Ryan Nugent-Hopkins took his time joining the offensive parade this season, but a recent flurry (1-8-9 in his last 10gp) has the Nuge back in black and looking good. Should the Oilers be looking to add at the deadline? How far behind expectations are they currently?
Before the season began, I posted an updated ‘reasonable expectation’ for team goals for and against.
2012-13 PROJECTION (48 GAMES)
- TOTAL GOALS FOR: 131
- TOTAL GOALS AGAINST: 138 (including 7 EN goals)
- GOALS PER GAME AVERAGE: 2.73 (2.52 last season)
- GOALS AGAINST PER GAME AVERAGE: 2.88 (2.83 last season)
Now, the totals above are pure GF-GA, I take them from nhl.com and they are the pure numbers. If you go to tsn, you’ll see 83-95 GF/GA (-12) for the Oilers in 33gp, but that isn’t the real number.
2012-13 ACTUAL (33 GAMES)
- TOTAL GOALS FOR: 81
- TOTAL GOALS AGAINST: 92
- GOALS PER GAME AVERAGE: 2.45 (2.52 last season)
- GOALS AGAINST PER GAME AVERAGE: 2.79 (2.83 last season)
I projected the Oilers to be -7 over 48 games, they are -11 over 33 games. Certainly well within the range of expectation, and of course that number can improve if the team doesn’t sell at the deadline and add prospects and picks who can’t help the big club during April. Interesting to see that the offense and defense are almost identical to one year ago. Why? Well, as much as the top half of the roster is helping, the bottom half is hurting. If they can stay healthy, I think this team could be better than -7 by season’s end. It’s really encouraging. Seriously.
I think the playoffs are probably gone, but getting this GF-GA number closer to do is a big deal.
On the other hand, important indicators like Fenwick Close tells us there’s still plenty of work to do this summer. What needs to happen? Well, depending on the names of those who survive the week and are signed to new deals (hello, Laddy!) we might start the summer with this:
- Goal: Devan Dubnyk, Ben Bishop or similar
- Defense: Ladislav Smid-Jeff Petry; Capable top 4D-Justin Schultz; Oscar Klefbom-Nick Schultz; Corey Potter
- Line 1: Nuge-Hall-Eberle
- Line 2: Gagner-Paajarvi-Yakupov
- Line 3: Horcoff-Hartikainen-Hemsky
- Line 4: Jim Dowd-Boyd Devereaux-George Laraque from 1999
- Extras: L Ryan Smyth, R Mike Brown
One feature player (the blue), one guy who might cost a top 100 pick (goalie) and then three guys a normal NHL team can cobble together on day 12 of free agency.
The trade deadline is close now, we know a few things:
- The Oilers are talking contract with Ladislav Smid.
- Jay Bouwmeester is available and makes sense for the Oilers. Do the Oilers make sense for Jay Bouwmeester?
- Lubo is signed now, Streit may be next and the free agent pool for D this summer is decidedly poor.
- Ales Hemsky rumors are beginning to build–not as strong as one year ago but there are rumblings.
- Ryan Jones may be getting some interest.
Big test for the Oilers tonight. Smid-Petry and the Schultz boys are going to be busy, and coach Krueger is going to have to line match–simple as that. I don’t think the club’s chances of winning are close to 50%, would guess they’ll have to play their best game of the season to win. The good news is that if they can win, or gain one point, the two games against the Flames this coming week may help them sustain a point streak.
I think the Oilers are starting to find the range offensively, but the defensive mistakes that cost goals continue. That’s an issue that will have to be addressed by trade or free agency, defensemen who don’t make a lot of mistakes are dear.
I’m hopeful the Oilers come back with Devan Dubnyk tonight, he’s having a fine season. Goaltending isn’t the problem.
One of these days, Taylor Hall is going to score a bunch of points to put this scoring race to bed. Maybe tonight? He’s 4-8-12 in his last 9 games and is (as always) a chance machine.
I don’t want anyone who reads this blog to feel sorry for the Calgary Flames. They are the enemy. This tweet from the hockey club reflects an arrogance unearned, and things like Craig Conroy’s comments on Shawn Horcoff years ago and the Regehr damage over many years should never be forgotten. I know the opponent is Vancouver tonight, but I’m working up a good lather for the back to back against Calgary this coming week.
I think the Oilers trade Ryan Whitney, and could deal Fistric too. Peckham needs a new home. However, I think this might be the time to offload Nick Schultz. Thoughts?
Lowetide at High Noon hits Team 1260 today at noon Edmonton time. It’ll be archived right after the show (courtesy producer Conner Halley) and I hope you can tune in using whatever listening device you prefer. Scheduled to appear:
- Elliotte Friedman from HNIC. Elliotte’s 30 thoughts are a weekly stop for the nation, and his use on network television of terms like “Corsi” may cause a revolution.
- Evan Daum from the EJ and Golden Bears hockey and football. We’ll talk about the Oil Kings series victory last night and the upstart Medicine Hat Tigers (that’s the next opponent for the OK).
- Tom Lynn, player agent for Veritas hockey. Tom will discuss the DeKeyser signing and other college free agents who may be available, the Hobey Baker nominees and the upcoming draft.
- Gene Principe from Rogers Sportsnet. We’ll talk about the trade deadline and the life of a broadcaster who spends so much time with the team on a day when one or more may be sent away. I’m hoping for a pun or two, but won’t push it.
- Kirk Luedeke from Redline Report. We’ll talk Iginla to Boston and what happened, we’ll talk draft and I’ll ask about new Oiler prospect Kale Kessy–Kirk had some great info on him before the 2011 draft.
- Rob Soria from Oil Drop. I’ll ask Rob about the deadline and what the Oilers should do over the summer to take that “next step.”
Questions and comments welcome, I’ll tell you as I get closer to the show time the best way to reach me is twitter @Lowetide_