The Oilers updated fans yesterday about the injured players from the first prospects game against the Calgary Flames and it was a continuation of some damnable luck for the organization’s youngest soldiers. Dmitri Samorukov, who could be in the NHL as early as later this season, suffered a broken jaw and is out six weeks. Xavier Bourgault was back on the ice and Phil Kemp is good to go if the organization decides to play him tonight.
Some actual good news yesterday as well: Ilya Konovalov will play tonight.
- New Lowetide: Examining Ken Holland’s Oilers plan and how it could impact the future
- Lowetide: Filip Berglund, sleeper option for Edmonton’s defense
- DNB: Cooper Marody Q&A
- Lowetide: Oilers preseason stories of the past, from Tony Hand to Leon Draisaitl
- Lowetide: The Oilers and the Cooper Marody experiment are at a crossroads
- DNB: Oilers voice their frustration over top prospect Dylan Holloway’s injury setback
- Lowetide: A set roster? Oilers training camp gone wild? Expect the unexpected
- Lowetide: Xavier Bourgault and his ETA with the Edmonton Oilers
- DNB: Warren Foegele Q&A
- Lowetide: Dylan Holloway’s season and why patience is vital for Oilers’ prospect
- Lowetide: Oilers reasonable expectations for 2021-22: Goal differential
- Lowetide: Oilers’ reasonable expectations for 2021-22: Goal scoring
- New DNB: Mailbag.
- Lowetide: What should the Oilers expect from Cody Ceci in his first season?
- Lowetide: Projecting the 2021-22 Edmonton Oilers opening night lineup
- Lowetide: What should Oilers expect from Duncan Keith in his first season?
- 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: How much playing time will Evan Bouchard get with the Oilers this coming season?
- Jonathan Willis: A resurgent Zack Kassian could be an important part of the Oilers’ scoring
- Lowetide: How many goals will Jesse Puljujarvi score for the Oilers next season?
RIESEN TO BELIEVE NO. 3
- Mike Smith, 39. Smith had a great year, he isn’t expensive for what he brings and he is clearly focused on staying in the league. Is signing Smith more reckless than trading a first, Samorukov and Koskinen for Darcy Kuemper? Chances of making team: 95%.
- Mikko Koskinen, 33. The reason you don’t trade him is that he remains a giant and could deliver a solid season. I don’t see any real evidence that expectations of Smith should be higher than those of Koskinen. Honestly, most of the division is filled with good not great goaltenders. Pretending to know the difference gets general managers in trouble. Chances of making team: 95%.
- Alex Stalock, 34. He hasn’t played an NHL game since March 7, 2020 but he could be the third man if the NHL goes taxi squad. Chances of making team: 10%.
- Stuart Skinner, 22. It’s likely to be a crowded crease in preseason, will he get a full game? Chances of making team: 0
- Ilya Konovalov, 23. He gets the net tonight, and that could be important. Edmonton has six goalies entering camp, they can’t all get a preseason game. Chances of making team: 0.
- Darnell Nurse, 26. Nurse will play major minutes again this season and look to duplicate his 55.9 goal share and 1.19 pts-60 at five on five from a year ago. He gets zoomed by playing with McDavid, but credit him for contributing. His passing improved markedly, this will Chances of making team: 100%.
- Duncan Keith, 38. Expectations of him are so low now that for some it’ll be an upset if Keith makes it through the anthem before Game 1. He’s a good passer and his experience will be a positive factor. There are parts of his game (speedy recovery) that are not strong anymore. Chances of making team: 100%.
- Kris Russell, 34. His five on five GA/60 is 2.00 over the last two seasons. He doesn’t help move the puck up the ice and that’s not productive. As a defender, Russell remains useful. I expect he’ll play a lot. Chances of making team: 100%.
- Slater Koekkoek, 27. Koekkoek has the edge going in and it won’t hurt that everyone and his dog remembers he was effective playing his off side while a member of the Chicago Blackhawks in 2019-20. I’ve increased his odds of breaking camp with the team. Chances of making team: 65%.
- William Lagesson, 25. Lagesson had good possession numbers for the Bakersfield Condors over the entirety of his time there, but struggled in his NHL debut. Where that leaves him? I give him a 50-50 chance of making the team. Chances of making team: 50%.
- Philip Broberg, 20. Big, fast defenseman played well in the first rookie game and those wheels are terrific. Coverage will improve with time and he’ll lose battles now that will later be won, for the times they are a changin’. Chances of making the team: 5%.
- Tyson Barrie, 30. He posted a 1.38-60 five on five points total and a goal differential of 52.4 percent. He should be replaced by Bouchard on the ‘McDavid 5’ unit at some point, but that probably doesn’t happen this season. Chances of making team: 100%.
- Cody Ceci, 27. His five on five GA/60 in the last two seasons (2.27, 2.03) are excellent. I suspect his main partners this year will be Keith and Russell. Chances of making team: 100%.
- Evan Bouchard, 21. The Oilers have almost made it through the PTO window without inviting a player who could take minutes away. Have to hand it to Holland and Tippett, they remained true to their word. Chances of making team: 100%.
- Filip Berglund, 24. Added to the list with Samorukov’s injury, Berglund has a fine resume including five years experience in a good league. He should get some preseason games. Chances of making team: 3%.
- Connor McDavid, 24. At five on five last season he posted 3.58 pts-60 and had a goal differential of 57.1 percent. On the power play, he delivered 9.47 pts-60. McDavid is the hockey dragon slayer. He’s impossible. Chances of making team: 100%.
- Leon Draisaitl, 25. I’ve been thinking about how much Draisaitl will play away from McDavid this year. In 2020-21, at five on five, Draisaitl scored 4-12-16 in 567 minutes (1.69). Maybe Hyman lands on his wing. Chances of making team: 100%.
- Derek Ryan, 34. A bunch of established NHL players came to Edmonton in order to play No. 3 center, beginning with Eric Belanger in 2011. Ryan has a splendid resume, will he solve the mystery of 3C? Chances of making team: 100%.
- Ryan McLeod, 21. His speed is a weapon, and Ryan isn’t an elite third-line center. McLeod’s biggest challenge will be posted offensive numbers. If he can do that, Ryan will be on the fourth line. Chances of making team: 90%.
- Devin Shore, 27. A strong penalty killer, Shore is death valley in five on five possession. Chances of making team: 90%.
- Zach Hyman, 29. Tippett will likely play Hyman with McDavid from the start, giving the two men a chance to create some chemistry. McDavid once said it takes five or six games to get a feel for a linemates tendencies, I think we’ll see them together that many times during the preseason. Chances of making team: 100%.
- Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, 28. His expected goals last year (55.5 percent) was miles from his goal differential (48.4) so one hopes regression has him above level. Nuge seemed to lose confidence with the puck last year, might have been contract worry. Oilers need 20+ goals from him. Chances of making team: 100%.
- Warren Foegele, 25. His five on five pts-60 last season (1.60) and expected goals (55.6 percent) suggest he is well suited to an outscoring third line. There will be a temptation to move him to a skill line, but three outscoring lines has major appeal. Chances of making team: 100%.
- Brendan Perlini, 25. Perlini is big, fast and can score goals but he’ll be applying for two-way work on the third or fourth line. I have him making the team, but it’s going to be close. He might get lucky if Tippett moves Nuge to center and Foegele slides to the 2line. Chances of making team: 52%.
- Tyler Benson, 23. Benson has terrific skills and has proven himself to be worth a full NHL season. The AHL numbers suggest he’ll post enough offense and the injury concerns are a distant bell. I think he makes the team. Chances of making team: 50%.
- Jesse Puljujarvi, 23. This is a big season for JP, his scoring rates had him at 22 goals per 82 games. That’s a significant total and if he can reach of exceed, we’re talking about a player who can help a team win the Stanley Cup. Chances of making team: 100%.
- Kailer Yamamoto, 22. Finally signed, now the young man will need to deliver on promise. He’s a solid young winger, but his 2020-21 season (projected to 82 games, 13-20-33) won’t be enough for him to keep the job on RW with Draisaitl. Chances of making team: 100%.
- Josh Archibald, 28. Utility forward. His GA/60 at five on five last season (2.65) was among the better bottom-six F totals and his goal differential in this discipline (43 percent) trailed only Jujhar Khaira among depth forwards. King of the empty-net goals. Chances of making team: 90%
- Zack Kassian, 30. There is a real buzz about him moving up to a skill line now that fans are coming back. I’m all for it, Edmonton is better when he’s scoring 15 goals a year. Thing is, he is now 30 and players lose goal-scoring ability around this point. He’s also unreliable as a checker. I like Kassian, wish him well on a skill line, it would really help increase balance and depth. Chances of making team: 100%.
- Kyle Turris, 32. Turris is older than Kassian with the same erosion having an impact. The signing of Yamamoto impacts him, and he’ll have to earn his spot. The veteran with the most on the line during training camp and preseason. Chances of making team: 70%.
- Cooper Marody, 24. He has skill and can play center, and this would appear to be his last chance Texaco. He has a shot. Chances of making team: 25%.
- Colton Sceviour, 32. A curious PTO unless there’s an injury we don’t know about, the only roster spot likely available is the one Josh Archibald owns. Chances of making team: 10%.
ROOKIE GAME VERSUS THE FLAMES
At this point, getting out of the game healthy would be job one for Oilers rookies. Players I’ll be watching (if they play) include Konovalov, Broberg and Berglund. The losses of Dylan Holloway and Dmitri Samorukov have cast a pall over this camp, but there are jobs to be won and players pushing up the depth chart and tonight is another opportunity.
LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE
A big show this morning on the Lowdown, TSN 1260 and we start at 10. Jason Gregor from TSN 1260’s Jason Gregor Show will pop in at 11 to talk about the Elks, NFL and Oilers camp this week. We’ll also have an NFL guest to review Week 2 and the pile of injuries that could impact several teams for the rest of the season. 10-1260 text, @Lowetide on twitter. See you on the radio!