With only fear and good judgement holding us back, The Edmonton Oilers set out on the northern sea this weekend. The club still has plenty of track this season, but the train needs to turn north in a quick damned hurry. A road trip is a fine idea, not sure the destinations are ideal. Game 29 sees a HNIC early game versus the Habs and Carey Price. Lord have mercy.
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- New Lowetide: The Price You Pay
- New Jonathan Willis: Ryan Strome
- New Minnia Feng: Emotional Breakdown: Where do you rank?
- Lowetide: Oilers No. 1 Prospect Winter 2017: Kailer Yamamoto
- Lowetide: Oilers No. 2 Prospect Winter 2017: Jesse Puljujarvi
- Lowetide: Oilers No. 3 Prospect Winter 2017: Ethan Bear
- Lowetide: Oilers No. 4 Prospect Winter 2017: Caleb Jones
- Lowetide: Oilers No. 5 Prospect Winter 2017: Tyler Benson
- Lowetide: Oilers No. 6 Prospect Winter 2017: Kirill Maksimov
- Lowetide: Oilers No. 7 Prospect Winter 2017: Ostap Safin
- Lowetide: Oilers No. 8 Prospect Winter 2017: Filip Berglund
- Lowetide: Oilers No. 9 Prospect Winter 2017: Jujhar Khaira
- Lowetide: Oilers No. 10 Prospect Winter 2017: Nick Ellis
- Lowetide: Oilers No 11-20 Prospects Winter 2017
- Lowetide: Just win, baby. Or else!
- Lowetide: Moonstruck
- Lowetide: Fresh Farm Produce
LONG DECEMBER, YEAR OVER YEAR
- December 2015: 2-0-0, goal differential +1
- December 2016: 2-0-0, goal differential +4
- December 2017: 1-1-0, goal differential 0
Month by month, the song remains the same. No doubt this Oilers team has the talent to pick themselves up, brush themselves off and start all over again. And they could be in contention by the new year if they put the pedal to the metal. This team can’t get motorvatin’ over the hill no way no how, maybe the road trip finds some answers. G3 December 2015 was a 4-2 win over Buffalo, one year later it was a 2-1 OT loss to Minnesota.
AFTER 29, YEAR OVER YEAR
- Oilers 15-16: 11-15-2, goal differential -13
- Oilers 16-17: 14-10-4, goal differential +9
- Oilers 17-18: 11-15-2, goal differential -15
G29 in 2015 was a 4-3 OT win (Taylor Hall) over San Jose and last year a 6-5 loss to the Flyers. Edmonton can’t turn their season around with a win tonight but they can stop the bleeding for an evening. Small victories are big steps.
WHAT TO EXPECT FROM DECEMBER
- On the road to: Calgary (Expected: 0-0-1) (Actual: 1-0-0)
- At home to: Philadelphia (Expected 1-0-0) (Actual: 0-1-0)
- On the road to: Montreal, Toronto, Columbus (Expected 1-2-0) (Actual 0-0-0)
- At home to: Nashville (Expected 0-1-0) (Actual 0-0-0)
- On the road to: Minnesota (Expected 1-0-0) (Actual 0-0-0)
- At home to: San Jose, St. Louis, Montreal (Expected 1-1-1) (Actual 0-0-0)
- On the road to: Winnipeg (Expected 0-1-0) (Actual 0-0-0)
- At home to: Chicago, Winnipeg (Expected 1-1-0) (Actual 0-0-0)
- Overall expected result: 5-6-2, 12 points in 13 games
- Current results: 1-1-0, two points in two games
I have tonight as a loss, Carey Price is back and Montreal is a different team with him in nets. The Oilers can win tonight, but the last time I saw them wasn’t inspiring. We’ll see.
PULJUJARVI VERSUS YAMAMOTO
Puljujarvi has played 11 games now, it’s a good time to compare him to Kailer Yamamoto’s nine-game audition earlier in the year. They are scoring at about the same rate per game, but there are some good indicators for both men.
- JP is at 1.67/60 scoring 5×5, that’s a good number. What’s more, he is shooting a lot (about the same as Yamamoto) and having success (four goals already).
- Yamamoto leads in individual and individual HD scoring chances but both players are getting good looks in this audition (partly due to quality linemates).
- Possession numbers are excellent, KY had a better power-play experience but sample sizes.
This is a good set of numbers for Puljujarvi, offensively he’s showing well. I don’t think there’s a lot to worry about in other areas of the game, if he can score anything near 2.00/60 next season (at 20) suspect Edmonton has a good one.
WINTER TOP 40
I did the writeups at The Athletic this year but didn’t have room to list all of the prospects. I decided against including Yohann Auvitu (he isn’t going to spend a day in the system) and there are 42 names.
- The biggest need is on each wing, the Oilers have some nice things coming. Right-wing has two top drawer youngsters, and Tyler Benson is healthy and pushing this year. Kirill Maksimov and Ostap Safin are also promising, but as is the case with KY, early days and we’ll get a much better snapshot next fall and winter.
- Although center is an area of extreme strength up top, Jujhar Khaira and Aapeli Rasanen give the team some nice options at the position. The rest of the group can be defined as distant bells but you never know.
- The Leftorium still exists, with Caleb Jones, William Lagesson and Dmitri Samorukov representing the best prospects at the position, but there are five righties who have a chance. An excellent number.
- Peter Chiarelli has been aggressive in the procurement of goalies and that is reflected here.
- Each winter, I like to draw a “line in the sand” where the legit NHL prospects end and we get to the fringe group. My estimates have 11 names being “legit” NHL prospects, your mileage may vary.
THE 2015 WINTER LIST
- The top of the 2015 list is the best since the 1979 or 1980 (I wasn’t making lists then, honest).
- The Leftorium was in full bloom.
- I think the list of defenders was strong, but there are maybe five legit forward prospects in this group.
THE 2010 WINTER LIST
- I didn’t do a 40-man list in 2010.
- Like 2015, the top of this list is outstanding and there is some sustain. I should have had Jeff Petry higher (Guy Flaming did) and Devan Dubnyk turned out very well. I’m not sure 2015’s list (as an example) is going to have that kind of quality running behind McDavid, Draisaitl and Nurse.
Which list do you like most? Do you think the 2017 list has more depth and balance? Interesting questions. One quick note: I think, sincerely, a more matureorganization would have made more of names like Linus Omark and Magnus Paajarvi. That’s why lingering around Anton Slepyshev (as an example) and giving him extra at-bats is a good idea.