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Monday Mailbag – How would you grade Ken Holland given the flat cap over the last four years?

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Photo credit:Tom Kostiuk
baggedmilk
7 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 grading Ken Holland’s first four years, looking at how the Oilers can keep the puck out of the net, 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) Henry asks – How do you think Ken Holland has done overall given that he’s only seen a $2 million increase in the salary cap over his four years as Edmonton’s GM?
Jason Gregor:
The Oilers record in the four years prior to Holland’s arrival was 149-147-32 with a .503 points%. They had McDavid and Draisaitl.
In Holland’s four years, the Oilers are 171-94-26 with a .632P%. Which is 8th best overall.
The team has improved every year under Holland. He’s added Tyson Barrie, who turned into Mattias Ekholm, Zach Hyman, Evander Kane, Cody Ceci, Brett Kulak, Derek Ryan, Mattias Janmark, Connor Brown, Warren Foegele and Jack Campbell via trades or free agency. Campbell’s first year didn’t go well, but many goalies fluctuate year to year. If he rebounds then the only major error was the Kassian four-year deal. He has made way more good moves than bad.
Robin Brownlee:
Overall, he’s done an outstanding job without a lot of cap room to work with. Four straight years in the playoffs and 109 points last season is a franchise high dating back to 1985-86.
Baggedmilk:
I think he’s done a pretty good job of adding talent given the overall lack of space. Zach Hyman, Evander Kane, and Mattias Ekholm have all come in under his watch. On the other side of the coin, he’s also wasted a lot of space with the Nurse and Campbell contracts so it’s not like everything has been perfect. That all said, I’d give him a solid B+.
May 8, 2023; Edmonton, Alberta, CAN; Edmonton Oilers goalie Jack Campbell (36) makes a save on Vegas Golden Knights defensemen Alec Martinez (23) during the second period in game three of the second round of the 2023 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Rogers Place. Mandatory Credit: Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports
2) Oilers fan in Van asks – We know the Oilers are going to score a lot of goals this coming season, but given that most of the same team is returning, will they be able to do a better job of keeping pucks out of their own net?
Jason Gregor:
We will find out in the first few months of the season. The leaders mentioned the need to improve there. It is important to point out that the Oilers didn’t give up loads of quality chances last year. But when they did it was a doozy. Reduce the glaring errors and if Campbell is just average the Oilers’ GAA will go down.
Robin Brownlee:
Who has that answer for sure? Not really the same team — Mattias Ekholm ended the season here but played just 21 games. Having him for a full season will make a difference, given how significantly he impacted defensive play after his arrival.
Baggedmilk:
You have to hope that Jack Campbell will be better in year two than he was in the first year of his 5×5 contract and that in itself will bring the Oilers’ GAA down. As a team, however, the Oilers need to do a better job of not giving up the Grade-A chances that they did last season.
3) Tom asks – I read Jason’s interview with Raphael Lavoie and how his season really started to pick up after regaining his confidence. Do you think Lavoie will crack the opening day roster and what would be reasonable expectations for the 22-year-old forward?
Jason Gregor:
Yes. Look at the RW depth chart. Unlike Yamamoto and Puljujarvi who were gifted spots in the top six due to no competition, Lavoie won’t be in the same spot. He will battle for a bottom-six spot to start, which is the sign of a good team. Hyman and Brown will be in the top six to start. Lavoie will only have a few weeks to earn a spot, which is difficult when you are joining a team with Stanley Cup aspirations. I like that he is coming to Edmonton in August to give himself the best chance to make an impression in camp/preseason.
Robin Brownlee:
I don’t know the player well enough to say. Who does he displace on RW? Maybe more of an opening at 4C.
Baggedmilk:
Bruce Curlock likes him and thinks he could do good things if he “wants” it, and that’s good enough for me.
4) @ChrisFaber39 asks – What fast food restaurant do we need to see more of in Canada?
Jason Gregor:
In-N-Out Burger.
Robin Brownlee:
Popeye’s. Great chicken.
Baggedmilk:
You ever see that video on socials where the girl is freaking out because she wants to go to Wing Stop? The place must be awesome so I’ll say that one.

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5) @Browndalorian asks – Barbie or Oppenheimer this weekend if you can only choose one.
Jason Gregor:
I took my son to the Indiana Jones movie actually. We watched the previous four the past month at home and he wanted to see it. But if I went to one it would be Oppenheimer.
Robin Brownlee:
Saw Oppenheimer Saturday night. Like watching paint dry. Barbie? Not at gun point.
Baggedmilk:
I’m going to see both this week, I think! But I’m much more excited about Oppenheimer.

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