Saw. Him. Good. I used to read Baseball America religiously, and that publication would often interview scouts or run scouting reports. Old timey guys, I mean 90 year old men with faces of leather, would talk in unusual, scouting terms. The one I liked, taken from a Cardinals scout, was “saw him good” as he followed the exceptionally talented Dmitri Young all around America. Last night, I saw Evan Bouchard good, and there were others. It wasn’t a complete NHL roster to be sure, but the goaltender (David Rittich) was in the NHL a year ago and the rosters appeared to be balanced. Plenty of good stories for the road team.
Six more days! Next Monday, September 24 you are invited to a party at The Rec Room (south side). The Athletic Edmonton group would love to meet you, chat about the new Darnell Nurse contract and the team in general. You can register (we need to know how many are coming, just like your Mom at Christmas) in the link below.
The Athletic Edmonton lineup will be there, including Daniel Nugent-Bowman and Jonathan Willis. I’ll be there to make sure everyone uses a coaster, and I’d love to see you there. If you haven’t subscribed yet, now’s your chance. Special offer is here, less than $4 a month!
- New Lowetide: RE 18-19: A case for the defence.
- New Lowetide: Oilers sign Nurse to a two-year deal.
- New Daniel Nugent-Bowman: Can Tobias Rieder be the perfect complement to Leon Draisaitl?
- The Athletic Cross Canada Tour Will hit Edmonton!
- New Corey Pronman: Ranking NHL teams by their U23 core.
- New Lowetide: How do you replace a lost draft summer?
- Daniel Nugent-Bowman: Even with more goaltending depth the Oilers are counting on return to form from Cam Talbot.
- Lowetide: RE 18-19: Ryan Strome and the Oilers long journey to competent third and fourth lines
- Lowetide: RE 18-19: Leon Draisaitl and the pursuit of a second outscoring line in ’18-19
- Lowetide: RE 18-19: Can the McDavid line lead the 2018-19 Oilers to the playoffs?
- Jonathan Willis: If the Oilers fail in 2018-19, it will probably be the same reason they failed in 2017-18.
- Jonathan Willis: If the Oilers improve in ’18-19, they’ll do it on the back of special teams
- Eric Duhatschek: Connor McDavid knows what ails the Oilers and how to improve it.
- Daniel Nugent-Bowman: How Ethan Bear is providing inspiration for Indigenous youth through his hockey camp.
LAST NIGHT GAME NOTES
They won! Woot! Most of the kids who have NHL trajectories played well and a couple of the veterans did enough to receive some kind words. It was a ‘quarter moon in a ten-cent town’ kind of night but beggars can’t be choosers. NHL.com and NaturalStatTrick provided the information below.
- No. 19 G Mikko Koskinen. Stopped 16 of 19 shots, .842 and 4.50. I’m not speechless much, but that performance is not easily described. The big goalie signing let many pucks through, I’m not sure he caught anything clean and he most certainly did not settle down. He’ll be better next time. One more like this one and Al Montoya is back in the NHL mix.
- No. 40 G Shane Starrett. Won the game, stopped five of six, .833 and 3.00. Looked calm compared to Koskinen, got beat on a weird goal (of course) but made some nice stops.
- RD Evan Bouchard. 1-0-1, +3 24:31. Three shots, five shot attempts, one takeaway. I was very impressed in all areas. His goal was the results of heady play, a quick release and good instincts. He made several quality outlet passes, slowed the play often with calm feet. Went 8-7 Corsi for 5-on-5 with Ryan Stanton, a mostly effective pairing (some wobble from both men down low). Corsi for 5-on-5: 50 percent.
- RD Ethan Bear. 1-0-1, E 21:45. Two shots, three shot attempts, two blocked shots. His power-play goal was terrific, wonder if he gets a chance to play 5-on-4 this week. I thought he was calm, made good passes and cut down on defensive miscues from rookie camp. Went 4-7 with Gravel and 4-1 with a goal in a small time frame with Bouchard. Corsi for 5-on-5: 50 percent.
- RD Logan Day. 0-0-0 R 20:18. Two shots, five shot attempts, one giveaway and one takeaway. He’s a revelation in this camp, mobile and fearless. I don’t know what the hell they’re going to do with him, because if Day keeps playing this well someone will offer an NHL deal. Went 12-15 with Lagesson. Corsi for 5-on-5: 47.22 percent.
- LD Kevin Gravel. 0-2-2, +1 17:57. One shot, five shot attempts, two hits and two takeaways. He was excellent, including a wonderfully defended sortie against Flames winger Spencer Foo (who had him beat). An effective flick of the wrist and problem solves. Nice. Played with two main partners (4-7 5-on-5 per 60 in 7:12 with Bear, the duo 0-2 in 5-on-5 goal differential; 2-6 in 4:39 with Bouchard, the duo 1-0 in 5-on-5 goal differential). I think he was solid on a tough night in a tough town. Corsi for 5-on-5: 36.36
- LD Ryan Stanton. 0-0-0, +2 17:30. One shot, two shot attempts, one hit and three blocked shots. I was less impressed with his decision making, he looked slower than the other lefties playing defense last night. Went 8-7 with Bouchard, 1-0 in GD. Bouchard was on the ice with him for the third Dube goal, Stanton made a very poor decision by leaving his position and turning things into a breakaway. He’s a veteran, that was a rookie play. Corsi for 5-on-5: 50 percent.
- LD William Lagesson. 0-0-0, -2 15:20. Three shot attempts, one hit, one giveaway. Mobile defender passed the puck well, although he lacks the creativity of Bouchard and Bear. He’s a better defender though and that has value. Went 12-15 on the third pairing with Logan Day, I liked his game. Corsi for 5-on-5: 43.33
- LC Ryan McLeod. 0-2-2, +1 22:21. Oh my! Two takeaways, 6-10 on the dot and two incredible assists. I can’t remember the last second-round pick who was squeezing out sparks in his first training camp like this guy. You have to think he’s going to get at least one more game. Goodness what an early run. Went 10-12 with Benson and 8-13 with Yamamoto, line was 2-1 in goal differential. Corsi for 5-on-5: 47.06 percent.
- RC Josh Currie. 0-0-0, E 16:01. Two shots, four shot attempts, two hits, 46 percent on 13 faceoffs. The truth is I didn’t notice him much, sorry to say. He was in a good spot on turnovers in the offensive zone a couple of times but couldn’t make anything rhyme. Went 12-10 on a line with Joe Gambardella and Pontis Aberg, 1-2 in goal differential. Corsi for 5-on-5: 50 percent.
- LC Brad Malone. 0-0-0, +2 11:52. Two shots, four shot attempts, two hits, one giveaway, 55 percent on 11 faceoffs. He was what you might expect, solid in a two-way role but not much shaking offensively. Spent 17 minutes in the penalty box. Went 8-9 with Russell and Chiasson, 1-1 in goal differential. Corsi for 5-on-5: 40.91 percent.
- RC Tyler Vesel. 0-0-0, E 10:17. One shot, one blocked shot, 45 percent in 11 faceoffs. Led all centers with 1:40 on the penalty kill, that’s likely to be a major role for him in Bakersfield. Went 4-5 with Hebig and Polei on a line that had some moments but couldn’t cash. Corsi for 5-on-5: 38.46
- L Tyler Benson. 0-2-2, +1 17:56. Two shots, two blocked shots. Did you see the passes? Music! Benson was noticeable all night with the puck on his stick and battled hard to get it back when not having possession. One of three forwards (McLeod, Yamamoto) who played over four power-play minutes. Went 10-12 with McLeod and 8-12 with Yamamoto, they were impressive all night. Benson is a game rooster on both sides of the puck. Corsi for 5-on-5: 45.83 percent.
- L Joe Gambardella. 0-1-1, -1 14:10. Two shots, six shot attempts and one takeaway. He played in all disciplines, best moment came on a hard-working sortie where he simply beat the defenseman to the puck and wouldn’t give up on the opportunity. Lovely skill assist on the Aberg goal. He was 12-10 with Currie and Aberg. Corsi for 5-on-5: 55.56 percent, led all Oilers in this category.
- L Patrick Russell. 2-0-2, +1 13:00. Three shots, four shot attempts, two hits, one blocked shot. His first goal came on a dynamite feed from Chiasson, the second a Dave Lumley EN from Laredo. He forechecked well, he has some nice things. Went 10-10 with Malone and Chiasson. Corsi for 5-on-5: 52.38.
- L Evan Polei. 0-0-0, E 8:48. One fight, two shot attempts, one hit and two blocked shots. He was physical and showed good speed. I’m impressed. Rang one off the post, he was involved throughout the game. Impressive effort, went 4-5 with Vesel and Hebig. Corsi for 5-on-5: 33.33 percent, the lowest total for an Oilers player on the night.
- R Alex Chiasson. 0-2-2, +2 19:00. Two shots, three shot attempts, one hit, he also had a blocked shot. His pass to Russell was an impressive skill play. I’m not sure the Oilers will sign him, seems the die is cast for Scottie Upshall to make the team, but Chiasson is going to get a contract from someone I expect. Went 10-10 with Russell and 7-9 with Malone. Corsi for 5-on-5: 46.43 percent.
- R Pontus Aberg. 1-0-1, E 17:49. Two shots, one giveaway and one takeaway, 3:57 on the power play. He scored in garbage time (it was a nice goal) but needed to be more involved. The fact he was even in this game is a tell in terms of his possible landing spot at the end of camp. I like him more than the Oilers do. Went 14-10 with Gambardella, 12-10 with Currie. Corsi for 5-on-5: 54.55 percent.
- R Kailer Yamamoto. 2-1-3, +1 17:39. Three shots, seven shot attempts. One hit, one takeaway, one giveaway.He was exactly as we remember him from a year ago, dangerous with the puck on his stick and opportunistic. Great stealth back checker, he’s a turnover machine. It takes zero imagination to know why the Oilers like him. Impressive player. Went 8-13 with McLeod, 8-12 with Benson. If I had a vote, he would have been player of the game. Corsi for 5-on-5: 36.36 percent.
- R Cameron Hebig. 0-0-0, E 9:46. One giveaway, one takeaway, one blocked shot. I can’t say much about him, 4-5 with Vesel and Polei, both of whom were more noticeable. Corsi for 5-on-5: 42.86 percent.
POSSIBLE LINEUP TONIGHT (WILL CHANGE)
- Jujhar Khaira—Ryan Strome—Jesse Puljujarvi
- Drake Caggiula—Kyle Brodziak—Zack Kassian
- Ostap Safin—Cooper Marody—Ty Rattie
- Tyler Benson—Ryan McLeod—Kailer Yamamoto
- Jason Garrison—Matt Benning
- Caleb Jones—Kris Russell
- Keegan Lowe—Jakob Jerabek
- Cam Talbot (Al Montoya)
THE NURSE SIGNING
I wrote about Nurse signing yesterday at The Athletic, so won’t go too much into his addition here. It’s clearly a big damned deal and sets the roster up in a substantial way. Edmonton is allowed to carry an extra player (goalie), so a good guess for the 24-man roster is this:
- Ryan Nugent-Hopkins—Connor McDavid—Ty Rattie
- Milan Lucic—Leon Draisaitl—Tobias Rieder
- Jujhar Khaira—Ryan Strome—Jesse Puljujarvi
- Drake Caggiula—Kyle Brodziak—Zack Kassian
- Scottie Upshall
- Oscar Klefbom—Adam Larsson
- Darnell Nurse—Matt Benning
- Jakub Jerabek—Kris Russell
- Kevin Gravel—Evan Bouchard
- Cam Talbot (Mikko Koskinen) (Al Montoya)
- Andrej Sekera (LTIR)
PROJECTED CAP NUMBER FOR OPENING NIGHT
Edmonton can make it under the wire, I do think we might see Scottie Upshall and Evan Bouchard on this roster (with Pontus Aberg and Kevin Gravel on the outside) but the money works either way.
LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE
A busy morning, TSN1260. Scheduled to appear:
- Jonathan Willis, The Athletic. The Nurse signing, the impressive showing by Edmonton’s most recent draft picks, and Mikko Koskinen.
- Marc Dumont, The Athletic. Exciting start to the preseason for Montreal last night, top draft pick Jesperi Kotkaniemi scored a terrific goal. In what is likely to be a long season for the Habs, how invested are fans in this rebuild?
- Scott Cullen, TSN. NHL preseason underway, Scott’s projections for player scoring, CFL weekend to come.
10-1260 text, @Lowetide on twitter. Talk soon!