The auditions so far (since the deadline) have been gifted to Anton Slepyshev (with Connor McDavid) and Ty Rattie (Leon Draisaitl). Also worth mentioning is ‘the soft parade’ line that featured Pontus Aberg, Ryan Strome and Jesse Puljujarvi, a trio who had some success out of the box in San Jose on Tuesday night. Once Nuge gets back, Kassian too, maybe we’ll see opportunities for Jujhar Khaira to play on a more prominent line.
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: Are we getting closer on McDavid’s shooter?
- New Jonathan Willis: Time to move Milan Lucic down the depth chart.
- Lowetide: Making the call on the Oilers summer free agents.
- Jonathan Willis: Focus of Edmonton’s coaches must be on next season.
- Lowetide: Maroon dealt.
- Jonathan Willis: Oilers quietly disappointing deadline.
- Lowetide: Letestu dealt, Aberg acquired.
- Lowetide: Draft 2018: The Oilers and the QMJHL.
- Lowetide: Draft 2018: Oilers and the WHL.
- Lowetide: Oilers draft history and the OHL
- Lowetide: Draft 2018: The Oilers and the NCAA
WINDS OF MARCH, YEAR OVER YEAR
- March 2016: 7-8-0, goal differential 0 (14 points)
- March 2017: 9-3-1, goal differential +15 (19 points)
- March 2018: 0-0-0, goal differential 0 (0 points)
- March 1, 2016: Edmonton 2, Buffalo 1 (OT) (Source)
- March 4, 2017: Edmonton 4, Detroit 3 (Source)
I’ll delete the March records for 2016 and 2017 teams in tomorrow’s post and we’ll see how things roll out. Both of those teams were fairly successful in their months, with the 15-16 team delivering 22 percent of its win total. Last year’s team was on fire during the month.
AFTER 63, YEAR OVER YEAR
- Oilers 15-16: 22-34-7, goal differential -47 (51 points)
- Oilers 16-17: 33-22-8, goal differential +16 (74 points)
- Oilers 17-18: 27-32-4, goal differential -32 (58 points)
- February 28, 2016: Edmonton 3, NY Islanders 1 (Source)
- February 28, 2017: Edmonton 2, St. Louis 1 (Source)
The question now is can this team get to 35-37 wins and will it be enough. The 15-16 team would end with 70 points, 9-9-1 in its final 19. If this year’s team can match that total, the final record will be 36-41-5, 77 points. That would represent a 26-point drop year over year.
WHAT TO EXPECT FROM MARCH
- At home to: Nashville, NY Rangers, Arizona, NY Islanders, Minnesota (Expected 2-3-0) (Actual 0-0-0)
- On the road to: Calgary (Expected 0-1-0) (Actual 0-0-0)
- At home to: San Jose (Expected 0-0-1) (Actual 0-0-0)
- On the road to: Florida, Tampa Bay, Carolina, Ottawa (Expected 1-2-1) (Actual 0-0-0)
- At home to: Los Angeles, Anaheim, Columbus (Expected 2-1-0) (Actual 0-0-0)
- On the road to: Vancouver, Calgary (Expected 1-0-1) (Actual 0-0-0)
- Overall expected result: 6-7-3, 15 points in 16 games
- Current results: 0-0-0, 0 points in 0 games
A lot of what we should be seeing now is auditioning of the kids, but the lineups currently feature Milan Lucic as well as Anton Slepyshev. Perhaps the team is waiting for Nuge to return.
THE KIDS ARE ALRIGHT
Back in the summer, I ran the RE series and in all honestly was pretty aggressive about the kids, the “McDavid” cluster. With all that has gone wrong, how has this group performed against expectations?
This is the original graph, I just borrowed it from August. There are 93 goals projected here, that’s a monster total. How close are these men to my original predictions?
- Connor McDavid is 63gp, 28-47-75 (1.19). He is off my prediction by 12 points and that’s about right considering the challenges this team has had providing 97 with quality linemates. He is right on track with expected goals (28) after 63 games. At his current pace, McDavid’s final line will be 82gp, 36-62-98. Incredible numbers from a nightmare scenario.
- Leon Draisaitl is 59gp, 20-37-57 (0.97). He is off my prediction by six points, impressive considering his concussion issues and long recovery while playing. His expected goals is one over my projection (19) after 63 games. Leon gets criticized a lot but the boxcars are quality this season.
- Jesse Puljujarvi is 46gp, 10-7-17 (0.37). He is off my prediction by just three points and that’s damned good considering his support role on the team. His expected goals total is where it should be and the young Finn is covering the bet.
- Anton Slepyshev is 33gp, 5-4-9 (0.27). He is off my projection by three points and coming on strong. He is one goal shy (actually .65 of a goal) of my expectation so the big issue for him has been injury and usage.
- Darnell Nurse is 63gp, 6-14-20 (0.32). He is ahead of my projection by two points and has already exceeded by games prediction. Nurse is enjoying a fine year.
Those 93 goals predicted above (over 82 games) would have us at 71 goals. The current total from the group above is 69, meaning the McDavid cluster is two actual goals behind the projections. The department of youth didn’t let this team down. It was the old, overpaid bunch. Again. Tomorrow: The prime cluster.
— Arthur Staple (@StapeAthletic) March 1, 2018
Oilers are 27-32-4 and were 10-14-2 on December 1. Since then, Edmonton is 17-18-2 and that includes some truly pitiful work around Christmas. You can’t find an encouraging word anywhere, and I get that this has been a very disappointing season. However, if this team can win some games down the stretch then I do think there’s a story to tell. On the other hand, a long losing streak and we’re probably looking at general manager Gretzky and coach Quenneville.
Every so often someone will ask me my opinion on the current state of management/coaching. As you know, this blog isn’t so much worried about the author’s opinion as chronicling the events of this crazy train that is the Edmonton Oilers.
That said, I do believe in answering your questions so here goes. For me, when a general manager is hired, the general rule is five years to see what kind of change occurred. In this case, I’m not certain the Oilers can afford the current regime. Peter Chiarelli’s ‘death by paper cut’ theme also works in describing his work, and at this point the club can’t afford more bleeding. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Oscar Klefbom remain on the roster, but for how much longer? My opinion is that it is unwise to continue along this track. The Oilers still have enormous gifts, incredibly. With the understanding the Peter Chiarelli is likely to be aggressive again this summer, and that a leopard doesn’t change its spots, I believe a more conservative hand should take the wheel.
LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE
A busy morning, TSN1260. Scheduled to appear:
- Bruce McCurdy, Cult of Hockey. Nashville in town, Oilers need wins. Can they get one tonight?
- Rob Vollman, NHL.com and ESPN. Trade deadline review.
- Frank Seravalli, TSN. Possible changes in Edmonton and Chicago.
10-1260 text, @Lowetide on twitter. See you on the radio!