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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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.


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.


Quick, hide your work…Ricki is coming

Last edited 3 months ago by BONE207

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.


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


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?


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.


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.


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 3 months 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 3 months 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 3 months 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.


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


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.


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.


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


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 3 months ago by McSorley33

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.



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.


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 3 months 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 3 months 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 3 months 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.


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 3 months 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 3 months 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.


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.



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 3 months ago by TheGreatBigMac

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 3 months ago by TheGreatBigMac

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

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.


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 3 months ago by Side
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:


Old Man Bouche the awaited one.


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.


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


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.


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 3 months ago by Munny
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 3 months ago by Ryan
Harpers Hair

Thought you would be interested in this.

LAK are beefing up their analytics game.


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 3 months ago by Reja
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.