The hard part is finding the Leon Draisaitl, the easy part is finding several Slepyshev-level players around them. Edmonton used the 2013-16 draft to build the McDavid cluster, and have been wandering the desert since in search of support help. It hasn’t been 40 years, but it sometimes feels like it. Boot, meet re-boot.
In a world where the Jacks and Kings have been known for six years, are the sevens and nines coming into view?
- New Lowetide: How could waivers impact Oilers’ roster decisions?
- New DNB: Duncan Keith’s decline, by the numbers and video
- Lowetide: 9 bold predictions for the 2021-22 Edmonton Oilers
- Lowetide: Connor McDavid, Zach Hyman and line chemistry
- New DNB: Oilers training camp invitees tell us what it’s like to face McDavid in practice
- Lowetide: Why Tyler Tullio’s skill set is a good match for the Oilers
- DNB: Oilers training camp observations
- Lowetide: Why Colton Sceviour could be an important addition for the Oilers
- DNB: Derek Ryan Q&A
- Jonathan Willis: How can the Oilers find a long-term solution in net?
- Lowetide: What will three outscoring lines do for the Oilers and Connor McDavid?
- DNB: Oilers training camp questions
- Jonathan Willis: Darnell Nurse, in context
- DNB: The Oilers’ plan for prospect Philip Broberg
- 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
- DNB: Warren Foegele Q&A
- Lowetide: Oilers reasonable expectations for 2021-22: Goal differential
- Lowetide: Oilers’ reasonable expectations for 2021-22: Goal scoring
- 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
- Jonathan Willis: A resurgent Zack Kassian could be an important part of the Oilers’ scoring
CERTAIN OILERS (18)
Slater Koekkoek moves up from the uncertain group, we’re going to see this list fill up and leave the station by Sunday afternoon. Koekkoek-Bouchard have played 27 minutes at five on five so far this season, going 12-10 shots and 2-2 goals. That’s two games, at Calgary and at Winnipeg.
Duncan Keith will reportedly join the team today and play several times next week. Kris Russell is skating and we’ll see, but he remains on the ‘certain’ list despite a small possibility of beginning the year on IR.
UNCERTAIN OILERS (8)
As happens every training camp, once preseason games begin the herd thins quickly. I kave Koekkoek moving up, and a trio (Stuart Skinner, Josh Archibald, Filip Berglund) moving to the distant bells.
Skinner could make it due to injury, but both veterans are healthy and so we can assume Smith-Koskinen opening night. Lagesson could make it as an eighth blue, so he stays, but Berglund joins Niemelainen as potential recalls from Bakersfield.
It comes down to five forward spots (or four, plus Lagesson) for the final roster. Archibald is two weeks from the season with a new medical issue, that isn’t promising.
Among the seven forwards listed, forced to choose the two men outside I’ll name Marody and Benson. It’s a cruel world.
DISTANT BELLS (37)
At the beginning of our journey, the Certain Oilers counted 17 (now 18 with the addition of Koekkoek), Uncertain Oilers were 13 (now 8, with Kailer Yamamoto moving up and Alex Stalock, Stuart Skinner, Dmitri Samorukov and Filip Berglund moving down), and the distant bells growing by 15 (22 to 37). One player (Josh Archibald) fell from certain to distant bell.
James Hamblin is still here. (Looks both ways). I wonder if he’s this year’s Braden Christoffer.
I have some thoughts on this camp and want to share them:
- Ilya Konovalov impressed, and I do believe he will grow his reputation in Bakersfield. He played in a very good league these last seasons, he’s a player to watch this winter.
- Markus Niemelainen, Filip Berglund and Phil Kemp showed well to my eye, giving the Oilers better depth through the pipeline in case opportunities at the NHL level arise. I wrote about William Lagesson for The Athletic this morning, if he should be lost via waivers it means the LH side of the depth chart gets younger and less experienced. Nurse, Keith, Russell, Koekkoek has age and all it brings with it, so without Lagesson you’re quickly into the pool that includes Niemelainen and even Broberg.
- The uncertain group really is uncertain, because the club could go several ways and be fine. You know, the five final names could be Perlini, Benson, Shore, Sceviour and Lagesson, meaning Marody and Turris on the outside and McLeod in the AHL. For the record, I’m guessing Perlini, McLeod, Shore, Sceviour and Turris are the lottery winners.
- Most pleasant surprise? Xavier Bourgault. I didn’t expect him to play so well.
- Biggest disappointment? The injuries to Holloway and Samorukov. The Holloway injury and long-term impact cast a pall on the entire proceedings.
LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE
At 10 this morning, we kickstart the weekend on TSN1260. Oilers will practice, then play tonight as whirlwind week continues. Steve Lansky from Inside the Truck podcast will help us with the Jays in a pennant race, while Matthew Iwanyk will talk to us about the Oilers, CFL and NFL weekends to come. 10-1260 text, @Lowetide on twitter. See you on the radio!