Monday Mailbag – What’s the max we can do for Evander Kane?
Photo credit:Tom Kostiuk
By baggedmilk6 months ago
Happy playoff Monday, Nation, and welcome to a brand new Mailbag to help you get your week started and make sense of all things Edmonton Oilers. This week, we’re looking at the first four games of the series, playoff mindgames, 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 6, 2022; Los Angeles, California, USA; Edmonton Oilers center Leon Draisaitl (29) celebrates with center Connor McDavid (97) after scoring a goal in the first period of game three of the first round of the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Crypto.com Arena.
1) James in Peterborough – What has been the most pleasant surprise for you from the Oilers in this first-round series? I have marveled at Connor’s ability to impact the game physically while still being a dominant offensive force.
The balanced scoring up and down the lineup, excluding game four. Edmonton doesn’t have to rely on McDavid or Draisaitl being on the ice to score as much.
Zach Hyman. Made for playoff hockey. Always in the middle of the mix.
Watching both McDavid and Nugent-Hopkins throw their weight around has been very good. Smith’s ability to bounce back from the big mistake in game one was great to see. The biggest surprise for me though might be how many of their goals don’t involve McDavid or Draisaitl. Heading into game four, the team had 14 goals and six of them didn’t involve 29 or 97.
The way the boys are throwing the body like we’ve never seen before. Whether it’s Connor or Leon or Nuge or anyone in between, the Oilers are playing some big boy hockey and it’s been a lot of fun to watch.
Feb 14, 2022; San Jose, California, USA; Edmonton Oilers head coach Jay Woodcroft stands behind the bench during the third period against the San Jose Sharks at SAP Center at San Jose. Mandatory Credit: Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports
2) Ed asks – Prior to Game 2 Woody declined to name the starting goalie on Tuesday, although he stated he has made the decision he just didn’t want to say who it is. Some of the media folk said that not naming the starter is a mistake as it adds to uncertainty and speculation and this will unsettle the team. My question is how much does chatter in the media and on the Twitter verse etc. impact players. Or is this all just media people thinking they have more impact than they really do?
Has zero to do with the impact media has or if players read it. It caused unnecessary speculation. It was obvious Smith would start, so just say he will. There was nothing to gain by not announcing it, but I never thought it was really a question which is why I didn’t ask. Of course he was starting Smith.
The players know who is starting whether the coach announces it publicly or not. Media people with lots of juice — a national profile or a record of breaking stories — can have a fair amount of impact. Others don’t have nearly as much, if you’re talking about Twitter or social media. And what do you consider chatter? I always think of it as guesswork and speculation as opposed to reported facts or passing along real information.
In this instance, I don’t think it matters at all. Everyone in the locker room knows who their starting goaltender is and when the public officially finds out really doesn’t impact the guys in the room.
Gotta love the playoff mindgames. Woody out here playing 3D chess.
Feb 2, 2022; Washington, District of Columbia, USA; Edmonton Oilers center Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (93) celebrates with teammates after scoring a goal against the Washington Capitals at Capital One Arena. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
3) Lyle asks – Outside of the star players, which Oiler has impressed you the most so far in the playoffs?
Duncan Keith’s subtle plays with the puck and his defensive positioning have been impressive. He and Bouchard have become a solid pair, and Bouchard’s heightened intensity has made him much better in puck battles.
Hyman, as I mentioned above, and Cody Ceci.
Evan Bouchard has adjusted to playoff hockey beautifully. He’s gotten involved in a few scrums, he hasn’t made many mistakes with the puck on his stick, and the team generally seems to go in the right direction when he’s on the ice. Sometimes rookies don’t handle the extra pressure well but that has not been the case with Bouchard through three games.
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins forever. I’ve also liked the way Duncan Keith has played and how intense he is in the corners and in front of his own net.
May 4, 2022; Edmonton, Alberta, CAN; The Edmonton Oilers celebrate a goal by forward Evander Kane (91) during the third period against Los Angeles Kings in game two of the first round of the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Rogers Place. Mandatory Credit: Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports
4) Candace asks – Is Evander Kane pricing himself out of Edmonton with the way he’s filling the net right now? What is your max you’d give him?
Again, it depends on how much, if any, he gets from an arbitrator. If he gets half then even if you pay him $4.5m he is still making more than he would have on his last contract. If he gets half or more, then the can pick a place where he feels he can win and take less. It is more term than salary that I’d be debating.
He is if I’m the GM mainly because I wouldn’t give him the term he might be wanting. Kane has been terrific but I’m not giving him more than three years at his age (and because of his past). He can get more term than that from somebody, but not me. Tough call because he’s really delivered, but where does the money come from? Who else doesn’t get paid?
He very well might be. Maybe he feels some sort of loyalty to the Oilers and that could lead to him really wanting to stay here, but I would not be surprised if another team offered him a long-term deal with an AAV above $6.0 million. Now, I also think the Oilers would consider giving him that kind of deal but I’d still be nervous about giving him that much term. His history still lingers and I wonder about how a contract like that would look towards the end. The Oilers also have a lot of forwards already signed to big, long-term deals. The most I would go is 5×5 I think.
If I was Ken Holland, yes. Kane is on the heater of all heaters right now and it’s going to cost a fortune to keep him, and the Oilers just don’t have that kind of cap space.
Mar 7, 2022; Calgary, Alberta, CAN; Edmonton Oilers center Connor McDavid (97) and Calgary Flames center Blake Coleman (20) battle for the puck during the third period at Scotiabank Saddledome. Mandatory Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
5) Dale asks – Outside of the Oilers and Kings, which playoff series are you paying most attention to and why?
St. Louis and Minnesota. It has been great, although the Blues’ injuries on defence are playing a huge role. Also watching the Flames/Stars. I want a Battle of Alberta series, and the Flames need to play better for that to happen.
Calgary and Dallas. Hoping for a rekindling of the BOA.
I’ve been enjoying the Penguins vs Rangers series. It’s been entertaining. Flames vs Stars has been good too. I’ve been betting on the Avalanche every game too so watching them beat up on the Predators a few times has been good.
Dallas and Calgary for sure. A BOA playoff series would be fun but the Flames aren’t playing like they want to make it happen.
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