This morning, the Edmonton Oilers are in a playoff position, No. 8 in the Western Conference. By the end of tonight’s games, the team could be anywhere from No. 3 in the Pacific Division to No. 11 in the conference. There are 65 games left in the season and already every game matters. If there’s a shortage of antacids in the Edmonton area, I’d suggest coaches and management should be listed among the suspects. Stress is good, pressure can be a good motivator. Seven straight months of both? There has to be an easier way to make a living.
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- New Lowetide: Oilers send Puljujarvi and Yamamoto to Bakersfield; recall Marody
- Lowetide: Oilers trade options: Dealing from strength is finally a possibility.
- 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.
OILERS AFTER 17
- Oilers in October 2015: 6-11-0, 12 points; goal differential -10
- Oilers in October 2016: 9-7-1, 19 points; goal differential +1
- Oilers in October 2017: 6-9-2, 14 points; goal differential -13
- Oilers in October 2018: 8-7-1, 17 points; goal differential -5
The 2018 team has been mirroring the playoff (2016) squad since early in the season and once again has an opportunity to equal Todd McLellan’s best start on the Canadian prairies. This week offers challenge and opportunity for a team with eight wins but a goal differential in the red.
OILERS IN NOVEMBER
- Oilers in November 2015: 2-4-0, four points; goal differential -4
- Oilers in November 2016: 2-3-1, five points; goal differential -4
- Oilers in November 2017: 3-3-0, six points; goal differential -2
- Oilers in November 2018: 2-3-0, four points; goal differential -3
As is the case with the overall record, this year’s team has a chance to get close to the 2016 team and tie 2017’s Oilers for the best November record under McLellan. Edmonton is so close to playing a mountain of division games, a time when clearance is possible. Need to get that lineup humming.
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 1-3-0)
- 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
It’s an usual schedule because there are so few games, but the three Edmonton will play before this time next week are important to the month. I spent a lot of time on predicting results for the next four games, settling on 2-2-0 but going back and forth on the actual wins. I have tonight as a loss for the Oilers.
RE GONE WILD
Back in the summer, I ran my RE series, and so far the ‘bottom-six forwards’ projections are high comedy. Here’s the list of my predictions and current totals in brackets:
- Connor McDavid 82, 50-70-120 1.46 (16, 10-13-23 1.44)
- Leon Draisaitl 80, 25-43-68 0.85 (16, 10-7-17 1.06)
- Ryan Nugent-Hopkins 67, 26-41-67 1.00 (16, 3-14-17 1.06)
- Kailer Yamamoto 44, 10-19-29 .66 (12, 1-1-2 .167)
- Ty Rattie 51, 9-18-27 .53 (7, 1-2-3 .429)
The top group is close to correct, I think you can look at that group and claim something close to ‘in the range’ of expectation. Yamamoto hasn’t worked out but the season isn’t over. I did not include Alex Chiasson in the RE series. Let’s head for the second group:
- Ryan Strome 73, 15-20-35 .48 (16, 1-0-1 .063)
- Jesse Puljujarvi 78, 18-18-36 .46 (11, 1-0-1 .091)
- Milan Lucic 81, 14-20-34 .42 (16, 1-3-4 .250)
- Tobias Rieder 80, 15-16-31 .39 (16, 0-7-7 .438)
- Jujhar Khaira 62, 7-10-17 .27 (14, 0-4-4 .286)
- Kyle Brodziak 75, 7-11-18 .24 (15, 2-0-2 .133)
- Drake Caggiula 51, 5-6-11 .22 (12, 5-0-5 .417)
- Zack Kassian 73, 7-8-15 .21 (13, 1-0-1 .076)
- Cooper Marody 7, 0-1-1 .14 (2, 0-0-0 .000)
Drake Caggiula is making me look silly, his five goals on the season getting the utility man all kinds of minutes (I predicted the opposite). Tony Brar has an article on Caggiula at NHL.com, worth the read. I think Tobias Rieder and Jujhar Khaira are solid hits for the RE, but the rest of the group are not close to my predictions. You can blame the guy predicting these numbers or the players on the ice, but the main point is production from important parts of the roster is lagging badly.
— Bakersfield Condors (@Condors) November 11, 2018
All kinds of excitement about the Bakersfield Condors these days and with good reasons. Cooper Marody is scoring 1.43 points-per-game, Tyler Benson is over a point-per-game and the even-strength points are coming now. Cameron Hebig has six goals in 11 games, his five power-play goals leading the AHL. Patrick Russell and Joe Gambardella are solid two-way types who are showing well.
Caleb Jones and William Lagesson are both pushing in a big way, elevating their games and chances of seeing the NHL this season. Ethan Bear is back in the lineup and taking on more responsibility as he gets back to 100 percent.
A word of caution. Not all of these men will play 500 NHL games and some won’t play any at all. You can go back to any point in Oilers history and find groups of six or seven prospects who impressed for a time. It’s a long road, it’s a marathon, it’s a lot about staying healthy and thriving in new challenges.
It’s possible this Condors team develops a group like the 2011-12 Grand Rapids Griffins. Two quality NHL players (Tomas Tatar, Gustav Nyquist) along with a defender who had several productive seasons (Brendan Smith) and some role players who hung around for a time (Joakim Andersson, Chris Conner, Andrej Nestrasil, Brian Lashoff). I honestly think that’s a better line in the sand than imagining all of these kids make it.
I’ve been thinking a lot about my Dad lately, about his generation and the one before, and what they sacrificed for us. When I was young, he would tell me about the war, not so much the what of it, but the why of it. Personal anecdotes tended to involve bar fights and a gift exchange (he had a pair on binoculars he loved, was bringing them home but a British soldier begged him to trade it for a .303 British army rifle, and he did).
The most emotion he ever showed me about the war came when speaking about his brother Roy, who was killed in World War II. He would always say ‘never forget’ and ‘it’s up to you’ and ‘don’t let your guard down’ and that’s all good advice. Even today. Especially today.
This crazy old world has gotten itself into a whole bunch of trouble, dragging up some of the worst of our past, and deciding to embrace the things that divide us. Today, I will honor my father, the men who fought in the Great War and the big one that followed, and I will talk to my kids about the evils of embracing hatred for its own sake, about why we must never despise even one individual just because they are of a different race, creed or colour. We are all equal. All races, all creeds, all colours.
I will talk to my kids. They already know, I’m going to tell them again. It’s for my father, and his brother Roy, and those women and men who do the the impossible work of maintaining our freedom and way of life yesterday and today. They are the best of us. It’s Remembrance Day. Never forget.