The RE series I do as preview (and postmortem) each season involves a series of questions and answers from two fans. I stole the idea from Bill James and his wonderful Abstracts. He’d have a “Rain Delay” chapter, often about potential hall of famers. It’s a wonderful trick, it’s kind of a mind exercise. I confess the ‘bold type’ fellow is a collection of you, posters over the decade plus of comments. Here we go.
The special Lowetide offer is here. I’m getting some questions about content. So, the offer I just linked to is for The Athletic, meaning you have access to Jonathan Willis and BlackDogHatesSkunks and Minnia Feng and Sunil Agnihotri, but also to pieces from people like Tyler Dellow. You can get access to all of the writers and I have to say it’s a massive site. I love the Pronman stuff and also the Lebrun, Duhatschek, Mirtle, et cetera. Brilliant damned site.
- New Lowetide: What’s Wrong with the Edmonton Oilers?
- New Jonathan Willis: Connor McDavid’s recent struggles
- Lowetide: Analyzing the Mike Cammalleri trade.
- Lowetide: Plenty to be gained from a losing season, but it takes some balls.
- Lowetide: Oilers No. 1 Prospect Winter 2017: Kailer Yamamoto
- Lowetide: Oilers No. 2 Prospect Winter 2017: Jesse Puljujarvi
- Lowetide: Oilers No. 3 Prospect Winter 2017: Ethan Bear
- Lowetide: Oilers No. 4 Prospect Winter 2017: Caleb Jones
- Lowetide: Oilers No. 5 Prospect Winter 2017: Tyler Benson.
- Lowetide: Oilers No. 6 Prospect Winter 2017: Kirill Maksimov
- Lowetide: Peter Chiarelli’s trades.
- Special Offer
I’ll have No. 7 winter prospect up later today or first thing tomorrow. Lots of wingers and defenders have made the list so far, not a goalie or center in sight.
- Well, the season is over! Yeah, pretty close.
- WAIT, what? I thought you’d say it wasn’t over! Well, we’re probably 10 days from talking trade deadline selloffs and then draft chatter in January. Maybe the club rips off four road wins in a row, but maybe Talbot lets in a goal 90 seconds in.
- Take the gaspipe! This is my time to be angry! Oh, I’m sorry. Angry away.
- You promised me a successful season! Ass! I did predict a strong year, slightly less impressive than a year ago. My bad. I’ll do better next year.
- This is a very unsatisfactory interaction. If I had a dime for every time…
- What went wrong? Well, most of the bets Peter Chiarelli made in summer haven’t worked out yet. Maybe they will long term and perhaps these solutions arrive just in time.
- What was that blasted Chiarelli shopping list of yours? Oh, yes. It was (in order) sign McDavid, sign Leon, lose little in the expansion draft, find a second-pairing RH blue with two-way acumen (didn’t do it), find a stopgap replacement for Andrej Sekera (Kris Russell), find a mirror man for Leon (Strome), cap relief (Eberle for Strome).
- What bets haven’t worked out? Basically all of them. The penalty killers can’t penalty kill (although it is improving), Ryan Strome and Kris Russell haven’t covered their investment and none of the kid wingers have stepped up. Darnell Nurse has made a step forward and that’s a positive.
- Anything else? Yes! Some veterans the team was counting on (Talbot, Letestu) have not delivered as expected.
- Anything else else? Injuries (even beyond Sekera) have had a tremendous impact on the team’s fortunes. Even the annual November flu has taken a toll. Leon Draiasitl is an example but there are others.
- How much of this is on Todd McLellan? Some, I’d say. He (like every coach) can be stubborn and his special teams are not rocking yet. I don’t blame him for leaving Leon Draisaitl on McDavid’s RW for so long, the combination of injuries and ineffective play forced his hand.
- How much of this is on the players? There are many on the roster who are posting numbers well south of career norms, and several youngsters who are failing to grab NHL jobs that are just sitting there. If this team continues to struggle a lot of these men won’t be back.
- Like? The kid wingers who aren’t teenagers are in trouble, third and fourth line are going to be looked at closely, they’ll move out some blue.
- What is good on this team? I like the top of the batting order among forwards offensively 5×5. Leon Draisaitl (2.63), Connor McDavid (2.45), Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (2.26) and Milan Lucic (2.09) are all posting quality numbers. Patrick Maroon (1.75) is in the range but after that (next up: Ryan Strome, 1.26) the offense dies. It’s like a baseball team with automatic outs after their No. 5 hitter. But the top and heart of the order are quality.
- Who do you like on defense? Everyone has their own preferred metric, I like Corsi Rel 5×5. Darnell Nurse (7.77), Yohann Auvitu (3.66) and Eric Gryba (3.34) are in the black. Adam Larsson (-1.72) and Oscar Klefbom (-2.24) are hovering around .500, while Matt Benning (-4.38) and Kris Russell (-6.87) are off the pace.
- What about Talbot? He hasn’t been good enough. A .905SP is backup goalie territory. Oilers need more from him, I expect they will get it.
- How much of this is on Peter Chiarelli? A lot, this is his club. Many of the bets PC made for this season (Strome, Slepyshev, Yamamoto, Puljujarvi, Slepyshev, Russell, Jokinen) haven’t worked out or have been slow off the mark. He is responsible for the roster.
- Will it cost him the general manager’s job? I don’t think it will. The Oilers posted 103 points a season ago, Katz will give both GM and coach one more season to get it right.
- Will PC make a trade? He might. If OEL and or Max Pacioretty come available, well that’s a pretty interesting scenario.
- Who is on the block? If you’re trading for a big name, it’s going to take multiple pieces.
- Three for one! Yes. Oscar, Jesse, the 2018 first rounder, any and all in the system, it’s a limited menu but there is some talent at the front end of the list.
- If they flush the general manager, who replaces him? It’s a fairly long list of possibles. Wayne Gretzky, Kevin Lowe, Craig MacTavish, Keith Gretzky, Scott Howson, Bob Green.
- Scott Howson doesn’t work for the Oilers. Yes, he does. V-P, Development.
- You’re a lying sack of cement! Okay, fine. Have it your way.
- Why do you hate Jesse Puljujarvi? I like him a lot, he’s a gigantic PF type and I bet he emerges as a 20-goal man, possibly soon. However, part of the reason Chiarelli dealt Taylor Hall (and Jordan Eberle) was based on the big Finn being able to establish himself as an NHL player with goal-scoring ability. It hasn’t happened yet. That isn’t hatred, that’s observation.
- But you would trade him? For a young scoring-winger under control who is more established at the NHL level.
- Should PC have drafted Sergachev? Yes. Or Tkachuk. That’s hindsight though, we (I) would have been all over him if the Oilers had passed on Puljujarvi.
- Where did you have Sergachev on your list? I had Puljujarvi No. 3 and Sergachev No. 6. Source
- What happens at the deadline? If the Oilers are buyers, look out. PC is going to load up ala Kevin Lowe in 2006. If they are sellers, look out the other way. Lots of men flying out of town, and that will be a harbinger of the change we’ll see in summer. If PC stays, some veterans are going to be gone (should the team miss the playoffs).
- What one thing can Peter Chiarelli do to appease fans and help the team at the same time? Trade for Taylor Hall.
LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE
A busy show, 10 this morning TSN1260. Scheduled to appear:
- Pierre Lebrun, TSN and The Athletic. Leafs Oh My, Oilers Oh No, Habs Oh My God.
- Andrew Bucholtz, Awful Annoucing. What a CFL weekend!
- Jason Gregor, TSN1260. Jason Maas makes a baffling call plus can the Oilers pull out of this tailspin?
- Corey Graham, TSN1260. Oil Kings complete road trip and are in a world of hurt.
10-1260 text, @Lowetide on twitter. See you on the radio!