Baggedmilk Investigates: News, Notes, and Bye Week Rumblings

Sleeping

Is there anything quite like an off week to slow down the Oilers news pipeline? Unfortunately, we still need something to talk about and that means I had to put on my detective hat and scour the Internet to see what I could find. As a result, I’ve spent the day scouring the Internet to find any news, notes, or rumours that I could put together. The result? A collection of Oilers randomness for us all to argue about.

KRIS RUSSELL AT 4X4?

Today on Oilers Now, Bob Stauffer was speculating/floating the idea of extending Kris Russell to a contract in the neighbourhood of $4 million x four years. For some citizens, that kind of deal seems pretty rich for a guy that has only five points on the year. For others, Russell is the kind of heart and soul guy that the Oilers need on their roster. 

From where I blog, every dollar matters in the McDavid era and I can’t help but wonder why the Oilers would think that a 4×4 extension would be the best play on the budget side of the equation. Does it really make sense to tie up that much money in a guy that have next to no offensive upside? That’s where I have a hard time with this idea. I don’t hate Russell as much as some peeps do, and I don’t like him as much as others do either, but I think there has to be a line drawn in the sand for what the team is will to pay a guy with limited scoring touch. 

Would you be cool with the Oilers paying Kris Russell $4 million over four years? What if walking away meant that Russell went back to Calgary? Does that make any difference?

SOLIDIFYING A PLAYOFF SPOT

That's Hockey

Not much here but on TSN’s That’s Hockey the panel was talking about what the Oilers need to do to not only make the playoffs but to solidify their position down the stretch. Both Darren Dreger and Jamie McLennan had positive things to say about where the Oilers are heading, and both believe that a minor tweak is a better idea than big game hunting, at least for the time being. 

On what the Oilers need, Dreger said:

“In a perfect world, they would add a depth centre just to give them a little bit more help there.”

Dreger followed up by talking about how the best acquisition the Oilers might actually get is a good bill of health for Darnell Nurse.

“If they can get Nurse back in the first or second week of March I think that Chiarelli likes the way his team sets up.”

Jamie McLennan agreed with Dreger that the Oilers should be looking to add some support rather than swing for the fences. On what they need, McLennan said:

“It depends on the available players at the deadline. Darnell Nurse will feel like an acquisition at the deadline if he can get healthy.”

Uhh… no wishlist at all? No guesses? Give us something here, Jamie.

“Maybe some depth, a little bit more size and experience to help these kids get to the next level.”

What say you, Nation? Any experienced centremen with size that you think the Oilers could fish for?

POULIOT CAN BE MOVED BUT MAY NOT BE

For the ? haters out there that think that the Oilers are stuck with him forever you might be in luck… or you might end up angry. Ryan Rishaug appeared on the Nielson and Fraser Show this morning and had a few thoughts about Pouliot’s future with the team that seems to be looking for ways to get rid of him. At least, we thought that they’re trying to get rid of him.

According to Rishaug:

“In the past, I’ve suggested that they’re desperate to move (him). I’ve since discovered that may no longer be the case.”

Wait a minute… Not moving a guy because you can’t isn’t the same as wanting to keep him. Which one is it, bruh? 

“When they decide they want to move (Pouliot) they will be able to. There actually might be some deals out there, not fantastic deals, but he’s not an immovable object is the point. Once you get into the playoffs, I just have this funny feeling that Pouliot will be pretty good for them (in the post-season).”

Hmm… Now that he says that, I do remember Pouliot being magic for the Rangers during their Cup run from a couple years ago. Can Pouliot rekindle some of that magic? It’s possible. We’ve seen him do it before. There’s probably video that we can dig up or something. Anything else, Ryan?

“In the playoffs, the speed ramps up and the physicality ramps up. He had another level that he hit (with the Rangers). If you can get him playing and elevating in the playoffs then you’ve got a pretty good third line left winger.”

I’m curious to know what you guys think of the idea of keeping Pouliot in the hopes that he can find his game again. Do you think he can get back to where he was at or have you already lost hope?

BEWARE OF TWITTER RUMOURS

Yesterday, Oilers Twitter was ablaze by the rumour above that had Brandon Davidson going to Tampa for Brian Boyle. When we first heard about it, we were going to do a “speculation” hit on the site until we saw that Josh Marshall has 600 followers on Twitter. From my experience dabbling on these here interwebz, you’re not going to get anything close to the ballpark of good information from an unknown dude that most people haven’t heard of (sorry if you’re reading this, Josh, but you know it’s true) and taking those rumours seriously is a waste of time. Unless Josh was doing a social experiment on how much people eat up fake hockey news then I’m not sure what the point of doing it is. 

I know it’s the bye week for the Oilers but I say that we should be a little bit more selective with our rumour mongering. If you’re going to be diving into the world of hockey hearsay then I recommend that you find the usual suspects, follow those guys, and remind yourself that if it’s not one of them saying something then chances are that it’s not actually true. Case in point, remember that fantasy football dude that said Tyson Barrie was going to be an Oiler within 72 hours back in the summer? That was fun for a minute. 

YOU’RE GOOD PEOPLE, NATION

I know this isn’t new news or anything but I wanted to give a quick shout out to citizen Derek and Dallas Todd for the power move they pulled off when they went down to watch the Oilers in Nashville. For those who are still unfamiliar with the story, the Todd brothers flew to Nashville to watch the Oilers take on the Preds when they noticed a young Nashville fan sitting a few rows ahead of them that was staring at a picture of his favourite team’s jersey.

Noticing that the youngster didn’t have one of his own, Derek Todd took it upon himself to buy a Preds jersey and give it to the kid, blowing his mind completely. When Global News asked Derek about the gesture after the news had leaked all he could say was, “I just did it because it put a smile on a kid’s face. Those are the kinds of things as a kid that you don’t ever forget that stuff.” What a champion. Derek and Dallas Todd, we speak your names. 

    • This.Is.NHL

      How do you Really cool off when only only had a few bad shifts in a couple of games and from what I recall the whole team cooled off for those couple games too, he number one in blocked shots.

      I really hate Calgary fans on this site.

    • I’ve always loved Iggy and am not afraid to admit it, but he’s not the guy we all remember anymore. He’s lost a step. That said, if he’s cheap (low round picks?) then how can you not want to add a person of that calibre into the room. Not to mention, imagine what they would think in Calgary? That alone might be worth it.

      • Spydyr

        Iginla was a beast in his prime but at this point he has lost more than a step and the Oilers are already at 48 spots, thanks Fraser. I would look more at a centre than Iginla but if there is nothing out there and I mean nothing than maybe. He is just to washed up now and I think he wants to go to a top contender.

  • Spydyr

    The Oilers need a third line centre is Dria continues to play with Connor. Caggiula had played wing most of his college career and would be better suited to play wing in the NHL IMO. Besides you cannot have enough centres.

  • Johnnyo

    I like Russell fine. He is what he is: a half decent defensive dman and an elite shot blocker, with below average fancy stats. But he’s the exact type of player that screams hometown discount. If he wants ‘market value’ I’d argue that was set last summer: $3.1M x 1. If he wants term, he needs to give back $. The offer should be 2 x $2.75 max IMO. You could forgive Pete if he did 3 x $2.5. $4 x 4 means we’re losing someone else over dollars and that makes zero sense. Guys like Russell should be leaving money on the table to play with a winning team moving forward.

    I have no Pou panic. If they trade him in a hockey trade so be it, but I’m equally happy going into the playoffs with him at 3LW.

    Boyle or Handzal should be targets. If Davidson is the cost for Boyle to play 3RC for the rest of this year, that’s steep, but means they want a deep run.

    Can’t help but wonder if there’s a way to pry Handzal and Vrbata out of Arizona?

      • Randaman

        I’m failing to understand why guys will be available when they are left unprotected for the expansion draft. Vegas is the only team drafting so what does that have to do with us?

        Russell at 3 x 3 is as high as I would go personally.

        Davidson for Boyle is a trade I make. Nurse will be back and Davidson has been poor this season.

        • Spydyr

          Its pretty easy to explain. teams are going to be looking to move guys instead of losing them for nothing. Example the trade Davidson talk here. Secondly if you like a player you can approach Vegas and make a deal with them so that they claim the player and you trade one of your players for him.

  • Looch#27

    I like Russel and think he’s a quality guy but no way I’m going 4 years! At best 2 years at 4mil. If he can find longer term I’d tell him to grab it and thank him for his hard work. I’d see if there isn’t a deal for Brian Boyle he checks off a few needs and Tampa isn’t going anywhere this year. Please no Iginlas I can’t see him helping the game has passed him. Why would you bring up that press conference Spyder I feel anger at just the mere thought of it!!!!

  • S cottV

    I think a mistake to sign Russell, beyond whatever point in time it’s gonna take to get a top rh who can shoot.

    Larsson like – with a little more offensive upside. Would be nice to have a pp qb, but not neccesary, except for a big shot.

    Have posted many times about how he has adjusted his game to compensate for his size. The problem is that the compensations involve a large dose of unreliability because he needs better than average puck luck.

    I would rather have a guy that is built to and good at playing the body, thereby taking a lot of the puck luck out of the equation.

  • I am Batman

    Russell gets paid. Period. Anyone remember the Fayne deal? The Nikitin deal? The dude that was captain that was into fitness that played like half an hour in the eakins era? (I can’t remember his name and it truly doesn’t matter)?

    All those wastes of time got paid. Get Russell at 4 x 4 if that gets it done. Both Nuge and Ebs are going to be out the door soon or giving the Oilers a discount in their next contract.

    Just pay the man. We don’t want him in Calgary

    • Hemmercules

      I can’t see Chia handing out deals like previous management did for Nikki, Fayne and Ference. I think Chia is smarter than that, time will tell.

      I think they need to keep Russel but 4×4 is crazy. Good defensemen are very expensive as UFA’s, trading for them is difficult and also very costly most of the time (RE: Hall for Larsson). If there is another option out there for a guy just as good or better then let Russel walk. As of right now it seems like its going to be difficult to land anyone better so if they can keep him for 2 years at his current price point I would be OK with that.

  • The Rookie

    I would still like to see two of our young decent defenders traded for one REALLY good defender. Anyone up against the cap that would fall into that scenario? Because that would also solve the exp list, instead of trading Davidson for a low end forward.

      • The Rookie

        Depends on the return. Take your pick, Davidson, Nurse, Benning, Reinhardt (I know, Iknow). Cap crunch teams that aren’t going anywhere this year may need to reset. I still like NYI as a fit but they gained some ground and are only 3 points out of a wildcard now. Chicago is a solid playoff contender but they have to start offloading salary at some point and will be looking to exchange veterans for promising and cheap, tho likely not till the off season. Still, Would you like to see a play for Duncan Keith? He’s a 5.5 cap for 4 more years and at 32 y/o is likely still able to contribute quite nicely. I assume he has some
        Sort of NMC but are we at the point yet with the Oil that guys start to say yes? He is a decent contract but Chi has less than half a mill in cap space and need to make cutbacks. Thoughts??

  • TruthHurts98

    The Oilers biggest need at the moment is a centre who can actually win face-offs. Can’t get far in the playoffs without that. I’m really hoping Nuge and Ebs can find their game down the stretch. Have the secondary scoring dry up is exposing a few areas.

  • Oilersrule99

    I like Russell but 4@4 does seem high especially when we seem to have better depth ready to move in
    Also if not signing Russell gives PC the ability to sign a player like Ghost or shattenkirk I would think twice as an offensive dman with a shot is something the oilers desperately need.
    As for Pouliout ,he hasn’t shown much this year and based on that I would be surprised that he would become effective in the playoffs.
    Boyle would be good if we can acquire him without giving up too much,then what’s the harm
    Get LB some time between the pipes ,I think he will be a sufficient backup.

  • Oilersrule99

    The ghost has a wicked shot and is offensive minded,I remember him in the world cup getting some big goals with McClellan coaching.Maybe he doesn’t fit in with Philly for some reason this year.I wonder what Philly would need back as they seem to have strong defensive depth already ?

  • The Future Never Comes

    Russell at 4X4 is a huge overpay, he isn’t worth more then he is making now. 4 million for a player with 5 points is not a good use of capital no matter how many shots he blocks. He has no shot whatsoever, it is non threatening from back there. I wouldn’t go more than 2 years with him, his play is noticeably falling off game by game. We have a pipeline of D on the left side. As for fake twitter rumors, that is no way to get your followers up. That is just trolling, anyone can make it up. Especially if you have 0 connections to the actual hockey minds.

  • StephLee

    Please please let’s not sign Russell! I’ve said it a hundred times that our best play is to enjoy him for what he’s good at,and then dish him at the deadline.
    Truly, I’m hoping that chia fills his spot with a strong RHD. Barrie ? We could take him on “cheap” ish, since he’s having an off season.

  • @Hallsy4

    What’s the world coming to if Russell even gets mentioned in the same sentence as 4 x 4. I like Russell fine, but that’s too much. Trade Pouliot, don’t overly care for what. I’d be surprised if Boyle gets a young D man on a good contract via trade return, but I do like Boyle and the oil have a leftorium. Don’t think it would take Davidson though but what do I know. Maybe a 1 or 2 year extension gets worked out before the deals finalized? If you want rumours BM, I heard Chia and Todd disagree on a few key things (lucic, Russell, Drai at c or w) and Think that if Todd doesn’t win a playoff round this year Julien will take over as head coach in the summer as he and Chia worked well toghether in Boston which seems to be a big thing # Gustafson # lucic # benning

  • MGD

    This 4×4 rumor for Russel HAS to be from MacT in the background. It’s got a Shultz-quality ring to it. While we don’t hear anyone saying Russel has Noris-potential, Staufer is definitely a wind-bag for the team – he’s not coming up with this idea on his own.

  • Heavy Stick

    Too much for Russell. I think Oesterle can step in and dout it for a lot less. If Chia does 4×4 he’s an idiot! We have a lot of good young players looking for raises in the next 2 years.

  • S cottV

    Have been saying for some time that they really need to look at changing up the lines, at the right time – and I think that time has come.

    Maroon McD Drai have cooled off.

    The second line continues to sputter.

    Lucic needs to be in top 6, with guys who are willing to and capable of – playing o zone hockey.

    There are only 2 line drivers and both are on the same line.

    McL should change it up with what he has, but PC needs to find plug and play rentals to enhance a couple of key areas.

    With what we have

    Maroon McD Nuge

    While Maroon has cooled, he has better chemistry with McD, than Lucic. Time for Nuge to get a look with McD and to switch off on c duties on the fly. This makes McD harder to cover. We need a good look, but – my guess is that Nuge does better than some think, in this spot.

    Lucic Drai Kassian

    Drai has to be coached to reduce the cute stuff and bring on more of the big man in the middle stuff, to get the most out of Lucic. Dont put Eberle in this rw spot, as he is too much of a weak link for any kind of sustained o zone possession. Kassian the best bet for now.

    Pouliot Cagguila Eberle

    Maybe these three can outplay 3rd rotation match ups, with net positive offense.

    PC needs to find a power rw that can better fill Kassian’s spot with Lucic and Drai – unless, Kass starts to produce with some consistent offense, in the meantime.

    Cagguila is a nice young pick up and will have a future with the Oilers. However – not ready for the 3c role just yet. I see him as a 13th forward, who will play due to injury issues. PC needs a two way vet, who can keep Pouliot and Eberle stable, while contributing to net positive offense.

    If – a decent bigger fish trade or trades can be made involving guys like Nuge, Pouliot, Eberle, Russell and Davidson – to improve the roster including a top 4 rh d man, great, but probably unlikely by the trade deadline.

  • Natejax97

    Running out of room on the left side of our defense to sign Russell long term.

    Love this player, like his grit, his tenacity and his defense skills. He is a great 4/5 guy on any hockey team.

    With Klefbom and Sekera and Nurse in the NHL, along with Oesterle and Reinhardt (and maybe Davidson)plugging up the LH side, I would really look for a right handed option first.

    Failing that, it is important that we maintain an NHL caliber defense, so signing a veteran like Russell makes good sense, especially since he has proven he can play his off side.

  • btrain

    This is my bye week topic of conversation for Oilers Nation. What to do with Nurse when he returns? because expecting him to be at the top of his game immediately after missing so much time, is not realistic. But can we afford to expose him on D down the stretch as we need every point? For example, do you take Davidson out if he is playing well to get Nurse back in, knowing that it will likely be a drop off in performance for a while.

    Instead of having Nurse get his timing back while getting burnt on D, how about he gets back into game shape up front? I am absolutely serious about this as well. Worse case, he gets back up to speed with the pace of the game, gets some of his timing back, but we find out he is just not a great right winger and you put him back in the D rotation. Best case, you create the biggest, most intimidating, and most skilled big man line in the NHL (Lucic-Drai-Nurse) going into playoffs.

  • The Whispererer

    Russell has zero bargaining power. 29 NHL GM’s passed on him last summer until he signed a desperation contract with Edmonton in October.

    Dallas acquired him from Calgary at a dear price (2nd round pick plus 2 good prospects) at last year’s deadline. Despite the steep investment, and losing Demers to free agency, Dallas showed no apparent interest in re-signing him. Calgary, where he had spent the prior 3 years, also had no apparent interest.

    Signing Russell to a Nikitin/Ference/Fayne extension prior to the draft would be the height of lunacy…there is no chance he won’t still be available as a UFA this summer if we decide we need him. If Vegas doesn’t take Davidson from us we have no need for Russell.I seem to recall that Davidson performed quite well on the right side last season when pressed into that service. Further, Benning is tracking well as a potential 2nd pairing defender.

  • Johnny Zylon

    Re: Russell, think about the Oilers Goals-against this year. Yes Talbot has been superb but Russell leads the league in blocked shots. Take that away from the team and maybe we are not even talking playoffs this year. Forget offensive stats with him–defence means less goals against and that is a key element in playoff hockey. I say pay him 3 x 3 at least. In regards to Iginla, I’d hire him if the Oilers had another game in Calgary this year or better yet the Oilers meet the Phelgm in the playoffs. A third round pick and then sit Poo.