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Monday Mailbag – What do the Oilers do now that Steve Staios is gone?

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Photo credit:Tom Kostiuk
baggedmilk
6 months ago
Happy Monday, dear Citizens, and welcome to a fresh edition of the Mailbag to get your week started and keep you up to date on all things Edmonton Oilers. This week, we’re looking at defensive pairings, bubble players, Steve Staios’ departure, 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.
Sep 29, 2023; Calgary, Alberta, CAN; Edmonton Oilers left wing Dylan Holloway (55) controls the puck in front of Calgary Flames defenseman Noah Hanifin (55) during the first period at Scotiabank Saddledome.
1) Anna asks – We’re past the midway point of the pre-season and I’m wondering who has stood out to you for either good or bad reasons?
Jason Gregor:
Jack Campbell was very good in his only start. Raphael Lavoie has been noticeable and in the mix. Dylan Hollway has played very well. He has secured his third-line spot for sure in my eyes. Seth Griffith makes plays. If he was a big bigger he’d be better suited to play the bottom six.
Robin Brownlee:
Dylan Holloway and Jack Campbell. Haven’t seen Brandon Sutter do much lately — namely against Vancouver Saturday. Edit: Sutter released and retired Sunday, so my eyes weren’t fooling me. Raphael Lavoie is coming on. We’ll see more of him.
Tyler Yaremchuk:
I think a lot of guys made really good impressions in short stints. Beau Akey and Ben Gleason being two. I’ve been a little bit disappointed in Raphael Lavoie. Dylan Holloway has been really solid though. Jack Campbell also seems refreshed, which is a great sign.
Liam Horrobin:
Dylan Holloway has done great so far. Of course, last year he was great too but he seems to have figured out ways to succeed. I think he’s in line for a promising season.
Baggedmilk:
Dylan Holloway was great on Friday night in Calgary and that was very nice to see. The Oilers almost need him to take a step forward this season, and I’m banking on him to do it too.
2) Blake asks – Which bubble player is doing the best job of earning an opportunity at a job in the bottom six? Many fans expected Lavoie to be that guy but I haven’t seen anything from him yet that suggests he’ll be on the opening night roster.
Jason Gregor:
I haven’t seen anything suggesting he isn’t in the mix with Lane Pederson and Adam Erne.
Robin Brownlee:
You overstate on Lavoie. He had been OK before he scored a nice goal against Vancouver on Saturday. Plus, he’ll see another game or two/three to show what he can do. Holloway has been the best bubble guy.
Tyler Yaremchuk:
I think this has been Dylan Holloway. I know a lot of people just assumed he’d make the team, but because he doesn’t need waivers to go down, I think there was a chance that he could have been sent down if he had a bad camp. He’s looked great though and I fully expect him to be starting the season on the Oilers third line.
Liam Horrobin:
I initially thought Sutter was going to crack the roster but his retirement changes that. I think over these next few guys when players are playing more in roles they’d have in season, we will get a clear idea.
Baggedmilk:
Lavoie’s snipe on Saturday night was a big league shot, and I won’t be surprised at all if the Oilers keep him around for a while to start the season. He’s cheap on the cap, he’s big, and he has to clear waivers so they’ll probably try to get as many showings as possible before making a decision.
Apr 25, 2023; Edmonton, Alberta, CAN;Edmonton Oilers defensemen Brett Kulak (27) celebrates his goal scored during the first period against Los Angeles Kings goaltender Joonas Korpisalo (70) in game five of the first round of the 2023 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Rogers Place. Mandatory Credit: Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports
3) @digaa17 asks – Kulak and Ceci looking like our 3rd pair D to start the season. Thoughts?
Jason Gregor:
Ekholm needs to play a few games before we can say for sure that Kulak and Ceci will start the season together on the third pairing.
Robin Brownlee:
If that means Broberg is in the second pair with Ekholm and he can handle the minutes, fine. Need Ekholm back in the line-up and playing first. It’s a very good situation to have a third pairing as proven as Kulak and Ceci.
Tyler Yaremchuk:
I wouldn’t say this is 100% going to happen, I still want to see more from Broberg before I give him a spot on the second pair with Ekholm. If Kulak and Ceci do end up playing together, I’m intrigued by the possibility of them being a really good third pairing. Ceci struggled last season on the top pair with Nurse, but softer minutes should allow him to cut some mistakes out of his game.
Liam Horrobin:
Brett Kulak makes everyone who plays with him better. He did it with Tyson Barrie and Vincent Descharnais so I have faith Cody Ceci can benefit from him too. Additionally, Ceci was injured last season but continued to play. Perhaps if Ceci is back at full strength the Oilers can have a legit shutdown pairing.
Baggedmilk:
I don’t know that it’s written in pen because Broberg hasn’t shown that he can handle top-four minutes yet. I think this would be the ideal pairing for those two, but I don’t know that it’s going to happen. At least not to start the year.
4) dustinmeisinger (Insta) asks – With Steve Staios leaving, who’s next in line for the Oilers’ GM job? Are we not in need of a succession plan?
Jason Gregor:
We knew he wasn’t coming back for the past few months. Jeff Jackson is the succession plan, as he either takes on the role or he hires a GM, if Ken Holland decides to step back and only do an advisory role.
Robin Brownlee:
It’ll likely be Brad Holland or Keith Gretzky — unless Jeff Jackson wants the job himself. That would be a long shot.
Tyler Yaremchuk:
I don’t see a clear option that’s currently in-house and honestly, that’s fine. Jeff Jackson has a lot of time and even if they wait until the spring, they can do that. I also wonder if there’s a world where Ken Holland sticks around to help run the draft and free agency and then the new hire fully takes over in July.
Liam Horrobin:
With Jeff Jackson now in charge, the opportunity to be the next GM of the Oilers is up for grabs. I don’t believe anyone within the organization is in line for it just yet but still plenty of time to prove themselves.
Baggedmilk:
I bet he hires an agent or someone that we don’t expect at all. That’s my bet. Who that happens to be would be a complete guess, but I don’t think Jeff Jackson is going to necessarily hire someone who’s been around forever.
May 14, 2023; Edmonton, Alberta, CAN; Edmonton Oilers center Connor McDavid (97) reacts with teammates after being defeated by the Vegas Golden Knights of the third period in game six of the second round of the 2023 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Rogers Place. Mandatory Credit: Walter Tychnowicz-USA TODAY Sports
5) saltysul780 (Insta) asks – Are the Oilers putting too much pressure on themselves this season?
Jason Gregor:
I don’t think so. Having high expectations is good, but I don’t see them being unrealistic.
Robin Brownlee:
Pardon? They expect to win. That’s the object of the exercise, no?
Tyler Yaremchuk:
Nope. This team’s window is firmly open and it won’t stay open forever. They’ll only get a few more chances with this core and they need to go on a big run this season. Pressure makes diamonds.
Liam Horrobin:
No, this team is too good not to have the pressure of winning a Stanley Cup.
Baggedmilk:
No. The Oilers want to win, that’s what they expect from themselves, and I personally love that attitude.

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