You can’t make one thin dime defending Peter Chiarelli in this town, but I’ll say this: If there was a trade out there for a scoring forward, he’d have pulled the trigger by now.
Of course, the Oilers are here via a large number of decisions that collectively downgraded offensive options, and that’s on management. The Griffin Reinhart trade has been talked to death, but I think last night we saw other signs of previous decisions coming back to bite the team. As an example: Conor Garland’s two goals. He’s a fifth round pick from 2015, an enormous draft pool that now boasts 74 men who have played in at least one NHL game. To give you an idea about how impressive that number is, the 2014 draft—with a full year more on the books—has 73 NHL men. The 2014 draft’s NHL players average 97 games, 19 goals and 45 points. The 2015 draft’s NHL players average 72 games, 14 goals and 37 points, and it’s only going to get more impressive from here.
Connor McDavid (253, 114-209-323), Mathew Barzal (127, 35-91-126), Jonas Siegenthaler (18, 0-4-4), Christian Wolanin (18, 3-4-7), Caleb Jones (13, 1-3-4), Ethan Bear (18, 1-3-4) were all chosen with Oilers selections and have played in the NHL in the years since 2015. The counter argument is always “they wouldn’t have taken Barzal anyway” and that’s fine, but the picks the team reportedly targeted with the Reinhart picks (Joel Eriksson Ek and Brandon Carlo) have also played in the NHL.
The problem is, you develop a past. Coming four years after Connor McDavid was drafted, the Oilers are still getting beaten to the punch by teams who kept those 2015 picks and then developed them.
In hockey procurement, you can’t go fast enough to get there early.
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- New Lowetide: The Oilers are getting more good players from the farm; will these kids arrive in time to save Peter Chiarelli?
- Lowetide: Gauging the Edmonton Oilers’ needs and tendencies for the 2019 NHL Draft
- Jonathan Willis: Forecasting Oilers junior prospects based on their statistical performance
- Lowetide: Complete Oilers top 20 prospects, Winter 2018
- Jonathan Willis: Analysing the risk of heaping heavy minutes on Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl.
- Lowetide: Oilers midseason report card, brought to you by the letter ‘F’
- Jonathan Willis: Unlikely scorer Jujhar Khaira has forced his way up the Oilers’ lineup on merit.
- Black Dog Pat: There’s no in-season balancing for the Oilers
- Daniel Nugent-Bowman: From 2 to 98, Oilers share the stories behind their jersey numbers.
- Lowetide: Oilers No. 10 prospect Winter 2018: Dylan Wells.
- Lowetide: Oilers No. 9 prospect Winter 2018: Joel Persson.
- 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 45
- Oilers in 2015: 17-23-5, 39 points; goal differential -24
- Oilers in 2016: 23-15-7, 53 points; goal differential +4
- Oilers in 2017: 19-23-3, 41 points; goal differential -26
- Oilers in 2018: 21-21-3, 45 points; goal differential -12
OILERS IN JANUARY
- Oilers in January 2016: 2-2-2, six points; goal differential -2
- Oilers in January 2017: 3-3-0, six points; goal differential -2
- Oilers in January 2018: 2-4-0, four points; goal differential -11
- Oilers in January 2019: 3-3-0, six points; goal differential -5
WHAT TO EXPECT IN JANUARY
- On the road to: Arizona, Los Angeles, Anaheim, San Jose (Expected 2-2-0) (Actual 2-2-0)
- At home to: Florida, Arizona, Buffalo (Expected 1-1-1) (Actual 1-1-0)
- On the road to: Vancouver (Expected 0-1-0) (Actual 0-0-0)
- At home to: Calgary, Carolina, Detroit (Expected 1-1-1) (Actual 0-0-0)
- Overall expected result: 4-5-2, 10 points in 11 games
- Current results: 3-3-0, six points in six games
DEFENSE, LAST NIGHT
- Jones-Larsson went 14-11 in 15:37, 7-4 shots, no goals 4-1 HDSC. Spent 10:09 with McDavid, but three of the four HDSC came with Milan Lucic on the ice. Went 6-2 in 7:13 against Crouse-Kempe-Archibald. Larson’s offensive sorties were mostly unproductive, he did hammer poor Hjalmarsson senseless with one shot.
- Nurse-Russell were 16-20 in 21:45, 9-12 shots, 2-1 goals and 7-3 HDSC. Russell made a foolish pass on the first goal, scoring one of his own later in the game. The pairing had problems making substantial outlet passes and it was a problem. Went 8-10 in 10:34 against Panik-Stepan-Hinostroza.
- Gravel-Benning went 7-10 in 10:31, 4-7 shots, no goals and 1-0 HDSC. As was the case with the second pairing, outlet passing was an issue. Went 4-7 in 5:40 against Keller-Weal-Fischer.
- Cam Talbot stopped 26 of 29, .897. Some bad luck on the face goal and the winning marker.
- NHL.com and NaturalStatTrick.
FORWARDS, LAST NIGHT
- Lucic-Brodziak-Kassian were 6-1 in 4:16, the line had some jump and several impressive chances. Couldn’t cash, and that’s been the season. Brodziak’s penalty was miles from home and costly. I like him as a player but your fourth line cannot cost you as much as this year’s unit has already.
- Draisaitl-McDavid-Chiasson went 12-3 in 12:36, the lines were shuffling so fast I’m just going to address the top units. Leon looked both exhausted and like he was trying to do too much. Arizona has to be given credit, they didn’t give much clean air to 97. Nice pass from Rattie on the goal.
- Spooner-Khaira-Puljujarvi went 7-5 in 8:57, it was a respectable evening for the trio. Problem is they need a more skilled player to drive the line. Nuge could make this line better.
- Nuge-McDavid-Rattie were 7-11 in 7:40, all three men getting a point on the night. Nice pass from Rattie on the 97 goal, Nuge with a nice dish on the second tally.
I understand Mr. Hitchcock’s point but the Oilers are counting on veterans who are midway through what looks like their final NHL seasons. Now, we know contracts means some of these fellows will return, but consider the boxcars on some of Edmonton’s forwards:
- Milan Lucic 45, 2-7-9
- Tobias Rieder 32, 0-7-7
- Zack Kassian 42, 2-4-6
- Kyle Brodziak 43, 2-4-6
- Ryan Spooner 23, 2-1-3
McDavid With or Without You. That’s it, that’s all. It hasn’t turned around in four summers of trading draft picks for expensive veterans and signing big name free agents.
Enough. Draft, procure and develop. You can’t trade your way into contention and free agency is where you kill your cap room. Peter Chiarelli and his staff have done a lot of things well, including the draft, building up the Condors and procuring college men like Matt Benning and Drake Caggiula.
The big trades and the big money free-agent contracts have obscured some good works. The trading of draft picks may have buried a fantastic future.
Now, tell me again why dealing the 2019 first-round selection is a good idea.