Nashville is a city of dreams. If you love country music, as I do, at least some part of you is enchanted by the idea of rags to riches via an old guitar and a gift for words married to melody. At our house, this is the early to mid-1960s, the record player held Patsy Cline, Jim Reeves, Ferlin Husky, the Louvins and Marvin Rainwater.If they were L-Ps (those are the big ones, the long-plays) you could stack them one on another and listen for hours and hours. My Mom would do that, but of course you only got one side. The Beatles lived down the road at my uncle’s house, but those country tunes sang to me and the truth is they still do. I was the first one in my house to buy a Kris Kristofferson record (good find), the last one to buy a Patsy Cline (a better find).
There’s more than one way to dream, and today in Nashville some hopeful Oilers will suit up and play in one of their early NHL games (Mikko Koskinen, Evan Bouchard, Cooper Marody, Kailer Yamamoto) as they build on promising careers. Perhaps today brings rising success and stardom on the big stage. Sweet dreams, baby.
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- New Lowetide: Jesse Puljujarvi gets scratched, so what’s next for Edmonton’s lottery winger?
- New Tyler Dellow: Oilers treading water despite tough schedule, but still struggle to score without Connor McDavid.
- Jonathan Willis: Connor McDavid finds another gear, but Oilers still lack scoring on the wing.
- Cat Silverman: How Laurent Brossoit found his way back to NHL form.
- Lowetide: Todd McLellan finds a suitable spot in the order for Milan Lucic.
- Jonathan Willis: Four reasons why the Oilers should return Evan Bouchard to junior.
- Lowetide: Drake Caggiula might be hearing footsteps as the Oilers look for offence to replace injured Ty Rattie.
- Lowetide: Kirill Maksimov is tearing up the OHL, three Condors fly high.
- Lowetide: Peter Chiarelli’s race against time.
- Daniel Nugent-Hopkins: Asking McDavid to take on Bergeron line at home shows what Oilers are missing.
- New Daniel Nugent-Hopkins: Remembering Ron Chipperfield’s brief and hellish time as captain of the Edmonton Oilers.
- Daniel Nugent-Bowman: Q&A: Grant Fuhr talks about his journey, drug use and the state of goaltending.
- Lowetide: Math offers a surprising option for Leon Draisaitl’s struggling No. 2 line
OILERS IN OCTOBER
- Oilers in October 2015: 3-6-0, goal differential -6
- Oilers in October 2016: 7-2-0, goal differential +10
- Oilers in October 2017: 3-5-1, goal differential -8
- Oilers in October 2018: 4-3-1, goal differential -4
Edmonton can begin pushing toward the playoff year (2016) with a win today, that would represent a stunning payload based on preseason expectations and difficulty of schedule. Nashville enters play with a tidy 8-2-0 record after 10 games, averaging 3.5 goals for and 2.3 goals against so far this campaign. The Predators are outstanding.
WHAT TO EXPECT FROM OCTOBER
- On the road to: Sweden to play NJD (Expected: 0-0-1) (Actual: 0-1-0)
- On the road to: Boston, NYR, Winnipeg (Expected 1-2-0) (Actual 2-1-0)
- At home to: Boston, Nashville, Pittsburgh, Washington (Expected 1-3-0) (Actual 2-1-1)
- On the road to: Nashville, Chicago (Expected 1-1-0) (Actual 0-0-0)
- At home to: Minnesota (Expected 0-0-1) (Actual 0-0-0)
- Overall expected result: 3-6-2, 8 points in 11 games
- Current results: 4-3-1, 9 points after eight games
I have today’s game as a loss, but haven’t been right too often with this team so far in 2018-19. After the win against the Capitals, it appears the “McDavid and Talbot” show is back, at least often enough for the Oilers to get off to a surprising start.
FORWARDS CORSI FOR 5-ON-5, 2018-19
- Ryan Strome 59.15
- Cooper Marody 57.14
- Ty Rattie 52.03
- Drake Caggiula 51.85
- Ryan Nugent-Hopkins 51.38
- Jesse Puljujarvi 50.67
- Kailer Yamamoto 50.26
- Connor McDavid 49.63
- Milan Lucic 47.85
- Jujhar Khaira 47.83
- Tobias Rieder 44.30
- Kyle Brodziak 43.64
- Leon Draisaitl 38.65
- Zack Kassian 37.97
- Alex Chiasson 37.70
I think a good way to look at the current forwards is to divide them into five categories based on role and projected future:
- Vital roster forwards: McDavid, Draisaitl, Nugent-Hopkins
- Useful roster forwards: Strome, Rieder
- Immovable roster forwards: Lucic, Kassian, Brodziak
- Young forwards pushing: Yamamoto, Puljujarvi, Marody
- Fringe forwards: Rattie, Caggiula, Khaira, Chiasson
You may feel some players belong in other categories and frankly it can change from week to week (hello, Alex Chiasson) but this is my list and you’re welcome to disagree. Edmonton badly needs Yamamoto and Puljujarvi to move into the ‘vital’ category and I would guess a contending team has far more than two ‘useful’ men on the list. The ideal ‘immovable’ number is zero.
I’ll also say this: Ty Rattie looked very close to being a ‘useful’ forward before injury, that would represent a good arrow early in the season. Along with counting wins and losses, moving forwards from ‘young’ and ‘fringe’ to more substantial categories would be a worthy measure of success. Here are the defensemen:
- Vital roster defensemen: Klefbom, Larsson
- Useful roster defensemen: Nurse, Russell
- Immovable roster defensemen: Sekera
- Young defensemen pushing: Bouchard
- Fringe defensemen: Garrison, Gravel, Benning
Again, your mileage may vary but this is my estimation. Edmonton might have four ‘vital’ blue but Nurse and Bouchard aren’t yet there in my opinion. Benning is at ‘fringe’ but last season he would have been in the ‘useful’ category and may well be again. There are rumors of his activation soon.
- Nuge—McDavid—Rattie: 56 minutes, 50.51 Corsi for 5-on-5, 3-0 goals
- Nuge—McDavid—Yamamoto: 36 minutes, 47.37 Corsi for 5-on-5, 0-0 goals
Rattie isn’t a feature player, and the sample size is too small to trumpet, but this is an interesting snapshot of life with and without Rattie. We’ll have to monitor this situation. perhaps the former Portland Winterhawks star is an important player for this team moving forward. If so, I’ll consider it payback for driving me bat bleep crazy when he played against the Edmonton Oil Kings all those years ago.