The Oilers lost a game they should have gotten a point (or two) from, but it has long since stopped mattering. We can look forward to the final three games of the season, the draft lottery and then Edmonton becoming trade central leading up to and during the draft. If there is any coin left we can chat about free agency.
— Mike (@p3rsonman) March 29, 2016
FUN FUN FUN, 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: 7-8-0
- Oilers after 79 in 2014-15: 23-43-13, 59 points (-82 GD)
- Oilers after 79 in 2015-16: 30-42-7, 67 points (-40 GD)
It is difficult to get upset about the game (zebra’s aside), the Oilers rolled out a poor defensive group again and that cost them. If there is one lesson I hope Edmonton management learns from this season (and previous management never learned it) it is that balance is required and that defense is played more effectively with more than less veterans in the top 6D.
HIGH-DANGER SCORING CHANCES
- Two: Connor McDavid, Taylor Hall, Nail Yakupov, Leon Draisaitl, Zack Kassian
- One: Andrej Sekera, Mark Letestu, Adam Cracknell
DEFENSE, LAST NIGHT
- Sekera—Fayne had a nice night, lots of calm moments and moving pucks up. Interesting that the duo (Sekera) faced the Getzlaf line only 4:13, while seeing Kesler 6:02. The Ducks are a hornet’s nest, but I think Boudreau may have gotten better matchups with some Bowman shuffling. One good thing: Fayne played more than two other defensemen last night, so that is progress. I am now convinced the Oilers could run this exact pairing next season and emerge as a playoff team. Lots of minutes, many good decisions, great coverage. Fayne does not have speed, and he is not going to lead the team in successful sorties, but he is a solid defender. Sekera doesn’t get as many pucks through as we want and he isn’t a big bruiser, but he is a fine passer and can make plays in every part of the ice. Both veterans. More, please.
- Nurse—Clendening both hit 50 percent in possession (I have 49 above for Clendening, fat fingers) but both men had tough moments. Clendening pinched on goal one and on the second GA could not get control of the situation during an addled 15 seconds by the team in their own zone. I liked Nurse better, but he also made some poor decisions—the Ducks are a fantastic breakout team and Darnell didn’t adjust well. Liked his compete against Getzlaf though, going to enjoy having him track that center for the next few years.
- Oesterle—Reinhart had their ‘fire in the hole’ moments but overall got out of trouble without a lot of damage. GR had three blocks and played 21 minutes, battled hard and either delayed or crushed sorties consistently. I think he is winning an NHL job, perhaps freeing Chiarelli to deal another lefty. Oesterle had some good moments with the puck and transported enough to qualify for beam up from Scotty—his wheels are terrific, really like that part of his game. Those trips up the ice didn’t result in anything, but to my eye a lot of that had to do with an extremely effective Ducks team. Oesterle got the pucks to good places several times.
- Cam Talbot had a fine night by my eye. He gave up a perfect shot goal to Perry early and then had reason to sue for non-support on the second goal.
— James (@JamesBuhlmann) March 29, 2016
CENTERS, LAST NIGHT
WINGERS, LAST NIGHT
- Korpikoski—Letestu—Kassian had some good moments, Letestu had a nice chance and Kassian was more involved than he has been lately. I am seeing Letestu better as the season wears along, he does some nice subtle things (conquered a two-on-one by batting the puck out of the air. Impressive) and Korpikoski had a good night to my eye. Need more offense from this line.
- Hall—Draisaitl—Yakupov had a solid night, getting the goal and six scoring chances—along with six shots on goal. Leon had two high-danger scoring chances but no shots according to the scoring—unusual—and seemed to have some of his sorcery passes back in his quiver. Hall might have been the best Oiler, he was bringing it every shift, great passes and drove to the net with authority. I thought Nail had a helluva game—scored a goal, battled for every inch and won the puck a few times. A fine evening by this line.
- Hendricks-Lander-Cracknell did fine for a 4line, I always enjoy Lander’s winning faceoffs. I think the coach values that side of the game, but suspect Lander’s footspeed means that FO ability isn’t enough to keep him in the lineup. Plus the lack of offense. Hendricks was Hendricks, he hasn’t stopped working since he got here. I do like Cracknell as a 4line option, he brings veteran savvy along with the physical play. More veterans, please.
- Maroon—McDavid—Eberle had two scoring chances and six shots on goal, didn’t cash and that is going to happen. This is a fantastic trio, though. McDavid generates a lot on his own, I like the big man on the portside and Eberle—despite having the yips these days (will not take a one-timer) is a nice match for McDavid. He could pop 40 next year.
Taylor Hall is the only player on this team not named Connor McDavid who is guaranteed to push the 5×5 river. You can put him with a reasonable center and expect production in any year—he is 1.77 with Leon and 2.52 with the Nuge—and the moment Chiarelli trades him Connor McDavid becomes the main target. Pushing the river is a rare, rare, skill. Trading Taylor Hall—in his prime—is worthy of instant dismissal. Fans paid in full for that pick with the blood, sweat and tears of their labor, and starting the damned car in -40 after a game that winter was no screaming hell, either.
I think we might be looking at a Nuge-for-blue trade and then signing back David Backes or something along those lines. I have mentioned that the die is probably cast for some time now. One suspects they will try to get a defenseman and a center in the deal (in that January article I suggest Boone Jenner and Travis Hamonic, but Jenner doesn’t take a lot of faceoffs despite being over 50 percent) and more than the Nuge could be heading out.
NAILING THE RETURN
- Allan Muir, SI: For a deal to happen then, the Oilers likely will have to settle for a combination of B-level picks and prospects. Remember that the Bruins sent two second rounders to Tampa for former No. 6 pick Brett Connolly in 2015. It seemed like a vast overpayment then and now (he was scratched for Boston’s 3-1 win over Toronto on Saturday), but it’s possible that a deal could be made using that swap as a guideline. Source
I would rather see the return being something a little more immediately useful (Mark Pysyk, Damon Severson) and if not then keep him and maybe that is the guy you lose at the expansion draft. If the return isn’t there, Chiarelli would be wise to keep his powder dry. The Oilers do not have a history of doing well with dealing players who have requested trades. In a negotiation, indifference to the outcome gives one leverage. You may argue that his value is reduced if you don’t deal him, but I would argue that a feature role next year probably increases his value markedly. He can score goals, got one last night. Keep him with a skill C for 82 games, see if he has 20 points then.
Jimmy Vesey is a guy Kirk Luedeke was talking about to anyone who would listen back in the day.
- Luedeke: Jim Vesey, LW Belmont Hill (High-MA)– He has nice size, hands and excellent hockey sense. His dad, Jim Sr., is from Charlestown, Mass. and was a legend at Merrimack College in the mid-80’s when he racked up goals and points in bunches. His son is a better skater than he was, and the senior Vesey tallied 126 goals in three seasons with the IHL’s Peoria Rivermen when he was a Blues farmhand in the late 80’s. Jimmy is proving that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree and has some real potential for an NHL team that can look past the competition level and envision him as a long-term prospect worth investing a pick on. Source
Sounds to me as though Luedeke believes Vesey might be headed to Toronto. I would be shocked to my shoes if Edmonton landed him, but then again McDavid changes everything.
POULIOT, YAK TO ANAHEIM?
- Jason Gregor: My source mentioned at the time the Ducks were close (not guaranteed but close) on a deal with Yakupov and Benoit Pouliot prior to the trade deadline, but the injury to Pouliot put an end to those discussions. Source
Hmm. I have always felt (and stated) Pouliot as an Oiler under McLellan didn’t seem to be a happy fit, maybe all of those offensive zone penalties have given the wrong impression. Based on the numbers, Pouliot is a very good winger and a player who can slide up and down the depth chart easily. It would be so Oilers to cash Pouliot because Maroon has been hot since arrival, but then again if these rumors are true they were talking about BP to ANA before Maroon. Who could be coming back? One of the blue? One of the goalies? Picks? No idea. The guy I bet Anaheim would be willing to move is Cam Fowler, don’t know that he is what the doctor ordered here (lefty, that Fowler, and has not had a splendid season). One hopes they were talking Vatanen and Gibson, but the value placed on Pouliot by Edmonton might suggest Bob Murray didn’t need to offer front line talent.
Audrey Hepburn pic.twitter.com/BYLKLTb0QN
— Pinceladas de cine (@Pinceladasdcine) March 20, 2016
LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE
A fun show with smart guests today (and everyday!). Scheduled to appear:
- Jonathan Willis, Cult of Hockey. Last night, Nail, Benoit, Nuge and Taylor: Who is out through the in door?
- Guy Flaming, Pipeline Show. Oil Kings, CHL Playoffs, Frozen Four.
- Scott Rintoul, TSN 1040 Vancouver. What the hell are the Canucks up to?
- Corey Pronman, ESPN. The impressive 2015 draft by the Oilers, and some of the players behind Matthews and the Finns in the 4-6 overall range.
10-1260 text, @Lowetide on twitter. See you on the radio!