There are few things in life I enjoy more than a waiver claim. The old Intra-League draft was one, the annual entry draft is another, and there are a few private things a gentleman doesn’t talk about in public. Either way, waiver claims are right up there in terms of appeal, so you can imagine how much my heart soared when the Oilers general manager specifically brought up the subject yesterday. Music!
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 Blackdog Pat: There won’t ever be another Stan Mikita.
- New Jonathan Willis: No. 12 prospect—
- New Lowetide: The cost of an ill-advised experiment
- Lowetide: No. 13 prospect—Ostap Safin
- Jonathan Willis: No. 14 prospect—Olivier Rodrigue
- Lowetide: No. 15 prospect—William Lagesson
- Jonathan Willis: No. 16 prospect—Cameron Hebig
- Lowetide: No. 17 prospect—Graham McPhee
- Jonathan Willis: No. 18 prospect—Ryan Mantha
- Lowetide: No. 19 prospect—John Marino
- Jonathan Willis: No. 20 prospect—Tyler Vesel
- Lowetide: Top 20 prospects: Forwards outside the top 20
- Jonathan Willis: Are Hayden Hawkey and Phil Kemp underrated gems?
- Lowetide: Oilers 2013 draft: Two NHL players and one crazy trade.
- Lowetide: Some lingering questions about Oilers 2018 draft and evaluating goalies.
- Lowetide: Oilers training camp: 28 men for 23 jobs.
- Lowetide: Is Evan Bouchard NHL-ready?
- Lowetide: The maturation of Daryl Katz, or heading down a dangerous road?
PETER CHIARELLI’S 2018 SUMMER LIST
- Veteran scoring right winger. I’ve always seen this as ‘replacing Jordan Eberle’ but with the acquisition of Tobias Rieder perhaps we’re looking at a more complete player. It’s also true that in-house options like Jesse Puljujarvi and Kailer Yamamoto might make things moot.
- Two-way left winger. The signing of Kyle Brodziak, a center, addresses this need and gives the coach a veteran he can count on. This could also easily be Rieder, in fact he’s a perfect fit for this area. If we started plotting the roster and began with the third line, a Rieder-Nuge pairing might be fabulous.https://www.nhl.com/news/connor-mcdavid-anticipates-improved-edmonton-oilers/c-299703398?tid=277548856
- Puck mover. I didn’t think this should be a priority, and the addition of Evan Bouchard appears to have calmed the waters. I don’t believe Bouchard is going to play the entire season, so this might be a waiver option.
- No. 7 defender. My suspicion is that Kevin Gravel wins this job over Keegan Lowe and others.
- Backup goalie. The Oilers spent some money on Mikko Koskinen, an expensive, unproven option but his resume is solid.
It was a quiet summer, but Connor McDavid is saying all the right things. I’ve said this many times before, but it’s the minutes when McDavid is at rest that are at issue. Rieder was a helluva find.
- Anaheim: Chase De Leo. The Ducks traded for him at the end of June. He scored 69, 12-23-35 in the AHL and I think he could easily replace Drake Caggiula (they are similar players) at a far lower cap hit.
- Arizona: Michael Bunting. I liked his speed and skill on draft day 2014, not much has changed. His AHL totals (67, 23-20-43) showed marked improvement and he has to be close to making his NHL debut.
- Florida: Frank Vatrano. The Panthers shuffle players with extreme regularity, Vatrano has some offensive touch and doesn’t cost a lot.
- Tampa Bay: Adam Erne. He’s been a slow developing player in a machine gun system, but I like his size/speed/low center of gravity. He’s the kind of player who can dig out pucks for the skill forwards.
- Toronto: Josh Leivo. Toronto has a bunch of kids who are pushing by him (Johnsson for sure) but Leivo remains a worthy bet. I’ve been mentioning him so long, he’ll probably end up in Calgary scoring 20 goals a season with Monahan.
- Winnipeg: Marko Dano. Has many nice things, including speed and skill. Bloom is off the rose now but maybe all he needs is a change of scenery. Has played for three NHL teams, that’s a lot for someone 24 who isn’t completely established.
TRAINING CAMP BATTLES
- Peter Chiarelli: “We’re going to kind of take it slowly because we also have some guys that may compete and beat out guys – younger players – that might be in that category.” Source
I found this quote (I didn’t hear the interview but the article linked to is solid) to be interesting because there doesn’t seem to be a lot of battles. I count 29 men for 23 jobs, but the players most likely to be sent out are Al Montoya, Keegan Lowe, Ethan Bear, Brad Malone and Cooper Marody. So it’s really 24 men for 23 jobs. Plus the waiver wire.
- No. 1 RW: Leon Draisaitl remains on the roster, so don’t completely discount the idea of a McDavid-Draisaitl combination. Ty Rattie, Jesse Puljujarvi, Kailer Yamamoto, Drake Caggiula and Pontus Aberg are all possibilities, plus the waiver wire. My belief is the Oilers have Yamamoto ahead of Puljujarvi, but the Finn may spike this fall and he has the biggest hammer of all (impact potential).
- No. 2 RW: Tobias Rieder may have the inside track, at least early. This is (in my opinion) the entry point for Puljujarvi into the top 6F, on his way (eventually) to the McDavid line. I don’t think Rattie plays with Leon a lot, Draisaitl will need a more consistent player without the puck. Yamamoto and Aberg are candidates here.
- No. 3LW: Drake Caggiula has the inside track early, but his track record has some holes and he may not be able to keep it. Jujhar Khaira played well with Ryan Strome, perhaps that duo gets back together. Pontus Aberg brings some things, he might displace Caggiula as the season wears along. Tyler Benson will eventually be in the conversation, but it’s unlikely to happen this fall.
- No. 5C: Ryan Malone is the only obvious candidate, making this a possible waiver option. The appeal of having centers play on the wing (Nuge, Khaira) is more room to wheel.
- No. 6D: Matt Benning or Kris Russell will have the job entering camp, with Evan Bouchard pushing. I think Andrej Sekera may get some rest, allowing Russell to move over to his natural side. If Bouchard earns the NHL job, a trade will eventually occur.
LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE
A busy morning, TSN1260, a mixture of fun and sadness. Scheduled to appear:
- Bruce McCurdy, Cult of Hockey. Stan Mikita passed yesterday, we’ll chat about the legendary Chicago Blackhawks star and how much he impacted the game.
- Shane Malloy, XMRadio/TSN Radio. Shane’s in Edmonton for the Hlinka-Gretzky tournament, we’ll chat about the event, the players who caught his eye, and a little about the Oilers’ prospect base.
- Derek Taylor, TSN. We’ll chat with Derek about the CFL week to come, and what looks to be a fabulous back to back battle between the Eskimos and Stampeders beginning Labor Day weekend.
10-1260 text, @Lowetide on twitter. See you on the radio!