I love reviewing old scouting reports. When they ring true, it’s music. It’s like an old friend returning, or a favourite memory relived in a dream so real it somehow brings the original experience back again—if only for an instant. The Red Line Report 2011 Oscar Klefbom is as good in its own way as my memory of Mrs. Lowetide walking out of the Tastee Freez Red Deer in 1983. Which is to say, embedded forever in my brain.
- Red Line: Klefbom is a real Red Line favorite. He’s certainly the most overlooked of the top prospects, but is the best pure passer of the bunch, and his skating ranks only behind Murphy. He already makes pro style passes — crisp and with touch — and excels at breaking the trap with tremendous stretch passes through the neutral zone, showing great vision. He was also the natural leader on Sweden’s national under-18 team. All this comes wrapped in a 6-3, 196-pound package, and Klefbom has really stepped up the physical aspect of his game over the last 12 months. At Red Line, we believe he might ultimately become the best all-around balance of offensive upside and physical strength in this year’s class.
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: Edmonton’s 2019 entry draft plans may change with new GM but needs are clear
- Lowetide: Caleb Jones has impressive first showing in the NHL with Oilers.
- DGB: Weighing the pros and cons of some top candidates for the Edmonton Oilers GM job.
- 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
CHIARELLI’S OILERS DEADLINE DEALS
- February 2016—traded Justin Schultz to Pittsburgh for a pick (Filip Berglund); traded Teddy Purcell for a pick (Matt Cairns); traded Anders Nilsson for a pick (Graham McPhee); traded Martin Gernat and a pick (Jack Kopacka) for Patrick Maroon.
- February 2017—traded Brandon Davidson for David Desharnais; traded Taylor Beck for Justin Fontaine.
- February 2018—traded Brandon Davidson for a pick (2019 3rd); traded Mark Letestu for Pontus Aberg; traded Patrick Maroon for JD Dudek and 2019 pick (cashed later for Cooper Marody).
Desharnais earned a special place in Oilers history with the famous overtime goal against the San Jose Sharks, while Patrick Maroon filled an extreme need for the organization. We’ll see about the draft picks and Marody.
KEITH GRETZKY’S DEADLINE NEEDS LIST
- Offload as many of Cam Talbot, Alex Petrovic, Brandon Manning, Matt Benning, Alex Chiasson, Ryan Spooner and Tobias Rieder as possible.
- Acquire a scoring forward with term (I think three years, or a player who is still RFA when the current contract is complete).
- Find a righty defenceman (with term) who can play between Larsson on the top pair and Benning, Bear, Bouchard or Persson on the third pair.
- A backup goalie who can push Koskinen. That’s no easy task.
KEITH GRETZKY’S ASSETS OUT LIST
- 2019 first-round pick
- 2019 second-round pick
- Darnell Nurse
- Evan Bouchard
- Jujhar Khaira
- Matt Benning
- Ethan Bear
POSSIBLE DEADLINE ACQUISITIONS
- L Andreas Athanasiou, Detroit Red Wings. This might not have to wait until summer, speed merchant with a $3 million deal that expires summer 2020. He would cost a lot but might be a perfect fit.
- L Andre Burakovsky, Washington Capitals. Another player at $3 million, his contract runs out this summer and he is RFA. He is not yet the player his skills imply he should be, and of course that’s why he is available. Intriguing, might be available now.
- L Ryan Dzingel, Ottawa Senators. He’s a UFA this summer and makes $1.8 million this season. I have no idea what the cost might be, but a test drive for this impressive scorer would be a solid option if he’s affordable.
- L Michael Ferland, Carolina Hurricanes. He gets mentioned often, but is a UFA and the Oilers can ill afford the price on any rental. What’s more, he isn’t the first-shot scorer they’re looking for, despite Ferland’s 13 goals.
- RD Dougie Hamilton, Carolina Hurricanes. He has two years after this one ($5.75 million). He is having a down season, and the Oilers have drafted Bouchard and signed Persson, but it’s worth finding out the asking price.
- LC Brayden Schenn, St. Louis Blues. He has one year left after this one and would be a solid addition to the Oilers ($5.125 million cap). Ideally Edmonton gets more than one extra year on any addition.
- R Mats Zuccarello, NY Rangers. One of the few rentals on my list, partly because he would be an interesting test drive. Could he stay healthy on a three-year deal? Not my choice, for me the Oilers need more of a shooter.
Yeah, this doesn’t get solved until April, and I still think Keith Gretzky has a chance. That’s not an endorsement, I’m somewhat ambivalent about the selection process and candidates mentioned. However, if the team catches fire and Gretzky makes a move that helps, well, we’ve seen this script before. Kind of an off-ice “Sam Gagner sure looks ready” circa 2007 late summer.
I’m not going to get ahead of this story, we’ll let it come to us. But the early names (Sutter was the first one) suggest the talent pool comes from Bob Nicholson’s rolodex. How does that old song by The Who go? “Meet the new boss, same as the old boss….”
What would I be encouraged by? News that the organization talked to Dellow or similar, news the organization planned to revamp the analytics department (I don’t think it’s a department). I know that stuff should (will?) arrive as news after the hire, but it’s difficult to know who among general managerial candidates puts value on numbers.
WILDE ON BENSON
This guy is delivering great work, and the Benson release might be his most compelling yet. It takes us from “hopeful, cross fingers” to something close to “oh my” with young Benson. The buzz is growing with regard to this young player, giving Bob Nicholson his first major challenge in the ‘slow-play’ new deal the organization has apparently adopted. I believe we’ll see him in Edmonton, can’t say it’s a bad idea based on the push by this player.
From the “hey, they signed Cameron Hebig” department we have Tye Felhaber this winter. He has wheels and a scoring touch, and is a free agent.
- Brock Otten: I do have some reservations about how well his offensive game will translate to the next level. Does a lot of his damage within tight, where that time and space will be less readily available at the next level. And while Felhaber is an above average skater for the OHL level (particularly his acceleration and first few steps), would he be considered more than an average skater at the pro level? Combine that with his average size and you will have NHL teams that are skeptical. But you have to give props to Felhaber for making over his game since his time in Saginaw. He has progressed from being a one dimensional, slightly perimeter offensive puck carrier; a guy who needed the puck on his stick to be effective and who was extremely turnover prone. To being one of the best players without the puck in the offensive zone in the OHL. His ability to find space is terrific. And he’s become a tireless worker in all three zones who is a reliable penalty killer. Even with some concerns as to how his game translates, he’s without a doubt worthy of an NHL deal to see how he fares and I’d be shocked if he didn’t get one. Source
LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE
We’re off and running for another week, TSN1260 beginning at 10. I’m on the roundtable on the Dustin Nielson Show (with Brennan Klak) and then we’ll hit the ground running. Scheduled to appear:
- John Matisz, The Score. We’ll talk NHL All-Star Weekend, Oilers All-Stars on the hotseat and new player tracking.
- Jason Strudwick, TSN1260. Struds will drop by to talk about the Oilers coming off the break and trying to get back into a playoff spot.
- Andrew Peard, Oil Kings PBP voice. Oil Kings were in first place in their division, lost and then won again to maintain a slight advantage over several good teams chasing. We’ll chat about the team and the increasing number of scouts attending Edmonton games this year.
10-1260 text, @Lowetide on twitter. Talk soon!