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 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-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?
- 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
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
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.
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.
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