New Opportunity

by Lowetide

NHL teams don’t like to miss with early draft picks. Kevin Prendergast used to say his Oilers had to nail it with the first round pick (they did not) and then find quality in later rounds (they found quite a bit) when he was scouting director.

From the player side, no matter where you’re chosen, that NHL contract is everything. Not every player can be signed, but any pick inside the top 100 who doesn’t get signed before the deadline (two years after the draft, June 1) has either experienced a management change or had some issues along the way.

THE ATHLETIC!

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: Does Oilers’ signing of Joakim Nygard signal a measured approach to summer 2019?
  • Lowetide: Dave Tippett’s roster deployment in Arizona and what it might mean for the Oilers
  • Jonathan Willis: Why Ken Holland’s worst years in Detroit tell us the most about how he’ll fare in Edmonton
  • Jonathan Willis: Three offseason scenarios and how each one would affect the Oilers salary cap
  • Lowetide: Examining the Oilers’ goaltending options in free agency.
  • Lowetide: Ken Holland’s Oilers could go the high octane procurement route but will need a driver
  • Lowetide: How much can Connor Brown help the Oilers?
  • Lowetide: Dmitri Samorukov is off to the Memorial Cup and is the Oilers’ fastest rising prospect
  • Jonathan Willis: Craig MacTavish leaves the Oilers, signalling the first major front office change under Ken Holland
  • Lowetide: What kind of coach should Ken Holland hire for the Oilers?
  • Jonathan Willis: Every Oilers AHL prospect, rated by how close they are to the NHL
  • Jonathan Willis: A resurgent Andrej Sekera gives the Oilers much-needed defensive options
  • Lowetide: Is Joe Gambardella destined to become the Oilers’ next Fernando Pisani?
  • 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.

Last season there were several draft picks who didn’t get signed before June 1. A few of them were either drafted or signed elsewhere and had success. List is here.

L Adam Mascherin was drafted No. 100 by Dallas on re-entry, and had a solid AHL debut (75, 18-26-44). He was No. 6 in Texas Stars scoring.

RD Jordan Sambrook didn’t sign with Detroit and went back to junior and delivered a quality season. He’s 6.03, 205, turned 21 in April. He can defend and has a good shot.

2019

R Kyle Olson is a smaller winger, very skilled and a good skater. He was injured last season but finished this one 62, 21-49-70 with Tri-City (WHL).

LD Noel Hoefenmayer is a player worth procuring. I had him No. 40 on my list in 2017 (here) due to his range of skills and he posted 68, 16-46-62 for Ottawa 67’s.

RC Liam Hawell is an “excellent combination of size and speed” according to HockeyProspect.com in his draft year. Big man led the Guelph Storm to the Memorial Cup semi’s and is a teammate of Dmitri Samorukov. He’s a good prospect, my guess is he gets signed this week.

50-MAN AND FREE AGENTS (47)

While we’re waiting for something to happen, there is much to discuss. Edmonton has several rfa’s and ufa’s to make a decision on, plus three college men who may or may not be of interest.

Let’s start in goal. I think we’re established that Holland is going to sign a goalie, and this blog has arrived at Brian Elliott as the addition. So, a Koskinen-Elliott tandem begins the year in Edmonton, with (say) Shane Starrett and Stuart Skinner in Bakersfield. Oilers trade Dylan Wells (Lightning have an opening) this summer, Rodrigue goes to junior. Maybe some room for Hayden Hawkey, who has the coolest name in hawkey history.

On left defense, I believe Holland will retain the entire group listed above, although one of them may cross over (more in a minute). If a forward of note comes available, and the general manager needs $3 million, a Sekera buyout or trade becomes possible.

On right defense, we could see change. One of Adam Larsson or Kris Russell may be in play, depending on who might be available in trade. Matt Benning could also be dealt but it would be a different kind of trade. Ryan Mantha’s deal gets voided (unless we hear good news, and that would be fabulous) and Edmonton doesn’t pick up the option on Robin Norell. For our purposes, all but Mantha and Norell remain as above, meaning Vincent Desharnais doesn’t get a contract before August 15.

Center is going to be tough, because Edmonton needs at least one, maybe two men and Kyle Brodziak may be in the minors. I’ll say both Vesel and Larkin don’t get signed and will further suggest we see a RHC signed around July 7. Maybe Jean-Sebastian Dea, or maybe the team trades Kris Russell for Riley Nash. I don’t think Joey Dudek gets a deal.

Left Wing has already received a little help with Nygard, I expect he’ll be part of the rotation inside the bottom lines with Khaira and Lucic. 3LW and 4LW play 162 games, maybe they get 54 games each. Leon Draisaitl gets the No. 1 job alongside McDavid, looks like Benson has a clear shot at the No. 2 line with Nuge right now. Khaira and Gambardella get contracts. One thing we can assume? Rieder doesn’t return.

Right Wing should see some real movement, I’m going to guess Puljujarvi and Rattie get contracts (JP might start on IR). Gagner is an interesting buyout option but I think he stays. He might be a key to the power play.

ALTERED 50-MAN LIST (42)

I think we can cobble together a plan for Ken Holland this summer with the small moves here. I’ve added Elliot, haven’t touched the defense or forwards. If there’s a deal that allows Edmonton to bring in a Nik Ehlers, Kasperi Kapanen or Jonathan Huberdeau, then buying out someone may be necessary. Failing that, I think adding some skill forwards in free agency is a prudent way forward. The roster might look like this:

Leon Draisaitl—Connor McDavid—Zack Kassian

Tyler Benson—RNH—Brett Connolly

Jujhar Khaira—Cooper Marody—Joonas Donskoi

Joakim Nygard—Riley Nash—Sam Gagner

Milan Lucic—Kyle Brodziak (Jesse Puljujarvi IR)

Oscar Klefbom—Adam Larsson

Darnell Nurse—Matt Benning

Andrej Sekera—Caleb Jones

Brandon Manning

Mikko Koskinen (Brian Elliott)

That’s several free agents added and lord knows if Edmonton can afford that many. I will say that Elliott at $2.5 million seems reasonable, and that Connolly ($3.5 million) and Donskoi ($2.85 million) are reasonably priced (using Matt Cane’s numbers, I think Connolly signs for more if he makes it to free agency). Using those dollars, my roster comes in at about $81.5 million if I’ve remembered everything. The main additions cost $8.85 million, the rest will need to come in depth additions.

I don’t think there’s a No. 2 RHD out there, so my suggestion is ‘committee’ using all hands. Benning gets the first shot above, but Sekera, Jones, Evan Bouchard, Joel Persson and Ethan Bear might all get a shot.

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N64

Interview with Holland Thursday. Nothing new but a good recap of where he’s been and where he’s going

https://www.nhl.com/news/ken-holland-aims-to-change-culture-provide-stability-with-edmonton/c-307533214

OriginalPouzar

There have been rumblings for a while that Datsyuk wants to come back to the NHL. Do we think there is a chance he signs with the Oilers for something like $2M? Is this something we would want?

OriginalPouzar

Hmmm, the Canada game might be at 11:15 (mountain), not 12:15.

godot10

If Tippett is the coach, Mike Smith is a UFA. Just throwing that out there.

geowal

Odd that you have Rattie being resigned but not in your top 15 forwards. Is that because you’re reflecting the new additions taking his spot post signing?

jtblack

OriginalPouzar:
There have been rumblings for a while that Datsyuk wants to come back to the NHL.Do we think there is a chance he signs with the Oilers for something like $2M?Is this something we would want?

I would be OK with a 1 yr deal …. why not? This was a 78 point team. Edm needs to get creative .. Datsyuk wouldn’t have to face the tough minutes like he has his whole career …

I say sign him !!!!!!!

OriginalPouzar

I hope they don’t trade Wells in the name of making room. He could very well turn out better than Skinner – there are miles to go on these young goalies. Skinner can start in the ECHL again (Wells had the better rookie season).

One injury to Koskinen (or Mrazek) and we have Starrett up in the NHL and then both kids in the AHL.

OriginalPouzar

I think there is a small chance that Vesel is re-signed but not likely. Larkin is good for sure.

I hope they are able to get P. Russell under contract. He’s actually scheduled to be a Group VI UFA I believe so can sign anywhere. I think he should see a bottom 6 opportunity in the NHL in Edmonton and re-signs.

I assume they move on from Brad Malone given he’ll be on the wrong side of 30 but would need to replace him with a similar but younger player. I wouldn’t be against him being re-signed to play the same role he did this year. He is a very good AHL player. Just one of those guys where it doesn’t translate to the NHL.

geowal

Nit64:
Interview with Holland Thursday. Nothing new but a good recap of where he’s been and where he’s going

https://www.nhl.com/news/ken-holland-aims-to-change-culture-provide-stability-with-edmonton/c-307533214

Thanks for post, nice recap of his work to date.

OriginalPouzar

JP starting on the IR? I’ve heard nothing to suggest he won’t be ready for camp – am I missing something?

That would be terrible – JP needs to get off to a solid start this season and that includes a full training camp. I really hope he is able to train this summer and come to camp 100% and ready to go.

Pescador

jtblack: I would be OK with a 1 yr deal …. why not?This was a 78 point team.Edm needs to get creative .. Datsyuk wouldn’t have to face the tough minutes like he has his whole career …

I say sign him !!!!!!!

We’re talking Oilers 3C
The tough mins part is finding a guy that can play those mins without getting caved
Sign the man

razor

Now a Russell for Riley Nash deal is one I can get behind. Also like the Donskoi addition (who could help Puljujarvi). However, if your trading Russell, you need to bring in another established RHD. The right side D is way too thin now on your roster LT. I think you could only pull the trigger on that Russell Nash deal if you have a subsequent deal to bring in a Right side D.

jp

OriginalPouzar:
I hope they don’t trade Wells in the name of making room.He could very well turn out better than Skinner – there are miles to go on these young goalies. Skinner can start in the ECHL again (Wells had the better rookie season).

One injury to Koskinen (or Mrazek) and we have Starrett up in the NHL and then both kids in the AHL.

What if it’s a decision between Wells and Hawkey? It’s not clear cut, but I’d probably lean towards Hawkey.

OriginalPouzar

Man, trading Larsson has popped up a few times. I don’t see how we can trade Larsson and get better.

Jones is an option at RD for this year. Bear may be an option on RD for this year (but still struggles with speed and board battles even in the AHL) Persson may be an option on RD for this year (likely but we’ll have to see). Bouchard may be an option on RD for this year (but likely not until later). Berglund and Kemp may be options on RD well in to the future.

None of these guys are realistic options in the top 4 this year – in particular at the beginning of the year.

The best internal options are Benning and Sekera and neither of those are great right now.

We all talk about needing a 2RD – well, really, Adam Larsson is a 2RD and we need a 1RD but acquiring a 1RD externally isn’t realistic so we have Larsson there.

What kind of trade of Larsson can we make that makes this team better?

OriginalPouzar

Can Pavel Datsyuk be a stop gap 3C to see how McLeod does in the AHL this year?

OriginalPouzar

Drai/McDavid/Kassian
Pirri/Nuge/Nyquist
Benson/Datsyuk/Puljujarvi
Nygard/Khaira/Gagner

Lucic/Joe G. (Marody)

Klefbom/Nurse
Sekera/Larsson
Jones/Benning

Persson

Russell traded for cap space.

OriginalPouzar

jp: What if it’s a decision between Wells and Hawkey? It’s not clear cut, but I’d probably lean towards Hawkey.

Its really tough to compare a 21 year old with a college grad so I don’t know.

With that said, from all accounts, Hawkey isn’t being signed so there isn’t much to discuss.

Ben

Curious to hear what people here think of that RNH/Mantha scuttlebutt. If the deal was 1-for-1 (please save your “team X would NEVER do that” clairvoyance) are you a yay or a nay?

Based on range of skills, position and (recent) offense, I say Nuge is the more valuable player today.

But if you can use the $3m savings on a quality 3C, you’ve killed — or at least maimed — two birds with one stone. Though you have to anticipate giving that $3M back next summer.

Also important to consider that moving Nuge probably means you’re splitting up 97/29, which may be inevitable anyhow, but still shaves down deployment options.

Neither player has yet managed to crack 50 points, but RFA control and upside tip the scales for me.

I’m a yay.

jtblack

OriginalPouzar:
Drai/McDavid/Kassian
Pirri/Nuge/Nyquist
Benson/Datsyuk/Puljujarvi
Nygard/Khaira/Gagner

Lucic/Joe G. (Marody)

Klefbom/Nurse
Sekera/Larsson
Jones/Benning

Persson

Russell traded for cap space.

Like the look of that forward group much better .. Nurse on his offisde??? don’t know about that part …
Considering PC had Mcd, Drai and RNH when he arrived in 2015; he didn’t add 1 quality forward as a long term solution … Piss Poor Pete. Piss Poor.

One thing is clear … .Holland has some work to do ..

Ben

OriginalPouzar: I don’t see how we can trade Larsson and get better.

And beyond current roster considerations, it would be incredibly heartening to see the team hold off on selling a player when their value is way below career norms.

Hall, Eberle, Strome, all shipped out mid-nadir.

Partly why I’m tip-toeing into the ‘trade-Nuge’ camp.

McNuge93

OriginalPouzar:
Man, trading Larsson has popped up a few times. I don’t see how we can trade Larsson and get better.

Jones is an option at RD for this year.Bear may be an option on RD for this year (but still struggles with speed and board battles even in the AHL) Persson may be an option on RD for this year (likely but we’ll have to see).Bouchard may be an option on RD for this year (but likely not until later).Berglund and Kemp may be options on RD well in to the future.

None of these guys are realistic options in the top 4 this year – in particular at the beginning of the year.

The best internal options are Benning and Sekera and neither of those are great right now.

We all talk about needing a 2RD – well, really, Adam Larsson is a 2RD and we need a 1RD but acquiring a 1RD externally isn’t realistic so we have Larsson there.

What kind of trade of Larsson can we make that makes this team better?

I agree and Larsson also has a friendly contract. Come playoff time he is the kind of shutdown D you need.

Chris

Ben,

No. Maybe for more sentimental reasons than anything else, but Nuge is a very good player, and for once I’d like to see ‘once an Oiler, always an Oiler’ mean something more than pithy poetry. Leave the Nuge where he is.

jp

OriginalPouzar:
Drai/McDavid/Kassian
Pirri/Nuge/Nyquist
Benson/Datsyuk/Puljujarvi
Nygard/Khaira/Gagner

Lucic/Joe G. (Marody)

Klefbom/Nurse
Sekera/Larsson
Jones/Benning

Persson

Russell traded for cap space.

That looks solid to me.

jp

OriginalPouzar: Its really tough to compare a 21 year old with a college grad so I don’t know.

With that said, from all accounts, Hawkey isn’t being signed so there isn’t much to discuss.

Agree it’s a tough comparison. And Hawkey’s numbers are likely inflated by playing on a really strong team.

Has there been word about not signing Hawkey since Holland cape on board? Things can change.

It definitely makes zero sense to move Wells unless Hawkey or someone else deemed better than Wells is being brought in.

Jethro Tull

OriginalPouzar,

The Devils traded Larsson and got better.

Ben

Jethro Tull:
OriginalPouzar,

The Devils traded Larsson and got better.

Savage.

jp

OriginalPouzar:

What kind of trade of Larsson can we make that makes this team better?

The only type I can see is a package including Larsson that brings in a better RD. Like Larsson + for Trouba (if Trouba we’re willing to come to Edmonton and sign for 5 or 6 x $7M). Larsson’s contract should be pretty appealing (though it should be for the Oilers also). An unlikely scenario, but anything else seems like it would be awful.

JimmyV1965

Definitely not on board with signing guys like Donskoi or Connolly in the $3 mill range. How much better are these guys than Chiasson? And I doubt there’s anyone who wants to sign Chiasson at even $2 mill.

Munny

I don’t know where all the talk about Datsyuk and the Oilers is coming from.

The reports are pretty clear on this… it’s most likely Ekatarinburg and if not the K, the only NHL team he will play for is Detroit.

Munny

OriginalPouzar:
Can Pavel Datsyuk be a stop gap 3C to see how McLeod does in the AHL this year?

lol… What future HOFer wouldn’t be convinced by this pitch?

Jordan

Jethro Tull:
OriginalPouzar,

The Devils traded Larsson and got better.

Maybe Holland can trade Larsson for MacKinnon.

Reja

jp: The only type I can see is a package including Larsson that brings in a better RD. Like Larsson + for Trouba (if Trouba we’re willing to come to Edmonton and sign for 5 or 6 x $7M). Larsson’s contract should be pretty appealing (though it should be for the Oilers also). An unlikely scenario, but anything else seems like it would be awful.

Unless Trouba has a twin brother playing can’t see him resigning anywhere but the states but money is always a factor who knows maybe he uses that U.S card to drive up his value.

Alpine

Man after Nelson getting 6×6, I’m really not hopeful of getting someone like Nyquist on a good deal. Best case scenario is he takes 4 or 5 years term like Pacioretty and Van Riemsdyk last year.

I think I’d take a higher cap hit instead of a longer term. Paul Stastny has signed 4 and 3 year deals in the past. Maybe 4 years x 6.75 for Nyquist? I’d try to stay closer to 6 in AAV.

dustrock

Man I love Datsyuk but come on. How will he be effective.

Professor Q

Jethro Tull:
OriginalPouzar,

The Devils traded Larsson and got better.

They got worse, though?

Professor Q

dustrock:
Man I love Datsyuk but come on. How will he be effective.

By playing hockey?

Munny

I can see Larsson being traded for Barrie, if Joe thinks Makar is going to suck up most of the RHt PP time, and what he needs is defensive cover for the rookie. But would the Oilers make that deal with their own young Dman on the cusp or fast approaching it?

I think when it comes to UFAs, you have to make inquiries with Nyquist and Connelly camps, but I think these guys will be too expensive (unless they somehow divest Lucic’s contract).

Then next tier… Donskoi, Pirri, etc should be cheaper, although it does depend on what interest they’re getting elsewhere.

A flip of a blue chip prospect/pick might be possible for a guy like Burakovsky.

Unless the Lucic divestiture magically present itself, we’re shopping at Walmart, not Whole Foods.

OriginalPouzar

godot10:
If Tippett is the coach, Mike Smith is a UFA.Just throwing that out there.

Been thrown out there by many others over the last week plus.

Good thing Holland is the GM, not Tippet.

Munny

Can we not draft a goalie this year? Please.

OriginalPouzar

jtblack: Like the look of that forward group much better .. Nurse on his offisde??? don’t know about that part …

I am generally against d-men on their off-side but I’m trying to think of a way to open up Russell’s $4M in cap space and replace the 2RD internally.

My thinking of Nurse on his off-side is that, a main issue in decreased effectiveness of d-men on their offside is in transitioning the puck via pass as their backhand is to the middle of the ice. Nurse is a poor transitioner of the puck to start with and often defaults to skating it out which he is very effective at. While skating it out is generally less effective than passing it forward, I’m not sure that the off-side will have that much of an effect on Nurse’s game.

Munny

We all know Draisaitl’s opinion on this, but if you were the coach wouldn’t you vastly prefer Drai at C over Nuge?

OriginalPouzar

JimmyV1965:
Definitely not on board with signing guys like Donskoi or Connolly in the $3 mill range. How much better are these guys than Chiasson? And I doubt there’s anyone who wants to sign Chiasson at even $2 mill.

I think those guys are materially better than Chiasson. Lets not forget that Chiasson barely scored in the 2nd half of the season and his 5 on 5 P/60 were 4th line levels for the year.

OriginalPouzar

Munny: lol… What future HOFer wouldn’t be convinced by this pitch?

What pitch should the team give to a 41 year old?

Munny

OriginalPouzar: My thinking of Nurse on his off-side is that, a main issue in decreased effectiveness of d-men on their offside is in transitioning the puck via pass as their backhand is to the middle of the ice

I think you mean their backhand is to the outside towards the boards. Which makes defending and puck collection more difficult. Their forehand is to the middle of the ice, making some passes and most shot attempts easier.

Munny

OriginalPouzar: What pitch should the team give to a 41 year old?

We’ll be a Stanley Cup contender this year, we love you, and here’s a bucket of money so you’ll come help.

No pitch will bring him to the Chuk so it’s a moot point, regardless.

OriginalPouzar

Alpine:

I think I’d take a higher cap hit over a longer term. Paul Stastny has signed 4 and 3 year deals in the past. Maybe 4 years x 6.75 for Nyquist? I’d try to stay closer to 6 in AAV.

For a 30 year old 40-50 point player? Yikes.

Yes, he was close to 60 this year but it was his first time over 50 points in the 5-6 years.

I would like Nyquist, as per my lineup, but the more I think about it, the more it likely doesn’t work as, given his age, the term will be too long – even 4-5 years is too long and we can’t afford to over pay for a shorter term. I can’t get on board for $6M plus for him for his 30s.

OriginalPouzar

dustrock:
Man I love Datsyuk but come on. How will he be effective.

He did have 42 points in 54 games in the K last year – although the team was stacked. He did outscore Yakupov.

For a one year deal as a 3C, I think he could be effective as a 3C, no? If he can still skate he can still be effective as the 2-way wizard he’s always been.

jp

Reja: Unless Trouba has a twin brother playingcan’t see him resigning anywhere but the states but money is always a factor who knows maybe he uses that U.S card to drive up his value.

Trouba was just an example for the trade type.

OriginalPouzar

Munny:
I can see Larsson being traded for Barrie, if Joe thinks Makar is going to suck up most of the RHt PP time, and what he needs is defensive cover for the rookie.But would the Oilers make that deal with their own young Dman on the cusp or fast approaching it?

I think when it comes to UFAs, you have to make inquiries with Nyquist and Connelly camps, but I think these guys will be too expensive (unless they somehow divest Lucic’s contract).

Then next tier… Donskoi, Pirri, etc should be cheaper, although it does depend on what interest they’re getting elsewhere.

A flip of a blue chip prospect/pick might be possible for a guy like Burakovsky.

Unless the Lucic divestiture magically present itself, we’re shopping at Walmart, not Whole Foods.

They should get Pirri’s UFA rights when they trade for Cody Eakin……..

Pirri is a hard-target for me – his scoring rates and advanced metrics shine – I’m not sure why he wasn’t an every day player and I will take the low risk bet to compete for a top 6 spot.

Burakovsky would be great but are we talking about at his QO number of $3.25M or as a non-qualified UFA at a lower rate or maybe trading for his rights, not qualifying and agreeding to a lower rate?