Game 21 2018-19: Oilers at Sharks

by Lowetide

There are a whole group of words and phrases I don’t want to bring out of the tickle trunk. Nadir, Donner party, gales of November (although I’ve already used that one), the draft, trade deadline selloffs and the like. I want to talk about the playoffs, Calder Trophy candidates emerging, wins by five or more goals. November, man. It sucks. Every year.

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: Oilers No. 2 Prospect winter 2018: Kailer Yamamoto.
  • Jonathan Willis: A list of which Oilers are likely to be traded.
  • Tyler Dellow: Ryan Strome for Ryan Spooner looks like a change for change sake
  • Lowetide: Oilers No. 1 Prospect winter 2018: Evan Bouchard.
  • Jonathan Willis: Tobias Rieder will miss a critical month, creating problems for Edmonton but opportunities for its players.
  • Tyler Dellow: If nothing changes, Oilers should buy out Milan Lucic next summer.
  • Lowetide: The past, present and future of the Andrej Sekera contract.
  • Daniel Nugent-Bowman: Elmer Benning on his 47 years as a scout (excellent article).
  • Jonathan Willis: After several failed attempts to fix their issues on the wings, it’s time for the Oilers to explore the trade market.
  • Lowetide: Connor McDavid, a 50-goal season and chasing Phil Esposito’s magical 1970-71.

OILERS AFTER 21

  • Oilers in October 20157-13-1, 15 points; goal differential -9
  • Oilers in October 2016: 12-8-1, 25 points; goal differential +10
  • Oilers in October 2017: 7-12-2, 16 points; goal differential -18
  • Oilers in October 2018: 9-10-1, 19 points; goal differential -9

The 2018 Oilers could do themselves an enormous favor with a win tonight. Separation from the 2015 and 2017 teams is important, as these trajectories seem to have some kind of value as predictors for the full 82. By that I mean this: The current team is the second best McLellan team, which isn’t the same thing as saying they’ll make the playoffs, but there’s a light up above and maybe 20 men scramble from a would-be grave. It has to happen now, and honestly it’s a rare thing for a team to grab a winning streak right on time.

OILERS IN NOVEMBER

  • Oilers in November 2015: 3-6-1, seven points; goal differential -5
  • Oilers in November 2016: 3-6-1, seven points; goal differential -8
  • Oilers in November 2017: 4-5-1, nine points; goal differential 0
  • Oilers in November 2018: 3-6-0, six points; goal differential -7

It’s four snails heading to the finish line, good grief living through this has been kind of a drag. You could say (as I did above) a win tonight makes things better, but the Oilers have put themselves in a difficult position by losing so many in November. It seems a bit much to bitch about such a small sample size, but losing contact with the top of the Pacific this early spells doom.

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 1-1-0)
  • On the road to: Calgary (Expected 0-1-0) (Actual 0-1-0)
  • At home to: Vegas (Expected 1-0-0) (Actual 0-1-0)
  • 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: 3-6-0, 6 points in 9 games

There are five games left, Edmonton needs to win three of them in my opinion. If the club arrives on November 30th with a 6-8-0 record in November it’ll be a body blow but not close to fatal. The team would be 12-12-0, 24 points in 24 games and on pace for just 82 points. The Pacific Division is a blessing so far this year, but two or three teams are going to get hot and two of them (San Jose and Calgary) may have already announced themselves. Arizona is also a team to watch.

THE HEAT IS ON!

We’ve heard various versions of this story since the team came back from Europe, depending on the recent won-loss record of the team. Still, Elliotte Friedman’s hit on Sportsnet 960 radio in Calgary yesterday seemed to give us a more current lay of the land.

  • Friedman: “I don’t think it’s just coach watch, I think everybody in that organization is on pins and needles right now. And I’ve said this before. Right from the start of this year, it was on edge in Edmonton. I just think that it has gone away at certain times. They lost their first two games – it was crazy intense for two games into the season. They kind of righted the ship. They’ve been very streaky, and every time they go on one of the bad streaks, people tell me the intensity of the heat just ramps up again.I don’t know too many people that feel that safe there right now.”

What should Daryl Katz do? I’m absolutely certain he isn’t going to call me on cell today, so there’s no reason to save my opinion. Here goes. I look at this organization as a train that decoupled many miles ago.

The train engine (NHL team) keeps stopping and starting despite fantastic riches, mostly because the depth is just awful after the top group (McDavid ON, McDavid OFF). The boxcars needed to fill in around in complementary roles are miles away, matriculating on the farm and working their way to Edmonton.

Getting those two things to couple is the goal. I am of the belief that the amateur scouting side is doing a fine job, and the team seems to have found a coach in Bakersfield more than willing to play the kids. That portion of the pipeline appears to be fixed at this time.

That brings us to the big club. My main concern with Todd McLellan is the transitioning of the kids, from Jesse Puljujarvi to Kailer Yamamoto and Ethan Bear on it goes. If he can capably incorporate these young players to the NHL in productive roles, then firing him is (in my opinion) short sighted. All of the players who I thought would push and win NHL jobs are in the minors. That’s a tell.

My main concern with Peter Chiarelli is his next big trade. I don’t think anyone can reasonably argue his major tweaks represent a net gain, and I’m fully aware of Adam Larsson’s value. Some big pieces have been sent away for nothing and you can’t have that in today’s NHL. The McDavid contract has a lot of track left, but there’s a chance another major deal could put this team in the same holding pattern we’re seeing now. I would recommend firing the general manager, replacing him with a capable hand (might be Keith Gretzky). If you can’t trust your GM to make a big trade, he isn’t your general manager any more.

I would bring in a new man who could/would make the decision on the coach. As unhappy as many of you would be with that outcome, it would, in my opinion, be the fairest route from here. I would hope the new general manager would find a way to convince the coach to play Jesse Puljujarvi and Kailer Yamamoto, bring up Ethan Bear and Caleb Jones for looks, and perhaps a cup of coffee for Tyler Benson at some point in time.

Note: I wrote about Yamamoto this morning at The Athletic, including reasons why I think he’ll be back with the Oilers in the next two weeks.

LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE

A busy morning, TSN1260. We have much to discuss, including the Oilers and the Grey Cup. Scheduled to appear:

  • Jonathan Willis, The Athletic. Oilers at the quarter pole, and names that might he headed out of town.
  • Dan Rusanowsky, Play-by-play voice of the San Jose Sharks on KFOX 98.5 FM and the San Jose Sharks Radio Network. Sharks once again at the top of the division, the most consistent team in the Pacific.
  • Scott Cullen, The Athletic. Grey Cup, Oilers troubles, explaining Alex Chiasson.

10-1260 text, @Lowetide twitter. Talk soon.

707 comments
0

You may also like

0 0 vote
Article Rating
707 Comments
Oldest
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
p3rsonman

I don’t understand why Katz is waiting until we’ve dropped further in the standings before pulling the chute.

Clearly Chiarelli has lost the confidence of upper management (as rumored he needs approval for any major trades), and the writing is on the wall for McLellan. Just rip the bandaid off, can both of them, and let’s start getting on with this show here. Losing their jobs is unfortunate, but they know the business and they’ve been well compensated – they’ll be OK.

hunter1909

p3rsonman: I don’t understand why Katz is waiting until we’ve dropped further in the standings before pulling the chute.

Addicted to 1st overall picks…they’re like “Only need one more”…

drglen

Good point. If you dont trust gm hes not your gm

Todd never trusted the kids is a fact. Agreed there should hsve been a way to work them in. Especially bear and bouchard ( i know back to that )

Is it naive to say todd could not “let them play? ” Too stuck in his mind on “sound hockey” ? The team looks lost because they dont trust instincts

Agree gm first (like yesterdsy) then coach. Clean house by weeks end

Kinger_Oil.redux

– Here’s the thing with your view that we need a coach to bring up Jessie, Kailer, Bear, etc

– They haven’t really been consistently better than the guys Chia brought in as insurance: Chiasson Rattie, Caggs are all doing the scoring that Jessie/Kailer havent’ so far

– They did Bouchard’s 9 games optimal IMO: he just wasn’t ready

– Who do you play Bear with: would you rather Bear than Gravel (I’m just asking, I don’t know)

– Strome wasn’t scoring a drop so they traded him for this Spooner guy, who seems to go on scoring streaks when with good linemates

– I agree that the failure of Kailer and Pool to score goals with skill is a big fail. I’m just not sure how you evaluate if its on the coach, the GM or the players themselves

– I mean sure fire the coach, and bring in a fresh perspective, and have the players come out and say: “this isn’t on Coach, its on us”, blah blah

– It seems that management and ownership (and fan base) is really focused on the next win or loss. That’s an awful way to run a business, and expect good results and performance and decision making from everyone.

– Everyone associated with the team knows that if they lose out this road trip, coach is gone

– The have had flashes of great playing this year (and not much injuries). Going to be a heck of a road trip.

– I just hate that its Gretzky and MacT and Lowe that are part of the brain thrust for this: they don’t have the acumen, and have different personal agenda’s,.

– I doubt whatever happens it ends up being the right decision

jtblack

Friedman has the stats on Teams that are not in the playoff picture at US Thanksgiving, and how many go on to make the playoffs (less than 10%).

With a win tonight, the Oilers wouldhold down 3rd in the Pacific. I do believe tonight matters. Big time. Full stop. 97-29 All aboard.

stush18

While I think most are unhappy with Chiarelli/Mclellan, I don’t think replacing them does this organization any good.

First off, we need to find someone better to replace them. It’s Gretzky better? He’s done a good job of drafting. I have no idea how he’s going to handle contracts and trades.

Who’s available that’s a better coach? Gulutzan likely steps in for the interim, and he’s cut from the same cloth. Any young up and coming coach isn’t stepping in mid season.

And then we get to the real problem, the real issue I have. And it sounds like an excuse. But I don’t care who you are, you’re only as good as the support around you. And Chiarelli has the worst support cast around him.

This team went thru the hardest stretch of the season with Mclellan and was fine. They exceeded expectations. So I’m really not sure what the issue is, and I’m not sure change for the sake of change is the answer.

Just my opinion.

Ben

Katz has a half-dozen of his idols breathing confident, merlot-tinged advice into his ears after any given loss. His buddies. His heroes. Good hockey men.

The idea that he would actually clear the decks for a bright, independent new-school executive team doesn’t just go against previous behaviour, it seems to grind against the *very reason the owner acquired the team*.

The owner refuses to imbue the organization with a culture of accountability. There’s little reason to expect that ‘wisdom and relationships’ won’t continue to trump ‘results’ in whatever informs his decision making.

It’s a heartbreaking place to be stuck as a fan.

Happy Tuesday, all!

leadfarmer

If there is one good thing this team is doing now is keeping the kids away from NHL. Let them develop.

jtblack

“What should Daryl Katz do? I’m absolutely certain he isn’t going to call me on cell today, ”

That’s Katz 1st mistake. LT, I would hire you in an “assistant to the assistant of media relations” role. Don’t get to hung up on the title, you can work your way up

pts2pndr

Firing the GM and keeping McLellan is wrong way thinking IMO! He continues the same methodology expecting different results! It is always someone else’s fault. I think it is time to seperate him from the orange team as he calls them and get someone that can be part of the solution instead of part of the problem. McLellan is unfortunately years of tradition unhampered by progress!

Kinger_Oil.redux

leadfarmer:
If there is one good thing this team is doing now is keeping the kids away from NHL.Let them develop.

stush18,

– Yup : if you bring in a new coach: what are you going to tell him to do: “play Kailer, and Jessie, and do a better job that our old coach in making them score goals, and do that now”

Just win baby: go on a tear like the east-coast road trip

Sierra

With all due respect to LT, I thought you and this community advocated for prospects over-ripening in the minors before arriving in the show. One of the major problems with the Oilers organization is rushing prospects to the NHL and in today’s piece you advocate for bringing 5 prospects to the NHL team this season. I’m confused by this apparent contradiction, or perhaps I am simply misunderstanding.

jtblack

leadfarmer:
If there is one good thing this team is doing now is keeping the kids away from NHL.Let them develop.

+1. in 1 – 2 years this team will have decent skill surrounding 97-29. Thats just the life cycle of procurement It takes normal players 2 – 4years to impact at the NHL level. 2-4 yrs ago was the 2014 & 2015 drafts We have nothing at the NHL Level from those drafts; outside lottery picks.

in 1 – 2 years we will have JP, KY, EB and maybe Benson, Bear / Jones , McCleod etc….

just takes time. the 2014 & 2015 lack of picks; almost guranteeed we would be here …. THIS IS US

jtblack

stush18,

“. So I’m really not sure what the issue is, and I’m not sure change for the sake of change is the answer.”

It’s change for the sake of Winning.

There is a difference. 3+ yearss to turn the ship around. Looks like it’s headed for a date with an impending Ice Berg …… Need change to avoid ice berg

Woodguy v2.0

Oiler Goal Share after 20 games (9-10-1)

Even strength (5v5, 4v4, 3v3):
McDavid On Ice 20-14 (59%)
McDavid Off Ice 18-28 (39%)
Net EV -4

Special Teams (PP+shorties for – PK + shorties against):
17-19
Net ST -2

Empty Net: 2-5
Net EN -3

Net Goal Differential -9

Woodguy v2.0

Jon Willis had some great information on twitter yesterday.

Everything that follows is from Jon:

In 2009-10, the Steve Tambellini/Pat Quinn Edmonton Oilers were minus-0.87 goals per hour at even-strength. When Connor McDavid is not on the ice this year, the 2018-19 Oilers are minus-0.85 goals per hour at even-strength.

Craig MacTavish’s last year as Oilers’ coach – the one under Tambellini that was considered so disappointing at the time – Edmonton went 38-35-9, an 85-point pace. Todd McLellan’s career record with Edmonton is 123-119-4, or an 83-point pace over 82 games.

It’s crazy to think about that. That last MacTavish year prompted the hiring of Quinn and sent the Oilers into the madness of 2010 and all that followed. And the record there is better than what Edmonton has done over the entirety of McDavid’s time with the Oilers.

But at the same time, we can’t take the spotlight off coaching. Craig MacTavish’s best forward was Ales Hemsky, and his 1-2 punch down the middle was Shawn Horcoff and a 19-year-old Sam Gagner. It’s not exactly McDavid / Draisaitl / Nugent-Hopkins (Hall / Eberle) is it?

This is why the coach must go.

Look at the rosters and look at the records.

Chia handed him a shitty hand, but he’s make it less than what it is with his deployment and match up decisions.

Woodguy v2.0

NHL standings via points percentage this morning:

1 Nashville Predators 0.738
2 Toronto Maple Leafs 0.714
3 Tampa Bay Lightning 0.690
4 Winnipeg Jets 0.684
5 Buffalo Sabres 0.667
6 Boston Bruins 0.625
7 Montreal Canadiens 0.619
8 Columbus Blue Jackets 0.619
9 Minnesota Wild 0.619
10 Colorado Avalanche 0.600
11 Calgary Flames 0.595
12 San Jose Sharks 0.595
13 New York Islanders 0.579
14 Washington Capitals 0.575
15 Dallas Stars 0.571
16 New York Rangers 0.571
17 Florida Panthers 0.528
18 Carolina Hurricanes 0.525
19 Chicago Blackhawks 0.500
20 Ottawa Senators 0.500
21 Detroit Red Wings 0.500
22 Philadelphia Flyers 0.500
23 Arizona Coyotes 0.500
24 Vancouver Canucks 0.478
25 Anaheim Ducks 0.477
26 Edmonton Oilers 0.475
27 Pittsburgh Penguins 0.474
28 New Jersey Devils 0.474
29 St. Louis Blues 0.447
30 Vegas Golden Knights 0.432
31 Los Angeles Kings 0.375

You cant tell me that all the teams above them have better rosters.

This is why the coach must go.

Also,

EDM could have had a roster like the top teams, but do not.

That is why Peter has to go.

TOR hasn’t had their 2nd leading scorer from last year for 10 games (Matthews) and their 3rd leading scorer from last year all year (Nylander)

Their Dcorps via 5v5 TOI/gm is:

Player TOI/GP
Jake Gardiner 18.6
Morgan Rielly 17.5
Nikita Zaitsev 17.2
Ron Hainsey 16.4
Travis Dermott 15.3
Igor Ozhiganov 14.0
Martin Marincin 12.3

Yet they sit 2nd in the league.

Goddamn BUF is 5th!!!

What a disgrace for the Oilers.

A crying bloody shame.

Woodguy v2.0

Here’s the Pacific Standings via points percentage:

Calgary Flames 0.595
San Jose Sharks 0.595
Arizona Coyotes 0.500
Vancouver Canucks 0.478
Anaheim Ducks 0.477
Edmonton Oilers 0.475
Vegas Golden Knights 0.432
Los Angeles Kings 0.375

The worst team in the NHL that will make the playoffs this year will probably be the 3rd place team in the Pacific.

So EDM has a chance.

Crazy.

Bag of Pucks

If they’re firing the coach, it’s to try and salvage the season.

If they’re firing the GM, it’s to press reset on the rebuild.

I don’t know why we’re so eager in these parts to lose another season. I know i’m not getting any younger. So why not try the easy and less invasive cure first before we open up the body for major surgery again?

If the worry is Chiarelli making a big trade should the next coach fail, i’m fairly certain he’s on watch already.

GordieHoweHatTrick

Woodguy v2.0:
Jon Willis had some great information on twitter yesterday.

Everything that follows is from Jon:

In 2009-10, the Steve Tambellini/Pat Quinn Edmonton Oilers were minus-0.87 goals per hour at even-strength. When Connor McDavid is not on the ice this year, the 2018-19 Oilers are minus-0.85 goals per hour at even-strength.

Craig MacTavish’s last year as Oilers’ coach – the one under Tambellini that was considered so disappointing at the time – Edmonton went 38-35-9, an 85-point pace. Todd McLellan’s career record with Edmonton is 123-119-4, or an 83-point pace over 82 games.

It’s crazy to think about that. That last MacTavish year prompted the hiring of Quinn and sent the Oilers into the madness of 2010 and all that followed. And the record there is better than what Edmonton has done over the entirety of McDavid’s time with the Oilers.

But at the same time, we can’t take the spotlight off coaching. Craig MacTavish’s best forward was Ales Hemsky, and his 1-2 punch down the middle was Shawn Horcoff and a 19-year-old Sam Gagner. It’s not exactly McDavid / Draisaitl / Nugent-Hopkins (Hall / Eberle) is it?

This is why the coach must go.

Look at the rosters and look at the records.

Chia handed him a shitty hand, but he’s make it less than what it is with his deployment and match up decisions.

Yes. The proof is in the puddin’

McSorley33

Hitch!!!

McSorley33

YES!!

Durag

Woodguy v2.0,

Here’s the way I look at it, by drafting a complete list of people who are key to the success of the Edmonton Oilers:

1. Connor McDavid

There is no #2. The coach and GM might not be as big a problem as some suggest, but they sure as hell aren’t part of the solution. It’s impossible for the Oilers to be bottom 5 in the league because McDavid is just too good. They are basically at “McDavid assisted rock bottom” right now. I think there is zero risk in turfing the coach and GM and the only risk is in keeping them.

McSorley33

Finally…

Durag

Well, there ya go.

LadiesloveSmid

I hope Quenneville just had no interest in coming here/coaching this season

LadiesloveSmid

now do Chiarelli

Mr.Snrub

Darren Dreger

@DarrenDreger
Sounds like another coach casualty as sources suggest Ken Hitchcock is replacing Todd Mclellan on the Oilers bench.

9:25 AM – Nov 20, 2018

Little Johnny Frostbite

Woodguy v2.0,

I believe the term is “mic drop.”

Brogan Rafferty's Uncle Steve

Are we happy with hitch? Don’t know much about his recent coaching gigs.

jzed

Are we happy about this?

Bar_Qu

Dr. Taboggan:
Are we happy with hitch? Don’t know much about his recent coaching gigs.

I for one, am not. Hitch is possibly even more old school coach than McClelland.

The issues, imo, won’t get better with the Oilers doubling down on what didn’t work.

I hope I am wrong.

texmex

jzed,

Nope. I like change, but hitch is old school.

The pressers should be more interesting thats for sure

zatch

Is Hitch interim? This seems like one the least inspired and knee jerk replacements I can think of.

Pescador

Todd gets a free plane ride back to San Jose,
Classy by the Oilers?
Assholes?

Assholes

Kinger_Oil.redux

jzed:
Are we happy about this?

– Edmonton Boy comes home for one last coaching job, after he retired

jzed

Seems to me if you don’t check, you don’t play and you get an earful, something 7/8 of the roster needs badly

Kinger_Oil.redux

Pescador:
Todd gets a free plane ride back to San Jose,

– Hi Honey, I’m home!!!

Pescador

LadiesloveSmid:
I hope Quenneville just had no interest in coming here/coaching this season

What?
How long have you been an Oiler fan?
Quenneville: “Nobody from the Oilers called me or my agent”

London Jon

Last roll of the old dice for Peter…

jzed

Lowetide gets breaking news on the lowdown!!!

russ99

You want rigid and inflexible, boy you’ve got it.

Considering Hitchcock’s track record, Jesse and Kailer should spend the season in Bakersfield.

texmex

Edmonton Native.

Sounds like they never looked anywhere else.

PinkSocks

I’m happy with this. Much needed change. Even though Hitch is old school, there wont be any complacency amongst the players. He was retired, so this is the ideal situation for the Oilers to have 6-8 months to conduct a full and all encompassing search for a new, young, long-term solution at HC. I’m definitely more optimistic about the team now than I was an hour ago.

Profit

My view is that Hitch isn’t going to be “interim” in name, but effectively that’s what this is.

Gives the flexibility to let Chia and Hitch go at the end of the season if needed. I highly doubt Hitch signed a 5 year deal or something. He’s probably in as an emergency replacement to see if they can salvage the season.

Those 3 Vegas goals sealed McLellan’s fate.

Davesshop

I understand your wish to make a decision on the general manager however there is no way the coach has been able to get the most out of the players and has an obvious record of not using the players to their strengths. There is no way the gm should go without an opportunity to see the roster under better guidance and played to the strengths that are there. The roster has holes but should be mid pack at worst and have shown at times to probably be strong enough to be above a wild card not bottom 3. As the gm he is responsible for the moves but no one knows what pressure he received to make some of the moves. Chia is an easy target with hindsight. The team needs a second opinion from a different coach before the gm is replaced.

stush18

Hahah well I really hope for the best.

But this is a be careful what you wish for moment. Hitch ran Nichushkjn out of Dallas, so it’s probably a good thing we have Puljujarvi and Yamamoto on the farm.m. His style is essentially a more defensive Todd Mclellan.

At least it’s only a year. Maybe it’ll spark the team.

Jethro Tull

Hitch = Pat Quinn.

PinkSocks

LadiesloveSmid:
I hope Quenneville just had no interest in coming here/coaching this season

Or the long term solution for the Oilers is of the Todd Nelson / Rocky Thompson school of thought, and not the old school Hitch/Quenneville type. Hitchcock is a perfect solution. He will help drive the team going for a playoff spot AND there is no commitment to him beyond this season.

Quenneville wasn’t coming to Edmonton for 5 months.

Pescador

Bag of Pucks:

If they’re firing the coach, it’s to try and salvage the season.

If they’re firing the GM, it’s to press reset on the rebuild.

E. Oilers- Pressing reset on the eternal rebuild since 2009