Once again, the Edmonton Oilers have talked themselves into their opening night roster in August. Young fans of the team have never seen training camp battles, because the Oilers don’t have them. “Well, Laddy will be wobbly to start but should kick in by Christmas, let’s see how this goes” has been repeated every September since the Pronger trade to Anaheim. This year, it’s “Leon’s been working all summer and we think he might be able to handle the job, let’s see how this goes” but it’s really the same thing over and over again. Craig MacTavish once said he was coming back to the organization in order to be the guy who says “are you sure you want to do that?” and this morning we wonder if he might need one of those men.
That said, he’s done some very good things this summer, and the drafting/developing appears to be producing some nice things.
THE CERTAIN OILERS (20)
- Goalies (2) Ben Scrivens and Viktor Fasth
- Defensemen (6) Jeff Petry and Mark Fayne, Martin Marincin and Justin Schultz, Andrew Ference and Nikita Nikitin
- Centermen (5) Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Leon Draisaitl, Mark Arcobello, Boyd Gordon, Anton Lander
- Left Wing (4) Taylor Hall, David Perron, Benoit Pouliot, Matt Hendricks
- Right Wing (3) Jordan Eberle, Nail Yakupov, Teddy Purcell
I’m happy with most of the roster, we’ve talked the Draisaitl item to death and I’m hopeful we can agree there’s no need to put him in the ‘uncertain’ pile. I understand we’re talking short term here until Leon is ready, and when he is the RNH-LD combo will be formidable. However, Edmonton has a head coach who needs wins and will be on the left coast early and often. Balance is important, this team hasn’t had balance coming out of training camp in exactly one forever.
THE UNCERTAIN OILERS (8)
- Goalies (0) None
- Defensemen (3): Keith Aulie, Oscar Klefbom, Darnell Nurse
- Center (1): Will Acton
- Left Wing (1): Jesse Joensuu
- Right Wing (3): Tyler Pitlick, Iiro Pakarinen, Steve Pinizzotto
The Oilers could invite north of 60 players to training camp, but there are about 30 (I could have included Richard Bachman and Brad Hunt, plus Luke Gazdic will eventually be on the roster) with a legit chance to play in 2014-15.
CULT OF HOCKEY’S TOP 20/COMPARED TO LOWETIDE
|CULT OF HOCKEY||LOWETIDE|
|1||Leon Draisaitl (it’s a match!)||1||Leon Draisaitl (it’s a match!)|
|2||Darnell Nurse (it’s a match!)||2||Darnell Nurse (it’s a match!)|
|3||Oscar Klefbom (I have him No. 4)||3||Martin Marincin (CofH graduated him)|
|4||Bogdan Yakimov (I have him No. 6)||4||Oscar Klefbom (CofH has him No. 3)|
|5||Jujhar Khaira (I have him No. 10)||5||Greg Chase (CofH has him No. 10)|
|6||David Musil (I have him No. 16)||6||Bogdan Yakimov (CofH has him No. 4)|
|7||Martin Gernat (I have him No. 10)||7||Dillon Simpson (CofH has him No. 9)|
|8||Tyler Pitlick (I have him No. 14)||8||Mark Arcobello (CofH graduated him)|
|9||Dillon Simpson (I have him No. 7)||9||Marco Roy (CofH has him No. 13)|
|10||Greg Chase (I have him No. 5)||10||Jujhar Khaira (CofH has him No. 5)|
|11||Mitchell Moroz (I have him No. 15)||11||Martin Gernat (CofH has him No. 7)|
|12||Brandon Davidson (unranked)||12||Jackson Houck (CofH has him No. 18)|
|13||Marco Roy (I have him No. 9)||13||William Lagesson (CofH has him No. 14)|
|14||William Lagesson (I have him No. 13)||14||Tyler Pitlick (CofH has him No. 8)|
|15||Anton Slepyshev (I have him No. 18)||15||Mitchell Moroz (CofH has him No. 11)|
|16||Ben Betker (unranked)||16||David Musil (CofH has him No. 6)|
|17||Andrew Miller (unranked)||17||Zach Nagelvoort (unranked)|
|18||Jackson Houck (I have him No. 12)||18||Anton Slepyshev (CofH has him No. 15)|
|19||Laurent Brossoit (I have him No. 20)||19||Tyler Vesel (unranked)|
|20||Jordan Oesterle (unranked)||20||Laurent Brossoit (CofH has him No. 19)|
- We looked at the lists last summer, that information is here.
- Two players on my list (Marincin, Arcobello) no longer qualify (players who are not eligible for the Calder Trophy don’t qualify for the CofH list). It kind of tweaks the list, for instance we like Bogdan Yakimov about the same (I have Chase ahead of him) but Marincin’s inclusion on my list makes the ranking gap look wider. The same holds true for Khaira, technically 5 spots lower on my list but I’ve included Marincin and Arcobello (who have graduated from CofH).
- The Cult men are consistent in their preference of AHL players matriculating toward the NHL. Last year, it was Arco, Pitlick and Davidson. This year, it’s Musil, Pitlick, Davidson—AHL players, through the storm or in the middle of the ocean, but on their way.
- My list prefers Dillon Simpson, Greg Chase, Marco Roy, Jackson Houck—skill forwards mostly, and players who have not turned pro and started that long climb to the NHL. My list appears to put more emphasis on skill—David Musil, Tyler Pitlick and Jujhar Khaira rank lower on my list because they do not project as average offensive players should they arrive in the NHL—but is more susceptible to market corrections (as we’ll see in my December list).
- There’s no real surprise here, we both did Top 30′s and the unranked players here show up in 21-30 from both sources.
- I like both lists. The CofH list is strong because it doesn’t (as HN sometimes does with their list) throw some strange name into the top 5, or punish an obvious talent because he lacks prospect fame.
LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE
At 10, on TSN 1260. We begin the day with Dennis King, then Lt. Eric and I make our NFL picks (I’m picking the Eagles this week). At 11, Szolt Munoz from Copper and Blue will talk about his new article that looks back at previous ‘top 25 under 25′ rankings before the C&B gets underway with their own look at the Oilers prospects. At 11:25, I’ll speak with Brian Jolly, Chairman of the Tour of Alberta.
See you on the radio!