A summer ago, there were one dozen items on Craig MacTavish’s ‘to-do’ list, and this season there are only eight. Progress? Well, the additions of Gordon, Perron, Ference, Scrivens and Fasth were helpful, and the recall of Marincin and Klefbom were additionally beneficial. How much work is left? It remains Everest.
MACT’S SUMMER 2014 LIST
- A veteran top pairing defenseman. A real man, big time EV minutes and a history of successful sorties.
- A 2line C with experience and the ability to play a two-way game. This is the other vital piece.
- A legit two-way winger who can score 12-15 goals. The Pisani role. Mentor, calms the waters.
- Find a way to get value, or make use of, Sam Gagner. This does not include time at center.
- Improve the bottom 6F’s.
- Retain as much of the young cluster as possible, understanding that the player who represents #1 on this list might cost a young D who will one day fill that role.
- Get Petry signed long term.
- Sign Schultz but DO NOT break the bank.
That’s a more manageable list, I think it might be wise to note here the possibility of Edmonton running with the department of youth on defense. At some point, Lowe might say “hell, Coffey, Risto and I could barely shave when we hit the ice back in ’79” and then we’re rolling with Marincin, Klefbom and Nurse. It could happen, just that way. Center too, come to think of it. Leon Draisaitl has a ‘Gagner ’07’ training camp and now the Oilers won the summer by not making any foolish moves for veterans!
It would be a colossal mistake.
I’d like to see Braydon Coburn, Mikhail Grabovski and Nikolai Kulemin added, and Colin Wilson (or similar) to come over in the Gagner deal.
50-MAN LIST (June 4)
- G Ben Scrivens
- G Viktor Fasth
- G Richard Bachman (rfa)
- G Tyler Bunz
- G Laurent Brossoit
- G Frans Tuohimaa
- D Jeff Petry (rfa)
- D Justin Schultz (rfa)
- D Martin Marincin
- D Andrew Ference
- D Oscar Klefbom
- D Brandon Davidson
- D Martin Gernat
- D David Musil
- D Brad Hunt
- D Jordan Oesterle (added)
- D Dillon Simpson (added)
- D Darnell Nurse (sliderule)
- C Ryan Nugent-Hopkins
- C Sam Gagner
- C Boyd Gordon
- C Mark Arcobello
- C Anton Lander
- C Will Acton
- C Travis Ewanyk
- C Jujhar Khairax
- C Bogdan Yakimov (added)
- L Taylor Hall
- L Nail Yakupov
- L Matt Hendricks
- L Luke Gazdic (rfa)
- L Jesse Joensuu
- L Ryan Hamilton
- L Curtis Hamilton (rfa)
- L Kale Kessy
- L Mitchell Moroz
- R Jordan Eberle
- R David Perron
- R Tyler Pitlick (rfa)
- R Andrew Miller (rfa)
Gone since our last look: D Phil Larsen, L Roman Horak. Players added since early March are noted above, I expect we’ll see some more small movements (Steve Pinizzotto signed, Curtis Hamilton possibly not offered a contract) as the spring rolls into summer. Let’s add my summer to this group:
OILERS PROJECTED 2014-15 ROSTER
- Center: Nugent-Hopkins, Mikhail Grabovski, Boyd Gordon, Mark Arcobello, Anton Lander
- Left Wing: Taylor Hall, Nail Yakupov, Nikolai Kulemin, Jesse Joensuu, Luke Gazdic
- Right Wing: Jordan Eberle, David Perron, Colin Wilson, Matt Hendricks
- Left Defense: Braydon Coburn, Martin Marincin, Andrew Ference
- Right Defense: Jeff Petry, Justin Schultz, Oscar Klefbom
- Goal: Ben Scrivens, Viktor Fasth
The top 9 forwards have a veteran presence and some structure, and there’s just a hint of depth and balance. You could lose someone for a week and have an alternative. Lots of help for Yakupov, and even the fourth line might be able to do more than ring the puck around all the time. Defense? Veteran in Coburn, top four has only one weak link and if Klefbom continues to develop, maybe it wouldn’t be for the entire season.
OKLAHOMA CITY PROJECTED 2014-15 ROSTER
- Center: Bogdan Yakimov, Jujhar Khaira, Will Acton, Travis Ewanyk
- Left Wing: Ryan Hamilton, Curtis Hamilton, Kale Kessy, Mitchell Moroz
- Right Wing: Matt Ford (signed yesterday AHL deal), Andrew Miller, Tyler Pitlick
- Left Defense: Brandon Davidson, Martin Gernat, Jordan Oesterle
- Right Defense: David Musil, Brad Hunt, Dillon Simpson
- Goal: Richard Bachman, Laurent Brossoit
The more I think about it, the more it makes sense the Oilers will draft Draisaitl and then pump the ‘twin towers’ of the Russian and the German as option for 2line center. Maybe a soft minutes line with Yakupov and Perron? I can see it. I didn’t include Darnell Nurse among the blue, but you can bet he will be a factor as well. Adding “the Coburn” and “the Grabovski” and “the Pisani” will take a lot out of this club (I used the No. 3 overall as centerpiece for the Coburn deal), and Craig MacTavish will have to decide how many veterans he’ll need for the long winter. I suspect the answer is four.
LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE
A busy morning at TSN 1260. We begin at 10am asking agent Tom Lynn about the USHL, what agents and prospects are doing leading up to the draft, and how NHL teams and agents discuss possible movement without tampering. I’ll also speak to Ryan Marsh, Asst coach of champion U of A Golden Bears about their season and the Edmonton amateur scene as it goes quiet for about 10 seconds. Bruce McCurdy will join me in hour two, I’ll ask him about the Oilers in summer, what needs to be added and we’ll chat about the draft. Finally, Jeff Krushell pops in to talk baseball, NHL combine and the football news.
Same bat time, same bat channel. Hope you can join me.