Three games into the 2019-20 season and even the crusty are beginning to allow for the possibilities. Oh sure everything’s awful and we’re all going to die, but maybe this winter, this team, will keep the city of Edmonton and Oilers fans around the world hanging on through the deadline and into spring. Many miles to go, the possession numbers are not strong but the wins are groovy. Reminds me a little of 2008-09. Nice start.
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, there is a Puck Drop Special offer here.
- New Daniel Nugent-Bowman: ‘He’s addicted to getting better’: What the Oilers are saying about Connor McDavid’s amazing start
- New Eric Duhatschek: The lasting impact of The Gretzky Effect, 40 years after his NHL debut
- New Max Olson: ‘There’s only one Chuba’: Oklahoma State’s star running back is Canada’s gift to college football
- New Jonathan Willis: Oilers who could win (or lose) NHL jobs early in 2019-20
- Lowetide: Several unproven players are earning NHL jobs and increasing roster quality and depth. No balance photo, but some traction early.
- Daniel Nugent-Bowman: Why Riley Sheahan could be a key ingredient the Oilers have been missing
- Jonathan Willis: Bet on James Neal rebounding with Oilers, just not all the way
- Daniel Nugent-Bowman: How Joel Persson went from being a part-time teacher three years ago to patrolling the Oilers blue line (this is exceptional).
- Lowetide: Keeping an eye on Jesse Puljujarvi: Which teams could emerge as potential trade partners?
- Lowetide: Kailer Yamamoto’s fast start in the AHL highlights an active week for Oilers prospects
- Lowetide: A shift-by-shift analysis of Ethan Bear in the Oilers’ season opener
- Daniel Nugent-Bowman: Looking at how the Oilers can manage on defence without Adam Larsson
- Daniel Nugent-Bowman: No need to temper expectations after Connor McDavid’s season debut for Oilers
- Lowetide: Ken Holland has a plan for the Oilers’ top prospects.
- Daniel Nugent-Bowman: At home with Ken Holland: Packing away the championship memories and preparing for a new challenge
- Daniel Nugent-Bowman: Q&A: Oscar Klefbom on being a mentor, his strategy for staying healthy and saying goodbye to a friend.
- Daniel and Jon: Ten bold (and not so bold) predictions for the Oilers this season
- Lowetide: The Oilers are poised to break a 25-year-old franchise record this season
- Lowetide: Jay Woodcroft’s Bakersfield Condors might be bound for glory
- Corey Pronman: Oilers No. 9 farm system.
- Lowetide: Oilers top 20 prospects summer 2019.
OILERS IN OCTOBER
- Oilers in October 2015: 0-4-0, goal differential -8
- Oilers in October 2016: 3-1-0, goal differential +2
- Oilers in October 2017: 1-3-0, goal differential -6
- Oilers in October 2018: 2-2-0, goal differential -4
- Oilers in October 2019: 3-0-0, goal differential +5
This start resembles only one other since McDavid arrived in town, and it’s worth noting the teams who missed the playoffs (2015, 2017, 2018) were off the pace at the starting gate. In 2015 (70), 2017 (78) and 2018 (79) the cement dried very quickly. So too in 2016 (103) the die was cast early, but in the good direction. The Oilers good fortune to match 2016 so far this year.
WHAT TO EXPECT FROM OCTOBER
- At home to: Vancouver, Los Angeles (Expected: 1-1-0) (Actual 2-0-0)
- On the road to: NYI, NJD, NYR, CHI (Expected 2-1-1) Actual (1-0-0)
- At home to: Philadelphia, Detroit (Expected 1-1-0)
- On the road to: Winnipeg, Minnesota (Expected 1-1-0)
- At home to: Washington, Florida (Expected 1-1-0)
- On the road to: Detroit, Columbus (Expected 1-1-0)
- Overall expected result: 7-6-1, 15 points in 14 games
- Current results: 3-0-0, 6 points after 3 games
When I was looking through these October games, the one thing that struck me was this road trip. The teams Edmonton is facing on this trip could be good (I marked New Jersey as being a better team this year) but there was some question about each of them. So, the Oilers play the Devils tonight and we’re not sure if they’ll win. I do think they’ll have a chance to win, and maybe that’s Dave Tippett’s presence. Oilers have cut way back on chaos/60 under the new coach, and the outlet passing has improved markedly. Three games can tell you some things, and the quick out effectiveness appears woven in the fabric.
Early days, but the trends on some of the Oilers numbers are not good through three games. We need 20, that’s my line in the sand your mileage may vary. Here are some interesting totals, we are always looking for 50 percent or better in possession, goals, etc. NST, all numbers five-on-five unless indicated:
- Corsi: 43.87
- Fenwick: 43.82
- Shot differential: 44.19
- Goal differential: 56.25
- Expected goals: 49.02
- Scoring chance differential: 47.86
- High danger scoring chance differential: 56.10
- Shooting percentage: 15.79
- Save percentage: 90.28
- PDO: 106.1
- Power Play: four goals in 20:57
- Penalty Kill: one goal against in 17:54
I have a Nationals story for you. Well, Expos, but close enough for jazz. It’s about a man named Matt Stairs, who could hit a ball to the sun but wasn’t really built for running. At the time of this story, he was a young Montreal Expos prospect. Many years ago–this would probably be 1990–my wife and I flew to Cancun for a winter vacation. Cancun is beautiful, and fun!
We were out in the sun too long one day and I burned my legs, but we were having fun and I didn’t notice. We headed out for a nice meal. It was an outdoor restaurant, and a cool breeze started rolling in during our dinner. At one point, I looked down and both of my legs were full of goose bumps the size of Chryslers.
By the time we get back to the hotel (Cancun Palace, nice joint) I’m in real pain. Painkillers from the front desk, a mountain of aloe vera and I’m praying I’m going to get some sleep.
I do not. It’s 3am, I can’t sleep. So, I turn on the television and am met by something called SUPER CADENA (Caribbean World Series) and damned if it isn’t Matt Stairs at the plate. I watched the entire game. Three hours of “turn it off” followed by “in a minute.” Stairs had a great game iirc, ripped a double and his side won the game. It took forever to play, but I remember that game pretty well considering pain, time of day and alcohol consumed. It was worth watching. I slept all the next day. She’s still with me.
This morning on the Lowdown (10-11), I’m honored to have three smart guys with strong opinions return to the round table. We do this two or three times a year, and I wanted to wait just a little because there was a lot of roster vague at the end of September. Tyler Hupka, Darcy McLeod and Bruce McCurdy will bring strong opinions to TSN1260 for an hour. So, tune in, and we welcome your questions, in the comments section below or at 10-1260.
LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE
At 10 this morning, TSN1260, leading off with the round table. At 11, Frank Seravalli from TSN joins us to chat James Neal, Taylor Hall, the chances of going 4-0 and all of the unbeaten teams.
At 11:20, Andrew Peard and Corey Graham will join me. That’s 67 percent of the Oil Kings modern play-by-play history. The story of Corey’s difficult physical journey over the last few years is mostly known, but what isn’t known well is his desire to resume his career. It takes a special person to keep his eye on the goal through such difficult circumstances, and Corey is that person. On the other side, Andrew Peard’s career path is also part of the story. I’ve worked in radio for 40 years and things never work out as well as this one. Both men will share their thoughts with us this morning. 10-1260 text, @Lowetide on twitter.