Monday Mailbag – June 8th

Mailbag

It’s the time of the week that everyone loves the most – Mailbag time! As always, I’ve taken your questions and sent them out to our writers to get the answers you’ve always been looking for. I say it every where, but this segment is entirely dependent on you guys to make work so send me your questions. You can email me at baggedmilk@oilersnation or hit me up on Twitter at @jsbmbaggedmilk. Enjoy.

NewRegime

1) Aidan asks – With the new management regime do you think there is any chance the Oilers make a reach pick for Tkachev or has that ship sailed?

Robin Brownlee:

Sure, there’s a chance. The team got a good look at him at the last training camp, so they know him as well as anybody. The Oilers have extra picks and if they spend one of them on Tkachev after the third round it’s fine by me.

Jonathan Willis:

There’s a lot of institutional memory still left in the management ranks. I’ve never really believed the Oilers would make a reach pick for a pint-sized forward, but it wouldn’t surprise me at all if they strongly considered Tkachev with a later selection.

Matt Henderson:

I don’t think the ship has sailed, but it is still going to be less likely than when MacT was still the GM. I want to say their later third round pick or anything after would be a reasonable bet. I know there are those that don’t like what the player has accomplished, but he did have a fairly serious injury on the year and he looked really good in the Memorial Cup. I’m all for adding skill and creativity.

Jason Gregor:

Don’t see why. He was 19 and only averaged one point a game in QMJHL. Those players are a dime a dozen. He isn’t gifted enough for me to waste a pick on. If he was 17 turning 18 then maybe, because you’d hope he’d grow, but he is 19. I’d pass.

Lowetide:

I don’t think they’ll reach for him, but if Tkachev is available at a reasonable number there’s every chance Edmonton selects him. The young man didn’t have a great season or Memorial Cup, so could be a bargain late in the draft. Looks like a big risk/reward pick which I like, so hope they take him (depending on number). 

Jason Strudwick:

I feel badly for him with this whole thing. He thought he had a contract a signed up and than it falls through. There aren’t many sure things in the world of hockey. I would not be reaching for him in the draft. The Oilers needs to continue to add D, goaltenders and solid characters players that can grind out wins.

Jeanshorts:

I think the biggest thing working against him is that he’s so tiny. The Rempart’s website has him listed at 5’8”, 163lbs. That is comically small. Even Tyler Johnson is listed at 183! He did look great in training camp last year, but he didn’t go blow the doors off the QMJHL as a 19 year old. Both of those things considered I feel like Chiarelli will pass on him. If he’s still available in the third round I certainly wouldn’t be opposed to taking another flyer on him, but another even smaller, undersized winger doesn’t seem to be in the cards for the Oilers anymore. Best case scenario is we repeat history; Tkachev goes undrafted and the Oilers sign him to an ACTUALLY LEGIT THIS TIME pro contract.

Baggedmilk:

I think the ship has sailed with the coming of a new management team. I mean, Chiarelli could use a later round pick on him but why would he? MacT tried to sign him, and that has nothing to do with the new GM. That being said, if he’s around and you have a pick that’s in the range of where he would be landing why not? You have to feel bad for the kid that he thought he had an NHL contract only to have a technicality rob him of it. 

TV

2) Clarison asks – How do you think Peter Chiarelli is evaluating what he has with his players, more importantly his RFAs? Is he watching a lot of video? Trusting his scouts? What challenges does he face?

Robin Brownlee:

Main challenge is not having seen a lot of them live and having to rely on video and the opinions of hockey ops people he is just getting to know. Can’t even lean as heavily as he normally would on his coach because McLellan wasn’t here either.

Jonathan Willis:

Chiarelli is going to come into the job with a certain level of familiarity with the Oilers’ players, and naturally he’ll make use of whatever resources he has. That’s video, it’s analytics, it’s conversations with people in the organization (even as he assesses those people). The difficulty is that he has a very short period of time to become intimately familiar with a club he’s mostly seen from a distance, and that the incumbent front office people he’ll be dealing with are folks that he won’t necessarily be sure of himself. 

Matt Henderson:

I think he’s going to lean on the people in the organization a lot. He’s a busy guy and I’m not sure hours of video is necessary to know that Pitlick isn’t a great prospect. Without having seen most of his RFAs over the year he has no idea what kind of strides they made or which direction their games were headed. He doesn’t know much about these guys at all. The Oilers might benefit from having a very cold and detached view of their system though, so I’m not worried yet.

Jason Gregor:

Video rarely lies. He told me he is watching a lot of it, but also taking input from the staff and coaches. I don’t see many major challenges with his RFAs. Marincin, Davidson and Schultz will be qualified. I think Miller has done enough to get another year, and same with Pitlick. I think he walks away from Aulie, Fraser, Hamilton, Bunz and  Lain.

Lowetide:

I think he’d have some knowledge of the players from an outsider’s POV and that has value. He’ll now have inside info on the group and that may impact the decision. I don’t think Edmonton’s RFA group is especially good, so aside from offering a bad deal to Justin Schultz there doesn’t appear to be much danger.

Jason Strudwick:

He is watching video, calling on people inside the organization and maybe even coaches who coached against the Oilers this season. The challenge in the short term is for him to form an opinion of his own on players he has not watched play live a lot. For this reason I think he is quite slow to pull the trigger on a big deal without knowing his current roster and top prospect players.

Jeanshorts:

I haven’t the faintest clue how any of that even works. I have to think that Chiarelli is putting a lot of trust in the scouts/video coaches/Rexall janitors/etc considering he inherited all of them, and has yet to bring in his own people to fill those spots, and theoretically they would have the pulse on the players already in the system. I’ve got a feeling that there won’t be a ton of roster turnover before the season starts, and I’m sure Chiarelli would like to see with his own eyes how the players currently here fit into the grand plan. 

In terms of challenges I think the biggest one he’ll face is trying to bolster the roster and finally fill all those gaping holes without mortgaging too much of the future. He has no real ties to any players currently on the roster/in the system, which may either be a great thing or a terrible thing. Time will tell.

Baggedmilk:

I assume there’s a lot of asking the magic 8-ball and reading Lowetide/Willis player breakdowns. If that’s not how Chiarelli is scouting then I DON’T KNOW WHAT TO TELL YOU! Maybe he’s on YouTube? It’s been a while since the NHL has had a Fabian Brunnstrom to talk about. 

DallasEakins

3) Jeffrey S. asks – Has Dallas Eakins’ tenure as the Oilers coach ruined his immediate chances of coaching in the NHL? He was highly touted as a coaching free agent only two years ago. 

Robin Brownlee:

Yes, but let’s move on from Dallas Eakins, shall we?

Jonathan Willis:

Coaching is a highly competitive field, and a lot of very highly-touted coaches end up having to spend several seasons in places like Europe and the AHL before they get a second chance. Look at Guy Boucher as an example; this guy was an up-and-coming star and he’s spent the last two seasons in Switzerland and looks likely to spend a third. My guess is that Eakins lands somewhere — maybe as an NHL assistant, maybe as a head coach in Europe or the AHL — and spends some time in that role before he gets another crack at a head coaching job.

Matt Henderson:

I can’t see any NHL team stepping up to hire Eakins. What he did here, from his arrogant entrance to the doughnut fiasco to turning Yakupov into a third liner, not to mention his atrocious record, are all working against him. Worse than all that, even if somebody wanted to take a chance on Eakins, this ridiculous compensation rule is pressuring the Oilers to ask for a draft pick in return for his services. So team X would need to completely forget all the garbage Eakins did as head coach of the Oilers AND be willing to mortgage their future (more than hiring Eakins would do) just to hire him. It isn’t happening.

Jason Gregor:

There are no head coaching vacancies and he wasn’t a serious contender. I’d say it impacts him, and he, like players who have bad seasons, will need to re-establish himself.

Lowetide:

I think there’s a chance he’ll need to go back to AHL (or junior, he is rumored to be in the running for the Vancouver Giants job) but that’s pretty much par for the course. I bet he learned a lot from the Edmonton experience and hope he makes it back to the NHL and has success.

Jason Strudwick:

Yes. He is a smart guy and will adjust to become a different coach next time.

Jeanshorts:

Immediate chances, absolutely. He’ll land on his feet; despite his disastrous Oilers tenure he still has a solid record as a minor league coach. But right now you have to think he’s pretty radioactive to NHL teams. But NHL memories are long and very spotty. Ted Nolan’s name ALWAYS gets brought up whenever a team is looking for a coach, purely because of a Jack Adams win almost TWENTY years ago! Aside from that he’s had virtually no NHL success and coached three OHL/QMJHL champions in a 15 year span. But that Jack Adams keeps his name in the conversation and gets his foot in the door. 

I have to think that over the next few years Eakins’ 100 game NHL stint will slowly fade from memory and that minor league success/hype will come back to the forefront. And if the NHL has taught me anything it’s that there is ALWAYS room for ex-third/fourth liners in some kind of front office/coaching capacity. It’s just science!

Baggedmilk:

His immediate chances? Absolutely. His tenure as the head coach of the Oilers was a train wreck from the minute he took the doughnuts away from the media to the water bottle fiasco with Taylor Hall to the absolutely demolition of the power play. Eakins is a smart guy though, and I think he’ll approach his next job differently. He may have to wait a while but I think he’ll get another chance. 

Hellbats

4) @digaa17 asks – The Hawks and Bolts are both quick, highly skilled teams… Is fast the new heavy?

Robin Brownlee:

This year it is, although both Jon Cooper and Joel Quenneville are adept at getting their skilled players to compete and play with a lot of intensity. The best substitute for sheer size is willingness to compete. Lots of that on both teams. That aside, there’s some decent size on both teams in key positions.

Jonathan Willis:

I’m going to say “no” because the Blackhawks have been small and fast and dominant for most of the last decade and we haven’t seen teams imitate them in that regard; we like to call the NHL a copycat league but it’s only true to a point (Detroit, for example, has been patient with prospects and ignored fighters for years and years while the rest of the league has continued rushing its star kids into the majors and hiring enforcers). With that said, I think conventional wisdom dictates a balance in team composition; managers want clubs that can keep up with fast teams and go toe-to-toe with heavy clubs.

Matt Henderson:

Heavy is still good. Fast is still good. What all these teams that win have in common is that they control the game. They do it with solid tactics, or by being physically dominant, or with speed, or with depth, or with just a few high end pieces. There is no one way to build a good hockey team. The Oilers have high end pieces but they overloaded the forwards. They’ve had fast players but not fast teams. They’ve had heavy players but only on the fourth lines. I don’t know where I’m going with this except to say that there’s more than one way to get the job done and changes need to be made to this group. I’d say they are closer to being a Tampa Bay than they are the old Bruins, but who knows what Chia can accomplish?

Jason Gregor:

I don’t think so. Kings had size and speed and won last year. If they were any good in shootouts they would have made playoffs, and once they are in they have proven they can win. Big skill will never be looked as a negative.

Lowetide:

There’s more than one way to win a championship. The two teams in the SCF this year will more closely resemble what the mature Oilers will probably look like than, say the LA Kings.

Jason Strudwick:

The speed in the final four teams line ups is very impressive. They fly around the ice. They do have size sprinkled in there as well. Speed is one way that can get past a team really trying to grind out wins along the walls.

Jeanshorts:

2011: THE YEAR OF BIG BULLIES!

2012: THE YEAR OF INSANE POSSESSION AND SUFFOCATING DEFENSIVE SYSTEMS!

2013: THE YEAR OF INCREDIBLY WELL BUILT TEAMS TOP TO BOTTOM!

2014: THE YEAR OF CORSI AGAIN! 

2015: THE YEAR OF DRAFTING NOTHING BUT FORWARDS UNDER SIX FEET! 

The goalposts move every year. But if you break it down, the thing that all those teams have in common is they’re ALL highly skilled teams. The Bruins did smash everything in sight on their way to the cup, but they also scored in bunches and had world class goaltending. The same can be said about pretty much every Cup winner in history. 

I’ve also maintained that the whole thing is basically catching lightning in a bottle (no pun intended). A team can ride a hot goaltender who’s gone supernova or a hot line who can’t stop scoring and beat teams on paper who should be much, much better (basically the entire Oilers 06 run). Long story short teams should focus on building rosters with the best players, rather than trying to fit some specific mold, and hope the coin toss that is the playoffs lands in their favour.

Baggedmilk:

I love this question. If any team wins the Stanley Cup with a slightly different makeup they automatically become the poster children from what NHL teams should look like. Fast and Skilled is always going to be important just like Big and Skilled will always be valuable. It’s more about getting the right mix of guys with skill and teeth that can push you through four rounds. 

handerpants

5) Brock D. asks – What is the worst gift you’ve ever given and what is the worst gift you’ve ever received?

Robin Brownlee:

Lottery tickets — both given and received. Nothing says “I don’t really care” like lottery tickets.

Jonathan Willis:

I’m not sure the worst gift I’ve given; people don’t generally tell you if your gifts stink. With that said, about a decade ago I bought my girlfriend (now my wife) a beautiful watch with an incredibly difficult-to-read face; she’s a practical woman and not the kind of person to walk around with a lovely but indecipherable timepiece. If you’re wondering why I bought an unreadable watch for my girlfriend, I’m going to plead “I was a dumb kid”. As for the worst gift I’ve been given, I appreciated the thought so I’m not going to describe it in any detail; all I’ll say is that it’s tough to buy decor for somebody if you don’t really know what they actually like.

Matt Henderson:

Worst gift I ever gave? I’m not a great gift giver. I have some ideas every once in a while but I’d prefer someone just give me a list so I can get them what they want. Worst gift I ever received was at Christmas one year when my Mom gave me a cell phone (not a smart phone) after I explicitly spent months saying I had no need nor desire for a cell phone. I was quite loud about not wanting one at all and sure as shit that’s what I opened up on Christmas morning. It was obviously a 2-for-1 deal because my sister got one too (it’s what she wanted). I said thank you and returned it later. Actually my mom has two or three more gifts that run in contention for worst gifts I’ve ever received. She’s also given the best gifts I’ve ever received so it’s really all over the place. Sorry Mom.

Jason Gregor:

I gave a fake lottery ticket once. The one that makes person believe they won, but then you have to break the bad news. It was funny however. I’m sure the pet rock I painted for my mom was a pretty bad gift, even though she never said anything.

Worst gift: Never had one that sticks out. One of my best friends had a one-nighter with a girl and she gave him crabs. That has to be the worst gift you could give someone.

Lowetide:

A dear friend of mine was in NYC and before leaving asked me if there was anything I wanted. I said “a framed picture of Yankee Stadium” and God love her she brought me back a framed picture of Shea Stadium. Not a ‘worst gift’ but the first thing I thought about. 

Worst? I bought my son a train set when he was nine but he didn’t love it. Never paid any attention to it. Ignored it. Train set is mine now. I love trains. It was a great damn train set too. Damn kid. Still pisses me off. 

Jason Strudwick:

Worst given- Shampoo to Gregor

Worst received – Cowboy outdoor riding jacket 

Jeanshorts:

The worst gift I’ve ever gotten was probably in grade foir, when we played Secret Santa/Yankee Swap type of game, and I ended up with this porcelain angel statue thing. If there’s one thing an eight year old boy wants it’s DEFINITELY that and not some cool codebreaker board game thing that was up for grabs. 

And I’ve never given a bad gift because I’m an incredibly thoughtful and awesome human being.

Baggedmilk:

My great-grandma used to babysit me every day when I was a kid and my parents were at work, and she used to make me drink these cans of tomato juice that I absolutely hated. I used to try and find creative ways of dumping that crap out before ol’ g-ma would notice. She took that as me loving them, and for my birthday one year I got a case of effing tomato juice. Nothing fires up a seven year old like tomato juice.

Worst gift I’ve given has to be this Columbo DVD set that I gave to my dad when I was a kid. I went to his place recently and he asked me if I could grab something from his room for him. As I’m grabbing the item he asked for I look up in his closet to see that DVD set that I had bought him 10 years earlier — still in the wrapping. Never been opened. I asked him about it afterward and he said he didn’t like Columbo but he used to put it on for napping purposes only. Nice job, bm. Nice job.

  • Oilfan69

    “Worst? I bought my son a train set when he was nine but he didn’t love it. Never paid any attention to it. Ignored it. Train set is mine now. I love trains. It was a great damn train set too. Damn kid. Still pisses me off. ”

    I can hear lowetide’s voice on this one and it makes me laugh/smile 🙂

    • Rob...

      I was also one of those ‘damn kids’. Didn’t like trains, and would rather do pretty much anything rather than play with a toy train set. Dad, on the other hand, loved trains. Guess what I got for Christmas? Guess who spent years adding to the train set? What I wanted was a slot-car racetrack. Thank god video game racing has rendered slot-cars obsolete or the cycle would have continued with my own ‘damn kid’.

  • Devolution

    You know when you buy a packet of 20 screws and only use 3? Or 50 washers when you need 1? What do you do with all the leftovers? You keep them in a box somewhere in the garage, right?

    The first year I was with my wife the new in-laws gave me that box of scraps for Christmas. Now there is a message!

    • ubermiguel

      After my grandfather passed away my dad cleaned out his workshop and got a collection of boxes of nails and screws (and hinges and washers and grommets and nuts and bolts etc) very much like that. These things are old. Woolworth’s-price-tag old. I’m sure I’ll inherit them someday. That said…whenever I need some nails or screws the first place I go is to my dad’s place. Free hardware!

      Hockey related: I hope Yak turns into the (hockey) Mailman, you know, because he always delivers.

  • El Pindo

    Framed picture of Shea stadium instead…almost fell out of my chair I laughed so hard. As for Tkachev….pass. The only guys clamoring for this little person to be drafted are the same people who thought Linus Omark needed more ice time.

  • Devolution

    Dallas Eakins—he carried his own shovel to the hole he dug for himself. Thank God he’s a distant rotten memory for the Oilers. Just watch these guys flourish under their new leaders.

    • Derian Hatcher

      I would be very surprised in Eakins got any kind of shot in the bigs again. It would take him less than 10 minutes to tell everyone in the org how wrong they were and how right he is. Zero cridibility – zero modesty – ability to teach and develop is minimal. Adds up to minors or Juniors if, and it’s a big if, he can change his arrogant ways.

      He put the Oilers back a minimum of 2 years – sheesh.

  • Sheldon "Oilers Fan for Life!!!"

    That opening Pic of Yak made me belly laugh. Sure it is a PS job but it so suits his personality and heritage. I would love an autographed copy on my Oilers wall.

  • Gordie Wayne

    In a previous article, there was talk about potentially offer sheeting Dougie Hamilton.

    A source was quoted:

    To sign a player for $7,305,316 to $9,131,645 annually, a team would have to give up two firsts, one second-, and one third-round pick. As highly as the Bruins think of Hamilton, this would be a steep price to pay.

    I think that it would be costly to do so and am not sure if it is a good move or not, but I had a completely out of the box thought…

    Why don’t the Oilers tell Boston they are planning on doing it but would reconsider if Boston simply refused to take the 2nd round pick compensation that we owe for Chiarelli signing here?

  • Spoils

    more than speed and skill, I think this year’s stanley cup showdown is about incredible defense – and that mirrors many many other years (Doughty to Pronger to Neidermeyer…)

    Tampa (3 guys over 6’5, 5 guys over 220 and one of them is Victor Hedman)
    Hawks (running just 4 guys that include Keith and Seabrook)

    Honorable mention to the Rangers.

    Quality D.

  • Positive Ray of Sunshine

    When I was a kid I gave my Mom a VHS copy of “Sweating to the Oldies”. In my mind it was thoughtful because she liked old music. I learned a valuable lesson that day.

  • Derian Hatcher

    I wonder if the Oil brass put some,or all the old pics&
    Memorabilia back on the walls in the dressing room.
    That cool hair Eakins& nothing else took down??

    • paul wodehouse

      I hope so.

      For me, that was the first sign that Eakins may not be the right guy for this organization.

      Can you imagine a coach of the Canadiens or leafs removing tributes to their icons ?

      • paul wodehouse

        I agree about all traditions of storied teams like the Habs& Leafs of old.
        Players today should know their history of a particular franchise.
        Of all the great players to lace up their skates& put on those historic jerseys.
        Players today should be proud of the team& city they play for,like all the other
        Players to come before them. And yes Eakins has cool hair,but that is about all
        He’s got.

  • paul wodehouse

    worst gift ever revceived…. season 4 of Columbo from my Dad. I was perplexed was season 4 the greatest season ever of Columbo?
    Never asked him why, I just dumped it…
    worst gift given….Mickey bottle of Drambuie for my ex-wife on Valentines Day…Nuff said…

  • paul wodehouse

    @druds

    “….Mickey bottle of Drambuie for my ex-wife on Valentines Day…”

    …would you still be together if you had given her a two six of “the great equalizer”?

    jus sayin’

  • Smuckers

    Eakins was a disaster but so long as the organization that hires him isn’t Bakersfield or the Oilers I don’t really care where he ends up.

    Tkachev probably won’t get picked and really shouldn’t be by Chiarelli. If he does get picked you know MacT has some pull left. I like the kid but in a deep draft year we should be taking flyers on undersized AHL destined prospects.

    Incidentally, I think the failed Tkachev was humiliating for this organization and really hilighted how inept management was. Take a pass and put that chapter behind.

  • Dwayne Roloson 35

    The worst gift I received was a blank cassette tape……..

    Worst gift I gave was a rock to my mom. I painted “MOM” as well as the date on it.

  • Mike Modano's Dog

    Tkachev’s effort in the Memorial Cup had all his teammates mad at him. It wasn’t the giveaway but his poor effort coasting back that could have prevented the clinching goal. You’d think he’d learn from it, but there he was coasting back at the same inexcusable pace the very next game.

    If they reach it better be round 5 or later, however I’d pass on him completely in this draft.