G50 2017-18: Avalanche at Oilers

We have reached Game 50 of a disappointing season, the Edmonton Oilers hurtling toward another summer of upheaval and more roster turnover. Very few sure bets (Darnell Nurse, Jesse Puljujarvi) came up aces, and just one of the complementary players (Jujhar Khaira) capitalized on his opportunity. This is a team with Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl and some very impressive pieces. That shopping list of summer is coming into view, and written across the top in big bright letters is “You better be right.” The question we have is whose desk does that list land on this summer?

THE ATHLETIC!

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RED RUM YEAR OVER YEAR

  • February 2016: 4-8-2 (10 points)
  • January 2017: 6-6-0 (12 points)
  • January 2018: 0-0-0
  • February 2, 2016: Edmonton 5, Columbus 1 (Source)
  • February 2, 2017: Nashville 2, Edmonton 0 (Source)

This year’s Oilers get a bit of a break in February, as both of Todd McLellan’s previous Oilers teams spent the month flat or worse. As you’ll see in a minute, the February schedule is nuts, but there is opportunity to both put the 15-16 team behind them and catch up on last year’s impressive club.

AFTER 49, YEAR OVER YEAR

  • Oilers 15-16: 19-25-5, goal differential -27 (43 points)
  • Oilers 16-17: 26-15-8, goal differential +14 (60 points)
  • Oilers 17-18: 22-24-3, goal differential -23 (47 points)
  • January 23, 2016: Nashville 4, Edmonton 1 (Source)
  • January 25, 2016: Edmonton 4 Anaheim 0 (Source)

The 2015-16 team would go 12-18-3 to end the season 31-43-8, 70 points. Last year’s Oilers went  21-11-1 to finish 47-26-9, 103 points. If the Oilers go 16-14-3 the rest of the way, Edmonton will finish the campaign 38-38-6, 82 points. I believe that’s going to be a pretty close estimate.

WHAT TO EXPECT FROM FEBRUARY

  • At home to: Colorado, Tampa Bay (Expected 0-1-1) (Actual 0-0-0)
  • On the road to: Los Angeles, Anaheim, San Jose (Expected 1-1-1) (Actual 0-0-0)
  • At home to: Florida (Expected 1-0-0) (Actual 0-0-0)
  • On the road to: Vegas, Arizona, Colorado (Expected 2-1-0) (Actual 0-0-0)
  • At home to: Boston, Colorado (Expected 1-1-0) (Actual 0-0-0)
  • On the road to: Los Angeles, Anaheim, San Jose (Expected 0-2-1) (Actual 0-0-0)
  • Overall expected result: 5-6-3, 13 points in 14 games
  • Current results: 0-0-0

I don’t see the turnaround coming, all due respect to Cam Talbot. I’m never going to bet against a team containing Connor McDavid, but there’s too many holes where the rain comes in to expect more than this.

50-MAN LIST

  • I have Iiro Pakarinen in the AHL and Nuge active, but this is the current list of 48 men.
  • The trading of Eddie Pasquale yesterday for two minor-league contracts gives the team a chance to wheel leading up to the deadline.
  • A waiver pickup is possible and there’s also a chance for the team to trade out a draft pick or non-roster player (Bogdan Yakimov, Filip Berglund, etc) for someone who will be placed on the 50-man roster.
  • Areas where Edmonton could deal from strength to address weakness: Left defense, Center.
  • If Leon plays RW, the Oilers may not need any additional talent on starboard over the summer. A depth chart of Draisaitl, Puljujarvi, Yamamoto and Kassian might be good enough out of the gate, with the two youngsters improving as the season rolls along. I suspect the team will add a two-way veteran in the 3R slot, though.

It’s an interesting idea (using Leon at 1R while Nuge is on IR) but it won’t be successful in my opinion. There’s simply not enough quality on the roster to manage this idea, pretty obvious in looking at these lines. Here’s my idea:

  • Maroon—McDavid—Puljujarvi
  • Lucic—Draisaitl—Slepyshev
  • Khaira—Strome—Cammalleri
  • Caggiula—Letestu—Kassian

Pakarinen and Auvitu sitting. It isn’t pretty, I don’t know if this group can score let along outscore, but the top two lines have skill and iron plus a couple of young shooters. The third line has a reasonable mix of skill, rugged and guile and the fourth line has a veteran feel plus some speed on the wings.

TYLER BENSON

The young winger had a solid night with two assists and is posting offense consistently these days. Edmonton is preaching patience now, you can hear it from Bob Nicholson and Peter Chiarelli. That’s fine, but beware of those overrating what’s in the cupboard.

I believe Kailer Yamamoto has a real chance to be a top 6F in the NHL. He’s high skill and very creative, plus he finds ways to get the puck despite his small size. Benson? I suspect he’s going to be a two-way winger, something I’ve believed from the start. There’s no sin in that but it is important to keep Benson’s offense in perspective.

  • Benson at 17: 30gp, 9-19-28 (0.933)
  • Benson at 18: 33gp, 11-31-42 (1.27)
  • Benson at 19: 37gp, 19-28-47 (1.27)

Benson at 19 should be spiking offensively, he’s running in place with his boxcars from one year ago. Again, there’s no sin in it, Benson projects as a solid NHL prospect. Important to keep his potential offense in perspective.

LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE

A fun morning, we’re drunk with guests beginning at 10, TSN1260. Scheduled to appear:

  • Bruce McCurdy, Cult of Hockey. Expectations of the second half, McLellan’s lines and pairings.
  • Andy McNamara, TSN. The Super Bowl! Eagles versus Patriots! Andy makes his call.
  • Rob Vollman, ESPN and NHL.com. Jagr’s retirement and strength of schedule the rest of the way.
  • Frank Seravalli, TSN. Oilers preaching patience.

10-1260 text, @Lowetide on twitter. See you on the radio!

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423 Responses to "G50 2017-18: Avalanche at Oilers"

« Older Comments
  1. Professor Q says:

    JimmyV1965:
    There’s a real issue if you have to put Strome and the Drake out there as the second unit in OT. There’s just a lack of talent.

    Strome was the best player on that line. Had a few good breakaways due to skill but had trouble finishing.

  2. Professor Q says:

    After seeing the Golden Knights goal that was allowed last night, the situation surrounding the goal “allowed but then disallowed” for Edmonton looks even sketchier.

  3. hunter1909 says:

    Professor Q: Strome was the best player on that line. Had a few good breakaways due to skill but had trouble finishing.

    Great. A UFA rental who struggles with the NHL game that cost Chiarelli real assets.

  4. Wilde says:

    hunter1909: Great. A UFA rental who struggles with the NHL game that cost Chiarelli real assets.

    Stromes rfa

  5. Wilde says:

    Anyways mornin fellas, I have some notes from NST and the condensed game on youtube because I couldn’t watch last night, but I don’t want to write too much before LT’s post.

    Quick note: the problems with this team seem few and consistent, also Klefbom Benning was ridiculous and once a pairing like that clicks(dual mobile puck movers) watch right the fuck out.

    But Klef will probably get shit on for that play on the PPGA

  6. hunter1909 says:

    Wilde: Stromes rfa

    Even worse!

  7. OriginalPouzar says:

    Professor Q: I swear that I saw Puljujärvi play in OT, though.

    Nope, no OT shift for Jesse.

  8. OriginalPouzar says:

    hunter1909: Even worse!

    Please explain….

  9. OriginalPouzar says:

    Wilde:
    Anyways mornin fellas, I have some notes from NST and the condensed game on youtube because I couldn’t watch last night, but I don’t want to write too much before LT’s post.

    Quick note: the problems with this team seem few and consistent, also Klefbom Benning was ridiculous and once a pairing like that clicks(dual mobile puck movers) watch right the fuck out.

    But Klef will probably get shit on for that play on the PPGA

    Klef and Benning were, by far, the best pairing last night – their shot metrics were off the charts.

    Too bad Klef was partially culpable on the shortie – partially.

  10. Wilde says:

    Ahaha no but really though, I think he’s got real value on the team or at the deadline. Mark “Anti-McDavid” Letestu is probably going to get us a 5th rounder, so an actual top 9 NHL centre at 2.50/1.25 should get us a 2nd rounder, more if Chiarelli plays it right.

    Hanzal got an insane haul. Do the right thing, Peter.

  11. Wilde says:

    OriginalPouzar: Klef and Benning were, by far, the best pairing last night – their shot metrics were off the charts.

    Too bad Klef was partially culpable on the shortie – partially.

    It’s too bad though, that Sekera gave most of it back. I give Nurses pairing a pass because of qual comp, but this Sekera thing sucks. It’s good that this ‘rehab during NHL games’ idea is occurring during a lost season, though.

    You just hope he gets back on track eventuallt. If he doesn’t….

  12. hunter1909 says:

    OriginalPouzar: Please explain….

    They are stuck with him for another season. A player who’s development stalled bigtime.

  13. SwedishPoster says:

    Don’t know if it’s been mentioned but the reason for Adam Larssons absence is that his father suddenly passed during a visit in Edmonton. His dad was a former elite hockey player so both Adam and his former club have made public statements today.

    My condolences to Adam and his family.

  14. frjohnk says:

    SwedishPoster:
    Don’t know if it’s been mentioned but the reason for Adam Larssons absence is that his father suddenly passed during a visit in Edmonton. His dad was a former elite hockey player so both Adam and his former club have made public statements today.

    My condolences to Adam and his family.

    Oh that is terrible.

    He was too young.

  15. Wilde says:

    SwedishPoster:
    Don’t know if it’s been mentioned but the reason for Adam Larssons absence is that his father suddenly passed during a visit in Edmonton. His dad was a former elite hockey player so both Adam and his former club have made public statements today.

    My condolences to Adam and his family.

    I’m 7 months younger than Adam, so my father his father’s age as well, I imagine.

    Much too soon.

    hunter1909: They are stuck with him for another season. A player who’s development stalled bigtime.

    Strome is a free agent this summer. His contract is up, and he needs a new one, just the same as if he was a UFA.

    The difference is that the club has to extend the qualifying offer, and no lower, in Ryan’s case it is 3M per.

    He can sign for one year at that value, or he or the team may decide to go to arbitration, or he may sign an offer sheet from another team.

    He’s a ‘free agent’ in the sense that he can sign with another team, but we can match it, or would be compensated with a 2nd rounder if it’s 3M. At 3.5M, a team would owe us a 1st and 3rd.

    The next cutoff is 5m and he won’t get that.

    Basically, having an RFA is always better than having a UFA, in my opinion.

  16. OriginalPouzar says:

    hunter1909: They are stuck with him for another season. A player who’s development stalled bigtime.

    1) No, they could not qualify him and he become a UFA so, no, not “even worse”

    2) He’s been one of the team’s better forwards over the last month. I would encourage fans to analyze the player without regard to his draft position or acquisition cost. His development has stalled vis-a-vis the ceiling of a 5th overall pick but he has become a consistent 3rd line performer over the last month. He’s creating more offence than anyone not named Connor or Leon.

    I’m not saying that we should or will qualify him at $3M, however, if he continues this level of play over the next 30 games, that contract would be not be obscene.

  17. SwedishPoster says:

    Wilde,

    Yes, it’s far too soon.

  18. OriginalPouzar says:

    Wilde: Mine as well. I’m 7 months younger than Adam, so my father his father’s age as well, I imagine.

    Much too soon.

    Strome is a free agent this summer. His contract is up, and he needs a new one, just the same as if he was a UFA.

    The difference is that the club has to extend the qualifying offer, and no lower, in Ryan’s case it is 3M per.

    He can sign for one year at that value, or he or the team may decide to go to arbitration, or he may sign an offer sheet from another team.

    He’s a ‘free agent’ in the sense that he can sign with another team, but we can match it, or would be compensated with a 2nd rounder if it’s 3M. At 3.5M, a team would owe us a 1st and 3rd.

    The next cutoff is 5m and he won’t get that.

    Basically, having an RFA is always better than having a UFA, in my opinion.

    For sure – all the above is true.

    The other option is to negotiate a contract below the required qualifying offer – chances are Strome won’t sign such a deal unless its got 2-3 years of term and he doesn’t think he would get $3M on the open market (and wants to stay).

    I’d be very happy to sign him for 3 years at $2.25M.

  19. Wilde says:

    SwedishPoster:
    Wilde,

    Sorry to hear about your father.

    Yes, it’s far too soon.

    Oh, I meant my condolences as well, that was written poorly.

    I edited it out now…

  20. Wilde says:

    OriginalPouzar: For sure – all the above is true.

    The other option is to negotiate a contract below the required qualifying offer – chances are Strome won’t sign such a deal unless its got 2-3 years of term and he doesn’t think he would get $3M on the open market (and wants to stay).

    I’d be very happy to sign him for 3 years at $2.25M.

    He turned down the Islanders QO before his current contract, I’d be in favour of trading him because of the uncertainty.

    Even though we have to replace him, we could snag a player at the draft with the picks we got at the deadline.

  21. SwedishPoster says:

    Wilde,

    Ok, I edited mine as well to avoid any misunderstandings.

  22. godot10 says:

    OriginalPouzar: For sure – all the above is true.

    The other option is to negotiate a contract below the required qualifying offer – chances are Strome won’t sign such a deal unless its got 2-3 years of term and he doesn’t think he would get $3M on the open market (and wants to stay).

    I’d be very happy to sign him for 3 years at $2.25M.

    Pittsburgh got Justin Schultz to sign a one year deal with a 60% reduction in salary after NOT qualifying him. Why in effing hell would the Oilers offer a nothing burger like Ryan Strome 3 years and only a 25% reduction?

    All the OIlers should offer Strome is a one year deal at about $1 million after NOT qualifying him. That would be the equivalent of PIttsburgh’s offer to Schultz.

  23. Réal Goudenyéu says:

    Did Quinn just yell money after that goal?

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