There was a play late last night, Ryan Getzlaf driving down low behind the Oilers net. Fans recognize this play, it is basically a death rattle in a late, tied game in California. Brandon Davidson, wearing a training camp number on his not-so-broad shoulders, boxed out the giant and skated away to safety. Brandon Davidson, with each passing day, is becoming the hero of our story.
THE DONNER PARTY, 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: 3-8-2
- Oilers after 63 in 2014-15: 18-35-10, 46 points (-66 GD)
- Oilers after 63 in 2015-16: 22-34-7, 51 points (-38 GD)
Oilers have posted a strange week. Awful against the Senators, they played pretty well in Los Angeles and grabbed a point against Anaheim—they are not a good team when close to Disneyland. Lots of issues, but they were mostly errors of youth and the terrible special teams—one assumes those will be cleaned up this summer.
DEFENSE, LAST NIGHT
- Sekera—Fayne played well, like the pairing (although Fayne won’t play these minutes next season). Sekera played 8:07 against Getzlaf (4-8), not sure if that was luck or deployment. Either way, he was 14-13 against the rest and had some nice offensive moments. Fayne pinched pretty well, covered (save for the Getzlaf PP goal) well enough on the evening.
- Davidson—Oesterle is a fun pairing. Oesterle gets knocked over like a cartoon character, but other than that he is a solid defender in these callup games. Good decisions, he and Davidson clearly have chem from the OKC days. Davidson is cementing his position as the Fernando Pisani of this era of Oilers. He came out of the sky, just a little south of Moline.
- Nurse—Clendening were not effective together, Clendening had a bad night full stop. Speed appears to be the issue, he is 35 games into his NHL career and is probably the seventh guy when they trade Schultz/activate Klefbom. Nurse was 6-5 away from Clendening, but he was chasing a lot again last night. Those AHL playoff games are going to seem a breeze. Would Chiarelli trade Nurse in that three-for-one?
INDIVIDUAL HIGH-DANGER SCORING CHANCES
- Two: Jordan Oesterle
- One: Andrej Sekera, Jujhar Khaira, Zack Kassian, Jordan Eberle
CENTERS, LAST NIGHT
- Connor McDavid had some moments, but seemed a little off during the evening. McDavid didn’t push the river like usual, probably that bastard Kesler. Pucks skipped, he was not as sharp as we have come to expect, but let’s review: 19.
- Anton Lander is either being showcased, working his way out of the shithouse, or both. He hasn’t scored since Christ was a kid and I would still rather have him working in the offensive zone than Letestu.
- Mark Letestu drew a penalty, but the coach is using him too much and it is blinding me.
- Leon Draisaitl had a tough night, not just the GWG. He, like Nurse, is falling off a cliff and it is tough to watch. I just hope we don’t get a bunch of dopey flash in the pan posts on him. He is bona fide, I would argue this season from Leon puts him on anyone’s no-trade list (mine is McDavid, Hall, Leon, Nuge, Klefbom if he can stay healthy).
WINGERS, LAST NIGHT
- Benoit Pouliot’s assist was splendid, a fine play by a big man with speed. His 9:30 EV TOI ranks behind ALL wingers and I do not have a reason for it.
- Pouliot—Eberle cashed and after that had some promising sorties, but nothing that you can point out as a big moment.
- Hall—Kassian had some moments (Kassian had a point blank chance, could easily have cashed) and I like the wingers on that line. Leon isn’t getting a lot done, this trio needs the Nuge—and for Draisaitl to take a week and re-set.
- Korpikoski—Hendricks did some good things—the broadcast showed a nice backcheck by the Finn—but if they aren’t showcasing one or both, I want an explanation about the TOI for these two men.
Blues acquire goalie Anders Nilsson from Oilers in exchange for minor league goalie Niklas Lundstrom and a 5th round pick this year
— Pierre LeBrun (@Real_ESPNLeBrun) February 27, 2016
Interesting move, the pick has a 15 percent chance of playing 100 NHL games based on Scott Cullen’s work. Nilsson has played 49 NHL games, the pick Edmonton acquires is unlikely to exceed that number. Still, Ethan Bear (fifth) came from last year’s selection, so maybe the Bob Green group has some ability to turn the pick into something more. It is a lottery ticket—not THE lottery ticket—but Nilsson (an RFA) served his purpose and Edmonton received some value for him.
— Bakersfield Condors (@Condors) February 27, 2016
One final item: If you are Laurent Brossoit, this is something of an endorsement (although PC can find a higher end backup in summer). The Blues have two fifth-round picks, their own and the Columbus Blue Jackets pick (for Jordan Leopold). This was a nice deal, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves: This is not a high stakes transaction. I suggest the Billy Preston rule will probably apply when we look back in 2022, but Peter Chiarelli has turned Liam Coughlin into an asset, and there is value in it. Chiarelli is well on his way to a house in Kipling, Saskatchewan.
While LA has been in on EDM's Teddy Purcell, FLA is believed to be making a strong push for pending UFA winger.
— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) February 27, 2016
Another interesting development on trade deadline weekend. In looking at possible Panthers assets that Edmonton might be interested in, there are multiple attractive options, including Brandon Pirri—who was mentioned in Elliotte Friedman’s 30 Thoughts and has been trumpeted by our own Centre of Attention over the last while.
TRADE DEADLINE CHEAT SHEET
- R Teddy Purcell—Looks like this deal is close, my guess is a second-round pick or a legit prospect. If you look at the offensive options at forward in the system (the top 20 this summer is going to be barren), getting a prospect a couple of years post draft has merit.
- R Nail Yakupov—New to the list, Habs are following the Oilers closely and it feels like something could happen (now or at the draft). Lars Eller has been mentioned as a possible return, that would allow Edmonton to enter next season with an experienced (if pricey) 3C.
- F Matt Hendricks—Todd McLellan played him a lot last night, showcase? I will say a second-round pick, could be high.
- D Mark Fayne—No one is mentioning his name, suggesting to me that either the Oilers have no interest in dealing him, or the term is too dear for contending teams. Either way, he is the best defensemen the Oilers have who is potentially available, and I will guess second-round pick.
- D Justin Schultz—There is a chance they won’t be able to trade him, and my earlier estimate of a third-round selection may be too aggressive. Still, that was my bet before the HS week we are living in, so I’ll stay the course.
- D Eric Gryba—If they trade him, he should fetch a fourth-round selection, about what he cost the Oilers.
- L Lauri Korpikoski—There seems to be some rumbling about Korpikoski, showing that NHL GMs don’t really pay close attention to performance and famous names rule the day. Fifth-round pick.
- C Anton Lander—He played a lot again last night, after not playing much at all for a long time. Has to be a showcase. Sixth-round pick.
- G Anders Nilsson—Traded for a low goalie prospect and a fifth-round selection in 2016.
- D Phil Larsen—Traded for a fifth-round pick in 2017.
Photo by Mark Williams
WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?
Laurent Brossoit doesn’t own the backup job in Edmonton for 2016-17, but today’s trade opens up an opportunity for a significant audition now to the end of the season. The Oilers could give him five starts and see how well he performs in a backup rotation, and if they a comfortable with him, that is one fewer thing to shop for in a hectic summer window.
Nail Yakupov appears to be in play at a fairly high level, and we could see him traded this weekend. Peter Chiarelli and Todd McLellan no doubt have their decision made, and if it is an exit, I hope the young man ends up in a good place. Suspect many will be disappointed in the return, but if it is Lars Eller (or a legit scoring forward prospect), it could work out fine.
Darnell Nurse is not progressing, and when Oscar Klefbom returns I believe it would be wise to get him some time in Bakersfield. Give the Condors a boost defensively, ensure the playoffs and plenty of opportunities to play deep into spring, and give the young man a chance to re-set.