Had a chance to discuss the Oilers with Lowetide last Friday. We covered a wide range of topics including the goaltending moving forward, the Barons and the draft, among others. Check out this post from Lowetide that frames some of the discussion first.
The full segment is here, but unfortunately it doesn’t load properly right now. I’ll make sure I update this post once the glitch is corrected by TSN.
Couple notes that I thought would be worth sharing:
- Laurent Brossoit was outstanding against the Sharks making 49 saves in his NHL debut. It was definitely one of the rare highlights of the year, but I think it’d be wise to temper our expectations until he really proves himself at the AHL level. Jonathan WIllis has a nice piece on him, describing Brossoit’s history and development.
- I mentioned that I thought Anton Lander was the most impressive call-up from the Barons this season. He’s taken on the tougher minutes this year and has produced reasonably well. He’s got some job security now, signing a 2-year deal, so I’m hoping he can take full control of that second/third line center.
- Todd Nelson had done a lot to demonstrate his ability to coach at the NHL level. If the Oilers don’t retain him as head coach, I can see another NHL club reaching out to him either as a head coach or an associate. And whatever the Oilers decide to do, they have got to start the season with an NHL roster. We’ve seen a lot of coaches, experienced and knowledgeable men, come and go, each having a poor roster to work with. The Oilers have to do a better job this summer assembling a roster.
- My knowledge of the draft this year is limited to the top 10 or so prospects. I don’t watch junior hockey, so a lot of what I know is based on what the experts say and what the stats are telling me. And based on what I think the Oilers should do, I’m thinking the club should pursue a center with the third pick and consider moving either him or Leon to acquire a top defenceman. I’d prefer drafting another defenceman like Noah Hanifin, letting him develop for a few years and then reaping the benefits. But this is MacTavish’s third year as GM, so he may choose to pursue assets that can be moved right away to get NHL talent now. Defencemen, in my opinion, take a lot longer to develop, so a prospect at center might be more attractive to a rival GM. Just my thoughts.
- The thought of the Oilers signing an expensive, veteran netminder like Niemi this summer makes me absolutely cringe. One, it brings up memories of Khabibulin getting dehydrated in his first game with the Oilers. And two, it’ll push the club against the cap when those dollars should really be spent on defence. I mentioned purusing goalies like Cam Talbot or Martin Jones, with the former being preferred, as possibilities. Both are young with some upside, but this may scare away MacTavish who already gambled on Fasth and Scrivens based on similar logic, and failed. The issue with goalies is that they typically don’t age gracefully, and you probably want to avoid guys like Niemi who have been in decline.
- I also shared my thoughts on Justin Schultz, who I really believe can still be an NHL defenceman. Unfortunately, the club has pushed him into the first pairing, taking on tougher opposition, and his deficiencies are on display nightly. The Oilers have got to push both Schultz and Klefbom down the depth chart by bringing in at least two defencemen who are in their primes. There are far too high expectations on Schultz, all due to what the team has said about him and how they’ve used him. If you’re interested, I wrote about the Oilers mishandling of Schultz here and here.
A big thank you to Allan for having me on his show. His blog is always a must-read and I’m looking forward to his Realistic Expectations series this month.