Monday Mailbag – July 13th

Mailbag

Whether you’re killing company time, or reacquainting with your couch, the mailbag is here to help you make it through another Monday. As always, I’ve got five more of your questions that need answers from our panel of heroes and experts.  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. Without further adieu – the mailbag. 

Third

1) Kerry asks – Why do you think the Oilers give up their 3rd round pick to San Jose this year? Wasn’t this supposed to be a very deep draft? I thought that they had the option to give it up over the next few seasons.

Lowetide:

I suspect they wanted their first three selections next year in order to use an offer sheet as a negotiation tool or as an actual tool.

Robin Brownlee:

They did have the option. Does a deeper 2015 draft, assuming you believe that’s the case, translate to a significant difference in a third-round pick in the 80s (86th)? I don’t think so. Do you? Chiarelli obviously wanted it off the books and opted to do it now.

Jeanshorts:

I think most Oiler fans (and a lot of the NHL in general) still really overvalue draft picks. A third round pick has roughly a 30% chance to become, at best, a bottom six NHL player. Even in a “deep” draft year there is infinitely more value in Todd McLellan than a third round pick (regardless of how dumb that composition rule is). At worst it’s a calculated gamble; what if, in two years, it’s the DEEPEST DRAFT OF ALL THE DRAFTS? What if the top 200 picks could have went in the first round any other draft year? THANK GOODNESS THEY HELD ONTO THAT THIRD ROUND PICK! 

At the end of the day it’s giving up a cheap asset for an incredibly valuable one.

Jonathan Willis:

It’s a good question, and it’s debatable whether the Oilers made the right call. I would suggest that because it was a later third-round pick the Oilers thought it made some sense to just get it over with. It also allows the team some flexibility in terms of offer sheets and the like and guarantees the pick won’t be given up in the same year as the second-round selection going Boston’s way, meaning that they won’t have a big gap at the draft in 2017.

Jason Gregor:

They did it because it was the 86th pick in the 3rd round. The only 3rd round picks that are worse are 87-90. I believe they weighed the options and felt it was better to give up this pick than a higher 3rd rounder in 2016 or 2017.

Jason Strudwick:

Fair question to ask but I have no idea.

Baggedmilk:

You’d have to think that part of giving that 3rd round pick to San Jose was just to get it over with. It’s such a dumb rule that I can see why the Oilers would want to deal with it as soon as possible. What will be interesting to see is if the NHL reversed the rule or amended it in any way. Would the Oilers get a pick back later on? Either way, it’s ridiculous to have to “pay” for a guy that was fired/left the organization. 

That being said, maybe Chiarelli didn’t like the list that the scouts put together and literally chose to draft the fewest amount of players possible? I’m kidding. Probably…

Wing

2) Ryan C. asks – There has been talk of moving Leon Draisaitl to the wing to start this season. What are the pros and cons of moving a C to the wing?

Lowetide:

There aren’t many cons, to be honest. If he’s comfortable there, and he says he is, it gives the team more options in-game and an outstanding young player in their lineup.

Robin Brownlee:

If Draisaitl does enough to clearly show he’s ready to play in the NHL but there’s no room in the middle in the top nine, it makes sense to start him on the wing. Pros and cons depend on the player in question.

Jeanshorts:

For pros I think it would let him get an ever better feel for the NHL without having to worry about as much defensive responsibility. Let him wade into the pool rather than just tossing him into the deep end again. And he’s really strong along the boards so picturing him digging a puck out of the corner and feeding a wide open Yak in the slot gives me Chiarelli Tingles®. 

As for cons, obviously he was drafted as a centre, and I’m hoping he becomes the next Getzlaf — a big, powerful centreman with huge offensive upside. So the less draws he takes the longer it will take him to become a proficient NHL pivot.

Jonathan Willis:

It’s a nice way to introduce a player to the NHL without heavy defensive responsibilities. I don’t know why the Oilers didn’t do it a year ago. The only real downside I see is that if they want to switch him back to centre later there will be an adjustment but then with Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Connor McDavid down the middle that may never be a major issue.

Jason Gregor:

I don’t see any con. It is an easier position to play. Many young players have played the wing first — Stamkos, MacKinnon recently — and it didn’t hurt their development. If he is better than the other wingers in camp then he should stay here, but I wouldn’t keep him in NHL just to play on the wing if he isn’t better than Korpikoski, Pitlick etc. He could play centre in the AHL, gain confidence and possibly get a recall for the second half of the season.

Jason Strudwick:

Moving to the wing is way easier than moving to centre. He could play there and use that big body to hold on to the puck and make plays. I would prefer to see him play centre in the minors though. Moving forward, having a big body developing as a centre makes a lot more sense.

Baggedmilk:

I don’t see how there could be any negatives aside from having Draisaitl gain experience in a position other than centre. There are fewer defensive responsibilities at centre and it would give him a chance to get used to playing at the NHL level without having as much to worry about. 

Hockey

h

3) Bruce asks – Connor McDavid aside which Oilers prospect are you looking forward to the most and why?

Lowetide:

I’ll say a tie between Griffin Reinhart and Anton Slepyshev. Reinhart because he’s a big, strong defender who wowed Edmonton fans as an Oil King, so I want to see how close he might be to being able to do that kind of thing in the NHL. Slepyshev because I’ve never seen him live and he’s a very skilled player.

Robin Brownlee:

Nurse. Looks ready to break in. We’ll get a better idea if that’s the case through main camp and pre-season.

Jeanshorts:

Gonna assume this is also does not include Nurse and Draisaitl. The prospect I’m probably most intrigued with is Ben Betker. Guy is an honest to goodness giant, he looked really solid in orientation camp, and he’s the exact type of defenseman the Oilers have desperately been craving for years now. As a sixth round pick odds are his ceiling is realistically more Keith Aulie than Tyler Myers, but man, can you imagine a seven foot tall behemoth actually making an impact on the Oilers blue line? I’ll definitely be keeping an eye on him in the near future.

Jonathan Willis:

Darnell Nurse is a guy who will be fun to watch. When I saw Oscar Klefbom in Oklahoma City I was really impressed by his combination of size, speed and puck skill and knew his ceiling at the NHL level was awfully high. Nurse really seems to be a cut above that and will be a blast to watch over his career.

Jason Gregor:

Darnell Nurse. He is exactly what the Oilers need. A big, skilled and mean defenceman.

Jason Strudwick:

Greg Chase. I think he has the skill, will and determination to show everyone he should never have been drafted so late. If he becomes the players I think he can his style will energize the team.

Baggedmilk:

McDavid aside the obvious answers are Darnell Nurse and Leon Draisaitl. If we’re looking past them I’m curious to see how Greg Chase does. He was a late round pick that could actually develop into something. When was the last time you could say that about a late round draft pick for this team? I’m also curious to see how Laurent Brossoit handles more minutes down in the AHL. Is this guy the goalie of the future? This season will be a big step towards that if he can handle starters minutes and find a way to be consistent.

CaptainCanadaSmytty

4) Baresnake asks – Do you think we will see the Oilers honour Ryan Smyth in the last year at Northlands/Rexall place, or will we have to wait for that in the new rink? Do you think they will honour him at all?

Lowetide:

I believe they’ll honor Smyth and suspect it’ll be at Rexall. I’d like to see something for Glen Sather this year, too.

Robin Brownlee:

If they do, it’ll be in the new rink. Having a wall of honour or some other entity to mark the careers of noteworthy Oilers not in the Hall of Fame makes sense.

Jeanshorts:

I can see two scenarios here:

A) They have one big ceremony where they honour all Oilers past and present, and say one final goodbye to Rexall. 

B) They have a similar ceremony for the opening of the new arena. A passing the torch style thing like the Habs do every third home game. 

I thought Smytty’s send off in his final game was incredible, so I don’t know that they need to do another one for him individually so soon. I wouldn’t be surprised, though, if they did something where they either put him in some kind of ring of honour in the new building, or best case scenario they put 94 up in the rafters with the other Oiler greats. The entire new downtown core will be washed into the North Saskatchewan due to all the tears that night (mostly mine and Wanye’s).

Jonathan Willis:

I don’t know, but keep in mind that the team has been pretty strict about sticking to election to the Hockey Hall of Fame as a prerequisite for jersey retirement. I know Kevin Lowe isn’t a terribly popular guy in Edmonton at the moment but he’d be a prime candidate for a jersey retirement if the team relaxed the standard and that hasn’t happened.

Jason Gregor:

I don’t see it happening this year, and based on their current rule “need to be in HHOF to have jersey retired”, then it will never happen. I hope the team looks at altering that rule. They could do what Leafs have. Honoured jerseys go to the rafters, but stay in circulation, and only HHOF players are retired. I’d be okay with that and then Smyth should be a lock to have his honoured.

Jason Strudwick:

I am not sure on the timing but his contributions as an Oiler have been huge. I would be in favour of his jersey being lifted to the rafters.

Baggedmilk:

I love Ryan Smyth and I don’t think the Oilers could do enough to honour him. Build a statue. Name a burger after him. Make all the prospects grow the mullet. The team needs to do whatever they can to honour a player that bled orange and blue throughout his career as an Oiler. Smytty is a legend and deserves it. 

Vacation

5) Gordon R. asks – Now that the dog days of summer are here, what is your favourite summer vacation memory?

Lowetide:

Probably the summer we sold our house and lived at the lake. It was insane, I don’t think we slept.

Robin Brownlee:

Can’t pick just one. Drive-in movies. Trips to Seattle International Raceway with friends to drag race. Cruise nights that began at the local A&W. Wrenching on my cars. Hanging around Ducey Park and Telus Field covering the Trappers. Switching over to cover the Eskimos once the NHL draft was done. The day I met my wife. The day my son Sam was born. Show and shines. Golf vacations.

Jeanshorts:

Our family trip to California when I was 10 is pretty hard to top. Disneyland is obviously really, really awesome, but as a kid OBSESSED with movies and TV I had way more fun at Universal Studios and just touring around Hollywood in general. We also got to be in the audience for the taping of a sitcom pilot, which, again as a kid consumed with movie magic and how everything was made was an unbelievable experience.

Jonathan Willis:

There are too many to count, but I’ll say this: If you ever get the chance, go to the British Museum. It’s just incredible; it’s like traveling the history of the world in one stop. I spent parts of two days there but could have spent two weeks without getting bored.

Jason Gregor:

Going to Minnesota for a Jays/Twins game and we went to Six Flags amusement park. I was 10 years old and it was great trip.

Jason Strudwick:

I spent a summer at “farm” camp just outside Redwater. This one time at farm camp… you get the idea.

Baggedmilk:

Honestly, I couldn’t pick just one. I spent a lot of summers at the lake fishing with family, and to me there’s nothing better than that. I’ve also been lucky enough to do a lot of travelling so far in my life. I spent just under a year in Australia and another year living in Southeast Asia. For those two years of my life every day was Saturday – it doesn’t get much better. 

  • freelancer

    Peter Chiarelli may either be a real Genius. Or a super lucky idiot. We will soon find out.

    Chris Pronger needs pacifiers thrown at his at his HHOF induction speech.

    Darnell Nurse is going to blow the doors off the NHL….. Book it..

    Griffin Reinhardt is a BUST. What was Chia Pet thinking??? Or was he??

    Taylor Hall – Ebz – Nuge will rock the NHL this year.

    Pouliot – Connor – yak city will thrive on 2nd pairing.

    Why is MacT still employed??? Kevin Lowe?? What’s going on??

  • freelancer

    Agree with you Struds on Chase. Looking forward to what he can do in training camp this year. If he continues to get better I could see him pushing for a NHL spot in 2016-2017.

  • Poutine Gravy

    Nurse is going to be a fantastic player, but I’m hopeful that Chiarelli doesn’t make the same mistakes as the previous GMs and rush the kid to the bigs. A few months playing in a physical league with players older than him in Bakersfield would suit him extremely well.

    The same goes for Draisaitl, and I think that moving him to wing just rushes him to the bigs before he’s ready and would devalue him as a asset. We should be patient and we’ll see that big second/third line center we’ve wanted for years.

    Reinhart has that AHL experience, thus Chia sees him as more NHL ready than Nurse at this point, even if Nurse is a better prospect.

    • freelancer

      I agree and disagree. We definitely don’t want to rush our prospects, absolutely. As of right now, Nurse would have to beat out Reinhart, Nikitin, and possibly Ference for a spot. If Draisaitl starts the season in the NHL, it would most likely be the third line, meaning he would have to beat out (depending on how you view your line combinations, Yakupov, Purcell, Lander, and Korpikoski. There is some real competition there and it should prove difficult for either player to be on the opening night roster.

      However, if say Draisaitl does make the team out of TC on his own merit, I don’t see how that would devalue him.

  • CMG30

    I’m most excited to see Griffin Reinhart play. He’s such a divisive figure among Oiler fans, as he’s either seen as a ‘bust’ or the next ‘top 2D’. I would like to see him play before I make pronouncements.

    Personally I think a great deal of the controversy about GR has less to do with the player and everything to do with whose fingerprints were all over this deal (McTavish).

    • freelancer

      One has to think this proves the Hawks will not be moving Seabrook. This off season we have seen Sharp, Saad, and now probably Oduya all gone from the champions roster. Next season Versteeg will probably be gone, and I didn’t know this but Hossa’s cap hit goes from 7.9 million to 4 million. That’s 8.6 million in cap space available to them to resign Seabrook.

  • HECTOR

    After reading the first question there was lots of support for Leon playing wing to ease the transition to NHL (after 38 games at centre last year). I dont see anyone suggesting Conner McDavid starting at wing to ease his transition to NHL. I think it would serve him well initially (a la Stamkos and McKinnon) I really want to see how he can play in the defensive zone. That tends to be a failing among junior centres when they progress to the NHL.

    • freelancer

      Not an unreasonable point to make. First off I think McDavid will be fine at centre because MCDAVID. In all seriousness look at Nuge’s first NHL season. Both Nuge and McDavid are very quick, very cerebral players. That type of game translates very well to the NHL and McDavid is obviously more highly regarded than Nuge was when he was drafted.

      All rookies do struggle though, and it will be interesting to see how McDavid fairs on long road trips where he may get tougher matchups, especially when playesr start to zero in on him.

      If he starts having real issues I could see them either dropping him to a third line position, or moving him to the wing and have a guy like Lander who has proven to be effective in a top 6 role take the centre pivot.

  • Darkmanic

    I keep seeing the rumor on Seabrook and for my trade I would rather see a young player with amazing upside. I would go after Colton Parayko from the Blues and see if we can get him here with some of our extras just my 2 cents worth. Thank you for your time

    • JackB

      Except Colton Parayko is still a prospect. Is he going to complete a full 4 years at Alaska University? If so, with one more year in college, plus 1-2 years in the minors, he’s at least three years away.

      And we might already have our own “Colton Parayko” in 6’5″ Ben Betker (who’s already starting his first year in the minors and therefore one year closer)

      Never seen Colton play, but he is a local St Albert kid. His 2014-15 stats aren’t posted, but 26 points in 37 GP (2013-14) looks not too bad.

  • ubermiguel

    Slats needs to be the last jersey retired in Rexall. You could use his wins as a coach or his WHA jersey number (14).

    Any wall of honour list needs to be small to keep it exclusive. I’m thinking Fogolin, Smyth, Lowe, Ranford, Weight, Joey Moss and Curtis Joseph. And that’s about it.

    But what to do with Pronger? He’s a HHOFer but was only here for one (glorious) year. Give it a decade or two to let old wounds heal then decide.

    • JackB

      @ubermiguel

      RE: your comment:
      “Any wall of honour list needs to be small to keep it exclusive. I’m thinking Fogolin, Smyth, Lowe, Ranford, Weight, Joey Moss and Curtis Joseph. And that’s about it. But what to do with Pronger? He’s a HHOFer but was only here for one (glorious) year. Give it a decade or two to let old wounds heal then decide.”

      An earlier poster said baby soothers should be thrown at Pronger when he’s inducted in the HHOF . . . . doesn’t sound like old wounds have healed just yet !! But us starting to win again (and of course McDavid’s play) should help speed the healing.

      Personally, I don’t think Pronger should be honoured AT ALL! We should only honour true blue, long time Oilers, like Smitty! . . . and Joey! . . . they lived and breathed Oilers Blue!

      LET ST. LOUIS HONOUR HIM !! (He played a lot longer there.)

      • ubermiguel

        Not honoring Pronger is an option too. My brain says “amazing HHOF player, it was great watching him play as an Oiler!” but my heart says “that bastard destroyed my team for a decade!”

        You are so right, winning heals old wounds. If Edmonton can give Peter Puck a standing ovation we can forgive anyone…in time.

  • ubermiguel

    1. McLelland for 86th pick i’m sure will prove to be a huge bargain .
    2. Draisaitl to wing experiment with McDavid could prove awesome for both. If not, Draisaitl can always move back to center .
    3. McDavid , Draisaitl , Nurse, Reinhart , Khaira , Slepychev , Brossoit .
    4. Smyth at Rexall this year .

  • Ryan Smyth deserves every accolade there is. This guy was a warrior, leader, example……..for the Oilers and always stayed a gentleman. We all love Smytty.

    As far as the 2nd poster Josh Olier, he’s an attention seeking asshat that I would ban from this site if i could.

  • One thing that has stuck out for me was when someone asked Chiarelli about Nurse making the team. He said the preseason is different than the first ten games and the next ten are different than the first ten.

    To me this implies that he may not give a spot to a rookie Dman like Nurse out of the gate, *even if Nurse performs well in camp and the preseason.

    Will Oilersnation freak out of Nurse shows a high level of competence early but is sent to the AHL anyway?

    We’ve all seen it before. As the season goes into the winter months, often rookies (especially dmen) become less effective and experienced NHLers start to crank up their games at that time of year. Will Chiarelli give Darnell a real chance to succeed if he “deserves” it, or should he protect him from that possibility?

  • Johnnydapunk

    Mr. Willis you had referred to a rule that a player has to be in the HHOF to have their Jersey retired, is that just been policy since the Pocklington ownership ended or is it like an unwritten rule as the Oil have Al Hamilton’s number 3 Jersey retired and he isn’t in the HHOF. Or is it a case where his jersey was retired in the WHA era maybe ?

    Just curious about that really.

    Should add that the British museum is quite nice, I lived about a 25 min walk (or 5 mins on the Northern Line) away from it and it’s pretty impressive and massive. Most of the museums are free in London so it’s for sure a great place for history buffs and most of the “big” historical attractions are fairly close to each other 🙂