Peter Chiarelli’s Bruinization of the Oilers roster over the spring and summer has us looking at a different depth chart across the organization’s pro levels. At this point every summer, I check the roster for balance, realize it is not yet there, and then decide whether or not to rave on about a three-for-one trade that never comes.
Today, let’s assume there is no cavalry coming for this roster, let’s agree Peter Chiarelli and Todd McLellan are satisfied with going to war with this group. For me, the best way to make this roster work is to have Nail Yakupov play on the top line, and to have Brandon Davidson play RH side on defense. I suggested Nail on the 1line about one month ago:
- Lowetide: Nail Yakupov on the McDavid line will not happen—but I think it should, at least until there is some legit trade value. Look, I get the issue with Nail, he makes many brain fart moves. He is a prime example of a player who has one year’s experience four times—as opposed to having four years experience. I look at it from the Oilers pov—they need three lines who can produce, and Nail can produce with McDavid. Source
OILERS 2016-17 (PROJECTED)
- I think Klefbom—Larsson pairing should be a good one, health permitting. I am a big believer in Klefbom and smarter people than me believe Larsson is bona fide. Sekera—Davidson may not be the ideal pairing, but Mark Fayne is there and maybe Darnell Nurse-Davidson ends up being a useful third pairing. I am telling you the defense is something I can live with at this point—if the Oilers can find a hammer from the point on the power play. Who among the forwards has the best shot and is at least passable as a defender?
- One thing we should review about McDavid—Yakupov is the success both men had when playing together. It is easy to forget (much of their time together was early in the season) but there is legit success in these numbers.
- I think the Oilers have to at least consider this—not because Nail deserves it, but because it is the right thing to do. And I will tell you one more thing: The Oilers would be wise to consider running Benoit Pouliot with McDavid and Yakupov this coming season (Lucic with Nuge and Eberle). Remember, this isn’t about being fair or slotting players based on rank or merit—it is about winning damned hockey games.
- All of that said, I think we will see Lucic-Eberle with McDavid opening night—and there is also a chance Leon plays with Nuge, same night.
CONDORS 2016-17 (PROJECTED)
- Among projected Condors, I would expect Oilers fans will see Laurent Brossoit, Griffin Reinhart, Jordan Oesterle, Drake Caggiula, Jujhar Khaira, Jere Sallinen, Taylor Beck, Anton Slepyshev and possibly Tyler Pitlick in the NHL this coming season.
- We should also expect more signings based on what remains for Norfolk.
NORFOLK ADMIRALS 2016-17 (PROJECTED)
- I think the ECHL is an important development league and some successful Oilers prospects (Devan Dubnyk, Brandon Davidson) spent time there. Prospects do not develop in a straight line and I think a player like Greg Chase was far better off playing in Norfolk a year ago than Kyle Platzer was sitting in Bakersfield for 20 games.
— Patrick C (@ChunkletsHockey) August 18, 2016
My thanks to Patrick C (a worthy follow) for this find, and our friend google translate provides us with this nugget:
- Yakimov on possibly returning to NA (after a strong season in the KHL): ”I’ll have to think about. Everything will depend on my game – I know now that I need to gain a foothold there.‘‘ Source
Yakimov blocked a shot a week or so ago, so will be getting a delayed start to the KHL season. It is difficult to know exactly what the specifics of his situation are, but historically a team loaning players to another league is a tell. Teemu Hartikainen would be a recent Oilers example of this type of transaction, and we have yet to see the fabulous Finn on an NHL roster since he left. The smart bet is that Yakimov is gone baby gone.
LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE
A fun show this morning, plenty of time for your texts and input. TSN1260, 10am, scheduled to appear:
- Darcy McLeod, Because Oilers. Yak City, Puljujarvi, we might discuss defense.
- Don Landry, CFL.ca and DonLandry.com. A big week in the CFL, we will discuss.
10-1260 text, @Lowetide on twitter.