hockey. I don’t think offensive skill is the place to look for weakness on that Toronto squad.


The Leafs are probably favourites to win the division, but it’s close and I doubt they actually win it.  IMO any team outside Ottawa and Montreal can win the title. 

The Leafs have improved their defence in a big way since the trade deadline. The additions of Muzzin and Brody makes their back end better. 

But you have to squint real hard to see any kind of improvement in the bottom six. They lost Kappanen and Jonsson and replaced them with Thornton and Simmonds. Vessey was a nice add though, at little more than league minimum. The Leafs, Canucks and Sens are all in contention for the worst bottom six in the division. 

Harpers Hair

The Leafs scored the third most goals in the league last season and will add another speedy sniper in Robertson.

The additions of TJ Brodie, Zack Bogosian and Mikita Lehtonen on D have shored up their most glaring weakness.

If they get even average goaltending, they’ll win the division in a walk.


I agree the Leafs should be favorites to win the division, but what a glossy way to frame things.

Finished 3rd in goals last season and added another speedy sniper, while omitting the loss of two far more established speedy snipers in the offseason.

Anyway, carry on.


Not to mention losing their most productive defenseman.


Tough luck that nobody else will be walking they play the game on skates. Another man buys into the centralist centre of the universe B.S. Considering the source I’m not surprised!


Edmonton was more than ‘in contention’ for the worst bottom six in the league last season and still came in 2nd in their division.

I’m glad I don’t have a gambling habit because I think the Canadian division is going to be a coin flip on a lot of nights this coming season.


Love the coach’s comment about Holloway being relentless all over the ice. That will be a huge addition to the Oilers when he is ready!


And he’ll be ready sooner than many think. This kid’s a beast.


Some out there think he will turn pro this season, after Wisconsin is done.

I’m not so sure he doesn’t have another full year of college in him. How many games will Wisonsin have left in 2021?

I would almost prefer another full year of college – lets have the player more developed, mature, stronger, etc. before we start eating ELC years, no?


I hope the kid has shades of Messier and Ryan Smith in him. You gotta love him just by being from Bragg Creek. I absolutely love that part of the country.

stephen sheps

Good morning LT!

first of all, this is a fantastic deal, good for the player, better for the team. 2 years with this kind of cost certainty in a flat cap world is wonderful news.

second, it’s that time again, the time where I hijack the thread to include my annual contribution that nobody (other than you, Dustrock and maybe Darcy) wants – the link to my year in music post.


2020 was what it was, but thankfully there were so many great records across a wide range of genres this year to help get me through. Please let me know what I missed either in the comments here or in the comments on my blog.

Thanks for reading!



Thanks, I’ll definitely take a look!

stephen sheps

love seeing your comments on Stereogum. Please let me know if I missed anything

Last edited 3 months ago by stephen sheps

We obviously listen to a lot of the same tunes 🙂 I just don’t get Taylor Swift and never have.

Only band I don’t think you had on your list is SAULT. They released 2 double albums this year and nobody knows who they are.

A great mash-up of soul, trip-hop, early 90s dance music.
I cheated by having 2 of their tracks on my playlist but they’re from different albums.

“Wildfires” in particular was one of the songs of the year for me.

stephen sheps

I was meaning to give SAULT a listen but it got away from me. Sounds like they’d be right up my alley, actually.

The Taylor Swift thing is one of life’s mysteries. For years I couldn’t bring myself to enter her world, but then I gave 1989 a shot after hearing Ryan Adams’ version (which is itself a bit of an embarrassing admission). After that I realized she’s an excellent songwriter, even if sometimes her choices for lead singles don’t show what she’s capable of (i.e. ‘look what you made me do’ & ‘me’ from her previous two big pop records). Her lyrics don’t get enough credit, but she builds these incredible little story songs & character studies, sometimes within a single song, sometimes spread out over the narrative of an album. It’s a lost art and something wholly unique in the contemporary pop landscape. Never in a million years did I think I’d find myself not just defending but actually advocating for her, but this really was a strange year.


I also think she is just a good person. How she deals with her fans, not afraid to meet them directly, really shows her soul. She has a good soul and that’s good enough for me regardless of the music.


+1 on Sault-an amazing record. BTW, Dustrock, were you the prophet for Algiers here back in…2017? If correct, I caught them in DC that year and they were astonishingly great live.


Total agreement on Idles, Fleet Foxes and RTJ


Here’s a link to my Best of 2020. Probably more dance/electronic than usual but that’s what was getting me through the year.

stephen sheps

awesome! thanks. just added it to my library. that’ll be my playlist for the next couple of days.


Wilco’s Summerteeth has the track for 2021. “A Shot in the Arm”,

Something in my veins, bloodier than blood.

Last edited 3 months ago by godot10

Thanks, will have to check some of these out. No love for Black Pumas? Phish/Trey?

stephen sheps

Not a huge Phish/Trey fan. Lots of friends are and I’ve seen Phish twice, but they’re more of a ‘respect the hell out of but can’t listen to them much’ sort of band for me.

I’ll definitely give Black Pumas a shot though. Thanks!

Last edited 3 months ago by stephen sheps

I know your friends (it’s Gary), that’s why I asked! It was a great year for Trey, in particular. Any ways, great list!

stephen sheps

Hi Gary!! Well that explains things… I knew you posted here from time to time but never knew your alias. I’ve always been kind of the outlier in the group when it comes to that band, one of two of us who never truly fell down that rabbit hole.


Without doing any rigorous research, the one album from 2020 that stands out for me is Disco Volador from the Orielles. Imagine a cross between Stereolab and late-era Lush.

stephen sheps

added to the library. Seeing Sterolab last year was a real musical highlight for me. Thanks!


Sheps, this is a really well written and exhaustively researched piece-thank you for sharing! But why do you hate Japandroids? Their live album Massey F**king Hall has more ass-kicking/60 than anything released this century, and this is a math blog so caught in the crushing grip of reason you must concede this point!

Great to see your list giving some love to Waxahatchee and the Drive-By Truckers. I submit the DBT are America’s foremost chroniclers of the country’s decline.

Patterson Hood did a searing rendition of the Replacements’ Left of the Dial just recently on KEXP:

stephen sheps

You’re not wrong. That Japandroids album does have a very high ass-kick/60 ratio, but the problem is it was mixed horribly, making it almost unlistenable, especially on headphones. It’s a shame, too because they’re so fun live.

I’ll definitely check out that Hood on KEXP set though. He’s the best, and somehow gets better with age.


Mac Miller posthumous Circles