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Photo Credit: Tom Kostiuk

Monday Mailbag – How did the Oilers do at the NHL Draft?

Welcome, Nation, to another edition of the award-winning Monday Mailbag! Here we are on the first Monday after the NHL Draft and it’s time to get recap the weekend and get ourselves set for free agency. Once again, the mailbag is here to help you kill off a few minutes of company time with 3000 words of pure wisdom. How’s that for an early gift? As always, this feature depends on you so please send me your questions by email or Twitter for next week and I’ll try to sneak you in. Until then, I hope you all have a wonderful week and please enjoy the free learning opportunity.

1) James asks – What is everyone’s opinion on the tactics Jesse Puljujarvi’s agent is using with this trade request? Does the aggressive approach help or hurt the cause?

Jason Gregor:

The agent works for the player. Make no mistake Puljujarvi is on board with his agent going public. Taking it public doesn’t alter much in my eyes. Jonathon Drouin went public he wanted out of Tampa, and even left the team, but he returned and eventually was traded. Steve Yzerman was patient and didn’t trade Drouin until he found a trade he wanted. I suspect Ken Holland will do the same.

Robin Brownlee:

The agent works for the player and the player obviously wants out of Edmonton. Going public does nothing to enhance Holland’s ability to make a trade. Going public is always a bad move — the only question is degree, as in how bad?

Tyler Yaremchuk:

Going public is rarely ever a good thing. Puljujarvi could have just told the Oilers that he wants out and will not play in Edmonton next season and then they could have worked behind the scenes to get a deal done. Now, the Oilers are in a position of weakness when it comes to trades and that makes a trade more difficult to pull off. It’s a lose-lose situation at this point.

Chris the former Intern:

I think it definitely hurts both parties. Now the league knows he wants out, which reduced Holland’s power in any trade negotiation, AND doing it this way makes Jesse and his camp come off pretty badly in my opinion. Would anyone want a guy on his team where the agent pulls tricks like this?

Baggedmilk:

I think it’s dumb, personally. We all know that Puljujarvi wants out but I don’t see how scorching the earth like his agent seems to be doing helps anything at all.

2) Blake asks – Reports were circling social media this week that there are teams chasing Peter Chiarelli to join their management team. Does this surprise anyone else given how poor of a job he did here in Edmonton?

Jason Gregor:

Not really. The NHL is a very tight-knit community. Many people get third and fourth opportunities. He and Jim Benning worked together before so I’m not surprised he might hire a former co-worker. I’m curious to see what role he would have.

Robin Brownlee:

I’m not sure talking to Chiarelli amounts to “chasing” Chiarelli. Like any executive who has been around as long as Chiarelli has, he’s built a lot of relationships with people along the way. Won’t be surprised if one of those people gives him a chance

Tyler Yaremchuk:

It doesn’t surprise me at all. For the most part, the NHL is just a giant old boys club and everyone has friends in every organization. I’m sure there are executives that still think Chiarelli is a smart hockey man who can contribute to their organization. I don’t think we’ll ever see the day where Chiarelli is a general manager again, but I won’t be shocked to see him

Chris the former Intern:

Yeah, I’m pretty shocked. To be fair, these positions aren’t in the GM role which makes sense. Who knows, Chia might be able to thrive in a different hockey ops role in an organization, as long as it’s not general manager.

Baggedmilk:

Frankly, I don’t know why any team would touch Chiarelli with a ten-foot pole based on his uselessness here in Edmonton, but I am happy that it could be Vancouver that picks him up.

3) Ryan asks – I feel like the Oilers are going to be fixing Chiarelli’s mistakes for years to come. How long do you think it’s going to take to become a legitimate cup contender? I’m thinking 2022/23 in a best-case scenario relying heavily on our farm prospects.

Jason Gregor:

Hard to say. But I could see it happening in 2021 because of McDavid and Draisaitl. A lot can change in two years.

Robin Brownlee:

Define legitimate. I think the Oilers could make the playoffs next season. Would anybody have called them legitimate Cup contenders going into the 2006 playoffs? I can’t see Ken Holland making all the changes necessary to address every question about the roster in one off-season, but he could re-shape this team considerably by the start of the 2020-21 season.

Tyler Yaremchuk:

2022-23 sounds about right. They’ll have Sekera and Russell off the books and hopefully, by then players like Evan Bouchard, Caleb Jones, and Dmitri Somorukov are close to their full potential on the backend. Up front, Tyler Benson, Raphael Lavoie, and Kailer Yamamoto could be contributing at the NHL level as well. I know that’s a lot of wishful thinking, but they’ll have cap flexibility and potentially some good young players. In the summer of 2023, Milan Lucic comes off the books as well, so provided they play their cards right, they could be in a position to sign or acquire an impact player as well.

Chris the former Intern:

I think they’ll be playoff bound next season, but legit cup contenders? I agree, 2022/23, maybe a year earlier.

Baggedmilk:

Get in and you never know what can happen. I think the Oilers will make the playoffs this coming season and once that happens then it’s anyone’s game.

Jun 21, 2019; Vancouver, BC, Canada; Philip Broberg poses for a photo after being selected as the number eight overall pick to the Edmonton Oilers in the first round of the 2019 NHL Draft at Rogers Arena. Mandatory Credit: Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports

4) Trent asks – By the time this has been posted, the NHL Draft will have wrapped and I’m curious to know how everyone thinks the Oilers did?

Jason Gregor:

I wasn’t expecting them to do anything at the draft that would help them next year. I’d have drafted Boldy or Krebs, but that is me, and in a few years we will see how the players develop. The good news is under Ken Holland none of the players selected this past weekend will be rushed to the NHL. No more quick fixes and unrealistic expectations for 18 and 19 year olds.

Robin Brownlee:

How are we to know? Lots of consternation about taking Broberg eighth because it didn’t line up with projections by many scouting outfits and media types, but I don’t know how he’ll turn out and neither does anybody else. On the flipside, people think Raphael Lavoie was a steal with the 38th pick because he was rated higher by many. Again, we don’t know.

Tyler Yaremchuk:

Broberg was a reach at eighth overall, but I’ve never seen him play so I’m trying not to be too hard on the selection. In my opinion, they got an absolute steal at 38th overall with Raphael Lavoie. He looks to be a natural goal scorer and he has size as well. I have high hopes for him.

Chris the former Intern:

Meh, overall I’m not upset about anything. I never like to judge picks until I see these prospects at the pro level. We won’t know how these prospects pan out for a few years.

Baggedmilk:

I thought the Broberg pick was weird based on the forwards available in that slot but I’m not going to stress about it. Defensive depth matters so I can understand the overall idea and we’ll see how the upcoming year goes for the kid. I like Lavoie at #38 because the kid is gigantic and has some filthy mitts to go along with his size so he’ll be fun to track over the upcoming season.

5) Danger Pay asks – After seeing the success of the Raptors load management with Kawhi Leonard do you think NHL GM’s would use the same strategy? From the Oilers perspective, I can see the benefit of resting Sekera during back to backs, another team that comes to mind is SJ, Thornton and Karlsson seemed to breakdown during the playoffs. Could load management be the next NHL trend, is it already happening?

Jason Gregor:

You might see it with the odd older player, but I don’t see it becoming a trend. NHL stars only play 20-25 minutes a night compared to 33-36 for NBA players. Leonard was coming off a pretty significant injury, and while sports do copy cat, usually it pertains to the individual league. Could we see more NBA stars not play a full season after an injury? Absolutely.

Robin Brownlee:

More of a factor in basketball where key players can regularly play 33-plus minutes a night. The best NHL teams already manage the wear and tear on key players with optional practices and diminished ice time in games that get out of hand score-wise one way or another. I don’t see healthy players being kept out of the line-up for rest purposes.

Tyler Yaremchuk:

I think it could definitely benefit a team but I also think just shaving down some tough minutes during games could help as well. Easing the amount of defensive zone starts for Andrej Sekera, having him kill fewer penalties. That sort of thing. I don’t think we’ll ever get to the point in the NHL where Connor McDavid or Sidney Crosby are sitting the second half of back-to-backs simply for rest like we see in the NBA though.

Chris the former Intern:

That’s actually a pretty interesting strategy. I think circumstances would be dependent on where your team is in the standings, and what point of the season it is. I wouldn’t be opposed to it if the player and team are on board. AND you’ll need a deep roster to be able to pull it off as well.

Baggedmilk:

Limiting minutes makes sense but that already happens, depending on the situation. If your team is any good, the stars won’t have to play as much which isn’t necessarily the case in basketball.

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      • OilTastic

        Poorly as in the draft? I disagree. I thought the Broberg pick was fine, though I would have taken a forward as well. Would have been interesting to see if they would have still taken Broberg if Cozens was still on the board? And Lavoie was a steal. If just these two pan out then this draft is a success!

      • RJ

        A lot of mock drafts are done by people who have seen a lot of these prospects or are a consolidation of observations from scouts.

        It’s concerning to me that your type of criticism is being used, because this was the exact type of criticism used to defend Chia for his Reinhart trade.

  • Billy Charlebois

    I understand the concept of load management. It paid dividends for the Raptors this past season. My issue with it, especially when you rest your superstars, is how is that fair to ticket buyers? I know I wouldn’t be happy if I shelled out big dollars for a couple of tickets to see the Oilers and McDavid wasn’t playing because of load management.

    • Serious Gord

      Excellent excellent point.

      Actually witnessed this in person at a Red Sox home game two years ago:

      There was a veteran player who had played many years with the Sox on the opposing team (his name escapes me) who was scheduled to play his last game in Boston in this his final season. Lots of fans had planned their one visit to Fenway to see him (and paid big dough for the privilege) yet he was scratched. As you might imagine a lot of fans were ticked and in true Boston fashion were letting that team’s manager know it.

    • mcjesus take the wheel

      Load management in the NHL should be measured in minutes per game not actually games played. Our top guys get way too many minutes because the rest of the team is crap.

      • Danger Pay

        I disagree, there’s plenty of stats that show goalies struggle in the second half of back to backs. Resting a player (who is coming off an injury) during back to backs makes a lot of sense to me. Would you rather watch McDavid in a back to back regular season game or watch him play every playoff game? There are no back to backs in the playoffs.

  • Homer

    I think drafting defence makes since because you never know who is going to not make it. Having as many bullets as possible allows us to develop them and hopefully trade assets from a position of strength because defence is way harder to come by then forward depth as this organization has proven over and over again. Anyone interested in Nikita Nitkinin

  • Dave Marks

    Perhaps if the Oilers had taken Pulu’s trade request a few months back more seriously he wouldn’t have adopted the aggressive public stance he has taken now.

    • Moneyball

      Puljupouty is a spoiled player who if you recall last offseason when asked about playing in he nhl said “my place is in the nhl”. Who cares if he is traded or not, it will be good for his attitude to spend 2-3 years in the khl.

    • KootenayDan

      Would you have trusted Chiarelli to make that move then. Holland will play this the right way Jesse was not making any contribution anyways he can sit or go home.

  • Hemmercules

    I dont mind that they took a dman. Good defensemen cost a major premium to acquire so you can never have enough good ones in the system. And if you have too many you should be able to get a good player in return if you need to trade one. Even if they took a winger its not like he would be on the team immediately so they need to look outside the org to find NHL wingers at this point anyway. Sounds like they got a good player in Lavoie so hopefully he turns out. Maybe Holland is still good at finding gems past the first round but we won’t really know for a couple years. So far Holland hasn’t done anything stupid so I’m content.

    • blobbo

      Nurse is on the second year of a two year deal. I don’t want to think about it but he could become trade bait. The return for a forward could be pretty good and, suddenly, a stockpile of young defenders becomes relevant.

    • Rock11

      PK Subban, former Norris trophy winner and RHD, was just traded for two Dmen nobody has ever heard of and 2 second round picks. This “premium” people keep talking about is BS. I could argue that Carolina received more for taking the Marleau contract then Nashville got for Subban. JT Miller got a greater return than Subban. If anything the premium is on scoring and cap space.
      Holland just proved to me that he thinks he’s the smartest man in the room. An organization wide lack of scoring forwards and a draft full of them and he is so smart that he drafted a LHD that as of now is about 9th on the depth chart. I would argue that the pick was stupid.

      • KootenayDan

        Hmm Jersey gets a thirty year old declining overpaid defenseman and Nashville getting 9 million a year cap relief and 4 prospects not bad from what I see.

      • NoBuBlackOPS

        The premium in the subban trade was NJ taking his full 9mil cap hit that’s why the return was less. As NJ was the only team offering to do that everyone else wanted salary retained.

      • CityofWhat

        Actually the way I see it is Subban was traded for those draft picks and prospects but the main return is 9M cap relief to sign Duchene which wouldn’t have happened without that deal so consider Duchene pretty much part of the deal. Nashville is still pretty strong on D and lack scoring so that was a big reason that trade was made and also resigning Roman Josi.

      • Hemmercules

        Yes, but there is far more good wingers than good defensemen that teams are willing to move. With the cap crunch lots of wingers will get moved I think and there should be plenty of free agent options on day 2 of free agency.

  • blobbo

    I dunno, maybe load management could have preserved Talbot. It’s a mystery to me why his performance dropped off like it did (Brossoit also needed more playing time).

    Oh well. Nothing you can do about it now.

  • AlexTheOilersFanSince2006

    As I said yesterday, I will support Philip Broberg and his journey to making it in the Oilers roster. And who knows, maybe he an Bouchard can be a good 1-2 punch. I really liked the Lavoie pick though. That’s an excellent pick by the management. But now our attention turns to FA and I’m interested to know who Edmonton decides to pursue. I’d like Dazingle as a potential addition to the top 6

  • Serious Gord

    Never assume the player and agent are on the same page. Bobby Orr and the felon Alan Eagleson are a spectacular example of that.

    That noted going public is done to speed up action by management. It is risky in that if management gets its back up the player could win up in Siberia- maybe literally.

    2. Proof there are suckers born every minute. It’s a great big hockey world out there but there are also a lot of stubborn old school managers infesting the nhl. Hopefully the coming analytics revolution will purge a lot of that and with it a more ruthless merit based culture.

    3. 2022-23 at the earliest. Picking defensemen in the draft makes that less likely.

    4. Impossible to say. But what can be said is that the oil under holland tactically were a significant failure – picking a D rather than forward; telling everyone who you wanted; and apparently making no effort to trade down and still get the pick.

    5. Already done but more subtly. Baseball is also doing this more as well. The big moment will come where a cup competitive team does not dress a player. The kind of violates “the code” but it will happen maybe even this season with a player like Chara.

        • Serious Gord

          Picking a winger helps more because they are more likely to make the league sooner (and the need is more urgent at that position).

          Seems to me (and others) that holland doesn’t see the urgency to get the team in track while there is stil lots of runway on Mcdavids contract.

          • Hemmercules

            I get that but aren’t wingers much cheaper to acquire than both top 4 dmen and centermen? Oilers need wingers now, not later. Holland will look to the trade or free agent route to fill the wingers out for the immediate future. They also took almost all wingers and centers with their remaining picks. Maybe they find a gem in those later picks?

          • socaldave

            Drafting a high-end D allows the Oilers to trade away one of their already upward-progressing D in the AHL for another team’s already already upward-progressing LW/RW young player. A kid who was drafted one or two or ever three years ago. In this instance, after that trade, you’ve already a leg up on whatever F you would’ve drafted at 8, and you’re deeper on D.

            This ain’t rocket science, and you’re no rocket scientist.

          • Serious Gord

            SoCal Dave: you think that is what holland is planning? That that is how he’s going to get the wingers?

            I don’t think he’s got that as his plan.

          • Hemmercules

            After the top 5 players BPA is often pretty subjective. Every armchair gm, reporter and scout has their list of who THEY think is the BPA at that point. Maybe the guy the Oilers took turns out better than 3 of the guys ahead of him? Who really knows until they develop and play for a while in their respective team systems?

            During the DOD I would get excited about the draft but those days are over. I just want to watch a solid NHL team now. Let the scouts and GM do their job and hopefully develop these kids correctly and we will see some of them in the NHL in a few years.

          • Serious Gord

            Hemmercules:

            Kind of a non-answer from you.
            Seems to me reading and hearing Holland he wanted a Dman – this dman regardless of whether he was the BPA. His priority it seems pretty clear was to draft based on position. It also seems to be what socaldave is saying.

          • Hemmercules

            Like I said. After pick 3, 4 or 5, BPA is different from person to person most of the time so I don’t really believe in BPA after top 3ish. I assume Broberg was the BPA to Holland at the time so that why he chose him?

  • TKB2677

    I am a big believer in picking the best player available. Big, good skating, puck moving dmen that bring offense are critical in the NHL. You need them to win. If you have extra dmen, you can use them to get other pieces. But I thought the Oilers needed a forward. So when they drafted Broberg, I wasn’t necessarily mad, I was just surprised and my first reaction was they didn’t do the obvious which is just what the Oilers do.

    But then I thought about it. The US team is very close to Detroit. So they would have scouted the crap out of them. So if there was an organization that would know them well, it would be Detroit. Holland worked for Detroit. Holland would have scouted the crap out of them. They would have had his notes. Yzerman is buddies with Holland, they worked together for a bit. They would have talked draft, they would have made lists together. Everyone thinks Yzerman is this genius GM. If Yzerman who worked with Holland decided to pass on Zegras to draft a guy out of Germany that no one heard of. I would am willing to see what happens and give this pick a chance.

    • Svart kaffe

      Detroit, with both Yzerman and Holland at the helm, was probably scouting defensemen pretty hard so I’m confident Holland knew Broberg very well. I’m psyched for the pick, even though he is at least 3 years away.

  • CactusJr

    Yaremchuk – you’ve never seen broberg play? So you didn’t watch the hlinka tourney that was in your own back yard or the world juniors? Even my 4 year old watched broberg at the hlinka and when the oilers picked him he asked “was he #4?” Maybe he should blog for you. This site really is carried by Brownlee and Gregor.

    • Cactus, to be fair to Tyler, I saw Broberg play twice at the Hlinka but that doesn’t mean I know the player. I was there to cover it for CP, not concentrate on him. Admitting you haven’t seen a player live isn’t a negative, it provides context. A player can have two great games or two awful games in a tournament like that. Either way, it doesn’t provide an accurate overall picture of the player.

      • CactusJr

        He said “broberg WAS a reach at eighth, although I’ve never seen him play.” Nothing about seeing him live. He is making a statement based on never seeing a guy play. Ridiculous. Even if he said “according to predraft rankings, broberg at eighth MAY have been a reach…..maybe I’m picking on Tyler but I’m sure Holland and his scouts with both Detroit and Edmonton have a better gauge than he does when he admittedly has “never seen him play,”. Anyway, some of you at ON, keep up the good work and hopefully the others get better.

  • madjam

    The draft was uneventful , and one has to wonder whether this will be the trend with new management , etc.. in following years . Sort of like watching paint dry .

  • Viperx

    Anyone that is not happy with the Broberg pick should watch his highlight package. I know it’s the highlights and will need to see him play a bunch of games, but the way he skates up the ice with that type of speed is unreal. Not just once, but at least 10 different clips. Very similar to McDavid skating by people. Looking forward to watching him in camp!

  • Towers-of-dub

    I like this – “Broberg was a reach at eighth overall, but I’ve never seen him play so I’m trying not to be too hard on the selection.” Never seen him play, but seen enough to know he was a reach at 8th!

  • TKB2677

    The way I look at it, the draft is a crap shoot at times. Puljujarvi was supposed to be a can’t miss top 6, impact player. The Oilers didn’t develop him properly but even if they did, I don’t think he would be anything more than a 3rd liner. JP has no clue where to go or what to do on the ice. If he was going to be an impact top 6 player, even if the Oilers didn’t develop him properly, he’d at least know where to go most of the time, regardless if he is ready or not. He looks absolutely lost out there.

  • hagar

    You can often tell where you are going by knowing where you are not.
    It has been talked about since the Holland hire that the last thing he should do is pull a chirelli, and make stupid moves for the sake of a move.

    Look what Holland has to work with.. besides the slight controversy on the 8th pic, what else can you really expect him to do different?

    It’s probably going to be low on the wow meter, with some minor moves, and some ahl guys coming in. Not really sure how a guy could fast track things to help McDavid stay happy now, while not getting yelled at for making a perceived stupid move. There just isnt enough ammo in the gun right now.

  • Flint

    Again? 3 out of 5 above think the Oilers will make the playoffs this coming year.

    How?

    That’s what you said last year as well. The Oilers have to get measurably better to even have half a chance of making the playoffs.

    How will they be a better team than last year? How was last years team better than two years ago – it wasn’t btw.

    Let’s even start with: Who is going to replace Chaisson’s 22 goals? Where are the Oilers mgmt going to find that big improvement with just ~8million and 6 players needing to be signed to get to 23? Besides McD and Drai where will scoring come from?

  • btrain

    The NBA resting question is an interesting one. I think its fair to point out that all-stars in the NBA have more minutes to contend with but that argument only holds so much water. An NBA player runs (but mostly Yogs & stops) approximately 2.55 miles/game vs 5miles skating/game of an NHL player. I don’t think there is much of an argument of which miles within these two sports require more energy. In other words, NHL players may have less minutes but they cover more distance in that time and are constantly dumping energy with and without the puck each shift.
    With that said, I think the biggest reason NHL teams will not rest their star-players, is because of league parody. Quite simply, there is no easy win in the NHL so how would you decide which games to play your stars and which to rest them, while making sure you are comfortably in a playoff position at seasons end?

    • Rock11

      I think you mean parity, unless there is some Weird Al thing I don’t know about, but your point is a strong one. The NBA is the Least. Competitive. League. Ever. Any team with serious title hopes knows that they wont play a single meaningful game until the second round of the playoffs. Easy to rest your guys when you don’t have to worry about a 3 game losing streak knocking you out of the playoffs.

  • CMG30

    Ya, Broburg was a reach at 8 but not off the charts. He may wash out but he also has potential to be top pair. The key thing now is to develop him properly. Leave him in Europe for a couple seasons before we even think of him again…

  • Rickk

    I worry a little about explaining the high 1st round Broberg pick with his performance at a couple tournaments. Didn’t the Oilers use the same explanation for Puljujärvi? How is that turning out?

  • Heschultzhescores

    JP proved he has a low off ice IQ now too. As for the draft. I think we did ok. We got a fwd arguably as good as Zegras at a much later pick. Had we gone fwd first, we likely would not have got Broberg. I’m better with this than I was initially. Gotta see all Hollands cards before I judge his poker skills.

  • hammer313

    My 2 cents…….think this draft was forward loaded at the top and a forward should have been picked and then the draft was more loaded heading in rounds 2 and 3, this is probably were they should have drafted there D. No one knows, but the team situation dictated that they take Boldy, Krebs, and I think Zegras at 8th, just what I would have done.

  • hags437

    Oiler fans are brutal. And the first to rip on a player when he wants out. I’ll leave the GM’ing to a guy with 40 years in the business.
    Zegras won’t be able to do the things in the NHL against men with hair on their arses like he does with the USA travelling frat boys. Look at the guys available right now in free agency. Far more quality forwards than defensemen and its the same every year plus it’s a hell of a lot easier to trade for a forward than it is for a D man. R-E-L-A-X.

    • CMG30

      Maybe not the best plan to slag on guys who’ve stuck with a team thats setting records for futility, not just in the NHL but in the history of professional sports…

      • Heschultzhescores

        Yes, and don’t question their genius. When I hear do you think you could do better? Hell Ya! All day every day. Our management and scouting has been bottom of the barrel for 15 years. Throwing at a dartboard with with the top 20 prospects pasted on them would be more successful.

  • CactusJr

    The same people that say they should have drafted a forward to play with McDavid are the same people saying they didn’t develop puljujarvi properly. If you said they need a forward to play with McDavid in 3-4 years it’d make sense. If they don’t acquire top 6 forwards before then, then we’re all screwed.

  • TKB2677

    You have to remember that all it takes for a fan to become an expert on all things hockey and able to accurately dissect and criticize every move an organization makes is go to your local convenient store, buy a hockey magazine, read it for 5 mins and if you really want to be a supreme expert, go look up a website.

    Doesn’t matter that guys spend years scouting these players watching them dozens of times, interviewing them many times, interviewing their coaches past and present, interviewing their families. All it takes it 5 mins with a pool guide and if a team DARES to not pick that player at that particular spot the magazine said, they are a bunch of idiots.