Ken Holland’s Whiteboard

by Lowetide

Photo by Rob Ferguson

We’re in the ‘we don’t know what we don’t know’ phase of the offseason, and that starts with Oscar Klefbom. There’s $4.16 million tied up in Oscar futures, and we don’t know if it’ll be a three-week vacation at an all-inclusive with swim-up bar and Carlos Santana playing two shows a day, or a giant garbage barge adrift on the ocean. That’s a problem, but it isn’t the only one and it can get away from an organization fast.


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!


I don’t know Ken Holland but have known people like him. He’s the type of guy who has a great memory, thinks about things, discusses a problem, makes a decision and proceeds based on the decision. Careful. Has a list. Start as you mean to go. He is not a ponderer (Steve Tambellini is a ponderer), he is not a riverboat gambler (Peter Chiarelli).

He is not an analytics guy, he will not trade Anthony Mantha for Jakub Vrana.

Ken Holland is going to work to improve the Oilers this summer and he has more assets at his disposal. I’m going to give you my opinion about how he sees this team and what he could be mulling over in the days to come. It begins in net.

Goalie: This has the potential to be a feature spot over the summer, with significant movement. Holland has already tipped his hand about bringing back Mike Smith, so that’s one slot filled. The NHL backup spot may land with Mikko Koskinen, but Alex Stalock might get the backup spot and that would mean a buyout for Koskinen (or trade). I think Ilya Konovalov will be the Bakersfield Condors starter next year, with Stuart Skinner possible co-starter. Olivier Rodrigue starts in Wichita with the Thunder and moving up for spot starts if he earns it. Dylan Wells not qualified. Sebastian Cossa is high on the team’s list I expect, but we’ll see. He could be gone by Edmonton’s first round pick arrives. Konovalov has a real chance here, he could be on the roster for 2022-23.

Left Defense should be stronger but injuries and struggling youth have to give management pause. Darnell Nurse is the top man on the depth chart, with young Caleb Jones my choice to slot in on the second pair if Oscar Klefbom can’t return. Beyond that, Kris Russell has a contract, William Lagesson has one too and the club spoke well of him last season. The Condors have a strong group who will push, led by Philip Broberg and Dmitri Samorukov. Markus Niemelainen is also in the mix and impressed when healthy in the AHL this season. Slater Koekkoek and Dmitry Kulikov are UFA’s, and Theodor Lennstrom RFA. I can see Holland drafting Simon Edvinsson or Carson Lambos without blinking an eye.

Right defense is about to see a tweak, maybe more. Ethan Bear is the one certain returning veteran, he can play anywhere (including top pair) and has a range of skills, lacking only in size. Evan Bouchard is beyond ready and will be one of the pleasant stories next season in Edmonton. Adam Larsson and Tyson Barrie are free agents heading in opposite directions, with Larsson likely to return. His shutdown abilities are quality and badly needed. The AHL team has three players who will play but don’t expect much push. Filip Berglund has miles of SHL experience but is a bit of an unknown as an NHL candidate. Mike Kesselring and Phil Kemp are just getting started in pro hockey, so we could see an additional RH signed over the summer.

Center will once again be the strongest position on the team. Connor McDavid is the best player on planet earth, and Leon Draisaitl is an impact player of the first order. One is tempted to say it doesn’t matter after that, but in truth the club could use an upgrade. Ryan McLeod played well at the end of the season, he’ll be in the mix but could start the season in the minors depending on how things break in free agency. Kyle Turris has another year on his deal and could be moved to wing, Bakersfield or get bought out again. Jujhar Khaira is RFA, I see him as No. 4 center. Cooper Marody is RFA and played much of the season on RW, not sure where he is on the whiteboard depth chart in Holland’s office. Alan Quine is UFA, no idea if he returns. Early rumours have a 3C coming in via free agency, the names Ryan Getzlaf and Brandon Sutter are out in the ether. Gaetan Haas is flummoxing. A UFA, my guess is he does not return.

Left Wing is a mess if Ryan Nugent-Hopkins doesn’t return. I expect the two sides get it done, based on the way Holland spoke about him at the double-album media avail. James Neal is signed and will occupy a spot unless bought out. Dominik Kahun is RFA, I would bring him back but he has arbitration rights so the club might cut him loose. Holland raved about Devin Shore, suspect the RFA will return. Tyler Ennis is UFA but I don’t see him coming back. Joakim Nygard is already gone. Dylan Holloway is the prime prospect at this position, he should have a clear shot at a roster spot. Tyler Benson is RFA and could help the bottom-six offensively, or he could land in Seattle. He’ll be waiver eligible, so if Benson remains on the Edmonton roster I’d expect him to be on the big team opening night 2021-22. Raphael Lavoie has been playing left wing in the minors and having an impact. Joe Gambardella is locked in Bakersfield. This position is wide open.

Right Wing starts with the feelgood story of the season, Jesse Puljujarvi. His 15 goals in 55 games were a revelation, and his play away from the puck was solid. Kailer Yamamoto had a disappointing year owing to an offensive drought that stretched over the last half of the year. He’ll need to rebound to keep the No. 2 RW job. Zack Kassian’s year was beyond disappointing, some are talking buyout but I’d be surprised (Holland signed him) and believe this is a tradeable contract. Josh Archibald will be back, he’s a useful utility player and the ghastly penalty will be forgiven. Alex Chiasson is UFA and there’s not much room, I’d love to see him return. Patrick Russell is a wildcard, Edmonton should walk him but the coach values what he brings. Raphael Lavoie started on right wing in Bakersfield and could land there, he’s a substantial prospect. Cooper Marody played a lot at right wing with the Condors, he could compete here in the fall. Ostap Safin and Kirill Maksimov enter the year with something to prove. Veteran AHLers Seth Griffith and Adam Cracknell would be a longshot for NHL consideration.


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I’m going to get crucified for this,

Katz calls Holland.

K- How’s it going? I’ve been reading online we should have made a couple more moves before this playoffs. Sounds like your getting roasted. We are going all in this year right? Draft picks, trades, etc. Right??

H- Have you been watching the Leafs.- Canadiens series? Dubas went “all in”.

Man, playoffs are a bitch.

Petry had what, just under 20mins in 2 periods?

Leafs fan base is going to melt down if MTL or “MON” wins.

Yes, I get it, they are missing JT.


One of the ideas proposed here is that because Larsson plays the majority of his minutes away from CMD, his results are skewed relative to our other defensemen who get more time with CMD.

NST gives us a simple way to check this using its line combination tool.

We have the two highest scoring forwards over the past 3 seasons.

Let’s look at the results for TOI w/ Larsson and w/o Drai and CMD (scenario lars) vs. TOI w/o all three (scenario no lars). That way we can see if the team without CMD and Drai performed any better with Larsson on the ice.

18-19 to 20-21

Scenario, TOI, GF%

lars, 1728, 37.3
no lars, 3405, 39.2


lars, 724, 34.9
no lars, 1376, 44.6


lars, 436, 38.5
no lars, 1363, 37.4


lars, 568, 39.4
no lars, 666, 33.3

How does this support the idea that Larsson has a special skill set or that he’s a beast in a tough, tough role? It doesn’t. Without CMD and Drai, the team’s pretty much the same on goals whether Larsson is on the ice or not.

There are very few difference making defensemen. Larsson isn’t one. (To be fair, by this test, neither is Nurse.) Hockey results are mostly driven by forwards.


That’s an interesting compilation of the data.

Now how does one contextualize the ability/makeup of a team to be able to play different styles of hockey and win games? Tight 1-0 games or 6-4 barn burners?

I’d think that it takes a balance of many types of players to compose a successful team. Just as we cannot (likely) succeed with a team full of small skill players (Yamamotos and Gagners) we probably aren’t better off with a team full of Rickibox types either (Faynes and Fistrics). You have to win in the streets and the alleyways.


How does quality of competition figure in all this?

In the past 2 years Larsson was either 1st or 2nd pair D (ahead of Benning in years past or Bear this year). While away from McDrai (who presumably plays with the best pair of D) one would expect he also play against tougher opposition than Benning / Bear would have?


So, today we’ve learned that none of Nurse, Larsson and Barrie are difference makers. What have we really learned?


Quick, hide your work…Ricki is coming

Last edited 23 days ago by BONE207

Out of curiosity, what kind of delta would it take for you to call ‘difference maker’?

You mentioned below Hamilton had 53%GF ON, 45%GF OFF. So about +8%.
McDavid (without Leon or Nuge) was +11.7.

The other Oilers D over 3 years (or less if they didn’t play all 3).
Russell +5.9
Klefbom +4.4
Nurse +3.3
Barrie -1.4
Larsson -1.9
Bear -6.7
Jones -8.8

So I guess the truth (probably) lies somewhere inside the “defenseman don’t drive results/this analysis is meaningless/Russell is a difference maker” triangle?

Definitely no need to reply to this, just thought I’d post the results for the rest of the team.


Until the playoffs and the referees put away the whistles! Just because you can’t quantify something does not mean it doesn’t have value! By your numbers you would be correct. You keep a cat in the barn and you don’t have mice in your hay. What value does the cat have in your operation? There are barns that don’t have a cat and don’t have mice. There are barns with a cat that have mice. Physicality by D in the defensive zone has value. If as a forward you get beat up every time you go to the net and forwards on the opposition go to the net without consequence it changes the competition and most likely the outcome of the game.


Congrats to theCondors (and the Oilers org) – Pacific Division champs.

A fitting end to Benson’s AHL career (hopefully) sniping the division winning goal.

Last edited 23 days ago by OriginalPouzar

Skinner having a strong final game of his season….. some big saves and the 3rd has seen some great action.

As I type, Marody to Benson and he snipes one to give the Condors a 3-2 lead with 9 to go.


That Ethan should have been subject to any of this nonsense at all is a tragic indictment of how far we have to go as a society. I’m glad he’s an Oiler and root for the young man’s success.

On the other hand, I’m disappointed by the selective nature of corporate media intentionally failing to point out the lack of social distancing and some folks’ mask optional behaviour at this rally, while making a point of highlighting the same at other rallies. Whether you agree with those rallies or not, picking and choosing when to apply said angle is framing the debate in a shrewdly less than honest manner.


Now I wasn’t at the rally and I’m just going off of the pictures and videos in this article, but it seems like the vast majority of people are wearing masks and making at least a token effort at distancing.


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I’m not sure if that’s a rebuff, but making the assumption that two or three people together are part of the same household, that doesn’t look particularly tightly packed to me. Eye level perspective makes people look bunched up, but the video offers some good shots of the crowd.

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Unfortunately not everyone is going to wear a mask. It’s definitely frustrating.

Last edited 23 days ago by Oddspell

Point is, and it (ahem) bears repeating, the same perspective for imagery is used to lambaste people for rallies held in similar fashion yet nary a word is spoken when the cause is pre-approved. Indeed, it would be sacrosanct to even point out such a discrepancy.

Few people in that crowd are socially distanced, and none of us can confirm who is and isn’t among the same cohort.


Many (most?) people appeared to be wearing masks, at least from the displayed angles. Some weren’t. Including Ethan, as he fist bumped supporters (some of whom were not wearing masks) from his truck during his drive-by. So it’s still a worthwhile point to make.

Few appeared to be socially distanced. As a simple experiment, humour me for a moment. Clip a tape measure to your pocket and extend said tape to 2m, then tell me how many people had that much distance between them. The answer is few (and far between). I’ve done this at work as a joke (extended the tape then whipped around in circles telling people to back away to properly social distance), and in the process was struck by how much different 2m is in reality compared to what I often visualized as two arm lengths apart.


Hmmm… I can’t say I agree. The rallies I assume you’re referring to tend to have noticeably fewer masks on faces at the very least.

Of course, there’s a real possibility I’m just not familiar with what you’re talking about or that we’re talking about two completely different things.

Randle McMurphy

Congratulations to all thoe who attended the rally. Keep up the good work!

“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” Martin Luther King Jr.


Another game where all of the even strength offence comes from randomness. There was nothing dangerous about the Leafs two late goals or the Habs OT winner.

At what point does “anything can happen” devolve into “flip a coin”?

We spend all this time and energy talking about 14th forwards and 9th defencemen when, besides a very select few, it really doesn’t matter at even strength. Dozens of pucks will be directed to the net and a couple will hit something and bounce in. How do you build a winner in this sport?

Randle McMurphy

If this was George Orwells 1984, there’d be a knock on your door right about now.
(n Nineteen Eighty-Four, the Thought Police are the secret police of the superstate Oceania, who discover and punish thoughtcrime, personal and political thoughts unapproved by the Party.)

Randle McMurphy

Spoiler Alert.

And while Fans stew with heatbreak over the loss, all while self-medicating by contemplating next years roster changes..

Welcome to the Grand Illusion
Come on in and see whats happnin
Pay the price
Get your tickets for “The Show”

Last edited 23 days ago by Randle McMurphy
Randle McMurphy

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I am SO hoping that Montreal beats TO so that the speculation/questions on Matthews and Marner wanting out can begin.


Haven’t they been signalling their lack of desire to stay when they didn’t sign max term contracts?


so Matthews 1 goal in 6 games


Now do Mitch Marner this year and last. A double zero.


Ovechkin 2 goals in 5 games.

At least twice the goal scorer as the purported heir-apparent.


Draisaitl 2 goals in 4 games.

Not even in the conversation.


Jesperi Kotkaneimi, the new Sam Bennett.


I wonder if Colorado would do something like Kadri for Khaira and Benson. They can’t protect Kadri in the expansion draft. And they really can’t afford him on the cap next year.


I’m actually thinking of Kadri as a left wing option for McDavid and Puljujarvi. Add a little nastiness and cycling ability to the line.

Then Nugent-Hopkins, Draisaitl, and Yamamoto.


Sign me up!


Game 7 coming up.

Victoria Oil

Habs outshot 13-2 in OT (or something like that) but Kotkaniemi gets the winner.


Hockey is merciless
Poor Petry

Gerta Rauss

2-1 goal goes off his stick
2-2 goal off his skate/leg


This thing is going to OT barring something in the last 100 seconds

Bulging Twine

I’m watching and reading all kinds of stuff from around the hockey world these days and people of all different bents and angles saying things like, “the analytics say…” and various versions of the like.

I think that ‘analytics’ have grown so much that now we need to break that word up into subcategories or something. ‘Analytics’ are not a unified whole.

It’s similar perhaps to ‘Science’. Someone may say, “Science says that….”. Well that may be true but ‘Science’ is so huge that ‘Science’ also says the exact opposite as to what that person is saying ‘Science’ says.

It’s the same with analytics. I am hearing people say one team is analytically the favourite while another person says the other team is favoured because of analytics.

To say that ‘analytics’ says something…the word is too huge now. There is too much underneath it. Too much involved.


Bulging Twine

Like when people say, ‘the analytics like this team’. Oh really? Like, all the analytics?

Science says….oh ya? All the Science? That’s a lot of science! Like science or analytics are a unified whole.



It’s a relic from the analytics vs eyeball era


Georgexs – no time for Hamilton or Danault? Explain please. Both these players would seem like obvious boosts to our roster, price point in UFA status being the obvious caveat.


Well, if you’re not going to sign Barrie, why would you pay much more to sign Hamilton? And if you’re not going to sign RNH, why would you pay about the same for Danault?

Barrie scored more than any other defenseman this year. He’s scored more for his career than Hamilton. About the same TOI/GP for their career. We have the two best forwards but I think CAR has a lot of good forwards. If we don’t fix our lack of forwards problem, not sure what Hamilton would add over Barrie at a much higher price tag. I mean we didn’t lose to WPG because we got outscored (outplayed) with Barrie on the ice. That didn’t happen.

Danault is a tier or two below RNH as a scorer. He gets 3 minutes less TOI per game. Not a PP contributor. You watch him play and you see nothing that stands out as far as exceptional individual offense: no handles, no shot, some speed, I guess. Scored just 55 goals in his career with a season best of 13. He’s a little bigger than RNH but not big enough to play a physical game. Whatever success he’s had at 5’s I’d guess is a product of playing with good linemates with whom he had chemistry, scoring a lot on rush chances. You can’t get all the rest of that by just signing Danault.

If the transaction is Barrie and RNH (and a bunch of cap space) out, Hamilton and Danault in, no, I don’t think that’s a boost to the roster. If we add those guys while keeping RNH, we wouldn’t have done enough on the forward side of things to boost the roster. I mean, Danault’s best goal output in a season is 13! He scored 5 this year.


Are you actually of the position that Hamilton is not a couple of tiers above Barrie?


Yeah. Why? What do you know that I don’t know?


I don’t know anything for sure but have the opinion that Hamilton is a much “better” all around d-man than Tyson Barrie – a top 15 d-man in the NHL.

Yes, this. ismy eye-test from watching hockey games for many years.


Maybe your eyes are right. I’ve never watched Hamilton play. Using my Larsson test from up above with CAR’s top two scoring forwards (Aho and Teravainen) off the ice in the past 3 seasons, CAR wins its minutes with Hamilton on (1833 minutes, 53%) and loses with Hamilton off (4395 minutes, 45%). That’s good.


You can cross reference GF% and GF%rel (good results and good results rel to team).

Of D with 1500 min over 3 seasons Hamilton is 8th in GF% and 12th in GF%rel.

The other players in the top 20 for both metrics (among 186 D) are Giordano, Brodie, Fox and Pulock, so passes the eye test decently.

Barrie is 69th in GF%, 65th in GF%rel. Solidly above average (top third-ish), but not in the same ball park as Hamilton here.

I’d say this is an argument for Hamilton over Barrie.

Randle McMurphy

Cap Hit?


That was one of the stupidest challenges I’ve ever seen


That Taylor Hall guy is pretty good


I’ll take Josh Anderson to get the winner and force a game 7.


He’s a main reason the Habs are no longer winning….


What game are you watching the Habs just won and have forced a game 7 against the mighty Leafs.


A game where Josh Anderson made multiple mistakes that led to the Leafs tying the game and sending it to overtime – in a series where he has 1 point in 6 games and has generally been getting caved throghout.


All that matters is winning. I’ll take a nasty Josh Anderson over any forwards not named Leon or Connor


I’d take Josh Anderson on the Oilers for sure – not with his current contract which he underperformed during the regular season and continues to do in the playoffs – to a much great extent.

He very well could score two big goals in game 7 but, so far, he’s not been good in the playoffs (or really for a number of months now).


It’s to bad Hollaway broke his thumb as I’m watching Caulfield ring one of the post and he sure doesn’t look out of place at all We sure could of used a hound dog with hands digging in the corners for Leon and Connor.


It sure would have been great for Holloway to get a solid 15-20 AHL games to finish off the season.


It sure would be nice if they dressed the best possible team for example Bouchard should and could have been playing top 4 minutes but instead management is just happy we made the playoffs.


Not sure what that has to do with Holloway.

Of note, Bouchard had a lower GF% than any of Barrie, Larsson or Bear.

Harpers Hair

Who could possibly have seen that coming?


Given the three legit established top 4 RD ahead of him – yup quite the group to try and pass.

Not sure what Quinn Hughes’ issue was and his barely over 40% goal share.


Sometimes the elite ones show themselves early. Then crawl up into a fetal position in year two.

Paddy Morans Jockstrap

IF RNH is willing to sign for 6-6-6-5-4-3 million over 6 years, we have a deal. A $5 million cap hit and Oiler for life. If someone wants to give him more, thank him for the service and best of luck. Does anyone think his performance at 33 and 34 will be worth more? If RNH signs for this, and Holland absolutely has to play hardball, then we I’d play RNH with Drai and JP on line 2. Two bigs with a skill guy like RNH can work in the playoffs.

Next we have to fix Line 1. I play Kass at RW along with a new big LW who can fill the gap for 2 years until Holloway is ready. The strategy is obvious against McDavid. Forwards mob him in the neutral zone and defense stands up at the blue line. The only way you counter this, beside occasional McDavid brilliance, is to have McDavid dump in the puck and give his two big wingers the advantage in gaining possession and punishing the opposition defense. The only way to open things up for McDavid to enter the offensive zone with possession in the playoffs is to punish the passive strategy, and to do that you need big, aggressive nasty winger who can win the dump-in game. Hyman works for me but other options are available until Holloway is ready (he’s potentially perfect for the job). McDavid also has to develop his inner Bobby Clark as the center on this line which I think is coming. He’s going to have to learn to be dirty to win.

Line 3 now get an offensive boost with Yamo on RW and McLeod starts at LW. I try get an old vet for the two kids and if your could get Getzlaf for a year between Yamo and McLeod that would be nice. Gives McLeod a mentor and one more year of development.

Line 4 is Khaira with Archie and Holloway/Benson to start. Plenty big and fast with veterans playing key PK roles and the young guys protected.

One of Turris/Haas/Marody could be the extra center

Hyman McDavid Kass
McLeod Getzlaf Yamo
Benson/Holloway Khaira Archie

Built for playoffs and regular season strategy the Leafs used.


There’s no way Nuge agrees.

Escrow is higher until the owners are made whole. Contracts will be back loaded to get around this. Turn around the order and it might be viable.

And Kassian is an atrocious option for the top 6. He’s closer to a buyout than the top 6 imo, struggling as he is to contribute in the bottom 6.

Otherwise, nice post. Agree especially on Connor emulating Clarke. That’s who Wayne credits with the inspiration for developing his style behind the net.

Last edited 24 days ago by BornInAGretzkyJersey

I don’t disagree with most of this. A couple of my thoughts (if anyone cares):

1) Not that it matters to us but I think the Nuge contract would be mid-loaded (or back loaded) as opposed to front loaded due to decreasing escrow over time.

2) For now, I agree that Yamamoto as 3RW is perfect – adds skill and quickness to the middle/bottom 6 and can fill in up top. I’m not certain that Kass can take that 2RW role and run with it. I mean, one good and one decent playoff game after such a long long stretch of meh to futility isn’t quite enough for me to pencil him in up there. It would help a ton if he could run with that job though

3) Given 2 above, although LW is clearly more of a mess, I wouldn’t be immune to a top 6 RW stop gap if there is a reasonable transaction. Thinking of the future, in addition to Jesse and Kailer, Savoie is a few years away (and no sure thing) and Lavoie is a year plus away (and no sure thing and potentially better as a LW).

4) I anticipate Getzlaf will be in southern California again next season (and has been talking to management in Anaheim about a re-sign).


I would try to aquire/sign two top 6 LW options including RNH with at least one who can play RW. Then bargain hunt for the best forward at any position who hasn’t found a buyer on a short term deal.


I disagree that you have to have McDavid dump in the puck. If you do that, you’re letting the opponent’s strategy dictate your play and neutralizing McDavid’s greatest strength. McDavid is the one player you want carrying the puck in. The “occasional McDavid brilliance” occurs more often that your comment suggests.

Having said that, if I agree with you that dumping and chasing is the optimal McDavid line strategy, then why is Kassian more suited for this role than Puljujarvi?

You say you want the wingers to chase the dumped puck and gain possession. What makes you think Kassian did a better job this year or can do a better job next year at this task, than Pulju?

Kassian is not a first line player.

P.S. Getzlaf at 3C isn’t winning you playoff rounds. He’s 36, slow and seems like he might have taken a step off the aging cliff this last year. No shame in that, he’s had an amazing career.

Last edited 24 days ago by striker
Paddy Morans Jockstrap

You can stop any player and any strategy if you over-load and focus in on it enough. Teams will take away McDavid’s rush game and zone entries until they get hurt by dump and chase. You need wingers big and fast enough to take advantage of what’s available and regain possession after a dump-in and get the puck back to McDavid.

The 80s Oilers faced the same thing. Teams beat them with defense until they learned how to win 1-0 if needed. Playoff games had a pattern. Tight and close checking until the Oilers got a lead. Then opposition could no longer sit back and concentrate on defense. They had to open up and play the Oilers game. They mostly lost trying.

Get McDavid 2 big fast wingers to pound defensemen silly and puck retrieve if teams overload on stopping him in the neutral zone. He’s an offensive freelancer and doesn’t play a give and go game. That’s why RNH doesn’t work. He gives and McDavid is gone. All that matters is McDavid getting puck possession in the offensive zone, and if teams overload in the neutral zone to stop him getting it directly, then you have to punish them by getting him possession indirectly playing dump and chase.

Last edited 23 days ago by Paddy Morans Jockstrap

Get McDavid 2 big fast wingers to pound defensemen silly and puck retrieve if teams overload on stopping him in the neutral zone.

Jesse Puljujarvi and Dylan Holloway.

One has arrived suitable for the role, the other may require some time – how much time, we don’t know.

Paddy Morans Jockstrap

Sure but we need a bridge to Holloway and more beef and speed on line 2 as well. Would prefer Yamo on line 3 to bring more offense to that part of the roster.


I’m sure people have already pored over the 2021 UFA class.

If Holland were to take RNH’s money and give it all to one forward, the only realistic option is RNH. The team would be the same or a little bit better because RNH is likely to bounce back with his scoring. You can’t give his money to players like Saad or Danault or Hoffman or Hyman. The team easily gets worse on each of those transactions. Ovechkin isn’t coming here. You could give the money to Hall and get better, not sure he’d take it though. It’ll depend on how things go for him in Boston.

If you’re going to move on from RNH, you have to look at using that money to sign more than one player. Not sure what the market is going to be next season, a lot of owners may be unwilling to spend. If that’s the case and prices are lower, you may be able to pick up more than one player who has better upside than any of our current bottom 6 vets, players around that low .4 Pts/GP mark for their career (Coleman, Hinostroza, Haula, Wennberg, Janmark, Bonino, Bjugstad, maybe more).

There are also some interesting names that didn’t make that much last year that may have upside: Bunting, Gaudreau, Galchenyuk, Rodrigues.

Maybe Palmieri, Schwartz, Granlund, and Tatar for more established scoring if they don’t cost too much.

Corey Perry, just because.


It’s interesting because even his (RNH) biggest supporters concede, and this is fascinating in its own right- he is not a centre.

If that is the case, it will be interesting to see what RNH gets compared to say Gabriel Landeskog.

Maybe Joe finds a way to keep him. But Landeskog had a great season and finished with just a few points less than Rantanen And Mackinnon.

But if both RNH and Landeskog are both allowed to go to the open market- I wonder who will get paid more?

RNH’s 2011 classmates sure came on strong.

Dougie Hamilton is interesting, maybe throw RNH,s money at him?
( stealing someone’s idea here)

Curious what a 2011 redraft would look like.

Last edited 24 days ago by McSorley33

In general, UFA signings don’t work out for the signing team. They get less than the player they think they’re signing and they sign the player for too long.

It’s important that our GM not get fixated on a single player and decide HE’s the answer. Money should be tight for a lot of teams. If Holland spreads it around and targets legit 3rd line, fringe 2nd line player types, he should do OK.

Also important to not go whale hunting, Hamilton for instance.


Maybe Joe finds a way to keep him. But Landeskog had a great season and finished with just a few points less than Rantanen And Mackinnon.

13 fewer points, and played more games.

He’s very much a complementary player to the other two.

Agreed it will be interesting to compare he and Nuge though, not just in dollars this summer but more generally going forward.


Fun facts.

Number 1:

Over the past three seasons, Adam Larsson’s GF/60 rate is 1.83. That struck me as low.

Amongst D who have played at least 800 minutes (N=246), that is in fact the 11th lowest GF/60.

It is in fact very low.

Only 30/246 have a GF/60 under 2. Oscar Klefbom is in there at 1.98.

Number 2:

Over the past three seasons, Adam Larsson’s GF% is 41.3. That struck me as low.

Amongst D who have played at least 800 minutes (N=246), that is in fact the 15th lowest GF%.

It is in fact very low.


My conclusion from all of this is that I am out on Adam Larsson. If he wants to come back earning 1-2 million playing a third pairing role, fine. Perhaps he is astonishing on the PK and that warrants paying him 2.5 (I personally vote against 2.5 but it’s not a killer).

But 3-4 million? Forget it. No way.

Last edited 24 days ago by Bling

Now who is he playing with and who is he playing against?


In those 3 years, the highest players for TOI away from is:


Given what we know about his TOI vs. elites, his defensive zone starts, etc., he plays the toughest minutes on the team

Bank Shot

That’s true. Larsson did play the tough minutes. Which free agent defencemen also did so?

Mike Reilly?

There are so many available. Surely one decent defensive d-man will be the ugly step sister and could be had for cheap.


How many of those d-men played only 15% of their ice with team’s top forward?

How many of those d-men, over the last 3 years played their largest amount of time away from the team’s top 3 forwards and top d-man (with Chiasson mixed in there in the top 5)?

The grass isn’t always greener.

Bank Shot

I’m not sure, but this offseason has a glut of free agent defencemen. If you want to take advantage of the market, there are likely going to be deals to be had so there is no point in paying a guy like Larsson top dollar.

Larsson is at his shiniest right now, but I would say his work over the last 3-4 seasons has been fairly inconsistent.

Plus if they crack down on cross-checking like some have mentioned, well there goes his best skill….

Last edited 23 days ago by Bank Shot

When analyzing Adam Larsson, his game and his numbers, lets not forget one extremely important detail – tough minutes against top competition without McDavid help.

He played 146:51 out of 787:33 5 on 5 minutes with McDavid.

This TOI included 33% against elites and a revolving door of partners among Jones, Lagesson, Russell and Kulikov.

He’s a beast in a tough tough role.


That’s not exactly a murderer’s row of partners.


Yes, if they can get a reasonably healthy Klef back, they make a good 2nd pair.


Just to build on Georgexs’ post below, specifically regarding Larsson.

Last year, GF%:

Bear: 46.0
Larsson: 47.5


Bear: 50.5
Larsson: 46.0


Bear: 50.7
Larsson: 48.4


Bear: 55.4
Larsson: 48.

Dennis King on twitter makes the argument that the problem with Barrie is that you end up building your lineup around him. Is the same not true — or even more true — for Larsson?

The narrative of this season is that Larsson had a great year and Bear struggled. Numbers-wise, to me it looks like Bear just underperformed his underlying numbers, but still ended up performing about as well as Larsson.

How many times did Larsson sit last year for making mistakes, versus Bear, Jones, or even Kulikov?

Bear, right now, looks like he is as good as Larsson. If Bouchard passes them both (I think he will), Larsson will play on the third pairing. That’s fine, but if you bring him back pay him as a third pairing guy, don’t pay him as a legit top 4.

Another thing to fear is regression. An ounce of regression and Larsson starts to put up a GF% of 45, or maybe 43 or 40. That’s not top 4 and not good enough for top 6 on a good team.


Larsson played 33% of his TOI vs. elites and 15% of his TOI with McDavid – his partners were a revolving door of Jones, Russell, Lagesson and Kulikov.


Dennis King on twitter makes the argument that the problem with Barrie is that you end up building your lineup around him. Is the same not true — or even more true — for Larsson?

Larsson’s role if he signs for 4 years, is #3RD, PK, and mentor/finishing school for Broberg and Samorukov. The $4 million is manageable, because the your guys he will be mentoring on the third pair will be cheap.

The James Patrick role in Buffalo during the early LIndy Ruff era.

Next year, Larsson will be #2RD, but Bouchard should only need one year as #3RD, and then he will begin pushing the two guys ahead of him down.



Yamomoto plays a courageous game. I appreciate his tenacity on the forecheck and overall consistency.

Holland signed Kassian to 3.2M/year (3 years remaining) on the back of his playoff performance as a first line winger.

Puljujarvi has been a revelation.

Archibald brings it. More Archibald please.

Is Yamomoto someone that’s expendible?


If Yamamoto continues to struggle offensively, he is the new Archibald. Just let Archie’s contract expire.

Last edited 24 days ago by TheGreatBigMac

Tippett is a curious guy.

Last season, with the team outside of the playoffs, he puts together Drai-RNH-KY, they play like the best line in the NHL, all scoring at or above a point a game pace, the Oilers go on a roll, they survive an injury to CMD, and they’re comfortably in the playoff picture when the season gets called.

Then, for whatever reason, Tippett breaks up that line just before season end and keeps them apart to start the playoffs.

This season, he plays the three together for just 108 minutes, they no longer have the same effectiveness (going 4-5 on goals), but he decides to roll them out to start game 1 where, again, they produce no offense in a tightly contested game.

So, in 19-20, he was successful with Drai-RNH-KY but went away from them come playoff time. He opened with CMD-RNH and Drai-KY and Ennis, combinations that had nothing (or very little) to do with the team’s regular season success.

Similarly, in 20-21, Drai-RNH-KY had very little to do with the team’s success yet he decided to open with them in the playoffs.

He likes to go with his gut, I guess, and his gut apparently tells him to roll the dice come playoff time. We’re up all night for good fun, we’re up all night to get lucky.


Ironically the reason for breaking them up and putting them together was the same both years – to have two scoring lines.

We really need another top6 LW!

Last edited 24 days ago by TheGreatBigMac


Public relations working very hard to look past Dave’s interesting decisions come playoff time.

Unsure if I have ever seen a coach use a fire extinguisher to douse his own line. RNH,Drai, &KY were the hottest line in hockey.



I find many of his decisions “baffling”, more so than curious

Harpers Hair

Woodguy with a deep dive on Barrie.

Woodguy (@Woodguy55) Tweeted:
Here’s Barrie’s effect on forward’s individual points & the team’s 5v5 goal share with and without Barrie

I’m just using goals, no fancy stats

I’ve heard that “Barrie is the Dman that McDavid has been waiting for his whole career”, so let’s see what the results are. (1/


Most are more than happy to no re-sign him
ive even wanted to trade him at the trade deadline

Harpers Hair

Teams (COL, TOR) with functioning analytics teams seem to have figured that out pretty quickly.

Barrie will likely have to find another backward GM to sign him if he wants a payday as rumored.


Didn’t one of those functioning analytics teams trade for Barrie? Also, is the kind of analysis you linked to above in the category of functioning?

Harpers Hair

That trade had much more to do with Tavares and Kerfoot than it did with Barrie who was effectively a rental with Colorado retaining salary.

Great analysis here:


pretty much par for the course then

Harpers Hair

Sakic And Dubas playing chess while their contemporaries are playing snakes and ladders.


This analogy also makes no sense. Keep trying.

Harpers Hair

I’m truly sorry that logic is beyond your capabilities.

I will try and speak more slowly next time.


And your response doesn’t even make sense. Keep trying, you might get lucky.

Last edited 23 days ago by Side

Old Man Bouche the awaited one.


I’m confused. It sounds like you are predicting running it back with the same team next season?


Heading into the season, I posted a list of forwards who had failed to break 1.5 5v5 P60 in 19-20 who I predicted would meet or break that threshold in 20-21.

I used the following heuristic:

If a forward plays 200+ 5v5 minutes in a season and posts 0.5 Pts/GP or better but fails to hit the 1.5 P60 mark, he’s a good bet to hit the 1.5 P60 mark next year.

Here’s how they did.

Player, 19/20 Pts/GP, 19/20 5v5 P60, 20/21 5v5 P60

Kane, .73, 1.36, 2.3
Krejci, .70, 1.34, 2.1
Pageau, .63, 1.39, 1.22
Nyquist, .60, 1.43, NA
Suzuki, .58, 1.44, 1.74
Radulov, .57, 1.35, 1.64
Benn, .57, 1.37, 1.62
Neal, .56, .94, 1.44
Hintz, .55, 1.29, 2.65
Kessel, .54, 1.12, 1.8
Zadina, .54, 1.41, 1.16
Stastny, .54, 1.44, 1.5
Armia, .52, 1.43, 1.34

Nyquist didn’t play. Of the 12 others, 8 broke the 1.5 threshold. Stastny was barely over at 1.504 and Neal fell off in his last game. That works out to 67% which is in line with the historic rate for the heuristic of 63%.


Yeah, but how is this related to the Oilers? 😛


Agree Nuge is a good bounce-back candidate. You are right, the drop off seasons happen quite frequently amongst very good players. Heck, it happened to Crosby (who still put up a ~ point/game year).

Material Elvis

How many of the guys listed above would you sign to a five or six year deal? Most is them, even with a bounce back season, aren’t guys I want signed long term. Same goes for RNH: yes, he has a great chance of having a better season 5v5 but years 3-6 of his contract could be negative value. It’s a risky deal from an Oilers perspective.


I almost skipped reading today. Thank Gord I didn’t miss this. Would’ve been like watching a movie but never seeing the last 15 minutes.

And well done might I add.


The Mike Smith situation is an interesting one. He played amazing this season and at a level that no reasonable person could of predicted. And he probably does deserve a contract. But for me it’s a little early to be declaring you are going to sign him especially if you are going to get a second 1A goalie to play with him. That means you are going to use cap space on Smith and then assets or a buyout to move Koskinen when his contract is up after this year. I would prefer to see what shakes loose
in trades or free agency for goalies. Who knows maybe a Lehner or Fluery becomes available. And in a situation like that I would be fine with Koskinen in a backup or 1B role for another year, which he has shown to be good at when he’s not overplayed.


That to me seems like a big step back. I would consider it lucky to have Smith at league average next year and injury free.


Yeah starting to look that way. I get wanting to get your young guys playing but missing the playoffs or underachieving in the playoffs due to weak goaltending would be unacceptable


Why didn’t they test drive Stalock in a 1/2 dozen games that’s the first question I would ask Tippett. It sure does look obvious to me that Holland and Tippett have given up on him and his Oiler career is done by either a trade are buyout.


I don’t believe the coach and GM saw eye to eye on this issue.


I’d say it’s a gamble the team in front the net will be able to cover.


I agree Holland won’t wait on signing Smith, but you really think he’d be content with Smith-Stalock? I think Stalock is as good and cheaper than Koskinen, but that is far from an upgrade. Surely KH must realize Smith won’t repeat this regular season at 40?

Bank Shot

I don’t think that’s likely either.

I think Holland gets some kind of proven 1B guy if he can dump Koskinen.


Bringing back guys like Patrick Russell and Shore, I just don’t know if I can handle it anymore.

Getting rid of Kassian through a trade (hey Buffalo!) would be ideal.

I thought Larsson was as good as he’s going to be at this point in his career – which is valuable, but how valuable? Is he replaceable?

Going to be hard if Holland brings back all of the above, Kassian, Nuge, Smith and Koskinen and think the roster will be improved.

Holland talking about the roster improving by age as if it’s a fine wine is interesting to me.


As if, everyone on the roster will just naturally improve the next year. Some of the young players I suppose but you have to figure that 50% has reached their peak ability.


I look forward (not really) to the inevitable Mrazek and Tatar signings. Guys Holland Knows.


Doesn’t a switch of RNH for Tatar make the Oilers better? At least at 5v5? Takes away the option to play 97-29 together for whole games as well, which is a win. I love RNH but his 5v5 production hasn’t been great given who he plays with.


No. It actually doesn’t take away the option.


Sadly true. But if Tatar works with 97, I think they could find a cheaper winger to provide equal 5v5 offence with 29. And then even have money for a 3C upgrade or upgrade on D.


I keep wondering about Cooper Marody and the current gaps in the bottom 6.

If Devin Shore and Patrick Russell are worthy of a full season on the big club, what criteria are the decision makers using to keep Marody on the farm? Skating? Hockey sense? Is it the same thinking that kept Ryan McLeod stapled to the bench through the 2nd OT?

Second random thought: how fun would it be to trade Benson for Brogan Rafferty? Can narratives turn on a dime?

Harpers Hair

Rafferty would be an interesting option as a bottom 6 forward.


And Juolevi was gonna be a lock for top 4 D
and then this season happened

Ryan Whitney had better footwork after his ankle surgeries

Oh my


MacT overplayed Georges Laraque because of it.


Big Georges was always a plus player (OK, not quite).

But he truly did prevent harm from happening, +14 in his 6 seasons as an Oiler regular.


I’ll always treasure his hat trick and the team/crowd response


Absolutely, I was just feigning insult. He was remarkably effective given his relative lack of most hockey skills.


Devon Shore was fantastic in his last two periods of the season against players who were basically gassed. But you have to give it to him, he was good and looked to have the most chances to end the game.

Must have left a lasting impression.

where was this player all year? Is this real? Was he simply buried in the taxi squad depth?

Last year Holland started adding his depth guys and his role guys until there was a whole pile of depth that wasn’t really depth at all, it was just extras.

If Holland starts off with this again, signing Shore and stacking guys before he even knows what’s out there, this will be a problem. Does he think teams are lined up to sign Shore? That he and others will “get away!”

Holland was so certain inP Russel, Nygard, Shore, Haas, Turris, Neal, and whoever else I’ve forgotten that he built a wall that would prevent Benson or Marody getting past second day of camp. Lord, Macloud was finally pulled up and ended up second line Center!

its like the senior next door who always wants to get his lawn mowed early so he can relax the rest of the weekend.


You can sign/stack as many million dollar guys as you want. It doesn’t affect the cap. It only affects the 50 contract limit. Russell signing for the NHL minimum is a riskless move if one has lots of available contracts. Ditto for signing Shore at a million. Ditto signing Chiasson for a million.

There is a soft limit of how many you can sign. Probably around 5. Two for the pressbox. Three for Bakersfield.


He shouldn’t even cost $1M. His QO is $770k I believe. I don’t see a concern bringing him back on that contact, wherever he ends up playing his hockey next year.

Harpers Hair

LAK sign KHL Star Vladimir Tkachyov.


Here come the Kings.




I would love to see the list of people that think he’s better than Kaprizov

Harpers Hair

Pfft, the Oilers already signed that guy.

(not successfully)

Harpers Hair

Because Oilers.


Well it’s taken 7 years from when the Oilers signed him to getting another NHL deal.

He still hasn’t been selected to play on the mens national team.

It seems as likely the Oilers were saved from themselves rather than missing out on something.


And yeah, you must have created #betterthankaprizov?

That’s rather absurd.


no one has him better than Kaprizov
kaprizov was best player outside nhl last few years and was a top rated prospect

Harpers Hair

Well, except for those guys that selected him to the KHL All Star team….fuck those guys…Leadfarmer knows better.


You know this doesn’t equal ‘better than’.


There’s a long way from KHL Allstar team to Kaprizov. A very long way


Please list one scouting source that has him above Kaprizov
Just one
you post all these random links so should be no trouble to find just one tiny source

Bank Shot

I heard he’s better than Shirokov!

Material Elvis

I heard he’s better than Rafferty and Podkholzin *combined*.



To be fair there’s going to be a lot of competition for last place in the Pacific next year. The Kings are no shoe in.


Material Elvis

True that. The Ducks won’t be any better. The Kings and Sharks are both bad. The Canucks will be craptacular again. The Oilers are going to have a good record.


There is no way Koskinen gets anywhere near the Oilers net next year or anytime thereafter.

They will buy him out, trade him, shelf him or assign him to the Zamboni, but he won’t be in the Edmonton goal again.

There is no trust and no way to repair it.


It was the first Flames game where Tippett lost his faith in Mikko who couldn’t stop a beach ball.You could see Tippett role his eyes on l believe the 5th goal probably thinking this guy sucks.

Last edited 24 days ago by Reja

The one positive about not winning (which Tippett famously said there is never an excuse for in his intro presser) is Holland decided to take a wait and see attitude. Almost like he learned something from the in-season Kassian signing last year. Kassian went 0-4 at 5v5 in the CHI series and resumed bottom-6 duty this season. Thanks for the millions!

But Holland has also signaled he wants Shore back. And Friedman has signaled the team will bring Larsson back at around the same cap hit.

That’s not great.

Larsson and Shore are where you go to lose. Shore doesn’t have talent (at this level) and he can’t make up for his lack of talent through effort. More talented players also give effort. Even more when they play against the likes of Shore because they’re confident the effort will be rewarded.

Larsson, in his past 3 seasons with the club, has been involved in so many, so many plays that make you go ha! come on, man… Sort of like when CMD was shaking his head after the Bear giveaway and ensuing circus that led to the 3rd WPG goal in game 4.

Either I don’t know what “shutdown abilities” means or Larsson does not have these abilities. How does a shutdown defender blank and let Poolman skate right past him to score the tying goal in game 1? How does he go out of his way to screen his goalie (and not block the shot) on the OT goal in game 2? Hockey is a game of moments. Good players make good plays in those moments. Some things are out of a player’s control. Others are in his control. Like the way he’s processing the game in real time, like his ability to recognize what’s happening in front of and around him and make the right read and right play. That’s what sets apart an impact or shutdown player.

In his last 3 seasons with the club, Larsson hasn’t been a shutdown player. Not in the he’s the guy you can rely on sense or in the look how great his numbers look sense. He now plays sub 20 minutes, meaning he’s borderline top-4. There are other options in the free agent pool.

Remember, there’s never an excuse for not winning. We now have a sweep at the hands of the Jets on the heels of a 1-3 ouster against CHI to mull over. CHI was/is terrible. The Jets, yeah, aren’t. They have a lot of scoring forwards. The three OT goals were scored by Stastny, Ehlers, and Connor, all shots from distance. On top of that, they have Wheeler and Scheifele. And Copp, Dubois, Lowry, and Appleton to round out the top 9. Proved to be more than enough to make up for a so-so D-corps. Still, were they really 4-0 better?

We went, what, 1-8 on goals from the 3rd period on in the series, plus two empty-netters. Against a team we’d won 6 straight against in the regular season? Do you really double down on that?

Tippett isn’t quite the value destroying coach that TMac was and is, but he’s… not inspiring. This is his second year of reaching for excuses for literally not winning playoff hockey games (1-7). His last playoff series win will be 10 years in the rearview if he makes it to the playoffs next season. The game three loss (not quite as soul destroying as TMac and ANA) is now on his resume. As is his decision to play 3 lines and 2 pairs through 2 and a half OTs. There are apparently problems on the test that Tippett can’t solve.

The Oilers management group has had a habit of defending their decisions by pointing out that they’re winning. Well, not winning now, yo. Don’t keep doing what’s leading to not winning, Ken. Your team isn’t the TBL team that got swept by CBJ. It’s not the Oilers team that lost to the Kings in the 80s. It’s not your Red Wings teams that took lots of tries to win with Yzerman and then later with Datsyuk and Zetterberg (although you always had that genius, Lidstrom). The team you have now has two genius forwards (one’s a mega genius), a number one defenseman and some other good and promising parts. The rest needs work. And good decision-making.

Signing Larsson (at his current cap hit) is an example of not good decision making.

Decidedly Skeptical Fan

Great post and I believe you are spot on.

The smart move is to let Larsson go, add a bit of cap money to the mix and aim higher. VGK and other successful orgs use this approach to advantage.

The unfortunate wild card is that the guy you are aiming for may not want to sign on to playing in Siberia when warm weather, low tax venues beckon. In the mean time, you risk missing out on Larsson too and having to settle for something less rather than something more. Free agency is like navigating a mine field.

The GM gig in EDM is a tough one. So is the fan gig.


The Larsson contract is problematic on many levels.

As a starting point, he was the 80th highest cap hip among defensemen last season. He was 100th for toi/game. Granted there are players on ELC’s etc.

I agree that he certainly isn’t elite at his shutdown abilities with several recent examples highlighted by George. He’s not a great skater either and you also worry about any term on that contract.

At the beggining of the season, his play was so bad I asked if he was still a top-four defenseman… Most here didn’t think so with myself included.

I think overpaying a guy like Larsson is exactly the kind of mistake the spreadsheet boys in other cities tend to avoid.

In a perfect world, Larsson is the type of guy you trade before the odometer has too many miles, while he still has term on his contract, for someone younger and less proven.

The Jets found a player for similar minutes, Derek Forbort, for $1m cap x 1 year.

Ryan Graves is in the Larsson slot for the Avs for $3.166m.

The Leafs have Justin Holl at $2m.

I’d have time for Larsson, but not on a contract with 4 years of term nor at his current cap hit.

Last edited 24 days ago by Ryan
Harpers Hair

Thought you would be interested in this.

LAK are beefing up their analytics game.


“It’s also more difficult to properly quantify what a defenceman does with the same degree of accuracy we can with a scoring forward.”

It’s not just more difficult, it’s very difficult. Most defensemen don’t have a statistically significant impact on a team’s GF-GA results. They’re like a background for a team’s forwards. You can identify lots of forwards (relatively speaking) who produce better (or worse) results than their team average. But there are very few defensemen who have similar sized effects. Because defensemen are not as involved in the offense and they play with a mix of the team’s forwards against a mix of the other team’s forwards. The defensemen’s contributions, whatever they are, get washed out in the numbers.

You used GA60 and xGA60 in your article and Larsson looked more than OK in the second half of the year. But those are very noisy stats at the player (even at the team) level. (xGA60 and all the other x stats aren’t particularly helpful for all the complexity they add to basic shot metrics.) I think the best you can do with GA60 is identify when a player is getting scored on too often, like Bear and Nurse last year in the top pair role, and adjust.

No defensemen “brings” his GA60. That’s a team stat. Teams don’t rely on all 5 skaters to score but they do rely on all 5 skaters to defend. Any vulnerability gets exploited. Teams try to cover up their vulnerabilities. That’s why there’s very little correlation in year over year GA60 for defensemen.


Also via Puck IQ, Adam Larsson’s GA60 five on five versus gritensity, not as good to not as excellent since he’s been in Edmonton.

You can’t use PuckIQ in the way you’d like to use it, LT. The numbers don’t make sense, players’ results don’t track the QOC they face, which was the whole point of exploring QOC in the first place. This is partly because they’re cutting up a limited number of minutes into three smaller buckets, partly because of the way they predefine elite, and partly because it matters more who a player is playing with (i.e., who his HC thinks he is and what he has to offer) than who he’s playing against.


I’m not seeking any answers on Larsson, LT. Definitely not seeking them on Puck IQ.

Larsson’s game isn’t exceptional, it’s typical. The stuff you like, his physical play on the boards and in front of the net is definitely nice. But defensemen also have to defend in open ice and that’s where he most often messes up. He was way better in his years one and two. Hasn’t been that good since. I can’t read too much into the numbers this year because of the segregated divisions and the comparative weakness of the teams in the North.

Larsson seems to be one of your “You prefer, I prefer…” things. Cool.

I liked Larsson a lot too. And he might be part of the leadership core for the team. He might look much better when we have better forwards. But, in order to get better forwards, we probably can’t pay Larsson $4M a year.


Seattle signing Barrie off their talking window and Barrie being their Oilers’ pick would be aces.


The equivalent of 10 games is not a large piece. It is not even medium-sized.

and some of those pieces are at or under 100 minutes.

The concerns about PuckIQ are valid. It might be granularity, ie missing factors. But I doubt it.

Last edited 23 days ago by Munny

I have concerns about Larsson as well. I am almost certain they will overpay in money and term, and regret it by year 4. That said, I do think they need to consider how popular Larsson appears to be with 97 and 29. He has been repeatedly mentioned as part of that core, by management and by the other leaders. That matters IMO.

cowboy bill

I think Hollands message was that if the opportunity is there for massive improvements , he would take it . But he isn’t willing to push things too much and is content to improve the team in small increments if necessary .


Not if the Holland Oilers have real success.


troll! 🤣


Holland’s approach is careful, but I agree with the comments around the window being 29’s contract. In that time we have two of the best on value contracts, it won’t happen again. Slow and steady won’t help if we aren’t ready to take the next step in that window.


Not 100% sure but I think last 10 years winners of Stanley cup had goalies who were also drafted by by the same club. Maybe it’s time to draft Sebastian Cossa if he will be available. I think Konovalov has a chance to be a good backup in the future, but I don’t see him as No1 goalie. Also if Holland wants to trade for some goalie this summer, I would take one of Merzlinkis, Shestorkin Sorokin…


I would be willing to move up as high as possible in the draft to grab Cossa, even if it took most or all of the remaining picks to do so. This is a good year to target the franchise goalie and make it happen.


Last 3 years there were 4 top goalie prospects. I personally would rank them in this order: Askarov, Knight, Wallstedt, Cossa.


If the scouts ranked Wallstedt higher, and the move up allowed him to be taken, I would have no issue with taking him over Cossa.


A summer assignment for Jesse, Kailer, Zach and Archie – take lots of face-offs this summer, it will significantly impact your ice time in key situations.


I like Bozak at 3C, maybe 2x$3.5M if we can pull him away from St. Louis


Is he done finally? He played 4th line TOI and had the worst shot and xG rates on the team. Maybe just the injury? But he is 35.

Lewis Grant

“Rachel Doerrie, a former consultant with the New Jersey Devils…watched each of McDavid’s shifts in isolation during the series against the Jets and counted no fewer than 37 –more than nine per game – that could have been called penalties. She did the same thing with each shift McDavid played in the NHL last season and said there were an average of three blatant infractions per game committed against McDavid.”

Last edited 24 days ago by Lewis Grant
Lewis Grant

“TSN analyst and former NHLer Ray Ferraro told me that when he was on the ice with [Peter] Stastny, he would simply hold Stastny’s stick for the entire shift until the referee instructed him to let go. He would for a second, then simply grab it again.”


How can you practice patience if Left wing is a mess and Elliot Friedman reporting negotiations with RNH are “mangled”.

Left wing is a mess *with* RNH. Without RNH – LW is just devoid of real NHL LW options.

You could easily make the case if RNH is not signed that we *need* / require 2 left wing proven NHL players added next year.

Kenny needs to earn his 5 million this summer.

Maybe the org. is lightly penciling in Holloway on LW but that goes against Kenny’s motus operendi on rookies.


I think everyone agrees the team needs to sign/aquire two top6 LW options, RNH would be one of those if signed.


This summer is about building the team for the next four years. Teams that win have been to war together for a few years is a truism.

1.Signing Barrie is more important than signing Larsson. You can’t replace his scoring, but you can find a veteran RHD stay at home defenseman (maybe that is Bears role) …Larsson’s skill is available in spades in the NHL. If Klefbolm is not the player he was this September- we will not score enough from our back end unless we have Barrie. I disagree with LT’s point that Bear is 1st pairing defenseman- Bear needs Nurse to be on the first pairing. If Nurse got hurt and Bear anchored our first pairing I think we would have a collective shudder.

2.Sign a UFA goalie that will be in our net for the next 5 years. Smith as the 1B is fine it builds time for Skinner an others to develop in the AHL. If you can’t trade Koskinen he is your 1B, but you have to solve the longer term starter.

3.RNH is a trap at $6M, on this team, three years from now he needs to probably be a $3.0M player, but today he a $4.1M player that wants $6M. Sometimes you need to know when to fold them.

4.Depth players are signed to a 1 year contract, impact players sign longer term contracts. We are looking for longer term contract to cluster with 97,29,25,77,13, 56,16,44,75 and maybe 74,82

cowboy bill

I would agree that signing Barrie is important . But not more important that signing Larsson .
I would believe that signing both is the best option .

Then there’s Bouchard & Bear . Seriously folks which one would you really prefer on the roster ? Everyone loves Ethan Bear . But what about Bouchard ? If it where up to me and it isn’t , I sign both Larsson & Barrie , see what the trade market is like for Ethan Bear , without a doubt he is a valuable asset and trust Bouchard with third pairing + minutes , he will only get better and better



I agree completely with this – Bear at $2M should get you that cap controlled winger we need. Switching a 3rd pairing Bear at $2M for Bouchard at $.863M basically pays for the raise Barrie wants. Trading a position we are strong in for a a position we need help in should be explored.

With Russell’s new reduced contract you would basically have 60% ish of the cap space for the winger a Bear trade brings to the team.

Last edited 24 days ago by Woogie63

Can Bouchard simply come in and replace Barrie and Barrie’s production? Probably not, however, I think he can come in and put a pretty good dent in the production hole.

He produced at a 35 point pace in his limited games this past season and his P/60 were just a touch below Barrie’s and his shot production at the top end of the NHL. This is with little material PP time and 45 minutes with McDavid (25% of his minutes as opposed to 50% of his minutes for Barrie).

No, I don’t think Bouch can come in and produce at a 70 point pace like Barrie did but I absolutely think he can produce at a 40 point plus pace and, at a cap hit of apx $4MM to $5MM below what Barrie will have.

I think it makes more sense to let this player walk (hopefully signed by Seattle as their Oiler choice, probably not) and allocate the cap resources elsewhere.


It has taken Nurse 5 ish years to arrive. Bouchard might be that guy in three years and we shouldn’t be disappointed if a young dman takes time. I like my RHD as Barrie, Larsson, Bouchard more than Bear, Larsson, Bouchard – two dman with less than 164 games does not seem like we are building for 97/29 in their prime.


Its taken Nurse that time to arrive as a legit 1D, heck, as a player that will get Norris votes this season. Nurse arrived much sooner though, at a top 4 d-man and a point producer – he’s been a top 15 5 on 5 point producer for a number of years now.

I’m not saying Bouch is going to come in as an all-situation minute muncher but, as far as moving the puck, helping create offence and producing points, I think that part of his game will arrive early.

Bouch has a much better offensive pedigree coming out of junior than Nurse.


Bouchard will be a superior within two years both offensively and defensively. Signing Barrie for more than one more year at his current cap would be a mistake of epic proportions. Nurse is the man you build the D around and he is going to get paid! The overall cost for the D has to remain reasonably low due to our current forward cost and the requirement to add to the depth and the fact that JP will need to be payed as well. It’s also why we need to stay away from buyouts if at all possible. Reasonable expectation would be three more years of flat cap!


I’ve been against a Barrie re-sign from day 1 and never waivered.


I agree!!! The Oilers should test the trade market for Petry; I’m sure they could get a pick or two for him. He’s ok but makes bad decisions from time to time and seems soft…Oh sorry wrong thread (…and year).

Randle McMurphy


Last edited 24 days ago by Randle McMurphy
Randle McMurphy

He refers to the talks having broken down early in the season, which we knew. Both Holland and Nuge have since expressed optimism.

Friedman says “assuming there is still interest in an extension, negotiations will probably come down to the last minute.” …

Which they should, given the expansion draft.

Last edited 24 days ago by Randle McMurphy


cowboy bill

BS .


Note my post re: Gregor intel from a few minutes ago.

Per Gregor, Holland and Nuge has lengthy chats yesterday – positive chats.


I’m getting nervous about the off season. I don’t think Holland will cause a disaster like Chia, but he might nibble around the edges and sign one middling free agent who helps the dream marginally. I think a successful summer involves a trade – one that actually benefits the team. This has me worried. Will he actually do it? And will we actually benefit from it?

Bank Shot

Has Holland ever made a big offseason trade? I can’t think of one so I wouldn’t hold my breath.

The real kicker about the playoff sweep is that it made it harder for the Oilers to sign free agents that want a chance to win. Winning at least a round would have really helped the buzz around the Oilers team.


Neal-Lucic was a big one if you judge by AAV. 😉

Randle McMurphy

“Hollands double album media avail”

Yeah….but it was more like a K-Tel album….somethngs were missing.


Last edited 24 days ago by Randle McMurphy
Randle McMurphy

The K-Tel version of In a Gadda Da Vida…clocked in at 1:47 (a minute 47)


I am opposed to buying out Koskinen, but not opposed to trading him.


Perpetual buyouts are not a sign of a well run organization…..dead cap space
in a flat cap world is a killer.

106 and 106

Hes still buying out the others guys garbage. It’s your own buyouts that kill orgs.


If only it was that way! We all know buyouts are like cancer slow and steadily destroying your life matter ( in this case you cap ) until your chances of winning are taken away completely.

Randle McMurphy

Hyman McDavid Kassian
RNH Draisaitl JP
Coleman Mcleod Yamamoto
Shore Khaira Archibald
Benson B. Sutter R. Lavoie

So let it be written.
So let it be done.


McDavid Draisaitl JP
xxx xxx xxx (3 all new players big and can score, average cal it 4.5M each)
Benson McLeod Yamo (kid line)
Shore Khaira Archibald
Haas xxx

time to turn the page on the middle 6, get some secondary scoring, build a playoff contending team


Hyman sent here by the chosen one?

I like those adds. Hall or Ovechkin would be great but I don’t think they’re happening. Hyman/Nuge/Coleman are about ideal beyond that IMO.

It would be a big deal if Kassian can get back in the game but I’m not holding my breath. Still, I’m good with Puljujarvi/Yamamoto/Archibald/the faint hope of Kassian on RW though.


I’m actually really curious what folks don’t like about this lineup.

Is it the Nuge hate?
Kassian at 1RW?
Something else?


I just don’t see Hyman leaving Toronto except for a legit overpay on the contract.

This very well could happen but I think a Hyman signing in Edmonton will require something very close to $6MM per and that’s too steep, in my opinion.


How is Toronto going to afford him though? And how much of a discount is he willing to take to stay?

The Leafs have 15 players under contract and $11.7M in cap space according to Capfriendly. Can they open up even $4M for Hyman?

That aside, agreed the risk of an overpay is real.


Yes, it’s possible if ALL the other slots are filled for $1M or less. They could find a way to move Kerfoot as well.


I haven’t looked at their cap situation to be able to formulate an educated opinion on that but I think this is a player that the org will try their best to hang on to – maybe its moving Kerfoot and signing Smith to be their 1B to Campbell.

I think that Hyman will sign for less in Toronto than anywhere else – he’s from there, his wife is from there, he grew up in the org, etc.


Yes, Kerfoot is definitely a possibility. We’ll see. Definitely possible they’ll find a way but it’s not going to be easy.

Bank Shot

When I look at the UFA lists for the upcoming season, I see that there is more available at defence than forward.

There are 28 forwards that played 15+ minutes per game last season. 25 forwards that scored 20+ points. If you filter out the guys that are age 35 or older, you have 19 forwards that topped 20 points. I’ve chosen these parameters as my cutoff for top six quality.

On D you have 22 guys that played 18+ minutes on D. I’ve chosen this as my arbitrary cut off for a top four defender. 😛

Give the relative glut of D available, I’d be trying harder to sign RNH and ambivalent about bringing back Larson unless he comes in at a big bargain.

Hamonic signed for $1.25 last season. Is Larson a significantly better player than Hamonic? I’m not sure he is.

I feel like you can potentially get a reasonable Larssson replacement in free agency for under $2 million this offseason, and there are a few guys that are clear upgrades that the Oilers could potentially land.

I mean, I wouldn’t overpay for either, but I feel like RNH is the more important piece to bring back, and the OIlers have a bigger weakness at forward depth than on the back end, especially if Klefbom can come back and be top four quality.


I also have reservations on bringing back Larsson at a high price.

As early as next season, he will likely be the third best RHD on the roster. Two years from now, he almost certainly will be. I think he should be paid accordingly.


Who do you see as being able to handle the physicality right D if or when you move Larsson?


Harmonic has lost a step and was never a fast train.


IIRC Hamonic tied himself to Western Canada (so his pool of teams was 4).

More generally, you may well have a point. How many of those 22D were righties?


I’m looking into some comps for Nuge, and some are promising, in terms of bouncing back. In his age 27 season, Nuge scored 1.15 P/60. Some examples:

At age 27, TJ Oshie went from 0.99 P/60 to 2.12 P/60 at age 28.
At age 27, David Perron went from 0.86 P/60 to 2.16 P/60 at 28.

Both of those guys just had effective seasons as 33/34 year olds.

I do think Nuge should be paid as a winger. He is inferior to Gallagher at 5v5 (particularly 5v5 goal scoring), who will be making 6.5. Oshie’s cap hit is 5.75, though he signed that deal four years ago.

I think a fair price for the Nuge is 5.5 for 5 years. He brings value on special teams and has the ability to swing over to centre in the event of injury. I think his presence as a leader is also important. A calming, steady presence.

If he is a 3C in years 4 and 5 of the deal, that is not tragic. If anything, that’s a heck of a mentor for a young player being broken in.

Count me in on bringing Nuge back.


Recall also that Nuge’s points/game drop has been far less precipitous.

IIRC points/game is a better predictor of future point/game AND future 5v5/60 than 5v5/60 itself is.

16-17 0.52 (worst points/game of his career)
17-18 0.77
18-19 0.84
19-20 0.94
20-21 0.67

I’d be shocked if he remains with the Oilers and his 5v5/60 and points/game don’t improve next season. We shall see though.

Last edited 24 days ago by jp

LT has also compared Nuge’s next deal to Horcoff’s as a cautionary tale.

That’s fair, but Horcoff’s deal was a far higher percent of the cap than Nuge’s will be.

Horcoff year 1: $5.5M/$56.8M cap (9.7%)
Horcoff year 6: $5.5M/$69M cap (8.0%)

Relative to the current cap, Horcoff’s deal paid him the equivalent of $7.9M at the beginning and was still equivalent to $6.5M in its last season.


I would note that Gregor advised of positive progress on his show yesterday. He has had some conversations and believes a deal, while not 100% nor imminent, will get done and prior to the expansion draft. Gregor said that Nuge and Holland had productive talks yesterday and if a deal gets done, he believes it will start with a 5 for AAV.

I’m all for any deal for Nuge that starts with a 5 for the AAV – preferably 4-5 years but if its got to be six, so be it.

I don’t believe Nuge is all of a sudden in regression years and on the down side of his offensive career. There could be a multitude of reasons for a down year that we just don’t know about – injury, personal/family issues, etc.

Nuge is a good player, a complementary player, sure, but he touches many parts of the game, is part of the leadership group and is one of those “core veterans” that winning organizations have – experienced players that still play material roles on the team. That’s the Nuge and Larsson role going forward (maybe Klefbom too).


That’s good news as far as I’m concerned.


Ability to dispose of Koskinen aside, I am somewhat comfortable with a Smith/Stalcok 1A/1B combo on assurances that Stalock is 100% healthy. He has the ability and recent success.

This kicks the goaltending can one year further down the road but we need one more year until we have an idea if where Skinner and Konovalov project (Rodrigue still raw as a pro).

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not against a more material goalie acquisition to upgrade on Stalock for next season but I don’t think its a must and that money could be spent elsewhere.

Klefbom is a wild card – hopefully there is some semblance of a realistic path known when they meet in July – does it look like he’s coming back sometime this season or gone forever.

His LTIR reserves can’t be spent unless he’s definitely not coming back at all during the regular season.


I really think we couldn’t rely on a Smith Stalock pairing. Smith will be 40 and he could either revert to 38 year old Smith or is a high risk of injury. If that happens our season could be in the toilet. I would rather we sign a decent 1B like Ranta, Ulmark or Dreidger as insurance.


I would rather we sign a decent 1B like Ranta, Ulmark or Dreidger as insurance.

These aren’t really 1Bs though.

Raanta I guess, but he’s such an injury risk (12, 33, 12 GP last 3 seasons). I don’t think he’s more ‘reliable’ than what we have.

And Ullmark/Dreidger. I think they’re going to command more money and term than you’re expecting ($4M x 4? More?).

I dunno, maybe I’m wrong, but I don’t think Ullmark/Dreidger are going to be paid like 1Bs (~$3M).


The more I think about it, the more sense it makes for Holland to bring all 3 goalies back (assuming he doesn’t have a trade or UFA he thinks is a long term answer).

There’s such a small cap benefit to disposing of Koskinen, bring all 3 back and have them battle for spots in camp. The 3rd guy likely clears waivers and is there for injury/bed shitting cover.

What do the Oiler goalies cost in various Koskinen scenarios? We’ll assume Smith is signed for $3M and is one of the roster goalies.

Koskinen as backup; Stalock waived:
Smith $3M
Koskinen $4.5M
Stalock buried or waiver claim – $0
Cost – $7.5M

Stalock as backup; Koskinen waived:
Smith $3M
Stalock $0.785
Koskinen buried $3.375M
Cost – $7.2M

Koskinen bought out:
Smith $3M
Stalock $0.785
Koskinen buyout $1.5M x 2
Cost – $5.3M
(plus $1.5M extra in 22-23, so it’s more like $6.8M)

Koskinen traded with 50% retained:
Smith $3M
Stalock $0.785
Koskinen 50% retained $2.25M
Cost – $6.0M

Koskinen traded with 25% retained:
Smith $3M
Stalock $0.785
Koskinen 25% retained $1.125M
Cost – $4.9M

A buyout is robbing Peter to pay Paul. It doesn’t makes sense (though I’ve suggested it in the past).

Moving Koskinen at 50% retained saves $1.2M vs burying him. Holding onto the extra goaltender for cover seems a reasonable $1.2M investment (Smith IS 39 after all).

If there’s a taker for Koskinen with only 25% retained it starts to make more sense, saves $2.3Mish. Not sure we see any takers for that kind of deal though.

If Holland is hoping to add a multi-year answer then clearing Koskinen’s salary becomes more important.

My guess is folks should brace themselves for unsexy goaltending though.

Last edited 24 days ago by jp

These are the kind of great scenarios that a good capologist should bring, in both the now and the future, and placed on multiple whiteboards. Do theOilers have one?


Bill Scott is the Director of Salary Cap Management and, yes, I presume he has the ability to do this type of work and I assume he does just that.

I’m not adverse to keeping all three goalies. The issue there is, whichever one is waived and assigned to the Condors, will that goalie play and steal games from the Skinner/Konovalov split?

I’m also against Smith at a $3MM base. Yes, his play this year warrants a $3MM base but his play this year can’t be taken in isolation and one must factor in that it was done in a 40 game season (he missed the first, what, 13?) and his age.

His role, in any event, will likely be reduced to more of a 50/50 split and there is no guarantee of repeat performance and, frankly, its probably not reasonable to project the same level of performance.

A bump to $2MM base with performance bonuses for me.


Is Ed Olczyk still on the payroll? 🙂

Victoria Oil

Nice analysis. Would live to move Koskinen with 50% retained, but I’m not sure if that is realistic given how Koski pooped the bed the last two weeks of the season. May need to add a sweetener. #ThanksChiarelli


Thanks. And like I said I’d just as soon keep Koskinen if the best they can do is 50% retained. He’s not *that* bad. And if Smith/Stalock are the others, cover might well be needed.


Once again – excellent review of the situation and options!
I agree – do not buy out. Keep him in the mix and if necessary trade with 25-50% retained.