Back when this blog began, and even before, in the old hippie hfboards days, we’d sit around and drink our beer and complain about how hard it was to acquire difference makers. We all agreed, and it wasn’t just the beer talking, that the key was acquiring an impact talent, one of the 10 (or so) best players in the game. Add in some strong NHL veterans and a healthy system, and music! In 2010, Edmonton drafted an impact player, the best player on the roster since Doug Weight got traded a decade before. The years that have passed hammer home an important additional point, one we knew as hippies, but thought so easy to do, it need not be listed as a priority: Along with that impact player, an NHL team needs to have NHL average or above average talent across the roster. It is in this area, the ‘great young talent with below average help in too many places’, Oilers fans have dwelled in these years.
The Athletic Edmonton is going to bring it all season long. Proud to be part of a lineup that is ready to cover the coming year. Outstanding coverage from a large group, including Daniel Nugent-Bowman and Jonathan Willis, Lowetide, Minnia Feng and Pat McLean. If you haven’t subscribed yet, now’s your chance. Outstanding offer is here.
- New Jonathan Willis: Edmonton’s collection of prospect defencemen gives the team options now, in the future and in trade talks
- New Jonathan Willis: With Mikko Koskinen and Cam Talbot bound for free agency, what is the Oilers goaltending plan?
- New Lowetide: What could the Oilers acquire in a Jesse Puljujarvi trade?
- New Jonathan Willis: The Edmonton Oilers are one good summer away from being competitive.
- New Daniel Nugent Bowman: Why Joseph Gambardella’s first NHL call-up really hit home.
- Pierre Lebrun: LeBrun Notebook: Chiarelli under pressure to deliver in Edmonton.
- Daniel Nugent-Bowman: Peter Chiarelli’s reasoning for acquiring Brandon Manning doesn’t add up
- Lowetide: Oilers No. 9 prospect Winter 2018: Joel Persson.
- Lowetide: Oilers acquire Brandon Manning in a Sunday shocker, and this ought to be interesting.
- Lowetide: Oilers acquire Alexander Petrovic from Panthers, flushing Chris Wideman and a 2019 third-round pick in the trade.
- Lowetide: Oilers No. 8 prospect Winter 2018: Kirill Maksimov.
- Lowetide: Oilers No. 7 prospect Winter 2018: Caleb Jones.
- Lowetide: Oilers No. 6 Prospect winter 2018: Cooper Marody.
- Lowetide: Oilers No. 5 Prospect winter 2018: Ethan Bear.
- Lowetide: Oilers No. 4 Prospect winter 2018: Ryan McLeod.
- Lowetide: Oilers No. 3 Prospect winter 2018: Tyler Benson.
- Lowetide: Oilers No. 2 Prospect winter 2018: Kailer Yamamoto.
- Lowetide: Oilers No. 1 Prospect winter 2018: Evan Bouchard.
OILERS FORWARDS 2007-08
These are the primary forwards in that season, as you can see there is no Connor McDavid, no Taylor Hall, ya no hay estrellas . There are four full time forwards (Horcoff, Hemsky, Nilsson and Cogliano) over 2.00/60 5-on-5 scoring, with Gagner and Brodziak not far behind. This 2007-08 Oilers team boasted 10 forwards with 10+ goals and three (Hemsky, Penner, Horcoff) scored over 20. This group scored 1.74 5-on-5 goals per game.
There are too many young players, but the balance on the roster is actually impressive. Behind the kids (Gagner, Cogliano, Nilsson) is a strong two-way line (Stoll) and veterans like Pisani and Reasoner to show the way. Glencross was an inspired pickup. MacT sure could play that rock and roll at even strength, although, as you see here, four of his top nine forwards were under 1.50/60 scoring.
OILERS FORWARDS 2018-19
McDavid and Draisaitl tower over anyone from the 2007-08 group and the club has three men (Nuge, Chiasson and Khaira) over 1.75. The Oilers have the top end, but don’t have the depth displayed 11 years ago (and remember, that team missed the playoffs while finishing with 88 points).
I think there are going to be two keys to summer among forwards: Edmonton needs another skilled veteran, preferably a scoring winger, to add to the group. Also, the team badly needs one of Puljujarvi or Yamamoto to turn into an NHL player worthy of trust.
I grew up Jehovah’s Witness. We were taught a lot of things that kind of screwed me up (the world was going to end in 1972, and 1975, for instance), but it was drilled into my young brain “all of us are created equal”. I can recall many times my parents reaching out to help those in our community who had less than we did, calling it ‘being Christian’ and providing me with a wonderful moral compass.
Come to find, in the real world, it is easier to let things slide. When I was about 22, I worked at a job that included a person who was horrible racist. This was in a city (not Edmonton) that contained a large first nations population.
One day, this individual was in a room with me and about five other people, and he was being especially horrible. There had been a stabbing at the mall. One of us, one of us, stood up to it. His name was Dave, and he stood alone, the moment passing uncomfortably. After it passed, Dave looked me in the eye and said “shame on you.”
It was a horrible, valuable lesson and a reminder of my own past and principles. I walk the walk now, have for years and have passed along the lessons of my parents to my own children. I understand that you can’t let even one of these moments pass without speaking up.
We are all equal. Race, creed, color, gender, sexual orientation, the entire rainbow of possibilities. Equal. And now, today, that involves everyone, including me, maybe especially me because I am a white male, to stand up and say enough. To say “shame on you” and to remind or inform those who have decided it’s okay to say horrible and hurtful things out loud in front of all of us, thereby implicating some and intimidating others. No. Not today, not ever. We are better for having each other.
The last time Edmonton had this kind of quality across the positional spectrum was probably late 1990’s or 2000 with Claude Julien as coach. We don’t know the names of future NHLers playing in Bakersfield now, but we do know the increase in potential Oilers year over year is impressive. Tyler Benson, Cam Hebig, Dylan Wells, Cooper Marody and others are playing feature roles out of the box, and perhaps that’s the greatest gift Woodcroft provided these kids and the organization.
I believe the following players from this year’s team have a chance to play in the NHL as regulars: Jesse Puljujarvi, Kailer Yamamoto, Caleb Jones (already there), Ethan Bear, Dylan Wells, Cooper Marody, Cam Hebig, Tyler Benson, Joe Gambardella, William Lagesson, Stuart Skinner. That’s 11.
The 1999-00 Hamilton Bulldogs produced Dan Cleary, Dan Lacouture, Jason Chimera, Brad Norton, Alex Henry. That’s five. I expect this current Condors group might produce more. That’s outstanding production.
LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE
It’s Friday! Looking forward to the weekend and WJ’s, along with two Oilers games this weekend. Starting at 10, TSN1260:
- Steve Lansky, BigMouthSports. World Juniors and what happened to Canada, plus Oilers road trip and the All-Star game.
- Andrew Peard, Oil Kings PBP. Edmonton’s junior team is grabbing points in every game recently and moving to the top of the division.
- Matt Iwanyk, TSN1260. We’ll chat NFL playoffs, Oilers playoff chances.
10-1260 text, @Lowetide on twitter. See you on the radio!