A Big Red Beacon, A Flag and a Man on the Rail

by Lowetide

If things break right, the Oilers should be on the verge of building a pipeline of forwards that resembles the current state of the defense. It’s an important moment for a team that spent most of the last 20 years zipping through the prospects at lightning speed. Plug in, flush out and then fire the Pääjärvi, since about 2006.

It’s a bad way to go. You can’t possibly give everyone enough time to show what they can do. From Andrew Cogliano to Magnus Pääjärvi to Nail Yakupov, the Oilers were seemingly incapable of bringing even talented, early selection forwards along at pace.

I think the turn started in about 2013, you may have another date in mind. The scouts were finding solid prospects outside the first round, and embarking on a strong run of first-round selections. By 2015, the interesting prospects chosen outside the first round were legit NHL prospects, and the final fast-track first rounder was Evan Bouchard in 2018-19.


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!


I posted this on twitter last night, it was interesting that most of the reaction came in regard to St. Louis’ style compared to Yamamoto. Important to note we aren’t talking about what style these men play(ed), we’re talking about results and finding comparable players from the past to guide us.

I wanted to post it today in order to drive home the importance of draft and successful development. Before I make the point, allow me to post the same graph for Jesse Puljujarvi, Edmonton’s other skill right winger.

I could have used several names but this one fit on several levels and both show up on each other’s comp list. If Puljujarvi has a career that is close to Granlund (591 games, per 82GP: 17-36-53) offensively, and is a bull in a china shop as he was a year ago, that’s a guy who can help you win.

The 2020-21 season was draft plus five for Puljujarvi, who went 55, 15-10-25 (.45 pts-game). In the same season, Granlund posted 63, 8-33-41 (.65). He would run in place for a couple of seasons before spiking.


So, Yamamoto is going to sign a contract this summer, let’s place it at two years, with a $2.2 million AAV ($2 million year one, $2.4 year two). Puljujarvi enters the final year of his deal at $1.175 million this fall. So, Edmonton’s skill right wingers will cost $3.375 million toward the cap. That’s fantastic! Music!

It’s temporary. The smart man is planning ahead, and that’s why I can’t use recent Oilers history in this example.

If Puljujarvi drills 25 goals next season and solidifies his role as a top-six giant man, his agent is going to be asking for a long contract with a higher crooked number than we’re anticipating. Although Ken Holland didn’t draft him, there’s an investment of time and resources attached to the player and his success is a reflection of good work. A good season gets paid, a great one will get paid well.

Yamamoto has more to prove based on his final weeks of last season, but in his most recent 82 NHL regular season games, he’s 19-28-47. If he does that two more times, he’s going to get a nice contract too.

If one blossoms and the other fades, Holland is going to need a plug-and-play option by the fall of 2022. If both blossom, there will be a big payday for JP in 2022 summer, and another for Yamamoto the following year.

Edmonton may not be able to afford both men. What will the organization have pushing for NHL work on a skill line by the summer of 2022? 2023?


Edmonton had been playing the hell out of Cam Talbot for three seasons, that was about to change with the addition of Mikko Koskinen. The left side of the defense needed Andrej Sekera to play 82 games (he would play 24).

The big right-wing addition (Tobias Rieder) didn’t score a goal all year. Ty Rattie (who would score four goals in 50 games), Jesse Puljujarvi (who would score four goals in 46 games), Kailer Yamamoto (one goal in 17 games) and Zack Kassian (15 goals in 79 games) appeared to round out the group.

Chiarelli saved the position by signing Alex Chiasson right at the beginning of October ($650,000, Edmonton had no cap room) and he would score 22 goals. In November, he would trade Ryan Strome, and Edmonton had no obvious recall option when Todd McLellan decided (early and correctly) Spooner wasn’t going to he his No. 3 center.


Let’s use Edmonton’s current ‘winger’ situation as an entire segment, as in adding left and right wing and treating that group as a whole. I’m going to assume Nuge signs and add Tomas Tatar as a proxy for what the depth chart may look like in August, 2021:

  1. Tomas Tatar (McDavid line)
  2. Jesse Puljujarvi (McDavid line)
  3. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (Draisaitl line)
  4. Kailer Yamamoto (Draisaitl line)

Now, the pipeline has no LW or RW skill options who could post a 22-goal season like Chiasson did in 2018-19 (he is a free agent), although Zack Kassian and James Neal have experience playing on skill lines. Josh Archibald does slide up from time to time but wouldn’t be considered a long-term option.

Currently bubbling under are two veteran AHLers (Tyler Benson and Cooper Marody), both of whom are RFA and will be waiver eligible.

From there, the depth chart (this is my estimate) goes Dylan Holloway, Raphael Lavoe, Kirill Maksimov, Ostap Safin and Seth Griffith.

That’s an improving depth chart, and one hopes Benson and or Marody emerges in the NHL this season, while Holloway and Lavoie make enough progress to be (at least) in the conversation for NHL work some time in the 2022-23 season.

There have been times in Edmonton’s history the young winger depth chart was ridiculous. It was one reason Miro Satan slipped through the cracks. Consider this group from 1995-96:

  1. LW Zdeno Ciger: Scored 31 goals at age 25.
  2. RW David Oliver: Seventh-round pick scored 20 goals in second full season.
  3. LW Miro Satan: Scored 18 goals at age 20 in 62 games. On depth lines.
  4. LW Dean McAmmond: Speed demon popped 15, age 22.
  5. RW Mariusz Czerkawski: Scored 12 goals in 37 games after coming over in the Ranford trade.
  6. LW Ryan Smyth: Just two goals at age 19, he would score 39 the following season.

That’s two extra skill wingers on the roster, and the club added Steve Kelly at the 1995 draft. The turnover rate in those years was crazy (because money), with Smyth, Andrei Kovalenko, Czerkawski and Satan (until he was traded).


His final rankings are up! They are are.

The Oilers aren’t there yet, but the AHL team has legit candidates. That alone represent progress.


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Scungilli Slushy

For those that would resign Barrie

I can’t see a way in that he doesn’t get absolutely caved in games like we’re watching now

It doesn’t matter how well you move the puck if you can’t get near it


I’m glad Luke Richardson is making Vegas coaching look plain.

Scungilli Slushy

Second that

Some say Vegas is a fast team, I’ve never seen it

When they are allowed to play their game they look faster than tonight, controlling the puck

When they are chasing the puck, not so much, like a lot of Oilers

Also, smoking hot goalies hide a lot of sins

Merely average play and the Isles and Knights also look average, and thin in the top end forwards dept


Vegas pp is gonna cost them a finals appear


I line Vegas as a team, but I love what Montreal is doing. I don’t like Montreal’s roster all that much but this formula they have is working! I’m happy for them.


So is the North still the weak division?

Ice Sage

Boo-birds out in sin city – they’re learning quick!

Harpers Hair

Crazy that they’d have their pricey bottles unlocked on a shelf accessible to anybody.

Harpers Hair

Has anyone seen Woodguy recently?

Harpers Hair

Yeah…but has he been spotted in Oak Bay?

Like, in person.

Ice Sage

A Wood guy in Oak bay? Can’t make this stuff up.
Too bad that’s a nice little LC, some dusty old bottles

Harpers Hair

If you look closely at the last photo, there are 5 bottles of Shelter Point single malt sitting on the barrel.

Ice Sage

smart shoplifter – he left them there to age!


They’ve already posted his photo at the Swartz Bay ferry terminal. 😉

Victoria Oil

I live in Oak Bay. That store is pretty close to me, but it wasn’t me. Pinky swear. 🙂

Harpers Hair

You really should get Woodguy to turn himself in.

The police have vicious dogs.

Harpers Hair

Thinking about this further…this could be the perfect crime.

Step 1. Go to Value Village and buy used clothing you otherwise wouldn’t be caught dead in.

Step 2. Identify a liquor outlet in an upscale neighbourhood that is likely to have pricey Whisky.

Step 3. Dress in said clothing and travel to the liquor store.

Step 4. Enter liquor store wearing a mask that the store INSISTS you wear.

Step 5. Head to whisky section and quickly identify the most expensive bottle, take it off the shelf and saunter out.

Step 6. Go home and drink the whisky while discarding the bottle, label removed, and smashed to pieces in the recycle bin.

Step 7. Donate clothing to Value Village.

Rinse and repeat.

I’ll let y’all know how it all works out. 🙂


I wish we had a young hot dog kid that’s to good for College hockey.


Montreal outVegasing Vegas


Montreal is significantly quicker.


Another team Colorado is not built to beat in playoffs


Somebody outsmarted themselves with Suzuki for Pacioretty.

Oh where, oh where is Cody Glass.

Fleeced and traded the wrong right shot centre, both drafted in the first round, same year.


If anyone doesn’t think Perry isn’t tough enough should re-evaluate.


Has anyone ever said that anytime?

Harpers Hair

Kevin McGran (@kevin_mcgran) Tweeted:
Here’s the Jim Gregory award votes. Lou Lamoriello wins it. Kyle Dubas got one vote, it was a first-place vote https://t.co/33i51L8oe9



What GM’s, league executives, and media would vote against the Godfather?

Explains why no penalties are called in the playoffs.


I think I would have voted for Zito. Huge work by him in his first season.

Harpers Hair

The vote was conducted after the second round of the playoffs so I’m sure Lou got a ton of votes for that and GM’s like Zito and Sakic took a hit.

But, yeah, Zito did a fabulous job.


Ah, forgot about the timing so thanks. That makes more sense.

Ice Sage

Oilers should pry Lehner out of Vegas. Guy gets no respect. MAF’s career narrative hangs on the next two periods


Nah, Fleury has a cup that he played I think all the games for and had a few massive saves in the deciding game 7. Plus like third all time in wins.

Ice Sage

Yeah, sorry I’m not suggesting he will miss the HoF but will fall short of Brodeur / Roy / Hasek territory. 2-0, both goals save-able by a bigger, better-rebound-controlling goalie


Or Vegas could try covering the wide open Habs.

Ice Sage

Agreed, this has the making of an epic collapse / upset!


Has Vegas ever said what caused him to miss so much time this season?


Rumors were he showed up to camp at 300lbs


Seriously? 😉


Wouldn’t surprise me if he weighed 260 right now. So it’s not as ridiculous as the number 300 in itself


I heard 342 lbs. from my sources.


That’s a lot of meatballs.


He suffers from Byfuglien bod syndrome but those are the rumors and Vegas never released any information on why he was out.
This may violate LTs policy so feel free to delete it as I can’t substantiate the rumor


Being overweight is associated with bipolar and even after medication, many bipolar meds cause weight gain. Would not surprise me at all if Lehner was struggling with that to be honest.

Last edited 2 months ago by Oddspell

He’s got way to many tattoos for the conservative Oilers.

Ice Sage

bah, if he’s that big, there’s room for a derrick tat

Scungilli Slushy

The Oilers have to get at least one RHC that can win faceoffs. There are a couple of decent players available that won’t be expensive. They can’t keep getting fed there when it counts there.

Even Bieksa mentioned it months ago. The bottom 6 roster needs to set around that IMO. Get rid of whoever, except McLeod, it’s not like they were good enough or anything.

As for Marody, yes he has talent but has done himself zero favours with his work ethic and public statements. If he had quickened up a bit and got good at faceoffs he would be a lock for at least a bottom 6 RW job.

Maybe played a rougher game as well. Being American he must at least watch Tampa and Knights and how they play. I’m not sure overall he is that interested in hockey, he’s just good at it at lower levels at least.


By eye, Yamamoto (5’8 154kbs) needs to add about 27lbs of thigh muscles to have a career like Martin St Louis(5’8 181lbs).

Scungilli Slushy

Yama is a lot lighter than the other ‘small’ players. Ennis, Gourde, Point, Gallagher. Caufield is listed as an inch shorter and has 9lbs on him and is 3 years younger.

I’m not sure if his frame will allow some weight gain, but he really needs to add some mass.

He’s a good skater already, but if I was his coach I would press him to get as fast in first step and top speed as he possibly can, power squats and training all summer. It would make him a more effective player and better his odds. He isn’t established yet.

He also needs to become a deadly finisher. If you can’t be in the fray effectively, you have to be able to shoot, and deke, when you get a chance. Caufield like.

By the way, is it a coincidence that the best of the best scrappy small skill forwards are from Alberta in Gallagher and Point?

Scungilli Slushy

Good point. We’ll see how he does the next few seasons, but really the heater is a large part of his 82 game production. He was pretty invisible for me before and after for a skill player.

The points I made are for me what are his hills to climb to be good enough. I saw him engaging physically a lot which is admirable, but he was pretty ineffective in trying to do that and got banged up unsurprisingly.

Long term if he isn’t a solid producer I doubt he sticks long anywhere while he’s in the league. I think he needs to be a player that eludes other players and finds space, uses brains and his stick to steal pucks, using superior skating, puck and finishing skills, which I wouldn’t say are superior, yet.

When they drafted him I watched a bunch of highlights as he had the rep as going to the paint and finishing, I don’t see many WHL games.

Of course in the WHL that meant a lot of standing by himself in close and banging pucks into open nets. I wasn’t sure he’d be doing that in the NHL nearly as much. He needs to find open ice like scorers do which is a skill when the net is defended well, and be able to beat goalies clean, like Caufield etc.



Yamamoto’s D3 year in NHL spiked at NHLE at 79pts/82gp on the strength of an COVID cut-shorted season playing in the briefly very successful DRY line.

Whereas St Louis 52 and 62pt/82gp NHLE seasons came from posting crooked NCAA numbers that was enough to get his jersey retired locally.

Different era, different leagues, and different circumstances. Seems like it requires big leap of faith to suggest the results are comparable (sample size, era adjusted NHLE, usage, etc).

Prior to the 40points season in Tampa, St Louis played 3rd line in Calgary getting 14min a game (all situations). At the time the flames had V.Bure and either Fluery(who was another 5’6 180lbs fire hydrant body type) or Igina ahead of St. Louis. Without any PP time, he managed to score 18points in 56 games(alongside similar toi Jason Weimer’s 22 points in 62games). Or 0.33pt/game in the era (in a 77points Flames team that scored 2.57 team goals/ game, 21st out of 28 team).

Martin St. Louis was a fairly successful 3rd liner before he became what he was in Tampa.

Yamamoto had 27games D+3 season playing on the DRY line scoring 26 points.


Prior to the 40points season in Tampa, St Louis played 3rd line in Calgary getting 14min a game (all situations). 

Without any PP time, he managed to score 18points in 56 games

Are you trying to describe Yamamoto’s age 22 season, lol? Cause this (St. Louis’ age 24 season) is a pretty damn good match for Yamamoto’s most recent season.

I don’t think he’s going to be St. Louis, but IMO Yamamoto is a quality NHLer today who helps a team win, and he’s most probably going to prove to be a top 6 scorer.


Yamamoto wasn’t playing 3rd line tough minutes +penalty kill while attaining 0.3~0.4p/game(although while playing with RNG+x away from McDrai he probably seen similar elite opposition a checking line St Louis would back in the day).

Yamamoto us an ok NHLer at this point, but looks more Andy Cogliano slight build energy winger than a skilled scoring type (besides that 27games stretch last year, which is about 25% if his 105 games played). Just find it incrediblly rich the tool list MSL as a close comparable.


I was just pointing out the remarkable similarities in Yamamoto’s most recent season and St. Louis’ 24 year old season that you highlighted:

St. Louis 56-3-15-18 73 shots
Yamamoto 52-8-13-21 69 shots (with 18 EV points, both guys had one on the PK)

It’s possible Yamamoto’s offense from last season was a total mirage. I don’t think anyone’s expecting Yamamoto to become St. Louis, but when claiming Yamamoto is more Cogliano than St. Louis, one has to acknowledge that St. Louis was playing in the minors at Yamamoto’s age.

The tool used real scoring that happened in the NHL to project comparables. Yamamoto has that season on his resume. Maybe it never happens again, but I honestly have no idea why so many folks are placing 90% of the weight on this most recent season and explaining away the 26 points in 27 games.

There was some voodoo happening in the Oilers top 6 this past season too. The 3 guys who played in the NHL year over year lost damn near half of their 5v5 offense. Only Puljujarvi scored at an actual top 6 rate 5v5, and that wasn’t by too much. Nuge scored at 1st line rates for 3 years before, Kahun both of his 2 and Yamamoto in his first run last year, then boom, 3rd line level scoring. I haven’t really bought into the ‘point parasite’ thing, but it’s clear the top 6 wingers were less involved in the offense than they had been previously.


I would be very uncertain drafting Cossa.

How many goalies have the Oilers drafted and where are the results?

By the time they are ready to make an impact they are through their ECL and you have to pay them anyway.

Given that Smith gave them reasonable goaltending last year and they still came up short, there might be higher priorities. We still need a goalie absolutely, but maybe we let the rest of the teams develop them for us.

What is the best best way to a 9.17 save percentage?

If Holland landed Markstrom with term last year the debate would be settled and a forward drafted.

I see Holland in the same position this year and he absolutely is going after a goalie again. He could plan for one now and draft one for later, but with some still growing on the vine it would signal a lack of confidence in their potential.

With really only the first round pick to make a difference I think he breaks Stauffer ‘s heart and goes with the best athlete available at 19.


I’ve been banging this drum for a bit. But I would love to see a kid line as the 3rd line this year. One with Yamo on it. I Believe playing him with McD or Drai hurts his development because he differs to them instead of asserting himself to his potential. I say let’s use his experience and allow him to be ‘the guy’ on a line:

Benson McLeod Yamo

thats a 3rd line for around 4 mil that can play 14-16 min for a home game where Tippett can line match and 12ish minutes on a road game. That’s starting the season. By game 82, they could be a real force.

that also allows Drai McD JP as a 1st line and the salary you save with a Kid 3rd line and a veteran 4th line (Shore Archibald Khara etc) allows Holland to construct a real 2nd line that doesn’t need the big guns and can score 5v5 in big games.

On a different note, what about a radical big trade with Buffalo. I’ll bounce this idea off the brain power here.

a trade that features Draisaitl for Eichel and Dahlin.

A Classic 1-4 for 2-3, something like:

Draisaitl Bear Koskinen and a salary dump (Neil)


Eichel Dahlin rights to Reinhart (RFA) and rights to Ullmark (UFA)

that model our team way closer to TB with an unreal defense of

Nurse XXX
Dahlin Larsson
Kulikov Bouchard

Scungilli Slushy

Interesting idea.

Drai is the established best player. So Drai Bear = Eichel Dahlin

Koski is a salary dump. Reinhart has good value, so I think it’s quite leaning to the Oilers advantage, so unlikely.

If they dump Risto, maybe you could pry Reinhart for Bear. But you have to have another RD on deck as well as Larsson (who is 95% certain I’d say). I’m OK with upgrading on Bear if it’s an established top 4 RD.

Bear is a pretty good player, good head decent hands, but for me the combo of undersized for position and average skating is not a comfortable place.


Won’t comment on the trade but on the proposed 3rd line. It does look good on paper. I have been positing that Kailer would be an elite 3RW at this point, I do think Benson is legit middle 6LW ready and, of course, we’ve seen McLeod’s speed, skill and mature 2-way game.

At the same time, as at the end of last season, I don’t see McLeod as near ready for a 3C spot, in particular without veteran help. I hope putting on man-strength will help him have confidence in his body and commit to going to the dirty areas and to battle – he avoids both full stop right now – and that has been an issue dating back to junior. He can’t be an effective 3C, and I don’t think he’ll score enough, unless he commits to a change in this part of his game. Development.

Also, as much as I think Benson is ready for 3LW (or even top 6 LW if he meshes), he has to prove it.

Risk with that line.


I hate the gimmick that is kid lines
its the blind leading the blind
you want to break in two rookies give them each a mentor


Yeah, rookie lines don’t work for me either.


I wonder if they work for any successful team.


Too much structure & parity in today’s game.


Love Drai but no way Buffalo trades Eichel Dahlin and Reinhart for him.

Harpers Hair


Rene Robert, who played on the @BuffaloSabres
‘ “French Connection Line” in the 1970s, has died at the age of 72.


That sucks one of the best named lines ever what a shot Rene had.


Sad to hear that.


Have the Oilers announced who they are taking in the first round yet? If not, we should be hearing this any day now.

Harpers Hair

Stauffer has already telegraphed Cossa.


You would think………but some folks just can’t help themselves


Lol should be any day now. Stauffer definitely has a hard-on for Cossa as HH mentioned.

Harpers Hair

Just announced that Henrik and Daniel Sedin have joined the Vancouver front office as “special advisors” to Jim Benning.

They will be involved in player evaluation, development, drafting and the creation of the new team in Abbotsford.


And we care why?


So sorry they took your perfect job!


I see the Canucks are starting to become the Oilers by hiring former players to run the show. Except, unfortunately, the Sedins can’t really claim to be winners who know what it takes.


They almost “know a thing or two about winning”.

Harpers Hair

The difference, of course, is the Canucks didn’t appoint them as GM and Head Coach and then GM and then Head Coach. but instead are advisors to the GM.


So they get to make the decisions, then be like well fuck we were only suggesting to Jim that 60 years with no cups is better then 53 years with no cups.



Ice Sage

So ceremonial (wasted money) positions… Aquilini must have a pin-up of Katz in his man-cave


So what you are saying is…

They are being groomed to be the next GM/AGM.


Assuming reasonable contract, is Alex Wenberg not the player needed for 3C? If he was a rightie, it would almost be ideal.

Drai by Shooting

Id prefer Danault personally


Well, yes, but there would a massive delta in the two contracts I would think.


Can Benson and Marody become the Gourde or Killorn or Coleman’s that were late developers?

It would be an interesting idea to sign a big name veteran or two on low one year contracts. Getzlaf, Chara. Players who would share roster spot with developing players and be ready come playoffs.


$100 to charity of LT’s choice if Benson and Marody both make a reasonable contribution to any of the next three playoffs for the Oil. I will default the this blogs consensus for the adjudication with LT making the final call.


It is nice to see the 3 Oilers ufa’s Listed as best bets, best value.

I expect Larrson and Nuge resigned. Barrie is a mystery. I think the Oil want to keep him yet we have heard little. Probably they don’t want to offer term for good reason.

He likely gets painted with the “McDavid boost” and I’m not sure he gets close to what he’s hoping for.

Unfriendly Regional Arachnid Individual

Chalk me up in favour of Compher. He brings a lot of what we’re looking for in our bottom-6: right shot, two-way ability with pace & energy and hitting his prime. His relGF numbers look pretty strong, too. Might be a greater partner/mentor for McLeod or Holloway on a 3rd line in the near future!

Harpers Hair

Likely going to be exposed in the expansion draft.

I would imagine the Avalanche would want an exempt asset back.

What would you offer?


The Avs are going to have lots of good players exposed. I think Graves will be the one taken. They also need some cap space and Compher might be the odd man out in terms of who they are willing to part with.

Not sure what I would offer, maybe a 3rd/4th or Jones, something like that.

Harpers Hair

Alternatively, Colorado might make a deal with Seattle to NOT take Graves but Compher instead.

Based on the protected lists I’ve seen, centres available to the Kraken are pretty sparse.


Sure it’s possible, maybe they trade Graves and Compher to us for Jones and a second and play Byram and Jones as 2LD, 3LD.

Harpers Hair

So basically Graves for Jones and Compher for a 2nd round pick that the Oilers don’t have.

Call me crazy but I think that offer would be a little shy.🥺


That would be a pretty big leap for Byram. There is a little doubt he’ll be a legit top 4 d-man, he’s a stud, but he struggled in his rookie season – of course, he was 19.

Pretty big risk for a GM that must be on the hot seat.

Harpers Hair

There you go just making up stuff again.

Byram did not struggle at all.

CF 56.4%

FF 55.3%

SF 54%

GF 55%

The only reason he didn’t play the full season was injury.

And GMs of elite teams are not on the hot seat despite how much you would like them to be.

Harpers Hair

By way of comparison here is Evan Bouchard.

CF 51.86%

FF 48.23%

SF 48.33%

GF 38.46%

Pay particular attention to that final number…Bouchard got absolutely fed despite playing sheltered minutes.

And yet you continue to pump his tires.


Clearly QoT has nothing to do with those numbers.


Toews, Girard, Byram. Jones isn’t making that left side. Girard was only playing the right side because of Johnson’s injury.

Toews Makar
Graves Johnson
Girard Timmons
Byram Barron

That is quite the accumulation of D talent you have there Mr. Sakic.

If Klefbom can’t go, I’d target Girard (actually any one of the 4 left D).


You. How could the Avalanche go wrong with the smartest man not yet employed in the NHL on their payroll!


My guess is the Avs protect 4 D and only protect MacKinnon, Rantanen, Burakovsky +1 up front (presumably Landeskog if signed).

Harpers Hair

Not what I”m reading from Colorado sources.

Although I think there’s a pretty good chance they trade Graves before the expansion draft as Byram is ready to step in.


Could be, I’m not reading anything from Colorado.

So Johnson is going to waive as well?

Who are the 7 forwards they’re expected to protect?

Scungilli Slushy

He gets hurt a lot, isn’t good at faceoffs, is undersized, has mediocre scoring, and already makes 3.5M.

I’d aim higher.


That is a fun post.

Yes, today, Jesse and Kailer are the skilled right wingers.

I know Kailer is young and there is lots of development left and I do believe he very well could be a legit 2RW in the NHL but, as of today, I would love to be able to bump him down to 3RW (with 2RW fill in capability) – I think his skill set, today, is that of an elite 3RW – high energy and tenacious, great forechecker, responsible defensively, quick, solid skill, PK ability.

Of course, given Kass hasn’t shown any ability to play in the top 6 in 18 months (and, even when he is playing his game, we know there are consistency issues and he isn’t ideal), Kailer is needed at 2RW today. A Sam Reinhart would change the dynamic of that right side but that would cost legit assets (1st plus Samorukov, plus) and a hefty contract and Kass would need to be disposed of and that would require retainement.

Left wing is clearly in need of the biggest immediate fix though.


I would wait until the dust settles before signing free agents there will be lots of deals on day 2-3. I would depending on the Larsson signing trade Bear Mikko etc for a bona-fide goaltender. This will be Holland’s most important move we need a hit on a goalie. We need a goaltender who doesn’t tighten your sphincter on every shot like Smith and especially Mikko does.


I agree, the goalie choice will likely be the most important one this year.

In terms of sphincter tightening however, I was remarkably relaxed this year with Smith in the net. Not so much with Mikko. As others have pointed out, you could replace his glove with a giant cast iron frying pan and have similar results.

I will give Mikko credit for the improvement in his puck handling though. He’s not at Smith’s level of ability yet, but he’s considerably better than he was a few years ago.


I really liked Mikko. I’m think it was Kurri who liked him and the hall of famer would have an idea whose the goods and whose not. He improved his puck handling and his glove side in year 2 of being a Oiler. This past year he regressed couldn’t stop a beachball never had a heater and his body language was ECHL level. Times ticking if you can’t trust your goalie to make the easy saves it’s time to drive him to the airport free of charge.


But the ring of the frying pan would be awesome!😉


Smith I found to be very a calming presence this season. He didn’t even really make his behind the net mistakes.
I really want Ullmark though. That should be Holland’s first priority.
Guys like Coleman and Hyman will be overpaid


Are Konovalov and Skinner just injury cover or when do they come into the picture?


They (and Rodrigue) are a reason I am OK with kicking the can down the road one more year on a tender – we will know much more about those two and their pro potential after one more year.

They are both super young for tenders still – aside from high end drafted tenders, I believe these two are still younger than most tenders when they start to establish themselves at the NHL level.

Even the great Thatcher Demko only played 9 games as a 23 year old. I’m not comparing these guys to demko as far as ability or ceiling, just a note on age of establishment.


I don’t think they can kick the goaltender can down the road another year at all. Smith could well regress and not many have confidence in Koskinen – and neither guy is going to be on this team for more than 1 year. Furthermore, if one of the prospects does deserve an NHL job as soon as 2022-23, it wouldn’t be wise to count on them for much.

I think the best solution right now is to bring in a guy that can be expected to help the team now and for the near future while one of the prospects takes over the backup position and works his way up to whatever ceiling he has.

Drafting Cossa or Wallstedt is a great move but affects the future only, so I think bringing in a proven goalie this summer should be a priority for the Oilers. Ullmark or Grubauer would be ideal, but Hill or Kuemper will be available prior to the expansion draft as will guys like Vanecek, Jake Allen, Khudobin, Petersen and DeSmith.

The position is simply too important to leave to Smith, Koskinen and Stalock this year.


Smith and DeSmith what a combo! Does anyone else see the humour in having them as your goalies or is the heat in Penticton affecting me!🙃


Plus 41 coming up which should produce a abundance of scantily cladded woman.


Its not without risk, that’s for sure.


Considering the number of quality (league average or better for a number of years) goalies available in free agency this year it shouldn’t be too difficult to sign or trade for one. Or two.


Once again, I have to claim Powderfinger as the single greatest Neil Young song.

I know there are dozens of possibles, but this is it for me.

The guitar tone on the solos is *chef’s kiss*


Word on the street is that RD Rasmus Ristolainen may be on the trade block. 6’4″ 220 lb.
Should the Oilers go hard after him? This is the kind of RD man I would trade the first round draft pick for.


Hard to say. You would have to give up either Bear or Larsson to also have room for Bouchard.
1st+Bear for 1 year or Ristolainen?
What if he walks after?

What about
Ristolainen+Sam Reinhart

I don’t know if I’d do it but Buffalo wouldn’t take less


I would go a first and Bear for Ristolainen and 3rd/4th liner. Reinhart is not in play in this secenario.
Our RD would be Ristolainen, Larsen and Bouchard (on an easier 3rd pairing). All are big and 2 of 3 have offence.


I would like that trade if he signed an extension right away. The risk of losing him after 1 year is too high


Part of the reason Buffalo was so bad sits at the feet of Ristolainen. In his defence he was asked to do too much too soon!


The value of Bouchard and Holloway on their ELCs makes that a very very tough deal from an Oilers’ cap management point of view.

Also, Risotlainen might not be all that good.


Yeah, I think you’re right and Edmonton isn’t in a position to make that trade. I wouldn’t be surprised if other teams offer something similar though


The Oilers need a left D more than a right D if Klefbom is not healthy.

No duration on Ristolainen’s contract.

Hamilton is available just for money, no assets, and is way better.

Larsson and Bouchard cover off everything that Ristolainen might bring.


RR is a defense optional dman. He solves zero issues on the roster, and creates new problems.


Russo at the Athletic reporting Fiala may be available as cap hell is hitting another team
That would be a heck of a get for us

Randle McMurphy

It would be. His Analytics look good. With the caveat that he gets a heavy oZ push

OZ Starts last 3 seasons 63.3 61.5 69.1


I’d rather have Granlund.

Randle McMurphy

in a copy cat league, and the recent success of Corey Perry, Jason Spezza etc.

Who are next years 35+ add ons at less than $1m ?


That’s a good question. There also seems to be a second part to the equation, where these guys want to play for the team they idolized as a youth and there’s a lot more of them in Ontario than in northern Alberta.

So who are the 35+ pisscutters out there that want nothing more than to return to The Great White North to bring Stanley back home and will happily take the league minimum to do it?

SK Oiler Fan

Ryan Smyth


Hometown kid narrows the field substantially. Getzlaf is from Regina, that seems about as close as you get for 35+ UFAs (looked for next 2 years as well didn’t see big names).


Ryan Getzlaf, but he will cost more than $1 million.


I’ve still been mulling over yesterday’s exercise of the 15 players who hold the most value on the Oilers. It seems surprising to me that we unanimously chose Connor as #1. The value of Drai at 8.5 is quite remarkable. I would have thought more about putting him first if we didn’t have Connor for an extra year. Did anyone else consider switching the top two?

Randle McMurphy

i showed them as tied for the top.

But yes, I considered putting Drai at the top. But mainly because of the way the game is officiated especially come playoff time.

Problem is, without McDavid, Draiasitl may fall back into the Nathan Mackinnon range.

Without Draisaitl, McDavid is still McDavid. Best player in the world.

If you were starting a new franchise and could pick one player in todays NHL, which player would you choose?

Last edited 2 months ago by Randle McMurphy

Godot & I had Draisaitl as first. I won’t speak for Godot but the cap hit was the determining factor for me.


It was not unanimous. Check again.


Thanks all. Looks like I needed to read more closely!


One sees what they expect to see. So people don’t notice subtle tweaks to what they expect to see.

I had no pushback yesterday, because I doubt anyone really noticed.

I put Broberg higher than anybody else. They noticed that.

Randle McMurphy

So the Powers That Be left me here to do the thinkin’,

Yamo, JP, Benson: Pay them and Play them.

Buy experience and play the yutes.

DO NOT LET THEM fade away so young
With so much left undone

Randle McMurphy

Line 4

Benson McLeod Marody

What have you got to loose?

Last edited 2 months ago by Randle McMurphy

Kahun / Benson – McLeod – Kassian / Archibald

Jethro Tull

If a team is using poor performance as a bargaining chip in contract negotiations, then they’re doing it wrong.

The correct answer, as it has always been and always should be, is to get a better player. This how you improve your team.

If Holland nickel and dimed his way so he could afford a high end talent likeTaylor Hall, or equivalent, then OK, But you know he’d spend the cash replicating what we already have; under-performing, interchangeable wingers and #7 D. And Mike Smith for another year.


He did go after Barrie, Markstrom and AA last season. Now he only got one of those players but he only had ~6 mill to work with. Spending the rest on Archibald, Turris, Kahun and Smith.
I’m guessing he gets a couple more expensive players this season.
1G, 2LW, 3C, 2LD

buck yoakam

hey LT…bit off topic..wondering if sometime in the music end we could reference some very local talent…before covid hit us Mac Demarco (edmonton kid along with another edmonton lads) enjoyed huge success on most of the late night stuff and also premiered austin city limits 44th season with a full show dedicated to their slacker rock or as they call it jizz jazz…anyway big E has always produced some incredible talent and these kids deserve some love…thanks!

Harpers Hair

“Imagine Artemi Panarin starting his NHL career with the Calgary Flames, Montreal Canadiens or Toronto Maple Leafs.”

Dodged a bullet there.

Jethro Tull

Or Edmonton and taking the rooky trophy from Connor again.

Harpers Hair

Here’s their latest signing.


What they’re doing is like getting an additional two or three extra draft picks every year but acquiring players who are a bit more established.


What’s the NHLe on 16 points in the Czech league?

Harpers Hair

Too many things we don’t know about the player.

Chicago must see something.


Well, we DO know the player has an NHLE of 12 at age 22.

Certainly Chicago sees something, yes.


Thank you.


Life is hard for teams in cities that people want to live in.


So… When EDM signs mature euro players with interest around the League, who are likely to be good bets for the roster, it’s signing the dregs.

When CHI does the same it’s a master stroke of genius.

Got it.

Harpers Hair

Totally depends on who those players are and what their upside is.

Chicago is signing players like Dominic Kubalik who was 22 when signed while the Oilers signed Gaetan Haas who is 29.

Remember also that Dominik Kahun was also one of Chicago’s free agent signings but they found him wanting and moved on.

Not at all the same process.


And just think, the vaunted LAK let Kubalik go for a pittance just before he broke out. Chalk that up as an unforced error.

Harpers Hair

Happens to almost every team at some point.


You go through a lot of mental gymnastics pumping the tires of other teams and making excuses for them.

If the Oilers signed a Euro with 12 NHLE points you would be mocking their pro scouting and/or analytics department.


Totally true, but Chicago has hit on some really high end players.

Harpers Hair

Along with Kubalik on Chicago’s current roster are forwards Pius Suter and David Kampf all free agents signed in their early 20’s.

Its a thing.


If this dude is even worthy of a mention then Oilers fans should start getting super excited about Matej Blumel:


Harpers Hair

As far as I can tell…this player has not signed a contract with the Oilers and doesn’t he become a free agent after 2 years?

If so, this is EXACTLY the kind of opportunity Chicago exploits.

Worth noting that in addition to signing free agents, Chicago has also been active in drafting from the Czech league in later rounds so must have faith in whomever is scouting there.


Four years, not two year, four years.

Harpers Hair

Nope it’s 2 years not 4 years for junior or European players

The 4 years applies only to NCAA players.

And any European player older than 20 cannot re-enter the draft.


Im not sure what the signing deadline is this year but if not signed by then, Blumel becomes UFA.

Harpers Hair

Blumel is 21.


This is just plain wrong.

Go read the CBA, I have.

Its four years for players drafted outside of North America.

Its also four years for players drafted out of junior that leave junior while 18 or 19.


I look forward to your admission of error.

Players Drafted from a Club Outside North America.
(i) Notwithstanding any provision of Sections 8.6(a) or (b) to the contrary, if
a Player drafted at age 18 or 19 is drafted from a club outside North
America, his drafting Club shall retain the exclusive right of negotiation
I look forward to your apology

Players Drafted from a Club Outside North America.

(i) Notwithstanding any provision of Sections 8.6(a) or (b) to the contrary, if
a Player drafted at age 18 or 19 is drafted from a club outside North
America, his drafting Club shall retain the exclusive right of negotiation
for his services through and including the fourth June 1 following his
selection in the Entry Draft. The Club need not make a Bona Fide Offer to
such Player to retain such rights. 


Drafted Players who Leave the Major Juniors prior to age 20.

Notwithstanding any provision of subsection (a) to the contrary, Clubs shall have additional
rights set forth in subsections (i), (ii) and (iii) below with respect to Players who either: (i) were
drafted while playing in the Major Juniors or (ii) other than college players described in Section
(c) below or Players drafted from a club outside North America described in Section (d) below,
play in the Juniors during the period of time that a Club holds their exclusive negotiating rights
and, in either case, cease to play in the Juniors and play in a league other than Juniors prior to
age 20. 

ARTICLE 8 8.6-8.6
(i) If a Player who is drafted as an 18-year-old ceases to play in the Juniors in
the first League Year after he has been drafted, his drafting Club shall
have the exclusive right of negotiation for his services until the fourth June
1 following his initial selection in the Entry Draft.
(ii) If a Player who is drafted as an 18-year-old ceases to play in the Juniors in
the second League Year after he has been drafted and the Club has
tendered to such Player a Bona Fide Offer pursuant to 8.6(a)(ii), his
drafting Club shall have the exclusive right of negotiation for his services
until the fourth June 1 following his initial selection in the Entry Draf

Harpers Hair

(ii) If a Player who is drafted as an 18-year-old ceases to play in the Juniors in
the second League Year after he has been drafted and the Club has
tendered to such Player a Bona Fide Offer pursuant to 8.6(a)(ii), his
drafting Club shall have the exclusive right of negotiation for his services
until the fourth June 1 following his initial selection in the Entry Draft.

Blumel has not played in junior at all since the draft.

He’s been playing pro.

Last edited 2 months ago by Harpers Hair

Dude – read the provision related to being drafted out of junior and leaving junior as an 18 or 19 year old – as he did.

I posted it for you – now read.

Blumel’s rights are not up this year – they just aren’t – you are wrong – again.

Harpers Hair

You’re not reading what (ii) says.

It says clearly that the club has to offer a contract to retain the players rights for four years if he has not played in junior in the second season after the draft.

He didn’t.


(ii) only applies if they played one year of junior after being drafted but not their second year. Point (i) is if they don’t play the next year in junior

Randle McMurphy

Assuming Ken does not go whale hunting ( Landeskog, Hamilton )

Nazem Kadri has become a top target in trade for me.


2021 CF% 57.2

FO% last 3 years 55.2 56.8 52.8

2021-2022 $4.5m AVV

( NMC must submit a 10 team no trade list)

Last edited 2 months ago by Randle McMurphy

Seems to be a risk come playoffs.

I think the 3C trade pre-expansion Stauffer alluded to could be JT Compher, he might not cost too much.

buck yoakam

Sather was a master at reclamations …take the risk while the ask might be lower! I also want Kadri…


Depending on price – of course – Kadri is the perfect answer imo.

This team needs to up its ‘nasty to play against’ level.

Harpers Hair

What do you the cost would be?

Colorado really missed him in the playoffs so would likely be reluctant to move him.

Randle McMurphy


~Folllowed closley by Chiarelli~


If KH could get either of these guys it would make a significant upgrade to the current “3C” role and put McLeod at 4C which is a good place for him for another year.

Randle McMurphy

Compher is probably more in line with the 3C Role, is 4 yrs younger than Kadri, and is more in line with the trade value of Caleb Jones. So good call.

(But not nearly as good a center as Kadri)

Logic suggests that Kompher is the more likely of the 2 all things considered.

If Nuge leaves, then Kadri has even more value as he could fill the 2C role (when Draisaitl is playing up on line one)

Last edited 2 months ago by Randle McMurphy

He’s only got 1 year left on his deal though, and turns 31 in October.

Colorado moving him for value with 1 year left/before the expansion draft has basically been Joe Sakic’s MO in recent years.

Pretty sure Compher stays and Kadri goes.


Kadri’s 2(?) playoff suspensions dearly cost his team, and make him a bit of a risk that way, but it could also make him much easier to acquire.

I’m not going to comment on his character or start labelling him a “locker room cancer” or anything, but the fact that he has 6 suspensions under his belt (including 16 playoff games in total), if nothing else, he’s going to have eyes on him and never get the benefit of the doubt when things are borderline. He’s not Sean Avery, but he might be getting close.

buck yoakam

Can’t wait to see how our rather percolated kids are out of training camp!…really hoping for success there!…is Tippett willing to use them?…someone mentioned a difference of opinion between coach and manager on that one…hmmm…going to be a great summer watching all the teams jockeying for available players!…nice to have a bit of money for a change! If we can trust the bakersfield boys we can maybe shoot a little higher on the UFA’s


That was me quoting Kurt Leavins in his ‘9 things’ column. I find Kurt pretty reliable on these things. I tried on twitter to get more detail from him but he wouldn’t bite.

Randle McMurphy

Isnt it amazing that we can hit on so many picks, Nurse, McDavid, Draisaitl, Puljujarvi, Yamamoto, Bouchard, McLeod, Bear, Khaira, Jones, ( Samorukov, Benson, Lavoie, Broberg, Hollaway, Savoie), and still be at least 7 roster spots away from balance.

There’s a reason that Ken Holland in his pressers, repeatedly includes the fact that a significant portion of the solution moving forward must come from within.

In any given year you ideally want no more than two rookies on the game day roster. Well we need to take a few risks. Lets accelerate that by one. By Christmas or at the latest, the All-Star Break, Benson, Samorukov and Holloway all up full-time with the big club.

And ,if they are still with us, the coaching staff have to find a way to maximize the talents of all the K’s. Khaira, Kassian, Kahun, and Koskinen. Put them in positions to succeed.

That and 1 UFA, 1 Trade, and 1 Goalie, should get us to the next level.

Will it be enough? Time will tell. But by that time, the focus will turn to whether or not we have the right coach to lead us to the promised land. (queue Bruce.Springsteen, aaaaand drop the needle)

Last edited 2 months ago by Randle McMurphy

Depends on Klefs health, but just adding a single player that can raise all boats like Saad or Kadri to the 3rd line would fix a lot of problems


Yeah, it’s incredible there are still significant roster holes. Ken has been treading water with the tight cap, but he has yet to add an external player to the core (with the exception of Barrie who was a rental).

Depending on what happens with #93, we could have holes at 1LW and 2LW.

Also 3C has been a hole since Strome was traded away.

We need 4 actual top-4 defenseman. I’ll assume Larsson signing is a foregone conclusion and 77 is retiring. That leaves a hole at 2LW. Bear may or may not be an actual top four defenseman.

It’s fine to say that the solutions have to come from with in, but when you’ve just traded away all of those draft picks…

I don’t see Holland as a trader Joe who’s going to read and shop the emerging player and RFA markets.

I am hopeful though that with the Covid cap and league revenues down, he walks into a sales blitz on free agents again.


When you draft so high for so long it should be no surprise how many players are internally developed.

The lack of late round success stories in the drafting and development model (mostly pre-2015) is probably one of the two single biggest reasons for the malaise that became the DoD+. The other being the lack of quality veterans to surround and support the emerging talent.

Last edited 2 months ago by BornInAGretzkyJersey

Is there a chance Edmonton picks 2 players from the Oil Kings with their first 2 picks?
Sebastien Cossa has been talked about a lot for the #20 pick for the Oilers. What about Carson Latimer at #116? Ranked #115 by Pronman.

Corey Pronman (The Athletic):
“Carson Latimer, RW, Edmonton-WHL
Latimer’s athletic tools jump out to you right away when you watch him at 6-foot-1 with the kind of skating that will excel in the NHL. He darts around the offensive zone and can push the pace off the rush. He wins a lot of battles due to his skating and a decent compete level, although I wouldn’t call him a “hard to play against” type.

I like the sounds of this player at #116. He’s big, fast and energetic. He was also a rookie during a very strange season. That’s a tough situation to be in for the youngster. Maybe his development curve has yet to climb the steep part of the curve. You’re not geting a perfect player at #116, but this guy seems to have some good tools to work with.


Of 15 players Pronman ranked with Skating: Above-average, Latimer is the only one who is above 6′ tall. The rest are 5’11” or smaller. He also ranked 4 players as “High-end” skaters, and only one of them (Luke Hughes at 6′-2″) is above 6′, the others are 5’8″, 5’8″, and 5’10”. I find it a bit odd that there are only 2 great skaters over 6′. Just an observation. Size and speed aren’t the be-all, end-all, but the physicality and speed on display in the playoffs makes you wonder if it should be a consideration. With LAtimer being a late blooming rookie, maybe there is a hidden gem here. And if anyone should know, it’s the Oilers who own the team he played for and played out of their rink. Carson also won Rookie of the Year in the WHL Central Division.

Last edited 2 months ago by Jaxon

2 year 1.75-2.25 per seems like a good number for KY

Doug McLachlan

I have been using Evolving Hockey the last couple of years as a check on my salary estimates. He’ betting on a 3 year deal $3.570M AAV. Second most likely option, they suggest, is a two year deal at $2.681M AAV. Maybe Covid drives that down more but an AAV of $2M seems very ambitious even on a bridge.


I think the flat cap is going to see RFA contracts take a hit this off season. No arbitration rights used to mean you signed or you sat.

We’ll see, but there could be a return to those days.

Last edited 2 months ago by defmn

In a non flat cap world sure


Evolving Hockey has has some truly bizarre projections over the last few years. Grain of salt required.


Considering the season Bear had, while playing more minutes and against tougher comp, an extension for KY at $2.2M AAV feels high.

I’d rather see it closer to the deal that JP signed but acknowledge Kailer has accomplished more to the same point in his career. At some point the covid cap factor has to be considered, and it should result in some reduced AAV figures for non feature players.

$2Mx2 for me, max.

Last edited 2 months ago by BornInAGretzkyJersey

I’d like to add another year to the deal, too. 1.5 + 2.5 + 3.5 gives an AAV of $2.5M – is that too high? It’s essentially Bear’s deal with a 3rd year tacked on with a $1M raise.


I like that option but am unsure where that places KY on his RFA-UFA timeline. Would like his next extension to cover as many UFA years as possible.


Does the 3 year not take him 1-year from UFA and with arb rights?

It basically allows him to head to UFA (if he wants to dig in after that contract and go to arb for a one-year deal – boom, UFA).


I’m pretty sure he’s saying 2X2


No sir.

$2Mx2 for me, max.

So something creative could be done with the annual salary but I’d like to see the AAV at $2M. The Bear contract.

As AGM mentioned, I’d also be cool with a 3x$2.5M deal.

Randle McMurphy

Is there anything (CBA wise) stopping us from trying to sign Yamamoto to a longer contract (after a slightly down year) something 3 to 5 years?

And same goes with JP. Do we have to wait until he becomes an RFA, or can he sign a new conract earler than that?

Because theres an above average chance that both these guys “pop” in the coming season or two.

Randle McMurphy

I’d sign Yamo to $3m x 5 if he would do it.

I’d sign JP to $4m x 5 if he would do that.

With 21m on your top two players, it might be prudent to take some risks trying to fill in the roster with “future” value contracts.

Last edited 2 months ago by Randle McMurphy

No he can be signed up to 8 years.

But it’s not likely in his best interest. Then he’d be on a Ryan Ellis type value deal through his prime.


Randle McMurphy

 Reply to BornInAGretzkyJersey

 June 22, 2021 9:52 am

Is there anything (CBA wise) stopping us from trying to sign Yamamoto to a longer contract (after a slightly down year) something 3 to 5 years?

And same goes with JP. Do we have to wait until he becomes an RFA, or can he sign a new conract earler than that?

Because theres an above average chance that both these guys “pop” in the coming season or two.

Kailer can sign from 1 to 8 years.

Jesse can sign an extension as of July 28 (normally July 1 for players going in to their last year of a multi-year contracts) but, of course, it won’t kick in until the 2022/23 season – he’s locked in to his current contract for one more year.

Doug McLachlan

I have been using Evolving Hockey the last couple of years as a check on my salary estimates. He’ betting on a 3 year deal $3.570M AAV. Second most likely option, they suggest, is a two year deal at $2.681M AAV. Maybe Covid drives that down more but an AAV of $2M seems very ambitious even on a bridge.


No arb rights will be a factor.


I think it will be around $2MM per on a 2 year deal.

$1.8MM and $2.2MM.

His 2019/20 season can’t be discounted totally in my opinion and, even when struggling offensively, he still does generally have a positive impact on the game.