Monday Mailbag – January 5th

Kiss 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 or hit me up on Twitter at @jsbmbaggedmilk.  Sit back, grab a coffee, and put off any actual work items that you have to do – it’s time to learn something.

PickASide

1) Woogie63 asks – This week we can watch TSN’s hockey production and then the Rogers’ hockey production – which is better and why? Do you have a preference?

Lowetide:

I prefer the TSN broadcasts but also work for TSN1260 so take it for what it’s worth. I also don’t like change. 🙂 

Jonathan Willis:

I’m a little biased because only one of those two outlets pays me.

Jason Gregor:

I don’t notice much difference on production. I do like the new ref cam.

Matt Henderson:

To be fair to Rogers, I think they are getting better. At the beginning of the year their panels were basically a competition to see who could say the most ridiculous thing and I don’t think they understood that Friedman was their Ace in the Hole. That said, Ray Ferraro is the best in-game analyst in the business and I really missed his thoughts. He makes any game he works more interesting.

Robin Brownlee:

I have no preference in production. I’ll take substance over style any time. I can say I like Gord Miller’s call of games and I’d rather listen to Ray Ferraro do analysis over anybody else no matter what level of hockey we’re talking about.

Jeanshorts:

For Ray Ferraro alone I like TSN better! 

Baggedmilk:

I love Sportsnet for all the spelling errors, etc. that always seems to come up. The games have been awful, so we’d may as well get some entertainment from the production.  Jari Jurri is one of the greatest Oilers to ever live!  

2) Sara asks – What do you think of Darnell Nurse at the World Junior Championship?

Lowetide:

He looks terrific. It’s very important not to get ahead of ourselves with him but there’s some outstanding talent there. He could be something special. 

Jonathan Willis:

He’s been impressive, but the WJC’s aren’t even AHL-level competition.

Jason Gregor:

Very good. He should be dominating and he his. His overall game is much calmer than last year. He is still aggressive, but he doesn’t try to do too much. I like that he plays with an edge to his game. The Oilers need more players who play that way.

Matt Henderson:

Very early on I thought I was being biased because I thought he was Canada’s best Defenseman. Happily, others like Corey Pronman started saying the same thing. There are others on the squad who are better in the offensive zone (maybe), but he is the total package. He’s mean, big, fast, skates the puck out of the zone, a rock in his own zone, a great passer, and can shoot too. Best Defenseman on team Canada.

Robin Brownlee:

Nurse stands out and he should at this age. His physical skills and ability to move are noteworthy for a player his size.

Jeanshorts:

He’s been unbelievable. I can’t wait for the Oilers to ruin him within 2 years!

Baggedmilk:

I think he’s been really solid, and his skating ability looks really good out there.  That being said, he’s one of the older players in the tournament, so I would expect him to dominate.  The real trick will be what the Oilers do with him next year? I say he should probably spend at least a year in the AHL, but will the Oilers say that?  I doubt it.

3) Kirk W. asks – What are your impressions of Todd Nelson as a head coach so far?

Lowetide:

He’s winning too many games! 🙂 I think Nelson has made some interesting tweaks and I’m cheering like hell for him. Beyond that, too soon to tell.

Jonathan Willis:

Nelson’s a good coach. He’s a strong communicator who doesn’t overcomplicate things and he’s strong tactically. We’ve seen some encouraging things from the power play, which is the one area where I think he can really help the team.

Jason Gregor:

He is fine. I enjoy his press conferences. Much more direct and to the point.

Matt Henderson:

Too early for me to tell and too much interference from management to get a good read on how he wants to use the team in front of him. So far he has a very red face.

Robin Brownlee:

I like his demeanour on the bench. Calm without being comatose. All he can do is his best with the mess he’s been handed, so it’s unlikely he’ll be highly impressive in terms of record because he doesn’t have enough to work with.

Jeanshorts:

The team still looks terrible despite the new coach (WEIRD!) but they seem to be playing with a little more jump since Nelly rolled into town. And at the very least the power play has finally started putting shots on the net with some regularity, so, PROGRESS!

Baggedmilk:

It’s still too early to tell, but all I can say is that he has the Oilers shooting the puck more and I like that.  Why that wasn’t part of Dallas Eakins’ game plan is beyond me.

StartOver

4) Brian Komlance asks – The Oilers traded David Perron for Rob Klinkhammer and a 1st round draft pick. My question is, doesn’t this look like they’re restarting the rebuild by trading veterans for draft picks? Who could be next?

Lowetide:

Jeff Petry is next. I don’t think they’re rebuilding, but that 1st round pick (the Pens’ pick) may have more value to a team with a goalie or defenseman Edmonton can use.

Jonathan Willis:

Depends if they flip the pick at the draft for an NHL veteran or not; the trouble is that the vet you can get at the draft isn’t necessarily any better than Perron is. As for who is next, Jeff Petry is the obvious choice. They should never have signed him to a one-year deal this summer.

Jason Gregor:

Jeff Petry is the obvious one gone. He can’t pass up the opportunity to test UFA at 27 years of age. Why would he? He will be gone. If the Oilers make a major trade involving one of the young players it won’t happen until the summer.

Matt Henderson:

It looks like the team balked on their plan of acquiring players in their primes. It looks like the team got rid of a guy who hated losing. It looks like the team reset the rebuild and we are 5 more years away from being competitive. Who’s next? Petry.

Robin Brownlee:

No, they’re not restarting the rebuild, but it certainly appears they want to add one of the first two picks in June to the core group they have. My guess is Jeff Petry is next.

Jeanshorts:

It definitely looks like that. I don’t necessarily think that’s what they’re doing, and if anything it would be more of a continuation of the rebuild, but they’re certainly not trying to get better in the short term, that’s for sure. There’s a small glimmer of hope in me that this first rounder will be used in a trade between now and the draft for players that can make an impact in the lineup immediately next season. But right now it just looks like the usual “Oilers trade one of their only NHL players for magic beans” trades which have historically worked out GREAT in Edmonton’s favour… 

And if the tea leaves are correct like they were with Perron then I wouldn’t be surprised to see Petry in a different jersey this year. I think that will be an insane mistake but that’s a story for another mailbag.

Baggedmilk:

It sure seems like it!  I don’t understand how the Oilers think trading a proven veteran for magic beans is going to fix this mess.  Unless the Oilers plan on trading that 1st round pick as part of a package for a proven player, I just don’t understand this.  Also, yeah I get that there were rumours that Perron wanted out, but still… it’s a step backwards.

I expect to see Jeff Petry moved, and probably Nail Yakupov.  He’s been playing around 12 minutes per night, and it just doesn’t look like he’s in the Oilers plans.  They’re going to get absolutely fleeced on the return, and everyone will complain for years to come when he finally figures out how to play in the NHL.  That’s the Oilers way.

Resolutions

5) Geoff Renard asks – If the Oilers were to come up with a New Year’s resolution, what should it be?

Lowetide:

Make this the last damn summer we pay this much attention to the draft!

Jonathan Willis:

“I will not use the NHL as a development league. I will not use the NHL as a development league. I will not use the NHL as a development league.”

Jason Gregor:

Players: Work harder in the hard areas of the ice.

Management: Recognize the need to build a lineup with size, skill and some nasty. And please don’t just think you need size and nasty on the 4th line.

Matt Henderson:

Stop Tanking. Have some self respect.

Robin Brownlee:

To compete more consistently. No team can play balls out every second of every shift of every game, but the Oilers have to strive to get as close to that as they can. They’ve shown a bit of that already under Nelson.

Jeanshorts:

To lose some weight, because if we’re being honest they’ve really let themselves go over the last 8 years.

Baggedmilk:

Stop making the fans feel like idiots for supporting you.

  • vetinari

    The life of an Oiler fan: at the start of the season, I was spitting nails mad that we were losing so badly that we were out of the playoff race by November, and then when we start to turn things around under Nelson, I find myself nervous that we will lose the best odds at getting either McDavid or Eichel.

    [points to the horizon] Draftward Ho!

  • Serious Gord

    After last nights win, I realized I actually don’t care if we draft McEichel… I mean of course either would be nice, but do you know what else is nice? Watching a team win. First half of the season is gone, let’s see what we can do with the second half.

    An Eichel or a McDavid is one player that can make us better, let’s show the league we’re sick of being a bottom feeder and attract some actual players to come buy in and bring in four players that can make us better.

    • ubermiguel

      I agree, generational talent or not, one new 18 year old superstar in the making is not what this team needs. They need to learn how to win with the players they have.

  • Strange Tamer

    In true Oiler fashion MacT was to proud to realize that his hand picked coach was terrible and that his center depth going into the season was atrocious. Everyone else in the world realized this August.

    Once the playoffs are months beyond an after thought MacT shores up his center depth to almost acceptable NHL levels, jettisons a malcontent, and most importantly brings in a real coach. Now we are picking up points at a rate to put us out of the McDavid/ Eichel sweepstakes. He better hurry up and trade Petry and tell Nelson to get Jultz and Nikitan up to 25 min per night.

  • freelancer

    Just because I’m not completely familiar with it, does anyone know what the rules are with trading RFA’s. For example, IF Yakupov is traded in the summer after his contract has expired, does he have to go through arbitration on our side first, or can he be traded before any deal has been struck and his new team would have to work out a contract.

  • freelancer

    Many in the hockey world thought that coaching was not an issue under Eakins, with their main argument being, ” coaches do not play hockey”. If Nelson maintains a winning track record for the next 40 games, should the Oilers still plan on recruiting a seasoned NHL coach for 2015 and if so what happens to Nelson?

    • freelancer

      Yes, yes, and yes. I think even if the Oilers went 30-10 over their last 40 games they should bring in an experienced veteran. Putting too much stock into small sample sizes has been the Oilers way for far too long. We’ve seen plenty of rookie players come into the league charged and go on an early tear, only to falter later.

      Nelson is utilizing different tactics that other teams haven’t been used to playing, at least against the Oilers. How will Nelson respond when they start understanding his style and adapting to it? A veteran coach can handle these kinds of situations much better.

      Having said all that, if the players like him (which it seems they do) and he can keep getting the most out of them, I would love to see him in an assistant position behind the bench. Utilizing depth isn’t just something for the players.

  • Bicepus Maximus - Huge fan boy!

    I say start the three-build. Trade Eberle, Jultz, Yakupov, Petry (obviously the ball is in his court), and entertain Hall offers.

    The returns aren’t going to spectacular on some of these guys at this point, but let’s make sure we get one of McEichel, and build around Nuge, Draisaitl, McEichel, and Nurse.

    All this under one condition though; Katz fires pretty much everyone in management this summer. Fires them with prejudice.

    Until then, I hate this organization.

  • Bicepus Maximus - Huge fan boy!

    I am prejudiced against American players. Especially American skill players. (Backes, Brown and Sutter would be godsends)

    -I don’t really want the Oilers to draft Eichel because he’s like Kessel. Kessel wouldn’t make the Oilers much better right now.

    -Hanifin looks pretty good, but he is another college defenseman. Haven’t we had enough of them?

    There are a few really exciting players available after the consensus top three. My favorite is Pavel Zacha. Aside from having the best name in the draft, he is a gigantic, mean and talented Czech C/LW playing in the OHL this year. I do not own an Oilers jersey, but I would buy one if it said “ZACHA!” on the back.

    • camdog

      Doug Weight, Bill Guerin, Todd Marchant and Mike Grier are some of my favourite Oiler players of all time. Tough for me to have a prejudice against American players when for a number of years it was American players leading many Oilers teams.

  • freelancer

    So sounds like Taylor Hall was just on The Fan 590, talking about how he always wanted to be a Flyer… don’t know the context of the quote but still…..

  • freelancer

    From what I’m hearing (this is just from another forum so I don’t have any concrete info) is that he was asked if he had heard the trade rumors, he responded that it’s impossible not to hear them but you have to ignore them. They followed up with if there is anywhere he would prefer to land, he laughed… they followed up with “so that’s a yes.” From there he went on to say he wanted to be a Flyer.

    Then I guess they were making jokes about trades and all laughing, so really take it as you will.

  • Derzie

    1) Ray Ferraro should be on every network everywhere. The best.

    2) Nurse has been lit up a bit on D and plays like a forward. He’ll fit right in with the Oil.

    3) Trailer Park Boys rule.

    4) This management group does not know anything about running a hockey team. Zippo. Nada. Zilch.

    5) Resolution. See #4.

  • Serious Gord

    1. Too early to judge. Thing One and Thing Two at Rogers Sportsnet did a very clever thing keeping almost all of the CBC on air people in place. They stilled much of the outcry that not hiring Bob Cole or Ron McLean would have caused. And now they are going to let them sink or swim with the Sportsnet people and in the next year or two I think you will see changes and also some recruiting from TSN.

    I also think the truly overarching thing is that viewers have far, far more choice now and as the schedule evolves i think their will be lots of paralells with the NFL – having highlight games Monday, Wednesday Thursday (which will be a hard core fan night I think) Saturday and Sunday.

    2. Haven’t seen enough of him and the competition has been too weak to say either way. I worry a bit that against the Russians his ‘edginess’ will result in a costly penalty or two…

    3. Again too early to tell. Much of what he is doing is what thousands of armchair coaches have been saying needed to be done. And he hasn’t done anything groundbreaking yet. I also wonder if he really has full reign in regards to who dresses and who sits. And no way shpuld he be kept on fulltime – there will be better, read: more proven options available between now and next season. Thats said i think it a 95% likelyhood that if the current ‘management’ remains in place he will become the permanent coach as KLOWE and KATZ and MACT cannot bear having a coach who might criticize them.

    4. The “management” of this team thinks things are fine. Unless you see Shultz or Yak or Eberle get moved, then yes, they have come to their senses and started a rebuild. But, I think we need yet another disaster season before that happens. Right now Yak and Shultz don’t leave unless they want to via asking too much. And Petry is next to go but i wonder if Mact will pi$$ it away and keep him for the rest of the year when he will be worth nothing.

    5. The resolution should be what it should be for all well-run orgs:

    To hire and promote people at all levels based on merit and merit alone.

    And this is not well-run org. It is THE worst run one in all of the NHL (and that’s saying something).

  • The Oilers organization has really done a number to us fans. We have endured so much losing and have built up so much anger towards the team that McDavid or Eichel was what was going to put a smile back on our faces. Especially if we landed McDavid, what a player he’s going to be!

    However, you can’t help but be happy with the effort we have seen from the Oilers since MacT went back upstairs. I’m honestly torn. I want them to win but am I hoping they win meaningless games or McDavid/Eichel?

    Either way I enjoy Todd Nelsons press conferences over Eakins.

  • THRNHJE

    First I have to say, I don’t know if Matt Henderson was gone for a while or if he is a new addition to ON, but I have really enjoyed his contribution to the site.

    “Stop Tanking. Have some self respect.”

    This. So much this. As much as people mock MacT’s wording of ‘visually’ better, this team IS better than the first half of the season has shown. We wouldn’t be able to outtank Buffalo, and there is a good chance we wouldn’t outtank Carolina. Stop dreaming of MacDavid like we dreamt of Ekblad. It’s NOT going to happen. Even if we go .500 for the rest of the season that puts us at what 69 points? Probably good enough for Hanifin, who is supposed to be in the Ekblad/Jones type of range. If he can come in and give us what Ekblad has given Florida that is enough. People may hate it, but we may need him more than MacDavid or Eichel.

    You don’t win by losing, and for all of our mental health, wins feel good, enjoy them.