I’ll be publishing my ‘reasonable expectations’ series (it’s four posts, most likely) over at The Athletic beginning next week. I have the numbers but haven’t written it yet, meaning there’s some fun items that might be talking points on a late August morning. So, here goes.
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: Jay Woodcroft joins Claude Julien and Todd Nelson as key coaches in Oilers prospect development
- Lowetide: Is Riley Sheahan an ideal fit for the Oilers as their No. 3 centre?
- Lowetide: Oilers coach Dave Tippett might have to take drastic action in order to find a second outscoring line in 2019-20
- Lowetide: Oilers end summer still shy on first-shot scoring wingers
- Lowetide: Connor McDavid and optimal line chemistry: The Oilers need to abandon enforcer fixation and add a skill winger
- Lowetide: Jesse Puljujarvi’s biggest hurdles: Bad timing and the indifference of the Oilers.
- Lowetide: Projecting the Oilers 2019-20 Opening Night Lineup
- Lowetide: Revisiting the Oilers’ 2016 draft and the opportunities missed
- Lowetide: Examining the potential waiver-wire opportunities at hand for the Oilers
- 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
- Jonathan Willis: Projecting the Oilers’ opening night lineup, line combinations and more.
- 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
- 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: Oilers top 20 prospects summer 2019.
There are some things that are interesting about the RE projections. I have the young forwards emerging around mid-season or later, and there’s going to be roster turnover around the trade deadline (or sooner).
The highest scoring rookie forward is Cooper Marody, he also has the highest five-on-five per 60 scoring rate. No surprise there, Eric Rodgers estimated Marody’s even-strength points-per-60 was 2.38 during his rookie AHL season. Tyler Benson also posts solid numbers, but both men play less than half a season. Benson’s even-strength points-per-60 estimate (Rodgers) is 2.00 and that is reflected in my estimate.
I have the Oilers forwards scoring 208 times, that’s nine more than a year ago.
Top six forwards behind the big three include the obvious (Neal, Kassian and Chiasson) but also Sam Gagner, Joakim Nygard and Markus Granlund. I tried like hell to keep Gagner on a depth line but it’s harder than it looks.
Third line centers include Jujhar Khaira, Gaetan Haas, Colby Cave and later Marody. The four men score (as a group) 14 goals. The 2018-19 No. 3 centres (Ryan Strome, Cave, Khaira, Spooner, Brad Malone) scored eight goals.
OPENING NIGHT (EXPECTED)
Leon Draisaitl—Connor McDavid—Zack Kassian
James Neal—Ryan Nugent-Hopkins—Alex Chiasson
Markus Granlund—Jujhar Khaira—Josh Archibald
Joakim Nygard—Gaetan Haas—Sam Gagner
Extra: Tomas Jurco, Colby Cave
Darnell Nurse—Adam Larsson
Oscar Klefbom—Joel Persson
Kris Russell—Matt Benning
Extra: Caleb Jones
Mikko Koskinen (Mike Smith)
The other thing worth mentioning is trades. I see several selloff deals around the deadline, both to make room and to stock up on picks. Candidates include Markus Granlund, Josh Archibald, Jujhar Khaira, Sam Gagner, Zack Kassian, Kris Russell, Matt Benning.
LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE
We’re back on the radio at 10 this morning, TSN1260. A busy weekend means a lot to talk about, including the massive Andrew Luck announcement and the ridiculous reaction that followed. Jason Gregor will also join us to chat about the Eskimos as they head into the biggest two weeks of the year and your comments are welcome. 10-1260 text, @Lowetide on twitter. See you on the radio!