These are the days or miracle and wonder, a time in the hockey season where, as Craig MacTavish once said, they all look good in suits. Prospects step up and do impressive things and the mind plays tricks, then the poets and songwriters step in and we have heartbeats accelerating. Kailer Yamamoto made the NHL Oilers at about 150 pounds, partly because he stunned the preseason and partly because Edmonton decided he was the answer (ahead of Jesse Puljujarvi, among others).
So let’s agree, today, in the clear light of morning, that the actual list of bona fide candidates is both limited and unproven. There. Now go ahead and dream baby, dream.
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: Shutdown success by Darnell Nurse and Adam Larsson is a key for the Oilers in 2019-20.
- New Daniel Nugent-Bowman: Even if he’s unsure about his return, Oilers’ Connor McDavid looks and sounds like his old self
- 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.
How many players who spent most or all of 2018-19 outside of the NHL have a real chance to play a significant amount for Edmonton in 2019-20? Here’s my list, with chances of making the opening night lineup.
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. He may not play a major role, but he’s a top option from the group who are looking to establish themselves this fall. Chances of making the opening night lineup: 70%
Joel Persson, 25. He has a clear shot at the NHL job, but we don’t really know if he can handle the smaller ice, speed and assault of the NHL. I think he has the skill. Chances of making the opening night lineup: 70%
Caleb Jones, 22. I have him making the team, but he isn’t a lock, partly because it looks like Kris Russell is being move to LH side. If he doesn’t make it, Jones is at the very top of the recall list and his third pairing numbers in the NHL a year ago (over 56 percent Corsi for in just over 115 minutes) are solid. Chances of making the opening night lineup: 70%
Evan Bouchard, 19. Bouchard was so impressive in the rookie game, but remember the ghosts of prospects past. Of course he made the NHL team a year ago. I think he has a real chance to make the team. Chances of making the opening night lineup: 50%
Tyler Benson, 21. That LW depth chart doesn’t look fab with James Neal and is sickly without it. Benson is in a great spot. Chances of making the opening night lineup: 50%
Cooper Marody, 22. Skilled, smart and coming off an outstanding AHL debut. He needs to show well throughout preseason. Chances of making the opening night lineup: 30%
Gaetan Haas, 27. RH center who has speed and two-way skills, we don’t know if his skills are a match for the NHL game and we don’t know if he’ll need a period of adjustment. The signing of Riley Sheahan reduces his chances. Chances of making the opening night lineup: 30%
William Lagesson, 23. His shutdown ability in the AHL is impressive and I do believe he’ll spend time on the third pairing this year. Chances of making the opening night lineup: 30%
Ethan Bear, 22. He was effective when healthy, and has NHL experience. It’s easy to forget about him, but things tend to go in less than predictable directions once camp begins. Chances of making the opening night lineup: 30%
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. Chances of making the opening night lineup: 10%
Kailer Yamamoto, 20. His being held back due to injury is an indication (to me) the organization isn’t going to repeat previous mistakes. One step at a time. Chances of making the opening night lineup: 10%
Joe Gambardella, 25. He scored 29 goals in the AHL last season and showed some ability in an NHL recall. A long shot, he could impress Tippett early and ride it to an NHL job. Chances of making the opening night lineup: 1%
Patrick Russell, 26. The PK numbers keep jumping out at me, along with his year over year improvement. I think he might have a career. Chances of making the opening night lineup: 1%
Dmitri Samorukov, 20. He is a quality prospect with a wide range of skills. I don’t think he stays through camp but do believe he has the skill (over 200 feet) to force the issue. Chances of making the opening night lineup: 1%
2018-19 Oilers preseason prospect scoring
- Kailer Yamamoto 6, 4-0-4
- Ryan McLeod 4, 0-3-3
- Jesse Puljujarvi 5, 2-0-2
- Evan Bouchard 4, 1-1-2
- Cooper Marody 3, 0-1-1
- Tyler Benson 2, 0-1-1
- Caleb Jones 1, 1-0-1
- Patrick Russell 1, 0-1-1
- Joe Gambardella 1, 0-1-1
Ryan McLeod making the Oilers this fall would be the same as Anton Lander making the team in 2011: A mistake. Let him play the season in Bakersfield, in all situations, with Jay Woodcroft as coach. That’s the play here.
LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE
At 10 this morning, TSN1260. We begin with John Horn, our tennis insider. John will put the Bianca Andreescu win at Flushing Meadows in historical context and we’ll talk about her future in the sport. Michael Hurley from CBS Boston will chime in on the Patriots and BoSox. Jason Gregor will also drop in and talk Eskimos, NFL Week One and the Oilers training camp. 10-1260 text, @Lowetide on twitter. Talk soon!