Growing up Jehovah’s Witness had some downbeat but there are positives from being raised on the outskirts of society. I’m probably more open to ideas that are unpopular or less traveled, while also being prone to wild goose chases (thus my many disagreements over the years with posters Logic and Reason).
For instance, I’m not sure trading Jesse Puljujarvi next summer is a good idea. If a team offers 100 cents on the dollar, fine. However, chances are the return will be disappointing and there’s every chance JP will have success in his new city. If I’m Holland, I at least think about letting the summer pass, go through the draft with the situation unsettled.
Maybe some of JP’s Oilers teammates can spend some time with him, convince him he’s needed. Puljujarvi isn’t evil, in fact he appears to be a good citizen. So, whatever the problem, I’d spend 2020 trying to solve it. There’s no good ending to trading JP for a second round pick or a mid-level prospect. No to Julien Gauthier, no to Lias Andersson.
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, less than two coffees a month offer here.
- New Lowetide: Oilers’ fleet centre prospect Ryan McLeod finding the range with the Bakersfield Condors
- Jonathan Willis: Leon Draisaitl is struggling badly, even as the Oilers’ depth forwards seem to be coming around
- Lowetide: Should the Oilers pursue Lias Andersson in trade?
- Daniel Nugent-Bowman: Broken toes, holiday-time hospital visits and memories of home: A week in the life of Oscar Klefbom, the Oilers’ do-everything defenceman
- Daniel Nugent-Bowman: Grasping Mike Smith, Leon Draisaitl and the Oilers’ recent plight by reading between the lines
- Lowetide: As Oilers’ auditions of fringe forwards nears conclusion, it’s time for Condors’ top prospects to force the issue
- Lowetide: The key missing element to the Oilers’ brilliant top line
- Daniel Nugent-Bowman: ‘We called him ‘The Crane”: Teammates and coaches reveal their best Connor McDavid stories
- Jonathan Willis: Should the Oilers have outbid the Coyotes for Taylor Hall?
- Lowetide: Connor McDavid’s frustration and the impact it could have on the Edmonton Oilers
- Daniel Nugent-Bowman: Oilers need to figure out five-on-five woes quickly, starting with Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl
- Lowetide: Who should be the next man up from the Bakersfield Condors?
- Daniel Nugent-Bowman: Q&A: 10 subscriber questions for Oilers rookie defenceman Ethan Bear
- Lowetide: Five loud noises Ken Holland could make to help the Oilers immediately
- Lowetide: Complete Oilers top 20 prospects list, winter 2019
- Lowetide: Oilers’ No. 5 prospect, Winter 2019 — Raphael Lavoie
- Lowetide: Oilers’ No. 4 prospect winter 2019: Tyler Benson
- Lowetide: Oilers No. 3 prospect winter 2019: Ethan Bear
- Lowetide: Oilers’ No. 2 prospect winter 2019: Philip Broberg
- Lowetide: Oilers’ No. 1 prospect winter 2019: Evan Bouchard
Older players are  and I have ranked each position with the highest to lowest NHLE. So, although Tomas Jurco ranks ahead of Tyler Benson NHLE, we can assume based on age (Jurco will be 27 on Saturday, Benson is 21) that Benson will have the better career.
I believe the most talented forwards are Benson, Lavoie, Yamamoto, McLeod, Marody, Maksimov. I like Rasanen, but his scouting report suggested a two-way center and at 21 these impressive college numbers can’t be trusted as true north.
I think Puljujarvi might be better than all of them. That’s why I don’t trade him.
Back in August, I made some predictions about Condors players and what a reasonable season might look like. Here’s the August verbal and an update:
Shane Starrett. He was a major part of the Condors success last season, it’s reasonable to expect him to build on that and (at some point) make his NHL debut. Update: Injuries have derailed his season. Absolutely terrible timing, and the Condors are having a terrible season partly because Starrett’s backups haven’t been close to good enough.
Evan Bouchard scored eight points in eight AHL playoff games, but didn’t play big minutes. Reasonable should be top 4D minutes in Bakersfield, a feature role on the power play and a point-per-game during the regular season. I also think NHL time is a reasonable expectation. Update: The first half of this season (27, 3-12-15) has been disappointing, although he is among the leading scorers among rookie blue in the AHL. Bouchard’s overall game looks to be shy of NHL-ready but a player with his pedigree could figure it out in a hurry.
Dmitri Samorukov had a breakout season in the OHL, so finding reasonable is difficult. I’m going to say that establishing himself as a solid AHL regular, with a positive even-strength goal differential, is reasonable. Update: Samorukov has covered the bet already, showing himself to be a capable regular in the minors. He is plus-minus zero, that’s a fabulous number on a team that is minus 19 on the year.
William Lagesson had an outstanding AHL debut season, so I’ll suggest an even better goal differential at even strength than he delivered a year ago. Plus NHL time. Update: He got an NHL recall but no games, and has been a strong player for the Condors when he’s in the lineup. Just waiting for the call, he’s bona fide.
Cooper Marody rocked the casbah in year one, I think reasonable expectations should include 25+ NHL games and over a point-per-game in the AHL. Update: It has been a miserable season so far, with Marody’s numbers (23, 5-9-14) a mere shadow of his rookie campaign. He is 2-5-7 in his last eight games, so that’s progress.
Tyler Benson should increase his point total and demonstrably improve his goal total in Bakersfield. I’ll say 25 AHL goals over an entire season, and 25 NHL games, too. Update: He’s on pace for 18 goals and leads the Condors with 21 points in 27 games. Most encouraging, Benson’s points have come with multiple linemates, meaning his reliance on Marody to create offense a year ago no longer applies. Quality first half.
Kailer Yamamoto might be the most interesting player in this group. He scored 10 goals in 27 games a year ago, I think 25 goals based on a 68-game season in reasonable. No NHL games expected, if he earns them that’s a positive arrow. Update: Yamamoto’s scouting reports are fire, he’s been a buzzsaw and draws penalties on the regular (sources Wilde and Original Pouzar). His seven goals in 22 games projects to 21.6 goals over 68 games. He’s close, in my opinion Yamamoto and Benson are both NHL-ready.
Ryan McLeod has terrific speed and two-way acumen, so his emerging as an AHL regular is reasonable. Offensively, 25+ points over 68 games seems reasonable (assuming he gets a regular shift). Update: McLeod has 3-8-11 in 27 games, that’s a little ahead of the pace I suggested would be reasonable. Solid start. Wrote about him here.
Kirill Maksimov is a terrific goal-scorer and Jay Woodcroft’s ability to unlock rookies was a key to Benson, Marody and their seasons. He’s a scorer, but overestimating goal scorers is the easiest mistake in reasonable expectations. I’ll say 20 goals in 68 games for Maksimov. Update: He has scored 2-6-8 in 24 games, that projects to six goals over a 68-game schedule. He is 1-2-3 in his last two games. Playing time in feature roles has been an issue but I think he’s going to have a big second half.