Happy Monday, fine citizens. I hope you all had a wonderful weekend filled with memories and moments that you’ll cherish for a lifetime. Now that you’re back to work, it’s important to have something like this here mailbag to not only help you kill some company time and get you back home but also to teach you a little something about the Oilers and life in general. As always, this feature is completely dependent on you guys. If you’ve got a question you can email it to me at email@example.com or DM on Twitter at @jsbmbaggedmilk. Until then, enjoy another free lesson from our stable of writers.
1) Nathan asks – I never expected the Darnell Nurse contract situation to have lasted until September and my question is whether or not holding out a little bit like this adds unnecessary pressure on both the player and team? I guess I’m concerned that the delays add yet another distraction to a young players game.
He hasn’t held out yet. Training camp doesn’t start until next Friday. I don’t see any distraction at this point. His training went well. He worked on what he wanted to. Every year there are some RFAs without arbitration rights who don’t have contracts. Nurse is in the same boat as Shea Theodore, Josh Morrissey, William Nylander and Sam Reinhart. Keep in mind players don’t actually get paid until the regular season begins, so I don’t see it as a “distraction” for him until he misses a pay check.
If he misses the first week of training camp it is not ideal, no question, and the more he misses the more it lowers his chances of having a great start. Players use the preseason to get their timing ready. For me it doesn’t become a real concern until he starts missing time. A week is a long time to negotiate. For the Oilers and Nurse’s sake it makes the most sense to have him in camp. I just don’t understand what his agent could be asking for. Brandon Montour signed for $3.387 mill/year for two years this summer. He had 32 points to Nurse’s 26. Nurse had more EV points, but Montour had more PP points. Their minutes played breakdown was as follows.
Total TOI EV TOI PP TOI SH TOI
Nurse 1824 1662 39 182
Montour 1637 1331 179 96
Their overall P/60 was 1.14 (Montour) and 0.69 (Nurse). Nurse did have 26 EV points to Montour’s 18. Nurse P/60 at EV was 0.8 to Montour’s 0.52. But on the PP Nurse had zero points while Montour had 12 (4.14 P/60).
They play different styles and Nurse produced more on EV, but Montour did 12x more on the PP. I don’t see how Nurse’s camp could be asking for more than Montour. And the Oilers realistically have no comparisons to use to offer less than $3 million. I’ve said all summer the numbers are pretty clear on this one from where I sit. The deal should get done before camp, and if it doesn’t then one side is out of whack with what they are asking for.
Nurse and agent Anton Thun can avoid what you call unnecessary pressure by signing the deal. There’s very little wiggle room here because of the cap situation. I don’t see pressure myself. If he’s signed, he comes to camp. If there’s no deal, he won’t. That’s his call. The problem starts if he misses time in camp and starts out behind everybody else.
It isn’t really a hold out until the pre-season starts. There are a handful of RFAs still unsigned. This isn’t uncommon. It’s only an issue here because people are starving for hockey news.
Chris the Intern:
Honestly, I’m pretty confident that a deal is going to get done and I’m not overly concerned about it taking too long. I have a feeling the Oilers are trying to jip Nurse out of a half-decent bridge deal so I’m more worried about how much Nurse is going to hate management after this whole debacle is done. If training camp begins and no contract is done THEN I’ll start to panic.
I mean, sure, you’d always want to have had this thing settled months ago but here we are. As long as Nurse is signed before training camp starts then I don’t really mind.
2) Dave in Hamilton asks – Two questions for you… what did you think of the Oilers retro jersey reveal and the fact that they’ll only be wearing them four times this season? Which is your favourite all-time Oilers jersey?
It was used a few years ago, so I’m not sure I’d call it retro. The blue is a great jersey and they should use it more than four times a year if I was them.
Not really retro for me. I measure retro in decades, not a year or two. It’s a way to sell more merchandise. I like the Heritage Classic jerseys the best.
I badly want something from the late-90s and early 2000s back. I don’t really consider this retro because they used it like two years ago. If you’re going to have a third jersey, make it totally different from your main two.
Chris the Intern:
How can you not love the meteor jersey? I think it’s so slick and would make for a great third jersey. I find it comical that the jersey they wore two years ago is now considered a ‘retro’ jersey. AND them wearing it only four times in an 82 game season seems absolutely unnecessary to me. This sort of stuff from the organization doesn’t even surprise me anymore.
First, I laugh when I think about these being “retro” jerseys. That aside, I love these and wish the Oilers would go back to them full time. I don’t mind the orange, but much prefer the blue body and orange shoulders.
3) Sarah H. asks – Since the Oilers are starting their season in Sweden, I would like to ask the writers whether or not they think that the shortened training camp will be at all beneficial because the team will be able to start moving forward together sooner than otherwise possible?
They really aren’t getting together sooner though. They will play seven exhibitions game before leaving to Germany. The seventh game is on September 29th. All NHL teams need to have their roster down to 23 players by October 1st (Monday). The regular season begins October 3rd, the same day the Oilers play their final “preseason” game in Cologne, Germany. The Oilers start the regular season on October 6th. The Oilers will cut their team down likely one day sooner. They will only take the 23-man roster to Cologne. So they really won’t be together sooner. They will be together for 18 days on the road and that could help, but they need to win games earlier, otherwise that long on the road together could be a negative if they are 1-3 or 0-4.
I’d rather see more time in camp and fewer games in pre-season, but that’s just me. For me, this much time on the road between the trip to Europe and the end of the first road trip is not ideal, especially if they start poorly.
I’m not sure. On one hand, starting on the road is a unique chance for team bonding. On the other, they have a hell of a road trip through the Eastern Conference early on in the season that could result in them getting off to another bad start.
Chris the Intern:
For sure. I remember the last couple years thinking how long training camp and the preseason games were. I’m sure the guys would rather start to play sooner than later instead of tiring themselves out before the season even starts. It will be a good test anyways.
It will definitely speed up the process of thinning the herd and maybe that’ll bring the boys together faster…? Travelling is always fun regardless of circumstance so maybe starting off the year in Europe will get the boys on the same page. I like the idea!
4) Alex V. asks – Oilers or otherwise, what is the most played out storyline from the offseason so far?
I’m not sure I understand the question. Played out as in repeated too often? I’d go with the “Lucic is finished as a player” argument. I’d argue that is premature.
Milan Lucic. He’s been the lightning rod for those prone to jumping ship when things go bad, as they did for the entire team last season.
People stressing about Nurse not having a contract is probably it for me.
Chris the Intern:
I don’t think there’s an overplayed storyline for the Oilers. The Lucic bounce back story has been strong, but I’ll never get sick of talking about it. In terms of the rest of the league, maybe all the Karlsson talk? JUST TRADE HIM ALREADY!
I’m excited to see what Lucic actually does this season because we’ve talked about him a lot this summer. Enough talk, let the big man play. Let’s see how this season shakes out.
5) Brady asks – In your opinion, what is the greatest NHL rivalry right now? What has to happen for the Oilers and Flames to get back to that level again? Can it happen without a playoff matchup?
No, it can’t happen without a playoff matchup. Dislike and animosity increases in the playoffs. Washington and Pittsburgh is the best one for me. Many superstars on each team and they have won the last three Stanley Cups and met in the playoffs each season.
You answered your own question. For a real rivalry, both teams have to be good and they need to meet in the playoffs. In the end, nobody cares who won game 17 of the season or where the all-time season series stands at, but knocking your rival out of the post-season fires things up. When is the last time that happened with the Oilers and the Flames? In recent years, I’d take the Capitals-Penguins.
I swear the best rivalry is between analytics fans and traditional fans. Actually, maybe it’s between cynical Oilers fans and STOP BEING NEGATIVE oilers fans. Man, the beef those people have over how to watch and talk about hockey games is really something else. It’s more intense than any on-ice rivalry right now.
Chris the Intern:
I think we need a playoff matchup or a good ol’ line brawl (which we’ll never see in the NHL ever again, it seems like). At this point I almost feel like the Ducks/Oilers rivalry is bigger than the Flames/Oilers strictly from the 2017 playoffs. Besides that, I know this rivalry has fizzled a little bit, but my favourite games to watch were the recent Habs/Bruins matchups. If the Habs get their act together this season, those two teams might be able to re-create a great thing.
I’d love to see the Oilers and Flames hooking up in the playoffs. Think of how much you hate the Anaheim Ducks. How much of that stems from the playoffs from two years ago? Let the boys do battle, it would be awesome.
If you’ve ever been to one of our season opener parties before, you already know that one of the best parts is getting 200 Nation citizens together to meet up and start off the new season on a high note. Not only are these parties a great way to get the band together, it’s especially fun to meet new people that you’ve been
arguing with talking to online for Gord knows how long.
WHAT YOU GET:
The bag: Exclusive Season Opener Party tee, Pint GC, Oodle Noodle GC, stickers, and a ticket to enter all of the draws and raffles
The giveaways: Memorabilia giveaways, NationGear giveaways,
Anything else: We’ll also be having a NationGear pop-up shop that features some of the new shirts and hoodies that we’ve got for the upcoming season.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
Where: The Pint Downtown
When: October 6th, with doors opening at 10 am and the hockey game starting at 11 am
Who: Every single one of you… that is of legal drinking age
Why: To celebrate the launch of a new season, get together, and to raise as much money as possible for our friends at KidSport
How much: Tickets are $25 each with net proceeds going directly to KidSport
How: Tickets are available here.