G81 2017-18: Golden Knights at Oilers

by Lowetide

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.

THE ATHLETIC!

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.

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 

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):

  1. Connor McDavid 2.31
  2. Leon Draisaitl 1.97
  3. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins 1.39
  4. Jesse Puljujarvi 1.22
  5. Anton Slepyshev 1.21
  6. Ryan Strome 1.13
  7. Patrick Maroon 1.07
  8. Drake Caggiula 1.04
  9. Jujhar Khaira 1.02
  10. Zack Kassian 0.92
  11. Milan Lucic 0.78
  12. Mark Letestu 0.69
  13. 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.

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!

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Ribs

Professor Q: I always say that he’s similar to a German LH Sundin. Though his backhand has tapered off this year from last year (hopefully it picks up again).

I had forgot about Sundin. That’s a good comparison. It’s too bad Jagr signed with the wrong Alberta team this year. He could have showed Drai how to really use what his mama gave him, lol.

godot10

Wilde:
Keith Gretzky’s first Boston draft was probably 2014 and he pulled what looks like 4 NHLers.

Keith Gretzky’s first Edmonton draft has had 4 skaters take the mandatory +1 step forward.

Coincidence?!?!?!?!!

But then there is his 2015 draft where he went one for three with those 3 in a row first rounders and left Barzal and Connor. True, Zboril and Senyshyn might come around yet….but they were certainly not the best picks.

Professor Q

Munny:
Draisaitl uses his butt like Gordie Howe at times

I always say that he’s similar to a German LH Sundin. Though his backhand has tapered off this year from last year (hopefully it picks up again).

GMB3

Kinger_Oil.redux:

– For sure Chia has made mistakes.Look who has to rely on…He’s clearly not part of the group that has any say in management personel, nor does he have a role in bringing in talent from outside the organization.

This could be partially true, but he’s making the same mistakes he made in Boston. Mass exodus of skill and spending like a drunken sailor on veteran players.

Lowe and MacT almost won a cup too, but their starting goalie got injured. Then their best player demanded a trade in the off season.

The decisions that were the demise of Chiarelli in Boston have something in common with his decisions here, that IMHO have really hurt this team.

If JP was showing the potential to be the elite player he was predicted to be prior to his draft, The loss of the #15th pick, Hall, Eberle, would be mitigated to some extent. Unfortunately at this time it looks like JP is spinning his wheels a bit in Edmonton. LT writes a lot about how looking at a young pro players splits over the course of a season can provide insight on his adjustment at the level of play.

To my eye, I’m not sure JP looks like he has improved as much as you would hope since his recall to Edmonton. I know it’s early days and there could be external factors like not being physically ready for the grind of a long season.

I sometimes wish the Oilers had let him stay in Finland for a year or pulled some strings to get him on a CHL team (not sure how that works with their import draft). Spending some more time at a level where he would have the puck on his stick more would have improved his confidence I think.

Wilde

Keith Gretzky’s first Boston draft was probably 2014 and he pulled what looks like 4 NHLers.

Keith Gretzky’s first Edmonton draft has had 4 skaters take the mandatory +1 step forward.

Coincidence?!?!?!?!!

OriginalPouzar

godot10: Today’s pre-game press conference was just boilerplate narrative about accountability.It was meaningless babel.

He expressed what he really thinks about his accountability when he said “the team wearing orange”.

It is important to recognise the difference between “fake” statements and “real” ones.

Its important to recognize baseless speculation and spinning to fit a preferred narrative.

JimmyV1965

Wilde:
I’m trying so hard to make sense of the DZL systems play on the 1-1 goal.

It’s like the billionth time an opposing defenseman just strolls into a dangerous area with the puck for a free chance or goal. Either through the middle, or through the outside, doesn’t matter. Remember Derrick Pouliot’s goal?

This link will send you to 1:20 of the highlight package, from there go to the settings in the bottom right and set it at 0.25x time and watch the play:

https://youtu.be/Nrc4a9VkQKg?t=1m20s

…What on earth is that?

Lucic’s assignment, on win or loss, is to defend the RD, McNabb in a loss, or facilitate by being a bouncing board for a breakout in a win. We know this both because that’s the traditional setup(same side W on opposing point) and because 27 immediately skates off the draw towards him, before a winner or loser is determined.

Lowe is to wait, because he’s supposed to do different things based on if the faceoff is won or lost. In a win it’s supposed to be kicked back to him, but they lost it, so what does he do?

He skates all the way out at the forward that’s taken the place of McNabb.

This is because it’s ‘his man’.

Todd’s defensive structure is being executed so poorly that the most simple positional swap in the game(covering the point for a defenseman to jump in) results in a free lane to the net. In game what, 80 of 82?

You can blame the rookie defenseman if you want. You can blame Lucic for giving up too easily on the check if you want.

Or you can ask why they haven’t switched to zone yet. What’s being asked of 27 there is for him to turn on a dime and push the pinching D to the outside(where he could easily be picked by the VGK forward battling Benning).

You have slow and/or inexperienced wingers and you’re asking them to be agile of both body and mind.

Hasn’t worked for the whole season.

Now this is a logical reason to get rid of the coach.

Wilde

I’m trying so hard to make sense of the DZL systems play on the 1-1 goal.

It’s like the billionth time an opposing defenseman just strolls into a dangerous area with the puck for a free chance or goal. Either through the middle, or through the outside, doesn’t matter. Remember Derrick Pouliot’s goal?

This link will send you to 1:20 of the highlight package, from there go to the settings in the bottom right and set it at 0.25x time and watch the play:

https://youtu.be/Nrc4a9VkQKg?t=1m20s

…What on earth is that?

Lucic’s assignment, on win or loss, is to defend the RD, McNabb in a loss, or facilitate by being a bouncing board for a breakout in a win. We know this both because that’s the traditional setup(same side W on opposing point) and because 27 immediately skates off the draw towards him, before a winner or loser is determined.

Lowe is to wait, because he’s supposed to do different things based on if the faceoff is won or lost. In a win it’s supposed to be kicked back to him, but they lost it, so what does he do?

He skates all the way out at the forward that’s taken the place of McNabb.

This is because it’s ‘his man’.

Todd’s defensive structure is being executed so poorly that the most simple positional swap in the game(covering the point for a defenseman to jump in) results in a free lane to the net. In game what, 80 of 82?

You can blame the rookie defenseman if you want. You can blame Lucic for giving up too easily on the check if you want.

Or you can ask why they haven’t switched to zone yet. What’s being asked of 27 there is for him to turn on a dime and push the pinching D to the outside(where he could easily be picked by the VGK forward battling Benning).

You have slow and/or inexperienced wingers and you’re asking them to be agile of both body and mind.

Hasn’t worked for the whole season.

JimmyV1965

godot10: Today’s pre-game press conference was just boilerplate narrative about accountability.It was meaningless babel.

He expressed what he really thinks about his accountability when he said “the team wearing orange”.

It is important to recognise the difference between “fake” statements and “real” ones.

No offence, but this logic is baffling. There is literally nothing the coach could do that would meet with your approval.

Wilde

godot10,

Just ignore pre-gamers in general. Almost every coach games them well. Too easy.

godot10

OriginalPouzar: The coach expressly talked about the first person that needs to be evaluated is himself – he absolutely implied he has culpability in how the season has gone.

Amazing the spin some can and will put on things in the name of meeting an internal preferred narrative.

Today’s pre-game press conference was just boilerplate narrative about accountability. It was meaningless babel.

He expressed what he really thinks about his accountability when he said “the team wearing orange”.

It is important to recognise the difference between “fake” statements and “real” ones.

godot10

Woodguy v2.0: Wow.

I heard he did *exactly* that from someone connected to the team.

Did you hear that or just surmise it?

Just speculation on my part, partly based on Chiarelli getting everyone in that Boston clip saying that they should trade Seguin. Plus, simple logic says that trading Hall has to be an organizational decision. It pretty much has to be “a blood pact”.

Hall doesn’t get traded if the coach isn’t fully on board with the move. That just would never happen. And well, we pretty much know that the OBC had it in for Hall and blamed him for everything, but they had no means of getting rid of him until McDavid arrived.

Munny

I’m gonna guess we get Hughson and Simpson Saturday night.

godot10

Doug McLachlan:
godot10,

In hindsight I don’t think anyone makes the Reinhart trade.

Follow up question.

If we don’t win the lottery and say have pick 8, would you package it with Russell (who presumably would agree to waive to return to Calgary) for Hamilton?

Yes. Calgary would never do it though.

Munny

Something else that 3d and OT in Van City.

Nailer Yakumoto

Storybook ending on home ice for Sedins, good for them.

Gerta Rauss

Daniel Sedin scores the OT winner, assists to Henrik and Edler

I remember their first game

Great career(s)

who

Really liked Kharias game on Drais left wing tonight. Also thought JP had his moments on the right side. Although the play did die on his stick a few too many times.
Watching the Canucks game to see the Sedins send off. Every time I watch Brendan Leipsic play, in Portland, in Vegas, and now in Vancouver, he does something that impresses me. Wonder what it would take to acquire him.

Woogie63

Does Cooper Marody sign on Friday and play Saturday?

AshetonisGod

jp,

I’m hoping for a rebound too and, if none is coming, a coach willing to sit him in press box and give home 4th line minutes.

jp

Younger Oil: Lucic has four points in his last 34 games.

Hall got that many on Tuesday.

I agree, he is below replacement level at this point. One of the worst contracts in the NHL at this point, and so many people called it before he was even signed.

Those numbers are truly remarkable. I didn’t realize it was quite THAT bad. And in 15+ min a night, with PP time and decent/good linemates.

To be fair, I don’t know if anyone called him falling off a cliff at age 29. More like 31 or 32. I’m hoping for at least a partial rebound, but that contract is terrifying.

Gerta Rauss

With the win tonight, we can’t finish any higher than 7OV draft position*

We can still pick as low as 10th* if we win again Saturday and CHI and the New Yorkers lose all of their games

*pre-lotto balls

AshetonisGod

Quinn mentioned that Connor has 52 points in last 32 games. Back of the envelope RE. Prorate that over 82 games for 133 points. Discount that by 10% b/c no one can keep up that pace. 120 points. Add 15 more points back for figuring out the PP. 135 points. I can’t wait to see what he does next yr.

Younger Oil

oilersfan:
While Rattie has played 13 games it’s only been 11 with mcdavid and 9 with both mcdavid and Nuge.
In those 9 games he has 9 points. Small sample size but encouraging.

While I hope lucic rebounds next season in all seriousness I suspect the oilers would be better if he was a healthy scratch. Mcdavid doubles his point production when lucic went off his line and since lucic went to play with strome I don’t think strome has a point.

It’s not just that he is slow and has poor agility, he handles the puck like a beach ball in a hurricane. He makes JF Jacques look like Hemsly with his ability to (not) make or take a pass

Lucic has four points in his last 34 games.

Hall got that many on Tuesday.

I agree, he is below replacement level at this point. One of the worst contracts in the NHL at this point, and so many people called it before he was even signed.

JimmyV1965

leadfarmer: Ok this is getting ridiculous.Yes Talbot has not had the best season but I can’t imagine how well any goalie would play behind this team.Those were two grade A opportunities that the Knights cashed on

I’m not trying to be an ahole here, but sometimes a goalie has to make a save on the 2 on 1s, especially when the shooter is outside the face off circle. Every team has defensive breakdowns. Some goalies are better at bailing out their team.

oilersfan

While Rattie has played 13 games it’s only been 11 with mcdavid and 9 with both mcdavid and Nuge.
In those 9 games he has 9 points. Small sample size but encouraging.

While I hope lucic rebounds next season in all seriousness I suspect the oilers would be better if he was a healthy scratch. Mcdavid doubles his point production when lucic went off his line and since lucic went to play with strome I don’t think strome has a point.

It’s not just that he is slow and has poor agility, he handles the puck like a beach ball in a hurricane. He makes JF Jacques look like Hemsly with his ability to (not) make or take a pass

Gerta Rauss

OmJo: I propose the NHL introduce coaches challenges for penalty calls because holy shit somebody has to do something about the refs.

I think in a case like that the situation room should be able to call down and overrule a play-it was clearly a VGK stick that tripped up the player

Iztok Turk

Nice hard-fought victory for the walking dead – good on Captain Connor. The shape of things to come?

ps. I don’t give a s**t about the Devils making the playoffs this year – not sure why anyone else on this site should.

Nice save on the rebound by Talbot to preserve the win the refs almost stole.

striatic

Younger Oil: 1. McDavid does not need a great winger, just one that can somewhat keep up with him and get to the right places.

The second half of that isn’t always the simplest task, but at least it should be a cheap task.

OmJo

I propose the NHL introduce coaches challenges for penalty calls because holy shit somebody has to do something about the refs.

If a call like that happens in game 7 of the SCF…

Pretendergast

Connor has the same PPG as Mackinnon can he win the Hart now. 😮

Munny

Gerta Rauss:
Talbot highway robbery with seconds to spare

Pride save.

Gerta Rauss

Talbot highway robbery with seconds to spare

Munny

Survived.

Pretendergast

What. A. Save

Munny

Whattasave

Pretendergast

How are referees such a joke in a professional league like this?

This is embarrassing

Nailer Yakumoto

As is tradition.

StixMalone

Wow weak one

Munny

Whistle? Why?

Oh shitty call.

Munny

His shot has come a long way. Or maybe it’s his belief in it.

Younger Oil

I think Rattie has demonstrated a few things in his 13 game tenure:

1. McDavid does not need a great winger, just one that can somewhat keep up with him and get to the right places.

2. McDavid does not need a 6’3”, 240 lb winger to be successful.

3. Good lord is Lucic bad.

Munny

Could see that coming.

Talbot almost hands over a gift

Munny

Ratfink!!

Spooky Lynx

I think Connor just passed Weight for the most points in a season by an Oiler in my lifetime.

Oh look. Cammy goes to a high danger spot and he cashes.

Ricki where are you?