G57 2016-17: COYOTES AT OILERS

The Edmonton Oilers have been taking a bit of a verbal lashing from the fan base this week, with not much of a defense after their poor showing on Saturday night (‘we were on a break!’) against the Chicago Blackhawks. As time goes by, we have seen teams like the Calgary Flames have a difficult time coming out of their breaks. If Edmonton rips the cover off the ball tonight, I suspect we will settle into a more calm and reasonable tone. Oilers fans have had a lot to cheer for, but tonight will be an important game for the organization, and fans.

THE EDMONTON SONG, 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: 7-2-5, goal differential +3
  • Oilers in January 2016: 4-5-2, goal differential -5
  • Oilers in January 2017: 9-4-1, goal differential +8
  • Oilers in February 2016: 3-8-2, goal differential -18
  • Oilers in February 2017: 1-3-0, goal differential -7
  • Oilers after 56, 2015-16: 22-29-5, goal differential -30
  • Oilers after 56, 2016-17: 29-19-8, goal differential +11

G57 one year ago saw the Oilers lose to the Winnipeg Jets in a shootout, Laurent Brossoit stopping 32 of 33 in the tie. The game took place on February 13, and would represent the last points banked by Edmonton through February 28—two weeks between points. That is what this Oilers team must avoid.

WHAT TO EXPECT FROM FEBRUARY

  • On the road to: Nashville, Carolina, Montreal (Expected: 1-1-1) (Actual 1-2-0)
  • At home to: Chicago, Arizona, Philadelphia (Expected: 1-1-1) (Actual 0-1-0)
  • On the road to: Chicago, Tampa Bay, Florida, Washington, Nashville, St. Louis (2-3-1)
  • Overall expected result: 4-5-3, 11 points in 12 games
  • Overall current results: 1-3-0, 2 points in 4 games

A win tonight and the Oilers are (basically) back on track, four points in five games and that is in the range with our agreed expectations. One thing we need to pay attention to: Edmonton has been extremely lucky so far this month. No team in the Pacific is posting a crazy number in February, and so things have been running (mostly) in place.

OILERS FORWARDS, 5X560 2016-17

I love this table, this is the Hockey God’s flashlight (hat tip to Larry Miller). You cannot ignore the truth here, it shines through with no filter. If you look at each of these men, the scoring story at 5×5 has enormous impact.

  • Milan Lucic is off by 1.05/60 at 5×5. Someone like me (Lucic fan) can’t argue past it, that is a terrible number. He is so far behind now, I don’t think it is possible to save this season for the big man (at 5×5). If Lucic scored 10 5×5 points in his next 60 5×5 minutes (about 2.5 points per game over 4 games), he would still trail Patrick Maroon in 5×5/60.
  • Benoit Pouliot’s situation is a little different, he has been deployed with centermen not named Connor McDavid. Pouliot has played 34 minutes with CMD, Lucic has played 423. Both men are off their performances of last season, and both men are going to be viewed far differently next fall than they were in October 2016.
  • Question: Which player would you bet on having a better season in 2017-18?
  • Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Jordan Eberle are facing possible extinction on this roster if the 5×5 drought continues. I have no doubt about their skill, but dropping one of these men summer 2017 and the other 2018 takes care of some cap issues, and they could get better while doing it. Does this season represent their current level of ability?
  • Jesse Puljujarvi and Anton Slepyshev have settled into the same area of the graph, I think that is good news for Slepyshev. Now, JP is just 18, but we assume he will be a substantial player. For Slepyshev to be hanging around 1.50/60 is a good sign. Over the years, rookie totals include Jordan Eberle (1.83), Taylor Hall (1.57), Linus Omark (1.72), RNH (1.95!), Nail Yakupov (2.14!), Slepyshev has played mostly with Caggiula and Lucic, I think his number reflects some promise.
  • Anton Lander and Tyler Pitlick are on the Perennial Prospects Plan, but both posted good offensive numbers this season. Both should be in the NHL next fall, in my opinion.
  • The Maroon—McDavid—Draisaitl line has been splendid, not much to criticize with this group. I cannot help thinking that the Oilers are missing an opportunity by not having a rifleman alongside 97 on the RW. That must be the next step, and I wonder if we see a Patrick Sharp or similar at the deadline.

DEFENSE CORSI FOR 5×5

The Oilers defense, as a group, are doing a fine job in possession. I was trying to think of a way to illustrate this, and decided the best way might be to compare this year with a past one. Straight Corsi, you have to keep in mind the defensemen who play tougher competition (Larsson, Sekera, Russell, Klefbom, increasingly Benning) are actually more impressive because of game state.

  1. Matt Benning 54.2
  2. Eric Gryba 53.8
  3. Darnell Nurse 53.2
  4. Oscar Klefbom 51.3
  5. Andrej Sekera 50.2
  6. Adam Larsson 50.0
  7. Brandon Davidson 48.9
  8. Kris Russell 46.2

My read on this? Russell would be fine if the Oilers backed him off. At this point, Sekera—Benning and Klefbom—Larsson as the top two pairings probably gives Edmonton the best chance to win hockey games.

2009-10 DEFENSE CORSI FOR 5×5

  1. Sheldon Souray 51.0
  2. Tom Gilbert 47.2
  3. Ryan Whitney 46.2
  4. Ladislav Smid 46.1
  5. Aaron Johnson 45.9
  6. Jason Strudwick 39.1
  7. Taylor Chorney 38.4
  8. Theo Peckham 35.1

Now, you cannot directly compare these two sets of numbers, but you can say that possession has improved mightily, and point to reasons for it. The top 4D here were NHL defensemen, and Johnson had some utility at that point in his career. However, the club had no depth at all, and kept running out raw rookies and minor league sorts, with predictable results. Once Craig MacTavish left the Oilers, it was a flat out mess. Better days now, for sure. One final item: How good was Sheldon Souray?? No use hammering on Steve Tambellini again, but oh my.

EXPANSION LIST

Here is my current view on the protected list:

  • Goal: Cam Talbot
  • Defense: Andrej Sekera, Oscar Klefbom, Adam Larsson
  • Center: Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Leon Draisaitl,
  • Left Wing: Milan Lucic, Patrick Maroon, Jujhar Khaira
  • Right Wing: Jordan Eberle, Zack Kassian
  • Ineligible for Selection: G Nick Ellis, D Darnell Nurse, D Matt Benning, C Connor McDavid, R Jesse Puljujarvi, C Drake Caggiula, R Anton Slepyshev.
  • Available: D Brandon Davidson, D Griffin Reinhart, L Benoit Pouliot, C Mark Letestu.

I have changed one thing since last time, adding Zack Kassian and deleting Mark Letestu. Edmonton has to make available a certain number of eligible players, and part of the eligibility rules are signed players. If Kassian is signed before the expansion draft, Edmonton can switch him out.

I wanted to bring this up today, because it seems to me that—hammer from the point aside—Edmonton is fairly close to a full and complete defensive unit. Full stop. Without signing Kris Russell!

  • Klefbom—Larsson
  • Sekera—Benning
  • Nurse—Davidson

Now, Vegas Golden Knights may take Davidson, and that is certainly a risk. That said, Peter Chiarelli could make a trade to protect Davidson from the expansion draft, leaving him with a solid (and fairly inexpensive) starting six. The more I think about it, the more this group makes sense. Chiarelli cannot sign Kris Russell without moving out Benoit Pouliot, and that seems unlikely at this time. Roads to go, and I am sure we change our minds many times, but this defense seems worth saving.

DRAFT TIDBITS

If you go through my back pages, you will find all kinds of quotes from Grant McCagg. His astute scouting reports were used by TSN (and may still be) during several drafts, I always quote his draft day item on Griffin Reinhart because it is so concise.

McCagg has a new website up, filled with his scouting reports, mock drafts and in-depth looks at draft-eligible prospects. It is here. Thanks to Centre of Attention for bringing it to my attention. I would recommend Grant’s two-part look at the Top Prospects Game as a fine place to start.

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430 Responses to "G57 2016-17: COYOTES AT OILERS"

« Older Comments
  1. Gerta Rauss says:

    We needed that

  2. Professor Q says:

    Very nice.

  3. JDï™ says:

    A 3 star sweep of the Doaners!

  4. digger50 says:

    Great game Oilers.

    Hope no offence taken for my Gryba love. I am not making fun of him, he may not be as good as some, but he’s also underrated as shown by Woodmoney stats. Solid value signing this year.

  5. Wolfie says:

    Happy about the win. Don’t want to be a Debbie Downer but 5 goals and neither Eberle nor Nuge found the scoresheet. Is that good or bad? I didn’t watch the game….

  6. jzed says:

    Calgary curse, broken.
    Coyote curse, broken.
    Sharks curse, breaking in progress.
    Ducks curse, breaking in progress.
    Wild curse, TBD

  7. spoiler says:

    digger50,

    I liked it a lot more than the seemingly endless and exceedingly tiresome Remenda comments.

  8. Pescador says:

    Wolfie:
    Happy about the win.Don’t want to be a Debbie Downer but 5 goals and neither Eberle nor Nuge found the scoresheet.Is that good or bad?I didn’t watch the game….

    Maybe not bad, but definitely not good enough

  9. spoiler says:

    Wolfie,

    Eberle was quite involved in the play on the Maroon goal, and Nuge was the crease screen for one of the earlier strikes, IIRC…

  10. kinger_OIL says:

    – This team wins with two invisible steve austins and poo and fayne.

    – That’s what close to $20MM of hot garbage from previous regime and some think Chia sucks?

  11. John Chambers says:

    Wolfie,

    Eberle had a strong game and was in on several scoring chances.

  12. npanciroli says:

    kinger_OIL,

    He will never be forgiven for trading Hall I think. I will be happy with playoffs instead.

  13. texmex says:

    Serious question. How would this team look with vrbata and a solid 3C. Move nuge to LW with Drai

    Maroon Mcdavid vrbata
    Nuge Drai Slepy/ebs
    Looch 3C Ebs/slepy
    Caggs tube kass

  14. JJS says:

    texmex:
    Serious question. How would this team look with vrbata and a solid 3C. Move nuge to LW with Drai

    Maroon Mcdavid vrbata
    Nuge Drai Slepy/ebs
    Looch 3C Ebs/slepy
    Caggs tube kass

    I like it. Vanek may also fit the first line RW.

    It really shouldn’t take too much to give the top six a bit more depth and shake things up just enough.

  15. BONVIE says:

    spoiler:
    Wolfie,

    Eberle was quite involved in the play on the Maroon goal, and Nuge was the crease screen for one of the earlier strikes, IIRC…

    Yes for sure I will agree with you on that I found both Nuge and Eberle in the scoring areas all night. If you are consistently going to the tough areas of the ice your going to cash eventually this was something that has been missing from Nuge’s game for a large portion of the season.

    It was good to see Caggulua also getting chances. The 4th line worked hard and had some chances. I am hoping that our 4th line depth Pitlick and Khaira will get healthy soon so Pouliot gets buried in the minors where a player with his work ethic, poor discipline, and just generally his lack of willingness to go to the tough areas of the ice belong.

  16. Diablo says:

    kinger_OIL:
    – This team wins with two invisible steve austins and poo and fayne.

    – That’s what close to $20MM of hot garbage from previous regime and some think Chia sucks?

    Eberle was not ‘invisible’ tonight – he played very well despite not getting any counting stats. Frankly, he’s capable of doing this every night, but too often the effort is not consistent.

    RNH however didn’t impress at either end of the ice tonight. He doesn’t drive the play, the way Draisaitl does. He looks a bit lost in his own zone too. Can’t win a face off. He cheats for defence, but he’s not going to be confused with an elite shut down centre. Down the road, I think RNH, not Eberle, will be the next Steve Austin to go, for a cheaper centre + picks/prospects – 6 million for RNH to play on the the 3rd line and 2nd PP unit is too much.

    Pouliot is hot garbage – I’ve been saying it all season long. I think he gets bought out this summer (unless Chia manages to unload him somehow).

    Fayne’s contract is not preventing the Oilers from making moves or signing free agents this summer – its a sunk cost that will be done with at the same time that Connor’s extension get signed.

    If Vrbata could be had for a 3rd, I’d be on board – he can still shoot the puck.

  17. Rocknrolla says:

    spoiler:
    Wolfie,

    Eberle was quite involved in the play on the Maroon goal, and Nuge was the crease screen for one of the earlier strikes, IIRC…

    Yes I would agree Nuge and Ebs looked involved. Ederle seemed to hold the puck longer, and put quite a few on net. Nuge seemed a bit angry tonight which looked good on him….maybe some spillover from the bout, definitely not crickets. Lucic had a nice assist, not much else, but it’s a start for those 3.

  18. Rocknrolla says:

    Smelling salt gif via @Devin4444

    https://t.co/iotQUq5DN2

  19. Mr. D. says:

    Personally I thought he and Davidson were very good in their own zone. Forwards support means everything.

    digger50:
    Great game Oilers.

    Hope no offence taken for my Gryba love. I am not making fun of him, he may not be as good as some, but he’s also underrated as shown by Woodmoney stats. Solid value signing this year.

  20. Mr. D. says:

    A bit reactionary?

    verite:
    Can we just fire Chiarelli right now
    An abject incompetent

    This team should be gutted , Emphasize gutted, as the entrails of it removed
    That means RNH and Eberle
    Put them on waivers tonight

    But instead we see Chiarelli do nothing, abject incompetence

  21. bassguy says:

    Hi Lowetide people…hey, chill out perhaps?….it doesnt seem to matter if they win or lose…holy cripes…they played a really great game by eye…by my eye…eberle played so great..nuge won face offs?(no?)…shut the f… up…what do you guys know?..haha

  22. LadiesloveSmid says:

    Maroon-McDavid-Eberle
    Lucic-Draisaitl-Slepy
    Pouliot-RNH-Kassian
    Lander-Letestu-Khaira/Caggiula/Pak

  23. GMB3 says:

    Well I’m glad we found that Russian right winger for our top 6. Always thought it was going to be Nail Yakupov but live and learn I suppose

  24. spoiler says:

    I wonder how much of moving Drai to C is a strat by Chia to help with trade negotiations. Not that simply spreading the scoring wouldn’t, but does proving we have 3 centers knock the ask down for Boyle?’

    “Well, we don’t really need him, but you actually need to turn Boyle into an asset…”

  25. theres oil in virginia says:

    30 wins? Wait, is it April already?

  26. stephen sheps says:

    spoiler:
    I wonder how much of moving Drai to C is a strat by Chia to help with trade negotiations.Not that simply spreading the scoring wouldn’t, but does proving we have 3 centers knock the ask down for Boyle?’

    “Well, we don’t really need him, but you actually need to turn Boyle into an asset…”

    Interesting idea. Not sure I buy it but it’s an intriguing thought.

    Most likely it’s the recognition that Leon is becoming a ‘river pusher’ and the need to spread out the scoring was reaching critical levels.

    Now of course ‘good’ teams are supposed to beat teams below them in the standings, especially when those teams are on the 2nd night of a b2b and playing a goaler who hasn’t had any action in a month, but early returns on the new lineups seem ok.

    Now can this newly formed second line with LD as the ‘driver’ perform just as well against another WC playoff team? I hope so, but we’ll have to wait until the upcoming road trip to find out.

  27. npanciroli says:

    Leon is our second line driver!

  28. Woodguy v2.0 says:

    Lowetide: Well, I am sure he tirades about a lot of people, but that’s not important right now.

    and don’t call me Shirley

  29. Woodguy v2.0 says:

    npanciroli:
    Leon is our second line driver!

    Drai away from 97 and 93 this year:

    380min
    2.68 GF/60
    50% GF
    49.2% CF

    I’d like to see the GF/60 over 3, but its encouraging for sure.

  30. Woodguy v2.0 says:

    Trouba

    39% vs Elite Forwards
    Most common partner Entrom
    +1.5 CF RelComp vs Elite
    -0.6 DFF Relcomp vs Elite

    Trouba’s overall WOWY drops a hair away from Trouba.

    So he’s handling a top 4 role well, like a vet, with a good partner.

    FYI
    Byfuglien is 37% vs Elite and +0.2 CF RelComp and +2.2 DFF Relcomp, most common partner is Morrisey.

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