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