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Photo Credit: Tom Kostiuk

Monday Mailbag – Thoughts on the NHL Draft lottery?

Greetings, Nation! As always, the Monday mailbag is back and we’re answering the questions you’ve always wanted to know about the NHL and life in general. Our panel of experts life coaches bloggers dove into the depths of their worldly experience to give you every nugget of wisdom that their brains could muster and all for the low low price of absolutely nothing at all. 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.

1)Trent asks – Was anyone else surprised by the negative reaction after Kevin Lowe was named to the Hockey Hall of Fame? Are six Stanley Cups really not that impressive to some?

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Jason Gregor:

Outside of the obvious choices, like Jarome Iginla, there will always be a debate. If someone brings valid reasons why they oppose it, fine, but it is the clueless ones who try to say Lowe didn’t play an important role on his team’s that are the ones you need to ignore. His seven All-star appearances, playing on 1984 Canada Cup team and being a top D-man on winning teams are more important. I don’t put a massive amount of weight into Cups for Hall of Fame players. Teams win Cups, not one individual. It helps his cause, sure, but it wouldn’t be among the first three main criteria I would look at for any player up for the HHOF.

Robin Brownlee:

Not surprised. First, there can be a reasonable debate whether he belongs in the HHOF. Second, I think Lowe’s lack of overall success as GM and POHO soured some fans — many who aren’t old enough to have actually seen him play aside from YouTube clips — on him. That has no bearing on his playing career, but it clouds perception. Third, there’s always a small percentage of those who have nothing better to do than bitch and complain.

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Tyler Yaremchuk:

Six Stanley Cups are very impressive. I think the reason people are mad is because his individual numbers aren’t great. However, the guy made the all-star game ten years apart and was considered one of the best shutdown d-men of his era. He was great at what he did and he was great at it for a long time. He deserves to be in the Hall of Fame!

Zach Laing:

I was a little bit, but I shouldn’t be. Lowe is a bit of a scapegoat around these parts and the truth is that six cup rings is a wildly impressive accomplishment. He, in my eyes, rightfully belongs in the hall of fame as one of the league’s best shutdown defenceman for a long, long time. I see the Hall starting to elect more defensive players moving forward with the caveat being its hard to quantify their contributions.

The Nation Dan:

It’s a pretty simple thing that happens every year. “If player A didn’t get in, how does Player B get in?” It’s tough on guys that get in, and softer to ones who don’t. Also, Lowe and the 80’s Oilers are beginning to age out of the knowledge base of the majority of fans.

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Baggedmilk:

I think it’s because a lot of us have never seen him play, to be honest. For all of his teammates, it seems like this was an honour that was long overdue but for those of us that live in the Hockey DB age, seeing his overall lack of points makes us wonder. Then again, it’s hard to argue against six rings.

2) Kayle asks – The Edmonton Oilers were lucky enough to draft Connor McDavid five years ago this past week and I’d love to know what everyone thinks is the most impressive thing he does along with what they’d like to see him work on as his career progresses?

Jason Gregor:

His ability to stickhandle at high speed. Many players are fast, but few can move their hands as fast as McDavid. I’d like to see him shoot more.

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Robin Brownlee:

He can do everything at full speed. There have been lots of fast players, but not many who have the head and hands to keep up with their legs. Work on? Don’t see a weakness.

Tyler Yaremchuk:

I just love the buzz you hear and the way Rogers Place perks up when he starts skating up the ice. He’s such a special player and we’re very lucky to get to watch him 82 times a year. Every time he steps on the ice, there’s a chance that something special can happen and we really shouldn’t take that for granted. As for what he needs to work on, I’d say being a little more defensively conscious and he also needs to shoot the puck more.

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Zach Laing:

Yeah, I got to agree with about everybody here saying his ability to do things fast is insane. Not only that, but he appears to be a “put the team on my back” kind of leader and those types of guys are invaluable.

The Nation Dan:

It’s just the fact that no matter what part of the game. Be it a 3-0 lead, or 4-2 deficit, you can not miss out because he is magic.

Baggedmilk:

The way he does everything at full speed is unlike anything I’ve ever seen before. His hands don’t slow down just because he’s going 1000 mph and it’s incredibly fun to watch. As for what he can improve, I’d like to see him be a little bit more selfish and shoot more but that’s about it. Faceoffs, maybe? He can always get better at those. I love you, Connor.

3) Geoff asks – It was reported by Elliotte Friedman that the NHL salary cap will remain mostly flat for the next three seasons and I wonder if that benefits or hurts the Oilers in the immediate future?

Jason Gregor:

Their best players are under contract. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins won’t be getting a major raise, but keep him around his salary and he is still making huge money. The Oilers have guys like Kris Russell and Adam Larsson who will be UFAs soon, and that will give Ken Holland some cap flexibility on where he wants to spend cash. Because their two best players are under contract for the next five years a flat cap doesn’t hurt them that much.

Robin Brownlee:

A flat cap — word is $81.5 million — limits all teams, not just the Oilers. Having McDavid and Draisiatl locked up takes care of the biggest numbers, but what we’re going to have to see is how the NHL and NHLPA work out escrow percentage and the possibility of a 10 per cent salary deferral until revenues return to previous levels.

Tyler Yaremchuk:

Honestly, it’s going to hurt 90% of the league. The Oilers need to sign Nugent-Hopkins, Bear, and Yamamoto to new deals in the next few seasons and it will be hard for them to do that if the cap doesn’t go up at all. Life will be difficult for Ken Holland but the same can be said for a lot of GM’s around the league.

Zach Laing:

It’s going to make things even tougher than they already are for Ken Holland. The Oilers have some key pieces of their team to sign over the next year or two and Edmonton has its fair share of dead weight on the roster cap-wise.

The Nation Dan:

Just add another challenge for the Oilers that previous elite groups haven’t had to face, right? I guess we can thank Peter Chiarelli for the deals he had #97 and #NeonLeon sign.

Baggedmilk:

A flat cap is going to screw basically everyone except the budget teams so it’s going to be interesting to see how Ken Holland navigates these next three years while trying to turn the Oilers into a contender.

Mar 13, 2020; Edmonton, Alberta, CAN; The statue of Wayne Gretzky watches over an empty Rogers Place as the NHL suspends games because of the COVID-19 outbreak at Rogers Place. Mandatory Credit: Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports

4) Chelsey asks – I personally find it to be bizarre that reports or rumours are coming out about NHL players not wanting to play in Edmonton for the playoffs when they wouldn’t be allowed to do much of anything anyway. Is there something I’m missing?

Jason Gregor:

I don’t really buy that from players I’ve spoken with. I think the NHL wants an Eastern Hub, and it makes sense for timezones and TV. Some players might not like a city, but considering they aren’t going out and about I don’t put much stock into it.

Robin Brownlee:

Rumors? Who is writing/saying this? I have not seen these reports you speak of.

Tyler Yaremchuk:

I can’t explain it. The facilities are great, the city is gorgeous in the summer, and it seems like they’re going to make the players bubble very luxurious. It just doesn’t make sense to me.

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Zach Laing:

It makes no sense to be, but whatever. Having half the NHL here could put Edmontonians at risk and that’s a definite concern of mine. Do the players not realize Edmonton is in the heart of the Rocky Mountains?!

The Nation Dan:

It’s an exhausting narrative that I am just tired of hearing. Imagine thinking this about Edmonton in the summer (which 90% of the players probably haven’t experienced), you just look silly.

Baggedmilk:

I honestly think it’s kinda funny. I mean, do you guys want to play or not? Do you want to be in the spot that is likely one of the “safest” NHL cities you can be in or do you care more about what kind of restaurants are around that you won’t be able to eat at anyway?

5) Blake asks – BBQ season is here and I want to know what is everyone’s speciality on the grill? Let’s pretend you’re inviting me over for a backyard bbq, what are we eating?

Jason Gregor:

I’m excellent at BBQ chicken. I never over cook it. I also will add zucchini and baby potatoes on the BBQ.

Robin Brownlee:

~ Let’s pretend I don’t set the dogs on you and call the cops the moment you get within six feet of my property and say baked salmon.~

Tyler Yaremchuk:

Steak. Steak. Steak. Steak. Steak. I love Steak.

Zach Laing:

Oh, I’m a big burger guy. Poppa Laing taught me well many moons ago.

The Nation Dan:

Beef, all the beef.

Baggedmilk:

Burgers and dogs, man! I’d go to a butcher and pick up some fresh ground beef and lamb, mix it up into a delightful patty and fire those babies on the grill. I’d also pick up some Kobe beef dogs and fire them up too. Combine those with some potato salad and cold NationBeers and we’re having ourselves a Saturday.

6) Oilers fan in Van asks – Simple question: what does everyone think about the NHL draft lottery?

Jason Gregor:

I have no issue with it. It’s not like we didn’t know this was a possibility going in. The 8-15 slots had a 24.5% chance of winning, second only to Ottawa’s 25% due to having the Sharks pick.

The most ridiculous thing is how some believe players will want to lose in the qualifying on purpose just for a 12.5% chance of winning. The players don’t give a #$&* about the draft lottery. Their focus is on winning.

Unless one of the five teams who were over 75% probability to make the playoffs wins the lottery, I don’t see any reason people should be freaking out. Some teams had a very low chance of making the playoffs, while others weren’t even 50%.

Robin Brownlee:

It’s kind of goofy, but then everything about the end of this season is oddball. I don’t mind a little drama waiting to see what team fills the placeholder spot when the second draw is done.

Tyler Yaremchuk:

I LOVE IT! I’m a fan of chaos and this is exactly that. The play-in round will be even more interesting to me, plus, it’s a win-win for the Oilers. If they beat the Hawks then great, they’re a playoff team. If they lose, then they have a shot at Lafreniere.

Zach Laing:

I’m 100% here for it. This whole year has been thrown completely off the rails and as a fan of absolute chaos in the NHL, this warms my heart.

The Nation Dan:

I called it (along with a lot of others) on this week’s Oilersnation Radio. It’s the reason having the lottery draft early was so silly. Atleast now they can draw in “huge” numbers for the second draft lottery?

Baggedmilk:

Bring on the chaos! Can you imagine what will happen if the Oilers pick first overall again? LOL

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