Saturday night was no fun but that’s one game and the big story is the big man from Cologne. Those gorgeous backhands come after a giant brain rifles instructions down the motor mile. Right now Mr. Draisaitl’s brain is addled. Get well soon, Leon! An enjoyable winter in the land of the ice and snow depend on it! Please, baby Jesus, bring Leon back to perfect health soon! I can’t wait to see that wry smile after a flukey goal again.
Why did they call up Brad Malone? Suspect it’s because the club wants Jesse Puljujarvi to be a driving force in the AHL before he returns. JP has two assists in three games and a gigantic bonus that is burning off daily in the California sun. Malone has a chance too, if we see him getting PK time in practice, maybe he makes a game later in the week or early next.
THE NAZZ ARE BLUE
- The Oilers possession numbers are off the rails, I’ll have Corsi and such tomorrow but wanted to run scoring chances this time for a specific reason.
- Darnell Nurse is going to be an interesting player to track this season. I’m no expert on defensemen but have been watching them for decades. The young ones will drive you crazy and are probably the main cause of crazy coaches worldwide. Many in the Oilogosphere are pretty sure Darnell Nurse won’t reach a high ceiling, and a pretty big line in the sand is coming. Nurse will likely pass the 200 NHL GP (playoffs included) mark this year and that should mean more success and more responsibility. How will he handle it? We’ll see.
- This is a very young group of defensemen, if Nurse plus Benning turn out (along with Klefbom and Larsson) we could be watching this set for many years to come.
- All of these numbers are brilliant and yet the team is 1-3-0. Shiza happens, and the shooting percentages are having their way and giggling like idiots. Would you rather be hammering in possession or be 3-1-0? Heh. It is to laugh.
THE NAZZ ARE BLUE 2010
After four games in 2010, I had a look at even-strength scoring chances for and against, with the following results.
- The Oilers had fewer events 5×5 after four games back in 2010 and of course only two men over 50 percent in chances.
- Tom Gilbert was a fine defender for 655 NHL games, almost 400 as an Oiler. He is playing in Nuremberg of the German League this season. I wonder if Spencer Tracy is a judge there.
- Ladislav Smid was a fine defender for 583 NHL games, over 480 as an Oiler. He is playing for Liberec Bili Tygri of the Czech League this year. That’s the hometown of Petr Nedved, who is still playing hockey with the same team as Smid.
- Ryan Whitney was probably the best defender on the team when healthy, he played in just 481 NHL games and had his career cut short due to injury. He’s a pretty clever bugger and an emerging broadcaster/writer, worthwhile follow on twitter.
- Theo Peckham played 160 NHL games, I swear he had a chance to have a long career. Jim Vandermeer played 461 NHL games and is playing for the Belfast Giants in 2017-18, and Kurtis Foster played 405 NHL games and played for Nuremberg in his final pro season 2015-16.
FORWARDS, EVEN-STRENGTH SCORING
- Note: I’m running even-strength numbers here, will do so from time to time this season. Oilers get an abundance of points in the Connor McDavid era from this discipline, important we shine a light.
- Anyone near 2.00/60 is going to get good marks, and I think Kailer Yamamoto should be acknowledged although these are early days.
JESSE PULJUJARVI VERSUS THE VOLCANO
I mentioned above that Jesse Puljujarvi has cap bonus money bleeding out in Bakersfield currently, suspect that’s one part of why he is there. The other portion is JP’s own production. The Oilers need the young Finn to be a scorer or an outscorer and that means some form of dominance in the AHL. A point per game? He’s 3gp, 0-2-2 currently, I think we’ll see him once he’s scoring goals and posting points around 1/1 per GP. It might be 10 games into the year and it might be 40, but I do believe the young winger gets a call at some point. Kailer Yamamoto’s success could impact that timeline, so the 9-game marker may be the pressure point. So far, the Spokane Chiefs’ winger is delivering pretty well compared to JP in the minors and there are no cap bonus concerns. The bet Peter Chiarelli made on Puljujarvi’s draft day was Hall’s dynamic offense and river pushing would be replaced eventually by Puljujarvi. Are we feeling this will happen? I like Puljujarvi and he has some fine things in his game, here’s hoping he can sustain substantial offense in Bakersfield int he coming days.
EXPECTED GOALS (FORWARDS)
- We’re all talking about shooting percentage and it certainly is a factor so far in the season. Based on career shooting percentages, the Oilers forwards are about five goals in the ditch, possibly more if Kailer Yamamoto’s shooting percentage is north of zero. We’ll review this in a few weeks, suspect it’ll be a better number.
- Part of the problem is power play, Edmonton’s special teams are not helping them but we can have some confidence it will.
- Based on this table, Milan Lucic, Jussi Jokinen and Mark Letestu have all bought a complete goal but delivery is late. Patrick Maroon, Zack Kassian and Ryan Strome are in the waiting room and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins is making out like a bandit.
LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE
At 10 this morning, TSN1260, we stare down a Monday morning and win! Scheduled to appear:
- Pierre Lebrun, TSN and The Athletic. Oilers struggles, Vegas rips it up, Toronto owns the future.
- Andy McNamara, TSN. Another stunning NFL weekend.
- Jason Gregor, TSN1260. Oilers weekend, Eskimos playoffs!
10-1260 text, @Lowetide on twitter. I’ll also be on the roundtable this morning at 9, TSN1260. Tune in!