The sense of urgency has been here for weeks but the formula from a year ago has proven elusive. Wednesday was either real progress, the result of being humiliated in St. Louis, or both. Bottom line: The team we saw opening night against Calgary, the team we saw against the New Jersey Devils, the team we saw in Detroit earlier in the week, that team should really show up in Buffalo tonight. Seriously.
The special Lowetide offer is here. A new item for you this morning from Katie Strang and I have an article on the Bakersfield Condors and development that should drop any time (I will link below):
- New Lowetide: Fresh Farm Produce
- Katie Strang: Oilers respond in Detroit
- 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: Oilers No. 7 Prospect Winter 2017: Ostap Safin
- Lowetide: Oilers No. 8 Prospect Winter 2017: Filip Berglund
- Lowetide: Nadir’s Raiders
- Lowetide: Sail on, Ziyat Paigin
- Lowetide: Analyzing the Mike Cammalleri trade.
- Lowetide: Peter Chiarelli’s trades.
- Special Offer
SNOWBLIND FRIEND, YEAR OVER YEAR
- Oilers in November 2015: 4-6-2, goal differential -6
- Oilers in November 2016: 5-6-1, goal differential 0
- Oilers in November 2017: 5-6-1, goal differential -4
G13 in 2015-16 was the final game of the month, a 3-0 loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs. A year later, 3-2 shootout loss to the Arizona Coyotes. A win by Edmonton this evening will give this year’s team the edge for November.
AFTER 23, YEAR OVER YEAR
- Oilers 15-16: 7-14-1, goal differential -12
- Oilers 16-17: 12-8-2, goal differential +10
- Oilers 17-18: 8-12-2, goal differential -14
In 2015-16 it was a 4-3 overtime loss to the Detroit Red Wings and a year later it was a 2-1 loss to Arizona. A win for the Oilers gets them to 20 points and puts them on pace for 71 points for the season. This second road trip could still bury them.
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 1-2-0)
- 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: 5-6-1, 11 points in 12 games
At the beginning of the month, I had Buffalo and Arizona as wins. If the Oilers can come away with two points from each of those games, and grab a point from one of Boston or Toronto, Edmonton will match my original prediction for November.
LIVING ON THE EDGE
- Elliotte Friedman: “I do think that everybody there is on notice now. I think this is one of those years when you’re trying to challenge to win the Stanley Cup and you’re going like this – you’re in danger of being out of the race already – I don’t think there is anybody who is safe. I think this is an owner who had great expectations for this year. He’s a tough, very demanding guy. I believe in situations like this everybody is on alert. Everybody is on the edge.” Source
I don’t think this should come as much surprise, the expectations for this team were very high and the results have been extremely poor. The bets made on the department of youth have not worked out, having no real cover for Jordan Eberle’s exit remains an issue and not replacing Andrej Sekera on defense is exactly as harmful as we thought it might be during the summer.
LOWETIDE JUNE 30, 2017
I have looked at this thing from every angle and it still comes back to Jesse Puljujarvi. The No. 4 overall selection in the 2016 draft, he is visually dynamic and has reached the age where men with his pedigree find the range as NHL players. Peter Chiarelli should be able to rely on him, but we didn’t see enough from him a year ago to make JP a lock for a skill line this fall. Peter Chiarelli appears to have decided to proceed as if Jesse Puljujarvi is ready, or that is my read going into free agency. Is this a position he can defend? Sure. Is it dangerous? Unless he has a backup deal in his hip pocket that can be cashed at any time during the season, my answer is yes.
It doesn’t have to be this way. The Oilers could sign a scoring RW in free agency, overpaying on a one-year deal if necessary, and have the depth chart set up in a far more promising fashion. It sounds like, based on what we are hearing, PC is going to add an end of the roster type player and then see how things play out.
The bottom line: The Edmonton Oilers continue to build toward a goal that will reach its zenith in the years to come, perhaps 2020 or 2022. The window to win, currently open, will receive no extra push this summer. At the deadline? We’ll see about it then. I will tell you this is not my preference and I believe there is real danger here. A step back, while the Calgary Flames push to the top of the Pacific Division, is a noxious thought for Oilers fans. I do not see the Flames as the class of the group at this time.
No one is suggesting PC blow the budget this summer, but a one-year deal for Radim Vrbata or another veteran scorer could offer cover for him, Todd McLellan, and frankly Jesse Puljujarvi. If we head to free agency and see Edmonton sign fringe options, everything comes into play. That means Leon on RW is a real possibility. A dive in goal differential early in the year is possible, meaning a stumble until a fix can be found (at a price more dear than the current cost in summer). This is my opinion. Source
Every once in awhile I’ll get a dm or an email, or someone will write in the comments “hindsight is 20/20” but the truth is we talked about this all summer. And yes, we also talked about 95-100 points for this team, not because they were balanced, but rather because Connor McDavid, Cam Talbot. If Peter Chiarelli is under pressure today, it’s because Peter Chiarelli decided to give his team cover on July 1 by signing Ty Rattie, Mitch Callahan, Grayson Downing, Keegan Lowe, Ryan Stanton, Brian Ferlin, Edward Pasquale.
That’s partly why I don’t buy the current pressure on Chiarelli from inside. Unless there’s a palace coup going on, every one of Edmonton’s 50 managers had to have known this was another building season. The comments by Mr. Friedman suggest the owner is pissed, I would think that rage would have been far more effective on July 1. We saw this coming, I expect the Oilers did to, and decided 97 would outscore the mistakes again.
Peter Chiarelli may pay the price, but the flawed thinking remains. The biggest mistake he made was leaving the old soldiers in place. He should have made that part of his ask: Clear the decks, start again.
If the Oilers fire Chiarelli during the season, my guess is they replace him with one or more of Wayne Gretzky, Kevin Lowe and Craig MacTavish. Paul Fenton may never be available but he sure as hell isn’t going to pop loose until the offseason, and that’s when this business should happen. For me, firing general manager or coach during the season is the move of a loser. There is danger here, trading Ryan Nugent-Hopkins for Ryan Murray would further harm this roster, but a trade like that makes zero sense and I don’t see Chiarelli doing it or Katz signing off on it.
LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE
It’s Friday! Lots of great things to discuss and a full boat of terrific guests. 10 this morning, TSN1260:
- Steve Lansky, BigMouthSports. Can the Oilers turn north in time? Plus Grey Cup memories.
- Paul Sir, The Basketball Show. Paul drops by for basketball talk, it’s a preview of his loaded Saturday show.
- Matt Iwanyk, TSN1260. Grey Cup and Oilers turning north, plus MOP’s hats.
- Paul Almeida, SSE. Western final reviewed one last time, Oilers and Chiarelli.
10-1260 text, @Lowetide on twitter. See you on the radio!