The Oilers have a ridiculous schedule through Monday (SJS, LAK, ANA) and then three games before June. In what is surely the drunkest schedule ever created, the Edmonton Oilers get to work on their power play next week. Starting April 1. Perfect. Just perfect.
DAYS, 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: 4-8-2
- Oilers in March 2015: 5-6-3
- Oilers in March 2016: 6-6-0
- Oilers after 76 in 2014-15: 23-40-13, 59 points (-68 GD)
- Oilers after 76 in 2015-16: 29-40-7, 65 points (-40 GD)
Oilers should be able to win some of those end of the year games (two Van, one Calgary) but winning against these California teams is actual Everest. This is the real stuff, coming right up. Oilers lost 5-1 in G77 a year ago.
- This is just the healthy guys.
- Among these seven, how many would you absolutely include for next season’s team? I would keep Andrej Sekera, Mark Fayne and send Darnell Nurse, Jordan Oesterle and Griffin Reinhart to the farm. They will be back when the first bone breaks.
- Nikita Nikitin and Adam Clendening are likely gone. Fair? I think so.
- Darnell Nurse will be on the opening night roster, but are his numbers better than Reinhart’s?
- This is all the hurt guys.
- Among these six, how many would you absolutely include for next season’s team? I choose Brandon Davidson and Oscar Klefbom, with the rest moving on—Eric Gryba is a player I do think Edmonton may sign.
- One thing we are going to have to discuss in the coming weeks is the injury worry for Oscar Klefbom and Brandon Davidson. If they can’t go in the fall—and the Oilers haven’t given any indication one way or another—the list of incoming would be even greater. Four new blue? Could be, depending on the health of those two men.
- This is the Bakersfield guys. I sorted them by points-per-game, evens.
- No one on this list should be considered a strong candidate for the opening night roster, fall 2016.
- Jordan Oesterle and David Musil have been building a resume, and have some NHL experience. I think Oesterle could be an early callup and Musil likely gets dealt this summer.
- Dillon Simpson remains a curio, wrote about him over at ON recently. He isn’t trending or anything, but he has some nice things. Despite being considered a mediocre puck mover, he isn’t far from Hunt and Oesterle at even-strength points-per-game. Like I said, nothing to bring out the descriptive words for here—yet worth checking on as next season rolls.
If we’re honest, Edmonton has more of the Condors defense surrounded than the Edmonton edition. Andrej Sekera and Mark Fayne are the veterans, and two injury worries follow (Klefbom, Davidson) plus Nurse, likely to get a push again this fall. Did I say they needed two more defensemen? If Chiarelli has intel on those injuries, and one of them is bad, we may be looking at three additions to the defense this summer, and that is easily justified. Are you sure you want to flush Mark Fayne?
- These are the centers, they are all currently active.
- Ideally, Edmonton returns in the fall with all of Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. That is insane center depth, best since the Stanleys. If they keep the Nuge, it gives Todd McLellan a versatile group.
- Mark Letestu and Anton Lander are signed and one will be back, I will guess it is Letestu in the 4C role. Lander should have a market, he is not expensive and can help in specific areas.
- Connor McDavid is going to cover a lot of sins next season and beyond. If he can stay healthy, the difference will be incredible. He should win the Calder Trophy, I am convinced of it now.
- These are the currently active wingers.
- Taylor Hall, Jordan Eberle and Patrick Maroon all do well in possession and are solid even-strength scorers. Maroon has a small sample size, so counting on him would be unwise, but as a 3L (behind Hall and Pouliot) he appears to be above average.
- After that, who would you keep? For me, it is Zack Kassian, Nail Yakupov and Matt Hendricks.
- Iiro Pakarinen doesn’t have enough going in the scoring chances area, and his possession number is not strong. Lauri Korpikoski is scoring more than I thought he would, but he is the worst possession forward on the team. If the Oilers simply didn’t play him, they would be better off. That is my opinion. He will be back.
- I am onside with Yakupov, don’t believe the Oilers will bring him back.
- This is the injured and Condors group.
- Benoit Pouliot is a valuable NHL hockey player, great numbers across the board.
- Jujhar Khaira and Anton Slepyshev are interesting prospects who should be in the NHL sometime next season. No idea if they make it, always best to bet low on prospects.
The forward group remains the strength of the team (although Cam Talbot should be counted in the keeper group). If we have zero regard for favorites, and we assume the injury issues (Klefbom and Davidson) will linger, Edmonton is in real trouble. Right now.
- These are the Condors prospect forwards.
- Josh Winquist and Jujhar Khaira show pretty well here, I think that BCJHL kid might just work out. Oilers haven’t signed Winquist, suspect another team might grab him.
- Tyler Pitlick should be dominating I would think, but he couldn’t stay healthy again. I wonder if they bring him back for one more throw.
- Bogdan Yakimov and Anton Slepyshev are ruining my Russian posts! Nail and the crew represent a new pipeline for an organization that thought the Iron curtain was in the living room. Blast! Come on boys, score a little. You know you want to!
5-on-5 corsi pic.twitter.com/1d639jcapX
— Kevin Kan (@datarink) March 24, 2016
Interesting look at the Oilers via the brilliant datarink, we see Edmonton approaching mid-table in the discipline. Are they progressing? Well, year over year, 5×5, the improvement has been in the goaling.
(all stats 5×5, this year and then last in brackets)
- Corsi for 5×5 percentage 48.8 (48.1)
- Goals for differential 5×5: 43.9 (39.9)
- Shots for differential 5×5: 48.3 (47.9)
- Save percentage 5×5: .9165 (.9019)
- Shooting percentage 5×5: 6.99 (7.10)
- PDO 5×5: 98.6 (97.3)
The big improvement remains in goal (people are saying ‘it’s always been the defense’, but the Oilers in net have gotten a few coaches fired, no doubt in my mind). I am not a math guy, so am unsure if the Corsi improvement is random or shows some growth, but it does seem to be a little more promising at this point. Small upticks in everything but shooting percentage.
I am unsure of a lot of things about this year, mostly because of injury. It is ridiculous to argue that the injuries had no impact, but how do we measure Edmonton’s MASH unit versus everyone else? I would say it was more severe, in games-lost and in quality of player lost, but how much would those numbers spike with 82 games from McDavid, Klefbom, Pouliot, Eberle, Nuge, Davidson, Yakupov, et cetera? I am reading a lot of down about Todd McLellan, but this team had no real depth up the middle—again—and it cost them one more time.
Balance. Depth. These are words wise teams use when planning their summer activities. I hope to see the Oilers procure two right-handed defensemen this summer. If the injury issues for Oscar Klefbom and Brandon Davidson are severe enough to keep them out for some of next year, or impact their ceiling, then more than two may be required.
If Peter Chiarelli cannot fix this defense, he may become famous for wasting Connor McDavid’s entry-level contract. That’s a helluva deal, it really is.
LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE
Final show of the week, and we have lots to talk about. TSN1260, 10am, scheduled to appear:
- Rob Soria, The Hockey Writers and Vavel USA. Rob is my go-to for tennis, but he is also a fine observer of the Oilers and the baseball. Today we will talk about the Oilers and what they need over the summer, plus I am going to ask him some baseball questions (I have chosen the BoSox and the Cardinals to cheer for this year) including an Expos question.
- Corey Graham, Oil Kings PBP. They did it! I don’t know if they are going to be happy about it but they did it! Oil Kings v. Brandon tonight! We will preview the game and talk about Edmonton’s chances of winning a game in Brandon.
- Matt Iwanyk, TSN1260. Our third edition of Point-Couter Point is on the theme of Chiarelli’s summer. How much does he have to do, and how should he do it?
- Frank Seravalli, TSN. Frank has an article up about each Canadian team and when their season turned. His choice for Edmonton is spot on, and we will talk about what might have been for the Oilers.
10-1260 text, @Lowetide on twitter.