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7. For the first time in the history of the franchise, the Oilers took all forwards in the NHL draft. It does feel like a “wait-and-see” crop. 1st Rounder Dylan Holloway projects as a solid, 2-way, Bottom-6 player but not exactly a sexy pick. And with no 2nd Rounder and the 3rd Round pick traded down, 5 of the clubs 6 picks ended up in the 4th Round or lower. Skilled Saint Albert-born Carter Savoie (100th overall) is perhaps the most tantalizing of them all.
6. Newly re-signed winger Tyler Ennisis already back skating from the broken leg he suffered during the play-in. That’s earlier than expected and given that the NHL may not get going until January-February, there should be no problem with him being ready. If they get the same player for $1m that showed up in Edmonton after the deadline, it’ll be a nice bargain. And Ennis is versatile: He can play all 3 forward positions, up and down the lineup. Solid signing.
5. Top Oilers Defence prospect Philip Broberg is off to just a glittering start to his season with Skelleftea of the Swedish Pro League. Broberg has already amassed half as many points (4) in just 6 games this year than he did in 45 games last season. And from the tape I’ve watched, his skating is at an elite level. It doesn’t appear his strong play-in camp was a mirage. Barring injury, Broberg seems destined for a top-pairing situation in Edmonton ina season or 2. The kid is truly gifted.
4. Am I surprised to see veteran G Mike Smith back in the fold? A little. But by Saturday afternoon the remaining UFA goalies were comparable to Smith, who is a known (and valued) entity in the Oilers room. And this deal is better than the last one: $1.5m in salary, up to $2.0m with bonuses. I expect Mikko Koskinen to carry up to 60% of the load. So, if Smith hits those bonuses chances are it’s because he’s played well. Don’t discount chemistry. I suspect the organization realized they missed out when both Matt Hendricks and Sam Gagner moved on. And Smith still sounds hungry: “Edmonton was always a place I wanted to be. I was disappointed the way things went in the bubble but had my heart set on Edmonton”.