This is the point in summer where we have three things to argue over and nerves get a little raw. We state opinion as fact and wait for someone to challenge, then we’re off! One of the things I claim around this point is that we can predict opening night if we try. Can we?
Give The Athletic as a gift or get it yourself and join the fun! Offer is here, less than $4 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: Tracking Oilers training camp six weeks out.
- Lowetide: Some lingering questions about Oilers 2018 draft and evaluating goalies.
- Lowetide: Oilers training camp: 28 men for 23 jobs.
- Jonathan Willis: Predicting the winners in the top 6 and top 9 forwards.
- Lowetide: The news is out: Youth shall be served.
- Lowetide: The merciful end of the Leftorium.
- Lowetide: Cap decisions of 2017 may continue to hamper 2019 decisions
- Lowetide: Creating the ideal No. 2 line for the 2018-19 Oilers
- Jonathan Willis: Which RFA’s are the most attractive for offer sheets.
- Jonathan Willis: Analyzing the Oilers 2018-19 depth chart (including additions)
- Lowetide: Bakersfield Condors could be best Oilers AHL team in ages
- Lowetide: Is Evan Bouchard NHL-ready?
- Lowetide: The maturation of Daryl Katz, or heading down a dangerous road?
PROJECTED 2017-18 ROSTER (AUGUST 1, 2017)
I projected the opening night roster on August 1 a year ago (here) and the actual opening night roster is here. I missed on two players: Kailer Yamamoto and Iiro Pakarinen made the roster, while my roster had three players who didn’t make the cut: Anton Slepyshev (on a rehab so technically a roster player), Ryan Stanton and Jesse Puljujarvi. You never know.
A lot can change in a year, my projection included Laurent Brossoit, Eric Gryba, Yohann Auvitu, Anton Slepyshev, Mark Letestu, Patrick Maroon and Jussi Jokinen. Losing teams are in perpetual motion, that’s a bad thing.
PROJECTED OILERS 2018-19 OPENING NIGHT ROSTER
- I have 13 forwards, 8 defencemen, 2 goalies. We could see three goalies, the roster looks quiet fluid from here.
- The Oilers could still make a trade.
- I doubt Drake Caggiula will be on the fourth line but Jujhar Khaira was far more productive so we’ll slot him there.
- For the second year in a row, I have Kailer Yamamoto on the outside looking in. I am not confident in this coming true.
- There’s a chance the Oilers will have an extended roster for the Euro trip but if I recall correctly the team still has to declare their opening night roster.
- Tobias Rieder is manna from heaven, ladies.
PROJECTED CONDORS 2017-18 ROSTER
- I’ll get to this year’s list in a second, but wanted to run last year’s and count the actual prospects.
- My list has Nick Ellis, Caleb Jones, William Lagesson, Ziyat Paigin, Ethan Bear, Ryan Mantha, Joe Gambardella. That’s seven.
- Lagesson didn’t come over, and the rest struggled with injury or poor play.
- Ethan Bear had a good season, after that it was not good. Ryan Mantha is at an early career crossroads, Nick Ellis retired, Ziyat Paigin r-u-n-o-f-t to Russia. Lordy that’s not much for a winter from your farm team.
PROJECTED BAKERSFIELD 2018-19 ROSTER
- The Condors are going to be a better team than last year, even if they don’t win many games in the strong Pacific Division.
- The forwards are mostly prospects, welcome news and something that has been a rare occurrence for the Oilers (not so much for the Jets or Lightning).
- A big season for guys like Cameron Hebig, Tyler Vesel and Nolan Vesey. There looks to be room on skill lines for at least one, maybe two. Can Vesey push Joe Gambardella out of the way? Will Hebig get power-play time ahead of some of the draft picks?
- Cooper Marody, Tyler Benson and Kailer Yamamoto look to be the feature forwards among the group entering pro this fall.
- Caleb Jones will have some pressure on him this winter after a tough debut pro season. Ethan Bear had a more promising year and could get more NHL team this season. I’m worried about Ryan Mantha.
- The most intriguing newcomer among defenders is William Lagesson. He could surprise and jump over some of these other prospects.
- Goalies are kind of out there now, I placed Al Montoya in the AHL although he hasn’t played there since 2010-11.
- I count as legit prospects Caleb Jones, William Lagesson, Ethan Bear, Ryan Mantha, Tyler Benson, Joe Gambardella, Cooper Marody, Kailer Yamamoto, Tyler Vesel, Cameron Hebig, Stuart Skinner, Dylan Wells. That’s 12, the goalies are listed below. Oilers need more than a dozen legit prospects each year, but this is a real improvement from last summer.
- Jay Woodcroft is one of the most important men in the organization.
PROJECTED 2018-19 WICHITA THUNDER
- Ostap Safin is likely to play in Bakersfield if he stays in pro, but I think he’ll return for another year in the QMJHL.
- Justin Lemcke was a quality junior, I’ll be following his progress this season.
- Evan Polei likely spends most of his time in the AHL but there’s going to be more competition so someone is going to lose out on playing time.
- Both goalies are turning pro and may play a lot in Wichita. Devan Dubnyk played 43 ECHL games straight out of junior (.921).
FLASHBACK: OCTOBER 9, 2015 IN BAKERSFIELD
I’ll count this as the best opening night roster for the Condors in recent seasons. Leon Draisaitl and Darnell Nurse didn’t spend much time in California, but were there for some opening games. Beyond the two high draft picks, I’d count Laurent Brossoit, David Musil, Joey Laleggia, Jordan Oesterle, Bogdan Yakimov, Kyle Platzer, Jujhar Khaira, Andrew Miller, Iiro Pakarinen and Tyler Pitlick as legit prospects. Maybe this year’s team will be better.
LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE
We’re back, baby! I enjoy holidays but prefer working, that’s a fact. At 10 this morning, TSN 1260, scheduled to appear:
- Mark Zecchino from Golf Talk Canada. A fascinating Open and a new major winner!
- Dan Ralph, Canadian Press. A blockbuster CFL trade involving Johnny Football.
- Jason Gregor, TSN1260. Back to work Eskimos, can Tiger win again?
10-1260 text, @Lowetide on twitter. See you on the radio!