In last night’s game, Oscar Klefbom led the entire team in even-strength minutes (20:16) and the young man’s boxcars (1, 0-1-1 even) were impossibly good based on the final score. He also trotted out an even-strength Corsi % of 66 and that’s impressive even if game state dictated a lot of the sorties. The other side of the coin? A 71% offensive zone start and less control over matchups, which may be a problem with this pairing as we roll along. If this is the No. 1 pairing, do we need to alter the definition? Maybe they’re the No. 1 pairing and Ference—Petry is the shutdown pairing? I don’t know. It’s safe to say the Klefbom—Schultz pairing won’t be the No. 1 duo in the same way Pronger—Smith was a decade ago.
Elliotte Friedman was on HNIC last night and mentioned the Oilers continue to pursure goaltender Matt O’Connor. The college player will meet with the Edmonton Oilers later in the month and one hopes the club can secure his services as a pro player. Why? If Edmonton signs a quality goaltender via college free agency, it should mean they won’t spend a bullet on MacKenzie Blackwood or Daniel Vladar.
The offensive potential of forwards in this draft is insane. Edmonton, having three picks in the top 35, could walk away with Dylan Strome, Anthony Beauvillier and Jake DeBrusk if things break right. Massive haul offensively. An absolute franchise changer. What can get in the way? Edmonton’s need for a goalie and their long tradition of taking a defenseman if they have two first round picks (Seriously, you can look it up).
I’m trying to get a feel for Todd Nelson’s deployment but the first 17 games have had some weird things, like recent injuries to Taylor Hall and Benoit Pouliot. It’s hard to get mad at the coach when the GM gives him an expansion offense and the captain plays like pure crap then calls out the team. Having said that, I don’t think our new coach is a hard match/zone start demon and that’s going to be bad news on the road. The Oilers have major roster problems and are going to get absolutely fed if Nelson can’t get the Nuge or Gordon lines out there.
I need 20 games to get my head wrapped around this and even then it’s a moving target. That said, I think:
- Todd Nelson continues to use the 4line as his ZS demon.
- Todd Nelson doesn’t appear as adept at matchups. Phil Kessel’s most common EV opponent last night? Nail Yakupov. Kessel played 1:09 against Gordon’s line.
- Todd Nelson doesn’t seem to have a feel for any of his three veterans (Ference, Fayne, Nikitin) and what they can do.
Last night isn’t fair because Hall and Pouliot weren’t in the lineup but there are some deployment issues we need to pay attention to for the rest of the season. I believe Todd Nelson is in fact the next Oilers’ coach (the warmth of the players is a real tell) and he’s doing little (popular) things like playing the hell out of Gazdic. I think he’s here for the long haul and then our next question is ‘does the coach listen to Dellow?’ and I’m thinking the answer is the reports are on the desk. Unopened.
I spent literally an hour last night talking to people about Taylor Hall. There is a growing sentiment in Oilers Nation that Hall is the problem. If you believe this, please post your thoughts and allow us to counter. We won’t be assholes, promise.
- Bruce Garrioch: What’s going on in Edmonton? At one point, GM Craig MacTavish was willing to talk about young forwards Taylor Hall and Jordan Eberle. Then, the Oilers pulled them off the marketplace. Source
If we assume the Oilers are not insane, then pulling Hall and Eberle off the market is the right thing to do. If the time comes when an offer is made for either player that satisfies the ask, make your decision then. If the Oilers are shopping Hall, he’s already a reduced value. And having his name out there is silly if you plan on keeping him. If the Oilers’ brass watched the Pittsburgh and Toronto games, they should be painfully aware of Hall’s value. Shopping him is a silly damn thing to do and Daryl Katz should bitch slap the man who put it out there.