The first time the Edmonton Oilers faced San Jose, it was a 6-2 victory for the expansion Sharks at the historic Cow Palace. Edmonton’s goals came from Dave Manson and Craig MacTavish, while Paul Fenton and Dean Evason were the top offensive performers in teal. Arturs Irbe outdueled Billy Ranford and the Sharks won just their second game ever, running the team’s record to 2-15-0. It was November 8, 1991, exactly 533 days after the Oilers won the 1990 Stanley.
The Athletic Edmonton features 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: Is Ken Hitchcock helping Jesse Puljujarvi find his way as an NHL player?
- Daniel Nugent-Bowman: What Connor McDavid’s evolving leadership qualities mean to the Oilers.
- Lowetide: It’s time for Oilers owner Daryl Katz to stand and deliver a winning organization.
- Lowetide: Setting the Oilers’ expected keeper list for the next GM
- Lowetide: Entry deal AHL forwards give the Oilers an excellent trade pool.
- Lowetide: If fast is the new big, how do the Edmonton Oilers get there in a hurry?
- Jonathan Willis: Analyzing how well Peter Chiarelli and Keith Gretzky restocked the Oilers with their draft work
- Lowetide: Finding a path to the playoffs may involve reckless use of future assets by the Oilers
- 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: Complete Oilers top 20 prospects, Winter 2018
OILERS AFTER 55
- Oilers in 2015: 21-29-5, 47 points; goal differential -29
- Oilers in 2016: 29-18-8, 66 points; goal differential +11
- Oilers in 2017: 23-28-4, 50 points; goal differential -30
- Oilers in 2018: 24-25-5, 53 points; goal differential -17
A win tonight puts Edmonton on a pace for 82 points and I think 85-87 points might be enough to grab eighth place in the conference. If the Oilers win tonight, things are going to get interesting ahead of a very important eastern road swing. Is management willing to add some scoring help this early in the month? When does Sekera return?
OILERS IN FEBRUARY
- Oilers in February 2016: 1-4-0, two points; goal differential -16
- Oilers in February 2017: 2-3-0, four points; goal differential -4
- Oilers in February 2018: 1-3-1, three points; goal differential 0
- Oilers in February 2019: 1-1-2, four points; goal differential -4
Despite massive frustration, that included three straight games in which the Oilers led in the third period, the record in February has the club just two points out of the playoffs. You could write a book about this season, maybe I will.
WHAT TO EXPECT IN FEBRUARY
- On the road to: Philadelphia, Montreal (Expected 1-1-0) (Actual 0-0-2)
- At home to: Chicago (Expected 1-0-0) (Actual 0-1-0)
- On the road to: Minnesota (Expected 0-0-1) (Actual 1-0-0)
- 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: 1-1-2, four points in four games
THE 50 BEST PLAYERS IN THE 2019 DRAFT
- (1) C Jack Hughes, U.S. National Development Team (USHL). A brilliant offensive player, cerebral, quick and highly skilled. Undersized but the cream of this year’s crop.
- (2) R Kaapo Kakko, Turkku (Sm-Liiga). A big power forward with tons of talent who is emerging in real time. Some scouting services have closed the gap between Hughes and Kakko, something to watch as the season rolls along.
- (3) R Dylan Cozens, Lethbridge (WHL). Size, skill and he can skate. Range of skills, accurate shooter. I have him ahead of Dach but the margin is small.
- (4) RC Kirby Dach, Saskatoon (WHL). A dynamic player with size and tremendous skill, has speed, wingspan and an excellent release.
- (7) LC Trevor Zegras, U.S. National Development Team (USHL). Undersized and highly skilled, elusive and aggressive with very good speed.
- (5) R Vasili Podkolzin, St. Petersburg (MHL). Smart player with tons of offensive ability, but also possesses good two-way instinct. Rocked the Hlinka Gretzky.
- (9) LC Peyton Krebs, Kootenay (WHL).Skill forward who can score, he has quick feet and good hands.
- (8) L Jakob Pelletier, Moncton (QMJHL). Undersized skill winger with two-way ability.
- (6) L Arthur Kaliyev, Hamilton (OHL). He’s a fantastic scoring prospect, moving him down because of it. Like him a lot in all other areas.
- (13) LC Alex Turcotte, U.S. National Development Team (USHL). A strong two-way reputation, he is skilled and an excellent skater. Injuries a worry.
- (12) LD Bowen Byram, Vancouver (WHL). Explosive speed is his top attribute but he’s also excellent with the puck and owns a heavy shot.
- (10) LC Ryan Suzuki, Barrie (OHL). Great vision, skill, tremendous passer. If he were faster, he’d be top five.
- (11) R Cole Caufield, U.S. National Development Team (USHL). He’s small, fast and a ridiculous scorer. Quick release, accurate.
- (15) L Matthew Boldy, U.S. National Development Team (USHL). Bigger winger with skill, he’s strong on the puck and can score goals.
- (18) LC Alex Newhook, Victoria (BCHL).Terrific scorer with playmaking skilled and dogged determination on the backcheck. Wish he played in a higher league.
- (14) LD Cam York, U.S. National Development Team (USHL). The latest impact puck mover out of the USHL, great speed, passing and creativity.
- (16) RC Raphael Lavoie, Halifax Mooseheads (QMJHL). Big center with a long reach, and a plus shot.
- (17) LD Thomas Harley, Mississauga (OHL). Good size, speed and he’s posting impressive numbers. Spiking as we speak.
- (19) LD Matthew Robertson, Edmonton (WHL). Big two-way defenseman with good speed and some offense.
- (20) LD Philip Broberg, AIK (Allsvenskan). He’s big and can skate, while also displaying puck moving ability.
- (21) RC Philip Tomasino, Niagra (OHL). Underrated player with impressive skill, spike offensively year over year has him here.
- (22) R Bobby Brink, Sioux City (USHL). Small, fast and very skilled, he’s an intelligent player with great vision.
- (23) LC Connor McMichael, London (OHL). He has good speed and lots of skill. I like him quite a lot.
- (24) RD Victor Soderstrom, Brynas (SHL). Impressive offensive player from the blueline. Good skater, good decisions, very quick.
- (25) LD Ville Heinola, Lukko (Sm-Liiga). A mature player for his age, two-way talent with good speed and calm feet. Excellent passer.
- (26) L Nick Robertson, Peterborough (OHL). Undersized skill winger with a sixth sense as a goal scorer. Impressive at Top Prospects.
- (27) L Nils Hoglander, Rogle (SHL). A small skill winger, he can beat defensemen clean. More playmaker than scorer, but has a quick release and an effective shot.
- (28) RD Moritz Seider, Mannheim (DEL). An actual teenage giant (6.04, 198) with a Condor wingspan. He’s a good passer and has decent speed.
- (29) L Nolan Foote, Kelowna (WHL). Power forward with skill, not certain he’s a future scorer on an NHL skill line.
- (NR) R Maxim Cajkovic, Saint John (QMJHL). Highly skilled winger on a poor team, he’s emerging as a top talent this year.
- (31) RC Brett Leason, Prince Albert (WHL). Already famous, he turns 20 two months before the draft. Impressive scorer, massive year over year spike.
- (NR) F Samuel Fagemo, Frolunda (SHL). I had him as a second-round pick a year ago, he’s in about the same spot this year.
- (NR) G Spencer Knight, US National Team (USHL). Ranked due to enormous buzz, scouts love him.
- (NR) RD Anttoni Honka, Jyp (Sm-Liiga). Chaos defender who lands here because of exceptional puck skills and impressive skating.
- (NR) LW Egor Afanasyev, Muskegon (USHL). Skill winger with some size, the big selling point is his shot.
- (NR) LD Tobias Björnfot, Djurgardens (SuperElite). Two-way defender, good skater, can pass the puck.
- (NR) R Nathan Légaré, Baie Comeau Drakkar (QMJHL). There are several attractive scoring wingers in this year’s draft, Legare is one of the most impressive. 37 goals so far this season.
- (NR) RD Lassi Thomson, Kelowna (WHL). Mobile puck mover has delivered quality in his first North American season. Fine skater, transporter and passer. Heavy shot is major calling card.
- (NR) LC Jamieson Rees, Sarnia Sting (OHL). Speedster with skill, undersized and plays with an edge.
- (NR) R Josh Williams, Edmonton (WHL). Terrific skater and impressive skill, lack of consistency will keep him outside the first round.
- (NR) G Mads Søgaard, Medicine Hat (WHL). He is 6.07, has a .930 SP and his backup is .897. Not exactly scientific but it’s far from madness.
- (NR) L Ethan Keppen, Flint (OHL). I have read that he has good speed and his size (6.02, 214) and skill (18 goals 5-on-5 in 53 games) are the kinds of things my list values.
- (NR) LD Liam Ross, Sudbury (OHL). Has size, two-way skills and is a good passer.
- (NR) R Albin Grewe, Djurgardens (SHL). Rugged winger with skill.
- (NR) G Hunter Jones, Peterborough (OHL). He is ranked higher on some famous lists.
- (NR) L Robert Mastrosimone, Chicago (USHL). His scoring numbers at 5-on-5 are impressive.
- (NR) L Dillon Hamaliuk, Seattle Thunderbirds (WHL). Math likes the player and he’s on some lists. Strong, great forechecker and he has skill.
- (NR) RD Drew Helleson, US National Development Team (USHL). Impressive puck moving defender.
- (NR) RD Billy Constantinou, Kingston (OHL). Fast as lightning, high risk and reward defender.
- (NR) Patrik Puistola, Leki (Mestis). High skill, don’t really know much about him but he scores at every level.
- No. 9 overall—L Peyton Krebs, Kootenay (WHL). The Draft Analyst: “He’s incredibly smart with or without the puck, a very good skater with excellent balance and agility, and his ability to turn quickly and react towards the right direction makes him an asset in all three zones. He plays with a nonstop motor and forces opposing defensemen into poor decisions with the puck. Krebs is a clever stickhandler who can weave through a crowded neutral zone; but making smart, crisp passes immediately thereafter is what separates from most of his draft-age peers.”
- No. 40 overall—LD Tobias Björnfot, Djurgardens (SuperElite). Impressive skater and reports have him using that ability on both offense and defense. The Oilers don’t need more lefty blue, but if this guy is available he’s likely best on the board.
- No. 87 overall—R Leevi Aaltonen, Kalpa (Jr Sm-Liiga). ISS: “Slick offensive play-maker, undersized but highly skilled.”
- No. 102 overall —R Josh Nodler, Fargo (USHL). His numbers in junior (35, 14-19-33) are impressive, and he’s a good skater.
- No. 164 overall—R Eric Uba, Flint (OHL). Speedy forward, his 5-on-5 scoring in the OHL is quality.
- No. 195 overall— LC Danny Weight, US National Development Team (USHL). Doug’s boy, he is skilled and a little under the radar.
HOCKEY DAY IN CANADA
- “I’ll tell you about the magic, and it’ll free your soul, But it’s like trying to tell a stranger ’bout rock and roll.” (John Sebastian)
One of my favourite recent stories involving the game of hockey is the Khaira family. It’s a story of sacrifice by one generation in order to build a better life for the next one, it’s a story about being a Canadian and how changes from the old country to the new one can take a generation or more.
These are important stories to know, they show our similarities and make new things comfortable. If you look at the names chosen in the 1975 NHL draft, it’s fairly obvious the league was limited in ethnicities. Now? It’s like a rainbow and that’s good and right and true. That’s Canada. People coming to this country and, over generations, finding their way in the culture while adding to what is available. As an example, the range of good restaurants in Edmonton now compared to 1975 is exactly one world apart. It’s all good.
Hockey Day in Canada is about my babies and your babies and all the babies finding their way, making their first steps, cutting ice with skates, finding the game that unites us. The more we know about each other, the better we are as a country. That’s what hockey day in Canada is all about for me. We can all learn a lot from Sukhjinder and Komal Khaira, who came to our country at five and have been working for a better tomorrow every day since. That’s a noble goal.
BAKERSFIELD GOES TO ’11’
Andrej Sekera looked good by all reports and the Oilers may get another blueline boost in the coming days. The Condors continued the impressive winning streak that has driven the team to second place in the Pacific Division. Tyler Benson is in the top 5 in rookie scoring, Cooper Marody inside the top 10.