I believe Caleb Jones will win the No. 6 spot opening night for the Edmonton Oilers. He’ll have competition, including a “perfect fit” outlet passer in Evan Bouchard. I think Jones gets the first shot to win an NHL job and settle in, with the second recall possibly occurring around Game No. 40. Make no mistake: We’re going to see an invasion of defensemen in Edmonton over the next two seasons. It’s unavoidable.
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: A missing mom, aching feet and looking for Kevin Lowe: A week in the life of Oilers prospect Raphael Lavoie
- New Lowetide: What to do when Connor McDavid rests: The Oilers’ ideal No. 2 line for 2019-20
- Lowetide: Adding a scorer will be Ken Holland’s first big move as Oilers GM
- Daniel Nugent-Bowman: What the Oilers’ depth chart looks like now and where they go from here
- Jonathan Willis: How often do goalies like the Oilers’ Mike Smith rebound?
- Lowetide: Ken Holland’s roster moves clear the way for Oilers top prospects Tyler Benson and Kailer Yamamoto.
- Jonathan Willis: Oilers GM Ken Holland promises long-term rewards for an approach light on short-term improvements
- Daniel Nugent-Bowman: Trade market now most likely place for Oilers to find scoring winger
- 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: 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?
In 1979-80, the Oilers used rookies Kevin Lowe and Risto Siltanen heavily. I observed the team closely that year, and both men spent time in Glen Sather’s doghouse.
In late December 1979, Lowe was struggling and there were rumors about him getting sent out (Mike Forbes). Sather at the time: “If a guy is making the same mistakes over and over again, you’ve got to be concerned. But if he’s learning then you’ve got to be patient.”
This is going to happen in 2019-20, 40 years later. It won’t be pretty, it never is with young blue. In 1980-81, Paul Coffey had chaos moments so bad Slats turned instantly grey, and the hockey Gods would send him Charlie Huddy by the end of the season.
By 1981-82, those four men (with veterans Lee Fogolin, Doug Hicks and Gary Lariviere) formed Edmonton’s blue. Names left behind over those years included Pat Price, Colin Campbell, Al Hamilton, Mike Forbes.
We have the laundry list. Jones, Evan Bouchard, Ethan Bear, William Lagesson, Joel Persson, Dmitri Samorukov, Logan Day. We don’t know the Lowe, Coffey and we sure as hell don’t know the Huddy. If there is a Lowe, Coffey or Huddy. I think the best bets are Jones, Bouchard and Samorukov. Don’t be surprised if they are recalled in that order.
Jones has the best goal differential among Condors and received the NHL recall. He has good boots and learns on the job. I think he’s going to be a legit NHL defenseman. History teaches us just one name will make it to (say) 500 games, and we should acknowledge the possibility that none of these blue make it that far. Injuries are absolutely a major factor in longevity for NHL defensemen.
During the two year period that begins this fall, the orderly exit of vet Oilers rearguards might look like this:
Matt Benning: Dealt once Evan Bouchard, Ethan Bear or Joel Persson establish themselves as a bona fide NHL player who can remain healthy and play solid third pairing minutes. Estimate: Deadline 2020.
Brandon Manning: Contract expires at the end of the 2019-20 season.
Kris Russell: Buyout or trade possible summer 2020, he’ll be blocking several blue by this time next season, lord willing and the creek don’t rise.
Darnell Nurse: I’m writing about this today for The Athletic, should be up tomorrow some time. Fascinating situation.
Adam Larsson: He’ll be one year from free agency summer 2020, Edmonton will be thinking about expansion draft and playoffs. Much would have to go right in order for the Oilers to consider trading him.
Yesterday I posted my initial RE, with the Oilers coming in at 230-252. Several of you dm’d and said something along the lines that it still wasn’t a playoff team. I didn’t predict playoffs and doubt that’s possible at this time. A team that is -22 isn’t a playoff bunch. Here are the goal differentials for last season’s western conference playoff teams:
San Jose +28
St. Louis +24
Not close to the playoffs. I do believe they’ll be tighter defensively under Tippett and also believe the secondary scoring will improve. Long way from being a playoff club.
They never valued him, didn’t know what they had in Taylor Hall. Incredible. The fans earned the No. 1 overall pick in 2010, not one manager gave that fact a moment’s thought. That’s why I’ll never believe anything said about Jesse Puljujarvi. Why would anyone?