We should see a much stronger team in Bakersfield next season, although one wonders if that fine city will ever see a trio with the combined talent of Leon Draisaitl, Darnell Nurse and Jesse Puljujarvi in the next 30 years. Edmonton needs the Condors to send them men like Jason Chimera, Fernando Pisani, Kyle Brodziak, Tyler Pitlick. Your impact players don’t play in the American League, but it would be damned foolish to overlook a key component of a successful NHL franchise.
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. Offer is here.
- New Lowetide: The Oilers and the need for speed.
- New Minnia Feng: A cinematic analysis of this year’s Oilers.
- Lowetide: What if the 17-18 Oilers season was a blessing in disguise?
- Lowetide: Can the Oilers find a partner in a Milan Lucic trade?
- Black Dog Pat: What’s the use of continuity when the results don’t inspire confidence?
- Jonathan Willis: Aberg and Rattie audition for jobs as value contracts in major roles.
- Lowetide: Condors Curios: Interesting things bubbling under in Bakersfield.
- Lowetide: What are the Oilers getting in Cooper Marody?
- 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.
I’m honored to write with all of The Athletic roster but especially thrilled to be side by side with Minnia Feng. She’s an outstanding writer with unique insight. I highly recommend her item above.
BEING THERE, YEAR OVER YEAR
- Oilers in April 2016: 0-1-0, goal differential -5
- Oilers in April 2017: 1-0-0, goal differential +1
- Oilers in April 2018: 0-1-0, goal differential -3
- April 6, 2016: Edmonton 6, Vancouver 2 (Source)
- April 4, 2017: Los Angeles 6, Edmonton 4 (Source)
Not much to say, it’s incredible when April and the playoffs come and it’s pain when April arrives and it’s the end. I’ve been an Oilers fan for every spring since 1972 and the playoffs are the promised land. Not getting there, after getting there for the first time in a decade, seems senselessly cruel.
AFTER 80, YEAR OVER YEAR
- Oilers 15-16: 30-43-7, goal differential -53 (67 points)
- Oilers 16-17: 45-26-9, goal differential +40 (99 points)
- Oilers 17-18: 34-40-6, goal differential -34 (74 points)
- April 6, 2016: Edmonton 6, Vancouver 2 (Source)
- April 8, 2017: Edmonton 3, Vancouver 2 (Source)
There was a time when 80 points was possible but now Todd McLellan needs two wins to get to 78 for the season. That’s going to be a tough conversation at the exit meeting. I think he has a story (roster quality) but you can’t fire 23 players.
WHAT TO EXPECT FROM APRIL
- On the road to: Minnesota (Expected 0-1-0) (Actual 0-1-0)
- At home to: Vegas, Vancouver (Expected 1-1-0) (Actual 0-0-0)
- Overall expected results: 1-2-0, two points in three games
- Overall actual results: 0-1-0, zero points in one game
Aberg was extra if you are wondering about line combos at practice today. #Oilers
— Jason Gregor (@JasonGregor) April 4, 2018
Jesse Puljujarvi’s stats don’t look fab straight on, but rummage around a little and there’s a story to tell. Consider his ranking among Edmonton forwards in primary points who have played 20 or more games (Corsica):
- Connor McDavid 2.31
- Leon Draisaitl 1.97
- Ryan Nugent-Hopkins 1.39
- Jesse Puljujarvi 1.22
- Anton Slepyshev 1.21
- Ryan Strome 1.13
- Patrick Maroon 1.07
- Drake Caggiula 1.04
- Jujhar Khaira 1.02
- Zack Kassian 0.92
- Milan Lucic 0.78
- Mark Letestu 0.69
- Iiro Pakarinen 0.53
Let’s say you can pick only six players from this group for next season and the rest are free agents. Any fool would choose McDavid, Draisaitl, Nuge, but after that I think there might be some difference of opinion. My final three are Puljujarvi, Slepyshev and Khaira. You? I hope the Oilers get a goal from the LD line tonight, it would be very good to see the big Finn leave for summer on a high note.
5×5 scoring per 60 (FORWARDS)
Same question. Name your six keepers. Mine are McDavid, Draisaitl, Nuge, Slepyshev, Khaira, Puljujarvi. Yours? My No. 7 name would be Maroon on a reasonable contract and then Yamamoto (who may or may not start in Bakersfield).
Edmonton has some heavy prices on men like Milan Lucic, Ryan Strome, Zack Kassian. There’s a chance those three men will play in the bottom 6F next season while using up almost $11 million in cap. That’s too much by plenty.
— Bill Khan (@BillKhan) April 5, 2018
Interesting article with some Oilers content inside. I have a ’24-hour’ policy on quoting content, so won’t post the quote, but do recommend you click on the article.
POSSIBLE CONDORS 2018-19 ROSTER
There’s miles to go and none of the names on this list is assured of an NHL career. It’s also important to note (as mentioned above) an AHL team rarely sees a Draisaitl, Nurse or Puljujarvi at all, so the difficult business of grinding players into useful NHL role players is the discussion point with this (incomplete) roster.
In the “Farm Workers” post last spring, I wrote:
- Daniel Cleary, Fernando Pisani and Jason Chimera became productive players in the toughest league on the planet. THEY are the stars in this study. I remember each of these men in the minors, and the one thing they did was improve offensively. Pisani arrived from college with a fairly complete toolkit, but didn’t score a bunch until year two AHL. Same with Chimera, and the ‘Hawks had confused Clearly so he needed a full AHL season after coming over. Current Condors who spiked offensively in year two? Joey Laleggia, Anton Slepyshev and Jujhar Khaira. That’s your list.
An offensive spike from Gambardella in the coming season would be most welcome, and my guess is Caleb Jones returns in the fall determined to have a strong season. Newcomers like Lagesson and Safin will be starting their journey (probably) but the goal would be the same. From the list of last spring, Jujhar Khaira took the biggest step forward and established himself as an NHL player. I believe Slepyshev is worthy of the same investment.
LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE
A busy show with a lot to discuss. It all starts at 10 this morning, TSN 1260, scheduled to appear:
- Gary Lawless, Golden Knights insider. A dream season for Vegas, we’ll chat about what went right (because nothing went wrong).
- Rob Vollman, NHL.com and ESPN. Sedins, who wins the Norris and the ideal landing spot for young Dahlin.
- Frank Seravalli, TSN. The NHL season comes to a close this weekend, and the changes in management and coaching across the league could be massive. Where do the Oilers stand?
10-1260 text, @Lowetide on twitter. See you on the radio!