Chinatown

by Lowetide

I was expecting a great draft last Friday night and had great anticipation for all of the first-round picks. I was not expecting a plot twist, but that’s exactly what happened while I was on the radio talking about the 2021 selections.

I was on the air with Tom Gazzola and Hernan Salas, two of my favourite people to work with at any time. I had Sebastian Cossa circled for Edmonton, but wasn’t sure he’d make it (he was drafted by Detroit, who traded up to get him at No. 15). As the Edmonton pick got closer, my list was (in order) Nikita Chibrikov (suspected the Oilers wouldn’t take him), Zachary Bolduc (he went No. 17), Francesco Pinelli, Xavier Bourgault, Chaz Lucius (he went No. 18 to Winnipeg), Logan Stankhoven, Fabien Lysell and Jesper Wallstedt.

There were six men in my top 20 when the Oilers turn at 20 arrived. Honestly, I would have been impressed with any of them landing to Edmonton at 20.

After Ken Holland made the trade down, all hell broke loose on the textline. Wallstedt was suddenly a franchise goalie and the Oilers had once again made an historic error. And in the time since then, nothing much has changed. I think the Oilers selected a helluva player, and am looking forward to seeing his career roll out.

THE ATHLETIC!

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

OILERS VS. LOWETIDE 2018

The Oilers have an edge (two players have arrived) and Bouchard is a quality prospect, but Ty Smith is a terrific young player and may finish his career as the best player in the group. He’s that good. McLeod helps Edmonton, but I’m convinced Fagemo is going to have a career of some kind. This is going to take some time.

OILERS VERSUS LOWETIDE 2019

Miles too soon to know, but Mr. Kaliyev has played in one game and scored in it. The first three Oilers picks are trending well. My list had too many re-entries in it, that was a trend I’ve clipped since. Older players are more established, more is known about them, but the ceiling is lower.

OILERS VERSUS LOWETIDE 2020

This draft has started out well for both lists, a year after the draft the top three picks on both sides are trending well. Even the fourth picks, Berezkin and Miettinen, are posting strong numbers in their respective leagues. I think we’ll see some NHL players from both of these lists.

OILERS VERSUS LOWETIDE 2021

As I mentioned draft weekend, there is so much disparity on all of the lists and it’s going to be fascinating to see how this turns out. Someone is wrong, we’ll see. For me, the Bourgault, Chiasson and Petrov selections are all value, and we’ll have to see about the other three. They aren’t as famous as the others, but that doesn’t mean they won’t succeed. We’ll know more in a year.

THE SUMMER

I believe drafting Bourgault was the correct call. He’ll arrive in pro hockey in time for fall 2023, Leon Draisaitl will have two years left in his deal, McDavid three. Someone has to be in place to take over key roles, in case those men choose to sign elsewhere. Currently, Dylan Holloway, Bourgault, Ryan McLeod, Raphael Lavoie and Jake Chiasson represent the possible future at center. That isn’t enough, but the organization must keep feeding the prospect pipeline and the two most recent drafts have been important.

I’ll linger for another moment to suggest that Holland is preparing the team for the future a little better than Chiarelli did five or six years ago. Whereas Chiarelli ran out of money the instant he signed Kris Russell to his long-term deal in 2017, Holland seems to be trying to stagger major contracts so one expires each summer. Koskinen is done in 2022, Keith in 2023 (Klefbom too) and on down the line.

Without money coming off the books each summer, Chiarelli put himself in a position where Ty Rattie was the big free-agent addition of summer. Nothing against Rattie, but the team needed more. Toronto is in the same position this summer, but have an analytics slant and are making smarter bets.

Both Chiarelli and Holland overspent to buy assets in an effort to hurry success, I know many of you are frustrated by their execution in this area. Fans want immediate success, but believe there are more efficient ways to get there.

I absolutely agree.

I know these Oilers are not among the efficient teams. The Bear for Foegele trade is an example. I like Foegele a bunch, but the position he fills (two-way winger in the middle six) has less value than Bear (top-four defender, RH, fairly complete skill set and proven to be effective versus elite opposition).

The best thing you can say about that trade is that Edmonton badly needed Foegele to rebuild the third line, and that Bear’s contract ask a year from now would have been difficult to satisfy.

I don’t think the Connor McDavid era is going to include an Oilers team that is driven by cutting edge analytics. I think Ken Holland is going by his gut and he has had success as a boat against the current (Mike Smith a year ago, etc).

I believe he was correct in keeping the 2021 first-round selection and I believe Bourgault was an astute choice.

I believe an analytics department and a management team who values those numbers is for the future in Edmonton. That kind of paradigm shift for the Oilers will happen after McDavid’s exit. The fact is, 97 is so good (as is 29), Edmonton can contend even with a distinct off-ice disadvantage.

Finally, Holland can’t run his team as if the world ends when McDavid’s deal is done and he can’t mortgage all of Edmonton’s future for today. I think Bourgault was a helluva pick. I look forward to watching his progress. He may play in a time when the Oilers do not feature 97 or 29. That possibility is the reason using the pick was necessary.

239 comments
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239 comments

Lowetide August 2, 2021 - 6:04 am

NEW for The Athletic: What are Oilers’ ideal defence pairings for 2021-22?

https://theathletic.com/2743816/2021/08/02/lowetide-what-are-oilers-ideal-defence-pairings-for-2021-22/

jp August 1, 2021 - 10:31 pm

bmclav

August 1, 2021 2:16 pm

As an aside, what would everyone rank EDM’s top 9 league wide? 

Hyman-McD-Pulju

Nuge-Drai-Yamo

Holloway-Ryan-Foegele

/

Harpers Hair

August 1, 2021 4:18 pm

The division is not standing still.

LA added Danault and Arvidson to its top 6. This frees up Kopitar from tough matchups and D zone starts and allows Quinton Byfield to centre the 3rd line.

I’m pretty confused..

Are you saying that the LAK (with pretty much all of their cap weaponized):
Iafallo-Kopitar-Brown
Kempe-Danault-Arvidsson
Athanasiou-Byfield-Vilardi

Might have a better top 9 than the Oilers? That would be a really weird thing to say..

Elgin R August 2, 2021 - 12:06 am

It is a perfectly reasonable comment from HH as he is just trolling not actually trying to contribute in a positive manner.

Reja August 2, 2021 - 4:49 am

I can’t wait to watch peak Leon and Connor torch the opposition with the additions of puck hounds Hyman Holloway and foegele and our quick transition D it’s going to be a special year.

jp August 1, 2021 - 10:10 pm

Hey, did the Kraken pick any RFAs, then walk them? Like we were told would happen with Benson or whoever the picked from the Oilers?

OriginalPouzar August 1, 2021 - 5:46 pm

I thought Seattle was all about the math?

CapFriendly
@CapFriendly
 · 1h
Grubauer’s contract w/ the #SeaKraken was rejected by the NHL central registry for violating the front-loaded contract requirements:

-1.5M increase between 22/23-23/24 exceeds 25% of 1st year salary

The contract needs to be restructured and resubmitted

https://capfriendly.com/players/philipp-grubauer?twitter_img=1627607589

Material Elvis August 1, 2021 - 6:25 pm

Top tier analytics team for sure. Is that Ricky Olczyk running the contract department?

leadfarmer August 1, 2021 - 6:59 pm

Genius boy strikes again
you’d think his analytics department could handle that level math

Material Elvis August 1, 2021 - 8:10 pm

Just wait until they put *all* their brains together and release the Kraken.

OriginalPouzar August 1, 2021 - 5:36 pm

Deadline has passed for player elected arbitration and, not that there was any reasonable likelihood that he was going to file, Marody didn’t.

Officially no 2nd buyout window for the OIlers.

I don’ think buyout out Mikko in a 2nd window was ever a real option but definitely not recently given the long term d-men signings and the price for Nurse likely going up – can’t extend Mikko’s contract.

McNuge93 August 1, 2021 - 6:06 pm

yes, with all the decent goalies signed it doesnt make sense at this point to buy Koski out. Really risky going with the same tandem, but 1) we have Stalock as a possible 3rd option, 2) hoping the the forward group improvement and marginal D improvement get us into the playoffs again.

leadfarmer August 1, 2021 - 3:58 pm

I like the Foegele addition
go for the next Hyman

YKOil August 1, 2021 - 3:44 pm

Fine with the XB pick, would have preferred Wallstedt but will not and can not hold that against XB. By all appearances a very good draft pick.

The Pouliot buy-out has always been, and will always be, an unforgiveable management mis-step in my eyes. So bad, management can only be redeemed by brilliant moves elsewhere, which we did not get.

If anyone ever wants to know why so much of the fan base got so angry with the Shore signing (which was undeserved in my mind) one only has to look at the damage wrought by Tambellini, Nicholson (paying to bring Chiarelli), and Chiarelli.

Management that cannot be trusted to manage well is it’s own damnation.

On a future ‘sounding’ note, I wonder when Montreal, Winnipeg, Vancouver, and Anaheim will weaponize their LTIR contracts.

That Weber contract should look AMAZING to some teams right now (Monreal has two such contracts, and possibly three pending what happens with Drouin).

Harpers Hair August 1, 2021 - 4:05 pm

Drouin is skating and planning to play but I wonder if Montreal moves on.

Reja August 1, 2021 - 4:32 pm

He won’t okay play another game in a Habs uniform.

Gerta Rauss August 1, 2021 - 4:40 pm

Some of the speculation was that Drouin was struggling with playing in the Montreal market. I can’t say if this is true or not, but it wouldn’t surprise me if MTL moves on from him

godot10 August 1, 2021 - 5:20 pm

I expect Colorado might take Drouin for 50% off along with a draft pick.or two.

Revolved August 1, 2021 - 3:29 pm

There has been a lot of anger over losing Bear and Larsson. Maybe even more anger than over our abysmal playoff performances the last two years. However, both players were directly culpable in those losses – Some Oilers D 5×5 GF:GA in the last two playoffs:

Nurse – 8:9 – 47.1%
Barrie – 4:2 – 66.7%
Bear – 3:10 – 23.1%
Larsson – 2:7 – 22.2%
Russell – 2:3 – 40%
Benning – 3:1 – 75%
Koekkoek – 2:2 – 50%
Kulikov – 1:4 – 20%

It will not be a popular opinion, but I would also question the conclusion that Bear is a bonafide top 4 D. If you look at Nurse’s 5×5 GF% WOWY with Bear over the last three seasons:

Nurse with Bear – 47.9%
Nurse without Bear – 53.7%
Bear without Nurse – 45.0%

Bear is still young, but I would say that stabilizing the top 9 was the most important thing to do – yes, even over addressing the goaltending. I have no idea what Ceci will bring, but if Tippett can bring himself to give his lines some stability I think it will have a huge impact on team success.

Fuge Udvar August 1, 2021 - 4:36 pm

The Bear-Foegele trade will be fascinating to follow. It could be a win for either side. Players don’t develop in straight lines and both players need to have another step for

ArmchairGM August 1, 2021 - 4:54 pm

Why are you looking at Nurse & Bear’s WOWY’s for the past 3 years?? They only played together for the past 2 years. Run the numbers again, fairly.

Revolved August 1, 2021 - 5:29 pm

Right you are, it was 17-18 that Bear played his first 18 NHL games. My bad, but as such the numbers above are only for the last two years. I believe NST only calculates without numbers from games the other player played in.

pts2pndr August 1, 2021 - 6:32 pm

Add in the fact Bear struggled after concussions you could argue that he came back too soon putting team above his own health. Given that right shot D are the gold standard and the team essentially moved two bonafide top four right shot D for a third line winger management’s decisions should be questioned!

wolf8888 August 1, 2021 - 6:38 pm

Are you saying management moved out Larson?

pts2pndr August 1, 2021 - 7:45 pm

Lowballing him on the initial offer if correct by what I read would by my estimation be causal on his choice to move on from the team. If correct they asked him to play in his prime for less money than he was currently making. Given that the reported offer was 1.6 million lower than the cap hit for Keith who he was expected to be the defensive conscience for. Rather than take a pay cut I would have done the same thing. Loyalty is a two way street! In fairness I am going but what was reported and do not know for sure the truth of same.

OriginalPouzar August 1, 2021 - 8:15 pm

Holland had been negotiating with Larsson since January. He hadn’t agreed to re-sign in the six months leading up to Keith being acquired.

It doesn’t seem that Duncan Keith was the issue.

Duncan Keith will be playing hockey for the Oilers for $2.1M this year and $1.5M next season – the Oilers were offering a hell of a lot more money than they are paying Keith.

If the initial offer was $3.9 and the player signed for $4M, that is so not a low ball initial offer

Harpers Hair August 1, 2021 - 8:24 pm

Why do YOU think he left?

jp August 1, 2021 - 10:01 pm

Why are you looking at Nurse & Bear’s WOWY’s for the past 3 years?? They only played together for the past 2 years. Run the numbers again, fairly.

I gotta say, I think Revolved looking at 2/3 years is more fair than the Nurse/Bear/Barrie numbers from just this past season that are virtually the only ones ever cited (and also the ones that shine the absolute best possible light on Bear).

Chelios is a Dinosaur August 1, 2021 - 3:17 pm

Hyman McDavid Puljujarvi
Holloway Draisatl Yamamoto
Foegele Nugent-Hopkins Archibald

Playoff Unicorns

TheGreatBigMac August 1, 2021 - 3:56 pm

If you want to go full fantasy land maybe Lavoie for Archibald 😀

jtblack August 1, 2021 - 3:15 pm

The Cup Winning D looks something like this.

NURSE
BROBERG
SAMMY

BARRIE
BOUCHARD
CECI

Prob with an added Vet or 2 that are good D man (ie: an Ian Cole type).

That should be the starting D next fall.

leadfarmer August 1, 2021 - 4:00 pm

The likelihood that Holland goes with that much youth on defense is 0

pts2pndr August 1, 2021 - 7:48 pm

They might not have much choice given the lack of cap space. This lineup may not be ideal but it maybe our new reality.

Scungilli Slushy August 1, 2021 - 5:28 pm

Bro is only 20, Sammie 22.

21/22
Nurse Barrie
Keith Ceci
X Old Man

22/23
Nurse Barrie
Keith Old Man
Samu Ceci
X
23/24
Nurse Bouchard
Sammie Barrie
Bro Ceci
Keith for cheap still wants to compete

Scungilli Slushy August 1, 2021 - 5:29 pm

Forgot to call Bouch old man in 23/24

Ive complained to my editor

Bulging Twine August 1, 2021 - 3:14 pm

I think that one benefit of the Hyman signing is that it will help RNH’s game.

iirc RNH does better when not overtaxed on ice time. If his average toi can get below 20 minutes at least, that would be beneficial to his game imo.

Having another legit top 6 option should result in less ice time for him.

pts2pndr August 1, 2021 - 7:50 pm

Moving him back to Draisaitl’s line won’t hurt either.

Brantford Boy August 1, 2021 - 2:32 pm

More skill coming to camp from the QMJHL… Brady Burns

bmclav August 1, 2021 - 2:16 pm

Something I think most are underestimating is that although EDM’s D core is suspect in the defensive end, their puck moving and transition game will be excellent, I envision the puck being moved up ice quickly every time the D get it and the forwards being able to maintain possession properly, so they’ll be defending much less as a whole. I love Larss as much as anyone but the guy HAD to be elite defensively just to saw off because it was always glass and out / rimming the puck usually resulting in losing possession and another wave coming back in your zone. Larss being largely unable to contribute positively in the offensive zone would also result in more time spent defending. I think it’s fair to say this group of D will be worse at defending than last year, but do to the forward upgrades and puck moving ability on the back end the net net will still be better than last year due to overall time spend defending going way down.

As an aside, what would everyone rank EDM’s top 9 league wide?

Hyman-McD-Pulju
Nuge-Drai-Yamo
Holloway-Ryan-Foegele

I’d say top 5

leadfarmer August 1, 2021 - 2:40 pm

I don’t think Ryan has enough left in the tank for 3c

Harpers Hair August 1, 2021 - 2:57 pm

Yamamoto is not a 2nd line winger on a good team.

Dac189 August 1, 2021 - 3:12 pm

He’s still young and had a promising rookie year.
It’s a good sign though when HH’s main criticism of the top 9 is the 2RW being slotted slightly too high

leadfarmer August 1, 2021 - 3:50 pm

Good enough for the division

Harpers Hair August 1, 2021 - 4:18 pm

The division is not standing still.

LA added Danault and Arvidson to its top 6. This frees up Kopitar from tough matchups and D zone starts and allows Quinton Byfield to centre the 3rd line.

From the last time VCR played they will be adding Pettersson, Garland, Dickinson and Podkholzin to their top 9 as well as slotting Sutter properly at 4C. The Dickinson add is very significant in that it frees up Horvat from the toughs and Garland is a perfect partner for him.

OriginalPouzar August 1, 2021 - 4:55 pm

Yamamoto is not a top 6 player on a good team but Danault can be heralded as a 2C – got it!

Harpers Hair August 1, 2021 - 5:42 pm

You may want to check Danault’s 5×5 scoring rate before beaking off.
He’s in some pretty rarified territory.

OriginalPouzar August 1, 2021 - 5:51 pm

Why would I check his scoring rates? They pale in comparison to what Kahun was putting up prior to this past year so, non-informative.

His 5 goals and 24 points are informative.

Harpers Hair August 1, 2021 - 7:53 pm

Remaining ignorant of the facts is hardly a winning argument.

Here ya go.

https://www.nhl.com/canadiens/news/phillip-danault-among-the-best-at-his-profession/c-315891672

Harpers Hair August 1, 2021 - 8:01 pm

Take Danault’s most-common opponent in Marner – With Danault on the ice, the Canadiens controlled more than 57 percent of shot attempts against Marner. Without? Less than 42 percent. Outside of McDavid, Montreal controlled possession with Danault on the ice against all six others on the list, and in many cases, it was strongly controlled. 
For the most part, they also had the advantage in scoring chances and high-danger chances. Danault’s ability to not only defend well, but take the puck, transition it from defense to offense and create attempts for his team is among the league’s best.
As we discussed yesterday, Danault had the fifth-highest CF% of all forwards around the league with at least 700 minutes of 5-on-5 ice time. Those he trailed are all considered to be elite, first-line players, including the entire first line of the Colorado Avalanche, plus Aleksander Barkov. Looking at his point production, the raw totals might leave some disappointed. But take a deeper look into the numbers.

Harpers Hair August 1, 2021 - 8:04 pm

If you can come to grips with the fact that Danault isn’t a goalscorer, you’ll see that he ranks 12th in the NHL in assists/60 over the last three seasons, during 5-on-5 play. Looking specifically at first assists, he’s a Top-30 player. In terms of points/60, Danault ranks directly between Sebastian Aho and Mark Scheifiele over that span. While he might not post eye-popping totals, the fact is, at even strength he’s been a very productive player.
“My two-way game has always been my strongest asset,” he said. “Trying to deny goals while also scoring some, good passing. I’m very proud to be there.”

OriginalPouzar August 1, 2021 - 8:25 pm

Of course, I can come to grips with Danault not being a goalscorer just like I’ve come to grips that he doesn’t produce offence at legit top 6 levels – certainly not enough to talk about Yamamoto not being a top 6 forward but Danault being one.

Scoring rates playing on the 3rd line does not equate to being a top 6 player – as per Dominic Kahun, as per JJ Khaira.

Danault is a great 3C that can play up the lineup. Yamamoto is a great 3RW that can play up the lineup. I’d much rather have Danault be he’s not a proven NHL 2C.

Harpers Hair August 1, 2021 - 9:11 pm

LOL…even in the face of overwhelming evidence, you retain your indefensible nonsense.

The game of hockey is all about outscoring….not just running up gaudy point totals while giving them all back at the other end.

Danault creates scoring chances at an elite rate while dominating elite competition.

And please stop with your silly Kahun, Khaira blather.

Danault will be an elite 2 way 2C in LA.

And perhaps you might want to temper your Yamamoto love affair while you’re at it.

He was outscored last season by 20 year old Nils Hoglander.

Hoglander: 13G 14A 27P

Yamamoto: 8G 13A 21P

Hoglander was playing on a team ravaged by Covid and without its #1C for much of the season.

Yamamoto, despite being 2 years older, didn’t have to deal with any of those issues and still came up short.

I wouldn’t argue Hoglander is a top 6 player (he’s just been replaced by Conor Garland)
but neither is Yamamoto which was my original argument.

Harpers Hair August 1, 2021 - 9:43 pm

BTW…Danault was second on the Habs in TOI/GP last season among centres despite not playing on the PP.

He WAS the 2nd line centre.

pts2pndr August 1, 2021 - 6:45 pm

Get someone intelligent to do your research instead of doing it yourself!

leadfarmer August 1, 2021 - 5:43 pm

Division is treading water.
Also important to note that Vancouver with Podkolzin on the roster has blown through all their futures

Harpers Hair August 1, 2021 - 8:14 pm

For shame…they’ve been hitting on their prospects with alarming regularity.

Hoglander, Podkholzin, Rathbone all in a 12 month period.

pts2pndr August 2, 2021 - 8:43 am

With trading there first round draft choices! It’s why they are such a power house!😂

leadfarmer August 1, 2021 - 5:46 pm

ive been curious why you haven’t posted Jfresh numbers on Oilers being best forward group in division since you like to post the defense numbers so much

pts2pndr August 1, 2021 - 6:43 pm

Pettersson is one hit away from being out of hockey forever. Podkholzin is closer to leader of the Russian government than a bonafide NHL top six player except in your delusional mind!

Side August 1, 2021 - 4:29 pm

If Yamamoto were traded to another good team you would be saying otherwise.

Harpers Hair August 1, 2021 - 5:43 pm

No I wouldn’t.

I would wager he never shoots 25% again in his career.

Side August 1, 2021 - 5:57 pm

That’s nice but not really relevant. He doesn’t need to shoot 25% to be a 2nd line winger on a good team.

You know this, but again, you waste your time by being disingenuous. What a shame.

Material Elvis August 1, 2021 - 5:30 pm

He’s the 2RW on a good team right now…..

Harpers Hair August 1, 2021 - 5:44 pm

1-8

Material Elvis August 1, 2021 - 6:28 pm

Are you implying that bad teams make the playoffs?

Harpers Hair August 1, 2021 - 8:08 pm

Why yes they do.

Chicago did just the season before last.

Happens all the time.

Material Elvis August 1, 2021 - 8:46 pm

That’s a terrible example. Chicago made the “playoffs” on a Covid technicality last season. If the season had not been postponed, they would have missed by a mile.

pts2pndr August 1, 2021 - 6:48 pm

Finished ahead of your Canucks. How’s Brogan doing? Quinn Hughes a good bet to win the green jacket for the Canucks again this year!😂😂

Sierra August 1, 2021 - 6:22 pm

Yamamoto is not a 2nd line winger on a good team

The Oilers aren’t a good team? Seriously?

Harpers Hair August 1, 2021 - 8:41 pm

Good teams make the Conference finals.

Material Elvis August 1, 2021 - 9:18 pm

Like Dallas Stars? They made the Stanley Cup Final last season (your favorite reference). You think the Canadiens, with their mediocre regular season, will be a lock to make the playoffs next year? Are they a good team?

Harpers Hair August 1, 2021 - 9:47 pm

Too early to say…they’ve lost a lot of talent.

Dallas was also a victim of Covid, started their season late and played a very compressed schedule and, of course, their best player and #1G were out the entire season.

How do you think the Oilers would have fared if McDavid and Mike Smith missed the entire season?

Would have been real ugly.

Material Elvis August 1, 2021 - 9:57 pm

So Seguin is equal to McDavid in your eyes?

pts2pndr August 1, 2021 - 6:39 pm

You have zero credibility on all things Oilers and questionable at best on hockey. See Brogan Rafferty being better than Bouchard and Quinn being a number one D.

jtblack August 1, 2021 - 3:10 pm

You add in Kassian and Mcleod.

Forward group looks Good I say Top 5 also.

I could sew Foegle ending up on RW 1. apparently mcD likes him they train together

Reja August 1, 2021 - 3:22 pm

Foegele just might be the second coming of Pat Maroon and crash the net.

YYCOil August 1, 2021 - 3:31 pm

If Smith plays 50 games he will help this set of defenseman. His work from the trapezoid will compliment puck moving defenseman. Off the glass and out defenseman negates the huge advancement Smith’s puck handling provides the Oilers.

pts2pndr August 1, 2021 - 6:35 pm

Who plays D on the PK where puck movement means squat and size and physicality are key!

Ryan August 1, 2021 - 12:19 pm

YYCOil

 Reply to  Ryan

 August 1, 2021 10:53 am

I see this type of note quite a bit. What was the record of Dark Horse, Mike, Tyler and Justin? This group were in the room when Jeff Petry was traded and the management signed yet another 4C free agent well past his best before.

That entire department would have cost $1.0M -$2.5M which is a very tiny number for a billionaire. If it was just buying smart people and measuring the right stuff, it would be done and closer to perfection by now. 

Is the legend of “Money Puck” producing the results?

I don’t know much about Dark Horse’s involvement other than some general recollection that he was one of the first one working with the Oilers. Woodguy would know a lot more.

I think there was more than enough verbal from Mactavish before and after the Petry trade to blame that trade squarely on him.

“You can only have so many $4m defensemen” and “We challenged Petry with a 1-year contract.”

He mentioned years later that trading Petry was something he later deeply regretted as a mistake.

I have a few unsubstantiated theories about the Oilers and analytics.

The TL:DR version is that they tried it, had some misses, and quickly gave up on it.

First, the Oilers did an n=1 experiment using analytics when they used Parketti’s selection of Marco Roy. If Roy had turned into an NHL player, I expect that the Oilers and analytics might have gone in a different direction though it’s wildly unrealistic to expect results with 1 pick.

Second, I think that Mark Fayne and Benoit Pouliot were analytics picks with some possible involvement of Dellow. In fairness, the Oilers actually hired Dellow after they signed both of these players. I remember him writing a blog somewhere about both where he didn’t seem to hate the transactions in his typical style.

At any rate, the Oilers hired Tyler Dellow on August 5th, 2014 and fired Dallas Eakins on December 15th, 2014. All accounts at the time were that Dellow mostly worked with Eakins and I suspect he didn’t play much of a role after Eakins was fired. Eakins has probably been the most vocal about having worked with Dellow.

Fayne was an interesting case. At the time, there was concerned that he was being zoomed by Andy Greene and the weird Jersey system. That obviously turned out to be the case.

If these were analytics picks (Fayne and Pouliot) and they obviously didn’t pan out, it could explain why the Oilers soured on analytics.

Which 4c transition are you referring to? Will Acton?

Primetime August 1, 2021 - 12:41 pm

It’s interesting that you brought up Fayne and Pouliot as examples of analytic picks that failed. I would agree that they didn’t have massive success here, but both were still decent players.

The problem as I see it with the Oilers, is the marriage of analytics with more old school thinking. Yes, both Fayne and Pouliot may have been targeted due to analytics involvement, but the idea is to find these hidden gems that others don’t appreciate and get them on your team at a reasonable cost. The biggest problem with both these acquisitions was that the OBC took the recommendations and did their usual overpay to get them to our team schtick. In my mind this lead to unreal expectations and the early demise of analytics with the Oil because of these “expensive” mistakes. It wasn’t the analytics that told MacT to pay 4x$3.625 to Fayne and 5x$4.00 (!!) for Pouliot. Neither one had ever had a contract over $1.5 million AAV.

Discarding a useful measure (analytics) because of your own misuse of the information is beyond ridiculous.

Ryan August 1, 2021 - 1:14 pm

Again, all of this is supposition on my part.

Excellent points especially the overpay on their contracts.

Pouliot delivered as expected for sure on at least the first few years of his contract. I liked the player. His penchant for taking penalties in the offensive zone wore thin on Mclellan.

Fayne was a general disappointment and never played in the NHL again after the Oilers. Foot speed was an issue. That was quite a terrible contract amount.

BornInAGretzkyJersey August 1, 2021 - 1:31 pm

Poo was a fine player, if paid a million or so too much.

His penalty differential (by memory) was in the black. But, as you said, he sure had a penchant for taking visibly bad penalties in the offensive zone. What I don’t understand was the way he’d be in the doghouse for that whereas #flattop often turned a blind eye to Kassian’s lazy o-zone penalties.

Scungilli Slushy August 1, 2021 - 1:52 pm

I think a lot hinges on whether an org can take all of the available info and make a good decision.

Having a full range of NHL skill sets is a good start. Not being a good skater has torpedoed so many Oiler hopefuls, drafted or signed. Holland gets it – skate, big enough, plays two ways as the top offernsive spots are taken for a good while.

Fayne was 28 when brought in and already not a good skater, coming from a more checking style conference. To a team that lacked depth. He may have been ok in a different situation. I would never take a slower player unless absolutely necessary. Imagine soccer players that don’t run well, or football. Few have the IQ to out do that especially on the downward slope.

Poo got hurt. May have been good. Sekera great until hurt.

If you aren’t going to contextualize it all, may as well go with what you know, eyeballs and looking to see the skills remain in tact.

Although I do believe the Oilers have metrics they value.

YYCOil August 1, 2021 - 3:54 pm

I am very sure this is not how business works. Billionaire, Daryl Katz is not giving up on analytics because Mark Fayne did not work out. Every business the size of the Oilers are trying to figure out an advantage for the corporation.

If you look at the business side of the Oiler’s; Katz is paying a premium to get talent, Tom Anselmi, Bob Nicholson, Stew MacDonald, Stuart Ballantyne are very top drawer business talent.

It seems very inconsistent that Katz would spend to get business talent, build an arena around winning, pay for top coaches, buy-out players and coaches, use one of his planes to get executive around BUT not have an analytic group made up of high skilled people to help the hockey side.

It makes a good fable, and an excellent storyline for some…but it should not pass anyone’s sniff test.

Ryan August 1, 2021 - 5:49 pm

I am not sure what we’re debating here.

Chiarelli let everyone go in from their analytics department (Haight, Dellow, Radcliffe, and Parkatti).

He kept the guy in charge of filing for immigration to also run thing their analytics reports.

I don’t know about sniff tests, but if you know contrary information, please share it.

YYCOil August 1, 2021 - 6:47 pm

There are lots of ways to run an analytics department – you can have people who work in your building and on your payroll. You can outsource it to a third party company. Not having a body(s) in Ice District is not clear evidence that the Oilers are not using analytics.

I can say that I know the Oilers interviewed a talented young man that was going to work on contract and reside in Toronto, he did not get the job.

The four executives named above would run Katz $2M in salary and then another $1.5 in LTIR. Add $200M in the arena, $81.5M in player salary, $2-5M in player development and another $2M in travel.
The sniff test is; $1.5M in analytics seem tiny vs. running a hockey team the way Katz invests. 2 home play-off games is about $6M in profit. The theme that Holland wakes up from a nap and talks to a few friends on the phone and swings a deal doesn’t hold water in my mind.

Ryan August 1, 2021 - 10:18 pm

Sure, I would assume that the Oilers subscribe to a third party service like Sportslogiq. I have suggested this before.

I don’t think Kroenke Sports and Entertainment hired Dawson Sprigins to print off stats packs from Sportslogiq nor with Tulsky in Carolina.

Either way you need educated people in house with the requisite critical thinking ability to analyze and make use of the data.

Maybe the Oilers try to play off the ‘aw shucks’ I just talked to this person about trading for Duncan Keith, but really rely on a secret team of contracted analysts.

Their transaction history does not suggest this.

Oil2Oilers August 1, 2021 - 11:40 am

The WIN NOW part of the Holland era is demonstrated by the geriatric defense acquisitions on the Left side and the destruction of the future depth on the Right side.

The forwards look much improved.

With out a goalie upgrade it will likely be a WIN NEVER policy. The starting goalie has won one playoff game in the last 9 years, this is not someone developing a past – it is fully developed.

With money to tight to mention more young assets and or picks will have to leave to fix it. Would Yamamoto be enough to get Drieger out of Seattle? He could be replaced by Tartar with Hyman moving to the Right side.

defmn August 1, 2021 - 12:25 pm

Describing trading Bear as “the destruction of the future depth on the Right side” seems a little over the top to me.

Oil2Oilers August 1, 2021 - 12:39 pm

I am also a huge Flip Berglund fan, but he seems like a long shot for an NHL career.

Beyond Bouchard the Oilers have two one dimensional NHL D man on the right side, neither are young enough to believe they will change. It looks like a very weak part of the roster for years to come, it did not look that way at the start of the summer.

defmn August 1, 2021 - 12:47 pm

It looks like a very weak part of the roster for years to come, it did not look that way at the start of the summer.

With all respect I submit that has more to do with Larsson’s decision than anything else.

Harpers Hair August 1, 2021 - 1:15 pm

That’s undoubtedly true but raises the question is Ceci an adequate response?

It seems he does fine on a bottom pairing as he did last season in Pittsburgh but not so great when asked to play higher in the lineup.

Unless Bouchard can take a big leap forward and play second line minutes, the right side D looks pretty wobbly from a defensive perspective.

leadfarmer August 1, 2021 - 2:02 pm

Bouchard is Bears replacement
Ceci is Larssons

Harpers Hair August 1, 2021 - 2:59 pm

And your D pairings are?

Redbird62 August 1, 2021 - 3:44 pm

Ceci spent the entire second half of the season and the playoffs as the 2nd pair d on Pittsburgh. Marino was only getting 15 minutes a night by the playoffs rolled around. And Ceci earned that promotion with very good play. He has played second pair minutes or better for most of his career except for the first half of last season.

Harpers Hair August 1, 2021 - 5:45 pm

And got crushed for almost all that time.

Redbird62 August 1, 2021 - 5:57 pm

Let’s see you back that claim up.

defmn August 1, 2021 - 5:07 pm

I don’t know if it was adequate but I think it was the best that circumstances allowed.

Larsson leaving without warning is something that would leave just about every team in the league scrambling to recover from.

Redbird62 August 1, 2021 - 3:48 pm

What one dimension does Ceci have?

JimmyV1965 August 1, 2021 - 1:00 pm

Smith was by far the best Flame in the playoffs a couple years ago against Colorado. I thought he was okay this year too.

Harpers Hair August 1, 2021 - 1:43 pm

Talbot was better.

OriginalPouzar August 1, 2021 - 1:32 pm

One geriatric on the left side – Keith has 2 years, Russell 1 year – a clear path for big, fast and skilled prospects – Samorukov and Broberg.

“Destruction of future depth on the right side” – exaggerated for impact, clearly.

Oil2Oilers August 1, 2021 - 1:49 pm

Agreed, Samorukov and Broberg represent an amazing future for the Left side.

Getting rid of Petry because Schultz was the future was probably a worse bet than getting rid of Bear because Bouchard is the future. But a future right side with both Bear and Bouchard was a long term gift now squandered. Not much coming to hope it changes.

It is also hand cuffed in the present as the general consensus is Keith is not best served sheltering young defenders. A Keith Barrie par would have been considered loose in the 80’s. Where do you see the youngster’s sneaking into the line up?

TheGreatBigMac August 1, 2021 - 2:30 pm

To me we need more value contracts to win and we were in a jam after Larsson left. Those two things meant Holland was never going to fill all holes this off-season. The Keith deal and Smith signing are arguable and something stronger may have been possible.

Holland’s plan looks more like short term sub optimal solutions while Samorukov, Broberg, Konovalov, Skinner, Rodrigue, Holloway, Lavoie develop. We’ll be better next year with a chance to go on a run and the window should open fully in two years 2022-23 when we have lots of value contracts and cap to fix holes.

This year we could trade Koski’s cap and aquire Dreidger, Merzlikins, Greiss, Giorgiev, etc. But we would have to move out more cap next year to keep them. The cost doesn’t make sense. Koski can still help us and Stalock and Konovalov are reasonable bets if Smith or Koski have issues.

YYCOil August 1, 2021 - 4:01 pm

Smith will get the puck on this defensive group’s stick with 2 seconds to get their head up to make a play. I suspect the Oiler’s saw what everyone else did. The Smith puck handling advantage is crushed with off the glass and out defenseman and defenseman with happy feet.

lynn August 1, 2021 - 11:31 am

How many of you are old enough to remember Rusty Patenaude? I remember watching him play for the Oil Kings, Alberta Oilers, and the Edmonton Oilers. Bill Hunter was good for him. Kurt Leavins announced his passing at the age of 71 in his 9 Things article in The Edmonton Journal this morning.

Kinger_Oil.redux August 1, 2021 - 11:29 am

– This is a great summary

‘- I was prepared for this with Holland. It’s kind of dissapointing to be a fan of this team, compared to the other teams who have head my heart over the years:

1) First the Expos: They never had the payroll, but they could draft and develop, and “almost” made it: f$nch labour strike killed them, but management legacy still
2) Jays: have had a few glorious runs, with a lost period of ownership, but this management group doing a master-class of build and sustain, executives poached
3) Raptors: Top management: organziation gets executives poached always

– Maybe they will win one or two, because McD, but this isn’t, hasn’t been, management excellence or innovation since Sather was ahead of the curve.

– Keith Gretzky as the heir apparent: enough said. Whose the last managment guy to do stuff elsewhere?

OriginalPouzar August 1, 2021 - 1:20 pm

Scott Howson

lynn August 1, 2021 - 11:12 am

Patrick Russell signs with Linköping of the SHL. He worked hard for the Oilers when he had his few chances. I’m happy he will be playing more.

https://www.lhc.eu/artikel/3encakrsz-30c01/patrick-russell-drar-pa-sig-clubens-farger-igen

Reja August 1, 2021 - 11:25 am

The called back goal he scored was total horse shit.

OriginalPouzar August 1, 2021 - 1:19 pm

Good for Patrick – Can never question his effort but, of course, he’s 15-16F on a good NHL hockey team.

Harpers Hair August 1, 2021 - 11:10 am
Harpers Hair August 1, 2021 - 11:05 am
Reja August 1, 2021 - 11:38 am

Sounds like he has a real winner of a wife she does realize that if Evander gets blackballed from the league and if he declares bankruptcy she’s not going to get squat in alimony payments.

BornInAGretzkyJersey August 1, 2021 - 11:44 am

if he declares bankruptcy

Wait, declare bankruptcy again? Twice in a year… that’s ambitious.

https://nypost.com/2021/01/11/sharks-evander-kane-files-for-bankruptcy/

Reja August 1, 2021 - 1:56 pm

He wouldn’t be the first high roller to claim it twice.

JOFA August 1, 2021 - 12:38 pm

Hypergamy at its finest😉

Melman August 1, 2021 - 10:51 am

It’s important also to remember that it’s correct to call the Oilers a playoff team, it’s also correct that they are not a Stanley Cup contender yet. TB, Vegas, NYI are not one, but 2 or 3 steps beyond Edm. KH knows this and it’s reasonable to think he has placed player’s on today’s roster knowing they (or their current slotting) will be different when the cup run seasons arrive. Let’s hope that run starts in 2022, but it may be 2023.

Scungilli Slushy August 1, 2021 - 11:13 am

I would say those teams were ahead. Not now.

Teams that contend are more than the sum of their parts, because of the cap. Tampa was the exception, but that hustle is done. Hockey is about the parts coming together and coaching that keeps it going over time, systemically and mentally. The best coaches are the also the best at managing the people IMO.

It’s why success follows Trotz, Quenneville, those types.

The Oilers on paper are now as good overall as NYI and Vegas. Tampa remains to be seen, they are a different team now and possibly more so as we head to the season because of their cap issues.

The Oiler coaches and particularly Gulatzan who handles forwards I believe, have to get the team generating better and more chances, consistently, from the cycle, the reason they brought in the players who they did.

But it isn’t going to happen just because. The systems have to be right. They have to have a structure, a plan. Good teams are trying to run set ups down low. They use set plays. The Oilers have been really weak at this since the coach McTavish era.

Letting the talent just figure it out isn’t good enough IMO. Not that they won’t riff, because they have two virtuosos who will, but the band still needs a chart to play off.

pts2pndr August 1, 2021 - 1:44 pm

Great post! Being able to calculate the best way to defeat an opponent and develop a game plan is critical. To merely say we will play our game won’t get it done because the other team will have been watching tape to see where our teams weaknesses and strengths are and developing a plan that will bring them success. The Oilers were masters at this once upon a time, ,
see 2006 as an example. The team we have going into this season appears on paper much more able to adjust to whatever game they need to play. My concern is the kitty bar the door the door that requires a greater dependence on defence and where size and physicality matter. I think our D may be at a discernible disadvantage against that game plan. We will always have a chance due the brilliance of McDavid and Draisaitl!

Scungilli Slushy August 1, 2021 - 2:02 pm

Thanks!

Reja August 1, 2021 - 11:32 am

The additions of Hollaway, Foegele and Hyman changes our top 9 dramatically we go from middle of the road to one of the best teams in the division on forechecking and overall toughness on the puck. With our mobile defence and if Tippett gives the green light we are going to score in bunches. Our only weakness is in net maybe steady eddy Stalock knocks it out of the park.

Randle McMurphy August 1, 2021 - 10:50 am

I’ve always dreamed this day would come.

YEG Hot Dog Fest! August 1-31, 2021

Randle McMurphy August 1, 2021 - 10:45 am

What’s the over/under that LT slips in a 2am post?

“Sail On Sternberk’s David Krejci”

JimmyV1965 August 1, 2021 - 10:39 am

I’m not sure it’s fair to say Holland traded a top 4 RHD for a middle six winger. IMO Bear will
almost certainly be on the third pair in Carolina and Foegle has a very good chance of playing in the top six here. In fact, it’s much more likely Foegle plays top six than Bear plays top four.

leadfarmer August 1, 2021 - 10:52 am

You think Carolina plays D’Angelo above Bear?

JimmyV1965 August 1, 2021 - 1:03 pm

You’re absolutely right. Bear very well coyly be in the top four.

Bling August 1, 2021 - 10:54 am

If anything it’s almost preferable that Foegle plays on the third line. If he drags that line up to a 50% goal share, that’s more important than playing Pinky to Drai’s Brain. No offence to Nuge 🙂

I’ve been watching some Foegle highlights and one comparison that comes to mind with some of his net drives is Josh Anderson. Not as good as Anderson, but that no holds-barred crashing of the net is a quality that Oiler third lines have been missing for ages.

I dare say the last time it was here was the MGM line days. Mike Grier and Ethan Moreau were absolutely relentless. Grier could only finish in odd number years and his shoulder was held together by not duct tape but scotch tape, but man was he a player.

MushedPeas August 1, 2021 - 11:12 am

So many of my favorite players from that era were bottom sixers. Sail on, Rosie.

jp August 1, 2021 - 11:21 am

I dare say the last time it was here was the MGM line days. 

I wonder if we see the FkR 3rd line this year, potential to actually live up to that name (Foegele/Kassian/Ryan).

Grier is one of my all time favs by the way.

pts2pndr August 1, 2021 - 1:50 pm

The grass always looks greener on the other side of the fence. Your vision may be tainted due Bear’s difficulties coming off concussions. Bear thinks the game at a very high level. He should be paired with a larger physical partner for max efficiency as a D pairing!

Randle McMurphy August 1, 2021 - 10:24 am

As this roster balances out, focus will shift to the coach(es).

Tippett is now the single largest variable in play, including our goaltending.

I like Tippett. I desperately hope is as smart as I think he is.

finn_fann August 1, 2021 - 12:12 pm

As the goalie goes so goes Tippett. Coaches have a much smaller effect on team production than goalies on hot or cold streaks. All to say, if you’re pissed off at the coach, just take a gander at the team’s PDO over the ladt 10 games and you’ll probably have the real culprit for tge team’s woes.

Bling August 1, 2021 - 10:22 am

I really liked the XB pick as well, LT.

I do think analytics is playing more of a role in Oilers drafting, in that both Holloway and Bourgault have favourable splits. I doubt this is a coincidence. The Holloway pick is looking incredibly astute. Bourgault, had he not had a bad February (for his standards) may have been a top 10 pick, particularly based on his scoring in his draft – 1 season.

Will be fascinating to watch Bourgault’s progression. I suspect we see a big step forward from him.

McSorley33 August 1, 2021 - 10:18 am

This blog entry was one of the best.

Literally captures my exact sentiment.

Really like our draft except for the Munzenberger which we can simply ignore.

Top 4 RH Dmen vs 3LW.

If Holloway emerges as most of us us expect-this team will have 3 lines. Assuming Tippett uses them

The question will be 40 year old goalie. 38 year old 2LD.
35 year old 3C

Randle McMurphy August 1, 2021 - 10:30 am

After Logan Stankhoven, Luca Munzenberger was the most interesting name on the board 🙂

Here’s a link to watch Jan-Luca Munzenbeger in the U20  (#27) Shift by Shift vs. Russia U20, January 2, 2021

https://www.eliteprospects.com/player/407643/luca-munzenberger

Pescador August 1, 2021 - 10:45 am

Nuge is 28 not 35

geowal August 1, 2021 - 11:07 am

Nuge is not going to play 3C either

defmn August 1, 2021 - 11:12 am

I wouldn’t bet too much on that. If Holloway comes to camp and looks close to ready there will be some interesting options for Tippett to consider.

Oz August 1, 2021 - 11:27 am

Interesting that I found Munzebpnburger to be an excellent prospect and you did not. Have to admit this is based on watching the clip posted by Randle M, so much too small a sample. What really impressed me was his positioning as the play developed, use of his stick to deflect shots or tie up a forward, physical when the opportunity is there, and ensuring opposition players would pay a price if they tried to set up in front of the goalie. He seemed to value a safe out along the boards as his go to pass, so that could be coaching. Definitely not an offensive threat.

OriginalPouzar August 1, 2021 - 1:04 pm

McSorley33
 

The question will be 40 year old goalie. 38 year old 2LD.
35 year old 3C

35 year old 3C hopefully replaced by McLeod (or Holloway) on merit during the year.

38 year old 2LD is a risk but, if we are comparing to last year, he’s replacing a revolving door of Jones, Lagesson, Russell, Koekkoek, Kulkiov. Can’t see him being worse and, frankly, Samorukov is coming and he’s real. He’s a rookie, I know, but he’s not a teenage rookie, he’s got real pro development and these guys do come in a play top 4 from time to time. Bear did it (albeit zoomed by Nurse).

Randle McMurphy August 1, 2021 - 1:41 pm

My sense is Tippett will value Ryan at center much more than McLeod or Holloway, at least for this year.

Faceoffs
Defensive Play
PK
Consistency.

Reja August 1, 2021 - 1:14 pm

If Leon’s dad said he’s the goods then I would of also picked him. If he shows up arrows then we could possibly have the German connection to draft more raw kids from the motherland.

Randle McMurphy August 1, 2021 - 10:07 am

My perception of the recent draft and pro scouts moves lead me to believe that the Oilers are adding certain player types to their organization.

2 way players
Interior/Slot vs Perimeter Players
Average to above average size with speed.
Players that play more than one position
Scoring from Defense position

It’s like they’ve learned that 4th line players are “replacement level players” and are focused on top nine, middle six and role players.

They have a few face cards and 2 Aces. So now they are populating the roster with Nines, Tens and Jacks.

defmn August 1, 2021 - 11:03 am

Yup. The narrative here for a long time has been “get good players, keep good players” and there was a lot of sense in that as successive management teams failed on both counts far too often.

But it is time to add an important codicil, imo. Get players that complement each other so that the team builds an identity while also being able to play the game any way circumstances require.

That may not be all that catchy but it is the next step of progression to becoming a contending team year after year. This year I think the forwards have taken that step. The defence is maybe 6 to 18 months away but with most of that as internal options.

On goal tending we wait.

finn_fann August 1, 2021 - 12:20 pm

I feel like your addendum is often used to justify giving away good players to improve team fit while getting 50 cents on the dollar. These concepts are often at odds with each other, and I think the point is that keeping skill is probably the more primary concern over trying to improve team fit.

I don’t mind the Bear trade too much, but I do think 3 or 4 years from now we might very well be looking for his exact player type, and good RHD are harder to find than serviceable 3rd line wingers imo.

defmn August 1, 2021 - 12:35 pm

I don’t think I use it to justify trading away good players so much as to explain why it is sometimes necessary. 😉

If assembling the best players was the most important part of winning hockey games all star teams would always beat Stanley Cup winning teams.

They don’t.

In a perfect world you always shop for new clothes when a quality product is on sale. Shopping because of need is the pricier way to do it. You may look good but you don’t get the same value.

Winning teams have the luxury of using the former method while teams that are trying to climb are forced to use the latter method.

Player value is secondary to winning & imo many here are over valuing Bear. I guess we will see on that one.

OriginalPouzar August 1, 2021 - 1:55 pm

finn_fann

 Reply to defmn

 August 1, 2021 12:20 pm

I feel like your addendum is often used to justify giving away good players to improve team fit while getting 50 cents on the dollar. These concepts are often at odds with each other, and I think the point is that keeping skill is probably the more primary concern over trying to improve team fit.

I don’t mind the Bear trade too much, but I do think 3 or 4 years from now we might very well be looking for his exact player type, and good RHD are harder to find than serviceable 3rd line wingers imo.

You could be right and, in a few years, Bear is the much more valuable player that Foegele but we just don’t know that today.

What I did want to say is that Foegele seems to be more than “a serviceable 3rd line winger” – he seems to be a high end 3rd line winger with middle 6 abilities who can help drive play and outscore and has great PK metrics (although was not used in a top pairing PK role). He can also play both sides and has a “style of play” that the Oilers have been lacking and which seems to be important in the playoffs.

BornInAGretzkyJersey August 1, 2021 - 2:35 pm

That’s largely how I see it too.

Bear may well become the better player, but in the interim, who’s the better player for the Oilers right now? I’ve been bullish on Bear since 2015, but I tend to think Foegele is more likely to provide a significant impact than Bear in the next two to three years. Time will tell.

finn_fann August 1, 2021 - 2:39 pm

That’s a fair point. I guess we’ve been trying to get by with serviceable 3rd liners and have had a black hole of a bottom 6 as a result. This probably wasn’t he best example… maybe Eberle for Strome is a better one?

dustrock August 1, 2021 - 10:06 am

Konovalov has the skill I just don’t know if he has the size. Guys don’t need a lot of daylight to pick shots.

I think that’s part of the attraction with Cossa because he’s huge.

Kert August 1, 2021 - 10:19 am

Saros, Khudobin, Nedeljkovic are all putting up wins. It can be done. I’m going to give him some time in North America before I draw any conclusions based on height. Being short is a disadvantage for sure, but it is a disadvantage he’s had success with.

leadfarmer August 1, 2021 - 10:05 am

The thing is Bouchard took Bears spot and Ceci took Larssons

leadfarmer August 1, 2021 - 10:07 am

And while most wouldn’t think Bear for Foegele is a fair trade. These big forwards that can skate have much higher value than we normally attribute them to.

BornInAGretzkyJersey August 1, 2021 - 10:14 am

I think come playoffs we’ll see that Foegele has the potential to make more of an impact than Bear. Even just comparing their own playoff performances to date it already looks that way.

elgruntus August 1, 2021 - 10:31 am

I remember thinking the same about Rob Klinkhammer. Barzal would have eased the pain but Klink and Griff for Perron still hurts

Scungilli Slushy August 1, 2021 - 10:47 am

Tampa gave a first for Coleman. Then he got a monster deal.

The Oilers and others that don’t seem analytic do use metrics.

Coleman is really good in the neutral zone – transition- as is Foegele who is also bigger and faster if less offensive to this point.

We focus on scoring especially on sites like this gem, still the game is mostly won or lost in the details and consistentency.

Which the Oilers have been very poor at except for Connor and Leon, who can outscore mistakes they make. Most can’t.

It’s outscoring that is the key. Two conference finalists got their by taking away the easy ice almost completely.

It torpedoed the Oilers twice as well. If the new D can help this version of them the details are going to be a lot better. GA should go down and probably GF up.

As mentioned it’s in the coaches’ court now, they have enough horses to do damage. Hopefully to the opponent.

geowal August 1, 2021 - 11:10 am

It’s a fallacy of course, but I’ll tell myself the Oilers traded Bear for Foegele and Ceci and feel better about it.

Redbird62 August 1, 2021 - 12:12 pm

I think Holland and the Oilers take a broader view. Prior to Larsson signing with the Kraken the plan looked like it might have been shaping up like:

a) Bear/Larsson/Bouchard as right D, and not quite sure who as a 3rd line left wing:

Pivoting to:

b) Barrie/Ceci/Bouchard as right D and likely Foegele on the 3rd line.

And there are probably a lot of other considerations on player types, specific roles, balancing 5 on 5 with PK/PP capabilities, prospect pipeline, etc. That go into his overall roster plan driving any of his decisions.

Unless Holland ever discusses what his plans would have been if Larsson had signed, we can only really speculate on if he would have kept Bear for sure and how he would have addressed his winger deficit beyond signing Hyman.

I will be curious to see if Bouchard gets reps on the PK. I may be recalling incorrectly, but I thought Bouchard did some PK in Bakersfield – he played a clean almost 4 minutes on the PK last year. If not, any game where Russell is in the line-up, he could pair up with Nurse on the PK, while the keep Keith and Ceci together.

jm363561 August 1, 2021 - 4:17 pm

What I read was that Ceci (or presumably his agent) contacted KH after hearing of the Larsson departure. It really seems as if KH had no Plan B if AL did not resign. I have also read KH got Keith because he suspected AL would not sign – this does not seem plausible.

Based solely on fan reaction in Pittsburg I think Ceci will be ok. (I also think Bear will be a bust, but only time will tell.)

pts2pndr August 1, 2021 - 2:13 pm

Right shot top four D are still the least available and due supply and demand hold the most value. See Taylor Hall for Larsson. Also note the the number of teams that don’t have balance on their second and third pairings.

defmn August 1, 2021 - 10:53 am

Agreed. As I have mentioned several times – going back to the end of last season – Bear was always going to be the odd man out unless Barrie left. Larsson leaving was a surprise but choosing Barrie over Bear was always just a matter of getting the right cap hit & term. Nurse, McDavid, Draisaitl all loved playing with him.

I keep reading that Bear is a top 4 dman and I think that is his ceiling but only with a strong partner. I have not seen any indication that Bear can carry a 2nd pairing – just that he can be a complement or the weaker partner. That has value – about the same as a 3rd line winger that can chip in 15 goals while sawing off the opposition.

Reja August 1, 2021 - 11:19 am

When they notified Bear of the trade to Carolina I will bet dollars for doughnuts it wasn’t because of his play or attitude but it just came down to numbers.

Randle McMurphy August 1, 2021 - 1:44 pm

Doughnuts cost more than a dollar. At least at Tim’s they do.

godot10 August 1, 2021 - 11:27 am

Nobody took Bear’s spot. Barrie duplicates Bouchard’s spot.

OriginalPouzar August 1, 2021 - 12:54 pm

Team are permitted to have more than one dynamic offensive player (and, yes, Barrie is that).

OriginalPouzar August 1, 2021 - 12:51 pm

leadfarmer

 August 1, 2021 10:05 am

The thing is Bouchard took Bears spot and Ceci took Larssons

Yup, this is mostly how I see it as well and I can see Bouchard being better than Bear was last season (in aggregate) and as good if not better than Bear was in 2019/20.

Evan Bouchard is a high end talent – drafted 10 overall on merit and developed.

He’s real and he’s going to be spectacular.

jtblack August 1, 2021 - 10:02 am

I like what Holland did. Prospects are suspects til they arrive, if they arrive.

Edmonton clearly needed NHL calibre help TODAY. You can plan all you want for the day McDavid is NOT an Oiler (hopefully 2035); but you also have to plan for the years he IS AN OILER.

You cannot piss away McDavids prime. KH realized that and made moves to help the Best player in the World.

Well done KH

Ryan August 1, 2021 - 10:31 am

Holland has done some good work, but he also a lot of unforced errors.

He spent a bunch of picks in February 2020 on an Oilers team that was not at all built of a playoff run including two second round picks on a player struggling mightily in AA.

That he did that a few months ahead of the Toews trade all the while knowing Klefbom’s injuries. This the operating in a vacuum / tunnel vision style of management that has long plagued the Oilers.

The Hyman signing is the sort of thing you have to do for 97, so as much as it has significant risk attached, you can accept it.

The Nuge deal is also very good.

The Keith trade obviously has a lot of risk and issues. If Keith can’t play top four, and we’ve sewered $5.5 m in cap during two prime 97 years…and traded a 3rd and Caleb Jones..and there’s no one to play those minutes or cap.

The Ceci signing worries me because he’s kind of a Ken Hitchcock defenseman and Hitch doesn’t seem to understand 3rd pairing minutes (like Ricki the Bear) despite having an incredible coaching resume… when he’s scouting players.

Holland’s greatest weakness is that he’s not a guy that goes out looking for value in trades.

jtblack August 1, 2021 - 10:43 am

I agree. I do not like All of Holland’s move. His Pro Scouting ability seems questionable.

But I like his process. He is trying to add NHL calibre players to the roster. EVERY PERSON on this blog knows the McD / Drai On / Off splits are the key to any type of playoff success.

I dont know what to make of the D.

But the F’s are certainly better and deeper than the last 3 years.

G. well I am not a Smith fan BUT his numbers from last year were excellent.

Kenny has kept his 1st round picks, he continues to build the pipeline.

defmn August 1, 2021 - 12:14 pm

I think we would all be happier if we were entering the season with Smith pencilled in as the 30 game backup rather than the 52 game starter.

OriginalPouzar August 1, 2021 - 12:49 pm

Ryan

 Reply to jtblack

 August 1, 2021 10:31 am

Holland has done some good work, but he also a lot of unforced errors.

He spent a bunch of picks in February 2020 on an Oilers team that was not at all built of a playoff run including two second round picks on a player struggling mightily in AA.

The AA trade wasn’t just about the 2020 playoff run, it was about trying to acquire a young but developed scoring winger for the top 6 for the future. This was not a deadline rental as the player was a pending RFA.

The trade didn’t work out, for varying reasons, but the premise behind it was solid – there was some risk as the player was struggling but he wasn’t far removed from 30 goals and had size, speed and a shot.

Ryan August 1, 2021 - 10:01 am

I believe an analytics department and a management team who values those numbers is for the future in Edmonton. That kind of paradigm shift for the Oilers will happen after McDavid’s exit.

The Oilers actually had a very capable analytics department at one time though you aptly pointed out the requirement for a management team that values them.

They had Dan Haight from Dark Horse analytics, Mike Parkatti, and Tyler Dellow.

Then Chiarelli let everyone go except Justin Mahe.

YYCOil August 1, 2021 - 10:53 am

I see this type of note quite a bit. What was the record of Dark Horse, Mike, Tyler and Justin? This group were in the room when Jeff Petry was traded and the management signed yet another 4C free agent well past his best before.

That entire department would have cost $1.0M -$2.5M which is a very tiny number for a billionaire. If it was just buying smart people and measuring the right stuff, it would be done and closer to perfection by now.

Is the legend of “Money Puck” producing the results?

OriginalPouzar August 1, 2021 - 9:48 am

Holland has taken risks with his moves this off-season. His first two off-seasons were essentially about low-risk bets due to minimal cap space. Holland bid his time, got some money off the books and re-built the team this summer.

He kept the core – McDavid, Nuge, Drai, Nurse and he kept the top prospects – Bouchard, Holloway, Broberg, Samorukov, Lavoie.

He traded away some inconsistent youth on the back end to try and find some veteran calm and balance – the Larsson loss made it tough to find balance but Holland had to pivot and he did. These moves have risk – maybe Bear does become a hell of a top 4 d-man. At the same time, in the short term, Codi Ceci was a legit 2nd pairing d-man last year for the Pens (and had to carry Mattheson at times and cover for him) and the depth and balance of the top lines will make a big big difference.

The Oilers got depth up front and likely found McDavid’s winger. There are some additional pieces coming. There are three massive pieces coming on the back end in the next 0-18 months in Bouchard, Samorukov and Broberg – add them to Nurse, Barrie and Ceci going forward – that’s a big (except Barrie) and skilled back end.

There is considerable risk in the Keith and Ceci second pairing and the assets out to do it (really Bear for Ceci due to Larsson) but, shit, I don’t know, maybe they are great together – time will tell I am excited!

Bling August 1, 2021 - 10:46 am

Another way to think of Larsson and Ceci is that Ceci doesn’t have to defend as well as Larsson to bring similar (or better) value.

Larsson is a tremendous defender, breaker of the cycle, and PK guy.

Ceci’s transition game is much better. I was also not a fan of Larsson’s game in the offensive zone in working off of the cycle. He was very static and his point shot and ability to get pucks through left something to be desired. Ceci can do better in those departments as well.

russ99 August 1, 2021 - 9:43 am

I maintain there are multiple ways to build a winning hockey team.

So while an analytical approach is preferred, it’s not the only way to get there, and the all-analytics ideal that many fans desire seems only possible when you draft well over multiple years, and the Oilers are merely improving to average to slightly above average from many years being very deficient.

I’m most concerned about the minimal analytics team the Oilers employ in the next two years as once tracker data is mined, we could be at a disadvantage to many other teams.

McSorley33 August 1, 2021 - 10:20 am

Hi Russ,

Would love to hear your thoughts on Duncan Keith….I believe you live in the Chicago area.

Randle McMurphy August 1, 2021 - 9:42 am

If Jesper Wallstedt had gone 29th overall, would there be the same angst over this as there is today?

jtblack August 1, 2021 - 11:19 am

He was BPA @ #20. He was ranked higher and had fallen … thats all. All teams talk about drafting BPA, but seems Edm didnt follow the script OR didn’t have Wallsted above #22

Redbird62 August 1, 2021 - 12:35 pm

Oilers even said they had Bourgault and Wallstedt rated equally. So they got a player they viewed as equal plus a 3rd round pick rather than just the one player. If Bourgault = Wallstedt, then in their math, Bourgault + Munzenburger > Wallstedt.

defmn August 1, 2021 - 12:44 pm

I think most of the angst is due to Holland not yet being able to solve the goalie problem long term while many of us can see the rest of the team moving to balance.

I doubt it has much to do with how good a pick Bourgault was.

Holland has consistently drafted for value rather than need while trading & signing UFA’s for need.

Makes sense to me.

flyfish1168 August 1, 2021 - 3:38 pm

Why draft a goalie when you have 2 trending well. We have other needs. Plus we got an extra pick which may turn out to be the best player of 3rd round

GordieHoweHatTrick August 1, 2021 - 9:37 am

I think the Oilers amateur scouting is doing a very good job the past 5-6 years.
It is the pro scouting that causes me angst.

Kert August 1, 2021 - 9:45 am

I wish they’d stop taking bullets from amateur scouting to give to pro scouting.

DevilsLettuce August 1, 2021 - 9:34 am

Well Holland better start drafting C’s to replace 97 and 29 in the future as Nuge is the 3C for the next decade.

GordieHoweHatTrick August 1, 2021 - 9:34 am

Despite the absence of a “franchise goalie” (which I would have liked to have seen) in the system, the Bourgault pick is solid as per all the reasons LT mentions.

Now that Kuemper and Ullmark are no longer options, I would like to see KH stand pat on goalie to start the season (unless a great opportunity for a legit #1 lands in his lap – not likely).

To start the season there will be 3 G competing for 2 spots (probably) in the NHL and 3 G competing for 2 spots (probably) in the AHL.

We should have a pretty good idea how this position is likely to shape up by NYE or by the trade deadline at least. I don’t think the current G situation will cause the Oilers to miss the play-offs, the question to be answered for this year is if the tandem has shown enough to get a few rounds deep in the playoffs.

I think management has strong hopes for Konovalov to be in the lead off spot by fall 2022. If none of these guys are going to show the potential to be able to take the Oilers deep into the playoffs by then, we will see a first round draft pick+ go out to get a “top 8 goalie”.

Randle McMurphy August 1, 2021 - 10:13 am

It’s interesting how we tend to get laser focused on how our young Dmen, D prospects, and Forward prospects all deserve a chance to play; a chance to prove themselves, to not be blocked.

But we don’t seem as concerned for our Goalie prospects. Why is that?

GordieHoweHatTrick August 1, 2021 - 10:28 am

See “Voodoo”. Maybe 😉

Randle McMurphy August 1, 2021 - 10:38 am

All the more reason to give them their shot, No?

GordieHoweHatTrick August 1, 2021 - 1:10 pm

I don’t understand your response to my comment.
I want Konovalov to have “his shot” ASAP. I have mentioned this here for months. I am very excited for this prospect since he was drafted and I hope he can solve the issue that there is no clear starter in the system for 2022-23 (you could even say this year).

The coach clearly likes playing MS and he doesn’t like playing MK. This rings like a bell. Maybe he will like playing Stalock, but he has yet to play him. So, if the GM doesn’t move anyone, I suspect camp and early season will determine who goes 1A/1B with a long-shot chance they go with 3 goalies for a few months.

If I were a GM I would start building a team with Goalie prospects since they take the longest to develop (in general). But the Oilers have it the other way around. They will try to “finish” their contender line-up by finding a goalie, either Konovalovor by trade. I don’t think it will be Skinner and Rodrigue is still a few years away from indicating what he may be…

jp August 1, 2021 - 10:40 am

But we don’t seem as concerned for our Goalie prospects. Why is that?

1) because the young goalies can develop better in the ECHL than their F and D counterparts.

2) there’s so much less margin for error it net (and usually only 2 roster spots) that it’s much more difficult to ease young goalies into the lineup/onto the roster. Not blocking them is a major risk to the NHL team.

OriginalPouzar August 1, 2021 - 12:07 pm

GordieHoweHatTrick

To start the season there will be 3 G competing for 2 spots (probably) in the NHL and 3 G competing for 2 spots (probably) in the AHL.

True but, in reality, whichever of the three loses the NHL battle can’t be an option for material AHL games.

Skinner and Konovalov have to get all those starts, they just do – Stalock/Koskinen can’t be taking AHL development time from “the future”.

At the same time, having Stalcok/Mikko as a 3rd goalie is great depth but, if they arent playing, can they be called up and inserted to an NHL game, practically?

defmn August 1, 2021 - 12:07 pm

Until Konovalov arrived there were no prospects that were considered to be close enough to making the Oilers. The focus has been on trading.

Randle McMurphy August 1, 2021 - 9:26 am

Sunday Morning Coming Down.

I value analytics highly. Analytics work in a vacuum of sorts. I find that analytics frequently let me down in areas that aren’t really intended to be mathematical by nature.

All music has a mathematical component to it. But the math in Bach is much different than the math in Jazz. In sports analytics we want the math to be Bach like. But in reality it is Jazz like.

The draft, trade values, UFA values, are all affected by things that aren’t pure. They are in fact variable. They are contingent upon factors that are circumstantial.

While many deals that we analyze seem straight forward in terms of their value, trying to predict where an 18 yr old will be at age 23 is contingent upon so many factors that the math is sometimes close to immaterial.

Expecting things to be equal in terms of trades is a flawed approach. The values of these assets is circumstantial.

Expecting the value of UFA assets to be fixed based on analytics ignores factors that only the market can dictate. And the market isn’t always rational or fixed.

Now it doesn’t mean that we don’t try. It doesn’t mean that we can’t have opinions. But it does drive home the idea that we operate in a vacuum, and that the realities of the dynamics in play are going to skew the results in ways that no one can predict and or fully account for.

The only way to even come at all close to evaluating the results of these transaction is to wait for the actual results to present. It’s why LT and others track these results over a significant length of time.

I say all of this not to discourage the endeavor, but to temper the emotion over the delta that exists between numbers and circumstance.

I personally built out 6 or 7 rosters in Capfriendly Armchair GM. My record? 0 for 7. But I thoroughly enjoyed the process. And will do it again. In the mean time, I reconcile myself to the realities that circumstance created and I start all over again from the new baseline. I love it!

Evilsports August 1, 2021 - 11:17 am

I agree completely.

My mind is analogous and conjures images of my past life as an oil/gas directional driller. My job was one of the more “voodoo” positions on the exploration side of the game.

From the outside looking in it was a mess of trigonometric formulas that anybody could solve, given proper instruction. On the inside however, the numbers quickly took a backseat to nuances and instincts that could only be learned through experience. Pump pressure drops, penetration rate +/-, hole cleaning, and lithology all carried equal weight to the math.

The numbers eventually served a diminished role of ass covering. The well would be drilled on 80% experience and feel and 20% numbers. The only time that the numbers really took center stage was when I needed to lean on them in order to fend off number-centric engineers and geologists. 😁

I feel as though hockey is similar. There are entirely too many moving parts to allow a solution based completely on numbers. That obviously doesn’t mean that the numbers are useless. It just means that folks need to find their value over broader samples.

defmn August 1, 2021 - 12:03 pm

Math is a language that allows for precision in describing quantitative relationships between objects where the discrete comparatives essential ontological characteristic is one of sameness. As that sameness decreases its precision erodes.

innercitysmytty August 1, 2021 - 1:07 pm

Great post and agree completely!

Todd Macallan August 1, 2021 - 9:26 am

Definitely a big fan of the Bourg pick after learning more about him. I think I also discovered the real reason LT is such a big fan of his. In a pre-draft interview on CHL.ca he names the Bruins as his favourite team. Music!! (to LT).

jp August 1, 2021 - 9:15 am

I think Bourgault was a helluva pick. I look forward to watching his progress. He may play in a time when the Oilers do not feature 97 or 29. That possibility is the reason using the pick was necessary.

I’d say Bourgault (and quality young prospects generally) is equally important whether 97/29 stay or not.

Having him arrive in 2023/2024, on ELC and contributing, frees up cap space elsewhere to keep this team together and (hopefully) contending.

That’s every bit as important for keeping 97/29 as it is for planning after their departure.

No one likes talking about the good stuff Holland’s done in the past, but how many Red Wings stars left or were traded? There must be some, but a ton of them retired as Wings.

Edit: I really like the Bourgault pick too, kids got skill, a conscience and can really score.

fistycuff August 1, 2021 - 9:12 am

I think Bourgault was a great pick. Time will tell. I worry about French Quebecers developing well in western Canada. (Bakersfield). These are far from French communities. I hope he adapts well.

Tarkus August 1, 2021 - 12:21 pm

Having a fellow Québécois like Lavoie in the fold will help.

Even though they might not be actual teammates until the Big Show–Lavoie could be in the NHL by the time The Bourg is done with the Q–there’s still training camp for bonding purposes.

Not to mention any Québécois the Oilers could acquire in the interim too.

LMHF#1 August 1, 2021 - 9:10 am

I’m wondering when the discussion around here will shift away from avoiding cap problems and toward accepting that all top end teams will get into cap problems and that the solution is to then use assets to get out of them, rather than wait.

The method you must employ to win has shifted completely. There is no “long term” anymore in the NHL. I don’t like that things have gone this way – but I’m not in charge of that so it must be dealt with.

Lowetide August 1, 2021 - 9:17 am

There IS planning though. Edmonton must plan for a day when 97 and 29 aren’t here, even if that day never comes.

Randle McMurphy August 1, 2021 - 9:36 am

I think you’re both correct ( you and LMHF#1) I don’t think these two things are mutually exclusive. It’s more a matter of degree.

LMHF#1 August 1, 2021 - 9:37 am

There is certainly planning. Planning for maximum peaks and expedited rebounds is how that should be done.

I’m speaking more of the commentary that happens such as worrying about an expansion draft 3 years out, not signing (or signing) someone that isn’t an utter superstar thinking about their performance and the team 4 and 5 years out when no one has any clue how things will look, acting like draft picks aren’t acquired all the time, not accepting that trading prospects regularly is part of any successful sports franchise…the comments section often believes this is still the late 90s for some reason…believe me I wish I could have that 96-97 team + Sather + a wealthy owner like they have now. Multiple cups with that as a starting point. It doesn’t work that way now though. It’s one of the reasons I was so against the cap.

innercitysmytty August 1, 2021 - 1:10 pm

This and the fact that there are many things out of a team/GMs control that can change in an instance (see Klefbom and Larsson). Unfortunately here we also need to deal with a location that is less than prime for many UFAs. We as fans expect that our team will have access to and pay the same price for UFAs, however we have learned over time this is not the case. In some instances having Connor seems to have negated this, but there are still some deals where we will need to overpay.

pts2pndr August 1, 2021 - 2:34 pm

I believe the hard choice will be which of the two to keep. I can’t see where moving forward we will be able to keep them both unless the salary cap increases rapidly.

defmn August 1, 2021 - 4:46 pm

Both Draisaitl & McDavid will be 29 when their contracts expire and will be 30 in the first year of their next contracts. Roughly the same situation that Nuge & Hyman were in this year when so many complained that they were into their declining years and signing them to 7 and 8 year contracts was foolhardy.

I look forward to the debate when Draisaitl & McDavid approach UFA status.

It should be hilarious. 😉

dustrock August 1, 2021 - 9:05 am

Fair comment on Bourgault, especially in the craziest draft year ever.

The last NHL goalie the Oilers developed was Dubnyk and that was long ago. So I think in a crazy draft year, why not go for a guy who some had in the top 10 and might be a franchise goalie?

I think the frustration was not in isolation over this particular draft pick, but just Oilers fans sick of Smartest Man in the Room maneuvers from the organization.

Lowetide August 1, 2021 - 9:15 am

For me, the Oilers have been drafting well for several years now, and have improved their development model. This pick seems to be a continuation of an encouraging trend.

Elgin R August 1, 2021 - 9:19 am

The only list that had the BORG in the top 10 was his mom’s (probably but not published).

jp August 1, 2021 - 9:21 am

Bourgault was picked at 20 though…

Lowetide August 1, 2021 - 9:31 am

22

jp August 1, 2021 - 9:38 am

Right, haha. But definitely not at #10.

dustrock August 1, 2021 - 10:03 am

I was referring to Wallstedt

Redbird62 August 1, 2021 - 10:33 am

Every NHL team has their own Top 10 though and we don’t know if any NHL team had Wallstedt in their top 10, only that NHL pundits/outsiders had him ranked there (yes some of those pundits talk to actual NHL scouts, but those individual scouts don’t usually represent the totality of their own teams views. Any team that drafted 1-9 could have had him in their top 10, but at least 1 slot below where they selected. Seems very unlikely anyone in picking in slots 10-19 had him in their top 10. That he was available at 20 is a better tell than any pre-draft consensus lists. That doesn’t mean the NHL teams are collectively is right in all situations but the NHL hires their scouts to do that job for their team.

The Oilers have said they had him ranked equally to Bourgault, so instead they traded the opportunity to draft him at 20 to get 2 picks instead of just 1 pick. In their eyes, that 3rd round pick was free. Holland may be suitably comfortable with the goalie prospects relative to their view on Wallstedt, that they could draft best player available (based on their own assessment). If they had an opportunity to draft Cossa, their calculus may have been different.

jp August 1, 2021 - 11:05 am

This is where the Smartest Man criticism strikes me as pretty unfair. Seems that Holland was 10th in a line of 10 Smartest Men to pass on Wallstedt (while also earning a 3rd round pick for it).

OriginalPouzar August 1, 2021 - 12:00 pm

The Oilers didn’t want to take Wallstead at 20 – 18 teams before them didn’t choose a goalie and 19 didn’t choose Wallstead.

Not sure why that would lead to the conclusion that the Oilers think they are smarter than other orgs.

I would presume the those within the Oilers org have a better handle on the projections and timelines and ceilings for each of Rodrigue, Konovalov and Skinner than we do. They could be very happy with the potential they see in the medium and long term.

Noone talks about Rodrigue – he may have the highest ceiling of them all.

We all criticize management moves, to varying degrees but I would suggest that most of the time, they are indeed the “smartest men in the room” with access to a wealth of information that we don’t have.

I find using “smartest man in the room” lingo in relation to management is about as pretentious as it gets vis-a-vis hockey opinions – it reaks of “I’m right and they are wrong”, end stop.

ArmchairGM August 1, 2021 - 12:30 pm

Bob Mackenzie’s list is a compilation of what NHL scouts believe, so it’s not true that we “don’t know if any NHL team had Wallstedt in their top 10″ at all. They most certainly did.

Redbird62 August 1, 2021 - 4:12 pm

I guess you missed the part in my post where pundits (eg. Mackenzie) actually poll NHL scouts but the opinion of one scout on any team does not necessarily indicate the consensus on that team as a whole. And 4 of 10 scouts, considering there are upwards of 400 scouts employed by NHL teams (not all amateur), is interesting but not proof of anything more than those 4 scouts have him in the top 10. Probably a decent statistical bet that at least 1 of those 4 was on a team picking 10-19, yet that team still did not pick him.

ArmchairGM August 1, 2021 - 12:34 pm

Wallstedt is a decent candidate to crack the Top 10. Four of 10 scouts surveyed by TSN ranked him between No. 5 and No. 10. Cossa did not get any top-10 consideration from the scouts we surveyed, but four of 10 scouts did rank Cossa ahead of Wallstedt.”

from McKenzie’s final ranking at tsn.ca

defmn August 1, 2021 - 12:40 pm

four of 10 scouts did rank Cossa ahead of Wallstedt

I guess one of those scouts works for Detroit. 😉

Jaxon August 1, 2021 - 9:05 am

Keeping the pipeline full is also the best way to convince McDavid, Draisaitl, and Nurse to sign their next contract in Edmonton. An elite prospect goalie would have done wonders in that aspect.

Lowetide August 1, 2021 - 9:14 am

Byron Bader over at Hockey Prospecting believes Ilya Konovalov is a top flight goalie prospect. I never ever see Oilers fans talking about him. So, is it goaltending, is it Wallstedt or is it reacting to a name that became important when he fell in the first two hours of the draft? There’s a difference.

€√¥£€^$ August 1, 2021 - 9:47 am

For me Konovalov could be a magic pill for the upcoming season. The others (in order) are Samorukov and Holloway. Broberg will also have a seat at this table.

With all the sage elders on this roster (Smith, Stalock, Keith, Ryan) combined with the self-inflicted cap crunch, perhaps it will give Dutch ‘n Tipp the confidence to trot out a few nubes to start the season..

What is the deal with an Emergency goalie requirement anyway? I thought the league wanted each team to carry a 3rd tendy on the roster?

Bling August 1, 2021 - 10:30 am

Here’s something I keep circulating back to: it is very difficult for 20 year old goalies to put up a good save percentage in their first AHL season. Plenty of future (okay) starters have trouble doing that.

Konovalov’s save pct the last few years:

Age 22, 19, .923
Age 21, 40, .912
Age 20, 45, .930
Age 19, 7, .933

Those numbers are spectacular. Not selecting Wallstedt may indicate the Oilers really believe in Konovalov.

OriginalPouzar August 1, 2021 - 11:46 am

I’ve been talking about Konovalov for a while and even have mentioned him as a potential for NHL games this season as an injury fill-in. In fact, I almost hope there is a (short-term) injury so he can get a chance (if he’s playing better than Skinner).

I’ve been one of the few that are somewhat OK with improving the goalies externally this off-season and committing an addition for term. I’m OK kicking that can one-more year down the road because we should know a lot more about Konovalov (and Skinner) and their projections after one more season.

Also, no, I don’t think McDavid/Drai care at all about the goaltending prospects in the system and their non-drafting of Wallstead – if anything, trading back to get the 90th and take the German might be endearing to 29.

OriginalPouzar August 1, 2021 - 11:50 am

What is the deal with an Emergency goalie requirement anyway? I thought the league wanted each team to carry a 3rd tendy on the roster?

That was only for last season due to Covid-protocols. Each team had to have 3 goalies with them at all time (one could be on the taxi squad or all three on the active roster). This was due to not necessarily having timely access to the AHL affilaite.

Jaxon August 1, 2021 - 8:17 pm

I mentioned this above, but it was in response to your comment…

To be clear, I don’t believe McDavid, Drasaitl, or Nurse care about whether or not there is a potential franchise goalie in the prospect pool right now or who Holland drafts, but, in 3 or 4 years time, when the GM is trying to sign them to a new contract and they still don’t have a true #1 starter, it would be nice to point to the up-and-coming, or just emerging Wallstedt and say, “Look at this guy, many think he’s the next Vasilevsky or Price. He’s been on fire in Bakersfield and he might be our starter next year. Do you guys wanna stick around for another 4 years as he comes into his prime? He could backstop you to a(nother?) Cup.”

Then they might appreciate the forethought of drafting a top-ranked goalie way back in 2021.

Vasilevsky probably helped in the consideration to sign (Stamkos, Kucherov, Hedman) when TBL was getting quite good deals from their stars to stay on. They had a star goalie emerging.

OriginalPouzar August 1, 2021 - 8:34 pm

This presupposes the Oilers won’t have a legit starter in 3-4 years. Could be. Could very well not be…..

Jaxon August 1, 2021 - 8:12 pm

Be wary of KHL inflated Sv%.
A few goalies in their thirties who never made the NHL recent SV% in the KHL
Magnus Hellberg .930, .927
Eddie Pasquale .925, .930
Anders Lindback .919, .923
37 year old Canadian I’ve never heard of Barry Brust had a .937
Koskinen had a .937 before he came back.

Randle McMurphy August 1, 2021 - 2:04 pm

We do tend to get that reaction when any player drops precipitously from where he was ranked, goaltender or otherwise.

When a goalie is ranked inside the top ten and falls to 20, and is taken after a goalie many had ranked behind him, you’d think it would lead most observers to think that the Oilers had done well to pass on him if there was better value available.

But hey, the heart wants what the heart wants.

Jaxon August 1, 2021 - 8:04 pm

Byron Bader said Konovalov is “a very legitimate goalie prospect”. And he said that on draft day, the stats said he had the highest lieklihood of becoming an NHLer. But he was also in his 3rd year of draft eligibility, so his stats should be movre advanced than his 18 year old competition.

I went back over 9 different rankings of goalies between Sept, 2019, and May, 2021.
Konovalov showed up on one list at #22. Two of the lists were 50 goalies deep.

These are the players that kept showing up in the top 8:

Shesterkin, NYR
Demko, VAN
Askarov, NSH
Sorokin, NYI
Samsonov, WSH
Kahkonen, MIN
Luukkonen, BUF
Ingram, NSH
Merzlikins, CBJ
Vladar, BOS
Swayman, BOS
Primeau, DET
Wolf, CGY
Oettinger, DAL
Annunen, TBL

Rankings by: Wheeler x 2 (The Athletic), Pronman (The Athletic), Silverman (In Goal Mag), Quibell (The Painted Lines), Patrick Williams (NHL), Dobbs (Dobber Hockey), Wolak (The Hockey Writers), Boysen (The Hockey Writers)

I would say that if your goalie isn’t in this top 15, you probably don’t have a franchise goalie in your future. Probably less than half of this list ends up as franchise goalies.

You can bet your Fleurys, Vasilevskys, Prices, Rasks were at the top of this type of list in their prospect years.

Wallstedt was already 8th on Boysen’s newest list.

I feel that thinking that Skinner, Konovalov, and Rodrigue are good bets to become #1 goalies is a lot more emotional than thinking that they are likely not. Rodrigues was 30th and 46th on the two 50 name lists. Skinner at least tops out at a decently high #7, but was 41st and 32nd on the two long lists and didn’t make any other list.

And, to be clear, I don’t believe McDavid, Drasaitl, or Nurse care about whether or not there is a potential franchise goalie in the prospect pool right now, but, in 3 or 4 years time, when the GM is trying to sign them to a new contract and they still don’t have a true #1 starter, it would be nice to point to the up-and-coming, or just emerging Wallstedt and say, “Look at this guy, many think he’s the next Vasilevsky or Price. He might be our starter next year. Do you guys wanna stick around for another 4 years as he comes into his prime? He could backstop you to a(nother?) Cup.”

Then they might appreciate the forethought of drafting a top ranked goalie way back in 2021.

Todd Macallan August 1, 2021 - 9:03 am

I do not have a TSN live subscription, wondering if anyone who does caught the Red v White game last night featuring Tullio and Bourgault on opposing 4th lines?

Randle McMurphy August 1, 2021 - 8:56 am

Hell Ya. Nicholson!

Lowetide August 1, 2021 - 9:35 am

It’s a fantastic movie. I still wince when they do his nose like that, though.

Randle McMurphy August 1, 2021 - 9:37 am

Jack not Bob

godot10 August 1, 2021 - 11:10 am

Funny the wokesters haven’t cancelled the movie yet or demanded that its title be changed.

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