Moonlight Drive

Buffalo scored first, that often means a long night of poor behaviour by adults in my house, possibly yours too. Zack Kassian had a major impact on the game early, as the frustrated veterans came through in a big way in a big game. Milan Lucic scored the fifth and sixth goals, sparking a prolonged period of applause and merriment. It was a pleasing night for everyone, and gives the club some momentum heading into what is a very important week ahead.

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: The Edmonton Oilers appear to be mere hours from doing something overbold
  • Lowetide: Edmonton’s offseason prospect procurement could be outstanding. Will they arrive in time to save the Oilers?
  • 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 46

  • Oilers in 2015: 18-23-5, 41 points; goal differential -24
  • Oilers in 2016: 24-15-7, 55 points; goal differential +6
  • Oilers in 2017: 19-23-3, 41 points; goal differential -26
  • Oilers in 2018: 22-21-3, 47 points; goal differential -7

That’s a fabulous recovery in goal differential, and in a season that grows more bizarre by the day, your Edmonton Oilers are in a playoff spot this morning. Oh sure, Minnesota has played one fewer game, plus Anaheim and Vancouver are right there. That said, the team has clawed its way back into the race and it’s mid-January.

OILERS IN JANUARY

  • Oilers in January 2016: 3-2-2, eight points; goal differential -2
  • Oilers in January 2017: 4-3-0, eight points; goal differential -2
  • Oilers in January 2018: 3-4-0, six points; goal differential -10
  • Oilers in January 2019: 4-3-0, eight points; goal differential 0

The first half of January is over, marked by inconsistency and opportunities missed. Edmonton has eight points, the goal differential is zero and as mentioned the playoffs are in view.

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 2-1-0)
  • 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: 4-3-0, eight points in seven games

The Oilers are close to reaching my expectations for the month, with four games to go. As we have seen many times this season, the way forward is clear for this team. Can they break on through to the other side?

DEFENSE, LAST NIGHT

  • Manning-Benning went 7-8 in 12:22, 4-4 shots, 1-0 goals and 0-1 HDSC. The shot total is way too high (40 SA/60 based on last night) but the pairing did some good things. Manning was physical, Benning got pucks out for the most part. Were 1-6 in 5:42 against Larsson-Girgensons-Okposo, 0-3 shots.
  • Jones-Larsson went 14-26 in 17:55, 9-17 shots, 2-0 goals (I know) and 2-2 HDSC. SA/60 was 87 (!!!! OH MY GOD) for the pair. Despite the numbers, I thought both men did some good things. Larsson was calm, physical and picked good times to pinch/jump into the play. Jones did some rookie things but also showed some calmness in trying situations. I think the game is beginning to slow down for him. Went 4-10 in 6:43 against Skinner-Eichel-Reinhart, 1-0 goals, and that trio and fanfreakingtastic. If you’re wondering about a solution, thy name is Klefbom. Jones is a rookie, people.
  • Nurse-Russell were 7-21 in 15:01, 7-14 shots, 3-1 goals and 4-5 HDSC. These are all over the top numbers, way too much happening for anyone to be happy. They survived and Nurse picked up yet another point. Went 3-14 in 7:54 against Skinner-Eichel-Reinhart (also 1-0) on a night when both defensemen needed to have their heads on a swivel. The pairing’s SA/60 was 56 on the night (!!!) but they did play the most against the big line.
  • Mikko Koskinen stopped 41 of 43 shots, .953. He looked fabulous after an uneven start.
  • NaturalStatTrick and NHL.com.

FORWARDS, LAST NIGHT

  • Spooner-Khaira-Puljujarvi were 6-6 in 7:52, 3-4 shots, no goals and 2-2 HDSC. I liked the line, but they need a driver. Were 6-2 in 4:43 against Dahlin-Bogosian. Khaira was passing well and had some looks, three shots on goal is a good number for him. Jesse had a terrific chance in the first period, but he also interrupted plays often and moved the puck well. He’s getting there, I hope he gets there here.
  • Lucic-Nuge-Kassian were 9-15 in 12:07, 6-11 shots, 3-1 goals and 2-0 HDSC. Kickass line did terrific things all night. Very impressive. Went 5-11 in 7:06 against Beaulieu-Scandella. Lucic turned back the clock, I’ll give him credit for turning his game around. Hitchcock saw it a few games ago, moving the big man up the depth chart. It has paid off in a big way. Now, history suggests Lucic won’t sustain this level so enjoy it. Lucic was always one of my favourite players, so last night was a real treat. Kassian was even better, he is a bull in a china shop early and it contributed to Edmonton winning the game. Nuge was Nuge, the big story came from the wingers.
  • Draisaitl-McDavid-Chiasson went 10-21 in 15:27, 9-13 shots, 1-1 goals and 1-4 HDSC. Looked disjointed at times but there’s so much quality. Went 6-12 in 10:43 against McCabe-Ristolainen. McDavid and Draisaitl didn’t need to score on this night, but did anyway. The McDavid goal was memorable only because he added comedy to his arsenal. My goodness he is an amazing hockey player. Anticipation off the charts, speed that still shocks the eye and hands so fast goalies break ankles routinely. .
  • Rieder-Brodziak-Rattie were 4-11 in 7:52, 3-5 shots, 2-0 goals and 2-2 HDSC. Rattie wasn’t in on any of this, he seems to have missed all the juicy goodness on all the lines (Kassian was the man). Great to see Rieder display those skills we know he possesses, I thought Brodziak had a fine game as well.

HITCH

  • On Lucic: “For me it’s five games in a row he’s been like this. He’s really playing well. He looks like the player who was around two or three years ago.”

I expect we’ll see that trade here in the next couple of days (St. Louis?) but if Lucic could score 10 goals between now and the end of the season it would be a gigantic help. The nature of these hot streaks is they end, but three goals in four games stands out in a big way for the gigantic winger. I’m happy for him, hope it continues for weeks.

Some changes for the forwards, nice step forward for Lucic, Kassian and Rieder. Puljujarvi has quietly pulled up his socks as well, I thought he could have scored or grabbed an assist last night. He’s in the play enough to gather points now.

LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE

A fun morning after a seven-goal performance, love these shows because everyone is happy! At 10 this morning, TSN1260:

  • Jonathan Willis, The Athletic. Last night’s game, the big trade to come and the playoffs.
  • Keegan Matheson, Baseball Toronto. The Jays and their winter of acquisition.

10-1260 text, @Lowetide on twitter. Talk soon!

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270 Responses to "Moonlight Drive"

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  1. OriginalPouzar says:

    OriginalPouzar:
    STL/NYI – Isles still up 1-0 in to the 3rd
    ANA/DET – ANA up 1-0 in the 2nd
    LAK/MIN – scoreless in the 2nd
    TBL/DAL – TBL up 1-0 in the first
    PIT/SJS – Pregame

    STL ties it up – just under 10 to go.

  2. OriginalPouzar says:

    OriginalPouzar: STL ties it up – just under 10 to go.

    STL in OT – one point confirmed – check that, Filpula wins it for the Isles – only 1 point confirmed.

    ANA up 1-0 still, early in the third.

    MIN had a 1-0 lead on LA but the Kings have tied it up – late in the 2nd.

    TBL maintaining the 1-0 lead on DAL but its still early in the 2nd.

  3. smellyglove says:

    Couple points:

    1. People here seem to think the Oilers have an amazing prospect pool. How are you quantifying that? I realize that Pronman has his critics, but LT vouches for him, and didn’t he rank the Oilers 22nd in the league? Who else is talking about the Oilers like they have amazing talent bubbling under?

    2. Have you checked out the home/road splits of the Oilers tenders? Yowza! Only play MK Ultra at home and Talbot on the road.

  4. Biggus Dickus says:

    smellyglove:
    Couple points:

    1. People here seem to think the Oilers have an amazing prospect pool. How are you quantifying that? I realize that Pronman has his critics, but LT vouches for him, and didn’t he rank the Oilers 22nd in the league? Who else is talking about the Oilers like they have amazing talent bubbling under?

    2. Have you checked out the home/road splits of the Oilers tenders? Yowza! Only play MK Ultra at home and Talbot on the road.

    1. They don’t, people on here just get angsty for prospects. I think it’s a coping mechanism. I was ripping on Caggiula and Slepyshev after the playoffs, and most were pencilling them in for 15G 30pt seasons. The even keeled approach gets thrown out the window with the kids.

  5. OriginalPouzar says:

    leadfarmer: Carolina would laugh at that

    Wouldn’t that depend on what the “plus” was?

  6. OriginalPouzar says:

    smellyglove:
    Couple points:

    1. People here seem to think the Oilers have an amazing prospect pool. How are you quantifying that? I realize that Pronman has his critics, but LT vouches for him, and didn’t he rank the Oilers 22nd in the league? Who else is talking about the Oilers like they have amazing talent bubbling under?

    2. Have you checked out the home/road splits of the Oilers tenders? Yowza! Only play MK Ultra at home and Talbot on the road.

    I don’t think people here think the prospect pool is amazing – aside from Bouchard, the ceilings on most are that high (reasonable expectations), however, at the same time, the depth of “real prospects” those with real NHL shots is so much deeper than its been in my memory, the prospects are now “running the show” at the NHL level with rookie pros doing well (for rookie pros) and there is a big swarth of prospects that are on the cusp of NHL readiness.

    All of the following could legitimately by NHL ready next season: Lagesson, Jones, Bear, Berglund, Persson, Bouchard, Marody, Benson.

    Of course, not all will be NHL ready but chances are a few will be and the injury call-ups should be legit NHL players (or close thereto) with accumen and pedigree.

    We then graduate the likes of Samorukov, Maksimov, McLeod, Safin to the AHL and continue.

    Nope, aside from Bouchard there are not can’t miss top 6/top 4 players but there is a large amount of depth and a few will hit.

    Who knows, maybe a guy like Maksimov does develop in to an NHL player and, with his shot, maybe he pops – it happens.

    At the very least, we are looking to replace expensive veterans like Russell and Sekera on the roster with the likes of Jones and Lagesson or Bouchard and Persson – or some sort of combo – within a few eyars.

  7. OriginalPouzar says:

    Wings score two in the third and have a 2-1 lead on ANA with 3 min to go.

    Tuning in on GameCenter

  8. OriginalPouzar says:

    Boom – Helm puts the Wings up by two goals with just over 2 minute to play – laser through a screen.

    WOW!

  9. Dicky94 says:

    OriginalPouzar,

    Love seeing Anaheim fall apart.

  10. OriginalPouzar says:

    12 straight loss for ANA (and DET wins two in a row for the first time since Dec 1).

  11. Bank Shot says:

    Man I should have picked Lucic for my Oilers tickets giveaway. haha. I was waffling between him and Rieder. Thought Rieder would be the better bet to score first.

    So…. there are only two contestants left in the contest for winning Ranger vs Oilers on March 11th.

    BG19 who picked Feb 2nd, and Jordan who picked “Doesn’t score”.

    Anyone else want to pick the date, period, and time that Rieder goes top chedda?

    Whoever is closest to the actual date without going past that date takes the tickets.

    Delivered to your door, via the interwebz.

    Come one, come all.

  12. hunter1909 says:

    Bank Shot:
    Man I should have picked Lucic for my Oilers tickets giveaway. haha. I was waffling between him and Rieder. Thought Rieder would be the better bet to score first.

    So…. there are only two contestants left in the contest for winning Ranger vs Oilers on March 11th.

    BG19 who picked Feb 2nd, and Jordan who picked “Doesn’t score”.

    Anyone else want to pick the date, period, and time that Rieder goes top chedda?

    Whoever is closest to the actual date without going past that date takes the tickets.

    Delivered to your door, via the interwebz.

    Come one, come all.

    Awesome prizes!

    Here at Hunter1909’s Deathmarch™ the last prize we gave anyone was a bullet in the back for trying to escape.

  13. OriginalPouzar says:

    Wild take a 2-1 lead on the Kings with under 10 to go in regulation.

  14. OriginalPouzar says:

    OriginalPouzar:
    Wild take a 2-1 lead on the Kings with under 10 to go in regulation.

    Jeff Carter ties it up very late – lets get that extra point LAK!!!!

  15. OriginalPouzar says:

    Not going to lie to you – living game surfing on GameCenter……

  16. flyfish1168 says:

    With all the pick ups lately, I can’t help but see Chiarelli as a blind Squirrel. Sooner or later even a blind squirrel will find a nut.

  17. OriginalPouzar says:

    Stalock almost shot the puck in to his own net – that would have been awesome!

  18. OriginalPouzar says:

    TBL extends their lead on DAL to 2-0 half way through the 3rd.

  19. OriginalPouzar says:

    Doughty takes a goalie interference penalty in OT – not good.

  20. Professor Q says:

    OriginalPouzar:
    Doughty takes a goalie interference penalty in OT – not good.

    Imagine if they really did go 3-on-2?

  21. Andy Dufresne says:

    Bank Shot:
    Man I should have picked Lucic for my Oilers tickets giveaway. haha. I was waffling between him and Rieder. Thought Rieder would be the better bet to score first.

    So…. there are only two contestants left in the contest for winning Ranger vs Oilers on March 11th.

    BG19 who picked Feb 2nd, and Jordan who picked “Doesn’t score”.

    Anyone else want to pick the date, period, and time that Rieder goes top chedda?

    Whoever is closest to the actual date without going past that date takes the tickets.

    Delivered to your door, via the interwebz.

    Come one, come all.

    My grand father used to say you should make a bet every day, otherwise you might be walking around lucky and not even know it.

    I’ll take the Oilers Red Wings game on Tuesday January 22nd. At the 10 minute mark of the second period.

    Please and Thank You.

  22. OriginalPouzar says:

    LAK kills the 4 on 3 – not even a good chance for the Wild in my opinion.

    Off to the shootout – if nothing else, MIN won’t get a ROW even if they get the second point.

  23. OriginalPouzar says:

    MIN wins in the SO – Zucker with a nice goal and Kopitar hit the post.

    Brown fans on the attempt to tie it up – of course, that guy!

    So, to summarize:

    STL/NYI – Isles win in OT so 1 pt for STL
    ANA/DET – ANA loses in regulation to another bottom feeder
    LAK/MIN – MIN gets the two points but don’t get a ROW
    TBL/DAL – TBL up 2-0 with only a few minutes to go.
    PIT/SJS – I don’t know why I listed this game, doesn’t really matter.

  24. RonnieB says:

    Brossoit with 43 saves (incl. 26 in the 2nd period) in a 4-1 win (2 empty net goals) over Vegas.

  25. OriginalPouzar says:

    The Oilers back-up entering this season also had 40 plus saves in his last game – good stuff.

  26. Glovjuice says:

    Bank Shot:
    Man I should have picked Lucic for my Oilers tickets giveaway. haha. I was waffling between him and Rieder. Thought Rieder would be the better bet to score first.

    So…. there are only two contestants left in the contest for winning Ranger vs Oilers on March 11th.

    BG19 who picked Feb 2nd, and Jordan who picked “Doesn’t score”.

    Anyone else want to pick the date, period, and time that Rieder goes top chedda?

    Whoever is closest to the actual date without going past that date takes the tickets.

    Delivered to your door, via the interwebz.

    Come one, come all.

    Ah, never ?

  27. smellyglove says:

    Excellent: STL, DAL; ANH all lost in regulation this evening.

    MIN won. All in all, an excellent night. I cannot believe the Oilers are still in the race, despite their terribleness and bad GD.

  28. Andy Dufresne says:

    Bank Shot:
    Andy Dufresne,

    Done.

    Thanks.

  29. OriginalPouzar says:

    smellyglove:
    Excellent: STL, DAL; ANH all lost in regulation this evening.

    MIN won. All in all, an excellent night. I cannot believe the Oilers are still in the race, despite their terribleness and bad GD.

    STL lost in OT.

    At least MIN didn’t get a ROW against a bottom feeder – could turn out to be a factor.

  30. Glovjuice says:

    OriginalPouzar: STL lost in OT.

    At least MIN didn’t get a ROW against a bottom feeder – could turn out to be a factor.

    You, OP, are the biggest fan ever. It’s bordering on; I can’t believe it’s even real.

  31. Ryan says:

    OriginalPouzar: Wouldn’t that depend on what the “plus” was?

    I’m not sure we realistically have a plus that would move the dial on that trade.

  32. Dr. Taboggan says:

    Ryan,

    RNH

  33. ashley says:

    The mid season scoreboard watching is fun and all, but this team is going to have to start winning more games than it loses to make it to the dance. A couple of the teams they are close to in the standings are going to start winning.

    The recent performance is not going to cut it.

  34. Cowboy says:

    I will take jan 20th vs hurricanes at 4:34 in the 3rd. For Toby to snipe one

  35. Ryan says:

    Dr. Taboggan:
    Ryan,

    RNH

    While Nuge is not a guy we can afford to trade, the sad reality is that he only has two more years left on his contract.

    The bloom isn’t off the rose for Svechnikov, so to trade a #2 pick for JP and two more years of Nuge, I wouldn’t do that trade if I were Carolina.

  36. Ryan says:

    Professor Q: I don’t know. People are talking about him struggling just as Puljujärvi is being talked about in that manner.

    Struggling is a relative term.

    Svechnikov at 18

    G.P.: 46 – 11 – 8 – 19. 0.41 ppg

    Puljujarvi at draft plus 3.

    G.P. 35 – 4 -3 – 7. 0.2 ppg

  37. Wilde says:

    If Brayden Schenn is the target that’s massively moronic. Massively.

  38. Ryan says:

    Wilde:
    If Brayden Schenn is the target that’s massively moronic. Massively.

    Yeah to trade for one more year of Schenn for a 1st round pick, that’d be real bad.

  39. JimmyV1965 says:

    Scungilli Slushy: For the oilers that sounds about right, a gutting for a 27 YO with declining numbers who has never scored at a PPG.

    Ughhhh.

    I might be a little biased because I won a draft with Tarasenko during his breakout year, but I find it highly unlikely he’s a declining asset. His shot is elite and his playmaking is underrated. He has scored 30 goals four years in a row and I’m willing to bet he scores 30 again this year. Interesting aside, I got into a friendly argument with a fellow drafter in 2015 who said Jamie Benn was better than Ovechkin. Benn had more points than Ovechkin the year before. I bet him $20 that Ovie would outscore Benn that year. Well Benn won the scoring title and I lost the bet. Yet we all know Ovie is the better player and it’s not even close. My belated point is that even the best players have stretches in their careers where they don’t produce at normal levels. I remember back then many people had written off Ovie as a league leader because he went three seasons without scoring 40. Tarasenko is not Ovie, but he has scored 164 goals since 2014-15, third highest in the league and only one goal behind Tavares, who is second. I would suggest Tarasenko’s demise is a bit premature. This guy will score 30 goals five more times in his career.

  40. JimmyV1965 says:

    smellyglove:
    Couple points:

    1. People here seem to think the Oilers have an amazing prospect pool. How are you quantifying that? I realize that Pronman has his critics, but LT vouches for him, and didn’t he rank the Oilers 22nd in the league? Who else is talking about the Oilers like they have amazing talent bubbling under?

    2. Have you checked out the home/road splits of the Oilers tenders? Yowza! Only play MK Ultra at home and Talbot on the road.

    I don’t think the Oilers have an amazing talent pool bubbling up. About the only sexy prospect is Bouchard. What they do have is seven or eight dmen in the system who have a legit shot at becoming meaningful NHL players. That’s a whole bunch of decent bets.

  41. smellyglove says:

    Dear god,

    If you want to shudder at how bad the Oilers cap situation is, look at Down Goes Brown’s “cap hell” fantasy team. The worst team one can assemble from bad contracts.

    Three Oilers out of 20 players:

    https://theathletic.com/767028/2019/01/15/down-goes-brown-whats-the-worst-possible-salary-cap-situation-you-could-create-from-todays-contracts/

  42. JimmyV1965 says:

    Ryan: While Nuge is not a guy we can afford to trade, the sad reality is that he only has two more years left on his contract.

    The bloom isn’t off the rose for Svechnikov, so to trade a #2 pick for JP and two more years of Nuge, I wouldn’t do that trade if I were Carolina.

    Svetch and Aho are the very last two players they would trade off that team. It would take Chia level incompetence to trade him.

  43. JimmyV1965 says:

    Maybe I’m naive, but I don’t think even Chia will trade a first for a rental. No one is that stupid.

  44. OriginalPouzar says:

    The boys hit the road for a 1 game road trip.

    No Petersson tonight – disappointing that we don’t get to see a great talent play but points in the standings are more important and this team continues to have trouble with the Canucks team.

    In to the second half of the season and it seems the Canucks are in the same tier of suck as the Oilers (and Ducks, Stars, Wild, etc.) not a tier below as anticipated. The Oilers can do wonders for their wild card chances and really hurt Vancouver’s chances with a win.

    Koskinen starts – uneven start to last game but really played well for most of it – another heater?

    Yamamoto looks to be back – many think he could/should be to Bakersfied but juding by practice yesterday, he’ll be in the lineup, likely starting beside Nuge – Rattie looks to be the odd man out.

    Someone needs to come off the roster to make room for Kailer – Jones (would be egregious), Gravel (would need to re-clear waivers again, egregious), Manning (should be the choice but I doubt it), Rattie, Spooner.

    I think Rattie may get exposed – this is not the right choice in my mind but he was poor against BUF, made a number of mistakes and the coach seems to have a short leash with him – go Oilers!

  45. OriginalPouzar says:

    Glovjuice: You, OP, are the biggest fan ever.It’s bordering on; I can’t believe it’s even real.

    They were literally tied in points with the wild card holder going in to the game last night.

    Why in the world would I, as a fan of the Oilers, not continue to hope and cheer for playoff hockey?

    I am also firmly against any trades at this point for immediate help at the cost of future looking assets – ride this out and see if we can rise to top of the ANA, VAN, MIN, EDM suck tier and maybe even join the likes of the DAL and COL suck tier.

  46. OriginalPouzar says:

    smellyglove:
    Dear god,

    If you want to shudder at how bad the Oilers cap situation is, look at Down Goes Brown’s “cap hell” fantasy team. The worst team one can assemble from bad contracts.

    Three Oilers out of 20 players:

    https://theathletic.com/767028/2019/01/15/down-goes-brown-whats-the-worst-possible-salary-cap-situation-you-could-create-from-todays-contracts/

    Aside from Lucic, all the “anchor contracts” fall away within two years – yes cap hell is current and real but by patience and not forcing the issue (bleeding assets to dispose, creating dead cap hits be retention or buyout), cap hell alleviates fairly quickly.

  47. OriginalPouzar says:

    I’m not sure how much of an insider Kurt Leavins is (although I do believe he has some solid contacts) but he is suggesting that the rumours of Puljujarvi being shopped are greatly exaggerated. Teams have asked he says but he isn’t being shopped and unlikely to be moved.

    Hope so.

    I’m sure Bruce would vouch for Kurt.

  48. Wilde says:

    OriginalPouzar:
    Yamamoto looks to be back – many think he could/should be to Bakersfied but juding by practice yesterday, he’ll be in the lineup

    Where are you? I think he should be in Bakersfield but I’m conflicted because of the system that they (BAK) play and the fact that no one was standing up for him.

    OriginalPouzar:

    I’m not sure how much of an insider Kurt Leavins is (although I do believe he has some solid contacts) but he is suggesting that the rumours of Puljujarvi being shopped are greatly exaggerated. Teams have asked he says but he isn’t being shopped and unlikely to be moved.

    This lines up with chatter earlier in the season, anyone remember when Elliotte/Kypreos initially talked about 98 earlier in the year around when he got sent down, saying that if they chose to go to market there’d be tons and tons of suitors?

    Square that with how St. Louis was linked with us around that time and then now they are again. We’re asking for high-end forwards and teams are asking for Puljujärvi back. Then, guys with connection in those cities (PHI/STL?) talk about 98 coming up, that goes around, and then suddenly we’re shopping Puljuärvi.

    I think he’s being talked about, but everyone who watched the infamous ‘Behind the B’ video knows that when Chiarelli goes to market with a player, he opens the phone call with their name. I don’t know if we’re there yet. Teams want him, though, and if the executive group or the owner cracks he’s gone.

  49. Wilde says:

    I’m somewhere beyond done with 29-97-39. Seriously. It’s bad both ways, Chiasson’s one of the only guys that put pucks in the net away from 97, and he’s one of the only guys that demonstrably hurt that unit. Just put 98 up there. Even if you’re shopping him. Especially if you’re shopping him.

    I wanted to check if it was just that the line got put together after 77 got injured or something, and their possession values are only bad because the whole team’s have been bad since 77’s injury, but in the micro-sample that they were with him they still got demolished 27-39 FF-FA.

  50. OriginalPouzar says:

    Wilde: Where are you? I think he should be in Bakersfield but I’m conflicted because of the system that they (BAK) play and the fact that no one was standing up for him.

    Are you asking where I stand on what they should do with Kailer now that he’s ready to play?

    Well, I was of the opinion that, once he was assigned to Bakersfield and it was taking him a bit to get his game going, that they should forget about him as an NHL option until at least the trade deadline and just let him play in Bakersfield and gain some traction and true offensive confidence.

    Of course, a 4-game heater and he was back up in the NHL.

    He hasn’t played in a few weeks now so this is the perfect opportunity to send him back to Bakersfield and hold off having to make any additional roster moves but it sure doesn’t seem like that is the plan and its going to cost Rattie or Gravel off this roster (and maybe Gravel out of the organization – not sure he’d clear waivers).

    It looks like this coach has a tiny leash for Rattie so I think he’ll be the one re-assigned (if he clears) – its like Aberg – I think there could be a useful place for him in the NHL lineup but the coach won’t let it happen.

  51. OriginalPouzar says:

    Wilde:
    I’m somewhere beyond done with 29-97-39. Seriously. It’s bad both ways, Chiasson’s one of the only guys that put pucks in the net away from 97, and he’s one of the only guys that demonstrably hurt that unit. Just put 98 up there. Even if you’re shopping him. Especially if you’re shopping him.

    I wanted to check if it was just that the line got put together after 77 got injured or something, and their possession values are only bad because the whole team’s have been bad since 77’s injury, but in the micro-sample that they were with him they still got demolished 27-39 FF-FA.

    Hitchcock’s usage of Chiasson is absolutely mind-boggling.

    His initial move of a red-hot away from McDavid Chiasson to McDavid’s line on the premise that he needs more minutes was, to repeat, mind-boggling. The team’s biggest issue is scoring when McDavid is off the ice so the one player doing that is moved to play with McDavid? My goodness.

    Now, with a large sample, its clear that McDavid and Chiasson aren’t a great combo at 5 on 5 but the coach keeps going back there.

    McDavid’s GF% drops when with Chiasson.

    Chiasson’s GF% drops when with McDavid.

    Chiasson is over 60% without McDavid with a decent enough sample size – go with it.

    Hitchock’s line deployment is inferior to McLellan’s in many ways, in my opinion.

  52. godot10 says:

    RonnieB:
    Brossoit with 43 saves (incl. 26 in the 2nd period) in a 4-1 win (2 empty net goals) over Vegas.

    Should the Oilers sign him to be the 1B to Koskinen’s 1A in the summer? I wonder if he would consider it now that McLellan is gone.

  53. godot10 says:

    JimmyV1965:
    Maybe I’m naive, but I don’t think even Chia will trade a first for a rental. No one is that stupid.

    Please. Nobody hold Pete’s beer.

  54. jp says:

    OriginalPouzar: Hitchcock’s usage of Chiasson is absolutely mind-boggling.

    His initial move of a red-hot away from McDavid Chiasson to McDavid’s line on the premise that he needs more minutes was, to repeat, mind-boggling. The team’s biggest issue is scoring when McDavid is off the ice so the one player doing that is moved to play with McDavid? My goodness.

    Now, with a large sample, its clear that McDavid and Chiasson aren’t a great combo at 5 on 5 but the coach keeps going back there.

    McDavid’s GF% drops when with Chiasson.

    Chiasson’s GF% drops when with McDavid.

    Chiasson is over 60% without McDavid with a decent enough sample size – go with it.

    Hitchock’s line deployment is inferior to McLellan’s in many ways, in my opinion.

    I hear all this. However, I don’t think it’s reasonable to expect Chiasson to maintain anything resembling a 60% GF away from McDavid going forward.

  55. drglen says:

    can spooner be ‘waived’?

  56. Admiral Ackbar says:

    OriginalPouzar: They were literally tied in points with the wild card holder going in to the game last night.

    Why in the world would I, as a fan of the Oilers, not continue to hope and cheer for playoff hockey?

    I am also firmly against any trades at this point for immediate help at the cost of future looking assets – ride this out and see if we can rise to top of the ANA, VAN, MIN, EDM suck tier and maybe even join the likes of the DAL and COL suck tier.

    I guess the question to ask:

    Given that the Oilers are appearing to threaten to snag a playoff position (because multiple teams are stinking it up right now), which of Dal, Min, Edm, Anh, & StL do you believe will continue their trajectory and who will go on winning streaks? I think it’s a reasonably safe bet that of those 5 teams, the Oilers are the weakest team of that lot (without Klefbom).

    I think if they can stick around without Klefbom, there’s a slim chance. That’s not enough to get me excited because for some reason, the short-term success of making the playoffs appears to guarantee Chiarelli his job for another year…

  57. Admiral Ackbar says:

    drglen:
    can spooner be ‘waived’?

    Id prefer a mulligan.

  58. OriginalPouzar says:

    jp: I hear all this. However, I don’t think it’s reasonable to expect Chiasson to maintain anything resembling a 60% GF away from McDavid going forward.

    Maybe not but why change it when its working? Its in 250 plus minutes.

    I haven’t checked in a week or so but the Rieder/Drail/Chiasson line had an 83% goal percentage (5GF/1GA).

    Sure, some of its not sustainable but it doesn’t alter how mind-boggling it was when the decisions were made and how mind-boggling it continues to be that Chiasson is bumped to 1RW – it doesn’t look good by eye and the stats back that up.

  59. OriginalPouzar says:

    drglen:
    can spooner be ‘waived’?

    Of course – he doesn’t have a NMC.

    If claimed then he’s gone, if he clears, he can be re-assigned to Bakersfield and we get $1,050,000 of cap relief.

  60. OriginalPouzar says:

    Admiral Ackbar: I guess the question to ask:

    Given that the Oilers are appearing to threaten to snag a playoff position (because multiple teams are stinking it up right now), which of Dal, Min, Edm, Anh, & StL do you believe will continue their trajectory and who will go on winning streaks? I think it’s a reasonably safe bet that of those 5 teams, the Oilers are the weakest team of that lot (without Klefbom).

    I think if they can stick around without Klefbom, there’s a slim chance. That’s not enough to get me excited because for some reason, the short-term success of making the playoffs appears to guarantee Chiarelli his job for another year…

    I currently have two categories:

    DAL/COL – one of which will snag the 3rd place in the division and the other the 1st wild card

    EDM/MIN/ANA/VAN/ARI/STL – one of which will snag the 2nd wild card spot.

    In tier two, I think the real contenders are ANA, EDM, MIN, one of which will make it.

    Also the top tier, the first wild card, is only 3 points away, its not out of the question.

    I don’t see STL, ARI, VAN remaining in the race for the 2nd wild card and the Oilers should be able to help that along vis-a-vis Vancouver in a few hours.

  61. Wilde says:

    OriginalPouzar:
    He hasn’t played in a few weeks now so this is the perfect opportunity to send him back to Bakersfield and hold off having to make any additional roster moves but it sure doesn’t seem like that is the plan and its going to cost Rattie or Gravel off this roster (and maybe Gravel out of the organization – not sure he’d clear waivers).

    I think both Rattie and Gravel might not clear, it’d be amazing to lose them. Rattie should be in rotation every game on this team, with Draisaitl preferably. Coach wants pairs, he could do worse than 97-97; 29-8/39; 93-39/8. Gravel’s got the 2nd lowest FA/60 and GA/60 of regulars, and that’s qualcomp, but to be honest he should be thrown to the wolves before Caleb Jones is because Caleb’s such an important future imo. It can’t be understated how much promise he’s shown, playing top-4 D under a veteran HC is a great sign for any future 2LD hopeful but he’s getting crushed with Larsson. It’s pretty dangerous.

    OriginalPouzar:
    Hitchock’s line deployment is inferior to McLellan’s in many ways, in my opinion.

    I’m not there yet. The thing is, a lot of his drawbacks are duplicates of McLellans, except he’s dealing with much less valuable assets. So even if he is the same or worse, the fact that Todd had his hands on rookie 25 and put him in the fire, jerked around rookie and sophomore 98, prevented 29’s growth as a true F1 centre, et cetera made his negative influence much more profound.

    Of course, that’s disparate from an actual evaluation of Hitchcock’s deployment vs McLellan by process. I think it’s a wash or Hitch comes out slightly ahead. Chiasson’s usage is an issue, but McLellan did similar with Caggiula and Chiasson’s got to play many more minus games to get to that level of wasted 97 minutes.

  62. jp says:

    OriginalPouzar: Maybe not but why change it when its working?Its in 250 plus minutes.

    I haven’t checked in a week or so but the Rieder/Drail/Chiasson line had an 83% goal percentage (5GF/1GA).

    Sure, some of its not sustainable but it doesn’t alter how mind-boggling it was when the decisions were made and how mind-boggling it continues to be that Chiasson is bumped to 1RW – it doesn’t look good by eye and the stats back that up.

    Agreed it made little sense initially and that hasn’t changed.

    Just saying that we should be mindful of keeping realistic expectations for Chiasson away from McDavid going forward.

  63. russ99 says:

    jp,

    I was hoping Caggiula would get another shot with McDavid – Draisaitl, he was doing some nice work in the o-zone the chance he got this year.

    Holding out hope for that trade to be a good shooter to pair with Connor and a grinder and then we can run a second line with Nuge and Drai vs. the less toughs.

  64. SayItAin'tSo, Gretz, SayItAin'tSo! says:

    Wilde,

    If they keep up their pace the combo of CmD, Drai and Nuge will have posted the highest point totals for Oiler scorers since 1989.

    It will also be the first time that two Oilers have hit the 100 pt mark since 1989.

    Leon Draisaitl is a fantastic talent who plays in all three disciplines on a nightly basis. He has not been ruined, stunted or any of the above and TMac should be praised rather than shunned for developing a player of his caliber.

    Yeesh some people just can’t seem to see a good thing when its staring them right in the face.

  65. Wilde says:

    SayItAin’tSo, Gretz, SayItAin’tSo!:

    If they keep up their pace the combo of CmD, Drai and Nuge will have posted the highest point totals for Oiler scorers since 1989.

    It will also be the first time that two Oilers have hit the 100 pt mark since 1989.

    Leon Draisaitl is a fantastic talent who plays in all three disciplines on a nightly basis. He has not been ruined, stunted or any of the above and TMac should be praised rather than shunned for developing a player of his caliber.

    Yeesh some people just can’t seem to see a good thing when its staring them right in the face.

    I wrote a 10-part video review series that went over 20+ games of Leon Draisaitl (and I watched every shift of his season sans-97 multiple times) at centre away from McDavid with a focus on well-founded positivity about his defensive anticipation, zonal transition skill in spite of sub-par linemates where I routinely provided proof for optimism but also pointed out issues such as how Todd McLellan would have another forward on the line do the heavy lifting down low in the DZ, like Mike Cammaleri despite the team being out of the playoffs.

    This facet of his deployment was a sizeable risk (because we did not end up gathering enough evidence of his abilities in that role) that was compounded by the opportunity missed of having a stretch of games where development could be prioritised coinciding with the player being at an age that was a perfect mix of experienced yet highly malleable and receptive.

    The entire project was an inquiry into whether or not claims that he was poor defensively could be disproved. The entire project happened because I thought he was good enough by possession transitional play metrics and had a high enough hockey IQ that his defensive play was at least passable and the fact that he was outscored without Connor McDavid may have been tied directly to the goaltender’s play and the defensive structure – in both personnel and the system tweak that TMc implemented that fall, which I also explored and explained in depth.

    (And I’ve defended Leon numerous, numerous times on this very blog, so it’s not like you had to go anywhere else to find out that I champion the player)

    McLellan punted the ball on deploying Leon Draisaitl the way I (and the general manager, and many other people) think he will ultimately be deployed during the spring that Connor McDavid will later hand him the Stanley Cup. That was my issue and it’s infinitely more well-founded, grounded, and quite frankly well-intentioned than your thin, lazy, typecasting criticism of me. Do better. Not everyone who holds a separate view from your own is a shallow ‘some people’ caricature.

  66. SayItAin'tSo, Gretz, SayItAin'tSo! says:

    Wilde,

    OK that’s fine and I did follow your work and I did enjoy it (I enjoy most of your posts actually).

    But I don’t think you can say “they stunted him up” based on your view of optimal deployment because there can be alternative reasons for deploying him that way, ones that are perhaps compelling.

    Maybe the coach figures: “hey Leon this season is lost, rather than worry about the heavy lifting, which we saw you can handle last year in the playoffs and which may get you injured, lets have you run our transition game away from Connor. Lets have you really focus on your zone exit and neutral zone transitional play. That way once we have the linemate talent you’ll be able to effectively and confidently drive the offensive sorties away from Connor.”

    Maybe the coach had him stay higher because his first few steps aren’t lightning fast and having him get control with a bit more time and space leads to a higher percentage of zone exits without sacrificing the rush on a lesser skilled players stick?

    And that’s the rub, many people believe that Todd actually went out and sabotaged the development of players without a) anything resembling complete information and b) without any real evidence that the players in question have in fact been stunted (JP being the closest but that’s on the GM just as much as it is the coach) and that is why your point on Todd bugged me.

    I didn’t actually think Todd was a bad coach nor do I think he deserved to be fired. I think you see so much continuity between his decisions and Hitch’s because they are in fact both good coaches.

    You mentioned Todd deployed Nurse over his head – ok so what is Hitch doing right now with Jones?

    You mentioned Todd stunted JP – ok well the GM shares some blame there particularly in Draft +1 but then why is Hitch doubling down? And why is Hitch doubling down twice with Yamamoto?

    The answer – well its tough to develop players, its really tough to develop them when your team is bereft of scoring and very little of that is on the coach.

    Why did I highlight the scoring numbers? Well because dammit it really shows that the kids are kinda alright. Having Leon develop into a 100 point player is incredible. McDavid and Doug Weight are the only guys who’ve done that for the Oilers in 30 years. Having him do the heavy lifting down low in the dzone? Ya sure that’s important to an extent scoring 100 points a year doesn’t happen forever.

    Even this year as his points have skyrocketed Leon has been tasked with more defensive responsibility, he plays in all situations at very high minutes. He seems to be thriving in almost every single way.

    It wasn’t a snide attempt to be a smartass, it was a recognition of the limitations in critiquing the coaching style of Todd (and Hitch) when I know next to nothing about what they have told the player and what the player told them when it comes to something as specific as you mentioned.

  67. Jaxon says:

    Of note, Khaira is only 2 spots from being a 2nd line winger while Lucic is only 11 spots from being a 4th line winger.

    I think Puljujarvi and Khaira could be the only RFA forwards that are re-signed.

    With the trade deadline approaching, I’d like to see Spooner play with McDavid for the remainder. Pump and dump him unless he really proves to be a sniper. Doubtful, but he has scored well in the past. his underlying numbers with McDavid in a very small sample showed well, so I’d ride that one out a bit even if his perimeter play and defence might drive everyone a little nuts.

    Who else could be traded if they go into sell mode at the deadline? Rieder? Brodziak? Kassian? Manning? Spooner? Gravel? who would have value to a contender? I think most of them might depend on what the team is looking for. Manning and Gravel are probably the least likely to have value but Manning’s disposition might be seen to have value to some teams in the playoffs. Brodziak as 4C who can win faceoffs and PK. Rieder and Kassian can also PK. Kassian can also play enforcer without being a boat anchor on the 4th line. He’s got speed, which is always valued in the playoffs and performed very well in his last playoff appearance. Spooner might have value to a GM who thinks he can unlock his previous scoring levels. Gravel might be a solid backup in case of injury, but most teams have a few of those players.

    I think they try to re-sign Chiasson and maybe Rattie. Chiasson might price himself out of Edmonton, though. They should be able to sign Rattie to another cheap contract. And he’d be wise to take it as there is still a chance he plays with one of the big 3 (McDavid, Draisaitl, Nugent-Hopkins).

    Would Russell waive his NMC to go to a contender at the deadline? He might. If he has a chance to go to a contender like CGY (hometown former team), SJS (his twin brother is a scout with SJ), WPG (another Canadian prairie contender), NSH (not bad habitat for a rodeo family), or VGK he may take it. 2 more seasons after this year’s playoffs in a town that might suit him. I think he’d have a solid spot as 3LD on all these teams and play with a decent RD partner.

    Spooner – McDavid – Puljujarvi
    Khaira – Draisaitl – Chiasson
    Lucic – Nugent-Hopkins – Rattie
    Rieder – Brodziak – Kassian

    Nurse – Larsson
    Klefbom – Petrovic/Benning
    Jones – Russell/Benning

    After the deadline, we could see Marody, Yamamoto, Benson and Bear up with the Oilers for a look. Cave and Hebig may get a cup of coffee, too.

  68. Jaxon says:

    On Nurse. I believe it is now 17 points in his last 19.

  69. Dicky94 says:

    Admiral Ackbar,

    Win or lose Chia is done in the summer. Possibly (hopefully) sooner.

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