Finding six wingers from the current roster to play with centers Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins isn’t as difficult as calculating 31 trillion digits of pi—it just seems that way.
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. INSANE NEW OFFER IS HERE!
- New Lowetide: The Edmonton Oilers draft early, the WHL is loaded and there’s a lot of history.
- New Jonathan Willis: Analyzing how much the Oilers should be willing to spend on pending free agent Alex Chiasson.
- Lowetide: Leon Draisaitl and the Oilers’ history of 50-goal seasons
- Jonathan Willis: Keith Gretzky is a legitimate Oilers GM candidate, but would be a hard sell in Edmonton
- Lowetide: How the Oilers can build a contender during Connor McDavid’s prime.
- Lowetide: How the emergence of William Lagesson in Bakersfield complicates Edmonton’s 2019-20 depth chart.
- Jonathan Willis: The Oilers aren’t good, but this group has more potential than teams from the decade of darkness
- 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
- 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.
OILERS AT 71 GAMES
- Oilers in 2015: 27-37-7, 61 points; goal differential -36
- Oilers in 2016: 38-24-9, 85 points; goal differential +21
- Oilers in 2017: 31-35-5, 67 points; goal differential -36
- Oilers in 2018: 31-32-7, 69 points; goal differential -23
OILERS IN MARCH
- Oilers in March 2016: 4-3-0, eight points; goal differential -3
- Oilers in March 2017: 4-2-1, nine points; goal differential +9
- Oilers in March 2018: 3-3-1, seven points; goal differential 0
- Oilers in March 2019: 4-2-0, eight points; goal differential +3
WHAT TO EXPECT IN MARCH
- On the road to: Columbus, Buffalo (Expected 0-1-1) (Actual 2-0-0)
- At home to: Vancouver, Toronto, NY Rangers, NJD (Expected 2-1-1) (Actual 2-2-0)
- 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: 4-2-0, eight points in six games
- Milan Lucic [5-12-17] — Connor McDavid [34-66-100] — Zack Kassian [12-9-21]
- Tobias Rieder [0-11-11] — Leon Draisaitl [42-47-89] — Alex Chiasson [20-12-32]
- Jujhar Khaira [3-14-17] — Nuge [22-36-58] — Sam Gagner [4-2-6]
- Josh Currie [2-2-4] — Colby Cave [1-1-2] — Ty Rattie [4-7-11]
I wanted to list this today, because honestly we may not see this in my lifetime. The Oilers top three centers have scored 98 goals, their wingers have scored 44. The Oilers have recalled Joe Gambardella, so maybe he slides in somewhere. Also, Hitch’s lines in practice sometimes don’t see the light of day, but my goodness that’s an unusual set of stats.
Here’s my RE back in August and what I projected things to look like:
- Nuge [26-41-67]—Connor McDavid [50-70-120]—Ty Rattie [9-18-27]
- Milan Lucic [14-20-34]—Leon Draisaitl [25-43-68]—Jesse Puljujarvi [18-18-36]
- Tobias Rieder [15-16-31]—Ryan Strome [15-20-35]—Kailer Yamamoto [10-19-29]
- Jujhar Khaira [7-10-17]—Kyle Brodziak [7-11-18]—Zack Kassian [7-8-15]
- Pontus Aberg [7-10-17]—Drake Caggiula [5-6-11]
The big three, who have scored 98 goals this season, were projected in my RE to score 101 goals. Those three men will exceed my estimates. Those players didn’t get much help at all, that’s roster construction.
MESSAGE IN A BOTTLE
The Oilers recalled Joe Gambardella from Bakersfield last night, once again passing on Tyler Benson, Cooper Marody and Kailer Yamamoto. I can say with absolute confidence things would have been handled differently in the past, and that includes the recent past.
Bringing along the entry deals aged 20-22 is a good idea, and now I wonder if the plan is to see the trio back in Bakersfield next year. That’s approaching Ken Holland patience.
I’ve written about this chapter and verse over at The Athletic, but this is the most predictable hiring process since Willie joined Waylon. Ken Holland as POHO and Keith Gretzky as GM would fit with everything we know about Bob Nicholson.
HOW TO FINISH THE SEASON
At some point, teams are going to pull the chute on their injured veterans and settle in for lottery position. I don’t believe the Oilers will sit anyone, even if they lose tonight (and contact with that No. 8 slot). A season ago, Edmonton finished with 78 points. If the team can grab a point per game this season down the final stretch, the total will be 81 points. I think they’ll run it past last year if they can. Any progress, any thread of hope, will probably be pursued.