Ken Holland does a few things that increase the talent pool available to his teams. Aside from using draft and development, aside from signing college free agents, Holland created a welcoming environment for the aged during his time as Detroit Red Wings general manager. His last Stanley team boasted two men 40+ (Dom Hasek, Chris Chelios) and 11 men in their 30’s, including seven 34+. Holland isn’t down on the aged.
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 will Ken Holland see in Evan Bouchard?
- 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.
The older free agents
Many of the older free agents aren’t heading to Edmonton this winter. Joe Thornton plays guitar for the Beach Boys, Matt Cullen may say yes to Pittsburgh or Carolina, no to the rest. Here are a few possibilities.
G Mike Smith. This is a possibility in my opinion, especially if Dave Tippett becomes coach. Smith’s regular season even strength SP (.907) was poor but his playoff SP in the same discipline was .938 in five games. I’m not endorsing it but it could happen.
G Curtis McElhinney. Although he’s 36 and has posted a journeyman’s career, sometimes goalies go on runs of several years later on. He was rock solid in goal in 2018-19.
RC Jason Spezza. There are many things about his season that scream downbeat, including 1.03/60 5-on-5 scoring plus the coaches in Dallas preferred all of the other centers against elite competition. However, he can still make plays (4.10/60 at 5-on-4) and won’t cost a lot.
R Thomas Vanek. He was slow at 30, it’s gotten worse now that he’s 35. I don’t think you could employ Vanek and (say) Sam Gagner on the same team, but Vanek’s scoring ability (and PP acumen) make him an interesting target. Former DRW.
LC Valtteri Filppula. Another aged former DRW, Filppula is a center and PK’s. He posted 1.93/60 at 5-on-5 this past season. He’s an interesting option.
RD Anton Stralman. He played 37.3 percent of his minutes against elites last season, had a 47.40 DFF. If the Oilers traded Kris Russell and used Stralman as No. 2 RHD, that’s an interesting bet.
L Gustav Nyquist. In many ways, he would be the ideal free-agent signing for this team. Nyquist scored 2.1/60 at 5-on-5 and delivered 60 points. No idea if he’d sign but Nyquist would be an encouraging bet.
NHL COMBINE 2019
Since 2010, 40 of the 70 Oilers draft picks attended the NHL combine (coming up this week). In fact, using only the first three picks of each draft, 25 of 27 picks ’10-’18 were at the combine (Leon Draisaitl was the only attendee in 2014). If you’re wondering about the Oilers in the first 100 selections at the 2019 draft, pay close attention to the combine list (it is here).
Looking through the names, there are a few curios. I have Ronnie Attard at No. 20 on my USHL list, No. 85 overall. He is ranked No. 76 Central, putting him about No. 110 if you include all lists (my estimation). He is 20 and has a monster shot. Headed for Western Michigan.
There isn’t much out there on LHD Roman Bychkov beyond McKeens saying he is a smart defender with top-4D potential. Nothing about his boxcars implies he’s value on a top 100 pick but you never know. He did score a goal at the Hlinka-Gretzky.
Who isn’t on the list? Blake Murray and Maxim Cajkovic will be inside my final top 40 but do not appear. That isn’t unusual: My 2018 final list had Samuel Fagemo and Linus Nyman inside the top 35, neither man was drafted.
Kurt Leavins from the Cult of Hockey was first on the story and it appears Frederik Tiffels is on the Oilers’ radar. He’s a very good skater (that’s a theme so far this spring in procurement) and plays a responsible game. Can he deliver enough offense? That’s the question. I’m liking these targets currently. Here are his numbers (with NHLE) over the last three seasons:
2016-17: Western Michigan (NCHC) 37, 9-12-21 (NHLE: 20)
2017-18: Wheeling (ECHL) 44, 16-17-33 (NHLE: 10)
2018-19: Cologne (DEL) 27, 6-16-22 (NHLE: 19.7)
LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE
What an incredible weekend! We’ll chat all about it at 10 this morning, TSN1260. We get rolling at 10:20 with Gilbert McGregor from DAZN, as we put the Raptors win on Saturday night into context. Guy Flaming from the Pipeline Show follows with his opinion on the Memorial Cup and the 2019 draft. Jason Gregor will chat Raptors, Eskimos and Dave Tippett at 11:05. Text 10-1260 and tweet @Lowetide. It’ll be a blast!