Chasing Shadows, Moonlight Mystery

by Lowetide

In a game where all eyes (correctly) were focused on bubble players like Tyler Benson and Cooper Marody, it was recent first-round pick Xavier Bourgault who stood out from the crowd. The lesson? Skill finds a way, even at 18.



  • Ilya Konovalov started the game and took the loss. He stopped 16 of 19, made some great saves and gave up three, all HDSC. SP: .842. I walk away from his efforts so far with the Russian slightly ahead of Skinner based on preseason so far, but this shapes up as the best goalie contest the AHL Oilers have seen since Dubnyk-Deslauriers.
  • Stuart Skinner had much the same problems, the team in front of him wasn’t as strong as the Oilers group. Stopped seven of nine. SP: .778, with both of his GA coming on high danger scoring chances.
  • You’d have to pack a lunch and plan on working into the afternoon to convince me the goaltending was responsible for the result or the goals scored. Dave Tippett said as much in the post-game avail.

  • Koekkoek-Bouchard played 14:37, going 3-6 shots, 0-2 goals. This pairing has been solid, but with Bouchard playing significant minutes two nights in a row (22:03 last night, 24:28 on Tuesday evening) the sharpness was lacking. Bouchard (who read the Eyssimont rush poorly and it led to the third goal against) endured bad luck on a deflection off his skate that landed on the stick of Kyle Connor. This is the third pairing. Don’t be alarmed, there’s ability here.
  • Lagesson-Ceci played 9:39 together, going 2-5 shots and 0-1 goals. Lagesson played his best game so far, Ceci was gone fishing on Harkins second goal. Both will need to tighten it up as the team approaches opening night, but judging either on last night would be foolish. The Oilers were outmanned across the roster.
  • Niemelainen-Kesselring played 8:37 together, 1-7 shots and 0-2 goals. The two young blue not effective on the first goal against: Kesselring fell, checked down from his mark to help support Cooper Marody net-front, only to see his original target pop the goal. Second goal was a tip by Svechnikov, some bad luck for all involved. This pairing could see action together in Bakersfield this year.
  • Niemelainen-Ceci played 8:22 together, going 6-5 shots and 1-0 goals. This pairing played well and had good results, score effects a partial explanation.
  • Lagesson-Kesselring played 5:25 together, going 3-1 shots and no goals. This pairing looked better, but as was the case with Niemelainen-Ceci, score effects skewed the numbers.

  • Foegele-McLeod-Kassian played 14:31, going 8-8 shots and 0-1 goals. Foegele picked up an assist on Edmonton’s only goal, he had two HDSC to lead the team at five on five. McLeod’s speed was prominent but he was miscast on the top skill line against a solid Jets group. Kassian got the primary assist on the Malone goal, he and Foegele appear to be on a collision course on the third line with Derek Ryan in the middle.
  • Benson-Marody-Griffith played 4:52, going 1-4 shots and 0-2 goals. It was not good. Marody’s coverage on the first Jets goal wasn’t strong, and Benson didn’t impact the game enough to stand out.
  • Benson-Sceviour-Bourgault played 4:31, going 1-1 shots and no goals. Benson had some jump, but couldn’t anything to rhyme offensively. Marody had one high-danger look, Griffith had two and a couple more pucks rolled off his stick at a bad time. Sceviour also had a look or two, and for me Bourgault was noticeable when in possession of the puck. I can’t wait to see him at camp one year from now.
  • Safin-Cracknell-Bourgault played 4:09, going 1-3 shots and 0-1 goals. Cracknell had a couple of good looks, Safin had none, that’s exactly the opposite of what you want to see.
  • Esposito-Malone-Griffith played 4:07, 2-2 shots, 0-1 goals. Esposito was physical and drove to the net whenever possible, Malone scored the goal on a nice release and had a takeaway. Alas, he is past 30 and not a realistic NHL option, although on the night he appeared the most comfortable forward against Winnipeg.


The season begins in two weeks, there has been no indication that Smith or Koskinen are suffering from any malady, so we can project this competition as closed. If something pops up in the next 10 days, we can revisit, and I do see change at this position by the deadline. I think Konovalov and Skinner both have a chance to play in the NHL in the seasons to come, will be watching them closely in Bakersfield this winter.

I have Koekkoek edging closer to an NHL job, while Lagesson remains at 40 percent. Part of that comes with the idea of losing another defenseman under control (Bear, Jones), Edmonton has a deep leftorium but none who are ready for recall. I don’t have him listed, but Markus Niemelainen is emerging as a player who we could see later in the year. Don’t discount the idea of running eight defenders, and it’s also possible Russell or other begins the year on IR to protect Lagesson from waivers.

The die is cast at this position and there will be Hollywood nights in the Hollywood hills at both ends of the ice this coming season. Bouchard’s misjudging the Eyssimont sortie aside, I think the young man has shown well during the preseason and am willing to bet his overall TOI exceeds Ceci in the second half of the year. There will be growing pains.

Subtle changed here from our last look. McLeod is going to make this team, but his performance so far has been uneven. It opens the door for a conversation. What does that sound like? If the Oilers believe there is a forward worth keeping who is eligible for waivers, McLeod could get optioned out until the wingers suss themselves out. Unlikely, I still have McLeod as extremely likely to make the team, but he’ll need to show more.

I think Tyler Benson is in some danger here, and this isn’t the coaching staff overlooking him ala Brandon Davidson fall of 2015 (Davidson was almost waived that year before the start of the season). Perlini ate his lunch. Benson is in fact working hard and you can see him as a fourth-line LW, especially if Shore lands the 4C job and Perlini plays RW. That’s a lot of pretzel, more likely the Oilers run with McLeod.

There are still one or two spots up in the air here, and it’s Sceviour v. Archibald and Turris v. Marody. We’re seeing separation, Marody didn’t lose ground last night but Turris gained ground the night before.

Your opening night lineup right now:

  • Mike Smith (Mikko Koskinen)
  • Darnell Nurse-Tyson Barrie; Duncan Keith-Cody Ceci; Slater Koekkoek-Evan Bouchard; Kris Russell.
  • Zach Hyman-Connor McDavid-Jesse Puljujarvi
  • RNH-Leon Draisaitl-Kailer Yamamoto
  • Warren Foegele-Derek Ryan-Zack Kassian
  • Brendan Perlini-Devin Shore-Kyle Turris
  • Ryan McLeod, Colton Sceviour


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I have a really good feeling about McLeod, he will find comfort and confidence at this level and when he does, lookout.


Almost out of left field thought:

Is it possible player aging curves are much more affected by coaching bias than we realize.

It occurred to me while thinking about Sceviour, whose peak points/game is in the normal age range. But it’s due largely to him getting PP time those years and not after.

It seems natural for coaches to give younger guys early in their careers those minutes rather than their bottom 6 guys who’ve been around for years.

But in many cases that decision is based on hope rather than skill, since most of the younger guys are destined for that bottom 6 role anyway.

Not sure if there’s anything to this or not, but it seems like it could have an impact on a large set of numbers/players.

Probably aging curves have been done with 5v5 offense as well as points/game? With the same result?


So I spent the new day off surfing in Tofino. Put an an orange windbreaker on over my blue wetsuit. Waved hello to our prime minister on the shore.

Foege Foegele Torpe

Harpers Hair is a surfer?


I was in Tofino off season three years ago. I would have been sorely tempted to wave him a finger.


On a hockey note…

Colorado look pretty freaking talented. McOilers have got their work cut out for them.


One would hope with a first overall, 3 top 5 picks and 5 top 10 picks in Sakic’s 9 years as GM – add a 2nd overall in his 11 years in the front office yes in all that time, the team has more generationally horrible seasons that conference final appearances.

Sakic is likely feeling the heat.


I follow the Avs though not close enough to predict their lines any better than daily Faceoff.

The Avs lost a lot this off-season, I think many pundits are underestimating that impact.

Landeskog-Mackinnon-Rantenen is pure fire though Vegas shut them down during the playoffs.

97 is better than Mackinnon, but if we’re being honest, Landeskog and Rantanen are better wingers than Hymen and JP.

Still in PVP, our top line is right there with them.

Nichushkun – Kadri – Burakovsky.

Here’s where it’s not even close.

Nichuskin is porridge and Burakovsky runs hot and cold.

The Nuge-Draisatl-Yamamoto line should flat out run over this line.

Jost – Newhook – Compher

vs. Foegele – Ryan – Kassian

maybe a slight edge to Colorado.

Helm – Maltsev – O’Connor is no screaming hell.

Girard – Makar > Nurse – Barrie

I’m not really sure how to rate Byram – Johnson vs Keith – Ceci.

Both second pairings have issues.

Macdermid – Murray is a lefty lefty pairing.

Our bottom pairing really depends on Bouchard.

In goal, Keumper’s better than anything we’ve got.


I think you forgot about Toews on the blueline.


He had shoulder surgery during the offseason and isn’t cleared to play yet.


Imagine if we had a healthy Klefbom instead of Keith?

90s fan

So knowing nothing about this incident, it seems obviously connected to national day for truth and reconciliation day. Probably done by some misguided individuals, who dont by any means represent the larger group of indigenous poeple. Although I certainly understand their anger, and why they would do such a thing.

It’s sad that it happened, as it takes away from the direction we are all trying to go, but I wonder if anger is the wrong response, as it also takes away from what we are trying to do here.

90s fan

This was supposed to be a reply to hunters comment.

90s fan

Also I wish I could delete my post. I made some assumptions with zero knowledge.


Knowing next to nothing about this incident myself, without proof assigning blame on indigenous people for this seems a trifle previous.

Last edited 15 days ago by hunter1909
90s fan

Ya. That’s what I said.


Is there any specific reason why the Catholic church in Morinville was torched by arsonists.

Alberta was once known as the Bible Belt, and now this blasphemy.

90s fan

My reply is above.


I’d be interested in following this news.


Myers, Hughes and Ekman Larsson.
Combined -50 in a shortened season and they will now cost the Nucks $21million! Hah!


That’s more than the Oilers starting 6!!

Harpers Hair

KMurp (@kylemurp14) Tweeted:
So if the reported deals are correct, that’s under $16m for both players. If Hamonic does indeed retire or sit out and Sutter goes to LTIR that opens around $4m to find a replacement defenseman. #Canucks


Terrible franchise, aiming for 60 years of futility.


Loser organization no history who trades Cam Neely and Wesley for Pederson. I hate the Flames and Islanders even though we get pounded with Canucks news to the point of whether or not Hughes has mayo on his BLT sandwich I still can’t hate them. I’ve meant a lot of die hard fans of many teams in the league over the years but never a Canuck die hard what does that tell you about their franchise.


So if the reported deals are false, that continues the stalemate with each player. If Hamonic doesn’t retire or sit out, and Sutter does not go to LTIR, that leaves the Nucks just as hopeless as if they had to find a mystery “replacement” defensemen for 4mil.

Last edited 15 days ago by Ranford.85
Bank Shot

I heard Sami Vatanen is available!


Actually, I think Vatanen signed in Switzerland!

Harpers Hair

If Hamonic does return they don’t need to find a replacement.


My favorite Hughes Microsystems.
puck battle win%. 5%


Microstat that is

Harpers Hair

Satiar Shah (@SatiarShah) Tweeted:
Hearing Hughes nearing a 6 year deal worth slightly above $7.75M per year with the Canucks

Harpers Hair

Harman Dayal (@harmandayal2) Tweeted:
This would be a great number for the #Canucks. Hughes is an elite talent, I’d bet on him bouncing back from last season and providing good value on his long-term deal

Harpers Hair

Pettersson rumoured to be 3X$7 million.

Harpers Hair

Patrick Johnston (@risingaction) Tweeted:
Canucks feeling very good about things at this number



Harpers Hair

 Reply to  OriginalPouzar

 September 20, 2021 12:50 pm

Awesome…now you’re being repetitive in the same post.

One post is plenty. You can even copy multiple links at a time.

Harpers Hair


Its a developing story.


It’s your quoted post.

You set that standard.

Last edited 15 days ago by BornInAGretzkyJersey

No thanks 😉


The #Canucks projected roster has $12.8M of Cap Space with 21 active players (12F/7D/2G). 
With Ferland ($3.5M) to LTIR, they can potentially exceed the cap by up to $16.3M on their opening roster submission.

Harpers Hair

Ferland LTIR adds $3.5 million.

It appears Hamonic may not play so that’s another $3 million.

Depending on the final numbers, they may have the room to pursue another RHD.

Harpers Hair

Pettersson 3X$7.7 million.

Harpers Hair

Taj (@taj1944) Tweeted:
Elliotte on Hamonic: There’s a lot of people who are not sure what he’s going to do.

Hamonic’s preference is to try for a trade but a lot of teams don’t want a unvaccinated player.


Lot of money for Tyson Barrie

Harpers Hair

At the same age Barrie was playing in the AHL.


Barrie was drafted 64th overall. He now sits 9th in total point scored among all players from his draft year, including one ahead of OEL, who was drafted 6th overall and has played ~150 more games. At least for the next couple of seasons Barrie is likely to be a much better value at $4.5 million than Hughes or OEL at over $7 million each. Barrie could likely have gotten close to $6 million from some other teams in Free Agency. He took another discount to play with the Oilers since that is all the Oilers could pay him.


At the same age Barrie was playing in the AHL.

Aside from being mostly irrelevant, that is also untrue.


That seems, ummmm, high for Hughes – the guy can skate and produce points, that’s for sure but he needs to learn to at least tread water at evens.

$7M is extreme value for Pettersson but its the Boeser/Tkachuk deal – walks the player one year to UFA status with arb rights (so he can force it to be a four year UFA deal) and likely a very large QO.

Harpers Hair

He treaded water just fine as a rookie playing with Chris Tanev.

Expect a bounce back year.

The Pettersson contract coincides with the time line of a bump in the cap and the Hughes contract coincides with the end of the OEL contract.


Alot of money for a player that needs to be baby-sat to tread water.

There is no way to spin a 3-year term for Pettersson as term friendly – that’s essentially a 4-year UFA deal and the player getting to UFA status as quick as possible – that contract structure is about to bit the Canucks and Flames vis-a-vis Boeser and Tkachuk. 3 value years but other than that, the player wins that deal.


a lot … two words


He treaded water just fine as a rookie playing with Chris Tanev.

He got just eviscerated last year with Myers though. Is that the plan?

Or does he get Steady Teddy Poolman?

Harpers Hair

PuckPedia (@PuckPedia) Tweeted:
A reported 6 yr deal for Quinn Hughes would cover 1 UFA year (similar to Makar).

A reported 3 yr deal for Pettersson would leave him an RFA w/ arbitration eligibility & 1 year from UFA eligibility. He could potentially accept his Qualifying Offer or go to Arb & then be UFA


They might finish ahead of Anaheim.


Tyson Barrie ate his lunch and is a better value contract


Live thoughts from last night’s game:

I’m going to like Warren Foegele. He disrupted about a half dozen zone breakouts with speed and proper positioning. Easily the most effective Oilers forward on the night.

Kassian was okay, he’ll round into form and did the little things he needed to do last night.

Ryan Mcleod is going to be the next Magnus Paajarvi. One great tool but not a lot else going on to ensure a long NHL career. Deferred a LOT instead of taking the opportunity for a shot on net.

Malone scored a goal on an NHL level shot, but he’s past the point of helping an NHL roster.

The rest of the forwards were below replacement level on the night. Benson and Sceviour did not do themselves any favours in their attempts to make the roster, but were not playing with a lot of help around them. Both did put in some decent work on the PK but could not get anything going offensively. Marody was invisible amongst the sea and can be lost for nothing without much concern on my part. Young Borgeault maybe the best of the bunch, but I see has already been sent back to the Q where he can develop. Last player I’ll highlight was Safin because he gets some love from this blog. He’s very unimpressive live, no speed, no knowledge of where on the ice he should be, a waste of an NHL roster spot.

Defensively Neimelainen appears to be getting some love, I didn’t see it yesterday. Both he and Kesselring were prone to being out of position running for big hits, and needed to be split up. IMO it wasn’t the Ceci-Lagesson pairing that was problematic and warranted the switch of tandems, it was the 3rd pair being exposed. I don’t remember a lot of issues with Ceci’s game other than a lack of offensive awareness. Lagesson and Koekkoek were okay, nothing to write home about. Bouchard had a tough night, no way around that. Got walked on the 3rd goal and the puck deflected off his skate right to Connor for the 5th. He wasn’t playing with a lot of confidence last night which was disappointing as he was the only player of note for me to watch.

On the Jets side they may have found their version of Perlini in Evgeni Svechnikov, who was full value on his PTO from my viewing. He’s got a lot of people to pass on Winnipeg’s depth chart but looked fantastic with fellow 4th liner Jensen Harkins last night. The Jets are going to be a team to keep tabs on with the defensive additions they brought in, and of course Hellebuyck backstopping them.


Speaking of Svechnikov, if he’s on a PTO there’s no reason why the Oilers couldn’t sign him out from under their noses. I’ve been watching the elder Svechnikov for a bit now, hoping for an opportunity like this… maybe the right side is too crowded though.


Hopefully, the Oilers brain trust is thinking outside of the box as you suggest rather than thinking it’s Scievour or nothing. Let’s counter-Versteeg if there’s something good up for grabs.


He’s not on a PTO, he signed an AHL deal,

That may have been the reason and this may have been a smart move- he’s under contract with the Jets org but they aren’t committed to him under their 50. They can bring him to camp, as they have, and sign him to an NHL deal if he makes the team.

This shields them from other orgs signing him out of a PTO.


On a night like last night, with those lineups, the young non-NHL depth d-men are going to be exposed and, yes, Niemelainen and Kesselring both did (in particular Kesselring). On that other hand, to my eye, Niemelainen still made a number of very solid defensive plays and a couple plus defensive plays. He mixed in some good while being deployed against a strong lineup with an even less experienced partner.


Yup. It seems like Kesselring needs to work on his strength quite a bit. He was kind of hard to watch, but he was of course in over his head so to speak.

I think Niemelainen could fill in on 3rd pairing right now for a spell, IF the team were desperate from injuries, but there are several better LD ahead of him this year.

Poor Sammy. He had a “knock-knock” moment here with Keith and KRusty late to start and KK and Lags not really knocking it out of the park with their at bats. Hope he is enjoying his smoothies and that he can hit the ground running in Bake.


I agree with your assessment.

Decidedly Skeptical Fan

So Perlini, Shore and Turris don’t have to face a very good Jets team that completely caves our AHL squad. Once again, Tip really pisses me off. Benson playing with AHL/NHL scrub level talent against the Jets projected starters is disingenuous and really quite pointless. You can’t let Benson go without giving him half a dozen NHL games playing with actual NHL players. You just can’t. Especially since Yamo will likely be too expensive to sign this offseason. Give Perlini and Marody the same half dozen or so games like Benson to see what you have. Send McLeod to the Bake for a couple weeks if you must. Turris, Shore and Sceviour should all clear waivers and if one gets claimed, not much of a loss.


From my viewing, all of those in competition for the bottom 5 spots have essentially had the same level of linemate – the likes of Shore, Benson, Perlini, Marody, McLeod, Seviour, Turris have all played with each other in every game.

Perlini and Shore were able to seperate themselves in the first two games against dreg competition with plus offensive plays. Turris a bit as well. Benson, Marody and McLeod were not able to.

Benson and Marody and Seviour were given a third game (the other two have played two games) and it was a tough assignment against a deep team.

Perlini, Shore, Turris will likely get a similar tough assignment tomorrow as the Oilers will assuradly have a weaker linup and the Kraken, playing in their home state, a more veteran/NHL lineup.

The opportunities for all these guys have been essentially the same through camp so far – to my eye.


Why do you keep spelling his name Seviour? That is not correct.


because I was misspelling his name – god forbid.

Why do you need to be so confrontational and adversarial about it?


Decidedly Skeptical Fan

You misspelled both God and Jesus. Sentences should begin with a capital letter. So three errors in three sentences. Not bad, counselor. You’re on a roll.

Decidedly Skeptical Fan

Total and complete bullshit, OP. You are equating the Kraken starters, if that’s who we actually see tomorrow, to a Jets Stanley contender lineup? Seriously?

Perlini, Shore and Turris played with most of our starting lineup against a Kraken expansion team’s scrubs. Each had some degree of success. None of those three had to face the beatdown that was certain against Jet starters. But Tip chose to throw Benson, Marody and McLeod to the wolves yesterday. We have seen McLeod play with NHL skill last year, so at least we have some data there. When do we see Benson and Marody get a similar opportunity? Shore and Turris are known quantities at the NHL level. I believe we have seen enough of that at this point.

Last edited 16 days ago by Decidedly Skeptical Fan

Benson and Marody played in the same game against the Kraken (and the same game against the flames).

They have had the same opportunity as the other three plus a 3rd game. Sure that game was being “thrown to the wolves” and tough to impress but it was indeed an opportunity – imagine if they would have been able to break through DeMelo and company for a goal? That would have left some sort of impression on the coaches.

I’m going to guess the other three play tomorrow night, again with a similar Oiler lineup, against a strong NHL lineup for the Kraken – sure, maybe not as strong as the Jets last night but an NHL lineup.

In my opinion the opportunities to impress have been very similar for all those competing – they all got the exact same in the first two games (and then an additional, albeit tough, opportunity, for Benson/Marody last night).


“Distant bells” left:
Desharnais (AHL)
Malone (AHL)
Cracknell (AHL)
Hamblin (AHL)
Esposito (AHL)

I wonder if Rodrigue will get part of a game.


I doubt we’ll see Rodrigue – maybe tomorrow I guess but I think, if he was going to play, it would have happened by now. I think he’s sticking around as there is nowhere else to send him – there is no AHL camp happening (although it must be starting soon) – although I don’t think it usually starts until closer to the NHL season.


They often keep several extra goalies for practice situations


Also post-game last night Tip said Saturday is when they switch from looking and assessing to lets get sharp mode.

Will be down close to the team by Sunday.


“Worked hard but like the rest of the group didn’t get much accomplished” – Tip post-game on Benson

Decidedly Skeptical Fan

No shit. Benson and Marody expected to perform with scrubs against a top quality NHL team. Where the fuck were Perlini, Shore and Turris?


McLeod reminds me of Cleary or Chimera both individuals stayed in the league a long time because they could skate. I do think he’ll get sent back to Bakersfield because of the numbers game. If McLeod can score 15 a year PK and win face offs he could be a Oiler for long time.


It’s interesting to pivot LTs above list to a consolidated stack rank. There are 5 FW job openings on the fourth line and press box.

Shore 90%
McLeod 80%
Perlini 70%
Turris 70%
Sceviour 60%
Archibald 50%
Benson 40%
Marody 30%


I see zero reason for Seviour to get a contract – I keep Benson over giving a contract to Seviour.


Your the boss so, sure, I won’t respond to posts about Seviour on the team and my opinion on that. With that said, with respect, how are we going to police a new “don’t repeat your opinion” policy?

I mean, I’m pretty sure I’m well aware of Godot’s opinions on Kassian’s value and Reja’s opinion on if Bouchard should have played more last year.

I’m pretty sure I know your opinion on Holland acquiring a goalie in-season.

Pretty much the only battle at training camp is the 11F-14F positions and it gets talked about all day, every day, right now – numerous are repeating their positions on various players.


Not a clue.

Brogan Rafferty's Uncle Steve

Here is a thought: start your own blog!

Then you can post whatever you want. You write ~5000 words a day here, you definitely have the stamina. 😉


Calm your tits!

Chelios is a Dinosaur

Between a) all the posts and b) workouts and c) travel (of which we are aware, see: a) I’ve always wondered when you get any work done? Aren’t you a corporate lawyer? Is greasing the wheels of capital that easy? Always seemed as such from this rung of the ladder.

Chelios is a Dinosaur

For the record I like and agree with what OP has to say. And say. And say again.

Brogan Rafferty's Uncle Steve

The Oiler’s having two legit scoring lines this season is really going to help mask some of the roster holes. Two big boy lines take a lot of pressure off the 3rd and 4th forward lines and should help the second D pair as well.

I am pretty excited to watch McD and Drai compete against each other for the 1C spot.


I agree with much of what you’re saying. I do believe our 3rd line is going to be a lot better than we have become accustomed.

Last edited 16 days ago by Hemskyish

I feel like Lavoie wasn’t given as much opportunity as I think he should or x oils have.

Bourgault off to Shawinigan and the following assigned to the Condors:

Devin Brosseau (F)
Matteo Gennaro (F)
Yanni Kaldis (D)
Dino Kambeitz (F)
Raphael Lavoie (F)
Kirill Maksimov (F)
Ostap Safin (F)
Tim Soderlund (F)


Hopefully Maksimov can get up and running soon – stupid Putin and his Sputnik.

Is Hamblin still hanging around?

Last edited 16 days ago by OriginalPouzar

Too much competition for the bottom six wingers to dedicate more time to Lavoie this training camp.

Next year will be different. Lavoie was always only a potential Jan 1st option at the earliest.


I’d prefer him to have played last night over any of Esposito, Cracknell, Malone, Griffith, Seviour.


This looks like a win for the guys with AHL only deals still hanging around and a loss for the guys with NHL pacts going down already. Only real surprise here is Lavoie and that Malone et al aren’t on this list as well.

Material Elvis

They’ll keep those guys around to play one more road exhibition game until they head to Bakersfield.

Litke 94

Great write-up, LT.

Unfortunately, I think Marody may have booked his ticket back to Bakersfield last night. I was really hoping we would see the Benson/McLeod/Marody line roll for a bit, but that was about as bad as I have ever seen Cooper play. Maybe he will get another game here to right a wrong, but it doesn’t look good.

I would love to see Konovalov get even half of a game with a roster similar to what the Oilers dressed against Seattle. I think they have something there with him, he is incredibly athletic.


Konovalov has been good. I hope he gets another game too. Someone needs to step up. I’m cheering hard for both the young goalies. It will be interesting to see how the goalie situation plays out this year, and who the starters will be by next year.

Brewha Ha

If one of Koskinen/smith does get injured who is the call up? Will be a fun season in the goal position. Stay tuned for sure!


I don’t think it matters what Konovalov does here. He’s getting sent down and the pecking order will be determined between him and Skinner in the AHL.


Konovalov looked to me like a smaller Mike Smith. Fearless puck-handler who will make the occasional gaffe because he wants to do too much. Great reflexes and elite reactions.


Personally, I don’t think I have seen that kind of quickness and athletic ability since Cujo was stoning Nieuwendyk.


Mike Palmateer was a favourite of mine when it came to never giving in or up,

Last edited 15 days ago by Reja

For those criticizing McLeod’s lack of physicality, it is worth noting that last season per among Oiler centers, McLeod absorbed the most hits/60 at 10.03. Draisaitl, McDavid and Nugent-Hopkins were all in the 4-5 hits absorbed per 60. It’s a small sample size since he only played 10 games but his hits absorbed per 60 stayed at that level in the playoffs against the Jets (not surprising that McDavid was hit twice as often per 60 against the Jets compared to his regular season average – yet no penalties against – but I digress). This does not seem to me like a player who is not willing to go to the danger areas (unlike Kahun, who not only rarely hit anyone, but seldom was hit either).

McLeod has not done much hitting, but I am not sure he needs to do that much more to be effective. Derek Ryan, who is right now the front runner for 3rd line center, the last 3 seasons has a hits/60 of about 1.4 which is less than McLeod.


This is good information, thank you.

At the same time, its a perfect example of how sometimes, the publicly available metrics and per 60 rates don’t really represent reality. From watching almost all of his AHL games through two season and all of his NHL games, I cannot be convinced that he was a willingness to engage or doesn’t actively avoid contract – its clear on the screen.

Bank Shot

Criticizing Mcleod for not hitting is a big nothing burger. If he gets to the right spots and wins puck battles, who cares if he isn’t putting guys through the boards.

His speed is NHL calibre for sure. Seems like he is making sure his positioning is sound. He needs to be more aggressive, but not necessarily physically. He needs to just be more decisive in his decision making.

Perhaps he is just afraid of making mistakes, or maybe its something that will limit his career. I guess we will likely only know in a season or two.


The issue is that he is not winning puck battles as he’s not willing to engage in them – this is most observable on the forecheck in the offensive zone and on the cycle in the offensive zone.

Foegele and Kass were going last night on the cycle and the forecheck but McLeod was not on the same page.


If Kyle Turris is on your roster to start the season, then you don’t have enough depth on your team. This player has not improved his hockey in the offseason, even if he did come in better shape. He is sooo weak on the puck and does not provide energy. Not a good look for a 4th liner. Would much rather see Benson-Shore-Perlinni. McLeod is a lot like Ethan Moreau. Good speed and nice size but has no offence. At least Shore provides a bit of goal scoring and at times is a threat. Benson-Shore-Perlinni line might get 25-30 goal total for the season. I cannot see where/how any line with Turris and McLeod would get there.

Darth Tu

I’m actually not hating Turris at all so far. We need to see some more game action, but he did well against the Flames to my eye and that was against a real bonafide NHL line for the most part.

If he can play 4RW, or sub in as 4C, or even 3RW when the inevitable injuries and/or suspensions happen we could do a lot worse.


Devin Shore scored 5 goals in 38 games. 2 were empty-netters. He is absolutely not a scoring threat.


And Kyle Turris is? Pffft.. 5 goals in 38 pro rates to 12 in a full season…ffs. It does not matter how they are scored when you are playing 4th line minutes…
When was the last time Turris won a faceoff? Can Turris penalty kill? Has Turris ever made a hit? Can he provide energy? The answer is simply…NO.

Last edited 16 days ago by fistycuff

You seem agitated today, and I only say so in wanting you to know I’m not trying to stir the pot here… but prorated production is a mirage. If Shore were more consistent, he’d be a full time NHLer instead of a fringe player (same as Turris).

If it were up to me, neither would be on the roster.


Also, calling Ethan Moreau no offence is inaccurate. He registered seven seasons with 11+ goals, peaking at 20 goals once. That’s not Ovechkin levels but it’s not nothing, either.

Brewha Ha

I think McLeod can get there. Might take a bit more time. Like OP always says, it would be great to see him more engaged physically. It is a must for him to graduate fully.


That makes more sense, but I think McLeod has a much higher ceiling than Shore. It’s a bit premature to write him off completely for a guy who is at best a fringe player.


Kyle Turris last won a faceoff on Tuesday, where he went 2 for 4 for 50%.

Prior to that, he last won a faceoff on Sunday, where he went 4 for 6 for 66.7%.

At this point, Turris has outplayed Marody and Sceviour for a 4RW job.


I think the point was only 3 non-empty net goals which prorates to 6.5 goals per 82. Though I think still a legit Q if Turris or McCleod beats him in goal ratio.


Shore only had 2 EN goals, fwiw.

Two 5v5 and one SH.


In most of today’s comments section, people are talking about McLeods lack of physical engagement and you compare him to Ethan Moreau?!! Yeesh.

Last edited 16 days ago by Shane

ffs. Read much? The comparison is in his size and speed. Nothing in my comment there mentioned physicality.


No you came in and completely took out of context what I commented about ffs. I made a very positive comment about McLeod in comparing him to Ethan Moreau (speed, agility, and size) one of my all time fav players. I see a lot of Moreau in McLeod but don’t believe he is there yet…at the moment….I think Shore better fills the role of 4C. Maybe they could split 4C for now, but then the question would become is it better to let McLeod develop or sit in the PB 50% of the time…
Anyway, my comment was mostly about how if you squint hard, there is a 4th line that could get a few goals and play with energy. I am sorry and cannot understand how you turned that into a McLeod issue.

Last edited 16 days ago by fistycuff

Should be noted that Shane is providing opinions and analysis on the Oilers whereas you only show up to post to deride others – almost always personal poster posts and almost never anything of substance.


For me, this analysis of Turris is based off of your narrative of him on not based on his play on the ice. Nope, he is not strong on the puck but he’s played well, performed and produced. He’s outplayed all of McLeod, Benson, Marody and Seviour.

If McLeod had even one fifth of Moreau’s willingness to engage physically, he’d be an elite 3C. His lack of offence comes from his lack of willingness to play a Moreau-style game (or even a small portion of that game).


Yes. To most of it OP. I’m not sure Turris has outplayed Benson (I think it’s close) but has outplayed the others you mention. Can we agree that he has not outplayed Perlinni? Perlinni can play both sides well and I think he has played well enough to at least ensure he is on the team. So if it was to boil down to Turris and Benson for the remaining left wing spot, I give it to Benson for a couple reasons. 1. Waivers. I would rather lose Turris than Benson. (Financial reasons). 2. Benson provides more grit and energy than Turris. (I like a 4th line that creates energy and spark). 3. Benson has time to grow and Turris has already shown who he is. With all that said, I don’t feel that either are 4th line players and both are better suited for higher in the lineup, but not in this team. There is no room unless injury.


An important counter here (in my opinion) is that Perlini has done enough to at least make the team. The man has played two exhibition games against the weakest of rosters. Don’t get me wrong, he has played well and likely passed Benson on the current depth chart because of his play but we should know better than to pencil a tweener on the team based on early camp, let alone the first two games.

People were calling for McLeod to make the team as the 3C as an 18 year old after his first week of his first camp – years later, here we are.

Perlini can play both sides but Turris can fill in at center and, short of that, can help on draws. If its McLeod as center, they split draws depending on which side of the ice. That’s not a huge thing but it shows some versatility in the player to match the versatility you mention on Perlini.

In any event, if the team goes with 14 forwards, there is room for each of McLeod, Turris, Benson, Perlini and Shore – its Marody and Seviour that are out.

Yes, there could be some cap savings with assigning Turris (if he’s exposed, I don’t see him getting claimed – its not like teams are scouting Oilers camp and seeing that he’s a legit NHL option).

Jethro Tull

LT, can we call Skinner “Borg” as he stopped 7 of 9?


Thank you for doing this Hunter!


Duncan Keith observed on the WestJet flight out of Penticton to Calgary and I assume continuing on to Edmonton.

Jethro Tull

Trade Alert!

Bank Shot

There is a great Burger place in Calgary….


Yes, and it’s called Rocky’s Burger Bus. The drive in’s burgers are overrated (good milkshakes though).


I think is is also possible if McLeod is not the expected 4C on opening night, rather than put him in the press box, the Oilers could send him to Bakersfield. The assignment would not just because he can clear waivers, but to give him another month or so of games in the AHL with specific guidelines to him and Woodcroft on what on the facets of the game he needs to improve to be a solid NHL 3rd or 4th line center.

Most of last season in the AHL, he was part of a first line skill unit that controlled the puck large chunks of the game against AHL level competition. Late last season and playoffs, he had had the opportunity to play some games against NHL competition on a depth line, which, as a complete unit, generally can’t control the puck as well, and needs to more emphasize a forecheck and puck retrieval style and crowd the net looking for chaos type goals: shoot more when the opportunity presents itself rather than waiting to set up the open shot.

If he is in the press box for opening night, I would expect in would only be for a short stint, so he can watch the action from above for education purposes, and then get inserted into the line-up fairly quickly (or sent down if the team starts out on a roll and Ryan/Shore are performing well). I don’t see McLeod being a 13/14th forward for an extended period. Not taking into account injuries, if he is coming in and out of the line-up, I think he plays at least 2/3 of the games. No matter which way it goes to start the season, if he isn’t at least the primary 4th center right away, I think he will be by no later than Christmas.


Play time is over. Time to cull the herd. They should start focusing on the regular season and really scrutinize the players that are fighting for NHL roster slots.

If McLeod can’t show a little better in the next few games, best to send him to Bake for a few months, let him work on a few things he clearly needs to work on there, rather than in the NHL. He can’t be claimed on waivers. Keep a player of value on the roster for the first month or two that would have a high risk to not passing through waivers.

I would like to see a third line for one game of

to give the fringe skill some chance with a vet C and see if passer and shooter can make something happen. Also as a benchmark to how these two wingers would perform as a 3rd line compared to the likely 3rd line of


Maurice said last night that the big cuts are coming before their final two games, I’d expect something similar from Tippett.


I think the top two lines will play on Saturday and then against the Canucks – three games (maybe 4).

They’ll need to keep enough players around to not need these guys for the other games but, yes, cuts are being made and more are coming.

On the back-end, with Samorukov, Russell, Keith unavailable, there hasn’t been a ton of choice and its been good for the kids to get the at bats – we know the lineup.


Also as a benchmark to how these two wingers would perform as a 3rd line compared to the likely 3rd line of


That’s the opportunity McLeod got last night.

Agree it would be good to see Benson with Ryan-Perlini and or Ryan-Kassian.


I hope Benson gets some at bats with Ryan or Draisaitl. I know those jobs are filled on the Oilers but after all this time, it would be nice to see what he can do.


I was posting about this well before camp started – didn’t think it was going to happen and doesn’t look like its going to.

Maybe he’ll get a game with the likes or Ryan but I just don’t see him getting any at bats with the likes of even Nuge let alone Drai.

Experimenting on the top two lines would likely mean giving the likes of Foegele or Kass some at bats.

Fuge Udvar

McLeod showed his good and his bad in that game. His speed is noticeable and he makes plays. He closes on guys fast but he peels away too quickly. Effectively losing the angle and making it harder to disrupt the pass. Yamamoto is excellent at this and shows how you don’t have to be physical to effectively forecheck.

Marody has shown who he is. A skilled complementary player. When he is playing with 2 non NHLers he just disappears. But much like how even checkers in the NHL need to show some offence at lower leagues. Complimentary players in the NHL need to show some impact ability at lower levels.


I agree with LT on the forward group.

While I think McLeod makes the team (although potentially assigned for day 1 on paper for cap structuring purposes), as of now, he’s being outplayed by Shore for 4C. That is not a good thing for Oilers fans.

Benson is currently being outplayed by Perlini for 4LW and if the team goes with 13F and 8D, that could be fatal for a Benson roster spot.

Marody is being outplayed by both Turris and Seviour – he’s coming from the farther back right now.

Its only 3 of 5 and the more important games are to come but early separation in the last few forward roster spots is happening.

Can Perlini keep up his play against stronger, bigger and better d-men? Can Turris still look “fast enough” and “strong enough” against real NHL players? Does Shore cotinue to look strong or is his work ethic the advantage he needs against the tweeners but he doesn’t have the skill/talent to hand against the NHLers?

Story Lines!


In the game against Calgary, Turris and Shore played their most minutes against Brad Richardson, Milan Lucic, Trevor Lewis, Rasmus Andersson and Nikita Zadorov. Yes, that is an older forward line, but I expect all 3 will still be in the NHL this season, and Andersson/Zadorov will likely be Calgary’s top pair this season. The Oilers crushed that 5 man unit while Turris/Shore were on the ice. I have no idea if they can keep it up, but your observation on that account is weak since all 5 opponents are real NHL players.

Harpers Hair

Noah Hanifan will be the top pair LHD.


Hanifan and Tanev are Calgary’s top pair. They were last year, and will be again. They were probably among top 15-20 d-pairs in the league last year.


Yes, my bad, Tanev and Hanifan played slightly more 5 on 5 than did Giordano and Andersson but Giordano and Andersson got more special teams time. They also played similar amounts of time against elites, and Anderson/Giordano were even or close to even in goal% while, Tanev/Hanifan were slightly below. Regardless, Zadorov is probably not a straight up replacement for Giordano so yes Hanifan/Tanev are likely to be the Flames top pair. Still, Turris/Shore were playing against at least the second pair so it is still valid to say that they were playing real NHL players.


But Shore playing well is good for Oiler fans. He has a 2 year deal..


Right now Shore is outplaying Ryan McLeod for 4C (or Benson for 4LW) although despite seeing some minutes against the likes of Lewis, Lucic and Richardson, Shore hasn’t had a chance to face competition similar to what McLeod did last night.


If McLeod isn’t in the lineup but in the press box they should send him down (no waiver risk) and keep Benson instead of risking him on waivers. Young top scorers in the AHL don’t often pass all the way through.

Or if McLeod is in the lineup, I don’t see a lot of separation, if any, between Sceviour, Shore, Turris although Shore and Turris have played C. I’d definitely keep Benson over Sceviour. Sceviour is on the downhill side of his career, we know his ceiling and it was 4 to 7 seasons ago. Benson will still be improving for the next few years before having his 4 year peak. In all his time since his junior days. I’ve still never seen him paired with a true goal scorer. Here is a player scouted as having elite vision, smarts, and passing skills, yet nobody has found a sniper for him. Going back 9 years, I don’t see a linemate that was considered a sniper before joining his line. That’s criminal! Haha. We’ve never really seen what he can accomplish if paired with a sniper. I hope they can find him time with Perlini on the 3rd or 4th line. They might surprise us if they find some chemistry.


Benson — McLeod — Perlini

That’s how my roster is penciled in, and for much the same reasons as you’ve expressed.

Also, give the kids a chance to gel while the league is still ramping up instead of operating at full tilt.


I agree with most of this.

As of now, I see:

Perlini/McLeod/Turris with Benson being an extra.

Frankly, the line, based on merit right now should be Perlini/Shore/Turris


I am sure that you have the wingers surrounded. Is it better to have McLeod develop a bit more? Put Shore in the middle? We know Tip values Shores experience and his PK ability. I am cheering hard for McLeod, but not sure he is there just yet. So many fun storylines at camp. Nice that the top 12 are all but decided and also nice that us fans only have to quibble about the 4th line as far as forwards are concerned. Good problems to have for the first time in a long time.


Yeah, I like McLeod’s speed, but I’m not sure he brings much else. You’d like to see some physicality with that size and speed and some scoring. So far, he has 1 assist in 10gp. Benson hasn’t fared much better with 1 assist in 7gp. But McLeod can go down without risk of being lost and that’s a big deal. Especially since McLeod hasn’t really outshone any of his competition for 3/4C. It will still be good for his development to go down and play with Lavoie and eventually Holloway for a year.

Benson, on the other hand, is a responsible, smart, hard-working player with elite vision. If they send him down there is a good chance he’s lost on waivers for nothing after developing him for 5 years. He’s been a top scorer in the AHL for 3 straight seasons and without a sniper.

Turris has shown okay in preseason. I’m not sure if that will translate to regular season and sending him down might be a plus if he gets picked up as it will mean a bit more cap space. Even if he outperforms his competition I think it will be by very little.

Shore is cheap and a bit of a swiss army knife, so I think it’s probably smart to keep him on the 23-man even if he doesn’t play regularily.

I think Perlini’s potential is just too high to give up on. He averaged 20 goals per 82 over 3 seasons. That’s no easy feat. He’s only 25 (drafted just 9 spots after Draisaitl). There is even an outside chance he supplants one of Puljujarvi or Yamamoto based on performance or fills in well in an injury situation for any of the top 4 wingers.

Sceviour shouldn’t supplant a player that will be lost on waivers. He’s well past his prime and his prime wasn’t that high. As long as the Oilers don’t have to risk losing someone, I’m okay with him sitting in the press box and subbing in sometimes. He hasn’t really outplayed anyone he’s competing against.

I’m not sure Marody has shown anything to warrant consideration yet. He’s also a waiver risk, but I don’t see him as being at that much risk of getting picked up.

Archibald. I have no idea what to say about that situation. We just have to wait to see how it plays out. At first, I thought he was simply refusing the vaccine. If that were the cae, I thought they should trade him to a MEtro Div team for whatever they could get (7th round pick?) and be done with it. But now it sounds like he may have a medical condition that is preventing him from taking it. Unless, that is an excuse, but that would be just speculation at this point. We wait.

Turris (or Marody)/Shore

Sent down:
Marody (could be lost on waivers)

Let Go:

Possibly on LTIR or traded:


Sceviour shouldn’t supplant a player that will be lost on waivers. He’s well past his prime and his prime wasn’t that high. 

I agree that Sceviour hasn’t done anything to separate himself at camp so far. Potentially also that he shouldn’t be kept over someone who could be lost to waivers.

The stuff about him being well past his prime though I don’t think is fair (unless you’re judging purely based on birth certificate and not at all on performance).

His P/60 the past 4 seasons has been 1.41, 1.34, 1.26, 1.60. His SF% has been over 50% each of the last 3 years (and never under 48% in his career). His GF% has been over 48% each of the last 4 years. He’s been a consistently good penalty killer.

He’s a depth player, so there’s certainly no upside beyond the above, but he’s been a pretty good depth player, and there don’t seem to be any obvious signs of decline.


Reliable depth players don’t give coaches ulcers the way that potential does.


Yup, I get that. Which is why this is going to be quite the battle for Benson.


I see Sceviour as a possible upgrade/replacement on Archibald or Turris or Shore. Those types. Different flavour, same family tree.


Little unfair to Turris’ history to say Shore and Sceviour are in the same family tree if I am understanding your use of that term correctly. Yes Turris had an awful season last year by any measure, and it remains to be seen if he has any bounce back at all, but prior to last season, the peak seasons of Shore’s and Scevoiur’s career are about equal to the worst ones from Turris in Ottawa and Nashville.


Yes, agreed (aside from what Redbird said about Turris, was going to mention the same).

I wasn’t trying to argue that Sceviour should make the team over Benson or whoever, just that there is no evidence he’s 4-7 years past his peak as Jaxon said in his first post. And also that’s he’s been quite a good representative of the tree you mention.


Well, I may be overstating it, but I’m not so sure. I believe his prime was from 2014-15 to 2017-18. He has dropped a level since then. He didn’t drop off a cliff as his ceiling was never high enough to drop off a cliff, but I still believe his prime has passed. He is 32 after all.

Sceviour’s AHL Years:
20 – 2009-10 31pts in 80gp (.387pts/gp) compared to Benson’s .971pts/gp
21 – 2010-11 41pts in 77gp (.532pts/gp) compared to Benson’s .766pts/gp
22 – 2011-12 53pts in 75 gp (.707 pts/gp) compared to Benson’s 1.000 pts/gp
23 – 2012-13 52pts in 62 GP This will be Benson’s age this season.

Sceviour’s NHL per 82 game points totals:
Early Partial NHL Callup Year:
24 – 2013-14 38pts (played in only 26 games after being called up from AHL where he had 63 pts in 54 gp (1.167pts/gp)

Sceviour’s Prime Years:
25 – 2014-15 30pts
26 – 2015-16 27pts
27 – 2016-17 24pts
28 – 2017-18 26pts
Sceviour’s Sub-prime Years:
29 – 2018-19 21pts
30 – 2019-20 19pts
31 – 2020-21 18pts

Although it’s only a 12 point difference from 30pts to 18pts, it’s a 40% drop in production.

Probably the reason his P/60 is staying fairly consistent is that he’s probably getting fewer minutes against lesser competition. That’s what it usually means when the Points/GP goes down but the Points/60 goes up. Last season he was 13th in Pts/GP of forwards with more than 28 games played on Pittsburgh. 5 D outpaced him as well.

I know he brings other things to the table, but he has to be a steel trap defensively if he never contributes to scoring, and at 32, I doubt he’s going to improve on his last 3 years.

Does his drop-off curve look like he might contribute 6 goals, 8 assists this season for 14 points if he plays all 82? He doesn’t miss a lot of games but he misses a few so maybe a couple less? I’m not sure if he missed due to injury last season or if he was a healthy scratch.

His positive Corsi / Fenwick metrics can possibly be attributed to playing weak competition and being the 13th forward on one of the most dominant teams last season. They had a +40 goal differential over 56 games. That’s +59 in a normal season. But, he had to contribute, so it seems at least he didn’t bring them down when he did play.

On a personal level, I’m kind of cheering for Sceviour too. I love a story about a local kid coming home to make the hometown team (he’s from Red Deer). Although, for all the feels, Benson is from Edmonton and has this great story of once upon a time being considered for exceptional status, then being hampered by terrible injuries and dropping in his draft year only to be picked by his childhood team, and then clawing his way back to lead the AHL in scoring. This is his last chance so I’ve gotta give that emotional story to him to cheer for. Haha.

Wow, I can really suck myself into a vortex on here.


Good point about his P/game scoring decline.

It looks like it’s partly TOI and partly power play time (he got 30 seconds to 1 minute of PP time/game during his ‘peak’ years and essentially none in his ‘decline’ years).

His 5v5 TOI last season was very low (8:09) but before that it ranged from 9:53 to 11:24 with only a slight downward trend.

I originally wrote ‘it’s too late to look at the competition he faced’, but then I got curious. So, his %TOI vs elites from PuckIQ:
14-15 10th/14
15-16 12th/13
16-17 8th/11
17-18 10th/12
18-19 12th/13
19-20 4th/12
20-21 14th/14

He was very sheltered last year, but he’s always been aside from 19-20 with the Panthers. His 5v5 scoring rates have barely moved through his career, but I don’t think they’re holding steady because he’s seeing weaker comp.

And in terms of his on ice results, it’s true his shot and goal rates have been good partly because he’s been on decent teams. But his relative numbers have generally also hovered around even (so he’s been ‘keeping up’ with his good teams/teammates in terms of shot and goal differentials).

Anyway, he’s clearly a bottom 6 player (probably even a ‘4th liner’, based on his %TOI vs elites). He’s been a pretty good one though, and I’m still not convinced there are legitimate signs that his play is falling off.

And I should say again (I tried to make it clear in my original reply), none of this was meant as an endorsement of Sceviour making the team over Benson or anyone else. Just trying to say that Sceviour has actually been a pretty decent player based on the numbers. Better than most of the Oilers bottom 6 from last season, and better than a number who are vying for this years team.

Thanks for reminding of both their back stories by the way.


Nice deep dig. I will concede by saying he isn’t past his prime but not in his prime either? Huh? We both got sucked into the research vortex. I think we’re in agreement for the most part, with a few small quibbels.


Yes, for sure. 🙂


Yup. This post encapsulates my thinking. I appreciate your detailed and thoughtful reply.

The only thing I can think of to add is that I’d love to know the honest answer to the coaching staff’s assessment of whether McLeod is better served playing in the AHL or NHL at this point of his career. I think he can play in the NHL but am unsure if he’s at a point in his development where playing with other top flight players against lesser competition is a benefit to him.


If he’s going to learn to engage and battle and not shy away from contact, he’s probably best served playing in the NHL on the 4th lie.

If he goes back to the AHL, his line will probably be similarly dominant to last season (be it with Marody and Lavoie or whoever he may be playing with) and that was part of the issue in the AHL last year – the line always had the puck, they didn’t have to battle to get it back, they didn’t have to engage physically to continue pressure or get the danger areas.


At this point, just like last year, if the NHL D are healthy, I see Koekkoek starting as 3LD with Russell in the press box. Oh, don’t get me wrong, Russell will play, and will play plenty but he’s going to be a bit behind missing the first week of camp. He’s skating now but I’m not sure he gets in to games until next week. We’ve already got Keith doing that.

Yes, I guess the way things are going, 13F and 8D could be an option – unless Benson (or Marody) have a real strong 2nd week of games, they both could be exposed in the name of keeping Lagesson.

At the same time, I think there is a non-zero chance of a d-man IR stint allowing them to keep that extra forward (Benson) – if they have the cap room for it (regular IR doesn’t create any cap space or reserves).


One of the things I’ll be keeping a close eye on is the play of Berglund and Niemelainen in the second week of games when the competition is faster and more experienced.

I thought Niemelainen had a nice game last night against a good Jets lineup.

Berglund has made zero mistakes through two games but they were two very poor lineups he faced. His only/main issue seems to be his skating is a bit lumbered and I’ll be curious to see how he does against NHL lineups.

Neither will make the team but both could definitely see injury call up time if they continue.

That is a stunning statement for me on Niemelainen – even watching him surprise in the AHL last year, I thought he was a non-option for the NHL but the facts are (a) he is playing well in his opportunities, (b) Samorukov is hurt for 5 more weeks or so and (c) Broberg simply isn’t ready (and even if there is an argument that he could play, his development is probably best served by real AHL time and he’s too important to rush – risk adverse).


On the rest of the D, yup, Ceci had a tough night. I think he may have been trying to do too much to impress given his first game with the org and the clear leader of the D. He did make some nice plays with the puck at the offensive blue but was trying to do too much defending the rush and was making mistakes.

To me, it looked like rust which would make sense – that might be me hoping. LT nailed it though, the team was overwhelmed and its tough for any player to impress in that dynamic.

I though Nimelainen made a couple of plus defensive plays. I though he was surprisingly good in Bakersfield last year but wasn’t sure if his game would ever translate to the NHL level. I think he may be taking another step this year – we’ll find out over the course of the season in the Bake but he’s so big and long that he closes quickly, he wants to be physical with you and he just gets in the way with his body and his stick. He can move the puck bu the hands are still quite poor which leads to some muffed passes and clears given how little time there is for d-men at this level.

Kesselring – you can see the hockey IQ and the skill but he is overwhelmed. This is not surprising to me as I thought he’d be back at NorthEastern for another year and was surprised he went pro at the end of last season. He was also overwhelmed in the AHL last year for the first while. Some really really odd play while defending. We knew when he was drafted that he was a long term project and, while he remains a real prospect with a decent ceiling, he remains at least a few years away from being an NHL option.


I am definitely not alarmed by last night’s game – that was tough 1st pairing deployment for Koekkoek/Bouchard against a deep Jets team (minus Ehlers).

Bouch had a tough night, in particular the 2nd period. We rave about his ability to get shots through and then he gets about 5 or 6 blocked (at least he had those shot attempts). He took a bad angle or made a bad read on the one goal and the player drove to the net and the rebound cashed – mistakes happen. He also missed the open player in transition and in the offensive zone on fairly easy passes.

Bouch was just off – maybe it was the stress of the tough minutes, maybe it was just a tough night, mabye it was his 3rd game in 4 nights with travel between both games?

That last sentence about 3 in 4 also go for McLeod and Benson (I think).

Bouchard will be just fine – he is going to tear up the NHL playing soft 3rd pairing minutes and, when he’s not playing soft minutes, deploying the puck to the likes of McDavid, Drai and company.


The Jets were full value for a 5-1 win last night (Oilers were much better in the 3rd, when the game was out of hand) but, at the same time, three of the Jets’ goals came off lucky bounced/flukes – it is what it is – they deserved a multi-goal win but also got the good luck.

Here is hoping that Derek Ryan can be a legit 3C for the year and that Holloway is ready for that role next year.

I like Ryan McLeod, he has some plus skills and his general defensive responsibility and his speed and ability to gain clean exits and entries are substantial. At the same time, to my eye through three games, he has shown zero development in the most important area for him – the willingness to engage in contact and battle. He still completely shys away from all physical contract. Maybe its just exhibition but, given its been his entire career, that seems unlikely. It was stark playing with two physical players last night.

I truly think that his overall game, including his offensive game, is highly limited if he can’t find some willingness and battle. Take a hit, finish a check, battle in front or on the boards – he continues to do none of it and its going to limit him to 4C/4W and PK if he isn’t able to change his approach.

Darth Tu

I’m starting to feel the same on McLeod, I was hoping he could become a bit of a Cogliano type player for us given his boots. He’s unlikely to be a 20 goal a year scorer, and if he’s unwilling to get stuck in physically it really starts to limit how we can use him.

That said there’s still a player there. Hopefully last night can be another learning experience for him and he can work on what he has to. I think the 3C battle might already be over with DRyan out on top. As you say, can he be a legit 3C for the whole season? That remains to be seen. I prefer him as a 4C option. Again long term I like the idea of Holloway grabbing that role – or alternatively I will now say something I almost always balk at the idea of:

Holloway goes left wing on the Drai line, Nuge is 3C between Foegele and Kassian. I’m not saying I want Nuge to be a 3C, I like him in the top 6, but here and there it could work. I guess it would give us almost a 2B line rather than a 3rd line. Heck if Benson was playing so well he was in the 3rd line LW conversation maybe you could go something like:

McLeod-Ryan-Perlini (or some other combo of 4th line)

Benson not exactly lighting it up puts the dampeners on this plan though.

Anyhoo, I’ve still seen lots that I’ve liked this preseason. How far away are we from Keith getting into camp and games? I’m looking forward to seeing how the full d-corps is shaping up.


I think Keith will skate for the first time on Saturday – I think he’ll play Monday and the two games against the Canucks.


I think you forget that his elite talent is skating! He uses that and his hockey IQ to get to pucks before they get to the intended opponent and turns the puck the other way. While I agree there are times he could be more physical his success to date is playing to his strengths. Getting himself tied up in physical encounters is counterproductive to his skills. To be truly effective keeping the feet moving is key!


I absolutely have not forgotten that he has elite skating ability – as I mentioned, he has some plus skills (skating) and is great at zone exits and entires.

At the same time, skating alone won’t get a player far – there are lots of speedsters that cannot “make it” – see Yoakim Nygard.

I 100% disagree that “getting tied up in physical encounters is counterproductive to his skills” and I think the opposite. Noone is asking the kid to be a banger but he completely shys away from contract – its a complete non-willingness to engage and it makes him almost completely ineffective in the offensive zone.


I am the captain of the McLeod fan club and I agree with this.

If Ryan wants an NHL 3C job ( 4C is his because of sheer elite skating talent) he is going to have to show more.

Again, it is early and I do believe he will need more NHL at bats to feel more comfortable, so there is no panic.

Will revaluate in Dec / Jan.


interesting points, it may well be that his speed enabled him to develop being used to little contact, Woodcroft got him going in the right direction last year and so far he’s eyes wide open thinking “these men are large, fast and aggressive” and there’s some nerves. Once cuts are made, more time to get comfortable at the NHL level and increased one on one coaching will hopefully help. He has a good set of tools to work with.


Thank you for recognizing this. I hope the provinces come to recognize this day as well. I know my kid’s school is spending today talking about Truth and Reconciliation. It’s a start.

Randle McMurphy


Last edited 16 days ago by Randle McMurphy
Bruce McCurdy

Well done, LT. Am missing your voice on the radio this morning but salute the fact your employer is choosing to to recognize the occasion even as our provincial government is not.

My wife devoted the last half of her 40-year teaching career to Prince Charles Elementary in Edmonton, where over 90% of the students are First Nations, so I have had an extended insight into many of the issues that, unfortunately, persist in our society.

This year has been an eye opener on so many levels with the discoveries of the mass burial sites (I can’t call them graves) in various locales across our country & continent. During my daily walks I have made multiple visits to the St. Albert Healing Garden (with a few hundred other folks on a couple of organized occasions), to Poundmaker Lodge, to the Aboriginal Cemetery where many First Nations victims of TB who died at the Charles Camsell Hospital are at least properly memorialized. And I spent a memorable few hours at the fabulous new Indigenous People’s Experience at Ford Edmonton, which I highly recommend. I learned a tremendous amount that day… so much traditional wisdom, presented in respectful fashion.

I’ve learned a lot… but have miles to go before I sleep. Including another hike to the Healing Garden later today, where I will again pause to reflect, & respect. I encourage others to do likewise in your own way.