There are 10 names on the Oilers 50-man list (which currently stands at 42) that were procured by Ken Holland since he arrived over a year ago. I had him at six needs one year ago, and this year’s needs list has been cut in half. Impressive. Here’s what he has, and what he has to do. (Photo by Rob Ferguson)
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.
- New Lowetide: Oilers 2020 picks finalized, it’s go time for Jesse Puljujarvi
- Daniel Nugent-Bowman: Edmonton again? How Oilers would benefit from No. 1 pick and Alexis Lafrenière
- Lowetide: Oilers’ guilty pleasure, the draft lottery, could offer a quick fix
- Lowetide: Ken Holland’s urgent summer as Oilers general manager begins
- Daniel Nugent-Bowman: The Oilers have some disappointing lessons to learn — even in season of progress
- Daniel Nugent-Bowman: Replacing Tyler Ennis: Ranking the best left wing and backfill Oilers options
- Lowetide: Oilers’ Andreas Athanasiou gets a push against ‘Hawks. Is it enough?
- Daniel Nugent-Bowman: Bang for your buck: Ranking the Oilers based on contract expectations
- Jonathan Willis: Is Philip Broberg on track to be a top-pairing defenceman?
- Lowetide: Ken Holland’s roster construction options over the next five months
50-MAN LIST (42, incl. 9 RFA)
My guess is that Athanasiou, Kuffner, Lagesson, Bear and Benning return, although Benning might get squeezed in order to make cap room. That would put the 50-man at 38 names, I expect we’ll see some targeted roster moves aimed at improving goaltending, No. 3 centre and two-way wingers on skill lines.
HOLLAND’S SHOPPING LIST LAST OFFSEASON (SIX ITEMS)
1 Goalie. If the Oilers are going to make the 2020 playoffs, and that’s a distant bell, a goalie is going to steal some games. I’ve suggested Brian Elliott, perhaps there’s another option. Either way, goalie is the priority. [Mike Smith was Holland’s answer]
2 Two scoring wingers. I do believe Holland will spend (money and assets to bring in some quality scorers. It might be a one and one, as in Brett Connolly via free agency and Connor Brown via trade, but there will be changes. [Alex Chiasson and James Neal were the answers early, Andreas Athanasiou and Tyler Ennis late.]
3 RH center. I think we’ll see a PK option who can skate and win faceoffs acquired over the summer. Maybe it’s someone Holland knows, like Luke Glendening. [Gaetan Haas was the bet, he didn’t cover all of the job but was an intriguing addition]
4 Cap room. Most of the heavy work may have to wait a year. [Holland bought out Andrej Sekera and dealt with long-term concerns by dealing Milan Lucic].
5 Top 4 RHD who can move the puck. I can see a scenario where Holland and Tippett look at the internal options and decide a solution is on the roster, but 12 months away. Evan Bouchard might own that job by December 2020. [Ethan Bear arrived during training camp, an inspired player perfect for the moment].
THIS YEAR’S HOLLAND NEEDS LIST
1 Goalie. Holland doesn’t have more room than last year due to the flat cap, but has fewer problems to solve. That’s a good thing. He doesn’t need to buyout a contract, but if a free-agent starter shakes loose (Robin Lehner, Braden Holtby), trading Koskinen may be a priority. One interesting option: Rangers’ Alexander Georgiev. If he comes available, that might be an ideal solution.
2 Two-way winger. Only one is needed this time, I’ve been thinking that Brett Connolly might be available in trade with a new regime taking over in Florida. I’d like to see Nuge-Draisaitl-Yamamoto to start next season, and an Athanasiou-McDavid-Connolly line might just work.
3 No. 3 center. Cooper Marody is a fine skill center in the AHL, and would be a Bear-level find in training camp if he can win a regular job. Is he healthy and at 2018-19 levels? Don’t know. I will be interested in seeing what Ryan McLeod looks like in training camp, because he and Haas might compete for an NHL job (with Jujhar Khaira in the mix). I’ve looked high and low for a righty center option but honestly they’re a rare item. Ryan Strome. Riley Sheahan remains an option.
WHO IS LEAVING?
Evan Bouchard is the most likely farmhand to push his way to the NHL, meaning someone from the right side of the defense is vulnerable. I don’t believe the Oilers have a roster player who can replace Adam Larsson, but his pending free agency makes him a more logical trade piece than Matt Benning (who is RFA).
Several wingers could be leaving town, beginning with unlisted Jesse Puljujarvi (who I wrote about today at The Athletic). Alex Chiasson is probably the most vulnerable name, I think Andreas Athanasiou could be in play but Ken Holland is more likely to sign him short term at a reasonable number. James Neal is somewhat exposed but I think a buyout is more likely than a trade and honestly don’t see him going anywhere.
LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE
A fun show this morning with fabulous guests, we begin at 10 on TSN1260. At 10:20 Scott Wheeler from The Athletic joins us to talk about the 2020 draft and what might be waiting for Edmonton at No. 14 overall. Mike Murphy from Blueshirt Banter will chat about the New York Rangers winning the lottery and what it means to the team’s offseason.