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DAVID STAPLES: Edmonton Oilers to hire Dave Tippett?

 General manager Ken Holland, left, and head coach Dave Tippett of the Edmonton Oilers.
General manager Ken Holland, left, and head coach Dave Tippett of the Edmonton Oilers.

'It's not a matter of if, it's a matter of when,' says Oilers insider

Tippett gets at least a passing grade when it comes to developing young talent

This in from team insider Bob Stauffer of the Oilers radio organization and Mark Spector of Sportsnet on Oilers Now, their speculation that Dave Tippett will be head coach of the Edmonton Oilers.

Said Stauffer: “We both think it’s going to be Tippett. It’s not a matter of if, it’s a matter of when. Maybe we’ll be surprised.”

Said Spector: “I would say it’s Tipps if he wants it. If he decides, ‘Nah, I like what’s going on in Seattle.'”

Said Stauffer: “Well, then don’t price yourself out of it then. Because Buffalo is not an option and they’re not hiring you in Ottawa.”

My take

If Tippett is the coach, my main concern is his ability to develop integrate young talent on the Oilers.

Help is not likely to come in trades or free agent signings on a capped out Edmonton team. The key for the Oilers will be to develop such young players as Caleb Jones, William Lagesson, Ethan Bear, Tyler Benson, Cooper Marody, Evan Bouchard, Jesse Puljujarvi, Joe Gambardella, Evan Polei, Kailer Yamamoto, Joel Persson, Ryan McLeod and Shane Starrett.

The Oilers need a number of those players to hit it as NHLers and for a few to hit it big.

In this regard, what’s Tippett’s record from Dallas and Arizona in terms of developing young talent?

The good news? Tippett broke in and developed a significant amount of talent in his six years in Dallas, players such as Steve Ott, Trevor Daley, John Erskine, Antti Mitettenen, Jussi Jokinen, Loui Eriksson, Mike Smith, Nicklas Grossman, James Neal and Matt Niskanen, who would go on to have long and successful NHL careers.

Essentially, every single year one key player was added into the mix. If a coach does that, he’s doing his job.

In that time, top draft picks who failed to launch in Dallas were Jason Bacashihua, 26th overall in 2001, Martin Vagner, 26th overall in 2002, and Ivan Vishnevsky, 27th overall in 2006.

Here is Tippell’s annual record for breaking in young players:

  • 2002-03, Dallas

  • 24-year-old Niko Kapanen, who would play five NHL seasons, 397 NHL games, scoring 126 points
  • 20-year-old Steve Ott (14 seasons, 848 games, 288 points).
  • 2003-04, Dallas

  • John Erskine, 23 (12 years, 491 games, 54 points)
  • Trevor Daley, 19, (15 years, 1015 games, 302 points)
  • Antti Miettenen, 23, (9 seasons, 539 games, 230 points)
  • Mathias Tjarnqvist, 24, (5 season, 173 games, 32 points).
  • 2005-06, Dallas

  • Jussi Jokinen, 22, (13 seasons, 951 games, 563 points).
  • 2006-07 Dallas

  • Loui Eriksson, 21 (13 seasons, 921 games, 580 points).
  • Joel Lundqvist, 24, (3 years, 134 games, 26 points).
  • Mike Smith, 24, (13 years, 576 games, 0.912 save pct.)
  • Chris Conner, 22, (3 years, 180 games, 50 points).
  • Nicklas Grossmann, 21 (9 years, 592 games, 86 points).

  • 2007-08 Dallas

  • Matt Niskanen, 20, (12 years, 881 games, 323 points).
  • Mark Fistric, 21, (7 years, 325 games, 34 points).
  • 2008-09, Dallas

  • James Neal, 20, (11 years, 766 games, 514 points).
  • Fabian Brunnstrom, 23, (two years, 104 games, 41 points).
  • B.J. Crombeen, 23 (seven years, 445 games, 80 points).

There is less good news here from his time in Arizona.  In 2009-10, he inherited a team that already had young players like Keith Yandle, 22, Martin Hanzal, 22, Daniel Winnik, 24, Lauri Korpikoski, 23, and Mikkel Boedker, 19. They all had a foot hold in the NHL.

In his eight years in Arizona, Tippett introduced and developed players like Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Michael Stone, Conor Murphy, Tobias Rieder, Jordan Martinook, Louis Domingue, Max Domi and … well, did I mention Oliver Ekman-Larsson?

That is not a huge list.

His final year there, 2016-17, has a distinct “Decade of Darkness” feel to it, as all kinds of teen or near teen players got their debut, including Lawson Crouse, Christian Dvorak, Jakob Chychrun, Dylan Strome, Clay Keller, Christian Fischer, Tony DeAngelo, and Brendan Perlini.

So if there’s no choice but to go with a youth movement, we see Tippett will go with a youth movement. How all these players will turn out is another question.

Tippett moved on in Phoenix before he had a chance to work over a long period with them.

A run of truly awful drafting in Phoenix from 1997 to 2003 started to hit the Arizona franchise hard by 2010, as they lacked older veterans on the team, players who could take the tough minutes and let the younger players develop in more sheltered roles in the NHL or the AHL.

In that time, top picks who failed to launch in Arizona include Peter Mueller, 8th overall, 2006, Brandon Gormley, 13th overall in 2010, and Henrik Samuelsson, 27th overall in 2012.

  • 2009-10, Arizona

  • Sami Lepisto, 24, (three years, 176 games, 35 points)
  • Dave Schlemko, 22, (10 years, 415 games, 94 points).
  • Paul Bissonnette, 24, (five years, 202 games, 22 points).
  • 2010-11 Arizona

  • Oliver Ekman-Larsson, 19, (9 years, 657 games, 334 points).
  • Kyle Turris, 21, (10 years, 664 games, 385 points).
  • 2012-13

  • Michael Stone, 22, (7 years, 439 games, 117 points).
  • 2013-14

  • Connor Murphy, 20, (six years, 386 games, 76 points).
  • 2014-15

  • Tobias Rieder, 21, (six years, 379 games 128 points).
  • Klas Dahlbeck, 23, (three years, 170 games, 23 points).
  • Jordan Martinook, 22, (four years, 329 games, 90 points)
  • 2015-16

  • Louis Domingue, 23 (four years, 122 games, .907 save pct.).
  • Max Domi, 20, (four years, 304 games, 207 points).
  • Anthony Duclair, 20, (four years, 287 games, 122 points).
  • 2016-17

  • Christian Dvorak, 20, (three years, 176 games, 77 points).
  • Lawson Crouse, 19, (three years, 164 games, 38 points).
  • Jakob Chychrun, 18 (three years, 171 games, 54 points).
  • Dylan Strome, 19 (two yers, 106 games, 67 points).
  • Clayton Keller, 19. (three years, 167 games, 114 points).
  • Christian Fischer, 19. (three years, 157 games, 54 points).
  • Tony DeAngelo, 20, (three years, 132 games, 125 points).
  • Brendan Perlini, 20, (three years, 199 games, 72 points)

So what are we to make of Tippett’s overall record here?

  1. He’s willing to use young players.
  2. He’s had some real success developing young players, but he can’t craft diamonds out of hockey pucks. If his team drafts well, he’s competent at developing that talent. If his scouts bring him talent, he works well with it. He’s also got a knack for developing bottom line forwards, starting with Ott in Dallas.
  3. Overall, I’d say his record shows him as a coach who didn’t squander a lot of talent and generally did well by the young players he had. He gets at least a passing grade here.

Copyright Postmedia Network Inc., 2019


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