davidson ferguson

Brandon Davidson (photo by Rob Ferguson) established himself a year ago as a bona fide NHL defender. He did suffer some injuries, and that could impact management’s decisions on the fall roster. Along with Oscar Klefbom, injury worries to Davidson mean the lefthanded NHL defenders—a fine group—could remain intact, to make sure there is enough depth for the coming year. Does Peter Chiarelli have an area of strength he can deal from? 


  • Brandon Davidson—Missed a few games with a rib issue around the new year, and then Dustin Byfuglien ran over him in early March. All is apparently on schedule for the fall and Davidson should be able to flourish on the third pairing—while also being first choice to step in on the second pairing when required.
  • Oscar Klefbom—What a wild year. The latest we have heard is positive, as Jason Gregor wrote here at ON a few weeks ago (week of June 23): Oscar Klefbom was in Edmonton this week and he skated four days with
    the trainers and medical staff. The first day his foot didn’t feel
    great, but the next few days he felt fine and was very positive about
    how he felt. I asked (Peter) Chiarelli about Klefbom’s progress and he
    confirmed he had been skating and everything looks great. The past week
    was as much a mental exercise as physical. He needed to get on the ice
    and feel good and he did. A healthy Klefbom is a must if the Oilers hope
    to improve this season.


corsi rel davidson

This is league-wide, players with 300 or more 5×5 minutes in 2015-16. Davidson, a flat-out rookie with zero draft pedigree, was an extremely effective player in Corsi for 5×5 percentage relative to team. It is just one measure, but an important one, and that is reflected by the company kept on that list.


oilers d final vollman 15-16

Blue is good, light blue less so, pink is meh, brown is bad. Big bubbles are lots of playing time. Upper left quadrant is the tough minutes (tough opponents) and shows Klefbom, Sekera and Fayne as the prime choice for those minutes last season. Brandon Davidson, according to the Vollman, was playing reasonably difficult opposition and holding his own.


nj vollman d

Adam Larsson has a big bubble and it is in the toughest part of the graph—that is the same spot he and Oscar Klefbom will probably occupy next season. Will the bubble be blue for Larsson? He is coming to a better possession team—although Taylor Hall was part of that team—and should be an upgrade on RHD for Edmonton in the coming year. I say should because despite improving metrics in regard to measuring defensive ability in hockey, it is a terribly difficult frontier for hockey analytics.



If the Oilers are going to keep Sekera, Klefbom and Davidson—which makes sense—are there candidates from LHD who could be sent away? Darnell Nurse and Griffin Reinhart are candidates, but the Oilers are building a big, strong team with an edge—something Nurse brings and Reinhart can bring to the game.

The other men are prospects still building value, it is doubtful Edmonton would move them unless the deal was of the bigger variety.


Despite the large number of lefties on the roster, and a clear need for a RHD who can move the puck on this team, reading the tea leaves right now leaves us with a loaded left side entering training camp this fall. GM Peter Chiarelli confirmed as much recently speaking to Bob Stauffer:

  • Chiarelli to Bob: “Notwithstanding the
    cries of protest for a power play specialist, I’d be very satisfied
    with where we sit today. We’re getting Oscar Klefbom back. He’s a
    helluva defenceman. It’s going to take him some time to get him up and
    running. He missed a lot of games last year. We’ve brought in Adam
    Larsson, a high pedigree player, although not as well known to this
    community as in other hockey circles. He’s a right shot, that’s important in the righty/lefty scheme of things. He can play an offensive role. No, he’s not an offensive specialist. He can play on a power play.
    No, he’s not a power play specialist. So all things being equal, if we
    were to start today with our ‘D’ I’d be quite happy. I’d be very happy.
    Yes, I’d like to try to get someone that can complement a power play and
    push the puck up to the forwards. That’s no secret. We will continue to
    look at. There’s still a couple that are out there. They are hard to

Based on that quote, and the discussion above, I think it is more likely we see a Benoit Pouliot or a Nail Yakupov heading out of town—and we should, at least to a certain extent—entertain the idea of the 2017 first-round selection being in play. Starting now.

  • ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

    McLellan suggested that Chia was definitely not done and that the pieces he’d have to work with wouldn’t be finalized until late August.
    Given Chia’s proclivity for radio silence on the matter of trades and acquisitions, I feel more inclined to accept T-Mc’s version of things: expect more pieces to be moved around the board with late August as a directional, interim point of closure for at least the beginning of the season.

    That right side of the cupboard would look soooo bare without Larsson there.

  • Jordanzza

    Is Pouliot, Nurse and 2017 1st too much to part with for Barrie?

    It would sting to lose Nurse and I’m a huge fan of Pouliot as a 2nd liner who can slot into the top line effortlessly, but adding Barrie instantly makes me confident about our D in combination with Larsson.

    Trash = Too rich!
    Cheers = Pull the Trigger!

    Lucic – McDavid – Yakupov
    Maroon – Nuge – Eberle
    Caggiula – Draisaitl – Pakarinen
    Hendricks – Letestu – Kassian
    x Lander / Pitlick

    Klefbom – Larsson
    Sekera – Barrie
    Davidson – Fayne
    x Oesterle

    • Kepler62c

      Eh, don’t know that they need a top 4 option as the PP guy.

      Lots of talk about Wisniewski lately and he’d be a great addition – has a history of producing well on the power play and if he played 3rd pair with Davidson against middling competition he’d be in a position to succeed as he is in the decline stage.

      Klefbom – Larsson

      Sekera – Fayne

      Davidson – Wisniewski

      Gryba/Musil/Oesterle. (I’d bring back Gryba)

    • madjam

      What are you expecting , making both wings a sore spot on team offensively ? I doubt that lineup could beat Jersey’s offense last season with the wingers you have , even with Barrie . Puljujarvi might make a difference , if not , our club would be near or at the bottom of league offensively once again . On top of this (Pouliot) you also want to add Nurse and 2017 first pick , when we probably could have had Hamilton for Nurse and much less , a season ago . Take Pouliot out of Left side and then it becomes as much a weakness as Right side offense . We’ll be a one line offense with Lucic , McDavid and Eberle , beyond that not much to get excited about or feared by opposition offensively . If you want to deal Yakupov , i’d have no qualms about him being dealt , as he does not supply enough anyways offensively or defensively .

    • Serious Gord

      Don’t think I have ever seen a comment get so many thumbs down.

      Not sure I agree with the suggestion, but it definitely deserves a more even handed response. Exchanging left hand for right hand in view of how elk balanced this team is is a reasonable concept. Nurse and pouliot seems like an overpay.

    • cityofchampions

      I’d trade Nurse with either the 2017 1st pick or Pouliot for Barrie, however throwing them both in is too much of an overpay. Nurse will be a very good Dman, but Barrie already is a very good Dman on the right side who can run a powerplay. Barrie is exactly what we need, and Nurse is expendable as we have so many LHD.

    • OnDaWagon

      Maybe Peter can offer Sakic, Yakupov straight up for Barrie. I can see you rate The Rexal Stinch pretty darn high. You do have that “amazing goal scorer” on the line with McDavid, and we know the “Russian Phenom” did ask to be traded.

  • Kepler62c

    Wouldn’t mind seeing them dip into the young depth LHD to acquire some young depth at F. Some minor league player(s) for minor league player(s) type deals to balance out the Bakersfield system.

    Guys like Jordan Oesterle, David Musil, Dillon Simpson, even Ben Betker could be moved (not all obviously) but the Oilers are so deep on LHD it’s comical. I mean, Nurse, Reinhart, Oesterle, Musil are all “1st-2nd Callup” type guys right now on most teams.

  • HardBoiledOil 1.0

    well i’m sure as hell hoping Chia isn’t done yet!! not nearly enough has been done on the back end to make the Oilers winners. I think this franchise is still enthralled with kids. as long as they are, we’ll not win.

  • Rocklobzter

    Can we just all take a minute and appreciate Lowetide’s commitment to giving us quality articles well into the dreary summer days? You the real MVP LT

  • Spydyr

    Why do people want to keep trading the next years first?Especially in a expansion draft year.

    Imagine if the Oilers did that the last two seasons.

    Not very pretty is it?

  • I am Batman

    “Brandon Davidson (photo by Rob Ferguson) established himself a year ago as a bona fide NHL defender”

    Can you please define Bona Fide? If Davidson is Bona Fide, what is Karlsson? Seriously, I’m curious as to what qualities a “Bona Fide” defense man has…

  • Oil drop

    Wisnewski on a short term deal money isn’t important so long as we have cap flexibility during the one or two years of the deal is my best option for completing the defence.

    It gives the team time to find a suitable long term rhd with out giving opposing teams extreme leverage against us like the hall larsen deal

  • oilbaron

    Klefboms injury history is a concern. It really brings to mind forsberg’s foot injury that ended his career. I sure hope its not that serious but, correct me if im wrong, the poor guy has yet to play a full season in any league since we drafted him…..

    • Serious Gord

      I think more than any other thing the upcoming oiler season will hinge upon klefbom’s health.

      In the six years he’s been pro he’s only played 57 percent of the games.

      If he continues that form that means only 46 games.

      While past experience is not guarantor of the future result it would be foolish and reckless to not have contingency plans.

  • DrillForOil

    I would take a shot at landing Trouba for Nurse and a pick. It would provide an acceleration in shaping up the D core and he’s a RH. I don’t think Nurse will be much of a better player than Trouba.

    A move like that would need to be offset by losing some cap hit elsewhere and means only 8 skaters being protected for expansion.

    I don’t think going into a season with a great D core would be the worst thing! I wouldn’t even care if a bit of forward depth had to be sacrificed to make the cap work. That pain would be short lived till Puljujarvi is a regular.

  • I’d love Barrie, but at this point we do not need to overpay for him. The current D is solid and we can always add Wisnewski. My only other (minor) concern is maybe the lack of pure goal scorers in the top 9. Eberle and Yakupov will provide that, but who’s going to score on the Draisaitl line? Pulju is more of a playmaker and maroon is great but not a sniper. I’m sure we’ll be fine, but we almost have that perfect balance of “power-playmaking-scoring” on the top three lines. Anyways, go Oil!


      I think the top 3 can go as follows:


      Yak has pretty near identical offensive numbers with MacDavid as Eberle, and it has been proven that Pou-RNH-Ebs can succeed against the toughs. Giving Drai and the rookie soft minutes with a guy who showed playing with MacDavid that he can clear room and finish plays with creative playmaker (Maroon) seems like a great way to have unicorns.

      Have a wagon line hendo letestu Kassian/Pakarinen, seems like a great front end to me. And the D looks better than it has in years!

      Drinking the koolaid

      • Randaman

        You’re dreaming if you think McLellan puts Yak ahead of Eberle in the top nine. I would bet Yak will be on the third line unless he comes to camp with a new attitude and actually plays right away from the puck.

        Yes, I know, Eberle has some of the same issues but he scores more than Yak and Yak has to work back up the line up

        • THRNHJE

          I am not saying he will do it, but based on the sample size from last year, Yak does just as well with MacD as Eberle, so it would be an optimal use of assets.

          • RJ

            This has been talked about quite a bit at Lowetide’s site. Quite a few have suggested splitting up McDavid and Eberle, so that you have some semblance of a second scoring line (putting Nuge and Eberle back together, for example).

            I’m not going to go track down the numbers, but the P/60 for Yak with McDavid were virtually identical for Eberle with McDavid. So the numbers support your thesis, though both are comparatively small sample sizes.

            (For those interested, go read the comments section of LT’s blog. They talk about this almost every day.)

        • RJ

          As I just mentioned in another comment, the P/60 for Yak/McD is just about identical for Eberle/McD. But you bring up some other interesting points.

          One is Yak working his way up the line-up. That seems reasonable on the surface, except for the fact that teams don’t often run that way. Eberle was absolutely brutal to start the season, wasn’t producing and brought nothing else to the table. McLellan responded by continuing to give him top pairing minutes, time on the PP, play in OT and in the shootout. His play didn’t “earn” him those minutes. As a practical matter, Eberle is the highest paid Oiler, so that was undoubtedly a consideration. Korpikoski is another good example. If you follow advanced stats, he was arguably the worst forward in the NHL who drew a regular shift. Regardless, McLellan kept giving him time on the PP. His play didn’t “earn” him that spot. If his play earned him anything, it was his buy-out this summer.

          Which does bring to mind coaching. TM has his favorites, and they are going to get the icetime, regardless of whether players earn it (like his love affair with Korpse and Letestu), and others who are going to get the short end of the stick. If they keep Yak, then he won’t get much of an opportunity under TM, regardless of his play.

          • ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

            RJ Wrote:

            Eberle was absolutely brutal to start the season, wasn’t producing and brought nothing else to the table.”

            Maybe it was missing the start of the season (the first six weeks) with a busted shoulder?

            “His play didn’t “earn” him those minutes.”

            Well, he was the team’s leading scorer in 2014-15. Perhaps that earned him something? As well, it’s not as if other wingers weren’t tried on the line and the PP. As for the shoot outs: He ranked fifth best in the league on shootouts (5/7) the previous year with career shoot out numbers (14/30) that are among the best.

            As for Korpikoski, nothing good explains the minutes he received, shy of the overall injury picture for the Oilers, but even that doesn’t hold up to scrutiny.

      • Zero chance Yakupov get’s first line minutes on Connor’s wing over Eberle. Yak and McDavid’s sample size was very very small; Eberle on the other hand put up prolific numbers with McDavid. I think the top 6 will be:

        Looch – McDavid – Ebs
        Pou – Nuge – Yak
        Maroon – LD – Pool party

        Maybe the wingers on the 2nd/3rd line switch depending on chemistry

    • OnDaWagon

      Yakupov “will provide goal scoring”?
      Did he become something over the summer, that he never came close to becoming over the last 4 years?
      I forgot, it’s been all those awful coaches that he;s had. Oh, that Russian Phenom”.

      2)Russian Phenom
      3)Great goal scorer
      4)Amazing skater
      5)Very accurate shot
      6)Great team guy
      7)Excellent defensively
      8)Proven professional
      9)High hockey IQ
      10)Earns his contract

      I only see 1 from the 10 listed, that describes Yakupov. His name. That’s it.

  • oilers1168

    If we can trade one of our LHD along with maybe a draft pick for Madison Bowey of the Capitals I would be happy. He had a wonderful year in the AHL. We should be familiar with this player from the Kelowna Rockets. Leon also played with him during there Memorial cup run.

    • Seanaconda

      Sekera has an NMC so he has to be protected.

      And we can also protect 8 skaters and one goalie if that works out better for us. (if the 4th best dman is better/more valuable than the 5th forward)