Imitation of Life

by Lowetide

The NHL imitates success with religious fervor. I always cheer for the skill teams in hopes that one day I’ll wake up and it will be 1984 all over again.

This year, the theme is ‘great goalie’ and ‘big blue’ and it may give us a clue about the summer to come in Edmonton.


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!


Carey Price is a great goalie, past his prime but still capable of carrying his team for an extended period. He’s on a heater currently and it’s going to be a big story. It’s unlikely Montreal wins the Stanley Cup, but even without it the idea of a top drawer goaltender is back in vogue.

The other trend is going to be big defensemen, but I don’t think you’ll see Quinn Hughes sent to the minors any time soon. It is true that the league called this year’s playoffs in a way where ‘big’ and ‘tough’ had added value.

How will this impact the Oilers?


  1. G Sebastian Cossa, Edmonton Oil Kings. I wrote about him as a possible Oilers pick for The Athletic in early June, and have him No. 18 on my final 2021 draft list. If you’re looking to imitate the Habs, drafting a kid from the WHL to play goal is a fine place to start.
  2. RD Dylan McIlrath, NHL free agent. He has been in the AHL for 10 years, playing just 66 games in that time. He’s 6.05, 231, is reasonably mobile for a man his size and has a great wingspan.
  3. RD Louis Crevier. A 2020 draft pick by the Chicago Blackhawks, the 6.08 defender with the wingspan of a Condor turned 20 in May and could in fact play in Bakersfield this coming season. He has reasonable wheels and would represent the first real attempt by Edmonton to Frankenstein the next Zdeno Chara.
  4. LD Alex Goligoski. He’s old (35) but mobile and can play big minutes (23 last season). He can contribute to offence and his possession plus rel numbers are solid. He would represent a nice addition to the second pair, hopefully on a short-term deal. Played for Dave Tippett and Jim Playfair in past lives.
  5. RD Adam Larsson. The other member of the third pairing, he represents the shutdown portion of the pairing. Larsson will get term, and around $4 million. He is a nasty piece of business in a good way, giving Edmonton some bite (and that’s in vogue this spring).
  6. LC Philip Danault. I’d rather trade for Nick Suzuki but that’s not going to happen. Danault is a free agent and brings bona fide two-way ability to the third line. You want to improve the bottom-six outscoring? Sign this guy.
  7. LW Andrew Cogliano. He doesn’t score anymore but still has great wheels and can play the game well. He would be a plug and play on the bottom six and can penalty kill. Also had a truly awful shooting percentage so that goal total might go up. Might be a good mentor for Ryan McLeod.
  8. LW Blake Coleman. Coleman’s aggressive style and complementary scoring should help on one of the top two lines.
  9. LW Tomas Tatar. His value seems to be taking a dive (he’s opposite Zach Hyman) so perhaps buying out Neal and trading Koskinen will allow yet another addition.
  10. LW Eric Alarie. He has some of the things we associate with a power forward and has skill, too. Edmonton might have to trade up to draft him, but he would give some aggression to the prospect group.
  11. G Linus Ullmark. Goaltending is a major piece for the Canadiens and I’ll admit there’s no obvious ‘best candidate’ this summer among the free agents available. You may have another name, I’ll freely admit Ullmark’s resume (he’s been consistently good) is the reason for the choice. If you have a better mousetrap and it brings guaranteed better results, then by all means name that mousetrap.

This would take more money than is available, so men like Zack Kassian, James Neal and Mikko Koskinen would need to be sent away, and several current RFA’s might not be signed. I don’t believe Ken Holland will be as aggressive and I’m not convinced all of these moves benefit Edmonton.

However, if you’re looking to go as far as possible in the playoffs next spring, and with the understanding Dylan Holloway is likely to be contributing in Edmonton by the end of the 2021-22 season, this team has a good chance to go deep as long as the NHL is calling the game the same way 2022 spring.


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Scungilli Slushy

You can sign Hamilton fill out LW and get a goalie.

It depends on your philosophy, Ive done it multiple times using Capfriendly so the numbers are legit. Using contract values bandied about here and elsewhere, no unrealistic numbers.

I wouldn’t pay for a Hall and run a weaker D Corp. I don’t think it will work in the playoffs.

For example Debrusk and Coleman or whoever, at a similar cap hit to a Hall type, or more expensive LW, and playing in front of better D will be a better outcome and I feel will stay productive in any game style, with better support from the back.

We’ve seen this forever with the Oilers, lots of talent up front and so thin it doesn’t work when things get tough.

Look at the Jets. Painfully slow build, so much depth and talent, and the unforeseen crashes it.

They lose 3 top D and everything changes.

They may recover, despite thinking they are a dynasty emerging, but aren’t in a better cap situation than the Oilers. And don’t have the same top level.

The point is there are no guarantees of sustain and limited at bats with elite talent if you are so lucky.

Limited at bats in general, each season is a dog year in pro sports.

Get a goalie, load up the D, get some two way forwards that aren’t puck averse and have a harder style.


Larsson was every bit as good this season as he was in 2016/17 – in my opinion.

2RD and PK1 – same role this past year as 2016/17 – somewhat of a feature role.

Lets not forget that he plays predominantly without McDavid – that is a material factor.

He’s also 28. He’s not 29 until November.


While I appreciate the POV of Georgexs and the other posters railing against Larsson at $4M X 4, I’m generally OK with a re-sign.

Larsson (and Klefbom) did have a couple of ugly GF% seasons before this one, there’s no question about it.

In terms of 20-21 though, Larsson had a pretty good year. And the (lack of) McDavid minutes are a fairly big factor in how it looks on the surface (he only played about 16% of his minutes with McDavid)

McDavid—–Larsson– 147min 55%SF 56%GF 56%xGF 49%OZstarts
McDavid-no-Larsson– 791min 55%SF 57%GF 57%xGF 64%OZstarts
Larsson-no-McDavid– 788min 45%SF 45%GF 46%xGF 36%OZstarts
No-McDavid-Larsson 1014min 44%SF 41%GF 44%xGF 49%OZstarts

McDavid had virtually the same results with and without Larsson, despite facing much harsher zone starts when with Larsson.

And with McDavid off the ice, the Oilers were a shade better with Larsson than without, even though ‘with Larsson’ was again seeing more DZ starts.

That’s a pretty good season. And Larsson did it while playing with a rotating cast of ‘not a 2nd pairing Dman’ as his partner.

Anyway, there’s also lots of risk here, so I guess we’ll see how it works out in the end.

Harpers Hair

NHL Network (@NHLNetwork) Tweeted:
The big free agent of the summer could possibly end up in Seattle.

(Elliotte Friedman video)


So so so glad you did not put Kulikov on the list of possible targets LT. Ffs. Winnipeg has no dmen and ditched him anyway….why? Cause he sucks…I was so disappointed to see us waste a pick on him…but it’s a mistake that can be fixed by not signing him…not sure what you peeps see in the guy…not watching the same games I watch…and, if you want him signed because of good Analytics, you need to re-think your game. I watched him nightly in Winnipeg, and by eye test he is at very best a 3rd pair dman who can occasionally play 2nd pair. Other teams cast offs are not the pile that the Oilers should be digging in…just another glaring example of poor pro scouting.


He was a cough up machine next man up please.



 June 19, 2021 8:30 pm

Does anyone here think the Oil can win the cup with Bear, Larson, and Bouchard as the right D? I don’t. And, if you don’t, then it’s not good enough for next year either. The last good run was over a generation ago. Need to aim higher. Those three are collectively too slow/can’t break the cycle enough.




 Reply to Glovjuice

 June 19, 2021 8:45 pm

There aren’t enough moves this summer to upgrade at RHD and still improve in other areas. If you sign Dougie Hamilton and then a second pairing defender (I’ll chose Larsson you may prefer someone else) and then Bouchard, we might be talking Stanley Cup calibre. However your LW depth chart is expansion quality. I’m not sure why there’s this sense of impending doom around the Oilers. They are building. Your rage over the last 15 years can’t be considered when making moves this summer. It’s beyond counterproductive, it’s toxic.

I think this was posted in yesterday’s thread by accident so I will bring it over.

To the first question, there is a reasonable chance that Bouchard could fit in very well as Nurse’s partner for 2022/23 (heck, maybe earlier). Nurse has proven to shine his partners and Larsson, Bear as 2/3 RD is pretty good.

To LT’s response on expansion like left side if they sign Hamilton – what if Klef is back?


That’s pretty good, in particular if Hamilton/Larsson/Bouchard is the right side and Bear is moved for some help elsewhere.

Harpers Hair

Pretty good chance Jones is gone in the expansion draft.

Likely 50-50 Klefbom doesn’t return.

Samorukov hasn’t played a game in the NHL.

Russell isn’t very good.

Laggesson is worse.

Changes the calculus pretty quickly doesn’t it?


“What if Klef is back?”.

That was the question.


30 million in cap space changes the calculus pretty quickly then


Always the optimist, eh?


No, but ALWAYS the balanced take on the Oilers.

Harpers Hair

A pessimist is nothing more than an optimist with more information.


Idk, I spent a lot of time myself as a pessimist and hindsight just makes me feel like an ass*. This is not a dig but an honest reflection.

Last edited 1 month ago by Dac189

nice try but we’re all aware of your “track record” lol


So what do you actually think of Kulikov?

Do you really think he’s useless?

Do you think he’s pretty good, so you hope the Oilers don’t sign him?

Or just sewing discontent?


Hamilton will be expensive, of course but, in your scenario, Larsson is signed so, for next season:

– Hamilton/Larsson/Bouch – apx $13M
– Nurse/Klef/3LD – apx $12M

Nurse gets a $2.5M raise for 2022/23 but perhaps Sammy develops well in the NHL next season and has a shot at 2LD that season and Klef can be moved at that time.


and, if he isn’t healthy, that changes things.

Thankfully, Holland should have a decent indication in the next month or so.

Harpers Hair

Hamilton will have picked a destination by then.


Well, that was a finish……..

That was also so not a penalty on Hedman….

Gerta Rauss

That was quite the finish


Save of the year.


Wow, what a brutal dive by Clutterbuck that the idiot ref falls for and calls.


Lou >> Forum ghosts.


Obviously the raise that Nurse is going to get next year needs to be budgeted into Holland’s planning for this year. Is it going to be 8x$8M like Bob says?


Yes, for sure, Holland needs to look at future implications of moves, not just next season. He intimated as such at his season end presser (although he also mentioned that you can’t plan out more than a couple of years in the future – I didn’t necessarily agree with him there).

In any event, I’m hoping that Nurse comes in under $8MM but it very well could be $8MM. At least we are starting from $5.6MM – its not like its going to be a Makar or MacKinnon or a Petersson or Hughes type raise.


I missed the 1st half of the game but the 2nd half of the 2nd period was a clinic by NYI. Made the Cheaters from TB look like Buffalo in the midst of a 9 game losing streak.


I still hate the Islanders especially Billy Smith.


How risky do you feel this plan is? There is risk that Larsson signs elsewhere and the Oilers don’t secure Hamilton.

Last edited 1 month ago by Sierra

Yes, that is indeed the risk but, given teams are permitted to speak with Hamilton’s people, a Hamilton deal could be done prior to free agency as a sign and trade – of course, now there is an asset out part to the transaction, in addition to the big cap expenditure.


The Canadians are a lot like the 2006 Oilers.

When they were healthy, they gave everyone in the North fits. They are deeper than most teams. The bottom of the roster breaks any momentum the more skilled top of the roster of the opposition creates. And then Price. It is a team built to maximize the impact of Price.

Tampa probably awaits. The Forum ghosts will have their work cut out for them.


Oh that Webber guy used to be elite but he’s still pretty good. Not quite CFP but legit big body who plays tough and mean.


Last great song by REM.

Combines, draft skill
Search for balance, named by a poet
Imitation of life
Like a Roy on a frozen pond
Like a Maple Leaf in a fish bowl
I don’t want to hear you cry

That playoff beard that looked real good
Those Canadiens, that’s Hollywood
Come on, come on, no one can see you try

[Verse 2]
You want the greatest run
The greatest run since glory days
You’ve got McDavid , you’ve got it sized
Like a Friday LT blog commenter
Lurking in the corner
Trying to look like you don’t try


I agree.

If you can get Hamilton to come here it’s a no brainer. Hamilton-Bouchard-Bear is championship caliber. If Larsson is coming back, 4 x 4 is too much. He will be a third pairing D on the back half of that deal.


Depending on the cap hit for Hamilton this seriously hampers the teams ability to re-sign Nurse moving forward as well as restricting the money available for the forward acquisitions required. It seems to me what we would get into is a similar situation with our D that we have with our forward group. There would be precious little left to pay our second and third pairing D similar to the lack of cap to upgrade our third and fourth line forwards. It is a delicate balance given the flat cap scenario.


The Oilers have Broberg and Samorukov to break in in the next few years. When Buffalo was dominant under Ruff, James Patrick ran a finishing school on the 3rd pair for all the rookie D.


Very important imo.


Larsson is likely to be 3rd pairing in the back half but that’s no sure thing. He’s only 28 today and will likely still be priming for at least a few years – I don’t expect a ton of regression over the term.

He will likely be 3rd pairing but due to being passed by Bouch and/or Bear but there is no surety on either of those passing him, in particular Bear – we just don’t know. If he is passed, my goodness having Adam Larsson as 3RD and PK and injury cover – that’s championship level depth.

Lets not forget, as of today, there are no prospects coming in behind those named on the right side. Berglund is coming over but what is he? Kesselring is at least two full AHL seasons away from the conversation and Kemp, well, realistically, he’s unlikely to make it.

Yes, I know, both Broberg and Sammy have played the right side in Europe and I remain convinced that means very little with respect to the NHL – different skill level, different game, different ice size.


There is value in having a seasoned professional mentoring and paired with a rookie D. This is particularly true if you want the pairing to hold their own in other than protected shifts. This also allows a veteran able to move up in the event of an injury or game misconduct to one of your top four! The cost of a veteran rookie pairing on the third pairing balances out for the most part and in my opinion is a value both to the team and the rookie D!

Paddy Morans Jockstrap

This is exactly what we have to do. Get a RHD to play big minutes against tough opposition with Nurse, and then use Lars and a guy like Kulikov to break in 2 kids (Bouch and Sammy) in the bottom pairs during the regular season. We can get a rental for the playoffs to bump one of the kids down. Lars can babysit Broburg the following season. There’s no time to screw around as we must get these young dmen into the lineup ASAP.

Only other way is to start Bear with Nurse for the first 20 games and then move Bouch up there for the rest of the regular season with Bear going down to 3rd pair. Bouchard won’t be any worse defensively than Barrie. Again, get a vet for the playoffs.

Brewha Ha

Stop. Don’t put Kulikov anywhere near the young Dmen. Ffs. Might as well get Andrew Ferrence to teach them. Grrrrr…


Personally, I don’t care how the cap is allocated among the 23 on the active roster.

Having a $4M 3rd pairing d-man (Russell this past season) is not ideal but, if there is a $2M 1st pairing d-man (Bear), its off-set.

We are dealing with a $6.5M 4th liner/extra forward (Neal including the Lucic retain) – its not ideal but its someone off-set by 1 and 2 right wing at a combined $2M this past year.

Of course, stopping overpaying players would be ideal – this is the issue with Coleman at $4M as he’s really a 3rd line winger we’d ask to play in the top 6. Same with Hyman at $5.5M, he’s not a 1st line talent.


Yes, of course, I’d let Larsson walk in the name of Hamilton but I think the chances of Hamilton coming to Edmoton are tiny.

Paddy Morans Jockstrap

But there is a big difference between having played top pair and actually being top pair. Bear may be best suited to 2nd pair eventually, but on a good team he should still be on 3rd pair with a big cycle breaker. He’s just not there yet as a top 4 guy and playing him over his head won’t get him there or benefit the team. I like the guy but if we could trade Bear for a bigger top pair capable dman, I would do that in a heartbeat, and the right side would be set with that guy, Bouch and Lars.

Wonder Llama

Well, they are filled with passionate intensity.


Is one of the those veterans Larsson?


If the Canadien wins it all, pretty sure the narrative would change in a hurry to the North being an incredible competitive division with no weak sister teams <last place team got 51 points> and two superstar teams.

Paddy Morans Jockstrap

….and so it was with Coffey. I’ve got zero issues with a bigger skilled dman like Bouchard. But we’ve only got room for 2 small guys (Yamo, Archie) who play much bigger. All the rest (Nygard, Haas, Kahun, Ennis and maybe even RNH get flushed). It’s not only size, we needs guys with size, speed and skill. Plus McDavid better engage his inner Bobby Clark if he wants to win in the playoffs.


The question surrounding Evan Bouchard will first be skating (agility and acceleration), and getting exploit with dump-ins .

The guy is 6’3 and has upper body strength in his big slapper so toughness should not be a big problem. If he takes Barrie’s spot in the McDrai line and play with Nurse toughness is less of a problem.

Based on Tipps comment after Bouchard did play, trying to play an efficient game
(fancy word for not moving much?) is still a feature in Bouchard’s game.


Shouldn’t that be the narrative anyhow? What is the evidence that the North was the least competitive division?


Oh Ottawa was the laughing stock initially, and Canuck had 20 players on COVID leave for a month. Yet somehow all the North teams seemingly get good parity with them.


What is the evidence that the North was the least competitive division?

As I posted a while back, the teams that make up the West Division had far and away the worst aggregate record and goal differential in 19-20.

Vegas and the Avs are legitimately good teams, but they feasted on a bunch of the league’s weaker teams this season.


The Oilers present circumstances are a bit precarious for Holland. It reminds me of going on a family vacation, everyone has waited for so long and has expectations of a good time. But everyone has slightly different tastes and ideas about what is fun and there will be mishaps along the way. Here’s hoping for a good off-season and that things open up with good summer vacations for all.

Last edited 1 month ago by TheGreatBigMac
Bag of Pucks

The pool table shape setup is a top shelf analogy for prudent management.

Unfortunately, after a decade plus of sewering on the 8 ball, Oiler fans want Kenny to run the table.

Paul Newman as Eddie Felson. One of the top 10 characters in movie history?


Excellent analysis.

I hadn’t heard those comments from Holland about goal differential but they seem to fit with much of what I have heard from him.

There were a lot of things that needed fixing when he got here and he has chipped away as circumstances have presented themselves while waiting for the mess to clear enough to be more aggressive.


Go HERE and register for the upcoming Oilers season. 


Only 106 days left!


Although I agree with the importance of top shelf goaltending and big defenders, the common trait I see in the final four teams in incredible forward depth. Each of their fourth lines outmatches our third. This is where the Oilers are furthest from the contending teams and why I keep suggesting RNH should be our third line center. In this world, we are in need of two left and a right wing (and a goalie of course), but I think this would give us the best chance of improving 5×5.


The problem I have with Nuge playing 3C is cap hit.

For me that spot needs to come in at a range from $3.5 to $4.5 M depending on which player.

I don’t see Nuge signing for that.

Brewha Ha

Think Adam Lowry… not Nugent-Hopkins when looking for a 3C.


There is a decent chance that Vegas is looking at Caleb Jones or Tyler Benson.

To the extent their Oilers’ option doesn’t interest them in the name of being competitive right away (they will have lots of solid D available and Jones may not make their top 6), would Francis be interested in a deal where he gets an asset to take Kassian or Mikko?

How expensive would that be for the Oilers?


I don’t think it’s far fetched to think Seattle could pick Kassian even without a sweetener (if he’s even exposed).

It all depends on what Francis values. As you say there will be tons of D available. Will Jones stick out among them?

And if he wants to build with size and speed Kassian may appeal more than Benson.

I still think Jones and Benson are the more likely pics, but I don’t think it’s clear cut.


That would be AMAZING – I can’t imagine Kassian being selected but that’s a better fantasy scenario than the Kraken signing Barrie in their negotiating window.

Even though disposing of Kass’ $3MM clean would be a boon, in my opinion, I’m still not sure management wouldn’t protect him – would they be happy if he and his $3MM (times 3) were removed? I’m not so sure.

Moonlight Overthrow

If Kassian is moved without any impact to future years, I’m going streaking through the quad up to the gymnasium.


I am going to grit my teeth when he, and his negative value contract, are on the protected list…..


Even though disposing of Kass’ $3MM clean would be a boon, in my opinion, I’m still not sure management wouldn’t protect him – would they be happy if he and his $3MM (times 3) were removed? I’m not so sure.

Yeah I agree it’s quite likely he’s protected. He was 6th among forwards in TOI vs Winnipeg, it seems that Tippett (and presumably Holland) still values him.


Remember when we were all a bit surprised that the Jesse Puljujarvi contract had the 2nd year? If it was only a one year deal, as anticipated, what type of contract would we be looking at for Jesse this off-season?

Great work by Holland there.

Bag of Pucks

Why would French Canadian Danault leave a current Cup contender where he plays with skill Ws and is a key part of the leadership core to be the 3C on the depth chart and likely play with plugs in Edmonton? That kind of sell job would take a massive overpay.


Man there must be something you haven’t criticized yet this morning.

I believe the comment was “if you want scoring in your bottom six, sign this guy”. They are just suggestions and ideas. Further wording was too the effect “if you don’t like these choices pony up with your own”


Pardon me, I didn’t see Johns post. I’m reading backwards from top down.


There are accounts that contract discussions between Danault and management have not gone well.

Danault would be sublime for the Oilers but i do agree it would take $6M plus to acquire him (and for term) and that is no bueno.

John Chambers

Assuming the Oilers sign Nuge to an AAV of ~$6M, and clear cap some other way (eg Neal buyout), Holland will have money available for ONE significant luxury.

Clearly LW could stand to be addressed, or 2LD or a major move in goal.

Value-for-money wise I like the idea of Philip Danault as this summer’s luxury. Having an ace in your bottom-6 should elevate his linemates and help solve the Oilers major problem which is forward depth.

Danault won’t score as many points as Hall or Saad or Schwartz (although he might), but his utility would help alleviate the burden of minutes on 97 & 29, get more out your 3rd line, and provide cover for the top-6 in case of injury.


The province of Quebec is not letting go of the only Francophone player currently on the team. Be prepared to offer 6 million + to get him out of Montreal.


I don’t see him coming here to play 3C when he’s already on record saying he isn’t happy in that spot in MTL.

What we need is a mid-career Jeff Carter type of trade.

John Chambers

Yeah it would take an overpay for sure. He’s going to get Pageau / Kyle Turris money.

Im arguing that a Danault-type would improve the team far more than say a Taylor Hall.


A true shutdown centre would be great. That would open up some cleaner air for Connor’s and Leon’s lines.

But he’d need competent and complimentary wingers. Maybe Archibald fits the bill, but I’d prefer he was on the fourth line. Do we have anyone who fits that bill?

Moonlight Overthrow

Next year’s cap space really depends on how active Holland want to be, and to what extent he will consider adding to the dead cap in the future. For example:

Trade Koskinen with retention. Is he moveable with $1.5M retained and a $3.0M cap hit?
Find a new home for Kassian. The general consensus is that there’s a market for him.
Buyout Neal, reluctantly. This hurts, but may be a necessity.

That opens up quite a bit of space. Enough to address goaltending (Ullmark), a cost effective 3C (McLeod via trade), and a significant add up front (Reinhart via trade).

Hard to say what will happen on D until a decision is made with Klefbom.

Edit: this assumes Nuge is also re-signed.

Last edited 1 month ago by Moonlight Overthrow

Klefbom’s status for this season is a major gating issue vis-a-vis off-sesaon roster procurement. We just don’t know what we don’t know right now. We likely will know more come mid-July and Holland likely knows more than us now and will know more than us in mid-July.

I’m not sure $1.5M retained on Mikko is enough – the entire 50% is likely necessary.

If Kassian can be disposed of “clean” it must be done. Yes, the team would miss the player that Kassian “can be” or “could be” but that player seems long gone and $3.2M X 3 buys much more than Kassian has been bringing.

I know Burke is in Pit now and the Rangers and Caps have Wilson-fear but I am still not positive he can be moved clean. With $1M retained, I think there is a market.

I wonder about Kass with $1M retained and a meh prospect for DeBrusk.

Moonlight Overthrow

You may be right on Kassian, but minimizing the dead cap moving forward is a priority.

If we’re talking potential Neal buyout and retention on both Kassian and Koskinen, that’s too much negative impact on future years. I would tolerate retention on a Koskinen deal as it’s only one year, but Kassian’s is too long.

I would prefer to add a prospect to Kassian in order to dump his contract entirely.

Decidedly Skeptical Fan

If they give Nuge $6M with term, they’ve already made one mistake.

If you are looking for a significant luxury and think Danault is it, you are shopping in the wrong store. Aim higher.

Randle McMurphy

I’ll leave you all with this for today.

The Warm Up:
June 20: Summer’s here! 18 hours and 49 minutes of daylight!
June 21-27: Temps 26,25,27,28,26,27,25
June 25: Schools out for Summer!

Game DAY:
Game ON! (God’s Speed Kenny)
July 1: Resteraunts and Bars are OPEN
July 9: Last possible day of Stanley Cup Final.
July 17: Deadline for teams to submit protected lists 2021 NHL Expansion Draft (5PM ET).
July 21: 2021 NHL Expansion Draft (8 p.m. ET). (My wifes birthday;she’ll be thrilled 😉 )
July 23: First round of 2021 NHL Draft.
July 24: Rounds 2-7 of 2021 NHL Draft.
July 28: Restricted free agent/unrestricted free agent signing period begins (12 p.m. ET).


OH What a Feelin!
What a Rush!

Last edited 1 month ago by Randle McMurphy
Randle McMurphy

18 hours and 49 minutes of daylight!

Think I’ll watch Al Pacino and Robin Williams in “Insomnia”

Last edited 1 month ago by Randle McMurphy
Bag of Pucks

Underrated film. Recently rewatched a lot of the early Nolan movies after enjoying Tenet thoroughly. Was surprised how much more I enjoyed Insomnia on second viewing. Ironically, I was probably too tired the first time I watched it!


I like the original with subtitles.

Bag of Pucks

In last night’s game, the Canadians had 4 minor penalties against while the Knights had 2 minors called. Shots were 45-27 in favour of the Knights.

The brilliance of this reffing conspiracy is how well they disguise it.

Anecdotal dog whistles are not proof of hypothesis. Just saying.


Wonder how many teams still think goalering is a place to save money?


Be interesting to see if Bobrovsky rebounds.

Bag of Pucks

For 100+ years, hockey fans have been complaining about or blaming the refereeing when the teams they like don’t win.

What I find most galling about this “the refs want to penalize the skill teams” conspiracy theory is the Habs and Islanders have tons of skill players. In fact I would argue that the Habs may have better skill in the bottom 6 than their opposition and that’s been a crucial factor in this series.

Eric Staal is a former 100 point player in this league and Perry a former 50 goal scorer. That’s elite level skill in the bottom 6. But yeah, they must be clutching and grabbing to keep up.


The refs penalize the skill teams the NHL would like to see not advance. Pretty easy to see, I mean was McDavid not clutched, grabbed, interfered with every stride? The Jets were allowed to play rugby, McDavid somehow didn’t draw one single penalty. That’s all you need to know, it’s not a conspiracy theory when the facts make it a reality.

Maybe the Jets would of still won if the refs called infractions commited against McDavid, but maybe it would of opened up the ice if the Jets weren’t allowed to hang off of his neck like a horse collar.

Bag of Pucks

A league wide conspiracy conclusion based on the 1 series you watched.

Confirmation Bias is to Conspiracy Theories as Powerplay Dependency is to Early Playoff Exits?

Randle McMurphy

The officiating will improve dramatically the year we win the cup. 😉

Funny Bissonness

Brett Hull scored 86. But I imagine he’d have a hard time keeping up too. Age matters.

Bag of Pucks

It’s a possible narrative to float alright. Not seeing it slanted towards one team over another when I watch the games though. Nor am I seeing the Knights or Lightning complain about the reffing or holding. Neither did the Oilers for that matter.

Funny Bissonness

I agree. I don’t think there’s a conspiracy against the skill teams. I do think the nhl needs to re-think how refs handle penalties in the playoffs.

I was really just pointing out that a 10 year old 50 goal season, and a 15 year old 100 pointer don’t have much relevance in today’s nhl playoffs.

Bag of Pucks

Fair point.


Actually the older veterans are given a break by the officials on a routine basis. It is why Weber for example can get away with almost anything. Remarks like a certain official made a few years back in the Edmonton Anaheim series is a prime example.


Only losers always complain about the Reffing.


I wouldn’t use the word ‘discrepancy’ rather than ‘conspiracy.’

In the first round of the playoffs, there was a massive discrepancy in terms of how different series were called in terms of penalties called per game.

Moonlight Overthrow


Refs seem to manage the game in the regular season, but not in the post season. They do too much of a 180 in the spirit of “playoff hockey”. It’s odd.


Yes, those are high end players in their bottom six which, of course, are no longer high end players.

If Eric Staal gets credit for his 100 point seasons in this discussion then James Neal gets credit for 40 goals, right?

Randle McMurphy

 Will the NHL be calling the game the same way 2022 spring?

Yes. Yes they will.

Death, Taxes and NHL Officiating

Last edited 1 month ago by Randle McMurphy
Randle McMurphy

Controversial Officating 103 years and counting….


Something tells me they like it that way.

Last edited 1 month ago by Randle McMurphy
Randle McMurphy

The NHL’s Official Theme Song

Dave Clarke Five

The Name of the Game is I Like It Like That.

Good old rock n’ roll with a bit of harsh, in-your-face vocals.


This is the biggest sure bet I’ve read on this blog in a long time.

Bag of Pucks

Might be borderline insulting to give a player video of a younger pro, but if I’m Tippett, I’m giving Yamamoto some Caufield footage to study.

If you’re a smurf, you’ve got to read the play, find open space, and master the quick release.

Kailer plays like he wants to be Brad Marchand sometimes. It’s an admirable ambition, but he’d be better served being a stealth bomber in open ice as opposed to cannon fodder in traffic.

Randle McMurphy

Yamamoto is young. Confidence plays a huge role.

He is a prime candidate to be a “win” for Kenny if he rebounds.

Might be one the teams best value contracts next year at 2 x 2.1m

Last edited 1 month ago by Randle McMurphy

Its very hard to teach instincts and reflexes Caulfield is wired to find the soft areas where he gets off his deceiving shot.

Randle McMurphy

Agreed that they are two very different players.

Yamo skates miles and forechecks hard. He compliments skill.

If we’re lucky, he learns to score goals somewhat like Brendan Gallagher does.

If you can’t shoot the pill, smash the watermelon.

Last edited 1 month ago by Randle McMurphy

That’s a great comparison Gallagher is a tough little sob and he has the missing teeth to prove it.


Yamo just needs a little more lift on his shot – he got a ton of chance from the high danger areas this year, but his shots were always low and into the goalies pads.
If he puts in some work with a shooting coach this off-season, that should correct itself. Yamo is one of the few players on the teams that routinely gets to those high danger areas – I think that’s pretty encouraging at this stage of his development.

Randle McMurphy

Anyone notice the Ottawa Senators L/C Nick Paul over the last 20 games of the season.

The guy looked really good.

56gp 5g 15a 20pts +5 TOI 16:05 CF% 50 oZS% 38
Age 26 6′ 4″ 230lbs
FO% 52.1

Bag of Pucks

It’s an odd narrative. Montreal gets outshot by a massive margin but is also benefitting from preferential refereeing. Doubt Corey Perry is buying it this morning.

When I watch the Canadians and Islanders this playoff, I’m not seeing clutch and grab worthy of Lemaire’s Devils. I’m seeing two incredibly hard working and disciplined teams that play with structure and physicality. Sometimes they forecheck aggressively. Sometimes they’re clogging the middle. It depends on the game state. That’s hockey.

Stellar goaltending. Opportunistic offense. Every player on the roster committed. It’s the winning formula. Has that ever changed?

What’s fascinating to see is the analytics driven “never draft a goalie in the first round” meme being outvoted in real time. This follows the death of the “never draft D in the top 5” saw.

Analytics has given us some absolutes that hold up. Possession wins out over time. High danger chances outweigh perimeter corsi advantage. Etc.

When it it comes to the draft however, absolutes are proving harder to pin down.


Vasilevskiy was drafted in the first round in the awful 2012 draft.

Price and Rask were drafted in the first round of the 2005 draft, which was a weak draft once one got past Crosby.

A weak draft shifts the risk reward in drafting a goaltender higher. Good scouting staffs recognize the weakness of the draft, and it lifts up the goaltenders in their rankings.

We’re talking goaltenders for the OIlers because we really don’t know the quality or depth of the draft because of Covid and the lack of hockey for the prospects.

Bag of Pucks

Agreed. But I also look at a team like the Capitals. Twice (Kolzig, Samsonov), they drafted Gs who fell on draft boards. Why. Because using a 1st rounder on a Euro goalie seems crazy to a more conservative organization.

The key to making this position work is always having viable prospects in the pipeline, from the farm to the backup. Are the Oil there yet? Not even close imo.

Last edited 1 month ago by Bag of Pucks

Where did Yzerman get the pick that became Vasilevskiy?

Harpers Hair


I have vague memories of Holland paying some pretty hefty deadline prices for some very underwhelming players back in his Detroit days.

He spent a 1st round pick for Kyle Quincey. That’s some hefty coin for a guy who played on the bottom pairing during the playoffs that year.


Analytics has given us some absolutes that hold up Possession wins out over time. High danger chances outweigh perimeter corsi advantage.

Not sure either of those two examples required much in the way of analysis let alone analytics. I think a moment’s thought gets you to the same conclusion. 😉

The reason I want the Oilers to get nastier is because what we are watching from the NYI & the Canadiens is really just Sutter hockey and we will be playing them 6-7 times for seasons to come. As I have mentioned before I don’t like Sutter as a HC because he makes his players play that way all season leaving them with no extra gear come playoffs but make no mistake that this is the game he demands & the Oilers are not equipped as currently constructed to handle it imo.


All depends on the officiating. Without the Bettman points Montreal may not have even made the playoffs. In the Winnipeg series Yamamoto was interfered with almost as much as Connor. I have boycotted the NHL since the first round. NHL centre ice will also be a thing of the past for me.


The non-call on Perry was simply karma catching up with him. He’s well know to fake getting high sticked, including several notable examples this season against Edmonton. The refs have probably become conditioned to assume that he’s just faking it again

Bag of Pucks

He’s a douchebag alright. Wish the Oilers bottom 6 had 3 just like him!

The goalposts move so much on the reffing criticism, it’s hard to know where the narratives end and the argument start. If the argument is they should call the rulebook verbatim, then Corey gets the call but not the unwritten double minor upgrade for drawing blood. But if the Habs get a powerplay in OT, that’s proof the refs want Montreal (the allegedly non skill team) to win.

So the conspiracy theorist wins either way. They’re not calling the rulebook OR they’re calling the preferred team.


Does analytics really hold up that argument about never drafting a goalie in the first round. I always thought it was an irrational fear of goalies that led to that mantra.

Almost all of the best goalies of the past 30 years or so have been drafted in the first round and the few greats that weren’t were drafted in later rounds out of Europe, which doesn’t really happen anymore. How many greatest of all time contenders were not drafted in the first round or even the 2nd round?

Top 32 Picks (First Round in today’s world):
Martin Brodeur (#20), Roberto Luongo (#4), Grant Fuhr (#8), Tom Barrasso (#5), Olaf Kolzig (#19), Carey Price (#5), Cam Ward (#25), Kari Lehtonen (#2), Jocelyn Thibault (#10), Tukka Rask (#21), Devyn Dubnyk (#14), Semyon Varlamov (#23), Corey Schneider (#9), Jonathan Bernier (#11), Jacob Markstrom (#31), Miko Koskinen (#31, okay maybe not this one), Marc Andre Fleury (#1), Jack Campbell (#11), Andrei Vasilevski (#19), Ilya Samsonov (#22), Jake Oettinger (#26), Spencer Knight (#13), Sean Burke (#24), Mike Richter (#28), Dan Bouchard (#27), Felix Potvin (#31)

Some of the other greats may not have been drafted in the first but they were drafted fairly high: Patrick Roy (#51), Jonathan Quick (#72), Chris Osgood (#54). And nobody is picking up European players in the late rounds anymore like Hasek, Lundqvist, Rinne, Khabibulin, Kiprusoff, or Nabokov. The European leagues are too well scouted now for that to happen and the stats available are too advanced.

There are very few superstar goalies who were not drafted high or stolen from Europe when that was a thing. I think, in today’s prospect market, you have to draft your star goalies high, or you simply won’t get one, or you’ll have to sign one or trade for one later at a very steep cost. Which is why, if Cossa is there, they should draft him. And it might go a long way to convincing McDavid, Draisaitl and others to re-sign once their contracts are up.

Bag of Pucks

I never bought into it but you can find reams of threads in LT’s archives where the number crunchers argue adamantly against drafting a G in the first round. Much of it seems to boil down to “voodoo” so you’re probably right that fear and superstition plays a part. 😈

Drafting Grant Fuhr in round one when they already had an emerging Moog certainly served Slats well.


The elite goalies arrive much earlier.


Haha, yup, and if you don’t pick a goalie, you won’t have a goalie 5 years from now.


I’ve noticed I’ve left some pretty big Stanley Cup-winning names out. First Round Goalies: Ken Dryden (#14), Jean-Sebastien Giguere (#13), 2nd Round goalies: Corey Crawford (#52), Bill Ranford (#52), and Mike Vernon (#56).


Dylan McIlrath would not be a bad depth signing to be #4RD, behind Bouchard, Bear, and Larsson.

If Klefbom cannot come back, I think the OIlers should go “opposite George” and target Sam Girard. Say Samorukov and the 2022 #1.


I would agree with Sam Girard being a nice potential target.

He’s 3rd in TOI for all states dmen on the Avalanche.

He’s not likely to be available, however. Joe likes to add to the top of the deck, so that Avs would have to acquire someone better than Girard to push him down before they’d trade him.

Maybe Joe decides he needs a little more size in the top four with neither Tows Mycar being particularly big.

Harpers Hair

More likely they will pair Girard with a bigger defenseman.
Missing Erik Johnson was a pretty big deal for the Avalanche.

Unless somehow moved at the expansion draft he should slide in pretty easily on the second pair.


Yeah, Joe likes the small speedy puck mover paired with a large cycle breaker d.

Nemeth was a bit of a rare misstep by Joe. He was a complete liability on the bottom pairing.

Losing Johnson and Kadri also hurt the avs. That’s how it goes.


Why would the Oilers pay such a price for Girard when top pairing d-man Ryan Graves might be left unprotected and should be acquirable on the cheap?

In all seriousness, I like Mike Riley as a 2LD stop gap if no Klef – he may require too much term though.


Girard is 23 with a beauty of a contract. 6 years @ $5 million. Nurse and Broberg are huge.

Girard solves the problem of developing Broberg and Samorukov simultaneously.

Short term

Nurse Bear
Girard Larsson
Kulikov/Russell/etc Bouchard

Medium term

Nurse Bouchard
Girard Larsson
Broberg Bear

And then one is hoping one of Berglund, Kesselring, or Kemp (or future draft pick) pop to challenge Bear and/or replace Larsson


My post was not serious as, clearly, Graves is not a top pairing d-man.

I don’t forese the Oilers acquiring Girard.

buck yoakam

craig button called the refereeing possibly the worst he has ever seen last night…not just the perry bs non call but lack of many others…hard not to think there is an underlying desire to see the US teams prevail…I cant in my heart believe that but damn…I totally get the playoff hockey thing but there have been so many inconsistencies it is embarrassing…there has to be some accountability other than slapping wrists and firing the one ref who told it like it is…brutal…actually sickening…and I think any monkey could do a better job with the players safety ( what a f*****ng joke ) dept…thanks..I needed to get that off my chest…sorry guys!


You’ll notice that the PA never seems too concerned either. I find that even more peculiar than that the league doesn’t care.

Randle McMurphy

Great point.


I tuned into the game in OT and saw two brutal missed calls within the first five minutes of watching. The NHL doesn’t need an American bias for bullshit reffing. It’s the NHL way.


Perry’s been punking the refs for years pretending like his eyes have been gouged out by phantom high sticks. The non-call was earned. The refs aren’t going to treat him any differently than before.

buck yoakam

so in order to pay him back they disregard the most obvious call I have seen lately?…find that a little hard to believe even though I understand where you are coming from…does not send a great message to the kids out there watching…


Perry’s a gamer if you don’t think he’s not going to use the get out of jail free card he know has because of the missed call means you haven’t been paying attention.

Victoria Oil

Just think, we will be able to tell our grandkids that we remember the days when they actually called penalties in the playoffs.


Perry’s theatrics caught up to him last night, I don’t think refs thought he even got hit by the stick as it happened so fast.

buck yoakam

ok so now its big time wrestling and he has a razor blade in his pocket?…


I thought the puck hit in the face from the initial angle.

Randle McMurphy

Louis Crevier

6’8″ at 209lbs is “bone skinny”

Jamie Olesiak 6’7″ 255lbs

Dustin Byfuglien 6’5″ 260lbs

Last edited 1 month ago by Randle McMurphy
Doug McLachlan

LT when you do your CapFriendly roster guesses do you eyeball the prospective salaries or do you go to a site like Evolving Hockey?


I’m with you on cheering for the skill teams. Besides being more fun to watch it is always my hope that the Oilers would emulate them rather than some grind it out chop the puck into little pieces team. Suzuki and Caufield are fun at least.


The key is to do a bit of both, no?


Yes. Balance in hockey and in life is important.


That is the winning strategy imo. A little of this, a little of that.


Am jumping on the Habs bandwagon.

Who would have thought those rabid rats would be representing the North Division with such elan?

They play 2006 style let goalie stop everything in sight and go for the greasy goals.

Meanwhile, Oilers wait for another full season to see how far “The Precious Ones” can get to, lol


So we are sending Kassian, Neal and Koskinen to get other big players?

Elgin R

Just what the Oilers need – a player healthy scratched in the playoffs! No to Tatar unless he comes on a league-minimum show me contract.


Vegas benched Tatar in the playoffs too. Then cut and run.

Randle McMurphy

Yeah. But you cant evaluate a player based on playoff performance. Wink Wink Nudge Nudge.

Randle McMurphy

Hopefully Tatar drops into the bargin bin in August and will sign a one year show me type of contract.

If not, Buffalo probably gets him. 🙂


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