Game 27 2018-19: Oilers at Stars

After a 4-1-1 run with new coach Ken Hitchcock at the helm, the Edmonton Oilers head out on a road trip with a chance to land in a playoff spot before returning home. The goaltending of Mikko Koskinen (save percentage .928, ranks No. 6 among goalies with 10 or more appearances), steady play and calm feet on the blue (three GA in the last three games) and enough offense from Connor McDavid and company have things looking better. There’s still much work to do, but some of the department of youth are pushing and there’s a chance they will be established by Game 82.

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 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 27 GAMES

  • Oilers in 201510-15-2, 22 points; goal differential -13
  • Oilers in 2016: 14-11-2, 30 points; goal differential +7
  • Oilers in 2017: 11-14-2, 24 points; goal differential -12
  • Oilers in 2018: 13-11-2, 28 points; goal differential -4

The Oilers of 2018 can almost catch the playoff crew with a win tonight, and suddenly it’s possible to discuss the postseason and adding talent at the deadline. While it’s fun to dream, there is plenty of work to do, and the most compelling story (for me) this week involves players auditioning for roles. Some of these bets are gaining traction.

OILERS IN DECEMBER

  • Oilers in December 2015: 2-0-0, four points; goal differential +1
  • Oilers in December 2016: 2-0-0, four points; goal differential +4
  • Oilers in December 2017: 1-1-0, two points; goal differential 0
  • Oilers in December 2018: 1-0-0, two points; goal differential +1

December is 14 games long this season, we’ll reach the halfway point in the campaign shortly after the new year. The one playoff team in this group made it by winning 47 games, that should be the goal this season. Edmonton sits at 13 wins now, meaning 7-10 wins this month should be the goal. Can Edmonton get there? That would seem to be too much to ask. Team is on pace now to finish 41-35-6, 88 points. They’re close to my projected 90-94 points.

WHAT TO EXPECT IN 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

My projection has the Oilers finishing the month 19-17-3, 41 points and on a trajectory for 40 wins and 86 points. I have the team going 2-2-0 this week, maybe they’ll make some inroads over the next seven days. Although I do not condone such action, it’s likely there is growing pressure on management to add pieces to help the cause.

PACIFIC DIVISION UP TO THE MINUTE

  1. Calgary Flames 27, 16-9-2 (34 points) (.630 points percentage)
  2. Anaheim Ducks 29, 14-10-5 (33 points) (.569 points percentage)
  3. San Jose Sharks 28, 13-10-5 (31 points) (.554 points percentage)
  4. Edmonton Oilers 26, 13-11-2 (28 points) (.538 points percentage)
  5. Arizona Coyotes 25, 12-11-2 (26 points) (.520 points percentage)
  6. Vegas Golden Knights 28, 14-13-1 (29 points) (.518 points percentage)
  7. Vancouver Canucks 29, 11-15-3 (25 points) (.431 points percentage)
  8. Los Angeles Kings 27, 10-16-1 (21 points) (.389 points percentage)

Oilers have some games in hand, so the best way to express things is via points percentage. A 4-1-1 run helps big time but this month remains vital to the team’s success. A win tonight in Dallas gives the team a .556 points percentage, vaulting Edmonton into the No. 3 slot and technically a playoff position. Either way, there’s a race in the Oilers are in it.

CURRENT LINES

  • Draisaitl—McDavid—Chiasson. In 46 minutes, line is 50-45 in Corsi events 5-on-5 and 1-1 goals. I wouldn’t be surprised to see a shuffle, Caggiula with 97-29 is 6-4 and 59 percent. All numbers Corsica. The Hitchcock defensive strategy is being blamed for McDavid’s reduced output (2-5-7 in six games) but you can’t draw any real conclusions on a small sample size (and 7 points in six games is very good). The captain may be headed towards a higher percentage of his offense coming on the power play, however.
  • Caggiula—Nuge—Puljujarvi. In 31 minutes, 30-39 in Corsi events and 1-1 goals. I expect Tobias Rieder lands here when he returns, with one of the current wingers getting bumped. Both men have delivered some offense during Hitchcock’s six games, the possession number isn’t grand but we’re early.
  • Lucic—Brodziak—Kassian. In 63 minutes, they are 60-56 in Corsi event and 0-0 goals. The lack of offense on both sides is a positive, but Hitchcock is going to want at least some offense by playoff time. Pressure is on all three men to cash on some of those scoring chances (and they have gotten them).
  • Khaira—Spooner—Rattie. In seven minutes, they are 53.85 and 1-0 goals. I think this will eventually be the No. 3 line (certainly by playoff time) and am cheering for all three men. The next challenge (aside from winning games) will come when Zykov’s visa is worked out, then another challenge when Rieder returns. Patrick Russell is back on the roster but doesn’t offer a huge challenge in my opinion.

Most of the bets have NHL experience, a player like Alex Chiasson is beyond expectations (by some margin) but was an established NHL player before the season. The area I want to talk about today is that group who were not established before the 2018-19 season and their progress so far.

Although he has just two goals on the season (after getting 12 a year ago), I’m pleased Jesse Puljujarvi is playing with Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. I imagine we’ll see Kailer Yamamoto here soon enough, although part of me wonders if the team flushes the development side on RW and grabs a veteran scorer.

I remain convinced the organization would be better off building through their own youth program this season. That means playing Puljujarvi with Nuge and (eventually) Yamamoto with McDavid:

  • Draisaitl—McDavid—Yamamoto
  • Rieder—Nuge—Puljujarvi
  • Khaira—Spooner—Chiasson
  • Lucic—Brodziak—Kassian
  • Caggiula—Rattie
  • Klefbom—Larsson
  • Nurse—Russell
  • Gravel—Benning
  • Wideman
  • Koskinen (Talbot)

That’s my recommendation. Stay the course, keep the powder dry. I thought you knew, but read in the comments yesterday that I’d been ‘pushing’ for a trade. I’m not pushing for a trade at all. Rather, I believe the Oilers are ill-suited to a major deal at this time for short-term improvement. No sir. Stay the course. If the team makes the playoffs, and ownership wants to keep management in place, then proceed at that time. Not one more asset out for quick improvement at the price on long-term advancement. It’s the right thing to do. I do not believe the owner agrees, and because of it I have been talking about a trade. I think it would be shortsighted to do so.

5-ON-5 SCORING WITH HITCHCOCK AS COACH

  1. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins 2.16
  2. Leon Draisaitl 1.63
  3. Connor McDavid 1.54
  4. Drake Caggiula 1.40
  5. Jesse Puljujarvi 1.38
  6. Jujhar Khaira 1.26
  7. Oscar Klefbom 1.01
  8. Ryan Spooner 0.92
  9. Kyle Brodziak 0.84
  10. Alex Chiasson 0.72
  11. Adam Larsson 0.50

Nuge has enjoyed a nice run in these days, both Caggiula and Puljujarvi have contributed and the fourth line got a point. Brodziak the only member of the No. 3 line on the board.

LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE

At 10 this morning, TSN1260, we kick off another week with something close to a snow day. Interesting guests, ideas for passing the time while cocooning, and scheduled to appear:

  • Sean Shapiro, The Athletic Dallas. Stars are in a playoff spot courtesy an 8-3-1 record at home. We’ll preview tonight’s game from the other side.
  • Daniel Gallen, Penn Live. The Eagles play Washington in the Monday nighter, incredibly Philadelphia has a chance to make the playoffs after a most mediocre beginning and middle of the season.
  • Jason Gregor, TSN1260. Oilers with a big week on the way, Caggiula showing well.

10-1260 text, @Lowetide on twitter. See you on the radio!

 

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422 Responses to "Game 27 2018-19: Oilers at Stars"

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  1. hags9k says:

    I must be a dinosaur, because I liked it when Nurse started punching people when we were going to lose.

    Growing up watching SJHL games, my best buddy and I would cheer in the 3rd for the score to reach a 3 goal spread because then we knew the kettle would boil over.

    I now realize I am both a bad person, and a relic of a bygone age.

    Regardless, Darnell brought me a smile tonight.

    GOILERS

  2. JimmyV1965 says:

    I’ve always supported the need to acquire a 2RD as our top priority. Now I think we need a winger. We have way more dmen prospects than forwards so we will fill these holes internally faster than forwards. And the only way we can acquire a decent forward is by trading Talbot. If we trade him, we can basically acquire a player with a $4 mill cap hit. Maybe more if the GM gets creative. It’s a gamble, but I think this team is going nowhere if we don’t acquire someone who can score. We have five players on this team with more than 2 goals. It’s almost inconceivable. Our best winger is a PTO. If we have any hope of success, we need to get another goal scorer.

  3. Wilde says:

    JimmyV1965,

    I think it would have to be

    Talbot – > (wanna-be) competitor for picks/prospects

    picks/prospects – > basement team for a winger

    I doubt any team that’s acquiring Talbot in-season is giving us a proven 15+ goal guy unless they’re getting someone back.

    The right place to strike should be a team with some expectations being failed due to goaltending, and it has to be before they’re too far out of the playoffs and throw in the towel.

    The bottom ten teams in all-sit save-pct are PHI, FLA, NJD, VAN, CHI, STL, SJS, OTT, MTL, EDM.

    VAN, CHI, LA have too many regulation losses already. SJS is a direct competitor.

    NJD are just getting slaughtered lately, and it’s plenty goaltending. I don’t think Schneider’s won a game in like a year – I don’t mean he hasn’t won them a game, I mean he hasn’t won a game. They may also believe they’re out of it, though. 5-12-5 since they opened the season 4-0 or something like that.

    OTT is a decent candidate. I think they’re probably a team you could get salary from, too. The dream for me would be to add to Nurse + Talbot to go after one of their top guys. Duchene, Stone. They need a first rounder. It’s very tempting.

    MTL has the giant farm form 2018 and surplus picks (extra 2nd, two extra 4ths) to make a move like this. We know they also covet Nurse.

    PHI has the farm, the picks, and are the rumoured guys for a reason. Gudas is obviously the player-target and he’s a good one. Bridges the gap to the RHD prospects with his 2 years remaining on the cheap and you probably want to let him go after.

    FLA has prospects but not picks. Maybe you can strike a balance there and replenish their picks for a guy (prospect) you couldn’t get with just Talbot. Honestly the 2nd best fit besides PHI, or tied with STL.

    STL would need to make the trade tomorrow, and ownership really like Doug Armstrong, we know that because they let him sell last year when playoffs were still technically possible… that means he’s maybe got enough rope to just let this year go too, but it reads like they’re mad over there.

    The problem with all of this is that the earlier you trade Talbot, the more suitors you’ll have but there’ll also be less teams willing to sell their players.

    Also built in is the earlier you trade Talbot, the less you know about he and Koskinen at the time of trade.

    Also also built in is the suspect pro-scouting department.

  4. Dustylegnd says:

    Wilde,
    In my mind Talbot has no value in a trade as of today

    His save percentage is bottom quartile and his Salary is 4 mill plus….. we traded a 2nd, 3rd and 7 th round pick when he had a .926 sv% and a 21-9-4 record

    I can not imagine a 5-8-1 with a .888 sv% brings much of anything in a trade

    As for Nurse….. his value isnt exactly at at a pinnacle right now either

    This team is not 1 scoring winger away from changing anything…. the problems run very deep…. and Chia operates from a constant position of weekness just like McTavish before him

    Needs, Right shot puck moving defence that can run 1st unit PP,

    1 shot scoring winger preferably right, adept at power play scoring

    Solid 3rd line centre that can score

    Bottom 6 scoring depth

    LT is correct, the fix has to come from within, our combination of bad signings, bad trades, and bad drafting has created cap hell, no scoring depth, and no puck moving defencemen……it is by definition impossible to trade your way out of this mess….

  5. Dustylegnd says:

    GMB3: So what exactly is the point of this argument? Have you heard of sample sizes? Let’s not even account in linemates or the strength of his team/matchups/dmen. Congratulations, you can do basic math. None of this changes the fact the two time Art Ross champion deserves to be the highest paid player in the league.

    You’re not convincing me of anything. Connor McDavid has been the best player in the NHL and the best producer at even strength over the last two full seasons. He’s worth every penny. Yes point is a value contract, as was McDavid on his ELC. Yes McDavid has bonuses on his ELC. No shit. He was a first overall pick. Water is wet, ur argument is bad. Don’t u just hate facts?

    I get the feeling you think your so smart right now and it just blows my mind how illogical this argument is. I don’t even see what the end goal of this argument is. You’ve already moved the goalposts.

    There can’t still be people out there that believe the fallacy that all points are equal? Guys get paid for elite production. You may have heard of young Jon Willis. He wrote a great article about this around a year ago. Or maybe not

    You asked, “Have you heard of sample sizes?” why yes I have and as a matter of fact our host refers to 5 x 5 per 60 scoring as God’s flashlight, allow me to provide a rather large sample size and shine some light

    I can’t control for line mates the strength of his team/matchups/dmen…..but I think it is safe to assume all these players should be seeing the best of the best against them every shift 5 x 5….

    Playing with Drai and Nuge as wingers isn’t exactly playing with plugs, he has no puck moving D men we all get that lets look at the facts available to us rather than making excuses

    NHL 5 x 5 scoring and 5 x 5 minutes played 2017/18 thru 2018/2019 as of yesterday’s games

    McDavid 88 points 1789 minutes 2.95 per 60
    Kucherov 82 points 1608 minutes 3.06 per 60
    MacKinnon 79 points 1558 minutes 3.04 per 60
    Giroux 77 points 1591 minutes 2.90 per 60
    Point 68 points 1548 minutes 2.64 per 60

    McDavid played 188 more 5 x 5 minutes (or the equivalent of 3 full games never leaving the ice) than Kucherov at 5 x 5 and produced 6 more 5 x 5 points

    McDavid played 238 more 5 x 5 minutes (or the equivalent of 4 full games never leaving the ice) than MacKinnon and produced 11 more 5 x 5 points

    McDavid played 241 more 5 x 5 minutes (or the equivalent of 4 full games never leaving the ice) than Point and produced 20 more 5 x 5 points

    It is you who keeps moving goal posts and missing the obvious argument

    1) It should be obvious that playing the shit out of Connor reduces his scoring efficiency

    2) The best player in the world is having trouble separating himself from the pack in outright and 5 x 5 scoring playing for the oilers

    3) The stats over the past 2 seasons show that at 5 x 5 Connor has at least 4 other players in the league doing it just as well, and all doing it for a min of 3 mill per season less than Connor with McKinnon doing it long term for ½ the price

    4) The above stats show that dominant scorers aren’t always 1st over all picks, no organization has demonstrated that fact better than Edmonton

    5) The winning formula requires scoring depth and the development of later round picks over an extended period of time

    5) The oilers are not 1 scoring winger away from winning

    6) McDavid plays on a team with a deeply flawed roster that is years away from helping him

    7) Chia is wasting a generational talent, but Connor also chose to accept 12.5 per, which contributes on a lesser level to cap hell

    Clear enough for you

  6. OriginalPouzar says:

    Dustylegnd: except for all the bonus money he forgot to calculate

    I didn’t forget anything – as pointed out, the post I responded to listed base salary without regard to performance bonuses of the players on the their ELCs – I was simply providing an example within the originally posted parameters.

  7. Wilde says:

    Dustylegnd: In my mind Talbot has no value in a trade as of today

    Dustylegnd: As for Nurse….. his value isnt exactly at at a pinnacle right now either

    I think you’re off base on both of these. Talbot’s been written about by insiders as having value, goalie’s prices are reputation.

    And Darnell Nurse? He’s got a bit of term at a low price, former top-ten pick, skates extremely well through the neutral zone, and is tough and mean. That’s four factors that are all demonstrably value inflating in this league.

    The assets aren’t at their absolute highest value, but they’re not at their lowest and the timing isn’t bad.

    There’s never going to be the perfect moment to make the perfect trade.

  8. Dustylegnd says:

    Wilde,

    I am very curious to see what Talbot brings

    Trading away good young talent like Nurse is rarely a winning formula, he just needs a puck moving partner,,,,unfortunately we don’t have that

  9. Dustylegnd says:

    OriginalPouzar,

    Either way Rantenen, McKinnon and Point all represent extreme 5 x 5 per 60 scoring value (especially McKinnon locked up at 6.3)…..nobody on the oilers represents extreme 5 x 5 per 60 scoring value

  10. Wilde says:

    Dustylegnd:
    Wilde,

    I am very curious to see what Talbot brings

    Trading away good young talent like Nurse is rarely a winning formula, he just needs a puck moving partner,,,,unfortunately we don’t have that

    I’d look for a variation of what PHI/DET did with Mrazek: Two conditional picks, one based on his future performance (wins; team placement) and another based on his future contract status.

    Which would also be nifty for subsequent trades, too: if he looks to be hitting both conditions for his new team, you can shop down a better aisle at the TDL given the selling team likes Talbot’s chances too.

    Playing Nurse with a puck-mover doesn’t teach him to mind the backdoor, though, and that’s the part of his game that I’m just completely over.

    If he’s not separating guys from pucks, he has to exchange that for having solid enough coverage during the extended DZ time that comes from said non-separation defending style and he doesn’t have that either.

    So there’s no suppressing shots to suppress goals, and there’s no suppressing danger to suppress goals, there’s just… goals.

  11. frjohnk says:

    Didnt watch the full game and have not watched any highlights.

    My prediction of Lucic scoring came true right?

    McDavid OFF the ice is over 40% by now?

  12. frjohnk says:

    Ha, just quickly going over the rest of the PVRd game now.

    – Dallas has hit iron 3 times and Koskinen has made some key saves to keep the Oilers in it.

    I said that RNH and Drai go over 25 minutes each in this game, I bet if they dont, they will be close.

    Physical game, lots of clean hard hitting body checks.

  13. frjohnk says:

    Game over.

    I thought Oilers played better than I thought they would. Was expecting some of them to be sick.

    Lucic does not score. Is now sporting a 0.38 points/60 this year.
    Drai over 25 minutes
    RNH at 23 minutes.

    1 out of 3 for me. 33%. Thats almost as good as the Oilers GF% with McDavid off the ice of 38% at 5 on 5

  14. OriginalPouzar says:

    Dustylegnd:
    OriginalPouzar,

    Either way Rantenen, McKinnon and Point all represent extreme 5 x 5 per 60 scoring value (especially McKinnon locked up at 6.3)…..nobody on the oilers represents extreme 5 x 5 per 60 scoring value

    I’m not going to disagree with that. All I was pointing out was that, nary a few years ago, when the Oilers had two elite players on their ELCs, they were also representing extreme 5 X 5 per 60 scoring value.

  15. frjohnk says:

    OriginalPouzar: I’m not going to disagree with that.All I was pointing out was that, nary a few years ago, when the Oilers had two elite players on their ELCs, they were also representing extreme 5 X 5 per 60 scoring value.

    Crazy that Point scored 91 points in his draft year and was picked in the 3rd round, 79th overall. Being 5 foot 9 and 161 pounds scared alot of team to take him earlier.

  16. JimmyV1965 says:

    Dustylegnd:
    Wilde,
    In my mind Talbot has no value in a trade as of today

    His save percentage is bottom quartile and his Salary is 4 mill plus….. we tradeda 2nd, 3rd and 7 th round pick when he had a .926 sv% and a 21-9-4 record

    I can not imagine a 5-8-1 with a .888 sv% brings much of anything in a trade

    As for Nurse….. his value isnt exactly at at a pinnacle right now either

    This team is not 1 scoring winger away from changing anything…. the problems run very deep…. and Chia operates from a constant position of weekness just like McTavish before him

    Needs, Right shot puck moving defence that can run 1st unit PP,

    1 shot scoring winger preferably right, adept at power play scoring

    Solid 3rd line centre that can score

    Bottom 6 scoring depth

    LT is correct, the fix has to come from within, our combination of bad signings, bad trades, and bad drafting has created cap hell, no scoring depth, and no puck moving defencemen……it is by definition impossible to trade your way out of this mess….

    We could be waiting a long time for an internal solution for a scoring forward. Trading Talbot is more about freeing up cap space than it is acquiring a scoring winger. That would have to be a separate deal. Talbot has to be traded. He is not being resigned. So you either trade him soon while there is a market for his services or you wait until the trade deadline when there is no market for his services.

  17. Lowetide says:

    For The Athletic: Ken Hitchcock’s ‘to-do’ list of miracles a long one, involving 30 percent of the Oilers roster

    https://theathletic.com/690079/2018/12/04/ken-hitchcocks-to-do-list-of-miracles-a-long-one-involving-30-per-cent-of-oilers-roster/

  18. russ99 says:

    Last night showed the reality of what Chiarelli has done past the trades that everyone lambastes.

    A bigger sin is sending away any scoring talent at wing (Eberle, Maroon) and replacing it with hope that kids will develop faster and bringing in NCAA players to try and make up for all those coke machine drafts that left us with a dearth of prospect talent – who never got AHL development time (likely due to signing promises) and yet got raises as RFAs despite their poor performance.

    I hope Zykov can help when he gets here but as I said last summer and the one before: we need a shooter.

  19. hunter1909 says:

    I must confess I missed 98% of the last game.

    I don’t expect them to win every game.

    Next game: huge naturally. In Hitch we trust?

  20. russ99 says:

    hunter1909:
    I must confess I missed 98% of the last game.

    I don’t expect them to win every game.

    Next game: huge naturally. In Hitch we trust?

    I don’t expect them to win either, heck staying over .500 is a good step at this point. But nobody wins when when your goal is to keep it 0-0.

    We’ll see if Hitch or the players (my money is on the players) can adapt. This gain the zone and throw back to the point play is getting really old, someone needs to make a tough play to create space and get us some open looks.

    This is especially so since every team advance scouts, and everyone knows from the video that we have trouble scoring if they clog the middle. The only way to change it is to make plays and score goals.

  21. hunter1909 says:

    russ99: The only way to change it is to make plays and score goals.

    If the team which has blown 4X 1st overall picks and all kinds of top draft picks wasted cannot score then it’s hardly my fault.

  22. godot10 says:

    frjohnk: Crazy that Point scored 91 points in his draft year and was picked in the 3rd round, 79th overall.Being 5 foot 9 and 161 pounds scared alot of team to take him earlier.

    His skating apparently was weak at that point. Tampa obviously believed they could fix his skating. They must have had a skating specialist look at his skating before they drafted him, and determined it was fixable.

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