If you have been reading this blog for a long time, you will know it is not in my personality to give up on a young prospect. Did you know that Jason Chimera didn’t really establish himself until age 23? Fernando Pisani? 26. Tyler Pitlick turns 25 in November, and while I am not comparing him to either man, I still hold out hope for the player. Lonely spot, mind, but that’s okay, even more lonely over at the Marc Pouliot marching and chowder society.
THOUGHTS ON LAST NIGHT, EDMONTON
All numbers below are Corsi 5×5 percentage.
- R Tyler Pitlick 1-1-2 in 12:51. He made a strange defensive play in the first period but recovered with a goal and two points later in the game. Looked good in possession (73 percent). McLellan: “He had a helluva game. Pitlick penalty-killed, was stick-strong. He bullied his way along the boards, kept plays alive, killed plays in the D zone, managed the game well. I thought he played a power game, in both zones.” Source
- R Kris Versteeg 1-0-1 in 16:52. He was one of the guys I really wanted to see, because if he can skate (he can) then he makes the club (imo) and if he can bring that kind of effort every night then he is an Oiler. 50 percent in possession. I think it is absolutely reasonable to project him onto the opening night roster.
- R Iiro Pakarinen 1-0-1 in 14:24. In my mind, he is a bubble player at this point, but he showed up in a lot of good spots visually—and scored a goal. I think we can assume he will either make the team or be a late cut. 50 percent in possession.
- R Jordan Eberle 0-0-0 in 17:44. He played a lot and didn’t score, but this line dominated in possession. 91 percent Corsi for percentage, the entire line was dominant. They didn’t cash but the puck was headed in a good direction all night.
- L Milan Lucic 0-0-0 in 17:13. Crazy possession, two takeaways, three shots. I liked his game, and cannot wait to see him with any of the three tenors. 91.67 in possession, excellent passer.
- C Drake Caggiula 0-0-0 in 18:28. I thought he was outstanding (he was on a feature line, of course) and his 4 SOG reflected involvement. I am pretty sure Versteeg is on his way to a job, and Caggiula is building a resume in that direction (or an early callup). 91 percent in possession.
- R Jesse Puljujarvi 0-0-0 in 14:31. He played a lot and looked like he was trying to do it all himself. Needs to use his linemates more and this is a good reminder that 20 games in the AHL is not a bad idea. 58 percent Corsi (all of this is 5×5).
- R Taylor Beck 0-1-1 in 14:49. He was quite noticeable on that Khaira-Pitlick line, I think all three men did a good job of showcasing their skills, Beck may get some NHL time this year. 73 percent Corsi.
- L Mitch Moroz 0-1-1 in 8:18. A pulse! He was physical, got a couple of shots and had a 50 percent Corsi for (these are even strength, courtesy naturalstattrick).
- C Jujhar Khaira 0-0-0 in 13:22. I really liked his game, 65 percent in the dot, one takeaway, three hits, two shots on goal and he played in all three disciplines. Part of that effective AHL line, showed good speed and puck skills. 74 percent Corsi.
- C Ryan Vesce 1-0-1 in 15:02. Veteran got a dandy push and scored a nice PP goal (tip of a Matt Benning shot). I didn’t get a good feel for his speed, but he has skill. 50 percent in possession.
- C Kyle Platzer 0-1-1 in 11:36. He was 50 percent in possession, he got plenty of PK time. I really hope the Oilers let this kid play in Bakersfield all year.
- RD Adam Larsson 0-1-1 in 24:08. He had a couple of wacky plays (lost his stick on an early goal) but he recovers like a demon and got a lot done. Two takeaways, shot on goal, two hits and for me it was a solid debut. 71 percent in possession. I thought he was very good overall.
- LD Oscar Klefbom 0-1-1 in 22:11. He showed that terrific speed several times during the game, and my goodness he can close a gap. The ice surface seems smaller with Oscar out there. Four shots and a takeaway, 70 percent in possession.
- RD Matt Benning 0-1-1 in 21:36. He had two shots and a block, and I felt he was confident with the puck. We need to remember the level of competition but a solid effort. 60 percent Corsi.
- LD Markus Niemelainen 0-0-0 in 17:53. He was 70 percent in possession and has good wheels. I did not notice him a lot good or bad, suggesting it was a solid night.
- RD Mark Fayne 0-0-0 in 15:41. One shot on goal, two blocks and he seemed more mobile than a year ago. He does play off at the blue line though, I think McLellan likes his blue to stand up in those situations. 75 percent in 5×5 possession.
- LD Ben Betker 0-0-0 in 13:21. Rookie was solid in a limited role, he had one takeaway, blocked a shot and had three shots on goal. I have to say he looked good. 73 percent Corsi.
- G Cam Talbot. He won the game, but had an .846 SP. First goal was not on him, second one I think you could have hoped for a stop.
- G Eetu Laurikainen. Two stops, quiet period.
- Corsi numbers here.
- Oilers were 60 percent overall in EV corsi, so anything above that was a pretty good night.
- I will try to re-watch the Calgary game and post a report today. I am reading all manner of good and bad on Darnell Nurse, want to have a long look for myself.
- Todd McLellan: “We may as well cut to the chase, Jesse has some work to do. We’d like to think he can pull through and play on our team but based off tonight’s game—while he has lots of talent, he has to learn time and space at the NHL level. A couple of times he looked dangerous but he has to have the puck a lot more.” Source
The good thing for the Oilers is this: Puljujarvi (as was the case with Mikko Rantanen a year ago) can spend the season in the AHL and have a much better chance next season. This is one game, so we can’t make any sweeping statements, but good to have that backup plan in Bakersfield.
I imagine we will see a few cuts later today and we will talk about them (plus the Calgary game from last night at five this afternoon. Simonelli didn’t get any game action at all, wonder if he spends more of this season in Norfolk than Bakersfield.
LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE
A busy show, beginning at 10 this morning on TSN1260. Scheduled to appear:
- Jonathan Willis, Oilers Nation. Camp is underway, will the Oilers sign Versteeg? And what is fair value for Trouba?
- Jeff Krushell, Krush Performance. Jays! Why are the benches clearing?
- Andrew Stoeten, Blue Jays Nation. Toronto should close this down by Friday.
- Jeff Hauser, Radio Hauser. NFL weekend, I will try to talk less about the Eagles.
10-1260 text, @Lowetide on twitter. Talk soon!