I have the Oilers with 100 points in 2017-18, Connor McDavid winning another scoring championship and the team continuing the struggle to find secondary scoring. We’ll find out all down the line, every season writes its own script. Still building toward the team they will become, this Oilers club looks ready to cut through the heart of the Pacific Division one more time.
RE PROJECTIONS 2017-18
- I have the Oilers increasing their goals-for almost entirely due to McDavid’s stretching out his offensive potential.
- Defensively the club gives up 10 more goals than one year ago, I think the defense may give up more chances and the goaltending will see more backup presence. Still good, but a little wobble.
OILERS RE SCORING 2017-18
- These are all the original numbers I projected, but the lines have moved to match the words of Peter Chiarelli and Todd McLellan in their conversations with Bob McKenzie and Bob Stauffer, respectively.
- If Leon plays 2C, I’d give him 62-65 points, Strome as 1R probably gets to 50. It really depends who plays on the top two lines, how tough the competition for the 3line and of course who gets the PP push.
- I have 15 defensemen playing, if someone emerges from the group that is listed under ‘extra defense’ we could see many fewer. Never encouraging when you begin a year with one of your inner circle blue on the injured list.
I believe Peter Chiarelli will be very active at this year’s trade deadline if Edmonton is in a playoff position. You’ll hear people say ‘deadline deals don’t help’ but adding to shore up areas of weakness is something general managers do at the deadline. Pittsburgh added Ron Hainsey, Mark Streit and Frank Corrado at the 2017 deadline, Justin Schultz in 2016. Peter Chiarelli is extremely aggressive and he has areas of need (scoring RW, veteran defense, possibly backup goalie) that he is currently addressing with the department of youth.
ASSETS OUT, FEBRUARY 26 2018
The trade deadline this season is February 26 according to Renaud Lavoie and he’s never wrong. Here are the current potential assets Chiarelli could move:
- The 2018 draft picks. NHL teams don’t like trading picks for 11.5 months a year, and then spend them like drunken sailors at the deadline. Edmonton’s 2018 draft picks are No. 22, No. 53, No. 84, No. 115, No. 146, No. 177, No. 208. The numbers will change, important to note Edmonton currently holds all seven of their own selections. I think each is in play.
- LHD prospects. The Oilers are well covered at the NHL level, with Oscar Klefbom, Andrej Sekera and Darnell Nurse firmly entrenched at this time. Oilers may have enough depth to deal from strength to address weakness. I wonder what happens re: Yohann Auvitu. If the man from France has a strong season, could you see the Oilers move Andrej Sekera next summer in an effort to keep Ryan Nugent-Hopkins? I believe it’s worth keeping in mind. The two NHL regulars not bound by NMC’s are Darnell Nurse and Matt Benning, I don’t see either of them being dealt.
- Young wingers who don’t succeed in a big way. Anton Slepyshev is in a good spot but his injury may give others a chance at his perceived role. If he can find a spot on Leon Draisaitl’s line (with Milan Lucic), we may see a 20-goal scorer. If the Oilers give Drake Caggiula a feature slot, we may see Slepyshev dealt at the deadline (my guess is the Russian has more value than Caggiula among NHL teams who are interested in Edmonton’s winger collection). Jujhar Khaira is also in this category, on a lower level. This is the year for these men to emerge, if they don’t I expect a trade could occur at the deadline.
- Odds and sods. Laurent Brossoit, Nick Ellis, Joey Laleggia, Dillon Simpson, you never know who will get dealt at a trade deadline. The Oilers have so many LHD (still) that’s probably a good guess.
Laurent Brossoit qualifies as a rookie (I believe, the NHL may have changed the rules when I wasn’t looking) and he’s the only Calder eligible player who should be with the big club all year. Kailer Yamamoto might get nine games, but I’m not projecting it and it’s unlikely at this point (things change). Dillon Simpson? Keegan Lowe? Joe Gambardella? It’s an interesting question: Which current Oilers rookie roster player has the best chance of having an impact in the NHL this season?
Dennis Wideman still out there? I think it’s possible we see an addition on defense but Peter Chiarelli and Todd McLellan may want to wade into the exhibition schedule to see how things rhyme. Also, call me stubborn, but the Vegas Golden Knights have a bunch of defensemen and I can see Griffin Reinhart or Jason Garrison here by opening night.
LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE
A fun and packed show today, we’re drunk with guests! 10 this morning, TSN1260. Scheduled to appear:
- Darcy McLeod, Because Oilers. Who wins the JP/Cagg/Slepy battle, 5×5 by Lucic, rookies.
- Ryan Pike, Flames Nation. The Flames want an arena and are negotiating in the public forum.
- Andy McNamara, TSN. Alouettes make big changes, NFL Week Two just around the corner.
- Steve Kournianos, The Draft Analyst. Bob McKenzie’s 2018 pre-season list is out today, we’ll get an early line on the draft.
10-1260 text, @Lowetide on twitter.