Ryan Nugent-Hopkins was chosen to the All-Star team and that’s a big deal. At age 21 he’s beginning to gain recognition across the league as a more complete player and that reputation should only grow from here. I’m hoping for a Dave Keon career, more would be music!
OILERS FORWARDS HOCKEY CARDS, 2014-15 (CURRENT ROSTER)
|PLAYER||BOXCARS||CORSI FOR %||OZ STARTS||5X5 PER 60||SHOOT %|
|TAYLOR HALL||37, 11-17-28||50.9||56.5||2.13||9.6|
|DEREK ROY||7, 2-4-6||50.6||63.7||2.07||50.0|
|BENOIT POULIOT||25, 6-5-11||50.4||56.5||2.03||17.6|
|RYAN NUGENT-HOPKINS||41, 11-14-25||50.7||57.9||2.02||11.7|
|JORDAN EBERLE||42, 11-15-26||51.4||60.2||1.72||10.8|
|MATT HENDRICKS||38, 5-5-10||47.7||18.5||1.58||8.5|
|TEDDY PURCELL||43, 5-13-18||51.9||57.1||1.22||9.1|
|ROB KLINKHAMMER||4, 0-1-1||52.2||48.4||1.12||0.0|
|BOYD GORDON||38, 5-3-8||44.5||18.7||0.91||12.5|
|NAIL YAKUPOV||43, 5-6-11||46.3||66.2||0.91||5.8|
|ANTON LANDER||6, 0-3-3||41.3||39.4||0.85||0.0|
|MATT FRASER||7, 2-0-2||47.8||49.7||0.74||16.7|
|LUKE GAZDIC||13, 0-0-0||45.5||67.3||0.00||0.0|
The Oilers best players are finally emerging as their best players, with Hall and Nuge past 2.00/60 at 5×5 and Eberle on the way. Some wonky shooting percentages have Roy and Pouliot riding high and young Yakupov in the dungeon but that should straighten out someday. Matt Hendricks is having a tremendous season, Boyd Gordon too. Anton Lander, come on down! He has a pulse at even-strength scoring. Go Anton!
OILERS DEFENSE HOCKEY CARDS, 2014-15 (CURRENT ROSTER)
|PLAYER||BOXCARS||CORSI FOR %||OZ STARTS||5X5 PER 60||EV TOI|
|OSCAR KLEFBOM||21, 0-2-2||47.6||47.1||0.32||18:38|
|JEFF PETRY||42, 4-6-10||51.7||43.8||0.48||18:25|
|JUSTIN SCHULTZ||42, 3-14-17||49.9||61.0||1.09||18:10|
|ANDREW FERENCE||40, 2-5-7||48.1||41.8||0.60||18:10|
|NIKITA NIKITIN||28, 2-5-7||48.6||53.9||0.56||15:46|
|MARK FAYNE||43, 1-4-5||47.3||45.8||0.38||15:22|
|KEITH AULIE||13, 0-0-0||51.2||45.2||0.00||11:48|
Klefbom now leads all defensemen in EV TOI and that’s unlikely to change any time soon. Petry is having a terrific year—notice the four goals (leading the team among D) along with the best Corsi For % (this is 5×5) on the club AND the second toughest zone starts. Le sigh. Matty has him heading to Pittsburgh or Detroit, I still say the Rangers or Montreal could be in the mix. Thinking it’ll be Eastern Conference.
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If you do play, let me know if you enjoy the experience. Thanks!
OILERS V ST. LOUIS HEAD-TO-HEAD
It’s pretty clear Edmonton is overmatched by the Blues in most every category. One thing the Oilers have improved on this year is their shots for and against. A year ago they were 26.9-32.9 (-6) in shot differential per game, now it’s -2. Oilers have a score-adjusted Corsi of 47.9 and if they can sustain all of this to the end of the season there will be some good things to talk about over the summer. Not many, mind you.
Dreger thinks it is a foregone conclusion Petry will be dealt. Craig MacTavish is a poor GM and should be replaced by the Edmonton Oilers.
— Tyler Hupka (@HBomb1982) January 13, 2015
The Oilers under Kevin Lowe, Steve Tambellini and Craig MacTavish have lost their way in talent evaluation as it applies to defensemen. Examples of both are everywhere: Jason Smith was acquired in 1999 during the Sather regime and we haven’t seen that kind of successful transaction since (although the Steve Staois pickup under Kevin Lowe was a gem and of course Pronger—that was a once in a lifetime deal). Here are the trades by Craig MacTavish to address defense since he arrived as GM:
- Dealt Shawn Horcoff for a year of wobby Phil Larsen.
- Dealt Teemu Hartikainen for a few weeks of Mark Fraser, January 2014.
- Dealt a draft pick and spent a pile of money on Niki Nikitin, summer 2014.
This is not an area of strength. Now, Steve Tambellini had his own mistakes in this area (third-round pick for Mark Fistric, Tom Gilbert for Nick Schultz, Lubo for Whitney) so it’s been a black hole pretty much since Pronger arrived in Edmonton. The likely nadir for the category though was the brilliant trade that brought Jan Hejda to town, where he was promptly ignored until finding an NHL home in another town. Hejda has now played 550 productive NHL games since leaving the Capital.
Craig MacTavish is not strong in this area and if we add his free-agent additions the argument becomes more clear. All of these things are in the past now, there’s nothing that can be done. I do think there’s a great opportunity here for MacT and this is signing Jeff Petry. The Oilers evaluation of defensemen—the same process that sent Jan Hejda away, that has Martin Marincin in the minors, that made the call on Niki Nikitin—has concluded Jeff Petry is not part of the future. Craig MacTavish could stop this silliness today by picking up the phone and beginning the negotiations to keep Jeff Petry here for the rest of the decade. He clearly has doubts about Justin Schultz or there would be a long-term deal in place. I hope Craig MacTavish changes his mind on this player and begins to turn around the (more than) decade long string of atrocious decisions along the blue. If your evaluation churns out a thumbs down for Jan Hejda and a thumb’s up for Niki Nikitin, what does that tell you?
The problem is you develop a past. Fools never learn. Is Craig MacTavish as smart as some of us think he is? Or will he eventually lose his GM job because he could not see the clear and obvious problem in evaluating defensemen?
LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE
Bernie Federko is from Foam Lake, Saskatchewan. Years ago, I drove to the town with my wife and friend Gord Wilson (who has since passed, miss you buddy) to give out an award called “The Town of Renown” from CKCK Radio in Regina. It was an annual award that (honestly) communities valued a lot. That’s part of the charm of Saskatchewan, you have to live there for a time to appreciate how good the people are, without agenda or expectation.
Anyway, the award was to be given out at the rink (everything in Saskatchewan happens at the rink) and this was summer so it was pretty empty save for the event (and the band and the food and the people). We got there about one hour before things got rolling and I wandered to the middle of the rink, turned around and saw:
- A monster clock
- An enormous picture of the Queen
- An even larger picture of Bernie Federko
That’s one of my favorite Saskatchewan stories. Old time clock, Queen, Federko. Throw in a hard day’s work and 12 Pilsner and that’s pretty much the story of the people of Saskatchewan. There’s a lot to learn about life in watching how people live every day and for me I’ve never forgotten my time in that province. Whenever the Oilers play St. Louis, I think of Saskatchewan, and it’s because of CKCK Radio, Bernie Federko and a picture of the Queen.
Today on the Lowdown, 10 this morning on TSN 1260:
- Jonathan Willis, Oilers Nation and Cult of Hockey. Oilers on the road, Petry and Roy/Klinkhammer.
- Guy Flaming, Pipeline Show. His trip to UND, Oil Kings at the deadline and can Kelowna be stopped?
- Kate Cimini, Bleedin’ Blue and The Hockey Writers. We’ll talk about the Blues chances, that great line of theirs and the goalie situation.
- Jeff Hauser, Radio Hauser. College football championship and NFL weekend.
10-1260 text, @Lowetide_ on twitter. Talk soon!