Things are happening fast so I’m going to get the draft stuff out when we have quiet moments over the next few days. This is the McDavid cluster, the center being Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl, Darnell Nurse and one hopes Jesse Puljujarvi, Ethan Bear and others. Over the next several years, adding players who deliver more than surrendered at an efficient cost is vital.
On the other end of the roster, the organization has to keep finding talent to feed into the system. A player drafted this summer won’t be turning pro until 2023 and might not contribute until 2025. Edmonton will need players of value pushing through the system, and that first round pick this year is going to be important. Trading it remains an option and an understandable possibility, but if the club uses it, getting max value will be a must.
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
CRAIG BUTTON’S FINAL LIST (LT)
I’ve been curious all year about what my final list would look like against the experts. I’m no scout, all I have is math, and the formulas from Gabe Desjardins, Rob Vollman and Christian Roatis.
So a season without the normal math made things difficult. I have Button’s list surrounded, four names in his top 30 are ranked outside the first round on my list. Button is a respected scout and I think an NHL team should value what he brings. Pleased to see he likes Zachary L’Heureux as much as me.
LOWETIDE OILERS MOCK
I like to do this with the public lists (basically the Button and McKenzie) and then will rank those two plus Pronman, Wheeler and Red Line after the draft. Here is my list placed against the Button list, with my highest pick not on Button’s list being the Oilers selection at the designated number. Button’s list is only 75 deep, but we usually get a full deck and this year is such a wild draft one suspects a full boat again. My list is here.
- No. 19 overall: LC Nikita Chibrikov, St. Petersburg. Small skill forward can stickhandle in a phone booth. Massive U18’s in Texas. He’s 5.10, 161 and a February 2003, he plays center and wing suspect he’ll land as a winger. Fast as lightning, one dimensional, will have to improve play without the puck.
- No. 116 overall: RW Olivier Nadeau, Shawinigan Cataractes More bull than beauty, he is effective. Big power winger with plus skills, he works hard and has two-way acumen. Foot speed is just average, but he has great balance. I’m not sure if the Oilers will draft him but the QMJHL is loaded with good prospects and it’s possible we see Edmonton add someone from that league this year.
- No. 180 overall: LW Eric Alarie, Moose Jaw Warriors 6.01, 196. Big PF with plus skill. Reports on his skating are good and no one is ranking him. What does that mean? He’s either going to be a draft steal or there’s something I’m missing about this player. I have him No. 24, I’ll be interested to see where he lands.
- No. 186 overall: RC Ryder Korczak, Moose Jaw Warriors A top play-making center in the WHL. Good speed, elusive. This wasn’t a plan, drafting Moose Jaw Warriors, and he’s the opposite of Alarie (Korczak is small and plays with high energy. His scouting report is vaguely similar to Tyler Tullio.
- No. 212 overall: LW Conner Roulette, Seattle Thunderbirds He has good hands/speed, has a sixth sense for offense. Aggressive and is dogged on the puck. I have him No. 32, this draft is nuts.
HOLLAND’S FREE-AGENT SIGNINGS WITH THE OILERS
Since arriving in Edmonton, the best moves made by Ken Holland have come via free agency. The best move was getting restricted free agent Jesse Puljujarvi to sign a two-year value deal. After that, unrestricted signings of Tyson Barrie, Mike Smith and Dominik Kahun rank with the drafting of Dylan Holloway and trade for James Neal.
Holland has plenty of cash to spend and some attractive options out there. He could deliver a solid veteran team with the moves still available.
This sends Mikko Koskinen to Nashville for Mark Borowiecki, who is off to the minors. James Neal bought out, Kyle Turris in the AHL. The more I stare at free agency, the more Nuge is the best option for No. 3 center. I’d love to see a more skilled third-line right winger, but there’s too much month at the end of the money.
Larsson gets signed, I added Koekkoek because some of you are picking away at poor William Lagesson. Goaltending costs $6 million all in. There’s $1.3 million in cap room, Klefbom on LTIR and Holland will be looking for Dmitri Samorukov by mid-season. There are 22 names on the roster.
LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE
At 10 this morning, TSN 1260, we kickstart the weekend with a great lineup. Tyler Wright, Edmonton Oilers Director of Amateur Scouting, will join us at 10:20 to talk about the 2021 draft and what the organization sees in this year’s pool of talent. Steve Lansky from Inside the Truck podcast will chime in from Waterton about the British Open, the Blue Jays and Edmonton’s possible acquisition of Zach Hyman. Matthew Iwanyk from TSN1260 will talk Edmonton Elks, Oilers and TSN1260’s coverage of the 2021 draft. 10-1260 text, @Lowetide on twitter. See you on the radio!!