For the first time since I started this blog (2005, for those following along at home) I’m willing to endorse a trade of the 2019 first-round draft pick. Why? I don’t think the Oilers can wait on another pick, the time is now and this summer must fetch at least one impact forward who is a plug-and-play. More and more, I’m thinking this Oilers organization is going to need to trade precious future for immediate help this summer.
This runs directly against the current of verbal from Bob Nicholson this week, but in my view any general manager named is going to arrive at this conclusion. In the words of the great philosopher Izzy Mandelbaum, it’s go time.
The Athletic Edmonton brought it yesterday, there’s a fabulous cluster of stories (some linked below, some on the site). Great perspective from a ridiculous group of writers and analysts. Proud to be part of the group. Outstanding offer is here.
- New Lowetide: Caleb Jones has impressive first showing in the NHL with Oilers.
- New DGB: Weighing the pros and cons of some top candidates for the Edmonton Oilers GM job.
- New Scott Burnside: Connor McDavid answered unwanted Oilers questions with poise and defiance, which is a good thing. (this is a terrific article).
- Tyler Dellow: Four questions that the Oilers should be asking candidates for the GM job
- Daniel Nugent-Bowman: New Oilers caretaker Keith Gretzky caught between earning playoff berth and keeping future assets
- Lowetide: Bob Nicholson’s press conference attempts to set the tone for Oilers moving forward.
- Craig Custance: How desirable is the Oilers GM opening and what questions are prospective candidates asking?
- Jonathan Willis: With Peter Chiarelli gone, this is what the Oilers need to do next
- Pierre Lebrun: Possible candidates to replace Peter Chiarelli as Oilers GM
- Lowetide: Peter Chiarelli’s inability adjust, poor trades and free-agent misses at the centre of his firing.
- Jonathan Willis: Rushed Mikko Koskinen deal was one Peter Chiarelli should not have been allowed to make.
- Tyler Dellow: What can the NHL’s last three turtle derbies tell us about the playoff race in the West?
- Lowetide: Oilers sign Mikko Koskinen long term, signalling the end of the line for Cam Talbot in Edmonton.
- Lowetide: The Oilers’ way forward and the smartest route to finding an impact winger this summer.
- Daniel Nugent-Bowman: Goalless Tobias Rieder hopes to follow Zack Kassian and Milan Lucic and end his offensive funk.
- Lowetide: Complete Oilers top 20 prospects, Winter 2018
Bob McKenzie’s mid-season list is out and it gives us a real indication about the quality of the draft. I published my first list January 1 and below you’ll see the expanded list (1-20 remain the same). Major differences between the two lists include Arthur Kaliyev (I have him No. 6 and BM has him No. 13) and Jakob Pelletier (I have him No. 8 and BM has him No. 31). McKenzie’s list is a watershed for fans of the draft, it’s amazing to receive an “industry standard” on such a major part of procurement. Here’s my list.
LOWETIDE TOP 30
- C Jack Hughes, U.S. National Development Team (USHL). A brilliant offensive player, cerebral, quick and highly skilled.
- R Kaapo Kakko, Turkku (Sm-Liiga). A big power forward with tons of talent who is emerging in real time.
- R Dylan Cozens, Lethbridge (WHL). Size, skill and he can skate. Range of skills, accurate shooter.
- RC Kirby Dach, Saskatoon (WHL).A dynamic player with size and tremendous skill, has speed, wingspan and an excellent release.
- R Vasili Podkolzin, St. Petersburg (MHL). Smart player with tons of offensive ability, but also possesses good two-way instinct.
- L Arthur Kaliyev, Hamilton (OHL). He’s a fantastic scoring prospect. Good not great skater.
- LC Trevor Zegras, U.S. National Development Team (USHL). Undersized and highly skilled, elusive and aggressive with very good speed.
- L Jakob Pelletier, Moncton (QMJHL). Undersized skill winger with two-way ability.
- LC Peyton Krebs, Kootenay (WHL).Skill forward who can score, he has quick feet and good hands.
- LC Ryan Suzuki, Barrie (OHL). Great vision, skill, tremendous passer. If he were faster, he’d be top five.
- R Cole Caufield, U.S. National Development Team (USHL). He’s small, fast and a ridiculous scorer. Quick release, accurate.
- LD Bowen Byram, Vancouver (WHL). Explosive speed is his top attribute but he’s also excellent with the puck and owns a heavy shot.
- LC Alex Turcotte, U.S. National Development Team (USHL). A strong two-way reputation, he is skilled and an excellent skater. Injuries a worry.
- LD Cam York, U.S. National Development Team (USHL). The latest impact puck mover out of the USHL, great speed, passing and creativity.
- L Matthew Boldy, U.S. National Development Team (USHL). Bigger winger with skill, he’s strong on the puck and can score goals.
- RC Raphael Lavoie, Halifax Mooseheads (QMJHL). Big center with a long reach, and a plus shot.
- LD Thomas Harley, Mississauga (OHL). Good size, speed and he’s posting impressive numbers. Spiking as we speak.
- LC Alex Newhook, Victoria (BCHL).Terrific scorer with playmaking skilled and dogged determination on the backcheck. High end potential.
- LD Matthew Robertson, Edmonton (WHL). Big two-way defenseman with good speed and some offense.
- LD Philip Broberg, AIK (Allsvenskan). He’s big and can skate, while also displaying puck moving ability.
- RC Phillip Tomasino, Niagra (OHL). Underrated player with impressive skill, spike offensively year over year has him here.
- R Bobby Brink, Sioux City (USHL). Small, fast and very skilled, he’s an intelligent player with great vision.
- LC Connor McMichael, London (OHL). He has good speed and lots of skill. I like him quite a lot.
- RD Victor Soderstrom, Brynas (SHL). Impressive offensive player from the blueline. Good skater, good decisions, very quick.
- LD Ville Heinola, Lukko (Sm-Liiga). A mature player for his age, two-way talent with good speed and calm feet. Excellent passer.
- L Nick Robertson, Peterborough (OHL). Undersized skill winger with a sixth sense as a goal scorer. Impressive at Top Prospects.
- L Nils Hoglander, Rogle (SHL). A small skill winger, he can beat defensemen clean. More playmaker than scorer, but has a quick release and an effective shot.
- RD Moritz Seider, Mannheim (DEL). An actual teenage giant (6.04, 198) with a Condor wingspan. He’s a good passer and has decent speed.
- L Nolan Foote, Kelowna (WHL). Power forward with skill, not certain he’s a future scorer on an NHL skill line.
- G Spencer Knight, US National Team (USHL). Ranked due to enormous buzz, scouts love him.
- RC Brett Leason, Prince Albert (WHL). Already famous, he turns 20 two months before the draft. Impressive scorer, massive year over year spike.
OILERS MOCK DRAFT 2019
I’ll use the McKenzie list as a guide. Here we go!
- No. 8 overall—L Arthur Kaliyev, Hamilton (OHL). Craig Button: Kaliyev’s release and understanding of how to get open helps him score in so many different ways. NHLE: 39.2. I have him No. 6, he’s an impressive player, still don’t have his foot speed surrounded. Brock Otten on his skating: “His skating draws mixed reviews. IMO, his power game is complemented by a good enough top speed, but could benefit from better start ups.”
- No. 39 overall—RC Jamieson Rees, Sarnia (OHL). Otten: “An electric player with speed to burn; Rees is able to make moves at top speed. His hands are excellent.” NHLE: 25.4
- No. 88 overall— L Brayden Tracey, Moose Jaw (WHL). Played very little previous to this season in the WHL, but he’s having a fine rookie campaign. I believe he would be a steal at this number based on math alone. Reports have him displaying great hands, intelligence and boots just “okay”. NHLE: 24.8
- No. 101 overall —G Lukas Parik, Liberec, (Cze Jr). Good size, he’s athletic in his net and has the kind of size (6.04) Edmonton looks for in a goalie. Looked good at the U18 Five Nations.
- No. 163 overall—L Nando Eggenberger, Oshawa (OHL). He was projected as a first rounder one year ago by some pretty smart people (Red Line), he passed through the whole damned draft. I asked people, and was told he was wildly inconsistent game to game. At this point I’d take him second time around, because enough people have noticed something good, even if it isn’t there every night. NHLE: 24.3
- No. 194 overall—LC Linus Nassen, Frolunda (SHL). Solid two-way player who plays a strong checking style. Good straightaway speed but not a fabulous first step. NHLE: 19.4
TRADING THE PICK
Oilers fans love the draft, I’ve been informed by several people (dm, email, etc) that Edmonton will choose Dylan Cozens. When I suggest that means top 5 selection, the reaction is “well it looks like they’re on the way” and I get it, but it’s time to stop that train.
Look, the Oilers are three points out of the playoffs. I’m not suggesting the team spend one thin dime at the deadline, but would recommend a big deal (if available) to bring in the likes of Nikolaj Ehlers or Tyler Johnson.
Those names are ones I have plucked from the rosters of Winnipeg and Tampa Bay recently. Elliotte Friedman’s 31 Thoughts (I don’t quote him often because that’s his hard work on those pages, so please click and read) connected Edmonton to Andreas Athanasiou and Andre Burakovsky.
Burakovsky is an interesting name but he comes with complications. The young winger already makes $3 million and hasn’t yet scored 20 goals in a season. Athanasiou would be an excellent target but we don’t know if he’s available.
I would say this: The new general manager should probably buy the best scoring forward the 2019 first-round pick and other pieces can buy. I think the Oilers can do better on the draft floor. You might see the first, second, Jesse Puljujarvi and more heading out.
LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE
At 10 this morning, TSN1260, we’ll set up the weekend and talk about the Oilers future. Scheduled to appear:
- Steve Lansky, BigMouthSports. All-Star Game, Chiarelli firing.
- Paul Sir, The Basketball Show. Checking in on the Raptors, 76ers, Lebron.
- Matt Iwanyk, TSN1260. Best choice for GM, should the Oilers add at the deadline?
10-1260 text, @Lowetide on twitter. See you on the radio!