I’ve been scoping out the 2019-20 season and possibilities for the Oilers roster since July 12 (article on Tyler Benson is here). One thing that struck me early in the process, even before the buyout of Andrej Sekera: The Oilers badly need some answers about the young blue bubbling under.
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 Jonathan Willis: How much money will Darnell Nurse make on his next NHL contract?
- **New Lowetide: Ken Holland’s measured summer leaves Oilers outside playoffs.
- New Jonathan Willis: Can Mikko Koskinen be a quality starter for Oilers in 2019-20?
- New Lowetide: The 2019-20 Oilers and value contracts: A period of transition
- New Corey Pronman: Oilers No. 9 farm system.
- New Jonathan Willis: Jesse Puljujarvi signs one-year deal in Finland, dashing hopes he would return to the Oilers
- 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
- Daniel Nugent-Bowman: Q&A: Dave Tippett on rounding out his coaching staff, fixing Oilers’ special teams and using Connor McDavid
- 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
- Lowetide: Oilers top 20 prospects summer 2019.
I think the 2019-20 season will see 10 ‘major players’ on defense during the season. The big three (Oscar Klefbom, Adam Larsson, Darnell Nurse) will all play well over 20 minutes a night and will have huge impact on the success or failure of the team.
I have a second tier of three defensemen in 2019-20 who will all play between 15 and 19 minutes a night: Kris Russell, Matt Benning and newcomer Joel Persson. I have Persson getting significant power-play time and posting enough offense to be the No. 3 scorer among the blue. I have faded the GP total for both Russell and Persson because there are trade deadline possibilities.
I have a (final) third tier of youngsters, and that includes Caleb Jones, Evan Bouchard, Ethan Bear and William Lagesson. Some of these men represent the future and others represent trade pieces and the organization has to figure everything out over the next 12 months or so. Jones has the edge in games, the other three are about equal. It’s going to be a fun follow in 2019-20.
FIRST LINE AND BEYOND
I woke up to a conversation on the blog this morning about Alex Chiasson and whether or not he’s a legit No. 2 right winger. I use five-on-five points-per-60 as a gauge and 492 minutes as a line in the sand. If we use NaturalStatTrick, we get exactly 372 players (31 times 12) and have an actual pool of qualifying forwards. First line forwards include all players in the top 93 (31 times 3) and on it goes. Here are the Oilers from last season:
First Line: Connor McDavid 2.82 (No. 7 overall)
First Line: Leon Draisaitl 2.57 (No. 22 overall)
Second Line: Ryan Nugent-Hopkins 1.75 (No. 159 overall)
Second Line: Drake Caggiula 1.68 (No. 172 overall) (TRADED)
Third Line: Jujhar Khaira 1.38 (No. 247 overall)
Third Line: Zack Kassian 1.32 (No. 261 overall)
Third Line: Alex Chiasson 1.25 (No. 277 overall)
Fourth Line: Ty Rattie 1.16 (No. 299 overall)
Fourth Line: Ryan Strome 1.12 (No. 308 overall) (TRADED)
Fourth Line: James Neal 0.99 (No. 337 overall (ACQUIRED)
Fourth Line: Milan Lucic 0.97 (No. 340 overall)
Fourth Line: Jesse Puljujarvi 0.80 (No. 361 overall)
Fourth Line: Colby Cave 0.75 (No. 362 overall)
Fourth Line: Tobias Rieder 0.75 (No. 362 overall)
Fourth Line: Kyle Brodziak 0.70 (No. 370 overall)
So, Chiasson can play on the No. 2 line but it isn’t efficient. Drake Caggiula would be a far better candidate. It’s the same as Kassian on the top line. Milan Lucic in 2016-17 posted 1.21 per 60, despite getting 50 points. Why? 25 points came on the power play. Lucic scored 1.46 points-per-60 with McDavid that season.
Chiasson had a similar experience to Lucic 2016-17 this past campaign. He was 1.25 per 60 overall, but scored only 13 of 22 goals at even strength. Chiasson scored 1.48 per 60 with McDavid.
Chiasson’s last three seasons at five-on-five per 60: 1.28, 1.27 and 1.25. He is telling us who he has, and the big spike a year ago came on the power play.
No one hates Alex Chiasson, or Zack Kassian, but they are inefficient players on high skill lines.
I hope he fills the net, and then does it again. Impossible to cheer against this young man, and coming off injury it will be good for him to test everything in an actual game.
BODY LANGUAGE, AND YOU
Here’s my advice: When you encounter an article that delves into body language or verbal thrust, be like Dionne Warwick and walk on by. You’re a fan of sports, not interpretation of the physical movements of athletes during scrums. Just because it’s about a person of interest doesn’t make an article worthwhile.
LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE
At 10 this morning, TSN1260, we kickstart the long weekend with great guests and general confusion. Steve Lansky from BigMouthSports will stop in to talk about the enormous changes in broadcast media this week. Hernan Salas from TSN1260 will tee up the Labor Day Classic with depth chart analysis and keys to the game. Sean Fitzgerald from The Athletic will also pop by to talk about this article and how players ready themselves for training camp and the long season ahead. 10-1260 text, @Lowetide on twitter. Friday!!