The Oilers pipeline wasn’t working in the fall of 2017. Elliotte Friedman: The first is unhappiness with the way players are developing at AHL Bakersfield. I did not see Ziyat Paigin myself, but there is disappointment that he has asked to go back to Russia, especially after a summer where he stayed to train in Edmonton. Rightly or wrongly, there is a feeling too many of their prospects are not panning out there. (Sportsnet.ca)
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 Lowetide: Dave Tippett deploys unproven talent expertly in first Oilers season
- New Lowetide, Daniel Nugent-Bowman and Jonathan Willis: Oilers ABC: Picking the best players in franchise history, from Anderson to Zuke
- Jonathan Willis: If the Oilers need to clear money with a buyout, they have one real option
- Daniel Nugent-Bowman: The 5 games that define Leon Draisaitl’s Hart Trophy-worthy season
- Lowetide: Final Oilers report cards: Second-half impact defines a successful season
- Jonathan Willis: Does Filip Berglund’s new SHL contract mean he’s done with the Oilers?
- Daniel Nugent-Bowman: Evolution of a star: Why Leon Draisaitl was our Hart pick
- Lowetide: Oilers get good news from the farm as second-half performances spike
- Lowetide: Should Oilers prospect Philip Broberg play in North America next year?
- Daniel Nugent-Bowman and Jonathan Willis: Which former Oiler has the best argument to have his jersey number retired?
- Lowetide: Which Oilers veterans are in roster peril?
- Jonathan Willis: How good is Anton Slepyshev and what will an NHL return mean for the Oilers?
- New Lowetide: Oilers’ challenge could be finding relief with a low cap ceiling
AHL rookies included Ethan Bear (37, 6-12-18), Caleb Jones (58, 2-15-17), Joe Gambardella (50, 13-6-19). As of now, the three men have combined to play 164 NHL games.
NHL rookies included Pontus Aberg, Bear, Kailer Yamamoto, Keegan Lowe, Nathan Walker but none made a difference.
AHL rookies included Tyler Benson (68, 15-51-66), Cooper Marody (58, 19-45-64), Kailer Yamamoto (27, 10-8-18), Shane Starrett (42, 2.33, .918). These man have played a combined 70 NHL games.
NHL rookies: Caleb Jones, Yamamoto, Colby Cave, Josh Currie and Joe Gambardella but once again no one had a real impact.
AHL rookies included Evan Bouchard (54, 7-29-36), Ryan McLeod (56, 5-18-23), Kirill Maksimov (53, 5-8-13), Dmitri Samorukov (47, 2-8-10), Stuart Skinner (41, 3.31, .892). These men have played seven NHL games.
NHL rookies and arrivals included Kailer Yamamoto (27, 11-15-26), Ethan Bear (71, 5-16-21), Caleb Jones (43, 4-5-9). Joel Persson (since traded), Benson and William Lagesson played as well. This is a good to very good rookie crop.
The AHL rookies in 2017-18 (Bear, Jones) and 2018-19 (Yamamoto) landed in the NHL in 2019-20. If Jay Woodcroft’s magic continues, we should see Evan Bouchard and Tyler Benson in Edmonton this coming season. Perhaps Dmitri Samorukov, Ryan McLeod and others the following season.
This is what a working pipeline looks like. Jesse Puljujarvi missed it be so very little but missed it all the same.
In his first Bakersfield season, he had nine rookies and all nine had a positive story to tell about their game. From Marody and Benson (who were stellar) to Hebig, Yamamoto, Day, Starrett, Wells, Skinner and Vesel, each found an area of the game in which they could flourish. Impressive.
Men in their entry deals (who were not rookies) who were matriculating included prospect blue Ethan Bear, Caleb Jones and William Lagesson.
If we give Woodcroft some credit for Bear, Yamamoto and Jones, and then Bouchard and Benson pop in 2020-21, I think we can conclude the Oilers will have the first established pipeline since the franchise handed the Roadrunners back to the AHL. That’s a long, long time. In my opinion, this coming season, getting Benson and Bouchard to the show and seeing success, is vital. An actual pipeline would represent the ability to have plug and play options in winter and to avoid free agency in summer. Music!
Rasanen moved to the wing during this season just completed, and that impacts his value. If the Oilers still see him as a center, then signing him should be a priority. His NHLE, especially considering his age (22), speed (average) and apparent desire to go home are probably factors in signing him or letting him go. The deadline to sign is August 15, 2021. I don’t believe that changes with his decision to leave college, but this is the NHL so the magic 8-ball may give us different information.
LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE
It’s Friday, weekend is on the way! We get started at 10, TSN1260. Scheduled to appear: Steve Lansky from Big Mouth Sports, we’ll chat about some history (1979 the NHL-WHA agreed to merge, Gretzky scored 200 points in a season for the first time in ’81-82. Plus NHL asking teams to check on availability for August games. Matthew Iwanyk will talk NFL draft, MLB season and the flood of CFL Mock drafts we’re seeing this week. 10-1260 text, @Lowetide on twitter. See you on the radio!