The Edmonton Oilers got another major assist from the Bakersfield Condors last night. An organization used to recalling marginal talents once again saw thunder from the Gods in the person of Laurent Brossoit. The young man won a point, and at least another start, in what was a splendid night for he and Craig MacTavish. That trade, not famous at the time or at this time, may have gifted the Oilers a major part of the franchise moving forward.
YEAR AFTER YEAR, 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: 4-5-2
- Oilers in February 2015: 5-6-1
- Oilers in February 2016: 3-3-1
- Oilers after 57 in 2014-15: 16-32-9, 41 points (-61 GD)
- Oilers after 57 in 2015-16: 22-29-6, 50 points (-27 GD)
Lots of chances for Edmonton last night, especially on the powerplay—and some poor performances (Taylor Hall tried to force things and took penalties, as an example). Great young goalie, the power play takes the gas pipe every time, but they got a point.
The Edmonton Oilers 2015-16 rookie class is ridiculous and should sustain this organization through 2030 if everyone plays their cards right:
- C Connor McDavid 20gp, 9-15-24
- R Iiro Pakarinen 46gp, 4-4-8
- D Darnell Nurse 47gp, 2-6-8
- D Brandon Davidson 40gp, 3-4-7
- L Jujhar Khaira 12gp, 0-2-2
- D Griffin Reinhart 15gp, 0-1-1
- L Anton Slepyshev 11gp, 0-1-1
- D Adam Clendening 2gp, 0-1-1
- G Anders Nilsson 26gp, 3.14 .901
- G Laurent Brossoit 1gp, 1.00 .930
Best since 1980? That 2010-11 class was fantastic, but this one has McDavid and that will probably carry the day for best of the century. Among those not named McDavid and Nurse, who is your choice for most likely to have a long and productive career? It is not an easy answer.
Photo by Mark Williams
TOP 20 PROSPECTS
Remember the top 20 prospects from winter? A lot of them will graduate (as above) and for that reason Peter Chiarelli should be adding at the trade deadline. Here are the top 20 kids from winter (I consider 50 games graduation, less for goalies and McDavid will graduate because he is no longer a prosperct), with the graduates crossed out:
Connor McDavid Leon Draisaitl Darnell Nurse
- (No. 1) Anton Slepyshev
- (No. 2) Griffin Reinhart
- (No. 3) Laurent Brossoit
Anders Nilsson Brandon Davidson
- (No. 4) Ethan Bear
- (No. 5) Bogdan Yakimov
- (No. 6) Jujhar Khaira
- (No. 7) Caleb Jones
- (No. 8) Kyle Platzer
- (No. 9) Ziyat Paigin
- (No. 10) William Lagesson
- (No. 11) Joey Laleggia
- (No. 12) Dillon Simpson
- (No. 13) Greg Chase
- (No. 14) John Marino
Only five of the 14 remaining prospects are forwards, and the three best (Slepyshev, Yakimov and Khaira) are in pro, have played in the NHL and will be pushing for work in the bigs this fall. The cupboard, such as it is, is bare. Even with that, I believe (and have stated) that—unless the Oilers win the No. 1 lottery—the correct play is probably dealing that selection for a bona fide NHL defenseman and a lesser first-round selection. That said, this prospect list is as poor as I can recall this century (and before). The Oilers need a major re-stocking.
OILERS DEFENSE, LAST NIGHT
- Sekera—Schultz had a good night by the numbers, for me Sekera had one of his best evenings as an Oiler. Schultz had moments of inaction—that is often the trouble, not that he does something badly, but rather that he does nothing at all in very important moments of the game—but the pairing itself emerged with a reasonable evening.
- Nurse—Fayne had their good and bad moments, for some reason I noticed Fayne’s lack of speed more with 25 than I do with 2. Still, the veteran was effective (got an assist) and this is a pairing I would like to see again.
- Davidson—Gryba were not their normal selves, but Davidson looked great to my eye. On a night when all but Sekera were having trouble passing the puck effectively, Davidson used his ability to carry the puck and found a way. He led the team (again) in EV TOI and was second to Sekera in TOI overall.
- Sekera and Davidson are Edmonton’s two best defensemen. Brandon Davidson is the modern Fernando Pisani and it would be foolish to deal him in my opinion. There must be a better way to improve the defense, dealing the one young defender from the system who has figured it out seems contrary to winning.
OILERS CENTERS, LAST NIGHT
- Leon Draisaitl and his line did not cash (again) and they had plenty of power-play time and a pretty nice matchup at 5×5. Leon avoided Byfuglien but did face the Myers and Trouba pairings—not easy street. Still, the lack of production from his line is a major part of the current meandering record.
- Connor McDavid and his line received the Byfuglien Uglien (McDavid was 10-11 5×5 Corsi events against the big man) but his trio registered seven of Edmonton’s 10 high-danger scoring chances. They did not score, but the McDavid trio remains the Oilers’ feature presentation. McDavid looked like a rookie on the GA.
- Mark Letestu and his group had some moments, but the wingers looked more effective to my eye. He was horrible on the power play (the entire 5×4 resembled Monty Python’s ‘race for people with no sense of direction’).
- Matt Hendricks scored the goal, bled and worked his ass off. If you want criticism of this player, this blog does not offer you much in the way of cover.
- Anton Lander is a man in a suit on an NHL roster.
INDIVIDUAL HIGH-DANGER SCORING CHANCES
- 3—Connor McDavid, Jordan Eberle
- 2—Zack Kassian
- 1—Justin Schultz, Benoit Pouliot
The top line is indeed dominant, despite getting shutout last night. Leon’s line is working hard (although Hall was not working smart last night, at least a couple of times) but needs to find the range, and soon.
OILERS WINGERS, LAST NIGHT
- Zack Kassian had a very good night, I really enjoyed his game. He was 4-1 in 1:03 with Connor McDavid and also effective with Taylor Hall. I bet he scores on the home stand.
- Taylor Hall is frustrated and trying to force things. How do I know? PIMS. I love this player’s talent, he is manna from heaven. However, his substantial skills are not a great match for Todd McLellan’s place and chase style. It robs him of his greatest asset—he can blue bayou almost every NHL defender. McLellan needs to (imo) relax the rules.
- Jordan Eberle made a mistake on the GA, but you want the puck on the stick of your skilled men so I won’t bitch. He had all kinds of chances, and if the game had been called straight up would have drawn several more penalties. He brought a lot of effort last night.
- Nail Yakupov did some nice things last night, worked hard and did his usual whirling dervish routine, but nothing cashed and people don’t really see it as effective. I am reminded of Derek Roy’s handling of this player (find open ice) and believe that may be the key for him. At 22, his brain is still racing, the coach who unlocks him will probably employ Roy’s idea of finding that one thing and having 10 devote himself to it. There is a successful NHL player here, but I do think a more mature organization will be the one to unlock him.
- Elliotte Friedman: “I thought there was a chance [Eberle] could be moved for a defenceman. I don’t think that’s going to happen. But the magic he has with Connor McDavid, I’m being told the Oilers are not going to be moving him before the deadline. So we can put all those rumors to bed.” Source
As I mentioned above, the play here is to trade the lottery pick in 2016 and then enter 2016-17 without a rookie (or with Brossoit and Slepyshev as the rookies). I don’t really believe Eberle (or Nuge) are out of the woods, Peter Chiarelli is going to add a Hamonic and a Lucic and the money has to come from somewhere. If we assume Eberle is safe, that means the available talent (greatest to lesser) at this point is:
- Ryan Nugent-Hopkins
- First-round selection
- Benoit Pouliot
- Brandon Davidson
- Nail Yakupov
- Griffin Reinhart
Choose your poison, ladies and men. I invite you to my ‘trade the pick marching and chowder society’ meeting in June 2016.