Farm Workers 2021

by Lowetide
Raphael Lavoie photo by Mark Williams

The Bakersfield Condors won the Pacific Division finals last night against the Henderson Silver Knights. Tyler Benson scored the winner, finishing the playoffs 3-2-5 in six games. Raphael Lavoie also had a nice run (1-3-4 in six games). The Condors season has run out, we’ll examine it further in the coming days. It was a successful year and several prospects took a step forward and should graduate to the NHL in coming years. Shout out to veterans like Brad Malone, Seth Griffith and Adam Cracknell, who had huge roles in the team’s success, and Stuart Skinner, who delivered a strong season and playoff for a team that badly needed a saviour in net.

THE ATHLETIC!

I’m proud to be writing for The Athletic, and pleased to be part of a great team with Daniel Nugent-Bowman and Jonathan Willis. Here’s the latest!

FARM WORKERS

GRADUATIONS

The Oilers pipeline is pumping like clockwork in recent years (2019-20 grads: Ethan Bear, Kailer Yamamoto, Caleb Jones, Patrick Russell) and this season was no exception. Games played were low (56-game season), but there was quality:

  • RD Evan Bouchard: 14 games, 2-3-5
  • LD William Lagesson: 19 games, 0-2-2
  • LC Ryan McLeod: 10 games, 0-1-1

Bouchard is likely to play much of his Oilers career as a top-4 defenseman and McLeod has a clean look at No. 3 center as soon as this coming season. Two players who can fill prominent spots in one year is impressive, similar to 2019-20 with Bear and Yamamoto (and possibly Jones).

THE AIR THAT I BREATHE

I believe Todd Nelson should have been an NHL coach long ago. I believe he coached men (Teemu Hartikainen, Linus Omark, Brandon Davidson) who should have had longer NHL careers, but there were roadblocks. Constant GM and coach shuffling was part of it, but there were other factors in blocking the farm workers.

Ryan McLeod being recalled and inserted directly into the lineup in an important role just didn’t happen in this era. Why? The pipeline didn’t go through Oklahoma City in those days, as the high draft picks (Taylor Hall, Jordan Eberle, Nuge, Nail Yakupov) jumped right to the NHL without spending time on the farm.

Those young phenoms needed support and mentoring. That meant NHL free agents, and Edmonton could attract fading veterans like Eric Belanger, Ben Eager and Cam Barker. All of them blocked a young player, who could have solved a roster problem for longer and at less cost.

During Nelson’s time with the Oklahoma City Barons, kids from the farm also lost playing time to fringe players from other organizations. Luke Gazdic, Iiro Pakarinen, Will Acton, Andrew Miller and Colten Teubert all received the call over farmhands like Omark.

The Oilers signed Euro free agents to derail prospects progress, too. Jesse Joensuu to replace Teemu Hartikanen and brought in Lennart Petrell so Anton Lander and Chris VandeVelde could get the full farm experience.

So, we have the Oilers lottery picks, NHL free agents to add experience around them, Euro free agents of varying abilities and then (as if more was needed) the fringe talents from other organizations.

That’s a lot to overcome, and the Oilers kids didn’t do it. I think some of those men would have enjoyed NHL careers if they arrived in this organization as rookie pros this fall. Here’s a list of players who played for Nelson, were blocked by outside player procurement (or money), and went on to find at least some NHL success elsewhere: Jeff Petry, Tyler Pitlick, Brad Hunt, Jordan Oesterle, Chris VandeVelde, Colin McDonald, Taylor Fedun, Martin Marincin and Brandon Davidson. That’s a lot of talent to bleed for five years work, especially when the reasons are Nikita Nikitin and others like him.

SUCCESS

It’s been a fun ride over many years, watching minor-league players find their way to the NHL. Over the last 10 years, here are the GP totals for qualified rookies who played in the minors for Edmonton

  • 2011-12: Colten Teubert (24); Teemu Hartikainen (17); Ryan O’Marra (7); Chris VandeVelde (5); Alex Plante (3); Phil Cornet (2); Milan Kytnar (1).
  • 2012-13: Chris VandeVelde (11); Mark Arcobello (1).
  • 2013-14: Martin Marincin (44); Mark Arcobello (41); Oscar Klefbom (17); Tyler Pitlick (10); Taylor Fedun (4); Brad Hunt (3).
  • 2014-15: Oscar Klefbom (60); Tyler Pitlick (17); Iiro Pakarinen (17); Brandon Davidson (12); Andrew Miller (9); Jordan Oesterle (6); David Musil (4); Bogdan Yakimov (1); Curtis Hamilton (1); Laurent Brossoit (1); Tyler Bunz (1).
  • 2015-16: Iiro Pakarinen (63); Brandon Davidson (51); Jordan Oesterle (17); Jujhar Khaira (15); Anton Slepyshev (11); Laurent Brossoit (5).
  • 2016-17: Anton Slepyshev (41); Jesse Puljujarvi (28), Jujhar Khaira (10); Laurent Brossoit (8); Dillon Simpson (3).
  • 2017-18: Ethan Bear (18); Keegan Lowe (2).
  • 2018-19: Josh Currie (21); Kailer Yamamoto (17); Caleb Jones (17); Joe Gambardella (15); Cooper Marody (6); Patrick Russell (6).
  • 2019-20: Ethan Bear (71); Caleb Jones (43); William Lagesson (8); Tyler Benson (7).
  • 2020-21: William Lagesson (19); Evan Bouchard (14); Ryan McLeod (10); Stuart Skinner (1).

If a prospect can establish himself as an AHL regular at 20, it bodes well for an NHL career, but does not guarantee it.

There are 15 players since 2010 who played successfully as AHL regulars age 20. They are: Teemu Hartikainen, Tyler Pitlick, Magnus Paajarvi, Martin Marincin, Martin Gernat, Bogdan Yakimov, Jujhar Khaira, Ethan Bear, Caleb Jones, Evan Bouchard, Ryan McLeod, Kailer Yamamoto, Dmitri Samorukov, Raphael Lavoie, Mike Kesselring.

The shocking number: six of the 15 came in the last two seasons. That’s Holland at work. We’re going to have to split Farm Workers into two segments: before and after Holland.

Pretty much everyone who is in the AHL past 21 is having some issues and may spend time meandering.

We may have to alter this a little, as Holland views the entry deal as both development time and an opportunity to slow down the pay scale. It’s effective in suppressing cap totals on the second contract and that will benefit as time goes on. Maybe not Bouchard, who I expect will post outstanding numbers, but others as they matriculate through the early portions of their NHL careers.

If you haven’t established yourself as a prospect by age 22, you’re in trouble. The players who will be successful have played at least some games in the NHL during entry deals.

Benson and Marody established themselves by age 22, now it’s Ostap Safin’s turn, Kirill Maksimov’s turn, Olivier Rodrigue’s turn. It’s an important line in the sand, and of course has a real impact on all prospects coming up to their second contract.

Exceptions are college men, who often turn pro at 22.

Marody arrived ready, and I have been impressed by Mike Kesselring and Phil Kemp. I believe college players are the route to go, but have always suspected the Oilers have issues with college defensemen. Call it the Jeff Petry syndrome. Hopefully the organization has matured in this area.

No matter what you and I think about a specific AHL player, the largest category of player in the minors is ‘tweener’.

Rob Schremp was a tweener. Anton Lander too. Linus Omark’s career is judged as a tweener despite my misgivings. Kirill Maksimov, Ostap Safin, Dylan Wells all qualify. I don’t believe Benson will land here, but this is the point where he’ll need to push through and win NHL work. Window closes quickly.

If we make a list of rfa’s each summer, we can probably pick the cuts and be pretty close.

A year ago, Ryan Mantha, Ryan Kuffner, Nolan Vesey, Cam Hebig, Logan Day, William Lagesson and Angus Redmond were all minor-league RFA’s. I picked Kuffner, Day and Lagesson as the keepers. Ken Holland surprised me, retaining only Lagesson.

This year’s RFA’s are Cooper Marody, Tyler Benson, Theodor Lennstrom, Stuart Skinner and Dylan Wells.

Sticky wicket here, as Lennstrom is the only player Holland brought into the organization. I will pick Marody, Benson, Lennstrom and Skinner as keepers, with only Wells exiting. We wait.

Dan Cleary, Fernando Pisani and Jason Chimera are the success stories in this study.

This, I think, is the key point in all of this ramble. Players who land in the AHL are working on something, grinding the edges off a game that is close but not quite NHL-ready. It’s usually defensive work that needs to be done, but maturation is also part of the deal.

Tyler Benson could be the next success story here. I mean it. He has flaws in his game and has worked on them. He needs to add as much speed as possible, and that might include training like Ethan Bear in the summer of 2019, and blowing the doors off previous fitness levels. That’s how Kyle Brodziak did it 14 years ago.

That’s Farm Workers for another year, thanks for reading.

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DevilsLettuce

If this sad sack league had any balls they would of ejected Graves when he was attempting to seriously injure people.

Reaves shouldn’t of, but dealt Graves his punishment. Maybe Graves will man up and not be a piece of shit on skates in the future.

dunterpunter

Can you imagine an NHL that suspends/implements harsher disciplinary actions in playoffs cause the stakes are higher, time-frames tighter?

Yea me neither.

The best thing about Ryan Reaves / Wilson is that they typically destroy eachother.

NHL is a dinosaur 🦕🦕🦖🦖 league.

JimmyV1965

The NHL is a bush league and the game was an utter embarrassment. Graves should have been ejected from the game for charging and intent to injure on the Janmark injury. Instead, they do nothing and Reaves goes psycho in the third period with the game all but over. Reaves deserves everything that’s coming to him. 

The league has literally lost control of the game. Enforcers can’t protect anyone anymore and the league doesn’t do anything either. Nothing will change though. The talking heads will yak about playoff hockey and battling through the rough stuff yada yada yada. And it will all be forgotten in three days. Nothing ever changes in the NHL. 

flyfish1168

Vegas and Reaves should get a hearing with fines and suspension. This is a black eye for the NHL if they do nothing.

Side

No fear. Parros wrote a thesis once in college. He is more than qualified to handle this.

flyfish1168

His body of work has been inconsistent and little to be desired so far.

Ryan

That was absolutely atrocious. Reaves is a violent psychopath. He started things off by punching Grubauer in the head for no reason.

There’s no place for this in today’s NHL.

Knowing Parros, nothing will happen. Just like after he did this to Suter.

https://scoutingtherefs.com/2021/05/31738/golden-knights-reaves-wont-face-further-discipline-for-hit/

jzed

Did Reaves pull a knee on the neck job, really! Hey NHL , there you go, high skill speed answered by on screen assault. What a joke.

godot10

Graves head on the ice. Reaves intentionally knees his face multiple times.

leadfarmer

Well that’s what I thought about the Wilson cross checks to the back of a neck on a guy on the ice but with Parros who the heck knows

Harpers Hair

Likely gone for the rest of the playoffs.

The Knights over played their hand in game 1.

The league will be watching.

Ryan

Well there you go. Reaves and Pachioretti team up to dole out concussions to Graves and Girard. Burakovski’s face looks like he was beaten in a back alley. Grubauer took a Reeves cross check to the back of the head. That’s one way to win a series, but I’m not a fan of it.

Harpers Hair

This Colorado/Vegas game is an object lesson in modern hockey.

The speed and transition game of the Avalanche is nothing short of breathtaking.

And it’s not like they’re playing the Sisters of the Poor.

Ryan

Hey imagine if Joe was smart enough to trade for Athanasiou instead of that bum Devon Toews. 😉

There are times when you’re trolling and this isn’t one of them.

Reminds me a little of watching the Blackhawks before the RFA purolator boondoggle.

It really is one of those things that if you’re not watching… you’re missing some incredible hockey.

Harpers Hair

Beyond that…the Avalanche have re-invented the game.

Imagine having 3 Norris Trophy worthy D with Bo Byram and Erik Johnson in reserve.

And, guess who had the leading plus/minus in the NHL last season at +40?

Ryan Graves.

It really is unprecedented when you also take into account the elite forwards they have.

Ryan

Imagine having a good d corp and actually trying to make it better every year, just because. That’s what Sakic has done.

Now the Oilers. Barrie was our number 2 by ice time/g. He’s going to walk. Larsson was our number 3. If we can keep him, it’s going to cost too much and he’s in decline.

Russell was our number 4. He’s aging out and not a modern defenseman.

Bear was our #5 and next year, he’ll play way up the lineup out of necessity.

Bouchard was #7, and next year he’ll still be a raw rookie.

Kulikov was our #6, but he’ll be gone.

We’ll lose one of our 7/8 to the Kraken likely.

How exactly is our blue line going to be better next year?

€√¥£€^$

I noticed that LA signed tiny Vlady Tkachev today, MacT signed him first, but didn’t understand the rule so the signing was voided. I watched him and Bogdan Yakimov line up together in Penticton, it was quite a Mutt and Jeff-looking duo.

According to the stats, Vladdy a has added about 20 lbs and an inch or two since then.

Good for him, I hope he makes it!

Harpers Hair

Rob Vollman making low risk bets.

OriginalPouzar

Signing a 25 year old plus scorer from the KHL is an analytics based move?

This type of move is made multiple times each off season by many GMs – Ken Holland shops for these players yearly.

Its definitely a low-risk bet but certainly isn’t a move based on smart analytics.

Harpers Hair

How many KHL All Stars has Holland signed?

I’ll wait.

OriginalPouzar

Ken Holland has signed stars out of the European leagues many times.

25 year old 0.8 PPG guys get signed out of the KHL every year – this move could turn out very well but its certainly not a unique signing based off of Vollman being smarter than everyone else.

Harpers Hair

Name 5 stars he has signed out of the second best league in the world…not the chaff in the rest of Europe.

OriginalPouzar

Name 5 reasons why signing Tkachev is an analytics based genius move and differentiate it from all the other KHL signings every off-season.

Harpers Hair

Name 5 reasons you think Tyler Benson is a better signing than Tkachev.

OriginalPouzar

What in the eff are you talking about.

You are the one that linked Tkachev to Vollman and his analytics – defend you nonsense statement.

Harpers Hair

I don’t have to defend anything.

The Kings just signed a KHL All Star and I’m sure Vollman had a hand in the decision…it’s his fucking job.

The Oilers are still waiting on a failed second round pick from a draft 5 years ago and hoping he might be a bottom 6 forward.

There are dozens of bottom 6 forwards available every offseason for nothing more than a sub $1 million cap hit.

Clutching those failed prospects to your breast is a loser strategy.

Being proactive and signing players with real potential is what good teams do,

Last edited 2 months ago by Harpers Hair
OriginalPouzar

There are many many players over the years that have spiked offensively in their mid-20s that have been signed to the NHL. I don’t think the technical concept of NHLe is what GMs are using to take shots at high end scorers in the KHL.

JimmyV1965

This is a new low for HH. How long has Vollman even been there? Two days maybe. I’m sure he had nothing to do with this particular signing.

godot10

Depending on how Tampa choses its protected list and decides to deal with its cap issues, in some low probability scenarios, Mikhail Sergachev might become available on the trade market. He would be an ideal candidate for the #2LD slot (if Klefbom retires).

Tampa’s protected list probably protects four D, Hedman, McDonagh, Sergachev, and Cernak, but maybe not.

One should also watch which forwards come on the market as they prepare for the expansion draft.

(One would then trade Sergachev in three years when Broberg is ready to be #2LD).

For example, if Klefbom can’t go, I would trade a 1st and Samorukov for Sergachev, if Tampa were to take the low probability path of moving Sergachev to deal with the expansion draft and cap issues.

TheGreatBigMac

Yep something good is likely going to shake loose in Tampa, hope Holland is all over it.

Last edited 2 months ago by TheGreatBigMac
Harpers Hair

Quite likely Seattle “helps” Tampa Bay by taking someone like Tyler Johnson off their hands in return for an extreme sweetener.

Might be Sergachev.

leadfarmer

Hot Takes!!! Get your Hot Takes!!

leadfarmer

Curious why did Vegas start Lehner?

godot10

To make him a viable option later in the playoffs.

Road game #1 is the lowest risk game to make your 2nd goaltender a viable option in the playoffs.

Munny

If he was the backup he wasn’t hurt.

Harpers Hair

Sampo Ranta making his NHL debut for Colorado.

The 3rd round pick in 2018 was second in NCAA scoring right behind Cole Caulfield.

leadfarmer

Right behind ??
you nuts??

jp

Aaah, second in NCAA goal scoring, and 1.0 points/game. Best of luck to him.

As a hockey fan you must also be excited about Dylan Holloway. Younger, higher pedigree, north of 1.5 points per game. 3rd in the NCAA in scoring rate, scoring assists at a better rate than Ranta. Pretty remarkable season from the young man. That’s a debut I’m looking forward to.

Last edited 2 months ago by jp
Harpers Hair

Yep…very curious to see Holloway’s progress.

Reminds me of Brandon Saad.

jp

Yeah.

The question is whether some or all of that offense is real. If ‘a lot’ he’ll be scary good. If not as much, well he should still be a solid pro.

leadfarmer

Reminds of Zibanejad in the offensive zone

leadfarmer

So is that like Drai reminding you of Colborne

tsunami

nice one 🙂

dunterpunter

Down-vitws cause Harper. I think I’d be glad if he was a Saad producing player

John Chambers

Larsson – Bear – Bouchard should be both an effective and economical RD, provided Bear and Bouchard mature into their potential.

If Ken Holland makes a hockey trade this summer I would hope it’s for a top-6 forward heading into prime years.

OriginalPouzar

I am fully on-board with that right side for next season and anticipate that will be the opening night three-some.

Of course, what its missing is a real/legit top pairing guy.

On the other hand, what we saw in 2019/20 with Nurse/Bear and 2021 with Nurse/Barrie is that Darnell Nurse can carry a player on the first pairing and make the pairing a legit top pair. He is that good.

leadfarmer

With Jones leaving I assume Werenski is next. That’s where I’d look as he’s RFA

jp

Left shot though, so less of an obvious fit for the Oilers.

OriginalPouzar

Not if Klef is definitely not coming back at all (which could be the case but I don’t anticipate will be)

pts2pndr

So sign or trade for a player that would block Samorukov and Broberg seems to be counterproductive. After Samorukov’s season in the KHL I’m not sure what he has to prove to get a chance. Good D on entry level contracts are gold!

OriginalPouzar

Getting a chance is one thing. Relying on a player with zero NHL games to play in the top 4 is another.

Broberg isn’t in the conversation for the beginning of this season.

Paddy Morans Jockstrap

Out defense is in a real funny place. Tons of potential but most not ready for prime time. We saw that with Bear this year. Dmen rarely develop in straight lines. Nurse is needed to play the tough and Larsson can babysit a kid the next couple of years (Sammy this season and Broburg next year). If you could magically age a couple of kids this is the perfect lineup

Nurse Bouchard
Broburg Larsson
Samarukov Bear

Big, tough, mobile and can pass….. but it’s 2 years away. If you could sign Barrie for just 3 years, and keep Kulikov, you coud trade Bear for a youngish LW and run:

Nurse Barrie
Kulikov Larsson
Koekkoek/Samarukov Bouchard

I like Bear but hate playing him over his head on the top pair. If we sign Barrie for less term I can see a way forward by trading Bear, but if we lose Barrie then it’s going to be tricky. Jones/Lags are trade/expansion bait as far as I’m concerned and I’ll pencil Klef in when he actually says he can play hockey again.

Sierra

“Blocking” a raw rookie with little to no NA experience that may or may not pan out is counterintuitive? I think not.

€√¥£€^$

Awesome result in Vegas last night and unlike many of the recent games, our prospects really had an impact on the result. I was disheartened this season when only Benson and Marody had positive impacts and were playing prominent roles leaving the vets to do all the heavy lifting and scoring. Last night was quite different.

Ostap Safin – IMO easily had the best game of his pro career and could have had 2 goals. He actually hit someone with force, something I hadn’t seen before AND he was still getting shifts with only 2 minutes left on the clock. In most, if not all close games he would sit out the 3rd period, even when only 11 forwards were dressed. Well-done young man! What a way to end your season.

I am so impressed with his skating and his shot, but he needs to work on his strength and has to be willing to go to the hard areas.

Tyler Benson – was his usual ornery self. He is like Yamo, where he likes to get under the opponents` skin (Jones with Henderson absolutely hates the guy, lol). He played so well on offense and had/created tonnes of chances. He is ready for a long audition next season,.

He definitely needs to work on his skating, but he gets to his spots like he did on the winner and even had a breakaway. He did make several passes that didn’t make it through, but I wonder if that was a s much as playing the same opponent 12 times (or so) as much as it was he was trying too hard.

Cooper Marody – He needs more work on his skating then Benson, sometimes he looks a bit disinterested, doesn’t like contact and seems to not give a little extra effort out there to my eye. On the winning goal he was alone in front of the net, gets the puck, dekes the goalie and misses the net. He then gets on his horse, steal the puck outside the offensive blue line and feeds a beauty pass to Benny for the W. That was an amazing play.

The boy has talent, but he still needs to work on his game. Not sure how he looks to a coach like Tip, but I think he’s earned himself an audition. I would look at using the AHL trio as the 4th line early in the season to see what they can do together over 3 or 4 games at least. IMO I think McLeod needs to be 4C and a bonafide 3C needs to be brought in to cover that spot.

Stuart Skinner – Played well poitionally, there was a comment that he was bumped on the 2nd goal, but no replay on the game and no video reviews in the A.

I worry about Skinner in handling the puck, he had about 3 miscues that I can remember. He also sometimes loses his net and he was lucky that a wraparound attempt failed, but he was beat on the play.

Lavoie – I hope he makes it. He is still quite a cherry picker to my liking and he really draws a lot of unnecessary penalties, even ones he doesn’t commit, lol (he is the only player I have ever seen get a penalty after a clear cut breakaway – he got a slashing penalty for – not slashing – that was spectacularly ludicrous) I didn’t really notice him too much last night. I hope that next season they have more set plays for him, because with his shot he should be flirting with 40 in a full season down there.

I am really looking forward to next season, but not sure how much time all the D will get, as it will be a full house. Kesselring looked mostly very good after his first game and Kemp looks solid. Stanton and Gravel were great leaders for the team and Desharnais was also very good as a solid AHL defender. I doubt there is another organization who will ice a better group of 6 D prospects next season. What a great development for the Oil!

Last edited 2 months ago by €√¥£€^$
jp

So it’s Marody who’s really the next Schremp? 😉

Thanks for the detailed report! Also looking forward to seeing if these kids can take steps forward or ‘up’ next season!

€√¥£€^$

*Note on Lavoie breakaway-this happened a few weeks ago vs Ontario I believe

kelvjn

The Nelson era occurred prior to the most recent lock out, which changes how contracts can buried in the AHL, which changed the general quality of players in the farm.

Also, the prospects chances were not blocked because the Oilers were desperate for improvement over the sorry roster they had. If Macbello and Philip Larsson (with their 5’6 frame) can force their way into the Oilers roster, there is no excuse for their “main prospects” (draftees) not to make it. The few that do (Petry aside, the Marincin and Davidsons of the world) did not fare too well when moved on and getting 2nd opinion.

It is often hard to distinguish between bad drafting and poor development programs, but since the Oilers draft board lives in the Coke Machine Era they don’t get the benefit of the doubt.

MushedPeas

I wonder if Holland wants to add a big gun up front (this team’s Hossa), but doesn’t see a lot of options that appeal, wants to upgrade the blue (his thing), but can’t ignore the cap efficiencies of developing existing assets, or the logjam quickly gathering there.

Ken’s M.O. might be steady as she goes, but, y’know, could be there’s not much tempting him just this moment, and that more than anything is behind the ‘internal growth,’ ‘get there when we get there’ messaging of the media avail. He can bide time until at least the 2022 trade deadline.

It would be in character I think for him to swing at Seth/Hamilton. Were his thinking to run that way, maybe returning Barrie strikes him as cheaper and easier.

JimmyV1965

The cap freeze has made free agency a realistic option for the first time since forever. And the expansion draft and flat cap have created unprecedented trade opportunities. If you can’t manage player acquisitions in this environment, maybe you should consider retiring as a GM.

I like Jones and Hamilton, but Nurse will be looking at possibly $8 mill next year, and defence is the team’s area of greatest depth.

MushedPeas

Don’t disagree. Just giving my read.

leadfarmer

I would sign Hamilton
but between acquisition cost and price of Jones contract I would pass

Harpers Hair

Considering Columbus already has 3 1st round picks, you would have to think they would want another top 10 pick and substantial prospects in return.

Anaheim and especially LA have both.

leadfarmer

Anaheim is nowhere near a place to trade futures for him.
LA may but so far have not shown any intention to speed up rebuild

Harpers Hair

Neither of these are true.

Anaheim has the 6th best prospect pools in the league.

https://theathletic.com/2361980/2021/02/04/nhl-prospect-rankings-ducks-2021/?source=user_shared_article

With Jamie Drysdale on the way they might sit this one out.

Following the season, Drew Doughty expressed clearly and forcefully that the Kings needed to start adding impact vets and move into playoff contention and Rob Blake agreed with him.

I expect they will be among the most active teams this offseason.

leadfarmer

Yeah and Anaheim has not shown any intention of trading futures
Drew Doughty wants an immediate upgrade but one year of a guy sick of rebuilding seems way too risky just to satisfy a troll.
I think Jones goes to the eastern conference arms race with Boston as favorites

Harpers Hair

Blake has stated publicly that he will be adding players now that there is such an abundance of blue chip prospects in the system.

Don’t you believe him?

Perhaps you are unaware of just how historically stacked it is.

https://eprinkside.com/2020/12/22/the-eliteprospects-rinkside-2020-21-off-season-prospect-pool-rankings-the-no-1-ranked-los-angeles-kings

Considering the Kings will be adding another top 10 pick and have 5 picks in the first 3 rounds of the upcoming draft, any sane GM is going to start cashing some of those prospects for immediate help since there simply won’t be room to develop them all.

leadfarmer

i think he’s gonna be very active
but I think he’s gonna go after players with term
Dont get me wrong I would love for him to blow that prospect pool and cap space on Eichel and Jones only to find himself fighting for 4th in division

Harpers Hair

I seriously doubt he will make many mistakes

Not only do the Kings have Rob Vollman heading up their analytics group, they just added more heavyweights in that field this week.

https://www.nhl.com/kings/news/la-kings-add-four-members-to-hockey-operations-staff/c-325058612

Melman

That’s an incredibly impressive amount of brain power LA has put together. I know teams can also outsource this info, but I don’t know how a team can justify not building an analytics group in it’s front office. I don’t believe you can rely 100% on the fancy stats, but it has to be part of the evaluation process. It’s too great a competitive disadvantage not to do so.

Harpers Hair

Yeah…for sure one of the easiest ways to get a competitive advantage without spending cap.

Seattle made hiring a top analytics team a top priority long before they even play a game….should make the expansion draft and free agency this off-season fascinating to watch.

pts2pndr

Data is all well and good however the results are determined by how they’re used! They may or may not be as you have been stating are fact. Analytics are a great tool! Getting the results from same are not near as simple as you make it out to be!

pts2pndr

With Doughty’s contract and age I would question just how much weight anything he says counts for. Hard to tell the captain full speed ahead when you are the anchor contract preventing same! Just because a hockey writer puts something out in print does not make it so! Your shtick is getting as old and stale as you! Expressing your opinions as fact doesn’t make you right it makes you come across as a self entitled asshole!

Harpers Hair

What is absolutely tiresome over and above your childish name calling is your utter lack of knowledge of hockey.

The LAK have $20 Million in free cap space and a ton of high end prospects who will be on ELCs for years.

Both Doughty and Kopitar continue to play at a high level and will like do so for another few years.

Dustin Brown has one year remaining and when he’s done they will another $6 million in cap space.

Oh, did I mention the Kings have 5 picks in the 1st 3 rounds of the upcoming draft including a lottery pick?

The Oilers have ONE.

jp

What is absolutely tiresome

Hold on now….

leadfarmer
leadfarmer

I like the player and there’s a Taylor Hall effect me thinks but there’s a very good chance you get him to be a #1d and be very very disappointed

JimmyV1965

We don’t need a number one dman.

leadfarmer

And if you think it’s just team related.
https://twitter.com/jfreshhockey/status/1399000607348961282?s=21

its not

jp

Is that really saying he’s 2nd percentile in WAR? In the league?

I’m not sure what numbers are going into this, but for a guy who was positive in SF% and GF% relative to team it strikes me as batshit crazy.

Oh well.

Reja

Sign him on the cheap for a year with the assurance he’s partnered with his brother ( The Potvins) and that he’s given every opportunity to pad his point totals for next year when the cap goes up.

Harpers Hair

He is already under contract for next season at just over $5 million.

Just the latest in a long list of players who won’t re-sign in Columbus when they reach UFA status.

JimmyV1965

What is the deal in Columbus? Why won’t guys resign there?

leadfarmer

Oilers are looking good sitting on a large pile of cap space which will get larger with Neal buyout

leadfarmer

Fancies hate Seth Jones, but I do think there’s a Taylor Hall effect in his fancies

jp

Fancies hate Seth Jones

Really?

Was just looking. I disagree.

Last edited 2 months ago by jp
jtblack

Would Love S. JONES. dont think Oil could afford him long term??? He’s gonna be in the $7 – $9 mil per range …

OriginalPouzar

I would think the higher end of that range.

If they do get him, well, that means that need to let Larsson go – which would be fine in the context of adding Seth Jones:

Jones
Bear
Bouchard

Its affordable on the cap for next season given Jones has 1 year left at the $5.6M.

The issue is, firstly, acquisition cost and, subsequently, re-sign cost. They can probably find the room for the re-sign cost but it will cost them that higher end scoring forward as an external acquisition.

As far as acquisition cost, the Jackets needs a center and the Oilers don’t have that asset to trade along with their 1st rounder (and Broberg likely). The Jackets likely have interest in Nuge but not as a pending UFA (no trade value).

jp

1st, Broberg AND a quality/top 6 NHL C?

I don’t think the cost would be that high for a player with 1 year left. Maybe if he’s agreed to an extension with the acquiring team I guess.

Randle McMurphy

Darnell Nurse Seth Jones.

That’s the winning ticket.

Harpers Hair

Not often that 2 #1RD become available in the same offseason.

Jones and Hamilton should be the top prizes available.

jp

That is a nice looking ticket.

Diablo

You’d want to talk to his agent first … but if Seth would be willing to sign long term for reasonable money (under 8 million per season), then you move Bear or Bouchard and this year’s first for him. Then protect both Jones brothers, Nurse and Klefbom. Resign Larsson after the expansion draft.

Seth Jones just killed any leverage Columbus had in negotiating a fair trade.

OriginalPouzar

I don’t think a 1st and Bear gets it done and I don’t think a 1st and Bouchard does it either as I think, in any Seth Jones trade, the Jackets would be looking for a legit top 6 center back.

As much as a 1st and Bouchard makes the team that much better this season, I’m still not sold on doing it if it was available. We need value contracts and Bouch with 2 more ELC years coming up is going to be huge.

Jones plus Nurse plus McDavid plus Drai – we would need those value ELCs and value 2nd contracts.

Diablo

You’re thinking that Columbus has any leverage … they don’t. Seth Jones has Columbus over a barrel, much the same way Hall had Buffalo. If Seth (and his agent) are non-committal towards signing a long-term deal with the team that he’s being traded to, then why would anyone trade for him this year? … Let his contract expire, then chase him as a free agent.

I have no idea whether Seth would want to sign a long-term deal with Edm … maybe he just wants to relax by the beach after practice and not pay any taxes. But if playing on a team with his brother and two of the top 5 players in world is the only thing that floats his boat, then Columbus will have to happy getting less than market value … cause they’re going to get nothing for him after next season. Again, any deal would be made with the understanding that Seth would sign an extension this summer.

It’s pie in the sky of course, and I agree with the notion of keeping as many value contracts on the team as possible … but if there is a chance to get Seth Jones to Edm, I hope the Holland is all over this.

OriginalPouzar

Jarmo has 31 teams he can deal with and Seth has no say – that is much different than Hall having a veto on any trade.

Of course, its tougher for Columbus given Jones’ recent verbal but there are 31 teams he can deal with and I don’t think a less than value deal with the Oilers seems likely.

Randle McMurphy

Really good post today. Thank you Allan. Your voice is unique when it comes to the Oilers history of prospects.

“Pretty much everyone who is in the AHL past 21 is having some issues and may spend time meandering.”

Theres a movie about a “meandering prospect”, very well made, called “Odd Man Rush” (2020). Kind of portrays the “humanity” beyond the limelight.

When Harvard hockey’s Bobby Sanders lands in Sweden’s minor leagues, his relationship with the girl at the local market forces him to confront the reality of his childhood NHL dream before the Hockey Gods intervene.

Because if theres one thing we sometimes lose site of….its that these kids are people.

Last edited 2 months ago by Randle McMurphy
dustrock

Benson had a couple of real nice goals last 2 games, one a one-timer from the Drai spot, the other the winner last night, again wrong side and snapped it home.

I’d almost say he needs to show the shot more than the skating because we know his passing is NHL calibre.

I’d give him a lot of rope next year. 3rd or 4th line and PP2.

godot10

Somebody has been yelling “shoot” all year at Benson.

leeinvan

Benson has paid his dues, the GM signed Dria’s buddy and really he was given a lot of rope and didn’t accomplish much. Add Turris to that list and it seems the GM would prefer to spend money on other players that are risky than bring up his own prospects.

There has to be some reward, Mcleod made the team because the coach and GM had tried everything else and Mcleod was the last man up. I have zero confidence in either the GM or coach

Someone

Agreed on Benson, less so on Mcleod. There was no reason to bring Mcleod up early, he needed to get his legs under him in pro hockey. His NHL time was earned by stellar play in the AHL.

I’m not sure why Benson didn’t get the call. Though if he’d have been gifted a spot with no NHL vets being brought in and he failed, it would have been a bigger issue. Hopefully he’s given a real shot this coming season.

OriginalPouzar

The GM signed LWs such as Kahun and Ennis because they were proven NHL middle six players that could potentially play in the top 6.

The team has a one-week training camp with zero exhibition games – there was absolutely no time for “tryouts” – the GM ensured the coach had NHL-level players for the beginning of the season.

In that regard, Benson/Marody had zero chance to make the team – neither got a single line rush at practice with an established NHL player (to my knowledge/memory).

This coming September should be MUCH different with a full training camp and exhibition game slate. Now, the coach can’t count on a guy like Benson being able to fill the 2LW/3LW spot out of camp, but he can count on a guy like Benson to compete for that job with a real chance of earning it.

Harpers Hair

theScore (@theScore) Tweeted:
@theScoreBet Seth Jones reportedly informs Blue Jackets he won’t sign extension. https://t.co/ZH2mC2gnpe https://t.co/xuk4QEdBsb

https://twitter.com/theScore/status/1399030339255910401?s=20

Harpers Hair

Raises the potential for a team to trade a 1st round pick + at the draft for Jones.

jp

He’ll certainly be a nice target for someone. Interesting to see who can pull it off, and what the cost is.

Brantford Boy

Great work on the Here Comes The Sun, Holland’s Whiteboard and now Farm Workers 2021 LT… thoroughly enjoyed, fantastic release order! Cheers!

Halfwise

Let’s think about what it’s like to be a Tweener.

For any of us, if we have a goal to achieve we need to be realistic about our current situation, then figure out some workable options to deliver improvement, and then actually have the will to put in the work.

Goal, Reality, Options, Will. The so-called GROW model. It works.

I don’t know any of these players, but I do see a narrative. “Marody thinks he’s OK as a skater.” “Benson isn’t fast enough.” “Savoie lacks conditioning.” There’s been some past truth to each of these, I am sure, but they are not chiseled in granite for all time.

Whose job is it to get prospects to GROW, to grind off those rough edges as well as build on their strengths?

Todd N did it well enough. Jay W has delivered team success but the narrative on Benson and Marody hasn’t changed much. Ultimately it comes down to the player and his willingness to do something different to reach the next level.

But there’s one more obstacle even if the player changes. Management has to recognize the improvement and trust in it enough to unblock that player and fit them into a bigger role. That awareness is also a skill to be honed. Can the coaching team let go of their past beliefs in the face of new information?

OriginalPouzar

Benson did spend some time on the PK but, really, from my views, it was a depth depth amount of time – the coaches still defaulted to Cracknell, Esposito, Malone, etc. for PK duty and I wouldn’t say that Benson was used enough to project that type of skill set at the NHL level any time soon.

On the other hand, I think the “Benson can’t skate” mantra is over-stated and I think his boots, while not upper end, are good enough for the NHL if he can translate his other skills – vision/passing, plus board play with an edge, smart/responsible 2-way game.

oilersjo

Good morning. Really hoping Nelson gets a chance this summer. He has paid his dues.

Bryan

I was really hoping that Holland would give Nelson a chance, as he knew him well from the Detroit organization. He decided to play it safe with the veteran coach instead.

Now the most logical replacement for Tippet would be Woodcroft. Another excellent job down in Bakersfield this season.

prefonmich

Agree completely! I think after this upcoming season it’s a great time to transition to Woodcroft or even Nelson if he doesn’t get scooped up prior as he’s in line to be currently.

OriginalPouzar

I agree that only Wells will be non-qualified out of those AHL RFAs.

Benson should have a real shot at a middle six LW position on the Oilers next season. I imagine that both Neal and Ennis are gone. Kahun is likely to stay had, hopefully, Kahun and Holloway are Benson’s comp for 3LW.

The reason I say that is that, hopefully, there are two LWs “above Kahun” for the top two spots and we are looking at Benson/Kahun/Holloway as injury replacements.

I think those two LW spots are likely Nuge and “one other”.

Lavoie had one heck of an inconsistent first “season” in the AHL – he was other producing in bunches or a non-factor for games on end – not dissimilar to his career in the Q (although, of course, he never disappeared at the junior level).

At the end of the day, Lavoie posted offence at a much higher level than McLeod did in his first season – although, of course, Lavoie is pretty much offence only whereas McLeod was used on the PK and bottom six roles.

Here is hoping Lavoie can have a workmanlike off-season and be ready for 35G and PPG in the AHL next season. Put his name in the conversation.

Kemp and Kesslering are both projects. It was nice to see Kemp back the last few games after missing what seemed like 6 plus weeks after taking a tough punch. Kesserling was definitely the 7D and didn’t get much ice down the stretch but came on the last couple of games. He is a “real prospect” but will need 2-3 season in my opinion.

Bryan

Lavoie seems to come from the Patrick Laine family of players. Either filling the net or you don’t realize he’s playing except for some defensive miscue. To keep a job in the NHL with this style of play it is necessary to be elite, and even then a lot of coaches won’t be fans. eg. John Tortorella, Dave Tippet

OriginalPouzar

Don’t disagree with this.

His shot can be elite but, of course, not to the Patrick Laine level.

Lavoie is a decent skater and, if he can improve his edges and lateral movement, he can become a big body that can skate and should be a load on the forecheck and the boards – if he can develop that while he gets stronger, it will give him a better chance to “make it”.

Bling

Funny how even the guys who don’t quite make it as established NHLers become part of team folklore. I swear Omark and Lander had enough game to be NHLers. I still wonder why MacT thought it was so necessary to have Lander languish on the 4th line for so many games. MacT was really tough on young guys who had some rough edges.

Remember his commentary on Jani Rita? Something like, “play dies on his stick too much.” This was after something like 10 games. Maybe it was accurate, but saying that to the media? It’s a little too much honesty, IMO.

Even at the height of Jones’ struggles, the worst Tipp would say is, “we’re trying to get him up and going.”

That’s why I have a lot of time for Tipp, who reminds me a lot of Nelson, who I agree should be hired this summer.

Tippett, whatever his perceived flaws, has made it a habit of having an aggressive plan with youngsters. The only guy who has gone a bit sideways under his watch is Jones, but he played well with good results last year.

I am all for giving Benson a legit shot. I also believe Marody deserves that chance.

Both of those guys have really done all you can ask. Here’s hoping both gain that half step this off-season and blow the doors off in training camp.

Here’s one thing I’ve been thinking: should the Oilers consider using that last 30 seconds of the PP as a development time? Yes PP1 is lethal, but I wonder if getting a second unit loaded with the young guys would be beneficial in terms of getting their offensive games going.

106 and 106

Benson, buddy.

Get to that same skating coach Darnell had last summer and work on those edges…

Every Single Day.

Your career depends on it!

Cheering you on!