A BIG RED BEACON, A FLAG AND A MAN ON A RAIL

Cam Talbot posted a .950 save percentage last night, no one mentioned his name. That’s rather unfair, since he is one of two men (97) most responsible for this team’s current standing (first place, Pacific Division). The truth is that Edmonton’s 21 club (everyone but the goalie and 97) did not play especially well, and the result was predictable based on that single fact. HDSC: 7-11.

  • Todd McLellan: “We weren’t sharp enough for two points, so we’ll take the one, but we should expect more on a nightly basis.”

FOUR STRONG WINDS, YEAR OVER YEAR

  • Oilers in October 2015: 4-8-0, goal differential -7
  • Oilers in October 2016: 7-2-0, goal differential +10
  • Oilers in November 2015: 4-7-2, goal differential -5
  • Oilers in November 2016: 5-6-2 goal differential +1
  • Oilers after 22, 2015: 7-14-1, goal differential -12
  • Oilers after 22, 2016: 12-8-2, goal differential +11

The Oilers have a galling tendency to stub their toes on opposition (remember the Sabres), they are not exactly mature performers in games when they haven’t brought all of their tools. Last night was there for them, they grabbed one point, damn near two, but lost in Bettman bingo. We’re on to Rogers Place.

Our November deal (15 points in 15 games) is in a little trouble. Edmonton has played 13 games, and has 12 points—meaning a win and an OT loss will be required to make the grade. Can they do that against Scottsdale and Don Mills?

DEFENSE, LAST NIGHT

defense-nov-25

  • I believe every defenseman listed here made at least one play with major wobble.
  • Klefbom—Larsson teamed up on a dynamic goal, Klefbom driving down the off wing and passing to Larsson who was his mirror with a hammer. Music! Without that goal, Edmonton doesn’t get a point last night. They went 13-4 against the Dvorak line, 7-4 against Rieder and 4-3 against Hanzal.
  • Sekera—Russell went 7-7 against the Hanzal line, that’s kind of the key to Arizona. Tippet ran that line against Sekera—Russell 7:15, and less than three and a half minutes against any other lines. This is the lineup he wanted, and it worked out well for them imo. Sekera seemed hesitant to me at times, but for me he is a player I can be confident in consistently. Russell had a shot block hit the net—that is the kind of thing that luck brings—and was not effective with the puck.
  • Nurse—Benning went 3-5 against Hanzal and 0-7 against OEL in 4:34. Nurse had the yips on his passing, seemed a little slow to places, too. I have been generally pleased with his recent play, but last night was poor. Full stop.
  • If Todd McLellan is going to get Eric Gryba a game, Sunday might be it. The question is who does he take out?
  • Oscar Klefbom is taking another step forward. He reminds me of a young Serge Savard, who was always a great defender but who also could make plays with the puck. I am not suggesting a Hall of Fame career, but that assist last night was just like Savard, swear to God. Brilliant.

FORWARDS, LAST NIGHT

oilers-no-26

  • Maroon—Nuge—Eberle played most with Klebom and Larsson—that group scored the second goal of the game. Nuge went 4-5 in 4:09 against Hanzal and saw OEL only 2:52 (2-5). Only one scoring chance, you would like this line to do more, but they seem to have more going on and we can hope Todd McLellan keeps them together to see if there is chem.
  • Lucic—McDavid—Puljujarvi got the first goal, McDavid set up both wingers for easy peasies but neither man could cash. They will get there. 5-0 in HDSCs is pretty crazy, Oilers can win games just with this line. Seriously. Gotta cash. McDavid went 9-11 in 11:03 against OEL (man, that guy is terrific) 9-5 against the Hanzal line. Five HDSCs against that. Mother. Puljujarvi is going to be my favorite Oiler (non-McDavid division) by Christmas. I cannot help it. He is in so many good places every night. He needs to score on at least some of the gifts from 97, though.
  • Kassian—Letestu—Pitlick were 8-7, Letestu was FO man a bunch and his at-bats are tough to read because of it. The 4line has lost its way now, since Caggiula came in. Pitlick is getting lost here, he doesn’t get good looks because his linemates are not as good. They need something. I would like to see a real LW on this line on Sunday.
  • Pouliot—Leon—Caggiula had some dash to my eye, they were out most with Sekera and Russell. Went 0-4 in 1:49 against Hanzal, but that is par for the course. Going 5-5 against the Dauphin line is the issue, Leon needs to chew this matchups like a chihuahua attacking a smelly old sock. It is a little vexing, gotta say. It was a new line, and he was on a point scoring streak, but road wins need Leon goals this year. He is in a sweet spot.
  • Jordan Eberle had a good game to my eye, made some aggressive and effective plays with and without the puck, grabbed an assist on the Larsson goal. He is getting phenomenal looks on the PP and won’t rip it—suggesting to me there may be some lingering issues from the shoulder injury a year ago. If that is the case, it is going to be very difficult to keep him on the feature power play.
  • HockeyStats.ca
  • NaturalStatTrick.
  • NHL.com

FIRE SIDE CHAT

We need to chat. One of the things we need to do from time to time is remind ourselves of where we are in life. Back in the summer, when I refused to publish the balance photo, it was for many of the reasons we saw last night. Peter Chiarelli is using this season both to turn north and to audition. Todd McLellan said as much when calling the Oilers a growth team this season.

All manner of auditions are currently going on, Jesse Puljujarvi with Connor McDavid, Drake Caggiula with Leon Draisaitl, Matt Benning in the NHL and on it goes. Zack Kassian on the PK, Kris Russell on the power play. Some I like, some I hate, but these are experiments and each of them is a small tell about what—exactly—this season is about for the Edmonton Oilers.

I know you are impatient, I know you want to win the Stanley Cup this season, but the reality is that we knew about this team back last summer. This is us. I honestly don’t think blaming the players is productive or fair.

If we made a list of players we expect to be here on the morning Edmonton wins their next Stanley, how many are there? 12? 15? Your Edmonton Oilers are still in growth mode, and as difficult as it might be to view the team through those eyes, we are here. Did you read the Peter Gzowski book? Yeah. The Oilers are about there.

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103 Responses to "A BIG RED BEACON, A FLAG AND A MAN ON A RAIL"

  1. Dustylegnd says:

    Spot on LT, I can forgive JP for missing gift after gift from 97, but at some point Looch has got to start converting the gifts from McDavid or another frustrating losing streak will present itself. The good news is at least Looch and JP are getting themselves to where they need to be to receive said gifts.

    Nurse and Benning, will be just fine, it is unreasonable to believe they won’t have hiccup games like they did last night especially on the tail end of what really is a 5 games road trip with 1 game at home after the first 3 roadies.

    Klefbom is an explosive skater, a truly exceptional skater, and he has developed very acceptable hockey sense after less than 130 NHL games…..in 2 years he will be ready to “snatch the pebbles from his masters hands” and it will be beautiful to watch.

  2. frjohnk says:

    EBERLE has scored 39 PP goals in his career. ( this places him in 38th since 2010)

    I bet not 1 was a one timer.

    He has been successful without a one timer in the past.

    Just not doing it this year.

  3. flyfish1168 says:

    Oilers seems to always had difficulties beating Dave Tippet coached teams. Even when he coached Dallas. Wondering what his numbers of wins vs losses are against us. 🙁

  4. MattyIce says:

    I’m losing hope with Eberle. Why cant we have Eriksson or Neal in that position (a player that shoots and has a mind defensively, dreaming I know)?

    He is just a bad fit for a Chia team IMO and I dont see him here after his contract is up. How many times can you miss the net so badly? Prove me wrong please!

    On positive note this is my first post and I love Klef and Larsson (Seeing how close they are off the ice is huge for the development and its really cool to have this in our first pairing).

  5. Bruce Wayne says:

    I’m on board with Larsson. The team would be better with Hall, but if he starts joining the play on offense he’s a good, maybe even very good, player.

    Lucic, on the other hand ….

    I am starting to enjoy this, even last night’s game, which had two (almost three) thrilling goals. But it remains a damn shame the shackles Chiarelli put on this team. McDavid is the best player in the universe and Talbot might be the second best goalie in the league. They are both playing great, even better than I expected (and I expected a lot from those two). Klefbom has also been fantastic. When you start with that kind of head start you should be better.

    But I am going to enjoy this because if the Oilers don’t win this year, there isn’t a lot of room for improvement in the future (other than Puljujarvi becoming a star).

  6. Scungilli says:

    Connor McDavid has played 82% of a full season of games and is the best offensive player in the league in a highly competitive era.

    Yup.

    Of teh four clear of a point per game, two have SH% above Connor’s 16.1%, only Stamkos’ 15.5% seems sustainable.

    I loved his bench attack too, what thing of beauty – push me to the boards oops I’m flying into the bench

  7. DBO says:

    Actually caught whole game last night. Rare this year.a few observations
    – Kassian looks slow and just not enough skill on some plays. He plays hard, but tends to slack at times. Some press box time wouldn’t hurt.
    – Nuge line. Give them 10 games please. They will score. What’s crazy is 2 years ago this is our top line. That’ll tell you the gap we had from a true talent and balance stand point.
    – Don’t mind the D. Although I’d like Nurse to watch a game or two from press box and try Russell on 3rd pairing just to see how he would do even strength with a few less minutes and softer opposition. Would love to have Fayne with Sekera and Russell with Benning.
    – add Caggulia to 4th line with Letestu and Pitlick and watch the kids fly up and down and pester with Letestu providing solid defensive style. Also adds Some skill to 4th line, giving us better balance.
    -Slepeshev with Pou and Drai I would also like to see. Although it is apparent that Pou has lost his confidence and that a better RW is needed to solidify our forwards. We have a bunch of fourth liners playing with Draisatl and Pouliot. Slepeshev is ok, but not there yet. More 4th liner.
    -Once again, just cause LT teased the damn balance picture, go get a better RD and a two way RW for third line. What could that picture be!??!

  8. dustrock says:

    LT – nice shout out to my favorite Neil Young song.

    Gotta say didn’t like the Drai-Pou-Caligula line. Pouliot just seems completely ineffective this year, and I thought he was probably the best LW for McDavid last season. Caligula should go back to Bakersfield I think.

    Also rolled my eyes seeing Lucic and Eberle on the PP in OT. Knew it would be ineffective.

  9. frjohnk says:

    Bruce Wayne: But I am going to enjoy this because if the Oilers don’t win this year, there isn’t a lot of room for improvement in the future (other than Puljujarvi becoming a star).

    I agree with some, if not much of your verbal on certain subjects.

    I think you are a very intelligent poster

    But openly cheering against the Oilers?
    Hoping they fail?
    I have to ask why?
    And also why are you posting here?

    Or is it that you hope Chia fails more than the Oilers fail?
    Is it that if the Oilers/Chia fails, it proves you are right?

    Not looking for a fight just wondering.

    And I do agree with you that if the Oilers are ever to compete/even win the cup, they will need all of Draisaitl, Nurse, and JP hitting their ceiling. And we will probably need them on value contracts.

  10. frjohnk says:

    dustrock: Also rolled my eyes seeing Lucic and Eberle on the PP in OT. Knew it would be ineffective.

    Lucic since 2010 has 22 GWG ( tied for 40th)

    EBERLE has 21 GWG since 2010 ( tied for 47th) If he was not creating anything Id agree. Came close to ending it a couple of times. His scope is off. It will be back on.

    Last year, EBERLE, RNH and Sekera were probably among the leagues best 3 trio in OT.

    Maybe switch Lucic with Maroon if we wanted a different net front player but the personal choice was fine in OT.

  11. Scungilli says:

    I agree this is a feeling out year. I believe they are deciding Leon’s positional future. They are training JP. They are training Nurse and Benning and they know it has a cost.

    Perhaps once they have clear thoughts we will see some action, particularly if ……. doesn’t happen (I won’t type the word).

    Perhaps next season we see an improved Drai or an experienced third centre, and a right hard shooting two way defenceman, perhaps an offensive one. I prefer the two way guy, I don’t think very many D actually drive a PP or offense. I wouldn’t want to see a big spend on an older one or middle tier one. This team needs solid two way helpers for Connor more than a few extra points from a loose cannon

  12. leadfarmer says:

    I don’t see how anyone is upset with Eberles effort last night. He was our second best forward creating great scoring chances, just couldn’t cash. I wonder how long before McDavid realizes his line mates are not as gifted as him and he starts shooting more instead of deferring

  13. Bruce Wayne says:

    frjohnk,

    You misunderstood. “I am going to enjoy this” is not intended to mean “I am going to enjoy the losses.” Quite the opposite, I was cheering for the team last night, and enjoyed the game.

    It meant “I am going to enjoy this because this might be as good as it is going to get.” So there is a shot there, but not a Cameron type shot.

  14. Lowetide says:

    leadfarmer:
    I don’t see how anyone is upset with Eberles effort last night.He was our second best forward creating great scoring chances, just couldn’t cash.I wonder how long before McDavid realizes his line mates are not as gifted as him and he starts shooting more instead of deferring

    Great point on McDavid shooting. Lucic is very good at cashing rebounds btw.

  15. SayItAin'tSo, Gretz, SayItAin'tSo! says:

    frjohnk,

    Agree with your take on Eberle but I think Drai would have been a better choice for net front presence on that PP. He was riding a three or four game goal scoring streak and most (if not all) of those came on the PP from about 5 ft in front of the net.

    He’d been playing well in that position, why not give him a shot with the big guys to end it?

  16. Bruce Wayne says:

    leadfarmer:
    I don’t see how anyone is upset with Eberles effort last night.He was our second best forward creating great scoring chances, just couldn’t cash.I wonder how long before McDavid realizes his line mates are not as gifted as him and he starts shooting more instead of deferring

    Plus he played great defense, not that anyone would notice. Guys like Eberle never get a break. Part of my pessimism for the future is the foreknowledge of yet another underwhelming trade.

  17. frjohnk says:

    Bruce Wayne:
    frjohnk,

    You misunderstood.“I am going to enjoy this” is not intended to mean “I am going to enjoy the losses.”Quite the opposite, I was cheering for the team last night, and enjoyed the game.

    It meant “I am going to enjoy this because this might be as good as it is going to get.”So there is a shot there, but not a Cameron type shot.

    Ok. Makes more sense.

  18. JimmyV1965 says:

    MattyIce:
    I’m losing hope with Eberle. Why cant we have Eriksson or Neal in that position (a player that shoots and has a mind defensively, dreaming I know)?

    He is just a bad fit for a Chia team IMO and I dont see him here after his contract is up. How many times can you miss the net so badly? Prove me wrong please!

    On positive note this is my first post and I love Klef and Larsson (Seeing how close they are off the ice is huge for the development and its really cool to have this in our first pairing).

    I don’t get it. Lucic and JP miss countless gifts from heaven and you’re worried about Eberle. The guy is in a slump and he’s still producing.

  19. SayItAin'tSo, Gretz, SayItAin'tSo! says:

    Scungilli,

    I agree with all of this but I come to a different end point.

    I agree that there is an awful lot of training going on but why does it have to result in “a cost” per say?

    We’re 22 games in now and I think all of those players you mentioned have taken pretty big steps forward. Now a stumble backwards can happen, and in the case of the dmen I believe its likely at some point, but I also think they can progress through out the year. In that case early hiccups may well be a short term “cost” that within the confines of the 82 game season begins to look more like an investment come February or March.

    I think a case in point will be the offensive side of Larsson’s game. Now there is probably some eye bias but I’ve noticed him jumping into the play and skating it into the offensive zone more. Now he’s not up to Nurse levels on this but I’d say its been more noticeable over the last four games at least, right around the same time that Klefbom began to emerge as a possible scoring threat.

    My theory is that for the first 1/4 of the season the coaching staff was keeping things on an even keel. Get everyone used to the system, get them up to speed with their teammates and probably most importantly get all of those teammates back in the lineup.

    I think my biggest hope for the team this year (aside from making the playoffs of course) is for the much discussed “identity” to emerge. I think we’re in the early stages but given the age of the big movers and shakers on this team I don’t think we’re anywhere near to a final product yet.

  20. jm363561 says:

    Kassian looks slow and just not enough skill on some plays. / Nuge line. What’s crazy is 2 years ago this is our top line. / Gotta say didn’t like the Drai-Pou-Caligula line.

    Totally agree with these points. When the lines were made public there was a lot of positive comments but the Drai line had three LH players. Why Caggiula? – LW at college but all previous Oiler games at C (which he is not yet ready for); missed nearly 20 games through injury; no pro experience. Sleps should have played and Caggs in the AHL.

    Letestu, Pitlick, Lander looked a good fourth line – bring them back please.

    The ice looked terrible last night which seemed to affect several Oilers.

    Not great but not a disaster.

  21. McSorley33 says:

    Ironically, Eberle is playing way better defensively. No question his determination in his own end has greatly improved.

    Even in here, the amount of ‘ easy peasies ‘ or 1ft puts left for McDavids linemates is getting traction.

    As it should.

    There are some players that are getting looks at the net you don’t see in training camp scrimmages.

    McDavid is drawing opposition players in clumps.

    22gp …there is an average winger out ther who could put up gaudy numbers playing with Connor.

    Secondly, *epic* shade for RNH and Drai in Connors shadow.

    Pure freedom from OEL for some players.

    Very frustrating to see ( so far ) players not take full advantage of being in the wake of McDavid.

    Further, Kassian is starting to frustrate me as well….and his linemates I think.

  22. jm363561 says:

    Bruce Wayne: Plus he played great defense, not that anyone would notice.Guys like Eberle never get a break.Part of my pessimism for the future is the foreknowledge of yet another underwhelming trade.

    “Foreknowledge”. Wow.

  23. frjohnk says:

    SayItAin’tSo, Gretz, SayItAin’tSo!:
    Scungilli,

    I agree with all of this but I come to a different end point.

    I agree that there is an awful lot of training going on but why does it have to result in “a cost” per say?

    We’re 22 games in now and I think all of those players you mentioned have taken pretty big steps forward. Now a stumble backwards can happen, and in the case of the dmen I believe its likely at some point, but I also think they can progress through out the year. In that case early hiccups may well be a short term “cost” that within the confines of the 82 game season begins to look more like an investment come February or March.

    I think a case in point will be the offensive side of Larsson’s game. Now there is probably some eye bias but I’ve noticed him jumping into the play and skating it into the offensive zone more. Now he’s not up to Nurse levels on this but I’d say its been more noticeable over the last four games at least, right around the same time that Klefbom began to emerge as a possible scoring threat.

    My theory is that for the first 1/4 of the season the coaching staff was keeping things on an even keel. Get everyone used to the system, get them up to speed with their teammates and probably most importantly get all of those teammates back in the lineup.

    I think my biggest hope for the team this year (aside from making the playoffs of course) is for the much discussed “identity” to emerge. I think we’re in the early stages but given the age of the big movers and shakers on this team I don’t think we’re anywhere near to a final product yet.

    Dmen with more than 200 even strength minutes ( individual shots per 60)
    Klefbom and Nurse are top 20 with 7.1 and 6.4 shots per 60 respectively.
    The next Oiler Dman is Gryba who is top 80 with 4.6
    Larsson is top 140 with 3.6.

    Last week Larsson was top 180 I believe. So your eyes are not deceiving you.

    I believe he has been jumping up in the play more as of late.

    I think as he gets more comfortable with Klefbom and McLellans system we will see him jump into the play more often.

  24. Woodguy says:

    Check out the Oilers’ 5 game rolling averages for xGF% and CF%.

    https://twitter.com/Woodguy55/status/802559191088959488

    If McLellen can figure out how to not have the bottom 6 get buried every night they’ll be cooking with gas.

  25. Lowetide says:

    jm363561: “Foreknowledge”. Wow.

    Thats having foreskin in the game.

  26. Chachi says:

    Lowetide: Thats having foreskin in the game.

    Fantastic.

  27. Bruce Wayne says:

    jm363561: “Foreknowledge”. Wow.

    I’ve been toying with changing my handle to Cassandra.

  28. Bruce Wayne says:

    Hockey-reference has an expected +/- stat, based on where the shots are taken from on the ice and the chances of them going in based on league average rates. Who knows how they calculate it, but it is easy to find.

    Anyway, surprise surprise McDavid leads the Oilers with + 9.1.

    Maroon is second with 7.3 and Eberle is third with 5.5. Worst on the team is Pitlick, Draisatl, and Letestu.

    Now sure Eberle and Maroon played some with McDavid, but so did, and are, Lucic and Puljujarvi (both in the + 2 range). What this tells us is if Eberle is a poor defensive player it isn’t showing up in shots given up.

    Benning and Klefbom have the highest numbers amongst the D. Klefbom is so far and away the best D on the team. Russell and Gryba, in a dead heat, have the worst numbers. If Russell is good at limiting the quality of shots it isn’t showing up in the quality of shots.

  29. frjohnk says:

    Bruce Wayne:
    Hockey-reference has an expected +/- stat, based on where the shots are taken from on the ice and the chances of them going in based on league average rates.Who knows how they calculate it, but it is easy to find.

    Anyway, surprise surprise McDavid leads the Oilers with + 9.1.

    Maroon is second with 7.3 and Eberle is third with 5.5.Worst on the team is Pitlick, Draisatl, and Letestu.

    Now sure Eberle and Maroon played some with McDavid, but so did, and are, Lucic and Puljujarvi (both in the + 2 range).What this tells us is if Eberle is a poor defensive player it isn’t showing up in shots given up.

    Benning and Klefbom have the highest numbers amongst the D.Klefbom is so far and away the best D on the team.Russell and Gryba, in a dead heat, have the worst numbers.If Russell is good at limiting the quality of shots it isn’t showing up in the quality of shots.

    didnt know they had that.

    link?

  30. Jethro Tull says:

    Bruce Wayne: I’ve been toying with changing my handle to Cassandra.

    Cassandra, who was cursed to never have her prophecies believed by those around her?

    Narcissus would be better.

  31. Bruce Wayne says:

    frjohnk: didnt know they had that.

    link?

    It is on the team page, under skater advanced statistics. http://www.hockey-reference.com/teams/EDM/2017.html

  32. RumBurgundy says:

    SayItAin’tSo, Gretz, SayItAin’tSo!,

    Great posts this morning. I agree on this and putting Drai on the OT PP in the Lucic spot.

  33. MattyIce says:

    I get your point and I appreciate it. Not trying to be a troll.

    Were how many games in and he is still in a slump? My point was I would prefer in IMO a player like Eriksson instead of Eberle. Someone that is a shooter and has better defensive acumen.

    All I’m saying is that it would make this team better. Eberle shows nothing to me for 6 million. Maybe 2-3 million. He is living off a couple dangles from a past era.

    I PRAY he starts putting up goals cause we do need a right hand shot that can bury.

    Prove me wrong Ebs please!

  34. Scungilli says:

    SayItAin’tSo, Gretz, SayItAin’tSo!: We’re 22 games in now and I think all of those players you mentioned have taken pretty big steps forward. Now a stumble backwards can happen, and in the case of the dmen I believe its likely at some point, but I also think they can progress through out the year. In that case early hiccups may well be a short term “cost” that within the confines of the 82 game season begins to look more like an investment come February or March.

    I agree, still a more conservative approach would be to get veterans who are less likely to make as many mistakes instead of play rookies who almost always make more. Playing Gryba probably means less goals against on the third pair but comes at a cost of puck moving.

    I think they are doing the right thing, it is an investment in pushing the development curve and when you aren’t going to win the Cup this year let them cut their teeth and push for the playoffs. First steps.

  35. Bruce Wayne says:

    MattyIce,

    Eriksson is a good player, no doubt. He is also 31 years old, has 3 fewer goals than Eberle and 9 fewer points.

  36. leadfarmer says:

    Lowetide: Great point on McDavid shooting. Lucic is very good at cashing rebounds btw.

    Yeah that was what I was trying to get at. Lucic seems confused at some of McDavids passes but seems a lot less confused when the puck comes off the goalies pads.

    Eberle is a streaky scorer and has been for a few years now. If he keeps up his play away from the puck he will be a great player for years to come. The whole theme that Ebs is a one dimensional player is getting almost as old as the theme that Edmonton has the best ice in the league. Blake Wheeler he is not but he does work his butt off trying to get the puck back. People make it sound like he goes into “controller disconnected” mode without the puck

  37. John Chambers says:

    MattyIce,

    Replace Eberle?

    You don’t know what you got til it’s gone. Pave paradise and put up a parking lot.

  38. who says:

    I agree that this year is all about auditions but I think some things are pretty clear.
    1. Drai is a center man and a good one. Don’t see any point in trying to re invent the wheel here and I think the coaches agree.
    2. We are auditioning wingers for the top 3 lines and seeing who fits with who. I feel we have 2 very good lines going right now but we need to settle on two wingers for Drai. I think the constant shuffling is holding him back. My personal preference would be slep and either caggs or poo because they are the most skilled but the most important thing is to stick with the same ones for a few weeks.
    3. I think JP has already won the audition for Connors wing. He has been really good since moving there and is gaining confidence with every game. If I have one complaint with Connor it would be that he is deferring to the wrong guy on his line. Have seen him pass up some chances to get the puck to JP. Think JP is the only winger who has consistently shown the ability to get the puck back to Connor quickly and in good spots. Eberle tended to hang on too long until Connor had skated into coverage.

  39. Woodguy says:

    @DTMAboutHeart’s xGF standings.

    Remember, he reports that his xGF predicts future GF% better than score adjusted corsi:

    Team xG
    BOS 0.547
    CAR 0.54
    MIN 0.54
    PIT 0.538
    S.J 0.526
    NYR 0.523
    TOR 0.521
    EDM 0.52
    NSH 0.52
    STL 0.519
    L.A 0.518
    BUF 0.517
    FLA 0.515
    ANA 0.51
    WSH 0.51
    MTL 0.506
    OTT 0.503
    CBJ 0.499
    CHI 0.498
    PHI 0.483
    COL 0.481
    T.B 0.479
    CGY 0.477
    WPG 0.477
    N.J 0.471
    DAL 0.468
    VAN 0.468
    DET 0.467
    NYI 0.456
    ARI 0.413

    Nice to see the Oilers 8th.

    Remember that this is expected goals that also accounts for the regressed SH% of the shooter (of every single shot taken)

    What’s not accounted for is goaling and of course, luck.

  40. treevojo says:

    I wasn’t a fan of Lucic being on the 4v3 in OT.

    I would like to see

    Rd mcdavid

    LD Jesse P

    RF Leon D

    LF Eberle

    I think that setup would be dynamite.

    Everyone primed to shoot.

  41. SayItAin'tSo, Gretz, SayItAin'tSo! says:

    Scungilli,

    Yup totally agree. I draw the line on this approach when I see guys floundering. In his rookie year Drai floundered, ditto with Nurse last year when put on the top pairing 11 games in.

    I don’t see JP floundering, in fact much like LT I can see his overall game progressing rather steadily lately. Some bad puck luck/attempts on the offensive side but overall he’s getting better. The same applies for Nurse who despite a rough game last night has been much better this season than last.

  42. Confused says:

    A bad game, no jump. Do not need to start trading everyone.

    Building for the future still, lots of young men learning on the job, bound to be bad nights.

    Got to stick with it at this point, we are more or less all in at this point.

    Go Oil!

  43. DBO says:

    The fourth line is interesting. I wonder what McClellan wants it to be. Is it a grinder d zone heavy line? Is a speed and forechecking line? Is it a punish the opposition line? Or is it a two way line that can play anywhere? Seems like the coach isnt sure. Most effective 4th line we had was Lander-Letestu-Pitlick.

    Why did it work? Two solid defensive guys who can grind and have enough size and some skill with young fast guy who hits and can score. They are a safe line that can score, with our two best penalty killers (Lander and Letestu’s value in that discipline should not be ignored).

    If two players are bringing equal value, wouldn’t it make sense to send young guys to AHL so they get top minutes and get confidence? Caggiula and Slepeshev don’t have to clear waivers. Are they ahead of Pouliot, Kassian, Lander, Hendricks, Letestu and Pitlick? Not enough, and so they will go back and forth to press box. Would rather they play at top line minutes in the AHL.

  44. Scungilli says:

    A big part of the disagreements here seem to me to be based on the use of words as opposed to the ideas involved. Loosely used or overly strong. Lowetide has nailed it repeatedly with Eberle. He’s a flawed player but currently the best offensive right winger the Oilers have, a proven record.

    Points are not the whole story with any player. It’s about outscoring. Eberle is not a bad player, but to say he is an elite player I think is hard to support. He’s a tweener to me – a good point producing complimentary player that struggles with physical play and defensive play but also isn’t an elite scorer that can regularly outscore his sins like P Kane or Ovechkin say. So Eberle takes flak and people hope for a better player in that spot. IMO JP will be that better player, but not yet. He’s going to be like Hossa I think. He won’t score like Laine but he’ll play on more Cup winners and be a stronger overall player.

    The same word problems are the embers burning underground that keeps reigniting the Hall debates. Hall is an elite player, and they sold him at a loss for whatever reasons. Larsson at this point isn’t an elite player. Still it’s not like he doesn’t carry a significant load and it’s not the end of the world. The Oilers still have a lot of guns at forward, they can absorb the loss.

    That trade touches a nerve that runs very deep with Oilers fans. The trading of talent away for a loss is often referred to in the ’06 era forward, but it runs back to the glory days as Delooper and I were joking about yesterday with Gretzky and Messier (actually the Messier trade was worse for me as well, it was a break for me with the team as I was young and it was a second betrayal, I wasn’t buying any of it any more).

    A lot of us are always waiting for the other shoe to drop. Hall is the latest case and I also am waiting for another crappy deal around Nuge or Eberle to disappoint me. I deeply hope Hall was the end of it but I have 24 years of firesales to forget, it will take a while of better things to heal that. The roads of Edmonton are paved with the fibs and betrayals the Oilers have abused us with.

    Of course without the loose use of language things would be pretty placid around here, I don’t think anyone wants that 🙂

  45. fifthcartel says:

    I wonder if the Oilers could have moved RNH for Zibanejad?

    RNH was coming off an injury year and Zibanejad had 51 points, but they’re the same age and apparently Ottawa desperately wanted to swap a RHC for a LHC. Brassard’s been more productive the last couple years, but RNH is under control for longer and much younger.

    This would have given them more options with handedness, but I’m not sure if Zib plays the PK, and his next contract probably comes under the 6m RNH makes.

  46. Hope is a good thing says:

    2 highlight reel goals by the Oilers, and 2 crappy, unfavourable bounce goals by the Coyotes, otherwise Talbot is posting another first-star worthy shutout. We needed a greasy one from the 3rd or 4th line to be the difference. Many of the boys looked like they had been out in the sun playing golf, and a great-looking beverage cart girl got the best of them…

    With regard to Lucic and JP as McDavids wingers: I would like to see them crisis cross more while attacking, thus putting themselves in stronger positions to shoot. I’m not sure Lucic has the speed for it, JP certainly does, and I’m quite certain McDavid will find their sticks. Trying to cash passes while extended on your forehand at full speed is extremely difficult requiring great strength and skill, especially the closer you get to the net. For example, Klefbom’s wonderful pass to Larsson ignored (perhaps intentionally) a wide open Nuge, who was on his forehand and is at least considered an offensive threat, for a defensive defenceman on his off-wing, for a superb one-timer goal.

    Criss-crossing also provides difficulty for defensive coverage, which could be exploited, as it appears so many teams have done to the Oilers ever the years. Thoughts from any of you goal scorers out there?

  47. leadfarmer says:

    Scungilli,

    Kane has a 10.5 mil cap hit. OV a 9.5. Ebs 6. Comparing those three is not fair.

  48. Mattaklap says:

    I’m just glad we don’t have to have tire-fireside chats any longer.

    I am pleased that in a road game against a team (esp. coach) that is the Gruber family to the Oilers’ McClane, they manage a point and were denied 2 only by Connor McDavid’s creeping mortality and a slab of poor ice.

    Tomorrow McDavid tosses Doan from Nagatomi Tower in Ice District (does any real person call it that?).

  49. Confused says:

    For all those Ebs and RNH haters @ 6M out there.

    I assume that they love poo @ 4M because they never mention him

  50. russ99 says:

    Leon’s line is a problem. If we’re not moving him to wing. It would be best to consider his play like Puljujarvi, as their play on the wail and without the puck are exemplary, but they don’t have the chops (linemates in Leon’s case) to put up repeatable levels of offense. So focus on what’s working and when scoring happens it will be a bonus.

    Again, Leon is getting his best looks on the powerplay, so he can still put up numbers and play a defensive role on a more defensive oriented third line,

  51. stephen sheps says:

    Spam alert:

    I wrote a thing for the Oilers Rig again today. In fact, I will now be doing a weekly post over there sort of dabbling in sport sociology stuff and discussing concepts related to research methods, the analytics research I am doing and my usual crap. This week’s post was directly inspired by an exchange held here earlier in the week that Bruce Wayne and I had, amongst others. http://www.theoilersrig.com/2016/11/battle-methods-ii-opinion-vs-analysis/

    End Spam

    Woodguy,

    love that xGF metric! It is definitely reassuring to see the Oilers inside the top 10, especially now that their PDO has bounced back towards the meat.

    On the subject of meat (actual meat, not the ‘regression to’ variety, I am going to attempt to do a 30 hour pork back rib sous vide. I will report back to the group should they be successful.

    (Yes the irony of the Jewish guy talking about cooking pork using a sous vide on shabbos isn’t lost on me, and hopefully now isn’t lost on y’all either 🙂 )

  52. Scungilli says:

    leadfarmer:
    Scungilli,

    Kane has a 10.5 mil cap hit.OV a 9.5.Ebs 6.Comparing those three is not fair.

    I think it is, because if he scored like them he’d get paid like them. Eberle has been given the best TOI, players, PP, everything. He still is.

  53. frjohnk says:

    Bruce Wayne: It is on the team page, under skater advanced statistics.http://www.hockey-reference.com/teams/EDM/2017.html

    Thanks

    Here is how each player fares.

    Connor McDavid 9.1
    Patrick Maroon 7.3
    Jordan Eberle 5.5
    Matthew Benning 3.9
    Oscar Klefbom 3.2
    Milan Lucic 2.9
    Jesse Puljujarvi 2.5
    Ryan Nugent-Hopkins 1.4
    Adam Larsson 1.2
    Anton Slepyshev 0.8
    Andrej Sekera 0.6
    Darnell Nurse 0.4
    Matt Hendricks 0.2
    Zack Kassian 0.1
    Taylor Beck 0
    Mark Fayne -0.1
    Eric Gryba -0.4
    Kris Russell -0.5
    Brandon Davidson -0.6
    Anton Lander -1.2
    Drake Caggiula -1.5
    Benoit Pouliot -1.6
    Leon Draisaitl -3.1
    Tyler Pitlick -3.5
    Mark Letestu -3.7

    McDavid, Maroon and EBERLE are 1,2 and 7 in the entire league!

    In the 1st quarter of the season, my “eyes” told me that Maroon has been the best left winger for McDavid and EBERLE the best right winger, this list helps.

    Probably see this trio shortly again.

    For our D.

    Benning is 28th in the league
    Klefbom is 52nd

    The sample size for Benning is getting bigger from “small” but man the numbers love this kid.
    Klefbom no surprise. Our best Dman.

    2.3 or better gets you into the top 100.

    Compare the first list with last years ( more than 10 games)

    Player Age

    Connor McDavid 9
    Taylor Hall 7.7
    Leon Draisaitl 6.5
    Brandon Davidson 3.9
    Eric Gryba 2.2
    Nail Yakupov 2
    Jordan Eberle 1.5
    Andrej Sekera 1.2
    Patrick Maroon 1.1
    Benoit Pouliot 0.7
    Teddy Purcell 0.3
    Jujhar Khaira 0.1
    Nikita Nikitin 0.1
    Oscar Klefbom -0.2
    Adam Clendening -0.4
    Zack Kassian -1
    Mark Fayne -1.1
    Griffin Reinhart -1.2
    Anton Slepyshev -1.4
    Brad Hunt -1.9
    Rob Klinkhammer -2.2
    Luke Gazdic -2.3
    Anton Lander -2.5
    Jordan Oesterle -2.9
    Iiro Pakarinen -5
    Justin Schultz -5.1
    Ryan Nugent-Hopkins -5.6
    Matt Hendricks -5.9
    Mark Letestu -7.3
    Lauri Korpikoski -9.2
    Darnell Nurse -10.8

    Other than McDavid and Hall ( Draisaitl was dragged up by Hall) nobody really had great numbers.

    Last years team = Woof!

  54. Bruce Wayne says:

    stephen sheps,

    Nice piece. I won’t have time to get into this today, but some quick thoughts.

    The problem with the “eye test” is the problem with perception (see Max Scheler). Human beings do not (nor do animals for that matter, see Jacob Von Uexkull) see (or perceive) the world as it is, in an unmediated fashion. Rather all seeing requires, amongst other things, anticipating, and this quality of anticipation is not found in the thing itself (the object of sight, the thing that we are seeing).

    This doesn’t mean that everything is relative (i.e. everything is opinion) only that in order to see better we need to anticipate better, and anticipating better depends upon what foregrounds our seeing (i.e. knowledge). Ironically, in the methods wars between quantitative and qualitative approaches, both have this issue. The question of anticipation cannot be answered, even indirectly, empirically. It is not at all the case in general that quantitative methods necessarily see better than qualitative methods, you can only measure what you attempt to measure, i.e. what you anticipate you are going to measure.

    The reason quantitative methods work in hockey better than qualitative methods is that in hockey, unlike in life, we know the purpose of the game in advance. This allows us to provide the fixed ground of meaning around which quantitative methods may be grounded.

  55. Bruce Wayne says:

    frjohnk,

    Interesting. So much of the better play comes from the subtraction of Schultz and Korpikoski and the improvement of Nurse. Though I can’t help but point out what has happened to Draisatl in the absence of Hall.

  56. frjohnk says:

    russ99:
    Leon’s line is a problem. If we’re not moving him to wing. It would be best to consider his play like Puljujarvi, as their play on the wail and without the puck are exemplary, but they don’t have the chops (linemates in Leon’s case) to put up repeatable levels of offense. So focus on what’s working and when scoring happens it will be a bonus.

    Again, Leon is getting his best looks on the powerplay, so he can still put up numbers and play a defensive role on a more defensive oriented third line,

    I wonder if we dont see Draisaitl up in the top 6, most likely on McDavids wing in the next few games.

  57. stephen sheps says:

    Bruce Wayne,

    see this is why I tag you in posts that I write. Brilliant response, as always.

    The problem of anticipation is precisely why I pointed out that in this particular iteration of the methods wars, we are dealing with descriptive, not predictive measurements and forms of analysis.

    In hockey it is even more difficult to anticipate what will come next, both in terms of game-flow in an isolated sequence of events on the ice, or in terms of larger, more macro-level trends, because the speed of the game and the random chance of puck bounces often create too much noise in the measurements, especially in short-term, shift-by-shift analysis. The analytics we have here, like the xGF measurement, gives us our first, useful real window into anticipation-based measures, which may move the conversation from descriptive towards predictive value… interesting times.

  58. pocession charge says:

    The one thing that really bugged me about last night’s game was all the backhand reverse passes that were attempted. This is such a bad play — I hope the coaching staff really drills this home. It was attempted multiple times by forwards and defencemen. Each time it was deflected or resulted in a turnover. NHL players are not going to be fooled by this play. They need to stop doing this now.

  59. Scungilli says:

    I think it is important to remember how much a player like McDavid can zoom other players. I know it is often mentioned and Woodguy and Frjohnk post numbers, but almost anybody decent will be a lot better than normal with him. That being said they need to be chosen based on what else they bring, like how Tikk won the Gretzky line job after a lot of others auditioned.

  60. MattyIce says:

    That penalty Pouliot drew last night was money.

    Wish he could do that more often! Be a pain without slashing and tripping on the fore-check every time.

    I’m super happy about the Oilers progress this season. Not being negative its just my opinion about Eberle.

    Look how a veteran like Russell changed the dynamic. I think a mix of guys in the late 20’s early 30’s would not hurt this team on the back half of the season. Hey what do I know I just played junior A.

    On a positive note lets win tomorrow and not lose to a Raptors buzzer beater again. Me and my brother thought it was a 50/50 chance that Flash (McD) scored that… maybe the wine got to me.

  61. NYCOIL "Gentleman Backpacker" says:

    The Eberle haters may wish to look up Joey Mullen.

    Secondary scoring is vital to winning in this league. One-timer or not this is a consistent 25 goal scorer. Is he worth 6m? Perhaps not, but it’s not his fault that management offered him that deal.

    There are a lot of other things you can gripe about before you get to blaming Eberle.

  62. Centre of attention says:

    NYCOIL “Gentleman Backpacker”:
    The Eberle haters may wish to look up Joey Mullen.

    Secondary scoring is vital to winning in this league. One-timer or not this is a consistent 25 goal scorer. Is he worth 6m? Perhaps not, but it’s not his fault that management offered him that deal.

    There are a lot of other things you can gripe about before you get to blaming Eberle.

    I feel like Eberle’s offensive value is placed mainly in his shot by some people. This is folly. If you look at Eberle as an overall offensive player, most of his value comes from his smart playmaking and ability to protect the puck.

    People call Eberle soft but when he has the puck in the offensive zone he is slippery as hell and can hold onto it threw a surprising amount of pressure (example: Larsson goal last night), allowing other teammates to move into position. Once they are in position, Eberle can pass the puck with the best of them.

    People talk about his consistent goal scoring (25 goals) but what about his consistent ~35 assist seasons? Eberle can control & dish the puck under pressure and THAT ladies and gentleman is a rare skill, & one that this team will miss when/if he is traded.

    I think in 2015/2016 Eberle had found a bit of a sweet spot mid season and was burying regularly on the powerplay until later in the year. One thing I have observed is I think Woodcroft moved his spot a bit this season closer to the boards where as Eberle likes to be more bottom of the circle there so he can quickly cut to the front of the net. Might be why he’s flubbing chances, just not hitting him in his wheelhouse/too far from the net.

    Also possible shoulder injury is an interesting theory from LT. When was the last time Eberle went backhand bar down? That is his signature move, but if that shoulder is bugging him it would be hard to put a lot of zip in your backhand wouldn’t it? Having to reach across your body with the bad shoulder and zip it back with force? That hurts just thinking about.

  63. flyfish1168 says:

    NYCOIL “Gentleman Backpacker”:
    The Eberle haters may wish to look up Joey Mullen.

    Secondary scoring is vital to winning in this league. One-timer or not this is a consistent 25 goal scorer. Is he worth 6m? Perhaps not, but it’s not his fault that management offered him that deal.

    There are a lot of other things you can gripe about before you get to blaming Eberle.

    For starters his shooting coach.

  64. bassguy says:

    dustrock:
    LT –nice shout out to my favorite Neil Young song.

    Gotta say didn’t like the Drai-Pou-Caligula line. Pouliot just seems completely ineffective this year, and I thought he was probably the best LW for McDavid last season. Caligula should go back to Bakersfield I think.

    Also rolled my eyes seeing Lucic and Eberle on the PP in OT.Knew it would be ineffective.

  65. bassguy says:

    Hey Dustrock, not a big deal but the tune is written by an Albertan, Ian Tyson…did any one think the ice was horrific last night in Pheonix?

  66. Centre of attention says:

    Psssssst.

    *looks around, makes sure nobody is paying attention*

    McDavid is on pace for 37 goals.

  67. GCW_69 says:

    I want to see the following lines for 10 games:

    Maroon – McDavid – JP

    Lucic – Nuge – Eberle

    Pouliot – Leon – Slepy

    Not sure about the 4th line. I want to see Lucic and Nuge because I see similarities with Nuge and Krejci.

    On the Pp (formation)

    Eberle – Lucic – McDavid
    JP Klefbom

    That allows McDavid to use JP and Klefbom for point shots, and Eberle in close on the right side, I with Lucic screening and cleaning up the garbage.

    That still leaves Leon, Maroon, Nuge, Slepy, Pouliot and Drake to build a second unit around.

  68. Bruce McCurdy says:

    NYCOIL “Gentleman Backpacker”:
    The Eberle haters may wish to look up Joey Mullen.

    Secondary scoring is vital to winning in this league. One-timer or not this is a consistent 25 goal scorer. Is he worth 6m? Perhaps not, but it’s not his fault that management offered him that deal.

    There are a lot of other things you can gripe about before you get to blaming Eberle.

    Joey Mullen was my comp for Eberle before Jordan even played in the NHL, & I still haven’t had reason to change that. Similar player type. Mullen used to kill the Oilers as a Blue, (especially) as a Flame, & later as a Penguin. He was never seen as the best player on his team or even on his line, just a guy who would kill you with second line scoring. Was 25 before he even made the NHL. little guy, right shot, deadly in tight, and dangled his way right in to the Hall of Fame. Always had a good centre like Doug Gilmour or Ron Francis who sound like first liners but we’re actually 2C on their teams during the times they were ripping it up with Mullen in their flank.

    Did I mention he struck fear in the heart of this Oilers fan? Sometimes to properly evaluate a player it helps to consider him from an opposing fan’s viewpoint. On the home side seeing him 82 times a year we sometimes tend to focus on warts.

    EDIT: found a report i wrote for C&B in early 2010 setting Mullen as a high-end comp for Eberle. 7 seasons later I’m confident to say Eberle is a helluva lot closer to Mullen than he is to my low end comp (David Oliver).

  69. stevezie says:

    Great discussion today. And the shots have all been clever.

  70. JimmyV1965 says:

    MattyIce:
    I get your point and I appreciate it. Not trying to be a troll.

    Were how many games in and he is still in a slump? My point was I would prefer in IMO a player like Eriksson instead of Eberle. Someone that is a shooter and has better defensive acumen.

    All I’m saying is that it would make this team better. Eberle shows nothing to me for 6 million. Maybe 2-3 million. He is living off a couple dangles from a past era.

    I PRAY he starts putting up goals cause we do need a right hand shot that can bury.

    Prove me wrong Ebs please!

    You’re nervous about the Ebs slump and you argue in favour of Ericksson? Look at his numbers over the last five years. Outside of Ladd, I think Ericksson was the worst free agent available this year; certainly the most inconsistent.

  71. Bruce McCurdy says:

    Btw the so-called “Ebs slump” has him on pace for 26–37-63 which is pretty much indistinguishable from his last few seasons.

  72. Woodguy says:

    Bruce McCurdy:
    Btw the so-called “Ebs slump” has him on pace for 26–37-63 which is pretty much indistinguishable from his last few seasons.

    Reminds me of one rule about hockey players everyone should remember:

    “All scorers are streaky”

    All of em.

    Every time I read “streaky scorer” I cringe a bit.

    None of em score “at a regular pace” ups and downs are the norm.

    Variance makes for narratives.

  73. stevezie says:

    Bruce McCurdy,

    Woodguy,

    This is fair and sober commentary, but is it fair to expect playing with McDavid to raise his scoring?

    I’m not sure if it is, but that seems to be the standard he is being judged against. Especially in light of what McDavid did to Maroon and Nail.

  74. flyfish1168 says:

    Bruce McCurdy:
    Btw the so-called “Ebs slump” has him on pace for 26–37-63 which is pretty much indistinguishable from his last few seasons.

    That is without a doubt good stats for most. But he achieve these numbers without Connor. Myself anyway I felt Jordan should be able to achieve more with Connor. Especially if he worked on his shot this summer. I was looking for a quick release and a one timer. I was looking for a step up in stats. Maybe I’m wishing for to much. JMHO

  75. Centre of attention says:

    flyfish1168: That is without a doubt good stats for most. But he achieve these numbers without Connor. Myself anyway I felt Jordan should be able to achieve more with Connor. Especially if he worked on his shot this summer. I was looking for a quick release and a one timer.I was looking for a step up in stats. Maybe I’m wishing for to much. JMHO

    To be fair, if Eberle continued to be glued to Connor he would probably have score at least 2 more goals by now. Puljujarvi has had some wide-open looks that even snake bitten Eberle could have burried.

    Puljujarvi played under 14 minutes last night with 0 power play time. me thinks he gets scratched and Slepy gets back in next game. Just a hunch.

  76. VOR says:

    Stephen,

    Great article. I mean what follows as friendly input that I hope enriches your thinking.

    I think you need to avoid the tendency to create two camps among people who are “analyzing” hockey. I believe the sets you have developed are arbitrary and false. I use qualitative and quantitative methods in my own work as an example. Many NHL teams use both.

    Then there is a yawning gulf within the quantitative camp between the reductionists who are in the majority and the synthesizers. There are also quite a few people who are expressing doubts about the current choices and application of quantitative tools who are not vaguely anti-math and fall squarely in the quantitative camp. I am guessing the same thing is true in the quantitative camp and worry you are creating over simplified categories and limiting the parameters of your research and thinking.

    Try this simple thought experiment. Let’s pretend for a moment that a significant amount of the criticism levelled against quantitative approaches to understanding hockey came from people who firmly believed in the primacy of the quantitative approach. How then would you characterize the response of the quantitative community to their critics? By having only two camps you miss the opportunity to exam how the quantitative community responds to different sorts of critics and how it incorporates new ideas. In other words you miss the chance to Thomas Kuhn the hell out of it.

    Just my two cents.

  77. flyfish1168 says:

    Centre of attention: To be fair, if Eberle continued to be glued to Connor he would probably have score at least 2 more goals by now. Puljujarvi has had some wide-open looks that even snake bitten Eberle could have burried.

    Puljujarvi played under 14 minutes last night with 0 power play time. me thinks he gets scratched and Slepy gets back in next game. Just a hunch.

    To be fair JP is the youngest player in the NHL and has shown a pretty good defensive acumen. It is a hard job to play on any teams top line. Jordan is a veteran of 7 seasons and still young enough have another level. so we all waited and waited and grew impatient to see the next level from him. I agree Slepy should get a chance on Connors starboard side.

  78. lynn says:

    What has happened to Anton Lander? Long demoted, yet to play a game for the Condors. Injured? Looking for a return to Sweden?

    The Condors, a bottom team in the AHL, could use Anton.

  79. Centre of attention says:

    flyfish1168: To be fair JP is the youngest player in the NHL and has shown a pretty good defensive acumen. It is a hard job to play on any teams top line. Jordan is a veteran of 7 seasons and still young enough have another level. so we all waited and waited and grew impatient to see the next level from him. I agree Slepy should get a chance on Connors starboard side.

    I dont know about Slepy on McDavids wing but he is the logical choice to add back into the line up if Pulju gets scratched.

    I wasn’t trying to bash Pulju there just saying he’s whiffed on a ton of open looks, that will happen with young players. If it were up to me he would stay on 97’s line and get some powerplay time but I am not the coach. I was merely predicting what I think the Oilers will do, which is scratch Pulju.

    Agree Eberle could break the 30 goal 70 point ceiling with a bit more get up and go, but there is still plenty of hockey left in the season and Eberle is one hot streak away from being on a 30 goal 70 point pace so there ya go. I have no issues with Eberle, I prefer to not have a whipping boy constantly. It leads to you missing the big picture, which is that Eberle is a fantastic offensive player and we need a guy like him in our top 6. He will be dearly missed if we don’t find a good replacement.

    And I don’t think Puljujarvi will ever, EVER be able to put up numbers close to Eberle’s career so far, he will be more of a two-way player which is fine but we still need that offensive type in our top 6. If people think Puljujarvi will plug an Eberle-sized hole in the top 6 without another addition you’re all crazy. Connor can’t do all the scoring himself.

  80. stephen sheps says:

    VOR,

    Those are two good cents my friend! Thank you for your input and suggestions.

    My reasoning for creating a binary (the two camps), something I rarely do in my scholarly work is for the sake of simplicity, playing up the ‘know your audience’ angle, as that is the sort of approach that seems to be used around here a lot of the time. As today’s article is part of a projected series as well as related to my actual research on analytics in hockey, the next few articles will be devoted to showing a lot of the nuance and shades of grey between the binary that I’ve created. Rather than just Kuhning the hell out of it, which I must admit was an awesome turn of phrase on your part, I’m probably going to Marx it up a little too and play with (his version) of dialectics and historical materialism, which is necessary since I’m working with a Gramscian construct (Organic Intellectuals).

    Thanks again for your insights!

  81. Lowetide says:

    lynn:
    What has happened to Anton Lander? Long demoted, yet to play a game for the Condors. Injured? Looking for a return to Sweden?

    The Condors, a bottom team in the AHL, could use Anton.

    I talked to Ryan Holt earlier this week and he said Lander had some things to get done before going down to Bakersfield. Could be anything, but that was the word at this time.

  82. stephen sheps says:

    Lowetide: I talked to Ryan Holt earlier this week and he said Lander had some things to get done before going down to Bakersfield. Could be anything, but that was the word at this time.

    Wouldn’t be surprised if it was visa related. He probably didn’t anticipate being on the farm. Hopefully he’s still getting practice reps while he waits.

    That said I won’t be surprised to see him back up with the big club before the season is done. Maybe that’s just wishful thinking on my part.

  83. lynn says:

    Lowetide: I talked to Ryan Holt earlier this week and he said Lander had some things to get done before going down to Bakersfield. Could be anything, but that was the word at this time.

    Thanks, LT. It must be tough for Anton to return to the AHL at this stage of his career.

    Anton will have many good years in the SHL before he retires.

  84. leadfarmer says:

    Woodguy,

    Some vary a lot more than others. There is definitely players out there that routinely go on prolonged cold streaks and prolonged hot streaks and players who fairly routinely chip in points

  85. NYCOIL "Gentleman Backpacker" says:

    flyfish1168: To be fair JP is the youngest player in the NHL and has shown a pretty good defensive acumen. It is a hard job to play on any teams top line. Jordan is a veteran of 7 seasons and still young enough have another level. so we all waited and waited and grew impatient to see the next level from him. I agree Slepy should get a chance on Connors starboard side.

    You might have waited. Others probably knew Eberle is what he is. Hockey players tend to peak offensively in their early-to-mid twenties. Eberle is imperfect, sure, but there are precious few scoring wingers on this team now, especially with Hall gone.

    So 25-35 as a baseline, 30-40 as a top line. Seems about right. Expecting him to add a strong one timer to his game over summer seems out of place. He is a sniper, not a slapper. He probably has a weak slap shot and you need an elite slapper to use it effectively in the NHL. I doubt a summer of working on it makes his slap shot effective enough to go to, away from his effective wrist shot and backhand.

    Anyway, the team is learning to win and is good but not great yet. These things take time and it seems we may want to enjoy this process, not feel the need to always have a scapegoat?

    I mean, I love the Nuge but his numbers need to improve. Lucic has been riding shotgun to McDavid and he is on pace for a season right on his own standards without McDavid after a 4 point game to catch up. Curious why Eberle has been singled out here as the latest “piggy” incarnation.

  86. Atc-Nate says:

    Re Eberle. I know “they all count” but just to throw it out there, pretty sure he’s had a pair of empty netters. Considering the expectations I’ve had for him, maybe I need to lower the bar. We are winning games and if Pou and Ebs both start putting the puck in the net, not to mention RNH, we should be in good shape.

    Also, in regards to the Oilers not really improving except JP (see Bruce Wayne’s post).. I’d suggest that Klefbom, Nurse and Larsson on D to start, have significantly more to show… Based on 28 being peak for NHL players. I’m also a firm believer that RNH has more there too, in a very Datsyukian way. Leon is young, has way more… This team has so much left from a potential. Did I mention Connor? He’s 19. You could almost pick the player and know they aren’t at the ceiling except maybe Lucic, Eberle…. Russell? The veteran side of the roster, sure. The young guns still have lotsa bullets in the chamber.

  87. jfry says:

    stephen sheps,

    please let me know how this goes! i use my sous vide every week, but i’ve never cooked something so long in it. really curious to hear how it goes.

  88. jfry says:

    OT: has anyone watched much bakersfield this year? looks like david musil is having a very strong year. and posting .42 pts/game. i wonder if he’s the d prospect we trade for a forward prospect. he appears to be fully cooked and ready for some games in the show.

  89. Scungilli says:

    NYCOIL “Gentleman Backpacker”:
    The Eberle haters may wish to look up Joey Mullen.

    Secondary scoring is vital to winning in this league. One-timer or not this is a consistent 25 goal scorer. Is he worth 6m? Perhaps not, but it’s not his fault that management offered him that deal.

    There are a lot of other things you can gripe about before you get to blaming Eberle.

    Hey NYC. Plus minus is not a liked stat here, but over time and especially a career it has some validity, particularly for long retired players where other stats aren’t available.

    Joey Mullen in 1062 NHL games was + 163, .47 GPG.

    Jordan Eberle is – 56 in 447 games played, .34 GPG, the majority of those games with a major river pusher who tilted the ice in Edmonton’s favor. So usage is not against Eberle.

    Is your comparison size based? Not the same player as I see it and remember. It is fine that Eberle is a one dimensional decent scorer and nothing more at this point. He is valuable, contributes, and is a very one dimensional player. He can be upgraded on reasonably easily and many would like to see it, not because he might not be a Free Mason or doesn’t have an Apron and didn’t get in at Hendon, or has sideburns, but in the name of the team being better, stronger.

  90. theres oil in virginia says:

    Bruce McCurdy: EDIT: found a report i wrote for C&B in early 2010 setting Mullen as a high-end comp for Eberle. 7 seasons later I’m confident to say Eberle is a helluva lot closer to Mullen than he is to my low end comp (David Oliver).

    For shame! 🙂

    I have a David Oliver hockey card somewhere. I remember the 20 goal season. Those were rough times, but I still enjoyed being an Oilers fan.

  91. stephen sheps says:

    jfry,

    I did a 48 hour prime rib roast about 6 weeks ago that turned out perfectly. Normally I hate slow cooking but the sous vide is different somehow.

    As I’m sure you know from your own experiences with it, the danger with certain cuts is that if you cook it too long, the marbling ends up breaking down too much and you end up with mushy meat. It’s very finicky and cut dependent I find, but when it works, oh boy does it ever work.

    The ribs are definitely an experiment but I’m confident they’ll turn out well. I’ll keep you posted.

  92. Woodguy says:

    Oiler’s twitter account just tweeted that Talbot starts tomorrow.

    I know ARI played well yesterday, but if you can’t give your backup 1 game vs the 30th place team……..

    Man.

  93. Lowetide says:

    Woodguy:
    Oiler’s twitter account just tweeted that Talbot starts tomorrow.

    I know ARI played well yesterday, but if you can’t give your backup 1 game vs the 30th place team……..

    Man.

    Meh. Talbot shouldn’t be tired.

  94. Fog of Warts says:

    Bruce McCurdy: 7 seasons later I’m confident to say Eberle is a helluva lot closer to Mullen than he is to my low end comp (David Oliver).

    I love the way the mere presence of the digit ‘7’ curbed and curtailed ‘happy’ in favour of ‘confident’.

    ———

    By the rule of three, I was going to add a topical curettage joke (keep your eyes on the Jewish Kryten for the days and weeks after his custom mohala attachment arrives from Amazon.)

    Then I read that curettage only applied inside the body.

    Now I’ve heard of genital frigophobia and the southern duosphere Florida syndrome (testicles head north to sit in the hot tub and drink hot chocolate), but never the frank and the beans altogether. (I’ve also never been in the same room with Kryten the day after his shiny mohala arrived with a spiffy 7-day money-back guarantee—does “your money back” never strike anyone else as somewhat less than being made entirely whole again? Reason for return: “blades improperly sharpened”.)

    But then it turns out that curettage is also used in chalazion, a form of surgery to relieve giant, red, bulbous, pussy cysts of the eyelid due to blocked oil glands (reason for return: “unfortunate miscommunication concerning a blocked-up gland in Oil Country”).

    Yikes. Getting warmer.

    ———

    Once upon a time, a few people died from eating bad pork. Or so we suppose.

    Three thousand years later, we are here:

    A 2013 review of cases of neonatal HSV infections in Israel identified ritual circumcision as the source of HSV-1 transmission in 31.8% of the cases.

    ———

    Oops. I meant to attach this sales verbiage from the Kona Bicycle Company:

    The Mohala is designed around our female-specific geometry that is aggressive and confidence inspiring for those looking to push their riding skill further. Based around a 27.5-inch wheel that is known for its quick handling traits, the Mohala retains a good footprint that makes solid contact with the trail and boosts confidence.

  95. Woodguy says:

    Lowetide: Meh. Talbot shouldn’t be tired.

    He’s getting a lot of work.

    Too much imo.

    He got tired once already.

    1 goalie at 20gp already (Talbot)

    1 at 19 (Budaj)

    2 at 18 (Crawford/Jones)

    Talbot is on pace for 71 starts.

    Too much work.

  96. lynn says:

    Woodguy:
    Oiler’s twitter account just tweeted that Talbot starts tomorrow.

    I know ARI played well yesterday, but if you can’t give your backup 1 game vs the 30th place team……..

    This a choice from a team that has missed the playoffs for ten years and has a new barn to fill.

    Man.

  97. Woodguy says:

    Scungilli,

    Joey Mullen in 1062 NHL games was + 163, .47 GPG.
    Jordan Eberle is – 56 in 447 games played, .34 GPG, the majority of those games with a major river pusher who tilted the ice in Edmonton’s favor. So usage is not against Eberle.

    2 things to consider:

    1) Era effects. Mullen played from 81-97, there were many more goals per game during his career than during Eberle’s (I’ll dig it up in a bit)

    2) Mullen played with Federko, Gilmour, Niewendyk and Lemiuex. Those guys could push a river or two

  98. Bank Shot says:

    Woodguy: He’s getting a lot of work.

    Too much imo.

    He got tired once already.

    1 goalie at 20gp already (Talbot)

    1 at 19 (Budaj)

    2 at 18 (Crawford/Jones)

    Talbot is on pace for 71 starts.

    Too much work.

    What’s wrong with 71 starts?

  99. Woodguy says:

    Scungilli,

    Goals per game during Mullen’s career:

    1996-97 5.84
    1995-96 6.28
    1994-95 5.98
    1993-94 6.48
    1992-93 7.26
    1991-92 6.96
    1990-91 6.92
    1989-90 7.36
    1988-89 7.48
    1987-88 7.42
    1986-87 7.34
    1985-86 7.94
    1984-85 7.78
    1983-84 7.88
    1982-83 7.72
    1981-82 8.02

    Average: 7.166

    Average goals per game for Eberle’s career:

    2016-17 5.40
    2015-16 5.42
    2014-15 5.46
    2013-14 5.48
    2012-13 5.44
    2011-12 5.46
    2010-11 5.58

    Average= 5.462

    So the correct factor for Mullen to Eberle for era effects is .7622 (I could be more accurate by doing this with gp per season, but this is close enough)

    So, Mullen’s goals per game translates into .358 for this era.

    Eberle is .34 as you noted, so its a pretty good comp.

  100. Woodguy says:

    Bank Shot: What’s wrong with 71 starts?

    Tired goalies are not at their best.

    Tired goalie are more prone to injury.

    Top 10 gp by a goalie in one season over the last 5 years:

    BRADEN.HOLTBY 20142015 73
    JONATHAN.QUICK 20142015 72
    TUUKKA.RASK 20142015 70
    CORY.SCHNEIDER 20142015 69
    JONATHAN.QUICK 20152016 68
    DEVAN.DUBNYK 20152016 67
    BRADEN.HOLTBY 20152016 66
    CAREY.PRICE 20142015 66
    PEKKA.RINNE 20152016 66
    HENRIK.LUNDQVIST 20152016 65

    So at 71 Talbot would be 3rd on this list never having played more than the 56 he did last year.

    I just don’t think good things come from over-working your goalie.

    Interesting that only Holtby appears on this list twice.

    Rest is important.

  101. Woodguy says:

    Aivis Kalniņš ‏@A_Kalnins
    Heard rumblings that Leafs are talking to Flames regarding Dougie Hamilton, now people reporting that Flames GM is at ACC.

    Guy is a hockey writer in Europe.

    No idea if he’s credible, but hmmmmmmmmmm

    Since Gulutzan put Hamilton with GIo they are 57.8% together and play 1st pair.

    I’d like to see him gone from Calgary too!

  102. GMB3 says:

    I worry about what JP’s offensive potential is at times, probably jumping to conclusions, but a wide open look is a wide open look. He will be one hell of a hockey player but I dont know if he will ever produce great offensive numbers. I was hoping for more of a trigger man.

    Thumbs up to Larsson with the beauty finish on one knee though, looked like a goal scorer there.

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