At long last, what might be the most disappointing season in Oilers history is complete. A brilliant young franchise player extended his lead as the best player in the game but the team could not overcome flaws across the roster and will miss the playoffs. Let this be the last time 97 misses the playoffs. Amen.
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- New Lowetide: The Oilers and Russia: A draft tragedy.
- Jonathan Willis: Is Todd McLellan the right man to coach the Oilers?
- Lowetide: Condors forwards and Austin Czarnik.
- Lowetide: The Oilers and the need for speed.
- Minnia Feng: A cinematic analysis of this year’s Oilers.
- Lowetide: What if the 17-18 Oilers season was a blessing in disguise?
- 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.
Jon’s piece on Todd McLellan is excellent, recommended reading. It’s also timely, as we head into the offseason with much work for the organization and many questions in need of answers. My item on Russia looks at the Oilers finally landing on a strategy in regard to that hockey nation.
ENDLESS SUMMER, YEAR OVER YEAR
- Oilers in April 2016: 1-1-1, goal differential -1, three points
- Oilers in April 2017: 2-1-0, goal differential +1, four points
- Oilers in April 2018: 2-1-0, goal differential -2, four points
AFTER 82, YEAR OVER YEAR
- Oilers 15-16: 31-43-8, goal differential -49 (70 points)
- Oilers 16-17: 47-26-9, goal differential +44 (103 points)
- Oilers 17-18: 36-40-6, goal differential -33 (78 points)
It took 95 points to make the playoffs in the Western Confernce this season, the Oilers needed nine more wins. That’s a gap. In the coming days we’ll find out about management and coaching changes and the players will shuffle in June and early July. This is a bitter pill.
- Cam Talbot made 36 of 38 stops, .947. I think the Oilers can count on him for next season but would have an improved backup on the roster for opening night.
- Connor McDavid finishes the season 82, 41-67-108 (1.32). I projected him 80, 37-73-110 (1.375) in my RE post, that’s a hit. What’s more, my RE for 16-17 was 72, 33-54-87 (1.21) and he finished that season 82, 30-70-100 (1.22). Both hits. Connor McDavid’s 5×5/60 scoring number this season was 3.24, No. 1 in the NHL and an incredible total. We are witnessing greatness, the kind you tell your grandchildren about, in real time.
- Leon Draisaitl finished with 2.32/60 scoring at 5×5, ranking No. 38 in the NHL among skaters with 500 or more minutes. He was injured early and people were down on the big man for much of the year, but there’s real quality in the season just passed. He went 78, 25-45-70 for the year, and at age 22, owns an enormous future. He must play center for the good of the team.
- Ryan Nugent-Hopkins is a very dynamic player on McDavid’s wing. He finished No. 81 among skaters in 5×5/scoring, 2.01 per 60. In 203 minutes with 97, RNH scored 2.95/60 at 5×5. His boxcars (62, 24-24-48) shine. I think the Oilers did it right, waiting until Leon established he could drive a line before moving RNH up, but the slotting is obvious now and the organization should proceed with this as the plan.
- Ryan Strome finished 82, 13-21-34, 1.48 5×5 scoring per 60. I think his season was right in line with what should have been expected.
- Milan Lucic finished 82, 10-24-34, one of the most disappointing seasons we’ve seen in Edmonton. The big man was 49, 9-21-30 before the All-Star break, only 33, 1-3-4 after the break. The organization can’t buy him out but there’s no way they can count on him for next season in a feature role.
I’ll have a complete review of the season and there are big plans for The Athletic this spring in terms of drilling down on individual performances. This blog will focus on summer, the draft and any breaking news we may receive in the coming days.
I'm still in Minnesota, but have already heard some @umichhockey players are moving on in the next few days. Senior Tony Calderone is expected to sign a two-way deal with @DallasStars and junior Cooper Marody is expected to sign with the @EdmontonOilers
— George Sipple (@GeorgeSipple) April 7, 2018
He’s a legit prospect and would rank inside the Oilers’ Top 10 upon signing. It looks like that will happen and soon. I wrote about, at the time of the trade, here.
OILERS 2018 DRAFT PICKS
Later this month, we’ll see where the first-round pick lands, but as of today, the draft picks break down as below.
- First Round—No. 9 overall
- Second Round—No. 40 overall
- Third Round—No. 71 overall
- Fourth Round—No. 102 overall (Oilers acquired goaltender Al Montoya from the Montreal Canadiens in exchange for a conditional fourth-round pick in 2018. Montoya has now covered the condition. It is a fourth).
- Fifth Round—No. 131 overall
- Sixth Round—No. 162 overall
- Seventh Round—No. 193 overall
My list (latest here) has seven top tier players, many believe Brady Tkachuk is in that range as well, meaning eight names in this draft who we can project as being impact prospects. On the other hand, it may mean the pick is spent on Ty Smith and I’m all about it.
SOME EARLY HEADLINES
- Darnell Nurse will likely get a bridge deal. I don’t see an option.
- It’s possible one of Milan Lucic, Kris Russell or Andrej Sekera are open to a trade. That would be an ideal solution, depending on the trade.
- Peter Chiarelli is vulnerable, as is Todd McLellan. If something is going to happen, it will be soon.
- The Rangers fired Alain Vigneault last night, no word on assistants and specifically goalie coach Benoit Allaire. He would have worked with Cam Talbot and the organization may want to get their No. 1 man in a comfortable situation. Something to watch.
- Jesse Puljujarvi is a very talented young man and the Oilers should stick with him.
- As I see it, the trade assets Edmonton currently boasts who are both valuable and come from a place of real depth, are Oscar Klefbom.
- The first-round pick is surely in play.
- My list of team needs are a scoring winger (James Neal), a two-way forward (Bob mentions Derek Ryan), a strong backup goalie option.
- The Oilers list of team needs starts with right defense and an offensive option. Tyson Barrie, Matt Dumba, Kris Letang, in that range. The cost will be significant.