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Photo Credit: Tom Kostiuk

Monday Mailbag – How many games should Brossoit play?

It’s that wonderful time of the week again. The time when you have all the questions you’ve always wanted to know about the NHL and life answered by our panel of life coaches bloggers. I like to think of us as a much cheaper alternative to a college education. As always, this feature depends on you guys so I need you to submit your questions. If you have something you’d like to know you can always email me, or DM me on Twitter. With that out of the way, it’s time to learn something.

Mar 23, 2017; Denver, CO, USA;
Edmonton Oilers center Leon Draisaitl (29) shoots and scores an empty net goal in the third period against the Colorado Avalanche at the Pepsi Center. The Oilers defeated the Avalanche 7-4. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

1) Lily asks – If you were to guess, how long do you think the Draisaitl contract negotiations will go? The reason I ask is because Gaudreau missed training camp and seemed to start behind the eight ball.

Jason Gregor:

Hard to guess, but ideally, you’d want it resolved before training camp. Yes, Gaudreau struggled, but Kucherov signed on October 11th, and he finished fifth in league scoring and even missed eight games later in the year. It isn’t ideal, but I suspect Draisaitl will be in the lineup on opening night. I could see the negotiations stretching into September and maybe even the first week of camp.

Lowetide:

I think we see something by middle August. Once it is clear (and I think we are there but you never know) there are no offer sheets coming, then the player and team will have to carve out something agreeable. Could be a bridge deal and that may mean Leon eventually gets dealt (in the seasons to come).

Jonathan Willis:

I don’t have any inside knowledge that’s going to help me here, so I can’t really answer that usefully. I will say that I’d be surprised if Draisaitl missed more than the first week of training camp.

Robin Brownlee:

Not concerned now, but it’s only July 24. Specifically with Johnny Gaudreau, I’m not sure your observation holds water — he had seven points in the first 10 games he played and eight in the next 10.

Matt Henderson:

I think we’ll go right up to the middle of September at the latest. This next contract is a big one for Leon. It’s either a huge payday for a long time or sets him up to cash in on one in a few years. Either way, it’s important to get it right.

Chris the Intern:

I really hope he’s signed before training camp. I’m sure Drai and his agent are in no rush to get this thing done, especially with almost two months until training camp begins. There could be some type of negotiation tactic in here by waiting it out but if I’m Drai I would sign right before training camp begins so he doesn’t miss anything. The last thing we want is giving him $7M / year and him being flat the whole season cause he missed camp.

Baggedmilk:

I really hope this doesn’t drag on all summer because it will be annoying to read about for that long. If I was to guess, I’d say that this will get done before training camp.

Feb 21, 2017; Tampa, FL, USA; Edmonton Oilers goalie Laurent Brossoit (1) makes a save against the Tampa Bay Lightning during the second period at Amalie Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

2) Gregg asks – I don’t think that Cam Talbot should have to play 73 games like he did last year. How many games would you give Laurent Brossoit and how much leash do you think he has before Chiarelli finds an established backup?

Jason Gregor:

I looked at the schedule and I see him starting 16-18 games. Talbot can start 66. The Oilers have a favourable October schedule with many off days, so Brossoit might only play once in October, but when the schedule picks up, and if Brossoit plays well, then I think we will see Talbot start between 64-66 games.

Lowetide:

I would suggest 25 games (for Laurent Brossoit), but it’s important to remember the expectation of this team is to push for a Pacific Division title. If they struggle early, expect that number to slide for Brossoit. As for a backup, probably the trade deadline.

Jonathan Willis:

Brossoit’s games played total is going to depend heavily on his performance. If I’m drawing up a plan right now, I’d like to see Talbot start 60-odd games and Brossoit get the other 20. If Brossoit struggles, I’m skeptical that Chiarelli goes out and gets an established backup, just because he has two semi-plausible options within the team system (Nick Ellis, who posted a 0.918 SV% as an AHL rookie and 26-year-old Edward Pasquale, who has been a 0.920 SV% AHL goalie for the last three seasons).

Robin Brownlee:

I think anything right around the 70-game mark is fine for Talbot. What Brossoit has to do is be effective when he does get in, however often that is. I think the assessment of Brossoit that matters comes at the end of the season based on his body of work to that point.

Matt Henderson:

I think if Talbot cannot play 70 games at the level he did a year ago then the club is in trouble. I don’t have a lot of faith in Brossoit so my leash is short. It’s not like he was one of the top goalies in the AHL and forced his way onto the Oil. He was just less awful than all the other options. No 70 games and I don’t know if they cross 100 points.

Chris the Intern:

Honestly, Cam Talbot literally comes off as a robot to me in terms of stamina. I think he could fit another 73 games in this season but hopefully not. The playoff run will be longer and longer every year hopefully so we’ll need him rested. Brossoit will also be improving every year, giving him more and more games. I would love to see a 60/22 split.

Baggedmilk:

Yeah, I don’t want Talbot playing that many games either. Brossoit needs to be able to take on at least 20-25 games next year and be able to hold his own while he’s in there.

3) Brendan asks – Last weekend, Georges Laraque spoke about the importance of intimidation in hockey. What role do you think intimidation plays and do you think fighting will ever disappear from hockey?

Jason Gregor:

I don’t think fighting will completely disappear nor do I think it has to. The league needed to get rid of the four-minute goon. There is nothing wrong with having players like Milan Lucic, Darnell Nurse, Zack Kassian, Patrick Maroon and others who can play a regular shift, contribute and drop the gloves. Intimidation is real, but most of it has nothing to do with fighting. Certain players can be intimidated verbally and they might hesitate going for a loose puck etc.

Lowetide:

I’m sure intimidation is a factor in hockey as it is in all sports. It comes down to what a player can get away with, and as we saw in the spring that is a moving target. I do think fighting will eventually be pushed out of the game, completely, due to player safety concerns.

Jonathan Willis:

Intimidation matters. If I’m forced to define why, though, it’s less in an “oh gosh, he’s going to kill me, I’ll meekly skate away” way and in more of a “crap, I have to move the puck, this guy’s about to hammer me” sense. Physical pressure can get teams off their games. I’m also reluctant to dismiss the intangible benefits of toughness – I’d be surprised if Player X standing up for Player Y didn’t improve team cohesion. However, the supposed benefits of fighting for player safety have never been adequately demonstrated; teams that fight more don’t suffer fewer injuries. Eventually, I think we’ll see toughness in hockey come down entirely or almost entirely to playing a physical game with the gloves on; it’s no secret that the NHL and other leagues have moved away from fighting over time, and the more we learn about brain injuries and the lives of fighters after (and often during) the hockey careers the harder it is to justify the presence of fighting in the league.

Robin Brownlee:

Intimidation in all forms — toughness, physicality, speed and the ability to bury a team offensively — matters. A lot. Ever disappear from hockey? In the NHL, no.

Matt Henderson:

I hope fighting never disappears from the game. I quite like a good, passionate fight. I’m happy the staged fight seems gone, but if Lucic or Nurse wants to grab a guy whose doing some running around and start wailing away, I’m all for it. Intimidation is one of those psychological parts of the game that’s tough to quantify. It will affect diff players differently but I don’t question that it exists.

Chris the Intern:

Fighting will never disappear, but staged fights probably will. Intimidation is a stat that can’t be quantified into an excel sheet. The in between whistle antics that we now are a part of thanks to Kass, Lucic, Maroon, etc is extremely undervalued in my opinion.

Baggedmilk:

I think that there is a place for intimidation in hockey. It doesn’t take a rocket surgeon to figure out that human emotion can affect how you do your job. If you’re nervous or not feeling comfortable then it is reasonable to think that it will affect your performance. As for fighting, I’m always excited to see a good scrap that happens in the heat of the moment. I don’t like the fights that happen off the draw between two guys that can barely play, but if a fight breaks out after a battle in the corner (as an example) then I’m all for it.

4) Langley Drew asks – If you were involved in an NHL All-time draft, that involved past or present players, who would be your starting forwards, defence, and goalie?

Jason Gregor:

Wayne Gretzky, Mario Lemieux and Gordie Howe. Bobby Orr and Nick Lidstrom. Martin Brodeur.

Lowetide:

This is a tough question. My goalie would be Dom Hasek, my defence Bobby Orr and Nicklas Lidstrom, the centre is Wayne Gretzky and wingers Mark Messier and Gordie Howe.

Jonathan Willis:

I’m going to end up missing somebody, but here goes. Up front, Gretzky, obviously. I’ll give him Mario Lemieux and Gordie Howe on the wings. I imagine Howe’s going to be somewhat controversial up front, because over time his incredible longevity has been confused with a lack of elite talent. Consider this: in 1953, Howe had 95 points, with the nearest non-Red Wing (all-time great Maurice Richard) finishing with just 61. He had 49 goals; no non-Red Wing topped 30. That’s total dominance, something reflected in Howe’s six Hart Trophy wins. Bobby Orr obviously gets the first spot on defence, and while it’s tempting to turn to LD Nick Lidstrom or LD Doug Harvey for the other, I’m going to go with Eddie Shore. Partially that’s to maintain an LD/RD balance (Orr shoots left, Shore right), but mostly its in recognition that in an era before the Norris Trophy Shore was named league MVP four times. He was physically brutal and a brilliant offensive defenceman, one of the first. Goal is the toughest position; I’m going to take Dominik Hasek in a close race over Ken Dryden, Patrick Roy, Terry Sawchuk and Jacques Plante.

TL;DR: Gretzky-Lemieux-Howe, Orr-Shore, Hasek

Robin Brownlee:

Gretzky-Lemieux-Bossy-Orr-Lidstrom-Hasek

Matt Henderson:

Gretzky, Lemieux, McDavid, Lidstrom, Orr, Hasek. I assume I get to pick six times in a row 🙂

Chris the Intern:

As in… from all the players in the past, who would be on my starting line? Gretz-McDavid-Crosby, Orr-Schultz, Luongo for his personality

Baggedmilk:

Forwards: Wayne Gretzky, Mark Messier, Connor McDavid
Defence: Chris Pronger and Nick Lidstrom
Net: Carey Price to be different

5) Ryan asks – I’m looking to go into journalism when I get out of high school and my question is, what is one thing you wish someone would have told you when you started writing about hockey that you now know?

Jason Gregor:

I was lucky I had great advice from John Short, Robin Brownlee and others. The main thing is to write a lot. Don’t worry about page views. Just write and read a lot. The one piece of advice I’ve learned now is to read people you don’t agree with. If you only read those you agree with you can become close-minded. We can learn a lot by questioning things or being open to things we don’t necessarily agree with.

Lowetide:

You must experience things yourself in order to know their value. If someone warns you about something, and you do it anyway, don’t ever let them hold it over you. Nothing counts like experience and never apologize for choosing your own path no matter where it leads. Also, never work for one damn minute for someone who doesn’t consider you to be a person of value. This can come about when your direct boss changes.

Jonathan Willis:

Write what you’re actually passionate about. Over the years I’ve accepted assignments that I didn’t feel strongly about, and I’ve always regretted it in the end – the copy ends up being generic, and if you don’t really care about the subject you can’t expect your readers to really care about it either. That’s not to say you need to immediately and instantly feel passionate about a subject – sometimes its just a matter of putting the time in on the research side to learn enough that you do feel strongly about it. But if after digging deep you can’t find an angle you personally care about on a subject, don’t write it.

Robin Brownlee:

Totally different era, Ryan, so I’m pretty confident the answer for me won’t be anything like what you will need to know moving forward. I wish I knew when I started that I was entering an industry that was already shrinking in the form I knew it. Of course, we didn’t know that then because the internet was in its infancy.

Matt Henderson:

I can’t give you any advice about journalism since I’m not a journalist, but in terms of writing I’d say write as much as possible. Find your voice. Experiment with it as much as possible and try interesting things. Start up a blog that nobody will ever read and just pump content into it until you’re actually good at it.

Chris the Intern:

It doesn’t matter how many editors you have, someone will always find something wrong with your article. In other words, don’t trust anybody.

Baggedmilk:

If you plan to write under a pseudonym be sure to pick something cooler than ‘Baggedmilk’ because you never know if it could become your full-time gig 10 years in the future.

  • ubermiguel

    Hasek was brilliant, amazing and fun to watch, but c’mon, where’s the love for Patrick Roy? The man won the most Conn Smythe trophies all-time, any position. Not to mention his numerous goaltending records. And I don’t even like Roy (he beat the Oilers too much and is generally an a$$) but he earned my respect.

    My list: Gretzky, Lemieux, Messier, Orr, Lidstrom, Roy

    It’s hard to evaluate players players pre-70s becasue I’ve only seen grainy highlight reels and not many complete games, that’s why Messier get the pick over Howe.

      • MessyEH!

        Tough call on lidstrom. Loved his game. But the Norris sure was won a lot by Ray Bourque. Too me that will always be a little like the Gretzky vs Lemieux debates. Lidstrom couldn’t win the Norris when Bourque was in his prime.

        • Lidstrom wasn’t in the NHL when Ray Bourque was in his prime. Bourque’s most dominant stretch came 1986-87 to 1990-91, when he won the Norris four out of five years between the ages of 26-30. Lidstrom didn’t play his first NHL season until 1991-92, when he was 21.

          • MessyEH!

            You failed to mention the 94 Norris trophy win and the 12 times he was runner up. Which includes the 1st year lidstrom won the Norris.

            Being in contention 17 times during your career, should mean something.

        • ubermiguel

          It’s a fun debate, ultimately with no right answer. I went with Lidstrom thinking he’d compliment Orr a bit more than Bourque or Coffey (who I also considered). I feel like Orr and Bourque both needed the puck to be effective, but Lidstrom’s play without the puck was better.

  • Redbird62

    The way the question was worded, it seems to me you are starting the 5 most likely to be successful as a unit, and not necessarily who the best 3 forwards, 2 defensemen and goalie. With that in mind, up front with Gretzky and Lemieux, I might put Bobby Hull with them as the sniper instead of Howe. On defense, Orr is the no brainer, (what are you thinking Baggedmilk?) but I might put Pronger or Larry Robinson with him since with Orr, Lemieux and Gretzky you might favor other defensive attributes over puck carrying. Pronger and Robinson, may be slightly behind Lidstrom defensively, but they bring the intimidation factor that may be needed from time to time and either would be a great compliment to Orr. I would consider starting Ken Dryden even though I don’t consider him best all time. The other team will rarely have the puck and Dryden demonstrated his adeptness at handling low shot totals and long periods without activity.

  • madjam

    At what price point dies Leon become to rich for Oilers to move ahead with , considering all the contracts and players demanding much more . Keeping in mind some perhaps outstanding youth that may break thru over next couple of years as well . Might Oilers be better to keep Hopkins at a reasonable rate over a possible Leon contract around 9M , and use that savings to add an additional 6M player instead seeing as we have plenty of centers already ? Leon at 9M probably means taking a downgrade for Hopkins as an example just for starters , what also might be gutted ? A 6M center replacement might be in form of a MacKinnon, Pavalski or Scheiffle as an example . Would not surprise me if Chia looking to deal Leon if the price tag on a long term contract reaches near the 9M asking price .

  • DerpSolo

    I’m not sure I like the idea of brossoit starting possibly 20 games. Last years limited starts didn’t look pretty or at least the ones I recall. And what if the almighty cam gets hurt? Hopefully not

  • the reasonable person

    How many games should Broissoit play? Zero, or a handful to get experience, because an established, reliable and trustworthy backup should be there to play as needed! Because to go with wildcards from within the organization in such an important position is to risk a derailed season if Talbot falters in any way for any length of time, injury, cold-streak or otherwise.

    I do wish Broissoit the best, just can’t really figure out how Chiarelli can do so much right yet make these little frustrating mistakes like not addressing the backup tender crisis and not going for the cup last year since it was there for the taking and that should have been understood by the trade deadline. Going for it meaning getting Brian Boyle and holding onto Davidson for the run.

      • the reasonable person

        Shame on you, Mr. Chiarelli, for not addressing the backup tender crisis and for announcing that your team was not ready to compete for the cup last year at the trade deadline (and acting accordingly), when Talbot faltering could turn a season into an unmitigated disaster and when 2016-17 might have been the ripest year in a long while to at least win the west.

        Was King-Jung Lowe the 6th Rings, who knows a thing or two about winning (as a depth player on the most stacked team of all time) behind any of this?

          • the reasonable person

            Possibly that Peter the Great Marionette is a real boy most of the time and makes his own moves, but every so often reverts to a marionette and then King Jung Lowe the 6th Rings, General Howson, and Mac T the court jester get their chance to tug his strings.

  • BlueHairedApe

    Assuming Draisaitl is back in Germany for the offseason is it possible that he and his agent have already worked out the bulk of the contract verbally with the Oilers and then they wait until he gets back to Edmonton to work out a couple bugs and then sign?

  • Serious Gord

    4. Not enough parameters left undefined to make a firm line-up. Are we talking one game or best of seven? Are we expecting players to switch from Center to wing or pure position players.

    If it’s one game and centres can switch then the standard would probably be Lemieux Gretz and mcdavid with Orr and perhaps Harvey or lidstrom (Karlson could be in the running in a couple years imo) with hasek in net.

    If it’s seven games and strict positions then no question I’m going with lindsay, messier and Howe and perhaps switching in pronger on defense and putting Roy in net.