Monday Mailbag – January 25th, 2016

Mailbag 17

Can you believe that it’s nearly February already? It’s odd to think about the fact that we’re over half way through the #1AD (after draft) season and we’re once again talking about the likelihood of the Oilers being in the draft lottery. It’s sad, right? Draft related sadness is a story for another day. On this day we take a look at the answers to everything you’ve ever wanted to know when it comes to the Edmonton Oilers, and life in general. My friends, it’s mailbag time. 


1) Jeff asks – Business relationships are obviously important and Peter Chiarelli brings a different set of relationships with him to his position in Edmonton than what MacT had, as an example. Do you think it is more likely that he targets players on those teams for trades or does he target the player regardless of the team?

Lowetide:

I think Chiarelli has accomplished a few things in year one, and the shopping list for this coming summer will be far smaller. With that in mind, I do think the focus will be on three or four available forwards and the trade target on defense will be very specific. I don’t think the team matters, the player and his specific skills will be the key.

Jeanshorts:

I’d like to think he goes about making transactions purely with the best interest of the team in mind. I mean I can see a scenario in which he maybe takes a longer look at players on teams were he has a good working relationship with the GM, or listens to their trade proposals a little closer than others, but if he’s any good as GM, personal relationships will have very little effect on moves he wants to make.

Jason Gregor:

I don’t see him targeting players from specific teams because it would limit his options.

Matt Henderson:

We’ve already seen him go after players with Eastern ties when he went after Gryba, Letestu, Reinhart, and Sekera. He knows the east very well and is going to his comfort zone. I like also that he has a good reputation as a GM in the NHL already. It’s nice having at least some faith that the other GMs can’t take advantage of a guy who doesn’t know what’s what.

Jonathan Willis:

We’ve seen over the years that many general managers have good relationships with specific rivals, making trades between those teams easier. Doubtless that will be true of Chiarelli, too. Having said that, it’s a bad idea for any general manager to limit his options by only considering trades with a handful of other teams. Still, I don’t think we’ll see a trade with Boston anytime soon.

Robin Brownlee:

It better be more likely that the team doesn’t matter. If two teams have the same kind of player at the same age/price point etc that fills a need, then dealing with somebody you know better or trust more can be a tie-breaker.

Baggedmilk:

I think having good relationships is important, and I’m sure that those guys may be first on Chiarelli’s call list. I do think, however, that it would be stupid to limit himself to the handful of guys that he’s buddies with. That would be like limiting yourself to shopping in the frozen food section. A lot of that shit can be tasty by you know it’s bad for you. 


2) Kevin asks – Do you think the Oilers will be buyers, sellers, or stand pat at the trade deadline? Are there any moves that Oilers fans might expect between now and then?

Lowetide:

I think the Oilers will be sellers, but could buy if they can acquire a player who can help past this year. Fans should expect a defenseman sent away, and possibly a signing (Eric Gryba).

Jeanshorts:

I think they’ll be sellers. I’m in the “a trade for a D-man won’t happen until the summer” crowd. Obviously Justin Schultz is at the top of the list for guys they’re looking to move. I think Teddy Purcell is probably up there too (though I think he’s infinitely more useful than a majority of the readers here). Maybe Anders Nilsson if a team is in desperate need of a backup goalie heading into the playoffs?

I don’t expect there to be any major moves between now and the trade deadline, in terms of big players coming to Edmonton. The Oilers are in a position of weakness and as much as we all love not being mathematically eliminated from the playoffs in January, I don’t see them making some kind of move with the idea of a playoff push in mind. The market should be much better in the summer, so please don’t hold your breathe waiting for Harmonic to be wearing an Oiler jersey in February.

Jason Gregor:

I expect them to be sellers, unless they have a great month of February and are within two or three points of a playoffs spot. Realistically I see them moving out a few players.

Matt Henderson:

Barring a miracle, I think the Oilers will end up being sellers. That means moving Purcell, Gryba, and potentially one big piece if the right trade is available. Everyone else has games in hand and the Oilers have given away too many points as it is.

Jonathan Willis:

Sellers. I expect we’ll see Teddy Purcell and Justin Schultz shipped out. Something is going to happen with Eric Gryba; he’ll either be dealt to make room on the third pairing or re-signed.

Robin Brownlee:

They’re not making the playoffs, so being buyers doesn’t make sense. What they need now doesn’t involve tinkering between now and the deadline — bigger moves come during the off-season — so if they’re selling its getting something for someone who isn’t in the plans like, possibly, Schultz.

Baggedmilk:

I actually don’t think that the Oilers will do much of anything apart from clear out some UFA contracts. I like Teddy Purcell’s game this year, but if he’s looking to match the current contract that he has then I’m sure Chiarelli will ship him out. It will be interesting to see if he can get rid of some of the contracts that he and McLellan clearly don’t see as part of the future. Guys like Fayne, or Yak as an example.

3) Alex D. asks – Darnell Nurse has struggled a little bit over the past few weeks which is to be expected from a rookie defenseman. Do you think the Oilers would have been best served leaving him in the AHL? Did they have a choice?

Lowetide:

I think Nurse (at the time) was one of the six best defenders, so the recall made sense. I think he played so well, the organization decided to move him up the depth chart. Now, he is struggling and they have backed him off. If he continues to struggle, then they would be wise to send him back to the minors for the rest of the season. Important for him to feel good about his game by the end of the year. I am amazed at his ability to play NHL defense at 20.

Jeanshorts:

Darnell Nurse seems to be in that weird bubble area. While a full season in the AHL would not have been a bad thing at all, I feel like he’d be too good to play down there for an entire season. But as you said he’s struggled off and on all season and clearly needs more time to polish his game at the NHL level. And no, I don’t think the Oilers had a choice. Look at the D right now — even with a healthy Klefbom, who would you replace Nurse with? Brad Hunt? Seven minutes a night of Nikitin? Just go with 4 D like we did for most of minor hockey? They were inevitably going to call him up at some point this season and have had no real reason, nor defensive depth to send him back down.

Jason Gregor:

He has struggled of late, which is normal for a rookie. Very few rookies are consistent all season and a dip is expected. Nurse is NHL ready, but that doesn’t mean he won’t struggle some games. He will be a better player because of it, and remember he did have a run where he was playing very well. Ideally he would be playing with an established veteran instead of being paired with Schultz. That is the one change I would make in regard to Nurse.

Matt Henderson:

I don’t think he needs to be in the AHL so much as he needs to be playing softer minutes. Every time the analysts say Nurse is number one in rookie ice time, all I can think is that probably means all the other teams are doing a better job insulating their young blueliners. Nurse is an NHL player, he just shouldn’t be choking down top four minutes all the time.

Jonathan Willis:

Yes, I think Darnell Nurse would have benefited from more time in the AHL. He reminds me a lot of watching Oscar Klefbom in Oklahoma City in 2013-14 in that the pure, raw talent is undeniable but there’s also a lot of running around and ineffective play as a result. Having said that, Edmonton has been in a tough spot on the blue line lately and I don’t blame the team for advancing Nurse more quickly.

Robin Brownlee:

He’s been fine right where he is. Every player has rough stretches. You can’t work all those out at the minor league level. Would’ve been better off with top-pairing guys ahead of him so he didn’t have to play so many minutes, but that’s an ongoing flaw with this team.

Baggedmilk:

Todd McLellan admitted last week that they brought up Darryl way earlier then they expected to. To me, Nurse has been given too much responsibility at way too early of an age and I think he’s paying for it. Rather than settling in on the third pairing they have him playing the most minutes on a pairing with Justin Schultz. It doesn’t make any sense. 


4) Chungerr asks – With the large majority of players in the NHL being born between 1980 – 2000 how do you think that affects the type of coaching style they respond to? What can coaches do to adapt?

Lowetide:

I think the range of coaching styles has remained constant over the years, although the tough coach can no longer avail himself of old timey tools like dressing a player down in public, et cetera (and this did happen, a lot). 

From an outsider POV, NHL coaches seem to be better communicators now. If you listen to Todd McLellan talk about Nail Yakupov or Zack Kassian or Taylor Hall, there is a lot of wisdom in his words and care about the message to him. I think players probably respond to that, as anyone would.

Jeanshorts:

We need Steve Staios to come back and teach these kids the “ring it around the boards and out” technique! IT’S A LOST ART!

Jason Gregor:

Communication is a necessity for coaches with today’s players. They  adapt similarly as bosses in most work places. I don’t see them being much different.

Matt Henderson:

Unless coach X plans on coaching from a time-machine, he/she better figure out how to connect with people born between those dates. There’s no such thing as one right way to coach. It’s all about getting the most out of the people you’re responsible for. Every generation has a different set of expectations for themselves and their coaches.

Jonathan Willis:

My guess would be that it makes the real autocrats less effective, much as in any other field. I think an intelligent coach who works to earn the trust and respect of his charges will still be able to get it.

Robin Brownlee:

The best coaches communicate well and talk with, rather than at, their players. They clearly communicate what is expected and why.

Baggedmilk:

DON’T CODDLE THEM, BRO! I don’t know, it seems odd that an adult man needs to be babied just because of when they’re born, but I guess stranger things have happened. I like the way Todd McLellan lets his players know when they’re being shitheads. Example: Hall, Taylor.

5) Barry asks – Pretend for a moment that you’re Peter Chiarelli. Who would be on your Oilers untouchable list?

Lowetide:

Connor McDavid, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Leon Draisaitl, Taylor Hall, Oscar Klefbom, Darnell Nurse. A signed Brandon Davidson would also come pretty damned close.

Jeanshorts:

McDavid, Nurse, Hall, Draisaitl, Klefbom, Nuge. There is a caveat on Nuge however; he’s on my untouchables list NOW. However if, in say two years or so, both McDavid and Drai are legit top six centres, then I would think about trading him. But as of right now he’s far and away the Oilers best pivot and I still think it’s crazy people suggest he’s expendable considering McDavid and Draisaitl have played less than 100 NHL games COMBINED. But I digress.

Jason Gregor:

McDavid is the only one you won’t trade. Hall, Nurse, Klefbom and Draisaitl would be unlikely to garner a return that makes sense.

Matt Henderson:

McDavid, Hall, Drai, Nuge, Klefbom, Nurse. That’s my untouchable list. Not on it are Eberle, Yak, or Edmonton’s first rounder.

Jonathan Willis:

Connor McDavid. There’s a hypothetical trade out there that would work for any other player (e.g., “Yes, Mr. Lombardi, I will take Drew Doughty in exchange for Taylor Hall). Realistically, though, I doubt there’s a trade out there that would make sense to me for Hall, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins or Leon Draisaitl. I’d also be terrified of trading Darnell Nurse and it would take a pretty unique set of circumstances to consider dealing Oscar Klefbom.

Robin Brownlee:

Nobody. How can a team that’s on the way to missing the playoffs for the 10th straight year not listen to every possible offer? Doesn’t mean you have to accept any of them.

Baggedmilk:

McDavid (DUH!), Hall, Draisaitl, Nuge, Klefbom, and Nurse. I put a premium on centreman and defense.

Once we get closer to draft day I would like to see Chiarelli shopping that first rounder for an established defenseman within the age range of Hall, Nuge, and Klefbom. Nothing would say “I’m committed to winning now” like trading off a first round pick for immediate help. 

    • Dan 1919

      I can’t stand Drew…hes the worst!!. It’s already hard enough being an Oilers fan. Nevermind hearing nothing but negativity from him during the entire game….He’s not even neutral. Just Anti Oiler.

      • Jordan McNugent-Hallkins

        I don’t mind the fact that he’s so negative, I mind the fact that he’s a terrible color commentator. Guy stutters and stumbles through every broadcast. How many times did he call the Stars the San Jose Sharks the other night?

        • Jay (not J)

          No doubt…plus he gets off topic for long winded speeches about how awesome the other team is….If I was Gene Principe I’d say when it comes to commenters we Drew the short straw…thats right I went there!!

        • Jay (not J)

          No doubt…plus he gets off topic for long winded speeches about how awesome the other team is….If I was Gene Principe I’d say when it comes to commenters we Drew the short straw…thats right I went there!!

  • CMG30

    RNH absolutely has to be on the untouchable list. No matter how good Dri and MacDavid are/may be, it’s in their long term best interest to have a little bit of cover while they adjust and develop to the NHL.

    The trade RNH now crowd has been effectively silenced since he went down with injury and the ugly truth about the importance of center depth reared its ugly head in Edmonton again.

    • Dan 1919

      It’s like Gregor said, the only untouchable is McDavid, with the HUGE caviot being, just because a guy isn’t “untouchable” doesn’t mean you would find a deal that makes sense.

      Nuge falls into this category right now as they would be too inexperienced down the middle without him. However, there’s a strong argument to suggest the Oilers will only modestly improve next year going in with the same group, likely missing the playoffs. So if you know you’re probably going to miss playoffs again next year with Nuge, would you trade him this offseason if you got a top D man back and had a better chance to make it the year after with McD and Draisaitl more experienced?

    • Dan 1919

      And… We all love Nuge because of his heart and dedication, but let’s face it, we’ve all seen McDavid play. I bet by the end of this year, or by the 40game point next season, McDavid will just be flat out better than Nuge in every aspect of the game besides maybe faceoffs.

      McDavid is only 12 games in and already not only reliable defensively, but effective. I wish it weren’t try because I really wanted Nuge to be a star and maybe he still will be, but as of right now McDavid will quickly catch amd surpass Nuge.

    • Dan 1919

      RNH will not be traded anytime soon.

      His cap hit is 6M and he is a 2nd line centre on most playoff teams.

      Lowe, as president, approved the signing at 6M and made sure that he cannot be traded.

      Now, if he would have been signed at 4M which is probably his value ……………..

    • hitchikerforajax

      RNH should be traded. When MacDavid gets back, Dri. will be the second line center, so you pay a guy 6 mil., to play third line center? Not on a team I could manage. Hendricks has played better than RNH, so maybe he should be the third line center. So pay a guy 6 mil. to be a fourth line center? Wait. Didn’t the Oilers pay Horcoff 6 mil. to be a fourth line center? Only the Oilers would do that! The Oilers need to get rid of at least of half the players & maybe then, they might have a chance to be competitive. This team needs to be blown up, because the core of this team, haven’t got the job done, so why will a year of two of different coaching make a difference ???

  • Dan 1919

    I keep hearing and reading that Scott Hartnell is available for next to nothing,this player would be a huge plus on the Oilers,and added with Kassian,and all of a sudden the Oilers have a some good size,skill and nasty in the top 3 lines.

    • ziyan94

      Columbus would have to retain a huge chunk of salary for the Oilers to even consider it. Hartnell is almost 34 already and $4.75 million a year until 2019 is a horrible salary. We need to consider McDavid’s monster extension in a couple years. If we want another guy like Kassian then Lucic at 27 would be more likely than Hartnell at 34

  • You just got LITT up!

    Re: untouchables – If the oilers don’t trade a good player … How do they get a good player back? I’m sorry but yak and ebs will not return the dman most agree the oilers need. Classic oilers – player X is gonna be so good one day, no way we can trade them. How’s that theory worked out over the last 10 years? Exactly.

    • Dan 1919

      Exactly right.

      I am a total Hall supporter, he drives the bus, cares if he wins or loses.

      The team would be better off with a number 1 defense (OEL, Doughty, Keith, Seabrooke, etc) than a top left winger.

      But I don’t think that kind of trade will happen.

  • You just got LITT up!

    For anyone not too put McDavid a generational talent on the untouchable list after 13 games totally discredits all of there opinions and they should ni longer be apart of mail bag Monday!

    • Jay (not J)

      Your tenuous grasp of the English language discredits your opinion but we read it anyway. A team that has missed the playoffs going on 10 years in a row doesn’t have room for ANY sacred cows on the roster. That being said the likelihood of someone bringing the Oilers a proposal for a McDavid trade which would benefit the Oilers seems slim.

        • Mcdavid would be my only untouchable, and that’s it. I laugh at Lowetide putting Brandon Davidson as a possible,, if he was the difference in getting a Hamonic or Shattenkirk, you dump him. That’s why this team is in the mess it is, believing half of this team as untouchables, which lowetide has done. Nuge is going to be the 3rd string center soon, so who keeps a 6 million dollar 3rd liner.

    • ziyan94

      You better stock up on Scotties Little Softies then…you think T-Macs System will change for one player?

      Lol….maybe Nuges injury and Hendricks “Ballad of the Broken Cup” were enough to force change….but likely not because that was a San Jose Process carry-over from the Coaches….that kind of change is to big to just engage….LMAO.

      Look at how poorly the offense was managed last game? It was pitifull…and it was reflective of how the d-zone is managed in terms of terratorialism.Dis-connected.

      Every time a new layer is added to the Oiler Onion things screw up,nothing ever just comes out right the first time and because this is a consistant dynamic,something is driving it HARD.

      Who is putting players in all the wrong places,who is telling T-Mac that stats individuals produce are driven by playes and not process? because this is why T-Mac is stutter-stepping….he is hobbled by an invisible chain.Even when an adjustment that is KISS is made there are disconnects.

      McDavid will BY PROXY OF PROCESS by put in so many dangerous positions for the rest of the season you will not believe what you are seeing,the injury parade will continue because everyone loves shotblocking teams,where you can machine gun down their players and take no penalties,stupidist tactical System-Cheat a Pro-level Coach can use,least effective and most regressive.

      Someone needs to feed T-Mac and JW and Fee and Dellow 60lber of Tequila , then tattoo NHS-Hammer & Anvil on their arses,then maybe when they are kissing and making up after losses they will have a chance to learn a little something about winning….LMAO…ha ha ha ha…falls off of Captains Chair laughing…

      • hitchikerforajax

        Why don’t you try making sense? You could actually read your post before submitting to see if people are going to be able to follow your train of thought.

  • 15 one goal games huh?

    Is it a lack of defense or a lack of offense.

    How can you postulate trades when you cannot even diagnose causality of losing consistantly by one goal…..we will not accept NHL League parity as an excuse.Nope.

    I propose that 15 one goal games are 15 squirrel eggs lain by the Coaches.

    30 NHL points flushed by the CC/Coaching Crew.

  • Wow when Drew talks every goal by the opposition is an Oiler mistake while every goal for the Oilers is a nice play. He makes watching the Oilers lose much more painful for me. I look forward to the games he is not involved in.

  • hitchikerforajax

    I know this is stupid but I don’t think the Oilers should be buyers or sellers this trade deadline. Not buyers for obvious reasons. Not sellers because losing Gryba and Purcell etc. would hurt the team and make it more difficult for them to win games down the stretch. I know that winning games late in one season has no carryover to the following season but this team needs to close strong more than they need two third round picks.

    I think for the long term mental health of the players and fans finishing this season on a high note in 23rd or 24th place is important. Ditching all useful veterans and tumbling down the side of a cliff finishing in 29th or 30th, being in the discussion again for a top three pick, spending another off season as the laughing stock of the league will do more harm to the fragile psyche of this group. We can’t just have the mentality that if you’re outside a playoff position you might as well draft as high as possible and liquidate all your pending UFA’s to help facilitate that. For a team that has become synonymous with failure over the last 10 years finishing anywhere above the bottom 5 would be like making the playoffs. That needs to be the focus, not acquiring middle round draft assets that may never play in the league.

    For the first time ever I would rather pick 7th overall than in the top 3. Enough already with stepping up to the podium first, it’s embarrassing.

      • hitchikerforajax

        Purcell is awful. Why the Oilers play players who do little to help the team win, is beyond my pay. Yak is another player who should be on another team. This whole experiment, has obviously not worked, so why try? Isn’t madness, doing the same thing over & over, expecting a different result? The g.m. had better, stop this madness, change this team & maybe get a different result!!

    • ziyan94

      The decision to buy or sell at the deadline relates to asset management. The Oilers have some assets such as Purcell and Schultz that have to have decisions made regarding their future with the club.

      If the Oilers do nothing then they forfeit the value of these players. Even if they receive a second rounder for Purcell and a third rounder for Schultz or prospects, they still get something. That is good asset management.

      To get nothing for these assets would be negligent on management’s part.

  • After the All-star break, the Oilers will be in 29th place and the Blue Jackets will be in 30th. And the entire league will watch the game because McDavid will be back.

    There’s no way you could get equal value back for him. With anyone else, whether you trade them would be dependent upon return.

    If someone offered a first-rounder for Nuge, no one makes that trade. If someone offered a first-rounder for Hendricks, PC makes that deal.

  • ziyan94

    I would put the Nuge on the tradeable list. With the emergence of Draisatl as your top 2 centreman behind McDavid, logic dictates that the Nuge is now your top 3 centreman and with his hefty 6 mill annual pricetag and his sub-premium physical stature the Nuge is a natural tradeable asset.

  • bazmagoo

    The Oilers are “flirting” for near the bottom. The team has several 6 million dollar boys. Nugent- Hopkins, Eberly and Hall should be Trade Eligible.
    On a positive note- if the Oilers do get the first or second round draft pick — the fans maybe able to see the Oiler Owner and Family all dressed up on stage.

    Once again this could be the almost every season highlight? What excitement!

  • bazmagoo

    Dr Drai and McJebus are my only untouchables. Everyone else could be traded if the return was right. First on my list these days is Eberle, man is he ever mailing it in lately. Hope the break does him some good.