Well, the time is here: the preseason is upon us and outside of the Milan Lucic-James Neal trade, there haven’t been a whole lot of massive roster changes made by GM Ken Holland, but there have been a lot of what some might call smaller signings made in the 2019 offseason. So, as we try to make sense of all the new (and old) bodies on the Oilers roster, here’s a look at some of the newcomers and how they performed in their respective leagues last season.

This entry is going to look a little different– perhaps even a little bit more scattered– as the group of players included either played exclusively in the NHL, AHL, or European leagues last year so each player’s breakdown will be a little unique, and will be focused on what their role may look like with the Oilers in 2019-20.

So, I present to you: The Newcomers.

Markus Granlund


GP G A P +/- PIM Shots SH% TOI/GM FOW%
77 12 10 22 -4 20 123 9.8 15:03 42.8

Perhaps the “biggest” of these signings, Granlund has been a regular NHL player for five seasons, playing exclusively for the Western Canadian teams, as the Oilers become his third team after being drafted by the Flames and then traded to the Canucks where he played for the last two-and-a-half seasons. His best season came in 2016-17, where he scored 19 goals and 32 points in 69 with the Canucks.

5v5 TOI: 823:48 (10:41 5v5 TOI/GM)

48.70 44.90 48.20 136/142 48.92 15/15 50.00 5.74 .934 .991

Granlund’s greatest asset maybe be his versatility; he led all Canucks’ players last year in shorthanded TOI (185:00), with the team finishing with an 11th ranked PK (81.1%), though his SH FOW% was uninspiring, as it was just 29.63% (8-27). Though not an offensive juggernaut by any means, he does possess the skill and awareness to move up the lineup and perform spot-duty as a top-six winger should injuries inevitably strike the forward group.

Tomas Jurco

2018-19 AHL Statistics GP G A P +/- PIM Shots SH%
Springfield Thunderbirds 14 4 6 10 -10 8 31 12.9
Charlotte Checkers 19 8 9 17 7 14 45 17.8

NHLe: ~15pts/82gms

Jurco did not see the NHL at all last season, splitting time between two clubs in the AHL, where he was, frankly, an average player at best at that level. His NHL Equivalence (according to projects him to be a contributing fourth liner based on his output last season.

His most recent NHL tour came two seasons ago, where he played for the Chicago Blackhawks.

2017-18 NHL Season w/Chicago Blackhawks

5v5 TOI: 348:28 (12:37 5v5 TOI/GM)

GP G A P +/- PIM Shots SH% TOI/GM FOW%
29 6 4 10 1 12 44 13.6 12:37 25.00

Quite closely aligned to what his projection figures to be for the 2019-20 season.

51.81 52.38 55.59 69/54 56.10 7/6 53.85 5.73 .943 1.000

FWIW, the 2017-18 Chicago Blackhawks finished the 2017-18 season ranked 4th in the NHL in CF% (52.33), so though Jurco’s numbers may look impressive, it was undoubtedly a byproduct of playing for such an offensively elite team. There will be at least a few of Holland’s signings that will either hit the waiver wire or be buried in the AHL and Jurco, to me, seems like the most likely candidate to be one of the first should competition be fierce in camp and the preseason.

Riley Sheahan

GP G A P +/- PIM Shots SH% TOI/GM FOW%
FLA 33 2 8 10 -2 4 50 4.0 14:39 54.9
PIT 49 7 2 9 -7 13 60 11.7 12:39 49.2

The latest Holland signing, and a player the GM has familiarity with. Sheahan was a first round pick (21st overall) by the Red Wings at the 2010 NHL Entry Draft, and played the better part of seven-and-a-half seasons with in Detroit before being traded to the Penguins at the 2018 Draft. Sheahan split time with Pittsburgh and the Florida Panthers last season, involved in a massive trade that sent him and Derrick Brassard (along with three draft picks) to the Panthers in exchange for Nick Bjugstad and Jared McCann, but still managed to play in a full 82 games.

5v5 TOI: 411:07 (FLA), 501:45 (PIT)

FLA 48.75 42.86 51.42 62/60 50.82 9/6 60.00 6.19 .918 .979
PIT 43.25 37.50 45.05 97/108 47.32 9/15 37.50 6.36 .916 .988

Sheahan received a slight bump in ice time once landing in Florida, but that may have been more of an act of necessity rather than desire. Regardless, he seemed to handle the added responsibility well with the Panthers, as his offensive numbers rose significantly. He was handed penalty killing responsibilities on both teams, though it did dip in Florida (though with Sasha Barkov dominating most of that responsibility may have been a large contributing factor there). He was 3rd among all Penguins’ forwards in SH TOI (103:56), with a FOW% of 47.62 (50-55), while with the Panthers he finished 6th among all forwards in SH  TOI (59:21), with a FOW% of 43.75 (7-9); the Penguins’ PK finished 19th (79.7%), while the Panthers’ finished 10th (81.3%) in the NHL least season, so take that for what it’s worth.

Josh Archibald

GP G A P +/- PIM Shots SH% TOI/GM FOW%
68 12 10 22 1 15 92 13.0 13:34 32.4

A career bottom six forward, Archibald played a career-high in games last season, never playing more than 42 games in a season. He did double his offensive output from the previous season, so that can be looked at as a positive trend in his career trajectory.

5v5 TOI: 783:58

44.11 49.15 43.64 117/156 42.86 13/24 35.14 7.69 .927 1.004

Honestly, not much to really see here. Archibald’s Corsi is in the lower portion of being acceptable, and goal-scoring is nowhere to be seen. I don’t really see what much value he brings to the team, and with a crowded bottom six, there doesn’t seem to be even a single tangible skill (face-off specialty, penalty killing, etc.) that would set him apart from other players competing for his spot.

Joel Persson

GP G A P +/- PIM Shots SH% TOI/GM
50 6 25 31 32 8 150 4.0 19:11

NHLe: ~17pts/82GMs

Played for the Växjö Lakers on the Swedish Hockey League (SHL) in the 2018-19.

Here’s what the scouting report according to Elite Prospects has on Persson:

Persson is an offensive defenseman with a great shot from the point. With high-end puck skills and vision, he excels on the power play. Not a speedster, but owns decent mobility and can walk the blueline very well. On the downside, he is smallish and not much of a force in his own end.
– Erik K. Piri

Perhaps has the biggest opportunity heading into training camp, with one and even possibly two spots open on the right-side either next to Oscar Klefbom or Kris Russell on the blueline there for the taking. If his offensive puck-skills are to translate to the NHL, then the high-end hope would be that be could slide in next to his fellow countryman Klefbom and add some puck-moving ability behind what may the top pairing of Nurse-Larsson.

ES TOI: 16:00/GM

CF CA CF% On-Ice SH% On-Ice SV% PDO
751 546 57.90 6.03 .945 1.005

Persson played so little penalty kill that it’s basically non-existent (0:07 PKTOI/GM), but was the highest utilized defenseman on the powerplay on the team (15:99 PPTOI/GM) and led the Lakers HC in powerplay points with 14, so there is an offensive bend to his game that could be welcome surprise. The worry, of course, is adjusting to the smaller ice and having to play heavy minutes should he be slotted into the top 4.

Joakim Nygård

GP G A P +/- PIM Shots SH% TOI/GM
52 21 14 35 15 20 153 7.29 18:29

NHLe: ~19pts/82gms

Played with Färjestad BK of the Swedish Hockey League (SHL) in 2018-19.

Here’s what the scouting report according to Elite Prospects has on Nygård:

A speedy and pretty high scoring player with nice hands. Creative player, who is still very raw, but with a nice upside.

Perhaps the most unknown/intriguing/controversial player heading into training camp, fans and pundits alike have the Swede playing anywhere from Connor’s wing on the top line to toiling on the fourth line and providing some nice-but-unspectacular depth scoring. There are few players who have some from the KHL let alone the SHL and caught fire offensively to compete on an NHL first line, but there have been even fewer to play with Connor McDavid so that factor always has to be considered.

ES TOI: 14:10/GM

CF CA CF% On-Ice SH% On-Ice SV% PDO
627 579 51.99 9.33 .936 1.029

Nygård finished 12th overall in league scoring and he finishing 5th on Färjestad in PP TOI (13:55/GM) with 9 PP points, good enough to finish 6th on the team, so there’s no denying that he certainly had a scoring touch in the SHL. The question is whether any of that will translate to the NHL, and to the point that he’ll be able to handle top defensive pairings attempting to shutdown Connor’s line. Frankly, that just doesn’t seem likely, especially coming out of camp. But, his opportunity may present itself should injuries effect the top six, and Nygård has proven his worth in the NHL and can move up the depth chart and should that his offensive skills are dangerous on all continents. 

Gaëtan Haas

GP G A P +/- PIM
50 15 23 38 12 14

NHLe: ~11pts/82gms

Played for Bern HC of the NLA (Swiss-A) in the 2018-19 season.

The favourite of the crop for Baggedmilk, so we should all be cheering for the Swiss player to crack the lineup, just so BM can say his name every week on ON Radio. But the bottom six centre positions are suddenly crowded with the likes of Sheahan, Colby Cave, Sam Gagner, Cooper Marody –and even Kyle Brodziak should he return from the IR and Head Coach Dave Tippett feels he needs to give the veteran a shot at reclaiming his spot– so Haas has to bring something to the lineup that those other players can’t. Coming from the NLA, a lower-level European league, doesn’t put him in a pole position to earn a roster spot, but he did finish 12th in scoring in that league on a Bern squad that was first in the regular season en route to claiming the NLA Championship, so if he can pepper in some of that offensive output while playing a tough, responsible two-way game that his scouting report claim he can, then perhaps the spot is more of his to lose than he’s getting credit for.

Thoughts on The Newcomers? Who’s a lock for a spot? Who doesn’t stand a chance?

Look forward to reading the comments!



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