Same Time, Next Year

Jordan Eberle’s name keeps showing up these days, suspect Edmonton’s current record has us remembering the good times. For those who don’t remember this blog’s view of said player, allow me to quote a passage from a year before he was dealt.

  • What does Eberle do well? Score goals. He scores 28 goals per 82 games, that is a dandy total in the modern era. A lot of times guys like Eberle are called complementary players, but he has shown an ability to score when not on a feature line. Now, it is a damned foolish thing to do, but Eberle could score on a line that did not boast the team’s top center. Source

OILERS NUMBERS AFTER 5 GAMES, 2016-17

  • Below is what I wrote about these numbers one year ago.
  • This is sorted by HD scoring chances (all numbers via NaturalStatTrick) and for me there is some very interesting information here.
  • The Lucic—McDavid—Eberle line is flying high above everything, the Oilers are a different team when the line is on the ice.
  • Ryan Nugent-Hopkins does poorly by Corsi for 5×5 percentage, saws off in scoring chances and is strong in high-danger scoring chances. My assumption (note: not a math expert) is that these things will normalize once we reach 20 games (these numbers above are too early to trust) but it is a fascinating look at one player’s first five games.
  • Anton Slepyshev may fall out of the lineup tomorrow in Winnipeg but his numbers are excellent. He has played well with Patrick Maroon and Leon Draisaitl, and that line should get another shot.
  • Anton Lander was missed, he is 39.13 Corsi, 33.33 Scoring Chances and 5-4 in high-danger scoring chances. As is the case with the Nuge, his HD SC number is out of time with the possession numbers
  • Source

OILERS NUMBERS AFTER 5 GAMES, 2017-18

  • Five games in, the top line is Corsing the opposition’s brains out compared to one year ago. The goals aren’t going in at a rapid enough clip, but McDavid’s line has produced 30 HD scoring chances compared to 21 one year ago. Small sample, significant number.
  • Nuge’s HD scoring chances are identical and his possession numbers have corrected.
  • Slepyshev’s numbers remain pleasing to the eye.

REPLACING EBERLE

For three of the first five games this season, Leon Draisaitl replaced Jordan Eberle on the Connor McDavid line (the first few games of 2016-17 featured Lucic and Eberle with No. 97). Kailer Yamamoto has played in a couple as well, his numbers overall look good and visually the youngster seems to be improving with each game. Last night, with the Oilers badly in need of a goal, McDavid sent a lovely pass to the teenager who shot it quickly, the puck either hitting a defender or just missing the net. A little later, KY rang one off the post, narrowly missing his first NHL goal.

The window for Kailer Yamamoto is very small. Leon Draisaitl is close to a return, Anton Slepyshev is finding the range (some great shifts last night) and even Drake Caggiula is getting closer to a return. Jesse Puljujarvi is getting consistent at-bats on the farm.

Yamamoto’s numbers are good, he shoots the puck a lot and he has the 1R role as the team heads out on the road. Will he keep that job through this week? Heaven knows.

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55 Responses to "Same Time, Next Year"

  1. OriginalPouzar says:

    I like what Yamamoto has brought but, given his age and status, he is not bringing enough on a shift by shift basis to stick with the team and I don’t think he can be a material NHLer this year on a non-McDavid line.

    He is getting better by the game (more confident to make plays), however, as feisty as he is, he is not creating turnovers, creating chaos for the opposition on the forecheck and he is getting pushed around and losing battles.

    At some point after Drai is back, he should be returned to Spokane and I look forward to a 170 pound Yamamoto competing for a spot in the roster next fall.

  2. OriginalPouzar says:

    We are definitely missing Eberle’s offence right now as injuries have curtailed the depth that we aren’t even sure we had in the first place (Slep and Drake haven’t really had a chance to show they are ready for the next stop offensively).

    Even when Eberle wasn’t filling the net, he was material on the ice with the puck, a threat to score and creating offence.

    Thank goodness Strome showed a pulse last night – hopefully he can parlay some confidence in to a strong of good games.

  3. fishman says:

    Who can forget Eb’s first goal against the Flames! Scoring is tough in todays NHL. I believe KY has the tools to do it at this level. (Just not for a year or two!)

  4. NYC-Back-to-Tokyo Oil (Gentleman Backpacker) says:

    Yamamoto: looking like a good pick. Right play is to send him back to Spokane after game 9. The Oilers must learn from their past and not keep a player in the Show before he is ready because they failed to cover that position adequately with veteran talent in the offseason.

    And yes, the injuries are unfortunate, but when you trade away one of your two proven top 6 RW, leaving your #2C/top 6 RW hybrid guy as the only big hitter, that’s what you get. Last year was a very fortunate year in terms of injuries, this year, regression to the meat so far.

    I get the Eberle hate; he was soft on the puck, didn’t battle hard enough in certain areas, small, not fast, perceived as Hall’s buddy and therefore part of the stagnant locker room culture. But one thing he could do was score 20 goals, even in a godawful year. In a good year he could pot 30. More importantly, he at least had a scoring ability other teams had to respect. Whether that was on Line 1 or Line 3, goal scoring is one of the toughest things to do in the League. And with all these power plays again you don’t think the Oilers could use another righty shot scorer? (Yes, I know he has no one-timer and likes to dust off the puck before shooting, but he could still shoot–forehand or backhand)

    I understand the reasoning behind the decisions made: cap hit concerns, the sideburns on the player, but the Oilers can afford Lucic and Russell for $10M and I don’t understand why the fans are so willing to overlook their warts but unwilling to overlook Eberle’s. I guess we just get tired of seeing the same thing over and over, expecting the player to magically change. They always say for every gorgeous woman out there there is a man who is tired of dating her.

    I realize this sounds like another rehash of water under the bridge, so I will end by saying that the current predicament facing the team shouldn’t affect the Oilers’ decision on Yamamoto. He should be sent back before game 10, with a great vote of confidence for him and he will come back strong next year.

  5. fifthcartel says:

    I don’t think Chiarelli adequately replaced Eberle and that’s going to hurt the Oilers.

    His 50+ points, away from McDavid, are very valuable.

    People like to tout the cap savings of the Eberle trade, but the Oilers didn’t really do anything with it and still have some of the most cap space in the league.

    I thought he would have returned a decent defensemen, or cleared space for a high priced upgrade on defense, with some cheap options on RW coming in as well.

    Turns out they just opted for Russell and an incredibly young/thrifty RW (after Draisaitl if they’re set with him at RW).

    They lack serious depth after 97 and didn’t improve that in the summer.

  6. Lowetide says:

    Fifth: There were reasons to cut bait on Eberle (who played 36 percent of his season 5×5 with McDavid). Since 2011-12, Eberle’s 5×5/60’s were 3.08, 2.31, 2.03, 1.97, 1.85 and then 1.76 in 2016-17.

    As for replacing him, PC wanted to see the kids. I have argued it was not the right call, and we’ll see. Early indicators aren’t terrific but the general manager is playing the long game.

  7. TheVengeFulOne says:

    Replacing Eberle with say Neal could have made sense. Replacing him with Slepyshev/Caggiula/JP/LoveJelly did not make sense. I guess throw Strome in the mix, but he was never competing for that position.

  8. OriginalPouzar says:

    Sounds like there is a decent chance that Benson will get traded from Vancouver to Regina – the Pats host the Memorial Cup and are looking to stock up.

    This is from Gregor and it would be great if it came to fruition.

  9. Jaxon says:

    Once healthy, I think I’d like to see this lineup for what may be Yamamoto’s last 3 games:
    Slepyshev / McDavid / Yamamoto
    Caggiula / Draisaitl / Kassian
    Maroon / Nugent-Hopkins / Strome
    Lucic / Letestu / Jokinen
    Inject a bit more speed and energy into the top two lines.

  10. Lowetide says:

    TheVengeFulOne:
    Replacing Eberle with say Neal could have made sense. Replacing him with Slepyshev/Caggiula/JP/LoveJelly did not make sense. I guess throw Strome in the mix, but he was never competing for that position.

    Actually, I guessed Draisaitl would get 70 percent of the 97 time and Strome the rest. So far Leon’s gotten about 60 percent and only then becauseof injury. The depth chart set up predictably in the early part of the season.

  11. geowal says:

    He’s been okay, looks like has a nice selection, but I feel Yamamoto is here because there are no better options, not because he really belongs in the NHL yet. I hope everyone healths up in time for his game 9 (and the team pulls their head out of their as$), so the decision is easy, as I don’t especially trust the team with a difficult decision.

  12. OriginalPouzar says:

    Jaxon:
    Once healthy, I think I’d like to see this lineup for what may be Yamamoto’s last 3 games:
    Slepyshev / McDavid / Yamamoto
    Caggiula / Draisaitl / Kassian
    Maroon / Nugent-Hopkins / Strome
    Lucic / Letestu / Jokinen
    Inject a bit more speed and energy into the top two lines.

    Whoa – that 4th line may be the least mobile in the history of professional hockey.

  13. geowal says:

    OriginalPouzar: Whoa – that 4th line may be the least mobile in the history of professional hockey.

    I’ll take that any day over one of the least-skilled:
    L4: Gazdic—Acton—Mike Brown [2013 opening night, source LT]

    Apology for the eye bleed.

  14. geowal says:

    Re: this mornings post, it seemed clear to me from McLellan’s comments that Kassian got benched for causing the too many men penalty.

  15. fifthcartel says:

    Lowetide,

    That’s an interesting point, but the return was poor and I agree completely. I was pretty stunned they were that confident in Strome/Slepyshev/Caggiula/Kassian, but if Draisaitl is 1RW then I guess the rest just have to cover 2-4RW.

    Although, I don’t know how you give 29 $8.5m if he’s playing the majority of time with 97, but I guess that’s a whole other thing entirely.

  16. Lowetide says:

    fifthcartel:
    Lowetide,

    That’s an interesting point, but the return was poor and I agree completely. I was pretty stunned they were that confident in Strome/Slepyshev/Caggiula/Kassian, but if Draisaitl is 1RW then I guess the rest just have to cover 2-4RW.

    Although, I don’t know how you give 29 $8.5m if he’s playing the majority of time with 97, but I guess that’s a whole other thing entirely.

    Yeah, agreed. Eventually they’ll bring in someone, might be sooner than later. McLellan must be pretty confident LD is going to return soon.

  17. Munny says:

    fifthcartel,

    And if he uses the cap space after Xmas to pick up some big names on expiring contracts, did he still then not use it? There was no need to spend the money right away, if there are cheap in-house solutions. And a good GM needs to explore that option before letting his allowance burn a hole in his pocket and heading to the nearest candy store to blow the entire wad.

  18. TheVengeFulOne says:

    Lowetide: Actually, I guessed Draisaitl would get 70 percent of the 97 time and Strome the rest. So far Leon’s gotten about 60 percent and only then becauseof injury. The depth chart set up predictably in the early part of the season.

    To be more clear. They were planned to replace his minutes, but not at the level.

  19. fifthcartel says:

    Munny,

    I’m not sure how great a plan that is. Waiting to spend at the deadline means premium price so likely.

    In-house options are great when they are more proven than the current are Options. I’m not confident in them, or plaint 29 at RW.

    I’d say a good GM doesn’t go into the season with Russell-Benning/Nurse or sign Russell entirely, but your mileage may vary. The summer has a lot more options that are longer term than expiring deals, it’s a curious decision and I think it’ll cost them.

  20. fifthcartel says:

    Munny,

    I’d argue it’s more like not going to the candy store before school to replace the candy you traded for lesser valued candy then having to spend more for candy at lunch cause you didn’t get any before school and now you got to pay the higher prices the kids want.

  21. Durag says:

    Strome has more goals than Eberle.

  22. Munny says:

    fifthcartel,

    They don’t get proven without ice time. I’d rather they weren’t the option at the deadline… because people are hitting bonuses and we’ve no cap space left.

  23. Kinger_Oil.redux says:

    Durag:
    Strome has more goals than Eberle.

    – Lucic has as many as Hall in one less game while you are at it, and Drai in 3 games more than Ebs

  24. flyfish1168 says:

    I remember when Pouliot-Mcdavid-Yakupov was a going good. We never went back to them

  25. admiralmark says:

    A couple points to make in regards to this season start,
    1) The Oppositions Sh% is unsustainable.
    2) The Oilers team Sh% is unsustainable
    3) The goaltending has fallen flat and will be much better.

    All of these things will over time become better stats for the Oilers and will in turn result in better W-L results.

    All of the above is true but it does not change the fact there is a critical lack of scoring “skill” on this team. Particularly on the wings. Our 2 top LW’s are Maroon and Lucic… they serve a role but scoring and good hands are not an attribute they possess. RW well what can we say?? Self explanatory .

    On good teams with Depth losing your 1RW and 2LHD… Is easily overcome in the short term. This team is not one of those and to me thats the most important story being told here. Everyone can get healthy and this team can get back to .500 hockey in short order. They might even make it to the playoffs… but they are not built to go very far even with all hands on deck.

  26. Yeti says:

    fifthcartel:
    Munny,

    I’d argue it’s more like not going to the candy store before school to replace the candy you traded for lesser valued candy then having to spend more for candy at lunch cause you didn’t get any before school and now you got to pay the higher prices the kids want.

    Pack an apple?

  27. Yeti says:

    admiralmark: All of the above is true but it does not change the fact there is a critical lack of scoring “skill” on this team. Particularly on the wings. Our 2 top LW’s are Maroon and Lucic… they serve a role but scoring and good hands are not an attribute they possess. RW well what can we say?? Self explanatory .

    Maroon scored plenty well last season – top 40 NHL.

  28. oscarmike says:

    Who knows how this season is going to turn out. I give it 50/50 they make playoffs. We know that they’re capabale of being a great hockey team but so far this year we only saw it once against the Flames. Does having Sekera on Defence and needing Talbot to stand on his head make it or break it for this team.

  29. Jaxon says:

    OriginalPouzar: Whoa – that 4th line may be the least mobile in the history of professional hockey.

    Yup. And I’d limit their icetime.

  30. OmJo says:

    Durag:
    Strome has more goals than Eberle.

    Yakupov has more goals than Draisaitl.

  31. who says:

    There are people actually missing Eberle already. Did we not watch the games last year. I would say he was invisible in over half the games last year and a positive factor in maybe 25%.
    I miss the Eberle from 3 or 4 years ago. Last year’s version, not so much.

  32. TheVengeFulOne says:

    who:
    There are people actually missing Eberle already. Did we not watch the games last year. I would say he was invisible in over half the games last year and a positive factor in maybe 25%.
    I miss the Eberle from 3 or 4 years ago. Last year’s version, not so much.

    I want more than Drai, connor and lucic as threats to score 20 gals.

  33. Jethro Tull says:

    who:
    There are people actually missing Eberle already. Did we not watch the games last year. I would say he was invisible in over half the games last year and a positive factor in maybe 25%.
    I miss the Eberle from 3 or 4 years ago. Last year’s version, not so much.

    How did you watch him if he was invisible?

  34. who says:

    I watched the games. Did not notice him.

  35. VOR says:

    Durag, Kinger_Oiler.Redux,

    Hall and Eberle have as many points combined as Strome and McDavid. If we add in Yakupov then they have more points than Draisaitl, McDavid and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins combined.

  36. OmJo says:

    who,

    How much of his drop in production was due to his drop in ice time?

    2013/14: 19:32, 65pts in 80gp
    2014/15: 19:02, 63pts in 81gp
    2015/16: 17:51, 47pts in 69gp
    2016/17: 16:46, 51pts in 82gp

    His PP time also decreased

    2013/14: 243:12 PP minures, 20pts
    2014/15: 212:24 PP minutes, 21pts
    2015/16: 183:45 PP minutes, 11pts
    2016/17: 182:04 PP minutes, 14pts

    He got significantly less ice time last season. That, along with a lower than usual Sh% probably played a significant role in his declining offence – which is still better than we currently have, might I add. 20g and 51pts is still good numbers for a 2RW.

  37. Chachi says:

    TheVengeFulOne: I want more than Drai, connor and lucic as threats to score 20 gals.

    Drai and McDavid could totally score 20 gals, but I would hope they would be more discerning than that. Lucic is married and it would be gauche of him to score 20 gals.

  38. digger50 says:

    Kinger_Oil.redux: – Lucic has as many as Hallin one less game while you are at it, and Drai in 3 games more than Ebs

    And McDavid is 57th in scoring.

  39. HT Joe says:

    flyfish1168:
    I remember when Pouliot-Mcdavid-Yakupov was a going good. We never went back to them

    Agreed!!

    It drove me crazy that this was not given more opportunity.

    In hindsight, it even drives me crazier… the Oilers couldn’t dump Yakupov off of McDavid’s line fast enough, so that they could play McDavid with Eberle. Fast forward 18 months and both of the RWs that showed competence with McDavid have been turfed:

    Transaction Cluster #1: (involving both Nail’s trade & 2017 draft-day trades)
    Out: Nail Yakupov, Cameron Crotty (2017 82 overall pick), Michael Karow (2017 126 overall pick)
    In: Stuart Skinner (2017 78 overall pick), prospect Zach Pochiro (now in the ECHL), $875K cap space (currently paid to Nail)

    Transaction #2:
    Out: Jordan Eberle
    In: Ryan Strome, $2.5M cap space

    With the Strome and Maroon contracts expiring after next year, our signed top 6 forwards will consist of:
    McDavid, Draisatl, RNH, Lucic (*oh my*), with Yamamoto and Jesse developing (hopefully). That’s cutting forward depth pretty thin, especially since one of Maroon or RNH will likely be dealt for cap space.

    McDavid needs offensively capable wingers to play with, and if our RW depth continues to be subpar, the coach’s hand is forced to glue McDavid and Draisatl together. If the other team’s only job is to shut-down the McDavid/Draisatl line down, how is this substantially better than shutting down the Hall-RNH-Eberle line of 2011-2012? From where I sit, we are literally hoping both Yamamoto and Jesse develop fast, so that one can play with McDavid and one can play with Draisatl. That’s a lot of hoping to just have 2 scoring lines.

  40. OmJo says:

    Chachi,

    I wonder how man gals Klef can score 🤔

  41. HT Joe says:

    who:
    There are people actually missing Eberle already. Did we not watch the games last year. I would say he was invisible in over half the games last year and a positive factor in maybe 25%.
    I miss the Eberle from 3 or 4 years ago. Last year’s version, not so much.

    In fairness, last year:
    – Eberle 2016-2017: 82GP, 20G, 31A, 51P
    – Strome 2016-2017: 69GP, 13G, 17A, 30P (pro-rated to 82GP: 15.4G, 20.2A –> 35.6P)

    This may not be fair, but I’m not really interested in seeing how Eberle performs this year… I’m more interested in how much of last year’s 20G / 31A Strome can replace this year.

  42. Gret99zky says:

    Durag:
    Strome has more goals than Eberle.

    Kinger_Oil.redux: – Lucic has as many as Hall in one less game while you are at it, and Drai in 3 games more than Ebs

    OmJo: Yakupov has more goals than Draisaitl.

    digger50: And McDavid is 57th in scoring.

    This has the potential to lead to some epic posts this season.

    tee-hee

    Isn’t American Thanksgiving usually standard by which future playoff qualification is accurately predicted?

    November 23. 22 games total.

  43. HT Joe says:

    VOR:
    Durag, Kinger_Oiler.Redux,

    Hall and Eberle have as many points combined as Strome and McDavid. If we add in Yakupov then they have more points than Draisaitl, McDavid and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins combined.

    Throw in future Norris winner Justin Schultz (1G, 1A so far) and that balances out Strome. 🙂

  44. Chachi says:

    OmJo:
    Chachi,

    I wonder how man gals Klef can score 🤔

    I don’t know if he is into man gals, but my guess is he can score an unlimited amount of whatever floats his boat.

  45. TheVengeFulOne says:

    It is gonna hurt when Drai becomes a cap dump.

  46. stush18 says:

    HT Joe: In fairness, last year:
    – Eberle 2016-2017:82GP, 20G, 31A, 51P
    – Strome 2016-2017:69GP, 13G, 17A, 30P (pro-rated to 82GP:15.4G, 20.2A –> 35.6P)

    This may not be fair, but I’m not really interested in seeing how Eberle performs this year… I’m more interested in how much of last year’s 20G / 31A Strome can replace this year.

    That’s how I look at it.

    Or how similar they are in points this year.

  47. OriginalPouzar says:

    Looking forward to the game tonight.

    It’s time for the team to start to right this ship. Three games on the road against good teams is just what they need.

    They dominated last game but made numerous egregious mistakes that ended up in the back of their net. Cut out the mistakes and get a save or two and they are winning games.

    I wonder if coach sticks with splitting the top pair or goes back to his normal top pairing?

    I like them split at this point to give one left and one right anchor to help our 2nd pairing.

    I look for our Captain and Talbot to lead the team tonight and on this trip.

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  48. thehop says:

    OriginalPouzar:
    Looking forward to the game tonight.

    It’s time for the team to start to right this ship.Three games on the road against good teams is just what they need.

    They dominated last game but made numerous egregious mistakes that ended up in the back of their net. Cut out the mistakes and get a save or two and they are winning games.

    I wonder if coach sticks with splitting the top pair or goes back to his normal top pairing?

    I like them split at this point to give one left and one right anchor to help our 2nd pairing.

    I look for our Captain and Talbot to lead the team tonight and on this trip.

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

    I’m not looking forward to tonight but I’ll be watching anyways. Looking for signs of life….

    And Slepyshev on a skill line please.

  49. OriginalPouzar says:

    Did you not see numerous signs of life in the last game?

    I sure did.

    Although losing, they carried the play almost the entire game – issue was egregious mistakes and the goalie not making a save.

    Cut out the mistakes and they win the game.

    Its not like cutting out the mistakes made would be a massive ask or unreasonable expectation at this time – they were generally uncharacteristic mistakes made by the better players on the team (Klefbom, Nuge, etc.).

  50. Pouzar says:

    thehop: And Slepyshev on a skill line please.

    This.

  51. Pouzar says:

    OriginalPouzar:
    Did you not see numerous signs of life in the last game?

    I sure did.

    Although losing, they carried the play almost the entire game – issue was egregious mistakes and the goalie not making a save.

    Cut out the mistakes and they win the game.

    Its not like cutting out the mistakes made would be a massive ask or unreasonable expectation at this time – they were generally uncharacteristic mistakes made by the better players on the team (Klefbom, Nuge, etc.).

    What is weird is that they gave the Flames nothing during game 1.
    Then after that a series of clown shows. Puzzling.

  52. Mr. D. says:

    We need 15ft finish. Stop crushing the crest or missing the net.

  53. OriginalPouzar says:

    With respect to Slep on a skill line, last game was the first game he looked like he was skating like he can so, yes, maybe his finally in (or close to) full game shape.

    With that said, if Yamamoto is going to play, he should be in the top 6 on the right and Strome just had his best game of the year so he should get the other RW spot.

    With the way Maroon is playing and Lucic, I wouldn’t mind seeing one or both of them bumped down the lineup in favor of Slep on the left side (if he can indeed play the left side favorably).

  54. thehop says:

    OriginalPouzar,

    I did see signs of life sure but they definitely weren’t and haven’t been what I expected. I bought into the idea that the Oilers were going to build from last year and I see a team that has taken a step back. I’m not a numbers guy so I won’t delve into the fact that the metrics show a team that should be winning.

    I gauge how well a team is playing is goal for and goals against/60 and and w’s/82 and right now i don’t see it. Game 1 yes…2-4… not so much.

  55. thehop says:

    OriginalPouzar,

    Hard to argue with that logic… I’d like to see if Strome can produce with some consistency. When I watch Yamamoto play, especially last game, I feel like he’s going to go off. I didn’t believe the hype and doubted LT most of the time when he was optimistic about his play but he too has earned time with skill.

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