I do believe the Edmonton Oilers start with the best of intentions. If you could find Peter Chiarelli at lunch today, and asked him about Evan Bouchard, my guess is that his sincere answer would include doing the right thing for the player’s long-term benefit. Edmonton as an organization doesn’t push these kids for the fun of it, but there’s always a big damned need the kids can solve.
- Dallas Eakins on Leon Draisaitl: “He’s just a very, very young player and we don’t want to rush him. We don’t want to put the weight of the market, or high expectations on him. We want to just see where he’s at when he does get playing against NHL players.” Source
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.
- Lowetide: No. 3 prospect—Ethan Bear
- Lowetide: No. 4 prospect—Ryan McLeod
- The Athletic Cross Canada Tour Will hit Edmonton!
- Lowetide: No. 5 prospect—Cooper Marody.
- Lowetide: No. 6 prospect—Kirill Maksimov.
- Lowetide: No. 7 prospect—Tyler Benson.
- Jonathan Willis: No. 8 prospect—Caleb Jones.
- Lowetide: No. 9 prospect—Filip Berglund.
- Jonathan Willis: No. 10 prospect—Dmitri Samorukov.
- Lowetide: No. 11 prospect—Stuart Skinner’s net worth.
- Jonathan Willis: No. 12 prospect—Joel Persson.
- 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 sign Scottie Upshall to PTO, expand options
LEON AND EVAN
Dallas Eakins had the best intentions for Leon Draisaitl, he absolutely did not want to push him into the league too soon. It’s easy to look at that first season for the big man and say he should have been sent out right away, but that would mean you forgot the sheer number of goal posts hit and yawning nets missed. He was unready, they should have sent him out, but he performed well during the period Edmonton was making the decision—and there was a major need.
I think the Oilers feel the same way about Evan Bouchard. They are determined to do the right thing by him. He is part of their future and they want him on the ice when Connor McDavid raises the Stanley Cup. What’s more, the team has other options, they can survive a year without him.
What happens next? The script is clear: The kid comes in and flattens competition among rookies, gains some confidence and scores a big goal early (probably on the power play in Bouchard’s case) in a preseason game. There will be a serious meeting in the big boardroom that holds a mighty table (sleeps 20!) and a prolonged back and forth. Maybe they’ll agree he should be sent out, and then someone will say “you know, I just go back to that goal he scored at orientation camp” and we’re off again. A leopard, ladies and men, does not change its spots.
I said this a year ago, when Kailer Yamamoto was posting crooked numbers and the preseason games were climbing. At some point you simply have to cut bait but the Oilers have a difficult time. The fast-track movement became an issue summer 2007 with Sam Gagner and has been an issue ever since. Peter Chiarelli doesn’t have a “are you sure that’s a good idea?” assistant, but he needs to get one post haste.
- This is via Natural Stat Trick and shows 5-on-5 scoring with Connor McDavid this past season.
- Nuge will be an upgrade on Milan Lucic and right wing is wide open. Ty Rattie is the odds on favourite to get first chance but that can last like a snowflake in a hot place.
- Ryan Strome scored well enough to get more time but it never came.
- I’m of the opinion the RW depth chart will be Jesse Puljujarvi and Kailer Yamamoto on the top two lines by 2020. I wonder if we see that changeover happen this winter?
- The organization likes Drake Caggiula, he’ll probably see more time there than any of us are arguing for, and he did post 2.00+ a year ago.
WINGERS WITHOUT CONNOR
- I’m fading Pontus Aberg like crazy, mostly due to the organization’s decision to commit to Drake Caggiula. That said, he performed well without Connor McDavid and that’s a positive. Aberg scored 3.71/60 5-on-5 with Leon Draisaitl a year ago.
- Draisaitl without McDavid is still a damned good hockey player. I’d find a way to put Nugent-Hopkins on his wing.
Toby Enstrom is returning to Sweden to play for Modo — his hometown team. He garnered a fair amount of NHL interest this summer, but didn't find a situation that kept him in North America.
— Chris Johnston (@reporterchris) August 24, 2018
Enstrom was mentioned as a possibility for the Oilers several times through the spring and into mid-summer. The season he would have gone back to Europe based on numbers was a year ago but his contract kept him here last season (where his numbers recovered, albeit in just 43 games). He found a way to play 719 NHL games, that’s a fine career.
Remember the time Edmonton almost signed a small forward out of training camp? And then it was discovered he was ineligible? Well, the player has thrived in the KHL and every few months his name comes up. Igor Eronko is reporting the Vegas Golden Knights have had discussions about the player signing next spring after his current deal expires. The NHLE from his most recent season (55) suggests he is worth pursuing.
Would you trade Leon Draisaitl (in a package) for a signed Erik Karlsson? Someone asked me that on the text line the other day, I said yes. There are risks, Karlsson is 28 now and has played in over 600 NHL games with some significant injuries. Thoughts?
LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE
A busy morning begins at 10, TSN1260. We’ll have some laughs and a rant or two, scheduled to appear:
- Steve Lansky, BigMouthSports. Erik Karlsson playing in Canada, Hayley Wickenheiser hockey executive, junior hockey returns to the north country.
- Matt Iwanyk, TSN1260. Point-CounterPoint will be a series of ravings, hand signals and grunts as we discuss an unforgivable second half by the Eskimos in Hamilton last night.
NFL tour stops with the Chargers and we’ll read your texts and comments. 10-1260 text, @Lowetide on twitter. See you on the radio!