In the long history of the Edmonton Oilers there have been relatively few major changes in direction. You could safely describe the eras thusly: WHA years (72-78); Boys on the Bus (79-94, the year MacT got traded); Ryan Smyth era (95-06); the Wayward Wind (07-14); the McDavid era (15+). That’s five eras for the Oilers for coming on 50 years. More than any era save the Boys on the Bus, the anticipation of greatness in this era, the McDavid years, is biblical. The Peter Chiarelli vision questions go on forever, what will tomorrow bring? What if someday never comes?
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- New Jonathan Willis: An 8-point plan for the Oilers’ offseason.
- Lowetide: Ethan Bear’s first 10 games.
- Lowetide: What are the Oilers getting in Cooper Marody?
- Lowetide: Cam Talbot and the Oilers are headed to a second contract.
- Lowetide: Ty Rattie gets a chance.
- Lowetide: How the Oilers can win summer without breaking the bank.
- Lowetide: Draft 2018: The Oilers and the Republic of Finland
- Lowetide: Draft 2018: The Oilers and Sweden.
- Lowetide: Draft 2018: The Oilers and the QMJHL.
- Lowetide: Draft 2018: Oilers and the WHL.
- Lowetide: Draft 2018: Oilers draft history and the OHL
- Lowetide: Draft 2018: The Oilers and the NCAA.
HELP ME, RHONDA YEAR OVER YEAR
- March 2016: 6-5-0, goal differential -1 (12 points)
- March 2017: 8-2-1, goal differential +19 (17 points)
- March 2018: 6-4-1, goal differential +6 (13 points)
- March 22, 2016: Arizona 4, Edmonton 2 (Source)
- March 28, 2017: Edmonton 2, Los Angeles 1 (Source)
It was an encouraging road trip but the quality of competition is about to increase a lot. The Oilers have six wins in the bank, and play Vancouver plus Calgary to end the month. Is there a win in the next three games?
AFTER 74, YEAR OVER YEAR
- Oilers 15-16: 29-38-7, goal differential -45 (65 points)
- Oilers 16-17: 40-25-9, goal differential +34 (89 points)
- Oilers 17-18: 33-36-5, goal differential -25 (71 points)
- March 20, 2016: Colorado 3, Edmonton 2 (Source)
- March 25, 2017: Edmonton 4, Colorado 1 (Source)
The Oilers won 47 games last season, the sixth highest number in franchise history. This year’s club has 33 wins, that’s the highest total (excluding last year) since 2008-09, MacT’s last season. Craig MacTavish won more than 33 games every year but one while he was coach (and the outlier year saw him win 32 with some big holes on defense, 2006-07).
WHAT TO EXPECT FROM MARCH
- At home to: Nashville, NY Rangers, Arizona, NY Islanders, Minnesota (Expected 2-3-0) (Actual 3-2-0)
- On the road to: Calgary (Expected 0-1-0) (Actual 0-1-0)
- At home to: San Jose (Expected 0-0-1) (Actual 0-0-1)
- On the road to: Florida, Tampa Bay, Carolina, Ottawa (Expected 1-2-1) (Actual 3-1-0)
- 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: 6-4-1, 13 points in 10 games
Stuart Skinner with a 34 save shutout as the @SCBroncos get up 3-0 early and shut the Pats down the rest of the way. A very strong performance in front of a loud, excited crowd. The lone downside is an apparent injury to Artyom Minulin. Post-game show live on @TheEagle94one
— Shawn Mullin (@shawnmullin) March 24, 2018
Skinner is emerging as the best goalie prospect in the system to my eye, although you want to see sustained excellence. The trade to Swift Current has been very beneficial for the young goalie. Skinner could sign this summer but it’s mighty crowded in net at the pro level, so he may go back as an overager.
— EDM Prospect Watch (@EDProspectWatch) March 24, 2018
The Condors are a team that is worth paying attention to now through the end of the regular season. Ostap Safin had a fabulous chance (above) and looked good overall in his first game. We could be talking about a major overhaul of forwards in Bakersfield this fall. Kailer Yamamoto, Tyler Benson, Cooper Marody, Colin Larkin and Safin could all join the likes of Joe Gambardella, Brad Malone and Mitch Callahan.
Interesting bit on Ty Rattie from MacTavish meeting with Bakersfield season ticket holders. Sounds like he might be in the future plans: pic.twitter.com/YyHIhsJAh3
— John Mousis (@jmousis) March 24, 2018
I looked at Rattie over at The Athletic and it’s pretty obvious he arrived in pro being able to score goals at the AHL level, but wasn’t going to knock Tarasenko or Oshie off the pile. The Blues had other options and Rattie wilted a little on the vine. His signing in Edmonton showed wisdom on his behalf (smart agent, smart player, smart team) and even though it took much of the season, he’ll have 14 games under his belt at the end of the season.
The Oilers should sign him, one-way NHL deal for around $1 million. He could give the entire group some competition and maybe he emerges as one of the actual solutions on a skill line. Remember, his resume is outstanding as a scorer (he drilled the WHL, and scored 31 as an AHL rookie) and what we’ve seen is a fairly tenacious player with adequate foot speed.
If the Oilers break camp with a right-wing depth chart of Michael Grabner, Jesse Puljujarvi, Pontus Aberg, Zack Kassian and Ty Rattie, all five men (plus Iiro Pakarinen and Kailer Yamamoto) will get a chance to play a lot. If all of these men perform well, the club could move Aberg to left-wing in order to fit everyone in. The alternative is dealing Nuge or Oscar, or possibly winning the lottery and drafting Svechnikov, but for me the strong play is to buy one more year. By this time next season, we should see a depth chart of Puljujarvi, Yamamoto, Aberg and Kassian. Rattie could surely break into that group often enough to merit a contract.