The Capstan Shafts

by Lowetide

One of the fun things to look forward to each season is the emergence of new talents in the NHL. I remember when Esa Tikkanen arrived, he was unique and was worth watching even on a team of future Hall of Famers. This year, at least at the start of the year, the Edmonton Oilers are going to be low on rookies.

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.

PROJECTED OILERS ROSTER ($2.5M CAP ROOM)

I thought Evan Bouchard would be on the final list, but at this point it’ll be a recall that gets him to Edmonton in 2020-21. Remember a year ago, when Holland bought out Sekera to make room for young blue? He went the opposite way this time. Put another way, even if Bouchard blows the doors off in training camp, there’s no clear path to the NHL this fall. I believe Bouchard is going to be a terrific NHL player, but do find it curious that the organization’s big free-agent addition duplicates his skills. Curious. I wouldn’t worry too much about it, injuries hit defense like mad and Larsson’s back basically guarantees the 7D and AHL recalls will play during the 2020-21 season.

William Lagesson should make the team and would be a candidate to move up the depth chart with injuries to LH defense. I think most believe he’ll be a depth defenseman and that’s fair, he isn’t as dynamic as Ethan Bear or Caleb Jones. His Bakersfield on-ice goal differentials at even strength shone like diamonds, and I think he may merely be late to the party as opposed to a fringe addition to the two main pieces.

Jesse Puljujarvi is a player we’ve seen before, but the benefit of some time away for player and team should offer everyone a reset. I think the third line has a good chance to be Ennis-Turris-Puljujarvi, with the assignment to outscore, not just score. That’s going to be a challenge, but a 12-minutes a night challenge, a less than fatal assignment the big Finn should be able to handle.

Is he done? I don’t think so. The rumour of Alex Chiasson for Anders Bjork makes too much sense unless the Oilers are far more convinced of Tyler Benson than management is showing. I don’t hear his name mentioned often, and that tells me the club believes the future includes other names, mostly on defense. I suspect we’re not far from a trade that sends away a significant defender for a scoring winger. Possibly this offseason. There’s a trade to be made.

What about Nuge? Sounds like a long-term deal is being thrown around and I think that’s a good thing. RNH is the one lottery pick whose mindset has always included some two-way acumen and those things have exceptional value. If they didn’t have him, the Oilers would have to invent him. He’s also mature enough to play a role despite being an exceptional talent as a stand alone. He won’t ever be captain of the Oilers, but in his works and conduct it’s easy to see he’s a leader on a traditionally young team.

Holland is fixing the overuse of youth though, you can see it in the roster above and the quality (Bouchard) that is NHL ready below. I would have Bouchard on this roster in 2020-21, but the only way that happens is an Adam Larsson trade. Seems a bit late in the process to be dealing your top shutdown option, but if an opportunity came along it could happen just this way.

What would I do here? In the feature article from The Athletic above, I offer some value free agents who are still available. It might require some dollars out via trade but there’s some fine bets available today for just money, and perhaps not a lot of money. As days go down, some of these young wingers are going to be looking for opportunity over money, and Holland remains without a strong solution (aside from Nuge) on McDavid’s left wing. Go left, young man, cash 30 and then get paid. That should be an easy sell.

LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE

A big day on the Lowdown, as we have terrific guests with news to break. It all starts at 10, TSN1260, with Frank Seravalli from TSN joining me at 10:20. The last two weeks he’s been on the show Frank has dropped major Oilers news on us, perhaps he will again today. Reid Fowler from Draft Kings pops in at 11 to talk NFL weekend, and Andrew Peard, Oil Kings announcer, will join me at 11:25 to talk about the WHL’s season which now has a firm starting date. 10-1260 text, @Lowetide on twitter. See you on the radio!

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Woogie63

Bouchard is being developed properly in my mind;

Barrie and Larsson are on expiring contracts so there is room for Bouchard to cover injuries and learn outside the NHL, and he is not blocked long term.

My bet is Bouchard gets into +25 games this year and is ready to prove he is an NHL player next year – Like Bear and Jones are doing this year.

There is only so many young pros you can have in your line-up, no?

so polar

Man, I hope the death march tiebreaker is Puljujarvi goals again.

Elgin R

Woogie63:
Bouchard is being developed properly in my mind;

Barrie and Larsson are on expiring contracts so there is room for Bouchard to cover injuries and learn outsidethe NHL, and he is not blocked long term.

My bet is Bouchard gets into +25 games this year and is ready to prove he is an NHL player next year – Like Bear and Jones are doing this year.

There is only so many young pros you can have in your line-up, no?

Agreed. Bouchard has only played 112 games (7 NHL) since his draft in 2018. If he splits time between the AHL and NHL that may be the best case scenario for his development. Having Bouchard where he is contractually is found money. He can play and learn outside the NHL while not having to clear waivers. Available for call up when injuries occur, and there will be with the compressed schedule the NHL will have to implement to avoid the summer Olympics.

leadfarmer

I like the signing. The league is going to get a late start and will try to squeeze in as many games as possible before the Olympics. The last normal season cup was awarded June 12 which would give 5 weeks until the start of the Olympics. We are talking about starting in January and playoffs require 2 months. So the regular season needs to end by 3rd week in May. That is a 20 week regular season. That is 4 games a week without breaks to get to 80 games, and thats without Covid delays. The schedule is going to be brutal and teams depth is really going to be tested.

knighttown

Once and for all can one of you capologists explain using Klefbom’s IR money on a scoring forward. Can they offer Hoffman or Granlund 4 million now knowing they’ll have the space? Or is it true that they have to wait until day 1 of the season?

hunter1909

so polar:
Man, I hope the death march tiebreaker is Puljujarvi goals again.

You’ve got it!

Material Elvis

leadfarmer:
I like the signing.The league is going to get a late start and will try to squeeze in as many games as possible before the Olympics.The last normal season cup was awarded June 12 which would give 5 weeks until the start of the Olympics.We are talking about starting in January and playoffs require 2 months.So the regular season needs to end by 3rd week in May.That is a 20 week regular season.That is 4 games a week without breaks to get to 80 games, and thats without Covid delays. The schedule is going to be brutal and teams depth is really going to be tested.

I doubt the NHLPA will agree to that kind of schedule. 4 games per week for an entire 80 game schedule will have half the players on injured reserve. Maybe they get 60 games in. I’m also skeptical that the Olympics will be on. The athletes currently have some training and travel restrictions, which could prevent them from being ready for that level of competition in July.

tileguy

hunter1909: You’ve got it!

Should flush out the rose coloured glasses group.

Harpers Hair

hunter1909: I suppose after 20 seasons Oilers have developed a reputation…

30 seasons.

Harpers Hair

knighttown:
Once and for all can one of you capologists explain using Klefbom’s IR money on a scoring forward.Can they offer Hoffman or Granlund 4 million now knowing they’ll have the space?Or is it true that they have to wait until day 1 of the season?

They can be 10% over the cap until the first day of the season.

hunter1909

Harpers Hair: 30 seasons.

Arguably so, but Sather at least built a competitively mediocre team out of the ashes. The Lowe era not so much; particularly when you factor in the fact that most of Lowe’s so-called team was in fact inherited from Sather.

As dashing as it seemed at the time, Lowe betting the farm on Black vs a Red carolina team turned out to be a foolish wager. Like doing somersaults after jumping off of Niagara Falls.

LadiesloveSmid

Harpers Hair:
https://edmontonjournal.com/sports/hockey/nhl/edmonton-oilers/pacific-power-rankings-golden-knights-canucks-oilers-and-flames-escalating-arms-race/wcm/47dda0b1-3052-4b97-becc-915fc2ae1d0a/amp/?__twitter_impression=trueThe Pacific Division power rankings.

Pietrangelo obviously the biggest get in the Pacific. Schmidt was a nice grab for Vancouver, replacing Markstrom with Holtby was a downgrade. Demko has been OK outside of 3 playoff games.

Does replacing Klefbom, Sheahan, Chiasson (pushed down) with Barrie, Turris, Puljujarvi improve Edmonton? Can’t see it.

Calgary’s SV% was 13th in the league last year, Markstrom probably helps a bit but I can’t say he reaally pushes that team forward. Brodie to Tanev was a downgrade.

I’m of the mind it’s Vegas & then 7 teams that have no shot.

Harpers Hair

LadiesloveSmid: Pietrangelo obviously the biggest get in the Pacific. Schmidt was a nice grab for Vancouver, replacing Markstrom with Holtby was a downgrade. Demko has been OK outside of 3 playoff games.

Does replacing Klefbom, Sheahan, Chiasson (pushed down) with Barrie, Turris, Puljujarvi improve Edmonton? Can’t see it.

Calgary’s SV% was 13th in the league last year, Markstrom probably helps a bit but I can’t say he reaally pushes that team forward. Brodie to Tanev was a downgrade.

I’m of the mind it’s Vegas & then 7 teams that have no shot.

Brodie’s replacement is actually Valimaki.

He’s the goods..

godot10

knighttown:
Once and for all can one of you capologists explain using Klefbom’s IR money on a scoring forward.Can they offer Hoffman or Granlund 4 million now knowing they’ll have the space?Or is it true that they have to wait until day 1 of the season?

Klefbom’s LTIR cannot be used for a forward. It needs to be used for signing Bear and Lagesson.

To get another forward, the Oilers need to acquire another LTIR contract (Hossa, Kessler) or make a money out for money in trade, or a couple of money out trades.

pts2pndr

Harpers Hair: 30 seasons.

And how many seasons for the dys? Oh right they are a never was!

hunter1909

pts2pndr: And how many seasons for the dys? Oh right they are a never was!

They will always have 2011.

Harpers Hair

Harpers Hair: Brodie’s replacement is actually Valimaki.

He’s the goods..

The Flames still need a 3RD,

They have almost $6 million in cap space.

Pretendergast

One day this team will be deep enough that we can have nuge on 3rd line C ala the Crosby Malkin Staal and then Kessel years.

The fact Nuge is wing by necessity is a shame. 16-17 he was the tough minutes responsible 3c we needed. Less physical but nobody cares when its 200 from your net.

Find Kunitz and watch the other dominos quickly fall into place.

Harpers Hair

godot10: There will be a Canadian division next year, so that article is sort of pointless.

Yeah..likely.

How would you rank the Canadian teams?

I think Montreal has made some impressive moves.

LadiesloveSmid

Harpers Hair: Brodie’s replacement is actually Valimaki.

He’s the goods..

I don’t deny that Valimaki will be good, but he really only has 26 games of pretty soft competition @ 15 minutes/game to his name. Projecting him to be 2LD is akin to projecting Bouchard as 2RD. Maybe! But would you bet on it?

Do they bring back Hamonic/sign Vatanen to be 3RD? Is Valimaki 2RD with Hanifin?

leadfarmer

Harpers Hair: Brodie’s replacement is actually Valimaki.

He’s the goods..

Aren’t “the goods” players supposed to arrive early?

Harpers Hair

LadiesloveSmid: I don’t deny that Valimaki will be good, but he really only has 26 games of pretty soft competition @ 15 minutes/game to his name. Projecting him to be 2LD is akin to projecting Bouchard as 2RD. Maybe! But would you bet on it?

Do they bring back Hamonic/sign Vatanen to be 3RD? Is Valimaki 2RD with Hanifin?

Valimaki is a plus skater, unlike Bouchard.

He’s playing with Ilves in Finland and has 4 points in 4 games this season.

Bouchard has 2 points in 6 games in the junior Swedish league.

Not comparable.

I think they’ve moved on from Hamonic and the first player that came to mind as a replacement was Vatanen but he carries a pretty big injury risk.

leadfarmer

Harpers Hair: Valimaki is a plus skater, unlike Bouchard.

He’s playing with Ilves in Finland and has 4 points in 4 games this season.

Bouchard has 2 points in 6 games in the junior Swedish league.

Not comparable.

I think they’ve moved on from Hamonic and the first player that came to mind as a replacement was Vatanen but he carries a pretty big injury risk.

You must be very excited about the other 22 yo in the SM liga who has 5 goals and 7 points in 4 games who will come over soon

Harpers Hair

leadfarmer: Aren’t “the goods” players supposed to arrive early?

Yes they do.

Valimaki played in the NHL when he was 19…straight out of junior.

Unfortunately he lost an entire season and a half due to injury.

Early enough for you?

PennersPancakes

Harpers Hair: Brodie’s replacement is actually Valimaki.

He’s the goods..

I dont know, hes already 22 and he hasnt established himself as elite yet. He must suck.

Harpers Hair

leadfarmer: You must be very excited about the other 22 yo in the SM liga who has 5 goals and 7 points in 4 games who will come over soon

Should be interesting to see if the bees come with him.

leadfarmer

Harpers Hair: Yes they do.

Valimaki played in the NHL when he was 19…straight out of junior.

Unfortunately he lost an entire season and a half due to injury.

Early enough for you?

But but but
Ahl games?
He’s not supposed to do that

leadfarmer

I don’t think anyone cares about the Canucks or flames
Just giving HH goalposts on wheels a workout

PennersPancakes

leadfarmer: But but but
Ahl games?
He’s not supposed to do that

Its very simple, if they play for the Oilers they’re trash/overrated. If they play for the Canucks or any of the Oilers rivals the’re gold Jerry.

This guy is holding out Olli Juolevi is going to be a difference maker even though hes treading water on a vet stacked AHL team.

Justthestatsman

Harpers Hair: Should be interesting to see if the bees come with him.

I thought the bees were following Yak?

LadiesloveSmid

Harpers Hair: Valimaki is a plus skater, unlike Bouchard.

He’s playing with Ilves in Finland and has 4 points in 4 games this season.

Bouchard has 2 points in 6 games in the junior Swedish league.

Not comparable.

I think they’ve moved on from Hamonic and the first player that came to mind as a replacement was Vatanen but he carries a pretty big injury risk.

Good gord, horrible troll post. Give me a break, you are not proud of this.

Leon Colborne level bad take here. Have a good day.

slopitch

Pretendergast:
One day this team will be deep enough that we can have nuge on 3rd line C ala the Crosby Malkin Staal and then Kessel years.

The fact Nuge is wing by necessity is a shame. 16-17 he was the tough minutes responsible 3c we needed. Less physical but nobody cares when its 200 from your net.

Find Kunitz and watch the other dominos quickly fall into place.

Yup find the 2 way ace for McDavid.

hunter1909

leadfarmer: I don’t think anyone cares about the Canucks or flames

No one cares about the Canucks unless they’re in 1st place.

No one cares about the Flames and that’s from their own fans lol

The Oilers are more of a case where Death March™ing fans cling onto a narrative dream that’s based on some cosmic realignment of far away celestial bodies which somehow might turn the team’s fortune around.

OriginalPouzar

Would love to see Chiasson moved out and Benson inserted on to that roster.

Save apx $1.3M – not to spend but to help with day to day roster management and maybe even accumulate some cap space daily to bank for deadline deals.

elgruntus

leadfarmer,

Brogan Valimaki now? Do we call him Broval?

hunter1909

HH probably trolls his own family to the point where they need to find someone else to call his dog.

OriginalPouzar

I don’t think its Larsson’s back itslef that guarantees 7D and AHL call-ups play, its the fact that injuries in general are real and substantial – they happen to every team, every year and teams generally used 9-10, if not more, d-men in a year and i would suggest that the opening night 7th d-man in most orgs play a material portion of the games.

I have zero concern about Bouchard getting in to games. The org needed a 4th RD cover if Benning was going to be let go (even moreso given the emergency LD covers, Jones and Russell are both needed on the left side daily right now – subject to Lagesson). I didn’t expect that cover to be as substantial as Barrie but it is. Both will play plenty.

hunter1909

OriginalPouzar: the fact that injuries in general are real and substantial – they happen to every team, every year and teams generally used 9-10, if not more, d-men in a year

Sure but when factoring in that data you don’t want to be using players guaranteed to be injured like Klefbom/Larsson are proven to have turned out to be. One, maximum. Two is like driving on the Ice Bridge in Dawson City on a balmy spring afternoon.

OriginalPouzar

Berglund with a blast from the point leads to a rebound goal!

https://twitter.com/i/status/1316796645267267584

OriginalPouzar

Getting Dadanov on a relatively short term deal (3 years) is a win for Ottawa – I had interest in him at one point until I realized that he’s older than I though – 31/32.

$5M X 3 is a good deal if he can continue his production (which may not be so easy without the help of studs like Huburdeau and Barkov – two elites).

OriginalPouzar

13 ECHL teams start their seasons in early December including Wichita (the rest start in January).

I wonder if Safin will be assigned? I would think that he would be graduating to the AHL this year but there is no confirmed start date for the AHL and he’s not assigned/loaned/signed with any team in Europe.

OriginalPouzar

OriginalPouzar:
Berglund with a blast from the point leads to a rebound goal!

https://twitter.com/i/status/1316796645267267584

Berglund adds a PP goal on a one-time blast!

digger50

From day to day following the Oilers we can understand cap constraints and incremental improvement.

But step back a little and you have to say “After five years you have not found a winger for McDavid???”

Oh my.

Todd Macallan

Sounds like a beauty PP assist for Broberg after holding the line. Anxiously awaiting the forthcoming OP Twitter link for visuals.

OriginalPouzar

Broberg with a PP assist on a 2nd period goal – I think that’s his fifth point of the year – what a start to the season.