It’s been a hot minute since we’ve had a mail segment.
Today, the readers didn’t disappoint.
Watching the Oilers play this last month seems more like the team I thought we’d see all year. How many and which spots do you believe need to be filled for next year?— McDarryl (@CopyDarryl) March 26, 2018
The top line is killing it right now, and Talbot is playing better than he has most of the year. It’s a shame we didn’t see more of this in October and November, but here we are. Assuming Nugent-Hopkins becomes a 1LW for McDavid, they’ve got to figure out 1RW, 2LW (especially if Lucic is going to be 3LW), 2RW (Puljujarvi?) 3C (this could be Strome) and if the club plans on using Adam Larsson at 1RD, then someone should be brought in for 2RD. Eight players are up for contracts on anywhere between 16-21MM in cap space depending on next year’s salary cap. The club is going to depend on inexpensive labour next year, especially on the wings.
Do you think it's equally important to try Nuge beside Draisaitl as a potential long-term duo as it is to try Nuge beside Mcdavid? Still hard to believe we haven't seen 93-29 at 5v5 for any significant stretch.— the Nige (@theNige_007) March 26, 2018
In a sentence, yes and no. IF Peter Chiarelli is GM past April, I think Nugent-Hopkins’ time in Edmonton hangs in his ability to play alongside Connor McDavid. You’ll note that he’s had a pretty good go of it so far, and the better he looks alongside 97, the better argument for not moving him. So why don’t they try 93 with 29 more often? Right now, 93 and 97 are clicking, Nugent-Hopkins has five points (2-3-5) in his last four games next to 97. Ty Rattie looks good on this line. Things are working here, and they’re not going to change if the top line is scoring goals.
Did lack of quality defensive players sink our season as much or more than the lack of quality offensive players?— RickRuss (@russ99a) March 26, 2018
There’s no doubt that hemorrhaging Jordan Eberle without a suitable replacement on the wing hurt Edmonton’s bottom line, but Chiarelli did the team no service by not finding a replacement for Andrej Sekera during the first half of the season. I’d argue that both were contributors in Edmonton’s lack of success this year, though I think the lack of offence was a bigger issue. If we take a look at this last week where Edmonton starts scoring four, six goals or more in a game, good things tend to happen. An historically poor penalty kill along with some lacklustre goaltending didn’t help things either. What the hell was the ‘L’ formation in the penalty kill all about anyway?
Do you think the oilers need to make many changes— Joe Rye (@MaidenOils) March 26, 2018
It took 70 games to try Ryan Nugent-Hopkins along with Connor McDavid, so they’re trying something. Depends on what your definition of ‘many’ is. A quick list: The GM ought to go, along with the special teams coaching staff, there’s got to be a plan for Cam Talbot as he’s got one year left on his deal after this year, they’ve got to figure out what Milan Lucic’s worth is to this club, and they’ve got to find a RW to play alongside Connor McDavid. Potentially, a few moves could be made.