Tougher than the Rest

by Lowetide
Taylor Hall photo by Rob Ferguson

The blame game was on fire last night, as the Edmonton Oilers lost 4-0 to the division leading Toronto Maple Leafs. Whatever your complaint you’re at least a little right. Mike Smith did not look good, Darnell Nurse was a day late, Tyson Barrie brought chaos and Leon looked tired. The McDavid line was a half bubble off plumb, Gaetan Haas can’t miss that first period chance and play in the top-9. Josh Archibald can’t be in the crease when the goalie needs to move. Kris Russell took a costly penalty. All true.

To me, it was one of the games Casey Stengel talked about 60 years ago. When explaining the pennant race for his NY Yankees, Stengel said there were 50 games you were going to win because of luck or opposition error or your .170 hitting shortstop belting a grand slam. There were also 50 games you were going to lose for similar reasons. Your ace wakes up from his afternoon nap with a stiff neck, Dick Allen won the home-run crown and decided to go home two weeks early, or your closer forgot how to cover first base.

Fifty you were going to lose no matter what, 50 you were going to win no matter.

It’s the other 50 games that decide the pennant. Win 35 of those a year and you’re headed to Cooperstown. The Oilers weren’t going to win the moment Haas missed that chance, the moment Archibald got cresschecked into the net by Thornton and the refs didn’t call it, the moment Smith whiffed on the second goal. Shiza happens.


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.


  • Oilers in 2015-16: 7-14-2, 16 points; goal differential -13
  • Oilers in 2016-17: 12-9-2, 26 points; goal differential +9
  • Oilers in 2017-18: 8-13-2, 18 points; goal differential -16
  • Oilers in 2018-19: 10-11-2, 22 points; goal differential -12
  • Oilers in 2019-20: 14-6-3, 31 points; goal differential +15
  • Oilers in 2020-21: 14-9-0, 28 points; goal differential +9

I’d say opportunity missed but the team won five in a row coming in, eight of 10. This loss, to a good Toronto team, tells the Edmonton side there is still work to be done. Nothing wrong with it, and there’s a lot to be proud of when looking at February.


  • At home to: Ottawa (Expected: 1-0-0) (Actual 1-0-0)
  • On the road to: Calgary, Ottawa, Ottawa, Montreal (Expected: 2-1-1) (Actual 3-1-0)
  • At home to: Winnipeg, Winnipeg (Expected 1-1-0) (Actual 1-1-0)
  • On the road to: Calgary (Expected 0-1-0) (Actual 1-0-0)
  • At home to: Calgary (Expected 1-0-0) (Actual 1-0-0)
  • On the road to: Vancouver, Vancouver (Expected 1-1-0) (Actual 2-0-0)
  • At home to: Toronto (Expected 1-0-0) (Actual 0-1-0)
  • Overall expected result: 7-4-1, 15 points in 12 games
  • Current results: 9-3-0, 18 points in 12 games

If the Oilers make the playoffs in 2020-21, February will be a big reason. Put another way: Edmonton plays 16 games in March; don’t be surprised if they win the same number (or near) of points next month in more games.


  • Nuge-McDavid-Puljujarvi played 12:48. 8-8 shots, 0-1 goals, 3-1 HDSC and 16-11 Corsi five on five. This line had great chances (JP had 4 HDSC, Nuge 1) but couldn’t score. What’s more, passes were glancing off something all night and sending the puck the other way. The GA sequence saw McDavid hammer the puck left side Toronto zone, puck glanced to the far left boards where Morgan Rielly sent it down the ice to Joe Thornton, who made a nice pass to John Tavares. Over to Marner on another great pass, Marner gets a good angle and Nurse backs in and doesn’t challenge, Smith whiffed on the play.
  • P. Russell-Haas-Chiasson played 10:33, going 6-3 shots, no goals, 2-1 HDSC and 13-3 Corsi five on five. Haas had an incredible chance in the slot early, then Chiasson got the puck to him in the second period at the side of the net and yet another moment when the puck skipped past. I yelled at Haas, but he couldn’t hear. Maybe it’s the language barrier. Patrick Russell moved the puck along the wall but didn’t move the needle offensively. Chiasson had some almost moments but the puck bounced on him.
  • Kahun-Draisaitl-Yamamoto played 10:03, 5-2 shots, no HDSC and 9-2 Corsi. It was a quiet night for the group, Yamamoto had a great chance but it came on a pass from McDavid. Draisaitl is either tired or injured and may require some rest. He lost a month’s worth of battles last night.
  • Ennis-Khaira-Archibald played 9:39, going 6-6 shots, 4-3 HDSC and 11-8 Corsi five on five. Archibald had three outstanding chances, I would have yelled at him but I wasn’t done yelling at Haas. He was most noticeable when getting in Smith’s way in the crease on the first GA. I don’t think that’s textbook penalty killing even with the crosscheck by Thornton. Khaira had a look, Ennis was engaged and physical and pissed off Holl something fierce.


  • Nurse-Barrie played 24:25, going 14-13 shots, 0-2 goals, 5-1 HDSC and 29-18 Corsi five on five. Nurse got caught on the first goal fishing for the puck and allowing Marner to walk him. Nurse was either trying to block or stick check Marner on the second goal, but had given up too much real estate. Nurse lost a battle with Hyman on the last goal coming out from the wall on the left side. His poorest night of the year. Barrie had plenty of chaos beginning with the first shift, I’m hopeful we see Ethan Bear with Nurse Monday night, although that was the pairing on the Hyman goal.
  • Russell-Larsson played 11:49, going 5-6 shots, no goals, 1-2 HDSC and 11-7 Corsi five on five. Russell took the penalty, it was a pretty weak call to my eye, but the rage by fans over it is about what you might expect. Larsson was the best defenseman for Edmonton on the night, playing a borderline murderous 16:27 and making people pay.
  • Jones-Bear played 10:04, going 2-4 shots, no goals, 4-1 HDSC and 6-1 Corsi five on five. The pairing had good things going but didn’t play enough. Jones was especially active, with three shots on net and pushing play several times. Bear defended well enough but his passing wasn’t at the usual level, and one late third period passing mistake turned into a great Toronto chance.
  • Mike Smith had a tough night, stopping 25 of 29, .862. He stopped all six HDSC but missed on several shots he could have stopped. Tough to be outraged based on how well he played during the rest of the month, and he also did the team the courtesy of playing so poorly the coach is likely to run Koskinen out there on Monday.


I think this game could benefit the Oilers organization in a big way. Coach Dave Tippett will likely change goalies, may move Bear up with Nurse, place Jones with Larsson and bring Russell out of the lineup to run Lagesson/Bouchard-Bear on the third pair.

Maybe we see a tweak on the skill lines, too.

One thing I know for certain: Edmonton is not the best team in this division.

Final note: Hall is on the cover to remind how fleeting hopes for a generation of players can be. Vital for the organization to have some success (playoffs) this season. Monday is a big game.


You may also like

4.5 6 votes
Article Rating
Oldest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Copied from another site:

Since joining the McDavid line January 24th, Puljujarvi has scored 1.37 G/60 – good for 15th in the league in that span.

His 1.20 ixG/60 in those 16 games is 3rd in the league.

His 7.38 iHDCF/60 is 1st in the league.

Last edited 7 months ago by ArmchairGM

did they have his Pt/60?


So, serious question (with a bit of preamble).

Tyson Barrie has 18 points in 23 games. That’s a 64 points per 82 GP rate (he also scored over 60/82 in his last 2 Colorado seasons, so 3 of 4 years at this point).

He’s also pretty poor defensively, though he’s been a positive GF% player generally (-2 at 5v5 this year and last year; 5 of the 6 years before that he was a positive GF% player at 5v5 on non-stellar teams).

The question: What the heck is that worth to a team? (and I’m not just talking to the current Oilers, but more generally)

Forwards who score 60-odd points get paid rather a lot of money. I first thought of Jordan Eberle here, who got 5 X $5.5M from the Islanders (at age 29) after a 37 point campaign, which came on the heels of 59, 51 and 47 point seasons. He doesn’t contribute much defensively either, right?

Tyson Barrie is the Oilers 4th leading scorer this year, one point behind Nuge. Yet some are STILL calling for Barrie to be a healthy scratch. And for Nuge to be re-signed at $7M.

This isn’t meant to be a Barrie is great post, or a Nuge sucks post. But I do find it hard to reckon the value of a poor defensive defeneman who also scores like a top 6 forward (a 1st line forward if we’re being honest).

If that player isn’t getting outscored at 5v5, even if sheltered a bit, then I guess that player deserves to be paid (at minimum) like a top 6 forward who scores similarly? Is that fair?

I’m having trouble coming up with a counter-point to this (ie – that Barrie, who scores 60ish points per season, while playing a ton of minutes and not being outscored, definitely deserves a term deal for $6M-$7M from somebody).

I definitely don’t think the Oilers should do it. But then I wonder if this is some sort of weird market inefficiency?


It’s simply because Bouch can do it for cheaper and you can only shelter one of them.


Yeah, seems right to me. Though I don’t know whether Bouchard will actually need to be sheltered going forward (that seems like an outdated narrative based on my viewings this season).

I guess the market inefficiency part was that it doesn’t *seem* like the Barrie player type is widely valued. They’re derided even, despite scoring like top 6 forwards (who aren’t expected to contribute much on D) and breaking even in 5v5 GF%.


That might be Covid affecting perceptions.

Offensive Dmen can certainly get paid, like Karlsson.

Barrie might be more in the Faulk, Yandle category though, which does get dinged a bit… basically because of the QualComp they can handle (or lack thereof).


What’s it going to take for Tippett to put Nuge with Leon I just don’t get it everyone and there dog knows he’s a bad fit with Mcdavid. Sign Hollaway and put him on Mcdavid’s line and I’ll bet anyone he’s a better fit then watching Nuge try to generate any offence its almost painful.


Obviously Oilers got whipped last night, but since when have the Oilers not been getting themselves into ridiculous and horrible circumstances; the last one being terrible play-in performance getting bushwacked by Chicago, going up vs the Ducks then getting completely outcoached and losing like fools, and too many others to bother commenting on.

On the plus side of the ledger Oilers Holland is a competent GM. The team has an exceptional defence future. And Connor+Leon.


As unlikely as it is, a Kassian for Connolly trade remains the ideal.

  • Money pretty much a wash.
  • Kassian currently out, so 2 week quarantine for Brett doesn’t actually affect the current team/lineup
  • Connolly is a right shot LW. Can start play with McDavid and either reunite DRY line or Nuge to 3C

The question is what if anything would be required for Florida to make that deal. They are willing to lose him for free obviously for cap savings. But if no-one bites, they are still not playing him, and clearly don’t think his talents can help their team now or in the playoffs. Kassian is a different type of player they may see value in once he’s back for the playoffs. So it may not take much of sweetener for the swap, may actually get straight up (except for the extra year on Kass which should cost too much more)


Doesn’t anybody think Connolly was on waivers because he has 1 goal and 2 assists in 15 games? Also, for those who think Hall is The Answer for our top 6 left winger, what is attractive about his 1 goal in 17 games? Is it realistic to believe he will score substantially more with Connor than with Eichel?


So, the Big 10 Hockey Tournament has been moved up a few days and is scheduled for March 14-16. If Wisconsin doesn’t move on to the Final Four, technically Holloway could sign and have a good 24-25 Condors games remaining (if they choose to start him in the AHL).

If they move on to the Frozen Four, that’s April 8-10. 13 Condors games will be left at that point (plus potential playoffs).

Here is hoping that Holloway lights up the scoresheet in some high scoring losses at the Big 10 Tourney (assuming they are looking to sign him right away).


Please no deadline acquisitions…..

Cost is Watson high and this team is not ready.

This team needs a real 3C and a strong winger.

That work should be done in the summer.


depends on who you could target and the price
if you could get Granlund for a reasonable price you have to do it and hope you can keep him next year


I think the Oilers would need to clear apx $2.5M of cap space to acquire Granlund.

Maybe Nashville takes back Chiasson to help make it work but I would expect that acquisition price goes up markedly for Poile to accept that.

Plus, there is Granlund having to sit in a hotel room in Edmonton for two weeks after he arrives and then get back in to game shape after not skating for two weeks (and not working out but for prison workouts).

I’m not saying not to explore these types of deals but the lack of pick, the zero cap space and the additional covid-issues likely makes it a tough year to get deals done.

Maybe Dylan Holloway is the LW/C addition that helps this team…… doesn’t cost assets, won’t require assets out……..

It does cost the 1st year of his ELC – as would playing in the AHL though.

Last edited 7 months ago by OriginalPouzar

Prison workouts lol…you’d think the team would at least put a stationary bike…maybe a peleton in his quarantine room.


Truth be told, I presume they would (I mean, Team Canada had a bunch of spin bikes brought in when the team had to go in to quarantine) – not quite the same as skating as far as keeping in game shape, etc.


I suspect a few teams have their eye on Granlund.


Edmonton ranked first in the NHL with % of shots from the defensemen. Reminiscent of the TMac “button hook, low to high” days. Especially Draisaitl’s line, would explain his drop in iXG at 5v5 this year.


Before last night the Oilers were the highest scoring team in the league, including goals per game (unless Tampa had regained the lead).

I’m not sure about that relating directly to any individual forward but, whatever the Oilers have been doing offensively through the year, has been working.

Harpers Hair

The Oilers are actually tied for 4th in GF/G behind #1 Toronto,
#2 Tampa Bay and #3 Winnipeg…in other words #3 in the North Division.


Good Grief – Read the effing comment and note the “before last night’s game” – geezus.

I know, its my own fault for responding to a poster that (1) states expressly not to cite plus/minus as they are a team stat and then (2) the very next day, cites Bouchard’s plus/minus as a factor against him.


So they are a pretty good team then?


That is true, but Nurse/Khaira/Chiasson/KY are all shooting the lights out. Do you think it’s sustainable? Do you think Nurse will continue to shoot at 10% at 5v5?

historically point shots have a much lower chance of going in, looking at any xG model shows you that point shots historically aren’t the best bang for your buck.


I am no stats guy.

But I would assume there are other guys on the team shooting below xg in the model as well.

Should it not balance out?


That is true, but Nurse/Khaira/Chiasson/KY are all shooting the lights out. Do you think it’s sustainable? Do you think Nurse will continue to shoot at 10% at 5v5? 

historically point shots have a much lower chance of going in, looking at any xG model shows you that point shots historically aren’t the best bang for your buck.

I don’t think Nurse will keep shooting 10% at 5v5, but overall I think what the team is doing is pretty sustainable (maybe not 100%, but likely not so far off).

The Oilers currently have the #6 SH% in the NHL, and are #8 at 5v5. I think a team with McDavid and Drasiatil can reasonably be expected to have a higher than average SH%.

FWIW, the Oilers have scored 49 5v5 GF on 43.3 xGF. There’s a gap but it’s not massive.

Just looking at league numbers now. Turns out team goals generally outperforms xG (from NST). The average team scored 8% more goals than xGoals at 5v5. The Oilers have scored 13% more goals than xG. I don’t think that’s unreasonable.

One other thing, the Draisaitl line (primarily Draisaitl and Yamamoto) don’t waste ANY shots. Damn near all of them are HD shots (slight exaggeration). They aren’t taking enough shots, but the way they play (this year and last) leads to a high shooting % IMO.


Where did you see that? I don’t think it’s correct.

I’m not sure how to find that stat aside from calculating it, but was browsing Dman shot and individual SC numbers on NST just now. The Predators are the only other team (aside from the Oilers with Nurse/Barrie) with 2 D in the top 20 of iSCF. I checked the shots from the Preds and Oilers D, and the Preds had Dmen take 35% of their shots to the Oilers 32%, so it seems like the Preds (at least) rank ahead of the Oilers. (this is all strengths, not sure about 5v5).

I don’t disagree the D are shooting quite a bit though, and it could be affecting players like Draisaitl. Currently the worst ixG/60 of his career, yikes. Substituting Kahun for McDavid/Nuge could have something to do with it as well though haha.


@jfreshhockey on twitter posted it earlier today.

i agree, it’s reasonable to suggest that replaying McDavid/Nuggets with Kahun is probably a big reason in the drop. KY and Kahun don’t do enough in transition and seem fairly content to pass the puck around the outside in the offensive zone. TBH I really dislike that line, I’m surprised it’s lasted this long. I know draisaitls 5v5 GF% is strong, but that line should be better


Thanks for the source.

And yeah, I’m not a big fan of the line either. My guess is it’s stayed together this long largely because all parties involved really want Kahun-Draisaitl to have a fairy tale ending.

And it’s easier to keep them together because they’ve got great results (even though not supported by the underlying metrics). The Nuge-McDavid line has basically been the opposite, though better real results lately.

I dunno, there’s lots of hand wringing about both top 6 lines. I like to look at the total McDavid+Draisaitl minutes. This season one or both of them have been on the ice for 63% of the Oilers 5v5 minutes (about 30 of 48 5v5 minutes per game). In that time they’ve scored 58% of the goals (36GF-26GA).

That’s a huge chunk of the game (half actually!) where the Oilers are winning the battle handily, despite lots of imperfect details that we can pick at.


thats true and a it’s a good way of looking at it, I just don’t see the results continuing with the underlying metrics.

im also not really sure about the first line. JP having 1 assist in a month playing with McDavid doesn’t make me feel great, but I’m a believer in their underlying numbers, it just feels like McDavid should be scoring more at 5v5.


I should have added more. The underlying metrics support the 58% GF% pretty well, when you look at both players minutes in sum (54%xGF, which is better than DRY last year I believe).

And Draisaitl’s line hasn’t been so bad, just not smoking like their GF% is.

I’m looking at it like 1 line is having some good luck, the other some bad. The overall results (and underlying process) are really quite good overall.

And on individual scoring. Well Puljujarvi is scoring goals!! And McDavid has scored 2.69 P/60, just a hair (1point I’m guessing) off his 2.82 and 2.84 of the last couple seasons.

Nit to say there couldn’t be improvement, or shouldn’t be tweaks to the lines, but the top 6 as a whole is performing pretty much like you’d want.


^^^ Somebody mimeograph this post ^^^

Last edited 7 months ago by Munny

Samorukov and Barrie for Ekholm.

It lets the Oilers run…

Nurse Bear
Ekholm Larsson
Jones Bouchard.


Ekholm is about to turn 31 years old…..

Surprised to see you argue for an ancient.

We have about 17 D and more on the way.

All of our bottom 6 forwards have cleared waivers.


Samorukov and Barrie for Ekholm.

Samorukov for a year of Ekholm and a far better fit (Ekholm vs Barrie) for the Oilers D this season?

I don’t hate that at all.


We’d be giving them the cap break. And Barrie typically scores more points, I believe. I’d start with something lesser, if anything at all. Not sure why we would have to add, if a deal is there.

Course it always comes down to how many interested parties are burning up the phone lines.

But try Savoie, Kesselring, or Berglund if Poile won’t accept a deal straight up.

I like the core idea, but said a week or so ago I would trade Barrie. This is near perfect long term cover for KBomb at a good price (less than Oscar’s cap hit).

Still think 3C/LW is at fore front of Holly’s mind though. The left side of his D isn’t ideal but it sure is deep. No actual pressure to make a move.

Last edited 7 months ago by Munny

Jarnkrok’s the target, methinks. How do we get that guy? Can we swing a bigger deal including the Dmen and do a one-stop Covid shop?

Something like:

Samo/Jones — Chiasson — Barrie

Jarnkrok — Ekholm

NAS out of both contracts a year early, giving them leverage in a tight market off-season. And get a useful asset.

Last edited 7 months ago by Munny

What is Nashville up to? I have no idea honestly (this is mostly me being uninformed on what’s happening outside the Canadian Division).

But both Ekholm and Jarnkrok are on pretty sweet deals (part of the draw for the Oilers). Together they make $5.75M this season and next (James Neal, anyone? um, nm).

Is Nash cutting salary above all else, and going full rebuild? If so they’ll want some legit futures, which Samorukov/Jones are I guess.

But if they’re trying to shed excess salary while not tanking, it’s tough to see them finding better value for money than Ekholm/Jarnkrok for this season AND next.

Sure would be nice to add those two to the Oilers, I’m just not sure what Nashville would see as Barrie’s value. Hence endorsing the Samorukov add, in hindsight.


Kurt Leavins said:

Because of the pandemic, I suspect Ken Holland is shopping now. Like, right now. No time like the present.

That implies the USA is included in the shopping trip.

So which roster player we can give up for two weeks with no replacement? Or is Samorukov in play? Can’t be draft picks.

Seems like we would be selling low on Jones.

We would need blackmail material to unload Turris.

Pretty much leaves Kassian or Archibald or Chiasson. Someone off the right wing. Not one of those three would get you a 3C, unless its a contract dump like Sutter, but can they pull a left winger better than Kahun?


Generally “deadline acquisitions” are for futures, prospects and picks, not players off the active roster.

The Oilers don’t have a 2nd, 3rd or 5th for the next draft so don’t have great currency to work with. Add that to the fact that any material cap in will require essentially equal cap out, i presume any acquisition will be on the cheaper end.

I could see Holland looking at someone like Sheahan out of Buffalo.

What would the acquisition cost be on Haula out of Nashville and how much more would it cost to get them to retain $750K of his $1.75M?


Well we know for sure Turris won’t work… 😉

If it’s Kass or Chiasson there’s no need for retention.

Poile wants picks though, pretty sure. Or someone blue-chippy like Lavoie or Samo.

Really a crap year for trading all around.


Chiasson doesn’t make sense for the Preds – if they are selling, they don’t want a pending UFA.

Kassian doesn’t make sense, as he’s got negative value (in my opinion).

Does Kassian at $1M retained have negative value – maybe not. At the same time, as you say, he wants picks or a blue-chip.

I would NOT be in favor of giving up either Lavoie or Samorukov for a tier C rental.

Neither are “untouchable”, of course, but not for that level of return.

Drai by Shooting

What would you part with for Forsberg?


Forsberg is a whole different conversation.

He’s got one year of term left and likely means there isn’t money to re-sign Nuge so factor that in. The Oilers would need to move out $5M to fit him in and, I’m assuming, for this season, they want him AND Nuge for the playoff run.

That’s a real tough deal to make in-season.

One year of term left is a tough one as well – he could be a one season and a bit rental but Nashville would want to be paid in full.


NAS wouldn’t part with him unless a 1st is coming back (among other things). That bit right there probably takes us out of the running.


I wouldn’t have an issue with a first in connection with a deal for Forsberg if there was some sort of assurance of a reasonable re-sign (which couldn’t be papered until this off-season).

It would mean Nuge isn’t re-signed (and would probably have to be moved this season in conjunction for cap space).

We lose the emergency center depth plus the PK acumen, etc.


There is room for both Nuge and Forsberg under the cap, but it means not re-signing Barrie and choosing between Larsson and a goaltending upgrade (Linus Ullmark?).

Obviously if you can send some cap back to Nashville it would make things easier too. I don’t think many teams are going to be able to absorb 100% cap in a trade… and Nashville needs some warm bodies to fill out their roster anyhow.

Last edited 7 months ago by ArmchairGM

The important thing is to have the team peaking for the playoffs, not for a mid-season game versus the Laffables.

That peaking is a process and last night’s loss and what can be learned from it is part of the process.

I’d rather have faced adversity than no adversity.

I thought Nurse and Connor were both guilty of trying to do too much. That can happen in a game fraught with frustration because nothing is working. Drai is clearly hurt.

Took half a game for Playfair to get the D pairings settled, so there was some learning curve there for the coaches too.

And finally, Casey Stengel. There’s lot of people not listening to LT’s comments above.


Team was scheduled to practice today but decided not to. “Energy levels” and “give them a bit of a break” were phrases used by Coach T.


Good decision by Coach


Stauff asked Tip today about potential lineup changes and Tip responded with “we’ll see, we’re not going to skate today so we’ll evaluate where we are in the morning – weren’t as sharp as we needed to be and TO played a good road game and we’ll re-group and come back tomorrow.


As far as 4-0 losses go, yesterday’s was not so bad.

Two things this loss highlighted for me:

1 – Bouchard is an absolute necessity for the transition game.

He is already the best D at this (honourable mention to a healthy, 100% and up-to-speed Ethan Bear). The best way to counter an aggressive Leafs forecheck is to make them pay for it a few times with odd-man rushes.

Furthermore, he is spectacular at getting pucks through from the point for deflections. On a few instances last night, those wrist shots were getting through but they were too high. Those are not deflectable pucks. On nights where the opposition is so successful at bottling up everything in the middle, Bouchard’s ability to sift pucks through can be game-changing.

2 – You need Holloway in the lineup this year.

There will be nights (like last night) where 97 and 29 are struggling/bagged, where the neutral zone checking is tight, board battles must be won, and chances have to be generated in tight and off the cycle. Holloway has the skill set to excel in these areas already, particularly in a bottom six role.


Yeah I wouldn’t put Holloway in this year.
if he wants to play more Bakersfield is the perfect place for him


Ha. I was apparently wrong in my apprehension towards Holloway.

The only positive arrow at the time, and I specifically mentioned this, was that you liked him.


I really don’t think having Bouchard or Holloway in the lineup last night changes the result. Neither one of them is going to be a saviour this year.
If the defense is healthy, Bouchard is 4th on the RD depth chart and essentially blocked by Barrie for this year. Both players are best suited to 3RD/PP1, and I don’t see the coach sitting Barrie.
I also am not that bullish on Holloway making an immediate impact when he turns pro.
He’s going to have an NHL career, but I think we need to temper our expectations. I think the best we can hope for is that he grabs the 3C spot at some point next season. Posters who want to stick him on McDavids wing this spring are being wildly optimistic.
He’s big and strong, he’s a terrific skater, and he’s scoring in college.
The biggest weakness I’ve seen is his ability to control pucks, and make plays, in traffic. I think you need those skills to compliment McDavid, and I’m not sure we’ve seen those skills from him yet.
Looks to me like he’s scoring lots of goals off the rush, and on the PP. And it looks like a lot of his games are being played on the big ice, where his speed creates more time and separation to make plays.
I think he’s a good prospect, having a great year. I just don’t see him being a difference maker for the Oilers this year. Hope I’m wrong.


I think the outcome of the game is colouring the analysis and mood somewhat.

It wasn’t that bad of a game. There is always some luck in hockey, and while that doesn’t explain everything last night, it explains some.

For example, it’s unfortunate to get the only penalty in the game when so many others could have been called and have it become a GA.

It’s unfortunate that Smith couldn’t see the shot on the PPG and there was a body in his way preventing him from getting square.

It’s unfortunate that McDavid’s pass through the middle to the far wing for a certain 10 bell chance hits Nuge’s skate and turns it over with an odd man rush the other way.

There is not much Smith could do on either of those goals. It was a very skilled scoring play by Spezza point blank.

The other two are sharp wristers inside of 15 feet that are perfectly placed. Most goalies are only going to save half of those with that kind of placement from that close. So you would like to see him stop one of them, but on the other hand he stopped many 10 bell chances to keep the score what it was.

So really, it’s a 1-0 game and I don’t see a lot to blame defensively or on the goalie. The only tweak I would suggest is asking everyone to pressure the puck a little more. That may have got Nurse in position to deflect the second and fourth goals.

The offense can find more criticism. We had some good chances and some of those need to cash. Haas, Khaira, Archibald, Chiasson all had unbelievable chances and none of them scored. If two out of four of those are in, we have a completely different game.

The big guns looked lazy save for McDavid. They weren’t making sure. They were fumbling the puck. They were making lazy decisions. Yamamoto, Drai, and RNH particularly. That bleeds down the whole lineup and can affect everyone’s play. Tippett has to find a way to get them better prepared for a game like that. Psychologically, it’s hard to maintain the level of intensity required to keep winning in the middle of a grand winning streak. That’s coaching. I have faith in Tippett. I think we will see something much different on Monday.

That McDavid pass hitting RNH’s skate for a 2-on-1 turnover the other way was representative. That’s a big play with an outstanding opportunity for the winger to score making it a 2-1 game and anything is possible. Instead it’s going the other way and just like that it is 3-0. 95% of the time, an NHL’er gets out of the way of that pass. Somehow, it hits RNH’s skate despite trying to get out of the way. Sigh.

So not a terrible game from the backend at all and 4-0 completely flatters the Leafs effort. That’s a 1-0 game and they deserve the win, but we will see a different game on Monday from the big guys.

I am skeptical that they will win with Koskinen in net, but I’ll be cheering hard for him.


I didn’t agree with every word, but I thought this was pretty fair and balanced. Casey Stengel would approve too.

Last edited 7 months ago by Munny

– That’s a good summary. It’s also basically summary of most games: a few bounces here, a few there, everything else was the same. Virtually the whole game (like all hockey now), is played outside the imaginary rectangle of the intersection of the 4 zone face-off dots

– Players from each team collapse around the net, while the puck is transported mostly up and down those corridors. The game is very contained now

– And I agree about likelihood of Koski winning, but not for the same reasons. I’d bet the farm that goalies that play the 4th game, after sitting on bench for the previous 3 have poor SV%’s. There are quantitative and qualitative reasons for this: game shape/rust, and what the team that gives said goalie this allocation thinks of them. Physche, respect, and fair treatment matter to athletes. And knowing that if the team loses, he’s benched again for another 3 games. That’s not setting team or goalie up for success. Just get rid of him, it will serve him and team best IMO.

– On the other hand, he’s been great his previous two starts. Perhaps the disrespect spurns him. If the team plays like last night, they will lose.

Foege Foegele Torpe

Trying to work Bouchard in to my D line up
Dammit Larrson! why can’t you shoot left?


I did like seeing Leon and Connor switching up to play with the other one’s wingers. I would like to see them explore this more.

Drai by Shooting

Tippett did ALOT of shuffling but for whatever reason he did not once go back with the nuge,drai,yamo line for some reason


It was really just flipping Drai and Connor but, yes, it seemed very good to me that, if he was willing to play Connor without one of Nuge or Drai with him, that he didn’t flip the left wings.

Elgin R

Rest up and on to Monday. Bounces will go the Oilers way.


Former Oilers farmhand Colin McDonald has retired from hockey at the age of 36:

One of McDonald’s best years as a pro was with the Oklahoma City Barons in 2010-11: 42 goals and 16 assists in 80 games. The Oilers didn’t give him a sniff that season.

McDonald also had stints with the Penguins, Islanders, and Flyers, but he was basically a career AHLer.

He was a success: he played the game he loves until his mid-thirties while getting paid for his effort.


46pts in 148gp isn’t too bad for a career AHLer.


Thank you for that, Lynn.


I’m still trying to figure out how leafs did not get a single penalty. I don’t feel my Oiler glasses were on too tight. Especially if you use the call they made against Russell as the marker for penalities to be called.

Last edited 7 months ago by flyfish1168

Wonder if SP is out there reading???? It has been reported Klefbom waiting for surgery on his shoulder in the US but delayed due to Covid. Are their no capable surgeons in Sweden? Would have to assume their medical system is very good. I believe SP is a physician. His opinion would be interesting.


It you had a wonky shoulder and an operation on which the quality of the rest of your life and mulitmillions of dollars depended on, would you prefer the best surgeon in the world for this operation, or just a guy.


I know little about surgical procedures. So his shoulder surgery is so complicated there is only one guy in the world who can do it? If that is the case waiting would be the right choice. If waiting costs him next season as well does he return to hockey after missing 2 seasons? Maybe he is more concerned about quality of life and he likely has enough $. Was curious.


I don’t get why this is delayed due to Covid. Hospitals are open. It’s not like we are cancelling surgeries.


70-30 Kelfbom not coming back and will ride LTIR into the sunset so why rush the operation he has more than enough money now he’s thinking quality of life.


Klef may not be able to return, that is a possibility. Of course, as Klef has stated himself publically, his goal is to return to the NHL next season and he’s working towards that. He’s decided on the surgery so he won’t be ready to start the season, at this point, but I’m presuming he’s working towards a mid-season return.

If he cannot return ever, which is a possibility, LTIR for the next few years is a horrible, horrible outcome for the Oilers – super limiting for improving the team in the off-season and in the regular season.

As we see now with no cap space at all given the use of LTIR reserves.

Harpers Hair

And it’s not like remote surgeries are a new thing.


We don’t know if remote surgeries are performed for this particular surgery or of this surgeon performs them. I’m betting that he does not.


Travelling from Sweden to the US for surgery is the issue.


Lots of comments on what last night means, who,is to blame. For me it was sure disappointing given TO was without Matthews and Anderson, but I’ll reserve judgment until the end of the mini-series.


For the record I like Barrie the rover with the puck on his stick. He is a talent for sure. In his own end not so much as he gives up a lot. In my opinion you don’t resign him after the season. A right side of Bear, Bouchard and a resigned Larsson would be fine. Key would be getting Larsson back for perhaps a 3 yr deal at around $3 mil?? Bouchard is clearly going to have a long career and keeping Barrie blocks him. I would say if the right deal was available maybe you trade Barrie this season? Going to depend on where the Oilers end up I guess!


Tough call on Barrie. I don’t think he wins you a playoff series, but he does get you into the playoffs. The Oilers are at a crossroads. They have enough home grown talent to have a contending team for years, but the players they need/have are 2 years away from being those players.

I wonder if Hall is disappointing enough to Buffalo to do a Hall for Neal + Benson straight across. Also I think Burke would do a Kassian for a draft pick deal.

Hall McD JP
RNH Drai Yamo

top 6 for this playoff run.

that also puts Kahun and Haas on the 4 line together

both Hall and RNH are auditioning for a long contract on the Oilers next year. Interesting dynamic


If a player is good enough to get you into the playoffs why is he not good enough to win in the playoffs?


Hall for Neal and Benson? Why would Buffalo take on the last two years of Neal to get Tyler Benson for Hall? They could get MUCH more in the way of futures for Taylor Hall without taking on a massive negative value contract.

Kassian almost assuredly clears waivers – Burke is not giving up a draft pick for him in my opinion, not without the Oilers retaining at least $1.5M per.


I’ve been posting for a long time now about the major preference to re-signing Larsson over Barrie. A long term, $6M contract for Barrie does not fit the team’s cap structure and much of the player’s skill-set is duplicated by a developing Evan Bouchard.

Adam Larsson will (should) come in much cheaper and for a shorter term. At least I presume he will. I’ve posted about a 2-3 deal at an AAV at apx $2.75M – if they can get him near that type of contract, I re-up him today – well, maybe after the expansion draft. but agreed on that deal today.

I see almost zero chance that Tyson Barrie gets moved. Only teams looking to load up for the playoffs will be looking for a pending UFA and will not be looking at moving material roster players out. Ken Holland will not deplete his defence depth going in to stretch drive and playoffs. If anything, he will add another Mike Green.

Losing Barrie in the off season for nothing is just fine – this was always primarily a one-year stop gap and Barrie will have served his purpose.


I agree that re-signing Larsson fits team needs going forward more than Barrie. And also that Larsson should require a cheaper/shorter term deal that Barrie.

I really think expecting 2-3 years at under $3M is unrealistic though.

Since Covid, guys like MacKenzie Weegar and Ryan Graves have signed RFA+UFA deals for more than $3M per over 3 years.

UFA years only deals for term include:
Dylan DeMelo 4 X $3M
Joel Edmundson 4 X $3.5M
Brendan Dillon 4 X $3.9M (older than Larsson will be)
Chris Tanev 4 X $4.5M (older)
TJ Brodie 4 X $5M (older)

I’m not sure how you ask soon to be 29 year old Adam Larsson to sign a 2-3 X $2.75M deal considering what all those others have been paid.

Last edited 7 months ago by jp

Well, that is a sobering list for my plan.

I knew about the Tanev deal but was hoping to discount that as a comparison due to (a) GM’s generally just throwing money and term at NHL Tanev’s for no good reason and (b) any partner that can make Quinn Hughes look passable defensively deserves to be paid.

In all seriousness, the only player on that list I can discount as a comparable is Brodie as I think his higher offensive production over his career earned him $$$.


Haha, yeah it’s unfortunate. I like your plan in theory too.

And for sure Brodie has brought more offense generally (though only 19 points last season), but he’s also older, and got a 4 year deal that will pay him substantially more than Larsson’s will (I think!).

Larsson is an important player for this team though, and I think the best complement for Bear/Bouchard going forward.

Hopefully he and Holland can get something done. 3 X $3.5M? 3 X $4? The RD will still be pretty cheap when you factor in the other two…


Need Larsson to “bridge the gap” until Samorukov can take on 2nd pairing minutes in the “tough SOB to play against” role (with a bit more 2-way side – although Larsson had 2-way upside in his early 20s, he was drafted in the top 5).


Nothing wrong with having Larsson and Samorukov in the lineup, if Samorukov turns out to be all that (hopefully).

Who know but in a couple of years (say 22-23 season):
(Jones to Seattle).

Good problems to have so long as long as the young guys develop.

Should be a pretty cheap D corps even with new Nurse, Larsson and Bear deals.

Last edited 7 months ago by jp

Doing something for 23 games it not the same as doing it over the course of a season let alone season after season, however, if the 2021 Darnell Nurse is the Nurse of the next 5-7 years, a Nurse/Bouchard pairing in a few years has insane potential, top of the league potential.

I think this Darnell Nurse would be a great partner for a more developed Bouchard.

We are a long ways from there.

Do Darnell!


For sure. Can’t get ahead of ourselves, but those future D depth charts do look pretty nice these days.


It would be aces if Klefbom could come back during the 2021/22 season at some point and look to be close to the player he was when healthy. The Oilers could parlay that last season of his contract into an asset.

I anticipate they won’t be able to spend his LTIR reserves next off-season as they won’t have certainty that he is out for the year and they need to plan for his activation.


It would be aces if Klefbom could come back during the 2021/22 season at some point and look to be close to the player he was when healthy. The Oilers could parlay that last season of his contract into an asset.

I anticipate they won’t be able to spend his LTIR reserves next off-season as they won’t have certainty that he is out for the year and they need to plan for his activation.


Yeah adding Klefbom back in would be beautiful. Hopefully there’s more certainty about his future by the off season.


That’s a solid list of comps.

I had been thinking of the KRusty extension, minus the NMC, would be a good fit for Larsson and the team.


I think it will come in at 4 x 4. Hopefully three years, but probably four.

They’re really the hardest contracts to walk away from and really one probably should here — the aging heart and soul player. I’d certainly start off asking for less, and I think he would be amenable to a hometown disky. Agents are a real menace though.

Last edited 7 months ago by Munny



The Russell extension hadn’t actually occurred to me (it was pre-Covid!). But yeah that’s pretty fair. Damn.

At least Larsson is a year (+) younger than Russell was 🙂


4 X $4M may be reasonable for the player, likely more reasonable than my 2-3 X $3M (which is probably more fantasy than anything), however, even as one of Larsson’s biggest supporters, I’m not sure it makes sense for the Oilers to sign that deal.

Given the pieces in the organization, the intent would be for Larsson to be 3RD and PK for the majority of that term. Yes, he’d be an elite 3RD (subject to regression) and 2RD cover and would be able to handle tough minutes, zone starts, etc., but that’s a big number for that role, isn’t it?


I thought McDavid deserved some blame as well. He was on for 3 EV goals against (-3 on the night), and missed checking Nylander right before he scored. When his wingers started playing with Draisaitl, they looked much better.

I think there’s something about McDavid that has trouble gelling with linemates, even someone as skilled as Nuge. They’re not sure what he’s going to do and it makes them tentative. Meanwhile, Draisaitl was 0 +/- for the night. I don’t think he was even close to the main problem.


“I think there’s something about McDavid that has trouble gelling with linemates, even someone as skilled as Nuge. They’re not sure what he’s going to do and it makes them tentative.”


“I think there’s a lot to consider when putting together a bar band in Edmonton. This Jimi Hendrix dude is way too hard to play with!”

Scungilli Slushy

LT’s last comment sums it up for me, I expressed frustration last evening and this is at the heart of it.

I get why Tip has kept things pretty steady with no preseason.

At the same time I’m not liking what I see with the handling of Connor and Leon 5v5. They get their points for sure, but the coaches are overplaying them and they look bagged. We know Leon isn’t 100%.

The Oilers playing that poorly against the leading team, at home, is not a good sign regarding team quality. Yes teams have rough nights. That is a lousy time to have one.

We’ll see the response. The Leafs were missing their best scorer. They are banged up. Time to walk the talk we’ve been hearing. This is the step that they need to take, not falling apart when the opponent is playing equal or better and also has talent.

As LT mentioned the window has been opened for Tip to change it up. The Connor and Leon lines should be pushing all game 5v5. Connor always does, Leon usually. This is how the Leafs and Jets are so dangerous for the Oilers.

Their best lines are coming and they make you pay for screw ups. No player can do it alone game in and out.

Connor needs wingers that distract to create air for him, they need to get open with sticks on the ice and be able to go top shelf. When the Oilers have trouble scoring the shots are right in the crest or pads. When Nuge is off his low blocker MO is all he brings, they have the book on that.

Leon is trying to do too much as he does. Buddy or not, Kahun is just too vanilla a player to help him, all he can do is not get enough points riding the coat tails.

Nuge is too vanilla to play with Connor. His game meshes with Leon because of Leon’s style and Nuge’s brain. Leon holds the puck and if players get open they get fed.

Connor is rush and creating chaos and needs players that play responsibly with more abandon to add to what he does. He’s so good it doesn’t ‘have’ to be a high end player.

This is why Maroon was so good, he was where he needed to be, and a 235 lb tough winger that can hit top shelf consistently (because most goalies take the bottom net away and challenge the shooter to do that) is a significant distraction coming off the boards. The D and team D can’t just get in Connor’s way to shut the line down.

If Kassian is too hurt still or in the doghouse, Nygard’s numbers say it’s him. To me his speed is that distraction, Jesse drives the net and retrieves.

The team has progressed each Holland year for sure, but time is ticking. Nothing enough could have been done two to three seasons ago to get them much further ahead.

I don’t condone going all Chiarelli, but they are now on the brink. They have depth and talent. Passable goalering if the coach stays on top of it and nobody gets hurt.

It’s past sitting on their hands time for the brass. Get a third G just in case, and tweak a bit. If the herd can’t handle that at this point, the team and org are stable, they don’t want to win enough, they must also see the weak spots perhaps except for those filling the weak spots.

I’m confident Connor wants to win more than anything, the players are being treated well and with respect perhaps not as before, but it is the best league in the world and business has to go on, and it’s about winning. I imagine Connor would love another Maroon to help him dominate 5v5 as he should. Maybe that player is in house, they need to change it up a bit. Tweaks.

Back to inventory, have a great Sunday all!

cowboy bill

If the only penalty in the game is called against the Oilers it’s not surprising the Oilers lose the game . Unless of course the leafs don’t score , then all bets are off . Interesting how the Oilers weren’t give a chance on the PP . Maybe they didn’t deserve it or the leafs were just perfect in every way . Somehow I doubt it . All game long the puck seemed to bounce away from Oiler players directly to leaf players . I guess that’s the way it goes sometimes and the leaf’s took advantage . Campbell sure looked terrific in net , calm cool and collective . The team in front of him was perfect and the Oiler’s weren’t . Oh well if the sun
didn’t rise this morning I’d be concerned . It might be the Oilers turn to be perfect tomorrow .

cowboy bill

I have to add it was a pretty weak penalty call and it effected the outcome to some degree .


There’s a lot of people trying to find that one culprit for the loss

Foege Foegele Torpe

‘Off night’ was the culprit

Last edited 7 months ago by Foege Foegele Torpe

To be fair, I didn’t see enough ‘Cap Space’ out there either.


+1 nothing to see here..


i agree. We’ve had the better part of the bounces go our way for an entire month. Eventually some go the other way. How they come out next game will reveal a lot about the team and I think we will see a strong bounce back game

Our Edmonton Operation

Hey, LT. Thanks for yelling at Haas vicariously for me. Hopefully you found time to yell at Archibald later too. I yell at little bit but only a little bit because the wife thinks it sets a bad example for our kids (who are pretty old).

Woodguy v2.0

EDM Goal Share after 23 games (14-9-0)

Even strength (5v5,4v4,3v3)
97 w/o 29 (15-19)-44%
29 w/o 97 (16-7)-70%
97 & 29 On (7-0)-100%
Turris (6-13)-32%
Other (7-10)-41%
Net EV +2

Special Teams: 24-18
Net ST +6

Empty Net:4-2
Net EN +2

SO & PS 0-0
Net SO & PS 0

Net Goal Diff +10

No, I’m not changing my categories. I track this by game and I’d have to look at all the games sheets again.

I think its informative keeping Turris separate as well.

Other is now pretty much “bottom six”.

I also cut n past this from twitter and I’m at my character limit with what I post now.


Great write up LT. Games like this are frustrating because everyone and no one is to blame. If you think Russell should be 7D you think that penalty set the tone. If you think Barrie gives back more than he creates you’re blaming him for backing in.

acknowledging my biases, I hated Nurse’s offensive game. So much tremendous work by the forwards to win pucks, cycle and feed the point and so many 2019 style Nurse muffins. Catch-whistle-shift over. It’s essentially a turnover and must drive 97/29 nuts.

it’s been his Achilles Heel and to me what’s kept him from being worth the money but he’s been far better this year. Its so important he continue to learn his outlets when he gets the partner pass standing at the left point.

My worry is that he’ll get congratulated by the coaches and the blame will be on the forwards for not getting to the tough areas.


His offensive game has now been top 5 in the League for four straight years. I’d suggest it’s your expectations. Like I’m not sure how having a top 5 guy in the League is driving 97/29 nuts. I highly doubt it is.


Agreed. That’s sort of my point and LTs with his post. You see what you wanna see in a game like that. I saw Nurse taking too many shift ending point shots and my reaction was to go back to some of his old habits. When in fact, they were probably often the only play and if we had a Joe Pavelski who could tip every wrist shot, he might have had 3 assists.


An odd shot that is not on goalie glove side might help too.


Yeah, take a look at the heat map for shots last night. Bright red from the left point.


Lol, I did comment last night on his “300th shot attempt”.

Toronto brought their own game puck with them.


Yes the shots from the D need to be better considered. They are coming after McDavid, Nuge, Puljujarvi have done great work to make the defense tired. There is suddenly lots of space for more seam passes and a great scoring chance, but Nurse/Barrie decide to launch it from 60 feet into the crest/glove with no one in front. That’s not smart hockey.

I don’t mind that play with Khaira/Chiasson/Archibald/Haas on the ice as long as they are crashing for the rebound, but it’s a foolish play after 40 seconds of ozone time with McDavid, Nuge, Drai, Yamamoto, and Puljujarvi out there.


it’s been his Achilles Heel and to me what’s kept him from being worth the money 

With respect to “worth the money” are you talking about projected money on his contract that would kick in for 2022/23 or cap allocated in the past and the present?

I would posit that Darnell (a) was worth every penny of his ELC, (b) was worth every penny of his $3M (I believe) bridge and (c) has been worth every penny of his new $5.6M AAV deal through 23 games this season.

Oilers’ fans seem to always be fearing “the next contract” with Nurse while he consistently outperforms his existing AAV.


There was a sequence in the 1st period where TO iced the puck. Oilers put out a fresh McDavid line against a tired TO group. Oilers won the face-off and the puck made its way to Nurse who promptly floated a wrister into the un-screened goalie. Easy-peasy save, whistle, line change and the advantage is lost.

I was disappointed in the decision making.

Woodguy v2.0

The Victoria Pizza NHL North Division standings February 28th using points percentage shown as points over/under fake Bettman .500

TOR +12
WPG +7
EDM +5
MTL +3
VAN -6
OTT -8

Foege Foegele Torpe

If you told me before the season started……
If this ends up being the final standings after the dust settles, ill take it


I keep banging the same drum, but this defense is not going to get you far in the playoffs. Lots of hype for Nurse but he is probably suited as a solid #3 d man, Same for many of the Oiler D men. Barrie is playing well on offence but in the back, its chaotic, he is also holding Bouchard back, The team picked this guy at the draft to be a big part oft heir future, that was 3 years ago, sooner or later they need to play this kid a lot more and start him on the P.P, this is his strength and the team doesn’t seem to want to use it.
Edmonton is similar to the Minnesota team, in a regular season they are good enough to just squeeze into the playoffs, or just miss. If you are expecting a 38 year old goalie to take you to the promise land you are delusional, Smith has shown he can be very good and pretty bad, when he’s on the team has a chance, when he’s not the team has no chance.

Harpers Hair

Lots of chatter on the Twitters this morning that the Oilers should trade Barrie to relieve the log jam at RD.
Of note, Woodguy thinks that would send the wrong message to prospective free agents.


Doubt this happens as Tippett will want vets for the playoffs
But I would absolutely do this. We are not winning the cup this year and i don’t give Barrie a long term contract that he will want when Bouchard is close to taking over
Also I would be calling about Granlund to help with the depth ASAP


Florida ends up treating almost everyone that signs with them like absolutely crap and players still sign with them
flat cap gives players very few options
I doubt whatever we do with Barries one year contract is gonna have much effect on any free agents (the players that treat Edmonton like Siberia will continue to do so, the players that see this as a chance to play with the top 2 players in the world will continue to do so)

Harpers Hair

Agree completely.
Of course Florida offers great weather and zero state taxes so they will always have a built in advantage.


Thank you for parrotting a post of Woodguy’s. I hope Woodguy’s posts inspire you to come up with quality, original thoughts.


To the original post:

1) Darnell Nurse has played like a legit 1D this year. If that continues for the year, he is a legit 1D whether one may think he’s “best suited” as a 3D. Nurse had a bad game last night, but that doesn’t erode his aggregate play on the year. Time to see if its the start of a regression to the norm, a regression due to not being able to play 27 minutes per game or a one-off.

2) Bouchard may indeed be able every night right now a fill the 1PP role. Bear/Larsson/Bouchard (if Bear gets back to his top play and Larsson continues his bounce-back season and Bouchard continues his development) is pretty solid. Of course, there is absolutely zero cover in behind for any sort of slump, regression or injury. The team went from 9 healthy D, down to 6 in like a week. Depth on D is key and Holland clearly covets depth on D. He’s more likely to add to the back end than trade existing depth away (see Mike Green acquisition).

I have zero desire to re-sign Tyson Barrie but a one-year stop gap to allow for reasonable development of Bouchard is not a bad thing.


Every time I watch the Leafs play I like Engvalls game.
Is it true he was on waivers earlier in the season, and if so, how did he not get claimed?


Wasn’t on waivers. Last year of exemption, I believe.


From what I’ve read of TOR fans, Engvall is said to be their JJ who also cleared waivers.

I don’t think either clears in a normal season.


He’s played the requisite amount of games but hasn’t vested the requisite amount of years – he’s still exempt I believe.


Per Tom Gazolla:

Hearing from multiple sources that OEG is putting forth a 50-page proposal to AHS to allow a limited number of fans to attend games. The hope is to have people in the building as early as April – if & when the province is able to get to Step 3 of its plan to move forward.

Proper protocol would be followed (social distancing, masks, etc.) with OEG wanting to provide AHS with a “testing ground” for patrons at live events again in the province. The belief among some at OEG is that there is a strong chance this happens.

If this does come to fruition, frontline workers would be honoured, celebrated and in attendance at the first game back and then in subsequent games the rest of the season via ceremonial puck drops, etc. as well.


I think there is enough of a wealthy fan base that would pay $500-1000 a seat for a possible limited number of seats in the 2000 range. Just spitballing numbers here, I may be out to lunch.


My father gets his first vaccination shot tomorrow and the 2nd in early April – if this comes to fruition, I will 100% pony up an egregious amount to take my dad to an Oilers game this season. He has had a VERY tough year and deserves it.


The people that are fortunate enough to have already been vaccinated should be allowed


Much talked about “almost Oiler”, Connolly on waivers.

Of course, Oilers can’t claim him without moving out $3M plus of cap space.

This needs to be a Kassian for Connolly trade, however, of course, the Panthers are looking to shed the cap, not swap it for a different set of bad cap.


If there’s really a market for Kassian, as many believe… (doesn’t have to be the Panthers).

Last edited 7 months ago by jp

I don’t believe there is – not for his full contract.


I’d tend to agree. But I don’t know, and lots of others (including some around the team) seem to think there may be.


Scoring chance data doesn’t work, it relies on arbitrary distinctions, and we really shouldn’t rely on them.

Expected goals, on the other hand, doesn’t have the same binning problem, and does work.

With that in mind Caleb Jones XG last night: XGF 1.06, XGA .46. That is the best on the team.

Play the man.

BTW, is a great site.

Woodguy v2.0

This recent study found CA/60 outperformed xGA/60 in predicting future goals against.

Its also found that SCF/60 (scoring chance for) out performed xGF/60 in predicting future goals for.

None of the metrics do a good enough job to be “definitive”.

Last edited 7 months ago by Woodguy v2.0

This recent study found CA/60 outperformed xGA/60 in predicting future goals against.

But this recent study uses old data. And also team level vs individual.

SCF were better predators than CF in the last 3 years looked at (2011, 13, 14), and xGF was better than CF in 13 and 14.

Agree that none look good enough to be definitive.


Wait… what?

Are you saying that there is no subjective interpretation factored into xGF metrics?


As I look at the reserve list for all the Canadian team – there are some players that have played great in other leagues and are the right age and skill to help an NHL team. They represent possible adds, I am not sure non play-off teams would exercise this option.

Vancouver – Podkolzin
Edmonton – Holloway, Konovalov
Winnipeg – Smith
Toronto – Amirov
Montreal – Caufield
Ottawa – Bernard-Docker, Sanderson
Calgary – no real option

It looks like Holland has some internal options to consider.

Last edited 7 months ago by Woogie63

After watching pretty much all of Holloway’s games this year at Wisconsin, its become clear that he won’t be returning to school for 2021/22….. well, assuming he wants to turn pro and I can’t imagine he doesn’t.

The questions/notes:

1) what is better for the current team and the future team (vis-a-vis Holloway’s development) as between 20 AHL games (give or take) vs. the NHL to finish this year

2) of note, if Holloways plays one pro game this season, AHL or NHL, he will burn the first year of his ELC. Given his late birthday, his contract won’t be subject to slide. I don’t think that will be a big factor as there are even potential benefits to burning that year (the 2nd contract is likely a lower AAV given it will come in to force a year earlier) as there is no chance he’ll be on the roster for enough games to vest a year towards UFA (the bigger factor).

Normally I would say that this player is best served finishing the season in the AHl but there are players that go straight from college and succeed in the NHL that season – Makar, McAvoy, etc.

You never know – this player if big, strong, fast and smart.


Darnell Nurse has been wonderful this year, a legit #1 minute-munching d-man on the year.

Last night, Darnell Nurse had a poor game defensively – his worst of the year.

The question is, if the poor game defensively, physical and mental mistakes, is a function of him playing 27-30 minutes per game or was it just a poor game, which all d-men have, even elite d-men.

I had been praising Darnell for keeping up the high end/elite play over the last few weeks even with all the minutes. Was last night the minutes catching up with him or a just an off night?

We’ll start to find out on Monday night!


Mon + Wed games are huge. Win both and first place still up for grabs.

Harpers Hair

31 year old Drew Doughty averages about a minute more per game than Nurse and is thriving.
Oddly enough both players have a shooting percentage well above 10% which is absurdly higher than expectations for a defenseman.
Riding the PDO pony hard.


the stats are similar outside of +/- which Darnell is top. Drew plays in a division with 3 pretty weak teams versus our division with only 2 weak teams


The underlying numbers with Barrie are poor, especially away from McDavid. The PDO heater that led to the Norris talk was never going to last.

Last edited 7 months ago by GMB3

Is anybody able to explain what Drew Doughty has to do with a discussion of if Nurse’s poor game is (a) a one-off from his legit 1D play this season or (b) the start of a drop off due to 25-30 minutes nightly?


It’s HH. He has probably been blaming Broberg for 2 goals against the Oilers until someone on twitter told him that Broberg isn’t in the Oilers lineup.


Thought the oil played well last night, good enough to win. But when McDavid and Drai don’t produce offence, it’s tough to win. What really sucks is losing the first game to the Leafs, the darlings of the talking heads back East.  


Sometimes teams drop turds on game day. Seems like we like to do it on the national spotlight
i don’t think anyone would complain if we upgraded on Kahun at 2lw or at 3c


Agree that Kahun is not a top 6 winger. The hole at 3C has been since forever? JK fine at 4C


If there is a quality UFA winger that a team is willing to move for an offensive defenceman then I would seriously look at moving Barrie. He is holding Bouchard back and on a lot of nights is responsible for more against than what he creates.


What happens when Barrie is moved and then Larsson or Bear tweak something and are out for 2-3 weeks (if not long term)?

The Oilers have zero other right shot d-men. Both Russell and Jones are far less effective on their off-sides, as we’ve seen.


The big speculation fom Leavins this morning is that the Oil will either trade for a 3C, maybe someone like Sutter with half-retained, or plug Holloway into the Top 6 and run Nuge at 3C.

He also feels Bear will return to the top pairing… once the concussion is fully behind him. That is my default stance too.

Harpers Hair

Given that Sutter is on an expiring contract and that the Oilers don’t have second or third round picks, what could they offer Vancouver for Sutter?


Future considerations.

Eh Team

The question should be what would the Canucks give to get Sutter off their roster.

Harpers Hair

They have no motivation to move him now without getting a significant asset in return.


LMAO, how can you get anything of significance on an expiring contract on a middling 3rd line center at best? Answer is NOT


Oh. So Bear IS playing with a concussion?. That would be conducive to a long productive career..

Last edited 7 months ago by Shane

Pretty sure he wouldn’t be out there unless he was cleared to play.

That doesn’t mean he is 100% the Bear prior to injury at this point.


I don’t imagine he is playing with a current concussion – the org showed last year with how careful they were with Benning how seriously they take these.

Bear was off for the better part of a month and part of “getting over the concussion” is getting his game speed back and, also, perhaps some mental hesitation vis-a-vis battles, etc.


Mazura out for the season. Sports hernia per Leavins.



That said, thanks for the update.


As a six round pick, he’s a distant bell but hopefully he can get his development on track next year at Providence after losing a full year of development.


Jumbo did not cross check Archie into Smith, please don’t go there.


Thornton crosschecked Archi into the crease/net resulting in him being in Smith’s way when he came across the crease. Is that better, more accurate?


Why didn’t the Oil challenge it?


More of a push, but that does it for me. Not a penalty as interference does not apply when fighting for crease position. And definitely not enough of a cross check.

Now if Bear had taken a dive when Jumbo got his stick in his skates behind the net five seconds earlier, rather than dancing the light fandango…


That same play is called many, many times.


It is almost never called.

Woodguy v2.0

If the definition of cross check is “hitting a player in the back with your stick” then he did.

Didn’t wallop him, but it was done:


I see it different, gave him a push with his glove, not the stick. Did you see Larson wrestle that guy down by the neck?


What does one have to do with the other, or whatever your original point was?


It means they are not going to call tick tacky shit


Did Larsson wrestle someone down by the neck in Campbell’s crease preventing Campbell from being able to stop a shot on net which contributed towards a goal against Toronto?

Woodguy v2.0

Larsson commits ~15 penalties a game that are not called.

He’s filthy dirty.

That’s not the topic though.


Look below… That’s quite clearly not “hitting”. That’s a push. plus it is more right glove than stick. AND, as Nurse himself pointed out in his post-game a week ago, you are allowed some leeway with your stick while battling for position at the crease.

There’s no way that’s a cross-checking penalty.

comment image


Cross-checking is the action of using the shaft of the stick between the two hands to forcefully check an opponent with no portion of the stick on the ice

I believe this criteria applies to your gif.

Otherwise we are going to need a “pushing” stat that is seperate from a “checking” stat.


I have no idea what your “stat” sentence is referring to as there are no public stats for either.

You do know however that the rulebook is not the final say on any penalty? The NHL is constantly giving interpretations of those rules. and under the current interpretation, which is evidenced in every single game, this play by Thornton is not normally called a penalty.

Last edited 7 months ago by Munny

Yes I know it is up to interpretation.

But the refs have shown a lot of inconsistency in how they interpret these kinds of plays when it comes to goals against and there’s a lot of bodies around and in the crease. The fact is Joe Thornton, by definition, cross checked an Oiler into the goalies crease and the Oiler did not have time to get out to allow Smith to set up where he wanted.

I know I have seen goals which were called back because the scoring team had a player cross check the defending player into the defending goalies crease which prevented the goalie from stopping the puck. It would have been different if the Oiler cross checked Thornton into Smith and it went in, though.

Which is also why I am not surprised there wasn’t a coaches challenge on it either because it seemed like that kind of game.

This is the same league that calls a goal back because the goalie may have been grazed at some point during a play 7 seconds prior to the goal.

And also the same league that allows a goal after a player put his hands in a goalies pads and pulls his leg back which prevents him from setting up.

Last edited 7 months ago by Side

Oh for sure, they have blown calls in this department, I don’t doubt it. But it is in the face of thousands of instances where it is let go. How many times did Yamo get whacked the other night with no call. Nurse “lightly crosschecks” just about every shift, Larsson, etc. Nurse even discussed the prevalence of this practice in a game presser.

When the historical odds are the call won’t be going our way, I don’t harp on the refs for not calling it. In my view, they’re adding to consistency rather than taking away from it.

Last edited 7 months ago by Munny
Woodguy v2.0

is there a primer for me to learn how to post video/pics? I try and fail.


I have editing software, so for these games I record my screen, edit out what I don’t need, produce as an MP4 and then upload it to which converts it to an animation, a gif file, which these WordPress sites can accept and embed in their comment plug-ins.

You merely post the link to your animation on Giphy and voila it embeds in the comment. You can see the format of the link if you hover over my Thornton animation. Giphy gives you three links to choose from. this one is called “GIF Link”.

I would love to do real video, be easier and not length-constrained (she said). Transitions, highlights, sound…

For pictures, again you can’t upload, it must be something hosted on the net. Go to the URL of the picture on the hosting site, copy it, and then paste it into your comment.

Last edited 7 months ago by Munny
Woodguy v2.0

Awesome. Thanks.


Here’s what I’ve got done so far…

And there’s some I haven’t uploaded yet.


In light of all the Bear back and forth, I wanted to revisit a few things:

  1. Bear’s rookie year was superlative;
  2. Bear’s only in his sophomore year. There was always reasonable allowance for regression or wobble;
  3. We gave Nurse the benefit of a doubt thru six seasons of play, and however much improved, he’s only now showing glimpses of the on-ice awareness demonstrated by Bear in his first year;
  4. Bear is both a gem and a value contract, and under team control beyond that contract;
  5. Bear’s part of an emerging blueline that could collectively, in terms of cap management, provide a competitive advantage on par with the Sedins’ home discount. The McDrai ELCs are a forgotten dream, but cheap and effective blue, through McDrai Prime, is a nice second chance, and could fuel successful whale hunts for a final missing piece.

There’s some vital context, however Bear performs through March.


We gave Nurse the benefit of a doubt thru six seasons of play, and however much improved, he’s only now showing glimpses of the on-ice awareness demonstrated by Bear in his first year

I can’t get behind this statement nor the thought that Bear needs some “benefit of the doubt”.

They’re both clearly quality.

Last edited 7 months ago by Munny

Nurse fan from day one, and always quality (this isn’t a ‘Nurse dumb post). but his play has always had me yelling at the TV. This season that’s down to 0.01/60.

Bear comment more in response to what other people perceive as meh play. I think he’s been great.


Not once did I lament passing on Ristolainen, as a for instance.


.01/60 is… “only now showing glimpses of the on ice awareness demonstrated by Bear last year”?

That statement is beyond hyperbole. That’s all I’m pointing out.

Last edited 7 months ago by Munny

hmm, Ethan Bear had far better defensive impacts in spite of being a rookie. Doesn’t seem that far off. Nurse has always been a below average defender in terms of defensive impacts.


The team was just off. It happens. I suspect they’ll take this loss as a kick in the ass and make up for it tomorrow. That’s what happened after the loss to Winnipeg.

With the-third-best-player-in-the-league and Andersen both out, I had a feeling after the first that this was how the game was going to end up. They’ll get an angry McDavid tomorrow and balance will be restored in the [hockey] world. Well, probably not the second one.

Material Elvis

The Oilers were the better team in the first period. Just couldn’t cash on their grade A scoring chances, which would have completely changed the outcome. Plus Smith played his usual game where he lets in a few stinkers and is way out of position. The Spezza goal looked comical; the goalie is always supposed to play the puck carrier on a 2 on 1 and he was playing the pass across. On the Nylander power play goal, Marner faked out Nurse and went around the net. Smith slid left and put himself way out of position. He was sliding back into position when Nylander shot the puck. Way too much movement in net.


Pretty sure Smith wasn’t playing the pass across. Lol.
Spezza faked a slapshot, not a pass.

Material Elvis

I know he faked a slap shot. Lol. Smith was leaning away from his left post and left the entire glove hand top corner wide open. The fake slap shot froze him but he wasn’t in position. I think he expected Spezza to pass it across. Lol.


I agree with the overall analysis of the team. The Oilers were quite good in the first 10 minutes of the game – they had their legs and were creating.

The Russell PIM and PPG for the Leafs changed the game a bit.

The Oilers tried hard but the Leafs played well in the neutral and defensive zones and that combined with the Oilers’ higher end players not having their best games well, that led to the result. I include Nurse in to the “top end player” that had off nights.

I won’t comment on Smith’s overall game but he bit on a great fake/play by Spezza – it didn’t look good as he got fooled but I wouldn’t say he was “playing the pass”. If McDavid did that we’d be talking about another skilled and smart play by McDavid and not putting it on the opposition goalie at all.


– I just don’t get the goalie usage at all: Starting goalies, when they go .952 and .977 and in between have to sub-in when the starter blows, they don’t ride the bench 4 games and 10 days, or get 2 starts in 3 weeks.

– Smiths good game came against a poor Vancouver team, and the other wins vs the other poor teams or that are struggling and the team played great. Team sucked when Koski started last game v Calgary. Your just not setting up the starting goaltender of the team for success: not playing him for a week: no rythm, and the messaging is awful.

– Smith is the back-up, and Koski is the starter: why don’t they treat it as such. Koski had some good games, when he wasn’t being played like 14 games in a row. Just weird, bush

– Also, love the 3 game “tournements”. They should incorporate this going forward: less travel, fun to see teams play a few in a row. It’s a no-brainer for the league, the players, costs, creating rivalries. You wonder why they didn’t do it before: travelling from city to city for one game at a time is so wasteful, and exhausting. I can’t see any downside to this.


I fear Tipp does not see it this way. He may say Koski is the starter but his decisions say otherwise. The bond between Tipp and Smith seems very strong, with Koski not so much.


– Your right: now they go back to Koski, who like any goalie who hasn’t played in 10 days, is going to be rusty. If he wins, he won’t get the next start, if he loses, it will be another 10 days before his next start: it’s not data-driven, or thoughtful, just old-school


‘- Koskis .910 5×5 is fine. Sure not elite, but he was the only goalie that started what: the first 12 games + for a team. He’s a starting goalie. Or just get rid of him


If I was Kosh, I am pissed, when they needed me I gave them everything I could, then Smith comes back and I’m pushed aside.
Terrible management of Goalies by the coach.

Doug McLachlan

You need a pretty good reason to not start Smith after pitching a shutout. If the Vancouver results had been reversed (shutout followed by the 4-3 comeback) you could be sure Koskinen would’ve played last night.


– 43 saves out of 44: you need a pretty good reason not to start again for 10 days…


Have you looked at the March schedule?


i like the schedule with repeat games against the same opponent as well. I always wondered why they scrambled to get out of a city after a game to play elsewhere when they could just play another game there.
makes the games on b2b nights more fair as both teams are tired


– Yeah, and you could also promote the “reduced carbon footprint”. There could easily be half the flights if they did more 2/3 game tourneys, and have like a NY/Eastern seaboard travel schedule for visiting teams for a few weeks, and 6 games in 12 days vs Edmonton/Calgary/ ‘Peg, and with Kraken: West Coast 2-weekers, etc: all that type of stuff. Just because things were always done one way, doesn’t mean it has to continue. Of course they won’t but its dunb not to on so many levels.


Can’t wait to watch Arizona in a mini tournament.


Old school coaches like who they like, Smith his is favorite, the playoffs showed that. When he chose Smith , it put the team in a hole and apparently the coach has learned nothing.
Toronto did it right, they brought up a coach who is used to coaching kids and realizes they they will make mistakes and is prepared to live with it. The Oiler’s coach lives with mistakes as long as that player is a senior player who he likes.
The last few cup winners have young coaches who see the game differently, old coaches usually don’t think outside the box, they rely on a formula that has served them well, until it doesn’t.
There is a reason the Canadians just let go a very senior coach and replaced him with a much younger forward thinking coach.


Neither Tippett nor Holland see Koskinen as the starter. We only look at it that way because of the contract. But that wasn’t their contract. They could care less.

The decisions made last year also suggested that Tippett had more confidence in Smith.


I think we look at Mikko as the starter, not because of contract, but because of performance last season. I’m starting to allow a little personal credence to the team maybe playing better in front of Smith due to his style but, ultimately, the goalies primary job is making saves and the save percentage last year speaks for itself – Smith may have been “worse” than his actual save percentage when remembering he was 1st in the NHL on the PK – an oddity i think.

In any event, I think we saw a mind-set change in Tip in the play-in when he never went back to Smith after Mikko was “meh” at best. Tip has every opportunity to go back to “his guy” and didn’t.

I think the plan was likely for Mikko to play 60-65 percent of the games this year. Obviously things changed with Smith’s early injury and, since he came back, well, he earned his starts. Not that Mikko hasn’t played well in his last two games but Mike Smith has a history of heaters and it is 100% defendable to play him while he’s hot.

Now, if Mikko doesn’t get the start tomorrow night…..


If Holland doesn’t view Mikko as the starter than he should have found one, no?


Just catching up on the late comments in the game thread from last night and I note that some think Jones will be coming out tomorrow.

Very well could be but, to me, when the pairs were shuffled and Jones/Larsson was a think last night, I felt that was a “promotion” for Jones, no?


How upset is the fanbase going to be when Kyle Turris is in the lineup on Monday? Is there any doubt its going to happen?

So hard to figure out how to get all four (4) right shot D in the lineup without going with 7D. All four need to play, none of them have played the left side and are all likely to lose effectinvess if shifted over and 7D is not a sustainable deployment.

Tip is a big rightie/leftie guy, and I assume Playfair as well, but I give the following a shot:


Its a home game and that 3rd pairing can be sheltered.

At the same time, I didn’t think that Bear had a great game last night and he’s probably still getting up to game speed – he missed a while. He may not be ready for the primary tough minutes.

Also, will coach take out Russell against such a dangerous and hot PP? Russell was in the box for the PPG against last night.

He could go 7D and he could even just swap Bear for Bouch (although I hope he recognizes that Bear is good and just needs to get his game speed back).



No need to over think it. Hopefully Lagesson feels better soon.


If Lagesson is healthy then that will work. I’d consider sitting Barrie unless they are planning a trade.

Last edited 7 months ago by Bryan

Realistically, there is all but no chance that Barrie is healthy scratched any time soon.

Deployment down the lineup is likely but not out of the lineup.