What to Expect when You’re Expecting November

by Lowetide

One year ago, the Edmonton Oilers ended the first month of the schedule 7-2-0 with a goal differential of +10. The city was Sunshine, Lollipops and Rainbows, while the gales of November were left standing on the shore. This year, the club is 3-6-1, -11 goal differential and it is reasonable to at least acknowledge the possibility of missing the playoffs. A strong organization, one with a winning tradition, would turn face to the wind and march head on into the Fitzgerald guitar riff. The Oilers have no such past and we could see some full crazy in the coming days when the skies of November turn gloomy. Hail Mary, full of Grace.

OCTOBER SKY, 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 October 2017: 3-6-1, goal differential -11

This October felt very much like Todd McLellan’s first one in Edmonton. Lots of auditions, shuffling of roles and trying to get the feeling. Last year was a dream and a distant bell, but it’s important to remember October 2016 did not resemble it’s brother November 2016.

  • Oilers in November 2015: 4-7-2, goal differential -6
  • Oilers in November 2016: 5-8-2 goal differential -3

November has been the suck for Todd McLellan both times, maybe the third time will be the charm. November comes in like a dickhead and goes down from there based on the last 28 games (9-15-4) under McLellan. Strange days indeed.

WHAT TO EXPECT FROM NOVEMBER

  • At home to: Pittsburgh, New Jersey, Detroit (Expected: 2-1-0) (Actual 0-0-0)
  • On the road to: NYI, New Jersey, NYR, Washington (Expected: 1-2-1) (Actual: 0-0-0)
  • At home to: Vegas, St. Louis (Expected 1-1-0) (Actual: 0-0-0)
  • On the road to: Dallas, St. Louis, Detroit, Buffalo, Boston (Expected 2-2-1) (Actual 0-0-0)
  • At home to: Arizona, Toronto (Expected 1-1-0) (Actual 0-0-0)
  • Overall expected result: 7-7-2, 16 points in 16 games 
  • Current results: 0-0-0

I don’t expect many to be pleased with these numbers and am prepared to defend the reasoning that went into them. I think the Oilers can beat Detroit at home, the Rangers on the road, Vegas at Rogers, Detroit and Buffalo out east, Arizona at home at the end of the month. That’s a pretty humble ask of a team with Connor McDavid playing 20 minutes a night.

I’d like to project 1-1-0 against New Jersey, and have done so with trepidation. The Devils are a good team with some outstanding numbers (boxcars and underlying). They will arrive in town later this week and if they win—completely possible—the Oilers might be 3-8-1 heading into the Detroit game. Crazy start, ladies and men.

In the coming month, it’s fair to project some outstanding goaltending, but a few important moments involving GA that should have been stopped. Can we safely assume the special teams will be won this month? I don’t think so. How many goals from the third line? Fourth? How tight the defense?

The best thing that can be said about my prediction? I still don’t have a feel for this hockey team, maybe I’m missing by a mile. I missed October’s finish by five points, maybe the Oilers will cover my bet and grab those missing five points. My prediction has the Oilers 10-13-3 at the end of November, the playoff picture even more pronounced.

GRIFFIN REINHART

I suspect the Oilers will put in a claim, but also believe someone higher in the selection order will get him. There’s just too much history suggesting some general manager will want to take a chance his organization can unlock him. Reinhart was a fine junior who has not been able to establish himself as an NHL player. Is he better than Yohann Auvitu? My guess is the organization believes so.

OILERS FORWARDS, 5X5 60 SCORING BY LEAGUE RANK

  1. Leon Draisaitl 4.05
  2. Patrick Maroon 2.78
  3. Connor McDavid 2.73
  4. Milan Lucic 2.48
  5. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins 2.46
  6. Ryan Strome 1.05
  7. Kailer Yamamoto 0.67
  8. Zack Kassian 0.60
  9. Source

Despite the lack of goals and the poor performance in October, there are positives. Five of Edmonton’s forwards are beyond the magical 2.00/60 scoring plateau, and two of them occupy time on the second line. That’s good news! The problem? Beyond those five men and their 5×5 scoring, nothing rhymes. The power play has cost this team and that’s absolutely nuts. A team with this kind of talent should be hammering the beat like Watts and Wyman. We’ll probably get some idea about the new power-play setup today during practice. I’m no expert, but would suggest McDavid on right side with Letestu in the high slot and Benning getting pucks through. Draisaitl moving his feet, perhaps Maroon replacing Lucic.

Mr. Rishaug’s tweets set up the day nicely. If Yamamoto draws back in on a skill line, and the Caggiula news comes true, my guess would be:

  • Patrick Maroon—Connor McDavid—Drake Caggiula
  • Milan Lucic—Leon Draisaitl—Kailer Yamamoto
  • Jussi Jokinen—Ryan Nugent-Hopkins—Ryan Strome
  • Anton Slepyshev—Mark Letestu—Zack Kassian
  • Darnell Nurse—Adam Larsson
  • Oscar Klefbom—Matt Benning
  • Yohann Auvitu—Kris Russell

As I said, guesses on my part, and Jujhar Khaira (over Anton Slepyshev) and Eric Gryba (over Yohann Auvitu) are completely possible. I’m now in full wonderment about Slepyshev’s status on the roster (should Rishaug’s verbal prove to be the case).

LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE

A fun morning, guests being added on the fly so stay tuned. It all starts at 10 this morning (I’m on the roundtable at 9), TSN1260:

  • Pierre Lebrun, TSN & The Athletic. Too soon to panic in Oilersnation, but how much pressure is Peter Chiarelli under here?
  • Andy McNamara, TSN. Another wild weekend in the NFL.
  • Jason Gregor TSN1260. Possibly the greatest World Series game in history, Oilers new lines, Reinhart if it’s pertinent.

10-1260 text, @Lowetide on twitter. See you on the radio!

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stevezie

Bag of Pucks: Yes, he could’ve brought in a one year veteran and spent fully to the cap, but I prefer a GM that actually has some flexibility to make a big in season move.

Sure, but are we actually flexible now? I might be mistaken, but I think it is a lot easier to make moves in the summer than it is mid-season. I actually feel quite locked in. Maybe Chia is about to prove me wrong.

OriginalPouzar,

Yeah… at a certain point GMs need to earn their money and evaluate ahead of time. Weatherman don’t get paid to tell you what the weather is right now.

OmJo

Edit: Post was deleted.

OmJo

Bag of Pucks: Because he wanted to see what he had with a number of the emerging players first. If players like Nurse, Benning, JP, Caggs, Sleppy, etc. take a step forward, then he’s more likely playing around the edges with depth moves. If on the other hand, no one grabs the 1RW or 4D slot, then he’s likely pondering a bigger move or a situation where he has to take a heavier salary coming back.

Yes, he could’ve brought in a one year veteran and spent fully to the cap, but I prefer a GM that actually has some flexibility to make a big in season move. If a player like a Drouin or Hamonic comes on the market, I would think it would be preferable to be one of the few GMs with some cap flexibility that can deal accordingly instead of being completely hamstrung.

The thing is, what do we have to get a Hamonic or Drouin? IMO the reason we have the cap space to acquire a player is because the cupboards are bare to begin with.

Hamonic cost a 1st and 2 2nds. Drouin cost Sergechev, a conditional 2nd and $33M. We don’t have those kind of assets.

OriginalPouzar

stevezie: Sure, maybe, salary definitely matters, but why salary dump and then not spend the salary? Why did he have to get dumped this summer and not next? I’m so confused by this part I think there’s an explanation that I’ve forgotten.

Because-and I’m glad this is at least finally clear-Eberle is a lot better than Strome.

I think the plan is to spend. I know capfriendly says we have apx $8M in cap space but its really closer to $4M when you account for bonuses and how perverse it would be to have a bonus overage and reduce our cap space next season.

I think Chia wanted to evaluate the winger situation and the defence situation (without Sekera) to see where its best to spend the money. He realized the potential deficiencies at each position and that the bets made were just that “bets”.

He should be getting a pretty good idea of what he needs to spend on.

I don’t think he anticipated this slow of a start and he is likely realizing that he needs to make a move to spend sooner than later or it very well could be too late.

To summarize, it isn’t “not spending” its “deferred spending”.

Of course, on the assumption he actually does spend.

OmJo

who: I don’t think anyone is arguing that Eberle isn’t a better player than Strome. But he would have to be twice as good to justify the difference in salary. Plus I think the coach liked the idea of another guy who could play center.
Not sure about Stromes ability in the middle though. Thought he was looking pretty good on the wing with Nuge and Lucic the last few games. That’s my biggest complaint about Tmac. He gets really stubborn with a few of his line up choices, such as Drai and Maroon with Macdavid , but he blows everything else up every two games.

I’m not looking at it from an economic perspective. I don’t think Ebs is worth 6M either. But I’d argue, at least for this season, that he brings more value at 6M than Strome, even if it’s not a 2:1 ratio. Unless Chia puts that cap space to use. Waiting for the trade deadline might be too late.

Stability throughout the lineup would be nice. Outside of the 1st line and PP unit, the rest is a mess.

workaroundaccount

stevezie: Sure, maybe, salary definitely matters, but why salary dump and then not spend the salary? Why did he have to get dumped this summer and not next? I’m so confused by this part I think there’s an explanation that I’ve forgotten.

Because-and I’m glad this is at least finally clear-Eberle is a lot better than Strome.

I don’t see how Eberle being dumped with 0 playoff points and his worst scoring year since his rookie year had more value than at the end of this season. Somebody would have traded something for eberle, and I’m not sure Strome counts as being a huge boost vs a middling draft pick.

Bag of Pucks

stevezie: Sure, maybe, salary definitely matters, but why salary dump and then not spend the salary?

Because he wanted to see what he had with a number of the emerging players first. If players like Nurse, Benning, JP, Caggs, Sleppy, etc. take a step forward, then he’s more likely playing around the edges with depth moves. If on the other hand, no one grabs the 1RW or 4D slot, then he’s likely pondering a bigger move or a situation where he has to take a heavier salary coming back.

Yes, he could’ve brought in a one year veteran and spent fully to the cap, but I prefer a GM that actually has some flexibility to make a big in season move. If a player like a Drouin or Hamonic comes on the market, I would think it would be preferable to be one of the few GMs with some cap flexibility that can deal accordingly instead of being completely hamstrung.

workaroundaccount

There is no way to jug this roster to have two top 6 rw. Discarding the teams only remaining strength (depth up the middle) is the only way to get 1 top 6rw. That and relying on caggiula and slepyshev have resulted in a massively broken roster. I think we are back to being 3-4 pieces away. Not sure how to fix that in-season.

I’m actually not to miffed about the defence. Nurse has taken a huge step forward imo, and gryba hasn’t gashed us that bad. I think it was reasonable to keep the powder dry with Sekera coming back. Russel makes a little too much for a little too long, but he isn’t hurting us. Would have been nice to upgrade Gryba, but c’est la vie.

The only way I see this turning around is if JP breaks out. I think he was a large part of the reason why Chia felt we could trade eberle with no plan at replacing his spot on the roster. Even then though, we need another RW, and I don’t know where you get one for cheap. Rieder would be awesome, but not sure he moves the needle enough.

I think it is unfair to slepyshev and caggiula because they were tweeners last year and have been thrust into roles above their heads, but they have to piss a drop.

Maroon CMD JP
Lucic Draisaitl Rieder
Slepyshev Nuge Strome
Caggiula Letestu Kassian

Woodguy v2.0

Scungilli Slushy,

Thanks SS.

I agree with your take on EDM’s implementation of it too (if that’s what they’re doing……sure looks like it)

Those strategy posts I linked were great too.

I love learning about this stuff.

Woodguy v2.0

su_dhillon,

Thanks Su.

I think the theory is sound.

A few more 5v5 goals and we wouldn’t be grinding data to figure out what they’re doing.

Woodguy v2.0

Snowman: Mcdavid, Drai, RNH, Duchene.

This is my dream.

I would never ever say another bad thing about Chiarelli again if he somehow wrangled this into happening.

Griffin Reinhart? Never heard of him. Ryan Strome? Who dat?

If Peter got Duchene I’d forgive the Hall trade.

Woodguy v2.0

Cassandra:
The funny thing is that I don’t think the team is that bad.They aren’t any worse than I expected and I expected them to make the playoffs.They still have McDavid, and any way you cut it, they’ve been unlucky.

The problem is that they set to build the best team, while not caring about the total amount of talent on hand, because they thought that team beats talent.But they have the relationship backward, and as a result they don’t have enough talent to have the best team.

The team with the most talent wins.So always add talent, and then form a team around that talent.

I had EDM with 94 points in Hunter’s contest.

I still think it’s a good number.

Snowman

russ99: “Oilers Hockey” is dead, unless you prefer resurrecting Lowe and MacTavish to bring it back and along with it, another 10 years of losing.

I have no idea what you are getting at?

stevezie

who: He is an offensive player and if that dries up, like it did for much of last year, he is too expensive to keep around.

Sure, maybe, salary definitely matters, but why salary dump and then not spend the salary? Why did he have to get dumped this summer and not next? I’m so confused by this part I think there’s an explanation that I’ve forgotten.

Because-and I’m glad this is at least finally clear-Eberle is a lot better than Strome.

OriginalPouzar

GriffCity:
OriginalPouzar,

I agree, but I would still be willing to give up said return if it was feasible. Puljujarvi + a pick? How about Slepyshev + a 2nd rounder? DET is going to have a hard time signing him again next season unless they move out some big money pieces while the Oilers will be still well under the cap this year and can potentially allow Maroon to walk and re-sign Athanasiou if he performs as expected.

Basically, how impossible would it be to get him today? Because the Oil ship is leaking

I don’t know how impossible it would be to get him today but, sure, I’d trade Slep and a 2nd rounder for him, that’s a no-brainer and its vastly different than a trade involving Puljijarvi.

The Wings free up $6M when Green becomes a UFA at the end of next year although I’m sure money will still be tight. With that said, they will find a way to sign their important players – they got him under contract on the cheap for this season when they had essentially no cap room.

Don’t get me wrong, he’d be fine target but I believe the window on such a transaction has closed for this year.

McSorley33

Numerous articles written about the C depth of the current oilers.

Centres

1.McDavid
2. Draisaitl
3. RNH

Then watching Letestu or Strome play 3C is salt in the eye….

Friendly Fire

stevezie

Cameron: It just mystifies me how JP has failed to flourish. I don’t know if its him, the language, coaching, linemates, if the eye test was just put to lunch, or if

Me too. Baffled.

Cassandra: What is striking about the beginning of the season is how there are no genuinely good teams in the NHL top to bottom. The salary cap has really cut into the ability to maintain a top quality team.

I agree with this like crazy. One of the main reasons I still think the Oilers could win a cup this year is who else is gonna win it? Especially in the west. After Nashville, who’s intimidating? The whole league is wide open.

There is nothing weird about Nashville almost missing the playoffs and almost winning the cup. Or Tampa missing them altogether and now looking like the best team in the league. There’s barely any difference between anyone.

I think the point you missed is injuries. The Lightning lose Stamkos and the best team on paper in the league can’t make the playoffs. The Kings won their first cup because they didn’t have one of their top 6 D miss a single game in the playoffs. And so on. Healthy teams win.

But then look at last year’s Penguins. I dunno anything I guess.

stevezie

npanciroli:
I don’t disagree with anyone with what they are saying Re: Lucic. Honestly though having a tight knit group is important IMO and not something that can be measured. Who knows if Lucic contributed to it or just winning did in general but it really is a thing. I’ve played on toxic teams before and I know this is professional sports but I would be shocked if it didn’t effect them either.

It’s definitely a thing- in the world in general. The problems are:

Is it a thing in this specific case?

How much of a thing is it?

If it is a significant thing, who is actually to blame?

We can’t answer any of those questions from the outside.

Take one rumour that turned out to be totally true: Brendan Shanahan really was sleeping with teamte Craig Janney’s wife. Real problem. Probably a big problem. Obvious guy to blame, but…

Shanahan married her and they’ve been together since. So… what? Did she finally find a good man to treat her right? Did true love win? Or did Shanahan get away with something because he’s rich, handsome and famous? (The Blues traded Janney, not Shanahan. Did they know something, or did they pick the better player?)

I have no idea.

This is the problem fans weighing in on dressing room issues. We don’t know at all. We know what happens on ice, no idea about the rest of it.

So, yeah, Chia needs to factor this into his decisions, because he might know. But he can’t say. So, as a fan, we’re better off ignoring it.

I think. What teams (and fans) are supposed to do with players who are horrible people but fine teammates I’m not sure.

GriffCity

OriginalPouzar,

I agree, but I would still be willing to give up said return if it was feasible. Puljujarvi + a pick? How about Slepyshev + a 2nd rounder? DET is going to have a hard time signing him again next season unless they move out some big money pieces while the Oilers will be still well under the cap this year and can potentially allow Maroon to walk and re-sign Athanasiou if he performs as expected.

Basically, how impossible would it be to get him today? Because the Oil ship is leaking

McSorley33

OriginalPouzar,

Great recap thanks…

OriginalPouzar

GriffCity:
Am I the only one who thinks the Oil should be going after Athanasiou from DET? The kid is skilled, fast, value contract and still young. People say we need speed – he’s got it, they say we need skill – he’s got that too. If I were picking a player I expected to blossom into a continual 20+ goal scorer and help fill the goal scoring void left by Eberle’s absence, I would be looking no further.

DET had a hard time signing him to a contract to start the season as they are up against the cap. I imagine a prospect and a pick would get the deal done. Im saying Puljujarvi and 4th rounder.

The time for this was prior to him signing.

Now that he’s signed to a value contract that expires while he remains an RFA, there is no way the Wings trade him for anything less than a huge return. He’s exactly what they need right now – cheap value contracts where the player outperforms the cap hit.

GriffCity

I must have missed the article when he was brought up. He would be absolutely perfect! He and Mcdavid on the same line would be the fastest thing in the NHL.

I assume you are speculating that Chiarelli would not like him, that would be a real shame if you’re right. this guy has literally everything the Oilers need right now, speed, scoring and the right price. Did I mention he is also 6’2″? Chiarelli has got to like that, no?

I haven’t had a feeling about a player being able to help this team so perfectly in as long as I can remember. I’d be ringing Holland off the hook.

Cassandra

GriffCity,

Of course we want Athanasiou. LT brought him up a number of times.

Chiarelli wouldn’t want him, however. Chiarelli has shown no interest in this kind of player.

Cameron

The biggest surprise for me about this years Oilers is Puljujarvi – by a wide margin.
I remember him dominating the WJC, hoping like hell that Calgary would trade up to get him in the draft, and being more than a little bitter that he went to the Oilers.

(The fact that Calgary got Tkachuk, a player I thought had flawed skating, and who was likely being floated by his talented peers instead, made things worse.)

Two years later and Tkachuk is a full-on beast doing bully work on one of the best possession lines in hockey, and Puljujarvi still can’t do a ppg in the AHL.

It just mystifies me how JP has failed to flourish. I don’t know if its him, the language, coaching, linemates, if the eye test was just put to lunch, or if his draft year was a fluke, but the fact he isn’t a burgeoning Marian Hossa 2.0 simply stumps me.

I’m still a fan of his (he can’t help it he wears the wrong jersey), but am left wondering how he got so lost

GriffCity

Am I the only one who thinks the Oil should be going after Athanasiou from DET? The kid is skilled, fast, value contract and still young. People say we need speed – he’s got it, they say we need skill – he’s got that too. If I were picking a player I expected to blossom into a continual 20+ goal scorer and help fill the goal scoring void left by Eberle’s absence, I would be looking no further.

DET had a hard time signing him to a contract to start the season as they are up against the cap. I imagine a prospect and a pick would get the deal done. Im saying Puljujarvi and 4th rounder.

Connor and/or Leon need fast players along side them who have skill and some smarts. Is there a better option out there? What do you guys think?

PS: Athansiou has played 2 games and has scored 1 goal….that’s more than about half of our forwards who have played 10 games.

Cassandra

What is striking about the beginning of the season is how there are no genuinely good teams in the NHL top to bottom. The salary cap has really cut into the ability to maintain a top quality team.

The result is that success comes down to three things, I think.

1) Salary cap efficiency. Every team has to field cheap players. Who is better at finding cheap players? Who is better at avoiding bad contracts? Who is better at re-signing their stars to lower dollars?

2) Coaching. If the talent level is similar, which coach is able to coordinate that talent best.

3) Superstars. The very best players are all underpaid.

This is what makes Lucic’s and Russell’s contracts so galling. With McDavid on the ELC they should be the one team immune from this for at least this year, and they wasted all that money unnecessarily.

Coaching I am unsure of.

The Oilers have McDavid. They are born on third base. Even mediocre management should have success.

OriginalPouzar

Coach Todd:

Much better sense of urgency at practice including on the PP drills and they spend alot of time on the PP.

Part of the reason for splitting Leon and Connor on the PP is they have a tendency to look for each other (more than they should).

Aside from the Calgary game, we haven’t had a game where all 18 skaters are going.

Asked about Klef: He has made some bad reads that have hit his confidence and he’s dealing with some indecisiveness.

The 6-7 d-man aren’t going to rescue the team when 1-3 are struggling so the team needs the top guys to play better on the back end.

Coaching staff has culpability for not getting enough out of his players – the players are good enough and capable but the coaching staff has not got enough out of them.

Gregor asked coach about maybe using Slep on the PK to get his minutes up and Coach said the plan was actually to use Slep on the PP against WSH and will be the plan against PIT – hopes he gets some confidence from it.

Dicky94

frjohnk,

I think it will be the other way around.

Dustylegnd

Cassandra: Chiarelli finally gets something right.Reinhart isn’t anywhere close to an NHL defensemen.The idea that he is better than Auvitu is laughable.He would have a hard time cracking the top 4 in Bakersfield.

I say again, those who fail to adapt perish, if you can’t skate you better be really awesome at something else, just checked he is not…….31 teams say we don’t want you, nuff said?

does the poor Bastard speak Russian?

russ99

Snowman: Mcdavid, Drai, RNH, Duchene.

This is my dream.

I would never ever say another bad thing about Chiarelli again if he somehow wrangled this into happening.

“Oilers Hockey” is dead, unless you prefer resurrecting Lowe and MacTavish to bring it back and along with it, another 10 years of losing.

who

OmJo:
who,

Even with his offense drying up last season, he still put up 20g and 51pts playing with a LW who had 25 5v5 pts all season. Our most productive natural RW and third most product player last season.

Do we make the playoffs without those 20 goals last season?

Yes, he crapped the bed in the playoffs. One poor playoff performance doesn’t seem like a reason to dump him for Ryan Strome. One player is on pace for a 60pt season, the other is on pace to not be qualified next summer.

I’m not saying Eberle doesn’t have to be better. Even in NYI he’s only on pace for 14 goals. What I’m saying is even with his offense dried out, he’s still produces more offense than Strome and is still a better player than Strome. I’d take a dried up Eberle and 50pts for $6M in McDavid’s last ELC year over Strome.

I don’t think anyone is arguing that Eberle isn’t a better player than Strome. But he would have to be twice as good to justify the difference in salary. Plus I think the coach liked the idea of another guy who could play center.
Not sure about Stromes ability in the middle though. Thought he was looking pretty good on the wing with Nuge and Lucic the last few games. That’s my biggest complaint about Tmac. He gets really stubborn with a few of his line up choices, such as Drai and Maroon with Macdavid , but he blows everything else up every two games.

Dustylegnd

Woodguy v2.0: With McLellan moving Russell to 3rd pair I’m not sure he can risk getting fired for moving Peter’s other big FA contract out of the top 6.

When any organization becomes something other than a meritocracy, the end is very near…

I am not saying you are wrong, I am saying any coach who is forced to play something other than what he feels gives him the highest probability of winning…

He is Dead Man Walking

Snowman

Woodguy v2.0: Or Russell and Lucic and then you can afford to have McDavid, Drai, RNH and Duchene on the team.

Mcdavid, Drai, RNH, Duchene.

This is my dream.

I would never ever say another bad thing about Chiarelli again if he somehow wrangled this into happening.

Griffin Reinhart? Never heard of him. Ryan Strome? Who dat?

Pouzar

OriginalPouzar:
Gerry Fleming on Oilers Now:

Bear – Has played well – sees ice well offensively, good shot.Been a solid defender making good reads.Good understanding of how to play without the puck. Best served in Bakersfield playing big minutes

Jones – Gifted offensively, skates well with the puck, activates well.Working on his game without the puck – boxing out, gaps, etc.

Stanton and Fayne – Looking for both to be back in lineup onWed

Lowe– out a few more weeks (lower body injury)

Pairings will be:
Simpson/Bear
Stanton/Mantha
Jones/Faye

(OrigPouzar – Paigin and Betker get the press box)

Nick Ellis – Will get start on Wed – had a tough period last weekend but he’s been very good.

Puljijarvi – Most complete game this past Sat – moving well, working hard, tenacious on fore-check, good shots on net.Got confidence right now. Nuances of North American game (protecting puck, shielding puck, stops/starts, quickness (as opposed to speed) are being worked on every day and he’s getting better.

Malone – seasoned pro competitor.Good on PK.

Downing – Good looks at net and chemistry with Rattie and Puljijarvi – that line will stay together on Wed.

P. Russell – meat and potatoes type of guy.Grinds on wall.2 SH goals

David Gust – The only player that Fleming brought him up (not brought up by Stauffer) – has really stood out.High skill.Tenacious,

Butcher – young guy but been good.Makes plays with puck but needs to get bigger and stronger as we struggles defending down low.

Polei – big body – knows where to go.Goes to net and gets rewarded.

Thank you fine sir.

hunter1909

Cassandra: The problem is that they set to build the best team, while not caring about the total amount of talent on hand, because they thought that team beats talent. But they have the relationship backward, and as a result they don’t have enough talent to have the best team.
The team with the most talent wins. So always add talent, and then form a team around that talent.

I hate to agree, but…

OriginalPouzar

Gerry Fleming on Oilers Now:

Bear – Has played well – sees ice well offensively, good shot. Been a solid defender making good reads. Good understanding of how to play without the puck. Best served in Bakersfield playing big minutes

Jones – Gifted offensively, skates well with the puck, activates well. Working on his game without the puck – boxing out, gaps, etc.

Stanton and Fayne – Looking for both to be back in lineup onWed

Lowe – out a few more weeks (lower body injury)

Pairings will be:
Simpson/Bear
Stanton/Mantha
Jones/Faye

(OrigPouzar – Paigin and Betker get the press box)

Nick Ellis – Will get start on Wed – had a tough period last weekend but he’s been very good.

Puljijarvi – Most complete game this past Sat – moving well, working hard, tenacious on fore-check, good shots on net. Got confidence right now. Nuances of North American game (protecting puck, shielding puck, stops/starts, quickness (as opposed to speed) are being worked on every day and he’s getting better.

Malone – seasoned pro competitor. Good on PK.

Downing – Good looks at net and chemistry with Rattie and Puljijarvi – that line will stay together on Wed.

P. Russell – meat and potatoes type of guy. Grinds on wall. 2 SH goals

David Gust – The only player that Fleming brought him up (not brought up by Stauffer) – has really stood out. High skill. Tenacious,

Butcher – young guy but been good. Makes plays with puck but needs to get bigger and stronger as we struggles defending down low.

Polei – big body – knows where to go. Goes to net and gets rewarded.

OmJo

who,

Even with his offense drying up last season, he still put up 20g and 51pts playing with a LW who had 25 5v5 pts all season. Our most productive natural RW and third most product player last season.

Do we make the playoffs without those 20 goals last season?

Yes, he crapped the bed in the playoffs. One poor playoff performance doesn’t seem like a reason to dump him for Ryan Strome. One player is on pace for a 60pt season, the other is on pace to not be qualified next summer.

I’m not saying Eberle doesn’t have to be better. Even in NYI he’s only on pace for 14 goals. What I’m saying is even with his offense dried out, he’s still produces more offense than Strome and is still a better player than Strome. I’d take a dried up Eberle and 50pts for $6M in McDavid’s last ELC year over Strome.

dustrock

I’m not convinced McDavid is 100% healthy.

Cassandra

The funny thing is that I don’t think the team is that bad. They aren’t any worse than I expected and I expected them to make the playoffs. They still have McDavid, and any way you cut it, they’ve been unlucky.

The problem is that they set to build the best team, while not caring about the total amount of talent on hand, because they thought that team beats talent. But they have the relationship backward, and as a result they don’t have enough talent to have the best team.

The team with the most talent wins. So always add talent, and then form a team around that talent.

who

Cassandra: He controls the puck.He passes the puck. He helps get it out of the zone, he helps keep control ofthe puck in the neutral zone, he gains the zone with control of the puck.

Eberle is good at hockey whether the puck goes into the net or not.

Controls puck. Check. No one ever questioned Eberle s hands.
Passes puck. Check
Gets it out of zone. Not so much, especially under pressure.
Controls puck through neutral zone. Check. Although he had trouble seperating from back checkers in neutral zone.
Gains zone with control of puck. Check. Although he tended to button hook and either lose it or fire off a weak outside shot once he gained the zone. Didn’t seem to be a lot of net drive in his game anymore.
I would associate most of your list with creating offense .When he is creating offense Eberle is a good player. He just didn’t do enough of it last year to my eye. But even you will have to admit he has deficiencies in other areas of his game.
Does he kill penalties. Nope.
Is he a shutdown winger. A Bob Gainey type Selke candidate. Nope
Is he a physical presence. Of course not and it would be silly to expect him to be one.
Does his speed and tenacity create turnovers on the forecheck or the back check. Nope.
Does he take Faceoffs. Nope.
He is an offensive player and if that dries up, like it did for much of last year, he is too expensive to keep around.

OmJo

GMB3:
I will never understand how Drake Caggiula is afforded so many opportunities on the PP and in the top 6 while Slepy has not.

Might have something to do with the contracts we give college players.

We specifically. Spencer Foo is still in the AHL, for example.

OmJo

Woodguy v2.0: With McLellan moving Russell to 3rd pair I’m not sure he can risk getting fired for moving Peter’s other big FA contract out of the top 6.

This is essentially why I can’t see Chiarelli firing McLellan without coming out of it looking bad (and possibly fired himself by the end of the season).

McLellan isn’t a great coach, and I’m not his biggest fan, but unless he had more of a say in roster management than I think he did, he is working with what he was given. An average-at-best team which was almost designed to rely on McDavid and Draisaitl elevating average-at-best wingers to play above what they’ve proven capable of doing in the past. That’s on Chiarelli, not McLellan.

With that being said… What I don’t understand from TMac is why he doesn’t go back to the Lucic-Draisaitl-Slepyshev line from the playoffs for the 2nd line. It worked when the team was playing the hardest hockey they faced last season. I assume one reason is because then there isn’t anybody to play with McDavid (NUGE!). If you’re adamant at keeping Lucic in the top 6 at least give that line a shot.

And not for one or two shifts until Lucic fails to backcheck and the team gets scored on. Stick with one lineup for an entire game. Let some chemistry build. The McBlender is might be more dysfunctional than the MacBlender was…

Maroon-Nuge-McDavid
Lucic-Draisaitl-Slepyshev
Cagguila-Strome-Whoever
Whoever-Letestu-Kassian

GMB3

Interesting to see a cap strapped LA Kings team hire more creative coaches and succeed. But Milan Lucic just needs more time to adjust in Edmonton, 100 games isn’t enough time.

GMB3

I will never understand how Drake Caggiula is afforded so many opportunities on the PP and in the top 6 while Slepy has not.

frjohnk

Woodguy v2.0: With McLellan moving Russell to 3rd pair I’m not sure he can risk getting fired for moving Peter’s other big FA contract out of the top 6

Not making playoffs would get McLellan fired for sure, less certain on Chia.

flea

Rake 2.0,

Yeah, it hasn’t worked out so far. But it’s only been 10 games and it often takes players a little time to get up to speed. (Cue somebody telling me how well Eberle is doing in NY)

Teams had Chiarelli over a barrel in that trade already. They knew the McDavid/Drai contracts were coming. When I say extracting value, I think getting a young player with unfulfilled potential on a short cheap contract under team control is getting some value back. If he’d waited until next summer might be looking at accepting a poor contract back, maybe a pick.

I also think they were hoping Strome would go gangbusters, and that definitely hasn’t happened. I hope Chiarelli has a plan B in mind.

OriginalPouzar

Woodguy v2.0: Or Russell and Lucic and then you can afford to have McDavid, Drai, RNH and Duchene on the team.

Well, yes, that would be better, unfortunately we know the issue(s) with moving those two contracts.

OriginalPouzar

Pouzar:
Gerry Fleming on Oilers Now in a few min…hopefully someone here can give the Coles Notes later.

Last week he was complimentary of Jesse’s play notwithstanding his boxcars – creating offence, etc.

I’ll try and listed (at 1:35) but do have some calls and a meeting this afternoon.

OriginalPouzar

Bag of Pucks: Interesting that RNH gets this bias in his favour, but Draisaitl, a natural center, does not.

This is because of Nuge’s further developed “2-way game” and his experience matching up against top lines in such a role. He has significant value as a center apart for point production.

Not to mention, he might be the best faceoff man on the team, all of a sudden.