The Edmonton Oilers probably hurt themselves short term with yesterday’s demotion of Leon Draisaitl. He could absolutely help that 3line offensively but the Oilers want him to succeed and be a complete player. In the meantime, there are more than enough rookies on the club and staggering entry to the NHL makes sense.
Peter Chiarelli: “What we told him was – and I don’t know how much he heard, but we have to look at the big picture – ‘You had a good camp, you outplayed some people, no question there, play ramps up, things change, dynamics of the games change as games progress into the regular season. When we call you up, we want you to stay here for good. You have to work on the 200-foot game. Offensively you can play in the NHL right now, you have to work on the 200 foot game, the little stuff on the defensive side of the puck.’ Whether it’s at wing or centre – he’ll play predominantly centre down there – he now has another asset to his game because he can play both sides on the wing. We tried to send him down with a good message, he was upset but I think at the end of the day he’ll realize it was the right move.” Source
Well. That’s a tough lesson for young Leon, but when he’s 25 and playing in important games for this franchise, it may well make a difference. I would have kept him, gotta say. We can pretend that Lauri Korpikoski will provide the same level of creativity on the Lander line, or we can pretend that Rob Klinkhammer is a more important player, but we’d be lying.
Edmonton sent down a 19-year old player (imo) because he was the least responsible of the three young skill forwards (McDavid, Slepyshev) and because he is one of the players carrying significant bonus possibilities. I had him playing 41 games in the 2015-16 RE, still seems about right.
The Oilers want Leon to succeed as a complete player and they want that badly enough to rob the current team of a substantial element and turn the third line into something vanilla. I’m thrilled at their attention to the long term, and baffled by their short sightedness. And yes, it’s possible to be thrilled and baffled at the same time.
The Edmonton Oilers have a 2013 draft pick on their roster but not the one they selected No. 7 overall. No. 88 selection Anton Slepyshev made the grade and joins an impressive group of talented players. The club also has exactly 23 players—a full roster—from their past drafting.
- 2015: Connor McDavid
- 2013: Anton Slepyshev
- 2012: Nail Yakupov
- 2011: Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Oscar Klefbom, Tobias Rieder (ARI)
- 2010: Taylor Hall, Martin Marincin (TOR), Brandon Davidson
- 2009: Anton Lander
- 2008: Jordan Eberle
- 2007: Sam Gagner (PHI), Riley Nash (CAR)
- 2006: Jeff Petry (MTL)
- 2005: Andrew Cogliano (ANA), Chris VandeVelde (PHI)
- 2004: Devan Dubnyk (MIN)
- 2003: Kyle Brodziak (STL)
- 2002: Jarret Stoll (NYR), Matt Greene (LAK)
- 2001: Ales Hemsky (DAL)
- 1998: Shawn Horcoff (ANA)
- 1997: Jason Chimera (WAS)
— TSN Hockey (@TSNHockey) October 6, 2015
OILERS ROOKIE SCORING RECORDS (F)
- Jari Kurri (80-81) 75gp, 32-43-75
- Jason Arnott (93-94) 78gp, 33-35-68
- Dave Lumley (79-80) 80gp, 20-38-58
- Glenn Anderson (80-81) 58gp, 30-23-53
- Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (11-12) 62gp, 18-34-52
- Sam Gagner (07-08) 79gp, 13-36-49
- Andrew Cogliano (07-08) 82gp, 18-27-45
- Jordan Eberle (10-11) 69gp, 18-25-43
- Taylor Hall (10-11) 65gp, 22-20-42
- Raimo Summanen (85-86) 73gp, 19-18-37
- Miro Satan (95-96) 62gp, 18-17-35
- Magnus Pääjärvi (10-11) 80gp, 15-19-34
- Jaroslav Pouzar (82-83) 74gp, 15-18-33
- Mike Grier (96-97) 79gp, 15-17-32
- Nail Yakupov (12-13) 48gp, 17-14-31
- Kyle Brodziak (07-08) 80gp, 14-17-31
- Rem Murray (96-97) 82gp, 11-20-31
- David Oliver (94-95) 44gp, 16-14-30
- Ales Hemsky (02-03) 59gp, 6-24-30
- Jozef Beranek (91-92) 58gp, 12-16-28
- Todd Marchant (94-95) 45gp, 13-14-27
- Dean McAmmond (93-94) 45gp, 6-21-27
- Linus Omark (10-11) 51gp, 5-22-27
- Martin Gelinas (89-90) 46gp, 17-8-25
- Mats Lindgren (96-97) 69gp, 11-14-25
Connor McDavid and Anton Slepyshev, you’re up! Jari Kurri’s number has never really been threatened, of course it was a different era and he had Gretzky at center (a small advantage, but I thought it should be mentioned) as a rookie.
Looking at that list, I’m struck by just how many players were solid rookies and then sent away over the years. From Martin Gelinas to Miro Satan to Andrew Cogliano and back to Kyle Brodziak, the Oilers have been bleeding young players AFTER successful rookie seasons since about 1990. Are all teams like this?
OILERS ROOKIE SCORING RECORDS (D)
- Tom Gilbert (07-08) 82gp, 13-20-33
- Paul Coffey (80-81) 74gp, 9-23-32
- Randy Gregg (82-83) 80gp, 6-22-28
- Justin Schultz (12-13) 48gp, 8-19-27
- Marc-Andre Bergeron (03-04) 54gp, 9-17-26
- Steve Smith (85-86) 55gp, 4-20-24
- Dan McGillis (96-97) 73gp, 6-16-22
- Kevin Lowe (79-80) 64gp, 2-19-21
- Tom Poti (98-99) 73gp, 5-16-21
- Oscar Klefbom (14-15) 60gp, 2-18-20
Griffin Reinhart and Brandon Davidson, go! The 1980s blue is here (save Charlie Huddy, who had a time-released debut over two seasons), I loved watching them as rookies because you could see the potential. Among modern blue, Oscar Klefbom looked like the most complete player in years to debut and I suspect he’ll cover that over the next 10 seasons. This could also be the rookie season for Darnell Nurse, so I’ll mention him here.
IS THE ROSTER SET?
Not sure. As I mentioned yesterday afternoon, there are some interesting names on the waiver wire this morning:
- D Frank Corrado, Vancouver. Surprised he’s available, this is a pretty nice hockey player. He’s 22, has 28 NHL games to his credit and a range of skills. Effective at moving the puck, good defender. Undersized for the NHL game, I would be pleased if Edmonton grabbed him. RH D.
- R Linden Vey, Vancouver. It’s easy to overlook this player but Vey is 24, scored 10-14-24 in the NHL last season. His possession numbers aren’t grand and Vey won’t be a match for every team, but NJD or similar probably should take a look.
- G J-F Berube, LAK. He’s .913SP in the AHL the last two seasons, 24-years old and probably as good as a bunch of NHL backups.
- L Jonathan Marchessaul, Tampa Bay. He’s a small (5.09) skill winger who is at a point-per-game in the AHL, age 24.
For the Oilers, only Corrado holds a great deal of interest but he’s worth looking at for sure. I saw him good (lots of people saw him good) and his skill set is a really nice match for the modern game. We’ll see, it would require someone going on IR to make room but this is a good player who addresses an area of need (RH D who can move the puck) so one hopes Edmonton has at least thought about it overnight. I’d replace Gryba with him today and consider it a substantial upgrade—he might be a very nice fit for Griffin Reinhart.
WHO SO OPTIMISTIC?
Hunter 1909 is doing his fine work in collecting projections from the group, I appear to be among the more optimistic in the group (no surprise, I’m a overly positive fellow). There are many reasons I believe Edmonton will be substantially better this season, including Todd McLellan, Connor McDavid, Andrej Sekera and the Hall cluster entering their prime. The biggest reason—for me—is goaltending. Let’s assume that Cam Talbot delivers only average goaltending for the Oilers this season and let’s also assume he sees exactly as many shots as Ben Scrivens did a year ago. The difference would be amazing:
- Ben Scrivens: 1542 shots, 1372 saves, 170GA, .890SP
- Cam Talbot: 1542 shots, 1411 saves, 131GA, .915SP
That’s a saving of 39 goals. The GAA would go from 3.16 (Scrivens) to 2.43 (Talbot) if the new goalie can stop more pucks (and he can). We haven’t even talked about shot suppression and the penalty kill, etc. and you laugh but simply beginning the season with a roster designed to win hockey games sets a different tone.
If you’re looking for areas of improvement, or trying to make yourself feel better about the impact of a Leon demotion for that 3line, spend some time looking at last year’s even strength and penalty-killing goaling. It. was. not. good.
LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE
A busy show today, 10 this morning on TSN1260. Scheduled to appear:
- Jonathan Willis, Cult of Hockey and Oilers Nation. Jon and I both agreed the smart play was sending Anton Slepyshev to Bakersfield. What happened? Is this another ‘Keeping Lander’?
- Scott Zerr, TSN1260 and Oilers Nation. By eye, this Bakersfield Condors team is the best minor league outfit Edmonton will ice in many years. We’ll talk about the exhibition games on the weekend and all that talent in California.
- Scott Cullen, TSN. Rosters are cut down and there are a lot of rookies on NHL teams this year. Calder candidates include McDavid, Eichel, Bennett. Should we be talking Ehlers? Fabbri? Larkin?
- Guy Flaming, TSN1260. Oil Kings seem to be playing in thrillers every night, we’ll touch base on a fascinating early season. Also, the NCAA season is ramping up, we’ll discuss some of the bigger stories as the campaign begins.
10-1260 text, @Lowetide on twitter. Talk in 90 minutes!