The entire ‘rebuild’ process came about because the Oilers (and its fans) were sick of finishing 8-10 each spring. Either the team would miss the playoffs, draft No. 14, or make the playoffs and watch the Stars (of Dallas) align. What the Oilers now need is a group of players who look a lot like MacT’s best teams: Smyth, Moreau, Grier, Marchant, Murray. Tough, skilled and willing to bring the work boots. How do they get there from here?
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!Daniel Nugent-Bowman: The pressure’s squarely on Bob Nicholson to make right GM hire for Oilers.
- New Lowetide: The Oilers possible summer trade pieces, and which longtime players might be saying goodbye.
- New Daniel Nugent-Bowman: Ten prospects likely to be available when the Oilers make their first-round pick.
- New Corey Pronman: The Athletic’s 2019 NHL Mock Draft (lottery edition): Devils get the No. 1 pick.
- New Jonathan Willis: Bob Nicholson mostly says the right things, but stalls on making changes to the Oilers.
- Daniel Nugent-Bowman: Oilers Report Cards: Few passing grades remain in season full of failure.
- Lowetide: How winning the draft lottery and drafting Jack Hughes could transform the Oilers.
- Lowetide: The Oilers have a trio of Condors blue pushing and all three are tracking well. How does this group compare to the Petry, Chorney, Wild college men from a decade ago?
- Lowetide: The Edmonton Oilers, the republic of Finland and the 2019 draft.
- 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.
- 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.
TOP 10 MOCK
- New Jersey Devils: LC Jack Hughes, U.S. National Development Team (USHL). Team that scored just 222 goals (10 fewer than Edmonton) races to the podium to grab the best prospect in the draft.
- New York Rangers: R Kappo Kakko, Turku (Sm-Liiga). Big winger gets the big stage. Rangers moving up hurts the Oilers, as they were the one team that would be a lock to take the Russian.
- Chicago Blackhawks: LD Bowen Byram, Vancouver Giants (WHL). In the last two drafts, ‘Hawks have chosen Henri Jokiharju and Adam Boqvist (both RHD). Byram would give the team a trio of blue that will one day rock the west every night. Lordy.
- Colorado Avalanche: RC Kirby Dach, Saskatoon Blades (WHL). This has to be a disappointing spot for the Avs, but Dach is a terrific consolation prize. I’m guessing the Oilers will make an effort to trade up into this area.
- Los Angeles Kings: R Vasili Podkolzin, St. Petersburg (MHL). The Kings aren’t regular Russian shoppers, but Podkolzin’s range of skills and physical maturity should have appeal for an organization that needs to fast track.
- Detroit Red Wings: LC Alex Turcotte, U.S. National Development Team (USHL). Fits the Red Wings template and had an impressive healthy run late in the season. In seven March games, he went 5-12-17 with 24 shots.
- Buffalo Sabres: R Dylan Cozens, Lethbridge (WHL). It might look impossible, but if the Russian goes top five then someone is moving down to this spot. I don’t think there’s the width of a quarter between Dach and Cozens.
- Edmonton Oilers: LC Peyton Krebs, Kootenay (WHL). I think he’ll be a LW when all is said and done. Exceptional skill (he played on a hideous team), he has quick feet and great hands. Had five points in five games (2-3-5) at the Hlinka-Gretzky. He isn’t NHL-ready.
- Anaheim Ducks: LC Trevor Zegras, U.S. National Development Team (USHL). Small forward who is elusive and highly skilled.
- Vancouver Canucks: L Matthew Boldy, U.S. National Development Team (USHL). Bigger winger with skill, he’s strong on the puck and can score goals.
2019 OILERS MOCK
- No. 8 overall— LC Peyton Krebs, Kootenay (WHL). I think he’s a better fit for this organization than the USHL kids above. Krebs can play center or wing, is creative, anticipates well and can skate. He’s quick and that works will all three Oilers centers. He’s the pick if the seven go as above. Pretty sure. Good shooter too.
- No. 38 overall—LC Blake Murray, Sudbury Wolves (OHL). He’s a big center with size and scored 30 goals this season. Good speed, forechecker, not much of a downside.
- No. 89 overall— LD Artemi Knyazev, Chicoutimi (QMJHL). ISS description is intriguing: two-way defenceman … excellent skater … strong puck-mover … makes a good first pass … stands up at the blue-line … confidence in his mobility.
- No. 100 overall —R Alex Beaucage, Rouyn-Noranda Huskies (QMJHL). At pick No. 100, I start looking for outliers and Beaucage might me one. Great wrister, fine passer, he’s a sniper. Speed is average. He’s 6.02, 192. Either a sleeper or draft and follow.
- No. 163 overall—L Michal Mrazek, Rogle (Swedish SuperElite). Big winger with skill and a plus shot. Good skater.
- No. 193 overall— R Yaroslav Likhachyov, Gatineau Olympiques (QMJHL). Skill winger with great hands, speed average.
Matty writes an article that I believe aligns with a certain sector of the fan base. Bob Nicholson may feel this way as well, but for a big part of Oilersnation an outsider is key. I don’t think Nicholson has the torque (a combination of power and goodwill) to name Gretzky general manager.
Keith Gretzky’s big selling point (in my opinion) is improvement in the prospect base and the pipeline to pro. The heart of the order isn’t here yet, but this fall the Condors might look like this:
- The strength of this group is on defense, and that should allow the team to trade from strength to address weakness.
- The forward group is generally disregarded, but I think Benson, Marody and Yamamoto should be considered legit NHL prospects. Outliers that might play 100 NHL games in support roles include Gambardella and Currie.
- The goalies are all matriculating, difficult to pick the winner from here.
For me, that’s the top argument for Keith Gretzky, but it’s one dimension of a general manager. The Oilers can keep Gretzky in that role and have him build on it. Here’s the Condors team as it looked on the day of Gretzky’s arrival (2016-17):
The current group is better, but names like Benson, Jones, Bear and Lagesson were drafted before his arrival.
I think Gretzky as AGM with someone like Ken Holland might work, but I don’t think many fans (certainly readers of this blog) would agree with my opinion on it.
Nicholson is going to have to hire a Gillis or McCrimmon, and those men may not come here unless there’s a liberal flattening of the current front office. Rock, meet hard place.
LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE
A busy morning and we cover the wide world of sports in two hours, beginning at 10. TSN1260, scheduled to appear:
- Kent Wilson, The Athletic. Flames in the playoffs! We’ll preview the series.
- Scott Wheeler, The Athletic. The 2019 draft and Maple Leafs playoffs.
- Kris Abbott, OddsShark. We’ll chat The Masters and NHL playoffs.
10-1260 text, @Lowetide on twitter. See you on the radio!