G70 2017-18: Sharks at Oilers

The Edmonton Oilers played a solid game in Calgary last night but fell short in a tight 1-0 affair. The Zack Kassian goal looked like it should have counted but in a season where the hockey Gods have given so little it’s hardly worth noting. Connor McDavid and Cam Talbot were this team’s best players and the wingers might want to wake the hell up because opportunities may not extend into the fall.

THE ATHLETIC!

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HELPLESS, YEAR OVER YEAR

  • March 2016: 4-2-0, goal differential +1 (8 points)
  • March 2017: 4-1-1, goal differential +10 (9 points)
  • March 2018: 3-3-0, goal differential 0 (6 points)
  • March 12, 2016: Arizona 4, Edmonton 0 (Source)
  • March 18, 2017: Edmonton 2, Vancouver 0 (Source)

The Oilers get back at it against the Sharks tonight, a chance to grab another victory against a Pacific Division rival. My main thought on last night? This team needs wingers. Schnell!

AFTER 69, YEAR OVER YEAR

  • Oilers 15-16: 26-36-7, goal differential -45 (59 points)
  • Oilers 16-17: 36-24-9, goal differential +24 (81 points)
  • Oilers 17-18: 30-35-4, goal differential -32 (64 points)
  • March 10, 2016: Edmonton 2, Minnesota 1 (Source)
  • March 16, 2017: Edmonton 7, Boston 4 (Source)

When Connor McDavid is on the ice this team can look so very good, but it’s the rest of the group that gives it all back and more. Last night at 5×5, the team was 23-15 (60.53) Corsi for, without him on the ice Edmonton went 22-38, 36.7 percent. These numbers are seared into the minds of ownership, fans and coaching staff. We may never pass this way again, the club should be better next year. That said, Peter Chiarelli has boxed himself in something fierce.

WHAT TO EXPECT FROM MARCH

  • At home to: Nashville, NY Rangers, Arizona, NY Islanders, Minnesota (Expected 2-3-0) (Actual 3-2-0)
  • On the road to: Calgary (Expected 0-1-0) (Actual 0-1-0)
  • 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: 3-3-0, 6 points in six games

My tracking of the Oilers is on pace for the month, I have a rough 10 days ahead before things get a little better toward month’s end. I thought the club played well last night and exposed the weaknesses of the team. Interested in your take.

DEFENSE, LAST NIGHT

  • Russell-Bear went 19-15 in 17:25 (that’s a lot of playing time), 11-2 with McDavid and 8-13 without him. Were 2-4 in HDSC’s, went 12-2 against Bennett-Backlund-Frolik (again, because of McDavid and some hard matching by Calgary). It was a tight game, this pairing played a lot and survived. Continue to be impressed by Bear, although he got walked by Backlund early.
  • Sekera-Benning were 10-14 in 10:36, this is a very small time on ice total for Sekera. He’s working his way back but lacks the consistency and flair we’ve come to know. Hopefully he has it back in the fall. Were 8-3 against Brouwer-Shore-Hathaway.
  • Nurse-Larsson forgot about the back door and that was enough in a one-goal game. Went 11-17 in 14:39, just 7-9 with McDavid. Went 6-7 against the Bennett-Backlund-Frolik trio.
  • Cam Talbot stopped 31 of 32, .969. He is showing very well down the stretch.
  • Natural Stat Trick and NHL.com.

FORWARDS, LAST NIGHT

  • Nuge-McDavid-Aberg went 18-10 (RNH) and 11-7 (Aberg). HDSC’s were 5-1 and it’s a crying shame the line didn’t cash because it was earned. My goodness McDavid is fabulous. The Aberg experiment may not lost much longer. Just saying. McDavid was 17-10 against the Bennett-Backlund-Frolik line, who were key on the evening.
  • Lucic-Draisaitl-Cammalleri were 9-13 (Lucic) and 4-11 (Cammalleri). This line was the culprit on the GA, but were also not terribly inspired throughout the game. Leon is a wonderful player, that wasn’t a strong game from him (faceoffs aside). He didn’t have a separation gear. Line went 6-13 against the Gaudreau-Monahan-Ferland line, had no answer.
  • Caggiula-Khaira-Kassian went 6-12 (Caggiula) and 4-10 (Kassian). Kassian scored, that should have been a counter, Caggiula took a silly penalty and was generally unimpressive.
  • Slepyshev-Strome-Puljujarvi were 7-10 in 5:49, this line got the shiv when it came time to tighten the bench. I don’t agree with that call, like at all. JP played pretty well by my eye, Slepys was quieter but had one great look. Oilers need to play these kids.

Lucic was never a strong 5×4 player, although last year he spiked to 7.15 5×4 per 60 scoring. Lucic, at his best, was over 2.00/60 at 5×5 and he managed it six times before arriving in Edmonton. People talk about the fact his wheels won’t turn but the big concern for me is the number of passes he doesn’t grab, or possibly see. What the hell is going on here?

The move with Aberg is as 4R, allowing Edmonton to trade Zack Kassian and save $1.3 million toward the cap. It’s time to remove him from the McDavid line and run Puljujarvi or Slepyshev.

LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE

A busy show, with a fluid guest list. Scheduled to appear, TSN1260 beginning at 10:

  • Bruce McCurdy, Cult of Hockey. McCurdy’s take on last night’s game and looking forward to his evening.
  • Andy McNamara, TSN4Downs. Eagles are signing people but have no money, what gives? Plus, Patrioits are bleeding! Huzzah!
  • Dan Rusanowsky, Sharks play-by-play. San Jose is in a good spot but have to keep on winning. We’ll talk about the key players for the Sharks stretch run.

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

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417 Responses to "G70 2017-18: Sharks at Oilers"

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  1. Wilde says:

    OmJo,

    Yep, he’ll never have a real NHL career.

    Will probably be a good guy in limited minutes for the next couple of years, but he had it tough.

    Shot the lights out in college beside Cam Atkinson, surprised he didn’t get more attention from scouts at that time.

    I hope the Oilers can find a Gibbons for next year.

  2. Bank Shot says:

    Wilde: Gibbons never got a shot.

    He had the exact same numbers and general oiSH% and sh% in every other opportunity he’s gotten in the NHL.

    That’s a pro scouting success, not a lucky break.

    Didn’t someone else trash Gibbons in this exact same way then was silent when presented with the evidence? Was that you too?

    Same with Bratt too. That’s an amateur scouting success.

    New Jersey knows what can work in the modern NHL.

    Your evidence is and was not very convincing.

    We are talking about a 30 year old that has never scored 20 goals in the AHL, being on pace for 20 in the NHL.

    I’d bet anything that he regresses hard next season.

    Come on man. The guy has been under .5 ppg the last 3 seasons in the AHL. This isn’t some hidden gem. Its Toby Petersen.

    You can’t complain about the Oilers having no NHL forward depth and then point to Gibbons as an example of doing it right.

  3. Bank Shot says:

    Gret99zky: You mean our horseshoes from last year?

    The Oilers definitely had more good luck than bad last season.

    It’s swapped in a huge way this year. I would expect things to swing back even if the OIlers make zero changes.

  4. Wilde says:

    Bank Shot: You evidence is not very convincing.

    We are talking about a 30 year old that has never scored 20 goals in the AHL, being on pace for 20 in the NHL.

    I’d bet anything that he regresses hard next season.

    I’m surprised at your definitive evalutation of the evidence, especially because I uh, didn’t post it yet.

    Not sure what I posted last time, but my methodology is the same as it was weeks ago.

    Brian Gibbons has had three shots in the NHL.

    With PIT, 2013/14

    TOI – 429:07

    5v5 p/60 – 2.10

    iSH% – 15.4%

    oish% – 9.7%

    ———————–

    With CBJ, 2014/15

    TOI – 260:07

    5v5 p/60 – 0.92

    iSH% – 5.4%

    oiSH% – 0.0%

    ———————–

    With NJD, 2017/18

    TOI 511:28

    5v5 p/60 – 2.23

    iSH% – 15.6%

    oiSH% 10.8%

    What do you see here? I see a guy who scores in limited minutes, got cut from a very good Pens squad, floundered in a short audition with Columbus on ice cold shooting percentages, then went back to his PIT self in NJD as again, a guy who scores in limited minutes.

    As for his AHL goalscoring, his eTOI/GP was like 13-14 minutes there, too.

    e: I should note that I also forecast regression to a 8-9 OISH% for him, but that would still put him above a lot of our more expensive wingers and it would behoove Oilers management to look for similar AHL players over hand waving away NJD’s scouting successes as luck

  5. Bank Shot says:

    Wilde,

    He played with Crosby in Pittsburgh. Those aren’t impressive totals for a guy doing that.

    He goes over to Columbus and can’t survive on his own.

    Then he goes to New Jersey and tears off a huge hot streak at the start of the year on a team with few established top sixers.

    11 goals in his first 23 games.
    1 goal in his last 25 games.
    6 goals in his other 91 NHL games.

    All those on ice shooting percentages tell me is that he was lucky to get to play with Crosby, and he went on a huge luck run the first part of the season in Jersey. Other than those two streaks I don’t see a player there.

    I don’t think you should ignore his 300 games in the AHL with sub par production.

  6. Wilde says:

    Bank Shot:
    Wilde,

    He played with Crosby in Pittsburgh. Those aren’t impressive totals for a guy doing that.

    He goes over to Columbus and can’t survive on his own.

    Then he goes to New Jersey and tears off a huge hot streak at the start of the year on a team with few established top sixers.

    11 goals in his first 23 games.
    1 goal in his last 25 games.
    6 goals in his other 91 NHL games.

    All those on ice shooting percentages tell me is that he was lucky to get to play with Crosby, and he went on a huge luck run the first part of the season in Jersey. Other than those two streaks I don’t see a player there.

    I don’t think you should ignore his 300 games in the AHL with sub par production.

    How on earth is literally bringing up his AHL production and putting it in context *ignoring* it…?

    In Pittsburgh he had more TOI and points with Brandon Sutter than he did with Crosby.

    And that doesn’t even touch the fact that guys who can play with skill have value, too.

    We have two top flight even strength centres, why aren’t all of their wingers scoring 2+/60?

    We need players like this.

    Your view is literally the most negative one possible. “Other than the majority of the time, where he succeeded, he failed.”

    The Columbus TOI number is the LOWEST between the three, and that’s the one that you think represents the player?

    The two ‘streaks’ represent the vast majority of his body of work in the NHL. Just calling them ‘streaks’ is hilarious.

  7. Bank Shot says:

    Wilde: How on earth is literally bringing up his AHL production and putting it in context *ignoring* it…?

    In Pittsburgh he had more TOI and pointswith Brandon Sutter than he did with Crosby.

    And that doesn’t even touch the fact that guys who can play with skill have value, too.

    We have two top flight even strength centres, why aren’t all of their wingers scoring 2+/60?

    We need players like this.

    Your view is literally the most negative one possible. “Other than the majority of the time, where he succeeded, he failed.”

    The Columbus TOI number is the LOWEST between the three, and that’s the one that you think represents the player?

    Yeah but he didn’t succeed the majority of the time. The majority of the time he spent playing in the AHL putting up sub par numbers. Well below what an actual top six NHL player would do in 300 AHL games.

    Guys like Gibbons get to stick around if they are on a hot streak. He’s been lucky to have a couple of good ones I would say.

    Your darn right I think Gibbons time in Columbus is more representative of his actual ability than his current season.

    Like I said before, he has a stretch this season where he scored 11 goals in 23 games.

    He’s got 6 NHL goals in his other 91 games.

    Outside of a hot streak, what separates him from a guy like Cagguila that everyone seems to hate?

    We have a bunch of guys just like Gibbons. We just don’t have any of them shooting the lights out this year.

  8. OmJo says:

    I’d argue that Gibbons doesn’t have to be a top 6 player, the Devils have plenty, especially at LW.

    Even if he regresses to a 15G, 20A player that’s still useful for a top 9 role. And he’s a player who can player higher up in the lineup barring injuries. I see him as being a solid depth winger at the very least.

  9. Wilde says:

    Bank Shot,

    I’ve tried to frame this conversation about a low-minutes scorer around rates and not counts for awhile and apparently failed to do so. Because you keep spinning the numbers by putting it in pts/GP when that’s not his role.

    So the discussion’s dead, for me.

    All scorers are streaky. That’s hockey. If you take the full body of work in the NHL by Brian Gibbons, he’s at 1.9/60 5v5.

    Solid, cheap complimentary player. Positive in shots and goals as well.

    That’s not cherrypicking, leaving anything out, or spinning anything.

    Caggiula has already played more minutes than Brian Gibbons in the NHL. He’s at 1.1/60 5v5.

    None of our ‘bunch of guys just like Gibbons’ have the *ability* to shoot the lights out. That’s why they haven’t.

  10. Bank Shot says:

    Wilde:
    Bank Shot,

    None of our ‘bunch of guys just like Gibbons’ have the *ability* to shoot the lights out. That’s why they haven’t.

    I don’t think I’m spinning anything. Rates will look good in small sample sizes if there is a hot streak in the mix. The larger sample size of the body of Gibbon’s entire career both inside and outside of the NHL tells a tale of being below replacement level in scoring ability.

    Well I think that’s where you’ve gone wrong. Just because guys like Slepyshev, Caggiula, or Pakarinen haven’t shot the lights out at any point in the NHL doesn’t mean they are incapable.

    Some guys just have hot streaks. Lance Bouma scored 16 goals one season.

    I guess we will soon see about Gibbons. I suspect he does nothing much of anything next season.

  11. Wilde says:

    Bank Shot,

    Lance Bouma’s year was a definitive outlier’s outlier, though.

    His iSH% was literally triple his closest career high.

    I think there’s probably 10 Lance Boumas who have full careers without one of those, for every one that does get a year like that.

  12. Bank Shot says:

    Wilde:
    Bank Shot,

    Lance Bouma’s year you can easily tell as an outlier, though.

    His iSH% was literally triple his closest career high.

    Sure. That one is an obvious one. The thing is though, Bouma did that over 950 ES minutes.

    Gibbons has what, 1200 minutes in his career? Any hot streak is going to greatly skew any average in such a small sample size. He doesn’t have a sample size large enough that one can say with any certainty what his career average is.

    Gibbons basically has one season of NHL experience at age 30. I have big doubts that his NHL scoring will continue to outpace his last three seasons of AHL scoring.

    This reminds me of the debate about Cogliano. His first two seasons he shot 18% and 15.5%. The stats guys predicted that would drop. Others suggested he was a high percentage shooter. The stats guys were right in that case. It was possible that Cogliano could have been one of those rare breeds, but it didn’t happen.

    Perhaps Gibbons is the rare breed that outperforms in the NHL vs the AHL, but I find it to be highly unlikely.

  13. GMB3 says:

    I sometimes wonder if all the time Draisaitl has spent playing with McDavid has shown down his acclimatization as a centre in the NHL. He can look really good or really bad.

    McDavid and Nuge look pretty fantastic together. The way those guys find each other and create space is awesome to watch.

    I wonder how much Ethan Bear can improve his skating. Bit of a turnstile out there at times. Fantastic with the puck though, in some ways reminds me of MAB.

  14. russ99 says:

    GMB3:
    I sometimes wonder if all the time Draisaitl has spent playing with McDavid has shown down his acclimatization as a centre in the NHL. He can look really good or really bad.

    McDavid and Nuge look pretty fantastic together. The way those guys find each other and create space is awesome to watch

    Yeah, but it seems that we’re putting all our eggs in one rush pass-heavy basket with less goals and less defense as a result.

    Seeing them struggle to get off shots and Connor with Leon and Nuge with Strome in OT with those passes resulting in dangerous shots confirms that both should be centers and both need shooters.

    All comes down to my preference for results over pretty, fast hockey.

    Leon definitely should be a center, but maybe it makes sense to delay that to next year since it’s not helping that we don’t have any decent wings for him to play with.

    Maybe the next coach realizes that 3 centers is a strength and it’s also a big strength to play Nuge offense or defensive centric hockey depending on the opposition and game situation.

    McLellan definitely has a bit of that Eakins “We’re going to play this way, it’s going to work” in him.

  15. Wilde says:

    russ99,

    That last line about Todd is the truth.

    Point me in the direction of where this year’s Oilers team was caught on camera playing pretty, fast hockey though. It sounds great, but I must have missed it.

  16. Gret99zky says:

    Bank Shot: The Oilers definitely had more good luck than bad last season.

    It’s swapped in a huge way this year. I would expect things to swing back even if the OIlers make zero changes.

    And I expect things will be more like this year and the 2015-16 year. And the previous 9 seasons before that.

    One fluke year does not an expectation make.

    We wait.

  17. GMB3 says:

    russ99: Yeah, but it seems that we’re putting all our eggs in one rush pass-heavy basket with less goals and less defense as a result.

    Seeing them struggle to get off shots and Connor with Leon and Nuge with Strome in OT with those passes resulting in dangerous shots confirms that both should be centers and both need shooters.

    All comes down to my preference for results over pretty, fast hockey.

    Leon definitely should be a center, but maybe it makes sense to delay that to next year since it’s not helping that we don’t have any decent wings for him to play with.

    Maybe the next coach realizes that 3 centers is a strength and it’s also a big strength to play Nuge offense or defensive centric hockey depending on the opposition and game situation.

    McLellan definitely has a bit of that Eakins “We’re going to play this way, it’s going to work” in him.

    I do agree with the last line but I thought you spent most of the year stating it wasn’t Mclellan or the systems that were the problem. I don’t see how McDavid and RNH together are hurting the team. They seem the struggle to get off shots… sure McDavid didn’t have a shot last night but he had nine (Nine!) against Calgary.

    Less goals and less defends as a result? Do you have anything to back this up? Or is this only your expert opinion? This is what makes you impossible to have a reasoned discussion with because you completely ignore any evidence out there. Cherry pick for your narrative. Should pay attention to the details, less sweeping generalizations, more results based arguing.

    You never played, you don’t coach, yet you continually post about “systems” and “rush” hockey like it’s gospel.

    In case you were wondering Draisaitl was on the ice for all four goals, including the overtime goal. So much for fast paced rush hockey with weaker defence.

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