The Oilers and Winnipeg Jets played four times in 1979-80, the first season for both teams in the world’s finest hockey league. Winnipeg won the first two, and the teams played to a draw in the final game. The third contest, played February 1, 1980, had everything: a hat-trick by Wayne Gretzky, a goalie start by a man named Jim Corsi, a big game by Stan Weir, an Oilers EV, SH and PK goal in the span of 2:33 in the first period, a fight involving Dave Semenko and Jimmy Mann, and a goal by a Jets forward (Willy Lindstrom) who would one day play for the Oilers. Madness. Beautiful madness.
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 Lowetide: Oilers recall Sam Gagner to bolster offensive depth, option Gaetan Haas
- Jonathan Willis: Can the Oilers afford to pursue Taylor Hall in free agency?
- 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: 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
- 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 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: 3-6-0, goal differential -6
- Oilers in October 2016: 7-2-0, goal differential +10
- Oilers in October 2017: 3-5-1, goal differential -8
- Oilers in October 2018: 4-3-1, goal differential -4
- Oilers in October 2019: 7-1-0, goal differential +10
Imagine a better start than 2016! It’s damned near impossible, and yet here we are. This year’s Jets are a truly strange brew. The team’s record is 4-5-0 and Winnipeg has lost three in a row. They’ll be desperate.
WHAT TO EXPECT IN 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
A win tonight and the Oilers exceed my projections with five games to go. There’s regression coming, we all know it. That said, this has been a tremendous run to start the season.
I will be tracking “total players deployed” this season, as I believe Edmonton is on the verge of breaking the franchise record. If Ken Holland’s verbal matches his transactions, we’ll be seeing some of the kids after Christmas, and the deadline should also see a shuffle.
Currently, the number of Oilers who have dressed and played this season stands at 25, with William Lagesson and Sam Gagner possibly playing on this road trip. That would mean 27 players by Halloween night. A fun thing to follow.
Bakersfield was sloppy in the first period, recovered, and then gave up a late goal to lose last night against Stockton. Jay Woodcroft can’t be pleased, but then again his roster shuffled mightily in the 24 hours before the game (Lagesson, Gagner up, signing of Cody Corbett). There’s a mid-week game to come and I expect the roster players will be hungry for a win. Colby Cave destroyed Martin Pospisol in a fight that would have earned him instant recall 25 years ago.
Evan Bouchard turns 20 today, he’ll celebrate by visiting 50+ dwellings to preview his future. In all seriousness, he’s a mature looking 20, and he will eventually become a big part of the Edmonton defense. Don’t be fooled by mistakes in Bakersfield, the AHL is a different league and there’s better structure in the NHL. What Bouchard needs to work on are things like quick reaction, recognizing danger and handling dump ins effectively. He isn’t going to stop chaos, but recognizing danger before it happens (and driving that danger to the outside) are things he needs to improve.
Samwise is back. I wrote about him at The Athletic last night (link above) and do believe he’ll have an impact if he gets playing time. Dave Tippett shortens his bench during important times in the game, so Gagner will have to make hay during the game states where a goal is required. Tippett’s attention to the game score is refreshing. If he needs a goal, his deployment is wildly different than his shutdown forces.
As such, I’ll be interested to see, should Lagesson play, how much trust the coach has in him. Lagesson’s defensive play is excellent, I think (not alone in this but the belief isn’t universal either) that the young Swede has a chance to be an integral part of the Oilers future.