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Monday Mailbag – First thoughts on the Jeff Jackson hire as the Oilers’ new CEO of Hockey Ops

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Photo credit:Tom Kostiuk
baggedmilk
8 months ago
Happy holiday 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 the Jeff Jackson hire, Ryan McLeod money vs. Klim Kostin money, the Pacific Division, 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.
1) Blake asks – What were your first thoughts when you heard the Jeff Jackson news about stepping in as the team’s new CEO?
Jason Gregor:
Smart move by the Oilers. He has a diverse hockey background as an NHL player, an assistant GM and player agent. He also is a lawyer so he understands the legal side of the business as well.
Robin Brownlee:
Great get by Daryl Katz and Ken Holland. Jackson knows and has been on every side of the business. His long relationship with Connor McDavid as his agent doesn’t hurt either. Jackson is a sharp guy.
Tyler Yaremchuk:
I was surprised because not only had we not heard any rumblings of this happening, earlier in the offseason we heard that Nicholson wasn’t going anywhere. I love the move though. It seems like a very progressive hire in terms of not just going after another former team executive or bringing in another retread hire.
Baggedmilk:
I wrote about this on Saturday, but I like it a lot. Firstly, it gives the Oilers some fresh blood at the top — something we’ve all wanted for quite some time — and second, it brings another McDavid confidant into the tent, making his re-signing seem all the more likely.
Apr 23, 2023; Los Angeles, California, USA; Edmonton Oilers defenseman Evan Bouchard (2) moves the puck against the Los Angeles Kings during the third period in game four of the first round of the 2023 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Crypto.com Arena. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
2) @easternrefugee asks – How do you think the new CEO affects both Bouchard’s contract and does he increase the willingness of players coming to Edmonton at a lower cost? Arbitration so far recently has destroyed careers in Edmonton and both players are gone. Will McLeod break the streak or is he doomed?
Jason Gregor:
Edmonton only has so much cap space. It doesn’t matter who is negotiating the deal Bouchard won’t be getting more than $3.9m. McLeod didn’t go to arbitration so I don’t see how it impacts his career in any way.
Robin Brownlee:
Arbitration has destroyed careers? Are you contending that even having arbitration rights destroyed careers? If you’re talking about Puljujarvi and Yamamoto, they never ever got to a hearing. Injuries limiting Yamamoto to 57 games and 25 points are what sent him packing. As for Puljujarvi, offensive production more in line with his old contract is what got him gone to Carolina. He wasn’t close to good enough at $3 million. There is no streak to break.
Tyler Yaremchuk:
I don’t think the new CEO makes Edmonton a more desirable spot for players, Connor and Leon already do that. I think having a former agent running the team could make some negotiations a little bit less painful though.
Baggedmilk:
Meh. I doubt it. If Connor and Leon don’t already have guys wanting to come to Edmonton then I don’t know that a new CEO makes much of a difference.
Feb 23, 2023; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA; Edmonton Oilers center Ryan McLeod (71) takes the ice against the Pittsburgh Penguins during the first period at PPG Paints Arena. Edmonton won 7-2. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
3) Corey asks – How is Ryan McLeod worth $2.1 million but Klim Kostin was not given that they had nearly identical stats last season?
Jason Gregor:
McLeod is a centre who plays more minutes and more situations. I don’t see them as comparable players.
Robin Brownlee:
Klim got his dough in Detroit — $4 million over two years. Holland didn’t see him as being that valuable here, especially with money being tight. That’s his call and there’s bound to be some armchair GMs who see it differently.
Tyler Yaremchuk:
McLeod is a centre, he can kill penalties, and he’s proven to be a more trustworthy player. He doesn’t bring the same level of physicality that Kostin does, but he’s a more valuable player. I think he has 20-goal potential.
Baggedmilk:
We talked about this on Oilersnation Radio on Friday, but ultimately the major difference is that McLeod is a centre, kills penalties, and likely has more longterm upside. At least, that’s my guess anyway.
May 8, 2023; Edmonton, Alberta, CAN; Edmonton Oilers forward Evander Kane (91) battles with Vegas Golden Knights defensemen Nicolas Hague (14) in front of Vegas Golden Knights goaltender Adin Hill (33) during the third period in game three of the second round of the 2023 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Rogers Place. Mandatory Credit: Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports
4) Kev asks – What is your way too early ranking on the Pacific Division? Who got better and who didn’t?
Jason Gregor:
Vegas and Edmonton are still the two best teams. Oilers improvement will mainly be internal, although Brown should help. LA is intriguing to me. Their centre depth is better, but their goaltending might be worse. Calgary should be better, but I don’t see them pushing EDM or LVK. Vancouver will also be improved and should push for a playoff spot.
Robin Brownlee:
The time was right for Darryl Sutter to be moved along, so I like that move for Calgary. I like the addition of Connor Brown here, so I think the Oilers helped themselves. Vancouver has some nice adds on the blueline, but they’re coming from the back of the pack. Vegas stays about the same as far as I can tell. After that, not sure.
Tyler Yaremchuk:
Top tier: Edmonton, Vegas, Los Angeles. Middle tier (fringe playoff contenders): Seattle, Calgary, Vancouver. Irrelevant tier: San Jose, Anaheim. LA got a little bit better, as did Edmonton and Vegas. The rest did not improve.
Baggedmilk:
The top three teams will be the Oilers, Kings, and Golden Knights in some order. The rest is a crap shoot. I could see Calgary hanging around but I don’t think they’ll be challenging for the division.
Apr 8, 2023; San Jose, California, USA; Edmonton Oilers defenseman Philip Broberg (86) chases after the puck during the second period against the San Jose Sharks at SAP Center at San Jose. Mandatory Credit: Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports
5) @shanecanamerica asks – What are the odds Broberg outplays Vinny early and takes the 6th spot? We know what Vinny is, the upside isn’t high but Broberg has shown flashes just needs a chance with minutes. Thoughts on this:
Ekholm – Bouchard
Nurse- Broberg
Kulak- Ceci
Vinny great PK, toughness and no speed.
Jason Gregor:
No speed? Desharnais is a fine skater for his size. Oilers do not want Broberg playing their toughest matchups, which is what Nurse does. Ceci was very good in 2022 and had a down year in 2023. He will get opportunity to rebound. If he struggles, then I can see Oilers looking at other options, but I sense they will give him a chance to be the player he was in 2022 first.
The Oilers’ blueline was incredibly healthy last year. Their top five missed virtually no games. It is unlikely that happens again, so expect Broberg and Desharnais in the lineup together at times. Desharnais had way more good games than bad, including in the playoffs. Games 2-6 he was very solid vs. Vegas. I think many are discounting his ability to keep improving.
Robin Brownlee:
Broberg isn’t close to ready to play the amount of minutes it’ll take to partner up with Nurse as a RD.
Tyler Yaremchuk:
I think Broberg and Desharnais will be flip-flopping in and out of the lineup all season. There will be injuries and the Oilers will need both of them to play a lot. To answer your question, I think it’s totally realistic that Broberg steals that last spot out of camp, but it doesn’t mean that Vinny is going to sit in the press box all season.
Baggedmilk:
I wish we had been able to pick up another experienced RHD and this conversation wouldn’t even be happening. As for how these two battle for minutes, I’m guessing it’ll be a split of some kind with neither being ready for top-four minutes.

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