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Monday Mailbag – Digging into Warren Foegele’s hot stretch

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baggedmilk
11 months ago
Happy Monday, Internet, and welcome to another fresh edition of the Mailbag to help get your week started and break down all things Edmonton Oilers. This week we’re looking at the playoff opponents, Warren Foegele, Evan Bouchard, and a whole lot more. If you’ve got a question you’d like to ask, email it to me at baggedmilk@oilersnation.com or hit me up on Twitter at @jsbmbaggedmilk and I’ll get to you as soon as we can.
Jan 3, 2023; Edmonton, Alberta, CAN; Edmonton Oilers forward Zach Hyman (18) deflects a shot just wide of Seattle Kraken goaltender Martin Jones (30) during the third period at Rogers Place. Mandatory Credit: Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports
1) Devin asks – Plenty of time left but who is everyone’s ideal playoff opponent for the Oilers?
Jason Gregor:
Seattle would be ideal, but seems unlikely. I think LA will be a tougher out, so I’d say Vegas.
Robin Brownlee:
I always think of Dallas. That 4-1 win last week was a fun game.
Liam Horrobin:
The Seattle Kraken and I do not think it is close. They do not have any game breakers, their goaltending is below average and they are inexperienced. When you compare that to the other potential opponents, Seattle would be the least threatening.
Baggedmilk:
I’m still at a point where I just need them to get in and then we can have this conversation. But to answer the question, Vegas is the “best” team in the division — give them to me.
Dec 23, 2022; Edmonton, Alberta, CAN; Edmonton Oilers forward Warren Foegele (37) looks for a loose puck in front of Vancouver Canucks goaltender Collin Delia (60) during the first period at Rogers Place. Mandatory Credit: Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports
2) Kyle asks – Warren Foegele looks like a different player over the last couple of months. What happened and where has this guy been?
Jason Gregor:
He has had solid spirts. His injury derailed him earlier in the season and it took him some time to rebound.
Robin Brownlee:
When Foegele skates he has success. He’s got an extra gear we don’t always see. He knows how to play alongside skill when he gets the chance.
Liam Horrobin:
Warren Foegele is a new man. The biggest difference is that he is moving his feet. He is attacking more directly and with purpose. In the past, it felt like he was not able to get inside and drive the middle of the ice but that is no longer. Perhaps all the rumours of being traded or put on waivers put some fear into him.
Baggedmilk:
Think of this in Superbad terms… McLovin is at the party with all kinds of confidence after his night with the cops and he’s looking to score. I am McLovin.
Mar 9, 2023; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Edmonton Oilers defenseman Mattias Ekholm (14) celebrates with goaltender Stuart Skinner (74) after defeating the Boston Bruins at the TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports
3) Ed asks – It’s been about 10 games since the trade deadline and we have an understanding of the team the Oil will be sending into the post season: How do they compare to last year’s team? Better, worse about the same?
Jason Gregor:
I think overall they are better. Have better depth forwards and as much as I liked Keith, Ekholm is an upgrade. Also, if Draisaitl and Nurse remain healthy that is a major bonus.
Robin Brownlee:
They are better suited physically for the playoff grind with Ekholm, Desharnais, Bjugstad, and Kostin as regulars.
Liam Horrobin:
I think offensively and defensively this team is better. However, I am unsure if the goaltending has improved which is wild to say. Stuart Skinner brings his A game almost every night, but unfortunately, Jack Campbell does not. When you look at last year, Mikko Koskinen was solid more often than not, and he was a good backup at least. Looking back, Mike Smith was undervalued for the work he did. I think Skinner is the better of the four but the tandem of Smith and Koskinen is better than Skinner and Campbell.
Baggedmilk:
As much as I love Mattias Ekholm, I’m still concerned with the overall defensive group, mostly because of the lack of experience on the right side.
Mar 6, 2023; Buffalo, New York, USA; Edmonton Oilers defenseman Evan Bouchard (2) takes a shot on goal during the third period against the Buffalo Sabres at KeyBank Center. Mandatory Credit: Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports
4) Trent asks – Evan Bouchard has eight points since the trade deadline and being matched up with Mattias Ekholm. What’s the biggest difference you’ve seen in his game?
Jason Gregor:
Scoring the goal and ending his 40-game goal drought gave him a boost of confidence. Also, he is playing more minutes and touching the puck more on PP. Having the puck in his stick more often helps his overall game. And his partner is really good.
Robin Brownlee:
Ekholm is the biggest difference. Ekholm covers Bouchard’s ass when the inevitable mistakes happen. That settles him down. He’s a great fixer.
Liam Horrobin:
Similar to Foegele, he is playing more worry free. Seems calmer with the puck and playing his game. Defensively, he looks more difficult to play against which is a product of Ekholm. Furthermore, I think his confidence is sky high and that likely comes down to the belief from the organization. The Oilers traded Tyson Barrie to play Bouchard more and he is proving them right.
Baggedmilk:
Mattias Ekholm is the dad whisperer. I mean, if you can’t follow a gorgeous Viking man into battle and learn from him about everything from defence to beard care then what are we even doing here?
Mar 16, 2023; Edmonton, Alberta, CAN; Edmonton Oilers forward Connor McDavid (97) and Dallas Stars defensemen Esa Lindell (23) chase a loose puck during the third period at Rogers Place. Mandatory Credit: Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports
5) Randeep asks – Connor McDavid is putting up the best statistical season since Mario Lemieux in 1995-96 and leads the rest of the field by 30+ points. In your opinion what makes him head and shoulders better than his peers?
Jason Gregor:
He’s become a deadly shooter now. He has twice as many goals off the rush as any player Olin the NHL. His speed, quick hands, hockey sense, and now his shooting prowess make him almost unstoppable at times.
Robin Brownlee:
McDavid is capable of doing everything at high speed — his hands are perfectly in sync with his feet. Last guy even close was Pavel Bure.
Liam Horrobin:
Is everything too easy to answer? If not then that.
To narrow it down a little more, his speed is an obvious one. Nobody in the NHL skates like Connor McDavid which makes him incredibly difficult to defend. Also, now that he has added an elite shot to his book of skills, nobody knows if he is going to pass or shoot. His deceptiveness is something different that puts him ahead of everyone else.
Baggedmilk:
Connor McDavid makes the NHL look like he’s cheating somehow. Like he’s a Create a Player and you’ve maxed out every single category.

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