Monday Mailbag – Does Ken Holland need to make a move?
Photo credit:Tom Kostiuk
By baggedmilk1 year ago
Happy Monday, dear Internet friends, and welcome to a brand new edition of the Mailbag to help you start your week and break down everything that’s happening with our beloved Edmonton Oilers. This week we’re looking at Philip Broberg’s recall, Jay Woodcroft, Evan Bouchard, and a whole lot more. If you’ve got got a question you’d like to ask, email it to me at email@example.com or hit me up on Twitter at @jsbmbaggedmilk and I’ll get to you as soon as we can.
May 26, 2022; Calgary, Alberta, CAN; Edmonton Oilers center Connor McDavid (97) celebrates his goal with teammates during the first overtime period against the Calgary Flames in game five of the second round of the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Scotiabank Saddledome. Mandatory Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
1) Ed asks – It’s fair to say that most of the Oil roster has played below expectations. Certainly tending to miss the playoffs is below expectations. Usually, when a team is falling below expectations coaches are the first to go. As the saying goes, it’s easier to change 1 coach than 15 players. But with Woody being the new guy and coming off a good 1/3 of a year that won’t happen. So the question is, did Holland make a mistake by hiring Woody?
You can’t be serious. Since Woodcroft was hired Oilers have 5th highest points% in NHL and the 2nd most wins. They also went to the third round of the playoffs.
Almost always, a player or two will be traded before anything is done with the coach. Woodcroft had a 26-9-3 record with the Oilers in 38 regular season games last season before reaching the Western Conference final in the post-season. Is that what you’re calling “a good 1/3 of a year?” Did Holland make a mistake hiring Woodcroft? No. No he did not.
Mar 7, 2022; Calgary, Alberta, CAN; Edmonton Oilers defenseman Philip Broberg (86) skates during the first period against the Calgary Flames at Scotiabank Saddledome. Mandatory Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
2) @jeresells asks – Is Philip Broberg enough of a change to settle this D down or do you think Holland should be making a move earlier than expected?
A rookie should never be expected to settle down the D core. Holland will still be looking for a Dman, but I don’t think a deal happens until the New Year.
You can’t expect a young player with 24 games of NHL experience to “settle down” a defensive group but I do think Broberg brings a higher level of polish and poise to the group than what big Markus Niemelainen did. Holland should be looking for top-four, left side Dmen and he most likely is, but I don’t have a feel for the timing of how that might play out.
I think Broberg can probably come in and play just as well or better than Ryan Murray. While that may not stabilize the defence, it will be an improvement… I think.
Nov 19, 2022; Edmonton, Alberta, CAN; Edmonton Oilers forward Klim Kostin (21) tries top screen Vegas Golden Knights goaltender Adin Hill (33) during the first period at Rogers Place. Mandatory Credit: Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports
3) James in Peterborough asks – Curious to hear the panel’s thoughts on young Klim Kostin? In a very short period of time, he’s been impressive. He’s given off some serious Anton Slepyshev vibes; a strong middle-6 winger who I think the club has sorely missed for a few seasons.
He had a good few games, but let’s see how the next 10-20 go. Consistency is what keeps players in the NHL and he’s struggled with it. He does bring a bit of an edge to his game which is something Edmonton drastically needs in their bottom six and it will keep him in the lineup if he plays hard every night.
Surely, you’d want him to turn out better than Slepyshev — 10-13-23 in 102 NHL games — no? I’ve liked him so far. Big. Moves well. Not sure how much he’ll contribute offensively, but willing to take a look and see.
I think Klim Kostin adds a flavour to the bottom six that it’s been missing, and I bet the edge he plays with keeps him around. The Oilers need to be tougher to play against and he’s one guy that makes that happen.
Nov 12, 2022; Sunrise, Florida, USA; Edmonton Oilers defenseman Evan Bouchard (2) shoots the puck during the first period against the Florida Panthers at FLA Live Arena. Mandatory Credit: Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports
4) @jlcomeau14 asks – What do you do with Evan Bouchard? How do you help his confidence? He clearly benefited from Keith last year, but it appears as though he’s painfully missing that experienced guidance.
Two goals will be a huge boost for him. He’s very young. Having offensive confidence will help his overall game. I’m curious to see how he does now that he’s scored his first goal of the year. I sense he will be better.
It’s been a struggle at times for him. It happens. People tend to forget he’s still young in D-man years — 23 with 123 NHL games. Maybe his two goals against the Rangers provides a jump-start and some confidence.
Here’s hoping a couple of goals against the Rangers will help him relax a little bit. Confidence matters and he wasn’t playing with a whole lot of it.
5) Taylor asks – We all know about the stats regarding making the playoffs when you’re out at American Thanksgiving, so how concerned is everybody about the way these first 20 games have gone?
I wouldn’t be overly concerned as the Oilers are ahead of Calgary and four points behind LA with two games in hand. Other teams in the Pacific have struggled as well. They simply need to find more consistency. They have too much talent on the team not to make playoffs. Unless they suffer a few more key injuries I still see them as a lock to make the playoffs.
Not concerned about the Thanksgiving thing because I don’t put a lot of weight in historical records. I don’t think what happened 10, 15 or 20 years ago has anything to do with what’s happening now — different players, different teams (and number of teams), different circumstances. That said, I’ve got concerns over how loose the Oilers have been defensively in too many games this season. They stole two points in New York Saturday, but that doesn’t change the fact there’s work to do.
I believe! As much as it’s annoying that the Oilers are hovering around .500, let’s not pretend like it can’t be worse. They’ll get in.
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