It’s Saturday. The cold is still in the ground, we’re miles from planting in the full moon, putting the winter coat away, saying goodbye to the Alberta mud until fall. In hockey terms, it’s a sad time, a time to watch the good teams go on, while the losers talk of lotteries and what might have been. In our town, the captain has been suspended in a rather addled ruling, the team phenom appears to have found a way to avoid the minors, and the world is turning as it should.
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: Edmonton Oilers at the deadline: Buy, sell or both?
- New Jonathan Willis: Jesse Puljujarvi needs a fresh start, but there’s no reason it can’t be in Edmonton
- Lowetide: The Edmonton Oilers and the OHL.
- Lowetide: Are the 2018-19 Bakersfield Condors the best Edmonton Oilers affiliate ever?
- Daniel Nugent-Bowman: ‘One of the best hockey games ever’: An oral history of the 2014 women’s Olympic gold-medal game.
- Lowetide: How can the Oilers successfully sell the new regime to a fan base that is openly angry?
- Jonathan Willis: Oilers trade deadline primer: Focus should be on moves that make life easier for the next GM
- Lowetide: Cam Talbot’s Oilers career a disappointment save one beautiful spring.
- Jonathan Willis: Edmonton’s trade for Sam Gagner is a gamble well worth making.
- Jonathan Willis: Inside the success of the Bakersfield Condors, and what it means for Edmonton
- Lowetide: The Oilers sure have a lot of problems, but there is a simple solution.
- Daniel Nugent-Bowman: Q&A: Keith Gretzky on the Oilers trade deadline plan, Andrej Sekera’s return and Jesse Puljujarvi’s season
- Lowetide: Oilers’ potential roster upheaval might set a record for summer activity
- Jonathan Willis: Teams should beware of these players at the 2019 NHL trade deadline.
- Lowetide: It’s time for Oilers owner Daryl Katz to stand and deliver a winning organization.
- Lowetide: Entry deal AHL forwards give the Oilers an excellent trade pool.
- Jonathan Willis: An Oilers blueprint for the 2019 NHL free agency period
- 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 61
- Oilers in 2015: 22-33-6, 50 points; goal differential -33
- Oilers in 2016: 33-20-8, 74 points; goal differential +13
- Oilers in 2017: 26-31-4, 56 points; goal differential -33
- Oilers in 2018: 25-29-6, 56 points; goal differential -24
Edmonton has a chance to win tonight, but without 97 it’s going to be difficult. I think we’ve seen enough of this team, depending on deadline moves, that we can suggest last year’s club is a good match. From Game 60 forward, the 2017-18 Oilers went 10-9-2 in order to finish 36-40-6, 78 points. I believe that’s going to be this year’s fate, or thereabouts.
OILERS IN FEBRUARY
- Oilers in February 2016: 2-9-0, four points; goal differential -21
- Oilers in February 2017: 5-6-0, 10 points; goal differential -2
- Oilers in February 2018: 3-7-1, seven points; goal differential -4
- Oilers in February 2019: 2-5-3, seven points; goal differential -11
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 0-1-0)
- On the road to: Pittsburgh, Carolina, NY Islanders (Expected 2-1-0) (Actual 0-3-0)
- At home to: Arizona, NY Islanders, Anaheim (Expected 2-1-0) (Actual 1-0-1)
- 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: 2-5-3, seven points in 10 games
HITCH’S OILERS (16-19-5)
- All numbers since Hitchcock took over. Forwards: 5-on-5 per 60; Defense: Corsi for 5-on-5.
- The big three score well up front, interesting to see Kassian’s recent surge aiding those scoreless games earlier.
- Lucic has recovered a little, Khaira was productive before injury and Sam Gagner has been a contributor early on.
- Defense looks better already with Klefbom and Sekera back in the fold, that should help float the Nurse and Russell numbers.
- Mikko Koskinen’s numbers since Hitchcock arrived are good.
WOODCROFT’S CONDORS (31-15-3)
- Forwards: estimated 5-on-5 points per 60; Defense: 5-on-5 goals for-against.
- The top-six forwards look good, that’s an impressive group.
- The defensemen are delivering positive goal share across the board. Music!
- Shane Starrett may not be an NHL player but he’s playing well enough to get a look.
TODD NELSON’S 11-12 BARONS (45-22-9)
- Same as above, but this is the 2011-12 OKC Barons. I wrote about this team and others in my piece for The Athletic this week on the minors.
- This team might be the best all-time minor league Oilers club, I think Todd Nelson was the key member of the team.
- Paajarvi was 20, but he never developed as a true offensive option. Tyler Pitlick, who was a part-time forward in 2011-12, now owns a superior points-per-game than Paajarvi in the NHL.
- Should it be a concern that Paajarvi had a better estimated points-per-60 number than Benson does at 20? I don’t believe so, but it’s an interesting curio.
If the Oilers were a little better team, this could be used as a rallying cry by Hitch. “Even the league is against us!” he could scream, but I don’t think he has the horses. It is a chance for youngsters to step up and for Koskinen to steal a game, however.
My kids are two of my favourite people on the planet. One of the phrases they use is “let me live” when someone (me) is mocking them or getting after them for something.
I think it’s time to let Jesse Puljujarvi live. Release him into the wild. It isn’t his fault the Edmonton Oilers fumbled and bumbled their way through his entry deal. I’ve become a fan of his agent in recent days, seems to be the first voice speaking up for a young man so many miles from happiness. Let him live.
Well, I’ve had it. From now on, when a member of the national media says something stupid about the Nuge, I’m going to tweet or retweet it and then publish it on this blog. A wall of shame if I’ve ever seen one.