The Edmonton Oilers gave up a goal on the first shot and again it was painfully early. More galling? The shot came from 10,000 off the stick of Kyle Clifford. In what has become an unacceptable hiccup in Cam Talbot’s game, it set the tone for the road team. Edmonton slept through the first period last night, the outlet passing borderline expansion quality. The second period was much stronger, and the third period was tense and had a playoff feel. A late (and ill advised) penalty from Jesse Puljujarvi forced Edmonton to rely on the penalty kill, three bullets later that’s all she wrote. This team is going to kill some careers, pretty sure.
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- New Lowetide: Draft 2018: Oilers and the WHL.
- New Jonathan Willis: Oilers burning a year of development time in Bakersfield.
- Lowetide: What would Sam Pollock do?
- Jonathan Willis: Can Connor McDavid save the Oilers season?
- Lowetide: Oilers Keeper List
- Jonathan Willis: Oilers cap situation and the deadline
- Lowetide: Oilers draft history and the OHL
- Lowetide: Oilers draft and college returns
- Lowetide: Central Scouting and where the Oilers shop for talent
THE LAST RESORT, YEAR OVER YEAR
- February 2016: 2-1-0, goal differential +5 (4 points)
- February 2017: 1-2-0, goal differential -3 (2 points)
- February 2018: 1-1-1, goal differential 0 (3 points)
The expectation is 82-85 points, so the playoffs are already gone. This club is 5-2-1 in its last eight games and can win 12-15 of their final 30. No one who will be dealt is so dear that downward expectations are in order. Edmonton has to get .915 or better goaltending, though.
AFTER 52, YEAR OVER YEAR
- Oilers 15-16: 21-26-5, goal differential -21 (47 points)
- Oilers 16-17: 28-16-8, goal differential +18 (64 points)
- Oilers 17-18: 23-25-4, goal differential -23 (50 points)
The Oilers once again fell back after getting close to fake .500, now they find themselves two games back. Outlet passing was an adventure last night, the gaps were massive and the sights on the defensemen poor. Fully two of the three pairings stopped carrying the puck out, rather telegraphing the headman passes which turned into turnovers with frequency. Set play? The hell you say.
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 0-1-0)
- 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: 1-1-1, three points in three games
I had last night as a win, the Ducks and San Jose have to be favorites heading into the weekend. There’s a fantastic scoring streak coming from McDavid now (7-2-9 in his last three games) and he’s now on pace for 99 points. Fans looking for something to cheer for can look to the captain. Outstanding player.
DEFENSE, LAST NIGHT
- Nurse-Russell went 15-14 in 17:31, 1-0 GF and 8-6 Shots. Nurse was the one blue who remembered carrying the puck can also work, and because of it had fewer issues. Russell blocked a sure goal, that’s going to get him a few asterisks in the coaching game report. Were 4-13 against Iafollo-Kopitar-Toffoli in 11:24, and clearly beat the daylights out of the rest.
- Klefbom-Benning went 10-18 in 13:28, 0-2 GF and 5-7 Shots. Lordy this duo had a tough time with the headman pass, and of course paid a terrible price for it. Soft passes, deflected passes, passes without a hope in hell. I like this pairing, and Oscar is coming on, but they had a bad night. Went 7-10 against Pearson-Kempe-Brown, that Kempe fellow is a nice shooter. Oscar was -4 on the night, that was too harsh by plenty.
- Sekera-Davidson went 6-15 in 12:06, 1-6 SF and there were no casualties on the evening. Went 3-7 against Pearson-Kempe-Brown. Sekera isn’t back to his normal levels, that isn’t an excuse but it is a factor.
- Cam Talbot was 23 of 26, .885. He needs to stop those early pucks, that was a ghastly goal to give up that early in the game.
- Natural Stat Trick.
FORWARDS, LAST NIGHT
- Lucic-Khaira-Cammalleri went 10-11 together, 3-4 in shots. Lucic had a couple of damned good looks but he’s colder than ice right now. Khaira’s fight was impressive, 25 years ago I would have writen two paragraphs on it. Cammalleri struggled but also made himself useful. Went 7-0 against Clifford-Lewis-Mitchell.
- McDavid-Draisaitl-Puljujarvi went 11-16 (Leon) and 9-9 (JP) with the big man. McDavid’s fantastic, his goal involved getting one of the two or three best blue in the league into a terrible situation and then sending an accurate shot to the goalie. Edmonton had several chances when 97 had the puck on his stick, I’d run Maroon there Friday. McDavid was 7-12 against Doughty, 1-0 GF.
- Pakarinen-Letestu-Kassian went 4-4, they had a couple of extended shifts in their own zone but weren’t the cause of problems. Pakarinen is a rambunctious fellow, Kassian too.
- Maroon-Strome-Caggiula were 6-16, 0-1 GF and 2-7 Shots. Edmonton needs more than one line going, that’s an issue.
THE OILERS AND THE WHL
In the lineup of new stories for The Athletic, you’ll find an item on the Oilers and the WHL. Edmonton likes their own back yard and that may come into play during the 2018 draft. The club is slated to choose No. 7 overall, and Ty Smith may be available.
- LD Rasmus Dahlin, Frolunda (SHL). The complete package, with size, speed and skill.
- R Andrei Svechnikov, Barrie Colts (OHL). Another complete talent, fleet winger (shoots left) who has a well rounded game.
- L Filip Zadina, Halifax Mooseheads (QMJHL). Another fantastic skill winger, he brings size and shooting ability to the game.
- LC Jacob Olofsson, Timra (Allsvenskan). Speedy center with skill, he’s an emerging player who may be moving up lists.
- LD Ty Smith, Spokane Chiefs (WHL). Nice range of skills and impressive offense, he’s smooth and makes smart decisions with the puck. Underrated based on rankings I’ve seen.
- RD Adam Boqvist, Brynas (SuperElite). Undersized puck moving defender who is very creative. Fast, brilliant, excellent in all areas with the puck on his stick.
- RC Akil Thomas, Niagara Ice Dogs (OHL). Undersized center with all of the tools, plus his work ethic gets mentioned a lot. Speed and skill (RH), another player who is underrated based on current rankings I’m seeing.
- L Brady Tkachuk, Boston University (NCAA). Rugged power winger with two-way skills, he has soft hands and can post offense.
- RD Ryan Merkley, Guelph Storm (OHL). Another undersized puck mover, Merkley has holes defensively but is a ridiculous offensive package.
- LD Quinn Hughes, Michigan (NCAA). Fast as lightning defender, smooth as silk and very creative with the puck. Small (5.09) and electric, prototype for the modern game.
- L Joel Farabee, U.S. National Development Program (USHL). Speedy winger with legit skill, he’s a little undersized. Smart player.
- R Oliver Wahlstrom, U.S. National Development Program (USHL). Pure scorer with good size, he’s done well in international competitions. Plus shot.
- LC Filip Hallander, Timra (Allsvenskan). Big, fast forward is an excellent puck transporter and passer, although he can also shoot the puck.
- RD Jett Woo, Moose Jaw Warriors (WHL). Coolest name in the draft (Charlie Finley would have chosen him on that alone) he’s a fine two-way prospect and a rare righty. Offense seems to be underrated in draft lists I’ve seen, he might be available when Edmonton picks.
- LC Ryan McLeod, Mississauga Steelheads (OHL). Late ’99 has size, speed and skill, plus the tools to flourish in all three disciplines.
- LC Barrett Hayton, SSM Greyhounds (OHL). Attractive player because he’s a shooter, possesses a heavy shot and uses it liberally. He played a depth role last season, more prominent in the Soo this year and numbers reflect it.
- RC Rasmus Kupari, Karpat (Sm-Liiga). Skilled center who has rocketed up the Finnish hockey system in the last 18 months. His offense is the big selling point, continues to progress. Offense obscured by playing in a pro league.
- LC Joe Veleno, Saint-John Sea Dogs (QMJHL). Good size and speed, creative center who has 25 assists in 31 games this season. Improved in a big way season over season.
- RD Noah Dobson, Acadie-Bathurst Titan (QMJHL). A big (6.03, 179) two-way defenseman whose scouting report includes glowing reports with and without the puck. He might go higher based on range of skills.
- LC Jesperi Kotkaniemi, Assat (Sm-Liiga). Smart, very skilled and he’s 6.02, 190. Has good speed, is a playmaker but has a good shot. A nice resume.
- RD Evan Bouchard, London Knights (OHL). Two-way player, big numbers, his first-step quickness is average and he’s one of the oldest players in the draft.
- LD K’Andre Miller, U.S. National Development Team (USHL). Big defender who can skate and has a big shot. Converted forward so he’s a bit raw in coverage.
- RD Calen Addison, Lethbridge Hurricanes (WHL). He’s small but everything else is strong. Very creative player, very fast and surprisingly effective defensively.
- R Dominik Bokk, Vajxo Lakers (SuperElite). Another impressive German forward, he’s an elusive skater and a fine stickhandler, has a scorer’s instincts.
- RD Bode Wilde, U.S. National Development Team (USHL). Has size, skill, skating ability plus can shoot the puck and pass it very well. That’s a pretty complete skill set.
- RC Cam Hillis, Guelph Storm (OHL). He’s a burner and he’s spiking, point-per-game over his last 25 games. June 2000, playing in an outstanding league.
- LC Phillipp Kurashev, Quebec Remparts (QMJHL). My favorite player type, intelligent two-way center who has already established that area of the game as a strength. The question is offense and that’s why he’s here.
- LC Milos Roman, Vancouver Giants (WHL). A 1999-born prospect who will impress you with his vision and passing ability, Roman is a smart player in all areas of the ice.
- L Isac Lundestrom, Lulea (SHL). I’m nicking older eligibles more than ever, but this guy appears to be a real player. Playing in a strong pro league in Europe and having some offensive success, he is a burner, probably a little shy offensively.
- W Samuel Fagemo, Frolunda (SuperElite). Impressive climb through the Swedish system, he has good boots and an excellent shot. Dynamic with the puck on his stick, raw in other parts of the game. Boisvert likes him.
- LD Jared McIssac, Halifax Mooseheads (QMJHL). Strong offensive potential, he’s a powerful skater who can blue bayou. Emerging offense, too soon to know.
I’ll have a new list (62 deep) probably on Sunday, we’re getting behind here a little in the draft talk. I think Svechnikov, Zadina, Tkachuk and Wahlstrom might be 2-3-4-5 on Edmonton’s list, the team badly needs a scoring forward prospect.
OILERS CURRENT DRAFT PICKS
- First Round—No. 7 overall
- Second Round—No. 38 overall
- Third Round—No. 69 overall
- Fourth Round—No. 100 overall ( Oilers acquired goaltender Al Montoya from the Montreal Canadiens in exchange for a conditional fourth-round pick in 2018. If Montoya plays less than seven regular season games for the Oilers the draft pick becomes a fifth rounder)
- Fifth Round—No. 131 overall
- Sixth Round—No. 162 overall
- Seventh Round—No. 193 overall
LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE
Three outstanding guests highlight today’s show, beginning at 10 on TSN1260. Scheduled to appear:
- Bruce McCurdy, Cult of Hockey. McCurdy has done more autopsy’s on Oilers losses than anyone else in the business. He’ll take a scalpel to last night’s game at 10:20.
- Rob Vollman, NHL.com and ESPN. Handicapping the Olympic hockey rosters and what teams might get from Rick Nash.
- Frank Seravalli, TSN. How much interest is there in Patrick Maroon? Mark Letestu?
10-1260 text, @Lowetide on twitter. See you on the radio!