THOSE WHO WAVE LANTERNS AT RUNAWAY TRAINS

by Lowetide

Losing takes a terrible toll on hockey people, you can see it and hear it in the tones of voices as another season slips away. You can also hear the sharpness in the words from Todd McLellan, who has gone from mentioning they need a power-play option to openly questioning if this group is bona fide. It is the weight of losing, mind-numbing losing, and the pressure heightened.

I find it hard to blame the players, they are batting too high in the order. Last night, in New Jersey, Edmonton’s third pair must have been dizzy most of the night—simply not able. That isn’t on those men, that isn’t on the coach—that is on management. You can pay Todd McLellan a lot to take a knife to a gunfight, but you can’t make him happy doing it.

GREETINGS FROM ASBURY PARK, YEAR OVER YEAR

  • Oilers in October 2014: 4-5-1
  • Oilers in October 2015: 4-8-0
  • Oilers in November 2014: 2-9-3
  • Oilers in November 2015: 4-7-2
  • Oilers in December 2014: 2-8-4
  • Oilers in December 2015: 7-6-1
  • Oilers in January 2015: 5-7-1
  • Oilers in January 2016: 4-5-2
  • Oilers in February 2015: 5-6-1
  • Oilers in February 2016: 2-3-0
  • Oilers after 55 in 2014-15: 15-31-9, 39 points (-57 GD)
  • Oilers after 55 in 2015-16: 21-29-5, 47 points (-30 GD)

The Oilers have one .500 month during the entire season (December) and February looked promising until the weekend and another step into one of those damnable elevator shafts. The club has Toronto and Winnipeg to round out the week, and the ‘box of chocolates’ season rolls along.

DEFENSE, LAST NIGHT

oilers blue nov 30

  • Sekera—Fayne now deliver reliable and dependable play pretty much every period these days. Sekera does some unusual things—he was on his way out of the corner of his zone with clean air before stopping and going back for 40 more seconds of hell—but he battles well and has skills to the sky. I really like him, he should get 30 points on a team that is not a good offensive group.
  • Fayne played less at 5×5 than any other defender, and had the best possession numbers. You can bitch about the personnel, but the math has a story to tell as well. There were better options than 14:11 Clendening, and they were on the bench.
  • Davidson—Gryba played well again, solid possession numbers and they moved the puck pretty well (Gryba lugged it with some aplomb a time or two).
  • Brandon Davidson is one of the very few defensemen this organization, drafted, developed and delivered to the NHL. His story is unusual—including a one-year delay that allowed him to fly under the radar—and maybe there is a lesson there.
  • Nurse—Clendening got fed and this cannot go on. Neither man has enough experience to be the strong partner, and frankly Nurse played mostly well to my eye but the pairing was chasing instead of solving. It will be very interesting to see what the Schultz trade (if it comes) fetches—Chiarelli may decide to bring in a veteran mentor. We wait.

CENTERS, LAST NIGHT

oil c nov 30

  • Connor McDavid and his line scored the goal (again) and I thought they had a lot of jump. Early (again) there were some fine and dandy chances, but it was followed by a hard candy Christmas.
  • Mark Letestu is playing in more of an offensive role than warranted (at even strength he is not a strong option for that slot in the other) and the result was poor possession against a pretty pedestrian line from the New Jersey side. He did have one golden chance, still have no idea how Schneider made the save.
  • Matt Henrdricks and his line skated miles, while neither side could get a thing done. Seriously. EIGHT MINUTES of even strength time and there were three Corsi events. I don’t think it is possible, probably wrote down the wrong numbers.
  • Leon Draisaitl and his line had some chances (Hall missed early and then set up Letestu for what should have been a goal) but they did not have the edge in play. A late surge helped the numbers, his only shot came as the game wound down. Leon is hurt, pretty sure.
  • Ryan Nugent-Hopkins is badly missed, as we discussed at the time of his injury.

WINGERS, LAST NIGHT

oilers f nov 30

  • Pouliot—Eberle were terrific on the goal, and I thought there was good chem there. Lots of comments about frustration over lack of execution late, but NJD are good at clogging the drain when they are up by a goal.
  • Hall—Pakarinen was not overly effective, I think Purcell moves the needle far better.
  • Purcell—Yakupov played on a weird line, the best chances (Letestu, Purcell) took place when they were not on the line. Perhaps that is the point.
  • Korpikoski—Kassian accomplished little and gave up about the same. In some weird, horrible way, Korpikoski was perfect.

INDIVIDUAL HIGH-DANGER SCORING CHANCES

  • Connor McDavid 1
  • Taylor Hall 1
  • Jordan Eberle 1
  • Iiro Pakarinen 1
  • Mark Letestu 1

POWER PLAY

The Oilers should have a point from last night’s game, but early chances were missed and Schneider was brilliant when required. I also think the power play needs to be mentioned, this team has some terrible vapor-lock moments on entries. I think they need more practice, but they looked so good 5×4 at home I wonder if there is something in the video. Exits and entries seem weird, maybe other teams have scouted them and are offering a different look. Either way, two home games to end the week and one hopes the 5×4 looks better at Rexall.

TRADING SCHULTZ

  • Elliotte Friedman: Nothing imminent as far as I can tell, but the clock is ticking on Justin Schultz in Edmonton. Like Cowen with Ottawa, it is time for both the player and organization. A deal will happen, it’s just a question of when. Source

I hope it gets done soon, Edmonton needs some help on defense and I have had enough of the story. One thing people miss (imo): Schultz may be letting you down, but I think the organization failed him miserably. If you go back and see his TOI totals and handling, it is textbook stupid. During his four NHL seasons, Schultz has averaged over 22 minutes a night. His production was best in his rookie season, and it has been downhill from there. I think a team trading for him could have success, if they understand two things: First, he is NOT a good defenseman so playing him heavy minutes hurts the team. Second, he is not a good outlet passer and does not have a great point shot. Inside the offensive zone, with the puck on his stick, Schultz can make things go. It is a narrow, but valuable window. I think a team with massive offensive tools, like Pittsburgh or Dallas or even Washington, would be an ideal fit.

FIRE THEM INTO THE SUN!

Lots of anger online and on this blog last night, completely understandable. Even a few ‘trade Hall!’ volleys, and that is my signal to have our discussion about logic and reason. No player is perfect, but the Oilers and their fans have been blessed with astounding talent since 2010. No fan base is going to feel sorry for you, nor should they, but the anger you feel need not be addressed at the players, but rather at management. For some reason, Oilers management got it into their heads that they could do a timed rebuild, having things figured out when the new arena opens. This gave rise to addled thinking, ridiculous errors in assessment (Petry v Schultz a good example) and the steaming pile of poop we see before us.

When you watch a game in which the second pairing would make a good third pairing, why do you yell at the player? Did the player bid on the opportunity, win the chance, and then fail to deliver? No sir. As was the case with Shawn Horcoff—who was wildly hated because of his (sic) $7.5M cap hit—people have to get over this need to wave lanterns at runaway trains. It is the management. Same as it ever was. Will Peter Chiarelli fix it? That is chapter next.

  • Goal: Cam Talbot
  • Defense: Andrej Sekera, Mark Fayne, Oscar Klefbom, Brandon Davidson, Darnell Nurse
  • Center: Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins
  • Left Wing: Taylor Hall, Benoit Pouliot
  • Right Wing: Jordan Eberle, Nail Yakupov

That my friends, is a mammoth talent base. My suggestion to you: Stop ripping the living crap out of these men and ask why management, with legion Jacks and Kings, remains unable to gather sixes and sevens and nines.

If you read this, and filter it as an assessment of the talent (as well as a lashing out at personnel), Todd McLellan nails it home with a Charlie Watts cymbal smash:

  • Todd McLellan: ”There are a number of young players who are trying to break into the league and create careers, are they passing the grade? I don’t know. There is a number of players who are trying to hold on and survive, are they doing what they need to do? It is a critical time in the season. And then there are others who have reputations, whether they are really strong or somewhat weak, you have an opportunity to change it or grow it and they let that go today.” Source

The Oilers have the Jacks and Kings, but they need to find balance—and that arrives on the day they stop chasing ridiculous solutions on the blue line, buckle down and find Todd McLellan some actual NHL defensemen. The rest is a shell game.

there will be blood

LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE

A fun day (four hours again, so Schultz trade could happen when I am on the air! Shut up! It could happen!) beginning at 10, TSN1260. Scheduled to appear:

  • Bruce McCurdy, Cult of Hockey. Oilers slink home a beaten crew.
  • Nathan Dempsey, Campus Director at Vimy Hockey. Confidence and what happens when you lose it—plus how to get it back (in a hockey sense).
  • Scott Cullen, TSN. Trade deadline, Canada’s sad hockey teams and probably some CFL.
  • Moving target for the rest, if the Eskimos snap off a big free-agent signing we will adjust our sights and grab someone to talk about it.

10-1260 text, @Lowetide on twitter. Chin up, you. We have been through worse.

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frjohnk

Hey, whats the lineup during the Dave’s spot?

Psyche

“That isn’t on those men, that isn’t on the coach—that is on management. You can pay Todd McLellan a lot to take a knife to a gunfight, but you can’t make him happy doing it.” – LT

Man do I wish you were my boss. I never got half as mad as McLellan and I was smeared and slandered.
You’re a good soul Mr. Mitchell.

TayLordBalls

That Sir, is bang on.

The Oil problem is not the players they have but the players they do not have.

Quinlan

Agreed, Mr. Lowetide.

Also, I think it needs to be emphatically stated – the problem is NOT the coach.

Centre of attention

Rob Tychkowski ‏@Sun_Tychkowski · 13m13 minutes ago
Oilers coach Todd McLellann said Oscar Klefbom is close enough to returning that he might be able to play on the upcoming homestand.

dustrock

The Oilers have one .500 month during the entire season (December) and February looked promising until the weekend and another step into one of those damnable elevator shafts.

Let’s talk some more about that. Not one month of dominant play, one month of .500 play. Which is less than mediocre in this league.

I really can’t tell anymore what this team needs. I feel for Chiarelli. I feel for those who want to blow everything up (other than McDavid). I feel for those who aren’t renewing their season tickets. I feel for those who, rather than getting upset, are simply starting to tune out.

I think I’ve watched 10 games front to back all year and I doubt I’ll watch another 5.

russ99

Great post, LT.

Begs to ask the question, is there any rumblings/movement on MacTavish and Howson looking for a new organization, and if any of Chia’s Boston people possibly shaking loose this summer?

Also, I’m hopeful that Katz will prefer winning over keeping his people in the new arena where playoff revenue can really bring him some serious coin.

G Money

Don’t know how this is possible given (as far as I’ve heard) he hasn’t even been skating, but …

Oilers coach Todd McLellann said Oscar Klefbom is close enough to returning that he might be able to play on the upcoming homestand.— Rob Tychkowski (@Sun_Tychkowski) February 10, 2016

G Money

What is a hard candy Christmas?

kinger_OIL

Great post LT!

– Who is right? If Yak was so talented, he’d be playing top-6 minutes. I know what I think, but management, who knows way more, doesn’t see him as part of the “mammoth talent base”

– I totally agree LT with Jultz: and @ $2MM (which he will sign for next year), on a team where he is deployed properly, he could make it

– I just don’t know how they convert/get rid of/speed up development/package all of Griff/ Nurse/Davidson/Fayne/Jultz into top-4 D’s. There aren’t many around, and most teams want them

– And Klef hasn’t been healthy for a whole season ever as a pro.

bcoil

And we all have to hope that Todd and Peter insure that although they listen to Mr 6 rings et el they do so with the knowledge that these are the folks that have failed to determined good talent for 10 years .So listen leave the office and do what you know is right which is probably the total opposite.

Dicky94

Yes it is managements fault for this never ending rebuild. Chia is partially to blame for this year but really does need time to fix this before we really rip into him. Waiting to see and assess what he had on defence was a mistake. Everybody knows Nikkitin, Ference , Shultz were not an option anymore and he didn’t bring in able bodies. Nurse should not be playing in the bigs this year. I expect at seasons end Mac T and Howson will be let go as well for their failed efforts.

dustrock

LT – I know it seems the heighth of foolishness to deal away your face cards, but we’ve burned through a number of talented coaches in the last decade, and there continue to be problems with focus, effort level and motivation. Every coach has commented on it. Veteran players have commented on it.

We can talk about the misuse of Schultz, and that’s a real thing, but I wonder at one point you start to look at Hall and Eberle and RNH as damaged goods as well. They aren’t born losers or they wouldn’t be drafted #1 overall and winning WJHC games. But I wonder if they have been taught to be losers by this organization.

Quenneville says he never has to worry about the locker room because Toews holds the players to a higher standard than he thought possible. That is partly the force of Toews’ personality and talent, but I suspect also luck is a factor in that the team started winning, and started winning Cups. Then it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Could Hall or Eberle or Nuge be a leader like Toews? It’s possible. But if the team doesn’t start to succeed, there’s no reinforcement of what they’re trying to say in the locker room.

And it’s even worse for guys like Ference, who say all the right things, prepare the right way, and have been to the Cup, but don’t have the talent themselves anymore.

I think you could plug in Toews or Bergeron or Crosby here, and initially there would be buy-in from the team, because these guys are super talented and professional and have had post-season success. But if the team dallies with another bottom 5 finish, people are going to start to tune out.

We talk about the pressure of McDavid’s ELC, but to me there is pressure not to have Hall, Eberle and RNH become permanently soured.

Put this another way: if Hall and Eberle haven’t requested to be traded, what’s wrong with them? 😉

G Money

Re: Drai … at one point last night, I saw him go somewhat tentatively into a corner after the puck, push the Devils player with one arm … and fall down.

Given that Drai’s game is so built on strong on his skates, strong on the puck, that sure looks like someone who’s not 100%.

Either that, or he’s losing confidence (possible, but seems unlikely, he still makes incredible plays not in traffic), or Hall’s falling down syndrome is contagious.

Water Fire

Nice write up LT

I’m starting to worry not nearly enough will happen to shift momentum in the near future. Probably Oiler Fan PTSD. It’s hard to have patience at this point with management, but again they are new so we have to grant them a pass, again. I do have far more confidence in Chiarelli than anyone since Sather.

This is a talented group of players, but it’s not the right mix, obviously. And Talyor Hall needs to drop the pouty teen thing, it’s not becoming.

Aitch

“Defense: Andrej Sekera, Mark Fayne, Oscar Klefbom, Brandon Davidson, Darnell Nurse”

Individually, these might be a good five for the blueline. Unfortunately, I don’t think it’s only going to take one addition to turn this group around. Unless you can pull a legit All-Star out of their current team, I don’t see a d-man in the league that is going to be added to this group to make it that much better. At best, four of the five need to come back next season with another couple of vets who can provide some calm. Other than that, the best we can hope for is that Nurse, Klefbom and Davidson are capable of taking their games to the next level as soon as next season, a group that had a combined 95 games of NHL experience prior to this season.

dustrock

Water Fire: Nice write up LTI’m starting to worry not nearly enough will happen to shift momentum in the near future. Probably Oiler Fan PTSD. It’s hard to have patience at this point with management, but again they are new so we have to grant them a pass, again. I do have far more confidence in Chiarelli than anyone since Sather.This is a talented group of players, but it’s not the right mix, obviously. And Talyor Hall needs to drop the pouty teen thing, it’s not becoming.

But my post above comments exactly on that – you want Hall to be pouting because it means he cares. Would anyone blame him if he wanted out?

30th place. Again. And again and again.

rich

Well reasoned post coming after 3 disappointing losses in a row.

Much as I am tired of watching Schultz, your comment on the org failing him is fair. Can also be said that the org has failed a lot of the young men on the roster. Sending them to battle with a sub-par defense year after year is getting tiring.

It’s also the definition of insanity.

zatch

Water Fire,

I’m intrigued why, despite a lot of evidence to the contrary, you’ve decided it’s the stars instead of the glaringly obvious lack of any kind of NHL defence over the last near decade.

EDIT: This was in reponse to Dustrock.

Stupid fat fingers on my phone.

Water Fire

dustrock: But my post above comments exactly on that – you want Hall to be pouting because it means he cares.Would anyone blame him if he wanted out?

30th place.Again.And again and again.

I think pouting is mentally playing the victim. Use the energy to try again, it’s a tough game for everybody.

TeeVee

G Money:
What is a hard candy Christmas?

Similar to being put in the Block and taking 100 lashes on the arse.

flea

I think it’s unfair to rip management too much, there is only so much you can do in 1 summer with an NHL team. Chiarelli’s add’s for the most part, have been very good. Sekera, Talbot, even Gryba has been pretty good in his role. Jury is still out on Reinhart but that one is a little too early to call yet.

The Oilers are flush on LHD and wing, some of those pieces need to be cashed for RHD. Hamonic and Trouba are available, and the Oilers need at least one of them, if not both.

It’s time to move one of Klefbom or Nurse for Hamonic, and one of the wings for Trouba. Would Winnipeg bite on Reinhart + Yakupov for Trouba? Or will it take Eberle?

Oddspell

G Money:
Don’t know how this is possible given (as far as I’ve heard) he hasn’t even been skating, but …

Last game of the homestand is against Ottawa on the 23rd. If he starts skating this week, 7 days doesn’t seem unreasonable, especially considering his injury is an infection, not a break or sprain.

PhrankLee

You nailed it on the head, LT.

How in the hell does anyone give the thumbs up for a timed rebuild?

Like your “smartest-men-in-the-room” references of old. It reeks of organizational hubris.

I agree strongly that the players have been mismanaged.

G Money

dustrock,

I fully expect that they do demand to be traded if this nonsense keeps up.

That said, comparisons to Toews bug the shit out of me.

Toews was drafted 2006, spent a year post-draft in college (which, if I’m understanding the incredibly harsh assessments of our rookies made by a lot of folks, meant he should have been declared a bust then and there), and by the time he made the NHL as a 19 year old, he had 24 yo Duncan Keith and 23 yo Brent Seabrook as his defensive backstops.

Oh, and Keith spent a year in college/Jr, and two full years in the AHL, before he made the NHL. (Another bust in other words)

And Seabrook spent two more full years in Jr before making it to the NHL.

They also had a 22 yo Dustin Byfuglien just getting his feet wet. Also Cam Barker, who was shuttling between the AHL and NHL, and despite his eventual failure, was one year away from his 40 pts in 68 games season.

And Aucoin and Vandermeer and Sopel as the hairy-assed vets to babysit that uber-talented trio.

That team (in Toews’ first year) still didn’t make the playoffs!

But what they did have is three top notch young D in the system, 3 D who’d already had the chance to develop for several years with no pressure on them.

Toews is a terrific player, but some of the mythology around him is ridiculous.

if he’d been dumped at the age of 18 into this tire fire of a situation and then demanded that he turn the franchise around (as happened to Hall), we’d be writing a very different story.

DRFNsuperstar

LT,

You mention a veteran partner coming back, I was thinking the same thing. Nurse needs a Brian Campbell, but who is out there? Is it Fayne? I know everyone hated the Phaneauf trade, but that is going to help Ceci and the rest of the defence for two years, then the cap hit will kick them in the nuts.

I’ve got it down to four guys, main prerequisite is cap hit gone before the big signing year (Nurse and Mcdavid):

Chara: 6.9 mill through 17-18
Hamhuis: UFA sign for 4 mill through 17-18
Wideman: 5.2 through 16-17
Carle: 5.5 through 17-18
Keep Fayne down in the order: 3.6 17-18

I would be ok with:

Klefbom-Hamonic
Davidson-Sekera
Nurse-Chara
Reinhart

How do you guys find Corsi Rel?

dustrock

zatch: Water Fire, I’m intrigued why, despite a lot of evidence to the contrary, you’ve decided it’s the stars instead of the glaringly obvious lack of any kind of NHL defence over the last near decade.EDIT: This was in reponse to Dustrock.Stupid fat fingers on my phone.

I haven’t decided it was the stars. I just finished Cup of Coffee #1 of 3 so I might not have been clear.

What I am saying is that there MAY BE problems with the leadership of the young players. That is possible. But what I am saying is that this is again the fault of the organization.

My point is that any of them could be a leader like Toews, and they could give 110% each game, but if the team isn’t built for success, and you don’t get the success, then there’s nothing to reinforce what they’re saying.

So I imagine the Oilers locker room is a very confused and frustrated place right now, and I wouldn’t be surprised if Hall, Eberle and RNH are just shrugging their shoulders and starting to play at 80%. It’s human nature.

It’s like the NFL year after year drafting talented quarterbacks, throwing them to the wolves immediately in their rookie seasons, and then declaring them busts. Then everyone complains how there’s like 5 good QBs in the entire NFL.

G Money

G Money: But what they did have is three top notch young D in the system, 3 D who’d already had the chance to develop for several years with no pressure on them.
Toews is a terrific player, but some of the mythology around him is ridiculous.

For clarity, what this means is that when the Hawks won their first Stanley Cup in 2010, people focus on the fact that Toews was only 22, and this causes them to mythologize about him, and point fingers at our youngsters.

What they seem to forget is that for the team at that point, Duncan Keith was 27 years old, Brent Seabrook was 26, and Dustin Byfuglien was 25. Three ridiculously good defensemen in the primes of their careers [though Byfuglien regularly shuttled to wing, as I recall].

If you want to understand the difference between the Oiler and Blackhawk rebuild timelines for success, you need look no further.

sunnyways

Lots of positive support for this post, and rightful blame at the management level, but I think the major takeaway deserves to be challenged. Consider an alternative, plausible scenario: some of the jacks and kings are no more than 10’s dressed up in fancy clothing. As many mistakes that have been made during the multiple rebuilds, the most costly one going forward would be to hitch ourselves to a couple top end players that won’t cut it. Are we really just a couple of defenseman, 3rd, 4th line mortar players away from glory? How confident is the current management group in that assessment, I wonder?

dustrock

G Money,

G Money – yes, that is the point I’m trying to make. I have no doubt Toews is very talented and has a force of personality, but the luck component for the Hawks is that everything started to click at the same time.

Hall might have been another Toews but he’s been handed a sack of shit each year for his career.

The question to me is: will Hall, Eberle or RNH be the leaders we hope/expect if the team becomes successful, or has it been beaten out of them?

Nate780

dustrock,

same thing they’ve always needed, defense

dustrock

G Money,

Cult of Personality. We love the idea of “natural born” leaders.

dustrock

Nate780: dustrock, same thing they’ve always needed, defense

Yes, the 2 constants on the ice for the last several years have been the “core” players and a lack of NHL defence. But that’s not my point.

Mine is more of a philosophical/prospective comment on leadership and what we can expect from RNH, Hall and Eberle at this point with respect to being “leaders” on this piece of shite organization.

kinger_OIL

– The Jets are short of left-handed defensemen: Davidson + Gryba + for Trouba. What is that +?

– A Nurse/Dion pairing would have worked. You send away Dion at expansion draft later
* maybe that’s the play: you get these expensive D, pay up for a few years, then dump them at expansion draft: that’s thinking out of the box…

commonfan29

Mark Letestu is playing in more of an offensive role than warranted (at even strength he is not a strong option for that slot in the other) and the result was poor possession against a pretty pedestrian line from the New Jersey side. He did have one golden chance, still have no idea how Schneider made the save.

I think the replay showed pretty clearly how Schneider was able to make the save.

Letestu had the whole left side and 3/4 of the top of the net open, but put the puck directly into Schneider’s pad in the bottom middle of the net.

He does that kind of thing.

vinotintazo

commonfan14: He does that kind of thing.

also… cannot lift the puck to save his life…

I agree the first save was easy based on positioning. the second one was harder.

we could complain about the PP and PK yesterday, but we had our chances, Devils just had the better goaltending yesterday.

G Money

dustrock: The question to me is: will Hall, Eberle or RNH be the leaders we hope/expect if the team becomes successful, or has it been beaten out of them?

It’s possible, but Hall and RNH in particular seem to start every season, including this one, full of piss and vinegar and determined to turn the teams fortunes around. So if it’s happened, it hasn’t happened yet.

Then by mid-season, it hits them (as it hits most fans, who start the year optimistic) that the team’s roster is yet another sack of shit that Hall & Co. have been asked to turn into bread and wine, and so the ‘blame the rotten core’ noise starts back up.

Then we start to get mad that they don’t put 110% effort into every game every night. While in the back of their head the anger must just be making them see red that they’ve been putting their bodies and careers on the line every night while management sits up in the box with shit-eating grins on their faces.

Questioning their leadership is ridiculous.

There is no leadership in the world that can turn Ference back into an NHL quality defenseman, and no leadership in the world that can turn this roster into a winner.

You need talent, and you need it on the defense most, the spot where this team lacks most of all.

Nothing’s going to change until Chia fixes that.

Nothing.

dustrock

And we’ll have to pay the piper to fix the D, we all know it.

bendelson

kinger_OIL: You send away Dion at expansion draft later

Perhaps this has been covered already and I missed it, but do we actually know how any upcoming expansion drafts are going to handle a NMC and/or NTC in a contract?

Pouzar

G Money:
Re: Drai … at one point last night, I saw him go somewhat tentatively into a corner after the puck, push the Devils player with one arm … and fall down.

Given that Drai’s game is so built on strong on his skates, strong on the puck, that sure looks like someone who’s not 100%.

Either that, or he’s losing confidence (possible, but seems unlikely, he still makes incredible plays not in traffic), or Hall’s falling down syndrome is contagious.

Exhibit A against the insanity of trading RNH.

Bruce McCurdy

kinger_OIL:
– The Jets are short of left-handed defensemen: Davidson + Gryba + for Trouba.What is that +?

– A Nurse/Dion pairing would have worked.You send away Dion at expansion draft later

Sure let’s trade the two defencemen who are outperforming their contracts for another kid who by all accounts is digging in to ask for a big payday.

i wish people would quit trading Brandon Davidson. He is part of the solution.

Clay

Goal: Cam Talbot
Defense: Andrej Sekera, Mark Fayne, Oscar Klefbom, Brandon Davidson, Darnell Nurse
Center: Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins
Left Wing: Taylor Hall, Benoit Pouliot
Right Wing: Jordan Eberle, Nail Yakupov
That my friends, is a mammoth talent base.

I think you’ve outlined this perfectly without directly addressing it. The Oilers have plenty of really talented players, but they’re just a really shitty team.

Look at the roster that beat them last night. Up front they’re a cobbled together mish-mash of spare parts. All of five Jersey forwards are under contract for next year. Their top scorer is Stempniak, whose on his EIGHTH team, top scoring dman is Flames cast-off Schlemko who signed basically for minimum wage to save his career. They’ve only got 2 real defencemen in Larsson and Greene, and the rest of the blueline is replacement level or below, on paper at least. They have real quality in net, I’ll give them that.

Yet in the same amount of games, they have 61 points, 14 more than our “massive talent base”. 61 points in the Pacific puts you in 2nd place right now.

We can say the problem isn’t the coach, and the problem isn’t the players, and the problem is this, that, and the other thing. You want to know why so many of us are frustrated? It isn’t the losing. It’s the massive amount of underachieving.

The team, flawed in construction as it is, and even with the injuries they’ve had, should be better. This is not the 30th worst roster in the league.

PhrankLee

I hope Justin Schultz reflected on how a simple mental mistake like Clendening made costs actual points in the standings.

That penalty tied at 1 cannot happen. Lost the game on a delay of game penalty.

PhrankLee

Pouzar: Exhibit A against the insanity of trading RNH.

Hear, hear.

G Money

sunnyways: Are we really just a couple of defenseman, 3rd, 4th line mortar players away from glory?

Not necessarily from glory (that will take a yet-better roster, maturity, and some luck), but as has been pointed out several times, adding even just one top pairing D to your team pushes everyone else down a level, and that has the effect of letting your entire defense play better.

Ignore handedness for a moment, but if this team had Drew Doughty playing RHD for 25 minutes a night at the top of the roster, he pushes Sekera to 2D, Klef when healthy to 3D, and everyone else to 4D or lower. It likely pushes Nurse into the AHL for another year.

That one add makes the _entire_ lineup better. [yes, it does. Better matchups means better performance]

A better D lineup across the board makes every line better, because they spend less time in their zone putting out fires, and more time getting the puck out, under more control more often.

There is a positive domino effect when that happens.

The Oilers are living the opposite of that domino effect, where a lack of talent at the top end of the D means every pairing and every line suffers, and have been pretty much since Pronger left.

Spydyr

“That my friends, is a mammoth talent base. ”

The team’s record states otherwise.

Oilers8833

Once again I think we overvalue what our team is exactly. I think as it stand right now we have McDavid, Hall, RNH, Draisaitl, Klefbom, Sekera…and maybe Davidson (steady/value contract) that are players/contracts that you build around. The rest are either good players but not a good fit for what this team needs (ie. Eberle,Yak…possibly Pouliot), flat out average or worse NHL calibre players (Fayne, Gryba, Korpse, Pak, Letestu, Lander ….on and on) or unproven but talented prospects (Nurse,Reinhart).

As you can see the list of average or the 4,5,6s are the bulk of that list and I haven’t even included the goalies that have been average and the high end and below replacement level at worst (barring some chunks of good play here and there).

Where I think we overvalue players is on how they fit the team’s needs and not necessarily their talent level. Eberle for example is great when he is scoring but provides little when he is not doing the one dimension of his game he does well. Yakupov, while I love his effort is really Justin Schultz on offence (1 years experience 4 times and unsupported by the organization).

Long story short until we can get more NHL calibre players, especially on defence and a different mix of forwards to support the core of McDavid,Hall,RNH and Draisaitl, we will be spinning our wheels and getting deeper in the mud like the last lost decade of my life as an Oilers fan.

With that said its not all doom and gloom, but the next six months is probably the most important time in franchise history. It either sets the team in the right direction or sinks us into the abyss for another decade.

Truth

PhrankLee:
I hope Justin Schultz reflected on how a simple mental mistake like Clendening made costs actual points in the standings.

That penalty tied at 1 cannot happen. Lost the game on a delay of game penalty.

In fairness, a delay of game penalty by flipping the puck over the glass is not the players fault. Just a gimmick to increase scoring in the league.

N64

G Money:
What is a hard candy Christmas?

Imagine hard candy in a Christmas stocking and nothing under the tree. Also a Dolly song with this refrain:

Fine and dandy
Lord it’s like a hard candy Christmas
I’m barely getting through tomorrow
But still I won’t let
Sorrow bring me way down

Réal Goudenyéu

Spydyr:
“That my friends, is a mammoth talent base. ”

The team’s record states otherwise.

There are many teams that do much more with much less “talent”.