Monday Mailbag – Do the Oilers need to change their style of play?

Photo credit:Tom Kostiuk
10 months ago
Happy Monday, Internet friends, and welcome to a fresh edition of the Mailbag to help get your week started and break down all things Edmonton Oilers. This week, we’re looking at Stuart Skinner, if the Oilers have to change their style to prevent goals, Philip Broberg, and much 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.
Apr 8, 2023; San Jose, California, USA; Edmonton Oilers goaltender Stuart Skinner (74) watches the puck during the second period against the San Jose Sharks at SAP Center at San Jose. Mandatory Credit: Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports
1) Hank asks — Is Stuart Skinner the starter by default when the season starts or does he have to earn the gig again?
Jason Gregor:
I see it as an open competition, but Campbell would have to severely outplay him to earn the start on opening night. Ideally the Oilers have close to a 60%-40% split, which means both goalies are playing solid. They don’t want to have to rely heavily on one of them in the regular season. There are very few goalies who start 55+ games and then play well for a long playoff run.
Robin Brownlee:
He’s the starter but he has to play well for things to stay that way.
Zach Laing:
Starter by default, unless Jack Campbell does some wild things in the pre-season. Skinner was the guy for the Oilers so much last season and into the playoffs that I have a hard time imagining another scenario.
Yep, Stu is the man until proven otherwise.
Apr 17, 2023; Edmonton, Alberta, CAN; Edmonton Oilers head coach Jay Woodcroft during the first period against the Los Angeles Kings in game one of the first round of the 2023 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Rogers Place.
2) Taylor asks — Do the Oilers need to change their style a bit to avoid giving up as many big plays against?
Jason Gregor:
No. The system isn’t causing the major gaffes. Those are mental. Edmonton’s goalies had the third highest expected save% last year, meaning they didn’t face a lot. The skaters just need to reduce the glaring giveaways.
Robin Brownlee:
Change their style in what way? By big plays do you mean goals? Defensive lapses and turnovers are the biggest problem, not style of play.
Zach Laing:
The biggest thing they need to focus on is a stronger commitment to defending the blue line. I think this is one of the key areas of focus for the club because it will help eliminate those big plays. Being able to stand up at the blue line can affect the opposition’s pace.
I’d like to see more support on the breakout. The boys too often flew the zone early and it left literally no one available for the d-men to pass the puck to.
Jan 5, 2023; Edmonton, Alberta, CAN; Edmonton Oilers defensemen Philip Broberg (86) and New York Islanders forward Anthony Beauvillier (18) chase a loose puck during the second period at Rogers Place. Mandatory Credit: Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports
3) Jeremy asks — What do we need to see from Philip Broberg this season to deem it a personal success?
Jason Gregor:
For him, he’d want to be a regular in the lineup. It will be difficult, but if he has to start in the AHL and play big minutes and then when he is recalled he plays well and remains in the lineup, that would be a good season in my eyes. He needs to play minutes.
Robin Brownlee:
He just turned 22 in June, so I’m still in slow-and-steady mode. No rush. A bump in games played and ice time, but nothing drastic.
Zach Laing:
Him contributing as a regular in the lineup. It took Oscar Klefbom four years post-draft to be a regular on the Oilers’ blueline, and last year marked Broberg’s fourth season post-draft playing 14 fewer games than Broberg did. Now’s his time.
He needs to step up and prove that he can be an everyday player. Anything less than that is probably a bad sign.
4) Mathieu asks — I need to ask about the Elks. How did this once proud franchise turn into the laughing stock of professional sports?
Jason Gregor:
Has been many years of erosion. Started with Maciocia, then Tillman. Hervey was the only GM with some success and a vision. Jones wears too many hats and clearly can’t be GM, HC or DC. The other issue was when the Board began having more say. They have done more harm than good. Should be a board at arm’s length. No easy fix, but they need to make some significant changes in the off-season.
Robin Brownlee:
When was the last time this was a proud franchise? This organization has been eroding for many years. They’re 15-35 in the three seasons played prior to this one and 15-43 counting 2023. Len Rhodes firing Ed Hervey and bringing in Brock Sunderland in as GM for the 2017 season was the big kick in the pills for me.
Zach Laing:
I was just thinking the other day about how much I used to love watching them play around the 2010’s when I was still in high school. I’d love to get back to following the team more in the summertime, but it’s just impossible to do so for me right now given the massive turnover it feels like there is. For me, it’s really hard to say what it is given how little I’ve followed the team, but as someone who coached football many years ago: it all starts with the management and coaching staff.
I honestly have no idea — I don’t pay attention to the CFL much — but with the record they’ve got you’d have to think everyone should get gassed.
5) @HockeyTockeyOG asks — Oilersnation starts a hockey team, starting line up? (LW, C, RW, D, D, G, Coach)
Jason Gregor:
LW- Tyler
C- Gregor
RW- Chalmers
D- The Squire
D- A young Brownlee. He’d be a force.
G- Kennedy (I don’t think she’s ever played, but she’s a gamer).
Coach– Baggedmilk (good motivator) and Liam would be the tactician.
Robin Brownlee:
The only guy I’m sure can play a little bit is Gregor. I’m too old and broken down now and I don’t know about the rest of the guys.
Zach Laing: Starting with the coach, Baggedmilk is the easy answer here. Despite being a bag of milk, he’s a great motivator. In net, we’re going to go with Liam Horrobin. Why? No reason beyond that I think it would be funny. On defence, it’s going to be me and Cooomsy. You need some size and grit on the backend and with me being a more stay-at-home type, it would allow Cam “Chris Pronger” Lewis to do his thing.
Up front, we’re going with the Nation Real Life line of Tyler Yaremchuk, Chalmers, and Jay. You got a grinder in Chalmers, a setup man in Tyler, and a sniper in Jay.
LW- Yaremchuk (He can snipe)
C-  Jay (He has wheels and hands)
RW-  Cam (my boy can dangle)
D-  Me (I’m a right-handed puck moving defenceman. Every team needs me)
D- Brownlee because we need some muscle
G- Woz because it might be fun to shoot pucks at him
Coach- Wanye


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