Monday Mailbag – November 9th

Mailbag

Another weekend is in the books and it’s, once again, time for the Mailbag to come in and help you kill a few minutes of company time. As always, I need your questions to make this feature work so feel free to submit your inquiries to baggedmilk@oilersnation.com or by DMing me on Twitter at @jsbmbaggedmilk. Without further adieu it’s time to put your feet up on the desk learn something. 

Collarbone

1) Barry asks – Do you think the Oilers got “lucky” with Connor McDavid only breaking his collarbone? To me he crashed into the boards very hard and the injury could have been much worse.

Jason Strudwick:

Lucky? Trust me, getting hurt never feels lucky. It sucks and there is so much work to get back into action. Lucky to me is winning the lottery or for Jeanshorts having a girl say yes to a date.

Jeanshorts:

Oh for sure. Obviously this is as close to worst case scenario as it gets, but at the end of the day it could have easily been a head or spinal injury. I mean, only like an hour prior to McDavid going down Chris Kelly broke his femur which will likely keep him out for close to eight months. The TV pundits were even saying that might be the end of his career! So while 10 to 12 weeks without McDavid is going to SUCK it very well could have been much worse.

Jason Gregor:

He is out for 10-12 weeks, I don’t see that as lucky. If he is out 10 weeks he’ll miss 30 games and if he’s out 12 weeks he’ll miss 37 games. If that is lucky, I don’t want to see what unlucky is.

Robin Brownlee:

I agree. At first, I thought it might be much worse — his neck or head — until he sat up.

Matt Henderson:

If I’m forced to look on the bright side then sure. I guess it’s lucky that the best player on the team broke his collarbone, requiring surgery and months of recovery. But in all seriousness, a clean break on the clavicle is probably more desirable than a shoulder injury.

Lowetide:

Hard to call it lucky, but I agree Barry it could have been much worse. McDavid’s tremendous speed puts him into places of great danger. I’m trying not to think about it!

Baggedmilk:

I agree completely. When McDavid crashed into the boards I was worried that he was going to end up with some kind of neck/head injury. The fact that the injury is his collarbone, with no damage to the surrounding area, can be considered a blessing. Now to see how quickly he returns. I’m guessing he’ll be the Christmas gift this city deserves. 

Contract

2) He Shoots He Scars asks – According to my count there are 183 No Trade or No Movement clause contracts (Pronger, Horton etc excluded) in the NHL. At 30 teams with 25 players (750), that means 24.4% of the players are (mostly) off the trade market. 19 teams have six or more of these contracts. Is this sensible for a team or for the NHL as a whole?

Jason Strudwick:

No. I don’t think there should be any of these types of clauses in contracts and I am a former player!

Jeanshorts:

I think it’s more or less sensible for a team. Obviously we’ve seen time and time again teams run into problems with these scenarios (HI TORONTO DURING THE MATS SUNDIN THING) but to me it’s not a terrible thing to show a player some loyalty and more or less ensure that he doesn’t have to uproot his family. HOWEVER, as a fan I think it hurts the quality of the product somewhat, in that most of the guys that have these NTCs are either big name players, or players who would make a pretty big splash if they were traded. I mean, we all complain about never really seeing any big trades these days, and it’s even worse when 25% of the league can’t even be traded anyway! I think the NHL should create a rule in which you’re only allowed one or two per team, and have very stringent age and/or service restrictions on those as well.

Jason Gregor:

I’m not a fan of it. Not all of those have complete no trade clauses, many are modified, but still there are too many. I’d like to see a maximum of three per team, but the NHLPA will never go for it of course.

Robin Brownlee:

Not sensible at all with a salary cap in place. Doesn’t allow enough flexibility. Managers need to stop handing them out at the rate they have. I’d like to see a limit established for each team.  Not sure what that number is, but a maximum of four per team sounds about right.

Matt Henderson:

Nope. Not sensible at all, but the players negotiated the right to earn these contracts and desperate teams need to offer them sometimes just to stand out (*ahem* Ference *ahem*). In some cases the NTC can really hurt the club. They don’t get waived if the player who has one demands a trade. They can demand out and not have to waive it just because an offer came in that makes sense for the team.

Lowetide:

No, but stupid is as as stupid does. I think the problem is exacerbated because many of the players without NTC or NMC’s are guys teams would never trade because they’re in their first or second deals of extreme value contracts. Not many players are going to be moved because of the cap issues.

Baggedmilk:

I think there should be a limit of two no trade clauses per team – that’s it. Who knows how many awesome trades could have happened if not for the player saying no when the deal was done? I also think that if a player with a no trade clause requests a trade then their NTC should be void. Why should a player be allowed to ask for a trade but limit the team to having only two or three trade partners? It’s ridiculous.   

Nine

3) Leaking 5-w30 asks – The oil have dressed nine d-men in the first 12 games. Based on this season’s NHL on ice performance (and contracts aside) how would you rank them 1-9? Or who has stuck out you both good and bad?

Jason Strudwick:

I am not into ranking players. That isn’t fair to them and the sample size is so small. I have been impressed by Nurse/ Davidson and Reinhart in a very small sample size for each. Lets have this conversation after 50 games for each. I think Sereka has another gear and can move the puck and his feet quicker.

Jeanshorts:

Klefbom, Nurse and Reinhart have all looked solid and consistent to me. Davidson is starting to come on offensively and looks to be finally feeling more comfortable in his own zone. And this is probably going to be controversial but before he went down Schultz had quite a few good games (mixed in with a few stinkers obviously) and was definitely trending upwards compared to the last few seasons. 

Ference has largely been a non-factor in the games he’s gotten into, which I think is basically best case scenario for him at this point unfortunately. 

Gryba has been very up and down, mostly down on a lot of nights, and depending on who he’s paired up with.

And it pains me to say it but Sekera and Fayne have both been disasters so far. Again they’ve showed glimpses here and there of being okay, but for Sekera especially he DESPERATELY needs to turn things around or else this contract may look just as bad as Nikitin’s.

Jason Gregor:

Davidson has been biggest surprise. He looks better every game. Fayne has been most disappointing. He is a defensive D-man, but he has struggled in his own end. Klefbom, Nurse and Reinhart are all under 22 and the future looks good for the Oilers on the blueline…FINALLY.

Robin Brownlee:

I’ve liked Nurse, Klefbom and Davidson. Not so happy with Sekera. Somewhere in between on Gryba.

Matt Henderson:

I go with : Sekera, Schultz, Klefbom, Nurse, Reinhart, Gryba, Davidson, Fayne, Ference. In that order. I probably rate Sekera a lot higher than others. Schultz started off well but he’s in the two spot VERY tenuously. By the end of the month Nurse could be in the top two. Ference just looks slow, I’m sad to say. Slow to move, slow to react.

Lowetide:

  • Oscar Klefbom
  • Andrej Sekera
  • Darnell Nurse
  • Mark Fayne
  • Brandon Davidson
  • Griffin Reinhart
  • Eric Gryba
  • Andrew Ference
  • Baggedmilk:

    The thing that’s craziest to me is that Darnell Nurse could arguably be called the Oilers’ best defenseman right now. The veterans that are expected to play solid minutes haven’t been playing nearly well enough and once again the Oilers are relying too much on youth to be successful. Sekera and Fayne have to be MUCH better. I think Gryba has been okay but not spectacular, but that’s the kind of player that he is. With Sekera and Fayne struggling it puts more minutes on a guy like Gryba that may not necessarily be able to handle them.

    Pressure

    4) Blake asks – With Connor McDavid out for the next couple months does that put more pressure on Ryan Nugent-Hopkins? How do you think he will handle it?

    Jason Strudwick:

    Nuge continues to improve each year. With 97 out he will feel the pressure to put up more points but that falls on everyone.

    Jeanshorts:

    It puts more pressure on the whole team, in terms of showing the rest of the league that they’re not a one man show and they don’t rely exclusively on McDavid to win them games. Nuge will be fine. He’s been great this season, just as he has for pretty much every season in his short career already.

    Jason Gregor:

    It puts pressure on all the players, but RNH has been the #1 centre for the past few years so I don’t see him playing any differently. He’s been looked at to be the #1 centre before and now he will have to again. If he can get on a 65-point pace over the next 30-35 games the Oilers should be happy.

    Robin Brownlee:

    He’ll get some tougher match-ups with McDavid out, but he’ll also have the return of Jordan Eberle going for him. I don’t see it as pressure as much as I do a challenge to excel. He’s shown he’s up for that in the past.

    Matt Henderson:

    The Nuge has been dealing with being the only top six calibre C on the Oilers since he arrived in the NHL (sorry Horcoff fans). I doubt he’ll crumble under the pressure of doing something he’s been doing for several years already. He’s a very good player. He’ll be ok.

    Lowetide:

    Nuge may actually get a reprieve from the tough minutes. If Todd McLellan uses Leon Draisaitl as C on the Hall line, Nugent-Hopkins and his line will be playing secondary pairings. He could spike offensively.

    Baggedmilk:

    Nuge will be fine. He has been the Oilers #1 centre since the first day he played in the NHL, so he’ll be able to handle it. I think it’s the other centreman like Lander that will have to pick up their games. If guys like Lander aren’t able to contribute a little bit offensively I can see Chiarelli looking for upgrades in short order.

    Deal

    5) Tristan D. asks – Do you think the Oilers should consider moving next year’s 1st round pick for defensive help? As good as Auston Matthews could be he’s not the player the Oilers need right now.

    Jason Strudwick:

    No. Lets see what the rest of the season brings. I still can’t see the Oilers being the worst team in the league this season.

    Jeanshorts:

    Absolutely. Before McDavid went down the big discussion was how the lines were going to be shuttled around in anticipation for Eberle’s return. The top six is fine and has depth to spare. The defence is still as suspect as ever, but the great thing is all the young kids have been showing extremely well early on in the season. If the Oilers can somehow move that pick in some kind of package for a legit top 4 D-man to help bolster Nurse, Klefbom and Reinhart, that would be amazing. I think the Oilers are FINALLY in a position where they can afford to look at a different strategy aside from drafting the best player available. Though so help me if the Flames somehow end up drafting Matthews.

    Jason Gregor:

    You think the Oilers are going to win the lottery again? If they did manage to win, I would take him rather than trade him for an average package. Very few teams offer up packages that make teams want to trade the #1 pick, so it would make little sense to trade him for below market value just because they don’t need another skilled forward.

    Robin Brownlee:

    We’re less than 15 games in, so how do you answer that before knowing how the group in place now performs and, in the case of young players like Klefbom and Nurse, how they develop? You’re looking way too far down the road.

    Matt Henderson:

    If anyone thinks the answer to the Oilers problems is another 18 year old forward then they need to shut down whatever device you are reading this on, go to the nearest bathroom, and hold your head under water (sink, tub, toilet) for as long as you can. Yes, trade the pick for blue line help. Do it. DO IT.  The 2016 1st + X = What? 

    Lowetide:

    No, the pick has too much value. If Edmonton wins the lottery, that pick would have far more value in pocket than Edmoton’s first-round selection has currently.

    Baggedmilk:

    I think it’s still a little bit early to be looking at trading next year’s first round pick but I don’t hate the idea. That being said, the Oilers are all world at winning draft lotteries so I’d be hesitant at moving that pick just yet.

    • Shit bitch cunt fuck

      You wouldn’t be human if you didn’t think of the possibilities of finishing low this year. It’s an unpopular opinion, but this is a development year.

      Hall-McDavid-Matthews

      Draisaitl-RNH-Eberle

    • tileguy

      Anyone still bullish on this team? Hard schedule, waah, McDavid out, waah! There is something seriously wrong with chemistry, make-up, mix , what ever you want to call it of this team. Hall, Nuge, Ebs, Yak, Drai are great players in their own right but the time is now to trade an asset for something on the back end. I been watching for the last 5 years hoping things are going to be better and I am disappointed every year. All the pundits say ‘well they can’t be worse than last year” and they were worse last year and this year doesn’t look promising either.

        • tileguy

          That’s just because everyone in our division is stinking it up – Calgary and Anaheim are off to a slow start but they appear to have turned the corner, as both are ahead of Edmonton in the standings now (we are once again last).

          I think the team looks more competitive and is hanging in there for games and actually pushing back rather than folding, but the wins aren’t coming. Visually better – maybe; actually better – remains to be seen.

          I suspect Chia is working the phones like mad trying to get something done to help us out.

      • tileguy

        With Oilers inability to surround our star youth with a decent core to move forward with , I doubt another year of being a cellar dweller will sit well with any of them . I predict a couple will demand trades out of here by seasons end , if they have not already . Hall and Eberle had a taste with gold at Worlds and are probably ready for playoff type hockey now , not a couple years down the road . I don’t think we are going to be able to keep our young stars together with another losing season . McDavid might be only reason they might stay .

      • Shit bitch cunt fuck

        We are better than last year. Last year we were effectively out of the playoffs by the end of October.
        It’s November 9th and we still have a chance.

      • Chiarelli thought it was funny “they didnt touch the puck” during the first period. Yes he is new but he has to understand we the fans found nothing funny about it. I see improvement but that only came because of the maturing of the “core” and McDavid. What has Chiarelli done to make me smile. Traded a pick in a deep draft for Gryba. Traded 2 picks in a deep draft for Reinhart. Barzal? Signed Sekera to a too long too expensive contract.2 picks for Talbot. Signed Letestwho? Inherited a strong core, sent down the best prospects, brought them back up after 5 game seasoning in the A. Drafted a phenom with the first pick?Can someone tell me what he has done for some here and now wins the fanbase deserves. Anyone?

        • Sheldon "Oilers Fan for Life!!!"

          He did hire a great coach, probably the biggest difference maker. IM so-so on most of the acquisitions, however you did not mention Korpikoski who I am not seeing value for money.

          I am hoping that the reason for sending down Nurse and Drai is revealed. I never bought the “development” angle.

          Did they forget to tell Nurse, Drai, Davidson, McDavid, Rienhart that the Oilers are “supposed” to lose? WOW, when players really want it they can sure make a difference.

      • LordVallko

        You are bang on, now to the obvious trading partner, Winnipeg, Philly takes out our golden boy, we don’t object we play and win the game. Philly hits wheeler, Ladd opens up the hitter Umberger, Philly hits no more and Winnipeg loses the game. Winnipeg is deep at D and power, with some major UFA’s coming up. Winnipeg needs scoring and we need grit. Im sure someone can put together a win win trade scenario that hopefully includes Byfuglien, He is 30 and a UFA that will get 7+ for seven years. We can give them a #1 center + if Buff will sign here and they can throw in Ladd who is UFA as well and aging, he is tuff as hell. Boom, we have 2 instant don’t piss around with these guys players. And everyone sleeps better, we still miss the playoffs but stay healthy for seasons to come. Winnipeg makes the playoffs as they are extremely deep on right shot D men and grit.

    • tileguy

      well you can bet the envitable 3rd or 4th liner will be moved soon, maybe even a defensemen that’s been a healthy scratch most of the season, that should fix the problem

    • Gooilgo

      Time for Cirelli to go! This guy is way over rated, left Boston in a mess, traded Tyler for nothing and has done nothing to improve this team. If cirellis claim to fame is Talbot, Letestu, korkisposki, and keeping Ferrence and Fayne then I say dump this clown.

      The coaches are good, we have a base of forward strength but we still lack defense and consistent goaltending which he was supposed to correct.

      I say punt this clown and bring in some real NHL GM who can build this team up.

      Hell I would even like Sather back .

      Cirelli is taking this team into the ground and is not worthy of the position!

      • Danglishish

        Jesus. We’re 15 games into the season. Chia has said from day one he evaluates every 10 games differently, so we’re not even at stage 2 evaluation. How about we give the guy a chance to make the moves he sees fit… sure, if come trade deadline we don’t have a much stronger d-core then let the debate begin, but you’re a bit eager here, don’t you think?

        I’m getting impatient too, but remember he’s come in and been asked to fix a colossal cluster-%$&*. It’s not like other teams are going to jump up and volunteer to help him out with desirable trades. This will take some time. I, for one, am fine not making the playoffs this year (did anyone really expect this?), so long as we’re moving in the right direction. We are… but as Chia has said repeatedly, “there will be pain” in this process. You need more pain tolerance, my friend.

        Also, who exactly is this “real GM” you think can come in and do a better job?

    • Serious Gord

      We will be down in the toilet forever and forever with these junior wanatabees now is the time to make moves keep Hall and everyone else is on the block….

    • Mooseroni

      5 year culture of lackadaisical hockey cannot be fixed in 15 games….oilers always giving out big contracts to middling players, influenced by interpersonal coaching styles instead of hard assism has left the organization weak.

      McDavid managed to change the culture by game three, with him down I really hoped the message would carry forward but I’m still waiting for some of these guys to start taking the game into their own hands.

    • Serious Gord

      Re ntcs:

      Ntcs have value. That’s why players want them and it’s why teams offer them in lieu of more salary.

      And thus in a cap would they they should either be banned or limited in how many a team can have on their roster. Banning seems impossible- so perhaps it should be in total years rather than number of players. – say ten years of ntc contracted per team.

    • Serious Gord

      The mcdavid injury is lucky beyond the possibilities noted above.

      Because he’s young – and his collarbone wasn’t as calcified and hardened as someone say, ten years older. Had it been harder to break it might not have been the weak link that absorbed the energy from the collision. That energy then would have been transmitted to the shoulder and resulted in a very severe injury that could have taken months – maybe all season to rehab and possibly have serious long term limitations.

      McD was damn lucky. He needs to learn not to make such high risk moves now that he’s in the NHL where his opponents are much bigger, faster smarter and meaner.

    • srbuhr

      Q2: Players with NTC/NMC, for the most part cannot be moved, and if they were, it doesn’t usually end well. (Like Luongo; there were other offers, but he wanted to go to Florida, so that’s where he went.)

      Young players in contract 1 or 2 usually represent great value to the team and aren’t usually traded. (Nurse, Drai, McDavid traded? Not likely.)

      So really, who is left to trade for? Depth players like a Klinkhammer, Letestu or Korpikoski.

      So you keep all your picks, maybe add one or two and draft your way to a team, and maybe pick up some players in free agency.

    • Shit bitch cunt fuck

      Still haven’t seen a single post or article that gives Chiarelli credit for guessing McDavid will get 40 pts this year. How’d he know he’d get hurt?

    • Sheldon "Oilers Fan for Life!!!"

      Everyone forget Auston Matthews. Even if Oilers were to win the draft lotto, regardless of where they finish. You trade that pick and move down to #2 to select Jakob Chychrun. FRANCHISE D-MAN. The kid is 17 years old, 6’2 214 lbs. Whoever is picking second would likely offer you a top prospect (Nylander/Strome/Etc) and that second overall pick for a chance at Matthews.

      Chychrun is a beast and many have said he is better than Ekblad. Yes he is a left-shot D man but you worry about that later and see who out of Reinhart, Sekera, and Klefbom you move for a right shot. Imagine a blue-line consisting of Nurse and Chychrun for the next 15 years.

      Although I still believe the Oilers won’t finish bottom 5 in the league, there is a real good chance they could draft near the top.

    • tileguy

      I’m not convinced a number one D man would turn the club around. Of course it would help but really, would this fix everything?? I doubt it. One player (McDavid as example) cannot fix all. And highly rated D men have a history of under producing in Edmonton, why would this suddenly change?

      The young D in Edmonton have been playing well, that is the future. Trading that for success today – I don’t think that is going to happen.

      Thus my hopes are around the development of a potent third line. Increase offence, increase depth, increase possession and suddenly the defensemen look so much better. This line is within reach and I believe will be the next step for Chia.

    • @Struds

      “Lucky to me is winning the lottery or for Jeanshorts having a girl say yes to a date.”

      I just always keep in mind that if a guy who was involved with this can convince someone to marry him, there’s hope for the rest of us!

    • Sheldon "Oilers Fan for Life!!!"

      Many of the comments in the article are in my opinion too polarized mostly to the negative. I find the comments from Mr. Strudwick to be more balanced. The game last night was such a vast improvement over much of last year. Learning to win by playing the system the coach wants will take time.

    • Sheldon "Oilers Fan for Life!!!"

      The whole No movement issue is IMO a huge reason why teams seem to be stuck in the land of no improvement for so long. Almost all of the players who could really help the Oilers Defense win now just are not available. The teams who hold those contracts and are stuck with players who are very good buttheir team may lack the forward speed and scoring we could offer them in return can only wish. This hurts the league big time.

    • Sheldon "Oilers Fan for Life!!!"

      Be patient , as our players have played a shortened 10 seasons because of being out of the playoffs for almost 3 months a year . That’s the equivalent of 30 months over a ten year span , or 2.5 years of inactivity . On the bright side , look at all the extra time and money fans have had to fill that gap in other activities and entertainment over last 10 years . Looks like this year going to be no different , so start planning early again . For those who like a winter break consider a long winter vacation as well down south , cruise , etc., with the money you’ll be saving . Your sure to find that more enjoyable anyways . Expand your horizons .

    • 916oiler

      I wouldn’t be opposed to trading next year’s 1st round pick for a really good young defender (easier said than done of course).

      The only way I would trade away this pick, however, is if it had lottery insurance tagged on to it.

    • Sheldon "Oilers Fan for Life!!!"

      So many of you are Dogging the GM etc for the poor play. Have you watched our team play? I see players drafted #1 playing like they have no clue about discipline or how to play with a lead. No clue about what is a good penalty. This is what I saw all last year. Sure our past GM hired coaches and gave out contracts that were a problem. Yes there will be some bad contracts here too. Every team has them. BUT Give this coach some time to be a coach and reshape the culture. If we sent the GM and coach packing how many free agents would want to come here and what would be the chance of McDavid signing a long term contract? ZERO, ZILCH, NADA. Give the coach some time. Enough already! Be a fan. I know the last 9 years were so bad but this mess will not be fixed in three weeks it will take at least a year to reshape culture and two before we really know what the team will be like long term. Stop crying and start cheering, win loose or shootout!

      • Sheldon "Oilers Fan for Life!!!"

        GM’s top priority is quality control and maximizing production of the workforce . Chia has not overwhelmed in that area as yet . Broad accusations on players, specifically Nbr.1 , for discipline and how to play with a lead . I believe they know what to do , but it often does not work out in their favor due to opposition superiority overall and neutralizing our game plan . Those are broad subjects , be more specific . Culture is another broad subject that can mean almost anything , be more specific if you can . Culture change comes with positive results and that’s still a work in process .

    • Johnnydapunk

      I expected the season to be a bit of a mess with the difference being some actual direction and progress and to be less well rubbish, and it’s pretty well what I’m getting. The pre season got my hopes up that I would be a bit wrong, but the season is showing I’m not.

      The nice part is the team is showing progress, it’s kindof sad that progress is when you don’t lose as bad as usual, but take what you can get. The games are closer and this is the year when the coaching and management can in a way go through all the closets to clean everything out as there is a lot of mess. The offence is hit and miss and the same issues are happening (lots of shots, few goals) and the defence is less messy-ish and the goaltending is up in the air again, Talbot has been a bit iffy and might be time to give Nilsson a good run of things as there is nothing to lose.

      In the end it will be a long season, but at least they aren’t completely out of the playoff race yet.

    • srbuhr

      15 games in to the new Oilers regime and everyone’s impatient?

      Sure it sucks to lose McDavid, but this year was never about the playoffs, it’s about getting the players in tune with McLellan/the new systems and player evaluation.

      Let’s not forget that next summer we’re clear of Purcell, Gryba, Klinkhammer Nikitin, Scrivens, both of the current goaltenders if need be; and hopefully Ference is bought out, plus more salary could be traded.

      I doubt Chiarelli makes a knee jerk move to limit the effectiveness of that much salary coming off the books in a vain hunt for respectability this year, one that will come anyway considering the progress of the younger players.

      We can add 3 impact players with that much cap room. That’s truly turning north.