On March 15, 1997, the Edmonton Oilers defeated the Hartford Whalers 4-2. At that time, Edmonton had a strong group of forwards, led by Doug Weight, Jason Arnott, Ryan Smyth and Andrei Kovalenko. In fact, Edmonton had so many good forwards it was difficult to get all the skill players proper skill minutes. On that night, Glen Sather must have been close to a trade that would live in infamy for the rest of his days.
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 Top 20 prospects, post-draft edition.
- New Lowetide: Finding Connor McDavid’s optimal linemates among 2020-21 Oilers
- New Jonathan Willis: A cautious free agent period boosts an Oilers team still on the upswing
- New Lowetide: Oilers prospects poised to benefit after offseason news.
- 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
WINGS OVER HARTFORD
It’s been a long time and we don’t have the modern tools, but here are my guesses for wingers that night against Hartford: Ryan Smyth (39), Andrei Kovalenko (32), Mike Grier (15), Marius Czerkawski (26), Miro Satan (17), Joe Hulbig (0), Kelly Buchberger (8), Petr Klima (2). That would have meant (if I’m correct) Dean McAmmond (12) and Todd Marchant (14) were out (one possibly hurt) and Louie DeBrusk (2) was a healthy scratch.
I’m counting Doug Weight (21), Jason Arnott (19), Mats Lindgren (11) and Rem Murray (11) as centers.
Steve Kelly was a week from being recalled, Ralph Intranuovo two weeks from being recalled.
From here, it’s easy to tell Slats to release Klima, pick DeBrusk over Hulbig and that Steve Kelly wasn’t going to be all that. It doesn’t work that way.
The legend goes that Ron Low couldn’t find a spot for all of the skill wingers, and if you look at those names, well maybe it isn’t obvious how good these players were. Here, let me go back and post their goal totals for the 1996-97 season. I’ll be back in a sec.
Okay. This morning I wrote a post-draft ranking at The Athletic and it’s becoming clear that, if things continue, there won’t be room for all of the talent that is coming down the pipeline.
I don’t think the prospects are in danger, they represent value deals. No, I think it behooves us to contemplate a defensive six that includes Philip Broberg, Evan Bouchard, Dmitri Samorukov being added to Ethan Bear, Caleb Jones and the veterans who the club decides to keep.
Meaning the endangered ones are the defenseman who are making the big dollars. Not just Adam Larsson and Kris Russell, either. I think this is going to get interesting.
William Lagesson and Martin Marincin
I wrote the following about Martin Marincin about seven weeks before he was traded.
What do the numbers tell us? Martin Marincin is going to have a career. Tough zone starts, second-pairing minutes, his Corsi for % at 5×5 isn’t far from even. He isn’t going to score a lot but really he’s well priced for a third pairing blue—and he can play either side.
He’ll never be top 4D with that offense. In about one full season, we’re looking at 11 points, so no, not a lot of offense. He should be able to help at evens and on the PK, and is already facing the tough ZS’s. Just a kid too, very useful player who is under contract and miles from big money. More please.
You think they’ll trade him, don’t you? Yes.
Why? I think there was some kind of disconnect. Conditioning? Something along those lines. And then maybe he didn’t respond well to the wakeup call? Don’t know. Something. Either way, he’s in the jailhouse now.
Can he recover? Yes. I hope he plans to work out in Edmonton this summer, similar to the work Bogdan Yakimov did last summer. I think the Oilers will eventually require their prospects to attend a summer camp, maybe with the new draft picks.
They already do that, though. Not with guys like Marincin. They bring in guys from the current draft, some college men, and maybe a few guys who are still in junior or just starting pro. Marincin has been in pro hockey since 2012 fall.
Who did he play well with? Everyone. Pretty much everyone.
Right. Haha. No, seriously. Here’s the Corsi for 5×5%’s: Mark Fayne 46.3; Justin Schultz 56.9; Niki Nikitin 54.9; Jeff Petry 58.7. He did have some downward numbers but none among his primary partners.
Is there any good reason to trade Marincin? I think you could make the argument Marincin is the least likely of the good kids to be able to help in a big way at maturation.
Good kids? Klefbom, Nurse, Marincin.
Why would they trade him? As Edmonton turns north, inexperienced defensemen will become less plentiful. The Oilers will bring Nurse up at some point this coming season, suspect Klefbom will be the only youngster in the top six when that happens.
Does Marincin have value? Oh yes. If you put Marincin with the No. 16 pick, I think you could expect a quality return. An NHL defenseman with experience and term.
Do you have any recent examples? Something like the Jay Bouwmeester to St. Louis trade. Calgary received goalie Reto Berra, defensemen Mark Cundari and the No. 22 overall selection in the 2013 draft. The Flames chose Emile Poirier.
So, Marincin and the No. 16 pick represents similar value? Yes. I think so.
Will a new coach see him good? I don’t know if a new coach sees him at all. Chiarelli will have an opinion on him, but we already know MacT’s decision and his usually remain final. MM is in a tough spot as an Oiler, because the spot he’ll occupy on the team next season is easily duplicated.
Who can play his spot? Most of the NHL defensemen are best-suited for 5-6D. Niki Nikitin, Andrew Ference, Justin Schultz, it would have been nice to have Klefbom there for a year and of course Nurse would be best served by a season there. Brandon Davidson, David Musil…
I get it. Lots of them. Yes.
What about as the partner for Mark Fayne on the severe ZS pairing? That’s a good fit in my opinion, based on what is currently on the roster. Suspect Chiarelli may want to aim higher.
What would you like to see? I would move heaven and earth to acquire three defensemen, including a complete top pairing, like Sekera—Seabrook. The second pairing would be Klefbom—Petry and the third pairing Marincin—Fayne.
What about Ference, Nikitin and Schultz? What ABOUT Ference, Nikitin and Schultz?
So you’d turn over pretty much the entire defense as it stands? Yes. Easy decision really. I’d keep Klefbom and Marincin, plus Fayne for the tough ZS’s.
A GM can’t turn over that much of the roster in one summer. In the year before he arrived as GM, Boston’s top 7D: Hal Gill (1489 minutes); Brian Leetch (1434); Brad Stuart (1412); Nick Boynton (1115); David Tanabe (1087); Andrew Alberts (936) and Milan Jurcina (839).
And the following year? Zdeno Chara (2237 minutes); Andrew Alberts (1495); Paul Mara (1290); Brad Stuart (1100); Jason York (640); Andrew Ference (581) and Aaron Ward (432).
So he turned over a lot of the roster that first summer? Well, during the year, too. Lots of trades, including acquiring Andrew Ference and Aaron Ward. He would pick up Dennis Wideman in Feb. 2007 too, and turned over pretty much the entire rig in quick order. In a cap world.
Lots of names flying out? That is my guess, although Klefbom and Nurse are extremely likely to be a big part of the future in Edmonton.
Lagesson could easily get passed by Philip Broberg and Dmitri Samorukov, hell Ethan Bear and Caleb Jones were drafted after the Swedish blue and they’re already in the NHL. Maybe Lagesson’s eight NHL career games may be the extent of his career, but I don’t think so. I believe the Oilers are curious to see Lagesson play, and further see him as a possible solution to the shutdown blue position when Adam Larsson leaves (possibly a year from now). I think he may take some playing time from Kris Russell in the year ahead. We wait.
LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE
A busy morning, TSN 1260 starting at 10. Steve Lansky from Inside the Truck podcast will join me to talk World Series, Joe Morgan and Ken Holland’s fixes. Matt Iwanyk pops in at 10, we’ll chat NFL, and the idea of a Canadian division for the NHL in 2020-21. Any news that breaks we’ll have it, and there’s some money to give away, too. See you there!