Ken Holland’s media avail yesterday had one main message: The Oilers are going to improve incrementally, with an eye to making the playoffs each season, and improving a little each year. If this was 2015-16, and this past season was the starting point, yesterday’s press conference would be been apt.
The are four bullets left in the chamber. Leon Draisaitl’s contract runs out at that time. McDavid’s runs out in five but the Draisaitl contract marks the possible end of the 97-29 magic. There is urgency, but Holland won’t be hurried. The possible end here is an absolute train wreck. Ryan Rishaug from TSN pushed about a trade Hollland says isn’t there. The time line available to the general manager suggests he should find it pdq.
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!
- New DNB: The pressure is on Oilers GM Ken Holland
- New Lowetide: What now for Ryan Nugent-Hopkins?
- New DNB: Connor McDavid shows his frustration as another year of his prime is lost: ‘We’re a group that expects more’
- New Jonathan Willis: The NHL gifted the Oilers Connor McDavid; six years later, they have yet to adequately support him
- New DNB: The Oilers’ 10 biggest offseason priorities after a disastrous first-round playoff loss to the Jets
- Lowetide: The 5 biggest stories from the Bakersfield Condors’ 2020-21 season
- DNB: How Jesse Puljujarvi’s return to Finland primed him for Oilers success
- DNB: Darnell Nurse is on ‘another level’
- Lowetide: Jesse Puljujarvi has arrived for the Oilers — again
- Lowetide: Oilers final 2020-21 report cards: A regular season to remember
- DNB:What are the Oilers’ pressing questions ahead of the Seattle Kraken expansion draft?
- Lowetide: An early look at ideal Oilers’ free-agent targets for the offseason
Yesterday, Ken Holland said a lot of things about a lot of things. I make quick notes at media avails, just brief sentences to give an idea about the thrust of a conversation. Some items are direct quotes, others train of thought. At the end, I usually have a feel for things.
- I BELIEVE WE’RE ON THE RIGHT TRACK.
- WHEN YOU DON’T WIN THE STANLEY CUP IN OUR INDUSTRY YOU’RE DISAPPOINTED.
- THE PAIN WE’RE FEELING TODAY IS A GOOD THING.
- IT’S MASSIVELY DISAPPOINTING BECAUSE WE HAD HIGHER EXPECTATIONS.
- I DON’T FEEL WE GOT OUTPLAYED.
- FINE REGULAR SEASON
- BUILDING A WINNING CULTURE.
- I WANT TO SIGN MIKE SMITH.
- BUYOUT VERY POSSIBLE
- DOESN’T SEE AN IMPACT TRADE NECESSARY.
- “I DON’T FEEL WE’RE ONE TRADE AWAY, IT DOESN’T HAPPEN THAT WAY.”
- “IN DETROIT BEFRE WE WON THE STANLEY CUP, HOW MANY MASSVE DISAPPOINTMENTS WE HAD” BEFORE WINNING STANLEY.
- “PROUD OF OUR GUYS”
- “VERY DISAPPOINTED WE WEREN’T ABLE TO GO LONGER BUT ALSO FEEL WE MADE VERY GOOD STRIDES THIS SEASON.”
- GOING THROUGH THE PROCESS NOW, EXIT MEETINGS, PRO SCOUTING MEETINGS IN JUNE, GET DAVE’S THOUGHTS, MID-JUNE START TO TALK TO AGENTS.
- PART OF OUR GROWTH HAS TO BE INTERNAL. THE GOOD TEAMS IN THIS LEAGUE DO A LOT OF WHAT THEY DO FROM WITHIN.
- (IN ANSWER TO JASON GREGOR) MAIN PRIORITY ADDRESSING DEPTH FIVE ON FIVE SCORING.
- MCLEOD, PULJUJARVI, YAMAMOTO, THESE ARE YOUNG PLAYERS, THAT’S PART OF THE SECONDARY SCORING. THEY’RE IMPORTANT TO THE DIRECTION WE’RE GOING.
- MORE PLAYOFF HOCKEY. PUTTING OURSELVES IN THE PLAYOFFS AGAIN AND AGAIN.
- WON CUP IN 1997, LOT OF DISAPPOINTMENT IN 1993+.
- YOU NEED VETERAN PLAYERS WHO HAVE BEEN THERE BEFORE.
- THE CLOSER TO THE NET YOU GET THE MORE EXPERIENCE YOU NEED (SOMETHING LIKE THAT)
- “WE’VE GOT TO TRY TO FIND SECONDARY SCORING.”
- TWO RISHAUG QUESTIONS HAVE HIM SEARCHING FOR “WE’RE NOT THERE YET”
- HEARTFELT WORDS ABOUT ETHAN BEAR AFTER A MIN DHARIWAL QUESTION ON THE RACIST FACEBOOK COMMENTS.
Those are my notes. I think they’re accurate except the five or six references to Daniel Nugent-Hopkins and as an aging human used poetic license to omit them. I have no quarrel with any of the yellow hi-lites either. I do have an issue in the idea that incremental improvement is the only way to contend for the Stanley Cup. It’s go time now! There’s danger of course, but Holland has the money to sign free agents at the top end, to acquire real difference makers. I don’t see it happening after yesterday’s avail.
HOLLAND’S ROSTER BASED ON VERBAL
Cap space is $350,000 and I assume it’ll be more when they sign Klefbom’s replacement (there are no LH blue who I can see spending those dollars on in free agency).
James Neal is bought out, Tyler Benson is a Seattle Kraken, Nuge, Larsson and Kahun return. Three free agents added in the $3+ million category (Danault, Coleman, Armia). Turris is in Bakersfield.
From now on, in order to stop people from fainting in the comments section, assume the length of free-agent contract is equal to the first number on the contract. So, five years for Nuge, four for Larsson and on it goes. Exception? Mike Smith, one year.
Is this my ideal roster? No. I’d have Hall, Hamilton and Coleman on the roster and the fourth line would include Scrimp, Save and Parsimonious (lots of Finnish wingers next season).
This is Holland using free agency. I do like the idea of trading Kassian, moving Armia to RW and then slotting Holloway in on LW some time during the year, though. Love the Finns!
Complaints can be filed with the complaints department, that’s Mr. Lemon on the fourth floor.
LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE
At 10 this morning, TSN 1260, we drill down on the Holland avail. Frank Seravalli, our hockey insider, will touch base at 10:20. Cam Lewis from Blue Jays Nation also pops by at 11 and your comments are welcome at 10-1260 or on twitter @Lowetide. Talk soon!