The 2017 Oilers Draft

by Lowetide

This blog will be following the 2016 Oilers draft this season, it’ll be five years gone afterward and we’ll make the call late spring. However, the 2017 entry draft for Edmonton is emerging as the more interesting of the two drafts with about 18 months to go before the five years tick off the clock. It’s a fascinating development.


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.


Despite being completely up in the air and with no one across the finish line as an established NHL regular, things are fairly promising for the 2016 draft. Jesse Puljujarvi is likely to play 40+ games this season, Tyler Benson may get fewer than 10 but he played a little in 2019-20 so he has some experience on his resume. Markus Niemelainen and Filip Berglund have signed NHL contracts and Matt Cairns is playing college hockey and has some crooked numbers. Depending on how things go this season, I think 2016 could leave 2012 in the dust and break free of discussion when the most disappointing draft of the decade pops up.


Kailer Yamamoto averaged 37 goals per 82 games in the WHL and 30 AHL goals per 82 games before arriving in the NHL. He is now averaging 19 goals per 82 NHL games for his career and looks like he’ll be a productive player in the coming years.

Stuart Skinner finished up his junior career with a tremendous run in the regular season and playoffs with the Swift Current Broncos in 2017-18. In his first pro season Skinner was the No. 1 goalie in Wichita (41, 3.16 .903). In his second he was thrown into the deep end in the AHL (41 games, 3.31 .892) and will be under the gun to show some quality when the Condors get back underway.

Dmitri Samorukov has been on the rise pretty much since his draft day. He is big, fast, strong and tough, with shutdown ability. He delivered impressive offense in his final 83 junior games (20-53-73), struggled in his only AHL season and has been splendid in the KHL this season. He’s played 35 games, 2-6-8 boxcars, 17:39 and 30-8 even strength goal differential.

Philip Kemp is a big, strong shutdown defenseman with enough skill to play internationally for the USA in feature tournaments. That’s a difficult team to make and likely the top bullet point for this young player. He played three years in a shutdown role for Yale (NCAA) and signed a contract with the Oilers in 2020. He is currently playing in Sweden for Vasby.


  1. 2011: 578
  2. 2015: 556
  3. 2010: 425
  4. 2012: 358
  5. 2014: 351
  6. 2013: 300
  7. 2016: 146 (one year to go)
  8. 2017: 53 (two years to go)
  9. 2018: 7 (three years to go)
  10. 2019: four years to go

The 2016 draft looks destined to be the least successful in terms of man games, although the 2012 draft contains Nail Yakupov and it’s impossible to view those 350 games as a success because of what came after. A couple of these seasons rank as all-timers:

  1. 1980-1,056 (Paul Coffey, Jari Kurri, Walt Poddubny, Andy Moog)
  2. 1979-1,052 (Kevin Lowe, Mark Messier, Glenn Anderson, Mike Toal, Blair Barnes)
  3. 1993-602 (Jason Arnott, Miro Satan, Ilya Byakin, Alex Kerch, Nick Stajduhar)
  4. 2011-578 (Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Oscar Klefbom, Tobias Rieder)
  5. 2015-556 (Connor McDavid, Caleb Jones, Ethan Bear, John Marino)
  6. 2001-471 (Ales Hemsky, Jussi Markkanen, Ales Pisa, Kari Haakana, Doug Lynch)
  7. 1996-466 (Tom Poti, Boyd Devereaux, Matthieu Descoteaux, Chris Hajt)
  8. 2007-447 (Sam Gagner, Alex Plante, Riley Nash, Linus Omark, Milan Kytnar)
  9. 1981-440 (Grant Fuhr, Gord Sherven, Marc Habscheid, Steve Smith, Todd Strueby, Paul Houck)
  10. 2002-440 (Jarret Stoll, Matt Greene, Mikko Luoma)

A decade of drafting so high should have resulted in more seasons from the 2010’s landing here, but two seasons in the all-time top-5 is impressive. That 2015 Oilers draft is going to have four regular players for a long time. Imagine signing Marino and not trading all those draft picks.


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Tippett said, “The bottom six did a hell of a job on the penalty-kill, but we have to have more puck play from that group. Adding more forwards helps.”

I think that means JJ won’t be in the lineup for his pk ability. He’s going to have to show more offensively. Leads me to believe even more that Shore has a better chance at a contract than some think. He’s shown he can put up 25-30 points in a 4th line role. Neither JJ or Haas has shown that. Most teams have a JJ/Haas types they’ll be trying to send to their own taxi squad. Can’t see either of them getting claimed.


Interesting, as mentioned, the last Denver PP, the 2nd unit started and, once the first unit came on, Savoie scored the PPG.

Next PP, the 2nd unit starts and the 1st unit doesn’t even come out mid-way, a mix of randoms. Could be because they are 5-1 in the 3rd.


Here is the Savoie goal.

3rd period starting now with Denver up 3-1.


Thanks for the updates OP


Sweet! Thanks OP


Savoie unlucky to not pick up a 5 on 5 primary assist there as he made a nice sauce pass to set up Olischefski all alone but a huge save kept the game 2-1.

Gamma Cassiopeiae

There is a good stream onhockey DOT tv of the Denver – Colorado College game with Carter Savoie (#8). I think he is on the second powerplay, came out after a minute of the PP had gone by. Nice goal, but goalie looked a bit slow to get across.


He was on the 2nd PP on that particular PP – that was the 2nd unit that they put out first. He’s been on PP1 all year and I think that is only that 2nd PP of the entire season that he hasn’t started.

Every game of the season has been streamed with great streams – I feel like I know this Pioneers team very well.


Boom! There it is, finally – Savoie with the 1-time blast from the right circles for the PP goal. He’s had that set up 5-6 times this year and missed the target – not tonight!


Going to be a challenge to watch Canada (and Holloway) and Denver (and Savoie) at the same time. Aghhh, brings me back to the good ol’ days with the Condors and Oilers played at the same time. I look forward to a life with more of these conflicts.


Holloway looking engaged in the 2nd

Brogan Rafferty's Uncle Steve

Does anyone have experience spatchcooking a chicken? I did it tonight in the oven (I normally do it in a charcoal BBQ and never have problems) and it was smoking a ton. The chicken did not burn but there was a lot of grease accumulation on the baking sheet. Did I just use too much oil when I basted the chicken?

Any tips would be greatly appreciated.

Harpers Hair




Harpers Hair

Typically, you don’t need to keep basting a chicken when it’s roasting.

Just brush with olive oil and season before cooking.

Your smoke would indeed come from the oil…not the chicken.

Brogan Rafferty's Uncle Steve


I used incorrect jargon. I just brushed with oil. Perhaps I should use a little less oil next time.

This is more or less what I did:

Harpers Hair

I was surprised when I saw the 500 degree recommended temperature in that recipe.

I normally cook chicken at 375.

500 is higher than the smoking temperature of olive oil thus all the smoke.

Here is a handy chart:

Last edited 9 months ago by Harpers Hair
Brogan Rafferty's Uncle Steve

Thank you for the chart. Very helpful. Yeah, Kenji’s recipes are usually great but the temp/oil combo seems like an obvious oversight.


Butterflying a chicken is my favourite way to cook a whole chicken during the winter months. I suggest brining your bird which will ensure a moister breast portion. This will also allow you spice the bird via the brine by adding whatever herbs you like or wish to experiment with. This also eliminates the need to baste. To make clean up easier I roast my chicken on a parchment covered cookie sheet.

Brogan Rafferty's Uncle Steve

Thanks for this. I made a real mess this time, ha!


That’s why I was surprised people impressed with his skating. Was definitely not skating fast


While camp does indeed start tomorrow at Nait, we won’t get any intel on line combos, pairings, etc. Its essentially off-ice testing, etc. I believe the players are skating in the afternoon but without coaches.


Godot, I have a question for you that I was going to ask the other day and didn’t, for some reason.

You were a big proponent for the Oilers drafting one of Cozens, Dach or Krebs. After much digging I was pulling for Krebs (the one I figured would be available).

With the benefit of hindsight, what do you think of Holland choosing Broberg over Krebs today? Regarding both the individual players and overall roster construction going forward.


After Krebs blew out his knee during training, I was sort of down to Cozens or bust publicly. (Before the injury, I think I had settled on Cozens, Krebs, Dach in that order.) Plus, I was sort of biased on perceived need, so forwards over defensemen.

I saw four of Broberg’s games at the Hlinka. He was always the most watchable player on the ice (and said so several times). The so-so season that followed and the online scouting commentary left me not knowing what to think, but then he dominated at the U18’s again, so when the rumours started, I was okay with the idea of it. Holland has good contracts in Sweden. And even moreso now with Klefbom’s injury, which was probably a major factor in the Broberg pick.

Clearly, one set of teams saw the defensive class differently than the online scouting community, as they flew off the board faster than the public scouting expectations.

I wasn’t sold on any of the American forwards publicly.

I probably would have been disappointed at Broberg over Cozens, but knowing what we know now that Holland knew then about Klefbom….

And I’ve grown to really like the Lavoie pick.

Last edited 9 months ago by godot10

Interesting take, and thanks.

I was disappointed but not surprised Holland didn’t take Krebs, simply because of the achilles injury. Not an easy injury to fully rehab. After digging into him prior to the draft I was really impressed with his skill-set and production on a team otherwise devoid of talent.

Still, his skating, work ethic, and those soft hands would sure look nice in our top-6. Maybe that’s Holloway, and Holland got a solid Klefbom replacement too in drafting Broberg.

Lavoie was definitely a nice consolation prize. He was on my radar due to how much Jaxon had been pumping his tires through the playoffs in the Q. Didn’t think he’d be available. Had been hoping for Krebs and Newhook but that was probably equal parts greedy and unrealistic.


If I remember correctly, the 2019 draft was presumed to be quite deep in higher skill forwards. I think, and this is just my pure speculation, that Holland read the draft well and projected the run of d-man in the middle to late of the first round that we saw and that a couple “1st round talent” forwards, like Lavoie, would drop to the early 2nd round.

He was able to get a top d-man and a 1st round projected forward.


His name is Trevor Zegras…..and he is stealing the show.


Dylan Cozens says hello.

Victoria Oil

Cozens is a delight to watch. So glad I drafted him in my keeper fantasy league last year.


Hard to draft a guy that was already chosen


I had Zegras as the player we should have chosen. I still wouldn’t change my mind but both will have great careers


Anyone have a livestream feed for tonight’s game? At work, no TV unfortunately. Thanks


onhockey dot com works well for me, using the first Ytube link


Thanks. Appears to be a very good feed. Happy New Year to you sir!


My pleasure, and same to you and yours also.


Heartbreak for Team Sweden but Finland deserved that game.


Yzerman owes Holland a favor – that favor should likely include Solderblom.


That would be a giant favour…


Damn Broberg looks good again today – beautiful break-up of that 2 on 1 there.

If I didn’t know he’s was half broken two days ago, I wouldn’t think he’d be playing through injury at all. Skating like normal (to my eye).


Looking solid defensively
Sodestrom not looking so good in own end even though second goal is not counting


Every d in Sweden just hanging on for deal life except for Broberg


Well only bad thing I can say is he really needs to work on that one timer


The ice has been tilted to the Swedish zone since the end of the first, pretty much every shift except when Broberg is out there.

His relative possession numbers…..


Well went chasing and it’s done
better team is gonna win


Broberg in photo on the winning goal
His Oilers apprenticeship has ben complete

Harpers Hair

He was culpable on both of Finland’s last two goals.


Don’t think he was on the ice on the pp goal.

Harpers Hair

He was in the shooting lane….didn’t try to block the shot.


pretty sure that was Bjornfoot

Unfriendly Regional Arachnid Individual

That was #6, Johansson. Besides, I don’t get what you’re looking at because he clearly goes down to try to block the shot.


He’s grasping at straws because last year he was all about how Bjornfot and Sodestrom were all “way ahead of Broberg” and now an injured Broberg is very clearly two steps ahead of both
Broberg was injured but looked pretty good
those other 2 have had a bad tourney

Harpers Hair

That’s odd…their team mates selected Soderstrom as one of the best three players on the team.

A King, a Coyote and a Canuck.

Unfriendly Regional Arachnid Individual

Correction: #6 is Hedstrom.

Harpers Hair

Yep…my mistake it was #6…damn Swedes all look the same. 🙂


It’s pretty sad that you are so obsessed with the Oilers that it’s skewing your reality.

Get help.

Material Elvis

#6 is Ludvig Hedstrom.


Why do you even bother being such a d!ck. Go find some other place to sell your crap. You have zero value add here.

Unfriendly Regional Arachnid Individual

In part culpable. He followed his guy behind the net and overcommitted to Soderstrom’s side.

However, Sundsvik is entirely in position to react to Broberg’s pursuit and cover that side. In fact, that’s his job. Instead, he proceeds to float over to the side with both Dmen and doesn’t react in time to cover the left side.

I actually like Broberg’s reaction of going to cover the guy coming into the slot given where Sundsvik was.

Material Elvis

He was only on the ice for Finland’s third goal.


Not really sure which Broberg you guys were watching…The Broberg I saw today was a broken player with zero urgency and a player that looked like he would rather be elsewhere. That game winning goal was brutal defence. Broberg was simply too slow to pick up a man…I like the player a lot and definitely think he has a chance to be a #1 or #2 dmen eventually, but cmon guys. Call a spade a spade….he looked awful for 3 straight games…and the first one wasn’t much better. Not sure what you guys are watching…that was pure ugly.


I think you missed all the little plays he did and are focusing on the one big mistake
while not a great game he was by far the best d man on his team
his skating was tentative but we know the reason why

Unfriendly Regional Arachnid Individual

Agreed. He was far from perfect and, as many have suggested, he showed a very similar game to Nurse: big, rangy puck-rusher w/ a good stick, excels as breaking up rush plays (that’s my big takeaway from his tournament performance), and is getting better at finding chances to join the attack in-zone.

Like Nurse, he’s a somewhat inconsistent in-zone defender and his shooting is lacking. His passing seems better than Nurse’s and his hands and willingness to attack the net separate him from Nurse.


Unlike Nurse, I saw a definite hesitancy to engage in the dzone. Does anyone else remember the epic battles Nurse had with the big Russian forward below the goal line in the 2015 gold medal game.
I gotta agree with fistycuff on this one. I’m willing to give him a pass due to injury, but Broberg spent a lot of this tournament looking more like Griffin Reinhart than Darnell Nurse.


In a normal season the Oilers travel 47,000 miles in the air and spend 37 nights in hotels. This year I think the number is (roughy) 35,000 miles in the air and 20 nights in a hotel.

In a normal season the Pens, Devils and Sabres have the easiest travel with about 34,000 miles in the air.

26 less games will help every team, but the Oilers are sure to be one of the best net gainer for sleeping in their own bed.

LT a brand new advanced stat???


Broberg looks like he’s skating MUCH better today. Looks healthier I think.


I too have been seeing this and wonder if it’s a mirage based on hope.

But then again, one moment he’ll be recovering the puck and distributing it in his own zone, then the very next play he’s activated and charging the slot.


Not that there was really a question after a half-broken Broberg was played for big minutes in a non-elimination game, but Broberg in the lineup today:


Germany makes it 2-1 Russia early third.

Harpers Hair

Puff piece.


John Gibson behind Fleury, Kuemper behind Andersen
oh Lordy
had to check the date of the article a few times


And not just behind Andersen has 91 points to Kurmpers 61
fleury 45 to Gibson 36



John Gibson behind Fleury, Kuemper behind Andersen

oh Lordy

had to check the date of the article a few times

Marc-Andre Fleury at 13 and Holtby at 16.

I’m not 100% sure that aggregating goalie stats since 2014/15 is the best way to evaluate current levels of tending.


Is Luongo on there too?


Past performance does not always dictate future performance.


Jesse and Tyler can still partially save the 2016 draft – we will know more after the upcoming season. I think many believe that Jesse can and will still have a solid NHL career, potentially not as an Oiler but maybe. With that said, it seems unlikely that it will be as a legit top 6 winger that can push the play. He may still be a valuable contributor to a lineup but not anywhere near his draft day ceiling/potential and, unless Tyler Benson does spike large, the 2016 draft will likely always look disappointing in retrospect. Its nice that Niemelainen had a bit of a resurgance last year and earned himself an NHL contract but he’s unlikely to play an NHL game and, while I’m hopeful that Berglund can be more than a tweener – that is likely his NHL road.

Yamamoto is already covering the 22nd overall pick bet with a year left on his ELC.

Samorukov may turn the 2017 draft in to a roaring success and I think he has a chance to impact the NHL roster in October 2021.

Phil Kemp has already covered his draft bet – if he can gain a couple of steps with his skating, there could be an NHL career there – he’s a very smart hockey player with under-rated puck skills. The skating needs real work though.


Yamamoto is certainly “covering the bet” at 22nd overall he ranks 4th amongst 2017 draft picks (with more than 10 games played) in both Goals Per Game and Points Per Game Behind Petterson, Makar, Hischer and Necas. Not too shabby for a late 1st rounder. Too bad Dutch wasn’t at the helm two years ago or Yamo might still have 2 years left on his ELC.


Every time I see the Russia’s helmets I think Toys R Us is advertising


You are not alone in that. 😉


Oooh Germany almost ties it up

Brogan Rafferty's Uncle Steve

2017 will be an interesting year to track. I hope Yamo can stay healthy for a full season, he brings a very unique dimension to the forward group. I also secretly think that Sammy might be the best D the Oilers have drafted in the last few years.

How did we only have 4 picks in 2017? Desharnais trade? Tmac tax? Peter payment?

Every time I remember that we gave up draft picks to acquire Chia and Tmac I throw up in my mouth a little bit.


I also secretly think that Sammy might be the best D the Oilers have drafted in the last few years.

I don’t know about best but I think he might end up being the most complete.


He 100% has the most complete skill-set of them all. He doesn’t a skill at an elite level (like Broberg’s skating and Bouchard’s passing/vision and ability to get shots through) but he does pretty much everything at a plus level. Now, of course, he won’t be able to do everything at a plus level in the NHL and, where he ends up as a player will be a function of how many of this skills translate as plus skills in the NHL.

I predict his (a) puck retrieval and ability to make a quick and smart play and (b) his aggressive defence of the zone entires – will stand out as plus skills at the NHL level.


I’d like to see them use those European pre-season guys who have got to be more ready than Neal and Chiasson. I’ve also heard the Leafs talking about a rotating 4th line, one with Spezza and one with Thornton. Maybe the Oilers do the same?

Top-8 play every game; McD, Drai, Nuge, Yamo, Turris, Kahun, Jesse, Ennis (Jesse and Ennis get breaks as needed)

Rotate in 4 of these 8.

Game 1:
Kassian on line 1

Game 2:
Arch on line 1


Thinking about the reports a few days ago that one Oiler forward won’t be ready for the start of the season. Wasn’t there reports of Kassian being involved in some kind of accident several weeks ago?

I recall a post or two about it on this sites comment section, but haven’t heard anything since. If this is the case, could really change the dynamics of the forward lines for game one.


Neal had a heck of a start last year and I thought was one of our most engaged forwards in the play-ins after the break. Neal takes lots of heat but when healthy he can still score and he does play with a bit of a nasty streak when necessary.


Unless he has a terrible camp or is simply “not ready” with his fitness, I think he’s a slam dunk to be on the opening night roster.

At the same time, I don’t think he needs to play every night nor should he (unless he’s rolling). Simply load management. We’ve seen him been an impact player when healthy and fresh (see him being one of the best players in the play-in). I could see him playing something like 7 out of 10 games. They will have legit NHL players outside the lineup that could help manage his load.

The one caveat though regarding the taxi squad – its not like the team just has free access to the additional 5 skaters (plus Forsberg) – they need to be activated on to the active roster which means someone has to come off the active roster by either (a) being assigned to the taxi squad (or AHL) or (b) put on IR. If its option (b), there are more cap implications because IR does not provide cap relief (LTIR doe but that’s a min 10 games/24 days).


So the taxi squad requires waivers so is essentially the AHL without the games (from a roster consstruction standpoint). You’ve got to think they keep 8 defense on the active roster unless Lagesson wins a job outright and they feel comfortable waiving Koekoek as a AHL (taxi) call up. Bouchard and Lennstrom on the taxi squad as they are waiver exempt.

That leaves 13 forwards and that gets tight in a hurry.

McDavid, Drai, Nuge, Kahun, Yamamoto, Kassian, Turris, Ennis and Jesse are either slam dunks to play most nights or too valuable to risk waivers (Jesse) and that’s 9. That leaves Jujhar, Chiasson, Nygard, Hass, Archibald, Benson, Shore, Neal. Benson probably gets the Bouchard/Lennstrom treatment as the only waiver-safe player. The rest would all have to go through waivers. I don’t think they risk Archibald and maybe not Nygaard. Chia and Neal are probably waiver proof as they carry big tickets. But then again, they need a 4C so that means one of Shore/Jujhar/Haas.


Not to mention that Holland might be looking to pick up somebody on the waiver wire as well. I am not dismissing any possibilities in this most unusual year.


Very well laid out. I enjoy thought exercises like this.

One factor you didn’t point out was the salary cap compliance aspect.

There will be a need to maximize the LTIR cushion and that likely results in demoting one, likely more, large dollar contracts that aren’t likely to get claimed on waivers. What a blessing that would be, however unlikely.

As best as I can ascertain (using CapFriendly), that probably results in all of Chiasson, Neal, and Smith. Waiving just those two forwards leaves the club $67.5k over the cap. Bob has said at least once on his show recently that he is led to believe that JJ would get claimed if waived.

Another option is to run as slim a roster as possible to start, and then recall players after the LTIR cushion is in place. Holland has mentioned he expects to carry the full 29-man roster.

Once compliant, Holland can reactivate players and build the roster as he sees fit since there will be close to $4M in cap space available.

And as defmn points out, there is also the possibility of a waiver wire pick up so there’s another spanner in the works as far as roster construction and cap compliance for day one of the season.


Active 23:

McDavid, Drai, Turris, Khaira, Haas
Huge, Kahun, Ennis, Neal
Kassian, Yamamoto, Puljujarvi, Archibald, Chiasson

Nurse, Jones, Russell, Koekkoek
Bear, Larsson, Barrie

Koskinen, Smith

Taxi Squad:

Bouchard, Lagesson (waivers clear), Lennstrom
Benson, Nygard (waivers clear)
Fosberg (waivers clear)

I can see Shore earning a contract but, damn, they are running out of spots.

Maybe Lennstrom goes to the AHL and they carry a 3rd forward on the taxi squad (Khaira or Haas if Shore makes it).


2015 may have topped them all if they kept all those picks. Sigh.

Between the NHL stealing our picks (McLellan, Chai) and a couple of misses (incl) the AA trade you really wonder how close this team would be to contenders. A couple pieces away although 1 could be top pairing dman. Same as it ever was. But its a deeper right side than we’ve seen in a while. Gonna be fun to watch this year. Happy new years all!


What an embarrassment of riches from 1979-81.

Coffey, Kurri, Moog, Messier, Anderson, Lowe, Fuhr, Smith all welcomed to the house that Gretzky built.

No wonder the Oilers were hated by every other fan base in the league.


Still are we can’t even have announcers that cheer for our team are lobby for penalties the way Hrudey,Cassie, Burke and Buttons do for Calgary. The gang is always defending Tkachuk like he’s a saint and giving little jabs at the Oilers every chance they get. The 3rd we lost because of Neal was pure bunk no way that happens if it was reversed.

Elgin R

The 2016 NHL draft may turn out as a disappointment to some due to how the Oilers handled JP early, Benson’s injuries and who was available when they were picked. However, both these players should and will be legit NHL players which equates to at least a decent draft.

JP should have a good NHL career, just not at the level that was anticipated on draft day. Will JP play at least another 300 games for the Oilers (for a total of 489 games total) and give the team 15-25-40 per 82 over that span? Probably, he is really talented and a big body who also may eventually contribute on the PK.

Benson is not highly rated by some, if not most, people. Benson has all the tools to fit very well as a 3rd line player or higher (I know, I know – but what about his lack of foot speed you ask?). Skating can be taught / acquired but hockey IQ is something a player has or does not have – and Benson has it in spades to go along with high-level passing and work ethic. Expectation is that Benson will play at least 500 NHL games while contributing 9-23-32 per 82. Will the Kraken take him? Maybe.

Brantford Boy

2021: The Year of the Balance Photo… I hope you have it all ready to go LT… get those hues and contrasts brushed up in Photoshop.

Tippett: “I thought our team was better in the second half of the season as we continued to try to expand our depth and give us more BALANCE in our lineup. Those are things that we are looking for.

To win in the playoffs you have to be a BALANCED strong team all of the way through. For the first half of the year our scoring really relied on one line. As the year went on we got a little more BALANCED and I thought our team played better. We’re trying to find that BALANCE, trying to find the BALANCE where you get into games where you need more people than the one or two guys scoring, you need some BALANCE throughout your lineup. So those are some of the decisions that we make. You’re looking for continuity of guys, you’re looking for right, left, puck movers, or people that can make plays verses scoring, size, strength, there are a lot of factors that go into the decisions that we make.”

Happy New Year everyone…

Elgin R

Yes, I believe it will finally show through this year. Some, if not most, pundits and bloggers are continually commenting on Tippet breaking up the DRY line late last season (I was one of them). However, as Al Davis said ‘Just Win Baby’. It does not matter where Tippet puts any of the players (except Smith on the bench as much as possible) as long as the team wins. And win they will finishing first in the Canadian division.


It’s funny that you mention that only wins count, and in the same breath say to bench Smith. The team actually had a better winning % with Smith in net….


Elgin R

Yes, I believe it will finally show through this year. Some, if not most, pundits and bloggers are continually commenting on Tippet breaking up the DRY line late last season (I was one of them). However, as Al Davis said ‘Just Win Baby’. It does not matter where Tippet puts any of the players (except Smith on the bench as much as possible) as long as the team wins. And win they will finishing first in the Canadian division.

Having one material outscoring line can win the team any game but its not likely to lead to sustained success, the type needed to make playoff runs.

The Drai line was running at a 78% goal share and that, along with historic special teams, was allowing the team to win. The 78% goal share, although it ran for 2 months, is simply not sustainable as was bound to come down materially. The special teams likely also not sustainable (maybe for the rest of last season but one cannot expect a historic percentage PP year over year and team PK has shown to be subject to large swings year to year).

The team needed (and needs) a second line – not a second “scoring line” but a second “outscoring line” and McDavid’s line had not been outscoring in 2020 and, frankly, McDavid’s pace of outscoring has come down markedly the last two years over his first few years.

The team needs McDavid’s line to be a marked outscoring line.

The issue is not goals, McDavid’s line will always score goals. The issue is leaking goals against at too high a rate.

Nope, not ideal to take Nuge off of Drai’s line but the premise was to help McDavid with outscoring and, presumably, Drai/Yamamoto could continue to outscore without Nuge.

I don’t expect a 30% PP this year (although I do expect a higher rate of PP opportunities) and I don’t expect a top 5 PK including the 1B goalie having the best PK save percentage in the NHL along with one of the worse 5 on 5 save percentages.

This team is going to need both of the top two lines to be 55% plus on the goal share and the bottom six MUCH closer to 50% than either were last year.


What you say is correct in that you need two offensive lines. What I have difficulty with as do others is that it seems counterproductive to take parts off the car that runs to get two cars that limp along. It would seem to be more prudent to do this only if the Draisaitl line dried up all other possibilities for a winger to compliment the McDavid line had been exhausted. In my opinion this was not done. The only thing that would have made less sense was if Draisaitl was moved back with Connor and even that might have been preferable and or more successful than what was done. The results of what the coach did speak for themselves. The theory may have been correct and you can justify it any way you want. I am thrilled that coach Tippett has more and better options this year. I still believe he is the best man to take this team forward.



What you say is correct in that you need two offensive lines. What I have difficulty with as do others is that it seems counterproductive to take parts off the car that runs to get two cars that limp along. It would seem to be more prudent to do this only if the Draisaitl line dried up all other possibilities for a winger to compliment the McDavid line had been exhausted. In my opinion this was not done. The only thing that would have made less sense was if Draisaitl was moved back with Connor and even that might have been preferable and or more successful than what was done. The results of what the coach did speak for themselves. The theory may have been correct and you can justify it any way you want. I am thrilled that coach Tippett has more and better options this year. I still believe he is the best man to take this team forward.

I fully agree that taking Nuge off the Drai line was sub-optimal given how hot that line was running. At the same time, the other options were tried and exhausted and were not working (AA, Ennis, etc.).

Yes, taking Nuge away from Drai was bound to have a negative effect on the line but, at the same time, presumably, Drai (the league’s best player during the season) and Yamamoto could lead an outscoring line with Nuge. I don’t agree with the likes of Godot that Nuge, and Nuge only, is integral to Yamamoto’s success in the NHL.

Nope, it didn’t work – they lost the series – but I don’t think the line change was the primary reason for that. Overall team lack of readiness, lack of commitment to the things that are required to win in the playoffs (getting in to shooting lanes, tying up players and sticks in front of the net, etc.) along with some bad luck and meh tending didn’t really give the new lines a real chance.

Lets not forget that Nuge had 8 points in those four games and McDavid 9 points.

The addition of Kahun provides two left wingers that either center should be able to succeed with.

so polar

Coach Tipp wants to see the balance photo as bad as anyone else. Guy’s going to be checking LT every morning if Klefbom becomes healthy or Broberg + Bouch break through.


I think there will be recriminations when the photo is revealed to show two kids sitting on a perfectly level teeter totter at the neighbourhood playground. 😉

unca miltie

i am pretty sure that LT told us earlier that the photo would not happen without better goaltending


so polar

Coach Tipp wants to see the balance photo as bad as anyone else. Guy’s going to be checking LT every morning if Klefbom becomes healthy or Broberg + Bouch break through.

I posit that Bouchard will get his sheltered start this season with a material amount of games and will be an impact player in 2021/22.

Samorukov is the new d-man I expect to impact the lineup in 2021/22 – Broberg to start the year as a Condor.