Game Three 2017-18: Jets at Oilers

The Edmonton Oilers have a chance to put Saturday night behind them with a win over the Winnipeg Jets this evening. Anton Slepyshev will likely draw in, we’re not sure about Drake Caggiula’s status and perhaps there will be a Yohann Auvitu sighting. This  roster is not yet set. That’s a concern.

OILERS IN OCTOBER

  • Oilers in October 2015: 4-8-0, goal differential -7
  • Oilers in October 2016: 7-2-0, goal differential +10
  • Oilers in October 2017: 1-1-0, goal differential +2

WHAT TO EXPECT IN OCTOBER

  • At home to: Calgary (Expected: 1-0-0) (Actual 1-0-0)
  • On the road to: Vancouver  (Expected: 1-0-0) (Actual: 0-1-0)
  • At home to: Winnipeg, Ottawa, Carolina (Expected 1-1-1) (Actual: 0-0-0)
  • On the road to: Chicago, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh (Expected 1-1-1) (Actual 0-0-0)
  • At home to: Dallas, Washington (Expected 1-1-0) (Actual 0-0-0)
  • Overall expected result: 5-3-2, 12 points in  10 games 
  • Current results: 1-1-0, 2 points after two games

The great thing about looking at a season in monthly capture is a single loss can be placed in context. A single loss isn’t the end of the world—that kind of pain awaits us in the playoffs. If the Oilers end October with 10 points instead of 12, it also isn’t the end of the world. That said, a three game winning streak during this home stand would set up the rest of the month very well. The next two games are fairly winnable but this edition of the Oilers should not be confused with the last one. There remains some unanswered questions and balance—that’s my word, you may have another—continues to elude this organization.

DEFENSE, 2017-18

  • It’s very early days, so this table doesn’t really give us enough to justify publishing. I’m mostly posting it just to get a feel for where we’re heading this winter with our numbers. The Puck IQ folks are looking at some innovative things, and we will eventually adopt them here.
  • The CorsiRel numbers are interesting, wonder if Russell—Benning stay together if these totals stay constant. I like that pairing overall but you’d like 50 percent possession on all three pairs. We are so early in the season that the rel numbers are farce but there are two pairings doing a helluva job in possession.
  • Check out the Nurse-Gryba SA/60  total. You’d think it is the McDavid push, and they do well together, but in these early days the puck is going in a very good direction with Nurse on the ice.
  • That tidbit, and the entire table, is courtesy NaturalStatTrick.

FORWARDS 2017-18

  • There are five forwards with points at 5×5 this season, two with points at 5×4. It’s very early.
  • Shots-per-60 is worth following this season, if only to track Connor McDavid’s total.
  • Possession hasn’t been a problem so far this year, that’s a big deal for me, your mileage may vary.
  • The Oilers need goals at 5×5 from lines 2-4. So far, they have one (Kris Russell) but this is early.
  • McDavid’s line took some time to adjust on Saturday, I expect we’ll see a motivated crew tonight. The Jets have had a slow start, I imagine there will be extra attention to detail from the road team this evening.

RIGHT WING, SECOND LINE

In preparing the RE series this summer, I had a helluva time sussing out the position. I finally settled on the following:

  1. Leon Draisaitl 79gp, 26-58-84
  2. Jesse Puljujarvi 65gp, 14-14-28
  3. Anton Slepyshev 70gp, 12-13-25
  4. Zack Kassian 74gp, 11-14-25
  5. Iiro Pakarinen 10gp, 1-1-2
  6. Ty Rattie 6gp, 1-1-2
  7. Source

I estimated we would see Leon Draisaitl would play 70 percent of his time with 97, the rest at center (Ryan Strome replacing). I did not project Kailer Yamamoto onto the NHL roster. I think my estimates reflect what the organization is currently experiencing. The position in question (2RW) has been populated by two different men in two games to begin the season and we’re headed for a third new player (Anton Slepyshev) based on practice lines from yesterday. At some point, we may see a trade, and a losing streak may well be the pressure point. Zack Kassian was productive in the role during his one game audition, that often means a return engagement at a later date.

I like the options available (Slepyshev, Kassian, Puljujarvi, Yamamoto, Caggiula) but am uncertain about all but one of these options offensively, and the guy I’m sure of just got drafted and may not be ready.

TONIGHT’S POSSIBLE LINEUP

  • Patrick Maroon—Connor McDavid—Leon Draisaitl
  • Milan Lucic—Ryan Nugent-Hopkins—Anton Slepyshev
  • Jussi Jokinen—Ryan Strome—Zack Kassian
  • Jujhar Khaira—Mark Letestu—Kailer Yamamoto/Iiro Pakarinen
  • Oscar Klefbom—Adam Larsson
  • Kris Russell—Matt Benning
  • Darnell Nurse—Eric Gryba
  • Cam Talbot (Laurent Brossoit)
  • Source

Drake Caggiula didn’t practice and is day-to-day, that item via Matty and he also talks about Khaira being the extra man at practice. That could mean Kailer Yamamoto gets another game, this time on a fourth line. That tells me the top three lines are going to get heavy action and 97 may double shift on occasion this evening.

Questions about this roster remain, but the possession numbers are strong and the team running away with the division (Vegas Golden Knights) can probably be caught. Oilers need these two points tonight, suspect we’ll see a supreme effort from 97.

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421 Responses to "Game Three 2017-18: Jets at Oilers"

« Older Comments
  1. OmJo says:

    Is Jagr injured?

  2. Richard S.S. says:

    We all know that at some point this season McDavid, Draisaitl, Nugent-Hopkins and Letestu are the Oilers’ Centres, with Strome as a spare Centre. We have a good idea on which pairs work best. Maroon, Lucic. Jokinen, Kassian all match up with their own Centres, yet can easily move up if necessary. What we really don’t know as much as about as we’d like is the other 4-5 players and who they are, who can they play with?

    How everyone fits is an ongoing test with McLellan mixing and maxing to test what works. Right now McDavid needs to figure out how to take out the trash.

  3. LadiesloveSmid says:

    Maybe my 92 point projection was too optimistic

  4. digger50 says:

    Lowetide: Yes. They are getting answers though, I do think a D may be incoming. Vegas.

    A Vegas trade would work as they would want a good prospect who could clear waivers, we have a few of those.

    I do like the d men we have, they have value. Still, smart move would be to add a top 4 defenceman. Sekera was hurt last year, who will be hurt this year? It is going to happen so even when Sekera is back we will need another body that can be counted on.

  5. OmJo says:

    I really don’t trust Chiarelli with a trade at the moment. When trading from a position of desperation he seems to throw value away for bandaids. Otherwise, he gets steals like Maroon, Kassian, and Talbot.

    If we’re trading now, it’ll likely be due to desperation.

  6. frjohnk says:

    The first full week is not even done yet, so while the team has not had the results and effort we would like in the last 2 games, its still very early. And this team will have a bunch of games where they win most games and other stretches of time when they are on the losing end for most of it. We are right now, just in a low spot, we will get out of it.

    I will say this, the Oilers really need Yamamoto and JP to make it as skilled players. When Drai plays center, there is not much skill on the wings.

  7. SwedishPoster says:

    I think it’s wrong to make these losses about personnel. Way too early for that imo. This is all teamplay all the way. Similar to last year the Oilers play badly when their passing game goes down the drain, when they force plays, when the passes aren’t on point, when they dust off the puck before moving it and they stop up to consider their options instead of swiftly move the puck. And that’s not due to lack of talent, the two most talented players, McDavid and Draisaitl, are the worst offenders. The sense is that the team overall and our two star players in particular started to believe their own hype after the first game and started to make too many low percentage plays offensively while stop paying attention defensively. The McDavid line was an absolute mess on the defensive side of the puck tonight.
    I’m not too worried at this point, imo the quality of the team actually shine through when the team has spurts of consistently smart play. There are individual positions that are a bit of an issue, Gryba as an every night player for example, but to me that’s not the main issue atm. On to the next one.

  8. stush18 says:

    frjohnk,

    Ya I think everyone needs to step off the ledge.

    The oilers are mostly dominating play, followed by stretches of inconsistency.

    Pretty sure everything will start shaping into form.

  9. McSorley33 says:

    If you are a fan of hockey it is nice to see Winnipeg not give up another touchdown…so that’s good.

  10. OriginalPouzar says:

    Well, dammit – I forgot that my 24 hour gym closes on stat holidays and doesn’t open until 5 the next day – I’ve been here since 410 this morning. All fed and pre-workout taken and no gym. Did 19 min of Tabata in the foyer and still got 20 min to wait.

    Tough weekend for the Oil.

    It’s going to be a tough week on social media with the catastrophizers. Going to avoid my other forum (which I’ve been posit. On for 12 years) as it’ll be just too over the top.

    Talbot wasn’t bad last night but he at least took responsibility acknowledging he’s got to make some saves – team confidence starts with confidence in the goalie.

    4 days off sucks but they will stew in it and get lots of practice time and should be all revved up for Saturday.

    GO OILERS!!!’

  11. OriginalPouzar says:

    Chairelli was express right before the season started that he was a bit worried about the defence group without Sekera and that he wouldn’t be as patient before making a move as he would be with the forward group.

    I’m sure he’ll keep evaluating for a few more games, however, if he’s true to his word, there should be a move soon if the group continues to struggle. Who knows if it actually happens – it’s easier said than done.

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

    SwedishPoster,

    Excellent post! I really was unimpressed with the McD lines the last two games. They came in spurts but rather than credit Derek Dorset with all the work I’d put a little blame on the star players who got too cute by half.

    Too much time in between games and still lots of shuffling going on down the lineup. It’ll take some time but they all gel in the next few weeks as the schedule normalizes.

    Little bit of slag on Yam but I’m not down yet. Yes the penalty at the end was a toughie but he also set Larson up for a 5 bell chance earlier that period and did some excellent work along the boards on chip and chase battles. The turnover that led to his penalty was no different than Drai’s turnover that led to the 3rd Jets goal. Live and learn.

  13. OriginalPouzar says:

    The main issue we have, as I see it, is the loss of Sekera means that we have 4 d-men playing a spot up the depth chart than they should be – each of them taking on minutes and responsibilities that they aren’t quite ready for. The loss of Sekera doesn’t just create a whole on the 2nd pairing, it makes 3 other spots not as effective.

    This is the exact opposite of the Larsson acquisition, not only did it give us a top pairing d-man to eat up tough minutes but it pushed all other d-men down a spot on the depth chart making them more effective in their minutes.

    If we could find a solid 2RD, it would have a domino effect on the D-group as a whole.

  14. russ99 says:

    If we trade anything of value for Bob Green’s favorite player I may just be done.

    Would prove that Chia’s a smokescreen and the old boys are still running things.

    Reinhart makes Benning look like Doug Harvey.

  15. Melvis says:

    Frustrating as it is, a couple of losses early in the season could be construed as a good thing.

    Significant personal and financial losses in my third decade led to a refocus and renewed commitment to those areas in which, I’ve been told, I began to excel at in my fourth decade.

    “Man, I wish I could do what you do.”

    “Man , I *wished* I could do what I do. After a few years, you learn a few things.”

    Constrict the time frame to a couple of weeks, and we are where we are with the Oilers, a prettay, prettay good team which seems to have bought into it’s pre-season press on an individual and group basis.

    Nor is five days of practice and reflection a bad thing. This team needs the time to settle it’s tits – even if it means two or three more following losses.

    And fuck the Leafs and everybody else. Those guys will stumble soon enough.

  16. Mr. D. says:

    How many goals are coming from a missed back check? Too many. 3 on 2 or 2 on 1 are usually an D overcommittment or a back check issue.
    Chia built a big physical team with the rules that were in place. Bettman changes the rules.
    We are in major trouble!

  17. OriginalPouzar says:

    I am not as concerned about the forward lines as I am about the defensive group. As I mentioned, I think, and its my opinion, that the general issue is 2/3 of the D-group playing up on the depth chart than they should be which basically means that we are weak at each of the 3-6 positions. This can only be solved by inserting a player in to the 2nd pairing and bumping every one else down a spot. I don’t see that acqusition happening prior to Saturday so think what we need is a spread out of the d-corps and a breaking up of the first pairing.

    Nurse/Larsson
    Klef/Benning
    Auvitu/Russell

    Now, its not like I think Nurse is a “top pairing” d-man at this point but I think he can at least hold his own up there with a solid partner like Larrsoon and Benning should be better on the 2nd pairing with a guy like Klef.

    I’m remiss to put Russell on the right side but if he’s on the 3rd pairing then I think he should be OK on the right side.

    Its not like i think Russell deserves the demotion over a guy like Benning who has been worse but, in order to make the lines work, I think this makes the most sense – Benning gets a guy to anchor his pairing in Klef and Auvitu gets a guy to anchor his pairing in Russell.

    They could almost run the top 2 pairing as 1A/1B like last year and Russell will get extra minutes on special teams.

    Does that make sense?

  18. russ99 says:

    OriginalPouzar:
    I am not as concerned about the forward lines as I am about the defensive group. As I mentioned, I think, and its my opinion, that the general issue is 2/3 of the D-group playing up on the depth chart than they should be which basically means that we are weak at each of the 3-6 positions. This can only be solved by inserting a player in to the 2nd pairing and bumping every one else down a spot. I don’t see that acqusition happening prior to Saturday so think what we need is a spread out of the d-corps and a breaking up of the first pairing.

    Nurse/Larsson
    Klef/Benning
    Auvitu/Russell

    Now, its not like I think Nurse is a “top pairing” d-man at this point but I think he can at least hold his own up there with a solid partner like Larrsoon and Benning should be better on the 2nd pairing with a guy like Klef.

    I’m remiss to put Russell on the right side but if he’s on the 3rd pairing then I think he should be OK on the right side.

    Its not like i think Russell deserves the demotion over a guy like Benning who has been worse but, in order to make the lines work, I think this makes the most sense – Benning gets a guy to anchor his pairing in Klef and Auvitu gets a guy to anchor his pairing in Russell.

    They could almost run the top 2 pairing as 1A/1B like last year and Russell will get extra minutes on special teams.

    Does that make sense?

    We saw Klefbom-Benning on that one breakway yesterday. Too much danger to try it at this point, especially with Talbot off his game. Both players look lost defensively.

    If i were McLellan, I’d give more minutes to Klef-Larsson, and maybe put Nurse and Russell together for the second pair even if that means Russell goes back to his weak side.

    Then whatever the third pair is, give it very limited time against weak opposition.

  19. Professor Q says:

    OriginalPouzar:
    Well, dammit – I forgot that my 24 hour gym closes on stat holidays and doesn’t open until 5 the next day – I’ve been here since 410 this morning.All fed and pre-workout taken and no gym.Did 19 min of Tabata in the foyer and still got 20 min to wait.

    Tough weekend for the Oil.

    It’s going to be a tough week on social media with the catastrophizers. Going to avoid my other forum (which I’ve been posit. On for 12 years) as it’ll be just too over the top.

    Talbot wasn’t bad last night but he at least took responsibility acknowledging he’s got to make some saves – team confidence starts with confidence in the goalie.

    4 days off sucks but they will stew in it and get lots of practice time and should be all revved up for Saturday.

    GO OILERS!!!’

    But we Lowetideans never take holidays from stats?

  20. Ryan says:

    The Oilers as a group make funny decisions.

    We’re right up against the 50 man because Christoffer was “rewarded” once for a good training camp.

    We’re burning daylight with Yamamoto on the roster because we’re rewarding him for a good preseason. He’s nowhere near ready. There’s an instant upgrade available in the AHL.

    Gryba is not a #6 dman.

    Our bottom two d pairings are not good.

  21. OriginalPouzar says:

    russ99: We saw Klefbom-Benning on that one breakway yesterday. Too much danger to try it at this point, especially with Talbot off his game. Both players look lost defensively.

    If i were McLellan, I’d give more minutes to Klef-Larsson, and maybe put Nurse and Russell together for the second pair even if that means Russell goes back to his weak side.

    Then whatever the third pair is, give it very limited time against weak opposition.

    I’m not worried about Talbot’s game – he’ll be fine – based on history, he’ll find his game.

    There is no history where Benning will find his game as a 2nd pairing d-man and where Russell can anchor a 2nd pairing with a middling partner.

    Nurse and Russell on the 2nd pairing – sorry, but that isn’t even an option in my mind – Russell back to the right side on the 2nd pairing is a perverse result and with a developing partner (Nurse) as opposed to a veteran rock (Sekera).

    I am trying to move Nurse up the lineup but, in order to do so, he requires a more stable partner and the only option is Larsson.

    Right now I don’t think its about increasing minutes for the top pairing – the bottom two pairings are drowning – this was somewhat anticipated – it can only be fixed via acquisition or spreading out Klef and Larsson.

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