The NHL imitates success with religious fervor. I always cheer for the skill teams in hopes that one day I’ll wake up and it will be 1984 all over again.
This year, the theme is ‘great goalie’ and ‘big blue’ and it may give us a clue about the summer to come in Edmonton.
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: What will Oilers do if they must replace Oscar Klefbom?
- New Jonathan Willis: What comes next for the Oilers’ Jesse Puljujarvi?
- Lowetide: Why Evan Bouchard, Ryan McLeod and more prospects are options for Oilers in 2021-22
- DNB: Ten teams the Oilers should be targeting for trades ahead of the Kraken expansion draft
- Lowetide: How Ken Holland’s transaction history could foreshadow the Oilers summer to come
- Lowetide: How close to NHL-ready is Oilers prospect Dmitri Samorukov?
- Lowetide: Oilers’ reasonable expectations eat dust during Connor McDavid’s dream season
- Jonathan Willis: Why some of the most popular moves Ken Holland could make would be mistakes
- 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: 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?
Carey Price is a great goalie, past his prime but still capable of carrying his team for an extended period. He’s on a heater currently and it’s going to be a big story. It’s unlikely Montreal wins the Stanley Cup, but even without it the idea of a top drawer goaltender is back in vogue.
The other trend is going to be big defensemen, but I don’t think you’ll see Quinn Hughes sent to the minors any time soon. It is true that the league called this year’s playoffs in a way where ‘big’ and ‘tough’ had added value.
How will this impact the Oilers?
11 POSSIBLE SUMMER TARGETS
- G Sebastian Cossa, Edmonton Oil Kings. I wrote about him as a possible Oilers pick for The Athletic in early June, and have him No. 18 on my final 2021 draft list. If you’re looking to imitate the Habs, drafting a kid from the WHL to play goal is a fine place to start.
- RD Dylan McIlrath, NHL free agent. He has been in the AHL for 10 years, playing just 66 games in that time. He’s 6.05, 231, is reasonably mobile for a man his size and has a great wingspan.
- RD Louis Crevier. A 2020 draft pick by the Chicago Blackhawks, the 6.08 defender with the wingspan of a Condor turned 20 in May and could in fact play in Bakersfield this coming season. He has reasonable wheels and would represent the first real attempt by Edmonton to Frankenstein the next Zdeno Chara.
- LD Alex Goligoski. He’s old (35) but mobile and can play big minutes (23 last season). He can contribute to offence and his possession plus rel numbers are solid. He would represent a nice addition to the second pair, hopefully on a short-term deal. Played for Dave Tippett and Jim Playfair in past lives.
- RD Adam Larsson. The other member of the third pairing, he represents the shutdown portion of the pairing. Larsson will get term, and around $4 million. He is a nasty piece of business in a good way, giving Edmonton some bite (and that’s in vogue this spring).
- LC Philip Danault. I’d rather trade for Nick Suzuki but that’s not going to happen. Danault is a free agent and brings bona fide two-way ability to the third line. You want to improve the bottom-six outscoring? Sign this guy.
- LW Andrew Cogliano. He doesn’t score anymore but still has great wheels and can play the game well. He would be a plug and play on the bottom six and can penalty kill. Also had a truly awful shooting percentage so that goal total might go up. Might be a good mentor for Ryan McLeod.
- LW Blake Coleman. Coleman’s aggressive style and complementary scoring should help on one of the top two lines.
- LW Tomas Tatar. His value seems to be taking a dive (he’s opposite Zach Hyman) so perhaps buying out Neal and trading Koskinen will allow yet another addition.
- LW Eric Alarie. He has some of the things we associate with a power forward and has skill, too. Edmonton might have to trade up to draft him, but he would give some aggression to the prospect group.
- G Linus Ullmark. Goaltending is a major piece for the Canadiens and I’ll admit there’s no obvious ‘best candidate’ this summer among the free agents available. You may have another name, I’ll freely admit Ullmark’s resume (he’s been consistently good) is the reason for the choice. If you have a better mousetrap and it brings guaranteed better results, then by all means name that mousetrap.
This would take more money than is available, so men like Zack Kassian, James Neal and Mikko Koskinen would need to be sent away, and several current RFA’s might not be signed. I don’t believe Ken Holland will be as aggressive and I’m not convinced all of these moves benefit Edmonton.
However, if you’re looking to go as far as possible in the playoffs next spring, and with the understanding Dylan Holloway is likely to be contributing in Edmonton by the end of the 2021-22 season, this team has a good chance to go deep as long as the NHL is calling the game the same way 2022 spring.