Have you ever stared at a problem so long that the mind literally boggles? Of course you have. Consider this item: The right wing depth chart for next season, Edmonton Oilers. The top RW is Jordan Eberle, but after that we have an assortment of players who have some positives and negatives. Honestly, it is either a gold mine or a mine field, depending on the angle you view this group of players.
- Positives—He shoots the puck a lot—3.67 shots per game last season—and he did have success with McDavid. He has a value contract, and there should be 20 goals a year (or more) in this player. He scored 17 in 48 games as a rookie.
- Negatives—He is an exhausting player in his decisioning. My goodness he has moments of addled play—and this is four years after his arrival. I think he will be in the opening night lineup, but where he is slotted remains a mystery.
- Positives—Big, strong winger who can effectively retrieve pucks and is a very good passer. He is likely to be a value contract this season and I think the coach would prefer him in many cases as the 2RW option. Kassian was in town this week and is in good shape and ready to go.
- Negatives—Speed is an issue for this player, although some of what we saw a year ago may have had to do with a late start to the season/conditioning. He was 15-13-28 per 82 games in Vancouver, and he played quite a big with good players. That point total is a little shy for a top 6F.
- Positives—He has been compared to Mats Sundin in terms of style and presentation—and that is a helluva name drop. Big, fast, strong and skilled, it is very easy to get excited about this young man’s future. His skill set is unique to the established group in Edmonton, and the nature of his back story means the Oilers can send him to the Sm-Liiga, AHL or keep him in the NHL.
- Negatives—He is a teenager about to attempt the step into the world’s best league—and that can impact development in a negative way. He is a player who will have growing pains, possibly making he and Nail Yakupov an ‘either—or’ option this season.
- Positives—Leon on RW is effective for several reasons. He is money on the backhand, has the creativity to make plays, and has good chemistry with skill forwards.
- Negatives—Draisaitl at center sets Edmonton’s depth chart up with more clarity. He is an inexperienced player and at this point is still a complementary player.
My RE series will be rolling out a bunch of wingers next week, and the number of players vying for playing time (top two RWs along with Jordan Eberle) will be a major subject on this blog next week.
OILERS IN A BOX
The Tyson Barrie arbitration case goes/went today and a good guess will be a $5 million award and a two-year deal. I imagine Peter Chiarelli will be monitoring the situation closely. Edmonton would no doubt love to trade for him, it remains unclear what the Avs might want in return. I have mentioned several times in recent posts that Brandon Davidson, Benoit Pouliot and the 2017 first-round selection could be items in play (surely not all three, of course)—but Colorado would have other offers.
I suspect Barrie will be an Av this fall, meaning Edmonton will have to cast about the league in search of other possible solutions.
- Tyson Barrie, Colorado Avalanche. Rocky mountain high now extremely likely.
- Jacob Trouba, Winnipeg Jets. If he is in play, Oilers should be in there.
- James Wisniewski, Carolina Hurricanes. Looking more likely. PTO?
- Dan Boyle, New York Rangers. His numbers in NYC were solid. One more year?
- Ryan Murphy, Carolina Hurricanes. Some chaos, but good speed and puck-moving ability.
- Brandon Montour, Anaheim Ducks. This could be a special player.
- Ryan Pulock, New York Islanders. Big shot from the point has high value. Very young.
- Jakub Nakladal, Calgary Flames. Intriguing player.
- Ryan Sproul, Detroit Red Wings. Puck-moving defender in the AHL.
- Jordan Schmaultz, St. Louis Blues. Puck-moving prospect.
- Ville Pokka, Chicago Blackhawks. Young defender in the Chicago system.
- Dennis Wideman, Calgary Flames. Last chance Texaco.
— David Staples (@dstaples) December 5, 2014
One of the things this blog remains concerned about is Peter Chiarelli’s staff. If you drop by the Oilers management page, the names and faces staring back at you look similar to the last regime and the regime previous to that and the one before that one, too. If we are to believe the Edmonton Oilers, the forensic files found that the true culprits for the last decade were Dallas Eakins, Stu MacGregor, Morey Gare, Brad Davis, Kent Hawley, Billy Moores—and Tyler Dellow.
I am not buying it. Peter Chiarelli is the general manager of the Edmonton Oilers, an extremely difficult job with enormous pressure. I hope this blog has established over these years that we find no joy in watching people lose their jobs, but at the same time that linked management page is atrocious based on what has happened in the last decade. Mr. Chiarelli, consider tearing down that management page—for your own sake.
LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE
Friday edition, TSN1260 beginning at 10. Scheduled to appear:
- Steve Lansky, Big Mouth Sports. Jays, Rio, Rogers Cup.
- Don Landry, CFL.ca. Week 6 six underway, weak effort by the Eskimos defense.
- Matt Iwanyk, TSN1260. Is it too early to look at changing out a coach over at Commonwealth? Plus the Oilers and Tyson Barrie.
10-1260 text, @Lowetide on twitter.