December Dilemmas

Jonathan Willis
August 30 2016 07:00AM

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One of the questions I’m often asked is why it is so important for NHL teams to address all of their important positional issues in the summer. After all, the reasoning goes, is there really much harm in checking out the players on the roster for a month or two and then fixing things up if necessary then?

Although superficially plausible, this is a dangerous way to run an NHL team.

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Taylor Beck should challenge for an NHL job in Edmonton in 2016-17

Jonathan Willis
August 25 2016 07:17PM

Taylor Beck signing on with the Edmonton Oilers got some brief attention when it happened and has mostly been ignored since. Yet he’s not a player who should be entirely counted out of the team’s plans for 2016-17. Not only should he be good enough to challenge for a spot in training camp, but even if he’s sent down that may not be the last of him.

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An Opportunity for Zack Kassian to Show His Quality

Jonathan Willis
August 22 2016 04:48PM

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People like yours truly tend to complain whenever there’s a weak spot on an NHL team’s depth chart. For actual NHL players with their eyes on moving up the lineup, though, any weak spot represents a golden opportunity.

This fall, the opportunity at right wing is one that Nail Yakupov and Jesse Puljujarvi will seek to exploit, but they won’t be the only ones. Zack Kassian’s major-league career cannot have gone the way he had planned, but he can change the narrative in a substantial way if he starts off well this season.

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How is Milan Lucic likely to age over the next seven seasons?

Jonathan Willis
August 07 2016 04:52PM

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Milan Lucic is an excellent NHL player in the here-and-now. I’d be very surprised if he isn’t a big help to the Edmonton Oilers next season, and given how he plays the game I’d be flat-out shocked if Oilers fans don’t embrace him.

I was curious though as to how players who scored the way he has the last three season have tended to age. Lucic’s new deal is seven years long, and it would be good to have an idea as to how that kind of commitment typically turns out.

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Objectively projecting Darnell Nurse

Jonathan Willis
August 05 2016 07:15PM

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Darnell Nurse is a fascinating player, and his long-term career arc is of extreme importance to the Edmonton Oilers.

The most common method of projecting that sort of career arc is the old-fashioned one: Assessing the player’s physical skills and then imagining what he’ll look like in his prime. The one we’re going to use today is a newer method, which involves looking at what happened to players with comparable underlying statistics.

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