I always keep track of the Tyler Tullio types who are procured by the town team. Teams don’t draft enforcers anymore, but do need skilled forwards who can bring an element of physicality to the game. Wall battles, fighting for net-front presence, even open ice hits do still happen in the modern game.
Oilers hockey is a lot of things, but there are times when the bark and the bite take a holiday. A player like Tullio, if he lands in the NHL, will score enough and check enough to stay in the lineup, as well as getting under the skin of opponents with dogged determination and aggression. Make no mistake, the Dave Semenko era is over. In the modern game, Tullio is not an easy player to ignore.
- New Lowetide: Oilers’ reasonable expectations for 2021-22: Goal scoring
- New DNB: Mailbag.
- Lowetide: Oilers’ potential Olympians are a small group with maximum possible impact
- 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
CURRENT 50-MAN (44)
Tullio is a slide and Yamamoto is unsigned, so I expect we’ll see an increase before training camp (Holland might be close to bringing in Alex Chiasson as insurance) and a decrease when Tullio heads back to the Oshawa Generals for the NHL season.
It’s a difficult team to project, because of a return to the Pacific Division, the massive change to the second pairing and the improvement to the forwards. I have my ‘reasonable expectations’ of goal scoring for the 2021-22 season up today at The Athletic, expect more goals per game by Edmonton.
Agitators and intimidators over the last decade
- LW Mitchell Moroz, 2012 draft. He was well known to the Oilers and played on a strong checking line. Red Line: Big, edgy power forward plays an in-your-face style and looks to initiate hard contact all over the ice. A feared enforcer who picked up 20 fighting majors, yet skates and handles the puck well enough to take regular shifts. Emerging force uses great size/strength to dominate below the circles and is impossible to move around crease. Development curve is heading straight up and has upside.
- LC Jujhar Khaira, 2012 draft. One of my favourite draft picks over the decade, he had a great mix of size, attitude and enough skill to play in the NHL. Red Line: this kid is big, mean, aggressive, nasty, and guess what… he can score too. Does the dirty work in the corners, bangs bodies and wins battles, and loves to initiate heavy contact. Creates lots of space for smaller teammates and makes everyone braver.
- LC Leon Draisaitl, 2014 draft. You may not think of him as physical but the big man wins fierce battles and is strong as an ox as well as being supremely skilled. Red Line: Huge German centre is tenacious in puck pursuit with his relentless forecheck often creating chances for linemates. Dominates the game down low with outstanding puck protection. Uses big frame to win the puck, pin men along the walls, or drive straight through would-be checkers. Has learned to use his size to carve out space for himself and effectively separate opponents from the puck.
- RW Jesse Puljujarvi, 2016 draft. The big man doesn’t know his own strength, but this past season he was pissing off opponents regularly just by being a giant wall. It will be a bigger part of his game each winter as he learns to use his gifts effectively. Black Book: This very talented Finn brings to the game a rare blend of power, skills and commitment. He is quick for a big kid and is an impressive skater who uses his speed to impact the play in different ways. He can be very effective on the forecheck, leaving defensemen little time to escape pressure. He can jump on loose pucks in high traffic areas and quickly recognize what’s the best available play. He can be a one on one threat at the offensive blueline with the puck as he likes to challenge opponents.
- LW Tyler Benson, 2016 draft. Although we never saw it after he was drafted (Benson was hurt a lot post-draft), he had a physical edge to his game. Black Book: Benson shows a strong compete level with a bulldog mentality. He’s the type who would rather go through you than around you. He plays with emotion and goes over the edge at times showing frustration. While we like him when he plays his power game, it was a somewhat inconsistent occurrence this season, something that was likely impacted by the nagging injuries.
- RW Tyler Tullio, 2020 draft. Fascinating player who hasn’t seen enough action since draft day due to the pandemic, his skill set is much needed in Edmonton. He is the smallest in the group, but tenacious and brings attitude to every shift. Red Line: Excellent speed and keeps his feet moving in traffic – tough to contain. Shows a fast stick in traffic. Makes subtle, one-touch passing plays, compares to Paul Byron.
I see Tullio as a third-line winger, kind of an Archibald with a little more bite. You might think that has low value, but if you can grab a guy in the fifth round who can score, kill penalties and exact a physical price, that’s a good draft pick.
LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE
A big day on the Lowdown today, we have a special announcement coming at 10:20 you’ll want to hear. At 10:40 Dan Ralph from The Canadian Press joins us to make sense of the CFL weekend (I cannot) and preview Week 6. Geoff Ullrich, Draft Kings NFL analyst, will join us at 11 to start the fire that will be the NFL season. 10-1260 text, @Lowetide on twitter. See you on the radio!