On the morning of his injury, we discussed Connor McDavid and the future as if it were our own to write as we pleased. O those hockey Gods, they vex, they vex to the outer marker and beyond. Those lost days are gone, 97 returns this evening. Connor McDavid is magic, but can he make 10 standings points disappear?


  • 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: 4-5-2
  • Oilers in February 2015: 5-6-1
  • Oilers in February 2016: 0-0-0
  • Oilers after 50 in 2014-15: 13-28-9, 35 points (-51 GD)
  • Oilers after 50 in 2015-16: 19-26-5, 43 points (-27 GD)

A year ago, the Oilers won G51 in a shootout over the San Jose Sharks, Eberle and Schultz the stars of the show. Todd Nelson was not improving the possession numbers, but the club went 5-6-1 for the month of February. Can this year’s team beat that total?

reinhart gryba capture

DEFENSE, 2015-16


We were hoping for Klefbom and Davidson after the break, both have injuries that will keep them out tonight and possibly beyond. In a season where we can point to a lot of shortcomings, the injuries have done an enormous job to sewer this club.

Sekera—Fayne will be the lead pairing tonight, they were doing solid work and improving the possession totals when the break arrived. Reinhart—Schultz sounds like an adventure, Reinhart had a terrific game with Gryba against Nashville and we may see them together at some point tonight. Nurse—Gryba should see the fewest minutes and the easier chores, and against the Blue Jackets that should mean some easy shifts. Famous last words.

We should not underestimate the consequences of not having Brandon Davidson. He is a rookie, but he sure doesn’t look like one. A body blow.

hendricks 334

MCDAVIDS, 2015-16

oilers centers over seasonThe Oilers have three outstanding centers. You can argue it, slice it in half, send Leon to right wing—does not matter—they have three fantastic centers and that will help them kill teams when the playoffs arrive later in life. If I had to pick a 4C for them next season? Matt Hendricks, and I love Anton Lander, and Mark Letestu is a good NHL player.

yakupov connor mah

WINGERS, 2015-16

oil forwards over season

Taylor Hall is enjoying a splendid season, 305 shot attempts and 190 shots for this season. He is on pace for 312 shots this year, fully 60 more than his previous career high. Prime Hall is very tall, it is one damn shame he won’t see the second season this spring. Jordan Eberle looks to be getting a feature role and those hands should be deadly when the chances come available tonight. Expect that 5×5/60 number to turn north beginning this evening.

Teddy Purcell and Nail Yakupov have both posted solid numbers this year, I think Yakupov gets a push this month once Purcell is dealt. Until then, it could be a struggle for 10. If Mark Letestu had just a little Derek Roy in him, the Russian might be able to make hay. His line (with Letestu and Kassian) looks like the vehicle from the One Piece at a Time song by Johnny Cash.

brossoit williams3


If we base the Bakerfield roster purely on performance, I think the list is about five deep. Now, it doesn’t mean they will be recalled, but if we were putting together an expansion draft list from the Condors, it might look like this:

  1. G Laurent Brossoit 24gp, 2.64 .924
  2. F Jujhar Khaira 23gp, 4-7-11
  3. D David Musil 38gp, 3-5-8
  4. D Jordan Oesterle 31gp, 2-16-18
  5. R Tyler Pitlick 15gp, 3-4-7
  6. L Anton Slepyshev 20gp, 4-1-5 (injured)

I included Anton Slepyshev, who remains on IR, because at some point I think the Oilers will want to have another look at him. It may be difficult to project him onto next year’s roster now, but things change in a hurry this time of year.


  1. RW Teddy Purcell 50GP, 11-18-29
  2. RD Justin Schultz 36GP, 3-6-9
  3. RD Eric Gryba 45GP, 0-4-4
  4. RD Mark Fayne 37GP, 1-1-2
  5. C Matt Hendricks 37GP, 2-5-7
  6. LW Lauri Korpikoski 39GP, 6-6-12
  7. G Anders Nilsson 24GP, 3.04 .903

I don’t really think they will trade Matt Hendricks, but he is the kind of player NHL teams like to acquire at the deadline: Utility player, plug-and-play in several areas. Peter Chiarelli may be tempted by the quality of the offer this year. What do the Oilers need?

  • Minor league players who may have NHL futures. Chiarelli is going to have more Khaira’s and fewer Andrew Miller’s, maybe some of those players will shake loose at the deadline.
  • Draft picks. Edmonton traded away most of a deep draft last season in acquiring Griffin Reinhart, Cam Talbot and Eric Gryba. They have very little outside the two pro teams and need to add picks for the 2016 draft.
  • Cap room. One of the reasons I have Mark Fayne, Matt Hendricks and Lauri Korpikoski on my list. This one is very important.

mcdavid goal det 2


Yes. I was asked this question yesterday, and for me McDavid’s chances of winning it depend on two things: Playing in all of the final 32 games and pushing Edmonton back into the fringes of playoff contention. If McDavid can post between 45-50 points in his 45 NHL games, and the Oilers cut into the (now) 10-point deficit between themselves and third place in the Pacific, he will be given a large part of the credit and the story will have sustain. A strong finish for player and team will win the day.

In Calder voting, the story counts for a lot, and McDavid has a pretty nice potential script waiting for him. I know, I know, historically the odds are stacked against him. My reply: Who better to shatter history than a generational player?

I think it is more likely that Todd McLellan and Peter Chiarelli want to see McDavid with Eberle for the month of February. If there is chem, and there could be, that probably changes the script for summer (I do not think the Oilers trade a major piece at the deadline). I also think we could see Yakupov back on that line if nothing rhymes, and would have thought the McDavid-Eberle combination would be tried after 97 gets some comfort.

Heh. Stu MacGregor was one of the major firings during the great Forensics sweep that identified two guys who were not former Oilers as the problem. Coincidence, I am sure. Anyway, some of McGregor’s later bets (Brandon Davidson, Tobias Rieder and now Gustafsson) appear to be emerging. Lo and behold, the GMs didn’t sign the blasted guys! Honest to Christ.

Five years, folks. Stu MacGregor should wear it for the 2009 and 2010 drafts (not 2008 because he didn’t have a second or a third), and the second-round selections of David Musil and Mitchell Moroz are also part of his record. How much has to do with the GM? Doesn’t matter now. I encourage you to wait a few more years before calling the 2013+ drafts, and remember after five years Brandon Davidson still hadn’t made himself known.

Anyway, the answer to Darcy’s question is this: As the Oilers had already signed Cameron Abney to an entry-level deal in 2011, they had no room for Gustafsson. See? Easily explained.

yakupov capture

Nail Yakupov is the odd man out—again. Jonathan Willis wrote about it this morning and I wanted to riff a little on it.

  • Jon from the article: Some of this is Yakupov’s fault. He’s played more than six hours with Ryan Nugent-Hopkins over his career, recording five assists and with the duo managing a 39.3 percent Corsi rating. When a winger struggles so badly with the only high-end centre on the roster, there’s basically no choice but to play him with second-tier pivots.

No disagreement on this, I think Jonathan surrounds the truth here. I am curious about one thing: WHY did five coaches (Ralph, Dallas, MacT, Todd Nelson, Todd McLellan) all handle him the same way? Answer: They did not. In Yak’s first season with Dallas Eakins, the coach played Nail with the Nuge for about 3.5 hours. Huh. The guy who many people believe was unfair to the Russian gave him the most push with RNH, and the same coach backed off the following season.

I think the Oilers made their decision on Nail long ago. I don’t think it is necessarily the right one—this is a talented player with great gifts—but you can tell a lot about an organization’s feeling toward a player by their actions. Does Nail get McDavid’s line for a few minutes tonight? We wait.



McDavid is back!! Wall to wall of wall to wall coverage! 10 this morning, TSN1260.

  • Jonathan Willis, Cult of Hockey. McDavid’s impact on the final 32 games, is Eberle over Yak the right choice?
  • Travis Yost, TSN. How much impact can one rookie have on a half-season?
  • Paul Almeida, SSE. Should the Oilers push for wins in the second half, potentially robbing themselves of another impact forward in the draft?

Plus your texts at 10-1260 and tweets to me @Lowetide. See you on the radio!

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619 Responses to "G51 2015-16: BLUE JACKETS AT OILERS"

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  1. Магия 10 says:

    CMD got that assist from his knees, behind the net.

    Fishing it from one side of the cease and throwing it out in front of the other. Unpossible.

    I think Taylor Hall is okay with not being the best player on this team.

    He was very gracious about 97’s night putting it on par with Johhny’s 1+2 against the Central. #characterissues.

  2. Zelepukin says:

    God I hope everyone can stay healthy until Nuge returns. I don’t care if we never a win game because the entire coaching staff gets sick and MacT decides to coach and plays Jultz for 30mins a game, if it means we get to see 10 games of this line-up plus Nuge, Klef and Davidson.

  3. AsiaOil says:

    A thought for you LT regarding our LHD over-abundance.

    Let’s say we have Davidson and Gryba as 2 of our #5-7 men. Klef and a guy like Harmonic are top pair plus Sekera who would be fine as 2nd pair RHD on his off-side. That would mean one of GR/Nurse would have to be able to handle 2nd pair LD minutes with Sekera and the other would be the 3rd pair LD. Nurse has more talent but Grff is more mature given the year he had in the AHL. Betting that one of Nurse/GR is 2nd pair ready by next year is not too crazy – and if Gryba/Davidson is your #6-7 to start the year – that’s OK by me. Yeah we need 2 top 4 defensemen now – but will we still need 2 a year from now.

    My take – the top pair guy makes all the difference pushing everyone down a slot and suddenly guys can play at their level and everyone looks good. Push hard for a great top par guy instead of 2 top 4 guys who are merely good – Nurse and RG will be the latter in not too long.

  4. T0ML says:

    Just an observation from seeing the TBL game live, and this game live (Actually in damn near the same spot both games, section 102 for the game tonight)

    -Mcdavid = wow, just wow….

    -Hall = Still a chance machine

    -Clandenning = Between him and and Schultz, him all day. Jultz stood out in a bad away vs TBL, Clandenning was noticeably better than I saw Schultz a week and a half ago.


    -Drai = Such a sublime passer, even looks better live than on TV, not sure if just me … but all the little things he does right jumps out more when viewing live.

  5. StevieG_8 says:

    Do you guys think that working out from the minors pumped this 97 kid up? I swear, guys from the minors come up hungry! wonderful job by Connor

  6. TeeVee says:

    I think Connor’s goal tonight tops one of my all time favourites

  7. Kmart99 says:

    G Money:

    Serious question: how long til he’s the best player in the league?

    Take today’s date and subtract 3 months. You will arrive at the time CMD became the league’s best player.

    So clearly 3pts/GM is realistic, which will mean 108 pts, which will mean art Ross, Hart, Byng, + all other trophies.

    Columbus bumbus, this kid has rocket boots on.

    I’ve set my expectations. NOW try and surpass them …

  8. Professor Q says:

    Well, that certainly sucked to have fallen asleep before that game only to just wake up now…missed it all!

  9. Oilspill says:

    Not sure why you play Gryba 22 min. Yes he had 5+ min PK but if we want to sign him cheap is this helping us. I like his play but the better he gets the higher the UFA contract. Are we shooting ourself in the foot or are we building his trade value.
    Thought Clendening looked OK bit think he will be here until Schultz works his way back in.

  10. The Trade Guy says:

    Eastern media is building the case for Connor’s calder.

    He’s back and we got Cam in the net. Let’s do this. Playoffs!

  11. kinger_OIL says:

    – Fun game to watch, finally: we scored a lot of goals: does that mean our D is better?

  12. PhrankLee says:

    Well last night confirmed it will be wholly worth the pair of 500 km drives tomorrow to see him!!

    Im pumped up!

    That was as incredible a come-back from injury as I have ever seen.

  13. hags9k says:

    I guess I should get to bed, been watching that GIF for the last 10 hours, kinda tucked.

  14. Hope is a good thing says:

    My wife hates hockey. I made her come down to the man-cave to watch McDavid’s goal – even she was amazed! If he can convert her into a hockey fan….

  15. hags9k says:

    I made my wife see it too. McDavid changes everything.

  16. Sugar Reijo says:

    Unbelievably fun game to watch. Could tell from McD’s opening 2 min shift that it was going to be a long night for Blue Jacket defencemen.

    Created 13 scoring chances and easily could have had six points.

    Blue Jacket defencemen weren’t the only ones in need of sleep aids after this one. Took until after midnight for my adrenaline to start wearing off.

  17. PhrankLee says:

    He forces everyone to move their feet more just to remain relevant to the play.

    And when you have your feet moving good things happen.

  18. hunter1909 says:

    He moves in stop/start action just like a hornet.

    He’s like a total predator out there.

  19. jp says:

    I made my wife see it too.McDavid changes everything.

    Klefbom might be able to help too.

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