We’re going to see some interesting battles in Oilers camp this fall, and some of the youngsters could break through but get sent to Bakersfield until trades can be made in order to make room.
One of the worries fans rightly have now surrounds making sure quality players don’t fall through the cracks. There are so many good defensemen who are prospects, can Dave Tippett gauge the group in what will be a three-week window?
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: Examining the potential waiver-wire opportunities at hand for the Oilers
- 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.
No. 3 LHD
This will be the marquee battle in camp, with several quality options available. Oscar Klefbom and Darnell Nurse will occupy the top two spots, with options all day for Dave Tippett on the third pair.
Kris Russell and Brandon Manning represent the veterans who are in the conversation, both men known for shutdown skills during their respective careers. Russell played almost 400 minutes against elites last season, a No. 3 assignment probably cuts that total in half and allows Russell to (possibly) mentor some of the young RH blue.
Caleb Jones and William Lagesson are either NHL-ready or close enough for jazz, but there’s no room at the inn. Make no mistake, all indicators (saw him good, even-strength goal differential, coach’s comments) are top dead center. This is a case where the two men may not be applying for the same job (Jones likely second pair, Lagesson third) but their trains arrived at the same time. The kicker? Dmitri Samorukov is coming off an impact junior season and his train could flatten some of the good young quality ahead of him.
We talked about this briefly yesterday, but this thing is impossible. We have three big pieces to a six-piece puzzle (97, 29 and 93) and the Oilers may have added another in James Neal.
After that we’re in a land where logic and reason can’t help us very much. My RE’s are based on Bill James’ “established level of ability” and I usually run three seasons to get a read and then add or subtract based on age and projected usage. Connor McDavid is fairly easy to project. My RE estimate a year ago (82, 50-70-120 1.46 points-per-game) was pretty close to his actual performance (78, 41-75-116 1.49 points-per-game) and I will tell you my RE projection for him in 2019-20 is 50 goals again.
People are worried about Leon Draisaitl’s regression, but the RE process likes his consistency. He plays the entire season, has scored 29, 25 and 50 goals in his last three years and turns 24 in October. I can estimate his goals between 34 and 40 with some confidence.
What about James Neal? I have him at 16 goals. Nuge? 22. After that? It’s damned near impossible. Zack Kassian and Alex Chiasson are strong candidates to regress, and I don’t believe Markus Granlund is about to score 19 again. Sam Gagner’s RE is 14 and that might be the closest to James Neal any of these cats get in 2019-20.
NO. 3 CENTER
Gaetan Haas has a solid reputation among Oilers’ brass and that’s going to be enough to get him a full audition. If he ends up being a fourth line or worse option, Edmonton’s roster can offer Jujhar Khaira, Kyle Brodziak and Colby Cave as options. I wrote about the waiver wire for The Athletic today, suspect that option could come into play. I’m a believer in Khaira, don’t know if he can cover the ask but he would be my top option.
NO. 2 RHD
This has a chance to be the most provocative story in camp. Coach Tippett has expressed a preference for Kris Russell playing LH side, which is different than saying it’s a sure thing.
Adam Larsson is the No. 1 man, with Matt Benning normally slotted on the third pair. I would like to see Benning move up to the second pair, but suspect this battle will be a three-way race between Joel Persson, Evan Bouchard and Ethan Bear. My RE has Persson winning the competition and opening the season with the Oilers.