Game 31 2018-19: Oilers at Avalanche

by Lowetide

The Edmonton Oilers hit the road in Denver tonight, the club leaving the city after a splendid weekend and two home victories. It occurs to me that now, today, this instant, might be the best moment the team and fans see this season. The wins have been terrific and the climb in the standings a lot of fun, but the coach is running the daylights out of the top players and the one-goal margins of victory surely turns (or at least evens out) at some point. It’s a blast, this is fun, but are the Oilers in for a correction?

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: Contemplating Oilers roster changes as injured players prepare to return. 
  • New Daniel Nugent-Bowman: Oilers are bending, but not breaking, in one-goal games under Ken Hitchcock. 
  • New Daniel Nugent-Bowman: Kim Boutin: Amid threats, she took the short track to Canadians’ hearts. 
  • Lowetide: I have seen the future of Edmonton’s power play, and its quarterback is Evan Bouchard. Or Joel Persson. Or both! 
  • Lowetide: Oilers No. 6 Prospect winter 2018: Cooper Marody
  • Jonathan Willis: Ken Hitchcock’s turnaround of the Oilers takes another positive step as they climb back to a playoff pace. 
  • Lowetide: Oilers No. 5 Prospect winter 2018: Ethan Bear.
  • Lowetide: Oilers No. 4 Prospect winter 2018: Ryan McLeod.
  • 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 31

  • Oilers in 201514-15-2, 30 points; goal differential -7
  • Oilers in 2016: 15-11-5, 35 points; goal differential +6
  • Oilers in 2017: 13-16-2, 28 points; goal differential -6
  • Oilers in 2018: 16-12-2, 34 points; goal differential 0

Edmonton is playing a superior team tonight (+20 GD and a home record of 6-2-3) and will be in a foul mood after getting thrashed by Tampa Bay in its most recent outing. If the Oilers win tonight, they would be on a trajectory to finish 45-32-5, 95 points. 

OILERS IN DECEMBER

  • Oilers in December 2015: 6-0-0, 12 points; goal differential +7
  • Oilers in December 2016: 2-1-3, seven points; goal differential +1
  • Oilers in December 2017: 3-3-0, six points; goal differential +4
  • Oilers in December 2018: 4-1-0, eight points; goal differential +5

There isn’t much to say here, December begins well for the McDavid Oilers. The collective GD is +17 and the cumulative record is 15-5-3. That’s a lot of victory. 

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 1-1-0)
  • At home to: Minnesota, Calgary (Expected 1-1-0) (Actual 2-0-0)
  • 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: 4-1-0, eight points in five games

I picked the Oilers to lose tonight’s game, the Avalanche had a record of 15-6-5 at the time (Jets were 14-8-2, Oilers were 12-11-2). I don’t think Edmonton wins this one. Note: I predicted they would be 2-4-0 after tonight, so even with a loss the team would be two games clear of predicted. Month No. 3 and I have yet to get a handle on this team. 

NUGE IS GOING NOWHERE

How many players have more value to the Oilers than Ryan Nugent-Hopkins? McDavid, Draisaitl, Klefbom and now I’m out of names. The article suggests (I think) something around Torey Krug and Jake DeBrusk for No.93. That’s a lot of talent (I’m not suggesting that is the deal, just picking up the conversation from the Globe) but it still leaves Edmonton vulnerable. Here’s the suggested lineup:

  • Jake DeBrusk—McDavid—Chiasson
  • Rieder—Draisaitl—Puljujarvi
  • Khaira—Spooner—Caggiula
  • Lucic—Brodziak—Kassian
  • Zykov—Rattie
  • Klefbom—Larsson
  • Krug—Russell
  • Nurse—Benning
  • Gravel
  • Koskinen—Talbot

I’m a fan of both DeBrusk and Krug and would love to see them in Edmonton. The cost is too dear, in my opinion. DeBrusk is on pace for 29 goals, Krug is a power-play demon, I don’t believe Edmonton is better after the trade. The top line loses Draisaitl, the second line asks the big center to play a more defensive role. Nuge buys the opportunity to pair 97 with 29, that’s one of the best combinations in the entire league. 

NEVERTHELESS

This is the exact trade type Edmonton needs to at least ponder, as increasing offense while doing no harm to the defense and goaltending is the clear goal. How do they do it? My thinking is the first-round pick in 2019, not sure Edmonton is going to be better off dealing one of its best players. That said, dealing Nuge to Boston makes complete sense from Boston’s point of view and the team has lots of young forwards they can trade. 

LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE

A strong group of guests help get us ready for a big night in the wide world of sports. Scheduled to appear, beginning at 10 this morning on TSN1260:

  • Jonathan Willis, The Athletic. Hitchcock for emperor, Oilers as a buyer at the deadline.
  • Micah Adams, Managing editor for Global Editions of NBA dot com/DAZN. Raptors and NBA.
  • Marc Moser, Avs play-by-play. What’s it like calling games that feature the world’s most offensive line?

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

745 comments
0

You may also like

0 0 vote
Article Rating
745 Comments
Newest
Oldest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
OriginalPouzar

russ99:
From Oilers Twitter:

Coach Hitchcock says #Oilers d-man Oscar Klefbom will be out “weeks not days” with a hand injury & will head back to Edmonton immediately for further evaluation.

Is Jones ready for an NHL look yet?
I’d be inclined to move Nurse up and keep Gravel and Benning togeher.

Jones or Lagesson would be the call-up that makes sense but they likely don’t make any call-up at this point given they have Wideman and Garrison still.

godot10

frjohnk:
Just noticed JP is playing 11:39 under Hitch.
He played 11:59 under TMac.

Definitely a work in progress.

I don’t think you are counting games in the pressbox. Or considering consistency of linemates.

Krueger played Yakupov less than Eakins. Yet we all know which coach Yakupov would choose if he had a choice.

jp

Doesn’t the Klefbom injury basically assure a Nuge-Krug trade? :p

frjohnk

Just noticed JP is playing 11:39 under Hitch.
He played 11:59 under TMac.

Definitely a work in progress.

frjohnk

Damn, he is out “weeks” not days.

8th in ice time in the league per game.

That is a lot of minutes that have to be eaten up by the rest of the D.

russ99

Réal Goudenyéu,

This happens when you’re playing with 4 defensemen most of the night,

russ99

From Oilers Twitter:

Coach Hitchcock says #Oilers d-man Oscar Klefbom will be out “weeks not days” with a hand injury & will head back to Edmonton immediately for further evaluation.

Is Jones ready for an NHL look yet?
I’d be inclined to move Nurse up and keep Gravel and Benning togeher.

OriginalPouzar

digger50: Have you ever done a calculation to figure out what a call up is worth to the average AHL player? Comes up, sits in the box, gets his NHL wages. Is it per game or per day?

Its per day, I’m quite certain.

OriginalPouzar

Time to start Talbot in Winnipeg tomorrow for sure. Koskinen was great last night – without him being great early it’s a different game. With that said, 40 plus shots and he did seem to be getting fatigued. Stayed down after the whistle a number of times. Rest him up for the home game this weekend. Talbot on Thursday – no brainer.

Soup Fascist

Not to go all Columbo – but near the end of Benning’s interview Klefbom quickly walked through the shot in the background with a tensor bandage wrapped around his left hand.

Not diagnosing anything (although I know that LT loves amateur doctors to weigh in) but from what I can see, looks to be more of a hand / wrist area injury than a finger.

No bueno.

Brogan Rafferty's Uncle Steve

GMB3,

Maybe a trade around Lucic and Carter?

Brogan Rafferty's Uncle Steve

Professor Q,

I am pretty sure it was a regular season game, regardless it was amazing. The Sakic/Forsberg Avs were my favourite.

GMB3

digger50: Have you ever done a calculation to figure out what a call up is worth to the average AHL player? Comes up, sits in the box, gets his NHL wages. Is it per game or per day?

I believe OP has stated that their cap hit is accrued daily so I imagine they earn a portion of their salary each day and are they paid biweekly

GMB3

If the Oilers are in a playoff position at the deadline, is there a universe in which a Jeff Carter trade makes sense for Edmonton? Especially if LA can take back some cap dollars the other way?

Edit: nevermind. I thought his contract ended after next season.

Reja

frjohnk: Injuries to Klefbom and Russell knocked those two out for parts of the game. And Benning was in the box for 7 minutes.

Sure hope Klefbom is not out for much time. Our best horse on the backend.

No Larsson is by three furlongs.

Side

It’s not often you hear a former captain shred the work ethic and dedication of the team he had led, which is why Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, the only remaining regular from the 2013-14 team, thought it was a rather bizarre outburst.

“I don’t have too much to say about it,” he said after Tuesday’s morning skate in Denver. “But I’m a little surprised that he would come out now and say these things. It’s strange. I always got along with him, too.”

Nugent-Hopkins doesn’t remember the Oilers treating the hockey season like Mardi Gras at all. Yes, like every team in professional sports, they hit the town from time to time, and without a lot of veterans or leadership in the dressing room they had to learn from experience where the line was drawn, but he says the atmosphere Ference describes is a major exaggeration.

“To say that guys were going out all the time and were showing up hung over, I don’t remember guys doing that at all,” said Nugent-Hopkins, who has evolved into the best two-way player on the team.

He really rolled his eyes at the notion players were routinely mocked for working hard in practice.

“I don’t know about that. Guys had every intention of working hard and getting better. Guys tried.”

https://edmontonsun.com/sports/hockey/nhl/edmonton-oilers/ference-exaggerating-claims-of-hard-partying-edmonton-oilers-team-that-didnt-care-says-ryan-nugent-hopkins/amp

NUUUUGE

Suntory Hanzo

Bag of Pucks:
If i was writing the post title tomorrow, I’d go with a Hitchcock movie. Maybe North by Northwest or Lifeboat. I’m sure Hitch is feeling like a Lifeboat to Chiarelli.

Maybe “The Trouble with Chiarelli”

Gerta Rauss

digger50: Have you ever done a calculation to figure out what a call up is worth to the average AHL player? Comes up, sits in the box, gets his NHL wages. Is it per game or per day?

the players get paid every 2 weeks just like the majority of working folks

it was reported that Bouchard pocketed about $150k for his month (approx) with the Oilers this year

digger50

OriginalPouzar: There are also cap implications – when a player is on IR they count against the cap so we essentially have 25 “roster players” with Caggiula and Rieder counting and we are well in to the LTIR cushion.

I guess going $2M in to the cushion as opposed to $1.2M doesn’t really make a difference, its not like we are accumulating any cap space to bank in the first instance.

Have you ever done a calculation to figure out what a call up is worth to the average AHL player? Comes up, sits in the box, gets his NHL wages. Is it per game or per day?

npanciroli

Oz,

Happy to assist! Great minds.

Bos8

CrazyCoach: Almost forgot about Day.He’d be good to.

Isn’t it nice to have options to call up from the farm?

Yay, for well run hockey clubs. Thinking on it, I would vote for Lagesson. Reassure the Swedish connection for next year.

Professor Q

Also, I was watching the game in parts and backwards.

Interesting for the commentators to bring up MacKinnon and Landeskog’s seasons this year in contrast with Sakic’s 20-in-30 year, 1995-96, the first Cup year.

And then proceed to talk about the Forsberg game (was it in the 1996 playoffs against Florida, or just a random game?) where they were down 5-1 and Peter went off to get them to a 7-5 comeback victory. I was almost worried they had jinxed us!

giddy

OriginalPouzar: when or if?

Well, Hitch’s post game comments abour Klef being out for weeks were equivalent to a few metaphorical lugnuts coming off.

I think we’re really going to see some grind it out Hitchcock hockey now. Whoever said “d corpse” whether ironically or not the other day gave the Oilers d the perfect moniker moving forward without the top 2 dmen on the team.

Gerta Rauss

Oz:
I might change that around OP to
Nurse/Larsson
Gravel/Benning
Russell/Wideman

I think I’d go with that as well

Gravel/Benning have played well the last few games and I’d keep them together

And you could argue Russell > Gravel and you wouldn’t be wrong, but I’d place Benning above Wideman at the moment

Jaxon

Now would be a good time to make a trade for Justin Holl. It’s brutal that he’s only played 1 game this year.

Nurse/Larsson
Russell/Benning
Gravel/Holl

Sierra

Losing Klef for any length of time is going to be tough for the Oilers. Guess we will see what the real Nurse is now.

Will Klef’s injury force Chia’s hand in making a trade?

OriginalPouzar

digger50: Yeah, I doubt they see ice time, but the call up might be more of a $$ reward to whoever has been playing well.

There are also cap implications – when a player is on IR they count against the cap so we essentially have 25 “roster players” with Caggiula and Rieder counting and we are well in to the LTIR cushion.

I guess going $2M in to the cushion as opposed to $1.2M doesn’t really make a difference, its not like we are accumulating any cap space to bank in the first instance.

Professor Q

McDavid’s seam pass to Nuge for the one goal was also a thing of beauty. Through many legs and just in time, right to the perfect target.

OriginalPouzar

Bos8: Actually, Logan Day has been coming on very strong.I would go either Lagesson or Day before the others.Probably Lagesson due to quiet feet and size.

Day isn’t signed to an NHL deal – its an AHL only deal.

He is also awful without the puck, just awful. Sorry but he can’t be anywhere near an NHL lineup (even if he had an actual NHL contract).

Jones’ skating may get him the call but I would be just fine with Lagesson as well.

Both Garrison and Wideman shoot right so calling up a leftie may be OK.

Clay

Professor Q:
So wait. Did Klefbom get into a fight or did he pull a Nuge and use his hand as his puck-ball glove?

I missed whatever happened…

Took a shot off the hand – not a block attempt, just shithouse luck.

Scungilli Slushy

Jaxon: I really like Gravel’s game and his play tonight (cool as a cucumber), but I doubt we see him higher in the order than Russell. I wouldn’t mind seeing it, though.

He’s more mobile than reported as well, like Zykov. Good news.

CrazyCoach

Bos8: Actually, Logan Day has been coming on very strong. I would go either Lagesson or Day before the others. Probably Lagesson due to quiet feet and size.

Almost forgot about Day. He’d be good to.

Isn’t it nice to have options to call up from the farm?

Oz

npanciroli,

We agree, so are you the coach and I am the assistant?
Take into account I posted first ?

Professor Q

So wait. Did Klefbom get into a fight or did he pull a Nuge and use his hand as his puck-ball glove?

I missed whatever happened…

who

Man. Everyone seems almost giddy with the win. I think Hitch will see a lot of coaching opportunities when he looks at the game tape.
Koskinen won the game for them. Pure and simple. The Oilers were not good, for large parts of that game.
Great cross ice pass by Drai. The poster was right, very few NHLers make that play. Other than that, he was shit tonight. And I’m a huge Drai supporter. I was glad they traded Hall instead of him. But his decision making with the puck was brutal. Way too many neutral zone, and just inside each blue line, turnovers. And he keeps forcing pucks to McDavid when he should be shooting.
The team is riding some good luck right now (if Peluso was goalie interference how was Drai not?), and a hot goalie. Hope I’m wrong but I see a few losses coming quickly if they don’t pick it up.

Rantanen is a beast. If he’s like this every night he’s a 10 million dollar player, easy. In fact if someone offered me McKinnon and Rantanen for McDavid and Draisaitl…….. I dunno. I’d be tempted.

digger50

Jethro Tull: It’s easy. We transplant Klef’s hand for Sekera’s and Sekera’s leg for Klef’s. Hey presto, two fit players.

And then Yakapov’s brain.

I don’t even know what that makes.

OriginalPouzar

Ice Sage:
This has been fun.
Winnipeg’s a beast too far, methinks.But a good measuring stick.

They do have four whole more points than the Oilers this year and a home loss to the McLellan coached Oilers……

Paddy Morans Jockstrap

I’d consider

Nurse Larsson
Gravel Russell
Garrison Benning

Klef and Sekera both out is a big damn deal. But at least we are going into an easier part of the schedule for the next month with lots of home games.

Bos8

CrazyCoach: I would like to see Lagesson get a call or even Jones.

Actually, Logan Day has been coming on very strong. I would go either Lagesson or Day before the others. Probably Lagesson due to quiet feet and size.

digger50

OriginalPouzar: Probably noone – we have Wideman and Garrison as extras – been carrying 8D.

Yeah, I doubt they see ice time, but the call up might be more of a $$ reward to whoever has been playing well.

Then again, if Oscar has seriously broken a lnuckle or needs pins then the call up
Might get a look just cause.

First up though, I think Hitch is going to want to have a look at Wideman, see what he can do.

Jaxon

OriginalPouzar: On merit of play this year, Bear would be the third call-up after Jones and Lagesson – Jones has played the right side pretty much all year.

You knew what I was going to bring up. Lefty-Righty. I get that Jones is playing right side, but is he better on the right than left? Even if he’s playing right in the AHL, is it wise to put him on the right side in his first NHL game? OR are you suggesting that they’d go

Nurse/Larsson
Gravel/Russell
Jones/Benning
VS
Nurse/Larsson
Russell/Benning
Gravel/Bear

Of course, as mentioned earlier, we both doubt it will be either of these. I think I’d rather have Russell on the left and Bear. But then again, I haven’t witnessed the gap between Jones and Bear this season.

npanciroli

I think I run,
Nurse Larsson
Gravel Benning
Russell Wideman

Jethro Tull

Bag of Pucks: Ference suddenly wishing he didn’t burn that bridge.

Probably tell Connor to get a haircut.

Oz

OriginalPouzar,

OP going back to my earlier post that replied to your lineup so my preference is
Nurse/Larsson
Gravel/Benning
Russell/Wideman
Second line has been working together well and Russell on his preferred side may shelter Wideman enough. Wideman I consider a better option to Garrison

Jethro Tull

Munny:
Time to duct tape Sekera’s Achilles.

It’s easy. We transplant Klef’s hand for Sekera’s and Sekera’s leg for Klef’s. Hey presto, two fit players.

Bag of Pucks

Jethro Tull: Nikitin or Belov.

Ference suddenly wishing he didn’t burn that bridge.

OriginalPouzar

Dr. Taboggan:
Jethro Tull,

Barf.

Curious who the call-up will be.

Probably noone – we have Wideman and Garrison as extras – been carrying 8D.

Jaxon

Oz: I might change that around OP to
Nurse/Larsson
Gravel/Benning
Russell/Wideman

I really like Gravel’s game and his play tonight (cool as a cucumber), but I doubt we see him higher in the order than Russell. I wouldn’t mind seeing it, though.

Gerta Rauss

oh that injury to Klef really sucks

has to be a broken bone(s)

shit