Hold Back The Water

I think this is an exercise in futility, but also feel a need to write it down. The Edmonton Oilers didn’t play well last night, and they didn’t get lucky either. The hockey team had several 10-bell chances that didn’t cash in the first period, and by the second period looked like the post-Christmas Oilers (lost in the supermarket).

The general manager and coach have to get this rig turned around and that probably means some kind of transaction(s). Peter Chiarelli should keep his powder dry. Stay the course. The sins of the past do not justify sending away any major portion of the future. Anything beyond one of those lefty blue and a depth draft pick for Mats Zuccarello is too much by plenty. Something’s gotta give, but the smart play is to hold back the water and give this time to burn.

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. Best available offer is here!

  • New Lowetide: What happens to the Oilers when Alex Chiasson’s hot streak ends?
  • Jonathan Willis: Under the circumstances, playing in the AHL affords Jesse Puljujarvi the best chance at career redemption.
  • Lowetide: A new day dawning for Oilers prospects in Bakersfield as increased usage means greater success.
  • Daniel Nugent-Bowman: In depth: Embattled Oilers GM Peter Chiarelli defends his record, remains bullish on the future.
  • Lowetide: Future Oilers bubbling under in Bakersfield may get a look sooner rather than later.
  • 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.
  • Lowetide: Oilers reach a pressure point on defence and right wing.

DEFENSE, LAST NIGHT

  • Klefbom-Larsson went 17-8 in 17:28, 10-5 shots and 1-1 goals, 4-1 HDSC. With McDavid, the duo went 11-5, meaning 6-3 without (although 3-1 HDSC with 97, as you would expect). Were 10-5 (in 11:52, 1-1 goals) against Hoffman-Barkov-Dadanov, who were a freaking load. I love this pairing.
  • Gravel-Benning were 11-15 in 12:07, 8-10 shots and 0-1 goals, 2-3 HDSC. Pair were 2-1 with McDavid, 9-14 without. There isn’t much finesse with this group, Benning is mostly hanging on for dear life. Were 5-6 against Malgan-McCann-Bjugstadt, 0-1 goals. I think the Oilers would like to make a move here, Caleb Jones can’t get NHL-ready fast enough. The problem? Price tags are too dear.
  • Nurse-Russell defend too much, they are absolutely playing too much without the puck in their own end. I see sweeping statements being made about them defensively, but the big problem is they’re doing it too much. Need to get that puck out under control, as they were doing earlier in the season. Went 9-16 in 14:48, 6-9 shots, no goals and 1-3 HDSC. I want to be clear here, and on a night when there were no GA. If any NHL defenseman defends as much as these two, it’s only a matter of time. I think both of these guys have value as NHL players, but they’re playing way too much in their own zone. They need help and to play on separate pairings. RFN. Problem? Second pair RHD, if available, cost the moon. Perhaps Matt Benning can move up and Russell can play on the third pair.
  • Cam Talbot stopped 29 of 32, .906. He didn’t see the third goal, would love to know when he lost track and what Ryan Strome was doing on the play.
  • NaturalStatTrick and NHL.com.

FORWARDS, LAST NIGHT

  • Nuge-McDavid-Rattie were 6-6 in 10:57, 0-1 goals. Caggiula-McDavid-Draisaitl went 9-3 in 7:49, 1-0 goals. I think we should be prepared for anything on Sunday, although Todd McLellan’s post-game explanation (Barkov) makes sense. The goal helped, but the team couldn’t capitalize. McDavid was 13-8, 1-1 goals against Barkov, a majestic faceoff between two young giants. Edmonton would do well to find some clean air for 97 in the return engagement, suspect a better result would greet them. Rattie had two fantastic chances in the first, one of those goes in and maybe the script ends differently.
  • Rieder-Draisaitl-Chiasson were 5-8 in 6:58, 0-0 goals. The worry you always have with LD is his linemates and I do think the current group is shy offensively (despite appearances). I like them both as players though. Leon’s early chance would have made a difference in my opinion.
  • Lucic-Strome-Caggiula went 8-12 in 7:43, 0-1 goals and Strome had a tough time on the Huberdeau power-play goal. He had a miserable night. Caggiula moved up the depth chart and played well to my eye, Lucic made a couple of good defensive plays but not much shaking at the other end.
  • Puljujarvi-Brodziak-Kassian were 6-9 in 8:30, Pulju had a fumble early on a breakout, was heading to the bench when the puck turned over, and he dutifully went back to get his minus with McDavid and Nuge. Absolutely certain the coach noticed. He’s heading to California to eat his vegetables I expect, it’s possible we don’t see him until after Christmas.

OILERS AFTER 16

  • Oilers in October 20156-10-0, 10 points; goal differential -7
  • Oilers in October 2016: 9-6-1, 19 points; goal differential +4
  • Oilers in October 2017: 6-9-1, 13 points; goal differential -13
  • Oilers in October 2018: 8-7-1, 17 points; goal differential -5

Last night was disappointing but nothing close to terminal. Edmonton returns to a substantial set of opponents in the coming week and on a three-game losing streak. There’s no need to panic, beyond this team’s own history. The 2017 team is now creeping into the conversation with this year’s team.

OILERS IN NOVEMBER

  • Oilers in November 2015: 2-3-0, four points; goal differential -3
  • Oilers in November 2016: 2-2-1, five points; goal differential -3
  • Oilers in November 2017: 3-2-0, six points; goal differential 0
  • Oilers in November 2018: 2-3-0, four points; goal differential -3

The team is now on par with the 2015 group and slightly behind the two other seasons. No real panic yet but there’s a sense of opportunity missed.

WHAT TO EXPECT IN 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 1-3-0)
  • 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: 2-3-0, 4 points in 5 games

In order to reach my prediction, Edmonton would need to go 6-2-1 and that’s a big ask. I’m thinking my lowballing October may have impacted my highballing November, or something along those lines. Edmonton, after last night, is on pace to finish with 87 points, and that would see them outside the 2019 playoffs.

No need to panic, we agreed early Edmonton would finish between 90 and 94 points and that may or may not be enough to make the second season. Colorado, Winnipeg and Arizona have the best goal differential in this group, the Oilers need to be aiming for that kind of goal differential.

All kinds of rumors surrounding the Oilers now, The Fourth Period has Chiarelli casting about for a goaltender (don’t know about that one) while at least one rookie age 20 is apparently headed to Bakersfield.

I don’t think any of this makes sense. If management believes in Puljujarvi and Yamamoto, as they clearly do, then right wing needs only a rental fix and that player may not yet be available. The team badly needs a RHD but it’s a great bet that player isn’t available this time of year.

Goalie? Cam Talbot’s even-strength SP is .923 this morning, that’s No. 15 among regulars in the NHL. Mikko Koskinen is .919 in the discipline. Edmonton ranks No. 13 in 5-on-5 goals against (28) but have given up the fifth most 5-on-4 goals (12). The penalty kill is an issue.

LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE

At 10 this morning, we kick off another Friday edition of the Lowdown. We’re going to have fun this morning, at 10:20 I’ll reveal my “most embarrassing moment in broadcasting” and it’s a wild one. No uber incident, but kind of nuts! TSN1260, scheduled to appear:

  • Steve Lansky, BigMouthSports. We’ll also get Steve’s toughest broadcasting moment, talk about the Oilers and get you ready for the weekend.
  • Derek Taylor, TSN Details on the CFL. We’ll set up the weekend, two fabulous games that will set the divisional finals next weekend.
  • Matt Iwanyk, TSN1260. What should Peter Chiarelli do? Jason Maas will be back, what does that mean for the Eskimos?

10-1260 text, @Lowetide on twitter.

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232 Responses to "Hold Back The Water"

« Older Comments
  1. Wilde says:

    OriginalPouzar:
    The Oilers better sign Ryan McLeod before the end of the year. If he doesn’t sign until January 1 or later, his contract won’t slide next year even if he spends the entire year in the AHL, however, if he signs prior to January 1 and plays next year in the AHL (i.e. less than 10 games in the NHL no matter what league), his contract will slide.

    He’ll be on the NHL roster full time next fall

  2. Decidedly Skeptical Fan says:

    tileguy: No book, Katz will buy his silence.

    Haha. You are most likely right. Here’s hoping it costs Katz dearly.

  3. who says:

    JimmyV1965: Pettersson might be one of the best players in the league in a couple years, but it won’t be this year. He will wear down. The NHL is an incredible grind. I really doubt he gets 80 pts this year.

    I’m not predicting how many points he will get.
    The question was whose roster would you pick, Vancouver or Edmonton without McDavid?
    I’ve already seen this kid make plays that 98% of NHLers can’t make
    That’s good enough for me.
    I love Leon but this kid is ahead of where Leon was at 19

  4. who says:

    Wilde: He’ll be on the NHL roster full time next fall

    Maybe.
    Maybe not.
    Let’s see what he looks like next fall.

  5. Lowetide says:

    who: I’m not predicting how many points he will get.
    The question was whose roster would you pick, Vancouver or Edmonton without McDavid?
    I’ve already seen this kid make plays that 98% of NHLers can’t make
    That’s good enough for me.
    I love Leon but this kid is ahead of where Leon was at 19

    Leon is on his way to a third straight 70+ point season. That’s outstanding. Auston Matthews is averaging 44 goals per 82 games. Insane. McDavid is averaging 35-66-101 per 82 games.

    Pettersson is enjoying a stunning rookie season, on pace for 75 goals as a rookie. We have to give him time, more than a year (more like three) in order to properly surround him as a player. Fantastic talent.

  6. godot10 says:

    workaroundaccount: Well put sir. Could say the same thing about RD who are “never available”. It’s not that I don’t like Rieder, but vast majority of teams have 5-7 40+ pt guys, even at his current pace, he doesn’t fit that. A nice player, but not a guy who is a bargain in the top 6.

    Rieder at $2 million is a bargain. He is an actual NHL top 9 winger, who won’t hurt you if he has to play in the top 6.

  7. godot10 says:

    OriginalPouzar:
    The Oilers better sign Ryan McLeod before the end of the year. If he doesn’t sign until January 1 or later, his contract won’t slide next year even if he spends the entire year in the AHL, however, if he signs prior to January 1 and plays next year in the AHL (i.e. less than 10 games in the NHL no matter what league), his contract will slide.

    If you know this, McLeod’s agent undoubtedly knows this, and will recommend not signing till after Jan 1st.

  8. godot10 says:

    JimmyV1965: Pettersson might be one of the best players in the league in a couple years, but it won’t be this year. He will wear down. The NHL is an incredible grind. I really doubt he gets 80 pts this year.

    Lowetide has been rather modest on Pettersson. He identified and rated Pettersson higher sooner than most of the public scouting services and reports. By later in the year, the pack had caught up.

  9. Wilde says:

    who: Maybe.
    Maybe not.
    Let’s see what he looks like next fall.

    He will be on the roster next fall regardless of what he looks like next fall.

  10. godot10 says:

    Wilde: He’ll be on the NHL roster full time next fall

    Offense might be a problem with McLeod. If you want him to develop offensively properly, it might take at least one full year in the AHL.

  11. Wilde says:

    godot10: Offense might be a problem with McLeod.If you want him to develop offensively properly, it might take at least one full year in the AHL.

    If he can check, McLellan will keep him. Todd’s idea of offense is to retrieve the puck, go low-to-high, wire it, retrieve the puck, go low-to-high, wire it. Any player can do that, so as long as he can check I don’t think McLellan will be able to tell if he has room to grow offensively (and creatively) or not and he’ll keep him.

  12. SwedishPoster says:

    godot10: Rieder at $2 million is a bargain.He is an actual NHL top 9 winger, who won’t hurt you if he has to play in the top 6.

    Rieder is a fine 3rd liner but given the opportunity to play alongside Drai and PP time I’d say he has been a bit disappointing. Still a big 0 in the goal column and he’s earned that goal total in full. He’s shown no finish at all, really weak shot and no ability to find the puck around the net, it’s been surprisingly bad, it’s looked so weak I’m surprised he’s been able to surpass 10 goals in all of his NHL seasons to date. I like him fine overall, smart defensively, great skater, good passer, I like that he brings the hustle every night but man has he looked terrible as a scorer. (now watch him pot three in the next game)

  13. Wilde says:

    The Ducks eating shit in the worst loss of the season by any team sustains me

  14. OriginalPouzar says:

    Wilde: He’ll be on the NHL roster full time next fall

    Quite possibly.

    At the same time, its highly likely that the best league for him next year is the American Hockey League – that doesn’t mean the organization will give him the privilege of developing in the proper league and put him there but its likely where he should play.

    Ryan McLeod is a very good prospect, a mid to late first round talent picked in the second round because of the depth of the draft. The majority of these prospects benefit from starting their pro careers in the AHL and projecting this prospect to start his pro career in the NHL is, in my opinion, over-valuing any performance by a prospect in training camp and the exhibition season, in particular the first 6-7 games of exhibition.

    Ryan McLeod performed well in camp and early exhibition – as almost all higher end prospects do. Its means zero as far as NHL readiness and we are seeing perfect examples of just that with Yamamoto and Puljujarvi.

    When McLeod performs well next year early in camp and exhibition there were be cries for him to “make the team” and he likely will and, will, of course, struggle when the actual games start – as most 20 year old prospects do.

  15. OriginalPouzar says:

    who: I’m not predicting how many points he will get.
    The question was whose roster would you pick, Vancouver or Edmonton without McDavid?
    I’ve already seen this kid make plays that 98% of NHLers can’t make
    That’s good enough for me.
    I love Leon but this kid is ahead of where Leon was at 19

    Why is the choice re: Edmonton delete McDavid?

    Isn’t McDavid on the roster? Isn’t he a part of the Oilers.

    If we delete McDavid from the Oilers then also delete Petersson from the Canucks.

    I despise that argumet “Without McDavid, the Oilers are a lottery team” – well, guess what, the Oilers have McDavid so what’s the point of positing what would happen without him.

    Without Nathan MacKinnon, the Avs are a lottery team – but what does that mean? Nothing.

  16. Woodguy v2.0 says:

    OriginalPouzar: Why is the choice re: Edmonton delete McDavid?

    Isn’t McDavid on the roster?Isn’t he a part of the Oilers.

    If we delete McDavid from the Oilers then also delete Petersson from the Canucks.

    I despise that argumet “Without McDavid, the Oilers are a lottery team” – well, guess what, the Oilers have McDavid so what’s the point of positing what would happen without him.

    Without Nathan MacKinnon, the Avs are a lottery team – but what does that mean? Nothing.

    It’s a way of evaluating the GM’s ability to build a team and examine the depth.

    Cup winners aren’t lottery teams when their best player is off the ice.

  17. Lowetide says:

    For @TheAthleticEDM While Oilers fans contemplate losing Jesse Puljujarvi in a trade for poor return, the organization finally has an area of strength. It’s possible to make a trade and remain flush for the first time in years.

    https://theathletic.com/644983/2018/11/10/oilers-trade-options-dealing-from-strength-has-finally-become-a-possibility/

  18. Bling says:

    Woodguy v2.0: It’s a way of evaluating the GM’s ability to build a team and examine the depth.

    Cup winners aren’t lottery teams when their best player is off the ice.

    Chia’s two biggest mistakes were the Lucic contract and not trading him this past off-season when it was still possible.

    Giving up Hall was stupid, but at least Larsson filled a hole.

    Lucic was not scoring at a second line level in year one of his contract. He was sub-replacement level last season, and now he’s continuing that AND they won’t bench him.

    This guy is like a black hole for offence. McDavid and Draisaitl had their offence suppressed; now he’s destroying Strome. JP and KY look completely lost out there, and I swear they’ve looked the most lost playing with Lucic.

    Lucic may take out several careers before someone says enough is enough.

    If you still think he’s an NHLer now (I don’t), I don’t know how anyone can argue he will one next season.

  19. Lowetide says:

    Bling: Chia’s two biggest mistakes were the Lucic contract and not trading him this past off-season when it was still possible.

    Giving up Hall was stupid, but at least Larsson filled a hole.

    Lucic was not scoring at a second line level in year one of his contract. He was sub-replacement level last season, and now he’s continuing that AND they won’t bench him.

    This guy is like a black hole for offence. McDavid and Draisaitl had their offence suppressed; now he’s destroying Strome. JP and KY look completely lost out there, and I swear they’ve looked the most lost playing with Lucic.

    Lucic may take out several careers before someone says enough is enough.

    If you still think he’s an NHLer now (I don’t), I don’t know how anyone can argue he will one next season.

    The Reinhart trade ranks No. 1 for me.

  20. Bling says:

    Lowetide: The Reinhart trade ranks No. 1 for me.

    Ah. There’s been so much trauma over the last few years following this team that I’m starting to forget.

    LT wins.

  21. Bling says:

    As a side note:

    With the early returns of the Tatar/Pacioretty and Domi/Galchenyuk trades, has Bergevin done the impossible and snuck past Chia, relegating the latter to worst GM in the league?

    I think so.

  22. Glovjuice says:

    Lowetide: The Reinhart trade ranks No. 1 for me.

    Agreed, worst trade in Oilers history – and totally unnecessary in retrospect

  23. Dustylegnd says:

    Lowetide,

    Depends on who we assume the Oilers were going to draft with the 16 pick, before Barzal emerged as a star, Stauffer would gleefully claim the Oil did not have Barzal at 16, the consensus indicated Joel Erickson Ek was their man which makes sense because he is a bust compared to Barzal

    Others suggested Thomas Chabot was the pick but Stauffer shot that down as well, which makes sense because Chabot has 20 points from D this year

    I get your point that had the oil drafted Barzal and say Aho with those two picks it would be franchise altering in a god way.

    The combination of Salary, years remaining on the contract, the player being untradeable and 2 goals since December of 2017 cripples this team beyond comprehension. Knowing he would be able to sign Lucic also gave Chia the courage to trade Hall which makes Leon’s job much much much harder.

    I assume Kleff would not be the player he is without Larrsen, but imagine Leon with Hall, the fact that Chia traded for Rienhart and traded Hall and still has a job makes me lose hope

  24. Woodguy v2.0 says:

    Lowetide: The Reinhart trade ranks No. 1 for me.

    Agreed.

    Pete obliterated a lot of value there and most knew it the second it was done.

  25. Glovjuice says:

    Woodguy v2.0: Agreed.

    Pete obliterated a lot of value there and most knew it the second it was done.

    That trade literally ruined the McDavid weekend for me. I was shocked.

  26. Jethro Tull says:

    Dustylegnd,

    There is also no guarantee that the Oilers would have developed Barzal and Aho the same as NYI or CAR. If fact, their track record of prospect development isn’t good.

    Iirc, Pete didn’t have a lot of time to assess trades. The trade for an ex-Oil King has MacT’s paw prints all over it. I believe there may have been an agreement in principle before the draft. Pete didn’t do his homework on the then current scouting department.

    He shouldn’t have made his decision based on one set of data from a suspect, possibly corrupt, source.

    https://youtu.be/6zQ55S-DJsM

  27. Sierra says:

    Lowetide: The Reinhart trade ranks No. 1 for me.

    Absolutely, not even close in my books.

  28. Buddy says:

    Glovjuice: Agreed, worst trade in Oilers history – and totally unnecessary in retrospect

    The Reinhart trade was terrible, but let’s not exaggerate. I’m old enough to remember August 1988.

  29. Lewis Grant says:

    Dustylegnd: Depends on who we assume the Oilers were going to draft with the 16 pick, before Barzal emerged as a star, Stauffer would gleefully claim the Oil did not have Barzal at 16, the consensus indicated Joel Erickson Ek was their man which makes sense because he is a bust compared to Barzal
    Others suggested Thomas Chabot was the pick but Stauffer shot that down as well, which makes sense because Chabot has 20 points from D this year
    I get your point that had the oil drafted Barzal and say Aho with those two picks it would be franchise altering in a god way.

    From what I recall, they were going to take Eriksson Ek at #16 and were high on Brandon Carlo at #33. Carlo would look pretty darn good on that D right now.

    So while our trading is terrible, at least our scouting is break-even.

    That’s a lot better than Boston’s idiosyncratic scouting. From #13-#15, they took Zboril, Debrusk, and Senyshyn. The next three picks were Barzal, Connor, and Chabot. Zboril and Senyshyn are busts, and while Debrusk is a fine player, Barzal and Connor are approaching stardom and Chabot is likely the next.

  30. Glovjuice says:

    Buddy: The Reinhart trade was terrible, but let’s not exaggerate. I’m old enough to remember August 1988.

    Won a cup after that trade.

  31. drglen says:

    I know but the way rheinhardt played down the stretch for oilki gs we all thought he was gold

  32. BG19 says:

    drglen,

    I personally watched many a game during the era where the Oil Kings were making their runs for the Memorial club. While Griffen was strong and made decent plays, I always thought he had foot-speed issues and was devastated when we traded for him.

    This has to be Chia’s worst trade ever!!!!

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