It’s a Jungle out There

by Lowetide
Raphael Lavoie photo by Mark Williams

Over the last three decades, the Oilers have had many forward prospects arrive at the pro level (age 20) and get sent to the AHL. The successes come from two categories: Those who have enough offensive talent to deliver goals at a high rate (Tim Barnes identified a point-per-game at 20 as a tipping point for top-six forwards) and the quality role players, like Fernando Pisani, Daniel Cleary and Jason Chimera. They can mind the store and chip in offensively. Over the years, Edmonton has produced one or two skill forwards, and several role players.


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!


1 Miro Satan 1994-95 Cape Breton Oilers 25gp, 24-16-40 1.60 Satan was exceptional out of the box, an absolute steal of a draft pick by Barry Fraser and his scouts (fifth round, 1993 draft). He scored in every league he played in, including the NHL where the brilliant Slovak scored 18 goals for Edmonton as a rookie. Glen Sather traded him to Buffalo, where he scored eight goals in his first 12 games. The best entry minor leaguer (forwards) in the Oilers system in the last 30 years and it isn’t close.

2 Ralph Intranuovo 1994-95 Cape Breton Oilers 70gp, 46-47-93 1.33 Undersized and brilliant, he would have been a major piece to any team these years later. He was a pleasure to watch play and did make it into 22 NHL games, but back then NHL teams rarely placed small players in feature roles. A quick hat tip to Peter Mahovlich, who coached in the AHL just one season and helped develop a pile of NHL players.

3 Steven Rice, 1991-92 Cape Breton Oilers 45gp, 32-20-52 1.16. He was part of the return for Mark Messier, so Oilers fans viewed him with a jaundiced eye. He was effective when healthy, but the Oilers lost him to free agency and the Whalers (compensation: Bryan Marchment) in 1994 so fans didn’t get to warm up to his style of play. He was an excellent prospect and had offensive ability, but was in a tough spot having been acquired in exchange for a local God.

4 Tyler Benson (18-19 Bakersfield Condors) 68gp, 15-51-66 .97 An exceptional rookie season, Benson’s passing ability and vision reflected in his assist total. He is as close to the Tim Barnes line as we’ve seen among Edmonton’s forward prospects in recent times, and he’s still trying to establish himself in the NHL. Took on penalty-killing duties this past season, suggesting the young winger has checked down from “skill winger” to “possible role player” in hopes of finding NHL employment.

5 Michel Riesen (99-00 Hamilton Bulldogs). 73gp, 29-31-60 .822 Riesen’s quality AHL season at 20 is somewhat misleading in that it was his second year in the league. His 99-00 AHL season and the pre-season in fall 2000 represent the highlight of his NHL career (plus the 12 games he actually got into 00-01). As has been the case many times with college defensemen, the Oilers drafting Riesen was a waste of a prospect, as there was no chance he was going to play for the team. LW’s blocking him included Ryan Smyth, Daniel Cleary, Shawn Horcoff and Ethan Moreau, all more rugged and most more defensively aware.

6 Steve Kelly (96-97 Hamilton Bulldogs). 48gp, 9-29-38 .792 Kelly was a speed demon who the Oilers liked a “hair” more than Shane Doan at the draft in 1995. Glen Sather traded him just before New Year’s 1998 and he bounced around with the Tampa Bay Lightning before winning a Stanley with the New Jersey Devils. I think he would have had more of an NHL career if Edmonton kept him. He could fly, MacT would have found some way to make him useful.

7 Rob Schremp (06-07 SWB Penguins) 69gp, 17-36-53 .768 Schremp had a tough first year pro, getting benched a few times and was a healthy scratch a few times too. His coach did have some nice things to say about him but he was always dogged by skating and coverage issues. MacT was the NHL coach and Schremp’s skill set was opposite the coach’s mission statement, which involved five on five checking and scoring goals the required real effort. He was blocked by a bunch of kids at center, from Shawn Horcoff to Jarret Stoll to Andrew Cogliano and Sam Gagner.

8 Magnus Paajarvi (11-12 Oklahoma City Barons) 34gp, 7-18-25 .735 Paajarvi played in the NHL at 19, so this is kind of cheating (so is Riesen, the Euro’s have different rules). Another burner, and he had a fine NHL season in 2010-11 (15 goals) but never got close again. He just turned 30 and has been in the KHL for two seasons. A truly unusual career.

9 Jarret Stoll(02-03 Hamilton Bulldogs) 76gp, 21-33-54 .711 The two things I remember about Stoll in the AHL are a goal he scored maybe 5 seconds after the faceoff at center-ice and that the “shared” Habs/Oil team that year was a beauty. Stoll played with really good players and had an excellent season, which he built upon to become a solid NHL player. That shared team is worth looking at if you have time, it does suggest that running several good prospects together in the minors can mean NHL success (Michael Ryder, Tomas Plekanec, Stoll, Fernando Pisani).

10 Kailer Yamamoto 18-19 Bakersfield Condors 23gp, 8-8-16 .70 High-end talent didn’t get a push during his AHL time but showed his fearlessness and created mountains of offense. Has a good chance to be one of the very best names on this list when all is said and done, although KY did struggle mightily to score goals down the stretch in the NHL this season. His selection by the organization was a major turning point and suggests math is a factor in Edmonton’s drafting.

11 Marc Pouliot (05-06 Hamilton Bulldogs) 65gp, 15-30-45 .692 He had a solid two-way skill set, and some slick moves that got him several NHL looks. It never happened for him, some evidence he balked at the checking role and injury contributed to his lack of NHL success. I’ve taken miles of crap for calling Pouliot as a future NHL, really thought he’d make it.

12 Jason Bonsignore (96-97 Hamilton Bulldogs). 78gp, 21-33-54 .692 Bonsignore’s career has been well documented and his 20-year old AHL season might have been his pro career highlight. These are reasonable scoring numbers for a player with a two-way game and the desire to work every shift. Bonsignore was not that player.

13 Peter Sarno (99-00 Hamilton Bulldogs). 67gp 10-36-46 .687 Sarno was an interesting prospect who ended up with 7 career NHL games for two different teams (Oilers and Columbus). He gained a solid reputation as a powerplay specialist and got a couple of long looks from the Oilers.

14 Jean Francois Jacques (05-06 Hamilton Bulldogs) 65gp, 24-20-44 .677 Jacques had a helluva pro debut and his size and speed made him a promising prospect. He lost a lot of momentum due to back injuries and lacked ‘hockey sense’. One of the truly incredible moments on this blog came with his breathtaking inability to post even a single point at the beginning of his NHL career. He played 53 games in his first three seasons, zero points. Incredible.

15 Teemu Hartikainen (10-11 Oklahoma City Barons) 66gp, 17-25-42 .636 The big Finn was a pure delight and the first 20-year old AHL forward in a couple of years to show up on the radar in the Oilers system. He was a little shy on speed but could have had an NHL career with a little luck. He built a fine career in the KHL, finishing second in league scoring this season.

16 Tyler Wright 1993-94 Cape Breton Oilers 65gp, 14-27-41 .631 Wright was a determined player who didn’t bring a lot of offense to the game and had to learn where goals are scored. Lots of players on this list had the same problem, never figured it out. Wright did, despite once playing 61 games in an NHL season without registering a point. He scored 12 goals the following year. You have to respect that kind of determination.

17 Kirk Maltby 1992-93 Cape Breton Oilers 73gp, 22-23-45 .616 He was a rugged winger, a little shy on the offense but the poster player for the AHL development style. Tough as nails, never scored more than 14 goals in an NHL season, won a bunch with the Detroit Red Wings. Slats got Dan McGillis for him, that was a good trade.

18 Kyle Brodziak (04-05 Edmonton Roadrunners) 56gp, 6-26-32 .571 Brodziak had a nice combination of size and skill. His AHL debut at 20 came on a very poor offensive team, and he built on that season (that team couldn’t score a lick), finally emerging as a legit NHL player about the time Edmonton traded him. He was an NHL regular for a long time, the next in line after Cleary, Pisani and Chimera on the list of successes. Came home to the Oilers and finished his career, I’m glad he did. Among all the players drafted by Edmonton this century, Brodziak is behind only Andrew Cogliano in NHL games played (917).

19 Raphael Lavoie, Bakersfield Condors 25, 6-8-14 .560. Lavoie didn’t get a full season (I added his playoff numbers to the total) but showed enough for fans to be excited about his future. He is streaky (goal scorers are famously so) and spends a large percentage of his shifts not moving his feet, but Lavoie is improving and has shown some real ability as a stealth back checker.

20 Jani Rita (01-02 Hamilton Bulldogs) 76gp, 25-17-42 .553 I thought Jani Rita would make it, swear to God, he was Pouliot before Pouliot. I remember at WJC goal he scored (it was real, and it was spectacular) and also saw a few AHL games in which he always looked like he was having an impact (plus he could score goals, 63 in 204 AHL games). He never made it, he had the same issue with MacT as all the other forwards who didn’t check hard every shift. He also had a long European career.

21 Slava Trukhno (07-08 Springfield Falcons) 64GP, 14-21-35 .547 I loved his passing, Trukhno could really find the lane. He had a nice debut but was a bit of wide body skater and I don’t think Edmonton had a tremendous need for a slower skill LW at the time.

22 Bogdan Yakimov (14-15 Oklahoma City Barons) 57gp, 12-16-28 .491 This is a more impressive season than it looks here, Yakimov’s offense comes in a more defensive era than some of the numbers above him. Big man has a range of skills, bolted for Russia but he had ability. His KHL career never caught fire.

23 Marco Roy (15-16 Bakersfield Condors) 42gp, 8-12-20 .480 He didn’t play on a feature line (lots of fourth line minutes and PK) and still managed to land near .5 points per game. Edmonton drafted talented players and then handled them poorly during the decade of darkness, Roy (and Hartikainen) are two of them.

24 Georges Laraque (96-97 Hamilton Bulldogs). 73gp, 14-20-34 .466 Laraque is the only one of the three 20-year old AHL prospects in 96-97 to become an NHL player and contribute to his team’s wins. The other two were Steve Kelly and Jason Bonsignore, both drafted early and with high expectations. BG was a world class enforcer and an effective shot suppression winger. When the big man held the puck down low in the opposition end, you could be sure nothing bad was going to happen. One of my favourites on this list, he was part of some legendary fourth lines.

25 Ryan McLeod 2019-20 Bakersfield Condors. 56gp, 5-18-23 .411. One of the fastest skaters on this list, he was midway through his entry deal when receiving an NHL recall. He has some issues (scoring, high traffic venturing) but his second AHL season saw him deliver a point-per-game and McLeod may land high on the NHL GP list from this group.

26 Phil Cornet (10-11 Oklahoma City Barons) 60gp, 7-16-23 .383 He looked like a tweener from the start, I always liked his spirit. Made it to the NHL for two games and at 30 he’s productive in Germany a dozen years later.

27 Tyler Pitlick 11-12 Oklahoma City Barons 62gp, 7-16-23 .371 Highly thought of on draft day 2010, a decade later he isn’t so much a failed pick as a slow developing one. He has played 286 games, and because of a free-agent loophole (he was on his way to playing enough games to become an RFA instead of UFA but got hurt), most of those games have been played elsewhere.

28 RW Greg Chase 15-16 Bakersfield Condors 19gp, 1-6-7 .370 Chase didn’t make it but he was a talented prospect and fantastic value for where they drafted him. There’s much we don’t know about player development but his junior career warranted a longer AHL look before he was traded.

29 Jason Chimera (99-00 Hamilton Bulldogs) 78gp, 15-13-28 .359 Chimera was a speed demon who had offensive talent but often approached the defensive game like Zack Kassian does in the modern era. He wasn’t happy when the Oilers traded him and played well against Edmonton for his entire career. I respect that.

30 Kyle Platzer 15-16 Bakersfield Condors 48 gp, 6-11-17 .350 I always thought the pick was innovative, as Platzer was buried on a deep London Knights team in junior. He didn’t score enough in the AHL to earn NHL time, but has found the range in the Liiga over the past two seasons.

31 Ryan Martindale 12-13 Oklahoma City Barons. 41gp, 6-8-14 .341 He showed well in a couple training camps, you could see the size being an advantage and he could pass the puck. It never found its way to the regular season, not enough anyway.

32 Dan Lacouture (97-98 Hamilton Bulldogs). 77gp, 15-10-25 .325 Lacouture was a big kid with speed when he arrived in pro hockey. I remember him scoring a goal scorers goal against Boston (probably fall 2000) as he came in over the blueline and ripped a beauty by the goalie. Lacouture learned how to stay in the NHL after a time as a role player and played at least as long as his talent merited. The first discussion about the Oilers I ever had online was with Kim Gernack (redtwilight) in regard to Lacouture’s future. Miss that guy.

33 Curtis Hamilton 11-12 Oklahoma City Barons. 41gp, 5-6-11 .268 A wildly disappointing pro debut based on his final junior season, Hamilton never did get untracked during his entry level deal. Improved in year four and made it to the NHL for one game, but more was expected. He did not play pro hockey in 2020-21.

34 Kirill Maksimov (19-20 Bakersfield Condors) 53gp, 5-8-13 .250 A disappointing season but far from a confirmation he won’t have an NHL career. He can score goals, has utility and had an interesting year in Russia 2020-21. His final entry year should be in Bakersfield on a feature line.

35 Jujhar Khaira (14-15 Oklahoma City Barons) 51gp, 4-6-10 .196 He is 240 games into his NHL career despite a distinct lack of offense (per 82 NHL games he has scored 8-12-20). Khaira has less offensive talent than pretty much everyone on this list, but there are only eight men ranked above him with more NHL GP in their careers.

36 Travis Ewanyk (13-14 Oklahoma City Barons) 68gp, 7-5-12 .176 Ewanyk had a lot of nice things but the offense in junior suggested this would happen. What is the difference between Khaira and Ewanyk? Don’t know but both were shy offensively. Ewanyk was highly regarded in his draft year, he made Bob McKenzie’s list. That was the period (2011) where you could identify teams who were using math to set their draft lists, and those teams that did not use math to set their draft lists.

37 Zack Stortini (05-06 Iowa/Milwaukee) 64gp, 2-8-10 .156 Low event offensive player also slowed down the other side a little, but not on BG’s level. Got all he could out of his career and should be remembered as a guy MacT played over many more talented kids. Stortini earned every shift with hard work.

38 Mitch Moroz (14-15 Oklahoma City Barons) 66gp, 5-4-9 .136 Big man came off injury at the end of the Memorial Cup and then had some issues in the AHL, among them ice time. Moroz should have been drafted in the fourth round, don’t think he could overcome expectations. That’s not his fault, and the Oilers learned from the exercise.

39 Kale Kessy (13-14 Oklahoma City Barons) 54gp, 2-4-6 .111 Now universally hated for his hit on Cooper Marody, Kessy was never wildly popular with Oilers fans (return on the Rieder trade) but most of that wasn’t his fault. Never played in the NHL, still active.


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Hi Alan, I remember the many interactions between you and Kim (redtwilight) RIP back in the day at HF Boards. You and him along with Dennis King from The Rock helped cement my fandom. Always stop by here and now at The Athletic to get my Oilers fix. Thanks for all you that you do Alan.

106 and 106

Are the Mahe brothers posters or former posters on here?

[Wouldn’t surprise me, but don’t really have an idea who they are – U of A post-grads?]

Harpers Hair

Toronto Star (@TorontoStar) Tweeted:
Taya Currie, a 16-year-old from Parkhill, Ont., has made history as the first female OHL draft pick. She was selected in the 14th round, 267th overall, by the Sarnia @StingHockey.


How many GMs have been able to win the cup with multiple teams?


How many current GMs have won the cup?


False! Black Bear.


The defense I would like to see come Jan/Feb:

Nurse / Bouchard
Klefbom / Larsson
Samorukov / Broberg
Russel / Bear


Looks like you are hoping the Oilers are out of it by Jan/Feb


3 “rookies” in the line-up. What could possibly go wrong?


Three rookies, plus any rookies among the forwards or goalies. It is a lot of rookies.


Plus a giant question mark in Klefbom


What is this? LA kings roster?


If Bear is in the lineup instead of Samorukov that D lineup has more experience than Colorado is running in the playoffs this year. I could live with Nurse-Bear, Klef-Lars, Bouchard-Broberg pairings with a vet 7th D-man to sub in on the third line when needed (provided Kef is 100%).


May I ask why/how you project Broberg going for 7D in the SHL playoffs to 5/6D in the NHL, on his offside so quickly?


Yikes, that is some young d-man popping projection.

I do think a few are possible:

1) Sammy as 3LD, 100% I think this could happen during this coming season

2) Bouchard playing with Nurse – not that I think Bouchard will be a legit top pairing d-man so early but I do think his skill-set will mesh with Nurse and, frankly, playing with Nurse makes d-men better – See Bear 2019/20 and Barrie 2021.

Broberg in the NHL this coming season let along on his off-side (yes, I know, he’s played the right side in Europe – not equatable to the NHL), seems very aggressive. He is currently 19 (20 this summer) and had an uneven season in the SHL, struggled with injuries and ended the season barely playing in the playoffs.

The org remains high on Broberg, as they should. I also remain high on Broberg and think he will excel on the smaller ice-surface and in the NHL with better players and structure but I would pencil him in for a full AHL season. The Oilers have depth at the position, zero need to rush the player.

106 and 106

Oh, Lordy.


Broken Shoulder, Broken Shoulder, SHL #5 D-Man on His Off-Side?


This cannot be.

Bag of Pucks

If RNH and/or Larsson walk this offseason after the Oilers being swept in the first round, does Holland get asked the tough questions about his asset management?

The dicey thing here is I don’t anticipate either of those players coming back at value contract numbers. Which is all the more reason they should have been dealt for emerging talent on favourable contracts last offseason! But you could see why a GM would press to resign them now to stave off the critics.

They were clearly kept because Holland and Tippett liked their chances of an extended playoff run this year. That alone should make us #QuestionTheProcess

Last edited 3 months ago by Bag of Pucks

Maybe. But these things are a lot easier in hindsight.


I think zero people had this team as a contender.

Bag of Pucks

I was calling for RNH to be traded last summer. It doesn’t take Nostradamus to see the lay of the land with pending UFAs.

Decidedly Skeptical Fan

Barrie shows up in this discussion too.


Definitely shows up in the discussion. As does Bouchard getting next to no reps.


I don’t think that Barrie shows up in this discussion.

Correct me if I’m wrong, but the original poster was speaking about moving on from Nuge and Larsson last off-season, when they had a full year left on their contracts.

That is not the same as moving on from them at the trade deadline when the team is firmly a playoff team, in second place in the division, and gutting the team down the stretch drive (which is what some suggested be done with Barrie – although the premise there, for most, was that the team wouldn’t suffer without Barrie due to Bouchard).


Nuge’s number has to start with a 5 and a maximum 5 year term. 4 years would be preferable.

Larsson’s number has to start with a 3 and a maximum 3 year term. 2 years would be preferable.

If Kenny the grinder goes over on one or both, you’ll know he’s shit the bed. Hopefully that’s not the case, but be prepared to fasten your seat belt. This isn’t something Kenny excels at.


I think it will take a fourth year to get Larsson’s AAV under $4M and, if he can get something in the 3s X 3 year, that’s a win for Holland.

Similar for Nuge, anything in the 5s for 5 years or less is a win.

I’m not as worried on term for Nuge, I think his 5 on 5 offence rebounds next season (this wasn’t age-related regression) and I do think many of his skills will remain as they are through his early 30s.


Every UFA gets overpaid unless you wait until everybody has filled their roster and some unlucky guy has to take less to get a spot on a team.

Complaining that UFA’s are overpaid is just stating the obvious since the only way to avoid it is to never sign one.

Then you get to complain that your team doesn’t have enough experience.


Y’know a real GM of a true contender would spend to the cap. Y’know.



In hindsight we know the referees decided to cover for the missing fans and just observe with the linesmen doing the obligatory. It is not the least bit surprising that a Jet pushed the limit. For Montreal to cry given the way Webber played in the previous series is really quite amusing. The big loser in the quality of officiating in this year’s playoffs unfortunately is the game itself!


Agreed. Colossal failure. I predict both are signed to too much for too long. Then it just gets ‘absorbed’ by the wait forever fans as a minor bump along the road. Larson is slow and can’t pass (still). By my math this team has been in the 2nd round once in a generation and they continue to make the same mistakes. Kenny keeps getting credit for ‘executing’ on his plan but how can signing Kassian to that deal be part of the plan of a modern, analytics embracing GM. Brutal. And Bear as a top pairing D with that skating ability. Yikes. It will be two generations. Oh, and the new Black Midi album rocks. As does the best ‘grunge’ album in years last year (2020) by the underrated band Hum (album called Inlet).

Harpers Hair

Sunil Agnihotri (@sunilagni) Tweeted:
If Holland uses 5v5 goal-differential as his go-to stat, I’m sure he’s aware that the Oilers were -1 this past season, getting outscored by every North division team except for Winnipeg and Ottawa. (via @NatStatTrick). 

Wrote about it a few weeks ago:

buck yoakam

I love corndogs!


I prefer Smokies!


Peanut butter on hot dogs.


I’m sure even without analytics he knows that he doesn’t have enough forwards.
But this also highlights how important special teams are.


Who needs 5v5?😉

Harpers Hair

Apparently teams that win in the playoffs.


Shore and Benson will be the answer😉

buck yoakam

ever had a garlic sandwich?


Tampa has 15 5×5 goals (in 9 games) and 11 5×4 goals in the playoffs. Pretty sure they aren’t winning those games without their PP.

Material Elvis

Either is Colorado but don’t tell him that.

Harpers Hair

You could say that but then you would be wrong.

Colorado has scored 20 goals 5V5.

MacKinnon has 6.

Material Elvis

They have scored a ton of power play and empty net goals, too. Bottom line, they rely heavily on their power play.

Harpers Hair

Pretty sure they are…another 3 even strength goals today.


and they gave up 4 goals at even strength and won on the strength of their PP and 3 PP goals.

What an odd post.

Harpers Hair

How would the game have turned out if they didn’t score those 5V5 goals?


Have you forgotten the premise of your initial post?


Harpers Hair

 Reply to  OriginalPouzar

 June 5, 2021 5:40 pm

How would the game have turned out if they didn’t score those 5V5 goals?

Good Grief…. the premise of the post, your posts was winning the game at 5 on 5 and not relying on the PP. Today, in the game you cite, the TBL lost the 5 on 5 battle 3-4 and won the game via winning the PP battle 3-0.

This isn’t even moving the goal posts anymore, its nonsense. Do better pleae.


You are right, it’s just nonsense.


your original post was about 5v5 goal differential. Did you lose sight of this?


at least -1 was a year over year improvement. If he can fix the third line maybe we will end up plus


Sunil Agnihotri (@sunilagni) Tweeted:

If Holland uses 5v5 goal-differential as his go-to stat, I’m sure he’s aware that the Oilers were -1 this past season, getting outscored by every North division team except for Winnipeg and Ottawa. (via @NatStatTrick). 

What an oddly factually incorrect tweet.


Actually, seems accurate to me, no?


It’s Vancouver/Ottawa rather than Winnipeg/Ottawa.

With the mistake I wondered initially if he was trying to be fancy saying -1 GF-GA, then saying outscored (goals rather than differential) by all but Ott/Wpg. But it looks like just a straight forward mistake.

106 and 106

You can’t negative the guy’s comment when he posts good Oilers content. It’s actually a solid post.


5v5 GF GA GF%

2019 146-178…45.06%
2020 141-157…47.32%
2021 115-116…49.78%

At least it’s getting better


I think if the Oilers step up to the plate – they would make it very interesting for Taylor Hall.

Will he lean towards Boston? Maybe.

As we saw with Barrie- it is pretty enticing ( maybe more so as a winger) to play with McDavid and Drai.

As an aside – has their ever been a team that has iced 3 NHL MVP’s at the same time?

Dee Dee

Watching the smile on Taylors face playing for Boston during these playoffs I see Zero chance he would ever return here.



Just a guess


What is Kenny’s dream team?


Good guess, but Federov the only winner there, and IMO the best player of the three.

Harpers Hair

Not strictly speaking all MVP’s but imagine having Joe Sakic, Peter Forsberg, Milan Hejduk ,Ray Bourque, Rob Blake and Patrick Roy all on the same team?

That adjusted cap hit would be out of this world.


Imagine the joy in Mudville if you were elsewhere posting?

Scungilli Slushy

I’m not certain the Bruins will want Hall back.

If they are going to throw big money at that age player, given they have a pretty entrenched player type want, Hyman and Saad fit the bill better.

Hall still plays the same way as always, and many coaches and managers don’t dig his groove: see team Canada caps.

He’s also tied for 5th in playoffs scoring on the Bs.

We’ll see but I don’t think it’s a foregone conclusion at the money he’ll want.

He may be the one getting overpaid by the Cracken.

A lot more of a dynamic marquee player that Americans would be aware of than some others, like Nugey.


I think its becoming somewhat clear that, while still electric and dynamic (zone entries, etc.) and a play-driver, Hall is likey best serves as a secondary player on a good team, as opposed to the primary “star”.

He is currently that in Boston and would be that in Edmonton, for example.

What is the appropriate compensation for that player?

Material Elvis

Tyler Toffoli is $4.25M per year. Brendan Gallagher is $6.5M per year. Hall’s value is somewhere in that range.

Scungilli Slushy

Hall has not been a consistent PPG player, has an extensive injury history, and has been bouncing around teams.

He hasn’t become a solid two way player, he is not a great finisher, isn’t a great shooter, is a better playmaker.

If Columbus was smart they would hobble together a top line with Hall Nuge Laine and hope for the best.

Almost Austins deal again, 6×5 for each, and hope Laine pulls his head out of….

Edit- Actually it probably has to be 7M. I’m not sure Hall has the cache anymore to get more than that. Nuge because he’s the C and knows Hall, and they have to get him.

Maybe then Jones has a change of heart, Torts gone, hope for the future, etc

Last edited 3 months ago by Scungilli Slushy

The Habs last 50s, early 60s, with Beliveau, Geoffrion, Richard and Plante.

Lost of teams with two.

The Bruins would only hae one–Hall–if they added Hall. Last Bruin to win was Thornton in the season he was traded.

COL would have done it if either Roy or Bourque had won a Hart, but neither did

Brogan Rafferty's Uncle Steve

Anyone else feeling sick thinking about Ken Holland signing free agents? I just took a look at the Red Wings on cap friendly. Helm, Abdelkader, Weiss, Nielsen. It is a real poo poo platter of signings. Plus the Oilers perennially dismal pro scouting. I am ready to be hurt again.


Holland is noted for having wanted to rebuild but was made to push for one more cup/the playoff record. Those contracts do land on his responsibility, but it was a mandate pushed by an owner. Once he was given the go ahead to rebuild, he did very well to restock the cupboards and pivot the team. Yzerman has done similar work.


It’s going to be interesting, for sure.

I don’t think an analytics informed team signs a 39-year-old Mike Smith to a $3m contract.

I also don’t think they would sign Larsson to a 4×4.


Just to play devil’s advocate — as I largely agree with you — there will be internal data that shed light on Smith’s level of fitness and reaction times that aren’t publicly available. Perhaps there’s some kind of improvement from his first year after he sought outside technique coaching in Kelowna that is repeatable.

I’m not overly confident, but I do hold out hope Smith can keep it together for one more year if he is retained. Maybe Koskinen should tag along…

Decidedly Skeptical Fan

You had me until the last sentence.


An analytics informed team wouldn’t have signed a 38 year old Mike Smith either.

Sorry. It had to be said.

Harpers Hair

Sometimes you win with a pair of 9’s…


Yup. And sometimes you lose with a full house.

Last edited 3 months ago by defmn

Chayka was an analytics guru.
couldn’t find a forward to save his life.
and the ones he found he had no idea what to pay them
that Keller contract is awful


That’s sort of like the guy who’s learning to play poker who chases an inside straight to the river and catches it.

Therein lies the problem. He then thinks it’s a winning strategy.


It’s not generally a winning strategy but I wouldn’t say you would unequivocally never do it. There are situational and percentage based times where you may stay in a hand with only a gutterball draw right to the river.


All I’m saying is that there have been a number of high profile ‘analytics’ guys in this league who have fallen flat on their face as well as those who have done great. It isn’t like there is a 100% correlation of analytics leading directly to cups.

And, yeah, I know how to play poker. Sometimes the guy who is bluffing with nothing in his hand wins while the guy who always plays the odds bows out and loses. It goes both ways.


Definitely not his strong suit. Followed that up with Kassian. You should feel sick. This summer is it! No pressure Kenny😉



1) Holland speaks often about his days in Detroit and building championships in Detroit and the process. Holland is criticized for this. He’s in Edmonton, not Detroit. Things have changed. Positives from Detroit days don’t matter.

2) Holland has cap space to spend. Fans fear Holland due to mistakes made in spending cap while in Detroit. It does not matter than those mistakes, in large, were made in connection with a mandate from ownership to stay relevant and keep a playoff streak alive despite a willingness of the GM to rebuild. Things are different in Edmonton (its not about staying relevant, the team is relevant, just needs to keep adding/building) but negatives from Detroit days continue to matter.

Last edited 3 months ago by OriginalPouzar

Kenny says a lot of things on a loop.



Kenny has signed one contract in his tenure as an Oilers that has created a material problem – the Kassian contract. That was an unforced error.

Chiasson – meh, he was close to full value for that deal given his ability to help saw off without McDavid and the term meant low risk.

Turris was a bad contract but its a minor error as it can easily have a cap effect this coming year of less than $500K.

For his signing mistakes the last few years in Detroit, he has not repeated them in Edmonton (but for Kass). He didn’t up his offer on Markstrom, he didn’t up his offer on AA, etc.

The situation in Edmonton right now is different than the situation in Detroit his last few years. My post above was simply pointing out that some (many) are pointing out the difference as it relates to his cup building in Detroit but not as it relates to some signings at the end of his Detroit tenure.


The Turris signing was a material problem not because of the contract, but because Holland thought he was a legitimate NHL centre.


I don’t agree that it was a material problem as it doesn’t cause material harm in the now or the future. Its not a massive contract, either in terms of cap hit or term.

It hurt a bit this year, yes, because the 3C hole wasn’t adequately addressed but they moved off of Turris at center before the 15 game mark (I think) and moved off of him in the lineup completely not all that long after.

It doesn’t create a material cap problem now or in the future. This isn’t a signing mistake like the Lucic contract or even like the Kassian contract – much smaller potatoes.

Harpers Hair

Death by paper cut has been the Oilers modus operandi for decades.

The bottom line was he signed a 3rd line centre who was a dud, signed Kahun to be a top 6 winger when he isn’t and extended Kassian for no good reason.

With that kind of confidence do you have in his talent evaluation skills when he has more to spend?


Yes, there were some swings and misses – they have minimal negative impact on them building going forward. The only one that does is the Kassian contract.

I am happy they have Kahun under team control – he provided value for $975K last season and to compete for 3LW this season for a similar cap hit.

Harpers Hair

You don’t make bets not to lose them…you make bets to win and that’s especially true in professional sports.

Holland made a big bet on Smith and won but it appears he’s about to double down on that bet.

Kahun, Turris and Kassian were all poor bets no matter how you try to spin them.

Win one of every four bets and you’ll soon go broke.


Kahun was not a lost bet.


Every GM loses bets, even Joe Sakic. He’s made poor moves.

Turris was a bet that didn’t work out – it has little impact on the team building going forward.

Kassian was a bet that didn’t work out (and was a poor bet at the time) – that one does have negative effects on team building.

Kahun was a good bet and no risk and, frankly, for his cap hit of $975K, he covered that bet and is under team control and can cover it further in the future. Check out goals scored for cap hits in his range (excluding ELCs), he did well.

He hit on two of the bigger bets last off season – a top 10 goalie in the league and the highest scoring d-man in the league – both on value deals.


Egregious overuse, there good Poppins, absolutely egregious.

Material Elvis

Is it time for a name change?


This comment material to the material at hand.


Turris as the 3C was a “material” problem for this season. That is indisputable.


Turris wasn’t the 3C after apx 15 games.


And therein lies the problem. I think you are arguing for the sake of arguing, but maybe you are one of the few that don’t think the 3C spot was a problem.

Material Elvis

It remains a material hole in the lineup.

Brogan Rafferty's Uncle Steve

So you materially admit that a material amount of the contracts Holland has signed in Edmonton were materially mediocre or terrible?


If Holland wanted – especially after some of the interesting physical plays in both he regular season and post season – he could likely get out of his massive mistake in signing Kassian to that horrid extension.

Unlike Milan Lucic – Zack can still skate very well.

Every year, there are GM’s that have had sand kicked in their teams face and the value of players like Kass rises disproportionality to their value.

We will find out exactly what Kenny thinks of his signing in the next 60 days or so…

Last edited 3 months ago by McSorley33

I am live to the talk out east from the likes of Burke re: needing to get tougher.

I still don’t think any GM will take on 3 more years of Kass at $3.2MM.

I don’t think Kass’ one good and one decent game (out of 4) in the playoffs is enough for GMs to forget (or not realize) that he hasn’t been a positive player in almost a year and a half. Sure, the calendar year 2019 Kass is a player that teams would want, maybe even for his current contract (maybe) but he hasn’t been that player in a long time and, frankly, given some of his warts (not good defensively, not committed to battling in all zones, doesn’t play any special teams), he has not been a positive player.

If the Oilers were to retain $750K-$1MM, sure, he’s likely tradeable but, of course, that’s a 3-year deal cap hit on the retain.

Material Elvis

If you can trade him for $1M retained, you make that deal.

Last edited 3 months ago by Material Elvis

I will hope.


Hall will re-sign with Bruins but I don’t see the Bruins core which includes 33-36 year olds Krejci 35 Rask 34 Marchand 33 Bergeron 36 has more than 2-3 runs left.
Other than maybe Swayman in G I don’t see any internal replacements


I’m not overly familiar with BOS, but their roster going forward without the aforementioned includes: Pasta, DeBrusk, Carlo, McAvoy and likely Hall.

That’s not such a bad cluster to build from, if they can pick up a quality centre (or two). Eichel?


I suppose it’s possible, for other teams, that bold moves bear fruit.


What’s wrong with another 2-3 years? And some saying the Oilers have 4 until Drai’s contract runs out.


Lowetide, the solution for reducing the crazy hits is simple enough. You recall the game of splitting a candy bar between two younger brothers, one splits and one chooses, encouraging both to act fairly. In the same trend the Nhl needs to introduce a damper, because right now, playoffs are framed as: crazy important and violent-physicality, leading to people going faster then they really should hitting harder then is safe. The solution is, if you hurt someone, you can play hockey again, when they can. if you end someone else’s career you’ve just ended you’re own. Its not a perfect idea, but if you thought that your actions had actual consequences they might actually play hockey instead of the embarrassment we always have to endure in the playoffs.


minus the career bit (can’t really plan for that. let’s say a running suspension to a max of one year waiting on the return of injured party), i’ve long had this thought.

I think it would help so long as there’s no way to ‘game’ it. Like some plug claims series-long injury from incidental contact w CMD.

Last edited 3 months ago by MushedPeas

Holland bringing in a Hall like player would mirror his Shanahan move for the Redwings. I think he may need to get that move done sooner then he thinks, but that’s mostly internal anxiety speaking.


Looks like future 3 mil a year goalie Grubauer is the only thing keeping the bookies from taking more HH fingers.

Harpers Hair

I’m playing with the bookies fingers.


OK, fine, I’ll take Hall on a shorter term show me deal and Danault for the 3C (top 6 winger fill-in):


Kahun/Neal (or Haas if bought out)




Koskinen traded at 50% retained or buried

Give Kass that shot at the top 6 but, really, its a competition with Kailer. I think Kailer, right now, today, would be an elite RW and PK guy – add quickness, tenacity, energy, penalty drawing and skill. Of course, definite 2RW potential but, if Kass can parlay his last two games in the playoffs into the regular season, that provides some nice depth on the right side. Big if!


Yes he chose where he went and I don’t see any sign that he wouldn’t want to stay there. Also the Marchand Bergeron Krejci Rask cluster is on its last few runs so they will make him a solid offer to keep him


I would love to have Hall here because he fills so many needs — zone entry savant, EV scoring, proper winger for McDavid, increases team speed, etc. — but he seems to have his heart set on Boston. It would be one thing if Edmonton could outbid other teams, but I doubt that will be the case.

If Hall really wants a championship, though, his best shot is in Edmonton. Boston is lacking depth and Marchand/Bergeron are getting up there.

Now is the time to dump Kassian. There will be interest from Pittsburgh and other teams — particularly with MTL’s success this playoffs — and you need the cap space going forward for extensions to Nurse, Bear, Yamamoto, and Puljujarvi. Complete no-brainer. If you want a bigger guy to play in the bottom six, you can find someone in free agency for cheap.

Personally, I’d sooner give Marody an NHL shot than bring back Kassian.


I’ll give Hall 5 extra Katz bucks over the top of any deal boston offers him.

Hell I’ll give him a one year show him the money deal. Just to get the wagon rolling.


Will be fascinating to see what Hall does. From what I understand, he’s a pretty sharp fellow. The Bruins are on the precipice of the mountain. Surely he can see their window could be gone as early as next year.


They have quite a bit of cap space this summer, but Krejci and Rask are UFA and Carlo is an RFA. They can easily sign Hall for around $8-10 on a long term deal. I’m not sure this is the last kick at the can for them, but the ages of a lot of their key players probably leaves them 2-3 years at most. With more depth, Hall and better tending the Oilers window would be twice that or longer.


i think OPs account has been hacked


wasn’t Hall’s team growing up the Bruins to boot? Thought I remember hearing that in the lead-up to the draft.


Does he have Bruins pajamas?
That’s the real question.


Kenny definitely has Red Wings pyjamas


The Canadian team at the World’s is likely the least followed and appreciated of any team sent to that event, and that’s saying something. Have to give those guys a ton of credit for being willing to travel over and live in a bubble to compete for the country. Things were looking very bleak early on but somehow, with some luck and determination and excellent coaching by Gallant, they find themselves in the final.

If they can pull off one more upset it will give those players, who would normally never get close to a Team Canada roster, a memory for a lifetime. I’m sure that somewhere Ryan Smyth will be watching.


Such an excellent point.

Well put.

Victoria Oil

This is a great story. On paper, they’re one of, if not the, weakest Canadian team ever. But great things can happen when you pull on a Canadian Jersey. Go Canada!


Gallant having a nice little showing. Hope he enjoys Seattle life.

buck yoakam

what a great story…and mag is rocking!

Decidedly Skeptical Fan

Excellent coaching … by Gallant … hmm.


I was hoping that Germany would defeat Finland so we could watch Kahun tomorrow against Canada. Oh well.

Yes, I think Kahun will be back – Oilers own his rights and I see no reason not to qualify him at under $1MM.

I don’t think the arbitration risk is high here and, frankly, if Kahun did file for arbitration, that might be a good thing as it would open up a second buyout window and give Holland more time to decide on Koskinen and/or Neal buyouts.


Not too many players with lower PPG at 20 than McLeod that had legit NHL careers – Khaira, Pitlick and Chimera.

McLeod has size and speed that can get him there – then, again, so did Chimera.

All three have physicality on McLeod.

Come on Ryan, get stronger and be more confident in that body – we know you’ll never be a banger but you are going to have to batter and engage to play in this league.


Sometimes you confuse me. McLeod is not as soft for position played as Jones who you seem to really like and is butter soft for a D!


Firstly, while I like Jones, I am far from one of his biggest boosters…… I’m not one that thinks Jones’ treatment/deployment this season was a fireable offence or anything like that – With respect, I think your characterization of my thoughts on Jones is bit off.

To the more substantive point, I have watched a lot of McLeod’s professional career and, while I wouldn’t use the word “buttery soft”, its very evident to me that engaging in battle and physical contact does not come naturally to him. From watching him in the AHL for a season and a half, and the NHL for 15 games, he avoids contact.

I truly believe that him becoming more confident in his body, as he gets stronger, and being more willing to engage will be a key to his NHL career, in particular at 3C. I think his offense at the NHL level will be tied to that willingness.

This type of play was an issue, an area of focus, in his junior career and in the AHL. I saw it at the NHL level as well.

Just my thoughts.

I like Ryan McLeod, I just think he can be a much more material player if he gets stronger and has confidence in his body – he’s a big guy.


People like to malign scouts – but the McLeod scouting report is spot on.

We can easily see why he slid out of the 1st round.

Love the player, love the pick. Love the upside.

But he definitely has some issues to work on – ie using his size to
take the body.

But really feel, he will be a great 3C one day. But he needs top 9 wingers to play with.


I heard yesterday that from rounds 4-7 only 15 players per draft make the NHL (play 100 games), those are not good odds. It means 50% of all NHL teams pick a bunch of players that will never make the NHL or be tweaners in rounds 4-7
So again, trading 2nd and 3rd round picks means you better get something for them, obviously the GM missed that memo.
This draft is like the last draft, very likely the kid who is picked in the 1sr round will make the team, someday, after that we will hear that this kid picked in the 4th was a steal, and as the years go by his name will disappear.

Scungilli Slushy

For me first and second round picks are lifeblood. You only move them for strong help that will have good timelines.

Anything after is low risk chips to improve.

For these reasons I’m not a fan of trading down very far.

Sure you get more high risk kicks at the can, but the chances of getting a solid long term NHL player aren’t nearly as good.

Studies looking have shown no team sustains pulling good players out of magic hats, not even Tampa.

You can have good runs, but nobody has the guru that can keep doing it. Stats help for sure to find hidden gems, but I still don’t think can be a strategy without the high picks.

Brantford Boy

I believe the message here is draft good players, keep good players.

Mangled Statement/Question:
Of note, Yamamoto was drafted by “the other guy”. “If” he was using math, and not swayed by the Kailer interview (cool statement), then great, but he’s gone now and so would be the analytics department. I wonder with LT’s recent string of posts, do “safe picks” (ie: Holloway) “usually” turn up well on math, the eye test, or both. If Holland isn’t a math guy, my guess is both (analytics within the scouts).

Harpers Hair

DNB has a mailbag piece up on Athletic in which he asked Holland specifically about analytics.

Holland responded by saying someone named Justin Mahe and his brother are the Oilers analytics team and that he doesn’t see a need for more.


Who are the Mahe brothers and what are their credentials?


I had recently heard about Justin before that article.

He was promoted to manager of hockey analysis during Chiarelli’s tenure, but he was in the org in a different role before that.

I won’t say much, but it doesn’t appear that we’re talking a Vegas, Seattle, Carolina, or Colorado style analytics department.

Harpers Hair

Ran across this somewhat dated image showing where analytics personnel are employed.


Mahe has been with the team since before Holland was hired. I have a family connection that knows him well and they indicated that pre Covid he would travel with the team on road trips to support the coaching staff. Not sure what/if any involvement he has in pro scouting, drafting, etc.


If I see him post-Covid I’ll see if he’ll shed any light on his role.


Thanks for this offer and for already posting what you do know.

If you don’t mind I’d like to plant a few seeds for your pending conversation… If you don’t use any of them that’s totally fine, but I wouldn’t mind learning a bit about a few angles. I’m trying to keep things general enough in nature that answering shouldn’t put him at any risk of giving away company intel.

  • I’m interested to know if they subscribe to outside firms like ClearSight or SportLogiq and analyze second hand data in-house, or work exclusively off of proprietary data?
  • Do they maintain any of the foundation previously set up by Dellow, or was everything from that era scrapped?
  • Of course, I find the chicken/egg angle impossible to ignore: do they use data to initially point out players of interest (amateur or pro), or use data to assess noteworthy players found via the eye test?

I’ll pause there for now, as I don’t want to inundate you with a barrage of questions.


I am wondering the same things.

From the Athletic article, Holland states the Justin provides him analytics for the draft and UFA’s.

I understand that they used to have their own internal analytics data though everyone involved was let go by Chiarelli with the exception of Justin.

From what I also understand, the brothers Mahe don’t have backgrounds in programming, math, or statistics. That would most likely preclude the possibility of the Oilers having their own internal data.

This raises the question of what data they might be using? I hope they’re using more than publicly available data like Naturalstattrick which has the propensity to go dark when the site owner gets hired among other reasons.


If I get the opportunity after things open up here I’ll see if I can get any insight on the questions both you and BornInAGretzkyJersey have raised.


Satan, such a beauty.

Victoria Oil

LT, thanks for reminding us of the worst trade in Oilers history (pre-Chiarelli). 🙂

Never understood why Sather traded Satan for two bags of pucks.


Low didn’t like him is what I remember. If the coach won’t play him & you don’t want to fire the coach you end up making a trade. I sat in the stands with my brother for years listening to him curse that trade every single game the Oilers lost by one goal because they couldn’t score.

It was a lot of games.

Harpers Hair

Bob Stauffer (@Bob_Stauffer) Tweeted:
Dave Tippett has often referred to pending UFA’s Adam Larsson and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins as part of the Oilers leadership core.

I believe there is a 95 % chance Larsson signs a 3 or 4 year extension.

I have RNH at 50-50 to re-sign.


I find the incongruence of ‘renting RNH’ with a 50% chance at re-signing while also stating that this isn’t the year to go for it difficult to reconcile.


Holland also speaks of these two as part of the leadership group.

3 year of Adam Larsson would be perfect – he’s only 28 and 28-32 for a tough shut-down type d-man is the prime years. I suspect a 4th year may be required to get the cap hit below $4M.

I think Nuge will get done – just my feeling/hope. He’s a prime bounce-back candidate and touches so many areas of the team. I’d be OK on term for Nuge if the cap hit is close to 5. I’d go 5 X $5.25M, for example. Nuge may not.


I wonder though. Maybe Nuge’s camp would go for somethig similar. I think you’d have to take it out to year 6, but certainly start the negotiating at 5 and see how low you can drive that annual number while talking about how difficult it is to get paid in your 30s… especially with no cap inflation between now and then.

Maybe there’s a solution there that makes Nuge happy that the team can afford.


Loved the article. In Yamamoto’s defence it is very difficult to build chemistry when your centre changes frequently. His role also changed somewhat in that he saw more penalty kill time. All in all it was a strange year!


Yama draws some penalties, but he also takes some penalties…it’s a wash….

chrisco stu

I was playing with cap friendly yesterday and thinking about Tampa’s need to shed cap next season. Does anyone think that they would consider trading Cirelli to move Killorn? I have no idea what they would want in return but maybe next years first would move the needle? That would get two birds stoned at once for Holland, 3C and 2/3LW


Killorn doesn’t have negative value IMO. I would give assets to get him.


Moving 2 of their top 6 forwards from the defending Stanley Cup champs….not sure.

If you put yourself in the TB Gm’s chair – would you make that trade?


Can’t necessarily acquire superstars, but hope you can replace the Killorns and Cirellis. Winning organizations develop players and I suspect often get more out of players like that than a middling organization.

chrisco stu

Not necessarily and I’m pretty sure I’m light on the oilers end, but I’m also not 14 mil over the cap for next year. What entry level contracts would you add from our end to make it reasonable? Broberg would make it tough for me. What about an rfa with a low-ish qualifying offer like Kahun as an additional sweetener?

chrisco stu

Also I think next years first would be enticing as a trade chip for Tampa to be able to add a substantial piece at the deadline


There may be an opportunity for something like:

Yamamoto, Bear + Lavoie + 2022 2nd for Cirelli and Sergachev


Cirelli has a 7.2M qualifying offer in a few years. Would make a great 2C though.


Maybe we should call this the Ferrari Line? I like it better than the “Mendoza Line”

I feel like some stat somewhere should be named after Barnes.