A flight from Edmonton to Yaroslavl (to see Ilya Konovalov) is described as “one day and six hours” although it’s 13.5 Edmonton to Moscow and 5.5 Moscow to Yaroslavl making it a breeze over two days.
On the other hand, it’s a 54-hour drive from Halifax (Raphael Lavoie) to Bakersfield (all of the farm hands) and that’s probably a tougher row to hoe.
The dedicated Oilers observer must take into account time zones across the planet and constantly be on guard for breaking news. Even now, with Jesse Puljujarvi posting crooked numbers in some strange tournament, and with Konovalov playing for Lokomotiv on Wednesday, we’re on our way (uh huh uh huh) from misery to happiness.
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: Connor McDavid’s 2019-20: Pushing for 50 goals while Dave Tippett loads up the Oilers’ top line
- 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.
For me, the Bakersfield Condors are going to be the epicenter for viewing Oilers prospects this winter. My personal list includes (or may include) Evan Bouchard, Dmitri Samorukov, Kirill Maksimov and hopefully Ostap Safin.
Newcomers are always the interesting ones to watch in the AHL. Why? Well, last year’s top AHL rookies (Marody, Benson, Lagesson, Day, Starrett) have established an impressive individual and group plateau. In most years Oilers have a few hills, several valleys, and dozens of boggy moors.
It’s important for Edmonton to follow up the impressive group from 2018-19 with a strong set of rookies to add to the cluster. These seasons in Bakersfield will sustain the team through the end of next decade if players like Bouchard and Samorukov are as they appear.
Beyond that, I have a few players I’ll be following closely. Michael Kesselring is tracking well as a giant puck mover and is off to Northeastern University this fall. Northeastern is in Boston, there’s a statue of Cy Young on the campus grounds.
The 2019 draft is going to be fascinating, partly because the age range is so great. Expectations have to be filtered through birth date if we’re going to gain a more accurate view. Here are the birthdates youngest to oldest and level expected in 2019-20:
LD Philip Broberg is 18, born June 25, 2001. He’ll play in Skelleftea this season, that’s SHL. NHL equivalencies (Vollman) suggest players in this league should be expected to bring 58 percent of offense to the NHL. It is the second best league in captivity.
Maxim Denezhkin is 18 and born December 10, 2000. He will play for Yaroslavl of the MHL. Players from the MHL retain 15 percent of offense but it’s a number with small sample.
RC-RW Raphael Lavoie is 18, born September 25, 2000. He’s nine months older than Broberg, so adjust your sights accordingly. He plays in a league expected to retain 25 to 28 percent of offense on the way to the NHL. Based on advanced age and league, he’ll need to deliver a handsome goal total in 2019-20.
Tomas Mazura is 18 and born September 23, 2000 about the same age as Lavoie. He also plays in Hockey East this coming season, 38 percent of overall offense can be trusted.
Matej Blumel is 19 and born in May 2000. He’s an older player, older than Lavoie, so his output has to be demonstrably stronger than younger prospects. He will play in Hockey East, where 38 percent of the offense is real.
Ilya Konovalev is 21, born July of 1998. He’s so advanced we should observe him in the KHL as a possible arrival in 2020-21 or the following year. Massive year in 2018-19 (.930) and a repeat would be impressive. KHL is the world’s best league not named the NHL, and retains 74 percent of offense.
There will be some surprises along the way but that’s my list of players who will be prominent follows. How about you?
LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE
We kickstart the first week of hockey starting at 10 this morning, TSN1260. Jonathan Willis from The Athletic will pop in at 10:20, we’ll chat about the summer, Jesse Puljujarvi and some possible roster additions via PTO. Andy McNamara from TSN1050 and TSN4Downs will talk CFL and NFL. Andrew Peard, Edmonton Oil Kings play-by-play announcer, will tee up a busy week for the team. 10-1260 text, @Lowetide on twitter. Rockit!