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Hello hello, Nation friends. It’s your ol’ friend Baggedmilk back with a brand new edition of the Monday Mailbag to fill your brain bank with all kinds of free knowledge. This week, we’re breaking down Oscar Klefbom’s usage, Tomas Jurco being placed on waivers, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, and more. If you have a question for the Mailbag, you can always hit me up through email or on Twitter. Until then, enjoy the reprieve from work and/or life. Enjoy.

Oct 12, 2019; New York, NY, USA; Edmonton Oilers defenseman Oscar Klefbom (77) celebrates his goal against New York Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist (30) with defenseman Joel Persson (36) during the second period at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

1) Stacy asks – Oscar Klefbom is playing a tonne of minutes for the Oilers so far this season and I’m wondering if there is any concern from the panel about his workload?

Robin Brownlee:

No concern from me based on the minutes alone at this point in the season. Going into Sunday he was averaging 25:35 and was one of 11 D-men playing 25 minutes or more. I judge it by how he’s playing rather than on the number by itself. If he looks like he’s wearing down then cut back on ice time as appropriate.

Jason Gregor:

I don’t see it being an issue at all. Top players play a lot of minutes. I suspect we will see his minutes drop down a bit as the season goes and he likely finishes the year around 24 min/game, down from the 25:35/game he is playing now.

Tyler Yaremchuk:

I’m not concerned at all. He’s a legit top-four defenseman and he should be able to handle some extra minutes on any given night. With that being said, it would be nice if Dave Tippett wasn’t forced to use him as much as he is this often. He’s played at least 25 minutes in each of the last nine games. Still, I’d be more worried about who Klefbom is playing with. Having Kris Russell on his right-side makes things difficult. Again, it’s not ideal for him to be hitting the 27-minute mark as often as he is, but I think he’s proving that he can handle it.

Baggedmilk:

Klefbom, to me, is easily the Oilers’ best defenceman and I want him on the ice as much as he can possibly handle. No concerns for me.

Sep 17, 2019; Vancouver, British Columbia, CAN; Edmonton Oilers forward Tomas Jurco (92) and Vancouver Canucks defenseman Jalen Chatfield (63) reach for the puck during the second period at Rogers Arena. Mandatory Credit: Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports

2) Blake asks – Was anyone surprised that Tomas Jurco was placed on waivers this past week? I thought he was one of the better bottom-six options and was surprised that it was him sent down over someone like Jujhar Khaira or Patrick Russell.

Robin Brownlee:

Not really surprised. I think he showed flashes of skill at times, but the results weren’t there. 0-2-2 was his bottom line and that’s not good enough. It’s pretty close between guys at the bottom of the roster and how a player grades out to you or I comes in a distant second to what Tippett and has staff are looking for.

Jason Gregor:

Not at all. Jurco was inconsistent. He was invisible for long stretches. He also doesn’t kill penalties so I wasn’t surprised to see him go down.

Tyler Yaremchuk:

I wasn’t. He had some good moments in the preseason but he couldn’t bring it when the games mattered. I’d rather have guys like Archibald and Nygard in the bottom six simply because they move better. He doesn’t kill penalties as good as P. Russell and Jujhar has a bit more of a physical edge and is better at working down low in the offensive zone.

Baggedmilk:

JURCO WAS SUPPOSED TO BE THE ANSWER! *narrator* Rattie Jurco was not. The reality was that Jurco wasn’t scoring enough and doesn’t kill penalties.

3) Trevor asks – There’s no doubt that Ryan Nugent-Hopkins is struggling so far this season but we all know that he’s a good player. What are you seeing in RNH’s game that needs to change to get him back on track?

***BAGGEDMILK NOTE: This question came in on Thursday LOL***

Robin Brownlee:

I don’t think he needs to change anything. Had a tough night against St. Louis before picking up a couple of assists against New Jersey. He was at 1-10-11 through 18 games going into Sunday. His production is marginally off his career average and his goals are down, but we’re not even to the quarter mark of the season.

Jason Gregor:

I wouldn’t say he was struggling. He just hadn’t scored. I think he has played well in many games, but he needed to finish some plays is all. He was very good against the Devils and Ducks and he has been shooting much more in the past seven games than he was in his first ten. He had a really good weekend and I am not concerned with his overall play at all.

Tyler Yaremchuk:

Well, I’d love to see him get a high-end winger to play with, but that won’t happen. I think he just needs to start taking some risks offensively. He’s so gifted but sometimes it feels like he always wants to make the safe play. I wouldn’t mind seeing him try to walk around a few defensemen of take a chance and try to make a move to get into the slot with the puck. I’ve liked his defensive game so I’m not too worried about him but there’s no denying he needs to drive the play a little bit more with the puck on his stick.

Baggedmilk:

He’ll be fine if he just keeps doing what he’s doing and since you sent in this question on Thursday morning you had no idea that he’d go on to get four points in the next two games. He’s on pace for nearly a 50 point season without scoring, so let’s just cut the guy some slack right now and look forward to when his luck turns around.

4) Paul asks – I’d like to know everyone’s opinion on Dave Tippett’s willingness to call players out in his post-game interviews? I’m thinking specifically of the tough goal Koskinen allowed versus Arizona as well as Joel Persson’s mistake on the blue line from that same night.

Robin Brownlee:

Nothing wrong with honesty when it’s balanced. Tippett also praises players when he sees fit. It was an awful goal allowed by Koskinen, so why sugar-coat it? Players will take an honest assessment over blowing smoke any day — they know when they’ve messed up before the coach says anything.

Jason Gregor:

I don’t see it as calling out. He said it was one Koskinen would like back, but  That isn’t calling him out. And with Persson he told the truth. They’d watched film and wanted him to be more intense. Persson wasn’t happy with his play and like a pro he played much better when he returned to the lineup. I think we try to make too much of a coach telling the truth. That is all Tippett did. He didn’t call out anyone in my eyes.

Tyler Yaremchuk:

I love the honesty. If the players can’t handle it then they shouldn’t be playing in the NHL. It’s not like he’s calling out McDavid or Draisaitl and risking his relationship with his star players. I think calling players out in a professional, fair manner can be a good tool for a coach to use. He just needs to give proper praise if those players turn it around.

Baggedmilk:

As long as he’s willing to call out everybody when they need to hear it then I don’t see a problem.

5) Stephen asks – I’m a season ticket holder and I’ve noticed a lot of empty seats at Rogers Place this season. My question is what everyone thinks the team could be doing to bring their fans back? Do you think this is all a product of the team’s struggles over recent years or have they priced themselves out?

Robin Brownlee:

I think it’s more a product of the economy than anything else. I know more than a few people and companies who have cancelled/downgraded/reduced the number of tickets they buy because tickets are a luxury that can’t be justified right now. As for winning fans back, just win. I know a lot of people care about music and presentation and razzle-dazzle as part of the game night experience, and that’s fair, but I don’t, so I’m the wrong guy to ask. First, second and third for me is seeing entertaining hockey. The rest is window dressing.

Jason Gregor:

Winning is the best way to do it. Twelve of 13 seasons of losing has turned fans off. The cost is a factor, but I’d say it is more fans simply needing to see a consistent winning product before they invest full time again. I do think lowering the cost of food could help as well, but mainly the consistent losing is why many fans have stayed away.

Tyler Yaremchuk:

They need to win and knock down concession prices (not beer, but the price of everything else). They could probably do a better job of getting the atmosphere going as well but that’s something that goes hand-in-hand with a winning team. There are plenty of empty seats right now but I guarantee you if they’re fighting for a playoff spot in March, the building will be packed.

Baggedmilk:

The meme above says it all. Bring in an Arby’s! Seriously, though, I was at the game on Friday night and the amount of money I spent on a couple of beers and a soft pretzel was astronomical. I mean, I would have bought more had I thought I was getting a decent value. Let’s work on those concession prices, yeah? Cool.

#NATIONROADTRIP TO CALGARY

  • When? Saturday, January 11th, 2020
  • How much? The depends on how many people are coming with you. To put it another way, we’ve got a range of options including single occupancy ($379/person), double occupancy ($309), up to groups of four ($269/person).
  • Why? Because we love to party
  • Where do you buy tickets? Right here, friend. But be warned, just like every time we’ve done this, this trip will sell out quickly so procrastinating is your enemy here.

What your ticket gets you:

  • Entry to the Dome (January 11th)
  • Transportation to and from Calgary (starting in Edmonton, also stopping in Red Deer for lunch/pickup)
  • Accommodations at the Best Western Downtown (1330 8th Street SW)
  • Prizes, Giveaways and a chance to mingle with 30 of our friends from Finland