There are several stories worth keeping in mind as we approach Oilers training camp. Paying attention to detail, as Mr. Young did by offering a clear description of the white boat coming up the river, can enhance the experience. The events are unfolding as they should and as the Desiderata intended, but it’s always good to have an idea of what the play is about before the curtain rises.
- New Lowetide: What should the Oilers expect from Cody Ceci in his first season?
- Lowetide: Why Oilers can expect an offensive rebound from Ryan Nugent-Hopkins
- Lowetide: Projecting the 2021-22 Edmonton Oilers opening night lineup
- Lowetide: Why Oilers fans should be excited about the progress of Maxim Berezkin
- Lowetide: What should Oilers expect from Duncan Keith in his first season?
- Lowetide: Did the Oilers find the new Fernando Pisani when signing Derek Ryan?
- Jonathan Willis: Tyler Benson, Devin Shore and the 4-year difference between a prospect and a has-been
- Lowetide: What should Oilers fans expect from Zach Hyman in his first season?
- Lowetide: Dylan Holloway headlines new arrivals for Bakersfield Condors in 2021-22
- Lowetide: Why Oilers fans should expect more trades and a deep playoff run this season
- Lowetide: How much playing time will Evan Bouchard get with the Oilers this coming season?
- Lowetide: What are reasonable expectations for the 2021-22 Oilers?
- Jonathan Willis: A resurgent Zack Kassian could be an important part of the Oilers’ scoring
- Lowetide: Oilers sign Darnell Nurse to a massive 8-year contract extension
- Lowetide: How many goals will Jesse Puljujarvi score for the Oilers next season?
- Lowetide: What are Oilers’ ideal defence pairings for 2021-22?
- Jonathan Willis: Oilers 2021-22 depth chart
- DNB: ‘Ultimate competitor’ Zach Hyman signs with Oilers
- Lowetide: Oilers top 20 prospects, summer 2021
Michael Russo at The Athletic has the story. The impact could be massive. The short story is this: If a player isn’t vaccinated, and is unable to take part in team activities (practice, games, flights), then he can be suspended without pay by the team, who will replace him. There are some exceptions, but it’s very restrictive. That’s a massive change in the weather. I can see veterans opting out of the season, they have until next month to decide.
We don’t know the names of unvaccinated players and my reading is the punishment is harsh for those players who test positive. I have questions. What if a goalie is the player in question? Should teams consider carrying three goaltenders? What if a team makes a roster decision based on a player not being vaccinated? How does that work?
We’re two weeks away from camp. Plenty of time, he lied.
ROOKIES FOR A DECADE
Here are the names of rookies (with games) for each year. Players in yellow went right to the NHL, players in light blue spent some time in the minors:
- 2011-12: Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (68); Anton Lander (56); Colten Teubert (24); Teemu Hartikainen (17); Ryan O’Marra (7); Chris VandeVelde (5); Alex Plante (3); Phil Cornet (2); Milan Kytnar (1).
- 2012-13: Justin Schultz (48); Nail Yakupov (48); Chris VandeVelde (11); Mark Arcobello (1).
- 2013-14: Luke Gazdic (67); Martin Marincin (44); Mark Arcobello (41); Oscar Klefbom (17); Tyler Pitlick (10); Taylor Fedun (4); Brad Hunt (3).
- 2014-15: Oscar Klefbom (60); Leon Draisaitl (37); Tyler Pitlick (17); Iiro Pakarinen (17); Brandon Davidson (12); Andrew Miller (9); Jordan Oesterle (6); David Musil (4); Darnell Nurse (2); Bogdan Yakimov (1); Curtis Hamilton (1); Laurent Brossoit (1); Tyler Bunz (1).
- 2015-16: Darnell Nurse (69); Iiro Pakarinen (63); Brandon Davidson (51); Connor McDavid (45); Griffin Reinhart (29); Adam Clendening (20); Jordan Oesterle (17); Jujhar Khaira (15); Anton Slepyshev (11); Laurent Brossoit (5).
- 2016-17: Matt Benning (62); Drake Caggiula (60); Anton Slepyshev (41); Jesse Puljujarvi (28), Jujhar Khaira (10); Laurent Brossoit (8); Dillon Simpson (3).
- 2017-18: Ethan Bear (18); Pontus Aberg (16); Kailer Yamamoto (9); Nathan Walker (2); Keegan Lowe (2).
- 2018-19: Colby Cave (33); Josh Currie (21); Kailer Yamamoto (17); Caleb Jones (17); Joe Gambardella (15); Evan Bouchard (7); Cooper Marody (6); Patrick Russell (6), Valentin Zykov (5).
- 2019-20: Ethan Bear (71); Caleb Jones (43); Joel Persson (13); William Lagesson (8); Tyler Benson (7).
- 2020-21: William Lagesson (19); Evan Bouchard (14); Ryan McLeod (10); Stuart Skinner (1).
That’s a mammoth number of rookies in a decade, and it’s amazing to see how many players didn’t see Edmonton’s farm club before playing for the Oilers. Oh sure, Nuge, Yak, Leon, McDavid were high picks, but Anton Lander went straight to the NHL, same year.
There are some bad decisions there, many of these players could have used more time in the minors. Luke Gazdic played in the minors for the Dallas Stars organization, but came right to the NHL via waivers. Griffin Reinhart was a disconnect, general manager Peter Chiarelli believing he was NHL-ready and coach Todd McLellan believing something else again. Identical to the Jesse Puljujarvi situation one year later.
Lots of waivers now that I look through all the names, Chiarelli didn’t have any money left for skill wingers so brought in Aberg, Walker, Zykov in an effort to increase the talent pool. That’s an addled list.
A tremendous surge of Yamamoto offer sheet talk online yesterday, I’m happy because it shows people recognize the value of Edmonton’s drafting him No. 22 overall. It was an earth shattering pick for the organization, Oilers history to that point in time showed extreme bias about taking smaller forwards in the first round, this was a watershed selection. What we don’t know is the value Holland places on this player.
I had looked forward to seeing him play for several years in Edmonton, but as mentioned on this blog all summer, players drafted before the Holland-Wright group arrived may be less secure than the group chosen after their arrival. It’s human nature. If he goes via offer sheet, it will be a damn shame but NHL teams should be looking at these opportunities more closely.
THE PRICE OF NONCONFORMANCE
Many years ago (this is the 1980’s) a man from MIT flew into Regina and addressed the staff of the radio station I worked for about two important facts: The price of conformance, and the price of nonconformance.
He placed a price on every error. In radio, revisions to commercial scripts means the creative and production departments (as well as voice talent) forces a do-over from the original commercial. MIT man put a price on all of that, including the cost of studio time, and called it the price of nonconformance. He was with us for a week, and I believe the final total from all departments was a dollar total that approached $1 trillion dollars.
Now, about 10 minutes into the week, my friend Dave Bellerive said “how much is the company spending to tell us to do our damn jobs properly?” and that too is fair.
However, there is a point to be made. Yamamoto’s exposure, Benson’s development, all of the bets made this summer and in the summers this past decade.
How many transactions could be described as “do it right the first time?” and how many are bleeding talent and productivity? That’s a question for all NHL teams, and specifically the Canadian clubs. How many Canadian teams are truly efficient?
I sometimes wonder if that fellow from MIT would be an effective wakeup call for hockey ownership. What is the cost of drafting Tyler Benson, developing him, then using a two-week audition as a pass/fail? Is that efficient?
It’s an interesting question.
LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE
At 10 this morning we kickstart the long weekend, TSN1260. Steve Lansky from Inside the Truck Podcast will join us to talk about the Canada-Honduras World Cup qualifier last night, and Matthew Iwanyk will preview the NHL weekend at 11. Lots of hockey talk, your comments welcome at 10-1260 or @Lowetide on twitter. Long weekend on the way!