G35 2017-18: Blues at Oilers

On the day he signed a contract with the Edmonton Oilers, Andrej Sekera stood stone alone on the depth chart. Despite (accurate) claims by the general manager that the new hire was an ideal second-pairing veteran, no soul alive could give you two names on the Edmonton depth chart who could play ahead of him. Losing Andrej Sekera was a bitter pill last spring, absolute disaster. Oilers win that series if he doesn’t get hurt, I believe that to be true.

Veteran defensemen like Sekera are valuable all year but in the playoffs, especially when the refs “put the whistle away” you need calm feet, calm brain, skill. Sekera is all that. At the time of the injury, estimates had 6-9 months, he’s coming back at seven months plus a few days. We don’t know how close to ‘True Sekera’ he’ll be tonight, but we will have a starting point.

THE ATHLETIC

Great Christmas offer! Includes a free 7-day trial so you can try The Athletic on for size free and see if they enjoy the in-depth, ad-free coverage on the site. If you don’t feel it’s worth the $4.49/month, cancel anytime during trial before getting charged. Offer is here.

LONG DECEMBER, YEAR OVER YEAR

  • December 2015: 6-2-0, goal differential +1 (12 points)
  • December 2016: 3-2-3, goal differential 0 (9 points)
  • December 2017: 5-3-0, goal differential +7 (10 points)

G9 December in 2015 was a 5-1 loss to Colorado, the Avs taking a too-many-men penalty 54 seconds in and then Blake Comeau scored 18 seconds later. Uh, yeah. Last year it was a 3-2 win over Tampa Bay in a shootout. Nice goal differential and a winning record. Heady days.

AFTER 35, YEAR OVER YEAR

  • Oilers 15-16: 14-18-2, goal differential -19 (30 points)
  • Oilers 16-17: 17-12-5, goal differential +8 (39 points)
  • Oilers 17-18: 15-17-2, goal differential -8 (32 points)

G35 two years ago was a 3-1 win over Winnipeg (Teddy Purcell, baby!), last year it was a 3-2 win over Arizona (GWG Matt Hendricks!). A win tonight, and another Saturday, and the Oilers are at fake .500 for the first time in what seems like forever (G2).

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 2-1-0)
  • At home to: Nashville (Expected 0-1-0) (Actual 0-1-0)
  • On the road to: Minnesota (Expected 1-0-0) (Actual 1-0-0)
  • At home to: San Jose, St. Louis, Montreal (Expected 1-1-1) (Actual 1-0-0)
  • 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: 5-3-0, 10 points in eight games

When I estimated this month, the Oilers were a very different team. I have this as a loss tonight, with the overtime loss on Saturday. Of course, the team you’ll see tonight at Rogers is a better group than the one I was looking at end of November. Big game.

KAILER YAMAMOTO

Scored a goal last night in a tuneup game, check out a terrific article on him from Michael Traikos in the National Post.

DARNELL NURSE

I’m absolutely certain most of you value Corsi and Corsi Rel less than I do, so you may want to skip this paragraph. I use CorsiRel when looking at large sets of defensemen in season, it’s a great indicator of players who are having success relative to team. It doesn’t tell us everything but it’s a valuable tool. Consider Darnell Nurse and his career rel’s, where he has ranked among regulars since his rookie season:

  • 2015-16: -5.35 (No. 152 among regulars (source)
  • 2016-17: +0.84 (No. 69 among regulars (source)
  • 2017-18: +5.42 (No. 14 among regulars) (source)

In his rookie season, Nurse ranked No. 152 out of 157 defensemen, ahead of only Luke Schenn, Mark Stuart, Matt Hunwick, Matt Carle and Dan Girardi. Nice progression in year two and now in his third NHL season Nurse is showing some signs of being a defender who can play tough minutes, big minutes, and outperform his teammates rel.

DRAFTING!

In the spring 2015, Peter Chiarelli arrived as general manager. It’s uncertain how much impact he had on that first draft (Caleb Jones was a departure), but traditionally we give credit to the sitting GM for draft results. It is vital for the Oilers to get two or three useful players out of the draft moving forward. It’s a team’s life blood. The reason for franchise downfalls, every time, has been a fallow period of drafting. You could look it up. Here are the results (so far) of each draft since 2015, and remember we’re looking for two NHL players per draft.

2015

  • Connor McDavid—161 NHL games. Per 82gp: 30-66-96
  • Caleb Jones—28 AHL games, tough start, flourishing in recent weeks. NHLE: 12.
  • Ethan Bear—10 AHL games, strong play with one concussion interrupting. NHLE: 23
  • John Marino—Playing well at Harvard, projects as a bonafide NHL prospect.
  • Miroslav Svoboda—No longer in organization, killing it in highest Czech league (.929).  
  • Ziyat Paigin—No longer in organization.

2016

  • Jesse Puljujarvi—45 NHL games. Per 82gp: 13-16-29
  • Tyler Benson—Healthy and playing well final season junior. NHLE: 35.
  • Markus Niemelainen—Struggling in the Sm-Liiga. NHLE: 2. 
  • Matt Cairns—Has played one NCAA game. 
  • Filip Berglund—Flourishing (injury aside) in the SHL. NHLE: 15
  • Dylan Wells—Uneven junior season, SP is .897.
  • Graham McPhee—Step forward in year two NCAA. NHLE: 17
  • Aapeli Rasanen—Running in lock step with McPhee. NHLE: 17
  • Vincent Desharnais—Continues quiet college career. NHLE:6

2017

  • Kailer Yamamoto—9 NHL games, currently in junior. Terrific skill set. Per 82gp: 0-27-27
  • Stuart Skinner—Slow start, recovering. Now at .900 SP. 
  • Dmitri Samorukov—Impressing in world’s best junior league. NHLE: 12
  • Ostap Safin—Impressive big forward posting strong QMJHL debut. NHLE: 20.
  • Kirill Maksimov—Scoring winger looking like draft steal in early days. NHLE: 16-12-28.
  • Skyler Brind’Amour—Playing well, but not dominating, BCHL. 
  • Phil Kemp—Surprising college numbers, good defender. NHLE: 7 

Oilers need at least two players a year, the first-round picks look like they may all cash. Among the rest, I’d list Caleb Jones, Ethan Bear, Tyler Benson, Filip Berglund, Graham McPhee, Aapeli Rasanen, Dmitri Samorukov, Ostap Safin, Kirill Maksimov and Phil Kemp as having good arrows. History teaches us most of those names will fall away. Are there three men in that group who will make the grade? There are some good resumes in that group, with consistency and injury being the big worries. We wait.

LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE

A fun morning as we get set for a massive Oilers game. All starts at 10, TSN1260. Scheduled to appear:

  • Bruce McCurdy, Cult of Hockey. Where to play Sekera, is Caggiula progressing? And why is Peter Chiarelli making so much room on the 50-man list?
  • Rob Vollman, NHL.com and ESPN. Is Mike Hoffman a comparable for Jordan Eberle? Plus Nashville’s blue.
  • Frank Seravalli, TSN.  We’ll drill down on the Oilers pre-freeze roster moves and what they might mean.

10-1260 text, @Lowetide on twitter. Talk soon!

 

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610 Responses to "G35 2017-18: Blues at Oilers"

« Older Comments
  1. BONE207 says:

    Pescador: And a splint for that Avitar

    My Avatar is fine…it’s my aim that needs help.

  2. vinotintazo says:

    Woodguy v2.0: In the playoffs last year EDM beat SJS with a Couture who couldn’t eat and a Thornton who couldn’t walk and then lost to ANA.

    I agree with most of your post, but you don’t get to Game 7 with ANA by luck. Last year the team was well built and finished the year beating everyone, and was 1 game a way or a few bad calls (against them) away from going to the WCF.

    It’s not like ANA who swept CGY rolled over u and exposed our D.

    I think 77,6,2,4 were a great top 4, now with Nurse emerging he can replace 4 eventually.

  3. Serenity says:

    thehop,

    This. And free.

  4. Mike Modano's Dog says:

    flyfish1168,

    He did, it reminded me so much of the good old days!!

  5. Bag of Pucks says:

    Woodguy v2.0: You assume incorrectly.

    I didn’t mention your first paragraph because its pretty embarrassing to you to be building strawmen and trying to compare players and situations which are nothing alike.

    Here’s your first paragraph:

    The issue isn’t ‘can Chiarelli acquire vet d-men,’ the issue is what’s the longterm impact on player development and cap management every time he does? Mark Fayne is your cautionary tale here, as was Ference and Nikitin before him. You act like ‘buyer beware’ is never a thing when the Oil have proven time and time again that it is a very real danger.

    So I list a bunch of Dmen, most of whom are well proven or on short term contracts.

    You list a bunch of Dmen who don’t fit either category.

    I ignored your first paragraph because it was more of the same ignoring of evidence and building up strawmen to knock down.

    If you follow your logic to its conclusion then no GM should buy any DMan at any time anywhere.

    You ignore a good argument, but I expect that so I just ignored your first paragraph.

    Also,

    In the playoffs last year EDM beat SJS with a Couture who couldn’t eat and a Thornton who couldn’t walk and then lost to ANA.

    I can’t believe how many Oiler fans look at winning one fucking playoff round last year and proudly display a giant “MISSION ACCOMPLISHED” banner.

    They won one round against a team with the equivalent of 97 and 29 in bad health and gutting it out.

    You may want to aim higher than “last year’s Dcorps”

    That said a Dcorps of:

    77-6
    25-4
    2-83

    Might do well if 25 can keep up pumping 4’s tires.

    Also,

    You’re really worried about long term implications of getting a cheap vet for a year or two, or a upper end vet for 3-4 years and the Dman and don’t mention that the Dman with the 5th most TOI/gm for EDM was signed for $4 x 4 by the GM in the summer?

    Maybe you should have just said “Beware of Chiarelli signing” and not “buyer beware”

    That’s not my opinion of the player, that’s the coach’s.

    Also,

    As for Talbot’s poor play:

    Last year he put up a .929 5v5
    This year he’s put up a .918 5v5

    Last year Brossoit put up a .930 5v5
    This year Brossoit put up a .914 5v5

    So both goalies are off a bit 5v5, but not a pile.

    Now 4v5

    Talbot
    Put up a .879 last year
    This year .796

    Brossoit
    Put up a .923 last year
    This year .791

    So the root of the shitty SV% and goals against is 4v5

    Two goalies who were good last year 5v5 are still reasonably close this year.

    Both fall off the map 4v5

    Maybe its not the goalies who have been given a free pass?

    Also,

    I haven’t given Larsson or Klef a free pass, but keep making up shit about me to fit your narrative.

    And the beauty of this is you also get to criticize Chiarelli when the assets he spent (players, picks, cap space) to acquire your stopgap go on to maturity with the team(s) that received them.

    You can criticize Petey for both the things he does and does not do. Being a Chiarelli hater is the ultimate having your cake and eating it too fulfillment scenario. I totally get why it’s so compelling.

  6. Woodguy v2.0 says:

    Bag of Pucks: And the beauty of this is you also get to criticize Chiarelli when the assets he spent (players, picks, cap space) to acquire your stopgap go on to maturity with the team(s) that received them.

    You can criticize Petey for both the things he does and does not do. Being a Chiarelli hater is the ultimate having your cake and eating it too fulfillment scenario. I totally get why it’s so compelling.

    I’ve given your precious “Pete”‘ props for his good moves and shit on his bad ones.

    It’s myopic people like you who divide fans into ” with our without us” camps much like political camps.

    It’s the refuge of the simpletons as it keeps them from having to critically think.

  7. Bag of Pucks says:

    Woodguy v2.0: I’ve given your precious “Pete”‘ props for his good moves and shit on his bad ones.

    It’s myopic people like you who divide fans into ” with our without us” camps much like political camps.

    It’s the refuge of the simpletons as it keeps them from having to critically think.

    You can’t jam much more ad hominem into a post than that.

    Ad Hominem: the last resort of the losing argument

  8. Evilas says:

    Bag of Pucks,

    Woodguy v2.0,

    I really enjoy reading what both of you post. As a former peacekeeper and someone who hopes for peace on Earth one day (never gonna happen) I hope on this Christmas Days Eve in China, no matter what your beliefs (for the record I am an atheist) I hope for peace on this bog.

    I wish you both health and happiness and an enjoyable and peaceful rest of the season.

    Cheers,

  9. Woodguy v2.0 says:

    Let me fix that for you:

    Bag of Pucks:
    “You’re right and I have no answer so I’ll resort to your listing the problems with my argument as attacks on me because I’m out of ideas”

  10. Bag of Pucks says:

    Evilas:
    Bag of Pucks,

    Woodguy v2.0,

    I really enjoy reading what both of you post.As a former peacekeeper and someone who hopes for peace on Earth one day (never gonna happen) I hope on this Christmas Days Eve in China, no matter what your beliefs (for the record I am an atheist) I hope for peace on this bog.

    I wish you both health and happiness and an enjoyable and peaceful rest of the season.

    Cheers,

    Good advice. Thanks for the holiday best wishes. Best of the season to you and yours as well : )

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