Let the Speculation Begin

by Lowetide

This is going to be the summer Ken Holland makes some changes around the team, I expect. He has his coaches in place, scouts too, and the AHL team is going well.

This year he has some room to wheel in free agency. There might be a chance to creatively offload the Mikko Koskinen contract, and if you’re in a dreamy mood, maybe the James Neal contract is bought out (I don’t think so).

The Oilers have some real quality. They also have a lot below replacement level. Closing that gap has been a work in progress since the McDavid draft.


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’s the latest!


  • Goal (4): Mikko Koskinen, Alex Stalock, Olivier Rodrigue, Ilya Konovalov
  • Left Defense (8): Darnell Nurse, Oscar Klefbom, Caleb Jones, Kris Russell, William Lagesson, Philip Broberg, Dmitri Samorukov, Markus Niemelainen
  • Right Defense (5): Ethan Bear, Evan Bouchard, Filip Berglund, Mike Kesselring, Phil Kemp
  • Center (4): Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl, Ryan McLeod, Kyle Turris
  • Left Wing (3): James Neal, Dylan Holloway, Ostap Safin
  • Right Wing (6): Jesse Puljujarvi, Josh Archibald, Zack Kassian, Raphael Lavoie, Kirill Maksimov, Seth Griffith

There’s plenty of work to do, I imagine Koskinen, Stalock, Turris and Neal are candidates to move on. This team badly needs help in a lot of places, I count left defense (if Klefbom is healthy) and center as the only strengths. Left wing is the weakest position.


  • Goal: Mike Smith
  • Left Defense: Slater Koekkoek
  • Right Defense: Adam Larsson, Tyson Barrie
  • Center: Gaetan Haas, Alan Quine
  • Left Wing: Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Tyler Ennis, Joakim Nygard, Joe Gambardella
  • Right Wing: Alex Chiasson, Adam Cracknell

Based on deployment by the coach, expect Mike Smith and Adam Larsson to return. I also think there’s a dollar amount that Edmonton would eagerly bring back Nuge and Chiasson, but it remains to be seen if players and agents feel those dollars are satisfying.


  • Goal: Stuart Skinner, Dylan Wells
  • Left Defense: Theodor Lennstrom
  • Right Defense:
  • Center: Jujhar Khaira
  • Left Wing: Dominik Kahun, Tyler Benson, Devin Shore
  • Right Wing: Kailer Yamamoto, Cooper Marody, Patrick Russell

Based on usage, I think Devin Shore jumps into the group that will get a contract this summer. Likely to join him are Kailer Yamamoto (more in a minute) and Jujhar Khaira. Positional need suggest Dominik Kahun and Tyler Benson could get deals, and both Stuart Skinner and Theodor Lennstrom have reasons to recommend them.


For some reason, this stat and my usage of it became controversial in the comments section during the season. I guess if you hang around long enough, you see everything. I’m looking for a ‘level playing field’ for all forwards. Any forward who gets power-play time has offensive ability, but can they deliver at five on five, the biggest game state in terms of total time and a very difficult area to score in?

There were 84 forwards (7 teams times 12 forwards) who played 330 or more minutes in the NHL at five on five this season. That’s my pool. Top line forwards (No. 1-21):

  • No. 1 Connor McDavid 3.58
  • No. 5 Leon Draisaitl 2.64

These two men filleted the North division all year long. As always, the Oilers begin an offseason with enormous advantages over the opposition. This season, none of the wingers who skated alongside the two men was able to manage top-line production. Second-line forwards (22-42) were not able to deliver enough offense to qualify as productive second-line forwards, but one bottom-six player made the grade, and two skill wingers made it, too:

  • No. 34 Jujhar Khaira 1.67
  • No. 41 Tyler Ennis 1.54
  • No. 42 Jesse Puljujarvi 1.53

This is a productive season for Khaira, whose most common linemates were Josh Archibald and Devin Shore. Lots of reasons to look past this player, I’d suggest it is unwise. Oilers fans are clamoring for offense, here’s a guy whose last four seasons five on five are 1.38, 1.38, 0.80 and now 1.67. That’s a solid NHL player. Plus his on-ice goal differential at five on five (13-15) is solid. Looking for progress? Khaira helped.

Ennis and Puljujarvi qualify as second-round performers at the bottom end, I think some credit is due to both men. Ennis performed well without ever getting a firm hold on a job, kind of incredible for a team badly in need of five on five wingers.

Puljujarvi was a revelation and I expect he’ll be even more productive a year from now. He is Edmonton’s third best forward and (last night’s apparent exchange excepted) has great chemistry with McDavid. Even last night, with the team clawing for breath in overtime and JP banished to the Haas ‘hinterland’ line, the big man was getting looks.

Several men played top-six minutes and delivered third line performances. Some narrowly missed, I’d suggest there are productive players at the top (Nos. 43-63):

  • No. 56 Alex Chiasson 1.29
  • No. 57 Kailer Yamamoto 1.28
  • No. 61 Dominik Kahun 1.22

Nuge finished No. 66 overall (1.12) and the offense kind of ended there. If I were king, I’d consider 97, 29 and Puljujarvi the starting point for five on five offense and shop the world for two left-wingers and some Yamamoto insurance.


Ken Holland walked Dave Lewis after two years, so there is precedent, but I think Dave Tippett is safe. He did not have a good playoff series against the Jets in my opinion, running 97 and 29 was effective all year so putting them together was an unforced error. I also believe you have to play your third pairing and do have sympathy for the coach. Ethan Bear, who I believe is a quality young defender, was poor in the final two games. Still, you have to play your third pair. I’ll have more on the Lowdown.


At 10 this morning, we’ll hear from you and a couple of interesting observers on the Lowdown (TSN1260). At 10:40, TSN1260 insider Matt Kassian will chime in on the game and series. At 11, Daniel Nugent-Bowman from The Athletic will give us his view of the series and look forward to the summer. 10-1260 text, @Lowetide on twitter. See you on the radio!


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Hello Lowetiders,

Been awhile since I wrote and this may be the last you’ll hear from me in a bit. If you follow me on Twitter, you know I’ve raged the last 3 days about this team, and how I’m done as an Oilers fan. Maybe, maybe not, but seeing this is the last bastion of sanity on the Good Ship Oilers, I’ll lay it out for you here.

I first started cheering for this team in the early WHA days after my dad took me down to the Edmonton Gardens to cheer for this new team against Bobby Hull. My obsession with hockey started earlier than that, but it was cemented on that day. My NHL team was the Canadiens, but the Oilers were my favorite team. I listened with great concentration to Bryan Hall and Rod Phillips as they called the games, with me tuning on in my transistor radio late into the night when I should have been sleeping. They became my fave team when they moved to the NHL and then I was really hooked. As life would play a cruel fate on me, the Oilers moved to the NHL the year after we left Edmonton as a family and headed to BC, which is my home still.

I have been fortunate enough to write about Oilers prospects through great guys like Bruce McCurdy and come in here and just be blown away by the diversity and amount of knowledge of the fans.

I lived the best of times and the absolute horrid of times with this franchise, and I think I was pushed off the edge the other night as I drove to an emergency call on my job, believing the game was in hand at 4-1. No problem, the internet is wonderful so I tuned into 630 CHED on my phone and drove away. I was only 10 minutes away and the co-worker I was going to meet is an Oilers fan, so maybe we could celebrate together. I couldn’t believe it. Ironically, the radio team mentioned that Tippet would probably be resting 97 & 29 the rest of the way.

I can’t say I have ever raged that hard at any sports event before and I hope I never do again. Maybe it was the annoyance of answering a work call on a long weekend. Who knows. It just felt like I was pushed beyond the edge and simply had enough.

Having said that, I want to preface this rant by saying that I do not begrudge any fans, players, or coaching staff with the Oilers one bit. When you’re a fan, you follow the team and I for one will say to blindly follow a team and not hear any dissenting opinions is ridiculous. Even Ned Flanders had a boiling point. Lowetide is a refreshing place to go as fans in here tend to have a higher understanding of the game and let’s face it, more tolerant towards each other. The players are doing what they love to do and they do it to the best of their ability and I can’t question their work ethic because 1) I will never know what it’s like to be an NHL player and 2) see point 1. The coaching staff works with what they’re given by management and try their best to adapt team tactics to what is available on the bench. I know one of the Oilers coaches (Jim Playfair) and I know they’ve all worked their tails off to get where they are. You can’t make diamonds from turds no matter how hard you try. Now that I’ve said that….

My biggest rage right now is that the owner and upper management have such utter contempt for the fans. Thank you Mr Katz for stepping up and buying the team and being an owner who is a fan, but is also an owner who got his rink paid for with a considerable amount of tax dollars and spoke of leaving if he didn’t. I love the fact that you’ve taken a step back and let the supposed geniuses run the hockey part.

Bobby Nicks has been such an abysmal and utter failure as the President of this team, and I honestly don’t see this team moving forward until he and his rot, is out of this franchise. He has no vision for this team and seems to think annual ticket price increases are the way to improve the team. He hasn’t hired the right people and tends to hang onto shiny objects from the glory years (and boy are those a long time ago). I also know that when he was CEO of Hockey Canada he was a tyrant and more of a salesman than someone who could be bothered by all the technical points of running a company. But, he seems to hold some sway with the owner, so who knows. His constant hiring of buffoons and his reluctance to create an analytics department with the team is beyond baffling. Hiring Peter Chiarelli, need I say more?

What has this “leadership” gotten us? One of the worst decades in hockey (and like I said, this team should count their blessings that the Sabres exist), and the potential wasting of a generational talent. I’m not an analytics guru, and have a very limited grasp of it, but I do know that it makes a huge difference especially in this salary cap world we find o urselves in. Season after season of having to temper our expectations while Bobby Nicks and his lapdogs do absolutely nothing, nothing, to improve this club. I don’t see much improvement and I’m certainly not holding my breath this summer and have decided not to spend one single dime of my money on this hockey team. Not until I see Bobby Nicks shown the door and maybe I’ll buy something. For now, no more over priced, cramped nosebleed seats, plus the $$$ it costs to even get to Edmonton, nothing.

I don’t know, maybe I’m a looney tune, maybe I’m just beyond pissed off. Pissed off that I’ve been foolish to believe, this team that I’ve been watching, is presented as an NHL team. Maybe I need to keep my expectations lower, or maybe I need to be more realistic.

Anyway, I’m done.

Thanks for reading.


I think we can sign Nuge for $6.5 mill, Larsson for $4.5 mill and still have enough cap space to acquire two very good wingers.

Material Elvis

That seems like an overpay for both guys.


People’ve mentioned Dom’s article at The Athletic. Someone should take this paragraph, cast it in a bronze plaque 20’ high, drop it in front of every arena in the league.

I don’t want penalties to be called based on how many penalties the other team has. I don’t want to have to guess what a penalty even is based on which player did it, what period the game is in, what time of day it is, what mood the referee is in, or whether Mercury is in retrograde. I don’t want low-calibre players to be gifted a get out of jail free card because they don’t have the ability to defend without crossing an ever-moving line that exists sometimes but not others. I don’t want the awful narratives that come with a skilled player or team getting eliminated partially because the referees tilted the scales against them by trying not to decide the outcome.”


Read the article and it’s a great take on the refereeing standards in the playoffs.

He’s also got a really good video clip of DeMelo’s uncalled trip/knee on McDavid. I think the only thing that saved McDavid from something catastrophic was his amazing reflexes. It looked like he jumped up at the last possible instant. If he doesn’t do that, his skate is planted on the ice for the hit and we’re wondering if he’ll be back playing by Christmas.

I didn’t watch the intermissions last night, so I don’t know if this hit was discussed by the panel. If they didn’t, it’s definitely a fail.


If Holland can land a couple solid LW’s in free agency and assuming Nuge walks & McLeod can take the 3C role next year, things really don’t look bad at all. My picks would be Schwartz (4X$6) & Coleman (4X$4.5) for top 6 wingers, and take a flyer on a guy like Andrej Kase (2X$2) to add some depth in the middle six. For Goaltending Id like to see Driedger (3X$4) or Rantta, preferable Driedger. On D as long as Klef returns the D should be fine and middle of the pack, but solid albeit average D is good enough if your forward core is elite which there’s no reason it shouldn’t be next year. If Klef is unable to return would likely need to go hard after a guy like Oleksiak (4X$3.5)… would like to see them go after him regardless though.

Your 2021-2022 all-in Edmonton Oilers:





Schwartz’s offense dipped more than Nuge’s this season, he doesn’t play center and, while he kills penalties a bit, not near to Nuge’s level. Is this an upgrade on Nuge for a similar contract?


I believe it’s an upgrade personally I like nuge but we need a different look


Ya. I’d much rather have Nuge at even $6.5 mill. Their career offensive numbers are almost identical – Nuge is slightly better – and he’s much more versatile.


How is Schwartz an upgrade over Nuge?
I’d rather give Nuge 6 million than Schwartz.


Thanks LT for all the distractions from COVID and the amazing stories and letting us into your life! You’re sharing and this site has been special to me beyond anything you could possibly know! May God bless you and yours now and forever! Keep the Oiler faith!


You know, despite the sour end, I’m actually quite pleased with this season as an Oiler fan. Continued improvement as a team, and this despite losing our top dman (Klefbom) from last year (not many teams could do that), and some promising youth looking on the cusp. Nurse seems to have developed into a legit #1 dman. We’ve only been searching for that since 06. Jesse is almost like found money. Generous amount of cap space for next season.

Re. the sour ending, I was never on board that this was the year we should go all in. It would have been nice to win a round, sure, but it would have been an upset if we’d beaten TO to advance to round 3 (and likely would’ve been crushed there). Plus, I always thought people were getting too cocky about the Jets. I’ve long admired them – one of the best groups of forwards in the league IMO, and a Vezina winner between the pipes. It hurts to have been swept, but not all sweeps are equal. That was a hard fought series (3 games to OT, and the other essentially a 1 goal game), and I’d imagine every Jets player would say the same. That was a heckuva season, with a sour ending. And it was just nice to have Oilers hockey back. And really fun getting to watch McDavid, and Draisatl – what a treat.

Thanks as well to LT for keeping this blog and community going and reasonably well behaved, and thanks to the varied posters/community members. It was fun following along with the comments section this year as well.


Yes, I agree with you. The loss of Klefbom has been under-stated and his potential return is massive. We don’t know that we don’t know with Klef’s status right now but the chance to have Nurse/Klef as 1-2 on the left side is intoxicating.

Holland takes a lot of heat for his “we can’t go for it every year” statement but, of course, he’s right and the statement is often taken out of context. He’s not saying that he doesn’t try and build the best team to contend, year after year, but simply that you can’t sell futures for immediate and short term help at the deadline year after year after year.

Holland did that at the 2020 deadline and it was a main reason why his asset currency was depleted at the 2021 deadline. If he did it again at the 2021 deadline there would be even less currency at the 2022 deadline. Combine the already depleted acquisition asset capital with the requirement for cap disposition capital (essentially requiring more assets out to consummate a trade) and this wasn’t the year.

Yes, a part of the lack of cap space was self-inflicted (i.e. Kassian) but most of it was inherited and the org is still digging out from under that.

Harpers Hair

David Pagnotta

Gretzky announces he’s stepped down as Vice Chairman of the Oilers.

Expect more changes in OEG to be announced in the near future, as well.

I’m told those changes are at the top of OEG as a whole.

Harpers Hair

More on this including the possibility Burger Bob may be on his way out of OEG.


It appears Stew MacDonald may be getting a promotion.

I worked with him a few times when CFRN had the broadcast rights.

He’s a smart dude.


Its no secret that Nicholson is most likely taking over from Rene Fasel when he retires which I believe is happening this fall.

Brogan Rafferty's Uncle Steve

Holland takes over OEG and hires Jeff Gorton to replace him as GM. DO IT.


More on Bouchard (I noted earlier that Nugent-Bowman wrote he’s been told they will have a clear path for him next season) – Tip brought him up on his own today and said he believes he’ll be an every day player next season.


I have nothing to add other than to say that Athletic article by Dom L was my favourite sports article of the last 5 years. It was cathartic to read that someone feels as frustrated and angry at the leaders of the sport as I do.

The reffing pathway post below and in the Athletic comments blows my mind too.

This really is a sport run by idiots. Not in the “you’re an idiot” sort of way…but rather the “when you pull back the veneer I don’t have nearly enough knowledge, training or guidance to do the job I’ve been hired to do” sort of way.


“when you pull back the veneer I don’t have nearly enough knowledge, training or guidance to do the job I’ve been hired to do” sort of way.

I would love to have seen Parros’ resume for his application for the head of player safety:

-played hockey
-punched people
-checked people hard
-was suspended before so I know the process

In all seriousness, what other qualifications would Parros have for a position like that?

It really is a bush league.

Harpers Hair

Parros played four years at Princeton University, where he totaled 52 points and 119 PIM in 111 games. He was named team captain for his senior season in 2002–03. While at Princeton, Parros majored in economics and wrote his senior thesis on the West Coast longshoremen’s labor dispute.[3] In 2010, he was chosen as the fourth-smartest athlete in sports by the Sporting News.[4]


I can tell when you are trying to bait.

There is no way you posted this with a straight face.

Harpers Hair

You asked a question and I answered it.

I was fully aware that Parros was a Princeton grad and a quick Wiki search turned up the info I posted.

You should try it

He was also on the ECAC All Academic team in 2001, 2002 and 2003.

He is far from the bozo you made him out to be.


Nice try. Not falling for it.

There’s no way that someone who claims to have been in a leadership position for a company, like yourself, would post that as qualifications with a straight face.

Harpers Hair

My face is very straight and what you are or are not buying is inconsequential to me and I am sure Parros would feel exactly the same.


You are the only one who interpreted my comment as me saying he is not smart.

I said he is not qualified. You can be smart, but that doesn’t mean you are qualified to do every position.

Hey HH, I went to Princeton and majored in economics. I wrote a thesis on how music streaming is impacting the radio industry. I also listen to the radio a lot.

So which radio station should I become the head of since I am clearly qualified?


Lots of bozo’s have goon to Princeton, this isn’t debatable.

Harpers Hair

Name 10.


Anyone taught by Krugman.


But not nearly the Rhodes scholar you made him out to be. The reality is he got into Princeton because he was an athlete! See if you can get an IQ! You are a jerk of the lowest level. You would lead the clown carnival as head clown!

Harpers Hair

You don’t get into any Ivy League school unless you have a big brain.
I guess, with your grade school comprehension level, you missed the citation of him being the 4th smartest guy in sports…not just hockey…but all of sports.

Scungilli Slushy

Smart means diddly squat. It gives an advantage at the start of life.

The proof is in the outcome.

And it’s a steaming pile for basically everythig NHL except making money for owners.

An argument can be fairly made that it has far less to do with Bettman than the expansion of the North American economy as a whole.

“Smartest human in the room” doesn’t impress me, it makes me batten down the hatches.

Before you start at it, I’m not speaking from a position of envy or a lack of understanding about it.


You might want to check on that! You will find you are not near as smart as you would have us believe!

Chelios is a Dinosaur

There are many routes into the Ivy League that do not require a big brain.


I haven’t done the math myself, but it seems that the Oilers will have somewhere in the 25 mil cap space.

I would suggest that if Mcdavid, Draisaitl and JP are our top 3. We could have the resources to build an entirely new 2nd line. One that can take some of the burden of scoring off our top 2, thus making it harder to shut the team down. And a more playoff style line. I think it would not require ‘luck’ but rather some commitments that the Oilers are probably ready for.

1) A commitment to a cost saving but effective ‘Kid” line as our 3rd line. We have a mitt full of players, ready or almost ready for this: Yamo, McLeod, Benson, Lavoie*, Holloway*. This line would cost us less than 5-6 million (*almost ready)

2) Bringing back the players we can trust and can keep up for the PK and 4th line Khaira, Ennis, Archie, Haas, Shore

3) Being firm on new contracts Less than 5×5 mill for Nuge, Less than 4.5 x 4 for Barrie, Less than 4×4 for Larsson

4) Not resigning, accepting less than 50 cent on the dollar in a trade, demoting to minors or buying out: Chiasson, Neal, Kassian, Turris and Koskinen

5) Not panicking on Defense. There is a good top 6 within the organization without breaking the bank! We have the existing players signed: Nurse, Bear and Bouchard…and signable NHL players: Larsson, Barrie, Kulikov, and Koekkoek… and fringe players with potential, Jones and Lagesson…and upcoming potential impactful rookies: Broberg, Samorukov, Bergland and others further away.

6) A smart but essential signing of a 1A goalie with Smith as our 1B. No offence but we cannot count on another season like this from Smith.

Really, with cooler heads, we are set up very well for the summer


Nice post.

I wouldn’t put Lavoie as “almost ready” – in a year he might be almost ready but he needs a lot of work based on my AHL viewing.


Nice. Identical quibble to OP’s.


Solid post, although I have some nits to pick with it.

-Chias son is UFA
-Kassian buyout is a solid no from me. Trade him if you can, but I don’t think it’s possible, and I think you have to eat a year or two before a buyout becomes reasonable.
-That number for Barrie probably doesn’t happen unless he really wants to be here, which is iffy at best. If he’s willing to accept it I think you jump on it.
-Not sure that Nuge takes $5M, think he gets better offers. I take him back at that number, thougb 5 years is more than I want to give him.

I like the overall thrust of this though. Don’t panic and do something stupid, get tough with the UFAs and get better value contracts out of them. Be willing to let them go if necessary.


Agree on Kass.

Neal is not tradeable at 50% retained (at least I don’t imagine he is) and Koskinen is getting pretty close to that status.

On the other hand, Kassian would definitely be tradeable with half retained, probably less – much better than a buyout.


Who is best for ???? Asking for a friend lolol


Bensen-mcleod-Yamamoto =3.5m


Plus what 5mish for poor prior mngt is 68m so 13 m for ????. I think we have to suck it up on goa lies. Not ideal we were a top 10 to 15 team this year see if we can be a top ten next year! Very happy with this season Sansplayoffs


Right now, Edmonton is drafting 21st, yes? If the Islanders, Predators, or Canadiens win then Edmonton moves up one spot for each team that wins their series, so they could draft as high as 18. Sebastien Cossa would be right one their range as he’s usually slotted in that 19-21 range or lower. That’s my pick if he’s still there.


Go Islanders! Go Predators! Go Habs!


Question. Can McLeod and/or Bouchard join the Condors now for the rest of their playoff run? If no, will it be because it is not allowed or because by the time they get through quarantine, the playoffs will be over?


Yes, they could but the series goes tomorrow to Saturday (maybe even ends Thursday) and they would have to quarantine for 3 days so no point..


Not getting through the first round saves the Oilers from further bonus overage vis-a-vis Smith.

Per Puckpedia:

The #LetsGoOilers finished the year w/ $328K in Performance Bonuses Earned:

-Yamamoto $157K
-Smith $171K

Last year, they split their overage over 2 years ($338K/yr), so in 21-22 they will have $666K Bonus Carryover Overage Cap Hit.


I am not advocating the silly talk of trading Conner for a Lindros like haul that fills out the rest of our roster and makes us competitive/champions.

However, to a lower scale, what if the player that can best be that for us without ruining the core is JP? His value a year ago was at an all-time low, but it has to be at an all-time high right now. GM’s saw his physical attributes and skills along with a new attitude and willingness to change. He is on another year of cheap contract and the acquiring team will be able to negotiate his next contract themselves.

Could that many pluses bring in multiple of the required 2LW, 3C, 2LD, goalie? Would we be able to offload a Koskinen/Neal at the same time and still get valuable pieces for the team to win now plus open cap space? The only reason I even ask is JP was not mentioned as part of the core by any player in the exit interviews today (neither was Yammer). McDavid’s little tantrum (which I didn’t think was a big deal at the time) may show that he would be ok with JP trade if it filled other holes. Lavoie on the way as a RW shooter.

I don’t want to lose him at all, but considering the “win now” pressure that has to be mounting…is anyone a more valuable trade chip on the team right now?

Last edited 3 months ago by Primetime

His value on the market won’t be there yet. To me his value on the roster is already apparent.


I wouldn’t consider replacing Jesse with Lavoie in the top 6 a “win now” type of move, even with a decent asset back for Jesse.

Lavoie is no sure bet to even “make it” let alone arrive early.


Dom at Athletic has interesting article
counted 30 infractions against Mcdavid this series and 0 were called
Mcdavid has not drawn a penalty in last 8 playoff games


including Playin last year so


Jesse fulfilled his part of the bargain with Holland. He came back, ignored the noise, did the work, and re-established his value. He has three years maximum left with the Oilers till he is a UFA. From last night, it is clear that nothing has changed between McDavid and him. So the time to maximize Puljujarvi’s value in a trade is probably now. There is no right or wrong and no one to blame, but it clear there is a cleavage between McDavid and Puljujarvi, and will only get worse over time, as Jesse ticks down the clock from 4 to 3 to 2 to 1.

I don’t think a team can sustain such an internal division over an extended period and be successful. Set Puljujarvi free.

#GetOffMyLine is effectively saying #GetOffMyTeam, and both Connor and Jesse probably agree on that.


Seen something similar in game 3 also. Shortly before an offensive face off camera pan to McDavid and Draisaitl conversing, then McDavid and Puljujarvi briefly and then finally McDavid with Nurse. There is definitely an inner circle based on body language.

Nonetheless, one does not need to be buddy with every single colleagues. As long as they stay off each other they probably could maintain professional respect and appreciate what each bring to the team .


“I don’t think a team can sustain such an internal division over an extended period and be successful.”

You concluded this based on 1 moment in 1 game over the entire year?

Reminds me of your big miss proclaiming that Woodcroft should have left the Oilers org if he wanted to have any chance of having a career instead of going to the Condors.

“If you ignore all of the times McDavid and JP were happy playing together and celebrating goals together and focus on this one brief moment, you will clearly see they can’t ever be on the same team together and their relationship is irreparably damaged”



You seem to have forgotten the three seasons of Jesse’s ELC, that caused him to ask to a trade.

Last edited 3 months ago by godot10

If we traded Jesse we’d just be looking for another big fast right wing. Swapping players at the same position seems highly unlikely, I can’t see a deal that would be a win. Perhaps you could suggest one.


No one player is bigger than the team! By all I am seeing the correct move is Connor as blasphemous as that sounds! Buffalo might be able to swing the right kind of deal!


You seem to have forgotten that Jesse returned to the Oilers where him and McDavid played together, happily, for an entire year. Your narrative may have had some weight if Jesse returned and McDavid had him banished to the 4th line within the first few games of the season.

Of course tensions are going to run high in an elimination game in the playoffs.

Did you make posts like this when Crosby got heated with his teammates on the bench in the playoffs?


I have your back on this, godot. Leavins posted an hit piece on Puljujärvi that was basically a full-credulity, straight-printed list of grievances from everyone who had anything bad to say about the kid, and it included multiple teammates that were easy guesses.

He doesn’t deserve to have to prove anyone more wrong any longer. Though I guess their playoff loss would be less painful if they were less of a favourite over the Jets, so that’s one area that he didn’t help in.


When was this hit piece, I can’t find anything recent. If it was a prior season, I think we can discount it quite a bit, Jesse is a different player now and has had a good season.

If for some reason there is an issue, I have a solution Godot is going to love! I would play Kassian on the first line. 😎

Here me out, he posted good numbers with McDavid before and I don’t think anything has fundamentally changed. Kassian elevates his game when on the top lines. Then play Jesse with Draisiatl and Yamamoto with McLeod. It will work!


What an awful take, from one moment in a game. You are going to trade a 22 year player who earned first line minutes and had a significant bounce back year on a cheap contract.

This is pure guessing in the worst form.

Scungilli Slushy

We’ll see, but if Connor can’t see JP was really effective when it counted that’s a problem.

He can also play on another line.

I have never gained knowledge of an elite player not wanting an effective player on their team.


This is just an example of trying to be the smartest poster in the forum creating some narrative based on very little.

I remember a year ago when bringing Jesse back was supposed to be a non-starter because of a conflict with the “leadership group” and some analysis and extrapolation of comments such as “we want people that want to be here”.

Don’t bring that player in to the dressing room I keep hearing.

Of course, that was silly as we’ve seen all year long and recently with Tip saying “I love Jesse” and all the verbal about how much fun he’s having and the entire team singing happy birthday to him.

Now, an emotional moment in an elimination playoff game and its back to where we were a year ago.

Thankfully Drai wasn’t traded after Nurse cocked him a couple years ago.

Scungilli Slushy



The mentally stronger team won the series. The Oil carried the play for pretty much every game but the Jets executed far better at key moments. Part of it is better depth, more guys who can finish and make plays. Part of it is having an elite goalie vs a good one. But part of it, and I’d say a fairly large part though impossible to quantify, is the mental game.
A lot of players looked like they were playing tense, too wound up, just look at how stale and uncreative the PP was overall after being the best in the league for two straight seasons. It’s easy to get caught up in the intensity of playoff games and just run on emotion. It’s easy to think that it’s all about being as pumped up as possible, running on adrenaline to be successful in those situations. But it’s ok to enjoy it. It’s actually a key to success.
In high pressure games you get the adrenaline, the emotional investment for free, no pro athlete has a problem getting up for these games unless there’s some other issue going on. So you don’t really need to get extra fired up to find focus. Usually it’s better, and I know how corny this is, to just relax a little and have fun. Playoff games, high pressure moments are awesome if you take all that emotion, the adrenaline, the nervousness, the intensity, the physicality and just enjoy it.

The core group of Nurse, McDavid, Draisaitl seem like they turn it up so much for the playoffs they play angry. And them being the leaders of the group it has the whole team all wired up. I think they need to find some balance. I don’t care about clips of McDavid being frustrated and shouting on the bench, emotions run high, it happens, to me it looks like he was involved in a loud discussion with the coaches. Either way it says nothing about the personality of the player or the relationships on the team. I’m more bothered that he plays with less creativity and poise than usually. And that the team overall breaks down in key moments.

The Stanley Cup is a chance for an elite player to test his skillset at the highest possible level with the best players in the world battling like crazy to win. It’s the holy grail of playing hockey, an insane opportunity that most fans would sacrifice more than they dare to admit to experience. The games are grindy but the Stanley Cup isn’t the grind it’s the reward after the regular season. You’d be a fool to not enjoy it yet lots of players are struggling to break a smile during these games. And not only does it limit their experience, I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve heard former elite athletes saying the biggest regret of their career was not enjoying the big moments more, it can hamper their performance.

And I’m not suggesting guys rolling in all happy-go-lucky and play the games, I get that you need that fire, and emotions will run high, I personally get all crazy when I play “big” games at the shitty level I’ve been at, can’t imagine how I’d be in an NHL playoff, but you can be fired up and not play pissed.

This is now a good regular season team. For them to become a good playoff team Ken needs to make some astute moves, maybe get lucky with some younglings developing. And imo the leading players needs to figure out how to find the balance between ultra high ambition and enjoying the moment. I do think mixing it up with some different personalities might help, like Jesse for example but his status and confidence isn’t at that level to have an impact in a playoff setting, but I do think his arrival has been a positive for the group in the regular season. I think Bouchard’s super-poised, almost sedated style on the ice could help calm the waters if his skillset holds up. I think Klefbom if he’s coming back could help not only on the ice, he’ll come in with a new perspective on things and has a pretty laid back style while still having a high status in the room.

I’m rambling on and it’s a little mumbo jumbo I’m sure but I struggle to explain this set of games in any other fashion.

Next year I hope I’m trying to explain an Oiler miracle run to the cup instead.

Gamma Cassiopeiae

I agree with this. I would like the coach to help manage this situation and it’s unclear what he has done.


Well Said.

Scungilli Slushy

Nice one Swedish

Agreed that the management of the core’s mental state wasn’t impressive.

Also overplay them all season probably didn’t set the right tone for the team or them.

It’s not easy with having elite talent to get the group in balance, it’s natural for the others to sit back and watch the spectacle, as it was with Gretzky’s Oilers.

New Improved Darkness

Reply to geowal, that outgrew the reply box.

This series was so enormously disappointing, in many ways worse than the decade of darkness.


Vox has a piece from a few years back: 13 sexist airline ads from the 1960s.

You haven’t truly lived the horror until you’ve seen “stewardess” Yasuko Nakamura photographed clutching the stiff edge of a white envelope between her porcelain teeth like a defiantly non-slobbery dog returning a wayward slipper, a white envelope addressed to YASUKO NAKAMURA in large handwritten letters (apparently she can’t even read her own name), complete with British Overseas Airway Corporation ad copy underneath: “Can’t pronounce her full name? Try ‘Suki.’ ”

Welcome aboard BOAC, where we don’t insist on phonics—not even after you’re so plastered after ten hours in first class that you’d struggle to sound out ya – su – ko worse than if you’d been tasked with cracking the Rosetta Stone off the cuff in the No-Su-Ag ultimate bonus round.

[*] Internal slang for No Such Agency. Also known as No Strings Attached.

Special prize for the ultimate bonus round: vintage 1972 Suzuki TM-250J Champion in mint condition. Some restrictions apply. (Must be able to pronounce su – zu – ki in a single attempt.)

But back to the main event. I was actually looking for a different sexist slogan.

Yeah, yeah. I know that you call me a “Rascally Wabbit”, you say your R’s like your W’s, that’s a really bad habit! It’s room not womb, trees not twees, you replace so many R’s, I thought you was Chinese! You’re so stuck on yourself, I’ll call you Elmer’s Glue, I got you some coffee, one lump or two?

Mmmh. Massive filter failure—now going from bad to worse.

I can no longer recall the airline or Sanka-esque coffee brand in question, but I dimly recall “one lump or two” ads aping the risque tone of the “Flick your BIC” campaign.

You see, I’m picturing Santa standing beside a stocking hung by the chimney with care, grinning like Danny Partridge dolled up in a red-felt Arctic North outdoor smoking jacket rated all the way down to -60 °C (fringed to the nines with a broad white sash—so many Stoatwarts’ ‘Ermiones all stitched together) to deliver a belly full of laughs straight into the campy Vincent Price lens of a PG13 sequel to Catch Me If You Can.

“One lump or two?” the Polar Partridge inquires, solicitously.

Problem: Our smirking Sanka Santa is kitted out not with those tiny nose-hair sugar tongs (as seen on Natural Born Killers), but rather those jumbo OXO Good Grips tongs that no arthritic Sasquatch can possibly live without. And the giant sack he’s about to reach into is embossed with the crest of the National Union of Mineworkers (rendered in a not entirely colour-coordinated shade of rearguard aneurysm red).

Yes, Virginia, it’s xmas morning, and “Santa” Partridge is about to deliver two of the largest lumps of certified union anthracite ever doled out in the bitumen borsch belt.

Directly into the limp toe of your flaccid xmas stocking.

But wait!

There’s yet a silver lining.

Turns out the giant lumps of anthracite crack open like Chinese fortune cookies from hell—and there’s a gift inside!

You’ll never guess.

Because apparently, geowal, you weren’t actually around for many of the thin years during the actual decade of darkness.




It’s Lowetide’s prospect list—in advanced preprepreprint—for the Dominion-week hockey festivities come balmy July.

Fresh, fresh, fresh off the press on xmas morning.

Hip, hip, hooray!

But also:

Lembas bread!

Lembas bread!

MOAR lembas bread!

[*] Don’t ever energize on “and a Partridge in a pear tree”. It’s the trap of all traps of the San Pueblo von Trapp’s of the notorious Psycho psychedelic shag wagon.

[*] Only when you’re Keith Partridge can you can show up for an intimate date driving the Mondrian Monstrosity and still get laid—after methodically grinding your clutch up a long, desolate donkey trail to engage in spiritual commune with your personal fav gnarly Redwood.

And the best part: the girth is so great, you can always find some fresh bark canvass to carve another cupid without crowding. One black arrow, many hearts.

[*] Our list of new and exciting ways to kill off six months of the regular- and post-season in eternal October anticipation grows thin grumbles Elrond, eying up yet another ominous Crebain swarm gathering on the Mordor horizon.

“I warned you about the swarm,” remarks Gandalf redundantly.

“But for your goth aversion to wielding the Palantirs, we could have forewarned Radagast Eakins while time remained,” retorts Elrond, who hasn’t been out-redundanted for an age of men.

Last edited 3 months ago by New Improved Darkness
New Improved Darkness

Meh. On final review, that reads like grinding your clutch to somewhere far less charming. Not even “arthritic Sasquatch” or “Mondrian Monstrosity” or ermine puns on “Hogwarts’ Hermiones” can save this one.


Ermine Hermione was pretty good though, warts and all.

But, I’d agree that KP never had a problem getting laid. Ever. Nor did that Mondrian Monstrosity hold him back in the day and age of VW flower buses and love bugs and purple airplanes…

Just ask Herbie Hancock. Nobody understands modern jazz better. Not even Suki.


Eakins is Radagast? Barliman Butterbur, surely. 😉

Scungilli Slushy

Stats don’t tell the story, they inform them.

An uncle is a statistician prof, not a hockey fan, and I talked to him about it once.

His comment was stats should verify what we see (for things we can see I suppose).

The Oilers may have out chanced the Oilers by whatever metrics were being used, but in what I saw, the Jets were generating cleaner chances, more often.

Smith overall was really good, a lot of pretty clean looks from the key. The Oilers didn’t set up as many, and of course couldn’t finish a bunch. Morrisey must have got his stick on 20 shots last night himself.

Scungilli Slushy

Outchanced the Jets, sorry

Todd Macallan

In reading some summaries of media avails today, sounds like McD, Leon and Nurse all doubling down on their commitment to win in Edmonton with this core. Quote from the Captain in particular today speaks volumes:
“We have a great core here. Leon & Nursey, Nuge, Lars. These are guys that I’ve kind of grown up with & we want to see this thing through together, & we want to do this thing right as a group.”

Seems he sees Nuge and Larsson as part of the core, will see if Kenny agrees

Last edited 3 months ago by Todd Macallan

Condors Pacific Division final with Henderson starts tomorrow night (Wed).

Best of three – Wed, Thurs, Sat (if necessary).


Pre-game yesterday, Tip mentioned they were monitoring some injury issues so I couldn’t be sure if Kulikov was healthy scratched or banged up.

Today Tip confirmed he was fine and healthy scratched for Russell.


Kulikov’s gap was poor on the Stastny OT goal, and got lost on a walkabout on the 4-3 goal in game 3.


Russell allowed Ehlers a few 10 bell chances all alone in the slot.


Yes, saw that.

Kulikov was healthy.

Ice Sage

Pretty sure Bear was injured too – played like he did first few games post-concussion. Jets targeted him but good. Thems the playoffs!

Last edited 3 months ago by Ice Sage

“Let’s start by talking about youngster Bouchard. I’m told a path will be cleared so Bouchard can become a regular right-side defenceman next season.”


Darth Tu

Gooooood. Gooooooooooooooooooooooooooooood.


Will Bouchard still count as a rookie? If so he would be pretty high up on the Calder list


I think so, as long as the AHL isn’t considered a “Major Pro League” for the purposes of elibigibily:

To be eligible for the Calder Memorial Trophy, a player cannot have previously played more than 25 regular season games in any preceding season in a major professional league. They also cannot have played in six or more games in each of any two preceding seasons.


He’s got 2 x 6GP, so I think not a rook any longer.


I think you are right – when I first read it, I interpreted it as the two immediately preceding seasons, not any two preceding


Somebody was asking about officials at the NHL level, and I have a little bit of insight into the NHL’s way of doing business on that topic. I know a couple of guys who have been in the mix for entry into the NHL officiating program, and their feedback is eye-opening. Please bear with me a bit.

First of all, NHL officials are a lot like MLB umpires. It’s a hell of an exclusive club to gain admittance to, but once you’re in, it takes a lot (Angel Hernandez, Tim Peel, Tim Donaghy) to get booted to the curb. There’s a real lack of clarity regarding officiating from pretty much every professional league in terms of process, standards……and recruitment.

A lot of us follow major junior hockey in Canada, and USHL down in the States. The kids come and go, but a lot of the time you’re seeing the same officials year after year. Now, you’d probably think that the WHL, OHL, USHL, and QMJHL are a feeder league for the NHL for officials as much as for players. Well, not so much.

Most of the guys you see working a Oil Kings/Rebels game on a Friday night, that’s their career apex as far as being an official goes. Guys that are good and have put in 10, 20 years working their way up the ladder, experiencing every single wacky scenario possible and figuring out how to call a game properly, are not getting even a second glance from the NHL unless they are A) incredibly well-connected with someone in the NHL officiating fraternity, or B) so good that they can’t be ignored.

Rather, the NHL is actively recruiting graduating players from US college hockey or maybe the odd ex-major junior player, typically ones with no real desire or opportunities to play professional hockey. These players typically have next to no experience officiating hockey, but they can skate and have played at a high level. I’ve heard of guys getting their first game experience in zebra stripes during a rookie tournament game just prior to training camps firing up. Then they usually get sent to work ECHL/AHL games for some more experience, but are usually seen in the NHL within a couple of years.

It is mind-blowing, at least to me, that the NHL recruits officials in this way. Now I admit that the school of thought for the NHL, which is probably “if they can skate, we can teach them how we want a game to be officiated”, may have a bit of merit, but to me, nothing replaces game experience. The more games you have under your belt, the more varied your experiences and situations are, the better you’ll be as an official.

Not really sure how to wrap this up. I guess that, at the end of it, NHL officiating is a “you get out what you put in” deal.

Your feedback is appreciated.


Sounds 100% exactly what I expect from this Bush League of Bush Leagues


Awhile back I took a course in uni called “The Business of Hockey”, and after learning about all the incredibly sketchy stuff that happened within the NHL as an org (Alan Eagleson, anyone?), none of this really comes as any surprise.

At the end of the day, the NHL is nothing more than a big corporation with an HQ on 6th ave in NYC. When I think about my time working for big corps, virtually everywhere there were some variety of absolutely asinine hiring practices, rampant nepotism/favoritism, old boys clubs, and morons promoted above where they ever should have been. Why would the NHL be much different?

As well, Bettman is a businessman, not a hockey fan. He’s done a great job of growing the business of it all, but I’m not sure he cares a whole lot about the actual on-ice product, long as it’s not affecting revenues. Hell, poor reffing is something really only those who are really into hockey care about—new fans won’t be able to pick up as easily what is a good/bad called game—and it’s not like he’s losing a ton of diehard fans over a couple poorly reffed games. What he is driving from that though is engagement with the game beyond the on-ice product. Facebook posts, Twitter, blogs, forums, in-person conversation. Sure it’s complaining, but when it boils down it, it’s actually the NHL occupying your attention and you broadcasting that to others. That’s value right there.


True but I have now purchased my last piece of NHL licensed products and won’t be renewing my centre ice package or personally pay for anything to do with the NHL brand. If the game is free on TV and I have nothing better to do I may watch a game or two. When tackling is legal as it obviously was not to mention numerous other infractions were not called and they suspend Archibald for a play that if he was seriously going after the knee it was the poorest attempt in history or merely missing another high hit by a player that has no business still in the league I don’t care. Stick a fork in me I’m done! End of Rant!

Harpers Hair

The one thing that may save NHL officiating is sports betting.

The sports betting companies may insist on it.


Never realized Nurse’s wife was in labour last night?

What a 24 hours for Darnell, holy hannah, congrats to him and his family.

Darth Tu

I’m guessing he flew back early this morning – great practise for the no sleep times of being a parent.

Congratulations Darnell and Mikayla!


Everywhere I go, I read about how the Oilers need to up their analytics department game.

This on the heels of the Oilers being swept but dominating via analytics in all four games.

Don’t get me wrong, I hope the org spends on all areas that can help the on-ice product, including analytics to be used as an information resource and a tool to help decision making

Decidedly Skeptical Fan

What are you even saying here? What does statistically dominating in all four games have to do with an analytics department, good, bad or nonexistent? There is no correlation. None. Zero.


Via analystics, the roster over the 4 games with the Jets was good….. actually more than good….. dominant…… a roster that analytics would promote (using the 4 games sample size – which, of course, is meaningless but still).

Analytics show that Dave Tippett performed well during the series.

Last edited 3 months ago by OriginalPouzar
Decidedly Skeptical Fan

First, you are confusing statistics, using an admittedly small sample size, with analytics.

Second, you admit that the basis for your argument is meaningless, yet you throw it out there anyway?

Third, analytics says nothing of the sort regarding Tippett’s performance. Tip’s performance during this series was an abomination of epic proportion, independent of the metric one chooses for evaluation. He was out-coached by Maurice in every single game. Your commentary does a huge disservice to analytics.


We’re referring to using analytics for roster construction and especially pro scouting.


Ryan anyone that denies that analytics shouldn’t be used as one of the main tools and or to establish a baseline for drafting or team building is very foolish. I believe that what OP is saying is that numbers like statistics are not the answer by themselves. We have all agreed that small sample size is problematic. Those that don’t use analytics as an important tool are going to be left behind!

stephen sheps

exactly this. data-driven player procurement is just as important as evaluating the data from various game states. The numbers aren’t the only answer, but that was never the question.

Harpers Hair

Analytics would have prevented the Turris signing and thinking Kahun was a top 6 forward and you can be sure Kassian would not have received that bloated contract.

Material Elvis

Also would have prevented the signing of Mike Smith; granted, those types of signings usually do not work out.

Bag of Pucks

A trait that seems to exemplify teams like Boston, Washington, VGK, Nashville and now the Islanders is that they play more of a playoff style of hockey during the regular season. They’re conditioned to withstand the rougher going when the real season starts because they themselves are more invested in a physical tight checking system.

There were numerous Oiler games this season where you could count the actual checks thrown on one hand. Honestly, much of what qualifies on that hit of the game segment would be an embarassment to old timey players.

Under Tippett, the Oilers have been hugely dependent on their powerplay and the physicality of the D core is not a primary focus. These things bite them in the ass come playoff time.

Personally, modifying his tactics to get the team more battle ready during the regular season is the evolution I need to see from Tippett. Otherwise I think it’s fair to expect his underwhelming playoff record continues.


Take a look at penalties called in the Oilers/Jets four games compared to any of the other first four games in the other series. The NHL has been picking their preferred winners. Depending on the betting lines I will have fun with this!

Scungilli Slushy

Agreed I’ve mentioned this to buddies

Eastern teams play high tempo grinding hockey, the West a more skill game, overall, more wide open games more often.

There are a lot of reasons I’m sure, but when skill teams want to get dirty because they are sick of getting punked out of the playoffs you hit the highest level of potential.


Gretzky steps down as vice chair:


I anticipate he is about to sign as an analysit for a network


There it is – joining TNT (for $3MM rumored).


Per Reid Wilkins:

Adam Larsson says he hasn’t heard much from his agent in last month on possible new contract. Says “I love everything around this organization and everyone around it.”

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins: “I love being an Oiler. I always have.” Says he’s not really thinking about free agency at the moment.

Tyson Barrie says “I honestly don’t know” when asked about being an Oiler next season. “We’ll see what their interest level is, as well as mine.”

Barrie adds he’d be more interested in getting a longer term contract from his next team.

Material Elvis

Big no to any long term deals for any of the UFA’s. Thanks for the season Barrie!


I wonder what Larsson would fetch in free agency?

Are the Evolving Wild numbers out?

Harpers Hair

Derek Van Diest

Tyson Barrie returning to #Oilers next season will likely depend on Oscar Klefbom’s status. #NHL

Decidedly Skeptical Fan

God I hope not.

Material Elvis

How are they going to know Klefbom’s status before free agency begins?


The expansion draft is a good 3-4 months post surgery and I presume they’ll have a fairly solid sense of the way recovery and training is going – moreso by free agency a month later.

They likely won’t have absolute certainty but I think they likely have a sense of it its trending towards: being ready for camp vs. being ready a few months in to the regular season vs. being ready closer to the deadline vs. needing the entire year vs. never coming back.


Per Rishaug:

RNH identifies his skating and shot as 2 areas where he will work on and get back to where he wants them to be.

Said he wasn’t thinking last night could have been his last game as an Oiler. Said he’s encouraged by the fact there was dialogue this year and will see where it goes.

Decidedly Skeptical Fan

Good luck with that. In ten seasons I have seen little improvement in either. And the improvement there has been is likely attributable to physical maturity – developing man strength.

I am fine with having RNH back, he has some useful skills, even though they are replicated by others on the team. But he and his agent are going to have to wrap their heads around taking a pay cut. Anything over $5M is an overpay, and this team can ill afford to continue to do that.


Noticeable improvement b/w his rookie wristlet and his vet. more torque.


I guess the media avail today isn’t being streamed live – will follow up later.

I was going to post a wonderance re: Oilers going to the world championship and the though that Kahun might be one that would go (wouldn’t think Leon, Connor, Nuge, Larsson, etc. would head over – maybe Yamamoto if healthy).

Kahun is heading to play.


Yes roster holes and yes to coaching tactics. But is it not fair to say that we out chanced them in every game to varying extents and deserved a better fate? That’s what folks on this site have taught me, to trust the fancy stats. If so, then they outplayed a team known for their depth. If they made it to the final 8 and bowed out, would there be as much doom and gloom? I’m not sure, yet it would have been the same team, just one that didn’t run into a hot goaltender.


What did you guys think of Forbort?

He’s kind of a left-shot Adam Larsson.

That’s a pretty good season that the Jets got out of Forbort for a $1m cap hit.

He looked solid in the playoffs.

Jethro Tull

I think we are out of ForBort license plates.

stephen sheps

my son is also named (For)Bort


I’m sure the Jets re sign him.
But ya overall the Wpg D filled with nobody’s sure looked mighty effective against the 1-2 scorers in the entire league.


This was the one sure thing for me, the Jets D corp had to be the weakest link. Boy was I ever wrong.


Amazing what uncalled interference, hooking, and holding can accomplish. Hell Logan Stanley’s only skill is his wingspan of a 737. The true jet! I personally would not pay for season tickets if what we watched was status quo for regular season. Lacrosse on skates.


A disappointing end, but I think the Jets deserve some credit. They played every shift hard right until the final goal. They played like it was their last period of hockey. They quite a bit of talent, though not the depth of some teams. However, Maurice gets more out of a roster than any coach since Lemaire. He saves his best tactics for the most important games. Next time, I suspect we won’t be hoping for a match up against him.

This team wasn’t going to win the Stanley Cup this year. In fact, I think they looked artificially good in these make shift divisions where there are three teams that are well below average. That’s half the games played against very weak competition.

A real schedule won’t be so favourable and I think this team – with the great luck on the injury front this year – would have been right on the bubble of making playoffs rather than comfortably coasting in second place with games to spare. When viewing the playoff performance through the lens of a bubble team barely making it rather than a dominant second place team, I think the expectations are in a better place and the outcome is a bit easier to understand.

There are so many great things in place. There are key decisions this summer. I will be watching for what doesn’t happen more than what happens. Lucic/Nealm Benoit Pouliot, Khabibulin, or Koskinen mistakes, and we will hamstring our future like it has been for the past 10.


Do you think the team was worse than last year? We were in pretty good shape last year with the regular divisions and I think we were better this year. Not to mention all of the California teams, Calgary, Vancouver and Arizona were poor this year. I think with the regular divisional alignment we would have been comfortably second behind Vegas this year with the seasons put up by Drai, Connor, Nurse, Smith, JP and Barrie.


Let’s see how they look against the Leafs when the rule book comes back! Mark my words! You will if you are paying attention see the travesty that transpired!


i find this to be an interesting comment.

Doug McLachlan

 Reply to  dustrock
 May 25, 2021 11:55 am

Am I misreading the advanced stats? Didn’t we dominate the Jets in expected goals this series? Yes, you need to convert, but if the deployment has you out chancing the opposition you may be deploying the talent you have correctly.

Last edited 3 months ago by Sierra
SayItAin'tSo, Gretz, SayItAin'tSo!

Before yesterday’s game I said I’d like to see a barn burner. Leave it all out there and see what happens.

The analytics over at NST tell me that a lot of eye tests are miles off today.

They tell me the Oilers outplayed the Jets in every measurable stat we use and lost the only one that matters. The analytics says the decision to load McD and Drai worked and that the other lines sawed off the comp. The analytics say that as Tippett shortened his bench yesterday the flow of play tilted further into the Oilers favor as Overtime wore on. It shows that JP started pushing his line in the 1st and 2nd OTs allowing Tippett to roll three lines. Ethan Bear cost his team a goal and he sat for the rest of the game. Hopefully he learned something watching Darnell play 105 minutes of NHL playoff hockey in 30 hrs.

Nurse’s play was incredible and solidifies him as one of the best in the game.

Its weird that the Jets superior roster, Vezina goalie and Jack Adams behind the bench had to scrape out two come from behind wins along with 3 OT victories. I’d surely think that a vastly deeper team could have mustered more than that against a hapless Oilers carried by one player no? Nah that’s way too much 4D chess, this was an extremely tight series and individual mistakes, while still being individual mistakes, were the difference. Its actually that simple. There’s nothing deeper, no root cause of failure, no organizational rot or coaching fiasco just youngish (for HH) players making mistakes at key times.

The Oilers just got swept in the most unusual way. Underperforming for sure but not in any sort of crisis or existential way. Winning in the playoffs is hard and I hope they learned that.

The Captains words (paraphrased from last nights presser) should be listened to

“I thought we played well”.
“I thought we were the better team.”
“I don’t think we need to re-right the ship we made small mistakes that cost us.”

He’s right and today Oiler fans should listen to him. He’s trying to tell you something that you might not want to hear. This is a long road.

There was some bad luck combined with some epic mistakes and that’s it. Nobody is more sour about that than the Oilers. These are all teachable moments and I really hope Bear was taking notes.

Don’t blow anything up, don’t think about firing the coach and re-sign Nuge and Larsson. They will cost less than their replacements and have gone to battle several times now. Keep the band together.

The Oilers need one winger, a goalie and a healthy Klefbom. That leaves lots of money to tighten up the things you “want.”

JP, Yamamoto, McLeod and Bouchard are solutions. They can all play NHL hockey and play at high levels within the NHL. Holloway, Lavoie, Savoie, Marody, Benson may all be solutions in very short order.

They lost in style this year but none of them think its because they got dominated or that they can’t win. This isn’t a Flames crisis of confidence situation. There will be a fire to write a different chapter next year.

The bad part is over for this franchise, honestly. Back to back playoff births for the first time in 20 years. The fun years are just getting started.


I agree.
But I think they need 2 wingers.


Excellent post!


The secondary stats they didn’t win were all the goaltending stats.
Mike Smith SA 136 SV 124 GA 12 SV% 912 GA/G 2.40
Hellebuyck SA 159 SV 151 GA 8 SV% 950 GA/G 1.60

Its pretty hard to win in the playoffs with the second best goalie on the ice every game.
Hockey aka Mostly Goalie


I agree with all of this.

Emotions are running high after another early exit but this is a small sample size combined with Mcdavid drawing 0 penalties in the playoffs in the last 2 years.

They could be the Thornton-Marleau Sharks of the early 00’s, that had great teams that constantly outplayed their opposition but just never made it. Hockey is a game of skill, but also tremendous luck.



Snapshot or wristshot – 1-3 ft high on net

Greater than

Slapshot far too often blocked or sent screaming high and wide.

Barrie’s outlet passing is a beauty
Barrie’s offensive zone shot selection is not


Most of barrie and nurses goals this year were from jumping up into open ice in offensive zone. Jets had 4 man collapse well played. Through those 4 games countless offensive zone possessions were lost on blocked or high and wide slapshots.

Game in game out that was one consistent thing I caught anyway.

Last edited 3 months ago by maudite

Not a single McDavid drawn call.. The man is forced to play through 5 guys treating him like a hooker in rugby. The best player in the world, not one single drawn penalty.

Regardless of the Oilers flaws and lack of the best analytical team in the NHL.

3 straight over time games, the other an empty netter. And not 1 single penalty called against McDavid the entire series.

Katz should be hiring a full time talking head that does nothing but embarrass the NHL and the entire way they officiate the game of hockey.

Your single most talented player in the entire league, and he has to play by an entire different set of rules.

Maybe the Oilers still don’t win the series, but the series is far from over if McDavid is just simply treated like any other player by the zebras.

It’s a robbery, it’s an insult to the game, the Oilers could build the best analytic team the world has ever seen, sign 13 goal scoring forwards to rotate as McDavid wears them out. And nothing will change if McDavid is going to be officiated this way, it’s garbage.

buck yoakam

not one penalty drawn by mcdavid in four games?…seriously?


Yep and the talking heads on the CBC and Sportsnet broadcast crews go out of their way to justify it.


Dom wrote about this today at the Athletic.


Mcdavid without a single drawn call in this years playoffs, and not a single drawn call in last years qualifying round. It seems the best player in the game forgets how to draw calls in the postseason.


100% this.

Imagine a Monopoly league, your team owns Boardwalk and Park Place, but opponents only pay the rent 1-in-10 or 1-in-20 times. What’s the point of owning those assets? Sure it’d be nice to win despite it, but any and every post-mortem that ignores this (too bad about that 4th railroad, would have been nice to get the free parking on that turn) strikes me as head-in-the-sand stuff. Saying nothing certainly perpetuates the status quo.

Scungilli Slushy

One thing I noticed with forwards was that they went to blue paint at times, but often are so close to the goalie there was not shot to take.

The Jets made a lot of plays to guys who were back far enough to have a gap from the D so time to shoot, and also enough to actually have a hole to shoot for.

Its one thing for a screen to be tight, but it’s all pads if you’re trying to score ona shot from 3 ft out


Year end player media availability today starting around 1. A bit surprised its today and not tomorrow – I mean, I assume these guys flew home last night and now they have to get up, go to the rink and talk about it?

Will be said to not hear from these guys daily over the next few months but its going to be an exciting and news-breaking spring and summer. I mean, there is an expansion draft, a regular draft and free agency and the team has apx $25MM in cap space – plus potential “opened up cap space”.

Whether the money is used on Nuge, Larsson, Barrie and Koekkoek or Hall and Hamilton, it will be used and there will be lots to talk about and disucss.

Can’t wait for late September.

Here is hoping for a “young stars” in the Okanagan – Holland was bringing it back until Covid.


In the disappointment of this playoffs, I was thinking back to those 80s Oilers and thought those of us who lived through that are a little spoiled (ok, “a lot”) – our expectations are always high, but those years may have ratcheted them up a few notches.

So I went back and had a look at the 81 Oilers, the year they swept the Canadiens in a 5 game series to start the playoffs. I was comparing that teams roster to this team

1980-81 Edmonton Oilers Roster and Statistics | Hockey-Reference.com

That was a good team. I’d say it was better than this team. We need to get there somehow.

What were the differences?

  1. Wayne
  2. Sather
  3. phenomenal early drafting
  4. ??? what else

I guess it is harder to build a team like that in the amount of time it took… I think when the Oilers came from the WHA they had Wayne and Al Hamilton out of their WHA roster. The rest they built in just three years.


This series was so enormously disappointing, in many ways worse than the decade of darkness. I never expected to come out of the division, and this series had risk, but not one lousy game? Something, anything, to show progress, demonstrate perseverance through adversity was not so much to ask. You can say the games were close but they found a way to close 4 close games. There is a big asterisk next to McDavids amazing season now, but not that it’s a shortened season, but that it all was a big waste of time.
I find myself doing a complete 180, build and develop is no longer acceptable, simply because there is clearly too far to go in too little time. Bring in Dougie Hamilton, bring on expensive goalies, fancy wingers, do it all, go for broke. Anything less than conference finals has to be approached as unacceptable for next year – do everything that enables that,


It isn’t going to be easy for this team to improve without young players out performing reasonable expectations.

Yes, there is money coming off the cap, but the team needs to add players who can score, especially at forward.

I am assuming RNH and Larsson come back for about 10 M combined. They are both excellent fits for this team, and they can’t be replaced for less than that. If they are not re-signed or they cost more than that the Oilers are in big trouble.

I am also assuming Smith is re-signed and gets a raise. I am guessing 3M, but that is a guess.

I am also assuming Koskinen is bought out. If he isn’t bought out he was traded with salary retained. I am guessing no one will take him at half salary, but maybe.

If you do that then if Neal is not bought out you have 10 or 11 M to sign a forward to play with RNH, a D who can play in the top six, and a goalie.

That doesn’t strike me as enough money to make the team better.

If you do buyout Neal you probably have about 14 M. That gives you enough to get an actual goalie, an actual D, and maybe someone like Brandon Saad.

That gives you something like this:

Benson–Khaira–PTO vet

on d

New Guy–Larsson

and then you add Klefbom to this when he is healthy

Goalies are Smith and generic mediocre but better than replacement goalie.

This team is better than this year, but it isn’t so much better than it is a dominant team without also getting a coach that can maximize the roster.

The Oilers really need all of the below to happen:

Klefbom to return and play well
One of the young D not on the team(Broberg) to be really good really fast
Holloway to be really good really soon.

Otherwise what we saw this year is what we are going to see forever more. This team doesn’t have an innovative coach and they don’t have an innovative general manager.

The good news is the Pacific will be bad. The bad news is this will make the team appear better than it is.

Jethro Tull

Good post. I would add that realizing found money when you find it would be important too. For example, if Broberg is good, then using him.

Otherwise we have the Bouchard situation. I am sure both Holland and Tippett aren’t sold on Evan. Strange handling of him at the moment.

I had major misgivings at the season’s end when the were playing well and Tippett changed the line-up for game one. It wasn’t two good players coming back – it was Koekkoek and Kassian, and it was proved we didn’t need them.


Stauffer just now was talking about getting creative and using the CBA to their advantage to create cap space. I wonder if they somehow LTIR James Neal


Are the Oilers going to play the long hauler covid card with Neal?


I agree.
My lines would look a little different, but this is a good summation.


That looks like you are bringing 8 of the 9 top forwards that we just watched go against Forbort, Stanley and Poolman

Not sure that moves the needle.


If you beef up the D and they allow tackling and interference we’ll be ahead of the game. Samorukov 6ft 3 200 plus. Broberg 6ft 3 190. Berglund if he plays is also plus size. We have the playoff size D with offensive ability in the wings waiting. We also have Nurse and hopefully Larsson and Russel to mentor them! We can get bigger faster and more skilled by promoting from within on the back end.


You’re leaving out whom who gets Krakened


I don’t think it’s unreasonable to assume that Samorukov who lead the KHL in plus minus and has all the tools could be an answer for the top four. He may struggle a little early but is a far better defensive player than Jones will ever be plus he has size and plays a physical game.


Would Spokane overvalue having local talent Yamo on their team? What would the Oilers need from the Kraken to make it worth exposing Yamo… in terms of contract dump(s) &/or pick(s)?

Material Elvis

Wrong city. I don’t think Seattle will make roster decisions based on a junior hockey team in the same state.


He was born in Spokane, making him one of the few locals in the NHL.


Wasn’t the end any of us hoped for, but it is what it is.
I’m looking at it in a different perspective this morning though, I’m happy that I had another season(abbreviated as it was) watching the Oilers with my Dad(I’m his caregiver now). He is a die hard fan, has been since the WHA days. His health hasn’t been worth spit these last few years especially after my Mom passed. And it dawned on me a few weeks back, win, lose or draw having these opportunities with my Dad aren’t forever. We can rant about the team construction over our morning coffee and I’ll listen to him complain about the coaching with a smile on my face, but it’s all just a game in the end.
Thanks for the blog LT and everyone else, y’all are 👍🏽👍🏼.


Thanks for that, Bill. I lost my mom back in December (when we still did not know if we were going to have a season this year). She was a die-hard Oilers fan, and at one point a few years ago, seemed intent on adopting Patrick Maroon. She would have loved watching her Oilers’ ups and downs this past season, and would have been equally gutted by their early departure from the playoffs. After yelling at the tv and the clear air of the morning after, I like to think that she would be getting excited about things to come, rather than lamenting things that came to pass. At the end of the day, that’s all that any of us can do to keep pushing forward.

It’s okay to be upset about the performance of our Oilers, and disappointed by “what could have been”. But it’s also important to remember that every game we get to watch is a gift – good or bad. Every period, every timeout, every goal scored – none of this is guaranteed to any of us. It’s all house money. Experience the good times and the bad times with this team, cognizant that others may no longer be with us to enjoy them, and remember that the good times only feel the way they do because of how the bad times feel.


Nice outlook Fellas. Enjoy what you have.


McDavid’s effect on this team confuses the masses. If you look at this team from the outside, you see a shiny red Ferrari, engine purring in the driveway.

Then when you get under the hood you realize 1 guy was in on 58% of the Goals. A record. No team has had the combination of a diamond shining so bright, combined with a terrible collection of players.

EDM 5×5 scoring during the Year? -1

Their overall scoring was masked by Superman and the PP.

You take away Gretzky from the Oilers and they won a Cup. Deep, talented and proven.

You take away McD from this roster and you have a Lottery Team.

Last edited 3 months ago by jtblack

Back to back Hart Trophy winners and 1 playoff game win (if you count the Hawks series as playoffs, I do, I know the NHL doesn’t) in 2 years. Incredible.


The NHL counts the scoring stats from the play-ins as playoff stats.


Best thing that could have Happened to the Oilers.

I see this as the Turning Point. Edm has made progress from the D.O.D. – that is a fact.

Now it’s time to go from a Good Team to a Great Team.

This loss will give Hollamd no choice but to push his chips in this off season. NO CHOICE.

if he comes back with anything near the same roster, he will be fired. TIPPETT & HOLLAND have 1 year left to win A PLAYOFF ROUND.

And that is a Good thing. We will see some legitimate NHL moves, not just nibbling around the edges.

Last edited 3 months ago by jtblack

The problem is there aren’t any moves out there to make a significant difference. The Oilers don’t have that much in tradeable assets and they don’t have that much salary cap space.


Tradeable Assets:

2021 – 1ST rounder
2022 – 1ST rounder, 2nd rounder


I am not saying who or what to move; but KH has tradeable assets


Any player you get by trading those assets needs to be paid. If you pay that player, then you don’t have money to pay another player, and then you end up in the same place.

You can’t trade Broberg, the best chance this team has of being good rests on Broberg becoming better than expected.

You can’t trade Bouchard for the same reason.

Other teams should be trying to trade for those guys, we should not be trading them.

You won’t get anything for Klefbom.

You need to trade two second round picks for Devon Toews, or something like that.

If you trade a first round pick for Kaspari Kaspanen, on the other hand, you are just spinning your wheels.


I dare say especially Tippett, they need to win 2 playoff rounds next season. I suspect 1 will not be enough, especially for Tipps if he comes back.


My simple point is this:

Did the coach make the team play better than the sum of it’s parts and get the best out of them when it mattered the most here in the playoffs?

No? Then fire the coach and bring in someone who can.

TWO straight years of playoff debacles based on bad roster choices and sub optimal strategy.


I’m not advocating bringing back MacT as coach but he’s a prime example of someone who actually DID get more out of a flawed roster than Tippett. Craig had, in essence, one scoring line in Hemmer, Horc and Smyth and a bunch of checkers that was inspired to change their style to beat nearly all their opponents.


Tippett made a litany of unfortunate decisions…

  1. Not continuing with the game 1 lines
  2. Running 97 and 29 together when it wasn’t working
  3. Using 71 to centre 93.
  4. Shortening the bench to ridiculous levels in OT
  5. playing Nurse 15 minutes in one OT period.
  6. Did he lobby at all for some calls to be made on 97 in the post-game pressers?
  7. Running Mcleod – Khaira – Haas down the middle
  8. Using lines of players that had never played together, in the playoffs

That being said, firing the coach is not the solution here.

It’s the age-old problem here, It’s the roster… and lack of analytics.

Last edited 3 months ago by Ryan
Decidedly Skeptical Fan

You make incremental improvements anywhere you can. If a better coach is available, you make that move. I would love to see what Gallant could do with this team. He took a bunch of spare parts and turned it into a Stanley cup finalist. I am also not sure how long Jay is going to be content staying in the Bake. Is he a better option than Tip? I think so. I would hate to lose him.


See, these are statements that, in my opinion, are there to promote a narrative.

With respect, what is it about Jay W. that makes you think that he would be a better NHL coach than Tip?

Zero NHL head coaching experience and his NHL mentorship was under McLellan who you don’t like as a coach.

What is he doing in Bakersfield that makes you think he is a better NHL coach than the former Jack Adams winner?

Would you agree with the using Cracknell, Malone, Griffith, Joe G and Gildon as PP1 over Benson, Marody, Lavoie, etc? That’s what he has done this year. Same with Esposito and Malone PKing over the likes of Benson for example.

Decidedly Skeptical Fan

I am quite sure you are incapable of seeing the irony in your very first statement. No?


I presume that is your way of admitting that you have nothing substantive to back up your statement that Woodcroft is a better NHL head coach than Tippett?

Decidedly Skeptical Fan

What would be the point, OP? I mean really. You want me to argue with someone who has gone on record as having watched a great deal of Bakersfield games yet can’t see that Jay is a very good AHL coach who has the makings of a very good NHL coach. Where is the profit in that?


I never said that Jay W. isn’t a very good AHL coach who has the makings of a very good NHL coach.

I didn’t agree that he is, right now, today, likely a better NHL coach than Dave Tippett.

Decidedly Skeptical Fan

I’m in the v4ance camp. Not a fan of Tip … at all. My first choice is Gallant. Absolutely love what he and McPhee did in Vegas. He is an NHL coach so that box is checked. He is going to be in demand and I honestly am just not sure he would come here. Probably NYR, Kraken or another team that is favored in the playoffs and makes an early exit.

I like Jay. You have to give him a chance at some point or you risk losing him. I’d give him that chance if I couldn’t get Gallant or similar.

You’re at least OK with Tip so you don’t have any motivation for a change. And that’s OK.