The Oilers road trip is almost complete, and a Bettman today covers our bet for the month of February—while putting the team in a terrific position entering the final stretch.
I love Nashville, was raised on its music and immersed myself in its lore. The best part of Nashville is the story behind the songs. Take Sweet Dream Baby. A woman named Cindy Walker answered the phone one day in 1961, and received a very specific request. Roy Orbison was recording an album and all of the songs had a similar feel and build. They were ballads, with giant orchestra swells and backups singers. They needed an uptempo song with sparse instrumentation and unusual chord progressions. Oh, and they needed it right away. The result was one of my favorite songs ever, a brilliant piece of pop music that has been recorded dozens of times over the decades. Nashville might be shy on accountants and engineers and architects, but their songwriter/60 is off the damned charts. God bless the girls and boys who make the noise on 16th Avenue.
CRAZY FOR LOVING YOU, 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: 5-5-0, goal differential -2
- Oilers after 62, 2015-16: 22-34-6, goal differential -40
- Oilers after 62, 2016-17: 33-21-8, goal differential +16
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 2-1-0)
- On the road to:
Chicago, Tampa Bay, Florida, Washington, Nashville, St. Louis (Expected: 2-3-1) (Actual: 2-2-0)
- Overall expected result: 4-5-3, 11 points in 12 games
- Overall current results: 5-5-0, 10 points in 10 games
Nashville played yesterday, so that may benefit the Oilers. Edmonton is 26-32-9 all-time versus Nashville, who spent very little time being a free bingo square on the NHL calendar. Edmonton has just one point from two games against the Predators this season, with Ryan Ellis, Pekka Rinne and Viktor Arvidsson leading the way.
WHO DOES PETER CHIARELLI TRADE WITH?
Since arriving in Edmonton, Peter Chiarelli has shown no real preference in who he trades with. Here is the list:
- Arizona 2 (trade for Lauri Korpikoski & Henrik Samuelsson)
- St. Louis 2 (traded Anders Nilsson and Nail Yakupov for picks in two different deals)
- NY Islanders 1 (trade for Griffin Reinhart)
- NY Rangers 1 (trade for Cam Talbot)
- New Jersey 1 (traded Hall for Larsson)
- Toronto 1 (traded Martin Marincin for a pick)
- Ottawa 1 (trade for Eric Gryba)
- Chicago 1 (trade for Anders Nilsson)
- Montreal 1 (trade for Zack Kassian)
- Vancouver 1 (traded Phil Larsen for a pick)
- Pittsburgh 1 (traded Justin Schultz for a pick)
- Florida 1 (traded Edward Purcell for a pick)
- Anaheim 1 (traded for Patrick Maroon)
I would rank his best trade as the Talbot acquisition, with honorable mention to Patrick Maroon. Zack Kassian was a good deal, too. Among the current possibilities, I think the Islanders may be a team PC does business with between now and Wednesday afternoon.
FIVE BEST TRADE OPTIONS
Using the TSN Top 40 trade assets, and then running an adlib of my own, here are five interesting trade options for the deadline.
- LD Brandon Davidson and 2018 second-round pick for RD Kevin Shattenkirk. Larry Brooks has Edmonton involved and we know Peter Chiarelli is the most aggressive Oilers general manager since Slats. I have no doubt any trade for Shattenkirk would involve the second becoming a first if Edmonton signs the defender.
- 2018 second-round pick for LC Brian Boyle. I think this trade might be the most likely, depending on what the Lightning plan to do. Maybe the Lightning can get a first-round pick out of Minnesota, but I think Edmonton has a shot if Boyle shakes loose.
- Jordan Eberle and Brandon Davidson to the NY Islanders for C-R Ryan Strome and G Jaroslav Halak. The money doesn’t quite work (and EDM would need a sweetener) but the idea does on a couple of levels. Halak’s contract ($3.5 million) expires summer 2018, just as Connor McDavid’s big contract kicks in. Eberle’s deal expires the following year, in 2019. Is Strome a suitable replacement for Eberle? Or could he successfully center a skill line, allowing Leon to play RW?
- 2017 third-round pick to the Buffalo Sabres for G Anders Nilsson. This would be a solid move in my opinion, Nilsson knows the team and has had success.
- Brandon Davidson to New Jersey Devils for LHD Yohann Auvitu and a pick. Auvitu has posted a solid first NA season and there is some evidence the Devils have low value compared to actual value (Jan Hejda). He is ineligible for the expansion draft and could help right away.
BEST LINE COMBINATIONS
The current McDavid line is slowing down a little, that usually indicates change. Using Corsica.hockey and xGF%, here are the top line combinations so far this season:
- Maroon—McDavid—Eberle 57.90 (138 minutes)
- Maroon—McDavid—Draisaitl 57.03 (296 minutes)
- Maroon—Nuge—Eberle 54.80 (122 minutes)
- Lucic—McDavid—Eberle 51.32 (218 minutes)
- Hendricks—Letestu—Kassian 49.03 (128 minutes)
- Pouliot—Nuge—Eberle 48.38 (142 minutes)
- Pouliot—Nuge—Kassian 46.94 (104 minutes)
- Lucic—Nuge—Eberle 34.50 (113 minutes)
Darcy McLeod of Because Oilers joined me on the Lowdown this week, and suggested the top line, with a second group including Leon and Nuge. Perhaps we see it in the new shuffle.
so maybe sekera, larsson and darnell nurse are in the lineup tomorrow. crazy, i know
— Jeff Chapman (@NewWaveOil) February 25, 2017
That would be ideal. With Calgary pushing now, the Oilers need to grab as many points as possible. All hands on deck! I wonder if McLellan runs 7D today just in case someone cannot make it through the entire game.
Jesse Puljujarvi scored a goal and had an assist last night, now running at 19, 7-9-16. He is 5-4-9 in his last 8 games. I think he probably gets a call after the trade deadline, and that might impact PCs decisions re: Center v. Wing acquisition.
With two points so far tonight. @EdmontonOilers prospect Ethan Bear is six shy of Ivan Provorov league leading 73 last season for D. (67)
— Brayden Sullivan (@SullyDraftGeek) February 26, 2017
Bear is having a helluva run. Important for the Condors to make the playoffs, so Bear and Caleb Jones can (possibly) get some playing time in at the pro level after their junior careers end this spring.