Just listening to today’s Oilers Now and Bob Stauffer along with Mark Spector threw out a few interesting tidbits regarding the Oilers and its playing personnel.
Let’s get into it.
ON THE OILERS LACKING SPEED
Stauffer: I wonder whether or not the Oilers at some point look at possibly adding- like some people said, “why don’t they bring in Iginla?” I think they need another winger that can skate.
Ullrich: Well what about Puljujarvi in the minors? He can skate. If he has a good game on Thursday do you call him up? Look at the next four games, Bob. Who they play after Ottawa. Carolina, Chicago, Philly, Pittsburgh. All four of those teams are pretty quick, especially Pittsburgh.
What might be confusing to fans is how speed is defined though. It’s quite obvious with players like Connor McDavid and Zack Kassian but I do see Leon Draisaitl as fast and Puljujarvi is as well. The difference is how long it takes the latter two to get up to top speed and I reckon what fans are looking for is the zippy player like Todd Marchant used to be or Brendan Leipsic is for the Golden Knights. Somebody who can juke and jive, a Connor Sheary-type perhaps.
This slowness of the Oilers was really apparent last year when they played the teams that had a bit more zip to their game. It’s funny, for years the Oilers were known as one of the fastest teams in the league and now it’s almost the complete opposite. But look, this is the change that the Oilers had to make to become competitive in the Pacific Division with the likes of the Ducks, Sharks, and the Kings. They may very well have to pivot again soon to keep up with the rest of the league but the number one goal of the team is to make the playoffs and the easiest way to do that is to finish in the top 2 of your division. Figure out how to do that and you let the rest sort itself out.
I think that Ullrich has a good point but I’d rather the Oilers stick it out with what they’ve got instead of rushing Puljujarvi up. I guess there’s the option of putting Caggiula on the IR and bringing Pulju up then but that’s reliant on Caggiula being more injured than “hurt”.
Spector: Is he the guy though? A depth guy
Stauffer: He could be the guy for the first half of the year but you gotta make a move before that happens. You gotta send a guy down to junior. ‘Cause otherwise you’d be at 50 contracts.
Earlier in the conversation, Stauffer and Spector were talking about if they’d seen Kelly around the rink the last two practises and they said they hadn’t and were quite sure what to conclude from that because Spector said he’d spoken to Chris Kelly and the former Bruin had told him he was sticking around to practise with the team…
Anyways, the end of Stauffer’s comment at the top flows into the next section very smoothly…
Stauffer: What would you do with Yamamoto right now?
Spector: I’ll tell you this, a team that’s trying to find it’s overall game and trying to find itself like the Oilers are, there is very little time for the temporary development of a junior player. I am of the mind, I think that you’ll agree, Bob. He’s going back to junior. It’s just a matter of when.
Stauffer: Maybe sooner than you think.
Spector: If things were going swimmingly, I’d say give him 6 or 7 games. Slide him in here or there, give him some NHL experience. I’m not worried about him missing games for Spokane, Bob. He’s got lots of time for Spokane, who cares about Spokane. This is no place for a young guy right now. I would suggest that there’s every chance they send him back today, on off day frankly…
Stauffer: If we knew if Caggiula was 100% healthy that might accelerate that process. Just cause right now they’ve got one, I mean, they’ve got one guy that can come in and that’s Jujhar Khaira because we don’t know what the status of Caggiula is.
So we wait now to receive word on Drake Caggiula’s status from the coach, once we get a clear idea of where Caggiula is in regards to his health, we might be able to make some clearer guesses as to when Yamamoto is going back to junior, if Chris Kelly is being signed for the year, or if another move is in the works.
I think that Yamamoto is way out of his league right now and it’s almost to the point of being dangerous keeping him up. I mean what is the point of keeping him up if he’s being healthy scratched or only played 5 or 6 minutes a night. I could see them possibly waiting on Anton Slepyshev to get back into game shape, or waiting on a good report from Bakersfield regarding Jesse Puljujarvi, or as we said above, Drake Caggiula’s health. But even then, if it’s a bottom 6 player the team needs, go out and acquire one or bring one up from the minors like Brad Malone or Mitch Callahan… Nobody will take those guys when they hit waivers on the way back to the AHL.