The deadline passing means a few things, including watching the overundersidewaysdown standings closely—the Oilers are going to have to bring the suck every night to finish No. 29 or No. 30—and the recalls to the show.
THE HUNGER GAMES
- MacT: “The guys I’d like to give a chance to, we hope we can. We hope we get an opportunity to see Brandon Davidson again. He played very well the last time he was up here in San Jose, so he’s got lots of promise. I’d like to see Andrew Miller come up here and see what he can do, he’s been a good player down there. Curtis Hamilton, I’d like to give an opportunity to, Bogdan Yakimov and all those guys. The goalie Laurent Brossoit has played very well and we’d like to see him come up and hopefully give him a game pretty soon. As disappointing as it is to be selling it this time of year, I’m looking forward to the end of the year where I couldn’t say that last year.” Source
Let’s have a look at these young men one at a time:
- Brandon Davidson: He has a shot at an NHL career in a Scott Ferguson kind of way. I’d say there’s a significant chance he’s an Oiler No. 7D in 15-16. There’s nothing outstanding about him but he’ll be an inexpensive role player who can play in a limited role.
- Andrew Miller: Diminutive forward with good speed and increasing offense in the AHL. I think he’s probably a lower-case Arcobello but you can never be sure. One thing that is true: he spiked offensively in his senior college season and in his second year pro.
- Curtis Hamilton: The thing about Hamilton is that he has a range of skills and we should never, ever underestimate it. That’s the tree that Pisani’s come from and these fellows often take time to show themselves. Habs used to have these men all the time, guys like Chuck Lefley who could skate and check (Lefley had a monster shot, Hamilton’s is sneaky-quick).
- Bogdan Yakimov: Russian giant can play center and he looked exceptional early in training camp. He’s probably two years away from helping but honestly the preview of coming attractions was pretty impressive.
- Laurent Brossoit: He is playing well, posted a good number this season. He’s not ready but teams often call up a goalie for one game in these early years.
- MacT: “I see it to continue to evolve the way that it has. We all see the promise now that we had when we drafted him. I had zero interest in trading Nail Yakupov. I think we’ve gone this far, we’ve got to see the end now. It has been some ups and downs, some sideways play and some head-scratching stuff and he’s on top of his game now. He shows all the assets that we saw when we drafted him: the speed, the physical power, the shot, he’s making good plays with the puck and who knows what unlatches all that for him, but he’s really figured it out. He’s playing with confidence, he’s a hardworking guy and we’ve got to see how it finishes. I’ve have no question that Yak is going to continue to develop and he’s got a reference point of what he needs to do now because he’s hit a new level. I’m as curious as anybody to see where that level goes because I think it’s sky high.” Source
This is the correct call, no doubt in my mind. I’m not certain Derek Roy is the right guy but 2C is a hole for 2015-16 so yeah, consider signing him. Despite getting fed at evens, there’s chemistry between Yakupov and Roy and if a player like Benoit Pouliot is the other winger, maybe they can get things done.
Anton Slepyshev is a going concern and should be the first name signed this spring among the graduates from junior, college and Europe. Looking at the group that needs to be signed, you could make a case for each of them. Will they all get signed?
- Joey Laleggia 82GP, 13-26-39
- Kyle Platzer 82GP, 12-19-31
- Anton Slepyshev 82GP, 17-11-28
- Marco Roy 82GP, 11-9-20
- Jackson Houck 82GP, 9-11-20
- Ben Betker 82GP, 2-10-12
That’s some nice crooked numbers, ladies. Darnell Nurse, Leon Draisaitl and Greg Chase will be turning pro so it’s no guarantee all of these men get Oilers contracts. NINE new pro’s? Plus possibly O’Connor the college goalie? AND the lottery pick. Too many by several, I’d say. Choosing is going to be the issue. One thing that may come to pass in the next 24 months: Three drafted Russian forwards (Yak, Yak 2, Slepyshev) on the NHL roster. The times they are a-changin’.
PROJECTED OILERS ROSTER 2015-16
|LEFT WING||CENTER||RIGHT WING|
|TAYLOR HALL||RYAN NUGENT-HOPKINS||JORDAN EBERLE|
|BENOIT POULIOT||NAIL YAKUPOV (rfa)|
|ANTON LANDER (rfa)||TEDDY PURCELL|
|MATT HENDRICKS||BOYD GORDON||ROB KLINKHAMMER|
|LUKE GAZDIC||TYLER PITLICK (rfa)|
|LEFT DEFENSE||RIGHT DEFENSE|
|OSCAR KLEFBOM||JUSTIN SCHULTZ (rfa)|
|ANDREW FERENCE||NIKI NIKITIN|
|KEITH AULIE (rfa)||MARTIN MARINCIN (rfa)|
The forwards look good from here, especially if they can find a 2C and a LW for Lander. The defense is two players away (Klefbom—Schultz can probably be successful against the soft parade, I’m fine with Fayne as an option and Marincin is a reasonable bet) but MacT doesn’t like the kid from Kosice. So by my count, that’s one defender they have evaluated incorrectly from the prospect group, two free-agent additions (Ference, Nikitin) who are miscast and one hole for a 56-minute a night ball buster who does in fact not exist.
POSSIBLE CONDORS 2015-16
|LEFT WING||CENTER||RIGHT WING|
|RYAN HAMILTON||LEON DRAISAITL||ANDREW MILLER (rfa)|
|MATT FRASER||BOGDAN YAKIMOV||IIRO PAKARINEN|
|CURTIS HAMILTON (rfa)||JUJHAR KHAIRA||GREG CHASE|
|KALE KESSY||TRAVIS EWANYK||JACKSON HOUCK|
|MITCH MOROZ||KELLEN LAIN (rfa)||CONNOR JONES|
|ANTON SLEPYSHEV||KYLE PLATZER|
|JOSH WINQUIST||MARCO ROY|
|LEFT DEFENSE||RIGHT DEFENSE|
|JORDAN OESTERLE||BRANDON DAVIDSON (rfa)|
|BRAD HUNT (rfa)||DILLON SIMPSON|
|DARNELL NURSE||MARTIN GERNAT|
|DAVID MUSIL||JOEY LALEGGIA|
|FRANS TUOHIMAA (rfa)|
|TYLER BUNZ (rfa)|
I’ve thrown most of the names up (20 NHL, 32 AHL plus O’Connor and the lottery pick) so there’s a cull coming. If I’m a betting man, all of Tuohimaa, Bunz, Martin Gernat and Kellen Lain don’t return. I’ll also bet that the Jones boys and Winquist don’t get NHL contracts. That puts the list at 45 before O’Connor and the lottery man. Of course, we’ll see additions and subtractions everywhere but suspect we can agree that four targets (1G, LH D, 2C, scoring LW) will be on the summer menu.
TARGETS FOR ADDITION
- Goal: Antti Niemi is the obvious choice, suspect MacT goes hard after the Shark with the other Antti (Raanta) and Michal Neuvirth are also possible. Matt O’Connor is a college option and MacKenzie Blackwood is a reasonable draft bet. Anything else? I wouldn’t count the Oilers out on the Euro front, getting the next Fasth/Raanta might be a wise move. Expect Scrivens and Brossoit back from this year’s goalies and that’s absolutely it.
- Defense: Christian Ehrhoff is probably the best LH option—if not, the answer is Andrej Sekera. Righties include Johnny Boychuk and Cody Franson among free agents. Jeff Petry would be my choice among the RH men. We should absolutely expect a European addition to follow Belov and Grebeshkov.
- Center: Derek Roy appears to have this in the bag. Other candidates include Antoine Vermette and Jarret Stoll, who would be an interesting addition. It’s also extremely possible the 2C is McEichel.
- Left Wing: Sean Bergenheim is out there and Curtis Glencross will be as well. Oilers have an internal long-shot candidate for scoring winger in Anton Slepyshev.
- Right Wing: Not really an area of need but Matty will head the Drew Stafford marching and chowder society parade now that he’s going UFA.
LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE
A rocking show this morning, TSN1260. Get your ears on and don’t miss a minute:
- Jonathan Willis, Oilers Nation and Cult of Hockey at the Edmonton Journal. We’ll talk about the Petry deal, the blue for 2015-16 and the next GM in Edmonton.
- Travis Yost, TSN Analytics. We’ll examine the real cost of the Petry trade relative to the Hall and Nuge contracts. How severe is it?
- Dennis King, Oilogosphere Icon. We’ll, well, it’ll be something.
- Neal Livingston, Tend The Farm. The voice of calm reason wraps up our guest list, we’ll talk about the incoming kids and what to look for down the stretch from the prospects—here and in Oklahoma City.
10-1260 text @Lowetide_ on twitter. There may be nothing left by noon!