The Edmonton Oilers have already made two deadline deals (Brandon Davidson to Brooklyn, Mark Letestu to Ohio via those Nashville Cats) and we’ll probably see more deals today. The changes were evident last evening, as Ty Rattie was up from Bakersfield and Yohann Auvitu drew in for Kris Russell. Watch for trades today and the waiver wire this week.
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.
- New Lowetide: Letestu dealt, Aberg acquired.
- New Lowetide: Draft 2018: The Oilers and the NCAA
- New Jonathan Willis: Trading Brandon Davidson a wise, but difficult, move.
- New Black Dog: Four Maddening Constants of the Edmonton Oilers.
- Lowetide Deadline: Nic Petan leads some AHL achievers who could help the Oilers
- Lowetide: Draft 2018: The Oilers and the QMJHL.
- Lowetide: Draft 2018: Oilers and the WHL.
- Lowetide: Oilers draft history and the OHL
GOOD VIBRATIONS, YEAR OVER YEAR
- February 2016: 3-10-0, goal differential -12 (6 points)
- February 2017: 6-6-0, goal differential -2 (12 points)
- February 2018: 5-7-1, goal differential -6 (11 points)
Helluva recovery and that’s the truth. Edmonton two years ago couldn’t get much done after a slow start and for last year’s team treading water was fine because they’d done lots of hard work during the winter. This year’s team has rarely posted three wins in a row, so when they do, it stands out in a big way.
AFTER 62, YEAR OVER YEAR
- Oilers 15-16: 22-34-6, goal differential -46 (50 points)
- Oilers 16-17: 33-21-8, goal differential +17 (74 points)
- Oilers 17-18: 27-31-4, goal differential -29 (58 points)
In a season of disappointment, this small ray of sunshine is as welcome as daylight to the miners of Big Bad John. This year’s team is on pace for 77 points and the range where (I think) coach and manager may be able to survive another day. Knowing you as I do, that probably doesn’t make you happy but we’re trying to read tea leaves here, not yell echoes into the canyon (although you are welcome to rage in the comments section). At this point, if the Oilers can grab 20 more points, I expect garbage bag day may not be Armageddon. That doesn’t mean the owner keeping his powder dry is the right thing to do, by the way.
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 1-2-0)
- At home to: Boston, Colorado (Expected 1-1-0) (Actual 1-1-0)
- On the road to: Los Angeles, Anaheim, San Jose (Expected 0-2-1) (Actual 2-0-0)
- Overall expected result: 5-6-3, 13 points in 14 games
- Current results: 5-7-1, 11 points in 13 games
Honestly with this team. What a bizarre month this has been. The first California trip was uninspired and this one is breathtaking and a rollercoaster. Incredibly, a win against San Jose would mean the Oilers matched my prediction for the month. Prepare for endless patting myself on the back.
DEFENSE, LAST NIGHT
- Klefbom-Benning went 16-7 in 14:06 together, 1-0 GF and 4-1 HDSC. Always look for the McDavid minutes and in this case he was on the ice with this pairing for eight minutes (2-0 GF with Klefbom and 5-0 in HDSC. It really is a different game). Went 11-4 against Cogliano-Kesler-Silvferberg, I think the Anaheim center is down a quart based on his flaccid performance last night.
- Auvitu-Sekera went 11-12 in 13:49, 0-2 GF and 1-4 HDSC. I like both defenders but this wasn’t a great night. Neither man is overly strong and both got crunched by the Ducks forwards several times. It’s a tough assignment, don’t think they make the best duo against what is the de facto filthiest team in the league. Went 3-8 (0-2 GF) against Rakell-Getzlaf-Perry. I like both as puck movers but this pairing could use a piano mover all the same.
- Nurse-Larsson were 14-20 in 16:52 (lots of 5×5 time tonight, lordy), 3-0 GF and 2-4 HDSC. They were 2-7 with the McDavid line and 4-5 (2-0 GF) with the Strome line. Went 1-9 against the Cogliano-Kesler-Silvferberg line. Nurse was in the crease and getting in the way of his goalie on the late tying goal, suspect he might have been trying to do too much.
- Al Montoya stopped 41 of 46 shots, .891.
- NaturalStatTrick and NHL.com.
FORWARDS, LAST NIGHT
- Lucic-McDavid-Slepyshev were 14-13 in 15:58 on the evening, 2-0 GF and 5-1 HDSC. McDavid also played with other people and they all scored. What a player. 97 was on the ice with Iiro Pakarinen for seven seconds, it would have been more but McDavid sent a brilliant pass to the Finn for a goal. Lucic picked up an assist on the play, but was generally uninspired and entirely ineffective on the game tying goal late. Todd McLellan can’t use him in that situation. know he makes $6 million but there are better options.
- Cammalleri-Draisaitl-Rattie went 12-12 in 11:40, it was a ragtag line but effective nonetheless. Went 1-0 GF, 0-2 in HDSC’s and 7-9 against Rakell-Getzlaf-Perry line (but 2-0 GF). Cammalleri is having a helluva run in the ‘really good decisions with the puck category’ and Leon is healthy and brilliant again. Rattie looked good, fast enough and intelligent. I hope we see him again.
- Caggiula-Khaira-Pakarinen were 6-7 in 9:22, 0-1 in GF. The line didn’t play much together at 5×5 and got ripped up a little when Kassian got hurt. Caggiula’s late penalty was a very poor decision and the coach needs to make sure that doesn’t happen again.
- Puljujarvi-Strome-Kassian went 6-7 (JP) and 3-3 (Kassian) with Strome. The line got shuffled heavily but Strome scored twice and Puljujarvi got an assist (his first point in a long time).
- Yamamoto 2016-17: 65GP, 42-57-99 (1.52 points-per-game)
- Yamamoto 2017-18: 33GP, 19-37-56 (1.70 points-per-game)
- Yamamoto first 10 games: 1-8-9
- Yamamoto second 10 games: 7-11-18
- Yamamoto third 10 games: 8-14-22
- Current three games: 3-4-7
He’s on fire now, making up for lost time earlier in the year. Edmonton will need value contracts and the team’s history informs us the young man will be on the roster opening night. It would give the team more depth and balance if Peter Chiarelli improved right-wing to the point where KY had to start the season in Bakersfield (as an extra skill winger). He would be just a phone call away and give next year’s team more elements.
The funny thing about deadline deals for pending UFAs is that often, the team that gives away picks and prospects finds itself with an empty cupboard of prospects years later, but the team that acquired the picks and prospects is disappointed with the haul they received!
— Simon Boisvert (@simonsnake70) February 26, 2018
I have no idea where Boisvert is headed in media but can tell you this guy is very smart and should be a national presence around the draft. When I was reading this, I found myself nodding in agreement all the way through. One of the reasons for it? Teams become impatient (like Buffalo Sabres under Tim Murray) and trade precious draft picks willy-nilly (like Edmonton Oilers Peter Chiarelli) and we are here.
Pontus Aberg could end up being a good acquisition by EDM. Aberg is another one of these talented guys who are the victims of the fact that teams don't want to play 12 skilled forwards, and instead prefer the Neanderthal top 6/bottom 6 format.
— Simon Boisvert (@simonsnake70) February 25, 2018
I wrote about Aberg at The Athletic yesterday and for me he’s a reasonable bet. He and Anton Slepyshev should be vying for the same job but there’s a chance both of them make it. One advantage for both men: Left-wingers are going to be a team need the moment Patrick Maroon is dealt.
FAMOUS OILERS DEADLINE TRADES
- March 11, 1980—Oilers traded C Ron Chipperfield to Quebec Nordiques for G Ron Low. One of the most famous trades in team history, Chipperfield was wildly popular and was experiencing a devastating family situation. A painful, if necessary, trade.
- March 10, 1981—Oilers traded D Pat Price to the Pittsburgh Penguins for C-R Pat Hughes. This was an interesting trade at the time and turned into an impactful one. Hughes was a big part of the first Stanley Cup team, probably more important than history suggests just by looking at the numbers.
- March 10, 1981—Oilers traded R Blair MacDonald and the rights to Lars-Gunner Petersson to the Vancouver Canucks for C Ken Berry and D Gary Lariviere. Well, Blair MacDonald was building a house while scoring a bunch and wanted a raise, and Slats didn’t think scoring on 99’s line was all that difficult. I always like Lariviere, he was not an Oiler for long but played well in his one full season.
- March 10, 1981—Oilers traded seventh-round pick (Craig Hurley) to Los Angeles Kings for C Garry Unger. It is important to remember that Unger was one of the NHL’s biggest stars of the 1970s. Sather had been after him since Edmonton entered the NHL, finally getting the center for not much at all. He didn’t hang around long enough for the Stanleys, but he was a favorite of mine and I enjoyed watching him play for the town team.
- March 8, 1982—Oilers trade C Walt Poddubny and R Phil Drouillard to the Toronto Maple Leafs for C Laurie Boschman. This trade didn’t work out, but Boschman was a big name. Toronto took him early in the 1979 draft and he didn’t succeed like the others in that draft, but his value was still high in 1982. He played in three playoff games that spring for the Oilers, and was in Winnipeg by the 1983 postseason.
- March 7, 1983—Oilers trade C Laurie Boschman to Winnipeg Jets for R Willy Lindstrom. One of my favorite players when he was a Jet, thrilled to see him succeed as an Oiler. He played on the first two Stanley teams, and scored 10 postseason goals in those years.
- March 2, 1987—Oilers traded second-round pick (Link Gaetz) to the Minnesota North Stars for C Kent Nilsson. This was a fantastic pickup, Nilsson had a major impact on the team upon arrival. A ridiculous talent, he finally got with the right team. Magic man.
- March 6, 1987—Oilers trade D Lee Fogolin, Mark Napier and fourth-round pick (John Bradley) to the Buffalo Sabres for Normand Lacombe, a fourth-round pick (Peter Eriksson) and the rights to Wayne Van Dorp. Two of my favorites heading out, Lacombe a young prospect who the Oilers felt could provide them with that patented two-way grittiness that made up Slats best teams. Lacombe delivered, but was not here a long time.
- March 10, 1987—Oilers trade L Raimo Summanen to the Vancouver Canucks for L Moe Lemay. This was acknowledgement that Summanen—once highly touted—was not going to have a big NHL career. I always liked him. Lemay was fun to watch.
- March 8, 1988—Oilers trade G Andy Moog and L Moe Lemay to the Boston Bruins for G Bill Ranford, L Geoff Courtnall, F Alan May and a second-round selection (Petro Koivunen). This might be the best deadline trade in Oilers history, suspect it would get my vote almost 30 years later. Courtnall played 19 games on the 1988 winner, Ranford won the 1990 Conn Smythe and emerged as the Oilers starter for the first half of the 1990s.
- March 6, 1990—Oilers trade D Jeff Sharples to the New Jersey Devils for D Reijo Ruotsalainen. One of my favorite Oilers, Ruotsalainen is a walking advertisement for why trade deadlines are a great idea. I bet he can still skate like the wind.
- March 10, 1992—Oilers trade L Martin Rucinsky to the Quebec Nordiques for G Ron Tugnutt and L Brad Zavisha. This is the beginning of the difficult time, where Edmonton bled talent trying to shore up leaks and good players were just passing through. Rucinsky was a helluva draft pick, gone for 29 games of Ron Tugnutt. Why? Edmonton lost Tugnutt to the Anaheim Ducks in the expansion draft.
March 17, 1993—Oilers trade L Esa Tikkanen to the NY Rangers for C Doug Weight. A brilliant trade deadline deal, really the ultimate trade for a team looking to reload. Tikkanen was a unique player who commanded a lot of attention and Weight would become the face of the franchise during tough times that became good ones.
- March 15, 1994—Oilers trade D Dave Manson to the Winnipeg Jets for D Boris Mironov, Mats Lindgren and the first round selection that turned into Jason Bonsignore. One of my favorite trades because of Mironov, but it could have been an all-time great deal if the organization hadn’t stubbed their toe on the draft pick.
- March 21, 1994—Oilers trade Craig MacTavish to the NY Rangers for C Todd Marchant. This deal was like “Tikk-for-Weight lite” as Edmonton dealt a great checking center for a player who had more offensive ability but the same general skill set (Marchant developed into a fine two-way center). A great deal.
- March 18, 1997—Oilers trade W Miro Satan to the Buffalo Sabres for L Barrie Moore and D Craig Millar. Argh. I would never give up Sather’s brilliance at the trade table but this one hurt. His coach didn’t see him as a checking winger and the team had skilled men they liked more. My, what a nice problem to have!
- March 24, 1998—Oilers trade D Dan McGillis to the Philadelphia Flyers for D Janne Niinimaa. Another of my all-time favorite Oilers arrived at a deadline, Niinimaa would have 50 assists on a Connor McDavid team. This was a fine deal.
- March 20, 1999—Oilers trade D Boris Mironov and L Dean McAmmond to the Chicago Blackhawks for L Ethan Moreau, R Daniel Cleary and C Chad Kilger. This was one of the biggest deals in terms of total players and picks (nine in all) and Edmonton upgraded their forward group in one fell swoop. I missed BoBo, though.
- March 20, 1999—Oilers trade C Mats Lindgren and a draft pick to the NY Islanders for G Tommy Salo. A trade for Curtis Joseph’s replacement was necessary and Salo would serve in the role for several seasons.
- March 23, 1999—Oilers trade draft picks to the Toronto Maple Leafs for D Jason Smith. Toronto made a terrible trade.
- March 19, 2002—Oilers trade D Tom Poti and F Rem Murray to the NY Rangers for C Mike York and a draft pick. Kevin Lowe’s first big trade deadline deal was spent in pursuit of skill at center. He gave up too much.
- March 11, 2003—Oilers trade R Anson Carter and D Ales Pisa to NY Rangers for R Radek Dvorak and D Cory Cross. I liked this trade once we got a good look at Dvorak, who ended up being a responsible two-way winger perfectly suited to a MacT team.
- March 11, 2003—Oilers trade D Janne Niinimaa and picks for L Brad Isbister and L Raffi Torres. I didn’t like the deal at the time (Niinimaa) but picking up Torres was a very smart move.
- March 8, 2004—Oilers trade G Tommy Salo to Colorado Avalanche for D Tom Gilbert. The kind of trade every general manager should be trying to make in a losing season.
- March 8, 2006—Oilers trade a first and third round pick to the Minnesota Wild for G Dwayne Roloson. One of the best trades in Oilers history.
- March 9, 2006—Oilers trade C Marty Reasoner and a draft pick to the Boston Bruins for L Sergei Samsonov. This trade worked well, despite the draft pick turning into Milan Lucic.
- February 27, 2007—Oilers trade L Ryan Smyth to the NY Islanders for R Robert Nilsson, C Ryan O’Marra and a first round pick. One of the most infamous trades in team history. I could write a book.
- March 4, 2009—Oilers trade L Erik Cole to the Carolina Hurricanes for L Patrick O’Sullivan. It didn’t work out, Edmonton was an organization that couldn’t get out of its own way at the time. O’Sullivan was a good bet, it didn’t work out but that isn’t on the player.
- March 3, 2010—Oilers trade D Lubomir Visnovsky to the Anaheim Ducks for D Ryan Whitney. Oilers never did understand what they had in Lubo, damn shame. Whitney’s start with the team was fabulous but he had some significant injury problems during his time in Edmonton.
- February 28, 2011—Oilers trade L Dustin Penner to the Los Angeles Kings for D Colten Teubert and a first-round pick. I said at the time the deal made sense for a rebuilding team, and the first-round pick was Oscar Klefbom. A tough deal at the time, changed this blog’s relationship with readers forevermore.
- March 5, 2014—Oilers trade R Ales Hemsky to Ottawa Senators for third and fifth-round picks. A very disappointing end to a wonderful Oilers career.
- March 2, 2015—Oilers trade D Jeff Petry to Montreal Canadiens for draft picks. You don’t trade quality defensemen in mid-career at the deadline for draft picks. A stunningly dumb trade.
- February 27, 2016—Oilers trade D Justin Schultz to Pittsburgh Penguins for a third round pick. A struggling but gifted blue was sent away to get a fresh start. Edmonton needed to bring him along slowly but had no depth in which to do it.
- February 29, 2016—Oilers trade D Martin Gernat and a fourth-round pick to the Anaheim Ducks for L Patrick Maroon. A fine deal that paid off handsomely.