G36 2016-17: OILERS AT SHARKS

by Lowetide

Tonight is game No. 81 in the splendid and wonderful career of Connor McDavid. He has 88 points now, can he hit 90 before his 82nd game? Whatever his 82-game total ends up being, it will be the largest of any recent Oilers impact player.

  1. Connor McDavid 80gp, 28-60-88
  2. Jordan Eberle 82gp, 21-33-54
  3. Taylor Hall 82gp, 25-28-53
  4. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins 78gp, 19-41-50
  5. Leon Draisaitl 82gp, 16-33-49
  6. Nail Yakupov 82gp, 22-21-43

That is a fascinating look through recent Oilers history. Nail had a fast start, Leon a terribly slow one, but they all showed a lot in their first 82 games. Jordan Eberle is fantastically consistent, still don’t know why people are so mad at him. Oh, and Connor McDavid? Belongs in a higher league, they just don’t have one. That is no ordinary brag, these players listed here are brilliant and were the moment the NHL welcomed them. This young man is going to do some things. Oh my.

A BAND CALLED CLOVER, YEAR OVER YEAR

  • Oilers in October 2015: 4-8-0, goal differential -7
  • Oilers in October 2016: 7-2-0, goal differential +10
  • Oilers in November 2015: 4-7-2, goal differential -6
  • Oilers in November 2016: 5-8-2 goal differential -3
  • Oilers in December 2015: 7-6-1, goal differential -9
  • Oilers in December 2016: 6-2-3, goal differential +2
  • Oilers after 35, 2015: 15-18-2, goal differential -17
  • Oilers after 35, 2016: 18-12-5, goal differential +9

The Oilers played G36 on Boxing Day one year ago, losing 2-1 in OT to the Vancouver Canucks. After 36 games a year ago, Edmonton posted 33 points. This year, even with a regulation loss, the club goes to the Christmas break with 41 (or more) points.

This is a fascinating game, Edmonton’s road wins in St. Louis and Tempe mean they are playing with house money this evening. Can they run the pre-Christmas table? It has been an interesting week.

DEFENSE, 2016-17

  • I have been tinkering with this player card for awhile. It can be confusing, because we are talking straight Corsi for 5×5 (and Rel) and Dangerous Fenwick 5×5 Elites (and Rel). Still, there is interesting information here.
  • This is via DFF and Stats.Analysis.com. Thanks to GMoney and WG for sharing this, cannot wait until it is publicly available.
  • Darnell Nurse has a fine player card, playing mostly this year with Eric Gryba and Matt Benning. That is third pairing, but a terrific step forward for the young blue.
  • Matt Benning will not receive one Calder vote, but he is a perfect fit for Edmonton. For a team that couldn’t get it right with Jeff Petry and Justin Schultz, having another chance with a mobile righty college blue is manna from heaven.
  • Eric Gryba has little appeal to many Oilers fans, but he can defend, plays a rugged style and you never have to worry about development loss when he is a HS. That has value.
  • Andrej Sekera is the best defender on the team, still able to post a respectable player card despite all kinds of issues in terms of partner. Sekera is 56.1 Corsi for 5×5/60 without Kris Russell, 46.7 with him. Edmonton doesn’t use Corsi, preferring shot volume and (I think) something resembling DFF. Sekera is quality in the DFF elite column, especially considering the competition he faces each evening.
  • Adam Larsson looks smart via Corsi, but is running with the pack in DFF. He is over 50 percent in Corsi with Oscar Klefbom and that is where I would leave him. Some strong defensive moments in the road games this week, including a game saver against the Blues with mere seconds left on the clock.
  • Oscar Klefbom looks good in Corsi, but that wobble we have seen this year shows up in the Woodmoney. What can be done? I like the Swedes together so hope they can iron out the issues and be the best pairing on the team again (as they have been many nights this year).
  • Kris Russell has a good story to tell here, his DFF v Elites is in the range with the other veterans who are playing the toughs. Perhaps that gives us a bit of a clue as to what the Oilers coaching staff is thinking?

5×5/60 FORWARDS 2016-17

  • In the cutting off your nose to spite your face department, we have the continuing McDavid—Lucic 5×5 combination. McDavid with Lucic? 2.40/60 at 5×5. McDavid without Lucic? 3.00/60 at 5×5. Oilers need to give McDavid the two wingers who can help him the most. Is Lucic one of them? Gathering evidence the answer is no. I would try Benoit Pouliot at the position, suspect Todd McLellan will eventually settle on Patrick Maroon.
  • Having Connor McDavid on the ice is a massive advantage for Edmonton, but only if they use it to their complete benefit. McDavid with Eberle (1.70) fades in comparison to McDavid without Eberle (4.52/60).
  • You will read today (and all days) about the Oilers being better with McDavid than without, and how that is a terrible thing. For me, there is no news here. We expect the Oilers to be better with McDavid on the ice, and we hope the gap eventually closes as Leon, Jesse and others mature.
  • The real story now, today, is that Connor McDavid is going to play another game with linemates who aren’t working with him. I understand patience and giving time to find chem, but McDavid—Lucic are almost 400 minutes into the season and 97 is more effective without him.
  • Leon Draisaitl is coming on now, good to see. I always use (and others do too) 2.00/60 as a line in the sand, so he is edging near the point where we can call him effective at even strength and on the power play. I do think this is an under-reported story at this time.
  • Mark Letestu is having a nice run here, and now it is folding over to 5×5 offense. Good for him, very pleased.
  • Ryan Nugent-Hopkins is now the de facto No. 4 center in terms of 5×5 offense. Sound the alarms!
  • Benoit Pouliot is getting a lot of heat currently, Milan Lucic is getting no heat at all. I like both players, but the numbers suggest both need to get more done at even strength. I do find it interesting how little patience is being shown Pouliot, whereas Mr. Lucic remains on the top line with very little criticism. Some of that is surely power-play performance, and Lucic is new and you want to be very patient. I hope the Oilers show the same patience with Pouliot, who has been a solid performer here during his time (this season’s wobble aside).
  • I think Milan Lucic belongs on the Draisaitl line. Seriously. I would put him there for the rest of the season.
  • If Jesse Puljujarvi heads to Bakersfield after Christmas, Drake Caggiula should go with him. Nothing much shaking for him right now at this level.

Aapeli Rasanen is on the final roster for Finland at the WJs, meaning Oilers fans will have two prospects to cheer for this Christmas. Caleb Jones appears to be a lock for Team USA. I hope to have an item up on ON about the WJs tonight or tomorrow, these two men will be featured.

Centre of Attention mentions Bobby Ryan often, he would be a nice fit for sure and one imagines a lefty blue might be of interest to the Senators about now. It is also true Edmonton could more easily grab someone like Tomas Vanek, but that is less sexy. Jarome Iginla has always been a favorite for me, but he isn’t scoring much currently. Radim Vrbata can score goals, and is doing it again this year with the Coyotes—maybe Edmonton can trade for him and find out Tippett’s secrets.

THE OILERS ARE NOT GOING TO WIN THE STANLEY THIS YEAR

I have been reading tweets and posts of late that frame the Oilers current issues in a ridiculous way. If you read ‘the Oilers can’t possibly expect to win the Cup with this lineup’ you should turn off the article, move past the tweet.

Folks, the Oilers have a large number of young people in (or pushing for) very important roles. Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl, Jesse Puljujarvi, Drake Caggiula, Oscar Klefbom, Matt Benning, Darnell Nurse, Brandon Davidson and I have missed a few.

If you are thinking the Oilers should have been pushing for the Stanley Cup the minute they traded Taylor Hall, I have one question for you: WHERE WERE YOU last summer when I wrote an article a day about finding balance? WHERE? Because the Oilers are what we knew they would be, and if you are bitching about it now like it is a surprise then you clearly weren’t paying attention in June.

This is us. If you are following people who are framing the issue as a tragedy, stop following. Expecting Leon Draisaitl to lead, as opposed to blossom, is silly to the point of farce. I am surprised at some people. Seems silly season is upon us.

LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE

Our final show before Christmas, we will talk family traditions and what makes the season special (Spengler, WJs). :-). 10 this morning, TSN1260, scheduled to appear:

  • Steve Lansky, Big Mouth Sports. A look at the Canadian teams in the NHL so far this year, some Christmas memories of big sporting events during this time of year.
  • Guy Flaming, Pipeline Show. Jones, Rasanen and more of the WJs.
  • Matt Iwanyk, TSN1260. Matt will bring one gift for each of Edmonton’s notable sports franchises. As always, there are some surprises.
  • Paul Almeida, SSE. Paul will drop in with Christmas cheer and complain about the goalie. 🙂

10-1260 text, @Lowetide on twitter. Talk soon!

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Diablo

Despite getting outclassed last night, the overall improvement out there is noticeable. For the past ten years, a game like last night would have been over after the first period. But they never gave up, got it to OT and salvaged a point. That’s your turn north – I certainly didn’t expect them to go from the bottom of the league to dominating teams like SJS in under 40 games.

Lots of people ripping on Klefbom after last night – he stood out for some bad reads, but what I also saw from him was a D-man who was skating the puck confidently through the neutral zone – he had his moments when he looked very good as well. We have to remember that he’s still very young and lost a lot of development time to injuries.

Davidson was excellent last night – need to find a way to protect him from the expansion draft.

This team needs a vet C and W to replace Caggiula, and Jesse, and a better backup G. These items are realistically obtainable. The mythical #1 RHD would be lovely, but you can’t have everything … its time to stop discussing this, as its just not realistic at this time.

StixMalone

If memory serves Nuge, Eberle, Sekera were very good together at 3 on 3 last year? Have we seen this combo yet this year? Not sure cause I’m always focused on who Todd puts out with McDavid. And usually have had a few by OT.

Woodguy

Professor Q: I’m sorry for the confusion. CoA read my mail, however.

I know I’m not as I’m tune with the numbers or game as most of you, but I hope my commentary, humour, wit, and wordplay makes some of your days sometimes at least…

I very sorry that I totally missed Barrie=bury

It was an excellent joke.

Walter Sobchak

That was a tough game for Lucic and Klefbom.

A couple of other noticeable items.

If Beck plays only 4 minutes a game then WHY not put JP in the game?

Visually Caggiula is not NHL ready.

As good as the PP is (somewhere around 4th I heard) it’s still a bad PP, the Oilers need a hard heavy shot to keep teams from cheating on the PK and keying on McDavid.

If the PP is that bad there is no deterrent for teams taking liberties with McDavid or Draisaitl, teams like SJS can hang onto McDavid all game long knowing theirs a good chance the refs wont call it and The Oilers wont score on the PP.

digger50

spoiler,

Have a great Christmas everyone.

I look forward to the next few Christmas blogs!

spoiler

digger50: If the team gave up as quick as the fans do, then we’re in real trouble.

I don’t think anyone’s giving up. We’re disappointed at the game, not the season. That comes later, lol.

Zelepukin

JDï™: They were out-classed for over two periods, and got to OT by good goal tending and luck. They did not ‘hang in there defensively’ in any way at all.

Did you watch the entire game? Because I did, and the number of mistakes was dizzying.

This. Talbot saved us our asses in getting the extra point and you have to at least acknowledge the coaching staff putting the blender on to start the 3rd. That was a big adjustment that we often criticise Mclellan for not doing.

This was not a boring game. This was, as some have put, the first serious game in terms of point standings that we’ve had in years. I for one, was screaming at the TV every shift. Sadly, it was mostly of the, ‘ what the hell are you doing?!?’ variety.

The fact that we almost stole this game on the play of only a couple players, is a positive.

As McL said in the post, there is still a lot of work to do. Our lack of consistency and multiple lines humming, makes the Oil an easy team to coach against. Even the SJ broadcasters pointed out during one of our many PPs. We’ve got no right-handed shot so the Sharks just need to press hard on the right setup side.

digger50

spoiler: Even TMac said they were completely “out-classed”.“Very disappointed with several players”that they didn’t battle to get back in the game but for “survival”.“Have to play much better if they expect to beat teams like this.”

If the team gave up as quick as the fans do, then we’re in real trouble.

spoiler

digger50: There was lots of good to see, you just have to take off your ten year negative goggles. This is what a team looks like as they improve.

Even TMac said they were completely “out-classed”. “Very disappointed with several players” that they didn’t battle to get back in the game but for “survival”. “Have to play much better if they expect to beat teams like this.”

digger50

JDï™: They were out-classed for over two periods, and got to OT by good goal tending and luck. They did not ‘hang in there defensively’ in any way at all.

Did you watch the entire game? Because I did, and the number of mistakes was dizzying.

There was lots of good to see, you just have to take off your ten year negative goggles. This is what a team looks like as they improve.

spoiler

treevojo: One of my favourite posters said lucic couldn’t return a 7th Rd pic.
I like lucic.
He is not a 3 on 3 player.

Hehehe… I remember that now. And agreed with the rest or at least compared to what’s sitting.

treevojo

NYCOIL “Gentleman Backpacker”: I can fully agree with your comment that we can easily pick apart players in a three on three.

I don’t understand your 7th round pick comment; what does that have to do with anything?

Note I did not say Lucic should not have been out in OT, what I said was that IF he is out there with McDavid in that situation he should be staying down low. Instead, it seemed to me like knowing he does not have the speed to keep up with 97 he cheated out of the zone before the puck was secured.

Yes, McDavid made a mistake. He is 19. They are paying Lucic huge money to be the veteran cover in that situation. He failed.

Wrong for pointing that out?

No no

7th Rd pick has nothing to do with you.

I know you have been over seas for a little while.

One of my favourite posters said lucic couldn’t return a 7th Rd pic.

I like lucic.

He is not a 3 on 3 player.

Frank the dog

There’s a lot of tangled tits on this blog right now.
First of all, this is a playoff squeaker team, we all know that. does anyone remember when LA suddenly turned into a good young team with a future? These Oilers remind me of that team.
That’s 7 of 8 possible points and everybody’s pissing and moaning. Weird.
Secondly, for the trade haters, you cant compare Lucic to Hall if you are going to complain about the trade as a pure Larsson for Hall transaction. This year’s team is a lot better than last years team and if my Auntie had balls she’d be my uncle. So let’s enjoy what we are seeing right here, right now.
Cheers!

spoiler

NYCOIL “Gentleman Backpacker”: I don’t understand your 7th round pick comment; what does that have to do with anything?

I think he meant Lebanc.

No idea why Lucic went riverboat there. You might be right, cheating. Bad read and that’s usually one of his strengths.

spoiler

I actually thought Maroon’s pass back to our own end to get McDavid over the boards was really smart. The next guy not so much.

treevojo: It’s 3 on 3 overtime.

Basically a skills competition.

If we were to rewatchevery goal scored in this format we could pick apart the best players in the world night after night.

They are always won by a breakdown by one of the two forwards trying for the extra point.

I don’t think it is too much to get worked up over.

But hey

What the fuck is a seventh Rd draft pick doing on the ice.

I can fully agree with your comment that we can easily pick apart players in a three on three.

I don’t understand your 7th round pick comment; what does that have to do with anything?

Note I did not say Lucic should not have been out in OT, what I said was that IF he is out there with McDavid in that situation he should be staying down low. Instead, it seemed to me like knowing he does not have the speed to keep up with 97 he cheated out of the zone before the puck was secured.

Yes, McDavid made a mistake. He is 19. They are paying Lucic huge money to be the veteran cover in that situation. He failed.

Wrong for pointing that out?

spoiler

Well, we got a lot of lessons shoved down our throats tonight despite the point.

I hope we learn them well.

Here’s what I feel they are:

1. The extra 2 days of preparation for the Sharks showed. They knew our powerplay inside out. If you’re going to beat the Oilers lately, you have to stop their PP. Sharks ate it up. Breakouts too.

2. Until you treat the first overall matchup game with the same desire and focus and effort as the other team, you will never own first. This also applies to the playoffs.

3. Gamesmanship, need to have it. The Sharks went after Kassian, got under his skin, blew his top, and played with a hard edge on everyone.

4. The coaches aren’t off the hook. The Oil should have been better prepared for the level SJS was going to bring. The last half of the 3rd showed we can play with them.

Kassian’s state of mind should have been recognized on the bench and dealt with there, before being sent back out.

Lucic in the OT is nuts with the thoroughbred stallions the Oil have chewing bits on the bench. Either a hunch or anti-risk-taking, either way I don’t like it.

5. The team looked tired. Not just physically, but you could tell by the mental mistakes and the lack of timing. Maybe that’s the schedule, dunno, but they have to be there for these games if they wanna be number 1.

6. It’s a long season, just one game, end of a road trip, right before the Xmas break and you came away with a point against the SCF Finalists in their barn. But don’t be too thankful. Don’t settle for excuses. Actually get’em back. Take it personally. And be smart about it. Players and coaches.

JD_Wry

digger50: They played a boring game

They were out-classed for over two periods, and got to OT by good goal tending and luck. They did not ‘hang in there defensively’ in any way at all.

digger50: not too many mistakes

Did you watch the entire game? Because I did, and the number of mistakes was dizzying.

treevojo

LadiesloveSmid: Nuge was out in OT

Shit

Was he?

I must be drunk

My apologies.

who

digger50:
As an aside, I would have liked to seen a little more of Beck. Tonight wasn’t the time for it but as we seem to be still assessing Rookies, id like to see what he’s got, before he gets sent down again.

Beck is no rookie and I think we’ve seen what he’s got.
There’s been several posters here who said this was a good game. I give San Jose credit for really locking things down but that was painful hockey to watch. The first two periods were like watching paint dry. Perfect example of everything that is wrong with nhl hockey. If I didn’t follow the oilers I’d have turned it off in the first period.

treevojo

NYCOIL “Gentleman Backpacker”: Yes and with McDavid closer to the puck at the time and the more talented of the two it behooved Lucic to stay lowInstead, he bolted too soon, then stopped, then did not react for another second before attempting to move down low to pressure the Sharks.

Stupid play by a veteran who was cheating for offense. If he is out there with 97 on a three on three he should not be doing anything but covering for him.

It’s 3 on 3 overtime.

Basically a skills competition.

If we were to rewatch every goal scored in this format we could pick apart the best players in the world night after night.

They are always won by a breakdown by one of the two forwards trying for the extra point.

I don’t think it is too much to get worked up over.

But hey

What the fuck is a seventh Rd draft pick doing on the ice.

LadiesloveSmid

treevojo:
Maroon was alsoout there in ot

No Nuge

There might be more to it

Nuge was out in OT

Centre of attention

if the playoffs started today the Oilers face the Ducks

Who would you have your money on?

digger50

JDï™: During the commercial breaks, I hear that they had their shit running.

All I been hearing here is “poor” “awful” “suck” “just terrible” and “ffs”

Really? What were expectations?

They played a boring game, hung in there defensively, not too many mistakes, and got to OT. Not a bad game

Gret99zky

Very happy we got a point tonight.

And McDavid with a goal and an assist.

Happy>Sad about that one.

Looking forward to your Christmas Day post, LT.

Be sure to tell us a story.

I will leave milk and cookies out.

digger50

As an aside, I would have liked to seen a little more of Beck. Tonight wasn’t the time for it but as we seem to be still assessing Rookies, id like to see what he’s got, before he gets sent down again.

JD_Wry

digger50: Oil were a bit outmatched at times.

During the commercial breaks, I hear that they had their shit running.

McSorley33

Lots of posts on Lucic …..well before tonight.

digger50

I watched a good game tonight. Oil were a bit outmatched at times. It I seen a lot of positives. The tide, it is a turning.

Before you can beat them in a best of 7 first you have to catch them, then tie them and slowly overtake. It doesn’t happen in an instant.

We have a lot of pieces coming together, and holes that becoming clear.

McSorley33

Only outshot 31-18……but we got a point, so great game.

Can’t believe Looch wouldn’t work in 3 on 3 OT …..fits his game to perfection.

Just an unlucky break, Todd.

who

That may have been the worst game I’ve ever seen Klefbom play. So many bad decisions with and without the puck. I don’t even know where to start.
On the overtime goal he has Connor coming back deep to loop and pick up some speed. Instead he decides to pass the puck to the noted puck handler Lucic, who is standing still at center ice.
I’ve noticed this a few times with our dmen. Connor will come back deep in the zone and just as he gets to the bottom of his loop the dman, under no pressure, decides to fire it up to a winger standing still on the boards. They should be looking to get the puck to Connor every time he has speed and space in front of him.
The Hawks do this all the time with Kane and Panarin. Give the puck to the skill guys when they have speed and space. It’s not that complicated.

Lucinius

Gret99zky: Well if you are looking for some shit flung in Lucic’s direction it might happen soon.

To be fair, though.. Pouliot is far more deserving of the shit flung his way. He’s gotten more than 3x the points Pouliot has.

Pouliot and RNH’s offense are the two biggest issues facing the team right now. I’d put Eberle and Klefbom’s wobbles after that, before getting to Lucic.

treevojo

Maroon was also out there in ot

No Nuge

There might be more to it

Gret99zky

Lowetide: Benoit Pouliot is getting a lot of heat currently, Milan Lucic is getting no heat at all. I like both players, but the numbers suggest both need to get more done at even strength. I do find it interesting how little patience is being shown Pouliot, whereas Mr. Lucic remains on the top line with very little criticism.

Well if you are looking for some shit flung in Lucic’s direction it might happen soon.

Diablo

OT goal was not on Klef – both McDavid and Lucic flew the zone early.

SJ definitely the better team tonight. Talbot and McDavid stole us a point tonight on the road against the Stanley Cup finalists. Very enjoyable game though. Can’t win em all, but when you lose its nice to get a Bettman point. Happy holidays everyone.

Zelepukin

Maroon needs to permanently replace Lucic on McD’s wing. He is an upgrade in every capacity. He shows a bit more lateral movement, his hands are softer by a mile and he is good along the boards.

hags9k

Not sure I’m a big fan of deploying Maroon in OT either…

Pescador

You put Lucic out there in overtime, that’s on you.
FFS Todd

treevojo:
You guys.

The Lucic stuff is getting a bit much.

There were two guys that turned up ice.

Yes and with McDavid closer to the puck at the time and the more talented of the two it behooved Lucic to stay low Instead, he bolted too soon, then stopped, then did not react for another second before attempting to move down low to pressure the Sharks.

Stupid play by a veteran who was cheating for offense. If he is out there with 97 on a three on three he should not be doing anything but covering for him.

Soup Fascist

treevojo:
You guys.

The Lucic stuff is getting a bit much.

There were two guys that turned up ice.

It’s not Lucic. It is the coach who can’t get out of his own way with his man crushes.

Zelepukin

treevojo:
You guys.

The Lucic stuff is getting a bit much.

There were two guys that turned up ice.

Spoiler answered your comment. Lucic is not a 3v3 specialist. Full stop. No exceptions.

Confused

Centre of attention,

The system keeps changing Sekera

hags9k

Good effort tonight though. They really wanted that go ahead goal. Good to see.

Also, we have a very good goalie.

striatic

The Oilers played this game not like potential division leaders, but like a playoff squeaker team.

That’s not a bad thing, at least they weren’t playing like a league basement team.

Bettman point after Bettman point after Bettman is frustrating but at the end of the regular season they’ll keep the team in the hunt. Thank you Cam Talbot.

LadiesloveSmid

If we’re playing the merit game where Yak plays with Lander/Letestu last year, Klefbom and Lucic deserve to play 3rd pair/3rd line.

Thought Pouliot had a good game, thought Talbot was good. That’s about it.

--hudson--

JDï™: Yeah, to have a right hand shot like that from the wing.

I find it amazing he’s this good already, drafted in the 6th round of 2014. Taken 18 picks after Vesel.

With the Oilers prospect pool being shallow, we need a pick or two to develop like this.

treevojo

You guys.

The Lucic stuff is getting a bit much.

There were two guys that turned up ice.

spoiler

linkfromhyrule:
So mclellan pulls 27 off mcdavids line during the game and then puts him back with him in OT. Why? They dont work together todd. Frustrating game

The over-all evidence says otherwise. Lucic shouldn’t have been out there for the fact that OT does not cater to his strengths, rather it shows up his weaknesses (every player has them). Was TMac playing a hunch? Bad decision either way.

Edmonton_fan

It is Christmas – we are on the right side of a playoff spot. And unlike recent previous years – I did not change channels after the 1st period.

I am okay with this year`s team!

Soup Fascist

Hey Todd. Question about player selection in overtime ….. will be asked by no MSM in the postgame.