G35 2017-18: Blues at Oilers

by Lowetide

On the day he signed a contract with the Edmonton Oilers, Andrej Sekera stood stone alone on the depth chart. Despite (accurate) claims by the general manager that the new hire was an ideal second-pairing veteran, no soul alive could give you two names on the Edmonton depth chart who could play ahead of him. Losing Andrej Sekera was a bitter pill last spring, absolute disaster. Oilers win that series if he doesn’t get hurt, I believe that to be true.

Veteran defensemen like Sekera are valuable all year but in the playoffs, especially when the refs “put the whistle away” you need calm feet, calm brain, skill. Sekera is all that. At the time of the injury, estimates had 6-9 months, he’s coming back at seven months plus a few days. We don’t know how close to ‘True Sekera’ he’ll be tonight, but we will have a starting point.

THE ATHLETIC

Great Christmas offer! Includes a free 7-day trial so you can try The Athletic on for size free and see if they enjoy the in-depth, ad-free coverage on the site. If you don’t feel it’s worth the $4.49/month, cancel anytime during trial before getting charged. Offer is here.

LONG DECEMBER, YEAR OVER YEAR

  • December 2015: 6-2-0, goal differential +1 (12 points)
  • December 2016: 3-2-3, goal differential 0 (9 points)
  • December 2017: 5-3-0, goal differential +7 (10 points)

G9 December in 2015 was a 5-1 loss to Colorado, the Avs taking a too-many-men penalty 54 seconds in and then Blake Comeau scored 18 seconds later. Uh, yeah. Last year it was a 3-2 win over Tampa Bay in a shootout. Nice goal differential and a winning record. Heady days.

AFTER 35, YEAR OVER YEAR

  • Oilers 15-16: 14-18-2, goal differential -19 (30 points)
  • Oilers 16-17: 17-12-5, goal differential +8 (39 points)
  • Oilers 17-18: 15-17-2, goal differential -8 (32 points)

G35 two years ago was a 3-1 win over Winnipeg (Teddy Purcell, baby!), last year it was a 3-2 win over Arizona (GWG Matt Hendricks!). A win tonight, and another Saturday, and the Oilers are at fake .500 for the first time in what seems like forever (G2).

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 2-1-0)
  • At home to: Nashville (Expected 0-1-0) (Actual 0-1-0)
  • On the road to: Minnesota (Expected 1-0-0) (Actual 1-0-0)
  • At home to: San Jose, St. Louis, Montreal (Expected 1-1-1) (Actual 1-0-0)
  • 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: 5-3-0, 10 points in eight games

When I estimated this month, the Oilers were a very different team. I have this as a loss tonight, with the overtime loss on Saturday. Of course, the team you’ll see tonight at Rogers is a better group than the one I was looking at end of November. Big game.

KAILER YAMAMOTO

Scored a goal last night in a tuneup game, check out a terrific article on him from Michael Traikos in the National Post.

DARNELL NURSE

I’m absolutely certain most of you value Corsi and Corsi Rel less than I do, so you may want to skip this paragraph. I use CorsiRel when looking at large sets of defensemen in season, it’s a great indicator of players who are having success relative to team. It doesn’t tell us everything but it’s a valuable tool. Consider Darnell Nurse and his career rel’s, where he has ranked among regulars since his rookie season:

  • 2015-16: -5.35 (No. 152 among regulars (source)
  • 2016-17: +0.84 (No. 69 among regulars (source)
  • 2017-18: +5.42 (No. 14 among regulars) (source)

In his rookie season, Nurse ranked No. 152 out of 157 defensemen, ahead of only Luke Schenn, Mark Stuart, Matt Hunwick, Matt Carle and Dan Girardi. Nice progression in year two and now in his third NHL season Nurse is showing some signs of being a defender who can play tough minutes, big minutes, and outperform his teammates rel.

DRAFTING!

In the spring 2015, Peter Chiarelli arrived as general manager. It’s uncertain how much impact he had on that first draft (Caleb Jones was a departure), but traditionally we give credit to the sitting GM for draft results. It is vital for the Oilers to get two or three useful players out of the draft moving forward. It’s a team’s life blood. The reason for franchise downfalls, every time, has been a fallow period of drafting. You could look it up. Here are the results (so far) of each draft since 2015, and remember we’re looking for two NHL players per draft.

2015

  • Connor McDavid—161 NHL games. Per 82gp: 30-66-96
  • Caleb Jones—28 AHL games, tough start, flourishing in recent weeks. NHLE: 12.
  • Ethan Bear—10 AHL games, strong play with one concussion interrupting. NHLE: 23
  • John Marino—Playing well at Harvard, projects as a bonafide NHL prospect.
  • Miroslav Svoboda—No longer in organization, killing it in highest Czech league (.929).  
  • Ziyat Paigin—No longer in organization.

2016

  • Jesse Puljujarvi—45 NHL games. Per 82gp: 13-16-29
  • Tyler Benson—Healthy and playing well final season junior. NHLE: 35.
  • Markus Niemelainen—Struggling in the Sm-Liiga. NHLE: 2. 
  • Matt Cairns—Has played one NCAA game. 
  • Filip Berglund—Flourishing (injury aside) in the SHL. NHLE: 15
  • Dylan Wells—Uneven junior season, SP is .897.
  • Graham McPhee—Step forward in year two NCAA. NHLE: 17
  • Aapeli Rasanen—Running in lock step with McPhee. NHLE: 17
  • Vincent Desharnais—Continues quiet college career. NHLE:6

2017

  • Kailer Yamamoto—9 NHL games, currently in junior. Terrific skill set. Per 82gp: 0-27-27
  • Stuart Skinner—Slow start, recovering. Now at .900 SP. 
  • Dmitri Samorukov—Impressing in world’s best junior league. NHLE: 12
  • Ostap Safin—Impressive big forward posting strong QMJHL debut. NHLE: 20.
  • Kirill Maksimov—Scoring winger looking like draft steal in early days. NHLE: 16-12-28.
  • Skyler Brind’Amour—Playing well, but not dominating, BCHL. 
  • Phil Kemp—Surprising college numbers, good defender. NHLE: 7 

Oilers need at least two players a year, the first-round picks look like they may all cash. Among the rest, I’d list Caleb Jones, Ethan Bear, Tyler Benson, Filip Berglund, Graham McPhee, Aapeli Rasanen, Dmitri Samorukov, Ostap Safin, Kirill Maksimov and Phil Kemp as having good arrows. History teaches us most of those names will fall away. Are there three men in that group who will make the grade? There are some good resumes in that group, with consistency and injury being the big worries. We wait.

LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE

A fun morning as we get set for a massive Oilers game. All starts at 10, TSN1260. Scheduled to appear:

  • Bruce McCurdy, Cult of Hockey. Where to play Sekera, is Caggiula progressing? And why is Peter Chiarelli making so much room on the 50-man list?
  • Rob Vollman, NHL.com and ESPN. Is Mike Hoffman a comparable for Jordan Eberle? Plus Nashville’s blue.
  • Frank Seravalli, TSN.  We’ll drill down on the Oilers pre-freeze roster moves and what they might mean.

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

 

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BONE207

Go Oiler…all I want for Christmas is a win.

Pouzar

*smiles*

RISTOOOOO SILTANEN!!!!

Days are finally getting longer. With the return of daylight, I’m hoping for the team fortunes to turn around with it, along with a win tonight. Enough with the darkness.

May Nurse channel his inner Risto (but more on target)….BOOOM!!!

Go Oilers!

meanashell11

Welcome back Reg! Time to go streaking!

Concur

I read the Cult’s article today and how the Blues dominated the Oilers, let us see better results tonight. GOilers!

As for the 2 NHLers a year, it will be a while before we can drill that well. McDavid’s year could see 3 but after that it is chance only.

OriginalPouzar

Reggie is back – what a delight!

JustWatt

Huge statement game for the Oil tonight. Win tonight and you send notice to the league that the Oil of last year are back and cooking with gas. Win tonight, regulation or otherwise, and I think we see this tea, storm back into the playoffs, a thing I didn’t think possible two weeks ago.

OriginalPouzar

A single goal in a 14-0 vicotry is a bit of a “meh” but my guess is the coach rolled the lines and maybe even “overplayed” the bottom 6 forwards.

Its been a “meh” season for Kailer since being re-assigned – I still expect him to be a star at this tournament and will be disappointed if he does not perform at an elite level.

If he can’t dominate playing against other teenagers, how is he going to handle giant men?

One year in the AHL is all but a given but it may be longer.

We wait and see what happens.

OriginalPouzar

Nurse’s fancie.s meet the eye test – that is beautiful.

He is also doing it being the primary player on a tough minutes pairing.

Damn that Michael Matheson contract.

Pouzar

RISTOOOOO SILTANEN!!!!: Days are finally getting longer.

My fav day in December.

ArmchairGM

One of the most impressive stats for Maksimov and Safin are their shot totals. I haven’t looked recently, but at one point Maksimov was leading the OHL in shots-per-game, while Safin was in the top-5 in total shots in the Q.

These guys could be plug-n-play options for the Oilers in a couple of years.

frjohnk

Many of the top players have a skills analyst or skills coach and yesterday I had the chance to get a sneak peak of what a skills analyst does for a player and what they are looking for. This was for one of the top 10 scorers in the league.

A few snippets

-skills analyst looks at the player stats and video in 5 game segments and reports back to the player on what he is doing well, what he could work on. The player stats this skill analyst tracks are what most would consider individual micro stats. And there are a ton.

-Rush plays were a big segment.

-The skills analyst emphasizes for this player to come into the neutral zone with speed to eliminate any kind of back pressure and also to back the Dmen up so the player can gain entry into the Ozone with puck. This is important in trying to generate a scoring chance off the rush.

Skills analyst had this player stats on zone entries which were broke down in 1 on 0 ( breakaways) to even 1 on 4 and would give feedback on what this player should have down in each situation. ( Mostly this player did the right thing, its why he is a top 10 scorer right now)

Zone exits with possession are tracked.

Entering the zone with puck control is important but so is entering the home plate area with puck control which is also emphasized and tracked.

Gaining the puck back (secondary possession), board battles/lose puck recoveries in all zones is tracked and important as well.

A whole segment is dedicated to the homeplate area.
When in the homeplate area, other things are tracked like shot selection, shot angle, was shot through a screen, between Dmans legs? Was it a quick release? and more. Passes to the home plate area along with making the goalie have to move on plays side to side are noted.

Segment on defensive play in all zones is also noted and tracked.

Tons more of stuff I cant remember at the moment but it was very informative and interesting.

Pouzar

Chances of McDavid having 2 meh games in a row aren’t good.
We have that goin for us.

Woodguy v2.0

Watch some of the STL-CGY games last night.

STL didn’t look like the team that spanked earlier this year.

Missing Schwartz is big freaking deal. Schwartz-Schenn-Tarasenko were the best or 2nd best line in hockey with Namestnikov-Stamkos-Kucherov.

Last night Sobatka-Schenn-Tarasenko were smothered by one of the best checking lines in hockey (Frolik-Backlund-Tkchuk (*spits*)) and only had 33% CF and no goals (for and against)

The best line for STL was Thompson-Statsny-Steen who owned the puck 70% of the time, but lost the goal battle 1-0 at evens. They rolled over Gaudreau-Monahan-Ferland like a speed bump at times.

Will be interesting to see who gets what match up tonight.

Given what McLellan has been doing I’ll bet 97 vs Tarasenko and RNH vs Statsny.

Gord speed boys!!!

Aside,

CGY lost Hamonic last night to injury, not sure how long.

If you don’t follow CGY you may not know that in the last month (17 games or so) Hamonic and Brodie have finally clicked.

Hamonic in the last 17 games is 52.7%CF and 53.3 GF%.

The reports of Hamonic’s demise were apparently pre-mature.

His shitty injury luck continues though.

You never want to cheer an injury but that loss for CGY is probably good news for EDM.

In the last month CGY was leading the NHL in CF% and really starting to come on.

Back to STL,

Allen starts as Hutton played last night. Allen is their better goalie but beatable.

Bouwmeester is back on IR so STL’s D-pairs are:

Pairs – CF% together – GF% together
Gunnarsson-Pietrangelo (47% – 66.7% (!!)))
Edmunson-Parayko (53.7% – 37.9% (!!)))
Bortozzo-Dunn (51.3% – 50%)

Its interesting to me that Gunnarsson was a HS late last season and in the playoffs and is now playing 1st pair with Pietrangelo.

So their first pair is running hot GF% wise (driven a bunch by the Schwartz line no doubt) and the 2nd pair is feeling the other side the variance.

Here’s Pietrangelo’s Schwartz WOWYs

(CF% – GF%)
Together: 55.5% – 75% (!!)
Schwartz apart : 58.3% – 81.8% (!!!!!)
Pietrangelo apart : 48.25% – 59% (!)

STL will feel the loss of Schwartz something fierce I think. Helluva player.

Their still a good team without him, but they were near unbeatable with him.

The key match up tonight might be Paajarvi-Berglund-Barbashev vs JJ-Drai-Strome

EDM winning the 3 line match up has been a key part of their resurgence and EDM’s 3rd line can beat that STL 3rd line into submission.

Both teams have a very good first line, a capable 2nd line and a 4th line that can play hockey.

The 3rd line is where the match up breaks down.

Unicorns.

They work.

Who knew?

GOILERS!!!

*clap,clap*

OriginalPouzar

I think the drafting has been fantastic under Chiarelli.

Who knows how many if these picks will become substantial players (or even every day NHL players) but there are many arrows up.

Even though they have had uneven seasons, I would add Skinner and Wells to the arrows up list.

The Oilers have a need at top 6 wing next year but, unfortunately, there is a one-year hole – we don’t have any offensive pro wingers ready to graduate next season and Benson/Yamamoto should be slotted in to start the year in the AHL subject to truly earning a spot at camp. I’m not talking about making the team because there are not other options in the top 6 but truly earning a spot.

Chiarelli doesn’t have the cap room to acquire a “not over the hill” top 6 winger so he’ll need to find some sort of reclamation project to provide some true competition for that roster spot next year.

OriginalPouzar

ArmchairGM:
One of the most impressive stats for Maksimov and Safin are their shot totals. I haven’t looked recently, but at one point Maksimov was leading the OHL in shots-per-game, while Safin was in the top-5 in total shots in the Q.

These guys could be plug-n-play options for the Oilers in a couple of years.

I knew that Safin was among the leaders (incredible for a rookie) but didn’t know that Maksimov was quite so high on that leader-board – excellent!

Dustylegnd

Woodguy v2.0,

Woodguy, I live in Calgary so I hear a lot of Calgary sports radio, word is the D corps sat down (lead by Gio) and had a discussion amongst themselves and came to the conclusion they really should be playing better

Presto Chango, Brodie and Hamonick began to click, who knows, both could have been nicked up and are/were healthy, but now Hamonick is njured again…so lets hope the Oil can gain some ground on the Flames Canucks et el

Woodguy v2.0

I’m coming around to the idea that McLellan is more to blame for the early season failures than Chiarelli.

LT asked me on his show yesterday which is more to blame and I had it at 50/50, but as the discussion continued I realized that player usage was more problematic than the players (aside from the canyon sized hole at 2RD)

JP was as good if not better than KY in camp and JP gets sent down and KY is allowed to flail away with 97 far too long.

JP was an unreal 5.79 GF/60 with 97 last year so who knew that they’d run at 4.28 GF/60 this year right?????

Despite being 51% CF and 66% GF and a huge positive influence on his linemates in limited games last year JJ is force to “prove it” again, while players like Caggiula don’t miss a shift.

JJ gets backs in and just run 55.2%CF and 57.1% GF and again is a big positive influence on his line mates.

Sleppy is injured and re-injured and still can’t find his way out of the dog house.

Chiarelli stated that Leon is a C in the summer.

McLellan starts him at 1RW with 97. Then again when he gets back from his concussion. Then when McLellan moves him off of 97’s wing, where does he move him?? 2RW with 93. You can’t write this.

McLellan stated over and over last year and this year that he doesn’t see how he can good players on 3 lines because there isn’t enough ice time for the best players.

The solution we always suggested was cut the 4th line and make sure the 4th is full of PKers.

He resisted this year too until (if we can believe the rumours) that his hand was forced to run 3 C’s.

4th line is not playing much more than 6-7 minutes and all the best players are getting plenty of TOI and are fresher.

Check out this graph from Sean Tierney: https://twitter.com/ChartingHockey/status/943872415783931906

Big spike in performance once McLellan started running 3 C’s and everyone shook the flu and other bugs.

Last game that had Leon on the wing (RNH’s) was the awful 3-1 loss in BUF.

1st game that Leon ran his own line was the encouraging 4-2 win in BOS 2 days later on November 26th.

Their record since is 7-4-0 and that includes 2 games they *should* have won vs TOR.

Add to this the PK debacle and I’ve changed my opinion due to the plethora of new evidence.

I got the early season woes at 75% McLellan and 25% Chiarelli or in that neighbourhood.

Unicorns.

Peter wanted them and Todd wouldn’t give them to him until forced.

JD_Wry

Lowetide: We don’t know how close to ‘True Sekera’ he’ll be tonight, but we will have a starting point.

But we can probably declare that he’s closer than Klef is to True Bomb.

Which is to say I’m very happy to have Davey back and Larsson healthy.

Woodguy v2.0

Dustylegnd:
Woodguy v2.0,

Woodguy, I live in Calgary so I hear a lot of Calgary sports radio, word is the D corps sat down (lead by Gio) and had a discussion amongst themselves and came to the conclusion they really should be playing better

Presto Chango, Brodie and Hamonick began to click, who knows, both could have been nicked up and are/were healthy, but now Hamonick is njured again…so lets hope the Oil can gain some ground on the Flames Canucks et el

From the analysis that I’ve seen, Hamonic is no longer giving up the blue and backing in with a huge gap from his check.

Its also’s Russell’s biggest leak and I hope the EDM staff would get that message to him as well.

Russell does a lot of thing well, but allowing the opposition into the zone with ease is a big damn deal.

Pouzar

Woodguy v2.0,

Great post WG…took me a while to come to the same conclusion (TMc vs Chia) but I agree with everything you said here.

And Tierny’s tweets are on point this morning. A picture (graph) being worth a thousand words and all.

Pouzar

JD_Sigh: Which is to say I’m very happy to have Davey

Can’t believe he’s back.

Pescador

BONE207:
Go Oiler…all I want for Christmas is a win.

And a splint for that Avitar

Pescador

Pouzar: Can’t believe he’s back.

And so is that confident, calm demeanour.
Beautiful

Pouzar

Pescador: And so is that confident, calm demeanour.
Beautiful

Never forget the game I saw live in WPG…he was just emerging from the AHL into bottom pair NHL duty. He was best Oiler d-man that night. Confident, quick, calm feet. Defencemen are so much easier to evaluate live and he was the goods.

npanciroli

Woodguy v2.0,

Great post, with you on this that McLellan has caused a lot of issues this year by deployment (and special teams).

JD_Wry

Woodguy v2.0: Unicorns

Well there were green alligators

And long neck geese

Some humpy-back camels

And some chimpanzees…

OriginalPouzar

frjohnk:
Many of the top players have a skills analyst or skills coach and yesterday I had the chance to get a sneak peak of what a skills analyst does for a player and what they are looking for.This was for one of the top 10 scorers in the league.

A few snippets

-skills analyst looks at the player stats and video in 5 game segments and reports back to the player on what he is doing well, what he could work on.The player stats this skill analyst tracks are what most would consider individual micro stats.And there are a ton.

-Rush plays were a big segment.

-The skills analyst emphasizes for this player to come into the neutral zone with speed to eliminate any kind of back pressure and also to back the Dmen up so the player can gain entry into the Ozone with puck.This is important in trying to generate a scoring chance off the rush.

Skills analyst had this player stats on zone entries which were broke down in 1 on 0 ( breakaways) to even 1 on 4 and would give feedback on what this player should have down in each situation.( Mostly this player did the right thing, its why he is a top 10 scorer right now)

Zone exits with possession are tracked.

Entering the zone with puck control is important but so is entering the home plate area with puck control which is also emphasized and tracked.

Gaining the puck back (secondary possession), board battles/lose puck recoveries in all zones is tracked and important as well.

A whole segment is dedicated to the homeplate area.
When in the homeplate area, other things are tracked like shot selection, shot angle, was shot through a screen, between Dmans legs? Was it a quick release? and more.Passes to the home plate area along with making the goalie have to move on plays side to side are noted.

Segment on defensive play in all zones is also noted and tracked.

Tons more of stuff I cant remember at the moment but it was very informative and interesting.

Wow – great info – thanks for posting.

Its amazing the advancements in this area over the last couple of decades (probably really the last decade).

Scungilli Slushy

I would love to see this team with a substantial addition to RD. If they also kept the three centres I think they would be dominating when Dadbot is on his game. They are close to it now, just have to move on from giving up the blueline and turning the puck around more quickly. I think the breakouts would also improve with a top 4 where both players can move the puck.

I hope to see a solid game again, Go Oilers!

Rake 2.0

Woodguy v2.0,

I’ve recently changed my tune on this as well. I thought chiarelli let too much offense leave during the off season. But when the roster is deployed as designed the team is good. I like that Todd is a professional, but he is way too stubborn. We need a more creative coach to go with the talent on this roster. A scoring winger wouldn’t hurt either. Hopefully this team can push deep into the playoffs and win a cup in spite of the coach, but I don’t think Todd will be the one that gets us there. He go out coached by randy Carlyle for Gord sakes.

Pouzar

Scungilli Slushy,

Up the wall. Rinse. Repeat. It’s a coaching issue.

jtblack

Woodguy v2.0,

“I got the early season woes at 75% McLellan and 25% Chiarelli or in that neighbourhood.”

+1. TMac is a very stubborn coach. I am sure you have to be in order to coach at that Level. But not running 3 C’s until game 20 (ish) may cost this team the playoffs. And if it does, it will put Enormous pressure on the Franchise nxt yr.

I still think the PP needs to get up to 22%+ in order for this team to rattle off a huge run of W’s.

Cagguila is a player that “Looks Good” because he is “Busy” ; but I am not sure the results are there ???

Love Davidson add.

Gayfish

OriginalPouzar: Kaile

Hopefully he makes the AHL team. I’m not sure I would regret not drafting him.

dustrock

Woodguy v2.0,

Pretty solid post. I also remember the Oilers dominating 5v5 for the first 10 games, and Tierney and everybody saying “wow, they’ve been unlucky and had superbly bad goaltending and PK”.

The PP was ice cold, they weren’t drawing penalties, the PK was historically bad, and the goaltending was historically bad.

November was maybe more McLellan refusing to move Draisaitl, I agree, but I think he was trying to spark the team.

gregsaint

I’m confused on these charts:
https://twitter.com/ChartingHockey/status/943869448691310592

On the xG daggers chart, LA looks pretty meh (pink color)

But on the Gf% vs expectation chart, LA is tops in the league with a blue bar. I would have expected the bar color in this chart to match the bar color in the daggers chart. What gives?

frjohnk

gregsaint:
I’m confused on these charts:
https://twitter.com/ChartingHockey/status/943869448691310592

On the xG daggers chart, LA looks pretty meh (pink color)

But on the Gf% vs expectation chart, LA is tops in the league with a blue bar. I would have expected the bar color in this chart to match the bar color in the daggers chart. What gives?

The 1st chart bar color is measuring expected GF%, while 2nd bar chart is measuring actual GF%

McSorley33

Woodguy v2.0,

One of the best posts in a long time….

slopitch

Maybe it was all part of Chai and McLellans plan. Tank to get Davidson back. Right?!?

frjohnk

OriginalPouzar: Wow – great info – thanks for posting.

Its amazing the advancements in this area over the last couple of decades (probably really the last decade).

In the last few years, the players have been jumping on the advanced stats band wagon not unlike how Pouzar jumps on the Jets bandwagon. Headfirst.

Scungilli Slushy

Pouzar:
Scungilli Slushy,

Up the wall. Rinse. Repeat. It’s a coaching issue.

For sure. But part of it is on the players. Benning has a nice skill set but for me is playing above his head at this point second pairing. He’s not consistent enough, which may be why they are playing how they are.

The coach needs the players executing, and it was a big problem to start. The same as how we saw the three centres on their own lines when some wingers started to get points and get after things.

I do see McLellan as stubborn, I also see him as smart. Every coach has to be true to their vision and they try to get the players playing their system. It’s the only way they can be successful. They may not be right in their vision.

Chiarelli knows what McLellan is attempting. They both came from disciplined teams that had sustained success. I believe they are still pushing the players to take the next step to the mature game of a disciplined contender.

The core players are still young. and that means they need training and to grow their games still, I think that is what we are seeing. I think it is a good idea in the long run.

What is most important at the moment is to see McLellan continue to make changes as play improves (such as three the centres), which will mean to me that he is at least somewhat flexible and is following a plan with the group.

As WG said he could have done it sooner, but perhaps there were too many guys not meeting assignments, and to the management it was more important to get everyone on board. A judgement call but after the shit show of the last ten I see value in that long term if it was the case.

For Chiarelli I hope to see no more obviously lost trades or skill loss, some market value signings, and NO MORE NMC’S!!

JimmyV1965

Woodguy v2.0:
I’m coming around to the idea that McLellan is more to blame for the early season failures than Chiarelli.

LT asked me on his show yesterday which is more to blame and I had it at 50/50, but as the discussion continued I realized that player usage was more problematic than the players (aside from the canyon sized hole at 2RD)

JP was as good if not better than KY in camp and JP gets sent down and KY is allowed to flail away with 97 far too long.

JP was an unreal 5.79 GF/60 with 97 last year so who knew that they’d run at 4.28 GF/60 this year right?????

Despite being 51% CF and 66% GF and a huge positive influence on his linemates in limited games last year JJ is force to “prove it” again, while players like Caggiula don’t miss a shift.

JJ gets backs in and just run 55.2%CF and 57.1% GF and again is a big positive influence on his line mates.

Sleppy is injured and re-injured and still can’t find his way out of the dog house.

Chiarelli stated that Leon is a C in the summer.

McLellan starts him at 1RW with 97.Then again when he gets back from his concussion.Then when McLellan moves him off of 97’s wing, where does he move him??2RW with 93.You can’t write this.

McLellan stated over and over last year and this year that he doesn’t see how he can good players on 3 lines because there isn’t enough ice time for the best players.

The solution we always suggested was cut the 4th line and make sure the 4th is full of PKers.

He resisted this year too until (if we can believe the rumours) that his hand was forced to run 3 C’s.

4th line is not playing much more than 6-7 minutes and all the best players are getting plenty of TOI and are fresher.

Check out this graph from Sean Tierney: https://twitter.com/ChartingHockey/status/943872415783931906

Big spike in performance once McLellan started running 3 C’s and everyone shook the flu and other bugs.

Last game that had Leon on the wing (RNH’s) was the awful 3-1 loss in BUF.

1st game that Leon ran his own line was the encouraging 4-2 win in BOS 2 days later on November 26th.

Their record since is 7-4-0 and that includes 2 games they *should* have won vs TOR.

Add to this the PK debacle and I’ve changed my opinion due to the plethora of new evidence.

I got the early season woes at 75% McLellan and 25% Chiarelli or in that neighbourhood.

Unicorns.

Peter wanted them and Todd wouldn’t give them to him until forced.

Have to disagree with you here Woodguy. By my eye Yammer was way better than JP in camp. I didn’t even think it was close. In fact, Yammer might have been our best winger in camp. Period. I think he may have been one of the highest scoring players in the NHL in preseason. Was that reason enough to keep him up with the big club? No. He should have been sent down immediately. Just like they did with JP.

Scungilli Slushy

Rake 2.0: A scoring winger wouldn’t hurt either.

It’s funny (or not) how teams trade players and then find they need that type of player. Like NYI apparently needing a RHD. Or the Oilers a skill winger. Or Montreal needing a solid LHD.

Primetime

Woodguy v2.0: From the analysis that I’ve seen, Hamonic is no longer giving up the blue and backing in with a huge gap from his check.

Its also’s Russell’s biggest leak and I hope the EDM staff would get that message to him as well.

Russell does a lot of thing well, but allowing the opposition into the zone with ease is a big damn deal.

It’s funny because this was quoted as the biggest reason why Fayne couldn’t stick with the team once TMac came as well. He would back up and leave a huge gap at the line. They worked hard with him to fix it, but not his style of play. Consequently, he has been buried in the minors for eternity.

Russell does the same thing, won’t fix it, and has a similar sized contract to Fayne. Not saying they are equal players, but Fayne would have a legitimate beef to question if standards are being applied equally to all.

Zero chance they send Russell to the minor for the duration of his contract but there is precedent with this organization…

frjohnk

Scungilli Slushy: It’s funny (or not) how teams trade players and then find they need that type of player. Like NYI apparently needing a RHD. Or the Oilers a skill winger. Or Montreal needing a solid LHD.

Or how a team ( Philly) not utilizing a player properly, then trade them and new team utilizes player properly and player flourishes

frjohnk

Primetime: It’s funny because this was quoted as the biggest reason why Fayne couldn’t stick with the team once TMac came as well.He would back up and leave a huge gap at the line.They worked hard with him to fix it, but not his style of play.Consequently, he has been buried in the minors for eternity.

Russell does the same thing, won’t fix it, and has a similar sized contract to Fayne.Not saying they are equal players, but Fayne would have a legitimate beef to question if standards are being applied equally to all.

Zero chance they send Russell to the minor for the duration of his contract but there is precedent with this organization…

If Fayne rides bulls then he has a leg to stand on, if not, he has nothing.

Primetime

frjohnk: If Fayne rides bulls then he has a leg to stand on, if not, he has nothing.

LOL…I guess he has no “beef” then…

gregsaint

frjohnk,

What about the colors of the bars in the second chart?

SayItAin'tSo, Gretz, SayItAin'tSo!

Woodguy v2.0,

Excellent post overall.

JimmyV1965,

I’m in agreement with you here re: Yam in TC but I’m gonna step out on a limb and defend Yamo in The Show for just a second.

Did his play impact CmD’s scoring early on? Yes I think it did but I think we should be careful about tossing his entire 9 game stint out the window.

IIRC there was more than one occasion where Yam managed to clunk a post or 5 and I remember for sure that he missed at least two wide open nets. Now those missed chances are a problem but he was putting himself in good spots, he was putting his stick on the ice and he was getting the chances in the first place.

I’m not going to go full fanboy here and defend him tooth and nail because there was definitely a problem with his strength but I think the schedule favored him staying up (ie few giant WC teams) and I didn’t see him as big of a black hole as some.

I agree that the NHL is not a development league I do believe in giving some guys a taste of the show for a couple of reasons.

1) the player learns what he needs to work on to succeed at that level
2) it gives the coaching staff and management a window to view the player, give him feedback and then to find out whether or not they actually take that advice to heart when they get sent down.

And for a split second I would like to go back to JP with those two points.

1) The verbal coming from Flemming and TMac last year and so far this year was that JP struggled in some of the finer points of the game. Stops and starts, flybys on forechecks, body positioning etc.

I think as we’ve seen JP settling into a role on the top club we can see where some of that verbal is playing itself out. The rebound goal against Columbus and rebound goal against Minny being excellent offensive examples, but also in his back checking where my eye test tells me JP is getting very good at reading a rush and is not drifting too low in the offensive zone as to take himself out of a back check if the rush is broken up or a shot leads to a fast break the other way.

Again not trying to be a fanboy or spark a war of words but I do think its critically important to remember just how young those top three lines are and how young the drivers of those lines are. They don’t know all the ins and outs of tight defensive play yet and against fast somewhat chaotic teams (Toronto, the Devils and Islanders come to mind) its even harder to drill those lessons into a player.

On the overall reasons for the teams bad start

1) Special teams
2) leaky goalering
3) Sickness
4) bad puck luck

There’s of course different amounts of coach/player blame to share around there.

bendelson

Woot! Woot!
Big game tonight… and it’s another ‘date night’ no less!
Pre-game dinner followed by an evening at Roger’s Place.
What a great way to spend the first evening of our Christmas vacation.
The Oilers don’t always win on these ‘date nights’ but damn if Bendelson doesn’t feel like a winner every time!

If the home team finds a win tonight, things are set-up beautifully for a .500 record on Dec. 23rd which, given the team’s struggles, may just qualify as a Festivus miracle!