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?
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- 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 2015: 14-15-2, 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
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.
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!