Back in the fun days (2013) today would see Oilers fans get caught totally off guard (Oilers sign Omark! or Oilers sign Petrell!) but one suspects we’ll see a more predictable training camp roster.
Surprises might include a center like Riley Sheahan and someone mentioned Patrick Marleau yesterday—that would be a surprise.
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, take advantage of the incredible Labor Day Weekend offer here!
- **New Lowetide: Estimating reasonable expectations for the 2019-20 Edmonton Oilers: A difficult journey
- 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.
TRAINING CAMP ROSTER (A GUESS)
I have added a few ‘possible’ training camp additions based on need.
1 Mikko Koskinen, 31. Delivered in October and November (.924) but was overworked and spent by season’s end. One of Dave Tippett’s assignments will be to have a rested Koskinen starting games.
2 Mike Smith, 37. Smith started slowly but had a .912 save percentage after the All-Star break. His playoff performance was also solid but at his age Smith is a risky bet.
3 Shane Starrett, 25. Posted a great season in Bakersfield (.916 save percentage) and is the first recall option entering camp.
4 Dylan Wells, 21. Played 12 AHL games (.909 save percentage) and spent the rest of the year in the ECHL.
5 Stuart Skinner, 20. 41 ECHL (.903) games made him the Wichita starter, with just six AHL games (.879) during the regular year. Skinner caught fire for Bakersfield in the playoffs, with a .918 save percentage in four games.
6 Olivier Rodrigue, 19. 48 games in the QMJHL (.902) and he’s a consistent goaltender who may have the best pedigree among the young group. Headed back to junior for his final year.
LEFT DEFENSE (8)
1 Oscar Klefbom, 26. I’m interesting in seeing how coach Dave Tippett handles him. Early word has him on the second pair.
2 Darnell Nurse, 24. He might get a push under Tippett, possibly forming a shutdown pairing with Adam Larsson.
3 Kris Russell, 32. Oilers apparently plan on moving him to LD, but he’ll be in the mix if the team can’t find a better option. On the LH side he’s a third pairing option.
4 Caleb Jones, 22. One of the keys to this season for Edmonton will come in getting as many youngsters into the league and adjust by April. Jones is a quality candidate, combining speed and skill in an inexpensive package.
5 William Lagesson, 23. Although he’s a little under the radar, the intel on Lagesson is that he’s bona fide and could push for an NHL job as early as training camp.
6 Brandon Manning, 29. He’ll come to camp as a veteran option but he’ll have a difficult time making the roster as anything other than 7D, and even that is a stretch.
7 Dmitri Samorukov, 20. A complete range of skills and he could pass several on this list in a hurry.
8 Keegan Lowe, 26. Veteran AHL defender who has been helping the development of young Condors blue.
RIGHT DEFENSE (0)
1 Adam Larsson, 26. Shutdown defender had a five-on-five shot share of 48.62 percent last year and a goal share of 38.69 percent. Regression should be expected.
2 Joel Persson, 25. He is an excellent passer and an older player. I think talk of moving Klefbom to the second pair may coincide with a push for Persson early days. He has a clear view of a roster spot.
3 Matt Benning, 25. Benning may be in his final season in the organization but it’s a good bet he’ll be on the team opening night. Oilers won’t turn over too much of the defensive roster so trade deadline might be the time.
4 Evan Bouchard, 19. Bouchard has outstanding vision and passing skills, perfect skills for the current Oilers. I can see him making the team in any month of the season.
5 Ethan Bear, 22. He was effective when healthy, and has NHL experience. Bear is also facing more competition than he did a year ago and will have to make an immediate impact in preseason.
6 Logan Day, 24. I don’t know where he’s heading but last season in Bakersfield was impressive. We can disregard him but this organization has brought along both Jordan Oesterle and Brad Hunt in recent seasons. Day is a talent.
1 Connor McDavid, 22. I’m expecting a career season. During his young career, he has been phenomenal (per 82gp: 37-69-106) and he is entering his prime. Stand back!
2 Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, 26. Nuge is the George Harrison of the Oilers, brilliant and original but in the shadows much of the time. I can’t wait until we get to his ‘here comes the sun’ years.
3 Riley Sheahan, 27. I wrote about him recently (here) and he could help in the faceoff circle and on the PK. Part of me believes if this was going to happen we’d already be there.
4 Jujhar Khaira, 25. I have a feeling Khaira will emerge as an important defensive player for Dave Tippett. Not sure it’ll be at center.
5 Cooper Marody, 22. I have him making the big club for good in mid-season and posting some crooked numbers offensively. He could help solve a major problem in the middle.
6 Gaetan Haas, 27. RH center who has speed and two-way skills, there is a gap in competition for this player and he’ll need time to adjust.
7 Colby Cave, 24. He has some utility but lacks any one strength to recommend him. He won 52 percent of his faceoffs.
8 Kyle Brodziak, 35. He had a tough year, fell off demonstrably from previous level of performance. He was clearly not at full health, and it’s possible he lands on LTIR.
9 Brad Malone, 30. Malone serves as insurance at the position and has played 14 percent of his time with the Oilers in the NHL. If he’s recalled, something unplanned has happened.
10 Cameron Hebig, 22. Hebig started last season as part of the Kid Line and scored well. He got lost in the flood but might find himself in a feature role again this season.
11 Ryan McLeod, 19. I don’t think he’ll see the NHL this season and am interested to see how much he brings offensively in the minors.
1 Leon Draisaitl, 23. The big man scored 50 goals last season, a feat that puts him on a higher level. Don’t expect another 50, but he is an impact player in the NHL.
2 Patrick Marleau, 39. He turns 40 in September and I don’t think Marleau will sign in Edmonton. Still, it’s an intriguing thought. He played 82 games a season and popped 16 goals a year ago.
3 James Neal, 31. I think Ken Holland made out like a bandit with this trade, even if it doesn’t work out. I think 16 goals is a reasonable expectation.
4 Markus Granlund, 26. He’ll be in the Rieder role, PK man who can score some, check some and maybe move from pivot as required. It’s a good choice, although you worry he lands more of a feature role than warranted.
5 Joakim Nygard, 26. He has speed, giving Nygard a major advantage over other hopefuls. His SHL scoring pace (he was among the league leaders) shouldn’t be overlooked.
6 Tyler Benson, 21. I think he has a real chance to make the team. My RE brings him up mid-season but there’s a massive opportunity here and Benson is a sublime passer.
7 Tomas Jurco, 26. He has had some success (per 82gp: 9-11-20) in the NHL but it has been four years since he was a regular in the league.
8 Joe Gambardella, 25. He scored 29 goals in the AHL last season and showed some ability in an NHL recall. His skill set dovetails nicely to a depth role as a forechecker and PK man who can score a little.
9 Nolan Vesey, 24. He hasn’t shown a lot.
1 Zack Kassian, 28. Per 82gp as an Oiler, he scored 10-14-24, which is excellent production for a role player. Kassian will get time on a feature line but it’s an area of weakness for the team. Tippett needs to find more skill.
2 Thomas Vanek, 35. He’s old but he’s skilled and the Oilers have a need he can fill. I expect Vanek will sign out east but I listed him because it makes so much sense.
3 Alex Chiasson, 28. Over the last three seasons, he output per 82gp is 16-15-31, and eight of his 22 goals a year ago came on the power play. He’s a bit of an odd match in this forward group (counting on 22 goals again is unwise). That said, I think some of the verbal on his signing is over the top. Has a lot of the same issue as Kassian, and I expect we might see one of these two wingers dealt.
4 Josh Archibald, 26. One of my favourite offseason additions, Archibald can PK, score goals, skate and play a physical style. No real negatives.
5 Sam Gagner, 30. One of the most interesting players on the roster, over the last three seasons he is delivering (per 82gp) 15-26-41. He could play on all four lines during the year.
6 Josh Currie, 26. I think he could slide into a 13-14F job easily this training camp, so have ranked him here. No matter if Currie gets sent out, it’s better than even money that he plays in the NHL this coming season.
7 Kailer Yamamoto, 20. I don’t think there’s much chance of Yamamoto making the roster out of camp, my suspicion is the organization wanted to see more a year ago. Wrist injury aside, he’ll have to show he can dominate the AHL before recall. I believe he could score 30 in the AHL over a full season.
8 Patrick Russell, 26. The more I look into his minor league season, the more impressive it looks. He’s a depth winger at the NHL level, but could see the NHL again this season.
9 Kirill Maksimov, 20. I don’t see a path for him to make the opening night lineup, but a dominant first half in the AHL could see him recalled. He’s a perfect fit for a gigantic need.
10 Raphael Lavoie, 18. His skills are a perfect match for team needs, he is similar to Maksimov (and Evan Bouchard) in this way. He’ll be a player to watch this season.