McDavid Freeway

by Lowetide

Connor McDavid in full flight is poetry—pure speed, creativity, astonishing hand-eye, intoxicating. I’m sure there are other things on planet earth that delight the brain and shock the eye as much or more, but in the northern city of Edmonton No. 97 is the only game in town. Last night, the young man gifted fans with something very special. You hold on to these moments, they are worthy of being remembered for a lifetime. Jesus, Mary and Joseph what a hockey player.

THE ATHLETIC

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I LIKE YOU, LLOYD. I ALWAYS LIKED YOU, YEAR OVER YEAR

  • February 2016: 2-0-0, goal differential +9 (4 points)
  • February 2017: 0-2-0, goal differential -3
  • February 2018: 1-0-1, goal differential +3 (3 points)

Interesting start to the month in all three seasons. The 15-16 bunch were celebrating Connor McDavid’s return (he was back for both February games) and the 2016-17 group were in a lull before breaking off an insane run to the final bell. This year’s model? They’re on a good run now, fun game last night.

AFTER 51, YEAR OVER YEAR

  • Oilers 15-16: 20-26-5, goal differential -26 (45 points)
  • Oilers 16-17: 28-15-8, goal differential +21 (64 points)
  • Oilers 17-18: 23-24-4, goal differential -20 (50 points)

It’s taken all season but the Oilers are close to a point-per-game pace and could make it so with a victory tomorrow night. Huzzah! There were some really good things going on last night, wonder if this crew can push back into the outer edges of the playoff race before spring. They are 5-1-1 in the last seven, that’s some stout brew.

WHAT TO EXPECT FROM FEBRUARY

  • At home to: Colorado, Tampa Bay (Expected 0-1-1) (Actual 1-0-1)
  • 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: 1-0-1, three points in two games

The Oilers got three out of four points at home and are ahead of my projection. I have them grabbing three points from the three road games this week, it will be interesting to see how much success they have in California. The Kings are 4-6-0 in their last 10, put the boots to Arizona on the weekend.

DEFENSE, LAST NIGHT

  • Sekera-Davidson went 17-8 together in 14:01, 7-2 in scoring chances and no goals were scored during 5×5. Went 11-5 against Kunitz-Callahan-Peca. Sekera had at least one stressful moment but the pairing kept the puck going in a good direction.
  • Nurse-Russell went 12-20, and 2-1 GF in 15:40. SC’s were 10-8 on the night, they were 10-10 against Kucherov-Namestnikov-Stamkos and that’s the top line in TBAY. The GA was on Nurse’s stick for an instant but he couldn’t do much with it.
  • Klefbom-Benning were 12-22 in 15:25 (equal playing time during the evening for the three pairings). Went 7-9 in scoring chances, faced Killorn-Gourde-Peca and went 5-14. That line is diabolical. Klefbom didn’t clear on a PK GA, he had more heartbeats that Nurse to move it but couldn’t fire the neurons.
  • Cam Talbot stopped 31 of 33, .939. His return to form would be an exceptional turn for the entire organization. I thought he played quite well last night.
  • NaturalStatTrick and NHL.com.

FORWARDS, LAST NIGHT

  • Slepyshev-Letestu-Pakarinen went 11-6 in 7:19 and the Pakarinen goal came at 5×5. I like the trio, good to see Slepy grab a point. The point of a four line is to get the puck deep, forecheck, keep the play 200 feet from the net. Line did a good job it and scored to boot.
  • Maroon-Strome-Caggiula had some real chem, going 12-12 in 11:31 together. Were 5-5 in scoring chances and there were no goals. Strome had a terrific game and has five points in his past three games. I like him at center, and have really liked his last few games. He had a run starting with the Boston game awhile back too, hopefully this current hot streak runs a little longer for him. Nice chem with Caggiula.
  • Cammalleri-McDavid-Draisaitl were 13-20 together in 15:10, 3-0 in GF and 6-0 in HD scoring chances. Were 7-12 against the Stamkos line but were 1-0 in GF against them. Hedman was effective against McDavid, they’ll no doubt see a lot of each other in the final. 97 said he had a good nap when asked about the brilliant performance, what a talented player.
  • Lucic-Khaira-Puljujarvi went 9-13 together, 0-1 in GF, 7-6 in SCF and 4-3 in HDSC’s. There were several good moments for the line, I thought Lucic had his best game in some time, had some nice looks. Puljujarvi is using his speed well, Khaira is crashing, too. I like him at center.

Worth every penny and more, next year’s contract will remain a bargain. McDavid began last night’s game No. 13 in scoring, today he is tied for No. 3. He now leads the NHL  in even-strength points.

LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE

At 10 this morning, TSN1260. Scheduled to appear:

  • Jonathan Willis, The Athletic. Oilers big win last night, cap dictates deadline.
  • Andy McNamara, TSN. Eagles win! Browns own the draft!
  • Scott Cullen, TSN. Handicapping the NHL playoffs.

10-1260 text, @Lowetide on twitter.

 

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bendelson

Now, THAT’s entertainment!

Surly

Great win over the league’s top team with no RNH and no Larsson. What the heck would our management team do without 97!

Bring on the California road trip.

barry.moore23

McMagic !!!!!!!

Oilman99

McDavid makes it worth every penny to watch his magic,brings flashbacks from the eighties watching the Grea One. Missing the playoffs doesn’t hurt quite as much watching a show like last night.

OriginalPouzar

Heck of a game last night.

The first ten minutes were a track meet and, after that, the Oilers were the better team (score effects in the third).

McDavid – can you imagine if he becomes so consistent that he brings that game night in and night out – is that even a realistic scenario? Is it possible to go supernova night in and night out.

Offside

McDavid is the reason you never turn off your tv or refuse to watch the games – no matter how poorly the Oilers are playing. Those of you who lived through the Gretzky trade should especially know better. Don’t rob yourself of seeing the greatest moments in hockey history as they happen.
McDavid could be earning more than Katz and still be a bargain

OriginalPouzar

I’m enthused about the continued plus play of Ryan Strome – his last two games have been his best of the season but its been a month now since he was moved to center and he’s been one of the top forwards on the team during that stretch.

He seems to have developed some chemistry with Caggulia – is that the makings of a decent/good third line? Keeps Caggulia away from the top 6.

Strome is also continuing to see PK time and, from my eye, has been a top unit/2nd unit PK for four games now and not been on the ice for a goal against.

30 games to go to see if this is real but, if it is, it might just be worth $3M for the full time 3C and PK spot – we can load up the top 6 with Nuge and Drai for a year until we have a winger prospect or two ready to take a top 6 winger spot and we can have unicorns!

OriginalPouzar

Sekera with 0 time on special teams last night. The coaching staff has adjusted to his current mobility issues and he is playing a bit better with reduced minutes and sole even strength time.

I am excited for a 100% healthy Sekera on October – that is a material and substantial addition to the lineup.

Chelios is a Dinosaur

Drew Remenda needs a lot of help up there.

dustrock

Took my 6 year old daughter to the game last night, a friend was kind enough to give us tickets. Section 104, Row 12, what a view.

Her first hockey game live was maybe McDavid’s finest game. Sorry honey, they’re not all that exciting.

A few things I’ve noticed live (first game I’ve seen live this year):

(1) Drai was clearly the 2nd best player on the night but only failed in comparison to McDavid. His little touch passes are insane. The goal he scored on the PP was great, he stayed out near the blueline and I was yelling “go go go go” and timed it perfectly for the cross-crease pass. Great instincts, he has way more of a nose for the net than I expected looking at his junior games.

(2) Strome is a different player now. I get why some people are sour on him, but I find he plays a pretty safe game over the year to date. Last night, he was into it and he was flying.

(3) Puljujarvi started off with a real strong game, you can see his frame and speed live. Very smart player. If Lucic didn’t have stone hands, should have had an assist. He faded a bit as time went on but you can see his potential.

(5) We need a more talented D corpse. Hard to complain about anything last night but a lot of the magic was created by McDavid and Draisaitl. The breakouts and transitions are still often very poor, and it’s perhaps more noticeable live.

(6) Kucherov was by far the most dangerous Bolt, but overall they looked tired and not enthusiastic to me.

(7) We left after 2 periods because Monday night school night for the little one, but I’ll remember McDavid’s 2nd goal for the rest of my life.

thehop

OriginalPouzar:
Heck of a game last night.

The first ten minutes were a track meet and, after that, the Oilers were the better team (score effects in the third).

McDavid – can you imagine if he becomes so consistent that he brings that game night in and night out – is that even a realistic scenario?Is it possible to go supernova night in and night out.

Get real.

If it happens a couple times a year consider us lucky.

You know he’s going to be the best player on the ice most nights and that’s enough for me.

OmJo

I think somebody in this organization tuned into the Lowdown a few weeks back

This team has been a different team since the Sabres fiasco.

Good stuff. Almost at fake .500!

Pescador

Lots of turning points in the game last night, no answer for the greatest player on earth being number.
PP success number 2.
The Oilers as group bullied & pounded on Tampa, they came out in the second and continued to throw their weight around. Nice to see them dominate another team physically, more please.

OmJo

OriginalPouzar,

Strome is streaky as all hell.

If he won’t take a 1-year show-me deal, sail on “Dylan”… We have Nuge and maybe even Khaira for 3C.

thehop

**(2) Strome is a different player now. I get why some people are sour on him, but I find he plays a pretty safe game over the year to date. Last night, he was into it and he was flying.**

My question is, has he done enough over the course of 51 games this season?

The answer is a resounding no. Maybe he has played better in the last 15 games but his inconsistent play throughout the season is part of the reason why some folks here are already talking about the draft.

Should they sign him?

Sure. But he gets a one or two year deal at the current salary or less.

thehop

Pescador:
Lots of turning points in the game last night, no answer for the greatest player on earth being number.
PP success number 2.
The Oilers as group bullied & pounded on Tampa, they came out in the second and continued to throw their weight around. Nice to see them dominate another team physically, more please.

I thought speed was the new size?

“Hedman was effective against McDavid, they’ll no doubt see a lot of each other in the final. ”

I see what you did there. VOR is that you?

frjohnk

dustrock,

awesome. Glad you both had a fantastic time.

OriginalPouzar

thehop: Get real.

If it happens a couple times a year consider us lucky.

You know he’s going to be the best player on the ice most nights and that’s enough for me.

I asked a simple question – asking if it was realistic that he will develop the consistency to bring that game night in and night out and you reply with a condescending “get real”?

How about you post your response/opinion without the pretentious attitude?

I’m just trying to enjoy the community and talk about the Oilers.

Brantford Boy

Wow, that was entertaining to watch, that McDavid guy is ‘pretty good’…

Go Oilers!

OriginalPouzar

OmJo:
OriginalPouzar,

Strome is streaky as all hell.

If he won’t take a 1-year show-me deal, sail on “Dylan”… We have Nuge and maybe even Khaira for 3C.

Sure, he has been streaky, as are many younger and developing players. Perhaps he learns to bring his game consistency with experience, development and settling in to his new team?

If he is able to bring it for the last 30 games (for a total of 40), that is substantial and I would not be happy walking away from that player for nothing.

Time will tell.

frjohnk

Lowetide: History tells us the key for Edmonton is to close the gap between what happens when McDavid is on the ice versus when McDavid is off the ice. All 97 has to do is be himself, mature as a player and stay healthy.

If the Oilers want seconday scoring when McDavid is on the bench, its easy.
They just have to draft another generational player and have him play when McDavid is on the ice.

OriginalPouzar: Sure, he has been streaky, as are many younger and developing players.Perhaps he learns to bring his game consistency with experience, development and settling in to his new team?

If he is able to bring it for the last 30 games (for a total of 40), that is substantial and I would not be happy walking away from that player for nothing.

Time will tell.

I like his game recently, too. That said we likely can’t afford him at $3M because Maroon/his replacement won’t be as cheap as $1.5M next year.

Unless they are planning on trading Nuge.

OriginalPouzar

thehop:
**(2) Strome is a different player now. I get why some people are sour on him, but I find he plays a pretty safe game over the year to date. Last night, he was into it and he was flying.**

My question is, has he done enough over the course of 51 games this season?

The answer is a resounding no. Maybe he has played better in the last 15 games but his inconsistent play throughout the season is part of the reason why some folks here are already talking about the draft.

Should they sign him?

Sure. But he gets a one or two year deal at the current salary or less.

I agree that he has not done enough through the first 51 games overall, however, there is often a transition period for a player on a new team and, frankly, he was given no favors with his deployment at a different position with different linemates every 3 games.

There is still 30 games to go and an important story line is which Ryan Strome is the one we can expect next year.

If he is a plus player in the last 40, then that equals over half a season (sure, the “out of it” half of the season but still).

thehop

OriginalPouzar: I asked a simple question – asking if it was realistic that he will develop the consistency to bring that game night in and night out and you reply with a condescending “get real”?

How about you post your response/opinion without the pretentious attitude?

I’m just trying to enjoy the community and talk about the Oilers.

I don’t agree with your take. Get over it. Nothing malicious intended. But feel free to tell me how express thoughts ….Dad.

It’s unrealistic to expect that kind of performance with regularity. I’m saying because MCDavid is that good.. I’ll expect it a couple times a year.

flea

NYC-Back-to-Tokyo Oil (Gentleman Backpacker),

They’re gonna trade the Nuge, IMO. Strome is his replacement. Strome reminded me a little of the Nuge last night.

Nuge for the other RHD they need.

Nuge for (gulp) Weber (salary retained)

Bigger deal and get them to throw in Gallagher/Galchenyuk to play with Connor.

N64

flea:
NYC-Back-to-Tokyo Oil (Gentleman Backpacker),

They’re gonna trade the Nuge, IMO. Strome is his replacement. Strome reminded me a little of the Nuge last night.

Nuge for the other RHD they need.

Nuge for (gulp) Weber (salary retained)

Bigger deal and get them to throw in Gallagher/Galchenyuk to play with Connor.

~ Strome can replace RNH for the Habs. Strome for Weber ~

texmex

flea,

Nuge for Weber would be worse than the Larsson trade. Weber is 32 and signed until 2026 (or until he is 40 years old) at an AVV of 7.85 million. This place would explode in two years when our third pair is Russel and Weber.

PS: this is not directed at you. I just see this trade proposal all the time on capfriendly arm chair GM.

PPS: I think Chia moves one of the NMC in the off season somehow someway to save his job.

dustrock

Hedman reminds me a bit of Pronger in a way. He was just everywhere. He takes up a lot of the rink.

JimmyV1965

flea:
NYC-Back-to-Tokyo Oil (Gentleman Backpacker),

They’re gonna trade the Nuge, IMO. Strome is his replacement. Strome reminded me a little of the Nuge last night.

Nuge for the other RHD they need.

Nuge for (gulp) Weber (salary retained)

Bigger deal and get them to throw in Gallagher/Galchenyuk to play with Connor.

When the season starts next year, Weber will be 33. No thanks. Even with salary retained.

On the road to: Los Angeles, Anaheim, San Jose (Expected 1-1-1) (Actual 0-0-0)

Anything less than 2-1 and stick a fork in us (again)

thehop

NYC-Back-to-Tokyo Oil (Gentleman Backpacker),

If Draisaitl is playing on the wing, I don’t think that would be wise no?

If they draft Svechnikov maybe? That free’s up Drai but man I hate that idea.

OmJo

OriginalPouzar: Sure, he has been streaky, as are many younger and developing players.Perhaps he learns to bring his game consistency with experience, development and settling in to his new team?

If he is able to bring it for the last 30 games (for a total of 40), that is substantial and I would not be happy walking away from that player for nothing.

Time will tell.

The thing is he was streaky in NY as well. If his agent is demanding at least $3M I would prefer they walk. Good teams don’t pay $3M/year for players who only show up for half a season. Considering it’s a contract year, I’m even more weary of General Disappointment falling into another trap.

We have no shortage of Cs, we have the best C depth in the league so that $3M would be better spent on a winger to play with those Cs.

Just my opinion.

thehop

dustrock,

He’s pretty fucking mean too. I was thinking the same thing last night.

He and Draisaitl going back and forth with two hands in the crease was awesome.

I enjoyed watching Drai give it back.

Good for him

thehop,

Yeah, I was not advocating for trading Nuge.

Rather not break up the one clear strength on this team.

If Strome gets his 3m qualifying offer though, unless Sekera, Russell or Lucic waive their NMCs I don’t think they can afford it all, especially as Maroon’s replacement will be unlikely to be as cheap as 1.5m.

JimmyV1965

This team is sooooooo close to greatness. Just need a couple wingers and a RHD. They have the Cs and then some, and some real nice pieces on defence. Those are the toughest pieces to acquire. They’re just missing a couple elements.

Something has to give with the transition game though. Even in such a good game last night, it was craptacular. I was hating on Benning earlier, but they were all bad. Maybe it’s coaching. I have no idea.

OmJo

Lowetide: Honest to Christ, if the draft a LW who is generational and put HIM with 97 and 29, I will lose it.

If they trade Nuge to sign Strome for $3M I will lose it.

thehop

OmJo: The thing is he was streaky in NY as well. If his agent is demanding at least $3M I would prefer they walk. Good teams don’t pay $3M/year for players who only show up for half a season. Considering it’s a contract year, I’m even more weary of General Disappointment falling into another trap.

We have no shortage of Cs, we have the best C depth in the league so that $3M would be better spent on a winger to play with those Cs.

Just my opinion.

My bet is on him going at the deadline.

He stats bump couldn’t have happened at a better time.

What does he fetch? Part of a bigger package maybe?

thehop

NYC-Back-to-Tokyo Oil (Gentleman Backpacker),

Do you think he moves at the deadline?

I agree with you and I worry that if he continues to play at the level he is now I worry ChiaPete will have painted himself into another shitty contract.

€√¥£€^$

Most dominate game by any player I’ve ever seen and I have been watching the NHL closely since 1976.

Strome impressed me, he been playing very good the last few games.

Cammy was the least effectivd IMO of all the forwards, in the O zone and at leat once in the D zone he tried to shield the puck by keeping it against the boards and moving his body away from it. It was strange and I thought it slowed the line down too much. I did not like his game at all.

This kind of game is why it is such a roller coater ride to be an Oilfan. We are at times incredibly spoiled and priviledged, BUT it is all too often the case that we have front row seats to a 12 train pile-up. We’ve literally been imprisoned or in some cases held hostage by hope for more than a decade, but hey its our team and its our normal, so what can we do?

Amazing player, great game. Goilers!!!

thehop,

I would think Chia would be sending out feelers to see if Strome would accept a 2-yr deal at less money. If the answer is no, then he needs to deal him for some value, not qualify him for 3m or let him walk for free

The Strome situation is a good example of the boxing himself in that PC does that LT mentioned.

Strome has a lot of leverage here.

Rondo

McDavid is in a class of his own.

Tampa did not play that well, gave the Oilers too much ice. If Lightning play like this in the playoffs they lose in the first round.

OriginalPouzar

Bob Stauffer

Verified account

@Bob_Stauffer
9m9 minutes ago
More
Patrick Maroon, Oscar Klefbom and Zack Kassian are not on the ice for practice today as well as
RNH (ribs) and Adam Larsson (personal)

jtblack

Maroon is playing like HE KNOWS HE WILL BE MOVED Tough spot to be in …

Bet Edm would like a couple games back …. The Russell slapper. 1 or 2 of the 5-0 home ice losses.

Just 2 or 3 LESS Losses and they would be close ….

Go Oilers Go

flyfish1168

Oilers doing very well without RNH. If they do well on this road trip it may spell the end for RNH. If so we need to get something significant back.

Rondo:
McDavid is in a class of his own.

Tampa did not play that well, gave the Oilers too much ice. If Lightning play like this in the playoffs they lose in the first round.

To be fair I think they know that. Also did you see the schedule on their 8 game roadtrip? It was an epic. We caught them at the best time.

jtblack

OriginalPouzar:
Bob Stauffer

Verified account

@Bob_Stauffer9m9 minutes ago
More
Patrick Maroon, Oscar Klefbom and Zack Kassian are not on the ice for practice today as well as
RNH (ribs) and Adam Larsson (personal)

Does this mean trade???