Talking Oilers, Laurent Brossoit, OKC Barons and Schultz on the Lowdown with Lowetide

laurent-brossoit-03252014Had a chance to discuss the Oilers with Lowetide last Friday. We covered a wide range of topics including the goaltending moving forward, the Barons and the draft, among others. Check out this post from Lowetide that frames some of the discussion first.

The full segment is here, but unfortunately it doesn’t load properly right now. I’ll make sure I update this post once the glitch is corrected by TSN.

Couple notes that I thought would be worth sharing:

  • Laurent Brossoit was outstanding against the Sharks making 49 saves in his NHL debut. It was definitely one of the rare highlights of the year, but I think it’d be wise to temper our expectations until he really proves himself at the AHL level. Jonathan WIllis has a nice piece on him, describing Brossoit’s history and development.

  • I mentioned that I thought Anton Lander was the most impressive call-up from the Barons this season. He’s taken on the tougher minutes this year and has produced reasonably well. He’s got some job security now, signing a 2-year deal, so I’m hoping he can take full control of that second/third line center.
  • Todd Nelson had done a lot to demonstrate his ability to coach at the NHL level. If the Oilers don’t retain him as head coach, I can see another NHL club reaching out to him either as a head coach or an associate. And whatever the Oilers decide to do, they have got to start the season with an NHL roster. We’ve seen a lot of coaches, experienced and knowledgeable men, come and go, each having a poor roster to work with. The Oilers have to do a better job this summer assembling a roster.
  • My knowledge of the draft this year is limited to the top 10 or so prospects. I don’t watch junior hockey, so a lot of what I know is based on what the experts say and what the stats are telling me. And based on what I think the Oilers should do, I’m thinking the club should pursue a center with the third pick and consider moving either him or Leon to acquire a top defenceman. I’d prefer drafting another defenceman like Noah Hanifin, letting him develop for a few years and then reaping the benefits. But this is MacTavish’s third year as GM, so he may choose to pursue assets that can be moved right away to get NHL talent now. Defencemen, in my opinion, take a lot longer to develop, so a prospect at center might be more attractive to a rival GM. Just my thoughts.
  • The thought of the Oilers signing an expensive, veteran netminder like Niemi this summer makes me absolutely cringe. One, it brings up memories of Khabibulin getting dehydrated in his first game with the Oilers. And two, it’ll push the club against the cap when those dollars should really be spent on defence. I mentioned purusing goalies like Cam Talbot or Martin Jones, with the former being preferred, as possibilities. Both are young with some upside, but this may scare away MacTavish who already gambled on Fasth and Scrivens based on similar logic, and failed. The issue with goalies is that they typically don’t age gracefully, and you probably want to avoid guys like Niemi who have been in decline.
  • I also shared my thoughts on Justin Schultz, who I really believe can still be an NHL defenceman. Unfortunately, the club has pushed him into the first pairing, taking on tougher opposition, and his deficiencies are on display nightly. The Oilers have got to push both Schultz and Klefbom down the depth chart by bringing in at least two defencemen who are in their primes. There are far too high expectations on Schultz, all due to what the team has said about him and how they’ve used him. If you’re interested, I wrote about the Oilers mishandling of Schultz here and here.

A big thank you to Allan for having me on his show. His blog is always a must-read and I’m looking forward to his Realistic Expectations series this month.

5 thoughts on “Talking Oilers, Laurent Brossoit, OKC Barons and Schultz on the Lowdown with Lowetide

  1. Do you think Schultz would be OK on a second pairing?

    I don’t. I think if you hid him on a 3rd pairing and gave him soft minutes and power play he “might” be salvageable. His defense is bad enough I had actually hoped we would try him on wing for a few games or trade him before everyone knows what he really is and there is no trade value left.

    Unfortunately, we don’t even have any good RH D prospects to take his place.

  2. The draft this year is supposed to be as good as the 2003 draft. These players were taken between 17th and 28th in the 2003 draft. Zach Parise,Ryan Getzlaf, Brent Burns, Ryan Kesler, Mike Richard and Corey Perry. Anaheim build their franchise with 2 picks (19th and 28th) in this draft.

  3. I really can’t see anyone trading for Schultz at this point because of his salary. And moving him up to wing is a creative idea, but I just can’t see it happening. He developed at the college level as a defenceman and I can’t imagine the transition to playing forward being quick and simple for him. It’s his vision and puck-moving ability from the backend that got him here, so I’d exhaust all options on defense first (i.e., bringing in more experienced defensemen to pair him with, reducing Schultz’s minutes etc.) before giving up on him.

    I think Schultz has NHL level skating and passing capabilities, but I agree, his defensive game needs a lot of work. And, unfortunately, the Oilers have decided to develop him at the NHL level, which really isn’t ideal. In my opinion, if he’s to remain on the top pairing, he needs a more steady partner (I don’t know, someone like a Jeff Petry perhaps) that can steady the ship when Schultz makes a pinch. In the last few weeks of the season, he and Klefbom were often caught up-ice together and allowed way too many 2-on-1’s. When he’s on the second unit, which he was when Petry was in town, he’d be involved in a lot more scoring chances.

    He does have offensive capabilities at the NHL level having scored 30+ points this year, albeit with a lot of ice time and heavy offensive zone starts. He also finished 31st overall among all defencemen (250+ minutes) in scoring chances/60 at even strength. That’s not bad, but won’t overshadow the fact that he needs to work on his defense this summer.

  4. Lander as a second line center is huge stretch I think people are people are setting themselves up for disappointment with this player. I definitely would not say he has proven consistently productive at an NHL level YET. Just sayin.

    • Absolutely. There’s never any guarantees. I’m hoping he can produce 30 points playing in a similar role that he had this season. My confidence in him is mainly because he has done well at the AHL level and did look very good this season as a depth center who could produce 5-on-5.

      I’m also hoping that the Oilers still load up on centers, move one to wing if needed, in case of injuries or if, for whatever reason, it doesn’t work out for Lander.

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