We don’t have the Bakersfield Condors to stare at, but Edmonton Oilers fans do have a murder of prospects in Europe to observe this fall. Some of them are beginning to post crooked numbers we should be paying attention to soon.
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 extend Kris Russell, solve expansion issue
- Lowetide: Can Kyle Turris centre an outscoring No. 3 line in Edmonton?
- Lowetide: Tyson Barrie’s skills and how Oilers coach Dave Tippett will deploy him
- Jonathan Willis: Can Oilers unlock James Neal’s scoring potential at five on five?
- Lowetide: Why is Ilya Konovalov no longer starting in the KHL?
- Lowetide: Oilers Top 20 prospects, post-draft edition.
- Lowetide: Finding Connor McDavid’s optimal linemates among 2020-21 Oilers
- Jonathan Willis: A cautious free agent period boosts an Oilers team still on the upswing
- Lowetide: Oilers bring back Mike Smith for another year.
- Lowetide: Oilers sign Tyson Barrie to a team-friendly deal.
- Lowetide: Oilers sign Kyle Turris, Tyler Ennis in early hours of 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
CONDORS ATLANTIC CROSSING
G Olivier Rodrigue. I mentioned in summer that it was possible for Rodrigue to win the starter’s job in Bakersfield and he has started well in the Austrian league (ICEHL). In two games, he has 1.99 GAA and .937. Other Condors goalies Anton Forsberg, Stuart Skinner and Dylan Wells are not playing at this time.
LD Philip Broberg. He’s playing a lot in the SHL (19:50 per game) and that includes heavy work at even strength and on the power play. His boxcars are fab (1-4-5) and his even-strength goal differential (6-4, +2) is the best among the Top-4D so far this season. A big step forward so far. I spoke to Mike Zanier recently about Broberg, and the SHL radio color man raved about his speed and athleticism. He’s matriculating and could find his way to Edmonton right soon!
LD Dmitri Samorukov. He is having a major recovery from last year’s Bakersfield sheltering. Samorukov has played 18 games, going 2-5-7, 17:29 per night and an even strength on ice goal differential of 17-4, +13. You’ll want to see this in North America, but like Broberg there’s something happening here.
LD Theodor Lennstrom. He is in the SHL (6 games, one goal, 14:21 per night), and just over 12 minutes a night at even strength with Frolunda (SHL). He projects as a top-4D in Bakersfield when Covid-19 heads to Mars.
LD William Lagesson. Playing in the Allsvenska, he has scored more than expected (7, 3-3-6) but the key is his defensive play. He’s looking at an open shot at the roster now when the NHL returns in anger. Stay healthy, young man!
LD Markus Niemelainen. He is playing in Liiga (Finland), he has two assists in 8 games and is playing 16:27 a night. I see him as third pair in Bakersfield.
RD Evan Bouchard. He is playing in Allsvenskan (10, 3-3-6) and having an impact offensively. The defensive side of his game came along last year, he’s NHL-ready but Holland likes to overcook players.
RD Filip Berglund. Two-way defender for Linkoping (SHL), he has scored 1-2-3 in 8 games and is playing 22:10 a night. Zanier told me he has taken on more of the load with his new team. At even strength he is playing 16:02 (second among blue) and has an on ice even strength goal differential of 7-10 (-3), which ranks him No. 3 among the team’s top four blue in the discipline.
RD Janis Jaks. AHL contract is playing for Dynamo Riga of the KHL, scoring 1-1-2 in 7 games so far this year. He should be a candidate for third pairing work in Bakersfield when everything gets back to normal.
RD Yanni Kaldis. He is another AHL contract and playing in the ICEHL (6, 1-1-2). This is the Cornell grad, sometimes their defensemen are sneaky good when they hit pro.
C-RW Raphael Lavoie. He plays for a poor team in the Allsvenskan and is something close to a one-man show. He is currently 5-2-7 in eight games, his goals are twitter hits and my goodness it’s a beautiful thing for a team that needs a shooter. It’s the Allsvenskan, and that’s not the NHL, but it’s a hurdle he’s passing with flying colors and that’s a good thing.
LC Ryan McLeod. Playing for Zug (Swiss), McLeod is 2-3-5 in seven games and having an impact. One of the best stories among the forwards so far this fall. The Swiss league isn’t far from the AHL according to Vollman, so this is a fantastic start.
RC Cooper Marody. He’s playing in the ICEHL (Austria), just one game so far. He was injured in his first game and an ETA is uncertain.
LW Tyler Benson. He is playing in the SL (Swiss League), which is the second tier of hockey in Switzerland. The top league, the NL (National League), is the one Ryan McLeod is currently playing in. Benson has scored 1-4-5 in five games, and is about where Evan Bouchard is at this time: NHL-ready, but it depends on role, opportunity and Holland’s time line.
RW Kirill Maksimov. He is scoring well (5, 4-2-6) in Russia’s VHL, which is the second highest pro league in Russian and often called the Supreme Hockey League. His pro career has not been stellar and he’s approaching the halfway point of his entry deal. Those junior numbers are an echo down the canyon but he has offense in his game, proven again by the VHL numbers.
LW James Hamblin. Signed to an AHL deal, he is playing well (4-1-5 in five games) in Hockeyettan, which is the third tier of Swedish pro hockey. It’s something of a feeder league into the Allsvenskan from what I’m reading.
LW Jakob Stukel is scoring well (8-8-16 in six games) in the Alps Hockey League. The league is made up of teams from Austria, Italy and Slovenia.
RC Devin Brosseau. Playing in the ICEHL, Brosseau has played in six games (1-1-2).
Each offseason I guess the minor league RFA’s. A year ago, the list included Tyler Vesel, Joe Gambardella, Patrick Russell, Colin Larkin, Robin Norell and Shane Starrett. I (correctly) chose Gambardella, Russell and Starrett as keepers.
This year? Well, Ken Holland threw me a couple of curves. For the 2020 offseason Ryan Mantha, Ryan Kuffner, Nolan Vesey, Cam Hebig, Logan Day, William Lagesson and Angus Redmond all needed to be signed or walked.
I picked Kuffner, Day and Lagesson as the keepers. Holland kept only Lagesson. Holland culled the herd and is looking to improve the roster top to bottom.
50-MAN LIST (45)
Holland’s additions are shaded in grey, new hires this summer are in bold. The best part of his addition list? No long-term contracts have been added. I expect that will change next offseason. Drafted but unsigned include Dylan Holloway, Ilya Konovalov, Tyler Tullio, Carter Savoie, Mike Kesselring, Matej Blumel, Phil Kemp, Maxim Denezhkin and others.