Every year on this blog, I write a post with this title. It’s kind of a state of the organization moment, meant to be read over morning coffee while overlooking some maniacal winter weather event just outside, mere inches from the coffee pot.
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: How will the Oilers find chemistry with no preseason games?
- New Jonathan Willis: After a brilliant rookie Oilers season, how high is Ethan Bear’s ceiling?
- Lowetide: How secure is Zack Kassian’s role on Oilers’ top line?
- Lowetide: Oilers’ signing of Slater Koekkoek could be about more than depth
- Lowetide: Why fans should expect an Oilers playoff berth in Canadian division
- Jonathan Willis: Dave Tippett has more options now thanks to versatile Oilers forwards
- Lowetide: 7 big questions facing the Oilers heading into next season
- Lowetide: What if Ryan Nugent-Hopkins doesn’t sign with the Oilers?
- Jonathan Willis: Left-side logjam will force the Oilers to make a choice, and perhaps a sacrifice
- Lowetide: Ken Holland’s 2020 Oilers offseason report card
- Lowetide: Theodor Lennstrom is the Oilers’ latest European bet on defence
- Lowetide: Why Anton Forsberg could win the Oilers’ backup job in 2020-21
- Jonathan Willis: Team Draft vs. Team Trade: Which collection of all-time Oilers is better?
- Lowetide: Seattle Kraken expansion mock draft 5.0: Who could the Oilers lose?
- Lowetide: Why McDavid and Nuge together could be key to Oilers’ playoff success
- Lowetide: Projected training camp roster for the 2020-21 Oilers.
SUMMER OF 2011
At the end of the 2010-11 season, the Oilers had some nice young talent. It was so good, people (management) looked to these youngsters to lead the way. Roster players under 24 included Taylor Hall, Jordan Eberle, Jeff Petry, Sam Gagner, Andrew Cogliano and Magnus Paajarvi.
That’s a helluva start! Now, you’re going to need a goalie and some veteran defensemen, and centers who can play in the heart of the game.
Edmonton had Devan Dubnyk (age 24), he posted a .916 save percentage that season in 35 games. Tom Gilbert, Ladislav Smid, Ryan Whitney were there to guide Petry, and the team would draft Oscar Klefbom that summer. Shawn Horcoff was 31 and the top center, and the club needed to add in the middle. That’s one reason why Edmonton drafted Ryan Nugent-Hopkins No. 1 overall that summer.
Edmonton had the foundation of a contender, but the team needed to add veterans who could carry the load in important places. That season, general manager Steve Tambellini signed several players, all tweeted by Fussy Britches about 25 minutes before they were announced. It’s the only year this blog published free-agent signings within seconds of the official announcement. I have always valued that day and thank FB publicly for their role. Tambellini signed center Eric Belanger, defenseman Cam Barker, enforcers Darcy Hordichuk and Ben Eager, and Corey Potter (actually I think it was Bill Scott who signed Potterplay). Fussy Britches reported Zenon Konopka too but it never happened.
Best deal Tambellini made that day? Trading for Andy Sutton.
Edmonton aimed higher on the free-agent list this year, and the flat cap no doubt aided things. Holland added Tyson Barrie, Dominik Kahun, Jesse Puljujarvi, Tyler Ennis and others, and the general feel of the team is stronger than in 2011.
One of the reasons is this model is more ‘up the middle’ with McDavid and Draisaitl joined by Kyle Turris at center, and more emphasis on defense (although Oscar Klefbom will be missed).
I think this year’s Oilers are stronger than the 2016-17 team in all areas save defense (Klefbom, Larsson, Sekera leading the way) and possibly goaltending. If Koskinen plays the majority of the starts, then the gap between this year’s model and Cam Talbot’s Oilers should be minimal.
My model for this season (‘reasonable expectations‘ are here) suggests Koskinen, Nurse-Bear, Jones, Larsson and Barrie will be key players and Evan Bouchard will find his way into the lineup about 25 percent of the time.
Up front, McDavid and Draisaitl lead the way, with Nuge, Kahun, Ennis, Turris, Yamamoto, Kassian and Puljujarvi also contributing.
The key newcomers 25 and under are Kahun and Puljujarvi. Many of these offseason fixes (Barrie, etc) will be short term, but there is a reasonable chance Holland’s Oilers deliver another group of useful youngsters who could hang around for the entire decade.
Bear, Yamamoto and Jones a year ago. This year, a guy like Kahun added to the draft picks could bring more of the roster for the 2020’s into view.
Dylan Holloway scored a Ryan Smyth goal, very few things a prospect can do to endear himself to the fan base that are more powerful. My goodness he’s an aggressive player, bull in a china shop last night. Broberg is a warrior and won’t back down, not certain it was a good idea to play him against the USA.
OILERS TRAINING CAMP ROSTER 2020-21
Goalies (5): Mikko Koskinen, Mike Smith, Anton Forsberg, Stuart Skinner, Dylan Wells
Defense (12): Darnell Nurse-Ethan Bear; Caleb Jones-Adam Larsson; Kris Russsell-Tyson Barrie; Slater Koekkoek-Evan Bouchard; Theodor Lennstrom-William Lagesson; Markus Niemelainen-Ryan Stanton.
Forwards (23): Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Dominik Kahun, Kailer Yamamoto, Zack Kassian, Tyler Ennis, Kyle Turris, Jesse Puljujarvi, Josh Archibald, Alex Chiasson, James Neal, Jujhar Khaira, Joakim Nygard, Ryan McLeod, Gaetan Haas, Tyler Benson, Devin Shore, Adam Cracknell, Cooper Marody, Patrick Russell, Alan Quine, Seth Griffith.