This is my favourite time of year. I love the fall, the cool air and the beautiful colors in the river valley. The coffee in the morning tastes better, minestrone Saturdays can begin (we spend the late afternoon and early evening drinking wine and making soup—pretty damned amazing), it’s apple crisp season (picked crab apples yesterday) and soon there will be turkey and hot chocolate and pancakes with bacon and people saying things like “let’s Irish that baby” with abandon.
The dog walks are brisk, Mrs. Lowetide and Ziggy in tow, rolling their eyes in unison when I mention my latest Oilers trade idea. It’s a time to remember the olden days, with my Dad & Grandpa, later with my Father-in-law and now with my kids. The seasons have clicked over and come up hockey. I remain madly in love with this beautiful game.
The Athletic made some big additions this week, including Daniel Nugent-Bowman joining the Edmonton staff. Daniel, Jonathan Willis, Minnia Feng, Pat McLean and me will deliver prose all winter long and there will be tons via the national desk from Tyler Dellow, Corey Pronman and Dom Luszczysyn. Special offer is here, less than $4 a month! Also, don’t forget to join us later this month (September 24, The Rec Room south side) for a get together and general merriment. I’m thrilled to be part of this group, hope you join us.
- New Lowetide: For Oilers young forwards, it’s what you create versus what you leave.
- Lowetide: Ryan Mantha’s injury and uncertain recovery.
- Lowetide: Oilers rookie camp roster offers options and balance.
- Corey Pronman: The most intriguing prospect to watch at camp for every NHL team.
- Jonathan Willis: Three different KHL stars, three different paths to NHL success.
- Daniel Nugent-Bowman: Bringing something different to the Oilers beat.
- Dom Luszczyszyn: 2018-19 season preview Edmonton Oilers.
- Lowetide: Who will win the McDavid-line lottery?
- Lowetide: The 2018-19 Oilers and what may come.
- The Athletic Cross Canada Tour Will hit Edmonton!
- 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.
- 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.
OPENING NIGHT ROOKIE LINEUP, ONE YEAR AGO
- Ostap Safin—Joe Gambardella—Kailer Yamamoto
- Davis Koch—Chad Butcher—Kirill Maksimov
- Brandon Saigeon—Lane Bauer—Trey-Fix Wolansky
- Evan Polei—Austin Glover—Steve Owre
- Caleb Jones—Ryan Mantha
- Ziyat Paigin—Ethan Bear
- Dmitri Samorukov—William Lagesson
- Dylan Wells, Stuart Skinner
Opening night last season featured first-round selection Kailer Yamamoto along with the three kid blue who were going to turn pro together. Edmonton wanted to break them in with the Condors along with three veterans, so William Lagesson was loaned to a Swedish team in the SHL. As things turned out, the four men had wildly varying winters and only three men return—with different stories than a year ago for each player.
OPENING NIGHT ROOKIE LINEUP, THIS AFTERNOON
Reid Wilkins had the lineups for day one of rookie practice, we’ll assume this to be the lineup until further notice (I’ll tweak if we get an update).
- (45) Joe Gambardella—(65) Cooper Marody—(56) Kailer Yamamoto
- (49) Tyler Benson—(70) Ryan McLeod—(53) Tyler Vesel
- (68) Nolan Vesey—(55) Luke Esposito—(72) Kirill Maksimov
- (41) Evan Polei—(61) Dave Gust—(54) Colin Larkin
- (78) Dmitri Samorukov—(74) Ethan Bear
- (82) Caleb Jones—(75) Evan Bouchard
- (88) Jake Kulevich—(89) William Lagesson
- Stuart Skinner, Dylan Wells, Olivier Rodrigue
It’s a better, deeper and more balanced roster of rookies this year compared to last for the lid lifter. The two first-round picks will get much of the attention over the next five days, I’m also fascinated to see how these defensemen shine. Bouchard has the highest pedigree and might be the most NHL-ready among the group. The great thing about the blue is the sheer number of kids who can be projected into the AHL as regulars and then possibly into the NHL. In a recent article for The Athletic, Jonathan Willis wrote “between 2005 and 2011, 137 defencemen were able to play at least 20 AHL games in their 20-year-old seasons. Of those 137, by age 27, 52 would go on to play at least 100 NHL games (52 percent).” Edmonton had two men play 20 games in the AHL (Bear and Jones) last year at age 20, the percentages favor one of them playing at least 100 NHL games.
Lagesson is the other fascinating blue to watch in pro this coming season, there’s a chance he will pass one of the more prominent prospects. At The Athletic, we rated Bear and Jones inside the top 10 prospects (links above) with Lagesson at No. 15. That could change this winter. Samorukov doesn’t get a lot of mention but this is a quality prospect. He can scoot, has two-way ability and possesses a dynamic offensive facet to his game. He’s a quality prospect. Individual sweater numbers via Flames Nation, Ryan Pike does a great job profiling the Flames side for today’s game.
Up front, Yamamoto and Marody will be the feature players offensively, with Gambardella and his speed/experience also chiming in. It should be the most threatening trio today, Jay Woodcroft having kind words for Marody so far in camp.
The second group features Benson and McLeod, this is the area of the roster that needed (and has received) an upgrade. If you have two players pushing (Yamamoto, Bouchard) but the second rounders and below are JAG’s, then there isn’t much to be gained. Maksimov on the No. 3 line can also be included in this group. Ostap Safin (hip flexor) is out and may miss the rookie camp games.
Gambardella and Vesel playing feature roles is a good tell, those college guys getting a shot tells us the organization sees them as worthy of a push. No certainty on goalie, although Stuart Skinner was mentioned somewhere (possibly NHL.com) as the likely starter.
I won’t re-post tonight, but will cover the game with my thoughts in tomorrow morning’s post. I will also update this article with any roster changes. IF the Oilers release their main roster today, I will have a new post up around 5pm. I hope you enjoy the day.