Monday Mailbag – February 16th

Mailbag

There’s no better weekend than a long weekend, and I guess you’re just going to have to kill some family time instead of company time today.  Today, I’ve got five more of your questions that need answers from our panel of heroes and experts.  As always, this feature depends on you and if you have a question you can email it to me at baggedmilk@oilersnation.com or hit me up on Twitter at @jsbmbaggedmilk.  With that, I present another Monday Mailbag. Enjoy.

 

Fair

1) Alex Dupuis asks – Is it really fair to compare Todd Nelson to Dallas Eakins when Dallas Eakins didn’t have three NHL centres on his roster? Why or why not?

Matt Henderson:

I think you need to take that into consideration when you look at their overall success this year, but by all accounts Todd Nelson keeps the team’s mood in a very different place and his practices are much more intensive. If you look at the things they have control over there are positives and negatives for both of them. 

Jonathan Willis:

I don’t really buy the notion that the roster has been significantly upgraded post-Eakins; we can talk about Derek Roy but to me the gap between Roy and Mark Arcobello is a lot smaller than the one between David Perron and Rob Klinkhammer. I’m still not sure that it’s fair to compare them, though. Nelson has had some percentage help that Eakins didn’t but because of that Nelson’s team has also spent a lot less time trailing, which makes its underlying numbers artificially look worse. Bottom line, it’s a results driven business and judgment was passed on Eakins based on his team’s performance, which means at this point Eakins isn’t terribly relevant. The relevant question is whether Nelson has been getting enough out of the roster he was given.

Jeanshorts:

At this point I don’t think so. Dallas Eakins did a lot of things poorly, to be sure, but it feels like people are unfairly conflating their ill will towards Eakins with the recent success the team has had under Nelson. For instance over the last few weeks we’ve seen a number of people trotting out Nelson’s winning percentage so far, which is fine and it’s nice to see the Oilers seemingly moving the needle in the right direction for once. But when you try to compare a 15 game sample with a 113 game sample, obviously things are going to be skewed. 

The Oilers definitely seem to be a looser group who are having more fun under Nelson, and there are PLENTY of things we can criticize Eakins for, but as of right now trying to compare the two coaches straight across is unfair to me.

Lowetide:

Both Nelson and Eakins are dealing with roster challenges but I agree it’s unfair to compare the two. If Nelson gets next season to show what he can do, then we can view both of them after 100+ NHL games.

Robin Brownlee:

Fair? Like Nelson being without his best player, Taylor Hall, for the next month or so? It’s the NHL. The Oilers are getting better results under Todd Nelson than they did under Dallas Eakins. Bottom line.

Jason Gregor:

The centres are one aspect. The Oilers play with more tenacity. Their practices are much quicker and with more pace and less standing around the white board. Nelson has had a calming effect on the team that Eakins didn’t have. Under Nelson many players look more comfortable, Eberle, Yakupov and Schultz for example, so I do think you can compare how they play. They aren’t getting blown out even with Hall out of the lineup.

Jason Strudwick:

I have been impressed with the jump and life the team is showing under Todd that was not often seen under Dallas.

Baggedmilk:

I still think it’s too soon to really compare Eakins and Nelson.  People forget that over the last half of the season, last year, that Eakins’ Oilers was almost playing at the .500 clip that Nelson’s is now.  Personally, I think the Oilers should take the interim tag off Nelson. By all accounts, he’s doing a decent job back there and more importantly the coaching carousel has to stop.  It has to.  The Oilers need better players, not another new coach.

Turnover

2) Brandon Stang asks – Do you expect another overhaul of the roster this summer? Are there any untouchables, in your eyes?

Matt Henderson:

There has to be changes. They need to find a top pairing defenseman (two preferably) and fill in the 2C spot so Draisaitl/McDavid/Strome/Whoever has less pressure. They also need a 1G. Hall, RNH, Draisaitl, Klefbom, and Nurse are my untouchables. The last three more so because you need to develop Centers and defensemen not because they are amazing already. 

Jonathan Willis:

Craig MacTavish has indicated that there isn’t likely to be a major overhaul, and he generally does what he says so I can’t say I’m expecting a lot of moves. I don’t believe in “untouchables” in hockey, but as a practical matter it’s highly unlikely that a move involving Taylor Hall or Ryan Nugent-Hopkins would benefit the team and Jordan Eberle isn’t far behind those two.

Jeanshorts:

At this point I’ve learned to stop expecting ANYTHING from the Oilers. I’m just as confident that MacT will make a bunch of savvy moves this summer and finally propel this team from the basement as I am that MacT will stand pat, let a bunch of rookies and unseasoned minor leaguers plug the continually massive holes in the roster, and the team finishes in the bottom 3 AGAIN next year. 

As for untouchables, at this point I think Nuge is the only one I would confidently put in that box. I mean, I love Taylor Hall and still think he’ll become the superstar we all want him to be, but the Oilers need so much help icing an actual NHL roster that I’d be willing to listen to whichever offers are coming in. PLEASE DON’T HATE ME FOREVER JORDAN!!

Lowetide:

I consider Taylor Hall, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Oscar Klefbom as untouchables. I don’t believe we’ll see a lot of activity, but rather a trio with impact—G, D and C.

Robin Brownlee:

Roster has to be overhauled or the team isn’t good enough. Anybody can be traded (unlikely) if what’s coming back is right.

Jason Gregor:

No such thing as untouchable, but guys I’d be leery of dealing are RNH, Hall, Eberle, Nurse and Klefbom. If the right deal, which is rare, came along for 4 or 14 then you have to consider it.

Jason Strudwick:

This will be an easier question to answer once I know the draft position for the Oilers.

Baggedmilk:

My only untouchables are Nuge and Yakupov.  Nuge is obvious, but Yak is an untouchable for me because his trade value is so low that anything the Oilers would get would be an underpayment.  He seems to have that spark back in his game under Nelson, and I’d like to see his wings grow back.

Three

3) Vetinari asks – Everyone knows that the Oilers would take McDavid or Eichel if they have either the #1 or #2 pick in the 2015 draft– what do we do if we end up with the #3 pick (or later)?  Trade it?  Use it?

Matt Henderson:

They should use it. Take Hanifin or another C. NO CROUSE.

Jonathan Willis:

If the Oilers end up with the third overall pick I imagine they select the best player available; probably either Noah Hanifin or Dylan Strome. In Craig MacTavish’s shoes I’d be open to a trade if there were a high-end young centre or defenceman who could play significant minutes coming the other way, but at this point it’s impossible to know if that’s an option.

Jeanshorts:

I’ve never paid too much attention to draft rankings or any of that (mostly because the Oilers always pick first anyway) but over the last few weeks I’ve read some VERY complimentary articles on both Dylan Strome and Noah Hanifin. I would not be mad at the Oilers if they gave themselves the chance to completely ruin either one of those guys. So, basically, I can’t wait till the Oilers waste that pick on a guy who was projected to go 33rd, but has SUCH a #BigBodyPresence that he was impossible to pass up!

Lowetide:

I would spend the pick on Dylan Strome, Mitch Marner of Noah Hanifin. I would rely on my scouts to make the call.

Robin Brownlee:

Don’t know. Depends, in part, who they unload between now and draft. Also depends on how top-five picks perform the rest of this season and playoffs and how Edmonton scouting staff ranks them. That’s still a moving target.

Jason Gregor:

I’d use it. Teams will never offer you equal value for that pick. I’d take either Strome or Provorov. Whatever they do, DO NOT draft a winger.

Jason Strudwick:

Listen to every offer!!!

Baggedmilk:

I really hate this question.  I can’t wait until the time comes when the Oilers are drafting in the 20-25 range and we won’t really care this much about the first round.  I said the same thing last year, yet here we are.

Savings

4) Shredder asks – I’ve been going back and forth on whether or not to renew my season tix next year. I’ve had them for 5 years, starting with Hall/Eberle’s first season. Please, give me one good reason why I should make a bulk purchase on Oilers tickets, because I’m at a total loss.

Matt Henderson:

Because even the terrible Oiler in-game experience is superior to watching a Rogers broadcast?

Jonathan Willis:

Basically it comes down to whether or not the entertainment you’re getting out of those tickets is fair value for the money you’re spending on them; that’s not something I can answer for you.

Jeanshorts:

I mean, at this point being a season ticket holder can’t possibly get any worse, right? You’ve already spent all that money to watch horrible teams, you might as well keep throwing it down that pit JUST IN CASE they ever become somewhat competitive at the NHL level again. And NEW ARENA COMING IN HOT! I’m assuming current season ticket holders will get first dibs on much more comfortable seats to watch the Oilers lose from!

Lowetide:

I believe the Oilers have a bright future, but I’m not the one plunking down funds to watch the current group. I am absolutely unqualified to give you advice.

Robin Brownlee:

You’re an adult. It’s your money. You make the call.

Jason Gregor:

I wish I could help you. I’m going through the exact same dilemma. This is the first year I’m strongly considering not renewing my seats. Most clients simply aren’t interested in using them like in previous years and I don’t see that changing next season either. I’ll read the comments to see if anyone has a good reason.

Jason Strudwick:

This is a better question for the Oilers season ticket sale staff.

Baggedmilk:

I’ve been turning down a lot of free tickets lately, so I can’t even imagine what it’s like to pay for them.  It’s a tough call, but I believe (dumbly) that this team will turn around at some point and you’ll wish you still had those tickets.

Aging

5) Dominic B. asks – What are some of the changes that have happened in your own lives since the Oilers last made the playoffs?

Matt Henderson:

Changes in my life? I graduated with my BA, graduated with my MA, started working in “the real world”, got married, had a kid, and bought a house. So not a whole lot.

Jonathan Willis:

I got married, bought and renovated a house, lived outside the country for the first time, and went from tradesman to salesman to blogger. So nothing major.

Jeanshorts:

Moved to Vancouver, graduated from film school, started an almost decade long career in the television industry, ended an almost decade long career in the television industry, became an honest to goodness professional blogger, grew a beard, moved back to Edmonton, became best friends with Ryan Smyth (may be overstating that one a tad), and grew to hate Baggedmilk more and more with each passing day. Nothing major…..

Lowetide:

Chances? Or Changes? Well, my kids grew up and graduated high school, my wife got prettier and I moved from Radio Sales to on-air and blogging. I have paid a lot of my mortgage, sworn off and then embraced demon rye, brought a dog home that is a dear friend and spent many hours yelling at my television.

Robin Brownlee:

Became Sam’s dad. Everything else is secondary.

Jason Gregor:

I started writing for Oilersnation, the Edmonton Journal and doing play by play for Edmonton Rush on TV. I got married and have a son and I defeated Strudwick in a hitting contest, a rowing contest and a Karaoke contest.

Jason Strudwick:

I got to meet Wanye.

Baggedmilk:

I took business at NAIT, graduated, moved to Australia for a year, came back and got a big boy job, then left and moved to Asia for a year, then I came back to the same big boy job, then Wanye saved me from the rat race.  

  • Huge BM fan.
    love when my morning starts with a BM.

    Gregor says “They aren’t getting blown out even with Hall out of the lineup.”

    I don’t know if you saw the 5-1 lashing to Toronto.. orrrr the 7-2 loss against Ottawa…

    they definitely seem to care more and with more pace under nelson- but there are probably more losses like that once we get to the trade deadline

  • bazmagoo

    Provorov. A 6ft?? I know size should not be an issue but really should we be even thinking that BPA is an undersized dman in terms of todays NHL. Id he a Rafalski type? Can his offence make up for what he is going to cost on the defensive side of the zone. We need dmen who are big,physical and stop the cycle.Calgary has schooled us lately in that regard. LA does it all the time. The Sedins own our ass down low.
    Petry has shown signs recently of wanting to engage more but that seems to me more of a blip than a continuance of a trend.Its like his agent sat down with him and said GET MORE PHYSICAL. I wish he had shown more of that willingness to engage in his first 200 games.We would not be discussing his trade value if that were the case.As it stands I think the Oilers will get value for him in in a deal in the same range as what Toronto got for Franson.

    • toprightcorner

      Provorov is rated at 200 lbs on wha website which is more accurate. That means he will be 210-215 in a couple years. He is a pt/g rookie running the PP for the Wheat Kings.

      He will be 15-20 lbs heavier and same height as Giordano, Letang, Keith, Yandle, Josi, Shattenkirk, Markov and Suter.
      I am not saying he will be as good as all of these players but he is out scoring all of them in draft year and he is doing it in a lower scoring bigger man’s game in the WHL

      PP QB’s are typically under 200 lbs and Provorov will be much heavier than that. he also has 38 pims showing he isnt afraid to be agressive I would compare him to a bigger more defensive Yandle or Shattinkirk or a more offensively creative Josi.

      Provorov is what we all wish Schultz would be. He would be a perfect fit beside Klefbom or Nurse in 3-4 years on the top line. He is the best deman fit for the Oilers, Hanifin is too similar to the Klefbom or Marincin, the Oilers need a PP QB, the hardest type to get. No more 20 pt dmen.

      I would trade the 3rd pick for a mid 20’s top pairing offensive dman in a package any day of the week.

    • toprightcorner

      Don’t forget to ad Mitch Marner to your list of undersized players. I would be looking at Hanifin a lot more seriously if he was a right side d-man, but by the time he was NHL ready, the Oil will have Nurse and Klefbom on the left side. If the Oil end up with the third pick, then I think that they have to go with Strome. And then take the best right shooting d-men with their next two picks.

  • toprightcorner

    Struddy,

    ~thank you for your detailed, well thought out answers to these questions. Insight from a past NHLer is great to have maybe next time you could shorten up the answers a bit for reading purposes~

  • Citizen David

    MACTAVISH GENERALLY DOES WHAT HE SAYS?

    Jonathan said this and I must respectfully disagree. MacTavish said he was “impatient” but he has not made any really significant player moves in almost two years. He promised “bold moves” but delivered none. He said he was “convinced more than ever” that Eakins was the man and fired him 35 games into the next season. He sent Hall out to pump Eakins’ tires (I am convinced that was orchestrated) and he fired Eakins about ten days later.

    Seriously, from day to day, week to week, month to month, MacTavish has no idea what he is doing. He changes the “plan” all the time, which means he has no plan. He said he is only going to add “one to three” players this summer, shocking thing to say for the GM of a team in second last place. But if the whim strikes him he could make a large number of changes.

    MacTavish should do what Costanza did. One day he concluded that his life was an utter failure, so he started doing the OPPOSITE of what he did before.

    Or maybe Katz should just fire him…

  • toprightcorner

    One of the oiler’s major problems is a lack of D who can score. Provorov would add more value to this team than any other player outside the obvious top two. I know he gets hyped, but Hanifin is not the sure-fire best D in this draft. I wouldn’t mind at all if they took a chance on the Russian.

  • paul wodehouse

    I’d like to add that Provorov is a complete defenseman who’s +25 right now on the Wheat Kings. He’s solidly built for 6 ft and if he was just a couple inches taller he’d be going over Hanifin for sure. Do you know who else is 6 ft? Erik Karlsson.

    • toprightcorner

      Provorov is 200 lbs per WHL website which is typically more up to date. He will add a min of 15 lbs and play at 6’1″ 215 lbs. thats a good size for an offensive dman.

      He also runs the Wheat Kings PP as a rookie, Nurse just started that this year so he will be a mature power play quarterback in a couple years.

      He would b3e my pfick for a defenseman for the Oilers, Haflin is the same as Klefbom, Fayne and Marincin, good defensively, can move the puck well but minimal offense.

      Provorov is what we all thought JSchultz would be. Offensive, good shot and good defensively.

      The WHL is also the toughest junior league to put up points as a defenseman and the forwards they play against are usually bigger and more aggressive.

      He is not the pick I make at 3, probably take Strome but at 4-6 if the Oilers trade down a couple spots he is the man.

    • toprightcorner

      These guys are all 6′ or less

      Karlsson
      Shattenkirk
      Giordano
      Letang
      Vantenan
      Faulk
      Wideman
      Markov
      Kronwall

      All of these guys are the top 22 of scoring.

      Other notables:

      Krug
      Wisnewski
      Gologoski
      Stralman
      Leddy
      Zidlicky
      Ellis
      Niskanen
      Sekera
      Enstrom
      Carle
      Boyle
      Visnovsky

      Provorov is a 200 lb 17 year old so will be closer to 215 by 22. Not a size issue at all

  • paul wodehouse

    Re: reason to buy season tickets would be so you can not go and leave the seats empty. You could also talk other season seats holders into doing the same. That’s honestly the best and only reason i can think of to buy season seats.

  • paul wodehouse

    …on understanding the privilege of fatherhood

    Robin Brownlee:

    Became Sam’s dad. Everything else is secondary.

    truer words can’t be spoken on Family Day 2015

  • camdog

    “While the debate will rage, I see Ivan as the best and most complete defenceman in the draft. His command of all the situations in the game allows him to contribute and make an impact regardless of what’s confronting him. Ivan can make the game look effortless with a brilliant understanding of what’s unfolding in front of him either from a defensive or offensive standpoint. His skating, quickness and balance, pinpoint passing, poise under pressure and a great competitive determination align to make him a defenceman who can influence the play and the outcomes in a consistent and positive manner.”

    Craig Button – TSN

  • Admiral Ackbar

    Hey all of you sign-Petry-at-any-cost hockey-know-it-alls, I defer to your considerable experience and deep inside knowledge of the NHL, what would you consider an overpay for Petry?

  • Enough with the Hanifin vs Porovrov debate!!! We don’t need defenceman, we already have Jultz and Nikitin!!!! I heard that little winger has some skill, it’s obvious that we need to pick him to finish the innovative ‘build from the outside in’ plan Lowe installed

  • camdog

    Wayne,

    Why don’t you have a average fan provide answers to the mailbag each week as well? There are several people who comment on each article and are passionate about the oilers and represent the majority.. Rotate the person commenting, auction it off for Charity or special events….
    It can be a Tier one or tier two fan….
    Thoughts?

  • camdog

    From reading all the answers, it has become obvious that not one of the ON writers feels that, ” Mact T in on it”?

    For the next BM sesssion I submit the following question:

    Exactly how do you feel about MacT now that he has been on the job for two years, and made some moves? Is he really on it?

  • bazmagoo

    The Oilers need a #1 d-man so badly it’s ridiculous, and have so for 6+ seasons. It’s time to bite the bullet and get one. #2 overall plus Justin Schultz to Arizona for Oliver Ekman Larsson and a prospect or pick.

  • justDOit

    I’m taking BPA at this years draft even that means a small winger. Perfect world some of these guys are shipped out for needed pieces (D or centre) which means if they take their time and give someome like Marner his full development in junior and some AHL time before even thinking about playing him in the NHL they might have a need for a skilled winger by then.

    Too often this team has drafted with a focus on the next two weeks rather than the next two years. Always heard when they took Pouliot they didn’t want Parise because he was small and with Mike Comrie and Mike York why would they ever need someone like Parise…

  • Citizen David

    Provorov and Hanifin and Werenski and Kylington are all left shooting dmen. So are Nurse, Klefbom, Marincin, Simpson, Oesterle, Gernat, Musil, Betker, and Lagesson. We need right handed d.

  • Bicepus Maximus - Huge fan boy!

    Love the season tickets question.

    We’ve had tickets starting with Hallsy’s and Eb’s first year too. And we’re also considering not renewing. I honestly prefer to PVR the game lately and watch it later if I’m not doing anything.

  • Citizen David

    With Nuge, Draisaitl, Yakimov, Lander, at center and Chase, Kharia, and Roy as possible centers there isn’t the huge hole at center anymore.

    Marner is 7 years younger than Eberle and with Yakipov a question mark we would be wise to take Marner.

    When Marner is 25 and in his prime Eberle will be 32 and in thee decline. They would have a nice transition.

  • Citizen David

    I’m the guy who asked the season tax question and it’s nice to hear that other oilersnation readers (former diehard fans) are feeling the same way. Including a guy who works in the media who covers the oilers (gregor). I want to be a responsible consumer and send a message…not to mention make better use of my money.

  • vetinari

    On the draft question– had to ask because every year, I see MacT or Tambellini hold court and talk to every GM but they have yet to cash in a first rounder to fill a roster need through a trade and if we don’t have a “guaranteed no miss” pick in our sights, this may b the year to use it for immediate help.