The Edmonton Oilers have been active in signing college free agents this decade and Ken Holland used the procurement tool liberally as general manager of the Detroit Red Wings. Could we see an active signing spring?
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, check it out here.
- New Jonathan Willis: Peter Chiarelli wants to be a GM again. Has he learned from his Oilers mistakes?
- New Lowetide: Oilers’ challenge could be finding relief with a low cap ceiling
- Lowetide: Projecting Oilers prospects Raphael Lavoie and Kirill Maksimov
- Lowetide: What does Jesse Puljujarvi’s Liiga season tell us about his future?
- Daniel Nugent-Bowman: How Oilers plan to help arena workers unclear with games postponed
- Lowetide: NHL season on hold might impact Oilers evaluations, summer plans
- Daniel Nugent-Bowman and Jonathan Willis: Key questions surround Oilers in wake of NHL’s coronavirus suspension
- Daniel Nugent-Bowman: Q&A: GM Ken Holland on Oilers’ playoff push, offseason plans and Hart thoughts
- Jonathan Willis: Evan Bouchard, Tyler Benson and more: 20 observations on the Bakersfield Condors
- Lowetide: Caleb Jones represents Oilers template for development success
- Daniel Nugent-Bowman: Determining Connor McDavid’s linemates remains a pressing and perplexing problem
- Jonathan Willis: Which players pose the biggest threat to Leon Draisaitl winning the Hart Trophy?
- Lowetide: Is the OHL still the Oilers’ primary resource at the draft?
THE CHIARELLI YEARS
Peter Chiarelli signed some good college players and some others who didn’t show a lot of promise based on the numbers but had some grit and played a rugged style.
Three college signings in spring 2016 brought Drake Caggiula, Patrick Russell and Nick Ellis. That fall Matt Benning, the top college man procured by Chiarelli, signed and was soon in the NHL. Shane Starrett came along spring 2017 as did forward Joe Gambardella. March of 2018 brought Colin Larkin.
Ken Holland’s college signings go back a long way, the team he left boasted Danny Dekeyser and Luke Glendening as regulars.
Holland signed two college free agents in the spring of 2019 before heading to Edmonton. Detroit Red Wings signed Ryan Kuffner out of Princeton and Taro Hirose out of Michigan State and both went straight to the NHL at the end of the 2018-19 season. You may recall Kuffner was part of the Andreas Athanasiou trade at the 2020 deadline.
THIS YEAR’S COLLEGE NAMES
Guy Flaming helps me on these college names (and the WHL kids too). Cole Smith is a big, strong winger with UND who doesn’t move the needle offensively (34 games, 11-7-18) but is a physical specimen. NHLE is 19, he is 24. Patrick Russell played in the same league, signed at 22 and had an NHLE of 36 when he signed with Edmonton.
Colton Poolman is a LH defenseman who will earn much of his money defensively. Has some offense (NHLE: 19.7) and would be a fine acquisition. Smart player.
Brinson Pasichnuk is a LH defenceman from Bonnyville, and an impact player for Arizona State. His senior year is just over and his NHLE is 33 points. Three teams were interested according to Frank Seravalli on March 6, all three willing to burn off a season of his entry deal before season’s end. Edmonton was at 50 contracts so if Seravalli’s reporting is correct the Oilers aren’t in on him. Shame.
Brandon Biro is a slightly undersized skill winger who has good not great speed. He is from Sherwood Park. Said to play a complete game, his NHLE is 27. Strike that he signed with Buffalo this morning.
Nate Sucese is an even smaller offensive winger who scored 61 goals in four seasons with Penn State. He’s from New York state, the American kids often sign with USA teams.
Marc Michaelis is a legit prospect who was born in Mannheim and is something of an offensive steamroller. He has speed and skill. His NHLE is 51 points. Come on Leon, call the guy!
Cale Morris is an interesting goalie for Notre Dame. He’s only 6.01, 190 but his SP’s the last three seasons were .944, .930 and .916.
Adam Brady with Bemidji State had a strong senior season (19 goals) and 33 points NHLE.
Jordan Kawaguchi is from Abbotsford BC, and is a very talented forward. He has one year of eligibility left so might not sign but his NHLE (49) makes him worth pursuing.
LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE
A busy morning on the Lowdown, we start at 10 sharp, TSN1260. Bruce McCurdy from the Cult of Hockey forecasts the NHL awards, with special attention paid to the Oilers who should/could/will win specific pieces of hardware. Joe Osborne from OddsShark will talk about where bettors are going with most sports on the shelf. John Horn, our tennis insider, will pop in at 11:20 to talk about the French Open being moved to 6 days after US Open and the impact or Coronavirus on the world of tennis. 10-1260 text, @Lowetide on twitter. See you on the radio!