Monday Mailbag – December 28th

Mailbag

Greetings, fair citizens! I hope your Christmas was merry and that your Boxing Day shopping included minimal blows to the face from strangers. I know how you animals can get over the latest walkmans and snap bracelets. For those of us that are back to work (bloggin’ ain’t easy) we can always use a way to kill some company time, and the Mailbag is 3000 words worth of wisdom that you can only find here. As always, I’m looking for questions so fire them off to me in any way you like. Now sit back and learn something. 


1) Bruce asks – What roster moves do you expect the Oilers to make when they start getting a little bit 

healthier? i.e. McDavid, Yak, Klefbom return to the lineup.

Jason Gregor:

If all stay healthy…When Klefbom returns they send Nikitin or Fayne down. When Yak is back Khaira goes to AHL. McDavid move will be interesting because Gazdic might be odd man out.

Lowetide:

I think we will see Edmonton try like hell to trade Nikita Nikitin, Mark Fayne and Justin Schultz. After that, there will be some difficult decisions, including Jujhar Khaira versus Luke Gazdic and Iiro Pakarinen versus whoever plays RW at the time. Teddy Purcell is also a trade candidate, although I hope they consider signing him.

Robin Brownlee:

Not sure because the players you mention won’t be returning at the same time and there’s also the possibility of injury between now and the 2-3 weeks until McDavid returns.

Jonathan Willis:

Up front, I’d expect that we see Jujhar Khaira and Iiro Pakarinen returned to the minors. Neither requires waivers, so it’s an easy choice and I don’t really expect we’ll see any forwards traded until a little closer to the deadline. On defence, we may see a trade a good deal sooner, and I wonder if it isn’t Eric Gryba who gets sent away, given his affordable cap hit and pending free agency.

Jason Strudwick:

Injuries are a part of the NHL. I don’t think there will be as much movement needed as most.

Jeanshorts:

Iiro gets sent back down along with Nikitin, and Gazdic returns to his place in the press box. If it were up to me I’d probably give JJ a couple more shots and let Korpikoski sit for a game or two, but I also don’t think he’s done enough to fully supplant Korpikoski either. With the way McLellan has handled younger guys it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him go back down and play bigger minutes in Bakersfield.

Baggedmilk:

There’s going to be a bunch of moves depending on when everyone starts getting healthy. Will Nikitin still be an Oiler by the time the Klefbom comes back? The obvious guys are JJ Khaira and Iiro Pakarinen to go down to Bakersfield, but what happens after that? Could Gazdic hit waivers? Could Purcell be moved? Lots of variables and it will be interesting to see how it shakes out.


2) Vince asks – Who are the Oilers missing more today. Connor McDavid or Oscar Klefbom? Why?

Jason Gregor:

Klefbom today because Draisaitl has filled void. A big drop from Klefbom to Nikitin. Oilers scoring is not costing them games, preventing goals is, however Klefbom has only been out five games, so hard to compare to McDavid’s 22 missed games.

Lowetide:

I will say Klefbom, but hell we only saw McDavid for 13 games so if your reading this in the archives and it is 2017, I will say McDavid. Klef is a huge part of the solution, no doubt about it.

Robin Brownlee:

Close call, but the Oilers have done OK in terms of wins and losses without McDavid, so I’ll go with Klefbom. He’s been missed on the power play.

Jonathan Willis:

Klefbom. McDavid’s the better player, but with Andrej Sekera on the right side and Brandon Davidson hurt, Edmonton doesn’t have another left-shot defenceman who is remotely comparable to Klefbom in the here-and-now.

Jason Strudwick:

Is this a serious question……I am a big fan of Oscar but we are talking about one of the most explosive skaters to ever join the NHL.

Jeanshorts:

100% Oscar Klefbom. Obviously the team is better with Connor McDavid than without, but Hall and Draisailt have more than picked up the slack in his absence. The offence hasn’t been an issue on most nights (power play aside). The defence however is still a work in progress at best, and the Oilers have sorely missed their best defenceman.

Baggedmilk:

It feels really weird to say Oscar Klefbom over Connor McDavid but I think it’s true. The Oilers have far better forwards than they do defenseman so losing a player like Klefbom seems to hurt more. That being said… Connor McDavid. Ya know?


3) Jason M. asks – Do the Nation writers believe that Teddy Purcell is playing his way into a new contract with the team, or that he will be traded by the deadline?

Jason Gregor:

If Oilers are still in mix I don’t see them trading him. He’s been very good and making a playoff run makes more sense than trading him for a 3rd round pick. This team needs to play important games. Purcell only gets a new deal with Edmonton if they trade some other forwards away first, and he’d have to take a pay cut.

Lowetide:

Yes. I think both things. He is playing himself into another contract but is also increasing his trade value. I am now on the side of signing him, but it will be a tough call depending on the offers. Remember, Edmonton traded a bunch of draft picks last season and still have to send another one away for Peter Chiarelli.

Robin Brownlee:

I don’t see Purcell getting a new contract here. The wise move is to trade him at/before the deadline.

Jonathan Willis:

I’ll stand by what I wrote last month. Complementary wingers are generally cheap and plentiful in the off-season, so unless the Oilers are highly competitive for a playoff spot at the trade deadline it makes more sense to cash him in for futures and either sign him or someone else in the off-season on a cheap, short-term contract.

Jason Strudwick:

I would not sign Teddy until I have seen a whole season by both him and the rest of the team. It is good to see him get going in the right direction but Peter needs to look at what the mix of the Oilers top 6 is and how it can be improved.

Jeanshorts:

I still don’t understand the amount of vitriol a vocal segment of the Nation heaps onto Teddy Purcell. I guess it’s just Shawn Horcoff all over again where people think he makes too much money so therefore he’s terrible? 

Anyway he’s played fine for the most part, in my opinion anyway. Maybe not first or second line minutes fine every night, but better than others. I’ll agree he’s probably not worth $4.5 mill a season, and if he asked for that or more I’d pass if I were the Oilers. But if the Oilers were to re-sign him to 2.5-3 mill a year, and he played third line minutes I’d be all for that. I think it’s a good bet that he’ll be traded though; he’s a solid contributor on an expiring contract who could really help shore up a playoff team looking to make a run.

Baggedmilk:

I like the way Teddy has been playing this season and would welcome a new contract for him if he was willing to accept a fairly substantial pay cut. Going forward, every move the Oilers make will be impacted by what happens to Connor McDavid and there just won’t be room for Purcell’s current $4.5 million contract.

Long story short: If cheap – yes. If he wants his current pay cheque – no. 

4) Oilers or Bust asks – Players like Justin Schultz and Alex Semin seem to have all the tools to be successsful but not the drive to put it all together. Is there a particular player like this that bothered you the most?

Jason Gregor:

Semin had a pretty good run scoring, 26, 28, 34, 38 and 40 goals. He tallied 21 and 22 in two other seasons. He left you wanting more, but he still produced quite well. Schultz isn’t close to his stature. As for players who had skill, but never panned out, Jason Bonsignore is top of my list.

Lowetide:

For me, probably Marc Pouliot. I thought he was a slam dunk for two-way center, Craig MacTavish even talked about that role and how he saw the young man as a possible Guy Carbonneau. It didn’t work out and that is a damn shame because the Oilers dealt Kyle Brodziak with Pouliot in mind as the solution.

Robin Brownlee:

Jason Bonsignore had all the tools to be a very good player but didn’t put in the work.

Jonathan Willis:

Those really aren’t comparable players. Semin scored 40 goals in the NHL, so I think he put it all together. He’s from the “Alexei Kovalev” family of player; Kovalev was constantly ripped for his perceived lack of effort, but he also score 1,029 more points in the majors than I ever will.  Semin’s career wasn’t so distinguished, but in his prime he was a good player for a long time, and he isn’t out of the league now because he can’t play so much as he is because his on-ice performance no longer exceeds his off-ice liabilities. Schultz, on the other hand, suffers greatly from having entering the league with massive fanfare and constantly being over-hyped by an Oilers team in desperate need of quality on defence. He’s been played in the No. 1 role without ever having shown that level of ability.

To get to the meat of your question, though, I try not to judge the effort level of elite athletes. Some of that is because there are already plenty of out-of-shape pundits willing to blast these guys for not trying; there’s no sense in me adding one more name to that list.  More importantly, I’m not in the head of any of these players, and from experience I do know that what looks like a lack of effort can often be attributed in fact to any number of other factors (injury, frustration, or in one of my all-time favourite examples even regression to the mean on the power play).

Jason Strudwick:

Yes…Semin. So much skill with a heart the size of the Grinch.

Jeanshorts:

Probably our friend Mark. He had all the skill in the world and the size to back it up, but he just didn’t really give a shit enough to work hard at it. I just really wish I had a friend who played in the NHL, you know? 🙁

Baggedmilk:

If Justin Schultz ever figures out a way to score 40 goals in a season like Semin did I may build him a statue myself. That being said I get what you’re saying and I think it’s because these guys probably think they’re better than they are and don’t want to put the work in. I imagine it going something like, “should I work my legs today? Nah I’m fast enough. I’ll play Call of Duty instead.”

5) Jessica asks – What is the key to keeping your spouse or significant other happy during the holidays?

Jason Gregor:

Spending time with them without electronics. Connect with them through words and touch and be sure to tell them how special they are to you. You should do that daily or weekly at worst.

Lowetide:

I am in charge of games (we will play poker until Mom gets mad because she is so bad she never wins) and I make pancakes Christmas morning. I also help with the stuffing and cut the bird. Also take out the trash.

Robin Brownlee:

I think you want relationship.com.

Jonathan Willis:

I don’t know if there’s a particular key; just taking advantage of time off to hang out together is what really matters. Having said that, I’ve noticed that doing housework never reduces my wife’s level of happiness.

Jason Strudwick:

Red wine.

Jeanshorts:

My secret is to never have a significant other during the holidays, and just avoid that all together. That way the only people you have left to disappoint is your family, and those a-holes are stuck with you FOR LIFE no matter what!

Baggedmilk:

I also buy Miss Milk a tonne of chocolate and that keeps her happy until the supplies run low. From there, if I hear the words “can you help me with something” I’ll be there before she even finishes the sentence. What I’m saying is taking 10 minutes to wash some dishes or something now could save you days years of suppressed rage later.


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    • Lofty

      After last nights game, I’m more than happy to welcome Kassian to the Oilers. When you have no answer for the physicality of Sam Bennett something needs to change.

      • #97Train/McDavidCopperfield

        Pretty sad that 180 pounder Bennett is your most physical player. Shut out in the scoring department again. We keep counting Draisaitl’s points .you keep counting Bennett’s hits.

  • Lofty

    This puts more pressure on Moroz and Gadzuc. Internal competition is good.

    I hate Kassian. But I know he’s better at hockey than Gadzuc. The cost was low and he’s a RFA at seasons end.

  • Sheldon "Oilers Fan for Life!!!"

    I have a question … When Goudreau goes in the offensive Zone at full speed how come he doesn’t get pile driven into the end boards by both opposing dman? ….I mean catch a rut and slip and fall?

    • #97Train/McDavidCopperfield

      Well Gaudreau’s full speed is still only half of McDavid’s

      Another thing..Gaudreau is no where near the boards. He wouldn’t know what a corner was if you put him in a square room.

    • #97Train/McDavidCopperfield

      Jenny hockey is simply one player being optimised by a Process.

      Nuge would have rolled over the fLames had he been given the same level of respect Jenny gets from the process.

      Jenney doesnt get stemrolled because his process doesnt expect him to hamstring himself and risk his health so he is able to use his entire survival based creatively triggered skillset to be a high level impact player within that pocess.

      The reason so many young Oilers have been injured was peripherally addressed to My-Eye by Renney and Krueger who did not want to let the kids get hurt trying to play an overly defensive heavy physical structured contact focused territory defending game ….Management in Edmonton wanted a Heavy game out of the middle-to-lightweight assets they SUDDENLY AQUIRED….reality and evidence shows the Oilers simply got caught WAAAY behind the evolutionary curve in terms of changing with the tides as they accumulated elite immovable assets,in a historic Dream Run .

      Calgary is beginning with philosophy and applying it to a flavor then they are building processes around specific assets.This means their Process does NOT expect Jenney to be Nuge and constantly have to go head to head in process demanded contact fighting nearly every single battle undergunned in the Trenches when he comes with Sniper Rifle welded to him….its pitifull to consider how Oiler Players feel right now.

      Giordano and Jenny are being used EXACTLY like Schultz and Nuge SHOULD BE USED…and all Calgary has done is take the same Template the Oilers rejected in 2009 and insert two Impact players where required.

  • Sheldon "Oilers Fan for Life!!!"

    Injuries are part of the NHL, wow that’s some pretty in depth insight. Why do you even bother? You are the Justin Shultz of quasi sports journalism. This is where BM will remind us that we should be grateful Struds even bothers to answer the infantile queries of us mere hockey peons.

    • bradleypi

      Yes Ike injuries are of the game. …..do I miss McDavid sure. Am I of the camp that feels the hit and the play was illegal I do. Many do even the immortal Don Cherry who likes hard hits and fights.

      However my point was last night this team got beat by one line (really one player) and the ineptitude on its PP to create chances and at the very least when you have 3-1 lead not to give up a SH goal to a guy that had 3 goals all season.

      As a team, as a coaching staff, as a player surely someone could create a game plan to step up and apply a hit, check closely one player, assign a shadow and make his night a bit more difficult. That didn’t happen.

  • bazmagoo

    Kassian for Scrivens – no risk move by Chia. Win-win. Win for Kassian as he gets his last chance to be an NHL player. Win for Scrivens as he gets his last chance to be an NHL player. Good move by a smart GM.

    Missing Klefbom more than McDavid right now, simply because of how bad the rest of our defence is.

    Re-sign Purcell for maximum of 2 years, 7 million total. If he doesn’t take that deal, ship him at the deadline.

    Schultz was awful last night, but he’s also a #5 d-man playing #1 minutes. Not his fault, though he is a pilon.

  • #97Train/McDavidCopperfield

    Every other ON writer says Klefbom is the player the Oilers are missing most right now. And you wonder if it is a serious question, really got your finger on the pulse Struds.

    • Jason Strudwick

      What happened to you? Did Santa not bring you the pack of hockey cards he promised?

      Do I have to always go with the group? The question is a dumb one. Why wouldn’t you want to bring the best player possible into your lineup?

      Send me you address and name and I will send you that pack of cards you missed out on!