Ryan Nugent-Hopkins played for the Oilers on Saturday January 3. The team’s record was 17-20-3, 37 points in 40 games. Since then? 10-13-1, 21 points in 24 games. Nuge may return tonight, I’d like to see him port side at some point but it probably won’t happen this evening. Suspect he slides in on 2C, with big Leon moving up the depth chart.
These final games should see Anton Slepyshev, Jesse Puljujarvi and Pontus Aberg alongside quality NHL centers. I wouldn’t mind seeing Jujhar Khaira for a few games at left wing with one of the centers three either.
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- New Lowetide: Is Cam Talbot secure as Oilers’ No. 1 goalie?
- New Jonathan Willis: Just how good would a all-hindsight Oilers roster be?
- Lowetide: Are we getting closer on McDavid’s shooter?
- 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
HAMBURGER MIDNIGHT, YEAR OVER YEAR
- March 2016: 1-0-0, goal differential +1 (2 points)
- March 2017: 1-0-0, goal differential +1 (2 points)
- March 2018: 0-1-0, goal differential -2 (0 points)
- March 3, 2016: Edmonton 4, Philadelphia 0 (Source)
- March 7, 2017: NY Islanders 4, Edmonton 1 (Source)
Strong starts in March for the first two McLellan teams, we’ll see about this year’s team. I do think there’s a chance to make some progress but everyone is trying out new players and that means more mistakes and less control over results.
The Rangers won last night but are running an inexperienced defense this evening. I’d bet money Todd McLellan puts the McDavid-Draisaitl band together tonight. They might go off.
AFTER 64, YEAR OVER YEAR
- Oilers 15-16: 23-34-7, goal differential -45 (53 points)
- Oilers 16-17: 34-22-8, goal differential +17 (76 points)
- Oilers 17-18: 27-33-4, goal differential -34 (58 points)
- March 1, 2016: Edmonton 2, Buffalo 1 (OT) (Source)
- March 4, 2017: Edmonton 4, Detroit 3 (Source)
Edmonton is on track to finish with 74 points, a truly amazing total considering the talent at the top end. We’ll spend the spring discussing the possibilities from Kovalchuk to Krug, but this season has little left in it. McDavid winning the scoring championship would be a fine item but the big issue is getting three or four fixes without giving up Nuge, Klef or the lottery selection. A tough equation for any general manager.
WHAT TO EXPECT FROM MARCH
- At home to: Nashville, NY Rangers, Arizona, NY Islanders, Minnesota (Expected 2-3-0) (Actual 0-1-0)
- 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: 0-1-0, 0 points in one game
The window is open now, Edmonton should be able to grab two wins this week. If the club can go on another winning streak, perhaps we can discuss 82 points as the outer marker.
THE VETERAN CLUSTER
In previous days, we found out the department of youth (McDavid cluster) is two goals off my predicted pace, while the prime cluster is 16 goals behind (as we discussed yesterday). Let’s check out the veterans.
- Milan Lucic is 64gp, 9-22-31 .484. He trails my projection by five points and is also five goals behind at this time.
- Patrick Maroon was 57gp, 14-16-30 .526. He was behind by two points at the time of the trade and by four goals.
- Jussi Jokinen was 14gp, 0-1-1 and Mike Cammalleri is 41gp, 2-18-20 .488. They are off by five points and by nine goals.
- Andrej Sekera is 22gp, 0-2-2 .091. He is off by six points and two goals.
- Yohann Auvitu is 28gp, 2-5-7 .250. He is off by one point and one goal.
- Mark Letestu was 60gp, 8-11-19 .317. He was three points to the good and spot on in goals at the time of his trade.
- Kris Russell is 62gp, 4-17-21 .339. Russell is ahead by 11 points and by three goals.
- Eric Gryba is 21gp, 0-2-2 .096. His point total is correct but he’s a goal behind.
- Cam Talbot is 51gp, 3.13 .903. He is off by 26 goals based on his games played.
- McDavid cluster -2
- Prime cluster -16
- Veteran cluster -45
I work hard on those estimates and if anything the top end (97, 29) projections are too high. It is once again the veteran group that is the major problem on the Oilers. The team needs more good players but ideally they come from the prime cluster. This NHL is quickly becoming more a young man’s league than ever before. The Aberg bet was an astute one. More please.
Kailer Yamamoto (EDM) with the great effort to win this battle and kick out the puck on the set up pic.twitter.com/O8vlEbLXsa
— Corey Pronman (@coreypronman) March 1, 2018
Yamamoto showed this kind of turnover ability as an Oilers in training camp and preseason. We’ve gone round and round on this player all winter, I’d still give him an 85 percent chance of making the opening night lineup.
ENTRY DRAFT 2018
I had a fascinating exchange this week with a reader, who asked if I thought my list reflected what the Oilers might do at the 2018 draft. The answer is no of course, my list is based almost entirely on math and anecdotal information gathered from everywhere I can. He then asked what I thought the Oilers list looks like. Here’s my guess:
- LD Rasmus Dahlin, Frolunda (SHL).
- R Andrei Svechnikov, Barrie Colts (OHL).
- L Filip Zadina, Halifax Mooseheads (QMJHL).
- LD Quinn Hughes, Michigan (NCAA).
- R Oliver Wahlstrom, U.S. N. D. P. (USHL).
- L Brady Tkachuk, Boston University (NCAA).
- RD Adam Boqvist, Brynas (SuperElite).
- RD Ryan Merkley, Guelph Storm (OHL).
- RD Evan Bouchard, London Knights (OHL)
- RD Noah Dobson, Acadie-Bathurst Titan (QMJHL).
Not certain about the order, but I bet you a 2-4 that’s damn close to the 10 men they are targeting.