Trade winds blowing in the days before a draft are an annual rite of summer in Edmonton, so seeing those same winds in September (soon to be October) should come as no surprise. This year’s rumours are a ton of fun. Just like 2013.
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: Ken Holland’s work week: Get good players, keep good players
- Lowetide: Who will be available if the Oilers pick at No. 14?
- 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
DRAFT WEEK 2013
The following appeared on this blog in the days leading up to the 2013 draft.
(Friday) Apparently the Oilers are in on every possible transaction. One gets the feeling it could be an active night. Picks and prospects and lord knows what else heading out, actual NHL players coming in. AND a goalie?
The Oilers off-season moves so far (firing Steve Tambellini, MacT installed as GM, Eakins new head coach, Keith Acton added to the coaching staff, signing Anton Belov, saying goodbye to Tambellini’s free agents) should have several additions by this time Monday afternoon.
Rumors have the Oilers heavily involved in conversations over Braydon Coburn, Cory Schneider and Cal Clutterbuck. These could be the final hours for Shawn Horcoff as an Oiler, for Ales Hemsky too although reports suggest that’s unlikely this weekend. The Gagner contract progresses, no one mentions the young speed demon Paajarvi.
(Saturday) Frankly, I have no idea of what we can expect today. Simply put, the events of yesterday suggest that Craig MacTavish is going to upgrade goaltending first, and then look to defense and center. This goaltending position was mentioned in ‘the list’ but most Oiler fans felt it was a secondary task for this summer.
Cory Schneider will come at a dear price today, and he’s two years from unrestricted free agency. That means Craig MacTavish must be putting exceptional value on these next two years, and that of course means Coburn and Clutterbuck (should they become Oilers) will no doubt be joined by centermen and wingmen and possibly defensemen. I think we can assume Devan Dubnyk will be in the out basket in due course and maybe that happens today. Other names who could be with other teams today are Shawn Horcoff, Ales Hemsky, Nick Schultz and Magnus Paajarvi. I don’t believe Sam Gagner is going to be dealt based on all we’ve heard, but I’ll include him here just in case.
Craig MacTavish said 8 or 9 roster spots could change. He was clear on Dubnyk, he was clear on Hemsky and Horcoff and Khabibulin and Peckham and Belanger and and and. Why then is it such a surprise to see Corey Schneider as the key piece to the puzzle?
I don’t like the deal. I think it lacks clarity based on the holes in the roster and it improves a position that is league average to maybe a little better, while the defense remains a mess and the center position terribly weak with Horcoff and Belanger about to make it weaker. I vow to wait until we see the full picture, but as it stands this trade (depending on assets sent) looks like a considerable overpay. Two seasons of a very good NHL goalie who lacks a long resume? The window is suddenly and unnecessarily shortened to two seasons.
Based on the rumors, picks #7, #37 and #56 may be off the board. If that happens, the Oilers would pick #128, #158 and #188. I’ll cover the draft stories all day today, but the afternoon session may be more about trades than picks. Edmonton’s lowest number of draft picks in one year is five (2006) when they drafted #45, #75, #133, #140 and #170. It’s kind of incredible that they found Jeff Petry and Theo Peckham that year.
HARVEST MOON 2013
#7 overall D Darnell Nurse (SS Marie, OHL) 68, 12-29-41. NHLE 4-11-15. I had him ranked No. 2 among OHL players and No. 9 overall. I count this as a risk averse selection, and McKenzie (#9) and Pronman (#11) agree. I think he’s going to be a good NHL player, making his living with EV and PK minutes.
#56 overall C Marc Olivier-Roy (Blainville-Boisbriand, QMJHL) 65, 29-38-67. NHLE 10-15-25. Offensive talent, fast skater, creative and an expert passer. Outstanding on the backcheck and has a strong 2-way reputation at this early age. Undersized (6.0, 180) but he’s an attractive center and a quality prospect. Enjoyed a terrific playoff (9, 5-11-16) and was 74, 34-49-83 overall this season. McKenzie (#59) plus Pronman (#70) had him in the range.
#83 overall C Bogdan Yakimov (Nizhnekamsk Russian Jr). 11, 6-7-13. Huge C (6.05. 200) described by one scouting service as “a thickly constructed specimen” which immediately makes me think of the Russian tank Andrei Kovalenko. Strong along the wall and effective at puck retrieval. Isn’t a finesse player. Pronman ranks him #73 (again in the range) and Kent Wilson suggests he’s ranked amidst a group of similar “power forward” prospects like John Hayden, Avery Peterson and Nick Moutrey among others.
#88 overall L Anton Slepyshev (UFA, KHL) 11, 4-2-6. NHLE 18-6-24. The most talented player taken in the draft today by the Oilers, Slepyshev is a brilliant hockey player. Pronman has him #45, meaning he’s an exceptional value selection. Pronman: He is an above-average skater, with agility and free movement, as his shiftiness makes him hard to check. He has a plus shot and he knows it, as his mentality is often shoot-first, even from distance. His physical game has progressed, and he has added strength since last season. He can protect pucks moderately well.
#94 overall R Jackson Houck (Vancouver, WHL). 69, 23-34-57. NHLE 8-12-20. Physical winger with good skills, footspeed is going to be his issue and he’s not a big prospect (6.0, 186). His father Paul was drafted by the Oilers in 1981. Houck sounds like a “tweener”, a modern Phil Cornet, but that’s on his draft day and there’s some range of skills here. Pronman has him #91, again in the range.
#96 overall C Kyle Platzer (London, OHL) 65, 5-17-22. NHLE 2-6-8. I had a hard time figuring this player out early on, his numbers are nothing much and he’s no Coke machine. Then I found this from Redline: Skating under the radar because of the embarrassment of riches in the two-time OHL champion London Knights. Although just 5-foot-11 and 185 pounds, Platzer plays with energy and grit, embraces physical contact and doesn’t shy away from the greasy spots in the offensive zone. Platzer lacks elite upside at the NHL level, but is one of those character players who never stops moving his feet and competing.
#113th overall L Aidan Muir (Victoria Honda Midget) 37, 17-23-40. A project and a reach. Western College Hockey: He’s a decent skater for his size, though there is still some room for improvement. With his frame, there’s also the potential to add a little more strength. His biggest attribute is his grit and toughness in the dirty areas of the ice along the boards and in front of the net, and that he has the hands to make plays in tight spaces.
#128 overall L Evan Campbell (Langley, BCJHL). 51, 20-46-66 NHLE 5-10-15. 20 years old, 6.01, 175 and headed to U. Mass Lowell this fall or next. Definitely a reach pick.
#158 overall D Ben Betker (Everett, WHL). 61, 1-5-6 NHLE 0-2-2. Cody Nickolet says he’s a big, rangy physical defenseman. Needs to work on footspeed.
#188 overall C Greg Chase (Calgary, WHL). 69, 17-32-49. NHLE 6-11-17. Outstanding value pick, Pronman has him at #99. Pronman: Scouts praise his offensive mind and vision. He can slow the game down when he has the puck, hit targets through small lanes, and move the puck quickly when need be. He also has good hands, and when he is on, his offensive upside is apparent.
The 2013 lead up to the draft reminds me very much of the current conditions. For those who don’t recall, Edmonton was contemplating Darnell Nurse and Valeri Nichushkin at the draft, but were also interested in trading for Cory Schneider from the Vancouver Canucks.
This morning, I think Oilers fans should be prepared for the 2020 draft to go off as projected (Nos. 14, 76, 138, 169, 200).
I also believe there’s a chance Edmonton drafts No. 76, 138, 169 and 200.
There’s a lot going on. Names that have been mentioned that included Edmonton in the last 24 hours are OEL and goalie Petr Mrazek have been tied to the Oilers. That would leave No. 3 center and scoring winger to address over the rest of the offseason.
I have just 22 names here, Holland would need to move Russell in order to get to a 23-man roster. I wouldn’t read too much into names that are missing, this was working the money more than the personnel. I’m not sure how you improve the forwards from here.
LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE
A busy morning with breaking news seemingly just around the corner. We hit the airwaves at 10 and roll to noon with the sun shining and the city warming up on another lovely fall day.
Bruce McCurdy from the Cult of Hockey will discuss the Lightning Stanley Cup victory and the Oilers path forward.
Grant McCagg from Recrutes.ca will pop by to talk 2020 draft and his fascinating list.
Joe Osborne from OddsSharks will get us ready for the NBA Finals and the MLB playoffs.
10-1260 text, @Lowetide on twitter. See you on the radio.