Monday Mailbag – May 19th


It’s time for the long weekend version of Monday Mailbag.  I just got back from the lake, and frankly I stink to high heavens — but I’m committed to putting something up.  Some of the guys were away this weekend, so the answers were limited, but we’ll get back on track for next week.  As always, if you’ve got a question you want asked, email it to me at or hit me up on Twitter – @jsbmbaggedmilk.

I hope everyone had a solid long weekend. Enjoy.

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1) @lukekaun asks – The possibility of trading away the 3rd overall pick has been raised a lot since the end of the season. What I haven’t heard a lot about is what that pick might actually be worth.  I know this isn’t easy to quantify, but if you were to trade that 3rd pick, what player would that actually equate to?


Hmmm. Great question, wish I could read the answers before chiming in. I would trade this selection for Valeri Nichushkin in Dallas. That kind of deal, for a crazy talent who is also very young, is the only trade I make for this pick. Hope that helps!

Jonathan Willis 

Like you said, it isn’t easy to quantify. I’d guess somebody in the top-six forward, top-four defenceman range on a solid contract, someone like Brandon Dubinsky or Christian Ehrhoff. But it really depends on the trading partner – the pick is worth a little more to a team rebuilding or a team in a bad contract situation and much less to a team with cap space and a desire to win now.

Brian Sutherby

It would have to be a borderline superstar already for me to move the pick. Or several VERY good players to plug multiple holes if the goal is to turn this team around tomorrow. Otherwise, I hang onto it. As for an actual player…I don’t know


It’s going to be interesting to see what they do with this thing. I assume they’re going to pick, but will they rush the kid into a prime spot before he’s ready? Likely.

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2) @rascalgas asks – Is there ANY possible way that this current Oilers squad makes the playoffs next year with only minor personnel tweaks?


No. They’re too far away, and really have no one in their prime. Too young or too old, but little age 26-31 of note.

Jonathan Willis 

Sure, it’s possible. Colorado did it this year when their lousy 0.903 save percentage starter turned into a 0.927 save percentage Vezina candidate and their shooting percentage spiked by 25% (they were 27th in the NHL in that category in 2012-13, 2nd in 2013-14). But it’s terribly, terribly unlikely and Craig MacTavish almost certainly won’t give us a chance to find out.

Brian Sutherby

No. They will be better because in net they are better, but they are several significant personnel changes away.


The goaltending is way better going into this year than it was last year, but unless they improve the defence I can’t see things going much differently.


3) 1979 asks – If you were Mac-T, which free-agent this season would you be doing the full court press on, and if he didn’t work out who is your back-up splash?


Assuming you are talking UFA’s, I would target Paul Stastny, Andrei Markov, Ales Hemsky (seriously), Stephane Robidas, Mikhail Grabovski, Nikolai Kulemin, Lee Stempniak, David Moss. And I’d take a flier on Joni Pitkanen, too.

Jonathan Willis 

Andrei Markov and Nikolai Kulemin. Failing that, Nikita Nikitin and David Moss. Of course, that’s assuming Sam Gagner moves for a centre.

Brian Sutherby 

Not a ton out there in my opinion and you always have to overpay.  It’s easy to say Vanek, Bolland, or Callahan but the likelihood of that isn’t very good. They will ask for too much. I think Stasny stays in Colorado.

Two veteran guys I would target that might be more realistic options: David Legwand and Steve Ott.  Your guess is as good as mine for what kind of dollars they want. Although, what older player really wants to sign here at this point? Older players want to win.

Unless something changes like a massive trade that creates some excitement around this team at the draft, I think they will end up like last year with a couple middle to lower tier guys, happy to make a few extra bucks.


I’d like to see them improve the centre position by going after a guy like Statsny, but unless we’ve got some kind of nudes to hang over his head, I doubt he’d want to sign here.


4) Jonny Fever asks – In the last year there has been a lot said about trading Sam Gagner. There has also been a lot of comments about the lack of pressure on the top 6, for example no pressure from the 3rd line to push the top 6. Is there enough money in the 2014/2015 salary cap to keep Gagner and move him to the wing to push top 6 and still sign a top 6 center such as Gabrovski?


The problem with Gagner is that his skill set is duplicated on RW by Eberle, who is a better actual player. I think the only way to keep Gagner would be to keep him at center and bring in two veteran wingers like Kulemin and Moss. The Oilers can’t afford to do that, and bring in C’s and D’s, while staying under the cap.

Jonathan Willis 

There is room – and a good thing too, since the Oilers are going to be either retaining salary or taking a contract back in any Gagner deal.

Brian Sutherby 

I’m going to leave the salary cap part to the guys that know more about where the Oilers are at, but Grabovski is someone who could be more likely to sign here. His type of player wouldn’t be what I’d be looking to add, but maybe that’s just me.


Unless Gagner can learn to skate on stilts, or has an offseason growth spurt, I don’t think he fits on the team anymore.  Unfortunately, they’ll be trading him coming off a down year which means the other team will likely win the trade.


5) Brian Chamberlain asks –  If the Oilers were a rock song which song would they be?


Dazed and Confused, Zep.

Jonathan Willis 

R.E.M.’s Losing My Religion. It works on a lot of levels, but the basic idea of a total lack of answers in the face of frustrated obsession seems like a nice fit for the Oilers. Too, the combination of total irrelevance and all-consuming importance feels pretty much spot-on. That’s them in the corner, that’s them in the spotlight, losing their religion.

Brian Sutherby 

November Rain – Guns N Roses


How Many More Times – Zeppelin

  • Jordan McNugent-Hallkins

    Posted this in the other thread but Suds, Willis, LT, milkbag, what do you think of a Neal and Eberle deal (other pieces involved but not a first round pick)

    Elliotte Friedman of CBC: It wouldn’t be a surprise if the Penguins tested James Neal’s trade value. Kris Letang’s health scare may keep teams away.

    That’s from

    Hall Nuge Perron

    Neal Draisaitl Yakupov

    Hall – 6’1 201 lbs

    Nuge 6’1 180lbs

    Perron 6′ 198 lbs

    Yakupov 5’11 186lbs

    Neal 6’2 208lbs

    Draisaitl 6’2 209lbs

    That’s from the Oilers official webpage too.

    I wager that Yakupov adds a few more pounds as well. Once he’s matured he likely plays at 190-193lbs. I still think we see Hall at 205 to 210 in his prime since he has a big frame.

    That’s not too bad in the size department. If Draisaitl is not ready to go, I guess keep gagner or acquire grabovski or slot in Arco.

  • Lofty

    The goaltending appears to be more solid. It would be tough to be worse than the start of last year. In recent Oiler fashion, they may take that as a challenge.

    I like Scrivens for his goaltending and his attitude, which the Oil need more of.

  • ubermiguel

    It’s a Long Way to the Top – AC/DC

    “Gettin’ robbed, Gettin’ stoned
    Gettin’ beat up, Broken boned
    Gettin’ had, Gettin’ took
    I tell you folks, It’s harder than it looks

    It’s a long way to the top if you wanna rock ‘n’ roll”

  • Nomad787

    JW, your connecting Losing my Religion to the Oilers is perfect,, it also explains my relationship to the Oilers and to Oilersnation. I dont know why I do it, and I probably shouldn’t bother, but I just can’t help myself. Pure truth JW, if ever it was spoken on this site. Thank you.

    • Jordan McNugent-Hallkins

      Haha awesome. Picturing the winger dropping his D man like a dirty shirt and rushing for the corner in fast forward.

      I feel like the Oilers should enter the ice to the Benny Hill tune.

    • Jordan McNugent-Hallkins

      Haaaaahahaha didn’t think anyone would drop a Cannibal Corpse title. I was gonna put ‘They Deserve To Die’ by Cannibal Corpse but I wouldn’t go that far…

  • Jordan McNugent-Hallkins

    Watching the Germany/USA game this morning it appears as though Draisaitl is ready to go in the NHL.

    Reminds me of a little of Malkin but with slightly less skill, and slightly more effort. Basically not bad at all for an 18 year old.

    It was also apparent when I watched that Jeff Petry is really not a good defensive defensemen

  • vetinari

    Oiler Songs? My suggestion is…

    Judas Priest “Some Heads Are Gonna Roll”

    “You can look to the left and look to the right

    But you will live in danger tonight

    When the enemy comes he will never be heard

    He’ll blow your mind and not say a word

    Blinding lights-

    flashing colors-

    Sleepless nights

    If the man with the power
    Can’t keep it under control
    Some heads are gonna roll
    Some heads are gonna roll”

    Reminds me of what it must be like for MacT to watch an Oiler game from above when we are getting lit up…

  • Eulers

    “R.E.M.’s Losing My Religion. It works on a lot of levels, but the basic idea of a total lack of answers in the face of frustrated obsession seems like a nice fit for the Oilers. Too, the combination of total irrelevance and all-consuming importance feels pretty much spot-on. That’s them in the corner, that’s them in the spotlight, losing their religion.”

    Poetry, Jonathan! You win the internet!