Game Eight 2017-18: Oilers at Penguins

Leon Draisaitl is three days from his twenty-second birthday. Connor McDavid will turn 21 in January. It is borderline insane for a gentleman my age to mention the phrase “good old days” in reference to 97 and 29, but we are here. These are the good old days, ladies and men. If Leon Draisaitl plays tonight, music! These two players are fire on ice and every game they play is a joy. Those are the facts. Here’s some more.

PIKE’S PEAK, YEAR OVER YEAR

  • Oilers in October 2015: 3-4-0, goal differential -2
  • Oilers in October 2016: 6-1-0, goal differential +10
  • Oilers in October 2017: 2-5-0, goal differential -8

Game Eight a year ago was a 2-0 win over the Vancouver Canucks, two points for Milan Lucic on the night. Edmonton is in tough tonight, two points would be a fantastic outcome and one point would help in a big way. The Oilers aren’t over, but this next run of (say) 10 games will be crucial. They are teetering in a difficult spot at this time.

WHAT TO EXPECT FROM 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: 0-3-0)
  • On the road to: Chicago, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh (Expected 1-1-1) (Actual 1-1-0)
  • 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: 2-5-0, 4 points after seven games

Based on my projections, the Oilers should tie tonight, that would give them five points in eight games. If that happens, the club would need to go 45-21-8 to match last season’s record. A slow start like this one can be corrected by a hot streak but this Edmonton club doesn’t look poised for a good long run starting tonight. The defense seems to be coming around but the offense is missing in action, even in this most recent road trip.

LINES, ONE YEAR AGO

Most of the conversation in today’s blog is going to surround tonight’s lines, thought it might be a good idea to go back to exactly one year ago and have a look at roster construction. Here’s what I wrote about everyone one year ago, same pre-game:

  • The Lucic—McDavid—Eberle line is the best 20 minutes on television—or in the arena. Honestly, the 97 shifts approach Beatlemania.
  • Pouliot—Nuge—Kassian are struggling in the Corsi but sawing off in high-danger scoring chances.
  • Maroon—Draisaitl—Puljujarvi looks good in HD scoring chances, and reasonable in possession.
  • Lander—Letestu—Pitlick is doing some pretty impressive scoring from the 4line, only question being can it continue.
  • Oscar Klefbom is on another level, with Adam Larsson not far behind. In terms of HD SCs, the Oilers are basically double the opposition. Man. That’s electric.
  • Andrej Sekera has been very good to my eye, but trails partner Kris Russell across the board. Thoughts? I have to say that a veteran second pairing (we had discussed Fayne in the role during summer) has been a Godsend.
  • Darnell Nurse is basically even in HD scoring chances and regular scoring chances, Eric Gryba just a shade behind. I think eventually we will see Brandon Davidson there, but what kind of top 6D might we see in 2017-18? My guess is Klefbom, Larsson, Sekera and Nurse are locks, with Benning close to same. Kris Russell? Eric Gryba? Both have a chance to be back, imo.
  • Source

TONIGHT’S SUGGESTED LINES AND PAIRINGS

I’m going to run two sets of lineups, one that works for me and then the lineup expected against the Pittsburgh Penguins tonight. I’ll start with my lines.

  • Patrick Maroon—Connor McDavid—Leon Draisaitl
  • There’s no time (should be read in Liam Neeson voice) to create chemistry before tonight’s game, so go with what works. At some point Draisaitl is going to have his own line, and this lineup makes it easier for the Penguins to defend Edmonton. Still, I do it, secure in the knowledge there is no defense for an effective Connor McDavid.
  • Milan Lucic—Ryan Nugent-Hopkins—Anton Slepyshev
  • I think Slepyshev is pushing now and would move him up in the shuffle for tonight. This line has looked good in my opinion with Strome, but could use a more dynamic skater. Slepyshev is also a bigger winger and that may help the trio.
  • Jussi Jokinen—Mark Letestu—Zack Kassian
  • In terms of actual playing time, this should end up being the third line. Jokinen is a veteran and I’d like to keep him in despite some slow boots. Letestu is being used in even more of a utility role now, taking faceoffs and then scooting off the ice at times. Added to his PP and PK duties, his 5×5 time is staccato.
  • Brad Malone—Ryan Strome—Drake Caggiula
  • Malone may be on a jet to California by game time, but I’d keep him around for the fourth line. Strome moves to center and Caggiula can be of use with all that speed on a line that badly needs it. I don’t think this line is going to score much but low event both ways on the road is what the Oilers will need from them.
  • Oscar Klefbom—Adam Larsson
  • I think the Oilers should play them a lot tonight, 27-30 minutes, if it’s close. If Edmonton can fly home after a 2-1-0 road trip, that would be a massive win for a struggling organization.
  • Kris Russell—Matt Benning
  • Russell has been more effective on the left side this season. Benning has good speed and Russell has a lot of experience. The matchup is a disaster but for me these two are the best available.
  • Darnell Nurse—Eric Gryba
  • Nurse and Gryba have good numbers together this season and the key is to limit exposure against Crosby and or Malkin. This could end up being a key pairing depending on the second duo.
  • Cam Talbot
  • His recovery in recent games is tremendous news, he’ll need to be spectacular tonight.

TONIGHT’S LIKELY LINES AND PAIRINGS

  • Patrick Maroon—Connor McDavid—Leon Draisaitl
  • Milan Lucic—Ryan Nugent-Hopkins—Kailer Yamamoto
  • Jussi Jokinen—Ryan Strome—Anton Slepyshev
  • Drake Caggiula—Mark Letestu—Zack Kassian
  • Oscar Klefbom—Adam Larsson
  • Darnell Nurse—Kris Russell
  • Yohann Auvitu—Eric Gryba
  • Cam Talbot

There are no guarantees either or both Draisaitl and Caggiula will play but if they do someone will be heading to Bakersfield before game time. Brad Malone is the obvious choice.

HARD TARGET SEARCH:RW’ERS

It’s a little early to go shopping but we can look at what might be out there. Edmonton needs speed, skill and a reasonable PK man wouldn’t go amiss.

  • R Tobias Rieder, Arizona. Former Oilers draft pick is 8gp, 2-1-3 and is in his fourth season. Quality on the PK (he kills the Oilers) he has scored 13, 14 and 16 goals in his three complete NHL seasons. $2.225 million this year, he is RFA in the summer.
  • L Alex Galchenyuk, Montreal. During a 344-game NHL career, he is averaging 21-28-49 per 82 games. He is a LW who can play center, he would help the foot speed on port side.
  • R Michael Grabner, NY Rangers. Jason Gregor mentioned his name on the Lowdown yesterday, it’s an intriguing idea. Speed demon with skill, just 8gp, 1-1-2 this year so far and maybe the Rangers would like to make a change.
  • L Josh Leivo, Toronto. Shoots right, could play RW and he’s absolutely NHL-ready. I think he could be a very good plug-and-play for an NHL team.
  • R Jonathan Marchessault, Vegas. He’s a quality player (Alan Hull has been pushing him as an option forever) and should come at a high cost.
  • R Brandon Pirri, Vegas. Currently playing in the AHL, he’s a shooter and has had NHL success.

That’s six, mostly at the outer edges of NHL rosters. A more substantial trade is possible (Nuge for Pacioretty is a distant bell, despite fake ‘breaking news’ tweets from strangely named insiders) but my guess is a roster tweak comes before a bona fide trade.

LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE

A busy, fun show this morning and maybe we have ‘breaking news’ on the Oilers lineup during the show. 10am, TSN1260, scheduled to appear:

  • Jonathan Willis, The Athletic. How much longer does Peter Chiarelli wait?
  • Sam Werner, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. We’ll check in on the opposition leading up to game time.
  • Scott Cullen, TSN. Defining ‘replacement level’ for NHL players and what to do with Kailer Yamamoto.
  • Eric Stephen, True Blue LA. World Series tonight, we’ll get a Los Angeles perspective.

10-1260 text, @Lowetide on twitter. See you on the radio!

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479 Responses to "Game Eight 2017-18: Oilers at Penguins"

« Older Comments
  1. HT Joe says:

    HT Joe,

    Sorry, I see I’m late to the “Eberle has 6 points” party.

  2. russ99 says:

    Got the road point, so it’s not a total loss.

    But the story of our season, played a pretty good game, solid goaltending, got lots of chances in high danger areas and couldn’t cash.

    Fuck Hall and Eberle, they’re not here anymore, and they can’t help us now. Wistful rememberence of rush hockey in days of yore is for suckers.

  3. Woodguy v2.0 says:

    Bag of Pucks,

    Why would you think this?
    I think there’s a few factors that would challenge this.
    1) Supply and demand. Forwards are more plentiful. Wingers especially are the most plentiful asset in the league. By contrast, RHD are rare and as a result, their market value has appreciated significantly over the last few years.

    While as a whole that is true, wingers like Hall are very rare.

    The old rule of thumb is “centers are more valuable that wingers” and as a whole population that is undoubtedly true.

    I think that stems from the best kids being played at C when younger because C’s impact the game the most among forwards.

    It doesn’t hold true 100% though. Many wingers “drive play and scoring”

    Current players include Pacioretty, Benn, Seguin (played more W than C in his career), Kane, Hall, Ovechkin, Wheeler, Vorachek, etc.

    Some wingers like Kane and Ovechkin score more than they drive play, but they score so damn much it over comes their possession metrics by a more than a shade.

    Play drivers, players who *everyone* is better with are the most rare commodity. There is no question Hall is among those, even at wing.


    2) D take longer to develop. So if you’re doing it from scratch (i.e. the draft), it’s going to take longer to develop a Larsson than a Hall.

    Even Bob Stauffer lamented on his show that Peter didn’t get to see a full year of Klefbom and it prompted him to spend a lot for a 1RD.

    In McDavid’s first year, he was 50.7% GF and you know that’s going up no matter what.

    In McDavid’s first year Hall and RNH were 57%GF.

    So that’s two lines above 50% GF with the worst Dcorps since 13/14 when the only top 4 Dman on the roster was Petry.

    Klef only played 13 games that year and those two line still put up +50% GF.

    That was the last time EDM had two lines putting up 50% GF.

    They didn’t need to blow up the scoring for a Dman. The evidence is clear.


    3) Forwards drafted in the Top 5 are more predictable from a development ceiling pov than D drafted in the Top 5. Less chance the F will outright bust whereas it’s a distinct possibility with the Dmen. To be fair, these numbers are trending downward as pre-draft scouting has improved.

    I agree with that and I don’t think scouting Dmen has improved that much in the last 5 years. Teams are putting an emphasis on speed which helps.

    4) Larsson has a better contract than Hall.

    While Larsson is cheaper, Hall’s contract is more under market so I’d argue the opposite.

    5) Larsson excels against tough competition. He’s a legitimate first pairing defender, young, on a value contract. These players types are in demand.

    While he’s the best on the Oilers vs toughs he doesn’t excel compared to his peers. I certainly have him above average.

    6) Larsson is durable. Hall has had injury issues.

    I’d agree with that. Biggest bogey for Hall is gp.

  4. GMB3 says:

    russ99:
    Got the road point, so it’s not a total loss.

    But the story of our season, played a pretty good game, solid goaltending, got lots of chances in high danger areas and couldn’t cash.

    Fuck Hall and Eberle, they’re not here anymore, and they can’t help us now. Wistful rememberence of rush hockey in days of yore is for suckers.

    How did we score our only goal today? Coach Russ coming in with the hot takes again.

  5. Woodguy v2.0 says:

    russ99,

    Fuck Hall and Eberle, they’re not here anymore, and they can’t help us now. Wistful rememberence of rush hockey in days of yore is for suckers.

    Putting up with mediocre to poor management in the name of fandom is for suckers.

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

    I’m here to say to Woodguy, “what you said.”

    But I don’t want to be “that” guy, either. So I’m asking the folks here for solutions we can now deal with–Hall and Eberle are gone and they aren’t coming back, so are we running Caggiula and Slepy and hoping? This isn’t a sudden concern–it was the biggest question mark of the offseason.

  7. Kinger_Oil.redux says:

    – This narrative about secondary scoring needs to be tempered by reality: .955. That’s the average of the goalies for the 8 games we have played this year:

    – .967, .958, .952, .941, .972(!), .949, .943, .955

    – Teams just don’t score when goalies are hot.

    – Let’s see how many goals our secondary scores when we aren’t playing Vezina goalie each night

    – I don’t think the goalies results against us is a reflection of our teams scoring ability

    – We outshoot other teams by a considerable margin: biggest ratio in the league

    – You have to recognize this while at the same time being critical of our secondary scoring

    *the only solution is to play more games, and we won’t be facing .955 goalies all year, while not scoring despite our great shot differential.

  8. Woodguy v2.0 says:

    I thought that was a great game to watch.

    Lots of players playing the system well and giving it what they got.

    Need some better players though.

  9. npanciroli says:

    Hall was traded for a huge need so I don’t get that argument. Eberle for essentially Strome and Russell is trash.

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

    Kinger_Oil.redux,

    Okay, so “secondary scoring is an issue” is a narrative but “teams just don’t score when goalies are hot” is not? How are those goalies’ save percentages when they’ve played teams other than the Oilers?

    I agree that the Oilers are due to start scoring because their shooting percentage is unsustainably low. And they will. And then we will put the secondary scoring issue “to bed” … for a little while, but the question is if it will come back again. I think it will, because the individual offensive talent has been depleted on the roster. So they will have to find ways to score by committee.

    Yes, it’s a narrative. The reality is also that they’ve scored less than 2 goals a game. Will that continue? No. It will get better, but is it going to be enough for the team to improve over last year? That’s a significant question mark. We wait.

    Narratives aren’t necessarily bad, by the way. They can be if you take them too far, but I don’t think anyone is doing that yet.

  11. Woodguy v2.0 says:

    Kinger_Oil.redux,

    – This narrative about secondary scoring needs to be tempered by reality: .955. That’s the average of the goalies for the 8 games we have played this year:

    When you don’t score the goalie’s SV% is going to be good. Who knew?

    Also,

    Last year:
    McDavid On 62.1% GF
    McDavid Off 48.9% GF

    Last year playoffs:
    McDavid On 53%
    McDavid Off 48%

    This year:
    McDavid On 46.15 GF%
    McDavid Off 30.0 GF%

    We’re over 100 games of this now Kinger, its not a narrative, its the truth.

    Keep this up and we’ll petition LT to change your SN to Iraqi Information Minister

  12. Woodguy v2.0 says:

    npanciroli:
    Hall was traded for a huge need so I don’t get that argument. Eberle for essentially Strome and Russell is trash.

    in 15/16 the top 2 lines were over 50% in goal share with a AHL Dcorps.

    Problem was that McDavid missed a ton of time and then Nuge missed a ton of time and Klef missed almost the whole season.

    Trading Hall for a Dman wasn’t a huge need.

    Decent NHLers would have sufficed

  13. fifthcartel says:

    I think the Oilers are due for some shooting luck, but if they load up 97 and 29 together, which I bet they will, I don’t think they’ll be a normal shooting % team without 97 out there.

    Who’s going to score without 97 on the ice? Lets look at tonight’s lineup.

    I’d consider Pakarinen, Letestu, Kassian, Khaira, Caggiula all fourth-line caliber players.

    I’d put Lucic, Strome, and perhaps RNH as genuine third-line scorers at even strength, although I might lean towards RNH as a 2nd line guy at ES.

    First line guys? McDavid and whoever he plays with.

    Leaving Yamamoto out because he’s a rookie and probably shouldn’t even be here in a couple games.

    This just isn’t a team that has scoring away from McDavid.

  14. Pouzar says:

    I think it’s bat shit crazy that Drai-Nuge or Nuge-Drai hasn’t been tried yet.

  15. leadfarmer says:

    Kinger_Oil.redux:
    – This narrative about secondary scoring needs to be tempered by reality: .955. That’s the average of the goalies for the 8 games we have played this year:

    – .967, .958, .952, .941, .972(!), .949, .943, .955

    – Teams just don’t score when goalies are hot.

    – Let’s see how many goals our secondary scores when we aren’t playing Vezina goalie each night

    – I don’t think the goalies results against us is a reflection of our teams scoring ability

    – We outshoot other teams by a considerable margin: biggest ratio in the league

    – You have to recognize this while at the same time being critical of our secondary scoring

    *the only solution is to play more games, and we won’t be facing .955 goalies all year, while not scoring despite our great shot differential.

    Or are we just putting up a bunch of shots that have very little chance of going in.

    A little while ago I said we have McDavid Drai and a whole bag of meh for forwards. Got a mouthful in return but I think people are slowly realizing that it is true.

  16. Kinger_Oil.redux says:

    NYC-Back-to-Tokyo Oil (Gentleman Backpacker):
    Kinger_Oil.redux,

    Narratives aren’t necessarily bad, by the way. They can be if you take them too far, but I don’t think anyone is doing that yet.

    – Hey I didn’t jump onto this and basically say: “told ya, trading Hall and Eberle was dumb”

    – I don’t think that the reason goalies are averaging .955 is becasue our guys suck and can’t score

    – I think its because they have played a bunch of goalies who were hot

    – Now we an argue this untill we are blue in the face, and if it doesn’t change, and goalies play .40 better against our guys for 20 games higher than other team, and we continue to out shoot them, then maybe it’s possible

    – The thing is that never happens: no team goes 20 + games with the Goalies doing .955

    – We aren’t scoring: I can’t prove it, but my bias is that this is far more attributed to hot goalies than garbage players.

    – And hey I’m just providing some actual figures that show that goalies have been exceptional against us. Don’t hate the player, hate the game. Those stats have to be part of the discussion

  17. HT Joe says:

    Woodguy v2.0: Last year:
    Last year:
    McDavid On 62.1% GF
    McDavid Off 48.9% GF

    Last year playoffs:
    McDavid On 53%
    McDavid Off 48%

    This year:
    McDavid On 46.15 GF%
    McDavid Off 30.0 GF%

    Thanks for this. My takeaway from these numbers is that between the regular season and the playoffs, the other teams learned how to better shut down McDavid (that, and the GD refs didn’t call anything). This year, now that the scoring depth is worse, the other teams really throw everything and the kitchen sink at shutting down McDavid, bringing his numbers down further. Am I on the right path?

  18. Kinger_Oil.redux says:

    leadfarmer: Or are we just putting up a bunch of shots that have very little chance of going in.

    A little while ago I said we have McDavid Drai and a whole bag of meh for forwards.Got a mouthful in return but I think people are slowly realizing that it is true.

    – This is the conversation to have: whether we are gaming corsi, like Dallas did, or what, not high danger shots, etc but not: “I told you Hall and Eberle if they were here this would not happen”

  19. leadfarmer says:

    Woodguy v2.0: in 15/16 the top 2 lines were over 50% in goal share with a AHL Dcorps.

    Problem was that McDavid missed a ton of time and then Nuge missed a ton of time and Klef missed almost the whole season.

    Trading Hall for a Dman wasn’t a huge need.

    Decent NHLers would have sufficed

    I think it’s easy to forget what our right handed d Corpse was at the time. Fayne Gryba Benning (and we didn’t know that Benning was going to play that well last year). I don’t think Russell signs here to be our #1 RHD. So yes trading for a right handed D was a Huge need at the time. You may disagree with the target but we needed a RHD or we were looking at an absolute disaster

  20. npanciroli says:

    leadfarmer: Corpse

    It really was like that without Larsson.

  21. digger50 says:

    In 15/16 when 3×3 started we were awesome.

    Hall Leon. Nuge. Eberle. McDavid…….even Pouliot …… we were a lesser overall team but we could throw out some skill 3×3.

    This year who goes for 3×3?

    McDavid /. Leon. BeST in the league

    Then who else goes over the boards? Ughh…Nuge and ….. looking up and down the bench for an answer

    Not fighting the trades here, just looking at 3×3 choices really opens your eyes to our skill level.

  22. Woodguy v2.0 says:

    HT Joe: Thanks for this.My takeaway from these numbers is that between the regular season and the playoffs, the other teams learned how to better shut down McDavid (that, and the GD refs didn’t call anything).This year, now that the scoring depth is worse, the other teams really throw everything and the kitchen sink at shutting down McDavid, bringing his numbers down further.Am I on the right path?

    That’s the way I see it.

    Chiarelli keeps bleeding scores off the roster.

    Top 4 goal 5v5 scorers last year with McDavid not on the ice;

    RNH 10 goals
    Pouliot 8 goals
    Pitlick 8 goals
    Eberle 8 goals

    *poof* and everyone wonders why they can’t score.

    Drai having his own line will help a lot, but man.

  23. Woodguy v2.0 says:

    leadfarmer: I think it’s easy to forget what our right handed d Corpse was at the time.Fayne Gryba Benning (and we didn’t know that Benning was going to play that well last year). I don’t think Russell signs here to be our #1 RHD.So yes trading for a right handed D was a Huge need at the time.You may disagree with the target but we needed a RHD or we were looking at an absolute disaster

    I agree RHD was pure dogshit.

    I like Larsson and said so the second the trade was announced.

    Doesn’t mean you trade Hall though.

    If you can’t get Larsson for less than Hall you move on.

    2 lines +50%GF with garbage + Sekera Dmen.

    You don’t trade the top end when your top two lines can already beat everyone.

  24. treevojo says:

    OmJo: Eberle has 5pts. That would be 3rd on our team, behind McDavid (9) and Maroon (6).

    What does eberle’s assist totals have to do with my comment?

  25. fifthcartel says:

    The Oilers being in such a desperate position they had to trade an elite possession player for the best RHD they could get is so dumb.

    Toronto had zero RHD depth. They moved Phaneuf, signed Zaitsev as a FA (who seems pretty similar, like a better scoring Larsson) and signed Hainsey when they couldn’t get Hamonic. Note: they didn’t sign Hainsey for 4 years and 4 million.

    Calgary had very little RHD depth aside from a crippling Wideman and Brodie playing his off side with Gio. They traded 2 1sts and some 2nd round picks for Dougie Hamilton and Travis Hamonic.

    Arizona had very little RHD aside from Connor Murphy. They traded Murphy for Hjalmarsson and a contract dump for Jason Demers.

    There were options out there.

  26. gregsaint says:

    “Putting up with mediocre to poor management in the name of fandom is for suckers.”

    LOL – good luck not being a sucker

  27. tsg says:

    leadfarmer: I think it’s easy to forget what our right handed d Corpse was at the time.Fayne Gryba Benning (and we didn’t know that Benning was going to play that well last year). I don’t think Russell signs here to be our #1 RHD.So yes trading for a right handed D was a Huge need at the time.You may disagree with the target but we needed a RHD or we were looking at an absolute disaster

    And yet the two top lines were still over 50% GF with these right handed D when they were healthy. Which at the end of the day means you’re going to be winning games. Why is it a huge need if you’re going to be winning games with what you have?

  28. Woodguy v2.0 says:

    VAN beat MIN 1-0

    Nilsson with the shut out.

    VAN moves into 3rd in the Pacific

    Nilsson had a great season last year in BUF and looks like he’s going to take the starting job from Markstrom.

    Nice story.

  29. Woodguy v2.0 says:

    gregsaint:
    “Putting up with mediocre to poor management in the name of fandom is for suckers.”

    LOL – good luck not being a sucker

    I’ve been a sucker for this team forever.

  30. OmJo says:

    Woodguy v2.0: in 15/16 the top 2 lines were over 50% in goal share with a AHL Dcorps.

    Problem was that McDavid missed a ton of time and then Nuge missed a ton of time and Klef missed almost the whole season.

    Trading Hall for a Dman wasn’t a huge need.

    Decent NHLers would have sufficed

    You’re brave for suggesting that the trade wasn’t necessary.

    If we were as healthy in 15/16 as we were in 16/17 I doubt anybody would be arguing against that in 17/18.

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

    Kinger_Oil.redux: – Hey I didn’t jump onto this and basically say: “told ya, trading Hall and Eberle was dumb”

    – I don’t think that the reason goalies are averaging .955 is becasue our guys suck and can’t score

    – I think its because they have played a bunch of goalies who were hot

    – Now we an argue this untill we are blue in the face, and if it doesn’t change, and goalies play .40 better against our guys for 20 games higher than other team, and we continue to out shoot them, then maybe it’s possible

    – The thing is that never happens: no team goes 20 + games with the Goalies doing .955

    – We aren’t scoring: I can’t prove it, but my bias is that this is far more attributed to hot goalies than garbage players.

    – And hey I’m just providing some actual figures that show that goalies have been exceptional against us.Don’t hate the player, hate the game.Those stats have to be part of the discussion

    Please point out to me where I have ever said trading Hall or Eberle was dumb? What I’ve said is trading them without adequately filling in the gaps caused by their departures runs the risk of turning this team into a top-heavy team. I also said the returns on both those trades left something to be desired. That’s it.

    I’ve also said several times in this thread that I expect the scoring to improve. I’ve said the team shooting percentage won’t stay this low, it will rebound. But, that’s not the entirety of the problem–the problem I see is that you shut down Drai and McDavid and there’s not much else other teams have to worry about. I said Hall and Eberle are gone and not coming back, so what are the realistic solutions to this issue going forward?

    I have tried to turn the ongoing discussion people were having and turn it to a question about the present and the future, while highlighting that there will be improvement just due to regression in shooting percentages. They won’t be this bad. But they also won’t be very good with McDavid off the ice.

    I feel like you’ve come in here and cherry-picked a narrative you see in what I am stating here that doesn’t exist and that you choose to ignore my other points, which similarly mirror yours. This kind of discourse where you pick only what you want to see in what I write and ignore the rest is frustrating to me. If I do the same to you, I apologize. I just want to discuss what needs to be done for this team to take the next step. I agree they won’t be bottom of the League when all is said and done. But I see them as middle of the pack, even with improvement. Do you see otherwise?

    Last year was McDavid going nova, Drai breaking out, Talbot having an elite year and everyone being healthy. So far, the team hasn’t been as lucky on the health front and Talbot is looking good now but was not elite early. So we are where we are.

  32. leadfarmer says:

    tsg: And yet the two top lines were still over 50% GF with these right handed D when they were healthy. Which at the end of the day means you’re going to be winning games.Why is it a huge need if you’re going to be winning games with what you have?

    Because the game has moved very heavily to speed in the last few years. If you think we could have 50% goalshare with Fayne and Gryba now as your minute munching D I couldn’t disagree more. The game is speed speed speed and get the puck to the forwards with speed. Despite the goalshare I remember those teams trying to break out of their zone and it was not pretty. Now they would get eaten alive.

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

    Kinger_Oil.redux: – This is the conversation to have: whether we are gaming corsi, like Dallas did, or what, not high danger shots, etc but not: “I told you Hall and Eberle if they were here this would not happen”

    I didn’t say that. For fuck’s sake. I said they’re gone and not coming back so it doesn’t move the conversation forward. The issue is NOT replacing them adequately. Please stop creating narratives out of my posts that I have not intended and have said I have not intended over and over until I’m blue in the face.

  34. HT Joe says:

    Woodguy v2.0: That’s the way I see it.

    Chiarelli keeps bleeding scores off the roster.

    Top 4 goal 5v5 scorers last year with McDavid not on the ice;

    RNH 10 goals
    Pouliot 8 goals
    Pitlick 8 goals
    Eberle 8 goals

    *poof* and everyone wonders why they can’t score.

    Drai having his own line will help a lot, but man.

    This is going to be an upsetting season if things don’t improve. If the other teams just have to shut down McDavid, it’s going to be a tough season for the Oilers, and a tough season for McDavid.

    2015-2016 Season: 45GP, 16G, 32A, 48P
    2016-2017 Season: 82GP, 30G, 70A, 100P
    2016-2017 Playoffs: 13GP, 5G, 4A, 9P
    2015-2017 CUMULATIVE: 140GP, 51G, 106A, 157P

    In the past 2 seasons, McDavid has consistently had 2x as many assists as goals.

    2017-2018 Season: 8GP, 4G, 5A, 9P

    So far this season, McDavid is getting assists and goals closer to a 1:1 ratio. This isn’t to say that he’s necessarily more of a goal scorer this year, but rather, he may simply have poorer teammates in terms of goal setup.

    McDavid is currently tied for 37th in points this year. If McDavid still had his 4 goals, but also had 3 extra assists (to maintain his historic 2:1 Assist to Goal ratio), he’d have 12 points and would be 3rd in points this year (the same number of points as Auston Matthews, but with 1 game in hand). Lack of scoring depth is going to hurt McDavid’s box cars significantly.

  35. flyfish1168 says:

    If Hall wasn’t traded for Larson, Hall would have been traded for someone else. PC wanted Milan for his toughness and leadership. LW wing was going to change under PC. Hall was collateral damage.

  36. tsg says:

    leadfarmer,

    I’m not arguing that it wasn’t desirable to upgrade the RD. It would have certainly been beneficial, no question and there were options available. It’s the idea that it was a ‘huge’ need that ‘absolutely’ had to be filled at any cost immediately, that I am arguing against.

  37. Ice Sage says:

    4+ goals in just one game, please? balanced scoring? … am I asking too much?
    this is turning into a ‘watch the hi-lights later, maybe’ kind of season

  38. hags9k says:

    Missed the game tonight, but sounds like another good effort and a big point. Good response on the road trip in my opinion.

    Sounds like my man Darnell had a good game. Love it.

    Off topic, but are we really going to sign Leon for 8.5 and then never try him at 2C with Nuge on Connor’s wing? Seriously are we going to then trade Nuge and slap Leon at 2C then and just hope it goes ok? Why don’t they try it? 8.5M! Why can’t Leon babysit 2line for a little while so Nuge can go have a vacation?
    What if 97 93 is pure magic?

  39. frjohnk says:

    flyfish1168:
    If Hall wasn’t traded for Larson, Hall would have been traded for someone else. PC wanted Milan for his toughness and leadership. LW wing was going to change under PC. Hall was collateral damage.

    Chia also probably felt that JP would quickly replace Halls river pushing.

  40. Dino says:

    Lucic for Pacioretty please

  41. Dicky94 says:

    Pouzar,

    I hope they try it soon. Maybe with Lucic on the left side. Strome 3rd line center. They have to try something different because what they are doing right now isn’t working. So scared Chia is going to panic and trade Nuge if the losing continues.

  42. Georges says:

    “I understand if you are exposed to many fancy stats aficionados who over state their certainty like its their job.

    I am exposed to them too.

    Most of their analysis leaves me wanting.

    That said, when in conversations with people who understand this stuff and may actually use it for a living, that certainty (about most things) isn’t present.

    The only thing that is certain is that the team’s that get the majority of the shots are, over time, the better teams and that those teams tend to win more, and win more Stanley Cups, than the others.”

    Woodguy, Dec. 29, 2016.

    Carry on.

  43. Serenity says:

    Dino,

    Lucic’s contract may very well cripple the Oilers chances at competing for a Stanley…

  44. cc says:

    Just checking in. Have they fired the coach yet?

  45. McSorley33 says:

    Still a handful of people surprised at our utter lack of non-McDavid scoring.

    Though, the room does seem to be thinning out….

  46. Bag of Pucks says:

    The first extended stretch of disappointing hockey since the Hall trade has the Chiarelli haters in full throat. Surprise. Surprise.

    Thought the team could’ve beat the champs tonight if not for a 10 bell save by Murray and the poor decision to roll out Looch for 3on3.

    McDavid scores his first since the opener and Leon’s back in the lineup. Suspect once the primary talent starts scoring consistently, we’ll hear less about the secondary scoring concerns. Despite the chicken little panic, this team is not that ‘materially’ different than last year’s entry. Injuries are a thing.

    Oh yeah, Eberle and Pouliot were hot garbage last year. And If you had to roll the dice on Pitlick as breakout player vs IR contender this season, history indicates the latter was more likely.

    The plan has always been to build/spend down the middle with Connor, Leon, and RNH and build the wings through the draft (JP, Yammer, Benson, etc). The notable exception is Lucic and that contract is one area where I’m in full agreement with the haters.

    Who knows, maybe Drai and Lucic can find some chemistry to ignite a 2L. Let’s hope. For me, that’s a more enjoyable fan experience than rehashing trades that are so so done.

  47. Bag of Pucks says:

    Btw, I like Hall a lot. Fave player when he was here.

    But this sainthood that’s occurred since the trade would have you thinking he was the 2nd coming of Bobby Hull or Ovechkin?

    If tonight’s game should teach us anything, it’s that this team is a lot further than 1LW away from competing with the best.

    Sheary, Rust, Guentzl, Kuhnackl. Cheap wingers from the farm to supplement Crosby and Malkin. Building around the middle. Sounds like a plan.

    Or let’s stay in the past with Core 1 and Jason Demers as our 1D until the cows come home.

  48. Bag of Pucks says:

    And it’s hard to take Chiarelli critics across the board seriously when a big chunk of posters on here were offering Nurse as a sweetener a year ago to get Hamonic.

    Granted that’s not everyone, but it does speak to the relatively dubious merits of armchair GMing.

  49. frjohnk says:

    The team will turn it around.

    The good news is that with only 5 points in 9 games, there has not been much damage to our playoff hopes. Other than LA, the rest of the Pacific “contenders” have not been red hot.

    PTS
    Los Angeles 15
    Vegas 12
    Vancouver 11
    Calgary 10
    Anaheim 9
    San Jose 8
    Edmonton 5
    Arizona 1

    LA has built up a big lead, pretty hard to argue they wont be a playoff team.
    Vegas and Vancouver will falter.
    Calgary, along with Anaheim and San Jose have all had some wobble but they have not distanced themselves much from Edmonton. These are the teams Edmonton will be looking at catching in the near term.

    Every good team goes through slumps, Oilers slump just happens to be at the beginning of the year. They will learn from this losing streak and eventually go on a multiple game winning streak.

    Id rather lose 4 out of 5 now than in the first round.

  50. TheVengeFulOne says:

    Trying to remember that we don’t need to make it all up at once. It will be a tough battle to make the playoffs this year. If LA has quick all year last year, they are probably in, and calgary gets a 4 game head start on summer. I’m honestly not sure we are better than the pacific playoff teams.

    I hope they try to trade Lucic asap (Deadline, after season, rfn (how you say voulez-vous exchanger?)). Right now, there are 2 guys in the top six who can engineer offense, and 2 guys who can bang and have decent hands. That is a problem. I can live with defense not being addressed this summer, but the offense was a huge concern, and probably means I don’t get off work early in the spring.

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

    Bag of Pucks,

    I am not sure this is addressed to me in response to kinger framing my comments a certain way. He seems to do that and then argue with this purported narrative for the sake of it.

    I said

    Secondary scoring is an issue.
    The Oilers’ cold shooting won’t last and will bounce back.
    Last year the team was healthy. This year it hasn’t been. That is a thing.
    Regression to the meat will happen and this team will be better than and the voices lamenting the secondary scoring will go away.
    But that might be because of primary scoring. I’m just asking who among the non 97 and 29 crew will step up.

    Didn’t mention Chia today except in passing but if we are going there I think he is smart and he is an average GM. Some great moves and some doozies. I wouldn’t call myself a Chia critic.
    I’d say I just don’t think he is amazing like some do.

    Team will be better soon. I’m just asking how much better with what they have now. Who will step up?

  52. Bag of Pucks says:

    NYC-Back-to-Tokyo Oil (Gentleman Backpacker),

    Wasn’t directed at you. Thought your comments were balanced.

    Just really disliking this bump in the road bringing up the Hall BS again.

    Not healthy living in the past imo.

  53. Georges says:

    Georges:
    “I understand if you are exposed to many fancy stats aficionados who over state their certainty like its their job.

    I am exposed to them too.

    Most of their analysis leaves me wanting.

    That said, when in conversations with people who understand this stuff and may actually use it for a living, that certainty (about most things) isn’t present.

    The only thing that is certain is that the team’s that get the majority of the shots are, over time, the better teams and that those teams tend to win more, and win more Stanley Cups, than the others.”

    Woodguy, Dec. 29, 2016.

    Carry on.

    “I guess another way to say this is:

    Goal Share (GF%) is a terrible predictor of future goal share, so goal +/- is not a good stat.

    Shot Attempt Share (CF%) is a much better predictor of future goal share so shot attempt +/- is a useful stat.”

    Woodguy, Oct. 29, 2016.

    (The Oilers are currently first in 5v5 CF%, 27th in 5v5 GF%.)

    Carry on.

  54. Bag of Pucks says:

    Georges,

    Would you like a side order of ‘mic drop’ with that?

  55. PunjabiOil says:

    Chia also probably felt that JP would quickly replace Halls river pushing.

    This is true. I recall reading an article and Stauffer at that time whom indicated that when JP became available to draft at 4th OV, management felt more comfortable moving Hall.

    Much like moving Tom Gilbert to make room for Justin Schultz.

    Didn’t learn from their mistake.

    Putting the cart before the horse.

    An absolute series of disaster of moves that have long-term harmed the Oilers from being an annual contender.

    – Refusal to move Nurse in a package for Hamilton. He goes to a division rival. Would have helped the RHD balance when you have a LHD surplus (Klefbom, Sekera and later Russell).
    – Panic and trade valuable assets in deep draft (16 + 33) for a slow footed defenceman on the path towards being a bust.
    – Those assets (Barzal / Eriksson-Ek / Connor) no longer available to acquire a RHD. Reinhart is also a LHD.
    – Move Hall for Larsson – one elite line driver, on a value contract, who could carry his own line is gone.
    – Double down the error of trading Hall in signing a 28 year old with back problems to a 7 year contract.

    Just a series of repulsive, senseless moves that have left a sour taste and long-term damaged the health of the organization.

    Fuck you Chiarelli.

  56. Georges says:

    And, finally…

    “What I’ve done is observed the relationship between CF% and GF% on the player level for 10 years and know the correlation to be significant.”

    Woodguy, Aug. 19, 2017

    “We can conclude what we do about PDO because we have 10 years of data on thousands of players.

    It clusters tightly around 100 for 99% of the players.”

    Woodguy, Dec. 4, 2016

    For anyone who wants to check our players’ on-ice CF% and PDO:

    http://www.naturalstattrick.com/playerteams.php?season=20172018&stype=2&sit=5v5&score=all&stdoi=oi&rate=n&team=EDM&pos=S&loc=B&toi=0&gpfilt=none&fd=&td=&tgp=82&lines=single

  57. Mr. D. says:

    1 goal wins 5% of the games…we don’t have finishers except 97.
    Who the fuck figured 81 and 83 could work?

  58. GMB3 says:

    Imo Chia’s biggest mistakes was overvaluing Lucics on ice contribution and overestimating how quickly JP was going to be an impact player. The way the hockey world raved about JP I assumed he would step in as an 18 year old and make an impact.

    and as horrible as BP was last year I’d definitely take him over JJ or Khaira in the lineup.

  59. JimmyV1965 says:

    Pouzar:
    I think it’s bat shit crazy that Drai-Nuge or Nuge-Drai hasn’t been tried yet.

    Completely agree with this. It boggles the mind. Or maybe play him with McDavid. RNH is our third best player, but it’s abundantly clear he cannot drive a line. In an ideal world he wiould be our third line centre, but we simply don’t have the top 6 talent for that.

  60. GMB3 says:

    I mean it’s laughable that our best option for 1RW is Letestu and I love him as a player.

    Watching the speed of Sheary and Guentzel in the offensive zone with Crosby and how that helps create chances makes me seriously question the need to have two big slow bangers in the top 6 on each line. What year is it?

  61. TheVengeFulOne says:

    Bag of Pucks: So weird. League is trending downward as a grass roots live gate attraction, but continues to stay afloat via tv money. What does that say about your product when no one can show up to watch it live but they’ll give it a flutter on their tablet?

    If the CFL wants more bums in the seats, they should give TV rights to rogers. Then nobody will want to watch on tv.

    That and nobody wants to watch football in november. I’m not sure why more people don’t go, it’s a fun night out at a reasonable price. That said, I usually watch it on tsn.

  62. OriginalPouzar says:

    Man it was great to have Drai back last night – he is a very good hockey player.

    Disappointing to “lose” in OT last night but I’ll take the point and the 1-1-1- road trip through CHI, PHI and PIT.

    The secondary (and primary) scoring certainly is an issue but, unlike some of the earlier games, we were full value for our shots on net – we didn’t make Murray look good, Murray was good. Without some 10-bell saves, the Oilers may win that game in regulation.

    We need to parlay this decent road trip and some good/solid play in to 2 points at home on Thursday.

    Its a must.

    Lets Go Oilers!

  63. Woodguy v2.0 says:

    flyfish1168:
    If Hall wasn’t traded for Larson, Hall would have been traded for someone else. PC wanted Milan for his toughness and leadership. LW wing was going to change under PC. Hall was collateral damage.

    I think that’s the truth too

  64. Woodguy v2.0 says:

    Bag of Pucks,

    Oh yeah, Eberle and Pouliot were hot garbage last year.

    Goal scorers last year with McDavid off the ice:

    RNH 10
    Pouliot 8
    Eberle 8
    Pitlick 8
    Kassian 6
    Klefbom 5
    Lucic 4
    Cagguila 4
    Hendricks 4
    Draisaitl 3
    Nurse 3

    I agree that both Pouliot and Eberle weren’t great last season, but if they were hot garbage, how would you describe the rest of the team?

    Garbage that is so cold it can’t ignite?

    Slow garbage?

    Garbage without hands?

    Soggy organic compost?

  65. Woodguy v2.0 says:

    Georges: “I guess another way to say this is:

    Goal Share (GF%) is a terrible predictor of future goal share, so goal +/- is not a good stat.

    Shot Attempt Share (CF%) is a much better predictor of future goal share so shot attempt +/- is a useful stat.”

    Woodguy, Oct. 29, 2016.

    (The Oilers are currently first in 5v5 CF%, 27th in 5v5 GF%.)

    Carry on.

    Have you corrected for the fact that EDM has had the lead for 45 minutes all year and 40 minutes of that was the CGY game?

    Do you think the the CF% correction factors for “score adjusted” work well when such a large % of the TOI is spent behind?

    If you look at CF% “tied” the Oilers are about 9th with 53%.

    Gmoney did a exercise using a completely different method and came out with ~53% too.

    Context Georges.

    You need more.

  66. Woodguy v2.0 says:

    Georges:
    And, finally…

    “What I’ve done is observed the relationship between CF% and GF% on the player level for 10 years and know the correlation to be significant.”

    Woodguy, Aug. 19, 2017

    “We can conclude what we do about PDO because we have 10 years of data on thousands of players.

    It clusters tightly around 100 for 99% of the players.”

    Woodguy, Dec. 4, 2016

    For anyone who wants to check our players’ on-ice CF% and PDO:

    http://www.naturalstattrick.com/playerteams.php?season=20172018&stype=2&sit=5v5&score=all&stdoi=oi&rate=n&team=EDM&pos=S&loc=B&toi=0&gpfilt=none&fd=&td=&tgp=82&lines=single

    Check my blog this weekend.

    I’ll probably have a piece done that you’ll like on the Oilers current PDO.

  67. Woodguy v2.0 says:

    Georges:
    “I understand if you are exposed to many fancy stats aficionados who over state their certainty like its their job.

    I am exposed to them too.

    Most of their analysis leaves me wanting.

    That said, when in conversations with people who understand this stuff and may actually use it for a living, that certainty (about most things) isn’t present.

    The only thing that is certain is that the team’s that get the majority of the shots are, over time, the better teams and that those teams tend to win more, and win more Stanley Cups, than the others.”

    Woodguy, Dec. 29, 2016.

    Carry on.

    5v5

    CF% leading 55.32 (2nd in NHL)
    TOI leading 43 min(!!!)

    CF% tied 52.85 (7th in NHL)
    TOI tied 123 min

    CF% trailing 60.14% (8th in NHL)
    TOI trailing 182 minutes

    Context.

    Its a thing.

  68. Woodguy v2.0 says:

    Bag of Pucks,

    If tonight’s game should teach us anything, it’s that this team is a lot further than 1LW away from competing with the best.

    Sheary, Rust, Guentzl, Kuhnackl. Cheap wingers from the farm to supplement Crosby and Malkin. Building around the middle. Sounds like a plan.

    I agree that the Oilers need good wingers to supplement players who drive play.

    Problem is that they only have 1 who drives play right now.

    Crossing my fingers and toes that Drai can do it.

    We shouldn’t have to hope, the pieces were there to know they had the talent to do.

    Now we hope that Lucic won’t drag Drai down when Drai gets his own line.

    Wheee!

  69. danny says:

    At their worst CF% metric, they’re 8th in the NHL.

    They are riding a 4% shooting percentage. Terrible PDO.

    I’m really surprised to come here and see this being used as a platform to say ‘I told you so’ on trading Taylor Hall. He who has a 4% shooting pct. Granted that is much better than Eberle’s 0%.

    Take a deep breath everyone. We know about regression. Let’s talk about this then.

    This team is a solid 5v5 team that’s going to rely on goaltending, PK% and PP% to find success. This is who we are.

  70. russ99 says:

    My only real issue with Chiarelli is he’s continuing the fine tradition of MacT of leaving a gaping hole on the roster and only filling it with wishes and dreams, not reality.

    I don’t blame him for the Reinhart acquisition, he was swayed by the old boys and their bad scouting on that after weeks on the job. Why Bob Green still has a job after not scouting him in the AHL, and relying on old boy Oil King favoritism, I’ll never know.

    Hall – Larsson was a necessity. Nobody was giving us any decent defensemen without an Austin in return, and free agent options since were poor. Boston wasn’t sending us Hamilton and we can’t afford to gut the draft table for Hamonic with the system weak on forward prospects

    Last year he made all the right moves and we had a 100 point year and had a nice playoff run.

    This year I still think he made the right bet on young players rather than aging vets. If it turns out not to be successful, I have no doubts he’ll move some RFAs/assets for better talent. The problem is nobody really makes trades of consequence until American Thanksgiving, so we have to ride it out a little more.

    I have other issues with coaching, how the players are being utilized, playing Yamamoto despite missed scoring chances (keeping Yamamoto after 9 games would be a Chia mistake) keeping players together who don’t play well together, propping up RNH’s offense at the expense of players getting needed sorties to boost overall play on a McDavid or Leon centered line.

    So yeah, nobody’s running in lockstep with management, but these guys have proven they can win, so maybe 7 games is too few to assume they’re blithering incompetents.

    Besides we saw what that looked like for 10 years. Despite less than expected results on the ice, this ain’t it.

  71. Pouzar says:

    Woodguy v2.0: If you look at CF% “tied” the Oilers are about 9th with 53%.

    and that’s a damn good number. I don’t see the issue here.

  72. Pouzar says:

    danny:
    At their worst CF% metric, they’re 8th in the NHL.

    They are riding a 4% shooting percentage. Terrible PDO.

    I’m really surprised to come here and see this being used as a platform to say ‘I told you so’ on trading Taylor Hall. He who has a 4% shooting pct. Granted that is much better than Eberle’s 0%.

    Take a deep breath everyone. We know about regression. Let’s talk about this then.

    This team is a solid 5v5 team that’s going to rely on goaltending, PK% and PP% to find success. This is who we are.

    *slow golf clap*

  73. Pouzar says:

    Caggs concusses Schultz with elbow.

    https://i.imgur.com/URGKKYL.gifv

  74. Pouzar says:

    Where’s OP? I am worried. No posts since 3:55AM.

    He should have 4 workouts in by now.

  75. OriginalPouzar says:

    Pouzar:
    Where’s OP? I am worried. No posts since 3:55AM.

    He should have 4 workouts in by now.

    He had a great workout this morning at 4:15 – 5:45

    Had a conference call with Cypriot counsel as soon as I got home though so my regular 2nd posting session was delayed.

    I’m at the office now and ready to roll.

    Feeling fully confident with the uptick in their play on the road trip and parlaying that in to a very strong homestand!

  76. Professor Q says:

    Pouzar:
    Caggs concusses Schultz with elbow.

    https://i.imgur.com/URGKKYL.gifv

    This is not reprieve for Draisaitl…

  77. vinotintazo says:

    I agree their PDO is horrible, but it just reminds me of the Eakins era where we were saying the same for like 30 games untill he got canned. it was like losing 14 straight lol.

  78. Woodguy v2.0 says:

    Pouzar: and that’s a damn good number. I don’t see the issue here.

    I have a post for my blog in the works that will make you sad.

  79. GMB3 says:

    russ99,

    Propping up RNH’s offense? How?

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