This week is a very special week as we’re procured the services of some ridiculously talented writers:
- Rob Soria (@Oil_Drop) – You might know Mr.Soria from The Hockey Writers or OurHometown.ca where he covers the Edmonton Oilers. He also guests on Lowetide’s radio show from time to time when there’s about Genie Bouchard. Ha! Just kidding! Rob is one of a kind and we’re absolutely stoked to have him with us today.
- Sean Tierney (@SeanTierneyTSS) – Mr.Tierney is all over the place. You can find his work on Today’s Slapshot, My NHL Trade Rumors and Jets Nation. He’s held previous positions at Bleacher Report, Fansided, and The Hockey Writers. He’s a man with a brain for the game and we’re privileged to be in his presence today.
- Madison Moroz (@madi39) – Here we have the cousin to Oilers prospect Mitch Moroz… Not really but I knew it was on your mind anyhow. Actually if you participate within the Oilers community on Facebook you might know Mr.Moroz’s group, Edmonton Oilers True Fans. They’re a bunch of rowdies over there but they know their team and if you can hold your own they’ll welcome you with open arms. He also runs an Oilers fansite called “The Pressboxx“.
- Corey Mitchell (@corn_cwm) – We all know Mr.Mitchell from previous Sunday Night Pints and from his sick work covering the Oilers prospects this summer! He’s a Beer League Heroes regular and we love having him!
1. Are You Concerned With the Term and Price Point of Oscar Klefbom’s New Contract?
RS: Not in the least. I have been on the Oscar Klefbom bandwagon from the moment the Oilers drafted him and nothing I have seen from him has changed my mind. For me he was a lock to be a top four blueliner with the outside chance of developing into a No. 2 in the right situation…and that still appears to be the case.
To be fair, the talented Swede has done absolutely nothing to date that warrants him making the $4.167 million he is rumoured to have signed for but that is how things work into today’s National Hockey League. With that said, in two years’ time this deal will be a steal of a deal for Edmonton. A perfect fit for both sides.
ST: Short answer, yes. Long answer, maybe.
As Jeff Veillette said, no NHL skater has ever played as few games and scored as few points as Klefbom prior to securing a seven-year contract. It’s a long-term gamble on a 22-year-old defenseman who has yet to show a lot at the NHL level.
Still, some scouting reports say that he has massive shutdown potential with a hint of offensive ability long-term. The money Klefbom’s earning isn’t big (AAV of $4.167 mil) especially considering that the average NHL salary is ~$2.6 million.
This deal is a huge leap of faith and this will definitely leave an imprint on Peter Chiarelli’s tenure in Edmonton. But – and this is a considerable-sized but – if Klembom does develop as expected and salaries rise as expected, the Oilers may have secured a serviceable top-four defender for a reasonable price…for much too long.
MM: No, I’m not concerned with the term or the price. When it popped up in the news that the oilers were looking to extend him I wanted it to be max years and at around 4 million. He may have limited game experience but we all know he has shined in those games and has developed properly. I’m much more comfortable with the oilers doing it this way then giving him a bridge contract and then we have a potential subban situation, where he could ask for 6?7? Maybe more per year.
This deal is going to be a steal by the Oilers in a few years when he’s still one of the best on the team. This just shows you how much Chiarelli values him and wants him here long term and that he is a vital part of this core. Come two years into this deal, Chia is going to look like a genius. I couldn’t be more excited for this deal.
CM: There is nothing wrong with that Klefbom contract. I’ve seen lots of people concerned with the term vs his time in the NHL. I don’t see what the issue is. In my mind, if you give him a bridge contract, and he continues to trend the way Oilers management obviously feels like he is, you’re looking at probably $6 million+ for that next contract two years down the road. Lock him up now, for long term, and great value. In 3 years, we’ll be laughing at how cheap we have Klefbom for. Great move.
2. Is Leon Draisaitl a Lock to Start the Year With the Edmonon Oilers?
RS: I am actually currently working on a piece for the Hockey Writers on this very subject. It is no secret I was on the fence about the Oilers taking Draisaitl over Sam Bennett with the third overall pick of the 2014 NHL Entry Draft but was ultimately won over by his overall skill set and size.
While that all still holds true, I am not so sure that playing third line minutes in Edmonton is better for his development than seeing major time in the AHL. If we are talking about the kid being used in top six role and as a featured piece on the man advantage that would be one thing but that does not appear to be the case.
It is no surprise that Todd McLellan decided to put him on a line with Anton Lander and Nail Yakupov to start training camp but again, does that setup make sense for a 19-year old to excel in? I have my doubts but Edmonton’s lack of scoring depth on their bottom two lines is fairly apparent. The opportunity is there but Leon is in no way shape or form a lock to make this club.
ST: The Oilers have 13 centremen in camp and leftwinglock.com projects the top-four centres to be Nugent-Hopkins, McDavid, Lander, and Letestu. While the Nuge and McDavid aren’t going anywhere, Lander and Letestu are very moveable pieces – it’s easy to imagine either of these two sliding to the wing to make room for Draisaitl to start the year with the Oilers. So far in camp, Todd McLellan is talking about Draisaitl, Lander, and Nail Yakupov as “a unit with potential” so I expect that the big German will get a chance in the NHL this season.
MM: I think he is and that’s just judging by Todd Mclellan’s words after day 1 of camp where he spoke highly of that third line of Lander, Leon, and Yak. It’s going to be crowded but I think he’s done enough to improve himself that he’s going to be a lock to start the year in the NHL for sure. Sounds like he is either going to play Centre or Wing but that doesn’t matter necessarily, as there is a lot of confidence coming in that he can play either position. He looks improved in every aspect of his game as he worked on his shot and his skating ability.
CM: This summer, I would have said no. I’ve been touting all along that I think Draisaitl should play AHL hockey before getting another shot with the big club. Todd McLellan seems to think differently. He seems legit excited about the prospect of Drats playing with Lander and Yakupov, which has me intrigued by that thought as well. The one thing that may put a wrench in those plans, that many people seem to be forgetting, is the deal Rob Klinkhammer signed last year. If you’re the Oilers, do you risk losing a depth player like that to waivers to see if Drats is ready? Or do you try to make a deal with Klinkhammer for a draft pick before the beginning of the season?
3. Is Andrew Ference the Right Man to Captain the Edmonton Oilers This Year?
RS: If the plan is for Edmonton to have a better showing in the overall standings, the chances of the veteran rearguard seeing regular duty in 2015-16 are likely not very good. As a No. 6/No. 7 defenceman Ference could still be a useful piece but on a team as young as this one, that player cannot be the captain.
Could he still wear an “A” on his jersey? He most certainly could but that should be the extent of it. I have always been a fan of Taylor Hall becoming the next captain of this club but was in absolutely no rush to see that change take place.
That all changed when this organization had Connor McDavid fall into their lap. In my mind, there is no question that No. 97 will be handed the “C” in due time so giving it to one of the other kids makes no sense whatsoever.
As per usual, there are not very many quality veterans on the Oilers roster and because of it picking a short-term captain could prove to be a challenge. Would never have suggested this before but perhaps looking at a guy like Benoit Pouliot would make some sense.
ST: In the short run, Andrew Ference is the right choice to remain captain. For proof of the problems that come with stripping the captaincy, just look at the public feuding that continues between Joe Thornton and GM Doug Wilson in San Jose. It’s an ugly situation. Unless the Oilers know that Ference is on his way out of town, the captaincy should stick with him.
Long term, this is Taylor Hall’s team. The Oilers should continue grooming Hall for the role while phasing Ference out over the course of the year. The Oilers are still in the building phase and there’s no need to saddle the team with an off-ice distraction while the vibes around the team are so positive.
MM: This is a tough one, because he’s kinda everything you look for in a leader for a good young group of guys but I have a feeling he’s not going to be a regular in the lineup this year unfortunately, so it’ll be hard to have him captaining from the press box. I think he’s done a heck of a job so far of being the captain and its already been talked about with him, Mclellan and Chiarelli, so I imagine a changing of the guard is on its way.
I don’t believe he’s the right man anymore and it should be passed off to the Nuge, who quickly gained the respect of the room and the boys. I compare him to a young Yzerman in that he’s a bit of a quiet leader but when he speaks everyone listens and respects what he’s gotta say. Hall is another choice, but sometimes his emotions get the best of him. I have no doubt he’s matured and maybe if he can show that then I’d be more than happy with slapping the “C” on him.
CM: I’ve never been a fan of Ference as the captain of this team. He came in, having never played a game for the Oilers, and got the C based on his shared interest in physical activity with then coach Eakins. The other side of it is, I’ve never been a big fan of stripping guys of the C after they’ve already had it for a few years. That being said, McLellan is not afraid to do that by any means, stripping both Patrick Marleau and Joe Thornton of the C during his time in San Jose. If he does decide to pull the C off of Ference, my guess is a leadership by committee plan this season, with possible 6 alternate captains.
4. What is Your Favorite Album of All-Time?
RS: Easily the most difficult question of the bunch and while I do listen to a wide variety of music, there is only one correct answer to this question.
John Coltrane – Love Supreme
ST: Okay, after debating a few choices (Red Hot Chili Peppers’ “Californication” was a dynamite return after a long hiatus and Rage Against The Machine’s “Evil Empire” is still an all-time favourite) I have to go with Weezer’s “Pinkerton.”
The album was a huge flop commercially but it’s become a cult classic since then. My band used to cover all sorts of the tracks and “Why Bother?” “The Good Life,” and “El Scorcho” are still some of my favourite songs ever.
MM: Hmmmm my favourite album is a tough choice, because i truly listen to everything. I’d have to go Britney Spears first album…. Haha I’m only kidding. But it would definitely have to be Daft Punks Alive 2007 tour album, something I never get old of. A close second though is Dr Dre’s most recent album of Compton, it was magic.
CM: Hands down for me is the Black Album. There aren’t very many that can compare to the quintessential Metallica record.
A big thank you to Rob Soria, Sean Tierney, Madison Moroz and Corey Mitchell for making themselves available for us! I know that they’re uber busy and for them to do the Sunday Night Pint means a lot to us!
And Thank YOU for reading! Please let us know your thoughts on the topics today in the comments section below!
If you’re looking for some sick hoodies for this fall then look no further than the Beer League Heroes Merch Shop! Dig the 16-bit McDavid design floating around or maybe you’re a Yak fan? Put them on a hoodie or long sleeve and support your favorite team with pride!