Not the Usual Suspects

The Edmonton Oilers got two goals from its No. 4 line last night, that’s going to be a win most nights. The first goal came before I could pour a ginger ale and it looked at times like Edmonton would run away with it. An awful power play in the first period gave Detroit some wheels, and the most pedestrian Red Wings team since Nick Libett, cashed to tie it up. It was the fourth line that came up big in this game, and that’s something we didn’t see much one year ago. Another good arrow for a team headed in a good direction lately. The usual suspects contributed but it was a night for the fourth line to shine. Now. About that third line….

THE ATHLETIC!

The Athletic Edmonton is going to bring it all season long. Proud to be part of a lineup that is ready to cover the coming year. Outstanding coverage from a large group, including Daniel Nugent-Bowman and Jonathan Willis, Lowetide, Minnia Feng and Pat McLean. If you haven’t subscribed yet, now’s your chance. Special offer is here, less than $3.50 a month!

  • New Lowetide: Future Oilers bubbling under in Bakersfield may get a look sooner rather than later.
  • New Lowetide: Oscar Klefbom takes a step forward for the Edmonton Oilers.
  • Daniel Nugent-Bowman: Forty years later, remembering the forgotten trade that brought Wayne Gretzky to Edmonton.
  • Tyler Dellow: Isolating issues with the NHL’s slower paced power plays.
  • Lowetide: Oilers reach a pressure point on defence and right wing
  • Daniel Nugent-Bowman: Does Caggiula’s recent performance warrant another chance alongside McDavid?
  • New Jonathan Willis: Predicting the impact Ethan Bear and Edmonton’s other top AHL prospects will make at the NHL level.

OILERS AFTER 13

  • Oilers in October 2015: 5-8-0, 10 points; goal differential -5
  • Oilers in October 2016: 9-3-1, 19 points; goal differential +8
  • Oilers in October 2017: 4-8-1, nine points; goal differential -13
  • Oilers in October 2018: 8-4-1, 17 points; goal differential +3

A nice start to the season now sees Edmonton edging toward five wins over .500 (this isn’t technically true but does represent an impressive line in the sand, and I like it as a talking point). The 2016-17 edition of this team finished 12 games over .500 (47-35-9) and that’s a solid goal for this year’s team. As I absolutely know some of you will balk at my Bettman math, the actual 2016-17 team finished 37-26-19 if you count overtime wins and losses as ties. This year’s team is 5-4-4 using the same model.

OILERS IN NOVEMBER

  • Oilers in November 2015: 1-1-0, two points; goal differential +1
  • Oilers in November 2016: 0-1-1, one point; goal differential -3
  • Oilers in November 2017: 1-1-0, two points; goal differential +2
  • Oilers in November 2018: 2-0-0, two points; goal differential +5

There are very few things (so far) this year’s team is doing better than the 2016 club, but November’s start in 2018 is the best of the Chiarelli-McLellan era. I know, big deal, but it is in fact a big deal. Remember how October began? Grabbing points now may save the month if the bottom falls out in the days ahead.

WHAT TO EXPECT FROM NOVEMBER

  • At home to: Chicago (Expected 1-0-0) Actual (1-0-0)
  • On the road to: Detroit, Washington, Tampa Bay, Florida  (Expected 2-2-0) (Actual 1-0-0)
  • At home to: Colorado, Montreal (Expected 1-1-0) (Actual 0-0-0)
  • On the road to: Calgary (Expected 0-1-0) (Actual 0-0-0)
  • At home to: Vegas (Expected 1-0-0) (Actual 0-0-0)
  • On the road to: San Jose, Anaheim, Los Angeles (Expected 2-1-0) (Actual 0-0-0)
  • At home to: Dallas, Los Angeles  (Expected 1-0-1) (Actual 0-0-0)
  • Overall expected result: 8-5-1, 17 points in 14 games 
  • Current results: 2-0-0, 4 points in 2 games

It’s a fine start and so far this month things are going as expected. I have the Oilers dropping the next two games and then salvaging the Florida game. If Edmonton grabs a point in Washington or in Tampa, that should be considered beyond what we agreed (I know you didn’t agree but I’m framing you anyway) was reasonable at the beginning of the month.

DEFENSE, LAST NIGHT

  • Klefbom-Larsson were golden again, going 29-14 in 20:46 together, 17-12 shots, 3-1 goals and 8-3 HDSC. Went 12-4 in 8:46 with McDavid, 17-10 in 12 minutes without him. Todd McLellan saw them used against Helm-Larkin-Mantha most of the time (7:28, 9-3 Corsi for 5-on-5, 2-0 goals), I’m uncertain if that is the Wings’ No. 1 line. Detroit goal was scored by Brodziak’s guy, I didn’t fault the blue on that play (you can’t switch off in a Buffalo herd), your mileage may vary.
  • Garrison-Benning were 9-6 in 10:21, they were low event and that’s good but a lot of that had to do with opposition. Were 0-2 in 5:51 against Rasmussen-de la Rose-Nyquist. Some of the Oilers played enormous minutes with very few Corsi events compared to the rest of the game. I think, when the team adds some wrinkles, these third pair and third line minutes are areas where the team can grow.
  • Nurse-Russell went 16-13 in 18:15, 10-6 shots and 0-1 goals, 3-3 HDSC. They were pedestrian with the McDavid line (4-3 in 6:40) but not the disaster 1-13 Corsi event evening we saw from McDavid and Nurse a few nights ago. Nurse took an unnecessary penalty and was careless with the puck at other times, he could easily have finished dash three. He is far better than he is showing in recent games. Russell didn’t tie up de la Rose on the first goal, he needed to and it was available. Nurse took a slash on the third goal (batted out of the air by Bertuzzi) it was kind of a flukey item. The duo need to be better this week.
  • Mikko Koskinen is now 3-0. He stopped 23 of 26 shots, .884. He is one of the better stories coming out of the first five weeks of this Oilers season.
  • NaturalStatTrick and NHL.com.

FORWARDS, LAST NIGHT

  • Nuge-McDavid-Caggiula scored in the opening seconds and continued a nice run. On this night, the possession numbers were strong. Went 16-5 in 14:58, 7-2 shots, 1-0 goals and 6-1 HDSC. According to NaturalStatTrick, McDavid spent no time with the third pairing 5-on-5. I think that’s impossible without trying. McDavid went 16-4 against Trevor Daley, Nick Jensen 10-4, DeKeyser 6-2. I don’t know who the top pairing is on the Red Wings. That isn’t good. Caggiula played well, he is scoring at a nice rate 5-on-5 (1.75/60) that represents the first productive total of his young career. His possession numbers are also improved. I wrote recently about him at The Athletic, suggesting he needs 40 games healthy and in the same spot on the roster in order to show what he can bring. His utility (and health) may be barriers to success, as he moves around a lot.
  • Lucic-Strome-Puljujarvi must feel really left out now, they are drier than the fourth line offensively. Went 8-6 in 11:19, 5-2 shots and 2-0 HDSC (one each for Lucic and Puljujarvi). I think this trio may need a tweak, no one is scoring on them but this group should be moving the needle considering the qual comp. Strome and Lucic are the gang that couldn’t shoot straight and Puljujarvi has seen his individual high-danger scoring rate (per 60) dip from 3.68 a year ago to 1.77 this time.
  • Khaira-Brodziak-Kassian had a big night, two points each for Khaira and Brodziak. Went 17-12 in 10:22, 11-11 shots, 2-2 goals and 2-3 HDSC. Interesting to see how much more high event the fourth line is compared to the third line. Went 9-6 against Cholowski-DeKeyser, 2-1 in goals. I think we’ll see this group for several more weeks. The two goals were cashed by Brodziak, who seems to be acclimated now to the team and his role. The key to the goals (in my opinion) were smart passes from Khaira in both cases. That’s three in two games now (he sent a lovely dish to Caggiula for the shortie last game) and indicates our man is finding his offensive touch after a slow start.
  • Rieder-Draisaitl-Chiasson went 15-10 in 13:19, 12-4 shots and 2-2 HDSC. The line hummed as usual, just couldn’t cash (Chiasson’s goal came with McDavid). No blame from this quarter, the trio has been actual fire recently. Impressive recovery for Leon’s line from a dreadful start, I think that’s an underrated story this year. Chiasson scored another damned goal, holy hell he’s on a roll. Nice pass from 97, that left to right pass for the one-timer might catch on across the league now. Not here, but, you know, other places.

5-on-5 points per 60 (FORWARDS)

  1. Alex Chiasson 3.45
  2. Connor McDavid 2.54
  3. Tobias Rieder 2.10
  4. Leon Draisaitl 2.01
  5. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins 1.83
  6. Ty Rattie 1.80
  7. Drake Caggiula 1.75
  8. Jujhar Khaira 1.65
  9. Kyle Brodziak 1.19
  10. Zack Kassian 0.66
  11. Jesse Puljujarvi 0.59
  12. Kailer Yamamoto 0.43
  13. Milan Lucic 0.40
  14. Ryan Strome 0.00
  15. Cooper Marody 0.00

I wanted to run these numbers today in order to point out Khaira’s success. It’s easy to look at these totals and suggest he is delivering at around third-line expectations, but if you compare his linemates to (say) Caggiula, then the offense is even more outstanding.

Caggiula’s five main linemates this season are Ryan Strome (57:46), Milan Lucic (34:39), Connor McDavid (32:46), Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (31:31) and Jesse Puljujarvi (26:52). He has also played nine minutes with Leon Draisaitl.

Jujhar Khaira? Kyle Brodziak (77:28), Zack Kassian (61:09), Tobias Rieder (23:28), Jesse Puljujarvi (16:07), Ryan Strome (14:33). Two minutes with McDavid, four with Draisaitl. All via NaturalStatTrick.

The Condors won last night, and the kids once again played a substantial part in the team’s success. Cameron Hebig scored the winner, assists came from Ethan Bear, Caleb Jones and Tyler Benson. Evan Polei, one of my favourite AHL contracts, went 1-1-2. I’ll be writing about the Condors (among other things) today at The Athletic for my Sunday prospect update.

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275 Responses to "Not the Usual Suspects"

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  1. jp says:

    LMHF#1: Except a much better hockey player overall who won’t turn the puck over a bunch.

    Could you have a look at Lucic and Chiasson’s career stats? Even last year where Lucic disappeared for 60% of the season?

  2. ashley says:

    Woodguy v2.0: I think Nurse would thrive on a pair where he’s not “the best player”

    Russell’s been the better one on that pair for about 2 weeks now, but the bar Russell sets on the second pair on his off side isn’t high enough.

    Nurse’s issues are usually mental.

    I wonder if he’s feeling too much pressure?

    It’s interesting because if we go back to the comments from last season, they are virtually identical except replace Klefbom with Nurse. We were making all sorts of excuses for Klefbom, mental, injury etc. And we were praising the huge step Nurse had taken playing first pairing minutes.

    Of course it’s not hard to see the common denominator here, but the fan base seems reluctant to acknowledge it.

    Larsson is a stud Dman, something we haven’t had for a long time around here. He will zoom his line mates and the fan base may never give him full credit because of who he was traded for.

    It’s unfortunate. In addition, he gets slotted into the veteran Dman with marginal puck skills “Jason Smith” category, but I suspect if he was given PP time like others, he would shine too. McClellan needs him to perform a different role though and it’s an important one.

    Pop quiz: Who is older, Larsson or Klefbom? Dmen usually don’t peak until their late 20’s.

    This roster badly needed Larsson and had to pay a steep price to get him. They will and should never trade him, not even for Taylor Hall.

    There is no easy way to get guys like Larsson outside of the draft, but they are vital to a team’s success.

  3. Drew says:

    ashley: It’s interesting because if we go back to the comments from last season, they are virtually identical except replace Klefbom with Nurse.We were making all sorts of excuses for Klefbom, mental, injury etc.And we were praising the huge step Nurse had taken playing first pairing minutes.

    Of course it’s not hard to see the common denominator here, but the fan base seems reluctant to acknowledge it.

    Larsson is a stud Dman, something we haven’t had for a long time around here.He will zoom his line mates and the fan base may never give him full credit because of who he was traded for.

    It’s unfortunate.In addition, he gets slotted into the veteran Dman with marginal puck skills “Jason Smith” category, but I suspect if he was given PP time like others, he would shine too.McClellan needs him to perform a different role though and it’s an important one.

    Pop quiz: Who is older, Larsson or Klefbom?Dmen usually don’t peak until their late 20’s.

    This roster badly needed Larsson and had to pay a steep price to get him.They will and should never trade him, not even for Taylor Hall.

    There is no easy way to get guys like Larsson outside of the draft, but they are vital to a team’s success.

    I really really like Larsson but I don’t think he is the best guy on his pair? Never mind Hall who is much harder to find.

  4. OriginalPouzar says:

    Someone earlier in this thread said exactly what I’ve said many times, aside from McDavid, the worst player for this team to lose to injury would be Larsson – he’s the second most important player given roster reconstruction.

    Of course, the Hall for Larsson trade was not value straight up, however, at the same time, I’m not sure this team is better if you delete Larsson and add Hall – yes, I know, if the trade isn’t made, there are other transactions that would have and would not have happened but I’m simply talking about how important Larsson is.

    Larsson, like Klef, is just about to hit his prime and these two players at their $4.1M cap hits are amazing value.

  5. jp says:

    pts2pndr: That monkey on his back is riding him hard! Hopefully when the first one goes in the floodgates will open! Things have a way of evening out!

    Just don’t forget that they even out to 11 goals and 30 points, so don’t get expectations too too high.

  6. Dee Dee says:

    Strome and Lucic are doing everything right but score goals. They are forming a 3rd line that pressure their opponents and hopefully they can get it working. I wonder if Kassian would help them out.

    Looch is noticable faster this year, much more physical, he just needs some puck luck to go his way. He is a good net front presence on the power play and even if it doesnt allways get represented on the score sheet he has helped.

    I suppose it depends on wether you are a glass half full or half empty kind of person but the team is noticably more fun to watch this year and its not just the winning. Bouchard didn’t get pressed into indentured service and is sent back to junior to mature for another year. The young ones aren’t being forced into first line roles. Some journeyman have arrived who are forcing the young ones to outplay them to find a spot on the roster.

    Chiarelli made some good moves this past summer that are paying dividends this year and Mclellan is coaching this unbalanced rag tag group to a much higher position in the standings than anyone predicted at the start of the season.

    Mikko Koskinen playing this well is huge for the Oilers, and alot of flack was given in these parts for the signing but the Oilers now have the best Goaltending tandem since…. forever?

    Besides, Lucic is only one goal behind Taylor Hall. Imagine that.

  7. Ryan says:

    Woodguy v2.0: All of these PPs are run off the half wall by a C.

    The Dmen are passers

    Agreed.

  8. jp says:

    ashley: It’s interesting because if we go back to the comments from last season, they are virtually identical except replace Klefbom with Nurse.We were making all sorts of excuses for Klefbom, mental, injury etc.And we were praising the huge step Nurse had taken playing first pairing minutes.

    Of course it’s not hard to see the common denominator here, but the fan base seems reluctant to acknowledge it.

    Larsson is a stud Dman, something we haven’t had for a long time around here.He will zoom his line mates and the fan base may never give him full credit because of who he was traded for.

    It’s unfortunate.In addition, he gets slotted into the veteran Dman with marginal puck skills “Jason Smith” category, but I suspect if he was given PP time like others, he would shine too.McClellan needs him to perform a different role though and it’s an important one.

    Pop quiz: Who is older, Larsson or Klefbom?Dmen usually don’t peak until their late 20’s.

    This roster badly needed Larsson and had to pay a steep price to get him.They will and should never trade him, not even for Taylor Hall.

    There is no easy way to get guys like Larsson outside of the draft, but they are vital to a team’s success.

    Larsson is absolutely a stud. I agree with everything else you said, but I would still trade Larsson for Hall now. You don’t get players like Hall outside the draft either.

  9. Woodguy v2.0 says:

    Ryan,

    Yeah, I was thinking about that too. The Oilers had the fifth best PP in the league that year. There was a poor start to the year on the PP then Letestu miracle on ice one-timer that caught fire.

    EDM PP1 goals 16/17

    Lucic 12
    Draisaitl 10
    Letestu 7
    McDavid 3
    Eberle 3
    Klefbom 3

  10. Ryan says:

    jp:
    More to the point:

    2018-19 Oilers 14th – Klefbom 4:14 and 8.69 GF/60 On.

    Problem solved?

    Also, isn’t this somewhat of a circular argument?

    Well. My point was that unless you’re running five forwards, the dman is a rate limiter on the PP.

    As for problem solved, we see progress but we currently have both the best hockey player alive on our PP as well as the 15th best PP in the league.

  11. Woodguy v2.0 says:

    Ryan: Agreed.

    Then your stated desire for a “Dman PP QB” confuses me.

  12. Woodguy v2.0 says:

    ashley,

    Klefbom had 20 bone fragments removed from his shoulder in the spring.

    His injury was real and not an excuse.

  13. jp says:

    Ryan: Well. My point was that unless you’re running five forwards, the dman is a rate limiter on the PP.

    As for problem solved, we see progress but we currently have both the best hockey player alive on our PP as well as the 15th best PP in the league.

    Likewise, confusing.

    Top 10 powerplays “all have one stud PP defenseman who plays near 3 min Toi/g (on the PP) who’s on the ice for usually well over 8 points per hour.”

    Klefbom fits the bill, so I guess he isn’t rate limiting.

  14. Ryan says:

    Woodguy v2.0:
    Ryan,

    Yeah, I was thinking about that too. The Oilers had the fifth best PP in the league that year. There was a poor start to the year on the PP then Letestu miracle on ice one-timer that caught fire.

    EDM PP1 goals 16/17

    Lucic 12
    Draisaitl 10
    Letestu 7
    McDavid 3
    Eberle 3
    Klefbom 3

    Thanks.

    My recollection was that the PP sucked with Eberle and did not improve until they took him off and added Letestu.

    I was remiss for not acknowledging the Lucic career PP heater nor Draisatl’s brillant contributions as the bumper.

  15. ashley says:

    jp: …You don’t get players like Hall outside the draft either.

    This is true, but I should have clarified: In the context of the Oilers, you cannot trade Larsson for anything really. Hall for Larsson was good value for the NJD (and most NHL teams), no doubt, but Larsson for Hall was good value for the Oilers as painful as that is to write.

    The root of that problem was planted before Hall and Larsson were drafted.

  16. Woodguy v2.0 says:

    OriginalPouzar: The PP caught fire when two changes were basically made at the same time, Eberle was replaced with Letestu and Sekera replaced with Klefbom.

    After the switch, I”m not sure that Klefbom shared time with Sekera – Klef was PP1 for the rest of the year with Reggie PP2.

    If I remember correctly.

    That’s correct

  17. Woodguy v2.0 says:

    ashley,

    Larsson is a stud Dman, something we haven’t had for a long time around here. He will zoom his line mates and the fan base may never give him full credit because of who he was traded for.

    I wrote many good things about Larsson on my blog and here shorty after the trade.

    I call him a first pair Dman when people refer to him as a 2nd pair Dman.

    You’re barking up the wrong tree.

    Larsson is very good at getting the puck back from top 6 forwards and boxing out the slot.

    He’s not Klef when it comes to transitioning the puck though.

  18. godot10 says:

    OriginalPouzar:
    Someone earlier in this thread said exactly what I’ve said many times, aside from McDavid, the worst player for this team to lose to injury would be Larsson – he’s the second most important player given roster reconstruction.

    Of course, the Hall for Larsson trade was not value straight up, however, at the same time, I’m not sure this team is better if you delete Larsson and add Hall – yes, I know, if the trade isn’t made, there are other transactions that would have and would not have happened but I’m simply talking about how important Larsson is.

    Larsson, like Klef, is just about to hit his prime and these two players at their $4.1M cap hits are amazing value.

    Klefbom may actually be the most irreplaceable player on the roster or close to it.

  19. pts2pndr says:

    jp: Just don’t forget that they even out to 11 goals and 30 points, so don’t get expectations too too high.

    Not expecting big numbers just trying to point out that Strome provides value at his contract in the third line right shot center position. His defensive acumen is undervalued by a group that sees value only in points scored when there s so much more to the value equation!

  20. Ryan says:

    jp: Likewise, confusing.

    Top 10 powerplays “all have one stud PP defenseman who plays near 3 min Toi/g (on the PP) who’s on the ice for usually well over 8 points per hour.”

    Klefbom fits the bill, so I guess he isn’t rate limiting.

    Thus far, the bar is higher.

    This season Kbom’s 8.7 gfon/60 is good for 22nd in the league.

    Last year, that rate would be good for 12th in the league when filtering appropriately for Toi.

  21. godot10 says:

    pts2pndr: Not expecting big numbers just trying to point out that Strome provides value at his contract in the third line right shot center position. His defensive acumen is undervalued by a group that sees value only in points scored when there s so much more to the value equation!

    One has to provide some offense to provide value for $3.5 million. In the UFA market, with this offensive production, Strome would only garner $1 million dollars. If one is a pure no offense defensive centre at $3.5 million, one should be able to provide stop gap defensive duty against the top lines of the opposition.

  22. Ryan says:

    Woodguy v2.0: Then your stated desire for a “Dman PP QB” confuses me.

    “Dman PP QB” is leadfarmer’s parlance.

    While it connotes Shea Webber ripping slap shots from the point, I think there’s a modern day equivalent that involves offensively minded dmen that can run the modern PP from the point.

  23. Woodguy v2.0 says:

    Ryan: Thanks.

    My recollection was that the PP sucked with Eberle and did not improve until they took him off and added Letestu.

    I was remiss for not acknowledging the Lucic career PP heater nor Draisatl’s brillant contributions as the bumper.

    That PP cooked because they got the puck in the slot and had 2 real shot options (Drai and Letestu) and Looch cleaned up the garbage very well

  24. pts2pndr says:

    Dee Dee:
    Strome and Lucic are doing everything right but score goals. They are forming a 3rd line that pressure their opponents and hopefully they can get it working. I wonder if Kassian would help them out.

    Looch is noticable faster this year, much more physical, he just needs some puck luck to go his way. He is a good net front presence on the power play and even if it doesnt allways get represented on the score sheet he has helped.

    I suppose it depends on wether you are a glass half full or half empty kind of person but the team is noticably more fun to watch this year and its not just the winning. Bouchard didn’t get pressed into indentured service and is sent back to junior to mature for another year. The young ones aren’t being forced into first line roles. Some journeyman have arrived who are forcing the young ones to outplay them to find a spot on the roster.

    Chiarelli made some good moves this past summer that are paying dividends this year and Mclellan is coaching this unbalanced rag tag group to a much higher position in the standings than anyone predicted at the start of the season.

    Mikko Koskinen playing this well is huge for the Oilers, and alot of flack was given in these parts for the signing but the Oilers now have the best Goaltending tandem since…. forever?

    Besides, Lucic is only one goal behind Taylor Hall. Imagine that.

    You mean since Fuhr and Moog. Good call!

  25. Woodguy v2.0 says:

    Ryan: “Dman PP QB” is leadfarmer’s parlance.

    While it connotes Shea Webber ripping slap shots from the point, I think there’s a modern day equivalent that involves offensively minded dmen that can run the modern PP from the point.

    I just don’t see it.

    Almost everyone runs a 1-3-1 off the halfwall.

    Certainly all the best PPs do

  26. jp says:

    ashley: This is true, but I should have clarified: In the context of the Oilers, you cannot trade Larsson for anything really.Hall for Larsson was good value for the NJD (and most NHL teams), no doubt, but Larsson for Hall was good value for the Oilers as painful as that is to write.

    The root of that problem was planted before Hall and Larsson were drafted.

    Larsson has extreme value to the Oilers right now, agreed. And absolutely the root (seed?) was planted well back.

    It would be a tough call to trade Larsson for Hall today given the state of the Oilers D. On most other teams it would be a no brainer.

    In a do-over there would have been other ways to address the D. It’s not like we’d be looking at Russel/Benning/Bear playing behind Hall-Draisaitl. The Oilers were desperate. The Oilers have a very good player in Larsson. I still don’t think that trade should have been made.

  27. Ryan says:

    Woodguy v2.0: I just don’t see it.

    Almost everyone runs a 1-3-1 off the halfwall.

    Certainly all the best PPs do

    I agree with that and think where we diverge is only in terminology.

    Turn it around, show me a sustainably effective PP that lacks a “brand name offensive dman.”

    No Carlson, Letang, Subban, Spurgeon, Josi, Byfuglien, Hedman, Krug, Barrie, Reily, Edler…

  28. pts2pndr says:

    Woodguy v2.0: Then your stated desire for a “Dman PP QB” confuses me.

    I agree with you but it would be nice to have a D on the power play that was a legitimate threat to score! This would force the opposition team to change their defending strategy. Bear seems to have that ability and so does our young star in making in London. Might be a year or so away but future looks bright!

  29. jp says:

    Ryan: Thus far, the bar is higher.

    This season Kbom’s 8.7 gfon/60 is good for 22nd in the league.

    Last year, that rate would be good for 12th in the league when filtering appropriately for Toi.

    So Klefbom is, in fact, a limiting factor for the Oilers PP success in your opinion?

  30. Ryan says:

    jp: So Klefbom is, in fact, a limiting factor for the Oilers PP success in your opinion?

    Is that a rhetorical question?

    Yes, call me crazy, but I do believe our PP would be even more effective if we had Doughty, Spurgeon, Letang, Faulk, Krug, Barrie, Josi, Reily, Byfuglien, Hedman, instead of Klefbom.

  31. OriginalPouzar says:

    godot10: Klefbom may actually be the most irreplaceable player on the roster or close to it.

    I think the team is worse if you take Larsson off it over if you take Klefbom off it.

    This is not to say that Larsson is the “better” d-man but importance the team does not always equate to “better player”.

  32. pts2pndr says:

    godot10: One has to provide some offense to provide value for $3.5 million.In the UFA market, with this offensive production, Strome would only garner $1 million dollars.If one is a pure no offense defensive centre at $3.5 million, one should be able to provide stop gap defensive duty against the top lines of the opposition.

    Fair comment but I am of the belief the scoring will come. He seems to be griping his stick a little tight!

  33. who says:

    hunter1909: How about never?

    The salary cap guarantees turnover at the top end of the batting order, and the only legit source for the Oilers to replace this high end talent is in the 1st round.

    It’s no longer the classical Oilers of antiquity dilemma where everyone starts the game with 4 of the top 6 being future HoFers.

    These days they’re not exactly developing JP or even Yamamoto the way my totally incompetent hockey brain would prefer, which seems less of a big deal when “Big Todd McLellan” has got them sitting in 7th place overall in the NHL.

    Yeah I think trading 1st round picks in a salary cap world is a fools game.
    Gotta keep the pipeline full of cheap young players.

  34. Ryan says:

    OriginalPouzar: I think the team is worse if you take Larsson off it over if you take Klefbom off it.

    This is not to say that Larsson is the “better” d-man but importance the team does not always equate to “better player”.

    Here we agree. Look at the left shot depth chart then squint at the right.

    It is not close.

  35. jp says:

    Ryan: Is that a rhetorical question?

    Yes, call me crazy, but I do believe our PP would be even more effective if we had Doughy, Spurgeon, Letang, Faulk, Krug, Barrie, Josi, Reily, Byfuglien, Hedman, instead of Klefbom.

    You do realize Klefbom’s GF/60 is higher than the “best player in the world” this year, no? (last year too actually)

    You’re not crazy, no doubt there are some players in the league who could improve on Klefbom in that slot. But I don’t agree that Klefbom is at all a problem, or that he’s dragging the PP success down.

  36. who says:

    Ryan: I think that the Oilers could certainly use a top 4 RHS dman who can run a PP right now today and for at least one more if not two more years. Having Bouchard play on the bottom pairing and one of the PP units for a few years wouldn’t be a bad thing IMO. Counting on Bouchard to be ready to play in the top four in his draft plus 2 season seems like a bad bet.

    Nurse wasn’t really a top four defensemen until last year in his draft plus 5 season.

    The obvious problems are the cost of acquisition and managing the cap, but I hope the plan isn’t to roll out the red carpet to the top four d for Bouchard next season nor hope that we can get another stopgap year from Russell.

    What’s your top six d for the Oilers look like next season?

    Klefbom, Larrson, Russell, Nurse, Sekera and 1 of Bear, Jones, Gravel or Lagesson.
    I think Benning gets traded.

  37. jp says:

    Ryan,

    Also, among D this year who’s played 30 total PP minutes and 3:00 per game Klefbom’s GF/60 on is 9th. Moves down to 12th if you include all D over 2:30 per game.

    He’s ahead of all but 2 of the guys you just listed (Reilly and Byfuglien), and Reilly has only played 2:25 per game. I just don’t see what the issue is with Klefbom.

  38. jp says:

    pts2pndr: Not expecting big numbers just trying to point out that Strome provides value at his contract in the third line right shot center position. His defensive acumen is undervalued by a group that sees value only in points scored when there s so much more to the value equation!

    I agree with you 100%. Just reminding that it may not be that spectacular even when the floodgates do open 🙂

  39. Bank Shot says:

    Ryan: Thus far, the bar is higher.

    This season Kbom’s 8.7 gfon/60 is good for 22nd in the league.

    Last year, that rate would be good for 12th in the league when filtering appropriately for Toi.

    Why in the heck are we using goals for/60 to measure a player’s contributions to the PP?

    There are 51 defensemen that have played 300 PP minutes since 16/17.

    Klefbom is 26th in PP minutes per game.

    He’s 45 out of 51 in points/60.

    Klefbom’s IPP is 50th out of 51 at 41%

    Top ten are:

    Jones- 84
    Karlsson- 75
    Barrie- 72
    Subban- 71
    Hedman- 70
    Weber- 69
    Burns- 68
    Hamilton- 67
    Pietrangelo- 67
    Shattenkirk- 66

    Klefbom isn’t driving the PP. Given his offensive contributions compared to the other top 50 defensemen around the NHL he’s more of a drag than a help on a number 1 PP as far as I can tell.

    He just lacks creativity and vision with the puck, and his shot while decently hard is pretty inaccurate.

    The problem is that when looking at the list of the top fifty defencemen in terms of icetime since 16/17, very few would be readily available.

    The guys that you could acquire like Green and Phaneuf have problem contracts.

    If Carolina sinks down the standings Faulk is there but they likely want a substantial return.

    How much should the Oilers give up when it’s likely that Bouchard is going to be an inhouse solution in a year or two tops?

    He might never be great defensively, but I’d be shocked if he doesn’t tear it up on the PP relatively soon.

    So I’m in agreement with you Ryan. Klefbom isn’t a net positive on the PP. I’m confused why we are looking at GF/60 which is sort of a team stat, when guys are on the PP to produce points.

    Klefbom hasn’t been good at that over the last two seasons relative to his peers.

  40. OriginalPouzar says:

    Malone (who scored the 2nd Condors’ goal) has his shot tipped by Joe G. and the Condors take a 3-2 lead in the 3rd. Joe G.’s second point of the night as well.

    The “veteran” line comes though again.

    Patrick Russell with his second assist of the game as well.

    Also, a reminder the Benson does have skill:

    https://twitter.com/EDMFutureWatch/status/1059268248708022272

  41. who says:

    godot10: Klefbom may actually be the most irreplaceable player on the roster or close to it.

    You may be right
    There is certainly a direct correlation between his play and the teams record over the last 3 years.

  42. OriginalPouzar says:

    jp: Larsson has extreme value to the Oilers right now, agreed. And absolutely the root (seed?) was planted well back.

    It would be a tough call to trade Larsson for Hall today given the state of the Oilers D. On most other teams it would be a no brainer.

    In a do-over there would have been other ways to address the D. It’s not like we’d be looking at Russel/Benning/Bear playing behind Hall-Draisaitl. The Oilers were desperate. The Oilers have a very good player in Larsson. I still don’t think that trade should have been made.

    In a do-over, what about getting the 2nd piece many thing that should have come with Larsson – I don’t think its unreasonable to think that NJ’s first round plus Larsson would have been value on trade day – So, Larsson plus Nico Hischier

  43. jp says:

    who: You may be right
    There is certainly a direct correlation between his play and the teams record over the last 3 years.

    That applies to Larsson too though. Both had off years in 17-18, so it’s difficult to assign blame/importance.

  44. jp says:

    OriginalPouzar: In a do-over, what about getting the 2nd piece many thing that should have come with Larsson – I don’t think its unreasonable to think that NJ’s first round plus Larsson would have been value on trade day – So, Larsson plus Nico Hischier

    Haha, that seems rich since it turned into a 1st overall, but yes, Larsson and a 1st does seem plausible. We do need to acknowledge that Hall was coming off two sub par seasons at the time of the trade though, and an MVP campaign really wasn’t predictable. At the same time, this was a 2 time top 10 scorer, so a return to 1PPG should have been in range of expected.

  45. who says:

    jp: That applies to Larsson too though. Both had off years in 17-18, so it’s difficult to assign blame/importance.

    Good point.

  46. OriginalPouzar says:

    Condors wins their second straight in Texas (Texas and then San Antonio) in less than 24 hours.

    Scored late in the 2nd to tie it up and then again early in the 3rd.

    Shots were 35-22 for the Condors so they were full value for the win.

    Hebig and Benson have their point streaks snapped but the “veteran line” of P. Russell/Malone/Joe G. had two goals at evens.

    Lagesson and Jones both very good on the back-end from what I saw (about half the game).

  47. OriginalPouzar says:

    pts2pndr: Fair comment but I am of the belief the scoring will come. He seems to be griping his stick a little tight!

    As do I – clearly there is a confidence issue right now.

    For the first few weeks of the season, even though he wasn’t producing, he was still making plus offensive plays consistency – I have always professed that he has nice vision and puck distribution skills in the offensive zone. Recently we haven’t seen many examples of his vision and passing.

    It will come.

  48. Scungilli Slushy says:

    OriginalPouzar: In a do-over, what about getting the 2nd piece many thing that should have come with Larsson – I don’t think its unreasonable to think that NJ’s first round plus Larsson would have been value on trade day – So, Larsson plus Nico Hischier

    Hall was on the market long before he was traded per public statement by Rishaug. This is known, it’s in the media.

    Chiarelli has dumped young talent as GM in Boston, whether or not it was his decision we don’t know, but Hall wasn’t an unknown draft plus 2 or that ‘young’ when he was dealt. I don’t see it like a Kessel or Wheeler trade.

    Woodguy commented that he had heard through his network that not everybody in the org was onside with trading Hall.

    If we look at all of the available evidence, Hall was not traded because PC is incapable of assessing talent.

    Perhaps he thought it was a good idea for a one for one. Or maybe given Hall was on the market for months with no takers at a price he wanted, he finally got a serviceable RHD because he had to make a deal.

    He seems far more patient now. Maybe he’s ‘learned’ or maybe the monkey is off his back or the monkey has learned. Finally.

  49. jp says:

    Scungilli Slushy: The solution many are coming up with is trade high end assets to deal with two snake bit players.
    Trading that to get rid of Lucic is unlikely to make the team better long run.

    Buying Lucic out would also be a long term loss for the cap.

    Strome is on the verge of being passed by several players in khaira, Marody and soon McLeod IMO.

    He’s a decent player, and has good numbers at RW but it doesn’t seem like they will use him there.

    I’m trying to think of how to move forward without another gutting. Sekera may help out the backend a lot. And Benning getting his game back. Strome might have to be the odd man out for the team’s sake.

    While Strome has had a poor start relatively the issue to me comes down to the coach took a long to find him a regular spot and his line can’t outscore weaker comp. Sure Lucic is a problem, but most 3rd lines aren’t stacked.

    I suppose I consider Strome a vanilla offensive player and that is what I see as the problem.

    1) Lots of talk about sending out assets to get rid of Lucic. I have not heard the same about Strome.

    2) I don’t agree he’s on the verge of being passed by Khaira/Marody/McLeod

    3) Did it take a long time to find his spot? He’s been at 3C since the first quarter or third of last season. In any case, I’m not certain that should reflect poorly on the player.

    4) Strome is at 50% goal share overall, 67% (2-1) without Lucic. Also I don’t think he has to outscore to be an effective 3C.

    5) Absolutely Strome is vanilla, but I don’t see how that’s a problem. He’s scored like a high end 3rd liner in each of the past 3 seasons – he should get back there in all likelihood.

    I fail to see how moving on from Strome would improve the team.

  50. Pescador says:

    jp: I agree with you 100%. Just reminding that it may not be that spectacular even when the floodgates do open

    geez I dunno, everytime the floodgates do in fact open
    I can say that It feels pretty spectacular

  51. who says:

    jp: 1) Lots of talk about sending out assets to get rid of Lucic. I have not heard the same about Strome.

    2) I don’t agree he’s on the verge of being passed by Khaira/Marody/McLeod

    3) Did it take a long time to find his spot? He’s been at 3C since the first quarter or third of last season. In any case, I’m not certain that should reflect poorly on the player.

    4) Strome is at 50% goal share overall, 67% (2-1) without Lucic. Also I don’t think he has to outscore to be an effective 3C.

    5) Absolutely Strome is vanilla, but I don’t see how that’s a problem. He’s scored like a high end 3rd liner in each of the past 3 seasons – he should get back there in all likelihood.

    I fail to see how moving on from Strome could improve the

    It may not improve the team, but he probably has the largest “tradeable” salary on the team, non core division. I don’t think they would have to add a sweetener, but probably wouldn’t get much of a return.
    I don’t see him as irreplaceable and the Oilers may decide to trade him so they can afford to fill a bigger hole somewhere else.

  52. Pescador says:

    jp: 1) Lots of talk about sending out assets to get rid of Lucic. I have not heard the same about Strome.

    2) I don’t agree he’s on the verge of being passed by Khaira/Marody/McLeod

    3) Did it take a long time to find his spot? He’s been at 3C since the first quarter or third of last season. In any case, I’m not certain that should reflect poorly on the player.

    4) Strome is at 50% goal share overall, 67% (2-1) without Lucic. Also I don’t think he has to outscore to be an effective 3C.

    5) Absolutely Strome is vanilla, but I don’t see how that’s a problem. He’s scored like a high end 3rd liner in each of the past 3 seasons – he should get back there in all likelihood.

    I fail to see how moving on from Strome could improve the

    Plus if you don’t mind me adding,
    Lucic’s contact is hurting the team now & will continue to do so until he can be offloaded.
    Strome’s contract, not so much

  53. Woodguy v2.0 says:

    Ryan: I agree with that and think where we diverge is only in terminology.

    Turn it around, show me a sustainably effective PP that lacks a “brand name offensive dman.”

    No Carlson, Letang, Subban, Spurgeon, Josi, Byfuglien, Hedman, Krug, Barrie, Reily, Edler…

    Eh. Klef is as brand name as most imo

    Subban’s on the worst PP in the NHL right now btw….

    Josi’s on NSH 2PP.

    WSH scored just as well with Niskanen in Carlson’s spot.

    Maybe being on a good PP makes them “brand name” too?

  54. Woodguy v2.0 says:

    pts2pndr: I agree with you but it would be nice to have a D on the power play that was a legitimate threat to score! This would force the opposition team to change their defending strategy. Bear seems to have thatability and so does our young star in making in London. Might be a year or so away but future looks bright!

    The best PK’s ignore the point shot and focus on shutting down the slot and passes across the slot.

    PP shots from the point don’t score much and create much less chaos than slot shots.

  55. OriginalPouzar says:

    Scungilli Slushy,

    I wasn’t making any realistic assessment of the reason behind why Hall was traded and/or who did and did not want him traded, i was simply having a little bit of fun on the “do-over” scenario given the general consensus that the Oilers should have received a second piece and I think a high draft pick would have been logical.

  56. OriginalPouzar says:

    I missed most of that post.

    Giving up assets to get rid of Strome? Really? Lets pay another team to make our team worse? Sure, Strome isn’t a great offensive player but he makes our team better.

    He is also not on the verge of getting passed by McLeod, Khaira or Marody.

    McLeod may be a few years from even making the NHL.

    Marody has played two NHL games and likely needs to the year in Bakersfield in order for his to reach his middle six potential.

    Khaira, up and till 5 periods ago, was having a pretty major negative regression season. He is still solidifying himself as any ever day 4th line winger, let alone center let alone 3C.

  57. kgo says:

    OriginalPouzar,

    Agreed on McLeod and Marody… I would argue Khaira was having a pretty average season, with a slight negative depending on which lenses are applied…I would argue he has clearly solidified himself as an everyday 4th liner.

    Strome has value, although I feel his is going through the Cogliano paradox…not skilled enough for the top 6, not determined enough for the bottom 6… I’ve seen him swoop past too many checks….is there an advanced stat for that?

  58. drglen says:

    Khaira is looking good now. I’m liking the 4th line a lot. Kassian looks menacing. When he’s on he can be hard to play against. Basically the 4th line was the third line… I like the term ‘three amigos’ that somebody came up with.

    sigh. lucic. sigh strome. Maybe strome needs a shooter on left wing. How about putting yamo on Left wing with strome, and sit lucic? Really, he should be sitting, but it’s just too demoralizing for him and the team to do so.

    One thing struck me watching football tonight though, … the offensive and defensive coordinator battle. If the oilers are doing well, teams figure out how to shut down those tendencies through video study. Lucic becomes a ‘new look’ for any line, one that line gets studied and defended.

  59. LMHF#1 says:

    jp: Could you have a look at Lucic and Chiasson’s career stats? Even last year where Lucic disappeared for 60% of the season?

    What does Lucic have to do with this?

    We were talking about Letestu.

  60. drglen says:

    jp,

    I believe you could find an equivalent player via trade. There has to be something there besides just playing even. he’s not going to find his scoring touch,, but he may find a passing touch if they move lucic to……. oh well just give him a few days off.

  61. GMB3 says:

    kgo:
    OriginalPouzar,

    Agreed on McLeod and Marody… I would argue Khaira was having a pretty average season, with a slight negative depending on which lenses are applied…I would argue he has clearly solidified himself as an everyday 4th liner.

    Strome has value, although I feel his is going through the Cogliano paradox…not skilled enough for the top 6, not determined enough for the bottom 6… I’ve seen him swoop past too many checks….is there an advanced stat for that?

    Yes it’s called corsi and gf%. If he was swooping by that many checks, it would show up in his GA number on the ice.

    I think his defensive play has been much improved and I’ve seen him break up several plays with excellent backchecks this year

  62. GMB3 says:

    jp: 1) Lots of talk about sending out assets to get rid of Lucic. I have not heard the same about Strome.

    2) I don’t agree he’s on the verge of being passed by Khaira/Marody/McLeod

    3) Did it take a long time to find his spot? He’s been at 3C since the first quarter or third of last season. In any case, I’m not certain that should reflect poorly on the player.

    4) Strome is at 50% goal share overall, 67% (2-1) without Lucic. Also I don’t think he has to outscore to be an effective 3C.

    5) Absolutely Strome is vanilla, but I don’t see how that’s a problem. He’s scored like a high end 3rd liner in each of the past 3 seasons – he should get back there in all likelihood.

    I fail to see how moving on from Strome would improve the team.

    Excellent post

  63. Gerta Rauss says:

    Woodguy v2.0:
    hunter1909,

    Do you have the death March predictions posted anywhere?

    https://oilersdeathmarch.com/

    This years contest appears to be a work in progress but last years results are up

  64. Paddy Morans Jockstrap says:

    ashley:

    The root of that problem was planted before Hall and Larsson were drafted.

    Quoted for truth.

    It’s like people forgot an entire decade of trying to win with wingers and no defensemen. Do we need to post what the NHL defense looked like the day Chia was hired or what was in the system?

    Taylor Hall is a brilliant LW but TBOTB spent a decade creating the worst defensive group (pro and prospect) in pro hockey. Trading Eberle or even RNH was not going to move the needle. If people still want to complain about trading Taylor Hall years after the fact, they should at least direct their angst toward the right folks.

  65. kgo says:

    GMB3: Yes it’s called corsi and gf%. If he was swooping by that many checks, it would show up in his GA number on the ice.

    I think his defensive play has been much improved and I’ve seen him break up several plays with excellent backchecks this year

    Not if he’s at the end of his shift, mails in the forecheck, and goes for a line-change…which actually reminds me Strome appears to have issues with conditioning or shift length, I’ve seen him gassed out there a few times….most notably, and unsurprisingly 3 on 3 when he misplaced his jockstrap.

  66. jp says:

    Oilman99: That one timer of Chiasson’s last night made me think he could be the new Latestu on the PP, much more useful than Lucic for sure.

    LMHF#1: Except a much better hockey player overall who won’t turn the puck over a bunch.

    jp: Could you have a look at Lucic and Chiasson’s career stats? Even last year where Lucic disappeared for 60% of the season?

    LMHF#1: What does Lucic have to do with this?

    We were talking about Letestu.

    Won’t turn the puck over a bunch was about Letestu?

  67. hunter1909 says:

    Woodguy v2.0:
    hunter1909,

    Do you have the death March predictions posted anywhere?

    Thank you for asking.

    Due to real world issues, like holidays, then illness, then making a living, etc; this season’s edition of Death March is still pending.

    Is there any particular reason you need information? You might be able to help speed up the process by answering this question.

    Thank you for your cooperation.

    ps: Thank you Gerta – still hanging on to your beer offer(might offer it as a cash prize).

  68. Woodguy v2.0 says:

    hunter1909: Thank you for asking.

    Due to real world issues, like holidays, then illness, then making a living, etc; this season’s edition of Death March is still pending.

    Is there any particular reason you need information? You might be able to help speed up the process by answering this question.

    Thank you for your cooperation.

    ps: Thank you Gerta – still hanging on to your beer offer(might offer it as a cash prize).

    Just curious to see what others picked.

    Can’t remember if I picked 94, 95 or 96.

  69. stephen sheps says:

    Woodguy v2.0,

    I was not optimistic and pretty sure I reverted back to my Eakins/early Todd era prediction of a Hemsky. 83 for me. I’m thrilled by looking like a dummy at the moment but I still don’t trust the team just yet.

    Edit: after seeing the Padre’s comment below, I was reminded about the Yak. Pretty sure I picked 17.

    So far he’s at 7 goals and 12 points in 15 games played, good enough for 2nd on the team. Unfortunately somehow he’s still not an every day player, as the team has played 24 games this season. Only 1 player on the team has played in every game. The gigantic rosters KHL teams are allowed to have must have something to do with it, since Yak appears to be healthy (as in I couldn’t find him on an injury report but also can’t read or speak Russian). Even Pavel Datsyuk hasn’t played every night.

    Currently Patrik Hersley, the big Swedish defenceman a few folks were talking about around these parts a couple years back is leading SKA in goals with 11.

    And this concludes your first edition of the weekly Yak.

    I might make this a series if people like it. I am still very much in the Yak fan club, though maybe not to the same extent as my membership in the Anton Lander appreciation society.

  70. frjohnk says:

    Woodguy v2.0: Just curious to see what others picked.

    Can’t remember if I picked 94, 95 or 96.

    I picked 97.

    Not a hard number to forget.

    Cant remember the Yak number though.

  71. Pescador says:

    frjohnk: I picked 97.

    Not a hard number to forget.

    Cant remember the Yak number though.

    64, as is that’s where he should have been drafted

  72. LMHF#1 says:

    jp:
    Won’t turn the puck over a bunch was about Letestu?

    Yes.

    There was a reason you didn’t want him handling the puck…just shooting it.

  73. jp says:

    LMHF#1: Yes.

    There was a reason you didn’t want him handling the puck…just shooting it.

    Fair enough. The comment you responded to compared Chiasson to Letestu, then suggested he should replace Lucic on the current PP.

    Given the constant (and fair) reference here to Lucic being a turnover machine I assumed you were comparing the latter two.

  74. LMHF#1 says:

    jp: Fair enough. The comment you responded to compared Chiasson to Letestu, then suggested he should replace Lucic on the current PP.

    Given the constant (and fair) reference here to Lucic being a turnover machine I assumed you were comparing the latter two.

    My bad – thought I’d shortened the quote more but was on my phone.

  75. russ99 says:

    Dee Dee:
    Strome and Lucic are doing everything right but score goals. They are forming a 3rd line that pressure their opponents and hopefully they can get it working. I wonder if Kassian would help them out.

    Looch is noticable faster this year, much more physical, he just needs some puck luck to go his way. He is a good net front presence on the power play and even if it doesnt allways get represented on the score sheet he has helped.

    I suppose it depends on wether you are a glass half full or half empty kind of person but the team is noticably more fun to watch this year and its not just the winning. Bouchard didn’t get pressed into indentured service and is sent back to junior to mature for another year. The young ones aren’t being forced into first line roles. Some journeyman have arrived who are forcing the young ones to outplay them to find a spot on the roster.

    Chiarelli made some good moves this past summer that are paying dividends this year and Mclellan is coaching this unbalanced rag tag group to a much higher position in the standings than anyone predicted at the start of the season.

    Mikko Koskinen playing this well is huge for the Oilers, and alot of flack was given in these parts for the signing but the Oilers now have the best Goaltending tandem since…. forever?

    Besides, Lucic is only one goal behind Taylor Hall. Imagine that.

    They need someone at RW who can put the puck on the net and make the goalie work.

    Maybe swap in Chiasson for a few games?

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