If the Edmonton Oilers continue to lose (now five in a row) it’s going to cost a lot of people their NHL jobs. Fans are talking about the coach and the general manager, but the real cost will be to the players. Same as it ever was. In 2009-10, Robert Nilsson played in 60 games for the Oilers, scoring 11 goals and 27 points. He was 24, and would never play in the NHL again. Patrick O’Sullivan was also 24 that year, scoring 34 points in 73 games. He would play for three more teams in two seasons and then find his way to Finland. Drake Caggiula is 23, on pace for 13 goals in his second NHL season, and attached to the Chiarelli regime. Does he have a future in the Gretzky administration? History is most informative in these things. There is an overwhelming sense of finality in watching a hockey team on a death march. The coaches and managers may end up in a new town and in a different role in an NHL city, but the players are the truly vulnerable. I hear Khanty-Mansiysk is nice this time of year.
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- New Lowetide: In defence of Cam Talbot.
- Lowetide: Is Ryan Strome a keeper?
- Jonathan Willis: Bob Nicholson shines a light.
- Lowetide: Value contracts in 2018-19
- Lowetide: Draft 2018: Oilers and the WHL.
- Lowetide: What would Sam Pollock do?
- Lowetide: Oilers Keeper List
- Lowetide: Draft 2018: Oilers and the WHL.
- Lowetide: Oilers draft history and the OHL
VIVA LAS VEGAS, YEAR OVER YEAR
- February 2016: 3-4-0, goal differential -1 (6 points)
- February 2017: 4-3-0, goal differential +1 (8 points)
- February 2018: 1-5-1, goal differential -8 (3 points)
Absolutely bleeding now, Edmonton is going to get a great spot for the draft and that could mean one of the fabulous forwards (Svechnikov, Zadina) will still be on the board when the club selects in the first round.
AFTER 56, YEAR OVER YEAR
- Oilers 15-16: 22-29-5, goal differential -36 (49 points)
- Oilers 16-17: 29-19-8, goal differential +12 (66 points)
- Oilers 17-18: 23-29-4, goal differential -31 (50 points)
Shameful position for this team now, that 15-16 team had all kinds of issues. In the days after the season, stay close to your preferred media alerts. I think we’ll see some bloodshed and I don’t think that’s breaking news. It would be impossible at this point to frame this season as anything more than an unmitigated disaster. There is still time, but a winning streak, the sudden emergence of Jesse Puljujarvi as a scorer on 97’s line and an improved penalty kill seem out of reach for the Edmonton Oilers. What a mess.
WHAT TO EXPECT FROM FEBRUARY, YEAR OVER YEAR
- At home to: Colorado, Tampa Bay (Expected 0-1-1) (Actual 1-0-1)
- On the road to: Los Angeles, Anaheim, San Jose (Expected 1-1-1) (Actual 0-3-0)
- At home to: Florida (Expected 1-0-0) (Actual 0-1-0)
- On the road to: Vegas, Arizona, Colorado (Expected 2-1-0) (Actual 0-1-0)
- 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: 1-5-1, three points in seven games
The disappointment of letting go the rope is probably part of the current showing, but this Oilers team appears to have poor work habits married to the attention span of a gnat. Very poor performances, I’m talking Pat Quinn Oilers outings, have peppered this season’s schedule. If you’re Daryl Katz, that has to be a major concern. If it isn’t a concern, then it’s going to be. I hear from Oilers fans every day, and have for over a decade. It has never been this raw, this angry. I don’t believe this group, on ice and off, will remain intact.
YOUNGSTERS, LAST NIGHT
I didn’t run the numbers from last night’s game, you’ve seen the movie before. I do have some comments to make about the young people, the ones who should be playing a lot and hopefully showing well.
- Anton Slepyshev impressed me, playing 13:46 and getting three shots on goal, one HD scoring chance. He played just shy of five minutes with 97 and might have been the best forward on the night. No time on either special team.
- Drake Caggiula played 13:21 and also had a HD scoring chance, didn’t notice him as much but he was working hard and can skate like the wind. Played just under one minute on the penalty kill, 1:37 on the power play. Of the young group, he continues to get the special teams push.
- Jesse Puljujarvi played 13:28 and I don’t recall any great chances. He did handle the puck a lot in the offensive zone and you can see some creativity in his play. He had 28 seconds on the power play and less than a minute 5×5 with McDavid. I know it may seem like nothing is happening but to my eye he’s getting more comfortable with the puck on his stick. Keep on playing him! And play him with McDavid or Draisaitl. I implore you!
- Jujhar Khaira played 10:37, had two HD scoring chances and a fight he won. I really like his game and suspect he’s a lock for next year’s team (inexpensive, durable and has utility). He played 1:10 on the 4×5.
Dreger: "Chiarelli could be busy, certainly between now and the start of next season. He wants to acquire a winger who can skate w/ Connor McDavid, a defenseman who can help their transition game, and a goalie who's going to push Cam Talbot." #Oilers
— Chris Nichols (@NicholsOnHockey) February 15, 2018
The problem is you develop a past. Peter Chiarelli has a major problem now, because his remaining chips (Klefbom, Nuge) can’t be cashed in for less than 100 cents on the dollar. I think the organization remains onside with him through the deadline, but after that we’ll have to wait until early April. My guess, without any inside knowledge, is that a shadow cabinet has formed and the owner is filtering everything through the Gretzky group, either on the side or openly.
Is that good? No idea. I do think approaching any major trade recommended by the current regime should be met with the hockey equivalent of a SWAT team. I also wonder what possessed Peter Chiarelli to deny his team the cover of a veteran free agent signing in case no one was ready to replace Eberle.
Peter Chiarelli did little to help his team at last year’s deadline because he felt they weren’t ready for a run. He signed Ty Rattie in free agency as his feature man because he thought Ryan Strome, Jesse Puljujarvi and Anton Slepyshev would all cash. The thing Daryl Katz has to ask himself is can he trust Chiarelli to identify the areas of weakness, address it by using duplicate assets, and have the coach agree with the solutions as stated.
Man what a mess.
LOWDOWN WITH LOWEITDE
A busy morning, TSN1260, and a fluid guest list. We’ll have Steve Lansky from BigMouthSports at 10:20 to talk Olympics and Frank Seravalli at 11:05 to discuss trade deadline. 10-1260 text, @Lowetide on twitter. Friday on my mind!