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Photo Credit: Tom Kostiuk

Monday Mailbag – How can the Oilers avoid a step back in 2022-23?

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 Evander Kane’s next contract, the Tampa Bay Lightning, the rule book, 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.

May 10, 2021; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Boston Bruins left wing Taylor Hall (71) reacts after scoring the winning goal in overtime against the New York Islanders at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

1) Ed asks – Last year Hall signed for $6MX4y, without going to market. I have to think that Kane would get something better than Hall. What do you think Kane will get? Can the Oil afford it?

Jason Gregor:

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He was making $7m in SJ and I suspect he will get that again. I’ve always said term is the concern for me, not the AAV. I think someone will give him four years.

Robin Brownlee:

Kane’s agent certainly thinks he’ll get more than Hall. What I would pay as a GM and what I think he’ll get are two different things — I don’t like a lot of term for players over 30 — but I can see Kane getting 5x$7 million from somebody. It would be foolish for the Oilers to get in on bidding for that kind of money/term right now.

Cam Lewis:

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A lot of teams were interested in Kane back in January and even more will be interested after his showing with the Oilers in the playoffs. It wouldn’t surprise me at all to see him get another seven-year, $7 million annual deal from another team. Hall’s contract doesn’t matter here, as he took a discount to finally play on a good team. Kane won’t be doing that.

Tyler Yaremchuk:

I think he will get $7Mx3Y on the open market and I don’t think the Oilers will be able to afford it unless they can offload both Foegele and Kassian. I’m sure they’d sign Kane to that deal but I don’t think their cap situation will allow it.

Baggedmilk:

I’m getting Kane gets $7 million x 5 years or something like that. Based on the year he had, someone is going to give him the bag.

Apr 1, 2022; Edmonton, Alberta, CAN; Edmonton Oilers forward Connor McDavid (97) celebrates an overtime winning goal with center Leon Draisaitl (29) against the St. Louis Blues at Rogers Place. Mandatory Credit: Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports

2) Clare asks – In his season-ending press conference, Leon Draisaitl mentioned the team missing the playoffs the year after the 2017 run and I’m wondering what Ken Holland has to do or not do to avoid that same issue?

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Jason Gregor:

This team is deeper and better. I don’t see them faltering unless they run into some really bad injuries. Holland does need to figure out the goaltending and try to add some skilled size on the backend.

Robin Brownlee:

Different team, Better team. Deeper team. Don’t see many comparisons. Get Jay Woodcroft signed and go from there.

Cam Lewis:

It’s no guarantee that they’re better next year than this year, especially with how much of a question mark the goaltending is. Bring back the three young RFA forwards, try to open up some cap room to re-sign Brett Kulak, and look for an upgrade in net. Making sure Jay Woodcroft is back is also critical.

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Tyler Yaremchuk:

He has to not make decisions or trade solely based off what he saw in the playoffs. Don’t sell low on Puljujarvi or Yamamoto because they weren’t at their best for the entire run. Don’t hold onto Zack Kassian just because he scored a couple of big goals. You need to keep the big picture in mind and don’t have short-sighted decisions. Trust the process Ken.

Baggedmilk:

That’s a question I wrote about on Saturday because I’m wondering the same thing. This is a huge offseason for the Oilers and Holland will need to put some major work in if the Oilers aren’t going to take a step back.

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3) Gregg asks – What did the Lightning do that the Oilers could not that allowed them to climb back into their series after being down 2-0 to the Rangers? Obviously, they won games three and four but what else did you see from them that you did not from Edmonton?

Jason Gregor:

Tampa is a deeper team. I think it was simply them finding their legs after a long break, and they limited the Rangers’ offensive chances. Tampa’s defence and goaltending are better than Edmonton’s and were a big reason why the Bolts are in their third consecutive Stanley Cup Final.

Robin Brownlee:

I didn’t watch enough of the series to say for certain. Stamkos, Kucherov and Palat were really good. They did this without Brayden Point, who should be back at some point in SCF. Impressive.

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Cam Lewis:

Tampa has an incredibly good team defence and they can completely suck the life out of their opponents at even-strength with the way they slow the game down and possess the puck. They also have an elite goaltender who always seems to come up big for them in these spots.

Tyler Yaremchuk:

I didn’t watch that series super close, but one thing that stands out is the fact that the Lightning can rely on one of the greatest goaltenders this sport has ever seen. That will help you win close, low-scoring playoff games.

Baggedmilk:

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I know this question came in a few days ago but it’s been amazing to watch Tampa flex with four straight wins to move onto a third-straight Stanley Cup Final. That’s a team that absolutely knows what it takes to win, and when you’ve got a goalie like Vasilevskiy backing you up, the sky really seems like the limit. Amazing performance by them.

Jun 4, 2022; Edmonton, Alberta, CAN; Edmonton Oilers left wing Evander Kane (91) battles Colorado Avalanche defenseman Bowen Byram (4) for position in from of goaltender Pavel Francouz (39) in the first 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

4) David asks – The Kane suspension and his justification of bracing himself for a reverse hit had me thinking – why is reverse hitting allowed? As enjoyable as it is when Draisaitl bodies someone down, isn’t it basically just interference and given its prevalence, forces players to hit more aggressively from behind?

Jason Gregor:

I don’t see it that way. If you have the puck and someone is coming to hit you, but you brace for it, I don’t see how that is interference. The player was coming to deliver a body check. Also if you watch the Kane replay the defence of preparing for a reverse hit is rather weak in my eyes. He blatantly crosschecked Kadri. He w was overly aggressive, and I don’t see guys running players from behind in anticipation or a reverse hit very often.

Robin Brownlee:

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The Kane explanation was BS. I’d have suspended Kane an extra game for coming up with such a half-assed excuse. Nothing “forces” players to hit from behind. Don’t do it.

Cam Lewis:

I agreed with the NHL’s choice to suspend Kane on that hit. I just hope we see hits like that suspended in the future because there are instances in the past when they weren’t. The NHL needs to clean stuff like this up and be consistent.

Tyler Yaremchuk:

I think it’s fine as long as you hit the player who is engaging with you. I think that is why it’s allowed honestly. If you’re about to try and lay a hard body check on a player. they shouldn’t have to just take the hit and go into the boards, they should be allowed to throw some force back at you. The player has the puck so it’s hard for them to commit interference, right?

Baggedmilk:

Even if the NHL changed a rule to prevent reverse hits, would the refs call it anyway? Regardless, that was a suspension worthy hit by Kane all day.

5) Trent asks – If you were a player would you rather win the Stanley Cup in your second season or in your second last season if destiny only granted one?

Jason Gregor:

Second season because you never know when your second-last season will be. Plus winning it in my second year would motivate me to want to win another one after experiencing the euphoria of hoisting the Cup.

Robin Brownlee:

Second season. For starters, if you’re not a big-name player on a big ticket, the $250K winning share on top of your salary would come in handy. Taking the Cup home when you and all your buddies are still in their early 20s would also be cool.

Cam Lewis:

It would be ideal to win when you’re young. It seems players who do so have pedigree forever and it keeps them in the league getting a new contract as a ‘veteran who can win’ forever.

Tyler Yaremchuk:

Second-last. The grind to get their would make you appreciate it so much more.

Baggedmilk:

Probably late in your career so you appreciate it more? Then again, if you win it early that may result in you making more money over the remainder of your career so… hmm…

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