The Edmonton Oilers could leave Rogers tonight with 67 points in 67 games, giving coach Ken Hitchcock a record of 21-20-6, 48 points in 47 games. At the very least, the season remains interesting with 82 percent of the schedule gone. A modest accomplishment to be sure, but more compelling than many springs since 2007. A home winning streak should be manageable but this team has been poor back at home this year (14-15-2). The Oilers need to streak like they’re Ray Stevens and it’s 1974. Starting tonight.
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: Bob Nicholson’s search continues for the Oilers new tomorrow, but at a leisurely pace.
- Jonathan Willis: Potential GM candidates and why Edmonton needs to consider those with varied experiences.
- Lowetide: Identifying Oilers roster needs reveals a familiar list
- New Daniel Nugent-Bowman: How Leon Draisaitl has found ‘another level’ by matching offensive wizardry with sound positioning.
- Lowetide: How many future NHL goal scorers are playing for the Bakersfield Condors this season?
- Lowetide: The career destination for Oilers phenom Jesse Puljujarvi remains unknown.
- Jonathan Willis: Learning from a flawed argument I made about Leon Draisaitl in 2016.
- Black Dog Pat: How the Oilers can emerge from the Bob Pulford-like era they’re stuck in.
- Lowetide: The Oilers’ deadline decisions inform what may come in spring and summer
- Jonathan Willis: From Mikko Koskinen to Bakersfield, the next two months will reveal a lot about the Oilers
- Lowetide: The Edmonton Oilers and the OHL.
- Lowetide: Complete Oilers top 20 prospects, Winter 2018
OILERS AFTER 67
- Oilers in 2015: 25-35-7, 57 points; goal differential -31
- Oilers in 2016: 35-23-9, 79 points; goal differential +11
- Oilers in 2017: 29-34-4, 62 points; goal differential -37
- Oilers in 2018: 29-30-7, 65 points; goal differential -21
The playoff team (2016) would finish 12-3-1 in the final 15. Edmonton won’t match that run, but if they did, the final tally would 41-33-8, 90 points. Forgetaboutit. It won’t go that way.
OILERS IN MARCH
- Oilers in March 2016: 2-1-0, four points; goal differential +2
- Oilers in March 2017: 1-1-1, three points; goal differential -1
- Oilers in March 2018: 1-2-0, two points; goal differential -2
- Oilers in March 2019: 2-0-0, two points; goal differential +5
WHAT TO EXPECT FROM MARCH
- On the road to: Columbus, Buffalo (Expected 0-1-1) (Actual 2-0-0)
- At home to: Vancouver, Toronto, NY Rangers, Minnesota (Expected 2-1-1) (Actual 0-0-0)
- On the road to: Arizona, Vegas, St. Louis (Expected: 0-2-1) (Actual 0-0-0)
- At home to: Columbus, Ottawa, Los Angeles, Dallas, Anaheim (Expected: 3-1-1) (Actual)
- Overall expected result: 5-5-4, 14 points in 14 games
- Current results: 2-0-0, four points in two games
CONDORS, LAST 10 GAMES
- Tyler Benson 10, 4-8-12
- Cooper Marody 10, 4-8-12
- William Lagesson 10, 2-7-9
- Josh Currie 5, 5-3-8
- Joe Gambardella 8, 6-2-8
- Kailer Yamamoto 10, 6-2-8
- Patrick Russell 10, 4-4-8
- Dave Gust 9, 3-3-6
- Caleb Jones 10, 0-5-5
- Ethan Bear 4, 0-4-4
- Evan Polei 9, 2-2-4
- Logan Day 8, 0-3-3
- Tyler Vesel 10, 1-2-3
- Cam Hebig 9, 0-1-1
This season has been a revelation, there’s a book in Bakersfield. William Lagesson, the third defensive prospect at the beginning of the year, keeps impressing across all disciplines. Our man Original Pouzar was on that story early, and now we’re looking at a player who appears to be ready to force the issue. Who gets dealt? Probably an NHL blue, but is it possible Lagesson jumps over Jones? And what of Bear, can he stay healthy and join the parade to push Benning alongside Evan Bouchard and Joel Persson? That’s just the defense!
Up front, we’re looking at Tyler Benson, Cooper Marody and Kailer Yamamoto hammered San Jose last night and that should continue into the spring. The Oilers slow played Yamamoto on the farm early (he wasn’t on a feature line) and that could be injury, attention to detail, chem or other. Either way, the young winger is now on track. Needs to shoot more.
Jujhar Khaira may draw back in as soon as tonight and that’s a good thing. The additions of Klefbom and Sekera have helped settle down the defense and Mikko Koskinen has benefited from the improved structure.
Hunter is being mentioned as a guy who knows hockey players, and his London Knights certainly reflect a successful junior organization. Of course, the Knights have been very creative in team building, so giving extra credit to the procurement department may not be accurate.
Hunter was part of the scouting group in Toronto 2015-17, and he was given tremendous credit for drafting Mitch Marner at No. 4 overall. However, he was highly rated (I had him No. 3) and fell to Toronto only because the Coyotes wanted a center (Dylan Strome).
I liked the Dermott, Bracco, Lindgren and Timashov selections at the time, but the truth is the Leafs haven’t seen much in the way of NHL games beyond Marner and Dermott. The Oilers, aside from McDavid, have seen encouraging debuts from Caleb Jones and Ethan Bear. Another difference? Toronto had six selections inside the top 100 in 2015, Edmonton one.
I don’t think we can give Mark Hunter a clear checkmark for 2015 when compared to the Oilers haul. The 2016 (Matthews draft) looks strong at the top and we’ll see about the middle, I’m beginning to wonder about Timothy Liljegren in 2017 but it’s still so early.
Claiming Mark Hunter has a better track record than the Oilers at the 2015-17 draft tables doesn’t appear to be legit. I think the prevailing wisdom of the draft (there’s a lot of luck, get as many bullets as possible) remains true, and that the Oilers current scouting staff wouldn’t necessarily benefit from the presence of Mark Hunter. If you believe otherwise, let me know.
LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE
At 10 this morning, TSN 1260. A fun filled morning and some top flight guests. Scheduled to appear:
- James Herbert, CBS Sports. What’s up Lakers, why can’t my 76ers beat the Bulls and who has the power in the east?
- Frank Seravalli, TSN. The general manager search for the Oilers, did the Leafs load up enough at the deadline?
10-1260 text, @Lowetide on twitter. See you on the radio!