This spring won’t see the playoffs but the club gave real effort in a tough barn last night on the way to a shootout loss. Leon Draisaitl delivered a fabulous effort, matched in net by Mikko Koskinen, and the Oilers grabbed a point on the road. Oh, for another four wins in the before time. Three of four points while McDavid was out with a suspension is a helluva story and that’s a fact. Now 97 prepares to kick out the jams in Ontario with some true rage in the cage. Music!
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 Daniel Nugent-Bowman: After bringing in Sam Gagner and shipping out Cam Talbot, Oilers stand pat on deadline day.
- Lowetide: Edmonton Oilers at the deadline: Buy, sell or both?
- 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 62
- Oilers in 2015: 22-34-6, 50 points; goal differential -34
- Oilers in 2016: 33-21-8, 74 points; goal differential +12
- Oilers in 2017: 27-31-4, 58 points; goal differential -33
- Oilers in 2018: 26-29-7, 59 points; goal differential -23
Edmonton is on pace to finish 34-38-10, 78 points. That is a close match for last season (36-40-6, 78 points) and should be the expectation.
OILERS IN FEBRUARY
- Oilers in February 2016: 2-10-0, four points; goal differential -22
- Oilers in February 2017: 6-6-0, 12 points; goal differential -1
- Oilers in February 2018: 4-7-1, nine points; goal differential -4
- Oilers in February 2019: 3-5-4, 10 points; goal differential -10
This has been a ridiculous month and yet it is also the second best February of Connor McDavid’s time with the team. I think it’s a reflection of a team lacking balance and depth (not much help when injuries hit), but can be convinced otherwise.
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 2-0-1)
- On the road to: Nashville, Toronto, Ottawa (Expected 1-2-0) (Actual 0-0-1)
- Overall expected result: 7-6-1, 15 points in 14 games
- Current results: 3-5-4, 10 points in 12 games
DEFENSE, LAST NIGHT
- Sekera-Benning are doing good work, although the third pairing giving up a goal isn’t ideal. Were 11-4 in 9:25, 9-4 shots, 0-1 goals and 4-1 HDSC. Went 8-4 (0-1) in 5:54 against Jarnkrok-Turris-Sissons.
- Nurse-Russell were 8-11 in 14:43, 3-3 shots, 0-1 goals and 0-2 HDSC. This pairing can’t move the puck effectively, Nashville forwards were waiting for Russell’s errant passes all night along the wall in the neutral zone. Went 4-3 in 5:31 against Boyle-Bonino-Grimaldi. Nurse had a dandy chance from a Leon feed.
- Klefbom-Larsson went 10-28 in 19:49, 5-15 shots, no goals and 1-7 HDSC. That’s a drilling. Went 4-12 (3-8 shots) in 9:52 against Forsberg-Johansen-Arvidsson. Worried all night about the slash.
- Mikko Koskinen stopped 36 of 38, .947. He was quality.
- NaturalStatTrick and NHL.com.
FORWARDS, LAST NIGHT
- Gagner-Nuge-Kassian went 10-11 in 12:06, 6-7 shots, no goals and 3-2 HDSC. The timing was a little off for the trio, reflected in a pass from the slot by Gagner that missed a stationary (and open) Nuge by exactly one mile. They did skill things, just couldn’t cash.
- Rieder-Draisaitl-Chiasson were 11-6 in 11:43, 7-5 shots no goals and 3-2 HDSC. Leon was the show, and Chiasson contributed but Rieder is having a helluva time with the hockey. Credit where due, he put himself in a reasonable scoring position several times, but honestly had little to show for it.
- Lucic-Cave-Currie went 6-9 in 7:49, 3-5 shots, 0-1 goals and 0-2 HDSC. Lucic was a house by the side of the road on the first GA, Cave was also a day late and a dollar short.
- Malone-Brodziak-Rattie were 4-6 in 5:40, 3-3 shots, no goals and 1-2 HDSC.
HERE COMES THE SUN
It was a curious deadline (even if you are offered a seventh-round pick for Alex Petrovic, and it’s five minutes to the deadline, then you should take it) but the message is clear: Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead.
Why? I’ll be writing about this (and other things) for my piece at The Athletic (out later today or tomorrow) but it’s a fascinating moment in the history of the Oilers.
The Condors won again, the streak now stands at 17 wins and counting. The team is now tied with the 2004-05 Philadelphia Phantoms for the second longest streak all-time. A great story, and surely the minor league team holds some future NHL players.
One thing we can talk about in the coming days: How many of Caleb Jones, Ethan Bear and William Lagesson will be NHL-ready next season? In keeping Matt Benning yesterday, the organization may have tipped its hand for the summer activity. We might see one of the Condors packaged with something else in an effort to upgrade No. 2 RHD, with the idea of running Larsson-???-Benning until one of Bear, Joel Persson or Evan Bouchard is ready. That’s the reasonable play here. The typical Oilers move? Put Bouchard on 2RHD opening night, trade Matt Benning for Connor Brown and let Persson and Bear fight it out for No. 3 RHD.
LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE
At 10 this morning, we’re back with a massive amount of ground to cover. TSN1260, scheduled to appear:
- Jonathan Willis, The Athletic. Oilers at the deadline, as well as some of the big moves made across the NHL.
- Jesse Granger, The Athletic. We’ll talk about the massive addition in Vegas and what it means for Golden Knights fans.
- Murat Ates, The Athletic. The Winnipeg Jets made many transactions yesterday, we’ll talk about most of them.
10-1260 text, @Lowetide on twitter. Talk soon!