Front Page Challenge

by Lowetide
Photo by Noah Fuchs

The Edmonton Oilers started fast, fell fast asleep and then steamrolled the Calgary Flames last night in a game that saw the team flex its offensive muscles on demand. Faced with a tighter Flames group and a fine goaltender having a good night at the other end, it would have been easy for the club to fold up, pull the plug and live with a preseason loss. The team did the opposite, overcoming a 3-0 deficit with four unanswered goals and a lot of fury. The northern team now stands at 4-1-1 in the preseason, 20-13 goal differential, with two games to go against the Vancouver Canucks.



Mikko Koskinen stopped 26 of 29, .897. He made several big stops and the three goals against came off loose defensive work and errant passing. If that is his last tuneup game, and it could be, I think the Oilers will be confident he can start 35-40 games this season and win enough for the team to make the playoffs.

Darnell Nurse-Tyson Barrie played 20:27 and posted 10-7 shots and 0-1 goals five on five. Nurse made a pass that tipped off a Flames forward and Matthew Tkachuk cashed seconds later. He had a PP assist, a shot on goal, takeaway and a giveaway at five on five. His improvement at neutral zone passing continues to be a revelation over the last two years that people don’t talk about much. Barrie had two shots at five on five and a giveaway, a couple of errant passes but nothing that cost the team a goal.

Duncan Keith-Cody Ceci played 15:57, delivering 7-9 shots and 1-1 goals five on five. The goal against came on a neutral zone turnover when a forward (JP?) didn’t get the puck deep. Keith and Ceci had moved up the ice and weren’t minding the store, while Johnny Gaudreau was cherry picking and the bet paid off. Keith was also on for the third GA, it was a complete jailbreak with Koekkoek out late and a quick bang-bang pass and shot Keith didn’t get to at all. No excuses for the pair, they have to be better. Keith picked up an assist and made several solid passes coming out of the Edmonton zone. Ceci looked laborious and both veterans need to tighten up. I expect they’ll play again Thursday and Saturday.

Slater Koekkoek-Evan Bouchard played 10:42, going 8-6 shots and 1-0 goals. Koekkoek was involved in the third GA, a victim of some nice skill by Calgary. Koekkoek had a giveaway and a takeaway, he’s 54 percent shots and 50 percent goals five on five in four games this season. Bouchard had an assist, three shots, two reasonable chances, a couple of giveaways and several effective passes. He thinks the game so well, like a veteran back there on the blue line.

Foegele-Ryan-Kassian played 10:04, 4-5 shots and 0-1 goals. Foegele was active, he’s a wrecking ball and chases the puck with abandon. Ryan had a great chance and played an effective game without the puck. He’s very smart. Kassian had two shots and two giveaways, plus a great chance. Kassian is not well suited to this line if it’s going to be a checking unit or if the trio is going to be running against high skill. Archibald’s absence may hurt the team in this way, and it could give Colton Sceviour the roster edge over some other candidates.

Hyman-McDavid-Puljujarvi played 9:19 together, going 7-4 shots and 0-2 goals. Despite the two goals against, I saw this trio good and them some. Hyman is just excellent with the puck, and when he doesn’t have the puck he’s on his way to getting the puck. Whirling dervish. My goodness he has a motor. McDavid had the jet boots going from the beginning, Oliver Kylington looked like a light standard on an early rush where 97 got the corner and drove to the net. He did that later and got tripped, scored a goal for his troubles. McDavid seems to have an extra step when driving down the left side against Calgary blue, it’s a massacre. Puljujarvi flattened Andersson, almost scored early on a breakaway and was a pain in the ass for the Flames all night. As Matt Tkachuk did much the same for Calgary against the Oilers, it was a good night for the 2016 draft. Both McDavid and JP were 1-1-2 on the night, 97 had eight shots and four HDSC in all game states (three at five on five).

Nuge-Draisaitl-Yamamoto played 8:39, going 5-3 shots and 0-0 goals. Nuge had two shots, one great chance, two takeaways and a fantastic PP assist. Draisaitl drilled home the winner like Thor himself, that was on the power play. At five on five, he had an assist, a HDSC, but did have three giveaways versus one takeaway. He was “on” last night. Yamamaoto drew a penalty, had a takeaway and got nine seconds of PP time. He’s going to need to find a way to get involved more offensively. Very quiet so far.

Perlini-Shore-Turris played 7:36, going 3-6 shots and 1-0 goals. It was a huge goal, scored by Perlini from Shore and Bouchard. I believe Perlini made the team anyway, but on a team that didn’t have third line scoring last season a marker from the fourth line deserves a monumnet. Nice pass by Turris, too. Perlini’s goal was five on five, he also had another nice chance and a takeaway. Devin Shore had a HDSC and Turris is playing well this fall.


Evan Bouchard looked very good to my eye last night, I think he’s going to move up the depth chart and it could come quickly. I predicted mid-season during the summer, and it’s early days, but he’s efficient and smart in all areas. This team is lucky to have him pushing for time because my God it’s going to be available.

Mikko Koskinen has a .913SP so far this season and I think he’s going to slide in below that mark (wrote about it in the summer) but he’ll get plenty of playing time no matter this season. Edmonton badly needs him to have a strong season.


  1. Tyson Barrie 39 minutes, 55 percent
  2. Darnell Nurse 64 minutes, 54 percent
  3. Slater Koekkoek 41 minutes, 54 percent
  4. Philip Broberg 41 minutes, 54 percent
  5. Evan Bouchard 81 minutes, 52 percent
  6. Filip Berglund 41 minutes, 52 percent
  7. William Lagesson 45 minutes, 50 percent
  8. Duncan Keith 17 minutes, 41 percent
  9. Markus Niemelainen 35 minutes, 40 percent
  10. Cody Ceci 52 minutes, 39 percent

We don’t have 200 minutes and this isn’t fair to Keith, but as the regular season rolls along, shot and goal differential at five on five for defensemen will be important to monitor. General manager Ken Holland bet heavily on Keith with the summer trade, but coach Dave Tippett isn’t going to devote 20 games to a 40 percent duo. It won’t happen. If you said Keith-Ceci will be the third pair by Halloween, I’d agree it is possible. Keith-Bouchard might be the pairing by then. Nurse-Bouchard by season’s end is possible. I’m saying that the six men we see opening night, and the pairings as populated that night, will be three of the least certain pairings we’ve seen in Edmonton in a long, long time. Important to give everyone a chance, but Bouchard looks ready to make a giant leap up the depth chart based on early showings. We’ll see once everyone has 200 minutes of five on five time in the regular season, but this is something to monitor.


At 10 this morning, TSN1260, we’ll breakdown last night’s game and discuss the roster decisions to come. We’ll also go heavy on the Pacific Division’s California teams with Jonathan Davis from SiriusXMNHL and talk at length about the MLB wildcard games and October baseball to come. 10-1260 text, @Lowetide on twitter. Talk soon!


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It would seem that Lowetide is a super spreader event & has been shut down. Damn Vid!!! Even computers are susceptible. Can’t even post…screams at the cloud


There is a new thread, a few hrs old.


Part of me was wondering if Tip may play McLeod on the wing but, when asked about that today, it sounded like he really sees him as a center.

Also, when asked about Perlini playing the right wing, his response was that he has done so in his career but Tip thinks he’s better on the left side.

I was wondering about a 4th line of McLeod, Shore and Perlini but it doesn’t sound like that would be an option for Tip to start.


I really missed my daily Lowetide read today. I hope that it is back tomorrow. I’m still getting the database error. Godspeed all, have a terrific evening from an Oilers fan in the Nation’s Capital


I just tried it again and today’s piece is there. Huzzah


Someone plug in the database!


No surprise but Dom has Nurse at the top of his list of regression candidates. He’s very clear that regression doesn’t mean the player is bad or will have a bad season but mainly that some numbers will likely normalize.

I can’t disagree with Nurse’s placement from a high level as I also don’t think that he’ll score at a 20 plus goal pace (almost all at evens) – his shooting percentage will almost assuredly come down.

At the same time, i do think that Nurse will continue to contribute offensively at 5 on 5 – his production at 5 on 5 last season wasn’t a massive spike (overall) as he’s essentially been a top 10 producer at evens for years now. His goal spike was indeed a spike and, while I do think it will come down, I do think that he may still score 12-15 even strength goals. Nurse’s timing of joining the rush has improved and the accuracy of his shot from the high slot off the rush has become very good. Nurse will continue to get those looks and pot some goals.

For me, the uptick in Nurse’s game last year wasn’t mainly goal driven, for me, it was his defensive zone play and transition play that drove him to legit #1D level. He was MUCH better positionally in the defnesive zone – he learned to recognize the back-door play and also learned to not “puck chase” and go walkabout leaving the high danger zone nearly as much. To me, these were massive steps in his game.

The other big step was his transition/outlet pass – Nurse improved his passing last season – LT likes to talk about the pace of his passes and I’ll add the accuracy. Nurse became a plus transitioner of the puck by pass to go along with elite transition by skate areas.

If he maintains his play in these two areas while continuing to be massively durable and minute much – he’ll remain a 1D despite a potential drop in goal scoring rate.

Caveat: To my eye, he’s been going walkabout in the defensive zone quite a bit this exhibition season and I fear he’s “trying to do too much” knowing that $74M is looming (even though he’s at $5.4M this season).


Yeah, I agree – sensing he may try to force some things.


I read a piece on Carter Hart earlier today and it notes that he works with his long-time coach Dustin Schwartz.

I just thought it was notable as Oilers fans, as a group, have seemingly been calling for his firing for years and years and, at the same time, I have always ready that he’s well respected within the “goaltending community”.

My guess is that the high majority of those that call for his firing have all but zero actual intel or knowledge on Schwartz and his coaching ability (just as I don’t so I have no actual opinion on him except that it seems those “in the know” speak highly of him).


Lots of criticism of Dave Tippett online with his likely deployment for tomorrow night’s game. Personally, I think its fantastic.

I believe that playing McDavid/Drai together tomorrow night (with Jesse) is mostly to to get some information on a 2nd line in behind and to see if Nuge and Hyman can drive a real 2nd line. McDavid and Drai are going to play together, mostly situational I would think, but likely for stretches here and. A major key to the season is finding some depth in behind them when there is a load up.

With Yamo being shut down for a few days with a head issue…… Turris is getting the shot with Nuge/Hyman. I am just fine with this as well.

For one, Turris has legit offensive skill, can help Nuge with faceoffs and, of course, has played well offensively in camp. No, he can’t fill Yamamoto’s shoes as a 2-way player on the line but I’m fine with him getting an at bat there in camp.

More than anything, to me, it shows that Tip doesn’t feel Kass is the primary fill-in option at 2RW which is huge. Maybe its an acknowledgement of his not so great 2-way play or perhaps an acknowledgement that he’s also had a meh camp.

In any event, I’m on board with tomorrow’s lineup.

Also, Smith starts and Russell plays with Bouch.


We have a Krill Maksimov sighting at Codors’ camp.

I look for a big year from Maksi competing with Lavoie for top 6 minutes and PP1 time. He looks fit and ready! 


Did Dom’s ranking of the Oilers break the internet?


Just this corner.

Harpers Hair

I remember when this corner insisted Dom’s model was hot trash.

What happened 🙂


I haven’t changed my mind. I don’t think I ever used ‘hot trash’ though.

I just think that statistical models suffer from all sorts of problems. Not just hockey related. And as the input factors increase in complexity their reliability deteriorates very quickly.


David Staples
Remember when it was rumoured the Oilers might trade Jesse Puljujarvi for Volkov. Ken Holland does not get everything right. He nailed that one, though.

Elliotte Friedman
· 11m
Volkov (ANA), Dell (BUF) on waivers


It’s been 5 yrs since JP been drafted. Now let us see where each player is over the next 5. For starters, I would say Jesse has been the player that smiles the most and over the next 5 years easier to coach than the ones drafted above and around him.


Jesse’s smile is so infectious, even wild Bison love him.


My database connections are even less secure than Mikko Koskinen’s glove on the first shot of the game!

Our Edmonton Operation

Yeah, Darth, ditto what you and everyone else is saying.

Darth Tu

Anyone else having issues with the site? I’m not seeing a new blog post for today yet….

I was just about to have a mid morning coffee and devour said post before getting back to work.

I’m getting the error establishing database connection as well….


Yes having same problems. Gremlins have been busy lately!


Yup. Same, but noon coffee (EST)


Same here. And I believe the site was down last night for a time also.


Finally an appearance.

Dom (Dom’s model) ranks the Oilers #6.

Projected 101 points, which seems not even controversial considering they’ve been a projected 100 point team since Holland/Tippett arrived.

Last edited 10 days ago by jp

Good point. In 2019-20 the Oilers were on pace to hit 96 points, and in 2020-21 played at a 105 point pace. One-oh-one is probably a low estimate given the summer upgrades and the weak Pacific division.


I agree that’s likely.

While opinions very it seems, I think the Pacific this your should be weaker than the North last year.

Beyond that, there’s no need to get ahead of ourselves with preseason projections and what they mean 🙂


LT, just listening to yesterday’s show, why do you think John Gibson would be a good fit for the Oilers?


Do you or anyone know where to find a ‘real’ GSVA ranking?

Pretty sure they exist, but the one at NST just takes the SV%/average SV% delta and multiplies by minutes.

It gives the illusion of accounting for shot quality but does not actually do so.

To your question, I’ll be curious to hear LTs answer.

I’ll assume hope for a rebound from Gibson, due in part to his results suffering by playing for a terrible team.


When you’re “hoping for a rebound” you don’t suggest that 1st + Broberg + Koskinen is a realistic price to pay though, not when he’s got $6.4M x 6 owed to him still.

As for your stat, I’m not entirely sure what you’re looking for but I use GSAx, which is Goals Saved Above Expected. GSAA is useless IMO… you’ll find GSAx here:

The list linked is sorted by the past 2 seasons combined and minimum 2500 FA to get the 25 busiest goalies.


No, I wouldn’t pay that given Gibson’s numbers over the past 2 seasons.

He was exceptional for 5 years before that, and is only 28, so a decent bet for a rebound I think. Still, adding Gibson on that contract would be akin to adding OEL and betting on recovery (well, not quite).

Yes, I was thinking of GSAx, thanks. GSAx does show Gibson better than GSAA, moving him up to 18/25 instead of 22/25… Still scary.


Here’s something even scarier – if you expand the list out to 62 goalies (2 per team) Gibson ranks 47th. He’s been performing poorly for two-and-a-half seasons now, it’s not a 1-year blip.

So he’s essentially an average backup who is locked into a 6-year, $38.4M contract. That’s Cap Dump material, not 1st-round-pick+top-prospect and BOOM-we’re-a-contender type stuff.

And I thought this was a math blog? 🙁


The Dementor be dementoring…

That said. I don’t see the point of Gibson at the pre-Dementor price point. The Dementor has devalued the asset. Broberg and Samorukov are critical to the Oilers contending over the medium term.


Yeah, Gibson would be similar to the Matt Murray bet but for longer and with more assets out.

The flipside is that Gibson was really damn good for the previous 5 years (or 4.5 perhaps). He was tied for 2nd in the league in SV% in that span (among the 60 most used goalies; 75+ GP).

Too rich for me, though I do still think he has a decent chance to rebound.

El Duderino

It sure is quiet.


Watching a bit of the Kraken/Canucks game. Kraken up 3-0. Hard to watch Larsson in that Kraken jersey. Sail on Viking warrior!

Last edited 10 days ago by fishman

Brett Connolly on waivers


A small minority of us saw this happening before the contract was signed

Funny Bissonness

Brett Connolly was born the same year as me and looks old enough to be my grandad.

Patrick Marleau looks like Brett Connolly’s younger brother.

The NHL is aging Brett Connolly faster than the presidency ages potus.

None of this is relevant to his playing abilities, but he looks old as shit.

Ice Sage

Dom L’s predictive model (which is analytic-ish) over at the athletic is into the final top 6 and the Oilers have yet to be mentioned… Weak division beneficiaries perhaps, as I still don’t see this crew being on the same level as Avs, VGK, Bruins, TBL, To. Nice to have some positive regard, though.


Guys like Hyman, Foegele, Ryan are analytic darlings.

I remember, after Dom’s article came out assessing how the teams did in the off-season, the Oilers scored well on his model and, when Dom talked about it, he was pretty clear that his model liked the Oilers’ off-season better than he did personally but, of course, he needs to go with his model.

Ice Sage

Yeah, kind of a ‘whole is less than the sum of the parts’ situation? Hope not!

Bulging Twine

For those who didn’t see, the Condors signed 2 more to AHL deals; Tim Schaller and Graham McPhee


Ah McPhee, someone I went from expected nothing of, to expecting something of, then back to nothing.


Thanks for this.

Sure, lots of room for bottom of the roster forwards on the Condors (not so much on defence but definitely at forward).

McPhee only got to play 3 AHL games last season (played on loan to Austria) – he has about as much an NHL chance as any of us but its nice so show some “loyalty” to a player drafted by the org with some minor league time.

Schaller actually has close to 200 NHL games and isn’t that old – like 30 – should be a nice veteran add.


Yeah, Schaller is a pretty significant AHL player. Very solid add on an AHL deal.

276 NHL games. He was close to a regular for 4 years leading up to the pandemic.


Denezkin had a big game for Lada in the VHL yesterday – a goal and an assist and a goal in the shootout (he was the first shooter).


Sutter with a “different view” than Tip and Connor:

1) Tip talks about treating last night like a regular season game – Sutter says it was a pure exhibition game “a no-hitter”

2) Tip talks about McDavid getting tripped and how it should have been a penalty. McDavid the same. Sutter asked about the coaches challenge as says its the wrong call – “ran it to our goalie……”


Wow Sutter comes across as an ass!


Sutter is an ass.


Sutters gonna defend his guys but this just reeks of “I wasnt even trying” excuse.

This happens in the league way too much where defenders send attacking players into their own goalie. Its stupid and reckless with this Tanev trip being a prime example. Hopefully with the cross checking crackdown some of those incidents get called but I remain skeptical.


You expect that from the losing side. View on tanev hit is a different story if tanev was an Oiler and a shame player was on the receiving end. sitter is old school and the league needs to send a message and move away from his style.


OP nice job on the post game write up at the Cult!!


Thank you – you all got a break from my posting during the game last night as I needed to ensure I was paying full attention, taking notes, etc.

I think I missed alot in my write-up – it was tough with zero ability to rewind, etc. and not even any official highlights.

Victoria Oil

‘Front Page Challenge’, that’s a blast from the past, LT. I thought it died in the 70’s or early 80’s. Just found out it lasted 38 years from 1957-1995. I guess low-budget TV shows can last a long-time in this country. 🙂


Gordon Sinclair was the original curmudgeon of Canadian television. A characteristic that becomes more understandable as one ages. 😉

Harpers Hair

And yet Pierre Burton always came across as the Friendly Uncle.


Yeah. I liked Gordon better. There is something about bow ties that has never set well with me.

Gordon told a great story on air once about how he hired a famous portrait painter to immortalize him. The painter showed up and took a bunch of photos which Gordon figured was so he could choose a pose for the painting but the guy never returned. A few weeks later the painting was delivered along with an invoice. Gordon phoned to find out what was going on and the painter said he did the painting from the photos.

Gordon wrote him a cheque, took a photo of it and mailed him the photo.

No idea why I remember that. 😉


Pierre Burton on Rick Mercer showing how to roll a joint. Apparently Pierre enjoyed 420.

Harpers Hair

Just wondering if you got AirPlay to work last night?


No, our tv is about 4 years old and I couldn’t find any reference to apple tv so I just watched on my macbook. Thanks for the info though.

Harpers Hair

Thanks again. I might fool around with it later on. I have to admit, though, that my interest in all things electronic pretty much ended when I left the workforce.

Me laughing at my mother’s inability to use her VCR some 40 years ago has come full circle. If it requires me to push more than one button I pretty much lose interest.


I know that it may cause a bit of an uproar, but I think McLeod starts the year in the minors. Doesn’t require waivers, and could use more time as the best centre on the team with tonnes of opportunity to play. He will not get that with the big club, and honestly the Shore-Perlini combo is kind of hard to ignore on the 4th line. When he comes back up, hopefully he would be a viable option as the 3C over just the 4C.

This would also allow giving Benson a shot with the big club before exposing to waivers. If he can’t stick/play there is even less of a chance he gets picked up on waivers later in the season, and to be honest by that point we may no longer care. To give him the best chance to start the year, I would go:


Give Benson a veteran RHC and a goal scorer to cash his passes.


DNB had a pretty good look at LTIR/cap implications for the Oilers, reminded that the Oilers want to get as close to the cap as possible prior to the start of the season.

Potential bonuses factor in as well (it’s a great summary, but holy hannah my eyes glaze over after 5 seconds), so very possible we might see Broberg come up on the “roster” for Day 1 as he and Bouchard have bonus structures they would want to add to the cap hit.

McLeod might make the team overall but get sent down essentially as a paper transaction for this reason.


Given his play – I can easily see McLeod not make the opening lineup.

However, the question is – what has Benson done to *make* the team?

Further- how could you pencil in Benson higher than Perlini?


I don’t think that would cause an uproar at this stage (except by those that see only negative value in Shore and are outraged at Holland for his contract).

He shows some fantastic skills, in particular zone exits and zone entires but he has shows struggles in behind each blueline – in particular in the offensive zone but also some mis-reads in the defensive zone.

He has simply bee outplayed and, frankly, not shown any development since the playoffs ended.

Given roster construction and waivers matters, i could definitely see him starting the year in the AHL.

At the same time, I’m not positive he will develop in the right areas with a 10, 20, 40 game stretch in Bakersfield. I would presume his line (with Marody and, maybe, Lavoie) would be similarly dominant to last year and they would just own the puck and not really have to battle to get it back, battle for space and opportunities, battle to cycle, etc.

McLeod may be in a weird place where he has some things to work on but, at the same time, is probably too good for them to be worked on in the AHL.


McLeod should be sent back to Bakersfield because he has been outplayed by Shore, Turris, Perlini and Benson.


I’m still smiling over the irony of the outrage when Holland signed Shore early in the summer and the certainty that Turris was finished.

Just wait until he signs Sceviour later this week. 😉


Central to discussing the line combos it is perhaps important to define what the lines are.

The Oiler has a 1A and 1B line with CMD and Drai respectively. They are premier players requiring no aheltering and expected to outscore whatever opponents. They are more like 1A/1B than 1st/2nd because either is comparable to a typical opponent 1st line. They are most likely to see opponent 1st line(power vs power) and “3rd line” (low event checking/mugging line) respectively if left choice to the opponent coach, but the Edm coach has limited capability to switch either one of the line matchup to the opponent 2nd line. Home team get last change, but the away team can shelter from a line that freshly got off the ice.

Next is the Edm 3rd line. Ideally, this is a checking line you dont have to shelter. If they can neutralize opponent 1st line, it creates a mismatch between Edm 1B line and opposition 2nd line. Otherwise, if match up is Edm 3rd line vs Opp 3rd line one expects a low even grinding match. It really does not make sense to expect the Edm 3rd line to outscore the opposition 3rd line (who is expected to neutralize 1st lines) or 2nd lines (which often is consist of more expensive offensive players).

Next up is the defense. There is the primer all situation 1st pair (Nurse and whoever he plays with). There is a choice to deploy this pair with the 1A line and try to stream roll whomever the opposition, or this can be used to shut down the opposition 1st line. For the 1st case, a shut down pair is needed against the opposition 1st line. The confusion arise from whether this shut down pair is the 2nd pair vs the 3rd pair. This pair does not needed to be sheltered, so they are ahead of the other pair. However, the role they play is shut down so they are hardly expected to outscore the opposition (unless deployed with the 1B line going power-vs-power).

When one say Bouchard is expected to take over the 2nd pair, does it means the expectation is for him to replace Ceci alongside Keith to take on the shutdowm pair? Or does it mean the Koekkoek-Bouchard pairing as a whole no longer requiring sheltering and effectively Edm to have a 2A AND 2B pairing? Or if Keokkoek-Bouchard be so dominate they shelter the Keith-Ceci pairing instead? Or if Bouchard is good enough to bump down Barrie to play with Nurse(good luck fonding a partner for Barrie) to form a 2A/2B with Keith-Ceci and Koekkoek-Barrie?

Keep in mind that this is only theoretical line matching. In game the on-the-fly changes are more dynamic (“4d chess” as some on the group like to call it), with which the direction the play is heading, who is on the ice, who came off also factored into the line match. For example, who would you deploy against units known to dump&chase? Cycles? Deploy Ds that are good at shooting? Goalie who plays the puck?

Ideally you want your D truely be able to handle all opponents and lead a good transotiom? Are there enough players to go around? What is the fundamental difference between a 2nd pair and 3rd pair?


Counting on a 20 year old prospect that is just coming over from Russia to North America for the first time (give or take some interational games) and, aside from a 10 game playoff heater, has dissapoited at each stage since draft day:

Thomas Drance
“He’s got to find a way to make it,” says Travis Green of Vasili Podkolzin. “He’s not on the teamy yet. ySame goes for Jack (Rathbone).” #Canucks


A copy and pasted opinion about a Canuck prospect, but negative? Are you turning into Bizzaro HH?


Just advanced scouting….. next 3 games are against the Canucks.


It’s the Khl politics
oh wait!

Harpers Hair

Travis Green on Podkholzin just now…

Loves the detail and hard work.

Just need more time to adapt to systems and small ice.

Very likely to make the NHL roster but will do whatever is best for the players development.

(and Broberg says hi.)


Holy glass houses mister. I know youre not making a comment about Broberg (a defender) probably not making the team when the thread is talking about a winger taken 2 spots later in the same draft possibly not making the team.

While were on the topic of defenders not making the team and whataboutisms. Which one of Juolevi or Rathbone gets cut?

Do you cut bait 23 year old 5th overall Juolevi and go with 2 hobbit sized dmen (talking about Thin Hughes) on the left side? Or do you go with the disappointing Finn and say despite being 22, Rathbone just needs more time before he can play third pairing?


They could just cut both and pick up top 4 defender Bosmart Raggerty for free.


Something something about whataboutisms and scoundrels.


I look forward to him being on the NHL roster seemingly due to lack of skilled forward depth and not on merit and readiness to play.

He has not performed well in any of the exhibition games.

Not sure why Broberg is saying hi:

1) he’s a d-man, and d-men generally take longer than forwards (in particular wingers) to develop

2) he was not expected to make the team out of camp and defintely not expected to make it and have an impact in a middle 6/top 6 equatable role

3) he was assigned to the proper development league and the coach is not readying the fans with talk about making the team when he’s clearly not ready – risking stalling and limiting development.

Go Podkolzkin!


Fun fact:

Broberg outscored Podkolzin 13 to 11 this past season.

Last edited 10 days ago by jp

It’s interesting. We have something to talk about, now.

Nothing fires up the comment section like angst over Keith-Ceci.

I took a cursory look contemporaneously with the Keith trade at how he did with various partners.

I was surprised that Keith did better with puck movers than people movers.

Keith is small and not fast, you’d assume he would pair better with a Larsson-type player, especially since he has rep for moving the puck.


Small and not fast?


You prefer small and slow?

In the past, I’ve referred to various types of d pairings.

In recent years, Kelly McCrimmon referred to having a preference for pairing a “stay at home d” with a small speedy puck mover.

That’s the archetype for many teams today.

There are not many big, highly mobile d, who can defend and make great outlet passes like Victor Hedman.

Sakic likes to run Toews Macar on his top pairing, giving him two smaller speedy dmen who can both make excellent outlet passes

Where you run into problems is when you have players that don’t fit into that archetype.

We saw this with Bear who was also “small and not fast.” 🙂

You need to pair Bear with someone who is big and can skate like Nurse. Nurse’s outlets have improved, but that used to be his issue.

So you need a big mobile d for Keith and that doesn’t appear to be Ceci.

Last edited 10 days ago by Ryan



Ceci is big and mobile, is he not?


That’s what I was expecting.

The book I read on Ceci suggested a player with a ten cent head and million dollar arm… big, fast, great skater, excellent shot with low hockey iq.

Hopefully the lack mobility was due to the bag skate.


Which book was that?


This is from his Elite Prospects page (written in his draft year way back in 2012):

“A two-way defenseman that stands out offensively. Very good hockey sense and has overall impressive offensive abilities. Above average in areas such as puck handling, skating, passing and shooting. Could play a better physical game.”


6’1 isn’t “small” though, and Keith’s skating has always been a strong point. Unless you were thinking of someone else?

Randle McMurphy

Tongue Sticking Out Emoji.


Couldn’t agree more, especially mere days after LT put down the hammer about politics.

alberta bound edmonton

For all of the concern about Keith/Ceci Tippet bag skated the team yesterday and said they were tired. Let’s wait until pre season is done before serious judgments.


Yup, he said that Sunday was a hard practice – lots of battle and one-on-one drills – he anticipated a tough start with heavy legs.


I am glad Connor is speaking up. The NHL needs to protect the star players, not the thugs. That was a dangerous play. sitters presser was a disgrace outright state it was a bad call. He could have worded it differently. I’m 100 % confident if it happened to one of his players he of all people would be crying to the league. phlegms are such a disgraceful organization.


I still want to see if Hyman-Nuge-Someone is a viable line. That 29-97-13 line looked like a 5v5 powerplay. In previous seasons there hasn’t been enough left for the rest of the roster when 29 and 97 are together. This season, it could work.

If the league won’t give you a powerplay in the postseason, just run 29-97 together all of the time.


Let’s see if Kailer gets his mojo back. Foegele Nuge Hyman could be fun.

Last edited 10 days ago by TheGreatBigMac

That’s a line that’d be great at getting the puck back and scoring goals from within 4 feet of the net. It’d certainly have a different feel to it compared to the top line.


That’s what Tip was evaluating in the 3rd period (and I’m sure we will see some more of it in at least one of the last two exhibition games).

As Tip said last night, McDavid/Drai are great together but Drai is also pretty darn good without McDavid.

In my opinion the must start most games apart – they will load up situationally and even for stretches like last night but starting them apart is absolutely key. The “load up” is simply more effective than when they start games together (in particular game after game) – the “load-up” is a strategy – a energy inducer, a momentum changer. When they start games together, that strategic in-game option disappears.


Not sure we should expect strategic deployment or much forward thinking from a coach that believes that as long as his team plays their game they will come out on the winning side. There are many historical tales and Tippett’s own lack of playoff success that bear witness to this fallacy!


Just a few lineup notes going forward from Tip last night.

Day off today and only Russell and Smith will skate. Look for Russell to play with Bouch on Thursday and Smith to start if he does well tomorrow and practice on Wed.

The “other 4th line” should play on Thursday. They seem to be the clear 5th line right now, on merit.


It’s great to hear McDavid’s post-game comments on the Tanev trip. He did it with class but was clear that he thinks it was dirty and reckless and that it put both McDavid and Markstrom in danger.

Well done Connor.


Absolutely agree. McDavid doesn’t speak out like this often, so when he does I think it gets the attention of the NHL hierarchy. Hopefully they listen and act accordingly.


The league where superstars have to beg for the league to call dangerous plays, ah the wonders of the NHL


The old school of thinking was d-men had to protect the slot at all costs – whether legal or otherwise.
Forwards were responsible for avoiding the goalie at all costs – whether it involved jumping into goalposts or otherwise
Connor is starting a new narrative – if you get beat, let the forward drive the net or
goalies are going to suffer. And this is how it should be. Let him go and hope to clear the rebound – like my rec hockey games!!


Is Jesse Puljujarvi as good as he looks out there? My goodness, what a player.

"Steve Smith"

Prediction: by the end of this season, most people would take him over Laine in a 2016 re-draft.


I already would. Laine is useless at 5v5 and most teams have figured out his one trick.

That QO is sickening!

Last edited 10 days ago by ArmchairGM
"Steve Smith"

I think a lot of people would trade Laine and his current contract for Puljujarvi and his. I think Laine probably still goes higher than Puljujarvi in a re-draft, though.


And in a couple of years there might be a lot of itchy underpants in Toronto.

Brogan Rafferty's Uncle Steve

Imagine the alternate world where Chia trades Hall for Ceci. Ceci signs with Seattle this offseason and Larsson is an Oiler. Damn you Chia!


Just over a week left to play Hunter1909s Death March™


Love the optimism; user: oilsnc79 points: 205 tie breaker: 186 Goals.


Well Mr Messier, I really think with new additions and mix n match MCD n drive it’s fully doable.




Did we find money on the ground with Perlini?

Man, this org. deserves it.


Hat tip to OP for his write up on the game.

Completely agree on his grades. Well done.


Also hat tip to OP for using quotes in describing Smith’s injury ha ha ha


Tks – appreciate it.


Keith / Ceci:

Hey, it is early. Keith’s first game.

But, Keith’s game is all built on speed and agility. When he potentially loses
that compared to the 20 year olds – it may not pretty.

No question he can still make passes.

Again, not making a call – it is his first game.

But it was not Cody Ceci’s first game, was it?

Again, it is early….but I see 1 dead canary on the ground here.

I suspect we may see Bouchard promoted much quicker than he probably should be.

"Steve Smith"

I’m semi-okay with Ken Holland and his off-season–I liked the Hyman signing even allowing for the fact that it will be a boat anchor by the end (that’s just how UFA signings of high-end players work, and the Hyman contract will provide more value than most in the meantime). After a knee-jerk opposition to it, I’m okay with the Bear trade (I like Foegele a lot, but I liked Bear a lot too–seems like roughly fair value). The Nurse contract scares the shit out of me, but my reaction to it is almost exactly the same as my reaction to the Draisaitl contract, and I turned out to be pretty damned wrong about that. Derek Ryan was a smart signing; Perlini looks like he was as well. I think, given the options and the capspace, keeping his powder dry on an upgrade to the goaltending was probably smart. The Ceci signing has a real whiff of Nikitin to me so far, but some smart people seem to think it was an okay bet, so I’m prepared to be proven wrong on it. Plus, it and the Barrie signing, which also didn’t thrill me, were responses to Larsson’s surprise departure, which wasn’t Holland’s fault at all (notwithstanding some assumptions to the contrary here when it first happened), so he was operating from a position of weakness.

But there are two moves this off-season that were just so completely bone-headed that I don’t see how a person who would make them could possibly be qualified to be an NHL GM. The first is the Keith trade–giving up value, even relatively low vaue (I accept that Caleb Jones is unlikely to ever be an every day NHLer on a decent team) for the privilege of paying a declining player whose most ardent defenders think he’s still capable of being an adequate second-pair defenceman $5.5 million per year, when you were effectively the only bidder for his services, is just completely inexplicable. There is no world in which that trade pays off.

The second move is protecting Kassian in the expansion draft. It’s likely that this was a low consequence move–it didn’t make us expose anybody great, and there’s every possibility that even if we’d exposed Kassian the squid would still have picked and signed Larsson, leaving us exactly where we are now. But the thinking that leads one to conclude that it’s worth depriving another team of the opportunity to take that contract off your hands boggles the mind–I can see no argument at all in favour of protecting him over Benson (even as the latter does not particularly look as though he’s going to have an NHL career at this point).


I agree with most of this, but Barrie. I think it was his best signing of the year and it’s not even close. No trade protection is monumental. We can unload his cap and get actual assets in return. Gives him massive flexibility.

"Steve Smith"

This presumes he has positive value in the trade market. Right now, I think he does; it is not at beyond the realm of possibility that, in the reasonably near future, he could come to be seen around the league as a negative value player at his contract.

I don’t hate the signing, but it’s not one that makes me sing Holland’s praises.


If we ever want Nazim Kadri…


I think history has shown GMs way overvalue one dimensional offensive dman. Your argument presumes this has changed. I’m skeptical. All it takes is one GM who sees a glaring need on his PP.

"Steve Smith"

You might be right. But that same thinking made everybody assume that Barrie was going to parley last season’s gawdy counting numbers into a huge contract elsewhere, and for some reason it didn’t happen.


Welcome to Lowetide’s gallery of internet terror

Dee Dee

Keith’s $5.5 Million Salary is a paper number though.

He’s actually only getting paid $2.1 Million real dollars in 2021. Let’s subtract Caleb’s $900,000 off of that and the upgrade cost the Oilers $1.2 Million of real money.

Oilers get the last laugh if he retires at the seasons end so I wouldn’t list it as complete boneheadness. If he falls completely apart the Oilers could profit off of it, so the jury is still out in my opinion. They could gain $3.4 Million in cap (for an $8.9 Million swing), wouldn’t that be funny?

Leaving Kassian unprotected means you end up with a player in a complete funk realizing his team has zero faith in him so you lose any sort of value he has, making him untradeable from that point forward. The Kraken weren’t going to pick him anyways.

"Steve Smith"

Sure, but who cares about real money? Well, Darryl Katz, probably, but in the absence of some indication that Holland’s been given a real money budget, what matters from the perspective of roster construction is cap hit, and Keith’s is $5.5 million.

As for Kassian’s trade value, that was the narrative at the time of the expansion draft: we protected him because he had positive trade value. I was skeptical of that at the time, and I’m more skeptical now; if he had trade value, he should have been traded by now.


That’s how Stauffer framed the issue.

Really though, the Oilers are in the heart of their window to win the cup and if after all these years, Katz risked his one shot of winning a cup (by clogging up cap space with the Keith contract), to save $7.4 million…

Katz probably spent more than that on an interior designer and furnishings for his LA mansion…

We can dream of Keith retiring, but $1.5m probably means a lot more to Duncan Keith than $7.4 m means to Daryl Katz.


Katz has money tied up in film development




I’m not quite sure how this post got any down votes?

It’s absolutely a fair and accurate assessment… And it’s “Steven Smith”

I share the same sentiments.

"Steve Smith"

I’m not as universally beloved as I should be.


I used to think I was popular after a fashion; then I started posting THIS:


Steve Smith and I agree on everything.

"Steve Smith"

In that case, you have some *extremely* questionable politics.


I do feel Zack deserves one last look with fans in the building. He could be worth more in the playoffs also.


Kassian was less than mediocre against the Jets in the playoffs. Awful, against the Blackhawks in the play-in. Literally the worst player on the team. He had one good playoff game in 2017.

So 1 good playoff game in 20. 4 off-the-charts terrible ones. And the remaining meh.

That is a pretty good sample size, that Zack is more likely to hurt than help in the playoffs.


“Steve Smith”

 Reply to JimmyV1965

 October 5, 2021 1:04 pm

You might be right. But that same thinking made everybody assume that Barrie was going to parley last season’s gawdy counting numbers into a huge contract elsewhere, and for some reason it didn’t happen.

I think the main reason it didn’t happen is because Tyson Barrie wanted to re-sign in Edmonton and was offered a fair contract to do so.

He signed on day 1 of free agency – I think its likely he could have received more term and AAV is he played the field a bit more.



 Reply to flyfish1168

 October 5, 2021 3:09 pm

Kassian was less than mediocre against the Jets in the playoffs. Awful, against the Blackhawks in the play-in. Literally the worst player on the team. He had one good playoff game in 2017.

So 1 good playoff game in 20. 4 off-the-charts terrible ones. And the remaining meh.

That is a pretty good sample size, that Zack is more likely to hurt than help in the playoffs.

Is this fully factual and accurate vis-a-vis this past playoffs?

My memory recalls a couple meh games, then a very good game and then a decent game.

My perusal of NST shows he led the forwards in P/60 in the four games, he was positive possession across the board, 50% goal differential, a 60% expected goal differential and positive relative goal differential and expected goal differential numbers.

He played mainly with either Nuge or McLeod.


Kassian was directly responsible for the loss in one game, by skating across the ice near the opponent’s blueline to make a useless hit of a Jet into the boards, instead of backchecking, which led to an outnumbered Jet rush in the midst of a line change, and a critical goal against.


Come on, even you will have to admit this is a narrative-based post – you are picking a single play out of a four game set.

Firstly, its well-established (and I mentioned in my post), that he wasn’t good for the first two game but was very good in the 3rd and fairly good in the 4th. Did he play any regular season games prior to game 1, I don’t remember? Anyways, you are picking out one play in the game where its acknowledged that he was poor

Also, to state that he was “directly responsible for the loss” was then, and now remains, a massive over-statement. I remember the play and, yes, it was a poor play by Kass and he took himself out of position. He was culpable at the start of the play. It also did not lead to an outnumbered rush – it led to a 2 on 2 and then three other Oilers made poor plays that led to the goal. Kass was culpable, probably 3rd or 4th most on the play.

I posted a bunch of objective data regarding his play over 4 games. You posted one negative play from one game, in a vast exaggeration, to back-up “less than mediocre in the series”.

I’m going to need a bit more to be convinced.


I agree that these are his least defensible moves of the summer. Taking his whole tenure into consideration, his other inexplicable move to me was the original Kassian contract.

Overall I think Holland has been a better GM than we’ve seen in these parts in a long time but I’m worried about other moves overvaluing players like Kassian and Keith when it’s pretty obvious to pretty much everyone these are bad moves.


I’m was worried about the term committed to the Ceci signing when it happened.
My worries are strengthening.

I hope i’m wrong


Ceci’s contract looks to be structured for a buyout after 2 years. Year 3 would be nearly all cap savings (only $83k cap hit) and year 4 only $1.083M cap hit…years 5 and 6 would be $1.33M which is palatable, the cap should be rising with inflation in 5 year’s time anyhow.


If you have to structure a contract for an efficient buyout, you should get up from the table and walk away.


I agree theres some worry involved but the man has played what, 3 preseason games on a new team in a new conference? Lets see where we’re at in 20 games, he had a great season in pittsburgh and its not like Matheson/Pettersson/Joseph/ are known to carry anyone.

Even if Ceci at 4×3.25M is a mediocre second pairing defenseman what is the going rate for those players in UFA?

This off season we saw David Savard get 4×3.5M, Derek Forbort 3x3M, Tucker Poolman 4×2.5M.

If he sucks I wont bend over backwards trying to defend his play but its just been so early yet.


Gonna be some entertaining tire fire games with this D corpse.

Look to the playoffs and tremble.


I don’t know. Maybe give that second pairing a little time to gel before rushing to judge. Keith only got out of quarantine two days ago and Ceci has had good results in the past couple of years. I’m not expecting great things, but it’s too early to start buying marshmallows to roast on the tire fire.


Oh, we may have the best offensive D corpse in a long while, I just think all signs point to a lot of 5-4 games, let’s just put it that way.


At least they are damned exciting to watch!


Wither Yamamotor

Randle McMurphy

I siad about JP a year ago. The coach should tell him that his number one priority is to get five hits in each game. (once he realized how big he is things would change)

In a similar vein, the Coach needs to tell Kailer to shoot from “everywhere”. Stop deferring to everyone else.


Puljujarvi will tire out the defense and opposition more by playing offense than being distracted by actively looking for hits. He is a bull in a china shop. He will hit enough by accident.

Being a puck hound on the forecheck and backcheck and going to the front of the net will create more chaos than seeking out hits.


The coach should tell JP to stay away from Bison.
They are big and dangerous animals. 🙂
And they hit harder than any hockey player!

Randle McMurphy

It seems humorous to watch Jesse …. but that was seriously dangerous. 1) A bison can move ALOT faster than it would appear. 2) And they plow through the type of scrub brush Jesse was standing in like a hot knife through butter and 3) Jesse’s dog could easily trigger the bison to attack.

On ice I give the edge to JP. 🙂

Last edited 10 days ago by Randle McMurphy
Randle McMurphy

That’s not my point.

My point was, that having played in Sweden, he had little or no idea just what an effective tool his body size could be. He played a little timid. Whereas, if he had forced himself to use his body a little more, he would realized in no time that his frame is the best tool he has to win puck battles.

He eventually learned that lesson. It just took a little longer than it had to.

Yamamoto needs to accelerate his selfishness when it comes to shooting.


My point is that he will best use his size and its effectiveness by concentrating on offense. He doesn’t have to go looking for the war. The war will come to him.

Why turn an potentially elite power forward into a 3rd line wrecking ball.

Elite power forwards do their wrecking while they are creating offense.


All of Nurse, Barrie, Bouchard, Keith and Ceci are better with the puck than without it. I expect a lot more 5v5 offense from beyond the first line. It is hard to create offense when your dmen just flip the puck out to center to relieve the pressure. That’s just a turnover. I’m looking forward to seeing less ‘high off the glass’ and more tape to tape.


I didn’t watch the first period, but I saw some excellent passes from Nurse and Keith, including a two line pass that sent in Kassian for a breakaway. We would go entire seasons without seeing that during the D of D.


Dom is down to 6 teams and no Oilers sighting yet.
The amount of hate mail he must be getting from the resident troll right now must be astounding


Kassian is not well suited to this line if it’s going to be a checking unit or if the trio is going to be running against high skill. 
Then where is he suited for?

Randle McMurphy

Trade bait at the deadline in a deal for the new goalie?

Darth Tu

If he keeps up the level of play he’s had for the last year we’ll be adding in a pick to get someone to take on his contract rather than moving him as a value piece.


We need to increase his value 1st




Do they really want to effectively “block 4RW” with a 30+ year old 3.2M player for the next 3 years? If the guy can’t play consistent sound defense, I think he should be sold for parts. (chime! – enter Godot…;))


The Rangers?



rich tm

It’s still preseason, but Turris is making me eat crow on merits. Playing like a guy who doesn’t want his career to end might be the right motivation.


He remains fairly weak battling for the puck (although not nearly as poor as last season) but he has shown solid skill with the puck and Tip has been express “we are looking for more scoring from our 4th line” – Turris and Perlini have done that in the exhibition season.

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