Sometime this week, the Edmonton Oilers will release their Young Stars roster for the Penticton tournament (starts on Friday). As we do every year, let’s have a lash at the roster to see how close we can get.
YOUNG STARS 2016 (PROJECTED)
- G Nick Ellis—College grad could surprise and play a lot in Bakersfield. Impressive college SP.
- G Dylan Wells—Oilers latest junior bet, needs a strong camp and season in the OHL.
- G Keven Bouchard—Training camp invite despite not being signed.
- RD Matt Benning—By the sounds of things, he has a chance to make the team in TC.
- LD Ben Betker—End of the roster in terms of LD, he is a giant stay-at-home blue.
- LD Caleb Jones—I think there is a chance he hangs around training camp until very late.
- RD Ethan Bear—I liked him at rookie camp a year ago, curious to see progress.
- LD Markus Niemelainen—One of the kids I am most looking forward to seeing at camp.
- LD Kyle Jenkins—Apparently an invite, 20-year old with average size and some skill.
- RD Aaron Irving—TC invite, I like his ability to move the puck. Back to OK after camp.
- RD Dallas Valentine—Big (6.04, 205) defender has been invited to camp.
- RC Kyle Platzer—Another player who could help his cause with a strong TC. Big season in California ahead.
- C-L Joey Benik—AHL contract, Benik is a small (5.10, 174) and quite skilled. Should rock Penticton.
- LC Thomas Foster—Skill center delivered when healthy, intriguing invite.
- LC Lane Bauer—Oil Kings center gets an invite (Bob mentioned it the other day).
- RC Tomas Soustal—I really like his numbers and scouting report. Invite possibility (Orientation).
- L Drake Caggiula—Excited to see his impact this year. Can also play center.
- L Braden Christoffer—He will need to fight back the college kids for AHL playing time.
- L Scott Allen—A giant (6.03, 198) who came out of college (Alaska-Anchorage). I bet they like him a lot.
- L Tyler Benson—He is 2, 1-2-3 in pre-season. Health is the big issue. A terrific pick if he can stay healthy.
- L Collin Shirley—Two-way winger with size and some skill. Saskatoon Blades veteran.
- R Jesse Puljujarvi—Want to make sure he is healthy, one of several injury questions this fall.
- R Patrick Russell—We don’t know him, but he is aggressive and can score.
- R Greg Chase—He has a ticket to camp, plays with an edge and can post offense.
- R Jaedon Descheneau—Small skill winger, AHL deal and a wildcard entering camp.
I had 27 on my guess list a year ago, including all 26 who were on the actual list (I had Brossoit mistakenly going to camp). The first Oilers Young Stars roster boasted seven legit NHL players—that is a strong total. As for the list above, Scott Allen is 26 so may not appear (despite having just one pro season).
WE’RE NOT WILD ABOUT LEON?
Oilers fans are a fickle bunch. Leon didn’t play a lot in the second period last night for Team Europe and the comments have him slow, failing and trade bait. Folks, this is crazy. Leon Draisaitl is a young, emerging talent who is going to miss Taylor Hall in a big way this season. That does not disqualify him from being considered a big part of this team’s future (and present). Consider the splits:
- Leon with Hall, 2.32 points-per-60 at 5×5, and his Corsi for 5×5 percentage 51.6.
- Leon without Hall, 1.13 points-per-60, Corsi for 5×5 percentage 53.3.
Better possession, due likely to lesser competition (that is my opinion) and the offense faded badly. However, when looking at Leon and his deployment alongside the significant LWs a year ago the numbers are good (if contained inside a small sample size):
- Hall, 2.32 5×5 points-per-60 in 879 minutes.
- Pouliot, 1.35 5×5 points-per-60 in 44 minutes.
- Maroon, 1.87 5×5 points-per-60 in 64 minutes.
There is no proof here that Draisaitl will be unable to perform with Pouliot or Maroon—although Hall levels are extremely unlikely for LD this coming season. In my RE, I have his point total falling from 51 to 40 year over year, and I think that is a reasonable expectation.
Krueger says Draisaitl seemed tired from Olympic qualifying. Team needed to get older players going, and Draisaitl lost ice time due to that
— Mark Spector (@SportsnetSpec) September 12, 2016
This tweet from Mark Spector appears to have been wildly misunderstood by Oilers fans, in the comments and on my twitter time line. When Krueger says ‘seemed tired’ he did not in fact mean ‘miserable failure as a draft pick and useless player’ and I just wanted to get that out there this morning. Folks, we need to calm down. Using his first two seasons and a tightened age range, the most comparable players to Draisaitl are Nathan Horton, David Pastrnak, Jakub Voracek, Brendan Gallagher and Michael Frolik. (Source). That is a good-to-great range. This will be his third season after draft and he has a 50-point (Hall aided) season to his credit. Perhaps we can hold off on calling him Jason Bonsignore for another year or two?
Great questions, Russ. I have been asking about the coaching situation (and players missing) for some time now. Here is an item from this blog on July 15:
- The Oilers first pre-season games (it is a doubleheader against Calgary) will take place on Monday, September 26. The World Cup of Hockey will be in full bloom, with another week (closes October 1) to go. A bunch of Oilers management and coaching staff will be at the World Cup, while at the same time things will be happening in a very important pre-season back home. Does anyone else think this is a concern? No? Bueller? Source
I remain convinced this should be getting more attention and have written about it several times. Look, the die is cast, but it is interesting to compare the Oilers training camp and that of the Calgary Flames. How many Calgary players and coaches are at the World Cup of Hockey? How many games will Milan Lucic and Connor McDavid play together before opening night? What is the impact of all three centers being unavailable? I am a little surprised this story doesn’t have legs by now.
LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE
Monday morning is a tough road, but by 10 I will be seeing straight and fully prepared for radio! Hope you tune in, fun show ahead. Scheduled to appear, TSN1260:
- Scott Burnside, ESPN. World Cup of Hockey heating up, Torts trying to make it 1975.
- Andrew Stoeten, Jays Nation. A tough weekend against the BoSox, but the schedule favors Toronto.
- Walter Foddis, Beer League Heroes. A long overdue debut on the Lowdown, Walter will discuss the Versteeg addition and its impact on Yak and JP. Plus, defense and WCH.
- Andy McNamara, TSN-4Downs. NFL Week 1 is almost in the books, we will talk rookie QBs and the offensive stars of Sunday.
10-1260 text, @Lowetide on twitter. Talk soon!