Monday Mailbag – What about Captain Connor?

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If you’re reading this before 5pm local time then there’s a good chance that you’re using this mailbag to help you kill company time, and for that I thank you. This week we take a look at Connor’s captaincy, Jesse Puljujarvi’s rookie season, apartment advice, and more in this week’s mailbag. If you have a question you can always email me or hit me up on Twitter and I will slot you into the queue as quickly as possible. Until then, enjoy the free learning opportunity.

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1) Ryan asks – What are your thoughts on McDavid’s captaincy so far?

Lowetide:

I approve. Seriously I don’t think it has impacted much and that is probably a compliment to the young man. Whatever Connor McDavid is doing, he should keep doing it.

Jason Gregor:

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He leads by example. Not much more you can ask for.

Jason Strudwick:

Tough question to answer without being in the dressing room, on the bench and on the road with the team all the time. But judging on what I can see, he is doing fine. His level of play and effort forces the rest of the crew to match it.

Robin Brownlee:

Seamless. His performance on the ice speaks for itself. Off the ice, he has enough veterans around him to speak up, address issues we don’t see behind closed doors and help with anything that needs to be done.

Matt Henderson:

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I have literally no complaints about his captaincy at all. He’s still a baby in the NHL but he’s the best player in the league, he hates to lose, and he’s mature beyond his years. The day they take the C off his chest it should be because he’s retiring an Oiler at the age of 45.

Chris the Intern:

I’ve heard rumblings that he’s pretty much the best captain ever. Sounds like he really puts in the effort to take care of the boys. A big thing that everyone can notice is how he hasn’t reacted to all the non-calls he’s received this season. He’s been an obvious target, but doesn’t say a word and continues to play his game without complaints.

Baggedmilk:

I love that kid with every fiber in my body and the fact that he has the ‘C’ on his jersey, somehow, makes me even happier. Connor is everything we were hoping he would be and he provides a hell of an example for his teammates to follow. Great captain, great player and, I assume, a great lover, too.

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2) Josh asks – Why do you think fans get so hung up on how much money a player makes and where he plays in the lineup? Or how he is producing compared to his salary? If the team is winning what does it matter?

Lowetide:

Well, I think people have expectations when a player gets a big boost in salary because he now takes more of the cap. A player who is a value deal right now, say Patrick Maroon, is universally loved. If he makes $5 million? Different expectations. Human nature.

Jason Gregor:

Each fan has different things they deem important. Focusing on what a player makes only seems to be brought up when they aren’t producing to what the person complaining deems an acceptable level. Winning is what matters most and every team will have a player or two who are likely producing less than their salary suggests, while others will over perform. McDavid is leading the league in scoring and he’ll make a maximum of $3.775 this year and next. He’s a massive bargain.

Jason Strudwick:

Are you serious with this question? Where were you when Horcoff was getting abused? I think too often players are rated by how much they make. There are certain things that coaches value you can’t measure with goals and assists.

Robin Brownlee:

Salary matters in a cap system, but some fans complain so loudly you’d think they are signing the cheques. Never really understood it. Nobody who complains about some of the contracts out there would say, “No thanks, I’m not worth that much” if they had the opportunity to sign the same deal.

Matt Henderson:

Fans care about all of those things because they want to see the team keep winning. I doubt most die hard fans of any team in any sport just sit back and enjoy the wins. That’s not my experience. Everybody criticizes an offensive coordinator’s play calling or a baseball manager’s batting order. Hockey has a hard cap so money and role on the team matters in the medium and long term. Fans care about their team too much to not be invested in important matters.

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Chris the Intern:

I tried to think of an analogy where you have tonnes of money in stock at this company, but the company is putting all of its money into janitors or gardeners or something. Turns out, same goes with a hockey team, if the company is successful and makes you money then who cares what they do? I agree with you.

Baggedmilk:

Heavy weighs the crown, my friend. The funny part is that some fans (not many) almost expect these guys to turn down the money if it’s too much. Personally, if Wanye rolled into my office and offered me $6 million to do what I do that contract would be signed before the pages even hit my desk.

3) @FunkMasterFicko asks – What do you guys think of the early play of Jesse Puljujarvi? What is a reasonable expectation for him for the rest of the season?

Lowetide:

I guessed 28 points in 65 games, or .431 points a game. I will stay with that bet.

Jason Gregor:

I like what he’ll bring in the future more. He skates well, he’s big, he’s not afraid to use his body, he is smart defensively and has a hard shot. His offensive finish hasn’t been there this season, which is fine considering he’s only 18. I still believe spending some time in the AHL where he could gain some offensive confidence would be good for his development.

Jason Strudwick:

I think there’s been some improvement in his game. I think he needs to continue to work on playing more on the inside of the action. He is a big body and should get to more rebounds.

Robin Brownlee:

He’s been OK and there have been flashes when he’s been brilliant, but I hope his confidence isn’t suffering because of his lack of production. My sense is he’s mature enough to understand he’s not going to step in and dominate right away the way Laine and Matthews have, and that’s it’s OK. It’ll come.

Matt Henderson:

I think he plays on the right side of the puck, has a good shot, and has a higher top end speed than he’s been able to get to with regularity. I also think he’s struggling offensively and the Oilers should have him in the AHL immediately. They can recall him after he’s gained some confidence and they actually need him.

Chris the Intern:

Overall whether you think he’s been good or bad, I think he’s doing amazing for coming to a new country, meeting new people and playing in a different league where no one speaks your language. He’s had his ups and downs but overall his current play makes me look forward to his future play.

Baggedmilk:

I thought he would get somewhere near 30 points on the year, but I think I may have overshot. Puljujarvi has a hell of a toolbox, but the kid is only 18-years old so he’s still learning how things get done at the NHL level.

4) @Lyxdeslic asks – In your opinion, who is the most underrated forward, defenseman and goalie in the NHL. Who doesn’t get enough respect?

Lowetide:

Ah. Jeez. This is tough. I will say Craig Anderson in Ottawa, he always gets mentioned as a good one but his EV save percentage is top drawer. Nicklas Backstrom of the Washington Capitals is a fantastic player who gets overshadowed by the great 8. For defensemen, I will pick Yohann Auvitu because he is good and no one has heard of him.

Jason Gregor:

Forward: Blake Wheeler. He does many things well which get overlooked.

D-man: Andy Greene by far. He is exceptional and everyone who plays with him looks better.

Goalie: Talbot. Go read the articles and comments when Chiarelli signed him last season. Most questioned him. He’s very solid and his $4.16 million cap hit is a bargain compared to many starting goalies.

Jason Strudwick:

Roman Josi. Does everything well and becoming more a leader with Shea off to Montreal. If he played in a different market he would be called a stud.

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Blake Wheeler. He is very strong on the puck. He is very good at working back and forth along the wall in the offensive zone. Few D can knock him off the puck down low.

Goalie…who knows? As long as they are stopping the puck they aren’t underrated!

Robin Brownlee:

I think of Blake Wheeler and Joe Pavelski at forward. On D, maybe Kris Letang and Roman Josi. In goal, maybe Braden Holtby, who is certainly recognized but doesn’t get the ink some other stoppers do.

Matt Henderson:

A forward we don’t talk about too much who does rally good work is Blake Wheeler. He’s a big dude who has great possession numbers and decent scoring. I think lots of teams would love to have him but he’s never in the conversation outside of Winnipeg. Defense, I’d take Josh Manson for underratedness (not a word). He’s another big guy who could be my 4D any day of the week. Big and mean with great underlying numbers. Goalie is tough because most are pretty good. I’ll be a homer and choose Talbot because of his fantastic short-handed numbers, which have been sustained his whole career. He’s covering up a lot of mistakes and taking on a huge workload this year.

Chris the Intern:

KRIS RUSSELL! *hides behind couch*. I feel like Claude Giroux is pretty underrated. Sure, we all know he’s a good player, but year after year he quietly sneaks into the top scoring list at times during the season. I wouldn’t say that Mike Condon is the MOST underrated goalie in the NHL, but he’s one of the first that come to mind.

Baggedmilk:

Goalie: Cam Talbot. You can call me a homer but the Oilers tend to go the way Talbot does.

Defenseman: Roman Josi. A lot of people used to talk about Weber for the Predators, but for me it’s Josi that I’m looking at.

Forward: Patrice Bergeron. Obviously, people know who Bergeron is but I don’t think people realize how good he is. Hell of a two-way player.

5) Aiden asks – I’m 20 years old and moving into my first apartment and I want to know what advice you could give me about my new pad?

Lowetide:

Hi Aiden, it is a journey and you have time, so take it. Do not purchase low-end furniture and appliances. Save for a time and get what will last. Also, no flags for drapes. Seriously.

Jason Gregor:

Keep the kitchen and bathroom tidy for sure. Ideally everywhere, but especially those two places. And buy a simple cookbook. Even if you only learn five recipes, have some go to meals. Cook a lot on Sunday so you can have leftovers all week. Makes it easier than eating fast food all the time.

And always take leftovers when you go home to your parents for dinner.

Jason Strudwick:

Clean your bathroom. You never know when or who will pay a visit.

Robin Brownlee:

Don’t take advice from strangers.

Matt Henderson:

Don’t cheap out on toilet paper. You can eat Ramen noodles for a long time (buy oranges so you don’t get scurvy), you can live on Netflix and Crave TV for about $20 a month, but single ply TP with scratchy surface is no way to treat your bottom. Spend the extra couple bucks at the grocery store and get the good stuff.

Chris the Intern:

DON’T CHEAP OUT ON TOILET PAPER! Never cheap out on toilet paper, I tell ya. Also, get a BBQ, and get in the habit of keeping your apartment clean.

Baggedmilk:

Two things. Don’t cheap out on garbage bags and toilet paper. While buying the box of 600 bargain bags may seem like a good idea at the time, you won’t be laughing when you’re cleaning garbage juice out of the can or off your floor. Don’t buy cheap toilet paper because sometimes it’s just nice to treat yourself.

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  • Boom or Bust

    I agree with everything but the furniture!! Cheap out on that..except a bed. When I was 20 I had so many people over all the time. It would never last. Beer stains . Puke..you name it…then if you ever plan on having kids…oh boy..look out. Toilet paper is a must though…and nothing wrong hanging an oiler flag!!

  • Dan 1919

    The Oilers have a slow cancer growing that they need to address, it’s their second line. I would scratch Eberle and put Puljujarvi in to shake things up. RNH also needs some scratch time, move Draisaitl back to 2C for a couple games. Now that the season is in full flight we can see these kids’ true natures. They are bread losers from the Oilers organization that are use to not trying anymore by now because usually the season is already over.
    They were gifted their $6mil and top line minutes for their entire careers and it’s really starting to show. They are coming up with crafty ways to look like their trying but in actuality are doing everything they can to not drive the net and make the easy effort plays. I hate to say it, but these guys are reminding me of Gagner. It’s time for the coach to ignore the names on their jerseys and treat them according to how they’re playing. I honestly hope Mclellan can rescue them, because if not, mark my words these guys are heading down a very disappointing road.

    • Harry2

      As someone pointed out on Oilersnation the other day, Eberle is the highest scoring RW not just on the team but in the entire division. Hes on pace for 60+ points. Get a clue

      • Dan 1919

        Run every one of Eberle’s points this year and tell me he’s still your soft golden boy. Ask other GM’s how great your all star Eberle is then come back and explain to me why he’s not even good enough to get Larsson(Legit NHL dman) in a one for one deal. The NHL has been well aware of how good our players are for a long time, it’s time Oiler fans take off the Oiler sunglasses and see it for what it is too.
        RNH a great two way player that is just magical and couldn’t put up points on a soccer net, give me a break, that’s called a third line center in the National Hockey League.
        Both of these guys have the skill and toolkit to be stars in this league, but for whatever reason they are choosing to buy into the old Oiler culture that saw perpetual losing and drifting to the peririmeter shift after shift and just assuming an AHL dangle once every 5 games that gets you a point is good enough to keep getting first line minutes gifted to them. This group needs another veteran pro brought in like Iginla or Jagr.

        • Word to the Bird

          Nuge really needs to step it up, I think its fair to say he’s not pulling his weight right now, at least from a pure scoring perspective. But to say that they’re simply lazy and have bought into old ways is a lazy argument.

        • Harry2

          Ok so you dont like Eberle, fair enough. What would be your plan besides whinning about him weekly? Trade him? Sure but you need to have a 60 point RW coming back. Go ahead take a look at RW’s who can get you 60 points. Ill help you out its a very short list.

          So you keep Ebs for now and let JP, Pitlick, Draisaitl develop. Trading away your top RW when you have a depth chart at RW like Edm has is something MacT or Tambellini would have done.

    • Oil Can

      I have been saying that for a while now. People seem to think that because Ebs puts up some second assists and empty net goals. That he is all that and a bag of chips. But in reality every time the RNH-EBS-POU line is on the ice 75% of the time is spent in the Oiler end. And there are very, very few decent scoring chances against the opponents from that line. That line is the worst liability on the team.

  • @Hallsy4

    How does Lucic look to everyone? It’s starting to worry me that he’s slowing down, I’d rather have Maroon now by a fair amount. However, it’s quite possible they needed Lucic and having him likely helps/helped to change the attitude of the team. I don’t think he should be on McD’s line, however, especially not long term. I hope Chia didn’t promise him that, and lets that affect his line combos etc (a la Jultz and MacT). Drai the long term solution for McD’s wing? In the future the line could be Drai on LW, McD, and Pulj? Could be scary.

  • Total Points

    Bownlee says

    “Salary matters in a cap system, but some fans complain so loudly you’d think they are signing the cheques.”

    For your information the Oilers are running the team at a profit so in a major way we are signing the cheques.

    • 813.52

      In the 80s, the NHLPA decided to make salaries public in order to drive up salaries for the players. Very successfully, I might add. Salaries quadrupled over the next six year period. Good for the players.

      But each and every player deserves the heat and scrutiny that comes with this decision. The players used the negotiating tactic to their favour so I have zero problems comparing performance to contract.

      Specifically to Jason Strudwick: Players SHOULD be judged by how much $$$ they make. ESPECIALLY Shawn Horcoff who was heavily involved in the NHLPA that escalated salaries by public disclosure in the first place.

  • @Hallsy4

    I’d make a trade before Christmas, which involves probably Hendo or Pouliot. Lots of other names I wouldn’t mind throwing in there too. Get an NHL player back to boost the team, use the boost to stay in a playoff position until January, then get ready for the race to the promised land after XMAS.

  • Looch#27

    Holy crap I agreed with two of Spyders comments so I looked outside to see if any pigs were flying by but alas it’s 25 below they’ve all flown south already. I’d love to see Nuge and Eb’s pick up the pace score wise but Nuge is rocking everything else and Eb’s is putting up points. knocking Eb’s so much boogies the mind as much as Matt bashing on Russel

      • ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

        Just a small thing: he makes most of his team mates better, particularly the D:

        Nugent-Hopkins CF% with Ebs: 54.67; without Ebs: 50.00

        Draisaitl CF% with Ebs: 63.16; without: 51.47 (better than McDavid’s #s: 59.42 & 50.10)

        Maroon CF% with Ebs: 59.15; without: 54.08 (better than McDavid’s #s 57.83 & 55.45)

        Caggiulia CF% with Ebs: 50.00; without: 47.14

        Pitlick has no time with Ebs for a comparison, Lucic is the same with and without as he is with McDavid.

        Sekera CF% with Ebs: 52.42; without: 50.72

        Davidson CF% with Ebs: 66.67; without: 46.67

        Nurse CF% with Ebs: 59.91; without: 50.43

        Gyba CF% with Ebs: 63.20.; without: 48.51

        Russell CF% with Ebs: 49.09; without: 43.47

        Benning: CF% with Ebs: 62.22; without: 55.23

        Which is interesting, given the previous clickbait post about giving up a “high end” forward to improve the D. Ebs actually does that already, in addition to leading the division in scoring on the RW. More importantly, the less experienced or weaker the D man is, the more Ebs helps him: Benning, Nurse, Gryba, Davidson and Russell all improve significantly when playing with Ebs.

        Also worth noting, Pouliot makes both RNH and Ebs worse when playing with them.

  • hootoil

    Any 20 year old away from home may have quiet times. It goes with the Territory.

    Maybe a few garage sales will help with the transition.

    Sometimes there are great reading materials. The odd sale may have a set or two of Encyclopedia!

    Best in your Education.