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Welcome, citizens, to a long weekend edition of the mailbag where your friendly neighbourhood Nation writers, once again, help you make sense of all things Edmonton Oilers. If you’re working today, we hope that these here 2000 words of worldly wisdom help you kill off a little bit of company time while also teaching you a little something at the same time. As always, I always need you guys for this feature so email me your questions to baggedmilk@oilersnation.com or hit me up on Twitter at @jsbmbaggedmilk. Now sit back, relax, and enjoy. Have a good week, everybody.

1) Rob asks – Last season, Darnell Nurse set a new career-high in goals, assists, and points (10G, 31A for 41 points) and I’m wondering what everyone is expecting from him in 2019-20?

Jason Gregor:

He was 18th in the NHL in EV points among defenders with 31. I suspect that remains about the same. His PP points likely go down. I’m not sure we see him on the top unit as much…so I’ll say 35  points.

Robin Brownlee:

If you’re talking points, I think he can be in the 35-40 point range again. The big jump in his production last season came on the PP (1-8-9). He had no PP points the previous season.I don’t see the 41 points as a benchmark on the way to higher production but rather a total that sets the kind of reasonable range (35-40) I mentioned. That’s pretty good in today’s NHL.

Tyler Yaremchuk:

Points wise, I’ll be expecting more of the same. It would be nice to see him prove that this past season wasn’t an anomaly. Away from the stat sheet, I’d like to see him take some big strides forward in terms of his ability to make a crisp first pass and in general, prove that he can move the puck up ice with good puck movement instead of just skating it up the ice by himself all the time. Wouldn’t mind seeing him prove that he can consistently quarterback the second powerplay unit as well.

Christian Pagnani:

I’d expect big minutes with either Adam Larsson or Matt Benning/Joel Persson, maybe even Evan Bouchard later in the year. I don’t think he’ll hit 40 points, but 30 is still possible. He won’t get powerplay time. Klefbom, Persson, Bouchard will get time over him and I wonder if a ‘shutdown’ pairing of Nurse-Larsson makes his counting stats fall a bit.

Baggedmilk:

I bet he’ll land somewhere within the 30-40 point mark again. Anything over that would be a huge bonus, but my main concern is that he continues to work on the defensive side of his game. Oilers need as much help keeping the puck out of their own net as they do putting it in the other one.

2) Paul asks – Obviously, the Andrej Sekera buyout created an opportunity for someone to grab a spot on the third pairing and I’m wondering what Caleb Jones has to do to make the gamble worth it? Does he have to produce points or is simply playing a steady game enough?

Jason Gregor:

Steady would be great. I wouldn’t expect much points out of Jones, especially because he isn’t a lock to make the team. If he does he won’t replace Sekera on third pair LD, as Russell will play there. Jones will battle on the right side with Joel Persson and Matt Benning.

Robin Brownlee:

There are more candidates than Jones, but I’d be looking at him and Joel Persson. The ability to play reliable minutes trumps offensive production for a new player coming in. Be reliable and go from there. The rest comes after.

Tyler Yaremchuk:

I think if he can just give the Oilers solid 5v5 minutes and not get completely worked by the opposition on a regular basis, he’ll be on the team for 82 games. All they need him to do is move the puck well and be a steady third-pairing defenseman. He shouldn’t have to face very much tough competition. As far as point production, I’m not expecting much from Jones unless he gets a steady dose of powerplay time.

Christian Pagnani:

Jones should be a bonafide third-pairing defenceman and push for time in the top four occasionally. I really liked Jones in Edmonton last season. I would start him on the left side on the third pairing. I know he played the right side in Bakersfield and at times in the NHL, but starting a rookie on his offside feels like something the Oilers of the last decade would do.

Baggedmilk:

I’m expecting more of the same of what we saw from him last year: sheltered minutes on the third pairing until he proves he can handle more. I think he can do it.

3) Stephen S. asks – With all of the bottom six players Ken Holland brought in to create competition, I can’t help but wonder what will happen to a guy like Kyle Brodziak. Seeing as he was a healthy scratch at times last season, do you think he’ll stick with the club by the time the season starts?

Jason Gregor:

Most of the new faces are wingers. Brodziak will be pushed by Colby Cave for the 4th line C spot. I don’t see him being a regular every night.

Robin Brownlee:

I think Kyle is a 13th forward at best now. I think he’ll be hard-pressed to be in the line-up as often as he sits, if he’s here at all.

Tyler Yaremchuk:

He looked really slow last year and I would be worried that with another full season under his belt, he could slow down even more. If I had to guess, the only way he’ll be on the Oilers roster is as a veteran 13th forward. They could put him on waivers and send him to Bakersfield without much of a cap penalty, so that’s likely an option they’d look at as well.

Christian Pagnani:

He makes the team, but doesn’t play the first few games. They need centers, but Brodziak looked done last season. He does shoot right, but I don’t think he brings enough to play regularly anymore.

Baggedmilk:

Will be a veteran guy in the room that doesn’t play every game. Would it be unfair to say 13th forward? Seems likely, no?

4) Clare asks – When I submitted this question, Jesse Puljujarvi is still an Oiler and it’s starting to seem like he might be back in the fall. Are you surprised at all by the way this scenario has played out so far?

Jason Gregor:

I’m a bit surprised he is so adamant he doesn’t want to play in Edmonton, but he clearly has his reasons. I’m not surprised Holland has been patient. Why would he rush just to appease Puljujarvi. He is only 21 and could still become a solid NHL player, so Holland won’t just give him a way.

Robin Brownlee:

Jesse and his agent doubled down on insisting he’ll play in Europe this week. I am surprised because he’s got the perfect second chance he says he wants with a new GM, head coach and staff here, but apparently that’s not good enough. I think he’s making a mistake. The best way to prove you’re an NHL player is to play in the NHL. He’s closer to becoming a worse bust than Nail Yakupov than he is to establishing that.

Tyler Yaremchuk:

I have said it multiple times on both Oilersnation Radio, the Real Life Podcast, and on TSN 1260 since this saga began. I didn’t think that Puljujarvi was going to give up NHL paychecks and a chance to come in and play under a new Head Coach this season. There’s obviously still a chance he’s traded or decides to abandon the NHL, but I wouldn’t be shocked in the least if he’s back in Oilers colours this September.

Christian Pagnani:

A bit, but not really. Puljujarvi has to clear waivers to be assigned to the AHL, which obviously wouldn’t happen. Teams are probably less interested when they have to put him on their NHL roster, especially since he hasn’t shown much in his NHL time. I’m a little surprised we haven’t seen him moved for a draft pick or another highly-picked prospect struggling. It could still happen. Yakupov was moved a few days before the season started. Maybe a team isn’t thrilled with a former first or second-round pick of their own and the Oilers make that trade.

Baggedmilk:

I love it. I love that Ken Holland is calling the agent’s bluff when he said he would go play in Europe. There is still plenty of time left until the season starts so anything can happen, but I’m starting to think more and more that Jesse will be an Oiler come October.

5) Blake asks – I’m a big fan of going to watch the Oil Kings but can’t help but feel like the Oilers could do a better job of promoting and supporting the team. What do you think they could do to try and get more fans to Rogers Place for the Oil Kings?

Jason Gregor:

Promote them more during Oilers games would be a start. A bit more promotion wouldn’t hurt, but unless ticket prices drop I don’t see them gaining much traction on weekday games. Weekend games still draw quite well. It would cost a lot, but if Edmonton had a 5000-10000 seat rink it would make for a much better atmosphere at Oil Kings games. Other teams could use it as well and it would be much better. Rogers is simply too big for the Oil Kings.

Robin Brownlee:

According to Hockey DB, the Oil Kings led the WHL in attendance last season, followed by Calgary. Nothing sells the product like winning. What is it you think the Oilers should be doing?

Tyler Yaremchuk:

Oh, this question is right in my wheelhouse. When was the last time you were at Rogers Place for an Oilers game and saw an advertisement for the upcoming Oil Kings game? The answer is never. They don’t get very much coverage when they’re on the road either. I will give the new Oil Kings regime a lot of credit for taking some big strides forward in the last year, but there is still work to do. The organization is starting to do more to promote themselves, but if the Oilers gave them an ounce of help, it would go a long way. Edmonton needs to prove it’s a hockey town, not just an Oilers town.

Christian Pagnani:

Cheap food and drinks. Maybe they already do this, but I’ve never heard of it.

Baggedmilk:

Let’s start with promoting them during Oilers games since that’s what most people tend to care about. From there, how about tossing out a specific section of really cheap seats so that more people can go? I know that Oil Kings tickets are already reasonably priced but wouldn’t it be dope to have a couple of sections in the upper bowl (they’d have to open that mind you) that were $5 each? Call it college corner or whatever you want to. I’d have another charity section where every ticket is given away to local kids and families to give them the opportunity to get out to a game. Remember, if you’re in the building you’ll probably buy something else, so why not do whatever it takes to get as many bodies in there as possible.

MAILBAG PRESENTED BY DAYTONA HOMES

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