Don’t Get Too Comfortable

by Lowetide

It was October of 2016, and the Oilers still had several decisions to make. I was sure Kris Russell would be signed, Kris Versteeg too, was uncertain if Mark Fayne would win the job over a hard charging Matt Benning, and knew for sure that only one of Tyler Pitlick or Anton Slepyshev would make the team.

It’s the time of year to remind ourselves we don’t know what we don’t know.


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!

On October 10, 2016 I wrote the following. It’s called Riesen to Believe, you’ll see the first of this year’s editions tomorrow.


  1. Cam Talbot, 29. A massive start for Talbot opening night this week, he was rock solid in Game 1 last seasonChances of Making the Oilers: 100%. Note: Talbot did in fact start the game against Calgary on October 12. He stopped 37 of 41 for the victory and had a major impact on the team in 2016-17 and the 2017 playoffs.
  2. Jonas Gustavsson, 31. Played very well in his final tune-up game on Thursday, looking at the schedule he may not get another start for some time. Chances of Making the Oilers: 100%. Played first game October 16, last NHL game January 8 and was replaced by Laurent Brossoit. Played in Bakersfield for the rest of 2016-17 then signed in Sweden. Possibly the most unusual July 1 signing in team history


  1. LD Oscar Klefbom, 23. I am thinking 20-22 minutes a night in game one, hopefully most of it at evens. The man can wheel.   Chances of Making the Oilers: 100%. Played almost 25 minutes opening night, had a career season (12-26-38) and didn’t miss a game. Scored a memorable (and loud!) playoff power-play goal.
  2. LD Andrej Sekera, 30. I think he has some real jump coming off the WCoH, looks terrific. I am less thrilled about handing him a partner who just started his training camp in the Vancouver game. Chances of Making the Oilers: 100%. A splendid season and everyone knew he was valuable, but the tailspin the franchise experienced after his playoff injury was a powerful reminder of what good defensemen are worth even if we can’t yet complete corral how to measure them.
  3. LD Brandon Davidson, 24. Based on the current depth chart, he might start on the third pairing but that won’t last more than a period. Chances of Making the Oilers: 100%. Davidson did start opening night on the third pair, playing under eight minutes. He would play 28 games and got dealt at the deadline to Montreal for David Desharnais.
  4. LD Kris Russell, 29. He had some good moments, looks mobile. I think it is reasonable for him to sit out game one based on his lack of training camp. Chances of Making the Oilers: 100%. He played 20 minutes opening night, had a pair of assists and was on the ice for three even-strength goals for the Oilers. Played 68 games and then signed a long-term contract. Remains with the Oilers, having signed his third contract with the team.
  5. LD Darnell Nurse, 21. Had an uneven game on Saturday, I think he gets the start on Wednesday, third pair and probably with Brandon Davidson.  Chances of Making the Oilers: 100%. He played 16:08, had an assist and would play 44 games during the regular season. His most common partners were Eric Gryba and Matt Benning.


  1. RD Adam Larsson, 23. He has played well so far, bet he gets a ton of playing time if the Oilers stay in the game against Calgary. That is a big damned game, getting off to a good start is vital. Chances of Making the Oilers: 100%. He played 21 minutes, had an assist, +2 on the night and he played a strong season plus a solid playoff for the Oilers. I think his exit this summer will be a storyline all season long in Edmonton. And Seattle.
  2. RD Mark Fayne, 29. He is in real danger now, at least long term. Chances of Making the Oilers: 80%. He made the team but was a healthy scratch opening night. Fayne played in just four games in 2016-17, his final NHL game December 6.
  3. RD Matt Benning, 23. I sincerely believe he has a chance. Chances of Making the Oilers: 20%. He made the team as a healthy scratch opening night, got sent down for two AHL games and made his NHL debut November 1. He has played another 300 NHL games since.
  4. RD Eric Gryba, 28. Waiting for the UFOs. Chances of Making the Oilers: nil. He signed a one-year, two-way contract and was assigned to Bakersfield October 11. Recalled two days later, as the club was doing some shuffling around Fayne and Benning. Gryba played 40 games as Edmonton’s extra defender in 2016-17.


  1. C Connor McDavid, 19. Very high on my list of things to be thankful for on Thanksgiving. I am astounded by his speed and ability. A shocking player. Chances of Making the Oilers: 100%. He was 2-1-3 opening night, 30-70-100 on the season and won the Hart, Lindsay and Art Ross. We knew he was great, 2016-17 showed just how great.
  2. C Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, 23. The only worry is offense—his line has to deliver 55+ goals, and that is a very large number for an Oiler 2line. Chances of Making the Oilers: 100%. He scored 18-25-43 in 2016-17, his most common linemates were Milan Lucic and Jordan Eberle. He was in the “Dave Keon is concentrating more on checking than offense” phase of his career, but would recover the following season.
  3. C-R Leon Draisaitl, 20. He had a strong late summer and fall, needs to be productive for the entire season. In many ways, the Oilers playoff chances ride on LD posting a strong year. Chances of Making the Oilers: 100%. Had one assist opening night, posted a “Mahovlich” season for the first time (29-48-77) and played most often with McDavid and Maroon on a very strong offensive trio. He has done some things since. I kid. He has been one of the best value draft picks in the history of the Oilers, even considering they took him early.
  4. C Mark Letestu, 31. Quietly scored well in preseason, I believe he is a solid 4C. Chances of Making the Oilers: 100%. Played 12:59 to begin his best Edmonton season, Letestu was a very useful player across disciplines. He hit the cliff the following year but Letestu was rock solid in Edmonton’s playoff season.
  5. C-L Drake Caggiula, 22. Impacted training camp in a big way, can he keep it going? Chances of Making the Oilers: 100%. He was placed on IR to begin the season, he wouldn’t make his NHL debut until November 19. His speed combined with some skill got him opportunities, but the Oilers eventually dealt him for defensive help. He played for two teams last season, Arizona and Buffalo. Those are the kinds of teams that end careers. Ask Robert Nilsson.
  6. C Anton Lander, 25. Every day that passes without a center added increases Lander’s odds. Can he score enough to stay in the lineup? Chances of Making the Oilers: 70%. Lander was a healthy scratch opening night and played 22 games for Edmonton during the regular season. He also played 42 games in Bakersfield, before heading to Europe.


  1. L Milan Lucic, 28. Starting to come around, passes are quality and effective. People are still looking for him to be the shooter on the 1line, despite the fact Lucic has never been the sniper on any line, at any time. For such a famous player, he certainly is misunderstood. Averaged 1.53 shots per game last season—does that sound like a sniper to you? Chances of Making the Oilers: 100%. He went 23-27-50, the big surprise was his power-play numbers. Never a major player with the man advantage, he posted solid numbers there but could not get untracked at even strength.
  2. L Benoit Pouliot, 29. Sublime forechecker, throwback winger, and he is more of a shooter (1.98 shots per game) and is also misunderstood by many fans. Chances of Making the Oilers: 100%. Played 16:42 in the opener. He was a fine winger for two seasons, but his forechecking was a key to his success and he started taking penalties at bad times. It cost him his job in Edmonton.
  3. L Patrick Maroon, 28. I keep wondering what the devil Anaheim didn’t see in him, suspect we are seeing May 1995 Jeff Fassero. He sure has been in a groove for an extended period. Chances of Making the Oilers: 100%. He scored 27 goals during the regular season, including a goal opening night. He outplayed Lucic but there wasn’t enough money to keep him. Until we see what Zach Hyman can do, Maroon remains the top McDavid LW so far (assuming Draisaitl counts as a RW).
  4. R Tyler Pitlick, 24. Wins the Hendricks job. Chances of Making the Oilers: 100%. He scored a goal opening night playing less than 10 minutes, and would deliver eight goals before getting hurt again. Ironically, his injury made it possible for him to become a free agent, so he signed in Dallas and played an 80-game season. The Gods, they mock.
  5. R Anton Slepyshev, 22. So close, my guess he is final cut. Chances of Making the Oilers: 70%. He made the cut, and the opening night lineup. I remember being pleased that Edmonton had a genuine goal-scoring winger who had been drafted and (at least a little) developed in the minors. He played 41 games, 4-6-10, the popped three in the playoffs.


  1. R Jordan Eberle, 26. If he scores 40, Oilers probably make the playoffs. Edmonton doesn’t have a winger on the roster who can score that many, no matter the center. Chances of Making the Oilers: 100%. He scored opening night, and posted 20 for the season. Eberle’s 51 points were third on the team. He struggled in the playoffs, and was traded. He had a strong run with the NY Islanders and is now a member of the first Seattle Kraken team.
  2. R Zack Kassian, 25. Strictly 4line imo, the trade of Yakupov and injury to Versteeg may mean he moves up the depth chart temporarily. Chances of Making the Oilers: 100%. He went 79, 7-17-24 and had a huge goal in the playoffs against the San Jose Sharks. That goal is the highlight of his career with Edmonton.
  3. R Kris Versteeg, 30. The only thing left is the contract. Chances of Making the Oilers: 100%. The contract came, and he was in the lineup for opening night. However, he was dressed for the Calgary Flames.
  4. R Jesse Puljujarvi, 18. He gets better with each game, and actually plays a pretty good two-way game. I think the Oilers are probably in good shape either way, but he is not a substantial offensive option at this time, which speaks to lack of roster strength. Chances of Making the Oilers: 50%. He would score opening night, but after 27 more games JP was sent to Bakersfield. The line about lack of roster strength was true, perhaps signing Versteeg would have allowed him to develop in the AHL. We’ll never know.


  1. L Matt Hendricks, 35. Tough break for the veteran winger, sounds like weeks instead of days. Chances of Making the Oilers: nil. He would play 43 games for Edmonton and move on to Winnipeg the following year.
  2. R Iiro Pakarinen, 24. Injury did not look good, out for some time. Chances of Making the Oilers: nil. He would play in 14 games, score twice, and then sign in the KHL where he remains.
  3. LD Andrew Ference, 37. Only question now is in regard to IR vs. LTIR. Chances of Making the Oilers: nil. His career was over.

What did I have wrong? I didn’t see the Versteeg wrinkle, didn’t see both Slepyshev and Pitlick making the team, couldn’t see the wild state of affairs that was the shuffle on defense.

Looking back, there were some bewildering decisions by Peter Chiarelli. The choice of backup goalie, and on July 1 mind, was flummoxing at the time and is just as curious these years later. The Oilers and goaltending will be a chapter in Connor McDavid’s autobiography, pretty sure.

The Oilers of this era had a wonderful LHD depth chart, with Andrej Sekera’s importance now in 20 font, bold and written across the sky. Oscar Klefbom’s brilliant season is bittersweet looking back, but we saw him at his very best in the most important season for the franchise in 15 years. Darnell Nurse was just establishing himself and made some errors, and his improvement while in the NHL is an impressive story.

Adam Larsson is going to make us miss him just as much as Sekera did after his injury, I expect. Larsson’s acquisition cost was dear, but he was a fine player when healthy and gave the Oilers what will be his best years. The RHD is a weak spot, Fayne could defend but Russell had better foot speed and coach Todd McLellan didn’t deploy Fayne for 10 seconds longer than needed. Fayne showed a flaw in Corsi while with the Oilers: He always changed at the right spot, with the puck heading north, so the good things that happened after the puck cleared the zone belonged to another defender. Matt Benning was an astute bit of business by Chiarelli.

Connor McDavid belonged in a higher league as a teenager, he’s about two leagues above that level now. An absolute blast to watch, we ran out of words to describe him long ago. I don’t believe there’s a more entertaining athlete on the planet, his sorties up the ice are a universal adrenalin rush for all hockey fans. Music? He’s all hits, all the time. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins has entered the period where we can say he is no longer at his peak, while still being productive. Leon Draisaitl would be called the Cologne Crusher if not for those cherry passes and his hammer of the Gods shots from impossible angles. A stunning talent with the reflexes, determination and fearlessness of a Karelian bear dog, he’s incredible.

Patrick Maroon is the one that got away despite being a journeyman when he arrived in Edmonton. If there’s ever a question about why chemistry matters, examine Maroon with 97. Milan Lucic seemed like a good idea, especially since the organization had been pursuing the next Lucic for a decade. It didn’t work out. Benoit Pouliot was a good player for the Oilers, but I’m the only one who will tell you and you’re going to have to take my word for it and ignore everyone else.

Jordan Eberle shouldn’t have been traded, but I knew he was gone as soon as that puck went in the net. Never mind that it skipped over Mark Letestu’s stick, Eberle had a poor playoff, that mistake was a dagger, and losing organizations do losing things even when they fall ace over tea kettle into McDavid and Draisaitl. I liked Tyler Pitlick a lot.

Tomorrow: Riesen to believe, 2021-22.


I’m back! At 10 this morning, TSN1260, we hit the ground running with massive Elks news and more. At 10:40 Jordan Baker of the Edmonton Stingers will join us to talk about the club’s second CEBL championship in a row! Jason Gregor pops in at 11 to talk Elks, Oilers and more. 10-1260 text, @Lowetide on twitter, I’ll also make Tyler Yaremchuk tell me how many food drops I missed while on holidays! How many burgers did he eat? Find out at 10!


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McDavid’s points/game progression. It’s nice to express as per/82 GP I think:

15-16 82-29-58-87
16-17 82-30-70-100
17-18 82-41-67-108
18-19 82-43-79-122
19-20 82-44-80-124
20-21 82-48-106-154

Can McDavid keep up the trend of year over year improvement?

He’s been remarkably consistent aside from the major jump in assists last season (the last player to actually have 100 assists was Gretzky in 90-91).

I’m not sure exactly when the aging curves say a player should plateau offensively, but with the stronger supporting cast it seems McDavid has a decent chance to push the envelope.


A question to the mechanical production engineer types around Lowetide:

Exactly how long should it take before we see Chinese Blackhawk helicopter clones flying around?

Last edited 1 month ago by hunter1909
Foege Foegele Torpe

Not very soon,
Unless of course they are being built in the US.
If your talking cheap plastic,
then ya they’re already in the toy stores

Scungilli Slushy

Jari Kurri playing with Connor last season would have had at least 40 goals and that line would have annihilated their GF/GA.

Regardless of a LW that was competent.


A pure goal scorer will not fit in the Oilers cap as the team is currently constructed.


We need Lavoie to pop.


That would be fun to watch.


Lavoie definitely has the potential to be a 30 goal scorer in the top six but, in my opinion, from watching him last year (a) he’s a ways away and (b) I would say about 65% that he become more than a tweener.

It was only his first year pro, so I should probably be less pessimistic, but his issues as a Condor are pretty much the same issues that he had back in the Q.

This is where we see how valuable Woody is.


They are depending on draft picks to … come through and develop into useful players?


Jari is my favourite all-time Oiler. I watched him do target practice one time during training camp. His one-timer constantly hitting corners of the net. It was an amazing display of accuracy at the speed the passes were coming at him.


Kurri was a perfect hockey player like few others.

Now that its homecoming week for old Oilers, people don’t seem to remember that arguing that Paul Coffey was better than Gretzky was once considered a rational position.


All Star Messier would have made a decent left winger for McDavid and while we’re at it put Anderson on the other side for chaos and comedy.


Slot Hyman Mcdavid and Holloway on line 1 and watch the magic unfold.


Seems like alot of responsibility for the 1st year pro at the age of 20 even if one pundit did call him a cool nickname like Golden Retriever.


Not with Hyman being defensively conscious this line will kill it and it wouldn’t surprise me if it’s the opening day line-up.


I would be shocked.

We’ll find out in 6 weeks.


You slot Hyman, Foegele and Holloway into our opening line-up and watch the wins pile up


That nickname was coined in the locker room of a recent WJC team, and subsequently reported on TV.


Tik would be good at the chaos and drawing penalties.


I don’t understand why two of my posts were blocked. I stated an objective fact based on numerical data in one post, and proposed a solution to that problem in a second one.


Being right and inviting unwelcome conversation can happen simultaneously.

unca miltie

LOL> now i am curious, but totally understand your stance.

Foege Foegele Torpe

It’s true, I visit the site frequently to declare what an ass i think Hunter is!


I always wanted Mark Messier to return to the Oilers, as an assistant coach, then a head coach if he was any good at assistanting.

But instead of returning home, he decided to lounge around in NY waiting to be handed a big job on the Rangers.

Soon he was too old for the Oilers, and the Rangers rejected the idea of hiring him in any higher capacity than a glorified showpiece.


Messier, Anderson,Coffey,Gretzky, Fuhr they were always the toast of the town life of the party. I don’t blame them at all for continuing to living the life of Riley.


I wonder about what happens to people who live to party. I grew up with guys who put that first in life, and at least one ended up dying in a men’s shelter.

Meanwhile huge “rock stars” like Ozzy and Axl Rose end up looking exactly like old drunk tramps – tramps with money for fancy rehab lol


I know Gully isnt the defensive specialist, but he encourages players to do whatever they want (ie slide/starfish) to stop the puck from getting passed across the slot.

I dont agree or disagree, just interesting for all the people who pull out their hair and ask “is this coached??” It is coached.


Solid find – I will note, that was from six years ago. Alot can change in six years (and alot can stay the same, of course).

Scungilli Slushy

A lot of things you don’t see ‘normal’ NHL teams do are directions from inside the house.

The definition of a poorly run team.

It has become farrrr more normal.

But there is significant room for growth still for approaching a way that is strongly trending upwards with no inter generational weirdness.

Hopefully that involves changes in those directing things where basic NHL competency isn’t being met.

Its a lot players, but I would say decision makers are in the majority of the problem.

A feather in your cap that the PP is killer? A monkey or whatever animal picks World Cup soccer wins could run a CMD PP.

Just like a potato peeling off Bobfathers draft list would be a genius drafter.

Talk to me about defensive and offensive structure, suppressing HD chances and 5v5 success first.


The first 4 seasons McDavid was here, the PP averaged 19.4%. Since Tippett arrived, the PP is 28.6%. And Drai and Nuge have been here for the whole 6 seasons as well.

Toronto has huge firepower too, but can only manage 21.7%, since they don’t have the right strategy.


Nice point. Thank you.

I’ll add that the PK went from 3rd worst in McDavid’s first 4 years to 3rd best over the past 2 seasons (the actual difference is only 78.3% to 83.6%, so not quite as stark as the PP).

The PK improvement is pretty clearly McDavid-independent, but ‘right strategy’ is probably applicable.

Bank Shot

Has there ever been any statistical proof produced that shows that sliding/starfishing is less effective than remaining on your skates?

I’ve seen people complain about it often, but it seems like a style preference more than anything.

I mean Kris Russell is always swimming and he’s had a terrific GA/60 for three years running.


Of note, Codi Ceci was 2.03 GA/60 last season (and 2.27 the year before in Toronto).

A couple tough years with GA rates with the Sens but, earlier in his career, a couple strong years (one 1.84 G/60).

I wonder if Codi Ceci’s help preventing goals is a bit underrated?

Bank Shot

I’m kind of expecting Oiler fans to not notice the difference between Larsson and Ceci.


Better puck movement?


I think we will notice in pk. Larsson is truly one of the elite pkers in league. Ceci will be ok but those are huge shoes to fill

Scungilli Slushy

For sure

Its a balance. If they are moving the puck better and have forwards that have the ability to drive play forward as a group, they will have less D zone and more O zone which in a fair universe says less PK and more PP.

So as long as the D are capable, and even maybe better at breaking cycles and finding a pass, not making awful coverage decisions, the GA/GF should take another jump.

The Knights D group to me is very meh outside of the top 2. Crack goalering and capable of mostly bland forwards means they don’t defend as much as our guys and when they screw up they were getting bailed out.

The Oilers, not so much. Smith is fine and can be brilliant in moments, but no Cujos or hot Roli’s in the last forever changing outcomes on a regular basis.


With our mobile D and a uptick in forwards this will ultimately lead to more PP opportunities and I would wager top 5 in the league.



Thanks for pointing that out, I didn’t realize how big a deal Larsson was on the PK. (the numbers agree, over many years, as you’re presumably already aware).


Gregor is reporting that he is hearing that OEG will be requiring proof of vaccination or recent negative test for entry to Oilers games – not announced but its coming (and they are working out logistics, etc.).

Not all will agree, of that we know, but I’m sure we all did know this was coming – there was no other realistic path forward for the org – agree or not.

I’m all for it and that’s all I will say on the matter.


I’m double vaxxed so it doesn’t impact me personally, but I’m thrilled they are allowing people inside with a negative test. Detest the idea of mandatory vaccines. 

Bank Shot

Anyone will be able to get a fake test.

This only impedes the lazy.


What happens if you get a false positive and you as well as your daughter miss the game because of this. Will you be refunded for the tickets or will it be to bad so sad.

Last edited 1 month ago by Reja

One vote against vaccine passports.


Stay home then


Asking for a friend: I have had several vaccinations over the years, but was never told to avoid others who weren’t vaccinated. It used to be when you got vaccinated you were “immune” from that disease.

Why therefore, do vaccinated people appear to be rabidly hating unvaccinated people?


I’m sure there are more expert opinions to be had on this board but I believe respiratory viruses are more difficult. I don’t think a flu vaccination guarantees that you won’t get the flu – just that it will be less virulent.

At least that is my understanding but I am definitely no expert on this subject.


Thanks. That helps somewhat although the logic still appear to favor the passing of this virus from a bunch of sweaty Oiler fans in an arena, whether vaccinated or not.

I would personally prefer to not go out to places where I am apparently risking my life. But that’s me lol


Why is everyone so sweaty?


Because they’re rednecks.


No ones hating anyone
the NHL lost a cool billion on the pandemic and are trying to make sure it doesn’t happen again. So are many aspects of the economy.


So it’s the company’s choice who they want to cater to. And your choice is get vaccinated or stay home. No one is making you get vaccinated


Of note, from Gregor, it will be proof of vaccine or a recent negative test (which I think differs from what I read about Calgary). A vaccine won’t be required (if this turns out to be correct).


A covid test for travel reasons costs $150 at Dynalife. Pretty sure fans won’t be putting out that kind of dough on top of ticket price to attend an event. Perhaps the team issues and pays for a rapid test??? Not sure how that would work???


Yup, the wife and I are set up for that exact test on Sept 5 – $150 each. Will be my first Covid test (2nd for the wife). I imagine the price will come down in time.

unca miltie

I hope you are correct about the cost coming down. I have had 7 tests mostly because of travel and mostly tax payer funded. Cost me $200.00 US in January to come home from Phoenix. I actually changed my plans this winter because of the test costs, almost as expensive as the flights at this time.


How about a machine at the arena, that vaporises people who fail lol

No doubt Alien technology can do this but the government is keeping it quiet.

Last edited 1 month ago by hunter1909

I don’t see any scenario in which this doesn’t become the de facto position of any entertainment/sports company large enough to be worth suing.

The legal liability to employees alone – if the company does not take sufficient measures to protect them – is pretty much as far as you have to look to know that those who choose to not be vaccinated will have their life choices reduced by a considerable measure in the coming months. Federal employees in Canada have already received notice that they must be vaccinated with few exceptions.

Vaccines have always been about protecting the herd regardless of whether or not it has costs for a number of individuals. I would be very surprised if provinces are not preparing to produce new medical insurance cards with vaccination info on them.

Last edited 1 month ago by defmn

I don’t understand the liability issue. Everyone attending games knows the risks they take, can the tickets not have some indemnification clause?


The employees have the right to a safe work environment would be the argument, I believe.

Vaccinations are not really so much about protecting you. They are about protecting those around you from you.


I don’t understand how businesses could be sued for this. I’m sure people catch diseases all the time at big events and end up sick or dead. Even if everyone who attends an event is double vaxxed, they can still contract the virus and get sick or die. Are businesses liable for this too? If this is the new standard, it will absolutely paralyze the economy.


If you allow preventable danger into the workplace without taking reasonable measures to mitigate that danger you are responsible for the consequences suffered by your employees.

I believe that requiring vaccinations will be seen by the courts as a reasonable measure for non-essential gatherings of large groups.

If you think some lawyer won’t sue on that basis I think you have a different view of society than I do. This isn’t about the attendees at the event. This is about the employees who work those events. They have an expectation of a safe work space.

And, no, I am not a lawyer but I have had the misfortune of working with lawyers as business partners. Pretty confident in their thought process.


Can’t they have employees sign an indemnification clause?


Don’t think so. How do you ask employees to sign away their right to be in a safe work environment that pays minimum wages?

And what would you do as an employer if they refused? Fire them? That would just be a different kind of lawsuit for wrongful dismissal.

Large corporations are risk averse by nature & anybody who didn’t think government was going to make life difficult for those who don’t vaccinate really doesn’t understand how government works.

They said little until those who wanted vaccinations to plateau and now they will implement measures to go after the next 10% and then the next 5% etc.

I hear Nova Scotia closed their land border today to those unable to produce evidence of vaccination. I doubt they will be the last to do so.


I’m really skeptical of this. Otherwise we would have seen a bunch of lawsuits by now. Worker compensation laws, whether you agree or not, protect employers from this very thing. If employees can start suing because they start getting sick at work, it could literally cripple entire industries. And where do you draw the line for creating a safe work environment? If these type of lawsuits go forward, it will open a Pandora’s box that could paralyze the economy. 


Can companies be sued for damages if someone has a serious adverse reaction?

Last edited 1 month ago by TheGreatBigMac

I’m pretty sure worker compensation laws protect employers from this type of thing. I haven’t heard about any employer being sued for this, even though industries like meat processing created unsafe conditions for their employees during different stages of the pandemic. In fact, from the employer perspective, without protections afforded by workers compensation laws, this type of thing could literally cripple entire industries.


I have no doubt this plays a big role. The vast majority of people couldn’t say 100% for sure they contracted the virus at a specific location. But I have yet to hear of any lawsuits. I would think the workers at meat processing plants would have a pretty strong case, but I haven’t heard of any lawsuits there. Allowing people to sue employers for contracting covid would set a pretty dangerous precedent. Workers Comp protects employers, often when they have been terribly negligent, so I remain skeptical about the whole notion.


I just picked the one off the top of the pile from a google search. I think it is American but I am pretty sure I have seen stories in the media of lawsuits being launched in Canada as well.


I don’t understand what the NHL’s balance sheet has to do with my general question, aside from it is a good example on a micro level.


Because you can apply this to almost every industry

Darth Tu

It’s the old herd immunity thing. Look at TB as an example – In the UK we received that in school when we were around 12/13. It’s around 70-80% effective at stopping the worst form of TB (TB meningitis). However, it’s only 20% effective at stopping the respiratory TB.

Now, if everyone who can receive the vaccine gets one you lower the chance of an outbreak as you don’t have as many cases of TB slipping through the net. Generally the R value for TB is pretty damn low versus Covid, especially if you’re somewhere where the majority of the population is vaccinated against it, ergo the plan to try and vaccinate as many people as they can against COVID here.

That’s the short version from a geologist who is by no means an expert in viruses, bacteria, vaccines etc.


“Why therefore, do vaccinated people appear to be rabidly hating unvaccinated people?”

Your news feeds must not show you the anti-vaxxers who rabidly hate vaccinations and the vaccinated who put public health at risk.

I wonder why…

Material Elvis

Why is there a feeling of animosity? The data shows that the vast majority of new hospitalizations are unvaccinated people. They are threatening to overwhelm the healthcare system and possibly trigger another period of lockdown/restrictions. It’s pretty goddamn frustrating actually.


Gregor is reporting that he is hearing that OEG will be requiring proof of vaccination or recent negative test for entry to Oilers games – not announced but its coming (and they are working out logistics, etc.).”



Boooooooo. To segregagtion, discrimanation and mandating such a new vaccine. Booooo

Scungilli Slushy

To me all players coming in have to complement the forward core which is Connor Leon Nuge.

Hyman is a skating physical 2 way for Connor. The winger opposite Hyman should be a shooting scorer hopefully also 2 way to also support Connor’s freelancing.

The winger playing opposite Nuge ideally is also a Hyman type to offset Nuge being smaller and non physical. Leon also needs pressure taken off him to let him do what he does best and not spend too much time trying to be everything on his line.

I also don’t see JP as the long term Connor RW. He’ll be a decent scorer but he’s not a finisher, never will be at this point. Still a valuable player.

He may work well as the Leon RW. I don’t see Yama as ideal because he and Nuge are not big, so Leon is stuck being the physical presence and that isn’t ideal.

So switching JP amd Yama might be a better set up with the new additions. Still it seems one of JP or Yama might be vulnerable, especially once Holloway arrives.

They may want Holloway as a C. But he will be a top 6 soon enough so that kicks Leon up, a winger gets moved down or out.

Holloway won’t be a 3 C long, they will always play the best skill in the top 6 partly because players want enough TOI, and for those not in long term contracts it will figure into future negotiations, fair usage for the player to want to stay.

Same reason why Nuge wasn’t used as 3C, Holland or Tipp mentioned it. He may in the future but not until he loses a top 6 job.

Last edited 1 month ago by Scungilli Slushy

Puljujarvi helped McDavid to higher point totals than any other player McDavid has ever played with except Draisaitl. Puljujarvi was defensively responsible and turned over pucks for McDavid all over the ice. McDavid is the goal score you are looking for.


McDavid was over 4 P/60 playing with Jesse. I think that was second for McDavid (over 5 P/60 playing with Leon).


Puljujarvi played good defence as a rookie. It comes naturally to him, while he figures out the NHL.

I see Gordie Howe in this kid because he’s so big and physically dominating to the opposition who have to try to stop him. I’m a big fan of JP.

Now, if he shows up mad at training camp…

Scungilli Slushy


Can you tell me who is helping who when you are talking about CMD? Hitting his prime?

Jesse is a fine player but if he was a finisher would have popped a lot more goals with a guy having a historic season.

Jesse’s abilities are noted, I highly value his player type. It still remains entirely possible he suppressed Connor’s offense with his weak finishing and unusual style.

There were no viable options so we will never know. Except that Holland rolled big on Hyman.


Puljujarvi helped McDavid to higher point totals than any other player McDavid has ever played with except Draisaitl.

If you look at points/game McDavid has actually improved year over year every season of his career.

So this year Puljujarvi helped McDavid to the highest scoring rate of his career (Nuge and Draisaitl as well obv).

The flip side is that Draisaitl and Kassian (!) helped McDavid to his 2nd and 3rd best scoring (rate) seasons.

If you look at GF%, 16-17 remains his strongest season. So Maroon and Draisaitl get the love there, with strong assists from Lucic and Eberle (McDavid played >400 minutes with all of them; guess who his best GF% was with?). 16-17 was his best xGF% season as well.

20-21 comes second in GF% and xGF%. So more of that please, since that’s what really matters.

Scungilli Slushy

Someone please put up a good reason why TOI doesn’t matter to coaches and players? I’m assuming that was the issue with the comment.

The best as they see it will play the most minutes. Even to excess as in Tippet’s deployment the last seasons.

For coaches who have shorter contracts and less pay it’s do or die.

GM’s have to in markets like Edmonton make sure they can resign the top talent.

Holloway isn’t a bottom 6 player unless he proves otherwise, at least for long, because it affects his PPG, so his next contract, and if he cares about hockey, his career legacy.


Everyone and their dog now all of a sudden has Holloway pencilled in at 3C after marinating in the AHL for awhile. Not me you start him top 6 right out of the gate and let the retriever do his job and pile up the points and more importantly confidence playing with skill. From what I remember Messier and Arnott both started out as left wingers then switched to Centre please correct me if I’m wrong about this. A lot of great Centres in the past started off on the wing for a year or two before switching over to Centre.


I think its more of a risk/reward thing.

Could Holloway play in the top 6, pile up the points, prove he’s NHL ready and be a contributor to those lines and not just a passenger? Absolutely. But that route also includes the possibility that he plays up on those lines, he isn’t NHL ready, he drags down one of our top two lines before eventually getting demoted with his confidence shaken and it takes him the rest of the year to recover.

On the other hand, the AHL route means the risk is that he isn’t on the NHL roster to start off the year, so we might miss out on a player who can help us be a better team today.. but if he plays 20 games in the AHL and demonstrates hes too good for the league, than we can bring him up in whatever role needs to be filled at the time with his confidence high, and some more experience under his belt.

The risk of bringing him up too early is too high in my opinion, when the alternative is virtually risk free.

Bank Shot

In the cap era it makes a tonne of sense to start prospects off in the bottom six. They will grow as hockey players in a situation where they aren’t inflating their point totals and cap hits by playing with stars.


Common sense was never a strong point in the NHL.


Someone somewhere commented that the Oil are already succession planning for post-McDrai Cs, the idea being that EDM won’t be able to do as PIT had done*


Of course, as we stand today, there is no actual evidence of that which sounds like pure speculation.

If some playoff success does not come in the next few years, re-signing risk will become a major conversation.


Jimmy Hayes passed away much too early today at the age of 31


Man, the injuries to Klefbom and Sekera really changed the plan moving forward, didn’t they.

Sekera was full value for his contract and that signing until the minute Getzlaf hit him and it changed his career and the path for the Oilers.

Klefbom’s series of injuries and, ultimately, the loss of Klefbom for multiple seasons further changed the course.

At one point, even after the Sekera injury, we have two legit top 4 LD (Nurse and Klefbom) and then a number of prospects that were a bit away but likely to make it (Broberg and Samourkov) plus Jones finding his way as a pro.

Thinks have changed but, with Sammy and Borberg coming and Nurse absolutely popping, the left side still looks good – different than projected a few years ago, but still looking good in the near future.


Kelfbom was made of glass you can’t plan around that type of player.


That’s not fair at all. Klefbom played at a near-elite level in excruciating pain for years. I would hardly say hes made of glass.


I’m not saying it to be rude or mean but he showed up to work 66% of the time and another 33% ( just guessing) he was playing with one and a half arms. If you ask most hockey knowledgeable people they will sum up his career as he was a damn fine D-man when he wasn’t fighting injury.

Bruce McCurdy

Davidson did start opening night on the third pair, playing under eight minutes.

…before Matthew Tkachuk (playing his first NHL game, mind) put him out for two months with a dirty & dangerous slewfoot.

the Oilers eventually dealt [Caggiula] for defensive help

no, they dealt him for Brandon Manning. One of a dozen head-scratching decisions reached during the Chiarelli era, this one was likely the most “spherically” bad of the lot (= bad no matter what angle what looks at it).


To this day you have to wonder what the hell Chiarelli was thinking. Lets bring in the guy who took a serious cheap shot at our star player. Are you kidding me!!!!


I remember somebody making a hilarious comment about McDavid and Gagner going to the airport to pick up Manning and Kassian.


He was trolling his own team and fans on that one.


The end was nigh. He knew it, we knew it. I’m sure there’s shit he did in his final months he still laughs about.


DeBrusk keeps coming up among Oilers fans, but IMO DeBrusk is just this year’s Athanasiou. Scored a bunch of goals a few years ago, can’t defend worth a damn and has a QO that nobody wants to sign.


Isn’t it more like that Boston sports writers keep bringing him up with Edmonton as being interested?


I don’t read Boston rags, so that’s not it. I’m talking about what I read on this blog and from Oilers fans elsewhere.

Last edited 1 month ago by ArmchairGM

All generated by reports out of Boston, though, as far as I know. The latest flurry was from The Athletic’s Boston correspondent.

It’s summer. Not much happening. Rumours get discussed.


It’s not completely out to lunch as far as possibilities, though acquisition cost is always the issue.

Healthy scratch for Boston, Oilers need wingers, his father played for the Oilers and is on the broadcast team….


Disappointing player for disappointing player type trade. That is why Kassian keeps getting mentioned and lately Yamamoto although I don’t see that one having any legs.


I too do not want to see that eventuality, as I feel JP will cover the extra dollars comfortably


JP over Debrisket all day every day. Every week.


Don’t you think Boston just lets him walk rather than pay the qualifying number if they can’t move him before then?


If Boston doesn’t give him a QO (I’m 99% certain they won’t), DeBrusk will be a UFA next summer. There’s no trade to be had for a pending UFA that involves Puljujarvi (whose QO will absolutely be tendered).


Bear was traded with a year left on a very reasonable deal, not the same thing at all to Boston looking to trade DeBrusk next summer.


Bear has a cap hit of $2 million and his qualifying offer next season is going to be $2.4 million (120% of his AAV), since he signed after July 10, 2020. That is a vastly different risk and value proposition to Debrusk’s $3.75 million cap hit and QO of $4.5 million which probably has less 33% chance of being worth it. Bear has arbitration rights, but he would have to play leaps and bounds better than this past season, for Holland to worry that he’d get that size of an award. The odds of Bear being worth $4.5 million next season is at best 25%.

JP’s QO next season will only be $1.45 million. If he lights it up so that he warrants anything close to $4.5 million on his next contract, I’d take that bet over Debrusk at that level going forward, and I would think Holland would as well, but there’s a lot of room between those 2 numbers.


A team trading for him prior to mid June, when the QO would be due, would know that he requires the $4.5M QO or become a UFA – sure, another deal could be reached but that is a massive risk for the acquiring team, no?

If Debrusk is not 20/50 minimum this year, I see very little trade value there and definitely not the likes of Jesse.


For all we know Holland, Jesse and his agent agreed he would come back to Edmonton keep quiet do his job and if his value went up to Holland’s liking he would workout a trade that both parties agree on.


That’s possible, but doesn’t justify trading an asset for pennies on the dollar.

Bank Shot

It’s bad enough that Kevin Lowe and his son helped themselves to a few barrels of Katz’s money.

I really don’t want to see the Oilers continuing to be a career booster for every son of a former Oiler.

Last edited 1 month ago by Bank Shot

One big difference, to me: On the date of acquisition of AA, even without a big bounce back, his QO would have been OK at $3M – things changed post trade vis-a-vis value of middle tier players.

Right now, today, if Debrusk was acquired, on the date of acquisition, his QO seems very much a non-starter (chance of bounce back, sure, but it doesn’t seem too likley/reasonable).


If Boston wants Koskinen, we’ll take DeBrusk.
Retain to make the cap hits equal.

Last edited 1 month ago by godot10

Mikko plus Marody or even Benson if he’s not in their plans for Debrusk. Where there’s smoke usually there’s a fire.


Based on the polls from the last couple of days, I put together the consensus line up. The degree of support in the poll for the position is next to each player, though the top 9 and Archibald were either or questions, while the bottom of the line up was just support for each player. I didn’t poll the top six defenders since LT had them all as certain for the roster. The LT community consensus Oiler’s line up for 2021/22 is:

Hyman – McDavid – Puljujarvi (+20)
RNH (+11) – Draisaitl (+22) – Yamamoto (+1 at 3rd line RW)
Foegele (+11) – Ryan (+14) – Kassian (+20 at 4th line RW)
Benson (+35) – McLeod (+44) – Archibald (+14)
Perlini (+14) – Marody (+11)

Nurse – Barrie
Keith – Ceci
Russell – Bouchard
Lagesson (+12)

Stalock (+23)

Conservative in deployment, confident in the kids and frustrated with underperforming vets. I think we can all admit it probably won’t shake out like this, but thanks for your participation!


I’m surprised to see that many people think Ryan has that much left in his tank


He had great results last year, but I think it’s probably more realistic to have him slotted as a great 4C, although I can see Tippett trying Ryan, McLeod, Nuge, Turris at 3C until someone claims the spot.


My prediction is we try all of McLeod Turris Ryan in that spot before giving it to Holloway at game 30


When Ryan was acquired I was reading some Calgary articles on him. Seems like he was still performing pretty well? He was waived but that was due to his cap and not his performance.

I am cautiously optimistic about him.

Bank Shot

He probably doesn’t but he’s the best option based on resume.



 Reply to  Revolved

 August 23, 2021 9:18 am

I’m surprised to see that many people think Ryan has that much left in his tank

I think its a function of McLeod not being quite ready for prime time 3C duties (at least as of May 2021).

The hope is likely that McLeod can pass him in-season on merit.

Ryan is aging but still puts up very good metrics, I believe.

Also, playing with Foegele and Archie/Kass, to me, is an upgrade over Leivo, Nordstrom, Lucic which should help.


A lot of fans have a sour taste in their mouth regarding Koskinen. Which is perfectly understandable.

However, I think its an overreaction – his performance hasn’t been as bad as most seem to think. With proper usage (~40% of starts) he’ll give the team above average results – more than we can say for Stalock.


Koskinen is 100% fine as a regular season tandem goalie. Just not sure he’s a playoff goalie.

For long-time Sharks fans, he’s your Nabokov or Toskala. Totally fine during the season, will 100% get outplayed by the other team’s goalie in the playoffs.

Last edited 1 month ago by dustrock

To add for posterity, the consensus has shot Shore, Turris, Koekkoek and Koskinen to the moon.

It’ll be interesting to see if any prove to have some value going forward.

Last edited 1 month ago by jp



Yes, most probably. But the same can be said of the ‘chosen’ group of Perlini, Marody, Lagesson and Stalock.

We won’t get answers on all of them, but it will be cool to see some of these debates play out.




Shore has value in protecting young players in Bakersfield from being yo-yo’d up and down just to sit in the pressbox, instead of playing big minutes in the AHL. Same with Turris and Koekkoek. Ideally none of them are relied on to play significant minutes in the NHL.

Koskinen may not be as good as his contract, but that’s not his fault. Hopefully Skinner, Konovalov or Rodrigue take a big enough step forward that the Oilers don’t feel the need to send assets out for next season.


Yeah there’s value in that depth, but all of the players in this conversation are pretty mature (waivers eligible, at least 23 years old and with at least 3 pro seasons). They can all sit in the pb at this point.

Goalie, I don’t know. I’m pretty sure an NHL goalie needs to be added at some point before next season..

Bank Shot

Fans love prospects because they represent hope. Prospects generally disappoint though.

Lets say Devin Shore is a boat. He’s an old crappy boat. Trading him for Benson is like trading your old crappy boat for a ten percent chance of a better boat.

An old crappy boat isn’t much, but its still a boat.


Many will disagree with my forward line up but I would go with this.

Could switch Benson and McLeod. We already have Foegele locked up for a few years on a relatively cheap contract so move him up and drop Jesse down with Nuge so he has to really earn a big contract. Kassian can play out his contact with McDavid and Hyman.


Sorry, I have to say the Lucic contract seemed like an overpay at the time for a power forward who was on the wrong side of the cliff. But I will say I thought we’d get 2 pretty great years from Looch, and we didn’t even get that.


We didn’t even get one year at evens….. as LT noted, his 50 points during his first year was riding a one-off PP heater where he doubled pretty much all previous career highs. He was replacement level producing at evens in year 1 (and all his years).

Litke 94

My memory must be completely shot because I do not remember Fayne being on that 2016/17 squad at all. Maybe I was suppressing the memory.

Comparing that roster to this, I think I prefer this year’s version in every position other than LD and RW. Goaltending is a complete toss-up.


Well if we need a defensive D we can probably get one for cheap from Seattle halfway through the season

Material Elvis



or from Bakersfield, in the name of Dimitri Samorukov!