Did you ever hear the story of the Hunt brothers and cornering the silver market? Nelson Bunker Hunt invented his brother Herbert and then the two of them acquired two thirds of the world’s silver supply in an effort to build a James Bond movie. In the end, they lost an enormous fortune. A brother, Lamar, is often mentioned as a footnote in the silver story, America owing him a major debt for coining the name “Super Bowl” for the annual NFL championship. He suggested it at a meeting shortly after leaving his house with his children in pursuit of a ‘super ball’, the most frustrating toy of my childhood (here, specifically the roof scene).
Cornering the market on silver was a crazy idea, as is trying to corner the market on defensive prospects. This week, Ken Holland may take another defenseman inside the top 10 — running the team’s total to three in seven years. If Phil Broberg joins Evan Bouchard and Darnell Nurse, Edmonton will have devoted triple the number of top 10 overall picks on defensemen in those seven years than they did in the period 1979-2012 (Paul Coffey).
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, here’s an incredible Offer!
- New Lowetide: Ken Holland’s work week: Fixing the third and fourth lines while saving money and overhauling the penalty kill
- New Jonathan Willis: How are the Oilers affected by early offseason trades and buyouts to Dion Phaneuf, Andrew MacDonald?
- New Lowetide: Falling talent and other fun facts that could benefit the Oilers in the NHL Draft
- New Daniel Nugent-Bowman: Evaluating the pros and cons of potential Oilers buyout candidates
- New Lowetide: Oilers GM Ken Holland is shopping for 20-goal scorers on a budget. What will he find?
- New Daniel Nugent-Bowman: Jay Woodcroft returning to coach AHL Condors and be reunited with Ken Holland
- Lowetide: Looking at the Oilers’ options for the No. 8 pick at the 2019 NHL Draft.
- Jonathan Willis: How many of Sam Gagner, Zack Kassian and Jujhar Khaira can play top-nine minutes for the Oilers?
- Daniel Nugent-Bowman: Q&A with Ken Holland: On the draft, buyouts, free agency and how to have a successful offseason
- Lowetide: Trading for Loui Eriksson: What makes sense for the Oilers?
- Jonathan Willis: Differing needs of Oilers, Jets could create a trade fit
- Lowetide: How will Ken Holland build around Connor McDavid?
- Daniel Nugent-Bowman: The top five players the Oilers could lose in the expansion draft
- Jonathan Willis: What a trade involving Edmonton’s No. 8 pick might look like given Ken Holland’s history
- 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
- 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?
WORKING ROSTER 2019-20
I’ve included the RFA’s and estimated cap hits from Matt Cane (here). Edmonton won’t sign Rieder and may trade Puljujarvi, but this is the point where we begin. I didn’t include a backup goalie, that hole may not get filled until early July. We don’t have the cap number but we’ll get that this week, too. Reading the tea leaves, it might be less than $83 million, that may force more buyouts.
Bob McKenzie’s list is out today, cannot wait for it. McKenzie used to be the editor of The Hockey News, and built their annual draft list into the industry standard. Once he hit television, McKenzie established his consensus list that is now the industry’s bible. I’ll be especially interested to see movement inside the top 10 overall and the number of USHL kids near the top. His list a year ago closely mirrored the Oilers list (clearly).
We’ll talk about this more at some point, but I think McKenzie warrants consideration in the Hockey Hall of Fame. Not the media division, but rather as a builder. Seriously. The NHL draft is one of the major events on the calendar for the league, and McKenzie’s diligence in making the annual ranking (plus some marketing savvy by TSN) have resulted in an enormous industry boom. How much is the NHL draft worth?
How much more compelling is following along now as compared to 1974? A whole helluva lot, and McKenzie helped build it. The consensus list gives us a starting point, and a battering ram against stupidity by the local team. It’s like watching a poker game where the viewer gets to see all the cards. If you remember the draft before he arrived, you know the value. Anyway. McKenzie. HHOF. Worth considering.
BAKERSFIELD CONDORS WORKING ROSTER 2019-20
How many recalls do you see here? I see Evan Bouchard, Caleb Jones, Cooper Marody, Tyler Benson, Joel Persson, Ethan Bear, Josh Currie, Patrick Russell, Kailer Yamamoto, Shane Starrett and others. How many recalls do you see in a typical year? How well do they do? Here’s last year:
Kevin Gravel was recalled October 19, played two games and was returned. He got another call on November 1, and hung around the rest of the season. He finished 36, 0-3-3, underlying numbers were solid and he should be in the NHL next season as a 7D or better. Unlikely with the Oilers. He is 27.
Cooper Marody was recalled October 21, he stayed up until November 2. In that first look, he played two games, playing less than 10 minutes both times (two shots in each game). His second recall came November 10 and he was dispatched on November 23 with the coaching change. He played four games, only one more than 10 minutes. He was recalled in December (6-11) but did not play, finishing 6, 0-0-0 on the season. He is 22 and we should see him more in 2019-20. In a lost season, Oilers should have played him more up top, in my opinion.
Patrick Russell was called up November 15, and would play four games in his first look without registering a point. He looked capable as a fourth line player (not a lot of offense) but was sent back November 30. A quick recall (Dec. 2-5) got him two more games, and he finished 6, 0-0-0. He is 26 and was a Group 6 free agent (UFA) before re-signing with Edmonton in the last few days.
Caleb Jones is the star of our look at 2018-19 recalls. He got the call on December 12, and he returned to the AHL January 21 for the remainder of the minor league season. While in Edmonton, the young man impressed with his speed and guile, making smart plays with the puck and adjusting to the speed of the NHL game. Jones played some tough minutes due to injury, played over 20 minutes seven times. He is NHL-ready and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see Edmonton’s new general manager make room for him via a summer trade. He went 17, 1-5-6 and he just turned 22.
Joe Gambardella was recalled December 30 and played his first game the next night—the same night his brother worked his first shift as a NYC police officer. He hung around the first time until January 15, playing in four games and not showing a lot. His second recall had more impact, as he arrived March 15 and played through the end of the season. An impressive forechecker, he showed skill as well, finishing 15, 0-3-3 on the year. I think he has a chance to play more games for Edmonton in 2019-20.
Brad Malone got a call January 31, and like Gambardella spent the rest of the season on the NHL roster. He played 16 games with no points. He recently signed with Edmonton.
Josh Currie received a late recall, February 18. I often wonder how many times he’d be in a conversation for the call to the NHL before. No matter, he took full advantage upon arrival and stayed for the rest of the year. He went 21, 2-3-5 and impressed, suspect he’s about where Gambardella is on the organization’s depth chart. He is 26.
- Caleb Jones 17, 1-5-6
- Josh Currie 21, 2-3-5
- Kevin Gravel 36, 0-3-3
- Joe Gambardella 15, 0-3-3
- Brad Malone 16, 0-0-0
- Cooper Marody 6, 0-0-0
- Patrick Russell 6, 0-0-0
Last year, the recalls played 117 games, scored three goals and 17 points. Next year’s recalls will blow that away.