The Edmonton Oilers released their training camp roster yesterday (I missed by one name!) and now we begin the process of guessing the final roster. The biggest factor will be injury, with Andrej Sekera, Anton Slepyshev and (now) Jujhar Khaira all ailing. If we get a surprise name on the opening night roster, injury is likely the reason.
- I have Slepyshev listed here, he could be on IR by opening night. The rest of the roster looks very set, meaning there will be three or four jobs available, one starting (Slepyshev) role.
- We could see some trade activity (RHD) before opening night, Vegas and Detroit would seem to be good targets for the Oilers. Jason Garrison gets mentioned from time to time, Colin Miller also makes a lot of sense (I mention that just in case Alan Hull is reading). 🙂
- There’s an enormous amount of pressure on the right wing position and that’s going to impact the decision making. Peter Chiarelli brought in Ryan Strome, the three kids are available, but if the lines aren’t pumping by Halloween I think we see an airlift.
- Todd McLellan: “The right side is, in my opinion, the wild card position on our team right now. Therefore, we have pairs, left and center.” Source
- NHL teams often given themselves cover, room to breathe, when so many at-bats at one position appear to be available to young people. I’m impressed with the confidence displayed by the organization toward Ryan Strome, Jesse Puljujarvi, Anton Slepyshev and Drake Caggiula. A lot of management teams would have more cover, although Leon Draisaitl is a helluva trump card.
- McLellan mentioned pairs (Maroon-McDavid, Lucic-Draisaitl) and Jokinen-Nuge-Puljujarvi have a good chance to play together initially. Good idea, let the RW’s find their way.
- From this group, I’d guess Jujhar Khaira, Iiro Pakarinen and Yohann Auvitu make the club. If Slepyshev hits IR, perhaps Chris Kelly or Ty Rattie grab the final roster spot.
- Mark Fayne.
- Most of these 15 men will play at least some NHL hockey in 2017-18.
- There are two all or nothing at all players (Kelly and Yamamoto) on this part of the list, I’d give them an equal chance of making it from here.
- Yamamoto’s performance at the Penticton tournament shouldn’t impact his opportunity in main camp, I think we’ll know early if the club plans on giving him a push. If he plays his second game in the team’s third pre-season tilt, and gets an NHL center, suspect he’ll play a total of four or five games. If he gets an AHL C, then he might be in Spokane by next weekend.
- There’s no one on this list I can see making the team from the beginning of the year.
- Peter Chiarelli is building this team up the middle. There is going to be an excess of blue from now on, some of it will be used in trade. If we assume all of the new pro’s will take three years to develop, someone among Jones, Bear, Paigin and Mantha probably ends up being a useful NHL Oiler, someone else probably gets traded, and two someone else’s end up being journeymen tweeners. History suggests that’s about right, we can cheer for a better outcome. There’s certainly talent there.
THEY LOOK GOOD IN SUITS
You get a lot of news stories on Day One (yesterday) that are kind of predictable. Examples are Milan Lucic looking like a new torpedo, Jussi Jokinen helping Jesse Puljujarvi, Ryan Strome being asked to turn into a sniper, and a need for Jesse Puljujarvi to look more confident. They’re all feel good stories and hopefully every damned one is true, but yesterday was like those Monday morning sales meetings I used to attend. When you’re asked about your week, you lead with the good, and embellish when necessary. This isn’t a shot at the organization, rather an attempt to address what we heard a day ago. Craig MacTavish, who can pierce reality with just the right words, once said “they look good in suits” to describe a new set of recruits. I think that was yesterday.
It’s a crappy turn, no doubt. A young man like Connor McDavid would dream of playing for his country on the biggest available stage. I completely understand the NHL’s view, there’s no real benefit beyond making the players happy and the risk includes devastating injury to your franchise player. Still, we’ll probably lose a year of NHL hockey in the 20’s and this will be one reason.
- Lowetide: The numbers here (82gp, 29-48-77) shine like a diamond, but the price didn’t stop going up after the regular season. Draisaitl’s enormous playoff performance is a major reason that the annual cost landed at $8.5 million. We don’t know that Leon can push the river by himself, but we’re about to find out. Source
Sometimes a young blogger will ask me reasons why Lowetide has hung around this long. My answers are I’m stubborn, I’m boring, and I try not to belabor the point and try cases over and over again. One of the things blogs do is churn out pieces that litigate things that are already proven, probably in an effort to establish deeper ties with readership. On this blog, I assume that you know the Draisaitl contract was an overpay, by $250,000 to $1 million a year. If you listened to the Peter Chiarelli interview with Bob McKenzie you know the general manager admitted as much. He overpaid Draisaitl in exchange for roster certainty over the next eight seasons. That’s the risk. You are welcome to comment on it until the end of days but in my opinion it’s basically pissing in the wind. It’s acknowledged. Peter Chiarelli has a top heavy roster because he feels that’s the right way to go. We’ll see how this turns out in due time. I can promise you that the next time someone signs a deal that may be a comparable to LD, we’ll discuss it here. I can also promise you that event won’t be an excuse to put the contract on trial all over again. I respect you enough to assume you are gifted with a good memory and you also find repetition to be overdone on the Al Gore. Fresh copy. It’s the real thing.
MAJOR TAKEAWAYS FROM DAY ONE
- Andrej Sekera’s injury may keep him out until January, but he could be back in November.
- Drake Caggiula is a right winger until further notice.
- Matt Benning is going to get a push.
- Leon Draisaitl is a center until the Oilers are down a goal against Calgary after two periods.
- The Oilers aren’t going to roll many rookies.
- Anton Slepyshev and Jujhar Khaira are a little banged up.
LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE
It feels like fall this morning and we are locked and loaded with a rock solid lineup, 10 this morning TSN1260. Scheduled to appear:
- Steve Lansky, BigMouthSports. Are you ready? We’ll chat Saddledome, Northlands, Bob Cole and 17-18.
- Guy Flaming, Pipeline Show. Guy and Corey Graham will be broadcasting tomorrow night’s Oil Kings-Blades game, we’ll get a preview.
- Matthew Iwanyk, TSN1260. Point-Counter Point focuses on the Eskimos in the final weeks and roster battles for the Oilers.
- Paul Almeida, SSE. Our friend is back and bringing the thoughtful roster ideas, we’ll get his reaction to the summer moves.
10-1260 text, @Lowetide on twitter. Friday baby!