So the old Boston Bruins had this winger named Wayne Cashman and he was a load. Although he lacked the skill of high-end players, he could dig the puck out, score some goals and play a fierce brand of hockey. On those Orr Bruins teams, if the crowd made a loud “OH!” noise, chances are Cashman did something to someone which may or may not have been caught on tape.
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: Jay Woodcroft oversees a spike in Oilers prospect development
- 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
Ryan Smyth arrived in the NHL about one dozen seasons after Cashman, and fighting was done by enforcers. Still, the corner work and relentless pursuit of the puck was the same, and passing even more important. Cashman scored 22-41-63 per 82 games during his career (in a high scoring era) while Smyth scored 25-29-54 in 82 games in a less offensive era.
Most of you are familiar with Smyth and his style, so there’s no need for an explanation.
Smyth didn’t have a great shot but scored a bunch of goals by being a master of the net front tip and slamming in rebounds by the bushel. Patrick Maroon did much the same thing when he was riding shotgun on Connor McDavid’s line.
Last season, coach Dave Tippett used James Neal and Alex Chiasson in the net-front presence roles on the powerplay and McDavid’s line didn’t have a five on five Smyth clone. Who tipped the most shots last season for the Oilers as a percentage of overall output? It’s a surprise!
Nygard showed some exciting possibilities during what was a brief debut season with the Oilers. In 54 minutes with Connor McDavid, the shot differential was 59 percent and the goals for percentage 75. Nygard scored just 0-1-1 in those minutes (1.11 five on five points-per-60) with McDavid scoring an impressive 2-4-6 (6.68 five on five points-per-60).
There’s about $2.5 million in cap still available, this includes Oscar Klefbom on LTIR. If Edmonton wanted to get Klefbom back on this roster, general manager Ken Holland would need to send down Kailer Yamamoto and waive William Lagesson. A trade, perhaps Alex Chiasson, would be more likely.
As for Nygard, he was hurt but is now back playing in the SHL, four games so far and no crooked numbers.
You may notice a new look on the blog this morning. Poster “Ryan” reached out to me recently and offered to update the blog front and back. I consulted with Danny (who did the original work) to make sure it was okay because this is his baby, too. Ryan has fixed myriad issues, and the hope is that we’re back to being far more user friendly now and into the future. Please let me know in comments or email what you like, what you don’t like, and any issues you are having. Sincere thanks to Ryan for all his hard work and for taking care to make sure this old ship remains seaworthy. Also, many thousand thanks to Danny, a generous soul who answered thousands of emails over the years that began with “HELP!” I promise it won’t be 15 years between changes next time. Probably. 🙂
LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE
A busy morning and a fun one, too, we get started at 10 on TSN1260. Steve Lansky from Inside the Truck podcast will join me at 10:20 and we’ll talk about the Masters in November, World Juniors at Christmas and the difficult issues raised by Mitchell Miller’s hockey future. Matt Iwanyk from TSN1260 will come stumblin’ in (that’s a fabulous Suzi Quatro reference that most of you won’t get because you’re too young) and chat Raptors in Kansas City, Blue Jays in Buffalo and why all contests are not created equal. At 11:25, it will be my honor to talk to Mike “Doc” Emrick about his new book, his brilliant career and his decision to retire. 10-1260 text, @Lowetide on twitter. See you on the radio!