Middle of the Road

by Lowetide

Ilya Konovalov is 21, and has posted two strong KHL seasons to my eye. Save percentages of .930 and .912. He has one more season on his Russian deal and could be in Edmonton’s camp as early as fall 2021. How good is he?

THE ATHLETIC!

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: What are Tyler Benson’s chances of making the Oilers in 2020-21?
  • Daniel Nugent-Bowman: ‘They were looking outside the box’: Oilers’ distinctive third jerseys still stand out
  • Lowetide: If Oilers draft for skill, Seth Jarvis likely to be best available
  • 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

ILYA KONOVALOV, KHL BY MONTH 2019-20

If you take out September (his team was changing coaches by the week), Konovalov posted a .915 save percentage. He had two poor months, and three good ones and a nice showing in limited minutes during January. The range of performance is interesting.

ILYA KONOVALOV, KHL BY MONTH 2018-19

This is his rookie KHL season, a .930 save percentage would draw attention if it was posted in the alley out back of his house. Some exceptional months in there, along with an .898 and an .865. I like this player. Maybe he’ll post a season in 2020-21 that will rival Mikko Koskinen.

MIKKO KOSKINEN, KHL BY MONTH 2017-18

The Koskinen season is the goal, with the exception of one February game the big goalie wandered between fine and excellent. That must be the goal, consistent numbers month after month. Tuukka Rask 2019-20, that kind of consistency, is the goal. Koskinen gave his team a chance to win most of the time in 2017-18.

FEELING A DRAFT?

Some time this week, the NHL will decide on the timing of the NHL draft. It’s going to happen based on the history of power struggles, appears general managers and staff are against it and the owners want it. If you play business card poker, you already know the answer to this equation.

Oilers fans are going to focus on the James Neal pick but I think the more interesting question surrounds who might be available to the club at No. 20 overall. Reading the tea leaves and talking to the industry, my belief is we’ll see some surprises. I think the top 20 might go like this:

  1. Detroit: L Alexis Lafreniere, QMJHL
  2. Ottawa: LC Quinton Byfield, OHL
  3. Ottawa: LC Tim Stuetzle, DEL. 
  4. Los Angeles: LC Marco Rossi, OHL
  5. Anaheim: LC Cole Perfetti, OHL
  6. New Jersey: RW Alexander Holtz, SHL
  7. Buffalo: RHD Jamie Drysdale, OHL
  8. Montreal:  RW Jack Quinn OHL
  9. Chicago: LD Jake Sanderson USHL
  10. New Jersey: LD Kaiden Guhle, WHL
  11. Minnesota: LW Lucas Raymond, SHL
  12. Winnipeg: LC Anton Lundell, Liiga
  13. NY Rangers: LW Dylan Holloway, Big 10
  14. Florida: RC Mavrik Bourque, QMJHL
  15. Columbus: LC Jan Mysak, OHL
  16. Calgary:  RC-RW Dawson Mercer, QMJHL
  17. New Jersey: G Yaroslav Askarov, VHL
  18. Nashville: LC Connor Zary, WHL
  19. Carolina: RW Noel Gunler, SHL
  20. Edmonton: RC Seth Jarvis, WHL

I wrote about Jarvis for The Athletic on Friday, got plenty of push back on the idea that he could fall to No. 20 and Edmonton. I’m not sure if he’ll fall or it will be Gunler, Zary or Mercer, but the Oilers are in a good spot in my opinion. If the goalie and three defensemen I’ve listed are off the board by the time Ken Holland marches toward the stage, the team will be getting a quality forward prospect. I think you should gird your loins for a trade down as well. Edmonton needs a pick between 32-100.

LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE

I’m back baby, missed the show badly and will bring all the crazy at 10 this morning, TSN1260. Mark Edwards from HockeyProspect.com will be by to talk about an early June draft and what that means for his annual draft guide. It’s an amazing piece of work every year, can’t imagine the amount of work that goes into it. We’ll chat about the time line and the quality of the draft. Starting tonight, TSN1260 will run the 2014 Oil Kings Memorial Cup run, Corey Graham will pop in to chat about the memories and tonight’s broadcast. Jason Gregor from TSN1260 will pop in at 11 to talk NHL draft and the various leagues planning their seasons. 10-1260 text, @Lowetide on twitter. See you on the radio!

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Harpers Hair

SJS sign KHL goaltender Alexi Melnichuk.
1.68 GAA .930 SV %.

Brantford Boy

May the 4th be with you!

I immediately focused on Konovalov’s December 2019/20 SV% and thought oh no… then I saw his outstanding December’s SV% in previous years and thought, hmm… it was corrected… I guess we’ll see… Oilers goalie SV% in December’s past… good grief!

Cheers!

Brantford Boy

Harpers Hair,

Interesting… good to see I’m not the only Vancouver Island early riser today…

Harpers Hair

Brantford Boy:
Harpers Hair,

Interesting… good to see I’m not the only Vancouver Island early riser today…

Looks like the Leafs hit the jackpot.

49 points in 60 games is pretty impressive for a defenseman.

OriginalPouzar

One big thing to remember when comparing Koskinen’s numbers in the KHL his last year to Konovalov is a good 7-8 year age difference. Konovalov is in his second KHL season.

What is interesting to note is that Konovalov’s KHL contract expires after this season, at the same time that the ELCs of Wells and Skinner expire.

Holland will almost have a clean slate to decide which he wants to keep – at this point it’s trending to Kovovalov and Skinner over Wells but who knows in a year.

Of course, Rodrigue is just turning pro this year and we don’t know if Holland is going to go veteran Smith/Griess/Dell or try and acquire a DeSmith or someone with a potential future.

OriginalPouzar

I’m anxious to hear the result of the discussions of the Board of Governors “meeting” today.

Shannon says no “vote” on the draft date is anticipated – I’m not sure that’s a straight up vote in any event.

————-

I’m anticipating we will have clarity on draft date this week and some guidance on “back to work” protocols with an end-date for the mandatory player quarantine and potentially some dates for facilities to open (subject to local health requirements) and even potentially a soft training camp report date – which will include players needing to get back from other countries and do their 14 days, if applicable.

Harpers Hair

OriginalPouzar:
I’m anxious to hear the result of the discussions of the Board of Governors “meeting” today.

Shannon says no “vote” on the draft date is anticipated – I’m not sure that’s a straight up vote in any event.

————-

I’m anticipating we will have clarity on draft date this week and some guidance on “back to work” protocols with an end-date for the mandatory player quarantine and potentially some dates for facilities to open (subject to local health requirements) and even potentially a soft training camp report date – which will include players needing to get back from other countries and do their 14 days, if applicable.

No vote is required.

doritogrande

That’s a long way for Drysdale to fall. IMO, he doesn’t make it past Anaheim (but I’m assuming LA actually takes him) but Buffalo? You’d think they would have enough impact defensive depth with Dahlin. Was your selection there a nod towards “too good of a value to pass up” rather than positional need?

ArmchairGM

Harpers Hair: Looks like the Leafs hit the jackpot.

49 points in 60 games is pretty impressive for a defenseman.

Yes, but can he defend? The Leafs hardly need more offense.

Harpers Hair

ArmchairGM: Yes, but can he defend? The Leafs hardly need more offense.

One would have to think so given his all star resume.

More:https://theleafsnation.com/2020/05/04/the-leafs-sign-top-scoring-khl-defenceman-mikko-lehtonen/

Michael Traikos
@Michael_Traikos
·
2m
Jokerit dir. of player personnel on Mikko Lehtonen: “I think his style fits well for Toronto. Torey Krug is a good comparison. He runs the power play well and gets pucks to the net with a good wrist shot. He was the best player in Europe, IMO. He’s ready to play in the NHL.”

Klima's_Bucket

Why is there a rush to have the draft in June?

IF this season’s cup is awarded in September or October what harm is there in having the draft in November just before the supposed NHL season startup next December?

ArmchairGM

Harpers Hair: One would have to think so given his all star resume.

More:https://theleafsnation.com/2020/05/04/the-leafs-sign-top-scoring-khl-defenceman-mikko-lehtonen/

“He’s not a defensive stud but he plays an NHL level two-way game already… Most likely he’ll start on the bottom pair and play on the second power play unit…”

Interesting. Nice player for $925K for sure. But I’m not sure he moves the needle much in terms of what the Leafs so desperately need – a defensive stud.

Harpers Hair

Klima’s_Bucket:
Why is there a rush to have the draft in June?

IF this season’s cup is awarded in September or October what harm is there in having the draft in November just before the supposed NHL season startup next December?

Follow the money.

Both Sportsnet and NBC are pushing hard for the draft now because they need content.

defmn

Harpers Hair: Follow the money.

Both Sportsnet and NBC are pushing hard for the draft now because they need content.

As it ever was.

I would assume that the June draft is part of the trade off and negotiation over lost games, sponsorships, etc. The league is buying its way out of more difficult compromises.

godot10

Klima’s_Bucket:
Why is there a rush to have the draft in June?

IF this season’s cup is awarded in September or October what harm is there in having the draft in November just before the supposed NHL season startup next December?

As a favour to the NHL’s broadcast rights partners. Who are desperate for content, and can use the draft to keep fans from forgetting that hockey exists.

godot10

godot10: As a favour to the NHL’s broadcast rights partners.Who are desperate for content, and can use the draft to keep fans from forgetting that hockey exists.

Also, the last US federal election clobbered sports ratings, even the NFL.

And this one should crater sports ratings even more than the last one.

So you want to move events out of September and October in the United States.

Darth Tu

ArmchairGM: “He’s not a defensive stud but he plays an NHL level two-way game already… Most likely he’ll start on the bottom pair and play on the second power play unit…”

Interesting. Nice player for $925K for sure. But I’m not sure he moves the needle much in terms of what the Leafs so desperately need – a defensive stud.

Could lead to the Leafs being able to move out one of their other more expensive offensive D options at least. Get some picks back and some cap space.

Not that I want the Leafs to do well ever.

Darth Tu

godot10: As a favour to the NHL’s broadcast rights partners.Who are desperate for content, and can use the draft to keep fans from forgetting that hockey exists.

Yeah, the NFL draft did draw a lot of interest. NHL is hoping for the same thing.

Bruce McCurdy

Harpers Hair: Follow the money.

Both Sportsnet and NBC are pushing hard for the draft now because they need content.

I’d heard the league office is keener on a June draft than the individual teams are, & this explanation makes perfect sense.

Darth Tu

doritogrande:
That’s a long way for Drysdale to fall. IMO, he doesn’t make it past Anaheim (but I’m assuming LA actually takes him) but Buffalo? You’d think they would have enough impact defensive depth with Dahlin. Was your selection there a nod towards “too good of a value to pass up” rather than positional need?

I could almost see Ottawa going with a forward for their first pick, then either trading down, or if they’re not getting “fair” value for their second pick, straight up using that to grab the top D man available. Especially as Drysdale is a right shot.

Stuetzle sounds like a heck of a prospect though, so the trade down thing seems more likely.

tileguy

godot10: Also, the last US federal election clobbered sports ratings, even the NFL.

And this one should crater sports ratings even more than the last one.

So you want to move events out of September and October in the United States.

Interesting, civil war?

defmn

Darth Tu: Could lead to the Leafs being able to move out one of their other more expensive offensive D options at least. Get some picks back and some cap space.

Not that I want the Leafs to do well ever.

Ceci & Barrie are both UFA. If they let both of them walk that right side looks more than a little suspect.

ArmchairGM

defmn: Ceci & Barrie are both UFA. If they let both of them walk that right side looks more than a little suspect.

Same as it always was.

RonnieB

Darth Tu: Could lead to the Leafs being able to move out one of their other more expensive offensive D options at least. Get some picks back and some cap space.

Reilly and Muzzin are the Leafs only “expensive” D and I doubt that the Leafs would be interested in trading either of them for draft picks.

defmn

ArmchairGM: Same as it always was.

Toronto is my nominee for ‘most out of balance’ in the league while still having a pretty good team.

I drone on and on here about how it is not the GM’s job to collect good players but to assemble a good team and while I know there is considerable overlap in those two ideas the Leafs are the poster boys for demonstrating the difference.

Munny

RonnieB,

Ceci collects a hefty pay cheque for what he brings.

Harpers Hair

defmn: Toronto is my nominee for ‘most out of balance’ in the league while still having a pretty good team.

I drone on and on here about how it is not the GM’s job to collect good players but to assemble a good team and while I know there is considerable overlap in those two ideas the Leafs are the poster boys for demonstrating the difference.

One would have to assume Dubas has a plan to fix the right side of his D but I sure can’t see it from here.

Harpers Hair

Munny:
RonnieB,

Ceci collects a hefty pay cheque for what he brings.

He’s a UFA.

Munny

Brantford Boy: May the 4th be with you!

Lol… I’ve got a really bad feeling about this.

#decadeofdarkenss
#becauseoilers
#dallasdeathstars

Munny

Harpers Hair: He’s a UFA.

Yes, the Lehtonen signing allows them to pass on re-upping an expensive contract and allowing it to walk; as was the OP’s original point, I believe.

RonnieB

Munny: Ceci collects a hefty pay cheque for what he brings.

Ceci and Barrie are not signed for next year so they don’t fit the subject matter of this discussion (salary dumps for draft picks).

defmn

RonnieB: Reilly and Muzzin are the Leafs only “expensive” D and I doubt that the Leafs would be interested in trading either of them for draft picks.

The Leafs have $40,489,366 tied up in Matthews, Tavares, Marner and Nylander or just over 50% of what is the likely cap for next season. That leaves less than half the money for the other 19 players plus injury relief.

Dubas really needed the cap to go up this summer and it doesn’t look like it is going to.

defmn

Munny: Yes, the Lehtonen signing allows them to pass on re-upping an expensive contract and allowing it to walk; as was the OP’s original point, I believe.

Only if one of the lefties can play on the right side.

Munny

defmn,

Lol, well it’s not like the Leafs haven’t been there before…

Oil2Oilers

Three small trades for Holland to rule the summer;

Puljujarvi + Chiason to Ottawa for their 2nd round pick.
– Ottawa get two players that can play now while waiting on their 3
1st and 3 other 2nds to develop.
– Oilers get something out of their shameful waste of Puljujarvi and
cap room

Benning + found money 3d to Toronto for Kerfoot
– Toronto get a puck moving RHD who’s new contract will likely be
1M less per season than Kerfoot. They are starved for Cap room
and picks
– Oilers get a 3d line center that can play up the line up in the heart of
their career

Russell to Dallas for Cogliano
– Dallas gets a Cowboy
– Oilers gets a vet utility player that can P.K.

Regardless of unknown Cap and buyout rules the above trades are lightly cap positive and only leave a small hole in RHD depth, that can be filled with a Mike Green signing. Which is likely to happen anyway and forces Bouchard to make the team instead of being gifted a spot.

Oilers end up with a high 2nd round pick, a unicorn Center and a faster utility vet.

godot10

Harpers Hair: One would have to assume Dubas has a plan to fix the right side of his D but I sure can’t see it from here.

LA drafts Jamie Drysdale, then trades Doughty for Nylander (LA probably has to take a contract with some dollars on it in addition.)

OR

Pieterangelo

godot10

The June draft really hurts they Oilers because Holland was probably hoping to trade more than just Puljujarvi for picks.

godot10

TSN had to really rig the rules of their all-time teams to get Captain Underpants a spot on the Toronto roster. TSN has made themselves look like fools with this feature.

Captain Underpants needed a quota to get on the Toronto team.

And then cheat multiple time by using Dave Keon as a checking centre, when they disallowed Messier as a checking centre.

Munny

RonnieB,

The original statement by Darth Tu was “move out”.

Now in a typical year, even Ceci or Barrie could be moved for picks prior to UFA, if however unlikely that scenario is.

But if The Count gets his way, then no one on any team will be moved for picks from This Draft. whether they are pending UFAs or not.

Munny

What happens if a player/agent insists his contract terminates July 1, 12:01 am… as is stipulated in the contract?

pts2pndr

Munny: Yes, the Lehtonen signing allows them to pass on re-upping an expensive contract and allowing it to walk; as was the OP’s original point, I believe.

I believe it was DarthTu that mentioned the Leafs could move a couple of expensive D for draft choices.

Harpers Hair

Oil2Oilers:
Three small trades for Holland to rule the summer;

Puljujarvi + Chiason to Ottawa for their 2nd round pick. – Ottawa get two players that can play now while waiting on their 3 1st and 3 other 2nds to develop. – Oilers get something out of their shameful waste of Puljujarvi and cap room

Benning + found money 3d to Toronto for Kerfoot– Toronto get a puck moving RHD who’s new contract will likely be1M less per season than Kerfoot. They are starved for Cap room and picks – Oilers get a 3d line center that can play up the line up in the heart of their career

Russell to Dallas for Cogliano – Dallas gets a Cowboy – Oilers gets a vet utility player that can P.K.

Regardless of unknown Cap and buyout rules the above trades are lightly cap positive and only leave a small hole in RHD depth, that can be filled with a Mike Green signing. Which is likely to happen anyway and forces Bouchard to make the team instead of being gifted a spot.

Oilers end up with a high 2nd round pick, a unicorn Center and a faster utility vet.

Dallas needs Russell like a fish needs a bicycle.

Heiskanen

Lindell

Oleksiak

Sekera.

Harpers Hair

One viable option for the Leafs would be hometown boy Chris Tanev if he’s willing to sign a value contract.

RonnieB

pts2pndr: I believe it was DarthTu that mentioned the Leafs could move a couple of expensive D for draft choices.

Yes, and that’s what I was responding to. Thanks. Munny seems to be trying to read something different into those words.

Harpers Hair

godot10: LA drafts Jamie Drysdale, then trades Doughty for Nylander (LA probably has to take a contract with some dollars on it in addition.)

OR

Pieterangelo

How do you see them fitting him into their lineup.

Speculation is he will get 8+ M on a new contract.

OriginalPouzar

Jake Kulevich signed to an AHL deal.

Sammy/Bouchad
Lennstrom/XXXXX
Niemalainen/Kulevich (Deharnais)

Day in the mix if they want to re-sign him.

Kulevich is a leftie but I think he played some right side last year – could stand to be corrected on that one.

I’m not sure if Vinny Deharnais’ AHL deal was a one year or two year – that is, not sure if he’s under contract for next season.

Munny

RonnieB: Yes, and that’s what I was responding to. Thanks. Munny seems to be trying to read something different into those words.

I’m just taking DarthTu at his most general point… that the Leafs need to move on from some salary.

Considering the talk today is about an early June draft, trading for its picks–which the Leafs need this draft–is largely a moot point.

Whereas, needing to move some salary will continue to be a significant part of the Leafs off-season, regardless. Do they re-sign Ceci, or Barrie? Or do they move on, and attempt to trade their rights (if there’s an off-season space where they can do so).

But please, y’all, be as pedantic on this issue as you see fit, lol.

OriginalPouzar

Harpers Hair: No vote is required.

There have been conflicting reports on this.

Either way, I’ve resigned to the fact that this is going to happen.

I hate the idea of the June draft – i get it – in particular since they want to get some good faith with the networks but taking away active player trades is disappointing – I guess those that wanted to see Khaira or Benning traded for picks won’t be happy.

Jesse could still move for picks/prospects/combo.