Monday Mailbag – Who Will Vegas Take?



We’re another week closer to Christmas and we’re talking about the playoffs rather than the draft lottery. How will we ever suffer through this wait to see whether or not they make it or not? Luckily, the Mailbag is here to answer all of life’s important questions and help us all kill a little bit of time. Can the wisdom given in this week’s mailbag apply to your life? Maybe. I feel pretty good about it. If you have something you’d like to ask, email it to me at or hit me up on Twitter at @jsbmbaggedmilk. Now sit back, relax, and waste as much company time as possible. Have a good week, everybody.

1) @Thatoneuniguy asks – What do you think about Arizona getting a new arena and not relocating? Have they gotten more rope as a franchise than you expected?


Sure, but at some point the organization has to start winning consistently. Fans in Phoenix and area should be rewarded for loyalty, and all those taxpayer dollars spent.

Jason Gregor:

I’m more surprised people in the Phoenix area have an appetite for another arena. They are the only team in NHL history I can think of who will have three rinks still running in their market, and they’ll have played in all three.

Jonathan Willis:

Let’s wait and see how negotiations on the financing go. The Coyotes are (like so many sports teams) looking for a massive chunk of money from the government to make their shiny new arena a reality.

Robin Brownlee:

Arena deal isn’t done. More rope than I expected, but that’s how Gary Bettman rolls when it comes to teams moving.

Matt Henderson:

I’m no longer surprised by the lengths that the NHL will go to prop up desert hockey. I would have allowed that franchise to go to Las Vegas well before I expanded the NHL. That’s for sure.

Chris the Intern:

I suppose? Maybe it’s an “If you build it, they will come” sort of thing. Maybe Bettman will do ANYTHING to not bring another team to Canada? Tough to say.


Remember when that Blackberry dude tried to buy the Coyotes in bankruptcy court or something like that? Good times. If I’m being honest, I’m surprised that team has lasted in Arizona for 20 years, but it’s obvious that it’s not leaving without a fight so who knows what will happen. I would have guessed they would have been gone years ago so what the hell do I know?

2) Jackson asks – If you’re George McPhee and you’re looking at Edmonton’s roster for the expansion draft who is your realistic target? I think they will go for a younger player like Davidson that can help at a reasonable contract.


If I am George McPhee, I would target Brandon Davidson and Benoit Pouliot. Griffin Reinhart may draw back into the conversation if he plays a lot after returning from injury.

Jason Gregor:

Today, yes he would be first choice, but a lot can change depending on trades and such before June.

Jonathan Willis:

If I’m George McPhee, I’m probably looking at Davidson as things are right now. However, there are going to be a lot of exposed left-shot defencemen when the expansion draft comes, so I’d probably see if I could cut a deal with the Oilers. Benoit Pouliot and Mark Fayne are both serviceable NHL players who bring something hard to find in expansion (offence and a right shot, respectively) and both are on contracts that Edmonton would love to be rid of. I’d probably call up Peter Chiarelli and see what I could get in exchange for selecting one of them instead of Davidson. Las Vegas, realistically, is probably five years away from being competitive, so getting a) a guy who can play now and can be cashed in as a rental later and b) picks/prospects is probably the way to go.

Robin Brownlee:

Won’t know the target until we see the protected list. Davidson isn’t a bad bet, though.

Matt Henderson:

It’s between Pouliot and Davidson for me. If the Golden Knights find some decent LHD via the expansion draft then picking up Pouliot makes sense because he’s a solid vet and can help them get up to salary cap minimums. If they are weak on the left side then Davidson is an excellent bet.

Chris the Intern:

George McPhee already took General Fanager from us so he better stay away from our players!


Mark Fayne! Kidding. It’ll probably be someone like Pouliot or Davidson. I really hope they don’t take Maroon, because I know he’d be an option on my list if I was in charge.

3) Stacy asks – Pretend you are Dr. Frankenstein and you’re creating a Connor McDavid. Which hockey players would you piece together to create your masterpiece? ex: Crosby’s vision, Adam Oates’ passing ability, etc


I would just add Laine’s shot to McDavid to be honest. Even then, I would be an idiot to alter McDavid. I am thrilled to be watching him play the game, will leave it at that. 

Jason Gregor:

Gretzky awareness and smarts, with Lemieux size, Howe longevity and Messier meanness.

Jonathan Willis:


Robin Brownlee:

I take everything that is McDavid and add Mario Lemieux’s size and Wayne Gretzky’s competitiveness.

Matt Henderson:

Ok. I’m going to pick ONLY former Oilers to do this and I won’t use anyone in the Hall of Fame. Why? Because I’m ignoring my family and this will take a bit longer. Alright, so obviously you need Todd Marchant’s legs. Can’t get McDavid speed without that, but you also need Hemsky’s puck-carrying ability. Mix in also Gagner’s puck handling in tight. Give the player Doug Weight’s passing ability and post-lockout Horcoff’s shot. Lastly, give him Rob Schremp’s vision and Marty Reasoner’s Hockey IQ. Boom. McDavid 2.0!

Chris the Intern:

Connor’s speed, Datsyuk’s hands, Gretzky’s vision, Ryan Jones’ flow, Auston Matthews’ current salary hit, Seguin’s face, Klefbom’s abs…. what were we talking about again?


I would take everything Connor has now and put it in Zdeno Chara’s body. How terrifying of a human being would Connor McDavid be if he was also seven feet tall? To answer the question I would go with Crosby’s speed (if I can’t have Connor’s), Ovechkin’s shot, Gretzky’s brain, Chara’s body, and Lemieux’s hands. I also like Chris’ answer of Klefbom’s abs so I’m going to throw some of that in there too. 

4) @MJWolstenholm asks – The Oilers are, and have been, in first place in the Pacific for the last few weeks. Do you see them as a team that could win our division this year?


The Pacific Division is quite weak, so Edmonton could emerge as the power in the division this year. If they don’t win it this year, won’t be long.

Jason Gregor:

I’d be surprised if they win the division, but the more they win the more confidence they will gain. I’d say it is a long shot they finish ahead of all three West Coast teams, Anaheim, LA and San Jose

Jonathan Willis:

It’s not outside the realm of possibility, but I don’t expect it. San Jose would be my pick at this point, though they’re far from a lock. Edmonton is on the upswing, Los Angeles seems to have found its feet and it’s still too early to rule out Anaheim.

Robin Brownlee:

Could? Sure. Will? How’d you like those games against Arizona?

Matt Henderson:

Yes. They could win the Pacific, but the Ducks, Kings, and Sharks are also capable of winning it.

Chris the Intern:

The inner Oiler in me is still convinced that something bad will happen so it’s hard to get over that thought. My guess is that they won’t win division, but will finish top three by the end of the season.


They’re going to be in tough to beat the Califonia teams, but I think it’s anyone’s game this year. The Pacific isn’t what it once was and you never know what can happen if the Oilers get hot again at the right time. I say yes!

5) Mitch asks – The Oilers were in first place in their division at American Thanksgiving but there is always room to improve. In your eyes, which area do the Oilers still need to get better at and what can they do to get there?


Right wing is an area of weakness, I would like to see the team add a veteran there. Backup goalie is a concern and of course a PP hammer from the point who is a righty—of course, that could be the RW they bring in.

Jason Gregor:

Consistency, but that will only come from more experience. They still have a very young team with ten players with fewer than 135 NHL games experience: McDavid, Draisaitl, Puljujarvi, Pitlick, Caggiula, Slepyshev, Nurse, Klefbom Benning and Davidson when he returns.

Jonathan Willis:

It’s the same question we considered in the summer in a lot of ways, and the answers are the same now. There’s a need for right shots on the power play, recent successes notwithstanding, as well as room for a proven offensive producer at evens on right wing. A right-shooting, puck-moving defenceman would also be a good add to the depth chart – a fully mature version of Matt Benning with power play ability would be nice. And heaven forbid anything happen to Cam Talbot.

Robin Brownlee:

Consistency in execution. Swings in performance between wins over teams like Detroit and Chicago and losses to teams like Buffalo and Arizona still too great. 

Matt Henderson:

The team could use a better backup goaltender, a more reliable 3RW, a Power Play QB RHD.

Chris the Intern:

NEED MOAR MCDAVID’S!  I would hope for some more consistency. They broke out of one bad slump, I have a feeling there are more to come. I understand everyone goes through bad times, but I hope we can consistently win throughout the rest of the year.


Two things for me. 1) Please hire someone, a psychologist, a guru, a shaman, or a coach that will help them learn to hit the net. It’s mind blowing how often these guys miss the net. 2) Please, Gord, send us someone that can finish on even 50% of the chances McDavid creates. If the Oilers converted every time Connor set them up they would score 10 goals per night. Please. Find. A. Way. To. Finish.

  • Oilers G- Nations Poet Laureate

    RE: The Expansion Draft….I see the call going like this….

    George, Pete here. Listen, congrats on the GM gig for Vegas, but IF you guys take Pouliot in the expansion draft, I’ll send you a 3rd rd pick as well. We can call it “Future Considerations”. Whadda ya say George, do we have a deal?

    • CaptainLander

      If it was not for the fact that they remain in first in the Division it would be even more frustrating. They can make it up to me by hammering the Leafs.

    • Sheldon "Oilers Fan for Life!!!"

      I have no Idea why the Trash hits as people in Sask have a long history of being just as crazy as Oiler fans when it comes to supporting a loosing team. The Riders did not seem to ever be in Playoffs in like forever and yet the people came. What else are you going to do in winter in Sask but go to a hockey game. I have no doubt you are right. The reality is the NHL is all about American TV revenue right now and a team in PHX makes it a better sell in that perspective.

      • CaptainLander

        I think that if the Oilers get to the point with Eberle that they want him out he can be traded. You would not get a top 4 d-man or anything but someone would trade for him. No need to lose him for nothing.

        My concern is who does the Oiler fan hate train target next? would hate to see Pulju or Drai run out of town for not performing above expectations.

        Ebs has his flaws but I would rather have him than whatever some think you can get for him.

        Pouliot on the other hand has been outplayed by a younger, cheaper Maroon. Heck Slepy has similar numbers in about half the number of game. Not just points, hits, shots etc..

        I would do Pouliot for Kulemin for no other reason then Kulemin’s contract finishes before McD’s entry deal is up.

        • I am Batman

          Whatever we get for Eberle is way better than Eberle. Even the proverbial bag of pucks. He has costed this team 3-6 points in the standings, easy to see.

          I don’t see the same lack of effort and interest from the rest of the roster. I think I’d be happy with a team without Eberle.

          As for Poo, I’m neutral. Clearly he isn’t an ultimate solution but a stop gap and at 4 mill, I’m fine for now. He can be moved in a heartbeat since his contract isn’t giant and if the oilers are out of the mix by trade deadline it wouldn’t be surprising if they moved him.

          Let’s agree to disagree on this one. Although, there are really no too many arguments to keep defending Eberle

          • Sheldon "Oilers Fan for Life!!!"

            Agreed, I have to believe that as the team becomes more responsible and that the coach deals with issues by benching players Eberle will get his time warming the bench. I have faith in Coach’s ability to round Eberle in to shape or Chia will deal with him. The kid has hands and can skate, yes he totally dropped the ball on that goal by PHX but those plays get noticed by the whole team too. Eberle has pride as any player does. I truly believe we will see improvement by Xmas. (I know many of you will state that he has been this way for X number of years. my answer to that is this is truly the first year of real accountability. )

          • @Hallsy4

            You addressed it, because that’s exactly what I was going to say. However, Ebs has been doing this for X (6 in NHL, 4 in Jr) 10 years? He might change for a game or two, but I think he’s always going to go back to his lazy self. Country CLub days are over, and that’s going to be EBS ticket out of town…. Hopefully he can keep his value up. Trade the man.

          • CaptainLander

            “Whatever we get for Eberle is way better than Eberle. Even the proverbial bag of pucks. He has costed this team 3-6 points in the standings, easy to see.”

            This is just not a valid argument (for the logically brained), to many variables.

            I could then argue the each point Eberle has was the reason the Oiler won a particular game. There he won more games for the Oilers then he cost them.

            So ya, agree to disagree.

          • I am Batman

            If you argued that you would be wrong:

            2 of his goals were empty netters

            2 of his assists were empty netters too

            4 of his assists were secondary assists.

            There are 4 points there that were not crucial on us winning games. (Empty nets)

            4 other points (secondary assists) are kind of circumstantial.

            The guy is -5 in a team that is + 10. That already says a part of the story, it is safe to draw, as a reasonable conclusion, that Eberle has contributed to loses more than he has contributed to wins.

            I can be wrong, but leaving passion aside, the name calling, and all the fan boys running scared because you will have to throw away your 14 jerseys, those are facts.

            Visually, he looks uninterested, but that’s a whole different matter.

            A change of scenery will be good for everyone.

          • AJ88

            “Everyone” so bat is is now speaking for the Oilers and there supporters. Hundreds and hundreds of comments by less than a handful of people, spider guy,a tiger and a bat does not equate to anything but a few trolls that like to single out individuals to criticize. Pretty sad….

          • I am Batman

            No, “everyone ” I meant for the team and for Eberle.

            What you think and how you feel is not relevant to me.

            I will word my posts better, thanks for the feedback.

            Ps. “There” and ” their” sound similar, but are not the same. Also your posts would be more readable if you added some punctuation where appropriate.

          • AJ88

            And everything you write is relevant, yep, maybe for you and The spider guy.

            As I said, you are speaking for the Oilers as to what is “good” for them.

            Thanks for your feedback on punctuation, I will pay more attention to it so people like you that only like to criticize have fewer victims to prey on.

          • CaptainLander

            I don’t get it.

            Eberle is still tied for second on the team in scoring (regardless of where points com from, if he scores an empty net goal it means the coach has him on the ice in the last minute, maybe because he can put the game away? ). The team is first in their division. Eberle is a good scorer in the NHL and has proved this over and over.

            I get it he missed an assignment and they lost the game, discounting the error Talbot made on the first goal.

            People here have to hate on someone. I just don’t think this team is better without him than with him. And until he his not here we will not know.

        • Strottie

          Serviceable RW? Who? TJ Oshie? Tyler Toffoli? Ryan Johansen? Tyler Johnson? These are names that are going to be paid more than Eberle’s 6M per year, none of which we can afford. The majority of players available to replace Eberle, if we expose him, are RFAs – this means we’d have to offer sheet them to outrageous contracts, thus losing space to sign McDavid (and Draisaitl, and Nurse, etc etc) and picks (which we don’t have our 2nd this year anyways).

          If we are to get rid of Eberle, it’s in a trade, and I doubt it’ll happen this year. He’s still good for 60 some-odd points a year. Quit trying to get rid of him when it only puts us in a bigger hole.

          EDIT: A proverbial ‘bag of pucks’ would be an upgrade over Eberle because he’s cost us 3-6 points in standings?? Where are you replacing his production? 60 points = contributed to 60 goals. We just offloaded Hall, and are just managing to replace his production. And now you want to do it again? Good lord man give your head a shake.

  • TruthHurts98

    Don’t have a lot of confidence in the coaching staff as these games get tougher. TM couldn’t even figure out how to get Connor away from OEL even having the last change. Woodcroft’s PP without McDavid is nothing short of awful and they keep putting Ebs on it when he won’t shoot, can’t hit the side of a barn and constantly kills momentum by giving it away. If a few of those simple issues could be fixed and TM can figure out how to get the Oilers motivated to play weaker teams, then I’ll be more optimistic. Until then I have all those horrible feelings of the past 10 years of misery being an Oiler fan coming back. Tippett badly out coached TM this weekend. Sigh.

  • FISTO Siltanen

    “I’d probably see if I could cut a deal with the Oilers. Benoit Pouliot and Mark Fayne are both serviceable NHL players who bring something hard to find in expansion”

    I think this is a great idea from Willis.

    One question: can we make this deal today? Pouliot and Fayne can sit around Vegas till the end of the year to avoid any injuries. Honestly don’t care what comes back

  • Jay (not J)

    Really think that the other teams’ exposed players will have as much to do with who Vegas takes from Edmonton as the Oilers’ list will. Davidson seems like he will be the most valuable player to us that will be exposed, but he might not be the right peg for the hole by the time they’re looking at our leftovers. We aren’t going to be able to play Kleffbom, Sekera, Nurse and Davidson on the left side anyway and just given the Oilers’ history I would be surprised if another team’s GM came along and SOLVED one of Edmonton’s problems for us.

    All in all I think the novelty of the Expasnsion Draft has it getting a lot more consideration from the fan base than it deserves. We’re going to lose a 2nd tier player in the offseason. The team will be fine.

  • ComeAtMeDog

    Todd messed with a winning team and then we had the zona sh*t shows ..

    It’s not like Toronto will be easy also . This is where we need leaders to step up , but they all go missing . No clutchness except for 1 player and he needs help .

    The division has tightened up and we could go from 1st to 4th real quick !!!

    Vegas can have poo . I like Davidson so hope he stays .

    Ebs hate wagon ?? Yeah he’s a soft as butter and not scoring or anything else with a big contract equals hate …. I’m sure he don’t care as he will get traded to a contender and win a cup !! The lazy little f er

  • Strottie

    “Hey lets expose the only NHL-calibre top six RW we have because he doesn’t backcheck during an offseason with zero UFA replacement options!”

    Can we take a minute to commend BM and the rest of the ON authors for tolerating this kinda stupid when they don’t really have to? You guys don’t get enough credit for continuously pumping out articles despite this kind of nonsense filling the comment section.

  • @Hallsy4

    Another game cost by Ebs (Also, Nurse took a horrible angle on his guy in the corner). I’ve changed my tune on EBS, I’ll no longer accept “he is who he is”, as an excuse for him being skilled but awful in the D zone. He’s cost 2-3 games minimum so far by not covering his man resulting in direct goals. There’s at least 3 points in the standings right there, and possibly 6. He’s doing his best to play his way out of town, I can’t wait. If he is who he is, there’s no room for him on a consistently successful team.

  • @Hallsy4

    Didn’t Washington get Oshie for Brouwer? What a trade, I would do EBS plus quite a bit for Oshie, and I’d like to think EBS is viewed having more value than Brouwer through the league.

  • Strottie

    Just reported: Fayne on waivers. Not sure if its a conditioning stint but it probably isn’t (figured Oilers twitter would’ve mentioned it).

    This shouldn’t surprise anyone.

  • @Hallsy4

    @ Struds, is there any chance Todd sits Ebs for a game after his latest missed coverage? I’d think it would send a good message to the team. This obviously depends on what coverage they were supposed to be doing, as Nurse seemed to be running around that shift. Even so, EBS was standing in no mans land covering no one, and once again cost a late, costly goal.

  • Zamboni Driver

    Here is the blunt reality, folks.




    No one.

    Six million bucks for a ‘scorer’ who wants to paint the Mona Lisa before he shoots rather than just shooting. A “scorer” who couldn’t stay on a line with Connor McDavid (ps. there is one player in the world better than that guy…for now)

  • Hemmercules

    Sheesh. Don’t you guys get tired of having the same old conversations about Eberle?? Its highjacking every article with the same repetitious nonsense.

    Love JW’s answer on #3. I agree, what a stupid question.

  • The older I get, the better I was...

    My afternoon daydream:

    PC: Jordon, come in I’d like to have a chat.
    JE: Sure Mr. Chiarelli
    PC: I’ve been watching the team’s play and trying to figure out what the next few years looks like.
    JE: Sure boss.
    PC: Well, I’ll be frank Jordan, I’m a little disappointed in some of your play over the last few weeks. Have you and Todd talked about it?
    JE: For sure. Did you see that one-timer the other day?
    PC: Yes, well I guess I did – would kind of like to see it a bit more often than once every two or three games. Anyway, I’m also getting a bit concerned about your basic defensive awareness.
    JE: For sure boss, head on a swivel, make sure I’m watching for open guys that kind of thing right?
    PC: Well, we would probably like you to do a bit more than just watch for them… Anyway, the thing is, if I don’t see some improvements in your game I’m going to have to think about some moves. How would you like to be the marquee player for Las Vegas? It would mean a lot more years ahead of losing games and missing playoffs, but you’d be the star, eveyone looking to you to lead the team.
    JE: Gee boss, I don’t know if I’d really like that.
    PC: Well then Jordan, I think you know what you need to do about that. I’ll be watching the next few games.
    JE: (gulp) Sure boss, no problem boss, message received boss….

  • Heavy Stick

    Screw Arizona. Oilers come to town and there’s about 4000 empty seats. They should relocate but Bettman uses the players escrow money(16%) to support this and a few other teams. Players hate these money suckers.

  • ziyan94

    As much as Eberle’s finishing and backchecking has been poor recently, I’d much have him at $6m a year compared to Fayne at $3.6m who’s a fringe player right now, or Pouliot at $4m for roughly half of Eberle’s point production and MUCH more penalty trouble.