I am far less angry at Todd McLellan’s coaching in Edmonton than the vast majority of this blog’s readers. While not an innovator in the ways of chemistry, he did help drive the most complete roster in ages to 103 points in 2017 spring. Many are pointing at the slow adjustment to Nuge as a winger on 97’s line as typical of McLellan’s coaching inertia, but for me that was a veteran coach still unsure Leon Draisaitl could push the river. I do wish he would take advantage of line matching opportunities and the power play may well cost him the job if it doesn’t turn around this season. All of that said, he’s a veteran hand and the team seems to have discipline and structure. I blame last season mostly on Peter Chiarelli, as you can’t win if you don’t have the horses. Todd McLellan is going to get a lot of help coaching these Edmonton Oilers from now on. Starting, apparently, today.
Great playoff special! Try The Athletic on for size free and see if they enjoy the in-depth, ad-free coverage on the site. Offer is here. There’s a 7-day free trial and the cost for an annual subscription is less than one (or two) coffee per month, depending on where you buy your hot liquid. We have a mountain of good reading to come in the next 30 days at The Athletic Edmonton, including draft coverage, prospect updates and reaction to the deals of summer. Join us, for the Oilers coverage, stay for all of the other brilliant writing on the site.
- New Lowetide: Pennants!
- New Jonathan Willis: Al Montoya’s likely exit means an end of an era for Peter Chiarelli
- New Scott Wheeler: Five Sleeper Picks
- Corey Pronman: Pronman mailbag
- 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.
All indications are #Oilers will announce Glen Gulutzan, Manny Viveiros and Trent Yawney as Todd McLellan's new assistant coaches as soon as tomorrow. Jay Woodcroft now head coach in AHL Bakersfield; Jim Johnson was let go in April; Ian Herbers back at U of A on July 1.
— Frank Seravalli (@frank_seravalli) May 24, 2018
This is a strong list of assistant coaches, it’ll be interesting to see who handles what chores. Viveiros is a perfect fit for the power play, Yawney has overseen one generation of young defensemen with considerable success (Duncan Keith, Brent Seabrook, Marc-Edouard Vlasic, Jason Demers, Sami Vatanen, Hampus Lindholm). Gulutzan represents a second head coach (one year removed) who might be able to help in areas McLellan isn’t strong (line changes, developing young players). It’s an encouraging list of names, let’s see how it plays out.
OILERS AT NO. 10
I get a lot of comments and emails and tweets asking a version of “who do you think will be available at No. 10?” and in the case of the draft the answer is supplied by Bob McKenzie. Using his list and the current top 10 teams, we get this:
- Buffalo—LD Rasmus Dahlin
- Carolina—R Andrei Svechnikov
- Montreal—R Filip Zadina
- Ottawa—L Brady Tkachuk
- Arizona—RD Evan Bouchard
- Detroit—RD Adam Boqvist
- Vancouver—R Oliver Wahlstrom
- Chicago—RD Noah Dobson
- NY Rangers—LD Quinn Hughes
- Edmonton—LC Jesperi Kotkaniemi
I think the Oilers might be happy if the draft goes just that way, Kotkaniemi is a substantial talent. Others who would be available (using McKenzie’s list) are Joe Veleno, Barrett Hayton, Ty Smith, Joel Farabee, Grigori Denisenko. Ryan Merkley is on Pronman’s list in this range, might be a player the Oilers are considering.
If the Oilers dealt the pick, what would they be looking for? Maybe a 2016 first rounder like Dante Fabbro or Sam Steel. Or possibly a 2015 first rounder, say Joel Eriksson Ek. I’d use the pick to be honest, with a kid like Kotkaniemi maybe you’re waiting only one winter.
OTHER POSSIBLE OILERS TARGETS
- Jacob Olofsson is a center I have just outside my top 10 but he could be around at No. 40 overall. His offense is better than he is given credit for and his overall skill set is fairly complete. Speed is good not great but he’s a player who could deliver exceptional value in the second round.
- Ryan Merkley is the great unknown in this draft. I would be surprised if the Oilers grabbed him at 10, it’s unlikely he’ll be available at No. 40, but he would be an extreme value with that pick.
- Calen Addison is inside my top 25 but could easily fall, would represent a terrific pick for need and good value at No. 40.
- Samuel Fagemo has zero buzz happening but would be an excellent second or third-round selection in my opinion. Speedy winger with a terrific shot.
SWEDISH POSTER ON SAMUEL FAGEMO
- This quick winger plays for Frölunda, he has a really good wrister, has scored well in the U20 League, quick first few steps but his top speed is just ok to good, Pretty skilled with the puck and has that jack in the box ability of goalscorers to just show up in the right spot. Plays with intensity but I think a guy with his skill should be making plays more consistently. He’s also really frustrating at times, not very smart with the puck, has a tendency to just skate right into opponents and lose the puck, has flashes of creativity but there’s a little too much straight lines and junior decision making that won’t fly at a higher level. He got into two SHL games this season, according to his coach he could’ve gotten a few more games but they wanted him to stay in juniors to develop his offensive game instead of getting used as a grinder in the SHL which is probably smart, if devloped right there’s enough of a skillset to make him a player but he could also end up as nothing more than an SHL journey man and bottom sixer if he can’t work out the glitches in his game. I think Fagemo is a worthwhile pick in the back half of the draft since there is a good set of skills and also enough intensity and grit to play him in different roles if he can’t play higher in the line up.
— Spector's Hockey (@SpectorsHockey) May 25, 2018
Huh. Phil Kessel has a contract that pays him $8 million annually for the next four seasons, and his NMC allows him to list eight teams he can be traded to this summer. Extremely unlikely the Oilers are on that list, and the cap hit would be an impossible burden. I would like to see him on McDavid’s (or Leon’s) wing for a season, though.
In a single tweet, here are the four parts of my Final Top 50 OHL'ers for the 2018 Draft. HM's: https://t.co/z9Kp6TzGMK 50-31: https://t.co/aaJWXGpeae 30-11: https://t.co/rmPkVFXWjh 10-1: https://t.co/covk9JLh47
— OHL Prospects (@BrockOtten) May 25, 2018
Otten and his blog are a gift. I have my contacts from the QMJHL and the WHL, but no league that feeds the draft has a better chronicle than Otten’s blog.
LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE
It looks like the Oilers will roll out their new assistants/associates today, expect coverage on the Lowdown and an article on it over at The Athletic later today. Scheduled this morning are Steve Lansky from BigMouth Sports (we’ll chat about his SC finals experience working the games), Matt Iwanyk (Eskimos get going this weekend) and Paul Almeida (Liverpool-Real Madrid, Oilers coaches, preview of Saturday Sports Extra). It all gets going at 10, TSN1260. See you on the radio!