A year ago on this blog, I published a NHL equivalency chart that identified the top forwards in the draft, and suggested that the Oilers badly needed at least one name from that list added to their own depth chart. How did it go? And will one be enough this year?
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.
- New Lowetide: Oilers’ defence prospects are pushing, and changes are coming
- Lowetide: A reasonable trade price for the Oilers to pay in pursuit of OEL
- Jonathan Willis: Could it make sense for the Oilers to trade Oscar Klefbom?
- Lowetide: Why Oilers’ Leon Draisaitl won the Hart Trophy and Ted Lindsay Award
- Daniel Nugent-Bowman: Breaking down my ballot for the 2019-20 NHL awards
- Lowetide: Rising talent, acquiring picks key to Oilers’ success at draft
- Lowetide: European leagues are open, and Oilers prospects are everywhere
- Lowetide: Ken Holland and Dave Tippett’s past players: Can any help the Oilers?
- Lowetide: Roster projections for Oilers, including trade and free agent targets
- Jonathan Willis: Why the Oilers should buy out James Neal
- Lowetide: Oilers approach 2020 draft with increased depth in important positions
- Lowetide: Stock Watch: Hot starts and safe landings for Oilers prospects
- Jonathan Willis: There are no good shortcuts for the Oilers with Jesse Puljujarvi
- Lowetide: Potential trades and partners for the Oilers’ offseason
- Lowetide: The Oilers could find a world-class agitator in the draft
- Daniel Nugent-Bowman: Should the Oilers select goalie Yaroslav Askarov 14th at the NHL Draft?
- Lowetide: A bold draft strategy for the Oilers in 2020
- Jonathan Willis: Oilers third-line centre search should include other teams’ cap casualties
- Lowetide: Dealing a defenceman? Taking stock of Oilers’ blueline assets
- Daniel Nugent-Bowman: Q&A: Oilers GM Ken Holland on improving internally, the flat cap and goaltending
- Jonathan Willis: Can the Oilers find value picks among the 2020 NHL Draft’s impressive Russians?
- Lowetide: 10 free agent targets for the Oilers this offseason
- Lowetide: What if the Oilers went scorched earth in front of 2020 free agency?
- Lowetide: Oilers Top 20 Prospects, Summer 2020
- Jonathan Willis: Unqualified RFAs could be top offseason targets for the Oilers
- Daniel Nugent-Bowman: Who stays? Who goes? The most likely players to stay with and leave the Oilers
NHL EQUIVALENCIES, FIRST ROUND FORWARDS 2019
These are 15 forwards who made my first round list a year ago and posted over 20 points NHLE. Some of the European forwards (like Vasili Podkolzin) didn’t make the list, but those names were clearly bona fide as well. Oilers drafted one name from the list, Lavoie, and could have had two but drafted Broberg instead. That decision looks better now than it did one year ago.
NHL EQUIVALENCIES, FIRST ROUND FORWARDS 2020
The best plan of action is to draft skill with every pick. In the case of forwards, NHLE is a quick and easy way to look at a large group of players to see who delivered the most offense. Again, some European kids aren’t on this list (notably Lucas Raymond and Rodion Amirov) but are clearly in the conversation.
The Oilers might be able to draft Jarvis from this list (the two Swedish wingers will go before him) but I think Quinn could be more likely. Could Holland trade into the early part of the second round and grab Mysak? LAK got Turcotte, Kaliyev and Fagemo one year ago. That’s the kind of draft Edmonton needs.
Of course, it doesn’t stop there. My 2020 draft list is a full boat of forwards who have delivered enough offensively to project as possible top-six players should they continue to develop. If you look at the Oilers current pipeline, there are very few names who qualify:
- Jesse Puljujarvi 35. 1
- Raphael Lavoie 34.7
- Tyler Benson 30.5
- Evan Bouchard 26.6
Signing Puljujarvi would give Edmonton three (all but Lavoie) candidates to make the Oilers. Should that happen, should all three emerge this season as NHL players, the pipeline would be Lavoie and McLeod, who looks a little shy offensively. After that, you’re waiting on names like Kirill Maksimov and Maxim Denezhkin. Cupboard’s bare.
Benson is in a very good spot today, I wonder if the trades and signings will have him in the same position when the dust settles. Currently, with Joakim Nygard gone for 4-6 weeks due to another surgery, the LW depth chart (signed) is Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, James Neal, Tyler Benson and Joe Gambardella. Things could change, RFA Andreas Athanasiou could be signed and Tyler Ennis might return. Jake DeBrusk would have a major impact on the depth chart.
I believe Benson would be applying for a third or fourth line job in Edmonton for 2020-21, meaning Neal, Gambardella and (when he returns) Joakim Nygard will be his competition. Benson isn’t applying for the same job DeBrusk would fill.
We’ve discussed DeBrusk at length (Frank was on the Lowdown Friday) as a possible option, I think the price would be Klefbom. So, if you’re dealing Klefbom, does that mean OEL is coming here? For the first-round pick and other items? Defense might be OEL-Larsson, Nurse-Bear, Jones-Bouchard. I think Matt Benning will be in a new town.
There’s just $3 million in cap room, but dealing Kris Russell and Matt Benning will free up about $6 million (and their replacements might cost less than $2 million). Money is tight, I wonder if Zack Kassian or Alex Chiasson find new homes.
LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE
A busy Monday and we’re now on trade watch so tune in as it happens. At 10 this morning, TSN 1260, we face the work week head on. At 10:20, Geoff Ullrich from Draft Kings breaks down a fascinating NFL weekend and at 11:05 Jason Gregor from TSN1260 talks Stanley Cup Final and the wave of trade activity anticipated in the coming NHL offseason. 10-1260 text, @Lowetide on twitter. See you on the radio!