Call Me Lightning

by Lowetide
Puljujarvi photo by Mark Williams

The 2020-21 season represents year five for the 2016 NHL draft. Some teams, like the Calgary Flames (Matt Tkachuk, Dillon Dube, Adam Fox) are going to get great grades with some heartbreak, others (like the Toronto Maple Leafs) are going to get a fantastic grade on one part of the test (Auston Matthews) but some furrowed brows over the rest of the report card.

The Edmonton Oilers? 80 percent of the way through the five year process, it’s still incomplete. Time to get the lead out.


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Anaheim Ducks: Sam Steel is going to have a career, Max Jones will be a useful role player and Josh Mahura may also have a career. That’s a solid five years.

Arizona Coyotes: Two terrific pieces in Clayton Keller and Jakob Chychrun, both men appear destined for feature roles. That’s a quality draft.

Boston Bruins: Charlie McAvoy played 40 percent of his five on five time against elites, while also delivering offensively. Puck IQ says he is better without Z than with! A monster player. Ryan Lindgren was also a nice pick, although the Bruins dealt him early.

Buffalo Sabres: Like Edmonton, the Sabres are waiting on some things. Rasmus Asplund has some skills but hasn’t scored in his first NHL audition, and Alexander Nylanders was slow to develop and Buffalo traded him for Henri Jokiharju, who is not yet established.

Calgary Flames: Absolute home run with Tkachuk, everything else is just bonus points. A tremendous player and agitator, Tkachuk is one of the most valuable assets from the draft. Adam Fox is also destined to have a long career and Dillon Dube appears to be the player Edmonton hoped Tyler Benson would be at this time.

Carolina Hurricanes: Also similar to Edmonton in that the talent is good but not hear yet. Jake Bean remains a future contributor at the NHL level and should play a prominent role on a future Hurricanes team. The team has traded Janne Kuokkanen and Julien Gauthier, who didn’t spike in the seasons after they were drafted.

Chicago Blackhawks: Absolutely majestic home run with Alex DeBrincat, but the rest of the draft is either lagging or is not going to make it. There are a lot of names who I thought would play at least some in the league (Chad Krys) so this is an important year for Chicago too.

Colorado Avalanche: Tyson Jost may not become the player once hoped for, but as a two-way forward who can score enough to stay inside the top-9 forwards he has a future. It is not yet clear if others from this class will join him in the NHL.

Columbus Blue Jackets: Pierre-Luc Dubois was a reach at the time but looks like a stroke of genius today. That pick was probably the move of the draft, which is saying something because there were some astute selections early. Andrew Peeke and Vitaly Abramov have also announced their presence.

Dallas Stars: Riley Tufte is the top prospect but he isn’t scoring. Rhett Gardner beat him to the NHL and may become the best player from this draft for the Stars. Some concern here.

Detroit Red Wings: Filip Hronek was a second-round pick but looks to be the best in the group. He is playing 39 percent of his five on five minutes against elites and delivering plus offense. Dennis Cholowski appears to be an NHL player, not sure where he plays on the depth chart.

Edmonton Oilers: Jesse Puljujarvi is in Edmonton getting ready for his fourth NHL season. He brings a giant frame, skating ability and some skill to the game. I think he’s going to be a quality two-way winger in the NHL, just don’t know if it’s in Edmonton. Per 82 games in the NHL so far, he is averaging 10-12-22. If he can improve to 15 goals and 30 points, learn to use that gigantic frame and find open ice and an appealing target for his center, things could get good in a hurry. JP badly needs to establish the NHL as his home this year. Tyler Benson may have to convince Dave Tippett he’s fast enough, and Filip Berglund is going to get a full shot here in 2021-22 to show what he can do in North America.

Florida Panthers: Annual candidate for derailing the most draft picks, but things could be changing. In 2016, Henrik Borgstrom looked like a good bet for an NHL career but management and coaching changes have him in no-man’s land. Riley Stillman is also an interesting player.

Los Angeles Kings: Kyle Clague has played in four NHL games. He is likely to get crushed by oncoming prospects if he can’t establish himself soon.

Minnesota Wild: Luke Kunin has graduated and emerged as an NHL player (he is now playing for the Nashville Predators). Not much else coming.

Montreal Canadiens: Habs are good at the draft but their GM usually trades the best pieces early. Mikhael Sergachev was a quality pick (sent to Tampa Bay) and Victor Mete was a surprise who emerged early and has had success.

Nashville Predators: Dante Fabbro and Sam Girard came from this draft. Girard is a clearly established two-way defender of note, Fabbro was the earlier pick and has really just arrived in the NHL. Great draft.

New Jersey Devils: NJD had a weird draft, their best player (Jesper Bratt) came in the sixth round to remind us drafting skill in every round is smart. Michael McLeod, Nathan Bastian and Joey Anderson were higher picks who are trying to establish themselves.

New York Islanders: Kieffer Bellows is taking the “Michael dal Colle” route to the NHL but he has scoring talent. Otto Koivula also has talent and has played a little in the league.

New York Rangers: This is the period where the Manhattans were trading all of their picks but Tim Gettinger has made an NHL appearance.

Ottawa Senators: Logan Brown is close and has been for some time, but has played in just 29 NHL games. Prospects become suspects right about now. Max Lajoie, a later pick has played more than Brown but struggled.

Philadelphia Flyers: We may look back on this draft as the best in the group some day. Carter Hart is a brilliant young goalie and skaters Pascal Laberge, Carsen Twarnyski and Connor Bunnaman are all trending and have played in the NHL.

Pittsburgh Penguins: Nothing so far.

San Jose Sharks: No first round picks but two men (Dylan Gambrell and Noah Gregor) who are matriculating toward an NHL future. I’m not sure whey they will play the heart of their careers on feature lines but there’s much of the story to tell.

St. Louis Blues: Tage Thompson was their first round pick, I wasn’t sold on him but the Blues were able to use him in a package for Ryan O’Reilly and that has huge value. Jordan Kyrou is a favourite who has performed well in 44 NHL games.

Tampa Bay Lightning: The Lightning use their draft picks for trade and development. So, two early picks (Brett Howden and Libor Hajek) were sent to New York for endless riches, while Taylor Raddysh, Boris Katchouk and others continue to develop. Tampa Bay is as close to the Pollock Canadiens system as we have in the NHL currently.

Toronto Maple Leafs: When you draft Auston Matthews, you’ve won. That said, the team had a bunch of picks in the top three rounds and maybe one or more of Igor Korshkov, Joseph Woll and Adam Brooks finds an NHL career.

Vancouver Canucks: Olli Juolevi appears healthy and ready to embark on his NHL career. Vancouver has room and this would be a great spot for him to slide in as an option. William Lockwood is also a player of interest.

Washington Capitals: Lucas Johansen is the first rounder and he is developing but may need another year.

Winnipeg Jets: Patrik Laine makes a draft no matter how long he plays in Winnipeg. I was genuinely afraid Edmonton would trade up to draft Logan Stanley but the Jets (who are excellent draft people) grabbed him instead. So now I think he might be something. Mikhail Berdin is a talented goalie.

The big winners, in my opinion, are Arizona (two quality talents), Boston (perhaps the best player in the draft outside the No. 1 pick), Calgary (Tkachuk, Fox and Dube is Nuge, Klefbom, Rieder level, maybe better), Columbus (PLD plus), Montreal (two talented blue), Nashville (same), Philadelphia (Carter Hart and other things), Tampa Bay (they’re on another level), Toronto (Matthews) and Winnipeg (Laine).

That’s nine winners after four years. How much progress would we need to see from Edmonton’s 2016 list during 2020-21 to call the draft a success? Puljujarvi scoring 15 goals, Benson establishing himself as an NHL option in the bottom-six forwards.

That’s a tough row to hoe.


  • Nuge-McDavid-Ennis
  • Kahun-Draisaitl-Yamamoto
  • Puljujarvi-Turris-Kassian
  • Neal-Haas-Chiasson
  • Nurse-Barrie
  • Jones-Bear
  • Koekkoek-Larsson
  • Koskinen (Smith)

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Harpers Hair

CapFriendly Transactions (@CF_Transactions) Tweeted:
Professional Tryout
Riley Sheahan (LW, C) | BUF


Potentially, Ralph’s new Petrell.


Per Dreger, Toews won’t be at camp and will miss the beginning of the season due to illness…..


With the Bear signing for $2 million and Klefbom’s ltir money, do the oilers still have around $1.8 million of cap space ? Would that be enough to sign Hamonic or a high end penalty killing 4th line centre ?


Yes and no. They could technically sign a player for about $3M and still get cap compliant for day 1 of the season. But then they couldn’t recall all the players they sent down to get compliant, while also having the $1.5M cap cushion Holland has talked about repeatedly (and which might be more important this season than most years).

I think the team could sign a player for about $1.3M at this point (while being complaint for day 1 and having a $1.5M cushion for the season).

I don’t see many good fits still unsigned though. Brassard would be great as a 4C but he probably wants to go somewhere he can play 3C for the same money. Hamonic would be great too, but the team has 3 NHL RD already. There would need to be a trade for one of them in place I’d think, so it’s tough to see.

I think this is your Edmonton Oilers. Looks pretty damn decent to me 🙂


I see zero reason to sign Hamonic. I wouldn’t play him over any of Bear, Larsson or Barrie and, frankly, if Bear or Barrie went down I’d want Bouchard in there.

At least $1.5M of space is absolutely imperative – more would be better.

$1.5M doesn’t even allow for two players to be activated off the taxi squad in case of injuries (unless the injury goes to LTIR which is 10 games or 24 days minimum).


Yeah, the only way Hamonic would make sense is as a Larsson replacement. Seems Hamonic is motivated to say in Western Canada and if he’s willing to sign for $1M I don’t see how you pass that up, even though the team doesn’t need him.

Moving Larsson for an equivalently priced player at another position would be an option then. It’s all very unlikely as I said, but if Hamonic wants to sign a deal like that Holland could leverage it to improve the team I think.

It also wouldn’t be hard seeing Holland and Tippett potentially wanting Hamonic as cheaper ‘shutdown D’, replacing Lagesson beyond this season. But yeah, all rather unlikely.


per puckpedia

Otherwise, need to send players down to be just below $81.5M, submit opening roster, then Klefbom LTIR & have pool =$4.167M-Cap Space.

Could send Yamamoto, Neal & Smith down & Forsberg on Roster, $130K under Cap. 
Klefbom to LTIR gives LTIR Pool =$4.037M


That’s one way to do it, but I don’t think i’d put my 1B goalie on waivers.

As close as Mike Smith might be to the cliff (some would argue free fall), I don’t want to leave the starting blocks with Koskinen/Forsberg/Skinner as the goalie options. I’d guess Holland and Tippett agree.

It’s hard to figure the best group to pass through waivers to get compliant, but I think I’d go with Neal, Chiasson and Archibald. Those 3 (with Nygard and Yamamoto still on the roster) would get the Oilers within $132k of the cap so they could access basically all of Klefbom’s salary on LTIR.

Sending any of Yamamoto, Nygard, Haas, Koekkoek down in place of Neal/Chiasson/Archibald doesn’t *quite* get the team compliant, so they’d need to send down a 4th. And sending down a 4th player would cut $700-800k off of the Klefbom LTIR they can access.

Camp injuries, play and Covid will have a say, but that’s my guess at how Holland gets compliant. We’ll see.


I don’t imagine that a Smith waiver claim is a risk, is it?

I mean, Aaron Dell and Adin Smith (among others) will likely hit the waiver wire as well (unless those teams are carrying 3 goalies on the active roster).

I don’t think he’ll waive Smith either. Archie would be at risk of claim potentially (although, with his 26% goal share away from McDavid last year…….).

It will be really interesting to see what he does decide to do.


No, I don’t expect Smith is likely to be claimed. Though I wouldn’t be surprised if some GMs around the league would prefer him to Hill or Dell, it’s not like there is a big gap in performance between them.

The main issue is it would be FAR more disruptive (IMO) to lose Smith vs any of the others waiver options on the eve of the season.

And Archibald could be a risk to be claimed I guess, but $1.5M (X 2 years) is a big ticket these days! It will be interesting for sure.


The #Oilers re-signed 23 y/o RFA D Ethan Bear to 2 year $2M Cap Hit Deal:

Yr 1: $1.5M
Yr 2: $2.5M

On expiry, RFA w/ Arb rights & $2.4M Qualifying Offer, 2 years from UFA elig

-5G 21P in 71GP
-Scored 0.88 5v5 P/60
-Rep’d by Jason Davidson




Wow! Kenny blinked first. Disappointing.


If Ethan was drafted in the first round he would be getting a extra mil a year it’s all about the draft pedigree.


I am very happy to see him signed.
Our defence is starting to look very good.
Too much wine to make up lines tonight, will publish tomorrow. Remember having trouble with the 4th line this afternoon, hope I can solve that tonight 😂


Thought Holland would go for the 1 year deal but no complaints.

Is he finished yet?


I think he’s finished. Not many players still out there.

You think he’s got another up his sleeve?


I think he is finished until TC is almost over. Might see something around then. If not I’m pretty happy with the off season moves.


Yeah, I wouldn’t rule it out but mostly I don’t see many realistic/good fits to improve the team.

And it’s funny, I was very happy with he offseason moves until they signed Kahun. Then I got greedy 🙂

Stepping back, I’m very happy.

Last edited 9 months ago by jp
Harpers Hair

Nice to see Holland came to his senses.

i was expecting Bear to sign for a $2.5 million average so the contract is still a win for the team.

Grinding one of your best young players at $1M as many suggested would have been a mistake with long term consequences.


Per Oilers’ twitter:

“If we really wanted, I could have dressed him today. He’ll be ready to go moving forward.”

Sweden Head Coach Joel Ronnmark says #Oilers D prospect Philip Broberg is expected to play vs. Russia on Wednesday after missing Monday’s 4-0 win vs. Austria.

Foege Foegele Torpe


I hope he’s not made of glass like Kelfbom is.

Something about that Swedish glass,
Its not quite as durable as Canadian glass


I’ll take a Jason Smith or a Steve Staios any day block a shot with their face and never complain. We have the two best players on the planet it’s about time the Nurses and the Kassins start pulling one’s weight.


– The biggest challenge I see with this team is the last of an established top D combo

– Klef-Larsson at their healthy peak were at least league average top pairing. I think all of Nurse, Bear, Jones are playing a little too high based on past performance.

– Bear and Jones were properly slotted last year: playing with a vet, and not too high up generally

– Barrie as a PP guy, paired with a strong partner should do fine: but he’s for sure not a top-pairing guy, at least not with the D we have IMO

– I mean it could work out great with development and coaching, but it’s the biggest challenge for the team to be elite. Still could happen.

– Healthy Klef meant a lot to this team. Hopefully someone will emerge as Klef 2.0: after all Klef emerged early and better than anticipated


Bear was the top pairing RD pretty much all year, no?

Faced elites 36% of the time (he and Nurse more than any other)

Harpers Hair

There are 14 top pairing D (in theory) in the Canadian division.

Where would you rank Bear?


Part of our advantage moving forward is a young D Corp. Part of our difficulty at this time is our youthful D. While we may not have what Dom considers a top pairing I think it is reasonably fair to say we have six D who can play top four. Small step forward for Nurse as I see it as a top two but I will agree that we do not have a legitimate overall number one D. However that being said we are far from having an untenable situation re our D. We have two D on the left side and one on the right side that could be that number one D as early as this coming season. Our D has improved at puck movement and should continue to improve re puck movement this season.


– Yeah: I kind of see Nurse as a good 3, Bear and Jones top-4 emerging (small sample size, rookie seasons that were great). Healthy Larsson still top-4, Barrie with a good guy top-4 (but will get crushed if he’s slotted in top pairing). Some nice depth with bona-fide NHL D. Russell is still a legit NHL D

– It’s miles ahead of when we had like 6 #6/7D, and this might be the year we look back and everything gels: We do have lot of D with upside which is great. Lots of outs for someone to emerge as a 1st line D: We need a horse. This is all point in time: let’s see what happens this year.

Harpers Hair

Does the draft and develop model really work all that well?

Here is a list of the top 20 D playing in the NHL right now. (your mileage may vary.)

Fully half of those players are NOT playing with the team that drafted them and some of them will change teams in the years ahead.

Obviously the old canard that says the only way to get a #1D is to draft them is flawed.

In the Oilers case, Klefbom may never play again and it’s quite possible Nurse prices himself out of the Oilers D.

While Larsson wasn’t drafted by the Oilers, his acquisition cost was very dear and he may well be playing his last season in Edmonton.

Rinse and repeat.


ok I’ll play
if Klefbom never plays for the Oilers again how has Nurse priced himself out?

Harpers Hair

They are not mutually exclusive.

Nurse will want to be paid like a legit #1D.

Doesn’t mean he is one.


I think it was Ryan that first mentioned Turris as an 1RW option. But, it could become reality at some points, maybe even first game.

Kahun was playing center in Germany, and provides options. I think Jones has to blow the doors off at camp to make the lineup over the vets. Especially in a short camp/season. Less time to allow a dman make his growing pains mistakes. Koekkoek has 3X the GP experience.


A tiny bit of research leads me to believe that Kahun hasn’t played any center at the NHL level. I would put almost no stock in him playing center in a tournament in Europe (I don’t even think he got in to a game with his DEL club team). I mean, all sorts of Oilers prospects and players were doing things in Europe they can’t or don’t do in the NHL. Benson was killing penalties. Lagesson was a PP1 guru, etc.

I do think that Turris could get some at bats at RW in the top six – just don’t see Kahun as the 3C fill-in.

I would be shocked if Jones wasn’t in the opening night lineup (if healthy). I think Koekkoek is the one that needs to blow off doors to get in the opening night lineup (if everyone is healthy).

Could be wrong, we’ll find out in just over two weeks.


Dach to miss 4-5 months after having surgery on his wrist.

Decidedly Skeptical Fan

Feel very badly for him.

Elgin R

Could happen any time but NYR sure looking good for keeping AL out.


I wouldn’t say so, necessarily.

He’d be absolutely dominant in the tournament and I don’t think it would do much for his “development” but just playing some actual hockey games would likely help him get ready for camp and the start of the season. He hasn’t played since March.

The issue would be quarantine/protocol heading back to NYC. I don’t know about US laws/regulations coming in to the country but there are NHL protocols and I think he’d need to get 4 clean tests in a week before he could join the team.

In that regard, he’d miss most (if not all) of training camp (I think) so maybe the game play wouldn’t be all the beneficial – camp is a must.


Athanasiou signs with LA. 1 year 1.2 million

Harpers Hair

A perfect “show me” signing.


Elliotte Friedman
As per
(Guillaume Latendresse), ARIZ is working on a one-year contract with Derick Brassard. Not done, but heading in that direction


So, no Broberg today.

I was excited for the game.


Where are you hearing that?


Per Wheeler, they are just playing it safe with Broberg as they “don’t need him today”.

I guess it’s a nagging injury from practice a few days ago that he played through in game 1. Recall there were reports he wasn’t going to play the first game.




I hope he’s not made of glass like Kelfbom is.


Is there any indication that he is or is this just because he’s from Sweden?

I mean, he’s on his way to playing his 3rd straight pro season in Sweden without missing any material time with injury.


If you could pick today which player do you take



Sure looks like Holland got it right to me.

Harpers Hair

Boldy…in a heartbeat.




So the bloom is off Podkolzin or did you just need some variety for your contrarian point of view? One that can skate for one that can’t score.

Harpers Hair

I would never draft a Russian in the first round except in very unusual circumstances.

Too many ways for things to go sideways.


LOL, your cantucks had a chance and pasted. They must really be regretting it. Russain players can be unpredictable

Last edited 9 months ago by flyfish1168
Harpers Hair

Agree completely…they should have drafted Boldy.


I wanted Zegras or Newhook at the time.

I still kind of think Newhook was the right play in the moment, but considering how we’ve filled out our forwards since, at this point the roster needs a Broberg more.


Super tough question to answer.

Podkolzin is definitely out of the running – not saying he won’t become a great NHL player but he’s running in place this year in the KHL (no spike over last year) and he’s been pedestrian at best in the tournament – small sample, yes, but he should be dominating and he’s not.

I’m biased, of course, so I will stick with Broberg – he’s been developed properly and is showing signs of his ceiling being higher than it was thought of on draft day. The Klefbom murkiness solidifies that choice for me.

At the same time, I can’t choose between Zegras or Boldy but both are just as legit as Broberg with ceilings just as high (of course, different types of ceilings but as far as potential to impact an NHL lineup) – they will likely “arrive first” as forwards. Broberg will likely get a cup of coffee in 2021/22 (or more) but be an impact player for 22/23.


I waned Zegras was surprised Holland passed on him. Am I the only one that thinks Zegras face wise looks like a young modano


Per Scott Wheeler:

Tourigny says he likes the way Holloway complements McMichael and Cozens in terms of his ability to hunt pucks. Thinks they can take tough matchups if needed, too.


Hunts pucks, goes to the net, defensively responsible.

I have yet to see high end puck skills but those three attributes alone make for a strong complementary top sixer and I have only seen him in the one game which was more laugher than anything.


From watching his two games at Wisconsin this year (and just highlights of other past games), I wouldn’t say that he has high end pucks skills. He’s OK with the puck on his stick, smart enough to know the right play, but I haven’t seen high-end puck skills either. He does have a plus shot/release.

Not having high end puck skills is OK – I mean, if he had those, combined with his size, speed, shot, aggressiveness, energy level, commitment, responsible 2-way play, etc. he wouldn’t have been available at 14 – that’s a top end pick.


Agreed. It wasn’t a criticism on my part. Just my take on what I have seen.

I haven’t seen the plus release yet but that is no little thing. I’m happy with the pick. You can’t have a line where everybody does the same things well and nobody does the other things so I can see Holloway contributing to the balance this team needs when he is ready.


I haven’t seen the plus release yet but that is no little thing. I’m happy with the pick. You can’t have a line where everybody does the same things well and nobody does the other things so I can see Holloway contributing to the balance this team needs when he is ready.

His goal in game 1 this year for Wisconsin – and he had a couple other similar shots that didn’t cash.


I hope he has a little nasty in him as well.


Never hurts, does it.


Athanasiou at $1.2M (Kings). Wow, at this point, seems high given other signings. I’ll take Kahun at under a million.


That 2 mil per x 2 that Holland offered him seems more than generous


I thought we heard 2.5 M, no?


Yes, Holland’s offer back in September/October has proven to be quite high but I don’t think anyone, not even the general mangers, appreciated how depressed the market was going to be for the “middle end players”.

At the end of the day, Holland did well not to qualify AA (or Benning) and replace him with Kahun – not only cheaper than AA’s QO but also his contract.

I’d take Kahun over AA straight up without even taking in to account the cheaper cap hit – both RFAs at the end of their contracts.


He read the market wrong and got greedy. I wonder what Holland offered him.


Recent 4th round picks:

Caleb Jones
Matt Blumel
Carter Savoie

OK, fine, to be honest I should mention that Ostaf Safin was a 4th rounder sandwiched in there and his arrows have been pointing down for a while now (I blame injuries).

With that said, yes, its super early on both Savoie and Blumel but Blumel is earning himself an ELC and Savoie is having a historic start in his draft plus 1.

After years of nothing outside the first round, hitting on the odd middle round pick, lets alone multiples, is heartening.


While there’s lots of talk about Oilers ridiculous pp% which i agree is unsustainable there is very little talk about Mcdavids penalty drawn/60 being 1.03 which is also unsustainable


hes outside top 40 penalties drawn/60 min which is ridiculous
Drai is in 100th spot which is also ridiculous


Truly ridiculous.


We need some homer Announcers that lobby for Leon and Connor the way Burke,Cassie, traitor Hrudey and red buttons did for little Johnny getting slashed all the time. If you can embarrass the crybaby Ref that has a huge discrepancy in the for and against penalties because Mcdavid in his mind showed him up. Instead we get the reverse engineer Remanda and Louie who try’s to hard to be neutral.


Can’t disagree with any of that!


The trend for McDavid’s penalties draw/60 is not good:



Holloway on the ice for practice today – on the “top line” with Cozens and McMichael (as per Mark Masters).




Left wing, with McMichael at center.


Blumel now slumping as he didn’t score today – heck of an assist though:


Great opening night lineup to lead to discussion….. i see what you did there.

I could argue the merits of these points but I don’t see Jesse on his off-wing to start and, unless Kass’ camp is a continuation of his August, I see him starting off on McDavid’s right wing – familiarity and that is likely important with no exhibition games and such a short camp.


Always happy to discuss opening night lineups…it just means hockey’s back!! Truly a Merry Christmas 🙂

No way JP switches sides on his debut back and can’t see Ennis on the right. Also, don’t like Ennis playing on the top line if Nuge is on the other side, that combination feels too soft for me. Kass will play hard for the start but who knows for how long so I’d leave him with McD for a couple games. I like JP playing with two vets that he hasn’t played with yet and can teach him to play responsible. And Haas between Neal and Chaisson balances the speed/size ratio.
Waves of Drai and McD will be overwhelming for teams when both guys have their minutes reduced (due to the rest of the team being able to hold their own). I can’t wait to see Nuge fighting for every penny beside McD this year, and the potential for chemistry-overload on Draisaitl’s line.


I do like the D-pairings though very much…Nurse and Barrie are a very good 1st pairing. Bear and Jones used to play together so maybe they find something again. Coo coo and Larsson also compliment eachother and will be an ok-to-good shutdown pairing.

Coo Coo-Larsson

That’s a very good start to the year with a lot of outside pieces that could surprise at TC – Benson, Bouchard, Nygard, Laggeson, Lennstrom – could push for consideration on the opening night roster with a strong camp.
If Bear holds out into the season…I think Bouch gets the call and slides into the 3RD and Larsson plays with Jones. I just don’t like Bouch coming back from Europe to sit and watch…really hope he surprises and earns it at camp. We also have good injury cover should there be a need for it.
The above lineup is definitely a playoff team in the North division barring a complete goalie collapse. If Koski can give us consistent goaltending, (and Smith steals us a few which he’s been known to do his whole career), there’s no way we’re not a top 3 team in the North this year. No matter how hard you squint…

Elgin R

The forward lines look better than in any of the McDavid years.
The defence appears similar to the VGK in their expansion year – basically 3 x 2nd pairings. This group in whatever pairing combinations Tippet wants, could and should play well enough in all situations to take the Oilers far.


I agree Elgin – in particular on the right side – each of Bear, Larsson and Barrie have proven to be legit top 4 d-men in the league, capable of playing 30% plus of their TOI vs. elites and a solid 18 minutes of 5 on 5 time.

I really don’t know how Tippett and Playfair will run the d-pairings.


I agree with you, Solly, on the forward lines (except maybe the 4th).

I believe that Kass will start as 1RW (subject to a camp surprise) as familiarity will be important with a short camp and no exhibition games. For me, its not about Kass “playing hard”, its about him playing right and/or smart – actually battling on the boards in the defensive zone (committing to it), actually getting in the shooting lane in the defensive zone and not getting rattled by the opposition and goaded in to penalties.

I like Haas, and he definitely could be the opening night 4C, but I think its Khaira’s spot going in to camp, in particular if its with Neal and Chiasson on the wings given that line was good for 4 games down the stretch and actually very good in the playoffs.

I know, Khaira can’t live on the PK merit alone but, look at the goals against on the PK last year – he was literally 2nd best in the NHL – lots of PK2 so not necessarily facing a fresh PK1 but still.

The one thing with that fourth line is that Archie is likely in the opening night lineup, probably over Chiasson which takes away that fourth line chemistry I just spoke of, so, who knows.

One thing with Archie, we all seem to love him but his GF% without McDavid was like 26%.


I did forget about Archie in my lines…his heart earns him ice-time.
Does Neal-Haas-Archie look like a good 4th line though? Have they ever played together? I would imagine it would be Neal-Khaira-Archie if he’s in the lineup.
I did also forget about the chemistry the big boys line had in the play-ins…so you’re probably right OP. Tippy goes with them Game 1. I just hope Khaira’s traded sometime soon to make room for Haas. Righty-center that can PK is valuable to us right now…Haas just has to be good not great to fill a need on our roster this year.
And yes, I’m ready for Khaira to move on…I think our 4th line may have passed him in skill now. No reason trying to find chemistry for him anymore, see if Haas can adapt to the NHL with material minutes and consistent linemates.
Trade Khaira for picks and/or cap-space…don’t think we can get much more for him.


It feels like a Broberg type of day – 4pm mountain.


Can someone catch me up on what’s going on with NHL players? They’ve all arrived in Edmonton (?) and are in quarantine (?) or training camp has already started? I’m seeing nothing on this, here or MSM. Thanks.

Elgin R

WRT the lineup: why place JP at LW? The young man has his hockey confidence back but not in the NHL. How to maximize this player’s potential? Consistent line-mates, at his regular position (RW), for a significant # of games (say 10-15). Success with Ennis and Turris should be expected against the ‘soft parade’, which should promote growth in the player and the confidence of his teammates.

If and when Kassian’s play falls off (as it has done in the past), then consider moving JP to the first line if he is playing well.

Harpers Hair

wonder if he has a congenitally bicuspid aortic valve
not a common surgery for a professional athlete


Teams that change their GM regularly crush player development. The new GM has to go and try and fleece his old team, bring in a new head scout, show his owner that that he can find the amazing third liner in a trade for basically no assets out. Benson, Lagesson, Bouchard are absolutely ready to play 12 minutes a night in the NHL on there way to playing 18 minutes a night. Right now there are a bunch of new players to this club that used to play 18 minutes a night, but now are 12 minute a night players in those slots.


“Charlie McAvoy played 40 percent of his five on five time against elites, while also delivering offensively. Puck IQ says he is better without Z than with!”

I don’t want to rain on the McAvoy parade as he really is a good player, but if you check on his usage vis-a-vis Chara you’ll see that there no comparison.

With Chara vs Elites: 11-6 goals, 37.13 O-zone starts, 63.63 FO/60
W/O Chara ve Elites: 4-6 goals, 56.34 O-zone starts, 46.00 FO/60.

World’s apart.


I wanted Tkachuk ( Gritty with good hands and has the asshole blood lines ) Oilers telegraphed the world they weren’t taking him. When the Finn passed on the Finn the red light went on, that’s in the same breath as a Newfie not picking another Newfie it just doesn’t happen.


Tkachuk did an interview on a podcast, and I can’t remember which one offhand, where he said that 90-95% of his family thought the Oilers were going to draft him. Said one of the management at the Oilers draft table even mouthed the words they were picking him to him just before CBJ took PLD.


 Henri Jokiharju is not established yet?? He’s more established than Ethan Bear or Caleb Jones. What does a player have to do to be considered “established “?

Woodguy v2.0

Dom absolutely crushed it in his assessment of the Oilers.

Most honest and complete assessment I have ever read by a writer not in the Edmonton market.

Agrees with the way I see most on the team as well, esp. Koskinen.

Harpers Hair

Yep…thought his preview was bang on.


The question I have is why did Tippett see Smith and Koskinen as near equals when it has been very clear that they are not
With all the d men available I’m thinking that we go with 4 d pairs on active roster and rotate them in and out especially on mandatory loss nights give a fresh pair the most minutes.
Some people are worrying about goalers playing but the D men will take the brunt of the condensed schedule

They keys to the season are that 3rd line and Koskinen. If Koskinen can repeat and the 3rd line out scores the competition we are cooking with fire.
Lots of negative attention on Drai and Mcdavid for own zone play is caused by them needing to cheat for offense to make up for the black hole that was our bottom 6. If bottom 6 takes care of itself the so called defensive deficiencies will too


smith and Tippett go way back that’s why he started him in game 1 and I myself would have as well. Smith and Kosh are both streaky I sure hope they feed off of each other early and we get out of the gate without touching the ground.we finally have a above average 3C which will allow us to have a real bottom 6 that will outscore the opponents.


Does anyone know what the goal total for and against for the bottom 6 last year and the year before. I will bet a C-note with anyone towards charity that our bottom 6 will outscore the opposition for the year. Turris is my man and Tippetts as well. He will shine for the next 2 years. I’m can’t wait to finally see 4 lines rolling like a Freight Train to first place in our Division and top 5 in the league.


It’s also not entirely their fault. One quick look at the defence corps shows just how difficult McDavid and Draisaitl have it in a way that analytics, in its current state, may not fully capture. When I think of some other forwards who have developed very poor defensive impacts recently without necessarily having the reputation for it — Mark Scheifele and Jonathan Toews come to mind — the common thread is not having any top-pairing-calibre defencemen to play with, and in Edmonton’s case, not many great puck-movers. The burden is tougher, leaving the top players overworked in trying to turn defence into offence.

Great excerpt that often gets lost in the conversation I think. Part of me wonders how much a deeper roster with better transition players is suddenly going to solve the duo’s defensive issues. Turn them into Selke candidates? Probably not. I think it could quickly change the narrative though.

Harpers Hair

Key takeaway:

“not having any top-pairing-calibre defensemen”.

Dom explained why Nurse and Bear don ‘t fit the bill.

Don’t think Barrie does either.

It’s almost criminal that, after having drafted so high and for so long, that remains an issue.

Perhaps Broberg?


I think Sammy is a wild card that might shock the masses and end up being on the top pairing within 3-4 years. From what I’ve seen he has all the tools to bad we didn’t have a Chara showing him the ropes. Nurse needs to pull his finger out of his ass and start the year with a nasty streak if he wants to be de facto 1A

Harpers Hair

I think Hockey IQ is the issue there.



I think Sammy is a wild card that might shock the masses and end up being on the top pairing within 3-4 years. From what I’ve seen he has all the tools to bad we didn’t have a Chara showing him the ropes. Nurse needs to pull his finger out of his ass and start the year with a nasty streak if he wants to be de facto 1A

I agree the Samorukov’s ceiling is unknown and could be higher than was thought on draft day. He has a broad skill-set and does many things very well – not elite at anything but does everything well – aggressive defender (and a defence first guy), physical defending the blueline and the gap, good skater, good passer, good shot, solid offensive IQ, versatile (playing the right side more than the left as a pro), etc.

He’s having a fantastic season – playing top 4 (sometimes top pairing) minutes for CSKA Moscow, a good team and rarely getting scored on – among the league leaders in GF%.

In fact, his plus 22 leads the KHL for d-men (2nd place at plus 19).

I don’t know if he’ll ever have enough skills translate at the NHL level to be a top pairing guy and he likely tops out as a 2nd pairing guy (and, of course, that’s not even a given) but he’s got a great skill-set and, in my opinion, is close to NHL ready and likely impacts the roster in 2021/22 prior to Broberg.

Last edited 9 months ago by OriginalPouzar
John Chambers

Prior to the 2016 draft, at the end of season press conference, Peter Chiarelli was asked about how to improve the team. Adding a top defenseman had been the team’s priority since the departure of Pronger.
”I’m reasonably confident we can address it in a meaningful way” assured Chiarelli.
”We can trade offense for defense … we can trade the pick” he noted in the same interview as his options.

I had never anticipated or was as excited for an Oilers trade more in my life. This was meant to be the master stroke that ended the re-build and established a balanced lineup.
As it happens Chia considered trading the #4 OV pick to the NY Rangers for Ryan McDonagh. A legit top-pair LD in his prime, but with three years to run on his contract.

Imagine 2016-2019 with McDonagh AND Taylor Hall, minus Larsson and Lucic.

In the end it would’ve probably meant playoffs in at least two of those years, McDonagh leaving as a UFA, no Bouchard or Broberg drafted, and a major contract renewal for Hall this past summer. It was very close to reality.

Harpers Hair

NHL (@NHL) Tweeted:
OFFICIAL: The @CanadiensMTL have signed Corey Perry to a one-year deal. ✍️

@NHLdotcom has more ➡️


Perry finds way to keep facing us

Harpers Hair

The good news is the Oilers only have to play against him 9 times.

Elgin R

Bring it on! Last 2-seasons against the Oilers:
Games – 5
Avg TOI – 13.49
Shots – 6
Points – 1
Pts/60 – 0.89


Yup, Perry “came alive” during the playoffs and played some legit NHL hockey but, during the regular season, he was NOT good and I anticipate that he’ll, once again, need to manage his own load and waiting for the playoffs to be effective.


He can turn it on when it counts. Nurse should take a few lessons if he wants the big cash. If Nurse can’t figure out the back door play and being on the correct side of say Perry in front of the net he doesn’t deserve to be our so called 1A.


That top 6 weighs a combined 798lbs!!


Yamo hopefully will add some more muscle over time

Last edited 9 months ago by flyfish1168
Elgin R

Nuge (184) – McDavid (193) – Ennis (161)
Kahun (175) – Draisaitl (208) – Yamamoto (153)
Total = 1074 lbs.

Replacing Ennis with Kassian (which we may see for opening night) adds 50 lbs. to the total. New total = 1124 lbs, still light but better.


based on what math?


Benson needs a chance, I’m beginning to think that he will do better on another team. Every team seems to have a prospect that they don’t give a chance to, then he goes else where and turns into a solid NHL player.
Yamo didn’t set the world on fire when he was on the farm, yet he was quickly put in a position to succeed.


Benson is getting his chance. In Europe!


and he was the best offensive player on his team.

He’s now been recalled and is in Edmonton and will be competing for a spot on the Oilers in six days.


Benson got a chance last year, in fact, he got two separate chances.

Benson showed marked improvement in his play from his first cup of coffee to his second cup of coffee.

Benson will get more chances this year. The first of them starts on January 3.

Yes, the team signed Kahuna and re-signed Ennis this off-season but Benson has the opportunity to compete for a roster and even a lineup spot during camp.

I anticipate that Benson lands on the taxi squad come January 13, along with Nygard and both have the opportunity to continue to work hard during practice and be that “call-up” when injuries hit.

Benson is still on his ELC. Neither Bear nor Jones solidified themselves as NHL regulars until the last year of their ELC (yes d-men generally take long).

Holland did what smart and winning managers due – he created competition on the left wing and created a situation where the prospect will need to beat out an established NHL player or wait for the injury call-up and force the coach and manager to keep him on the team.

Right now Kahuan has 2LW and Ennis has 3LW. Neal is in the conversation and Nygard and Benson are right there as well. I could see Benson slotting in at 2LW or 3LW with his skill-set – how he does if/when he gets that chance, its up to him.


Sir Lowetide,

Barrie is listed twice in your line-up.


Larsson (or he’s trying to kill Barrie!)