February through the end of the 2015-16 season, Connor McDavid scored 32, 11-25-36. The following season from February 1, he delivered 30, 13-28-41. Last year, 2017-18, he posted 33, 26-28-54. Can he drag this team into the playoffs by himself? We’re about to find out.
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 AFTER 51
- 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
Through 50 the Oilers aren’t a playoff team and they aren’t a lot better than one year ago. After 50 last season, Edmonton’s goal differential (138-161) was -23; this season, the team’s GD (141-163) is -22. My numbers above exclude empty-net goals.
OILERS IN FEBRUARY
- 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 —
WHAT TO EXPECT IN FEBRUARY
- 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 Edmonton stepping up this month, just a little, because Oscar Klefbom returns and I do think McDavid is about to lay down the law. We’ll see if it holds, but if the team can deliver at my predicted pace, they’ll be 30-30-4 after 64. That would mean the Oilers would need to finish something like 18, 11-6-1 to have any chance at all (41-36-5, 87 points). This team needs a 10-game winning streak.
OILERS PROJECTED LINEUP
Ken Hitchcock said yesterday he was inspired by the Flyers spreading out the offense coming out of the break, thus the lines as shown here. My take? These lines will last like a snowball in a hot place. Oscar may be in, that should help in a big way.
I haven’t thought much about the new general manager, so the idea of the next Oilers coach is a very distant bell. That said, Knoblauch is an interesting name and Bob has spoken about him many times. Knoblauch is a winner, he’s coached McDavid (in junior) so it’s possible.
CONDORS SINCE JAN 1
- Josh Currie 14, 10-5-15
- Joe Gambardella 8, 9-4-13
- Tyler Benson 14, 1-12-13
- Cooper Marody 14, 3-10-13
- Logan Day 14, 1-11-12
- Ethan Bear 13, 2-8-10
A quick glance at some January Condors offers us some recall clues. I included Logan Day, because the young man is absolutely tearing up the blacktop. He’s earning an NHL deal.
If the Oilers deal Cam Talbot, it’s a lock the club will also acquire a capable backup. One minor leaguer who is pushing (Shane Starrett) will no doubt stay in Bakersfield. In his four most recent games he has stopped 112 of 118 shots, .949.
Defensive recalls probably begin with Caleb Jones, whose impressive performance with the Oilers won’t soon be forgotten. Ethan Bear is also in the mix, although he missed last night’s game and has been banged up for much of the season.
Gambardella didn’t get a lot done in Edmonton but has been on fire in Bakersfield. I wouldn’t discount the possibility of a recall. Benson and Marody would also be in the mix and Josh Currie has been a solid contributor to the Condors for years. A recall late in the year would seem possible.
KEITH GRETZKY’S ASSETS OUT
It’s a long list because Edmonton could be both buyer and seller.
- Cam Talbot
- Alex Petrovic
- Alex Chiasson
- Tobias Rieder
- 2019 first-round pick
- 2019 second-round pick
- Brandon Manning
- Matt Benning
- Ryan Spooner
- Evan Bouchard
- Jujhar Khaira
- Ethan Bear
Some of those names will be summer options, but if the Oilers both buy and sell we could see plenty of movement with the interim general manager. Which is weird, because there’s already a lot on this roster (Manning, Koskinen) for next year and beyond that one would assume the new general manager would be charged with doing.