As the New York Islanders visit the Edmonton Oilers Tuesday night, we exchanged questions and answers with fellow SB Nation site Copper and Blue (see my answers over there), covering the NHL’s other orange and blue former coliseum dwellers.
Fielding the answers was Jeff Chapman, the site’s managing editor.
1. We must ask: What's become of Griffin Reinhart?
Chapman: I'm very happy that you asked this question. I am more than happy to tell you.
Please recall the windy summer of 2015, when Peter Chiarelli got a wild hair up his behind and decided to push numbers 16 and 33 in the 2015 NHL Draft to the Islanders for Former Edmonton Oil Kings Captain Griffin Reinhart.
Reinhart spent 29 games with the club in 2015-16, he failed to make the 23 man roster this season. The Oilers went and signed Kris Russell after Grif wasn't going to make the club this year, and if the Oilers are thinking about re-signing Russell to a deal, I'm putting this squarely on the shoulders of Reinhart.
Meanwhile, the Isles did pretty darn good with Matthew Barzal, who made the 23-man roster in his draft year. That said, I think Chiarelli still really likes the 23 year old Reinhart. If he's here after the expansion draft, I think Chia will give him one more shot to make the big club.
2. We know the general take on Hall-for-Larsson, but still wonder (if speculation was true), would Hall-for-Hamonic have been a fit for Oilers fans?
Chapman: The Hall for Larsson trade split the fanbase nearly as much as the Gretzky deal did nearly 30 years ago. I firmly believe that the Oilers got a bonafide NHL player in return, but it's akin to paying twice for something. Taylor Hall can drive his own line, something we're not sure Leon Draisaitl can do yet. He's not the same kind of player as Connor McDavid, but he's absolutely in the next breath.
If the Oilers had traded Taylor Hall for Travis Hamonic, I'm certain that Hamonic would have fit just fine on the Oilers' blue, but reaction would have been similar.
There are fans who believe that the Oilers got fair value for Taylor Hall, and I couldn't possibly disagree with them more.
3. Better acquisition: Patrick Maroon, or Milan Lucic?
Chapman: Patrick Maroon by a football* field. Maroon is the same age as Lucic, he's scoring 3.5 goals per sixty on McDavid's line. Lucic is scoring 2.65 goals per sixty with McDavid.
Maroon's cap hit is 1/3 of what Lucic's is, and Anaheim's responsible for 30 percent of it. Maroon has one more year on his deal. Lucic's deal lasts for six more years, he's got a full NMC until 2021, and the most important number? ilan Lucic has just nine more points than Patrick Maroon does (41 vs. 32).
Lucic was brought in partially "to play with Connor McDavid." It's not something he does at even strength very much.
*LHH ed. note: Canadian, American or English, it still applies.
4. Outside of Healthy Connor McDavid, why are the Oilers finally a playoff team?
Chapman: Cam Talbot is having a phenomenal season with the Oilers so far. e's gearing up to play 70+ games, a number I'm not very comfortable with. He's holding everything down pretty well with a .919 SV% in all situations.
Leon Draisaitl has played very well alongside McDavid. Draisaitl leads the team in goals (23) and is second in points (55).
The defence is better (and healthier) than it has been in past seasons. Andrej Sekera, Oscar Klefbom, Adam Larsson, Darnell Nurse and Matthew Benning have emerged as integral parts to the success of the club.
But yeah, McDavid.
5. How do you like their chances of winning a round or more?
Chapman: I believe they have a fair shot to win a round, so long as everyone I mentioned in the last paragraph remains healthy.
The playoffs have been uncharted territory for this team for over a decade. Getting there will be a strange feeling, and it would be healthy for the team to take a big step forward by winning a round.
If they pull Anaheim in round one, I think they've got a decent shot. If Calgary stays hot and the Flames are Edmonton's round one opponents, it's gonna be nuts.
Thanks to Jeff for his insights on the Oil. Check Copper and Blue for more Oilers coverage and my answers to his questions about Doug Weight and more.