Dream Comfort Memory to Spare

We’re mostly through the procurement portion of the summer, meaning the RE estimates can begin. Pain in the ass is what it is but for me it helps make sense of the season to come. It actually makes me angry truth to tell, because balance and depth remain out of sight. The last two drafts are encouraging but the Edmonton Oilers have been out of time for most of this century and it doesn’t have to be that way. (Photo by Rob Ferguson)

THE ATHLETIC!

Give The Athletic as a gift or get it yourself and join the fun! Offer is here, less than $5 a month! I find myself reading both the hockey (Willis, Dellow, Pronman, et cetera) and the baseball coverage a lot, it’s a pure pleasure to visit. We’ll sell you the whole seat, but you’ll only need the edge.

  • New Lowetide: UFA’s still available who can help the 2018-19 Oilers (will link)
  • New Jonathan Willis: Analyzing the Oilers 2018-19 depth chart (including additions)
  • Lowetide: Bakersfield Condors could be best Oilers AHL team in ages
  • 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
  • Jonathan Willis: How will Oilers manage rich collection of goalie prospects?
  • Lowetide: Is Evan Bouchard NHL-ready?
  • Lowetide: The maturation of Daryl Katz, or heading down a dangerous road?

RE GP REVIEW 2017-18

  • This is my projected games (actual games in brackets), with players in blue either surprisingly elevated by the team (Yamamoto), or players who were acquired after I made my RE predictions July 8 one year ago.
  • It’s fairly accurate, I missed on the unforeseen (Larsson missing so many games, traded guys) and on a few players up and down like Jujhar Khaira and Iiro Pakarinen. Moving target clearly, I’ll be happy if I get this close next season.
  • The key is we didn’t miss any major players. Now, let’s see about this year’s predictions.

RE GP PREVIEW 2018-19

  • The lines are loose, going with veterans over kids to begin the process.
  • Much like a year ago, right wing is up in the air. I have Ty Rattie, Kailer Yamamoto, Tobias Rieder, Jesse Puljujarvi and Drake Caggiula getting top-six minutes on right wing this coming season. What does this mean? Ryan Strome will play the entire season with McDavid.
  • The two rookies of note are Yamamoto (I have him playing half the season) and Evan Bouchard, who gets the nine games.
  • Is this a playoff team? I’m never going to bet against a Connor McDavid team, and I do think the Oilers will be more aggressive in addressing goaltending if it flags early.
  • Edmonton has room for one more forward, I think they should spend it on a penalty killer.
  • How much will they score? I have 232 goals before drilling down on the power play (it could add 5-10 goals but that’s not certain).
  • Ryan Nugent-Hopkins [25]Connor McDavid [40]Ty Rattie [12]
  • Milan Lucic [12]Leon Draisaitl [27]Tobias Rieder [15] 
  • Jujhar Khaira [7]Ryan Strome [15]Jesse Puljujarvi [16] 
  • Drake Caggiula [8]Kyle Brodziak [8]Zack Kassian [7]
  • Pontus Aberg [3]Brad Malone [1]Kailer Yamamoto [8]
  • Oscar Klefbom [8]Adam Larsson [2]
  • Andrej Sekera [4]Kris Russell [2]
  • Darnell Nurse [5]Matt Benning [4]
  • Kevin Gravel [0]—Ethan Bear [2]Evan Bouchard [1]
  • Cam Talbot—Mikko Koskinen

I thought it was pretty funny myself, many people see this as being Edmonton. There are things about the quote that fit the Oilers, and the Flames are generally seen as having one (if not the) best defensive groups in the game. Vancouver is a non-starter. Edmonton’s defense isn’t perfect, and is still reliant on players like Oscar Klefbom and Darnell Nurse further establishing themselves. It could be McDavid zooming the numbers, that’s a piece of evidence that should never leave the table, but the Puck IQ numbers have some good things to say about men like Klefbom, Larsson and Benning.

Nurse handled too many elite minutes, the result of injury to others. It may inform us about where he’ll hand (second pairing or third) but it doesn’t trash the entire group.  Here are the DFF totals for 2016-17, showing Benning, Larsson and Klefbom once again doing well with bigger minutes against elites:

The agent’s story about the player who wouldn’t sign with a western Canadian team may well be about the Oilers, but there is some quality here. The Oilers need to improve on defense, suggest they recognized as much when using No. 10 overall on Evan Bouchard.

LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE

A fun morning, cut short by World Cup Soccer. At 10, TSN1260, scheduled to appear:

  • Jonathan Willis, The Athletic. How about that Oilers’ defense? Plus who should the team sign with that final $1 million?
  • Alan McInally, Sky Sports. World Cup Soccer!
  • Scott Cullen, TSN. We’ll look at the Maple Leafs and what their work over the last five seasons brought them.

10-1260 text, @Lowetide on twitter. See you on the radio!

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206 Responses to "Dream Comfort Memory to Spare"

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  1. Professor Q says:

    Although a Conor, Connor, Connor line would be something to see, I’m very happy with the Nuge and Connor line (with Drai having his own, as a Top 15-20 player).

  2. Jaxon says:

    Wilde: I think Safin has a few ‘attribute’ edges like being a better handler, transporter, and skater. I don’t think Maksimov has enough of an edge shot-wise to make up for it. Safin and Maksimov have basically the same shooting ability when it comes to in-traffic 5v5 play, but obviously Maksimov has that hammer when you outnumber.

    There’s a numbers edge, especially considering Maksimov plays in a better league but Safin was on an absolute island this year and had a strong year numerically when his rookie status and team strength are taken into account.

    When you look at Maksimov’s team, you can see there was a strong top line of 3 80 point players and I have no doubt Kirill both bolstered the line and benefitted from it.

    When you look at Safin’s it’s a straight mess. His 26 goals represent a lead of 10 over the next guy(16 goals in 2nd place!)

    If you pull it back to semi-abstract player identities, I think Maksimov could turn into a 20-goal middle six winger who puts in work on the powerplay.

    Whereas Safin could be a strong all-situations guy, sort of a Benoit Pouliotesque disrupter with a penchant for sprinkling in highlight reel north-south goals rolled into a 40pt, positive possession, three hours of killing penalties season.

    MAksimov’s got a better chance of punching his ticket, though.

    Nice analysis.

  3. GMB3 says:

    OriginalPouzar: Depends on how you define “hit”.

    Considering there is about a 30% chance of a 3rd round pick becoming an NHL player, the Khaira picks can be considered “a hit”.

    Fair enough. I was thinking more towards an impact player.

  4. Wilde says:

    ArmchairGM: Yes, well, Crosby and Guentzel were shooting the lights out, so you’d expect the third wheel to get a lot of 2nd assists.

    If you’re contextualising Sheary’s numbers you have to do it for everyone else too.

    That’s why just noting Matthews’ 5v5 production isn’t a very deep argument for his status as a top 3 /player/ in the league.

    For example, Matthews’ GF/60 with Nylander is 4.34 – which is gross by the way and should be the goal for Nuge-McDavid this year – and Matthews away is 3.13.

    That’s not to say Nylander is carrying him, he’s worse away from Auston too, but it does show that an elite forward stranded can’t be compared to one with company.

    Then there’s shooting variance, quality of competition, team systems, deployment and the entire defensive half of the game.

  5. Jaxon says:

    Wilde,
    This is how I’d rank their potential (and truthfully, I could probably be convinced that yours is more accurate as it can be highly subjective depending on what you value):
    Potential:
    1) Bouchard
    2) Yamamoto
    3) Benson
    4) McLeod
    5) Bear
    6) Berglund
    7) Safin
    8) Maksimov
    9) Jones
    10) Samorukov

  6. Jaxon says:

    Berglund may turn out to be a diamond in the rough. He was drafted as an overager so his stats are a bit high as you’d expect, but he compared well in his draft season to others draft+1 seasons or at the same age (SuperElit seasons with *small letters):

    PLAYER (NHLe in 18-year-old (or draft+1) season)
    *David Rundblad 30.75
    *John Klingberg 26.86
    *Calle Andersson 25.22
    ALEX PIETRANGELO 21.14
    RYAN PULOCK 21.13
    ERIK JOHNSON 21.12
    ETHAN BEAR 20.86
    P.K. SUBBAN 20.81
    JACOB TROUBA 20.57
    DARNELL NURSE 20.50
    *Niklas Hansson 20.50
    MARTIN GERNAT 20.30
    ERIC GUDBRANSON 20.28
    STEFAN ELLIOTT 19.99
    MICHAEL STONE 19.57
    CONNOR MURPHY 19.49
    *Filip Berglund 19.48*********
    MARTIN MARINCIN 18.51
    MADISON BOWEY 18.45
    ALEX PETROVIC 18.29
    JEFF PETRY 18.11
    MIKE REILLY 17.35
    *Julius Bergman 15.58
    *Alexander Edler 14.35
    *Johnny Oduya 13.53
    *Erik Gustafsson 12.51

    He has also improved and shown up arrows since being drafted in a very difficult pro men’s league.

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