After 67 games, this year’s Edmonton Oilers have scored 185 goals (NHL average: 199) and allowed 219 (NHL average: 199). That’s minus 14 in GF and minus 20 in GA. The cruelest stats come from special teams. NHL average PP goals for (41) is 17 more than Edmonton’s total (24); the average penalty kill has yielded 41 goals, Edmonton 53. So, a team that is minus 34 overall is minus 29 goals in special teams. What a miserable year.
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- New Lowetide: Hard Target Search for power-play quarterback
- Jonathan Willis: Time for Peter Chiarelli to pay the price.
- James Mirtle: 10 GM’s potentially on the hotseat (Chiarelli included).
- Lowetide: Bob Nicholson speaks, Oilers’ fans burn.
- Lowetide: Draft 2018: The Oilers and Sweden.
- Lowetide: Draft 2018: The Oilers and the QMJHL.
- Lowetide: Draft 2018: Oilers and the WHL.
- Lowetide: Draft 2018: Oilers draft history and the OHL
- Lowetide: Draft 2018: The Oilers and the NCAA
SPRING FORWARD, YEAR OVER YEAR
- March 2016: 3-1-0, goal differential +3 (6 points)
- March 2017: 2-1-1, goal differential +1 (5 points)
- March 2018: 2-2-0, goal differential -2 (4 points)
- March 8, 2016: San Jose 3, Edmonton 0 (Source)
- March 14, 2017: Edmonton 7, Dallas 1 (Source)
Edmonton’s win on Thursday got them back to .500 for the month of March. Many of you have suggested in the comments section that the rest of the season doesn’t matter. Wins and losses and points aren’t the most important thing, but things like Jujhar Khaira and Ethan Bear getting opportunities is a big deal. It’s really too bad there aren’t two or three wingers on the farm who can be recalled at this time.
AFTER 67, YEAR OVER YEAR
- Oilers 15-16: 25-35-7, goal differential -43 (57 points)
- Oilers 16-17: 36-22-9, goal differential +21 (81 points)
- Oilers 17-18: 29-34-4, goal differential -34 (62 points)
- March 6, 2016: Edmonton 2, Winnipeg 1 (Source)
- March 12, 2017: Montreal 4, Edmonton 1 (Source)
One thing the Oilers should be doing is ripping the daylights out of that minus 34 number. What a terrible reflection of this team, zero excuse for the special teams to be this far asunder. Heads will roll, wonder if they’re going to be the ones you want. That’s kind of what we’re waiting for, like ghouls. Hate this part of hockey.
WHAT TO EXPECT FROM MARCH
- At home to: Nashville, NY Rangers, Arizona, NY Islanders, Minnesota (Expected 2-3-0) (Actual 2-2-0)
- On the road to: Calgary (Expected 0-1-0) (Actual 0-0-0)
- At home to: San Jose (Expected 0-0-1) (Actual 0-0-0)
- On the road to: Florida, Tampa Bay, Carolina, Ottawa (Expected 1-2-1) (Actual 0-0-0)
- At home to: Los Angeles, Anaheim, Columbus (Expected 2-1-0) (Actual 0-0-0)
- On the road to: Vancouver, Calgary (Expected 1-0-1) (Actual 0-0-0)
- Overall expected result: 6-7-3, 15 points in 16 games
- Current results: 2-2-0, 4 points in four games
LAST 10 GAMES
- Milan Lucic (10, 1-1-2)—Connor McDavid (10, 8-7-15)—Leon Draisaitl (10, 4-6-10)
- Mike Cammalleri (9, 0-6-6)—Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (3, 1-1-2)—Pontus Aberg (5, 0-1-1)
- Anton Slepyshev (10, 2-2-4)—Ryan Strome (10, 5-4-9)—Jesse Puljujarvi (10, 2-1-3)
- Drake Caggiula (8, 0-1-1)—Jujhar Khaira (10, 3-0-3)—Zack Kassian (8, 1-0-1)
- Iiro Pakarinen (8, 1-0-1)
- Darnell Nurse (10, 0-2-2)—Adam Larsson (7, 0-2-2)
- Oscar Klefbom (10, 1-3-4)—Matt Benning (9, 0-5-5)
- Andrej Sekera (7, 0-2-2)—Kris Russell (8, 0-1-1)
- Ethan Bear (4, 0-1-1)
- Cam Talbot (9, 2.74 .920)—Al Montoya (1, 4.76 .891)
- Cam Talbot has enjoyed what I think is his strongest 10-game run this season. It’s important for him to have some success, still think the team needs a more substantial backup. I spoke to Pierrre Lebrun about it this week, he’s been saying teams need to have a fresh starter for the playoffs for some time now. Talbot’s workload a year ago surely had an impact on him this year, no? I think that’s an argument you can make.
- Connor McDavid is impossible. He towers over the rest of the roster.
- Leon Draisaitl is of this earth, but very good and delivering at an 82-point pace in the last 10 games. Have to play him on a No. 2 line all season in 2018-19. There’s no choice.
- Ryan Strome had his best 10-game run as an Oilers player. The number would have been higher but Jesse Puljujarvi didn’t cash all of his cheques. He has taken 15 shots to score those five goals, so is on a very nice run of good fortune.
- Mike Cammalleri is a sticking point for many of you but holy hell boys perhaps we should wait for someone to outplay the veteran before replacing him. Pontus Aberg is playing well enough to stay in the lineup but that’s not a high bar with this group of wingers.
- Jujhar Khaira is getting lots of love and rightly so. He’s scoring from the depths of the roster and may get a push before season’s end.
- Bakersfield had a costly loss last night, I think we could see a recall in the coming days.
- Darnell Nurse and Adam Larsson are having success on the top pairing, I see them as more shutdown types and wonder if the Oilers would be wise to break them up. Perhaps next season.
- Oscar Klefbom is closing well, despite controversy about his health and whether he should be playing at all.
- Matt Benning has played well in this 10-game set, I would pull Andrej Sekera from the lineup.
- Ethan Bear had his best game Thursday, wonder how many more he’ll get?
I am still reading about Peter Chiarelli’s gameplan in replacing Taylor Hall and cannot believe how many people are wrong on a simple point. On the day PC dealt Hall, the following men had performed thusly in the most recent NHL season:
- Taylor Hall 82gp, 26-39-65
- Leon Draisaitl 72gp, 19-32-51
- Connor McDavid 45gp, 16-32-48
- Jordan Eberle 69gp, 25-22-47
- Benoit Pouliot 55gp, 14-22-36
- Ryan Nugent-Hopkins 52gp, 12-22-34
Draisaitl was already on the team, he couldn’t replace Hall. No sir. Chiarelli’s decision, the one we should be discussing, is the choice made on the draft floor. We know there was a trade brewing before Columbus picked PLD and it fell apart afterward. Peter Chiarelli, in selecting Jesse Puljujarvi, added a future ‘push the river’ replacement for Hall. He would later add a veteran option in Milan Lucic to help immediately. Leon was never an option to replace Hall, he was already part of the driving wheel that included him.
That doesn’t change the Hall trade, or improve the look for Chiarelli, but it does put the facts in the right place. Important to do. If Puljujarvi can eventually push the river—and we certainly can’t know that yet—the mistake of the trade will be the number of years it took JP to reach that level. This is year two.
WHO ARE THEY MOVING?
I’ve been getting some unusual dm’s and emails in the last few days. People suggesting Chiarelli would be wise to move the first-round draft pick or Jesse Puljujarvi, as opposed to Nuge or Oscar Klefbom. I think that’s bass ackwards.
- You keep the pick because that player could be another impact player. You may have to trade one of the river pushers due to cap down the line, grab one if you get the chance. This player will also be ineligible for the Seattle expansion draft.
- You keep Jesse Puljujarvi because he could be another impact player. I sense the team thought they were getting McDavid’s shooter, and that hasn’t been a quick adjustment. Even without that element, this is a grand talent.
- You keep Klefbom because he’s a $4 million defender who has already scored 38 points and can wheel. Even if he plays 60 games every second season, he’s a value contract for the next one. You don’t trade these guys. Seriously.
- You keep RNH because he’s your most capable two-way center and that’s a very important part of building a winning team.
You may ask yourself “who do they trade?” and my answer is Milan Lucic if you can, Zack Kassian, Drake Caggiula, Ryan Strome, Matt Benning, Andrej Sekera or Kris Russell if you can. Get good players, keep good players. Why do the Oilers approach every offseason with a list of quality talent on the ‘assets out’ list? This team badly needs a small bet, a Jan Hejda or Steve Staios bet, to cash. You don’t make a bet like that by sending Oscar Klefbom away in the deal because you’re already screwed if you do.