There have been a few changes in odds since we last looked at the projected 2017-18 roster a couple of weeks ago (here), including Kailer Yamamoto’s signing and some additional defensive options. College free agents and PTO invites still to come, but we’re reaching the end of summer and have this roster surrounded. Each player listed with chances of making opening night lineup expressed as a percentage. The big jump this time is Kailer Yamamoto, who is now signed and (I believe) the most skilled young winger in the system. That may impact training camp.
- C Connor McDavid, 20. Already amazing, he’s just getting started. The guides are starting to come out, my 110-point projection seems conservative now. Team altering, league altering, mind-altering hockey player. 100%.
- C-R Leon Draisaitl, 21. Leon’s contract should be signed in the next three weeks and then we can commence arguing where he should play. My bet remains 70 percent with The One, 30 percent with regular humans. 100%.
- L Patrick Maroon, 29. Can he score 30 in contract year? The Oilers kept him away from the power play a year ago, would be wise to do that again. 100%.
- L Milan Lucic, 29. If he can score 50 points again no one will worry how but I’ll bet a 2-4 the big man rallies his 5×5/60 in a substantial way. Lucic had a breakout power-play season and was shooting well a year ago, hope those things return for a second year. 100%.
- C Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, 24. I keep reading about increasing his offense, but the young man’s offense would spike instantly with more power-play time. His 5×5 offense has never been a feature of this player, and he’s behind McDavid on the 5×4. If we’re honest, this player is probably more effective on a team in need of a brilliant power-play center. 100%.
- C-R Ryan Strome, 24. He will never get a better chance to cover draft bet and if he gets to spend the year with McDavid he could post a fantastic number. Almost impossible to project this player, I have him at 40 points and saw 72 projected yesterday. The power of McDavid is real. 100%.
- L Drake Caggiula, 23. The first pro season was a blur and featured playing through an injury and lining up out of position at center. The biggest wildcard of the young guns, he might end up just about anywhere in the lineup. 100%.
- R Zack Kassian, 26. Big man plays the Chiarelli style, posts crooked numbers 5×5 and does it from the depths of the batting order. He is a valuable player and there’s a chance he steps up into more of a feature role in the coming season. 100%.
- L Jussi Jokinen, 34. If he could play 30 minutes a night and double shift, I expect Todd McLellan might oblige. He could play anywhere and I think we’ll see an offensive recovery from the veteran. He can also create a legacy role by helping Jesse Puljujarvi adjust to the NHL game. 100%.
- RC Mark Letestu, 32. I think his role may be reduced on the power play this season, with Strome or possibly Slepyshev taking some of his time. Letestu can still help out in other areas and his righty faceoffs give the team much needed depth in that area. 100%.
- R Anton Slepyshev, 23. Every time I talk about Slepyshev getting sent out, there’s a major reaction. That’s good, the big Russian winger has a loyal group based on merit. My having him at 90 percent is strictly due to his being ineligible for waivers, and that is a consieration entering camp. Suspect he makes the team and I do think he has 15-goal potential if he gets with the right center in 2017-18. 90%.
- R Jesse Puljujarvi, 19. The young Finn will get a full shot with a skill center and might (I’m not projecting it) get a long look on the 5×4. He’s the tailgate lottery pick for a McDavid cluster that includes Leon Draisaitl. Major importance that he arrives, either as an impact scorer or effective outscorer in the next couple of seasons. 90%.
- L Jujhar Khaira, 23. The Oilers like his size, speed and grit, and I think he’ll break camp with the big club. However, he is going to have to bring some offense and the signing of Jokinen confuses the issue. 69%.
- R Iiro Pakarinen, 25. He has many of the same skills as Slepyshev, except in lesser amounts. McLellan likes him and he has a chance. 40%.
- LC Brad Malone, 28. Malone can play center, wins faceoffs, penalty kills and it won’t hurt him to sit in the pressbox for long stretches. Edmonton signed him early in free agency, possibly for his ability to slip through waivers and back again. 30%.
- R Ty Rattie, 24. Rattie is a goal-scoring option, wonder if the Oilers feel like he could be a hidden gem. There’s a sliver of a chance here, he’ll have to be better than all the NHL kids and Yamamoto. 25%.
- R Kailer Yamamoto, 18. Electric skills and he can score goals. A small winger, he will impress if given chances. If he is here late in camp, the club may give him nine games. I have increased his chances since our last look. 25%.
- R Mitch Callahan, 25. Consistent AHL performer, he brings skill with some physical play and that combination appeals to the Oilers. He may show very well in camp. 15%.
- L Joey Laleggia, 25. He is a long shot but what he brings is very valuable. If we see him getting some time with the NHLers and extra games in pre-season, we’ll have a story. 10%.
- C Joe Gambardella, 23. He is not a high end prospect but could emerge as an NHL option (over time, likely a season or two). I’ll give him a slight chance to slide into a useful utility role at the back of the roster. 6%.
- L Oscar Klefbom, 24. He’s emerging as a stronger offensive option than was once projected and is able to play capably in 22 minutes a night. Can he stretch it out to 25 minutes and remain effective? 100%.
- R Adam Larsson, 24. Larsson is an excellent partner for Klefbom and was rock steady for much of last season. I think he’ll see more time in 2016-17, at evens and on PK. 100%.
- L Andrej Sekera, 31. How long will he be out? Will he be 100 percent upon return? Oilers don’t seem to be panic stricken over it, would love to know the prognosis. If he comes back early, and 100 percent, this Oilers team suddenly looks balanced. 0.
- L Kris Russell, 30. The big question appears to be which side will he play until Sekera returns? My guess is LH side with Matt Benning. One of the big items from a year ago was his ‘running luck’ and he did regress later in the year. The dice have no memory, so which version of Russell do the Oilers get this coming season 100%.
- R Matt Benning, 23. He is going to get a push, both at evens and on the power play. I’m of a mind that signing him to his second deal a-sap is a good plan. If he steps forward even a little from last season, we’re dealing with a monumental find. 100%.
- L Darnell Nurse, 22. The math people I respect tell me top flight defensemen make themselves known early, ala Matt Benning. I always like to wait five years and this will be No. 5 for Nurse. I’m looking forward to seeing how this plays out. Note: Darnell Nurse is almost a year younger than Matt Benning. 100%.
- R Eric Gryba, 29. Played 40 games as 7D last season, saw action in three playoff games. I think he’ll be in the mix for regular third-pairing activity but may not hold that job. As of now, he is a lock for the roster. 100%.
- L Yohann Auvitu, 27. New signing gives the team a much needed addition to the mobile passers on the team. I don’t think he’s a lock for the roster but he has a good chance. 50%.
- R Mark Fayne, 30. He can defend but his foot speed is an issue, he does not play a rugged game and the offense is minimal. I don’t think he’ll be on the team other than recall. 20%.
- L Ryan Stanton, 27. He appears poised to battle Auvitu for the 7D spot this fall, he has done some penalty killing in the past and that may become a big deal. 14%.
- LD Dillon Simpson. Excellent chance he plays some NHL games this year and we’ll see if he ends the season No. 11 on the depth chart. History tells us he’ll pass someone. 5%
- LD Keegan Lowe. Top 4D role in Bakersfield, where does he sit on callup list? I’ll be very interested to see where he ranks on the Oilers depth chart this season. He could be an early recall, Lowe is a good fit for Chiarelli/McLellan teams. 5%
- LD Ziyat Paigin. The verbal coming out on him is very strong but he’s probably a year away from pushing for a roster spot. Expect a lot of early talk from Bakersfield to surround mobility, we should get a clear picture on him by March. 4%
- RD Ethan Bear. Bear finished off a fabulous junior career in fine style but the workload increases in a big way this fall. I expect a full season in Bakersfield, with a cup of coffee in the NHL possible. We should be looking for effective 5×5 play, and I’m sure they’ll want to see him on the power play. 1%
- LD Caleb Jones. Fastest and most mobile of the new pro defensemen, that sometimes means a fast track. We’ve been advancing Jones alongside Bear since they were drafted seven picks apart, looking forward to seeing how each advances at pro level. 1%
- Cam Talbot, 30. Posted a fantastic season and there’s no reason (injury aside) to doubt his ability to repeat it. I think they will try to reduce his number of starts, but bet he gets at least 65 anyway. 100%.
- Laurent Brossoit, 24. You would like to see him get 25 starts but that’s probably a year away. If he can hold on to the backup job, perhaps there is more. One step at a time. 90%.
- Nick Ellis, 23. I include him because there’s always a chance someone gets hurt and the Ellis resume is very good. 10%.
- G Eddie Pasquale. AHL veteran could get some NHL time.
- G Shane Starrett. Another college goalie turning pro. Strong resume.
- G Dylan Wells. Slide rule, he’ll spend one more year in junior.
- G Stuart Skinner. He has a solid resume and the Oilers love him.
- LD Ben Betker. Big man should get a full AHL season.
- RD Ryan Mantha. Big man, big shot, good speed. Duplicates Bear’s skill set.
- LD Dmitri Samorukov. Intriguing two-way defender.
- C Grayson Downing. Skilled center coming off subpar second AHL season.
- RC Josh Currie. Back on an AHL deal, he has skill and two-way ability.
- RC Kyle Platzer. We’ll know by Christmas if the Oilers have any plan for him.
- L Ryan Hamilton. AHL only deal, he’ll get some time with the big club in camp.
- L Braden Christoffer. Final year of entry deal coming up.
- L Evan Polei. Size and skill (6.02, 227 and 33 WHL goals) are intriguing.
- L Tyler Benson. Slide rule, may get some pre-season games if healthy.
- L Ostap Safin. Size, speed and skill. First Oilers camp on the way.
- R Zach O’Brien. May end up being an important player for the Condors.
- R Patrick Russell. Scored only 8 times as rookie pro. Needs to fill the net this year.
- R Greg Chase. Final year of entry-level deal ahead, has shown only flashes.
- R Brian Ferlin. Effective when healthy. Has had substantial injury issues.
- R Dave Gust. Small skill winger. AHL deal.
- R Chad Butcher. AHL deal, skilled RW played in Medicine Hat 2011-17.
- R Kirill Maksimov. High risk skill winger might be a draft steal.
A list of drafted College players who's club rights expire on Aug 15, 2017. pic.twitter.com/zKnKvsE7NB
— CapFriendly (@CapFriendly) August 9, 2017
There are a couple of Oilers on this list, Evan Campbell representing the BCHL brigade and Zach Nagelvoort from the wayward wind that was the 2014 entry draft. Here are ‘three for the Oilers’ I would like to see added in the coming days:
- LC Alex Kerfoot, Harvard. Shane Malloy, Hockey Prospect Radio: An intelligent puck possession playmaking center who can play on the wing that has good passing ability whether stationary or at speed. Is a quick darting skater with the agility to dodge and roll off defenders. He defensive game has matured once his defensive habits such as an active stick, head on a swivel, taking correct angles became consistent. Source
- LC Dominic Toninato, Minnesota-Duluth. SBNation: He’s a top line center with the ability to play on the power play and penalty kill. He plays with a physical edge that sometimes goes too far. He’s a decent skater, but will likely move from center to wing at the next level, where he should provide strong, gritty two-way play with the occasional offense chipped in as well. Source
- LD Will Butcher, Denver. Ben Kerr, LWS: Butcher is quick skater. He has excellent speed in both directions. He also has very good acceleration. Butcher has very good vision and the ability to thread the needle on passes both to start the transition game and in setting up plays in the offensive zone. He also has a good shot. While Butcher is a little undersized, and can be overpowered in the defensive zone, he works hard to avoid this making him a defensive liability. Expect Butcher to be NHL ready and push for a spot with whatever team signs him. Source