Hockey is a game of windows, of opportunities with expiration dates. We’ve talked a lot about Caleb Jones, William Lagesson and Ethan Bear facing a massive season in their careers all summer. However, that’s only as it pertains to Edmonton, all three men should get a chance here or elsewhere. What about the men those three (plus Evan Bouchard, Dmitri Samorukov) are going to push out of the way?
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 Athletic, we are celebrating our 2-year anniversary this week. To mark the occasion, you can get 40% off subscriptions until Sept. 19 here.
- New Lowetide: RE 19-20: How can the Oilers’ bottom six close the gap in goal differential?
- New Daniel Nugent-Bowman: Kailer Yamamoto and Tyler Benson address respective highs and lows as Oilers rookie camp begins
- New Jonathan Willis: Riley Sheahan is a prudent signing by the Oilers in more ways than one
- New Jonathan Willis: Did Milan Lucic take a shot at Connor McDavid’s leadership?
- Jonathan Willis: Oilers’ defensive hopes will rest on the new shutdown pair of Darnell Nurse and Adam Larsson
- Daniel Nugent-Bowman: With Evan Bouchard as the headliner, here are the players to watch at Oilers rookie camp
- Lowetide: Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and the configuration of the Oilers second line
- Lowetide: Connor McDavid’s 2019-20: Pushing for 50 goals while Dave Tippett loads up the Oilers’ top line
- Lowetide: Estimating reasonable expectations for the 2019-20 Edmonton Oilers: A difficult journey
- Jonathan Willis: How much money will Darnell Nurse make on his next NHL contract?
- Lowetide: Ken Holland’s measured summer leaves Oilers outside playoffs.
- Corey Pronman: Oilers No. 9 farm system.
- 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
- Daniel Nugent-Bowman: What the 2021-22 Oilers might look like after their steady build toward contender status
- Daniel Nugent-Bowman: Ken Holland puts his stamp on the Oilers with first big move in Lucic-Neal trade
- Lowetide: Oilers top 20 prospects summer 2019.
THE NEXT FEW MONTHS
If we use our thinking caps it’s possible to read the future. Edmonton has a surplus in one area (defense) and a dire need in others (scoring wingers, possibly center, maybe in goal).
Matt Benning is an NHL defenseman. I like him. Lots of good arrows for this player and I think there would be some interest if Edmonton saw fit to move him along. Here are the Puck IQ numbers versus elites last season, Benning didn’t play the big minutes but flourished when he did play against elites.
So that’s why the rookie camp and the main camp and the preseason are important. Someone from the bubbling under group is going to push, and I don’t just mean hanging on. If the Oilers feel good enough about the youngsters at the end of camp, we could see a trade.
Many of you want Kris Russell traded but he’s got a contract that has some hurdles. Benning might be a cleaner trade. I don’t want Benning traded, for me he’s inexpensive and has a range of skills.
WHAT WOULD IT LOOK LIKE?
Let’s assume the coaching staff has a whiteboard in Dave Tippett’s office that looks like this:
Caleb Jones-Evan Bouchard
William Lagesson-Ethan Bear
Dmitri Samorukov-Logan Day
Brandon Manning-Keegan Lowe
Assuming Persson does not stumble, and one of Jones, Lagesson, Bear, Bouchard and Samorukov show well, the clock (imo) starts ticking. Once those RFA contracts start getting signed around the league, Benning’s value contracts is going to become more attractive. Repeat: I don’t like the idea of trading him. It is the logical move.
Benning’s contract is $1.9 million this season and he’s RFA next summer. The Oilers may be able to procure a young winger for him in the coming days. If Persson steps up, and Jones does too, we officially have another window opening. It won’t be long.
If Marleau is coming to Edmonton (and I’m thinking it’s a long shot) then a Russell trade becomes more likely. Edmonton would need to move more than Benning’s $1.9 million out (Oilers could save $1.2 million-ish by replacing him with Ethan Bear) in order to accommodate a Marleau deal. I believe it’s very unlikely. A reasonable expectation for Marleau in 2019-20 would be 82, 19-21-40.
LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE
At 10 this morning, we shed a short week and start daydreaming about another weekend on TSN1260! Steve Lansky will drop in to talk about Bianca Andreescu, the signing of Sheahan and getting ready for another season. Matthew Iwanyk will arrive around 11 and talk Eskimos and we’ll have a pile of texts and discussion. 10-1260 text, @Lowetide on twitter. Talk soon!