Connor McDavid: “It wasn’t good enough all year. We did our best to stay in the fight. It’s been an insane season. Coach/GM change. My frustration level is really really high. I’m not happy about it. We have a lot of crap to figure out” (via Gene Principe)
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: What’s going on with Connor McDavid’s with or without you numbers?
- New Daniel Nugent-Bowman: The four blows that set up the knockout of the Oilers from playoff contention.
- New Jonathan Willis: The Oilers’ failures of 2018-19 will cost people their careers.
- Daniel Nugent-Bowman: Chipped teeth, playing DJ and lots of Game of Thrones: A week in the life of Darnell Nurse.
- New Lowetide: Kailer Yamamoto’s first pro season a cause for concern.
- Lowetide: The Edmonton Oilers and the giant talent pool that is the USHL.
- Lowetide: How the Oilers can shop for a big bang on a small budget
- 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.
- 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.
- Lowetide: The Edmonton Oilers and the OHL.
OILERS AFTER 80
- Oilers in 2015: 30-43-7, 67 points; goal differential -42
- Oilers in 2016: 45-26-9, 99 points; goal differential +32
- Oilers in 2017: 34-40-6, 74 points; goal differential -39
- Oilers in 2018: 34-36-9, 77 points; goal differential -28
OILERS IN APRIL
- Oilers in April 2016: 1-1-0, two points; goal differential -1
- Oilers in April 2017: 1-1-0, two points; goal differential -1
- Oilers in April 2018: 1-1-0, zero points; goal differential -2
- Oilers in April 2019: 0-1-0, zero points; goal differential -2
WHAT TO EXPECT IN APRIL
- On the road to: Vegas, Colorado (Expected 0-2-0) (Actual 0-1-0)
- At home to: San Jose (Expected 0-0-1) (Actual 0-0-0)
- On the road to: Calgary (Expected: 1-0-0) (Actual 0-0-0)
- Overall expected result: 1-2-1, three points in 4 games
- Current results: 0-1-0, zero points in 1 game
DEFENSE, LAST NIGHT
- Nurse-Russell went 15-13 in 18:10, 8-7 shots, 1-0 goals and 2-1 HDSC. In a fairly scattered 60 minutes, this was the best Oilers pairing by some margin.
- Klefbom-Larsson were 12-18 in 17:40, 3-8 shots, 0-1 goals and 3-6 HDSC. Oscar, who I believe is a helluva player, was not making good decisions all night long.
- Sekera-Benning went 10-24 in 12:40, 5-11 shots, no goals and 1-5 HDSC. This pairing looked undersized against the big, fast Golden Knights wingers. I generally like this duo, they looked exposed on the night.
- Mikko Koskinen stopped 28 of 30, .933. He didn’t look good on either goal, but made some great stops throughout. His SP is .907 on the year.
- Natural Stat Trick and NHL.com.
FORWARDS, LAST NIGHT
- Draisaitl-McDavid-Kassian were 16-16 in 16:58, 10-9 shots, 1-2 goals and 3-3 HDSC.
- Lucic-Cave-Gagner were 10-13 in 11:13, 4-6 shots, no goals and 3-2 HDSC. This trio has been the second best line lately. Not good!
- Rattie-Nuge-Chiasson were 6-7 in 7:27, 1-4 shots an 0-1 HDSC. Rattie moved up when the original Nuge line got caved.
- Gambardella-Malone-Currie were 0-3 in 2:31, no goals no shots and no HDSC.
- Gambardella-Nuge-Chiasson went 0-5 in 2:22, 0-2 shots, no goals and 0-1 HDSC.
The frustration came out in measured words last night, showing me the captain is both mature beyond his years and (rightfully) pissed off at missing the playoffs for the third time in his four seasons.
I wish someone could tell him that it doesn’t have to be this way. Someone who could ease his mind and say the problems of this team are solvable. Examples might be “if they stop playing the hell out of the goalie he won’t look like hell so often” and “old man Lowetide has never seen such shallow depth on the wings” but the bottom line is it doesn’t have to be this way. Analytics means way more than possession, the Oilers are burning daylight.
Lots of good quotes in this article by Rob Tychkowski of PostMedia, well worth the read.
ABOUT OILERS FANS
I wrote, tweeted and then deleted a tweet last night. It went “Jordan Eberle is approaching 20 goals, but then again so is Ryan Strome” and when I wrote it the thought was ‘holy, Eberle is closing well.’
I had a dm this morning asking why I deleted it. The reason? Reaction. I received many replies that showed absolute pain in reading it, frustration in the facts of the matter, a sense of piling on. So that’s why. I don’t take any pleasure in watching Oilers fans suffer another losing season and certainly don’t want to be part of inflicting more. So I deleted it, for better or worse.
SKILL VERSUS CULTURE
The 2018-19 Oilers join the 1989-90 Penguins and the 1987-88 Nordiques as the only non-playoff teams in NHL history with multiple 100+ point scorers in a season. (tsn)
Mario Lemieux and Paul Coffey were the Penguins, Peter Stastny and Michel Goulet the Nordiques.
The problem is right there in black and white. If we can agree that No. 1 line forwards should be scoring at 2.00+ per 60 5-on-5, that No. 2 line forwards should be 1.75-1.99+ per 60 5-on-5, and that bottom six forwards should be approaching 1.50 per 60 (if productive), we can easily spot the Oilers issues.
- Connor McDavid 2.87
- Leon Draisaitl 2.59
- Josh Currie 1.81
- Sam Gagner 1.74
- Joe Gambardella 1.68
- Ryan Nugent-Hopkins 1.66
- Zack Kassian 1.38
- Jujhar Khaira 1.38
- Ty Rattie 1.25
- Alex Chiasson 1.24
- Milan Lucic 0.93
- Tobias Rieder 0.80
- Jesse Puljujarvi 0.80
- Kyle Brodziak 0.70
- Colby Cave 0.59
- Brad Malone 0.00
So, going back to our original list, we have two first-line players, one second-line player (who hasn’t played much and will probably slide), and three more above 1.50 per 60. Let’s compare that to the Calgary Flames (all numbers NTS):
- Top Line (2.00 or better): Johnny Gaudreau, Sean Monahan, Matt Tkachuk, Elias Lindholm, Mikael Backlund, Michael Frolik. That’s six!
- Second line (1.75 to 1.99): Derek Ryan and Andrew Mangiapane.
- 1.50 per 60 or better: Garnet Hathaway, Mark Jankowski, Sam Bennett, Austin Czarnik.
Wow. Lotta culture in Calgary!
This can be fixed but the owner has to get out of his own way. The story about Mike Gillis (Elliotte Friedman has Bob Nicholson wanting to interview him but getting pushback) is a real life reflection of what is wrong with this organization.
Until the Oilers stop blaming the players, and start looking at how to build properly around them, this will continue. Edmonton’s roster is as it has been since 2010 fall: Brilliant young players expected to lead, overpaid veterans who can’t cover their bets, and far too few actual NHL players.
The man who can walk through the doors and deliver actual NHL players to surround McDavid, Draisaitl, Nuge, Klefbom, Larsson, Nurse and others will win Stanley.
As for McDavid’s frustration, understandable. The real issue for the Oilers? If McDavid ever asks out (and that’s a distant bell) I suspect the fan base will go with him. That’s enough to tighten the sphincter of everyone involved.
LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE
At 10 this morning, we drill down on the Oilers and spend a little time in the Rockies. TSN1260, scheduled to appear:
- Jonathan Willis, The Athletic. We’ll chat about last night’s game, Mikko Koskinen and Jon’s article about the new Robert Nilsson’s.
- Cam Lewis, The Jays Nation. Toronto’s pitching has been excellent the first time through the rotation, we’ll chat about the Jays 2-3 start.
- Marc Moser, Avalanche play by play. The Avalanche are in and the future looks bright.
10-1260 text, @Lowetide on twitter. See you on the radio!