Guess Who?

by Lowetide

The Bakersfield Condors won again last night, the team is on a fantastic run and several prospects are running hot. Cooper Marody leads the AHL in points, Tyler Benson is in second place. Stuart Skinner owns a .916 save percentage and a 10-2-1 record.

The numbers tell me the Bakersfield Condors forward to bet on having an NHL career is Ryan McLeod. Here’s why.


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.


NHL teams graduate their skill forwards straight to the NHL. Jesse Puljujarvi and Kailer Yamamoto are currently establishing themselves as big-league players after very little time in the AHL after age 20. JP was in the AHL for four games after he turned 20, Yamamoto 50 games.

One of the bullet points in my annual “Farm Workers” series is “pretty much everyone who is in the AHL past 21 is having some issues and may spend time meandering.

If you look at the players at 20 column, logic dictates that Tyler Benson would have gone directly into the NHL. He did not. Why? Despite delivering the second best ‘age 20’ pts-game on the list, head coach Todd McLellan (and then Ken Hitchcock) ran Leon Draisaitl, Milan Lucic, Tobias Rieder, Drake Caggiula, Ryan Spooner, Joe Gambardella and Valentin Zykov instead.

The staff judged Benson not ready, and leaving him on the farm made sense for an organization that fast-tracked prospects far too much.

Cooper Marody was 21 and more dominant offensively than Benson, but received just a 6-game audition over two coaches. He arrived in a crazy moment, McLellan fired, Hitchcock hired and then working 24-7 right afterward convincing Peter Chiarelli he could save Jesse Puljujarvi. Apart from proving Hitch is a compelling personality and ensuring the Finn would bolt (they handled him so badly), it turned Marody’s only NHL audition into a tertiary event.

A real shame, because Marody was injured in the playoffs the following spring and (as you can see) is just now returning to previous levels.

This season, Marody and Benson are tearing the cover off the ball, albeit in a watered down AHL. Lots of talk about a recall, but I am doubtful the No. 2 LW job awaits Benson in Edmonton. In fact, I expect there is more work for Benson before he gets an NHL job. Increasing foot speed is a part of it, but the job he’s applying for now (bottom-six winger) is different than the skill winger gig Kailer Yamamoto is trying to win long term.

What does that mean? Well, over the weekend on a Condors broadcast, play-by-play announcer Ryan Holt (who is outstanding) and Condors captain Brad Malone were discussing Benson. It was mentioned that Benson is adding PK work to his resume in Bakersfield, and that’s a possible tell we will see Benson as No. 3 or No. 4 LW next season in the role currently occupied by James Neal/Joakim Nygard.

Ideally, you’d see a LW depth chart of Leon Draisaitl, Blake Coleman, Dominik Kahun and then Benson among the options to slide in on the No. 4 line or as an extra forward. Holloway could eat his lunch, though. I’m pulling for Benson, would buy a round to find out what Dave Tippett really thinks of him. The fact the coach chose Nygard’s speed and Patrick Russell’s physical presence over him is a possible tell, but it’s such a weird year who the hell knows.

That brings us to McLeod. He is coming at a bottom-six job from the opposite direction. McLeod’s positives include great speed and utility (center or wing, penalty kill) and his weaknesses (offense, playing in the high traffic areas to score) is more typical for a prospect in the AHL.

So his scoring spike, even in a year where the AHL isn’t at its peak, represents a strong step in an area McLeod needed to excel in. He is not a rugged player, but has done a good job at forcing his way into scoring areas.

So. McLeod, despite being the younger prospect, is delivering in the areas he needed to work on. His brother Michael, two years older, finally appears to be gaining traction with the New Jersey Devils this season.

Benson remains on the outside, needing to improve speed and add useful tools to his arsenal.

I say both Benson and McLeod make it, possibly on the same line. Value contracts will be dear in the fall. This will be a fascinating area of the 2021-22 Oilers to follow.


I wondered if anything had changed in the Hall arena, so reached out yesterday on twitter. I would say it remains deadlocked, but was surprised to see ‘bringing him back’ win the day, if only be a slim margin.


Jason Gregor has a ton of information on Edmonton’s prospects who will be coming over now or later, it is here. I won’t spoil the fun beyond noting that it’ll be quite crowded in Bakersfield soon, specifically on defense where some of the no-name blue are playing quite well for the Condors. Jason also has the organization’s view of Ilya Konovalov.


A busy morning, TSN1260 beginning at 10. We should find out when those three canceled Habs games will be played today. We’ll also talk about the NBA trade deadline and Frank Seravalli from TSN will update trade rumours and we’ll talk about the big week for the Oilers, as the team edges closer to a playoff spot due to teams behind them losing games. 10-1260 text, @Lowetide on twitter. Pull up a chair and grab a coffee. The show starts soon!


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Ice Sage

Lots of Canucks available – surely, they’re just shaking off the deadwood for a 22-0 run?


Copied and translated from an article published 24 March from Raphael Lavoie’s hometown newspaper:

Raphaël Lavoie is currently on the plane to join the Edmonton Oilers school club in the American Hockey League (AHL).

After a stay with the Väsby IK, a Swedish team playing in Division 1, the Chamblyen hockey player will probably join the Bakersfield Condors, school team of the Edmonton Oilers and Connor McDavid. In 51 games with the Swedish subsidiary, the former player of the Halifax Mooseheads and the Chicoutimi Saguenéens amassed 23 goals and 22 assists for a total of 45 points, while accumulating 80 penalty minutes.

Once in Bakersfiled, California, Lavoie will have to isolate himself at the hotel for three days. The 20-year-old center will then practice Monday with the team to play its first game on Tuesday. The AHL playoffs will not take place due to the current environment. The Oilers will therefore have until April 15 to call on Raphaël Lavoie and integrate him into the taxi squad .

Defenseman Philip Kemp, another Oilers prospect, was on the same plane as Raphaël Lavoie.

Last edited 4 months ago by €√¥£€^$

It seems interesting to me that the Oilers would not have made an announcement on their twitter account that these two have been re-called from loan and assigned to the Condors.


Rumour has it that Taylor Hall wants to return to the Oilers. In an imaginary universe he can return to the team, settle down, and be a major part of Oilers winning the Stanley Cup in 2021.

Provided Oilers want him back, what will they offer Buffalo? Assuming they don’t have to offer much, since Hall has a NMC.




Only the internet.


Koskinen, Jones, Benson?


The problem is the $8 mill cap. Even if Buffalo eats half, where does the other $4 mill come from?


Throw in something interesting to the management and they might eat another 2 – 2.5 million lol


On Klef’s successful surgery and rehabbing to be ready for the season:


Great news.


Gotta hand it to you OP – you called this one. I would have bet money (if I ever actually bet money) that this was the end for Klef as a professional hockey player. And I know there is still a long ways to go but this is great news for both Klefbom & the team.

I am up in the middle of the night because we are off to Vancouver to view a condo we bought late last night sight unseen and we have to get out there to take a look so we can remove conditions.

Long drive today.


Is the plan to sell it as fast as you bought it?

You are entering one distorted market.


My wife wants to live on the coast again. I am just the house cat. It’s just money.


Per Spector:

Oscar Klefbom’s shoulder surgery, performed by orthopaedic specialist today at the Cleveland Clinic, was successful.
He will begin an extensive rehab process with the goal of being ready by October. With some luck, in time for the ’21-’22 season.


Vegas look scary good.

As in good enough to stymie the young Oilers. Yipes.


not tonight they don’t. Colorado is flying. I think they are No. 1 this week in the power rankings


I must have got the teams mixed up.




Don’t forget, Wisconsin plays tomorrow at 11 (mountain) against Bemidji State – Single Elimitaition






Well it sucks not having any Oilers games this week. Looking forward to Sat game against the Leafs. You have to think the Oil will be more than a little amped up to prove they are a better team than they showed when swept last time. I think they will give Leafs all they can handle this time around. (at least I REALLY hope so!)


Ye old
rest vs. rust


They asked local favorite Tyson Barrie what he had to think about rest VS rust and he’s said the main difference is they’re not on the beach when in normal times a break like this they would be. So it’s more a rest and focus 🤷‍♂️ lots of time to watch game film of missed chances for secondary assists.

Last edited 4 months ago by DevilsLettuce

Going to be a tough game with a full week off between games. Probably better than exhausted as they were originally going to be but still – long breaks are tough.

The leafs have the perfect schedule set-up for it. They got 3 days off, then got one game (tonight) to get their game legs/timing back up and then one day off before the game.

No excuses though – should be a fun one.


Bad teams are full of excuses.

Good teams know how to win.


Leafs, coming off a 3-day break and playing the Sens on the second game of back to backs, get two points but unable to pick up a regulation win.


That’s because they’re focussing on hammering the Oilers.

What else do you think they’re doing?


Lets not forget, when “building” next season’s roster, whether Klefbom is in the lineup from day 1 or now, his cap hit needs to be accounted for and any LTIR reserves can’t really be used unless Holland has certainty that Klefbom will not be returning at all during the season, like he had for this season.

Of course, there is a chance that he doesn’t return at all but there is also a chance he’s ready for the start of the season and, probably most likely, ready at some point during the season.

Barrie was only able to be signed because they had Klef’s LTIR reserves and certainty they would not disappear.

Also, as we all know now, “Robidas Island” is a horrible outcome for the team – it will lead to zero cap space for in-season acquisitions – exactly the situation we are in now.


It will be an interesting off season. There will be money coming off as some contracts expire. I think they pretty much have to buy out Neal this summer no? Would need quite a sweeter for anyone to take on that contract. Neal doesn’t appear to have much left. Holland will have to decide on what he does with Nuge, Barrie, Larsson, Goaltending etc. Not much time at the cottage for Kenny this off season!


Lots of talk about the Oilers having tons of cap space and I don’t really agree with that. Yes, they have cap space to spend, like $25M, apx, but that needs to fill:


Players playing those positions are free agents.

1RD could really be a 4RD (move Bear to 1RD and Bouch to 3RD) but the other positions require re-signs of incumbents or replacements.

Holland has “cap flexibility”, the choice of where to allocate the cap resources with many open space but, really, not a ton of cap space to improve externally on the current team.

Last edited 4 months ago by OriginalPouzar

If you buy Neal out you can resign Nuge for 6 million, Larsson for 4 million and Yamamoto for 2 million.
Leaves you 6 million to spend on a left winger and 5.5 million in cap space for a goalie, or rainy day, or both.


Klefbom isn’t returning.

Book it.


I’d be surprised if that was the case.


If I squint hard and long enough I can vaguely see him riding off into the LTIR sunset.


Good player when healthy. He probably wants to be able to comb his hair when he’s forty.


Silliness to speculate.

As someone who has gone through shoulder surgery and a bunch of challenges because of it, this wasn’t done on a whim. Much like Connor’s knee, this situation was looked at from many angles over quite a time period. There is probably a better than 75% chance he will be back, IMO.


You don’t build a roster with broken pieces like Klefbom and expect to win anything, unless you get lucky which is a ridiculous concept to a clear thinker like Ken Holland.

Thankfully Holland is running the team from the look of things. When Kevin Lowe tried to talk about his 6 cup rings, Holland, without even changing his expression probably said: “Those were only for playing hockey Kevin”…

Lowe has stfu around Holland ever since that happened. Holland meanwhile, is assembling an uninjured mobile defence moving on from the Klefbom era. Bouchard, Barrie, Nurse(when paired with Barrie) are all top players and why anyone doesn’t want to keep Barrie around is flat out nuts to my way of thinking.

Lowetide: Keep good players.


Damn, looks like the Sens won’t be able to do it tonight.

Edit: And as I post that.. the Sens score.

Last edited 4 months ago by Lucinius

Ha! Give away cambell sens goal. 1 zip


~ HH hasn’t pointed this out yet, but if you squint real hard and ignore all their games against the Oil the Sens can get to Bettman.500 tonight with a win. ~


Lol, right on. Pretty hard to squint that tight tho. But i got it.


Apparently you got Dorion’s hopes up way too high…


Last edited 4 months ago by Munny

Hobeybaker. Pinto38.8%
Holloway 37.8%

Go holly


Pinto’s are notorious slow and small, Holloway in a landslide #bookit


I’m not convinced the fan vote has any actual effect on the actual award winner selection.


Probably true, but it’s fun to try, innit?


Holloway leads now at 37.7 to 37.4, I am shocked that Habs fans aren’t giving Caufield any love, they probably figure that he’s got it all wrapped up.


Finally time to cheer for Anton Forsberg, starting for the Sens currently.


Currently watching the “tender that got away” shutout Matthews’ stache. He’s the new Derick Brassard.


I feel the Berglund visa stuff in Gregor’s article is a bit misleading or maybe I just misunderstand something.
Berglund’s team has two games left, the last one is currently scheduled for the 3rd of April. And with a win today, the fifth straight, they’ve climbed into contention for a playoff spot if everything breaks right for them down the stretch. So at this point it’s not primarily the visa issue that keeps him in Sweden it’s that the season hasn’t ended yer but maybe the point was that once his season ends him coming over depends on the visa issue and I’m just stupid.
I have a hard time seeing how it’s not resolved eventually though.

I hope they end up missing the playoffs, not a favourite team of mine and won’t be able to do much damage either. Would much rather see what Berglund can do in Bako.
He was plus one, hit a crossbar but no points in 20:30ish minutes of ice-time tonight, second among D. He’s playing better of late, seems like he’s found his rythm again, obviously much easier to do when the team around you is doing well.


Sometimes meanings get lost in translation. I would guess that his source is not close to as astute and knowledgeable as you are. Thank you for your most valuable contributions to this site.


@ptspndr, if your reply was sincere, well said. If it was sarcastic and trolling, also well said 😉


Thanks! It was done with complete sincerity! Swedish poster adds a great deal to the site. He is both thoughtful and insightful and his posts are most appreciated.


Yeah, but if you discount all his posts about Sweden, he’s barely above .500


I just can’t get on board with any long term, big money contract for Barrie. Like the player, like what’s he’s brought this year, and I’m not someone who thinks we have anyone who given the opportunity can do what Barrie can do.

The thing is that the number one pitfall of team construction is giving out bad contracts. A team should only hand out long term big money deals for core players they “know” will be solid. In my mind, on the Oilers that is McDavid, Draisaitl, and Nurse.

Nuge’s contract is in the grey zone and depends on what replacement will cost because we don’t have an in house top six left winger. For Barrie, we can’t replace what he does, but we can replace a top four righty D. So there is no need to lock up a significant portion of our cap for 5+ years in a way that could blow up in our faces.


An RFA of similar quality and cost to Bear/Bouch, could be roughly similar risk. Just redistributing the lower risk contract to a different position.

Last edited 4 months ago by TheGreatBigMac

See Shattenkirk, Kevin.

Brogan Rafferty's Uncle Steve

The Canucks have 16 more wins than the Oilers if you subtract all the Oilers regulation wins.

The Flames goal differential this season is +89 if you subtract all their goals against. The Oilers’ goal differential last season was only +8.

Also of interest, Jusso Valimaki has 1 goal, 7 points, and a -7. Should be the frontrunner for the Norris and Calder.


Not to mention the Vezina and The Jack Adams


Have you offered Brogan the taxi business yet?


So no further positives on the Habs. Should probably keep the closest contact out and play tomorrow


Andrew Copp on the Jets seems like comparable value to Bear and could be a good fit for 2LW/3C. Would be nice to get a Woodguy analysis of LW options. Darcy I would be excited to get your take if/when you have time.

Last edited 4 months ago by TheGreatBigMac
Unfriendly Regional Arachnid Individual

For what it’s worth, I’ve been high on Copp for a few years now. While it’s only three stats, his relGF, relHDCF, and relHDGF numbers were frankly crazy for a guy that didn’t see regular time in the top-6. These numbers dipped last year after his regular partner (Lowry) had a down year but they’ve normalized somewhat this year while his counting totals have taken a jump. His offensive spike might force him out of “cost effective” territory, though.

I think I’d be looking more at Coleman or Saad. Despite his injury history, I’d have time for Schwartz, too.


Benson was assigned to the AHL on January 14.

Edit: Sorry, this was meant as a reply.

Last edited 4 months ago by OriginalPouzar

Was that before games started. Sorry my memory gets worse with every passing year. Was he one of the last or am I imagining that?


I believe the first game was Jan 13.


I’ve been seeing Andrew Mangiapane pretty well in his matches against Edmonton this year.
With flames fans wanting to blow up the team, is he a potential solution to 2LW?

Elgin R

I like his hustle but what the Oilers do not need is another under-sized winger (5-10 / 184).


I want Sam Bennett to play with McDavid and Puljujarvi.


Why? Hands of stone, dumb penalties.


The hope would be that he re-emerges with time away from a trainwreck team. But with so little time between now and playoffs, I would stay away from Bennett.

Still, having Calgary trade him for peanuts only to flourish here would be fantastic


The minute he’s traded i would be asking his new GM how much. I would love to see him blossom in Edmonton and more importantly troll the Flames for the next 5 years.


He’s literally Kassian. 🤣


Bennett has been the best Flames player in the playoffs every time they have made it since Bennett was a rookie.


Assuming the 14-7 day quarantine change comes to fruition and that it applies to call-ups, this is a bit of a game changer for a potential call-up of a Benson.

14 days is really 21 days (give or take) as a player off skates for 2 weeks will need real time to get back in shape. Being off skates for 7 days won’t require as long to get up to speed


So in the end playing in Bakersfield turns out to have been the right call?


Maybe, maybe not.

If he would have been kept (over a guy like P. Russell), perhaps he would have played games and proven a good fit in the middle six. We don’t know.


Nobody’s getting called up except my new favourite prospect Hollaway and that’s if he even plays in the AHL.


I love your enthusiasm but we may have to temper it just a tad.😉


Holloway is headed to Bakersfield, unless he absolutely and consistently tears it up in his last 4 NCAA games.

You are forgetting about the frequency tuned into by Kenneth…


Players in the US should be able to get vaccinated sooner than later,this should help shorten the quarantine time.


Does it depend if they are Democrat or Republican? Asking for a friend.😇


Kurt Leavins reporting that the government is going to approve a shortening of the quarantine from 14-7 days for players coming to Canada from the US prior to the trade deadline.

Check that, there was a CBC News Alert on the same prior to Kurt’s post.

Apparently all relevant provincial governments have already approved.

Last edited 4 months ago by OriginalPouzar

Excellent news all around.


Appros of nothing, but with the games postponed, I thought I’d throw out an observation:

Does anyone else feel like McDavid’s stickhandling has reached another level this year? I’ve not looked at any video, but I don’t remember his hands being so lethally quick as I’m seeing this year. I mean, he’s always had quick hands to get a shot off or make a quick deke at high speed, but I really notice a difference when he carries the puck this season, I find he’s going forehand/backhand/forehand etc so fast that it’s almost a blur

I haven’t seen anybody else comment on it, so I thought I’d ask.Thoughts?


I believe his shot has taken three steps this year – well, specifically, his shot and release while in full stride and on the rush – its ridiculous.

Bank Shot

I dunno if his shot is better but he’s certainly using it more this year. On pace for 328 shots over 82 games which would smash his previous high water mark of 270 something.


I wouldn’t say quicker but I’ve noted what seems to be greater precision or authority tapping opposing sticks out of the way in between touches on the puck. It’s 3D stick handling, really, moving from the manipulation of a disc on a surface to a comprehensive ‘envelope of control’ enclosing some 3’ around whenever the puck happens to be.


Happy surgery day Oscar Klefbom!


Month’s not over yet but the Oilers are currently the best North team in March!


What? I thought we were told in no uncertain terms it was the Nucks?!

Harpers Hair

It was…until last night.

The Oilers have earned 14 points in March.

The Canucks 13…with multiple injuries including their #1C, #3C, #2LW and #4C.

Also of interest…the standings gap between the Oilers and the Flames is exactly equal to their differing results playing against Ottawa…otherwise the same.


The Oilers have injury issues too, with guys like Klefbom and Smith missing time among others. I’m sure that’s somehow less relevant than the Canuck injuries.

Also of interest, HH acknowledges that the Oilers have more points than Calgary due to winning more games.

Fuge Udvar

In March:

Oilers P%0.636
Canucks P%0.500

Or does points percentage suddenly not count now?

Also the Oilers passed the Canucks when they won their last game on the 20th.. Not yesterday.

Pretty weak.. Even by your standards

Harpers Hair

Of course it matters…so what?


Go tell your wife she wants you!

Hate the Turtle

Your last point is not true. Oilers are ahead in the head to head between Oilers and Flames so there is no way your “standings gap” can be true.


You mean the gap between two teams is the same if you take away all differing results?? What a concept…. Your comments get more and more pathetic as you grasp for straws. Make like a tree and fuck off.


Wrong, which comes as a surprise to absolutely nobody.


The difference in the Oilers and the flames in the standings is a result of the Oilers winning games and the flames losing games…….what a statement.

The implication is that somehow these are comparable teams even though:

1) the Oilers have 9 more points (even games played)
2) the Oilers have .618 points percentage to .485 for the flames
3) the Oilers have 7 more regulation wins
4) the Oilers have a goal differential if +19 and the flames -13
5) the Oilers have blown the flames out more than once this year


He fell out of the Cherry Jello Tree directly into a rabbit hole. What are the odds?


Desperate troll is desperate


His bridge is collapsing over his very head and he’s too stupid to shut up and duck!


Is Demko injured too? Would that explain his awful play the last 2 games?


Turris has been activated and Nygard back to taxi squad to make room.

Lets not forget, Turris had his best game of the season before he was put on Covid-potocol (and, from account, he wasn’t on protocol because of a positive test).

With that said, I’m not sure where he fits right now with Kass back – I think RW is set with Yamamoto, Puljujarvi, Kass, Archi.

He shouldn’t play center over either of Khaira or Haas.

This is good depth.


I’ve said this a number of times, Jesse Puljujarvi’s rookie season in the AHL doesn’t get enough talk for how phenomenal it was – to produce at that rate, at 18 years old and the youngest player in North American professional hockey was elite.


Benson has been phenomenal in the AHL this season – his passing is at another level, his board work continues to improve and he is spending more time with the puck on his stick.

There has been some verbal about Benson and the PK but, from watching the games, this isn’t really a big thing in my opinion – he’s being spotted on PK duty but isn’t a main PK guy on the team (Joe G., Esposito, McLeod, etc. are the main PK guys up front).


I said before the season started that the key for McLeod this season was to be a light top 6 center in the AHL and a prominent part of the team and offence. Last year he was a bottom six player and more winger than center.

McLeod is covering the bet and more. Not only is he the full time 1C now with PK and PP time, but he is producing and its the way he’s producing and playing. He is fully confident and carrying the puck through the neutral zone and in to the offensive zone with confidence. This used to be Marody’s job on that top line and now McLeod is using his speed and skill. He’s making skilled plays with the puck and, importantly, getting to the front of the net at opportune times.

His progression to a top level AHL player is a great arrow for an NHL career.

He needs to entire season in the AHL, in my opinion.


What a ridiculous job Jay Woodcroft is doing. I know we’ll eventually lose him to the NHL again (an opportunity he’s more than earned), but he’s been a prospect whisperer the last few years.

*Should read the whole thread… I see this has been better stated below 🙂

Last edited 4 months ago by Feem

Benson’s problem is what he does in the offensive end of the ice without the puck on his stick, and with how many shots he takes and goals he scores.

He has to work on the tools that get him from the 4th line to the 3rd line to the 2nd line. The guys he will be playing on the 4th and 3rd line are not going to finish much on his playmaking, so unless he scores a few goals himself by shootin gand driving the net, he will be toast.


Can he make a pass greater than 10 feet that Drai can finish?


How does Benson get through the 4th line to the 3rd line to the 2nd line?

It is a challenge for a pass only playmaker with no other exceptional trait or skill to climb that ladder.


The team needs a top 6LW and Benson is a top 6 skill-set player – he gets there by earning the opportunity that is created by others (in this case, Kahun, Ennis) not solidifying their hold on the job.

See: Kailer Yamamoto 2020.


Tippett has had Benson for two seasons. No apparent interest in giving Benson an opportunity. Meanwhile Ennis get opportunity after opportunity after opportunity. Kahun has gotten a couple of chances. Nygard has gotten a couple of chances.

It is like Benson is invisible to him.

No one has been able to fill 2nd LW with Draisaitl. The same failures have been all the chances to fail multiple times over and no Benson.

I’m just stating the obvious that this coach has demonstrable disinterest in the player.

And I agree…Benson is not likely to do any worse than Kahun, or Ennis, or Nygard, or Archibald (flipped to the left side).


Tip has Benson for last year’s training camp, that’s pretty much it. Yes, he was invisible to Tip for this season due to circumstance. As I posted earlier:

Covid took away Benson’s chance/opportunity to play in the NHL this season.

The decision on Benson, in my opinion, was made prior to the short training camp. I don’t believe he even got a single line rush in camp with an NHL player.

Given the shortness of camp and no exhibition games, with the likes of Kahun, Nygard, Ennis and Neal, camp was about figuring out where to play those four guys and not about seeing if a guy like Benson was ready or could beat one of them out.

I was also adamant at the time that Benson should stay on the taxi squad and not be assigned to Bakersfield because, once he was assigned, he was gone for the year.

Even if he wasn’t going to play to start the season, I think that he, like Bouchard, should have stayed with the team so they had access to him if they wanted/needed.
Its just not practical to wait 3 weeks for an AHL call-up.

I also professed, many times, that the Oilers were at a disadvantage not having access to their AHL teams like Calgary, Winnipeg, Toronto, Montreal all do.
He is elite at the AHL level and should very much be in the conversation for an opening night roster spot in September.


I believe that management is giving Benson the extra time because they see what he can become. The others have already had their requisite development time.


His board work and compete are both commendable.


I am very particular about mly criticisms. Benson doesn’t shoot the puck enough, nor drive the net without the puck. He will never get from the AHL to the 4th line to the 3rd line to the 2nd line without shooting the puck and driving the net.,


Dave Tippett didn’t require either Jesse Puljujarvi nor Kailer Yamamoto to play on the 4th line. He played Yamamoto 1 game on the 3rd line before moving him up.


As I speculated earlier this year
Friedman reporting that Hall unlikely to return a first round pick


That 8 mil might well keep him from joining a contender. And he went to a high-tax jurisdiction and lost a bunch of it too.

They should index the cap for each team so that $1USD = $1USD everywhere.

All the Canadian teams are now in the high tax group.

Elgin R

It may be something that the NHL will have to look at. The last 10 cup winners are all from the USA and have a combined federal + state tax rate of 42.7%. The average of the combined federal and provincial tax rates for the Canadian teams is 51.3%.

Montreal is a whopping 58.75% whereas Florida, Texas etc are 37%. A significant differential that is only going to grow.


I think Gary likes the American teams having a cap advantage since the Canadian teams fill their arenas winning or losing while TB, Florida, Dallas etc. need to win to bring in the bucks.

Elgin R

As with everything NHL, it always comes around to Bettman and the money!

Scungilli Slushy


Scungilli Slushy

Agreed but tax is paid in the jurisdiction the game is paid, so the number would have to have more nuance, which fortunately would be lower and more manageable, maybe half?


Per Tippet: Yamamoto is getting close. He’s practiced hard the last two days and has a chance to play on Sat.


Going by LT’s depth chart from

Draisaitl	Barrie
Ennis		Larsson
Kahun		Bear
Nygard		Bouchard
Shore		Berglund
Neal		Kemp
Benson		Kesselring

Couldn’t it just be that the Oilers felt it was better for Benson to be playing more in the AHL than spending time on the taxi squad? Guys like Shore (26) and Nygard (27) are pretty much what they are. Not much room for development. Benson just turned 23 ten days ago. Shore and Nygard are last on the Oilers for EVTOI/GP, although Shore does PK.

The reason I included RD is because I was thinking, “okay, so they sent Benson to Bakersfield to develop. Then why keep Bouchard?” Because there isn’t much else besides him. Berglund, Kemp, and Kesselring aren’t available. RD depth at the NHL level is great, but at the AHL… not so much. Benson has a lot more bodies to pass. Bouchard is (in theory) in the lineup barring injury. That hasn’t necessarily been the case this season, but yeah.

TL;DR I think Benson is better off dominating in the AHL regularly than sitting on the taxi squad for an entire year waiting for 3 of Draisaitl, Ennis, Kahun, Nygard, Shore, and Neal to get injured at the same time to crack the top 4 LW. And even if he did beat out Nygard/Shore for 4LW, he’d be barely playing during the games anyway on the fourth line. That’s not putting a skill player in a position to succeed.

Last edited 4 months ago by OmJo

How much is Benson making in the minors?


$70K (although AHL players are not receiving their full day this season).

At some point, I am going to stop answering all your questions that you can somewhat easily figure out yourself. It will be good for you to do you own work sometimes.


I met it as a rhetorical question as in if anybody thinks that Benson wouldn’t be happier making a NHL pay cheque on the taxi squad and being a part of the team is missing the point that I don’t think Benson is in the Oilers plans and will be dealt in a package deal this off-season or straight up for a pick.

Last edited 4 months ago by Reja

When I say Benson is better off in the AHL I mean for his skillset development, not financial development, lol.


He wouldn’t be making an NHL paycheque on the taxi squad – he’d be making his AHL salary….. he’d get the NHL per diem but not his NHL salary.

Yes, we know, if a prospect drafted pre-Holland isn’t in the NHL lineup, he’s not in the team’s plans….


I mean… If you go out of the way to answer somebody’s questions idk if you are right to be snarky and complain, lol


Not a valid argument in my opinion. You’re talking chump change in difference.


We shall soon find out. If I’m Benson I’m asking to be dealt to a organization that’s thin on prospects to bad Calgary is the thinnest anyhow his window is closing to carve out a career and make money which some folks don’t think is a factor. Next year Holland’s picks of Lavoie and Hollaway will be getting a major push there’s lots of borderline players that just never get a opportunity with a organization sounds like anyone that thinks otherwise is wrong.

Last edited 4 months ago by Reja

Benson will get his QO from Holland. If Benson asks/demands a trade, Holland will probably actually laugh out loud until he realizes Benson is being serious and then let him know when he’s ready to sign his QO and report.

What’s more likely, in my opinion, is Benson signing his QO, working his ass off this summer and competing for an open LW job on the Oilers roster in Septemer.

He is much more NHL ready and more likely to be on the Oilers roster in October than Lavoie and, probably, Holloway as well.

Litke 94

I wonder if a smart team is going to see if they could trade for Dahlin.

Sabres fans say he is lost, not looking good, etc. Likely a result of not having enough support and playing for a terrible team.

I looked at his stats, and the GA are ugly, but his possession numbers don’t look terrible, and he is rocking a 90.4 PDO this year.

I remain convinced that the Sabres will be trading Eichel this offseason, so it is probably very unlikely they would trade Dahlin, but who knows?


We know as fans from the experience that this is when bad teams do horrendously stupid things.

I’m sure Holland is on the phone regularly with his counterpart in Buffalo. There’s talent there. When the firesale hits – be in line.


Keep in mind Dahlin’s numbers are all produced in a highly sheltered role. Check for reference.

Litke 94

GF% of 10% against Elites…. ay yai yai.


I did the CapFriendly exercise that LT sometimes posts. My 2021-2022 roster wound up:

Khaira-Jost(though I kind of want Copp)-Slepyshev

Larsson-Ristolainen (one of these two would be fine LD)

(Konovalov in the minors and to camp)

Assumes Klefbom isn’t available.

Needless to say – I spent picks, prospects and resources to move out the crap.

Go. For. It. Aim way higher than incomplete top sixes and putting up with useless wastes of cap space.

There will be talent to trade for picks when the time comes.

Last edited 4 months ago by LMHF#1

It’s fantasy land stuff, but I’ll be damned if I’m downvoting a plan to bring back Sleppy.


Indeed. I know CapFriendly let me do it, but can’t recall if this is actually doable for next season. There seem to be opposite views on the subject.

I was really hoping there’d be more actual commentary rather than just blank minuses…though I see I’ve clearly pushed far enough to irk some people. Excellent.

I maintain as LT mentioned that there’s a significant portion of the readerbase here that wants to see prospects held onto and watch a team that struggles (in both the positive and negative way) rather than see a winner and top-of-the-heap favorite. It’s perplexing in some ways…sad in others…but an interesting study nonetheless.

Elgin R
  1. Keep RNH over spending assets to acquire Rakell
  2. Save $5-6M and play Holloway instead of signing Hall as the cap room will be needed elsewhere
  3. What assets are you going to move to get Tyson Jost? Whatever they are would be an overpay and both Khaira and Hass are playing better than him 5v5 and PK right now and they are cheaper.
  4. Lazar – see #3 above

Rakell + additional cap space looks like a better fit to me. Better possibilities for McDavid.

You can’t count on Holloway out of the chute. That’s the recipe for failure. If he blows the doors off, you then trade from a position of strength to make room. Never slot a guy like that straight in with either #97 or #29. This isn’t a Tambellini/MacTavish team.

Jost is stuck behind multiple players in Colorado, and an RFA after the season is done. He’s apparently playing excellent defensive hockey and isn’t getting many chances offensively. You will notice I kept Khaira. I don’t agree that Haas is in any way better. I’m trying to recall the exact move I had for Jost…can’t recall as it was a couple days ago. I also like Copp in this spot – but it’s going to be tougher to afford his next deal.

Lazar is listed as 4C – I like him as a 4th line option with more versatility. The Buffalo drag is also negatively impacting a player like him. I don’t share the analysis of Haas that many people are arriving at. He’s not delivering what I’d be looking for. With that said – the 4th line doesn’t matter too much to me in terms of roster construction. They shouldn’t have to play very much. I didn’t go with one of my approaches – which is actually using the 4th line for powerplay specialists in order to play the top 6 5-on-5 for max minutes. I really do like that as a roster construction method.

Where do you need the cap space elsewhere? I managed to fit an oversized roster in under the cap with all those guys paid where other people have noted their likely contracts to be.


I’ve got a reply to you but it’s sitting in “Awaiting for approval”…

Oh automatic reply grammar…


I bite, what planet are you living on? The team is on the upswing and making the playoffs. The team has in house improvement and one of the best pipelines of young D. The team you proposed is two steps worse than what we have. Take a chill pill and take a reality check. When you are all alone in an opinion it doesn’t indicate that you are the smartest man in the room but quite the opposite. Young cost effective players are close to contributing. What we currently have with minor tweaks has the possibility of success in the short term and long term sustainability.


Slepyshev will be an NHL UFA when his KHL contract is up.

If he wouldn’t sign with the Oilers prior to this season when Holland was looking to bring him back, I don’t see it likely that he’d sign with the Oilers when he has the entire league to negotiate with.


He wanted to and then didn’t because of the uncertainty over COVID and the season – don’t you recall seeing that?


No, I don’t recall any official statement from Slep (or his representatives) on his re-signing in the KHL – not saying it isn’t true but, no, I don’t recall it.


Man…that is a horrible roster. Get better dope to smoke.


Aside from the obvious discrepancy with regard to Barrie (I’m assuming that McDavid and Leon insist he be kept. If that isn’t the case, I’d get Risto, play him with Nurse, then go after a better 2nd pair LHD, assuming that Klefbom can’t play).

I can’t recall exactly where you’ve landed on Hall.

What’s wrong with a real top 6, two big minute pairs, and an actual #1 goalie?

If you dispute the players – step on up!


I want Nugent-Hopkins back before I consider Hall. If Nugent-Hall signs elsewhere, Hall on a short prove it deal would be fine.

That defense is not good because it is not well designed.

Holloway will play top six or in Bakersfield.

No way Holland will make so many changes to the roster.

My priority is a Klefbom replacement (I give an example), resiging Nugent-Hopkins, and another left wing. Two years ago it was JT Miller, last year it was Granlund. I don’t have a hard target yet. Hall on a short term prove it deal…sure.

So I can run

Nurse Bouchard
Lindholm Bear
Lagesson/Jones Larsson

Hall, McDavid, Puljujarvi
Nugent-Hopkins Draisaitl, Yamamoto

Khaira, Haas, Turris, Archibald, Kassian, Benson, McLeod, Neal…plus other less than million dollar options like Kahun, Ennis, etc.


LT had a roster with I believe Hyland also UFA this year. Two way left winger and what I consider a perfect fit with Connor and JP.

Elgin R

On Tyler Benson. Getting better and working to be a more complete player as LT mentioned. Where does he fit in the NHL? I would think that if the Oilers try to send him down next year he is claimed. So he just has to tough out this year and wait for the 2021-2022 season to begin his NHL career.

If Holland can get rid of Neal, then there is an opening for Benson. How about the 2021 1st-rounder + Neal to the Kraken? It will leave the Oilers without any picks before the 4th round, but getting rid of $4.63m for the prime of 97/29 would be huge to help pay a top-level goalie.

2021-2022 Oilers (with Neal traded or bought out)
Holloway – 97 – JP
Benson – 29 – Yamamoto
Ennis – RNH – Kassian
McLeod – Khaira – Archi
Hass / Kahun – these two provide injury coverage for LW/C/RW and PK (Hass)

Mix and match as required (Nuclear option available at any time).

Last edited 4 months ago by Elgin R

That squad is woefully inadequate to win a championship. Why would they do that??


It has room to grow without cap restrictive hurdles.


This looks terrible

Fuge Udvar

2 rookies in the top 6 is going to be a tough sell. It doesn’t really fit the Holland and Tippett MO.


I really hope Holland has some kind of agreement with Jay Woodcroft to keep him in Bakersfield as long as possible, while guaranteeing him first crack at the Oilers head coaching job when it comes available, or other NHL teams start knocking down his door. Every prospect he touch seems to turn to gold. I thought this was a doomed season in Bako with most of the shiny prospects playing overseas. What a story.

Fuge Udvar

I agree. Woodcroft has been excellent. I think it was a tell when he stayed with the organization instead of following McClellan to LA.

Elgin R

Woodcroft, Houle and Manson have done, and are doing, a fantastic job delivering players to the big club. Get good coaches, pay good coaches and keep good coaches.

It would be hilarious if Woodcroft was the Oiler’s HC and won the cup when Flattop is in LA purgatory.


I remember a lot on here didn’t like the Woodcroft assignment but I liked a steady hand who knew his job was player development instead of using it as a stepping stone to an NHL job and sacrificing development for wins


Is there any cap for AHL coach salaries? I don’t think so.

Katz’s call in that case. Pay the man and his crew.


Not so much a question of money as opportunity. He’s going to want a shot as a HC in the show, and there are NHL teams in need of a good coach. In fact, you don’t have to go that far down the QE2 to find one!


Luckily Sutter has a 3 year contract

Elgin R

Yes, but he will need to hire a coach when he takes over from Tre as GM any day now.


Sutter is old school – he’ll bring back the old “coach and GM” position.


I hope so.


So the Peter principle is still alive and well.


This is true but the best coach in the world can make a silk purse out of a sows ear or so the saying goes.


Haha I totally disagree on Woodcroft. He has the same systemic imperatives as McLellan did, the way the Condors play hockey drives me nuts. I think he’s the opposite of Todd in terms of everything but systems, though, which makes him worth keeping around I guess.


I see that Safin scored 2 goals for the Condors last night. Is Safin still considered a prospect or has that ship sailed?


He just turned 22, definitely a prospect.


He is only a 2nd year pro and barely played his last Jr year. When he got back into the lineup in the playoffs for Halifax he was just a shell of the player that was drafted. It is incredible what kind of a negative impact missing big chunks of time has on a player’s development/confidence. We saw that impact with Curtis Hamilton, even Tyler Benson, as well as with Tyler Pitlick. Unfortunately for Safin he hadn’t quite established himself like the others had as a teen, so he is coming from much further back in his development.

Here is some discussion on him that you might find interesting:

Luckily his time in Wichita last season gave him a chance to play, because he simply was not ready for the AHL. This year he has struggled a lot with niggling injuries, but when he has played he does show flashes of his offensive skills. Given his size and substantial toolbox he will be given plenty of opportunity. There are only 5 legit NHL forward prospects (including Lavoie) right now and Safin plays both wing positions, so he is definitely still a viable prospect in the organization. Next season he will likely have even more opportunities if he can stay healthy.

I hope his injuries are behind him and a function of him being tall and thin, and therefore somewhat frail. I am hopeful he has a better understanding of how to take care of himself and I hope he is able to remain healthy. It would be amazing if he could gain some confidence and traction with consistent results moving forward, but the odds are certainly against him.

Regardless I am very excited to see what he does over his next 10 games. Stay healthy Ostap!

Elgin R

He gets a decent amount of PIMS so I can just hear the announcers now when he breaks his stick cross-checking someone.

Oh-Snap Saffin is off to the sin bin again!


When I watched him at the young stars in Penticton there was a lot to like in the young mans game. It would be a welcome surprise and I wish the young man well. I think at this time he would be classified as a long shot.


So we are probably close to 95% chance for playoffs despite having the most boring spring break


Bakersfield Condors vs. San Jose Barracuda; March 24th, 2021; regulation time over

(all following numbers at 5-on-5 only)

54 CF – 51 CA (+3)
45 FF – 28 FA (+17)
3 GF – 3 GA (+0)

Top F: Safin
2.17 Game Score
3 shot attempts, 2 shot assists
2 goals

Top D: Stanton
1.03 Game Score
6 shot attempts, 0 shot assists
1 penalty taken
26 CF – 15 CA
20 FF – 7 FA
2 GF – 0 GA

Someone asked about the Game Score formula, it’s this:
Individual Goal = +0.750 / / Assist (Primary) = +0.700
Penalty Drawn = +0.150 / / Penalty Taken = -0.150
Individual Shot Attempt = +0.055 / / Individual Shot Assist (Primary) = +0.051
On-Ice Shot Attempt Differential * 0.05
On-Ice Goal Differential * 0.15

It’s just a bit of colour; usually correctly flags the standout forward (imo) and usually not the standout defenseman (also imo) unless they randomly picked up a point somewhere. The larger samples of it did pick out Yamamoto, Puljujärvi and Gagner, which are also the forwards who all didn’t necessarily need to be in the AHL at all, that might mean something.


Thanks Wilde, appreciate the work and the response!


I still feel Benson hasn’t been setup to succeed. Marody has developed a goal scorer’s touch this season, so that’s good. But, as I’ve mentioned before, Benson has never really played with a pure goal scorer / sniper. And for a player with his vision and passing skills, it’s a real shame. I’d like to see him play with a sniper someday to see what they can produce together. Lavoie? Too bad Savoie and Benson both play LW.


Safin? He was sniping pretty good last night!

Fuge Udvar

Top line in the AHL seems like a pretty good setup to succeed at the moment. I like the fact he’s forced himself into a better situation.

If you aren’t in the NHL I can’t imagine a better place to be. Although i agree, the organization has done him no favours.


Sure, but is Benson making a sniper out of his less-than-sniper linemates again? He made Gambardella and Currie into snipers. My point is that I’d like to see him play with someone who is a sniper before they started playing with him. Which, to my knowledge has never happened with him. Not even in junior. Which is why I’d like to see him with Lavoie. Maybe Benson-Holloway-Lavoie, Savoie-McLeod-Marody? I doubt that Savoie makes the transition this spring or even in the fall though.


The AHL team has had a dearth of offensive centres which has been the problem for a number of young wingers to show their skills JP and Yamamoto come to mind.

Silver Streak

I think you`re correct, they both shoot left, but in the few games Ive seen Lavoie, he prefers the right side.


If you’ve actually seen Lavoie play, you should probably know he shoots right, shouldn’t you?
Or do you mean Savoie?


Savoie, Lavoie, ohboie!


I was on another forum and thought they should get similar numbers from the right side.
That way if you only saw the right half of the back of their jersey it would look like the same player, although Lavoie being 6″ taller probably makes it a non-factor.

Material Elvis

He was watching Lavoie play on Woodguy’s phone apparently.


When might Lavoie be able to join the Condors?


He’s done in Vasby – their season is over.

Presumably, he and Kemp are on their way imminently, if not already.

Berglund is also on his way but is having immigration issues that are being sorted out.


Ha – an indication why noone should give any care about the “votes” – they mean nothing vis-a-vis the post itself

Last edited 4 months ago by OriginalPouzar
Fuge Udvar

I still have confidence Benson can carve out a role as a middle 6 winger in the NHL. I know people like to point at his age and the fact that most players have made the NHL as proof he won’t. That may put him in a smaller peer group but hardly disqualifies him. Every player overcomes the odds in some form to make it to the NHL.

He will never be a 5 tool player but if he can do 3 good enough he can find a role. In think the fact that we talk about him so often is a tell.


Given the trials and tribulations that Benson has fought through I truly hope this young man makes the show. His tenacity and work ethic have been second to none.


Looking at expansion, as of right now edmonton’ll lose a good young player on D, but won’t protect anyone of value in net. Surely there is a trade there.

spitballing: If Washington will inevitably lose Vanecek, I would seriously consider a trade from both teams’ perspectives.
Bear for Vanecec.

A young goalie with future for a young cost controlled defender

Washington doesn’t have many right shot defenders, and they have a shwack of younger left shot defenders coming (none as accomplished as Bear). I bet they’d end up protecting bear, but even if they don’t they are in exactly the same position they would have been (without Vanecec – in a roundabout way) in a trade to the opposite conference so it won’t bite anyone.

I’m sure other examples exist.

even if you “lose” a trade, it’s just good economics to fill every position you are able to protect.

im never on team trade-bear. He’s the man. I’d rather trade Jones (esp with broberg/klef coming). He’s just the only asset that makes sense for the Caps in this scenario.

maybe Driedger? Jake Allen?


The Oilers only have two legit proven top 4 D who can play in all situations (Nurse and Bear) and you want to trade the duration-and-cost-controlled one for peanuts?

Three (if Klefbom were healthy).

Larsson is top 4 level on defense only. Barrie is top 4 on offense only. Larsson and Barrie will never be value for money anymore. One will be paying full sticker price a partial skill set. Larsson has the more scarce skill set of the two.


Larsson is currently full value for his sticker price (in my opinion) and I believe he will be in his prime for the next 2-3 season – he’s 28 – doesn’t turn 29 until in to next season.

I don’t know what his sticker price is going to be but it could actually go down a bit.


if He does well in the playoffs, I would give him a raise and short term as opposed to loosing him. $5Mx2 would be just about right.


Oooooh, I don’t think I would go that high and I think he’s a massive piece for team success.


The Benson and Marody call up makes so much sense it feels like it is hiding in plain sight.

In a covid year, imo it is much different than LT lays out above. The lack of cap space, and the quarantine changes everything.

The Oilers might be good enough to go deep in the play-off – we should improve the team.

Adding an instant upgrade for draft picks (aka the AA trade) is not possible due to the cap squeeze.

So it it players in, then players have to go out. We are not touching our core top 10-13 players and Holland has publicly said he not trading for different NHL depth players.

So that leaves us with internal upgrades. On the team now, but playing at replacement player level are, P. Russell, Nygard and Turris all on one way contract – they get paid the same in the AHL as they would in the NHL.

Benson over Nygard and probably Kahun is a better NHL team
Marody over P. Russell is a better NHL team.

Oddly as all the rookies join Bakerfield from around the world, Nygard and Russell on that roster leave spots for the new kids to play in the AHL.

A traded player would likely have to go through all the quarantine that Benson and Marody have to go through.

There are 97 major league pro and NCAA hockey teams playing right (plus the Oilers), 12 are in Canadian but only 5 would have players that could be trade to the Oilers, Belleville, Stockton, Sens, Canucks, and Flames – so that 6% of the total players, that will require some unique circumstances to make that work.


Wouldn’t the most obvious answer be the isolation period?

I think Benson and Marody and McLeod should all be called up, but Tippett already has excess players on the taxi squad and I can see at a certain point he doesn’t want too many bodies sitting around.

Sure Nygard, Russell and Turris are on 1-way deals but if the AHL guys didn’t work and he needed to recall them from Bakersfield, then again he’s waiting 2 weeks.

Plus, wouldn’t waivers theoretically be an issue?


If Nygard and Russell are sent to the farm they are only ever coming back in an emergency situation. If they are picked off the waivers by another team they are replaceable.

also Holland has said Bouchard is going to sit and not go back to the AHL he has nothing let to prove there. Wouldn’t Benson and Marody deserve the same consideration.


So you replace Nygaard with Benson and Russell with Marody?
What have you actually accomplished? You’ve replaced 2 taxi squad players with 2 different taxi squad players. I don’t see how that makes the Oilers much better. Unless you think one of these guys is going to jump in the lineup and make a significant impact.
Holland has the prospects playing every day in Bakersfield, and the journeymen on the taxi squad. Isn’t that the way it should be?


Holland has the prospects playing every day in Bakersfield, and the journeymen on the taxi squad. Isn’t that the way it should be?



There seems to be many who think that those players can step directly into the lineup and be better than who they would replace.

What has occurred is exactly what should have occurred.


Just replace 4th line with Benson-McLeod-Marody.

Shore, Khaira, Kahun, Turris, and Chiasson all running 42-43 xGF%.

Khaira’s 1034 PDO & 14.3% 5v5 SH% has propped up his reputation this year.


And Haas’ PK results suggest we don’t need Khaira for that work anymore either.


Tall Can Pisani taught Haas everything he knows about penalty killing.

Only reason you’ll find Giant Pisani on the ice is blocking a shot, or a temple punch.

Haas literally spends half his time skating on all fours.

Haas looks at Pisani 2.0’s beard and drops to his knees, which he’s probably already on because the man has 10% balance.


Giant Pisani doesn’t deserve this disrespect, he’s been nothing short of tremendous since his taxi reset. He’s turned into one of the coaches staples when he needs a grind it out momentum change.


It seems like next year is Benson’s make it or break it year. If he doesnt make it he’s probably a perennial tweener. Should be openings in the bottom 6 as a number of contracts are up. I think even a spot as a 13 or 14 forward would benefit him because you know he will get in some games. I have more confidence with Tippet to bring in young forwards than the previous staff.


I’m still sure that if there wasn’t a two week waiting period for AHL call ups he and Marody would have gotten legitimate shots this year.


I think it has more to do with the size of the taxi squad. When the Oilers decided to keep their AHL team in Bakersfield to get them maximum playing time (Holland’s words) they loaded up their taxi squad to the max with the idea that whoever lost out on those spots would spend the year down south.

Benson didn’t stand out enough to beat out one of the journeymen. I think that was when the decision was made that Benson (and the team) was better served with him in Bakersfield for the entire season barring an exceptional run of injuries.


Covid took away Benson’s chance/opportunity to play in the NHL this season.

The decision on Benson, in my opinion, was made prior to the short training camp. I don’t believe he even got a single line rush in camp with an NHL player.

Given the shortness of camp and no exhibition games, with the likes of Kahun, Nygard, Ennis and Neal, camp was about figuring out where to play those four guys and not about seeing if a guy like Benson was ready or could beat one of them out.

I was also adamant at the time that Benson should stay on the taxi squad and not be assigned to Bakersfield because, once he was assigned, he was gone for the year.

Even if he wasn’t going to play to start the season, I think that he, like Bouchard, should have stayed with the team so they had access to him if they wanted/needed.

Its just not practical to wait 3 weeks for an AHL call-up.

I also professed, many times, that the Oilers were at a disadvantage not having access to their AHL teams like Calgary, Winnipeg, Toronto, Montreal all do.

He is elite at the AHL level and should very much be in the conversation for an opening night roster spot in Septmeber.


I agree with a lot of this OP except that I believe Benson was kept on the taxi squad for a period into the season where the final assessment was made. I can’t recall when he was sent to Bakersfield but I seem to recall he was the last or one of the last sent out. It wasn’t just TC that contributed to the decision they made on him.

There is no doubt that the quarantine requirement is a factor in keeping Benson down south but I doubt it is the only one. He is probably exceeding expectations but if I am Holland I want to see him do it over a longer period of time. I don’t see this as an issue of urgency. If he is ready he will be more than ready in the fall.


Benson was assigned to the AHL on January 14.


How does “Benson was assigned to the AHL on January 14.” get any negative minus signs? It’s simply a statement of a fact. Why would anyone “-” that? Weird. I’ve “+” it. It was “-2” before I added.

Cape Breton Oilers 4EVR

Am I a sadist for loving the Flames’ current situation?

Elgin R

If the Oilers are not playing, then the next best options are watching the Flames or Leafs lose. We got one yesterday and it was glorious to watch.

Really liking the Sens and what they are doing. Enough of tanking to get a high pick. Going out to win every night. Going to be a good team in a couple of years. Stutzle and Norris look like the real deal right now.


Dom’s 16 stats has some great information and argument regarding the state of NHL officiating.

This really comes down to “let them play,” and “officials should not decide the outcome,” which of course means that officials end up playing a big role in the outcome.

Not making a call is still doing something. It has an effect.

cowboy bill

It’s the referee’s job to call the rule book , that is how they are expected to manage the game , not by turning a blind eye to some infractions and making phantom calls because they screwed up . Calling a consistent game is all the teams and fans can ask for from the officials .

Last edited 4 months ago by cowboy bill

Would anyone be surprised if it turned out that the refs are instructed to try and keep the games close and the ref got fired for saying something that was supposed to stay quiet out loud


There is no surprise. This is Bettman’s parity paradise. That IS what they are doing.

Managing a game is supposed to be about someone not getting injured (as in, call it consistently so a giant, stick-swinging brawl doesn’t break out)…that ended a long time ago.

So stupid. 05-06 was the only year even close to how the game should be officiated.


This pre-dates Bettman by decades.

He may like it. He may approve of it. He may tolerate it. He may ignore it.

But he did not implement it.

It has always been like this.


Everybody would be surprised if that wasn’t the case.