What is it that you’re looking for from the Edmonton Oilers? If the team won a Stanley Cup in the next four years would that be enough? Two? What if the Oilers won enough to earn another contract from Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl without winning the Stanley Cup?
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: Lessons learned from Oilers’ previous drafts
- Lowetide: What did the Oilers sacrifice in sending Caleb Jones to Chicago in the Duncan Keith trade?
- Jonathan Willis: Duncan Keith, by the numbers
- DNB: How Ken Holland’s overpay for Duncan Keith limits the Oilers’ offseason options
- 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?
- 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: 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: Why Oilers defenceman Evan Bouchard is poised to exceed expectations
- 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
- DNB: Ten teams the Oilers should be targeting for trades ahead of the Kraken expansion draft
- Lowetide: Why huge Oil Kings goalie Sebastian Cossa could be the perfect first-round fit for the Oilers
KEN HOLLAND’S SUMMER
I count the Ryan Nugent-Hopkins signing as a win, the Devin Shore signing has many people concerned and the trade for Duncan Keith was an overpay of significant proportions. No one is denying Keith’s ability, although where he’ll play in the lineup is open for discussion, it’s the cost that got the reaction.
That will become an important conversation piece if Keith has a good season (and that’s possible). On a larger level, I’m not sure Oilers fans are going to enjoy the next few weeks based on what we’re hearing.
Reading the tea leaves, a Mikko Koskinen trade (for either little return or a surprising return) is possible. Zach Hyman seems to have the lead in the ‘scoring winger’ sweepstakes (TML now allowing Hyman’s agent to reach out to other teams) and Adam Larsson is more than less likely to return. The roster might look like this:
POSSIBLE OILERS ROSTER
This roster has about $850,000 in cap room. Oscar Klefbom is on LTIR, Kyle Turris sent to Bakersfield and Mikko Koskinen traded to Nashville for Mark Borowiecki (no money retained, Borowiecki sent to the minors). James Neal is bought out.
I think this is what you’re going to get, and every time I show it to you, you hate it. I have kids, and have seen the expression your words create many times on little faces. You can’t hide your disappointment.
You want the smart, modern people employed by the Tampa Bay Lightning or Colorado Avalanche to run the team. You didn’t get that, and it’s clear the trade route is pain for Edmonton. Will the free agent route give the team cover?
I TAKE ISSUE
Last night in the comments section, someone said “Ken Holland was handed a perfect scenario” and I think that’s a little too far. He was awarded a substantial opportunity, but there was a lot of work to be done and very little wiggle room.
Holland has delivered two playoff berths, while trading more picks than I (or anyone) is comfortable with during the first three offseasons. The truth is he doesn’t have much else to send away, although the scouts have done a fantastic job in 2019 and 2020 making picks count. That should give the team some suitable replacements for expiring contracts in the coming years. It’s reasonable to project Philip Broberg, Dylan Holloway and Carter Savoie on an NHL trajectory, with Raphael Lavoie, Ilya Konovalov and Maxim Berezkin showing good-to-great progress.
HOLLAND’S INHERITED ROSTER (37)
- Goalies (4): Mikko Koskinen, Dylan Wells, Stuart Skinner, Olivier Rodrigue
- Left Defense (8): Oscar Klefbom, Darnell Nurse, Andrej Sekera, Brandon Manning, Caleb Jones, William Lagesson, Dmitri Samorukov, Keegan Lowe
- Right Defense (8): Adam Larsson, Kris Russell, Matt Benning, Joel Persson, Ethan Bear, Logan Day, Evan Bouchard, Ryan Mantha
- Center (6): Connor McDavid, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Kyle Brodziak, Colby Cave, Cooper Marody, Ryan McLeod
- Left Wing (5): Leon Draisaitl, Milan Lucic, Tyler Benson, Nolan Vesey, Ostap Safin
- Right Wing (6): Zack Kassian, Sam Gagner, Kailer Yamamoto, Josh Currie, Cam Hebig, Kirill Maksimov
- RFA: Tobias Rieder, Jujhar Khaira, Tyler Vesel, Colin Larkin, Jesse Puljujarvi, Ty Rattie, Robin Norell, Shane Starrett
HOLLAND’S CURRENT ROSTER (33)
- Goalies (4): Mikko Koskinen, Alex Stalock, Ilya Konovalov, Olivier Rodrigue
- Left Defense (8): Darnell Nurse, Duncan Keith, Kris Russell, William Lagesson, Philip Broberg, Dmitri Samorukov, Markus Niemelainen, Oscar Klefbom (inj)
- Right Defense (5): Ethan Bear, Evan Bouchard, Filip Berglund, Phil Kemp, Mike Kesselring
- Center (5): Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl, Ryan McLeod, Tim Soderlund, Seth Griffith
- Left Wing (6): Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, James Neal, Devin Shore, Dylan Holloway, Raphael Lavoie, Ostap Safin
- Right Wing (5): Jesse Puljujarvi, Zack Kassian, Kyle Turris, Josh Archibald, Kirill Maksimov
- RFA: Kailer Yamamoto, Dominik Kahun, Jujhar Khaira, Tyler Benson, Cooper Marody, Stuart Skinner, Dylan Wells, Theodor Lennstrom
Much of the improvement comes from graduating prospects, much of the downbeat is injury (Klefbom) or free agency (Adam Larsson). I count Holland’s clear positives as bringing back Jesse Puljujarvi at a fantastic cap hit, and (along with the coaching staff) transitioning JP, Yamamoto, Bear, Jones and others successfully to the NHL.
The biggest concern is Holland at the trade table. He has not been effective. The drafting and development (wrote about it today at The Athletic) is as good as it’s been since Claude Julien was coaching in Hamilton. Free agency (Tyson Barrie, Mike Smith, Dominik Kahun) has been an effective tool.
I don’t think you’re going to enjoy the next two weeks. The real questions are: Can this roster make the playoffs for the third year in a row? Can this team win a playoff round? We have to wait to see the final product.
LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE
At 10 this morning, TSN1260, we have a great lineup and trades in the air and ready to spark any instant. We’ll be joined by Frank Seravalli from Daily Faceoff, who will have the latest Oilers trade rumours. Reid Fowler from Draft Kings will talk British Open and your comments are welcome. 10-1260 text, @Lowetide on twitter. See you on the radio!