On the day Craig MacTavish introduced Dallas Eakins as the Oilers new coach in the summer of 2013, I wrote the following:
The Oilers under Craig MacTavish are apparently hellbent on waking the fanbase from the Tambellini coma. In the immortal words of Bob Cole “it’s all happening!” I can’t remember the name of the defenseman he signed an hour ago, but do know Teemu Hartikainen is off to Russia and suspect they’ll announce Katz has purchased Guam by 5pm.
This is a fact: the Oilers off the ice are more interesting than on the ice. I pray Baby Jesus this is the last summer we can make that statement. Press conference at 1:30, then Guam.
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: Ken Holland’s likely approach to the Oilers’ offseason goalie question
- New Lowetide: Hard target search for Oilers acquisition options among NHL forwards
- Lowetide: Oilers GM Ken Holland should shop for picks at the draft
- Lowetide: Exploring Oilers prospect Ryan McLeod’s possible NHL path
- Jonathan Willis: What does the path to an Oilers Stanley Cup championship in 2023 look like?
- Daniel Nugent-Bowman: Ales Hemsky on his health, alumni games, tough opponents and the Oilers’ stars
- Lowetide: Swedish export Noel Gunler offers Oilers a worthy draft target
- Scott Wheeler: Why Oilers prospect Raphael Lavoie is the shot creation king.
- Lowetide: How can Andreas Athanasiou — Ken Holland’s big bet — help the Oilers?
- Lowetide: What are Evan Bouchard’s chances of making the Oilers in 2020-21?
- Jonathan Willis and Lowetide: Who are the Oilers’ top 10 prospects and where do they project in the NHL?
- Jonathan Willis: How do Connor McDavid’s first five NHL seasons compare to the all-time greats?
- Lowetide: Oilers 2020 draft: Are fans ready for Oil Kings’ Jake Neighbours?
- Jonathan Willis: Oilers need to keep feeding their currently rich pipeline of defensive prospects
- Daniel Nugent-Bowman: How a series of oddball jobs prepared Ken Holland for his front-office career
- Jonathan Willis: 2020 NHL offseason goalie market: Team needs, free agents and trade possibilities
In the days before Ralph Krueger was fired he spoke with real clarity about prospect Teemu Hartikainen: “He’s trying to figure out what a gritty, strong power forward does and what’s connected to that. What’s important for him is to continue to manage the puck in all three zones.”
General manager MacTavish, who also had a gift for getting to the point, said about Hartikainen “in today’s NHL, even marginally, you have to be a threat to score.” How many kids currently project to become 15-goals a year scorers?
- 2008-09 (SHL) 7 goals on 103 shots (6.8 percent)
- 2009-10 (SHL) 12 goals on 160 shots (7.5 percent)
- 2010-11 (NHL) 15 goals on 180 shots (8.3 percent)
- 2011-12 (AHL) 7 goals on 100 shots (7.0 percent)
Paajarvi is a fast train and delighted fans with 15 goals as an NHL rookie, 10 at five on five. His most prominent line (Omark-Gagner-Paajarvi) played 215 minutes together, winning the Corsi five on five battle (51.3 percent), the five on five shot differential (50.25 percent) but lost the goals battle 9-15.
I saw this line and don’t blame the coaching staff for breaking them up, but a responsible center between Omark and Magnum PS might have worked. Holy hell there were jailbreaks, but credit to Paajarvi for showing real concern defensively and hauling ass on the regular. He didn’t reach 10 percent shooting percentage before or after his draft day.
- 2008-09 (Liiga) 17 goals on 132 shots (12.9 percent)
- 2009-10 (Liiga) 15 goals on 183 shots (8.2 percent)
- 2010-11 (AHL) 17 goals on 132 shots (12.9 percent)
Teemu Hartikainen had a chance, I swear to it. He had a good shot, size and aggression. Oilers scouts called him “a poor man’s (Tomas) Holmstrom” around draft day.
- 2017-18 (WHL) 27 goals on 232 shots (11.6 percent)
- 2018-19 (AHL) 15 goals on 173 shots (8.7 percent)
- 2019-20 (AHL) 9 goals on 106 shots (8.5 percent)
I think Benson will have enough offense to play in an NHL top-nine and maybe higher. I think he’s far more likely to have 25 assists in a season than 15 goals, and his boxcars are going to look like they came from a playmaking center. Perhaps he surprises.
- 2017-18 (WHL) 21 goals on 111 shots (18.9 percent)
- 2018-19 (AHL) 10 goals on 45 shots (22.2 percent)
- 2019-20 (NHL) 11 goals on 44 shots (25.0 percent)
I think we can all agree Yamamoto won’t post a career shooting percentage of 25 during his NHL career, but he’s bona fide. I believe he’ll shoot more in the days to come, but the success rates on 1.5 shots per game are outstanding. Yamamoto’s numbers tower over the rest of the names on this list in shooting percentage.
- 2018-19 (QMJHL) 32 goals on 206 shots (15.5 percent)
- 2019-20 (QMJHL) 38 goals on 310 shots (12.3 percent)
And now, a volume shooter. As you’ll see in a minute, the step from junior hockey to pro can impact how often a player has the puck in scoring positions. Lavoie’s junior numbers are fantastic. You could let a lot of air out of these totals and still have a productive pro player.
- 2016-17 (OHL) 21 goals on 160 shots (13.1 percent)
- 2017-18 (OHL) 34 goals on 227 shots (15.0 percent)
- 2018-19 (OHL) 40 goals on 232 shots (17.2 percent)
- 2019-20 (AHL) 5 goals on 59 shots (8.5 percent)
There’s nothing wrong with Maksimov’s shot, he just isn’t getting the puck in scoring areas. The adjustment for young players moving into the AHL can be difficult. Maksimov was used to taking the puck with regularity and now bigger, more mature men are making it impossible. We should see a more competitive set of numbers in 2020-21.
- 2018-19 (USHL) 30 goals in 238 shots (12.6 percent)
- 2019-20 (Czech) 4 goals in 58 shots (6.9 percent)
He played less than 12 minutes a night in the Czech league so the dip in production has an explanation. I’d love to see him in the AHL 2020-21.
- 2017-18 (OHL) 26 goals in 165 shots (15.8 percent)
- 2018-19 (OHL) 19 goals in 149 shots (12.8 percent)
- 2019-20 (AHL) 5 goals in 69 shots (7.2 percent)
I was impressed by McLeod’s rookie AHL season, he posted more even-strength offense than expected. I don’t know how much he’ll deliver as an NHL player but I’m pretty sure (based on his resume) he will get there.
My parents always taught me to be humble but to hell with that noise today. David Staples from the Cult of Hockey named this blog, along with Mark Edwards (HockeyProspect.com) and Ryan Kennedy (The Hockey News) as the best among those outside the hockey industry in identifying talent at the draft. Woot! I’m going to have a beer and then I’m going to have another one.
LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE
A fabulous show starts at 10 this morning, TSN1260. We begin the day with Dr. Randy Gregg, former Edmonton Oilers defenseman and soon the operator of Re/Max Field in Edmonton. Baseball will be in the city for the next 10 years or more in that jewel of a ballpark, we’ll talk to Gregg about his plans to bring in at least one new team. Gerry Moddejonge from PostMedia will join us at 11 to talk about the latest CFL plans, and Bill Shea from The Athletic Business will discuss his article on the now recovered sports card industry. 10-1260 text, @Lowetide on twitter. Talk soon!