Oilers midterm report card: Forwards

The Oilers are on their bye week right now, which is a good thing for the team and fans alike. I think we all need a bit of a break. 2017-18 hasn’t been kind to the Oilers as the team has failed to live up to the lofty expectations that stemmed from their breakout season and subsequent playoff run last spring. So while we have the week off to think about things, let’s look back at the season so far and determine who’s doing well and who isn’t with some good old fashioned midterm report cards.

We’ll start with the forwards (who have played 15 games or more) and I’ll do defencemen and goalies later in the week. My ratings system is pretty simple. The A range is very good, the B range is pretty good, the C range is mediocre, the D range is bad, and F is terrible. Let me know in the comments how you would grade everybody and if I was either too hard or too soft in my grading.

Connor McDavid: A+

I don’t think there’s a single complaint that can be made about the first half of the season from the reigning Most Valuable Player. The Oilers are a different team with Connor McDavid on the ice than they are when he’s off. McDavid has 15 goals and 37 assists through 46 games, just slightly lower than his 2016-17 pace despite battling through illness earlier in the season.

In terms of underlying numbers, McDavid has actually been significantly better at driving offence than he was in either of his first two seasons. The team is getting a whopping 72.1 shot attempts for and 38.8 scoring chances for per 60 minutes at even strength. The issue has clearly been his linemates’ inability to finish, otherwise McDavid would likely be on his way to surpassing the 100-point plateau he reached last season.

Shooting more or dominating games to a greater extent be damned, McDavid has been excellent so far this season and I don’t even want to fathom where they would be without him.

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins: B+

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins is having arguably the best season of his career and appears to have evolved into that very effective two-way centre that we hoped he would become. He has 16 goals and 15 assists through 46 games. His 0.67 points-per-game is his highest since 2014-15 and he’s on pace to set a new career-high in goals.

Nugent-Hopkins’ underlying numbers are largely similar to where they were at last season, but there’s one category he’s improved massively in that I feel makes his success a lot more noticeable. His High Danger Scoring Chance Percentage at even strength sits at 53.2 per cent due to an improvement in the offensive and defensive zone.

The other thing impressive about RNH’s season is his effectiveness despite being the one guy who never plays with Connor McDavid.

Patrick Maroon: B

Expectations for Patrick Maroon were extremely high heading into 2017-18 after a massive breakout season spent on Connor McDavid’s wing. While Maroon isn’t scoring goals at the same rate, he’s actually producing at a higher point-per-game clip and than he did last season.

Many were skeptical to praise Maroon for his 27-goal season last year, viewing him as a product of McDavid. There’s certainly merit to that, but Maroon has produced at a similar clip to last while spending less time with the MVP. Maroon’s underlying numbers are better with McDavid than without, but he isn’t a slouch when he plays with other centres, which suggests Maroon is helping drive play in Edmonton’s favour.

Dec 14, 2017; Edmonton, Alberta, CAN; Edmonton Oilers forward Jujhar Khaira (16) ries top screen Nashville Predators goaltender Juuse Saros (74) during the first period at Rogers Place. Mandatory Credit: Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports

Jujhar Khaira: B

Given the fact he only had one goal and three points in 25 career NHL games before this season, JJ Khaira has massively exceeded expectations so far this year. He has seven goals and seven assists in 33 games, which is a 35-point pace over an 82-game season.

He brings energy to the ice, plays with an edge, and had produced at a decent clip despite not getting consistent playing time. The Oilers have had a terrible time developing their own bottom-six players, but Khaira has looked like a keeper this year.

Mark Letestu: B-

Mark Letestu had a shockingly effective season in 2016-17, recording a career high in goals with 16 and points with 35. A big part of that had to do with Letestu finding success as a trigger man on the power play, as 11 of his 16 goals came with the man advantage.

This season, Letestu has eight goals and eight assists through 46 games, good for a 0.35 point-per-game pace. It isn’t as good as it was last season, but it’s perfectly fine depth offence from your fourth-line centre who’s making $1.8 million annually. He wins draws, chips in a little offensively, but the only thing keeping Letestu at the bottom of the pretty good category has been a lack of effectiveness on the penalty kill.

Milan Lucic: B-

Milan Lucic gets a lot of flack because his contract is really bad and also because he, along with Adam Larsson, will forever be associated with Taylor Hall. Whether that’s right or wrong it pretty clearly effects the way in which we view Lucic. But in the vacuum of this season, Lucic has played pretty well.

His 0.61 points-per-game in all situations matches the pace he produced last season, but Lucic has been producing more at even strength this year than he did last year. He has six goals and 13 assists at even strength, which puts him just three points shy of matching his 23 even strength points from 2016-17.

One thing that’s been frustrating about Lucic this year, though, has been a lack of consistency. Sometimes he gets revved up and looks like the menace from Boston everyone coveted for years, but then he’ll disappear for games at a time. That’s what keeps him at the bottom end of pretty good.

Sep 30, 2017; Vancouver, British Columbia, CAN; Edmonton Oilers forward Leon Draisaitl (29) awaits the start of play against the Vancouver Canucks during the second period at Rogers Arena. Mandatory Credit: Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports

Leon Draisaitl: C+

I know I’m contradicting myself a little bit here given that I said we should try to avoid looking at the big picture with Milan Lucic and we should instead focus on this season, but Leon Draisaitl’s season has been disappointingly average considering his lofty expectations.

Draisaitl has 11 goals and 25 assists in 42 games so far, which is a 70-point pace over 82 games. That certainly isn’t bad, but Draisaitl has leaned a lot more on Connor McDavid than you’d have hoped after his incredible playoff performance and subsequent eight-year, $8.5 million contract.

The duo of McDavid and Draisaitl have scored 20 even strength goals and have given up only 10 when on the ice together, but when Draisaitl is away from McDavid, the former has 40 goals for and 42 against. The Oilers need Draisaitl to drive his own line to make the team a consistent threat without McDavid on the ice, but he hasn’t done that so far this season.

Jesse Puljujarvi: C+

Jesse Puljujarvi spent the first month of the season playing for the Bakersfield Condors of the AHL as the Oilers gave 2017 first-round pick Kailer Yamamoto a cup of coffee at the NHL level. Puljujarvi has had a slower transition to the NHL than many would have hoped, especially considering how Matthew Tkachuk has seamlessly broken in the league, but there’s a massive learning curve with the 2016 fourth overall pick given that this is only his second year in North America.

As a result, I think we should be patient with the 19-year-old Finn. But overall, his second season try at the NHL has been just OK. Puljujarvi has eight goals and three assists in 29 games, an upgrade on the one goal and seven assists he had in 28 games last year before being sent to the AHL. That said, he’s played a lot with Connor McDavid, so you have to take that 23-goal over an 82-game pace with a grain of salt.

Anton Slepyshev: C

After a solid performance in last year’s playoffs, Anton Slepyshev was viewed as one of the Oilers’ young forwards who could step up and take on a bigger role in the team’s top-nine. That hasn’t happened as Slepyshev has only one goal and two assists thus far.

But considering the fact Slepyshev started the season with an injury, he deserves a bit of a break. Also, Slepyshev has posted very strong underlying numbers, as only Connor McDavid is the only Oiler with a higher expected goals for percentage. 

I would consider just not rating Slepyshev given his lack of substantial icetime, but he reached the cutoff for games played. I think it’s fair to say given circumstances he’s been just OK.

Mike Cammalleri: C-

Acquired a few weeks into the season in a one-for-one deal for Jussi Jokinen, Mike Cammalleri was supposed to give the Oilers a little bit of an offensive spark on the wings. It’s a tall task to expect a 35-year-old winger to come in and make much of a difference so expectations weren’t particularly high. I wouldn’t say Cammalleri has been terrible, but two goals in 25 games is pretty bad.

Nov 7, 2017; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Edmonton Oilers center Ryan Strome (18) plays the puck against New York Islanders defenseman Johnny Boychuk (55) and goalie Thomas Greiss (1) during the third period at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Ryan Strome: D+

I feel bad for Ryan Strome because of the situation he was put into. Much like Adam Larsson, he was a part of a one-for-one trade for a former All-Star who worked his way out of the team’s future thanks to a mediocre season and poor playoff showing.

Strome has bounced back and forth from centring the team’s third line to playing with different centres on the right wing. He has seven goals and 10 assists in 46 games, which is the lowest point-per-game rating of his career. I don’t blame Strome for the situation he’s been put in nor do I feel it’s worthwhile in this context to compare him directly to Jordan Eberle, but Strome has been largely invisible this season.

Zack Kassian: D

Yet another disappointing depth forward, Zack Kassian has been nowhere near the force that endeared himself to fans last season. Kassian was a wrecking ball in last year’s playoffs, chipping in with three goals and hitting everything in sight.

Since signing a three-year deal this summer, though, Kassian hasn’t looked the same. He doesn’t have the same speed or energy that he did last season and he appears to be trying to play as a scorer rather than a physical presence and agitator. Through 46 games he has just three goals, but the real issue with Kassian has been the lack of intensity in his game.

Drake Caggiula: D

Drake Caggiula was put into a difficult position in his rookie season. He started the season on the Injured Reserve and then was thrown right into the deep end, slotting in as the Oilers’ third line centre just a few months after finishing college.

He fared admirably, posting 18 points in 60 games before chipping in three goals in 13 playoff games. Caggiula, like Kassian and Slepyshev, was being counted on to work his way up into a top-nine role in his natural position on the wings, but like with everyone else, that hasn’t happened. He has just six goals and five assists in 34 games, but half of those goals came alongside McDavid.

Iiro Pakarinen: F

The only forward who gets a failing grade for the Oilers is Iiro the Hero, who was terrible in his 18 games with the Oilers this season. He didn’t record a goal, had just one assist, and put up far and away the worst underlying numbers on the team. As a result, he was waived and is now playing in Bakersfield. I don’t think we’ll see him on the team again.

Shoutout to Oilersnation Good Content Boy Christian Pagnani for helping with these grades. 

  • Pizanno

    How can Connor get an A+ when he’s supposed to be the Next Crosby (or better) yet is barely averaging a point per game? Dude is barely top ten, and captaining a grossly under-performing team.

    • tkfisher

      Because for the 3 week span he probably shouldn’t have even been playing hockey. Connor fought off the plague, lost 10-15lbs during that time and is still a point a game player on a terrible team playing with guys who aren’t finishing and the majority of his production is coming at 5 on 5.

      • Green Bastard

        3 week span he shouldn’t have been playing? Next you’ll tell us he nicked himself shaving and should have sat out a couple games, but we know connor isn’t shaving yet. You guys should just stick with the ref excuses for the poor performance of this team.

      • Flint

        From Nov.11th to Nov.26th (the period his minutes dropped and the coach etc say he was sick) he scored 4goals and 12 pts in 9 games – 1.33pts/game.

        That is higher than his production on the season as a whole. 52pts in 46games (1.13ppg).

        So how much did the illness influence his offensive production? Doesn’t look like much.

    • Dougie_Sharms

      Let me know when you lose ~10lbs due to the flu and are still expected to drive an NHL team’s offense during that stretch…the kid’s a blessing to Oil Country, stop treating him like a curse.

      • Fred Nation

        B- for Lucic is way too generous. I have seen a stretch of A-type games, but lots of C’s and D’s, and too many D-zone lapses to call the play in the B’s. C to C+, okay. Needs consistency to move up from there.

    • McRaj

      Won’t be popular but I agree. McDavid is unreal but this season has not been A+. McDavid is someone held to a higher standard than other players (just like Sid) so in my eyes he is under performing. It’s not the end of the world, every great player has a season in which they under perform, he will be out of this world again next year, but unfortunately most fans will refuse to criticize McDavid until they want him shipped out (just like Taylor Hall). Black and white, no gray with our fan base.

    • Jack Dupp

      Based on the descriptions of his illnesses, I had the same afflictions for the better part of November and December. I could barely eat anything and also lost 15lbs. I should not have been at my desk job. How he was playing at a point per game pace, I’ll never know. I had a hard time getting out of bed. The kid is phenomenal.

    • Fire Woodcroft!

      Do you realize how much of a moron you sound like criticizing Connor for ‘barely averaging a point a game’? How many point-a-game players do you think there are in the NHL?

      And the fact that he’s at that level on a team that’s struggled this badly this season just underscores how good he really is.

      Watch out – don’t step in the stupid…

      • HOCKEY83

        Ya there’s about 26 players sitting at a point a game or better and about another 10 just a multi point game away from it. Conner is tied for about 14th place points per game. Considering what was expected of him this season and the debate that was had here on just how many points he would be ahead of the entire league I’d say A+ is a homer evaluation of his play this season. B+ is a more honest evaluation. When you’re considered to be the best in the league and you’re performance shows that you are not and 14 other players are ahead of you then A+ wrong

        • OilersGM

          That’s just the jealousy showing through the eyes of an flame fan. When you consider he was ill for 2 weeks and lost about 15 pounds and has no one who can finish he is defiantly deserving of a A+.

          • HOCKEY83

            I’m as much an Oiler fan as a Flames fan. I love Alberta Hockey. I don’t feel jealousy at all regarding the Oil. I’d say more disappointed in the team than anything else.

        • Fire Woodcroft!

          So do the math.

          31 teams in the league each with 40 contracts. That’s 1,240 players with contracts at the NHL level.

          26 of 1,240 is 2%. Of that, by your own admission, McDavid is pretty much within the top half of that band. So McDavid is producing within at a pace that only the top 1% of the players in the league achieve…

          Time to stop sniffing glue, buddy.

  • WillyWonka

    wow, most are “C” (average) or above…. i wish grades were that easy when i was on school. pretty subjective rating system… did you consider whether they were as good or worse than last year? or how they compared to other players in the league in the same role? or other players in the same wage range? Personally, i think you could lower everyone by one letter grade…

  • lee

    I think Strome has been used as a fill in all season, pretty hard to get traction when every night its a different line or line mates.
    TM has his favorites,. there are some players that can do no wrong with him and others that have a bad shift and they are punished.
    You also have to remember that Hall and Eberle are going to have well over a 140 points combined, you take that much offence out of a team that has almost no prospects coming in to replace those points the whole team is going to suffer. For me Kassian has been a disappointment , in this new age of job security for some players means they take it down a few notches, because they can.
    But I also feel he needs to be involved in the game and needs more minutes, some players are just not made to play 4th line minutes.
    With next years cap strangling the Oilers, what you see this year is pretty much what you see next year. Marroon will be traded for a prospect or draft pick.
    Eventually either Dria or RNH will have to be moved, personally I would prefer to see Dria get moved because he would bring back a lot of young talent in positions the team is really lacking.
    When you see teams like Chicago and Pittsburgh that pay huge money for 2 superstars and they are struggling to make the playoffs, that format doesn’t work anymore. If you are going to roll out 4 lines you need balance and the Oilers don’t have balance Having your 2 top lines that has 4 players making over 32 million + the other 2 players the math doesn’t work.
    Lucic’s deal is a killer and will hurt this team for the next 4-5 years.

      • BobbyCanuck

        I believe he is referring to today. As in what have you done for me today, and what will you do for me tomorrow.

        ID I was a fan of either of those teams, I could not care less that 2 -3 players are taking up 40% of the Cap space, because these players brought the Cup to the hometown, Cap hell for the next 10 yrs be damned, not relative when you have players that bring the Cup home for the first time (Chicago) in 50 odd years

  • Disappointed

    I would remove the + fron McDavids grade as his defensive coverage is found lacking at times. Perhaps it is because he cheats for offence when it is needed, but he is not perfect.

  • Glencontrolurstik

    The big question here is: Are you rating these players as compared to a norm in the league, or are you rating them based on their potential?
    If it’s based on potential pretty much all of them get a huge fail…
    This team is not playing at their potential… right across the line-up.

      • Glencontrolurstik

        But they aren’t low, considering the product they are giving us…
        McD should be in the B range & down sharply from there…
        We have seen his “A” game, just not so much this year…
        It takes other players to give anyone an “A” game, as it IS a team sport…
        They must get it together…
        HEY, where are the league standings on this web-site?
        I guess we have to navigate away to find them?

  • Oilers Nation Citizen

    I am not sure what Mark Letestu you have been watching this season. I would give him a “D”. He has been terrible in all situations (PP, PK, 5on5).

  • TKB2677

    How do you give Maroon a B when he scored 27 goals last year but is on pace for maybe 20 this year? That’s a big drop especially in a contract year.

    You gave Letestu a B- when he is -15? The special teams have sucked this year. He plays on the PP as a shooter and not getting it done and he plays on the PK which is on pace to setting records for how bad it is. He gets limited 5 on 5 mins and as I mentioned, he’s -15 which is a 5 on 5 stat.

    Then you follow it up by giving Leon a C+? Leon has got 36 pts in 42 games and a plus 8 on team with a -21 goal diff. If you calculate it out, that is over 72 pts in a full season and he is 54% on the dot. Now I agree that he can be better but a C+?

    Slep gets a C? He can’t stay in the line up because he’s been so lousy.

    • crabman

      absolutely. I was thinking the exact same thing and had to scroll through before commenting. We would be winning more games if the special teams were even average. Letestu is a big Part of both. All the talent, McDavid included, deserve blame on the pp as well.
      And I understand people maybe frustrated that Draisaitl isn’t an all world center on his own line at the moment but a C player doesn’t get over 70 pts in the NHL.

  • BasementDweller

    I’m guessing you grew up in this era when kids are never held back a grade or fail a class.There’s no other explanation to how you can give all but one player a passing grade when the season has been a complete failure and we’re sitting in 25th place.

    Participation ribbons all around!!!

    • TKB2677

      Amen to that. When I looked at my oldest sons report card, granted he is only in grade 1 so a teacher shouldn’t be crushing him too much, from what I read I think he is a good student. BUT there was so much BS and nonsensical fluff, it’s hard to tell. Gone are the days of grades where if he is getting A’s, you know he is doing really well in the class and instead the grades are replaced with words like acceptable or meeting or exceeding expectations. But what are the expectations?

  • TKB2677

    I’m a bit surprised Caggulia didn’t get an F. The expectation for him by not only the management, the coaches but the fans I assume is that he would be an everyday, top 9 forward capable of chipping in 10-15 goals. The guy has been scratched multiple times for being lousy and inconsistent. If you can’t even keep a consistent roster spot, is that not a fail?

    • Big Nuggets

      well he is on pace for 12 goals, so that fits your 10-15 range. maybe there is too much line-blender for these wingers, then again maybe they are just not very good.

      • TKB2677

        Well do you actually think Caggulia will score more than 10? I don’t. The goal he scored in Vegas was the first goal and actually first point he had scored since Dec 21. The Oilers play 10 games between Dec 21 and Jan 13th. Then before his 1 goal on Dec 21, his next previous goal was scored on November 22. That’s another 12 games in between goals. So basically 2 goals in 25 games if you go from Nov 22 until Jan 13th.

  • madjam

    All grades will be lower if your Gm is an F minus in off season meddlings that turn negative . Nurse and Hopkins only players playing above last season, so it is not just the player problem – more so the GM’s . Coaching about a B rating at best perhaps . Seriously doubt MacT. , Lowe and/or Tambellini would have faired this bad in third season with Connor and Draisaitl in the fold . Chia has really done number on the clubs future by the looks of it .

  • ThEdge

    I would only give Mcdavid a B grade because he is too much like the rest of the team (he is the leader so maybe they are like him?) and can’t make a pass. All the speed is exciting and awesome but when a common outcome is a blind pass to the opponent, blind throw out front hoping maybe someobe might actually go to the net, or just lose the puck.
    If he, and the team, ever learn to lose the soft blind passes and actually figure out how to make a CRISP, ACURATE pass that can be received
    by the intended recipient this team may become unstoppable

    • Chris Prongers Rake

      Connor McDavid can’t make a pass? If the team had any finish at the start of the year, he would have 5 to 10 more assists. The whole team has been snakebitten all year, making rookie goalies look like vezina winners. I think the Oilers are in the top 3 in shots and corsi so its not like they haven’t had chances, just unlike last year nothing is going in…..but it must be Connors passing.

    • Derian Hatcher

      I don’t understand how anyone would critisize McDavid. Where would this team be without him? If every other player gave the effort that 97 does night in, night out, including when he had the flu, this team would have more wins. Does 97 have room to grow and get better in things like overpassing and faceoffs? Absolutely, but holy smokes, he just turned 21 and is so good.

    • Oilman99

      The problem is McD does not have wingers that are able to think on his level unless it’s Drai. For example with Lucic it goes pass,pass, clunk, and the puck goes off his stick or he misses even making contact with it.

  • Fred Nation

    B- for Lucic is way too generous. I have seen a stretch of A-type games, but lots of C’s and D’s, and too many D-zone lapses to call the play in the B’s. C to C+, okay. Needs consistency to move up from there.

  • Oiler Al

    Sad sack for the bottom “6”. Its no wonder they don’t score too many points.
    Other than the top 3 centers, and a couple of D-men, this is not a well constructed hockey team. The standings speak for this.

    • Kneedroptalbot

      Oiler A,l you are so right. Top 3 centers, a rookie RW, 2-3 Good D-men.
      Worse of all the prospect pool is near bare. This team is lacking speed and depth. GM has really crippled this team.

  • RJ

    Anaheim and Chicago have a game in hand. Colorado has three games in hand. San Jose has 4 games in hand. Dallas is in a WC spot and have a game in hand. Minnesota has no games in hand but they’re 10 points up.

    If I read this article correctly nearly everyone is average or above average.

    The majority of players have underperformed and outside of McDavid and Nuge, everyone needs to be dropped in their grades.

    Unless it’s all on the defence and goaltending.

  • Anton CP

    Both Maroon (C at best, I’m more leaning toward C-) and Letestu (even a D is being generous) are rated too high. Maroon has tons of issues in all zones, he committed tons of careless penalties, he played off his position too often that he even screened McDavid, and his awareness in neutral zone almost non-existent.

    Letestu…he is supposedly the special team player on both power play and penalty kill then the Oilers special team aren’t that “special” this season.

  • TKB2677

    When it comes to Lucic’s grade, I am OK with it. Before coming to the Oilers, Lucic was known as a big, nasty, tough, top 6 winger who typically scores around 20 goals, 50 pts, gets over 200 hits, gets into the odd scrap, is a leader, is a decent 5 on 5 scorer and is an OK guy in his own zone. He won’t win many foot races. Last season, he scored 23 goals, 50 pts, had well over 200 hits, was -3, got into a few scraps, was a leader. This season he has 9 goals, 28 pts, on pace for close to 20 goals, 50 pts, will have well over 200 hits, has gotten into a few scraps, is a +5.

    So in reality, Lucic is for the last 2 season been exactly the player he was previously and brought in to do. If someone thought he would score more than 20-50, then that is your mistake. I wasn’t a fan of the length of the contract but he’s done what he was brought in to do.

    • crabman

      I think when you put contract aside, which beside length isn’t bad, he is playing as could be expected. What happens though is people watch most of the games of their favorite team and then catch highlights of the rest of the league. I watch a lot of the playoffs, maybe an odd non Oiler game through the week and some hockey night in Canada. That doesn’t give you the clearest picture of all players on non Oiler teams. Some players step up more in the playoffs. Some players through one good hit a game that makes the highlights. Some will fight 5 times a year but they are great throwdowns that everyone talks about. I think that happened with Lucic. He is hitting all the stat numbers that could be expected. He was never fast and like most players has calmed down as he matured. He’s still hitting in the top 10 and giving you 20 goals. That player has a lot of value. But the Oilers have been chancing a Lucic type player for so long the Bruins Lucic became somewhat of a legend he can’t possibly live up to.

      • TKB2677

        I agree with you. Lucic in my eyes is doing what he was brought in to do. Again, I don’t like the length of the contract but at the same time, I can see him easily putting up similar numbers for a big chunk of the contract. He has always been big and not overly fast but his game never revolved around speed and high end skill. His game is about intimidation, physical play, corner work, going to the next, screening the goalie and doing all the dirty work in front of the net and being able to out muscle guys due to his size. I don’t see that changing for the next few seasons at least. If he was all about speed and skill, then I would worry more because as you get older, you slow down. But it’s not.

    • RJ

      I respectfully disagree.

      I remember during the decade of darkness ON salivating over his style of play. Call-in shows used to bring him up almost daily, particularly when they’d easily be pushed around by opposing teams.

      He was a force of nature. But even by the end of his Bruins tenure, he stopped playing that way. Don’t get me wrong, if you want longevity, playing that way wouldn’t be advisable every game nevermind every shift.

      But the Lucic that played for the Bruins is long gone. He got paid for who he was, not who he is now.

      • TKB2677

        That’s cool. I know there are a ton of people that dislike Lucic. I personally don’t love or hate him. I didn’t think the amount of money per season was out of line. I do think his contract is too long as I would love if it was a 4 yr deal. But at the same time, he was a UFA. UFA’s ALWAYS get more money and more term than they probably should and they are ALWAYS paid for what they did in the past. So in my opinion, to get Lucic, I think the Oilers gave him market value as I am pretty confident he would have got a similar deal from another team. According to him, he had more money offered to him from the Habs as an example. If Okposo got 7 yrs at 6 mill per, how does Lucic get less money or term when Lucic is a better player. I am not justifying the contract but in my opinion, that is reality as like I said, Lucic got exactly market value.

        Taking the contract out for a second though. I would be curious to know what you actually expected Lucic to do? He had 2 seasons where he had over 60 pts with the Bruins, other than that he hovered around 20 goals, 50 pts. Go look at his hits, he hovers around 200 hits a year. When he was in his early 20’s, coincidentally when he had his 2 60 pt seasons and establishing himself, he have over 120 pims. After that, he hovered around 60-80 pims. So if you were to start from the lock out season – 12-13 – and look at his points, goals, hits and pims, they are all in the same range. Some years slightly up, some slightly down but they all are close.

        So if a player has been putting up similar numbers for the last 5 seasons on different teams, what exactly do you expect from him?

    • Coach Rick

      Lucic grade is high. He was brought in to lead, we have a 21 year old captain. I have not seen enough leadership and intensity from Mr. Lucic…..c- until he comes to the rink everyday with a bee up his ass. I don’t care about his points. to weak for me right now!

      • TKB2677

        I can agree with this. But in reality, how many Oilers have actually shown up on a game by game basis?

        I would say McDavid has brought it most nights.
        Nurse has brought it most nights.
        I am not much of a fan of him as a player but I have to say that Russell has brought it most nights. The results might not always be there but it’s not for a lack of trying and if I am telling the truth, he actually hasn’t been too bad.
        But t after than I am struggling to pick out another one.

        I don’t even think Talbot has brought his A game on a lot of nights. Maybe it’s the kids factoring in. I have 2 kids and for the first year, especially the first 6 months, its basically eat and sleep, they don’t do much and a lot of it falls on mommy because there is only so much a dad can do especially if there is any breast feeding. So he would have been in that first year with his twins last year. Kids only get more busy and demanding as they get older. So maybe he’s not handling the kids as well this year? I am just trying to figure out what is going on this season that is different because from basically game 2 against the Canucks, he hasn’t been that good. Last year, Talbot was excellent the whole season and he played a ridiculous amount. This year, he’s had spurts of being good but he’s been inconsistent and he hasn’t played anywhere near as good as last year. I definitely didn’t see that coming.

  • OilersGM

    Letestu B- more like F-
    You should’ve graded the GM and the coaches as well.
    GM gets an F for being fleeced.
    McLellan gets S for stubborn.
    Assistant coaches get GL for get lost.

  • crabman

    This whole grading thing seems bias across the board. I know it’s just an opinion piece but was there any system or real thought put into it? Like are you judging based on how good you think a player should be? How big of a part of your decision is based on salary? Because right off the top that just sets you up to be bias. Players should be judged based solely by their play and results. for example do schools consider if you come from a wealthy family and have a tutor helping you after class. You come from better genes, a smarter family? No you either get answers right or wrong. you are doing well or not.
    Do you really think Khaira has been our 3rd best forward? Puljujarvi is playing as well as Draisaitl and Slepyshev, a player not able to stay in the lineup, is almost as good as both and better than half the other forwards? This whole system is ridiculous and you are clearly out to lunch with your evaluating ability.

  • JayTee

    When people say “Connor needs to shoot more”, what does that even mean? He’s top-20 in SOG, he has 15 more SOG than the next closest teammate. If anything, other players on the team need to shoot more. Looch only has 88. Strome only has 78, Kassian has 56. Connor and JP are really the only shooters on the team.

    • crabman

      Connor has by far the most opportunities to shoot. He drives the offense and has the puck on his stick the most. The pp also runs through him. He has a good shot but looks to pass first and defencemen cheat on the pass. If he shot more and scored a few more goals the defencemen would be forced to respect it more and that alone would open up more passing lanes. The same thing was said about Crosby in the beginning. Just because he shoots more than the rest of the Oilers doesn’t mean he shouldn’t shoot more.

  • Coach Rick

    wow…after Conner and RNH…looks like homer grades across the board!
    Give me a break we are 20-23 with the best player in the game. More c’s more d’s pal!

  • TKB2677

    I am looking forward to the defense grades. If Slep gets a C for starting on the IR, doing nothing when he is healthy and scratched a ton, I can’t wait to see what Klefbom gets. Klefbom has had a bad year so you can’t give him an A so maybe B+?

  • GK1980

    Connor has been fine, it’s his other playmates not finishing his amazing vision and passing that’s the problem. They need a smart winger to play with him with speed. Drai was a tough situation. 8.5 is a ton of cash. I like the guy and he will only get better just not sure if he will ever meet that hefty contract. They need some young spunky forwards on this team, team needs more speed. Overall all forwards need to be more tenacious.

  • Kneedroptalbot

    If I was building a team I would only have interest in 4 players:
    Mick David (no brainer)
    Nuge (plays all situations, defensively responsible, team best)
    Puljujarvi (skates well, fast release, best on team)
    Draisaitl (skys the limit, could be a playoff dominator like Kesler)