Some actual news yesterday, as the Oilers will invite four goalies and run with three during the unusual playoffs. Olivier Rodrigue is one of those goalies and his inclusion might be a tell about how the organization sees him. One of the reasons might be how he finished the season.
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: Ken Holland’s second Oilers draft should deliver high-octane offence
- New Daniel Nugent-Bowman: ‘It’s all surreal’: Kevin Lowe’s Hall of Fame nod nets surprise and satisfaction
- New Daniel Nugent-Bowman and Thomas Drance: Vancouver vs. Edmonton: How do Western Canada’s NHL hub city bids stack up?
- New Daniel Nugent-Bowman: I nominated Kevin Lowe for The Athletic’s mock Hockey Hall of Fame — and he fell way short
- Lowetide: 10 things to look for at Oilers training camp and the 2020 playoffs
- Lowetide: Oilers’ July 2015 orientation camp produced a watershed of NHL talent
- Lowetide: Do Oilers fans expect feature minutes from Tyler Ennis on top line?
- Lowetide: Ethan Bear, Caleb Jones and the Oilers’ need for veteran insurance
- Daniel Nugent-Bowman: Why the Oilers should protect these 8 skaters in the Seattle expansion draft
- Jonathan Willis: Why Carl Soderberg is an intriguing free agent possibility for the Oilers
- Lowetide: Oilers prospect Raphael Lavoie’s possible impact in his first year pro
- Daniel Nugent-Bowman: The good, bad and ugly of the Oilers’ last 15 years of free agent signings
- Lowetide: Why you should be worried about William Lagesson’s future in Edmonton
- Daniel Nugent-Bowman: Remembering the goal that made Fernando Pisani a cult hero in Edmonton
- Lowetide: The Oilers’ 2016 draft remains an enigma, with a glimmer of hope
- Jonathan Willis: The parallels from the fall of Alexander the Great and the 2006 Oilers
- Jonathan Willis: Connor McDavid’s recovery is just one of 2020’s incredible Masterton stories
- Lowetide: Every prospect in the Oilers system and what’s next for each player
- Daniel Nugent-Bowman: Projecting the Oilers’ black aces and how much they’ll play
- Jonathan Willis: Projecting the Oilers’ lineup for their play-in series versus the Blackhawks
In the final 11 games (February 1 through March 11), Rodrigue posted a goals against of 1.41 and a save percentage of .947. That’s a small sample but fantastic numbers. It’s too bad his season was cut short but it sounds like the Oilers noticed. As you know, I like to go back to the beginning and review the scouting reports from draft day weekend.
Corey Pronman, The Athletic: Rodrigue is a very calm goalie in between the pipes. He’s very smart, always seems to find a way to square up pucks and tracks pucks quite well.
Red Line Report: Ranked No. 39, “makes the easy saves, and the acrobatic ones too.”
I think he has a chance to be the starter for the Bakersfield Condors next season.
FIVE YEARS AGO TODAY
It was the best of times. One hour later, there was a rain, but drafting Connor McDavid was a massive moment in Oilers history. Here are his draft day scouting reports. Look for a discouraging word. I dare you.
Craig Button, TSN: Two words; unprecedented speed. Skating speed, hand quickness and mental processing that he executes simultaneously to threaten defenders and create opportunities. He would be the first pick at every draft since Sidney Crosby in 2005, perhaps even in Crosby’s draft year. Source.
Red Line: Dynamic speed and acceleration forces dmen to back off the blue line. Has a top end separation gear that’s a blur.
ISS: An intelligent, creative player that can wait for the play to come to him or create something out of nothing. A natural playmaker that is not afraid to go to the middle of the ice to make plays and makes those around him better. Has elite hockey IQ and knows where to be on the ice at all times.
McKeens: Explodes up the ice in one stride and can blow by a defender before he even has time to pivot .. incredibly balanced and strong on his skates – tough to knock down despite countless attempts by the opposition.
Future Considerations: An offensive threat with tremendous speed, McDavid is lethal in transition and makes opponents step back because of his ability to burn them quickly.
Black Book: Connor possesses electrifying speed and acceleration. He gets his feet moving instantaneously and gets everything out of his stride, allowing him to pull away from good skaters quickly. At least once per game you would think he has a turbo button for his skates. His vision is outstanding and he always seems to know who’s around him and what his best option is. He combines these two skills to create plays for his linemates.
THEN CAME THE REINHART TRADE
Approximately one hour later, Peter Chiarelli made a big trade, sending a first and second round pick to the New York Islanders for Griffin Reinhart. Here’s what I wrote at the time:
The Reinhart add (for me) is another addition to the prospect group, no more, no less. He’s miles better than Colten Teubert, but teams don’t trade No. 4 overall picks who are working out swell so let’s be real about it. I have said, and believe, it was an overpay. If Reinhart ends up being Colten Teubert, please hold it against Peter Chiarelli and Bob Green. If he turns out to be splendid, give them credit. In the meantime, let’s not beat each other up too badly, okay? Thanks.
THE 2015 DRAFT
Here is my summary at the time, pick by pick:
C Connor McDavid. The franchise. Words are all we have until fall, and we used them all up before the draft. I think he might start the season with Hall and Eberle, perhaps Pouliot and another veteran. If you’re an Oilers winger, that RW job on 97’s line is the ultimate. I like Chiarelli’s comments about tempering expectations, we could all adopt that attitude as we get deeper into this year. Connor McDavid is going to have growing pains, we may want to pump the breaks on Calder trophy talk, 80-point projections and calling the new arena ‘The House of McDavid’. Unnecessary pressure from us isn’t going to help. NHLE: 82GP, 23-40-63.
D Caleb Jones. A mobile defender with a reputation for being a very good passer (seemed to be a theme in this year’s draft). Looking at the team stats I doubt he got much power play time (1 assist) so it’ll be interesting to see if the boxcars spike as he moves to the WHL for the coming season. 6.0, 194, can skate well and thinks the game well based on scouting reports (ISS has a nice profile on the young man). Seth’s brother, I like the pick, we need to adjust for TOI and role when looking at the equivalency. NHLE: 82GP, 2-5-7.
D Ethan Bear. Early this season, I made a list of CHL defensemen who were showing up often in conversation about the 2015 draft. Bear impressed me as a guy who clicked off all of the boxes: Good skater, makes pinpoint passes, makes good decisions, calm feet, built like a tank (5.11, 200) and can hit hard. Bear didn’t get a lot of ink during the year but posted good numbers and what little was written about him was positive. I don’t know if the ‘saw him good’ crowd or the math people (or both) recommended him but am pleased to see the Oilers grabbed him at a fantastic number. Cody Nickolet wrote a thorough and insightful item on him here. NHLE: 82GP, 5-9-14.
D John Marino. Kirk Luedeke: Solid, if not spectacular, all-around defenseman. Trains off-ice with Hanifin. Set for Yale in 2016 and could return for senior year at Catholic Memorial, play another USPHL season, or play next for Chicago in the USHL. Source
G Miroslav Svoboda. Young Willis: Svoboda has had two strong seasons at the Czech junior level and his 6’3″ frame gives him good size for the position. He’ll be stepping up to the senior level next year, playing for second division Czech team AZ Havirov. On paper, he’s not a particularly compelling prospect, but he is just a seventh-round pick, he’s big and has shown well in flashes, and what we don’t know from looking at him on paper could probably fill volumes. Source
D Ziyat Paigin. Huge Russian (6.06, 209) played in the KHL as a teenager and that has to be respected. He’s a mountain, that’s going to be his calling card should he make the NHL. This is the ultimate boom/bust selection but they took him late and for me Paigin’s presence in the KHL (he played 33 games, 9 minutes a night) gets him here. ISS likes his defensive coverage. NHLE: 82GP, 2-2-4.
LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE
At 10 this morning, TSN1260, this could be a big day for the NHL and I’m not just talking draft lottery. Steve Lansky from Inside The Truck podcast and BigMouthSports will chat Kevin Lowe, Ken Holland and the entire HHOF class of 2020. Ryan Bartoshyk, commissioner of the AJHL, will update us on the league’s situaton and plans moving forward. Matt Iwanyk pops by to talk draft lottery and we’ll chat a little baseball and footy too. 10-1260 text, @Lowetide on twitter. See you on the radio!