It’s easy to forget how things used to be, and it’s also easy to be overwhelmed by the voices who say everything’s wrong when in truth sunshine finds its way into the very room you’re sitting in. The downbeat boys aren’t always right, it just seems that way.
The trick is to find whatever truth is, not be swayed by voices yes or no. What is positive about the Edmonton Oilers?
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: Ron Hextall’s patient approach as GM would be shock to Oilers’ system
- New Jonathan Willis: Michael Futa’s success at the NHL Draft makes him a credible GM candidate for the Oilers
- Lowetide: The Oilers possible summer trade pieces, and which longtime players might be saying goodbye.
- Daniel Nugent-Bowman: Ten prospects likely to be available when the Oilers make their first-round pick.
- Jonathan Willis: Bob Nicholson mostly says the right things, but stalls on making changes to the Oilers.
- Daniel Nugent-Bowman: The pressure’s squarely on Bob Nicholson to make right GM hire for 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?
- 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 Mark Hunter’s draft record in Toronto means for his Oilers GM candidacy.
- Lowetide: The Edmonton Oilers, the republic of Finland and the 2019 draft.
- 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.
- Elliotte Friedman, November 2017: The first is unhappiness with the way players are developing at AHL Bakersfield. I did not see Ziyat Paigin myself, but there is disappointment that he has asked to go back to Russia, especially after a summer where he stayed to train in Edmonton. Rightly or wrongly, there is a feeling too many of their prospects are not panning out there. (Sportsnet.ca)
There are encouraging signs. The leading scorer for the AHL Bakersfield Condors in 2015-16 was 30-year old Matt Ford. This season? It’s 20-year old Tyler Benson. That’s a good trend.
MAKING THE GRADE IN TIME TO HELP
If you go back to the 2015-16 Condors and make a list of players from that team who have found a way to play in 100 or more NHL games since, you see a rather long list of players who arrived as NHL regulars after exiting the system (plus a goalie). Just for fun, let’s name the general manager at the time of each player’s entry into the pipeline:
- R Tyler Pitlick 158 (Steve Tambelli)
- L Jujhar Khaira 154 (Steve Tambellini)
- LD Jordan Oesterle 145 (Craig MacTavish)
- LD Brad Hunt 106 (Steve Tambellini)
- R Anton Slepyshev 102 (Craig MacTavish)
- G Laurent Brossoit 45 (Craig MacTavish)
When we talk about hockey orphans, these are them. Laurent Brossoit was acquired by MacT, who would have placed a certain value on him. If the Oilers keep MacT as GM, Brossoit is probably still here. Now, there are players in the system now the new guy won’t value highly. Chances are they find their way after leaving Edmonton. I think Joe Gambardella is a candidate.
Both men have value, but are the Oilers interested in signing them? Peter Chiarelli brought them to the organization. He’s gone. Orphans. I think Hawkey might be signed.
I value SA/60 as a PK stat. The best team SA/60 belonged to New Jersey his past season (41.53), Edmonton came in No. 19 at 53.19. In terms of GA/60, Tampa Bay is league best at 5.19, while Edmonton was No. 30 (9.21). Some of that is goaltending but this is an area that needs help.
My hope is the Oilers find a way to use the top offensive talents less and to find depth players to do the work. Here are the top 5 PK Dmen by SA/60 (50 or more minutes) for Edmonton:
- Matt Benning 43.96 (87:21)
- Adam Larsson 51.53 (165:19)
- Oscar Klefbom 55.12 (109:57)
- Darnell Nurse 56.91 (158:07)
- Kris Russell 60.21 (140:30)
The Lightning have three defensemen (Braydon Coburn, Erik Cernak and Victor Hedman) are under 47.00. Now the forwards:
- Connor McDavid 42.68 (49:12)
- Leon Draisaitl 43.54 (95:04)
- Zack Kassian 50.81 (99:10)
- Jujhar Khaira 52.04 (69:10)
- Kyle Brodziak 53.49 (117:46)
Ryan Callahan is 38.48, Yanni Gourde is 48.05, Alex Killorn 50.01. So, my question (and I don’t have a real answer): How many PK’s do the Oilers need to add this summer? Andrej Sekera healthy is one, but there’s a lot more needed. Nuge (58.68) should be the best at this discipline.
Once a year, someone emails me (or hammers away on twitter) about my draft rankings. This year, people are pointing out that scouts don’t like Arthur Kaliyev (I have him No. 3 overall).
My list is basically math run through NHLE and then adding up things like foot speed or getting zoomed by an impact linemate. I’m not a scout but have been staring at these numbers for years.
I’m not a braggy type, my upbringing teaches me that it’s attention seeking. That said, and since this year seems to be bringing out more than the usual number of naysayers, I’d like to point out that I ranked Andrew Mangiapane No. 52. The year before he was drafted.
YOU CAN CALL ME JAY
- What is the best thing you can say about Woodcroft? There are two. He’s playing the kids, and finding a way for almost all of them to have success. This is beyond a breath of fresh air. Benson has 65 points as a rookie at 20. Michael Henrich was drafted No. 13 in 1998, but when he turned pro went 5-10-15 in 73 games. Music!
- Which prospect (previously in Bakersfield) improved most in Woodcroft’s first season? I’ll pick Caleb Jones. His second AHL season doesn’t resemble the first one in any way. It’s important to credit the player, but Woodcroft’s Condors spiked almost universally. Also want to mention Joe Gambardella here. What an offensive improvement.
- Which prospect disappointed most in Woodcroft’s first season? Kailer Yamamoto. Injury was certainly part of it, but based on usage I think there may have been a message sent to the youngster. That’s reading the boxscore as tea leaves, but I do think there was a disconnect on usage and Woodcroft brilliantly handled everyone else. I’d say young Yamamoto had a disappointing first pro season.
- Anything weird about his roster? Very little strange this time. Forced to pick something, I would say AHL-only contracts like Logan Day and Evan Polei playing such major roles is unusual historically. That said, it makes sense based on performance.
- How many legit NHL prospects played in Bakersfield 2015-16? I will list Leon Draisaitl, Darnell Nurse, Griffin Reinhart, Anton Slepyshev, Laurent Brossoit, Jordan Oesterle, David Musil, Jujhar Khaira, Dillon Simpson, Kyle Platzer and Bogdan Yakimov. That is 11.
- How many of those will make it? That number is always less than hoped for, bet the under. So far, the answer is two.
- How many legit NHL prospects played in Bakersfield this year? I will list Tyler Benson, Cooper Marody, Joe Gambardella, Caleb Jones, Logan Day, Ethan Bear, Cam Hebig, William Lagesson, Kailer Yamamoto, Shane Starrett, Dylan Wells, Stuart Skinner, Josh Currie, Patrick Russell, Tyler Vesel. That’s 15.
- Who was the last Oilers AHL coach to have the same impact? Todd Nelson was a fine coach at this level. I’ll pick him. Before that? Claude Julien.
- Is there anything about the Condors’ deployment that is good or bad? I have been doing this post-season look at the Oilers AHL coach for years, this is the first time I don’t have to say “the coach did not play the 20-year old kids enough.” That’s huge. An absolute monster in player development.
- Does he have a preference in terms of player? Seems to like the aggressive forecheckers and defensemen who stand up at the blue line. His usage of players is a stark contrast from last year.
- Anything irritate you? If the Oilers don’t sign Logan Day to an NHL deal, I will be irritated.
- Are you generally satisfied with the progress of Edmonton’s prospects a year ago? Yes. God yes.
I’m not sure this makes sense as anything but theatre, but consider me all-in on the idea anyway. Oh my God.
LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE
At 10 this morning, TSN1260. Friday edition of the show, scheduled to appear:
- Steve Lansky, BigMouthSports. Leafs and Flames on a collision course.
- Matt Iwanyk, TSN1260. Why can’t he get any work done during the Masters?
10-1260 text, @Lowetide on twitter. 90 minutes!