Off the Top of My Head

Knowing Bob Stauffer’s record for telegraphing what’s to come with the Edmonton Oilers in the years he’s been the team’s radio analyst on 630 CHED, I’ve got absolutely no doubt the team will come to terms on a new contract with Kailer Yamamoto before his arbitration hearing Aug. 7. 

What remains to be seen is the term of the deal, the AAV and when GM Ken Holland and Yamamoto will get the ink done. When Bob first called the shot on Wednesday, I thought the paperwork might be done Friday before the start of the long weekend. Looking back on Stauffer’s record on such things, not to worry. It’s not “if” but “when.” From Twitter:

“Wouldn’t surprise me.” Sure. While Jesse Puljujarvi and the Oilers settling on a one-year contract for $3 million last Tuesday before an arbitration hearing leads me – and a lot of you – to believe he’s on his way out of Edmonton one way or another, it sounds like Yamamoto could be around for a while. If that’s the right read of the situation, we’ll have to see how it plays out in terms of being a good or a bad move. Might both stay? It could happen. Probably won’t.

So, what’s the right number and the right term for the deal with Yamamoto Stauffer hinted at? I imagine something reasonably tight to the $3 million AAV Puljujarvi got makes sense, although that number will increase a bit if the Oilers buy more than one or two UFA seasons. We’ll find out soon enough. What’s your term and AAV?


If you’re a fantasy league player you’ve probably spent some time reading Matt Larkin’s rankings in The Hockey News. Larkin is back, this time with Daily Faceoff, and he released the first version of his top picks Thursday. Larkin has 11 Oilers in his top 300. His second version of the top 300 will drop mid-August.

TOP 100

1. Leon Draisaitl
2. Connor McDavid
47. Darnell Nurse
54. Evander Kane


121. Zach Hyman
127. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins
130. Jack Campbell
132. Evan Bouchard
228. Jesse Puljujarvi
233. Kailer Yamamoto
245. Tyson Barrie


Mar 8, 2021; Edmonton, Alberta, CAN; Ottawa Senators forward Tim Stuetzle (18) and Edmonton Oilers forward Kyle Turris (8) battle for position during the second period at Rogers Place. Mandatory Credit: Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports

A tip of the cap to Oilers’ forward Kyle Turris, who is having an award for community service named after him by the BCHL starting next season. Turris, 32, is a veteran of 776 NHL games and was originally drafted third overall from the Burnaby Express of the BCHL by the Phoenix Coyotes in 2007. He joined the Oilers for the 2020-21 season from Nashville.

“To have a trophy like this named after me, where it’s not necessarily what you’ve done on the ice but helping people off the ice and taking advantage of the position that you’re in to affect change, it’s very important,” said Turris. “It’s a very special part of the sport.”

As an aside, I played lacrosse against Kyle’s father, Bruce, and went to school with him. He’s in the Canadian Lacrosse Hall of Fame and was a terrific basketball player for St. Thomas More Collegiate as well. One of the best athletes I’ve ever seen. Kyle also played lacrosse growing up before concentrating on hockey.

AND . . . 

Here’s hoping Bobby Ryan, who has been struggling with alcoholism for several years, can get back on track after being arrested for public intoxication at Nashville’s airport last Monday. Ryan was awarded the Masterton Trophy for his battle with addiction a couple years ago.

Ryan is an unrestricted free agent. He has played for the Anaheim Ducks, Ottawa Senators and Detroit Red Wings. Anybody who has battled the bottle knows how tough it can be. It’s one day at a time with this and his new start begins now.

  • So, Ethan Bear gets a one-year contract for $2.2 million in Carolina. It’s a look-see deal. Between COVID and some physical challenges, 2021-22 was a tough season for Bear, who was limited to 58 games. At 25 with only 190 NHL games on his resume, Bear has time to get things together. As of now, he will be a RFA through 2023-24. 
  • Former Oilers and Edmonton Oil Kings’ assistant coach Rocky Thompson is joining John Tortorella’s staff with the Philadelphia Flyers. Thompson, best known as a tough guy in his playing days, will be in charge of running Philadelphia’s inept power play, which was worst in the league last season.

Previously by Robin Brownlee

San Jose Sharks to retire Patrick Marleaus No. 12

The San Jose Sharks will retire Patrick Marleau’s No. 12 into the rafters at SAP Arena next season, the club announced Thursday.

Marleau, 42, played 1,607 of his National Hockey League record 1,779 career regular-season games in a Sharks uniform between 1997 and 2021.

The Aneroid, Saskatchewan product will become the first player to have his number retired by the Sharks. He’ll be in attendance at SAP Arena for an on-ice ceremony prior to the Sharks’ game against the Chicago Blackhawks on February 25, 2023.

“It is only fitting that the first San Jose Sharks player to receive the ultimate franchise recognition of having his number retired is Mr. San Jose Shark himself, Patrick Marleau,” Sharks President Jonathan Becher said Thursday. “Patty symbolizes the Sharks franchise as much as our famous jersey crest and the color teal. We look forward to celebrating his amazing NHL legacy with Patrick’s family, friends and his legions of fans, many of whom were in the arena when Patrick first stepped on the ice in San Jose in 1997.”

The Sharks selected Marleau second overall in the 1997 NHL Draft, one pick after the Boston Bruins took Joe Thornton (who ended up spending most of his career with Marleau in San Jose).

Marleau spent the first 19 seasons of his NHL career with the Sharks, posting seven 30-goal campaigns and helping the team reach the 2016 Stanley Cup Final. He also won gold with Team Canada at the 2004 World Cup of Hockey and the 2010 and 2014 Winter Olympic Games.

The Toronto Maple Leafs signed Marleau as an unrestricted free agent in 2017. He spent two seasons in Toronto before returning to San Jose in 2019; at the 2020 trade deadline, the Sharks traded Marleau to the Pittsburgh Penguins.

After a very brief stint in Pittsburgh, Marleau returned to the Sharks for one final season. In 2020–21, Marleau passed Gordie Howe by playing in his 1,768th NHL regular-season game. He subsequently became only the fourth player in NHL history to record 900 consecutive games played.

Over his three stints in San Jose, Marleau became the Sharks’ franchise record-holder in games played (1,607), goals (522), points (1,111), playoff goals (68), playoff points (120), power-play goals (163), shorthanded goals (17), and game-winning goals (101).

In his 1,779 career games with San Jose, Toronto, and Pittsburgh, Marleau scored 566 goals, 631 assists, and 1,197 points. He’s eligible to enter the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2024.

With Marleau becoming the first player to have his number retired by the Sharks, only the three newest NHL teams (the Seattle Kraken, Vegas Golden Knights, and Winnipeg Jets) have yet to retire a player’s number. The Kraken and Golden Knights have respectively retired Nos. 32 and 58 for off-ice reasons.

The post San Jose Sharks to retire Patrick Marleau’s No. 12 appeared first on Daily Faceoff.

Jim Rutherfords most recent interview tackles the Canucks lack of trade activity, hope for a J.T. Miller extension, and managing Thatcher Demkos workload

Jim Rutherford has never been one to sugarcoat the issues surrounding his teams. In fact, during an appearance on yesterday’s edition of The Bob McCown Podcast, the Vancouver Canucks president of hockey ops called what he’s currently preaching — not patience, but “reality”.

And reality was the name of the game when Rutherford discussed the variety of pressing topics surrounding the Canucks, including their search for trade partners, their need for defensive help, and their approach to goalie workload management next season.

Among the biggest questions for Rutherford and GM Patrik Allvin has been the lack of trades the Canucks have made since free agency began, and he admitted that the market has provided some challenges.

“We need to do more than what we’ve done. But you can only do things if you have a partner to do it,” Rutherford said. “There were some defencemen available in free agency. It didn’t work for us whether it was term or what they were looking for. So it appears that it’s going to take longer to address the defence than we would have liked and we’re gonna have to do it through trades.”

“And of course, everybody deals with the cap and everything like that. That makes deals harder to make.”

One of those potential trade chips, J.T. Miller, hasn’t inspired the market the Canucks’ front office might’ve hoped for. But even if the trade offers were richer, Rutherford doesn’t sound like a man too keen on moving his 99-point centre.

“He’s a very good player, he’ll be a good player for a long time. We would like to resign him if possible,” Rutherford said. “We were a long ways apart where I think it’ll be hard to get to a point where he’ll have a comfort level of what we’re able to do.”

“If we can’t do that, then it’s obvious we’ll have to do the best we can to put him in a place where he’s going to get his contract, and we’re going to get the right assets back that can help the Canucks in the future.”

As far as a timeline is concerned, next year’s trade deadline was brought up as the point of no return for Miller. “If we don’t have him signed and nobody’s made an offer that makes sense for us, then you don’t really have any other choice. We really don’t want to be in a position that we don’t get anything in return if we can’t keep him.”

The right pieces for Vancouver likely involve improvements for their blue line. But while Rutherford made clear that the team’s defensive depth isn’t strong enough, he also showed high confidence in the group they currently have.

“Our defence right now is good enough to win, but there are question marks there,” Rutherford said. “If all those guys stay healthy, our team is strong enough to be a playoff team. But if something goes wrong in that defence, which we know could, that’s going to be an issue. So we’ll continue to look at our defence.”

Rutherford highlighted two defenders as potentially key pieces for Vancouver this year for very different reasons; the young, developing Jack Rathbone and, surprisingly, the struggling Tucker Poolman.

“We’ve got [Jack] Rathbone who’s a young player that’s tracking in the right direction, and deserves the opportunity to be in Vancouver this year. If he comes in and plays the way he played in the American League last year and stays healthy, that’s going to improve our defence,” Rutherford said.

“The big question mark is Poolman. Poolman when he’s playing and without any injuries is a good, solid defenceman that can actually play in our top four. But there are question marks around his health, and that’s going to be something we’re going to have to watch.”

While roster construction is still a long work in progress, the Canucks’ goaltending is as solidified as they come. Thatcher Demko started 61 games last season in Vancouver’s rally attempt to make the postseason, a number that was inflated by the team’s lack of trust in backup Jaroslav Halak. But a former goalie himself, Rutherford knows keeping Demko fresh would be crucial come playoff time.

“I’d like him to play 82. I know the coach every day he sits there and looks at it, he’s got to lean towards playing him 82 games. But you have to be careful of the wear and tear,” Rutherford said. “I believe if you overplay a goalie, you know he’s going to get injured or he’s gonna get worn down at some point in time, but we’ll play Demko as many games as we can.”

Rutherford also gave a vote of confidence in Demko’s new backup, Spencer Martin, who’ll be tasked with cutting down the starter’s massive workload next year. But he stopped short of saying there’ll be any guaranteed minutes for Martin unless he’s able to hold up his share of the bargain for head coach Bruce Boudreau.

“He’s done a really good job in the minors. He played very well for the Canucks last year, albeit in a limited role, and we’re hoping he can continue that, and that way we can be comfortable with having two guys,” Rutherford said.

“Once you get in the heat of the battle and you have to win a game that night, but it was a designated time where you were going to go with the other goalie that’ll probably change. Bruce is gonna go with Demko. But like I said, if Martin keeps playing the way he’s played, [Bruce is] going to be comfortable going with him also.”