You can see why Todd McLellan wants 97 and 29 to play together, but the rest of the batting order simply cannot handle big league pitching. A game that saw Edmonton get shredded on special teams and get their first good look at the new goalie, also saw another “L” against a team in search of one of eight spots in the Western Conference. It’s all over now, but it is incredible to see so many of the things that plagued this team early still hang ’em high in Game 50.
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- New Lowetide: Oilers badly need a boring but effective summer
- New Jonathan Willis: Is the Ryan Strome experiment nearing an end?
- New Jonathan Willis: How effective is Leon without Connor?
- Corey Pronman: Mid-Season draft rankings
- Lowetide: Do you trust Peter Chiarelli?
- Lowetide: Oilers draft and college returns
- Lowetide: Central Scouting and where the Oilers shop for talent
I LIKE YOU LLOYD. I ALWAYS LIKED YOU, YEAR OVER YEAR
- February 2016: 1-0-0, goal differential +4 (2 points)
- February 2017: 0-1-0, goal differential -2
- February 2018: 0-0-1, goal differential -1 (1 point)
Edmonton played a superior team at home, grabbed a point on late-game brilliance by their best player. I think we can chalk this up to roster deficiencies, your mileage may vary.
AFTER 50, YEAR OVER YEAR
- Oilers 15-16: 19-26-5, goal differential -30 (43 points)
- Oilers 16-17: 27-15-8, goal differential +18 (62 points)
- Oilers 17-18: 22-24-4, goal differential -24 (48 points)
This version of the Oilers has settled in as clearly better than the first McLellan team and a poor knockoff compared to last year’s club. The special teams and goaltending has savaged the Oilers and there has been precious little done to improve it. A strange season.
WHAT TO EXPECT FROM FEBRUARY
- At home to: Colorado, Tampa Bay (Expected 0-1-1) (Actual 0-0-1)
- On the road to: Los Angeles, Anaheim, San Jose (Expected 1-1-1) (Actual 0-0-0)
- At home to: Florida (Expected 1-0-0) (Actual 0-0-0)
- On the road to: Vegas, Arizona, Colorado (Expected 2-1-0) (Actual 0-0-0)
- At home to: Boston, Colorado (Expected 1-1-0) (Actual 0-0-0)
- On the road to: Los Angeles, Anaheim, San Jose (Expected 0-2-1) (Actual 0-0-0)
- Overall expected result: 5-6-3, 13 points in 14 games
- Current results: 0-0-1, one point in one game
Edmonton will have played 63 games by the end of February, a reasonable goal for this team is 63 points. From this point that would mean the Oilers would have to go 7-5-1 (and would be 29-29-5 on the season). I have them a little shy, we’ll see.
DEFENSE, LAST NIGHT
- Klefbom-Benning were 27-10 in 14:55, on-ice 2-0 GF. Man. Oscar is getting there, ladies and germs. 13-5 Scoring chances for, a 5-0 stone cold picnic with 97 on the ice. Lordy. Were 17-4 against Nieto-Soderberg-Comeau, 9-2 in 3:49 against Landeskog-Kerfoot-Rantanen.
- Nurse-Davidson were 7-20 in 15:30, including 6-13 with McDavid. Right away you know they were playing against the Landeskog line a lot. Went 6-13 in 8:01 against the trio, and were crushed 1-5 by Bourque-Toninato-Yakupov. I’m going to give the pairing a passing grade even with the possession wobble.
- Sekera-Russell went 4-15 in 12:43 and got themselves scored on at 5×5. I’ll suggest Zack Kassian was the culprit on the play, your mileage may vary. That kind of possession number is poor, but let’s see who they were facing. Went 2-12 against Jost-Compher-Wilson, I count that trio as the third line. You’re going to have to be patient with Sekera. Think October.
- Al Montoya stopped 27 of 31, .871. I thought he could have frozen the puck in overtime and his pass to Klefbom was an errant item, but he’s getting used to his team and foul-ups occur. I think it’s important to give him plenty of work down the stretch.
FORWARDS, LAST NIGHT
- Cammalleri-McDavid-Draisaitl went 17-13 and scored five points in total. It’s a good line, it could be better if they spent more time together. For the life of me I don’t know why they don’t try Puljujarvi with 97 more often. Hell, put him on LW with 97 and 29! Went 9-12 against the Landeskog line (that’s the tough one) and outscored them 1-0. As has been the case so many times, it was good day sunshine with McDavid and Leon keeping time together.
- Maroon-Strome-Caggiula impressed me, the trio did some good things during the game. Went 14-10, 1-0 GF at 5×5, Maroon was the quietest of the group. The OT goal against is fresh and I get that, but for me this was a game Caggiula showed why the organization has been patient with him. He’s going to end up being a shy scorer but should still have a career as a two-way winger.
- Lucic-Khaira-Puljujarvi went 15-13 together, Lucic had a great chance, but you would like this line to find the scoreboard if they’re going to stick. I would certainly give this line another go. Lucic was a hammer for much of the night, I think he’s maybe been trying too hard for the last 10 games.
- Slepyshev-Letestu-Kassian went 2-5, 6:33 ice time and got scored on. Kassian was a little late on the play, he had a gorgeous chance to make up for it later on.
- Natural Stat Trick and NHL.com.
McKenzie: "There is the desire on the part of Maroon to stay in Edmonton, and there is a desire on the part of the #Oilers to have him back next year – but only at the right price."
— Chris Nichols (@NicholsOnHockey) February 1, 2018
It comes down to money and term. Maroon may want $4 million times four and could get something close in full free agency. Edmonton may want to sign him to $3.5 million times two, but why would a man sell himself short? It’s a helluva spot to be in, and once again reminds us of the Russell signing one year ago. Actions have consequences and here’s another example.
The first thing I want to know about a forward is his 5×5/60 scoring number. It isn’t perfect, we don’t know linemates, qual comp or usage, but it’s a gigantic tell re: Who is getting things done. Any number over 2.00/60 represents real quality and Edmonton’s two members of the club (McDavid 2.75; Draisaitl 2.50) are in the Top 25 forwards across the league.
My personal opinion is that anything 1.75/60 or over suggests a player who has value and is delivering on some or all of his expectations (depending on usage).
- No. 97 forward: Milan Lucic 1.88
- No. 109 forward: Patrick Maroon 1.82
- No. 109 forward: Jesse Puljujarvi 1.82
- No. 117 forward: Ryan Nugent-Hopkins 1.80
I used 400 5×5 minutes, meaning Jujhar Khaira (1.81) narrowly missed qualifying. The two newcomers (Puljujarvi, Khaira) are welcome arrivals but Edmonton needs to acquire more who are in this range. Of course, the special teams also need to be fixed.
LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE
At 10 this morning, TSN1260. A mammoth day for the host, I get to interview a legend. Scheduled to appear:
- Steve Lansky, BigMouthSports. Maroon sign or trade, plus, is the rest of Canada ready for a Toronto Stanley Cup?
- Scott Mitchell, TSN. How are the Blue Jays looking for 2018?
- Matt Iwanyk, TSN1260. Super Bowl, Lebron’s real estate future.
- Vic Rauter, TSN. The man, the legend.
10-1260 text, @Lowetide on twitter.