Thanks for joining us for our August 31-in-31 series! Every day this month we will be taking a look at each team and diving into their prospect depth charts, risers and fallers, graduating prospects, and top ten prospects in the system.
Last season was yet another poor campaign for Edmonton in which they finished in the bottom ten once again, were 20th in goals scored, were 25th in goals against, had the worst power play in the league and had the 27th ranked penalty kill. Edmonton needed to make a change so they revamped their coaching staff under Todd McLellan for this upcoming season. They hired the 2018 Memorial Cup Champions’ coach Manny Viveiros who has been known to run a strong power play. They also hired former Calgary Flames head coach Glen Gulutzan who has ran some potent power plays in his own right. To improve the penalty kill they hired former Anaheim Ducks assistant coach Trent Yawney who has helped Anaheim run a strong penalty kill and is known to have been able to help develop young defensemen.
Due to their lack of cap space, Edmonton wasn’t able to make too many additions to improve the lineup. On July first they signed free agent and former Oiler Kyle Brodziak as well as former Oilers’ prospect Tobias Rieder. Brodziak will improve the team’s face offs and penalty kill. Rieder will also improve the penalty kill while also providing some speed and secondary scoring. Edmonton also signed former Los Angeles Kings’ defenseman Kevin Gravel who is expected to be the team’s number seven defenseman while potentially pushing Matthew Benning for the number six position.
In terms of players being resigned by the team, Edmonton has renewed contracts to Keegan Lowe (D), Patrick Russell (RW), Drake Caggiula (LW) and Josh Currie (C). They also signed RFA forward Ryan Strome to a two year. At this point Edmonton has not signed RFA defenseman Darnell Nurse but it is obviously their top priority. There is a lot of speculation around Edmonton that the team might sign the young defender to a bridge type contract but nothing is confirmed at this point.
Two current Oilers, Drake Caggiula (127 regular season games) and Matthew Benning (135 regular season games) are graduating from prospect status. Both players struggled to live up to expectations in their second NHL seasons last year but both are expected to be on the Oilers again this season.
- Kailer Yamamoto: If you can even call him a riser. He made the team out of camp last season and then dominated the WHL after being sent down. The Oilers don’t have any natural winger as dynamic and offensively talented as Yamamoto. If he finds his way onto Draisaitl or McDavid’s with then watch out. In terms of pure offensive ability, team situation and fantasy value, Yamamoto should be highly sought after.
- Kirill Maksimov: He had an excellent season in the OHL last season and has proven to be on of the better pure goal scorers in that league. Edmonton lacks a pure shooter and Maksimov is the best one in the Oilers’ system. He will need time to refine his game but he could potentially do serious damage in the future if he continues to improve and if he has gets a chance to play with one of Edmonton’s top playmakers.
- Ethan Bear: Bear was tied for the Condors’ defenseman scoring lead with 18 points in just 37 games played and he played in 18 games for the Oilers. Other than Bouchard, no defenseman in the Oilers’ sy