Last of the Steam Powered Trains

The boys are back in town. Ken Hitchcock said this about Oscar Klefbom: “We liked what we saw, we’ve got another practice to go through tomorrow. We’ll see how he feels in the morning, this is the first time he’s gotten knocked around a little bit” and that’s your lead story right there.


The Athletic Edmonton brought it yesterday, there’s a fabulous cluster of stories (some linked below, some on the site). Great perspective from a ridiculous group of writers and analysts. Proud to be part of the group. Outstanding offer is here.

  • New Lowetide: If fast is the new big, how do the Edmonton Oilers get there in a hurry?
  • New Jonathan Willis: Analyzing how well Peter Chiarelli and Keith Gretzky restocked the Oilers with their draft work
  • New Lowetide: Finding a path to the playoffs may involve reckless use of future assets by the Oilers
  • New Jonathan Willis: An Oilers blueprint for the 2019 NHL free agency period
  • Tyler Dellow: A deeper look at Connor McDavid and the Oilers’ 5-on-5 offensive changes under Ken Hitchcock
  • Corey Pronman: 2019 NHL Draft midseason rankings
  • Jonathan Willis: An Oilers blueprint for the 2019 NHL trade deadline.
  • Lowetide: Edmonton’s 2019 entry draft plans may change with new GM but needs are clear
  • Lowetide: Caleb Jones has impressive first showing in the NHL with Oilers.
  • Tyler Dellow: Four questions that the Oilers should be asking candidates for the GM job
  • Daniel Nugent-Bowman: New Oilers caretaker Keith Gretzky caught between earning playoff berth and keeping future assets
  • Daniel Nugent-Bowman: Goalless Tobias Rieder hopes to follow Zack Kassian and Milan Lucic and end his offensive funk.
  • Lowetide: Complete Oilers top 20 prospects, Winter 2018


  • Oilers in 2015: 20-26-5, 45 points; goal differential -22
  • Oilers in 2016: 28-15-8, 64 points; goal differential +17
  • Oilers in 2017: 23-24-4, 50 points; goal differential -26
  • Oilers in 2018: 23-24-3, 49 points; goal differential -13

Oilers are a little unlucky to have this record based on goal differential, but it’s also true the team has been so streaky it’s impossible to build a reasonable defense of this group. Edmonton is 14-14-2 under Hitchcock.


  • Oilers in February 2016: 1-0-0, two points; goal differential +1
  • Oilers in February 2017: 0-1-0, 0 points; goal differential -2
  • Oilers in February 2018: 0-1-1, one point; goal differential -1
  • Oilers in February 2019: 0-0-0, 0 points; goal differential —


  • On the road to: Philadelphia, Montreal (Expected 1-1-0) (Actual 0-0-0)
  • At home to: Chicago (Expected 1-0-0) (Actual 0-0-0)
  • On the road to: Minnesota (Expected 0-0-1) (Actual 0-0-0)
  • At home to: San Jose (Expected 0-1-0) (Actual 0-0-0)
  • On the road to: Pittsburgh, Carolina, NY Islanders (Expected 2-1-0) (Actual 0-0-0)
  • At home to: Arizona, NY Islanders, Anaheim (Expected 2-1-0) (Actual 0-0-0)
  • On the road to: Nashville, Toronto, Ottawa (Expected 1-2-0) (Actual 0-0-0)
  • Overall expected result: 7-6-1, 15 points in 14 games
  • Current results: 0-0-0, 0 points in 14 games

I have the Oilers ending February 64, 30-30-4, 64 points. They’re going to finish with 84-87 points by my estimate.

Flyers and Boston is an interesting game to scout, although it’s really just a pre-scout for the Saturday game. Among the players Edmonton might have noticed if available:

  • RD Radko Gudas, $3.35 million for one more season. I know few of you value Corsi anymore but this guy shines like a diamond. I think he’s terrific.
  • R Wayne Simmonds, $3.975 million and he’s UFA. Simmonds last three seasons 5-on-5 scoring per 60 (1.14, 1.29, 1.18) is in the same range as Milan Lucic in the same seasons (1.21, 1.30, 0.84). Not a wise investment.
  • LD Ivan Provorov, $894,167 and an RFA this summer. Although he’s a fantastic young player, Provorov has struggled this season (info here). I would take the bet.
  • L Jake DeBrusk, $863,333 and an RFA next summer. He isn’t going anywhere but I included him because DeBrusk would be a great get for Edmonton right now. He’s struggling mightily.

As impressive as it was live, the printed version might be more powerful. I think Oilers fans are at a point where everything (Penner’s recent comments, MacT’s scouting) becomes the hill to die on, which has the overall impact of making all things white noise. Woodguy’s verbal is stunning clarity, and in that moment he uncovers the truth. The call is coming from inside the house.

I offer this list not as a guide to Oilers offer sheets, but as a ‘before’ photo about the changing financial landscape of cap room for several Canadian teams. The McDavid-Draisaitl $21 million is going to get some competition as an outer marker in the coming days. I’ll be interested to see how much south of $21 million Kyle Dubas can bring Matthews-Marner contracts.

Matthews is the key. McDavid’s deal was 16 percent of the cap when he signed, Matthews will be less but the cap greater. Let’s say he signs shorter term (that has been discussed) at 12 percent of $83 million ($9.96 million). Let’s say Marner signs at 10 percent ($8.3 million), which would bring the two men in at $18.26 million. Even though it’s almost $3 million less than the Oilers duo, it’s shorter term and still a helluva total. It gets weird early when these second contracts go supernova.

This is the Talbot trade timeline, unless there’s no market. I think Matt Benning, Zack Kassian and Tobias Rieder might also be vulnerable, and do wonder about Kris Russell’s willingness to move.


It’s a busy morning as we set up Super Bowl weekend and the return of the Edmonton Oilers. Starting at 10, TSN1260:

  • Steve Lansky, BigMouthSports. Super Bowl parties, Oilers at the deadline, pitchers and catchers.
  • Andy McNamara, TSN4Downs. Super Bowl preview.
  • Matt Iwanyk, TSN1260. Super Bowl, Oilers, CFL free agency.

10-1260 text, @Lowetide on twitter. Friday, people!

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204 Responses to "Last of the Steam Powered Trains"

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  1. Rebillled says:


    Woodguys’ post was great.

    So great that someone should fire up the Bat Signal.

    Hopefully he doesn’t move us to Seatt…too late sucka!


  2. OriginalPouzar says:

    Didn’t see the 3rd period but nice to wake up and see the Condors hold on for a 4-2 win.

    Slight shot advantage in the 3rd period and, after the Wild pull to within one with four minutes left – Gust puts one in the empty net from Lagesson.

    Starret stops 24 of 26.

    Rematch tonight!

  3. OriginalPouzar says:

    If Spooner plays five games in the ahl and gets 8-10 points I wonder if the oilers recall him and give him a chance with mcdavid

    Wouldn’t it be funny if he played with mcdavid and rattie and they clicked on a heater showing how Mcsavior can resurrect players careers

    I believe its an absolute no-brainer to give Spooner a long stretch of games in the top 6. Its something he has not had since the acquisition and he has not been put in a position to succeed.

    Prior to this year, Sooner has essentially provided complementary secondary scoring for his entire NHL career – top 6 scoring rates. He has a history of providing exactly what the Oilers need but, yet, the current interim coach has not given the player a real chance to produce.

    The Oilers very well could have an internal option for a big hole next year and it would make sense to give it a real shot this year to see if its a realistic option going in to next year.

  4. OriginalPouzar says:

    After their 9th straight win, the Condors in second place and 7 points up on 5th (top 4 make the playoffs) giving up a game in hand.

    The are in Ontario tonight – trap game as the Reign are in last place and my guess is they give Stuart Skinner the start tonight.

    A second game in a row that doesn’t conflict with the Oilers game and it starts an hour early at 7 so I should be able to watch in full.

    Go Oilers!

    Go Condors!

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