Every year since forever, I quietly (that’s a lie, I don’t do anything quietly) make a list of players who I believe will take advantage of an opportunity made available. Sometimes it works out horribly, and sometimes things land perfectly. This year is…interesting.
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: Why are some Oilers fans hesitant to give Darnell Nurse his due?
- Jonathan Willis: Can Oilers improve enough to beat TML it in May?
- Lowetide: Top trade targets for the Oilers at the 2021 deadline
- Jonathan Willis: Oilers 2021 trade value rankings
- Lowetide: February report cards for the Oilers
- Lowetide: Difficult season for trio of Oilers prospects playing in the AHL
- Lowetide: Jesse Puljujarvi must be on the Oilers expansion protected list after breakout
- Jonathan Willis: The Oilers’ 2020 trade deadline splash: What we learned, a year later
- Lowetide: Revisiting our preseason predictions for the Oilers after 20 games
- Lowetide: Oilers begin to separate from prairie teams in Scotia North
- Lowetide: If Dylan Holloway turns pro this spring, will it be with the Oilers?
- Jonathan Willis: Could an Ethan Bear trade improve the Oilers?
- Lowetide: Is Oilers centre Kyle Turris playing himself out of the NHL?
- Lowetide: Tinkering with the Oilers’ top six — what are the best line combinations?
- Lowetide: Philip Broberg and the Oilers’ Leftorium
- Lowetide: Jujhar Khaira, a waiver reset and the Oilers’ future at No. 3 centre
- Lowetide: Is this peak Connor McDavid?
Jesse Puljujarvi was an easy pick to make the roster, but guessing the production was difficult. He’s on track to score 14-7-21 in 55 games, I had him a little behind that pace. Kailer Yamamoto’s trajectory has him posting 11 goals and 24 points in 56 games, my prediction was more dynamic, but not gaudy. I had Caleb Jones GP totals projected well but expected more offense (he’s on pace for 43 games, 0-4-4).
I had Evan Bouchard getting 17 games (1-4-5), he is now on pace for 4-11-15 in 43 games. Always bet the pedigree. William Lagesson (39, 0-10-10) doubled my projections pretty much across the board.
Who did I project to play who has been left behind? I had Theodor Lennstrom at 8 games, but other than that the men who have emerged were in sight before training camp. The levels of performance were less predictable.
Flames hired him last night after a blowout win. Saturday is going to be nuts. Sutter is the author of one of my favourite quotes:
“The big thing in today’s game is you have to be able forecheck and backcheck, and you have to have the puck. You can’t give the puck up. We don’t play in our zone, so there’s not much defending. I’ve coached in three decades now and this stuff where they said Marian had to play in Jacques’s system is a bunch of bull-crap. The game’s changed. They think there’s defending in today’s game. Nah, it’s how much you have the puck. Teams that play around in their own zone think they’re defending but they’re generally getting scored on or taking face-offs and they need a goalie to stand on his head if that’s the way they play.”
Flames fired Geoff Ward to make room for Sutter. You may recall Ward was head coach for Edmonton’s AHL farm team (Toronto Roadrunners (2003-04) and the Edmonton Roadrunners (2004-05) after serving as Julien’s assistant coach in Hamilton) around the turn of the century. I gave him credit for being key to the development of Kyle Brodziak, Brad Winchester and Jeff Woywitka during his time with the organization.
THE 2016 DRAFT IS BRANDON DAVIDSON
Do you remember how I always say wait five years after a draft? To make good and sure everyone has a full hearing? Sometimes, as in the case of Brandon Davidson, reality conspires against the five-year rule. Davidson emerged as a regular in year six after his draft.
I think the entire 2016 draft may need a Brandon Davidson kicker year. The five-year rule will close all opinions this spring. However, Puljujarvi is just establishing himself as an NHL regular, Tyler Benson has had just a cup of coffee, and Markus Niemelainen is just getting started (impressively) in the AHL with the Bakersfield Condors. Filip Berglund comes over this fall and Matthew Cairns has shown signs of life. Yes. We’re going to have to use the Brandon Davidson option on the 2016 draft.
MCDAVID’S WINGERS TONIGHT
Assuming Nuge is running with Draisaitl and Yamamoto, the top option for RW is Jesse Puljujarvi. At five on five, the duo are 9-11 in on-ice goal differential, but 54 percent shots and 60 percent expected goals.
Who would I recommend on LW for that line? For me, it’s Joakim Nygard. Since he arrived with the Oilers, Nygard with 97 at five on five have 57 percent shots and 55 percent expected goals. It’s just 58 minutes, but those are good numbers.
LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE
A busy morning on the Lowdown as we careen to the weekend and a batbleep crazy Battle of Alberta. At 10:20, Steve Lansky from Inside the Truck podcast will talk Walter Gretzky, Darryl Sutter and the importance of a win against Calgary after the week against Toronto. At 10:40, Ryan Pike from Flames Nation and The Sporting News will talk about the big change late last night in Calgary. At 11, Matthew Iwaynk joins me and answers the question “is it okay for adults to be confused by the Edmonton Oilers?” 10-1260 text, @Lowetide on twitter. It’s Friday, bastages!