Monday Mailbag - August 25th

baggedmilk
August 25 2014 01:00PM

Mail

Here comes your weekly chance to skip out on doing anything work related on Monday mornings - it's the mailbag. As always, you guys drive this segment, and I need your questions to make it work.  If you've got a question you can email it to me at baggedmilk@oilersnation.com.  Sit back, grab a coffee, and put off any actual work items that you have to do - it's time to learn something.

Enjoy.

College

1) Dane asks - Since not all players make the NHL, do you think there will be more Junior aged players going to play in college as opposed to the CHL in the future? If so, is it because more and more kids want a solid Plan B?

Robin Brownlee: 

More? I guess that depends what eras you are comparing. There's more NHL teams and jobs now than there was 20 and 30 years ago. U.S. colleges are a good option and they have turned out a number of very good players. Having the Plan B you mention -- be it through the U.S. route or by taking advantage of education programs in the CHL -- makes sense because the vast majority of players never get near the NHL.

Jason Gregor: 

Unlikely, in fact fewer Canadians are getting NCAA scholarships every year because many schools will take a US-born player if they are equal caliber. The WHL scholarship program is good for the majority of players. They get one year of schooling for every year they play in the WHL. I would like to see those years guaranteed, not required to start 18 months after you finish your WHL career, but it is still good. Also, the University will offer a scholarship as well so players are able to have money for books, tuition and room and board.

Lowetide: 

The CHL offers a program that allows juniors, and many kids take advantage after their junior career ends. The Canadian junior leagues are the best junior hockey leagues in the world, and therefore young men who want to play in the NHL will continue to play there. I think the NCAA is the league struggling in this situation.

Jonathan Willis: 

Not really; that's the way it's always been. I think the majority of players will optimistically want to ensure they best prepare themselves for a pro career (which junior does) rather than taking advantage of a college scholarship (which best prepares them for a career not working out). 

Jason Strudwick: 

This decision is a personal one. There is not one way that is better then another. It is case by case.

Brian Sutherby: 

For as long as I dreamed about playing in the WHL (Mid 90's), the rules have always been that if you play Major Junior hockey, you lose your college eligibility. If it hasn't stopped more people before, I don't see why it would change now. I don't know, but I wouldn't be surprised with the dollars being thrown around these days, if MORE kids/parents actually believe Junior is the way to go now versus 10 years ago.

baggedmilk:

I don't think it really matters which way a kid goes.  If they're good enough to make the NHL, they will get picked up regardless of where they play.  And who says you can't go to college if your NHL dream doesn't work out from the CHL route? 

TrainingWheels

2) Mustangheart asks - Do the Edmonton Oilers or any other NHL team conduct, hold, educate, or assist players find jobs and to establish a career after their pro careers have ended?

Robin Brownlee: 

I'm not aware of any official team program established by the Oilers.

Jason Gregor: 

Not that I know of. Struds and Suds would know if they offer some sort of “transition” training on how to deal with life after hockey.

Lowetide: 

Great question, and I have no idea. Struds had 10 jobs before his career was over, maybe he could help.

Jonathan Willis:

That's a really good question. I've never heard of a formal program, though as a practical matter a lot of teams hire alumni for one role or another.

Jason Strudwick: 

No.

Brian Sutherby: 

There is a little education from the league/PA to think post hockey while playing, but no actual assistance from a team when finished, no. If you want to pursue a coaching or media career and have a good relationship with that organization then maybe, but other than that in my experience I haven't seen it.

baggedmilk:

After reading Struds and Suds talk about how there is no NHL program in place, I can't help but wonder why not?  For a lot of guys hockey is the only job they've ever had, and they could probably use some education on managing money and life after hockey. Have you ever seen the 30 for 30 documentary called 'Broke?' That's what can happen without any education on handling money.  Missed opportunity by the NHL, in my opinion.


JackOfAllTrades

3) Sevenseven asks - I understand Taylor Hall and Ryan Smyth had poor results at centre last year, but are there any other wingers in the system that have the potential to play the position?

Robin Brownlee: 

Potential? Sure. Why, though, would you draft a player based on his performance on the wing and then try to make him a centre? Draft centres and develop them.

Jason Gregor: 

Moving from wing to centre is extremely difficult, much harder than going from centre to wing. I don’t see any wingers ready to move to centre. They have some some centres in the system, and should focus on developing them.

Lowetide: 

Craig MacTavish liked his forwards to have some ability to play center, I'm sure it'll be recurring theme in Edmonton as long as MacT is around the club.

Jonathan Willis: 

Benoit Pouliot's name has been mentioned, but I really haven't seen it work out all that often and I don't think there's an obvious candidate on the roster. It's much easier to move from centre to wing than vice versa.

Jason Strudwick: 

The idea that a winger that has rarely played center in the past can move to the middle in the AHL or NHL is crazy to me. It is a very hard position to play compared to the wing. So much to look after compared to the wing. Let this idea die.

Brian Sutherby: 

I don't see anyone other than deep on the 4th line. Hendricks could play the middle if needed when Gordon finds himself in the 3 hole. It doesn't sound like any of the new guys fit that mold either.

baggedmilk:

I would rather they have guys that actually play the position rather than try to fit a square peg in a round hole.  Just because Mark Messier pulled off the move, from wing to centre, 30 years ago doesn't mean the Oilers have anyone that can do it now.  If Taylor Hall couldn't do it, chances are Luke Gazdic won't be able to either.

BigDeal

4) BSW asks - Of all the new Oilers additions, Pouliot has the highest draft pedigree. Do you think he has reached his ceiling or does he have a good chance of becoming a top 6 winger?

Robin Brownlee: 

At Pouliot's age, what you see is what you get. Where he plays in the line-up depends on the depth of the team he's playing on. He could very well see top 6 minutes with the Oilers.

Jason Gregor: 

He has had 15, 16 and 17 goal seasons. Many top-6 wingers come in around 18-22, so it is possible he could become that, but I don’t see him being a dominant offensive player, and historically he has played softer minutes in his career. I don’t see him becoming a player who can play tough minutes and produce offensively. I don’t see the Oilers having a clear cut 2nd and 3rd line this season. He likely floats between the two.

Lowetide: 

I think Pouliot has been a very productive player for years, so even if he remains at this level he'll help a lot. In my opinion, he might spike offensively if he's given better linemates, and that may happen in Edmonton. Can't wait for the season!

Jonathan Willis: 

I don't know. It's a rarity for a player in his late 20's to suddenly blossom, but Pouliot's underlying numbers have been good for a while and suggest he might be able to do more at evens.

Jason Strudwick: 

There isn't an answer to this yet. Lets see if he can put consistent years together as an Oiler.

Brian Sutherby: 

That is hard to say because I haven't seen the player enough night in and night out. I look forward to it this year. Six teams since 2009 is concerning for me, though. Whatever it is with this guy, he hasn't been able to find a true home yet. I think it may suggest teams feel he has peaked, or that he has more potential and teams become frustrated that he doesn't put the work in to elevate his game. He's still young enough, if given the opportunity (you'd think with the $ he got, he will be given every opportunity) to play a more offensive role, there might be more there. Until I see him however, it's hard to know.

baggedmilk:

I'm thinking what you see is what you get with Pouliot at 27 years old.  I hope I'm wrong. I hope that he can find another gear and crank it up, but at this stage of his career, I'm thinking he's on the plateau.


Annoying

5) Barry Wilde asks - If you could banish one current trend from the planet what would it be?

Robin Brownlee:

Too heavy a question for me, but if I never saw or heard another reference to Miley Cyrus and other people who are famous for being famous and very little else, I'd be fine with it.

Jason Gregor: 

Obesity. In Canada it is a huge issue, and it will only get worse unless we take a strong stance to encourage better eating habits. On a lighter note, rid the planet of TV shows like The Kardashians and other programs that lower our intelligence level.

Lowetide: 

Trend? Hula hoops! Damn things are all over my lawn! And music! It's all too loud! Also, big screen televisions! If a 12 inch black and white was good enough for Jesus, it's good enough for me!

Jonathan Willis: 

So many choices. Obviously, a responsible person would do something practical - say ending the trend of sectarian violence in the Middle East. Failing that, I'd be cool if people stopped making such a fuss over vampires.

Jason Strudwick: 

The 5th question of the mailbag.

Brian Sutherby: 

Skin tight male jeans rolled up at the bottom.

baggedmilk:

Bronies. Dude...

94ea28cbbd0f9fe4153692bb3e38b40c
Twitter tyrant for @OilersNation - Resident Jackass - Poor vessel for carrying milk. Follow me on twitter (@jsbmbaggedmilk) - Instagram (@himynameisbaggedmilk) or email me at baggedmilk@oilersnation.com.
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#2 RexHolez
August 25 2014, 01:53PM
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The oilers being a pathetic team and the joke of the league is a trend I would like to see end.

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#4 freelancer
August 25 2014, 02:04PM
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I was wondering about pouliot at centre as well. I thought he was originally a centre when he was drafted?

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#5 BlazingSaitls
August 25 2014, 02:09PM
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Halls failed center experiment was largely due to being a product of his environment imo. A victim of circumstances. What NHL player could have made that experiment work?-implementing a new coaching system, 'swarm' , with a goalie who couldnt stop a beach ball. I agree with Struds "let the idea die" but I cant help but feel last year was the most inopportune time to try Hall at Center.

Trend to end? NHL teams hiring every good adv.stat blogger out there. Thereby muting some of the most vocal, informative, polarizing NHL bloggers/tweeters. Stop it. Stop it now.

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#6 @kahmad92
August 25 2014, 02:12PM
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baggedmilk wrote:

Never confuse hotmail.com with hotmale.com. #ProTip

From experience?

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#7 westcoastoil
August 25 2014, 02:32PM
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At some point the now seemingly mandatory high 5 skate past the bench can end can't it? The players don't even look like they want to do it anymore.

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#8 Dan 1919
August 25 2014, 02:52PM
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freelancer wrote:

I was wondering about pouliot at centre as well. I thought he was originally a centre when he was drafted?

We don't need a Center, we've got Draisaitl, and Yakimov. Two kids who've never played in the NHL before.

The rebuild isn't officially complete until Taylor Hall retires.

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#11 Craig1981
August 25 2014, 03:18PM
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RexHolez wrote:

The oilers being a pathetic team and the joke of the league is a trend I would like to see end.

In the last 8 years I have seen fan expectations go from "we should make the playoffs" to "I hope we finish above bottom 5"

Both wishes are a long way from "I hope we win the cup" which is what they should be

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#12 J.R.
August 25 2014, 03:21PM
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The article mentions moving guys from wing to center. I agree that neith Hall or Smyth was a great idea.

That being said - When I saw Hall on the dot he seemed to do pretty well. For all I know I may have been doing a snack run for all the face-offs he lost.

I'm curious what his FO% was? Right now Gordon is the only guy capable of winning face-offs on a regular basis. Be great to have another option. EDIT - Screw that idea. Hall was 45.7% on the dot. Smyth was 50%. Gordon is 56.5% Gordon is in a league of his own in the circle. Only Toews and Bergeron with better numbers.

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#13 The Last Big Bear
August 25 2014, 03:26PM
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1) Which league is better depends on the kid. But the status quo hasn't really changed in years, so I don't expect a big change in players going one path vs the other any time soon.

2) Sounds like a job for the NHLPA, the union that is supposed to represent te best interests of the players during and after hockey.

3) Hall is a superb player, but I don't think he has the hockey IQ to play centre at the NHL level. I think Eberle might, but that's pretty much it I'd say for Oilers wingers who could be effective in the position in anything other than an emergency basis.

4) Probably not, but I'm not familiar enough with the player to make any definitive claims.

5) I have kids. I wouldn't know a current trend if it jumped up and bit me. Are pogs still a thing?

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#14 J.R.
August 25 2014, 03:44PM
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baggedmilk wrote:

Call me crazy, but I wish that MacT could land a #2C so that we wouldn't have to dream up such solutions. Ya know?

Nah that's not crazy. The fanboy in me wants to see Draisaitl light it up this year and blow everyone's mind but deep down I know that the first injury to C that hits will be devastating.

When (sub-zero offense) Lander gets called up you know it's not a good sign.

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#16 J.R.
August 25 2014, 04:07PM
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baggedmilk wrote:

I can't understand what's up with Lander. It's amazing that a guy that be a point/game player in OKC can fall in a black hole of death when it comes to offence in the NHL.

No kidding. In another way J. Schultz may be feeling a bit of that too.

Both guys were really good (Schultz was spectatcular) in their given areas in the AHL.

Lander is almost bizarre though - I can score as much in the NHL. I'm 43 and haven't even played rec hockey in years. You'd think at least a couple would bounce in off his ass or something.

You just can't be a pure defensive specialist and still expect to stick with the big club. Ergo hopefully someone on the farm (Pitlick?) turns out to be a better option.

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#17 The Last Big Bear
August 25 2014, 04:28PM
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J.R. wrote:

No kidding. In another way J. Schultz may be feeling a bit of that too.

Both guys were really good (Schultz was spectatcular) in their given areas in the AHL.

Lander is almost bizarre though - I can score as much in the NHL. I'm 43 and haven't even played rec hockey in years. You'd think at least a couple would bounce in off his ass or something.

You just can't be a pure defensive specialist and still expect to stick with the big club. Ergo hopefully someone on the farm (Pitlick?) turns out to be a better option.

Boyd Gordon's goal scoring has never broken out of the single-digits. He's not only "stuck with the big club", he's on a 3-year $9m NHL contract.

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#18 J.R.
August 25 2014, 04:39PM
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The Last Big Bear wrote:

Boyd Gordon's goal scoring has never broken out of the single-digits. He's not only "stuck with the big club", he's on a 3-year $9m NHL contract.

Gordon has the toughest zone starts and slays on the dot.

A bit of an overpay maybe but it makes plenty of sense (to me)that the league's third best face-off man stuck with the big club. Especially considering that Ryan Smyth was apparently the next best option in the circle.

Lander isn't third best or even twentieth best at anything.

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#19 The Last Big Bear
August 25 2014, 06:29PM
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I have nothing against Gordon, Imthink he's one of the Oilers' most crucial players (and incidentally overpaid by about $1m a year, which in itself is no biggie). I'm just pointing out that defensive specialists who are black holes of un-scoring can and do carve out very successful NHL careers.

I also agree that Lander is probably not one of those guys.

I think Lander's increase in production last season should give him the benefit of the doubt for one more look in the NHL. Something may have clicked for him last year, and it may translate to the NHL.

But he's hanging on to his NHL aspirations by the thinness of threads right now.

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#21 CDNinATL
August 25 2014, 07:31PM
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As for the college option question, I have son who plays goalie for his peewee travel A team outside of Atlanta here. I personally would prefer he go the college route. It's just that then at least has a degree at the end of it. And since goalies due take longer to develop, it's a pretty good option.

However if he was able to make to a CHL team and that's what the route he wanted to go, I would also support that. My biggest issue with that is that it makes him ineligible to play NCAA hockey later on. Talk about a stupid NCAA rule.

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#22 J.R.
August 25 2014, 08:25PM
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The Last Big Bear wrote:

I have nothing against Gordon, Imthink he's one of the Oilers' most crucial players (and incidentally overpaid by about $1m a year, which in itself is no biggie). I'm just pointing out that defensive specialists who are black holes of un-scoring can and do carve out very successful NHL careers.

I also agree that Lander is probably not one of those guys.

I think Lander's increase in production last season should give him the benefit of the doubt for one more look in the NHL. Something may have clicked for him last year, and it may translate to the NHL.

But he's hanging on to his NHL aspirations by the thinness of threads right now.

Totally agree

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#23 Bicepus Maximus - Huge fan boy!
August 26 2014, 09:56AM
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https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=ohnuyqJyEW0

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#24 Johnny
August 26 2014, 07:35PM
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3) Sevenseven asks - I understand Taylor Hall and Ryan Smyth had poor results at centre last year, but are there any other wingers in the system that have the potential to play the position? Robin Brownlee:

Potential? Sure. Why, though, would you draft a player based on his performance on the wing and then try to make him a centre? Draft centres and develop them.

The Oilers draft centers (Lander) and put them on the wing.

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