Good Day Sunshine

by Lowetide

Edmontonians have been learning all kinds of new phrases, like “get on the grind” and “vibrant fibre” and so far not one citizen has batted an eye. If Hitchcock starts next week with “I think Ryan Smyth can still play” there’s not a taxpayer within the city limits who will question it. What in the hell is going on? Goaltending. Structure. McDavid.

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. Outstanding offer is here.

  • New Lowetide: Oilers farm team in Bakersfield coming to a boil with quality prospects, most exciting farm team in decades.
  • Lowetide: Finding Ken Hitchcock’s Oilers more productive wingers: Hard target search.
  • Dom Luszczyszyn: 31 Stats (Oilers content).
  • Jonathan Willis: Edmonton’s waiver gamble on Valentin Zykov is one with the possibility of a surprisingly high-end payoff.
  • Lowetide: Oilers No. 4 Prospect winter 2018: Ryan McLeod.
  • Jonathan Willis: Like Rome in its war with Hannibal, Edmonton needs a Scipio Africanus.
  • Daniel Nugent Bowman: Lessons learned at Sherwood Park help guide Ken Hitchock’s attempt to turn the Oilers around.
  • Lowetide: Oilers need a first-shot scoring winger and Ryan Spooner isn’t it. So, what’s next?
  • Daniel Nugent-Bowman: What Oilers want to see from top prospects Puljujarvi and Yamamoto
  • Lowetide: Jesse Puljujarvi to the show, plus the sudden impact of Cam Hebig and Joel Persson.
  • Lowetide: Oilers No. 3 Prospect winter 2018: Tyler Benson.
  • Lowetide: Oilers No. 2 Prospect winter 2018: Kailer Yamamoto.
  • Lowetide: Oilers No. 1 Prospect winter 2018: Evan Bouchard.

OILERS AFTER 26

  • Oilers in 20159-15-2, 20 points; goal differential -14
  • Oilers in 2016: 14-10-2, 30 points; goal differential +8
  • Oilers in 2017: 10-14-2, 22 points; goal differential -14
  • Oilers in 2018: 13-11-2, 28 points; goal differential -4

That was a big win for Edmonton, who are now 3-3-1 against the Pacific Division. The Oilers are one point behind Vegas, with two games in hand. That’s a great spot. Also one point behind the Sharks, with a game in hand. Music! Big win last night.

OILERS IN DECEMBER

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

Amazing that all the McDavid Novembers have been poor and the Decembers begin with a win. There’s a bit of Groundhog’s Day with this team. Still, a strong run (4-1-1) at the beginning of the Hitchcock years.

WHAT TO EXPECT FROM DECEMBER

  • At home to: Vegas (Expected 0-1-0) Actual (1-0-0)
  • On the road to: Dallas, St. Louis (Expected 1-1-0) (Actual 0-0-0)
  • At home to: Minnesota, Calgary (Expected 1-1-0) (Actual 0-0-0)
  • On the road to: Colorado, Winnipeg (Expected 1-1-0) (Actual 0-0-0)
  • At home to: Philadelphia (Expected 1-0-0) (Actual 0-0-0)
  • On the road to: Vancouver (Expected 1-0-0) (Actual 0-0-0)
  • At home to: St. Louis, Tampa Bay, Vancouver, San Jose, Winnipeg (Expected 2-2-1) (Actual 0-0-0)
  • Overall expected result: 7-6-1, 15 points in 14 games 
  • Current results: 1-0-0, two points in one game

Edmonton could miss the playoffs from here, but the team is in the fight, and that’s a big deal. The Oilers are three points ahead of Vancouver, with three games in hand—that’s some clearance. Hitchcock seems to be working on his team to have repeatable performances, and with four games this week, that’s encouraging.

DEFENSE, LAST NIGHT

  • Gravel-Benning were 13-13 in 10:10, 7-4 shots and no goals, 3-4 HDSC. Gravel also spent a couple of decent minutes with Russell. Went 7-7 in 6:43 against Carrier-Bellemare-Reaves, who are a load. Benning got thumped real good a couple of times, but I like him and this pairing plenty.
  • Nurse-Russell went 14-15 in 14:52, 8-6 shots and 1-0 goals. It was a good night for the duo (2-2 HDSC), they delivered 11-9 without McDavid. Both men had two takeaways, bent but did not break and there was some chaos. Went 10-5 in 6:33 against Pacioretty-Eakin-Tuch, that’s some good hockeying.
  • Klefbom-Larsson were 13-27 in 14:16, 7-13 shots and 0-1 GA, 5-9 HDSC. They were 8-15 with 97, 5-12 without. More concerning, Larsson got beaten by a fast train winger off the rush more than once. I appreciated his recovery on the GA (Oscar needed to drill that puck 10 miles, but both defensemen were under duress), but the Larsson wide side gamble is a good one for opponents. If we know it, opponents know it. Back? Has to be, he’s only 26. If that kind of activity continues, Oilers have a massive problem.
  • Mikko Koskinen was stunning, stopping 31 of 32, .969. I’m not certain the point at which we just give up and say this is Mikko, but the early resume is fantastic.
  • NaturalStatTrick and NHL.com.

FORWARDS, LAST NIGHT

  • Khaira-Spooner-Rattie looked terrific, the first traction from a No. 4 line in some time. The goal involved all three men, Rattie in pursuit, Khaira with the skilled bullet pass and Spooner with the goal to bring back old emotions. Nice. Went 7-7 in 7:19, 5-5 shots, 1-0 goals and 3-0 HDSC. I’m thrilled for all three men, hope they can keep it going. Went 6-5 in 4:34 against Theodore-Engelland. Impressive.
  • Caggiula-Nuge-Puljujarvi went 8-12 in 10:25, 3-4 shots, no goals and 1-5 HDSC. Went 4-6 in 6:22 against Holden-Miller, Nuge was impressive in all game states and the wingers carved ice all night long. You’d like more offense, but the Eakin line was up against them most often last night (4-9, 4:52) and that’s some tough sledding. Thrilled with Hitch’s remarks on 93.
  • Lucic-Brodziak-Kassian went 9-11 in 9:44, 3-3 shots, no goals and 2-4 HDSC. I thought they were effective and could have been more of a story if they had better finish. That’s a theme with this trio and I am beginning to wonder if this line will see the HS when Rieder returns (smart money on the Spooner trio). Hitchcock gives icetime based on performance. Went 4-7 against Miller and 6-6 in 5:28 against Marchessault-Karlsson-Smith. A fine performance.
  • Draisaitl-McDavid-Chiasson were 17-26 in 15:34 on the night, 1-1 goals and 4-7 HDSC. McDavid was his usual fabulous self, the goal another once worthy of framing. His linemates, specifically Leon, looked a day late and a dollar short on everything. Went 13-21 against McNabb-Schmidt, 6-21 against the Karlsson line. The line may need a tweak, unless the flu is with 29.

Shane Starrett with the shutout last night, this Condors team has more good stories than Carter has liver pills. I’ll have a story up on the Bakersfield 20 later this morning at The Athletic.

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smellyglove

JimmyV1965: And to be fair to Chia that was a train wreck roster. I count six legit NHL players at the time and they were all very young. The rest were either washed-up vets, career minor leaguers or teenagers. My greatest fear firing Chia is allowing the architects of that gong show to regain power.

Well. There is an MVP winner, perennial 25G first line player, two-way top6 C, stud left D on that roster.

As well as non-depleted trade chip Yakupov, himself a #1ov, all-star C in Draisaital on the roster. Chia would also inherit the pick that got the best player in the world, as well as two more picks in the top 35 of the 2015 draft.

Overall roster, not good. However, Trade assets and potential through the roof.

hags9k

Best wishes for a full and speedy recovery Ricki.

OriginalPouzar

He was a lock but Safin on the Czech roster for the WJC.

Let’s hope his injury doesn’t keep him out of the tourney.

jp

rickithebear,

All the best Ricki. Good luck on the 10th.

Jethro Tull

JimmyV1965: And to be fair to Chia that was a train wreck roster. I count six legit NHL players at the time and they were all very young. The rest were either washed-up vets, career minor leaguers or teenagers. My greatest fear firing Chia is allowing the architects of that gong show to regain power.

Er, what’s changed? Still same team + Connor McDavid.

ArmchairGM

ashley: a perfectly neutral conveyor of… information like a journalist.

Naiveté at it’s finest!!

JimmyV1965

Paddy Morans Jockstrap: Here is the roster that Chiarelli “ruined”

https://www.hockey-reference.com/teams/EDM/2015.html

I think TBOTB beat him to it by a fair margin

And to be fair to Chia that was a train wreck roster. I count six legit NHL players at the time and they were all very young. The rest were either washed-up vets, career minor leaguers or teenagers. My greatest fear firing Chia is allowing the architects of that gong show to regain power.

JimmyV1965

pts2pndr: Thanks LT. I took some time and checked on a couple of Chiarelli’s deals among them were
1. Blake Wheeler signed as a free agent when Arizona couldn’t get him signed
2. Kessel to Toronto for the draft choice that got the Bruins Tyler Seguin

Although his hisory shows some bad trades he has also made some judicious trades and aquisitions.

Just to set the record straight, no one thought the Kessel trade would yield a second overall pick. The Leafs were considered a playoff team at the time of the deal. He got very lucky the Leafs fell off the face of the earth.

Pandaup

rickithebear,

God bless, Ricki.

€√¥£€^$

rickithebear:
29 days without oral food.
7 days tube feeding after thinking I was in game of thrones for 24 hr.
Kidneys shutdown
Biopsies
Dialysis
Off dialysis yesterday
15 days of gaining energy.
Lightest I have been since 86.
Cleared after transplant
PET test on DEC 10
To sign off on remission.

Pregnazone witha possible creatine level reset @300.

My oilers giving up GA rates I want under a HD coach like Hitch.

Team has been a joy
12-5-2
except for the last 7 games under TMac
1-6

Go Oilers!

Thinking of you Ricki, all the best to you

€√¥£€^$

Woodguy v2.0:
I’m convinced that most of the Chiarelli defence done in the comments section here and on twitter is more due to the disdain that those posters feel towards the posters who want Pete out than due to actually thinking Pete is good at his job.

Either that or they are members of the Chiarelli Illuminati

€√¥£€^$

Dr. Taboggan:
Genjutsu,

And yes, the Oilers are dying for cap space.

Yup. And when Sekera is healthy, something will have to give.

Hossa + a pick for Lucic & a prospect, perhaps? It is a mess indeed.

Edmonton Oilers
PROJECTED CAP HIT Tooltip : $79,952,362
PROJECTED LTIR USED Tooltip : $503,733
PROJECTED CAP SPACE Tooltip : $51,371

CURRENT CAP SPACE Tooltip : $4,944,166
DEADLINE CAP SPACE Tooltip : $4,944,166
TODAYS CAP HIT Tooltip : $80,046,166
ROSTER SIZE: 23/23
CONTRACTS: 48/50
RESERVE LIST: 69/90

Paddy Morans Jockstrap

Lowetide: Dubnyk was 43, 2.56 .921 in the ECHL as a rookie, Skinner isn’t that far away.

That’s a good line in the sand, and Skinner is half a year younger at the same stage.

Wells is keeping his nose above water (.895) but not doing anything notable. Skinner seems to have become the 1A and is starting more. I don’t see as much upside in Wells.

Bag of Pucks

rickithebear,

Way to battle Ricki!

Paddy Morans Jockstrap

Been looking at how the young goalies in the AHL have been doing. Especially Skinner who I think has a chance at being special. Skinner is the youngest goaler in the league (as far as I can tell) at barely 20 and is doing fine with a line of

13GP 3.09GA .913SP

Pretty good for getting settled into a men’s league as a 19 year old. Hopefully he keeps improving and is ready for the jump to AHL by spring. A 2nd pro year as AHL backup or 1B and then a 3rd as starter could see him NHL ready by fall 2021 if all goes well. So far so good and I’ll have to give him the eye test him in an upcoming start.

Paddy Morans Jockstrap

Decidedly Skeptical Fan: He didn’t do it all by himself … he had a lot of help. Firing Peter and doing nothing more will accomplish very little if anything.

Here is the roster that Chiarelli “ruined”

https://www.hockey-reference.com/teams/EDM/2015.html

I think TBOTB beat him to it by a fair margin

Reja

Glovjuice: Haha. Hallmark is looking for writers I here.

That’s the joy in watching sports and especially the oilers everyone has different views and opinions that’s what makes it so interesting and people with a edgy sense of Humor or awesome.

pts2pndr

Lowetide: Rask was for Andrew Raycroft, in June of 2006. It would have been one of Chiarelli’s first deals.

Thanks LT. I took some time and checked on a couple of Chiarelli’s deals among them were
1. Blake Wheeler signed as a free agent when Arizona couldn’t get him signed
2. Kessel to Toronto for the draft choice that got the Bruins Tyler Seguin

Although his hisory shows some bad trades he has also made some judicious trades and aquisitions.

hunter1909

Richard S.S.:
IMO, Todd McLellan was a very good Coach. He had difficulty in seeing and utilizing talent in borderline Players.They can be very good, very valuable in limited ways, yet McLellan needed more. He had difficulty in seeing and utilizing talent in the very young, in understanding they still need to be taught at the NHL level. Which deals that Peter Chiarelli made were McLellan driven?

Since when do “very good” coaches fail in understanding the talent on their rosters? And failing to utilize the talent of borderline(cough Identity Line cough) players? Also, failing to understand the mindset of young players?

Sounds to me like Punch Imlach – Twilight Zoned into the 21st century

Add: Hopelessly out of date coaching philosophy and he failed year after year in playoffs everywhere he coached including Edmonton when he was clearly outcoached by those mean old Ducks.

I can’t wait to see the next team stupid enough to hire him. Rinse and repeat. The Sharks fans warned us. Luckily we cut bait after half the time they endured.

smellyglove

Ricki! Sending you positive vibes

Decidedly Skeptical Fan

rickithebear:
29 days without oral food.
7 days tube feeding after thinking I was in game of thrones for 24 hr.
Kidneys shutdown
Biopsies
Dialysis
Off dialysis yesterday
15 days of gaining energy.
Lightest I have been since 86.
Cleared after transplant
PET test on DEC 10
To sign off on remission.

Pregnazone witha possible creatine level reset @300.

My oilers giving up GA rates I want under a HD coach like Hitch.

Team has been a joy
12-5-2
except for the last 7 games under TMac
1-6

Go Oilers!

The team has been a joy as of late … but not as big of a joy as seeing you posting again. Wishing only the best for you, sir.

Decidedly Skeptical Fan

Sierra: For sure. The last couple games Kassian has had opportunities to get the puck to the net and he instead decides to turn back to the corner and promptly turns over the puck.Maybe he is taking the coach to literally about extended possession time.

Interesting.

Decidedly Skeptical Fan

Lowetide: I think people reach a point where they can’t believe others see things differently, and then begin creating narratives around what they see as being inconsistent. I started out in a very good place with Peter Chiarelli, but in viewing his moves over these 3+ years, it’s difficult to see a way out of his own mess. The current Oilers look very much like the Bruins roster that got him fired.

For the record, I began here with PC. It’s quite positive:

https://lowetide.ca/2015/04/24/chiarelli-in-charge/

One thing I do value about this blog is that people should be free to give their opinions (unless it’s personal or about politics/race/religion/gin. I don’t think the people who have posted in today’s blog are ever going to agree about Peter Chiarelli’s time as Oilers general manager, but I thought MacT would be a great one and he was not close.

Perhaps he survives and the Oilers win Stanley. THAT might bring us all together for a day.

Very nice post, LT. Especially the last line. You may want to keep this one on speed recover … I have a feeling that you will refer back to this one in the not too distance future.

Decidedly Skeptical Fan

Bling:
Woodguy v2.0,

Chiarelli is objectively horrible at being a GM. Whether people agree or disagree with that is another thing, and IMO is irrelevant.

This franchise could have been the Leafs of the West and he ruined it.

He didn’t do it all by himself … he had a lot of help. Firing Peter and doing nothing more will accomplish very little if anything.

JimmyV1965

OriginalPouzar:
Damn, Ducks with a massive come back win against WSH – down 4 earlier in the game.Le sigh.

Frickin Ducks don’t die. Bastards.

Sierra

gregsaint:
“Rattie – lost the handle on a breakaway”

Untrue – the defender made a great play to poke the puck away just as Rattie tried to shoot.

For sure. I mentioned this during the game thread. Some people just want to shit on others.

jtblack

Kinger_Oil.redux:
rickithebear,

– Go Ricki!

+1

jtblack

Lowetide: I enjoy both, and have had too much of one in my lifetime. I don’t drink a lot of rum anymore, and stayed away from rye for a long, long time. Have also backed off beer for a time, but it’ll be summer soon.

You are a beauty LT !!

gregsaint

“Rattie – lost the handle on a breakaway”

Untrue – the defender made a great play to poke the puck away just as Rattie tried to shoot.

Reja

rickithebear:
29 days without oral food.
7 days tube feeding after thinking I was in game of thrones for 24 hr.
Kidneys shutdown
Biopsies
Dialysis
Off dialysis yesterday
15 days of gaining energy.
Lightest I have been since 86.
Cleared after transplant
PET test on DEC 10
To sign off on remission.

Pregnazone witha possible creatine level reset @300.

My oilers giving up GA rates I want under a HD coach like Hitch.

Team has been a joy
12-5-2
except for the last 7 games under TMac
1-6

Go Oilers!

All the best to you Ricki stay strong and let’s watch our Oilers go on a deep playoff run.

Kinger_Oil.redux

rickithebear,

– Go Ricki!

Sierra

Bling: Kassian is forechecking and skating well, but his instinct is always to button hook or play the puck into the boards into a high traffic area. When was the last time you saw him actually lean into a guy and drive towards the net?

Very observant.

unca miltie

rickithebear,

Glad to hear from you Ricki. All the best in your recovery

Glovjuice

Reja: I jumped out of my chair high fiving my daughter when spooner scored that beautiful winning goal that involved the whole line. Also enjoyed his polite interview with half his teeth missing I was happy for the young man and yes I had fun watching the game with loved ones.

Haha. Hallmark is looking for writers I here.

rickithebear

29 days without oral food.
7 days tube feeding after thinking I was in game of thrones for 24 hr.
Kidneys shutdown
Biopsies
Dialysis
Off dialysis yesterday
15 days of gaining energy.
Lightest I have been since 86.
Cleared after transplant
PET test on DEC 10
To sign off on remission.

Pregnazone witha possible creatine level reset @300.

My oilers giving up GA rates I want under a HD coach like Hitch.

Team has been a joy
12-5-2
except for the last 7 games under TMac
1-6

Go Oilers!

Richard S.S.

IMO, Todd McLellan was a very good Coach. He had difficulty in seeing and utilizing talent in borderline Players. They can be very good, very valuable in limited ways, yet McLellan needed more. He had difficulty in seeing and utilizing talent in the very young, in understanding they still need to be taught at the NHL level. Which deals that Peter Chiarelli made were McLellan driven?

Sierra

Woodguy v2.0: Agreed.

He can just skate it or throw it at the net.

Doesn’t have to be a Fancy Dan about it.

For sure. The last couple games Kassian has had opportunities to get the puck to the net and he instead decides to turn back to the corner and promptly turns over the puck. Maybe he is taking the coach to literally about extended possession time.

Reja

Glovjuice: Fun to watch ! what is this? Lowetide’s Comedy Central.

I jumped out of my chair high fiving my daughter when spooner scored that beautiful winning goal that involved the whole line. Also enjoyed his polite interview with half his teeth missing I was happy for the young man and yes I had fun watching the game with loved ones.

OriginalPouzar

Yes, the game is fast and quick but I believe the narrative that any player that isn’t a plus skater is a huge risk and likely doomed to bust is highly overblown.

Kinger_Oil.redux

Lowetide:

For the record, I began here with PC. It’s quite positive:

https://lowetide.ca/2015/04/24/chiarelli-in-charge/

Perhaps he survives and the Oilers win Stanley. THAT might bring us all together for a day.

– That was an interesting look-back: thanks!. DSF making the call that they would need to trade Hall to get back a meaningful RHD, and WoodGuy getting all mad and hot and bothered at him and telling DSF that he does what he does because that is who he is (kinda familiar)…Good times!

Jethro Tull

Lowetide: I enjoy both, and have had too much of one in my lifetime. ? I don’t drink a lot of rum anymore, and stayed away from rye for a long, long time. Have also backed off beer for a time, but it’ll be summer soon.

If the season goes south, I expect a blog titled “It’ll be Summer Soon”

Great line.

OriginalPouzar

Reja: Pete’s got all the pressure did you see how rough he looked after he canned Todd he’s down to his last wildcard and he knows it.Hitch has been around the block to long to feel any real pressure especially in this scenario.

Except for the fact that he expressly talked about the pressure – his exact words.

The entire city is focused on the team and on him – how could he not feel pressure, no matter how long he’s been around.

I’ll also take his express and explicit word for it.

Glovjuice

OriginalPouzar:
I’m not sure I agree that choosing a player at number 10, coming off one of the best offensive seasons in recent OHL memory, that was universally slated to go well within the top 10 on pretty much all “legit” lists, that only fell to 10 due to 3 off the board picks in the top 10 and fills a massive organizational (long-term) need is a huge risk, I’m going to assume due to perceived average skating.

Yes, 100 % skating is my worry. Same with Benson and Yamo (and, no, he is NOT fast or even “quick” in my opinion – like Yak).

Jethro Tull

Lowetide,

Gin gin or gin rummy. And why?

Glovjuice

pts2pndr: Sorry glov juice this was meant for GMB3.

No problem, minor. it could have been for me though. I honestly thought it was AND that I deserved it. This place is wild most days. One playoff appearance in 13 years (see what I just did) will do that.

Professor Q

Lowetide,

Have you ever tried Ungava?

If I ever make it out West, I should get you some.