Night Moves

by Lowetide

Oilers fans have been writing down lines and pairings with summer moves since 1972, and it never quite turns out as planned. During seven seasons in the past, it worked out better. If the collective fan base of the franchise used the time spent on fixing the Oildrop working on real things—fixing the broken things around the house, taking back the empties, picking up litter—productivity within a 100-mile radius of Rogers Place would go through the roof.

Never gonna happen.

Instead, I have six moves that I believe Ken Holland will make this summer. What if he did the opposite?


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


I have absolutely zero doubt Oilers fans won’t see it this way, but the Montreal Canadiens win last night over Vegas Golden Knights proves that making the playoffs is the big nut. Once you get there, anything can happen.

Ken Holland and Dave Tippett found a way to get this team into the playoffs in both seasons they have been a tandem. Oh I know they didn’t play Evan Bouchard enough and you could have coached better than Dave Tippett in the playoffs, but perhaps between fits of rage over the madness of signing Devin Shore, we can contemplate the idea that progress is being made. Now, those moves I teased at the top.


The first move I believe Holland will make is signing Mike Smith to a one-year deal. It will be more dollars, I’m estimating $3 million, and my guess is Koskinen remains until the deadline. At that point, with several teams out of contention, the Oilers can bring in a goalie who could carry them in the postseason. All of this seems reasonable.

What if the Oilers find a landing place for Koskinen? Say $2.25 million retained and a sweetener? It would allow Holland to spend over $6 million on a free-agent goalie, but it would only cost $4 million or so for Linus Ullmark or Chris Driedger. Edmonton could trade for Darcy Kuemper ($4.5 million) from the Arizona Coyotes as well. He might get a good 1A goalie too say both come in around $7 million? Ullmark and Raanta?


If Holland brings back the two veteran defensive defensemen, he can allow coach Dave Tippett to set up his pairings effectively despite the youth we’ll see on the ice. A top-six defense of Nurse-Bear, Kulikov-Bouchard and Jones-Larsson should be good enough until the deadline, or until one of Dmitri Samorukov or Philip Broberg is ready. That seems reasonable.

What if Holland signs Tyson Barrie instead? Say he runs Nurse-Barrie again, and this time Jones-Bouchard and then Russell-Bear? Samorukov and Broberg getting callups for test drives during the first half of the year? If the club needed to add at the deadline, it would be easy enough to acquire real value for one of the young blue who would (by this time) have some experience and exposure.


He’s a solid option and the Lightning won’t be able to afford to sign Goodrow on his first real payday deal. He can score a little, solid in the dot, good possession numbers and played quite a bit versus elites (via Puck IQ) and had good numbers there too. Edmonton could run a center depth chart of McDavid-Draisaitl-Goodrow-McLeod with Khaira as an extra.

What if Holland decides to do what he normally does and sign one of the ancients? Ryan Getzlaf is old as the hills and twice as dusty, but his rel possession numbers remain solid. His five on five shots per 60 was just over 50 percent with expected goals just under that mark. He’s a mean man and I bet your bottom dollar Holland wants a player like him somewhere on the roster next winter. Hell maybe he’ll sign Getzlaf and Perry.


I think this is not only reasonable but absolutely possible. Both men struggled last season and that may allow Holland to get them at a discount (perhaps $10 million or thereabouts combined). Both possess good scoring numbers over the last three seasons. The top two lines could be Tatar-McDavid-Puljujarvi and Nuge-Draisaitl-Yamamoto.

On the other hand, Taylor freaking Hall! Acquiring Hall gives Tippett all kinds of options, from running him with one of 97 or 29, to loading up a line (praise Jesus!) down a goal with 55 seconds to play. If Edmonton ever gets a third-line center, the unicorn that is three scoring lines comes into view. It would require some innovation on the part of Holland, as a second left winger would be needed for the other skill line. Maybe Alex Wennberg, Joel Armia or Josh Leivo can fill the bill, or maybe Dylan Holloway and or Tyler Benson make the jump.


  • Tatar—McDavid—Puljujarvi
  • Nuge—Draisaitl—Yamamoto
  • Holloway—Goodrow—Archibald
  • Benson—McLeod—Kassian
  • Nurse—Bear
  • Kulikov—Bouchard
  • Jones—Larsson
  • Smith (Koskinen)


  • Hall—McDavid—Puljujarvi
  • Holloway—Draisaitl—Yamamoto
  • Armia—Getzlaf—Archibald
  • Benson—McLeod—Kassian
  • Nurse—Barrie
  • Jones—Bouchard
  • Russell—Bear
  • Linus Ullmark (Antti Raanta)

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Can’t see the Oilers taking Stankoven, and it’s for the same reason they passed on Caufield–the smurf role on the wing is already filled by Yamamoto.


Yamamoto might not be value for money in three years. It is a hard cap world.


Godot, you can say that about literally every player in the league.

Paddy Morans Jockstrap

So if one agrees with Pouzar that Nurse shined Barrie who was pretty much a defensive train wreck away from him, then why not start with Nurse-Bouchard next season. You could even flip Bouch/Bear back and forth between RD1/RD3 depending on how Bouch is doing. That and a 2LD fixes a ton of issues in terms of balance.

xxx – Larsson (xxx can be Klef/trade/UFA)
Russell/Sammy – Bear

This is where we must end up as soon as possible, and honestly, I can’t see how Bouch would be worse defensively than Barrie’s antics last season. I know he is effectively an NHL rookie, but he’s draft +4 next year and playing with Nurse pretty much addresses all of his weaknesses. IMHO Bouch will struggle defensively against gritensity as much as against talent, and playing with our top 6 maximizes his positives. Start as you mean to go.

Last edited 3 months ago by Paddy Morans Jockstrap

I would definitely look to sign a player or players from TB. Multiple Playoffs and Stanley cups, veterans players that know how to win.
As a matter of fact i would do all i could to obtain winners and go for a cup run.
I also see the opportunity to make some trades. I think we could trade any of our bubbling prospects for veteran presence who is not in rotting decline.
If you can trade a Jones or Bear or Benson, Marody and a 4th and 4th for a Point or Killorn that would be money.I would even try for Stamkos, he a MCD train together

The next group is their already push through.
Sign a Stanley Ringer Defenseman who can stud with Nurse for 28 min a night.
I would go after Doughty who is a Righty. I would suggest Jones, Marody and a second a little hold on the money. Then LA makes a play for Seth Jones and the Jones reunite in LA

I would specifically go after skaters and puck retrievers, relentless fore checkers. A bunch of bulldogs. I would change the game to full attack and pursuit of puck. This is a skating team. this is Conner MCdavid.. I am a Hall fan.Hate me.

I would resign Larson but not kulicov. I was good but i say we get a stud with 2 years left on his contract


I’m not sure that Bear, Benson and a 4th is going to get Brayden Point.

I’m not so sure that taking on 6 years of a soon to be 32 year old Doughty is a great idea – even if they retained the full 50% and the Oilers took him on at $5.5M.


Doughty at $5.5M though, I’d definitely do that.


For six years….. maybe.

Harpers Hair

I’m really sure that would not get Point.

Start with a 1st round pick and then add from there.


In case you wonder how little the nhl cares about American viewership
they just avoided playing hockey on the 3rd and 4th of July


4th of July = 25th of December.

No other days gets that treatment.


Dec 25th/Thanksgiving is a good day for sports on American TV. Everyone is at home with family. Mostly indoor activities.

July 4th is a horrible day for sports on American TV. Nobody is at home. Everybody is out at a picnic partying somewhere all day staying out for the fireworks.

Harpers Hair

· 20m
#StanleyCucomment image  Final opening Series Price odds @CoolbetCanada

#goboltcomment image  -312
#GoHabsGcomment image  +255

Over 5.5 Games (-139)
Under 5.5 Games (+118)

Montreal to sweep +2900
Tampa to sweep +550

Harpers Hair

Did anyone else place a bet on Carey Price to win the Conn Smythe?

I took a flyer with one unit.

The odds were stunning.

Last edited 4 months ago by Harpers Hair

Did anyone else bet that Mackinnon would outscore Mcdavid?

Harpers Hair

Player – PPG

Huberdeau – 1.67

Kucherov – 1.50

MacKinnon – 1.50

Pastrnak – 1.36

Rantanen – 1.30

Landeskog – 1.30

Draisaitl – 1.25

Malkin – 1.25

Barkov – 1.17

Nylander – 1.14

McDavid – 1.10


McDavid was 1.00PPG, and there are only 3 dashes to get to 1.00.

Now do last year.

Harpers Hair

Did the Oilers win the cup last year?

I must have been napping.


Oh, does your post show Huberdeau is the Stanley Cup winner?

My bad.


Good luck convincing the bookies

Harpers Hair

Of what?


That you actually were referring to playoffs the entire time instead of regular season…
I mean, didn’t you make that statement during preseason?

Harpers Hair

I have no idea what you’re talking about.


I expect a LOT. Colorado was supposed to win the Cup.


Once again everyone was mesmerized by the flash of Colorado and completely missed the Bolts

Scungilli Slushy

Not sure what you mean.

I think many people thought the Bolts were the team to beat. Still do.

As for the AV’s, a seriously undersized D group, and no solid back up G, had me thinking they were vulnerable in the playoff setting, again.


At the start of the playoffs they were about 10% chance to win. Avs were a coinflip and between Avs and Golden Knights they were like 70% chance to win
im Pretty sure I’m the only one on here to pick the Bolts to win

Scungilli Slushy

If you hold on to young players that won’t or don’t get used too long, they lose value rapidly.

A good management group has to be able to assess what they have, and keep the ‘churn’.

How do you think so many of those active GM’s have full picks or even more?

It isn’t 100%. but a good assessor should not get their lunch money stolen, even if they don’t win a deal.

It should look different than traditional Oilers in which almost every deal is a gutting. We have/should/need to be past that now.

If Holland thinks Bear is not a good enough skater to compensate for his lack of size, reach, physicality, offense, and coverage, then cash him in and sign a placeholder.

Bear can pass yes, but it’s not like he’s not easily replaceable. At this point.

Benson, Marody, Yamamoto, Jones, Lagesson, Khaira, Archibald, JP, Kassian, Russell, Skinner, Konolovov, Rodriguez, etc are all tradeable as long as their easy to acquire replacements are actually acquired.

Some GM has some sort of an interest in these types of players. Maybe even Koski in the right deal.

It takes knowing what you like and don’t that was on the payroll last season and moving things to where you want them to be.

Holland has to have a group he doesn’t want. Cash them in like smart GMs do, instead of letting them walk for nothing. Don’t waste bullets in a gunfight that never ends. They’ve been shot in the ass 4000 times, get with it.

Given the results when the chips are down, if he doesn’t have 1/3 of the roster at least on the wish it was better list, he is not competent in today’s game.


The Cheaters are back in the final.


Lou is the GM of the other team.


Good one. So it didn’t really matter who won the series – it was going to be won by a cheater.


You aint cheatin’; you aimt trying.

Brisbois shoulda got GM of the yr. $100 Mil team for Game 1 of the playoffs. Thats Magic

Ice Sage

Or, it’s kinda like Karma for the Lou-father


You need to absolutely love hockey or one of these teams to enjoy this game as entertainment.


I do wish we had a Habs Isles final to force the league into some changes


Totally agree. The league is in trouble. In the interest of ‘parity’ when the game management is done in the playoffs (anything goes, deskilling etc) you are left with two distinct seasons – entertainment in the regular season where everyone can appreciate the skills and beauty of the game. And the playoffs where only the homers can get behind the win at all cost and anything goes garbage.

I was watching to see how many scoring chances came from multi-pass plays and it is pathetic. Almost all plays end in a turnover, shoot in etc after a max of two passes because no one can get open because they are lying on the ice or being held, interfered with etc.

I hardly watch playoff hockey because the skills (except great goaltending) have been sucked out of the game.

Rant over. Back to watering the garden.

Harpers Hair

What exactly would change?

This is all part of the parity paradigm.


with respect to the author, myself and many of the contributors to this blog….it is sort of like 2006. Self “Ouch!” that does sound harsh doesn’t it?


Goalies kill coaches. Tippett’s fate will be tied to Smith.

I’ve previously noted that a Kulikov signing is unlikely on both ends.

My gut instincts alone inform me that Bear’s not going to be an Oiler next season

Last edited 4 months ago by Ryan

I have the same feeling on Bear. I just hope they get full value in the trade.

Harpers Hair

What do you think full value is.

He is likely a 3rd pairing D on a good team.


With the ability to play up for stretches.

As you know not every guy that plays on the first pair or second pair is the same. Most pairs have a top guy & a complementary guy.

Bear can play effectively as the complementary guy higher than 3rd pairing. Not all 3D can. It makes a difference.

Harpers Hair

Yes that’s true but most “good teams” have a solid top 4 that doesn’t depend on a complemetary guy playing up in the lineup.


I disagree. I think most coaches think of defence in terms of the effectiveness of pairings.

Regardless the point I was trying to make is that 3rd pairing dman covers a fair amount of ground just as 1st pairing dman covers a lot of ground for whoever is playing with Hedman or used to play with Pronger.


How was the effectiveness of the Nurse-Barrie pairing?


Based upon TOI I would say it was Tippett’s favourite combo. There are all sorts of codicils that can be added to that fact but that is who Tippett played the most even when all the dmen were healthy & available.

And, yes, I know. There are arguments that show Nurse-Bear were a better pairing.

If there is no interest around the league for Bear then the team should definitely keep him but Barrie & a young cost controlled 3C or 2LW for Bear is a viable alternative to keeping Bear and letting Barrie walk if the Barrie cap hit is manageable.

I don’t think any player is untradeable except for the best player in the league so I don’t understand reluctance to listen or explore for a GM. That is his job.


I believe Barrie played so many minutes because the coaching staff realized that he couldn’t be played with anyone other than Nurse or he got absolutely caved.


He got played with Nurse because played with the best forwards and there is absolutely no point in playing an offensive dman (Barrie) with forwards who can’t score no matter how often you spring them or set them up.


Barrie could have been deployed on a separate pairing with the Drai line (and Nurse with McDavid).

If the player has to be on the top pairing with the best d-man and with McDavid and can’t be deployed any other way (which the stats seem to back up) – that’s a problem.


You are just being obtuse now OP. You can’t play an offensive dman without a strong defensive partner. Other than Nurse the Oilers had no other strong defensive LD. A coach deploys his guys to their strengths if he wants to win.


So Barrie needs to be deployed with the top offensive players and the top defensive players? Kris Russell is a very strong defensive LD – best on the team as far as preventing goals.


In terms of revenue generation, Bear is more like core Oiler, than a 2nd pairing D. There are business consequences to frivolously trading Ethan Bear before his potential has been clearly determined..


I’d think Seattle might be interested to bring in a former Thunderbird. It’s not like the Kraken is stocked to the beam with RHD so far.


I’ve read this about Yamamoto as well.

I don’t think Ron Francis will be making procurement decisions based on where players are from or the proximity of their junior team to Seattle….

Harpers Hair

Quite likely he will acquire players with a Pacific Northwest connection from cap strapped teams.

Tampa Bay has to move out salary so I expect they will work out a deal with Seattle to select Tyler Johnson (with a sweetener) and then, of course there is RNH.

Jun 22

#LetsGoOilercomment image  forward & BC native @RNH_93
on hand tonight at @hastingsraces
to see his Sanawar win the final race on the card. It’s the 3rd career win at Hastings Racecourse for the horse owned by R.N.H Stables.


Bear, really? I’d be surprised if he’s not an Oiler.

Who do you think they bring in (in addition to Larsson)?


Doesn’t that depend on who they get back?


Ya, of course, trade return is the ultimate determinator but I agree with LT – for me, I think its unlikely that the trade return for Bear straight up will be greater than his value to the team on the ice, now and in the future.


Then don’t trade him. I just think the Oilers brass would really like to sign Barrie. I say that without comment as to whether or not it is a good idea or a terrible idea. I just think that is what they want to do.

If they do then they have one too many RD with holes in other parts of the roster that need filling. That is how trades are supposed to happen and, imo, if they sign Barrie then Bear is the guy they would most likely move.

Nothing to do with Bear’s ability. And I do think there would be interest after the expansion draft makes things clearer.

I have to admit that I do not, and have never, understood the ‘trading him would be a mistake’ narrative. Unless you are talking about the best player in the league there is always the potential to win a trade in spite of what this team’s recent history suggests.


I don’t think the org is that interested in re-signing Barrie.


I know. Lots of people here think that as well.

I disagree. I think they are at a price. That price may very well not be enough to keep him but I don’t think it is as obvious as many here think it is.

If they are not interested in Barrie then, of course, any talk of trading Bear is silly.

Last edited 4 months ago by defmn

Both Holland and Tippett expressly pumped Bouchard’s tires at the end of the season and talked about his importance to the team next season. Nugent- Bowman has mentioned numerous times that the org will be ensuring there is a clean path for him next season.

You could be right but I don’t see Barrie back with the team.


It’s all conjecture OP. You listen to more talk radio than I do (very little) but guys who cover them keep dropping hints about Barrie from what I read. Nurse flourished playing with him and in a way he was like a winger for McDavid.


I do listen to everything I can and I don’t hear very many of these hints you mention.

I’m also not sure that Nurse flourished with Barrie – I think Barrie flourished with Nurse. Barrie was almost unplayable without Nurse – negative across the board and a 26% goal differential, he got killed without Nurse.

Nurse without Barrie had his GF% drop a bit but had his other numbers improve and his xGF% jump big time (and it was below 50% with Barrie).

Nurse’s GF% wasn’t quite as good with Bear but his xGF% jumped massive to 60%.

The main takeaway to me is that Barrie on the roster forces a Nurse/Barrie pairing. as Barrie can’t be deployed with anyone else. Maybe if Klef is back but, without Nurse, he got massacered.


Barrie can’t be deployed with scrubs who can’t score because his defence is not strong so he needs to contribute to goals for or his numbers look like crap. Nothing to do with Nurse other than that there wasn’t another LD who could play against the other team’s best so Nurse was always out with McDavid or Drai.

Nurse had his best season ever. Acting like that had nothing to do with who he played with seems disingenuous to me.


I disagree on who was making who look better and posted the numbers to back that up.

The Oilers played McDavid and Drai on separate lines for most of the season. Barrie could have played with Drai.

In the first 12 games of the season the trip of Leon/Nurse/Barrie outscored the opp 4-0 but Leon and Nurse without Barie were 6-0 and Leon and Barrie without Nurse were 0-0 (in more time than either of the other two deployments).

Barrie couldn’t score with Drai without Nurse but Nurse could sure produce with Drai without Barrie.

Barrie was ineffective in any role without Nurse.


I don’t think we should read too much into the Nurse-Barrie WOWYs.

I don’t really want Barrie re-signed either, and I don’t think the team will (mostly based on Holland’s complete evasion of the question at his year end presser; Barrie didn’t sound like a guy who thought a return was at all likely either).

But Barrie played about 75% of his TOI with Nurse. Barrie’s ‘away’ is a pretty small sample to begin with, and most of it came at the beginning of the year when Barrie and the team were struggling.

In terms of who was making who better. Well clearly Nurse was helping Barrie, who couldn’t find a fit elsewhere in the lineup (though as defmn notes, it’s not like the Oilers LD aside from Nurse were strong partners for anyone).

Likewise, Nurse saw a major jump in his offense. I think it’s fair to say that Barrie was a part of that (being the top scoring D in the league and all).

It’s a bit of an odd place we’re in, where the majority of the fanbase (myself included) does not want to re-sign the top scoring defenseman in the NHL. I guess this is progress 🙂


What were they supposed to say that they were going to kill another year of his development by making him a healthy scratch 3 out 4 games this coming season.


Reja, Bouchard played 37 professional hockey games this season. Tons of prospects for teams all over the league played less.

I don’t think a single Vancouver Canucks prospect (who wasn’t in Europe the full season) played 37 games this year. Top goalie prospect DiPietro played 4 games.

And Holland was very clear they’ll open a full time spot for Bouchard this coming season. You will get to watch Evan Bouchard play games for the Edmonton Oilers. It will be OK.


It’s going to and it should cost Tippett his job.

Decidedly Skeptical Fan

We can hope.


Gone by Christmas or does he get the whole year?


I agree if the team starts the season on a skid, or if they don’t win at least a playoff round, we could see Tippett gone.

On what the core thinks, well I obviously don’t know. But based on their year end pressers (not sure if you watched), I was surprised how on board they seemed. It seemed like they really believed that they were better than the 1st round result, that the team had made genuine strides forward in the past couple of years, that they were on the right path and that they were building something worth being a part of. I mention it because I was a bit surprised how overall positive they were, especially less than 24 hours after being swept.

From the year end, and earlier post-game pressers, I’ve also noticed the players and the coach are usually delivering the same message. The players and coach are often even using the same language to describe the game. It’s impossible to know for sure, but I had the definite impression that they’re still listening.

Anyway, we’ll see where it goes. I definitely agree with the criticisms of Tippett that you pointed out (I’d add: debuting brand new forward lines in an elimination game). Mistakes were made for sure, but lots of positive things have happened under Tippett as head coach as well. It’s easy to lose sight of those.


I don’t think the current coaching staff will have any issue playing Bouchard or Bear this coming season and both will be relied upon.

Barclay Goodrow is sixth for TOI/G among forwards on Tampa – how do you figure he’s nothing more than a 4th liner on the Oiler?


His scoring in the playoffs this year has been non-existent (although 1.5 GA/60 is something) but his career scoring rates are not nearly in the area you suggest.

Last two years of 1.29 and a 1.56/1.35 combo which would be pretty good for the Oilers bottom 6 and he has a 1.7 on his resume.


His goal share was 57% in the regular season and he scored 1.35 P/60. Seems like a pretty solid player.


Oh come on. 0.35p/g is 29 points per 82 games but 0.4p/g is 33 points/82.

If 4 measy points separate a good 3rd liner vs replacement level player, then the gap between these two level is incredibly small.

Assuming you replace 3x 0.35p/g guys with 0.4p/g ones, your 3rd line gets 12 more points (or 4~5 goals) a year. Is this about right?


Not trying to pick sides here, but I was surprised to notice Goodrow lead TB forwards in TOI tonight (and he took the games only penalty, so he wasn’t filling up on PK minutes).


As you have said, these are score rate bins, and has no actual relevance to the lines they actually played in. Calling them 3rd line number is misleading.

Semantics aside, with this approach the guys playing partial seasons on good teams getting the bump (better ppg due to team mates and match ups) gets double counted. Similarly, your end of 4th line (12×31) occur at 373th rank, or 0.24ppg<-this should be the boundary for “below replacement level*”.

(*)Scoring is not everything. There is value in defensive forwards if they reliably nullify the opposition superstaf 1st line-think of the time McCain getting frustrated by the Jets, Leads or Canadiens checking line.

With your >10 games filter, there are 477 players qualified last year. The 50th percentile (boundary between “mediocre 2nd tier” and “exceptional 3rd tier”) occur at the 239th ranked player, Yamamoto, Owen Tippet, Parise, Ryan Donato, Ross Colton, Tyler Johnson, Evan Rodriguez and Colin White tying at 0.40ppg. To me, this matches the visual better.

The 25th percentile is found at 359th ranked player (16 way tied, with names such as Lawson Crouse, Eric Staal and everyone else in between). This also look about what a mediocre 3rd/good 4th look like).


Holloway, Benson, McLeod on the roster will give the coach heart failure. It’s a better roster more skilled than the one that dropped four playoff games in a row.

If making the playoffs is the step to the unknown, it’s prudent to plan for it. Dmitry Kulikov wasn’t good enough to make a difference. That apparently was the best the GM and his pro scouts could come up with. That’s not good enough from Hockey Ops.

There’s a problem for the summer of 2021. It’s the process used to identify and measure talent. Devon Shore is a metaphor for that. There’s a host of Devon Shore’s available, Beyond The Sea.


I don’t think we’ll see both Holloway and Benson, at least to start the season – maybe but I wouldn’t bet on it.

With that said, if those three were on the roster, are we sure it would cause heart failure. Rookie mistakes sure but all three are defensively smart players and two have high end speed, one of which an insane motor that is probably going to be a coach’s dream through his career.


Holloway, McLeod, Benson


Ennis, Turris, Kahun


I don’t really expect we’ll see it, but Holloway, Benson and McLeod in the bottom 6 isn’t that difficult to imagine.

Tippett had all of Bear, Yamamoto, Jones and Benson in the lineup for a few games in 19-20, and the first 3 as basically regulars for the whole 2nd half.


Imagine what D pairing you would roll along with the kid line? Do you need veteran Ds or are you confident enough with (say) Jones +Bear?


Hey, I didn’t say as a line 🙂
(I actually also said, I don’t really expect we’ll see it period).

But if it were to happen I was more envisioning Benson-McLeod-Archibald on the 4th and Holloway-New3C-Kassian/other on the 3rd.

Harpers Hair

Pretty much the definition of a Sea of Granlunds.


ANOTHER sea of Granlund’s reference? What are the odds?

Anyway, as I already said, I don’t really expect to see this lineup much or at all.

And in terms of the Sea, we’ll have to wait on what Holland can do with 3C and other any other external adds.

I’d expect more resources than before devoted to that part of the roster and at least a couple of outside additions.

Harpers Hair

Another Sea of Granlunds with Holloway being a possible exception.

Decidedly Skeptical Fan

I am all for Holloway, Benson and McLeod. Tip’s heart, not so much.


Again, why Tip’s heart?

Rookie mistakes sure but all three are defensively smart players and two have high end speed, one of which an insane motor that is probably going to be a coach’s dream through his career.


There’s a host of Devon Shore’s available, Beyond The Sea.

Is this a ‘sea of Granlund’s’ type of reference?


I get the whole 3C / bottom six scoring thing, but the lesson from the Ryan Strome era is that getting a good 3C in isolation fixes nothing. Goodrow with Holloway / Archibald looks to be too much of a wing and a prayer operation.

As important as bringing in new players is developing what we have. I was never that high on Yamo, then I thought he would be Kailer Gaudreau. Maybe other teams have worked him out but even when presented with grade A chances he never looked like scoring. Reigniting Yamo would fix a lot of problems, ditto Kass – easier said than done.


Remember. Strome was stapled to Lucic that season and most of his time with the Oilers. He also played with a very struggling then JP.

However, Strome is not a 3rd line driver like Brandon Saad.

To have an effective 3rd line, you need someone who can drive offense and two competent players.

Archibald is not a 3rd line player.



I get the whole 3C / bottom six scoring thing, but the lesson from the Ryan Strome era is that getting a good 3C in isolation fixes nothing.

Strome was totally fine in Edmonton. Not sexy but in his 100 games with the Oilers he was 51% in shots and 47% in goals at 5v5 (35GF-40GA).

Lucic and Puljujarvi weren’t really drags either (with Lucic 52% SF, 43% GF, 9GF-12GA and with Puljujarvi 51% SF, 56% GF, 10GF-8GA).

Those Strome numbers seem like a dream compared to Sheahan and Turris. I think the Strom lesson is much closer to “a good 3C fixes a lot” rather than nothing.

However, Strome is not a 3rd line driver like Brandon Saad.

Is Saad even a 3rd line driver?

He played overwhelmingly with Kadri-Burakovsky during the season (over 300 min with each, then Donskoi at 83 minutes and Jost at 64 minutes were his next most common linemates).

In the playoffs he played mostly with Jost-Nichushkin but they only scored 2GF-3GA, but he went 3-0 in ~30 minutes with MacKinnon-Rantanen.

Saad-Strome on the 3rd sure would look nice, though it’s obviously not happening. A couple of ‘competent’ adds to the bottom 6 ought to help, hopefully.


Did you not watch Saad in the playoffs? It doesn’t matter who he was playing with, he was a horse, and a threat every time he was on the ice.

Harpers Hair

This…and he’s always been that way.


This…and he’s always been that way.


Brandon Saad is not a third line player if he’s on the Oilers. He is a top six unless they do major upgrades across the board.

He’s not a 3rd line player period, except for these playoffs.

He played all season on Colorado’s 2nd line, and was top 6 in Chicago too.

Did you not watch Saad in the playoffs? It doesn’t matter who he was playing with, he was a horse, and a threat every time he was on the ice.

Horse or not he had just 2 points this playoffs while playing with Jost/Nichushkin, and as I mentioned earlier they were outscored as a unit.

Decidedly Skeptical Fan

We had a chance to draft that guy … he was sitting right there in the early second round. Power forward, player type EDM had a history of coveting. Many on this board liked him and I was sure he was going to be the pick. Remember who we chose instead?


Brandon Saad is not a third line player if he’s on the Oilers. He is a top six unless they do major upgrades across the board.


He was 4th for TOI/G in the playoffs among forwards (behind the big 3), although 6th in the regular season.

He’s quite a few years removed from his 50 point seasons but, on the Oilers, as of now, he’d be top 6 for sure.

The more I look at his production over the last number of years, the less comfort I have in a free agent over play, especially with term.

Bag of Pucks

Sportsnet reinforcing today that Bergevin nixed a trade for Dubois with Columbus because the Jackets insisted on Suzuki in the return package.

Suzuki, Caufield, Gallagher, Tatar. Bergevin likes his skilled smurfs.

Sounds like a GM you could get along with, LT!

The former defenceman certainly knows how to build a D corps. PK Subban who?

Randle McMurphy

I think the Islanders luck runs out tonight.

If so, it sets up the big Cinderella scenario.

Can the Habs truly scale Everest?


This is meant to be the DoD Oilers derby because the hockey gods are trolling MacT.

As in, being challenged by the worst team that was created a burning desire for Petry to rise above his peer.

Is this the only year the 6 million men all made the playoffs?

Randle McMurphy

When it comes to the wherefore and the why, I hope Ken Holland follows one of LT’s prime directives; “Start as you mean to go.”

I hope he only spends money where he sees the right long term fit to the puzzle. No placeholders. Aim high, try not to compromise.

Randle McMurphy


Taylor Hall 1RW
Philip Danault 3C
Tyson Barrie 1RD
(see what I did there 🙂 )


Took us back to the decade of darkness in two years or less!


I would be OK with Nuge and Tatar as long as Tatar is a legit “show me contract” – a one-year contract (apx $3M) to play with McDavid or Drai and re-establish value. The 2021/22 edition of Tyson Barrie.

Tatar has been a very very good 5 on 5 producer for years and this includes goal share – an absolute dream in that read. Part of that is Danault and Gallagher, of course, but he can be part of an outscoring top 6 line in Edmonton, if its short term.

Nuge is absolutely going to bounce-back – so many examples of one-off seasons for players of that age who then pop back to historical norms. 5 years at $6M or under would be fine.

Yes, absolutely, if a reasonable contract for Hall can be signed, I would much prefer him to Tatar. I would love to go one year on Hall but that’s not reasonable. If Hall would go 3-4 years and $6M or under, I’d go for it.

His production the last few years doesn’t warrant a higher AAV in the current flat cap world, in my opinion.

Elgin R

I would not be thrilled if Tatar is on the Oilers next year even on a 1-year ‘prove it’ deal. His regular season numbers have been good. Even last year he was top 53 for left wingers 5v5 in TOI, pts, goals, hits and +-, which puts him as a borderline 2nd line player.

The issue is he is an older hobbit (5-10 / 173) who does not play big. His playoff numbers are not great (12 pts in 40 games) and he is a healthy scratch on a team that has quite a number of 1st and 2nd year players. Tatar is not the answer.

The Oilers need a true #1LW that will be successful in the playoffs, and that is not Tatar.


Yes but this why Tatar should be available on a reasonable short term contract. Not the exciting option but more of a fallback if bidding gets too rich and past a point of prudence and a bridge until reinforcements arrive.

Randle McMurphy

OP. Hall 4yrs $6.25m ?


Its rich but I can’t say I wouldn’t be excited if it happened.

Needs to have Nuge re-signed as well.

Randle McMurphy

OP, Hall 4yrs $6.5m ?


I responded to that question at 4:25…….


The price is going up incrementally.


Oh, i see, ha, I missed that.

Term is going to have to start going down here pretty soon.


I would be OK with a Kulkikov re-sign on the cheap if the scenario is that Klefbom won’t be ready to start the season but is scheduled to return, and be activated from LTIR, mid-season.

Kulikov would be a fine short-term stop gap but I don’t think he can be the “season-long 2LD” if its known (or likely) that Klef is done. If Klef is done, notwithstanding I do see Sammy impacting the lineup this season, the full $4.1M of LTIR reserves can be spent and I think a “better than Kulikov” stop-gap needs to be acquired. Mike Riley is the contract makes sense.

Barrie can’t really be an option in my opinion as he has to be played with Nurse who can “shine him”. Barrie away from Nurse last year was apx 26% goals for and negative across the board.

Barrie on the roster limits what Tip and Playfair can do with the pairs as Barrie has to be with Nurse.

Last edited 4 months ago by OriginalPouzar

I agree that one potential solution is to not upgrade the tending externally this year. That may mean Smith/Koskinen but it could also mean Smith/Stalock. There is obvious risk involved in that approach but (a) we should know much more about the potential and timeline of both Konovalov and Skinner in one year and spending cap and term on an external option may not be required and (b) if necessary, goalies can be upgraded in-season.

As far as $3M for Smith, yes, sure, if that’s a $2M base with a potential of $1M more in performance bonuses. That only provides a $2M cap hit this season (and is a $500K raise on last season).


It sure would of been nice to play Stalock down the stretch and have gotten a read on him.


Yes, it was certainly curious that they didn’t.


Stalock has a career history to get a read on him. I don’t think a game or two in garbage time would have provided any real info, would it have?


Just think if they would of played Stalock against the Canucks we wouldn’t of witnessed Mikko let in 4 goals on 4 shots which is always good for team morale heading into the playoffs


Given Holland’s push for Markstrom last summer, do folks think it’s likely that Holland would leave the goaltending as is?


What’s the difference between what Holland did to Mikko and what MacTavish did to Dubnyk either way the G.M has given up on you.


There is much talk about picking a goalie in the first round.Wouldnt it be smarter to trade the pick for an established goalie like Kuemper rather than a youngster who won’t be ready for 3 to 4 years if ever!


There is much talk about picking a goalie in the first round.Wouldnt it be smarter to trade the pick for an established goalie like Kuemper rather than a youngster who won’t be ready for 3 to 4 years if ever!

DO BOTH!!! 🙂

Randle McMurphy


shhhh. Keep it on the down low.

Last edited 4 months ago by Randle McMurphy
Elgin R

Ok, I will tell Bob to not mention this again on the #1 rated radio show in Edmonton!

Randle McMurphy

Exactly….in Edmonton. 😉


The difficulty with that is the negative impact on cap and what you have to spend elsewhere. Drafting a goaltender may be somewhat slower but the payback can make it worth it. The Kuempers of the NHL are generally available.


Kuemper is an UFA after next season. You are trading a 1st round pick for a backup goaltender with a $4 million something AAV to be sitting on the bench when Tippett decides to play his guy Smith in the critical games.

Kuemper will be available for free as a UFA next summer when the Oilers move on from Mike Smith and Dave Tippett.

Have people not learned anything about Dave Tippett in two years?

All this mental energy on a position that hasn’t been a problem for two years, and will play out itself naturally as it will likely be both Tippett’s and Smith’s last year.

The Oilers will need the cap space in three or four years when Cossa is playing on an extreme value contract as he breaks into the NHL.


Obtain Kemper and don’t sign Smith. Isn’t the problem solved?


If Isles join the Habs in the finals I wonder how quickly teams will start dumping these small defensemen this being a copy cat league and all.
it turns out other teams were playing chess while Sakic was playing shoots and ladders

Scungilli Slushy

I think Joe took it a bit too far.

He also didn’t replace Johnson’s contribution, and left himself exposed in net, again.

Hopefully Holland took notes. Koski is not a good enough goalie to back up Smith, and the team by my eye clearly feels that way, despite the verbal support.

Elgin R

With Klefbom returning for October 2021 (mark my words gentlemen this will happen) and signing Larsson, the only one of the Oilers top 6 that is not big would be Bear and he is a solid guy (5-11 / 200). KRusty is the 7th but he is the toughest guy on the team!

Broberg (6-3 / 203) is young and has yet to put on man strength. Sammy (6-3 / 200) from all accounts plays ‘big’.

Big, smooth-skating dmen are more valuable in the playoffs. No Barrie please.

Randle McMurphy

Bear 5’11” 200
Barrie 5’11” 197

If Tyson Barrie ate a Big Mac Meal 3 times a week for one month……

“Or hot dogs!” shouted Phil Kessel…

“Or donuts!” Dustin Penner chimed in

“I second that” mumbled Don Koharksi.

Last edited 4 months ago by Randle McMurphy
Elgin R

The debate is not Bear – Barrie, it is Larsson – Barrie. Bear is on a value deal ($2 x 1 then RFA) and under team control whereas Barrie will most probably be getting $5.5+ per and Larsson is probably in the $3.5 – $4m range. Sign Larsson (6-3 / 208) and use the extra to swing for the fences on a #1LW. #nomorehobbits


Penner is a pancake man. He risked his career for pancakes.

Randle McMurphy

Yes! Dammit.


Penner is a self-made hockey player with significant career earnings and two Stanley Cup rings. The so-called hockey men almost universally tried to keep him down every step of the way,


I was referencing the back injury he suffered while eating pancakes.

And I believe he said he would keep eating pancakes even after the injury.


If Klefbom is done, the Oilers should target Girard.


Troll bait!😉


This was a fun blog post. Thanks LT. Dreaming about line combinations is a favourite past time for sure. It also made me listen to some Seger which always adds to the positivity of the day!


Caufield must have over ripened faaaaast.


His 2 games in the AHL forged him into the man he is today.


Some folks think we should bury Hollaway in the AHL. Just think we could have one of the best lines in the AHL Benson Marody and Hollaway.


Caufield started in Ahl

Elgin R

I don’t believe that Benson would make it through waivers. He will be in the big leagues next year. Will it be with the Oilers is the question.


Holloway and Caufield are not the same person.


Finkle is Einhorn… Einhorn is Finkle…..


That’s why they have different names!😉


“Why don’t Oilers make any decisions based on analytics”
They Pick up a player for dirt cheap at trade deadline with great analytics
“Not those Analytics “!!’


FWIW the Beer League Heroes post that was talked about yesterday also mentioned that “The pro scouts have fully embraced advanced analytics”.

I have zero clue about the reliability of the source or BLH more generally.

(I posted with this reply earlier including a link, but I guess that caught my post in moderation).


I thought BLH was some guy living in Malaysia or Thailand or something.

How dialed in could he be?


I believe he’s from Canmore but he lives in Taiwan.

He speaks of sources either in, or with ties to, the org.


Like OP says, he mentions he has a source or sources. I know nothing about the person, his reliability/track record or really anything else about him.

But I thought it was an interesting tidbit since other stuff from the article was discussed yesterday (if there is in fact any truth to it).


It’s okay the say everything is better in moderation!😉

Randle McMurphy

LT, Did you find it in your heart to feel happy for all those fans in Quebec last night, the crowd outside the Bell Center?

Or are the memories still to painfully searing… 😉

#Ghosts of Le Colisée/Forum

Last edited 4 months ago by Randle McMurphy
Randle McMurphy

Try and cheer you up.

What if, instead of signing Kulikov as a stop gap, the Oilers signed the Big Z as a stop gap? I’ll put it to the group….. anyone up for Big Z 3LD? ( 1yr $850k )

Last edited 4 months ago by Randle McMurphy
Randle McMurphy

When it comes to Hollands summer, I expect the unexpected.

I think he’s going to make a splash in a way that no one here has yet predicted.

The possibilities and permutations are so enjoyably frustrating.

Last edited 4 months ago by Randle McMurphy
Randle McMurphy

And lets not forget, be careful what you wish for because whoever it is we all want, Calgary is going to get at least one of them and probably Vancouver too.


Maybe he will hire HH to get us out of this mess!

Jethro Tull

Yes, because in all his years in hockey, that’s his MO.

It’s exactly what he was brought in NOT to do.

However I wish you are right!


My stepping out roster:

Coleman – McDavid – JP
Saad – Leon – KY
Goodrow – Wennberg – Kahun
Benson – Mcleod – Marody / Archibald

Nurse – Hamilton
Jones – Bear
Kulikov – Bouchard


Coleman $4.5M per
Saad $6M per
Goodrow $3M per to be conservative
Wennberg $4M per
Hamilton $8M per
Ullmark $4.5M per
Smith $2M
Kulikov $1.5M
KY $2M per
Benson and Marody 850K per

Even if you buy out Neal, Kassian and Koskinen, this roster still has $2.7M in cap space, so could aim a little higher than Kulikov.


I downvotes you man. But I meant to upvote you. Small phone, fat fingers.

lots of change and new thinking in your line up


You can take back or change your vote by clicking the other symbol once or twice respectively.


Saad at 6 mil per sounds crazy talk

Randle McMurphy

Nope….Sounds normal……IN CRAZY SEASON! (Free Agency)


I don’t see the Oilers being successful in signing 6 UFAs unless no other team is interested.

Nor do I see them icing an all-rookie line…never mind buying out 3.


I would love to have Blake Coleman on the Oilers, however, if he’s signed to play 1LW on the Oilers then he’s being signed to play a role that he’s not suited for.

Blake Coleman is a 2nd liner or middle six winger, is he not?

I think $4.5M is on the high end and, if he’s signed as “McDavid’s winger” then he’s going to be put in a position to fail.


Your second pairing D is a bad joke. Two small non aggressive D! How could that possibly go wrong!

Randle McMurphy

What do Stanley Cup winners have in common, besides talent?

In no particular order,

They really like each other; call themselves family.
They play as a unit.
They have a bizarre mix of personalities and skills.
They encourage each other through thick and thin.
They do anything and everything to prevent goals.
They just work their asses off
Its almost like their lines have no numbers….no 1, 2, 3, 4. they’re all “going” almost all the time.

They get goals from forwards and defensemen.
They get goals from the most unlikely suspects.
They get amazing goals, freak goals, unlikely goals,
They get suspect goals, they get bounces.

They overcome adversity (officiating and other)
They are freakishly resilient.

When asked why they’re winning they speak about teammates and say things like ” hard work and a little luck”

They are tough-minded individuals who gain a little more chemistry with each passing series. And yes, they have successfully courted lady luck.

How do you know when you have these kinds of players??? Only the refiners fire can answer that question for you.

Professional Sports. Predictably Unpredictable.

Would you have it any other way?

Last edited 4 months ago by Randle McMurphy
Bag of Pucks

Great post. I really enjoyed that.

Randle McMurphy

Thanks BoP. Glad you enjoyed it.

We may spend endless hours arguing our various opinions, but it’s what’s at the heart of sports that brings us all together.

Dee Dee

I would suggest Montreal had none of that prior to the start of the playoffs and it developed as they won more series and played more games.


I like expected roster much more than steppin out.
If KH can fill the top 2 LW positions ~ 10M/AAV with legit top 6 wingers, I am okay with that. Preferably with not too much term for at least one of those signings.
Mid-season could see a modest upgrade to LD and G


Congrats to Canada’s team the Montreal Canadiens.

They are outworking the opposition all the way to the cup finals.

PS: Corey Perry lol his legacy skyrockets if they win.

Last edited 4 months ago by hunter1909
Ice Sage

I think Perry makes the HoF in a weak year in the future


Plus they are not afraid to use youngsters!


I keep repeating myself over and over and over. Kulikov was a mistake. Resigning him…an even bigger mistake. What is it that makes people think it’s ok to keep this player? Why do you want him back? I don’t get it. What are you seeing that I and 20,000 Jets fans are not? The guy is a Kyle Turris disguised by a single decent game…ONE good game. Winnipegers are laughing at the Oilers for signing the giveaway machine. I’m laughing at Oiler fans for not seeing what the player really is. I was always under the impression that this platform (both commenters and host) were intelligent hockey fans who knew some things about hockey. Signing Kulikov tells me I’m wrong. A Kulikov signing is equivalent or worse than a Turris signing. I warned about Turris and now I am warning about Kulikov. It’s bad enough we wasted another 4th rounder on him…so happy it wasn’t a third. Please don’t double down by resigning this player.


He is not any better than Jones or Lagesson..(although he may be a bit grittier)….play them instead. There is no reason to sign a player that does not make the team better when the replacement is sitting in the press box. Take the money and put it away for a later date….don’t waste it on a player that is very easily replaced. It’s bad enough we wasted a pick. Don’t double down. Run away.


You mentioned McCabe a few weeks back, would you take him over Kulikov?

Cape Breton Oilers 4EVR

This all day. We’re looking for someone capable, who won’t break the bank or get term, and can keep the seat warm until Sammy or Broberg can do the job. They need to sign a LHD regardless of Klefbom returning or not, but Kulikov at 3LD if Dreamy makes it back is good depth.


I like music!

Last edited 4 months ago by fistycuff
Randle McMurphy

I heard this ^ in a Ralph Wiggum voice


This years playoffs are proof once again that if you don’t have four experienced d-men with size and reasonable skill, you’re going nowhere.


He hits Jones doesn’t and he is a far better skater than Lagesson. Is it not fair to assume that he has gotten better with experience. I will agree that he has a low panick threshold.


Winnipegers are laughing at the Oilers for signing the giveaway machine. 

Must have been a tough 3 years after the Jets signed him for $13Mx3.

I warned about Turris and now I am warning about Kulikov.

Don’t suppose you could point out where you did that, could you?

Jethro Tull

“I have absolutely zero doubt Oilers fans won’t see it this way, but the Montreal Canadiens win last night over Vegas Golden Knights proves that making the playoffs is the big nut. Once you get there, anything can happen.”

There in lies the rub. MTL shouldn’t have made the play-offs last year and arguably wouldn’t this year if these were regular seasons in their regular division/conference.

You’re right – anything can happen once you’re at the party.

Wonder how Claude is doing?


“anything can happen once you’re at the party”

2006 Oilers made the cut on the last day. Almost won the damn thing

Jethro Tull

I almost put this as an example, but didn’t as the Oilers were the hottest team coming into the playoffs then. But you’re right, lightning in a bottle.


Nothing like having a great goalie playing lights out, with rookies and such emerging under intense playoff pressure, while wily veterans show their true colours by providing actual leadership on the ice.

Jethro Tull

Rookies like Bouchard?


Bouchard was rubbing his nuts watching from a hotel room while Bear and kulikov were coughing up the puck as the Jets seemed to have targeted both their corners.


I’m only here for the music…so I’m getting down with Sifa Graffiti before heading for the golf course. I love reaction vids to “dad” rock, and this one seems to suit the occasion. The lyrics reflect the Habs and my reaction:


I wonder if CBJ would consider a Jenner for Jones deal? Jenner is a UFA so Edm has him for 1 year with first crack at extending him, but if it doesn’t work he walks and Jones is likely exposed anyway. So it’s an extra $3M for 1 year. He gives them an experienced winger to play along side McLeod. CBJ gets a player that is cheap, NHL ready, an RFA, and it miiight help keep Seth and it gives them something for Jenner who might just walk at the end of the year. If they’re in the hunt it could be hard for them to move him at the deadline. Wistful thinking?


Don’t think CBJ need a LW, Caleb would be blocked and probably not that excited. Doubt that would help keeping Seth.


Love love love the idea of trading for Jenner. I’d like to do so in the offseason, but I see him as one of the more sought after rentals at the deadline.

Columbus also seems to be in need up front and may not value Jones as much as a young center or forward prospect. There is the brother connection, and certainly finding a way to retain Seth is more valuable to the team than any forward they could get in a Jenner trade. Not sure anyone actually believes adding his brother would change anything, but I’m hardly in the know about that whole situation.

Jenner would be the perfect complimentary winger for our top 6 though, and is also great on the dot. Count me in!


How good is Price right now? The Canadiens are 11-0 when they score 2+ goals.

Imagine being guaranteed a win just by scoring two!


What’s Woodguy’s saying, hockey – mostly goaltending.

what’s the likelihood we could say that about Smith / Mikko next season?

buck yoakam

this is one reason I feel we might miss out on our first round goaltender…looking for the next carey price…copy cat league

Jethro Tull

Like last year, the playoffs are being exquisitely goalered. We keep gambling on Smith, but unless he’s an extreme outlier, we’re due to roll snake-eyes.

It’s the same as we run the probabilities of draft picks playing so many games in the NHL. Well, there’s two ends on any curve….


Smith and Koskinen have NOT been the problem for two years now.

They say they are bringing Smith back. Tippett is the coach. It is pointless wasting money and assets on goaltending this summer with the connection between those two.

The Oilers are set up in terms of contracts and prospects to make the critical goaltending decisions after next season.

This summer, the only potential goaltending moves that make sense are
1) Draft one of the two goaltenders if they are there, and if there is no forward you particularly like.
2) Trade Koskinen with up to 50% retained if there is a deal out there. Stalock, Skinner, and Konovalev should provide enough cover for the backup role.
3) Pittsburgh is upgrading their goaltending. If one is able to trade Koskinen, find a way to get DeSmith.

Jethro Tull

Okay, so my point is that you can’t KEEP betting on aging tenders. I never said they were the problem for the last two year, I don’t know where you pulled that from.

1) I agree, I think you have to take one of the goalies in the draft.
2) Ask yourself if we’d take Koskinen on that contract with even half retained? If you are intellectually honest, it would be a hard no, so why should other teams?
3) You think the answer to upgrading our tending is to take a goalie from a team you think are upgrading theirs? This point doesn’t make much sense. We want to get better too.

Most importantly, why do you think we shouldn’t honestly want to upgrade now? Haven’t you been watching the playoffs for the last two years? Our tandem got us bounced last year against the ghost of Corey Crawford.

This year? Smith was excellent. Koskinen’s number were OK, but lordy, those howlers. And guess what? We met Connor Helybuck in great form……

You keep angling at the connection between Smith and Tippett. I agree, but Koskinen shouldn’t have got the start over Smith this year. But if the GM buys you a shiny new goalie to truly tandem Smith this year whilst transitioning Smith to more of a back up role, why wouldn’t you?


1) $2.25 million for a backup is a little at the high end for a backup goaltender. But Koskinen is a proven backup goaltender. Depending on what the options available were, if I need a backup goaltender, I would be willing to trade for Koskinen at $2.25 million. It would be a cap dump, I wouldn’t have to offer much in terms of assets. If a team has cap space and is in need of a backup goaltender, and prefers spending money than assets, Koskinen is a good option.

2) DeSmith is a proven backup goaltender with one year left at a good AAV. Pittsburgh apparently wants competition for Jarry as the starter. They want 1A/!B. DeSmith wasn’t the problem in Pittsburgh. Jarry was. But Jarry is the goaltender they are developing. The thing I like about DeSmith is that he could be a longer term option for a backup goaltender. Stalock is a little old. DeSmith has potentially 5 more years in him as a backup. Because of Pittsburgh’s particularly situation with Jarry undersperforming, acquiring DeSmith would be an opportunistic acquistion.

Jethro Tull

I think you’re over thinking a tad.

1) You stated “Stalock, Skinner, and Konovalev should provide enough cover for the backup role.”.

So you think these are good enough back-ups, yet someone is going to trade for Koskinen at his hypothetical price point? Why not offer us a couple of picks for one of those guys? You put a lot of caveats in there to justify a Koskinen trade.

2) DeSmith is a proven back-up, just like Koskinen, only cheaper. Maybe someone gets him instead of koskinen.

It’s going to be a buyers market. That’s why Koskinen’s contract hurts so bad. It’s literally untradeable. However, I’ll bet Koskinen gets signed at the end of it, albeit for cheaper.


But if the GM buys you a shiny new goalie to truly tandem Smith this year whilst transitioning Smith to more of a back up role, why wouldn’t you?

You absolutely would.

Agree that this is the play of Holland can acquire a goalie that’s deemed wort the AAV and/or acquisition cost.

Randle McMurphy

He’s worth the Price of admission.
Wonk, wonk, woonk…..

(it was just sitting there…I had to say it)

Last edited 4 months ago by Randle McMurphy
SayItAin'tSo, Gretz, SayItAin'tSo!

While I think Price has been excellent in specific games I think some of the praise is over the top. Game 4 was world class but I think more credit needs to go to the team. The Habs are putting on a masterclass in trapping and pushing ozone pressure outside right now.

When Toronto or Vegas got Price moving side to side they beat him but Montreal has been laser focused in keeping the middle of the ice closed off and its been extremely frustrating for everyone they played. Winnipeg isn’t a good or talented team so I don’t have much to say about the second series.

Skilled players get frustrated when they can’t make their plays and then they start to cheat. When you cheat you can get burned and the Habs have been unbelievably good (Cinderella Run good) at capitalising on those chances.

Josh Anderson has been an absolute waste of money for the Habs. His box cars are brutal and his fancies (save Corsi) are equally bleak. Except for the two plays in Game 4 where they weren’t and I think that more than anything encapsulates the Habs run. Hold tight and let other teams beat themselves

Teach the system, believe in the system and trust the system. Deviate and you lose. The Habs trust their system.

I’m glad to see LT coming around on progress being made by our little team. Kenney and Dave are teaching the Oilers but the Oilers need to listen a bit better. I’ve rewatched a couple of the 1st Round games and I’ve doubled down that there is no way on Gords Green Earth to say that Winnipeg was the better team in any of the games. Depth schelp, the Oilers were the better team but they broke when they should have bent. Just like they broke against Anaheim in 2017 (Kesler be damned). Resiliency comes with age.

The Oilers don’t need to re-invent anything, hell they don’t even need that many pieces.

Stick to the plan and allow the core to mature.

Sometimes things are closer than they appear.


While I think Price has been excellent in specific games I think some of the praise is over the top. Game 4 was world class but I think more credit needs to go to the team.

vs Toronto: .932
vs Winnipeg: .942
vs Vegas: .933

Those are world class numbers. Price has had just 4 starts below .900 out of 17 so far – that’s the epitome of giving your team a chance every night. He’s the hottest goalie in the league this playoffs, I don’t know how anyone could argue otherwise.


I am not convinced that Bouchard is the goods.

Last year on the left side Jones wobbled and sat in the press box, Koekoek wobbled and he sat, Kulikov struggled and Russell came into the line-up. All four of these players have a lower ceiling that Bouchard.

Last year on the right side Barrie wobbled but stayed in the line-up, Bear wobbled and stayed in the line-up. Our brightest light on the taxi squad was Bouchard by far and he played very little.

If Bouchard can’t break through a RHD with Ethan Bear as the 1RHD in his 21 year, should we be worried? Tippett’s best game changer option on the taxi squad was Evan Bouchard and he played 14 basically meaningless games. Either Bouchard is the problem or the coach is the problem, and there is good evidence that the coach wanted the strongest line-up each night.


Bouchard played his wrong side one game, got burned for a GA, but posted a 13-2 Corsi or whatever it was with Bear, which is the really important number.

He also would play the identical minutes that Barrie had.

Yeah he’s going to have some glaring errors.

You know who else did? Jeff Petry. That worked out well.


If I remember correctly there was a lot of talk about needing 4 experienced penalty killers and for a good portion of the season we were running Jones and Barrie who are not. Bouchard was the odd man out because of this and not any other reason.

Eh Team

There’s a pretty reasonable chance that Bouchard > Barrie right now. Bouchard may not get a many points, but he’s as good an offensive player. He’s an elite passer, can break out of his own end and has a strong shot. And he’s pretty likely better defensively than Barrie, cause who isn’t better than Barrie defensively.

Elgin R

Tippet’s use of Bouchard was not only confusing, but highly questionable. Both Bear and Larsson could have been switched out giving Bouchard at least one game a week. Barrie may have had a verbal agreement with Holland that he plays all the games to boost his value for next year. Maybe Tippet is not the guy for a younger team – bring up Woody for the 2022/2023 season.

Bouchard has excelled at every level and improved every year from D-1 when he was drafted. This kid is the goods and will play an important part in the future SCF win for the Oilers.


Last year on the left side Jones wobbled and sat in the press box, Koekoek wobbled and he sat, Kulikov struggled and Russell came into the line-up. All four of these players have a lower ceiling that Bouchard.

Last year on the right side Barrie wobbled but stayed in the line-up, Bear wobbled and stayed in the line-up. Our brightest light on the taxi squad was Bouchard by far and he played very little.

Comparing Barrie/Larsson/Bear as competition on the right side to Russell/Jones/Koekkoek/Lagesson on the left is a little much no? The two groups of players aren’t really remotely comparable.

On the right side, the 3 who played above Bouchard this year had played 21:58, 21:52 and 19:49 per night the previous year. These are/were established Dmen, who all saw their TOI drop year over year as it is (Bear by the most, obviously).

On the left side, none of Russell/Jones/Koekkoek/Lagesson played even 17 minutes a night in 2019-20, and most were in and out of the lineup. Completely and totally different groups of players.

The coach should have given the other RD the occasional night off and worked Bouchard into the lineup more, but I don’t think there’s anything here that reflects poorly on Bouchard.


The revolving door of Jones, Koekkoek, Lagesson, Russell and Kulikov on the left side has nothing to do with Bouchard, in my opinion. Bouchard is a right side d-man and it would be unfair to a raw rookie to play him on his off-side as he’s trying to get used to the NHL game.

I 100% think that Tippett/Playfair could have worked to get Bouch in a few more games – given the odd night off to on of the incumbents, however, at the same time, there were 3 established right shot d-men playing – one leading the league in scoring, one an immensely important shut down and PK guy playing at a high level (and the toughest minutes on the team) and the guy that played 1RD almost the entire previous season (and who’s “struggles” were overstated in my opinion).

Bouch added a tantalizing element in the games he played and I look forward to seeing that nighly next season but I understand the deployment generally this past season.


Yup, my only quibble is not getting him a few more games by giving the vets a night off here and there. It’s not like the Oilers were on the bubble trying to make the playoffs or anything.


I wouldn’t sign Barrie for free, never mind the $6M deal he’ll be looking to get in the offseason. His numbers are a product of McDavid and maybe even anchoring him.

Barrie with McDavid: 55.07 GF% and 51.03 xGF%
Barrie without McDavid: 47.06 GF% and 44.73 xGF%
McDavid without Barrie: 60.47 GF% and 60.92 xGF%

Bringing back Koskinen – Smith would be a disaster big enough to wreck the entire season. Koskinen can be good but only in a 1B/back-up role. I wouldn’t be too confident in a 40 year old Mike Smith as my starter. Signing Ullmark or Driedger as a 1A goalie would be great.

I really like Barclay Goodrow, but I think he gets overpaid due to winning a Cup last season. If the contract was under $2.5M, I would be all over it.

Counting on Getzlaf to be your 3C is a lot like signing Turris last season. You’re betting on results more than 2 seasons in the past. Yes, Getzlaf used to be good. He’s not good anymore and can barely skate.


I’m not super keen to resign Barrie – I would be fine with a value deal – but he basically has 400 pts in 600 games. To say his numbers are a product of McDavid defies logic.


Is there any context around Barrie without McDavid? Like who was Barrie paired with and which forward line(s). Were these the same forwards everyone complains about not being able to piss a drop of offence?


Barrie’s most common forward linemates after the McDavid line was the Kahun – Draisaitl – Yamamoto line.

With Draisaitl, Barrie had a 65.22 GF% and 48.51 xGF% (On a 105.6 PDO and 0.936 oiSV%, the GF% is not very sustainable)

Away from Draisaitl, Barrie had a 42.11 GF% and 48.45 xGF% (GF% is a little low due to a 97.5 PDO)

Draisaitl without Barrie had a 59.52 GF% and 53.35 xGF%

By xGF%, Barrie negatively impacted every top 6 forward with the exception of Yamamoto. However, he had decent to good results with bottom 6 players like Archibald and Khaira.


Ya. Barrie is weak defensively. We all know that. But he’s a proven point producer throughout his career. He has value at the right price. Getting the right price is the rub.


The issue I have with Barrie is that he has to play with Nurse or else he gets absolutely killed – 26% goal share last season without Nurse. This limits the ability of Playfair to put Bear up with Nurse or, potentially, Bouchard if/when we get there.

If there was a Klefbom on the left side, he could likely shine Barrie similar to how Nurse did this past season.


None of the stats I mentioned are pure defensive stats. They involve both offense and defense.


For those who think the Canadians have found some kind of magic formula I’ll note the following.

They are below 50% in everything, shots, scoring chances, expected goals, etc.

They are +6 in goals which is mostly explained by their 5-1 record in overtime.

This is a team that is holding on at regular strength, getting goaltending, and then winning all the coinflips.

Bruce McCurdy

…and a penalty kill unit which hasn’t given up a goal in 13 games and which has OUTSCORED their opposition 4-3 over the course of 86 minutes in the playoffs.

The other 15 teams’ PK units have a combined 6 GF, 97 GA.

Last edited 4 months ago by Bruce McCurdy
Randle McMurphy

Yes. Defense wins hockey games…..until it doesn’t.

There’s a randomness to the Universe that even math has a hard time explaining. 🙂


Penalty kill alone does not win them game, but the ability to play dirty and not worrying about consequences means their entire roster is playing a few jnch taller/10 lbs heavier.

Harpers Hair

The entire series was decided by the VGK powerplay going cold at the wrong time.

Only 9.3% in the playoffs.

Harpers Hair

Or what Bruce said.


I think the Av’s series took a lot out of Vegas. Vegas needs to be physical and they got outmuscled by the Habs D. Also my man Josh Anderson coming at you like a freight train would scare the shit out of anyone.


Powerplay went cold but it was 22nd in the league over the course of the regular season (I believe 17.6%) – it was an issue going in to the playoffs and continued to be an issue.

Harpers Hair

The Canadiens are actually good and how GMs often learn the wrong lessons.

Bag of Pucks

Excellent article! This really stood out to me.

The fact of the matter is that the Habs have been an excellent 5v5 team for years, driven by excellent players. Since 2018, Brendan Gallagher is 7th in the league in 5v5 goals, ahead of Tavares, Connor, Panarin, Stone, Marchand, MacKinnon, and many other stars; Philip Danault’s 44 primary assists at 5v5 rank 16th, ahead of Scheifele, Matthews, O’Reilly, and Aho. Hell, the Habs’ first line was the best in the league at 5v5 in that time:

Harpers Hair

Notable that Montreal’s season was a roller coaster defined by injury to Brendan Gallagher.

Ice Sage

and Price, courtesy of our Chiasson – will Tampa or the Isles run him?


They are not just good. They are better than Colorado, Vegas, Toronto, and all the teams you said were better. There is a lesson to be learned all right. That lesson is that 90% of what you say is pure bullshit….


Just because a team goes further than another team in the playoffs doesn’t always mean they’re better. It could be due to a little shooting luck/goaltending. The Habs won just 43% of their games in the regular season, they’re not better than the likes of Colorado and Vegas.

Brewha Ha

You are wrong. The best teams play for the cup. EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. Regular season is not playoffs so it does not matter how the regular season went. The cup is given out for the best team in the playoffs not the regular season… Luck only matters if you are the losing team. Montreal IS better… because the other teams are not playing for a cup…Montreal is playing for the cup…which means they are better…What a ridiculous comment.

Last edited 4 months ago by Brewha Ha

You are wrong.
The best teams are the teams that do it over a 6 month period.
Any decent team can get hot for 6 weeks. That’s what makes playoff series so random.
Do you really believe the Habs roster is the second best in hockey because they made it to a cup final? Did Edmonton have the 2nd best roster in 06?
If I was a fan of the Leafs, or Avalanche, or Vegas, or Carolina, I wouldn’t want them to make any drastic changes. Just keep putting together good seasons, get yourself in the playoffs, and see what happens.
Give yourself as many chances as you can with a good team. It will increase your odds of winning a cup.


They are not just good. They are better than Colorado, Vegas, Toronto, and all the teams you said were better. There is a lesson to be learned all right. That lesson is that 90% of what you say is pure bullshit….

OMG, this is remarkably effective.

Well played.

Last edited 3 months ago by jp

And to think you had the actually bad Flames beating the actually good Canadiens out for the final playoff spot in the last 5 games.

Last edited 4 months ago by Side

good grief ;)…


Basically unrelated to the content of the article, but there’s an odd error about the Oilers-Jets series in there.

He says the Jets “only narrowly got outplayed by the Oilers (the xG differential between them was 0.3)”. But it’s not true.

The xG differential over the 4 games according to Natural Stat was +3.5 at all strengths, and +3.3 at 5v5.

From Evolving hockey (which JFresh seems to use) it was +4.0 at all strengths and +3.3 at 5v5.

But yeah, the Canadians have been a pretty good 5v5 team. The other things are clicking for them now.


Teams that win the Stanley Cup win the overtimes most of the time, particularly the Canadiens. See 1993 (Roy) Forum ghosts laugh at coin flips.

OT in the playoffs is where an elite goaltender does have impact.