New Lines, New Power Play, Chris Kreider, Ryan Strome, Jesse Pool Party, Etc.

We’re one-eighth of the way through the season and the fellas have won 30% of their games. The fan base is arguably the most divided it’s ever been in its 38 year history. Half the fans are convinced that it’s still early and point to last year’s success as the reason for this team escaping this slump. The other half say this was the inevitable catastrophe that comes from a longstanding series of dipshittingly awful decisions. Regardless of what side you’re on, I think we all agree that the status quo isn’t cutting it, and that changes needed to be made in at least some capacity.

Lines

Todd did a little shaking and baking on the lines at practice yesterday. This is how we’re (probably) looking heading into tomorrow’s game against Pittsburgh:

So there’s a realistic possibility that Kailer Yamamoto is here to stay, and that just makes no sense at all. He hasn’t looked bad, but he’s sitting way too much for me to want to piss away one year of his ELC. I get that our RW depth is all the trash but Tony could easily slide into the top six spot until you make a deal and/or call up Jesse, but Todd continues to play him for seven minutes a night instead. Todd admitted he needs to change the clock to Tony Time more often than he has, which is good, because the team shoots in like fucking Costco-sized amounts when he’s on the ice. Also, I just need more of this guy. His strange and awkward family photos are enough to keep him in the lineup over Iiro Pakarinen and his nothingness:

#Father & #son

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👪❤️ #family

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Darnell Nurse has earned additional minutes. He’s been our best puck moving defenseman all year, and played by far the most consistent hockey of his career. I think having Klefbom with Benning will help settle Matty’s game, plus it’s refreshing to see 77 and 6 split up for a bit. The third pair is an unholy dumpster fire.

Literally none of this matters as long as Jay Woodcroft is here but I’m going to talk about it anyways. The two major changes see Maroon and Caggiula move up to the first unit, and Looch and Leon move down to pair number two. Normally I’d kind of shrug this off but a few things really concern me about this swap:

  1. Drake Caggiula and his no fucking points moves up to the first unit because reasons.
  2. Milan Lucic was literally only useful for the 4 and a half minutes per night that he had on the power play with McDavid and now that’s out of the picture.
  3. Separating the only two guys who could generate consistent chances on a man advantage seems relatively bold.
  4. THIS:

WHAT TODD?? If there’s one thing I’ve learned from watching Oilers hockey throughout my entire life, and especially these last three years, it’s that you should probably never even remotely consider reducing the time Connor McDavid gets on the ice. So if Leon’s unit gets a goal tomorrow, for example. are you seriously telling me that you will play McDavid second unit power play minutes because of the way a five man unit is playing? Imagine willingly keeping Connor McDavid off the ice on a 5v4 scenario??

Anyways. Worst case scenario both power plays stink and we remain stuck at square one. Best case scenario, I guess, is that at least one of these units gets hot and starts consistently applying some measurable amount of pressure with a man advantage, regardless of if its Daddy’s crew or not. Jay Woodcroft was presented with two forwards who are worth $21 million and he still can’t find a way to regularly produce offense while the other team skates with one less player. Fuck Jay Woodcroft with all the time delayed building the Waterdale Bridge.

Trades

Much like fan anarchy, when things are tough the trade talks begin to take shape. If anybody listened to Elliotte Friedman on Saturday, you would have heard him discuss how he speculated that the Oilers might have interest in a guy like Chris Kreider, who is outstanding, FWIW. Example: Here he is knocking the world out of that mouth breathing box of wet naps, Brandon Manning:

Anytime you unsolicitedly knock the wheels off of Brandon Manning you’re okay in my books. Problem is, given Peter’s immaculate history of big trades, there’s absolutely no scenario in which I see the Pistol being able to pull the trigger on a deal that doesn’t, at the very least, slice open our vital arteries. During the HNIC Oilers/Rangers rumour debate, Kypreos said that the Oilers are “not married to Ryan Strome,” which is great news, because he is fucking abysmal. Then, Elliotte speculated that the Oilers might have interest in a guy like Chris Kreider. Then people (Saturday = drunk) took this way too literally and spun this into the Oilers essentially trying to deal Strome for Kreider, which, as I’m sure you know, would be the equivalent of dealing serious financial debt for a $60 million winning Lotto Max ticket. It’s never going to happen. Period. Besides, this Chris Kreider thing is just a spitballing speculation anyways. No tires have been kicked yet (to our knowledge).

This, however, is enough to start some serious chatter:

AH Christ. This is a serious conflict on interest for me. You see, on one hand, Chris Kreider has dropped 21, 21, and 28 goals in his last three years. He comes relatively cheap ($4.625 million, UFA in 2020) and the dude can skate. Oh, and he’s a shot God. The guy absolutely loves to fire the biscuit. So he’s a fast, scoring winger that would look incredibly sexy beside Daddy McDadderson.

And then there’s the other, favourite child hand. I’m talking about this fully grown goofball:

Call it selfish. Call it ignorant. Call it whatever you want, I don’t care. I’ll back Jesse to the grave. I wouldn’t move him for Crosby (I’d probably move him for Crosby). There’s just something about this kid that makes me scream “WAIT!” Like, there are people out there who have already written JP off because he’s like 19-goddamn-years-old and only has two points in six AHL games or some shit. Still, for a perennial 20 goal scorer locked in for three more years at a bargain contract, maybe I’d have to put my feels aside for this one…

Then, of course, there’s the Chiarelli tax that might be included in a trade that lands the Oilers something of organizational value: that is, dealing more than we need because he feels just the most marginal amount of pressure. This, of course, would be an example of the Pistol doing something extremely dumb:

Ya. I wouldn’t appreciate that. But you never know. The Pistol’s a wildcard, and sometimes he randomly loves to shoot. Praying tha the safety trigger is on the glock for this one, if something does go down.

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