GDB 76.0: PP woes and trading Klefbom?


After the trade deadline, Todd McLellan challenged his team to have a solid final 18 games. He wanted them to be competitive, consistent and show a winning effort every game. The Oilers are 6-5 since the deadline, a significant improvement over their first 64 games (23-24-7), but McLellan was not happy with his skilled players after Sunday’s 3-2 loss to Colorado.

McLellan refuses to sit back and let this team be comfortable. He is not afraid to voice his displeasure, but he doesn’t embarrass individuals, he simply speaks honestly about when he sees them not playing up to their potential.

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McLellan was very disappointed with his powerplay, specifically his forwards.

“Our powerplay turned it over, went to break out it again, then turned it over. Then guess what? We turned it over and went to break out again. There is a lot of talk about needing a quarterback, but that had nothing to do with having a quarterback on the powerplay. It had to do with the forwards. Really high-end, talented, skilled forwards that you put out there, that can win you a game in that situation, but turnover after turnover after turnover. It’s disappointing,” said McLellan.

The Oilers have scored a PP goal in only two of their last 17 games. The frustrating aspect for Mclellan, and most fans I’m sure, is this group proved versus St. Louis (four PP goals on six chances) they can produce when they outwork the penalty killers, and focus on making crisp, accurate passes. However, too often their execution and attention to detail has been lacking.

Connor McDavid, Taylor Hall, Jordan Eberle, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Leon Draisaitl have enough combined skill to be better than 5 for 44 (11.3%) in their previous 17 games. This group still struggles with consistency. Take away the Blues game and they are 1 for 38 in 16 games. That is gross for a group with this much offensive skill.

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Instead of resting on the excuse of lacking a bonafide powerplay quarterback, McLellan challenged his players to be better. He pointed out their inability to simply bring the puck up ice. He didn’t name individual names, instead he confronted them as a group.

Both units were equally pathetic versus Colorado and they have been during this lengthy power outage. All of those players, specially the four who have played all 17 games (RNH has only dressed for the last five), need to be more focused on the man advantage. They can’t just rely on their skill, they need to include a work ethic to match the penalty killers.

To win consistently in the NHL your best players need to be your on-ice leaders. The Oilers haven’t been bad at EV recently — they actually have 20GF and 20GA at EV in the month of March — but if their PP had a pulse they likely would have at least one more victory. One more victory in a eleven-game span makes a huge difference over a course of a season.

The Oilers are 6-5, which prorates to 89 points in a full season. If they were 6-4-1 they’d be on pace for 97 points, if they were 7-4 they’d be a 104 point team.

One or two more PP goals could have earned them one or two more points, which can turn into a lot over the course of a season.

Winning teams find ways to be consistent, and despite having a winning record since challenging his team, McLellan is far from satisfied. He’s coached winning teams. He knows what it takes to make the playoffs and finish with 100 points. You can never be satisfied, and in the past every time this group tasted a bit of success, they would rest on their laurels and slide back down the standings.

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That cycle needs to stop. It is obvious McLellan sees the issues, and is doing is best to address it, but the ultimate decision makers will be the players. McLellan was working on the PP yesterday in Leduc before the team flew to Phoenix, and tonight is another opportunity for them to show they coach they understand, but it also another chance for them to show the GM they haven’t.


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Patrick Maroon won’t dress tonight, but McLellan expects him to be ready for San Jose. The Oilers didn’t skate this morning, so we don’t know if Anton Lander draws in or possibly Adam Cracknell. As for the lines, they will start the game like this, but based on what we’ve seen the previous games it is safe to say McLellan will experiment with a few combinations up front.

Oilers lineup courtesy of

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Coyotes lineup courtesy of


  • Yesterday Ryan Rishaug had Oilers fans fired up when he suggested the Oilers should strongly consider moving Oscar Klefbom for Travis Hamonic. His reasoning is Klefbom is injury-prone, and while the Staph infection was a freak thing, he has been injured every season dating back to his time in the Swedish Elite League. Some players are injured more than others, while others have a few tough seasons filled with injuries, but then find ways to stay healthy. Which category does Klefbom fall under?

    Let’s look at Klefbom’s career. His first season in the SEL, his draft year, he played 23 of 55 games. He was a healthy scratch for a few, but he missed many games with an injury.

    In his second season, 2011/2012 he played 33 of 55 games. The next year he only dressed in 11 of 55 games. Over three seasons he dressed in 66 of 115 games.

    His first season in the AHL (13/14) he played 50 games (48 regular, 2 playoff) in the AHL and 17 with the Oilers. He missed 11 games (10 reg, 1 playoff) due to injury in the AHL, but played every game he was available with the Oilers.

    Last year he played 60 NHL games, and while in the NHL he missed two due to injury.  He played nine in the AHL and missed none.

    This year he has played 30 games and missed 45 due to injury.

    So in his SEL career he played in 57.3% of his team’s games (66 of 115). In the AHL and NHL he has dressed for 74% of the games (166 of 224).

    The staph infection, which in my books isn’t an injury, has cost him 25 games. He broke his finger on December 11th and the Oilers hit all-star break on January 23rd. He was looking to return on February 2nd, but hasn’t due to the infection. For argument sake let’s say no staph infection then he’d have played in 85% of his pro games (191 of 224).

    Being available for 74% of a team’s games compared to 85% is a big difference. You can argue the staph infection is a freak thing, or you can say injury, infection, cold are all the same. You are either available or you aren’t. To date Klefbom has dressed in 74% of his pro games in North America.

    Travis Hamonic had played in 390 of 427 NHL games (91.3%). The fewest games he played was 69 of 82 in 2013/2014.

    I would be leery of dealing Klefbom for Hamonic, because when healthy I believe Klefbom has more upside. Also I’m not sure a broken finger and staph infection equate to injury-prone. Guys with chronic groin and hip issues concern me more.

    Rishaug’s argument of being unavailable does have some merit when you look Klefbom’s career since 2010/2011, and if Klefbom is better, but not available to dress as often does that lower his value? Which side are you on?


From Five for Howling

Edmonton is struggling to keep their team on the up and up. They have been mathematically eliminated from the playoffs for the tenth straight year. (Sorry Oilers fans.)

They are starting to look up in the hope department with more points than they had last season and actual goaltending. It’s just that pesky defense they are having problems with. Hopefully they will solve this at the draft (and not win the lottery again) with a good defensive pick, or some trades to bolster their D corps.



GAME DAY PREDICTION: The Oilers have won only two of their previous 14 meetings versus the Coyotes. A few of the skilled forwards respond to McLellan’s challenge and the Oilers win 3-2.

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OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: The Coyotes score a goal. They’ve been shutout in two straight, but the score late midway through the first frame.

NOT-SO-OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Matt Hendricks picks up an assist and sets a career-high with points in four consecutive games. His first three-game point streak was in December of 2009, and he never had another until these past three games.

Recently by Jason Gregor:  

  • Ready to Win

    “Oscar Klefbom for Travis Hamonic”

    If the Islanders still want a D back for him, we may not have much choice. Sekera is too pricey. Nurse is our future. They won’t take Reinhart back. They wouldn’t want Fayne.

    About the only other D that might be a possibility is Davidson, but they are unlikely to value him as high as we do, so it would become Davidson+++.

  • Morgo_82

    Klefbom is a 22 year old that will easily be a top pairing defenceman in this league for years to come, not mention he was just signed to a steal of a contract. I believe trading him for Hamonic would be an over payment by the Oilers (as much as they need need what Hamonic would bring to the team). I think counting a staph infection when considering if he’s injury prone or not is just ridiculous, it’s just a freak infection and should be only looked at as such.

    Bottom line is if the Oilers do trade Kelfbom I believe they’ll regret it and soon.

    • DannyGallivan

      Totally agree. I am not convinced he is injury prone – particularly an infection. That said, he is big, mobile, playing at a top 4 level and 22 yrs old. I would have to have a really good reason to trade a guy like that e.g. we have too many D and badly need F. No question we need Hamonic (great player, Right top 2 D, 25 yrs old, good contract – and the Islanders HAVE TO TRADE HIM) but there may be other pieces we can give up that don’t have the characteristics of Klef who, IMHO, is our best D save Sekera who is 29 and starting the downside of his career.

      If they want a D, sounds like a 3-way trade to me….. I would rather give up Eberle, Pouliot, Yakupov, Oesterle, Reinhart, Gryba and/or Fayne and a group of draft picks than Klef.

  • Oilerchild77

    I just don’t see a Klefbom for Hamonic trade getting the team anywhere in the end because I don’t believe Hamonic is that much better right now and, in a year’s time, might not even be as good. Besides, the Islanders aren’t in any position to be demanding a dman in return because they are the ones being forced to make the move.

    I’ve said it before, it’s Eberle that should get offered and that’s probably the best return Snow is going to get from any of the Western Canadian teams.

  • The Dave

    The problem with a Hamonic for Klefbom trade is that we’ve also got Klefbom locked down until the end of the 22-23 season vs 20-21 for Hamonic.

    I might still make the trade (maybe we secure a pick or something with it) because at least he’s a right side defenceman and the case could be made we have zero top 6 NHLers on the right side (maybe Fayne, although McLellan has scratched him a few times). Davidson, Nurse, Klefbom, Sekera, Oesterle, and even Reinhart are all natural lefties… what a weird problem to have.

    Also, I do think people short-change Hamonic’s talent level just because he doesn’t score a ton of points. He’s good and he’s got a bit of a mean streak.

    And we all remember when he crushed Hall in junior, right?

    I really like Klefbom, but seriously… there was a moment in that hit where Taylor Hall’s face was touching the end boards and the rest of his body was still in the air, parallel to the ice. Hamonic still hits like that, folks. That sort of thing adds up, especially in the playoffs.

  • McPucker

    I’m just reading Spector’s BoA book.

    It’s been said before and it’s emphasized in this book in the Gretzky chapter, Gretzky was great not only due to natural ability but also his drive to improve and willingness to work hard.

    Leaders lead by example.

    I believe in the talent of all our top draft picks. I think some good veteran leadership would have gone a long way in making these guys leaders at the NHL level. I don’t think it’s too late yet.

    Perhaps signing Stamkos would fill that void.

    • Oilerchild77

      Dude, be realistic. Stamkos isn’t going anywhere near this dumpster fire! He wants to win and that’s not likely to happen here very soon. Besides, have you heard of the salary cap? Stamkos is going to cost a bundle of cash and the Oilers have McDavid coming up in two years and Draisaitl in one more year.

      Bottom line: It’s not happening and I wish people would stop entertaining this pipe-dream idea.

      • McPucker

        It could be done child.

        Minus a 6MM contract.Add a 9MM. Get rid of Yak and there you go. I’m sure it’s complicated than that but it’s possible.

        But yeah, getting Stamkos here might be a problem.

  • Jay (not J)

    No to Klefbom for Hamonic. Getting labled ‘injury prone’ does not mean that you are injury prone, it means that the media notices that you have been injured. If Snow was going to get a dman back one has to suspect that the deal would have been done already. Noone’s going to give him what he wants because he has a player that wants out and he has an agent that will force the issue – essentially by proxy working on the Oilers’ behalf. Snow can have Eberle and he can love it, or he can go somewhere else and so will the Oilers.

  • Mike Krushelnyski

    I think Klefbom is our best defenceman when healthy. Hamonic is better, but I don’t think the difference is that big. When trying to upgrade your D-corps, trading your best defenceman is a weird place to start. If you need to trade Klefbom to get a Doughty/Weber/Subban type, by all means do it, but I think the only way a Klefbom for Hamonic deal really makes sense is if you’re adding 2 other defencemen in separate deals.

  • .

    “You can argue the staph infection is a freak thing, or you can say injury, infection, cold are all the same.”

    I’m not a medical doctor, but actually a cold is a viral infection of the respiratory tract so, yes, in fact it is the same as an infection because . . . well, a cold is an infection.

    However an injury and an infection are very different things. The chief difference being that one can do little to prevent an infection (like a cold) regardless of how one plays or if one plays; however, the likelihood of an injury can be lessened considerably by changing how one plays.

    Case in point, Matt Hendricks’ style of play very likely contributes to his regularly banged-up status, broken cups, and bruised knuckles. Yet, you likely won’t see Eberle suffer from the same symptoms regardless of how many more minutes he plays. However if Jordan Eberle gets the mumps, there’s a good chance that Matt Hendricks will as well, as the Penguins can attest. The mumps don’t care how you play the game.

    A more obvious and tragic example is the correlation between fighting and concussions. If you fight regularly, you’re very likely to get concussed (unless your last name is Nurse). If you don’t fight, your odds of being concussed go down considerably.

    This isn’t a criticism of Eberle, Hendricks, fighters or non-fighters; I’m merely pointing out that injuries are not at all the same as infections.

    The analysis of Klefbom that includes the period he’s been dealing with the infection is next to worthless.

    • Jay (not J)

      I wouldn’t take ‘no one is safe’ to mean that Murray would trade Karlsson, but if that’s where the Sens really are then I would give them just about anything that they asked for to make that deal happen. Karlsson is one of the top Dmen in this league and one of the few who deserves to be in a ‘who’s the very best?’ conversation. I wouldn’t bet on his availability, but I would love to see him in Edmonton.

    • The poster formerly known as Koolaid drinker #33

      Man having Karlsson passing to our forwards would be a treat to watch. We could have two guys go over 100 pts. But..I’m not sure you can win the cup with Karlsson as your #1 dman. He doesn’t really play a whole lot of defence. Don’t get me wrong, if we get Karlsson, I’d be over the moon. But if I had choice between him, Doughty, Keith or Burns, he’d be my fourth choice.

    • Jay (not J)

      I only saw the whole thing last night. The only thing I can say for sure about Eugene Melnyk is that he makes me appreciate the invisible Darnell Katz. I think that he was talking more about his GM and coach than players though.

  • rusty

    Hamonic will go to the team that offers the best package that includes an NHL defenceman. I don’t know many other teams that can beat an offer that has klefbom in it. But if you’re married to klefbom who do you trade? davidson? Do the islanders even know who is? I don’t think they bite on that. The NYI are not moving Hamonic for a skilled forward. If you believe Hamonic is an upgrade and essential to the Oilers Defence you grit your teeth and make a trade that makes your team better. This culture of keeping players around for who they may become instead of making a team better today has got to stop.

  • Benny Botts


    Gregs, I agree with your take on the Klefbom trade. I believe Oscar offers more of an offensive upside then Hamonic does, those 2 in our top 4 however looks great for the future. I do have one question for you though, I think it is all but written in stone that Okoposo will be leaving the Island as a UFA this summer, do you not see an Eberle for Hamonic deal making sense for both teams in the summer? Both fill a need for each team in the off-season. And do you see the oilers pursuing Okopso?

    • Jason Gregor

      I would do that trade in a second because Oilers are getting a proven commodity back and filling a huge void on RD.

      Eberle would create large hole on RW, and Okposo might be option in UFA, but I’d still make trade even if no guarantee to land OKposo after July 1st.

      • Kurt

        So a year ago when I call in an say out of all the guys on the team, Eberle would be the one to trade for a top 2 Dman, your reply was that it’s stupid to trade away the 5th highest scoring rw in the last 4 years.
        Now all of a sudden you trade him in a heartbeat?

        • Jason Gregor

          How many times do you need to ask this?

          For the final time I will answer it for you, because clearly you want attention Mr Steadman. (Since you want attention so much, maybe I should forward the texts you sent our show to the parents of the Midget team you coach. Or maybe I should share with the Nation since you want to re-live the past. Let me know.)

          The Oilers did not have McDavid or Draisaitl producing like he was at this time last year. Eberle was their 2nd most proven productive forward. They did not have scoring depth.

          Now the Oilers have some scoring depth, so they can afford to trade one. Times change. I didn’t say you never trade Eberle, I said you don’t trade him then when you had no scoring depth.

          The Oilers area of strength has changed since last year. It seems pretty straight forward.

          • IronX

            Poor Mr. Steadman, he really got called out there.

            Can you share said texts just for fun? I don’t need attention but love drama.

            As far as trades go, I would trade anyone not wearing 97…. I have no allegiance to anybody and I don’t really think any of the players (except 97) are really that special. I’d prefer not to trade Nuge, but if the return is right, whatever .

            As far as Ebs goes, I don’t think anybody takes him and gives us a Hamonic….

          • Jason Gregor

            Nice try. I guess you have similar emails. Okay. Truth will set you free. I’m not rattled at all. The fact you can’t comprehend the Oilers situation has changed from a year ago is your issue, not mine.

          • Kurt

            I will repost this I guess. But the one you have me confused with coached a Midget Hockey team in 2009. Only one i could find on google.
            So, instead of deleting comments or accusing me of whatever it is, contact my email directly. Take care.

      • Oilerchild77

        There are some lesser, cheaper options in the UFA market this year for right shot RWs. Parenteau and Purcell are a couple examples. If you put either of these guys on McDavid’s wing, they could produce.

  • S cottV

    We have too many left hand d men that really fit in 2nd and 3rd rotation.

    Yes – we need a right hand d man shooter on the pp, mostly for pounding one helluva one timer from the back side point position.

    What we really need is a top end left hand d man to share pp QB duties with our left hand centremen.

    Sekera is at best a 2nd pp unit kind of guy. He is split seconds too slow in mobility, distribution and shooting.

    If we had the right guys up top – it would make a huge difference to the pp.

    Gonna take more than Klefbom – to rectify it.

    • Spydyr

      To play on Tippetts’s team you have to play for the crest on the front of the sweater. To many Oilers play for the name on the back .

      I hope that changes this summer.

  • 916oiler

    Hamonic positives – low cap hit, low injury frequency, RHD status, experience, proven ability, and youth. He doesn’t put up a lot of points, however.

    Klefbom has more upside for sure, and a potentially great value contract as well. The injury bug is real, and no it doesn’t matter how it happens just that it does.

    I love Klefbom, but I would be ok with the trade. It’s kind of a coin flip really. I’m just glad I don’t have to make the decision!!

  • Ron Burgundy

    I like Hamonic quite a lot, and think he would help the Oil immensely – a right-hander, physical, very good defensively. He is the player we should have been targeting with the assets we used to get Reinhart (it would have taken more than just those, but knowing as we now do that Hamonic had asked for a trade, one has to wonder how much more…).

    My problem with him has always been his lack of offence. He has had every chance to fill an offensive role in New York, playing with some very talented forwards, and his career high in points is 33 from last year. This year he’s on pace for 21.

    That lack of offence means, to me at least, that he’s a second pair guy. I get the sense on this site that people think we get him and we’re all fixed, but the reality is that he would only solve half the problem. Less than, as its that first-pair RHD that we really need. On that basis I would be against trading Klefbom for him – if we have to get rid of Klef I would like it to be as part of a package to get that true #1.

    In the alternative, if trading Klef gets you Hamonic and trading some combination of Eberle, the 2016 first and some other piece gets you the #1, then lets do that. Like, now.

    Those are my thoughts, not yours. I’m not Joe Sports.

  • Simpsonite

    Hmmmm Rishaug saying Klefbom for Hamonic…I recall when Rishaug also said trade Nuge…he was the first person actually to say it then EVERYBODY piled on after…while perhaps there was better research into this one with the time missed argument (and not a terrible argument simply for arguments sake), it looks be another one of those in the moment suggestions – not specifically based on any sort of inside info.

    Remember with Nuge, Rishaug suggested a trade while doing his after game hit on TSN after Drai had been ridiculously good over a ten game stretch I think it was. I took it as simply a “if this continues here is an option” which then turned into “holybutterbeanslet’stradeNuge” by everybody else.

    Not in favour of trading Klefbom. Too early.

  • That's My Point

    The Oilers have won only two of their previous 14 meetings versus the Coyotes.

    Every team the Oilers play has winning records like the 12/14 or better against the Oilers.


    Can someone please fix this?

    Thanks…..sits and waits for Oilers draft balls again*

  • shaner

    I would trade Klef for Hamonic, yah sure Klef has more upside, but if you only play 10-30 games a year……….who cares!

    Take the sure thing that helps you win nightly

    I can’t think of anyone who got injured all the time as a young player, who grew out of them as his career progressed

  • hockey1099

    Klefbom for Hamonic makes a lot of sense. We need a right shot dman and we have a lot of left shot dmen. Snow wants a dman back which isn’t outrageous when giving up a minute crunching dman. Both guys are on value contracts so the money makes sense. Sekera Davidson nurse on the left give us a chance (ideal? No but better than previous years). Hamonic on the right gives us a start. We still need another right shot dman but it’s a start. Hamonic is only 25 so he has a lot of years left to play. The oilers need to start winning next season we cannot keep waiting.

  • Tvinne

    Klef for Hamonic makes no sense; one step forward and one step back. Klef can be a driver when on the ice and only continues to get better. lets not give up on him yet!

    He was the only player worth watching on the Oilers last year and the only player who got better throughout the year. One of few young skilled D on our team and there is talk of trade? No.

  • Gadgets

    I very rarely agree with much of what Rishaug says, and the trend continues. Half of what he says is a hot take. Snow wants a Hamonic like player in return for Hamonic? So if I give you ten bucks and you give me ten bucks, what does that do for me? Snow can want anything he wants, but no team is going to do that. He also doesn’t have to trade Hamonic, but eventually that situation will get really uncomfortable for everyone. He might get a d-man in return, but not an equal one.

  • I always wondered, when the media says “mathematically eliminated” are they actually doing the math taking into account the schedule and head-to-heads, or just taking the number of points behind the 8th place team and comparing it to games remaining?

    Because I feel they often do the latter and call it “mathematically eliminated”.

  • Danglishish

    Regarding the move for Hamonic (for Klef or anyone else):

    My bet is that Chia is aiming to add one actual stud, right-handed dman, and another solid right handed top 4.

    Hamonic falls into the latter category, so I expect to see Chia pursue (and hopefully land) a blockbuster move that puts a legit defensive star in Oiler colors, and then target Hamonic as the other top 4 support. If I’m Chia, Klefbom is not a part of either equation. The Oilers have more than enough forwards, PLUS a top 4 draft pick to make this happen.

    Why on earth would you consider moving your best defenseman in order to beef up your d, when you have 3-4 legitimate other pieces to use????

  • I wouldn’t trade Klefbom for Hamonic, that doesn’t really make sense to me. The Oilers need better defense so get rid of one of the better ones for one that plays a bit more? That wouldn’t have helped this team at all this year so doubtful it helps much next year. Maybe a few more points but still plenty of way out of the playoffs. If they had both then I see the Oilers closer to the playoff cutoff. If your “rich” in forwards and poor in defense, you trade your forwards for defense.

    Nobody knows what is going to happen with Hamonic over the summer, maybe he puts the screws to Snow and demands a trade or he holds out? Doubtful, but possible and in which case, now you could probably get him for even less.

  • Oiler Al

    The topic here is the ” power play” and not Hamonic!

    The PP has not improved one iota all year long.
    Its built on generational, top lotto, and number one picks all over the line up! It would appear the talent is there?

    Problem is that Woodcroft has not designed a system that works.There is very little TEAM play.
    Most times even with the man advantage they cant get puck. They dump it in , but don’t chase,If they carry it in they loose the puck.Its always a one man play.
    At one time they had Eberle on the point.. ye that great slap shot of his.Letestube on the PP is a joke ..
    How is it that most teams can set up their box or umbrella and play keep away …yet the Oilers 90% of the time cant do this.