Harvest Moon 2020

by Lowetide

There’s been a rabbit in my backyard every year since I moved to this house, and that’s 22 years. Sometimes there are four or five. My neighbour loves when they show up. The rabbits know they’re welcome here, it’s one of their spots in this area. I’m cool with it. Ziggy can see them from the deck and barks, but on the grass she can smell them but rarely sees them. It’s an unusual relationship but it works for all involved.

I have talked to a rabbit (either 22 different ones or one rabbit 22 times) about the NHL draft every year I’ve lived here. This year, we spoke Tuesday afternoon, I expressed some trepidation about how things might go with the Detroit wheels in charge.

The rabbit, as it has done 22 times (or 22 rabbits once), listened quietly from its comfortable spot by the fence. The rabbit doesn’t say much, but like all good friends gives me the gift of his time and listens intently. Every year, without fail, the rabbit guides me to the lesson of the draft year.

This year’s lesson: Get over myself. I control nothing, just like that rabbit. I’m worried about the town team making a bad pick, this rabbit has to be aware of every damn dog or coyote in Christendom, or a kid on a bicycle or a CAR!

The rabbit was telling me to enjoy the good times, chew on some grass and find a warm spot near the fence, because there isn’t one damn thing I can do about the Oilers 2020 draft. That’s one smart rabbit.

THE ATHLETIC!

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.

LOWETIDE’S PROJECTED PICKS

No. 14 overall: RC Seth Jarvis, Portland Winterhawks (WHL). 

No. 76 overall: LW Daniel Gushchin, Muskegon Lumberjacks (USHL). 

No. 135 overall: RW Zayde Wisdom, Kingston Frontenacs (OHL).

No. 169 overall: G Devon Levi, Carleton Place Canadians (CCHL).

No. 200 overall: LD Peetro Seppälä (Liiga) 

HARVEST MOON 2020

No. 14 overall: LC Dylan Holloway, Wisconsin (Big-10). NHLE: 13.3. There is an AJHL NHLE but I never use it, Holloway’s 16-year old season in that league had an equivalency of 20.4 using outlawed math. I think Edmonton drafted a complementary left winger for the McDavid line or a solid checking center for the No. 3 line. His NHLE says checker, but his splits in Wisconsin suggest he was spiking as the season ended: 5-4-9 in his last 10 games, with 31 shots on goal. I’ll guess he will do both throughout his Oilers career, kind of a hybrid. Red Line says he grinds and wins battles. Let’s revisit in five years.

No. 100 overall: LW Carter Savoie, Sherwood Park Crusaders (AJHL) NHLE: 22.6. Don’t run with that NHLE for AJHL, besides his boxcars (54 games, 53-46-99) tell us he will have success in college and beyond offensively. His scouting report reminds me of a combination of Mike Comrie (enormous offensive gifts) and Rob Schremp (also gifted offensively, but Red Line called out his lack of effort in a very pointed manner ala Schremp in 2004). One thing he has Comrie and Schremp did not: Speed. Red Line calls it a “game-breaking top-gear” and that’s something that will get him many chances. January 2002, 5.09, 192.

No. 126 overall: RW Tyler Tullio, Oshawa Generals (OHL). NHLE: 28.2 I think there will be a temptation for Oilers fans to downplay this selection. He’s not a big player (5.09, 161) but he’s an April 2002 who scored more than a point per game in the world’s best junior league. I had him ahead of Savoie on my list on merit. He has great edges, makes subtle passes and sees plays developing early. He doesn’t have a great shot but he’s an intelligent skill forward. Red Line compares him in style with Paul Byron, an interesting wrinkle. If you think teams can’t get NHL players at pick No. 126, I’d remind you that Ethan Bear went No. 124 in 2015.

No. 138 overall: LW Maxim Berezkin, Lokomotiv (KHL). NHLE: 15.6. He’s 6.02, 201, shoots right and is an October 2001. He is a plus passer, has a great wrist shot and at least one scouting report I’ve read suggests he displays some elements of a defensive game. Speed is the issue, so I imagine a Russian Teemu Hartikainen in my mind’s eye. Just as Hartikainen was a great bet where he was chosen, so too is Berezkin. I like this pick.

No. 169 overall: RC Filip Engaras, New Hampshire (Hockey-East). NHLE: 19.3 He’s an interesting prospect but there are plenty of gaps in the scouting report. 6.0, 190, another righty shooter and he’s 21 (May 1999).

No. 200 overall: LW Jeremias Lindewall, MoDo Jrs (Swe). NHLE: 11.8. He’s 6.02, 183 and a January 2002. He has played in four games this season and is 4-4-8, that’s a very nice start.

Using my list, the one that values skill heavily, Tyler Wright lands a first-round pick, two seconds and a fourth. Honestly, that’s a rock solid draft, far better than anticipated based on recent work with the Detroit Red Wings. We’ll see, but there isn’t a name on this draft list that can be considered a wasted pick. I don’t know what to say. I don’t give letter grades, but this draft was exactly what the pipeline needed at the 2020 draft.

I haven’t thought much about where these men will land on the prospect list or where to put them on the depth chart. The earliest any player needs to be signed is 2022, and I expect both Holloway and Tullio turn pro at that time.

JESSE!

Oilers fans have a hard time giving credit to general managers they’re angry with (which is always), but I believe Ken Holland’s handling of a difficult situation regarding Jesse Puljujarvi should be universally acknowledged. There will be some uncomfortable moments, and coach Dave Tippett is going to have to insist on buy-in from the team’s leadership, but the benefit to both sides could be enormous. The Oilers without Puljujarvi finished in second, and maybe he comes here and helps. Even if there are middling results, this is the best path forward from an asset point of view.

Mikko Koivu would be a very good linemate, in my opinion. I know it’s old school, but a veteran to guide Puljujarvi and keep communication open may be vital to success. Could an Joakim Nygard-Mikko Koivu-Jesse Puljujarvi No. 3 line go?

CUTTING LOOSE AA AND BENNING

I would have bought out Neal to sign Athanasiou, but would have moved on from Benning in the next few months (Evan Bouchard is NHL-ready).

It’s fair to mark Holland’s deadline harshly, it did not work out. I believe some allowance has to be made for the change in cap ceiling that came after the deadline, but there was risk and it didn’t work out.

For me, the bigger picture is what will he do with the $5 million saved from this? There’s plenty of opportunity in free agency and trade in the coming days.

LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE

At 10 this morning on TSN 1260, we have a mountain of things to discuss and breaking news is imminent. Steve Kournianos from The Draft Anaylst reviews the Oilers draft (he had Holloway No. 14 and Tullio No. 40). Frank Seravalli from TSN pops in with the latest rumours of trades and free agency. It’s going to be lit! 10-1260 text, @Lowetide on twitter.

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JonyPro

The right wing is looking mighty crowded with mediocre talent. Only a couple of potential gems.

jimdewger

Wow Lowetide, thanks for the wisdom this morning. Now to find my warm spot near the fence today…

Mikko Koivu seems like a perfect target for Holland. He’d be a good mentor for JP, able to face hard minutes, and help Edmonton increase our Finnish content. After all, that is one of our non-negotiables for cup-winning teams.

Kinger_Oil.redux

– congrats on your coverage of the draft this year.

– it was a nice touch old-timey LT with the rabbit story. We all like these

– I never got the Pool wasn’t coming back to Edmonton or being told it was silly to have him in my roster projections. For sure Holland was going to sign him. The trade suggestions were awful. Either he signed with Edmonton or he wasn’t coming back to the NHL.

– We will see. I can think of a vet C from Finland leader that is looking for more employment that might fit. I think woodguy wrote up on him.

€√¥£€^$

No. 138 overall: LW Maxim Berezkin, Lokomotiv (KHL). NHLE: 15.6. He’s 6.02, 201,

Elite prospects lists him as 6’4″ 216 lbs

Louis Levasseur

I would imagine that managment (Holland and Tippett) would have had several in-depth discussions with McDavid and Draisaitl prior to re-engaging with Puljujarvi. I’m not necessarily saying McDavid and Draisaitl would have to give it their blessing to bring him back, but I’m saying that McDavid and Draisaitl would have to give it their blessing before bringing him back. Know what I’m sayin’?

who

There sure seemed to be a lot of angst among posters after the Holloway pick.
I don’t get it. What’s not to like? Big, thick kid, who is a plus skater, has good hands, a defensive conscience, and a non stop motor. Who wants that?
Is the concern completely due to his poor NHLE? That’s the only red flag I see.
Just another example of the perils of basing prospect evaluation solely on analytics. I’ve just seen a few highlights, but this kid has a lot of tools. If he has the work ethic and compete level that the scouting reports seem to indicate, he could be the perfect fit for the Oilers in 2 or 3 years.

I’ve seen the Savoie kid described as small a few times. He may be short, but 192 lbs as a 17 year old is a long way from small. Sounds like he’s built like a fire hydrant. The concerns seem to be speed (although LT just referenced him as fast), and work ethic. 4th round and lower is basically a crap shoot so I like the bet on his skills.

Litke 94

Nothing better than sipping coffee on an autumn morning and reading a bit of LT wisdom.

After reading about all of the draft picks, I might be most excited about Tullio. I read some Gallagher comparisons and I love Gallagher. Also a 5th rounder.

Todd Macallan

Always interesting to me about the discrepancies among varying scouting reports. I have seen several describing Savoie’s quickness as good but top speed as average and overwhelmingly they seem to list Tullio’s shot as a big plus, specifically his one timer, while acknowledging he is more often a skilled playmaker.

jonrmcleod

So the rabbit is the guy you argue with sometimes on this blog?

Ben

Suspect they go $7Mx8 for Markstrom, then try to downgrade from Koskinen, maybe retaining $1M and signing someone for $1.5M.

If they are able to flip Chiasson, Kassian, Russell for cap savings, you’d think today would be the day to do it….DO IT!

Ben

$7Mx7…where’s the danged edit button?

tsunami

any realistic chance Holland is going after Markström ?

tsunami

oopss, sorry Ben lol

digger50

Once Holloway gets some regular playing time I do think he will end up with an NHLE around 30 and this will allow everyone a sigh of relief.

There are enough positive arrows to suggest this.

stephenw24

One issue mentioned with the OHL restart on TSN is that the ontario government wants no body contact due to COVID. These are 16-20 year old athletes (likely strong immune systems
). Seems like a waste of resources to try to enforce this. Crazy times

Yeti

Thanks for everything, LT. No Finns in this draft but two Swedes… I can almost live with that.

Shane

Thanks for all the draft coverage LT and everyone!

It’s nice to see the Oilers shopping in the right aisles these last few years.

Now, to make some cap space for Taylor Hall… 😉

Brantford Boy

Litke 94: Nothing better than sipping coffee on an autumn morning and reading a bit of LT wisdom.

Here, here!

LT: “The rabbit doesn’t say much, but like all good friends gives me the gift of his time and listens intently.” Great stuff!

Perhaps one day I’ll share my Apples analogy with the group, which is usually told sipping whiskey to close friends. Let’s wait for that balance photo first and then we’ll talk.

Only thing about the draft which is a tad annoying is 2 years in a row our first selection has been pretty much telegraphed weeks prior to the draft. From 2010 to 2018 I was probably running 90% on our selections, in Holland’s tenure… zero.

hunter1909

Ever since Nurse’s revealing post-Chicago Kickout remarks with the MSM, I have found myself in full agreement with the rabbit.

For Example:

1 – These Oilers are never going to be the Gretzky dynasty.

2 – I repeat: These Oilers will never be anywhere like the Gretzky dynasty.

3 – These Oilers have learned how to flounder and blow in every way possible.

4 – These Oilers have excuses to get booted out of the playoffs for the next 2-3 seasons, so long as they manage to finish in the top 6 in their Conference. This means they simply need win their first round matchups, and fold lol

5 – Assuming this comes anywhere close to true, the Oilers will increase ticket prices and concessions, with their “financial advisers” nodding approvingly.

dustrock

Why do we want Markstrom? Wouldn’t it be better or at least arguably better to have MAF for 2 years at $3.5m as a known quantity that can then walk, rather than locking into Markstrom, who I think has flattered to deceive a bit. He’s 30. Isn’t this the type of long-term contract we want to avoid?

leadfarmer

No rabbits in my yard here
Got a well fed fox that takes care of them
My 20 wild turkeys are awful at math too

I’m shocked how many people hate the Holloway pick considering no one dropped. I was hoping Jarvis or Askarov. But Holloway has a lot of untapped potential

dustrock

Looking back over the draft, hard to argue with the first 4 picks.

I think all the guys I really wanted were gone at #14 and Oilers fans are scarred from years of Morozs and Jacqueseseses. We don’t have a player like Holloway on the team.

And I have to say, Savoie is your home run, “could he be Kucherov in 5 years” kind of pick, which is exactly what they should be doing after the 2nd round. Love that pick, you can’t teach skill.

Overall I think Pronman graded the OIlers a little harsh at a C grade for the draft, given Tullio and Savoie were both ranked much, much higher than when we got them.

LadiesloveSmid

LT,

Your draft coverage is one of my favourite holidays. Thank you.

I think my rabbit is internal. He is the devil’s advocate to my overreactions & it usually takes him a day to win me over.

tavvey tune

I wonder if Leon puts in a good word for his buddy, Dominik Kahun, who was not qualified. His boxcars look good but the train hasn’t stayed in one town for long. Defense issues?

LadiesloveSmid

stephenw24:
One issue mentioned with the OHL restart on TSN is that the ontario government wants no body contact due to COVID.These are 16-20 year old athletes (likely strong immune systems
).Seems like a waste of resources to try to enforce this.Crazy times

The worry is spreading to each other’s billet families & beyond. Imagine if a player lives with an immuno-compromised family member.

jp

Thanks for the draft coverage LT!

I share the concern about Holloway’s offense but looking more at the scouting/video it’s not hard to see why folks believe in him. The physical tools are very likely to make him a useful NHLer in some capacity and if that AJHL offense translates he could be a heck of a player.

All of Savoie, Tullio and Berezkin look like great skill picks who’ve got a chance to make it from the mid/late-rounds.

Really nice to see Puljujarvi signed.

And very excited to see what Holland can do with the bit of money he freed up letting AA/Benning walk. Free agency tomorrow, crazy!

Silver Streak

who:
There sure seemed to be a lot of angst among posters after the Holloway pick.
I don’t get it. What’s not to like? Big, thick kid, who is a plus skater, has good hands, a defensive conscience, and a non stop motor. Who wants that?
Is the concern completely due to his poor NHLE? That’s the only red flag I see.
Just another example of the perils of basing prospect evaluation solely on analytics. I’ve just seen a few highlights, but this kid has a lot of tools. If he has the work ethic and compete level that the scouting reports seem to indicate, he could be the perfect fit for the Oilers in 2 or 3 years.

I’ve seen the Savoie kid described as small a few times. He may be short, but 192 lbs as a 17 year old is a long way from small. Sounds like he’s built like a fire hydrant. The concerns seem to be speed (although LT just referenced him as fast), and work ethic. 4th round and lower is basically a crap shoot so I like the bet on his skills.

My thoughts exactly on both players….When I watched Holloway on video I see a younger Kirby Dach and we know what he did against us in August.

Coffeys_Messy_eh

All the Markström talk has me concerned, especially the numbers I’ve seen referenced here and elsewhere. Surely he’s not coming in anywhere above the Lehner line? *Especially* if it’s a silly term like 6 or 7 years? With a flat cap? Am I way off base here? I like the player but an overpay at goalie is more crippling than an overpay elsewhere, especially if the goalie is, as is their tendency, voodoo.

Litke 94

The Markstrom noise continues to get louder, and I am thinking we do see a long term contract with him announced tomorrow.

I wouldn’t love the bet, especially anything over 4 or 5 years, which he will undoubtedly get.

His numbers are virtually identical to Koskinen last year, albeit with 5 more starts. Prior to last year, Markstrom does have more of a consistent track record (~2.70 GAA for 5 straight seasons, ~.912 SV%), but is it enough to lock in at a long term? I dunno.

Maybe the bet is, Markstrom will likely give you consistent, starting goalie performance for the next 3-4 years. You don’t have to worry about this every off season for that period of time, which will be key as you are hopefully starting to make runs at Conference Championships and even the Cup. After or during that period of time, the hope is that one of your goalie prospects, hopefully Konovalov, starts to eat up some games and eventually emerges as your starter on a cheaper contract. With that future starter making non-starter money because of ELCC or however that is going to work, then Markstrom’s contract stings a bit less.

Still seems risky to me.

Ryan

Really like Dom’s “player cards” with the visuals and the projected GSVA.

It would be great if these were accessible outside of just his articles.

Lowetide, so tell Dom, he needs to a make a website yesterday, for free, and update it regularly, and turn down all offers of NHL team employment indefinitely. okay?

🙂

Good article at the Athletic on the RFA’s who weren’t tendered qualifying offers.

alberta bound edmonton

Thanks LT for the great draft coverage as always. Holland said he had pre-draft conversations about trading down from 14 but got no calls before the pick. I think if Askarov was still there at 14 Holland would have received a call or two from other GMs. As it stands this was not a bad draft given the limited number of picks Holland had in play

GB&Q

Who knew rabbits were so sage-like? Clearly they offer more than just questionable cereal recommendations to gullible children!

Lots of hoppers in my neighbourhood, too. So, if i see one, should i make a wish?

I wish for… Koivu. Kahun. Cousins. Korpisalo.

(THERE… WERE… FOUR… RABBITS…)

jp

Coffeys_Messy_eh:
All the Markström talk has me concerned, especially the numbers I’ve seen referenced here and elsewhere.Surely he’s not coming in anywhere above the Lehner line?*Especially* if it’s a silly term like 6 or 7 years? With a flat cap?Am I way off base here?I like the player but an overpay at goalie is more crippling than an overpay elsewhere, especially if the goalie is, as is their tendency, voodoo.

Not sure what a fair number is for Markstrom but Lehner signed a sweet deal. I’m not sure we can hold other teams/goalies to that standard.

As LITKE 94 mentioned above, Markstrom has been extremely consistent. A better than .910 SV% in each of the past 5 seasons. The full list of NHL goalies who’ve had .910 or better 5 of the last 5 years: Grubauer, Rask, Vasilevskiy and Markstrom.

leadfarmer

Markstrom was a top 5 goalie in NHL last year and just like Hellebyuck was the only reason his team made the playin
But it’s definitely the best year in his career and he’s cashing in on free agency
But you can tell they don’t trust Koskinen

Kinger_Oil.redux

– I don’t know if its a good thing or not, but the team did the three things I said they ought to do:

1) Draft older players, closer to being ready, as their development has been stunted: Hi Halloway

2) As a result of this lack of development: focus on guys who know where they are playing for the future, and/or played complete seasons last year:: the top two playing US college, the rest in Europe/Russia. Only Tullio in OHL is a question for what he does next year

3) Trade down to get more draft picks, because this year, with many players who haven’t had hockey since March of 2019, or been scouted live, who knows what they are

– So conceptually, this strategy makes sense. Who knows what happens in 5 years to this cohort, but it was neat to seem them do what I said I would have done: they did draft differently in light of the situation IMO

John Chambers

Markstrom?

Bah! Why would we want a Vezina nominee in his prime?

leadfarmer

Looks like a lot of guys are going to be available for us to try at 3c
Which one do we like?
Koivu is done and lost a big step
Do we try Turris who was 0.5 ppg and just turned 31?
Wennberg may be a decent reclamation project

Harpers Hair

leadfarmer:
Looks like a lot of guys are going to be available for us to try at 3c
Which one do we like?
Koivu is done and lost a big step
Do we try Turris who was 0.5 ppg and just turned 31?
Wennberg may be a decent reclamation project

Nick Cousins wasn’t qualified by Vegas.

Might be a good bet.

Darth Tu

I’m a bit sad we missed the chance to grab Askarov or Jarvis, but Holloway is a solid bet.

The rest of the draft it seemed like we had a plan and stuck to the best player available on our list, I can appreciate that. Picking forwards every step of the way is an interesting game plan, but is sorely needed for the pipeline, also good for the goalies we still have in the system, shows that we have faith in them developing. It also hopefully means there’s less chance of us moving Samorukov or Lagesson on early.

So Tullio trains with Kassian every summer eh? Supposedly is with him nearly 24/7.

tavvey tune

dustrock:
Why do we want Markstrom?Wouldn’t it be better or at least arguably better to have MAF for 2 years at $3.5m as a known quantity that can then walk, rather than locking into Markstrom, who I think has flattered to deceive a bit.He’s 30.Isn’t this the type of long-term contract we want to avoid?

I share your trepidation over Markstrom. He’s only ever had one year where his save percentage was better than Mikko’s .917, and that was this year’s .918.
I’m afraid we’ll give him a big contract and then everyone will go “damn, he’s not perfect either”. This is the year we can get decent value for a 1B so let’s not blow the budget to marginally improve one position when there are others that need addressing. Mikko is slightly above average, with gusts to excellent, as long as the 1B can be counted on to play 35-40 games. I don’t think we need to overpay for that when there’s 20 goalies and 10 chairs.

Harpers Hair

Elite Prospects grades the draft for all 31 teams in this long read.

https://www.eprinkside.com/2020/10/8/grading-every-teams-performance-at-the-2020-nhl-entry-draft

jake70

“It was a day”

Have to ask LT, is this an easter egg from K and Joi exchanges in Blade Runner 2049??

Primetime

who:

I’ve seen the Savoie kid described as small a few times. He may be short, but 192 lbs as a 17 year old is a long way from small. Sounds like he’s built like a fire hydrant. The concerns seem to be speed (although LT just referenced him as fast), and work ethic. 4th round and lower is basically a crap shoot so I like the bet on his skills.

I think reality is that 192lbs is not all muscle….built more like the Pilsbury dough boy than a fire hydrant. However, multiple people (including Stauffer repeatedly) said that he heard he has re-dedicated himself in the gym this off season to try and change the body composition of that 192 lbs to something more resembling an elite athlete….

tavvey tune

Primetime: I think reality is that 192lbs is not all muscle….built more like the Pilsbury dough boy than a fire hydrant.However, multiple people (including Stauffer repeatedly) said that he heard he has re-dedicated himself in the gym this off season to try and change the body composition of that 192 lbs to something more resembling an elite athlete….

LOL
When I watched his interview I was thinking Phil Kessel.

jonrmcleod

Harpers Hair,

Based on the reputation of the one sharing this link, I’m guessing they give the Oilers draft a poor grade.

leadfarmer

If we have a 60 game season with no fans and a normal playoff with no fans
How long will it take for the players to pay back the owners?
Probably first time ever players like escrow

€√¥£€^$

tavvey tune:
I wonder if Leon puts in a good word for his buddy, Dominik Kahun, who was not qualified.His boxcars look good but the train hasn’t stayed in one town for long.Defense issues?

Looks like defensive issues, but he scores very well.

Might be a lack of strength issue/gets muscled off the puck, etc, but haven’t watched him closely.

Ryan

Kinger_Oil.redux,

I had correctly predicted that Holland would walk AA and Benning, but I don’t feel any particular satisfaction about it.

As for AA, I don’t know how Dom calculates, “play driving defense” but he was in the second percentile for that metric (with Anthony Duclair). I would like to learn more how Dom calculates that.

AA’s game score value add projections (GSVA) over the next few years are:

0.5, 0.4, 0.3, 0.2, and 0.0

That compares to Antony Duclair

1.1, 1.0, 0.9, 0.8, and 0.6

I wonder if Nick Cousins is on the Woodguy 3c radar?

He has 0.7, 0.5, 0.4, 0.3, and 0.1

Dom states “One win of value can move the needle in a team’s middle six.”

I’d read more about how he calculates GSVA if they were more readily available.

Jaxon

What happened to Gogolev at #200?!?! When I logged off yesterday, NHL.com said that the Oilers picked Gogolev there. Now it says Lindewall?!? Strange. Did they actually pick him and then it was disallowed or something? Was he not eligible or something?