Photo Credit: Tom Kostiuk

Monday Mailbag – Can Cam Talbot rebound?

My friends, it’s that wonderful time of the week where we answer all of the questions you’ve always wanted to know about the NHL, and about life, answered by our panel of bloggers life coaches. Feel free 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. Enjoy.

Mar 25, 2018; Edmonton, Alberta, CAN; Edmonton Oilers goalie Cam Talbot (33) reacts to a goal from the Anaheim Ducks during the third period at Rogers Place. Ducks won the game 5-4 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Walter Tychnowicz-USA TODAY Sports

1) @SMaloughney asks – Talbot had a poor year but his career numbers suggest he should bounce back. What do you equate his poor season to and are you comfortable with him as the starter next year?

Jason Gregor:

I’m fine with him being the starter. He had a tough start, lost his confidence and like the rest of the team struggled for the first 60 games. In the final 20 games he was back to around his career average sv%, hovering at .919. I expect he will be more like the Talbot of the first two years, than the first 60 games this season.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

Robin Brownlee:

Broad question, but if I had to narrow it down to one thing it would be all the early goals Talbot allowed and how his confidence waned at times.  Nothing good comes from having to dig the puck out of your net on the first couple of shots before you’re even settled in. I think we’ll see him bounce back next season.

Dustin Nielson:

I’d be comfortable with him as the starter next year because his play did pick up over the last 20 games. I would try to bring in a back up that could push him a bit and possibly reduce the workload.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

Matt Henderson:

I think he had baby twins and his entire life was probably upended. No focus. No sleep. Life in a constant state of panic. As the year went on and his life began to normalize, so did his save percentage. I’m confident in him, but that doesn’t mean the team shouldn’t always be looking for the next goalie of the future.

Chris Pagnani:

I’d agree with that. Truthfully, I don’t think anyone knows. Did he play too much last season? Is he fatigued? Are the Oilers allowing higher quality chances? I’d be fine with Talbot as the starter but I don’t think you can go into 2018-19 with Al Montoya as the backup. They need a better backup that can challenge Talbot and possibly play 30 games if needed.


The last quarter of Talbot’s year saw him getting back to the kind of numbers we expect from him and I’m not overly concerned about him going into next year. The home PK will be better which will help his numbers too. I’d bet that he’ll be closer to .919-.920 next year rather than the .908 we saw this year.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below
Mar 18, 2018; Tampa, FL, USA; Edmonton Oilers center Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (93) during the third period at Amalie Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

2) Layne asks – If you take Connor McDavid out of the equation, who is your Oilers MVP for the 2017-18 season?

Jason Gregor:

I’d say Leon Draisaitl. He had 70 points, including 55 at even strength. He still has room to improve, but I’d go with him.

Robin Brownlee:

Leon Draisaitl.

Dustin Nielson:

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

This is a great question because I honestly have no idea who the answer should be. I’ll go with Nugent-Hopkins. He had a pretty nice season going before the injury and did a very nice job once he got back as well.

Matt Henderson:

I’m going with Nuge. Until he cracked his ribs he was on pace for a career year — and that was before McLellan gave him a chance on Connor’s wing. He’s my guy.

Chris Pagnani:

The Oilers without McDavid on the ice are really bad. I think there are some players you could argue, but I’d go with the fans. They supported another losing product during arguably the most disappointing season in the last decade. There’s no one sans McDavid that stands out to me.


Easy. Nuge. He was the most consistent forward all season, tied a career-high in goals, and had it not been for those cracked ribs he would have passed 60 points.

Apr 16, 2017; San Jose, CA, USA; Edmonton Oilers head coach Todd McLellan watches the game against the San Jose Sharks in the second period of game three in the first round of the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs at SAP Center at San Jose. Mandatory Credit: John Hefti-USA TODAY Sports

3) Bruce asks – With the season ending on Saturday night, I’d like to know your best guess about what happens to Todd McLellan and his coaching staff. Do they make it back for next season?

Jason Gregor:

McLellan will be back. He has two years remaining on his deal that pays him $3 mill/season. I could see all three assistants not being renewed. Ian Herbers never really got a chance to do much coaching, being the fourth guy, but Jim Johnson oversaw a bad PK for two years and I’m not if he is a great communicator on defence. I think those two are gone for sure. Jay Woodcroft might stick. I’d say it is 50/50 on him. I also see them hiring a new head coach in Bakersfield.

Robin Brownlee:

My guess is that McLellan stays, but I’d bet the farm there will a change, maybe two, with the assistant coaches. A team can’t have a PK that bad and that falls to Jim Johnson. Is Ian Herbers under-utilized as the fourth guy? I’m thinking Ian might opt to return to the U of A.

Dustin Nielson:

Todd McLellan makes it back for another season. We know he is loyal to his assistant coaches, so I’d guess they might return as well. When Ian Herbers left the Bears he had an option to return in three years, I wonder if he goes back to the Bears and they get a fresh face in that spot. I know that really doesn’t change much but it could be a minor move that they make.

Matt Henderson:

I think IF Todd is coaching next year, he’s going to need to axe his assistants. At least, that’s what should happen.

Chris Pagnani:

I bet Todd McLellan returns with some changes to his assistant coaches. I doubt he’s going to let go of guys he’s coached with for a decade, but I can see a new assistant added to the staff. The organization seems to be preaching continuity for better or worse.


Honestly, with this team, you never know what’s going to happen so I wouldn’t be surprised if the same coaching staff is back or if they all get let go. Firing McLellan would be Chiarelli’s last move to save his job so I can see that being the case.

Nov 24, 2017; Buffalo, NY, USA; Edmonton Oilers right wing Jesse Puljujarvi (98) looks for the puck during the first period against the Buffalo Sabres at KeyBank Center. Mandatory Credit: Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

4) Amy asks – Jesse Puljujarvi is a hot topic these days and I’m wondering what he needs to do differently to earn more opportunity on the power play? By my eye, it seems like almost everyone has had a chance to make the power play work except for Pool Party.

Jason Gregor:

He needs to read the play better. Just needs more experience. Learn not to crowd McDavid is one thing. But I’d rather focus more on his 5×5 play. I’m not down on Puljujarvi at all. I think he will be a solid NHL player, but he has an immature game at this point, and I think he would have been better served not being in the NHL the past two years (or 1.5 years).

Robin Brownlee:

He needs to be a pro, gather experience, continue to develop his game and make the most of the opportunity when it comes. Everything else is out of his control. There was a lot more wrong with the power play this season than Puljujarvi not being on it.

Dustin Nielson:

From what I’ve been told the coaching staff isn’t overly impressed with his shot. So I’m assuming they will tell him in the exit meetings that if works on his shot he will get a look in the one-timer spot on the second unit PP to start next season.

Matt Henderson:

Not be foreign.

Chris Pagnani:

He’s right-handed, which should make him an attractive option for either unit. The Oilers seriously lack skilled right-handed players for the power play. I don’t know why he was up here if he was playing a third-line role with minimal power play time. I’d rather see him getting huge minutes in Bakersfield instead.


The kid is 19-years-old and should have been playing in the AHL all year so I’m not sure why anyone is surprised that he struggled a little bit. The Oilers need to support him and give him the time he needs because not every prospect develops at the same rate. As for the power play, who knows why he wasn’t on it but I’d guess it has something to do with those damned sideburns.

Email sent from: “Grant, Rob” [email protected] Subject: getty chiarelli Date: 12 April, 2015 8:14:40 PM EDT Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli LOS ANGELES, CA – JUNE 25: General Manager of the Boston Bruins Peter Chiarelli attends the 2010 NHL Entry Draft at Staples Center on June 25, 2010 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

5) @RPW_1832 asks – Do we think the lack of pushback from Todd and Chia through the media to the NHL over the lack of Connor calls and strange goal reviews show these players that they don’t have their backs?

Jason Gregor:

Not at all.

Robin Brownlee:

Lack of pushback through the media? Whining after the fact through the media isn’t pushback, it’s grandstanding that often draws the opposite reaction than what you are seeking. So, no, it doesn’t show the players they don’t have their backs.

Dustin Nielson:

I don’t think the players would change their opinion’s of a coach or GM based on them voicing their frustration with officiating in the media. It would nice for us in the media to see it because it would be a hot topic for discussion but you just don’t see it very often.

Matt Henderson:

I think the Oilers needed their coach to show the team he had their back and was going to take the fine in November. Nobody in the organization stepped up. You’d have to find Chiarelli before you can get a quote from him.

Chris Pagnani:

I don’t think we know how much was said behind the scenes.


The refs were horrible regardless of which team you cheer for so I’m not sure how much of a difference it would have made in the end. It would have been nice to see one of them go balistic about it but meh. What are you gonna do?


Lexus South Pointe is the official automotive partner of Oilersnation. As citizens of the Nation, you receive exclusive discounts & perks no matter what you drive!

Our state-of-the-art facility also includes a virtual golf simulator, spa, and rooftop patio. Find us on the corner of Ellerslie and Gateway for all your vehicle needs. Check us out on our website here.

  • Dan 1919

    Interesting that you guys think the assistants will be gone. I thought Mclellan was in charge of picking the assistants and would determine if they stay or go, and he always says his group wins and fails together.

    So based on your assumption of the assistants getting fired, are you saying Todd will fire them, or Chiarelli will overrule Todd and fire them himself? (Note, no sarcasm, actually curious)

    • ubermiguel

      “Wins and fails together” is a nice thing to say to the media. Behind closed doors he’d better be holding his assistants accountable, and that might mean firing them.

    • toprightcorner

      McLellan had to prove he is loyal to the team ahead of his friends and that he is not too stubborn to rethink his coaching strategy for next year and put more emphasis on pace with speed quickly becoming one of the most important focuses in hockey. I think Charelli recommends it but leaves the decision up to Todd and what Todd does will really give PC an idea of how long he can support and trust his head coach.

  • Gary

    You should ask. How many fans will renew their season tickets next year ?

    This is by far the worst Oilers team I have in the past 10 years with nothing in the chamber. I know what I’m doing with my $14,000 next year.

    • Hemmercules

      I’m guessing they have no problem selling the tickets and that building will be packed for 41 games next year. They have Connor McDavid and the new building. They were selling out the old building as bottom feeders with Taylor Hall for years. Someone will be glad to take your tickets I have zero doubt.

    • Sammy D

      I didn’t renew my tickets either, and I have no doubt that out of the 1000s on the waiting list, my tickets will be picked up. I will not be missed one little bit by the organization.

  • Serious Gord

    1. He should bounce back a little bit at the very least if he has a fully healthy defence in front of him. If he doesn’t it will be another lost season – regardless of whatever else happens.

    2. RNH is MVP. Draisaitl seemed to check out in far too many games.

    3. The only exits we see may only be the voluntary ones. Herbers back to UOfA perhaps. That’s not what should happen but the mucky mucks have circled the wagons.

    4. JP has some growing up to do. That noted his hockey IQ might not be at an NHL level (and may be why Columbus passed on him – a Finn GM may have had a bit more info than the rest of the league)

    5. I don’t think MCD was that hard done by compared to any other young star over the years – except Gretzky who was protected by the league. I’m sure Mario would tell us to cry him a river…

  • Billy Charlebois

    Regarding the need for a better backup for Talbot, I’m not sure why we can’t go with Montoya for 1 more season. He’s under contract for next season and we burned a draft pick to get him. If he’s truly not up to the task, for the life of me I don’t know why the Oil traded for him, given where they were this season.

    • LAKID

      Montoya is not good enough and it showed when the Oilers would not put him in a position to take over the #1 spot that was abondoned by Talbot. Chia traded for a goalie that was going on waivers that in it’s self should be the death nell. The Oiler’s need a true #1 goalie, demote Talbot and trade Montoya if possible. Montoya will probably be waived and claimed for nothing good trade Chia.

      • NoBuBlackOPS

        And exactly how does demoting talbot help the oilers??? The 960k in cap saving does nothing considering the new deals we need to give out and other roster spots to adress. How exactly do you bring in another goalie while demoting talbot who would still be carrying a 3 mil cap hit?

    • percy

      I agree. Can’t figure out why he didn’t get more starts towards the end of the season. Against Calgary, Vancouver, etc. Win or lose its a win win situation. This coaching staff needs to go. Tunnel Vision…..

      • toprightcorner

        Better to let Talbot finish the season on a positive note and not sitting on the bench. You had a top 5 goalie last year, you do what ever you can to help him get back to that level of play the following year.

        3 years ago everyone though Rinne was done when he dropped to an uncharacteristic .908 SV% and was under .900 for the first half of the season. He bounced back to his normal self. You can’t judge a goalie on 1 bad season when he has had success in the past. Prior to this season, Talbots career SV% was actually higher than Rinnes. Smaller sample, but multiple years so not like his success was an apparition.

  • Snoop Scottie Dogg

    One of two things will happen with Talbot. He will either have a great season next year and the oilers won’t be able to fit in a new (bigger) contract or he will repeat this year and not be resigned. Either way, Talbot is gone after next season.

    • crabman

      I think if Talbot returns to career average stats he will still only cost the Oilers a small raise to bring him to between $4.5M-$5.5M per season. That would put him 14-19 highest paid goalie right around where his career stats would put him as well. That of course goes up with team success. If the Oilers have a great season and a great playoffs on the back of Talbot his salary would go up but just a return to career averages and giving the Oilers a chance to win every night won’t come with a big raise.

  • ed from edmonton

    I’m not as convinced about TMc’s return. The cost of paying him out for the next two years is not much as an issue as Katz, as far as we can tell, has never shyed away from bucking up. I wouldn’t be shocked if TMc is out of the jb by mid week. If he stays whether he shakes up is assistants will be interesting. He has often stated that he Woodruff and Johnson are a team.

    The quickness of the NHL game is still a challenge to JP. I don’t think there is a magic wand that cures this. Hopefully this comes with more playing time. For some players it does, for some it doesn’t. Keep in mind he is just 19.

  • 1ncinawhile

    I can’t believe the Oilers didn’t spend some money and hire full time English teacher for JP… this should have been done the day after he was drafted – Clearly a coaching/management miss step. As for Talbot – fingers are crossed… but 20 games in, if he hasn’t shown signs of rebound year, a trade for #1 goalie is a MUST… you won’t make it to the playoffs without a good goal tender – never mind the playoffs…

    • Glencontrolurstik

      JP has to be serious about learning first. His first step should be wanting to progress to adult-hood. He’ll be fine after that decision is made.

  • JimmyV1965

    I don’t know how anyone can be comfortable with Talbot returning as the #1 goalie. He’s been here three years and has been awful to start the season in two of them. Who cares if he has a .920 save % in the final month when the team is already out of the playoffs. He’s the starter for now and there’s not much we can do about it. But we absolutely have to get a better backup than Montoya.

    • freelancer

      I’ve heard this argument a few times on this site so allow me to provide my thoughts. Take them as you will.

      Talbot started the 2015-2016 season fairly strong but had a rough patch at the end of October and into November. He posted above a .910 Sv% after January first. A team that had Nikitn and Griffin Reinhart on the backend remember.

      Last season was the first time in years we had a capable backend with Klefbom playing as a #1. Talbot set a franchise record.

      This season Klefbom played through the season with shoulder injuries, Sekera was gonna until December and came back a shadow of his former self, Larsson dealt with off ice issues and the coaching staff royally screwed up the PK.

      Yes Talbot has to be better (the first goal issue for a number of games hurt) however his career numbers show him to be a above .915 goaltender.

    • ed from edmonton

      Agree that Talbot will be the biggest wild card going into next season. Also agree that in two of three years here he hasn’t been good starting the year. Having said all that the Oil’s fortunes next year are tied to Talbot’s performance. Whether there is some kind of “insurance policy” I don’t know. I do know that Matoya is not an insurance policy.

    • toprightcorner

      .941, .926, .917, .919 were his SV% his first 4 years in the league. Even with a drop to .908 this year, his career avg is still .918. Shorter period of time but happens to be the same career avg as Rinne. He had a bad year, nobody is denying that, but I think the team holds some responsibility for the numbers being as bad as they are. I would say 70% of the number drop is on Talbot and 30% is on the poor play in front of him. If that puts him at a .912 instead of his .908, that ranks him 20th with more that 35 games played. History and stats say he will have a bounce back season.

  • Odanada

    I am really down on the coaching. After the DOD, everyone is wary of the carousel of coaches, but sometimes a change is what is needed. Todd seemed stuck in a rut, trying the same thing over and over with poor results.
    Ive been watching hockey for over 45 years and while I’m no expert, I know what I see. Either the players are too poor to execute the coaching strategy, the players have tuned the coaches out or the coaches simply can’t adapt to the situation they find themselves in. Any way you look at it, the result was a dismal season.
    I’d like to see a strong coach hired, but please, no one from the OBC. As far as I am concerned, reuniting the 80s Oilers as a management team is pure poison. They were great players back in the day, but as managers? It’s just a recipe for failure.
    Someone (new) needs to come in and fire these guys up and get them to believe in one another, the way Gallant has in Vegas. I just don’t think Todd is that guy. Whatever he brings to the table, it’s like his time has passed and the opportunity gone.
    Time for some new blood

  • Rama Lama

    I just hope the TM has his team prepared to play at the start of the season………no more trying to figure out who stays and who goes 15 games into the season!

    I will take my cues from player comments ( all season long) that basically they were trying to adjust with the line-blendering approach from a desperate coach. More than one player said it’s hard to to adjust and gain chemistry when you never know who you are going to play with game to game or in this case shift to shift.

    Develop lines in the pre-season and go with them for at least a few games…….for the love of God.

    I for one will predict that nothing will change with this coach, he seems to be stuck in a rut.

  • Talbot bounces back, maybe yes maybe no, but you can’t take that chance. Most think he will, but there has to be insurance, as in a solid backup. There is also the matter of cleaning up deficiencies on defense.

    Another lost season if you’re wrong.

  • camdog

    Jay Woodcroft has been with Todd for 10 years. If Todd looked uncomfortable this season with his guys, imagine how he’ll look with somebody else’s guys? I think Todd would rather be fired.

      • camdog

        I can’t see Jay Woodcroft being replaced. After all the organization has already said not having a shot on the right side is the issue. Don’t know how Johnson can come back, he had a bad penalty kill last year and Talbot was one of the best goalies in the world while short handed.

        • toprightcorner

          I’m sorry, but a lack of a right shot is not an excuse for such a terrible PP that has the best offensive player in the NHL . There was zero improvement all season and nothing seemed to change. The stubborness not to adapt the setup is a failure. If he would have tried a few other ideas without success, then you could put more of it on the players and at least the coach tried to find a solution. They basically said, this isn’t working but I will keep doing it this way to prove I am right, except it only proved he was wrong.

          A top 10 PP means likely mission the playoffs by only 8 pts and gives McDavid another 20 pts and the MVP is gift wrapped for him.

  • toprightcorner

    Matt Hendereson again proves he pushes personal opinion rather than listen to facts. Talbot’s kids had no affect on his play, even he said that his wife always kept the kids away during his naps and he always got more sleep. He said he got more sleep this year than last year, when they were new borns. It is ridiculous for a writer to completely contradict what the player says, that is just stating wring information to all of the readers.

    • freelancer

      I’m guessing you don’t have kids? Doesn’t matter if wife is keeping kids away being a young father is exhausting on a mental and physical level.

      Also he’s an athlete, I hardly expect him to say “yeah my stupid kids are to blame”
      Not saying it is the only reason as Talbot certainly needs to be better but don’t let your disagreement with a writer cloud your opinion.

      • toprightcorner

        I do have kids, but also know the first year is the most exhausting and last year didn’t seem to bother Talbot in the slightest. The kids should have been less of an issue this year. It was said last year that it was proven that the first 6-8 months of new borns have a negative affect on goalies statistically and then they bounce back. Being the only media person trying to force that as an excuse shows how out of touch they are with reality.

      • crabman

        I have kids they are exhausting. I’m sure Talbot’s kids have thrown a wrench in his off ice preparation. But he is a professional. Many other players in the league have young children and had amazing seasons. If Talbot’s kids are that time consuming and effecting his career I’m sure he would use some of his millions of dollars and have a nanny and a maid.
        Having kids can’t be used as an excuse for poor results in a job that employs 18-35 year olds. Everyone has kids.
        The fact that Talbot doesn’t use it as an excuse but some people still point to it as the reason he has struggled at times this year is ridiculous. What happens next year? He’s still going to have kids and 2 and 3 year olds are a lot more work than 1 year olds.

  • toprightcorner

    Talbot already rebounded from his terrible start by being a top 8 goalie for the final 25% of the season. I think his confidence got hit harder than normal because the team also played terrible and didn’t bail him out so he put even more pressure on himself.

  • toprightcorner

    Everyone seems to want to upgrade the backup to someone that pushes Talbot. I don’t see this as feasible as those types of backups cost over $2.5 mill and the Oilers don’t have the cap space for that type of goalie to play 18-22 games. Thats equivalent to paying a regular 4th liner $3 mill a year.

    There are better backups available than Montoya, but i doubt you could sign one as they know in Edmonton they are a definite backup. I am fine with Montoya, he is good in the room and he has experience as a backup and I doubt you could improve on him for the same salary. Kudobin would be fantastic but I doubt he goes anywhere for under $2.5 mill. I would rather that extra $1.5 mill go towards a top 6 winger than a back up goalie.

  • Jason Gregor

    “I think he had baby twins and his entire life was probably upended. No focus. No sleep. Life in a constant state of panic. As the year went on and his life began to normalize, so did his save percentage.”
    Matt Henderson, Talbot said this about his young children. “This year was much easier. They weren’t waking up three times during the night. They slept through the night. My family life had nothing to do with my on ice play.”

    His twins were born in October, 2016. He played all last year, 70 starts, and it wasn’t an issue. Wasn’t an issue this year.

  • TKB2677

    My opinions on the questions:

    #1 I have 2 young boys. Kids don’t come with instructions so I remember the learning curve that first year and a bit being INSANELY steep. That was with 1 kid at a time. Talbot has 2 at the same age so he and his wife have TWICE the work and twice the worry. Both my kids weren’t very good sleepers and for the first 1.5 years of each of their lives, I was a zombie at work. I work at a desk so I can do my job when I am not 100%. Talbot is a high performance athlete who needs to be 100% focused and has a margin of error razor thin. So if you aren’t 100% rested or focused thanks to your home life, it will affect you. Talbot’s kids were born in Oct, 2016. I remember my kids and every month after they turned 1 yr old, it got a tiny bit easier. With each month that passed, they slept a little longer and ate more real food. Every month after 1 yr, I wasn’t getting woken up as much, we didn’t have to feed them as much, we weren’t changing diapers as much and our lives started to go back to being somewhat normal. Is it any coincidence that as the season went on, he got better?

    2. I would say Leon was their MVP followed closely by Nuge. I find it amazing how much crap Leon takes. He had 70 pts in 78 games. He missed 4 games due to a concussion but how many games after he came back was he not 100% right?
    3. I think McLellan stays strictly because the Oilers have swapped out SO many coaches. I do think if he stays, he has to change out his coaching staff. I don’t see how even he can think optically he can go into next year with the same guys.
    4. Puljujarvi. I have said it in different posts. The difference between Puljujarvi and Yamamoto in age is 4.5 months. There isn’t a person in Oiler land who thinks Yamamoto should be anywhere except junior. Most people think he should start next season in the AHL. So because Puljujarvi is 4.5 months older and bigger, he suddenly should be a top 6 guy? I don’t get it.
    5. I don’t get what you get out of the coach or GM ripping a strip off the officials. How does that help you?

  • toprightcorner

    The Oilers should have their video guy put together a package with all of the obvious missed hooking/holding/tripping/slashing calls against McDavid, and there were some brutal misses. They should then send that to the NHL and ask them to explain how these do not constitute as a penalty based on the rules. There is probably at least 60 very obvious penalties that were missed. If even half of those were called, that is a huge difference, especially for a team with one of the fewest PP opportunities in the league.

    I would even make some videos of some other elite players of the same thing and tell the NHL that they are suffocating the game if you allow so many non-calls against the elite players that draw people and money to the game.

    To me it is less of a McDavid thing and more of a league wide ineptitude of calling the rule book the way it is written. It is a joke and a travesty towards the game.

  • toprightcorner

    If I am Chairelli, I talk with McLellan and explain to him that the PP and PK were horrendous this year and that it is unacceptable to have the best offensive player in the league and the second best center duo in the league and not be able to design a PP that is at minimum in the top 10 in the league. Also that the same lack of the dmen pushing the puck up ice instead of passing it back and forth never improved at all throughout the season. Then tell McLellan that he has to prove that his loyalty is to the team and not his long time assistant coaches and that he has to make changes and that in the NHL, no team that posted one of the wort PK of all time would ever keep their job.

    Chairelli shouldn’t tell McLellan he has to fire his staff but that by going into the next season with his staff makes his leash considerably shorter but a full change over buys him more time to turn things around.

    If McLellan fires his staff, you know you have a coach who puts the team first, if he doesn’t, then you know he is more loyal to his friends than his team and he has a very, very short leash next year and if they have a bad October, everyone is gone.

    If McLellan refuses to fire anyone, I would seriously consider hiring Vigneault knowing that McLellan is too stubborn to make a change in staff and then likely his coaching system.

  • toprightcorner

    I agree that Puljujarvi has to mature much more as a hockey player. He has been a player who has had success with open ice growing up, because it was always there on the bigger ice. This is the first time that he has had to try to find open ice and that is not easy when you are trying to work on so many other things. It would have been so much easier for him to figure out how to find open ice in the AHL where the game is significantly slower. It was a mistake not to have him play his entire 1st year in the AHL. That lost development time put him behind the 8-ball this year and it was hard to catch up. He has show glimpses of it and hopefully he takes a solid step forward next year. I would even like to see him start 20 games in the AHL next season. He needs to show he can make an impact in the AHL before we can expect him to make an impact in the NHL. Look at Rantanen. He played his entire 1st year in the AHL, started slow but really took off in the second half of the season and was a point a game guy. He translated what he learned and had a solid rookie season last year and blossomed this year. I am not saying the JP will score 80 pts, but that the more time a European spends in the AHL, the faster and better they develop. Look at Pastrnak, Rackel, Arvidson, Fiala and Namestnikov, they all grew up on the big ice surface and each stayed in the AHL until the made an impact there before playing in the NHL and within 2 years in the NHL they all started making an impact.

    JP’s development is likely 1 year behind due to rushing him to the NHL.