Edmonton’s next general manager is going to get a massive headache not long after taking the job. When the new man does the calculations on cap issues, duplicate (movable) assets, keepers who can slot into feature roles, that migraine is going to move from a whisper to a scream. What can be done in one summer? Well, the road to balance can begin and that would be wildly encouraging.
The Athletic Edmonton features 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. INSANE NEW OFFER IS HERE!
- New Lowetide: Will the new GM continue the Oilers aggressive pursuit of college free agents?
- New Jonathan Willis: Connor McDavid’s frustration should be seen by the Oilers as a warning of possible disaster.
- Daniel Nugent-Bowman: Oilers have another problem to solve: Lifting the cloud over a clearly frustrated Connor McDavid
- Lowetide: What’s going on with Connor McDavid’s with or without you numbers?
- New Daniel Nugent-Bowman: The four blows that set up the knockout of the Oilers from playoff contention.
- New Jonathan Willis: The Oilers’ failures of 2018-19 will cost people their careers.
- Daniel Nugent-Bowman: Chipped teeth, playing DJ and lots of Game of Thrones: A week in the life of Darnell Nurse.
- New Lowetide: Kailer Yamamoto’s first pro season a cause for concern.
- Lowetide: The Edmonton Oilers and the giant talent pool that is the USHL.
- Lowetide: How the Oilers can shop for a big bang on a small budget
- Jonathan Willis: How the Oilers can turn their prospect depth into the blueline of a contender.
- Lowetide: What Mark Hunter’s draft record in Toronto means for his Oilers GM candidacy.
- Lowetide: The Oilers made a rare move and shopped the QMJHL at the 2018 draft. It could happen again.
- Lowetide: The Edmonton Oilers draft early, the WHL is loaded and there’s a lot of history.
- Lowetide: The Edmonton Oilers and the OHL.
OILERS AFTER 81
- Oilers in 2015: 31-43-7, 69 points; goal differential -38
- Oilers in 2016: 46-26-9, 101 points; goal differential +33
- Oilers in 2017: 35-40-6, 76 points; goal differential -38
- Oilers in 2018: 34-37-9, 77 points; goal differential -32
OILERS IN APRIL
- Oilers in April 2016: 1-1-1, three points; goal differential -1
- Oilers in April 2017: 1-2-0, two points; goal differential -3
- Oilers in April 2018: 2-1-0, four points; goal differential -2
- Oilers in April 2019: 0-2-0, zero points; goal differential -6
WHAT TO EXPECT IN APRIL
- On the road to: Vegas, Colorado (Expected 0-2-0) (Actual 0-1-0)
- At home to: San Jose (Expected 0-0-1) (Actual 0-0-0)
- On the road to: Calgary (Expected: 1-0-0) (Actual 0-0-0)
- Overall expected result: 1-2-1, three points in 4 games
- Current results: 0-2-0, zero points in 2 games
OILERS FEATURE POSITIONS
- I was talking with Bruce McCurdy yesterday about this model for an NHL team. We couldn’t remember where we saw it first (Pearn? Howson? MacT?) but we both agreed it made all kinds of sense.
- The key for any roster is to deliver in full at the most important positions. This model has the top two lines, No. 3 center, the top two pairings and a starting goalie as being central to success. That’s 12 of 23 positions, or about 50 percent of the roster. The vital 50 percent.
- I have nine of the 12 slots filled, with only No. 2 LW, No. 3 C and No. 2 RD open.
- That’s not reality of course. I think McDavid, Nuge, Leon, Oscar, Darnell and Larsson are all qualified. After that, not so much.
- Andrej Sekera should be on the list, but the Oilers have too much depth at the position. Perhaps that’s an area of depth where a trade can be managed. Question: Who is leaving?
FORWARDS (5-ON-5 PER 60 SCORING)
Kassian’s 5-on-5 offense has increased, but only slightly. The big winger has shown he can play on the top line for periods, you’ll want to add a 20-goal man if you’re the new GM. That said, it might be an area where you have to punt it to summer 2020 and hope for the best. I’d sign Brett Connolly.
Gagner’s offense is more reliable and I do think he could help on a strong power play. Like Kassian, I think Samwise is more valuable starting as a bottom six forward and then stepping up as needed.
Jesse Puljujarvi is the guy I would spend a lot of time finding room for on the roster.
SUMMER 2017 PROSPECT UPDATE
- We’re two years past this ranking and no one on the list has emerged at one of those 12 key roster positions. That’s basically the problem facing Edmonton’s new general manager. Should he be patient on JP and KY? Chiarelli rushed both and that decision contributed to his demise.
- Edmonton has had far better results than this in the past. Here’s 2010’s list two seasons after a draft:
- You can’t expect it every summer, but the 2010 list gave Edmonton a large number who filled one of the ’12’ slots.
- Hall, Eberle, Dubnyk, Petry all play productively in feature roles, all play for other organizations. There’s a lesson there, too.
- How many from the current list are locks for one of the ’12’ slots? None right now. I’d be patient on all of them, especially Puljujarvi.
Yes. It’s also reasonable to consider dealing Darnell Nurse, Adam Larsson and Andrej Sekera with money retained. The problem, and this has been an issue for several years, is that Edmonton’s management and scouting staff seems incapable of winning a deal. Or even getting even value on a trade.
The Nuge trade would be complicated, because you need to get someone back who is a sure fire ’12’ solution, plus another player who can be one of the 12. How might that work? Well, there’s performance and there is cap and Nuge posted a big season. His value will be high. The contract is $6 million for two more years (matching cap), so the Oilers could cast about for a RHD who could move the puck and who is under control for several more years. Ivan Provorov if he were right handed, that kind of thing.
The danger is trading the last of the Steve Austins for disappointing return. Other teams know Edmonton is desperate. That will write its own story in the coming days.
WHO WILL GO?
My guess is Larsson. I’m not in favor of it, but the new GM is going to want to get faster. Larsson has real value and could be cashed for a scoring forward this summer. What would the defense look like? A big old mess.
Beyond a long shot, my guess is somewhere close to Manhattan. That said, if you were looking to add a bona fide offensive piece for only money, Palve would be near the top of this year’s list.
LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE
At 10 this morning, TSN1260, we have terrific guests and lately plenty of breaking news. Scheduled to appear:
- Daniel Nugent-Bowman, The Athletic. We’ll chat about Daniel’s article this week about Connor McDavid and the ripple effect of his comments.
- Frank Seravalli, TSN. Revisiting Humboldt one year later, the McDavid comments and more.
10-1260 text, @Lowetide on twitter. Talk soon!