It’s the middle of August and while you may think it’s a super slow time of year for Oilers news there always seem to be a few things to discuss.
THE BRASSARD ERA
The Derick Brassard era was just so much fun. First, Laraque tweets he’s going to sign a one year deal, then on Wednesday morning Matheson tweets that nothing has been confirmed as of yet and then at 2:00 PM I confirmed he was going to the Islanders on a one-year deal. The entire saga lead to some excellent text messages on the “smash hit” Nielson Show, these were two of my favourites.
“I don’t care what anyone says, Brassard was a better Oiler than Michael Nylander.”
“I can’t believe how poorly they handled this Brassard situation. Now he walks for nothing. SMH”
THE BRASSARD LINE
The worst part about Brassard not signing with the Oilers is that I had already determined the best combo for the third line here in Edmonton. Brassard with Markus Granlund on the left and Alex Chiasson on the right, tell me you didn’t like that trio as a veteran third line.
BRASSARD TO ISLANDERS
With Brassard signing on the island the Oilers may still be searching for a third line centre. Brian Boyle was a popular name, but I’ll point out what I’ve mentioned in the past; the Oilers were more interested in Boyle than he was interested in them, at least that was the case in early July.
I could still see Riley Sheahan getting a one year deal before camp opens. Holland is familiar with him, and he’s a perfect fit for a third line at this stage of his career.
Jason Gregor recently spoke to and wrote about Cooper Marody, and I’m coming around on the idea of him as a third line centre to start the season.
He had an excellent rookie season in the American Hockey League, but if he does end up making the Oilers out of camp I’d still like to see him with some veteran wingers. Like I mentioned with Brassard above, maybe Marody could start the season with Granlund and Chiasson.
HAAS ON THE WAY
— Gaëtan Haas (@gats92) August 21, 2019
Ladies and gentleman, Gaetan Haas is on the way to Edmonton and it’s nice to see that he’s coming in to get on the ice well before training camp opens. You could make a case that Haas will be directly battling with Marody for a spot on the team.
“He has nothing left to accomplish over here, it’s time for him to give it a go in the NHL” is how a contact in Europe described him to me at the time of the signing. The one thing I wonder about Haas if he can’t stick as a centre; could he be effective as a right shot winger who likes to shoot the puck.
Jesse Puljujarvi wants 15 minutes a night while agent Markus Lehto continues to extend his 15 minutes of fame in Edmonton.
Puljujarvi was quoted this week saying he wants to go somewhere that will give him 15 minutes a night in the top six. For comparisons sake, JP played 15 minutes just 19 times during his time in Edmonton and finished with 4 goals and 4 assists in those games, those numbers pro rate to a 17 goal and 34 point season. What would we all be saying if Puljujarvi scored 17 goals as a 21-year old?
JP and his agent have now handled this situation as poorly as the Oilers handled his development.
Does Mikko Koskinen need to be the opening night starter? He is the incumbent and highest paid of the two goaltenders. It would probably be easier from an optics perspective to go to Koskinen and if he struggles Mike Smith can take over as opposed to naming Smith your starter and then hoping Koskinen can bail you out if things don’t start well. Unless Koskinen is an absolute train wreck in the pre-season I’d bet pretty good money on him starting in game one.
Could Sam Gagner find a way to play with McDavid and Draisaitl? I would like to see this trio together for a five-game stretch. The number one reason being that Gagner thinks the game on an extremely high level and still has the hands to go with the mind. He also wouldn’t shy away from grinding pucks out of the corner. It’s a long shot, but I feel like it may work for a few stretches of the season.
MR. SMITH’S NEW LOOK
— Jon Elkin (@elkingoalie) August 21, 2019
I was a goalie in minor hockey for six seasons so I’ve always had a little bit of a goaltending equipment fetish. I really like this look, and obviously it will look excellent with the new third jerseys. I’m kind of intrigued to see what it looks like with the two sets of regular uniforms though.
And yes, Kailer Yamamoto could probably skate through that five hole.
33 GOALS FOR MCDAVID?
Oilers Insider Bob Stauffer recently posted his point projections for the Oilers on his twitter feed and he has Connor McDavid finishing with 33 goals. If McDavid is healthy and only finishes with 33 goals I’d be stunned. Stauffer knows his stuff and he’s really good with numbers, but the 33 goal projection seems really strange to me. If McDavid plays at least 75 games and finishes with 33 goals or less I will donate $100 bucks to the charity of Bob’s choice.
Previously by Dustin Nielson:
- Projection Season: The Hockey News
- Ten Way Too Early Predictions
- Mr. Holland’s Summer
- Two Birds, One Stone
- James Neal: Year-By-Year