How many 20-goal scorers are on the current Oilers roster? Three? Let’s say three. Let’s say Connor McDavid, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Leon Draisaitl all score 20+, and let’s further assume the trio scores 90+ goals between them. That’s a handsome start. The Oilers problem is everything that comes after that, and this team badly needs a youngster to emerge plus improved secondary scoring. Starting in four months.
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- New Lowetide: In search of value contracts for 2018-19
- Lowetide: Handicapping the race to win jobs on McDavid/Draisaitl wings
- Lowetide: Three prospects on the upswing after orientation camp, free agency
- Lowetide: Oilers grab Tobias Rieder in free agency
- Jonathan Willis: Oilers hopes rest on players already on the roster
- Lowetide: Frugal Oilers grab Kyle Brodziak in free agency
- Lowetide: Hard Target Search: Tobias Rieder.
- Lowetide: Oilers still preferred CHL and older prospects in 2018 draft.
- Jonathan Willis: How will Oilers manage rich collection of goalie prospects?
- Lowetide: Is Evan Bouchard NHL-ready?
- Lowetide: Low budget free agents can deliver Oilers big bang
- Lowetide: The maturation of Daryl Katz, or heading down a dangerous road?
- Lowetide: Oilers top 10 prospects in front of the 2018 draft.
- Lowetide: Draft 2018: Oilers scouting directors: A history.
WHO WILL STEP UP?
I don’t think it’s reasonable to project the current Oilers as a playoff team, so it’s fair to examine areas of possible growth for 2019-20. If the club can find some additional scoring, that might allow them to push for the postseason as early as the spring, with an eye to entering next summer as a legit playoff contender. Here are my scoring projections.
- Ryan Nugent-Hopkins —Connor McDavid —Ty Rattie 
- Tobias Rieder —Leon Draisaitl —Jesse Puljujarvi 
- Milan Lucic —Ryan Strome —Drake Caggiula 
- Jujhar Khaira —Kyle Brodziak —Zack Kassian 
- Pontus Aberg —Brad Malone 
- Oscar Klefbom —Adam Larsson 
- Andrej Sekera —Kris Russell 
- Darnell Nurse —Matt Benning 
- Keegan Lowe 
- Cam Talbot—Mikko Koskinen
I count 80 goals from the No. 1 line (matches Maroon-McDavid-Draisaitl a year ago), 60 from the No. 2 line (Lucic-Nuge-JP scored 46 a year ago), 36 from the No. 3 line (in 2017-18, 37 from Khaira-Strome-Caggiula), and 22 from the No. 4 line (19 from Cammalleri-Letestu-Kassian). There are always extra forwards, and of course defensemen, so the GF above compare to last season like this:
- Forward goals projected: 204 (forwards scored 197 one year ago)
- Defense goals projected: 28 (defense scored 32 last season)
I have the Oilers scoring three more goals next season and I haven’t drilled down yet on all of the minutiae involving special teams (I will do it in the days to come). The Oilers are running in place unless someone breaks out, and by that I mean Jesse Puljujarvi or Kailer Yamamoto. That’s the bet if the team enters camp in this configuration. For me, it’s the right call. I don’t know if the coaching staff and management group will make it through December, but for the organization mortgaging the future with a very thin prospect pipeline is a poor bet. It’s time to give the draft picks 500 at-bats and see how they shine.
Here's a look at which teams have added the most this off-season through signings and trades.
*Fun note: all of NYI's additions have carried negative values (i.e. below replacement level)* pic.twitter.com/cD2hKfVi6o
— Sean Tierney (@ChartingHockey) July 6, 2018
SHOTS PER 60 NHL FORWARDS
Edmonton’s skill lines need foot speed among the new wingers and shooters who are involved a lot in the offense. Jesse Puljujarvi shows very well in 5-on-5 shots per 60 from 2017-18 (via NaturalStatTrick):
- Jesse Puljujarvi 9.27
- Connor McDavid 9.21
- Pontus Aberg 8.40
- Ty Rattie 7.46
- Anton Slepyshev 7.14
- Leon Draisaitl 6.98
JP didn’t cash enough of these shots (this is 5-on-5, his shooting percentage in the discipline was 7.94) but he was damned active. His final Sm-Liiga season he shot 175 pucks in 50 games (3.5 shots per game) and he averaged 2.86 shots per game in the AHL. JP is the man to fill the shooting role based on the numbers. Kailer Yamamoto averaged 2.78 shots per game in the WHL this past season, he’s the other candidate we should be monitoring.
- R Wayne Simmonds, Philadelphia Flyers. One of my favorite players.
- L Jeff Skinner, Carolina Hurricanes. Speed merchant and a born scorer.
- L Max Pacioretty, Montreal Canadiens. Talented scorer.
- R Josh Leivo, Toronto Maple Leafs. Talented winger never plays.
- LC Zack Smith, Ottawa Senators. One of a few No. 4C options.
- RD Dylan Demolo, San Jose Sharks. A nice fit, surprised he’s availab
- LD Brandon Davidson, Edmonton Oilers. I still like him despite the wobble.
CURRENT 50-MAN LIST
Evan Bouchard has yet to sign, he’ll be a slide but could emerge as a legit option for opening night. There’s plenty of room, I expect we’ll hear about Jason Chimera, Scottie Upshall or Lance Bouma. The smart play would have been Anthony Duclair.
LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE
A brief show beginning at 10:30 this morning, we’re squeezed between the two World Cup games. Paul Almeida will drop by to talk soccer and we might have an Erik Karlsson update. TSN1260, text 10-1260, @Lowetide on twitter. See you on the radio!