Training Camp Hopeful No. 4: Markus Niemelainen

by Lowetide

I don’t recall the last time a scouting report and updates from Europe were as far removed from the AHL eye test on Markus Niemelainen. He was described as being a big defender with a terrific wingspan and good speed for his size, but a poor passer. Despite being a third-round selection, nothing that came my way for years—years!—suggested he had an NHL chance. He has an NHL chance.

THE ATHLETIC!

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  • Lowetide: Did the Oilers find the new Fernando Pisani when signing Derek Ryan?
  • Jonathan Willis: Tyler Benson, Devin Shore and the 4-year difference between a prospect and a has-been
  • Lowetide: What should Oilers fans expect from Zach Hyman in his first season?
  • Lowetide: Dylan Holloway headlines new arrivals for Bakersfield Condors in 2021-22
  • Lowetide: Will the Ethan Bear trade be the latest shortsighted move that haunts the Oilers?
  • Lowetide: Why Oilers fans should expect more trades and a deep playoff run this season
  • Lowetide: How much playing time will Evan Bouchard get with the Oilers this coming season?
  • Lowetide: What are reasonable expectations for the 2021-22 Oilers?
  • Lowetide: What are the Oilers’ ‘perfect lines’ for next season?
  • Lowetide: The Oilers and value contracts. Three now, two later
  • Jonathan Willis: A resurgent Zack Kassian could be an important part of the Oilers’ scoring
  • Lowetide: Oilers sign Darnell Nurse to a massive 8-year contract extension
  • Lowetide: How many goals will Jesse Puljujarvi score for the Oilers next season?
  • Lowetide: What are Oilers’ ideal defence pairings for 2021-22?
  • Jonathan Willis: Oilers 2021-22 depth chart
  • Lowetide: Warren Foegele acquisition possible key to improving the Oilers third line
  • DNB: Ethan Bear on being traded, his time with the Oilers
  • DNB: Ethan Bear out, Cody Ceci in, Tyson Barrie stays
  • DNB: ‘Ultimate competitor’ Zach Hyman signs with Oilers
  • Lowetide: Oilers top 20 prospects, summer 2021
  • DNB: Oilers draft day notebook

MARKUS NIEMELAINEN

  1. What role will he play in Bakersfield this season? Shutdown defender, penalty killer, he posted 2-4-6 in 21 AHL games but his game is about suppression.
  2. How big is he? AHL site has him 6.05, 203, he is 23. There’s plenty of time if he can show enough mobility and help his team outscore opponents at five on five.
  3. Any other numbers? He played in 21 games and they were high event, Niemelainen’s even-strength goal differential (17-17) suggested he was in the middle of play often.
  4. And not much offense? His NHLE is 11.4, that’s shy of a two-way defender. His resume is third pair, shutdown, he’ll thrive if his team can outscore.
  5. So he’s David Musil offensively? He’s a little more capable offensively than guys like Martin Marincin, Brandon Davidson or Musil were at the same age, but they’re all part of the same family, yes.
  6. Is that even-strength goal differential good? The best defender on the Condors last season was Max Gildon (32-16, +16), and after that the best totals came from Theodor Lennstrom (18-12, +6) and Yanni Kaldis (16-11, +5). Phil Kemp was 7-5, +2 in 12 games, with Niemelainen, Kevin Gravel and Vincent Desharnais all at zero goal differential. Condors were +17 at even strength this past season.
  7. So he’s terrible. No, Niemelainen is good, and he played against some of the best players in the division. He was 2-3 goals at even strength against Trevor Zegras, 2-4 against Quinton Byfield. He was out there against good opponents, I’d suggest he played a top-four role.
  8. Oilers don’t have an opening. I’m not sure there’s a human alive who can tell you the proper LH order on the current depth chart in Edmonton after Darnell Nurse. Duncan Keith and Kris Russell are older veterans, William Lagesson and Slater Koekkoek are returning, but it’s more “to the scene of the crime” than “after impressing a year ago.”
  9. What about Samorukov and Broberg? Sure, they’re in the group pushing, too. I just don’t see a clear winner from the group behind Nurse. We know Keith and Russell will be on the roster. What else do we know?
  10. That Samorukov>Niemelainen. I agree but in his 21 AHL games Niemelainen posted a 17-17 goal differential at five on five, while Samorukov was 17-19 in his first 26 AHL games. He posted a stunning KHL season last year but is coming off a season-ending shoulder issue and so there are some questions there.
  11. What is your current LH depth chart? Nurse, Keith, Russell, Koekkoek, Lagesson, Samorukov, Broberg, Niemelainen.
  12. You’ve turned on Lagesson? His AHL numbers were good, and let’s remember we’ve only seen him in 27 games, but last season was quite poor and he played with good partners.
  13. Give me Niemelainen’s assets again. He’s a big man with terrific wingspan, a better skater than we’ve been led to believe by scouting reports and anecdotal information that was available over the last several years. It was the AHL, but he passed well and even joined the rush in Bakersfield. I think he has more utility than we thought.
  14. Do you honestly believe he’ll play? Niemelainen was a third-round selection, he developed by sundial but he is here. Both Ken Holland and Dave Tippett have deployed this player type before, and the future of Edmonton’s defense is size and speed. He has those things.
  15. Do you honestly believe he’ll play? Edmonton’s defensive depth chart on the LH side is fuzzy right now. Keith and Russell are older men and may not be healthy all season. Lagesson and Koekkoek will need to show they can deliver at higher levels than one year ago. Samorukov, Broberg and Niemelainen are big, fast and either ready or close to NHL-ready.
  16. Will he play? Barring a trade or waiver pickup, I’d say Niemelainen has an excellent chance to make his NHL debut in 2021-22.
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Friedman on 31TP: “Carolina’s been looking for a centre, I think that’s the case and I do believe they were talking to Montreal about Kotkaniemi and they discussed the possibility of a trade. That definitely occurred. They couldn’t work out a deal.”

Eh Team

Seattle should sign Petersen to an offer sheet

Harpers Hair

Vancouver has considerably more cap space than Seattle and Benning would match in any event.

Side

So much for Seattle weaponizing their cap…

Harpers Hair

Only a fool would believe Francis will go the entire season with $10 million in used cap space.

Side

Only a fool would proclaim that Seattle would weaponize their cap space and would cling to this belief after Seattle uses up more cap space than other teams.

It’s awfully hard to weaponize your cap space when other teams have more cap space than you, isn’t it?

pts2pndr

So that’s what you would do?

jp

Vancouver has considerably more cap space than Seattle and Benning would match in any event.

Is this a mistake/oversight? Or am I missing something?

Seattle has a bit more than $9M in cap with 23 players signed and no pressing roster issues.

Vancouver has $10.6M in cap with 2 major players to sign. Including Ferland on LTIR they have a shade more than $14M to sign Pettersson and Hughes.

Benning has put himself in a situation where he has no choice but to bridge both players. An offer sheet to either would be a major issue, and Benning matching would almost certainly preclude even a bridge deal for the other player (or necessitate a trade to dump cap)

Harpers Hair

Vancouver has $10.7 million with a 24 man roster plus $3.5 million with Ferland on LTIR.

That’s $14.2 million plus another $800K when they drop one roster player so, effectively, $15 million to sign Pettersson and Hughes bringing them right to the cap which maximizes LTIR useage.

Latest word from JP Barry and Pat Brisson is they are working on a bridge deal for Hughes and a longer term for Pettersson.

Rick Dhaliwal reports the Canucks want to go 7-8 years on Pettersson (likely Barzal money +a bit) but Pettersson prefers a shorter term of 4-5 years which would bring the AAV down but bring him to UFA status sooner.

In any event, if Seattle offer sheeted him at, say, $10 million the Canucks could match and still have $5 million for Hughes and a bit more with a minor trade.

I expect we will see Pettersson sign for 5 years at around $8 million and Hughes for 3 years around $7 million…give or take on each contract.

DevilsLettuce

There’s a growing amount of hand rubbing going on in some New Jersey offices.

jp

I was thinking that exact same thing.

OriginalPouzar

Most likely they would match but do you think it would be good think for the Canucks if their most important asset signed with another team and they were stuck with a massive contract almost assuredly higher than they want to go?

Harpers Hair

Actually, I think an offer sheet would do them a favour.

I doubt that Seattle, in this stage of development, would want to offer more than $10.1 million which would trigger compensation of 4 first round picks but if they did it would certainly be a 7 year deal and Vancouver would love to have Pettersson locked up that long.

That would still leave $5 million for Hughes on a bridge deal plus whatever cap space could be freed up with a minor trade.

jp

Actually, I think an offer sheet would do them a favour.

So Benning would think forcing a $10.1M x 7 deal for Pettersson would be a favour?

And you think Hughes is going to sign for $5M now?

You realize Travis Sanheim (15 points, -22) just signed for 2 x $4.65M.

You can admit that an offer sheet would screw the Canucks. Because it would.

Harpers Hair

Not sure why you would pull Sanheim out of your butt as a comparable.

He’s 25 and on his 3rd contract.

Hughes is 21, not eligible for an offer sheet or arbitration and Canucks have ALL the leverage as they they own his rights for years.

I’m sure they want to pay him fairly and can despite your dire warnings.

And, no it wouldn’t…they have options.

jp

Sanheim is the most recent RFA to sign for ~$5M as you seem to think Hughes would. Why you think that I’m not sure though.

Sanheim was an RFA, the deal didn’t buy any UFA years, seems a reasonable indicator of what $5M buys.

I didn’t realize Hughes wasn’t offer sheet eligible, so at least that’s not a concern until next year.

Anyway, good luck with that ‘an offer sheet wouldn’t screw the Canucks’ delusion. You’re welcome to live in the clouds until/unless reality hits.

Also, nice with the vancouverisawesome.com take on Pettersson’s next contract. ‘He’s waaay better than Svechnikov, but we think he’ll sign for less $$’

Harpers Hair

Depends on term buddy.

Svechnikov signed for 8 years.

If Pettersson wants to sign for 8 years (he doesn’t and has said so publicly) I’m sure the Canucks would accommodate him.

Cling to the possibility of an offer sheet if you like but it won’t work.

OriginalPouzar

Nobody is clinging to the possibility of an offer sheet – its highly unlikely.

What some people are doing is discussing the “position” that it would be a good thing for the Canucks.

pts2pndr

Anyone actually call you his buddy? Pretty low standards if that is the case!

jp

If Pettersson wants to sign for 8 years (he doesn’t and has said so publicly) I’m sure the Canucks would accommodate him.

Sounds like a player who’s an offer sheet risk, but what do I know.

Harpers Hair

You answered your own question.

pts2pndr

From his butt or your brain is pretty much an even draw!

OriginalPouzar

Of course you think it would be a good think for the Canucks – that’s an anti-Oiler take which is all that matters, we know that.

Without a narrative, its tough to imagine a team’s young star player signing a contract with another team, in particular a geographical and divisional rival, being a good things. Not sure that leads to the conclusion of a good player/team relationship.

If 7 X $10M would be good for the Canucks then they would offer that right now – its clearly not on the table.

An hour ago Hughes was likely to sign a bridge around $7M and, now, a to propagate an anti-Oiler narrative, leaving $5M for a bridge is a good idea – interesting change. There are no “minor trades to open up cap space” – trading a player off the roster means the player needs to be replaced on the roster (or the team is forced to play with a roster of less than 23 which and being forced to do as such can’t be “a good thing” I wouldn’t think).

————-

Oh yes, pretty much everything you have stated that Seattle would likely do, they have not done – doesn’t really seem like you’ve got any sense of what Francis may or may not do.

Harpers Hair

Your insecurity is just palpable.

This situation and this thread have NOTHING to do with Oilers.

You should go back to pumping Benson’s tires for the 849th time.

OriginalPouzar

Do you honestly think that anyone believes that – you have done nothing put prove every “opinion” you posit is simply anti-Oiler rhetoric.

“Good for the Canucks means bad for the Oilers so here I go”.

My goodness man, your go to move in any discussion when it goes bad for you is to bring in the Oilers as some in a negative way.

Harpers Hair

I didn’t mention the Oilers…you did…sad.

pts2pndr

You are the epitome of same which is why you troll!

Fuhr and Lowething in Vegreville

Your idiocy is palpable.

I truly feel sad for you. You have all the tools to be a genuinely solid contributor here. So much to offer, and often do in many levels… but more and more often you just cannot get out of your own way. It’s so sad how you can twist yourself into pretzels over and over again revealing yourself to just be a sad little man that just can’t help himself from being a contrarian.

I really hope that something or someone comes along in your life that fills whatever void your missing and you finally find it within yourself to just be able to not be the sad little troll that you are. I know you can be better. I hope you realize that someday.

Much love and hugs little man. Love and hugs.<3<3<3

jp

There are no “minor trades to open up cap space”

The Tucker Poolman deal may come back to bite them even before he has a chance to prove he’s not worth it on the ice.

Harpers Hair

At least it’s not Ceci bad.

jp

At least it’s not Ceci bad.

Are you sure?

Dom and his model think it’s worse.
https://theathletic.com/2738062/2021/07/29/the-best-and-worst-deals-from-the-first-day-of-nhl-free-agency/?redirected=1

Poolman apparently peaked last season at -0.4 wins in value.
Key quote: “Of all the deals signed yesterday, Poolman’s was the most unfathomable.”

That ‘Poolman’s’ became a meme I guess says it all.

tsunami

oh that’s cute… I thought this was about the Nucks and not the Oilers ? Didn’t last long hahaha… you just can’t help yourself

pts2pndr

Five million for a small minus 25 D is to say the least even for you is high unless it was the Oilers doing it and then you would be saying how stupid it was! Your credibility is zero!

Harpers Hair
OriginalPouzar

So an extra $2.6M per season would be a non-issue – helpful even….. got it.

DevilsLettuce

You’re down so bad.

yeraslob

He’s probably drunk.

jeetz

To get Vancouver to pass the offer sheet would have to be over 10.2 mil. The compensation would be 4 1st. Given that Seattle is an expansion team and to this point doesn’t look like Vegas, Vancouver would/should take the compensation. 4 1st could end up being a couple lottery picks

DBO

And the press release is word for word the one from Bergevin when they sheeted Aho. So petty and so good.

OriginalPouzar

That’s the best part – it makes it plainly obvious that part of this was in response to the Aho offer sheet

€√¥£€^$

IMO the best part was the $20.00 signing bonus
comment image
GIF of Sebastian Aho

Last edited 1 month ago by €√¥£€^$
DBO

The kotkaniemi offer sheet is what I love about the hurricanes.
$6.1 million 1 year with a $20 signing bonus. Lol. F U. For Aho. This is the chaos and pettiness I want more of in hockey. Lol.

On a serious note, it is a strategic move that only costs a first and a 3rd, is within their future cap and absolutely crushes Montreal who would be more then $3 mill over even after putting Weber on LTIR. Smart and nasty.

John Chambers

Haven’t seen an offer sheet in quite some time – this IS fun!
Although $6M is an awfully high ticket for the player. Doesn’t that mean he’s going to cost $6.7M on his next contract? That’s a big overpay for a 2C / 3C.

If I’m Bergevin I probably walk, but that also means they’re down two centres from their SCF team.

You reap what you sew, Burger Van.

OriginalPouzar

His base salary is just over $6.1M so that is the number he’d need to be qualified at – 100% of his salary.

theDonkeyJohnson

Samorukov & Bouchard

That would be a great pairing in a couple years.
If Niemelainen and Kesselring hit the bell as well, sweet craphouse that would be a nightmare to stare down.

OriginalPouzar

I don’t recall the last time a scouting report and updates from Europe were as far removed from the AHL eye test on Markus Niemelainen. He was described as being a big defender with a terrific wingspan and good speed for his size, but a poor passer. Despite being a third-round selection, nothing that came my way for years—years!—suggested he had an NHL chance. He has an NHL chance.

This is extrmely accurate in my opinion. Scouting reports out of Finland was that he put himself back on the map as a plus defender with his size but that there was zero two-way game. Further, Dave and Bruce watched a few of his games and the reports were more of the same and that he the puck was a grenade on his stick.

I watched much of his play in Bakersfield and he was a revelation given the reports. I can’t say that he was a great 2-way player but he was able to get the puck and move the puck in space – a decent/efficient puck mover. More, his size and speed on the smaller ice allowed him to close on attackers and he looked like a solid defender.

With that said, he did have some struggles with reads and he was inconsistent in both defending and being able to transition effectively. I still consider him a distant bell to play more than a handful of NHL games, if he plays any, and don’t think he should be in the conversation at all this year.

I think he is 2-3 tiers below both Broberg and Samorukov, end stop.

Further, when comparing his season last year to Samorukov’s season in the Bake, lets not forget, Niemelainen was 22-23 last year and coming from pro experience in Europe and playing on a top AHL team. Samorukov was 20 in his AHL season and playing on a poor AHL team that got ravaged by injuries (including to its goaltender) and NHL call ups.

The above will vastly effect the numbers.

I do look for Niemelainen to have a very good season in the AHL and then maybe put himself in the conversation for NHL employment but there is a way to go.

Kert

William Lagesson and Slater Koekkoek are returning, but it’s more “to the scene of the crime” than “after impressing a year ago.”

Good golly, I love this blog. Thanks for sharing your writing talents and keeping this going all these years, LT. It is appreciated.

€√¥£€^$

I have mostly stayed away from social media during 2021, other than to try and find Oiler info. Unfortunately I found myself caught in the vortex of twits this morning when I caught a link to Brandon Prust who has been extremely skeptical and vocal, which recently piled on the ugly.

What was heartening is that someone in his circle has reached him and he is apparently trying to look at things from a different perspective. I think he has been going at it from the beginning, so IMO it is uncommon and amazing to see someone like him do this.

I always try to look for the good in people, however in his case I hope this is a genuine soul-search moment, rather than a financially-motivated move.

Hopefully this post doesn’t cause any issues for LT or anyone else in this community….

€√¥£€^$

Niemelainen has been a player I’ve paid close attention to since before he was drafted. It confused me when LT quoted reports of slow boots and poor puck-moving abilities. Those words never meshed with my own eye test. My early evaluation had him in the mold of Martin Marincin, but a bit bigger and with more upside.

Watching him play in most of the games in Cali last season he was the same player who had much more of a physical edge. On some shifts he would snuff out the puck carrier before he reached the blue line, but he was not consistently doing that. I see a lot of potential in him, my questions regarding this player would be durability and of course consistency.

I think he could pass Lagesson this season. As a side note, he was a teammate of Kiril Maksimov for most of 2 seasons in Saginaw. Maksimov is a favourite prospect of mine who I think is being overlooked by many. I expect him to make some noise in training camp.

defmn

This didn’t age well. (From yesterday’s post’s discussion on Niemelainen.)

OriginalPouzar

Reply to  defmn

August 27, 2021 5:56 pm

I don’t believe his good half season in the AHL (it was good, not great, and he missed most of the second half injured) has changed the thought on succession plans as I believe he will remain a distant bell to fill a 3LD role at the NHL level.

In that regard, I don’t think he makes Sammy more of a trade chip as I don’t think he is likely to fill an NHL hole in in the next few years.

Last edited 1 month ago by defmn
€√¥£€^$

To elaborate, Lagesson could be lost on waivers, as well he is older, slower and might be seen as better in Bakersfield with Russell and Koekkoek in his way. Niemelainen has a lot of pro experience, skates well and just may show enough to pass Lagesson.

The brass may want Sammy and Broberg to play a lot and they can do that all season in Bakersfield.

This simply an opinion from an outsider, but it also speaks to the excellent depth in the Leftorium. How many of these LHD would have passed Nikitin or Ference, for example.

Last edited 1 month ago by €√¥£€^$
defmn

Yeah, I agree and, of course, it is that depth that makes guys susceptible to trade should their value rise to the level where it can return a useful player in another spot.

If Samorukov’s play this season leads to the conclusion that he has top 4 potential then teams are going to come asking knowing that Broberg is also close.

OriginalPouzar

defmn

This didn’t age well. (From yesterday’s post’s discussion on Niemelainen.)

OriginalPouzar

Reply to defmn

August 27, 2021 5:56 pm

I don’t believe his good half season in the AHL (it was good, not great, and he missed most of the second half injured) has changed the thought on succession plans as I believe he will remain a distant bell to fill a 3LD role at the NHL level.

In that regard, I don’t think he makes Sammy more of a trade chip as I don’t think he is likely to fill an NHL hole in in the next few years.

What didn’t age well?

That was my opinion yesterday and remains my opinion today.

LT may have a different opinion that mine but its just that, his opinion. He’s no more right, or wrong, than me.

Given LT has Niemelainen behind each of Lagesson, Samorukov, Broberg, it doesn’t seem like his opinion is that far off mine.

I know your opinion on the player is based on nothing but reading this blog. I would encourage you to take the time, and make the effort, to watch the AHL team – a wealth of information to be gained – being informed would be helpful when calling out others that you have personal issues with.

OriginalPouzar

I agree on Maksimov.

I was posting about him yesterday and my expectation/hope of a “pop season” in the AHL and that he would/should be competing with Lavoie for 1LW and PP1.

jp

Figured I’d have a look at boxcars for the players on the Oilers roster over their last 82 NHL games.

Forwards: (GP G A TP +/- PIM Shots)
McDavid – 82 47-96-143 +16 28 294
Draisaitl — 82 49-78-127 +38 28 255
Nuge —— 82 31-45-76 +7 37 224
Hyman —- 82 31-33-64 +32 49 193
Yamamoto 82 19-28-47 +22 38 114
Kassian — 82 14-20-34 -8 82 111
Puljujarvi – 82 17-15-32 -3 24 143
Foegele — 82 15-16-31 +1 36 144
Turris —– 82 9-22-31 -19 32 104
Archibald- 82 17-13-30 +5 43 93
Ryan —– 82 9-20-29 +10 20 100
Shore —- 82 10-10-20 -16 14 75
Perlini —- 82 13-6-19 -25 30 124
Benson — 7 0-1-1 -1 0 5
McLeod — 10 0-1-1 -2 0 3

Defensemen:
Barrie —- 82 9-55-64 +1 14 198
Nurse — 82 17-31-48 +29 71 220
Keith —– 82 6-26-32 -9 36 168
Ceci —— 82 4-17-21 +18 20 82
Russell — 82 0-17-17 -1 18 82
Koekkoek 82 3-13-16 0 54 84
Bouchard 21 3-3-6 -7 4 48
Lagesson 27 0-2-2 -4 9 19

Goalies (I used their teams last 82 games here to get a sense of plausible workload):
Smith —- 48 31-9-5 2.47 .918 3 (last is shutouts)
Stalock — 41 20-13-5 2.67 .911 4 (these are last 82 games 18-19 and 19-20)
Koskinen 38 17-18-1 2.95 .909 0

And the team. The Oilers last 82 games:
82 49-27-6 104Pts 3.30GF/G 2.78GA/G
10th in the league in points
3rd in GF/game (Colorado at 3.34 is tops)
10th in GA/game (Colorado tops there also at 2.35)

I understand there’s been no playoff success, but this is a pretty darn good team that got better.

dustrock

It will be interesting to see them against non-Canadian division opponents. They beat up on Ottawa and Winnipeg but were mixed against the other teams. They’re pretty fortunate to be in the Pacific division I think where only Vegas would be obviously better.

Elgin R

I do not believe that VGK are obviously better than the 2021-22 Oilers. The last time these teams battled (2019-2020), the Oilers were a very close second. The Oilers have improved immensely since then and the VGK seem to be status quo at best – the loss of Fleury might end of being huge.

I feel that the Oilers finish first in the Pacific.

OriginalPouzar

This is true – they beat up on a couple of teams but that is no different than teams in any other division.

For example, the east had 3 teams with more GA than Ottawa last season.

jp

For sure it will be good to see them against the rest of the league.

By all measures I’m aware of this season’s Pacific and last seasons West were the clearly weakest divisions. In that sense the Oilers should benefit (points wise), but I wonder if they’d actually be better off facing higher QoC more often.

BornInAGretzkyJersey

I think that’s a fair question.

If the Oilers manage to develop a killer instinct the weaker QoC could help, as they’d have a bit more left in the tank come playoffs. Could boost team confidence, even.

If they do the traditional Oilers thing and play down to their competition, then they’re royally screwed in the second season.

jp

If the Oilers manage to develop a killer instinct the weaker QoC could help, as they’d have a bit more left in the tank come playoffs. Could boost team confidence, even.

Yes I suppose, though I don’t *think* a playoff spot would be in question next season regardless.

And beating up on the worst teams in the league didn’t seem to do Colorado or Vegas much good this year.
(next years Pacific is projected to have 5 of the worst 12 teams in the league, with Seattle middle of the pack and only the Oilers and Knights as actually decent: https://theathletic.com/2754375/2021/08/06/nhl-power-rankings-our-brand-new-offseason-friendly-1-32-list/).

The Oilers weaknesses were definitely exposed by Toronto and Montreal last year though. Hopefully playing more games against good teams, with different styles, will help address whatever needs to be addressed.

And I should add – the Oilers seem to have gotten over that playing down to their competition BS. They finished off the Senators 9 out of 9 times. No one from either team enjoyed that. I think they may have that general problem taken care of already.

defmn

I understand there’s been no playoff success, but this is a pretty darn good team that got better.

Yup. I think the angst is the extent to which special teams contribute to the success rather than 5 on 5 play and the difficulty of that strategy leading to success in the playoffs.

But, yeah, a pretty good team.

jp

I still think the angst comes from 15 years of losing followed by badly underperforming playoff expectations 2x.

Definitely the reliance on PP/PK takes some air out of the above team numbers, but 5v5 is the biggest thing Hyman/Foegele/Ryan should impact. Hopefully it leads to another significant step.

defmn

Judging by who they spent the money on I think that is the hope/plan.

jp

Hopefully it works. There’s definitely more investment put in it than there has been in a long time.

OriginalPouzar

Definitely the reliance on PP/PK takes some air out of the above team numbers, but 5v5 is the biggest thing Hyman/Foegele/Ryan should impact. Hopefully it leads to another significant step.

Agree with this 100% – not only are the three players listed noted for their ability to help drive results 5 on 5 (consistently) but their additions to the lineup (replacing the likes of Neal, Chiasson, Haas/Nygard/Kahun/Ennis) should create a deeper forward group.

The individual additions should help the 5 on 5 game and the forward group as a whole should be better at 5 on 5.

It shouldn’t be such a big story when the team wins a game without a McDavid/Drai point.

jp

The individual additions should help the 5 on 5 game and the forward group as a whole should be better at 5 on 5.

This group really, really should be better. Let’s hope it works this time.

pts2pndr

It could come down to officiating and which team offers the league the highest renumeration. Follow the money!

Reja

Why is there never any love for Bouchard. He is going to surprise a lot of septics with his calm but surprisingly toughness on the man in front and corner work., He’s also a point magnate like Barrie and now Nurse seem to be. With Larsson, Bear and Jones being replaced with the more offensively talented Keith, Ceci and Bouchard. We are going to see our back end create and produce point wise like we haven’t seen in a long long time.

OriginalPouzar

There is tons of love for Bouchard and I don’t think there are many skeptics. There isn’t all that much talk because I think most believe he will be very good at 3RD and likely move up the lineup during the year.

I think most on here won’t be surprised as there is a general expectation of success of Bouchard.

jp

Yeah I’m not sure about this either. Your expectations seem to be extremely high, but almost everyone is expecting him to play lots and play well.

You’re basing an awful lot on him not playing in front of 3 established NHL defensemen last season. Coach and GM have said they expect him to push for 2nd pair minutes next year, I don’t know who the skeptics are out there.

I like Point Magnate as a nickname though.

Reja

Craig Button was bad mouthing him a few years ago. There’s been folks on here who say he can’t keep up foreword speed wise. He should of been rotating with Bear, Larsson and Barrie. It sure looked like Bear was overwhelmed with the steady forecheck in his corner which was a successful strategy by the pop gun Injury riddled Jet forewords. Do the Oilers beat the Jets with Bouchard and the secret weapon Holloway, yes l believe they do.

jp

Fair enough, there have been skeptics going back. The skeptics here, I don’t think the vocal one(s?) are even genuine.

He should of been rotating with Bear, Larsson and Barrie.

I agree with this somewhat. Tippett should have worked him in some more. I don’t think an even rotation with 3 established ~20 min a night defensemen would have been reasonable though.

Do the Oilers beat the Jets with Bouchard and the secret weapon Holloway, yes l believe they do.

Uh. You’re entitled to your opinion obviously, but I think this is batshit crazy myself.

OriginalPouzar

Craig Button was bad mouthing him a few years ago. There’s been folks on here who say he can’t keep up foreword speed wise. He should of been rotating with Bear, Larsson and Barrie. It sure looked like Bear was overwhelmed with the steady forecheck in his corner which was a successful strategy by the pop gun Injury riddled Jet forewords. Do the Oilers beat the Jets with Bouchard and the secret weapon Holloway, yes l believe they do.

I can’t recall the last time I read a post on here about Bouchard’s skating being an issue.

I think many agree that Bouchard should have played more last year so I’m not sure how the fact that he didn’t means Bouch isn’t getting any love. Even I, who understand why Bouch didn’t play as much thought he should have played more.

BornInAGretzkyJersey

Bang on this drum all you want but Holloway was injured.

OriginalPouzar

The interesting questions, for me, are, if he wasn’t injured:

1) would he have been with the Condors or the Oilers?
2) if he was with the Oilers, would he have played?
3) if he was playing for the Oilers, would he have played his way in to a material role
4) if he played himself in to a material role, would he have moved the needle?
5) would he have moved the needle so much that the Oilers would have gone from being swept by the Jets to winning the series.

Note: if he had played a game for the Oilers, it would have burnt a year of his ELC.

Reja

No shit Sherlock.

BornInAGretzkyJersey

It is a decent nickname. Unless things go south without warning, then he’s a septic surprise.

SkatinginSand

Bouchard’s septics are full of poop.

Reja

Then why doesn’t he play all the other D from his draft year have played meaningful minutes while Bouchard sits in a hotel room watching Tippett deploy 3 D in OT. I just don’t get why Holland and Tippett get a pass for keeping him out of the line-up.

OriginalPouzar

Then why doesn’t he play all the other D from his draft year have played meaningful minutes while Bouchard sits in a hotel room watching Tippett deploy 3 D in OT. I just don’t get why Holland and Tippett get a pass for keeping him out of the line-up.

I think equating success of others is dangerous.

The likes of Dobson, Smith and Miller and their teams were all in different situations and different than the Oiler. I would presume that those teams did not have 3 established 20-minute per games d-men ahead of them like the Oilers and Bouch did.

Matthews and Laine had great success in their rookie year – if Jesse was in Finland that year, I presume you would have been positing he should have been in the NHL sharing the success of his draft comparables?

I’m confident you know why Bouchard didn’t play as much – I know you don’t agree with it, I don’t fully agree with it either, but you keep saying you don’t know the reasons but they are clear (not agreeing with them doesn’t make them not the reasons).

Harpers Hair

This is all just nonsense.

If Bambi can’t take a job from an expendable Ethan Bear, there is a problem.

pts2pndr

Did you have to go to school to learn to be a jerk or is it a natural talent?

Reja

The problem wasn’t Bouchard he came into camp in mid season form does Tippett use this to his advantage, nope let’s play Bear, Barrie and Larsson ahead of him who all looked like shit the first 10 games.

Reja

Just because you feel Bear, Larsson and Barrie were just to good and to valuable to develop the 10th overall pick properly doesn’t make it so we got swept by a depleted Jets team. If Larsson and Bear are just to darn good not to give ice-time to your future then why have they been given one way tickets out of E town.

Last edited 1 month ago by Reja
OriginalPouzar

Each of those 3 were established 20 minute plus per night d-men in the NHL. The coach felt this his established d-men gave his team the best chance to win nightly last season, and in the playoffs.

You may not agree. I may not even agree. At the same time, its pretty clear the reason that Bouchard wasn’t playing more. I’m not sure why you aren’t able to acknowledge the clear reason – you don’t have to accept it as the right approach but its pretty clear what the reason was.

Opining the Bouchard would have been the different between getting swept and winning the series, well, that’s not really a discussion that I feel needs to be had.

OriginalPouzar

My goodness Drai – 127 points – this player’s offence is under-rated.

Interesting that Kailer shows fairly well despite half a season of non-production.

Hyman’s per 82 is great but, of course, the issue is (at least for me) is if its reasonably likely that he will play close to that many games.

Zack with more points that I had presumed – all 5 on 5 as well I would think.

Ceci’s box-cars look meh but, remember, zero PP time in that and he did finish tied for 17th in 5 on 5 points for d-men last year (ahead of Gio, Josi, Hedman, Pieterangelo, among others).

jp

It looks pretty good on paper.

They’ve just got to 1) keep it up, 2) get back to it, 3) stay healthy, 4) bring that level of play to their new team.

On Ceci, zero PP points, but he also didn’t score well for the Leafs last year (obviously, based on 17 points for the Pens, but only 21 over 82 games).

dustrock

Can’t teach size.

godot10

With Kassian, you can’t even teach size to size. Sorry, I couldn’t resist.

BornInAGretzkyJersey

Most likely scenario is he plays the season in BAK, maybe gets a cup of coffee. Be interesting to see how he does with Manson and Woody this year. I bet him knowing what to expect at the AHL level (from the competition and organization) does him good and we see a step forward. As noted, his development pace has been glacial, but it has been consistent.

YYCOil

As injuries happen this season. The Oilers have lots of interesting young men that will be entertaining and interesting to watch.

McNuge93

Yes, just like last year with Jones, Bouch and Lagesson. I’m thinking Sammie will be the first recall unless Lagesson is sent to Bakersfield out of training camp.

OriginalPouzar

Ya, I agree with this.

Its going to be tough for Lagesson to be on the 23 man roster if the D is healthy going in to the season. I don’t imagine management will waive and assign either of Russell or Koekkoek so Lagesson and I don’t think carrying 8D is an option (heck, there is a chance they carry 3 goalies and only 13 forwards).

I think Laggeson would clear waivers and would be that first call-up and then Sammy.

godot10

One might waive Koekkook to start the year. He has a 2nd year on his contract that nobody will take. All the teams will set their rosters, and then a week in one can waive Lagesson, and recall Koekkook.

But everyone has a Lagesson, so it is probably safe to waive him outright, but one has to watch other teams for a rash of D injuries during training camp. Then, the above strategy can be employed.

OriginalPouzar

Sure, potentially, I don’t see Holland doing that but its a possibility.