Starting in 2015, I began ranking 120 players per draft based on math and a few other things I believed. Beginning that year, I started back drafting my list against the Oilers selections. It’s interesting, if not terribly revolutionary.
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 roster moves clear the way for Oilers top prospects Tyler Benson and Kailer Yamamoto.
- New Daniel Nugent-Bowman: A deeper look at Mike Smith’s comments after signing with the Oilers
- New Jonathan Willis: Oilers GM Ken Holland promises long-term rewards for an approach light on short-term improvements
- New Daniel Nugent-Bowman: Trade market now most likely place for Oilers to find scoring winger
- New Lowetide: Oilers add free agent Markus Granlund, creating a crowded depth chart at left wing
- New Jonathan Willis: Tomas Jurco is a nice little reclamation bet by the Oilers.
- New Daniel Nugent-Bowman: How re-signing winger Alex Chiasson impacts the Oilers
- New Lowetide: Oilers add Mike Smith to an uneasy goalie depth chart for 2019-20
- Lowetide: Oilers buy out Andrej Sekera, look to a more dynamic free-agent frenzy.
- Daniel Nugent-Bowman: ‘He comes as advertised’: Philip Broberg’s skating makes him development camp standout for Oilers
- Daniel Nugent-Bowman: Oilers plan to skew younger on defence could open the door for Evan Bouchard, Dmitri Samorukov
- Lowetide: Taking stock of Oilers prospects ready to graduate with a clear shot at an NHL job in 2019-20
- Lowetide: Oilers top 20 prospects summer 2019.
- Lowetide: Are these Jesse Puljujarvi’s final days with the Edmonton Oilers?
- Daniel Nugent-Bowman: Ranking the Oilers’ trade assets from the high-priced diamonds to those needing fresh starts
- Lowetide: Oilers GM Ken Holland is shopping for 20-goal scorers on a budget. What will he find?
The Oilers scouting department has the edge four years later, having drafted three NHLers, including Caleb Jones. My final four picks are not matriculating, although Tkachev had a couple of fine seasons in the KHL (faltered in 2018-19). John Marino may join McDavid, Jones and Bear from the Edmonton side. Despite multiple traded pick, Oilers scouts did well.
My list wins because DeBrincat. I do think math could have helped in this draft, because DeBrincat’s numbers (the only CHL player close to him was Matt Tkachuk) were overwhelming. Abramov isn’t a high end prospect, but Vehvilainen has been outstanding in the Sm-Liiga. Tough draft for Edmonton, a lot going sideways, but Benson looks close to NHL-ready and should have a career.
Too soon to know, but the arrows are in Edmonton’s favor. Yamamoto has been passed by Samorukov as a prospect, and Maksimov plus Kemp are all trending well. Tolvanen is a quality prospect, and Lodnia is worth mentioning, but Oilers scouts are likely to beat my list handily.
Too soon to tell, I like both lists. I can’t wait to see Ty Smith as an NHL player, suspect Bouchard will get there first but Smith has all kinds of good things on his resume.
Again, both lists are solid, I prefer my list but it’s early days (actually the days haven’t started yet). Broberg and Kaliyev are excellent prospects who have their detractors, Lavoie and Robertson are quality second-round picks. It’s going to be a fun five years.
OILERS PICKS RANKED BY VARIOUS SERVICES
It always take some time to suss out a draft, and the 2019 edition felt like Ken Holland had a major impact on it. The picks that fit the Gretzky-Green ’17-18 drafts to my eye are Lavoie, Blumel, Mazura and Denezhkin. Those names align nicely with the skill family of Yamamoto and Maksimov. I think Holland impacted on the Broberg and Konovalev picks, based on observing this team for decades. The one question I’d love an answer to? If Buffalo doesn’t take Cozens, do the Oilers? I think they would have liked him a ton, but don’t know if it would have been enough to take him over Broberg.
PROJECTED OILERS OPENING NIGHT ROSTER
Leon Draisaitl — Connor McDavid — Zack Kassian
Tyler Benson — Nuge — Alex Chiasson
Markus Granlund — Jujhar Khaira — Joakim Nygard
Milan Lucic — Colby Cave — Sam Gagner
I wrote this morning about the need for skill on the top six. In my opinion the next big chore for Holland is upgrading the complementary pieces around McDavid, Draisaitl and Nugent-Hopkins on the top two lines. Kassian, Chiasson and Benson have the roles on my projection above, and I think Kailer Yamamoto and Cooper Marody should get consideration from coach Dave Tippett. The article I wrote for The Athletic shows there is a possession drag with less skilled wingers and that’s a problem.
Based on Holland’s July 1 moves, I think we’ll see Tippett fade the top-six minutes of Kassian, Chiasson and Lucic, while giving more time to Benson, Marody and Yamamoto. The skill on the bottom six (Gagner, Nygard, Khaira, Granlund) may also get an opportunity, but those moves are unlikely to be successful.
LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE
A fun show this morning with several fabulous guests. We get started at 10, TSN 1260. Bruce McCurdy joins me from the Cult of Hockey at the Edmonton Journal to discuss the Oilers in free agency and the work that needs to be done before training camp. John Horn from ESPN, WTA, MLB Network, TSN and myriad other media outlets will pop in to talk Wimbledon. Kris Abbott from OddsShark will talk about odds on Kawhi’s destination, early Stanley Cup odds and where to put your mlb money. 10-1260 text, @Lowetide on twitter. See you on the radio!