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Photo Credit: Tom Kostiuk

Monday Mailbag – Thoughts on the Flames being awarded the conditional 3rd round pick?

Welcome, friends, to a playoff edition of the Mailbag which means we’ve got an opportunity for you to not only learn something but to also avoid your families for a few minutes. In this week’s Mailbag, we take a look at the fanless game experience, Calgary being awarded the conditional pick in the James Neal trade, a Game 1 recap, and a lot more. As always, I need questions for next week so if you have something you’d like to ask you can email me at [email protected] or hit me up on Twitter. Have a great week, everyone!

July 28, 2020; Edmonton, Alberta, CANADA; A general view of game action during the second period of the exhibition game between the Edmonton Oilers and the Calgary Flames prior to the 2020 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Rogers Place on July 28, 2020 in Edmonton, Alberta. Mandatory Credit: Dave Sandford/NHLI via USA TODAY Sports

1) Clay asks – Simple question: What was everyone’s opinion of the fanless game experience?

Jason Gregor:

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It was weird being in the building. Usually, it is a madhouse between warmup and the start of the game, but it was dead quiet. It was eerie. I watched the game on TV Sunday morning and I thought they did a decent job without fans. No question the atmosphere is different, but it looked good on TV and sounded okay.

Robin Brownlee:

The building certainly lacks the atmosphere that adds to the experience, but I think the NHL has done about as good a job as anyone can expect of dressing up the building with tarping of seats and use of monitors etc. I look forward to when the fans return.

Tyler Yaremchuk:

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I think the NHL did a great job with this! They put in the extra effort (and money) and it really paid off. I think the massive screens are a great touch and way better than just tarping up the seats or putting cardboard cutouts in the stands.

Nation Dan:

It’s making the best of a less than ideal situation. As a pretty consistent EA sports gamer, it has a feel of the 3-on-3 tournament they have in that game now. Flashy, with a little fun to try and spice it up

Baggedmilk:

Considering how strange the situation is, I think the NHL did about as well as one could have hoped. Obviously, it would be way better if we were all allowed to be in the building, but that’s simply impossible right now so the league had to get creative. Personally, I think the rink looks super cool with all of the screens everywhere.

July 28, 2020; Edmonton, Alberta, CANADA; Connor McDavid #97 of the Edmonton Oilers passes the puck from behind the net during the first period of an exhibition game against the Calgary Flames prior to the 2020 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Rogers Place on July 28, 2020 in Edmonton, Alberta. Mandatory Credit: Andy Devlin/NHLI via USA TODAY Sports

2) Wes asks – Game 1 was obviously disappointing from an Oilers perspective and I’m wondering what they need to do differently to ensure a different result?

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Jason Gregor:

Everything except the powerplay. From the opening faceoff, the Oilers weren’t ready. They gave up two odd-man rushes in the first minute of the game. And even after McDavid, on the powerplay, to make it 1-0, the Oilers remained lethargic and soft in their coverage. They didn’t work hard enough. Lost too many battles. McDavid’s line got crushed 5×5, and they only played against Toews line for 2:13. Gave up two goals in that span, but the Oilers top line played the most against the Hawks 4th line and lost the possession battle. That can’t happen if you want to win in playoffs. People say Tippett got outcoached? He got his best line about against the Hawks 4th line for over six minutes at 5×5…and they got outshot.

The entire team needs to be more emotionally engaged and play smarter.

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Robin Brownlee:

The Oilers will need better goaltending than they got from Mike Smith and the PK needs to return to form, plus they didn’t generate any emotional energy in that first game. They didn’t compete. I expect them to be better all around in Game 2, but losing the first game in a best-of-five puts you in trouble right away.

Tyler Yaremchuk:

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They need to generate more offense at even strength and stay out of the box. If they do that, they’ll have no problems in game two!

Nation Dan:

Consistent effort. This is the Oilers that we can’t have. They won the Calgary game with a five-minute effort and I think everyone could have told them that wasn’t going to be nearly good enough against the Hawks. I think they will sit back and realize this. I hope!

Baggedmilk:

They need to be much better in net, at 5-on-5, and on the PK. Those three things killed them.

Oct 14, 2019; Chicago, IL, USA; Edmonton Oilers left wing James Neal (18) looks to pass the puck against Chicago Blackhawks center Jonathan Toews (19) during the first period at United Center.

3) Oilers fan in Van asks – The NHL awarded the conditional 3rd round pick from the Neal for Lucic trade to the Calgary Flames and I don’t understand how pro-rating the former’s goal total is fair. How does everyone feel about the way this trade decision ended up?

Jason Gregor:

It is a bit odd to me, but from speaking with Ken Holland it seems it was pro-rated. It is an odd year with COVID, so we see things we’ve never seen before. The NHL did give Edmonton the option to defer to the 2021 draft. They don’t have to decide until right before the start of the third round in the 2020 draft if they will give up the pick. I could see them keeping this year’s pick, because next season junior players might only have had a half-season of games played and it might be more of a crapshoot.

Robin Brownlee:

I didn’t think they’d do it. That said, it’s still a good trade for the Oilers.

Tyler Yaremchuk:

It’s tough. I understand why the NHL did it because let’s be real, Neal was going to score his 20th goal. It’s just a shame that the league isn’t more consistent when it comes to this decision making.

Nation Dan:

I am surprised, but not shocked. The NHL has made some pretty good calls in this pandemic but this isn’t one of them. For me, who cares about a third-round pick at the end of the day. We were battling for the Pacific Division lead while the Flames were just battling to stay in the playoff picture. The bigger thing is the precedent it sets for things like bonuses. Why wouldn’t a player petition the league to get that bonus they missed out on because of the pandemic? Should the Wings return the pick for Green because he’s no longer playing for us? It’s just a grey area answer in a black and white ruled world.

Baggedmilk:

It reminds me of when the Oilers got screwed out of a second round pick after they hired Peter Chiarelli when he had already been fired in Boston. The league loves to screw Edmonton, don’t they?

4) Luke asks – The NHL draft lottery ended up in a way where a play-in playoff team will be awarded the first overall pick. Looking at the teams involved, which franchise would benefit the most from winning the right to select Alexis Lafreniere?

Jason Gregor:

Montreal because of his French background. Also, Arizona as they need a young, elite player to groom. But a good team who would benefit the most would be Nashville. They have never had a real elite offensive player, and getting Lafreniere would be huge for them. But I don’t see them losing.

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Robin Brownlee:

Probably the Oilers. Not so much because they would benefit most but because it would make every other fan base lose its mind at the unfairness of it all.

Tyler Yaremchuk:

Probably a team that’s one elite piece away from being Stanley Cup Contenders. I’m looking at the Penguins and Oilers honestly. Imagine those two teams with one more dynamic offensive piece on an entry-level contract? They would be instant Cup Contenders.

Nation Dan:

Can I say us? It really just would seal a group of young forwards that already boast two of the best players in the NHL as a “dynasty” for the few years they could keep it all together. Then you have to think the kings ransom the Oilers could get for any one of their young studs when money became a crunch would just see the rest of the league fill up a new sea of salt somewhere in the Canadian landscape.

Baggedmilk:

The only answer is Edmonton. Imagine what Lafreniere would look like on McDavid’s wing and how angry every other fanbase would be? *whistles* Now, that said, I want the Oilers to beat Chicago and make this a moot point, but it would still be hilarious.

5) Geoff asks – Take your best guess, if the players were given poster board and markers, who would create the best/funniest signs to bring to watch the other games?

Jason Gregor:

Brad Marchand. He is quite witty and wouldn’t be afraid to have a sign that straddles the line of political correctness.

Robin Brownlee:

Kassian. Best chirpers would make the best signs.

Tyler Yaremchuk:

Zack Kassian would probably be a pretty good troll. Brad Marchand can be funny on social media, so he might have some good chirps to bring out as well.

Nation Dan:

It’s so sad that I don’t know the true answer to this. Wish players were able to have some more front-facing personality. I want to say Kassian would probably have some funny things to say/signs to make. Go to a Calgary game and make a sign that says “Tkachuk Scout” with an arrow pointing down.

Baggedmilk:

I agree with the other guys that it has to be Kassian. His mouth is running basically non-stop anyway, so having him put those chirps on a sign would be hilarious.

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