The WHL is something close to home base for the Edmonton Oilers, the team’s devotion to its backyard league is detailed here. The organization skipped ‘the dub’ last season, spending precious resources instead in the OHL, QMJHL, Finnish Jr and schools in the New Hampshire townships. The way this year’s draft is setting up, it’s a good bet we’ll see at least one pick from the WHL in 2019. Photo by Rob Ferguson.
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 Jonathan Willis: Is Ken Holland yesterday’s man or the ideal GM candidate for the Oilers?
- New Lowetide: Jesse Puljujarvi and his uncertain future with the Oilers
- New Lowetide: ‘I see something special’: Are Oilers prepared to make Caleb Jones a fixture on the roster next season?
- New Jonathan Willis: Gritty comeback performance sends Edmonton’s farm team to the second round of the AHL playoffs.
- New Lowetide: Dylan Cozens might be ideal fit for Oilers at No. 8 overall in the 2019 draft
- Daniel Nugent-Bowman: ‘Hard to please, but easy to work for’: How Sean Burke’s philosophy as a GM would benefit the Oilers.
- Daniel Nugent-Bowman: A dogged realist, Kelly McCrimmon’s resume makes him an attractive candidate for the Oilers GM job
- New Lowetide: Is this the season the Oilers take the plunge and draft a USHL player in the first round?
- Jonathan Willis: Top Oilers prospect Evan Bouchard stars in his first AHL game as Condors dominate.
- Lowetide: Adam Larsson’s importance to the Oilers and why trading him is a bad idea.
- Lowetide: Tyler Benson’s comparables offer Oilers fans plenty of hope for the future.
- Lowetide: Making the call on the Oilers’ RFAs with a new general manager on the way.
- Lowetide: Red Wings front office shuffle could impact Oilers’ future.
- Jonathan Willis: Potential coaching candidates and why the Oilers don’t need to rush the GM search to get one
- Lowetide: What would Glen Sather do with these Oilers?
- Jonathan Willis: Some creative solutions to address the Oilers’ goalie problem
- Lowetide: The Milan Lucic saga rolls into Year 4 for Oilers with no easy answers
- Jonathan Willis: Who stays and who goes? An early projection of which players will remain on the Oilers’ roster in 2019-20
- Lowetide: How high can these Condors fly?
- 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
WHL’S BEST, 2019
- Bowen Byram, LHD, Vancouver Giants. 67, 26-45-71 (1.06)
- Kirby Dach, RHC, Saskatoon Blades. 62, 25-48-73 (1.18)
- Dylan Cozens, RHC, Lethbridge Hurricanes. 68, 34-50-84 (1.24)
- Peyton Krebs, LW, Kootenay Ice. 64, 19-49-68 (1.06)
- Matthew Robertson, LHD, Edmonton Oil Kings. 52, 7-26-33 (0.63)
- Brett Leason, RW, Prince Albert Raiders. 55, 36-53-89 (1.62) (OA)
- Brayden Tracey, LW, Moose Jaw Warriors. 66, 36-45-81 (1.23)
- Lassi Thomson, RHD, Kelowna Rockets. 63, 17-24-41 (0.65)
- Mads Sogaard, G Medicine Hat Tigers. 37, 2.64 .921
- Nolan Foote, LW, Kelowna Rockets. 66, 36-27-63 (0.95)
- Luka Burzan LHC, Brandon Wheat Kings. 68, 40-38-78 (1.15) (OA)
- Adam Beckman, LW, Spokane Chiefs. 68, 32-30-62 (0.91)
- Kaedan Korczak, RD, Kelowna Rockets. 68, 4-29-33 (0.49)
- Dillon Hamaliuk, LW, Seattle Thunderbirds. 31, 11-15-26 (.84)
- Oleg Zaitsev, LHC, Red Deer Rebels. 66, 13-30-54 (0.65)
- Trent Miner, G, Vancouver Giants. 32, 1.98 .924.
- Alexei Protas, LC, Prince Albert Raiders. 61, 11-29-40 (0.66)
- Gianni Fairbrother, LHD, Everett Silvertips. 64, 10-26-36 (0.56)
- Sasha Mutala, RW, Tri-City Americans. 65, 20-21-41 (0.63)
- Reece Newkirk, LHC, Portland Winterhawks. 68, 23-36-59 (0.87)
- Josh Williams, RW, Edmonton Oil Kings. 66, 14-19-33 (0.50)
- Quinn Schmiemann, LHD, Kamloops Blazers. 58, 5-23-28 (0.48)
- Dustin Wolf, Everett Silvertips. 61, 1.69 .936
- Martin Lang, RW, Kamloops Blazers. 65, 11-22-33 (0.51)
- Luke Toporowski, LHC, Spokane Chiefs. 67, 21-28-49 (0.73)
- Ben McCartney, LW, Brandon Wheat Kings. 67, 21-20-41 (0.61)
- Vladimir Alistrov, LW, Edmonton Oil Kings. 62, 12-26-38 (0.61)
- Henry Rybinski, RW, Seattle Thunderbirds. 33, 7-28-35 (1.06)
- Mark Kastelic, RHC, Calgary Hitmen. 66, 47-30-77 (1.17) (OA)
- Cole Moberg, RHD, Prince George Cougars. 61, 13-27-40 (0.66) (OA)
- Jackson van de Leest, LHD, Calgary Hitmen. 67, 1-20-21 (0.31)
- Krystof Hrabik, LHC, Tri-City Americans. 63, 21-30-51 (0.81) (OA)
- Jake Lee, LHD, Seattle Thunderbirds. 67, 3-21-24 (0.36)
This is my WHL list. I have two players that still have me wondering. Brett Leason is an overager, not sure if my ranking is too high. He’s a famous older prospect, and that helps him no doubt. That said, he’s also talented. The other player is Brayden Tracey, who played on a line that zoomed him. I haven’t decided on those two men yet, the rest are fairly set.
Yesterday, people were still wondering what Rod Pedersen was talking about, but now Holland is part of a trio at the top along with Mark Hunter and Kelly McCrimmon. The wording around McCrimmon’s availability is vague, so his inclusion might be overstating. Please click on Mr. Friedman’s link here.
Gathering up all of the wayward bits and pieces I have heard and read, I think we have one of those elementary school math questions that is really two questions in one (a train leaves Edmonton averaging x miles an hour..).
It sounds like the job belongs to Ken Holland if he wants it. I imagine the Oilers would make efforts to retain Keith Gretzky and have him working alongside the same way as Holland did with Jim Devellano in the 1990’s. Holland trumps all. Jon’s article from yesterday (link above) is an excellent assessment of Holland.
Next up is Kelly McCrimmon, who apparently isn’t free to take the job. The wording by Mr. Friedman has the look of parsing, so one imagines the two sides are a little way down the road, perhaps to the point where Vegas may have to elevate McCrimmon to keep him. As in the case of Holland, Edmonton doesn’t control the story.
As for autonomy, it’s easily promised but the Oilers themselves may not have a firm grasp on the request. The organization is so set in its ways McCrimmon may be talking about a world the Oilers don’t understand. Edmonton is still in the days of receiving your phone messages by picking up a bunch of pink message slips after a two-hour lunch. It’s 1975. Analytics is available to them, but they need someone who can explain it, and more importantly, someone they respect enough to listen and learn from, applying it in real time.
Mark Hunter appears to be the first man on the list who is available and has both met the standards and wants the opportunity. I read somewhere Nicholson wanted to wrap this up in the next week to 10 days, that benefits Hunter more than anyone. Sean Burke may also be idling in the driveway.
THE 2014 DRAFT
Around these parts, once the draft slot was known, the mantra was “stay idle for Draisaitl” and Craig MacTavish delivered. That accomplishment sometimes gets obscured by other events but Edmonton won a major victory over the other lottery teams that day.
MacT mentioned analytics on draft weekend, specifically the idea of dealing down for basically equal talent. Although I have written thousands of words about Anton Slepyshev, William Carrier and Valentin Zykov, I don’t think it hurt the Oilers to make those trades. Sometimes good risks have less than ideal outcomes, doesn’t mean they were bad risks after the fact.
- Sam Bennett (OHL) 16-23-39
- Robby Fabri (OHL) 19-18-37
- Sam Reinhart (WHL) 13-24-37
- Nikolaj Ehlers (QMJHL) 17-18-35
- Michael Dal Colle (OHL) 14-21-35
- Leon Draisaitl (WHL) 13-22-35
- Nick Ritchie (OHL) 16-14-30
- Ivan Barbashev (QMJHL) 11-19-30
- Brendan Perlini (OHL) 14-16-30
- Jake Virtanen (WHL) 14-7-21
2014 Bruce McCurdy on Leon Draisaitl: The big centre (listed as 6’1, 209) was neither overly physically aggressive nor a speedster, but largely impressed this observer with his overall command of the game. The play went through his stick constantly, and for the most part, good or at least promising things developed thereafter. He showed a couple of bursts of what I would term “situational speed” but his A game is clearly one of controlling the play rather than pushing it. As I said to my voice recorder at one point, “When the puck is on Draisaitl’s stick, he owns it. Even if there’s a guy in his kitchen he’s in full control.” And later, “Very calm with the puck on his stick, not quite nonchalant but knows how much time he’s got, which in this league is a lot. Big and strong and can dangle the puck out of reach of the man who’s on him, pick his spot and distribute… A lot of subtle stuff, some little mistakes at the end of shifts, but with the puck on his stick he makes a lot of good decisions.”
I have been hard on the rest of the 2014 draft (beyond Leon), but William Lagesson might just save the entire endeavor. Edmonton can’t bitch no matter, Draisaitl alone is plenty for one draft. Lagesson has the look of a player who will spend some time in the NHL. Will it be 100 games? 250? 500?
Edmonton also received a trade tree by dealing Liam Coughlin to Chicago for the rights to Anders Nilsson. Graham McPhee is the current asset on the tree. Perhaps they’ll trade him to Vegas for McCrimmon. Tyler Vesel also remains in the system from the 2014 draft.
ERIC RODGERS GOALIE STATS
Eric passed along a fascinating view of AHL goalies, Starrett clearly the best option and the two freshman have miles to go. There is separation between Wells and Skinner for sure. If Starrett gets some NHL games next season, could he be consistently good?
LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE
A busy morning with three fun guests. It all gets started at 10, with our friend Bruce McCurdy from the Cult of Hockey at the Edmonton Journal dropping in around 10:20. We’ll chat about the GM possibilities and about Leon in his draft year. Gabe Lacques from USA Today will chat about the Jays and the rotation, plus the BoSox and their challenging start. Jon Campbell from OddsShark will chime in on the Kentucky Derby, NBA and NHL playoffs. 10-1260 text, @Lowetide on twitter. Talk soon!