Wednesday in Edmonton began RocknRolla and ended with the usual online outrage from Oilers fans. I’ve reached the conclusion (mentioned this on the Lowdown yesterday) Oilers fans are morphing from “when is the draft lottery?” to “why did I pick these losers to win this series?” and will eventually settle down to “that happened” after an early loss in a long series. The time away from the postseason has given Oilers fans an itchy trigger temper. In Edmonton, it’s easy to be stricken by the fury. Let’s try again shall we?
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’s the latest!
- New Lowetide: The seeds of Oilers’ 2015 orientation camp forms heart of current team
- New DNB: ‘We need to bear down’: Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl can’t carry the Oilers, going scoreless in Game 1 loss
- New Jonathan Willis: Jesse Puljujarvi scores, Leon Draisaitl thrives and Edmonton falls in Game 1 vs. the Jets
- New DNB: Darnell Nurse is on ‘another level’
- Lowetide: Jesse Puljujarvi has arrived for the Oilers — again
- Jonathan Willis: What the Oilers need to do to beat the Jets
- Lowetide: Oilers final 2020-21 report card: A regular season to remember
- New DNB: ‘The biggest transformation I’ve ever seen in an elite player’: How Connor McDavid took the next step
- New DNB: Are the Oilers botching Evan Bouchard’s development?
- New DNB: What Leon Draisaitl learned in Bakersfield
- Lowetide: Adam Larsson contract talks give us a glimpse into Oilers’ offseason plans
- Lowetide: Ideal Edmonton Oilers lines and pairings for the 2021 NHL playoffs
- Jonathan Willis:Oilers’ Mike Smith is putting himself in the all-time old-guy goalie conversation with a stunning season at 38
- DNB:What are the Oilers’ pressing questions ahead of the Seattle Kraken expansion draft?
- DNB: A 2nd Hart Trophy is firmly in Connor McDavid’s grasp
- Lowetide: An early look at ideal Oilers’ free-agent targets for the offseason
SAIL ON, RED DEER REBEL?
Wayne Gretzky recorded his final point as an Edmonton Oiler in the second period of the final game of the 1988 playoffs. It was May 25, Wayne Gretzky 12 (Esa Tikkanen, Steve Smith) 9:44 PPG GWG. 99 would win the Conn Smythe, same evening.
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins is a famous Oilers player, he ranks No. 10 in franchise goals and points all-time. A moment of team history may occur in the coming days, it’s possible he is skating in his final games for Edmonton, scoring his final goals and points. Tonight will be just his nineteenth playoff game. It would be a shame to endure all those hard times without staying around for the good ones. I hope he stays.
Stan Weir was born in a log cabin that he built with his bare hands. Stan Weir can lick his elbow. Stan Weir puts the fun in funeral. Big Foot takes pictures of Stan Weir. Stan Weir once played 18 holes of golf using a 12 inch strip of rebar and a sun dried tomato. He shot a 54. Stan Weir can kill two stones with one bird. Cars look both ways before Stan Weir crosses the street. Stan Weir will bring us winning, riches untold and women who are terrible judges of character. Ladies and gentlemen, Stan Weir!
These playoffs, and all of the playoffs that have gone before, do a brilliant job of exposing weakness. Even Stanley Cup winners need fixing over the summer; the glory Oilers tweaked every year.
Ken Holland will enter summer with a pile of money. Here’s the roster with no RFA’s or UFA’s signed. Holland has $23.6 million to fill seven spots. Assuming no buyouts, what does this roster need?
I’m going to ignore the rumours that Adam Larsson and Mike Smith are coming back, and pretend Holland hasn’t decided on Nuge either. RFA’s Kailer Yamamoto, Dominik Kahun, Jujhar Khaira and Tyler Benson are options to be decided on, the decisions are wide open. Oilers haven’t protected Klefbom but Seattle is going to take William Lagesson in this exercise.
What is your needs list, in order? Mine is:
- Big time scoring left-winger, top end. Assuming Landeskog and Hall sign before free agency, then Tatar, Hyman, Coleman. I like Brandon Saad, too.
- Nuge or replacement Nuge. Options include Nuge, Alex Wennberg, Mikael Granlund.
- RH top four D. Adam Larsson is my choice if Dougie Hamilton won’t return calls. You?
- Starting goalie. I like Chris Driedger and Linus Ullmark, it’s going to be Mike Smith.
- Skill right winger. Kailer Yamamoto. He’s good and can thrive in the top six F. Agree?
- 3-4 center. Jujhar Khaira is the incumbent, can’t hurt to shop a little (Tomas Nosek?)
- Second left winger, less expensive (Michael Bunting ideal) who could push for playing time and strengthen the depth chart with Holloway, Benson et al.
Holland would have $2.2 million left. If he bought out Neal or Koskinen, Edmonton could do some more work on the bottom two lines. As it is, left wing on the roster above has been improved, McLeod has shown some ability as a No. 3 center and Holland can tweak right wing in the summer of 2022.
LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE
At 10 this morning, TSN1260. We’ll preview tonight’s Game 2 between the Jets and Oilers, Steve Lansky from Inside the Truck podcast will walk us through what the television production crew was faced with in real time. Matt Iwanyk will talk about what it’s like to be in Rogers for these playoff games, we’ll also talk Corey Conners, who is leading the PGA tournament. 10-1260 text, @Lowetide on twitter. See you on the radio!