2018-19 Rookie Camp Game One: Oilers vs. Flames

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!

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.

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.

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228 Responses to "2018-19 Rookie Camp Game One: Oilers vs. Flames"

« Older Comments
  1. flyfish1168 says:

    dustrock:
    Guys Benson lost several teeth with a run-in with Parsons in the 3rd.

    Unbelievable

    A real hockey player is now born

  2. Ryan says:

    dessert1111:
    I started watching about mid way thru the first, some thoughts:

    Goaltending obviously weak. I guess that’s why we got a bunch of them.

    Yamamoto quiet, but I remember him starting quiet last year too. Didn’t make glaring errors or anything.

    Marody about as expected, solid all around game, looks pretty polished.

    Vesel showed better than Gambardella in the battle of the 24 year olds, I’m not high on Joey D.

    Benson looks like he wants to play in the NHL this year, the best forward.

    Maksimov quiet. McLeod showed skill and kept up for a guy just drafted – the scouting reports seem accurate.

    Esposito didn’t hurt his case for an AHL contract. The fourth line guys ran around a lot.

    Samorukov, you can see potential but he’s not there yet. Day seems like a more offensive player. 81 (Wilson?) looked a bit out of his league.

    Jones with a good all around game. Bear showed like a guy with NHL experience, though was hit and miss in the D zone. Bouchard is extremely calm with the puck, buddy is pure offense. High ceiling, no idea how much he’ll improve in the D zone and how much you can teach ‘battling’ but his size isn’t bad so it he improves it he could be a #1.

    I think it was a Jones who was caught flat-footed with the puck on his stick at the blue line for the turnover leading to the second goal against.

    Some slick passing from Benson was on display. Looked a little slow skating…

    Yamamoto was fairly invisible.

    Bouchard has a nice point shot. One of his slap shots was particularly sonorous. He looked lost on the PP with Bear while playing on his off side.

  3. Professor Q says:

    Just saw the “Sick of Losing” article about McDavid.

    I shudder, as I remember the last Oiler to publicly announce his distaste of losing and how that ended…

  4. Richard S.S. says:

    Anyone who really needs nine games should get it. Everyone needs to be told what they need to work on and go have fun. Game ones in pre-pre-Season mean little and results are mostly luck. It matters little how ready a player is, there is a need to actually play games to “perfect” your timing. That’s why there pre-Season.

  5. leadfarmer says:

    Raiders fans must be enjoying what Mack is doing to the Packers

  6. OriginalPouzar says:

    Ryan: I think it was a Jones who was caught flat-footed with the puck on his stick at the blue line for the turnover leading to the second goal against.

    I thought that was Samorukov?

  7. Woogie63 says:

    Saw Yamamoto cycle and puck retrieval very good. He also found a soft spot to get a get chance on goal.

    Ryan saw Benson slow, I saw that quite different.
    – no problem keeping up withYamamoto
    – skated himself back into the play more than 2 times to get goal side on a Flame

  8. Pescador says:

    flyfish1168: A real hockey player is now born

    Hello million dollar smile!

  9. OriginalPouzar says:

    Woogie63:
    Saw Yamamoto cycle and puck retrieval very good.He also found a soft spot to get a get chance on goal.

    Ryan saw Benson slow, I saw that quite different.
    – no problem keeping up withYamamoto
    – skated himself back into the play more than 2 times to get goal side on a Flame

    I didn’t see Benson slow at all – quite the contrary – found his skating to be powerful.

  10. Glass says:

    Benson has great edge work, can’t really speak to his north-south skating ability.

  11. Pescador says:

    OriginalPouzar: Thank you – I appreciate that.

    You should see the follow up e-mail he sent me – it was much worse.

    You should Cut & Paste it here

  12. OriginalPouzar says:

    I’m not sure that would be the classy, “bigger man” or proper thing to do.

  13. v4ance says:

    via Montreal Canadiens Twitter:

    The Canadiens have acquired forwards Tomas Tatar and Nick Suzuki, and a 2nd round pick in 2019 from the Vegas Golden Knights (Columbus’ pick previously acquired by Vegas), in return for Max Pacioretty.

  14. JimmyV1965 says:

    v4ance:
    via Montreal Canadiens Twitter:

    The Canadiens have acquired forwards Tomas Tatar and Nick Suzuki, and a 2nd round pick in 2019 from the Vegas Golden Knights (Columbus’ pick previously acquired by Vegas), in return for Max Pacioretty.

    Dammit. That really solidified the Knights. They will be a much better team.

  15. v4ance says:

    PuckPedia @PuckPedia

    Vegas trades Tatar ($5.3M 3 yrs) & Suzuki (925K 3 yrs) & 2019 2nd round pick to Montreal for Pacioretty ($4.5M 1 yr then UFA). Vegas reduces cap total by 0.8M excluding Suzuki. VGK w/ $10.8M Cap Space w/ 22 on roster & Theodore to sign.

    Vegas gets a top 6 scorer for one year AND reduces their cap by ditching cap anchor in Tatar? All for just the cost of a prospect and a 2nd rounder?

    McPhee is a genius.

  16. Lowetide says:

    VGK are better today than they were earlier today.

  17. v4ance says:

    Basically, if you consider it as a one year rental of Pacioretty for a 1st (Suzuki) and a 2nd round pick, it would have been an okay deal for both sides considering how badly the former Habs captain needed to be dealt.

    Tatar was negative value being overpaid at $5.3 M for 3 years and projected to produce ~40 pts or less. Roughly overpaid by about $2 million. Montreal can use the body since they’re on the cusp of a rebuild but they should have gotten more for giving Vegas more room to move under the cap.

  18. who says:

    v4ance:
    PuckPedia@PuckPedia

    Vegas trades Tatar ($5.3M 3 yrs) & Suzuki (925K 3 yrs) & 2019 2nd round pick to Montreal for Pacioretty ($4.5M 1 yr then UFA). Vegas reduces cap total by 0.8M excluding Suzuki.VGK w/ $10.8M Cap Space w/ 22 on roster & Theodore to sign.

    Vegas gets a top 6 scorer for one year AND reduces their cap by ditching cap anchor in Tatar?All for just the cost of a prospect and a 2nd rounder?

    McPhee is a genius.

    Is he?
    Looks like he traded a 2017 first, a 2018 first and a 2019 second for 1 year of Pacioretty.
    Seems a little steep to me.

  19. Gerta Rauss says:

    There goes my off season plans for the Oilers..!…:)

  20. jp says:

    who: Is he?
    Looks like he traded a 2017 first, a 2018 first and a 2019 second for 1 year of Pacioretty.
    Seems a little steep to me.

    Yeah the original cost for Tatar was very high.

    The total tally for Pacioretty (I think) was 2017 1st, 2018 1st, two 2019 2nds, 2021 3rd.

    They have money to re-sign him though I guess.

  21. jp says:

    SwedishPoster: Just got back from voting in the Swedish election. Always a great feeling to vote though this is a bit of a scary election. Good thing Oiler hockey kicks off to take the mind some of the more troublesome possibilties.

    Will be interesting to see how Lagesson looks. He improved his two main weaknesses last season, skating and puck control, hopefully he kept working on it over summer as they were still not quite NHL worthy at the end of the season but with how much better it got over the season I have some hope he’s getting there. I look forward to see his skating in particular compared to the other prospects.

    How are you feeling about the results? If you feel like sharing.

  22. v4ance says:

    Chris Johnston @reporterchris

    Montreal retained 10% of Max Pacioretty’s contract in the deal with Vegas. The Golden Knights retained 9.34% on Tomas Tatar — giving the #habs a $500,000 AAV savings for the two seasons beyond this coming one.

    This makes more sense. The Habs gained a bit of cap space even though they took on the larger cap hits.

  23. ArmchairGM says:

    jp: Yeah the original cost for Tatar was very high.

    The total tally for Pacioretty (I think) was 2017 1st, 2018 1st, two 2019 2nds, 2021 3rd.

    They have money to re-sign him though I guess.

    Shamelessly copied from another site:

    Also put into perspective how Vegas got Suzuki and the 2019 2nd. Columbus sent the 2017 1st (Suzuki) 2019 2nd (just traded to habs) and Clarkson to Vegas in exchange for selecting William Karlsson. Vegas did trade a lot to get Tatar (1st, 2nd and 3rd round picks). So overall perspective heres the trade:

    To Vegas: Pacioretty, Karlsson, Clarkson
    To Montreal: Tatar, 2017 1st (Suzuki) 2019 2nd
    To Detroit: 2018 1st (#30 Valeno) , 2019 2nd, 2021 3rd
    To Columbus: expansion draft considerations

    Gotta say Vegas comes out well. Not overly a big loss considering how they received the assets from Columbus and how many draft picks they acquired during the expansion draft.

  24. v4ance says:

    ArmchairGM: Shamelessly copied from another site:

    Also put into perspective how Vegas got Suzuki and the 2019 2nd. Columbus sent the 2017 1st (Suzuki) 2019 2nd (just traded to habs) and Clarkson to Vegas in exchange for selecting William Karlsson. Vegas did trade a lot to get Tatar (1st, 2nd and 3rd round picks). So overall perspective heres the trade:

    To Vegas: Pacioretty, Karlsson, Clarkson
    To Montreal: Tatar, 2017 1st (Suzuki) 2019 2nd
    To Detroit: 2018 1st (#30 Valeno) , 2019 2nd, 2021 3rd
    To Columbus: expansion draft considerations

    Gotta say Vegas comes out well. Not overly a big loss considering how they received the assets from Columbus and how many draft picks they acquired during the expansion draft.

    Rob Rossi @Real_RobRossi

    Have to admire Vegas approach from Expansion draft to now. Gamed other GMs to get decent-to-great players AND assets, and turning assets (including cap space) into better players. #NHL

    This sums up my thoughts as well. If you contrast how McPhee has done compared to the talent leeching trades of Chiarelli, you can see how much our GM has set back the organization. The only saving grace is that the Oilers have drafted well to replace some but not all of the lost talent.

  25. jake70 says:

    v4ance: Rob Rossi @Real_RobRossi

    Have to admire Vegas approach from Expansion draft to now. Gamed other GMs to get decent-to-great players AND assets, and turning assets (including cap space) into better players. #NHL

    This sums up my thoughts as well.If you contrast how McPhee has done compared to the talent leeching trades of Chiarelli, you can see how much our GM has set back the organization.The only saving grace is that the Oilers have drafted well to replace some but not all of the lost talent.

    Exceptions but there is the law of diminishing returns for players on canadian teams. It starts having to overpay in $$ and term to sign them initially. Price is going to be really interesting to watch.

  26. leadfarmer says:

    Not a fan of Tartar but that’s a crazy haul for a one year rental for an ageing player that wants to get paid

  27. Professor Q says:

    v4ance: Rob Rossi @Real_RobRossi

    Have to admire Vegas approach from Expansion draft to now. Gamed other GMs to get decent-to-great players AND assets, and turning assets (including cap space) into better players. #NHL

    This sums up my thoughts as well.If you contrast how McPhee has done compared to the talent leeching trades of Chiarelli, you can see how much our GM has set back the organization.The only saving grace is that the Oilers have drafted well to replace some but not all of the lost talent.

    And if Seattle expanded at the same time I don’t think we are even having this conversation. Vegas has a lot of leverage and benefits that help them, McPhee or not.

  28. leadfarmer says:

    Professor Q: And if Seattle expanded at the same time I don’t think we are even having this conversation.Vegas has a lot of leverage and benefits that help them, McPhee or not.

    The NHL needs to send McPhee and Gallant a nice Edible Arrangement or something. I thought the expansion fee price of 500 mil was pretty steep but seeing it’s up to 650 mil for Seattle. How many teams are worth 650 mil?

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