My all-time favorite ballplayer is Tim Raines, and that’s never going to change. I can’t tell you why, but maybe I can show you. Batting a buck-50 against Orosco when he hit it, what a beautiful ballplayer. Raines was perfect save for an average throwing arm, but he made up for it by always hitting the cutoff man. I bet he didn’t bleed 20 runs defensively as an Expo.
When he arrived, the Expos knew what they had, and Raines’ speed was so great the organization decided to move him from left field to second base. It was insane, but Montreal had a need and Raines was an all-world athlete. His agent ended the experiment in 1982, as I recall. He phoned the young man and said ‘you’re not playing second base anymore’ and that’s all she wrote. Sometimes professional organizations lose their heads, and for some reason it is often over gifted youngsters. You’d think they would know better.
Great playoff special! Try The Athletic on for size free and see if they enjoy the in-depth, ad-free coverage on the site. Offer is here. There’s a 7-day free trial and the cost for an annual subscription is less than one (or two) coffee per month, depending on where you buy your hot liquid. We have a mountain of good reading to come in the next 30 days at The Athletic Edmonton, including draft coverage, prospect updates and reaction to the deals of summer. Join us, for the Oilers coverage, stay for all of the other brilliant writing on the site.
- New Lowetide: Buying low on Josh Leivo.
- New Jonathan Willis: NHL buyout rankings. (includes Sekera)
- Tyler Dellow: Oilers power play doesn’t necessarily require a new defenceman
- Corey Pronman: How draft boards work
- Corey Pronman: 2018 NHL draft board.
- Lowetide: Draft 2018: The Oilers and Russia: A draft tragedy.
- Lowetide: Draft 2018: The Oilers and the Republic of Finland
- Lowetide: Draft 2018: The Oilers and Sweden.
- Lowetide: Draft 2018: The Oilers and the QMJHL.
- Lowetide: Draft 2018: Oilers and the WHL.
- Lowetide: Draft 2018: Oilers draft history and the OHL
- Lowetide: Draft 2018: The Oilers and the NCAA.
- Lowetide: Draft 2018: The Oilers at the draft: Overagers.
- Lowetide: Draft 2018: Oilers scouting directors: A history.
JESSE PULJUJARVI COMPARABLES
The list of comparables for JP runs from the good (Dustin Brown, Mike Fisher, Tomas Tatar, David Clarkson) to the rest. It is not a fabulous list but it’s also true we’re talking about a gifted teenager who has been used in all kinds of roles. Puljujarvi performs well with Connor McDavid but everyone does.
- 2017-18 with McDavid: 54.6 CF 5×5; 1.87 5×5/60 scoring
- 2017-18 w/o McDavid: 49.0 CF 5×5; 0.97 5×5/60 scoring
Leon Draisaitl is 2.22/60 with McDavid, Drake Caggiula is 2.05. Puljujarvi could evolve into 97’s right-winger but it isn’t the obvious 2018 training camp move. Puljujarvi with Draisaitl is a different matter.
- 2017-18 with Draisaitl: 47.4 CF 5×5; 2.37 5×5/60 scoring
- 2017-18 w/o Draisaitl: 51.5 CF 5×5; 1.09 5×5/60 scoring
The possession number is low but JP scored well with Leon last season. Puljujarvi didn’t score a bunch with Ryan Strome (1.26) as his center but did do well in possession (50.32). I expect he’ll spend the early portion of this coming season on the No. 3 line. I’d run him with McDavid. Seriously. He would be the third wheel offensively, but given time, suspect Puljujarvi settles in and becomes the line’s digger and a more natural NHL shooter. He’s in a race with Yamamoto, though. I think he has this coming season to find chem with 97.
Ryan Martindale photo by Rob Ferguson
DRAFT +1 FORWARDS 5X5 (CHL)
- Leon Draisaitl 1.00
- Kailer Yamamoto 0.93
- Ryan Martindale 0.86
- Tyler Benson 0.82
- Curtis Hamilton 0.79
- Greg Chase 0.77
- Kirill Maksimov 0.76
- Tobias Rieder 0.73
- Tyler Pitlick 0.71
- Marco Roy 0.62
- Jackson Houck 0.61
- Ostap Safin 0.56
- Daniil Zharkov 0.56
- Drew Czerwonka 0.41
- Mitch Moroz 0.39
- Kyle Platzer 0.35
- Travis Ewanyk 0.18
The 5×5 numbers are always more informative. The prospects beyond Rieder who are in the pipeline (Yamamoto, Benson, Maksimov) have a chance, Benson is in good position because of his range. Of course, Curtis Hamilton was the identical player seven years ago. Yamamoto is the only current prospect forward on this list I’d suggest as a sure thing and as always the player has to prove it. I’m bullish on Maksimov too, truth to tell.
I’ve spoken to a lot of people about the 2018 draft, ranging from public (Pronman, Boisvert, Wheeler, Kournianos) to private (various scouting sources). The general feeling I get is this is a tepid year for the CHL, with the dub being well off the normal pace. After about No. 12, the 31 lists may vary greatly, which means you could hear a scouting director or general manager say “we drafted three players we had in our top 20” something that happened in 2002. Edmonton whiffed on their first round pick but grabbed Jarrett Stoll and Matt Greene in the second round. The pick at No. 10 is going to be important but No. 40 might give the Oilers a chance to gain ground on the competition.
- W Samuel Fagemo, Frolunda (SuperElite). Good boots and an excellent shot. He didn’t deliver as much offense as had been hoped but remains a quality prospect.
- LC Nathan Dunkley, London Knights (OHL). Impressive young player has enough offense to be in the conversation late first round, but could also slide to No. 40.
- G Oliver Rodrigue, Drummondville (QMJHL). Best NA goalie by consensus, there is an Oilers connection to this player. Will they pull a ‘Musil’?
- R Jesse Ylonen, Espoo United (Mestis). Could go higher, but if he’s still around this would be a fine choice for the Oilers in the second round.
I’ll have my final list on Friday morning, plus a mock. I think we’ve come to grips with the fact that falling to No. 10, while inconvenient, doesn’t mean the Oilers can’t get a fine player in the first round. They must choose wisely, and I wonder if they’ll go safe (Bouchard) or high risk (Merkley)? Interesting month ahead.
LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE
- Bruce McCurdy, Cult of Hockey. Bruce will walk us through the next 30 days: Draft, trades and getting ready for free agency. What should we expect?
- John Horn, freelance commentator, aroundthehornmedia.com. The French Open is delivering quality play, some surprises and a good early result for Denis Shapovalov.
- Steve Kournianos, The Draft Analyst. His final list is out, plus we’ll talk about late risers and fallers.
10-1260 text, @Lowetide on twitter.