Game 73 2018-19: Oilers at Blues

by Lowetide

The future’s uncertain and the end is always near. A pretty smart hippie poet wrote that line and it applies to all kinds of things. People generally don’t like change, or death, or finality in all forms. Even unhappy, people mostly try to keep things as close to “normal” as possible.

I’m not suggesting the Oilers “turn on, tune in, drop out” like the old hippies did, but doing things “because we’ve always done it this way” isn’t working at all. Time for a change and a brand new day.

THE ATHLETIC!

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: Identifying the risk and the right price if the Oilers were to trade Adam Larsson (to Toronto?)
  • Lowetide: Oilers’ prospect Tyler Benson’s rookie AHL season a revelation.
  • Lowetide: The Edmonton Oilers draft early, the WHL is loaded and there’s a lot of history.
  • 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 AFTER 73

  • Oilers in 2015: 28-38-7, 63 points; goal differential -36
  • Oilers in 2016: 39-25-9, 87 points; goal differential +22
  • Oilers in 2017: 32-36-5, 69 points; goal differential -34
  • Oilers in 2018: 32-33-7, 71 points; goal differential -25

I would like to see the team finish with 82+ points, and March has made it possible so far. The next two games (St. Louis, Columbus) along with the Vegas roadie were (imo) the tough part of the month.

OILERS IN MARCH

  • Oilers in March 2016: 5-4-0, 10 points; goal differential -3
  • Oilers in March 2017: 5-3-1, 11 points; goal differential +10
  • Oilers in March 2018: 4-4-1, nine points; goal differential 0
  • Oilers in March 2019: 5-3-0, 10 points; goal differential +1

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 1-0-0)
  • 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: 5-3-0, 10 points in eight games

I suggested Josh Leivo before he was cool, Nic Petan too. Patrick Maroon matter of fact, and yes, Teddy Purcell way back in 2008. Every once in awhile a player we’ve trumpeted as a group will find his way, and we’ll all say “I knew it!” and feel good about things.

This isn’t scouting, or even math really. Not the difficult math anyway. It’s about believing the talent pool is larger than what is available at any given time in the NHL.

You know who taught me that? Whitey Herzog. Crew cut old man naked press conference post-game Whitey Herzog. When he became manager (and GM) of the St. Louis Cardinals, Whitey went fishing for ballplayers in the minors and found Willie McGee. Got him for a broken pitcher and a drunken mule, or maybe it was the other way around.

If you look at the NHL like a pyramid, the top end (McDavid division) is populated by very few people. Next up are the players just outside the elite of the elite, and there’s a handful. After that, there are a few dozen very capable players who remain key to winning hockey games.

https://twitter.com/adam_laskaris/status/1107734726305955840

That’s followed by a group who are “slightly” above league average, a group that is average and then replacement level players who I define as being good enough to keep a job due to convenience, despite not reaching average level. Below that are these ghastly contracts that teams are forced to keep, the players basically roster ghosts waiting for a merciful end.

Somewhere in there, I’ll say in the bottom portion of the “average” group, lies the AHL-NHL fringe players like Petan and Leivo and Maroon. Here are some AHL-NHL forwards Edmonton should look at this summer.

  1. LW Joe Gambardella, Bakersfield. You might think I’m joking, but Gambardella leads AHL forwards (30+ games) aged 22-26 in 5-on-5 goals per game (.46) and 5-on-5 goals (22 in 48 games). He is 25 and RFA, suspect the Oilers are having a look to see if he’s worth another contract. I would say yes.
  2. LW Reid Boucher, Utica. Also 25, he’s played in 133 NHL games, averaging just over 12 minutes per game. He’s averaging 12 goals and 141 shots per 82 NHL games, and given more playing time and a prominent role, there’s probably a player here. He is an RFA this summer, Boucher has played in just one game this season for the Canucks. Has 197 shots this season in 48 AHL games.
  3. LC Carter Verhaeghe, Syracuse. He’s 23, drafted by Toronto traded to NY Islanders and is now a Lightning prospect. His numbers were pedestrian until arriving in Syracuse but he now looks close to NHL-ready (has 20 5-on-5 goals in 63 games).
  4. LC Chase de Leo, San Diego. He’s 23 and I’ve mentioned him before, de Leo is having a good season with Dallas Eakins on the coast. Has 15 5-on-5 goals in 57 games.
  5. LW Daniel Carr, Chicago. I’d love to say Brandon Pirri will be available but doubt it happens. Carr is having his best AHL season and is 15-20-35 in 100 NHL games. A little older (27) but a reasonable bet.
  6. LW Nick Paul, Belleville. I’m not sure why he hasn’t made the grade already but the numbers (16-19-35 in 32 games) are solid and he’s still only 23 (24 later this month).

ROSTER OPTIONS AT FORWARD

If we can agree that a perfect world involves the centers three playing in their natural habitat, then Edmonton has an enormous amount of work to do this summer. If we can believe the organization in regard to slow playing the kids, the new general manager’s whiteboard on Day One might look like this:

  • ???—Connor McDavid—???
  • ???—Leon Draisaitl—???
  • ???—Nuge—???

Who is the top option to fill the first square? Zack Kassian? Alex Chiasson if he signs? Sam Gagner? Jujhar Khaira? Jesse Puljujarvi may be down the line, Tyler Benson and Kailer Yamamoto are going to be in Bakersfield apparently. I’m telling you, that’s too much work for one summer.

LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE

At 10 this morning, TSN1260. Scheduled to appear:

  • Jonathan Willis, The Athletic. We’ll chat about the Oilers down the stretch and what we can learn from recent performances. We’ll also chat about wingers for 2019-20.
  • Matthew Scianitti, TSN. We’ll chat about the CFL ratio change that is being discussed and about the labor negotiations.
  • Andrew Stoeten, The Athletic. Jays!

10-1260 text, @Lowetide twitter. See you on the radio!

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Reja
Ryan

Kinda a funny to read that summary…

The Oilers are 15 years plus behind other teams in analytics and now they realize they’re important.

Also with the new development mantra and the need to find and develop players outside of the first round.

Better late than never.

Certainly sounds like the status quo of three former GM’s along with a likely Gretzky hire.

Ryan

OriginalPouzar:
A Gretzky hire wouldn’t be all that bad – it should get me even that much closer to season tickets.

He’s on the list!

https://www.reddit.com/r/EdmontonOilers/comments/b2rmz8/the_future_of_the_oilers_notes_from_bob_nicholson/

Reja

Primetime: Groomed him properly?Do you mean like when we sent him to another teams farm team (Pens) since we didn’t have one of our own and they didn’t play or develop him?

I’d be surprised if Dubnyk can even say the word “oilers” without steam coming out of his ears….

Once he had gotten to the NHL I thought Quinn, Renney and Kueger did as best job as they could with him and I’m sure khabibulin mentored him to be a pro. I thought they all did a good job with him under the circumstances.

Professor Q

Primetime: Groomed him properly?Do you mean like when we sent him to another teams farm team (Pens) since we didn’t have one of our own and they didn’t play or develop him?

I’d be surprised if Dubnyk can even say the word “oilers” without steam coming out of his ears….

That was Schremp, I believe, who went around the merry-go-round.

Dubnyk played a lot in Stockton that year, and only like 7ish games for WBS. He then promptly joined Springfield the very next year.

I don’t think one year should write his development, taken in the context of slow playing Dubnyk for 5 seasons in Kamloops, one season in Stockton with some games in WBS, then 3 seasons in Springfield, with the last season turned into quite the “backup” appearance of 19 games with Edmonton due to Khabibulin being injured.

Trading him was extremely unfortunate. It would have been a perfect time to sign him in 2015, though, if he wanted to return to McDavid Land (he didn’t).

Primetime

Reja:
Remember when we picked Dubnyk in the first round and groomed him properly and then pretty boy decides he was going to reinvent the game with the Swarm.

Groomed him properly? Do you mean like when we sent him to another teams farm team (Pens) since we didn’t have one of our own and they didn’t play or develop him?

I’d be surprised if Dubnyk can even say the word “oilers” without steam coming out of his ears….

OriginalPouzar

A Gretzky hire wouldn’t be all that bad – it should get me even that much closer to season tickets.

Ribs

I’m glad to hear that Bob’s internal audit is finally over. I am a little surprised that not having Matt Hendricks on the roster any more is the reason we have descended into the fiery depths of hockey hell, but at least we now have the answer.

I think the clear decision to be made here is to hire Matt Hendricks as the next General Manager/Head Warlock, and call it a day. *two burgers thumbs-up*

This team.

Reja

Remember when we picked Dubnyk in the first round and groomed him properly and then pretty boy decides he was going to reinvent the game with the Swarm.

Dee Dee

My concern about Keith Gretzky getting the GM job is that its the same folks sitting at the same table making the same decisions they made before and the only difference is that Chiarelli isn’t there anymore.

Now if Chiarelli was the real problem those same folks sitting at the same table would have been doing perfectly well before they hired him right??

You can’t make this stuff up.

OriginalPouzar

GMB3: I’ve been on vacay for a week, swear to god the last time I read this plot you were saying he’s shown he can be a consistent starter

Not quite – I was trying to be optimistic on him and saw some signs that his recent play was not just a second heater that would be followed by another long old streak. Hopeful that they were signs that he was settling in and finding some consistency.

It turns out, that was clearly not the case – 10 game heater followed by another cold streak 3 bad games and a meh game in the last 4.

Gret99zky

Just need to bring back Magnus Paajarvi and Patrick Maroon to placate the fan base.

Andy Dufresne

OriginalPouzar: you are just arguing for the sake of it now

Arguing for the sake of arguing is called “debate”

OriginalPouzar

hunter1909:
It just took me 21 tries on the Tank-A-Thon to get Oilers winning the draft lottery.

They need to pick up the pace to improve their chances.

Just under 5% – a bit of bad luck vis-a-vis the 6.5% odd at 7th last.

Sierra

texmex:
7-2
43-16 SOG
Is that good??

Depends, compared to what?

Andy Dufresne

OriginalPouzar: Solid typo.

Of course, you are just arguing for the sake of it now – I don’t imagine you even believe in your defence of this player.

I won the arguement a long time ago…..dont you remember?

The answer you’ve been searching for is right there in your statement…….. defence….or in hockey terms “defense”

Go back and have a look at yesterdays post and read Bruce McCurdy’s synopsis of the Oilers Golden Nights game…..Salvation Lies Within….

Andy Dufresne

GMB3: I’ve been on vacay for a week, swear to god the last time I read this plot you were saying he’s shown he can be a consistent starter

Are you suggesting OP is an inconsistent poster?

I’d argue he’s more streaky…..

OriginalPouzar

texmex:
Man, there’s no way out of this is there?

Wait out the bad contracts and draft high end prospects.

2-3 years from playoffs?

Yup, it will only take two years.

OriginalPouzar

Andy Dufresne: Finally……you’re coming to your senses……about time!

Solid typo.

Of course, you are just arguing for the sake of it now – I don’t imagine you even believe in your defence of this player.

OriginalPouzar

That didn’t go well.

If they had more than one call-up left, they could call some players up from Bakersfield – they are in a stretch of one game (this weekend) in 10 days.

Glovjuice

jake70: Hard to imagine they may be looking for a starter this summer.Unforced error #______…. can’t rember where were at.

10 this year, literally. Come on LT buds. Let’s add em up. I’ll start. Koskinen, Manning, No piri etc., not trading Chaison, Puli yanked up, letting Chia do anything, Yamo up at all and many more. Oilers are fucked. Totally fucked.

GMB3

OriginalPouzar: See, this is why the constant posting of stats on Koskinen do not reflect his level of play (worse than his overall stats):

– STL goalies let in two goals – both of which the goaltender almost made an absolutely miraculous save (in particular the first one)

– EDM goalies let in 3 bad goals out of the 4.

I’ve been on vacay for a week, swear to god the last time I read this plot you were saying he’s shown he can be a consistent starter

Reja

Andy Dufresne:
Patrick Maroon a $1 million Oiler next year??

His ex agent sure fuked him over.

Glovjuice

hunter1909: Why Tier One fans? Most of them only buy tickets as an investment. They don’t give a fuck.

Well, all fans, then. Whatever. Insert whoever. fak.

thelongdark

So Bobby B says last year that the way things turned out is unacceptable. They have to be better. They will be.

Fast forward to this year. They are literally exactly the same. No progress at all. Nothing.

FIRETHEMALL

Andy Dufresne

Patrick Maroon a $1 million Oiler next year??

Reja

Andy Dufresne:
On the bright side….the Leafs went down in flames tonight….

Also Tkachuk will get Leon money next year.

BONE207

Reja: That’s why they’re going to trade it to the highest bidders. Playoffs here we come next year.

So it’s official: Reja is now the Lowetidian optimist taking over from OP.
Congratulations

Andy Dufresne

We secured 13th place in the West tonight.

leadfarmer

Can’t believe we’re so bad yet not even bottom 5 in league.
There’s some truly terrible teams

Andy Dufresne

hunter1909:
It just took me 21 tries on the Tank-A-Thon to get Oilers winning the draft lottery.

They need to pick up the pace to improve their chances.

Were you wearing a blue and maroon striped tie?

Reja

BONE207: Which will get turned into cubic zirconia dust

That’s why they’re going to trade it to the highest bidders. Playoffs here we come next year.

hunter1909

texmex:
Man, there’s no way out of this is there?

Wait out the bad contracts and draft high end prospects.

2-3 years from playoffs?

…maybe.

Andy Dufresne

This loss tonight is like when the Leafs lost to the Senators 6-2 on Saturday.

hunter1909

It just took me 21 tries on the Tank-A-Thon to get Oilers winning the draft lottery.

They need to pick up the pace to improve their chances.

Andy Dufresne

On the bright side….the Leafs went down in flames tonight….

Reja

texmex:
7-2
43-16 SOG
Is that good??

If you have Vladislav Tretiak in net it is.

StixMalone

Screw the playoffs or the Cup lets get something we’re good at….a high draft pick!!!

texmex

Man, there’s no way out of this is there?

Wait out the bad contracts and draft high end prospects.

2-3 years from playoffs?

digger50

jake70: Hard to imagine they may be looking for a starter this summer.Unforced error #______…. can’t rember where were at.

So, so true.

The same group behind Manning, Petrovic, Spooner and then Koskinen. Sure Chiarelli but also in picture all the dumb asses who cannot assess talent.

Let’s hire those guys.

hunter1909

Oilers didn’t deserve to win.

Gerta Rauss

whatever

I’m in draft mode now

BONE207

Reja: The simulator is predicting 6th from the bottom of the shit pile wins the Hope Diamond.

Which will get turned into cubic zirconia dust

Johnny skid

edmonton oilers have a way of making any goaltender look like junk.

Reja

nelson88:
On the bright side secondary scoring percentage has improved

It must have Tripled.

Andy Dufresne

OriginalPouzar: Koskinen has shown zero inability to provide consistent goaltending

Finally……you’re coming to your senses……about time!

jake70

Glovjuice: The fact that the Koskinen signing was allowed to occur is approaching the Hall and Reinhard trades as the stupidest, most incompetent thing this team has ever done. It’s downright deserving of a tier one fan class action lawsuit.

Hard to imagine they may be looking for a starter this summer. Unforced error #______ …. can’t rember where were at.

texmex

7-2
43-16 SOG
Is that good??

BONE207

Edmonton Oilers…the Welcome Wagon of the Nhl
Got a slump? We’ll fix that.
Hurt cause you were traded? Hint…Shoot high glove.
Got a special occasion coming up? We’ll bake a cake & bring our special type of fire.

The benevolence of the Disorganization is beyond belief

Reja

BONE207: Not only that Reja…they not only break scoring droughts anymore. Now they look for hat tricks against the Disorganization. Tambellini had it right all along…who knew?

The simulator is predicting 6th from the bottom of the shit pile wins the Hope Diamond.