Standing on the Shoreline (First day of 2021)

by Lowetide
Kailer Yamamoto photo by Mark Williams

Every year on this blog, I write a post with this title. It’s kind of a state of the organization moment, meant to be read over morning coffee while overlooking some maniacal winter weather event just outside, mere inches from the coffee pot.

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.

SUMMER OF 2011

At the end of the 2010-11 season, the Oilers had some nice young talent. It was so good, people (management) looked to these youngsters to lead the way. Roster players under 24 included Taylor Hall, Jordan Eberle, Jeff Petry, Sam Gagner, Andrew Cogliano and Magnus Paajarvi.

That’s a helluva start! Now, you’re going to need a goalie and some veteran defensemen, and centers who can play in the heart of the game.

Edmonton had Devan Dubnyk (age 24), he posted a .916 save percentage that season in 35 games. Tom Gilbert, Ladislav Smid, Ryan Whitney were there to guide Petry, and the team would draft Oscar Klefbom that summer. Shawn Horcoff was 31 and the top center, and the club needed to add in the middle. That’s one reason why Edmonton drafted Ryan Nugent-Hopkins No. 1 overall that summer.

Edmonton had the foundation of a contender, but the team needed to add veterans who could carry the load in important places. That season, general manager Steve Tambellini signed several players, all tweeted by Fussy Britches about 25 minutes before they were announced. It’s the only year this blog published free-agent signings within seconds of the official announcement. I have always valued that day and thank FB publicly for their role. Tambellini signed center Eric Belanger, defenseman Cam Barker, enforcers Darcy Hordichuk and Ben Eager, and Corey Potter (actually I think it was Bill Scott who signed Potterplay). Fussy Britches reported Zenon Konopka too but it never happened.

Best deal Tambellini made that day? Trading for Andy Sutton.

OFFSEASON 2020

Edmonton aimed higher on the free-agent list this year, and the flat cap no doubt aided things. Holland added Tyson Barrie, Dominik Kahun, Jesse Puljujarvi, Tyler Ennis and others, and the general feel of the team is stronger than in 2011.

One of the reasons is this model is more ‘up the middle’ with McDavid and Draisaitl joined by Kyle Turris at center, and more emphasis on defense (although Oscar Klefbom will be missed).

I think this year’s Oilers are stronger than the 2016-17 team in all areas save defense (Klefbom, Larsson, Sekera leading the way) and possibly goaltending. If Koskinen plays the majority of the starts, then the gap between this year’s model and Cam Talbot’s Oilers should be minimal.

My model for this season (‘reasonable expectations‘ are here) suggests Koskinen, Nurse-Bear, Jones, Larsson and Barrie will be key players and Evan Bouchard will find his way into the lineup about 25 percent of the time.

Up front, McDavid and Draisaitl lead the way, with Nuge, Kahun, Ennis, Turris, Yamamoto, Kassian and Puljujarvi also contributing.

The key newcomers 25 and under are Kahun and Puljujarvi. Many of these offseason fixes (Barrie, etc) will be short term, but there is a reasonable chance Holland’s Oilers deliver another group of useful youngsters who could hang around for the entire decade.

Bear, Yamamoto and Jones a year ago. This year, a guy like Kahun added to the draft picks could bring more of the roster for the 2020’s into view.

WORLD JUNIORS

Dylan Holloway scored a Ryan Smyth goal, very few things a prospect can do to endear himself to the fan base that are more powerful. My goodness he’s an aggressive player, bull in a china shop last night. Broberg is a warrior and won’t back down, not certain it was a good idea to play him against the USA.

OILERS TRAINING CAMP ROSTER 2020-21

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.

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OriginalPouzar

QF Day: Half of Broberg and Sweden face Finlad at 1:30 and Holloway and Canada vs. Czech at 5:30.

LMHF#1

Hated Andy Sutton so much.

The wrong type of Dman that GMs overpay and Coaches overplay.

Not to mention his pathetic showing in the Bishai brawl when he was a Thrasher. I was at that game. Such a fun one.

teamblue

I can’t remember why, but wasn’t Laraque trying to get Sutton to fight that whole game? And Sutton ran the whole game?

Tarkus

Apologies if this has been posted already:

Looks like Koekkoek will be wearing #20. He’ll be right next to fellow newbie Dominik Kahun, who has #21.

Hmmm…Koekkoek, Kahun…Koekkoek, Kahun….sounds like something one might discover on a Genesis album…

Harpers Hair

Or a cereal box.

OriginalPouzar

Here is the Savoie assists from the 2nd period.

https://twitter.com/CBSSportsNet/status/1345206677587562497

3rd period about to start – Denver trailing 3-1.

Harpers Hair

Okay…I’m dying here.

Do we need to plan the parade or not?

jp

But this Oilers blog should give shit about Podkolzin being 3rd or whatever in shots at the Juniors?

Harpers Hair

I wouldn’t worry my pretty little head about it if I were you.

jp

Worry? I think it’s great the Canucks are drafting duds with their 1st round picks every other year. Or trading their picks away.

Savoie looks like the real deal though hey? Might be an actual top 6F from deep in the draft.

Harpers Hair

Could happen…might not.

Harpers Hair

Stat line…Carter Savoie.

0G 1A -1.

Oops.

jp

Well he is a rookie, playing against men. Still leading the Nation in goals though, I believe.

Was looking at another stat line, Podkolzin in all leagues since being drafted:
100GP 12G-37A-49TP

Only about half those games were in the KHL so the issues are real.

Savoie’s almost matched his goals in his first 10 NCAA games lol.

Harpers Hair

Podkholzin will be fine.

He will eat Savoie’s lunch.

The NCAA is not like the KHL at all.

You really need to add some context to your “analysis”.

jp

No doubt, but Nail Yakupov is ‘fine’ too.

Agreed the NCAA is not at all like the KHL, but I told you half his games weren’t in the KHL.

Some simple math tells you he’s been shy of a point per game vs lesser competition as well, places like the Russian Jr league, the VHL, international U20 tournaments of varying quality. And his goal/assist splits look worse than Benson’s.

We’ll see if he eats Savoie’s lunch (which he *should* obviously, being drafted a year earlier and 90 slots higher). But I’m not so sure.

Did I miss any context?

Last edited 8 months ago by jp
€√¥£€^$

Seriously?

You have to continually take a dump in LT’s living room, huh? Or rather piss on our little “parade”.

Why do you have to be so douchy?

tsunami

because he’s an ******* ? sorry, that’s all I got ;)…

OriginalPouzar

Savoie picks up the primary assist on the tying goal at events.

Comes off the right side boards, moves towards the middle, delays, looks pass but whips a quick low shot that is deftly deflected in.

Nice play.

OriginalPouzar

Savoie dangerous on the PP as usual. A great backdoor pass but his teammate couldn’t handle a quick pass. Savoie then set up for the one-timer from the right side circles but he blasted it wide (he’s done that a number of times this season – will need to reign in that accuracy on the off-side one-timer).

OriginalPouzar

Savoie with a big hit on the forecheck just 15 seconds in to the game!

OriginalPouzar

Wheeler has Broberg as a standout even with his diminished effectiveness due to injury:

Philip Broberg, LHD, Edmonton Oilers (Sweden)
It has been a tough go for Broberg physically. He sat out the game against Austria to rest a nagging injury and took a beating against the USA to close out group play, but when he has played, he has looked great. His power in puck protection helps him lose opposing checkers with a one-legged push, or spin back off of them when they try to stick-check him. He’s ridiculously athletic, so it can feel like he’s everywhere with the amount of space he covers. He swallows up puck carriers in the neutral zone with his ability to get to pucks and close on them when they drop their heads. And he’s starting to make better choices while still hanging on to the puck and looking for his spots. Mix in improved hands dragging pucks across his body when he attacks off the line, and there’s a lot to like about how he has begun to progress.

https://theathletic.com/2295464/2021/01/01/wheeler-2021-iihf-world-junior-championship-group-play-notes-from-edmonton/

Brogan Rafferty's Uncle Steve

It is very poor form to quote from articles behind a paywall.

Also, HH already posted the link to this article.

N64

Hey OP. In case you forgot our kind host has reminded us in the past that quotes should be short. That’s for fairness for all content providers, But even more awkward when his site is made to cannibalize his employer.

OriginalPouzar

It was one paragraph of a lengthy article – exactly what the host has indicated is acceptable.

Harpers Hair

It was the entire portion of the article related to Broberg which is what Oiler fans would be most interested in.

A lawyer should be much more concerned about scooping the intellectual property of content creators.

It’s how they make a living.

N64

Believe he said a few lines at most. 7 sentences was the whole Bro eval The meal. Not the appetizer.

SwedishPoster

I’m pretty pissed over the fact they played Broberg yesterday. I understand him wanting to play, a young athlete at that level will play through a lot, especially if you’re the captain. And playing through pain and minor injuries is part of sports. But when an injury is affecting you as much as it clearly does Broberg on the ice you need to be shut down. This is quite obviously not an injury that’s likely to get worse long term by playing or I’m sure he wouldn’t be, the swedish medical aren’t idiots and if thay were I’m convinced the Oilers would make sure he didn’t play.
But the problem with an injury that’s not a risk long term but still impacts your game as much as it seems to be doing in the case of Broberg is that you risk secondary injuries. You’re not moving quite like yourself and your normal patterns doesn’t work. It also affects your focus, I’m sure anyone who’s played through a more painful injury can attest to that, which ofc makes you more prone to mistakes which other than making you a far lesser player increases the risk of another injury. Playing through pain for a long time can be a real confidence killer as well and affect you long after the injury is gone.

So yeah he should’ve rested. And they just can’t leave the decision up to the player. As I mentioned above, players will play through pain, you have to, more experienced players sometimes know their body well enough to make the call themselves but almost never a young guy.
It’s pretty terrible leadership to let him play, part of it could be that the head coach is stuck back in Sweden and the rest of the staff feel they don’t hold enough clout to shut a star player down or feel the team falls apart without him but either way it’s weak leadership.

And if the coach won’t make the call the medical staff have to. Not just hide behind “It’s a minor injury that likely won’t get aggrevated by playing” without doing any deeper analysis of the risk. And believe me I know the coach can be a rather tough nut to crack wrt sitting a key player but that’s when you lean in with all that arrogance they teach you in med school and tell him the player shouldn’t play “because I’m a fucking doc and I say so”.

I’ve been in all three positions, player, coach and team doc, on my current soccer team I sort of hold all three, my main role is as one of the coaches but I do help with the medical stuff when needed and I still play when injuries and stuff hit(playing is still by far the most fun, so I’m very quick to tell guys they are unfit to play…). My point is that I do get that perspectives vary with the different roles but the adults in the room must have the bigger picture.
In this case they don’t or they are just weak in their roles. Stupid. Hopefully a day of rest can give Broberg the time he needs to heal enough for it to not be an issue because there’s no doubt he’ll play tomorrow.

End rant.

Bling

The extent to which high end athletes are infantilized in matters concerning their long term health is shocking.

I don’t have direct exposure to this like you have had, but I have heard stories.

Harpers Hair

Sheldon Souray had quite a take to tell.

OriginalPouzar

To the surprise of no one, Savoie named NCHC rookie of the month for December.

Lets see if he can stay hot and dangerous in 2021, starting in about 3.5 hours.

OriginalPouzar
OriginalPouzar

I feel like the Oilers, Canucks and Flames are at a bit of a disadvantage as far as in-season roster adjustments go.

They are the only 3 teams to have their AHL affiliates in another country and with likely marked delayed access to those players.

The taxi squads of the Western Canadian teams must be stocked with players that can be inserted in to the NHL lineup as those 6 players are, realistically, the only players they will have access to.

Benson and Bouchard are top prospects that are likely outside the opening night lineup but are likely to be required to play games during the season (Bouchard in particular).

They need to stay on the taxi squad in order for the team to have any sort of timely access.

For 27 teams, they can likely keep their similar top prospects (but NHL options) on their AHL teams because they will have timely access to them – maybe not immediate but much more timely than the Oilers.

They can keep their Lagesson’s, Lennstrom’s, Quines, Cracknell’s etc on the taxi squad knowing they can place their younger players in the AHL and still have access to them.

BornInAGretzkyJersey

Unfortunately the onus for this disadvantage is on ownership.

The prospect of moving the farm teams somewhere local was dismissed as too expensive.

It’s a shame, really.

But this is us.

OriginalPouzar

BornInAGretzkyJersey

Unfortunately the onus for this disadvantage is on ownership.

The prospect of moving the farm teams somewhere local was dismissed as too expensive.

It’s a shame, really.

But this is us.

It is a shame but I can’t really but any sort of “blame” on ownership – if nothing else, Katz has proven, time and time again, that he will essentially spare no expense when it comes to the Oilers – from paying multiple coaches and managers, to paying massive NHL salaries for players in the minors (i.e. Gagner), to trades like Lucic/Neal that cost him over $10M in real money, to large guarantees AHL salaries (i.e. Malone), to one-way contracts for players almost assuredly not in the NHL to start (P. Russell), etc.

I know the reasons cited were “cost prohibitive” but, really, I’m sure this was a mutual decision among the three teams – it was likely all three moving or none and I anticipate that Katz was not the one most worried about cost.

BornInAGretzkyJersey

Oh, I’m well aware of the way Katz has been flushing money down the toilet this franchise represented until recently.

My point was simply that it was the teams’ ownership groups who decided to not relocate the farm teams from California to somewhere local, and the onus for the results of that decision rests with that group.

OriginalPouzar

BornInAGretzkyJersey

My point was simply that it was the teams’ ownership groups who decided to not relocate the farm teams from California to somewhere local, and the onus for the results of that decision rests with that group.

Fair enough and I don’t disagree but my mini-point was simply that, assuming we can all agree that its was either all three temporarily relocate up North or none of them, I anticipate that Murray Edwards and Co. and the Frank Aquiini, were more likely to be the one’s putting on the kybosh that Katz – just my speculation.

defmn

We’ll see how many the Oilers carry on their taxi squad and main roster but they can have 29 in total if I understand correctly.

By the time you get to the 30th best player in the franchise I think we are pretty much screwed anyway. There isn’t a lot left that I can see helping them to win games at that point.

OriginalPouzar

defmn

We’ll see how many the Oilers carry on their taxi squad and main roster but they can have 29 in total if I understand correctly.

By the time you get to the 30th best player in the franchise I think we are pretty much screwed anyway. There isn’t a lot left that I can see helping them to win games at that point.

The Oilers will cary the max 23 player roster plus the max taxi squad – Holland has already stated as so.

There is no reason to go less than the 23 man roster – the Oilers will be using LTIR reserves and will not accumulate any cap space on a daily basis to bank. There is no cap advantage for them to go with a 20-22 player active roster.

They will also need a full taxi squad of six because, practically, they don’t have access to their AHL assigned players (at least not in any sort of timely fashion).

Most teams will be able to have their Benson’s and Bouchard’s playing in the AHL, as opposed to a taxi squad, as they will be able to access them more timely. The Oilers don’t have that option – they need to ensure the players they may want/need access to for the NHL are in Edmonton on the taxi squad. Its not ideal.

pts2pndr

You could look at this in a more positive fashion. All of the players on the taxi squad will get an introduction into NHL hockey complete with coaching, team systems and access to the best trainers in hockey. Many of these players will get to practice with and play this year that may not have gotten the opportunity. A few may even get the knock knock from the coach or as I call it the Bear opportunity.

Harpers Hair

A note for music lovers.

CKUA is counting down its top 100 albums of 2020 all day.

Brogan Rafferty's Uncle Steve

This is always a treat. Thanks for the reminder!

Harpers Hair

I’ve been listening for 3 hours already….its delightful

BornInAGretzkyJersey

Ma Kettle says thanks.

I’m about 50:50 so far, some of it is a bit twangy for my tastes but the variety is compelling.

leadfarmer

Having Broberg on there despite obvious injuries is a huge plus to the kid

Harpers Hair

Yeah, I was wondering if he would make the cut.
Kudos to him.

defmn

Bear, Yamamoto and Jones a year ago. This year, a guy like Kahun added to the draft picks could bring more of the roster for the 2020’s into view.

Agreed. This roster is still transitioning.

This year’s opening line up probably includes Puljujarvi, Kahun, Ennis, Turris, Yamomoto, Jones, Bear & Barrie. That is 8 additions from season to season with Samorukov, Bouchard & Broberg knocking loudly over the next 12 months or so.

Stability is still a little distance off before this team can be considered mature.

OriginalPouzar

Sammy may be pounding hard on that door come October 2021…..

defmn

Yup. Which is why I think it is important to get Bouchard at least 25-30 games this coming season.

I know things are changing in how defence is played these days but I think there is still a certain amount of truth to the old maxim that rookie dmen cost you points over a season.

Asking a HC to break in two rookies simultaneously may be too much to ask of Playfair & Tippett so Bouchard has to get started this season in order for the team to be comfortable with Samorukov in TC this coming fall.

They need his physicality and overall skill set imo and I think Broberg needs at least half a season in Bakersfield after this year.

That’s a lot of young guys back there, eh?

Harpers Hair

Where do you think the 25-30 games will come from?

Larsson?

OriginalPouzar

defmn

Yup. Which is why I think it is important to get Bouchard at least 25-30 games this coming season.

I know things are changing in how defence is played these days but I think there is still a certain amount of truth to the old maxim that rookie dmen cost you points over a season.

Asking a HC to break in two rookies simultaneously may be too much to ask of Playfair & Tippett so Bouchard has to get started this season in order for the team to be comfortable with Samorukov in TC this coming fall.

They need his physicality and overall skill set imo and I think Broberg needs at least half a season in Bakersfield after this year.

That’s a lot of young guys back there, eh?

I’d be shocked if Bouchard doesn’t get significant games this season. I anticipate he plays half, if not more.

100% agree on Broberg – I am very hopeful that he’s assigned straight to the AHL when he comes over in March and I anticipate he’s a Condor come October 2021.

Woogie63

My sense is Koskinen is an effect starter if he starts about 32 games spaced out games (play 3 then rest) I can’t get the image of Hitchcock starting him again and again to get a bad result out of my head.

Koskinen 32 games
Smith 19 games
Forsberg 5 games

Is this the right load management to get fresh goalies through the season and ready for the play-offs?

Elgin R

Really close to what I have seen laid out. Mikko – 38 games with no back to backs or 3 in 4 nights. Smith – 18 games. Foresberg – injury fill in only as Smith and Mikko will both cover the bet this year!

Woogie63

I think Frosberg will be scheduled to play 5ish games. Both Smith and Koskinen are over 30 and and an injury to either would mean the Oilers would need to insert a goalie that has not played a game in over 12 months, which seems risky. If the Oiler catch the Sens on a back to back- maybe Forsberg gets some real game action??

OriginalPouzar

I looked when the schedule came out and only 3 of the 11 back to backs included travel. I’m not saying to run Mikko for both ends of the other 8 but playing the odd back to back may not be as grueling….. if he’s running hot.

Also, Tip mentioned that part of the value of having a 3rd goalie around is the ability to rest one of the top 2 during practices and skates and stuff – he thinks that will make a material difference. There may be the ability to get Mikko some extra rest.

There is this school of thought that Mikko can’t handle a heavier work load. Does this not stem from the one season where he was essentially started every game post-deadline including many back to backs.

I think there is a space between “run in to the ground” and “heavier workload” that hasn’t been explored.

defmn

I started to write pretty much this exact post in answer to Woogie earlier today and something happened and I got called away and forgot to get back to it.

It was Koskinen’s first year in the league as well and he really had no idea about the grind or the travel. I would hope he has adjusted his training by now.

leadfarmer

It comes from a case of covid can knock out a goaler for a couple of weeks

jp

I agree the Koskinen/workload thing is often very overstated.

I think he should be able to handle a normal starters workload and have pointed out before he’s had multiple seasons of 65+ games in the KHL where he finished strong.

I still don’t see why folks are so sure Tippett’s going to start him more than Smith though. I see the goaltending starts as being completely fluid, they’ll be based on who’s playing well.

If Smith is playing decent and winning games it will be a 1A/1B situation just like last season. If he goes on a streak and/or Koskinen struggles Smith may play more, like we saw after Christmas last year.

I’ll agree it’s more likely that Smith will be the one to struggle, giving Koskinen more starts. But it’s very far from a given IMO. I really don’t think Tippett has anointed Koskinen the starter before they’ve played a game.

OriginalPouzar

I would agree that the starts will be fluid and based on play but, as you say, I think its very reasonable to think that Koskinen will be better generally than Smith.

Nothing is a given but, knowing that Smith is, well, super old, and last season was not a one-off but a second poor year in row (overall, December counts), I don’t think him playing better is likely, well, not materially better.

If Koskinen isn’t outplaying Smith over the course of the season, that likely signals a regression by Koskinen and a big big problem.

I also can’t discount a potential shift in Tip that we may have seen in August – never going back to Smith even after Koskinen was “meh” at best – Coach T. had every excuse to go back to “his guy” and never did.

Last edited 8 months ago by OriginalPouzar
Woogie63

I agree Tip can find the correct balance for Koskinen and Smith playing 26 less games for a western team is significant.
My addition point is our third goalie is NOT staying sharp playing games. I think it prudent to ensure our third guy is ready if called to action, so scheduling 5 games for the third goalie is a strategy worth discussing.

OriginalPouzar

Don’t forget that Forsberg would need to be activated from the taxi squad in order to play which would require someone re-assigned off the active roster (which may include waivers).

jp

Yeah, I’m not expecting Smith to suddenly re-discover his game from 2012. But Koskinen badly outplayed Smith based on SV% last season and still got 1 less game. Of course Smith still managed to have the better W/L record.

If Smith is good enough for the Oilers to be winning games he’ll get close to half the starts IMO.

It’s possible he falls off the cliff but I think the most likely outcome is he plays much like last season and starts something close to half the games.

Tippett probably has softened on him a little based on that 1 play-in start, but the rest of the evidence from 2020 says that Tippett believes in Smith more than Koskinen.

Smith ran as starter for most of Jan-March (after splitting time before that). And then got game 1 of the play-in. And then they re-signed him.

I don’t think Tippett changed his entire outlook on Smith based on that 1 game.

OriginalPouzar

Holloway remains with McMichael and Cozens in practice today.

Newhook is not on the ice and is day to day with a UBI.

OriginalPouzar

Article by Eric D. on Bouchard in Allsvenskan and how it will prepare him for camp and the NHL:

https://theathletic.com/2295002/2021/01/01/oilers-prospect-evan-bouchard-sweden/

leadfarmer

seeing Dach out for the season and Broberg being put out there for heavy minutes despite being clearly injured has really silenced the Rangers critics for not letting Laferniere play

Harpers Hair
Silver Streak

Who does Hollaways skating style remind you of ?

It isnt just the effects of the grape juice I swear.....

When I watch him flying down the boards, hearing those skates bite the ice, without even squinting, I see Taylor freeking Hall !! Hollaway even gets knocked down easily when bumped into, like Hall does.

His puck skills and shot isnt near Hall`s but, like the old men say..” you cant teach speed “

OriginalPouzar

We know Gaetan Haas will miss a day or two of camp but will be there. Gregor mentioning a few days ago about another player that won’t be ready for “the start of the season” – he said “season” not “camp”. He wasn’t sure who this player was and hasn’t provided any additional intel.

My pure speculation is Marody and that’s based purely on his injury history and the fac he came back to Michigan re-injured after playing just one game from Dorinbirn and there have been no updates.

Lots of pictures of his dog on IG lately though……

OriginalPouzar

Damn am I excited about Barrie and Turris and their offensive impacts at 5 on 5. Yes, I am excited about what the likes of Kahun and Puljujarvi may do but I think Barrie and Turris will have the largest impacts.

Barrie is just an elite driver of offence from the back-end – 3rd in points last year after Keefe took over (Nov 20) and tied for 6th, I believe, in aggregate over the last 3 years. An effective puck-mover but an elite rush contributor – do those skills jive with a guy like McDavid who wants the puck on his tape with speed in the neutral zone and who is a rush scoring chance phenom?

Turris is the most offensively inclined 3C this team has had in years – even in his poor seasons in Nashville he produced at a pace that would be a huge spike for this team. Some scoring depth from the bottom 6 is essential and this player almost certainly will help in that regard.

Elgin R

Being even for GA/GF would be a huge spike and enough to get this team to the playoffs. Replacing Sheahan with Turris and JJ with Hass should get us there.

OriginalPouzar

Turris may not help with leaking goals against but he will certainly help with goals scored – not sure if it gets the line to 50% but should be much closer than last season.

OriginalPouzar

A break from the World Juniors today but not from Oiler prospect play – Denver starts their second half (this time from the Colorado bubble).

DevilsLettuce

Just hoping Tipps doesn’t decide to shit himself again when coaching decisions come around in the playoffs.

You got beat up by a rookie head coach, you’re heading into a season with arguably the best 2 players in the division on your squad, don’t fuck up or you’ll be coaching Yakupov in a foreign land with only yourself to blame.

Reja

Still don’t get breaking up the best line in hockey and waiting until it was to late before briefly reuniting them.

OriginalPouzar

Two outscoring lines is better than one outscoring line.

Ben

I think Holloway might be Ethan Moreau. Not sure that’s great value where he was picked, but it’s a helpful player. TheCaptain material, maybe…

fishman

Yes he is a hard working banger and crasher. To be determined how much offence he can bring. Lets hope he is more Ryan Smith than Moreau!!

pts2pndr

Just a thought but after watching his play and aware of his history I am going to state that just maybe he fills whatever niche the coach gives him. He is in my estimation a more physical less experienced Nuge!

OriginalPouzar

He is a better skater with a better shot than Smyth – likely never has his net-front skill but he’s got other offensive attributes that Smyth didn’t.

leadfarmer

I think he’s Ethan Moreau level right now. He’s got a lot of athletic ability that has not been tapped yet. Just like Broberg quite possibly the best pure athlete in the draft.

Reja

Holloway has softer mitts. If Ethan had hands he would have been a consistent 20-25 goal scorer.

Bruce McCurdy

Not a bad comp. Like Holloway, Moreau went 14th overall. (1994)

He played one season in the IHL age 20 & then never played another minor league game, but 928 in the NHL. That’s a heckuva career.

Moreau was fast, physical, & hard on the puck in all three zones. Good PKer. For about 1-2 weeks every year he would look like an All-World player. Then his hands would desert him again & he’d revert to being merely a damned effective worker bee.

OriginalPouzar

You could be right, he could top out at Ethan Moreau but at the center position.

As I posted earlier, I think the floor on Holloway is quite high and its tough to imagine him not at least reaching the level of good to great to elite 3rd liner. What we don’t know is if his complementary skills will translate to a point that he can be the 2-way pain in the ass in the top 6 – a poor mans’ Blake Wheeler.

leadfarmer

Another goaler and another legit top 6 forward in either Kassian or Kahuns spot and this team looks ready to do some damage

ArmchairGM

Kahun seems to be a legit top-6 forward. And Kassian sometimes is…

leadfarmer

A top 6 forward that never avg more than 14 min of ice time is hardly legit

OriginalPouzar

ArmchairGM

Kahun seems to be a legit top-6 forward. And Kassian sometimes is…

If Kassian could commit to battling on the boards in the defensive zone and to defensive zone coverage defence (i.e. getting in shooting lanes, etc.) and play that game consistently, he would be a legit top 6 forward. At close to 30, I doubt we see an improvement in those areas.

Kahun has scored at top 6 rates for two years now, both with top 6 and middle 6 linemates. Lets see if that continues with some increase in 5 on 5 icetime.

jp

Kahun has scored at top 6 rates for two years now, both with top 6 and middle 6 linemates. Lets see if that continues with some increase in 5 on 5 icetime.

And better linemates!!

defmn

With over 25% of the cap tied up in the top two centres having legit top 6 wingers is always going to be hit and miss for this team.

ELC’s or luck in FA are the only path I can think of and that means some years it works and some it won’t. If you’ve got two top six wingers and two that kind of, sort of work I think that is the best you can get other than maybe at the trade deadline if this team ever gets to the point where it can afford to move a first round pick.

Harpers Hair

Would the Oilers have been better off trading the 2020 pick or waiting on Holloway?

defmn

I know you like to bang this drum based upon Vancouver’s improvement after acquiring Miller but it is not an established fact that this is the rule rather than the exception.

This was a weird off season by any measure so who knows who might have shaken loose for a 14th overall pick but the constraining factor for the Oilers was their cap situation.

This is the point in Leon and Connor’s contracts when they should have started to shift to value contracts as the cap continued to creep upwards. And, yes, I know there are people here who will object to me saying they weren’t value contracts but when 2 players occupy over 25% of your budget it does play a role in what else can be done.

But to return to your question.

Holloway is not counting towards the cap. Presumably the player that draft pick would be traded for would be in the 4.5 – 5 M cap range? Something like that if you are talking about a game impact player.

So what did the Oilers do with that money? They signed Turris & Barrie & had to use Klef’s LTIR to do that. They could have done a Tampa move and acquired LTIR contracts to push their budget higher but that comes at a cost as well.

So, no, this was not the year to take that shot imo. The goalie situation is not strong enough to go all the way and the defence is still in transition.

And since I believe it was the Miller acquisition that started you down this continuing pre-occupation I would suggest that the off season Vancouver went through is a cautionary tale of making the move too soon. Miller is a nice player. Look at where they are now in terms of cap and who they couldn’t afford to keep. Schmidt is a nice pickup but even you have to admit there was more luck than good management involved in how that turned out.

I think Holland wants to see this team in the playoffs and getting to at least game 6 of a second round before he makes that kind of move.

Long term winning rather than saving his job kind of general managing.

JimmyV1965

Maybe buying out Neil would have been optimal. We could have got a very good player at $4 mill. The nice thing is we can do that next year as well.

Elgin R

For the love of gord – no more buyouts.

BornInAGretzkyJersey

Actually next year is (IMO) when the window opens — if there is a clear upgrade available.

The dead cap hit years at the tail end are reduced significantly in both term and dollars, and we’ll have a much better idea of where Neal is relative to the cliff. As I see it, there’s a 50:50 chance Neal can provide (some) value and be a useful player. If he’s done, buying him out next off season makes sense (provided there’s a bona fide replacement to be acquired with the cap space).

jp

Agree he could well be bought out next off season. And that saves 2 yrs of dead cap (vs this year). But the dollars are the same per year regardless, no?

BornInAGretzkyJersey

Nice catch.

I just went and backdated the buyout on CapFriendly and you are correct.

I had thought it saved some on the annual cap penalty too but it’s just the number of years that diminishes. Two years, to be precise.

Still, that’s a material difference.

jp

Yeah for sure, the 2 years matter. And if he keeps being useful (20 goal pace) I expect Holland will hold off on the buyout even next summer.

The scoring could dry up at any time for Neal, but an optimistic view is that the only the season he DIDN’T score was the one with Calgary.

Going back 5 years, Neal’s goals/82 by season:
15-16 31
16-17 27
17-18 29
18-19 9
19-20 28

There’s lots of reasons to doubt he’ll keep it up, but that looks more like a guy who’s been a consistent 25-30 goal scorer but had a one off bad season.

(I did say this is the optimistic view!)

BornInAGretzkyJersey

If I recall correctly, Neal is the most consistent 20+ goal scorer (not named Ovie) since he came into the league, or something like that.

As Holland would say, his resume speaks volumes.

And I agree, that there’s a good chance Neal regresses to the meat in such a way that he provides enough value Holland doesn’t need to buy him out.

If the cliff is here then at least a buyout is more palatable next year.

OriginalPouzar

BornInAGretzkyJersey

If I recall correctly, Neal is the most consistent 20+ goal scorer (not named Ovie) since he came into the league, or something like that.

As Holland would say, his resume speaks volumes.

And I agree, that there’s a good chance Neal regresses to the meat in such a way that he provides enough value Holland doesn’t need to buy him out.

If the cliff is here then at least a buyout is more palatable next year.

To the extent Neal remains at least a serviceable producer, I think Holland will be loathed to buy him out. We know Holland’s feelings very well about “dead cap space”.

There is a difference between overpaid and not value for cap vs. actual dead cap space.

If Neal can continue to produce at a 20G pace (and he was higher than that last year including dealing with an injury that clearly hampered his play), no matter if its via hot streaks and PP goals, I can’t see Holland buying that player out.

The depth in the Oilers bottom six, legit NHL players, not only in the press box but assigned off the roster, will allow Coach T. to manage Neal’s load. Maybe he plays 7 out of each 10 games – will that keep him healthy and fresher and more effective?

We say in the play-in how effective he can be when healthy and fresh.

jp

Yeah, I’d forgotten about that. 10 straight 20 goal seasons before his year in Calgary.

And yeah, the buyout option is there if/when Neal falls off the cliff.

Harpers Hair

Of course Vancouver did get to a 6th game of the second round in large part because they made that move.

In looking at their offseason, I think they wisely wouldn’t go long term on Markstrom and, at some point they had to make the decision to play Demko. Results TBD.

I also believe they made the right call on Tanev whose play has been declining and upgraded the position with Schmidt, luck or not.

They could have easily re-signed Stetcher but declined.

To my eye, the only real step back was failing to re-sign Toffoli but you have to remember he only played 10 games for them. But they paid dearly for those 10 games.

Failing to move out any anchor contracts in the bottom 6 is likely their biggest issue, but time will solve that shortly.

jp

Markstrom to Holtby/Demko isn’t a step back? Lordy.

leadfarmer

Yeah he sure can spin em
without the top 5 goalering they got from Markstrom they weren’t gonna even make the playin

Harpers Hair

It’s to be determined…do you have a crystal ball?

The last time we saw Demko he put up a .985 SV% in the playoffs.

Sure a small sample size but not meaningless either.

I also expect Holtby will be much better under the tutelage of Ian Clark.

Fun fact: Holtby is a year younger than Koskinen and in the 18/19 season Holtby posted a .911 SV% while Koskinen posted .906

It’s quite possible Holtby is the better goaltender in 2021.

And it appears Holland didn’t have faith in Koskinen either.

jp

It’s to be determined…do you have a crystal ball?

Of course not, but we’re talking about likely scenarios, not the outer limits of what *could* happen.

Demko or Holtby replacing Markstrom seamlessly would be like Jones stepping up and fully replacing Klefbom this year. It’s possible but it’s not the most likely outcome. Not by some margin.

The faith folks on the west coast of Canada have in the Demko/Holtby duo is almost endearing.

Maybe Demko did turn a real corner somewhere between March and August of 2020. I think it’s unlikely, and that his regular season .905 SV% (that had the Canucks poised to miss the playoffs) is more representative.

And Holtby, sure it’s conceivable he rebounds too. His last 3 seasons have been middling to poor though. Of the 36 most used goalies (100+ games) over those 3 years, only 3 have a worse SV% than Holtby. And 2 of those don’t have deals for this season. Demko’s regular season SV% is an exact match for Holtby’s, funnily enough.

Koskinen didn’t quite play 100 games in his 2 seasons, but his SV% falls at 19th of the 36. Markstrom was 15th of the 36.

Seems like Holtby/Demko very likely are a step back from Markstrom. I’m having a tough time seeing how one could argue otherwise.

pts2pndr

You better catch that ferry off fantasy island before the men with the white jackets come for you!

Elgin R

‘ but time will solve it shortly.’

If ‘shortly’ you mean in time for the 2022-23 season then yes. Sooner, not probable as those contracts are untradeable (except for Looch). $15m in cap for the next 2 years for; Luongo, Eriksson, Roussel and Beagle. That money got you 34 pts and no saves last year.

Harpers Hair

The Canucks have $17 million coming off the cap for 21/22

Then another $20 million in 22/23.

jp

They do get a little relief from bad contracts for 21-22 (Baertchi and Sutter), but that $17M includes a top 6 winger and the guy who’s been their #1D (acknowledge that he has/will be passed by Hughes/Schmidt).

New deals for Pettersson, Hughes and Demko (if he actually does play well this year) are going to eat the $17M. The Canucks will still need to replace the departed top 6 winger and top 4 D. Doesn’t seem like it’s possible.

21-22 looks like it will create more problems than it will solve for the Canucks. It seems likely they’ll regress in 21-22 even from this year, no?

Harpers Hair

The plan, as it is, is Juolevi taking over for Edler on left D.
He will still be cheap.

Jack Rathbone on an ELC for 3LD.

That top 6 winger will be one of Hoglander, Podkholzin or Kole Lind.

I also expect Hughes and Pettersson may sign cheaper bridge deals as we’ve seen under the pandemic situation.

The Barzal extension should set the market.

OriginalPouzar

Juolevi to replace Edler.

Lind as a top 6 forward.

Talk about meandering.

Harpers Hair

You realizing I provided 3 options as top six forward right? And by then there may be others as Vancouver has been very proficient finding NCAA players.

As for Juolevi…you seem to ignore that he has had 3 major injuries since he was drafted.

If he is healthy now, his career should take off…he’s only 22…a year younger than Ethan Bear.

jp

My goodness, you can’t honestly be suggesting there’s not likely to be a big drop-off from Edler (who’s been the teams #1 Dman) to Juolevi (who at 22 has only played one NHL game and was last on the AHL club in +/- last season)…

And the young forwards, Lind is basically Benson if we’re being generous. Hoglander is a good prospect but still only an average player in the SHL. Podkolzin hasn’t even been a regular in the KHL and looks like he might never be a top 6.

But 9 months from now those guys will be suitable replacements for Edler and Pearson… Those are the kinds of bets non-playoff teams make, and they usually lose.

OriginalPouzar

Juolevi – meandering.

Lind – meandering.

Pozdolkin – meandering (i.e. not improving year over year in the KHL) and Ferarro himself questioning his offence at the NHL level.

Hoglander I like.

jp

Yeah, I don’t doubt that’s how it will go. But Juolevi replacing Edler and one of the youngsters replacing Pearson in less than a year are pretty significant steps back.

This is not ‘time solving things shortly’, those are going to be painful losses caused by the GM repeatedly throwing money at the wrong players.

The money situation does get a bit better in front of the 22-23 season but it’s tough to project this years Canucks improving on last years version, and likewise tough to project year over year improvement in 21-22 of this season. Regression both years seems pretty likely actually, but there’s a reason they play the games.

defmn

All of these things are defensible but then you have pretty much agreed with many others that Calgary signing Markstrom was a mistake.

For me, though, the kicker is that Vancouver still has cap problems. Edmonton’s is a combination of high end centres and stupid signing decisions by the previous management and in Vancouver it is stupid signing decisions by the current manager and two high end guys coming off their ELC’s next year.

I think Vancouver got a very nice player in Miller but I am not convinced that the foundation is so firm that it can be built upon long term. To me Benning got a little bit lucky that Miller had a career year. I think his job was on the line and JT saved it.

That said I am a big proponent of swinging for the fences at a certain point. Fortune favours the bold and all that. I just think Holland has to solve the goal tending situation first. Maybe that is the big trade at the deadline this season.

Harpers Hair

I believe the major factor in Bennings situation is that ownership won’t allow him to spend his way out of the problems he created in the bottom six through buyouts.
But they will pass soon enough.

Brogan Rafferty's Uncle Steve

If the Oilers had cap space then trading the pick might have been a reasonable move. Unfortunately, the Oilers would have had to trade their 1st rounder this summer just to free up cap space.

Also, trading a cost-controlled expansion exempt asset for an expansion draft-eligible asset immediately before the expansion draft seems like a losing strategy.

Elgin R

From what I have seen in his 2 college games and play in the WJC shows that his game will translate well to the NHL. He will contribute to the Oilers during his ELC and the team needs production from players under $1m per. The flat cap has allowed for bargain-priced players who can cover until he is ready for the 2022-2023 season.

OriginalPouzar

The floor on Holloway seems quite high. Given his skillset (including things like work ethic, commitment, etc.) it seems highly unlikely that he will bust completely and not be an NHL player or even less than a legit plus 3rd liner. We can’t say that for sure but it would be shocking if he never makes it at least as a legit high end 3rd liner.

The question will be if his offensive-minded skills will allow him to be that complimentary 2-way top 6 power forward winger. He certainly has that skillset for Wisconsin. We are a few years away from knowing if he’ll be able to be that guy in the NHL.

As far as contribute during his ELC, i do agree, he is highly likely to do so.

It remains to be seen when the team and player will agree its time to turn pro. Som eare thinking at the end of this season. I am personally thinking a 3rd year of college which will also lead to him maximizing his impact during his ELC.

Bryan

Happy New Year, LT. I hope this year brings less stress and divisiveness and we can all enjoy a fun hockey season.

I think that on paper this group is certainly the strongest team since 2006. The goals should come from more sources than last year so the key will be reducing opportunities in their own end of the rink. A Pronger in his prime dropped into this defence would likely lead to some shiny hardware. Amazing what a difference one player like that can make.

Barring a glut of injuries, I think the current group should move the puck well and with the upgrades made to the bottom six hopefully the overall team defence will be better.

I think league wide the scoring will be up, certainly for the first month or so as there will be sloppy plays galore. I expect Connor and Leon to pile up a lot of points early. Could be a return to eighties hockey for a while.

Last edited 8 months ago by Bryan
leeinvan

The team on paper is better.
No one is running away with the Canadian group, I can see this season going down to the last few games. Even Ottawa has built a team that is not built to tank, McDavid will once again deaminate, but wont win the big award because too many members of the press always seem to look for a reason not to vote for him.

OmJo

McDavid scores 100 points.

200 hockey men at the PHWA: Auston Matthews gets the Hart Trophy for holding McDavid back from scoring 200 points this season.

godot10

Draisaitl has been improving every year. McDavid has sort of plateaued (the toll of injuries). The key (as it was last year) is enabling Draisaitl to control the momentum of the game, and McDavid to provide the dagger.
I think Nugent-Hopkins needs to be with Draisaitl in the optimum configuration of the Oilers.

Reja

I agree I don’t think Leon has peaked yet his vision is a joy to watch. I say at least 6 GM’s in the league pick him first overall to start a team with but it’s probably more when you consider the total package. For Leon to repeat him and Mcdavid have to be clear of the field as they will split the votes with Leon potting 33-35 goals along with a shitload of a assist.

OriginalPouzar

godot10

I think Nugent-Hopkins needs to be with Draisaitl in the optimum configuration of the Oilers.

You don’t say…….

Ha ha – just joking!

We all but know that Nuge will start with McDavid but, of course, Tip can make a chance at any time!

jtblack

HAPPY NEW YEAR LT !! 13 days til Hockey!

IMO Edm can win the Canadian Division ….

Brogan Rafferty's Uncle Steve

Honestly, this is the most excited I have ever been for a hockey season. The combination of the Oilers team looking decent and my average daily boredom level spiking = January 13 cannot come soon enough.

OriginalPouzar

One step at a time – I’m thoroughly excited for camp to open on Sunday – player interviews, daily coach’s media avail, etc……

All the storylines (i.e. pairings, etc.) will start to be told.