ON THE KILL

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Boyd Gordon will be back, Matt Hendricks too, but the Edmonton Oilers are going to need to stretch a few forwards this winter. Many of the penalty-killers from a year ago (forward division) are gone, leaving a gap and an opportunity.

LAST YEAR!!!!

A year ago, Edmonton finished 15th in penalty-killing efficiency and allowed 50 goals to the other teams when they had the man advantage.

Source

Among forwards, Dallas Eakins asked a lot of the people you’d expect:

  1. Boyd Gordon 206 minutes
  2. Ryan Smyth 122 minutes
  3. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins 99.5 minutes
  4. Matt Hendricks 97.5 minutes (in 33 games)
  5. Mark Arcobello 67.5 minutes (in 41 games)
  6. Will Acton 60 minutes (in 30 games)
  7. Jordan Eberle 55 minutes
  8. Anton Lander 51 minutes (in 27 games)
  9. Ryan Jones 45.5 minutes
  10. David Perron 37 minutes

The club will no longer have Ryan Smyth and Ryan Jones for use, but Hendricks spent a lot of time (we’re talking 3 minutes a night) on the PK. New coach Craig Ramsay is in charge of the power play, but one hopes he pops in to the 4×5 meetings too, since he was so bloody brilliant at it (27SH goals in his career, No. 34 on the all-time list). 

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THINGS I THINK WE’LL SEE

  1. Boyd Gordon getting the tough zone starts and a mountain of penalty killing
  2. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins continuing in his role as second option among C’s
  3. Mark Arcobello being used as both center and winger, giving the PK more faceoff options (Arco was 51% in the dot last season)
  4. Hendricks playing heavy heavy minutes at the discipline
  5. Lander/Tyler Pitlick (whoever plays 4line winger with Gordon/Hendricks) playing an increased role.

POULIOT, PURCELL

The two new hires up front didn’t kill a lot of penalties last season or in previous years. Benoit Pouliot spent just 32 seconds on the PK (that’s incredible) during his 80 games as a Ranger, so doesn’t appear to be a natural. Teddy Purcell spent a buck 49 on the PK, that’s not much better. Better pencil Eberle and Perron onto next year’s list, too. 

reddox

MACTAVISH SPECIAL!

When Craig MacTavish coached, he was always trying to find more versatility on his roster. Wingers would play center, and sometimes defensemen would play forward. So, if you hear MacT or Dallas Eakins talking about Keith Aulie possibly taking some PK shifts up front, don’t be alarmed. They’ve already thought of it, all that’s left is for Aulie not to laugh out loud when it’s mentioned in TC and there’s every chance we see it.

WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?

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The Oilers PK was 15th overall a year ago. For a 28th place team, that’s a positive. I expect we’ll see plenty of Boyd Gordon, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Matt Hendricks and Mark Arcobello, and the PK could end up being the reason Anton Lander finally sticks in the NHL.

Barons photos by Rob Ferguson, all rights reserved.

  • Oil Vice

    Them Red Pandas be making me laugh…

    By the way, did the Oilers finally get that second line centre and top pairing defensemen everyone was talking about? I’ve been busy enjoying summer and haven’t been obsessing on little Leon.

  • Quicksilver ballet

    MacTavish should pull a Lowe type Vanek move on Ryan Johansen. Throw a wrench into the BlueJackets plans with a 6 yr 36 million dollar offer sheet. A cap hit between 5 and 6.7 is a 1st, 2nd and 3rd.

    Jackets would match of course, but it could force the Jackets to free up someone else next summer. Dubinsky and Johansen making that much coin, could free up Anisimov.

    • Quicksilver ballet

      The Jackets are matching any offers for RJ… I would most defiantly NOT offer sheet anybody as we will be the target of such moves next year if Yak has a breakout season and Shultz lights it up.

    • a lg dubl dubl

      Still don’t think MacT sits on the “c” depth as it is right now, but it would be nice if he grew a pair and did something like offer sheet RJ, or even say trade Yakupov and 2015 1st round pick*

      *not throwing an nhl15 trade out there, just sayin.

    • PlayDirty

      It looks like you missed it….GM of the Jackets said he would match any offer for Johansson…..EXCEPT one from the Oilers. Then they will take the picks.

      A VERY deserved kick to the nuts.

      Teams that finish last every year should be shamed. Besides that, three top five picks for Johansson is too good to turn down.

    • pkam

      If MacTavish manages to sign Johansen to 6 yr 36M offersheet, the BJ will thank MacTavish for the great favor of helping them to lock up their #1 centre.

      After Dubinsky signed the 6 yr 35.1M contract, you really think Johansen will sign for less than 6M per? BJ will be more than happy to sign him at 6M per to any contract 5 yr or longer.

      12M for the top 2 centers will be very cap friendly in a couple of years when cap is 80M+.

      • Zarny

        Umm no.

        If the Blue Jackets would be happy to sign Johansen for $6M per for 5+ years they would have done it already. That is very close to what Johansen asked for and the Blue Jackets immediately said no way.

        Given that Johansen has had 1 poor NHL season, 1 OK NHL, 1 good NHL season and is a player the Blue Jackets have had to really push to motivate they don’t want to sign anything beyond 2 years.

        Hence the contract negotiation stalemate and the reason Johansen likely won’t be at camp on opening day.

        I have no doubt Columbus would match an offer sheet of $6M per for 5-7 years but they would not like it. It would definitely hinder any trade interest the Oilers might have in a player like Anisimov.

      • Quicksilver ballet

        That is a possibility.

        There is also the possibility the Jackets have their own ownership imposed cap closer to that 70’ish. Columbus is consistently in the bottom 3rd of the league as salaries go. They are nearly 15 million under this years cap with only Johansen left to sign. I’m sure they were banking on a 2yr 7’ish million dollar deal (3.5 x 2) for Ryan. That would still leave them almost 11 million in cap space. I don’t see that frugal mindset changing anytime soon.

        Ryan made 1.95 last season including bonuses. A jump to 6 after one good season would be a considerable unplanned expense on their part. The bargain second contract for a top 6 forward in todays game certainly appears to be lost for non competitive teams like the Oilers and Jackets.

    • Oil Vice

      He needs to play just enough to remind other teams what he will do if our kids get messed with. If/when he does play the team needs to stay discipline…then PK doesn’t matter.

    • Quicksilver ballet

      I like your positivity but stating that the oilers goalie issues are solved has no basis. We are going into next year with two career backup goalies who have career number the same or worse than Dubnyk’s were going into last year. Until the team defense improves, no goalie will be able to do much about the loses.

      I hope you are right but lets not kid ourselves.

  • northof51

    Last year, the Oilers’ penalty kill was, believe it or not, bolstered by higher than average SV% while shorthanded (8th in the league 4 vs 5).

    Under Krueger, when they had the 9th overall PK%, their 4 vs 5 SV% was 4th in the league. Seems we may be due for some regression, which will ultimately lower our efficiency percentages…

  • Zarny

    Unless the Oilers add another C Lowetide’s assessment sounds about right.

    Which means that Nuge:

    a) Is the only C capable of playing top line minutes against behemoths like Getzlaf, Carter, Toews, Kopitar, Thornton etc.

    b) Is the only C that can be relied on for the PP

    c) Will also see significant minutes on the PK

    No chance his skinny 6’1″ 185 lb frame wears down with that kind of workload.

    What could possibly go wrong?

    • Serious Gord

      Gordon over his career has averaged more than 15 games lost due to injury. Who fills in for him?

      Assuming RNH is out for 10 to 15 that could mean 30 games or so with only one centre who has played more than a seasons worth in the nhl. What can we expect the won/loss record to be for those 30 or so games?

  • Quicksilver ballet

    I think with the lack of penalty killers we will see alot of Lander, cause there aren’t alot of options. I think he will be every day NHL’er for that reason alone.

    I think Pitlick has an inside shot as well if he does well in that role in training camp.

    RNH will have to kill penalties, sigh. Arco will be out there, and then one of Eberle, Hall, Pouliot, or Purcell is going to have to get on the job training.

    Ramsey is going to have to work magic.

    I see overall the regular contributers being Hendrix, Gordon, Arco, RNH, Lander, Pitlick. If one of those sits then you will see Eberle or Hall, Poo or Purcell getting end of the penalty kill time. Eberle probably having the inside track.