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?
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- New Lowetide: Moves of 2018 summer eerily similar to needs of 2017 summer (will link)
- New Lowetide: Oilers draft and college returns
- New Jonathan Willis: How effective is Leon without McDavid?
- New Corey Pronman: Mid-Season draft rankings
- Lowetide: Do you trust Peter Chiarelli?
- Lowetide: Central Scouting and where the Oilers shop for talent
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.
- 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.
No Kassian or Talbot
— Bob Stauffer (@Bob_Stauffer) January 31, 2018
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:
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.
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!