It’s time to tilt your chair back to a comfortable position, because we’ve got over 2900 words of wasted company time coming for you in this week’s mailbag. As always, I need your questions to make this work. If you’ve got one, email it to me at firstname.lastname@example.org or hit me up on Twitter (@jsbmbaggedmilk) and I’ll get to you as soon as we can.
Without further delay – the mailbag. Enjoy!
1) Scott L. asks – With where the Oilers are at in the rebuild, wouldn’t it make sense for the Oilers to sign Ryan Johansen to an offer sheet and potentially lose four first round picks? Why are offer sheets so infrequently used?
It would make a lot more sense for teams at the top of the league to try an offer sheet. A team that perennially finishes in the top five is giving up less than a team that’s always in the bottom five. As for the Oilers, Johansen has done nothing in my books to prove he’s worth four first-round picks.
I’m not absolutely convinced Johansen is going to be an impact player, so my answer would be no. Spending money on Subban? All day. ALL day. Johansen falls below the line. I’m absolutely in favor of offer sheets and believe GMs should use it every summer. To hell with the other guy—just make damn good and sure your guys are signed before they’re eligible for an offer sheet.
No one uses offer sheets because the NHL GMs club is kind of like a junior high dance: everyone is too nervous to make a move because they don’t want to look like a fool and you DEFINITELY don’t want to step on anyone’s toes. The NHL is run by a bunch of 12 year old boys is what I’m saying #NRB
The Oilers have many holes to fill before they are a legitimate contender, and while Johansen would help, he isn’t worth four first round picks. You need depth to win in hockey, not just top-end players. If they signed Johansen they’d have to offer him $8 mill/year or more for Columbus to walk. He isn’t better than Hall, so signing him to that much money wouldn’t be ideal.
No way Blue Jackets let him go.
Offer sheets aren’t generally used because as a rule they require massive overpays to land a player and because they invite retaliation. In the case of Johansen, he’s simply not a good enough player to be worth four first round draft picks, particularly given that the 2015 pick is likely to be rather high (the Oilers don’t just have a hole at centre – they have an uncertain defensive and goaltending situation, too).
I’m not fully up to speed on the CBA and what the draft pick compensation is these days, but the Oilers giving up first round picks when these first round picks you speak of will likely still be in the Top 10 is a lot. I think the Oilers should do what they can to trade for him if things aren’t going to work out in Columbus, but I’d be hesitant to overpay and give up whatever draft pick compensation might be involved for a young player with one good season under his belt.
Also, I think most of the time teams don’t want to over spend on mediocre players and miss with money and picks. When it comes to star players, as you saw with a Shea Weber or Ryan O’reilly recently, teams will almost always find a way to match it. Do you really think if someone offered Subban the moon this summer Montreal wouldn’t have matched?
I wish there were more offer sheets in the NHL. The idea of GMs hanging on to them so that they don’t hurt anyone else’s feelings is ridiculous. In case these managers haven’t noticed, the NHL is meant to be entertainment and that includes the shenanigans that happens in the offseason as well.
2) Tony B. asks – Who do you expect to have the biggest turn around this season?
Team wise? New Jersey. Player wise? Oiler? Nail Yakupov. He’ll score 20, most of them at evens and find his way.
Dallas Eakins seems like a sharp MFer [I’m assuming we’re not allowed to swear in these?] and I think last year was a huge learning experience for him. I mean, it has to have been, right? RIGHT? OH GOD DALLAS PLEASE TELL ME YOU LEARNED SOMETHING AND WE’RE NOT GOING TO HAVE TO TURN TO ALCOHOLISM AND PROSTITUTION AGAIN TO NUMB THE PAIN OF ANOTHER LOSING SEASON!!
Justin Schultz. I’m surprised at how many have written him off after only 122 games.
Devan Dubnyk. Under the coaching of Burke he will round into form.
On the Oilers or in general? In Edmonton, I’d say Nail Yakupov just because he has the most to come back from. League-wide, the New Yrok Islanders had a stunning summer and should be much-improved.
I want to think it’s Justin Schultz. Adding a few more stay at home D can hopefully help stabilize him, allow him up to roam more and not get burned for it as much, or guys like Nikitin and Fayne can potentially eat some of those hard minutes and free him up to play in the offensive zone more versus weaker competition. These things combined with another summer of lifting and a returning coaching staff I’d expect him to make a pretty significantly jump.
YakCity is about to rise to glory once again. There is no way a kid that talented can have another terrible season like he did last year. I’m excited Yakupov to go supernova, this year, and shoot the lights out all over the league.
3) Lance Reid asks – For Struds and Sutherby – What do you think is the biggest reason that you were able to make the NHL? For everyone else, what is the biggest reason that you were not? Did you even want to play in the NHL?
I never had close to enough skill to consider playing hockey at a high level, let alone a pro level. I didn’t skate well enough. I had no NHL aspirations. I was a far better lacrosse and football player.
I couldn’t skate, see and am pure chicken. In other words, coach buried me. Jerk. Screw you Mr. Allnutt!
I didn’t make the NHL because there’s nothing in this world I love more than not putting effort into anything, as you will all see during the coming months. And of course I wanted to play in the NHL. I STILL want to play in the NHL! I’m trying to figure out how to facilitate some kind of Rookie Of The Year scenario where I break all my limbs simultaneously and come out of it with superhuman speed, strength and agility. I’ve got the breaking my limbs part down pretty pat, just need to refine that last bit.
I never had the passion necessary to play at a high level, and I wasn’t a good enough skater to have gone past junior even if I would have had the desire.
Good Question. I could fill a whole novel on it. Short answer: determination.
When we were picking teams in school I tended to go in the 5-10 range, and I had an advantage on most kids because I grew up in the sticks and had a pretty decent regimen of chores, so solely on natural athletic talent I probably would have fallen even lower. But hey, when the NHL starts looking for 5’10” middling athletes I’ll be right on the phone.
So many factors, there wasn’t just one. Clearly when I was really young there was some natural ability. As a kid, literally all I wanted to do was play hockey. If I wasn’t on the ice, I was at an outdoor rink, or playing street hockey, or on roller skates in my basement. All I did was play hockey. When you play that much and love it, it’s impossible not to improve.
As a teenager I was so driven to play in the Western Hockey league, it was all I thought about. Once I realized the possibility of playing in the WHL or getting drafted to the NHL was a possibility, I worked as hard as I could, and was very determined to do whatever it took to get there. I grew at the right time, luck, timing and opportunity all played a part in Moose Jaw and led to me getting drafted by Washington. I’m very fortunate things worked out.
I blame my parents for the shoddy genetics! I should be playing in the NHL, but instead I was too busy spending my teenage years chasing skirt and binge drinking.
4) Jerome asks – How difficult is is for defenceman to switch sides? Do you think there is a chance J. Schultz would be able to switch to the left side to create more opportunities for a one-timer?
Some players will tell you it’s not that difficult. Others say it is. There is a certain comfort zone that comes with playing the same side and it can be more difficult to switch if you’ve played one side for several years. No idea if Schultz can switch.
I’m not sure, Struds would know. I do know from observation some players are equally adept and others are a mess. I know you already know this, but I get paid by the word. BY THE WORD! (word).
As someone who has played defence in beer league hockey for 2 out of the last 5 years (non-consecutive) I think I’m more than qualified to say that it is not difficult at all for an NHL defenceman to switch sides. I prefer to play the left side but I can also switch to the right side if needed, no problem. SO IF I CAN DO IT WHAT’S YOUR EXCUSE, JSHULTZ?
How many times in the course of a hockey game is there an opportunity for him to one-time the puck in the offensive zone? Maybe one or two. I wouldn’t consider changing him sides for an opportunity that rarely occurs. I’d keep him where he grew up playing.
Some players can do it and others hate it. Not so much an issue in the Ozone. Neutral zone passing can be hard to do on your backhand.
There’s a difference between switching sides in the offensive zone and switching sides period. I don’t think there’s any sense bumping a guy like Schultz to the left side; he has enough troubles defensively on the right. Further, why set Schultz up for a one-timer when he’s never showed that to be a strong point in his game at the NHL level?
Struds has said it’s not that hard. I’ve never played D, but I always found it much easier to play left wing versus my offside. That’s not to say guys can’t or shouldn’t switch sides (some prefer it), but catching passes on your backhand or making plays on your backhand is just not as easy for most.
I definitely think he’s more likely to feel comfortable over there than most, given his skill set. Things like more one timer opportunities could be a reason to try. I think you’re better off testing that theory on the PP when you have more opportunities to bomb away first.
Do you mean just on the power play? If that’s the case than he should be able to do it. With that said, Justin Schultz has to be more willing to take slap shots. Last year, it was like every time he took a slapshot there was an electric prod strapped to his nuts that zapped him without delay. He needs to get over it and shoot the puck.
5) Tavis Saito asks – If MacT’s tenure as GM was a fragrance line what do you think it would be called?
I’ll go with Profoundly Dim Question.
Gasoline. I love the smell of gasoline, and he set fire to the roster (most are gone).
Renard Argente: An Olfaction Experience By JSBM
Craig MacTavish – Acting Audacious
Great question!!! I bought a belt this week that said it was a size 34 but it was really a size 36. Crazy week.
Oh, come on, this barely even counts as a question. Obviously the answer is BOLD.
Hugo Boss – In Motion
Assessment by Tambellini… I know the question said MacTavish but there are still plenty of cases of Assessment left on the shelves, and that stuff isn’t going to move itself.