Edmonton earned the two points but didn’t cash them, that’s a game they’ll win once a general manager builds an NHL roster. It was a most enjoyable game, despite the patented Dallas hook and hold, the strange officiating and the stupid luck. Man those Dallas Stars are a pain in the ass. Always.
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: How the Oilers can shop for a big bang on a small budget
- New Jonathan Willis: How the Oilers can turn their prospect depth into the blueline of a contender.
- Lowetide: What Mark Hunter’s draft record in Toronto means for his Oilers GM candidacy.
- Lowetide: Colby Cave and Joe Gambardella build late-season resumes with Edmonton.
- Lowetide: The Oilers made a rare move and shopped the QMJHL at the 2018 draft. It could happen again.
- Eric Duhatschek: Sorting through the organizational problems in Ottawa and Edmonton.
- Daniel Nugent-Bowman: After a year of despair, Oilers prospect Cameron Hebig grateful for latest chapter with the Condors
- Jonathan Willis: Bob Nicholson’s misguided Tobias Rieder comments reveal deeper problems within Oilers management
- Jonathan Willis: Ken Hitchcock knows why Edmonton has trouble exiting its zone, but lacks the players to fix it.
- Lowetide: Trimming cap fat and adding speed and skill will shape Oilers’ offseason.
- Jonathan Willis: Former Canucks architects Mike Gillis and Laurence Gilman should be considered for any vacant NHL GM job
- 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.
- 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.
- Daniel Nugent-Bowman: How Leon Draisaitl has found ‘another level’ by matching offensive wizardry with sound positioning.
- Lowetide: The Edmonton Oilers and the OHL.
OILERS AFTER 77
- Oilers in 2015: 30-40-7, 67 points; goal differential -35
- Oilers in 2016: 43-25-9, 95 points; goal differential +30
- Oilers in 2017: 34-37-6, 74 points; goal differential -35
- Oilers in 2018: 34-34-9, 77 points; goal differential -23
OILERS IN MARCH
- Oilers in March 2016: 7-6-0, 14 points; goal differential -1
- Oilers in March 2017: 9-3-1, 19 points; goal differential +17
- Oilers in March 2018: 7-4-2, 16 points; goal differential +8
- Oilers in March 2019: 7-4-2, 16 points; goal differential +2
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 1-2-0)
- At home to: Columbus,Ottawa, Los Angeles, Dallas, Anaheim (Expected: 3-1-1) (Actual 2-0-2)
- Overall expected result: 5-5-4, 14 points in 14 games
- Current results: 7-4-2, 16 points in 13 games
DEFENSE, LAST NIGHT
- Klefbom-Larsson went 21-11 in 17:15, 13-7 shots, 1-1 goals and 3-1 HDSC. Klefbom was quality, he’s better defending recently. Larsson made a quality defensive play early in the game and then treated Dallas forwards like they were livestock at the Fort Worth Rodeo. He was a nasty bit of business. Music!
- Sekera-Benning were 10-12 in 12:54, 6-4 shots, no goals and 0-2 HDSC. Sekera’s such a smart player, he often disrupts sorties in the embryonic stage. Benning has recently developed a hitch in his giddyup passing, specifically when he is behind the net. Big fan of Benning, he’ll figure it out.
- Nurse-Russell went 9-9 in 12:37, 7-4 shots, no goals and 2-5 HDSC. I thought the passing was a little more precise from the pairing, that may have been due to less forechecking pressure.
- Mikko Koskinen stopped 20 of 22, .909. He made a stunning save against Hintz midway through the third period.
- Natural Stat Trick and NHL.com.
FORWARDS, LAST NIGHT
- Draisaitl-McDavid-Kassian went 17-13 in 16:28, 13-4 shots, 1-0 goals and 3-2 HDSC. Leon was incredible but McDavid was on another level. Remember when I told you about seeing the Spruce Goose? About the initial ‘awe’ reaction being replaced by a ‘meh’ mood about 30 minutes after they pulled back the cover? Never let that feeling go, that “wow” of McDavid. Games like last night make it easier, poor Spruce Goose could just sit there and wonder why people got bored after 30 minutes.
- Gambardella-Nuge-Chiasson were 5-9 in 13:12, 5-3 shots, no score and 1-1 HDSC. This line needs a driver. Hall?
- Rieder-Cave-Gagner were 9-4 in 7:43, 7-2 shots, no goals and 0-1 HDSC. Gagner on the No. 3 line next year gives Edmonton an offensive wrinkle they couldn’t manage for much of 2018-19.
- Lucic-Brodziak-Currie went 7-5 in 7:13, 3-3 shots, 0-1 goals and 1-2 HDSC. Currie had a tough night, but the penalty was nothing much and the second goal was a bit of some bad luck all around.
THIS NEEDS TO BE SAID
Ken Hitchcock is unlikely to be back as coach, history recalls general managers start as they mean to go. I’ll give him credit, the March Oilers look as organized as we’ve seen in forever, possibly the MacT era. Looking at the March numbers, there remains a lack of offensive marbling through the depth chart:
- Draisaitl (4.22)—McDavid (4.06) )— Kassian (2.14)
- Gambardella (2.71) )— Nuge (1.23) )— Chiasson (1.67)
- Rieder (0.00)— Cave (0.47) )— Gagner (1.91)
- Lucic (0.47) )— Brodziak (1.25)— Currie (1.21)
- Khaira (1.69)
That’s on roster construction, that’s on Peter Chiarelli. The Ryan Strome trade is currently the subject of rage and rightly so. However, counting on two teenagers to score on right wing was an enormous amount of pressure placed on the roster and coach. Hitch is getting more from the bottom six, but the roster needs more quality. Here are the March Corsi 5-on-5 for defensemen:
- Klefbom (48.25) )— Larsson (50.45)
- Nurse (43.76) )— Russell (41.61)
- Sekera (50.46) )— Benning (49.03)
The Nurse-Russell pairing routinely trails the others in this metric, but it’s also true that duo is running about 60 percent goal share 5-on-5. All numbers NTS.
Edmonton is running a 92 percent save percentage 5-on-5 (No. 16) and a PDO of 102.1 (No. 8), so it’s a case of gather thee rosebuds will ye may.
Crescendo McDavid is the best McDavid and his season finishes are pretty stunning. March, by year:
- 2016: 15, 5-11-16 (1.07)
- 2017: 13, 7-12-19 (1.46)
- 2018: 16, 13-15-28 (1.75)
- 2019: 13, 7-20-27 (2.08)
LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE
A fun Friday kicks off at 10, TSN1260. Scheduled to appear:
- Steve Lansky, Big Mouth Sports. Canadian teams in the playoffs, we’ll handicap the Stanley chances.
- Guy Flaming, Pipeline Show. Oil Kings have a big weekend ahead.
- Matt Iwanyk, TSN1260. We’ll chat Sweet 16, MLB and Oil.
10-1260 text, @Lowetide on twitter. Talk soon!