The St. Louis Blues haven’t yet won a Stanley but have a rich history. Their early years featured two goalies who belong on hockey’s Mount Rushmore (Glenn Hall and Jacques Plante) and the greatest coach in NHL history (Scotty Bowman) figuring out how to keep players off balance and insecure. Pick a name from those early teams and you’ll find a treasured hockey story. Gerry Melnyk played for St. Louis in their first year of expansion, then was traded to Philadelphia. He retired before the start of the 1968-69 season, went into scouting for the Flyers and was instrumental in the drafting of Bobby Clarke. A rich history.
The special Lowetide offer is here. I’m so pleased that many of you have decided to come over and give it a try, I’ll do my best to keep you reading. The great thing is there are so many great writers you’ll never get a chance to read all the worthwhile articles. Seriously. Four new items this morning and that’s not all you’ll find there!
- New Lowetide: Oilers No. 7 Prospect Winter 2017: Ostap Safin
- New Corey Pronman: Update on all 31 teams, Edmonton focus Dmitri Samorukov
- New Jonathan Willis: Oilers failures more about team building
- New Tyler Dellow: Oilers hanging by a thread
- 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
THE LION IN WINTER, YEAR OVER YEAR
- Oilers in November 2015: 3-6-1, goal differential -5
- Oilers in November 2016: 3-6-1, goal differential -8
- Oilers in November 2017: 4-5-1, goal differential -3
November Game 10 in 2015-16 was a 4-3 overtime loss to the Detroit Red Wings. Last year it was 5-0 over Chicago as the Oilers were finally turning north for good (or so we thought). Edmonton will be no worse than tied with last year’s team if they lose in regulation this evening.
AFTER 20, YEAR OVER YEAR
- Oilers 15-16: 7-12-1, goal differential -8
- Oilers 16-17: 11-8-1, goal differential +7
- Oilers 17-18: 7-11-2, goal differential -13
G20 2015-16 was a tough 1-0 loss to Washington. Last year, it was a 6-3 win over the Colorado Avalanche. Edmonton badly needs a win tonight, all hands on deck and the goalie needs to be as brilliant as Glenn Hall and Jacques Plante were in St. Louis during the expansion era.
WHAT TO EXPECT FROM NOVEMBER?
- At home to:
Pittsburgh, New Jersey, Detroit (Expected: 2-1-0) (Actual 1-2-0)
- On the road to:
NYI, New Jersey, NYR, Washington(Expected: 1-2-1) (Actual: 2-1-1)
- At home to:
Vegas, St. Louis(Expected 1-1-0) (Actual: 1-1-0)
- On the road to:
Dallas, St. Louis, Detroit, Buffalo, Boston (Expected 2-2-1) (Actual 0-1-0)
- At home to: Arizona, Toronto (Expected 1-1-0) (Actual 0-0-0)
- Overall expected result: 7-7-2, 16 points in 16 games
- Current results: 4-5-1, nine points in 10 games
I have tonight as a loss, the Oilers are going to have a tough time with the Blues (who are 7-3-0 in their last 10). You can’t turn a switch and make up for all things, but if the goaltending holds I think Edmonton can begin to recover. The team is now six points behind No. 8 and five points behind No. 13 in the Western Conference. It’s a very bad way.
FORWARDS, LAST 10 GAMES
- It’s always helpful to look at recent numbers and in the case of Oilers forwards some of the “fourth liners” are beginning to bust a move.
- McLellan sounded frustrated when Anton Slepyshev got hurt again and the numbers suggest our Russian was coming on (well, we knew it but this is more proof) at the time. He is on the trip and could play before the weekend.
- Connor McDavid, Milan Lucic, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Leon Draisaitl are in the range of where you’d like them.
- Jujhar Khaira and Drake Caggiula are showing some promise, not enough to establish themselves as bona fide skill options but enough to get regular at-bats.
- The rest need to pick up the pace. A guy like Patrick Maroon is streaky, so this is going to happen. Mark Letestu is in a massive slump and veterans like Zack Kassian need a little more puck luck.
- Jesse Puljujarvi needs another point, hope he gets one soon.
DEFENSE, LAST 10 GAMES
- This is sorted by time on ice and it is revealing.
- Adam Larsson and Darnell Nurse are playing big minutes and have solid Corsi numbers. The top pairing is performing well, despite a lack of experience.
- Oscar Klefbom and Matt Benning are solid with the puck on their stricks and an adventure without it. I think they would be well suited to third pairing minutes, perhaps asking a lot of two still inexperienced hands.
- Kris Russell and Eric Gryba are the most often seen third pairing. Russell is losing his grip on a top 4D job, may return to a bigger role when Andrej Sekera returns. What happens if Yohann Auvitu and Gryba play together, and flourish?
— Aaron Portzline (@Aportzline) November 21, 2017
The Blue Jackets are looking for centers and the Sabres are the Sabres, so the list of possibles is long and varied. I’ll have a lash at some names that interest me.
- R Josh Anderson, Columbus. A big winger with good hands, he’s certainly a Chiarelli/McLellan type player. At 23 and with 115 NHL games, he’d be a nice plug-and-play who could be around for some time.
- L Evander Kane, Buffalo. If PC is of a mind to hit a home run, Kane (along with OEL and Max Pacioretty) might be an ideal target. He’s is playing very well this season.
- L Sonny Milano, Columbus. Fleet scoring winger still trying to find the range at the NHL level, his name has been attached to the Oilers in the past.
- RD Rasmus Ristolainen, Buffalo. A long shot for sure but the Oilers have a need and Ristolainen matches with his skill set. I expect the Sabres remain strong on the Finn’s future but you never know.
- RD David Savard, Columbus. Another player who has been attached to Edmonton over the years, he’s a big defender who has some mobility and can move the puck. Although many believe Edmonton needs wingers (and they do), important to remember Peter Chiarelli didn’t address second-pairing RHD over the summer. With Matt Benning’s struggles, now may be the time.
The OHL experts have spoken. Andrei Svechnikov is the top ranked OHL prospect in the Preliminary Media/Scout Poll for the 2018 NHL Draft. McLeod, Merkley, Thomas, & Hayton round out the top 5. https://t.co/hwnmLI6jtk
— OHL Prospects (@BrockOtten) November 21, 2017
I won’t be talking draft until January but there are some interesting items I track during the early part of the draft year. This is one. The OHL is a brilliant league, more fantastic talent comes from the Ontario league than any other annually. The names listed by Mr. Otten and friends are worth noting.
LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE
At 10 this morning, we’re drunk with guests on TSN1260. Scheduled to appear:
- Jonathan Willis, The Athletic. We’ll talk about Jon’s article (above) detailing the first 20 games of the season and what ails the Oilers.
- Lou Korac, NHL.com. The St. Louis Blues are a strong team in the NHL’s toughest division, and are getting more help (Jay Bouwmeester) as some injured players get healthy.
- Scott Cullen, TSN. The CFL season has one game remaining after a fantastic playoff season. Plus, are the Oilers too far behind?
- Vinny Iyer, The Sporting News. NFL playoff races are coming down to the wire and some very good teams (NFC) will be on the outside looking in.
10-1260 text, @Lowetide on twitter. See you on the radio!