There was lots of talk during the buyout period about Sam Gagner and his contract. It would have been a cleaner buyout than the Andrej Sekera deal that came to fruition, but the team is razor thin on the wings and Gagner can post offense. I keep thinking his ideal spot is on the No. 4 line, where he and some two-way forwards could smash the soft parade—with Connor McDavid popping in for a guest appearance from time to time. The longer I stare at this for the RE, the more I wonder.
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: Cooper Marody’s utility gives him an edge for an Oilers roster spot in 2019-20
- Lowetide: Ken Holland’s roster construction options for the Oilers over the next seven months.
- Lowetide: Kailer Yamamoto has the talent to win a job with the Oilers on merit, if he’s healthy.
- Jonathan Willis: Jesse Puljujarvi still has upside and the Oilers’ patient approach is the right one
- Daniel Nugent-Bowman: Q&A: Dave Tippett on rounding out his coaching staff, fixing Oilers’ special teams and using Connor McDavid
- Lowetide: Handicapping the Oilers’ young defencemen and their chances of replacing Andrej Sekera
- Lowetide: Is Kirill Maksimov progressing as the Edmonton Oilers’ next great hope for a true homegrown sniper?
- Jonathan Willis: Oilers ease pressure on crowded defensive pipeline by trading John Marino to the Penguins
- Daniel Nugent-Bowman: What the 2021-22 Oilers might look like after their steady build toward contender status
- Lowetide: Joel Persson is ideally situated to win an opening night roster spot with the Oilers
- Daniel Nugent-Bowman: What the 2019-20 Oilers might look like without trade missteps.
- Lowetide: Finding the best candidates for the final two spots on the Oilers skill lines in 2019-20.
- Jonathan Willis: Projecting the Oilers’ opening night lineup, line combinations and more.
- Lowetide: Does the James Neal acquisition impact Oilers’ prospects in 2019-20?
- Lowetide: Oilers’ acquisition of James Neal could add badly needed scoring to the top two lines.
- Daniel Nugent-Bowman: Ken Holland puts his stamp on the Oilers with first big move in Lucic-Neal trade
- Jonathan Willis: Ken Holland ends an ugly situation for the Oilers by trading Milan Lucic for James Neal
- Daniel Nugent-Bowman: Potential free-agent options for the Oilers in 2020
- Jonathan Willis: Which Oilers defencemen can make an outlet pass?
- Lowetide: Looking ahead to Oilers training camp: 35 players for 23 jobs
- Jonathan Willis: Josh Archibald won’t fix the Oilers’ biggest problems, but he’ll help with some key issues.
- Lowetide: Will the 2019-20 Bakersfield Condors be the Oilers’ best minor-league team ever?
- Lowetide: Oilers top 20 prospects summer 2019.
THE TOP TWO LINES
My RE estimates have three constants (McDavid, Draisaitl, Nuge) and I started with three main wingers (Kassian, Chiasson, Neal). The issue for all three complementary wingers is this: The offense is inconsistent, in the case of Kassian and Chiasson less consistent than Gagner’s bat.
So, in constructing the even strength minutes for the Oilers team, I’ve arrived at eight wingers for the McDavid and Nuge lines. That’s double what you’d ideally have in a world where the team had true depth.
Here’s the thing: The up and coming talent is going to pass the veterans sooner than later. By that I mean Tyler Benson and Cooper Marody are more useful in skill situations than Zack Kassian and Alex Chiasson.
Gagner and James Neal might be the two men who push past the big wingers and the kid wingers to shine the brightest this winter. Markus Granlund and Joakim Nygard may also impact the top six forwards.
Chances are Dave Tippett is going to shuffle like crazy through the first 40 games, and we should be prepared for a “surprise” option emerging. Who? Ideally it’s Benson, Marody or another youngster. Right now, it’s a mess. By this time next year, the team should have some answers. Hopefully those answers are inexpensive and under control.