For Ken Holland, the honeymoon period with Edmonton Oilers fans could last for years, but the first big trade will be scrutinized 24-7 for weeks. A fan base that has endured some truly noxious deals in recent Junes will be looking for a fair deal in 2019. It would be a very good time for a home run.
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 OFFER IS HERE!
- New Lowetide: What kind of coach should Ken Holland hire for the Oilers?
- New Jonathan Willis: Every Oilers AHL prospect, rated by how close they are to the NHL
- New Jonathan Willis: A resurgent Andrej Sekera gives the Oilers much-needed defensive options
- New Lowetide: Is Joe Gambardella destined to become the Oilers’ next Fernando Pisani?
- New Daniel Nugent-Bowman: Protector, supporter, confidant: Connor McDavid’s mom, Kelly, is his off-ice rock through good times and bad
- Lowetide: An offseason plan for Ken Holland to remodel the Oilers roster.
- Daniel Nugent-Bowman: Ken Holland steadfast that buck stops with him as new Oilers GM.
- Lowetide: How will Ken Holland proceed in Year 1 as Oilers general manager?
- Jonathan Willis: What does the arrival of Ken Holland mean for the Oilers coaching search?
- Daniel Nugent-Bowman: Prioritizing the roster issues that await Ken Holland in Edmonton.
- Lowetide: Ken Holland’s procurement list for his rumored move to Edmonton will include front-office personnel
- Jonathan Willis: A Milan Lucic trade is at the top of the to-do list for the Oilers’ next GM.
First Round—No. 8 overall—RC Kirby Dach. He’s 6.03, 200 and has all kinds of skill. Compared to Ryan Johansen in terms of style. His boxcars aren’t stunning, I think the Oilers will probably be getting a more physical Nuge. That’s almost all good, but one does wonder about the 5-on-5 scoring future for this player. At 5-on-5 this season, Dach went 62, 20-22-42 (.677), while Nuge posted 69, 19-25-44 (.638) in the same discipline in his draft year. He would be my choice at No. 8 (I have him No. 6) assuming the scouting staff plans of passing on Kaliyev.
Does that sound better than Peyton Krebs? His offense at 5-on-5 (64, 10-29-39 .609) came while playing for a ghastly Kootenay Ice team. I think Holland would want Turcotte if he’s still on the board, but that is unlikely.
What about a trade? I think Holland waits for the first seven selections and then lingers to see if the phone rings. If he can improve his team by trading the first round pick, I bet he does it. The return would have to be a good NHL player and young enough to hang around for several seasons.
Second Round—No. 38 overall—LW, RW Samuel Fagemo. He’s a sniper who fell through the draft a year ago, but for Holland this is exactly the kind of player the Oilers need to be drafting. He scored 14 goals in 42 SHL games, playing 13:54 and getting 109 shots on goal. He turned 19 in March, another year in the SHL would seem the reasonable course.
Third Round—No. 85 overall—LC Luka Burzan. Undersized WHL center with good speed and skill, like Fagemo he’s an overager. His speed works on offense and defense and he’s a smart, creative player.
Fourth Round—No. 100 overall—LD Warren Marshall, USNDTP. Edmonton has been shopping the development team for several years now, Marshall is an excellent skater whose skills are perfectly suited to the modern transition game. Smart player.
Sixth Round—No. 162 overall—R Wiljami Myllylä, HIFK (Jr Liiga). Speed demon, has been posting gaudy scoring numbers for several years.
Seventh Round—No. 193 overall—LC Linus Nassen, Frolunda (SHL). Solid two-way player who plays a strong checking style.
2019 TOUCH LIST
I’m going to post five names per league every day this week, today is the USHL. The following players are outside the Central Scouting Top 150 NA list, the top 10 NA goalie list, the top 75 Euro list and the top 10 Euro goalie list. They may not be drafted but there’s something about them worth mentioning.
LC Brendan Budy is a speedy playmaker who posted 11-20-31 in 31 games for Tri-City. He’s a small forward (5.10, 180) and is a June 2000. Impressive passer, great on the back hand.
G Isiah Saville. He’s a September 2000, meaning one of the older first time eligibles. He performed well for Tri City (34, .925) and was solid in the NAHL in 2017-18. He’s 6.01, 194.
F Danny Weight. Doug’s boy went 23, 8-7-15 with the National Team in the USHL this season. He plays the wing, is 6 feet and has great hands. Foot speed gets mentioned, he was buried on the USNDTP roster and that may mean he’ll spike next season in Penticton.
RC Jaxon Nelson scored 52, 19-21-40 for Omaha Lancers and is a 2000. He’s a big player (6.04, 207) and has good offense for this level. He might carve out a Chris VandeVelde future.
LW Trevor Kuntar isn’t famous but as a June 2001 who scored 61, 19-17-36 for the Youngstown Phantoms he’s worth a conversation. Smart player, good passer and he has some finish.
MacTavish may flourish in the KHL and return to the NHL in a couple of years as an attractive coaching option. I imagine that’s the plan. Although I was not a fan of much of his work in the GM chair, he was open to analytics and for me was a tremendous coach. This move may mark a return to his strengths. I wish him all the best.
HOLLAND’S TO-DO LIST
When Holland’s name came into view, I listed my views on what his priorities for the summer should be. My list went like this:
*Two scoring wingers
*No. 3 RH center
*Top 4 RHD who can move the puck
Now that he’s here and has been interviewed a few dozen times, I think the tea leaves tell a different story about Holland’s priorities:
*Find a specific coach—The names I’m reading represent a specific type of coach, someone who would rather explain than turn the air blue. After a long period of red ass coaches, a communicator like Dave Tippett or Todd Nelson seems to be the priority.
*Offload Milan Lucic—Again tea leaves, but bits and bites of info have the team making this a priority before Holland arrived, and it’s possible that continues. If there is a market for Lucic, make it so. The only question I have is what kind(s) of sweetener are involved. Retained? How much? A prospect as sweetener? Depends on the player. The trio of Caleb Jones, William Lagesson and Ethan Bear will be waiver eligible a year from now and defense is an area of strength. Perhaps one of them will be the sweetener (although Jones should be off limits).
*Find a starting goalie—This is a known priority and makes sense. I think Koskinen can help and perhaps carry a team for a time, but you want the second goalie to be capable of same. Brian Elliott is my choice, you may have another, Ken Holland would no doubt know a lot about some of these names (Petr Mrazek). It’s been some time since the Oilers had a goalie who stole multiple games in a season (Cam Talbot, 2016-17).
*Add forwards who can multi-task—I think the fourth line will be full of penalty killers and Holland will upgrade on Brodziak with a faster Brodziak. Edmonton needs those skill wingers, but suppression should also be a a big part of summer.
On April 10, 2009, in the hours before MacT walked as coach of the Oilers, I wrote the following:
If Craig MacTavish were a songwriter he’d be Pete Townshend. Clearly smarter than the other brains of his generation (Lennon, for one), with a mind that enjoys the questions as much as the answers. Some of his seasons have been massive highs and terrible lows (Meaty, Beaty, Big and Bouncy), 2005-06 was clearly “Who’s Next” and this past season was probably “The Who By Numbers.” One of the songs from that album is called “Slip Kid” and includes the line “Slip kid, slip kid, second generation, You’re slidin down the hill like me, No easy way to be free.”
Which is where I think Craig MacTavish is right now. The things he knows to be true appear to have failed him this season, to the point where he (according to the Journal today) will resign on Sunday.
I’ll be interested to see where he lands. His main strengths (even strength hockey, with his best teams also PK demons) will no doubt get the desired results in his new town. The new GM should make sure there are enough veterans, that there is balance on the roster and that development doesn’t become the main goal of a season.
I think that’s the lesson for Craig MacTavish post-2006: there is a point when juggling kids becomes impossible because there aren’t enough actual NHL players to bail them out while they learn on the job.
Balance. Veterans. It’s been awhile since Craig MacTavish had those things. And if clarity is a strength of Craig MacTavish (and it most certainly is), then is it also a strength of this organization?
We’ll see. Should MacT resign on Sunday the Oilers need to find a replacement in the next 8 weeks or so. One would hope they have a list of requirements and perhaps an early draft of the people they’d like to talk to in the next couple of weeks.
Do we think that’s the case? Based on how quickly this thing fell apart and the verbal from management and ownership the preceeded it, I’m beginning to worry if the Edmonton Oilers even have a plan. Part of me suspects Katz puts full stop on the resignation before Sunday.
And worry has been a consistent part of being an Edmonton Oiler fan this decade. Craig MacTavish was one of the things we could hold on to, as an intelligent, rational individual who had a plan. Stubborn? You bet. Perfect? Not a chance.
When he walks away Craig MacTavish will have no problem telling people what he stands for, the things that he values, the mission statement for his coaching philosophy and the tools needed for the long road ahead. What can we say about the Edmonton Oilers without him? The strongest personality in the organization is walking toward the exit and there’s a chance those he leaves behind haven’t a clue about how to go about the business of replacing him.
This team has been porridge since summer 2006. Kevin Lowe traded Chris Pronger for kids and then neglected to use the saved money on experienced hands who could pick up the slack for the Pronger loss (and that of Spacek and Tarnstrom).
I can’t help feeling the nadir of this franchise is on the other side of Sunday.
LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE
A busy Thursday, plenty of MacT talk and CFL, too. Starts at 10, TSN1260, with our first guest Dan Ralph from the Canadian Press at 10:20. CFL will be on time this season! Guy Flaming from The Pipeline Show joins us as well, we’ll talk Memorial Cup. Frank Seravalli drops in at 11:05, we’ll chat MacT, Holland and that goal last night that put San Jose on track for Stanley. 10-1260 text, @Lowetide twitter. 90 minutes!