The Edmonton Oilers gave a better effort last night, losing 2-1 to the Los Angeles Kings and setting up shop solo 30th. They had some great looks early, but the Kings made the third their own and that’s all she wrote. Balance: It’s the real thing.
COMING INTO LOS ANGELES, 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: 3-8-1
- Oilers after 62 in 2014-15: 18-34-10, 46 points (-65 GD)
- Oilers after 62 in 2015-16: 22-34-6, 50 points (-37 GD)
These Oilers are locked in now, the losses are piling up and February is officially the worst month of the year. Two more losses—it seems inevitable—and it will be the first 10-loss month in some time. In G63 one year ago, they lost 2-1 to the St. Louis Blues.
INDIVIDUAL HIGH-DANGER SCORING CHANCES
- Three: Connor McDavid
- Two: Taylor Hall
- One: Nail Yakupov, Anton Lander, Jujhar Khaira, Matt Hendricks, Benoit Pouiot, Darnell Nurse
DEFENSE, LAST NIGHT
- Sekera—Fayne were not as effective as they usually are to my eye, and despite Sekera’s possession number he seemed plodding and slow. Fayne was also slow on the box out on the first goal, needs to be quicker there—although he was up against a world-class forward. Fayne made a dandy play later to save a goal, veteran defensemen have value even on nights they make mistakes.
- Davidson—Oesterle had a nice evening, especially the first two periods. They can both wheel, and Davidson was playing with authority last night. Man, what a story. I would like to see more of Oesterle as well, suspect Chiarelli’s summer changes will bury him but you never know.
- Nurse—Clendening struggled, Nurse with the details (second goal he did everything right but cover the stick, which of course is a major item) and Clendening with the speed and quickness. Rookies. I think it is pretty certain Nurse stays up, but a trip to Bakersfield for a week might be the ticket. He is ‘also in photo’ a lot these days and he has now hit double digits in the minus column (sometimes that motivates teams).
Davidson rush (courtesy Ben)
— Edmonton Oilers (@EdmontonOilers) February 26, 2016
CENTERS, LAST NIGHT
- Anton Lander played almost 14 minutes at evens, I suspect someone wanted to have a look. I was impressed with the entire line, hope we see them again. Lander was solid if unspectacular, effective (all three men on the line had a high-danger scoring chance) and they sawed off the opposition.
- Mark Letestu and his veteran crew were less effective, although they did have their moments. This line is making too much to bring so little offense at 5×5.
- Leon Draisaitl and his group had a good night despite the possession numbers. Kassian scored the goal, but the entire line was effective on the tally. Had some very good looks later too, noticing many tweets and posts about his lack of conditioning—don’t think that is it. I think he is injured, ribs in the Ottawa game and other maladies.
- Connor McDavid had some fantastic chances (I counted three, matching the War-On-Ice) early, but couldn’t find the range. He is dangerous at all times, starting with the anthem. Doughty is an effective defenseman against everyone, Oilers need Leon to punish opposition more, so the kid can grab some clean air.
WINGERS, LAST NIGHT
- Khaira—Yakupov formed a solid line with Anton Lander, and at even strength Khaira ranked No. 5 in TOI among wingers, Yakupov No. 4. Someone was getting showcased in my opinion. Yakupov was aggressive, had the puck on his stick a lot and was tough to handle. Khaira has some nice things, including an ability to calm play and re-set, something this forward group needs badly. A strong effort from the rookie.
- Korpikoski—Hendricks also faced the lesser opposition, but didn’t get as much done. I don’t like this line, save Henricks.
- Hall—Kassian had some good-to-great moments, have to say they seem to work well together. Kassian is the most skilled 6.03, 217 winger employed by the Oilers in a long time. Hall picked up an assist and drove to the net on many sorties, couldn’t cash. Made a terrible pass in the third period, five feet too strong, and it was noticed by everyone. That tells you how good he is. Kassian looked good, capable, on this line.
- Pouliot—Eberle seemed to have a lot of try, but like McDavid nothing rhymed. Eberle battled for the puck very well in at least one instance, but Pouliot appeared on the wrong side of things often (he is not that kind of player, so it stands out when he is having an off night). Fell some, and seemed to have a hard time locating the puck (and Sekera was Mr. Magoo out there, Jesus), while also missing passes or not getting to loose pucks. Motor skills looked off.
— Chris Nichols (@NicholsOnHockey) February 26, 2016
I am not certain the Bruins would trade for Schultz (why not wait until the Oilers don’t qualify him?), but the insiders are all saying there is a market. The baseball trade deadline may have changed since I followed the sport closely, but you would never trade for a poor hitter at the deadline. I remain convinced Mark Fayne is a far better trade option for a contender.
Re, Purcell: CHI, DAL, FLA, LA were are circling. Have to assume CHI is out. We'll see where it goes
— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) February 26, 2016
Someone is going to get a good player, and the Oilers may get something interesting back, as well. You may recall I had a look at all 30 teams (and all levels of prospects) earlier in the month, here are the possibles I found for each team:
- Dallas Stars: L Brendan Ranford. Bill is his uncle, Brendan is a solid AHL scorer looking for an NHL opportunity; R Brett Ritchie. Injuries have impacted the young PF prospect (he is 6.03, 220 and 22), so he could shake loose now or in the summer; L Curtis McKenzie. Another power forward, he is a little older (24, 6.02 205) and has some NHL experience. D Niklas Hansson. A raw talent when drafted, he is a talented offensive defender with all kinds of useful tools. He is 21, has 21 points in 37 SHL games.
- Florida Panthers: R Rocco Grimaldi. Very small forward who is something of a buzzsaw, Grimaldi is in year two of his pro career and is running in place a little; F Brandon Pirri was mentioned by Elliotte Friedman in his recent 30 thoughts, he is an interesting offensive player; D Ian McCoshen. He is a very nice prospect, combining size, speed and two-way ability. He has been very consistent in college. C Jayce Hawryluk. A quality offensive center who also plays a strong game without the puck. He is 5.10, 197 but plays a more complete game than a lot of the smaller forwards mentioned here.
- Los Angeles Kings: L Michael Mersch. Scored goals from the moment he arrived in pro hockey, from bad angles and on good shots; R Justin Auger. I have no idea if he is a real prospect, but at 6.07, 229 (and 21) he can score a little; R Valentin Zykov. A new pro who has some promise (he was part of that crazy deal involving Oilers picks), and has shown reasonably well as an AHL rookie; D Erik Cernak. Big defender, reports have him as a wrecking crew who can move. L Austin Wagner is a speedy winger who can score, having a nice year with the Regina Pats.
LOWETIDE TRADE VALUE BOARD
Frank Seravalli of TSN set trade values for various rentals, has Purcell (2nd) and Schultz (3rd) covered in this article. Those assessments match mine, here is my list (I put Gryba back on the list, but he is injured and his being dealt seems doubtful):
- RW Teddy Purcell—He is gone, suspect we will see a second-round pick (or a legit prospect).
- F Matt Hendricks—Chiarelli is unlikely to trade Hendricks, but there is always a chance an offer changes his mind. I recall someone mentioning there was significant interest last deadline. Second-round pick.
- D Mark Fayne—A bit tricky, for two reasons. He is helping now, so the Oilers could use him for the first 60 games next year and shop him at the deadline. Call it righty blue insurance. Return? Second-round pick if the Oilers retain salary (defensemen are always worth more at the deadline).
- D Justin Schultz—He is gone if they can find a taker. Third-round pick.
- D Eric Gryba—I think they will sign him unless a team offers up full value (and his being injured is a major development). He should fetch a fourth-round selection, about what he cost the Oilers.
- L Lauri Korpikoski—Perhaps Chiarelli can save Todd McLellan from himself. If he can trade Korpikoski, Chiarelli is a mad genius. Fifth-round pick obo.
- C Anton Lander—He played a lot last night, after not playing much at all for a long time. Has to be a showcase. Sixth-round pick.
— Greg Wyshynski (@wyshynski) February 26, 2016
Yes. It has been a difficult time for everyone, including the players, management and the fans. Organizations follow the man at the top, and since he arrived as owner Daryl Katz has not proven to be a fantastic franchise owner. As bad as the Pocklington threats and ridiculous mutt moves like selling Gretzky were, at least they were winning. I don’t give a rat’s ass about his politics, his personal life, how he earns his money or what kind of car he drives. I do worry that Daryl Katz interferes in the hockey side of the business, and if he is still doing it, whether on his own or via his lieutenants, this organization is doomed to failure. And that I do not forgive.
LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE
A busy show, as you might expect with the trade deadline just around the corner. Scheduled to appear, beginning at 10 this morning, TSN1260:
- Steve Lansky, Big Mouth Sports. The importance of getting something out of the last 20 games of the season, and producing a live television event like the trade deadline—how much is the crazy?
- Antony Bent, FC Edmonton. Eddies made another signing and are well into their training. The EPL is back in action and the top of the table features some unusual teams.
- Gerry Moddejonge, Edmonton Sun. The Eskimos signed the good Getzlaf, and attention will soon turn to the draft.
- Ryan Batty, Copper & Blue. I haven’t had him on in forever, and that is my bad. We will talk trade deadline, Grateful Dead and this article by Paul Freeman.
10-1260 text, @Lowetide on twitter.
My sources confirm Teddy Purcell was told he will be a healthy scratch vs Anaheim today due to imminent trade. #tradedeadline
— Mike Commodore (@commie22) February 26, 2016
Also, Ryan Rishaug telling us to stay by the phones.