Wouldn’t it Be Nice

by Lowetide

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.

THE ATHLETIC!

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!

HOLLAND’S OPUS

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.
  • STABILITY.
  • 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!

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Harpers Hair

Canes win in OT to take the series.

Dougie Hamilton was a beast.

McSorley33

He was.

Josi getting hurt in the 3rd doomed the Preds

Harpers Hair

THE TBL-CAR series should be a classic.

OriginalPouzar

Benson to Lavoie for the one-time snipe.

https://twitter.com/Condors/status/1398119266491146242

Safin has also scored.

Harpers Hair

You forgot to mention the Condors were blown out 6-3.

€√¥£€^$

4-0 after 1, so a horrible start in Vegas vs a team with only 7 losses on their home ice during the regular season. Although 5 of those were losses to Bakersfield.

5-3 with 2 minutes left and then Henderson scored an ENG. It was a horrible 1st period, followed by 2 very strong periods. 3 goals for and 1 against and that single goal looked like Goaltender interference to me, but there is no video review in the AHL. The Condors goals were all scored by Oiler prospects, so I’d call it a very good result. Also considering it was the 2nd game in 2 nights away from home and on the heels of an OT win.

Finally, Henderson plays at the same rink as their parent club, so they have a tonne of advantages compared to Bakersfield.

No negatives in this result from any sane perspective.

Last edited 3 months ago by €√¥£€^$
meanashell11

Like, fuck off already.

VanIsleOil

go to bed….you really are sick

wood99

Another name is kuzetznov,Holland has a great history with Russian players.

wood99

I think Holland has to be aggressive in acquiring a complete winger first and foremost for Macdavid. This is why I mentioned Tarasenko. Another player I would look hard at is Sam Reinhart

Drai by Shooting

I love Sam. Think he’d fit great on Connors right wing, pushing Yams and Pulju down accordingly. Could also push the river as a 2nd line center

wood99

I think I would target St Louis for a trade. I think the I going to look to make some changes. I wonder if a deal could be made around Tarasenko?

Harpers Hair

Which one of McDavid or Draisaitl do you want going the other way?

wood99

I think your overstating his value. I don’t think he is untouchable. I didn’t think it would be cheap to get but you never know with Armstrong.

Harpers Hair

No one is untouchable for the right price but Tarasenko provides extreme value at a cap hit of $7.5 million for another two seasons.

What could the Oilers offer to acquire him?

Bank Shot

Oilers can sign Brogaine Rufferton and then do a one for one trade.

Scungilli Slushy

I’d take O’Reilly.

Maybe for Neal, salary retained of course.

wood99

I Would LOVE him but I think he is untouchable IMO.

Scungilli Slushy

I would think so, one of my favs.

Harpers Hair

They have Schwartz, Bozak and Hoffman ($14.35M total cap hit) coming off the cap as well as Alex Steen and Carl Gunnarson (total $7.5M total cap hit) falling off LTIR.

They are also likely to lose Vince Dunn in the expansion draft saving another $1.875 in cap space.

They should have the flexibility to refresh their roster without moving any major pieces.

wood99

I don’t disagree,but you never know with Armstrong. He might want to change the guard or maybe he doesn’t think Tarasenko will be the same player after his injury. Never hurts to ask. Holland is known for having great relationships across the league. Time to start using them!

OriginalPouzar

Great – finally someone to challenge Klef for time on LTIR with a shoulder issue….

wood99

It doesn’t have to be Tarasenko,I’m just throwing out names that we might try and trade for. But are you saying you don’t think he would help us?

OriginalPouzar

I’m saying he’s had three recent shoulder surgeries and has played 34 regular season games over the last two seasons.

JimmyV1965

He used to be one of the most dynamic players in the league. I’d be wary of the injury though.

Scungilli Slushy

My ‘it’s go time’ roster.

Saad (6M) CMD Yama
Holloway Drai JP
Coleman(3M) McLeod Archie
Shore/Benson Glendening (1.5M)/Khaira (1.2M) Kassian

Nurse Hamilton (7.5M)
Oleksiak (3.75M) Larsson (3.75M)
KoekKoek(950K) Bouchard
Russell

Smith (1.5M)
Stalock (785K)

4.584 M in cap for a goalie. Nicholson opens a fast food chain. Tippet isn’t going anywhere, despite some pretty meh coaching again when it counts most, and some patently poor decisions, especially around ice time and burning his best out.

It isn’t outside the box for someone to take the pipe after two 4 and out playoff series. Woody is too good to leave in the minors, the offense needs a fresh look. Possibly defense as well. They need new pro scouts anyways.

leadfarmer

There is no way I give saad 6 mil

Scungilli Slushy

Why not?

He’s not as injury prone as Hyman, who will likely be pushing that. Same age, better scoring record, scores in tight.

It could be less given the flat cap, I’d give him the same money because they really need that player type and he’s good. Joe wanted him, for example,and may not be able to keep him.

Harpers Hair

Playing with good players, primarily on the second line, he was on a pro-rated 82 game pace of 28 goals.

He was 7th among Colorado forwards in TOI/G.

3 goals in 4 games in this year’s playoffs.

6’2″ 210 LBS. Very good skater who doesn’t hesitate to go to the net.

Championship pedigree.

What do you think that’s worth?

Harpers Hair

OP must be spirallizing some zucchini.

Henderson leads Bakersfiled 4-0 after 1 period.

Jethro Tull
Decidedly Skeptical Fan

Shit the bed enough, and in spectacular fashion, no less, and you have to expect to suffer thru articles like this. It won’t be the last. Every move Holland makes going forward is gong to be under the microscope. Fair? Probably not. But here we are.

Harpers Hair

The article was written before Holland’s availability in which he pretty much confirmed what the author is saying.

OriginalPouzar

That publication is about as junk as it comes.

Its like reading pieces by the Onion but with them being serious.

Harpers Hair

Messenger duly shot.

Scungilli Slushy

Just did thanks. I think I agree. Completely except in that it should be someone from outside the NHL. Just someone who is more progressive like the fellows mentioned.

The irony is that it was the Oilers that turned the league on it’s head in the 80’s, by Sather being progressive. He formed their psyche despite the latent talent.

They need to get back to the roots of what made them successful while having the world’s best offensive player, and how it looked building around him.

The same principles apply even if the league has changed some.

Last edited 3 months ago by Scungilli Slushy
leadfarmer

when your team is struggling with the 4th seed after you blew a bunch of futures on trying to win is probably not a time to gloat

Spartacus

Leafs fans sitting in judgement of the Oilers is laughable.

Good luck beating the habs, losers.

OriginalPouzar

I’m excited to see 2500 fans in the Bell Center on Saturday for game 6.

First time in Canada and that means something.

Reja

2 on nothing breakaway and Hrudey and Bieksa question Campbell.

OriginalPouzar

Pardon?

Bobcaygeon

What would you all think about Tony DeAngelo? Kind of a last chance Texaco signing.

OriginalPouzar

No thank you – I have no desire to bring that personality in to the dressing room – the man can produce points but its time to see if Evan Bouchard can do the same – all signs point to the affirmative.

leadfarmer

I hear he really ties the room together

godot10

The OIlers have Evan Bouchard on an ELC. This is one of the players on the critical path which enable the OIlers to win the Stanley Cup. Barrie and DeAngelo are noise and distractions.

If one develops Evan Bouchard, one does not have to waste valuable cap space a one-dimnesional veteran offensive D.

jtblack

THAT LT Lineup, with 1 or 2 deadline adds; is Legit.

I am so curious about RNH …..

Ice Sage

Habs have been watching the Oilers collapse technique, it seems

VanIsleOil

except the overtime part.

Brogan Rafferty's Uncle Steve

I am curious what UFA prices will look like.

I wonder if the Oil could afford Granlund, Hyman, and Coleman. (Let RNH walk)

OriginalPouzar

Wennberg and Gusev are interesting UFAs…..

Scungilli Slushy

LT you are depressing me talking about the roster not changing much.

If they want Nuge back and are keeping Yama, that has to be all the smallish in the top 6, hopefully the whole lineup.

As it stands they are too vanilla. Kahun, Chiasson, Turris, Ennis, Neal, Haas, Nygard P Russell etc etc. Nuge was as well until game 4 playoffs. It takes more than being a good guy who is positionally sound.

There are few aggressive players, offensively and physically. There are few smaller players available that are good in that way.

It’s why I don’t want Marody on the team, and Benson is iffy. Neither will have the offense in the bigs to make it worth the average skating and lack of edge.

And that is what playoff hockey requires. That is what Tampa changed to win.

I also think the Oilers need to start playing a more playoff style all season, instead of trying to change it up when the time comes.

Not going 70’s Flyers, but being hard on the boards, better sticks, skating hard up and down the ice, finishing checks, and learning how to consistently create HDSCs off the cycle.

They need players that play that way to succeed at it.
That might take a different forwards asst. coach. I didn’t see much creativity in what they were doing, way too much perimeter play and back to the point. Really old school and was easy to stop.

If the Jets had a better D group it would have been far more ugly than it was.

godot10

The Jets were playing rope-a-dope (with a top 3 goaltender in the league). A higher skilled D group wouldn’t have changed anything. It might have made them worse.

The difference in the series in that more of the Jets top nine forwards have plus shots.

The Oilers have to get better shooters and bigger depth forwards. With his tight budget, for the last two years, Holland had the option of a swarm of fast skating hobbits for his million dollars bets, over more big and slow. The swarm of hobbits was the better choice.

He has a bit more money to spend this summer. So hopefully the add will be bigger and faster with some shooting ability.

The plan for this year is to improve the forward group, adjust the D based on how the Klefbom situation resolves, sign Mike Smith and postpone the long term goaltending solution for a year (unless something opportunistic arises).

Hopefully two forwards in the summer, and a third one can probably be delayed till the trade deadline, considering that the OIlers will be playing in the Pacific.

If there were some way to get Armia in and Kassian out, that would be a good swap for the RW.

Scungilli Slushy

I don’t see how a better D group has no effect. That doesn’t make sense, better players, no effect. Especially being an Oilers fan.

Reja

Josh Anderson is going to lead the Habs to victory tonight and slow down these cocky yap dogs for a couple of days anyhow. Book it.

OriginalPouzar

By one-point Josh Anderson, did you mean apparent future Oiler Joel Armia?

Paddy Morans Jockstrap

This is a lineup you can win in the playoffs with:

Hyman McDavid Kass (McDavid freelances and the bigs do their thing)
Kahun Drai Puljujarvi (Holloway graduates to LW slot after Christmas)
Armia (or Bear trade) Khaira Yamo (Yamo provides offense with 2 bigs)
Shore McLeod Archie (speed and special teams)
Benson/Marody (recent graduates)

Nurse Hamilton
Kulikov Larsson
KK / Bouchard
Sammy

Ullmark / Smith

We should have the money to do this if we walk from RNH, Chaisson, Haas, Ennis, trade Kos (with some retention), demote Turris to AHL, buy-out Neal, and Klef retires. Bear traded for LW – Copp would be perfect – man is WPG stacked with great C and wing.

MushedPeas

May still occasionally have his uses, but no way you build anything around Kass.

leadfarmer

Weren’t Kahun and Kulikov analytics picks?
or are we just complaining to complain

Ryan

I have never heard of Kulikov mentioned as an analytics pick, ever or anywhere. My recollection is mostly about chatter here about how bad he was in Winnipeg. His last contract there was mocked here repeatedly.

Kahun was bandied about as an option here, I believe, as an affordable target who could play up the lineup (before KH signed him).

I don’t recall any of the analytics gurus on Twitter mentioning Kahun.

Last edited 3 months ago by Ryan
leadfarmer

Analytics were through the roof high on Kulikov
Kahun was a analytics darling

leadfarmer

Through the roof this year compared to last

MushedPeas

dunno if Kulikov an analytics pick, just know analytics people have mentioned him a bunch here over the years.

SwedishPoster

Wrt Leon and Connor leaving it’s more important to look like a proper contender in 3 years and onwards rather than after this off season so any move that hurts the team in three years is probably a bad thing.
Also when their respective contracts run out they will have played 10+ years with this club, if the GM can surround them with a talented team at that time, they can keep getting into the playoffs until then and hopefully go on at least one hopefully a couple of deep runs with a core of guys that they’ve played with for a long time then I’d say it’s highly likely both players sign another long deal. Stanley Cup to their names at the time or not.

All of McDavid, Nurse and Larsson touched upon the fact that a lot of pro players like the idea of winning with a group they’ve been a part of for a long time. I think those of us who has played a lot of team sports can attest to that, it’s way more fun winning with your close friends than with some guys you just ended up playing with. Winning is obviously more fun than not winning though, especially in pro sports, so if the choice is between winning with guys you don’t know all that well and losing with your friends in competitive sports you tend to go for the former thus the importance of improving the team as well.

But I also think there’s value in maintaining a group of players who are part of the core surrounding the ultra super core of McDrai, which for this and next off season means getting Nuge, Larsson and Nurse signed for at the very least four years, in Nurse’s case even longer. They are not perfect players but as long as the money isn’t killing the team in 3-4 years, see above, I think it matters that the two key guys enjoy playing with them and I personally think they will all contribute in a positive fashion in four years. Both Nuge and Larsson will still be strong defensive players and PKers in four seasons and to me Nuge is a player type who ages well. Defensive D tend to be pretty useful in their early thirties with some of them actually peaking so I don’t see Larsson fading too much either. So I think they’ll be useful and I think keeping them around will help keeping the Oilers McDrai era open beyond the current contracts.

I’m not opposed trying to find that one high end top sixer to add to the mix, I think having just one more surefire quality top six forward would make a world of difference to this team, but other than Hall being interested at a reasonable price, which seems less likely now that he’s showing well in Boston, I don’t see a lot of clear choices out there, unless Ovi or Landeskog shocking everyone. And then the option in free agency is to look at middle six guys who could help in a top six role or if ailing that at least improve depth, there’s a bunch of guys who could be useful in Schwartz, Bunting, Wennberg, Tatar, Palmieri. But it comes down to interest and cost ofc. Some of those guys I only take at a very low cost.

Hard to know which trades are out there if you don’t have the direct contact with all the GMs.

As far as euro free agents go I’d take a look at Broberg’s teammate in Skellefteå this season, Jesper Frödén, currently playing in the WHCs for Sweden, he’s a hard working player who spent several years in Allsvenskan before moving up to the SHL two seasons ago where he’s quickly established himself as a goalscorer. Improved his skating with Skellefteå’s tough training regime and is a pretty clean finisher, not a volume shooter really but more a guy who can finish when the chance is there and goes to the tough areas to score. Which might mean some of his scoring could translate to a higher level where scoring chances are tougher to come by. Not a sure thing at all, could turn out the pace is too much for him, but he’s adapted well to first the SHL and then international play so imo worth betting on. Defensively strong so can be used in a couple of different roles. Turns 27 in september so a good age for him to give it a shot. I know there’s been NHL teams interested. Most of these signings are bit players at best but sometimes they end up useful contributers at a low cost. I’d give him two seasons to see what he’s got. We could use a bottom sixer with some scoring touch 5v5.

Last edited 3 months ago by SwedishPoster
flea

While the team underperformed in the playoffs, I still want to give Holland and Tippett at least 1 “normal” season with this team. Fans judging this team on this weird, one off season should back off the ledge. Let’s see how the team does in a normal season.

Some of the anchors lift this year, and running some buyouts, while less than ideal, should help the team. It was apparent that the team lacked depth this playoff run, especially in the forwards. They have made major strides defensively, and Tippett should be given credit for the development of Puljujarvi, Yamamoto, Bear and managing a challenging goaltending situation.

I hoped the Oilers would have aimed higher than Smith in net this offseason though. I like Smith, and I understand resigning him, but they need someone else for him to tandem with.

It’ll be an interesting summer.

Jethro Tull

I remember a couple of years ago here. It was argued from all sides as to what was the best way to assess the overall team’s performance. For me, you first define your idea of success. Then introduce ways to measure this. Then you measure it continually.

You do not need “normal” seasons for this. The book on the Oilers for the last two seasons has been good in the regular season, then either under-performing or under-prepared or both in the post season.

Yes, some anchors are cut this off-season. But those players still have to be replaced. The money still has to be spent wisely. The picks still have to be made or traded with cunning. Going on Kenny’s record for the last five years, does he fill you with confidence, normal season or not?

The clock is ticking, and before we know it, Kenny will be 70, McDavid and Drai will be at the end of their contracts and what will we have to show for it? A nice farm team? Was that the goal? A steady pipeline of talent that replaces the NHL team on a trickle in system? So who replaces McDavid? Drai? Who can identify these players. You think Kenny’s got another Datsyuk and Zetterberg in him? In the age of analytics where other teams are identifying their picks earlier and earlier, Kenny, who goes by gut, is going to school everyone?

Let’s make it about numbers instead. What do you think the % probability we win a cup with 97-29 with KH at the helm.

That’s the question that has us on the ledge.

Decidedly Skeptical Fan

^^^^ This ^^^^

OriginalPouzar

Looking at the proposed roster, I don’t think Danault signs for under $4M (in particular with an org where he may be slotted in to 3C, given his prior verbal re: wanting a tope 6 role).

I think Coleman could go for $3.75M but I don’t think he comes to Edmonton for that price – I think that’s a TBL pricetag (or similar type org).

I presume that pricetag equalling the Neal buyout savings is not a coincidence.

Material Elvis

Rumor has it that Danault turned down a $5M/year extension with the Habs last off-season. Who knows if that’s true, but if he wants more than that it has to be a pass, no?

leadfarmer

Probably having serious regrets about that decision after the season he just had

McSorley33

OP – what external adds, if any, would you like to see?

winchester

My, Ken Holland sounds a little like a bumbling Mr Magoo. Highest paid GM and hasn’t brought in a single decent player.

Pooler doesn’t count because basically Ken doing nothing boughthim back. Maybe I’m not giving enough credit there.

This summer we must be saying “it’s enough” when looking at the roster. And it needs change. Not blow it up because we are angry change but we’ll thought out tactical change without undying love for prospects.

All avenues exploited. Not just prospects, free agents. College, smart trades.

The biggest opportunities will be around the expNsion draft, there will be opportunities available.

Dennis King

I thought Tippett and Holland were fine and that the standings were what mattered???:)

Drai by Shooting

Heres my beer day capfriendly team creating attempt haha.

https://www.capfriendly.com/armchair-gm/team/2419366

Jethro Tull

Make it so, number 1.

Decidedly Skeptical Fan

The most I offer Nuge is $5M x 4; he just doesn’t bring enough 5×5. There are teams that will over value a power play witch but this shouldn’t be one of them. No way I give Landeskog 6 years, and I like him a lot.

Todd Macallan

I can see where many are concerned about the Kenny’s apparent conservative approach to team building at this current stage for the Oilers, based on his avail yesterday.

Kenny has weaknesses (see: public speaking) but the biggest strength many who worked with him closely touted when he was first hired was his ability to be open to input from anyone and everyone in his attempt to put together the best team he can.

My biggest takeaway from yesterday was him stating his intent to ask his players, with focus on the leadership core, what THEY think he should be doing to improve the team.

This is the part that gave me hope in that based on his willingness to accept input from others, the players themselves might be able to impress upon him their sense of urgency to improve more quickly and what or who may help them do that. His openness to input and apparent lack of ego in this regard is a breath of fresh air for a gm in these parts. I’ll admit he has shortcomings like any manager but this openness to input may actually lead to him listening to his players if they think they’re close and should go for it as soon as this year.

This all remains to be seen but felt the potential was worth noting. Apologies for the long winded answer, I’ve been watching too many of Kenny’s pressers I guess.

TheGreatBigMac

Avs need to resign Makar, Landeskog, Jost, and Grubauer. They have some cap but might be an offersheet target. Hmmm

ArmchairGM

(there are no LH blue who I can see spending those dollars on in free agency).

Alex Martinez looks pretty enticing. There’s a good chance Vegas doesn’t re-sign him either.

Material Elvis

Good target but I’m sure he will receive multiple offers.

jtblack

Soon to be 34 …..

Scungilli Slushy

I’m not sure the Oilers need another play driver as much as someone who can score and play the game Connor doesn’t and maybe shouldn’t.

MacKinnon’s wingers are big and Landeskog is a beast on the boards.

The Oilers don’t lack talent now, they lack wingers suited to playoff hockey.

If JP can develop a bit more he may be the RW. He need to work on his release so he can shoot more and better, and double down on doing what Connor wants.

LW has to be 2 way. If Connor is going to float as he still does, and take chances, somebody has to be the D conscience.

Somebody has to carry the cycle and get to the key and be able to shoot, which is why maroon was such a good fit (he’s past it now).

We know and they hopefully learned that you can’t do it by having more skill only. In playoffs it ‘s a slog, and you need players that do that well.

If a team plays the Oilers loose they will hammer them as they already do. But that is unlikely to happen much at this point.

I’d like for LW Saad Nuge (because they will) Coleman Holloway (I doubt he’s in the A long, his game is an NHL game and he’s NHL size and speed).

They have to get a RC for faceoffs as well. Or teach a RW, we saw why it matters. I’d loose Haas and sign Ryan or the like.

Scungilli Slushy

A nice thing about players you draft is that they are loyal.

Connor is an Oiler first. Not an nhl player on an nhl team.

That changes after the first trade. I think the avail suggests Holland will talk to the core about the fact winning the cup is hard and rare.

He’s right in getting the chance to is the most important thing.

As he said if you win three cups in a career that’s a dynasty these days.

Changing teams doesn’t guarantee anything except a new start

Ice Sage

Every year some good teams get eliminated in the first round, and I admit I do love a good upset, not having been on the losing end of one for many years as an Oiler fan…
When I look around the league, though, I see some teams that have fallen just as hard as the Oilers:
Pittsburgh, Washington: last fumes for once-elite franchises
Nashville, Montreal: just average now, able to pull out a few W with elite goalering
St. Louis: both of the above, even Binnington magic couldn’t help them
Vegas could actually steal the ‘first round upset’ banner from the Oilers tomorrow night – will there be all the same teeth-gnashing on the strip? Nope, they will come back strong again.
Florida is similar to the Oilers this year, IMO – tough loss in first round, albeit to the super-charged 95 million dollar exception defending champs – with all the fundamentals in place and some obvious, attainable tweaks needed.

Last edited 3 months ago by Ice Sage
106 and 106

Pittsburgh hasn’t won a playoff series since 2017 when they won the cup.

The Blues haven’t won a playoff series since they won the cup.

The Caps haven’t won a playoff series since they won a cup.

Even good teams aren’t guaranteed anything…. but getting to the dance gives you a shot.

Ryan

At 65, Holland is doing pretty much what we expected.

He eschews big trades and either adds or doesn’t at the deadline.

He still has a penchant for rewarding aging role players with contracts too rich and too long (Abdelkader, Kassian).

He doesn’t buy into analytics.

He isn’t aggressively scouting or keeping an ear to the ground around the league to find out the pressure points and who’s available, instead he goes after his guys (AA, Green, Jurco).

The biggest criticism of Ken Holland, however, is that he was hired May 9, 2019 (just over 2 years ago), since then he’s traded two seconds, two fourths, and a fifth yet he still hasn’t added anyone material (outside of the draft) to the roster. (With all due respect to Tyler Ennis)

Since Holland was hired, May 7, 2019, the avalanche have added

Burakovsky (June 28, 2019)
Nazem Kadri (July 1, 2019)
Brandon Saad (Oct 10th, 2020)
Devon Toews (October 12th, 2020)

Saad was the only potential rental here.

Sakic also added Graves, Grubauer, and Girard all in 2018.

Holland has had some cap issues, but you have to get good players.

Last edited 3 months ago by Ryan
Cwadams81

He did make a point of saying he will be calling all other GMs to discuss their needs and who might be available.

Material Elvis

Harper’s Hair with his daily Avalanche update. Oh! Sorry Ryan, I just automatically assumed when I saw another breakdown of the Avalanche roster construction.

Ryan

I am not actually a fan of the team itself.

I am a fan of smart decision making though.

The easiest path to success, in my experience, is to emulate what other successful people are doing.

Material Elvis

I know; I was just bugging you.

DieHard

You believe Holland could have managed those deals? How? With what?

Ryan

Burakovsky was acquired for a second and a third round draft picks.

Toews was acquired for two second rounders, basically what we spent on AA.

I don’t know what, if anything, we could have traded for Kadri, but the leafs were looking to dump him after his playoff suspension.

We didn’t have the cap space for Saad.

Graves was acquired for a nothing prospect.

Harpers Hair

Benson and Marody for Burakovsky.

Don’t acquire AA.

Trade Nuge for Kadri and a pick.

Don’t extend Kassian…acquire Saad instead.

Easy peasy.

jp

Barrie would be an equivalent add to Saad.

And as much as it’s been panned, Holland also brought in a goaltender who’s gone 40-18-8 over 2 seasons (Grubauer’s gone 48-21-5 on a better team).

That said, your point definitely stands.

Side

Was Elgin talking about boner pills, political leaders, and digital currency again?

Elgin R

No I was not, but I was questioning whether ‘Ken the Pen’ can get it done during the 29-97 era.

Elgin R

Thanks LT I was trying to figure out what was it that I had written that was so offensive as to make your algorithm unhappy.

Cwadams81

Regarding trades, there is the possibility that internal solutions will be pursued and then trade capital will be used at next year’s trade deadline, rather than this offseason.

McSorley33

Prices get steep at trade deadlines

OriginalPouzar

Yes, Holland spoke at length about building and ensuring there was stability so there was the base required to be in the playoffs year after year after year.

When asked about stealing from the future to help to current group, he was indeed non-commital but, at the same time was clear that he’s willing to make those types of transactions when the time is appropriate.

No, he probably isn’t going to trade the 1st and Bouchard for a 26 year old winger but, if the team is in a good spot as the deadline approaches, he won’t hesitate to add pieces he think will help a run if the price is reasonable.

Jethro Tull

When your future includes the potential run out of the contracts of the best player in the world and his elite line mate, you damn better be borrowing against the future.

Kenny was brought in for bearish stability – we now have that. Time for him to train his successor who may be a little more bullish.

He was the GM we needed at the time – not the one we need now.

106 and 106

In May 2019:

– Holland was hired. For 2020 he said “we want to play meaningful games in March.” The Oilers made the Play-In’s.

– In 2021, he said “we should be a playoff team.” They made the playoffs.

– For the off-season in 2021, he’s saying “we’re going to get better.”

– In October 2021, he’ll probably say, “we want to compete for home-ice advantage in the playoffs”

I know it’s incremental, but it’s a heckuva lot better than “if you ask the question” and 2 1st rounders for Griffin Reinhart.

If they keep getting better, in 2-3 years like the incremental timeline suggests, then we don’t have to worry about Leon and Connor signing again.

The results will speak for themselves.

If not, we had a decade of 2 of the greatest players in our generation. What a treat.

Chelios is a Dinosaur

People pretend as if though McDavid will bail and win a bunch of cups like with what happened to Gretzk-

Wait a minute.

CrazyCoach

Ok, I’m going to pump up LT’s tires here, but if you don’t have a subscription to The Athletic, get one. I got in on the deal early and there’s nothing like it. They also have a great hockey podcast as well. Do it!

On another crazy idea (I have to live up to my moniker), Ovi is a free agent, and looking to break Gretzky’s goal scoring record. Think he’d go for a bargain just to play wing alongside an unreal playmaker for the next 5 years to realistically have a shot?

Ice Sage

Hmmm aging? Russian? Likely overpay? – ticks a lot of Holland boxes… and I like it crazy

jp

I wondered about Ovie. I guess he’s staying where he is. But if he’s interested, hell yeah!

Last edited 3 months ago by jp
Randle McMurphy

HOLLAND’S ROSTER BASED ON VERBAL
You very much nailed Hollands roster based on verbal (with one exception.
He spoke pretty highly of of Devon Shore.)

I dont like it. No way you win Stanley with this goal-tending tandum.

And Klefbom is a true wild card in this scenario.

Holland clearly sees the idea of being a “cup contender” as an evolution of talent (internal resources) which is really preaching “more patience”

The whole “no trade necessary” verbal suggests that Holland does not see putting the “finishing touches” on the roster this year.

Last edited 3 months ago by Randle McMurphy
106 and 106

Can Jesse get to 50 points?

Is Kailer a top 6 or a top 9 guy?

Is McLeod a real 3C?

Those seem to be the growth questions for Holland…

godot10

Mike Smith was more than good enough to contend with. As long as it is a one year contract, there is no reason to think he will be worse next year.

Koskinen is a solid NHL backup.

If one cannot find a taker for Koskinen with up to 50% retained, bringing the tandem back is fine.

The money this summer should be spent on Larsson and a couple of forwards. And worry about the goaltending after next season, when one will have a read on Konovalev and Skinner.

Last edited 3 months ago by godot10
Harpers Hair

Saw someone quip yesterday that signing Smith was like putting on an old jacket and finding a twenty in the pocket.

Signing him again is like putting on the same jacket expecting to find a twenty in the other pocket.

jp

It’s a good quip.

But the reality is that Mike Smith was a top 10 goalie in the NHL this season.

If you can sign a top 10 goalies (even a 39 year old one) for 1 year at 1B money, it’s a good bet.

OriginalPouzar

If Smith is going to be $3MM plus for base then we may need to be prepared for the Tom Gazolla plan of attack of Smith sharing the net with Stalock.

$3MM Smith plus $800K Stalock plus $1.5MM to $3.3MM of the dead Koskinen hit.

I’m actually not totally adverse to Smith/Stalock as a pure split – i mean, Stalock showed well in the 2019/20 season.

godot10

There is no reason to expect that Smith won’t work as hard this summer as he did last. His commitment to fitness, means that one year more in age is somewhat derisked the way he played this year.

Last summer he figured out how he could stay in the league in his late thirties.

There is not really enough money to solve the longterm goaltending situation this summer. I’d rather spend the money on forwards. The probability is high enough that both Smith and Koskinen can deliver a third reasonable season as a tandem. They seem to be able to get along.

If one finds a trade for Koskinen, that is fine. Keeping him is fine. Buying him out is not fine.

MushedPeas

I’ll upvote that comment.

Woogie63

The Edmonton Oiler’s page on CapFreindly shows visually another issue that Holland has to deal with this year. Winning teams tend to play together in the play-offs multiple years.

29 and 97 are signed long term, but no one else is locked up. I would like to see Holland sign about 17 of the 23 players to longer contracts. This way we always promote a few players from the AHL and maybe add a UFA/European that can contribute. Personal I would start with;

Nurse ($7×6), Barrie ($5Mx4), Larsson ($3.75M x 4), Khaira (1.35 x 3) If RNH takes Toffoli money at more term sign him otherwise sign a scoring winning and 2 way LW.

Smith is not part of the solution two years from now when we can compete to win and we need a 4 year goal solution – he is a 40 year old trap.

Watch our youth to decide if the develop into additive to the program, This group includes Puljujarvi, Yamamoto, Bouchard, Bear, Jones, McLeod, Marody, Skinner, Holloway, Broberg.

Neal is not part of the future and should be bought out – the new USA TV contract and “opening up” will add to the cap in the next 4-5 years and cover the Neal dead cap space.

who

Signing Nuge and Barrie to those contracts would be the death knell for the McDrai years. You are basically committing to the same team for the next 4 years. That’s not good enough!
I am all for signing Nuge, but not at 7 million. Barrie had a great year, but his replacement is chomping at the bit. For 20% of the cap space. That decision is the mother of all no brainers.

who

Sorry, please disregard. Misread Nuge for Nurse.
My point on Barrie stands though

Woogie63

A real problem is which Klefbom (if any) do we get in 2021-22? We can’t not expect to win with Nurse, Larsson and some young pros. If Klefbom come back and is him old self great our top 4 (with Barrie) is a point of strength and maybe a hockey trade is in order?? – if he doesn’t our top 4 is really too weak.

I don’t see Bear ever replacing Barrie’s points and Bouchard is 3-4 years away IF he progresses to a +50 point defenseman.

Barrie was the TOP scoring defenseman in the league and he has produced points ever year he is has been in the league. Bear, Bouchard, Jones, Samorukov and Broberg total points with not outscore Barrie in a normal year imo.

godot10

Bouchard is replacing Barrie, not Bear. Bouchard can replace Barrie on the PP. His “problem” isn’t offense. He is probably the best offensive D on the team.

Bobcaygeon

Nobody is replacing Barries 35 EV points. I would wager collectively the group might not hit that.
‘Bouchard won’t come close to Barries production even with PP time.
IMHO Barrie was criminally underrated by Oiler fans.

OriginalPouzar

I can’t reasonably project 50 points or 35 even strength points for Bouchard next season but, to be honest, I wouldn’t put it out of the realm of reasonableness. This would be over 82 games, not 56 like this year so its not the same level of production.

The sample size may be too small to put too much stock in to but Bouchard’s P/60 at evens was only marginally below Barries. Bouchard also played about 75% of those minutes away from McDavid.

I am in no way saying put Bouchard with Nurse and run him with 1st pairing minutes and responsibilities but I do think he would produce a ton of points in that situation – plus PP.

I do wonder just how beneficial playing with Nurse is….. I mean look at how Bear performed in aggregate last season compared to this past season. When he was paired with Nurse for most of the year, he looked every bit a legit top 4D. Now, Barrie paired with Nurse this past season and he has his best offensive season.

Yes, I know, the Nurse minutes are also high McDavid minutes but, still, playing with Nurse is playing with a legit minute munching top pairing d-man that makes his partner better.

who

Barrie is not Klefboms replacement.
Klefbom was an all purpose top 4 dman. He played in every situation. I agree that Holland needs to add a lefty who can handle top 4 minutes if Klefbom can’t go. Barrie is not that player.
Barrie is an offensive specialist. When the coach won’t use him to kill penalties, and won’t use him to protect leads in the last few minutes of a game, that’s a tell.
Bouchard can give us those PP and 3rd pairing minutes for 20% of the cost. He may not put up as many points as Barrie right away, but I think he’ll be just as effective. And points aren’t the be all end all when it comes to judging dmen. Eric Gustavsson had 60 a couple of years ago, maybe we should sign him?
Bouchard will probably improve every year. At worst he’ll end up being a bigger version of Barrie.

JimmyV1965

I’m not saying we resign Barrie, but his replacement will not produce like he did.

godot10

If one is thinking (NO BARRIE FOR ME) about signing Barrie, the better option would be to forget about Barrie and Larsson, and sign Hamilton with the money.

No way Khaira should get three years. Two at most.

Sierra

What’s the plan if/when Hamilton doesn’t want to return to Alberta?

Randle McMurphy

“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.”

In my mother’s kind and sarcastic voice “There. Was that so hard to do?”

Last edited 3 months ago by Randle McMurphy
slopitch

My roster for fun (and yes its a pipe dream)

Drai McDavid Puljujarvi
Coleman Crosby Yamo
Armia Getzlaf Archibald
Kahun McLeod Kassian
Khaira

Nurse Bear
Klefbom Larsson
Jones Bouchard
Russel Lagesson

Smith
Koskinen

Crosby for 2021 1st, Broberg, rights to Nuge
Getzlaf for 3m x 2 years

McSorley33

Anyone can sign Nuge in 30 days or so…no need for Pit to trade for that.

slopitch

Pittsburgh has the worst prospect pipeline in the league. It’s time for them to reset.

Nuge’s rights could be worth a 4th? More of a throw in to say “we are spending Nuges money on Sid”.

I suspect a conditional 1st would be attached to that trade if it were to happen. I did say pipe dream!

Sierra

3.5M for Mike Smith. Who is Holland bidding against?

JOFA

Himself. He just doesn’t realize it.

TheGreatBigMac

If it’s 3.5M that’s not a value contract, try for better options first. Driedger maybe

McSorley33

I like LT’s adds here even though I prefer an overpay ( does any decent UFA ever sign for less than people expect?) for Taylor Hall. ( though, Boston may beat us)

I still find it odd that people don’t think Hall would see McDavid and Drai as better bets than Boston. Krejci is 35 and may not be back with Boston. Bergeron turns 36 in a few weeks.

If I am Taylor Hall – I am enticed by taking passes from last years League MVP. Or a God on Ice.

Personally, my line in the sand is 2 top 9 forwards. Whether that is 1 UFA and 1 trade or whatever combo Kenny can get.

But this team – NEEDS – 2 skilled forwards and it needs to have Drai centre his own line.
I thought this ( Drai as a 2C) was already established – but apparently not.

Given the cap room and the D prospects this does not seem to daunting.

This is Kenny’s summer.

to paraphrase -I think ( not sure ) Bruce M of the CoH who said it best – when your best transaction to date is dumping Lucic for Neal….that is saying something.

Kenny has been here for 2 years. Now is the time to move the needle.

TheGreatBigMac

Conner said it, this IS a big off-season

Harpers Hair

Was also surprised no one asked Holland if the 1st round pick is in play.

If ever it is, this is the year.

A very uncertain draft class, tons of teams with cap issues and the player selected likely won’t help for 3-5 years.

Munny

Which also means the value of a first round pick isn’t as robust.

Harpers Hair

That is true…but the flat cap is creating desperation that hasn’t existed in the past.

I expect some pretty good wingers will become available after the expansion draft.

BornInAGretzkyJersey

I noticed that too.

Worse was nobody even mentioned an analytics department. I know Tippett talks about using data but if you don’t have a competent department working full-time on the numbers, both internal and external, you’re not even keeping pace; you’re falling behind.

OriginalPouzar

Rishaug asked about “stealing from the future” to help the current group – and re-upped on the question as well.

Didn’t mention the 1st rounder specifically but that’s a “future asset”.

Dustylegnd

I will tell you this much, if Leon leaves in 4 you can count on McDavid leaving in 5, he is not going to stick around for this shit show no way no how

We have to hope and pray that Holland was sandbagging during his media availability, if I am McDrai, I make it Christal clear just how unacceptable the current state of affairs is…full stop….

This is how it has be Kenney or I sail on

Darth Tu

Danault as 3C. Pump that straight into my veins right now. Not sure on Armia – especially at $3.2 mill, but I’ll take that and the subsequent Kassian trade with Holloway moving up.

If Klefbom is at least 70% of previous Klefbom those D pairs work well for me. Perfect to see Russell and Lags there as the injury cover/buffer against the next crop.

I still think we see an attempt to move on from Koskinen next year, but as his contract only has one year to go I don’t think the move on is through buyout. It’s either trade with some retained, or a pick to Seattle so they grab him and not Benson. If he’s still here for next season that’s also ok by me.

dustrock

The other thing driving me crazy is Holland’s own revisionist history with the Detroit Red Wings.

No cap, lucked into an all-timer on D with Lidstrom, and added a crap-tonne of elite Russian talent.

This wasn’t the case of Stevie Yzerman learning how to play in the playoffs and getting better by increments.

They added a crap-tonne of talent to an already-good team.

BornInAGretzkyJersey

Yz transitioned his game from high octane offense only to a complete game. Once he committed to playing well without the puck they started to have success.

Granted, the team around him also improved greatly, but he had to commit to ultimately win.

jp

Connor and Leon made major strides in that direction this year. Still not finished products though.

MushedPeas

Mad luck + money bags for whatever they lacked. Can’t plan the former, latter no longer applies.

dustrock

I dunno, how many trades or signings have we seen in the last decade where people are literally saying “this can’t be the only move, it doesn’t make sense”.

I have zero confidence in Holland and the Oilers pro scouting. I think I asked this (somewhat rhetorically) a week or so ago, but other than Mike Smith this last year, can you think of an acquisition by the Oilers who exceeded expectations in the last 5 years? Maybe Talbot’s season in the playoff year?

The team has been run by internal growth for years now, Ken. We need to help those players. That’s your job, $5million man.

I’d like to give him the benefit of the doubt that he’s downplaying the big offseason he’s going to have. He went hard after Markstrom last year and lost out, perhaps fortunately, to Calgary.

But given Holland’s body of work, his press conference seemed par for the course to me.

This year’s and next year’s draft picks are not helping Draisaitl on this contract. I suspect they’ll have to let him go if they want to keep McDavid at that point.

TheGreatBigMac

Too much pessimism, guessing Oil PTSD. Kenny has been delivering incremental improvement with no cap. This is his first off-season with some cap, I think he was just trying to lower expectations. He doesn’t control the UFA market and a lot can happen, if a good deal doesn’t come along he’s not going to force it. That’s good in my books, I don’t want Markstrom’s ugly contract for term. I feel your pain but am trying to having an open mind.

OriginalPouzar

Tyson Barrie exceeded expectations, no?

Jesse Puljujarvi exceeded expectations – not a true “acquisition” but pretty much.

Josh Archibald exceeded expectations.

Munny

Dear Mr. Lemon,

If any GM even speaks about thinking about the possibility of a blockbuster trade deserves to be fired on the spot, pdq or no pdq. For multiple reasons.

Smith probably wants two years.

If Nuge would sign 5 x 5.75 he’d probably already be signed. Maybe his agent hits the smelling salts in the next month, but the odds are not good. I do think the Oil re-sign him though.

If Koski is in the org next season, it’s in Bako. Half-retained to Seattle with a sweetener.

They haven’t really given us any thoughts on Kahun. I’m not so sure they’d re-sign him.

Three free agents at that level seems awfully optimistic. If they get three, I really doubt Kahun is still here.

Devin Shore OTOH will be re-signed.

godot10

If Smith wants to maximize his salary. He should sign one year deals with a low AAV figure with a lucrative bonus with easy to achieve targets. Particularly this year while an expensive Koskinen is on the books and his likely backup. i.e. Sign one year for $3 million along with an easy to achieve $3 million bonus.

There are two options for Koskinen. Use him as the backup. He is a competent backup. Or two, trade him with 50% retained. Buying him out would be the wrong option.

Victoria Oil

Would love to trade Koskinen with 50% retained, but I’m worried there won’t be any takers given how he finished the season.

OriginalPouzar

Whoa, $3M base for Smith, plus bonuses?

I’m willing to give him a bump from his current $1.5M base to $2M, plus bonuses, but definitely not $3M.

Take his season performance in isolation and, sure, he earned $3M but there are other factors at play here – like the fact he’s 39 and it may not be reasonable to project a similar performance (over a longer season).

tileguy

I also just saw that 3.5M for Smith, somebody has been in the gummies.

Sierra

6M for Mike Smith?

Side

Have other GMs laid out all of their plans and intentions in press avails and then followed them through in the offseason?

I wonder if laying out your plans publicly leaves yourself vulnerable to other GMs going into the offseason.

If Holland said he was going to go all out and was going to make big trades to win now, does it benefit him to put that out there for other GMs to know?

I am not suggesting Holland has some big master plan where he is actually going to make a big splash. But from his position I think it is more beneficial for him to say he is going to make incremental adjustments even if he is planning to do something big.

jp

Remember MacT?

Side

My therapist says it’s best that I don’t.

godot10

Did you have to ask the question?

McSorley33

Good point.

I would prefer he under commit and over deliver.