If you look at this morning’s standings, and try to create a scenario where the Edmonton Oilers make the playoffs, you are sitting in the ‘fiction’ section of your sofa or kitchen table. That’s a fact. I keep reading stories about the Oilers needing to win tonight, and tomorrow, and wonder if some of us have gone bananas. If the Oilers make the playoffs, I’ll eat my 8-Track (it’s a car 8-Track, lots of dust and some oil on it) with soy milk. That means I’m pretty damned sure about this thing.
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- New Lowetide: Leon Draisaitl’s contract makes him vulnerable
- Lowetide: Hard target search 2018 deadline
- Jonathan Willis: Chiarelli, more questions than answers
- Lowetide: Oilers and the 2018 Entry Draft
- Lowetide: What went wrong for Peter Chiarelli?
- Lowetide: Making the deadline calls on free agents
RED RUM, YEAR OVER YEAR
- January 2016: 2-2-1, goal differential -2 (5 points)
- January 2017: 2-3-0, goal differential -4 (4 points)
- January 2018: 1-4-0, goal differential -13 (2 points)
G6 in January 2016 was a 2-1 shootout loss to the San Jose Sharks. Last season saw the Oilers win 3-2 in overtime against New Jersey (Leon and McDavid teaming up). Tonight you’d like to see a win and that goal differential get under control. If the draft lottery was today, Edmonton would be in position No. 4. They’re going to get a very good player. More in a minute.
AFTER 45, YEAR OVER YEAR
- Oilers 15-16: 17-23-4, goal differential -26 (38 points)
- Oilers 16-17: 22-15-7, goal differential +7 (51 points)
- Oilers 17-18: 18-23-3, goal differential -24 (39 points)
G45 in 15-16 was a 2-1 shootout loss against San Jose as per above, and last year it was a 2-1 shootout win over the Calgary Flames. If Edmonton loses tonight, the club will be in a flat-footed tie with the 15-16 team, unthinkable that could happen for this Edmonton team. A good game against Nashville earlier in the week offers hope and yet this Oilers team has been consistently inconsistent all year long.
WHAT TO EXPECT FROM JANUARY
- At home to: Los Angeles, Anaheim (Expected 0-1-1) (Actual 1-1-0)
- On the road to: Dallas, Chicago, Nashville, Arizona, Vegas (Expected 2-2-1) (Actual 0-3-0)
- At home to: Vancouver, Buffalo, Calgary (Expected 2-1-0) (Actual 0-0-0)
- Overall expected result: 4-4-2, 10 points in 10 games
- Current results: 1-4-0, two points in five games
Entering play tonight, Edmonton is 11 points behind Calgary, who have a game in hand and hold the No. 8 spot in the Western Conference. The Oilers are also 11 points behind Minnesota, 9 points behind Chicago, 8 points behind Colorado and Anaheim. All but Minnesota have games in hand on Edmonton.
Back in the spring, when he reached his peak as an Oilers player, Anton Slepyshev was playing well in playoff games. After he scored in the clincher against San Jose, I wrote the following:
- Anton Slepyshev is emerging this spring as a real option for the Oilers on RW. What does that do to the depth chart? Leon, JP, Kassian, Slepyshev next year? Could be. We may also see Eberle, JP, Kassian, Slepyshev, this allowing Leon back to center. Source
I liked the Slepyshev scouting report back when Corey Pronman wrote about him the year before the Russian winger was drafted. That said, during his NHL career he’s been scoring at a 1.14/60 5×5 rate. Even his playoff run that featured 3 goals saw him post at 1.37/60 5×5. Is he a failed prospect? I don’t think so.
I’m always about giving 500 at-bats to youngsters, that’s basically an entire season (82 games, say 1200 minutes). Slepyshev is at around 760 minutes, for me it’s too soon to know.
- Slepyshev with McDavid 5×5: 42:52 minutes, 1-1-2 (2.81)
- Slepsyhev with Draisaitl 5×5: 134:02 minutes, 3-2-5 (2.24)
- Slepsyhev with Nuge 5×5: 119:41 minutes, 1-3-4 (2.01)
He has played 40 percent of his 5×5 time with these men, and is over 2.00/60 with each of them (some overlap).
IT’S A MISTAKE!
The Oilers committed in summer to a series of auditions, we’ve seen Kailer Yamamoto, Jesse Puljujarvi, Jujhar Khaira, Anton Slepsyhev and Nathan Walker get at least some playing time. I’ve disagreed with a few things (Oilers should have sent Yamamoto to junior after one or two preseason games) and was flat out wrong on Jujhar Khaira (to my delight).
Through it all, Peter Chiarelli has remained true to the auditions, even (in my opinion) when his coach was less than thrilled with the options available. This move, announcing that Anton Slepyshev is available for trade, runs counter to all the things the general manager held as being vital to this season (finding inexpensive value contracts on the wings).
I have no idea if Anton Slepyshev is going to have an NHL career, but a team with an analytics department and a need has an enormous advantage over the rest of the pack. That ‘pack’ includes your Edmonton Oilers, with the Slepyshev decision offering confirmation.
LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE
- Steve Lansky, BigMouthSports. Oilers in a world of hurt.
- Rob Vollman, ESPN & NHL.com. Did he really suggest trading Auston Matthews?
- Paul Bissonnette, Coyotes broadcasts. The one, the only.
- Matt Iwanyk, TSN1260. Point Counter Point discusses the members of Edmonton’s inner circle cluster. Who belongs? Who no longer belongs?
10-1260 text, @Lowetide on twitter. Se you on the radio!