The Edmonton Oilers are on a five-game losing streak and headed for the desert today for a game against the Arizona Coyotes. If they lose to the (surging) Dogs, the rest of this month offers no quarter. It isn’t a stretch to suggest this five-game dive could easily hit double digits if the Oilers lose today.
At this point in a losing season, it is traditional for this blog to recommend some minor league options for recall at the deadline. It’s an ill wind she blows this time, ladies and men. I’ve chosen Joe Gambardella as my cover photo, he’s one of the rookie pro’s having some success in Bakersfield. More in a minute.
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- New Lowetide: Draft 2018: The Oilers and the QMJHL.
- New Jonathan Willis: Where have Milan Lucic’s goals gone?
- Lowetide: In defence of Cam Talbot.
- Lowetide: Is Ryan Strome a keeper?
- Lowetide: Value contracts in 2018-19
- Lowetide: What would Sam Pollock do?
- Lowetide: Oilers Keeper List
- Lowetide: Draft 2018: Oilers and the WHL.
- Lowetide: Oilers draft history and the OHL
ZUMA, YEAR OVER YEAR
- February 2016: 3-4-0, goal differential -1 (6 points)
- February 2017: 4-3-0, goal differential +1 (8 points)
- February 2018: 1-5-1, goal differential -8 (3 points)
- February 16, 2016: Anaheim 5, Edmonton 3 (Source)
- February 21, 2017: Tampa Bay 4, Edmonton 1 (Source)
Edmonton has been unimpressive for most of the month. Part of that has to do with injury and circumstance (Nuge, Sekera and Larsson) but the team hasn’t played well at all. There is still some work to do even in a lost season and jobs to be won and lost. The goal differential is an especially disconcerting development during February. The -8 number in the first 17 days of the world’s shortest month have contributed to what is becoming a canyon of differential.
AFTER 56, YEAR OVER YEAR
- Oilers 15-16: 22-29-5, goal differential -36 (49 points)
- Oilers 16-17: 29-19-8, goal differential +12 (66 points)
- Oilers 17-18: 23-29-4, goal differential -31 (50 points)
- February 13, 2016: Winnipeg 2, Edmonton 1 (SO) (Source)
- February 14, 2017: Edmonton 5, Arizona 2 (Source)
A loss today means Edmonton 2017-18 will have the same point total after 57 games as the 2015-16 team. As I mentioned on the Lowdown yesterday, I do believe management and coaching can defend an 82-point season. A 70-point campaign? That’s going to be very difficult to sell. It’s reasonable to expect changes either way, but degrees up upheaval are possibly still in play.
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 0-3-0)
- At home to: Florida (Expected 1-0-0) (Actual 0-1-0)
- On the road to: Vegas, Arizona, Colorado (Expected 2-1-0) (Actual 0-1-0)
- 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: 1-5-1, three points in seven games
Man this got sideways after Christmas, didn’t it? Oilers were 17-17-2 on Boxing Day and are 6-12-2 since then. This month accounts for almost half of those 12 losses and there are seven games to go. Dire. Onof the truly damning things about this season for the coaching staff is an inability to successfully address weakness. The penalty kill remains a mess after all this time. Crazy.
It is one grim outlook on the farm for recall forwards this season. One of the reasons Patrick Maroon may not be dealt for a draft pick is the lack of players who can be deployed in the final 20 (or so) NHL games. The new website prospect-stats.com has a fabulous estimated 5×5 points-per-60 metric and gives us these numbers.
- Iiro Pakarinen 2.25
- Josh Currie 1.85
- Joe Gambardella 1.81
- Joey Laleggia 1.81
- Ty Rattie 1.81
- Dave Gust 1.69
- Grayson Downing 1.49
- Patrick Russell 1.49
- Braden Christoffer 1.39
- Brad Malone 1.37
- Mitch Callahan 1.22
- Kyle Platzer 1.21
- Ryan Hamilton 1.08
- Zack O’Brien 1.01
I expect Malone and or Rattie get the call, but I’ll vote for Joe Gambardella. He’s had some injury issues but is actually scoring pretty well 5×5. This might be Joey Laleggia’s last chance Texaco for the NHL. Now let’s check the blue.
I don’t see any of these men catching on and spending five seasons with Edmonton. Next season, Kailer Yamamoto and Tyler Benson will probably join this group and build toward NHL careers (although Yamamoto has a chance to make the big team out of camp). We should expect an very aggressive procurement summer, including trades for entry-level forwards, signing college free agents and undrafted CHL men. This can’t stand.
- Ethan Bear 1.15
- Keegan Lowe 0.97
- Caleb Jones 0.88
- Ryan Mantha 0.68
- Dillon Simpson 0.45
- Ryan Stanton 0.31
- Ben Betker 0.21
Bear’s offense at 5×5 is solid, I think it’s universally agreed he, Jones and Mantha need more time in the AHL. Perhaps a cup of coffee at season’s end for one or more as a nod for job well done. Keegan Lowe’s verbal has been rock solid all year long, he earned the recall over Simpson and Stanton. I like the young blue, but it’s important to remember these are not first-round picks and there are no guaranteed NHL jobs at the end of the entry deals.
OILERS LINES OVER 100 MINUTES 5X5
- Maroon-McDavid-Draisaitl 56.67 Corsi for in 277 minutes (17-10 GF)
- Lucic-McDavid-Puljujarvi 55.41 Corsi in 176 minutes (8-4 GF)
- Khaira-Draisaitl-Strome 53.01 Corsi in 105 minutes (5-4 GF)
Two of these lines could be intact after the deadline, wonder if we see it. I’m at a point where Strome is a center full stop. You?