Always Crashing in the Same Car

by Lowetide
Photo by Mark Williams

In 2018-19, Tyler Benson finished No. 8 in AHL scoring and Cooper Marody landed No. 13 among all players. Both men were rookies. The following season, Marody was injured or out of the lineup and Benson fared less well without his partner in crime. In 2020-21, both men finished in a tie for No. 3 overall scorers in the league. Benson and Marody are too good for the AHL, but can they play as regulars in the NHL? Are the Oilers too old fashioned to run a fourth line that can score goals?

THE ATHLETIC!

  • New Lowetide: Oilers’ potential Olympians are a small group with maximum possible impact
  • Lowetide: What should the Oilers expect from Cody Ceci in his first season?
  • Lowetide: Why Oilers can expect an offensive rebound from Ryan Nugent-Hopkins
  • Lowetide: Projecting the 2021-22 Edmonton Oilers opening night lineup
  • Lowetide: Why Oilers fans should be excited about the progress of Maxim Berezkin
  • Lowetide: What should Oilers expect from Duncan Keith in his first season?
  • 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: 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?
  • 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
  • DNB: ‘Ultimate competitor’ Zach Hyman signs with Oilers
  • Lowetide: Oilers top 20 prospects, summer 2021

AHL TOP 10 SCORERS 2007-16 WHO PLAYED 200+ NHL GAMES

If I take the top scorers from each season 2007-08 through 2015-16, how many will have played 200 or more games after finishing top-10 in AHL scoring? If we assume Benson and Marody have NHL ability, then players from the past in the same spots would have had success. Right? Let’s have a look.

  • 2007-08: Teddy Purcell, 571 games 101-206-307
  • 2007-08: PA Parenteau, 491 games 114-182-296
  • 2008-09: Artem Anisimov, 771 games 180-196-376
  • 2009-10: David Desharnais, 521 games 87-195-282
  • 2011-12: Patrick Maroon, 568 games 101-146-247
  • 2011-12: Tyler Johnson, 589 games 161-200-361
  • 2011-12: Jonathan Marchessault, 404 games 130-165-295
  • 2012-13: Brandon Pirri, 276 games, 72-49-121
  • 2012-13: Brett Connolly, 527 games, 101-93-194
  • 2013-14: Jordan Weal, 218 games 32-37-69
  • 2013-14: Mike Hoffman, 545 games 189-206-395
  • 2014-15: Connor Brown, 380 games 80-97-177
  • 2015-16: Mikko Rantanen, 333 games, 129-187-316

That’s 13 in 10 years, and if we take the first rounders away (Brett Connolly, Mikko Rantanen) then it’s basically one player per season. It’s a solid group, Pirri and Weal are the weak links but the rest are good players. Edmonton had a bunch of players over the decade, from Rob Schremp to Mark Arcobello to Charles Linglet.

BENSON AND MARODY

  1. Do you think they’ll make it? I am less convinced of Marody, about 50-50 on Benson.
  2. Why so glum, chum? Ken Holland upgraded left-wing in the offseason, sending out Dominik Kahun and Joakim Nygard while bringing in Zach Hyman and Warren Foegele. The way is not clear for Benson at this time.
  3. And Marody? The Kailer Yamamoto situation might open an opportunity but it’s a long shot. Jesse Puljujarvi, Josh Archibald and Zack Kassian are locks, with Hyman able to play RW, Kyle Turris bubbling under, plus free agency (Alex Chiasson) and waivers possibly offering a solution. I don’t see Marody on a skill line with the Oilers opening night.
  4. So Marody has no chance? If Yamamoto were lost to an offer sheet, or there is an injury, I suspect Holland would sign Chiasson.
  5. How does Marody get to the NHL from here? Suspect it involves waivers, either to a new NHL team or back to Bakersfield. A mid-season recall and some scoring success on arrival would be the clearest path available in my opinion.
  6. Why do you hate Marody? I think he can play in the NHL but he needs some luck. If you look at the list above, and see how many slow boats (Maroon, Purcell, others) it is easy to see there’s a path to the NHL. It takes patience.
  7. Maroon was in the NHL at 20 and scored 27 goals at 25. He was 23 on the night of his NHL debut, and Maroon turned 30 less than a month after scoring goal No. 27 for the 2016-17 Oilers.
  8. Marody is 30 now. No, he is 24.
  9. But you hate him. It’s clear. Imagine the NHL as 736 talented people standing in a bubble. Now, imagine the AHL as 850 (unlimited rosters) talented people who for some reason aren’t currently in the NHL. Some may be too young or too or old, or not quite good enough to make the NHL. But the second bubble, the AHL bubble, houses some (I’ll say 150) men who could slide into the NHL bubble and stay there on merit. Marody is one of those players. He needs to find a situation (and a coach) who values what he brings. Marody is more skilled than Benson, is RH’d and can play centre. He has more utility. I think he’ll eventually play in the NHL for a few seasons, but it may not be Edmonton.
  10. How many NHL games will Marody play? 234. How the hell do I know?
  11. You know, you’re kind of a dink. It’s been said, yes.
  12. Benson has a better chance? I think so, yes. He didn’t get any help from management this summer, but the depth chart after Hyman-Nuge-Foegele is wide open.
  13. What does Benson need to do? I think PK success will be a key. Edmonton ran Nuge-Khaira (41 minutes), Haas-Archibald (39 minutes), Khaira-Archibald (22 minutes), Turris-Archibald (17 minutes), Nuge-Yamamoto (17 minutes), Nuge-Shore (16 minutes in half a season) and Draisaitl-Archibald (14 minutes) one year ago. He’ll get a shot in preseason to PK, maybe with Nuge or Shore or Derek Ryan. If he has success there, opportunities to play at five on five will emerge.
  14. What about Brendan Perlini? Perlini is opposite Benson in that he’s a big, fast man who can score goals. He is an uncertain checker though and that’s a lot to overcome in the role Tippett will audition him for. In my opinion, Benson and Perlini aren’t applying for the same job, although one making the team may mean a demotion for the other man.
  15. Explain. Perlini is the new “Nygard” and that’s a player who can responsibly play depth minutes and chime in a few times a year with a goal. Benson is the new “Foegele” but Holland acquired the actual Foegele this summer.
  16. Who wins the No. 4 LW job? Opening night? Devin Shore. Longer term? Tyler Benson. Shore’s five on five on ice numbers are poor and have been for a long time. Benson should be able to win the day over a long season.
  17. What are Benson’s chances? He’s an orphan prospect. Holland could add a PTO today that would put him lower on the depth chart. I don’t count Benson’s skating issues as eternal damnation, but he doesn’t shoot the puck much and passing wingers are not a team need in Edmonton. Benson needs to reinvent himself, going from a terrific playmaking winger with the ability to win battles to a two-way winger who can forecheck aggressively and play a regular PK shift.
  18. Can he get there? Given the opportunity.
  19. Will he get the chance in Edmonton? We’re about to find out.
  20. Could he have a Teddy Purcell career? I don’t think he’ll score 24 goals in a season, as Purcell did, but yes, I think he could play 571 NHL games and average 15-29-44 per 82 games.

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Harpers Hair

Good grief!!!

Look what I found.

https://youtu.be/RFclpoxI_-M

Make sure you watch it all the way through.

Tragikomix

Hi, Art!

OriginalPouzar

Tulio shows up date in the 3rd period with an apple and a goal as part of a 3-goal 3rd period comeback.

Also scored in the shootout.

A couple shots on net.

leadfarmer

I’m confused
if the Ahl was so watered down last year how come the kings prospects couldn’t bat a ppg

Harpers Hair

Perhaps this will clear up some of your confusion.

The Kings iced a very, very young lineup and struggled out of the gate but went 8-2-0 in the last 10 games of the season.

OriginalPouzar

What is further confusing is what that has to do with the Kings’ prospects having extremely meh seasons playing in a watered down AHL?

Harpers Hair

Byfield had just turned 18.

Does that help☺️

Side

So elite players don’t show themselves early?

Harpers Hair

Sure they do.
When Byfield turns 19 you can chirp him.

Side

So I can chirp all of the LA Kings 19 year old prospects and older who failed to make a difference in the AHL?

Damn, that’s a lot of prospects to chirp.

Help is on the way for the Kings, indeed.

leadfarmer

What’s the rest of their excuses?

OriginalPouzar

Sure doesn’t help the Kings with better center depth than the Oilers with him at 3C (and Turcotte at 4C).

Of note, Jesse Puljujarvi had similar numbers in the AHL as an 18 year old against a non-watered down AHL, coming from remote Finland.

Side

LA Kings had an age of 27.5 years compared to the league average team age of 28.1.

“Very, very young lineup”

Nope.

Harpers Hair

We were talking about the Ontario Reign.

But carry on.

Side

Oh in that case, Ontario Reign was the 8th youngest team and 3 months younger than league average.

So what’s your next excuse?

OriginalPouzar

Then why did you type “LA Kings”?

Side

He was moving the goal posts.

Except he moved the goal post in the wrong direction it seems because the Ontario Reign are closer to the league average age than the Kings are..

“Very, very young lineup”

Nope.

Ice Sage

LOL HH is just hedging his bets for when the Kings finish ahead of the Dys this year (both out of playoffs)

OriginalPouzar

I actually do see them 3rd and 4th in the Pacific……

jp

Wait till Seattle weaponizes their cap space though..

leadfarmer

If Holland traded a 1st and a second for Dvorak he would have been tarred and feathered

leadfarmer

The winners of the Kotkaniemi offer sheet are the Coyotes

dom from athletic
“An interesting gamble trading a first for a team unlikely to make the playoffs this season.”

defmn

Yeah, Toronto, Florida, TB, Boston, Carolina, Washington, Pittsburgh, NYI, NYR all look more likely imo.

leadfarmer

losing Danault And Weber being done and replacing them with the corpse of Savard, and Mike Hoffman for some unknown reason

Desperation move to salvage a season a month before the season is gonna turn out just fine I’m sure

Harpers Hair

Irrelevant.

If the Coyotes win the trade, it will be at least 5 years before it makes any difference.

leadfarmer

But I though elite players arrive early

Harpers Hair

There are no elite players involved in this transaction.

leadfarmer

You don’t know how high and who the Coyotes draft

Harpers Hair

Neither do you.

Harpers Hair

BOOM.

Arpon Basu (@ArponBasu) Tweeted:
“Arizona trades Dvorak to Montreal in exchange for: i) the better of Montreal’s own 1st round pick in the 2022 NHL Draft and Carolina’s 1st round pick in the 2022 NHL Draft (previously acquired by Montreal); and ii) Montreal’s own 2nd round pick in the 2024 NHL Draft.”

https://twitter.com/ArponBasu/status/1434280845737664519?s=20

Harpers Hair

Arizona now with three 1st round and six 2nd round picks in what is expected to be a very strong draft.

Harpers Hair

Craig Morgan (@CraigSMorgan) Tweeted:
Christian Dvorak was an immensely popular teammate. He was understated & quiet w/media, but had an underrated sense of humor in the room & went about his business from Day 1 like a vet. 
Montreal gets a good 2-way center w/offensive upside.
This is what a real rebuild looks like.

https://twitter.com/CraigSMorgan/status/1434298035555667973?s=20

Harpers Hair

Montreal comes out way ahead here IMO.

Dvorak is a more established and better player.

defmn

So from Montreal’s perspective they traded Kotkaniemi & a second for Dvorak and a third while Carolina picked up a young third line centre with pedigree potential for $6.1 M this year plus negotiating rights going forward?

Harpers Hair

The trade will be judged mainly on who got the best player.

At the moment, that would be Dvorak who will almost assuredly be their #2C.

Dvorak was lights out for the London Knights…no idea why he lasted until the second round.

Seems to me Dundon might have outsmarted himself here but the rest of the story remains to be written.

defmn

Agreed. Because of Kotkaneimi’s draft pedigree I am hesitant to call it just yet but I have to think that for this season Bergeron is not all that unhappy.

Harpers Hair

Bergeron is always, and has to be in that market, in win now mode.

He’s made some pretty substantial moves this offseason.

Harpers Hair

Dvorak is also locked up for another 4 years at $4.5 million.

Not a bad price to pay for a 2C.

defmn

I don’t know much about him other than looking at his numbers but, yeah, if he is what his numbers say I agree.

I just wonder why Arizona had him available & why it took so long to move him if that was their ask. I know they are burning it to the ground in the desert but a 25 year old on a reasonable contract shouldn’t be part of the tear down should he?

Harpers Hair

They stated earlier that everything was for sale except Chycrun.

By the time they hope to be decent, Dvorak would be 29 years old and a UFA.

You would have to think Carolina would have been better off trading what they paid Montreal to Arizona for Dvorak instead.

But revenge is not always served cold.

defmn

Owners should never be making personnel decisions and it was made pretty clear this was dictated by the owner.

leadfarmer

this is a lose for Montreal.
If you offered Dvorak for Kotkaniemi 3 weeks ago you’d have gotten laughed off the interwebs

OriginalPouzar

I believe that Kotkaniemi has the higher upside – he is very very young still, a big guy that plays with an edge and with skill.

With that said, its clear he won’t be worth $6.1M for the next couple of years, if even (and MTL wouldn’t have the “hand-shake LaBlanc extension in pocket like the Canes likely do). Given where they were with the offer sheet in hand, they came out very well.

KK may turn out to the best best player in a few years but that’s not a lock and Dvorak probably provides better value in the near term.

Ice Sage

LOL, there aren’t many teams he’d be 2C at! He’d be 4C on the Oil

Harpers Hair

This is nonsense and you know it.

He’s a better player than Ryan or McLeod and it isn’t even close.

Redbird62

Dvorak only scored 14 points in 33 games his draft year, had a knee injury in January and didn’t play again till the Memorial Cup with no playoff points. He lit it up in London the 2 seasons after being drafted playing with Mitch Marner (all 3 season he was there), Max Domi (first two), and Matthew Tkachuk (last season). The London Knights had a fair number of NHL prospects all three seasons he played there.

Last edited 22 days ago by Redbird62
Harpers Hair

Thanks…that explains his draft position.

Reminds me a bit if Barzal falling in the draft because of a freak injury.

godot10

Kotkaniemi is Sam Bennett. Bennett didn’t escape Calgary fast enough, wasted some of the best years of his career. Kotkaniemi found an escape round.

The Canadiens have Suzuki, who is the goods, and the coaches didn’t have the patience to develop Kotkaniemi.

leadfarmer

Holy overpayment. Arizona sends Carolina an edible arrangement

Harpers Hair

Steve Kournianos (@TheDraftAnalyst) Tweeted:
Dvorak is better than Kotkaniemi but 4 years older and an RFA signed through 2024-25 before UFA. Habs improve but that 1st could be costly if it’s in the 11-15 range. Yotes have 12 UFA’s in 2022 and about $13 mil in cap space. Guessing they want to give Hayton a longer look.

https://twitter.com/TheDraftAnalyst/status/1434306379615965185?s=20

OriginalPouzar

Oshawa plays their first pre-season game today at 5 mountain. I believe its streamed on YouTube.

No idea is new captain Ty Tulio is dressing but here is hoping:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gWtMQeaK3tc

Redbird62

If Kailer out of the gate this season happens to catch fire again like the 27 games he played in 2020, he might get a little consideration for Team USA . As it stands right now though, he is at best 8th-9th on their RW depth chart. I think he’d fare well on an international ice surface. He was dynamite on their U18 team in 15/16 and did well on the U20 team in 16/17.

Material Elvis

I’m not sure if it was confirmed, but there was talk of playing in China on NHL regulation-sized ice.

Redbird62

Yes you’re right – I just googled it:

https://www.beijing2022.cn/a/20200501/002793.htm

Apparently the IIHF is going to go with NHL size ice now starting with this year’s Olympics and also the World Championship in Finland. Not surprisingly, Fasel, the head of the IIHF likes the increased intensity level of the narrower ice, a conclusion he came to watching the World Juniors in Canada back in 2019.

So much for any help for Yamamoto.

OriginalPouzar

Yes, I remember being so happy that this was happening.

The big ice is awful – it negates speed and skill and helps defensive structures and can allow for middling teams to stay in games, and upset, clearly superior teams with plus tending and a structured game.

Ice Sage

there’s also increased room for high-paying fans…

YYCOil

In two year the Oiler will be a legitimate top 4 team. The following players should have come through the AHL program (+50 games),

Puljajarvi
Yamamoto
Benson
Hollaway
McLeod
Marody
Savoie
Lavoie
Bouchard
Broberg
Samorokov
Skinner

and probably Woody

Harpers Hair

Canadiens Montréal (@CanadiensMTL) Tweeted:
The Canadiens will not match the Hurricanes’ offer sheet to Jesperi Kotkaniemi. Montreal will receive Carolina’s 1st- and 3rd-round 2022 Draft picks as compensation.

#GoHabsGo 

https://t.co/ErFdL2ucEb

https://twitter.com/CanadiensMTL/status/1434264047046778884?s=20

defmn

It is the reasonable thing to do no matter how much it sticks in Bergeron’s craw.

Harpers Hair

I imagine he will use those picks to try and trade for a centre before the season starts.

He’s got about $6 million in cap space by fully using Shea Weber’s LTIR.

I’ve heard Christian Dvorak mentioned and I’m pretty sure Arizona covets draft picks.

defmn

That seems to be the idea most in play in the media. As you say Arizona is in collection mode. Prices tend to go up when GM’s smell a little blood in the water so we will see.

I’m doubtful Montreal makes it into the playoffs this year one way or the other so maybe he waits to see what other possibilities emerge.

defmn

And just like that.

Elliotte Friedman
@FriedgeHNIC
·
7m
MON/ARIZ are working on a Dvorak deal

OriginalPouzar

Berezkin up to 1:41 of ice time today – almost triple game 1.

BornInAGretzkyJersey

The KHL is so bizarre when it comes to young prospects.

Harpers Hair

Don’t tell OP…he is convinced Vasili Podkholzin was meandering and underwhelming in the KHL.

Oh wait…you already did.

In all seriousness…prospects who have been drafted and expressed an interest in playing in the NHL often get the yo-yo.

jp

You realize Podkolzin played more than 12:30 a game last regular season?

Being jerked around because he was heading to the NHL is a convenient diversion from his lock of scoring (outside the playoff heater), but it doesn’t hold water.

godot10

I like Podkholzin. I think he is going to be a fine NHL’er. A middle six forward who plays hard and fast.

OriginalPouzar

Podkholzin had very little ice time to start his draft plus 1 year and I fully acknowledged that at the time and fully understand how common this if for this type of prospect.

Of course, he got much more ice this past year and there is very little doubt that he had a very meh regular season. He did go on a heater in the playoffs which is a nice arrow – there is a sample size alert there and, of course, I was told that Juolevi had arrived in August 2020 due a solid playoff game. I wait!

This player also had another “meh” world juniors. I actually liked his game and with his power, motor, tenacity and skill looks like he could be a very good player. At the same time, he played well but was supposed to be a start and a leader for a top team. He was not good enough and he led his team to a non-medal performance.

Of course, the reference to “meandering” is a reference to Bouchard meandering in his rookie pro season in the AHL (where he was one of the top d-men in the league in the 2nd half) and the subsequent opinion that one wouldn’t trade Rafferty for Bouchard.

Bouchard was meandering at 20 but the 24 year old Rafferty was not. It was sensational stuff and proved, without a shadow of a doubt, how future discourse with this poster should be.

leadfarmer

But podkolzin was being billed as a top 10 prospect while Berezkin is a distant bell

Revolved

I had heard of the Detroit model of prospect development for so long, I was very interested when they brought Holland in. I’m sure he said it many times before, but it was then interesting to me to hear that he didn’t purposefully over ripen prospects as much as he just didn’t want to send them back down once they arrived. This is a total departure from the last decade as an Oilers fan.

It makes me think that Benson and Marody both have a chance, while Holloway and Broberg will wait. It feels like Tippett has his favorites, so I doubt we see it, but I would like to know what Benson – McLeod – Marody could do in the NHL. They dominated the AHL.

Scungilli Slushy

I read DNB’s piece at the Athletic. I hope this isn’t quoting too much as it’s just up, but my goodness:

“An NHL executive told colleague Jonathan Willis in March that he’d do this deal if he were Ducks GM Bob Murray: Gibson for 2021 and 2022 first-round picks, Koskinen, Chiasson, Rapheal Lavoie and Olivier Rodrigue.”

I’ll bet he would. 2 meh years and a high cap long contract. What an outrageous overpay that would be.

May such things never happen to Oiler fans again.

OriginalPouzar

I see many many Oiler trade proposals for Gibson, weekly.

I know Gibson has been, and could again be, elite and I know that team matters for goalies but he has not been very good for two years in a row, traditional and advanced metrics wise, and comes with a big contract for a long time.

Just way too much risk to give up multiple first round picks and other higher end prospects – at least for me.

godot10

That is a horrid deal for the Oilers. There will be nothing in the pipeline to induce McDavid and Draisaitl to re-sign. To contend, one needs ELC’s and deep value contracts on the roster contributing.

Or else one just has more of the last five years.

LMHF#1

Why is the 2020-2021 AHL season treated as equal to other AHL seasons when it wasn’t? At all.

defmn

I suspect for the same reason they treat all seasons as equal when new teams are added or teams fold, divisions are re-aligned, lockouts flood their rosters etc.

They do it because every season is unique in some way or other but they want a standard of comparison regardless.

LMHF#1

I’m speaking in terms of player analysis via stats.

They might as well be thrown in the trash.

defmn

So was I. You can say the same thing about the NHL with its different divisions this past season and its taxi squads.

Every season has an asterix – some more important than others. The idea that player analysis via stats doesn’t change when a player moves from one team to another or a different division etc. is already questionable.

LMHF#1

Indeed this is one of the inherent flaws in doctrinaire math types. Nothing is straight across comparable.

With that said – there are degrees. Those making broad NHL lineup conclusions on last AHL season are relying on much shakier data than usual.

LMHF#1

They certainly are proven AAA players.

The amount of people I see responding to this with “pencil them in right now!!!” And acting like they led the AHL for a full season against a full slate of opponents seems quite excessive.

Harpers Hair

This past season has to be treated as an absolute outlier.

Most of the best players, especially goaltenders, were on NHL taxi squads.

In many cases, AHL teams were employing junior age players who normally would not be eligible to play in the AHL.

Over and above that, the number of actual games played varied widely from division to division and some individual teams played even fewer games due to Covid outbreaks.

Garnering much useful information from that season is almost impossible under the circumstances.

defmn

Garnering much useful information from that season is almost impossible under the circumstances.

I’m sure you mean ‘garnering much statistically derived information’.

Pretty sure the teams in question have all sorts of useful and valuable information from watching their players play games.

There is a difference.

And my reply to LMHF#1 stands. Every season analysis via stats paints only a partial picture of the whole.

There is a reason why the analytics industry is returning to incorporating videotape analysis into their statistics packages – albeit a much more nuanced and sophisticated version than that pioneered decades ago.

The league was watered down. I think hockey people have an idea how much and the effect it had on the numbers.

The people affected by the stats would be fans who don’t have access to the insider information.

Last edited 22 days ago by defmn
OriginalPouzar

My goodness, Alex Turcotte’s season in the AHL was very meh/disappointing to start with – imagine if he was playing against a “real AHL”.

Harpers Hair

At Turcotte’s age, Tyler Benson was playing for the Vancouver Giants.

My goodness…imagine if Turcotte got to rip up the WHL.

jp

At Turcotte’s age, Tyler Benson was playing for the Vancouver Giants.

So you figure Turcotte is roughly 100% certain to outscore Benson’s 66 points in 68 games rookie season? Apples to apples and all that.

Harpers Hair

Turcotte is projected to be in the NHL next season.

Road apples will have to wait.

jp

Turcotte is projected to be in the NHL next season.

I wouldn’t have thought that was a given with the Kings generational center depth.

I can understand you not wanting to answer the question though.

OriginalPouzar

Less than a full year older, about to be among the best rookies in the AHL right below PPG, at 20.

Of course, noone is citing Benson as helping a current NHL team have better center depth than McDavid/Drai/Nuge/Ryan/McLeod.

P.S. At Turcotte’s age, Jesse Puljujarvi had already finished a better offensive season in the AHL – at 18 – 18 when he finished that season.

Last edited 22 days ago by OriginalPouzar
DBO

I hope we roll 3 offensive centres this year. Benson and Marody are actually key to this. Both can play with skill, and both are cheap and both are as ripe as possible. Why not give them a real chance. top scorer in the AHl. old enough to be responsible defensively.

Hyman-McDavid-Marody
Benson-Draisatl-Yamamoto
Foegele-Nuge-Puljujarvi
McLeod-Ryan-Archibald

Kassian and Shore can step in if needed. But Marody has the skill to play with McDavid. Puljujarvi can hep drive the third line and they would also be defensively responsible. The 4th line is a solid 4th line. I know it’s placing a huge bet on Marody, but man Yamamoto better understand that his job is not secure and Marody probably has as much skill and could find a nice spot with Draisatl or McDavid if he holds out.

Revolved

I have posted exactly this line up with Kassian in Marody’s spot. It is the way.

MrEd

Or:

Benson-McDavid-Puljujarvi
Foegele-Draisaitl-Marody
Hyman-RNH-Ryan
Shore-McLeod-Kassian

Last edited 22 days ago by MrEd
OriginalPouzar

I don’t see Nuge being moved to 3C until Holloway arrives as a legit top 6 option (or someone like Lavoie surprises).

I would love to see Benson (or Marody) in the top six but I just don’t think Tip will even provide the opportunity.

Hope I’m wrong.

MrEd

You’re likely correct. It is interesting to follow the topic and its thread and see the roster with Benson and Marody on it in a meaningful way though.

dessert1111

Would love to see this or something similar, but would be shocked if it happened.

JimmyV1965

Maybe we should run the top line in the AHL last year as the fourth line this year. Mostly joking, but it would be interesting. Ugh. Maybe that’s a fantasy

MrEd

The answer to #17 is the problem for Benson: “he doesn’t shoot the puck much and passing wingers are not a team need in Edmonton” so “Benson needs to reinvent himself, going from a terrific playmaking winger with the ability to win battles to a two-way winger who can forecheck aggressively and play a regular PK shift”

Does he reinvent himself while in the NHL? I don’t think that Tippett is allowed that patience right now. So is he being coached to assume this new role in the AHL? His numbers say he’s a 1st line scorer.

Yesterday’s post concerning the cost of mistakes applies here right? Years of development time have been poured into Benson’s game slowing down to a point where his first line instincts show at the professional level and then once it does the organization decides to spend a boatload of money and term on Hyman.

Or maybe Benson is exactly what the organization is and wants him to be? Good enough to be cover for McDavid’s wing in wait?

Last edited 22 days ago by MrEd
OriginalPouzar

The Oilers lost Khaira and Haas on the PK but they have:

Archie, Hyman, Foegele, Nuge, McLeod, Yamamoto, Drai.

This team doesn’t need the 4LW (Shore or Benson) to PK.

Don’t get me wrong, if Benson can add PK to his game, then great, but I don’t think that its a needed skill for him to make the current NHL roster – this team has plenty of PK options without the 4th line being made up of PK guys.

I know he PK’d in the AHL this past year, and Woody even mentioned it on the radio. At the same time, lets not forget that Woody is always 100% complimentary of his players in public. Facts are that Benson was used in a depth role on the PK in Bakersfield, behind Esposito, Joe G., Malone, Cracknell, McLeod and others.

I don’t see Tip/Playfair using Benson on the PK in October – that is just not his ticket to the NHL roster at this point, in my opinion.

OriginalPouzar

Ken Holland upgraded left-wing in the offseason, sending out Dominik Kahun and Joakim Nygard while bringing in Zach Hyman and Warren Foegele. The way is not clear for Benson at this time.

I’d add Brandon Perlini to the mix. With that said, while Perlini is big and fast with a shot, assuing at least equal opportunity in camp, if Benson can’t beat out a player that washed out of the NHL in his early 20s and had a “meh” season in Switzerland, well, his story may be getting close to told.

I think he can do it!

OriginalPouzar

Listening to Jimmy Playfair on Oilers Now from yesterday – Stauff asked about projecting pairings and offered what we all think:

Nurse/Barrie
Keith/Ceci
Koekkoek or Russell/Bouchard

First thing Playfair responded with was adding that Lagesson is in the mix. He then went on to basically confirm that those pairings are the thinking and then specifically reference Bouchard as a player they thing will take big strides through the season.

I’m starting to think that this team may only keep 13 forwards for the first while and either 8D (including Lagesson) or 3 goalies.

I’m starting to think that, subject to a big camp, the likes of Turris, Marody and Perlini will be on the outside with Shore and Benson as 12F/13F.

Injuries will play a factor but, assuming everyone is healthy, even with Lagesson on the big club (8D), the Condors will have:

LD: Broberg, Samorukov, Nielmelainen, Kaldis
RD: Berglund, Kesselring, Kemp, Deharnais

Reja

I really thought Turris was going to have a resurrection last year with all the pressure from the fans and the club gone. With a fresh start with a familiar Coach and him sliding down to 3-4 C I thought for sure he would cover the bet easily. Instead he was a complete flop, I wonder what was up with him to completely fall off the cliff.

defmn

Covid or age. In just a few weeks we should have the answer.

Reja

There was a few spurts where the previous Turris was seen and how he could be somewhat of a power forward but sadly they were few and far between. Maybe he trained balls to the wall this off-season because if he doesn’t show the old Turris his NHL career is over. I’m cheering for him and he’s my surprise pick not only to make the team but to also be effective.

jp

I’m cheering for him and he’s my surprise pick not only to make the team but to also be effective.

Don’t you already have Kassian and Perlini in this category? 😉

Reja

With the condensed Schedule we are going to need everyone especially on D. Holland likes to load up on D especially in the playoffs. I could see one more capable D being added before the season kicks off.

Redbird62

The schedule is not condensed. In a normal season, they play 82 games in 184 days. This season to accommodate the Olympics, the schedule is over 199 days, with a 15 day break for the Olympics. So for players who don’t make an Olympic team, they get 2 weeks of extra rest (or rust), while the players who make a team get up to 7 more games plus travel to and from China in that 15 day window.

Having said that, I still can see Holland at least bringing in another RD on a PTO for camp.

OriginalPouzar

I can see someone like Gubrandson or Stone.

A right shot D with NHL experience would be super but, at the same time, unless this player would clear waivers and play in the AHL until “needed”, I don’t see room on the roster and I think Tip/Playfair would probably move Russell over to 3RD to fill in for an injury.

Also, even if this player was assigned to the AHL after earning a contract, unless there are a couple organizational injuries, the Oilers are already looking at a legit prospect or two outside even the AHL lineup.

Is there real room?

Reja

What about the players that play in the Olympics you don’t think they’ll have jet lag for a week after a intense tournament.

OriginalPouzar

Olympics end on Feb 20th – not sure when the end of the hockey tournament is but that’s when the Olympic’s end. Oilers’ play on the 23rd and then not until the 26th.

The game on the 23rd is against Tampa Bay – I have a feeling they will have some important players in a similar predicament. Florida on the 26th as well.

jp

Just pointing out that you’ve already made a few surprise picks for making the team and/or re-gaining effectiveness.

Not sure what the D and condensed schedule (if there were one) would have to do with that.

jeetz

Looks like there is some hesitation for SJ to resign Hertl (6’2”, 215 lbs, assist captain, 27 years old) He has 1 year at 5+mil then he is a UFA. Plus with the Kane situation, they may lose some toughness.

Would you you trade Yamo and Kassian for 1 year of Hertl. (He would have to waive M-NTC)

Hyman McD JP
RNH Draisaitl Hertl (all centers)

flea

Absolutely that would be a huge upgrade. That top 6 is completely stacked.

With that said I’m not sure that’s enough for Hertl. The Sharks would likely want a premium forward prospect or established young player – not sure Yamo moves the needle enough for that trade to happen.

Last edited 22 days ago by flea
meanashell11

For 1 year of Hertl? I think SJ just might do that given they are not going to be a top team this season.

YYCOil

I see Benson and Marody locks for this year,

1.Top line and best players in the AHL can play up and down the NHL line-up
2.Will play for league minimum
3.Team has invested in these players
4.Longer runway that their the vets brought in to push them
5.Perlini, Turris, Shore are forwards with little upside

I see Benson playing a top 9 role

Hyman-McDavid-Puljajarvi
Nuge-Driasaitl-Foegele
Benson-Ryan-Yamamoto
Archibald-McLeod-Kassian
Shore-Marody

With Bouchard that puts up to 3 rookies in the line-up each night, who all play supporting roles.

dustrock

I was always looking left and right but
Oh, I’m always crashing in the same car

dustrock

Was LT referring to the experience of being an Oilers fan?

The pandemic response?

My experience with alcohol?

Human existence in general?

What a great line by Bowie.

yeraslob

Being in a demolition derby?

defmn

D. All of the above. 😉

Redbird62

I don’t think Maroon is a good comparison just because he is a slow boat. At 6’3 238 lbs, he has some natural advantages going into the corners, along the boards and in front of the net that neither Benson nor Marody possess. And even in the open ice his lengthy reach helps with defending. Benson and Marody will have to make up for that with craftiness and hustle. I may be off on this, but Marody strikes me as more of a puck transporter than Benson, and keeping that skill up at the NHL level is more challenging with gaps being closed much quicker than in the AHL especially if the player doesn’t possess the footspeed to maintain or create space.

OriginalPouzar

100% Marody has always been the transporter as between him and Benson – since they were rookie pros. McLeod took a large part of that load this past season. Benson is not a puck transporter.

Material Elvis

I believe Darnell Nurse has a good chance of making Team Canada. If he has a strong start to the season and puts up some even strength offense, I think he’s a lock.

Redbird62

Another possible factor in his favour is his familiarity of playing with Connor. It is not enough by itself, but it would distinguish him from others who are otherwise comparable. Familiarity has impacted Team Canada roster decisions in the past.

JimmyV1965

Nurse gets no respect. How many dman scored 16 goals last year, and brings his combo of size, speed, skill and truculence? He’s the poster child for the old guys at Hockey Canada. I’ll be shocked if he isn’t on the team.

OriginalPouzar

I’m not sure he doesn’t enough respect – he was 7th in Norris voting last season and he’s mentioned in most conversations as a potential (which, for me, lines up with where he should be – a decent chance but not a lock).

To answer your question above, Jakob Chycrhun scored 18 goals last year, and on a team devoid of offensive stars to help him.

He’s a direct competitor for Nurse for a spot on the team.

OriginalPouzar

Nurse has put up 5 on 5 numbers for 3-4 years now – even without his bump in goals last year (which was high S%, yes, but he put himself in high danger positions joining the rush and picking his spots), he’s been a top 10-15 point producer at evens for years.

I think the Nurse is 50/50 – I’d probably have him a little lower if Holland wasn’t part of team Canada.

I think his ability to skate and by a physical presence gives him a shot.

He’ll need a strong start to the year coupled with a strong team start I think.

meanashell11

The fact he is good friends with McDavid basically ensures he is on the team.

OriginalPouzar

I don’t think this is the case, nor should it be the case.

tileguy

Just want to thank LT for allowing yesterday’s vaccination thread to continue. So so informative and interesting, and a thank you to all who contributed.

dustrock

Agreed, knew I was dropping a grenade but overall it was handled very well.