Everyone’s Gone to the Moon

by Lowetide
Puljujarvi photo by Mark Williams

The trick is to stay in the AHL a minimal amount of time. Recent grad Kailer Yamamoto spent 50 games in Bakersfield, that’s ideal for a drafted forward on his way to a career on an NHL skill line. That’s the fast track.

The slow track? Jujhar Khaira spent 127 games in the minors, never a threat to play on an NHL skill line.

Jesse Puljujarvi played in 53 AHL games and won’t be back. Tyler Benson? 120 and another year to go on his entry deal. What does the past tell us about these farm workers?

THE ATHLETIC!

I’m proud to be writing for The Athletic, and pleased to be part of a great team with Daniel Nugent-Bowman and Jonathan Willis. Here is our recent work.

AHL FORWARDS OF RECENT VINTAGE (POINTS-GAME)

Anton Lander (215 NHL games), Anton Slepyshev (102 NHL games) and Jesse Puljujarvi (139 NHL games) all reached 1.00 per game at the AHL level during their entry deals. In two cases, it did not result in an NHL career but the Lander pick (second rounder) and Slepyshev selection (third round) are successful based on their draft number.

Yamamoto never got close to a point per game, but was a dynamic player at the AHL level and delivered when recalled to the NHL this past season.

Benson got close to a point per game in the AHL as a rookie and didn’t play a game in the NHL that season. What does that tell us? Let’s review the pertinent bullet points from the Farm Workers series.

If a prospect can establish himself as an AHL regular at 20, it bodes well for an NHL career, but does not guarantee it.

As a rookie, Tyler Benson became the tenth real prospect since 2010 to play as a regular in the Oilers system at age 20 (Teemu Hartikainen, Tyler Pitlick, Magnus Paajarvi, Martin Marincin, Martin Gernat, Bogdan Yakimov, Jujhar Khaira, Ethan Bear, Caleb Jones). NHL regulars from that list of 10 include Tyler Pitlick, Jujhar Khair, Caleb Jones and Ethan Bear. Magnus Paajarvi spent several years as a regular. Oilers prospects who emerged in the AHL at 20 have been averaging about 50 percent success in climbing the NHL hill.

Pretty much everyone who is in the AHL past 21 is having some issues and may spend time meandering.

Tyler Benson lost Cooper Marody as his center in year two, and the offense faltered. That suggests a complementary player and when Benson arrived in the NHL for his first audition in 2019-20 his most common linemates were Riley Sheahan and Josh Archibald. The die is cast, or so it would appear.

If you haven’t established yourself as a prospect by age 22, you’re in trouble. The players who will be successful have played at least some games in the NHL during entry deals.

This brings us to Jesse Puljujarvi, age 22. Trouble is too strong a word, but we don’t know where he’ll land on the depth chart. Beginning with his draft year, JP’s NHL equivalencies were 21, 29, 25, 16, 35 and 28. We know he scores well with McDavid, will he get the chance? Does Dave Tippett run Tyler Ennis in right wing? Kassian? Archibald? Neal?

I think most of us believe JP will run on a third line with Kyle Turris. In a 56-game season, would you consider 20 points (say, 9-11-20) a successful season offensively for the big Finn?

CHL DRAFT-YEAR POINTS PER GAME (OILERS FORWARDS PICKS)

  1. Connor McDavid (OHL) age 17: 47 games, 44-76-120 (2.55)
  2. Leon Draisaitl (WHL) age 17: 64 games, 38-67-105 (1.64)
  3. Kailer Yamamoto (WHL) age 17: 65 games, 42-57-99 (1.52)
  4. Raphael Lavoie (QMJHL) age 17: 62 games, 32-41-73 (1.18)
  5. Tyler Tullio (OHL) age 17: 62 games, 27-39-66 (1.06)
  6. Ryan McLeod (OHL) age 17: 68 games, 26-44-70 (1.03)
  7. Tyler Benson (WHL) age 17: 30 games, 9-19-28 (0.93)
  8. Kirill Maksimov (OHL) age 17: 66 games, 21-17-38 (0.58)

DEVIN SHORE, RYAN STANTON

Devin Shore is another candidate for one of Edmonton’s depth line roles in 2020-21, and is likely competition for Jujhar Khaira at No. 4 center. Here’s the current list of players who could win the job, with NHL experience in 82-game notation:

  • Devin Shore: 11-19-30, 45.6 percent faceoffs, 10.5 percent shooting percentage
  • Alan Quine: 8-14-22, 46.8 percent faceoffs, 8.0 percent shooting percentage
  • Jujhar Khaira: 8-11-19, 45.4 percent faceoffs, 9.1 percent shooting percentage
  • Gaetan Haas: 7-7-14, 42.2 percent faceoffs, 9.3 percent shooting percentage

Shore’s five on five points per 60 over the last three seasons is 1.24; Khaira is 1.19. Quine is 1.08. Haas is 0.81, and will be delayed for camp due to Covid protocols. If I’m a betting man, I keep my money in pocket. Khaira is the incumbent but beyond penalty killing and some strong shifts with James Neal and Alex Chiasson in the summer bubble against the Chicago Blackhawks, this looks like a training camp sprint for all involved.

Ryan Stanton is a quality AHL defenseman and a solid addition to Edmonton’s training camp roster.

OILERS TRAINING CAMP ROSTER (40)

Goalies (5): Mikko Koskinen, Mike Smith, Anton Forsberg, Stuart Skinner, Dylan Wells

Defense (12): Darnell Nurse-Ethan Bear; Caleb Jones-Adam Larsson; Kris Russsell-Tyson Barrie; Slater Koekkoek-Evan Bouchard; Theodor Lennstrom-William Lagesson; Markus Niemelainen-Ryan Stanton.

Forwards (23): Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Dominik Kahun, Kailer Yamamoto, Zack Kassian, Tyler Ennis, Kyle Turris, Jesse Puljujarvi, Josh Archibald, Alex Chiasson, James Neal, Jujhar Khaira, Joakim Nygard, Ryan McLeod, Gaetan Haas, Tyler Benson, Devin Shore, Adam Cracknell, Cooper Marody, Patrick Russell, Alan Quine, Seth Griffith.

LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE

It’s a busy morning on TSN1260, beginning at 10. Bruce McCurdy from the Cult of Hockey at the Edmonton Journal will join me to talk about the additions of Koekoek, Shore and Stanton, plus his choice as “good surprise” coming out of Oilers camp in the coming weeks. Dom Luszczyszyn from The Athletic talks about his Oilers preview and a better roster in 2020-21 for Edmonton. At 11, Joe Osborne from OddsShark will join us to talk NFL’s final week, how these playoff matches could turn and NBA talk surrounds the tough start for Toronto Raptors. 10-1260 text, @Lowetide on twitter. See you on the radio!

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[…] Firstly, Edmonton’s training camp roster (courtesy of Lowetide’s wonderful site). […]

SK Oiler Fan

Give Broberg the next game off. They have to have a better D man than that that is healthy. Streak is over, they are in regardless of US game

Ice Sage

Great game.
Broberg’s a battler, his positioning and closing instincts remind me of Pronger.

Victoria Oil

Russia wins in OT. Best game of the tournament. So far at least.

Unfriendly Regional Arachnid Individual

Other than Costmar, no active physical presence on this Swedish team. Neither Holtz nor Raymond have shown much this game and all of the Dmen have been unimpressive.

Unfriendly Regional Arachnid Individual

And just as I say that…

OriginalPouzar

but yet they’ve been the more dominant team since the first period…..

Unfriendly Regional Arachnid Individual

Gonna have to disagree. The Swedes had the better of the 2nd period, but that was in large part a result of all their PPs. The rest of the game was brilliant work by Russia in pressuring the puck at every turn and had the Swedes on their heels most of the game- particularly the Dmen. Whether it was on the forecheck, backcheck, or zone entries, the Russians were all over the puck.

Sweden looked unprepared for that kind of pressure but, given the circumstances leading up to the tournament, I don’t blame them.

Harpers Hair

Worth noting that the Russians were on the second game of a back to back.

The Swedes get theirs tomorrow against the U.S. which will have had a day of rest.

Harpers Hair

The momentum of the game changed in the second period after some sketchy officiating.

Costmar mugged two Russians and got away with it and in fact drew a penalty on the second.

Looks like the Canucks may have drafted a Ken Linesman.

Unfriendly Regional Arachnid Individual

Other than Soderblom, Costmar was the only Swede that impressed me. Ponomarayev surprised me with how well he played, too! The Russians really have a fast and engaged roster this year.

Harpers Hair

I expect The Professor has a great deal to do with that.

Reja

I have underwear older than the one Ref.

Harpers Hair

I have underwear older than you…and I’m wearing them! 🙂

Last edited 9 months ago by Harpers Hair
Reja

Are they on inside out on purpose or by accident?

Justthestatsman

I used to as well, but my wife purged them all. It going to take a lot of wearing to get the new ones just right.

OriginalPouzar

There is one of those rushes we like to see from Broberg – almost a here goal.

He got up and is skating VERY gingerly – almost limping out there – he is very banged up.

Reja

I hope he’s not related Kelfbom and made of glass.

SK Oiler Fan

What was Broberg’s injury? I sure hope that’s the issue tonight. He’s late to everything

Harpers Hair

Interesting that he’s playing on the second PP unit.

OriginalPouzar

Looking at him wobble/limp around after that last rush, he looks more than a little banged up. His injury is “lower body”

Material Elvis

There is a recent picture of Ethan Bear circulating on the interwebs. It looks like he has taken his fitness/physique to the next level — even more so than last year. Can’t wait to see him on the ice.

OriginalPouzar

Podkolzin, Amirov and the Russian first line looking VERY good and dangerous early.

Harpers Hair

And late.

OriginalPouzar

Sweden turning the puck over in their own zone and Podkolzin walking Broberg to get to the net leading to a goal – not the start I was looking for – ha!

OriginalPouzar

Goal disallowed.

Everything leading up to the goal – never happened – ha!

Harpers Hair

He still got walked…twice.

OriginalPouzar

Once – if you are referring to the play where Ferraro was talking about Broberg needing to drop his shoulder, he certainly didn’t get walked – Pozdolkin got a step on the outside but he never got past him or inside him and took a bad angle backhand that did handcuff the goalie a bit – was certainly not walked on that play.

I will admit, Podkolzin looks great tonight.

Harpers Hair

Wasn’t against Podkholzin.

OriginalPouzar

Go Bro – got some decent firepower to try and shut down tonight.

I was looking at the standings and schedule to try and see who is likely to finish 4th in the other division and, damn, there is a good chance the Canadian’s won’t face the Czech in the quarters – could end up with one of the three more prominent powers.

Crazy stuff.

OriginalPouzar

Lavoie continues to score – got one of Vasby’s two goals in a 5-2 loss.

With that AHL having announced that February 5 is happening, I would like to see him recalled for the season but don’t see it happening.

OriginalPouzar

Tippett on with Gregor at 5:20 – I’m sure there won’t be any “revelations” but I find Gregor asks more targetted questions than Stauff.

OriginalPouzar

Focus is on goals against and the key is to “have the puck more” and Tip is excited for the depth as they should have the puck more. Details are key as well.

Gregor asked about D deployment – Tip rambled on about the depth on the right side and then talked about big opportunity on the left side and the first person mentioned was Caleb Jones. He then mentioned that Lagesson will also have the opportunity and mentioned Koekkoek “also there”.

I’m sure Koekkoek is higher than Lagesson on the depth chart but I think its clear that, going in to camp, Jones is penciled in as the guy to stop up to 2LD.

Gregor asked if Nurse/Bear will start together – Tippett did say that familiarity is important but they want to see different players with different players and need to see where Barrie fits in the best, etc.

Specifically mentioned that Turris will get some PK time and the Haas likely as well. Yamamoto as well. Turris being a right-shot center will help (teams usually pick their left corner on the PP so it will be good have Turris).

Struds asked about Kahun and meshing with one of the centers – Coach T. specifically said that we know he meshes with one guy. Pretty clear he sees camp starting with Kahun on Leon’s left side – no surprise but some think that Nuge will be back there.

Gregor asked if Tip has decided where Nuge will start camp, with McDavid or Leon – Tip says he has but won’t tell. We know its with Connor.

Studs asked about taxi squad and how to keep them “game ready” – Tip talked about the condensed schedule, etc. Said there will probably be days where the taxi squad doesn’t skate but days where 6-7 guys get the day off and the taxi squad practices. Going to go through more than the normal amount of players.

Gregor asked about Jesse on the PK – Tip says he looked good doing it in Liiga but “we’ll see” – As expected, I don’t see Jesse as a legit PK option, at least early.

With respect to having 3 goalies, Tip mentioned that you always need to make sure your top 2 are ready to go but it will be nice to have the 3rd goalie around – in particular with back to backs – gives the ability to rest a goalie in practice/skates, etc.

Gregor asked about Barrie on the PP – Tip said exactly what some of us have discussed vis-a-vis Barrie has a bit more of a shooting mentality but the PP really runs through Nuge and Connor (GREAT TO HERE) – Barrie is very creative so will give some new looks.

jp

Thanks OP!

jp

Also, Barrie has shot much less on the PP than Klefbom!!

Last edited 9 months ago by jp
OriginalPouzar

jp

 December 30, 2020 6:24 pm

Also, Barrie has shot much less on the PP than Klefbom!!

Interesting, I went to check on the premise that Klef really reduced his PP shooting this year and thinking that he would have a much lower shots/60 on the PP than Barrie and, sir, you are right – even this year, Klef shot at higher rates on the PP than Barrie. I’m shocked!

Thank you.

jp

Yeah they’ve both brought their PP shooting rates way down over the past 3 years, but Barrie has shot much less than Klefbom at every step. I think he was down even lower under Keefe, around 4 shots/60 IIRC. I don’t think there will be any issue with him letting the Oilers PP continue to run through McDavid and Nuge.

Last edited 9 months ago by jp
defmn

Interesting conversation but Tippett doesn’t give much away, does he. He sure seems happy about the depth Holland has assembled though. I lost count of how many times he mentioned it.

pts2pndr

Legitimate options and depth! I’m extremely excited to see what Tippett can do with more to work with.

OriginalPouzar

Huge news that the AHL has approved a framework to play starting Feb 5.

Lots and lots of details to come but this is great.

Yes, I fully acknowledge the current issues with playing in California.

OriginalPouzar

This is just massive – having the Condors playing is essential.

The games won’t be as much fun to watch (I love my AHL TV) with the taxi squad taking the likes of Bouch/Benson (at least to start) and guys like Lavoie staying in Sweden.

I look for McLeod to take the reigns as a top 6 center (along with Marody).

Of importance to me is this is where Broberg should be playing when he comes over in April.

Harpers Hair

No details have been announced.

Just listened to Dave Poulin on a radio interview.

He expects the AHL season will consist of small numbers of teams playing against each other in a very shortened season in confined geographic areas.

For example, it may mean Bakersfield plays only, San Diego, Ontario and San Jose in what would amount to an extended round robin tournament.

That would cut down travel expenses considerably and limit exposure.

Better than nothing I guess.

OriginalPouzar

Thanks.

Not ideal but definitely better than nothing.

The Oilers are only playing 6 other teams. If the Condors can only play 3 others, so be it.

As long as there is an AHL team playing games to assign Broberg to in April, I’ll be happy.

Harpers Hair

Are you not expecting Broberg to make the World Championship team?

OriginalPouzar

I’m not certain the World Championships will go ahead.

Either way, I’d prefer him in the AHL as soon as Skelefftea is done and the general manager has spoke about bringing him over at that time.

Harpers Hair

I’m sure he would rather the opposite.

OriginalPouzar

That’s nice – of course, you have generally been almost completely wrong in your positing of what young Oiler d-man are wanting and thinking.

pts2pndr

So you have psychic powers now! Very impressive!

Solly

Chara to the Caps – 1 year at 795k

Damn…that would have been nice.

Reja

No way he was coming out west. I hope he lays out a few of his old teammates and not pull a Lucic.

Harpers Hair

Dawn Wells, ‘Gilligan’s Island’s’ Mary Ann, Dies of COVID at 82 https://variety.com/2020/tv/news/dawn-wells-dead-gilligans-island-mary-ann-1234876755/… via @variety

Reja

Sad RIP. Every teenage boy had a crush her it actually led to some fun arguments who was prettier there was the odd guy that chose Ginger.

Victoria Oil

Mary Ann was pretty. Ginger was sexy. I’ll take sexy over pretty. 🙂

OriginalPouzar

Broberg’s return to the lineup tonight confirmed.

This should be a great game to watch!

OriginalPouzar

No hotel life for Jesse – got an apartment a 7 min drive from the arena:

https://www.iltalehti.fi/nhl/a/a8e69377-ccc1-4540-8e58-7f4c2b79faec

Some quotes from the article (google translate):

Puljujärvi does not admit that it has received any promises regarding its role from Oilers’ management. The general manager of the club is Ken Holland and the coach is Dave Tippett .

– As I have learned that there is nothing here given for free. You have to redeem your own venue, the venue comes through your own screens. It takes a lot of work to make that something happen. Nothing comes for free here, says the player who drummed 53 power points in 56 matches in Kärpi last season.

———————

The player’s goal is clear.

– I want to bring my own good gaming to the team and help the team win the games. I want to get to play every night and be a help to the team. It has good goals.

– I think I’ve a lot different player now than I was last time. A good year in Oulu did good, I played in a big role at the men’s level, in the number one field. And in a good team and in a good environment.

jp

Thanks for this, great to hear that’s his outlook.

Also, does he drive now??

Ryan

defmn

December 30, 2020 9:00 am

Fourth line centre was a spot I was hoping to see another name added to Haas & Khaira.

Maybe nothing comes of it but 1RW wasn’t going to be upgraded externally at this point due to cap concerns, LD saw Koekkoek added to the mix a few days ago and I don’t think we see another goalie until Tippett tells Holland Smith can no longer do the job – and maybe Forsberg has had a shot as well.

At first glance, Devon Shore looks like an upgrade on Haas and Khaira. Penalty killing ability being the obvious question mark… though probably not too big of a concern.

Devin Shore: 11-19-30, 45.6 percent faceoffs, 10.5 percent shooting percentage

Alan Quine: 8-14-22, 46.8 percent faceoffs, 8.0 percent shooting percentage

Jujhar Khaira: 8-11-19, 45.4 percent faceoffs, 9.1 percent shooting percentage

Gaetan Haas: 7-7-14, 42.2 percent faceoffs, 9.3 percent shooting percentage

I think 4c is a position that Oiler fans spend too much time worrying about. Remember all of the hand-wringing here years ago over needing an upgrade for Colin Fraser at 4c? Then he won a cup playing for Los Angeles. If the top two lines are firing on all cylinders, the 3rd line isn’t bleeding too much, I won’t worry too much about our 4rth line. We certainly have no shortage of players fighting for a 4rth line roster position. I agree with JP that it’s hard to see both JK and GH on the roster. We might not see either…

As I’ve stated before, there’s a chance we’ve already upgraded 1RW… with Kyle Turris though I’m not sure how the bottoms six would shake out in that instance. At the very least Turris provides cover if Kassian isn’t performing well. Also, when Tippet shortens the bench and the Oilers are chasing in a game, we might see Turris moved up to provide an offensive spark.

Holland has gone full Holland with signing Smith to save money to improve other areas of the roster. (why can I never find his quote on overpaying for average goaltending?)

Given the immense cost for marginal improvements over Smith, as much as I don’t like Smith, I don’t hate the thought process with that… nor do I mind the one-year contract for Smith that provides an opportunity to improve the goaltending position the following season.

I think Holland has done a commendable job filling in as many cracks in the roster as able with the available cap.

Did I just say that? I’m supposed to be a contrarian here.

This brings us to Jesse Puljujarvi, age 22. Trouble is too strong a word, but we don’t know where he’ll land on the depth chart. Beginning with his draft year, JP’s NHL equivalencies were 21, 29, 25, 16, 35 and 28. We know he scores well with McDavid, will he get the chance? Does Dave Tippett run Tyler Ennis in right wing? Kassian? Archibald? Neal?

Dare I say that JP adds size to the top nine wing?

I certainly didn’t like the look of Ennis and Yamamoto flanking Draisaitl during the play-in round.

Reja

JP is not the golden boy anymore he needs to earn his job. We finally have a above average 3C it’s only taken 14 fricking years he’s going flourish in that role. I was one of the few that liked the Smith signing last year thought he’d be a great mentor for Kosh and Kosh sure did improve on his puck handling skills and his glove hand as well. I think Smith had a lot to do with those improvements. This year I wasn’t as much a fan of the resigning but he has a lot of pride and he’s a gamer so he might surprise a few folks.

Last edited 9 months ago by Reja
pts2pndr

Hockey is a performance based sport. To perform one has to play. Please explain how he is supposed to earn his chance. This term in my opinion is greatly over used. He does have to perform once he is given a realistic opportunity however what you set up with your statement, earn, is very much a chicken or egg scenario as to what comes first.The reality is it is on the coach to put the player in a position to succeed once he determines where the player needs to play based on his ability and team need. Nothing more. nothing less.

jp

Fair that the importance of 4C may be overstated, especially considering that McDavid, Draisaitl and Turris averaged almost 45 minutes/game at 5v5 last season. There might only be 3-5 5v5 minutes left for the 4C. (the Oilers had 49:48 5v5 minutes/game last season, but the league median was only 48:20).

Flip side is that the 4C will probably need to step up at some point as an injury fill-in or if there’s a lineup shuffle like you’re suggesting with Turris. Having a decent player at 4C will likely be more important though the season than is seems now filling out off-season lines.

I agree in theory that Turris could be a good (the best available) RW for McDavid, but my issue with that is it leaves a big hole at 3C, which IMO is/was a bigger problem. Shore could conceivably help there actually, and increase the chance of Turris moving up to play wing. Shore has been a decent NHL 3rd line C/W. He seems a better bet than Khaira/Haas/Quine of being able to step up and handle 3C, IMO.

And glad you’re feeling OK about Holland today 🙂

OriginalPouzar

Fair that the importance of 4C may be overstated, especially considering that McDavid, Draisaitl and Turris averaged almost 45 minutes/game at 5v5 last season. There might only be 3-5 5v5 minutes left for the 4C. (the Oilers had 49:48 5v5 minutes/game last season, but the league median was only 48:20).

This is a fine point but, of course, I think we can all agree that reducing McDavid and Drai’s minutes can be materially beneficial – even just a reduction of 90-120 seconds of 5 on 5 ice per game can prove beneficial.

jp

Yeah, certainly a little less TOI for them would be great. Still, even 90 seconds off each of them (with Turris staying at 12 minutes) would still only be about 8 minutes for the 4C.

Also, I’m definitely not suggesting the Oilers don’t need a 4C! 🙂

OriginalPouzar

I’m not sure I can agree that we are making too much of the PK. If Khaira is not in the lineup then its a loss to the PK that’s in addition to Sheahan.

They are already down 1 of the top 4 PK guys from last year without any real established replacement – the replacements as of now are Turris, Haas and Yamamoto – none established as plus PK guys in the NHL.

Remove Khaira and now we are down two of the top 4 forward PK.

Add that above to (a) Khaira playing well down the stretch and in the playoffs as a center and (b) Khaira being a big player, with physical acumen, that can skate and, well, I think he’s pencilled in, not only on the roster but also in the opening night lineup.

Can he be beaten out by Haas and Shore? Certainly but I think he has the inside track.

OriginalPouzar

Tulio has been quiet yesterday but got an assist on the PP as Liptovsky got a rare win (5-3) – I believe their second of the year.

Blumel help off the score-sheet – very rare these days.

Pasquale got lit up for 6 goals and took a 6-5 loss – come on Ilya.

MushedPeas

It’s interesting that Lander comes up: Complete player with no standout skill who eventually dominated the minors; Slow-ish boots. Always liked him. Lander’s run under Nelson’s brief stint almost made me a believer, but you could see he was always just shy.

I don’t *yet* put Benson in *precisely* the same box. He’s a tweener until he shows different, but the plus level of his passing, combined with an ability to win battles in corners, could be enough to make him actually complimentary to play in the bottom six, as opposed to just deficient. He can make the puck do the work in ways a lot of bottom roster players simply cannot, and maybe there’s mutual benefit there. The right pairing or mix of linemates could be enough.

Then again, maybe he’s not even a Lander. I don’t think we know.

JOFA

Schremp knows😉

MushedPeas

lol

OriginalPouzar

Benson is more offensively skilled and has a higher offensive IQ than Lander, in my opinion.

Not saying its going to translate – we simply do not know, still.

Harpers Hair
OriginalPouzar

Important Question: How much subtle intent is there in Dom L. consistently referring to Kassian as “Cash-In” on air?

Harpers Hair

Doesn’t sound very subtle to me…or wrong.

jp

Devin Shore: 11-19-30, 45.6 percent faceoffs, 10.5 percent shooting percentage

Alan Quine: 8-14-22, 46.8 percent faceoffs, 8.0 percent shooting percentage

Jujhar Khaira: 8-11-19, 45.4 percent faceoffs, 9.1 percent shooting percentage 

Gaetan Haas: 7-7-14, 42.2 percent faceoffs, 9.3 percent shooting percentage

I think that frames the battle for 4C and 5C rather nicely.

All the players are between 26 and 28 years old (Khaira the youngest, not quite a month younger than Shore).

If I’m betting, one of Khaira and Haas are not on the Oilers 23-man roster for opening night.

defmn

Physicality and speed being the things the numbers don’t capture. Should be one of the more interesting battles to watch though.

jp

Yes, for sure. Khaira looks to have a big advantage over the others in the size/physicality department at least.

If I was guessing today I’d say Khaira and Shore make the cut, but who the hell knows! And injuries might clear room for more than just two. Will be interesting for sure.

who

I think Haas makes the 23 man roster due to his skating ability.
The battle will be BETWEEN Khaira and Shore. They are very similar players.

jp

Are they similar? I don’t recall much about Shore from watching him but Khaira is bigger and stronger, hits more, takes more penalties, fights more. Seems like a lot of things the coach and GM value (in addition to them valuing skating) where Khaira has a clear edge over Shore and the others. Khaira’s PK work is also a clear advantage. We’ll see…

BornInAGretzkyJersey

It would seem Devin Shore is not afraid to engage in the occasional donnybrook.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JJJrS1gT2VQ

jp

Ha! Thanks for that.

I checked his major penalties before posting and he’s taken exactly zero of them at 5v5 in his 288 game NHL career.

Turns out that one was on the PP and is the only major he’s ever taken at the NHL level. Acquitted himself quite alright I’d say 🙂

who

I think you’re putting too much emphasis on fighting. They are both big bodied left shot guys who can play center.
Shore is basically Riley Sheehan. Same type of player that Khaira was competing with last year for time at center.

defmn

10 games with Calgary. It is going to get nasty imo.

jp

No, pretty sure I’m not. My original post was my main emphasis. Shore has scored 11-19-30 per 82 at the NHL level while Khaira has scored 8-11-19. I think Shore is a substantially better offensive player than Khaira or Haas, and the biggest reason I’m guessing he makes the team.

Physicality was brought up by another poster and I replied that Khaira has the clear edge there over the others, which I believe is correct. Fighting was one part of that, but it was the last of a number of things I listed.

I do think that physical, heavy hockey is something that Holland and Tippett value in the lineup (they’ve said as much). Shore and Khaira might both be ‘big bodies’ but Khaira is much ‘bigger’ and I’m pretty sure more physical/imposing/difficult to play against. And Quine/Haas are in another conversation entirely.

Sheahan might be a somewhat reasonable comp for Shore, but I don’t see how that suggests Shore/Khaira couldn’t both make the team. Khaira/Sheahan played together on the 3rd line for most of last season after all, both ahead of Haas.

(FWIW Shore has actually scored better through his NHL career than Sheahan, as well as in the AHL/college).

OriginalPouzar

At some point the 50 contract limit becomes a factor. They are at 47, Shore would put them at 48. Broberg will slide but, then again, if anyone thinks he’ll be playing on the Oilers come April, that slide can go away…..

jp

Yes, that could become a factor. Starting the season with 48 should be fine though, right?

OriginalPouzar

Should be but you never know. What if Holland needs to go get a goalie early then, boom, 49….

It may not be as easy to dispose of contracts this season – disposing of cap will prove difficult.

jp

Yeah, it’s possible. But there are very often throw-ins (Angus Redmond, Robin Norell) in deadline deals to even out the contracts. I wouldn’t hesitate to start with 48 if Tippett wants to give Shore a spot on the team.

OriginalPouzar

Yes, generally, I do think it will be tougher to rid the org of a contract this season – everything is just totally different. The Oilers also don’t have many “throw-away’s” on the 50 – Cracknell, Griffith, Safin maybe….

OriginalPouzar

Its a Broberg type of day…..

Wish the game was on at 4 as opposed to the late game (7:30) but I guess we’ll manage…..

OriginalPouzar

A couple notes on the AHL performances of current roster players:

As posted at the time, Yamamoto’s box cars in the AHL highly under-represented his play. I was watching pretty much all Condor games and he was the best player on the ice most nights. He was not getting cherry 5 on 5 minutes and was playing with the likes of Esposito, etc. on many nights – he was a scoring chance creation machine – shift after shift.

With respect to Puljuarvi, i don’t believe his rookie season in the AHL gets enough credit. 12 goals and 28 points in 39 games as an 18-year old in the AHL – that is marvelous. He was the youngest player in North American pro hockey, two years younger than the minimum age to play in the league if drafted out of the CHL – and he put up those numbers.

Further, his 4 games in his 3rd season before Hitchcock arrogantly forced his call-up – he was absolutely dominant in 3 of those 4 games.

defmn

I was watching pretty much all Condor games and he was the best player on the ice most nights. He was not getting cherry 5 on 5 minutes and was playing with the likes of Esposito, etc. on many nights – he was a scoring chance creation machine – shift after shift.

This pretty much sums up my problem with the ‘Benson needs a chance’ argument. Although there is no doubt that timing and luck are a part of the situation for players on the cusp of being in the NHL the opportunity that people are talking about exists every day at the AHL level where professional talent evaluators watch what they do in practice, the game and the gym.

Yamomoto didn’t ‘get’ an opportunity. He took it.

Woogie63

Yes the player has to take it, but Yamamoto finally took it when he was put with Draisaitl and Hopkins. The week before the promotion to the second line is was “struggling” on the third line IIRC.

leadfarmer

I remember how excited everyone was when dusty old relic called him back up after only 4 games.

MushedPeas

”Mother. Fff…”

BornInAGretzkyJersey

Dark days, indeed. Many were hoping for a Hitchmas Miracle.

OriginalPouzar

Hitch’s words and actions were some of the most arrogant I can recall from an Oiler coach.

BornInAGretzkyJersey

“If you have to ask the question…” comes to mind as a low point in regards to coaching.

Cutting the media off of donuts at press conferences as well before instituting The Swarm would be another moment of brilliance.

We’ve had some real winners around here.

OriginalPouzar

Its good to see Cooper Marody on the training camp roster.

As we know, he played one single game in Europe, got re-injured and returned to Michigan – hasn’t been hear from since.

I presume he’s healthy and ready to go for camp (although I presumed the same for his European assignment).

If he is healthy, can he make an impact at camp and re-establish himself as a “real prospect” this year?

Yes, I know, the boots!

wolf8888

Hopefully he noticed that his not quite speedy boots that didn’t stop his success at other levels does lessen his chances in the NHL and he has worked on it. Fingers crossed.

OriginalPouzar

I haven’t seen him move off the “my skating has never held me back before” verbal he spouted last off-season.

I agree that, hopefully, he has learned that it will hold him back in the NHL – I’m not convinced but we should start to find out in 4 days….

cowboy bill

Looks like they could sign another forward to a PTO contract to bring the number to 24 forwards , an even number for scrimmages of 8 forward lines . Unless they plan on using one of the goaltenders as a forward .

GordieHoweHatTrick

With the resources available to him, KH has done a very good job establishing depth and competition in the bottom of the line up. Quite a few options for mixing lines and finding chemistry in the top 9. I suspect the first week of camp will be getting several scrimmages in, seeking chemistry, and then a significant cull to focus the 2nd week of camp and fine tune the primary roster/special teams. I wonder if there will be any surprises! It is nice to get back to this point…

leadfarmer

I don’t see Benson as a top 6 player so he better start doing the work of a bottom 6er well. if You’re not a clear upgrade on JarJar at this point you’re in trouble

dustrock

Little known story: Tyler Benson once ran over JOFA’s dog. By “once” I mean “repeatedly” and by “dog” I mean “son”.

JOFA

Lolol. Little known story: Dustrock is related to Schremp , and by Schremp…. I mean……you get the point😉

Rugbypig

I believe the “point” you trying to make is smaller than the one on top of your (flat spot above your eyes)

Reja

I say if anyone gets traded in the near future it’ll be Khaira. I could see a few teams being interested in what he may bring to the table.

defmn

The best argument for keeping him is probably the 10 games we play against Calgary this season. That may save his job.

Reja

You see shades of him being a force 1 out of every 4 games. When he’s on he drives to the net where he’s almost unstoppable if he could bring that attitude more often he’ll be in the league another half dozen years. This is a contract year I expect to see him hungry.

defmn

Agreed that he has the tools to do the job. Consistency builds careers though.

Brantford Boy

I could see him on waivers, not sure another team will want him that badly to place him on their roster/taxi squad after the claim… this might be the play with another winger too (ie. Chiasson), not many teams will want that cap, although for no assets it may be enticing… I could see a few teams doing this with the cap crunch personally.

In fact, does anyone know the rules for making a waiver claim, does that player need to be on the actual roster, or does the taxi squad suffice?

Last edited 9 months ago by Brantford Boy
jp

99% sure the taxi squad is equivalent to the AHL.

So a claimed player would need to be on the active roster. If they’re sent (by the team that claimed them) from the active roster to the taxi squad then the original team has the option to claim them back (and the original team can at that point send them to the taxi squad/AHL, as they initially tried to do).

Brantford Boy

Thanks… kinda cool/weird…

OriginalPouzar

In fact, does anyone know the rules for making a waiver claim, does that player need to be on the actual roster, or does the taxi squad suffice?

Actual roster or subject to re-claim.

Think of a taxi-squad assignment as akin to an AHL assignment for pretty much all purposes (except the player stays with the NHL club and can practice with the NHL club).

defmn

And the very generous per diem. The boys will be eating in much better restaurants. 😉

geowal

Non playoff bubble team camps open tomorrow, rest of the teams open January 3rd.
Here’s a link to a pretty good article outlining various timelines and other issues with the shortened season for those who were in the dark in the lead up to the Holidays (I was).

https://www.sportingnews.com/ca/nhl/news/nhl-season-2021-start-date-divisions-rosters/1ahre8rdks9z71y1lsea6356dz

JOFA

It’s good to see others are starting to realize Benson isn’t an NHLer. His European career is just getting started;)

OriginalPouzar

That is an incorrect inference although there are some that agree with you.

What i find comment-worthy is that it seems your preference on this would be to be proven right as opposed to proven wrong – i know you say its the not the case but I sense you’d prefer Benson to bust-out and never have an NHL career.

Woogie63

LT, I see this very different.

A club needs consistent management and a consistent process to bring people from the farm to the NHL. Waiting 5-6 years to get a return on your investment in a win now league requires a different mindset.

Most new to the NHL 21, 22 year old need as much patience in the NHL as as they do in the AHL. This year’s edition of the Oilers is very crowded in the “past the best year’s of my career, BUT I am better than that rookie” category. One or two of the Kassian, Ennis, Turris, Archibald, Chiasson, Neal, Nygard, Haas, Shore, Cracknell, Quine, Griffith, Russell, Koelloek, Lennstrom and Stanton club is fine, probably needed … but that list is long.

The most important position is goalie and it now 10-11 years since Dubnyk broke into the league as the only goalie we have developed into a legit starting NHL goalie. Since Fuhr and Moog???

Solly

I believe scouting is the major flaw to the goaltending plague. It’s also the reason we lack talent in our own backyard. We have consistently used under-ripened talent in trades to acquire the skill.
I do not believe it is the goaltending department…management is more responsible than them.
Yamo and Bear are NHL players now, maybe Jones makes it this year, so the rewards of competent management and good scouting is starting to come through the system.
Broberg, Holloway, Bouch, Lavoie, Savoie, Sammy, maybe Lagesson is a good start with our new management and scouting team. We can all see the talent coming…and it is coming in waves.
I think we are heading in the right direction…but also agree goaltending is sorely overlooked on this team. That’s why KH went do hard for Markstrom. He thinks with a true #1 goalie right now, this team takes a big step towards being a consistent contender in one move. He made good with that money this off-season though and got more talent/skill to help secondary scoring. Great management so far by KH….in year 2 🙂
Contracts are his weakness IMO….and we have 2 big ones coming up. What he does with Nurse and Nuge will define his term here.

OriginalPouzar

Yamamoto this off-season as well – although his “CBA leverage” will be akin to what Bear had….. with that said, if he puts up 45 points in 56 games, which I don’t think is unreasonable, he will warrant a solid 2nd contract.

leeinvan

Benson is a player who needs to have skill on his line. It surprises me how the GM went out and traded for older players who had made careers playing on the 3rd or 4th line to play with McDavid and Benson didn’t get a sniff.
I think the team should trade the player, because its obvious he is not going to play top 6 minutes on this team.
Yamo had a pretty average time in the AHL yet they brought him up and put him in a position to succeed. Some players get the opportunity, some don’t.

dustrock

Very true. And some players just don’t have the skillset to play in the bigs and that’s often skating and edges, which is a problem Yamamoto doesn’t have.

Lander was a complete AHL player but too slow for the NHL.

I suspect Benson is the same.

Woogie63

Yet Brodziak is brought back a second time, Neal, Lucic, Chiasson and Letestu are put on the PP and that speedster Pat Maroon plays left wing with the fastest player on earth. IMO nobody really know if Benson is a contributor at the NHL level until he is put in a position to succeed.

OriginalPouzar

Woogie63

Yet Brodziak is brought back a second time, Neal, Lucic, Chiasson and Letestu are put on the PP and that speedster Pat Maroon plays left wing with the fastest player on earth. IMO nobody really know if Benson is a contributor at the NHL level until he is put in a position to succeed.

I generally agree. As I’ve posted before, I think Benson has a skill-set that could mesh with McDavid (or even Drai) – straight out speed is not a pre-req to play with McDavid – arriving “on time” is more important than “arriving first” – something Maroon proved. Its high offensive IQ, knowing how to get McDavid the puck in the neutral zone with space and speed and having the skill to make soft/deft passes in the offensive zone (see Benson’s assist). Puck retrieval as well – Benson is no shrinking violet on the boards.

Yes, his skating may prove to crater a top 6 NHL career but we don’t know that yet.

As far as opportunity, well, he’s still on his ELC, there is time but its becoming short – he killed Austria this year and should be ready to compete in camp and take Nygard’s spot as the first LW injury replacement – the opportunity is there.

JOFA

Lander was a way better player than Benson. Apples and oranges.

JOFA

But but but did you see that pass? Haha

godot10

Lander and Slepyshev had bad luck. They were in the wrong organization. The thing with tweeners is that they just need the good fortune to be in the right organization at the right time when the opportunity is available to establish themselves.

JOFA

Yeah it was the organization’s fault. Teams were lined up for Lander and Slepyshev’s services. It’s no wonder why we have a bunch of mouth breathing millenials walking around that can’t figure out how much change to provide without their cellphone calculators lol.

JOFA

He’s not going to play top 6 minutes on any team. Europe being the exception.

90s fan

This thought might not be popular here, but is Benson as good as we all think?

Would another team trade anything for him? Or could they just wait till the inevitable day that he goes on waivers (how long until that is?)

JOFA

Who thinks Benson is good?

Woogie63

My point is not that a player is good or bad or what people think. This is a high second draft round pick that has succeeded at every level of hockey, for him to not get a chance to succeed means we will continue to watch day 2 UFAs and very expensive day 1 UFAs. Yanni Gorde, Mattheau Joesph, Alex Killorn and Ondrej Palat just won a Stanley Cup

Last edited 9 months ago by Woogie63
JOFA

Players have to earn their chance to succeed. Tambellini is no longer managing the team. My 16 year old wants a car. Should I buy it for them?

Last edited 9 months ago by JOFA
Reja

If she’s a girl she obviously hasn’t tried the eyes welling up with tears trick on you yet.

JOFA

Lol yes Sir. That and batting of the eye lashes. I’ve made it clear that Tim Hortons is hiring😊

pts2pndr

It seems difficult for some people to recognize that a very good winger appears as only average without a centre that can take and receive a pass. Yamamoto was only average and playing further down the lineup than Benson for that very reason. I also believe that Benson has not been given the requisite opportunity to show what he can do. When playing in the AHL with a talented centre he showed well. I still think he has NHL potential but he may have to go to another organization to show it.

Reja

Your sure in a feisty mood this morning.

flyfish1168

The difference between NHL and AHL is the pace of play. Yamo has the speed to play in the NHL. Not sure who was Yamo centerman in the AHL. Leon can play with pace or control the pace of play and probably a better fit for Yamo. Benson high watermark maybe the AHL if he wants to play top 6. For him to succeed in the NHL he may need to reinvent himself for 3rd or 4th line roll. Higher leagues need you to be able to skate and play with pace.

godot10

Benson will be an NHL player when he can contribute offensively when the puck is NOT on his stick, i.e. when learns to get himself into scoring areas and shoots the puck.

JimmyV1965

I’m not sure if Benson is an NHL player, but he hasn’t been given an opportunity even on the third or fourth line. I agree with Godot, there is a certain amount of luck involved for some of these tweener prospects getting a legit shot at the NHL.

Jaxon

Agreed. Benson, all the way back to his junior days has never really had an elite goal scorer at center or RW on his line. I wouldn’t call Ronning an elite scorer in junior. He turned Gambardella into a pretty good scorer for one season but Gambardella didn’t have a history of sciring well before that. Currie was pretty good though. His passing/vision is elite. So is his play away from the puck. Should he shoot more? Absolutely. But if you want to see his potential you have to give him better goal scorers. He did great with Marody, but the problem is that Marody is also a pass-first player. I hope he plays with Lavoie at RW and McLeod at C, McLeod isn’t a sniper bu he might be better than Benson has played with so far. Lavoie and Benson might be found gold this year if they ever play together (will they both return if the AHL starts up?) If Benson gets recalled at LW, I hope he can be in the top 9 with Turris and Neal at the very least. It’s a waste to play someone with his passing gifts with less than snipers.
Agreed. Benson, all the way back to his junior days has never really had an elite goal scorer at center or RW on his line. I wouldn’t call Ronning an elite scorer in junior. He turned Gambardella into a pretty good scorer for one season but Gambardella didn’t have a history of scoring well before that. Currie was pretty good though. His passing/vision is elite. So is his play away from the puck. Should he shoot more? Absolutely. But if you want to see his potential you have to give him better goal scorers. He did great with Marody, but the problem is that Marody is also a pass-first player. I hope he plays with Lavoie at RW and McLeod at C, McLeod isn’t a sniper bu he might be better than Benson has played with so far. Lavoie and Benson might be found gold this year if they ever play together (will they both return if the AHL starts up?) If Benson gets recalled at LW, I hope he can be in the top 9 with Turris and Neal at the very least. It’s a waste to play someone with his passing gifts with less than snipers.

Last edited 9 months ago by Jaxon
BornInAGretzkyJersey

Yamo had a pretty average time in the AHL yet they brought him up and put him in a position to succeed. Some players get the opportunity, some don’t.

Those who frequently watched the BAK games (and I don’t pretend to be one of them) raved about Yamamoto and his play in all three zones. Even if his boxscores didn’t denote domination, KY was consistently generating chances and generally the best player on the ice.

OriginalPouzar

Yamamoto was far from average in the AHL – as I posted earlier, his box cars materially under-represent his play. He was deployed with middle-six AHL talent and killed his minutes – he was a scoring chance creating matching – shift after shift and game after game.

Not saying Benson hasn’t been great in the AHL but I wanted to respond to the point on Yamamoto’s AHL time.

As far as opportunity in the NHL and playing with skill – yes, I agree, he is best served playing with skill when given the opportunity in the NHL – we saw him perform better in his second sting last year when not playing with Sheahan and Archie.

At the same time, Holland did exactly what he is known for and what is smart – don’t leave a skill position in the lineup open hoping a raw rookie is ready – he signed Kahun, an established middle-six LW and Benson is really competing with Nygard for the first injury replacement on the left wing.

Similar to Bouchard where Barrie blocks him on the opening night lineup but injuries do occur.

Yes, this is a “big year” for Benson – he needs to establish himself – he’s got work to do. He killed his time in the Austrian league (led his team in scoring, by a wide margin if you include him playing less games). He needs to continue in camp and earn that “call-up” when an injury occurs or they want to manage some load.

defmn

I think it has been so long since this team had competent management that we have forgotten that this is how it is supposed to work in the best league in the world.

buck yoakam

+1000

defmn

Fourth line centre was a spot I was hoping to see another name added to Haas & Khaira.

Maybe nothing comes of it but 1RW wasn’t going to be upgraded externally at this point due to cap concerns, LD saw Koekkoek added to the mix a few days ago and I don’t think we see another goalie until Tippett tells Holland Smith can no longer do the job – and maybe Forsberg has had a shot as well.

So of the 4 positions I saw as ‘unsure’ just a week ago one was too expensive for an external upgrade, Holland has added a little insurance for two and we probably have to wait until the waiver wire on the goalie situation to see what transpires there.

Pretty happy with Holland’s work this week. All of last season’s FA upgrades are in danger of losing their spots this season to challenges from the new FA’s.

Last edited 9 months ago by defmn
jp

Yup, agreed on all points. Some nice (if not groundbreaking) work by Holland.

defmn

Yeah, I don’t expect groundbreaking from Holland – which can elevate or bury you 😉 .

He is an old dog who knows what has worked in the past and will mostly stick to that. Steady hand, patience, confidence in himself and his process and reputation – I think that is what we hired and this organization was in need of all of those things.

jp

Yeah, patience, process, chipping (grinding) away to make the team incrementally better. Good stuff IMO.

OriginalPouzar

Well, he keeps preaching “stability” and that’s what he wants to bring.

He’s an old dog but this off-season has been different than any he (or any other manager) has seen. I don’t believe he appreciated just how depressed the market was going to be for the mid-end players given his original offer to AA but I don’t think any GM really appreciated the depression. I think Holland has done an amazing job adapting to the market conditions – especially for an “old dog”.