Monday Mailbag – What Will Scouts see in Pouliot?

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Mailbag

Here we are on another pantless long-weekend Monday, but this time we look to avoid spending time with loved ones as opposed to pretending to be busy at work. With the trade deadline just around the corner, you need to prepare yourself as best you can and that includes absorbing the wisdom that’s waiting for you in this week’s mailbag. As always, the bag of mail depends on your brains, and if you have a question you can email it to me at [email protected] or hit me up on Twitter at @jsbmbaggedmilk. Now, grab a coffee and leave your office line off the hook and learn something.

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1) Andrew asks – When NHL teams scout players they are trying to trade for what exactly are they looking for? As an example, if a team scouted Pouliot what are they going to see that they wouldn’t see on TV or that isn’t evident in the stats sheet?

Lowetide:

With a veteran like Pouliot, the scouting team would certainly know what he can bring. I have been told that scouts make sure player is healthy, confirm he is still on PK, and get a general feel about how well he is playing. I have talked to scouts about this in the past, and they mostly use anecdotes (probably why I like talking to them so much), but that is the general idea, I believe. 

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Jason Gregor:

There is much more to see in person.  TV is a really narrow view of the game. Often you don’t see away from the puck or behind the play. Scouts look for many things that the stat sheet or closed scope of TV show us. However, in the case of Pouliot there is nothing they will see live that will make him look better than he has on TV or on the stat sheet this year. He is in a major funk and no one will be trading for him at the deadline.

Robin Brownlee:

To get a full read on a player, you need every aspect — viewing him live, breaking down game footage on him and an eye for his statistics. The more information the better. The best scouts use all of it. A person sitting 1,000 kms away from a player watching him on TV and going over stats won’t have the same amount of information as the person who does the same but also watches the games live. It’s not just about watching live, it’s about talking to other scouts and picking the brains of those who are close to the team. There are tidbits and insights there that make a difference.

Matt Henderson:

There’s a lot that a stat sheet can tell you and a lot it cannot. Is his skating laboured? Is he contributing to plays in the defensive zone or neutral zone that lead to offense but don’t show up in the box cars? I would be looking at passes and stick-work, but truth be told I can only tell you what *I* would be looking at. 

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Cam Lewis:

It likely comes down to the individual scout and the organization they come from. But professional scouts tend to watch for small details in a player’s game, like their speed on the forecheck and backcheck, whether or not they finish checks, how tired they look at the end of a shift, and so on. This is especially the case with older players, as the acquiring team needs to be sure that the player their targeting has the health and energy for a playoff run. 

Chris the Intern:

TV won’t tell you what colour Gatorade Pouliot’s drinking on the bench, or how many times he gets yelled at by Todd McLellan. Lots of things to see that aren’t on TV!

Baggedmilk:

I think scouts will look at him and say, “what the hell happened to Pouliot?” I personally believe that he’s a better play than what we’ve seen this year and I bet there are people around the league that would agree. No chance they want to pay the $4 contract he has, but there is a better player in there.

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2) Robert asks – Peter Chiarelli says that he will likely be quiet at the trade deadline but may look at tweaking the roster. What kind of tweaks do you think might be realistic? Is Boyle for a 1st round pick realistic?

Lowetide:

I think we will see a centre here, not sure if it will be a rental or someone with term. I also think a backup goalie is possible and maybe a RW—although the club does have internal options like Anton Slepyshev and Jesse Puljujarvi.

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Jason Gregor:

No way he gives up a 1st rounder for Boyle. I do see him adding a forward, though. He’d love to get a dominant offensive RD, but the cost will be very high and I don’t think he adds that at the deadline. I see more a mid round pick or prospect moving out for any deal he makes. Possibly the 2nd rounder in 2018 could be in play.

Robin Brownlee:

Tweaks? That’s anybody’s guess. I can’t see Chiarelli standing pat. The possibilities, like Boyle, Patrick Sharp and Patrick Eaves, we already know.

Matt Henderson:

I mean, it’s realistic in the sense that I’m sure Yzerman would love that, but I can’t see the Oilers giving up a 1st for a 3C rental. That said, getting a player like Boyle would be fantastic for the Oil and allow for more offense up front without sacrificing too much on the 3rd. Maybe a middle 6 RW could be added instead. 

Cam Lewis:

Trading a first round pick for Brian Boyle would be a massive overpay. Last year, the only player who netted a first round pick in any deadline deal was Andrew Ladd, and that was a regrettable deal for the Chicago Blackhawks to pull. The false parity in the league has created a situation in which only two teams are really totally out of it by late February, and as a result, the market heavily favours the seller. I mean, there’s a reason a replacement-level player like Boyle would net a first round pick in this climate, but for a team like the Oilers who are just opening up what should be a decade-long window of contention, there really isn’t any reason to pay that price. The Oilers are going to need to be continuously augmenting their roster with home grown talent, so in a year that heavily favours the seller, it might just be best to stand pat.

Chris the Intern:

I wouldn’t call Boyle for a 1st a ‘tweak’. I would love to see a minor depth trade that ends up bringing a surprising performer like the Maroon trade last time. Amazing! 

Baggedmilk:

I’d like to see the Oilers add another centre or a right-handed guy that move the puck on the backend. I doubt the latter will be available so I guess I’ll turn back to hoping for another centre. I’m still curious what it would look like with Nuge playing on the wing with either Draisaitl or McDavid. They can’t try that one though until they have a more competent 3rd line centre. 

3) Lance asks – Todd McLellan recently switched up the lines in an effort to get more scoring. What are your first impressions of the new line combos?

Lowetide:

I like them a lot, especially Lucic with Leon—which showed promise early. Jordan Eberle is the most established scoring winger, so putting him with McDavid also makes sense. The Nuge line is a bit of a mess, but that has more to do with roster quality.

Jason Gregor:

I like Caggiula better on the wing and Draisaitl at centre. Draisaitl can carry the puck more and use his speed down the middle. He and McDavid can still play together on the PP, but I like having two dominant centres.

Robin Brownlee:

The results in the first two games going into Chicago were promising and not surprising. The Oilers were in a dry spell, which happens. You can’t just stand pat. Looks like Jordan Eberle is coming on, which helps.

Matt Henderson:

I like them. He switched back in the 3rd period against the Hawks, but that’s what I want to see when the team struggles. I think strength down the middle is important but flexibility is important.

Cam Lewis:

This is good and it’s been a long time coming. Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl have been phenomenal together, but stashing the team’s two best offensive threats on the same line makes the team much more predictable and easy to control. Draisaitl has the ability to drive a line, and McDavid can make just about anybody look good, so they should be the team’s one-two punch. 

Chris the Intern:

I’m happy with them actually! Caggiula’s rocking on the wing and Draisaitl’s rocking back at centre. I didn’t think I’d like the split-up between Drai & McDavid, but it only makes sense to separate them. 

Baggedmilk:

They’ve looked pretty good so far. After not really scoring since the All-Star Break the Oilers have rattled off double digits in goals for over the past three games. Can it continue? A blogger can only dream.

4) Deferoiler asks – Both Ethan Bear and Caleb Jones are both looking great in the WHL this season and putting up respectable numbers. Do you see a chance of either of them cracking the NHL next year? Would you have a guess as for who will have a greater impact on the Oilers in the long haul?

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Lowetide:

I think both will start in the AHL and spend most if not all of the year with Bakersfield. I would guess Jones gets a look in the NHL first because of foot speed, but that is a guess.

Jason Gregor:

Neither is close to NHL. They aren’t big enough or strong enough yet. I highly doubt either one dominates in the AHL next year either. It is a massive jump from WHL to NHL. Jones is a bit ahead in my eyes than Bear. He is bigger and a better skater.

Robin Brownlee:

I don’t see a place on the Oiler blueline, as it stands now, next year or anytime soon. There is no rush. Both are seasons, not months, away — if they make it at all. 

Matt Henderson:

Bear has an easier path to the NHL because he’s a RHD. If he can keep progressing it will be much easier for him to climb the depth charts. The Oilers are stacked down the left side. The right is pretty barren.

Cam Lewis:

Definitely not next year, no. The Oilers have done a nice job building up depth on their blue line for the first time in years. Because of that, they can allow prospects like Bear and Jones to develop slowly, learn the professional game in the minors, mature physically, and come into a more favourable environment than ones they’ve thrown, say, Darnell Nurse or Justin Schultz into in the resent past. 

Chris the Intern:

Right now Ethan Bear is looking a little better in my eyes. He has the advantage over Jones by being a right-hand shot. Honestly I don’t think either of them would CRACK an NHL roster next year but they might get a game or two. 

Baggedmilk:

Too early to expect either of them to make the NHL roster but both are still intriguing prospects. Bear has an advantage in that a right-handed defenceman with a little bit of scoring touch is like a unicorn around these parts. Jones has some size and mobility that could allow him to move up the depth chart quickly. That said, both guys will be first year pros next year, in the AHL, and that’s where they should be for a while. 

5) Dallas asks – If you had a time machine and a lack of ethics, which non-HOF former Oiler would you kidnap from the past to play on this year’s team? My vote is for 1995-96 Doug Weight.

Lowetide:

Two answers: Billy Guerin, I still miss him. He was a force. Also, Reijo Ruotsalainen. I think he would be fantastic in this era.

Jason Gregor:

Weight was great in Edmonton, but they don’t need another C. Steve Smith would bolster their D. Played the tough minutes, was highly competitive and would be great guy to teach Klefbom, Nurse, Benning and rest of younger D-men. Smith was very good on the blueline for many years and proved he has the gumption to overcome adversity. My second choice would be Bill Guerin. They could use a rugged, skilled RW. Guerin could fly, was tough and could score.

Robin Brownlee:

I go straight to either Kevin Lowe or Steve Smith first. My next choice would be Doug Weight. 

Matt Henderson:

I’m taking your boy Doug’s winger Bill Guerin. He could play with McDavid, Drai, or Nuge and instantly add an element of physicality and goal scoring from the right side. I think he’s a Chiarelli-type player who would fit in very well on this roster.

Cam Lewis:

2006 Fernando Pisani, of course. 

Chris the Intern:

Doug Weight is a good pick. I’m always terrible at these questions but I’m going with Kevin Lowe!

Baggedmilk:

I’m looking at you early to mid-2000s Ryan Smyth. I used to love watching Smytty plug away in front of the net, annoy goalies, and score a goal off of his ass. The Oilers don’t have anyone like him and I’m sure they could use the extra offence. On the back end I’m going with Pronger. I know that may not be a popular sentiment but you all know that it makes sense. 

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  • FISTO Siltanen

    Love the love for Bill Guerin! He was the first jersey I ever bought for myself (Bill Ranford was a gift years earlier).

    Guerin was a beast who I’d have no problem giving up this year’s first round pick to get. Dare I say we could dream of a conference finals finish with him (circa 1998) on board?

  • MessyEH!

    “Though I never thought that we could lose
    There’s no regret
    If I had to do the same again
    I would, my friend, Fernando

    Yes, if I had to do the same again
    I would, my friend,Fernando”

    PISANI 2006 yes please. Even a Horcoff. Weight would be great. Or go with the flow. Mr Flow Ryan Smyth.

    Notice no one says Hall. No one will likely ever say Hall. It’s a shame that he never was surrounded by a proper supporting cast. Some horrid teams here in the age of Hall.

    • FISTO Siltanen

      Yes. Yes. And yes.

      I don’t mind the throwbacks or even the orange ones. Actually think they look great.

      But those jerseys from 1996-2007 signaled a change, and shift. This was no longer Gretzkys team – it was time for a new guard to take over.

      If it were up to me those would be their normal jerseys and the blue and the orange throwbacks would be the special occasion jerseys.

  • BigMcD

    On another note look what Rogers place has done for Edmonton . You see downtown Edmonton in the midst of a rejuvenation. Thousands of the Edmontonions enjoying the Garth Brooks concerts and filling the pockets of downtown businesses.

    • HardBoiledOil 1.0

      i have learned not to be fooled with some of these guys and their fancy AHL or junior numbers because in reality guys like Lander can’t skate well enough to ever be effective scorers in the NHL. Lander might get you a 7th rounder if you are lucky.

  • oilbaron

    I don’t see the Oil trading for Brian Boyle, the guy makes too much money. Patrick Eaves is a perfect fit IMO, right shot and can play either wing, cheap cheap cheap.

    • The Whispererer

      Too much money ? Boyle makes $2 million and is a UFA after this season. Given that he would only be a charge against the Oilers cap for about 40 days his net impact would be ~ $440,000.

      Eaves would be a fine addition but I can’t see why Dallas would trade away a player that will finish this year with 25/30 goals who is only making $1 million.