We’re counting down—Casey Kasem style—to the opening night roster for the Edmonton Oilers. In the coming days, once the list is final, I’ll publish the past baker’s dozen opening nights and we’ll see how close we are to balance. For now, we’re damned close after Brad Malone was placed on waivers today.
OILERS CURRENT ROSTER (healthy)
- G Cam Talbot, 30. I have him playing 64 games this season.
- G Laurent Brossoit, 24. I estimated 16 starts and if he can win half of them that’s a good debut.
- LD Oscar Klefbom, 24. Great expectations, I have him posting 40+ points.
- RD Adam Larsson, 24. Larsson isn’t about offense but he can defend.
- LD Kris Russell, 30. I think he looks better LH side.
- RD Matt Benning, 23. The bet is 25 points for young defender.
- LD Darnell Nurse, 22. Greater expectations from the big man, he’s in a contract year.
- RD Eric Gryba, 29. He won the 6D job without a throw, in my opinion.
- LD Yohann Auvitu, 27. I think he won 7D but his position is uneasy.
- RD Mark Fayne, 30. He can defend but his foot speed, physicality issues.
- C Connor McDavid, 20. McDavid. Changed. Everything. I projected 110 points.
- C-R Leon Draisaitl, 21. I think he gets 80+ with 97, 60+ without him.
- L Patrick Maroon, 29. He can play a complementary role with 97, that has real value.
- L Milan Lucic, 29. He appears focused on the 5×5, and we wait.
- C Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, 24. Nuge can be an enormous contributor to Edmonton’s success.
- C-R Ryan Strome, 24. He will never get a better opportunity in his life.
- L Drake Caggiula, 23. He could land on any line at any time.
- R Zack Kassian, 26. His foot speed is the best of his career, brand new player.
- L Jussi Jokinen, 34. Only downside is this team needs two of him.
- RC Mark Letestu, 32. Letestu’s 4line should be better in possession this year.
- R Jesse Puljujarvi, 19. He is a wonderful prospect, comes with a ‘patience’ warning.
- L Jujhar Khaira, 23. Won 4L job on merit. Keep it going, young man.
- R Iiro Pakarinen, 25. He has a big shot, hammers people and the coach loves him.
- LC Chris Kelly, 36. He is still here. It’s going to be close.
- R Kailer Yamamoto, 18. I gave him a 10 percent chance to make the team.
If the five men below end up going on injured reserve, there will be a cull of two players. I’ll guess Mark Fayne and Chris Kelly go but this ended up much closer than originally expected. The biggest surprise? Young Kailer Yamamoto, who is an absolute gem. I didn’t do an RE for him, despite the fact there was a non-zero chance of making the team. I like astute predictions, but this young fellow put in the work and believed in himself. I am impressed.
OILERS CURRENT ROSTER (injured)
- LD Andrej Sekera, 31. He could be out until November of January. Major story.
- LD Ryan Stanton, 27. Headed to IR. They like him, injury was bad damned luck.
- R Anton Slepyshev, 23. His injury did in fact cost him training camp.
- L Tyler Benson, 19. Headed for IR. Bob has him in Vancouver sometime in October.
- R Brian Ferlin, 25. Headed for IR. Didn’t hear much about him.
Sekera’s injury is such a big deal, Slepyshev’s appears to be short term. Stanton went to a Blue Rodeo (‘bad timing, that’s all”) at the worst possible time. Ferlin is a rumor, Benson is an echo.
Defense and the penalty kill. If we see a trade in the next six days, it’ll be something in that area in my opinion. The PK is very inconsistent and the blue is going to give up more chances than Calgary and other Pacific teams. Let it bleed? I don’t think that’s a plan.