This Edmonton Oilers team is going to need to battle through the month of December while Adam Larsson, Andrej Sekera and Cam Talbot get healthy. Even with that, there are some baffling tendencies. A team containing Connor McDavid is going to have real firepower, but it’s important to do something worthwhile when 97 is at rest. There’s something wrong with this team, I suspect it won’t be fixed until summer. The special teams put them in a hole every night. Right wing and depth are an issue. This is a recipe for a lottery pick.
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- New Lowetide: Oilers at the World Juniors
- New Jonathan Willis: What do the Oilers have in Matt Benning?
- New Lowetide: Just win, baby. Or else!
- New Tyler Dellow: Western Conference coaches and line matching
- New James Mirtle: A crazy year at The Athletic!
- 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: Oilers No. 9 Prospect Winter 2017: Jujhar Khaira
- Lowetide: Oilers No. 10 Prospect Winter 2017: Nick Ellis
- Lowetide: Oilers No 11-20 Prospects Winter 2017
- Lowetide: Moonstruck
- Lowetide: Fresh Farm Produce
LONG DECEMBER, YEAR OVER YEAR
- December 2015: 2-0-0, goal differential +1
- December 2016: 2-0-0, goal differential +4
- December 2017: 1-1-0, goal differential 0
An opportunity missed for Edmonton, a win last night would have set up the month nicely. Even more disturbing, the Calgary Flames increased their lead with an OT loss against Toronto last night. As bitter a pill as it must be for Peter Chiarelli this morning, his team isn’t competitive in the Pacific Division.
AFTER 28, YEAR OVER YEAR
- Oilers 15-16: 11-15-2, goal differential -13
- Oilers 16-17: 14-10-4, goal differential +9
- Oilers 17-18: 11-15-2, goal differential -15
This season is now a full frontal doppelganger (or vice versa) for two years ago, simply cannot put together a winning streak. A win last night and there’s some light up above, but this team can’t knit one nor purl two.
WHAT TO EXPECT FROM DECEMBER
- On the road to: Calgary (Expected: 0-0-1) (Actual: 1-0-0)
- At home to: Philadelphia (Expected 1-0-0) (Actual: 0-1-0)
- On the road to: Montreal, Toronto, Columbus (Expected 1-2-0) (Actual 0-0-0)
- At home to: Nashville (Expected 0-1-0) (Actual 0-0-0)
- On the road to: Minnesota (Expected 1-0-0) (Actual 0-0-0)
- At home to: San Jose, St. Louis, Montreal (Expected 1-1-1) (Actual 0-0-0)
- On the road to: Winnipeg (Expected 0-1-0) (Actual 0-0-0)
- At home to: Chicago, Winnipeg (Expected 1-1-0) (Actual 0-0-0)
- Overall expected result: 5-6-2, 12 points in 13 games
- Current results: 1-1-0, two points in two games
The road trip starts this weekend and represents a tough climb (Pikes Peak!) for this team. Injuries are an issue, there’s no doubt about it, but depth was a problem when the train left the station.
DEFENSE, LAST NIGHT
- Klefbom-Benning went 9-5 in 11:31 together, relatively quiet and I thought the duo played well. Went 9-3 against Raffl-Filppula-Voracek, that line had some things going on.
- Nurse-Russell went 20-13 in 14:52 together, poor decision by Russell on the third goal and it was an unnecessary wrinkle. Nurse played well, didn’t impact the game offensively despite having the puck on his stick in some promising areas of the ice. Went 12-8 against Giroux-Couturier-Simmonds, that’s a good result.
- Auvitu-Gryba were 6-12 in 9:16, 1-2 in HDSC’s. I like Auvitu’s game, he doesn’t play much though and one guesses Brandon Davidson is about to draw in. Gryba fumbled the puck on a GA, and turned over the puck too much.
- Laurent Brossoit stopped 29 of 32, .906.
- Natural Stat Trick and NHL.com.
FORWARDS, LAST NIGHT
- Caggiula-Draisaitl-Strome went 11-6 together in 8:31, had two scoring chances but nothing overly dangerous. I think it’s fairly clear Leon needs a more dynamic winger if this line is going to go big. Then again, the line went 9-6 in 7:49 against Giroux-Couturier-Simmonds, not exactly the soft parade.
- Khaira-Letestu-Kassian went 8-6 in 8:09 together, both wingers were skating very well. Went 5-1 against Konecny-Patrick-Weise, that’s a deal Todd McLellan would make every night against a fourth line.
- Lucic-McDavid-Puljujarvi went 12-12 (Lucic) and 6-6 (JP) with 97, as Leon stepped up to the big line later in the game. CMD had some grand moments and almost scored a couple of times, but the best opportunities last night came on special teams. Went 4-4 against Giroux-Couturier-Simmonds in 6:34.
- Maroon-Nuge-Cammalleri went 9-15 in 10:25, went 4-5 in 4:58 against Giroux-Couturier-Simmonds. I think we’ll see a shuffle, possibly Maroon back with 97 and 29, Nuge back with Lucic and perhaps 98.
ISS TOP 10 (NHLE)
I’ll be spending some time on the 2018 draft once we hit January, kind of wading in now to see what’s going on. At this point, the Oilers would pick No. 3 overall. Early days, but my top three from this group would be (in order) Dahlin, Svechnikov and then Zadina. I would have Quinn Hughes No. 4 and that guy may end up passing Zadina. Early days.
He’s ripping it up now (NHLE: 27.6) and among the top prospects in the system. His coach has nice things to say about him and he is trending in a very good direction (10gp, 8-5-13). That’s not far from Tyler Benson (10gp, 7-10-17) and his torrid pace, and along with Kailer Yamamoto and Ostap Safin there is some hope among the forward prospects in the system. All four ranked high in my Winter Top 20 and all but Yamamoto have spiked since then. Encouraging.
LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE
At 10 this morning, full boat and some gigantic brains. TSN1260, scheduled to appear:
- Bruce McCurdy, Cult of Hockey. Dissecting another loss with my friend. I may bring opium.
- Steve Kournianos, The Draft Analyst. World Junior rosters, plus 2018 draft.
- Rob Vollman, NHL.com & ESPN. Goalie problems and their causes (Edmonton connection).
- Frank Seravalli, TSN. Is this season over for the Oilers?
10-1260 text, @Lowetide on twitter. See you on the radio!