by Lowetide
Raphael Lavoie photo by Mark Williams

As the offseason’s major transactions have populated the NHL’s rosters, we’re at a point where we can begin to talk about players who might get a look in the early days of preseason. One of the most promising first-shot scoring prospects at camp will be former QMJHL forward Raphael Lavoie. He played at the tail end of the 2020-21 season in Bakersfield, and we got a look at his talent and what makes him unique. How close is he?


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


  1. What role will he play in Bakersfield? Scoring forward, he could play either wing or center. I saw him at left wing with Seth Griffith and Adam Cracknell early, and he ran with Cooper Marody and Tyler Benson at the end of the season. Either way, he’ll be a feature player, on the top two lines with power-play time.
  2. He didn’t score much. Well, he didn’t post any offense for the first two games, then went 4-3-7 in the next six games, and ended 1-2-3 in 11 games, then delivered again in the playoffs. There’s no time on ice so it’s safe to say there was a range of deployment in the 19 games.
  3. Did he shoot the puck much? Not during the regular season (44 shots in 19 games), but in the playoffs he scored 1-3-4 in six games with 24 shots. He was with Cracknell and Griffith in the playoffs, it was a feature line.
  4. What will keep him out of the NHL? I’m no scout or coach, but he’ll need to keep his feet moving. Lavoie seems to land in the offensive zone and then reads the play, as opposed to pursuing the puck and keeping the play alive while using teammates. I don’t think that’s a fatal flaw, more likely a function of puck possession being easier for him in junior and his status as a pure scorer. He’ll also need to be consistent in his play, but you can say that about every prospect.
  5. He doesn’t like to get into the corners? He is a bigger man and can win battles, but he’ll have to change his style of play a little. I think he knew he could help his team most by setting up in a scoring position (Red Line said he was “deadly from the circles in”) and that worked in junior. The AHL is a higher league where everyone can skate and make plays. So, he’ll need to adjust, support the puck and look for those cherry chances on the power play.
  6. Is he good enough to eventually play on a line with McDavid or Draisaitl? Well, he’s a shooter so that aspect is attractive, but it’s too soon to project him to a skill line. We need to see him play the AHL at par, then dominate that level. He’s 6.04, 198 and can skate, so there are elements of a power forward here. The shot is golden, fantastic release on a heavy shot and he changes the release point late (via Scott Wheeler) to raise the degree of difficulty for the goalie, so that’s a feature of his game, but he has other dimensions.
  7. A year away? Yes, and the competition has increased.
  8. How so? Since Lavoie was drafted in the second round of the 2019 draft, Edmonton has added Dylan Holloway, Carter Savoie, Xavier Bourgault and Matvey Petrov as first-shot scorers in the system. Lavoie has a head start but there’s some urgency.
  9. Is he really a volume shooter? In his final two QMJHL seasons, he posted 3.32 shots per game (draft year) and then 5.64 shots per game in draft plus one. In his draft plus two season (this year), Lavoie delivered 3.96 shots per game in the Allsvenskan, 2.32 shots per game in the AHL regular season and 4.00 shots per game in the AHL playoffs. He is a volume shooter.
  10. What is the current depth chart at his position? I think his likely path is as a right wing, and my depth chart has him sixth (behind Jesse Puljujarvi, Kailer Yamamoto, Josh Archibald, Zack Kassian, Cooper Marody) and that’s outside the NHL for this season but a strong start in Bakersfield could get him a look.
  11. Do you think he’ll make it? I think he has gaps in his game that will need to improve, but there’s too much talent to bet against with Lavoie. Wheeler’s article on the “shot-creation king” tells you how he’ll get to the NHL, and Lavoie’s improved play without the puck (when it comes) will convince the NHL coach to keep him there.
  12. Are the Oilers better at drafting than a decade or 20 years ago? People often criticize the Oilers scouts, but for me since 2015 the club has been both drafting well and developing players at a new level. The general managers are going to have to stop trading so many draft picks, but the ones Edmonton does use are hitting often. So, the recent second-round picks (Tyler Benson, Ryan McLeod, Lavoie) have an advantage over men like Colin McDonald, Jean-Francois Jacques, Roman Tesliuk and Geoff Paukovich from 20 years ago. The scouts are better, but Jay Woodcroft and his staff give the current group an enormous edge over the kids from 2003. In 2005-06, the Hamilton Bulldogs (Marc Pouliot, JF Jacques), Kyle Brodziak (Iowa Stars) and Milwaukee Admirals (Zack Stortini) were focused on their own players in development but had some loaners from Edmonton they stuck in as available. Edmonton’s top prospects were scattered across the AHL in a key moment of their development. So, yes, I think the Oilers are better at drafting, with development a key to current success.


At 10 this morning, we hit the air on TSN1260 with so much sports going on we just can’t cover it all. Bruce McCurdy from the Cult of Hockey at the Edmonton Journal will talk about the Oilers defense in 2021-22, the Olympics and remembering Rusty Patenaude. At 11, Derek Taylor, the voice of the Saskatchewan Roughriders, will give us a good look at the team as everyone gets ready for Week 1 CFL season 2021. 10-1260 text, @Lowetide on twitter. Talk soon!


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Easy for you to say!

Bulging Twine

“then delivered again in the playoffs”

“4.00 shots per game in the AHL playoffs”

add this to his superb 20 goals in 23 playoff games with Halifax and we might have a big gamer here

Bank Shot

Lavoie could have a real shot if he’s open to improving his game. Lets hope he listens to the coaches.


I’ll say one thing about Sakic, Holland and goalies – if we gave up Sami and a first round pick for one year of Kuemper, Oiler fans would have a meltdown.


We can just get him in a year when Sakic tries to nickel and dime him

Harpers Hair

You will likely have a different view of this by the end of the season.


I can’t believe I’m replying to this, but what the hell. If our goaltending sucks, it doesn’t make the trade even remotely reasonable value.


I can’t believe you replied either


Are you incorrectly implying that a trade for Klemperer was the only option available to Holland to improve the teams goaltending this season?

Todd Macallan

I was not listening to Gregor but have read that Gazzola was just on with him and stated that a Nurse extension is done and should be announced today or tomorrow. 8 yrs & around 9 million aav.

If true I’m happy it’s done, still holding out hope for the Leon contract instead but unfortunately the Jones and Werenski contracts changed his market value. Could even argue anything 9 or under is even a discount compared to those two. All of a sudden Heiskanen’s deal looks like a bargain.


I just listened to it and Gazolla and he seems pretty sure – announcement either today or tomorrow likely.

$9M is high but that’s the market now.

Nurse has earned it.

Harpers Hair

He’s no Heiskanen.

Todd Macallan

Neither is Jones or Werenski, hence where I said Heiskanen’s contract is a bargain after the aforementioned two reset the market. Nurse at 9 is now market value whether we like it or not. Heiskanen probably should’ve waited a few weeks to re-sign it would seem.


He is Nurse yep not Heiskanen


4 RFA years in Heiskanen’s contract. Zero in Nurse’s.

Harpers Hair

That’s a bug not a feature.

Nurse will be 35 when his contract expires… Heiskanen will be 30.

2 things we can learn from this…elite defensemen arrive early and the bridge deal for Nurse was a huge mistake.


So Heiskanen will get another 8 year contract. While we get Nurse through his prime without any significant declining years

Harpers Hair

Not a chance.




Yup – Nurse is just starting his prime. He may start to decline a bit near the end of the contract but elite players with elite skating hold their primes long – moreso when they are elite athletes who push the top levels of fitness.

Yes, Nurse is elite right now – there is little doubt of that after this past season – not all “elite d-men” are at the level at 22.

See Roman Josi. See John Calrsson. See Darnell Nurse, See Brent Burns.

Harpers Hair

Prime doesn’t mean what you think it means.


That’s why the price for all 8 UFA years is close to the price of 5 rfa years and only 3 UFA years

Harpers Hair

The Oilers seem likely to be paying for 8 years of declining performance.

The smart kids are loving in their defensive stars at a much earlier age.

Harpers Hair


Ice Sage

Nurse is a specimen – he tracks like Petrangelo, Bouwmeester or Chara, will be playing high level into his mid-late 30’s. Book it.

Harpers Hair

There is no evidence to support this.

And Pietrangelo has only 6 years remaining.

Bouwmeester started running out of gas when he was 32 but his elite skating kept him going for a while.

Chara is a freak of nature…hardly a template.


If only Nurse had elite skating………

If only Nurse was known for great athletisism and elite fitness.

If only Nurse had proven to be one of the must durable in the league.


Brilliant defense of your position. Pietrangelo signed his seven year deal with Vegas at 30 and it will expire when he is 37 and a half, so Nurse, if the signing is true will have his contract expire at an age 2 years younger than Pietrangelo.

And Tampa also says hi, thanks for the tip on how to manage the contracts of NHL defenseman. They signed Hedman to an 8 year deal that kicked in when he was 27 and will expire when he is 35, and Ryan McDonagh to a 7 year deal when he was 30 that will expire when he is 37. But hey, what do they know about how to manage a team.

You’re really bad at this, aren’t you? We know you really don’t have a position most of the time other than to oppose everything, but make a better effort to know the facts before you start typing.

Last edited 1 month ago by Redbird62

I like how you are prefacing a lot of your bad predictions with “likely” now. lol

Harpers Hair

Hockey Canada pulls out of the Hlinka-Gretzky Tournament.

Germany draws in.

Harpers Hair

Craig Button the radio just now.

Team most likely to take a big step forward….LAK.

Perhaps the worst management blunder of all time…trading MAF for nothing.

Scungilli Slushy

We’ll see

There is more to it than what’s on paper

They won a long time ago with a different generation of players

Talk about off ice distractions, no other city can compare. Tinseltown

Harpers Hair

The Oilers also won a long time ago with a different generation of players.

Scungilli Slushy

Weren’t you a former media person?

If so why should I have to explain?


You mean Craig “the Oilers will finish the regular season 2nd last in the division” and “Montreal won’t even win a single playoff game” Button?

Or are you posting this because now you and Button have a bad prediction in common to add to your list of bad predictions?

Last edited 1 month ago by Side

Of note, he’s not letting us know about Button gushing on Holloway earlier this week – all about him being the real deal and being ready, etc.

Harpers Hair

Of note, didn’t hear that but it doesn’t surprise me.

A Holloway-Podkholzin comparison should be an interesting item next season.


It would be considering one was drafted a year earlier and has spent a few years in a pro league

Bank Shot

Not as interesting as Tryamkin vs Chara. lol

Your homerism never ceases to amaze the fans of your clownshow.


We will wait and see! Are you hoping for verification of your thinking or someone to blame when it all goes tits up!


LAK taking a big step forward. Button must be a rocket scientist to make that one!

LAK dwindled away at their post cup cap hangover, refreshed their prospect pipeline that are now a year older. Made a few off season acquisitions
ya they will be better than basement dwellers !


Some funny Oiler related news. Anton Lander, who himself is staying in the KHL, has helped Timrå which is the club he first started his career in and is really close to his heart, with the signings of two former teammates; Joey Laleggia and Ty Rattie. Timrå got promoted to the SHL from Allsvenskan last season so Rattie and Laleggia are brought in to help the team establish themselves in the SHL.
In the case of Laleggia it sounds like the GM asked Lander what he thought about hlm but Rattie was signed after Lander suggested him as a target.

Thought that was pretty cool. Looking out for his old teammates getting them jobs while helping his old team.


I should keep an eye out for a Josh Currie signing?

Gerta Rauss

We haven’t had a Joey Legs sighting on this board in years


Thanks for sharing. Great story
the world is smaller than we think.
don’t burn your bridges in hockey or in life


The one thing the Oilers could do that would change everything would be to hire an Andrew Friedman-type in the Bob Nicholson chair. If you aren’t familiar with Friedman, he’s the President of Baseball Operations for the LA Dodgers.

The Dodgers pried him away from small-market Tampa and he’s created the “most sophistacted player development system in baseball”. They’ve spent a small fortune building a team around Friedman to create the mounds of data but just as importantly, to bring it to the players and coaches in a meaningful way. They also play a huge role in finding talent (amateur and professional) and in developing that talent.

The Dodgers are obviously “Yankee rich” but when combined with being the smartest organization in baseball, you get this prolonged dominance where the window likely never shuts. The Dodgers are the only team to appear on “highest payroll” and “best pipeline” lists 10 years in a row.

The Oilers and Katz are rich enough to go to Tulsky or whomever and turn this thing into a perennial contender.

But are they a thinking-man’s franchise?


Which is the smartest franchise in the NHL?

Tampa? Colorado? Carolina?

I really Colorado’s transaction record after signing Dawson Sprigings.

Jeftt Gorton was on my list of top tier GM’s. I was surprised that he was let go.

Here’s an athletic article that’s weighted mostly for playoff success.


This is really interesting. There were many questions about Salic early in his career, even concerning his commitment to the role. Suddenly everything changes.

Harpers Hair

Loved that article but it has to be noted that entering the salary cap era, some teams were loaded while some were about to embark on rebuilds.

Also of note, Pittsburgh has had 4 general managers during the salary cap era but remain relevant.


That’s the thing. I don’t even think the “smartest” NHL teams are more than 25% there compared to the Dodgers and some of these teams are fighting (successfully) with one hand tied behind their back because of finances like Florida and Carolina. Zito down in Sunrise was given an A+ in the recent NHL network rankings. Holland was given a C- and D for perspective. Imagine if he had the resources to bring together 10-20 like minded individuals like Friedman with the Dodgers has?


I’ll be happy if they just stop turning to the brain trust at Hockey Canada for suggestions about hiring people in the Nicholson role.

106 and 106

The comments section on this blog are a higher quality in the off-season. Agree?


Haha Yes!
I long for the by-gone days of sophisticated negativity that helped to soothe the soul during the DoD


Questioning is always a good thing? Total negativism not so much. Getting to the top requires constant evaluation. Observing what successful teams are doing that is different that makes them successful. Our teams strengths and weaknesses and how to get to the next level. Knee jerk reactions are harmful! There is a time for patience and a time for all in! Having the right people in the appropriate positions is critical to success!


That’s exactly what I said last week. 😜


The worst was when Hall was traded for Larsson and then the Oilers made it into the playoffs.

Sometimes I still wake up at night in a cold sweat thinking of all of the posts that were along the lines of

“i ToLD yOU TaYLor haLL wAs a CanCeR iN tHe LoCKeRRoOm”


Oilers win the cup this year, you heard it here first!

Elgin R

I will always give a + to a comment such as this. The team is finally out of the DoD and ‘so you’re saying there’s a chance’? Hell ya I do!


There is a non-zero chance!


I call parades for 2023!!

Scungilli Slushy

It seems assumed that Holland and his crew don’t do stats.

Wasn’t Holland a part of the org that changed drafting and basically looked for value wherever they could find it, when all of the other teams were mostly looking in the CHL?

I think he uses a lot of gut and his cumulative experience, but he probably has a pretty open mind about hockey.

I not as impressed with Tippet as I expected to be, but he has also said he uses his own metrics and has made statements such as the ‘defensive D versus the puck mover’ in the desert story that make me think he’s an open thinker.

Also stubborn as a mule.


Only stubborn if wrong! Principled and strong willed when correct! Tippett is easy to like and a class act in what in recent years has not necessarily been the case!


I realize this is a blog devoted to good bourbon, BBQ tips, Exile on Main St, and sometimes hockey, but how about some love for Andre De Grasse?


Yes, great to see him get Gold. He has an amazing string of medal wins.


Absolutely!!! What a champ!

As an aside, I have definitely read about BBQ tips and scotch selections in the past, but don’t recall reading about bourbon. Would love to hear what everyone is drinking these days. My standby is Knob Creek (which I will use to mix with ginger ale and bitters, perhaps with some orange peel) and recently received a bottle of Michter’s reserve, which is exclusively for sipping in my house. Grateful for any recommendations!


Had the good fortune of spending a couple months a year in Kentucky for about a decade. My takeaway is that anything from Buffalo Trace distillery is the best. That includes every price point, from Buffalo Trace itself at a bargain price, up towards Blanton’s (my personal fave) & Eagle Rare, and eventually up to all the Pappy’s etc (which are overpriced by a lot but still fun to drink if you get the chance). They even make Peychaud’s bitters!


Have to agree with the Buffalo Trace line of bourbons-outstanding!!!
There’s a great series on Netflix right now called Heist. One of the episodes is about the biggest bourbon heist of all time– from the Buffalo Trace distillery. Definitely worth the watch.

Elgin R

Now I really want a Sazerac! Note – I have spent too much time in Louisiana.

Last edited 1 month ago by Elgin R

Knob Creek is also my go to – I like to try new ones or branch out for about half of my bourbon purchases, but I keep coming back to Knob Creek, both straight and for an old fashioned or manhattan


From someone who has defoliated part of Vietnam after over indulging on Bourbon I would recommend a good rye or scotch!😉

John Chambers

I think the concept of Quality Starts is a key point of analysis for goaltenders. Essentially, in what % of games does the goalie give his team a reasonable chance to win.

Koskinen had some stinkers last season, particularly near the end of the season, but in ALL THREE seasons as an Oiler he has had a strong run of Quality Starts, giving the team a chance to win.

Sv% tells a story, and at- or below- .900 shows a goalie not capable of being a starter.

I think the Oilers are fine with running Koskinen for, say, 20-25 starts between October and February. Given his history, 2/3 of his starts should be Quality, and given the Oilers offensive potency he probably posts a >.500 record for his starts.

In any event, I feel strongly that Holland SHOULD and WILL trade Koskinen in February / March, and that he’ll be able to sufficiently rehabilitate Mikko’s trade value to make the cost of upgrading him (to Allen, or Khudobin, or other) at a lower cost (ie. a 2nd round pick).


It will certainly be much easier to trade Koskinnen in season.


I thought it would be harder how many Goalies get dealt at the deadline out of all the positions the Goalie is the hardest to step in on the fly. D need time to become familiar with your puck handling skills and your weaknesses as not to allow the opposition in a position to take advantage of say glove hand side etc.

John Chambers

There’s a truth to this point. I specifically recall Ryan Miller playing poorly after being acquired by St. Louis.
On the other hand Robin Lehner won the crease after being acquired at the deadline (with a big Covid gap), while Dwayne Roloson settled in pretty nicely.
Whoever the Oilers acquire, they’ll likely be part of a 1a tandem with Mike Smith, thereby enabling them to get integrated slowly.


I’m curious if Stalock stays in the picture. It is tempting to keep 3 goalies on the team at least until one clearly drops out of the running.


I think Lavoie may have played a bit of center in the Q but he was predominantly a winger and I don’t believe he played any center in the AHL. I consider him a winger, 100%, and I presume the organization does as well.

I almost see him as a LW in the NHL, if/when he makes it. He played both sides in the AHL but I think he played more on the left side.

Time will tell but lets not forget that Hyman is a natural right winger (and, from some accounts, is better on the right side).

Lots and lots and lots of work for Lavoie before he’s an NHL option – in the AHL, just like back in junior, there he showed massive inconsistency, not just from game to game but in games. He would often be pretty much a non-factor in games and then, all of a sudden, have a shift or two where he’s very apparent. He will need to learn to impact games on a shift to shift basis, in my opinion and from my viewings.


Until proven otherwise, the Oilers complete unwillingness to address goaltending in an era where it is astonishingly simple to address goaltending, is THE story of Connor McDavid’s window.

Since Dimitri Filipovic’s goalie tandem rankings released in September of 2019, which had the Koskinen/Smith duo ranked 30th of 31 teams, I count 40 of the 60 goalies who have changed addresses and a bunch more have moved twice. That doesn’t count the dozen or so who have made the jump to a 1A or 1B that weren’t on this list, like Nedeljkovic.

Since Pete Jensen’s tandem rankings in December 2020, where we ranked 29th, I count 26 starter/backup goalies who are no longer with their teams.

There’s a story here…there just has to be. I heard here or otherwise (can’t recall) that agents are/were warning their goalies away from signing in Edmonton because of the damage bad numbers can do to a players financial worth. You have to wonder if there’s any truth to this.

How can Carolina lose three better goalies than we have and then sign two other, better ones both on value contracts…all in a matter of weeks?


Holland had options. If he doesn’t double down on Smith. he would have had his $2.2m right there plus if there was some retention on the Keith contract, there could have been more money available to sign a goalie.

Darth Tu

Eh – hate to nitpick, but you’re being slightly disingenuous here. Ignoring the fact that the Jensen article is referring to fantasy hockey, the Oilers are at 29 with the tandem listed as being:

29. EDM – Starter: Mikko Koskinen; backup: Troy Grosenick

You stick Mike Smith in there and that ranking gets better. Other tidbits.

Carolina ranked 21st with Mrazek and Reimer, Columbus ranked 7th!!! with Korpisalo and Merzlikins (one spot behind Tampa Bay btw), Philadelphia ranked 9th with Hart and Elliot – we all know how that disaster ended.

Go check the whole list, it’s all over the map versus what happened in real life.


I should say that I’m in no way suggesting that plan a) last year or this year was to run with Smith and Koskinen as the tandem. They definitely sounded out Markstrom – who signed in Calgary and put up some pretty down numbers, whereas Smith clicked here. Heck I know they reached out to Holtby who didn’t want to sign in Edmonton for personal reasons (nothing to do with the Oilers) and again that’s worked out as a good miss.

I liked Driedger and Ullmark as options this summer, but when they have the options of Seattle and Boston can you blame them? I don’t think there’s an agents warning players away from Edmonton thing going on though. I guess Mike Smith is that good at 39 that any other goalie coming here would pust sub .900 numbers? I don’t buy that for a second.

Last edited 1 month ago by Darth Tu

Fair enough that the second ranking was for fantasy but if anything, that makes the Oilers rank even worse. Whomever was tending net was going to get some wins compared to the likes of Ottawa and Buffalo. Regardless, this isn’t the point.

What I like to do as an “outsider” is bring some non-Edmonton MSM-tinged info to this blog. And I can tell you, almost no one has any confidence in the Oilers goaltending either now or in the future (Konovolov and crew are universally excluded from top goalie prospect lists).

Darth Tu

It’s good to see what other people are saying outside of Edmonton and I’ll admit I’m probably more inclined to be reading the home based articles/bloggers etc. I’m just a bit meh on an article that ranks the Oilers down in 29 based on it being Koskinen and Grosenick – was it written post Smith injury or pre Smith signing? – when the same article also has Florida in the gutter and the aforementioned teams like Ottawa/Buffalo etc. higher up. That would imply to me that the Jensen’s whole team evaluation of the most of the league was completely out to lunch.

On goalie prospect lists (not draft articles) I must admit I’ve not done much digging. Who do you like to use as your sources for this? I’m high on Konovalov but again, will admit that’s because I’ve been following him the last few years and taking note of how he’s been doing in the KHL as he’s part of the Oilers organisation. Apart from that it’s easy to go Spencer Knight, Askarov etc. from other orgs – beyond those obvious people I have zero clue on how it’s shaking out.

I don’t disagree that the Oilers shouldn’t be aiming higher than what we have in net though. I’m, let’s say, interested to see how Smith playing 44-48 games goes this year. The blessing is that Koskinen’s deal is up in a year, we do free up the cash at that point which should help us go after a new tender.


Our help could be coming from the farm!


Those rankings are pretty meaningless though. In 2019-20 the Oilers were 14th in team save % and in 2020-21 they were 7th. I wouldn’t make a move unless it was a serious upgrade and not just “anybody but who we have”


I think this is a good point, and I do wonder about coaching. Of course my pet theory was the Hunter Orange kit is to blame because it’s easier for the opposing team to keep track of where everyone is. 😉

Should note that Holland was in hard for Markstrom last year and got beat by Calgary.


I absolutely agree dustrock for 2 reasons. One, their home record wearing the orange was so much worse. Two, in the most recent alumni game, there was a comment in the dressing room by Wayne saying he saw Kurri(?)’s reflection in the glass and sent him a no-look pass. Little things like seeing fluorescent reflections could be a difference that tips the balance.


Given that Koskinen and Smith’s results were far better than the ranking of 31st one might think that questioning their findings might be in order! Just like HH and his less than stellar record it might be wise to consider the source as less than reliable!

Randle McMurphy

Given the current roster and cap space, which would be a better add?

LD Slater Koekoe 1yr $900k

LW Evgeny Svechnikov 1yr $900k

Last edited 1 month ago by Randle McMurphy
Randle McMurphy


Randle McMurphy


Elgin R

Is Koekoek any better than Sammy? Is Evgeny any better than Shore or Benson? Hard to know before camp. Offer both a PTO and see what shakes out.


That is NOT an either/or option. One can add players under $1 million up to the 50 contract limit without impacting the cap.


I don’t see the need to add a Koekkoek level player.

I was on board with adding Murray as he moved the needle as a legit 2/3 LD but Koekkoek is a 6/7D and I’d prefer to have a clear path for Samorukov if Russell/Lagesson aren’t able to handle 3LD or if Sammy is just killing it in the AHL.

I don’t think Tip needs a Koekkoek to default to.


I think both would be really nice adds for under a million


I’m amazed at how little credit Barrie has received for leading the league in points by Dmen last year.

Imagine, in a vaccuum, being foretold of Barrie’s year last year, and then being extended below $5m during his prime for only 3 years…This is a huge win for Ken.


This was a great signing. 3 x $4.5 mill for the leading dman scorer is great value. I totally don’t get the criticism of this signing.


Barrie, Nuge, and Hymen are all wins given their context.

I am not a huge fan of the Ceci contract, though it was probably fairly market value-ish for free agency (when factoring in the Edmonton tax).

Starting off with the perplexing Keith trade that handcuffed us from adding more depth or getting a better goalie cast a bit of a shadow over everything else.

If Keith retires in year, and we get his $5.5m cap space plus the bonus $3m, then all will be revealed and Holland will look like a genius.

Last edited 1 month ago by Ryan

I like Hyman the player, but the contract is awful. Yes, he was a perfect fit for this team, but he’s not getting better or younger, and overspending in free agency is death. Holland should have traded for a younger version of Hyman, someone with potential upside like Miles Wood. What’s really weird is he basically did that with Foegle. Similar game, but younger with tremendous upside and much much cheaper. 

In isolation, I really like the Ceci signing, especially when you compare the contracts for other RHD like Hamonic and Savard. Holland got a 27 year old for four years, who still has upside. The problem for me again is the tunnel vision of filling a hole through free agency. He would have been better off trading for a LHD.

The Barrie signing is great value IMO. My concern is Barrie is not necessarily a great fit here. On the flip side, Barrie will have incredible trade value for a team looking for offence from the blue line, specifically because of the nice contract. 


Holland does what he does. He’s a guy that signs free agents, drafts, and buys or sells at the deadline. That’s mostly it.

Agreed, I was hoping for more of a transactional GM though not expecting that with his his history. There’s often a lot of great value in shopping the RFA market.

Part of the problem, is that Holland had already burned off so many picks with nothing to show for it, so there wasn’t a lot of trade capital left.

As for LHD, I had thought Forbort would be a great stopgap, but the $3 x 3 price for Boston was higher than I expected.

I’ve used the word “tunnel vision” to describe Holland before too.

Todd Macallan

Yep, IF he happened to retire after this season and gave us almost $9 million in cap that would be something else. Nice story if he rides off into the sunset to spend more time with his son and maybe even get a job in Oilers Player Dev’t. Then Oscar can come back healthy next season and there is still enough space to cover the raises for Nurse and Puju (probably).

I’m sure the likelihood of all this happening is quite high indeed.


I’m sure the likelihood of all this happening is quite high indeed.


Last edited 1 month ago by defmn

If Keith retires in year – who is going to plan 2LHD for Rogers’ faithful? Holland is going to look like a genius if Keith is a high quality addition to the team.


Keith retiring gives the team $9.5M in additional cap space – No matter what Keith does this coming season, the cap space would be more valuable heading in to 2022/23.

Klefbom could very well be back for 2022/23 – he very well may not be but we have no idea right now.

After this coming season, I anticipate Samorukov will be a legit 2LD option, at least in that conversation. Broberg could be as well but he just turned 20 – I think his game will pop in North America.


Broberg-Parayko would make a pretty nice 2nd pairing in 22-23. Just saying.

Dipsy Doodle Dandy

Not completing the Keith trade would have handicapped us even more. We would have no second pairing defencemen at all since Larsson didn’t sign with us and you don’t agree with the Ceci signing.


Has anyone done the split on Barrie’s primary vs. secondary assists? Nurse also had a career high in points and had a great year, but again, got the minutes with 97.

The problem is that McDavid raises all boats. Nobody would accuse Klefbom of being an offensive d-man, but with him at the point, the Oilers PP was historically great.

Nurse had similar numbers, and again, he’s no Makar.

Barrie had similar but slightly worse numbers on the PP than both Klefbom and Nurse.

I think that partially colours why he wasn’t in the running for the Norris or anything.


All of those minutes Barrie soaks up on the PP are going to pay dividends when signing Bouchard’s next contract.

Having Barrie also keeps the PP going. Bouchard should be able to the job, but he hasn’t yet.

The Oilers 5v4 PP over the past 3 years, GF/60

  1. 10.1
  2. 10.67
  3. 8.67

It’s certainly better having Barrie with Nurse as an option then Nurse/Bouchard.

I’m surprised at how little people value having Barrie to keep the PP going uninterrupted given that Klefbom (as good as he was), is unlikely to ever play again, Nurse was okay at times running the PP, and Bouchard can’t yet call running an elite NHL power play as an established ability.

Elgin R

2021 Season 5v5 (games – goals – A1 – A2 – Total)
Barrie: 56 – 4 – 5 – 13 – 22
Nurse: 56 – 12 – 4 – 7 – 23

2021 Season All Situations (games – goals – A1 – A2 – Total)
Barrie: 56 – 8 – 1 3 – 27 – 48
Nurse: 56 – 16 – 8 – 12 – 36

GF% (5v5 – All Situations)
Barrie – Nurse – CMD: 60.66 – 61.90
W/O Barrie – Nurse – CMD: 54.17 – 69.39
Barrie – W/O Nurse – CMD: 12.50 – 76.47
Barrie – Nurse – W/O CMD: 52.17 – 50.00
W/O Barrie – W/O Nurse – CMD: 68.42 – 68.42

All numbers via Natural Stat Trick

Barrie rocked the PP and got crushed at 5v5 without Nurse (love the 12.5 GF%). That is why he did not get any votes for the Norris. He is not a very good defender but is an excellent hockey player who helps the Oilers.

Last edited 1 month ago by Elgin R

Barrie rocked the PP and got crushed at 5v5 without Nurse (love the 12.5 GF%).

Yup. Playing an offensive dman with forwards who can’t score inot an empty net is a recipe for disaster. Playing with our third and fourth lines would have crushed Makar’s numbers – just as playing Larsson with McDavid did nothing for McDavid’s point totals.

Situational players need to have an elite skill. This is why Hoffman continues to find suitors, for example.

Two way players provide the ballast for a team but you need ‘exceptional’ in a few roles in order to break out of the pack.



Playing an offensive dman with forwards who can’t score inot an empty net is a recipe for disaster.

Worth noting it’s a 75 minute sample that featured a 50.5% xGF% and an .852 PDO.


His partners in those 75 minutes with McDavid, w/o Nurse included Jones (0 GF / 2 GA in 3 minutes of ice time), Koekkoek (1 GF/ 3 GA in 19 minutes), Kulikov (0 GF / 1 GA in 1 minute). He was clean with Russell ( 0 GF/0 GA in 35 minutes). He also played a few minutes each with Lagesson, Bear, Larsson and Bouchard, but nothing happened in that time either especially since the last 3 were probably cumulative minutes during line changes. I am not able to comment on which defender, if either, bears any more responsibility than the other for the goals against. What is clear is that Barrie is an excellent partner for Nurse.

Randle McMurphy

So Nurses offensive numbers improved playing with Barrie.


Nurse sure looked a lot more fluid and dangerous offensively with Barrie than he ever did with Bear. I don’t know why Bear’s creativity and offensive instincts disappeared after he turned pro. After he got comfortable I thought Bear would be a poor man’s Justin Faulk maybe he will regain some offence in Carolina. Looking foreword to seeing Barrie, Ceci and Bouchard sneaking in down low and getting the broadway shot. Add in Keith and Nurse and this is the most mobile and offensively creative offence we’ve had in a long time maybe ever.


I don’t think anyone is doubting Barrie’s offensive skillset. I think it’s a matter of his defensive liabilities hurting his rep. Roy couldn’t stand him in Colorado and made no secret of wanting to get rid of him. Babcock in Toronto saw a few shifts and dropped him like a hot potato so his stats took a major dive there.

Having said that, you’re right. His contract is value for what he brings to the team offensively and how he can help QB the PP.


Barrie’s offensive output should be risk adjusted. He gambles for offense, so his offensive output should be discounted.

If two investors get the same returns, the better one is the one who achieved those returned on a better risk-adjusted basis.


Because everyone has the advanced stats that McDavid is more productive without Barrie than with him. That the powerplay was and is better with Klefbom and Nurse than with Barrie. It is all there in the numbers.

Barrie doesn’t add anything. He is a space filler who absorbs points that would have been collected by others.


Yet he has accrued these same points everywhere he has played, even in Toronto after Babs was punted.


As with a lot of data, the devil is in the details. Yes Barrie’s whole season average GF/60 and GA/60 at with McDavid was slightly poorer vs. Bear, but at any point in time 5 on 5, there are 3 other players out there. Context does matter somewhat. If you look at Barrie and Nurse and McDavid together vs. Bear and Nurse and McDavid, you get a different result:

Bear/Nurse/McDavid ; 3.81 GF/60/ 3.33 GA/60 53.33% goal share
Barrie/Nurse/McDavid – 4.61 GF/60 / 2.99 GA/60 60.66 goal share

Barrie’s numbers were diminished when he played with Slater Koekoek for a good chunk at the start of the season. It gets way more complex than that when you also have to factor in with and without Draisailt and a whole host of other winger combinations.

On the power play, Barrie was brought in to replace what Klefbom did. With Barrie, the PP scores at 11 goals per 60 and with Klebom last season it was a little over 12 goals per 60 which was historically high, so Barrie gave good coverage on that. The unit also gave up only a little over half the shorthanded goals per 60, with Barrie vs Klefbom. Takeaway the first month, after which Barrie on the first unit helped deliver goals for at ~13 GF/game, that’s pretty good when you consider Nurse and Klefbom have played with McDavid/Draisaitl for 5 seasons.

Nurse and Barrie are in the same ball park as well when on the first unit, but having Barrie use up those minutes prevents Nurse from playing 28 minutes a game.


I was going to post about the PP after first month, glad I read on. But you also had a bunch more on top of that, good post.




Barrie took a little while to get out of the blocks last year. He had 2pts in the first 8 games than went 46pt in 48 games. He also is very durable which is quietly important. When he tried to block a shot with his face can’t remember which game but it was at the end of the year told me this guy is a gamer.


I think the 2015 draft was a home run despite Chiarelli. Other than that, the picks outside of Round 1 have been pretty meh.

A recent look by The Athletic had the Oilers last in the league for drafting out of the first round over the last several years, mostly because they don’t have a second round player who has cracked the lineup.

Bulging Twine

It’ll be interesting to watch who wins the 2RD job in Carolina. Bear or DeAngelo

Randle McMurphy

It will be interesting. Carolina has a strong D corpse. I think Bear makes a strong 3RD on that team.


Bear has slow boots, and seemed to get slower last year….hopefully he reverses that trend.

Elgin R

Bear is bigger than his competitor by 20lbs and that is significant. DeAngelo, from all accounts, skates better. However, Bear is a superior passer. Bear has less games played (132 – 206) but I will give it to Bear at this point. Go Ethan!


On what do you base your assessment that Bear is a better passer?


Deangelo will get sheltered starts Pesce will got tough starts Bear will get what’s left

Bulging Twine

Last year Slavin played with 1RD Hamilton, Pesce (2RD) played with Skej. I wonder if they will continue to split up Pesce and Slavin. If they do, whoever gets to play with Slavin will most likely have a great season.

Randle McMurphy

Bruce’s article does as nice job laying out the analytics on the new additions on defense. (as far as analytics can do on dmen, which is sub-optimal).

For me Holland deserves some credit for managing the circumstances that presented themselves.

Everyone just takes it for granted that Tyson Barrie would return at the drop of hat. I say kudo’s to Holland for having a solid plan B; similar in nature to keeping JP in the fold. Many here, including those who don’t like the player, were saying we couldn’t afford Barrie anyway at 3×5 or 4×5 etc. In hockey parlance, Barrie is a get; A value contract.

Kudo’s to Holland as well for landing, what is a reasonable bet as an average to above average 2LD in Duncan Keith. We may not like the price, but with the Klefbom situation, a prospect pipeline on LD that requires exactly two years of development, and the Larsson surprise, what would this team look like on D without Duncan Keith?

Nurse Bear
Murray Ceci
Kulikov Bouchard.

You think that’s not fraught with risk???

Circumstance threw a grenade into the into the room with Seattle selecting Larsson all the while, with one of our top dmen already suffering from shrapnel wounds and limiting our options because of LTIR. (Klefbom)

I find the result to be more than satisfactory given the circumstances. Especially given it occurred in the first few days of free agency (crazy season)

Last edited 1 month ago by Randle McMurphy
Randle McMurphy

#kennysAgrinder is so 2020.

2021 #kennysApsychic


Absolutely – it’s been a different feel under Holland and for this team of late. While Larsson chose to leave, lots of players wanted to stay or join the team. RNH – Value Contract, Barrie – Value Contract, Keith – Should be an excellent mentor and only two years, Hyman – legit top 6 guy that wanted to be here.

I’m not sure it’s a stanley cup winning team he’s assembled but he’s getting closer. Window is likely still 1-2 years away, with the Oilers hopefully challenging this year and pushing next year.

Elgin R

Any year a team has McDavid – ‘the window is NOW’. Glass half full today – thanks Kenny!


Going into free agency the two most important improvements on my list were 3C and starting goalie.

Still waiting.

Other than the cost of the Keith acquisition I am pretty pleased with the new additions. I know Hyman has too long a contract. I also know that if you don’t give too much term or too much cap you may as well go golfing the first week of free agency. Free agency shopping is the penalty you pay for bad management etc.

So while I am happy to credit Holland for what he did I am not happy that the two major weaknesses were not addressed.

The lack of a 3C acquisition is why I find myself slotting Nuge in there. I don’t think Ryan is the answer and McLeod has not shown that he is ready for what is a very tough assignment.

Nuge is over qualified for the gig (other than face offs) but I prefer over qualified to question marks. The additions on wing make the plan feasible. We’ll see if Tippett agrees come training camp.

In goal I wait. That wait might take until the trade deadline.

Dipsy Doodle Dandy

You need to do like Holland…..make a new list.


I’m a long way from calling for Holland’s head, but for me, this off season was a really exciting opportunity that the Oilers whiffed on. Setting aside the overpayment and the worrying evidence that the Oilers don’t really understand the value of cap space, the Keith trade reduced flexibility during a pivotal week and lead to several decisions I find highly questionable, from the decision to roll with the status quo in net to the trading of Bear. Obviously I hope I’m completely wrong and the Oilers win so much the NHL decides to give us more than one Cup next season, but at this point in time I remain quite disappointed.

Randle McMurphy

What would Adam Larsson have looked like on last years Hawks team? Not good imo.

Bank Shot

Probably not.

It will be interesting to see if Ceci can replace him entirely.

Ceci was among the lowest in terms of GA/60 on both the Leafs and the Penguins.

Plays second pairing and big PK minutes.

Sounds like the same guy, but I guess we will see.

Randle McMurphy

Really meant to say “Not great imo.”

Elgin R

Larsson was mostly paired with a collection of replacement-level players and some time with Nurse. His top-5 5v5 partners are listed below. Only 12% of his top 5 partners was with a legit top-4 dman. Quality of partners matter. Case in point Barrie having the best year of his career when with Nurse.

KRusty: 250 min
Wild Bill: 210 min
Jones: 142 min
Nurse: 89 min
Koekkoek: 57 min


Larsson also played the “McDavid-off” minutes – I think he played 16% of his minutes with McDavid. McDavid off, tough comp, revolving door of middling partners, defensive zone starts, etc.

Larsson played the toughest minutes on the team.

Elgin R

That usage may have had something to do with Larsson signing with the Krakken

Holland: Adam, our offer is a reduction in your pay and the same crappy usage. You know, on ice only with the bottom 6, heavy dzone starts and all the PK. Now, the 3rd and 4th lines are better and we did get Keith so that should help. Now, I am not saying you will play with Keith as that’s up to Coach Tippet, but …. Anyways, what do you say?

Larsson: Jag tror inte det (‘I don’t think so’ in Swedish)


Larsson was mostly paired with a collection of replacement-level players

I assume that was half the point of the original Hawks (Keith) comment.

Last edited 1 month ago by jp
Elgin R

Big players who are also good to very good skaters in junior do not have to learn how to play the game at a high level as they use their physical gifts to have success – some do but many do not. Lavoie falls into this category, as did JP and Nurse to a lesser degree. Lavoie fell to the second round for several reasons and this is one of them.

The Condor’s coaching staff, led by Woody, should have plenty of time (1 – 2 seasons) to see if they can make a NHL player out of Lavoie. He has the physical gifts, now is the time to see if he has the mental toughness to put in the time on and off the ice to make the show.

Many players took time to mature physically and mentally (and improve their game) to finally make it in the NHL. Two examples are Hyman and Wheeler. Looking forward to seeing this young man with the Oilers some day.


I remember watching a young, raw Darnell Nurse and making the exact point. When you’re used to being The Guy on every team you play for, it takes a while to accept that you have to learn to play lesser roles, then another while to actually learn those roles.

Randle McMurphy

What’s happening with the Yamamoto contract?

Any leaks? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?


Holland is squeezing him a little – as he should.

No arb rights, poor season, tight cap, increased competition for his role. Yamamoto will come in at two years under $2M is what I have been predicting all summer. Somewhere around $1.75 I would think.

$1.4 1st year and $2.1 for the second.


Which is very reasonable given his production, or lack thereof.

There is a player there in Yamamoto, no doubt. The kid has to produce though.


This is the exact type of contract that will get done in due course, generally mid-late off-season.

Randle McMurphy

“but for me since 2015 the club has been both drafting well and developing players at a new level”

What accounts for this when the organization has no discernible analytics staff/group?

Todd Macallan

Re: Bourgault, Wheeler had a detailed review of the Team Canada camp and was quite bullish on him, in particular the observed improvements in his skating that now appear to be a real asset.

Great read for those interested:

Elgin R

Thanks for posting the link – good read.


Seems like The Bourg is assimilating kudos lately.

I suspect a lot of consternation over the pick is less about The Bourg himself and more about passing on Wallstedt.

Early days, but it looks like he (Bourgault) is good to very good value at his draft slot.

Bank Shot

Does *any* NHL team utilize analytics in the draft?

There aren’t any advanced statistics available for any of the development leagues. So if a team uses junior boxcars that would qualify as analytical drafting?

Doesn’t seem like that would make for a discernable difference between analytics drafting and old school.


Ah, Mitch Moroz. The draft pick that launched a thousand facepalms.


Those picks should have cost somebody their job.

Maybe they did for all I know but when you have guys in your home court and you still can’t tell what they are that is fanboy level assessment.


The ‘industry’ wasn’t living in the city where he played his home games and could watch him dozens of times during the year. The statistical model is a huge help for teams where they have limited viewings of the player.

Where they get to see that player over and over and still get it wrong is something different imo.


In 2012, Toronto drafted Matt Finn from the Guelf Storm 35th overall and he played an handful of AHL games before ending up in Austria. The year before, they drafted Stuart Percy who was playing in Mississauga 25th overall, and he played a total of 12 NHL games and is now playing in Switzerland. Drafting Moroz was a mistake of an earlier regime, no question, but the ‘industry’ lives near almost everywhere these kids play and they all make mistakes in the draft.

People here dwell on the Oilers mistakes for obvious reasons but rarely do the work to see how it compares across the NHL. Their record pre-Holland is pretty good proof that they did not draft well outside the first round for a long time, but when you look into other teams’ draft records over the past 15 years, they have some company. For example, Vancouver has had very little success outside the first round as well. Since the ’05 draft, only Ben Hutton (Round 5 – 341 GP), Kevin Connauton (3rd round – 314 GP) and Mason Raymond (2nd round – 546 GP )have had any kind of a career so far (200+ games played for any NHL team excluding the last season). In that time frame, Edmonton has drafted 8 players after round 1 that have played more than 200 games by 2020, including Petry (680 GP), Reider (434 GP) and Vandevelde (278 GP). A lot of those games with other teams.


All true but Guelph is not Toronto playing in the same facility the parent team plays in which was my point.

Moroz was right there in front of them night after night. That is a particular level of failure imo.

Last edited 1 month ago by defmn

What about the flames drafting Brent Krahn from the Hitmen 9th overall?


Same thing only worse.

Darth Tu

I guess it depends on how much you have scouts zeroing in on individual players. It is possible that teams are at least using a lite version of analytics – scoring, shooting percentages, possession stats etc.

Lot of work, but I guess that’s what the scouts are paid for.


Teams were drafting and developing players with discernible differences in results long before statistical modelling came along. 😉

Darth Tu

For what it’s worth, Ryan touched a little on analytics in his interview on Ched last week. I’m paraphrasing slightly, but the gist of what he said was:

“Sure I look at advanced analytics, and the teams that were talking to me about signing were the known analytics using teams”

Of course you could read this two ways, 1) The Oilers were talking to Ryan due to his strong possession/fancy stats, as were the known teams (Carolina who he played for previously I’d hazard as being one, Minnesota, Toronto etc). 2) Those other teams were talking to him about that, and the Oilers were talking to him as he’s a former UofA Golden Bear and thought he “passed the eye test” with regards to his play against us for Calgary last year.

Me being an optimist shall go for option number 1 and say that the Oilers have at least started thinking about math and players. Like LT says at least at the amateur side there is a bit of an upward trend in most of their picks. The German D man pick this year aside (although they seem to have their reasons for it), last year’s draft in particular really impressed me with the whole trading down, but still coming out with players who project well (at least using basic NHLe for player evaluation).


I really hope a full year under Woodcroft in the AHL will help the kid adjust properly and help him hone his craft. Thanks for the insight LT.


I wonder if the older players from the east will handle the travel. It is a real thing.


I haven’t read the article, but I will. I think Keith is a good bet, but the price paid was mind boggling. If he made Chicago retain some salary, he likely has enough cap space to sign Murray.


According to various reports Edmonton made an offer to Murray. He preferred Colorado. Nothing to do with cap space imo.


Oh, don’t let facts get in the way of a good narrative!


The reports I heard were the Oilers couldn’t match the Avs offer of $2 mill. I find it hard to believe if we offered even $2.5 mill that Murray would have turned it down.


There is no reason why Holland couldn’t have offered $2.5 M if he wanted to. You can go over the cap by 10% in the off season. That is a pretty easy fix come October if getting Murray was really important to him.

It is just as likely that Murray decided Colorado was a better place to chase a cup this coming year.


I don’t agree with this. I imagine the team is trying to get cap compliant without using the Klef LTIR prior to the start of the season. There’s virtually nothing left.


Not sure which part you don’t agree with. I would think watching the Leafs and Lightning the last few years it would be pretty clear that being cap compliant is an art form.

Lots of veteran players develop back problems during training camp every year.


I think Murray chose on the basis of medium term career stability. He has a better chance of settling in for a few years in Colorado than in Edmonton.


I find it hard to believe he couldn’t dump 1/2 of Mikko on the Hawks are even Turris which saves I believe $600000.

Scungilli Slushy

I think the cash part of Keith’s remaining contract carries more weight than we give credit for. The Hawks have paid the majority of it.

Given the state of team finances it is realistic. Cutting cheques with seven numbers probably matters a lot to the owners.


Could be true but that would be a complete 180 degree turn from how Katz has operated since the date he took over ownership – he has done nothing but spend, spend, spend in many areas, in particular, player acquisition – at all levels of the org.


except on an analytic team…:)


The is definitely not a “financial decision” – the cost would be nominal in the aggregate of yearly expenses.