EASY LIKE SUNDAY MORNING

The Edmonton Oilers lost another game last night, and to the Toronto Maple Leafs—which counts double, but you know that already. Maple Leafs fans turn Oilers home games into road games due to their incredible numbers and unique sense of being Toronto. Galling? Hmm. Worse. Half past Galling!

It was one game. These things happen. However, what is of concern is the way the goals were scored. Pucks off the ass and in happen, but the Oilers were in the addled zone on several plays last night, many of them ending up in their own net. This team should be tightening, coming together. If you are an Edmonton Oilers coach this morning, that game tape session should come with a vomit bag. The players either had a bad night, don’t understand the system, or had more important things to think about during the game. None of these options is a good one.

  • Todd McLellan: “The difference tonight was they valued checking. It was really important to them. We neglected it.”

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mclellan oy

  • It’s possible to have good numbers and get noticed for negative things—single moments and events can have super importance while being exactly single moments and events. (Lowetide blog).

All of the Toronto moments last night, or at least most, found their way into Edmonton’s net. The Oilers chances hit crossbars or were fumbled, and of course the power play was the wayward wind. I am in no way excusing the performance—some defensemen and at least one center cannot have slept well last night—but it is important to remember luck came to call last evening.

BEAUTIFUL LOSER, 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 -6
  • Oilers in November 2016: 5-8-2 goal differential -3
  • Oilers in December 2015: 7-6-1, goal differential -9
  • Oilers in December 2016: 0-0-0, goal differential nil
  • Oilers after 24, 2015: 8-14-2, goal differential -13
  • Oilers after 24, 2016: 12-10-2, goal differential +7

Our goal was 15 points in 15 November games, and the Oilers managed only 12. Combined with all of the other winning (pronounce it like Forrest Gump would) in the Pacific Division last night, the Oilers fall to third, and could be out of the playoffs by Thursday. The December schedule is here, 14 games and I have chosen 14 points as the line in the sand. This morning, Edmonton has 26 points in 24 games, and if the club managed 14 in 14, would enter January with 40 points in 38 games. That puts them around the 82 points I predicted in October. The market correction did its job, we can move on from the idea that this is a playoff team, and discuss the world as we know it.

OH MY GENTLE LORD

Connor McDavid had a goal and an assist last night, he was brilliant despite the Shadow of Kadri all game long. He is 6-6-12 in his last six games, those totals coming during a time when the opposition had little else to worry over. I mean, that is astounding. Opponents can devote all of their best available troops in deployment in one-third of the game—McDavid has a number and they can see him jump over the boards—and yet the young man leads the league in points.

Back in 1958, a young SS named Ernie Banks hit 47 homers and won the NL MVP Award. He won it despite playing for a middling team, and I think Connor McDavid may be the MVP of the NHL this season. I also think he has to drag this Oilers team into the playoffs in order to have a real chance to win the trophy.

standing-no-29

In a way, this is really too bad, the Oilers hung in for two full months of the season before the money ran out and the engine blew. Now, I had no thoughts that the club would win the division, so the market correction we are seeing was inevitable. I think we should be allowed a day to feel sad for this latest result, but don’t spend too much time on it, because Los Angeles, Vancouver and yes even Calgary are within reach of Edmonton. These recent losses have really taken their toll on the standings.

Now. Instead of running the numbers, I have asked our RE friend to drop by this morning for a few minutes.

  1. Haha! Where is your Corsi God now??!? The Corsi numbers look good, Edmonton is No. 6 5×5 Corsi for percentage this year.
  2. Todd McLellan doesn’t believe in Corsi! Yes. He believes in shot volume.
  3. What is shot volume? Corsi.
  4. Oh. Well, I believe the Oilers do value things like scoring chances and specific shots have higher value. I think High-Danger scoring chances may be the metric most valued by Edmonton.
  5. What is the best thing about this team? Connor McDavid.
  6. What is the worst thing about this team? Lack of balance.
  7. You say that all the time. Be specific! Okay, sure. Remember back in preseason when Kris Versteeg was trying to get a contract from the Oilers? That was good because it gave cover to Todd McLellan in roster construction. If Jesse Puljujarvi couldn’t score, or Drake Caggiula proved unready, Versteeg could slide right in.
  8. And then Versteeg left. Exactly.
  9. Pitlick scored a bunch! Sure, and that secondary scoring helped, but it was strictly fourth line. The Oilers lack of depth on the second and third lines forces them to play Drake Caggiula and Jesse Puljujarvi in spots they can’t cover.
  10. And Pouliot is doing nothing! Well, Pouliot and Nuge and Eberle are getting the boots put to them, but each of those players is a distinctly different story.
  11. Nuge sucks! No sir. Nuge is playing in a steaming pile of bad luck (slings and arrows online but no mention of the post early in the game). He now has 53 5×5 shots and one goal, that will correct for him at some point. He did not check down properly on the JVR goal, probably because he couldn’t get his brain to believe his eyes. Tough video session for 93 today, I am sure.
  12. Eberle sucks! Just because people say things doesn’t mean it is true. Jordan Eberle is Mr. Consistent, on his way to another season that looks completely normal alongside previous years. We can talk about what Eberle isn’t, but these are not breaking news items.
  13. Pouliot sucks! Well, he has had a bad time of it offensively, and I do wonder if he is off a little in terms of health. He is now at 0.96 5×5/60 and that is miles below normal for this player. Still, he is 1.37/60 with Nuge and they are over 50 percent in possession. Give those two men 20 games with Eberle and I bet a second scoring line emerges.
  14. McLellan should never have changed the lineup! He is NUTS! I love this argument because it speaks to something inside of us that makes no real sense but has sustain. When I was a kid, I used to pace around in a specific way when I wanted my team to score, stand in a specific spot. Well, since the Boston Bruins were my team and they scored more goals than any team in history up to that time, this worked! However, it had nothing to do with me. The Oilers changed out players because they wanted to win, pure and simple. If you believe in things you don’t understand, then you suffer. Superstition is silly in hockey as it is in all things. Todd McLellan understands that, good for him.
  15. Talbot has lost 30 pounds! AND an eyebrow! They do have a problem now, because Talbot cannot play all of December and the backup goalie situation is finally going to come into focus. Hold on to your hats!
  16. Klefbom, Nurse and Benning make terrible mistakes! Young defensemen make mistakes, these things happen. I admit that last night we saw more than usual, but that is only partly true. The reality is these young men make mistakes every night, but last evening Toronto cashed them all.
  17. Adam Larsson makes rookie mistakes! I like Larsson, but he does make some unusual decisions and the Oilers are going to have to live with it. Kris Russell also made some strange choices, it was a night for it.
  18. Well, it’s all lost now! When do we talk draft? God, you are like a little kid. Show some spine! We talked about lack of balance, we talked about fifth in the division, this is us! There are some good things about this season—McDavid, possession, Talbot, Klefbom emerging as a more complete defender—and these are good things.
  19. We would be better with Hall. This has been my assertion, yes. Fat lot of good it does, but yes, they Oilers would be better with him.
  20. Fire Chiarelli! I think that might have been a consideration with another slow start, but that didn’t happen this year. Edmonton is in a playoff spot as we leave November, and I imagine they will win some games in December and hang around No. 8 in the Western Conference through New Year’s.
  21. What can be done? I think the Oilers need to find a second scoring line around Nuge or Leon, try to find a way to get Puljujarvi and or Caggiula scoring, and slide both Slepyshev and Pitlick back into the lineup. Peter Chiarelli was extremely aggressive in Boston, I imagine we are going to see some of that aggression soon in Edmonton.
  22. And on defense? Mark Fayne probably has JVR marked. Just saying.
  23. Good lord you are a dog with a bone. It’s my most endearing trait.

CHECKING IN ON RE 2016-17

My RE predictions from August are here, let’s see how the team is doing.

  • Projected Goals For-Against: 226-226 (Even)
  • Actual Goals For-Against: 70-63 (+7) (Edmonton on pace for 239-215)
  • Connor McDavid Projected Points-Per-Game: 1.208
  • Connor McDavid Current Points-Per-Game: 1.292
  • Leon Draisaitl Projected Points-Per-Game: 0.533
  • Leon Draisaitl Current Points-Per-Game: 0.708
  • Jesse Puljujarvi Projected Points-Per-Game: 0.431
  • Jesse Puljujarvi Current Points-Per-Game: 0.350
  • Jordan Eberle Projected Points-Per-Game: 0.813
  • Jordan Eberle Current Points-Per-Game: 0.708
  • RNH Projected Points-Per-Game: 0.680
  • RNH Current Points-Per-Game: 0.417
  • Milan Lucic Projected Points-Per-Game: 0.763
  • Milan Lucic Current Points-Per-Game: 0.708
  • Benoit Pouliot Projected Points-Per-Game: 0.629
  • Benoit Pouliot Current Points-Per-Game: 0.190

Easy to spot the downbeat, Peter Chiarelli has to decide if he can be patient with Pouliot and if he is willing to watch youngsters like Puljujarvi and Caggiula struggle to score on the skill lines that must cash. This is the period in the season where PC must decide if balance is important, and based on his decision in summer (he decided it was not important) I expect we see more of the same. A reminder, balance last resided in Edmonton in the spring of 2006 courtesy Kevin Lowe’s brilliant trading season. That was long ago.

LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE

A fun show this morning at 10, TSN 1260. Scheduled to appear:

  • Bruce McCurdy, Cult of Hockey. I have not read his game grades but will before we hit air. How did Bruce see the game? Did he watch it twice?
  • Daniel Reynolds, Raptors HQ. We will discuss the Raps and their season, and tonight’s 100th straight sellout.
  • Tom Lynn, Veritas Hockey. Our favorite agent chimes in on things like the expansion draft, how to hide players from expansion teams, and what vets in Europe are thinking about Las Vegas.
  • Kent Wilson, Flames Nation. The goaltending looks fixed, what about the rest of the team?

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161 Responses to "EASY LIKE SUNDAY MORNING"

  1. Confused says:

    Time for big changes — heading towards last rapidly.

    1. Swap Kelfbom for Sekera. Oscar defensively has been a mess for much of the season — get him on pair 2.

    2. Play pitter and slepy — we are terrible without them. So give them a go. Cags and JP are gone.

    3. Special teams — woodcroft must go.

    4. Time for a trade ChiaPet

  2. Woogie63 says:

    I came up for the game last night, my guest was from Vancouver and was blown away with the building!

    My observation was JP, Benning and Drake are not ready for the NHL, some good moments, but too many plays die at there stick and they are not strong enough to win battles in a tight scoring game.

    Pou, RNH, Eberle and Maroon are in a slump, lots of gliding and need to move their feet to get in the play quicker.

    The 4 slumping vets are leaving the rookies to play in too many difficult situations.

  3. 36 percent body fat says:

    Get Eberle off the PP with McDavid. We need a strong right handed one timer and not Eberel who stops the puck to take the wrist shot. All the goalies in the league know this and it has rendered him useless on the PP. Eberle can run the second PP. Give his spot to Slep or JP, they have a better slap shot. Fire Woodcroft; PP fixed! That simple.

    Why is Caggulia playing ahead of Pitlick and Slepyshev? Two players play consistant and hard and drive results from where they are played but hey lets take them out to play a college kid who signed with us because we promised him that.

    When will this team learn about too many rookies and entitlement. Benning is not the problem but he caused the one goal. Caggulia and JP have cost goals this year too. To minimize rookie mistakes, play less rookies.

  4. Offside says:

    I am 100 percent on-board with your emphasis on balance and it’s importance, LT. But there was no balance possible to make up for the cratering of secondary scoring from key guys such as Nuge and Pouliot. Combine that with a ridiculously unproductive powerplay and we find ourselves fretting about a lost season once again.
    I’d offer that the lack of balance would not be an issue if Pou-Nuge-Ebs were contributing in accorrance with their abilities. I suspect Chia saw it the same way

  5. sliderule says:

    Two games in a row we have had two defenceman abandon the front of the net.The center swing out to wall and leave net front.The weak side winger either coasting out to point or Hendricks actually backing away from net front towards point.
    These cant be brain farts it must be our system.I guess they are looking for a man to cover.
    The opposition just have to stay away from net front until the oilers all abandon it and then slip in quick for a juicy chance.
    Least that’s the way it looks to me

  6. JJS says:

    Groundhog day came early this year…

    In the summer, we had two pure shooters on the roster in Hall and Yak. Admittedly, Yak’s sights were off but he still kept goalies (and his own players in front of the net) thinking.

    We also had two legitimate scoring lines who could push possession/goal differential for 35-40 mins per game.

    We now have zero pure shooters and feel like we are defending for 40 mins per game (Corsi notwithstanding).

    The irony – the Hall trade actually made us need a guy like Larsson more than had we kept Hall. Fascinating.

  7. GCW_69 says:

    Passing on Parenteau when he was on waivers is inexcusable.

    While I think Sleppy is looking okay as 3RW, but it’s crazy this team went into the season with gassing holes or high risk options at 2RW, 3RW, 2RD, and back up goalie.

    Nuge trending to 34 points this year, and that should be unacceptable given what he is paid.

    Pouliot needs some time with McDavid to get his engine going, even if it’s just to set up a trade.

    This team drives me crazy.

  8. Durag says:

    Am I crazy, or is McDavid not good on the PP?

    Every time he gets the puck he does his amazing, quick lateral skating to open up space for himself around the perimeter while everyone else on the ice collapses to the net and closes off every conceivable shooting lane. Of course, he gets a pass because he’s the only good forward 5×5….

  9. BONE207 says:

    People checking out, pitchforks and torches at the ready. Christmas 2016 is going to be lively to say the least.

  10. Pink Socks says:

    Excellent as always LT. It makes the morning that much better when our RE friend drops in for a visit as well.

    I saw the game pretty much the same, many careless mistakes, many poor efforts, but it happens, the Oilers are the Oilers. A better version than any other from the past 10 years, but still not a playoff calibre team.

    I do wish that one of either Lucic, Kassian, Maroon, or Nurse would have just gone pure ape shit on Kadri. At 4-1, in a really bad game where it seems like only one player is having any success, and before the 5 minutes-left and your coach gets suspended rule, some passion would be greatly appreciated.

  11. verite says:

    When do you ever hold anyone accountable?
    Ever?
    Chiarelli and MacLelland should be fired this morning. This 3 losses are enough to justify it.

    This board is completely wrong about RNH and Eberle. They are utterly useless. Their non-contribution isn’t abnormal. It is the new normal. But again Chiarelli traded the wrong pieces this summer. For what? The only Swedish defenceman who still makes rookie mistakes after 4 years in the league. Thats reality.

    Chiarelli blew all credibiity in the first summer when he could have gotten value for the garbage assets he inherited but did nothing.
    When he acted this past summer, he made the team worse.

    MacLelland cannot coach or motivate. Every night we see it.

    I predict a total tailspin for December. With Chiarelli doing nothing and MacLelland being sacrificed in early January , when it won’t matter.

    These men are incompetent. They do not want to win. What they are tryindg to do is beyond belief?
    They should be gone by next Monday.
    Won’t happen. And Eberle and RNH will not have scored eiither.

    And lastly, Can we all ignore the idiocy of anlaytics. Watch the games. Watch the errors, Watch the players. Watch those who never win board battles, Never score a tying or winning goal. Watch those always on the ice for the deciding goal against. That comes from watching the game , not from statistical inference.

  12. TO10801 says:

    LT,

    I wouldn’t be too down about playoffs yet. The Corsi is in the top 10 in the league, which is something we couldn’t have imagined in recent years. The way I see it is the pacific will have Cali at the top. The central with have CHI, STL and MIN/NSH in the top 3 spots. NSH/MIN will get the first wildcard spot. This leaves us to beat out Dallas, Van and Winnipeg. Dallas and Winnipeg have horrible Goaltending, and the Canucks are not a playoff team by my eye. I think its reasonable to project us as the #8 team on the back of McDavid. The vets will get things ramped up for the stretch. As much as the losses to ARI and TOR hurt, this team is driving play on most nights and if they clean up the Dzone we will be a playoff team. I would run these lines next game though:
    Lucic-McDavid-Sleppy
    Poo-Nuge-Eberle
    Maroon-Drai-Pitlick
    Kassian-Letestu-Kassian
    Caggiula and JP can go down for December, with Beck and Khaira coming up. They have more experience playing pro and are probably better suited in the bottom six than JP or Caggiula at this point.

  13. Bag of Pucks says:

    I’m going to suggest the players on the roster that are not producing (RNH, Pouliot, Kassian) are a bigger contributer to the balance problem than the players that are not on the roster (Versteeg, Parenteau, etc.).

    And send down Puljujarvi already. Seriously, MacLellan is bouncing the kid from pillar to post and this is development? Meanwhile Pitlick can’t get in the lineup and he’s actually been producing. Questionable.

  14. Dicky94 says:

    Would like to see…

    Lucid-McDavid-Pitlick
    Maroon-Nuge-Drai
    Pouliot-Letestu-Eberle
    Slepy-Hendy-Kaasian

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

    Interesting to note in that graphic LT that the Oilers are the highest scoring team in the division by 11 goals (with a game in hand I’ll be generous and say they’re ahead by 7), yet lately all we can focus on is the lack of secondary or powerplay offence.

    More than anything I think its a confidence issue right now, you can see it seeping in over the last few games. On Sunday against the Yotes after they grabbed that first one off of Russel’s leg I never really felt like they were going to come back. Same with yesterday (McDavid goal not withstanding).

    I think confidence is crucial to hockey and while we keep saying “this team can’t play against trap teams” there is no magic secret that they haven’t discovered yet. By all metrics they went to town on the Yotes on Sunday but down low in the areas that matter alas they never really put the poker to Smith in goal.

    The swagger to start the year has pretty much evaporated. You call it regression but I think there were a lot of bad bounces in some close games that have impacted confidence big time (there’s no way if you’re Nuge and shooting 1.8% your confidence isn’t shaken).

    This is a long way of saying. I personally think the Oilers are better than your prediction LT, this regression has swung beyond the mean IMO and with even average levels of offence from guys who have historically been reliable I think an addition 7-10 goals for isn’t a crazy scenario. Will it swing back? Well that’s tough to say, this December schedule isn’t very forgiving but then again there are more games against teams who Chia went and built this team to compete against.

    I remain very optimistic though will admit at this point that maybe this is misplaced. Still cheering like hell and await the Jets tomorrow!

  16. p3rsonman says:

    14. McLellan should never have changed the lineup! He is NUTS! I love this argument because it speaks to something inside of us that makes no real sense but has sustain. When I was a kid, I used to pace around in a specific way when I wanted my team to score, stand in a specific spot. Well, since the Boston Bruins were my team and they scored more goals than any team in history up to that time, this worked! However, it had nothing to do with me. The Oilers changed out players because they wanted to win, pure and simple. If you believe in things you don’t understand, then you suffer. Superstition is silly in hockey as it is in all things. Todd McLellan understands that, good for him.

    I don’t think anyone would doubt McLellans motives for changing the lineup, but I think it’s fair to criticize whether or not he made the right decision.

  17. TO10801 says:

    verite,

    I understand the frustration but this team is .500 at the end of November. Nuge and Poo will start to score. They have their entire career. McLellans team this year is better than last year. We are closer to balance this year than last year. This team will be in the mix until the end of the year. You want to fire PC and TMac? Then what? Chia needs to find a veteran RW over the next couple of weeks and im sure he’s looking. Its hard to understand why your so close to the cliff when we are sitting in a playoff position. I’d suggest you sit back and just enjoy the ride, they aren’t as bad as you want to make it seem.

  18. TO10801 says:

    SayItAin’tSo, Gretz, SayItAin’tSo!,

    Agree completely. This team is not as good as October, but not as bad as November. Their confidence sucks at the moment, but luckily McDavid got this team 12 points in November by himself. That is the difference this year, McDavid can keep this team in it during the down times. The others will get going, but it needs to happen soon.

  19. p3rsonman says:

    SayItAin’tSo, Gretz, SayItAin’tSo!,

    I think the problem is most of our scoring is centered around 1 player, and aside from 29 not many others are generating offence.

    It’s a valid concern.

  20. Pink Socks says:

    Offside,

    I agree with this 100%, exactly my thoughts. There is no way Chia could have foreseen the dumpster fire of production from Pouliot and RNH. I know Nuge is getting all of the tough assignments, but his production does need to improve drastically for him to be “worth it”. I’m sure Niuge’s rough patch will correct itself, he is better than his production, but to your point, Chia rightly would have felt that secondary scoring was a hell of a lot more reliable than its current pace.

  21. Oilin4 says:

    I got 20 bucks in my pocket that says Fayne doesn’t leave the front of the net uncovered to double team the non-puck carrier on the boards.

  22. Oilin4 says:

    Is there a correlation between Hall’s absence and Nuge’s lack of production?

  23. SugarRay says:

    Nuge may be dogged by some bad luck but the fact remains, he isn’t making the players around him better. If he truly wants to become the 2 way centreman that this team covets, he needs to learn to be more physical in his own end. The stick checking is getting old. Leon has blown by him as the 2nd line center IMO.

    Questions:

    Why is Anton Lander in the AHL? Sure he doesn’t provide much of an offensive spark, but no one outside of Connor/Milan/Leon is either on this team. He is great on the faceoffs and can kill penalties. Time for Caggiula to head South and get some meaningful minutes in.

    When do they shift sides on the power play? McDavid setting up on his offside wing doesn’t work. He doesn’t shoot and the only one time option is from Ebs who needs to dust the puck off before shooting it. On the left half wall it sets up a one timer from the point, the slot and the far side wing. Insanity to continue to continue to try this. We are over 100 games of TMac coaching and the PP is continuously a momentum killer.

  24. TO10801 says:

    Durag,

    McDavid is not good on the PP right now because he has NO options. There is no RHD to one-time the puck. Eberle does not score from the top of the circle on the other side and cannot one-time the puck. This means that the team can focus on 97 and then collapse to the front to take away Drai and Lucic. Say you pick up Ryan Murphy and Iginla, both should be fairly cheap to acquire at the moment. This gives a one-time option at the point and a guy who can one-time from the other side. This would force teams to bring their forwards higher and open up the pass to Drai and the front of the net. With no threat to one-time the puck the PK can stay low and adjust to Klef and Ebs before they even have a chance to shoot. The oilers do not have the personnel as it stands today to have a legal pp.

  25. Dustylegnd says:

    TO10801:
    verite,

    I understand the frustration but this team is .500 at the end of November. Nuge and Poo will start to score. They have their entire career. McLellans team this year is better than last year. We are closer to balance this year than last year. This team will be in the mix until the end of the year. You want to fire PC and TMac? Then what? Chia needs to find a veteran RW over the next couple of weeks and im sure he’s looking. Its hard to understand why your so close to the cliff when we are sitting in a playoff position. I’d suggest you sit back and just enjoy the ride, they aren’t as bad as you want to make it seem.

    I don’t think you are understanding Verite at all

    http://www.dictionary.com/browse/cognitive-dissonance

    http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/sarcasm

    It is one of the two from above…either way I love how he throws the community into a state of confusion with his caustic witticism

  26. anjinsan says:

    Glad you said we’d be better with Hall.

    Losing twice to Arizona and to Toronto at home when the Oilers should have been getting even does not bode well.

    I think McLellan is a good but not great coach, and the one not so good thing that stands out is he doesn’t have vision when it comes to putting together lines. His approach doesn’t build chemistry well. I suspect at root that’s why he’s not coaching in San Jose.

    Chiarelli’s intelligent but bad in two ways — he builds around ‘heavy and hard’ instead of around high end talent and he bloats contracts. The Oilers’ success is because of the luck of getting McDavid, not the heavy and hard of Chiarelli.

  27. Bag of Pucks says:

    I would send Pou to the PB, JP to the A, and roll with:

    Maroon/McDavid/Pitlick
    Lucic/Drai/Eberle
    Slep/RNH/Kassian
    Hendo/Letestu/Cags

    I would also set these lines for at least 3 games and a few practices to see if they can’t find some chemistry. One thing that seemed apparent last night is the blender is running too frequently, and linemates are struggling to anticipate each other. Far too often, I saw two Fs skating to the same spot.

    Give and go is one of the easiest and most effective plays in hockey but McDavid seems to be the only one who gets it at the moment. That said, Connor will get better at using his linemates as well.

    RNH is officially our 3C now at $6mil per. Leon passed him on the corner and isn’t looking back. Is that contract tenable longterm for the 3C slot? I’m not sure it is. If I was Nuge, I’d start scoring.

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

    p3rsonman,

    I think there’s a difference between generating offence and scoring. Now i only caught the 3rd period last night but up until then the Maroon-Eberle-Nuge combo where shooting, crashing and banging just not cashing.

    When those chances start to dry up, which by the sounds of it happened last night, that’s when I start getting worried because then its seeped deeper into the player than just a drought.

    I for one don’t think that Nuge is happy with his own performance at this point. I don’t think Maroon, Kassian or Pouliot are either and you can see during games that Eberle is gripping that stick tighter.

    Despite all of this the Oilers still have the most goals scored in the western conference and that right there is why I can’t be to gloomy at this point. That was a craptacular result in three games against bottom feeders but shit happens.

    In December they play more games against teams that closer match the Oiler’s weight class/style. Will that translate to wins, I’ve got no idea but on the whole I would say they’ve played very well against these types of teams, while not necessarily coming away with points.

    First two months were like an extended training camp in a way (please don’t jump on me for this haha). The long slog begins with the team in a good to great spot with a ton of 4 point games on the horizon. Hopefully they can shake out the cobwebs and some of the offensive laggards start potting some lucky ones.

  29. Bruce Wayne says:

    That the team isn’t good enough is plain. There are two conversations around this to be had. How did we get here, and where do we go from here?

    The answer to the first question is evident. The general manager made the team worse in the offseason by trading Hall for Larsson, by signing Lucic, and by passing on Versteeg and Parenteau. These things are clear to everyone but the most blinkered fan. I wonder whether it is even clear to Chiarelli? Somehow, I doubt it. This is still a fruitful area of conversation because it allows us to imagine a good team rather than the team we have.

    The second conversation is more difficult, because it is difficult to see how this team can be improved. Whatever the answer it starts with identifying the problem, and the problem is not balance, but a lack of overall goodness (because the team traded away goodnessin the offseason), and hence the solution is to add goodness. We know this is true. Get good players, keep good players.

    I define goodness not as skill or talent but as the total contribution to wins (i.e. what you gain minus what you give up).

    From there the heuristic is simple. Make a list of your players in terms of their overall goodness, then subtract from the bottom of the list while adding to the top of the list.

    Here’s my list (all in terms of present value with notations on possible improvement):

    1. McDavid (expect no improvement, this is peak McDavid–how much better can he be?)
    2. Talbot
    3. Klefbom (expect no improvement, already excellent)
    4. Draisatl (small improvement, maybe)
    5. Eberle (variance improvement only)
    6. RNH (variance improvement)
    7. Larsson (no improvement should be planned for)
    8. Sekera
    9. Maroon
    10. Lucic
    11. Pouliot
    12. Russell
    13. Nurse (small improvement only, can’t pass or shoot limits his ceiling)
    14. Kassian
    15. Puljujarvi (the only player on the roster you can plan on getting better)

    After that you have waiver fodder, and there is nothing in the minors.

    Your list may differ, but if it doesn’t have Eberle and RNH somewhere at the top, your list is wrong. Even now, they contribute far more to the team than Lucic. Even last night, they were creating chances. Pouliot made some nice places. On the other side, Lucic rode McDavid’s coattails. Unfortunately, you know that management does not see it the same way.

    Looking at the list there is no way for this team to get better via trades, that leaves free agency and/or Puljujarvi becoming a star. Those are faint hopes.

  30. Little Poteet says:

    Thanks for having our friend over this morning LT, made me feel better. Twitter and comments sections are calling for blood this morning. I’m upset, but mostly I’m just astounded at how good 97 is.
    The baffling streakiness sounds like the 80-81 season to me, along with the inability to beat other bad teams. But even without a pp that works McDavid is coming into his own and is something we should appreciate

  31. McSorley33 says:

    Brutal Truth from Bruce at COH:

    #55 Mark Letestu, 3. Oilers have now **lost the last eight games** in which he has participated. In this one he was part of the sequence of pain on the first Toronto goal and brought precious little at the offensive end (1 shot), even as he was somehow given 3:30 of powerplay time. 3/8=38% in his specialty, faceoffs.

    #67 Benoit Pouliot, 4. Same stat applies to him as Letestu, as both vets were brought back into the line-up after sitting out a three-game winning streak, a decision which has blown up in Todd McLellan’s face. Had some competent moments on the penalty kill. His game-defining play might have been when he made a nice steal on the kill only to instantly turn the puck back over with an ill-advised back pass to nobody. One nice deflection which tested Anderson, but continues to roll snake eyes on offence *** (0 points in 14 games)***.

    *********************************************************************************************

    Shhhhhh…….astute moves at work.

    Of course, Tyler Pitlick deserves *not* to play. It might be awkward for some forwards that actually get to play and not produce.

    What , Mark Letestu doesn’t deserve PP time?

  32. fifthcartel says:

    I think the powerplay is more a result of trying to shoehorn Lucic/Draisaitl all on the top unit and then you’re left 4 LH shots and 1 RH shot that isn’t really a threat to one-time the puck so they just focus on McDavid and he’s only left to cycle it between him and Klefbom.

    They need another right shot on the powerplay.

  33. Goilers99 says:

    Great write up. I was at the game and saw it the same way. Toronto scored on every major oiler gaffe and the oil were disjointed offensively and didn’t get a bounce. Still controlled the play, which is a major change from years gone by. Also Connor is joy to watch, even the leaf fans around us agreed on that.

  34. Drew says:

    Bruce Wayne:
    That the team isn’t good enough is plain.There are two conversations around this to be had.How did we get here, and where do we go from here?

    The answer to the first question is evident.The general manager made the team worse in the offseason by trading Hall for Larsson, by signing Lucic, and by passing on Versteeg and Parenteau.These things are clear to everyone but the most blinkered fan.I wonder whether it is even clear to Chiarelli?Somehow, I doubt it.This is still a fruitful area of conversation because it allows us to imagine a good team rather than the team we have.

    The second conversation is more difficult, because it is difficult to see how this team can be improved.Whatever the answer it starts with identifying the problem, and the problem is not balance, but a lack of overall goodness (becausethe team traded away goodnessin the offseason), and hence the solution is to add goodness.We know this is true.Get good players, keep good players.

    I define goodness not as skill or talent but as the total contribution to wins (i.e. what you gain minus what you give up).

    From there the heuristic is simple.Make a list of your players in terms of their overall goodness, then subtract from the bottom of the list while adding to the top of the list.

    Here’s my list (all in terms of present value with notations on possible improvement):

    1. McDavid (expect no improvement, this is peak McDavid–how much better can he be?)
    2. Talbot
    3. Klefbom (expect no improvement, already excellent)
    4. Draisatl (small improvement, maybe)
    5. Eberle (variance improvement only)
    6. RNH (variance improvement)
    7. Larsson (no improvement should be planned for)
    8. Sekera
    9. Maroon
    10. Lucic
    11. Pouliot
    12. Russell
    13. Nurse (small improvement only, can’t pass or shoot limits his ceiling)
    14. Kassian
    15. Puljujarvi (the only player on the roster you can plan on getting better)

    After that you have waiver fodder, and there is nothing in the minors.

    Your list may differ, but if it doesn’t have Eberle and RNH somewhere at the top, your list is wrong.Even now, they contribute far more to the team than Lucic.Even last night, they were creating chances.Pouliot made some nice places.On the other side, Lucic rode McDavid’s coattails.Unfortunately, you know that management does not see it the same way.

    Looking at the list there is no way for this team to get better via trades, that leaves free agency and/or Puljujarvi becoming a star.Those are faint hopes.

    But, but, we were told that professional hockey management knows better than the us, the huddled masses. I say piffle to your reason and rational thought. i am out scouting the Stanley cup route as we speak. (insert sarcasm).

    I believed they traded the wrong steve austin then and I do now, the next hot streak one of them leaves in a cloud of dust. Further compounding that error.
    oh i am fans of both as well.

  35. BONE207 says:

    Which team are we? The October fast start team or the November team. All along this Oilers team has given up early goals against. In October though, they came back hard and won. December, I believe we’ll find out what to expect.

    Has the league figured out how to stop Connor and once that’s taken care of, this team is blah? Will the other lines get it going to sustain an October type of month? Now the rubber will meet the road and show us what we have. Backs against the wall. What kind of fight does the team have? Go Oilers…give us a nice Christmas.

  36. The Trade Guy says:

    Its frustrating that McDavid is asserting himself as one of the best in the league and everyone around him seems to want to regress.

    November had adversity and the alarming thing is guys are folding. Some of these guys have been losing with this organization for five+ seasons and they wear it like a comfy sweater.

    I don’t know. Hope December is better.

  37. godot10 says:

    The only real “problem” with Nugent-Hopkins game is the boxcars. The advanced stats are decent.

    His offensive finish is out of rhythm, because of the reduced ice time, and the reduced power play time, and the inferior wingers he is playing with against the toughest opposition. Nuge started the season with Kassian and Pouliot. Kassian is not a good hockey player. And Pouliot was(/is?) receiving daily “beatings” from McLellan.

    Hypothesis: Nugent-Hopkins’ offensive rhythm and finish and confidence at even strength was dependent on the confidence he gained on the power play. When was the last time in his life that he had so little power play time. And so little ice time. His finish will return when he adjusts to this change in usage.

    Hypothesis: McLellan is too Connor-focused. He isn’t tending to the needs of his other players. It is okay for fans to be too Connor-focused. It is dumb for the coach.

  38. Dustylegnd says:

    Bruce Wayne:

    1. McDavid (expect no improvement, this is peak McDavid–how much better can he be?)
    3. Klefbom (expect no improvement, already excellent)
    4. Draisatl (small improvement, maybe)
    6. RNH (variance improvement)
    13. Nurse (small improvement only, can’t pass or shoot limits his ceiling)
    15. Puljujarvi (the only player on the roster you can plan on getting better)

    1. How much better can he be, he will get bigger, stronger, and make even better decisions every day for the next 3 years, god help the league if they find him a RW with real chemistry

    3. Hard to believe you don’t see an opportunity for improvement here re: decision making, defensive savvy and offensive contribution….. has played less than 2 full NHL seasons….does he really have nothing to learn and no chance of getting better?

    4. 133 NHL games 21 years old, gets bigger stronger faster every day please refer to Mark Scheifele 23 years old three previous season 34p, 49p, 61p…..currently on pace for 82 Leon can be this player

    6. RNH can’t be much worse offensively…5×5 shooting% off the rails plenty of room for offensive improvement

    13. 21 years old 95 NHL games….raw raw talent that surely can improve decision making, defensive savvy, offensive production has 200 games before we wee him as complete in development

    15. Not ready, but has all the tools any hockey player could hope for…..massively different player in another 100 NHL games played.

  39. Bruce McCurdy says:

    BONE207:

    Has the league figured out how to stop Connor and once that’s taken care of, this team is blah?

    In the last 11 games the Oilers have scored 30 goals & McDavid has 17 points. No, the league hasn’t figured out how to stop him, they have just figured out how to render him irrelevant during the 40 minutes a game he is on the bench.

  40. Réal Goudenyéu says:

    The Trade Guy:
    Some of these guys have been losing with this organization for five+ seasons and they wear it like a comfy sweater.

    If this is the case then it’s time to go.

  41. stephen sheps says:

    Bruce Wayne,

    as usual, I agree with most of your assessment – minor quibble being that Versteeg was offered a contract, which he refused citing that he wanted consistent top 6 minutes rather than being a situational player. He saw a (superficially) better opportunity in Calgary and his agent jumped on it. That’s not on P.C.

    Otherwise, astute commentary as always.

    I’m sure this has already been posted, but Sunil popped this up on the twitters the other day, basically a chart showing the McDavid vs. non-McDavid scoring metrics.

    https://twitter.com/sunilagni/status/803274039791759360/photo/1?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw

    What we have, friends, is the makings of a one-line team. There are obviously going to be days where that is enough (see the Avs game from a week ago – and let’s remember that it was only a week ago) but there will also be days where that isn’t enough.

    It also can’t be overstated that while the schedule has been slightly more favourable in terms of home/road splits and B2B games so far, the team has played every 2nd night for pretty much 2 weeks. That kind of grind can be exhausting, even for a team as young as the Oilers.

    This is us now. This is a streaky team, both in terms of scoring and structure. Barely a week ago this team was on a 3 game winning streak where they outscored the opposition 16-5. Next 3 game stretch they go 0-2-1, getting outscored 8-5 (and a shootout loss that was 1/10th of a second from an OT win). The team is still learning how to win, it’s a ‘growth year’ as the coach said. When they’re rolling this team is more fun to watch than any Oilers team I can remember in the last 15 years (2006 playoffs notwithstanding), which is why when they lose (and how they lose) it is all the more frustrating.

    A couple of weeks ago I wrote a post about coaches as teachers over at the Oilers Rig. In it I spoke about how teachers need to be able to adjust and meet students where they’re at. I sometimes wonder if McLellan has that ability to adjust, as the last 3 losses, the Oilers looked like a team that didn’t know how to best adapt to what was being thrown their way. A lack of in-game management and adjustments is something TMac has been criticized for since his San Jose days. I wonder if this is a part of the problem? Obviously McDavid transcends systems play, but the rest of the team looks like they either don’t learn from past mistakes (see the (edit) 2nd leafs goal from last night, which looked an awful lot like the GWG the ‘Yotes scored on Sunday – 2 D-men in the same corner, nobody but a winger covering home-plate, C also in the photo). This is a systems-based GA as far as I can tell, which makes me think that it’s not necessarily the just players who aren’t learning, but possibly the coaches failing to make adjustments to their D-zone tactics as well. Whatever it is, something isn’t working the way it’s supposed to be.

    Any coaches (Ben? You around today?) care to weigh in?

  42. Younger Oil says:

    McSorley33:
    Brutal Truth from Bruce at COH:

    #55 Mark Letestu, 3. Oilers have now **lost the last eight games** in which he has participated. In this one he was part of the sequence of pain on the first Toronto goal and brought precious little at the offensive end (1 shot), even as he was somehow given 3:30 of powerplay time. 3/8=38% in his specialty, faceoffs.

    #67 Benoit Pouliot, 4. Same stat applies to him as Letestu, as both vets were brought back into the line-up after sitting out a three-game winning streak, a decision which has blown up in Todd McLellan’s face. Had some competent moments on the penalty kill. His game-defining play might have been when he made a nice steal on the kill only to instantly turn the puck back over with an ill-advised back pass to nobody. One nice deflection which tested Anderson, but continues to roll snake eyes on offence *** (0 points in 14 games)***.

    *********************************************************************************************

    Shhhhhh…….astute moves at work.

    Of course, Tyler Pitlick deserves *not* to play. It might be awkward for some forwards that actually get to play and not produce.

    What , Mark Letestu doesn’t deserve PP time?

    Awful, awful coaching decisions.

    Absolutely no accountability for any high draft picks or free agent signings in this organization.

    I said it yesterday, and I’ll say it again, if you intentionally don’t play your best lineup on any given day, you deserve to lose.

    There have been far too many times in the past month where the Oilers have deserved to lose.

  43. Timeisnow says:

    If your job is to produce points and make plays, you damn well better start. It’s too many games already, start getting greasy. Collecting a paycheck and doing nothing but contributing to loss after loss is unacceptable. ELPH is something that is unacceptable and should have always been unacceptable.

    Where is the so called big functional toughness? What the hell is Lucic/Maroon/Kassian doing? How about playing tough for a change. Make a hit, maybe be an a-hole and make life miserable for the opposing team for change instead of the oiler faithful.

    How about the dzone? What a disaster.

  44. dustrock says:

    (1) The only thing almost as astounding as how good McDavid is, is how unbearaborrible the rest of the roster is without him. RNH is a #1 pick. Pouliot is a shadow of last year’s player. Draisaitl is not getting it done 5v5 (although last night he wasn’t the problem). Maroon has quietly died in the last few weeks.

    Nobody would call this roster playoff-calibre without McDavid, but why are they so bad?

    (2) I am not sure McLellan knows how to motivate this team. He tries to be the hardass, and maybe that worked earlier in the season, but overall it seems like he’s trying the patient approach.

    He cancels Monday’s practice because he thought the team was tired and unfocused. Then they are supremely unfocused against the Leafs.

    (3) I said, probably around Game 5 or 6, that Chiarelli being unable or unwilling to fix the power play, either by bringing in a RHD PP QB, and/or firing Woodcroft, was going to cost the Oilers the playoffs.

    A good PP can get you out of trouble when you don’t deserve it 5v5. The most obvious but not only example was the 5-on-3 PP. That killed the game.

    (4) McDavid had one shot last night and he scored on it. Why isn’t he shooting on the PP?

  45. The Trade Guy says:

    Réal Goudenyéu: If this is the case then it’s time to go.

    I don’t know if they do. Just seems that way when the team folds under adversity. Then again, they didn’t fold under some adverse conditions in October. I’m hoping December is better because if its the same as November they might just accept that that is who they are and its another lost season.

  46. Bag of Pucks says:

    I think this team will have a decent (.500) second quarter because:

    1) MacLellan started the season trying to build a second line around RNH and has now realized he’s better off building that around Drai. Leon will start to get the better scoring linemates and RNH will continue his Jordan Staal-esque progression towards becoming a true 3C and two way specialist. Would be ideal if his FO acumen improves in conjunction with that.

    2) Eventually, the Lucic/McDavid experiment will end and we may get Maroon/McDavid and Lucic/Leon, pairings that have shown some chemistry, albeit in small samples sizes.

    3) No way the entire D core can have another game like they had last night, right?

    4) Someone on this team will figure out a way to play effectively with Connor and we’ll start to see a 1W cashing in a big way

    5) Early season auditions will end and we’ll start to see more of the ‘producers’ in the lineup and the ‘pretenders’ in the pressbox. Sitting Pitlick over JP, Kassian, Pouliot and Letestu last night was egregious. Todd, if you want them to work hard, reward the players that are working the hardest.

  47. Bruce Wayne says:

    The problem isn’t RNH. I agree with Godot that he is playing well.

    That said, Ryan brought up the proposed RNH for Dumba deal a few threads ago. While that is a bad trade, no doubt, it is interesting to see how much better a deal it is than the ones that were actually made.

    So if you trade RNH for Dumba, what else do you do?

    You no longer trade Hall for Larsson, because you have Dumba, and because you have Hall, you no longer sign Lucic.

    Then you sign Demers for say 5.5 (to make sure you get him) instead of signing Russell, and that leaves you 5.5 million to go get a 3rd line center and fill other holes.

    It works out like this:

    Demers is as good or better than Larsson
    Dumba is as good or better than Russell, plus he plays the right side which you need
    The gap between Hall and Lucic is a yawning chasm that descends towards infinity

    The only place you lose is with RNH versus what 5.5 million gets you, but that is more than made up for by the improvement elsewhere on the roster.

    Does anyone doubt that that roster is better?

    That’s how you lose the battle and win the war.

  48. Drew says:

    Bruce Wayne:
    The problem isn’t RNH.I agree with Godot that he is playing well.

    That said, Ryan brought up the proposed RNH for Dumba deal a few threads ago.While that is a bad trade, no doubt, it is interesting to see how much better a deal it is than the ones that were actually made.

    So if you trade RNH for Dumba, what else do you do?

    You no longer trade Hall for Larsson, because you have Dumba, and because you have Hall, you no longer sign Lucic.

    Then you sign Demers for say 5.5 (to make sure you get him) instead of signing Russell, and that leaves you 5.5 million to go get a 3rd line center and fill other holes.

    It works out like this:

    Demers is as good or better than Larsson
    Dumba is as good or better than Russell, plus he plays the right side which you need
    The gap between Hall and Lucic is a yawning chasm that descends towards infinity

    The only place you lose is with RNH versus what 5.5 million gets you, but that is more than made up for by the improvement elsewhere on the roster.

    Does anyone doubt that that roster is better?

    That’s how you lose the battle and win the war.

    Hanzel at three C?
    Instead of trading for Reinhart?

  49. Fog of Warts says:

    verite: Chiarelli and MacLelland should be fired this morning. This 3 losses are enough to justify it.

    Ah yes, the Pez dispenser theory of management talent, spoken by a man of the bottomless wand.

    ———

    Also, nothing like a ring on your finger (or not) to slowly subdivide the gap between endearing and enduring into a thousand distinct shades.

  50. Eh Team says:

    Bruce Wayne: The second conversation is more difficult, because it is difficult to see how this team can be improved.

    So, we are +20 in goals differential after 24 games but we aren’t improved? Give your head a shake….

    We are giving away some points we should have had (last 2 games against the Coyotes and Leafs) but if we win those games the narrative is much different.

    I know you are going to browbeat this to death (and need no encouragement from anyone else).

    They have screwed around their October and now it’s make or break time. Benning, Slepyshov are going to make it, Caggiula needs some AHL time, but he looks like a player. It’s still a work in progress but the improvements are obvious. Not to say that there isn’t a long way to go.

    December results are critical though and it’s time to put some points on the board.

  51. Bruce Wayne says:

    stephen sheps,

    Sure, Versteeg choose Calgary. But he choose Calgary because he thought he would get more of an opportunity there. And he thought he would get more of an opportunity there based upon his experience at Oilers camp, i.e. his interaction with McClellen and Chiarelli.

    If his impression is that he won’t get an opportunity then it is the responsibility of those that gave him that impression.

  52. GMB3 says:

    p3rsonman:
    SayItAin’tSo, Gretz, SayItAin’tSo!,

    I think the problem is most of our scoring is centered around 1 player, and aside from 29 not many others are generating offence.

    It’s a valid concern.

    29 gets a few nice bounces on the PP and all of a sudden he’s driving some offence..

  53. slopitch says:

    They should bring up Lander, play Pitlick and Shleppy and sit Hendricks. DC and JP should have got 20 games in the AHLm and they could still benefit. Oilers should load up the 2nd line. Nuge has been shit this year but I believe he is better. Id run…

    27-97-14
    67-29-93
    42-55-15
    19-51-44

    Load up the 2nd line and but 2 responsible C on the 3rd and 4th lines.

    Also trade for a PP weapon. 0-6 on the PP is bad. If it goes 2-6, its a 4-4 game despite the off night from Talbot and LT could post the corsi numbers showing how good the team played. But those blatant errors on coverage make the corsi numbers from last night useless.

  54. BONE207 says:

    Bruce McCurdy: In the last 11 games the Oilers have scored 30 goals & McDavid has 17 points. No, the league hasn’t figured out how to stop him, they have just figured out how to render him irrelevant during the 40 minutes a game he is on the bench.

    Bruce…what is their record in those last 11 games? Connor is irrelevant when he’s on the bench for sure but the other players need to establish themselves during that time and at least play even.

    And what are you doing posting right now? Shouldn’t you be on your way to visit LoweTide? Giddy up

  55. stephen sheps says:

    Bruce Wayne,

    Fair point. I see that as on both the player and the coach, but less so on management, but that’s about the only pass I’ll give to PC at this time. All other player acquisition decisions from last summer are still subject to (my) review, as 23 games is still too small a sample for me to know what this team will be long term as a result of P.C.’s moves.

  56. natejax97 says:

    Time to Pannick!!

    Go back to what we had in Dallas, Colorado and Chicago…that seemed to work…

  57. sliderule says:

    Oilin4:
    I got 20 bucks in my pocket that says Fayne doesn’t leave the front of the net uncovered to double team the non-puck carrier on the boards.

    The defence are abandoning the net front to chase all the time so it’s got to be the system.

    You don’t see the more experienced guys doing it much as it is so against all the training they have had.

    Nurse and Benning are the young bucks who are totally buying into it

  58. Centre of attention says:

    Edmonton Oilers ‏@EdmontonOilers · 6m6 minutes ago

    The #Oilers have recalled defenceman Mark Fayne from the @Condors & placed defenceman Eric Gryba on Injured Reserve.

    #TeamFayne #BoldMoves #SekeraFayne #Please #NoMoreRookies

  59. Confused says:

    Centre of attention,

    Can anyone say band-aid

  60. McSorley33 says:

    godot10,

    Hypothesis: McLellan is too Connor-focused. He isn’t tending to the needs of his other players. It is okay for fans to be too Connor-focused. It is dumb for the coach.
    **********************************************************************************
    I am not sure what this means…..

    You do know that a certain forward on our team is attracting all the Norris D attention?

    RNH -offensive zone faceoff – against a Luke Schenn pairing you say?

    Yep.

  61. russ99 says:

    The sooner we stop clinging to the hubris-laden ideal that none of our three top centers can play together, and conversely that we always need to run three scoring lines, the better off we’ll be.

    Glad Fayne is back, His one game before he got hurt showed some stability with Nurse on the third pairing.

    That’s what out D-pairings should be all about, stability, not CF% that has minimal bearing on how we prevent opponents from scoring.

    Defense should first be about prevention, then about going the other way. Once we have prevention down we can worry about the other.

    On Thursday vs. a tough Winnipeg team, I’d go with:

    Sekera – Larsson
    Klefbom – Russell
    Nurse – Fayne

  62. BONE207 says:

    Dustylegnd:
    BONE207,

    Yes, the league has figured out how to stop Connor indeed, 9 points in his last 10 games…clearly they have solved the riddle.

    Ok Ok…perhaps stop is too strong. “Limit” should be substituted. He does need help. Talbot has done well in that. Need others too.

  63. Bag of Pucks says:

    godot10:
    The only real “problem” with Nugent-Hopkins game is the boxcars.The advanced stats are decent.

    We have a similar guy in our office. His only ‘problem’ is his output. Dude has an amazing tie collection though and some great zingers around the water cooler.

    Sure, he’s one of the highest paid employees in the company, but it’s not just about what he brings or doesn’t bring to the bottom line. That’s old school thinking.

  64. verite says:

    Fayne is a totally retrograde move. Talentless.
    This is the quality of Chiarelli’s managerial competence.
    Woeful.

  65. russ99 says:

    verite:
    Fayne is a totally retrograde move. Talentless.
    This is the quality of Chiarelli’s managerial competence.
    Woeful.

    He’d be gone if we could move his salary. We cannot.

    He’s an NHL level experienced defenseman, we could do worse and have done worse with our #8 D.

    If our #8D is our biggest problem, we’ll be OK. Sadly, it’s not.

  66. natejax97 says:

    The Trade Guy,

    They regress because that is all they know how to do, and they drag the new players to the team down with them. If the core needs to be fixed, it needs to be replaced. 2 players that wear “A” on their jersey are regressing, just like every other year. They have 0 confidence and the “woe is me” is setting in and it spreads through the group like a cancer that Connor can’t even stop.

    Grit heart and determination. 60 minutes of in your face hockey. That’s what we were promised, that’s how we started, so how did we get here?? Weak and fragile.

    It is truly sad to watch other teams rebuild just walk all over ours time and time and time again. Next up obviously is the leafs.

  67. russ99 says:

    My biggest takeaway from the last few days is:

    Man did MacTavish do a number on us. We’ll be paying for that for years. Getting McDavid was a huge payoff though.

    The worst part is he’s still in the room when decisions are made.

  68. stephen sheps says:

    Bag of Pucks,

    I don’t think that’s a necessarily fair comparison. Other than his brain-cramp last night on the 3rd goal I think it was, RNH has been very good this year, but his shooting percentage is historically low. He rang one off the post last night that could have changed the game entirely (though Drai hit 2 posts).

    Nuge has had several games this season where he has looked like the Oilers best (non-McDavid) forward, and if he could just improve on his faceoffs, the Jordan Staal comp could be just about right.

    It’s not just about his underlying numbers looking better than his boxcars suggest, but what happens when he’s actually on the ice. He’s creating chances while limiting the opposition’s chances as well, becoming the 2-way player he was projected to be. Even strength scoring has always been a bit low relative to his 1OV draft position, but at this point that shouldn’t matter.

    Instead of focusing exclusively on his cap hit relative to his performance thus far (again, small sample size alert), let’s remember his historical performance, both with and without Hall on his left side. His regression to the meat will be an upward curve once his shooting percentage recovers to historical norms and his 2-way acumen is badly needed on this team as it is currently constructed.

    Perhaps unlike at your office, ‘output’ can be measured in this situation in more than 1 way.

  69. Offside says:

    Come on people, every site needs a Verite. Just like every protagonist needs an antagonist. Once you realize his role you can appreciate him on that level

  70. RT26 says:

    We were never as good a team as our record after 10 games said we were. We’re not as bad as the record in our last 10 games suggests either.

    Teams are taking away open neutral zone space and with the exception of McDavid (who is an alien), our team is not scoring as much off of the rush/ counter-attack as we were earlier.

    Godot is 100% right about Nuge. Give him the 2nd PP unit to quarterback and some meaningful time on ice doing so, and he will rebound. Leave him Eberle and Pouliot and let him continue to attack to tough comp.

    Fayne back helps as this team is not used to prosperity and winning and needs a steady hand to help calm things for a duration

  71. russ99 says:

    stephen sheps:
    Bag of Pucks,

    I don’t think that’s a necessarily fair comparison. Other than his brain-cramp last night on the 3rd goal I think it was, RNH has been very good this year, but his shooting percentage is historically low. He rang one off the post last night that could have changed the game entirely (though Drai hit 2 posts).

    Nuge has had several games this season where he has looked like the Oilers best (non-McDavid) forward, and if he could just improve on his faceoffs, the Jordan Staal comp could be just about right.

    It’s not just about his underlying numbers looking better than his boxcars suggest, but what happens when he’s actually on the ice. He’s creating chances while limiting the opposition’s chances as well, becoming the 2-way player he was projected to be. Even strength scoring has always been a bit low relative to his 1OV draft position, but at this point that shouldn’t matter.

    Instead of focusing exclusively on his cap hit relative to his performance thus far (again, small sample size alert), let’s remember his historical performance, both with and without Hall on his left side. His regression to the meat will be an upward curve once his shooting percentage recovers to historical norms and his 2-way acumen is badly needed on this team as it is currently constructed.

    Perhaps unlike at your office, ‘output’ can be measured in this situation in more than 1 way.

    A big reason why the Oilers veteran forwards are having trouble scoring is McLellan changed up our offensive system to one reliant on getting chances on the rush.

    Which seems really dumb considering we had a hard tough slog all last season to setup an effective system to get chances on the cycle, and seemingly we’ve abandoned it for the long exit pass to create mismatches on the rush (that opponents have already adjusted for) and are flustered trying to keep possession after the first shot from the rush instead of doing the hard work to cycle and create chances. Which invariably limits us to weak shots from the point after zone entry.

    McLellan is nearing an Eakins level of “We’re going to play this way” obstinance this year.

  72. Oil2Oilers says:

    It is easy to feel bad after a low effort, low clue on what they are doing, loss like last night. To feel better look at the Art Ross race. Connor has a 19%+ lead 25% of the way through the season. Remarkable.

    Respecting our host on not talking about the draft too much until the New Year I will leave you with the qualifications of the prospect that I believe Kingsway has circled in gold highlighter;

    – Famous NHL father
    – MOAR Bigger
    – Kelowna Rocket (the new Oil King’s for some reason)
    – RHD

    The good news it also sounds like he can skate and shoot as these qualities don’t always make Kingsway’s list.

    Thinking of the Rocket’s the outrage I still feel about not sending Draisaitl down after 9 games and letting him play in the WJHC is still simmering. I expect others will join in when this addled brained plan comes home to roost this summer, a summer early.

  73. godot10 says:

    Oilin4:
    Is there a correlation between Hall’s absence and Nuge’s lack of production?

    Nugent-Hopkins best production came under Nelson when Hall was hurt. Nugent-Hopkins killed it with Eberle and Pouliot, with less cover in the rest of the roster.

    So no Nugent-Hopkins is NOT dependent on Hall.

  74. stephen sheps says:

    russ99,

    I agree – see my 1st comment of the day. I do wonder about the coaching staff and their ability to make tactical adjustments on the fly.

  75. dustrock says:

    RT26:
    We were never as good a team as our record after 10 games said we were.We’re not as bad as the record in our last 10 games suggests either.

    This is absolutely true, and my line to myself the entire year has been “a mediocre team is a vast improvement from a decade-long tire fire”.

    However – I think fans are more agitated because it was against the Leafs, and not only was it against the Leafs, but they beat us last time on national TV, and now they did it again.

    And it wasn’t just a loss, it was incredibly-dumb defensive errors where Talbot doesn’t stand a chance.

    I was fine with being a mediocre team, but it’s just so easy to keep mocking this organization when they put in performances like that.

  76. Offside says:

    It may not be fair to Eberle to compare him to his very first NHL goal, but he does not seem to even try these types of plays anymore. Instead he seems more reliant on scoring off the wrist shot. I think he has more speed than he has shown.
    As for RNH – yeah his boxscores are encouraging but this is a first overall pick in the prime of his offensive career. I’m not sure if his and Eberle’s lack of finish is bad puck luck or just lost mojo. The great plays have dried up for both and now we’re just hoping that they can consistently put themselves in a position where they can take shots that have a random chance of finding the back of the net. Either way, we are not expecting goals that lift us out of our seats anymore

  77. tapper says:

    On the peewee goal, it looked to me like Russell was trying to untangle and get to the front of the net, but Marner had a rock solid hold of his stick. That’s some London Knight’s/Hunter hockey right there. Until the Oilers start pulling that type of crap, regularly, with impunity, they will continue to be the chumps of the NHL.

  78. Bruce Wayne says:

    natejax97:
    The Trade Guy,

    Grit heart and determination.60 minutes of in your face hockey.That’s what we were promised, that’s how we started, so how did we get here??Weak and fragile.

    It is truly sad to watch other teams rebuild just walk all over ours time and time and time again.Next up obviously is the leafs.

    Quoted as an example of the type of thinking that has caused this mess.

    I agree the Leafs have a better future than the Oilers, but their two worst players are Roman Polak and Matt Martin. So-called grit and determination are a recipe for losing. The best part about the recipe is when the losses inevitably come the “glue guys” never pay the price. We are seeing this right now, RNH and Eberle played much better than Lucic last night, as they do every night, and yet they are the ones the fans want to pay the price.

    Matt Hendricks adds nothing, and yet some people think he adds more than Pouliot.

  79. CrazyCoach says:

    verite: And lastly, Can we all ignore the idiocy of anlaytics. Watch the games. Watch the errors, Watch the players. Watch those who never win board battles, Never score a tying or winning goal. Watch those always on the ice for the deciding goal against. That comes from watching the game , not from statistical inference.

    There is no idiocy in analytics. I think if anything, this past month has shown everyone what the stats guys were saying at seasons beginning, and that this is not a cup contender and more likely a 5th place team at best.

    Believe me, I thoughts stats were kind of a fad, but after taking the time to learn about them not only in hockey but other sports as well, they make more sense to me. Does that explain why two defensemen covered on player last night? No, but looking at the big picture, stats make me realize that this team is where it statistically supposed to be.

  80. linkfromhyrule says:

    So Peter Chiarelli’s grand master plan has turned us from a one line team into….a one line team. Thanks Pete!

    RNH badly needs good teammates to be successful.

    His two most common linemates in the past 5 years are Hall and Eberle.
    RNH with Hall: 52.6 GF%, 50.1CF%
    W/O Hall: 44.9 GF%, 45.9 CF%

    RNH with Ebs: 51.4 GF% 50.0CF%
    W/O Ebs: 42.1 GF%, 43.7 CF%
    Ebs W/O RNH: 46.6 GF% 47.8 CF%

    Without one of these players, RNH is a sub-par player. Being that we lost the better of these two players to Chia’s grand master plan, McLellan needs to staple Ebs and RNH together. Ebs is better with RNH than without as well.

    Ideally (with what we’ve got) I think you go:

    Maroon-McDavid-Draisaitl (eventually JP)
    Pou/Lucic-RNH-Ebs

    but then the bottom six is a complete mess. We have 3 good C’s but not enough NHL RW to go around. Way to go Pete!

    Love JP, but we would be in such better shape if we had an NHL RW on that top line who could actually bury those chances that McD serves up constantly.

    Man I’m bitter this morning. Losses to the Leafs are the worst.

  81. godot10 says:

    Bag of Pucks:
    I think this team will have a decent (.500) second quarter because:

    1) MacLellan started the season trying to build a second line around RNH and has now realized he’s better off building that around Drai. Leon will start to get the better scoring linemates and RNH will continue his Jordan Staal-esque progression towards becoming a true 3C and two way specialist. Would be ideal if his FO acumen improves in conjunction with that.

    Building a 2nd line around RNH? Are you sure about that? McLellan stuck RNH with Kassian. RNH is a give-and-go player (see RNH-Eberle, RNH-MacKInnon). Kassian is NOT a give and go player. McLellan stuck RNH with a big iron ball and chain.

  82. Oilspill says:

    Are Eberle Caggulia RNH etc etc are skilled guys but when you don’t win battles you give up the puck. This power play better incorporate some good low cycle to cause breakdowns. Too stagnant.

  83. LadiesloveSmid says:

    I’d be down to sit Hendricks Ference-style the rest of the season.

    Kass can sit for Slepy or Pitlick, I don’t know why he’s played as much as he has.

    Stick Fayne with Sekera.

    Have RNH score a point or two.

  84. Bag of Pucks says:

    godot10: Building a 2nd line around RNH?Are you sure about that?McLellan stuck RNH with Kassian.RNH is a give-and-go player (see RNH-Eberle, RNH-MacKInnon).Kassian is NOT a give and go player.McLellan stuck RNH with a big iron ball and chain.

    He was also giving Nuge LWers like Pouliot or Maroon while saddling Leon with rooks like JP and Pitlick.

  85. Minister D- says:

    Hadn’t seen a defence that addled since “The Swarm” ™. Thanks for the memories!

  86. Timeisnow says:

    If a players name is not Connor McDavid, then they haven’t been good enough. This goes for management/coaching/pro scouts. And no RNH is not playing good enough, he’s not. Saying otherwise is ridiculous. Same old story.

  87. jake70 says:

    Minister D-:
    Hadn’t seen a defence that addled since “The Swarm” ™. Thanks for the memories!

    Ha! J. Lupul would have had a hat trick last night.

  88. stephen sheps says:

    I posted this earlier but because it was a response to someone else, it was put into moderation… I have since removed the bad reply but wanted to put it out to the group anyway. hopefully LT’s team of moderators allow it to pass:

    since when was math a meme?
    It’s been proven time and again by much smarter people than I am that players’ performance can be charted on a normal curve. Some measures jump around a little from season to season, but players tend to fall within normal historical performance. One thing that tends to be pretty consistent (that is to say without too much variance) over time is shooting percentage. Nuge’s career is 10.6%, and the last 3 seasons he has shot at 10.7, 12.7 and 11.1. This year he’s at 4.3, more than 6% down from his historical average and just about a full point below his career worst (5.1% in the lockout year).

    When I suggest that Nuge will regress to the mean, there is actual evidence to suggest that this will happen. His shooting percentage will rebound to somewhere much closer to his career average. In fact, he is already generating more shot attempts per game this season that last year (just under 5 attempts/game compared to just under 4 a season ago). He will start to cash more of those shots sooner than later.

    Regression to the meat is a meme; regression to the mean is math.

  89. Bag of Pucks says:

    stephen sheps:
    Bag of Pucks,

    I don’t think that’s a necessarily fair comparison. Other than his brain-cramp last night on the 3rd goal I think it was, RNH has been very good this year, but his shooting percentage is historically low. He rang one off the post last night that could have changed the game entirely (though Drai hit 2 posts).

    Nuge has had several games this season where he has looked like the Oilers best (non-McDavid) forward, and if he could just improve on his faceoffs, the Jordan Staal comp could be just about right.

    It’s not just about his underlying numbers looking better than his boxcars suggest, but what happens when he’s actually on the ice. He’s creating chances while limiting the opposition’s chances as well, becoming the 2-way player he was projected to be. Even strength scoring has always been a bit low relative to his 1OV draft position, but at this point that shouldn’t matter.

    Instead of focusing exclusively on his cap hit relative to his performance thus far (again, small sample size alert), let’s remember his historical performance, both with and without Hall on his left side. His regression to the meat will be an upward curve once his shooting percentage recovers to historical norms and his 2-way acumen is badly needed on this team as it is currently constructed.

    Perhaps unlike at your office, ‘output’ can be measured in this situation in more than 1 way.

    You don’t get the big money for being a good checker and putting up encouraging fancies. You get it for boxcars. RNH has to produce crooked numbers to justify the contract. I’m sure even he would admit that.

    Filter NHL Cs by points (Nuge is 65th overall) and the names around him are telling: Cullen, Backlund, Namestnikov, Komarov. These are not elite level Cs.

    RNH is not having a banner season and we’re over 25% done. The bad bounces ‘regress to the meat’ narrative will only last so long. He’s on pace for 12 goals.

    The thing with regression is it’s not a fixed timeline. Players can have off ‘years.’

    Let’s not forget, a number of people were predicting a big breakout year for this player. Now we’re apologists.

  90. GMB3 says:

    RNH’s 5.1% was right before he had labrum surgery too. I tore my rotator cuff and labrum playing baseball summer 2015, and it has a huge effect on your ability to shoot the puck. Prior to my surgery, I was playing some beer league, and I could hardly shoot the puck as well as I could before the injury. So that outlier was directly related to injury, IMHO.

    Does anyone else question JP’s ability to finish? It has me a little worried about his future. I don’t think he should be playing in the NHL yet. Send him down so he can regain his touch instead of forever losing his mojo ala Nail Yakupov.

  91. Eh Team says:

    russ99: A big reason why the Oilers veteran forwards are having trouble scoring is McLellan changed up our offensive system to one reliant on getting chances on the rush.

    Is this really true though?

    We are 5th in the league in Shot/game- 31.8. How can that be if we are only playing to score off the rush?

    We are giving up 30.0 shots/game.

    GF/game- 9th in the league.
    GA/game- 16th in the league

    We need to cut down on the gift goals against. Then we will be fine and the wins will come again.

  92. NF Oiler says:

    It’s time stack the top two lines, Leon and nuge both have to play top 6..wonder if nuge Leon or ebs can play the left side, those 3 would be an interesting line

  93. Bag of Pucks says:

    Seems fairly evident now that Nuge plus Yakupov for Seth Jones likely leaves us in a better spot than Hall for Larsson.

    Would NSH have taken Nuge AND Yak over Johansen?

    Chia bet his chips on Drai and Nuge as the keepers over Hall. I’d always feared he overrated RNH.

  94. Spoils says:

    PC paid too much for Hall, over valued Lucic and should have signed a couple pieces like Versteeg.

    Old Oilers should have traded down in Yak’s year to get a DMan. And should have drafted a couple others.

    Too many passers right now.

    Old habits appear to be dying hard (cough recent soft giveaways).

    The good news. We have felt like the better team in almost every game we have lost. Just need to bring in a couple more goal scorers and tighten up in our own zone.

    just a little worried we gave away too much for Hall and didn’t get enough value out of Griff and Yak 2012 picks.

    thank mcjesus we have connor.

  95. Professor Q says:

    I know it’s very minor, but damn that ice quality.

    After McDavid’s goal he slipped up while celebrating. I think that probably only happens with poor ice.

  96. stephen sheps says:

    Bag of Pucks:

    RNH is not having a banner season and we’re over 25% done. The bad bounces ‘regress to the meat’ narrative will only last so long. He’s on pace for 12 goals.

    The thing with regression is it’s not a fixed timeline. Players can have off ‘years.’

    Absolutely, and I think it’s fair to at least speculate that he’s having an ‘off year’, but an off-year doesn’t negate the value over the long term (and life of the contract) that RNH brings to the team.

    My favourite player in the entire league is Patrice Bergeron, a player who I hope Nuge grows up to become one day.

    They already have remarkably similar shooting percentages year over year (Bergeron’s is a shade lower at 10.1%) and play similar roles on their teams. Obviously we would all be thrilled if Nuge could have a 70 point season at some point sooner than later, but the underlying numbers, usage and skill-sets are in the same neighbourhood, though Bergeron is clearly the better player and it would be foolish to suggest otherwise.

    Anyhoo, you know who else is having an historically bad year? Patrice Bergeron, with 6 points (3 goals) in 20 games, shooting at a career low 4.2%.

    Is Bergeron suddenly a bad player? Hell no. Will he bounce back to somewhere near his historical average? Probably, though it may not happen until next season. Is he going to decline soon? Also probably, but that’s based more on age, games played and injury history. I don’t think anyone in Boston suspects that Bergeron is going to be a 4.2% shooter even when he does start to decline. I think the same arguments can and ought to be applied to Nuge.

  97. Scungilli says:

    There is a lot of skill at centre but at this point Nuge and Leon are struggling. Their vet top six centre is 23. I think things would look very different with a strong third line defensively capable centre. I believe Lander could help there if he had good wingers. I’d give him Pouliot and JP Slep or Pitlick and easier minutes, let Lander help on PP and PK. It’ll never happen but I think it would work and give Leon a break. I see it as making the best of what they went into battle with. Everything else isn’t working it seems.

    There does seem to be a stubborn streak with what they are doing. I see teams typically pair size and experience in D pairs. I’d like to see them try different pairs and put a vet with Benning if he is playing.

    Russell Larsson
    Nurse Klefbom
    Sekera Benning

    I think Nurse might do better with a more experienced partner even with higher comp. Or switch Larsson and Klefbom, whatever works.

  98. Bag of Pucks says:

    stephen sheps: Absolutely, and I think it’s fair to at least speculate that he’s having an ‘off year’, but an off-year doesn’t negate the value over the long term (and life of the contract) that RNH brings to the team.

    My favourite player in the entire league is Patrice Bergeron, a player who I hope Nuge grows up to become one day.

    They already have remarkably similar shooting percentages year over year (Bergeron’s is a shade lower at 10.1%) and play similar roles on their teams. Obviously we would all be thrilled if Nuge could have a 70 point season at some point sooner than later, but the underlying numbers, usage and skill-sets are in the same neighbourhood, though Bergeron is clearly the better player and it would be foolish to suggest otherwise.

    Anyhoo, you know who else is having an historically bad year? Patrice Bergeron, with 6 points (3 goals) in 20 games, shooting at a career low 4.2%.

    Is Bergeron suddenly a bad player? Hell no. Will he bounce back to somewhere near his historical average? Probably, though it may not happen until next season. Is he going to decline soon? Also probably, but that’s based more on age, games played and injury history. I don’t think anyone in Boston suspects that Bergeron is going to be a 4.2% shooter even when he does start to decline. I think the same arguments can and ought to be applied to Nuge.

    Well, he absolutely will get better, cos quite honestly, his production can’t get much worse. Like you, I hope the regression is rapid and massive.

    BUT the tag that haunted RNH coming out of junior was his offensive production was zoomed by PP mins and he didn’t project as a EV outscorer in the bigs.

    Now his PP time is reduced with Connor, Leon and Lucic ascending and we’re seeing a drop in his numbers.

    And his defensive acumen is overrated. He’s getting much better but he’s a LONG way away from Selke consideration like Bergeron. He still makes positional errors and he’ll likely never have the frame to dominate in traffic or on the boards. And, of course, he sucks on the dot which impacts TMac’s ability to utilize him in the Dzone as a shutdown C.

    As fans, we all ‘hope’ he takes that next big step (hence predictions of this being his breakout year), but we’re on season 7 now with this 1OV and the Datsyuk and Bergeron comps are quite honestly looking very unrealistic at this point.

  99. who says:

    Bruce Wayne:
    The problem isn’t RNH.I agree with Godot that he is playing well.

    That said, Ryan brought up the proposed RNH for Dumba deal a few threads ago.While that is a bad trade, no doubt, it is interesting to see how much better a deal it is than the ones that were actually made.

    So if you trade RNH for Dumba, what else do you do?

    You no longer trade Hall for Larsson, because you have Dumba, and because you have Hall, you no longer sign Lucic.

    Then you sign Demers for say 5.5 (to make sure you get him) instead of signing Russell, and that leaves you 5.5 million to go get a 3rd line center and fill other holes.

    It works out like this:

    Demers is as good or better than Larsson
    Dumba is as good or better than Russell, plus he plays the right side which you need
    The gap between Hall and Lucic is a yawning chasm that descends towards infinity

    The only place you lose is with RNH versus what 5.5 million gets you, but that is more than made up for by the improvement elsewhere on the roster.

    Does anyone doubt that that roster is better?

    That’s how you lose the battle and win the war.

    No way is Demers equal to Larsson. Do you think there is any gm in the nhl who makes that trade 1 for 1. I can follow your logic on the rest of this but when you keep asserting that Demers is equal to or better than Larsson you lose all credibility with me.

  100. Dicky94 says:

    There was a few times last night in the third where Larsson started shooting the puck from the point. Every time he seemed to find a lane and get it on net. Maybe they should try him on the PP more often. Keep it simple.

  101. Bruce Wayne says:

    who: No way is Demers equal to Larsson. Do you think there is any gm in the nhl who makes that trade 1 for 1. I can follow your logic on the rest of this but when you keep asserting that Demers is equal to or better than Larsson you lose all credibility with me.

    Both Demers and Larsson play top quality competition. Agreed?

    They are on similarish quality teams and hence similar quality of teammates. Agreed?

    Demers xGF% with Florida is 53%, 4th best on the team.
    Larsson xGF% with Edmonton is 50%, 7th best on the team.

    Choose another metric, or combination of metrics, but you are going to be hard pressed to demonstrate that Larsson is better than Demers.

  102. stephen sheps says:

    Bag of Pucks: Well, he absolutely will get better, cos quite honestly, his production can’t get much worse. Like you, I hope the regression is rapid and massive.

    BUT the tag that haunted RNH coming out of junior was his offensive production was zoomed by PP mins and he didn’t project as a EV outscorer in the bigs.

    Now his PP time is reduced with Connor, Leon and Lucic ascending and we’re seeing a drop in his numbers.

    And his defensive acumen is overrated. He’s getting much better but he’s a LONG way away from Selke consideration like Bergeron. He still makes positional errors and he’ll likely never have the frame to dominate in traffic or on the boards. And, of course, he sucks on the dot which impacts TMac’s ability to utilize him in the Dzone as a shutdown C.

    As fans, we all ‘hope’ he takes that next big step (hence predictions of this being his breakout year), but we’re on season 7 now with this 1OV and the Datsyuk and Bergeron comps are quite honestly looking very unrealistic at this point.

    I don’t disagree with any of what you’ve written here, particularly the EV vs. PP production argument (though Lucic has never performed well on the PP but has a history of being a strong EV producer. Have we seen much of 27-93-14 yet this season? Maybe that’ll help both players?)

    All I am saying is that it’s too soon to write RNH off.

  103. Bruce Wayne says:

    While looking up Florida’s stats I found this nugget.

    RNH pts/60 is 1.6
    Barkov has a pts/60 of 1.56

    These numbers are lower than expected but, they aren’t that low. This is the new NHL. 1.60 would be second best on Florida.

    RNH and Lucic are scoring at the same rate, and of course, Lucic’s number is inflated by the McDavid effect.

    We should be having this conversation about Lucic. He is being paid 6 million dolllars as well, and brings far less for the money.

  104. frjohnk says:

    Bruce Wayne: Both Demers and Larsson play top quality competition.Agreed?

    They are on similarish quality teams and hence similar quality of teammates.Agreed?

    Demers xGF% with Florida is 53%, 4th best on the team.
    Larsson xGF% with Edmonton is 50%, 7th best on the team.

    Choose another metric, or combination of metrics, but you are going to be hard pressed to demonstrate that Larsson is better than Demers.

    The other day you pointed out to me on hockey reference about expected goals plus minus which basically is a type of shot quality.

    Hockey reference also has a stat which is point shares. There is a formula that they measure offensive and defensive point shares for goalies Dmen and forwards. I’m on my phone but it’s easy to find on the website. Just go to the player.

    They also have comparable point share years from best to worst.

    So I looked up Larsson. He was either 1st or 2nd last year in defensive point shares. Which was very impressive , abig part was NJs system, but still impressive.

    I also looked at his comparables. Guess who comes near the top of the list.

    Jason Demers.

  105. Scungilli says:

    stephen sheps: All I am saying is that it’s too soon to write RNH off.

    You’re right about his play, but his offense makes his contract a concern. Like Schultz it needs a correction. I hope that can happen with the Oilers.

    Bridge deals make a lot of sense. The Austin deals were considered a=smart, but really only Hall was value, Nuge and Eberle would be on less if they had done that.

  106. CrazyCoach says:

    I’ll try my best to wander in on this discussion about the Power Play. I’ll give you my thoughts about how I teach it, and what I consider a good power play. Keep in mind here that I’m speaking on a level that is probably more suited to Pee Wee or Bantam level players, who do not quite have the same skill level as NHL’ers, but also to remember that the PK on the ice faces the same disadvantage.

    What does a good PP need?
    -Movement (good skating and passing skills)
    -Puck Control (stick handling)
    -Shooting for rebounds and getting the puck to the net
    {A 50MPH shot that gets to the net is far more dangerous than a 100MPH shot that goes off shinpads}
    -Creating Chaos through
    {Creating outnumber situations (2 on 1’s, 3 on 2’s, etc)}
    {Stickhandling the puck into seams to cause two players to sag and break down the box}

    The main goal for me is to always force the other team into making poor reads and poor reactions to our puck control, create chaos, and turn a 5 on 4 into a 5 on 3 (even if for a few seconds). The reality of any PP is that it is technically a 5 on 5, if you count your goalie as a player (and in Mike Smith’s case, he acts like a third passer), and if you want to be successful, you have to create situations that takes a skater out of the play. Teams that have good PP’s make the PK team look unoragnized and chaotic.

    When I watch the Oilers PP right now, I see good puck control and passing, and that’s it. They are easier to read than an Archie comic, and any good PK simply needs to keep them to the outside and wait for the shot from the point. Standing around and passing on the half boards does not create chaos and there is little to no movement, plus the shots aren’t getting to the net. Having Lucic stand in front of the goalie is so old school, especially with the amount of shots blocked these days. If he wanted to be more effective, why not try moving into the high slot and then back to the front of the net, set a pick, do something.

    Not sure what anyone else thinks, but that’s what I see right now. I probably differ from Jay Woodcroft in his approach, but that is what I’m seeing now.

  107. Bag of Pucks says:

    stephen sheps: I don’t disagree with any of what you’ve written here, particularly the EV vs. PP production argument (though Lucic has never performed well on the PP but has a history of being a strong EV producer. Have we seen much of 27-93-14 yet this season? Maybe that’ll help both players?)

    All I am saying is that it’s too soon to write RNH off.

    I’m not writing him off. I am a fan after all : )

    But I would definitely be deploying him as a defense first 3C now and giving Leon the better offensive linemates and OZ starts.

    I also would’ve moved heaven and earth to trade him or Eberle over Hall.

    Given what they eventually got for Yakupov, I think Chia missed a clear opp to use Yak as a sweetener last season instead.

    Would RNH plus Yakupov have gotten you Hamonic or Seth Jones? I think it might have.

    Selling too late on players is something that’s plagued this org since Sather left. Once and a while, we should actually try selling high on a player.

  108. Bruce Wayne says:

    frjohnk: The other day you pointed out to me on hockey reference about expected goals plus minus which basically is a type of shot quality.

    Hockey reference also has a stat which is point shares. There is a formula that they measure offensive and defensive point shares for goalies Dmen and forwards. I’m on my phone but it’s easy to find on the website. Just go to the player.

    They also have comparable point share years from best to worst.

    So I looked up Larsson. He was either 1st or 2nd last year in defensive point shares. Which was very impressive , abig part was NJs system, but still impressive.

    I also looked at his comparables. Guess who comes near the top of the list.

    Jason Demers.

    Right. My point isn’t that Larsson is a bad player, quite the contrary (though I do think it is important to point out he doesn’t present an impenetrable wall), but rather that his goodness isn’t unique.

    The justification for the trade was that good RHD were impossible (or at least very hard) to find, when all the while there was a good RHD waiting at the door. It turns out that the thing that is impossible, or very hard, to find is guys like Taylor Hall.

  109. Bag of Pucks says:

    CrazyCoach:

    -Shooting for rebounds and getting the puck to the net {A 50MPH shot that gets to the net is far more dangerous than a 100MPH shot that goes off shinpads}
    -Creating Chaos through{Creating outnumber situations (2 on 1’s, 3 on 2’s, etc)}{Stickhandling the puck into seams to cause two players to sag and break down the box}

    I think these two are related, and for that reason I am not in full agreement on the 50mph shot theory.

    I think ‘chaos theory’ applies to PPs. Those PK systems break down the more chaotic it gets. And nothing adds chaos like a 100mph bomb from the point.

    Even when they hit the shinpads, no one knows where it’s going. Granted, if it bounces wide and out of the zone, that’s a killer. But if you turn the 50mph theory into a mantra, you get Jultz throwing muffins from the point every time and that doesn’t accomplish a lot.

    Just like tennis or baseball, you need the threat of the big serve or fastball to keep the opposition honest. To my eye, the Oil PP has gotten marginally better since Klefbom started threatening with the odd bomb. I was also encouraged by the brief glimpse of Connor on the point and wonder if they shouldn’t try that more? He looked like Karlsson back there with his lateral movement.

    Plus the beauty of a real bomb (i.e. Weber, MacInnis, Chara) is you have to be borderline suicidal to block them. So a fair share get through cos of the fear factor : )

  110. Bruce Wayne says:

    Bag of Pucks: I’m not writing him off. I am a fan after all : )

    But I would definitely be deploying him as a defense first 3C now and giving Leon the better offensive linemates and OZ starts.

    I also would’ve moved heaven and earth to trade him or Eberle over Hall.

    Given what they eventually got for Yakupov, I think Chia missed a clear opp to use Yak as a sweetener last season instead.

    Would RNH plus Yakupov have gotten you Hamonic or Seth Jones? I think it might have.

    Selling too late on players is something that’s plagued this org since Sather left. Once and a while, we should actually try selling high on a player.

    For what it is worth, in my investigation of Demers and Larsson, I also looked at Dumba, Jones, and Hamonic, and all three are struggling mightily in shot and shot quality metrics.

    So perhaps the RNH for Dumba, Jones, and Hamonic ideas aren’t as good as I thought. Though in these cases they just have to replace Russell, who is also struggling mightily.

  111. GCW_69 says:

    Chiarelli certainly hasn’t made TMac’s life any easier by half assing his roster building, and Nuge not being able to carry a line is disappointing, but TMac isn’t helping by:
    1) keeping Woodcroft.
    2) deployment

    Point one the GM needs to deal with. Save TMac from himself and replace Woodcroft with Oates.

    Point two can be helped a few ways.

    Play Lucic and Eberle with Nuge. This team needs a second line that can score at a reliable rate and that’s the best bet to create one. Nuge reminds me a lot of Krejci and I want to see Nuge with Lucic for an extended period.

    Play Sleppy with Leon. Sleppy had the skills and has enough experience to grow into the role there. I would play Pouliot on the opposite side, but Pouliot isn’t helping by sucking.

    That leaves Maroon and JP for McDavid. Maroon’s a good fit. JP isn’t ready, but that’s the bed they made for themselves. McDavid doesn’t need JP to produce to score. Pray JP grows into the role rapidly, but in the meantime work the phones for an alternative.

    Fourth line should include Pitlick. After that, who knows? It’s a shit show.

  112. CrazyCoach says:

    Bag of Pucks: Plus the beauty of a real bomb (i.e. Weber, MacInnis, Chara) is you have to be borderline suicidal to block them. So a fair share get through cos of the fear factor : )

    But you don;t have a Chara or a Weber on this team, and they currently have guys who take so long shooting that the defenders have plenty of time to block it. Suicidal yes, but with ice time and a pay check on the line, I’d stand there and take one from Chara.

    I guess I should have said that I’m looking for a quick release as well, which is not happening.

    Bottom line, the shots are not getting to the net and the ones that go off shinpads tend to be turnovers that end up in the Oilers net.

  113. who says:

    Bruce Wayne: Both Demers and Larsson play top quality competition.Agreed?

    They are on similarish quality teams and hence similar quality of teammates.Agreed?

    Demers xGF% with Florida is 53%, 4th best on the team.
    Larsson xGF% with Edmonton is 50%, 7th best on the team.

    Choose another metric, or combination of metrics, but you are going to be hard pressed to demonstrate that Larsson is better than Demers.

    I don’t have any metrics to quote and I will take your word that Demers is better in every metric but I have seen them both play. There is a certain calm in Larssons game that Demers has never shown. Demers best assets are his compete level and his puck skills. I would rate Larsson as equal to Demers in these two areas but much stronger in one on one battles and more poised with or without the puck.
    I assume someone else has stated this but here goes. You simply can not use metrics to evaluate hockey players. Players metrics are influenced way too much by the other nine players on the ice to ever give you an accurate assessment of a players abilities. A lot of people point to baseball and their use of metrics to defend the overuse of these stats in hockey but it really is apples and oranges.
    I was a baseball fan for years and read Bill James book back in the early 80’s. I watched the rise of the moneyball team in Oakland. I bought in, and still do, to the use of these metrics in baseball. But there is a huge difference between these metrics and hockey metrics.
    Baseball metrics are essentially derived form a single event. A one on one battle between pitcher and batter. All other players on the field have a very minimal influence on the final reasult. This is not true in hockey. A players team mates and his oponents have a much bigger effect on that players performance.
    I really don’t think anyone has come up with an accurate way to quantify all the things that happen in a 45 second shift in the NHL. I don’t know if it will ever happen but we are not really close right now. You still have to watch the game to see what is really happening.
    Now maybe you are a numbers person and have to see the numbers line up before you form an opinion. Or maybe you don’t have the confidence to make an evaluation with your eyes. Maybe there are other reasons you use metrics and, whatever the reasons, that is fine with me. I just don’t think posting metrics to defend your position ends the conversation and debate.

  114. Ryan says:

    godot10: Nugent-Hopkins best production came under Nelson when Hall was hurt. Nugent-Hopkins killed it with Eberle and Pouliot, with less cover in the rest of the roster.

    So no Nugent-Hopkins is NOT dependent on Hall.

    You’re a really smart guy, but when you say something like this as a statement of fact…

    I’m on my phone, so I can’t crunch some basic numbers again.

    I agree that Nuge had a brief run of success with Pouliot and Eberle when Hall was hurt, but that’s not of the same thing.

    Run the 5v5 wowy numbers for Corsi or goals for RNH.

    Nuge without Hall is not good.

    Nuge without Eberle is not good.

    I am not exactly Nostradamus, but I predicted the big short on Nuge prior to this season.

    History of spotty ev production? Check.
    Poor wowy without Hall or without Eberle? Check.
    Loss of 1 pp time to McDavid? Check.
    Lack of reliable RWingers outside of Eberle? Check.
    Loss of prime ozone deployment to McDavid? Check.

    It was so obvious that I embarrassed as laying claim to this as a prediction.

  115. Bruce Wayne says:

    GCW_69,

    I like all of these moves.

  116. russ99 says:

    I’m getting a bit tired of the “shouldn’t have traded Hall” tirade after every loss.

    He’s not here anymore, get over it.

    I’m going to pull for the guys who are here rather than be wishful about the guys who aren’t.

  117. haters says:

    I bet Nashville wishes they could do the Jones trade over and grab Rnh over RyJo…
    Hopkins has to get going or this season is done. That shot off the post in the first pretty much sums up his season. Russell picked a hell of a game to shit the bed.. Ebs comments at the end of the game were ridiculous … veteran team ?? Since when ..

    To the people that paid thousands of dollars to watch that game live .. feelsbadman..sums up what it means to be an Oiler fan this decade… and half of last …

    I don’t care how many dads are in the stands .. dress a team that has the best chance to win or go coach a junior team you over grown badger ..

  118. Bruce Wayne says:

    who,

    I should clarify. Neither I nor the metrics say that Demers is better than Larsson. The metrics don’t speak at all, and what I said was that Demers is as good or better. I can accept the argument that they are similar.

    As for the rest, I broadly agree with it as well, with two caveats. First, Demers does plenty of things better than Larsson. He skates better, he passes better, he handles the puck better, he is more involved in the play offensively. I think it is true that Larsson is a better defender in the corners, but it is not like Larsson doesn’t make defensive mistakes, and I wouldn’t necessarily conclude he is the better defender.

    The second caveat concerns what we do with all of these individual assessments. Even though what you say about the nature of hockey vs. baseball is true, at the end of the day the individual qualities of players show up in the results on the ice. If a player is so talented offensively it is reasonable to measure this by points, and if they are not scoring, it is reasonable to ask why. The converse is true about “defensive” skills, they should reduce shots and goals against. Likewise if good things consistently happen when a player is on the ice, it is reasonable to conclude that the player is responsible for those good things.

    And when think about it that way, it is hardly impossible to account for the interaction effects that distort individual statistics. What you see with Demers is that teams have a consistent track record of success when he is on the ice, across a number of different contextual situations. The kind of success that is very difficult to explain away.

    By contrast, the eye test evaluation of quality for Larsson, could just as easily identify all the many plays he has been beaten this year. He’s been beaten one-on-one (a supposed strength) a number of times this year, indeed just last night by Hyman. What am I supposed to do with this information, well what I do is to read those observation in terms of the overall results, which tells me that Larsson, despite the many glaring mistakes, is better than he looks.

  119. Bruce Wayne says:

    Ryan,

    Back when RNH was being annointed the second coming in his rookie season, and the TSN quiz guys were saying he was better than Taylor Hall, I used to spend some energy talking about how RNH wasn’t as good as people thought.

    But now when I just listened to Craig Simpson prime the fanbase to run him out of town, the objective should be to rehabilitate his reputation. So while I agree with what you say, the alternative is worse.

  120. kinger_OIL says:

    – Edmonton is 4rth in Goals scored: scoring is hard in this league. Quit trying to think we need “balance on 3 lines, blah blah”. McD is on pace for 36 goals, Lucic/Drai/Ebs 23 goals. Those top-4 are on pace for more than 55 points each. Teams just don’t have more scoring depth than that

    – Honestly so much of the narrative on this blog after a loss is not founded in reality.

    – We have 6 players who have scored 6+ goals: Pittsburgh has 3

    – We are a lot better: but not perfect: there will be more moves: this is where we are

    – Honestly get a grip: so many here are out to lunch

  121. Bruce Wayne says:

    russ99:
    I’m getting a bit tired of the “shouldn’t have traded Hall” tirade after every loss.

    He’s not here anymore, get over it.

    I’m going to pull for the guys who are here rather than be wishful about the guys who aren’t.

    There is nothing more likely to instigate a flame war than to tell people to “get over it.”

    It is offensive, rude, and inflammatory behaviour.

  122. sliderule says:

    Nuge zings one off the post early.

    Later on the pp he puts a pass to front of net that results in one of few good chances on pp.

    Those go in and oilers win in overtime.

    None of the comments today would be about Nuge other than praise.

  123. CrazyCoach says:

    kinger_OIL: – Honestly get a grip: so many here are out to lunch

    Well I am eating lunch as I read this, so you do have a point.

  124. Confused says:

    Don’t really think comments are about last night.

    They are really about the last 10 games — 3-6-1

    Bottom of the league stuff!

  125. Bag of Pucks says:

    sliderule:
    Nuge zings one off the post early.

    Later on the pp he puts a pass to front of net that results in one of few good chances on pp.

    Those go in and oilers win in overtime.

    None of the comments today would be about Nuge other than praise.

    And if your Aunt had balls, she’d be your Uncle.

  126. CrazyCoach says:

    Bag of Pucks: And if your Aunt had balls, she’d be your Uncle.

    Grandpa, are you posting from beyond the grave?

  127. dustrock says:

    Looking back on some Nuge stuff in 2011, one Copper and Blue article ran some comps, and the conclusion was that this was a weak draft class and RNH’s closest comp was Pierre-Marc Bouchard. Seems about right.

    Anyway, start guessing:

    zach laing @zjlaing

    I can confirm a prominent Oilers blogger will be chatting with the Oilers about analytics and is a guest of the team at Saturday’s game.

    IS IT WOODGUY? G MONEY? WOODMONEY? BEAST BOY?

    Edit: Sorry disrespecting the author of this blog. IS IT LOWETIDE???

  128. sliderule says:

    Bag of Pucks: And if your Aunt had balls, she’d be your Uncle.

    My goodness you are a witty person

  129. haters says:

    Also this link is for Bruce and anyone else that enjoys Debussy
    http://youtu.be/hWTe3C_RoDo
    Music indeed !!

  130. tsg says:

    Bag of Pucks: We have a similar guy in our office. His only ‘problem’ is his output. Dude has an amazing tie collection though and some great zingers around the water cooler.

    Sure, he’s one of the highest paid employees in the company, but it’s not just about what he brings or doesn’t bring to the bottom line. That’s old school thinking.

    After 20 games Nuge’s ‘output’ should not be measured in goals. The sample size is too small. His goal scoring rate is almost meaningless at this point. At this stage his ‘output’ should be measured in corsi as this starts to have some predictive value of future performance at around at around 20 games. At least it’s the best measure of ‘output’ I have access to at around the 20 game mark. His ‘output’ is at 52.5% which I consider to be fine at this point of the season. It shows he has a reasonable chance of outscoring over the remainder of the season.

    RNH is a good NHL center. He will continue to be a good NHL center moving forward.
    Also at only 23 years old I believe he has more room to grow than a lot of people give him credit for.

  131. dustrock says:

    G MONEY GETS TO MEET WITH THE OILERS!! Congrats G!

  132. GCW_69 says:

    I wonder what out would take to get Ryan Strome out of New York? Strome isn’t having a great year, but he’s a year out from a fifty point season.

    Strome has speed and a high hockey IQ, and it’s hard to say how he would perform away from the crazy that is the islanders. If he could be had at a reasonable price, he’s worth a shot. Playing on the islanders third line right now.

    I would love to see what he could do with McDavid.

  133. PhrankLee says:

    dustrock:
    G MONEY GETS TO MEET WITH THE OILERS!!Congrats G!

    Use your manners, G! Congrats.

    God I’d love to be a fly on the wall listening to G explain cognitive biases to MacT. lol.

  134. Bank Shot says:

    Ryan: You’re a really smart guy, but when you say something like this as a statement of fact…

    I’m on my phone, so I can’t crunch some basic numbers again.

    I agree that Nuge had a brief run of success with Pouliot and Eberle when Hall was hurt, but that’s not of the same thing.

    Run the 5v5 wowy numbers for Corsi or goals for RNH.

    Nuge without Hall is not good.

    Nuge without Eberle is not good.

    I am not exactly Nostradamus, but I predicted the big short on Nuge prior to this season.

    History of spotty ev production? Check.
    Poor wowy without Hall or without Eberle? Check.
    Loss of 1 pp time to McDavid? Check.
    Lack of reliable RWingers outside of Eberle? Check.
    Loss of prime ozone deployment to McDavid? Check.

    It was so obvious that I embarrassed as laying claim to this as a prediction.

    The crazy thing is that everyone keeps claiming the Nuge is snakebit, and unlucky but it’s really not the case.

    Has he been unlucky shooting the puck? Sure, but his assists p/60 at ES are ABOVE his career average.

    His ES/60 is in the range of what he has done in the past.

    16/17- 1.37 p/60
    11-16(career)- 1.62 p/60

    He’s just a little below his career average in points per 60. Two more goals and he’s bang on with his career. That still only projects to 40 points on the season.

  135. bendelson says:

    GCW_69:
    I wonder what out would take to get Ryan Strome out of New York?Strome isn’t having a great year, but he’s a year out from a fifty point season.

    Strome has speed and a high hockey IQ, and it’s hard to say how he would perform away from the crazy that is the islanders.If he could be had at a reasonable price, he’s worth a shot. Playing on the islanders third line right now.

    I would love to see what he could do with McDavid.

    The Islanders are in an interesting situation.
    What to do?
    Snow recently backed his coach so I’m not sure Capuano gets fired. Perhaps the GM gets fired first?
    If not, you have to think a trade or two is coming…
    Strome has been in the coaches doghouse for some time now – healthy scratch last game I believe…
    I agree he is high on the list of interesting players currently underperforming.

    Would you trade next year’s 1st (lottery protected) for Strome?
    Would you trade Pouliot for Lee (underperforming on similar contracts)?

    I am leaning towards yes for either choice… but doubt Snow would have much interest.

  136. Chachi says:

    Bruce Wayne: He’s been beaten one-on-one (a supposed strength) a number of times this year, indeed just last night by Hyman.

    To be fair, Hyman has eluded many a man over the years.

  137. Bruce Wayne says:

    Bank Shot,

    Nuge’s pts/60 at 5v5 is actually 1.6, right along with his career average of 1.67. The difference in production is all powerplay which, considering his on the second unit should surprise no one.

    Considering the shooting percentage, RNH is actually playing well offensively (i.e. he is creating lots of chances), the problem is that offense at this level isn’t actually that hard to find. Parenteau over the same period averaged 1.9, Versteeg 1.69, Gagner 1.59.

    This is probably why coaches value defense so much, all these secondary guys score about the same, so the way to get an advantage is on the other side of the puck.

  138. JDï™ says:

    dustrock:
    G MONEY GETS TO MEET WITH THE OILERS!!Congrats G!

    They probably just want him to watch the game 😉

    Seriously, his game summaries are fifty shades of awesome. Good for GMo.

  139. Pink Socks says:

    My take. It is absurd to suggest that Chia is not doing everything in his power to fix the biggest glaring need on this team, the RHD needed specifically to run a powerplay. The PP obviously is a gigantic dumpster fire, but the fact remains that the RH shot from the point is not available. Or is it? Woodcroft today was working with Eberle, Slepyshev, Pitlick, and Letestu on one-timing the puck.

    Option #1: Eberle one times the puck like he is shooting a marshmallow, and Letestu is not exactly a gifted offensive player. So get Slepyshev or Pitlick on the 1PP ASAP.

    Option #2: We have this guy named Adam Larsson, a high draft pedigree who put up points as a 17 year old in the SEL. So get Larsson on the 1PP ASAP.

    Am I losing my eyesight or have I not seen Slepyshev or Pitlick or Larsson on the ice with McDavid on a powerplay? What we have is not working. 16% on the PP is good for 18th in the league. Below average, and with offensive talents like the Oilers have, it is unacceptable to not be top 5 or top 10 in the league. An extra goal every other game would turn the tide in a hurry.

  140. Bank Shot says:

    Bruce Wayne:
    Bank Shot,

    Nuge’s pts/60 at 5v5 is actually 1.6, right along with his career average of 1.67.The difference in production is all powerplay which, considering his on the second unit should surprise no one.

    Considering the shooting percentage, RNH is actually playing well offensively (i.e. he is creating lots of chances), the problem is that offense at this level isn’t actually that hard to find.Parenteau over the same period averaged 1.9, Versteeg 1.69, Gagner 1.59.

    This is probably why coaches value defense so much, all these secondary guys score about the same, so the way to get an advantage is on the other side of the puck.

    I have 1.37 5 on 5. Did Nuge pick up a point or two this season 4 on 4 or 3 on 3?

    I’m not saying Nuge isn’t valuable. His two way play is above average. He just isn’t $6 million valuable and that is a drag on team resources, and it hurts Nuge’s value to the team going forward.

  141. Bruce Wayne says:

    Pascal Dupuis is the 5th best even strength scorer since 2011 (minimum 2000 minutes).

    That is incredible.

    Nugent-Hopkins is 162nd. If you look at these lists, there is free scoring available every year. The hard part is, I guess, identifying the drivers.

    Benoit Pouliot since 2011 averages 1.97, which is outstanding. If there is a guy to not give up on it is him.

  142. Woodguy says:

    dustrock:
    Looking back on some Nuge stuff in 2011, one Copper and Blue article ran some comps, and the conclusion was that this was a weak draft class and RNH’s closest comp was Pierre-Marc Bouchard.Seems about right.

    Anyway, start guessing:

    zach laing @zjlaing

    I can confirm a prominent Oilers blogger will be chatting with the Oilers about analytics and is a guest of the team at Saturday’s game.

    IS IT WOODGUY?G MONEY?WOODMONEY? BEAST BOY?

    Edit: Sorry disrespecting the author of this blog.IS IT LOWETIDE???

    Its G.

    They like DFF and the other info on his blog.

    G’job G!!!!

  143. Bruce Wayne says:

    Bank Shot,

    I’m using Corsica 5v5 data: 1 goal, 7 assists, 300.54 minutes.

  144. Bank Shot says:

    Pink Socks:
    Option #1: Eberle one times the puck like he is shooting a marshmallow, and Letestu is not exactly a gifted offensive player. So get Slepyshev or Pitlick on the 1PP ASAP.

    Option #2: We have this guy named Adam Larsson, a high draft pedigree who put up points as a 17 year old in the SEL. So get Larsson on the 1PP ASAP.

    Letestu put up 4.30 p/60 on the PP over the last 5 years. That’s not bad.

    Certainly better than any Oiler defenceman. He can one time the puck. I wish TMac would use him more instead of Sekera, and Klefbom.

    Larsson has 150 minutes on the PP in his career. He’s produced 1.5p/60 on the PP. He stinks.

  145. tsg says:

    Bruce Wayne:
    Bank Shot,

    Nuge’s pts/60 at 5v5 is actually 1.6, right along with his career average of 1.67.The difference in production is all powerplay which, considering his on the second unit should surprise no one.

    Considering the shooting percentage, RNH is actually playing well offensively (i.e. he is creating lots of chances), the problem is that offense at this level isn’t actually that hard to find.Parenteau over the same period averaged 1.9, Versteeg 1.69, Gagner 1.59.

    This is probably why coaches value defense so much, all these secondary guys score about the same, so the way to get an advantage is on the other side of the puck.

    Which is why that 52% 5×5 corsi percentage is so nice to see. Gives at least some indication that he has a reasonable chance of outscoring over the remainder of the season. Which is what the game is all about at the end of day. No guarantee of course, but a reasonable hope.

  146. OilClog says:

    i mentioned the coach was insane to inject any of the guys in the press box into the lineup while the team was winning… Made no sense then, makes no sense now.

    if it was the playoffs and the coach changed a winning roster, due to non injury issues, and the team goes out and lays an egg..Pitchforks.

    This decision to sit better players in Nov, during a win streak that immediately ended, against weaker competition, now possibly costing this team it’s playoff shot. That should be pitchforks.

    Tmac going to sit there and call out Nuge, BS. Call out the offensive systems this team runs, terrible. Same terrible breakout, everyone knows where the players will be standing flat footed. Zero flow on this team, zero play up to the skill on this team.

    didnt pitlick score in Toronto?

  147. RexLibris says:

    Woodguy,

    Given that they supposedly signed Gustavsson because of his sv% from the HD areas, this would seem to align with the flip side of that.

  148. kinger_OIL says:

    Bank Shot: Letestu put up 4.30 p/60 on the PP over the last 5 years. That’s not bad.

    Certainly better than any Oiler defenceman. He can one time the puck. I wish TMac would use him more instead of Sekera, and Klefbom.

    Larsson has 150 minutes on the PP in his career. He’s produced 1.5p/60 on the PP. He stinks.

    – Edmonton has scored 12 PP Goals in 24 games. If every 8 games they had scored one more goal, they would be tied with Pittsburgh and top-quartile. If you could pick and choose where and when they scored those extra 3 goals, they might have an extra 3-5 points.

    – Reading the comments you would think our PP is putrid, no goals scored worst in history.

    – I think I am crabby because so many here are crabby without providing context.

    – “Our PP is brutal” is what I read here vs: “our PP is virtually league average” which is reality

  149. Zelepukin says:

    Pink Socks: My take. It is absurd to suggest that Chia is not doing everything in his power to fix the biggest glaring need on this team, the RHD needed specifically to run a powerplay. The PP obviously is a gigantic dumpster fire, but the fact remains that the RH shot from the point is not available. Or is it? Woodcroft today was working with Eberle, Slepyshev, Pitlick, and Letestu on one-timing the puck.

    The fact that this is a point that was even mentioned by Rishaug is ridiculous. Like I want to give Woodcroft the benefit of the doubt that after 8 years of working the NHL, he would have noticed that one-timers on the PP are a thing?

    Additionally, you’d think that a bunch of guys who have, you know, been on the ice at least every second day since they were 16, would probably practise one-timers every once in awhile.

  150. StixMalone says:

    bendelson: The Islanders are in an interesting situation.
    What to do?
    Snow recently backed his coach so I’m not sure Capuano gets fired.Perhaps the GM gets fired first?
    If not, you have to think a trade or two is coming…
    Strome has been in the coaches doghouse for some time now – healthy scratch last game I believe…
    I agree he is high on the list of interesting players currently underperforming.

    Would you trade next year’s 1st (lottery protected) for Strome?
    Would you trade Pouliot for Lee (underperforming on similar contracts)?

    I am leaning towards yes for either choice… but doubt Snow would have much interest.

    Chiarelli has a great trading relationship with the Islanders. Snow always walks away with the better deal so maybe he would have some interest in trying again………

  151. frjohnk says:

    kinger_OIL: – Edmonton has scored 12 PP Goals in 24 games.If every 8 games they had scored one more goal, they would be tied with Pittsburgh and top-quartile.If you could pick and choose where and when they scored those extra 3 goals, they might have an extra 3-5 points.

    – Reading the comments you would think our PP is putrid, no goals scored worst in history.

    – I think I am crabby because so many here are crabby without providing context.

    – “Our PP is brutal” is what I read here vs: “our PP is virtually league average” which is reality

    The problem is not overall goals, it’s that it is either feast or famine with this team in regards to goals scored and also PP goals.

    Just for instance in the last 10 games.
    27 goals for
    28 goals against

    But 16 of those goals were scored in 3 games
    And they were are only wins as well.

    Oilers in those 10 games scored
    1 goal 3 times
    2 goals 4 times
    3 goals 0 times
    4 goals 0 times
    5 goals 2 times
    6 goals 1 time.

    It seems like when they feast they end up making the overall goal numbers look good.
    But there are just too many famine games lately.

    The PP is like that as well. Pump a bunch of goals in a short period of time and then crickets for games on end.

    Not sure how the numbers look today but about a week ago oilers were bottom in shot attempts , shots and shots from the scoring chance areas per 60.
    Guessing they are worse today.

  152. who says:

    Bruce Wayne:
    who,

    I should clarify.Neither I nor the metricssay that Demers is better than Larsson.The metrics don’t speak at all, and what I said was that Demers is as good or better.I can accept the argument that they are similar.

    As for the rest, I broadly agree with it as well, with two caveats.First, Demers does plenty of things better than Larsson.He skates better, he passes better, he handles the puck better, he is more involved in the play offensively.I think it is true that Larsson is a better defender in the corners, but it is not like Larsson doesn’t make defensive mistakes, and I wouldn’t necessarily conclude he is the better defender.

    The second caveat concerns what we do with all of these individual assessments.Even though what you say about the nature of hockey vs. baseball is true, at the end of the day the individual qualities of players show up in the results on the ice.If a player is so talented offensively it is reasonable to measure this by points, and if they are not scoring, it is reasonable to ask why.The converse is true about “defensive” skills, they should reduce shots and goals against.Likewise if good things consistently happen when a player is on the ice, it is reasonable to conclude that the player is responsible for those good things.

    And when think about it that way, it is hardly impossible to account for the interaction effects that distort individual statistics.What you see with Demers is that teams have a consistent track record of success when he is on the ice, across a number of different contextual situations.The kind of success that is very difficult to explain away.

    By contrast, the eye test evaluation of quality for Larsson, could just as easily identify all the many plays he has been beaten this year.He’s been beaten one-on-one (a supposed strength) a number of times this year, indeed just last night by Hyman.What am I supposed to do with this information, well what I do is to read those observation in terms of the overall results, which tells me that Larsson, despite the many glaring mistakes, is better than he looks.

    Well now we are getting somewhere. We are not going to agree on the visual merits of Larsson vs Demers but it makes for a good debate. It just bugs me when people throw out a number and then say player A is better then player B because his number is better.

  153. Confused says:

    According to practice reports

    looch — McD — Drai

    is likely to be the new solution.

    Anyone got any ideas on who would be playing 3C?

  154. Pink Socks says:

    Bank Shot: Letestu put up 4.30 p/60 on the PP over the last 5 years. That’s not bad.

    Certainly better than any Oiler defenceman. He can one time the puck. I wish TMac would use him more instead of Sekera, and Klefbom.

    Larsson has 150 minutes on the PP in his career. He’s produced 1.5p/60 on the PP. He stinks.

    Letestu is Letestu. A one timer, great, better than what Eberle brings in that specific skill, but he isn’t the answer. A 4th line center is rarely the PP answer.

    As to Larsson, the 150 minutes you refer to are tremendously midleading as 103 of minutes those were in his rookie season. The rest are leftovers. He finds shooting lanes and happens to be a RH shot. This is a player at 24 who is in just his 3rd full season in the NHL. Declaring a player as “stinks” on the PP based on time from 5 years ago with limited additional opportunity is the problem I see with the struggling PP. When plan A doesn’t work, you can’t continue with more and more of plan A and hope for a different result.

  155. Melvis says:

    Don’t look now Remenda…but a Punjabi Boy working the Flames game tonight. Now if only Osmak gets a look next to Elliot. She’s an engineering graduate, apparently.

  156. JDï™ says:

    Ryan Rishaug ‏@TSNRyanRishaug 5h5 hours ago

    Letestu replaces Eberle on top unit PP, Sekera on blue line for Klefbom. Eberle on 2nd unit with Maroon Caggiula RNH and Klefbom.

    Ryan Rishaug ‏@TSNRyanRishaug 5h5 hours ago

    Pitlick getting a look on pp unit as well with 97 McLellan showing a few different looks at practice.

    #poorslepy

  157. OmJo says:

    JDï™:
    Ryan Rishaug ‏@TSNRyanRishaug 5h5 hours ago


    Letestu replaces Eberle on top unit PP, Sekera on blue line for Klefbom. Eberle on 2nd unit with Maroon Caggiula RNH and Klefbom.

    Ryan Rishaug ‏@TSNRyanRishaug 5h5 hours ago

    Pitlick getting a look on pp unit as well with 97McLellan showing a few different looks at practice.

    #poorslepy

    Letestu replacing Eberle on the top PP unit is almost infuriating.

    Should send Cag and JP down, play Pit, Slep and Lander. Instead Letestu is on the top PP unit. And this time injuries aren’t to blame.

  158. Lowetide says:

    Confused:
    According to practice reports

    looch — McD — Drai

    is likely to be the new solution.

    Anyone got any ideas on who would be playing 3C?

    Caggiula on a kid line with Pitlick and Slepyshev.

  159. Professor Q says:

    Lowetide: Caggiula on a kid line with Pitlick and Slepyshev.

    I don’t mind that. I like all three of them. Draisaitl does well with McDavid. I sure hope one of his one timers can find the net instead of posts!

  160. GCW_69 says:

    bendelson: The Islanders are in an interesting situation.
    What to do?
    Snow recently backed his coach so I’m not sure Capuano gets fired.Perhaps the GM gets fired first?
    If not, you have to think a trade or two is coming…
    Strome has been in the coaches doghouse for some time now – healthy scratch last game I believe…
    I agree he is high on the list of interesting players currently underperforming.

    Would you trade next year’s 1st (lottery protected) for Strome?
    Would you trade Pouliot for Lee (underperforming on similar contracts)?

    I am leaning towards yes for either choice… but doubt Snow would have much interest.

    The islanders often bring the crazy, so it’s hard to say. I don’t think, based on this season and last, Strome costs a first rounder, but I could be wrong. Problem is the islanders need wingers and I don’t think the Oilers have one they would want.

    I like Lee, but I don’t the oilers can afford his contract long term.

  161. PhrankLee says:

    I like 55 on the PP. He won’t set the house on fire but he knows what he is doing.

    He has obvious experience in that discipline.

    By eye and by the 5X4 P/60 numbers.

    The situation is sticky for the coach because if playing time is earned this assignment is not deserved

    I think coach is at his absolute wits end and is forced to play 55 on the PP.

    Before 55 got pressboxed he had 11 shots on the year…

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