Today, I’d like to talk about the weeks to come. In reading your comments, it seems to me Oilers nation is split into three factions today. One group is convinced nothing good will ever happen, another is convinced that things would be fine if the people who think nothing good will ever happen would just shut the hell up, while the rest of us just want to see how this story turns out.
The next two weeks are going to be massive chapters in moving this story forward.
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: 10 free agents for the Oilers to target this offseason
- Jonathan Willis: Yes or no? Have your say on 10 hypothetical Oilers trades
- Lowetide: Is this the year the Oilers find a world-class agitator in the draft?
- Lowetide: Which draft prospects will be available when the Oilers pick at No. 19?
- Lowetide: Oilers 2021-22 roster projection, including trade and free agent targets
- DNB: How do Oilers fans feel about their team’s 2020-21 season?
- Lowetide: What is a reasonable trade price for Oilers to pay for Duncan Keith?
- Lowetide: Will the Oilers draft from the OHL after a season that never happened?
- DNB: Oilers are interested in trading for Blackhawks defenceman Duncan Keith — at a price
- Lowetide: Finding the ideal No. 3 centre for the Edmonton Oilers
- New DNB: What I’m hearing about the Oilers offseason
- Lowetide: Ryan Nugent-Hopkins’ future value to the Oilers will be defined by his adaptability
- DNB: Oilers’ Connor McDavid wants ‘more consistency’ with NHL playoff officiating
- DNB: How re-signing Ryan Nugent-Hopkins for eight years could help and hurt the Oilers
- DNB: Five offseason scenarios that could upend the Oilers’ best-laid plans
- Lowetide: Will the Oilers return to the WHL prospect pool in the 2021 draft?
- Lowetide: Why Oilers defenceman Evan Bouchard is poised to exceed expectations
- Lowetide: Oilers’ prospect pipeline could be at stake as AHL coach Jay Woodcroft outgrows his minor-league role
- Jonathan Willis: How the Oilers could make a Jack Eichel-level trade happen this offseason
- Lowetide: The 7 Oilers roster spots GM Ken Holland must improve this offseason
- Lowetide: Caleb Jones, Oilers reach crossroads that could land Jones in Seattle
- Lowetide: What will Oilers do if they must replace Oscar Klefbom?
- 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
- 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
2011, 2015 and 2021
Steve Tambellini took over as general manager in July, 2008. Kevin Lowe leaving the job was predictable, he had a crisis of confidence and became (I believe) convinced others could do the job better. Tambellini was not the obvious choice nor really an obscure one, he was merely announced about 50 days after Jordan Eberle was selected in the 2008 draft.
It took Tambellini until 2011 to get control of the purse strings and he didn’t get a lot done. At that point, the Oilers were not close to being competitive, so the free-agent dollars were spent on Eric Belanger, Ben Eager, Darcy Hordichuk, Cam Barker and Corey Potter. Tambellini did not author a successful climb to success. His additions that summer didn’t move the needle enough:
- Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (draft) 62, 18-34-52
- Ryan Smyth (trade) 82, 19-27-46
- Corey Potter (ufa) 62, 4-17-21
- Eric Belanger (ufa) 78, 4-12-16
- Ben Eager (ufa) 63, 8-5-13
- Andy Sutton (trade) 52, 3-7-10
- Lennart Petrell (divine intervention) 50, 4-5-9
- Anton Lander (draft) 56, 2-4-6
- Darcy Hordichuk (ufa) 43, 1-2-3
- Cam Barker (ufa) 25, 2-0-2
In 2015, Peter Chiarelli faced a great deal of urgency in the moments immediately after arrival. He made trades and free-agent signings like there was a quota. He traded for Griffin Reinhart, Cam Talbot, Eric Gryba, Lauri Korpikoski and Anders Nilsson, while signing free agents Andrej Sekera and Mark Letestu. Added to rookies Connor McDavid, Darnell Nurse, Iiro Pakarinen and Brandon Davidson, about half of the 2015-16 team was new. That’s a lot of turnover. His additions did well, but Connor McDavid got hurt and the Oilers would have to wait a year for the playoffs:
- Connor McDavid (draft) 45, 16-32-48
- Andrej Sekera (ufa) 81, 6-24-30
- Mark Letestu (ufa) 82, 10-15-25
- Lauri Korpikoski (trade) 71, 10-12-22
- Patrick Maroon (in-season trade) 16, 8-6-14
- Darnell Nurse (draft) 69, 3-7-10
- Zack Kassian (trade) 36, 3-5-8
- Adam Clendening (waivers) 20, 1-5-6
- Eric Gryba (trade) 53, 1-5-6
- Cam Talbot 56, 2.55 .917
- Anders Nilsson 26, 3.14 .901
Ken Holland signed short term contracts and made short term trades for two seasons, getting Edmonton into the playoffs with coach Dave Tippett and his staff. Now, heading into year three, the turn north (playoffs) needs wider track and a longer road.
That’s what the next two weeks are all about and honestly I’m not sure if you should be encouraged, troubled or both.
It has been a strange offseason. Ken Holland signed a good deal with Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, getting the player and agent to give up $1 million on the cap in exchange for a couple of years at the end of the deal. That’s a nice move on a player Edmonton needed, and needed at a reasonable cap number.
On the other hand, the organization walked a speedy winger with scoring skill in Matej Blumel. This from a team that lacks prospects in this area and doesn’t have many picks this summer. Baffling.
I found the Blumel situation more of a red flag than the signing of Devin Shore, but that was a lightning rod issue for many fans right at the beginning of the offseason.
What to expect
From this spot on the planet on Monday morning July 12, I think the next two weeks could go as the last two weeks have gone. Some good moves mixed in with flummoxing trades and free agent signings.
An example might be trading Caleb Jones for Duncan Keith and sending an asset to a third team for some cap relief, followed by losing Dominik Kahun to the Seattle Kraken in the expansion draft. Edmonton will buy out Mikko Koskinen.
The team will sign Zach Hyman, Adam Larsson, Petr Mrazek and Mike Smith. Sebastian Cossa will be chosen in the entry draft and Derek Ryan will sign when it’s late September and he really should be back at school. The roster will have a little over $1 million in room. It will be a mixed bag, making the playoffs while arriving at the deadline with plenty of work to do.
- Zach Hyman (ufa) 77, 23-23-46
- Duncan Keith (trade) 78, 5-18-23
- Derek Ryan (ufa) 75, 7-15-22
- Dylan Holloway (draft) 44, 5-7-12
- Tyler Benson (draft) 40, 2-3-5
- Dmitri Samorukov (draft) 27, 0-3-3
- Philip Broberg (draft) 12, 0-1-1
- Markus Niemelainen (draft) 7, 0-0-0
- Petr Mrazek (ufa) 40, 2.41 .917
I think this is a reasonable expectation based on what we’ve seen in the days leading up to the watershed procurement summer by Holland. Remember, there are just 32 names on the 50-man list, with the rfa’s likely to see a large cull. There are going to be names flying in at warp speed between now and August 15. Holland is more aggressive than Tambellini, less of a riverboat gambler than Peter Chiarelli, and this is his stand and deliver summer. The prologue has been curious.
LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE
At 10 this morning, TSN1260, we’ll hammer the hockey news like we’re Dick Pound at a drug-testing convention. Guests include Julian Edlow from DraftKings to talk NBA final, and Jason Gregor from the Jason Gregor Show to talk Oilers, Elks, Euro and Blue Jays at the break. 10-1260 text, @Lowetide on twitter. See you on the radio!