G35 Oilers at Canucks & WJ Day One

The Oilers have faded in the NW standings, but remain one of three teams with a positive goal differential. A closer look reveals a lot of what the Oilers are about is the powerplay.

Oilers 11-12 are 59-65 at even strength, 28-23 on the PP and 4-3 on the PK. The powerplay has been outstanding at home–19 goals leads the league and the 24.4 home percentage is 2nd in the entire league (Canucks lead at home). The Oilers have the 18th best road PP by goal total and the 20th best by percentage.

The Oilers were walking on sunshine 10 games in, but they were also riding historic save percentages and a blueline that looked like it had enough to hold back the water most nights. Khabibulin and Potter and the kid were enormous advantages for Edmonton, but luck and injury and the law of averages saw a market correction.
Minnesota is fading but they are 12 points clear of Edmonton so won’t be an issue for Oilers fans before the deadline. Vancouver has been the cock of the walk in this division for some time and an early season snooze is pretty much over, Edmonton won’t see them again.
Calgary shows us what a team that wants to improve can do in the early part of the season to make changes, get better and still keep your first round draft pick. Blake Comeau came free of charge and they’ve added some interesting kids in support roles. I don’t know that Edmonton will catch them again this season but it’s a race worth watching as we roll along.

I think Edmonton’s hopes for climbing out of the NW basement depend on Colorado. Like Edmonton they started strong but have faded since, and neither team is going to threaten anyone in a playoff series.

I hate to say it, but this road trip is probably it for the Oilers. If they can’t stay with the Colorado’s and the Calgary’s, then we’ll start to talk about the draft in early January.

Day One of the World Juniors sees Canada playing Finland. The Canadians usually win Gold whenever I’m worried about them and I’m definitely worried about them. It’s also a little galling to know that the selection process has excluded Tyler Seguin and RNH in the last two WJ’s. I know this is a 19-year old tournament, but maybe we should be watching the U18′s instead–after all, most of the kids playing today are already drafted.

TSN schedule

  • Canada Finland 1pm Edmonton time on tsn.
  • Sweden Latvia 3:30 Edmonton time on tsn2 (Klefbom).
  • USA Denmark 6 Edmonton time on tsn2
  • Russia Switzerland 8:30 on tsn 2.

It’s weird not having a Canadian or Finn Oiler prospect this season, but the four defensemen should keep us entertained. I’d like to get your opinion on the 4 kids during the tournament, just post whatever you see in the comments sections and I’ll gather them all up and do a post at the end of the WJ’s.

We’ll call it our scouting junket. :-) I asked Corey Pronman from Hockey Prospectus on Nation Radio Saturday the following question: which of the four Oiler drafts has the best chance to be a productive NHL defenseman?

Answer: David Musil.

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