by Lowetide

Right after the 1979 entry draft, scouting director Barry Fraser said “we were very surprised when (Kevin) Lowe was still available when it came time for us to come up to bat.” Glen Sather also expressed surprise, using that old line about you can never have too many defensemen.

After that, the Oilers continued an aggressive plan to construct a high-octane offense based loosely on the phenomenal work of the Winnipeg Jets of the mid-70’s. Defense has rarely been the dominant trait of an Oilers team over more than 40 years.

There was a slight change in the weather at the draft table in 2015, and that trend has been ongoing in fits and starts since. Where is this thing going?


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.


I’m trying to do two things this morning with this post. First, establish what the talent pool on defense will look like in the fall after the expansion draft and Oscar Klefbom’s decision. Second, I’d like to establish a time line for a fairly impressive group of young defensemen, focusing on NHL arrival.

  • Lost to expansion: Caleb Jones. The Kraken and Jones are on a collision course.
  • Oscar Klefbom: I expect he’ll return at some point in 2021-22, Edmonton welcoming him back and of course accounting for his cap hit.
  • Adam Larsson: I think he’ll return.
  • Tyson Barrie: He’ll sign for big dollars elsewhere.
  • Dmitry Kulikov: He’ll sign elsewhere.
  • Darnell Nurse, Ethan Bear, Kris Russell, William Lagesson: Return.
  • Evan Bouchard: Makes the team.
  • Philip Broberg, Dmitri Samorukov, Markus Niemelainen, Phil Kemp, Filip Berglund and Mike Kesselring: Bakersfield or Edmonton.

That gets us to the 2020-21 Oilers opening night 7:

  • Darnell Nurse-Ethan Bear
  • Oscar Klefbom-Adam Larsson
  • William Lagesson-Evan Bouchard
  • Kris Russell

There’s little doubt the team will tweak in a spot or two, and I’m not convinced Ken Holland can get away from a Barrie extension. That said, this is the best available result considering the current options. I might try to get Kulikov on the roster and flush Russell depending on how well he plays. And the bubbling under Condors:

  • Dmitri Samorukov-Filip Berglund
  • Philip Broberg-Phil Kemp
  • Markus Niemelainen-Mike Kesselring

This represents a lot of talent for a minor league team, with Samorukov and Broberg expected to play in the NHL. Niemelainen has been impressive this year, and I find Kemp’s game appears to be transferring smoothly to the AHL. Kesselring has a higher ceiling and he’s a bit of a raw talent but could land an NHL job during his entry deal. Here are the men who I have as Condors who could push Lagesson out in the fall, plus one option for RH defense if someone gets hurt:

I think it’s fair to suggest that Samorukov begins the race with a clear edge on Broberg, who might need to spend a year in the AHL (Oscar Klefbom spent most of the year in OKC when he was 20). There’s lots of talent here, and added to Bouchard, Bear and the others, Edmonton’s blueline pipeline might be the best in its 40+ year history.


TSN1260 at 10 this morning, we’ll talk Oilers, Jays and more. Steve Lansky from Inside the Truck podcast and BigMouthSports will discuss the Canucks delayed return, Holland’s deadline and the stretch run in the Pacific Division. Hernan Salas from TSN1260 will talk Oilers at the deadline, Oil Kings’ Cossa and more. 10-1260 text, @Lowetide on twitter. See you on the radio!


You may also like

3.8 15 votes
Article Rating
Oldest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Thanks Georgexs for the great posts. Only in Edmonton could people want to trade one of the highest scoring defenseman in the league at the trade deadline in a short season after essentially missing the playoffs the past 13 of 14 (hope I got that right). In essence, y’all doing too much thinking for the future, instead of thinking how the present affects the future; namely winning. Let’s win first.


@ 5v5

Season, Player, TOI/GP, GF60, GA60

19-20, Nurse, 19:18, 2.8, 3.11
19-20, Bear, 18:25, 2.93, 3.21

20-21, Nurse, 20:46, 3.71, 2.89
20-21, Bear, 15:12, 2.5, 2.5

Last November, I thought Bear struggled in a first pair role last season and that he should be dropped to the third pair. This is what’s happened.

I think this is a big reason why GA60 doesn’t correlate year-over-year for defensemen. HCs judge whether a pair was successful or not by how well they performed in terms of goal differential as well as GA60. If the HC deems that the results aren’t good enough, he’ll break up the pairing, actively looking for better results.

If GA60 results were in fact reasonably correlated year over year, then guys who got scored on at a higher than average rate this year would be likely to get scored on at a higher than average rate next year. That just couldn’t fly. HC’s would get skewered by fans and the local media: everyone can see that pairing doesn’t work, it’s so obvious, why do you keep sticking with it?

The need to win forces HCs to search for answers to these problems and gaps in team performance. Their searching and adjusting breaks the correlations we’d otherwise see in defensive performance.

In Nurse and Bear’s case, the answer the team (GM and HC) came up with is bring in a new partner for Nurse (because the team believes in him on the first pairing) and drop Bear to the third pair (because the team doesn’t). The GM and HC have been rewarded with better results for both players as a result.

First pair D have to have the physical and mental tools (and the stamina) to consistently make plays on both ends of the ice while navigating a ton of ice time. People might be taking this for granted when equating young, unproven players to Barrie. The book’s open on Bouchard, but Bear’s not that level of player. Based on this year’s deployment, I’m not the only one who thinks so. He’s not a bigger athlete nor a better athlete than the athletes he plays against. (He would have been selected much higher if he had been a standout athlete in his draft class.) He doesn’t appear to be craftier than his opponents either, he doesn’t read them or his teammates any better. The ratio of his playmaking rate to his error rate isn’t unusually high.

Looking back, I can’t see instances of players like Bear (low draft pedigree, big drop in TOI/GP) returning to a top pair role. Looking ahead, one scenario that’s, for me, extremely unlikely is Nurse-Bear on the top pair to start 21-22. If that happens, that’s not the Bear that’s playing right now or played last season. That’s another level Bear. The Bear that’s playing right now isn’t good enough to play top pair.

Last edited 29 days ago by Georgexs
John Chambers

Nice analysis.

Ultimately the Oilers don’t have any true top-pair RHD. However it’s not hard to convince me that Barrie is in the best position to fill the role for this season.

As for next season and future, I’d rather gamble on one of Bear or Bouchard grasping the mantle. I’d have a hard time believing that Tyson Barrie will still be the best option for that spot by Christmas, 2022.

You may be right that Bear never achieves becoming a top-pair D, but like Darnell Nurse, Bear has improved every year since his draft, and I would expect him to continue to do so. Needless to say Evan Bouchard likely has the highest ceiling, and Tippett is going to have to begin breaking him in as an everyday NHL’er next fall.


I said earlier I thought Bear could manage 1st pair with Nurse if given the chance, though I don’t have much to back it up (by ‘manage’, I guess I mean positive goal differential).

So a few things.

1) I don’t think saying the GM and HC brought in a new partner for Nurse is fair. I expect they’d have strongly preferred a LH Barrie (or some other $4M LH defenseman) if one was available. The situation and scrambling to replace Klefbom played into the decision to add Barrie as best available (and of course his willingness to sign a below market value deal).

2) Along the same lines, Barrie didn’t actually replace Bear as Nurse’s partner on arrival. Bear played 20:22 and 18:02 5v5 minutes in his first 2 games and remained Nurse’s primary partner through 10 games when he was injured. To that point Nurse-Bear had played 145 min, Nurse-Barrie 20 min and Nurse-Other 28 min. I don’t see any evidence that Barrie was added to replace Bear.

3) Bear’s year over year TOI drop was big. Looking for comparable drops followed by recovery to 1st pair TOI makes sense, but a lot of Bear’s drop this year was situational. That is, Barrie was the available UFA and a RD, so Bear got squeezed. If Klefbom had played this year, it’s very unlikely Bear would have seen a similar drop in TOI (IMO).

4) Nurse’s GA/60 has been pretty damn high for 3 years now. The coach hasn’t felt the need to replace him in his role..

5) I’m not sure I buy that Bear couldn’t handle his minutes, thus the coach moved him down the lineup, so his results improved. Bear actually played more minutes and had stronger results as last year went on. Bear was part of an outscoring 1st pair, that limited GA, in the 2nd half of last season. And also, rather than hitting a wall, he had the stamina to improve his performance while taking on additional minutes in the 2nd half of the season.

Oct 1st to Dec. 30st 2019 – 17:44TOI 3:06GF/60 3.79GA/60
Dec.31st to Mar.11th 2019/20 – 19:22TOI 2.79GF/60 2.48GA/60
Jan. 13th to Apr. 17th 2021 – 15:12TOI 2.50GF/60 2.50AG/60

6) His results in small sample size with Nurse this season are strong: 211min 3.40GF/60 3.12GA/60. They are outscoring, though perhaps you could argue they’re giving up too much against.

Anyway, I do think Bear stands a decent chance of winning 1st pairing minutes (if given the chance).


Another conventional comparison would be between Nurse-Barrie results this year with Nurse-Bear results from last season:

Scenario, TOI, GF-GA

Both, 533, 36-26
w/o Nurse, 195, 4-11
w/o Barrie, 339, 18-16
w/o Both, 980, 29-35

Scenario, TOI, GF-GA

Both, 1152, 55-62
w/o Nurse, 156, 9-8
w/o Bear, 219, 9-9
w/o Both, 1937, 68-78

Nurse and Bear together were losing and it looks like the team was losing at a slightly faster rate with Nurse-bear than when they were both off the ice.

This year, the tea has been able to win with Nurse-Barrie and it loses when they’re both off the ice.

This isn’t a strong case for Barrie positively impacting the team’s results. But if you’re going to run through WOWY’s for a D, his results with his main D partner should come first. And the results are more in line with Bear helping rather than hurting Nurse, compared to what happened last year.


WOWYs (but the xGF% variety) are at the crux of the Barrie/Bear debate I think, and tell a very different story from the GF/GA.

Nurse-Bear 49.1%xGF

Nurse-Bear 58.3%xGF
Nurse-Barrie 47.1%xGF

I think the truth is somewhere between the GF/GA and xGF/xGA, and definitely bring Nurse-Barrie and Nurse-Bear closer together. I agree that Barrie has very real value, but I also don’t want to sign him to a $6M X 5 deal.

As you said in your previous post, the future of Bear/Bouchard is also tied closely to a Barrie re-signing. I agree Bouchard isn’t going to replace Barrie today, and will likely never get to the scoring rates that Barrie is posting. Bear is more clearly never going to bring that type of offense, though I do think he could manage 1st pairing minutes with Nurse again.

It’s tough to see the team move forward with Barrie/Bear/Bouchard as the right side. Pretty sure one of Bear or Bouchard will need to be moved if Barrie is brought back (in addition to Larsson being retained, hopefully).

It may well be possible though to re-sign Barrie ($5M), Larsson ($4M) and Nuge ($5M) while also adding a goalie and a winger for $4-5M each (IF the team were to buy out Neal and move/buy out Koskinen. I *think* there’s enough $$ for the above). So things don’t look so terrible if that were the path Holland chose.

I’m really torn on Barrie though. I’d definitely lean towards spending that money elsewhere, but I also won’t be too upset if Holland brings him back.

I also keep coming back to a theoretical question that I don’t have a good answer for. What’s the value of a Dman who scores at 1st line forward rates? Even if he’s weak defensively and needs sheltering, is he somehow worth less than a forward who’s primary role is to produce offense? (that seems to be what many are arguing).

Barrie’s tied currently with Kirill Kaprizov, Evgeni Malkin and Jakub Voracek in P/game (would be 47th among forwards). If Barrie were a forward, $5M per would seem pretty cheap for his point production. Still, I don’t know. I don’t really think the Oilers should do it.

Last edited 29 days ago by jp

In the present, we keep score by GF-GA. The assumption with xGF-xGA is that it’s a currency we can convert in the future to GF-GA. But the exchange rate tends to be low and unpredictable at the team level. Basically, arguments grounded in xGF% aren’t as strong as the arguer may want or think them to be.

(Unfriendly Arachnid pointed out SCF% to me earlier. At the team level, it had a higher correlation to next season’s P% than other advanced stats. Low, but better.)

Barrie’s weak defensively may be a little overblown. He plays with team’s best offensive players. Those guys take chances to score (so does he) which means they’ll give up chances to score (and he will too). He’s played on offensive-minded teams. We’re not noted for our team defense. His GF%-rel has almost always been positive.

All that said, I wouldn’t sign Barrie either. Not until we have more information on how the team does in the playoffs. We should avoid another Kassian blunder. If Barrie prices himself out of our range because of a fantastic postseason, the team probably did OK as well. If he comes up short and so does the team, why overpay? If Barrie’s good but not great and the team’s results are good but not great, then we can offer something that’s closer to good than great. If Barrie finds a better offer, we can be OK with that too. He’s an older player; he’s not going to get better with more playoff experience if he comes up flat this postseason. Last option is Barrie likes it here, he’s willing to stay on at less than premium, and the team does well enough to suggest confidence that we can improve with him going forward. Then you pay him less than premium and move one of the younger guys for a forward.


You said yourself GA/60 isn’t reproducible for Dmen. Is it (or GF%) more predictive than xGF%? FWIW the scoring chance numbers look more like the xG ones than the G ones.

Beyond that it sounds like we agree in large part.


Very solid win for the Condors. 1-0.

Olivier Rodrigue was solid and full marks for his shutout – he did make some solid saves but I do have to say that the team, as a whole, did a wonderful job defending the slot and high danger area.

This is the AHL so pucks made their way to the danger areas (giveaways in the neutral zone, bad plays in the defensive zone, etc.) but the team did a masterful job at getting sticks on pucks, deflecting shots from the danger area – forward and defense – they did that all game long and this was a team shutout.


Condors to the PP with 4 minutes left and up 1.

Woody starts the veteran unit (and they really are PP1) and even subs Joe G. off for Stanton (along with Gildon who is a mainstay on the unit).


The only Oilers defensemen to play 10 or more games and score at a better rate than Barrie are Coffey (6 times), Siltanen (once), and Reed Larson (9 points in 10 games). All of that happened in the 80’s. What Barrie is doing this season is pretty unusual for this team. Granted it’s an unusual season, not sure how much stock you can put in those numbers when they’re generated against a relatively weaker subset of the league’s teams. But Barrie’s level of performance should temper the yeah we can easily replace him with Bear, Bouchard, or a rebuilt Klef talk.

Those WOWY numbers from the Willis article don’t support the Barrie is meh argument because they’re either too close to call or too ludicrous to consider. CMD-Drai w/o Barrie are 8-1 in a little over 60 minutes. That’s bananas. CMD and Drai over the entire 3 seasons before Barrie got here managed to produce around 20 goals to the good in something like 1800 minutes. If they kept up their current pace, they’d produce 210 goals to the good in their next 1800, as long as you keep them safely away from Barrie.

A more conventional WOWY approach would consider Barrie’s results with and without his main defensive partner, Nurse.

Scenario, TOI, GF-GA

with Nurse, 533, 36-26
w/o Nurse, 195, 4-11
w/o Barrie, 339, 18-16
w/o Both, 980, 29-35

So Barrie looks bad here away from Nurse. Why? Well, he went 1-6 near the start of the season with Koekkoek. That’s a big chunk of it. Koekkoek hasn’t been an option for a while. Kulikov is presumably a better player, coming to us from Reliable Defender territory. Wow, no offense. New Jersey, tho.

I accept what someone said on here before. Barrie is perceived as a problem for fans who follow Oilers’ prospects. He’s blocking Bear and Bouchard. If Holland resigns him and Larsson, they’re permanently blocked. If he resigns Barrie and doesn’t resign Larsson, who plays defense on a team with a Barrie, Bear, Bouchard right side? I know people would like to say Bear, but…

So this amounts to lobbying. The choice is build around Barrie or build around Bear and Bouchard.

I don’t think Bear repeats his 1D role. He’s down 4 minutes from his ice time last year. I tried to find examples of guys who bounced back into prominent roles following such a year over year drop in ice time. Using 5v5 TOI, I couldn’t really find anyone. Luke Schenn? TOR wasn’t really sure about him, then PHI wasn’t really sure about him. He eventually settled into a journeyman role.

Joakim Ryan had a big drop in SJS, got traded to LAK last season, played more minutes (not 1D minutes though). I think he’s in the AHL now. Bear would be seriously bucking NHL trends now if, as a low draft pick with a setback year, he features in a prominent role going forward.

As for Bouchard, whatever he’s done, he’s yet to do it in the NHL. If people are projecting him to perform at Barrie’s level this season, then I’d offer that, if he had the potential to be a top-60 TOI/GP and top-20 scoring D, he’d be playing right now ahead of Bear.

I’m not saying Tippett’s judgment can’t be questioned. We’ve all had the experience of feeling underappreciated by our employer. The reality is Barrie can play at a high level in the toughest league. Tippett knows this much, he’s seen enough hockey. If Bouchard really is a better Barrie, that’s a staggering amount of underappreciation to contend with.

90s fan

Great post.

Decidedly Skeptical Fan

Stunning post. I wonder how many more games the Oil would win each year with you in the analytics or pro scouting department? Or both? And I’m taking back some of my Tippett hate. Not all of it, but definitely some of it.

Last edited 29 days ago by Decidedly Skeptical Fan

Griffith and Lavoie come down on a 2 on 1 – The defender did a good job but Lavoie didn’t work to create a passing lane (didn’t alter speeds or angles) so Griffith had no lane to pass – he put a solid shot on net from the bottom of the circles but Lavoie will need to learn to work for a lane in that type of rush.


Lavoie officially credited with the 2nd assist on the Griffith goal, as speculated was possible.


Great defensive play by Lavoie on Kaliyev who had taken a pass from Byfield driving the net – great back check.


Finally the Condors are able to break through – furious pressue and couple good chances (including a Lavoie snipe from the slot that Berube stops) – finally Malone wins the puck back and Griffith buries one. Lavoie made a nice play to keep the cycle alive after his slot shot was stopped (a pass down to Griffith from the blue) – not sure if he’ll be awarded with an apple or not.

RIght now its listed as unassisted but Malone for sure should get an apple and Lavoie if they are generous (there was a scramble between the Lavoie pass the Malone/Griffith play).

Last edited 29 days ago by OriginalPouzar

Rodrigue looking very good and sharp half way through regulation.


Entertaining first period – so much young high end talent on the Reign, they are fun game.

Ontario probably with the better flow of play in the first but Rodrigue was very solid (including on a SH 2 on 0 late – Joe G. with a massive backcheck to help).

Condors has some solid possession time as well.


OK – boys have landed in Winnipeg and, after tough stretch of travel (even though only 11 games in the last month), its time for the stretch drive.

I’m looking for one Zack Kassian to simply “find his game” down the stretch and in to the playoffs. Its time Zack. Provide $3M per worth of positive impact.

I know you can do it for a few months at a time. That time is here.


This game could get interesting – some massive hits in the first 4 minutes – Malone with 2 and Esposito with one and then Deharnais went head hunting in the neutral zone.

Something to keep an eye on


Marody back on the top line with McLeod and Benson – Woody moved him off in the 3rd last game (Lavoie was bumped)


Details per Puckpedia (about what one would expect performance bonus wise – similar to Bouchard):

Holloway starts in 21-22:

Base $832.5K
Signing Bonus $92.5K
“A” Performance Bonuses $400K Yr 1, $500K Yr 2, $650K Yr 3

Cap Hit $925K, AAV $1.442M


Does he have to hit certain marks to get his perf bonuses? Or are they guranteed


“A” Level Bonuses

“A” Bonuses are worth $212,500 each, to a maximum of $850,000 (maximum 4 achieved). They are achieved by each of:


-20 goals

-35 assists

-60 points

-Top six in Time on Ice among forwards (in total and/or per game) on team (minimum 42 games)

-Top three in +/- among forwards on team (minimum 42 games)

-0.73 points per game (minimum 42 games)

-End-of Season All Rookie Team

-All Star Selection

-All Star MVP


-10 goals

-25 assists

-40 points

-Top four in Time on Ice among Defensemen (in total and/or per game) on team (minimum 42 games)

-Top three in +/- among defensemen on team (minimum 42 games)

-0.49 points per game (minimum 42 games)

-Top two among defensemen on team in blocked shocks

-End-of Season All Rookie Team

-All Star Selection

-All Star MVP


-1,800 minutes played

-GAA < median GAA of all goalies with 25+ GP

-SV % > median save % of all goalies who played 25+ GP

-20 Wins (30+ mins in a game to qualify)

-Shutouts > median number of shutouts of all goalies who played 25+ GP-Top three in +/- among forwards on team (minimum 42 games)

-End-of Season All Rookie Team

-All Star Selection

-All Star MVP



He has to hit certain thresholds – they are based on performance.

There is a list of them and they are worth $215,500 each (I believe) up to the negotiated max – things like 20 goals, 35 apples, certain TOI thresholds (relative to team), etc.

Last edited 29 days ago by OriginalPouzar

The Universe playing cat and mouse with the Flame’s hearts, minds, and season as they win a short string of games recently; just enough to get out of the top ten next draft then lose a heartbreaker to their current rivals – the Canadiens of Montreal and la Belle Province.

“If we beat Ottawa next time there is still hope” random Flames fan


So now the Flames need every single point the rest of the way and still need the Oilers to get less than 1 point each game rest of the way to catch us,
So it’s not happening


But miss queen bee Cassie keeps propaganda-ring that they can make it.


Rodrigue with the start (Wells gets the back-up spot to give Skinner a full day off as they are playing 4 in 5).

Stukel sits for Brosseau (not for Safin….).


Habs score with under 5 to go to beat the flames in regulation.

I wonder if an apology for getting mocked for opining that the flames had no realistic shot at making the playoffs is coming.


Key people who currently believe that Tyson Barrie is one of the 3 most important right shot defenseman currently under contract with the Edmonton Oilers for the balance of the 2021 Season and Playoffs: Dave Tippett; Jim Playfair; and Ken Holland. Key people who think the Oilers could replace Tyson Barrie with an internal option for the rest of the season and be just as good or better: zero.

Since Tippett, Playfair and Holland all believe this, and would also believe that were they to have traded Barrie, they would not have gotten back a better defenseman or a meaningful forward for this season, because non-playoff teams don’t take rentals and playoff teams will give futures possibly packaged with low value forwards.

I don’t think Ken Holland was worried that Barrie’s feelings would be hurt by a trade. However, even if he did not bolster the team much from its current status, there is no way he is going to make his team what he and his coaching staff believe is materially worse by trading away Barrie (or Nuge or Larsson) for the stretch drive and playoffs. And the whole point of Willis’ article is not that the Oilers should have traded him now, but that he believes they should not sign him for next season and beyond.

I don’t know if Holland had any real opportunity to make the Oilers materially better for this season at the deadline, but trading away current talent for the future would be the wrong message to the current roster. No way McDavid, Drai, Nuge, Nurse or anyone else would not be pissed at that turn of events.


Saying one doesn’t know if Holland had any real opportunity to make the team better at the deadline is only true insofar as one can’t know anything like that. If you’re saying there’s no ability because that ability isn’t Holland’s, that’s a strong indictment of Holland; if you’re saying there’s no ability because that ability doesn’t exist, that’s pretty far out and pretty much impossible to defend from any position than the one that I first mentioned.

The proposal that I meme-ified elsewhere for the deadline was Barrie-out, assets-in; assets out, Hall-in. I’m sure 90% of people in here believe that it was either impossible to land Hall or he wasn’t worth more than Buffalo got, so I’ll drop him, but slot someone else in. That’s not “trading away current talent for the future”, but in my opinion (based on the same data drawn for the Willis article) it would make the team better, and help solve two key diagnostic issues:

1) We don’t know what Bouchard is, and are on track to not find out.

2) We don’t know how far we are from being able to run, say, Nuge-Draisaitl-Yamamoto together and still be able to put together a, say, >+0.50 GF/60 McDavid line. Either achieving that with an incoming asset, or failing it but having a measurable distance, helps a great deal even if you’re unable to keep that asset.


No, I was saying it in the sense that I was not party to any of the discussions that Holland may have had with any potential trade partner or partners so I have no way of knowing what he may or may have been offered or counter offered for any transaction. Clearly neither did you or anyone else on this board. Not knowing what others were willing to accept from the Oilers or what was proposed, I can’t evaluate whether he had any trade offer that if it were it up to me I might have gone for, but the one thing is clear is that he did not think he had any offer he believed would make his team better in the short run and that is the only trades he would make right now.

You can disagree with Holland, Tippett etc. all you want about whether Barrie makes the team better or not, and I don’t think either of them cares about Willett’s analysis, but given they clearly believed that they saw no trade opportunity besides Kulikov that in their opinion would make the team better now for the right price, they were not going to make it. If Barrie, Bear and Larsson, in their view, are better than Bear, Larsson, Bouchard, then logically they would not trade Barrie for futures, and it is highly doubtful an opportunity existed to trade Barrie a) directly for assets that make the team better, or as you suggested, trade Barrie to contender A) for futures, then trade those futures (and maybe something else) to non Contender B) for a player who suddenly makes the OIlers better. I am not saying that can’t be done, but it is rare.


God willing I hope we’re all around to have this conversation in 10 years when time made these d decisions for us. Hopefully it turns into a high end talent conversation so LT will be able to retire the Toronto example! And of course, Stanley to follow.


I’m pretty comfortable Kenny is going to do good things with the D. My biggest curiosity and excitement is LW. The last time we were going into the summer with money to spend was 2016. My heart says throw big money at RNH, Hyman, and Tatar and let’s go on a run but 2016 gives me pause.


It is pretty exciting. I was looking a bit at Capfriendly and what kind of money Holland’s likely to have to spend and it could be rather a lot.

If he doesn’t bring back Barrie, buys out Neal and doesn’t spend a lot on a goalie (could he run Smith and Stalock next season? Scary, but maybe not a terrible move…) he should be able to re-sign Nuge/Larsson/Yamamoto and still have something like $12M to spend.

One thing that caught my attention was the possibility of bringing both Danault and Tatar on board ($5M each?). Danault reportedly doesn’t want to be a 3C, but maybe adding those 2 allows you to keep Draisaitl and McDavid together?

Tatar-Danault have had truly incredible on ice results together over 3 seasons (>60% SF, GF and xGF).

Anyway, that’s a mostly random thought, but Holland should have some money to add at least one top 6 winger even if he splurges on Barrie or an expensive goalie.


No way you can go with Smith and Stalock next year. Smith has been great this year but we got lucky. Can he do it two years in a row at 40 or is there a high risk of injury or decline. Stalock post covid is an unknown. We need to go after s legit goalie this summer, like Ranta or Ulmark.


No way you can go with Smith and Stalock next year. 

That’s where I started as well.

But I really think Smith is almost certain to be back after the very strong year he’s had. You’d like for it to be as the backup, but Stalock is also signed (for cheap), and has been a very decent goalie.

Fun fact, if you look back and include the latter part of last season (I did this recently looking at how the Oilers have fared since McDavid/Draisaitl were originally moved to their own lines), both Smith and Stalock look legit.

Goalies >1000 minutes over their teams last 72 games (for the Oilers it goes back to Dec 31st of 2019). Here are all the North Div goalies and their ranking of the 59 goalies who played 1000 minutes:

Hellebuyck .922 (8th)
Stalock .920 (10th)
Campbell .918 (16th)
Allen .917 (17th)
Smith .915 (23rd)
Demko .913 (26th)
Price .911 (29th)
Markstrom .911 (29th)
Koskinen .911 (29th)
Rittich .899 (49th)
Andersen .896 (52nd)
Hogberg .894 (54th) NOT LAST!
Holtby 892 (55th)
Murray .891 (59th)

We don’t trust them, but all 3 Oiler goalies have been at least average over the past year and a bit. (for comparison Ullmark is .918 (16th) and Raanta is .916 (20th) over the same span). Smith is 6th in the league in wins over the same span btw.

The other thing is there really isn’t much on the market this year for goalies. Raanta has played 12, 33 and 12 games the past 3 seasons. He can’t be your go to IMO.

Ullmark is a possibility, the only other good options I see are Grubauer and Driedger.

The more I look at the options and the incumbents the more likely it seems 2 or all 3 current Oilers will return (as amazing as that is to say).

We’ll see I guess.


Smith could be back but not (hopefully) if he’s looking for an increase in has salary or bonus structure – in my opinion.


My guess is 1 year, $2M. Maybe with some additional bonuses ($500k?). He’s had a good season, and was pretty key to the team rebounding after a tough start.


Is it smart to go “all-in” with term for LW this off-season?

Lavoie is playing LW in the AHL right now.
Holloway is a legit LW option at some point.
Benson could/should be in the conversation for LW next season

Assuming we agree that both Holloway and McLeod have future, only one of them will be a full time center with McDavid and Drai being centers (and I believe they are both centers).

Of course, it would be ideal to have a couple legit top 6 left wingers to allow guys like Holloway to break in on the 3rd line/middle 6, etc.


Hyman plays LW and RW, Nuge LW and C as we know. There are lots of options on how guys line up if you get the right guys. It’s not an either/or there is lineup and cap space for UFAs and the farm. The issue is avoiding a boat anchor contract.

Last edited 29 days ago by TheGreatBigMac

So they are going to make teams sit for 2 weeks before playoffs so Vancouver can play 4 meaningless games a week?


Some real loser mindset in here from a lot of people responding to questions that are actually worth raising *even if* you think Barrie is good/great/elite/a god: the defense for not trading him (during a year in which it’s also defensible not to buy at the deadline, i.e. the only defense for Ken Holland this summer+season) is that we need future players to think we’re nice?

Wouldn’t players rather play on a team that’s good? Wouldn’t all of this calculus not matter if we were an elite team with the best player of his generation, that wins? Furthermore, even stipulating that we should instead pursue the niceness path, how is trading a player to a better team, with a better chance of winning, some kind of betrayal?

I don’t understand. Arguments about Barrie’s outputs as a player are at best background and at worst distractions, so long as we agree about what the team is capable of this year.

If you think they’re capable, and in the window, you should be furious with Ken Holland’s deadline, and probably also with the coaching staff for taking the team to this position despite their ability to seriously contend for Stanley.

If you don’t think they’re capable, they should absolutely have sold Barrie for draft capital, no matter which trajectory you think the team is on for the following seasons. In fact (as I argued elsewhere) even if you were in favour of some kind of asset-neutral distancing from the current roster, moving him would be key because he sits at the site of the greatest roster imbalance. Evan Bouchard (a player who can play third pairing minutes on a good NHL team) is currently on track to only give us 240 minutes of a sample size with which to evaluate his situation in the RD position contest to come.

The ONLY reason to heed to niceness is if you actually want to re-sign Barrie. Which is fine, we disagree. What’s confusing to me is people who don’t think that, don’t think that we’re in contention, and still think their version of managing the expectations (already suspect) of incoming players wins out over being good – the primary manager of incoming players’ expectations?


Do the playoffs have any value if you’re not expecting to compete for the cup?


What’s “the playoffs”? Making the playoffs? Performance inside of the playoffs? In terms of what? Franchise health, or actual on-ice value? Surely everything else aside, increasing the amount of ice-time played by players can be good diagnostically, and either good or bad market value-wise.

C’mon dude. Actually make the argument that you think asking pithy questions will make for you, or don’t bother.


Thanks to ctrl+F, I can verify that you are the only one using the word “nice” to describe this. I don’t claim to speak for anyone else, but my take is that it would be “nice” if Edmonton was considered a “good place to play”, or a “preferred destination,” because maybe then we could sign a free agent at something besides a blatant overpay.
Plenty of room for reasonable adults to disagree, and also plenty of room to consider taking the time to understand an idea before throwing around phrases like “loser mentality.”


I never put ‘nice’ in quotes, which would mean I never accused anyone of using the word. If you think it’s an inaccurate summation of the arguments that were made, and find that summation to make someone either not reasonable or not an adult, all I can say is that is… extremely convenient.

It would be even more convenient if one could use that misunderstanding as a smokescreen before launching into the exact same position that I addressed:

it would be “nice” if Edmonton was considered a “good place to play”, or a “preferred destination,” because maybe then we could sign a free agent at something besides a blatant overpay

Again, the argument is that Edmonton would be better served on its way to becoming a preferred destination by conducting the asset management necessary to become a Stanley Cup contender.

In closing, a quote from the part of my post that made this abundantly clear to any unevasive reader:

Wouldn’t all of this calculus not matter if we were an elite team with the best player of his generation, that wins?

Decidedly Skeptical Fan

Gotta love Ctrl + F, my new found friend. Thanks again, Side.


I don’t think there is a contending team that would offer anything of significance for Barrie or would even have room on their roster for him. And a non playoff team would never give up anything for a deadline rental. I really don’t think Holland missed an opportunity here like you are suggesting


I don’t think significance is a necessary modifier to make better moves than that which were made. We disagree on Barrie’s value, but that’s fair.


Firstly, no, I don’t think everyone agrees on what the team could accomplish this season.

Next, no, I don’t agree with the position that its either (a) go all in or (b) sell off assets for futures.

There is a large middle ground and the Oilers were on of many many teams in it – see the Jets, the Preds, the Blues, etc.

The Oiler have a good team, a legit playoff team, and the GM added a player that will improve the 2nd pairing of the defence – 2LD is where Kris Russell has been playing.

The Oiler will be playing the Jets in the playoffs – a team they’ve done well against this year and a team the Oilers improved more than at the deadline (Kulikov vs. Benn).

This team could very well win a playoff series vs. the Jets and there is value to playing in to the 2nd round and being among the last 8 teams standing


That’s how I feel about the team/deadline too.

They have a chance. But they’re not a favorite. I’m glad Holland held onto the 1st, and if you’re moving next years picks, well you don’t have them to make a deadline addition next year.


1) My post assumed we don’t have to agree on what the team could accomplish. Not that we do. This is why I the designations between each phase of my argument are made based on how you evaluate the team. All are covered.

2) I specifically noted different options between your (a) and (b):

if you were in favour of some kind of asset-neutral distancing from the current roster, moving him would be key because he sits at the site of the greatest roster imbalance

Asset-neutral here meaning that there is no collection of futures for future use, or any expenditures to go call in.


You make a lot of very good points.
I’m curious what you think Holland could have got for Barrie at the deadline? And which contender had a need for him?
Personally I think the max return would have been a late 2nd, and I’m not too sure about that. I also think the max contract Barrie gets next year is something like 3 yrs x 5 million. NHL GMs probably have a pretty good idea of what Barrie is at this point.
I DO NOT think the Oilers should sign him, even for 4 million AAV. The Oilers have cheaper replacements who are just as good. Spend the extra money on an area of need.
The alpha move would have been to trade him, but I think you are underestimating the potential dressing room fallout. And the potential harm it could do to Hollands negotiations with other UFAs.
I don’t see the Oilers as cup contenders, but I have no problem spending a 4th rounder on Kulikov. That is a position of need on this years team.
It’s tough to strike a balance between going for it and protecting future assets. But it’s a lot better than selling at every deadline.
Hopefully Holland has to struggle with this every year for the next decade.

Scungilli Slushy

I agree. If it’s a fantasy league shot at the Cup, be fair but assertive to get what you need to be a contender.

There are two ways to send wrong messages. We are loyal to death, or we are fair and will do whatever it takes to get better. I know which I prefer.

Sakic trades whomever he wants and it seems to not have rattled the DNA of the AVs.

I would have dealt Barrie without reservation. I would have dealt Nuge as well if the negotiations were iffy.

Nuge has no long term home on this team now.

I like Nuge but he can’t do what is needed now, never has been a strong 5v5. Outside of the DRY hot streak.

Barrie has been shown to not help anybody’s offense except his own. He’ll get what he needs, no need to pity him.

The caveat is the cap, but trading top end players motivates the other. Doable if you want to.

Todd Macallan

Holloway signed to his ELC.

*update: contract starts in 21-22 season. Next up, heal your thumb young man and sign that ATO with Bake for what’s left of the season*


Last edited 29 days ago by Todd Macallan

Although there can be advantages to burning a year of the ELC (second contract comes sooner and likely cheaper) as long as a year of service towards UFA is not vested (which it wouldn’t be), at this point, makes sense for it to kick in next season.

I wonder if there is a chance he can play a couple of games for the Condors at the end of the season on an AHL tryout type deal….. his college eligibility is now gone with the signing so there is no risk/harm to Dylan.

Todd Macallan

If the AHL ends up being able to have a playoffs he could be a huge addition for them.

Todd Macallan

Edit: guess it would technically be a PTO now, not ATO.


He’s going to be our ace in the hole come playoff time. Book it!


He will not be playing on his ELC this season and won’t be an option for the Oilers in the playoffs.


I’m not surprised he didn’t want to go back to NCAA for another year


Why the fuck would a 19 year-old go back to school when he can make millions and millions playing on Mcdavid’s. line.


In many cases, going back to school to continuing to develop as a hockey player, would give the player a better chance at developing in to a player that could make millions in that role.

In this case, the decision was made, by all parties, that his development was best served turning pro.

That is definitely not always the case with 19 year olds.


The only reason a sure thing NHLer would not sign his ELC and elect to go back to College would be to stiff the team who drafted him. Schultz Fox etc it’s all about the money always has been always will be.

Last edited 29 days ago by Reja

If he really wanted to maximize earnings on his ELC, going back to school and delaying it a year likely would lead to him having a better shot at earning his performance bonuses and would give him more leverage in negotiating his 2nd contract without a $925K limit.


The kid wants to play in the show and we only have 3 maybe 4 top 6 forwards. This is his opportunity that will set him up for life. I for one think he’ll set the house on fire playing with Mcdavid and Leon this coming season. If he didn’t break his thumb it would of been this year. He wouldn’t be the first 19 year-old forward in the NHL and it work take me hours to list them all.


The decision to turn pro was likely right for Holloway as he is ready and physically mature. Of course, you equated what was right for Holloway with what was right fro all 19 year olds.


You think it’s some uneducated teenagers that call their own shots, most of these kids have a large team that includes extended family as well as a agent to steer them in the correct direction. Word to Hollaway don’t hire Maroons agent. Paddy is still the best winger that Connor has had played with excluding Leon.



Meet the new boss, same as the old boss!

Wait a minute…

Last edited 29 days ago by Justthestatsman
Todd Macallan

Old boss = Smytty


LT’s set up for the Oilers and Bakersfield D is exactly how I would sketch out next year. Best part is the big clubs D looks very solid and for a price tag of less than $20M in 21-22. Drop some dead weight (Neal) and they have room to add in goal and on the wing and Oilers cup contender window is officially open.


North Division schedule changes are out:

Note, tomorrow’s game is officially at 5 mountain now – sweet!


Boo! Was hoping to be able to watch, but 5MT/7ET isn’t going to work.


There has been lots of discussion on which veteran to re-sign:
Offensive power Barrie vs Old school toughness Larsson.

Some argue we could use them both (if acceptable dollars/term). The problem is we have Bouchard knocking on the door who needs to play next year on the right side too.

Depending on his audition, if Kulikov plays well, and open to a short term reasonable contract, could the choice be between Kulikov and Larsson? Similar style of play, but opens up the RHD where are all the offensive talent is? Especially if Holland decides/feels pressure (from McDrai) to re-sign Barrie?

RHD: Barrie, Bear, Bouch
LHD: Nurse, Kulikov, pick’em (Jones, Lagesson, Russell, Samurokov, rehabbing Klef)

I agree with Ashley that I don’t think the league sees Jones as a prize. Tippet’s reluctance to play him has done nothing to entice Seattle to pick him. I would venture, if that’s all we did lose in expansion, we should be happy. I also see nothing in Lagesson that makes me care if we lose him on waivers etc. The players LT listed above are of much more interest on that left side…especially if Klefbom can return to form

Last edited 29 days ago by Primetime

Samorukov will be the “left side Larsson” within a few years.


That would be awesome. If the GM is certain of such, that’s how he should plan. Kulikov (as an example) on a short term contract (2 years), with Samurokov in house ready to move up into his spot at that time


Interesting post, thanks. I still have high hopes for Lagesson. He got thrown to the wolves above his current ability a few times this year, so it’s no wonder he struggled. He needs his coach to have patience.


Barrie doesn’t bring offensive power. He just get more points than other guys like Klefbom or Nurse who bring the same offensive power.

Harpers Hair

Avalanche weekend games postponed after 3 positive tests.


I’m not sure the rest of the league thinks Jones is as good as we think he is. I’m not convinced that losing him to Seattle would be a terrible outcome for us in the expansion draft.


Jezzuz 11 likes for this?

How far this comments section has fallen.

What a fuckin joke.


Pouzar isn’t wrong. The difference between now and the old days is incredible.


Well this is a fantastic rebuttal.

Harkens back to the good old days, when the comment section was a pinnacle of sports analysis, and nary a tantrum over a prospects standing in the community took place…

Thanks for bringing some old fashioned analysis back…we needed it…

Decidedly Skeptical Fan

Nice post … and you didn’t even need the sarcasm font.

Decidedly Skeptical Fan

If it makes you feel any better, it looks like 19 likes and trending upwards. You’re caught in a comments short squeeze.


Caleb Jones is almost a direct comparable to Oliver Killington. So the question would be what would you give up for Oliver, and that would be Caleb’s trade value, without oiler fan glasses on. I used the last 3 years of data to compare them. Jones has slightly lower pdo and tougher zone starts so probably less sheltered but all their percentages are very close.


Kylington cleared waivers this year…….

Calling the blog a “fucking joke” and referencing how far its falling (because some don’t believe that Jones is as good as his expected goal percentage says) is, in itself, the pretentiousness of the “smartest person on twitter” that, in my opinion, puts the negative shine on the blog.

I’m right your wrong because of numbers and your a fucing joke – blah, blah, blah.


I didn’t call the blog a joke. I was just comparing 2 players that broke into the NHL at the same time and who over a 3 year span have very similar stats at 5 on 5. And who don’t play on special teams very much.

Last edited 29 days ago by Oilpower

That comment wasn’t in response to you but to the person that literally called it a joke and consistently belittles others when their opinions aren’t based in numbers.

Decidedly Skeptical Fan

Have you ever actually watched Kylington play, or even managed to spell his name correctly? He makes Barrie look like a defensive D. Kylington wins absolutely nothing on the boards, mainly because he makes it a priority to never go there. Kylington is many things, but an almost direct comparison to Jones sure as shit is not one of them.


And yet his career trajectory parallels jones’s niether play special teams much and niether has consistently won his minutes I have seen him play some and could give zero fucks about how to spell his name.

Decidedly Skeptical Fan

Jones has the skill set to play special teams. Kylington could play PP but should never see PK minutes. You need to see him play more if you think he is a comp for Jones. OP hit it on the head when he pointed out that Kylington cleared waivers. There is a reason for that. There is no value there. Pretty sure LT doesn’t charge for commas or periods. That and spelling might make your comments readable.

Decidedly Skeptical Fan

No idea what the league thinks, but I think you are likely right that losing him to Seattle is not the end of the world. If we have to lose a good prospect, I would rather lose one form an area of strength rather than an area of weakness.

Scungilli Slushy

The question is at heart who has more upside – Laggs or Jones?

You should always take upside with younger players. Stay at home D apparently cost a 4th at the trade deadline.

Somebody has to go, perhaps not either of them.


Koekkoek was on the ice with the group but is a few weeks away.

Lets not forget that, really, he’s not very good.


well its not like we need him, now that we have Kulikov. And we’d rather see Jones or Lags get the experience anyway.


He looked like a all-star in the play-ins against us.

Decidedly Skeptical Fan

Didn’t everyone?


If it wasn’t for that goalie of theirs saving all those shots from the perimeter we would of won This phenom was overweight and had a cup of coffee for practice time but stale or fresh no muffin was getting by him.


Today was just an optional skate (and lots of guys didn’t skate).

While 97/29 practiced together this week, Tip didn’t commit to going that way tomorrow night.

Presumably he doesn’t with Nuge not playing but who knows?

cowboy bill

I think they will split up Connor & Leo against the Jets They are really going to miss Nuge . Especially on the PP .


we need this game I don’t want to play the Leafs until we beat the Jets. The last time we lost to the Jets was for the Avco cup.


Wish I shared the optimism like a lot of folks considering Klefbom’s (hopeful) return.
Ive got damn near 2 decades on him, but have had shoulder surgeries up the wazoo. First one in my early 20’s. Great surgeons, but there comes a point when there’s not much more that can be done.
He is a young fella, just hope he can get on with life, his return to the d-man we remember and want back should be tempered down.


Hemsky had major shoulder surgery at about the same age and went on to play a few hundred more NHL games. Not sure it’s a directly comparable situation, but it offers some hope.


When someone talks about the quality of life like Kelfbom did I would say Playing Hockey isn’t first on the list.

Last edited 29 days ago by Reja

I also think it reveals that he has been in a lot of pain for a long time. NHLers are a tough bunch.


If Samorukov makes the team at camp! What does that do to Jones and Laggs and Klef is back and ready. Lost to waivers?


Sift out who the keepers and and get some value back first up a starting goaltender then a 3C


Great summary of our D situation.

Nurse already anchors our D and plays almost half the game.

Klefbom is more than likely coming back and is an exceptional skater.
( still just 27)

I would choose to keep Jones over Laggeson – but I suspect they see Laggy as
physical PK 3rd pairing guy.

Russell for Klefbom insurance.

I think Samorukov is probably close to arriving. Injury may delay that slightly.

Samorukov turns 22 here so – a year in the AHL next year then he may be ready.

Broberg a few games in the AHL this year then a full season next year in the AHL and he should be close.

cowboy bill

With Nurses emergence as top dog , less will be expected from Klefbom , if he returns . Which is good , he can just slid back in on the second pair with his old partner , once he’s re-signed , of course .

Last edited 29 days ago by cowboy bill

What are the chances the Kraken sign Barrie during their UFA talking period?


Thought this was exactly what would happen. He’s turning 30 end of July, they’ll want to point to an offensive presence for their fans, maybe they’ll do 6 x $8m or something


Ha!! What??


I think the top-end expectations for a Barrie contract mirror those of Krug and Faulk: $6.5M x 7.

cowboy bill

That’s funny because I was thinking the same . But insert the Nuge in that scenario . That would also mean if they lose a UFA to the Kraken that’s all they have no more commitment to the expansion draft . I can really see Nuge close to home with the Kraken , making more money than he would as an Oiler .

I see them signing both Barrie & Larsson and with Klef’s return , that gives them two very talented top two veteran defense pairings .

Last edited 29 days ago by cowboy bill

Its a great year to be the expansion team for sure with all these UFA nobody can sign due to flat cap. Maybe they can reunite the 6 million dollars line while they’re at it.

Harpers Hair

Considering the lack of competitors in a flat cap situation, why wouldn’t Seattle wait until after the expansion draft to sign free agents.


They have a pretty good advanced stats department. It is unlikely they would do something so dumb.


You don’t know HH might know a guy and his credibility is unquestionable!😉


There are many evidence supported arguments as to why the Oilers should not sign Barrie. See Willis’s article or Woodguy on twitter. Also no reasonable expectation that the Oilers have ever or will ever make evidence based decisions.

I will come at it from a different tack, Edmonton has long been considered a horrible destination for NHL free agents, and it was not just the losing.

The Oilers are not yet considered a cup favorite for aging greats looking to chase the dream, money be dammed. Barrie’s sighing though is the first evidence of the Mcdavid effect. Players willing to sign with Edmonton, at a reasonable price, to zoom their numbers into a big pay day. So far it has worked very well for the player and the team.

Now the tricky part, not getting high on your own supply, and let Barrie cash in else where. Barrie sighing for big money – somewhere else – completes the pump ‘n dump. With out said completion it is hard to move on to the next one. Preferably with a top 6 LW that can come in for a year while home grown talent is bubbling under.


Anyone think we have even the slightest hope of landing Dougie Hamilton?

I’d let Larsson AND Barrie walk if we could get Hamilton.

Hamilton-Bear-Bouchard would be outstanding.


This would be as good of right side defense as could be imagined


I think Hamilton is over-hyped. He’s always played with a stud LHD (Chara, Giordano, Slavin) and that taints his defensive numbers IMO. I’d rather they wait a year and see if they can convince Parayko to come home. Sign Larsson for 2-3 years this summer and then trade him for a pick/prospect next summer if Parayko signs.


Anyone think we have even the slightest hope of landing Dougie Hamilton?



My understanding is that Samorukov played the entire KHL season as a RD. His results in that position were impressive. Should we be thinking more flexibly than placing him squarely in the LD bracket for the coming seasons?

Last edited 29 days ago by Yeti

This is an interesting idea….I did not know that he was playing the right side over there.


No, in my opinion, we should not and I have been hammering against this thinking for a very long time.

I caution against equating success of left shot d-men on the right side in any other league to likely success of the same in the National Hockey League.

The NHL is the fastest league in the world and decisions and plays need to be made faster than in any other league in the world. Players are on the d-man faster and, even with the required elite footwork to be able to make the plays faster, its simply harder in the NHL. This is with respect to every other league in the world and, further, when the player is coming from a European league, lets not forget, the bigger ice provides those d-men with even more time.

We’ve seen many many d-men be able to succeed on their off-side in European Leagues and the AHL and simply not be able to do so in the NHL. With very few exceptions, that players will be materially less effective on their off-side.

Caleb Jones played the better part of his AHL career on the right side – we saw him MUCH less effective last season on the right side. We see Kris Russell less effective on the right side.

I’m not saying its never an option but just that I wouldn’t put too much stock in any d-man playing their off-side in non-NHL leagues.

Brantford Boy

So if Barrie would sign for 4M x 4 or 5 years, do you say no?


For me, you say no (politely) because we need that money elsewhere in the lineup.

Silver Streak

scream NO as loudly as possible and run for the exit….


Possibly if there aren’t any no move, no trade clauses as part of deal.


You can say yes but requires being able to move one of Bear or Bouchard for a similar player in terms of quality and cap efficiency at a different position preferably LW or C. Not an easy task.


Hard No.

cowboy bill

I could definitely see him signing on for a couple more years @ $4M , with the flat cap the way it is .


Most definitely say no.

90s fan

Question: is Tippet on a 3 year contract? Which expires next year? I wonder if Playfair is considered for the head job after that. Do we even want that? We’d have to find a new guy for the farm, and hes doing such a good job there.

Harpers Hair

Jonathan Willis has a very emphatic no in his Athletic piece this morning.

90s fan

I actually meant to say woodcraft. Oops.


Nice read – I tend to agree that the pipeline on defense is impressive. Obviously one or more of these may be traded for some equal talent at forward in time – there may not be room for everyone in the timeframe allotted. However, what you’re really hoping for is that one of these D is a home run – a real 5 star player who can play 27 min a night and impact the game the way a Lidstrom or Pronger could (big ask I know).


Nurse is coming close to this right now


Also, in the spirit of this weeks conversations, what defencemen can be moved out to help balance out the forward group?


One of Jones, Bear or Lagesson. Problems are trying to figure out who those guys will be when they’re 26, and trying to get any kind of value for them.


If Holland can find a team that doesn’t have any blueliners worth protecting, Jones for a young winger would make sense. Especially if Klefbom is coming back and with Samorukov and Broberg in the system (and not far out), there isn’t room for Jones long-term anyhow.

Edit: Detroit? for what return – Svechnikov?

Last edited 29 days ago by ArmchairGM
Silver Streak

Willis`s article on Barrie was as usual bang on…Barrie was not a fit for us. We are a better team without him. Which leads me to this: Why did we not move him at the trade deadline or earlier ? If all the numbers point to Barrie being a liability and we have Bouchard in the press box accumulating rust…what was Holland thinking. Barrie walks and IMO we lost an opportunity for another 1st rounder at the draft.


When is the last time a really good free agent left money on the table to sign with Edmonton? For me, it’s worth doing well by this player, to send the message that Edmonton is a team that treats its players well and honours its commitments.

Silver Streak

Barrie signed here because his last several years were poor, the opportunity to play on our PP was golden….this was all about boosting his offense numbers before signing a large multiyear contract this summer….please, altruistic feelings for Edmonton ??


I didn’t say he had altruistic feelings for Edmonton, I said he took a pay cut to play here. Two different things. If a player leaves money on the table for the chance to have a career year, and we take that chance away from him so we can deal him somewhere, will we be able to get another player to leave money on the table next year?


Stop and think about what you stated. Worst case for Barrie is he could have had to play for a team not of his choosing for a short period of time. By taking the one year deal his value is now far greater than it was so regardless of what happens he is better off for signing the deal. It may encourage other players to sign short term with Edmonton to do the very same thing. Had he not had a good year would you be suggesting we resign him? After all if we don’t we might not get others to sign in Edmonton. This is by all I know illogical and would be detrimental to the organization and set a terrible precedent.


If he hadn’t had a good year, we would have given him a fair chance and he would have failed on his own merits, and there would be no problem in dealing him anywhere for whatever we could get – giving him a fresh start would, in that case, be doing well by the player. I think we’re miscommunicating here.

Bruce McCurdy

His last several years were poor?
Barrie had consecutive seasons of 57 & 59 points in 2017-19, 14 goals in each, & was a 5v5 outscorer in each.
He struggled in Toronto in 2019-20, mostly before Mike Babcock was fired after which he produced at more or less his usual high rate.


Babcock tried to fix Barrie, and make him a useful player. Barrie decided he didn’t want to be or was unable to fix his game to be a useful player.

Not wanting to be fixed is why Colorado was uninterested in continuing the relationship, and drafted and traded for multiple replacements.


I don’t think we should sign Barrie next year, but I don’t understand how we are better without him. I believe he’s +5 for even strength goals for and goals against.


He’s +5 on a team with a +14 goal differential. He plays with all of our best players. For me, this is not a “good defenseman” as much as it is a “very good specialist who will thrive as long as he is in a very specific role”. I don’t think the Oilers need him in that role – we had an elite PP before he came along, Conner and Leon were elite before he came along. I hope our young D will gain from being able to watch and play with him – he could end up having a lot of value as an “accidental mentor”.


Barrie was not a fit for us. We are a better team without him. Which leads me to this: Why did we not move him at the trade deadline or earlier ? If all the numbers point to Barrie being a liability

While there’s a good argument that Barrie’s salary could be better spent elsewhere (this year and going forward), this stuff about him being a actual net negative on the ice is complete BS.

Silver Streak

I can only assume that you have not read, or are way smarter than the stats in Willis`s athletic article.


No, I have not read it yet (I will, and I’m curious what Willis has to say, as I typically also agree with his conclusions).

I do know that (for instance) since Barrie has been a regular in the NHL (last 8 seasons) his teams have been +11 with him on the ice at 5v5, and -71 with him off the ice. And that’s with him typically leading his teams in 5v5 TOI.

It’s a very long way from there (+11 vs. -71) to him being a liability or the Oilers being better without him.

Silver Streak

2013 is also a long way from here……..


Yes, a long way.

Barrie has been this player (posting offense, with usually a better goal differential than his teammates) for a long time. Pretty damn consistently too.

Really his only ‘poor’ season was the one in Toronto, which was actually only half a season. He has a positive GF% relative to his teammates in 7 of his 8 seasons (excepting last year in TO).


The are lies, damned lies, and statistics.

Statistics require context. If you don’t put them in the problem context, they misinform you.


Please, show me how to put ‘better goal differential than your teammates every year’ in the proper context. One you apparently think reflects poorly on the player..


When you don’t play against the toughest competition. When you get sat on the bench in the last five minutes of a game because you can’t defend.


That’s a fair and reasonable answer. Thank you.


The are lies, damned lies, and statistics.

I guess the flip side is ‘opinion, belief and hyperbole’. They don’t really require context, though they’re at least as likely to misinform.


I can only assume that you have not read, or are way smarter than the stats in Willis`s athletic article.

I’ve had a chance to read it now.

Willis makes a strong case against re-signing Barrie. I agree with that (assuming a $5M+ price tag) and did before reading.

In terms of the team being ‘better without Barrie’ (as you said). Willis does go so far as to say ‘Filter out usage, and Barrie seems more liability than asset at five-on-five’. The WOWYs suggest that’s true of this season, though I don’t think it’s something you can say about Barrie’s career more generally.

And I don’t think Willis would actually claim the team would be better without Barrie, though I could be wrong.


The so-called smartest men in the room (Joe Sakic and Kyle Dubas) think differently.


Sakic turned one year of Barrie into multiple years of Kadri. Dubas chose Brodie (already having Reilly) over Barrie. Those moves leave a pretty broad range of possible opinions open (Dubas traded Kadri for 1 year of Barrie in the first place, after all).

Last edited 29 days ago by jp

I’m hoping to hear debate from the Barrie cheerleaders on Willis’ article. It’s what many of us old fashioned eyeball talent analysts have been saying all season rebutted by assist total arguments.


I don’t believe that Holland or Tippett feel the team is better without Barrie and, further, I don’t believe that McDavid or Drai feel the team is better without Barrie.

I never propogate the narrative that McDavid will “demand a trade” or “ask out” but if anything led to that it would be moves like trading Barrie at the deadline going in to the playoffs.


And 12 dislikes for this.

Just wow.

Has Spector infiltrated this comment section?


The Oilers have only 9D in the Oiler bubble (with Kulikov). In a Covid world, you need all nine.


If Kulikov is an actual top 4 decenceman, that is a heck of a deal for a fourth rounder. All indications are that he can play.

Looking at the overall group, his size and strength would help balance out the d.


There was a time many years ago when the LT comment section was talking about giving up significant assets (picks and prospects) in a trade for him. So hopefully he can be the player we so desperately desired back then.

Last edited 29 days ago by ashley

He’s played close to 20 minutes per game this years and tough minutes with high d-zone starts and 45% TOI vs. elites and done very well in those minutes.

He has been a legit 2nd pairing d-man for Jersey this season – by the numbers.


Very much hope the Oilers don’t rush Broberg. Seems like two and a half forevers since we didn’t need every prospect we drafted to be ready yesterday. We finally have some actual NHL players ahead of them, and I, for one, am enjoying the luxury of rooting for a team that isn’t inept at developing prospects.


The NHL is getting younger and younger especially with the flat cap you need young cheap ELC contracts to off set the high rollers. The Oilers have never really rushed D men just their spot in the line-up.


Broberg’s ELC is sliding for a second (and last) time this year – next year will be the 1st year of his ELC. He’ll likely be in the NHL for two seasons of his ELC.

This is also year 1 of Bouchard’s ELC – he’ll be full time next year and the Oilers will have two full seasons of Bouchard’s ELC.


I don’t imagine Broberg plays any NHL games in 2021 and potentially not any in the 2021/22 season – he needs real AHL time and will be given that next season.


Nurse needs to be the foundation Block around which the D is built. With the money he will demand the team can not in my opinion afford to re-sign Barrie. Larsson needs to be re-signed ideally at no longer than four years and not more than 4.5. This should allow the team the financial flexibility when figuring in to the young cost controlled improving young D at a total team cap hit of under 26 million . This in turn should allow for the necessary additions to the forward crew. There will be stiff competition for all positions on the D moving forward as the young D matures which should result in a very high quality D group!


Very much agree on Nurse. If he isn’t willing to leave some money on the table to sign here it’s going to be really hard to build a Cup contending roster IMO. I think Barrie would be a bad buy – another team will value him more, and we have too much talent on D to pay full market price for a specialist who IMO is not vital to this roster. Klefbom can eat his minutes very nicely until Bouchard is ready. Would love to resign Larsson, but would prefer two or three years, even if it means an extra half mil in cap. I hope the Oilers are able to avoid giving lots of term on contracts for non-core members as I think the flat cap is going to change how the value of contracts are perceived, and for once I would like the Oilers to be ahead of a change instead of chasing it.

Last edited 29 days ago by Lowetide

I’m one of Larsson’s biggest supporters (have been stating for multiple years that his play is a key to the team’s success) but even I can’t get on board with a 4 X $4.5M contract (and I acknowledge that is the outer marker suggested in the post).

If Larsson digs in for 4 years, the AAV needs to be closer to $3M, in my opinion.

If Larsson is willing to go two year, then I can get on board with closer to $4M.


What comparables can you list that would suggest Larsson’s market value is under $4M?

I get the league is in a flat cap environment for a while, but I don’t see him taking much of a pay cut.

If I look at Kelfbom, drafted same year, I see him due a modest raise on a contract extension. Nothing about Adam Larsson’s on ice product tells me he’s less valuable than his oft-injured d-partner and compatriot.


Klefbom has much better offence which is paid better around the league and is(was) a bonafide #2 defenceman when healthy. If we are talking about Klefbom’s injuries that’s another story. Larsson has been a good #3-4 defenceman this year and worse the last 2 years, he should definitely take a paycut in this market in my opinion.

To see if this is reasonable is tough as the market changed so much last summer.

Some comparables (26-30 years old, 15-25pts over 82 games last year)
Tanev – 4.5m/year over 4 years (Is Larsson as good as Tanev? Was this an overpay?)
Brodie – 5m over 4 (I’d argue is a more complete D)
Chiarot – 3.5m (UFA might be a comparable)
Gudas – 2.5m
Holl – 2m
Skjei – 6.25m (signed a couple years ago, more offence)
Edmundson – 3.5m

It is hard to find comparables as a lot of what Larsson does don’t show up on counting stats. Looking at this list though I would say he is closer to the 3.5m players than the 4.5m+ players.


Chiarot, Edmundson, and Tanev were the ones who came to mind considering style and AAV. Maybe Rob Hainsey? Gotta be some kind of premium for being a mostly durable and rugged veteran RHD.

Agreed Larsson plays a style that doesn’t show up in counting stats as well as Klef. But there is immense value in the kind of game he plays. I feel like losing Larsson would be a lot like losing Staios. You don’t realize what you’re missing until it’s too late.


Nice post LT. The Klefbom situation seems tricky and KH has to plan for a number of possibilities (or so it seems) without having perfect information. 1. The Sekera situation – cannot gamble on his fitness; 2. The Lucic situation – returns healthy but way below his previous standard; 3. Whether to protect him in the draft; 4. He returns as good as before, or better. I would not be surprised if they try to resign Kulikov (or similar) as I have a hard time seeing OK slotting straight back in at 2LD.

Edit: Rather duplicated OP’s post.

Last edited 29 days ago by jm363561



Was thinking Kulikov could be a good insurance policy for next season as well (though we haven’t seen him play yet!).

And if everything goes according to plan with Klefbom you have a bounty of depth.


Can we just bring the boys up from the Bak already…….

cowboy bill

Next year .


No because the idea of Tippett playing them (or any of them) in the top six hasn’t even crossed Holland’s mind and, per Holland’s own words, they would be playing 8-10 minutes given no special teams.

I’m not saying I agree but we pretty much know now of them are getting recalled.

If they didn’t get recalled prior to a week break, its not happening.


You cannot do it post the trade deadline when one is allowed only 4 roster moves.

The Bakersfield Boys are in Hotel California unless there is a run of injuries or worse.

Cape Breton Oilers 4EVR

All the more reason not to give Barrie term on a new deal. He’ll definitely want a long-term deal, and probably gets it, but it shouldn’t be in Edmonton with this many affordable D pushing for jobs over the next few years.


If they resign Barrie and Larsson one of Bear or Bouchard or gone tout suite. If the signings happen I say it’s Bear he should get us a 3-C or a forward that can score.


Players with unproven track records won’t get the player you need for the top six. It will get you a same age player that may have shown flashes but has warts and or an over priced player on his retirement deal that is past his best before date. Like milk this player should be avoid because he will sour on you quickly and ties up valuable cap space.


I can’t imagine Bouchard being traded away – Holland has been very express on how big a part of the future he is.

I’d like to think that Holland sees the value in Bear’s cap hit next year (as a player that has played legit top 4 in the NHL) and the ability of Bouchard to take some of the offensive sorties that are given to Barrie right now, on his ELC.


Trading Bouchard would be like stealing home base with two outs down by a run in the ninth inning. You can do it, but you’d better be right…


So you would trade your only legit proven top 4 RD. Larsson is top 4 defensively only. Barrie is top 4 offensively only. Bouchard will be a rookie.

Trading Bear would be the worst thing the Oilers could do. And a horrible way to construct the right side of the blue.