When it comes to draft trivia that no one should have bothered to think about, I’m king of the hill. Consider the following: the Oilers have drafted 11 players from Finnish junior leagues, and those men played a total of 52 NHL games. Edmonton has drafted 12 men from the Liiga, Finland’s top pro league. NHL games from those dozen men? 2,695. Liiga is the way to go.
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: Early roster rumblings as Oilers open training camp
- Jonathan Willis: Oilers training camp: Forecasting the big roster battles
- 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.
In August of 1988, shortly after the Oilers traded Wayne Gretzky, John Muckler (who would win the 1990 Stanley as head coach) said “thank God I believe in life after death.”
If Sather spoke to his players with a passionate voice, Muckler got them to buy in with structure. I’ve always credited both with keeping the freewheeling style while also building a stronger defensive conscience each year. They were an excellent team.
Muckler coached the Minnesota North Stars for a brief period in the 1960’s (he was 34) and then settled in as an AHL coach in the early 1970s with names like Fred Shero, Don Cherry and Al MacNeil also pushing for NHL work.
He coached the Oilers minor leaguers in Wichita 1981-82, he had Walt Poddunby and Charlie Huddy and Andy Moog down there. Slats brought him to the NHL the following year, where he was assistant coach for three years, co-coach for four more and then head coach in 1990.
As a head coach, he won championships with the Long Island Ducks (EHL), Dallas Blackhawks (CHL) and the Edmonton Oilers (NHL).
MUCKLER’S KIDS 1990
The 1989-90 season was a memorable one, Oilers had a fluid roster right up until the March deadline when Reijo Ruotsalainen came dipsy-doodling through the door. The big moment came in November 1989 when Glen Sather sent Jimmy Carson, Kevin McClelland and a fifth-round pick for Adam Graves, Petr Klima, Joe Murphy and Jeff Sharples.
Muckler used those two kids (Graves and Murphy) with Martin Gelinas on an energy line that also scored consistently. They were a rambunctious trio (first shift of the final against the Bruins all three raced into the corner to hammer the retrieving defenseman, meaning a five on two jailbreak the other way) but changed the direction of many 1990 spring games with their enthusiasm. You should have seen them, it was a sight to behold. I’d also be remiss without mentioning Mark Lamb, who did strong work alongside the trio of kids.
Every time I see a piece (written or television) on Joe Murphy it makes me cry. Those damn kids were so full of promise in 1990. Life is terribly unfair sometimes, even to individuals with great gifts.
TIPPET’S KIDS 2020
Getting a lot from kids is even more important today than it was 30 years ago. Last year, coach Dave Tippett found a way for many to flourish, including Ethan Bear, Kailer Yamamoto and Caleb Jones. I believe he’ll do it again this year, the most promising names Jesse Puljujarvi and Evan Bouchard.
I’m genuinely excited to see what Tippett can do to help Puljujarvi, who has enormous potential. Puljujarvi could be key. I mean it. If the young man can find a way to use that giant body effectively in all three zones, it’s a game changer. A year from now, we might be looking at Nuge-McDavid-Puljujarvi and Kahun-Draisaitl-Yamamoto. Music!
LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE
A full boat on the Lowdown this morning, beginning at 10 on TSN1260. We’ll talk to Scott Wheeler of The Athletic about last night’s WJ’s games and the two games today. Canada vs. USA is going to be lit! Sean Woodley from Locked on Raptors will talk about a nasty early start for Canada’s team at 11, and then Geoff Ullrich of The Fantasy Grind about NHL fantasy hockey at 11:25. 10-1260 text, @Lowetide on twitter. See you on the radio!