Since the game in Boston, the Edmonton Oilers have been in a groove, winning six of eight and grabbing a Bettman point in another. In six of those eight games, Edmonton won the shot share. Not all numbers (5-on-5) are positive, the Corsi for (48 percent) has the team No. 20 in the category; Fenwick (49.62) is No. 18; shot share (50.32) is No. 15; goal share (45.16) No. 22. Edmonton’s overall goal share (49.15) is No. 18.
These are the numbers of a team that is hanging around a playoff spot, hoping the winning streak can fly into November without interruption. I think this team needs a little help. Will they get it?
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- New Lowetide: Zack Kassian market value.
- Lowetide: Everything’s coming up Oilers as young AHL hopefuls in Bakersfield hammer Flames’ farmhands.
- Dan Robson: Bringing a commitment to telling untold stories to The Athletic.
- Lowetide: Jesse Puljujarvi gets scratched, so what’s next for Edmonton’s lottery winger?
- 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: 4-7-0, eight points; goal differential -6
- Oilers in October 2016: 7-3-1, 15 points; goal differential +7
- Oilers in October 2017: 3-7-1, seven points; goal differential -12
- Oilers in October 2018: 6-3-1, 13 points; goal differential -1
A win tonight would mean this year’s team would be in a tie with the 2016 group that made the playoffs and won several postseason games. That’s impressive. Even with a loss tonight, I will count this month as one of the most memorable in recent team history. I have no choice, the evidence is there in the wins and losses.
WHAT TO EXPECT IN 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 2-0-0)
- 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: 6-3-1, 13 points after 10 games
The funny thing is, most of the roster is either performing at expected levels or less than expectations. McDavid, Draisaitl, Nuge are leading up front, the top-four defense is solid and Cam Talbot has been consistent save for the Penguins game (.923 SP if you take out the Pittsburgh game, hat tip to Jason Gregor).
5-on-5 ON ICE GOAL DIFFERENTIAL (FORWARDS)
- Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (6-2)
- Ty Rattie (3-0)
- Alex Chiasson (4-1)
- Connor McDavid (6-4)
- Ryan Strome (2-1)
- Tobias Rieder (4-4)
- Cooper Marody (0-0)
- Drake Caggiula (1-2)
- Leon Draisaitl (5-7)
- Kailer Yamamoto (2-4)
- Jujhar Khaira (1-3)
- Jesse Puljujarvi (2-5)
- Zack Kassian (3-6)
- Milan Lucic (1-5)
- Kyle Brodziak (2-7)
5-on-5 per 60 scoring (forwards)
This is where the rubber hits the road. Edmonton’s 4-on-4 scoring is a big part of the team, but the biggest game state is 5-on-5. I use the following lines in the sand: top line offensive forwards should be 2.00 or damned close; second line 1.80+ and then bottom six 1.50+ as a measure of success. It’s unlikely everyone is going to reach those levels but that’s my estimate of success.
No. 1 line
- Connor McDavid 2.13
- Ty Rattie 1.80
- Ryan Nugent-Hopkins 1.56
- Kailer Yamamoto 0.47
McDavid scored 3.17 a year ago 5-on-5, so there’s room to grow and one hopes there’s an increase offensively when Rattie returns. It seems ridiculous to complain about 97’s offense in any metric but young Yamamoto hasn’t been doing much offensively on the top line. Nuge has control of the job currently but needs to post 2.00+ to stay there in my opinion. All’s well when the team is winning, but a losing streak might see a shuffle. I don’t see anyone with a stranglehold on the coveted “McDavid’s winger” job right now.
No. 2 line
- Alex Chiasson 3.57
- Tobias Rieder 2.27
- Leon Draisaitl 1.30
This line is humming along in fine style lately, with Rieder and Chiasson giving a boost to the 5-on-5 offense. Leon, clearly the most talented player here, was in a slumber early but is moving into more familiar territory of late. I’m uncertain either winger will be on this line for a long time, but right now the offense is fairly consistent.
- Zack Kassian 1.01
- Drake Caggiula 0.93
- Jujhar Khaira 0.79
- Jesse Puljujarvi 0.75
- Milan Lucic 0.51
Although Kassian, Caggiula, Khaira and Puljujarvi are below the 1.50+ mark, it’s also true one more point in any of those games played (or tonight) would have each of them covering the bet. Lucic spent time on the skill lines and has the worst number among regulars with a point (Brodziak and Strome haven’t hit the score sheet yet) and his demotion was certainly warranted. If Edmonton finds four better left wingers, will Lucic sit?
In the NY Post yesterday, Larry Brooks suggested the Rangers should be aggressive early in dealing forwards who aren’t part of the future plans (or are UFA in the summer). It’s an interesting list, some of these players might help Edmonton right now:
- Vladislav Namestnikov 1.67
- Mats Zuccarello 1.23
- Ryan Spooner 1.21
- Kevin Hayes 0.84
I am deliberately avoiding discussing asset cost to acquire because that will become the dominant theme of the conversation. Before we get to payment, is it worth contemplating Namestnikov?
Expect Ty Rattie to skate with his teammates for the first time this morning since being injured. He won't play tonight, but if he continues to progress as planned he likely will be available at some point on the upcoming four-game road trip. #Oilers
— Jason Gregor (@JasonGregor) October 30, 2018
LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE
At 10 this morning, TSN1260. Exceptional guests and conversation. Scheduled to appear:
- Jonathan Willis, The Athletic. We’ll chat about options for Jesse Puljujarvi, the Oilers current winning run and what happens when Ty Rattie returns.
- Josh Lewenberg, TSN NBA/Raptors reporter. Raptors lose despite 30 from Ibaka.
- Sarah McLellan, Minneapolis Star-Tribune. The Wild lost on the coast last night, we’ll chat about the quick turnaround.
10-1260 text, @Lowetide on twitter. See you on the radio!