G75 2015-16: AVALANCHE AT OILERS

We’re counting down (thanks Casey Kasem) to the end of the season, with Connor McDavid’s point total and Oilers total points the last remaining things that hold importance (work with me here, people).

TIME PASSAGES, 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: 4-8-2
  • Oilers in March 2015: 5-6-3
  • Oilers in March 2016: 6-4-0
  • Oilers after 74 in 2014-15: 21-40-13, 55 points (-75 GD)
  • Oilers after 74 in 2015-16: 29-38-7, 65 points (-37 GD)

In G75 a year ago, the Oilers ripped through the Dallas Stars (!!!) 4-0, with Benoit Pouliot having a nice evening. The Oilers have a chance to post their second .500 month of the year, and they could also finish with 30 wins (first time since 2011-12 if they make it) and with 70 points (also first time since 2011-12, I think you could compare this team and that one—maybe we will).

DEFENSE, 2015-16

OILERS DEFENSE OVER SEASON

  • I wonder what metrics the Oilers use to evaluate their blue? If it is SCA/60, then Davidson, Klefbom, Gryba, Sekera, Nurse and Fayne would appear to be the best available. I don’t know, but it would be nice.
  • I suspect they value possession (‘shot volume’!) and hope they know what a friend they have in Mark Fayne. Please find six better before you deal him, Mr. Chiarelli.
  • Andrej Sekera is going to finish this season around 49 percent in possession. He won’t win team MVP, but he should get some votes.
  • Defensive rookie of the year? Brandon Davidson, without a throw. Those top 10 picks (Nurse, Reinhart) might be wise to spend some time with Davidson and pick his brain on the finer points of the game. It isn’t the worst idea you will read today.

CENTERS, 2015-16

oilers centers over season

  • Connor McDavid (37, 14-25-39) is still just coming into view. It takes awhile to comprehend the scale of greatness when it comes to giants. He is one. CM is the best rookie in the NHL this season, they won’t give him the Calder.
  • Leon Draisaitl (64, 18-30-48) has a chance to reach 50 points before Sam Gagner, or RNH (joke). A splendid season, a wonderful career on the way. Best German NHL player ever? We are about to find out.
  • Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (50, 10-22-32) is back and I don’t care really if the numbers don’t count up to what we expected. I have decided to enjoy these games in case this is the last of him as an Oiler.

OILERS LEFT WINGERS, 2015-16

OILERS LW OVER SEASON

  • Taylor Hall (74, 23-35-58) will lead the team in scoring again. He led the Oilers in points for the seasons ending 2013, 2014 and 2016.
  • Patrick Maroon (65, 6-13-19) has enjoyed a very nice run (9, 2-4-6) after arriving from Edmonton, and I think he might end up being the best of the mid-season additions in Chiarelli’s first year. Of course, I would have said that about Zack Kassian a month ago, so it is a moving target and will be for another season.
  • Benoit Pouliot (55, 14-22-36) has been missed. We would do well to remember that in the dog days of summer.
  • Jujhar Khaira may be a better player than Lauri Korpikoski, but he will need an injury next season to prove it.

RIGHT WINGERS, 2015-16

OILERS RW OVER SEASON

  • Jordan Eberle (61, 22-20-42) might have hit 30 with McDavid had he been healthy all year. Could he post 35 next season, if healthy? I would not bet against it.
  • Zack Kassian (28, 3-4-7) is probably on the team next year. Although the offense has been no screaming hell, and the penalties are a pain, Kassian’s agitating style and skill allows the Oilers to present a different look in California and other places.
  • Nail Yakupov (52-6-12-18)  is so close to 50 percent in possession, has a nice high-danger scoring chance number and I think he could push 2.00/60 with a good center. New Jersey should trade for him at the draft, as they did with Kyle Palmieri last year.
  • Iiro Pakarinen (57, 5-6-11) may catch Yak and Kassian at 5×5/60, and I think if that happens Todd McLellan will keep him for another season. Scratch that, I think it happens anyway.

ETHAN BEAR, DRAFT PLUS ONE

Ethan Bear had a good night last night, going 1-2-3 in a comeback win for Seattle over the Portland Winterhawks. A player in draft plus one season should take a big step forward, and Bear (plus Caleb Jones) have done exactly that this season. Here are some fairly recent D+1 performances by CHL defenders taken by the Oilers:

  1. Ethan Bear 68, 19-45-64 0.941
  2. Martin Marincin 67, 14-42-56 0.836
  3. Darnell Nurse 64, 13-37-50 0.781
  4. Caleb Jones 71, 10-44-54 0.761

And now, let’s compare Bear and Jones to recent top 20 overall selections in their D+1 seasons:

 

  1. Anthony DeAngelo 55, 25-64-89 1.62 (2014)
  2. Josh Morrissey 59, 28-45-75 1.27 (2013)
  3. Ivan Provorov 62, 21-52-73 1.18 (2015)
  4. Travis Sanheim 67, 15-50-65 0.970 (2014)
  5. Thomas Chabot 47, 11-34-45 0.957 (2015)
  6. Ryan Pulock 66, 23-40-63 0.955 (2013)
  7. Ethan Bear 68, 19-45-64 0.941 (2015)
  8. Nikita Zadorov 36, 11-19-30 0.833 (2013)
  9. Darnell Nurse 64, 13-37-50 0.781 (2013)
  10. Caleb Jones 71, 10-44-54 0.761 (2015)
  11. Samuel Morin 54, 7-24-31 0.574 (2013)
  12. Haydn Fleury 63, 6-22-28 0.444 (2014)
  13. Jakub Zboril 50, 6-14-20 0.400 (2015)

The best of the best (Seth Jones, Aaron Ekblad) made the NHL or scooted straight to pro (Julius Honka), but both men show well in draft +1 against prospects who held a much higher pedigree. The trick is to keep it going and stretch it out in draft +2—but at this point signing these two prospects looks like a no-brainer. Congratulations to the Oilers scouting staff, and to Philadelphia—Provorov and Sanheim will soon be joining Shayne Gostisbehere on a young and fabulous blue.

One final note: Darnell Nurse is not a feature player on this list. We are not judging the complete range of skills, only the offensive portion. Still, it does give us a different view of the player when placed next to his rookie NHL year (61, 2-6-8 .131). His current comparable among Oilers rookies in the last 10 seasons? Ladislav Smid (77, 3-7-10 .130). I know, I know, early days, but math doesn’t care if someone is a highly-touted prospect, math only cares about math. Math is telling us something about Darnell Nurse this year.

LOTTERY APRIL 30

The NHL draft lottery goes at the end of April, and the Oilers are in a good position currently to win one of the first four spots in the order. The top three seems established (Matthews, Laine, Puljujarvi) but that middle area—No. 4 through No. 7—seems to be in flux. I posted my most recent 30 last Sunday and slotted Matthew Tkachuk, Jacob Chychrun, Mikhail Sergachev and Alex Nylander 4-7—then talked to a scout who told me the fourth best player in the draft is Olli Juolevi. That tells me that we are in the ‘we don’t know what we don’t know’ phase of the draft right now. Long stretch of highway before the final final.

OILERS CURRENT PICKS

  1. No. 3 overall (Puljujarvi likely)
  2. No. 33 overall (Carter Hart?)
  3. No. 63 overall
  4. No. 76 overall (Pittsburgh pick)
  5. No. 83 overall (Florida pick)
  6. No. 123 overall
  7. No. 148 overall (St. Louis pick)
  8. No. 153 overall
  9. No. 183 overall

I genuinely think the Oilers have to entertain offers for their first-round selection, and if the return addresses that defense, then Peter Chiarelli must pull the trigger. I don’t think many people believe it is the correct thing to do, but for me another phenom forward has less value to the Oilers than (possibly) any team in NHL history.

Peter Chiarelli added Cam Talbot, Andrej Sekera and Connor McDavid last summer. This summer, adding James Reimer, Jason Demers and Jesse Puljujarvi ignores the real issue. Now more than ever, he needs to add very smart bets on defense. Actual NHL players with some success against the other team’s best, who can play a two-way game—and that includes moving the puck consistently, and well.

That is his assignment. The pick has less value to Edmonton than any of the other 29 NHL teams. I believe this to be true.

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412 Responses to "G75 2015-16: AVALANCHE AT OILERS"

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  1. spoiler says:

    If Nurse’s top end comp was Adam Foote, would you trade him for Hamonic?

  2. Woodguy says:

    frjohnk:
    The Nurse verbal today got me thinking and so I went to crunch some numbers about our D.(This is not really about Nurse just the D in general)

    Here is the TOI for our Dmen this year. 5 on 5.

    SEKERA 1217.33
    NURSE 1046.99
    FAYNE 882.65
    GRYBA 796.07
    DAVIDSON 777.24
    SCHULTZ 712.33
    KLEFBOM 483.39
    REINHART 318.99
    CLENDENING 214.66
    OESTERLE 155.67
    NIKITIN 155.3
    PARDY 108.61
    HUNT 77.77
    FERENCE 68.86

    So here I ranked the D on where they would have played on a balanced team.

    ONE, TWO =FIRST PAIRING
    THREE,FOUR = 2ND PAIRING
    FIVE, SIX = 3RD PAIRING
    SEVEN = EXTRA
    AHL = SELF EXPANATORY

    SEKERATHREE
    NURSEAHL/ROOKIE
    FAYNEFIVE
    GRYBASEVEN
    DAVIDSONFIVE
    SCHULTZSIX
    KLEFBOMTHREE
    REINHARTAHL/ROOKIE
    CLENDENINGAHL/ROOKIE
    OESTERLEAHL/ROOKIE
    NIKITINAHL
    PARDYSEVEN
    HUNTAHL
    FERENCEECHL

    Mileage may very on the ranking as it might be off with a few Dmen, but it should be close enough to show how unbalanced this team really is.

    If we go to the TOI and rough D ranking and marry the two lists from above
    Out of 7015 even strength minutes played by our D collectively we have had

    -0% of that time filled by a 1st pairing D man
    -24% of the time filled by a 2nd pairing Dman
    -34% of the time filled by a 3rd pairing Dman
    -13% of the time filled by the number 7 Dman
    -29% of the time filled by AHL/rookieplayers

    Now that looks scary, but you know what really makes it look bad is when players are placed in above their heads.When Klefbom went down, Sekera and Nurse played 1st pairing.That meant that the Oilers D

    -had filled the 1st pairing role with a 2nd pairing Dman and a AHL/rookie
    -that pairing and injury meant there were two guys from the 3rd pairing playing 2nd pairing
    -and because the 3rd pairing guys where playing 2nd pairing, the actual 3rd pairing was a number 7 Dman and a AHL/rookie.

    SO FOR A MAJORITY OF THE YEAR,OILER DMEN HAVE BEEN PLAYING ABOVE THEIR HEADS.FOR SOME DMEN, THEY HAVE PLAYED WAY, WAY ABOVE THEIR HEADS!!!

    * I should add that while Davidson did fine in a top 4 role just before his injury, looking at his season overall from start to finish, he was a good number 5.

    A healthy Klefbom and Davidson and a step in the right direction from the rookies will go a long ways to the team improving next year but man we need help to fix that defence.

    Makes you shake your head eh?

    I did something similar for all of Hall ‘s career and they’ve only has a top 4 Dman on the ice 22% of the time for his career and that was being charitable to a few Dmen.

    None were top pair.

    NHL average is ~62%.

    I blame Hall.

  3. hunter1909 says:

    Woodguy: I blame Hall.

    Give credit where it’s due:

    Kevin Lowe+MacT

    100 per fucking cent.

  4. Norman Greenbaum says:

    Klima’s_Bucket:
    With every passing day, the people that thought coach Todd was a good hire get a little more quiet.
    Both Buffalo and Toronto play with far more structure and a lot less talent.

    Yeah, and they’ve just shot straight up in the standings haven’t they. And it’s questionable that Buffalo has less talent.

  5. Ca$h-McMoney! says:

    Norman Greenbaum,

    Yup.

    Buffalo got solid goaltending from their #2 and #3 guys this year, and Bogo and Risto would both probably be #1D on our team.

    I’m not saying he’s been exceptional, heck I’m not even saying he’s done a better job than Nelson would have. That’s not the point.

    The point of hiring TMac was to confirm that the coach, at the very least, isn’t the problem. He’s established, respected, and in his prime. He might not be great… he’s at least NHL average. At least.

    It’s the players.

  6. Bruce McCurdy says:

    Yeti: This is so true. It seemed that, when he got the puck on his stick, time would slow down to a trickle – almost as if it was afraid of him. He would then glide forward, distribute the puck direct onto someone’s stick, and time would suddenly speed up again like the slo-mo button had been released. I really miss that miserable bastard.

    That’s a great description. With the puck Pronger slowed the game to a walking pace. Without it he relied on excellent nigh on perfect positioning, a commanding frame, and a long active stick that could surgically separate his opponent from either the puck or a body part as deemed appropriate.

  7. Johnny skid says:

    Ca$h-McMoney!: He might not be great… he’s at least NHL average.

    he will fit right in then.

  8. Norman Greenbaum says:

    Ca$h-McMoney!:
    Norman Greenbaum,

    Yup.

    Buffalo got solid goaltending from their #2 and #3 guys this year, and Bogo and Risto would both probably be #1D on our team.

    I’m not saying he’s been exceptional, heck I’m not even saying he’s done a better job than Nelson would have.That’s not the point.

    The point of hiring TMac was to confirm that the coach, at the very least, isn’t the problem.He’s established, respected, and in his prime.He might not be great… he’s at least NHL average.At least.

    It’s the players.

    Let’s not forget this year was PC and TMac’s inheritance year. TMac is teaching his system to the players he wants and hopefully Chia acquires. You can see the start with guys like Maroon and Kassian. I sure wouldn’t like to be handed the hot mess MacT left. If they haven’t improved next year, then yes, we have bigger problems than a #1D.

    People on here were all over giving Eakins all the rope he needed with that roster.

    Except Godot.

  9. GCW_69 says:

    Ca$h-McMoney!:
    Norman Greenbaum,

    Yup.

    Buffalo got solid goaltending from their #2 and #3 guys this year, and Bogo and Risto would both probably be #1D on our team.

    I’m not saying he’s been exceptional, heck I’m not even saying he’s done a better job than Nelson would have.That’s not the point.

    The point of hiring TMac was to confirm that the coach, at the very least, isn’t the problem.He’s established, respected, and in his prime.He might not be great… he’s at least NHL average.At least.

    It’s the players.

    Todd Nelson ran a team of AHL players and about .900 goaltending to a 72 point pace. Todd McLellan is currently running at a 71 point pace with .907 goaltending. Despite adding Talbot and McDavid and replacing Petry with Sekera, the team is no better than last year.

  10. Ryan says:

    Bruce McCurdy: That’s a great description. With the puck Pronger slowed the game to a walking pace. Without it he relied on excellent nigh on perfect positioning, a commanding frame, and a long active stick that could surgically separate his opponent from either the puck or a body part as deemed appropriate.

    I remember the first time I saw Pronger live–during the 2006 playoffs. My first reaction was what’s the big deal about Pronger, he doesn’t seem to do much? I also had an inkling that nothing bad seemed to happen to us when he was on the ice.

  11. Norman Greenbaum says:

    GCW_69: Todd Nelson ran a team of AHL players and about .900 goaltending to a 72 point pace.Todd McLellan is currently running at a 71 point pace with .907 goaltending.Despite adding Talbot and McDavid and replacing Petry with Sekera, the team is no better than last year.

    No? Seen the GA? That’s a good start, getting it down a by a significant margin. With two rooky Dmen and not much experience between the rest, Sekera excepted. I’m going to break this down a little.

    So, you expected that TMac, who looked good with a good team, would come in and post similar numbers with the Oilers, who are a bad team?

    Wouldn’t the Oilers have to be the same quality as SJ for TMac to create a significant improvement?

    Or perhaps both Todds got the most out of their current rosters? It was the beginning of the season that killed us. Our record since the draft deadline would suggest we’re trending upwards.

    Maybe Nelson could have stayed and given us similar results this year as HC. He was offered an assistant coach position. But to suggest he’s miles ahead of TMac is a disservice.

  12. GCW_69 says:

    Norman Greenbaum: No?Seen the GA?That’s a good start, getting it down a by a significant margin. With two rooky Dmen and not much experience between the rest, Sekera excepted.I’m going to break this down a little.

    So, you expected that TMac, who looked good with a good team, would come in and post similar numbers with the Oilers, who are a bad team?

    Wouldn’t the Oilers have to be the same quality as SJ for TMac to create a significant improvement?

    Or perhaps both Todds got the most out of their current rosters?It was the beginning of the season that killed us.Our record since the draft deadline would suggest we’re trending upwards.

    Maybe Nelson could have stayed and given us similar results this year as HC. He was offered an assistant coach position.But to suggest he’s miles ahead of TMac is a disservice.

    .

    Response moved to New thread.

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