39
Photo Credit: Tom Kostiuk

Monday Mailbag – What can Dave Tippett do differently?

Welcome, Internet friends, to a brand new Monday Mailbag where I’ve taken all of your Oilers and NHL related questions, thrown them out to our writers, and compiled all of their answers to give you a few minutes of time killing distraction from whatever you’ve got going on today. This week, we look at the Oilers’ prospects in Europe, Dave Tippett’s second year behind the bench, Reverse Retro jerseys, and a whole lot more. If you’ve got one, email it to me at [email protected] or hit me up on Twitter at @jsbmbaggedmilk and I’ll get to you as soon as we can.

1) Kevin asks – The Oilers have a bunch of prospects playing over in Europe while we wait for the season to start and I’m wondering who everyone is paying attention to the most?

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

Jason Gregor:

I have yet to watch a full game on any player if I’m being honest. I’ve watched highlights and read a lot about Puljujarvi, Lagesson and Bouchard, as they are closest to playing on the Oilers. I’ve also followed Samorukov quite closely as he has played the most games, and I think he could be a surprise performer in the future.

Robin Brownlee:

I’m looking at Evan Bouchard in Sweden. As 10th pick in the 2018 draft, I’m sure the Oilers are looking carefully at how well he’s moving along the development curve, as am I.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

Cam Lewis:

I’ve watched both Evan Bouchard and Philip Broberg thus far but one guy I want to keep an eye on who isn’t in Europe is 2020 first-round pick, Dylan Holloway. He didn’t light the world on fire as a freshman but he was one of the youngest players in the NCAA. Given his first couple of games last weekend, it looks like he can have a huge season.

Tyler Yaremchuk:

It’s Broberg for me. He’s going to stay there for the entire SHL season but if Broberg continues to take big steps forward in his development and the Oilers think he can be an impactful NHL defenseman next season then I think it could really change their plans for next offseason and the looming expansion draft.

Nation Dan:

Well, as the author of the Prospect Update, I get to pay attention to them all (and you can too every Monday). Personally, I am paying close attention to the development of Raphael Lavoie as I’m hoping for big things from him. I am also watching the development of our goalie prospects as it’s a bit of a blind spot in our ranks. Right now that’s just Ilya Konovalov and Olivier Rodrigue.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

Baggedmilk:

I’m watching Evan Bouchard and Philip Broberg. I think those two could make the roster sooner than later so I’m really interested in watching how they do.

Jan 6, 2020; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Edmonton Oilers head coach Dave Tippett on the bench during a game against the Toronto Maple Leafs at Scotiabank Arena. Edmonton defeated Toronto. Mandatory Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

2) Taylor asks – What, if anything, would you like to see Dave Tippett do differently in his second season as the Oilers head coach?

Jason Gregor:

Good question. I really had to think about this. I’d limit Draisaitl’s PK time. Similar to what he did with McDavid last year. I’d rather those two play more at EV and on the PP. I understand if no one else can win a draw, why you need to play Draisaitl, but in an ideal world, I wouldn’t have him on the PK very much, except the odd final few seconds.

Robin Brownlee:

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

Keep the Draisaitl line together come hell or high water. Didn’t like how he went away from them in the play-ins last summer.

Cam Lewis:

Lean more on Mikko Koskinen and believe less in Mike Smith. Another one would be to not go back to the Draisaitl-McDavid duo, as hard as it might be at times. Keeping them apart is huge for the team’s success.

Tyler Yaremchuk:

That’s a really tough question because I really didn’t have any major problems with what Tippett did last season. I guess I wouldn’t mind if he wasn’t as loyal to Mike Smith and was more willing to play Mikko Koskinen for long stretches of games. I think that could be important next season. But that’s hardly a complaint because he handled the goaltenders pretty well last season.

Nation Dan:

Far be it from me to tell an NHL head coach how to do his job, but I would humbly ask that he give Koskinen more trust and the same kind of “get back out there kid” kind of mentality he gave Mike Smith this year.

RELATED ARTICLE:
Baggedmilk on #theLOCKERROOM: Jesse Puljujarvi's return and the World Juniors

Baggedmilk:

I would love if he reunited NuDraMoto because they were one of the best lines in hockey, and it was frustrating for me that they were split up for the playoffs. Hopefully, the added depth that came in this offseason will help balance out the line combos. Also, more Koskinen and less Smith. Thank you.

Photo Credit: NHL.com

3) Clay asks – The Reverse Retro jerseys came out this past week and I want to know who are the winners and losers from around the NHL?

Jason Gregor:

I think winners should be based on sales. Many adults ripped the Ducks jersey, but I suspect kids will love it. I’m not a jersey guy, so I won’t pretend to be one here and list best and worst. My two favs were Minny and LA.

Robin Brownlee:

Anaheim’s jersey was hideous. Don’t care or the Arizona jersey either. Liked the Oilers, Minnesota and Carolina jerseys.

Cam Lewis:

I think it’s cool to see the Nordiques aesthetic come back, especially given Avs’ general manager Joe Sakic’s connection to that team. A lot of the jerseys look quite good, I think. It was a win all in all.

Tyler Yaremchuk:

My winners: Edmonton, Tampa Bay, the LA Kings, and the Minnesota Wild. My losers: the Islanders, the Red Wings. I also don’t love the fact that the Avalanche and Hurricanes are using Nordiques and Whalers jerseys. I explained my reasoning for that last Monday on The Real Life Podcast.

Nation Dan:

I am a big fan of teams that try and get away from the basic colours of sports teams in general (white, red, blue, and black). So with this most recent iteration of the new jerseys, I think teams like Arizona, Nashville, LA, New Jersey, etc. are winners. My losers are the teams that just didn’t do much: the New York Islanders could have done a lot more, the Red Wings did next to nothing, and the Blackhawks just rested on the “we’re old so we can’t do much” ideology.

Baggedmilk:

My favourite is easily the Los Angeles Kings. I love that colour pattern and think they will look solid on the ice. The worst, to me, are the Detroit Red Wings. They look like they forgot they were supposed to participate.

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

4) Sara asks – Assuming an all-Canadian division is the plan for next season, which team do you think improved the most and least this offseason and why?

Jason Gregor:

Ottawa has improved the most, but they also had the most room to improve. Montreal made some good moves, and should be much better. I like Edmonton’s added forward depth and I think their D will actually be better. Calgary getting Markstrom was a big move, and it odd to see a team sign so many players from a division foe. Those Vancouver/Calgary games should be fun to watch. I thought Vancouver might have overachieved a bit in the playoffs, so I’m most interested to see how they do with some significant changes on the blueline and in goal. Nate Schmidt was a  huge addition. Toronto changed their blueline with additions of Brodie, Bogosian and added Thornton, Simmonds and Vesey up front. They should be better. I’m curious how much Paul Stastny has left in Winnipeg. I think he is more of a 3rd line C, but he will get to play with some elite wingers so he might be able to keep producing. The Jets improvement could come simply from staying healthy. I think the Canadian division will be very entertaining and competitive.

Robin Brownlee:

Might be Calgary if Markstrom lives up to his contract. Everything starts in goal. I also like Ken Holland’s work with Barrie and Turris. Montreal is better with Jake Allen and Tyler Toffoli. Not sure the signing of Matt Murray coming off an .899 season is enough to make Ottawa much better given they’re coming from the back of the pack, but we’ll see.

Cam Lewis:

I think Montreal actually got a bit better but I’m not sure how much it matters because they weren’t close to being a playoff team pre-COVID. Toronto filled a lot of their holes by adding T.J. Brodie and a wealth of good veterans like Wayne Simmonds and Zach Bogosian. I see Calgary mentioned because of adding Markstrom but goaltending wasn’t at all an issue for them last season so I’m not sure I see that. Vancouver definitely got worse. Edmonton remained the same, I think, which is a good thing given the challenge of navigating the Oscar Klefbom injury.

RELATED ARTICLE:
How Teams Stack Up in the North Division

Tyler Yaremchuk:

I really don’t love what the Canucks did this offseason and I think they have some depth players on bad contracts who won’t age well. I also don’t think the Leafs got better at all. As for who improved, I think the answer has to be Ottawa. They upgraded in net and I think the young pieces they have throughout the rest of their lineup will only get better. I don’t think they’ll make the playoffs but you can’t argue with the fact that they got better.

Nation Dan:

The Senators would top my list for most improved just simply because it would be a challenge to be much worse than they were last year. In between (in no particular order) the Canadiens didn’t do much to move the needle this offseason. The Leafs got older and not much better (Brodie is a nice add for them). The Oilers D downgraded slightly, the net is the same, and offence got markedly better.  The Jets are just Connor Hellebuyck or bust. The Flames are better between the pipes, worse at defending, and still are counting on an offence that had three 20 goal scorers and that’s it. The Canucks flat out downgraded at every position and would be my least improved by far.

Baggedmilk:

I think it’s pretty easy to say that the Ottawa Senators were the most improved because they were so bad last year that it would be hard not to. I think Vancouver did the least amount to improve this offseason, but we’ll see what happens.

5) Stephen asks – Is anyone else worried that we won’t have an NHL season in 2021? The players are obviously concerned about how much money they’re giving up while the owners would be expected to pay salaries without having normal streams of income coming back, and it doesn’t seem to make much sense from a business perspective.

Jason Gregor:

Sadly for the players they either agree to more rollbacks or the owners won’t play. It sucks for them as the new CBA was just signed a few months ago, but the owners can choose not to play rather than lose millions. I sense there is a small chance we might not see a season, but ultimately I think they reach an agreement. With a vaccine coming in 2021 we might see 25-40% fans at some rinks by March or April and possibly more as more people get the vaccine, and if I was the players I’d ensure there was something in the agreement where they would be more if fans are allowed in arenas. The game is so much better with fans in the building. I hope the NHL and players realize this, and not just by making a video thanking fans. Do more to engage your fans.

Robin Brownlee:

Not worried. We’ll have a season in one form or another. Some money coming in is better than none.

Cam Lewis:

Not really. I expect the NHL to stall for time with bad return-to-play offers until they can shoehorn the players into a 42-game season with an expanded playoff format, just like MLB did. That way they can pay the least amount of salary possible and recoup cash with extra playoff games.

Tyler Yaremchuk:

I’m not worried that we won’t get a season, I’m just worried about how long it will take to come to an agreement. I really want the season to start on January 1st, but I don’t think that’s realistic. If money proves to be a massive issue, I’d be worried that we might not get regular season hockey until February.

Nation Dan:

Nope. The league will figure it out. Hope will never die for this guy.

Baggedmilk:

A season will happen but they need to get it together sooner than later.

OODLE NOODLE IS OPEN FOR TAKE-OUT AND DELIVERY

During this time of pandemic, Oodle Noodle will be donating 10% of all takeout and curbside delivery sales will be donated to local charities on a weekly basis. To order pick up, call into the store directly or order at the till. If you’re staying in and practicing your social distancing, no-contact delivery is available at www.oodlenoodle.ca.