When it comes to finding linemates for Connor McDavid, I expect we’re in the “Mats Sundin lines up with Mikael Renberg and Jonas Hoglund” territory. It’s cool, and it’ll work to an extent, but you know Gary Roberts and Alex Mogilny are on the next line and there’s something tragic about the whole enterprise.
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: The 2020-21 Oilers and value contracts: Career opportunities
- New Eric Duhatschek: For one season only, bring on the NHL’s Canada Division
- New Jonathan Willis: Oilers’ organizational depth chart: Where does Edmonton stand today?
- Lowetide: Dmitri Samorukov’s KHL impact and what it means to the Oilers
- Lowetide: How many goals will Tyler Ennis score in 2020-21?
- 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
There’s a “one and done” aspect to a McDavid sortie, and that’s reflected in his possession numbers via Puck IQ. That isn’t fatal, but the Oilers need his line to dominate five on five (all of these numbers are five on five) and during 365 minutes against ‘middle’ competition the team was flailing. Part of that might have been his health, and I do think the line shuffling later in the year had a negative impact. A healthy McDavid will improve on these numbers no matter the linemates but if you see the Nuge on his line, the Puck IQ numbers will be the reason Tippett is doing a shuffle.
The Ennis numbers are from Ottawa, there wasn’t enough from the Edmonton games to post. It looks like he has pretty good possession numbers, and he can roar against middle and gritensity. That may mean he lands on the Turris line. He’s the winger not named Nuge or Yamamoto who can score 20 goals next season, so one imagines Ennis gets a long look in a skill position.
Zack Kassian had such a fine season going until he lost the plot, and I do think he’ll play a lot with McDavid when the season gets underway. There is competition, but one suspects that Yamamoto stays put and that Puljujarvi is brought along at a pace that sees plenty of time with Kyle Turris.
After a long layoff (26 days) Ilya Konovalov is back in net for Yaroslavl Lokomotiv. It’s in the first period at this moment, he has stopped all 10 shots faced.
LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE
A busy morning on the Lowdown, we get started at 10. Bruce McCurdy from the Cult of Hockey at the Edmonton Journal will join us at 10:20 and we’ll talk Joey Moss, the World Series and a full moon Halloween night. Scott Wheeler from The Athletic pops by at 10:40 to discuss his latest look at Evan Bouchard and what he has improved upon in recent months. Joe Osborne from OddsShark will be on the radio at 11 to talk NFL week 7, college football’s unpredictability this fall and the World Series. 10-1260 text, @Lowetide on twitter. Talk soon!