One of the best things about living in Edmonton is seeing the passion of the fan base up close and personal. Yesterday reminded me of the McDavid draft/Reinhart trade.
Why? Oilers fans were rockin’ the casbah when Tyson Barrie signed, walking on sunshine. When Mike Smith signed, the old rugged cross played across the miles. Edmonton loves the Oilers. If you’re the general manager, the fans are behind you, win or tie!
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 bring back Mike Smith for another year.
- New Lowetide: Oilers sign Tyson Barrie to a team-friendly deal.
- New Lowetide: Oilers sign Kyle Turris, Tyler Ennis in early hours of free agency.
- Lowetide: Ken Holland will need to be creative in free agency
- Lowetide: Jesse Puljujarvi signing overshadows a strong day for Oilers at draft
- Lowetide: Oilers draft Dylan Holloway on Day 1, with trades possible Wednesday
- Lisa Dillman: Dylan Holloway could be a ‘difference-maker’ for the Oilers
- Eric Duhatschek: Connor McDavid’s positive COVID-19 test stirs debate about the next NHL season
- Jonathan Willis: Oilers could benefit both now and in the future by adding a right-shot defender
- Lowetide: Ken Holland’s work week: Get good players, keep good players
- Lowetide: Oilers’ defence prospects are pushing, and changes are coming
- Lowetide: Potential trades and partners for the Oilers’ offseason
- 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
- Lowetide: Oilers Top 20 Prospects, Summer 2020
50-MAN ROSTER (45)
This isn’t the team I thought Holland would construct at the beginning of free agency. Kyle Turris brings more offense at No. 3 center but he’s also less of a checker/penalty killer. Tyson Barrie is more of an offensive defenseman than I thought we’d see. Mike Smith is not the goaltender I thought we’d see based on Holland’s recent comments.
Back in August, Ken Holland was interviewed by Daniel Nugent-Bowman at The Athletic and talked about his goal to improve the team:
- Holland: “I’m about goal differential. You don’t have to score as much if you give up less. But if you give up a lot, you’ve gotta score more. Everybody wants to focus on goals and secondary scoring. Certainly, those are areas we’d like to improve upon. How do we improve our differential compared to the other 30 teams? Those are the things we’ve gotta figure out.“
I think the Oilers are going to score more goals, and probably give up more too.
In 2018-19, the average NHL team scored and allowed 244 goals. Edmonton scored 229, off the pace but in the range. However, the team’s goals against total was 271, making the goal differential -42.
In 2019-20, the average NHL team scored and allowed 208 goals. Edmonton played an extra game, so if you take away one game the Oilers landed at 220-212, +8. That’s a lot of improvement in one season.
I think the Oilers are going to score more often in the coming season. I think the passes from defense to offense are going to be outstanding. I think the Oilers are going to be adding a goalie at some point in 2020-21.
This October doesn’t resemble any in my lifetime. I’ll never forget 2020, it has been memorable from beginning to end. My Dad used to tell me stories about the Depression and the Second World War, and polio and how it impacted his family randomly. I didn’t have a life event to compare, but Covid-19 changed all of that in an instant.
About a month ago, my daughter didn’t feel well and went to the doctor, who was alarmed at her breathing. We rushed her to the Sturgeon, where she stayed for several days making sure she didn’t have the virus (it was pneumonia). She’s fine and back working, but it scared the living hell out of me. I will never forget it. That night, we had my wife’s brother and friend over, and I burned four steaks so badly the fire department had to rush over! I’m kidding, but that poor cow deserved better.
We’re all being extra careful and there’s a spike in cases so wear your masks, wash your hands and if they call you for choir practice don’t answer your phone. I’m thankful for this group who shows up at my blog, thankful for my family and my dog and for an economy that is fighting hard to gain back what was lost.
I think that’s the lesson of 2020. We’re not going to be able to maintain life as it was before, but if we hold our families close, stay safe, recognize the things that are important and let everything else go, it might be a long overdue reset for all of us. If we reach out to the homeless, the food bank and those in need, maybe there’s some good that can come out of this difficult time. Happy Thanksgiving!
LOWETIDE VERSUS THE MACHINE!
Every year, after the draft, I take my list and compare it to the Oilers draft. I pick the top player still available on my list at each stop, and compare that player to the one Edmonton chose. My math list wins some and loses some, but it’s an interesting exercise.
The 2015 draft: Oilers rock it!
Oilers scouts hit three times after the third round on a weekend when picks were being pulled out from under them every hour on the hour. My final four picks are not matriculating. Already a win for the Oilers, this race is over.
The 2016 draft: DeBrincat the difference
Edmonton’s draft looked stalled not long ago, but the return of Jesse Puljujarvi will help and Benson may carve out a role in the next two seasons. My list wins because DeBrincat. I think the Oilers should value math more than they do, and I expect the Oilers consider math a valuable tool but they don’t use it as much as they should use it. Or at least that was the case in 2016.
The 2017 draft: Yamamoto pick key for Oilers
Edmonton wins the 2017 race, courtesy a truly inspired choice in the first round. Oilers’ Samorukov looks like he’ll add to the haul in the coming years and several others are trying to gain traction. From my list, Tolvanen is having a good start in the KHL but he didn’t play in the NHL at all last year. Scott Reedy is matriculating and we’ll see. Edmonton had a much better draft than my model in 2017, I think that’s clear now.
The 2018 draft: Too soon to know
This is going to be a helluva race, perhaps the most interesting in the group. Bouchard, McLeod, Rodrigue and Kesselring are all worth of following, that’s a solid Edmonton list and I do think two NHL players from that group is reasonable. My list is headlined by Ty Smith, I think he is a better prospect than Bouchard but we’ll see how it plays out. Samuel Fagemo wasn’t drafted in 2018 but he’s a fine prospect. Cannot wait to see how this plays out.
The 2019 draft: Broberg may tip the scales
Broberg appears to be improving by the day, I think this season might be his final one outside the NHL. Lavoie and Konovalov are also prominent and pushing. My list features Kaliyev, who remains a fantastic pure scorer, Robertson who is a nice two-way defender, and scoring winger Blake Murray. I think Edmonton has the edge here.
The 2020 draft: Brand new
This is a brand new draft so there isn’t much to say yet. I like my list a ton but everyone says that. I will say this about the Oilers draft: If you look at the skill drafted by Edmonton, and compare it to the 2012 list, it’s very clear the mathletes have had an impact on the industry.