This is Cam Talbot. If the Oilers are winning, he is standing on his head—it has been that way for awhile now. Edmonton gave up some 10-bell chances last night, won the Corsi, won the game, and I suspect lost a few more gold bricks to the Talbot family in the next contract. Early days, but those bricks may be worth it. His SP this season is now .914 and if the Oilers had played even reasonably well in the past 30 days in front of him they might be in a playoff position this morning.
BUNGLE IN THE JUNGLE, YEAR OVER YEAR
- Oilers in October 2014: 4-5-1
- Oilers in October 2015: 4-8-0
- Oilers in November 2014: 2-9-3
- Oilers in November 2015: 4-7-2
- Oilers in December 2014: 2-8-4
- Oilers in December 2015: 7-6-1
- Oilers in January 2015: 5-7-1
- Oilers in January 2016: 3-2-2
- Oilers after 46 in 2014-15: 11-26-9, 31 points (-51 GD)
- Oilers after 46 in 2015-16: 18-23-5, 41 points (-23 GD)
They are 10-8-3 since December 1 and they have lost more man games than any organization not involved in a ground war. If they continue on this pace, Edmonton will finish with 73 points. I suspect we will see a few more points than that, but let’s see how this plays out. Oilers are too far from the playoffs to discuss, but I imagine Todd McLellan is pushing hard and we should expect the team to compete throughout the winter and into spring (as Todd Nelson’s crew did a year ago).
Finally, if you want to cheer for the playoffs, then you go right damn ahead. Don’t let the smart kids ruin your fun. If I catch one Oilers observer ruining the fun of a fan cheering for the playoffs, it’s bike racks at 3:30 and I mean business. Seriously. There is an entire group of Oilers fan who spends their day and night trying to depress people. We all see the numbers, folks. Some fans would like to think that McDavid and Klefbom returning, combined with Talbot’s emergence, could mean a couple or winning streaks. Let them have their fun. If you keeping crapping on people, I am saving the comments and tweets and running them on a wall of shame. Seriously. Enough with the badgering.
Another positive Nurse struggles which will happen but because both Gryba and Fayne play well Mclellan can limit his ice time #oilers
— Heather Marginet (@margih99) January 17, 2016
DEFENSE, LAST NIGHT
- A crazy game last night in a lot of ways, including line shuffling (hold on a minute) and pairings changes on the fly.
- Eric Gryba had another good night and his Corsi for 5×5% on the season is now 49.6. He played with two defenders, Davidson early and then Nurse late when what became the third pairing could not keep it together. A good game from the veteran, if scouts are watching him they must be seeing him good.
- Brandon Davidson is a splendid young player, always seems to be at the right place and works hard at aspects of the game that are weaknesses. His ability to get the puck out under control makes him a superstar on a roster that appears incapable of a legitimate forward pass.
- Darnell Nurse had a tough night, but I think McLellan reacted pretty well. Took the young man off the Schultz pairing, reduced his minutes and placed him with Gryba. Excellent in-game management. I have read in places that McLellan cut him out of the rotation as the game went along, but if you look at the recap (here) it shows he played between 4:49 and 5:25 each period. I was pleased with McLellan’s handling of the player.
- Mark Fayne, I think I love you. It has been in insane year for the veteran, complete with humiliation and now (I hope) redemption. Todd McLellan appears to be warming to a veteran defender who can hold possession at about 50 percent and play the Sekera minutes. Scored a goal, seems to be emerging as part of the team. If the Oilers tried to trade him now, I bet he would get them something. Hope they don’t, and perhaps the increased role suggests McLellan has changed his mind. I have no problem with Mark Fayne on this team next season.
- Andrej Sekera has been getting better every game since he arrived, and has been this team’s rock through these months. Smart, smart player, he checks down like a coach, each time he makes a decision I find myself nodding. I wonder if he wants to coach someday. If they had played him with Fayne all year the Corsi For 5×5 percentage (now 46.47, Rel -3.65) would be miles better. Thank you for coming to Edmonton, Mr. Sekera. Nice to see some finally realizing what you bring.
- Justin Schultz had a tough night with Nurse, I will side for the veteran in this case because the youngster seemed to have a lot of indecision in his game. Once placed with Davidson, it was far better for 19.
- The key defensemen for me last night: Sekera, Fayne, Davidson, Gryba. Huh.
CENTERS, LAST NIGHT
- Mark Letestu is delivering consistent and quality effort to the Oilers now, I have finally marked him. He is a strange mix of skills, but it works well, so well in fact that this line played itself into wicked minutes during the game. Peter Chiarelli is taking a lot of heat in the comments section for Korpikoski and Reinhart, but this deal for Letestu is the actual Gordon trade and I like it. Better speed, better offense, and he looked fine to my eye in the mentor role with Yak and Kassian. He even went 6-4 in 3:30 against the Gaudreau.
- Leon Draisaitl had some moments (two high-danger scoring chances) and for me his speed is on full display against a counter trey team like the Flames. I do wonder how much time it will take before he can take on the toughest opposition without worry—he seems pretty steady to me eye already. It is important to keep those career GP totals in mind.
- Anton Lander had another game that is Anton Lander—I really like the player and things go pretty well when he is on the ice. McLellan handled his shifts by period thusly: 10 in the first, 9 in the second, 3 in the third and 1 in overtime. I heard someone say this coach uses all four lines throughout the game, that is bad scouting.
- Ryan Nugent-Hopkins is in the sights of the fans now, so any mistake gets magnified. PIMs aside, I liked his game last night (also two high-danger scoring chances) and do feel his is better cast with Eberle in this group (and Hall with Leon). Nuge-Hall were 6-7, Nuge-Poo were 11-8 on the night.
WINGERS, LAST NIGHT
- Nail Yakupov saw his TOI increase and the Corsi’s are so happy these days it is incredible. Remains a raw, flawed player, but I like him with Letestu until McDavid comes back. I wish McLellan would turn him loose, especially on a night when goals were needed.
- Teddy Purcell won a fan for life this season, the guy is bloody brilliant. Not just the shootout goal, but miles of good decisions before it. I like him with Hall because in some ways he is the anti-Hall (slow and cerebral) and they work well together.
- Zack Kassian was second among Oilers wingers in even-strength time on ice. Zack Kassian was second among Oilers wingers in even-strength time on ice.
- Benoit Pouliot is going to get himself traded. The big man needs to have more of an impact in these games, or maybe consistent impact. Among wingers last night, he was given the fifth most even-strength minutes. That is third line and he is making too much money for the coach to prefer Zack Kassian.
- Taylor Hall had lots of critics last night, but Jesus, Mary and Joseph people how long have we talked about context. Gifted the Giordano-Brodie pairing last night (13-10 against Gio, 13-12 against James Norris), it is a wonder he got to the bathroom without company.
- Lauri Korpikoski has lost a ton of playing time to Yak/Kassian, wonder if there is a trade market for him at the deadline. Earlier in the year, I had a running count of times he shot the puck on his own side of center, trying for an empty net goal, but decided to stop tracking it when he kept scoring empty net goals. He must have value.
- Jordan Eberle led the team with four individual scoring chances, none were deemed high event and that is about how I saw him. It is easy to be critical of a scorer who doesn’t cash in a single game, but he appears to be back and he has enormous value.
- Iiro Pakarinen went 4-8 with Hall and Nuge before McLellan brought out the blender (they are going to need a new blender after last night) and I think we knew he wasn’t going to play the whole game there. I like him more than a few other forwards, but he probably gets sent down at some point.
The Oilers are believed to be close on a multi year extension for goaltender, Cam Talbot.
— Darren Dreger (@DarrenDreger) January 17, 2016
It is the right call, especially if they can get him done for a reasonable number. How much time does he have left in his productive window? Five years? Less? I would sign him for three, depending on the money. Peter Chiarelli should get some credit here, wonder if he will. Here are his splits as an Oiler:
- October: 10GP, 2.88 .897
- November: 3GP, 4.06 .864
- December: 7GP, 2.41 .934
- January: 6GP, 1.60 .942
I think Cam Talbot earned the contract, and Peter Chiarelli made an excellent trade at the draft. One of the major issues PC faced coming here was in goal, hopefully the contract is fair and the position is strong for the rest of the decade.