When my kids were little, I bought a computer from Hewlett-Packard. I didn’t know much about personal computers, so my neighbour came over and set it up, downloading some video games (some in DOS) for the little ones. Quickly my son took over as the computer expert (he was maybe five) and that led to some insane moments. He played J-Storm and beat Robo-Red, I accidentally bought him Duke Nukem one time and Mrs. Lowetide was not amused.
Now, my son digested the finer points of the computer like a bat out of hell, but he also had no fear. That’s the back story to explain the sheer panic I felt the Saturday morning I came downstairs to find him upset and staring at a WALL of green on the screen. It took the HP guy and me an hour to figure out the green item was the start button multiplied to 100,000 times.
I’ll never forget the HP guy, he talked me (and my son) through the ‘restore point’ reboot and we were off. Nifty thing, that restore point.
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- New Lowetide: Pennants!
- New Lowetide: Laurent Brossoit: 4-year audition results in a career crossroads
- Jonathan Willis: Cam Talbot’s performance in 2017-18: Does it inject a note of uncertainty in his future with the Oilers?
- Sunaya Sapurji: Oliver Wahlstrom has been in the spotlight for a long time, but his desire to be ‘special’ burns deep
- Corey Pronman: 2018 NHL draft board.
- Lowetide: Summer 2018 on a budget. Calling Warren Foegele!
- Lowetide: Is Stuart Skinner the real thing?
- Lowetide: Draft 2018: The Oilers and Russia: A draft tragedy.
- Lowetide: Draft 2018: The Oilers and the Republic of Finland
- Lowetide: Draft 2018: The Oilers and Sweden.
- Lowetide: Draft 2018: The Oilers and the QMJHL.
- Lowetide: Draft 2018: Oilers and the WHL.
- Lowetide: Draft 2018: Oilers draft history and the OHL
- Lowetide: Draft 2018: The Oilers and the NCAA.
- Lowetide: Draft 2018: The Oilers at the draft: Overagers.
- Lowetide: Draft 2018: Oilers scouting directors: A history.
OPENING NIGHT 2016-17
- Milan Lucic—Connor McDavid—Jordan Eberle
- Patrick Maroon—Leon Draisaitl—Jesse Puljujarvi
- Benoit Pouliot—Ryan Nugent-Hopkins—Anton Slepyshev
- Tyler Pitlick—Mark Letestu—Zack Kassian
- Oscar Klefbom—Adam Larsson
- Andrej Sekera—Kris Russell
- Darnell Nurse—Brandon Davidson
- Cam Talbot (Jonas Gustavsson)
- Scratches: Mark Fayne, Anton Lander, Matt Benning
- Injured: Matt Hendricks
This is the 103-point team, the best Oilers club since 2006 spring. Strengths include center. The wingers are mostly a veteran crew and there’s some nice secondary scoring on the bottom two forward lines. The defense is young, but the second pairing has lots of experience and is buoyed by recent signing Kris Russell (who took Griffin Reinhart’s job). Five men would score 20+ goals, Klefbom had 38 points and Sekera 35, while Cam Talbot boasted a .919 save percentage. Rookies included Jesse Puljujarvi, Matt Benning and Anton Slepyshev. Drake Caggiula would soon join the lineup.
OPENING NIGHT 2017-18
- Patrick Maroon—Connor McDavid—Leon Draisaitl
- Milan Lucic—Ryan Nugent-Hopkins—Kailer Yamamoto
- Jussi Jokinen—Ryan Strome—Drake Caggiula
- Jujhar Khaira—Mark Letestu—Zack Kassian
- Oscar Klefbom—Adam Larsson
- Darnell Nurse—Eric Gryba
- Kris Russell—Matt Benning
- Cam Talbot (Laurent Brossoit)
- Scratches: Iiro Pakarinen, Yohann Auvitu
- Injured: Anton Slepyshev, Andrej Sekera
This is the team that was so disappointing and you can see the cracks forming on opening night. Kailer Yamamoto kept earning playing time, kept pushing back his airline ticket, and the organization decided to send Jesse Puljujarvi to the minors. I said early in the preseason Yamamoto should have been sent down, because it gave the coach an out, an option that didn’t involve Puljujarvi. Yamamoto showed damn well but should never have been in the lineup.
Other worries include Eric Gryba and Darnell Nurse on the second pairing (Nurse had a fine game by my eye), Laurent Brossoit’s inexperience, and a third line that geared down from the Nuge with two veterans to a fixer upper season over season. It all fell apart, but there was reason to be worried.
PROJECTED OPENING NIGHT ROSTER 2018-19
- Ryan Nugent-Hopkins—Connor McDavid—Ty Rattie
- Milan Lucic—Leon Draisaitl—Kailer Yamamoto
- Pontus Aberg—Ryan Strome—Jesse Puljujarvi
- Jujhar Khaira—Cooper Marody—Zack Kassian
- Oscar Klefbom—Adam Larsson
- Andrej Sekera—Kris Russell
- Darnell Nurse—Matt Benning
- Cam Talbot (Mikko Koskinen)
The jobs I hope Peter Chiarelli addresses are a scoring forward (RW) to push one of Rattie or Yamamoto down the depth chart; someone who can score 15 goals and penalty kill for the No. 3 line and force Aberg or other down the depth chart; some depth at 13F, 14F and 7D.
I believe the correct call on Jesse Puljujarvi is to play him on McDavid’s line, where he had success this past season. I haven’t listed him there because it’s unrealistic to expect Todd McLellan to elevate the young man. Expect at least a portion of the season to be spent on the No. 3 line.
Source tells me Oilers have signed deals with Trent Yawney and Glen Gulutzan to be assistant coaches. Will sign a third assistant as well. #Oilers
— Jason Gregor (@JasonGregor) May 24, 2018
Solid choices based on what we know, although I think it’s impossible to speak with authority on the issue. Good reputations, imagine Manny Vivieros will be announced with them in the coming days.
HARVEST MOON 2014
Leon Draisaitl’s selection made this draft, the second (and final) one for Craig MacTavish as general manager. I don’t think it was wise to insert MacT in the GM’s job (he didn’t have the experience) but he’s a bright guy and the bets in 2013 and the 2014 first round suggest he is an astute judge of amateur talent.
This was the final Stu MacGregor draft, and as much as I thought he did some very good things 2008-14 (Eberle at No. 22, three NHL talents in 2011, Leon) the draft in 2014 is probably a big reason he was let go. Two goalies out of six choices, no skaters beyond LD who would graduate in 2016. I think the organization felt the 2013 draft would produce so much in terms of forwards they were better off getting tier 2 talents in 2014 and allowing them to go the college route. All of that said, William Lagesson is tracking very well and Tyler Vesel earned a pro contract. If either of those men become NHL regulars, this unlikely draft will become a success. Leon was a big fly. My God.
- Round 1, No. 3 overall: C Leon Draisaitl, Prince Albert WHL. 64GP, 38-67-105. NHLE: 82gp, 15-25-40. Bruce McCurdy compared him to a nose tackle, and I think that’s a very good description (if the nose tackle was the quarterback). Wonderful possession center with size, expert passer and creative thinker. Oilers love the big brains, imagine he has a big that, too. An extremely valuable young man.
- Round 4, No. 91 overall: D William Lagesson, Frolunda Swedish Jr. 44GP, 8-12-20. Scrappy defenseman with size and an idea about how to get the puck up effectively, he was very impressive at the U18’s (7GP, 3-0-3 +5) and is a worthy selection. He’s 6.03, 203 so the size that opened with the Draisaitl selection continues here, although I would not call either a Coke Machine selection.
- Round 4, No. 111 overall: G Zach Nagelvoort, Michigan NCAA. 24GP, 2.20 .929 I don’t think they needed to take a goalie here, but if they were going to take one Nagelvoort was a good one. A .929 save percentage out of the box in college? Yes, please. He’s 20, so may not turn pro until his prime.
- Round 5, No. 130 overall: C Liam Coughlin, Vernon BCJHL. 53GP, 18-27-45. NHLE 82gp, 4-6-10. This is the ‘Evan Campbell Special’. At 17, Jujhar Khaira—who is shy offensively as an NHL prospect—scored 1.46 points-per-game in the BCJHL. At 19, Coughlin scored less than a point-per game.
- Round 6, No. 153 overall: R Tyler Vesel, Omaha USHL. 49GP, 33-38-71. NHLE: 82gp, 15-17-32. This is our Hartikainen. Although he’s an older prospect, and should have dominated (which he did), there’s a nice history of offense with this player. I don’t really care about his obscurity, and those numbers are just really good. There’s plenty to criticize in this draft, but the Vesel pick isn’t one of them.
- Round 7, No. 183 overall: G Keven Bouchard, Val d’Or QMJHL. 27GP, 2.95 .887. I’m not going to speak at length about goaltenders, because they are miles from my area of expertise. An .887 save percentage is not a good one. Suspect someone saw him good.
Peter Chiarelli signs old guys in free agency, it’s a thing. Matt Hendricks will be 37 next season and there were mountains of words written about his absence from the Oilers roster over the winter. Murat Ates, who is quickly becoming my favorite writer at The Athletic, recently wrote about the Jets who will stay and those who are likely to move on.
- Murat Ates: The unrestricted free agent acquitted himself well at even strength but did not help the penalty kill. I don’t see room for Hendricks to re-sign in Winnipeg. Time will tell if he and Cheveldayoff see things the same way.
I would hope for more offense from a fourth-line player incoming, but the truth is Hendricks is probably on Chiarelli’s list of free agents he’ll pursue. That’s my guess.
LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE
And the one you're waiting for: My 2018 NHL Draft rankings, with full reports, tiers, grades on player tools, coach quotes. We hope you enjoy:https://t.co/vAHAq72PNS
— Corey Pronman (@coreypronman) May 21, 2018
One of my favorite guests is Corey Pronman. I first read his stuff at HockeyProspectus, then ESPN and now The Athletic. Pronman’s scouting reports are filled with concise language and creativity, his rankings are original and he gives you the reasons behind them. Delighted to have him on the show today, 10:20. Any questions just drop them in the comments section or text 10-1260 after 10 this morning.
Also on the Lowdown (beginning at 10, TSN1260) will be Rob Vollman (ESPN, NHL.com) at 11:05 (we’ll talk Marian Hossa, analytics teams, Carolina’s decision to make most of their roster available) and Frank Seravalli from TSN at 11:25 (SC playoffs, new general managers popping up all over). 10-1260 text, @Lowetide on twitter. See you on the radio!