FOUR STRONG WINDS THAT BLOW LONELY

In the days before training camp, the final 23-man roster seemed to write itself. As is the case every year, surprising performances good and bad have us here. Using this list as the opener, the following players went either north or south during training camp.

UP ARROWS

  • Kailer Yamamoto. I mentioned in the TC prospect primer that he might get a 9-game look but the fact he went out and earned it is breaking news. How high can he fly?
  • Jujhar Khaira. He had a good chance but there was plenty of competition. Khaira made the team in a starting spot and that was a great development.
  • Yohann Auvitu. I am a fan of this player but did not think he separated himself from the group. With the news of Mark Fayne being waived today, Auvuti appears to be No. 7D.
  • Iiro Pakarinen. He had a tough injury one year ago and there was increased competition. Pakarinen earned the job with fine play.
  • Chris Kelly. His job is not assured but he’s still here and it looks like he may have earned a job or damned close. That’s a win for the veteran.

DOWN ARROWS

  • Jesse Puljujarvi. It’s a difficult turn for the big Finn, but a strong showing in Bakersfield beginning this weekend will get him back here soon. He was beaten out for a job but has a range of skill that will eventually land him in Edmonton. I’m not certain he’ll be in the part of the depth chart we once thought but might turn into a strong outscorer and that has exceptional value.
  • Anton Slepyshev. Not his fault, injury cost him all of training camp. Today’s transactions may keep him on the roster, and allow someone like Iiro Pakarinen to draw in until the big Russian winger is ready.

OILERS CURRENT ROSTER (healthy)

  1. G Cam Talbot, 30. Had an average camp, with a couple of fine starts thrown in.
  2. G Laurent Brossoit, 24. He looked good in final tune up.
  3. LD Oscar Klefbom, 24. Seems to lack usual extra gear, not 100 percent.
  4. RD Adam Larsson, 24. Thunderous hitter, very good in coverage.
  5. LD  Kris Russell, 30. I think he looks better LH side.
  6. RD Matt Benning, 23. The bet is 25 points for young blue.
  7. LD Darnell Nurse, 22. A big season ahead for big defender.
  8. RD Eric Gryba, 29. He won the 6D job by defeault.
  9. LD Yohann Auvitu, 27I think he won 7D but his position is uneasy.
  10. C Connor McDavid, 20. projected 110 points.
  11. C-R Leon Draisaitl, 21. The German Beliveau.
  12. C Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, 24. Nuge needs to post 5×5 offense this year.
  13. RC Mark Letestu, 32. Letestu’s 5×5 time limited due to special teams work.
  14. LC Chris Kelly, 36. He is still here. It’s going to be close.
  15. L Patrick Maroon, 29. He wants to be back, feeling is mutual.
  16. L Milan Lucic, 29. He appears focused on the 5×5, and we wait.
  17. L Jussi Jokinen, 34. Can play anywhere, looks like it might be third line.
  18. L Jujhar Khaira, 23. Won 4L job on merit.
  19. L Drake Caggiula, 23. He is edging closer to the McDavid job in my opinion.
  20. R Kailer Yamamoto, 18. Tremendous run all the way to opening night.
  21. C-R Ryan Strome, 24. Played his best game of preseason in Vancouver last night.
  22. R Zack Kassian, 26His foot speed is the best of his career, brand new player.
  23. R Iiro Pakarinen, 25. He has a big shot, hammers people and the coach loves him.

INJURED

  1. LD Andrej Sekera, 31. He could be out until November of January. Major story. 
  2. LD Ryan Stanton, 27. Headed to IR. They like him, injury was bad damned luck.
  3. R Anton Slepyshev, 23. May be on opening night roster, could see Bakersfield.
  4. L Tyler Benson, 19. Headed for IR. Bob has him in Vancouver sometime in October.
  5. R Brian Ferlin, 25. Headed for IR. Didn’t hear much about him.

WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?

For Mark Fayne, his skill set isn’t a match for Todd McLellan’s style and Peter Chiarelli prefers bruiser types. That’s not the same as saying he can’t play and perhaps we’ll see a trade tomorrow after Fayne clears. Vegas Golden Knights should be looking at him, although they can lose without him so maybe there isn’t a fit.

Jesse Puljujarvi is a different deal. I find his checking ability and coverage to be impressive but remain uncertain of him offensively. He’s going to score, but how much? His release is not quick and pretty much all of the goals I’ve seen him score in pro are off broken plays close to the net and breakaways where speed is as much a factor as his shot. We’ve discussed this before, but it makes me wonder if he is perhaps less dynamic offensively than thought on draft day. I am not suggesting he will be unsuccessful as a player, but rather something other than a sniper.  A power forward who can reach Nathan Horton levels is a fantastic value. I do like the idea of starting in the AHL and finishing with the Oilers a much better path than one year ago.

Chris Kelly is still here and that’s interesting.

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51 Responses to "FOUR STRONG WINDS THAT BLOW LONELY"

  1. OriginalPouzar says:

    Kelly is still here but has anyone but the coach or GM seen him do anything to deserve it (over others such as Malone) and to deserve the up arrow?

    Are minutes on the PK equal to effective minutes on the PK?
    factor in poor even strength abilities and I wonder why he is still here.

    Part of me says, if they were going to sign him, it would be done. Part of me says, if they were going to release him, it would be done.

    Slep would have to go to Bakersfield for conditioning to open up a roster sport – but that’s like a 2 week opening – can’t sign a player for that.

    Let him loose Peter.

  2. OriginalPouzar says:

    Why would anyone change their draft day predictions for Puljijarvi based on his progress?

    Pastrnak and Rantanen – both started their 2nd seasons in North America in the AHL. Draisaitl started his draft plus 2 season in the AHL.

    I’m a bit disappointed but still excited for the player’s potential.

  3. Lowetide says:

    OP: Chiarelli loves his veterans. I agree Kelly was outplayed and don’t believe he should be signed but the fact he’s still here is a tell.

  4. Lowetide says:

    OriginalPouzar:
    Why would anyone change their draft day predictions for Puljijarvi based on his progress?

    Who did that?

  5. OriginalPouzar says:

    One of the most important factors in our season is the 2nd and 3rd pairings on the backend – more specifically, the organization needs Benning to be able to step up and perform on the 2nd pairing.

    My eyes are still wide open here to evaluate him starting Wednesday, however, his exhibition season was not overly encouraging. It’s massive that the 2nd pairing have good arrows until Reggie is back. Right now, Benning is struggling with the extra minutes and responsibility. Not to mention, his promotion to the 2nd pairing has weakened the third pairing – Gryba is struggling already and Nurse hasn’t seemed to have figured out how to make better decisions and be in the right place – not to mention he’s lost his mobile puck moving parter.

    Thankfully Russ looks much better on the left side but we need the other 3 to be better – each of them.

    I fear Benning and Gryba are over their heads and not being put in positions to succeed.

  6. OriginalPouzar says:

    Lowetide: Who did that?

    “I’m not certain he’ll be part of the depth chart we once thought”

  7. Lowetide says:

    OriginalPouzar: “I’m not certain he’ll be part of the depth chart we once thought”

    Ah, you mentioned draft day projections and that made me wonder. Yeah, JP is an impressive player (as I stated above) but some of the draft day verbal hasn’t really made itself known yet. Early days, I like to wait five years, but I do think it’s reasonable to talk about his shot. Both Corey Pronman and Red Line (two of the best) mentioned it, but in the AHL and in the NHL we haven’t seen it.

    He’s still very young, but I do think we might be looking at a PF who can score goals as opposed to a sniper. Still fantastic talent, but maybe as much playmaker as shooter, kind of like Nathan Horton. I consider “like Nathan Horton” a high compliment but wouldn’t call him a sniper.

  8. The Concept JDî says:

    Kelly had to be signed or released by 5 pm today, or so I’ve read.

    Crickets…

  9. Lowetide says:

    The Concept JDî:
    Kelly had to be signed or released by 5 pm today, or so I’ve read.

    Crickets…

    Bob says Tuesday

    Bob Stauffer‏Verified account @Bob_Stauffer 6h6 hours ago
    More
    Chris Kelly on a PTO has to be signed or released by 5 PM Tuesday.
    Puljujarvi sent down and Fayne on waivers Oilers at 24 healthy bodies

  10. The Concept JDî says:

    Lowetide: Bob says Tuesday

    That makes much more sense.

  11. sliderule says:

    JP against Canucks looked tight.
    Coaches have mentioned that he has to avoid turnovers .One time he was able to walk out from own zone unchecked and it was like he didn’t know what do do from that point so he froze.Later in game he put it off the wall and out like coaches want but he is not comfortable
    On the other hand Yam turned it over a couple of times and still played like he was full of confidence.
    Here is hoping Fleming handles JP better than he did last year and that he can become more polished and confident.

  12. Lowetide says:

    sliderule:
    JP against Canucks looked tight.
    Coaches have mentioned that he has to avoid turnovers .One time he was able to walk out from own zone unchecked and it was like he didn’t know what do do from that point so he froze.Later in game he put it off the wall and out like coaches want but he is not comfortable
    On the other hand Yam turned it over a couple of times and still played like he was full of confidence.
    Here is hoping Fleming handles JP better than he did last year and that he can becomemore polished and confident.

    That’s a worry for sure, and they don’t have an Anton Lander down there this season.

  13. Pescador says:

    The Concept JDî: That makes much more sense.

    I liked your version better

  14. OriginalPouzar says:

    The Concept JDî:
    Kelly had to be signed or released by 5 pm today, or so I’ve read.

    Crickets…

    5pm Tuesday – which is the same time rosters need to be set – Eastern time, by the way.

  15. OriginalPouzar says:

    Lowetide: Bob says Tuesday

    Bob Stauffer‏Verified account @Bob_Stauffer6h6 hours ago
    More
    Chris Kelly on a PTO has to be signed or released by 5 PM Tuesday.
    Puljujarvi sent down and Fayne on waivers Oilers at 24 healthy bodies

    That 24 healthy bodies includes Kelly and I don’t really count him.

    With nothing other than releasing Kelly from his PTO, the roster can be set.

    If Slepy is going to California for some conditioning and to get up to game speed then there is a roster spot open but we are talking like a week or two opening, not something that allows us to sign a player (although Yamamoto’s re-assignment can provide that spot).

  16. neojanus says:

    Hope you all had a great summer, ladies and gentlemen.

    I worry that the Oil will take a step backwards this year for two large reasons (one of which has begun to twinkle like the eye of a salty demon from my perspective)

    1) This group with injury exposes how little depth on any position the team actually has; I cry at the thought of any of the defense going down. I’d say the D looks a bit boondoggled at times already. I think it was a mistake not to bring in a higher tier veteran this summer (Russell isn’t it for me). The PK scares me right off the bat.

    2) God help us if Talbot even drops off a little (Beware that salty demon). He hasn’t looked bad… but the best goal performance of the preseason wasn’t his. I have no reason to particularly think he will have a bad year, but I have a terrible feeling that he may underwhelm us compared to last year.

    This team just doesn’t seem quite as cohesive to me as I would have liked. I fear that our taste of playoffs and McDavid’s awards have affected our judgment of the picture of the whole roster.

    I hope I’m wrong.

  17. The Concept JDî says:

    Pescador: I liked your version better

    Me too.

  18. The Concept JDî says:

    neojanus: I hope I’m wrong.

    Let’s see if Chachi agrees with you or not.

  19. Thinker says:

    I think I would rather have Lander than Strome…

  20. The Concept JDî says:

    Thinker,

    Let’s see if Chachi agrees with you or not.

  21. Gerta Rauss says:

    Thinker:
    I think I would rather have Lander than Strome…

    I think I would rather have PA Parenteau than Chris Kelly

  22. Wonder Llama says:

    Lowetide,

    I only count 23 (as per LT’s list). Is Stauffer counting Slepyshev as healthy?

  23. Chachi says:

    neojanus,

    The Concept JDî: Let’s see if Chachi agrees with you or not.

    I agree with Neojanus so hard. The Oilers are definitely doomed.

  24. OriginalPouzar says:

    Lowetide: Ah, you mentioned draft day projections and that made me wonder. Yeah, JP is an impressive player (as I stated above) but some of the draft day verbal hasn’t really made itself known yet. Early days, I like to wait five years, but I do think it’s reasonable to talk about his shot. Both Corey Pronman and Red Line (two of the best) mentioned it, but in the AHL and in the NHL we haven’t seen it.

    He’s still very young, but I do think we might be looking at a PF who can score goals as opposed to a sniper. Still fantastic talent, but maybe as much playmaker as shooter, kind of like Nathan Horton. I consider “like Nathan Horton” a high compliment but wouldn’t call him a sniper.

    A right-handed shot – you mean line this?

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EWo4xb6v1BE&feature=youtu.be

  25. Chachi says:

    Thinker,

    The Concept JDî:
    Thinker,

    Let’s see if Chachi agrees with you or not.

    I totally agree with Thinker. Lander can’t skate at the NHL level and Strome is an actual NHL player, but yeah, Lander over Strome all day.

  26. OriginalPouzar says:

    Thinker:
    I think I would rather have Lander than Strome…

    You mean the 26 year old that has less career points than the 24 year old got in his first full season?

    That is a lot of emphasis on faceoffs.

  27. OriginalPouzar says:

    Wonder Llama:
    Lowetide,

    I only count 23 (as per LT’s list). Is Stauffer counting Slepyshev as healthy?

    Yes – his ankle didn’t keep him out last night, he was ill.

  28. Pescador says:

    Thinker:
    I think I would rather have Lander in the AHL than Strome…

    Fixed

  29. Pescador says:

    Chachi:
    Thinker,

    I totally agree with Thinker. Lander can’t skate at the NHL level and Strome is an actual NHL player, but yeah, Lander over Strome all day.

    Or piss a drop, there’s that too

  30. The Concept JDî says:

    OriginalPouzar: he was ill.

    Hopefully he hasn’t been seen with Boris Mironov lately.

  31. Chachi says:

    Pescador: Or piss a drop, there’s that too

    I attribute that 99% to coaching and 101% to Lander not being an NHL caliber skater, passer or shooter.

  32. Centre of attention says:

    Of course Jagr ends up in Calgary.

    of course.

    Pierre LeBrun‏Verified account
    @PierreVLeBrun

    Hearing that the Calgary Flames and Jaromir Jagr’s camp are talking tonight. No certainty it happens but it’s very possible.

  33. Georges says:

    Plan A: Benning effectively replaces Sekera. Top 4 minutes. Second unit PP. Bigger role on PK.

    What’s Plan B? If the learning curve is too steep?

    How about:

    Russell-Larsson (21-23 minutes each, primary PK unit)

    Klefbom-Benning (19-20 minutes each, PP1 and PP2, smaller role on PK)

    Nurse-Gryba (15-18 minutes each, secondary PK unit)

    Klefbom-Benning would play the Cole-Schultz role. They’d get the OZone starts.

    Russell-Larsson would play the Hainsey-Dumoulin role. DZone starts. Match up against the other team’s top forwards.

    This gives Benning some time to develop and focus on the new PP role. And it doesn’t force Klefbom into a #1D role that he might not be ready for.

    If you’re going to ask more from the defensemen in Sekera’s absence, I think you start with Larsson and Russell.

  34. Thinker says:

    Was taking into account that eberle would be here. Strome is hot trash.

  35. oscarmike says:

    No way McDavid gets 110 points without Leon

  36. The Concept JDî says:

    oscarmike: No way

    Chach?

  37. N64 says:

    Centre of attention: Of course Jagr ends up in Calgary.
    of course

    Oil should determine who they don’t want and have Stauffer plug them daily

  38. Chachi says:

    Thinker:
    Was taking into account that eberle would be here. Strome is hot trash.

    Agreed. Strome is worse than the devil himself. His presence on the Oilers offends us all.

  39. Chachi says:

    oscarmike,

    The Concept JDî: Chach?

    Yeah. No way McDavid gets 110 points even with Leon. The Oilers are certainly and spectacularly doomed.

  40. The Concept JDî says:

    N64: have Stauffer plug them daily

    I’ll assume that we’re not going with the urban dictionary definition of that phrase.

  41. Crazy Pedestrian says:

    Centre of attention:
    Of course Jagr ends up in Calgary.

    of course.

    Pierre LeBrun‏Verified account
    @PierreVLeBrun

    Hearing that the Calgary Flames and Jaromir Jagr’s camp are talking tonight. No certainty it happens but it’s very possible.

    Ffs… please… ANY team but them jagr… I would even rather him sign with the nucks…

    Come on chia, pull your head out of your ass, release Kelly, and sign Jagr before Calgary! If The fLames sign him, I can almost guarantee that Calgary will beat us in the head-to-head this year. Jagr has ALWAYS put up good numbers against us…

  42. OmJo says:

    Centre of attention:
    Of course Jagr ends up in Calgary.

    of course.

    Pierre LeBrun‏Verified account
    @PierreVLeBrun

    Hearing that the Calgary Flames and Jaromir Jagr’s camp are talking tonight. No certainty it happens but it’s very possible.

    So does this mean that no-name Leafs fan was right yesterday???

  43. slopitch says:

    Other then the fact I’d love an Oilers Jagr jersey, Im not overly worried about losing out on him. He’s 45. Lidstrom made it to 42, Selanne 44 and both their final seasons had decent drop-offs.

  44. Professor Q says:

    Centre of attention:
    Of course Jagr ends up in Calgary.

    of course.

    Pierre LeBrun‏Verified account
    @PierreVLeBrun

    Hearing that the Calgary Flames and Jaromir Jagr’s camp are talking tonight. No certainty it happens but it’s very possible.

    He could also sign with Toronto.

    Or Nashville.

    No certainty it happens but it’s very possible.

  45. BONE207 says:

    There are two things to consider should Jagr sign for the fLames.

    1. He won’t be able to stand up at centre due to their goofy arena.
    2. Jagr jersey sales may make enough $$$ that they can build a new arena.

    I don’t like it due to the above but I’ll defer to Chachi to verify.

  46. misfit says:

    I’m still holding out hope that Kelly was kept around in an effort to bait the Flames into signing him.

  47. deardylan says:

    Lowetide: If I remember correctly, you recently asked if we wanted 1x or 2x postings/day.

    Is seems to me that your love doing these posts and it is leading to more opportunities like The Athletic. Also the more you post the more the comments are coming in (see pre-season)

    I really like how you do the pre-game lineups and some people now posting during the live games. Tipping point has been reached. Some of the other blogs which got my attention have lost it because they seem pale to your passion and to the interesting comments you generate from your raving fans.

    If you love it, please continue it in the most fun and frequent way possible for you. The wordplay and stories seem to come easy for you.

    Let it flow brother!!

    PS. Check out the Hedgehog by Jim Collins in his book “Good to Great” I see you passing all those criteria so this becomes your fulltime best in world wellpaid passion!

  48. OriginalPouzar says:

    Could we see some interesting names on the waiver wire today?

  49. OriginalPouzar says:

    Jesus – my wife flew home from Vegas last night late.

  50. Yeti says:

    OriginalPouzar:
    Jesus – my wife flew home from Vegas last night late.

    Ugh. Just opened the news. Crap.

  51. geowal says:

    OriginalPouzar:
    Jesus – my wife flew home from Vegas last night late.

    Insanity. They shut the airport down for a bit too apparently.
    It’s a mad world out there.

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