2019-20 Preseason Game One: Jets at Oilers

by Lowetide

If I was forced to choose just one day in the NHL calendar over all others, it might be opening night of any regular season. Tonight is kind of like opening night, and in a way even more satisfying, if only because we can slip out of summer conversation and into a rink for a hockey game. That walk to the rink tonight, the anticipation mixed in with the chill of fall and the shuffling of thousands of feet in unison, signals the return of our beautiful game. The autumn leaves are falling, hockey is back in town. Music!

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 Athletic, we are celebrating our 2-year anniversary this week. To mark the occasion, you can get 40% off subscriptions until Sept. 19 here.

  • New Lowetide: Preseason 2019-20: The Oilers’ journey to respectability begins
  • Lowetide: Handicapping Oilers prospect progress: The development of Ethan Bear, Caleb Jones and William Lagesson
  • Daniel Nugent-Bowman: Eight key questions for the Oilers to solve at training camp
  • Jonathan Willis: Predicting the winners of the Oilers’ top-six and top-nine forward jobs out of camp
  • Daniel Nugent-Bowman: In, out or on the bubble: Breaking down positional battles at Oilers camp
  • New Lowetide: Evan Bouchard and the Calder Trophy: The Oilers’ pursuit of the elusive rookie award
  • Daniel Nugent-Bowman: Alex Chiasson prepares to return to scoring form for Edmonton Oilers
  • Jonathan Willis: Kyle Brodziak defied the odds, and then the Oilers, to carve out a significant NHL career
  • Lowetide: Can Mikko Koskinen and Mike Smith stop enough pucks for the Oilers?
  • Lowetide: Shutdown success by Darnell Nurse and Adam Larsson is a key for the Oilers in 2019-20.
  • Daniel Nugent-Bowman: Even if he’s unsure about his return, Oilers’ Connor McDavid looks and sounds like his old self
  • Lowetide: RE 19-20: How can the Oilers’ bottom six close the gap in goal differential?
  • Daniel Nugent-Bowman: Kailer Yamamoto and Tyler Benson address respective highs and lows as Oilers rookie camp begins
  • Jonathan Willis: Riley Sheahan is a prudent signing by the Oilers in more ways than one
  • Jonathan Willis: Oilers’ defensive hopes will rest on the new shutdown pair of Darnell Nurse and Adam Larsson
  • Daniel Nugent-Bowman: With Evan Bouchard as the headliner, here are the players to watch at Oilers rookie camp
  • Lowetide: Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and the configuration of the Oilers second line
  • Lowetide: Connor McDavid’s 2019-20: Pushing for 50 goals while Dave Tippett loads up the Oilers’ top line
  • Lowetide: Estimating reasonable expectations for the 2019-20 Edmonton Oilers: A difficult journey
  • Jonathan Willis: How much money will Darnell Nurse make on his next NHL contract?
  • Corey Pronman: Oilers No. 9 farm system.
  • Lowetide: Oilers coach Dave Tippett might have to take drastic action in order to find a second outscoring line in 2019-20
  • Lowetide: Oilers top 20 prospects summer 2019.

CERTAIN OILERS (18)

Unless there’s an injury or trade we don’t know about, I believe these men are locks to be on the opening night roster. McDavid, Smith and Russell won’t play this week (likely) and that means opportunity for others. Players I’ll be focusing on from this group: Benning, Larsson, Sheahan, Archibald.

UNCERTAIN OILERS (15)

I think Evan Bouchard has probably served notice but there’s miles to go and both Joel Persson and Ethan Bear have been in the news. One encouraging item: Both Gaetan Haas and Colby Cave got solid reviews from the coach. Center is an area of weakness. Joakim Nygard will be one to watch and it would be nice to have a goalie in this section.

DISTANT BELLS (15/19)

Two juniors, a gifted phenom and one brave soldier off the list as we head toward the first game of the preseason. Coach Tippett has spoken at length about seeing 10 or so guys a lot during these early games, not certain if any of those 10 is on this list. There’s always a surprise of early camp and this year it was Cam Hebig. Love to see a prospect step forward as he has over the last week.

WHO ARE THE 10?

Tippett says there are ’10 players’ he’s keeping an eye on in camp, and that’s a fun list to guess. If we excluded the ‘certain’ list, my guesses are Nygard, Benson, Haas, Cave, Marody, Jones, Lagesson, Bouchard, Persson and Bear. That’s 10.

Still makes me mad. The Oilers followed all the rules, crossed every T and dotted every I. And what did that get them? Jack Hoodley. The NHL is just awful at being fair.

This is a bit of overkill, you all no doubt read it anyway, but I wanted to draw attention to the importance of Bruce McCurdy’s work this time of year. McCurdy brings it 365, but in this specific time he brings a combination of history, sense of the moment and clarity in equal parts. The Oilers may not know this, but Mr. McCurdy excites the masses with his verbal, renews the spirit and sends the locals into conversations about prospects barely known. He’s a gem.

LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE

At 10 this morning, TSN1260, we slide into a Monday like an old man gets into a Corvette. Murat Ates from The Athletic Winnipeg gets us started with talk of an offseason that still lingers for Jets fans. Jason Gregor pops in with the Oilers side and more at 11, and we add Andy McNamara from TSN4Downs at 11:20 to talk NFL. 10-1260 text, @Lowetide on twitter. See you on the radio!

LINES (added)

Sam Gagner—Ryan Nugent-Hopkins—James Neal

Jujhar Khaira—Riley Sheahan—Josh Archibald

Joakim Nygard—Gaetan Haas—Alex Chiasson

Tyler Benson—Colby Cave—Patrick Russell

Oscar Klefbom—Joel Persson

Caleb Jones—Matt Benning

William Lagesson—Evan Bouchard

Stuart Skinner (Dylan Wells)

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OriginalPouzar

Pouzar: Draisaitl – McDavid – Gagner – I like a wily vet like Gagner on this line
Khaira – Nugent-Hopkins – Neal – history together and verbal from Nuge re: Khaira is promising
Granlund – Sheahan – Chiasson – some 3rd line ski

The breakout did look really good – cohesive and a clear intent to get the puck up the middle and out.

It was impressive considering only a couple of practices.

Of course, QoC and “early times”.

I recall the clear intent to move the puck forward and less D to D for the first few weeks of the season last year, even Russell has doing it. It didn’t last long.

Pouzar

The big thing for me in this game was the breakout. As per Playfair’s comments to Gregor the Oilers have to use the middle of the ice to get of their own zone. It looked like they attempted this more last night than in the previous two seasons combined. Very encouraging to see and I believe Playfair is committed to this.

CallighenMan

Bohologo,

Perfect.

Jaxon

Jordan: THere was a sequence in the 3rd when Khaira was out with Neal and Nuge and the Jets couldn’t get the puck out of their zone for love nor money.I don’t know that he can do that consistently, but I know he can do it.

That’s more than I saw from most of a game with Gagner in that spot.And I’d consider myself a Gagner supporter, I don’t think that’s especially biased (or so I hope).

I’m a big Khaira fan, but I also really like Gagner. I even had Gagner on the first line and I’d still like to see him there after last night’s game. But, in the end, I think Kassian might win the job (or keep the job) as a speedy forechecker with some skill to go with Draisaitl and McDavid. I really hope Khaira gets an extended shot at 2LW with Nugent-Hopkins and Neal though.

Draisaitl – McDavid – Gagner – I like a wily vet like Gagner on this line
Khaira – Nugent-Hopkins – Neal – history together and verbal from Nuge re: Khaira is promising
Granlund – Sheahan – Chiasson – some 3rd line skill
Nygard – Haas – Kassian – speedy 4th line with some skill with PK potential
Jurco/Archibald – press box

OR

Draisaitl – McDavid – Kassian – Kassian on the forecheck digging picks it for the line
Khaira – Nugent-Hopkins – Neal – history together and verbal from Nuge re: Khaira is promising
Chiasson – Sheahan – Gagner – some 3rd line skill
Nygard – Granlund – Haas – speedy 4th line with some skill and PK potential
Jurco/Archibald – press box

ArmchairGM

If Nuge and Neal can create some chemistry together and form an average 2nd line, that will be HUGE for the Oilers this year.

ArmchairGM

v4ance:
ArmchairGM,

For the start of the 2021 season, the only players the Oilers definitely have under contract will be McDavid, Drai, Neal, Klefbom and Koskinen.There is room for Nuge if a smart GM manages the salary cap well, even with Neal still on the roster.

Sure, but not much room to improve the roster significantly as well.

v4ance

ArmchairGM,

For the start of the 2021 season, the only players the Oilers definitely have under contract will be McDavid, Drai, Neal, Klefbom and Koskinen. There is room for Nuge if a smart GM manages the salary cap well, even with Neal still on the roster.

ArmchairGM

Harpers Hair: Nothing escapes me.
Boeser’s contract expires when Erickson’s $6 million cap hit goes away.

Neal’s contract will need to go away if we’re to resign (sorry!) Nuge and improve the team too.

Bohologo

Harpers Hair: Nothing escapes me.

Anyone else read this poster’s contributions using the voice of Vizinni, from the Princess Bride?

It’s a perfect fit.

Munny

Prediction:

I’d bet money (actual money, too, I have many many coffee tins filled with pennies. Tins and tins of ’em!).

That Bouchard cannot make this team out of camp. That he will be sent down regardless of how he plays now.

I think Holland will ask him to show some mastery of the A before he gets the NHL. Regardless. And It sends a nice message to every other prospect being sent down that if a guy this talented needs to prove it, they’d better too. The other guys know how good he is.

Munny

Mr DeBakey: A little worrying that only the A-Line was able to score tonight. We’ll see how she goes…..

And some of these people have already played and not scored. Maybe this is The Tippett Effect though? Low event. Get your own shit secured before you go about stealing someone else’s shit.

Who knows what they’re looking for, the coaches. And it’s probably different player to player.

But as you say, “we’ll see how she goes…” I need to see more of what Tippett’s doing before coming to any conclusions.

Munny

godot10: #JustSayNoah

I’d rather we had him than the… *spits*

Munny

Thanks to everyone who provided play-by and summaries. It was appreciated.

godot10

Pescador: I know right, how come nobody has ever mentioned this guy before?

Nurse, Larsson
Klefbom, Persson
Lagesson/Jones, Benning

I’ve been beating that drum since the Sekera buyout, and shifting to Lagesson Benning almost exclusively for the last month.

And Russell in the pressbox.

Munny

OriginalPouzar:
Who was wearing 84????

An actual joke. Somebody needs to record this in the Minutes, lol.

More please.

godot10

McNuge93: Does anyone remember who we were talking about drafting in 2015 before we won the lottery. I remember a lot of love for Crouse as he was supposedly NHL ready. That would have been a so Oiler pick. I don’t remember us talking about Marner much. It was assumed Eichel was 2nd so we wouldn’t have had a chance at him. I think we talked about Strome as well quite a bit.

I get to bring back the old hashtags.

#JustSayNoah

kgo

Lagesson looked really good, strong, smart, calm etc… He’ll be #7 or 1st call-up

Mr DeBakey

OriginalPouzar: I’ve really liked Lagesson

Knock me over with a feather.

* * *

Its funny what realists the Oilers have made out of their fans. No “Whooo, The Boys looked good tonight!” in here after a shutout.
. . .

A little worrying that only the A-Line was able to score tonight. We’ll see how she goes…..

Our Edmonton Operation

Bruce McCurdy: Complementary line:
Wayne Gretzky between Esa Tikkanen and Jari Kurri, circa 1986:

Jari: Nice pass, Wayne!
Wayne: Great shot, Jari! Way to dig that puck out, Esa!
Esa: [unintelligible Tikkish]


Complimentary line:
Wayne Gretzky between Dave Semenko and Garnet Bailey, 1978:

Sammy & Ace (in unison): “Nice steal, rush and deke, Wayne!”
Wayne (blushing): Aww shucks fellas

Bruce, I don’t think anyone gave you props. Thanks for the best laugh of my day.

Rich M

Woodguy by 11pm:

Pours a drink and checks when the Oilers play their next preseason game for his next bet.

Pours a drink and checks when the Oilers play their next preseason game for his next bet.

Pours a drink and…drifts on into the night with a look of satisfaction.

OriginalPouzar

Klef looked healthy and really good tonight – then again, he should look good against that lineup.

I didn’t notice Persson all that weak – I thought he made some deft little passes in the defensive zone off the boards.

6 shots on net, only credited with one giveaway (and one takeaway). Two assists, including a primary.

Not to mention, didn’t get a chance on the PP and that is his best skill.

striatic

JimmyV1965:
Am I the only person who saw Persson bad in the dzone? Didn’t think he moved it forward well and had a couple giveaways.

I saw some excellent defensive plays from him but he had more bad defensive plays, particularly early in the third during his shift leading up to the Jets PP.

GordieHoweHatTrick

I wonder if Klef is about to take his play to another level and give the oil a 1B pairing…?

Scungilli Slushy

JimmyV1965:
Am I the only person who saw Persson bad in the dzone? Didn’t think he moved it forward well and had a couple giveaways.

He looked weak to me. Also looks quite wobbly on his skates. An odd style.

Scungilli Slushy

ArmchairGM: Coffey? No, that’s Broberg.

And so it goes…

Schultz’ problem is he doesn’t want to be all that he could be. He’s a rich man. One of those that half failed their way to being a multi millionaire. Right place right time.

Broberg is already a better physical type for pro sports. Maybe he loves the game console less.

He will blow Schultz out of the water I expect as an NHL player. Drive.

The Schultz type is risky for a team. Lack of training in key years from what was available to read, enough skill to get points, still needs to be sheltered 5v5. Not my player type. Cap gobbler.

JimmyV1965

Am I the only person who saw Persson bad in the dzone? Didn’t think he moved it forward well and had a couple giveaways.

Pretendergast

geowal,

Skinner kinda

Wells no

OriginalPouzar,

Haas

jk it was your boy lags

Ryan

Younger Oil:
From initial “don’t read too much into the first preseason game” observations, I’m cautiously optimistic about our defence, and would be very surprised if anyone in our bottom 6 scores more than 10 goals this season.

You don’t think Chiasson will get 10 goals?

OriginalPouzar

Who was wearing 84????

yeraslob

Pescador,

Its like he came out of nowhere…

Gerta Rauss

Pescador: I know right, how come nobody has ever mentioned this guy before?

All summer..and not a peep

geowal

For those who watched, what should I make of the shutout? Were the goalies actually tested?

Jethro Tull

flyfish1168:
Lagesson > Russell

Very impressive game by William

But can he block shots and do the other players like him?

Pretendergast

Pescador: I know right, how come nobody has ever mentioned this guy before?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D23GQwanddE

Pescador

flyfish1168:
Lagesson > Russell

Very impressive game by William

I know right, how come nobody has ever mentioned this guy before?

Jordan

Jaxon:
Not sure Gagner kept himself on that line. I think Khaira may have done enough to get a look there. Maybe Benson as well. Didn’t notice Nygard that much.

THere was a sequence in the 3rd when Khaira was out with Neal and Nuge and the Jets couldn’t get the puck out of their zone for love nor money. I don’t know that he can do that consistently, but I know he can do it.

That’s more than I saw from most of a game with Gagner in that spot. And I’d consider myself a Gagner supporter, I don’t think that’s especially biased (or so I hope).

Bank Shot

Jaxon:
Not sure Gagner kept himself on that line. I think Khaira may have done enough to get a look there. Maybe Benson as well. Didn’t notice Nygard that much.

Perhaps the Flames will waive Czarnik and the Oilers could try him on their 2nd line.

striatic

Pretendergast: Gotta love the preseason. If this boring as hell 3rd was in the regular season we would be planning the parade. Winnipeg can’t do a thing, textbook Tip hockey.

For real, I looked up at the time remaining in the period and thought “Jesus, only 54 seconds left? Where the hell did the time go? I guess we win.”

OriginalPouzar

Would have been nice to see Bouch and Persson with some PP time….

flyfish1168

Lagesson > Russell

Very impressive game by William

Jaxon

Not sure Gagner kept himself on that line. I think Khaira may have done enough to get a look there. Maybe Benson as well. Didn’t notice Nygard that much.

Pretendergast

Gotta love the preseason. If this boring as hell 3rd was in the regular season we would be planning the parade. Winnipeg can’t do a thing, textbook Tip hockey.

Hopefully Persson’s fast enough by regular season cause he’s not intimidating below the dots but it won’t matter much if the boots are there.

D passing well, gonna be interesting to see if Lars and Nurse have learned how to pass.

JimmyV1965

Really impressed with Lagesson and Bouchard. Very good in both ends. Feel bad for Benson. Absolutely no point playing with Russell and Cave. Some nice Benson plays dieing on the vine.

Professor Q

Bank Shot: I dunno. He looks pretty dang slow.

He was speedy at the beginning of the game.

Younger Oil

From initial “don’t read too much into the first preseason game” observations, I’m cautiously optimistic about our defence, and would be very surprised if anyone in our bottom 6 scores more than 10 goals this season.

OriginalPouzar

The Gagner/Nuge/Neal trio have been dominant, in particular when out there with Klef and Persson.

I guess that’s expected given its an NHL line and top line d-men but its nice to Neal look so good out there – for whatever its worth.

Joel Persson looks very good – great offensive instincts in the offensive zone and a very nice transition pass.

Bouchard shows his elite passing and vision repeatedly and, so far, I haven’t noticed a grade A mistake.

I’ve really liked Lagesson – very calm out there, aggressive and likes to lug the puck – he really is a 2-way guy. He’s been more noticeable for small subtle plays than Jones to my eye.

I’ve also seen Sheahan and Khaira good but haven’t really seen Archibald all that involved.

A couple nice little plays for Benson but not doing a ton,

Derek

Its extremely early but the passing from the Oilers defenders is a joy to watch so far.

striatic

Bank Shot: I dunno. He looks pretty dang slow.

So did Lucic. Neal doesn’t look like the 25 goal scoring first line player some were hoping for this summer but he does the kinds of things on the ice that will sometimes result in goals for the team he is playing for.

Side

Bank Shot: I dunno. He looks pretty dang slow.

Lucic – slow and can’t make or receive a pass
Neal – slow and can make and receive a pass

Progress!