A good guess has the Oilers signing Ryan McLeod sometime over the next 100 hours, giving him another game, and then sending the impressive youngster back to junior for the year. I’m not certain McLeod has fallen short of opening night, but the smart money has him flying back to Ontario. No matter what happens, McLeod is easily the most outstanding second-round pick of the decade, and it isn’t close.
It’s almost here! On Monday, 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 season 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. Eric Duhatschek will attend! 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 Daniel Nugent-Bowman: A pair of Ryans: Oilers McLeod, Strome strengthen families’ bond as teammates.
- New Lowetide: After more Oilers’ cuts, roster decisions coming into focus.
- New Tyler Dellow: Is Connor McDavid good enough to make a power play with five left shots work?
- New Daniel Nugent-Bowman: Former Oiler Dave Manson on coaching, nicknames and his raspy voice.
- The Athletic Cross Canada Tour Will hit Edmonton!
- New Lowetide: RE 18-19: Cam Talbot is key to Oilers success in 2018-19
- Lowetide: RE 18-19: A case for the defence.
- 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?
- New Jonathan Willis: Challenge accepted: Young RW’s showcase skill in Oilers preseason game.
- New Daniel Nugent-Bowman: Assessing the aftermath from Darnell Nurse’s deal with the Oilers.
- New Jonathan Willis: Pleasant and unpleasant surprises from Tuesday’s training camp cuts.
- New Lowetide: Oilers sign Nurse to a two-year deal.
- New Daniel Nugent-Bowman: Can Tobias Rieder be the perfect complement to Leon Draisaitl?
PRESEASON SCORING, SECOND-ROUND PICKS, 2010+
- 2018 Ryan McLeod 3, 0-2-2
- 2013 Marco Roy 1, 1-0-1
- 2010 Tyler Pitlick 1, 0-0-0
- 2011 David Musil 1, 0-0-0
- 2012 Mitchell Moroz 0, 0-0-0
- 2010 Curtis Hamilton 0, 0-0-0
- 2010 Martin Marincin 0, 0-0-0
- 2016 Tyler Benson 0, 0-0-0
Edmonton has drafted eight men in the second round since 2010, Ryan McLeod laps the field in pre-season scoring. The fleet center has been more impressive without the puck than with it, a truly unusual thing. I don’t know where this thing is going but the arrows on McLeod are terrific.
- We’re edging closer to the final roster, I added both goaltenders to the final list today. There hasn’t been any separation between Mikko Koskinen and Al Montoya—in fact, I’m not certain we know the name of the goalie Todd McLellan will dress as backup for Game One in Sweden at this time.
- The No. 1 line looks very good after the first exhibition game, that No. 2 line may need a resurrection shuffle. I would move Jesse Puljujarvi up.
- Drake Caggiula is on this list, a big part of the reason is the organization’s commitment to him. I don’t think he loses a roster spot this fall, but a year from now he won’t be an Oiler if he can’t contribute more to positive results than one year ago. The kids are knocking on the door.
- I’m fascinated to see how Todd McLellan handles Milan Lucic if he struggles this season. If the No. 2 line can’t rhyme, and the club moves the Finn to that trio, would they demote Tobias Rieder? And if that doesn’t work? This is just about the most interesting Oilers season since Craig MacTavish was coach. Lots of careers in play.
- Jakub Jerabek has this team made, but is he No. 6 or No. 7 D?
- The first of the uncertain group (Ryan Stanton) has been sent down.
- There are three spots left, likely two defensemen and a forward. My guess is the final three names will be Scottie Upshall, Kevin Gravel and Evan Bouchard.
- If I were king, my three keepers would be Pontus Aberg, Evan Bouchard and Josh Leivo on waivers. Yes, I know Bouchard is too young and it’s a mistake. Give me temptation, I want to see cherry outlet passes this winter.
THE DISTANT BELLS
- We’re down to three, and honestly’s it’s really one (Ryan McLeod). He is the distant bell champion without a single chime.
This from an NHL scout today:
"Bouchard is going to make the Oilers out of the gate. He is their best puck-mover. Smart and poised when he has it.
They are going to have to work with him on defending, but he flat out makes plays.."
— Bob Stauffer (@Bob_Stauffer) September 22, 2018
I would like this to be true, but Todd McLellan’s job is on the line and veteran coaches rarely make the risky call in these situations. McLellan is much maligned among the math folks, for me he’s a typical veteran coach (stubborn in his ways, just like MacT) and that may mean another season in junior for Bouchard. It’ll be more fun with the kid in the NHL, he’s already very good at the headman pass. Tape-to-tape, on the fly. Music!
- McLellan on Bouchard: “His play with the puck on his tape and poise to make passes is elite. He’s already ahead of some people in that area.” (Tony Brar, NHL.com).
PROJECTED OPENING NIGHT ROSTER
- 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
- Kris Russell—Evan Bouchard
- Jakob Jerabek
- Cam Talbot (Mikko Koskinen) (Al Montoya)
Is that a playoff team? I’m never going to bet against a Connor McDavid team. Ever.