The Edmonton Oilers begin the second half of the season under a dark sky. The promise of the summer and the good things about the pre-season (before the sobering final pre-season game and then the descent into darkness) are long forgotten, the blue skies turned to grey. At the very top of the list of things that are not working: the blue.
I don’t really see much here beyond a team getting 45% of the pie. Individually, the top 4D are kind of bunched together and I’m not really sure if we learn anything about each player. Petry and Ference have played the most minutes, and Belov is playing about as much in this discipline as Justin Schultz. There is no obvious item that jumps out—beyond the fact that Larsen joined the band when Ladislav “Pete Best” Smid left the group. He’s about as unusual as Ringo, we’ll have to see if he plays more than Corey Power Potterplay now through the end of the season.
CORSI FOR %, 5X5 HOME
Huh. Well, the home numbers should be expected to be better, although the overall results haven’t been there this season. Belov and Petry shine like diamonds here, and Larsen/Schultz the younger are eye-catching too. The stay at homes are at the bottom,Ference just below do and Schultz the elder suggesting he’s playing without thumbs. Interesting. They’re protecting Belov, Laresen too?
CORSI FOR %, 5X5 ROAD
Read it and weep. Larsen is a bung hole, The Schultz’s join Belov in the Hell Hole and Ference-Petry don’t get you 50 cents on the dollar on the road. The really interesting thing is the TOI total—over a season Ference & Petry are going to play over 200 minutes more at this discipline than the others. Eakins took some time to figure out his team—I think Smid leaving had a lot to do with the new coach liking guys who can handle the puck better—but there’s clearance for Ference and Petry and a lot of protecting Justin Schultz in these road numbers.
CORSI FOR %, 5X5 ZONE ADJUSTED
Fascinating. Do you think they’ll keep Belov? He does some good things but I’m not certain he’ll be part of the team moving into the future. Personally, I’d sign him and flush Nick Schultz, but one wonders if the third pairing LD job in 2014-15 is going to be reserved for Darnell Nurse.
THE SECOND HALF
What is a reasonable expectation of the season’s second half? 20 wins? Here’s how things have gone (per 20 games) so far this season:
- First 20: 4-14-2
- Second 20: 9-10-1
I go back to the beginning of the season, and the wonky losses to Winnipeg and Toronto. If the Oilers come out of that first 20 8-9-3 or so, then we’re talking a different season. For the second half, I think 17-20 wins should be the reasonable expectation. If they go 33-43-6 after the 4-14-2 start, that would be 29-29-4 in their final 62 games. It isn’t playoff quality, but then again this isn’t a playoff team.
I think there’s going to be a lot of new names in the second half, and certainly next season. We could see two new goaltenders, four new defensemen and six new forwards. And, as we’ve seen so many times during the 2006+ run, a lot of these men will be playing their final NHL games in the second half. Robert Nilsson turns 29 in January, he played his final NHL game before Taylor Hall was drafted.
It’s been such a long time.