We’re at (about) the halfway point of the season and it is a good time to have a look at NHL equivalencies. I like to use them as a quick overview, important not to project them as actual factual. You can see things at a glance across several leagues and in the case of forwards identify the group of players who still have a chance to emerge on skill lines in pro hockey.
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- New Lowetide: Tweeners and Iiro Pakarinen.
- New Lowetide: Back in Bakersfield: Laurent Brossoit.
- New Jonathan Willis: Edmonton’s horrifying penalty kill.
- Scott Wheeler: The complete Oilers prospect ranking
- Lowetide: Peter Chiarelli needs some answers from this week’s meetings
- Corey Pronman: Top 50 NHL prospects (Oilers alert)
- Lowetide: Hard target search 2018 deadline
- Age is the big deal here. Hebig turns 21 in two days, Tyler Vesel is 23, Ty Rattie is 24. These gentlemen are talented offensive players but are more mature, have less opportunity to grow.
- The stars of this table are Kirill Maksimov (18) Tyler Benson (19).
- Kailer Yamamoto (19), should be the leading man here (and I suspect he will be at the end of the year).
- Also showing well (but not projecting as skill line players at this time) are Ostap Safin and Graham McPhee. Aapeli Rasanen is hovering.
- AHL best? Ty Rattie, with Joey Laleggia and Grayson Downing also in photo.
- Ethan Bear has adjusted well to pro hockey in terms of offense, his NHLE is about equal to Jordan Oesterle when he was an AHL rookie (Oesterle was 22). Klefbom at 20 had an NHLE of 8.0, so beware when projecting and comparing defensemen points.
- Caleb Jones is lagging by the boxcars but he’s really coming on now, bet this is a closer race by the end of the year.
- Filip Berglund is a nice player based on boxcars, Dmitri Samorukov is showing promise and William Lagesson is a player to watch. The rest? We’ll wait and see. Projecting offense for defensemen is voodoo.
WHO IS LEAVING?
Fussy britches has the Maple Leafs interested in Oscar Klefbom, it’s a noxious idea from start. I follow myriad Toronto fans and bloggers, all of whom agree there’s no way Mitch Marner or William Nylander are going anywhere. This quickly gets you to ‘there’s no deal that makes sense’ but one imagines a full day of twitter bringing up names like Kasperi Kapanen, Connor Carrick, Connor Brown and Andreas Borgman. No thanks, I’ll pass on trade discussions in this regard. It is insane to trade away young players who are established in the NHL and have excellent contract. Beyond foolish.
Anton Slepyshev is gone, just a matter of NHL or KHL at this point in my opinion. Some hold out hope he’ll get back in the lineup with Nuge out, my suspicion is that Iiro Pakarinen gets that gig. Patrick Maroon, Mark Letestu and Mike Cammalleri are all more likely than not to be dealt and I do think we could see a defenseman (lesser of Klefbom) being traded at the deadline.
Heading into the summer, it’s my belief that the Oilers cluster, which includes Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Jesse Puljujarvi, Oscar Klefbom, Adam Larsson, Darnell Nurse and Cam Talbot should stay intact. NMC’s Milan Lucic, Andrej Sekera and Kris Russell will also return. From the remaining group, I’ll put in a good word on Matt Benning, Brandon Davidson, Jujhar Khaira, Zack Kassian. It’s going to be a busy summer.
As for management, man I’ll tell you the verbal around this city is crazy. If you made me guess, the two scenarios that appear to be playing out are:
- No sudden moves until spring, allowing the entire organization to catch its breath, and then a measured summer with Peter Chiarelli and Todd McLellan remaining.
- No sudden moves until spring, when someone currently inside the organization taking over as general manager (with a coaching decision to come). I think it might be Wayne Gretzky, or that 99 will have more of a say, and it might be Keith Gretzky. Don’t count out Craig MacTavish or Kevin Lowe. Is Larry Gordon still in the front office? Throw him in too.
How good would this game-worn Cam Talbot mask look in your Man Cave? Bidding is open at NHL Auctions, proceeds to @SportCentral_AB.
He'll wear it Saturday v. @Canucks on HNIC.@NHL @kellytrainhttps://t.co/GKe9GzZHqq pic.twitter.com/1zTwmfCh0S
— Mark Spector (@SportsnetSpec) January 18, 2018
That’s a beautiful mask, ladies and men. Great cause and worn by the man who guided this team to its first playoff games in a decade.
LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE
A busy Friday and things could get loud! At 10 this morning, TSN1260, scheduled to appear:
- Steve Lansky, BigMouthSports. Eric Lindros and the Flyers finally bury the hatchet.
- Jarrett Bell, USA Today. Massive NFL weekend.
- Matt Iwanyk, TSN1260. Point-CounterPoint gets after Aussie Open and NFL matchups.
- Kaitlyn McGrath from the Athletic. Canada’s out, Australia’s too hot for movement.
10-1260 text, @Lowetide on twitter. See you on the radio!