The 2020-21 season will be an important one for Tyler Benson and Cooper Marody. The two men were exceptional together as AHL rookies, posting strong numbers across the board. Year two brought challenges, setting up a possible crossroads they enter the final year of entry contracts.
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 Daniel Nugent-Bowman: ‘They were looking outside the box’: Oilers’ distinctive third jerseys still stand out
- New Lowetide: If Oilers draft for skill, Seth Jarvis likely to be best available
- New Jonathan Willis and Lowetide: Should the Oilers pursue Taylor Hall this summer?
- Daniel Nugent-Bowman and Jonathan Willis: The results are in: How you voted in our inaugural Oilers fan survey
- Daniel Nugent-Bowman: How the Oilers are preparing for an NHL draft in June
- Jonathan Willis: How Gaetan Haas, Joakim Nygard and Riley Sheahan draw calls that lead to goals
- James Mirtle: Ranking every NHL team’s salary cap situation, from best to worst
- Lowetide: Can the Oilers find Connor McDavid’s ideal winger this summer?
- Daniel Nugent-Bowman: The two coaches who had the biggest influence on Dave Tippett
- Jonathan Willis: The 5 reasons why the Oilers re-signed Gaetan Haas
- Jonathan Willis: Can (and should) the Oilers trade Kris Russell?
- Jonathan Willis: How Edmonton could have left 2010 draft with both Taylor Hall and Ryan Johansen
- Lowetide: Kailer Yamamoto’s NHL comparables offer Oilers fans hope for the future
- Lowetide: Top 20 prospect update: A lot of movement and some impressive graduations
- Lowetide: Mavrik Bourque a quality option for the Oilers in the draft
- Daniel Nugent-Bowman: Inside the franchise-altering decision to pick Leon Draisaitl over Sam Bennett
- Jonathan Willis and Lowetide: Discount forward options the Oilers could pursue in free agency
- Daniel Nugent-Bowman: ‘Oh my God, Edmonton’s picking first’: An oral history of the 2015 NHL draft lottery
- Lowetide: Why Jan Mysak could be a value pick for the Oilers at the 2020 Draft
THE 2016 SECOND ROUND
I run this every summer, as the pick was controversial in real time. Alex DeBrincat didn’t score 40 in 2019-20 but remains a quality NHL scorer. The other names on this list will spend the next decade fighting over place and show, but the Blackhawks grabbed the top man available.
Korshkov, Benson and Asplund all made their NHL debuts this season. My own opinion is Benson and Kyrou are on a higher trajectory than the rest but that’s a guess. I have a piece on Benson for The Athletic today, will link in comments section.
Opening night 2020-21
I’ve been trying to write this for a week but the Oilers kept signing new people. Let’s play a roster game: Assuming Edmonton signs Tyler Ennis and Riley Sheahan, trades Matt Benning and Kris Russell, buys out James Neal, name your team with lines and pairings.
Tyler Ennis—Connor McDavid—Zack Kassian. Ennis posted 1.84 points-per-60 at five on five after coming over (9, 2-2-4) and consistently found a way to get scoring chances in the discipline. Ideally you grab an impact winger for 97 but money is tight. I also like the idea of a two-way type like Vladislav Namestnikov, but money’s too tight to mention. Signing Ennis means coach Dave Tippett will have several options on McDavid’s LW, including a player in Ennis who could score 20 goals in 2020-21.
Nuge—Leon Draisaitl—Kailer Yamamoto. I don’t believe this line will hang together all year, but there’s not a coach in captivity who would shuffle them until the trio cools down. Leon at center appears to have finally landed.
Andreas Athanasiou—Gaetan Haas—Alex Chiasson. The re-signing of Haas acknowledges both his uniqueness and the lack of easily available options. He and AA should be able to pressure opponents with their speed and Chiasson is a veteran presence.
Joakim Nygard—Riley Sheahan—Josh Archibald. This line played just 68 minutes together and had an expected goals percentage of 49.16 in that time. Both wingers can skate and Sheahan is going to get some tough assignments. I like this group.
Jujhar Khaira, Cooper Marody. I’ve chosen two players who could play center and each man can play on one special team. Marody is less than $1 million and offers some insurance against having to move Haas to the wing.
Oscar Klefbom—Adam Larsson. My guess is that Holland and Tippett will want to roll a veteran tandem. These men have played together a lot over the years and were bringing it at the end of the year. In 307 minutes from January 1 to the end of the season, the tandem had an expected goals total of 50.57 percent.
Darnell Nurse—Ethan Bear. For the season, this pair had an expected goals percentage of 49.06 and that includes plenty of time against elites. Finished 55-62 five on five goal differential, I think the coaching staff will be content to run them again.
Caleb Jones—Mike Green. Ken Holland likes veteran defensemen and I do believe Green will return on (probably) a two-year deal. Jones was bringing it after his recall, this pairing could play far more than Tippett’s third pair did in 2019-20.
William Lagesson. The youngster can play NHL hockey, it’ll be important to see how much of the load he can carry. If he proves himself, at the very least he would represent trade value at the deadline.
Mikko Koskinen, Mike Smith. I think the Oilers will bring back this tandem. I’m fairly certain of it, although Smith will be more expensive.
One question you may have after reading: What did I do with the cap dollars made available in buying out Neal? Answer comes in overage from 2019-20 bonuses, signing Smith, Green, Ennis and Sheahan. I tried to add a big name incorporating the current cap, but the money ran out and the engine blew. Final note: I would have Evan Bouchard on the opening night roster. I believe the Oilers will send him back for more time in California.