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Monday Mailbag – Has Stuart Skinner earned a Calder Trophy nomination?

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Photo credit:Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports
baggedmilk
8 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 Stuart Skinner’s Calder chances, line combos, Philip Broberg, 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.
Feb 23, 2023; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA; Edmonton Oilers right wing Kailer Yamamoto (56) scores a goal against the Pittsburgh Penguins during the second period at PPG Paints Arena. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
1) Original Pouzar asks – Oilers have 5 locked in top 6 forwards but the 6th spot has been a revolving door. Notwithstanding the fact we know Leon likes to play with Yamo, has Kailer not essentially locked in that spot with his recent play? 11 points in 15 games, 5 goals at 5 on 5, plus 4 at 5 on 5…
Jason Gregor:
I expect he starts there in the playoffs. There aren’t any other RW options besides Warren Foegele.
Robin Brownlee:
I’m not saying Yamamoto is locked into anything until he can stay healthy for long stretches. That’s going to get a test in the post-season.
Tyler Yaremchuk:
I think so. As always the concern with him has always been healthy, not effort or anything like that. Even when his production has dipped, I’ve liked his perseverance to keep going to difficult areas and even when he has some bad misses, he’s at least getting the quality looks and making decent plays. I like him as the 6th forward there but I will say that I prefer going 11-7 and just rotating the five big guns on the top two lines.
Baggedmilk:
Not many options at RW so it’s gotta be Yamo. I just hope the guy can stay healthy, ya know?
Feb 19, 2023; Denver, Colorado, USA; Colorado Avalanche right wing Mikko Rantanen (96) celebrates his overtime winning goal with left wing J.T. Compher (37) as Edmonton Oilers goaltender Jack Campbell (36) skates away in overtime at Ball Arena. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports
2) @MidnightFalcon4 asks – Out of all the teams in the west, who do you view as the biggest threat to the Oilers’ chances of making it to the SCF. My pick is the Wild, just based on history and the style of hockey they like to play.
Jason Gregor:
Colorado. Defending champs know how to win and their top-end talent is closest to Edmonton.
Robin Brownlee:
Minnesota has been a tough match-up for the Oilers — they’re 1-5-0 vs the Wild over the last three seasons. I still think Colorado is the top dog. To be the champ you’ve got to beat the champ.
Tyler Yaremchuk:
I’ll say it’s still Colorado. They aren’t as good as they were last season but they’re still elite and should only be getting healthier. I’d have LA as a close second just because there’s a better chance the Oilers actually have to play them.
Baggedmilk:
I’m going with Colorado. To be the best, you have to beat the best.
Mar 6, 2023; Buffalo, New York, USA; Edmonton Oilers goaltender Stuart Skinner (74) looks for the puck during the second period against the Buffalo Sabres at KeyBank Center. Mandatory Credit: Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports
3) Calvin asks – Even though I think Matty Beniers will win the Calder Trophy I believe that Stuart Skinner has earned a nomination. What does everyone think? Has Stu done enough to earn a top 3 spot?
Jason Gregor:
Yes, I think he has a very good chance to be a finalist.
Robin Brownlee:
I think he has. He’s shown great poise for somebody in his first season as a designated starter. And, while it doesn’t count in terms of votes, he’s a terrific teammate and a really good person from everything I’ve heard. Tough not to pull for a guy like that.
Tyler Yaremchuk:
100%. It’s not even a debate. He’s been a driving force for this team and honestly, they might not be a playoff team without him. I think his case to win it is really solid.
Baggedmilk:
Stu has to be in the top three. If not for him, this season would have been a total disaster. Stu for Calder!
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
4) @StuartBuxton5 asks – In the spring after the Oilers win the Cup they will inevitably graduate Broberg to the big club, but who do you think will go to clear that spot?
Jason Gregor:
Kulak is the only option, but if plays well and they win they might just opt to keep him. He isn’t old and skates very well.
Robin Brownlee:
Nothing is inevitable. And which spring are you talking about?
Tyler Yaremchuk:
Kulak makes the most sense because he shoots left but I think they might keep all seven. They like going 11-7, they have players who can play either side, and it protects them incase of injuries. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
Baggedmilk:
Kulak, I suppose, but I don’t particularly like that idea. I think he’s a steady, solid veteran that this team needs.
Mar 30, 2023; Edmonton, Alberta, CAN; The Edmonton Oilers Celebrate a 2-0 win over the Los Angeles Kings at Rogers Place. Mandatory Credit: Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports
5) David O. asks – As several members of the Oilers approach franchise record powerplay stats, I guess my question is what was happening in the 80s that makes this even possible? For example, in 1985-86, the Oilers had 295 powerplay opportunities, running at 26.4%, scoring 78 goals. The current team has 79 powerplay goals, so current opportunities to get points is about equivalent, but we have both McDavid (already) and Draisaitl (likely) to pass anything even Gretzky ever did with the Oilers. However, at the time the Oilers were also the #1 powerplay in the league; has going 4F1D made that much of a difference or is there more to it?
Jason Gregor:
Powerplays are better today. They are more specialized. More video now so players can see more of what works and what PK does. Also fewer point shots now. The best PPs today have much lower shot volume from the blue line. The odds of scoring increase the closer to the net you are when shooting.
Robin Brownlee:
Great question. Those old Edmonton power plays with Gretzky, Coffey and Messier were ridiculous, yet here we are. It starts. of course, with McDavid and Draisaitl. They’re almost unstoppable even when you know what’s coming — the cross-ice to Draisaitl low in the circle. RNH is really good on the half-wall and as the bumper. Tyson Barrie was extremely effective before he was dealt away. It’s mind-boggling to me that this team is poised to be historically good on the PP this season (32.4 as of Sunday) ahead of Montreal (31.9 in 77-78). Best 80s PP for the Oilers was the 82-83 team at 29.3. The 2019-20 Oilers already beat that at 29.5. My best guess as to why is that the Oilers are generating more chances/shots in prime scoring areas, as are most teams. The blast-it-from-the-point-and-charge-to-the-net-for-rebounds isn’t the preferred tactic of most teams now.
Tyler Yaremchuk:
I honestly don’t know enough about the way the game was played back then to give a solid answer so I won’t BS. Trust whatever Gregor and Brownlee say.
Baggedmilk:
I wish I could answer this question but I’m not old enough to remember what the Oilers’ power play looked like back in the day. If you want to know how bad it was during the Dallas Eakins era, I can definitely help you out there.

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