CBC Edmonton News (TV): The Oilers GM search and the upcoming trade deadline + radio spot

cbc edmonton logoI joined host Tanara McLean on the CBC Edmonton News for my weekly television segment to discuss all things Oilers. Clip is here and starts at the 16:40 mark: CBC Edmonton News (2019, February 21)

Topics we covered:

  • The Oilers last 10 games and the areas that they’re starting to improve on.
  • The general manager search, and what type of leadership the Oilers need in the front office. Touched on a few things from my recent article. 
  • The recent acquisition of Sam Gagner and some of the benefits he brings to the roster.
  • The upcoming trade deadline, and why the Oilers need to be acquiring assets for next season.
  • Upcoming games against New York and Anaheim, and what to expect from each club.

I also joined host Tara McCarthy on CBC Radio Active to talk all things Oilers. Full segment is here: CBC Radio Active (2019, February 21)

 

Discussing the current state of the Oilers and Flames on CBC Alberta at Noon

cbc edmonton logoI joined host Andrew Brown and CBC Calgary’s Dave Waddell on CBC Alberta at Noon to talk Oilers and Flames, and the different directions the two clubs are going in. It was a fun, interactive panel discussion about each team’s current state and the steps that have led them to where they are. Full audio segment is here: CBC Alberta At Noon (2019, January 25).

A re-cap of the discussion can also be found here: Why Alberta’s NHL teams have traded places in 2019, and what Edmonton can do about itCBC News (2019, January 27)

A big thank you to everyone at Alberta at Noon for having me on and for putting it all together!

Related:

Disorganization

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After the Oilers won the draft lottery in 2015, the goal was simple: build a competitive roster around your generational talent and start contending for championships as soon as possible. Assemble a coaching staff, enhance your hockey operations department, draft and develop players – the standard items part of any professional hockey team’s plans. The Oilers, however, had the added advantage of having a good cluster of talent featuring an elite player.

Instead what the Oilers did was make a long series of roster decisions that were clearly misinformed and lacked the proper foresight. Peter Chiarelli failed to assess/identify talent, properly evaluate the player market, manage his team’s salary cap and calculate the risk involved in his moves. Every single one of his decisions served as an example of one or more of these managerial flaws.

What’s especially troubling – I think even more so than some of the decisions themselves – was the fact that an entire hockey operations department supported these decisions, and were part of the environment that allowed this level of incompetence to continue driving decisions. So much damage could have been prevented had someone internally been properly monitoring and assessing Chiarelli’s work.

While it’s a relief that Chiarelli is no longer the general manager, the Edmonton Oilers now have a lot of work to do to pursue a championship. And I don’t think traditional hockey-operation-methods is what’s going to get them out of this hole. The Oilers really need to take a more drastic, more innovative approach that will make them competitive and steer them towards their goals.

For example, rather than hire an individual who was a former player or who has been serving as a scout or assistant general manager in the league, the club should look outside of the traditional hockey circles and construct a hockey operations department with people who have extensive decision-making experience and understand how to manage finances, and evaluate labor markets and risks. A general manager needs to understand what it takes to make evidence-based decisions, and how to identify and collect necessary information.

I fully get that hockey isn’t even close to where baseball is in terms of progressive, outside-the-box thinking. But I think it’s that type of mindset that I think will turn the Edmonton Oilers around.

One last note: I’m glad people are finally recognizing how poorly Chiarelli managed this team. But the early warning signs were there and were regularly discussed and documented by those paying careful attention and willing to think critically. Hopefully we’ll see less appeals-to-authority when discussing the game and hear more individual opinions based on sound logic and reasoning. Hockey discussions can be a lot more valuable that way.

ICYMI: I joined host Tanara McLean on the CBC Edmonton News for my weekly segment to discuss Chiarelli’s dismissal. Clip is here and starts at the 7:00 mark: CBC Edmonton News (2019, January 23)

I also joined Rod Kurtz on CBC Radio Active to discuss this topic. Full audio clip is here: More Change for the OilersCBC Radio Active (2019, January 23)

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CBC Edmonton News (TV): Bounce back win against Montreal, McDavid-Draisaitl tandem and more

cbc edmonton logoI joined host Kim Trynacity on the CBC Edmonton News for my weekly segment to discuss all things Oilers. Clip is here and starts at the 14:20 mark: CBC Edmonton News (2018, November 14)

Topics we covered:

  • Tuesday night’s win against Montreal, and what went well for the Oilers.
  • The tandem of McDavid-Draisaitl, their success together, but also the issues around roster construction and scoring depth.
  • The current state of the Oilers defence and Chiarelli’s recent comments about lacking a puck mover on the blueline.
  • The importance of improving their powerplay.
  • Important game against Calgary on Saturday night and playing Pacific division rivals seven times in the next eight games.

I also joined Adrienne Pan on CBC Radio Active on Tuesday afternoon. Will post a link if it becomes available.

CBC Edmonton News (TV): Re-cap of the win against the Jets, McDavid’s performance and previewing tonight’s home opener against Boston

cbc edmonton logoI joined host Sandra Batson on the CBC Edmonton News to discuss all things Oilers. Clip is here and starts at the 19:15 mark: CBC Edmonton News (2018, October 18)

Topics we covered:

  • A re-cap of the Oilers overtime win against the Jets, and what the Oilers did well to stage the come back.
  • McDavid’s performance after four games, comparing how the Oilers have done with and without their star captain.
  • The lack of secondary scoring, and how Leon Draisaitl will be the one under pressure to perform.
  • How the Oilers defencemen have performed over four games, and that there is a growing need to improve their depth.
  • Preview of tonight’s home opener against the Bruins.

I also joined Adrienne Pan on CBC Radio Active this evening to talk Oilers. I’ll post the clip if it becomes available.

Any feedback, let me know.

CBC Edmonton News (TV): Oilers rookie camp, off-season moves, Nurse contract and more

cbc edmonton logoI joined host Sandra Batson on the CBC Edmonton News  to discuss all things Oilers. Clip is here and starts at the 14:00 mark: CBC Edmonton News (2018, September 6)

Topics we covered:

  • Oilers rookie camp opening and players to watch including Bouchard, Bear, Yamamoto and Lagesson.  Good chance we’ll see some of these players push for spots on the main roster.
  • The quiet off-season for Peter Chiarelli, largely due to the fact that the team is up against the cap.
  • The new additions to the roster, including Brodziak, Rieder and Gravel and PTO deals for Upshall and Garrison. Players to watch are goaltender Mikko Koskinen and defenceman Jakub Jerabek, both of which could address some big issues from 2017/18.
  • The loss of Andrej Sekera and what options the Oilers have to address their blueline.
  • Darnell Nurse contract negotiations, and the Oilers poor foresight that landed them in this position. Had they managed the cap better, and used their leverage when negotiating previous contracts, there’s a good chance one of their key prospects would be signed by now.

I also hopped on to CBC radio and joined Adrienne Pan and Rod Kurtz to talk Oilers. I’ll post the clip once it’s available.

A big thank you to the crew for putting it all together! I’m excited to be back for my third season with the CBC Edmonton News. 😉

CBC Edmonton News (TV ): Upcoming decisions for the Oilers, Paul Coffey and home/away penalty kill + radio spot

cbc edmonton logoJoined Adrienne Pan on the CBC Edmonton News for my weekly segment to discuss all things Oilers. Clip is here and starts at the 16:45 mark: CBC Edmonton News (2018, January 26)

Topics we covered:

  • Playoffs being a long shot, what the Oilers should be focused on
  • The addition of Paul Coffey as a skills coach
  • The dreadful penalty kill and how they’ve done at home and on the road
  • Previewing the upcoming game against the Flames

I also joined Portia Clark on CBC Radio Active in the afternoon. The podcast is here and starts around the 8:00 mark: CBC Radio Active (2018, January 26)

Discussing the current state of the Oilers on the CBC Edmonton News (TV) and CBC Radio Active

cbc edmonton logoI joined Adrienne Pan on the CBC Edmonton News on Thursday evening to discuss the Oilers. Clip is here and starts around the 18 minute mark: CBC Edmonton News (2017, November 23)

Couple things we touched on:

  • The Oilers brutal record and the realistic possibility of the team missing the playoffs. Worth checking out Tyler Dellow’s article at The Athletic on when teams are technically out of the playoff running.
  • The decisions made by Todd McLellan this season.
  • Chiarelli’s track record when it comes to trades.
  • How Cammalleri has fit in thus far.
  • Upcoming games against the Sabres and Bruins.

I also made an appearance on CBC Radio Active in Edmonton to discuss the Oilers on Wednesday November 22nd. I’ll post the audio once it becomes available online.

Discussing the Oilers offseason, line combinations and Jussi Jokinen on The Lowdown with Lowetide (TSN 1260)

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I joined Lowetide this morning on TSN 1260 to talk all things Oilers. Clip is below and starts around the 25 minute mark.

Topics we covered:

  • Oilers off-season moves so far and why they should be doing more.
  • The addition of Jussi Jokinen and his potential role. I also wrote about the signing at The Copper & Blue.
  • Potential forward line combinations for the fall.
  • Adding an experienced defenceman like Cody Franson this summer.
  • Leon Draisaitl contract.

With forward line combinations, I like to view things as pairs first, similar to what Todd McLellan has talked about in the past. I like the idea of wingers being interchangeable depending on the opponent and the game-state, and it makes a lot of sense. I also like the idea of three quality lines and would try to balance out skill as much as possible to overwhelm opponents.

Pairings:

  • McDavid/Maroon
    • Over 700 minutes together at 5v5 last season, and they posted a 62% GF%, and a 53% CF%.
    • Even without Draisaitl on the wing, they still did well – 191 minutes, 66.7% GF%, and a 53.8% CF%.
  • Draisaitl/Lucic
    • On the surface, this pair might not be too appealing. In 209 minutes together, they posted a GF% of only 41.2%, outscored 10-7. They may have been impacted by some bad luck as their PDO sat at 96.6.
    • Their CF% was a pretty decent 52.8% together. However, it may have been McDavid’s influence. Without McDavid, in 134 minutes, they posted a pretty weak 47.5% CF%, and a 40% (!!) GF%.
    • Ready to drive a line, Leon? 😉
  • Nugent-Hopkins/Jokinen
    • Both players can play against top lines, and I think they’d make a good tough-minutes tandem. RNH can use the help (he wasn’t very good in terms of shot-share last season), and I like the idea of having someone that can take draws on the same line as him.
  • Letestu/Kassian
    • Both players are valued by the team. Letestu for his scoring on the powerplay. And Kassian just recently landed a three-year deal.
    • Both players posted poor shot-share numbers at 5v5  last season. The only two players that Letestu did well with last season was Lander (123 minutes, 50% GF%, 50% CF%) and Kassian (314 minutes, 55% GF%, 49.2% CF%).
    • Hendricks was often their linemate, and was a bit of a drag on their shot-share. Without Hendricks, in 184 minutes, Letestu/Kassian posted a GF% of 50% and a CF% of 50.3%. Not too shabby. This should be a better fourth line with Hendricks moving on. My guess is Brad Malone gets a long look.

Wingers that will likely get longer looks:

  • Strome
    • My expectations are really low. He can play center, but only against lesser competition. And he can play wing, as a complementary guy in the top six. He’s coming off of a pretty bad season where he was healthy-scratched at times. I suspect he might get a long look on the top line. Mostly to make us feel better after losing Eberle for him.
  • Puljujarvi
    • He hasn’t shown enough at the AHL level to warrant a long look, but there’s the whole draft pedigree thing. Hoping he makes the transition, but I always prefer letting guys simmer in the minors first. I can see him getting ice time with Jokinen, but not sure he’d be able to handle the tough minutes.
  • Slepyshev
    • Skates well and loves to shoot. He’d my pick for the second line with Lucic and Draisaitl. And seriously, give this guy some powerplay time on the second unit.
  • Caggiula
    • I’ll be honest, I’m not completely sold on this player. His production was pretty poor at 5v5. As long as the Oilers keep him on the wings and not at center, he’ll be okay. Not bad on the penalty kill last year either.

The other wingers that are likely to get a shot: Khaira, Pakarinen, Malone, Rattie and Yamamoto. Should make for some good competition in training camp, especially in the bottom six group which was terrible last year.

Data: Hockey Analysis