Alberta Bound

by Lowetide

Ethan Bear emerged from a large group of hopefuls to win an NHL job this fall, and he’s building on that with each passing game. Who knows what tomorrow brings, but the young defenseman is helping the Oilers in a big way as a rookie. Big minutes, smart plays, quick recovery from rookie mistakes. 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, there is a Puck Drop Special offer here.

  • New Jonathan Willis: Can the Oilers afford to pursue Taylor Hall in free agency?
  • New Lowetide: There are many similarities between this year’s Oilers team after seven and the 2016-17 team that made the playoffs. Similarities, differences and the work that needs to be done.
  • Daniel Nugent-Bowman: That was pretty sick’: What teammates and opponents are saying about Connor McDavid’s latest goal
  • Daniel Nugent-Bowman: ‘I’m gonna bring a bigger bag with me’: Oilers rookies learn about life on the road in the NHL
  • Jonathan Willis: A deep dive on the Oilers’ bottom six, which needs to produce more offence
  • Lowetide: Ethan Bear’s early success with the Oilers and what it might mean at the trade deadline
  • Jonathan Willis: How well are the solutions to key Oilers weaknesses working?
  • Dom Luszczyszyn: Is the Oilers’ hot start for real?
  • Lowetide: How will the Oilers compensate when James Neal’s scoring cools off?
  • Lowetide: Raphael Lavoie delivers high-octane offence to lead Oilers prospect performances.
  • Daniel Nugent-Bowman: Mike Smith is charged up, and that’s a big reason behind the Oilers’ surprising 5-0 start
  • Daniel Nugent-Bowman: 4 positives in the Oilers’ 4 wins that may not be sustainable
  • Lowetide: Oilers’ Oscar Klefbom playing tough minutes with inexperienced partners — and looking good doing it
  • Daniel Nugent-Bowman: ‘He’s addicted to getting better’: What the Oilers are saying about Connor McDavid’s amazing start
  • Eric Duhatschek: The lasting impact of The Gretzky Effect, 40 years after his NHL debut
  • 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
  • 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
  • Corey Pronman: Oilers No. 9 farm system.
  • Lowetide: Oilers top 20 prospects summer 2019.

OILERS IN OCTOBER

  • Oilers in October 2015: 3-5-0, goal differential -5
  • Oilers in October 2016: 7-1-0, goal differential +12
  • Oilers in October 2017: 2-5-1, goal differential -9
  • Oilers in October 2018: 3-3-1, goal differential -7
  • Oilers in October 2019: 7-1-0, goal differential +10

Incredible. In the five seasons of McDavid, we’ve seen two Dr. Jekyll’s and three Mr. Hyde’s. Thank God and Greyhound the good doctor appears to be in the house this year. I’ve been mulling how much credit to give Dave Tippett these days, he has implemented more structure and the special teams are epic at this time. What a start.

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 (3-1-0)
  • At home to: Philadelphia, Detroit (Expected 1-1-0) (Actual 2-0-0)
  • 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: 7-1-0, 14 points after 8 games

I don’t think anyone can reasonably suggest this was predictable. Entering the season, my thoughts in projected the team was based on 88 points (my predicted overall total). Right now, in order to get to 88 points, Edmonton needs to finish 33-33-8. This team could make the playoffs, completely possible. Neal. Smith. Sheahan. Bear. Some of this has to be coaching folks.

LINE 1 Leon Draisaitl-Connor McDavid-Zack Kassian played 15:37 (all numbers five-on-five unless noted) and went 19-15 Corsi. Slow first period but recovered and had a good night, 12-11 shots, 1-0 goals and 5-1 HDSC.

Leon Draisaitl had an assist, shot, HDSC, takeaway and was solid in the dot. He was hauling ass on the backcheck all night long. A stunning player. He had several great looks at the other end but on this night couldn’t cash. Feel sorry for Sunday. Connor McDavid had three shots, three HDSC’s, he could have scored two or three (EN goal was there and so close) and was absolutely flying. Zack Kassian had a shot, HDSC, several bone jarring hits and skated miles. Effective line.

LINE 2 Alex Chiasson-Nuge-James Neal played 14:13, going 19-12 Corsi, 10-3 shots, 1-0 goals and 6-0 HDSC. This line was fantastic.

Alex Chiasson is emerging as the obvious choice for No. 2 LW on this roster. Assist, three shots and three HDSC. Nuge was most noticeable on the power play but worked effectively at evens. In one instance (late in the game) his line was trapped but Nuge kept his head and helped negotiate the rapids. James Neal found the puck and shot it in the net in a heartbeat. Mad skill. He is also a good forechecker with an effective stick. Watching a player on the town team is such a different experience than the same player spending his career on the road club. I’m glad Neal landed in Edmonton, he’s a fun player to watch.

LINE 3 Jujhar Khaira-Riley Sheahan-Patrick Russell played 9:25, going 8-9 Corsi, 4-5 shots, no goals and 0-1 HDSC.

Jujhar Khaira played well, drawing a penalty with hard work along the wall, and he made some nice quick passes. Riley Sheahan had a HDSC, a giveaway and was 50 percent on 12 faceoffs. Patrick Russell rang iron early and missed an empty net late, in between he made several strong plays.

LINE 4 Tomas Jurco-Gaetan Haas-Josh Archibald played 5:16, going 6-3 Corsi, 4-1 shots, no goals and 1-1 HDSC. I liked this line, although they didn’t play much.

Tomas Jurco had a fine game, one shot, one HDSC and three takeaways. He’s an impressive player. Gaetan Haas won three of five faceoffs, and was knocked off the puck several times. Josh Archibald didn’t get a lot done at five-on-five.

OILERS 2019-20

PAIRING ONE Darnell Nurse-Ethan Bear played 17:43, going 22-18 Corsi, 13-11 shots, 2-1 goals and 4-1 HDSC. Spent 7:31 with McDavid’s line, 5:46 with Nuge, scoring a goal with each line. The GA came during 4:33 with Sheahan’s line.

Darnell Nurse had two assists, five shots and several good looks. He skated miles defensively and made some good outlet passes. Nurse was on the ice for the GA and did have a chance to clear (as did Bear) but on the whole was effective in transporting, passing and defending. Ethan Bear had an even better game, scoring the game winning goal and making a bunch of fine passes. Made a mental error behind the Edmonton net (got to the puck first, but didn’t secure it in time) that eventually led to Detroit’s goal. No matter, he’s been a revelation.

PAIRING TWO Oscar Klefbom and Kris Russell played 18:37, going 23-17 Corsi, 15-8 shots, no goals and 8-2 HDSC. Went 8:25 (4-1 HDSC) and 4:51 (3-0 HDSC) with the Nuge.

Oscar Klefbom had three shots and four giveaways, and played in some chaos of his own creation. A rarity, I do think it speaks to the chemistry that exists with his partner. Where have you gone, Joel Persson? Kris Russell blocked the final shot of the game, had a shot and a HDSC. He got caught with Athanasiou behind him on an alley oop (ironic considering the McDavid goal coming from a Russell pass of similar type on Wednesday) and took a penalty. He played well..

PAIRING THREE Brandon Manning and Matt Benning played 12:19, going 6-9 Corsi, 3-3 shots, no goals and no HDSC. Matt Benning had two takeaways.

GOALIE Mikko Koskinen had a terrific game, stopping 25 of 26, .962. There were just two HDSC. Made an outrageous stick save on Anthony Mantha on a shot that was labeled for the far corner. All numbers NST.

CONDORS

Bakersfield plays Stockton tonight, William Lagesson was recalled yesterday and the organization (Condors) signed former Edmonton Oil Kings defenseman Cody Corbett. Here are the updated scoring numbers.

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OriginalPouzar

Bling:
Lucic got over 3 minutes of PP time today for the Flames.

Someone needs to write a book on why NHL coaches fall in love with this guy.

How do these coaches not know that he has NEVER been a PP guy?

There was the one-off PP heater in yr 1 as an Oiler but he has never been a plus PP guy and he is not a “net front” guy at evens or on the PP (as we saw, he doesn’t actually play in front of the net – refuses too – stands off to the side).

Pouzar

With Granlund and Ganger in and Haas out we just got a whole lot slower.

Granlund is the one that should be in the Bake not Haas.

Kinger_Oil.redux

Nit64,

Pouzar: My son turns 10 in November and he’s never seen the Yankees win a World Series!
Just tragic.

FUN FACT:

– Your 10 year old son (mine is same age), is the first cohort of 10 year olds to not have been alive for a Yankee team appearance in a the World Series in 110 years. In the 1910’s the Yankees played at the Polo Grounds, and team was greatly effected by WW1 Draft. That was the last decade they didn’t play in the World Series: just astonishing.

– I’ve been to a few Yankees games in their old Stadium (not the Polo Grounds!), and this new one.

– Saw what you want about them, and I grew up being taught they were the enemey, but their history is rich, and fans incredibly knowlegable. Probably greatest franchise in history of sport

– Damn Yankees!

leadfarmer

Dac189,

Well the top spot is filled
Hall has showed he can drive a line. Actually he has shown he can drive a team as he outscored his best teammate by 40 points just 2 years ago

Reja

Oilers need a win tonight to climb back into first where we rightfully belong.

OriginalPouzar

Lineups and goalie should come out a bit earlier today with the game in central Canada and earlier.

I imagine, with Haas out, Granlund is back in.

Will Gagner make it in as well? For who?

Probably for Jurco but I saw Jurco good last game and think he may have some offensive chemistry with Gagner as they both have skill and think the game well in the offensive zone.

ArmchairGM

Munny: If you want Taylor Hall, you wait for fee agency and see what kind of deal interests him. None of us have any idea what will be motivating Taylor Hall next summer.

Use the dating window to talk to him. Maybe you can get him on a short term, good deal because he wants to play for you. Have to find out.

What you don’t do is overpay to rent him and get first kick at the contract.

Nurse — Pujo — conditional 1st is ridiculous…

Wow, yes. I have had time to follow this blog for the past few days, but I’ll remind everyone that Vegas acquired Mark Stone for Brannstrom + a 2nd. Brannstrom is considered below Broberg and Bouchard in value. That trade would be like us sending Samorukov + two 2nds – and Vegas only did that deal when they had already hammered out a long-term deal with Stone!

#realitycheck

Scungilli Slushy

OriginalPouzar: Sorry but I can’t agree.

The numbers are what they are – he has only been elite twice in the last 5 or 6 years.Yes, when he plays he has been elite, absolutely, but he simply does not play enough games.Those were his point totals during his prime years, his mid to late 20s.I don’t imagine he’s going to all of a sudden find consistent healthy in his 30s.

He is a wonderful hockey player but he hasn’t been able to consistently play games in his 20s – I want no piece of a long term big money contract for his 30s.

Hall is just under 1 PPG which is pretty good considering his play driving.

But I agree his health is a big risk to take. 4 seasons out of 9 over 70 games turning 28 this year.

The biggest predictor of future health is past health for athletes somebody found a few years ago looking at their Oilers, I think it was at C and B.

Hall will remain an effective player, when he plays, if it isn’t his knees that are the problem always, well into his 30 because of his wheels, talent and drive.

He’d be better for the Oilers if he was older and signing shorter deals than his next will be.

Munny

Dac189,

What he’s saying is that Hall will be lined up at 2LW.

And I don’t think anyone wants to give him $11M a year.

Dac189

leadfarmer:
OriginalPouzar,

Elite players are elite well into their 30s and he would only need to be elite over the 2nd toughs.

I disagree. If you’re paying Hall 11 million per he better be more than just elite vs the 2nd toughs.

Buddy

I think we’ve all wondered whether McLellan didn’t demand the Eberle trade (“What do you want in return?” “Just get him off the team” “Okay”), and the same holds for Peters and Neal.

I suspect that in a non-dysfunctional organization the coaches coach and the managers manage, although I’m really just guessing.

Munny

If you want Taylor Hall, you wait for fee agency and see what kind of deal interests him. None of us have any idea what will be motivating Taylor Hall next summer.

Use the dating window to talk to him. Maybe you can get him on a short term, good deal because he wants to play for you. Have to find out.

What you don’t do is overpay to rent him and get first kick at the contract.

Nurse — Pujo — conditional 1st is ridiculous…

Bling

Lucic got over 3 minutes of PP time today for the Flames.

Someone needs to write a book on why NHL coaches fall in love with this guy.

jenga66

hunter1909,

I like that there are Flames fans who refuse to accept that Lucic might be done. Instead there is a narrative that his performance was terrible in Edmonton because Oilers. Flames fans are in for a long season enjoying Lucic glowering his way around the ice and doing little else.

hunter1909

I’m starting to think Calgary have made the most monumentally catastrophic mistake trading Lucic for Neal, and they’re going to be crippled by it for a decade to come.

As if Lowe+MacT have just turned up with new executive powers in Calgary Flames colors lol.

defmn

Pouzar: now SJ

Forgot about them but, yeah, a good day.

Pouzar

defmn: Vancouver lost and Calgary lost. That’s a good Saturday for me.?

now SJ

defmn

Munny:
Was really hoping for the shutout.

Vancouver lost and Calgary lost. That’s a good Saturday for me. 😉

Munny

Was really hoping for the shutout.

hunter1909

Watched the Kings v Flames game and it was hilarious for the following reasons:

– Lucic might as well still be working for the Oilers he’s 100% ineffective except throwing irrelevant hits.

– Doughty harassing Tkachuk. It’s like the Flames are the team that gets no respect instead of the Oilers.

– Flame’s fans trying to discuss the game at Calgary Puck yet every so often the Lucic trade resurfaces and underlying pandemonium returns, once more, like an overloaded lifeboat after the Titanic sank.

– Oilers get the NHL’s leading goal scorer James Neal which drives Flames fans nuts but Lucic is starting to sound like the Lucic Edmonton fans wept over(and they haven’t yet realised they’re stuck with him).

Pouzar

texmex: Go to bed!!! It’s late in gods country.

I wish I was in God’s Country.
Winnipeg will have to do 😛

texmex

Pouzar: +1

Go to bed!!! It’s late in gods country.

Pescador

unca miltie:
I worry about Bouchard

Well, where to begin?
Take solace in the fact that in years past Bouchard would have been forced to learn those rookie lessons in the NHL.
He now has the ability to learn many defensive lessons in the AHL. Away from the microscope of the media and hockey experts (sorry, average joe hockey fan) in Edmonton.
In years gone past, no one saw the development of young rookie blueliners in the minors except coaches and occasionally a few scouts.

Pouzar

Nit64: More tragedy please. 86 years would be aok..

+1

N64

Pouzar: My son turns 10 in November and he’s never seen the Yankees win a World Series!
Just tragic.

More tragedy please. 86 years would be aok..

Pouzar

texmex:
Astros baby!!!!!!!

Oilers Stros and Texans all winning?!?!? Never thought I’d live to see the day!!

My son turns 10 in November and he’s never seen the Yankees win a World Series!
Just tragic.

texmex

Astros baby!!!!!!!

Oilers Stros and Texans all winning?!?!? Never thought I’d live to see the day!!

Munny

frjohnk: In Calgary land penalty minutes are better than saves.

And points!

unca miltie

I worry about Bouchard

frjohnk

OriginalPouzar:
I think Rittich almost has as many penalty minutes as saves tonight…..

In Calgary land penalty minutes are better than saves.

Pouzar

defmn:
Just wow in the 9th inning. Astros going to the WS.

Huge for Stros to win tonight. Sets up their rotation for the WS instead of using their best pitcher in a GM 7.

defmn

Just wow in the 9th inning. Astros going to the WS.

unca miltie

Rinaldo is sneaky dirty

OriginalPouzar

I think Rittich almost has as many penalty minutes as saves tonight…..

OriginalPouzar

Nit: Sorry for the change of topic I was talking about Nurse’s leverage.

Well, that’s different – I was speaking of Bear – totally different situations.

unca miltie

Wells is playing well.

OriginalPouzar

leadfarmer:
OriginalPouzar,

Oooh I like how you start at 38 and not 80
Also I thought he had a difficult time here because he was the only great player on some truly terrible teams and this carried over to Jersey were he has been far and why the best player
But now that he is on a different team we are spinning that completely backwards
Other than last year he never missed more than half a season

Elite players are elite well into their 30s and he would only need to be elite over the 2nd toughs.This is not a Jamie Benn Erickson Lucic Okposo type player that time is grinding down

Sorry but I can’t agree.

The numbers are what they are – he has only been elite twice in the last 5 or 6 years. Yes, when he plays he has been elite, absolutely, but he simply does not play enough games. Those were his point totals during his prime years, his mid to late 20s. I don’t imagine he’s going to all of a sudden find consistent healthy in his 30s.

He is a wonderful hockey player but he hasn’t been able to consistently play games in his 20s – I want no piece of a long term big money contract for his 30s.

OriginalPouzar

Benson with a nice feed to Currie for the PP goal and the Condors have scored 3 straight to tie it up at 3.

Joe G. will get the second apple.

OriginalPouzar

Bouchard’s tough night continues – poor play at the blueline on the PP and a clear cut breakaway the other way but Wells makes the stop.

unca miltie

Yea

OriginalPouzar

Yamamoto hasn’t been as dominant as the first 4 games but he did just draw his second PP of the game.

Reja

Nice to see Rittich get lit up they’re going to have to play first shot Talbot sooner or later.

OriginalPouzar

Oooop, check that again, 4-0 Kings (3rd goal was a shortie: seems like a backbreaker).

Pouzar

OriginalPouzar:
Check that: 3-0 Kings leading the flames.

4-0

OriginalPouzar

Check that: 3-0 Kings leading the flames.

unca miltie

Nice passing by the Condors for Malone goal

Pouzar

tree nudding Kings!

OriginalPouzar

Nice pass from Cave backdoor to Malone and the lead is cut to 1.

OriginalPouzar

Rasanen scores – his first of the year and second point i believe.

He’s got three shots on net.

N64

OriginalPouzar: The situations you speak to are with respect to the higher end/elite players – I don’t think waiting until the end of the summer would benefit Ethan Bear at all and I do think that RFA vs. UFA makes a difference in his negotiations.

I expect the 2nd contract to get done without much trouble in the spring.

Sorry for the change of topic I was talking about Nurse’s leverage.