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Photo Credit: Tom Kostiuk

Monday Mailbag – Who’s left in free agency?

Whether you’re killing time at work or sitting around in your favourite Baggedmilk PJs, the Mailbag is here to help you kill off a little bit of your Monday. I don’t care if that time killed is company time, or time wasted until it’s socially acceptable to drink beers in public, I’m just happy you’re here. As always, I need questions for next week’s Mailbag so if you have a question you’d like to ask you can email me or hit me up on Twitter.  Until then, I present another edition of the Mailbag.

May 3, 2017; Edmonton, Alberta, CAN; Edmonton Oilers forward Connor McDavid (97) celebrates a first period goal against the Anaheim Ducks in game four of the second round of the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Rogers Place. Mandatory Credit: Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports

1) Mitch asks – Now that Connor McDavid’s contract has officially been signed what were your first thoughts on the term and money?

Jonathan Willis:

The term is ideal, and the money represents a significant discount on McDavid’s actual value to the team. There’s absolutely no doubt in my mind that he left money on the table, and now it will be up to GM Peter Chiarelli to allocate that cap space wisely.

Jason Gregor:

Eight years was best case scenario for the Oilers. Money is expensive, and no team has ever had to deal with a cap hit that large. It will ensure the GM needs to find some value contracts during the eight-years to win. Having McDavid gives the Oilers an advantage few teams have.

Robin Brownlee:

Best possible outcome — max term at less money than McDavid could have demanded. Oilers will get the prime years of McDavid’s career at a fixed cost that will likely seem like a bargain two or three years from now if the cap continues to crawl up.

Lowetide:

The term is the big deal here, Connor McDavid is committed to the Oilers and winning. Major major deal. It means winning and possible Stanleys and saying goodbye to the decade of losing. The money matters for the cap — he left $20 million on the table by taking $12.5 million as the cap hit. This is a young man with a lot of class, who is already extremely loyal to his teammates. That lottery win changed the world as we know it. We knew he was a great player, this deal tells us what a great person he is.

Matt Henderson:

Awesome. He’s worth every penny and it’s the max length. Connor McDavid is the best player in the NHL and will be for the next nine years until the next generational talent pushes him.

Chris the Intern:

I loved it and wanted to marry it immediately! I challenge you to find one person who is unhappy about the term, and the money is lower than expected. What’s not to love?

Baggedmilk:

How can you not love everything about it? Getting Connor McDavid on a max term deal was the best case scenario for the Oilers and that’s what happened. He got paid what he deserves and now it’s up to Chiarelli to work around it. When you have a generational talent you’re going to have to pay him like one. I love it.

Photoshop: @isuckatpicking

2) David asks – With McDavid leaving money on the table, and specifically citing teammates as a reason, how much influence (if any) do you think he has over personnel moves? Do you think Peter Chiarelli will now consult him?

Jonathan Willis:

No. Or at least, he shouldn’t.

Jason Gregor:

I’d be surprised if he consults him that much. McDavid could talk with potential UFAs. Other players do it, and he’d carry some influence. I want McDavid to focus on playing the game, not scouting the opposition.

Robin Brownlee:

Consult him? No. Input? Probably a good idea for a smart manager to at least lend an ear to his best player and be aware of how he feels about things.

Lowetide:

I think there is probably a sense of ‘we need to find a shooter for Connor McDavid’ in the makeup of the team, but beyond that, we are likely talking about non-specifics. That’s a guess, of course.

Matt Henderson:

This isn’t basketball so it won’t be like the team doesn’t need a GM but I think in this summer, in particular, Chiarelli probably shared his short and long-term vision for the team. Chiarelli called it a partnership and I think he’ll be treated like a Jr partner in a lot of respects.

Chris the Intern:

It’s safe to say Connor is our GM now. I’m sure all large-scale personnel moves are run by him. He owns this team, he owns this city.

Baggedmilk:

You would have to think so, right? Why would he ignore the opinion of the team’s most valuable player? Keep Connor happy — that’s Chiarelli’s job.

3) Harold asks – Jonathan Willis wrote an article last week looking at some of the cheaper available UFAs and I was wondering if there’s anyone out there that you think would be a good fit for the Oilers?

Jonathan Willis:

In a perfect world, Edmonton would add one forward and one defenceman. As I write this on Thursday, I’d probably be looking at Brian Campbell on defence and one of a number of names – Daniel Winnik, Jussi Jokinen (who I forgot to include in that piece and the Oilers have now acquired), Jiri Hudler or Mikhail Grigorenko – at forward. Campbell would fill the Sekera stopgap role, while bringing in a forward who can play either wing or centre in a pinch would give Todd McLellan some versatility to fill-in for whichever young forward inevitably struggles. We don’t know which forward will take a step back next year, but when leaning on young skaters it always seems at least one does and having a veteran on hand to step in only makes sense. Grigorenko is the one place where I’d bend the veteran requirement – he’s good on faceoffs, can kill penalties and still has some untapped potential which makes it worth taking a flyer on him.

Jason Gregor:

Markov on a one-year deal similar to Russell last year. That would be ideal. Markov made $4.25 million last year even though his AAV was $6 million. The longer the summer goes he likely signs for less. On a one-year deal, he would be a great signing.

Robin Brownlee:

As a leader and an example of what it takes to be a good pro for younger players, Jaromir Jagr comes to mind, although maybe I’m just being nostalgic. Still has some game, but at his age, it’s year-to-year now.  Less likely now after the signing of Jussi Jokinen Friday.

Lowetide:

I like Cody Franson and Brandon Pirri.

Matt Henderson:

Jaromir Jagr. Hook the flow up to my veins directly. Let me buy an Oilers white Jagr jersey. Does he fit? In the sense that he is a quality RW who would instantly be second on the depth chart, he fits. Other than that, I think Franson would be a good fit for a cheap RHD who could move the puck and give the Oilers some options at bottom of the order. I don’t think there are long term solutions available in free agency the way Sekera was.

Chris the Intern:

JAGR! SIGN JAGR CHIA DO IT!

Baggedmilk:

I really want to see the traveling Jagrs here on a regular basis. Not to mention, Jagr can think the game as fast as McDavid and will know how to get to the right place at the right time. Yes, he’s slower than he once was but that hands are still there and he would bring a wealth of experience to this young team.

Apr 30, 2017; Edmonton, Alberta, CAN; Anaheim Ducks forward Ryan Getzlaf (15) trips Edmonton Oilers forward Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (93) during the first period in game three of the second round of the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Rogers Place. Mandatory Credit: Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports

4) Matthews asks – If you were betting on any Oilers to have a bounce back year, or to exceed last year’s production, who would it be?

Jonathan Willis:

Milan Lucic. The point totals may not go up, because his career year on the power play may or may not be repeated, but he should be much, much better at 5-on-5. Lucic has been a strong presence at evens for ages now, and he dropped off a cliff last season; I’m going to be a little surprised if that turns out to be a permanent change.

Jason Gregor:

The easy answer is McDavid, he will produce more goals and points. But of all the other players I expect Drake Caggiula to produce much more than 18 points. He gained a lot of experience and starting the season healthy and on the wing will lead to a much better season for him.

Robin Brownlee:

Top bounce back candidates — Jordan Eberle and Benoit Pouliot — will have to do it someplace else, so who is left that fits that category? Nobody who drastically underperformed from what was expected comes to mind.

Lowetide:

Milan Lucic at 5×5. He was so incredibly poor compared to his own established past. Market correction is very likely.

Matt Henderson:

I think I would take a bet on Lucic doing better at 5v5 play, but also worse on the PP. I would bet that Caggiula can’t be worse offensively. I would also expect Puljujarvi to be better next year.

Chris the Intern:

The easy answer is Nuge, so I’m going to pick Milan Lucic. Most players don’t perform well their first year after moving cities so I’m really hoping he turns the jets on right out of the gate in October.

Baggedmilk:

A while back, I wrote a letter to Ryan Nugent-Hopkins asking him to work on some things heading into this season. I assume he printed it and reads it regularly so I’m going to go with him. I bet Nuge gets back to 20 goals and has a solid offensive season next year.

5) Trent asks – My girlfriend and I are taking our first vacation together as a couple and I’m wondering if the writers have any advice? We’ve never spent an entire week together before and I really don’t know what to expect.

Jonathan Willis:

If there’s one thing I don’t like doing, it’s giving relationship advice. And that’s to people I know! All I’ll say is try and keep the big picture in mind if you hit speed bumps along the way: it’s you and somebody you (presumably) like a great deal doing something you both enjoy. There’s no sense sweating the small stuff.

Jason Gregor:

I wouldn’t stress out about it too much. Put your phones away. Don’t update every moment of your trip on facebook. Be present on the trip. Have some alone time, just yourself, every day. Whether it is going for a run, a workout, reading a book. A small window on your own is good for both of you. Most important be adventurous. Try local food, and check out the scenes. You’ll find out more about each other when you each step outside your comfort zones. It will make the trip much more fun and memorable and give you new things to discuss at dinner.

Robin Brownlee:

Sex?

Lowetide:

Don’t pack too much into the day, go out for dinner every night, have fun! Do not check work email!

Matt Henderson:

Well, the most important thing you can do is to let her know that all of her ideas are dumb and you aren’t going to waste a minute of time or a red penny on them. Also get really drunk during non-traditional times. For example, at breakfast or while on prolonged (or even very short) bus rides. And definitely bring up money a lot. I mean, a lot.

I’m assuming from your question that you’ve never spent a week together at any time, which means bed sharing and bathroom setup hasn’t been established yet. Because sharing the bed for a night with a new love interest isn’t the same as doing it for a long time and this vacation is the setup for that. If you just give up your half of the bed and your space in the bathroom now then you’re screwed forever, Trent. Forever. Own your space. A few elbows in the corners and a couple cross checks to the small of the back will earn you respect later. It matters, Trent. Don’t take her crap.

Chris the Intern:

  • Whatever she says goes
  • Don’t forget your passport
  • Bring lots of money
  • Drink lots of water

Baggedmilk:

Get the first poo out of the way early. Don’t do that thing where you go down to the hotel lobby and shit there, do it in your room. Everybody poops. Just get it out of the way and have a good time.

  • Serious Gord

    1. Massive underpay. The agents for the other players on the team must be pissed. Elliotte Friedman on stauffers show hinted that mcdavid reduced his agreed upon salary WAS 13.25 but he asked that it be reduced after he saw the reaction. IF true then that puts a very different spin on what this might mean long-term.

    2.chia should listen to any player’s advice – not necessarily heed any of it.

    3. Markov does sound interesting.

    4. Remarkably only two players had sub-par years last season (which is why I doubt they make the playoffs this year – regression to the mean is a beyotch) – lucic (just a little) , RNH went into the abyss. I think lucic has a much better chance of bouncing back (different conditioning regimen should do the trick) as I think RNH will be gone by the trade deadline.

    5. I have no definitive advice when it comes to women. Not even god does.

  • Dan 1919

    Hall was sacrificed, Eberle was the weakest link, and now the barrel of the gun is perched and pointing directly at Hopkins and will likely stay there all year. Hopefully he has a huge breakout/bouncback year because with Chiareli’s ruthlessness, a $6million third liner who can’t win face offs will be moved.

  • Spydyr

    Nuge is my bounce back guy this year. For the love of all things orange give him a chance on McDavid’s wing. He can look after the defensive zone coverage down low allowing Connor to break out up high. It will make zone exits so much easier. No defenceman is going to want Connor even with them at the blueline. They will be backing out.

  • Shredder

    I flew to Michigan on Thursday last week, and sat next to Scott Howson, who was very candid with me when talking about the Oilers. Seemed like a smart guy, good guy overall. I asked about the Draisatl contract, and it sounds like they are pretty far apart. He thought it was going to take most of the summer to get done. This deal is holding up any other major signings to boot. So just sit tight and wait for Drai, because it’ll be a while.

    There’s no interest in Jagr at all – partly because of anticipated price, but also style of play came into the decision – he’s slow and wouldn’t match the make of this Oilers team. He feels only a few teams are able to sign the guy based on style of play. Interesting to hear…

    I guess he’s focused on player development, and doing a little pro scouting in the East (he’s living in Columbus still), and some college scouting. He was very impressed with Yamamoto – quick and skilled – likely to make a splash in the pre-season, but still a year or 2 away from the NHL.

    Lastly, I asked if it stings to see Schultz do well in Pittsburgh, and he says no, not for him…maybe that’s a crack at MacT, who might have a regret? I didn’t clarify…

  • 1979

    Man Gregor! That was a seriously solid answer to the relationship related question! Hopefully the editor over at the EH reads ON and gives you your own column. Hahaha. Seriously though, great answer!

  • Druds

    yeah poo smell makes or breaks the relationship….I would recommend farting in bed and throwing the sheets over her head too…that’s a good way to ease the tension.