Lucky Star

by Lowetide

When the Edmonton Oilers selected Philip Broberg at No. 8 overall on Friday night, it set off a countdown to selection No. 38. Depending on how you count these things, by the end of the first round there were 6-10 legit scoring forwards still on the board. Only two (Arthur Kaliyev and Bobby Brink) went in the second round before Edmonton selected Raphael Lavoie, and as it turned out the team could have picked any of Nick Robertson, Egor Afanasyev, Nils Hoglander and several others.

Ken Holland, Keith Gretzky and Bob Green didn’t see the draft as “Byram and then a bunch of guys” on defense. The management and scouting staff valued Broberg above the substantial skill wingers — to the point where Edmonton was willing to risk getting a quality scoring forward with either of the first two picks. That’s the story, morning glory. That’s the bet Edmonton made.

I think it’s a tell. I believe it’s an indication about direction. Unlike the 1980’s Oilers, the current team is going to try to win championships the old fashioned way: Suppressing opposition offense.

Now that the future has been addressed, what about the 2019-20 team?

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, here’s an incredible Offer!

  • New Daniel Nugent-Bowman: Raphael Lavoie’s QMJHL coach is confident the Oilers’ No. 38 pick will prove worth the wait
  • New Jonathan Willis: Having added top KHL stopper Ilya Konovalov, how will the Oilers handle a crowded goalie pipeline?
  • New Daniel Nugent-Bowman: Ken Holland doesn’t lose sight of the big picture in drafting defenceman Philip Broberg over a forward
  • New Lowetide: The heat is on Ken Holland’s Oilers for Day 2 of the NHL Draft.
  • Lowetide: Oilers Draft Day 1: Getting it right at No. 8 overall and multiple trade winds for Ken Holland.
  • Willis and Mirtle: Are the Oilers and Maple Leafs good trading partners?
  • Lowetide: Are these Jesse Puljujarvi’s final days with the Edmonton Oilers?
  • Daniel Nugent-Bowman: Analyzing the early Edmonton Oilers’ 2019-20 depth chart.
  • Lowetide: The Oilers’ conundrum in taking Philip Broberg with the No. 8 overall pick
  • Daniel Nugent-Bowman: Ranking the Oilers’ trade assets from the high-priced diamonds to those needing fresh starts
  • Daniel Nugent-Bowman: Evaluating the pros and cons of potential Oilers buyout candidates
  • Lowetide: Oilers GM Ken Holland is shopping for 20-goal scorers on a budget. What will he find?
  • Daniel Nugent-Bowman: Jay Woodcroft returning to coach AHL Condors and be reunited with Ken Holland
  • Daniel Nugent-BowmanQ&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?
  • LowetideHard Target Search: Finding the Oilers a centre who can penalty kill, help shape a useful third line, and serve in a mentor role

THE WHO, BY NUMBERS

Drafting Lavoie was either a brilliant stroke of luck, truly inspired — or both. I had him inside the first round, and he arrives to a depth chart badly in need of a shooter. He posted 206 shots in 62 games, 3.32 shots per game. If you look at the Oilers current depth chart on right wing (Lavoie is a center but I’m counting him as a wing), he projects as a strong option a couple of years down the line.

Remember in viewing these NHL equivalencies that I haven’t adjusted for age. Also important to note the lack of shooters on the depth chart. Lavoie was a major addition, added late in the game in terms of available forwards. What’s that old line about having to be lucky to be good? Yes.

Holland: “We have to get deeper up front. Certainly we need a goaltender and certainly those are the most important things for the next 10 days.” Source

TRADES

No trades yet, Jesse Puljujarvi and Milan Lucic remain on the roster, Matt Benning too. It sounded like Darnell Nurse was the ask during portions of the draft window, likely a non-starter with Ken Holland. If trades can’t be made, expect free agency to be the prime method to address need.

GOALIE OPTIONS

G Mike Smith. This is a possibility. Smith’s regular season even strength SP (.907) was poor but his playoff SP in the same discipline was .938 in five games. He is 37.

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.

G Petr Mrazek. He’s 27, young for the group, but Holland knows him and in 40 games a year ago, Mrazek posted a .914SP.

G Brian Elliott. My personal choice, he posted a .907SP a year ago and is durable and capable of carrying a team on significant winning streaks. He is 34.

OPTIONS AT FORWARD/DEFENSE

1 RW Brett Connolly. He can win battles, has skill and can play up and down the lineup.

2 LW Tyler Ennis. He shouldn’t cost a lot, brings speed and skill. There’s no downside to this acquisition.

3 R Joonas Donskoi. Speedy and skilled, he can play either wing and shouldn’t cost the moon. I expect SJS will sign him but Donskoi would be a fine addition.

4 L Michael Ferland. Holland likes aggressive, rugged wingers who can score. I think he might be a target.

5 L Brandon Tanev. I like his two-way play and he might be a bargain (should be available later day one or day two).

6 R Alex Chiasson. He’s an attractive player for the Oilers, depending on price. I’m fine with him as an addition but would like a more certain scorer.

7 LC Oscar Linbderg. He can play center or wing, has enough skill to project onto the third line, maybe higher in a pinch. Not famous, which is good.

8 L Brandon Pirri. Similar to Ennis, I don’t think he makes it to free agency while also believing he’s a terrific fit for the Oilers.

9 RD Colin Miller. Puck moving defender fits a need, although he’s coming off a mediocre season.

10 R Connor Brown. I think there’s a good chance he’s an Oiler by September.

BUYOUTS

With the cap now at $81.5 million for next season, we could see a buyout. Here are the savings for the coming season:

Kris Russell $3.083 million

Andrej Sekera $3.0 million

Milan Lucic $2.375 million

Sam Gagner $2.133 million

Brandon Manning $1.33 million

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OriginalPouzar

Holland and his team knew that the team needed forwards, both now and for the prospect pipeline, they knew the team has more depth of defence prospects than forwards and they knew the general fan base wanted the 8th pick to be used on a forward and they still picked Broberg. This is a clear indication of how high they value this player and I respect the courage of their convictions.

So far, Holland has stayed true to his word on the ultimate goal of building a consistent contender over the next few years and I have the utmost confidence in him.

He has pressure to improve now and show a legit move up the standings bit it’s clear he won’t be pressured in to panic moves that derogate from the ultimate goal.

It’s goong to be tough to acquire any top 6 forward with cap space costing egregious amounts and then upper cap limit coming in lower than anticipated and with free agency remaining egregiously expensive.

Fans may not be happy with the low event off season but it will set the org up for the next few years and off-seasons.

Slow play it Ken – it’s the best play!

Mr DeBakey

Options At Forward
Richard Pánik is too good an option to even put on the list. He doesn’t need no damn list; got his own list.

Jethro Tull

Just a quick recap of a post yesterday.

Mrs. Tull opined that “that kid’s a winger. Got Hall’s fearlessness on the net drive.”

We were watching some highlights of his. Then some of our learned posters enlightened us that Bro(do you even)berg dis in fact play wing once upon a time.

She pretty smug at the moment.

I think the kid will be fine. But I’d take a swing at him on a shift or two on the wing…..

npanciroli

Big fan of Mrazek, Panik, Donskoi and then some cheaper bets like Pirri, Ennis and Carr. Some mix of those would be great.

Really want to see Russell traded for space. I think we are stuck with Lucic.

Woogie63

Nurse-Bouchard
Klefbom-Broberg
Samorukov-Larsson

OriginalPouzar

With cap space showing to be so expensive to “acquire”, I think it increases the option of Holland consummating a buyout for some cap space.

I still don’t know who makes sense though:

Manning – can be buried for only a nominal amount more. Do they need the spot on the 50? Would it be better for the NHLPA to give the guy freedom as opposed to burying him? Could he not replace Stanton as the secondary mentor in Bake behind Lowe?

Gagner – seems to make sense from a high level but he did score at solid rates away from 97 last season and is a serviceable skilled depth option that can help PP2 even if expensive.

Russell – seems like a trade is an option and he’s the one piece available in a trade for material cap space. Of course, subject to his 15 team list. Even if a full $3M is not available, he has value around the league with $1M retained and an acquired cap hit of $3M

Sekera – can’t be a legit option despite the savings. He may prove to be a fantastic piece on the roster and I don’t see the cap savings acquiring a player that adds more than Reggie.

OriginalPouzar

Should Reimer not be at the top of the goalie list now?

Not at his current cap hit but in a retained salary deal or a swap including a Manning or a Russell? Or after a buyout?

I think Reimer at $2M or less for 2 years would be a great bet.

Throw last year away with injuries, the prior three seasons he performed exactly as this team needs from the 1B.

OriginalPouzar

Vegas is in the worst cap space situation in the league and must dispose of significant cap.

Assuming we can find the cap space for the add, should Eakin and the UFA rights to Pirri not be a hard target for Holland? 2020 2nd rounder plus a B prospect like Bear?

Jethro Tull

OriginalPouzar:
Vegas is in the worst cap space situation in the league and must dispose of significant cap.

Assuming we can find the cap space for the add, should Eakin and the UFA rights to Pirri not be a hard target for Holland?2020 2nd rounder plus a B prospect like Bear?

B…..b…..b…..but how? George was lauded as the very model of a modern General Manager. He drafted wisely and uses analytica. But now his cap management has become problematica.

Pouzar

I think Richard Panik and Brett Connolly/Donksoi would be a strong offseason fwd procurement.

Clarkenstein

Reading reports on Broberg it seems he can skate faster than he can think… so far. Don’t the Oil have a player like that now that doesn’t want to play here anymore? It also seems that some Ranking agencies had the Oil 2nd pick ranked higher than others had the 1st pick ranked. Never a dull moment around here!!

slopitch

Overall the draft was ok imo. I value D more than most (being a fan of the oilers since Lubo and Souray has caused this ha) so im fine with Broberg. Good D play 24 min a game and impact the game more than wingers imo. Puck transition is so important in todays game. Note that these 2 statements are opinion and hard to quantify. Happy with the Lavoie pick too.

I will say im a bit disappointed seing Wilson move Braun for 2 picks and see the oilers have this glut of D and unable to move Russell or Sekera. Now the cap is lower than expected and cap space woulda been such a nice asset to have. Its like management is gonna let this season pass, let the contracts slide off but i think they could do more for 2019-20. Its early still but buying players out seems like it should be plan D and not the goal.

Im hoping for Burakovsky, Panik and Mrazek. Then add a 750k tryout contract or 2 up front. JP can go play with MacT in Russia and improve his game and come back realizing that the NHL life aint so bad.

Anyways, lots of work left to be done. Good luck Holland and co!

leadfarmer

Mrazek is probably the only potential starter on that list and his 0.575 quality starts would be a good add for us.
Just don’t see how that would work out cap wise

Now go get Burakovsky Doonskoi and Zucker

slopitch

Man if Colorado gets Panarin, look out ?

slopitch

OriginalPouzar:
Should Reimer not be at the top of the goalie list now?

Not at his current cap hit but in a retained salary deal or a swap including a Manning or a Russell?Or after a buyout?

I think Reimer at $2M or less for 2 years would be a great bet.

Throw last year away with injuries, the prior three seasons he performed exactly as this team needs from the 1B.

Reimer could be a better option than Mrazek depending on what Mrazek costs and what FLA would take back in salary. Im coming around to this option 🙂 Hard pass on Smith

Jaxon

It’s interesting to note that Wells, Skinner, and Konovalov are all born in the same year. He might be jumping to the top of the goaltending que maybe behind Starter after a 930 in the KHL. Although I think we need an NHLe for goalies from the K.

barry.moore23

LT, thanks so much for all the pre-draft and draft work. Stellar, as usual. What charity do I send to as a ‘material’ thank you ?

Pouzar

Max term just under $6 mil/yr for Willie K.

godot10

Clarkenstein:
Reading reports on Broberg it seems he can skate faster than he can think… so far. Don’t the Oil have a player like that now that doesn’t want to play here anymore?It also seems that some Ranking agencies had the Oil 2nd pick ranked higher than others had the 1st pick ranked. Never a dull moment around here!!

The public ranking agencies don’t have to manage a salary cap and the salary reset that is occurring for players on their second contracts.

Good D have been scarce in the free agent and trade markets lately. So the relative value of D in the draft vs. forwards rose yesterday. If you can’t buy them or trade for them, you have to draft and develop them.

It may have happened to goaltenders too, with the run that occurred in the 2nd round, that usually happens in the 3rd.

LMHF#1

No clue about this draft…but remember that time the clowns in charge intentionally used picks on players they essentially knew would never make it?

At least it’s not that. What’s it called when the bar has been set so low it’s no longer above ground?

jtblack

I think the Broberg pick also leads to Holland moving Sekera / Russell this year. It will be interesting to see when Broberg plays. Not this year but probably the one after.

AVS absolutely crushed this draft.

godot10

slopitch:

I will say im a bit disappointed seing Wilson move Braun for 2 picks and see the oilers have this glut of D and unable to move Russell or Sekera.

Braun didn’t have any trade protection like Russell and Sekera do. Russell’s trade protection to 10-team list doesn’t occur till July 1. Ditto Sekera (15-team list)

jtblack

Cant say Edm is any better than pre draft.
Every team added some shiny new prospects.

Edm already has a solid LD at the NHL Level. So even if Broberg joins in 2 years; there is no “Lift” to the roster.

Bouchard playing RHD gives “Lift”. If Lavioe can land as a scoring winger, that provides lift. But he is prob 3 years away minimum.

So Edm is still a 78 point team with Major Holes to fill.

THIS IS US

jtblack

godot10: Braun didn’t have any trade protection like Russell and Sekera do.Russell’s trade protection to 10-team list doesn’t occur till July 1.Ditto Sekera (15-team list)

Is your guess that 1 of them will be moved after July 1st?

Bryan

Just a few thoughts after the draft. I think we should all know by now that drafting for need is a fools errand. The makeup of the team could be completely different by the time these kids have any impact with the exception of a couple of elite players at the top end. If you believe a guy can be a top two dman then you have to pick him. Elite defencemen are like diamonds unless they are making nine million and their team has no cap space. On that note I still can’t believe how dearly Toronto had to pay to shed one year of a bad Marleau contract. It seems that signing Tavares did come at a steeper cost than they first planned. It is obvious that it will become increasingly difficult for players on the wrong side of thirty to get much term on their deals. Also I have no problem with picking a goalie at 85. People can lament about all the talent still on the board but the reality is that from the third round on it becomes a very slim chance of finding a substantial player. If there’s a goalie you are impressed with take a swing in the later rounds and pick one every year until some magic happens.

npanciroli

jtblack,

Give it a good week after July 1, then we will have a good idea at the actual roster. Although I don’t currently have high hopes.

Jaxon

Here’s a reminder of how Lavoie’s historic run has put him atop the list of draft age goal scorers:

’19 – Raphael Lavoie – 23GP – 20G (draft season)
’11 – Jonathan Huberdeau – 19GP – 16G (draft season)
’05 – Sidney Crosby – 13GP – 14G (draft season)
’12 – Nathan MacKinnon – 17GP – 13G (draft-1)
’11 – Jean-Gabriel Pageau – 24GP – 13G (draft season)

Pretty good company.

Pouzar

Allan Walsh@walsha

I had 5 high level NHL club executives tell me today the salary cap is killing the NHL.

A team drafts well, it develops its players, they become contenders and now GM’s are forced to literally give away key assets.

godot10

jtblack:
I think the Broberg pick also leads to Holland moving Sekera / Russell this year.It will be interesting to see when Broberg plays. Not this year but probably the one after.

AVS absolutely crushed this draft.

Realistically, Broberg needs two years in Europe. One should view him as Larsson’s replacement when the Oilers cannot afford to re-sign him.

The long term plan….5 years out.

Nurse Bouchard
Samourukov Broberg

Pouzar

Jaxon:
Here’s a reminder of how Lavoie’s historic run has put him atop the list of draft age goal scorers:

’19 – Raphael Lavoie – 23GP – 20G (draft season)
’11 – Jonathan Huberdeau – 19GP – 16G (draft season)
’05 – Sidney Crosby – 13GP – 14G (draft season)
’12 – Nathan MacKinnon – 17GP – 13G (draft-1)
’11 – Jean-Gabriel Pageau – 24GP – 13G (draft season)

Pretty good company.

Maaaaan.

Professor Q

slopitch:
Man if Colorado gets Panarin, look out

How will they even have space? Trade talks with Vancouver about moving out Barrie fell through, so they need some more.

Bar_Qu

I think there is still a premium on defenders in the trade market right now, and I think Russell has cachet beyond this team. I can easily see him moved, if the Oilers want to do that.

I don’t know if they do, however.

The people who helped counsel his current deal are still in place, so the team may value his “leadership” and “grit” over the cost of his cap. Opportunity missed, imo.

I’d rate the Oilers chance of making the playoffs this coming spring at about 30%, considering the signals which say they are slow-playing the rebuild effort. I’d hope they can lose Lucic’s contract, because he’s asked to be freed, and Pool-party may go too, but I don’t think the balance picture will arrive this fall and it will leave the Oilers on the outside watching a lot of teams trying to make the second season.

My 2 cents.

godot10

jtblack: Is your guess that 1 of them will be moved after July 1st?

No.

slopitch

godot10: Braun didn’t have any trade protection like Russell and Sekera do.Russell’s trade protection to 10-team list doesn’t occur till July 1.Ditto Sekera (15-team list)

Thats 7 days away. Youd think Sekera and Russell would honor that at this point. Im not expecting a Braun type return (Wilsons a shark!) but it woulda been nice to be proactive imo.

Clarkenstein

Jaxon:
Here’s a reminder of how Lavoie’s historic run has put him atop the list of draft age goal scorers:

’19 – Raphael Lavoie – 23GP – 20G (draft season)
’11 – Jonathan Huberdeau – 19GP – 16G (draft season)
’05 – Sidney Crosby – 13GP – 14G (draft season)
’12 – Nathan MacKinnon – 17GP – 13G (draft-1)
’11 – Jean-Gabriel Pageau – 24GP – 13G (draft season)

Pretty good company.

Good research. Thanks.

Pouzar

Bar_Qu: I think there is still a premium on defenders in the trade market right now, and I think Russell has cachet beyond this team. I can easily see him moved, if the Oilers want to do that.

I don’t know if they do, however.

I don’t believe for one second Holland wants to move out Russell.
Just a hunch. I am not high on this GM at all.

Yeti

LMHF#1:
No clue about this draft…but remember that time the clowns in charge intentionally used picks on players they essentially knew would never make it?

At least it’s not that. What’s it called when the bar has been set so low it’s no longer above ground?

The decade of darkness.

Bryan

It’s a bit funny how Salic has gone from being a patronage appointment who was going to quickly flame out to the second coming of Sammy Pollock. It will be interesting to see what Rantanen gets paid but the contract for Mackinnon is criminal. Joe has obviously put some very good people in important positions under him and they have been killing the draft as well as very astute trades. On top of that they are a very fun team to watch. Salic and Bobby Orr will always be my two favourite non Oilers so I am pleased that he is finding success at his new job.

godot10

Pouzar:
Allan Walsh@walsha

I had 5 high level NHL club executives tell me today the salary cap is killing the NHL.

A team drafts well, it develops its players, they become contenders and now GM’s are forced to literally give away key assets.

Without the salary cap, the league would not be in business. They would lose half the teams. The value of the remaining teams would crater. There would be the same number of players competing for half the jobs, which would drive down players’ salaries.

And a competing league would form.

A monopoly works better for all the stakeholders except the ticket buying public. The key to the monopol, profits, and high player salaries is that salary cap.

The Patriots can manage the cap in the NFL pretty well. They have been discarding valuable assets for twenty years.

Pouzar

godot10: Without the salary cap, the league would not be in business. They would lose half the teams.

Yup.

Psyche

Professor Q:
After seeing the Lavoie interview, he did NOT like the reporter to his right, it seemed. Fair enough though, as he asked weird questions.

“So, you describe yourself self as a Power Forward. Do you think it’s an advantage that there aren’t many players built like and who play like you?”

“I’m sorry, what’s that?”

“That there’re not many players like you anymore?”

*switches to deadpan, grumpy, questioning face*

“…one could say that?”

All the other reporters he responded to cheerily and with a great big grin. Just not to the one to his right.

Then the reporter asked him again, if he knows that he’ll be in the AHL or NHL next year.

Again, a grumpy and questioning deadpan response of, “I don’t know. I guess I’ll have to go to camp first.”

I listened to the interview and if I remember correctly it sounded like Dustin Nielson from TSN1260 and Oilers Nation.

Bryan

Pouzar:
Allan Walsh@walsha

I had 5 high level NHL club executives tell me today the salary cap is killing the NHL.

A team drafts well, it develops its players, they become contenders and now GM’s are forced to literally give away key assets.

Maybe they’ll have to learn how to control their spending habits. Hire Bill Belichick as consultant.

Material Elvis

npanciroli:
Big fan of Mrazek, Panik, Donskoi and then some cheaper bets like Pirri, Ennis and Carr. Some mix of those would be great.

Really want to see Russell traded for space. I think we are stuck with Lucic.

You think? I took a 1st round draft pick to get rid of one year of Marleau. Lucic isn’t going anywhere. I believe that they’ll have to keep him on the roster for two more years before buying him out.

Pouzar

Psyche: I listened to the interview and if I remember correctly it sounded like Dustin Nielson from TSN1260 and Oilers Nation.

Looks like DN.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MAxOkdYUKoU&t=14s

Bar_Qu

Pouzar:
Allan Walsh@walsha

I had 5 high level NHL club executives tell me today the salary cap is killing the NHL.

A team drafts well, it develops its players, they become contenders and now GM’s are forced to literally give away key assets.

The exact complaint was made in the 90s by small market teams that lost control of players when big market teams could swoop in and sign players as free agents.

I don’t have any sympathy for a GM who can’t figure out their cap beyond the current season and then loses players they would rather have because they didn’t manage their cap properly. People on here were pointing out the importance of having a “capologist” shortly after the cap was brought in, and a decade and a half after that blindingly obvious observation there are still guys like Chia who get jobs and have no idea that it matters. And while Chia is the worst of them, Benning made the same mistakes yesterday, as did Chuck Fletcher last week.

NHL needs to have its management grow up.

Jethro Tull

Pouzar:
Allan Walsh@walsha

I had 5 high level NHL club executives tell me today the salary cap is killing the NHL.

A team drafts well, it develops its players, they become contenders and now GM’s are forced to literally give away key assets.

Why yes, NHL GM’s. You seem to have grasped the essence of a salary cap. One which you and your owner/governors helped craft. It was necessary to enable you to have teams in non-traditional markets such as…..ooh, say Arizona?

The cap guards against teams “buying” a title, makes sure that growth is managed (un-checked growth is bad – second only to no growth) and equalizes (somewhat) the crap-shoot of the draft by eventually spreading the skill.

What these GM’s fail to realize (or just don’t want to) is that it’s fairly egalitarian. If you’re doing a good job drafting and developing prospects and someone poaches one, then there’s nothing to stop you doing the same – as long as you’re under the cap.

It’s the closest thing to a free market and they really don’t like that.

Material Elvis

Pouzar:
Allan Walsh@walsha

I had 5 high level NHL club executives tell me today the salary cap is killing the NHL.

A team drafts well, it develops its players, they become contenders and now GM’s are forced to literally give away key assets.

Whiners. They want to draft and develop (plus sign $11M AAV free agents). Boo hoo.

Jethro Tull

Bar_Qu,

I would play it exactly the same if I *knew* buyouts were a given every few years……

Bryan

Jethro Tull: Why yes, NHL GM’s. You seem to have grasped the essence of a salary cap. One which you and your owner/governors helped craft. It was necessary to enable you to have teams in non-traditional markets such as…..ooh, say Arizona?

The cap guards against teams “buying” a title, makes sure that growth is managed (un-checked growth is bad – second only to no growth) and equalizes (somewhat) the crap-shoot of the draft by eventually spreading the skill.

What these GM’s fail to realize (or just don’t want to) is that it’s fairly egalitarian. If you’re doing a good job drafting and developing prospects and someone poaches one, then there’s nothing to stop you doing the same – as long as you’re under the cap.

It’s the closest thing to a free market and they really don’t like that.

No doubt most of the whining is coming out of Toronto.