Play is already underway in many parts of the hockey world and some Oilers prospects are posting crooked numbers. Goalie Olivier Rodrigue (2, 3.00 .880 for Drummondville Voltigeurs), Evan Bouchard (1, 1-2-3 for the London Knights), Filip Berglund (2, 2-1-3 for Skelleftea in Champions League), Joel Persson (2, 1-2-3 for Vaxjo Lakers in Champions League), Markus Niemelainen (6, 0-1-1 for HPK, Sm-Liiga) and Patrik Siikanen (3, 2-2-4 Blues of the Jr Sm-Liiga) are rocking in the free world and that means we’re getting closer to hockey across all leagues.
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: The 2018-19 Oilers and what may come.
- Lowetide: The 2015 draft and what was lost
- Lowetide: Projecting the 2018-19 Oilers opening night roster
- Lowetide: Where will Tobias Rieder land on the Oilers depth chart?
- Lowetide: No. 1 prospect—Evan Bouchard.
- Lowetide: No. 2 prospect—Kailer Yamamoto.
- The Athletic Cross Canada Tour Will hit Edmonton!
- Lowetide: No. 3 prospect—Ethan Bear
- Lowetide: No. 4 prospect—Ryan McLeod
- 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
Young blue is committing to Northeastern, which sucks for Merrimack. Nice words written about him here, suspect we don’t have him surrounded as a prospect yet.
PROSPECT TREE, WHAT’S ON IT?
The Oilers added three solid pieces and a couple of distant bells at the draft, but as is the case with Kesselring, it takes time to find out about a player. Many of these players could qualify under more than one category, I’ve made a decision on each and your mileage may vary.
- Goalies: Stuart Skinner, Dylan Wells, Shane Starrett, Hayden Hawkey, Olivier Rodrigue
- Puck Moving Blue: Evan Bouchard, Ethan Bear, Caleb Jones, Filip Berglund, Joel Persson, Matt Cairns, Michael Kesselring
- Two-Way Blue: Ryan Mantha, Dmitri Samorukov, John Marino
- Shutdown Blue: William Lagesson, Keegan Lowe, Phil Kemp, Vincent Desharnais, Markus Niemelainen
- Playmaking Center: Cooper Marody
- Two-Way Center: Ryan McLeod, Tyler Vesel, Aapeli Rasanen, Bogdan Yakimov, Joe Gambardella, Skyler Brind’Amour
- Scoring Forward: Kailer Yamamoto, Ty Rattie, Kirill Maksimov, Ostap Safin, Cameron Hebig, Patrick Siikanen
- Two-Way Winger: Tyler Benson, Nolan Vesey, Graham McPhee, J.D. Dudek
- Checking Forward: Patrick Russell, Colin Larkin
Now, we can fight and argue and argue and fight (hat tip: The Wackers) about where Evan Bouchard belongs, but he isn’t a ‘complete defenseman’ and I had to choose between offensive and two-way. Choose your poison.
Wilde is an interesting poster, thoughtful and does the work required to make a point (the most valuable of all skills for blog members). Yesterday, Wilde (Keith Anthony) said:
- There’s nothing concrete here past three players, to round out a top six you need two ~20 year olds to hit and Lucic to bounce back.
Aside from the fancy squiggly thing (Wilde has a fancy typewriter!) he frames the point beautifully. Edmonton has to find players who can successfully round out the top six. That won’t happen overnight, and last year’s group (the 1994’s) are in Russia (Anton Slepyshev) or trying to fend off Scottie Upshall (Drake Caggiula and Jujhar Khaira).
My top six scorers in the RE model this season are Connor McDavid, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Leon Draisaitl, Jesse Puljujarvi, Ryan Strome and Milan Lucic. Ideally, Puljujarvi is joined by Kailer Yamamoto on the skill lines this year but the young Spokane Chiefs winger may spend a lot of time in Bakersfield. Ty Rattie could join the group too, but that could be a short-term item.
A lot of this happens via chemistry. They didn’t gift Wayne Gretzky’s RW spot to Jari Kurri, it just became an obvious fit. Norm Lacombe was placed on a line with Mark Messier and Glenn Anderson when he came over from Buffalo, and damned near got killed trying to join the center ice ‘criss cross’ the two veterans deployed to confuse the defense (Messier and Anderson would change wings at center, with one or the other grabbing the puck depending on defensive alignment on the sortie).
We can talk about Nuge-McDavid-Puljujarvi being a great idea, or Lucic-Draisaitl-Yamamoto having appeal, but they have to find chem and someone has to be the defensive conscience. That’s why (imo) the two key wingers are going to be Nuge and Tobias Rieder, and that means one of Lucic, Puljujarvi or Yamamoto will be outside the top two lines.
We’re in about the same spot now as the organization was on the day Jordan Eberle was traded. If JP and KY and Rieder aren’t the answer, prepare for new arrivals over next summer. There’s no secret to this, although a No. 4 overall pick should be the prohibitive favorite to win the day.