Separate Ways

by Lowetide
Photo treatment by Darcy McLeod

We’re one week in to training camp and it’s pretty clear coach Dave Tippett has three of his four lines surrounded and most of the defense set. For those who appear to have won a job, giant relief. Those still in the fight, sleep well. The outsiders? Continue making a good impression.


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: bold predictions for the Oilers’ season
  • 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
  • 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: 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 WillisLeft-side logjam will force the Oilers to make a choice, and perhaps a sacrifice
  • Lowetide: Theodor Lennstrom is the Oilers’ latest European bet on defence
  • 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


  1. Carter Savoie (NCHC) 12 games, 8-5-13
  2. Matt Cairns (NCHC) 12 games, 0-4-4
  3. Skyler Brind’Amourt (ECAC) 11 games, 1-2-3
  4. Mike Kesselring (H-East) 8 games, 0-3-3
  5. Dylan Holloway (Big-10) 2 games, 2-0-2
  6. Filip Engaras (H-East) 6 games, 1-0-1

The three 2020 picks are going to drive this segment of the prospects pool, and Kesselring has a growing reputation that began at his first orientation camp after he was drafted in the summer of 2018. You’d like to see Holloway, Savoie and Kesselring graduate from this group, but that’s a significant percentage of the group.


  1. Raphael Lavoie (Allsvenskan) 30 games, 14-8-22
  2. Maxim Denezhkin (VHL) 30 games, 6-15-21
  3. Matej Blumel (Czech) 28 games, 12-8-20
  4. Evan Bouchard (Allsvenskan) 23 games, 6-11-17
  5. Tyler Benson (Swiss-B) 15 games, 2-11-13
  6. Jesse Puljujarvi (Liiga) 16 games, 7-5-12
  7. Ryan McLeod (NLA) 15 games, 4-7-11
  8. Philip Broberg (SHL) 23 games, 2-6-8
  9. Dmitri Samorukov (KHL) 37 games, 2-6-8
  10. Tyler Tullio (Slovak) 9 games, 3-4-7
  11. Aapeli Rasanen (Liiga) 20 games, 3-4-7
  12. Jeremias Lindewall (Allsvenskan) 23 games, 2-2-4
  13. Tomas Mazura (Sarja) 3 games, 1-2-3
  14. Filip Berglund (SHL) 11 games, 1-2-3
  15. Markus Niemelainen (Liiga) 14 games, 0-3-3
  16. Phil Kemp (Allsvenskan) 10 games, 1-1-2
  17. Kirill Maksimov (KHL) 12 games, 1-1-2
  18. Maxim Berezkin (KHL) 25 games, 0-2-2
  19. Patrik Siikanen (Liiga) 8 games, 0-0-0
  20. Ilya Konovalov (KHL) 12 games, 2.61 .912
  21. Olivier Rodrigue (Austria) 21 games, 3.02 .909

This is the rest of the group, I think Puljujarvi has a great chance here and his rise from wayward son to No. 3 right wing is a fantastic and welcome turn. The future on defense runs through Bouchard, Broberg and Samorukov. Konovalov is playing today.

I’ve been impressed by Lavoie since his draft day, and believe McLeod is on track or a little ahead of where he was expected to be at this time. Matej Blumel is raining down blows like Dick Pound at a hammer convention. Benson is going to need a little help. He’s a year away from being waiver eligible, that’s fall 2021. A big season ahead.


Coach Dave Tippett has wasted little time in separating the roster from non-roster players, today’s NHL roster has 30 names on it. If you project James Neal (who appears to be skating today) as an IR addition, these men represent the 23 man roster and the six man taxi squad:

  • RNH-McDavid-Kassian
  • Kahun-Draisaitl-Yamamoto
  • Archibald-Turris-Puljujarvi
  • Ennis-Khaira-Chiasson
  • Nygard-Shore-Russell
  • Quine-Marody-Cracknell
  • Neal
  • Nurse-Bear
  • Jones-Larsson
  • Russell-Barrie
  • Koekkoek-Bouchard
  • Lagesson
  • Koskinen (Smith)

On the ‘off-roster’ list are Tyler Benson, Ryan McLeod, Seth Griffith, Theodor Lennstrom, Markus Niemelainen, Anton Forsberg, Stuart Skinner. The Marody line also made the ‘off roster’ list, I expect they’re ticketed for the AHL too but more bodies were needed for practice today.

Benson’s impression may have been solid, but as we’ve discussed before camp and in the early days, Ken Holland’s left wing work in the offseason was impressive and there are six LW’s ahead of Benson at this time.

What does this tell us in the larger view? The first 15 forwards above, along with the top 8 defensemen and two goaltenders, are the 25 men being considered for opening night. Bouchard and Patrick Russell could move to the taxi squard and Neal to IR. We’re close now, ladies and men.

It’s worth a lot, thank you Mr. Brar. Griffith has been the biggest surprise in a positive way on the scoreboard, although McLeod’s two assists are pleasant to see. The most important crooked numbers belong to Puljujarvi. He’ll enter the season in full flight.


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A reminder:

Oilers 5v5 points since Jan. 1st 2019.

1) Draisaitl 114GP 87 PTS (2nd in the NHL)
2) McDavid 104 82 (4th)
3) Kassian- 102 52 (tied for 51st)
4) Nuge —- 108 50 (tied for 58th)
5) Kahun — 97 48 (tied for 68th)
6) Ennis —- 88 35 (tied for 199th)
7) Archibald 104 24 (tied for 250th)
8) Turris —– 87 23 (tied for 265th)
9) Yamamoto 31 22 (tied for 273rd)
10) Neal —— 79 18 (tied for 321st)
11) Chiasson 107 18 (tied for 321st)
12) Shore —– 85 18 (tied for 321st)
13) Khaira —- 89 13 (tied for 361st)
14) Nygard — 33 7 (tied for 426th)
15) Haas —— 58 7 (tied for 426th)
16) Russell — 45 5 (tied for 456th)

1) Barrie — 112 42 (5th)
2) Nurse — 114 40 (tied for 9th)
3) Bear —— 71 19 (tied for 99th)
4) Koekkoek 64 15 (tied for 134th)
5) Russell — 96 14 (tied for 145th)
6) Larsson – 92 14 (tied for 145th)
7) Jones —- 53 11 (tied for 171st)

[Klefbom —– 92 21 (tied for 86th)]

Pretty decent.


Some interesting results there. #3 on the list is interesting. Some seem to hate him on top line, but he has produced at mid-first line level at even strength.


Yeah he gets a ton of flack. I feel like he’s been a pretty good complementary player for the most part in that role.

I like that there are 5 Oilers in the top 70 overall. And another who’ll join them once he plays more games. Having 2 first lines *should* be fun.

Interesting also, I noticed Kassian was just 2 points back of both Pettersson and Miller on the scoring list. He got a ton of help, but it does put things in perspective cause those are very good players.


If McDavid didn’t appreciate the things Kassian brings to his line I doubt he would have lasted there this long.


McDavid has always played well…
Against OTT
Against MTL
Against CGY
in TOR ….

not sure About Van. Mixed against WPG.

SHOULD be a Monster Year from #97


I think the guys on the morning show ran the numbers and, if I remember correctly, as it turns out, McDavid’s PPG against Canadian teams, in aggregate, has been lower than his overall.

With that said, its time – its time for him to get back to his supernova ways on more of a semi-consistent basis. Training, not rehabbing, and having played 4 games in the last 10 months – he’s ready.


My guess:




Koekkoek, Lagesson, Nygard

Neal, Haas (IR)

Taxi Squad

Benson Quine, Russell, Shore

Maybe Shore over Lagesson on the active roster depending on if they are worried about waivers for one of the two.


They may keep McLeod on the taxi squad until February when the AHL starts (see ya Quine) and then send him down and recall a player (that will have to quarantine, etc. if he physically heads to the Bake in the interim).


As close to Balance Photo as I have seen since ………………….

Before the I Phone existed


Based on what Neal said in his presser today, he would not qualify to go on IR. He was asked about his status and he indicated he could not skate with the team up till today because of the quarantine coming up from the US. If that is all it is, and the reason he is not ready for game 1 (which Tippett said he wouldn’t be) is because 4 days was not enough time to get in game shape, then it would look very suspicious to the NHL if he went on IR. The only way he gets on IR is if he actually had tested positive for Covid, or had another injury he did not disclose. If either of those were the actual case, Neal more likely would have said no comment and not come outright and lie particularly since if he goes on IR, the reason would be disclosed then.


He very well could have tested positive – Tippett expressly said that “he was in quarantine for quite a while” – implying longer than the 7 days required for everyone coming from outside Canada.

Who knows – its all speculation on him and Haas at this point.


Well in Neal’s press conference, he specifically talked about getting caught up in a 14 day quarantine coming from the US to Canada and having to follow the protocols. The exemption from the 14 days does not apply if he had Covid like symptoms or if he disclosed that he had been in recent contact with anyone with a positive test, even if he does not test positive for Covid. My friends flew into Calgary from overseas, one picked up Covid along the way, the other was fine, but both had to quarantine apart from each other for 14 days. We’ll find out Tuesday.

Last edited 9 months ago by Redbird62

Wouldn’t that imply that he likely did indeed test positive?


Not necessarily. If you have been knowingly in close contact with someone else who tested positive within the previous few days, you are still supposed to quarantine for 14 days after you arrive in Canada even if you never test positive. As well, if you arrive at the border and have a fever, sore throat etc you have to quarantine for 14 days even if you never test positive. Ie. Show up with a cold you need to quarantine just to be sure that’s what it was. You have to sign a forum at immigration attesting to these though they also take your temperature. If you lie at the border and then get found out to have brought Covid in, there can be huge fines and possibly jail time if you infect anyone.

Last edited 9 months ago by Redbird62

Based on what Neal said in his presser today, he would not qualify to go on IR. He was asked about his status and he indicated he could not skate with the team up till today because of the quarantine coming up from the US. If that is all it is, and the reason he is not ready for game 1 (which Tippett said he wouldn’t be) is because 4 days was not enough time to get in game shape, then it would look very suspicious to the NHL if he went on IR. The only way he gets on IR is if he actually had tested positive for Covid, or had another injury he did not disclose. If either of those were the actual case, Neal more likely would have said no comment and not come outright and lie particularly since if he goes on IR, the reason would be disclosed then.

We certainly don’t know all the details but it was mentioned in the presser that he hadn’t skated for 30 days (so a couple of weeks without skating before the quarantine on arriving in Canada).

He also says at about 1:40 “I’m just worried about getting healthy here, and getting back going”. He didn’t address it directly but it does sound like he was dealing with something more than just a quarantine for crossing the Canadian border.

Scungilli Slushy

Ennis is certainly a better scorer than Archie, but with Ennis on the 4th line it balances scoring with gritensity in the bottom 6.

Meaning Tipp can role 4 lines more which in a compressed shortened season keeps everyone more fresh.

And maybe the 4th line actually potts a few which it might not with Archie on it.


Yup, makes sense.

None of these guys were going to be on the team nor the taxi squad so no need to have them at practice on Monday and Tuesday.


I will just assume the scoring on here is like Golf ; so if I got a -9, that’s a Good score!


Nah, you’re in Harper Country 😉

It’s kinda like twitter. I think I’ve got something funny and original, apparently not.


“He was in quarantine for quite a while” – Tip on Neal when Matty pressed him on injury vs. illness.

Tip said he likes what he’s seen of Benson, he’s down the depth chart a bit but likes his progression and sees a player there. Reason for him being with the 2nd group today was because it was a special teams focus and he wouldn’t be a part of that.


Holloway on PK2 on the first PK. Solid work including a late clear with possession and zone entry on a 2 on 3. He’s carried the puck move today than he did the entire World Juniors and he’s shown some “puck skills”.

Through the first 10 minutes, 4 shifts, he’s picking up where he left on in early December, as a dominant player at this level. Of course, 4 shifts (plus the first two games).


Holloway draws a PP on his second shift and is on PP1 – plays the right-side (off-side half board) and is a clear QB of the PP from the half boards. Holloway comes from the wing to help win the draw and gets too shots off from the right circles (and one-timer wide and then a solid shot on net). Next faceoff, he again creates a winger win.

Next shift, at evens, Holloway takes a pass in the natural zone, splits the D to get a quick break on net – didn’t cash but he’s picking up where he left off in December.

Todd Macallan

Updates very much appreciated, as always.


How does his puck control and shot look, OP. Is he still fighting the puck or does he look like his wrist or whatever is recovered now?

Lordy Lordy Lorde

On the play where he spit the D, his hands looked very good as he made a move under the Dmans stick to get a shot off. Looks great




I missed the 3rd period but was going to post earlier that he has the puck on his stick way more at this level than he did at the World Juniors – he is a zone entry savant through three games (well, 8 periods, can’t comment on the 3rd period).

He seems comfortably trying to make plays in the offensive zone. No, he isn’t overly skilled but he doesn’t have terrible hands and isn’t defaulting to dump in the corner and chase like we saw at the tournament – that was clearly coached in.

He did try the “Bucky-Windmill” move on one rush down the wall – didn’t work but he did try a move to beat the guy one on one.

He has some skill with the puck on his stick – he’s not Turcotte or Zegras but he’s not JFJ either.


Thanks, OP.


How many games until JP and Kassian swap spots on the 1st and 3rd lines? I’m setting the over/under at 12 games….


I think JP stays right where he is with Turris for the season. Stability is what that kid needs more than anything. If Kassian isn’t getting the job done I think we see Neal or Chiasson or Archibald before JP.

Tippett named his 3 pairs a few days ago as Nuge – McDavid, Draisaitl – Yamomoto, and Turris – Puljujarvi and Spector wrote an article just a day or two ago quoting Holland that if Puljujarvi agreed to return he wanted to put him with a veteran centre for an entire season.

I think that is the plan.


Agreed, but I’d have the ‘replacements’ list order as Neal, Ennis, Archibald, Chiasson.


Ennis is looking more and more like the utility guy who can be plugged in wherever needed for short periods, doesn’t he.


Yup, it seems pretty clear at this point.

Elgin R

I’ll take the over and set the new line at 18.


I think Turris is JPs mentor for the season
Unless things are not working there or Kassian is Terribad they will stay together


Confirmed that Holloway (and Caufield) is in the lineup for Wisconsin. Not sure if he’ll be lining up as 2C like he did in the first two games but will know soon.


Confirmed at 2C (but started the game and had a solid shift starting the breakout and then battling in the offensive one on the boards).

Playing with Caufield but not Cole, playing with Brock.


No different than Friday’s but I guess that says something about what Tippett & co. are thinking.

Jack Michaels
Lines today:


Brogan Rafferty's Uncle Steve

How good would that fourth line look with Ben Eager and stinky boi Acton?


About the same as it would look with Zack MacEwan and Jay Beagle.


Wasn’t Ben Eager on the 2nd line for a while?

Or am I just remembering Ricki calling for it?


Coming Soon!!…

HUNTER1909’s Infamous 2020-21 Oilers Death March

More info pending. Thank you for your cooperation.


Confirmed that Neal will NOT be available for opening night.


Whoa – Konovalov with a start today – Stops 25 of 26 in a 4-1 win.

Todd Macallan

LT beat you by a few hours to the prospect update. Never thought I’d type that sentence, touche 2021.


Who the heck does he think he is……?


Gambardella cleared waivers today according to Mirtle. No surprise but hadn’t seen it mentioned here yet.

EDIT: Read too quickly. Gambardella is on waivers as of today. Sorry about that.

Last edited 9 months ago by defmn

January 10, 2021 post in advance:

defmn: Gambradella cleared waives today.


Ah, so I had it right the first time? Any idea why he would be sent down ahead of the crowd today?


No, no – I was forecasting his clear tomorrow.


Ah. I am 0 for 2 on this. Still not sure why they would have sent him earlier than the rest.


I don’t think he was with the team at camp and maybe they wanted the other guys to get one last skate in with the NHL coaches today?


Thanks, I just went and checked the original listing of players and saw that. For some reason I thought he was there all this time hiding out on the 7th line or something.


Unless Neal is ready to go for Wed, I think LT has the opening night lines surrounded.

Personally, I’d flip Archie and Ennis but I guess that’s a minor quibble and, from accounts, Archie has been good on that line – just scrimmages though.

Nygard is pushing for a LW lineup spot from camp reports.


Agreed, Ennis is a much better fit for third line duty than Archibald. The gap in offensive talent between the two is enormous.

Archibald has never been a 0.5 PPG player in the AHL, while Ennis has been second line level (borderline first) with 1.9 EV points/60 the last two seasons. That’s against lesser comp, but production is production.

Archi and Ennis look closer-ish if we look at GF% (except last season).

Ennis EV GF% last three years:

2019-2020, OTT, 47.6
2019-2020, EDM, 46.2
2018-2019, TOR, 46.9
2017-2018, MIN, 50.0


2019-2020, EDM, 35.8 (!)
2018-2019, PHX, 47.3
2017-2018, PHX, 46.4

This depends on deployment, but with 29/97 shouldering the bulk of the top comp, you would expect this year’s third line to see middle and gritensity comp. Here are their numbers against middle comp (PuckIQ):


19-20, 51.9
18-19, 54.5
17-18, 57.1


19-20, 42.1
18-19, 38.9
17-18, 42.9

Amazing that Archi is being considered for top 9 duty, IMO.


I never noticed it from watching him play, but when you dig into the numbers a bit there are some jaw droppers like you just posted (also that he was clearly WORSE than Sheahan/Khaira when you remove the McDavid minutes).

Maybe he improves, maybe Tip eventually makes a move (or not!).


Ya, switching Ennis and Archie is pretty much a no-brainer to me (even with Archie “looking good” at 3LW in the scrimmages) but its sure looking like its not going to happen.

I anticipate (and as others have also posited) the premise is that Archie is the “defensive conscious” of the line but, frankly, as we saw last year and as the numbers bear out, he might be miscast in that role.


Roster is mostly set, there’s not going to be many surprises there.

I just wonder how Kenny is going to get compliant for day one. Will take some veteran wrangling to make the numbers jive. Going to be interesting to see how it all unfolds.


Before Crawford’s retirement & Lundqvist’s surgery I thought they could safely send Smith down on a paper transaction as part of getting compliant but all of a sudden that doesn’t look all that safe.


Yup. All of Craig Anderson (PTO w/ WSH), Jimmy Howard and Mike Condon listed as remaining goaltender UFAs without contracts before the drop off to AHL level options. It’s not implausible that another team in need would make a claim on Smith, although there’s likely to be others available for less (Hill, Dell, et al).

Thing is, papering Smith for the day only saves about $300k.

I think Kenny will have to risk some veterans pouting to get compliant, even if it’s only for the day.

I do wonder if he moves KY and incurs the full bonus hit during the season. Would reduce the Klefbom LTIR cushion but not be fatal.


The team cap experts are going to earn their pay around the league this season.


… and we’re still stuck with Bill Scott.

The same guy who offered Tkachev a contract without fully understanding the CBA.

This is us.


Really, I didn’t know it was still the same guy. No wonder you are so concerned.


If Hass and Neal are both going to be on IR to start the season, they will likely use off-season LTIR to get compliant. They can place those two on IR and have a roster of 23 that is as close to $85.6M as possible and then LTIR Klef and LTIR reserves would be almost the entire $4M.

Once one of the players is activated, they assign another and cap space opens up. Repeat for the other player when activated.

In the interim, they would have no cap space if a 3rd player got hurt but that’s likely to be the case in any event – they won’t be able to run 3 players on IR and an active 23 really at any point (without disposing of real cap).


Bill Scott won the McDavid lottery.


Papering Smith for a day saves $1.075M, just like everyone else.


No, because you have to have two goalies on the active roster so he would be replaced by Forsberg.


Those Benson numbers are off I think – 19 points in 15 games as per eliteprospects.

Of note on the Maksimov KHL stats, he’s killing it in the VHL – flip flopping between the two leagues weekly.

Will have to wait a bit longer for Savoie love – both Denver games this weekend postponed due to Covid issues.

Wisconsin plays this afternoon and tomorrow and I believe Holloway is slated to be in the lineup – I’ll be watching.

Of note, the Engeras goal yesterday was a shortie – good to see he’s killing penaties.

Two games ago Lavoie scored on a bomb of a shot – no points yesterday but he got 2+2+10+20 for abuse of official.

Last edited 9 months ago by OriginalPouzar

Those Benson numbers are off I think – 19 points in 15 games as per eliteprospects.

Hockeydb has the numbers LT posted. Not sure why the discrepancy.


Chiasson and Yamamoto swapping in on the first PP unit (of course, with McDavid, Drai, Nuge and Barrie). Second unit is Kahun, Turris, Jesse, Nurse, Bear.


That’s pretty interesting. Perhaps seeing if Yamamoto can show well in that role, which would make it easier to move on from Chiasson early in the season


I think when they were swapping Chiasson & Neal last season the rationale was to keep opposing teams from getting too comfortable with just one look. I suspect Yamomoto brings a different look than Chiasson, no?


He does. I thought it would be a lefty though.


Yeah, that is what they did last year but I don’t think they are going to be having Yamomoto standing in front of the net taking a beating are they? Maybe he is just there until Neal is ready and to get some reps for future reference.


I dunno, maybe?

I thought the main difference in the ‘looks’ last year was lefty/righty. It’s not quite that simple, but I figured the biggest thing other teams needed to adjust to was where that net front pass was coming from.

So I was wondering what Oiler lefty could be subbed in for Neal and didn’t really come up with one. All of Turris, Kassian and Puljujarvi could conceivably play the net front role but they’re all RH.

Yamamoto is tiny AND a right shot, so I definitely didn’t see it coming. But he’s also legitimately the next best offensive option.

He could be a placeholder, but I could also see it actually working if he played ‘high’ net front. He’s got a great stick for that high traffic area, and there’s a lot less punishment there. That would most definitely be a different look from Chiasson too.

100% spitballing on how it could work, but Tippett doesn’t usually do things without them meaning something.

Last edited 9 months ago by jp

Listened to Neal’s presser today and he made no bones about the fact that he sees himself as a top six goal scorer.

I also made it clear that he would do what helped the team but he still sees himself in that top six role. I think the compromise is that he is back on the PP alternating with Chiasson and Yamomoto is just backup or contingency or down the road prep.


Literally just listened to it now. Yeah he’s pretty clear he wants to be a top 6 player (maybe OP was right that he wouldn’t be OK with being passed through waivers?).

On Yamamoto, I agree. I was only spitballing on Yamamoto’s role if Neal were injured/unavailable for a while. I’d be shocked if Tippett played Yamamoto on PP1 over Neal if both are in the lineup.

Maybe Yamamoto getting reps is insurance for Chiasson being moved on? (ha!). I do think Tippett giving him reps suggests he’s first up if one of the others isn’t in the game, FWIW.


He doesn’t stand in front but he darts in and out. He has exceptional timing so he could score some close in goals


Corey Crawford just retired. an odd situation for the Devils.


Strange. I knew he left TC a few days ago and there was no explanation. Puts the Devils in a bit of a position. Blackwood is the future but I know most coaches like a solid vet with a guy that young.


Not quite the veteran mentors but guys like Arron Dell and Adin Hill are likely to be put on waivers i would think.


And I think there is a good chance they both get plucked.


Yes. There will be a few teams circling the drain after the first month (NJD, CHI, ARI), unfortunately – those teams are not in the Canadian Division!

London Jon

Calling Mike Smith!


Not sure we want Stuart Skinner as the taxi squad goalie who very well many be needed to dress for NHL games.


HH. Do you have an update on Kole Lind. Have followed since Junior, just wondering if he will breakthrough with the Big Club or Taxi squad


jtblack dropped down to -8 but I bumped him back up to -9 for you LT. Didn’t want you to look like a liar.


some Smid lover bumped him to -10 but got him back to his -9.


Guilt by association.

We’ve all been there. 😉


What does -9 mean?


We’re back in high school. You know, internet high school all started with Zuck’s “hot or not”.

Harpers Hair

Haven’t heard much of anything outside of he’s “had a good camp”

Likely not a good sign.


Not sure if there would be chemistry with a line of Archibald – Mcleod – Nygard. Speed and pressuring opponents to match.

Todd Macallan

Ya, i mentioned that yesterday (but thanks for posting the vid, I don’t think I did) – the key for me wasn’t the goal necessarily but that he was on the PK!


I see Berglund listed with just 11 GP and there hasn’t been much talk on him lately. Anyone know what his status is?


I believe that he has an upper body injury that’s kept him out a while. He was supposed to be back by Christmas, but didn’t play in Linköping’s last game either, unfortunately.


It’s a shame there isn’t some kind of poster who could provide deep local insight on the Swedish league and players… some kind of “swedish poster” or equivalent… hmmm, that name might be a little mundane. I vote for “The Stockholm Syndrome”. That would be cool.


~ A Syndrome expert from Sweden. Perhaps we could find a MD? ~


Can he parlay that in to a second straight start?

Odds of yes are 3:1.


If you sub in McLeod into the Archibald spot on the 3rd line- and if you squint-you can see a third line with talent. It has been a real long time since we can come close to saying that.

Now, I admit I am projecting with McLeod but his next birthday will be his 22nd. He will need a few months to acclimatize to the NHL.

But I like him much more than Archibald, Chaser and the rest of the candidates.


Nice to see that McLeod was among a handful of players with 2 points (both assists) in the scrimmages.

I would like to see McLeod have a good year as a top 2 centre in the AHL with plenty of PK time. Then a year apprenticing as 4C, then he takes over for Turris.

I don’t think the current iteration of the fourth line is the best place for a young player to break in.

Elgin R

Why would Archie be on the 3rd line at all to start the year? He is another JJ – very, very poor 5v5 with a solid PK rep. At 5v5 last season, Archie contributed 1.2 pts/60 and was -1.6 GF/GA per 60. Ennis on the other hand contributed 1.8 pts/60 and was -0.3 GF/GA per 60. The math indicates that Ennis should start on the 3rd line.

I really like Archie and JJ (and wish them the best), but if the Oilers are going to do well this season, these two have to pick it up or be replaced. McLeod, Hass, Shore etc are pushing.


Assuming the lines stay this way for the start of the year, maybe Tippett just doesn’t want Khaira and Archibald together on the ice since they got crushed 4/16 gf/ga last year when on-ice together. With Sheahan, they were 4/12, and without Sheahan they were 0/4 GF/GA. Ennis maybe helps Khaira/Chiasson more than what they lose with Archibald on with Turris/Jesse. Once Neal is healthy,and if Tippett inserts him in the line-up. Tippett could move Ennis up, and reunite Neal/Khaira/Chaisson which did very well for a short sample size holding their own in GF/GA, and even winning the possession battle against Chicago. Tippett would need a replacement for Archibald on the PK he is comfortable with.


Hmm, that’s a nice point that Tippett could be keeping Khaira-Archibald apart more than putting Archibald with Turris.

I’d still guess though that he actually prefers Archibald there for various reasons (keep the PK pair together, actually truly thinks Archibald is better, evidenced by the time with McDavid…)


Josh didn’t do well playing with Leon and/or Nuge though. Short sample sizes but in 80 minutes of total ice time with either or both, the Oilers were outscored 7-0 and lost all possession metrics as well so the only skilled center he did well with was Connor. Hopefully, if he stays with Turris/Jesse the results are better, but, at least on paper, Tippett has more quality options to change that quickly. Above average PK doesn’t make up for a 3rd line getting less than 40% goal share (except when your PP is historic and your PK finishes in 2nd, but not a recipe for long term success).


I agree fully, just surmising what Tippett thinks.

Archibald’s possession numbers were terrible even with McDavid by the way.


What if he keeps Ennis on the 4th, and inserts Neal in on the 3rd line? Putting JP with Turris has been good for him so far. Putting him with a guy that has been a very good goal scorer throughout his career might put him in an even better position to succeed.


Elgin R

 Reply to  McSorley33

 January 9, 2021 10:12 am

Why would Archie be on the 3rd line at all to start the year?

I agree, Dave Tippett does not.

I think near everyone here assumed It would be Ennis on the 3rd line. I guess we still may see it at some point.

Last edited 9 months ago by jp

The nice thing is…there are several viable options!
I like that there is a buzzsaw forechecker on each line. If Kass fails to deliver, he will be replaced.


Ennis or Neal. I don’t think anybody thought Tippett would move Archibald to the left side and put him on the third line.

Of course we are, as a group, unaccustomed to player depth complicating our decision making process.


Yeah, feels like more of a placeholder than anything to me.

Could also be intended to allow some familiarity accrue between a PK pair.


He felt like a placeholder to start when Kahun wasn’t available but now, with only 2 practices left before game 1, he seems all but certain to start the season as 3LW.

Elgin R

The ‘unaccustomed to player depth’ line was good for a laugh this morning. Makes me think of all the guys who played for the Oilers and then the next year were out of the NHL entirely.

As the depth gets better, and the balance picture comes into focus, players like Archi and JJ will not be on the team (unless they stop getting caved). How large a contributor to this problem was Sheahan? Now that he is gone, do the two materially improve? Hope so.


I think McLeod stays. Maybe not in the opening night lineup.

Too fast and too young to get beat out by our bottom 3 forwards.


I think the Holland/Tippett etal would prefer McLeod playing in Bakersfield rather than being on the Taxi-squad with only a small chance of getting in an actual game. Besides, once Haas is finally cleared, he would likely replace Marody, either directly or push Shore down, which would still move Marody out.


I think the taxi-squad is going to be hugely important as they are the only additional players that the team has timely access to. I think the taxi-squad needs to be full of the top players for insertion in to the NHL lineup (i.e. the first call-ups in a normal season).

With that said, I don’t think McLeod is one of those guys yet – be a top 6 AHL forward first and succeed in those minutes.


I think McLeod needs to spend the rest of the season being a top 6 forward in the AHL before he’s a legit NHL option. He had a nice season in the AHL last year and his offensive numbers at 5 on 5 weren’t bad but he was a bottom six forward, often playing as much wing as center. He had a decent run in Europe but hasn’t proven to be a top 6 guy in the AHL yet. Big guys that can skate always look great in a training camp – doesn’t mean they are NHL ready (just like McLeod wasn’t near NHL ready in October 2019 after looking great in camp).

Elgin R

The NCAA group has some potential.
I am going to go out on a limb and project that Holloway makes the Oilers by 2022 – 2023 and has a NHL career.
Kesselring reminds me of a larger Matt Benning without the offence. Being a right-shot D is an advantage. Maybe he can develop into a shutdown 3rd pairing guy and make an NHL team.
Savoie – who knows if the young man will work hard enough and even if he does is that enough to make the NHL. When small-skilled late-round-pick guys are discussed I always think of Ty Rattie (not that small at 5-11 / 190) who was well over a point a game in the Dub and could not carve out an NHL career.


Some think that Holloway may sign and turn pro after this current season. I’m not sure its not best to give him a 3rd college season given the materially reduced number of games he’ll end up playing this year. Of course, if he keeps up the top end NCAA play that I’m seeing its probably time to turn pro. An extra year will give the Oilers a more advanced player to start his ELC, likely to more materially impact the lineup right away.

I think Keselring is a MUCH better skater than Benning and he’s MUCH bigger. I think he’s got more offence than he’s showing at NorthEastern and can be more of a 2-way guy than a “stay at home guy”. I could see 2nd D potential with his skill-set. Of course, not sure thing that he’ll even play an NHL game. A few more years of college with this one in any event.

I’ve watched all 12 of Savoie’s games at Denver this year and I am extremely heartened as I’ve seen a VAST improvement in his noted drafted day deficiencies. I’ve seen no lack of effort in any zone – he actually throws a few hits a game in the offensive zone and is engaging in the defensive zone (even diving to break up plays, etc.). I’ve seen improvement in his defensive zone play (he was “standing around a lot”) in his first few games and playing super high. He engages more in the defensive zone now. I think his skating needs some work (he’s kind of a clunky skater with average edges) and his fitness (only because he can labor at the end of shifts) but those things can be worked on. His puck skill, offensive IQ and shot are tantalizing.


I have no idea what Holloway himself is thinking, but if Holloway decides he wants to turn pro the Oilers will really have little choice but to sign him. The Oilers may try and convince him otherwise, but if the only reason they want to delay him is delaying his ELC, that would suit them but not Holloway and if your 1st round draft pick is set on signing a contract, you do it. Now I can see the Oilers based on current roster expectations, might not want to the the ones to instigate any discussion with Holloway about turning pro next year.


Looks like the Islanders just announced Barzal has signed but no details – just a photo of him on the ice with a blurb that he has joined TC.


Elliotte Friedman

Barzal is 3×7

Last edited 9 months ago by defmn

Is there any info on how Haas is being classified at this time? He is missing from your write-up. I would expect he would at a minimum make the taxi-squad, if not the 23 man roster once he gets past his issue.


I just did a search on Haas and there is a report on CBSSports that he did test positive for Covid 19 days ago, which if that had been reported on this site or anywhere else, I missed it.


Ya, the original intel from Holland back in December was that there was a Covid-issue with his team and he was a close contact. Holland didn’t think he had Covid but, because he was a close contact, his departure for Canada would be delayed and he’d miss the beginning of camp for quarantine protocol upon landing.

Given its January 9 and he’s still not even taken his physicals and is not around the team, I’ve got to imagine that he did indeed have Covid and is likely symptomatic.

Who knows how long he may be out.

League rules this year allow teams to place a Covid-positive player on LTIR without any further medicals, etc.

With that said, assuming he would be activated off LTIR during the season, the extra LTIR reserves wouldn’t help as they would disappear.

If he does go to LTIR, its a minimum of 24 days/10 games.


While I could see using LTIR if Haas tested positive once he was with the Oilers, I am not sure the league is going to give the full LTIR for a guy who if he did test positive, would have had to have done so likely no later than by the end of December or very early January given that he was exposed December 20 and positivity generally happens in 3-7 days post exposure though can go as much as 14 days (Jan 3). If Haas did test positive, he will likely be well along in the progression by the time the season actually starts next week and 24 days/10 games would seem excessive (Very much hope that he is among the large majority from his age group who recover quickly). Not sure if the Oilers could on day 1 put him on LTIR retroactive to when he tested positive if that is even applicable at the start of a season.


The league has indicated that a player that tests positive for Covid is eligible for LTIR without any further medical or question. Yes, I get your point about him testing positive (likely) back in December but, if the Oilers want to put him on LTIR to start the season, its not for “cap gymnastics” but because the player is still sick and not close to returning – not well along in his progression.


Haas wouldn’t necessarily be symptomatic. The normal provincial standard is 10 days in isolation from first symptoms.or a positive test, if now non-symptomatic. The NHL protocols, I think require a negative PCR to get out of isolation, and sometimes dead virus remnants bugger one up for a few days.

Last edited 9 months ago by godot10

It has been know that there was an issue with Haas related to Covid since around Christmas – the fact that its January 10 tomorrow and he’s still not out of quarantine (and no indication that he will be in the up coming days) makes it seem like more.

Total speculation. We’ll know more on Tuesday when teams are allowed to disclose more.


I agree that the Oilers wouldn’t put him on LTIR for cap gymnastics. I was pointing out that to go on to LTIR two weeks after his positive test which was all before the season started, they probably would be required to disclose to the NHL that he genuinely continues to be sick and is likely to take another 24 days to recover as opposed to just automatically allowing the LTIR. I very much hope that Haas is with the large majority of younger people and after they test positive, recover very quickly if they even have to recover at all. And if Haas is in fact with that majority he definitely would not get LTIR, but may warrant IR for a brief period. Any player testing positive right at the start of or in-season getting onto LTIR no further questions asked makes perfect sense.


 Matej Blumel is raining down blows like Dick Pound at a hammer convention. Some solid writing here. Made me spit my coffee out!

Last edited 9 months ago by fistycuff

It’s pretty cool isn’t it? That said, until Blumel does this against a higher level of competition, LT should probably czech his enthusiasm a little.


I’m looking forward to Blumel signing his ELC and being a Condor for 2021/22.

I wonder if there is any chance they sign him to an AHL deal when he’s done in Czech league this year and get him to finish the season with the Condors.

Unfriendly Regional Arachnid Individual

FWIW Blumel signed an extension with his Czech league team through 2023-24. There could very easily be an out-clause on that thing, but I don’t presume he’d sign such a contract if the intention was to come over later this same year.


I was wondering about his club team contract. Thank you for that info.

Now I could totally be wrong on this but I believe there is an agreement with pretty much all European leagues except the KHL and I don’t think he’d be precluded from signing and ELC and coming over – the Oilers would be a transfer fee.

I’m not sure what the player’s intention’s are but I personally don’t read too much in to his length of contract with Pardubice.

Last edited 9 months ago by OriginalPouzar

Per Gregor, Neal is practicing today. Its just special teams practice so not as intense but he is participating.


If Neal is practicing on the PP, you would think he will be ready for the start of the season.


But Neal on regular IR doesn’t help with Salary Cap compliance. Any further rumblings as to how the Oilers will manage that? Unless the Oilers believe there is a chance that Neal wouldn’t clear waivers and that they believe they would be worse off without him anyway, waiving Neal at the end of camp is the easiest way to get compliant, then recall him after Klefbom goes on LTIR. Now maybe there is a nuance in the CBA that says that if Neal is unfit to play, but not badly enough for LTIR, only regular IR, then the Oilers can’t demote him (even in a purely paper transaction). If Neal is practising now, even if so far only just the PP, then I doubt he will be eligible for LTIR.



But Neal on regular IR doesn’t help with Salary Cap compliance. Any further rumblings as to how the Oilers will manage that? Unless the Oilers believe there is a chance that Neal wouldn’t clear waivers and that they believe they would be worse off without him anyway, waiving Neal at the end of camp is the easiest way to get compliant, then recall him after Klefbom goes on LTIR. Now maybe there is a nuance in the CBA that says that if Neal is unfit to play, but not badly enough for LTIR, only regular IR, then the Oilers can’t demote him (even in a purely paper transaction). If Neal is practising now, even if so far only just the PP, then I doubt he will be eligible for LTIR.

They essentially have two options – off-season LTIR to get cap compliant or get compliant for day 1 and then use LTIR.

Normal course would be the second option where they get cap compliant for day 1 of the regular season, place Klefbom on LTIR and the LTIR reserves they will get (the amount the can go over the $81.5M cap by) is Klef’s cap hit less the cap space they had on day 1.

In order to get cap compliant for day 1, they could undertake paper transactions where players are assigned off the roster – the players that wouldn’t require waivers are Yamamoto, Benson, Bouchard, Lennstrom (along with the likes of Marody, Niemelainen, McLeod and certain others that are not NHL options right now). Of course, there are many that wouldn’t get claimed on waivers due to contract (Neal, Chiasson, etc.).

Once they get cap compliant, they place Klef on LTIR, get the LTIR reserves (cap overage cushion) and they can recall players that were assigned on paper.


They could also use off-season LTIR where Klefbom is placed on LTIR in the off-season in order to get cap compliant. The amount of the LTIR reserves (i.e. the amount the team can go over the cap) is the amount they are over on the day of LTIR placement.

In order to maximize the LTIR reserves with this method, is they want to be over the cap by as close to Klef’s $4.1M cap hit as possible.

If Neal is going to be on regular IR, in addition to Haas, to start the regular season, this method may work as they can place those two on regular IR and have an additional 23 man roster that can be essentially right at $4M over the cap, then they can place Klef on LTIR and get apx $4M of LTIR reserves.


The cap is going to be a MAJOR factor for the Oilers this season. As we are seeing right now, if they have two players on IR they won’t have cap room for a third injury replacement.

If Nuge, for example, tweaks a shoulder and is out for two weeks – they won’t even be able to activate Benson from the taxi squad due to cap (if Neal and Haas are still on IR and they have a full 23 man roster).


I wasn’t asking what the rules were, I have discussed those a few times already on this board in the recent past. My question was whether anyone who has any access to the Oilers has gotten any hints as to what they might actually do. Using Neal as the paper transaction is the one that maximizes the number of players the Oilers can retain on the roster for the one day from the end of camp to the start of season. And we all know waiting until the opening day to send Klefbom down is the generally the most salary cap efficient way to use LTIR. With both Neal and Klefbom’s salary still counting on the last day of camp, Holland can’t reasonably get cap compliant with 23 on the roster and I understand sending and recalling Yamamoto can be problematic because of his bonus clauses possibly then having to count ($230,000) in the cap relief math. If he is not worried that any of Nygard, Shore, Lagesson or Haas will be claimed, maybe Holland can do it without waiving Neal, but looking at capfriendly, if Yamamoto is in the line up, evening taking out all of those other 4 doesn’t appear to get them under $81.5. Or maybe they waive all of those 4 and also shuffle Yamamoto. If Neal is waived, when they do recall him, Holland would still have to waive someone (unless they are using IR).



Last edited 9 months ago by OriginalPouzar

Well sorry for not understanding what you were asking and providing mechanics in the response.

No, Holland has not provided intel to the public on his plan for cap compliance and the inter-team transactions he plans on implementing. I wouldn’t expect he will provide any such information.



It’s an easy move to IR Neal for a day, get Klefbom to LTIR and then activate him. Suspect that happens.

Can’t place a player on IR for just 1 day – I believe its a 10 day minimum. It can generally be back-dated retroactive to date of injury but I don’t think that can go in camp – i.e. before the season.


This is one of the wrinkles that makes cap compliance for day one intriguing, to me at least.