The Oilers lost in Nashville last night but the effort was as good as we’ve seen since before Christmas. The season is gone, let there be no doubt, but the club was watchable and showed well 5×5 and in goal. Special teams continue to be a mess, the depth is atrocious, the skill breathes only on the McDavid line—and the team has the luck of the Irish, but that was a good game. For me, that counts. A fix will be required, and the general manager is going to have some tough work in summer, but the heart of rock and roll is still beating on the Edmonton Oilers.
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- New Lowetide: Hard target search 2018 deadline (will link)
- Lowetide: Oilers and the 2018 Entry Draft
- Tyler Dellow: Oilers after 41
- Corey Pronman: World Juniors takeaways
- Lowetide: Expect the unexpected.
- Lowetide: What went wrong for Peter Chiarelli?
- Lowetide: Making the deadline calls on free agents
RED RUM, YEAR OVER YEAR
- January 2016: 2-2-1, goal differential -2 (5 points)
- January 2017: 2-3-0, goal differential -4 (4 points)
- January 2018: 1-4-0, goal differential -13 (2 points)
The month remains expansion team ugly but last night is perhaps something to build on. I suspect this team is tiring of being humiliated and was duly engaged in Nashville. If they play like that in Arizona, we’ll see another win on Friday night.
AFTER 44, YEAR OVER YEAR
- Oilers 15-16: 17-23-4, goal differential -26 (38 points)
- Oilers 16-17: 22-15-7, goal differential +7 (51 points)
- Oilers 17-18: 18-23-3, goal differential -24 (39 points)
WHAT TO EXPECT FROM DECEMBER
- At home to: Los Angeles, Anaheim (Expected 0-1-1) (Actual 1-1-0)
- On the road to: Dallas, Chicago, Nashville, Arizona, Vegas (Expected 2-2-1) (Actual 0-3-0)
- At home to: Vancouver, Buffalo, Calgary (Expected 2-1-0) (Actual 0-0-0)
- Overall expected result: 4-4-2, 10 points in 10 games
- Current results: 1-4-0, two points in five games
I can’t imagine the Edmonton Oilers standing pat for the rest of the season. This is beyond shocking and speaks to a mammoth misstep by management in summer (which we discussed but did not see as being an elevator shaft moment). We don’t know who pays for it, only that there will be a reckoning.
I had some computer issues last night (thanks to my kids for saving my laptop) so I can’t give you the usual Full Monty. Here are some observations:
- McDavid scored a beauty, could have had three and he’s a little pissed off based on his interview with Gene after the second. Looks to me as though 97 has built up a reasonable ‘to hell with this noise’ attitude so we could see something special this weekend.
- Edmonton won the HD and Corsi 5×5 battle by a substantial (10-6 and 59 percent) margin but did not win either in the third period. That was disappointing.
- The Oilers didn’t have much luck and didn’t get a call but there’s nothing you can do. Bring that effort more and the wins will come.
- McDavid had 4 HDSC’s, Maroon 2, Nuge, Lucic, Cammalleri and Sekera one each. None from the youngsters not named McDavid.
- Jesse Puljujarvi is not the same player on Nuge’s line, Todd McLellan has to put him back on the 97 line. Seriously. That’s a hill Peter Chiarelli should die on. It may not save his job, but it’s the right thing to do.
- Talbot stopped 22 of 24, .917
- McDavid line was 6-3 in HD’s, clearly chem (it’s like Clapton and Duane Allman).
- Nuge line was 4-1 in HD’s but the kid looks a little lost. Need to fix it schnell.
- Khaira-Strome-Cammalleri looked good to me, I would like to see them again.
- Nurse-Larsson were fine except for the head hit and immediately after. Put the Swedes back together.
- Klefbom-Benning were rocking chair, Klefbom is finding the range now. Put the Swedes back together.
- Sekera-Russell had a good evening, should play together again Friday. Put the Swedes back together.
Remember, when looking at 5×5/60 scoring, I like to think of it this way. Top line at 2.00/60 or over and it would be nice if someone from the second line approached the number. For second line, 1.80+ is reasonable and then after that anyone at 1.50/60 on the third or fourth line (imo) is doing well.
- Connor McDavid 2.53
- Leon Draisaitl 2.37
- Milan Lucic 1.92
- Ryan Nugent-Hopkins 1.87
- Jujhar Khaira 1.83
- Patrick Maroon 1.71
- Mike Cammalleri 1.56
- Jesse Puljujarvi 1.51
- Ryan Strome 1.47
- Zack Kassian 1.27
- Mark Letestu 1.15
- Drake Caggiula 1.14
- Anton Slepyshev 0.89
I think the top five names are either meeting expectations or close (Lucic was 2.00 before moving down to second line) and Maroon will soon be at 2.00 if he continues to play with McDavid. Cammalleri has been playing on depth lines and is getting some business done, Strome is about where we should expect him, and Puljujarvi is sinking like a stone because he isn’t playing with 97 or 29. I’ll go to my grave believing there’s an organizational disconnect on this player, no idea who is on what side.
For defensemen, I prefer Corsi for rel/5×5, a stat that has been demonized by many. It has been improved upon (the Puck IQ boys have a better number) but rel is universally available and (for me) remains the gold standard. It does not reflect toughness of the minutes played, so a player like Larsson comes out worse than he might if we adjusted things.
- Andrej Sekera 5.73
- Darnell Nurse 2.75
- Eric Gryba 2.03
- Brandon Davidson 1.87
- Yohann Auvitu 1.20
- Matt Benning -0.70
- Oscar Klefbom -1.45
- Adam Larsson -1.86
- Kris Russell -3.56 (Fenwick -1.27)
Welcome back Rej, Darnell took a big step forward in his contract year and (for me) Benning is having a better season than people are crediting him for posting. The Swedes have been injured during the first half and Kris Russell refuses to comply (even the Borg can’t get him). (nst)
— ISS Hockey (@ISShockey) January 10, 2018
There’s some real movement now, as the World Juniors had their impact and players like Evan Bouchard spike. My “Oilers player watch” includes Filip Zadina, Quinn Hughes, Ty Smith and Adam Boqvist, prospect insider Simon Boisvert suggested Oliver Wahlstrom would be a good addition as well (you should follow Simon on twitter, simonsnake70).