Connor McDavid is lightning on skates, pure adrenalin for hockey fans and almost impossible with his combination of speed and skill. How he can continue to shock quality defensemen amazes me. They know he’s fast, they know he’s going to drive to the net, but they can’t leave the inside so he goes wide. Except on Wednesday, when he was so fast the defensemen parted and he went down main street. McDavid’s nightmares per 60 has to be No. 1 among opposition defensemen. Fearsome.
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 here.
- New Lowetide: A shift-by-shift analysis of Ethan Bear in the Oilers’ season opener
- New Daniel Nugent-Bowman: Looking at how the Oilers can manage on defence without Adam Larsson
- Daniel Nugent-Bowman: No need to temper expectations after Connor McDavid’s season debut for Oilers
- Lowetide: Ken Holland has a plan for the Oilers’ top prospects.
- Daniel Nugent-Bowman: At home with Ken Holland: Packing away the championship memories and preparing for a new challenge
- Daniel Nugent-Bowman: Q&A: Oscar Klefbom on being a mentor, his strategy for staying healthy and saying goodbye to a friend.
- Daniel and Jon: Ten bold (and not so bold) predictions for the Oilers this season
- Lowetide: The Oilers are poised to break a 25-year-old franchise record this season
- Lowetide: Jesse Puljujarvi’s fast start leads the way for Oilers prospects as 2019-20 gets underway
- Lowetide: Joakim Nygard and Gaetan Haas bid for final Oilers spots during a strange game in Calgary
- New Daniel Nugent-Bowman: An educated guess at the Oilers’ opening-night roster
- Lowetide: Jay Woodcroft’s Bakersfield Condors might be bound for glory
- Jonathan Willis: Ethan Bear, Tomas Jurco outshine the competition in second-to-last Oilers preseason game
- Daniel Nugent-Bowman: Joakim Nygard managing his anger as he eyes spot on Oilers.
- Jonathan Willis: Assessing the Oilers’ roster as the final positional battles are sorted out
- Jonathan Willis: Oilers cut Evan Bouchard and Shane Starrett. Is Ethan Bear on the cusp of making the team?
- New Daniel Nugent-Bowman: Connor McDavid’s nearing return and four other things we’ve learned from Oilers camp
- New Daniel Nugent-Bowman: How five months in Kelowna changed Leon Draisaitl’s hockey career
- Lowetide: Matt Benning may be vulnerable to a trade as Ken Holland works to tweak Oilers roster
- Corey Pronman: Oilers No. 9 farm system.
- Lowetide: Oilers top 20 prospects summer 2019.
After the game against Vancouver, it’ll be fascinating to see what Dave Tippett comes back with on Saturday. I don’t see McDavid playing with Nygard and Neal, so maybe it’ll be Draisaitl-McDavid-Kassian and then Jurco-Nuge-Neal tomorrow night.
Tippett’s options for the No. 3 line are basically waiting for Riley Sheahan to get better. Colby Cave played 11:10 at five-on-five on Wednesday and he’ll probably play the same on Saturday. Gaetan Haas will have to play more than 2:10.
Adam Larsson is a shutdown defenseman and a veteran. William Lagesson has a similar skill set but lacks experience, Kris Russell has been asked to play the role in his time in the NHL. Russell is the likely solution. Veteran coaches prefer veteran players for major roles. My prediction is Dave Tippett will play Russell with Nurse until it becomes obvious that it’s not working. Klefbom-Bear may remain and then the third pair will be two of Brandon Manning, Matt Benning and Joel Persson. Evan Bouchard has been recalled but is unlikely to play. I think William Lagesson should be considered. He might be the best option for a third pairing with Benning.
The Condors play tonight, the team’s roster is a rocket. Solid prospects like Evan Bouchard, Tyler Benson, Dmitri Samorukov, Kailer Yamamoto, Caleb Jones, Cooper Marody, Kirill Maksimov, William Lagesson, Ryan McLeod, Shane Starrett, Stuart Skinner, Joe Gambardella and Josh Currie will be on display to begin the year, although Bouchard is in Edmonton at this time. Based on preseason scoring, might be an idea to watch for Kailer Yamamoto and Kirill Maksimov, Tyler Benson and Cooper Marody, Caleb Jones and Evan Bouchard:
I believe we’ll eventually see up to one dozen of these players in Edmonton during the regular season. Ken Holland said recently he’d like to see the group stay in Bakersfield until Christmas, or maybe even all year. Adam Larsson’s injury is the first challenge to the plan, there will be more.
LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE
At 10 this morning, we kickstart the weekend. Steve Lansky from BigMouthSports will check in on MLB’s playoffs, the NHL season getting underway and the Oilers first game. Matt Iwanyk from TSN1260 will pop in at 11 and preview the CFL weekend and give early impressions on the Oilers. 10-1260 text, @Lowetide on twitter. See you on the radio!