First-Shot Scorer

by Lowetide
Photo by Mark Williams

When it comes to draft trivia that no one should have bothered to think about, I’m king of the hill. Consider the following: the Oilers have drafted 11 players from Finnish junior leagues, and those men played a total of 52 NHL games. Edmonton has drafted 12 men from the Liiga, Finland’s top pro league. NHL games from those dozen men? 2,695. Liiga is the way to go.

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.

JOHN MUCKLER

In August of 1988, shortly after the Oilers traded Wayne Gretzky, John Muckler (who would win the 1990 Stanley as head coach) said “thank God I believe in life after death.”

If Sather spoke to his players with a passionate voice, Muckler got them to buy in with structure. I’ve always credited both with keeping the freewheeling style while also building a stronger defensive conscience each year. They were an excellent team.

Muckler coached the Minnesota North Stars for a brief period in the 1960’s (he was 34) and then settled in as an AHL coach in the early 1970s with names like Fred Shero, Don Cherry and Al MacNeil also pushing for NHL work.

He coached the Oilers minor leaguers in Wichita 1981-82, he had Walt Poddunby and Charlie Huddy and Andy Moog down there. Slats brought him to the NHL the following year, where he was assistant coach for three years, co-coach for four more and then head coach in 1990.

As a head coach, he won championships with the Long Island Ducks (EHL), Dallas Blackhawks (CHL) and the Edmonton Oilers (NHL).

MUCKLER’S KIDS 1990

The 1989-90 season was a memorable one, Oilers had a fluid roster right up until the March deadline when Reijo Ruotsalainen came dipsy-doodling through the door. The big moment came in November 1989 when Glen Sather sent Jimmy Carson, Kevin McClelland and a fifth-round pick for Adam Graves, Petr Klima, Joe Murphy and Jeff Sharples.

Muckler used those two kids (Graves and Murphy) with Martin Gelinas on an energy line that also scored consistently. They were a rambunctious trio (first shift of the final against the Bruins all three raced into the corner to hammer the retrieving defenseman, meaning a five on two jailbreak the other way) but changed the direction of many 1990 spring games with their enthusiasm. You should have seen them, it was a sight to behold. I’d also be remiss without mentioning Mark Lamb, who did strong work alongside the trio of kids.

Every time I see a piece (written or television) on Joe Murphy it makes me cry. Those damn kids were so full of promise in 1990. Life is terribly unfair sometimes, even to individuals with great gifts.

TIPPET’S KIDS 2020

Getting a lot from kids is even more important today than it was 30 years ago. Last year, coach Dave Tippett found a way for many to flourish, including Ethan Bear, Kailer Yamamoto and Caleb Jones. I believe he’ll do it again this year, the most promising names Jesse Puljujarvi and Evan Bouchard.

I’m genuinely excited to see what Tippett can do to help Puljujarvi, who has enormous potential. Puljujarvi could be key. I mean it. If the young man can find a way to use that giant body effectively in all three zones, it’s a game changer. A year from now, we might be looking at Nuge-McDavid-Puljujarvi and Kahun-Draisaitl-Yamamoto. Music!

LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE

A full boat on the Lowdown this morning, beginning at 10 on TSN1260. We’ll talk to Scott Wheeler of The Athletic about last night’s WJ’s games and the two games today. Canada vs. USA is going to be lit! Sean Woodley from Locked on Raptors will talk about a nasty early start for Canada’s team at 11, and then Geoff Ullrich of The Fantasy Grind about NHL fantasy hockey at 11:25. 10-1260 text, @Lowetide on twitter. See you on the radio!

144 comments
2

You may also like

4.5 11 votes
Article Rating
144 Comments
Newest
Oldest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
trackback

[…] First-Shot Scorer (Lowetide) […]

Harpers Hair

Anyone still think the U.S National Development Team draft picks are over rated?

(You know you are)

godot10

So you would have preferred Benning pick Boldy or Caufield or Kaliyev or Brink over Podkolzin? I think Benning was right.

The Americans found the weakness in Drysdale and Byram. They can’t break a cycle below the faceoff dots in their own end, and they made them play there.

I still like Cozens better than Zegras (and Turcotte)

And with Klefbom’s chronic shoulder problem, I’m fine with Broberg over Zegras.

Last edited 8 months ago by godot10
Harpers Hair

The problem with drafting Russians high in the draft is they pick up their ball and go home if the situation doesn’t suit them…it’s happened over and over.

While Podkholzin may end up being the better player there is always an additional risk.

I would have picked Boldy in that spot.

To my eye…Zegras and Cozens are about equal and both will get an early chance in Anaheim and Buffalo to strut their stuff.

Picking Broberg over Zegras is drafting for need rather than BPA and considering the Oilers may have multiple options to fill in for Klefbom in the future, I think it was a mistake since Broberg is at least a year or two away while Zegras would make an immediate impact while the clock is ticking on the McDavid contract.

OriginalPouzar

The issue with Pozdolkin is not that he was going to pick up his ball and head home – he’s never left home.

The issue with this pick so far is that he hasn’t improved year over year. The KHL is a tough place for teenagers but he’s shown no development over a year and has received more ice time.

Benning is speculated to want to sign him when he’s done in the KHL this year and insert him right in to the NHL lineup.

Odd retort when asked about the pick as its not a matter of Russia vs. Canada, its a matter of good enough.

The Oilers had a massive need for skilled scoring forwards going in to the 2019 draft – the recent talk that they drafted Broberg knowing that Klef may have to “retire early” is all speculation and seems a bit out there given Holland was on the job for like a month – drafting a scoring forward would have been drafting for immediate need.

Harpers Hair

Draft picks from the UNDT and/or NCAA development track from the 2019 draft:

Jack Hughes
Alex Turcotte
Trevor Zegras
Matt Boldy
Spencer Knight
Cam York
Alex Newhook
Cole Caulfield
Ryan Johnson
Bobby Brink
Shane Pinto

leadfarmer

Holloway’s looks good physically but puck skills having issues tonight

bsmart

I felt Holloway had his best game tonight of the tourney, he was physical, around the puck constantly, creating chances, and using his speed. I really liked what I saw! A little remorse tonight watching Zegras have another good game and dominate the tournament. I think he is the real deal and a solid first line player at the next level. Broberg is still in a show me phase and has struggled in the the last half of the games this year in the SEL. Dmen are so hard to predict when drafting them at such a young age.

Kinger_Oil.redux

– FUN FACT: Mass Mutual is the sponsor of the East Divison. In the interest of this blog, perhaps LT needs to remove one name from his filter list. Mass Mutual’s profit on that thingy that isn’t allowed to be spoken about, is part of the reason the NHL is going to be solvent this year…It’s real.

godot10

Mass Mutual’s investment is puny compared to MicroStrategy, but probably just as significant since it is an insurance company, and undoubtedly had to get it past state insurance regulators.

The forks a few years ago spooked me, but I’ve been watching for a long time. The long term chart after it recovered this summer was fantastic. Not as fantastic as the 50-year silver chart, but more primed for instant gratification, with the halvening and all. Got in just in time. One of my most perfectly timed entries. I tiptoed in in July, and by early October I was big. ( I should have gone bigger.) But I have a great entry, and will be able to withstand the volatility of an 80 vol asset, and still sleep at night. And it is a perfect complement to my similarly large positions in gold and silver.

Bring on MMT! QE-for-the-people. Conventional QE, ZIRP, and NIRP only benefit the neofeudal oligarchs and the 1%’ers.

I want my UBI. Money for nothing, and your crypto for free.

Kinger_Oil.redux

– My most sophisticaed client has 25% of their family office in in gold, at cost base of $1250.

– Their initial position in “digital” has grown from 3% to 10%, (accumulated last 12 months) to now over $13MM. Do the math

– Figuring out how to write protective puts on this, but as per Mass Mutual, the “legalization” of the investment is I believe not fully appreciated

leadfarmer

The US team playing at a near NHL level

leadfarmer

near NHL speed I mean

Harpers Hair

All hail Trevor Zegras….what a player!

McSorley33

I suspect many here (Kenny H too maybe?) are getting their first look at Trevor Zegras.

I am kidding. Many here have seen Zegras play.

Reja

If Holland had drafted him he wouldn’t even of had to check out of his room.

McSorley33

Turcotte and Zegras…..that was a shift

McSorley33

I was going post exactly what the TSN crew just said

Feels like Cozens vs Zegras

Redbird62

Interesting listening to Tippett’s media chat this afternoon when he discussed forward pairs and not lines. What seems to be set for now is McDavid – Nuge; Yamamoto-Draisaitl and Jesse-Turris. From that I would surmise If things aren’t clicking, the first solutions will be shuffling around the 3rd winger on these lines, while leaving the pairs intact. He did add that with a short camp and no exhibition games, it will be a work in progress at least for the first few games of the season.

Redbird62

Huge Big Red Machine fan myself (had a Johnny Bench and a Joe Morgan poster as a kid), but I am missing the reference this context. That mid-seventies team had the best offense and the best defense in the majors, but not the best pitching.

defmn

Everybody pitching in to make the wayward child feel welcomed home?

defmn

Yup. That was exactly how I took it as well. Those 3 pairs are going to have to not work for an extended period in order to be broken up was how I heard it. Shuffling will involve the 3rd guy on each line.

godot10

Tippett: No playoffs for you….meaning us.

Nugent-Hopkins with Draisaitl is the optimal deployment.

jeetz

It’s cool the Oilers don’t really have a 1st and 2nd line. More like a 1A and 1B with McD and Drai centering their own lines.

it hasn’t been suggested that I’ve seen, but with RNH and McD as a pair, I believe Neal would look a lot better on the other wing than Kassian. He is slower sure, but he is a savvy vet and a proven goal scorer and tough as well. Plus he has chemistry with McD. Neal’s maturity and consistency vs Kassian could really bring the chemistry of the McD line together and finally give McD the support he deserves.

Also, I’ll put out there that a 3rd line of:
Ennis Turris JP could turn into an actual 2nd line capable of 16-18 min a nite and have 40+ goals in them.

That would make the 4th line nearly irrelevant giving Tippett lots of options including a 7th defender and double shifting McD or Drai, whoever has the hot hand. Plus the 4th line can be almost exclusively PKers

finally I’ll say Nurse and Bear are a tad over rated. As a first pair. I know Bear is a fan favorite and he is pretty good, but Nurse – Barrie would kill it as a true #1 pairing. Add Larsson – Jones, that would leave Bear with Koekkoek. That would actually be a 1st pairing and 2 potential 2nd pairings. I believe the Oilers has moved passed Russell , even if they won’t come out and admit it to themselves.

None of this is even considering Benson, Bouchard or Lagesson, all who have legitimate shots at establishing themselves as NHLers this season.

it’s going to be a good year to be an Oiler fan

OriginalPouzar

I do think the Neal could potentially work with McDavid in small stretches but I can’t agree about known chemistry – they were NOT good when together last year at evens. Not good at all.

Nurse/Bear are indeed over-rated as a “top pairing” – they are both legit 2nd pairing d-men with 1st pairing fill-in potential/upside. To be a top pairing for a full season likely has them batting higher than their place in the order. At the same time, they played that role last year and, while the results weren’t amazing, they didn’t get killed. If Jones/Larsson can help them take on some tough minutes that would go a long ways. Having a 3rd pairing, that is really a 2nd pairing with Barrie is also helpful.

OriginalPouzar

Per Gregor, both Shore and Kahun did their physicals today and he expects they join the main group tomorrow.

It would be great to see where Kahun lines up.

OriginalPouzar

Check that: Tip’s interview is up and he said hopefully soon but not tomorrow.

defmn

That’s unfortunate. Especially for Shore fighting for a contract.

leadfarmer

Slava Fetisov with quite the quote
“not a single Russian player would have made team Canada’s squad”

jp

Wow. So a little disappointment over the performance…

Material Elvis

Except for Podkolzin Raffertskiy. Look out for that guy.

dustrock

Lawsonivitch Crouski

Brogan Rafferty's Uncle Steve

Joelgei Colbornov

defmn

Ouch. Not sure how well that goes over back home.

OriginalPouzar
Material Elvis

I’ve been following him pretty closely. He is a standout in the Czech League. He has really high hockey IQ, a good motor, and is always involved in the play (not a perimeter player). Who knows if his game will translate to North America but I really think he has a legitimate chance.

OriginalPouzar

Thanks.

Do you anticipate he’ll get an ELC and play in the AHL in 2021/22?

Material Elvis

I would be gobsmacked if he wasn’t a Condor next season, playing the first year of his ELC.

OriginalPouzar

Thanks.

OriginalPouzar

Reading through Friedman’s 31 Thoughts and there was a mention of access to AHL affiliate and that travel of greater than 5 hours would require quarantine.

Of course, we know that any player “called-up” by the Flames, Oilers or Canucks would have quarantine issues with the border but, reading what Friedman had to say, if teams that are within 5 hours of their affiliate have timely access to their AHL players, shit, that’s probably the majority of the league.

The Western Canadian teams are really at a major disadvantage in this regard.

N64

The rules as stated are perfect for inconsistent application given that the 5 hours rule involves NHL review and it does provide any standards for the hours.

So of course something like this will happen. Oilers and Flames try to take advantage of the YYC pilot program to avoid the federal quarantine. Both send charters to California to retrieve a needed player. A little harder for the Oil to pull off due to the extra flight after the YYC covid test, but they beat the clock. NHL medical review is entirely discretionary and the league accepts the Flames direct flight as appropriate and rejects the Oil application. #becauseNHL

Last edited 8 months ago by N64
OriginalPouzar

The YYC pilot project is helpful, potentially.

Of course, it wouldn’t help for any road trip except to Calgary as the traveler needs to stay in the province for 14 days.

Moreso, the NHL and the health authorities have negotiated protocols that, if more stringent than the government protocols in place, would supersede them.

I would imagine any player coming from the US in to Canada would need to quarantine for at least a week (i.e. the 4 negative tests in 7 days that we’ve seen) even if the came through YYC and tested negative via the project.

N64

Found the 5 hours standard and it is only for travel in personal vehicle. So unless the player owns a plane and flies it, no soap.

https://media.nhl.com/site/asset/public/ext/2020-21/2020-21COVID19Protocol.pdf

But yes the Alberta teams have a slight advantage over the Dys as they can at least use players in home games the 2nd week.

OriginalPouzar

I anticipate that the federal government will waive the 2-week quarantine during the regular season as they have for training camp – will take the flames/oilers advantage over the nucks away.

Either way, I’m going to guess (total guess) that at least half the AHL affiliates are within a 5-hour drive which would provide a material advantage.

pts2pndr

The more player movement the greater the risk of COVID regardless of testing.

OriginalPouzar

Moving players from the Moose to the Jets and the Marlies to the Leafs, for example, has no additional risk

defmn

Yeah, I still don’t see this as a problem. With the taxi squad there will be 29 players in Edmonton. Not sure that leaves anybody in Bakersfield that would make much difference other than to sit on the bench.

Who do you think will be down there that it would be important to get up and into a game on short notice?

Harpers Hair

Agreed. Teams are basically taking their 6 best “prospects” and keeping them with the big team.
Who is the 7th best prospect the Oilers have that is eligible to play in the AHL?

OriginalPouzar

No, not necessarily. The Leafs, for example, can have their top prospects playing for the Marlies until they need them. They have timely access to them. When they go on the road, assign the tweeners to the Marlies and call-up who may actually play and reverse when they get back home.

The Leafs will also be running an active roster of less than 23 likely. That’s not a real option for the Oilers as they wouldn’t accrue cap space but, if it was, they really wouldn’t be able to as it would decrease the amount of players they’d have timely access to which would be a non-starter.

Harpers Hair

And how, exactly, does the Leafs accumulating incremental amounts of cap space affect the Oilers or Canucks?

pts2pndr

In theory that sounds like a good idea but I think you would find the disruptive factor would outweigh any advantage. It’s not like changing light bulbs.

defmn

It’s a trivia question at best.

OriginalPouzar

The Oilers don’t have practical access to the Condors – they need to ensure the taxi squad has 5 skaters than they can insert in to the lineup. It takes away the ability to put Bouchard and Benson, for example, in the AHL to start the season until their opportunity for the lineup comes. They will need to be on the taxi squad, not playing games and staying game-ready.

defmn

Yeah, I still don’t see that as a big negative to be honest. I don’t see a lot of lessons left for Bouchard or Benson and those are the only two I see having any issues. Nygard, Legasson, Lennstrom, Quine, Haas, are all past development age.

More a minor inconvenience than a big deal imo.

OriginalPouzar

I’d prefer them to be playing games for development but, also, for game shape upon insertion in the lineup. Not an option though.

Harpers Hair

The AHL talent pool will be so watered down those players would most likely benefit more from practicing with other near ready players than playing against a bunch of ham and eggers.

pts2pndr

They will be far more in tune to systems and the parent team. The team can assure the get the time they need to stay game ready.

pts2pndr

Given the taxi squad I can’t really see where it will that big a thing. There will be exceptions however if you look at how many recalls over the course of a normal year and with the number of Oiler prospects playing in Europe I really think it is really not that big a deal.

OriginalPouzar

The talent may not be that watered down. The Leafs could put Robertson and their other top prospects on the Marlies, have them playing games and then have immediate access to them – same with the Habs, Jets, etc. They will have timely access to all their players on the AHL club. The Oilers will have access to 26 skaters and won’t have their top prospects playing in the top development league.

Harpers Hair

Which top prospects do you believe will be assigned to the AHL?

if so, are they top prospects?

defmn

I think we all get that OP.

The point is that the disadvantage is more theoretical than actual given that there are no top prospects for the Oilers that are really going to be affected. Benson & Bouchard have nothing left to learn in the AHL so practicing with real NHL’ers is probably even better for them. Samorukov, Berglund, Broberg etc. are all in Europe getting their reps.

A guy like Robertson at age 19 won’t be hurt getting some games with the Marlies but I don’t see an equivalent player with the Oilers.

OriginalPouzar

I don’t agree that Bouchard and Benson have nothing to gain from playing in the AHL and, after practicing with the NHL team for 2-3 weeks, I would much rather have them playing games in the AHL and staying in game shape. Would be nice for McLeod and company have some higher end young talent to play with as well.

Samorukov and Broberg and likely Lavoie will be coming to North American in March/April, likely assigned to the Condors and, unless things change, the Oielrs likely won’t have timely access to them if they wanted.

Harpers Hair

Of course, if Samurukov, Broberg and Lavoie are considered important pieces, the Oilers could add them to the taxi squad and send 3 other players to the AHL.

Coming in to finish a lame duck season in the AHL is hardly a development priority.

defmn

Well I think we will have to agree to disagree on this one OP. We’ll see how the season plays out but I will be very surprised if this ‘disadvantage’ actually has any effect. You yourself have been predicting quite a few games for Bouchard with the Oilers and Benson has two years in the AHL under his belt. If he isn’t ready it won’t be because he was rushed. I think hanging and practicing with the big club is much better for him at this point in his career to be honest. And it doesn’t sound like the AHL is going to play that many games this season anyway.

teamblue

I agree. I think practicing against actual NHL players will help development more than playing against AHL players.

OriginalPouzar

I’m not overly enthused with Nurse’s media avail today. He was asked about improving his defence and what he needed to do (as its been a focus of much of the talk) and his answer was (a) winning his battles, the battles in the corner and (b) taking away lanes on the 2 on 1s. He also doubled down on the “battle comment” a little later.

Its great that he wants to battle harder in the corners but, to me, that isn’t where he struggles defensively. To me, where he struggles defensively is mainly with defensive awareness (a) leaving the front of the net to go puck chase and (b) not recognizing the danger-opponent in a scoring area.

I would love him to win more battles but I am hopeful that he understands some of the other areas that could be improved – to me, the primary areas.

dustrock

Hard agree on this one.

Reja

Not me sounds like he’s going to bring back battling harder and little nasty into his game. Since we have Barrie as our Offensive D maybe it’ll take some pressure off Nurses O game and he can concentrate more on locking down on the D end and bring in a more set by example leadership.

pts2pndr

There are times when the average fan has missed were a break down in coverage has happened. It is quite often not the D but the centre that does not cover when he is supposed too. Good D is a team thing and a goal getting scored against is generally as much a team breakdown as an individual one.

Fuge Udvar

I was scrolling through Facebook and a friend from the UK was sharing WheatNOil’s twitter thread explaining how the vaccine works. Small world..

dustrock

oh yeah, it’s been translated into a bunch of different languages. Very cool

OriginalPouzar

Full on Jesse Love at camp:

Jason Gregor

“Jesse has looked great. He is huge and has good hands. He looks like he really wants to play a solid 200-foot game. He’s come in really hungry. We are excited to have him back.” Nurse on Puljujarvi #Oilers

“There is no problem with the guys. We have lots of jokes and they are asking me a lot of questions. I’m happy to be back.” Puljujarvi #Oilers

“My English is better. Communication is better with the coaches and players…it helps you play better.” Puljujarvi.
He feels he stronger now, has more confidence with the puck and will be better on smaller ice. #Oilers

Abbeef

Anyone who’s looking for some reading on Puljujarvi Brownlee just put out an article on Oilersnation.

https://oilersnation.com/2021/01/05/jesse-puljujarvi-the-encore-with-edmonton-oilers/

jp

Great to hear all the positivity around this from Jesse, the players and Tippett.

Nice also to see that Tippett has him in the ‘right’ landing spot (3rd line next to a veteran C).

Hopefully the Oilers just added a quality player to the lineup.

OriginalPouzar

Nothing like a hattrick for Blumel and a goal in the shootout – 4-4 game still in the shootout.

Sammy played 19 minutes and was plus 1 as CSKA lost 2-1 in a shootout – he continues to lead entire KHL in goal differential for d-men.

Unreal year for Sammy. Can’t wait to get him back over to finish the season as a Condor and then compete for an NHL roster spot in September.

Elgin R

The leftorium never ends! Glad we have Holland to deal with this and not any of the previous 4 GMs. Don’t see this team have a high draft pick for the next decade so Holland will need to make a trade for a really good RHD prospect sometime in the next couple of years.

OriginalPouzar

I’m one of those that caution against equating a d-man playing his off side in the AHL or Europe to being able to do so successfully in the NHL but I did want to note that Sammy has been playing the right side in the KHL mostly (similar to Broberg in the SHL and at the World Juniors).

Mike Kesselring may announce himself as that prospect in due course.

Last edited 8 months ago by OriginalPouzar
godot10

Samorukov is playing mainly the right side in Russia, and Broberg quite a bit of both.

Both are sufficiently elite skaters, that they ban both be projected to play either side.

OriginalPouzar

Savoie now named national rookie of the month for December (his previous accommodation was conference rookie of the month).

I believe he’s got 1G/1A in 2 games in January as well. I think he got an assist in the first game – I watched it but, ya, the memory, well, not what it could be.

BornInAGretzkyJersey

Will be interesting to see how he fares once the players at the world jrs return and competition increases.

jp

I know some have beaten that drum, but does the whole NCAA drop notably in quality with the US team players gone (it’s basically only them)?

Do people talk about how much weaker the CHL is during the W. Jrs? (I don’t actually know, maybe they do).

It looks like there are 21 Team Americans from the NCAA and 2 Canadians. So roughly 23 players gone from the entire NCAA, where half the players are too old to be eligible for the Jrs anyway. It feels like the talent drop currently may be badly overstated.

Anyway, great start for Savoie regardless.

BornInAGretzkyJersey

Playing with and against the best in the world will make an impact, from both a QoT and QoC standpoint.

But you’re right, the NCAA is a big league. If two dozen teenagers being absent for a few weeks makes an appreciable impact on the quality of competition in your league, you’ve got bigger fish to fry.

jp

Yeah there’s no question that makes a difference. Just trying to say that the guys lost to the World Juniors aren’t necessarily the best players in the NCAA since all the Jrs and Srs in the NCAA are already too old to play. I think the effect has been overstated by some.

Denver does have Brink at the tournament though, which would certainly affect Savoie’s team. I wonder if he actually gets a better linemate (1RW) once Brink returns rather than it affecting Savoie negatively.

OriginalPouzar

Savoie started the year as 3LW and PP1.

He moved to 1LW when Brink left for the World Juniors.

It will be interesting to see what coach Carle does when Brink is back.

jp

Do you know who the other 1st line player(s) was?

it’s definitely possible for Savoie/Brink to play together since they’re LW/RW (and no one other than the 1C has many points), but I really have no clue how likely that is.

OriginalPouzar

I think it was Guttman and Olischefski with Brink in those first few games but, honestly, can’t remember with any certainty.

jp

Thanks.

Olischefski only has 6 points through 12 games and is a RH RW (as is Brink). Aside from the 1C (Guttman) no other forwards have more than 7 points in Denver’s 12 games.

With Savoie proving he’s ready, a Savoie-Guttman-Brink top like would seem to make a lot of sense. Of course things don’t always work as they seem like they should!

OriginalPouzar

Here is hoping he stays as 1LW. We may know this Friday when Denver plays (although I’m guessing Brink will need to be in some sort of quarantine).

JimmyV1965

I see the Score released it’s predictions for scoring leader champ and shocker, they think MacKinnon wins it this year. For some reason this annoys the hell out of me – maybe because I have seen it over and over and over again. There is no objective formula you can make for this assertion. It’s frickin annoying. It’s basically the writer saying “I’ve got a gut feeling MacKinnon wins it this year.” But they never say that because it makes them look stupid. They talk about his playoff scoring or the west division, but never mention McDavid’s playoff scoring or the high scoring Canadian division. 

Anyone can win the scoring title any year and MacKinnon might do it this year, but McDavid should always be favoured to win it until something changes. I don’t know if I’m more offended because this is an awful fantasy hockey strategy for a points-only league, or because the writers are obviously biased against McDavid or the Oilers or both. But it annoys the shit out of me. 

End of rant. 

leadfarmer

I wouldnt get too worked up. He is a great player as well and is pretty much guaranteed Landeskog and Rantanen as linemates while the Oilers may go back to a Nuge Drai Yama line

Elgin R

Good rant – well said. I would like to add one Leon Draisaitl to the rant.

MacKinnon is a very good player but has never come close to winning the Art Ross. Over the last two (2) years, the scoring rates for the three are; McDavid (1.500), Draisaitl (1.405) and McKinnon (1.272). Now, the North division teams gave up a lot of goals last year so the Oilers should thrive. But, Colorado plays in the Pacific where 5 of the teams finished in the bottom 11 in the entire league.

Last off season, McDavid did not even have a summer to train due to his knee injury. Never bet against McDavid.

So, as Kucherov and Pastrank are injured, the order of finish is McDavid, Draisaitl, then MacKinnon.

BornInAGretzkyJersey

My strongest hockey memory of John Muckler is…

Watching him picking his nose and eating it on HNIC.

This is actually one of my earliest hockey memories.

Honest.

OriginalPouzar

Lots of positive talk re: Jesse through the first two days of camp – even Spec with some positive tweets.

From accounts (and the video clips I’ve seen), he looks massive, fast and skilled. I think he’s filled out and, seeing him on the smaller ice surface, he looks beastly out there.

wolf8888

Where did you find the video clips OP?

Ryan

30 k views of a video of JP skating with his stick down during a practice drill. Not even a shot on net and 30k views… 🙂

Yeah, his skating and build look different than I remember. He doesn’t have the giraffe legs any more. He looks a lot more solid on the ice.

OriginalPouzar

Here is hoping that Kahun can get on the ice for tomorrow and definitely before the scrimmages near the end of the week (I believe that the plan was for three days of practice and then scrimmages).

I am starting to wonder if Coach T. plans on starting Kahun with Turris and Jesse – these are just my thoughts but, if the plan was to start Kahaun with Drai/Yama and Ennis with Turris/Jesse, it would make sense to open camp with Ennis/Turris/Jesse together to get them used to each other and have a “Kahun fill-in” such as Benson up with Drai/Yama.

I have a feeling we might see this:

Nuge/McDavid/Kassian
Ennis/Drai/Yama
Kahun/Turris/Jesse
Archie/Khaira/Chiasson

Nygard/Haas
Neal – IR

This assumes enough cap space to have that active 24.

If Neal is not on IR but on the active roster, Nygard is waived to the taxi squad (which will include Benson, Nygard, Bouchard, Forsberg, Lagesson, McLeod (until Feb and then he’ll be assigned to AHL). Lennstrom assigned to AHL as well.

Ryan

I really didn’t like the look of Ennis/Drai/Yamamoto during the play-in round. Those are two exceptionally diminutive wingers to play on the same line. (not that Nuge himself is a beast, but the line looked a lot different with him on it)

Nuge is interesting. I think he’s a sort of wasted on 97’s line relative to the contribution he brings to 29’s line.

97 can produce offense at insane levels with nearly anyone.

With Kassian, McDavid can definitely use some defensive help on that line. We don’t have an ideal candidate for that, unfortunately.

I wonder if we’ll see someone from the rightwingorium traded (Chiasson, Archibald, Haas…)

I’d rather see:

Kahun // McDavid // Kassian
Nuge // Drai // Yamamoto
Ennis // Turris // Jesse
Neal (when healthy) / [ Nygard / Khaira ] // Shore // [ Archibald/Haas/Chiasson ]

It’s going to be interesting, Sheahan and Archibald led the oilers in toi/g on the PK. Sheahan is gone and Archibald isn’t a lock to make the team.

On the other hand, Neal and Chiasson both had prominent roles on the PP last season. If you have both on the 4rth line, who’s going to kill penalties (especially with that 3rd line)?

Last edited 8 months ago by Ryan
Elgin R

I would like the following:

RNH – Leon – KY Best line in hockey when together!
Kahun – 97 – JP Potential for fireworks.
Ennis – Turris – Kass Outscores comp and hammers Turtlechuck
Nygard – JJ – Chiasson Speed, PK and PP

pts2pndr

You may be over thinking it. Kahun has a history with Draisaitl. I am not certain that Ennis fits in the starting lineup. He may be the Swiss Army knife that will play a lot but also move around a lot. The third line with Ennis JP and Archie would make a very nice balanced line and solve the problem of getting Archie in the lineup for his PK abilities. My bet is that Kahun starts with Draisaitl.

pts2pndr

Meant third line with Turris centering JP and Archie. Sometimes I truly hate auto correct.

fistycuff

Pffft.

OriginalPouzar

pts2pndr

You may be over thinking it. Kahun has a history with Draisaitl. I am not certain that Ennis fits in the starting lineup. He may be the Swiss Army knife that will play a lot but also move around a lot. The third line with Ennis JP and Archie would make a very nice balanced line and solve the problem of getting Archie in the lineup for his PK abilities. My bet is that Kahun starts with Draisaitl

I very well could be over-thinking it although, if my premise is correct, maybe Ennis is the “placeholder” for Kahun and Ennis is on the outside looking in. I never really thought about Ennis not making the opening night lineup. I doubt he sits, in particular if Neal isn’t ready to go, but you never know.

I would also “bet” on Kahun as Drai’s winger to open but found it “odd” that Ennis wasn’t slotted with what I thought were his likely linemates (who he’s never played with before).

Either way, lets just get Kahuan on the ice and we can find out.

jp

I’d be very surprised if Ennis isn’t in the lineup, but someone’s got to sit I guess.

Also really curious to see the PK pairs Tippett has in his head, and how he’s going to manage penalty killers in the lineup/sitting superior 5v5 players.

OriginalPouzar

Khaira/Nuge were a pair last year so:

Khaira/Nuge
Archie/Turris
Haas/Yamamoto/Drai

I have Turris there because Tip keeps mentioning using him on the PK.

jp

Yeah but that’s exactly the issue. Will Tippett really run a lineup with all of Archibald, Khaira and Haas in it? Seems unlikely to me.

That would mean 2 of Ennis, Puljujarvi, Neal and Chiasson sitting… I just don’t see it.

I’m actually guessing Yamamoto and Draisaitl may be a big part of the answer, as much as no one wants the offensive guys on the PK.

I could also be totally wrong, so I’m curious what Tippett has in mind.

Last edited 8 months ago by jp
pts2pndr

I am also very interested to see which way Tippett goes. It sure is nice to see that he has legitimate options. It could be a fun year!

teamblue

Khaira/Archie
Ennis/Turris
Nuge/Yamamoto
And I’m guessing we’ll see Drai/McD near the very end of PKs like we did last year.

jp

I don’t see any reason to break Nuge-Khaira up, they were excellent last season.

I was also trying to get Archibald out of the lineup (take away the McDavid minutes and he was worse than even Sheahan and Khaira in goal differential last season).

But looking more at this, maybe Ennis really is a placeholder in the top 6 (of the lines that ran at practice yesterday).

Archibald-Turris-Puljujarvi as a line sets up nicely for a Turris-Archibald PK pairing.

So my new best guess for the PK pairings is:
Nuge-Khaira
Turris-Archibald
Draisaitl-Yamamoto

And the lines would be:
Nuge-McDavid-Kassian
Kahun-Draisaitl-Yamamoto
Archibald-Turris-Puljujarvi
(Neal)-Khaira-Chiasson
Ennis-Haas/Shore

Still interested for Tippett to tell us what he’s thinking!

teamblue

The only reason I could see taking Nuge off the PK is injury. He’s missed games a couple different times, once it was 5-6 weeks, due to blocking a shot on the PK. Take him off the PK, avoid that chance.
If they could replace him on the PK with someone else, with minimal drop in PK effectiveness, I’d prefer not having him out there.

jp

In an ideal world, for sure. It doesn’t seem like the Oilers have the luxury of thinking about taking Nuge off the PK though.

OriginalPouzar

teamblue

Khaira/Archie

Ennis/Turris

Nuge/Yamamoto

And I’m guessing we’ll see Drai/McD near the very end of PKs like we did last year.

You never know but, in 11 seasons, Ennis has never killed penalties. One year he had a total of 21 minutes on the PK (16 seconds per game) – other than that, never more than 3 minutes on the PK in a season.

I see zero chance that Nuge isn’t part of the top 4 rotation.

——————

To answer JP’s question, I see at least one of Haas/Khaira in the lineup every night (until/unless they sign Shore) and Archie in the lineup most nights.

PK3 doesn’t need to get used much – its really only if one the top 4 are in the box.

teamblue

That surprises me about Ennis. Guess I should’ve looked. I thought his game suits playing on the PK.

Reja

1.The Production Line.
2. The French Connection
3.The Triple Crown line.
4.The Kid Line.
My coolest named lines all-time.

Redbird62

The Legion of Doom and The Punch Line were pretty good names as well, but The Triple Crown Line was my favorite. Got to play hockey with Charlie Simmer last year, and he shared lots of great stories about those days. He said with a twinkle in his eye “I helped put Marcel Dionne into the Hall of Fame”. He still shudders just a bit talking about the gruesome injury on Hockey Night in Canada against the Leafs.

Reja

Cool story. Besides the Bossy Trottier Gillis line I feared Taylor Dionne Simmer man ooh man those lines had it all. I thought Dave Taylor was so underrated during his career wouldn’t he look sweet playing with Connor. I think Hollaway may have a little Taylor in him.

Redbird62

He was defensive conscience on the line, even getting some Selke votes, yet still managed to get 100+ pts twice and close to a point per game over ~1100 games. Lack of playoff success is probably the only reason he is not in the HoF, while a lesser player like Clark Gillies got in.

Justthestatsman

Not sure Dave Taylor would be good idea to play with Connor. I expect he’s lost a step or two…

dustrock

How about the Merlot Line? lol

theDjdj

If Kahun/Draisaitl/Yamamoto ever become an established line I find the nickname “The Axis Powers” quite humorous

defmn

Jason Gregor
@JasonGregor
·
27m
Not a surprise that 22 year-old Jesse Puljujarvi looks much stronger and more efficient than the 18-20 year old kid who was rushed into NHL. I expect him to have solid season. Realistic expectations of 11-14 goals, but his size and speed will be boost to a smaller top-9 group.

Munny

I’m much more worried about his brains than his strength and speed, which were always his calling cards. “More efficient” sounds encouraging, while also sounding vague and future ass-covering.

theDjdj

I agree, his “hockey sense” so to speak was under-developed last he was in the NHL. Having said that from memory he was always a plus possession player and never shied from puck retrieval duties. If Tippett and Holland can have JP buy into a Smyth type role he will have a very long career.

I wonder if “more efficient” is in reference to his skating efforts. Prevailing knock on Pulju was he never skated in straight lines.

godot10

The problem was never Jesse’s brains. It was #flattop’s and #chiapet’s brains.

Munny

Considering he was exhibiting some of the same tendencies in the clips I watched from Finland, I’m guessing you also want to hashtag the Finnish coach too.

Because as we all know Flattop and Chia completely changed Pujo’s game in that very first training camp. And his linemates actually thought he was easy to play with, they were only backing up #chiapet and #flattop.

In other words, #solidarity.

teamblue

I hope JP makes me eat crow. I wasn’t upset he went back to Finland. I suggested at the end of his ELC that it would be best for him and team. I was upset the way he went about it, and led me to wanting him traded. I’m trying to give him the benefit of the doubt and see how this works out, but am still sceptical it will. I have low expectations for him this year and hope he overcomes the lack of hockey IQ and learns how to play within the team’s system without running into his teammates as much as he did in his first go round. Make me eat crow young man.

Reja

Likewise and I second the motion. Sounds like he may be on a mission.

Fuge Udvar

Interesting Friedman brought up changing the draft age. I thought the NHL had no control on it because employment laws prevent them from blocking legal adults from participating in the draft.

I thought that was why the draft age was moved to 18 at the first place.

BornInAGretzkyJersey

The whole raise the draft age so absurd when you consider that you’re able to drink alcohol, smoke, buy guns, vote, and join the armed forces at 18 (in most jurisdictions).

But you’re too young to play pro hockey.

Last edited 8 months ago by BornInAGretzkyJersey
PinkSocks

I remember when Muckler took over and how angry my father was that the Edmonton Oilers would never again have a coach like Sather and they would never win another Stanley. One year later Muck was his favorite coach of all time, getting another Stanley Cup without 99 was the greatest feat ever accomplished. The next year people forget he took the Oil to the Conference final. His time in Ottawa as GM is also highly underrated as it is by far the most successful period of that franchise.

RIP to a hockey legend.

Reja

Well said sums it up for a lot of folks. RIP John

Munny

Life is terribly unfair sometimes…

Don’t know if you’re aware, LT, but there’s a ban on political talk.

😉

defmn

That’s ha-ha funny. 😉

Munny

Thank you, Mr. Muckler. May you rest in peace.

norm_klassen

whats a mass mutual lol? 💪

Harpers Hair

The NHL has come up with a new revenue stream as each division will be sponsored.

https://www.nhl.com/news/nhl-announces-sponsors-for-realigned-2020-21-divisions/c-319981824

Elgin R

As it always has been (well since the days of HOPE), the kids are the key. If Jones and JP can excel the balance photo is coming into focus. To have a 2LD and 1RW at a combined $2.6m for two years would be golden. Are they good enough – the talent is there just need to see the results. Tippet and staff appear to be the right management to get this done.

defmn

If the $2.6M is referring to Jones & Puljujarvi I believe their combined cap hit is $2.025 for the next two years. Jones at $.85 and Puljujarvi at $1.175.

Elgin R

Yes you are right, even better! Note to self: do not post without looking up data as the memory is not what it once was.

OriginalPouzar

For me, I have Jones and Turris as the keys…….

Of course, this is very subjective and, if Jesse pops to legit 1RW levels, well, that would be massive.

I think its more reasonable that Turris fills in well at 3C than Jesse as 1RW but we’ll see.

Last edited 8 months ago by OriginalPouzar
Bling

Muckler did a nice job in Ottawa as well, bringing in Heatley when Hossa wouldn’t resign, and trading for Hasek. Rotten luck that one of those Sens teams didn’t win, though they came close in 2007.

Spezza-Heatley was magic. Top 3 RW depth chat of Heatley/Hossa – Alfredsson – Havlat.

flyfish1168

Always enjoyed listening to John Muckler. Rest in peace.