It’s mailbag time again, my friends. I’ve taken the questions you’ve sent me and fired them over to our writers to get all the answers you’ve always been looking for. I say it every week, but this segment is entirely dependent on you guys to make it work, so send me your questions. You can email me at [email protected] or hit me up on Twitter at @jsbmbaggedmilk.com.
1) Shaun M. asks – With the desperate need for depth at RD and Ethan Bear’s progression to a nearly PPG pace, is it likely we will see him in Bakersfield next season and possibly get a cup of coffee with the Oil? Or is it more likely he will play as an overage player with Seattle? I’m excited to see what he can do at the AHL level and find out if he can make an NHL impact with proper seasoning ala Brandon Davidson.
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Jason Strudwick:
I just had a conversation about Ethan Bear this week. Sounds like he has some good traits but I don’t get the sense he could be playing NHL games next year. Lets see him in camp and go from there.
Robin Brownlee:
You used “cup of coffee with the Oil” and “proper seasoning” in the same paragraph. Ethan Bear will be 19 when next season starts. What’s the rush?
Jonathan Willis:
Bear doesn’t even turn 19 until June. Let’s give it two or three years before we start thinking about him as an Oiler.
Jason Gregor:
Bear is not an option. He is not an overage next year, he will be 19 and is only eligible to play in junior or the NHL and the Oilers won’t rush him. He had a very good season and they hope it builds on it next year by making the WJC team.
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Matt Henderson:
I have been intrigued by Ethan Bear since I got to see him play in the open Rookie camp. He stood out even then as a decent defender. His offence is really exciting. If the Oilers cut a few people (Musil) loose then I could see Bear going to the AHL. The thing is, I don’t know if there’s a bad decision there. I’m happy to let Bear develop as long as he needs to. Edmonton has been burned rushing players up into the pro ranks before.
Lowetide:
Bear will be a 19-year old in the WHL next season (turns 19 in June). He is not eligible for the AHL until 2017-18. The fact we are talking about him in these terms is encouraging though. A strong draft plus one season.
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Jeanshorts:
I’ve been really impressed with what I’ve read about him this year. Obviously as an 18 year old in junior you would hope he would progress and put up some numbers and by all accounts he’s exceeded most expectations. I can’t sit here and tell you what is going to happen at training camp next year, but at the very least I’m really excited that there finally seems to be a decent crop of young defensemen in the Oilers pipeline that should be competing for pro jobs VERY soon (Caleb Jones is also having a stellar 18 year old junior year).
I’ve got a lot of hope for Ethan Bear in the near future, so I’m excited to watch him continue to develop and see what happens. I definitely don’t think an AHL job is out of the question, but we’ll see!
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Baggedmilk:
I’ve been keeping an eye on Ethan Bear and Caleb Jones all season. If you don’t read Lowetide’s Weekend Updates then you’re definitely missing out. As for Bear, he’s had an excellent draft+1 season and I’m excited to see how he’ll do next year as a 19-year old. There’s no need to rush this prospect though. Let him develop slowly, and see where he ends up. The first step is to see how he responds to a great year in junior.
2) Reagan asks – Many people have tried to link players like Travis Hamonic or Kevin Shattenkirk to the Oilers because of their obvious lack of defensive depth but I wonder which would be the better fit? In your opinion, which d-man would be the better fit for the Oilers if the cost to acquire them was relatively similar?
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Jason Strudwick:
If we toss aside what it would take to get them and the difference long term in what the contract could be, I would go with Hamonic. The Oilers need a minute munching steady D man. He would put the other D men into better match ups every night.
Robin Brownlee:
People haven’t been trying to link Hamonic to the Oilers. Chiarelli has already talked to the Islanders about him. Hamonic wants to play in the west, close to home. That’s the link. Hamonic has a cap-friendly contract. He makes more sense for the Oilers than Shattenkirk does.
Jonathan Willis:
I think Hamonic is a stunning fit. He’s a first-pair shutdown defenceman who would do wonders to stabilize the blue line. The only bad thing: he isn’t is a top power play quarterback.
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Jason Gregor:
Hamonic because he is a great defender first. Oilers need to keep the puck out of their net first and foremost. He can add some offence as well, but mainly he will help them cut down on their goals against.
Matt Henderson:
Both. Take both. Find a way to pay the price two times. If it’s one or the other I take Hamonic because of his contract, I guess. Hamonic’s contract is so good that his agent should be fired. He’s a big minute, possession controlling, physical defender. Shattenkirk is a PP quarterback that produces offensively. Oilers need both and might even have the assets to get both if they’re willing to part with their pick and one high end forward.
Lowetide:
For me it is Hamonic. The contract and skill set are a nice match to Edmonton’s needs, and I am not certain Shattenkirk would sign with the Oilers when he reaches free agency. Part of the issue for Hamonic is the contract — it is a sweet deal. Acquiring him allows some nice cap room.
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Jeanshorts:
I personally would rather have Kevin Shattenkirk. He’s got more offensive upside, which I think puts him ahead of Travis Hamonic. Hamonic has zero power play points this year and has barely even gotten any PP time, whereas Shattenkirk is the quarterback on the Blues first unit (which is just slightly behind the Blackhawks for fifth in the NHL). I’ve also seen some talk that has Hamonic as a #3-4 D-man, rather than a true top pairing guy, which Shattenkirk firmly is. Hamonic obviously has an unbelievably attractive contract, whereas Shattenkirk becomes a UFA at the end of next season, which is a huge consideration. And realistically I think Hamonic has a much better chance at being an Oiler next year, but with all things being the same I would much rather the Oilers acquire Shattenkirk.
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Baggedmilk:
For me the best fit is Travis Hamonic because he checks off more boxes that the Oilers desperately need. Hamonic won’t put up the points that Shattenkirk can but he’s still a top pairing d-man on a very reasonable contract. Hamonic’s deal still has term on it and there’s no guarantee that Shattenkirk would re-sign in Edmonton after this last year of his contract. With every penny being valuable in the McDavid era I think Hamonic would be the best fit.
3) Brooklyn B. asks – How do you think it will affect viewership (if any) that there likely won’t be any Canadian teams in the playoffs?
Jason Strudwick:
I do think it will be lower after the first round. We will watch some games but hard for most to stay engaged.
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Robin Brownlee:
Numbers in Canada will be way down. Don’t see as much of a ripple in the US.
Jonathan Willis:
Less people will watch the playoffs on TV in Canada, and viewership will probably be down overall as a result.
Jason Gregor:
I’d say a fair amount. The first round is usually the most exciting so people will watch, but I suspect only the diehards will watch after that. Casual fans will watch when their team/city is playing, and some might even watch to see a rival Canadian city lose, but I suspect the numbers will be way down.
Matt Henderson:
Well I’m not in the TV industry, but my guess is it affects viewership negatively.  ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Lowetide:
It will be a big hit, I expect.Canadians love the SC playoffs, but we also like cheering for (or against) the Canadian teams. I hope the Oilers make the playoffs soon.
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Jeanshorts:
I think it’s going to have a pretty decent impact. According to this article, when there were five Canadian teams starting the first round last year, TV ratings jumped 36% over the year prior, when the Habs were the only Canadian team at the dance. I know personally I will be much less invested because I don’t really care who wins the cup this year, whereas if a team like the Leafs or Canucks were in I would tune in to hopefully watch them crash and burn in the first round. Mostly I’m just looking forward to not seeing a bunch of “THIS IS WHY (insert team) IS CANADA’S TEAM AND YOU SHOULD CHEER FOR THEM” articles this spring.
Baggedmilk:
I’ll probably watch the first round with a high regularity but after that I don’t really care which of LA or Chicago will win the Cup this year. That being said, if Washington makes the finals I’ll be watching because I’d like to see Ovi get a ring.
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4) Alexandre asks – This season started with so much hype and promise that finishing 30th again has left a real sour taste in my mouth. Are you at all looking forward to the end of the season? What are you looking forward to in the summer?
Jason Strudwick:
I predicted 82 points which they won’t hit. Even getting to low 70s might be a stretch. It is not fun to be playing in these games so I will be happy for the players when the season ends. I am looking forward to seeing how PC molds this team into his vision. After a whole year he knows who we wants to keep, send off and what the team needs to add to have success.
Robin Brownlee:
I’m waiting to see how Chiarelli addresses the need for a first-pairing guy on the blue line and wondering what that’ll cost and who goes the other way.
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Jonathan Willis:
I’m looking forward to doing some serious stats work; with all the games it’s hard for me to find the time to do it during the season.
Jason Gregor:
Very much looking forward to the end. Playoffs emerge and there will be some great matchups. This summer should be different than previous ones because the Oilers will make a significant move, maybe two. I don’t see Chiarelli just tweaking with the edge of his lineup, I believe he will uproot the nucleus.
Matt Henderson:
I am very much looking forward to this ride stopping. Problem is I still have to write about them. It would be a lot easier to do if there were games being played until June. Try writing daily from mid-April to mid-September about a sports team that doesn’t actually play games during that time. It’s a nightmare. Then add in the fun fact that they’ve been crappy for a decade and you’ve probably already written what you want to write last year and the year before that. Wait, what’s the question? Oh, I guess I’m looking forward to Game of Thrones (thanks for never interfering with an episode, Oilers) and the new Uncharted game.
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Lowetide:
This is the summer you want to pay attention. There are going to be some major transactions. I am looking forward to seeing what Peter Chiarelli does to address weakness, and also believe the team needs to have a strong draft to re-stock the shelves.
Jeanshorts:
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I think once that golden ticket turned around, and when Chiarelli and McLellan joined the team that a lot of peoples’ expectations became unrealistically skewed. I thought I had set a pretty low bar for the Oilers this year, and they still managed to somehow not even meet those meager expectations, but I also think they’ve been trending upwards far better than most fans give them credit for. Case in point: it hasn’t felt like nearly as much of a chore watching the last stretch of the season as it has been in years past. With the emergence of Patrick Maroon, Cam Talbot being a revelation, guys like Jordan Osterle and Iiro Pakerainen coming up from the farm and looking competent at the NHL level, and the 95% chance that Connor is going to do something unbelievable at any moment of any game, these Oilers have been much more fun to watch down the stretch. The moves Chiarelli made at the trade deadline, combined with a more or less certainty that the cap will only see a meagre rise at best this summer, has also given me tons of optimism that this team will improve by leaps and bounds this summer. I know that having optimism for next season is a cardinal sin around here that has been beat into the ground for seven years, but I’m nothing if not an optimist! Chiarelli is going to do awesome this off-season, I can feel it!
Baggedmilk:
I’m looking forward to the end of the season, if I’m being honest. Writing Wrap Ups isn’t nearly as fun when everyone hates the team and watching the games can actually be a chore. I’m also looking forward to the summer to see what Chiarelli will do to this roster. There’s a shakeup coming and I’ve got a feeling it may be substantial. Keep Nuge, though. Always keep Nuge.
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5) Craig asks – With the Batman vs Superman movie coming out this week I wonder who is your favourite Batman and why? Mine is Christian Bale from the most recent movies.
Jason Strudwick:
Danny Devito
Robin Brownlee:
Adam West. There is only one original.
Jonathan Willis:
It’s hard to compare across Batman movies because the Christopher Nolan ones were so good (and the less said about Batman Forever, the better). I’ll go with Will Arnett in the Lego Movie.
Jason Gregor:
Michael Keaton. He was the first one I saw and I thought he was great, plus Jack Nicholson as the Joker made the movie even better, and I thought Kim Basinger was incredibly gorgeous.
Matt Henderson:
Adam West and Christian Bale are tied. Props to the guy who plays the cartoon version, he obviously has a great voice.
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Lowetide:
I liked Adam West, and then Michael Keaton. I assume no one else will answer this question the same way, and so should confess I have not seen all of the Batman movies. Bob Kane was a genius, though, that I know.
Jeanshorts:
We answered this question on the North x NorthGretz podcast a few weeks back, and mine is definitely Michael Keaton. His Bruce Wayne was basically perfect, and his batman didn’t take himself too seriously. I love the Christian Bale/Chris Nolan Batman trilogy, but that first Tim Burton Batman is just so much damn fun!
Baggedmilk:
Michael Keaton was easily the best Batman. Batman Returns is a great movie and if you haven’t seen it you’re missing out on a classic. Strangely, the Batman I’ve watched the most is Batman Forever with Val Kilmer because I used to spend summers at my mom’s place and she had basic cable and not many movies to choose from. I would watch that wondeful piece of shit at least two or three times per summer.
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