Peace frog

At long last, what might be the most disappointing season in Oilers history is complete. A brilliant young franchise player extended his lead as the best player in the game but the team could not overcome flaws across the roster and will miss the playoffs. Let this be the last time 97 misses the playoffs. Amen.

THE ATHLETIC!

Great offer! Includes a free 7-day trial so you can try The Athletic on for size free and see if they enjoy the in-depth, ad-free coverage on the site. Offer is here.

Jon’s piece on Todd McLellan is excellent, recommended reading. It’s also timely, as we head into the offseason with much work for the organization and many questions in need of answers. My item on Russia looks at the Oilers finally landing on a strategy in regard to that hockey nation.

ENDLESS SUMMER, YEAR OVER YEAR

  • Oilers in April 2016: 1-1-1, goal differential -1, three points
  • Oilers in April 2017: 2-1-0, goal differential +1, four points 
  • Oilers in April 2018: 2-1-0, goal differential -2, four points

AFTER 82, YEAR OVER YEAR

  • Oilers 15-16: 31-43-8, goal differential -49 (70 points)
  • Oilers 16-17: 47-26-9, goal differential +44 (103 points)
  • Oilers 17-18: 36-40-6, goal differential -33 (78 points)

It took 95 points to make the playoffs in the Western Confernce this season, the Oilers needed nine more wins. That’s a gap. In the coming days we’ll find out about management and coaching changes and the players will shuffle in June and early July. This is a bitter pill.

  • NaturalStatTrick
  • NHL.com
  • Cam Talbot made 36 of 38 stops, .947. I think the Oilers can count on him for next season but would have an improved backup on the roster for opening night.
  • Connor McDavid finishes the season 82, 41-67-108 (1.32). I projected him 80, 37-73-110 (1.375) in my RE post, that’s a hit. What’s more, my RE for 16-17 was 72, 33-54-87 (1.21) and he finished that season 82, 30-70-100 (1.22). Both hits. Connor McDavid’s 5×5/60 scoring number this season was 3.24, No. 1 in the NHL and an incredible total. We are witnessing greatness, the kind you tell your grandchildren about, in real time.
  • Leon Draisaitl finished with 2.32/60 scoring at 5×5, ranking No. 38 in the NHL among skaters with 500 or more minutes. He was injured early and people were down on the big man for much of the year, but there’s real quality in the season just passed. He went 78, 25-45-70 for the year, and at age 22, owns an enormous future. He must play center for the good of the team.
  • Ryan Nugent-Hopkins is a very dynamic player on McDavid’s wing. He finished No. 81 among skaters in 5×5/scoring, 2.01 per 60. In 203 minutes with 97, RNH scored 2.95/60 at 5×5. His boxcars (62, 24-24-48) shine. I think the Oilers did it right, waiting until Leon established he could drive a line before moving RNH up, but the slotting is obvious now and the organization should proceed with this as the plan.
  • Ryan Strome finished 82, 13-21-34, 1.48 5×5 scoring per 60. I think his season was right in line with what should have been expected.
  • Milan Lucic finished 82, 10-24-34, one of the most disappointing seasons we’ve seen in Edmonton. The big man was 49, 9-21-30 before the All-Star break, only 33, 1-3-4 after the break. The organization can’t buy him out but there’s no way they can count on him for next season in a feature role.

I’ll have a complete review of the season and there are big plans for The Athletic this spring in terms of drilling down on individual performances. This blog will focus on summer, the draft and any breaking news we may receive in the coming days.

He’s a legit prospect and would rank inside the Oilers’ Top 10 upon signing. It looks like that will happen and soon. I wrote about, at the time of the trade, here.

OILERS 2018 DRAFT PICKS

Later this month, we’ll see where the first-round pick lands, but as of today, the draft picks break down as below.

  • First Round—No. 9 overall
  • Second Round—No. 40 overall
  • Third Round—No. 71 overall
  • Fourth Round—No. 102 overall (Oilers acquired goaltender Al Montoya from the Montreal Canadiens in exchange for a conditional fourth-round pick in 2018. Montoya has now covered the condition. It is a fourth).
  • Fifth Round—No. 131 overall
  • Sixth Round—No. 162 overall
  • Seventh Round—No. 193 overall

My list (latest here) has seven top tier players, many believe Brady Tkachuk is in that range as well, meaning eight names in this draft who we can project as being impact prospects. On the other hand, it may mean the pick is spent on Ty Smith and I’m all about it.

SOME EARLY HEADLINES

  • Darnell Nurse will likely get a bridge deal. I don’t see an option.
  • It’s possible one of Milan Lucic, Kris Russell or Andrej Sekera are open to a trade. That would be an ideal solution, depending on the trade.
  • Peter Chiarelli is vulnerable, as is Todd McLellan. If something is going to happen, it will be soon.
  • The Rangers fired Alain Vigneault last night, no word on assistants and specifically goalie coach Benoit Allaire. He would have worked with Cam Talbot and the organization may want to get their No. 1 man in a comfortable situation. Something to watch.
  • Jesse Puljujarvi is a very talented young man and the Oilers should stick with him.
  • As I see it, the trade assets Edmonton currently boasts who are both valuable and come from a place of real depth, are Oscar Klefbom.
  • The first-round pick is surely in play.
  • My list of team needs are a scoring winger (James Neal), a two-way forward (Bob mentions Derek Ryan), a strong backup goalie option.
  • The Oilers list of team needs starts with right defense and an offensive option. Tyson Barrie, Matt Dumba, Kris Letang, in that range. The cost will be significant.

 

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220 Responses to "Peace frog"

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  1. Woogie63 says:

    Wayne Kenov:
    At one point I was on team trade the pick, but as the season wore on, I started to accept how far we are away. This isn’t just about being one top six winger away. We came into the season severely out manned, and are worse off today. When I look at the depth chart, I see
    Nuge McDavid XXX
    XXX Draisaitl XXX
    XXX Strome JP
    Slepyshev/Caggiula Khaira Aberg
    Kassian

    There are the obvious holes we talk about in the top six, but another Strome level player or two is needed for the third line. We thought this was going to be Jokinen, but it wasn’t. Mabe JP plays his way up a line, or Yammo establishes himself, but that just isn’t where we sit today. We only had 3 players over 35 points. For comparison, Tampa had 9, Boston 8, Toronto 10, Nashville 8, Winnipeg 9, Minnesota 8, Colorado 6, Washington 6, Pittsburgh 7, Philly 7, JERSEY 5!!!, Columbus 6, Vegas 9, Anaheim 7, San Jose 9, and LA 7 . And most other teams had several players in the range, we only had Lucic and Strome in spitting distance. We do have Connor, but a lot of teams have at least 1 ppg+ player so the difference at the top isn’t huge, certainly not enough to overcome the shitshow that is our top 6 wing. Shit, I just looked up Maroon, and realized my numbers don’t take into account pre+post trade stats, so it might be worse that I made it seem. Point holds though.

    This team is legit 4 wingers away from competing. I don’t think they need to blow the doors off (that was the point of building up the middle), but they have to be >Strome. You are looking for guys in the Rust/Little range. If Nuge is in the top 6, you only need 3, plus a Stome or slightly shy LW for the 3Line.

    BTW last years team had 7, but Ebs is gone, and I doubt Lucic gets back there. Klefbom might, which would give us 4. JP is only a 25pt pace player today, so lets be careful betting on him.

    2016/17

    Avs

    Landeskog-Duchene-xxx
    Xxxx-McKinnon-Rantanen
    Xxxx-xxxx-xxxxx
    Xxx-Grigorenko-xxxx

    Flyers

    Xxxxx-Girioux- Vorachek
    Xxx- Couturier-Simmons
    Xxxx-xxxx-xxx
    Xxx-Xxx-xxxx

  2. Wayne Kenov says:

    Woogie63: 2016/17

    Avs

    Landeskog-Duchene-xxx
    Xxxx-McKinnon-Rantanen
    Xxxx-xxxx-xxxxx
    Xxx-Grigorenko-xxxx

    Flyers

    Xxxxx-Girioux- Vorachek
    Xxx- Couturier-Simmons
    Xxxx-xxxx-xxx
    Xxx-Xxx-xxxx

    Chances both make the playoffs again next year?

  3. Wilde says:

    Wayne Kenov,

    Someday we may dare to dream of being the Colorado Avalanche of the world.

  4. Woodguy v2.0 says:

    Woogie63: How many industries have only one winner?

    Well you’re off on a tangent now.

    He’s a senior manager who was fired from his previous job for driving the organization into a hole and has proceeded to do the same here.

    No one is defending his moves except a couple posters here and some Japanese soldiers who have been in the Pacific since 2011 and haven’t heard any fresh new.

  5. ashley says:

    Lots of great stuff in this thread by WG.

    Someday we will have better metrics for Dmen. Their value is not very well studied with boxcars and shot metrics.

    Can you imagine this season or last season without Larsson? I know he wasn’t full value for Hall, but put that aside and imagine how frustrating the last three seasons would have been for McDavid. This team is so close. We just need a second pairing that gives more than it gives up and there will be much more success.

    Also fortunate that we didn’t lose those last two games of the season against MIN and VAN as we all wished at the time as we would have drafted 6 and probably taken Monahan (according to predraft buzz) who would also have scored a bunch in losing efforts due to the lack of defensive depth sans Nurse.

  6. Woogie63 says:

    Woodguy v2.0: Well you’re off on a tangent now.

    He’s a senior manager who was fired from his previous job for driving the organization into a hole and has proceeded to do the same here.

    No one is defending his moves except a couple posters here and some Japanese soldiers who have been in the Pacific since 2011 and haven’t heard any fresh new.

    Made me smile on a tough night

  7. ashley says:

    McDavid-Monahan-Hall with defensive pairings:

    Klefbom-Benning
    Sekera-Russell
    Lowe-Bear

    Does that win us many hockey games?

  8. Wilde says:

    ashley,

    I have a hard time believing this team would be worse with Monahan

  9. Woogie63 says:

    Wayne Kenov: Chances both make the playoffs again next year?

    If their goalies have .920 SA% pretty good

  10. Lowetide says:

    Woodguy v2.0: Well you’re off on a tangent now.

    He’s a senior manager who was fired from his previous job for driving the organization into a hole and has proceeded to do the same here.

    No one is defending his moves except a couple posters here and some Japanese soldiers who have been in the Pacific since 2011 and haven’t heard any fresh new.

    Tell those Japanese soldiers to hang in there. Things might be coming around again!

  11. VOR says:

    I honestly wouldn’t know Terrell Owens if I met him on the street. I have no clue what he is like as a coach, a trainer, or training partner. He does work with other hockey players like Kris Letang and P.K. Subban though it seems more episodic than the intensive training he and Milan Lucic were doing.

    But I do have to point out Lucic started with 26 points in his first 36 games. And looked by eye much faster. Then he went utterly in the tank. He says it was a confidence problem. Which has nothing to do with Terrell Owens.

    Nor did it happen because the league suddenly got faster after game 37 this year. Nor did changes in the NHL that occurred between game 36 and game 37 cause him to go from being a career 13+% shooter of the puck to playing the last 46 games at under 3%. Horrible luck is a thing. The only solutions are patience, perseverance, and mental resilience.

    Lucic says he thinks he needs to work on cardio. And if improved cardiovascular fitness is what he needs to feel confident on the ice then that is what he should work on, even if he has elite cardio capacity. Because he needs to do what helps his mental resilience.

    What would work for me or you might not work for Milan. Every athlete is unique. We can’t diagnose or prescribe at a distance. Or criticize previous diagnoses or prescriptions.

    In today’s interviews Milan Lucic sounds like a stand up guy taking responsibility for letting his teammates down. There is nothing in any published material that supports any sort of attack on his character or his intelligence. Connor McDavid says he is an awesome teammate.

    At a distance we can’t say any of that is B.S. In fact, given the immense amount of media saying what a tremendous human being Milan Lucic is and how hard he has worked to overcome physical deformity and become a pro athlete that character and discipline are not even vaguely in play in Lucic’s struggles this season. Milan Lucic was right today when he said that he is too young for it to be age related. He also was right when he said he needs to adapt to the sudden changes in the game.

    He needs to find his own way to accomplish this and regain his confidence.

    I wish him the best in that endeavour.

  12. Pescador says:

    Kinger_Oil.redux: – Assuming you do get a decent XXXX, and throw in Cammi-type for his role up and down, Aberg for his speed as your 13/14 F’s: you have elite first line, a fine bottom line, with players that have opportunity to play higher (and have a bit this year), and enough ingredients to bake a cake in the middle-6 with Drai, JP, Lucic, Strome, Yammer and XXX

    XXX is the X factor here.
    Drai can push the river, he needs Oars not Anchors
    I believe in JP,
    A substantial veteran on LDs port side will go a long way

  13. Pescador says:

    Lowetide: Tell those Japanese soldiers to hang in there. Things might be coming around again!

    Does anyone know Morse Code?
    It’s kinda urgent

  14. Pescador says:

    VOR:
    I honestly wouldn’t know Terrell Owens if I met him on the street. I have no clue what he is like as a coach, a trainer, or training partner. He does work with other hockey players like Kris Letang and P.K. Subban though it seems more episodic than the intensive training he and Milan Lucic were doing.

    But I do have to point out Lucic started with 26 points in his first 36 games. And looked by eye much faster. Then he went utterly in the tank. He says it was a confidence problem. Which has nothing to do with Terrell Owens.

    Nor did it happen because the league suddenly got faster after game 37 this year. Nor did changes in the NHL that occurred between game 36 and game 37 cause him to go from being a career 13+% shooter of the puck to playing the last 46 games at under 3%. Horrible luck is a thing. The only solutions are patience, perseverance, and mental resilience.

    Lucic says he thinks he needs to work on cardio. And if improved cardiovascular fitness is what he needs to feel confident on the ice then that is what he should work on, even if he has elite cardio capacity. Because he needs to do what helps his mental resilience.

    What would work for me or you might not work for Milan. Every athlete is unique. We can’t diagnose or prescribe at a distance. Or criticize previous diagnoses or prescriptions.

    In today’s interviews Milan Lucic sounds like a stand up guy taking responsibility for letting his teammates down. There is nothing in any published material that supports any sort of attack on his character or his intelligence. Connor McDavid says he is an awesome teammate.

    At a distance we can’t say any of that is B.S. In fact, given the immense amount of media saying what a tremendous human being Milan Lucic is and how hard he has worked to overcome physical deformity and become a pro athlete that character and discipline are not even vaguely in play in Lucic’s struggles this season. Milan Lucic was right today when he said that he is too young for it to be age related. He also was right when he said he needs to adapt to the sudden changes in the game.

    He needs to find his own way to accomplish this and regain his confidence.

    I wish him the best in that endeavour.

    Excellent post,
    Changing his training will help,
    So will reducing his minutes, QoC and resting during the PP.
    Lowered expectations by coaches, media & fans will help as well.
    He will be an Oiler next season so we might as well get behind him.

  15. Doc Savage says:

    Younger Oil:
    Oilers: 24 games, 3-21 without McDavid scoring a point.

    Devils: 25 games, 9-16 without Hall scoring a point.

    Flyers: 20 games, 8-12 without Giroux scoring a point.

    McDavid was also a +20 on a team with a +/- of -29. I’m not sure what exactly that says, but I don’t believe any of the other Hart candidates have anything close to that differential. When Mario Lemiuex won the Hart in 87-88 and the Penguins missed the playoffs, Lemieux was +23 on a team that was +3. I’m not the biggest supporter of +/- as a stat, but in this situation it does seem to say something relative to the team.

  16. who says:

    Pescador: XXX is the X factor here.Drai can push the river, he needs Oars not Anchors
    I believe in JP,
    A substantial veteran on LDs port side will go a long way

    I dunno.
    I think Kharia looked pretty good on the left side in the last couple games. Better than JP did on the right side.

  17. Pescador says:

    who: I dunno.
    I think Kharia looked pretty good on the left side in the last couple games. Better than JP did on the right side.

    Agreed but consider these perspectives;
    – JP is still just 19 & his Ceiling is top 6, he is ready now
    – The Oilers need to be substantially better next season just to make the playoffs.
    – If JJ is on your 3rd or 4th line then hopefully that means he was supplanted by a better player.
    – JJ is a natural Center & JP is a natural RW.
    My original line of thinking was to minimize the amount of offseason player procurement
    because the Oilers have no Cap space to sign multiple free agents.
    Any player you trade off the roster to fill a hole opens another

  18. JimmyV1965 says:

    VOR:
    I honestly wouldn’t know Terrell Owens if I met him on the street. I have no clue what he is like as a coach, a trainer, or training partner. He does work with other hockey players like Kris Letang and P.K. Subban though it seems more episodic than the intensive training he and Milan Lucic were doing.

    But I do have to point out Lucic started with 26 points in his first 36 games. And looked by eye much faster. Then he went utterly in the tank. He says it was a confidence problem. Which has nothing to do with Terrell Owens.

    Nor did it happen because the league suddenly got faster after game 37 this year. Nor did changes in the NHL that occurred between game 36 and game 37 cause him to go from being a career 13+% shooter of the puck to playing the last 46 games at under 3%. Horrible luck is a thing. The only solutions are patience, perseverance, and mental resilience.

    Lucic says he thinks he needs to work on cardio. And if improved cardiovascular fitness is what he needs to feel confident on the ice then that is what he should work on, even if he has elite cardio capacity. Because he needs to do what helps his mental resilience.

    What would work for me or you might not work for Milan. Every athlete is unique. We can’t diagnose or prescribe at a distance. Or criticize previous diagnoses or prescriptions.

    In today’s interviews Milan Lucic sounds like a stand up guy taking responsibility for letting his teammates down. There is nothing in any published material that supports any sort of attack on his character or his intelligence. Connor McDavid says he is an awesome teammate.

    At a distance we can’t say any of that is B.S. In fact, given the immense amount of media saying what a tremendous human being Milan Lucic is and how hard he has worked to overcome physical deformity and become a pro athlete that character and discipline are not even vaguely in play in Lucic’s struggles this season. Milan Lucic was right today when he said that he is too young for it to be age related. He also was right when he said he needs to adapt to the sudden changes in the game.

    He needs to find his own way to accomplish this and regain his confidence.

    I wish him the best in that endeavour.

    Thank you for this VOR. It was a breath of fresh air. As fans I think we grossly underestimate the importance of confidence. In a sport where players make decisions in a fraction of a second, any hesitation caused by lack of confidence can be disastrous.

    And this leads into my rant that we need to have a backup goalie who can right the ship if Talbot starts the season poorly. I’m loathe to put all the blame on a single player, but when the team starts second guessing their decisions because their mistakes lead to goals, or they don’t have confidence in the goalie, bad things happen all over the ice.

  19. Wayne Kenov says:

    Pescador: Does anyone know Morse Code?
    It’s kinda urgent

    I learned morse code so I could communicate with my future wife about a coworker while they were in the room.

  20. Spooky Lynx says:

    Conner McDavid 2017-2018 Season Highlights | Art Ross Trophy Winner

    https://youtu.be/uTNJOvG-eM4

    We’ve got a special player here in Edmonton. We’re lucky to be able to cheer for one hell of a hockey player every couple nights.

    That page is worth a follow. “Connor McMatthews” puts some great highlight videos together.

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