It’s fitting that the Lowdown draft coverage for 2021 begins on a day when the Oilers play the Montreal Canadiens. In the 42 drafts that include both Edmonton and Montreal, the numbers are revealing.
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: Carter Savoie’s college season suggests Oilers could have a real goal scoring prospect
- Lowetide: Has Oilers goalie prospect Stuart Skinner turned a corner?
- Lowetide: Where does Zack Kassian fit on the Oilers, now and in the future?
- Lowetide: Oilers’ midseason depth chart informs their needs for trade deadline and beyond
- Jonathan Willis: A position-by-position look at the Oilers after 30 games
- Lowetide: How will Oilers GM Ken Holland make room in the lineup for Evan Bouchard?
- Lowetide: Are the Oilers and Elvis Merzlikins a trade match?
- Lowetide: Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Dominik Kahun, Dylan Holloway and a perfect storm on the Oilers’ left side
- Lowetide: Why Oilers GM Ken Holland shouldn’t wait for the deadline to make a trade
- Lowetide: Three Oilers prospects form hottest line in the AHL
- Lowetide: Oilers’ top 20 prospects, trade deadline edition
- 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: Is this peak Connor McDavid?
OILERS AFTER 35 GAMES
- Oilers in 2015-16: 15-18-2, 32 points; goal differential -15
- Oilers in 2016-17: 18-12-5, 41 points; goal differential +6
- Oilers in 2017-18: 16-17-2, 34 points; goal differential -7
- Oilers in 2018-19: 18-14-3, 39 points; goal differential +1
- Oilers in 2019-20: 18-13-4, 40 points; goal differential -2
- Oilers in 2020-21: 21-13-0, 42 points; goal differential +17
This is a terrific record and could represent the peak of 2020-21. Edmonton has a tough road trip to wind up the month and aren’t out of the woods yet. Look at the goal differential! Holland’s bets are crushing it, from Mike Smith to Tyson Barrie to Jesse Puljujarvi, to Dave Tippett. Music!
WHAT TO EXPECT IN MARCH
- At home to: Toronto, Toronto, Calgary (Expected: 1-1-1) (Actual 1-2-0)
- At home to: Ottawa, Ottawa, Ottawa (Expected: 2-1-0) (Actual 3-0-0)
- On the road to: Vancouver, Calgary, Calgary (Expected: 2-1-0) (Actual 1-2-0)
- At home to Winnipeg, Winnipeg (Expected: 1-1-0) (Actual 2-0-0)
- On the road to: Montreal, Montreal, Montreal (Expected 2-1-0) (Actual 0-0-0)
- On the road to: Toronto, Toronto (Expected 1-1-0) (Actual 0-0-0)
- Overall expected result: 9-6-1, 19 points in 16 games
- Current results: 7-4-0, 14 points in 11 games
I have the Oilers going 3-2-0 on this trip, that’s pretty aggressive but we’ll see how they shine. If they hit the mark, Edmonton will end the month of March 24-15-0, 48 points in 39 games. That’s 69 points. That’s a playoff team.
OILERS HABS SINCE 1979
I do this once every year or so, have never published but since you’re special thought I would do it. Here are some cool numbers comparing the Oilers and Canadiens at the draft since 1979 (42 years).
- Total Picks: 423 (Montreal); 394 (Edmonton).
- First Round Picks: 46 (Montreal); 49 (Edmonton).
- Picks who played 1,000+ NHL games: 18 (Montreal); 13 (Edmonton)
- Picks who scored 400+ NHL goals: 2 (Montreal); 4 (Edmonton)
- Picks who played 500+ NHL games: 58 (Montreal); 41 (Edmonton)
- Picks who played 200+ NHL games: 90 (Montreal); 66 (Edmonton)
- Picks who played 100+ NHL games: 112 (Montreal); 88 (Edmonton)
Edmonton is ahead in 400+ goal scorers and behind by some margin in picks who have played 500, 200 and 100 or more games. A gap like that suggests there have been some holes in the talent evaluation over 42 seasons.
- Total Picks: 160 (Montreal); 171 (Edmonton).
- First Round Picks: 22 (Montreal); 24 (Edmonton).
- Picks who played 1,000+ NHL games: 2 (Montreal); 1 (Edmonton)
- Picks who scored 400+ NHL goals: 2 (Montreal); 0 (Edmonton)
- Picks who played 500+ NHL games: 14 (Montreal); 13 (Edmonton)
- Picks who played 200+ NHL games: 29 (Montreal); 28 (Edmonton)
- Picks who played 100+ NHL games: 33 (Montreal); 41 (Edmonton)
The Oilers will add 1,000+ games players and 400-goal men and eventually pass Montreal in all of these categories. And maybe later in the century, the Habs will pass them back. The two teams are much closer in the various games played categories, part of that is Edmonton’s fantastic draft spots over the last decade. Edmonton had six blown first-round picks, Montreal seven.
Montreal’s 2005-07 cluster (Carey Price, Ryan McDonagh, Max Pacioretty, PK Subban) gave the Habs several years of significant success. Edmonton’s 2013-2015 cluster (Darnell Nurse, Leon Draisaitl, Connor McDavid, hopefully Ethan Bear for many years) appears poised to provide many playoff berths in the future.
WHL 2021 DRAFT LIST (TAKE ONE)
- RW Dylan Guenther, Edmonton Oil Kings. 6.01, 181. Has exceptional hands, very skilled, fast and quick. Great skater, has pure goal-scoring ability. He’s played five WHL games this season and has posted 8-5-13 boxcars. He’s a nightmare for opponents. Incredible on the power play. Shoots right. April 2003.
- RC Ryder Korczak, Moose Jaw Warriors. He’s 5.11, 170 and the top play-making center in the WHL this season, counting 1-7-8 through five games. Good speed, elusive, he has a good shot but will make his living as a set-up center. September 2002.
- G Sebastian Cossa, Edmonton Oil Kings. 6.06, 207. He’s a giant goaltender with great athleticism and has a .956 save percentage through six games in 2020-21. I have him going in the first round. Nov. 2002
- LW Eric Alarie, Moose Jaw Warriors. 6.01, 196. Big strong power winger with plus skill, he can pass well and is a good shooter. I expect Tyler Wright likes him. He’s 4-2-6 in five games this season.
- RC Logan Stankoven, Kamloops Blazers. 5.07, 165. He’s my kind of player, a demon on the forecheck with plus skills. Great passer. Oilers have Yamamoto and Savoie, don’t think we’ll see a small forward drafted in the early rounds for some time. It is however, a good idea. This is a great prospect.
- LW Conner Roulette, Seattle Thunderbirds. Offensive winger who had a good season in the WHL at 16. He has good hands and speed, can score goals (19 in 54 games) and has a sixth sense for offense. Smart player, a player to watch closely in the games ahead of the draft.
- LD Carson Lambos, Winnipeg Ice. A big man already (6.01, 200) he is a fine skater and can be deployed in any situation. He doesn’t project to bring more than a two-way defenseman’s offense with him to pro hockey, that will keep his value down on my list. January 2003.
There were seven men chosen in the first round from the WHL one year ago, I don’t believe we’ll see close to that number chosen this year. In all honesty, the first three names are (in my opinion) first-round quality. We’ll see some players emerge in the coming weeks, but this is a down year in the dub.
Montreal has that great trio (Tatar-Danault-Gallagher) that can run even a brilliant line ragged, so I’m not sure we’ll see 97-29-13 together at the start of the game. What you hope for is a return of Kailer Yamamoto, who adds a lot to the Draisaitl line no matter the LW. This is a massive road trip.
A good signing. He’s a fascinating prospect, raw and talented at both ends. I can’t wait to see him in Bakersfield.
LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE
We begin at 10, TSN1260, with a conversation about this Oilers team being on the verge of establishing itself as a strong contender for the top of the Canadian Division. We’ll be joined by Eric Fawcett from NBA Canada will talk March Madness and some NBA. Jason Strudwick from TSN 1260’s Jason Gregor Show will sing some Neil Diamond wearing tight fittin’ jeans and talk about this insane road trip ahead for the Oilers. 10-1260 text, @Lowetide on twitter. See you on the radio!