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Photo Credit: Tom Kostiuk

Monday Mailbag – Western Conference Finals

Happy Monday, Nation, and welcome to a brand new Mailbag to help you get your week started and break down what’s happening with the Edmonton Oilers. This week, we’re looking at the Western Conference Finals, Jay Woodcroft’s line combos, and a whole lot more. If you’ve got got a question you’d like to ask, 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.

Jun 4, 2022; Edmonton, Alberta, CAN; Colorado Avalanche left wing J.T. Compher (37) celebrates a goal in front of Edmonton Oilers goaltender Mike Smith (41) in the third period in game three of the Western Conference Final of the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Rogers Place. Mandatory Credit: Walter Tychnowicz-USA TODAY Sports

1) Mitch asks – Obviously the start of this series didn’t go the way we wanted as Oilers fans but what has been the biggest surprise from either team so far? I don’t think I’ve ever seen them give up the defensive zone this easily before.

Jason Gregor:

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Colorado has been very consistent defensively and haven’t allowed the Oilers top forwards to enter zone with speed very often.

Robin Brownlee:

No real surprises. Colorado can skate and is excellent off the rush. Overall, that’s been the case in this series, especially in the first two games. The Oilers have been outshot by 40 shots, 130-90, through three games.

Baggedmilk:

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That the Oilers’ offence hasn’t been able to generate much at all. I know the Avs’ defence is good, I’m not suggesting otherwise, it’s just that Edmonton had been able to generate more against both the Kings and Flames overall. Better team for sure, but I didn’t think they’d be able to limit Connor and Leon as well as they have.

2) Rene asks – Noticed that the Rangers put together a kid line that is having all kinds of success against the Lightning yet the Oilers haven’t done the same with a player like Holloway. Is anyone else surprised he hasn’t gotten any time yet even with the strong finish in Bakersfield?

Jason Gregor:

Their kid line has no rookies. They have four, three and two years of NHL experience. Holloway hasn’t played one NHL game. Expecting him to match their success would be a surprise. But in the coming years he and McLeod could be the central pieces of a kid line.

Robin Brownlee:

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Not surprised. There’s no comparison between Holloway and the line of Filip Chytil, Alexis Lafreniere and Kaapo Kaako, who already have more than 340 games of NHL experience combined. Holloway has none, zero, nada. Expecting him to come in and make his debut in a WC final with the Oilers down 3-0 makes no sense.

Baggedmilk:

Down by three games, why not throw the hail mary? The Oilers need offence. Obviously, with zero NHL games under his belt, expecting that Holloway would be able to produce right away is a little much, but at this point, I’d absolutely try it out.

May 14, 2022; Edmonton, Alberta, CAN; The Edmonton Oilers celebrate a goal by defensemen Cody Ceci (5) against the Los Angeles Kings during the second period in game seven of the first round of the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Rogers Place. Mandatory Credit: Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports

3) Randeep asks – We’ve seen some great atmospheres around the NHL during the playoffs so how much do you think a home crowd provides an advantage in the postseason?

Jason Gregor:

I think a loud crowd can give the home team a boost at down times in the game and at the start. Edmonton’s best game in this series (thus far) came at home and I think the crowd’s energy helped. It won’t guarantee a win, but it can help at times.

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Robin Brownlee:

Edmonton’s atmosphere has always been something special. I can’t say how much it helps but it certainly doesn’t hurt. I think the Oilers have taken a huge step forward in game night presentation down the stretch and in these playoffs.

Baggedmilk:

I’ve been lucky enough to attend a few games throughout this run and there’s no better place to be than at Rogers Place during the playoffs. When people talk about how loud it can get in there, they mean it. I also went to Games 3 and 4 in Los Angeles, and while the atmosphere at Crypto.com was great, it really wasn’t close to what we’ve got going on here.

May 26, 2022; Calgary, Alberta, CAN; Edmonton Oilers defenseman Duncan Keith (2) controls the puck against the Calgary Flames during the first period in game five of the second round of the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Scotiabank Saddledome. Mandatory Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

4) Bobby Canuck asks – Hello, I have been a Duncan Keith fan for 10 odd years, over the moon when we traded for him. Felt the price to give up was worth it to get a verified champion on the team. No one on the team even comes close to the volume of big game stress/experience that he has had. Woodcroft and McDavid have said that the locker room is calm and collected. I think this is exactly why Holland got him, and was ok with what many consider to be a far to high of a price. What do you all think?

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Jason Gregor:

I didn’t have an issue with what they gave up. Had CHI retained $1m it would have been better, but the trade made Edmonton better.

Robin Brownlee:

Woodcroft and McDavid know better than I — or you. That aside, Keith, like the rest of the Oilers defence, has been exposed by Colorado’s speed and pace in this series.

Baggedmilk:

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Duncan Keith has had his ups and downs for sure, but I think he’s been mostly solid throughout the playoffs. Who knows what he says in the room but he’s been solid on the ice.

May 31, 2022; Denver, Colorado, USA; Edmonton Oilers left wing Evander Kane (91) scores a goal against Colorado Avalanche goaltender Darcy Kuemper (35) in the first period in game one of the Western Conference Final of the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Ball Arena. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

5) Oilers fan in Van asks – Evander Kane has been everything the Oilers could have asked for since he’s been here and I absolutely understand why they would want to keep him, but given the way he’s excelled, my biggest worry regards who they’d have to move just to clear the space. What is your walk away price and term for Evander Kane?

Jason Gregor:

Term is bigger concern for me than cap hit at this moment. I’d be leery of anything more than three years.

Robin Brownlee:

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I wouldn’t offer the term and dollars it’ll take to keep Kane. He’ll follow the money, which is his right. For me, the top end is 3x$5M.

Baggedmilk:

I’d do 3x$6 million but he wouldn’t take it.

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