It’s never a good idea to have a media avail when you have no good answers, so fans shouldn’t be waiting for Peter Chiarelli to step up in the coming days. That said, Edmonton is a big little city and you’d have to be a monk or in a coma to be unaware of the rage in this cage in Edmonton city, now, today. Historically, the Oilers don’t fire people, but rather bump them upstairs. How might this go down?
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- New Lowetide: Oilers acquire Alexander Petrovic from Panthers, flushing Chris Wideman and a 2019 third-round pick in the trade.
- New Daniel Nugent-Bowman: Struggling Oilers counting on Kris Russell to revitalize depleted defence.
- New Minnia Feng: The head-scratching scenarios, cringe-worthy lines and questionable graphics in commercials featuring NHL players.
- Lowetide: In a ‘Hail Mary’ roster shuffle, Oilers recall Kailer Yamamoto, waive Valentin Zykov and place Alex Chiasson on IR.
- Lowetide: Peter Chiarelli’s free-agent success in 2018 may dictate Oilers big money moves in the summer of 2019.
- Lowetide: Total recall—Who should be next on the Bakersfield-to-Edmonton shuttle?
- Daniel Nugent-Bowman: Oilers’ Rattie still figuring out how to play for new-old coach Ken Hitchcock.
- Daniel Nugent-Bowman: Condors coach Jay Woodcroft has a lifetime of hockey knowledge to share and the notebooks to prove it.
- Jonathan Willis: The Ryan Spooner for Ryan Strome trade has yet to pay dividends for the Edmonton Oilers.
- Lowetide: Oilers No. 8 prospect Winter 2018: Kirill Maksimov.
- Lowetide: Oilers No. 7 prospect Winter 2018: Caleb Jones.
- Lowetide: Oilers No. 6 Prospect winter 2018: Cooper Marody.
- 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 38
- Oilers in 2015: 15-20-3, 33 points; goal differential -21
- Oilers in 2016: 19-12-7, 45 points; goal differential +6
- Oilers in 2017: 17-18-3, 37 points; goal differential -7
- Oilers in 2018: 18-17-3, 39 points; goal differential -6
There’s really no difference between last year’s team and this one, and that’s probably about right. The injuries on defense derailed this team but it’s also true the lack of depth, well earned by trading draft picks and signing expensive free agents, is coming home to roost. If you were angry that Todd McLellan got fired before Peter Chiarelli, you may be heartened by recent events. Edmonton is now on pace to finish 39-37-6, 84 points. That’s a six-point improvement year over year. Ken Hitchcock is now 9-7-2 at the helm, destined (apparently) to land within inches of McLellan’s 9-10-1 after his last 20 games as Oilers’ coach.
OILERS IN DECEMBER
- Oilers in December 2015: 6-5-2, 14 points; goal differential -10
- Oilers in December 2016: 7-2-4, 18 points; goal differential +2
- Oilers in December 2017: 7-5-1, 15 points; goal differential +3
- Oilers in December 2018: 6-6-1, 13 points; goal differential -1
If you’d told me this would be the worst December of the McDavid era back about December 15 I would have called the cops. We are here. They’re bleeding now, the goalies are coming back to earth and Hitchcock doesn’t have enough defensemen to form a quorum for six, let alone ice a full six.
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 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 1-0-1)
- At home to: Philadelphia (Expected 1-0-0) (Actual 1-0-0)
- On the road to: Vancouver (Expected 1-0-0) (Actual 0-1-0)
- At home to: St. Louis, Tampa Bay, Vancouver, San Jose, Winnipeg (Expected 2-2-1) (Actual 0-4-0)
- Overall expected result: 7-6-1, 15 points in 14 games
- Current results: 6-6-1, 13 points in 13 games
It’s a good month for a losing team, an awful month for a team that fancies itself as a playoff contender. I think one of the problems currently surrounds where the fans believe the team should be and where the team itself believes they are at this time.
DEFENSE, LAST NIGHT
- Nurse-Larsson played an enormous amount again and were once again overwhelmed. Went 16-17 in 16:19, 9-13 shots, 0-2 goals and 3-3 HDSC. Went 7-9 in 8:18 against Radil-Couture-Meier. I don’t think the Oilers win a game until the team can find a way to back off the minutes for this pairing.
- Jones-Benning were 9-15 in 13:46, 8-8 shots, 2-3 goals and 1-4 HDSC. Far too high event for any pairing (five goals at 5-on-5 is unusual for a pairing) but I really like the duo. Were 6-5 in 6:09 against Kane-Hertl-Donskoi, 2-1 goals. Crazy. They are mobile and move the puck well. I like the pairing!
- Gravel-Wideman went 3-12 in 9:30, 2-5 shots, no goals but 0-5 HDSC. Holy man this was an interesting game, five HDSC against the third pairing. Wideman took four minutes in penalties, he’s not good enough to be doing that kind of thing while staying in the lineup.
- Cam Talbot stopped 33 of 40, .825. I think the third and fourth goals were the straw that broke the back. Edmonton has had subpar goaltending this week.
- Natural Stat Trick and NHL. com.
FORWARDS, LAST NIGHT
- Draisaitl-McDavid-Rattie went 10-17 in 9:37, 9-9 shots and 1-1 goals. The captain was also 8-6 in 7:22 with Caggiula (2-1 goals), 2-1 in 1:54 with Yamamoto, 3-0 in 1:49 with Puljujarvi and he also spent time 5-on-5 with Kassian, Khaira, Lucic, Rieder and Brodziak. I think he spent two shifts with Donny Murdoch but my mind commenced to wandering at some point.
- Lucic-Khaira-Yamamoto went 5-6 in 6:36, 2-2 shots and no goals. I liked the line. Lucic got an assist but on the Leon goal, and Khaira was quiet compared to recent performances. Yamamoto was solid if unspectacular. I’d like to see Khaira on the Nuge line, because passing to Lucic on a two-on-one is not a high percentage play.
- Rieder-Brodziak-Kassian went 7-15 in 9:57, 5-9 shots and no goals. Not much shaking, this line needs to get more offensive chances (1-3 HDSC) and to cash once in awhile.
- Caggiula-Nuge-Puljujarvi went 1-10 in 10:27, 0-2 goals (Puljujarvi), 1-8 in 6:25, no goals (Khaira) and 1-5 in 5:05, 0-2 goals (Caggiula). The Drake had a poor game, this didn’t correct much with JJ and that entire evening was a prolonged exercise in frustration. I don’t recall the last time RNH was as thoroughly flummoxed.
- “You look at Ty Rattie and he had a very good game from the red line in and he struggled at the other end. I’m going to have to help him. We’re going to need players like that. And we have other young players. Jesse Puljujarvi had had two tough games now. If he’s on our team, I’m going to have to get him to play.”
- I thought it was an interesting five hours for the Rattie-Yamamoto competition. Rattie scored (or I thought he did) early in the game, but soon after had been demoted with Yamamoto moving up. It’s a fascinating view into Hitchcock’s thinking. McDavid says he likes playing with Rattie, I think the coach prefers more responsibility. Perhaps Nuge can move up and provide the defensive conscience.
I believe there is a disconnect between fans and management about the time line for winning. Fans want a winner today, management wants to stay the course and develop players via the draft and amateur procurement (Star Trek, Year of Hell). For that plan to work, the team has to win enough to keep the fans somewhat hopeful. The five-game losing streak, mostly at home, over Christmas, is a big damned headache but Peter Chiarelli can survive it.
I believe there is a disconnect between ownership and management allowing the playoffs to slip away. My guess is Katz has no issues with the development plan, as long as the team makes the playoffs in the spring. Whereas the fan anger is bothersome, the ownership ire could be terminal for this management group. Peter Chiarelli cannot survive this headache.
The Edmonton Oilers wake up this morning No. 11 of 15 western conference teams. The club is four points out of a playoff spot and six points out of being the No. 31 team in the NHL.
If the plan continues according to form (don’t make a panic move), the Oilers could be in a strong lottery position by the ides of January. I believe Peter Chiarelli and the management crew would like to hold the line, to keep the draft picks and Ethan Bear and Jesse Puljujarvi and Caleb Jones.
I think the owner wants the playoffs. Based on what we know about the inner workings of the Oilers, and the recent firing of Todd McLellan, we might expect a Learjet to arrive in the city, a limo ride to the arena, an owner yelling until he turns red as red can be, followed by quick action.
The new admin, or the current admin with an attitude adjustment, will trade the 2019 first-round pick and Ryan Spooner to the Kings for Tyler Toffoli, and then deal Jesse Puljujarvi+ to Carolina for one of their defensemen who can help.
I don’t think this season is worth saving. Honestly. Even if you add a scoring right winger and a good NHL defenseman, mortgaging the future, it’s still a tough row to hoe in making the playoffs.
Stay the course, find a way to hang in there until Oscar Klefbom returns. I have no quarrel with a management change, I suspect it is inevitable at this point. I do object to a quick change in general manager and then several deals that will mortgage the future in favor of improving today.
You canNOT make progress from here by trading young value contracts and draft picks for veterans being paid big money who carry around massive cap obligations. That’s exactly the kind of thinking that got this team into the current mess. In acquiring Griffin Reinhart, Cam Talbot, Eric Gryba and others, Peter Chiarelli made an attempt to hurry sunrise and it resulted in one playoff berth in four.
Stay the course. This can be fixed, but in June, not January.
OILERS CURRENT DRAFT PICKS 2019
- No. 11 overall
- No. 42 overall
- No. 73 overall
- No. 79 overall
- No. 104 overall
- No. 166 overall
- No. 197 overall
If they’re going to trade a pick, make it the second-round selection included in a deal to send Milan Lucic to his next NHL city. That will help this organization far more than a panic deal in the early days of 2019.