The business of the offseason officially got underway yesterday, as Oilers general manager Ken Holland signed forward Devin Shore to a two-year deal. That transaction, added to the note by Daniel Nugent-Bowman in a recent article in The Athletic that suggests Tyler Benson may be protected, gives us an idea about how left wing will work in 2021-22.
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 Jonathan Willis: Why some of the most popular moves Ken Holland could make would be mistakes
- New Lowetide: Why huge Oil Kings goalie Sebastian Cossa could be the perfect first-round fit for the Oilers
- DNB: What I’m hearing about the Oilers’ plans for the Kraken draft
- Lowetide: The Oilers must decide now what to do about the Connor McDavid-Leon Draisaitl dilemma
- DNB: Oilers mailbag, part 2
- Lowetide: What is Kailer Yamamoto’s future fit on the Oilers’ depth chart?
- DNB: Oilers mailbag, part 1
- DNB: What a perfect offseason could look like for the Edmonton Oilers
- Lowetide: The Oilers need to add four wingers to their top nine this summer
- Lowetide: Oilers enter free agency as a major buyer. Is third time the charm?
- DNB: Oilers could look quite different next season after departure of several players
- Lowetide: It won’t be easy, but the Oilers need to re-sign Darnell Nurse soon
- DNB: Ideal Oilers free-agent targets
- New Lowetide: An early look at the Oilers’ options for the 2021 draft
- New DNB: The pressure is on Oilers GM Ken Holland
- New Lowetide: What now for Ryan Nugent-Hopkins?
- New DNB: Connor McDavid shows his frustration as another year of his prime is lost: ‘We’re a group that expects more’
- New Jonathan Willis: The NHL gifted the Oilers Connor McDavid; six years later, they have yet to adequately support him
PROJECTED LW DEPTH CHART 2021-22
- Blake Coleman. He would be my choice, sturdy winger with speed and skill. Coleman scored 9-14-23 five on five in 55 games with Tampa Bay this season (12:16 a night, scoring 2.04 pts-60) and should be able to handle the one or two extra minutes a night he’d be asked to play in Edmonton. His goal and shot share at five on five were over 55 percent, that could slide a little and remain brilliant. He also played 2:15 a night on the PK, allowing 6.41 GA/60. I’d run him on the McDavid line.
- Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. He had a difficult season at five on five (7-7-14 in 52 games, 14:06 a night, 1.15 pts-60) but should recover next season. He plays a lot on the power play (4:22 a night, 5.48 pts-60) and is productive. His PK time (1:54 per game, 7.86 GA/60) was less effective year over year, and I think cutting some TOI is probably a good idea. Coleman’s PK minutes might mean Nuge can skip those minutes.
- Tyler Benson. This would be the Dominik Kahun role, and it should be mentioned the club might just rehire Kahun for the job. If we go back to the turn of the century, there have been so many examples players who received a full shot at becoming NHL wingers and didn’t make the grade. There’s only one way to find out and that’s 500-at bats. Below are the EV-points per 60 for Oilers rookie forwards since 2000, where do you think Benson would/will land?
- Devin Shore. His PK work got him the contract in my opinion, the five on five possession numbers are ghastly. Even as a 40-game 13th forward who plays center and wing this is a poor bet, and I do believe the pretzel logic used to justify the special teams emphasis for fourth lines will result in a repeat of last season’s stunning five on five bleeding. However, the die is cast.
- It might be James Neal or other. I think Edmonton would need a rock solid two-way winger like Gaetan Duchesne. The bottom six needs a strong five on five player here.
EV PTS-60 OILERS ROOKIE FWDS SINCE 2000
- Connor McDavid 2015-16: 3.00
- Mike Comrie 2000-01: 2.52
- Andrew Cogliano 2007-08: 2.37
- Ales Hemsky 2002-03: 2.26
- Shawn Horcoff 2000-01: 2.24
- Nail Yakupov 2012-13: 2.18
- Fernando Pisani 2002-03: 2.13
- Sam Gagner 2007-08: 1.97
- Ryan Nugent-Hopkins 2011-12: 1.93
- Jason Chimera 2002-03: 1.90
- Taylor Hall 2010-11: 1.85
- Jordan Eberle 2010-11: 1.81
- Mark Arcobello 2013-14: 1.79
- Linus Omark 2010-11: 1.76
- Josh Currie 2018-19: 1.65
- Liam Reddox 2008-09: 1.56
- Jesse Puljujarvi 2016-17: 1.44
- Dan Lacouture 2000-01: 1.41
- Magnus Paajarvi 2010-11: 1.39
- Jarrett Stoll 2003-04: 1.39
- Jani Rita 2005-06: 1.36
- Teemu Hartikainen 2011-12: 1.36
- Anton Slepyshev 2016-17: 1.33
- Brad Winchester 2006-07: 1.19
- Marc Pouliot 2006-07: 1.17
- Patrick Thoresen 2006-07: 1.15
- Iiro Pakarinen 2015-16: 1.14
- Drake Caggiula 2016-17: 1.10
- Leon Draisaitl 2014-15: 1.05
50-MAN LIST (31)
|Goalie (4)||Left Defense (8)||Right Defense (5)|
|Mikko Koskinen||Darnell Nurse||Ethan Bear|
|Alex Stalock||Kris Russell||Evan Bouchard|
|Ilya Konovalov||Caleb Jones||Filip Berglund|
|Olivier Rodrigue||William Lagesson||Phil Kemp|
|(Stuart Skinner)||Philip Broberg||Mike Kesselring|
|(Dylan Wells)||Dmitri Samorukov|
|Oscar Klefbom LTIR|
|Left Wing (5)||Center (4)||Right Wing (5)|
|James Neal||Connor McDavid||Jesse Puljujarvi|
|Devin Shore||Leon Draisaitl||Zack Kassian|
|Raphael Lavoie||Kyle Turris||Josh Archibald|
|Dylan Holloway||Ryan McLeod||Kirill Maksimov|
|Ostap Safin||(Juhar Khaira)||Seth Griffith|
|(Tyler Benson)||(Kailer Yamamoto)|
|(Dominik Kahun)||(Cooper Marody)|
There’s plenty of room to sign all the RFA’s and UFA’s, so from that point of view the Shore addition isn’t a difference maker. However, Shore’s addition does mean the five on five outscoring gap will continue next season. McDavid-Draisaitl will once again represent the only outscoring lines unless Ken Holland can put together a third line with ability.
Shore’s signing signals the fourth line will (for probably half the season or more) be represented by a trio of penalty killers like Shore, Jujhar Khaira and Josh Archibald. It also pushes up Ryan McLeod and Zack Kassian to that third line, with (possibly) rookie Benson. Viewed through this lens, it’s understandable that many fans are frustrated by what is in fact a small deal. The coach is satisfied with the five on five deficit of the bottom-six if the penalty kill delivers. That’s what the Shore signing tells me.
MACT’S LINES IN 2008-09
- Dustin Penner-Shawn Horcoff-Alex Hemsky: 302 minutes, 61 percent shots, 81 percent goals (21-5)
- Erik Cole-Sam Gagner-Robert Nilsson: 172 minutes, 48.7 percent shots, 60 percent goals (9-6)
- Ethan Moreau-Andrew Cogliano-Marc Pouliot: 132 minutes, 45.8 percent shots, 61.5 percent goals (8-5)
- Liam Reddox-Kyle Brodziak-Zack Stortini: 48 minutes, 39 percent shots, 80 percent goals (4-1)
Craig MacTavish was an even strength monster as a coach, the 2008-09 team wasn’t his best (NST only goes back to 2007-08) but his fantastic EV teams always posted strong totals. Overall the 2008-09 team was 228-244 (-16), but with a positive differential at even strength (165-159, +6). The power play (60-8) and penalty kill (3-76) had the 2008-09 Oilers running a -21 deficit.
TIPPETT’S LINES IN 2020-21
- Nuge-Connor McDavid-Jesse Puljujarvi: 258 minutes, 54 percent shots, 48 percent goals (13-14)
- Dominik Kahun-Leon-Kailer Yamamoto: 293 minutes, 48 percent shots, 60 percent goals (12-8)
- Tyler Ennis-Jujhar Khaira-Josh Archibald: 89 minutes, 46 percent shots, 71 percent goals (5-2)
- James Neal-Gaetan Haas-Alex Chiasson: 83 minutes, 48 percent shots, 66 percent goals (2-1)
Ken Holland did in fact provide Dave Tippett with the tools for an outscoring depth line, and there was some promise in the group. Shore wasn’t part of the promise, as his five on five on-ice goal differential (9-17) was a drag on results.
Tippett’s team finished 183-154 goals (+29) but went about it in an opposite MacT fashion. EV strength (133-123, +10) was a positive total, but the special teams were key. Tippett’s power play (48-4, +44) and PK (2-27, -25) lifted the Oilers time and again during the year.
A fan could say “Oilers did well at even strength a year ago, what’s the problem?” but the retort is surely “why wouldn’t the Oiler try to get better?” and that is what we’re waiting to see as the summer rolls out.
I don’t believe the sky is falling. The sky does look curious this morning, though.
LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE
At 10 this morning, we hit the air with a full force gale, TSN1260. Kaitlyn McGrath from The Athletic will talk Toronto Blue Jays at 10:20 and Ken Boehlke from SinBin Vegas will talk Golden Knights-Avalanche at 11. Plenty of Shore talk, too! 10-1260 text, @Lowetide on twitter. See you on the radio!