Running Up That Hill

The Edmonton Oilers best players were their best players, they received secondary scoring and some outstanding saves from their goalie. All that and it still took overtime and a shootout to best the Vancouver Canucks. One of the keys was a solid first period, something that the team hasn’t always delivered this year.

  • Ken Hitchcock: “I thought we played a great first period, one of the best first periods we’ve played in a long time on the road.”

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 Oilers’ way forward and the smartest route to finding an impact winger this summer.
  • New Daniel Nugent-Bowman: Goalless Tobias Rieder hopes to follow Zack Kassian and Milan Lucic and end his offensive funk.
  • Jonathan Willis: Why the Oilers should make a decision on Peter Chiarelli this week.
  • Lowetide: The Edmonton Oilers appear to be mere hours from doing something overbold
  • Lowetide: Complete Oilers top 20 prospects, Winter 2018
  • 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 47

  • Oilers in 2015: 19-23-5, 43 points; goal differential -22
  • Oilers in 2016: 25-15-7, 57 points; goal differential +7
  • Oilers in 2017: 21-23-3, 45 points; goal differential -24
  • Oilers in 2018: 23-21-3, 49 points; goal differential -7

The 2016 playoff team is long gone, but this year’s model has a decided edge over the non-playoff clubs. The McDavid ON/OFF is miserable (we’ll get to it in a minute) but it’s okay to be pleased your team has a chance at the playoffs. Larry Brooks has the Oilers interested in Mats Zuccarello here.

OILERS IN JANUARY

  • Oilers in January 2016: 4-2-2, 10 points; goal differential 0
  • Oilers in January 2017: 5-3-0, 10 points; goal differential 0
  • Oilers in January 2018: 4-4-0, eight points; goal differential -8
  • Oilers in January 2019: 5-3-0, 10 points; goal differential 0

They’re marching in lock step with the 2016 and 2017 teams in terms of points and goal differential. I don’t really know what that means, but it’s a curio.

WHAT TO EXPECT FROM 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 1-0-0)
  • 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: 5-3-0, 10 points in eight games

I honestly thought they’d lose that game. Sincerely. Vancouver has a veteran defenseman and they’re a miserable lot, but their goalie is quality. It helped Vancouver was gifted the officiating team that was unaware the pick play is a penalty. Edmonton has covered my bet with three games to spare. They did something similar in December and then didn’t turn a wheel for the rest of the month. We’ll see how they shine.

DEFENSE, LAST NIGHT

  • Manning-Benning were 10-3 in 8:49, 7-2 shots, no goals and 2-1 HDSC. I know they’re the whipping boys but those are good numbers. It helped they played 4:09 with McDavid (3-1 shots) but the numbers away were also solid. Manning needs to handle the “puck flipped up in the air coming toward you oh my GOD what will it do” play and he played a saloon door with seconds left and offered no help on a fantastic Vancouver opportunity. Duo went 4-0 in 3:28 against rat finks Roussel-Sutter-Virtanen.
  • Jones-Larsson were 16-13 in 16:01, 8-7 shots, 0-1 goals and 3-3 HDSC. The GA was on Jones, the pass out front in that situation is too damned dangerous. I think Larsson hammered the puck because he felt back pressure (it was an unusual decision by the veteran), but he had every right to assume his partner had no plans to pass the puck to Markus Granlund. Pulju was a house on the side of the road, too, so plenty of blame to go around. Jones also got thumped on a very late hit to my eye by Gudbranson, it’ll be worth checking up on his health in the next couple of days. Went 10-7 in 9:42 against Baertschi-Horvat-Boeser, Vancouver’s top line. I’m a fan of both of these defensemen.
  • Nurse-Russell went 12-14 in 15:33, 3-7 shots, no goals and 0-4 HDSC. It’s like the Poseidon Adventure every night with these two. They blocked nine shots, defended most of the night, Russell absolutely saved a goal with a quick stick, while Nurse saved a goal twice during goal line ping-pong in overtime. Lordy. Pairing finished +1. Were 7-6 in 7:25 against Eriksson-Beagle-Motte, 5-4 in 5:46 against Roussel-Sutter-Virtanen.
  • Mikko Koskinen stopped 20 of 22, .909. He made some outstanding saves. Looked poor on the third goal against, the challenge saved him. We might be having a different conversation if that goal was true.
  • NaturalStatTrick and NHL.com.

FORWARDS, LAST NIGTH

  • Rieder-Brodziak-Kassian went 9-2 in 7:24, 5-1 shots and 3-1 HDSC. The line was outstanding, spent most of the night playing a textbook fourth-line game. Impressive, hope to see them again. Went 8-3 against Pouliot-Gudbranson in 6:42.
  • Lucic-Nuge-Yamamoto were 12-8 in 11:43, 5-4 shots, no goals and 0-2 HDSC. I thought all three had good moments, Lucic was the strong man, Yamamoto retrieved and passed well, Nuge was possibly the best Oiler on the ice. Line didn’t score but I’d like to see them again. Were 11-7 against Hutton-Stecher. Nuge is making people miss, his hands have always been excellent but he’s trying more things this year. And succeeding. Music!
  • Draisaitl-McDavid-Chiasson were 15-12 in 16:19, 5-4 shots, no goals and 3-3 HDSC. Impressive trio, all of them bringing something of value. I hope they re-sign Chiasson. Were 11-8 in 14:25 against Edler-Tanev, but 1-3 HDSC. The Canucks are effective against McDavid.
  • Khaira-Cave-Puljujarvi were 5-10 in 7:07, 4-5 shots, 0-1 goals and 1-3 HDSC. Khaira had a fabulous SH goal and was making plays all night, one of which was an outstanding pass to Cave for a chance. Puljujarvi had a dynamite chance of his own, but also missed the Jones pass out front which cost a goal. JP also seemed passive several times in board battles, twice inviting a physical battle, then jumping out to attempt puck retrieval. He didn’t get it either time.

BAKERSFIELD

Josh Currie had the hat-trick, while linemates Tyler Benson and Cooper Marody had three assists in a 4-2 win by the Condors over Stockton last night in California. Shane Starrett stopped 16 of 18 as he solidifies his hold on the AHL starting job (Save Percentage: .910).

MCDAVID ON/OFF 5-on-5

  • McDavid Goal Differential: 43-34 +9 .558 (Oilers without: 43-61 -18 .413)
  • McDavid Shot Differential: 440-453 -13 .492 (Oilers without: 648-730 .470)

The shocking piece of business for me is McDavid’s shot differential being under 50 percent. That’s nuts, management must give him better support. Of course, the without McDavid numbers are what we might expect, although the shot differential isn’t as wide as one might have thought.

LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE

A fun morning, lots to discuss. Starts at 10, this is going to be an interesting day. TSN1260, scheduled to appear:

  • Frank Seravalli, TSN. The TSN trade deadline list is both growing in length and being reduced in total by the Anaheim Ducks. We’ll chat wild times in the NHL.
  • John Sigler, Saints Wire. The New Orleans Saints are among the final four NFL teams in the hunt for the Super Bowl. Can they get past the Rams this weekend?
  • Christopher Price, Boston Sports Journal. The New England Patriots looked sensational against the Chargers, can they do the same thing to the Chiefs?

10-1260 text, @Lowetide on twitter.

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228 Responses to "Running Up That Hill"

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  1. Jethro Tull says:

    I think Chia is almost at his Kobayashi Maru.

  2. Pescador says:

    Professor Q:
    Sportsnet Stats
    @SNstats

    Most Points Through First 47 Games of a #LetsGoOilers Season Since 1987-88:

    Wayne Gretzky (1987-88) – 86
    Jari Kurri (1988-89) – 71
    Mark Messier (1989-90) – 70
    Connor McDavid (2018-19) – 70

    1:48 PM · Jan 17, 2019

    https://mobile.twitter.com/SNstats/status/1085972263193571328

    This is great. And he’s just warming up.

    Imagine McDavid with Draisaitl & a highly skilled RW
    Keep Yessa

  3. Lowetide says:

    Jethro Tull:
    I think Chia is almost at his Kobayashi Maru.

    JT, your tweets did get caught in the spam filter. I set them free and they are now published (with their time stamp). I think the phrase repetition might have done it. 🙂

  4. --hudson-- says:

    Jethro Tull:
    I think Chia is almost at his Kobayashi Maru.

    Hope he doesn’t figure out how to reprogram the simulation

  5. Dicky94 says:

    Nice to see everyone happy in Leaf land tonight. Thought they were dead last in the league there for a few days. Sheesh.

  6. Jethro Tull says:

    Lowetide: JT, your tweets did get caught in the spam filter. I set them free and they are now published (with their time stamp). I think the phrase repetition might have done it. 🙂

    Thank you!

  7. Jethro Tull says:

    –hudson–: Hope he doesn’t figure out how to reprogram the simulation

    That’s precisely what we need him to do; reprogram the trades so we win for once.

  8. OriginalPouzar says:

    DAL gets on the board with a minute to go to cut the lead to one but LA holds on.

    A perfect night on the out of town scoreboard:

    STL loses in reg
    DAL loses in reg
    MIN/ANA finished in reg with ANA winning.

  9. Professor Q says:

    Dicky94:
    Nice to see everyone happy in Leaf land tonight. Thought they were dead last in the league there for a few days. Sheesh.

    It’s like the Patriots celebrating and claiming that “everyone doubted them, and we’re the underdogs” (similar to the Eagles stealing the Browns’ Dawg Pound mask idea and theme last playoffs).

  10. OriginalPouzar says:

    Pescador: Yes Ottawa is bad team, I wouldn’t expect him to have outstanding possession numbers

    His relative numbers are also very poor.

  11. HT Joe says:

    OriginalPouzar:
    DAL gets on the board with a minute to go to cut the lead to one but LA holds on.

    A perfect night on the out of town scoreboard:

    STL loses in reg
    DAL loses in reg
    MIN/ANA finished in reg with ANA winning.

    Hi OP, thanks for the out-of-town scoreboard. My cynicism is causing part of me to want the Oilers to lose enough for Chia to be turfed, but your impressive optimism seems to be somewhat contagious. Thank you

  12. jp says:

    frjohnk:

    Biggest issue is the scoring when McDavid, RNH and Drai are on the bench.
    Rest are scoring at a rate of 1.11 goals /60. An Average 4th line scores at 1.8 goals /60.

    Just curious, where are these numbers from? They doesn’t agree with what I found at NST.

    NHL 5×5, GFon/60 : (265 min as the cutoff which returns one player short of 4 lines x 31 teams)
    1st line forwards – #1 Crosby 4.49 to #93 Cullen 2.94
    2nd line forwards – #94 Seguin 2.94 to #186 Fast 2.42
    3rd line forwards – #187 Zucker 2.40 to #279 Bellemare 1.94
    4th line forwards – #280 Gaudette 1.93 to #371 Pyatt 0.66

    18-19 Oilers:
    1) Draisaitl 3.22 (1st line)
    2) McDavid 3.19 (1st line)
    3) Caggiula 2.83 (2nd line)
    4) Nuge 2.78 (2nd line)
    5) Chiasson 2.58 (2nd line)
    6) Kassian 2.39 (3rd line)
    7) Rattie 2.31 (3rd line)
    8) Khaira 2.16 (3rd line)
    9) Puljijarvi 1.72 (4th line)
    10) Brodziak 1.56 (4th line)
    11) Lucic 1.54 (4th line)
    12) Yamamoto 1.40 (4th line)
    13) Rieder 1.30 (4th line)
    14) Strome 0.93 (4th line)
    15) Spooner 0 (4th line)

    A) I’m not sure the league 4th line average is 1.8GF/60.

    B) And agreed the Oilers are below average, but they’re not as bad as that 1.11/1.80 split suggests.

  13. bendelson says:

    Yeti: It’s a tough pill to swallow, but for the sake of the Oilers you might really need to get divorced…

    Tabernac Saturdays and Bendelson date nights were set on a collision course this season… overbold, perhaps.

  14. YKOil says:

    Wilde:
    That’s an obscenely bad trade for the Wild? Right? Am I crazy?

    Our wildcard-spot competitor just prison shanked themselves right in front of us. I’ll take it, but it’s grotesque to witness.

    Heh, if Minny needed a C so bad… would Strome and a pick have got it done?

  15. frjohnk says:

    jp: Just curious, where are these numbers from? They doesn’t agree with what I found at NST.

    NHL 5×5, GFon/60 : (265 min as the cutoff which returns one player short of 4 lines x 31 teams)
    1st line forwards – #1 Crosby 4.49 to #93 Cullen 2.94
    2nd line forwards – #94 Seguin 2.94 to #186 Fast 2.42
    3rd line forwards – #187 Zucker 2.40 to #279 Bellemare 1.94
    4th line forwards – #280 Gaudette 1.93 to #371 Pyatt 0.66

    18-19 Oilers:
    1) Draisaitl 3.22 (1st line)
    2) McDavid 3.19 (1st line)
    3) Caggiula 2.83 (2nd line)
    4) Nuge 2.78 (2nd line)
    5) Chiasson 2.58 (2nd line)
    6) Kassian 2.39 (3rd line)
    7) Rattie 2.31 (3rd line)
    8) Khaira 2.16 (3rd line)
    9) Puljijarvi 1.72 (4th line)
    10) Brodziak 1.56 (4th line)
    11) Lucic 1.54 (4th line)
    12) Yamamoto 1.40 (4th line)
    13) Rieder 1.30 (4th line)
    14) Strome 0.93 (4th line)
    15) Spooner 0 (4th line)

    A) I’m not sure the league 4th line average is 1.8GF/60.

    B) And agreed the Oilers are below average, but they’re not as bad as that 1.11/1.80 split suggests.

    I looked at what our team is doing with RNH, McDavid and Drai on the bench.

    When this happens, the Oilers are scoring at 1.1 GF per 60.

    I’m at work right now. Nowhere near a computer but while I’m looking at lines it looks like you are looking at individual players and you may have some overlap in your numbers. I not sure.

  16. OriginalPouzar says:

    HT Joe: Hi OP, thanks for the out-of-town scoreboard.My cynicism is causing part of me to want the Oilers to lose enough for Chia to be turfed, but your impressive optimism seems to be somewhat contagious.Thank you

    Yes, I want new management as well, absolutely.

    No, I absolutely do not want any trades to be made at this time to try and “push for the playoffs” – I think that such a trade could cause a material delay in the ability to truly make this team better.

    I wonder if a few wins leading up to the break makes such a trade more likely or less likely?

    What I do know is that the Oilers are currently tied for a playoff spot and only on the outside due to the tiebreaker (ROW) and there is a zero chance that I will have any hesitation to cheer for wins and the playoffs. I don’t control what management does or what the team does, what happens will happen, so I am just going to continue to watch my team play hockey and hope they score more goals than the other team.

  17. hunter1909 says:

    OriginalPouzar: Yes, I want new management as well, absolutely.

    No, I absolutely do not want any trades to be made at this time to try and “push for the playoffs” – I think that such a trade could cause a material delay in the ability to truly make this team better.

    I wonder if a few wins leading up to the break makes such a trade more likely or less likely?

    What I do know is that the Oilers are currently tied for a playoff spot and only on the outside due to the tiebreaker (ROW) and there is a zero chance that I will have any hesitation to cheer for wins and the playoffs. I don’t control what management does or what the team does, what happens will happen, so I am just going to continue to watch my team play hockey and hope they score more goals than the other team.

    Thanks to the cap era and whatever else goes with it I now know there’s no point in trusting in a nebulous future. This isn’t 1975. Players come, and players go. Personally, I just want these lames to vanquish the sickening 2017 exit which saw them drop 3 games in a row to a brutally efficient quacks team.

  18. Wilde says:

    YKOil: Heh, if Minny needed a C so bad… would Strome and a pick have got it done?

    why do you wish to hurt me

  19. OriginalPouzar says:

    Yesterday was a day off so no verbal and no updates so I’m anxiously waiting for two important updates after practice this morning:

    1) Jones’ health – he played 1 shift after the hit last game – not sure if he was taken out by the spotter via concussion protocol or if he took himself out. Zero idea if he’s totally fine or if there is an issue

    2) Klef – I believe he was scheduled to see the doctors over the last couple of days and the hope was the pins could come out and he could start skating with the team this weekend.

  20. ArmchairGM says:

    YKOil: Heh, if Minny needed a C so bad… would Strome and a pick have got it done?

    Exactly what I was thinking. Strome + 3rd is probably about the same value as Rask.

  21. ArmchairGM says:

    What is the collective thought here on targeting Chris Kreider as an acquisition? He’s big, fast, can score and has another year left after this one at just $4.625M. It wouldn’t be a buy-low scenario as he’s having a career year – on pace for 38 goals – but he’d be an excellent fit on our top-6.

  22. Wilde says:

    OriginalPouzar:
    1) Jones’ health – he played 1 shift after the hit last game – not sure if he was taken out by the spotter via concussion protocol or if he took himself out. Zero idea if he’s totally fine or if there is an issue

    Jim Matheson provided a quote from post-game Caleb Jones indicating that it was concussion protocol

  23. OriginalPouzar says:

    ArmchairGM:
    What is the collective thought here on targeting Chris Kreider as an acquisition? He’s big, fast, can score and has another year left after this one at just $4.625M. It wouldn’t be a buy-low scenario as he’s having a career year – on pace for 38 goals – but he’d be an excellent fit on our top-6.

    Taking aside acquisition cost and if we want to commit to the player for next year, ss of right now, even using the rest of the LTIR relief, we’d need to dispose of apx $2.5M to fit him in. When Klef is activated a d-man would go down so that could save up to $1M so we’d only need to dispose of $1.5M to fit him in.

    When Sekera is activated, if we are maxing out the LTIR relief, we’d need to make major major moves in order to get cap compliant.

    Given the injuries we’ve had leading to players on IR plus a 23 man roster, we’ve been in to the LTIR relief for most of the season and accumulating no cap space to bank – we have essentially no cap space for acquisitions so its tough to even acquire at the deadline.

  24. ArmchairGM says:

    Re: Bettman points

    Oilers are 5-3 in OT games this year, and 3-0 in games decided by a shootout.

  25. OriginalPouzar says:

    Wilde: Jim Matheson provided a quote from post-game Caleb Jones indicating that it was concussion protocol

    I guess that’s good news – hopefully its not actually a concussion as well.

  26. ArmchairGM says:

    OriginalPouzar: Taking aside acquisition cost and if we want to commit to the player for next year, ss of right now, even using the rest of the LTIR relief, we’d need to dispose of apx $2.5M to fit him in. When Klef is activated a d-man would go down so that could save up to $1M so we’d only need to dispose of $1.5M to fit him in.

    When Sekera is activated, if we are maxing out the LTIR relief, we’d need to make major major moves in order to get cap compliant.

    Given the injuries we’ve had leading to players on IR plus a 23 man roster, we’ve been in to the LTIR relief for most of the season and accumulating no cap space to bank – we have essentially no cap space for acquisitions so its tough to even acquire at the deadline.

    Oh, for sure some money would have to go back to NYR in the transaction, no question. I’m just asking about the player himself – is he someone that’s worthwhile targeting?

    “if we want to commit to the player for next year” Kreider is already signed through next year.

  27. Ryan says:

    ArmchairGM: Oh, for sure some money would have to go back to NYR in the transaction, no question. I’m just asking about the player himself – is he someone that’s worthwhile targeting?

    “if we want to commit to the player for next year” Kreider is already signed through next year.

    I don’t see it. The Rags would probably one a first round pick for him.

    For a guy who’s almost 28 with a year left on his contract, I can’t see the Oilers trading for him.

    He’s the type of guy a team in ‘win now’ should acquire. That’s not us.

  28. OriginalPouzar says:

    “if we want to commit to the player for next year” Kreider is already signed through next year.

    Yes, exactly, so acquiring him is committing to him (and his contract) for next year – its not a no-brainer that we want to do that – there is limited cap space available for next year and its very uncertain if any of the “anchor” contracts can/will be/should be moved in the off-season – taken on an extra $4.65M for next year, at this point, is not a no-brainer.

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