The Edmonton Oilers will be spending hours each day over the next while discussing the trade deadline and summer. The season has been a great success so far, but there are many miles to go. How many UFA’s will return? We received some news on that yesterday. How many RFA’s? I expect to see a great deal of movement. Let’s have a look.
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: What do Connor McDavid’s best lines tell us about his optimal linemates?
- New Daniel Nugent-Bowman: I was an AHL coach for a day: Here’s what I learned
- New Daniel Nugent-Bowman and Jonathan Willis: Oilers player poll: From the serious to the silly, the players weigh in on best dressed, most superstitious and more
- Thomas Drance: Inside how ‘Okanagan boy’ Ken Holland helped bring back the Penticton Young Stars tournament
- Jonathan Willis: Oilers minor-league defenceman Brandon Manning suspended five games for racial slur
- Jonathan Willis: An updated list of which Oilers are most likely to be traded in 2019-20
- Lowetide: Kailer Yamamoto gives Oilers a midseason spark, one of the best in team history
- Lowetide: With the Oilers’ minor-league goaltending not good enough, Ilya Konovalov might be the answer
- Daniel Nugent-Bowman: Josh Archibald, Riley Sheahan show the upward trend of Ken Holland’s offseason moves for the Oilers
- Lowetide: Post-Christmas performance spike has Evan Bouchard pushing for an NHL job with the Oilers
- Lowetide: Central Scouting’s midseason list offers Oilers some strong draft options
- Jonathan Willis: The Oilers’ road forward — and perhaps to a Stanley Cup — requires trusting the kids on defence
- Jonathan Willis: Oilers make a smart two-year bet on Caleb Jones, who has done nothing but improve
- Daniel Nugent-Bowman: 3 things from the latest Oilers win: A lacrosse goal, Mike Smith’s resurgence and Connor McDavid’s new linemate
- Daniel Nugent-Bowman: A defiant Zack Kassian issues his latest salvo against Matthew Tkachuk: ‘He messed with the wrong guy’
- Lowetide: Dave Tippett’s deployment of Oilers defencemen indicates Kris Russell is vulnerable to trade
- Jonathan Willis: Oilers Notebook: Jujhar Khaira’s future, Caleb Jones’ adaptation to NHL speed
- Lowetide: Projecting William Lagesson’s future with the Edmonton Oilers
- Jonathan Willis: Kailer Yamamoto has impressed the Oilers and especially star linemate Leon Draisaitl
- Daniel Nugent-Bowman: 10 bold predictions for the Edmonton Oilers in 2020
- Jonathan Willis: Inside a coach’s impact: How Dave Tippett gets the most out of the Oilers’ players
- Daniel Nugent-Bowman: Deciding what to do with Darnell Nurse, Mike Smith, Tyler Benson and Evan Bouchard
- Lowetide: Ken Holland’s targets for his first trade deadline with the Oilers.
- Lowetide: Ken Holland’s trade deadline options for the Oilers
- Jonathan Willis: Zack Kassian’s breakout performance presents Oilers GM Ken Holland with a familiar dilemma
- Lowetide: Complete Oilers top 20 prospects list, winter 2019
OILERS 50-MAN ROSTER
There are 48 names and two slide rules. Edmonton has (by my count) 15 unrestricted and 11 restricted free agents. Elliotte Friedman’s 31 Thoughts on Wednesday named “Joakim Nygard, Josh Archibald and Riley Sheahan” as possibly being extended, along with the impending Kassian deal.
If we take each category (signed, slide, UFA, RFA) and guess on the summer, it’s possible to find the range in terms of numbers. That gives us an idea about how much room Holland has to wheel.
Among the signed group, I think Holland might try to find new homes for Jujhar Khaira, Alex Chiasson and one of Adam Larsson or Kris Russell. Current number of players signed for next season: 22.
The slide group has two men, Philip Broberg and Olivier Rodrigue. I think the goalie turns pro, unsure about the Swedish defenceman. Current slides signed for next season: 2.
The UFA group has some clarity after Friedman’s thoughts yesterday. He named Zack Kassian, Joakim Nygard, Josh Archibald and Riley Sheahan, and we can probably add Mike Smith, Gaetan Haas, Patrick Russell and Josh Currie.
That means Tomas Jurco, Markus Granlund, Kyle Brodziak, Brad Malone, Sam Gagner, Brandon Manning and Keegan Lowe would be out. Meaning Edmonton would bring back only eight of 16 unrestricted free agents.
The RFA group numbers 11, and there’s real guesswork here. Ken Holland isn’t attached to these players (for the most part) so we might get a few surprises. I’d suggest Darnell Nurse, Ethan Bear, Matt Benning, William Lagesson, Logan Day will be retained. Meaning Nolan Vesey, Colby Cave, Cameron Hebig, Joel Persson, Ryan Mantha and Shane Starrett would be set free. Meaning Edmonton would bring back five RFA’s.
So, adding everything up: 22 signed, 2 slides, 8 unrestricted and five restricted free agents. Total: 37. Holland may not have enough walking around money, but he could sign a ton of free agents from college, junior and Europe.
One final item: Drafted players who the team may want to sign. This might be the most interesting item all summer, or at least has the potential to be newsworthy. Jesse Puljuarvi may not enjoy the idea of spending another winter in Finland, Anton Slepyshev (I believe Matty reported on this) would be a player of interest, Raphael Lavoie is tearing up the Quebec league and Filip Berglund is spiking in Sweden. I had anticipated Aapeli Rasanen joining the list, but a little birdie told me he has moved to wing. Less value there than if he was a center. If Holland sees him as a pivot, he would be a solid target.
Stuart Skinner is absolutely killing it in January. In eight games, 2.45 goals against average and .929 save percentage. He’s winning the starting AHL job in real time. Impressive.
Evan Bouchard’s pass last night to start a sequence that ended in the Cam Hebig goal was pure precision. My goodness that’s talent.
LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE
At 10 this morning, we hit the ground running with fabulous guests and much to discuss, TSN1260. Paul Sir from The Basketball Show talks Zion’s fourth quarter, Olympic Gold medalist Cammi Granato talks All-Star weekend and the women’s showcase, plus NHL scouting. Frank Seravalli from TSN talks trade deadline and All-Star weekend. 10-1260 text, @Lowetide on twitter. See you on the radio!