Bob Stauffer, the host of Oilers Now, woke up the Oilogosphere with an interesting tweet this morning…
Here are three needs for the Oilers moving forward:
#1. shooting left wing to play in top 6
#2. PP right shot D
#3. 3rd line right shot C, who PK's, and is 55% + in face-off circle
— Bob Stauffer (@Bob_Stauffer) January 2, 2018
I don’t think that any of these things are a surprise to anybody, especially if you saw the line combos that Todd McLellan had together during practice on the first day of 2018… GAWD they are ugly… But I am SO looking forward to seeing them in action! I really want to see Auvitu as a forward. That said, when the coach starts doing things like this, there’s trouble in the hen house Frank…
Maroon McDavid Puljujarvi
Cammalleri draisaitl Caggiula
Lucic RNH Strome
Auvitu Letestu Slepyshev
— Ryan Rishaug (@TSNRyanRishaug) January 1, 2018
If you’re the type that really reads into things you might come to the following conclusions based on Stauffer’s tweet:
- A Shooting Left Wing = Maroon is gone and Lucic is being transitioned into a middle-6 player AKA they’re looking for Connor’s and or Leon’s winger.
- A Powerplay Right-Shot D = The Matt Benning experiment on the power play is over. (I’m not sure why it was even started…)
- A 3rd Line Centre Who Takes Faceoffs and Kills Penalties = Nuge is on the market and Letestu probably is too.
I’ll start off by saying that I’m not sure we’ll ever see a complete 1st line ever. The door to McDavid’s LW may be ever-swinging for the duration of his time in Edmonton but with the way that McLellan has been switching between Lucic and Maroon on that line tells me his “big man on 97’s wing” theory is a failure and maybe it’s time to toss some skill up there with the greatest player in the game.
I do question why that player has to be a shooter though. The Oilers have ZERO problems shooting the puck which is evident in the numbers. In fact, Pat Maroon is 8th in shots for LWs in the NHL. Lucic is 40th mind you but that’s still more than Filip Forsberg.
Their problem is getting the puck into the net on the PP. I’d argue that they need a trigger man for said powerplay though. Someone who doesn’t hesitate to fire the puck on the net with the man advantage.
- Evander Kane (BUF)
- Mike Hoffman (OTT)
- Max Pacioretty (MTL)
These three players are the target of every team in the league, as they should be. Their teams are struggling and looking to shake things up. They would be priced at a premium rate though.
- Tyler Ennis (MIN)
- Max Domi (ARI)
- Carl Hagelin (PIT)
- Alex Galchenyuk (MTL)
- Thomas Vanek (VAN)
- Michael Grabner (NYR)
I feel that these players would be a bit easier to acquire as nearly all of them, apart from Vanek, are slumping. Max Domi has one 5×5 goal this year according to naturalstattrick.com. Tyler Ennis has been a healthy scratch in Minnesota. Galchenyuk can’t escape the ongoing media scrutiny in Montreal and Hagelin can’t seem to find his game this year.
I like Hagelin a lot here because he’d be very handy on the PK I feel with his speed and forechecking ability. For those same reasons PLUS he can score, I like Grabner but I’m not sure the Rangers would be willing to trade him as they’re in the hunt for the post-season.
Funny thing about the Oilers left wing is that both Maroon and Lucic are having good seasons from an even strenght POV. Maroon has more EV goals (9) than Taylor Hall, Brad Marchand, and Artemi Panarin. Milan Lucic has the same amount of even-strength goals (6) as Filip Forsberg and more than Mike Hoffman, Matthew Tkachuk, and Max Pacioretty. Funnier yet, Jujhar Khaira has the same amount of 5×5 goals as Lucic.
Twenty-one 5×5 goals between Maroon, Lucic, and Khaira is great I feel. CGY’s top three LW’s have EV 24 goals, NJ has nearly 30, NYI has 25, Vegas has 21, and WAS has 24.
I will caveat this by saying naturalstattrick doesn’t seem to have everybody’s positions 100% correct. For example, I don’t think that the San Jose Sharks have only played with two left-wingers this year.
One last player I’d like to mention is Sonny Milano (CLB). He has 7 EV goals in 268 min TOI for the Blue Jackets. I don’t watch a lot of Columbus games but I do see his name in the transactions list a lot due to being called up and sent down to the AHL. This kid is a skiller but his 200ft game isn’t quite there but that’s something I care very little about. His problem might be he doesn’t shoot enough with only 24 EV shots this year to date.
A RIGHT-SHOT POWER PLAY POINT MAN
I do think that the Oilers would be better offer picking up this sort of player sooner rather than later and perhaps using a Matt Benning or an Oscar Klefbom to do it.
- Mike Green (DET)
- Kris Letang (PIT)
- Erik Karlsson (OTT)
It seems I’ve put these players in order of most attainable to least. The Oilers would have to sell the farm to bring in a player like Karlsson, meaning Leon possibly going the other way and I’m not subscribing to that. If the Penguins were looking to go younger on defense, it’s weird that they’re not given it’s an area of concern for them, than Letang would be a more realistic target. As for Mike Green, Matt Benning and a prospect/pick, or maybe Anton Slepyshev or Drake Caggiula ++ may be able to bring him to the City of Champions.
But as these guys are the premium targets on this year’s market, you have to ask yourself if the Oilers have the assets to acquire one of them without crippling the future of the team.
- Colin Miller (VGK)
- Justin Faulk (CAR)
- Brandon Montour (ANH)
These are your straight up PP specialists. Lotta chaos here. I believe that these players could be had for less than the Karlsson cluster above.
- Shane Gostisbehere
The reason I bring up Ghost Bear is because not only is he one of the NHL’s premier PP specialists but the Flyers LW depth is atrocious and I do wonder if something could be done with Pat Maroon there. Not straight across of course but maybe a larger deal as I know the Flyers want to rid themselves of Jori Lehtera and his chunky contract.
A PENALTY KILLING/FACEOFF SPECIALIST
I’ve been saying for years that the Oilers lack two things,
- vets who can take the draw
- agitators to draw penalties
I really feel that the Oilers, whoever is running them at the time, are always trying to re-create the boys on the bus from the early 80s and I wish they’d stop. You cannot had a team over to a nucleus that isn’t old enough to buy a beer in the US. You need to have capable veterans to surround them and to take the weight off of their shoulders from time to time in order to give the kids room to breath. Take a look at Toronto now and go back and look at the Penguins rosters that Crosby played on in his early days.
- Jean-Gabriel Pageau (OTT)
- Matt Duchene (OTT)
- Derek Ryan (CAR)
I want to focus on these three players at the moment. I’m sure there are more out there but I don’t think they’re available and between Ryan, Pageau, and Duchene, there are three guys who can score a goal, take a draw and kill penalties.
I feel that with Pageau you get a player who is annoying as fack! He’s speedy, fearless, he draws penalties, and has a dusting of offense to his game (remember the playoff hatty not too long ago?).
In Duchene, you’d get a higher contract but with shorter term. That’s not where the rub lies though, it’s in his faceoff abilities. He’s one of the best in the game hands down. Over the last three seasons he’s nearly 60% on the dot AND he has shown that he can produce points in the past (116pts in his last 190 games). Another reason I include him is because I do wonder if Sens ownership is putting pressure on their GM to get rid of him. Duchene only has 6 pts in 23 games this season with Ottawa.
Derek Ryan is the player that I believe Stauffer is hinting at within his tweet. He’s a former U of A guy that has caught on in Carolina and stuck there. Not a big guy and not really much of a producer points-wise (Just a shade of 50pts in his last three years) but he’d probably be better on the kill than say Drake Caggiula plus I believe he’s a righty and very good on the draw. Not sure if Stauff would be able to strap down his U of A alumni boner if the Oilers brought Ryan in though. Careful around Rogers Place if that does happen.
Lastly, I’m getting the feeling of dread in the pit of my stomach these days with each growing loss. The feeling that something is going to drop soon be that a trade or a firing. Who could be leaving Edmonton? That I’m not 100% sure on but I’ve heard rumblings that the brass above Chiarelli is getting very impatient and action is being requested.
What do you think? Let us know in the comments below! Happy 2018 everyone!