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 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.
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
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.