Ready to Start

by Lowetide

On the first day of Oilers training camp, coach Dave Tippett’s published lines had Tyler Benson listed as No. 5 on the depth chart on left wing. That’s a fair distance from an NHL game in the upcoming playoffs for Benson. He would need luck and more luck and that’s a bit much to ask in one playoff summer. Benson has no control on the events that might lead him to find his way into the lineup but does have an opportunity to show the coaching staff what makes him useful.

A strong showing in camp this summer may give him some momentum in for 2020-21 training camp in the fall. Same applies for Evan Bouchard, William Lagesson and, to a lesser extent, Ryan McLeod.

THE ATHLETIC!

Great perspective from a ridiculous group of writers and analysts. I am proud to be part of The Athletic. Here are the most recent Oilers stories.

CERTAIN OILERS (20)

  • Ryan Nugent-Hopkins—Connor McDavid—Zack Kassian
  • Andreas Athanasiou—Leon Draisaitl—Kailer Yamamoto
  • Tyler Ennis—Riley Sheahan—Josh Archibald
  • James Neal—Jujhar Khaira—Alex Chiasson
  • Oscar Klefbom—Adam Larsson
  • Darnell Nurse—Ethan Bear
  • Kris Russell—Matt Benning
  • Mike Smith (Mikko Koskinen)

This isn’t a normal training camp and the roster spots have mostly been spoken for at this time. The real intrigue comes in pecking order among the non-starters. The names above, 20 in total, could easily be the opening night lineup.

UNCERTAIN OILERS (5)

  • Joakim Nygard—Gaetan Haas—Patrick Russell
  • Caleb Jones—William Lagesson

I think these men land on the final roster and some will play. Not certain Russell and Lagesson get into action. Caleb Jones not being available for the opening of camp may signal Russell gets the starting nod on the third pairing but I still like Jones to win the job if he’s able.

DISTANT BELLS (8)

  • Tyler Benson—Cooper Marody—Ryan McLeod
  • Philip Broberg—Evan Bouchard
  • Stuart Skinner (Dylan Wells) (Olivier Rodrigue)

I mentioned Benson needing to breaks, one that gets Nygard into the lineup and a second that allows another opening. From this group, Bouchard is likely in the strongest position to actually get into games. One item we can discuss now, as Bouchard is fairly close, is ideal partners and lines for the 2020-21 rookies.

PERFECT FIT

I think Tyler Benson’s ideal spot is on a line with a fast center who brings some skill and forechecking ability, a Gaetan Haas or (eventually) Ryan McLeod. Benson’s a great passer, so it would help if both of his linemates delivered handsome shot volume. Fun Fact: In just three minutes of five on five play with Leon Draisaitl, Benson’s on ice shot differential was 5-0 and the Oilers scored. I don’t expect him to play in a feature role in the playoffs or even next season, but grabbing an NHL job by the end of 2020-21 is important for Benson.

Evan Bouchard is a young puck mover with exceptional passing ability and vision, but his apprenticeship defensively will involve growing pains in the NHL. Ideally you would run him with Adam Larsson but they’re both righties. Oscar Klefbom would be fab but he’s higher up the order as is Darnell Nurse. Caleb Jones is the likely partner on a very young third pairing 2020-21. I think Klefbom is the ideal match, not because of shutdown ability but rather because the duo would be so good with the puck playing defense would hopefully involve less defensive work than a normal pairing would endure.

William Lagesson would do well (I believe) on a third pair with Matt Benning. He played quite a lot during his NHL audition with Benning (35 minutes, 21-22 shots) and Adam Larsson (25 minutes, 10-14 shots) as well as Mike Green (20 minutes, 5-9 shots).

Ryan McLeod belongs on a line with a pair of veterans who can win board battles and play a good two-way game. On the current roster, based on shot differential relative to teammates, Joakim Nygard and Gaetan Haas would be ideal. Visually, I imagined James Neal and Alex Chiasson as ideal solutions. Math is often the wiser course.

PIUS SUTER

My annual ranking of NHL draft-eligible prospects often turns up valuable talent that emerges years later. You may recall I have Andrew Mangiapane at No. 52 for the 2014 draft. No massive credit there, Mangiapane has certainly covered the kind of bet I suggested in 2014. One minor item: Mangiapane was drafted in 2015! In Round Six!

In 2015, I ranked Pius Suter No. 120 but he fell through the draft. There is now interest in this player, Scott Powers writing about Chicago’s interest in The Athletic today.

As we approach each draft day there’s always a push back on my list that involves lack of scouting. I’ve never said ignore scouts, hell hire more and pay them better. Arm the scouts with knowledge, the knowledge that informs them about the math of the draft. Here’s an article I wrote in June 2015 on the subject.

Last spring’s Lowetide final top 120 had a young man named Andrew Mangiapane on it and he wasn’t drafted by an NHL team. No big deal, I’m no scout and certainly not a math pro. Sussing out Mangiapane can be regarded as a curio.

However, it IS important in one way: Math led me to Mangiapane one year early, and that is something NHL teams have to respect.

Hire better math men than me, but listen to them.

NHL teams overlook players from a specific draft year but—increasingly—double back on those players in the following year. The 2015 draft will contain a fantastic number of 1997’s but there are plenty of prospects who’ve passed through once or more who should be taken.

Brock Otten, OHL Prospects: A shift in drafting philosophy has seen an enormous rise of these players getting drafted in recent years. This is mostly because drafting a second or third year eligible player gives NHL teams a lot of flexibility in their development under the new CBA. Source

There’s a seam there, an opportunity, for NHL teams to wait on these ‘tweeners’ and then grab them if they prove themselves worthy. It’s the opposite of draft and follow, something I’ve long felt warranted a look by NHL teams and a staple of baseball drafting.

Brock Otten, OHL Prospects: North American players have either two or three years to get drafted, depending on their birth date. For those born from January 1 to September 15, they will go through three NHL drafts. For those born from September 16 to December 31, they will go through two NHL drafts. Source

And with that, here we go.

  1. C Andrew Mangiapane, Barrie (OHL) Brilliant offensive player.
  2. L Vladimir Tkachev, Quebec Remparts (QMJHL) Small W, extremely skilled.
  3. R Connor Garland, Moncton Wildcats (QMJHL). Small, skill player.
  4. D Sebastian Aho, Skelleftea (SHL). Undersized, puck moving defenseman.
  5. G Adin Hill, Portland Winterhawks (WHL). .921 SP and he’s 6.04.
  6. C Pius Suter, Guelph Storm (OHL). A small, older, highly skilled C, scored 72 points.
  7. L Dryden Hunt, Medicine Hat Tigers (WHL). Overage scorer, talented player.
  8. L Adam Helewka, Spokane Chiefs (WHL) Smart winger who can score goals.
  9. C Alexandre Goulet, Charlottetown Islanders (QMJHL). A scoring center, good at evens.
  10. G Ken Appleby, Oshawa Generals (OHL) 50GP, 2.08 .924
  11. D Vladislav Gavrikov, Yaroslavl (KHL). Two-way defender with size and skill.
  12. C Tyson Baillie, Kelowna Rockets (WHL). Small two-way center.
  13. C Luke Philp, Kootenay Ice (WHL) Skill center can play a complementary role.
  14. D Christian Jaros, Lulea (SHL). A big, stay-at-home defender, massive wingspan.
  15. G Jordan Papirny, Brandon Wheat Kings (WHL). His improved play this year may get him selected.
  16. R Karson Kuhlman, Minnesota-Duluth (NCAA) Two-way agitating winger with skill.
  17. L Rihards Bukarts, Brandon Wheat Kings (WHL). Very small, impressive winger.
  18. D Stephen Desrocher, Oshawa Generals (OHL). Strong two-way D.
  19. C Tim McGauley, Brandon Wheat Kings (WHL). Skill C. Improved markedly during junior career.
  20. R Matt Schmalz, Sudbury Wolves (OHL). Monster winger (6.06, 210) with some skill.
  21. C Reid Gardner, Prince Albert Raiders (WHL) Two-way center, improving.
  22. D Layne Viveiros, Portland Winterhawks (WHL) Puck-moving defender finally got a chance.

This is a significant list of talent and there’s no doubt several of these players will be selected. Edmonton should certainly jump in and grab some of these fine players, but there’s also ample opportunity to draft and follow.

LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE

We’re drunk with great guests today on the Lowdown, TSN 1260 beginning at 10. Laura Armstrong from The Score will talk Blue Jays at 10:20, Ryan Rishaug from TSN has an update from Oilers camp at 11 and Thomas Drance from The Athletic updates us on the Vancouver situation at 11:25. 10-1260 text, @Lowetide on twitter. See you on the radio!

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OriginalPouzar

Drai is a finalist for the Lindsay (along with Nathan M and Panarin).

hunter1909

ENTER HUNTER 1909’S 2020 DEATH MARCH™ ENTER HUNTER1909’S DEATH MARCH™

It’s Easy!

Just click on the link and figure it out. Alternatively be prepared to know 1- how many wins Oilers get during the 2020 playoffs 2- how many losses 3- tiebreaker combined goals of Yamamoto + McDavid

https://oilersdeathmarch.com/playoffs-2020/

Players keep continuity when using same names as previous Death March 2016,17,18,19,20

OriginalPouzar

Listening to the Hawks play by play guy on Inside Sports last night and he was taking about how motivated he thinks Crawford will be in the series and thinks he’ll skate today. He did mention he wasn’t at the rink and it seemed purely speculative and maybe he isn’t in the know (given quotes from Stan Bowman yesterday).

Ugh, any absence is going to lead to so much speculation – willl need to learn to take everything with a grain of salt.

defmn

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins—Connor McDavid—Zack Kassian
Andreas Athanasiou—Leon Draisaitl—Kailer Yamamoto

If the top two lines remain like this through TC and into the playoffs this team is going to win some games.

OriginalPouzar

We know the KHL starts Sept 1 and training camps open in July but now Barys Nur-Sultan (Kazakhstan) has delayed the start of its camp to Aug 3.

Not liking that trend.

I’m really hoping the European leagues can play this fall.

OriginalPouzar

The published lines may have Benson as 5LW but I would think that he’s likely 6LW behind: Nuge, AA, Ennis, Neal, Nygard. Maybe even the 15th overall forward with Haas ahead.

With that said, given a 5 series grind (even with travel fatigue excluded) I could see Benson working his way in to games – I have a feeling, if he gets a chance in these playoffs, he may be done with the AHL – just a pure feeling that he’s about to take a big development step.

OilClog

OriginalPouzar,

Published lines > Opinion Lines

OriginalPouzar

I think the bottom of the defensive group will be the biggest personal story line through camp and the post-season itself.

We always had the Jones vs. Russell and Benning vs. Green “debate” but there was not question as to who would be the 1st replacement on the left side and the right side.

Now, we still have the Jones vs. Russell but the question will be what happens if/when a RD gets hurt and can’t play? Will Bouch jump in and everyone else move up (if its Larsson or Bear hurt)? Will Jones or Russell go in to 3RD?

Also, while Jones will rejoin the team, will Holland and the coaching staff now want to take Broberg in to the secure zone as 10D? I still think there is all but no chance he would play so I think he’ll head back to Skelfeeta unless, of course, their camp gets delayed (we are starting to see delays in the KHL).

godot10
Tesla's Hair

Does anyone know the published lines of Chicago? How do we match up?

godot10

defmn:
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins—Connor McDavid—Zack Kassian
Andreas Athanasiou—Leon Draisaitl—Kailer Yamamoto

If the top two lines remain like this through TC and into the playoffs this team is going to win some games.

Athanasiou has to finish in that spot. With Draisaitl and Yamamoto, #ThereWillBeChances. Grade A ones.

Ennis fired blanks. Nugent-Hopkins went supernova.

Brantford Boy

deardylan,

From yeterday’s comments:

HARPERS HAIRsays:
July 13, 2020 at 10:41 am
Brandon Cain (@brandonmcain) Tweeted:
#Blackhawks lines and pairings on Day 1 of training camp:

DeBrincat-Toews-Saad
Nylander-Strome-Kane
Kubalik-Dach-Caggiula
Carpenter-Kampf-Highmore

Keith-Boqvist
de Haan-Murphy
Maatta-Koekkoek
Carlsson-Seabrook

My take is they’re trying to spread out their defensive forwards on each line as they know we are now a threat on more than one line…

yeraslob

Who are the speedsters in the Jets lineup? Watching highlights of MacKinnon pylon Giordano time and time again during last year’s playoffs was beautiful.

OriginalPouzar

As LT just advised, Crawford not on the ice with main group on Day 2.

iHockeyWpg

yeraslob

Nik Ehlers and Kyle Connor. Appleton and Roslovic are pretty quick as well.

flea

iHockeyWpg:
yeraslob

Nik Ehlers and Kyle Connor. Appleton and Roslovic are pretty quick as well.

I think Calgary is in tough against Winnipeg. Vezina goalie, and a similarly built team to Colorado. Speed to burn and I think the CGY defence gets exposed.

iHockeyWpg

flea: I think Calgary is in tough against Winnipeg. Vezina goalie, and a similarly built team to Colorado. Speed to burn and I think the CGY defence gets exposed.

Flames have no chance against the Jets. Superior goaltending tandem, better defense, and way more offence. I predict a 3-1 series win for the Jets. They may surprise in the first round as long as Hellebuyck gets hot.

defmn

godot10: Athanasiou has to finish in that spot.With Draisaitl and Yamamoto, #ThereWillBeChances. Grade A ones.

Ennis fired blanks.Nugent-Hopkins went supernova.

Yup. If he does that trade looks like a stroke of genius and this team starts to look dangerous.

Not quite there but pretty close for a capped system.

JimmyV1965

iHockeyWpg: Flames have no chance against the Jets. Superior goaltending tandem, better defense, and way more offence. I predict a 3-1 series win for the Jets. They may surprise in the first round as long as Hellebuyck gets hot.

I’m no Flames fan, and I think the Jets win the series, but the Flames defence is better and it’s not even close. The jets have on the worst dmen groups in the post season. Hellybuck bailed them out bigtime this year.

OriginalPouzar

As per Gregor, Caleb Jones, Philip Broberg, Tyler Benson, Cooper Marody and Ryan McLeod not on ice in main group this morning.

Not sure if Jones is skating with the “black aces” group this afternoon as he gets his health back or if he’s still not quite ready to go. Spector did say he was scheduled to skate later yesterday but noone knows if he actually did.

OriginalPouzar

“Ryan McLeod belongs on a line with a pair of veterans who can win board battles and play a good two-way game.”

For next season, how about Kril Maksimov and Josh Currie (please re-sign Josh)?

OriginalPouzar

As for the list of certain, uncertain and distant bells, i think you are referring to the actual opening night lineup, right Alan?

I think pretty much all those players are “certain” for the phase 4 roster (except McLeod and Broberg and the extra goalies).

If we are talking about “certain” for the opening night lineup, injuries aside of course, I wouldn’t quite have Russell in that category as I think Tippett/Playfair really do like Jones, however, the longer it takes him to get his health back, the more certain Rusty becomes.

As we’ve been speculating for a month plus now, it really looks like Nygard and Haas are the two main healthy scratches coming in to camp – Nygard due to left wing depth and not having a real NHL practice since January and Haas because Khaira is the incumbent 4C.

OriginalPouzar

The numbers for Benson with Drai are intriguing – smallest of sample sizes ever, however, if Nuge or AA went down and Ennis is gelling on the 3rd line, perhaps there is a spot there – Nygard notwithstanding.

OriginalPouzar

As per Nugent-Bowman:

“Caleb Jones is watching Oilers scrimmage from the stands. Broberg, McLeod, Benson and Marody weren’t part of the initial practice but are part of the scrimmage.”

I anticipate Jones is in the last few days of his recovery and will be on the ice sometime over the next week – hopefully he isn’t too far behind.

Also, Jack Michaels with a specific tweet about how good Mikko has looked over the first couple of days.

Munny

If the Flames beat the Jets, that would be a substantial upset.

Over the past three years the Flames have struck me as a “lightning-in-a-bottle” type team, so you never know. And Rittich is certainly capable.

But I imagine that Jets will be game-planning them much the same was as the Avs played them last year, and it is hard to believe Rittich will post better performances this year than Smith had last year. Plus the Flames will be missing Hamonic.

Couldn’t take a Flame in a playoff draft… they’re in tough.

Munny

defmn: Yup. If he does that trade looks like a stroke of genius and this team starts to look dangerous.

Not quite there but pretty close for a capped system.

I hope that one of the things going on in TC is that Drai is learning where AA likes to unleash his one-timer.

And I hope AA is learning to get to the crease because the puck is there a lot when Drai and Yams are on the ice.

Because you’re right… if AA can be the piece that fits the puzzle, the Oil look lethal going forward.

OriginalPouzar

Caleb Jones was indeed on the ice with the second group today – picture evidence.

OriginalPouzar

Nugent-Bowman is killing it from the rink.

Calvin de Haan has left due to a family emergency and its unknown when he’ll be back.

Here is hoping everything works out OK for him and his family.

yeraslob

flea,

Ah, good good. The more the merrier! If the flames were smart, they’d shelter geritol Gio from the speedsters.

slopitch

Interesting to see Boquist on top pair while Bouchard on 4th. Perhaps Chicago is not that deep and is rushing him. Perhaps Bouchard is more ready than we think. Will be interesting to see how Boquist does.

yeraslob

Munny,

I don’t blame you. The flames have been a historically inept playoff team after ’89. Only twice past the first round in 30 years, one of them being the miracle run of ’04. Other than that, missing the playoffs half the time and first round exit participation ribbons when they did qualify.

Munny

After today’s practice…

Scott Powers

Colliton said Subban, Delia, Lankinen and Tomkins will all compete at goalie. Colliton said he wasn’t able to provide any further info on Crawford.

___

Mark Lazerus

Reading the tea leaves, so take this for what it’s worth, but Jeremy Colliton didn’t sound like a guy who’s expecting to have Corey Crawford available anytime soon.

OriginalPouzar

As per Nugent-Bowman:

“Caleb Jones sure didn’t look like he was taking it easy at the end of black aces practice. Assistant coach Brian Wiseman put him through the paces. This, and reading between the lines from Tippett’s comments, makes me think there shouldn’t be much to worry about. We’ll see.”

Also, coach said that Jones will continue to skate with the smaller group every day until he gets the green light to skate with the main group – sign-off to do so isn’t imminent but will come.

OriginalPouzar

Munny:
After today’s practice…

Scott Powers

Colliton said Subban, Delia, Lankinen and Tomkins will all compete at goalie. Colliton said he wasn’t able to provide any further info on Crawford.

___

Mark Lazerus

Reading the tea leaves, so take this for what it’s worth, but Jeremy Colliton didn’t sound like a guy who’s expecting to have Corey Crawford available anytime soon.

The comments from Stan Bowman (via The Athletic) yesterday had the same vibe.

Munny

The Crawfords did give birth in mid-April… maybe that has something to do with things, dunno.

N64

Well at least the NBA is enforcing their bubble. One player left the official perimeter to pick up his own take out delivery (they have people that do that for them). Another missed the part about 2 tests before leaving your room to join the bubble. Both get 10 extra days of quarantine.

OriginalPouzar

deardylan:
Does anyone know the published lines of Chicago? How do we match up?

This was yesterday (day 1):

DeBrincat-Toews-Saad
Nylander-Strome-Kane
Kubalik-Dach-Caggiula
Carpenter-Kampf-Highmore

Keith-Boqvist
de Haan-Murphy
Maatta-Koekkoek
Carlsson-Seabrook

flyfish1168

Munny:
If the Flames beat the Jets, that would be a substantial upset.

Over the past three years the Flames have struck me as a “lightning-in-a-bottle” type team, so you never know. And Rittich is certainly capable.

But I imagine that Jets will be game-planning them much the same was as the Avs played them last year, and it is hard to believe Rittich will post better performances this year than Smith had last year.Plus the Flames will be missing Hamonic.

Couldn’t take a Flame in a playoff draft… they’re in tough.

We all no johny yahoo and sean mohands are soft in the playoffs.

JimmyV1965

slopitch:
Interesting to see Boquist on top pair while Bouchard on 4th. Perhaps Chicago is not that deep and is rushing him. Perhaps Bouchard is more ready than we think. Will be interesting to see how Boquist does.

The only person who thinks Bosquist should be on the first pair is HH.

OriginalPouzar

As per Gregor, Oilers exhibition game will be July 28 vs the flames.

Munny

Four areas where the Hawks ranked 31st (last) in the League:

Inside slot shots against — 7.8/gm

Slot passes against — 14.7/gm

Cycle chances against — 9.6/gm

Expected Goals Against — 3.32/gm

–All numbers courtesy of Sport LogIQ–

Would be nice to see rush chances on that list too, but it’s a nice little list regardless.

flyfish1168

iHockeyWpg: Flames have no chance against the Jets. Superior goaltending tandem, better defense, and way more offence. I predict a 3-1 series win for the Jets. They may surprise in the first round as long as Hellebuyck gets hot.

If they are out in the 1st round they have a chance at 1st over pick in a draw with the other 8 teams

Munny

OriginalPouzar: DeBrincat-Toews-Saad
Nylander-Strome-Kane

If the plan is to line match PvP, this places Kane up against AA and KBomb as the most likely/common matchups.

OTOH, Toews will have to deal the 97’s afterburners—which he can’t do—but will probably have Keith out there to help.

Eh Team

OriginalPouzar: As per Gregor, Oilers exhibition game will be July 28 vs the flames.

Hopefully, McDavid, Drai and the other front line Oilers are not going to play in this game. Last thing you need is an injury in a meaningless game.

Brantford Boy

Edmonton Oilers and Calgary Flames will be playing an exhibition game on July 28th… sure hope Kassian has his head in the game…

Ribs

Edmonton vs. Calgary right before playoffs in a nothing game seems pretty reckless. It could be a complete gongshow.

Brogan Rafferty's Uncle Steve

I love the lines! I believe in AA!

I am pumped for summer hockey. Oilers winning the cup should be good for the infection rate of Edmonton.

I love you LT. Thanks for posting every day.

RNH is going to be the Conn Smythe winner. Bookjie it.

OriginalPouzar

because, as LT mentioned this morning on the show, he’s become a talked about player among Oiler fans, Canucks signed Jack Rathborne to his 3-year ELC – he’ll join the team for phase 3 and burn the first year of his ELC.

Harpers Hair

Thomas Drance (@ThomasDrance) Tweeted:
Jack Rathbone’s three-year deal will burn the 2019-20 season. So it runs through the 2021-22 season.

Hearing it will include $850k in Schedule A bonuses, no Schedule Bs.

Big signing for the #Canucks. Rathbone will have a real shot at cracking their lineup next year.

godot10

Harpers Hair:
Thomas Drance (@ThomasDrance) Tweeted:
Jack Rathbone’s three-year deal will burn the 2019-20 season. So it runs through the 2021-22 season.

Hearing it will include $850k in Schedule A bonuses, no Schedule Bs.

Big signing for the #Canucks. Rathbone will have a real shot at cracking their lineup next year.

Two rookie D starting on a team interested in contending? Duelling narratives. Are you a contender or a you a pretender breaking in two rookie D?