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.
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- 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 2015: 6-10-0, 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.
Per Darren Dreger, #Pens forward Daniel Sprong is out there among rumoured trade bait.
Per Bob McKenzie, #LAKings speculation is picking up on the team potentially dealing Tanner Pearson.
— Brennan Klak (@nhlupdate) November 8, 2018
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.