The Overagers

Brandon Davidson photo by Rob Ferguson

There are benefits to drafting overage players, or as they are sometimes called ‘re-entry’ players. You have a better idea about the player, who has matured and is playing a more prominent role. It’s risky, but these men are available later in the draft so there’s a tradeoff somewhere in the middle of the fourth round. I remember the 2015 overage list very well….


I’m proud to be writing for The Athletic, and pleased to be part of a great team with Daniel Nugent-Bowman and Jonathan Willis. Here is our recent work.


  1. C Andrew Mangiapane. Drafted No. 166 by Calgary. 122 NHL games.
  2. R Conor Garland. Drafted No. 123 by Arizona. 115 NHL games.
  3. D Sebastian Aho. Drafted No. 139 in 2017 by NYI. 22 NHL games.
  4. G Adin Hill. Drafted No. 76 by Arizona. 30 NHL games.
  5. L Dryden Hunt. Signed with Florida. 63 NHL games.
  6. R Karson Kuhlman. Signed by Boston. 36 NHL games

My list was 22 deep and six men made it. Overagers are worth buying later in the draft. Math proves it.


  1. LW Pavel Gogolev, OHL. Now 20, he is fast and has a great shot.
  2. LW Yevgeni Oksentyuk, OHL. Impressive season, under the radar skill winger.
  3. RD Alex Cotton, WHL. Big defenseman with a great shot.
  4. G Nico Daws, OHL. .924 save percentage represents a big performance spike.
  5. RD Billy Constantinou, OHL. Chaos blue made my list last year, worth a late flier.
  6. G Sam Hlavaj, QMJHL. Boasts a .915 save percentage and stands 6.04, 218.
  7. LD Zack Uens, Hockey-East. Prototype for modern NHL blue.
  8. RW Eric Engstrand, SuperElite. Big, fast, scores! Power winger.
  9. LW Gage Goncalves, WHL. Scoring winger added weight and blossomed.
  10. LD Dan Baker, WHL. Huge defender spiked, shutdown type.

I think any of these players is worth drafting, and in the case of the top four on the list, Edmonton would be wise to consider each as a strong option.


No. 1 Goalie: Mikko Koskinen. He has a cap hit of $4.5 million with two more years to go. SP last season was .917, that’s a solid number. The Oilers would love his cap to be $2.0 million but that’s not the case and this isn’t the hill to die on this offseason.

No. 2 Goalie: Not yet known, and this player could be the starter. All kinds of rumours involving Edmonton and Arizona. Stay tuned.

LHD: Oscar Klefbom. He has a $4.167 million contract, three more years, it’s a terrific value deal. He played in 62 games last season, 5-29-34.

LHD Darnell Nurse. Begins a two-year, $5.6 million deal in 2020-21, he had a solid year as a top-4D last season while partnered with Ethan Bear. Scored 5-28-33 in 71 games in 2019-20.

LHD Caleb Jones. He posted 4-5-9 in 43 games, outplayed veteran Russell down the stretch. The question now: Can he play top-4D this year, or next? It’s important because a trade of Klefbom or Nurse this summer will thrust Jones into an important roster role early in his career.

LHD Uncertain. This spot currently belongs to Kris Russell, and things may break this way in the offseason, allowing the Oilers to trade him at the deadline. Ken Holland can deal Russell, get some cap room and place William Lagesson in a position to win the 7D job in training camp. That seems a reasonable idea.

RHD Adam Larsson. I was flummoxed by the trade that brought him here, and now four years later am arguing to keep him. Plays the tough minutes (via Puck IQ) and doesn’t deliver a bunch of offense (49, 1-5-6) but at $4,166,666 entering his final year he is a valuable piece of the team.

RHD Ethan Bear is RFA and likely to get squeezed in his next contract. If his 2019-20 season (71, 5-16-21) is an indication of his career trajectory, Bear is going to be a wealthy man and soon.

RHD Matt Benning is also RFA and may be looking at a cut in salary with the flat cap of 2020 summer. He is rock solid as a third pairing blue, he posted 1-7-8 in 43 games. Like Russell, he is vulnerable. Evan Bouchard is pushing for his job.

LC Connor McDavid posted 64, 34-63-97 totals in a season where he worked hard to make opening night and wasn’t always at ‘Spinal Tap 11’ through no fault of his own. McDavid is impatient for success, that will drive him in the coming season. He’s a $12.5 million cap hit with six more years to go.

LC Leon Draisaitl had a Hart Trophy season (71, 43-67-110) and has now established himself as an impact player in his own right. His cap hit is $8.5 million and there are five seasons to go. Draisaitl down the stretch with Nuge and Yamamoto was a murderer’s row of some distinction. Oilers fans can be heard grumbling even now because coach Dave Tippett split the trio for the Chicago Blackhawks series.

No. 3 C Uncertain. I don’t know who they’re going to acquire, this is a tough nut to crack.

LC Jujhar Khaira. He is an excellent penalty killer and found the range at center late in the season. He is vulnerable to trade in the coming weeks, but he’ll have a job if he makes it to training camp with Edmonton. His contract is $1.2 million, this is his final year of the deal and he’ll be RFA for a final time in 2021 summer.

RC Gaetan Haas who owns a $915,000 contract and some interesting stats after his first NHL season. There’s a player here, an unusual one, he’s kind of a Craig MacTavish special. He scored 5-5-10 in 58 games, I think he could double those totals. Seriously. He could also spend most of the year in the pressbox.

LW Ryan Nugent-Hopkins is in the final season of his contract that pays him $6 million per season. He posted 65, 22-39-61 totals, most of that in the second half on the all-world line with Draisaitl and Yamamoto. On the day the Oilers re-sign him, Edmonton will be well pleased.

LW Andreas Athanasiou is an RFA and is one of the main stories of the offseason. Will Holland sign him? How much and how long? Frank Seravalli mentioned a trade possibility yesterday. He made $3 million last season and scored 11-15-26 in 55 games for two teams.

LW James Neal is in the middle of a contract that pays him $5.75 million for the next three seasons. He scored 19-12-31 in 55 games last season, including 12 on the power play. His PP goals per 60 (4.55) ranked second to Evander Kane among NHL forwards with 100 or more minutes with the man advantage. Jonathan Willis wrote a fascinating article on him for The Athletic (link here) this morning.

LW Joakim Nygard is a burner who showed well before injuries derailed him a year ago. The contract ($875,000) and the numbers (33, 3-6-9) are not indicative of his potential imo. He could be a big surprise, has enough skill to play with the big boys.

RW Zack Kassian begins a new contract ($3.2 million times four) this year, he posted most of his boxcars (59, 15-19-34) in the first half of the season and badly needs to be productive and in the lineup all year to justify the contract. He finished the first half of the 2019-20 season 39, 13-14-27. Can he double that up?

RW Kailer Yamamoto was a revelation when recalled by Edmonton. His numbers in less than a half season (27, 11-15-26) were exceptional, and it’s unfair to expect a point-per-game pace. If he stays healthy and hits 50 points, Oilers fans should be pleased.

RW Josh Archibald (62, 12-9-21) delivered a dozen goals playing mostly on the checking line, and that’s good. While he was on the ice at five on five, the Oilers were outscored 19-36, and that’s bad. Need to clean it up, he has a new two-year deal for $1.5 million.

RW Alex Chiasson scored 65, 11-13-24 in 2019-20, those are good totals. Edmonton outscored opponents 21-19 at five on five when he was on the ice, also good. He will be paid $2.15 million this season and then hit free agency. Productive player.

RW Patrick Russell just signed a new $700,000 deal and represents the final roster spot currently. Oilers were outscored 9-20 when he was on the ice at five on five, and he didn’t contribute much offensively. His role on the team is day-to-day and he could see some AHL time.


At 10 this morning, we hit the ground running on the Lowdown. At 10:20, my guest will be Scott Wheeler from The Athletic, we’ll talk 2020 draft and movement late on the big board, plus some 2021 chat. Tomer Azarly from Clutch Points will talk LA Clippers on the morning of Game 7 against the Denver Nuggets. I’ll also chat with Dr. Randy Gregg, the former Oilers defenseman who is part of a major announcement this morning pertaining to Re/Max Field and what you’ll see there next summer. 10-1260 text, @Lowetide on twitter.

We’ll also have the $20,000 Mystery Moment at 10:15, your chance to win cash with that sports knowledge of yours. We’re at $1,800! Text in at 10-1260 with the secret word (I’ll give it to you at about 10:12 on TSN1260), then we’ll call you, play a clip from a famous sports moment and ask you for a detailed answer.

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206 Responses to "The Overagers"

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  1. jp says:

    Harpers Hair: That’s nice.

    How many SH goals did Paul Coffey score?

    20. 2nd all time.

    He also holds the record for most in a single season.


  2. jp says:

    Harpers Hair: Oh, I expect they will tender him a fair offer but we’ll see what that is in the current climate.

    The rest of your post is just nonsense.

    Hughes and Tanev were almost always a pair all season.

    Hughes take the PP minutes while Tanev takes the PK.

    Pretty much an ideal situation for a 20 year old.

    Would you do it differently just to prove a point?

    You said earlier that $6M is market value for good 2nd pairing D. We agree Tanev is a good 2nd pairing D.

    And on Hughes/Tanev, of course I’d shelter Hughes and put him with a strong partner. It is an ideal situation for Hughes, agreed. I just wouldn’t call him a #1D.

  3. jp says:

    Rich M:
    Am very late to this party but want to add a little smoke to Godot’s fire.

    Hearing from people who know that Holland has kicked tires on Neal for Turris (I live in Nashville and the people I’m hearing are pretty well connected).Not saying it will happen, but there has been tire kicking.

    What you may not know is Neal and Johansen are good friends and there is some feeling that Johansen has missed Neal more than anyone (even though they didn’t play on the same line).So nothing would surprise me.

    Godot is bang on that Turris is a 3C at this point.He was used on the PK by Hynes who upped his minutes before the season ground to a halt to try and get him re-started.According to Woodmoney, he’s not good against elites but as a 3C, he can cover the bet.

    His best season (points) after coming over from Ottawa was the first year when Laviolette gave him incredible zone starts (66% offensive zone) that helped his offense when he played between 2 x 20 goal scorers (Fiala and Smith).A poor playoff vs. Winnipeg and injuries/coming back to soon the following season soured the coach on him.

    Again, not saying it will happen, but worth considering.Two bad contracts are moved.Would be very, very surprised if Nashville bought him out because of the finances involved.They aren’t a floor team, but are being hurt by not having fans in the building (or concerts since they get all that revenue too) and are watching expenses.

    This is great info, whatever ends up happening. Thanks.

  4. flyfish1168 says:

    Harpers Hair: That’s nice.

    How many SH goals did Paul Coffey score?

    Paul Coffey is the NHLL all-time leader in shorthanded goals at 9.

  5. Ryan says:


    jp: You said earlier that $6M is market value for good 2nd pairing D. We agree Tanev is a good 2nd pairing D.

    And on Hughes/Tanev, of course I’d shelter Hughes and put him with a strong partner. It is an ideal situation for Hughes, agreed. I just wouldn’t call him a #1D.


    Not pulling any punches today, lol?

  6. flyfish1168 says:

    Harpers Hair: That’s nice.

    How many SH goals did Paul Coffey score?

    Harpers Hair: That’s nice.

    How many SH goals did Paul Coffey score?

    My mistake that was one season. Mark Howe all-time leader at 28 and Coffey was at 20 all time

    Paul Coffey is the NHLL all-time leader in shorthanded goals at 9.

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