Peter Chiarelli did the things he needed to this summer, in the opinion of this blog’s author—and it could cost him his job. In keeping the No. 10 overall pick, in not trading Oscar Klefbom or Ryan Nugent-Hopkins or Jesse Puljujarvi, he has kept an eye on the future and refrained from mortgaging the 2020’s (he also did some strange things but it was a much better June). That is a good thing but leaves him vulnerable.
His Last Chance Texaco for this season is probably today, or tomorrow. If he’s going to make a move, we might see it in the minutes before the final rosters have to be in to NHL head office. He has a signed defenseman (Jakob Jarabek) flapping in the wind, an idea about youngsters Evan Bouchard and Ethan Bear, plus some kind of list from the coaching staff in regard to areas of need. I’ve been watching this organization for decades, and can’t quite accept the idea the Edmonton Oilers will keep their powder dry for an entire offseason. This offseason ends on Tuesday. This is going to be close.
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- New Lowetide: Oilers waive Aberg, release Jerabek and stand at 25.
- New Lowetide: Oilers prospects Berglund, Maksimov off to fine starts
- Lowetide: Is this the year an Edmonton Oilers player wins the Calder Trophy?
- Daniel Nugent-Bowman: Evan Bouchard enlists former figure skater to help improve a weakness in his game.
- Jonathan Willis: Mikko Koskinen temporarily triumphs over Al Montoya, but the real battle for the backup role has just started
- Eric Duhatschek: Milan Lucic has made changes to try and get his swagger, and scoring touch, back.
- Jonathan Willis: What does the preseason performance of Jesse Puljujarvi and Kailer Yamamoto mean for the Oilers?
- Lowetide: Impressive Cooper Marody preseason could lead to NHL recall.
- Lowetide: Oilers farm system beginning to resemble the real thing
- 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?
- LD Brett Kulak, Calgary Flames. Depth defenseman, most of his value comes defensively. He played the entire year in the NHL 2017-18 averaging only 12:59 a night. He would be a No. 7D option.
- R Curtis Lazar, Calgary Flames. Offensively, he’s not far from being the modern J-F Jacques, although he managed 1.09 points-per-60 at 5-on-5 this past season. He has two-way acumen but the big item is offense, and we’re no longer talking about an entry prospect here (he is 23). I don’t think the Oilers will take him.
I think the Oilers are still in need of some help on defense, relying on two rookie blue is unwise, especially if Jason Garrison is the other option. Need help there. I’m impressed with the scoring right wingers but there’s a lack of scoring on left wing in my opinion. Here are the goal totals in the last half (final 41 games) of 2017-18 for opening night 2018-19 starters:
- Ryan Nugent-Hopkins 9 (in 21 games)
- Milan Lucic 1 (in 41 games)
- Tobias Rieder 6 (in 36 games)
- Jujhar Khaira 4 (in 41 games)
- Drake Caggiula 8 (in 37 games)
Having a Josh Leivo as insurance seems to me good business. Edmonton has acquired two-way wingers (Rieder) and physical wingers (Alex Chiasson) but an offensive type like Leivo has eluded them. I’m also unsure of the backup goalie.
If you are contemplating a season opener with two rookie RHD on the roster, that might be an area of strength. Ethan Bear may not have tremendous trade value now, and it would be a downer to watch him being dealt now. That said, RHD have some of the unicorn in them and Edmonton does have Adam Larsson and Matt Benning on the roster (along with Evan Bouchard and Bear).
It’s also possible to contemplate trading a RHC, in the person of Ryan Strome. Jujhar Khaira had some good shifts in the middle during preseason, perhaps there’s an opportunity there (I bet Khaira himself has some trade value).
PRESEASON STATS (FORWARDS)
- Connor McDavid 4, 4-7-11
- Ty Rattie 4, 7-4-11
- Kailer Yamamoto 6, 6-3-9
- Jesse Puljujarvi 5, 4-0-4
- Ryan Nugent-Hopkins 4, 2-2-4
- Jujhar Khaira 5, 1-3-4
- Ryan Strome 3, 0-3-3
- Drake Caggiula 4, 0-3-3
- Milan Lucic 4, 1-1-2
- Leon Draisaitl 4, 0-2-2
- Alex Chiasson 4, 0-2-2
- Tobias Rieder 5, 1-0-1
- Kyle Brodziak 5, 0-0-0
- Zack Kassian 4, 0-0-0
Oh my the right wingers on this team rocked the casbah in September. It doesn’t mean a blasted thing and we’ve talked forever about the odds of all of your prospects at one position spiking in unison, but we are here. Let’s talk Halloween night, see how it’s going.
PRESEASON STATS (DEFENSE)
- Evan Bouchard 4, 1-3-4
- Oscar Klefbom 4, 1-2-3
- Ethan Bear 4, 2-1-3
- Matt Benning 4, 0-3-3
- Darnell Nurse 4, 0-1-1
- Adam Larsson 4, 0-1-1
- Jason Garrison 4, 0-0-0
- Kris Russell 2, 0-0-0
Both Bouchard and Bear are helpful in the headman pass category, both men look for an execute impressive outlets to promising areas. I’m impatient to see both as mature, established NHL men.
PRESEASON STATS (GOALIES)
- Cam Talbot 4, 1.92 .943
- Mikko Koskinen 3, 3.68 .855
- Al Montoya 1, 3.00 .929
Talbot’s excellence is key and he delivered in preseason early and late. Koskinen had a wild and crazy time in exhibition play but settled in at the end. I want to wish Al Montoya and family the best as they await a new addition.
Lotta Leafs stuff, but the part that stopped me was, “Take Connor away and Edmonton is the worst team in the league.” https://t.co/dBNmtYmurp
— Bruce Arthur (@bruce_arthur) October 1, 2018
That’s why drafting Evan Bouchard and Kailer Yamamoto and Jesse Puljujarvi in the years after were so important, why Ryan McLeod and Filip Berglund and Stuart Skinner developing is vital. Edmonton didn’t own a tremendous feeder system the day Connor McDavid was drafted, in fact if you take Leon Draisaitl and Darnell Nurse away from the two drafts previous to 97’s it’s basically crickets.
In the two drafts previous to Sidney Crosby being selected, the Penguins chose Evgeni Malkin and Marc-Andre Fleury in the first rounds, and Alex Goligoski, Tyler Kennedy, Daniel Carcillo and Matt Moulson in later rounds. I do believe the Oilers are drafting well these days but the development isn’t complete and injuries can derail prospects in a heartbeat.
Peter Chiarelli sent away a ton of draft picks in 2015 and for that he is paying the price last and this season, it might cost him his job as general manager (there is no way to guarantee the playoffs with this group). I am impressed the organization stood and delivered on draft day 2016, 2017 and 2018. It shows renewed maturation and the results should appear on the ice this coming season in the persons of Puljujarvi, Yamamoto, Bouchard and perhaps later in the season Tyler Benson.
— Bakersfield Condors (@Condors) September 29, 2018
LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE
At nine this morning, I’ll be part of a two-hour round table with Dustin Nielson, Lieutenant Eric, Tom Gazzola and Tyler Yaremchuk. We’ll talk about the NHL season to come, focusing on the Oilers, the divisions and award winners. At 11, I’ll welcome in Jason Gregor to discuss the Eskimos loss this weekend and Oilers moves (we should hear about Jerabek by 10, possibly more).
10-1260 text, @Lowetide on twitter. It’s going to be a big week!