Training camp is underway, we have the official rosters and can begin beating each other about the face and hands verbally over the lines and pairings. It feels like exactly one forever since training camp 2019, a time when Ethan Bear and Joel Persson were applying for work at the same position.
It’ll happen again this year, you know. Someone like Ryan McLeod or Joakim Nygard or Evan Bouchard or Jesse Puljujarvi will jump up and be the story of camp. Happens every year.
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 Jonathan Willis: Oilers training camp: Forecasting the big roster battles
- New Lowetide: Dylan Holloway’s world juniors work offers clues about Oilers future
- Lowetide: The Bakersfield Condors will be competitive in the coming AHL season
- Athletic: How we’d run the Oilers: Maximize primes of Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl
- Eric Duhatschek: How a stint in Sweden prepared Oilers prospect Evan Bouchard for NHL camp
- Lowetide: How will the Oilers find chemistry with no preseason games?
- 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.
CERTAIN OILERS (21)
I expect this group is a lock and will be joined by two centers on opening night. A note: These are not lines and pairings of my making nor are they suggestions from me. However, a friend of mine did send them to me and so I thought we’d start the process with this setup.
UNCERTAIN OILERS (12)
It’s going to be a fierce race to the finish for the No. 4 and No. 5 center spot, I’ll go ahead and suggest a lefty and a righty will make it (Haas versus Marody, all the rest lefties). At this point, I think the lefty race is Khaira, Shore, McLeod, Quine in that order but things could change in a quick hurry. Poor Nygard looks like he’s going to get squeezed, Benson also in photo. All three defensemen listed here will play this season in my opinion.
DISTANT BELLS (7)
I expect this group will have a tough time forcing their way into the conversation for a taxi squad spot, let along the 23-man list.
SAME TIME LAST YEAR, CERTAIN OILERS (18)
All words below from last year’s training camp. I wanted to give you a feeling for what we were talking about and where the eventual roster players were in the pecking order. Sam Gagner was listed as a certain Oilers but did get sent out.
Unless there’s an injury or trade we don’t know about, I believe these men are locks to be on the opening night roster. McDavid, Smith and Russell won’t play this week (likely) and that means opportunity for others. Players I’ll be focusing on from this group: Benning, Larsson, Sheahan, Archibald.
SAME TIME LAST YEAR, UNCERTAIN OILERS (15)
I think Evan Bouchard has probably served notice but there’s miles to go and both Joel Persson and Ethan Bear have been in the news. One encouraging item: Both Gaetan Haas and Colby Cave got solid reviews from the coach. Center is an area of weakness. Joakim Nygard will be one to watch and it would be nice to have a goalie in this section.
DISTANT BELLS (15)
Two juniors, a gifted phenom and one brave soldier off the list as we head toward the first game of the preseason. Coach Tippett has spoken at length about seeing 10 or so guys a lot during these early games, not certain if any of those 10 is on this list. There’s always a surprise of early camp and this year it was Cam Hebig. Love to see a prospect step forward as he has over the last week.
LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE
A busy show gets rolling at 10 this morning, TSN1260. We’ll have breaking news about the NHL because everything will be lightning speed now through opening night. Expect waivers news, lines and pairings and more. Meanwhile, at 10:20, we’ll be joined by Cleveland journalist Matt Florjanic to talk about the Browns making the postseason for the first time since 2002. Jason Gregor from the JG show on TSN1260 will pop in to talk Oilers training camps and some of the battles we’ll see in the next 10 days. 10-1260 text, @Lowetide on twitter. Talk soon!