Edmonton Oilers fans are going to be inundated with news and information over the next 30 days. Trades, signings, draft picks, updates on Connor McDavid, and even though the Oilers fan went through this in 2015 with Peter Chiarelli, this feels a little different. It is a more nervous fan base, a more urgent media, a sense of a gathering storm. Into that mess of blues arrived Ken Holland, who appears capable of getting excited himself. What we’ve seen so far is a deliberate pace and something approaching a plan. Let’s not get too excited (music bg builds, suspenseful), but there appears to be (crescendo followed by a single, peaceful flute and the sound of rushing water) a sliver of light up above.
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: Hard Target Search: Finding the Oilers a centre who can penalty kill, help shape a useful third line, and serve in a mentor role
- New Daniel Nugent-Bowman: How a third-line grinder launched the star-filled Oilers to their first Stanley Cup and a hockey dynasty.
- Lowetide: Is Zack Kassian the answer for the McDavid-Draisaitl line?
- Lowetide: NHL Combine brings Oilers dual problems into focus for Ken Holland
- Lowetide: Analyzing the Oilers roster to see which players fit Dave Tippett’s ‘aggressive, fast team’ approach
- Daniel Nugent-Bowman: Dave Tippett’s coaching philosophy, how he relays information to his players and why information is king
- Lowetide: What will Ken Holland see in Evan Bouchard?
- 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.
- Jonathan Willis: Every Oilers AHL prospect, rated by how close they are to the NHL
- 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?
- 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 MCDAVID NEWS
There isn’t any. A guy walked across a field, was asked about his April injury, and then (correctly) brought things back to the reason he was there. That led to questions and the kind of vague usage of medical issues that usually ends badly. This little blog isn’t going to enter the fray, beyond saying the obvious.
If Connor McDavid were badly hurt, he doesn’t get within 2,000 yards of a Canadian media member or camera. That’s a fact. Did anyone ask him if he’s started training? Perhaps the limp is a result of his scheduled workouts that are obviously part of recovery?
If there was real concern, the event could have been moved later into summer, or organizers could have seated 97 before media arrived. The fact McDavid was caught on camera suggests to me his people didn’t think there was an issue, and that’s a tell.
DRAFT Q. AND A.
Favourite player in the draft at No. 8 overall? I would choose Arthur Kaliyev. He is not a burner, but he has a great shot, can pass the puck expertly and impact the power play. A late June 2001, he’s 6.02, 194 and put 320 shots on the net in 67 games. Kaliyev is a fantastic prospect.
One player in the draft who will go higher than you have him ranked? Kaedan Korczak. I have him No. 114, he’ll go inside the top 50 on draft day. I routinely punish players who will deliver most of their value defensively, it’s the reason Dmitri Samorukov was so low on my list. Ranking these players so low runs the risk of a spike, which happens often (Klefbom, Samorukov) with defenseman.
Favourite player not on your list? Eric Uba. He plays for the Flint Firebirds and had a fine season. I hope he gets drafted. This is a guy who didn’t find a way out of Flint, but rather made the most of it. I think that’s a character arrow.
Where is your list? Here.
Who is the best player not on your list? Ilya Nikolaev. Button had him inside the top 15 on his March list, Pronman listed him not far outside his first round.
Why isn’t he on your list? Much of his resume talks about responsible play, which is great but you want to see it from a more substantial offensive player. I think he’s a tweener.
Who do you think the Oilers will take? Wide open. I will guess they love all of the top four (Hughes, Kakko, Bowen, Turcotte) and like a second group that includes Dach, Cozens, Zegras, Caufield and Broberg (I said this the other day, Broberg’s name wasn’t mentioned until Holland arrived and that’s a tell).
Who do you think the Oilers will pass on? Podkolzin, Boldy and Krebs. I’m tempted to put Caufield in there too, but his scoring is so impressive my guess is they have him right there around No. 8.
Who is most likely to fall from that top tier? I’d say Kaliyev, but I’m the only one who has him in the top tier. Peyton Krebs may fall, his offensive numbers aren’t mammoth and you can say poor team and be right, but suspect scouting directors will go for the sure thing.
Name 10 players you hope Edmonton selects during the draft. Arthur Kaliyev, Trevor Zegras, Kirby Dach, Bobby Brink, Blake Murray, Sam Fagemo, Patrick Puistola, Alexei Protas, Mattias Norlinder, Lukas Wernblom.
If there’s one thing that stands out after this long draft season, what is it? The USHL will be heard like never before. It’s been a slow train coming, but it’s a monster this year.
Will they take a goalie? Holland takes one most seasons, Edmonton has a helluva lot in the pro leagues now. Maybe. I would be shocked if they take Spencer Knight No. 8, though.
The most obscure player eligible for the draft that you like? There’s a goalie who plays for Djurgardens (J18 Elite) named Lucas Rheyneuclaudes. He’s good, but not good enough to be drafted.
What is the best part of the draft? For me, the best part of hockey is watching these kids grow from where they are on draft day to full bloom. It’s also fun identifying the players who fit my idea of a quality player and to see if I get anywhere close to reality. I’m proud of my 2015 list, others not so much.
Was this a difficult season to mark? It was pretty easy for me, but my rankings don’t fit with the other lists. Even more than in most seasons, I expect my top 120 will begin to separate from the actual draft around No. 15 overall.
Will Holland trade the first-round pick? His story as general manager has been about the long game, so my guess is he keeps most or all of his picks.
If the Oilers pick Broberg No. 8, will you write a scathing article? I have Broberg at No. 16, mostly because the offense implied doesn’t approach future top pairing status. However, Swedish blue are typically underrated offensively going back to Oscar Klefbom in 2011 and before. I will say that Edmonton left a lot of forward talent on the board if they pick Broberg and likely say “they better be right” with the selection. Picking Broberg and passing on Caufield would put draft for need on its ear.
PULJUJARVI TO JOKERIT?
There’s an online rumor that has Jesse Puljujarvi signing with Jokerit of the KHL next season. Not sure at this time if it’s correct, and had heard that Torpedo owned his KHL rights. So, we’ll see. It wouldn’t be the worst outcome in the world if Jesse blew the doors off a Euro league.
LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE
At 10 this morning, TSN1260, we’ll hit the ground running with a live lowdown! TSN1260 is live at The Ranch all day today, and we’ll welcome Bruce McCurdy from the Cult of Hockey at the Edmonton Journal at 10:20. Bruce will discuss the early weeks of Holland, what the new general manager might be searching for, and how much activity we can expect in the coming days.
At 10:40, Nick Sulsky from Monkey Knife Fight drops by with some amazing prop bets for Raptors/Warriors and more. Kris Abbott from OddsShark pops in to talk about Bruins-Blues, NBA Finals, and a strange day in mlb. 10-1260 text, @Lowetide on twitter. See you on the radio!