G55 2017-18: Panthers at Oilers

by Lowetide

The Edmonton Oilers return from California with yet another confirmation that this team, as constructed, isn’t good enough for the playoffs. As other teams gear up for the postseason, they will say goodbye to teammates at the deadline and some will say goodbye to their NHL careers at season’s end. Losing teams sewer NHL careers like hell won’t have it. On this blog, we’re moving on. Beginning today, we talk of summer.

THE ATHLETIC!

Great 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.

 SOUND AND VISION, YEAR OVER YEAR

  • February 2016: 2-3-0, goal differential -3 (4 points)
  • February 2017: 2-3-0, goal differential -4 (4 points)
  • February 2018: 1-3-1, goal differential -3 (3 points)
  • February 11, 2016: Edmonton 5, Toronto 2 (Source)
  • February 16, 2016: Edmonton 6, Philadelphia 3 (Source)

The Oilers wins are still important (GM & Coach won’t survive a long losing streak, although it may be over for one or both anyway) but we’re likely to see odd line and pairings combinations now as Edmonton showcases their tradeable talent.

AFTER 54, YEAR OVER YEAR

  • Oilers 15-16: 21-28-5, goal differential -32 (47 points)
  • Oilers 16-17: 28-18-8, goal differential +15 (64 points)
  • Oilers 17-18: 23-27-4, goal differential -26 (50 points)
  • February 9, 2016: New Jersey 2, Edmonton 1 (Source)
  • February 5, 2017: Edmonton 1, Montreal 0 (Source)

The list of needs is great, goaltending was a problem this year and special teams a train wreck. There’s some cap room and the team could move a center and a lefty blue.

WHAT TO EXPECT FROM FEBRUARY

  • At home to: Colorado, Tampa Bay (Expected 0-1-1) (Actual 1-0-1)
  • On the road to: Los AngelesAnaheimSan Jose (Expected 1-1-1) (Actual 0-3-0)
  • 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: 1-3-1, three points in five games

There are a couple of winnable games this week, Oilers often have trouble getting up for games against less than stellar opponents. It’s also true that some opponents will be pulling the chute on winning but we’re not there yet. Florida and Arizona should be wins this week.

POSSIBLE OFFSEASON ROSTER

Can’t make it work. You need six more forwards, one of whom is on a skill line and another on the third line. If the Oilers fill the depth holes internally, the following players could see the NHL in 2018-19 (all numbers via CapFriendly):

  • 3R Kailer Yamamoto, who would make $1.155 million including bonuses.
  • 4L Drake Caggiula, we’ll estimate his new deal at $1.2 million.
  • 5R Iiro Pakarinen, we’ll estimate his new deal at $750,000.
  • 4C Brad Malone, he’ll make $650,000 in 2018-19.
  • 5C Mitch Callahan, he’ll make $700,000 in 2018-19.

All-in, that means the Oilers will have less than $2 million for the No. 1 left-wing on the roster. Can’t be done. As we have discussed many times, that means one of Oscar Klefbom, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins or the first-round pick would be heading out. The only two outs are grabbing another Patrick Maroon for Patrick Maroon or Mark Letestu at the deadline, winning the right to draft one of those insane skill wingers at No. 2 or No. 3 overall, winning the lottery outright (allowing a trade of LHD easily), or someone to release their no-movement clause (likely Sekera). Peter Chiarelli has boxed himself in based on what I can see, perhaps he has an out that is not known to us. Seems unlikely.

Best to bet IR, but Leivo would be an interesting bet for Edmonton. This club badly needs value contracts for next season and Leivo has done some fine work in a part-time role. There are less than 30 games left in the season, we should see Jesse Puljujarvi, Jujhar Khaira and Anton Slepyshev in every game. If Slepyshev doesn’t fit the coach, then maybe he’s the guy heading out for Leivo. I’ll tell you though, I think Slepyshev can play.

LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE

A busy morning and a fluid show in terms of guests. All starts at 10, TSN1260, expect we’ll be adding a CFL guest to discuss free agency. Scheduled to appear:

  • Pierre Lebrun, TSN and The Athletic. Trade deadline rumors heating up!
  • Jason Gregor, TSN1260. CFL free agency, Oilers.

10-1260 text, @Lowetide on twitter.

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Mr. D.

NYC-Back-to-Tokyo Oil (Gentleman Backpacker):
Not sure what the Oilers’ D is doing there. Just backing off like that in total no-man’s land.

the Oilers have chosen to go with puck movers over defensive players.that is fine but other teams have defensive players that shut us down. Therefore our defensive weakness is exploited.

Mike Wazowski

Too many people can’t separate the name bar that has “Lowe” on it from the players performance. By all reports and comments from his head coach Keegan deserves his call up.

Bank Shot

OriginalPouzar:
Keegan Lowe has had a fantastic season in Bakersfield and absolutely deserved the call-up.

The name on the back of his jersey has absolutely nothing to do with it.

Lol.

There are 8 million capable minor league defensemen. The OIlers call up the one with LOwe on his jersey and its just because he earned it?

BS. They have Gryba down there who has proven to be able to survive at the NHL level.

Lowe being called up is a joke. Fitting for this org.

flyfish1168

OriginalPouzar: He’s had two good games in the last three – looking forward to seeing what he can do in Vegas on Thursday – maybe he finally is going to grab an opportunity and run with it?

I hope you mean on the ice.lol

anonymous

OriginalPouzar:
Keegan Lowe has had a fantastic season in Bakersfield and absolutely deserved the call-up.

The name on the back of his jersey has absolutely nothing to do with it.

You must have a lot of bridges by now.

OriginalPouzar

Keegan Lowe has had a fantastic season in Bakersfield and absolutely deserved the call-up.

The name on the back of his jersey has absolutely nothing to do with it.

Mr. D.

FFS fire Jimmy Johnson. The players hate him and you can tell. Great to see a Lowe on the team. No nepotism on the Oilers.

GMB3

OriginalPouzar: He’s had two good games in the last three – looking forward to seeing what he can do in Vegas on Thursday – maybe he finally is going to grab an opportunity and run with it?

True! I thought his last game was a pretty low event game on both ends of the ice. He’s barely played this season, yet him having an average game where not much happens seems to put him in the dog house. I feel like that would be a tough environment to feel comfortable in and it goes against the vast majority of the sports psychology books I’ve read and what most sports psychologists I’ve been able to work with.

This is what frustrates me and why I’m a fan of the #freesleppy social justice movement, lol.

GMB3

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

This is true. I’m not sure McDavids style of play is as easy to play with as Crosby (not that he would be either). I’ve heard a lot of ex NHL guys on podcasts and other mediums say that Crosby is like a third liner but incredibly skilled. Creates a lot off the forecheck and possessing the puck down low. He’s so tough to check because he’s strong on his skates and is so good on his edges. He just breaks teams down until he finds a seam.

OriginalPouzar

Last night was another example of just how much we miss Adam Larsson and, in particular, Ryan Nugent Hopkins.

Nuge helps in all areas including our piss poor transition game as he, at least, comes down low and pucks the puck up to skate it out (he, as well as Leon and Connor) are able to do this.

OriginalPouzar

GMB3:
Sorry OP, but #freesleppy

Put that man at his natural position, his off wing, with a skill center.

#throughlymediocrecoach

He’s had two good games in the last three – looking forward to seeing what he can do in Vegas on Thursday – maybe he finally is going to grab an opportunity and run with it?

Mike Wazowski:
I can’t and don’t want to imagine what Larsson is going through right now.He is a valuable member of this team but it may be next season before he can return to form.

His return, a healthy Sekera and Klef should provide a huge boost to this team next season if they can return to form.

Having THE elite center in the NHL and a very good young center in Drai likely mean the team will never have elite defencemen and wingers.Crosby’s wingers have been inexpensive and slightly inexperienced for a lot of his career.Most of them not what I’d consider “elite”. Just value contracts.

This is a good point. We should remember that the Penguins went quite a long time between Cups. It looked for a while like the first one might wind up being Crosby’s only Cup. But as he matured, he became a player who was able to elevate inexperienced wingers to a high level, and he, with Malkin and Kessel and good goaltending, managed to win 2 more after a long gap.

That might be the Oilers’ template, only they could not quite get over that Anaheim hump, which if they had, they may have caught lightning in a bottle and gotten to the Finals at least.

So we may be looking at a few more years before the Oilers can truly contend again.

They still need a puck-moving RHD quite badly. Yes, as ricki says, defenders who can defend are key. I’m not talking about a point-scoring D per se, but one who can make good transitions and pass the puck with confidence. This team has elite talent upfront but lacks the pieces on the back end who can get them the puck properly.

Alas we have been saying that for years.

Mike Wazowski

I can’t and don’t want to imagine what Larsson is going through right now. He is a valuable member of this team but it may be next season before he can return to form.

His return, a healthy Sekera and Klef should provide a huge boost to this team next season if they can return to form.

Having THE elite center in the NHL and a very good young center in Drai likely mean the team will never have elite defencemen and wingers. Crosby’s wingers have been inexpensive and slightly inexperienced for a lot of his career. Most of them not what I’d consider “elite”. Just value contracts.

Mike Wazowski

Sleppy had probably his best game as an Oiler. Unfortunately, he hasn’t shown enough consistency on the ice to be warranted a spot in the top 6. I hope this is the start of him putting it together!

NHL officiating was terrible tonight.

Mike Wazowski: Not necessarily “calling you out” on this. Mostly frustrated by the knucklehead comments I’ve seen stating Cam is a “terrible” goalie and has never been or will ever be a starting goalie.

If the Oilers cut Talbot loose, I see a Dubnyk-style rebound on another team. He deserves another shot to start in 2018-2019, imo.

Mike Wazowski

NYC-Back-to-Tokyo Oil (Gentleman Backpacker): Okay, okay. I did not go back and break it down via replay so you don’t have to buy what I am saying.

He had at least 2 he wishes he had back, probably 3 and then this one. His team left him out to dry time and time again, though, so it’s definitely not all on him. In fact, I was defending him several times in this thread. That said, he did not have his best game, and that’s been the case a little too often this year.

Not necessarily “calling you out” on this. Mostly frustrated by the knucklehead comments I’ve seen stating Cam is a “terrible” goalie and has never been or will ever be a starting goalie.

Mike Wazowski

Sixth goal is a penalty shot goal. Sure you would love to have your goalie come up with the big save but again, in my mind, not a poor goal by Talbot.

A bunch of guys are quoting save percentage to point out Cam’s performance but quality of chances against were pretty high. Good on Captain Connor standing up and saying the team needed to play better in front of their goalie.

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

Not buying it. I re-watched the highlight and he’s square to the shooter.Screen sets up in front of him and some contact is made as he gets up when the shot goes wide and banks off the boards to Ekblad on the far side.Cam can’t find the puck because of the screen and weird bounce.I can’t see much he should have changed.

Watching the game on PVR right now.Second and third goals are on Cam. The fourth (PP breakaway) and fifth (screened PP goal) are on the team in front of him in my mind.

I really don’t understand this tendency on the PK to leave the goalie on his own to deal with the screen in front.If the goalie spends too much time shifting around the screen they can get their weight loaded over the wrong leg making it difficult to react.

Okay, okay. I did not go back and break it down via replay so you don’t have to buy what I am saying.

He had at least 2 he wishes he had back, probably 3 and then this one. His team left him out to dry time and time again, though, so it’s definitely not all on him. In fact, I was defending him several times in this thread. That said, he did not have his best game, and that’s been the case a little too often this year.

Mike Wazowski

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

Not buying it. I re-watched the highlight and he’s square to the shooter. Screen sets up in front of him and some contact is made as he gets up when the shot goes wide and banks off the boards to Ekblad on the far side. Cam can’t find the puck because of the screen and weird bounce. I can’t see much he should have changed.

Watching the game on PVR right now. Second and third goals are on Cam. The fourth (PP breakaway) and fifth (screened PP goal) are on the team in front of him in my mind.

I really don’t understand this tendency on the PK to leave the goalie on his own to deal with the screen in front. If the goalie spends too much time shifting around the screen they can get their weight loaded over the wrong leg making it difficult to react.

Gayfish

Lowetide: I’ve never understood ‘social justice warriors’ as a putdown. It’s a good thing to fight for those who cannot fight for themselves. The world is weird place now.

That’s how they get ya. Confusing words to make them sound better. “Affordable care act”, “Common Sense gun reform”, “Progressive”,”Patriot Act”, all slogans to tie an emotion to a policy without saying anything about the policy. That’s politics though.

Munny

Lowetide:
I’ve never understood ‘social justice warriors’ as a putdown. It’s a good thing to fight for those who cannot fight for themselves. The world is weird place now.

It’s an updated version of early 20th century “useful idiots”. If you know the history of that older phrase, you will get why SJW is a pejorative.

godot10

D:
Not to sound too macabre, but having this team lose, lose big, and lose a lot between now and the end of the season would prevent the Oilers’ “management” from spewing any nonsense that this is just a one-off.

#DementorvilleRevisited

Mike Wazowski: A goalie has to be able to challenge the shooter and trust that his skaters will pick up the back door stuff. The first goal is not on Cam.

Hey, I’m a Talbot defender but he did put himself way out of position on that one. He does that on occasion, and I am not talking about just challenging the shooter.

Agreed the skaters were awful defensively as a group today.

Mike Wazowski

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

Arguably the 1st goal, too, he was way out of position on the initial shot so was nowhere near the net when the bounce came off the end boards.

A goalie has to be able to challenge the shooter and trust that his skaters will pick up the back door stuff. The first goal is not on Cam.

Pescador

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

DOH,
nother toe stub

godot10

Lowetide:
I’ve never understood ‘social justice warriors’ as a putdown. It’s a good thing to fight for those who cannot fight for themselves. The world is weird place now.

They are not fighting for people who cannot fight for themselves. So-called “social justice warriors” are cultural marxists (or their stooges) fighting for the global elites. i.e. “all animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others). Their goal is neofeudal society.

Gayfish

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

McDavid is the chief reason I tune in from Japan. Sometimes it’s Draisaitl like he has been playing of late. I want to see more of Slepy and Puljujarvi in a lost season. But it’s getting harder and harder to deal with 12 years – 1 of the broken record–only now, we’ve traded away quite a bit of hope and lowered our potential ceiling.

And we are up against the cap. How galling is that.

It’s overwhelming. I feel like it’s before the 2012 draft. Team with some good things, but years away from competing.

Das Zuke,

McDavid is the chief reason I tune in from Japan. Sometimes it’s Draisaitl like he has been playing of late. I want to see more of Slepy and Puljujarvi in a lost season. But it’s getting harder and harder to deal with 12 years – 1 of the broken record–only now, we’ve traded away quite a bit of hope and lowered our potential ceiling.

And we are up against the cap. How galling is that.

Das Zuke

I had the game on PVR …best news was that I was able to fast forward this game and somewhat limit the misery …the last two games were very winable for the Oilers and I hate to point fingers but our goaltending tandem at present has to be the worst in the league . Plus I thought the muggings on McDavid were only allowed in the playoffs but the refs are casting a blind eye to many infractions … as a season ticket holder I have fewer and fewer buddies willing to accompany me to Oiler games as they do not wish to be punishe for 3 hours… McDavid is the only reason that I still attend … as previous bloggers mentioned no one expected such a poor performance from the Oil this year

Pescador: Paul?

Orr, Coffey

Pescador

GMB3,

+ don’t knock the content,
Ever

HT Joe

Bank Shot: Well Larsson is pretty good. He’s the best defender on this team by a fair margin. Shame there’s no offense there.

Wish they had a guy that was all offence and hustle. A guy like that could do great things with McDavid.

“Pretty good”. That’s the problem though… the Oilers have used significant assets from the last 7 years to shore up the blue line, and there still is nobody on the blue line who is substantially above average.

Nurse is trending up this year, but not a sure thing. With the assets spent, the Oilers should not have such a terrible collective defence.

Pescador

JD_Wry:
rickithebear,

Bye Bobby, bye Paul.

Paul?

GMB3

russ99: Lol.

But let’s get real, we’re expecting perfection from our defensemen, and shifting the blame away from anyone with offensive talent.

The same old Oilers Hockey story. Tell me the one about Tom Poti again.

Or another post tomorrow about how Klefbom and Benning are good because of Corsi.

Did a forward on your Illinois high school hockey team steal your girlfriend or something..

I agree, but I think this is a team that lost the plot. There’s plenty of blame to go around everywhere. Klefbom was our best dman by a mile last year regardless of Corsi. Our secondary scoring is woeful yet you just focus on how we need guys like Russell… ? Bizzaro world

Bank Shot

HT Joe: Well, Chia already traded away Hall and Barzal+ to shore up the blueline… what more do you want?

Well Larsson is pretty good. He’s the best defender on this team by a fair margin. Shame there’s no offense there.

Wish they had a guy that was all offence and hustle. A guy like that could do great things with McDavid.

HT Joe

Bank Shot: Oilers have had bad D for a decade now. When does the cavalry come? There aren’t any blue chippers on the way.

Well, Chia already traded away Hall and Barzal+ to shore up the blueline… what more do you want?

*EDIT* and the previous regime also used the #19 overall in 2011, and #7 overall in 2013.

Using those 4 assets should have yielded us a pretty good D-corps in 2018, no?

Gret99zky

Lowetide: All-in, that means the Oilers will have less than $2 million for the No. 1 left-wing on the roster. Can’t be done. As we have discussed many times, that means one of Oscar Klefbom, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins or the first-round pick would be heading out. The only two outs are grabbing another Patrick Maroon for Patrick Maroon or Mark Letestu at the deadline, winning the right to draft one of those insane skill wingers at No. 2 or No. 3 overall, winning the lottery outright (allowing a trade of LHD easily), or someone to release their no-movement clause (likely Sekera). Peter Chiarelli has boxed himself in based on what I can see, perhaps he has an out that is not known to us. Seems unlikely.

Can you picture what will be?
So limitless and free.
Desperately in need…of some…stranger’s hand,
In a…desperate land.

JimmyV1965

JP and Schleppy each played 9 min tonight. Cammy played 19.

StixMalone

This year is gone. God Chia get McDavid some help. And a right shot powerplay quarterback and after tonight a coach that isn’t afraid to pull a goalie….

Again, watch the Tampa breakouts. Yeah they played poorly in Edmonton, but each guy is hit in stride with short passes, then the next guy goes full flight to provide a passing outlet.

striatic

Bank Shot: Oilers have had bad D for a decade now. When does the cavalry come? There aren’t any blue chippers on the way.

This year’s draft, presumably, but unless they’re picking first the developmental timelines are going to be long.

The book on the Oilers’ breakout is out. No need to forecheck the D deep, just cut off all passing lanes to the forwards by hanging back. Watch the D tentatively move forward then move it back, pounce if they try to go around the boards, otherwise force them to try a 70 foot pass.

JimmyV1965

russ99: Forwards are just as much to blame. Dropping coverage and cherrypicking to get back up. If passing lanes were open, the d would pass sooner, and they’re gunshy with all the turnovers on the breakout.

I do think the forwards have to take some ownership of this, but the dmen are by far the biggest culprits. Davey on the opening shift of the game missed three consecutive passes. The Panthers finally ended up with the puck. The dmen passes are out by 15 feet sometimes.

As I mentioned previously, I was blown away when we had three forwards all waiting at the offensive blueline for Russel to make a play with the puck. He had zero pressure because every single Panther was in the defensive zone. Yet he’s fumbling his way up to the blueline with no idea what to do.

Bank Shot

russ99: Forwards are just as much to blame. Dropping coverage and cherrypicking to get back up. If passing lanes were open, the d would pass sooner, and they’re gunshy with all the turnovers on the breakout.

Oilers forwards aren’t great defensively, but they are running a legit bad D-core right now.

Davidson was on waivers this year.
Auvitu is MAB’s slow cousin.
Benning has been showing he’s a 6-7th guy on the NHL depth chart all season.
Russell is a 4th-5th guy. Should be the fourth best guy in your D-core at best.
Nurse is equal parts good and bad. Has the tools, but also has a lot of chaos in his game. Shouldn’t be top four on a contending team.
Klefbom has looked pretty average at best the whole season.

Where are the first pairing guys? Don’t have them.
3-4 bottom paring guys and 3 borderline top four guys doesn’t cut it at the NHL level.

Oilers have had bad D for a decade now. When does the cavalry come? There aren’t any blue chippers on the way.

SayItAin'tSo, Gretz, SayItAin'tSo!

russ99,

Yup agreed, both share blame.

But the “Russel Reset” and the d to d to d to d pass are team wide tactics and I understand why. Early in the season every turnover seemed to end up in the back of the Oilers net. You don’t forget that when you’re having a crappy season so you make the “safe” play instead.

What was supposed to be a safety valve now becomes your go to.

We all watch the games, we know it, the commentators know it and other teams know it.

And that’s another of the more frustrating aspects of this season. When you watch games from last year the Dmen were nowhere near this hesitant.

Its largely the same group, but they’re a bit gun-shy (shellshocked?) this year and the transition game has suffered immensely.

Some have taken the coaches to task for this. Personally I put it on execution (both forward and dman).

JimmyV1965

RonnieB:
Any thoughts on a Talbot for Darling trade ? A change of scenery chance for both men ?

That’s interesting.

JimmyV1965

Rondo:
SayItAin’tSo, Gretz, SayItAin’tSo!,

Who on the Oilers got better this Year?

Nurse. That’s all I’ve got.

russ99

GMB3: Russ for head coach.

Lol.

But let’s get real, we’re expecting perfection from our defensemen, and shifting the blame away from anyone with offensive talent.

The same old Oilers Hockey story. Tell me the one about Tom Poti again.

Or another post tomorrow about how Klefbom and Benning are good because of Corsi.

JimmyV1965

OriginalPouzar:
The Oilers have the worst transition game I’ve seen in a decade.

It’s frickin awful. The dmen have forgot how to pass the puck. That one play where all the forwards were waiting for Russell at the offensive blueline was bizarre.

striatic

NYC-Back-to-Tokyo Oil (Gentleman Backpacker): True. No way of knowing.

But we have:
1) Good backup in NYR
2) Good starting stats when King Henrik was injured in NY (small sample size of about 30 games alert)
3) Average starter year one in EDM
4) Great starter year two in EDM
5) Bottom of the league starter year three in EDM

If I had to guess, I’d say he’s likely to rebound to average starter. I still think 2016-2017 will likely be his career best year, but .915~.918 should be a reasonable target next year.

Unless there is something systemically flawed with the Oiler’s goaltender development process, in which case Talbot will continue to be a bottom of the league until he is traded somewhere else with a better goaltender development system.