Chapter One Complete

It was a strange month for the Edmonton Oilers and its fans. A stunning start that saw the team overcome the loss of its best (only?) shutdown defenseman, a start by Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl for the ages, and goaltending that delivered well beyond expectations. Now. Chapter two.

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 Lowetide: Sheahan hurt, Oilers in need of a two-way centre; some candidates emerging
  • New Jonathan Willis: Handicapping the chase for the Calder after the first month of the 2019-20 NHL season
  • Jonathan Willis: Unproductive Oilers forwards are in danger of losing their jobs — and soon
  • Lowetide: Analyzing the current state of the Edmonton Oilers goaltending.
  • Jonathan Willis: Should the Oilers trade for a veteran NHL defenceman?
  • Lowetide: Oilers first-round pick Philip Broberg increases his role; Condors’ Caleb Jones looks NHL-ready
  • Daniel Nugent-Bowman: ‘I don’t think anyone’s feeling comfortable’: Oilers’ Holland pleased but cautious amid early improvements.
  • Lowetide: Josh Archibald’s injury and limited replacements available puts some pressure on Oilers
  • Daniel Nugent-Bowman: 4 reasons why the Oilers passed their first true test of the season
  • Lowetide: Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and James Neal are leading a quality Oilers second line
  • Lowetide: Assessing the early season progress of Oilers’ defence and goaltending
  • Jonathan Willis: A rare success during Edmonton’s long rebuild, why Oscar Klefbom is the model for finishing Oilers’ blue line
  • Lowetide: Jesse Puljujarvi’s impressive Liiga performance headlines Oilers prospects this week
  • Jonathan Willis: Can the Oilers afford to pursue Taylor Hall in free agency?
  • Corey Pronman: Oilers No. 9 farm system.
  • Lowetide: Oilers top 20 prospects summer 2019.

OILERS IN OCTOBER

  • Oilers in October 2015: 5-9-0, 10 points; goal differential -6
  • Oilers in October 2016: 9-4-1, 19 points; goal differential +7
  • Oilers in October 2017: 5-8-1, 11 points; goal differential -12
  • Oilers in October 2018: 8-5-1, 17 points; goal differential +1
  • Oilers in October 2019: 9-4-1, 19 points, goal differential +7

This team lands in a tie for the best since McDavid arrived, marching in lock step with 2015 and just ahead of last season. I think fans remain worried about a repeat of one year ago, but injuries (Klefbom and Russell in the same game) can’t be anticipated and overreaction (Strome trade, McLellan firing, Manning and Petrovic) is unlikely. Enjoy the ride, if you can.

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) (Actual 0-1-1)
  • At home to: Washington, Florida (Expected 1-1-0)(Actual 1-1-0)
  • On the road to: Detroit, Columbus (Expected 1-1-0) (Actual 1-1-0)
  • Overall expected result: 7-6-1, 15 points in 14 games
  • Current results: 9-4-1, 19 points after 14 games

Splendid! Now, people are going to bitch about the splits (7-1-0 start, 2-3-1 coda) but teams have ebb and flow just like everything else. There’s a lot to be happy about this morning in Oilers nation. Halloween is not always a happy time. All numbers five-on-five, all numbers via NST.

LINE 1 Leon Draisaitl-Connor McDavid-Zack Kassian played 10:34, going 9-8 Corsi, 3-2 shots, 1-0 goals and 1-2 HDSC. I thought this line was slow in Detroit, but 24 hours later they found the magic.

Leon Draisaitl had a big night, scoring (including all disciplines) 2-1-3 with the goals at five on five. Who’s zooming who? Connor McDavid had a power-play assist and a takeaway, I was impressed with his forechecking effort. Zack Kassian had an assist, a HDSC and an unwise penalty.

LINE 2 Jujhar Khaira-Nuge-Sam Gagner played 8:36, 12-8 Corsi, 5-5 shots, 1-0 goals and 4-4 HDSC. What a great line, two games in a row.

Jujhar Khaira scored a goal and that’s a relief for everyone. As important, he was involved around the puck all night. Two shots, three HDSC and he was moving his feet for 60. Music! Nuge had two assists, three shots and was quality. Sam Gagner had an assist and made good decisions with the puck consistently. Such a good player.

LINE 3 Alex Chiasson-Gaetan Haas-James Neal played 7:37, going 9-7 Corsi, 6-6 shots, no goals and 1-3 HDSC.

Alex Chiasson had an assist, a shot and a HDSC. He was moving his feet well and sending the puck to good places. Gaetan Haas had a shot and a giveaway, he just needs to speed up his motor when he has the puck. There is a player here. James Neal scored a goal on the PP, he’s money in the offensive zone.

LINE 4 Markus Granlund-Riley Sheahan-Patrick Russell played 3:16, 0-2 Corsi, 0-1 shots, no goals and no HDSC.

Markus Granlund had a takeaway and broke his stick and skated around for a long time on a PK that was doomed. Riley Sheahan got hit by PLD and left the game late in the first period. Patrick Russell had two shots and two HDSC. He’s getting closer.

OILERS 2019-20

PAIRING ONE Oscar Klefbom and Joel Persson played 15:25 and had 18-16 Corsi, 8-9 shots, 1-0 goals and 4-5 HDSC.

Oscar Klefbom looked miles more comfortable with Persson, the veteran had three shots and two blocks. Looks a little slower skating back lately, wonder if there’s a hitch. Persson passed the puck effectively and recovered well. He helps this team, a better 2RHD for this group than Russell in spite of coverage issues and lack of familiarity with the league.

PAIRING TWO Darnell Nurse and Ethan Bear played 14:36 and went 16-7 Corsi, 5-4 shots, no goals and 3-1 HDSC.

Darnell Nurse had a takeaway and a couple of blocked shots, played mostly clean minutes. Ethan Bear drew a penalty and had a blocked shot. Passing and clean exits were commonplace on the night, making transitions easier. Bear was a big part of it.

PAIRING THREE Kris Russell and Matt Benning played 13:00 and went 9-7 Corsi, 8-2 shots, 1-0 goals and 1-1 HDSC.

The duo played well, no major issues and Benning’s outlet passing helped Russell’s weakest areas. Russell had two shots on goal, blocked a shot and had several snow angels. Benning drew a penalty and delivered outlet passes that worked.

GOALIE Mike Smith stopped 23 of 24, .975. He played well. Very demonstrative when pucks go in, wonder if that irritates his teammates. Goaltending hasn’t been the issue through the first month. In fact, it has been a strength.

NATIONALS

Being an orphan is damned difficult, in the sports sense. When the Expos no longer had a church home of their own, neither did I. I remain hopeful a team will return to Montreal in my lifetime, but this run by the Nationals was easily the best baseball experience for this fan in well over a decade. So, thanks to the Nats, to their beautiful 6-man pitching staff, to Rendon, Soto, Kendrick, Zimmerman and the rest. It meant a lot to see the remnants and the roll ends find the promised land. Well done.

LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE

At 10 this morning, TSN1260, we have a fun show planned and I hope you can join us. Jonah Birenbaum from The Score will pop in at 10:20 to talk World Series and the Nats win. Frank Seravalli from TSN will talk Oilers, Halloween costumes and trade rumors. 10-1260 text, @Lowetide on twitter. Talk soon!

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416 Responses to "Chapter One Complete"

« Older Comments
  1. kgo says:

    Lucic played less than 7 minutes EV against the preds!

  2. GMB3 says:

    kgo,

    More than 6 minutes too many, probably.

  3. GMB3 says:

    Harpers Hair: These are the most advanced prospects from both teams.

    Before you go off on another rant, remember the Canucks also have prospects still in junior, in the NCAA and Europe.

    But as of now, the Canucks prospects are outperforming their Oiler counterparts by a wide margin.

    Tyler Benson has 75 points as a pro, Kole Lind has what, 25 or so? Jesus you must have been at the Rod n Gun tonight

  4. who says:

    OriginalPouzar: Do you research before implying I’m lying……..

    C’mon OP. You’re an easy target.
    You can spin your words anyway you like, but you spent all spring and summer bitching about Koskinen and his contract on this blog. Now you’re trying to tell us you predicted league average goaltending for the Oilers this year?
    When you have an opinion about EVERYTHING Oilers, and post each opinion dozens of times, you’re gonna be wrong once in a while.
    I just find it entertaining to point out when you are wrong.

  5. GMB3 says:

    who: C’mon OP. You’re an easy target.
    You can spin your words anyway you like, but you spent all spring and summer bitching about Koskinen and his contract on this blog. Now you’re trying to tell us you predicted league average goaltending for the Oilers this year?
    When you have an opinion about EVERYTHINGOilers, and post each opinion dozens of times, you’re gonna be wrong once in a while.
    I just find it entertaining to point out when you are wrong.

    He’s not wrong yet. Lot of track left.

  6. who says:

    GMB3: He’s not wrong yet. Lot of track left.

    You’re right, he might not be wrong about Koskinen.
    I just find it funny that he’s now saying he predicted league average goaltending.
    After he’s spent the last 6 months trashing Koskinen and his contract.

  7. OriginalPouzar says:

    who: C’mon OP. You’re an easy target.
    You can spin your words anyway you like, but you spent all spring and summer bitching about Koskinen and his contract on this blog. Now you’re trying to tell us you predicted league average goaltending for the Oilers this year?
    When you have an opinion about EVERYTHINGOilers, and post each opinion dozens of times, you’re gonna be wrong once in a while.
    I just find it entertaining to point out when you are wrong.

    There is no spin – its in the words in the posts memorialized.

    Absolutely I bitched about the contract and, at this very moment, it remains a huge mistake by Chiarelli and a terrible signing at the time.

    Absolutely I bitched about Mikko’s play after the contract was signed and down the stretch. His play was simply not good enough. I acknowledged some mitigating factors (i.e. over-played) but my opinion was clear and it remains the same, his play was not good.

    During the spring I was adamant that an experienced back-up/1B goalie was needed due to not being able to count on Koskinen being a legit NHL starter this coming season and I was skeptical that Koskinen would be able to improve much as I felt he regressed through last year.

    At the same time, a few weeks after the Smith signing, months before the season, I provided my opinion of the chance to have decent tending this year on the premise that we have two tenders who have the proven ability to get hot for stretches and carry a team and I was hopeful that they would essentially “trade off” their hot streaks.

    I didn’t imagine both just “being solid” each and every night but I did have some cautious optimism that tending wouldn’t be a problem.

    Feel free to go back through the blogs – it’ll be right there for you to see.

  8. OriginalPouzar says:

    who: You’re right, he might not be wrong about Koskinen.
    I just find it funny that he’s now saying he predicted league average goaltending.
    After he’s spent the last 6 months trashing Koskinen and his contract.

    Nope, that’s not even what I was saying.

    Was hopeful for league average tending – as per above.

  9. Yeti says:

    kgo:
    Lucic played less than 7 minutes EV against the preds!

    Those were the most tangible seven minutes in hockey history.

  10. Woodguy v2.0 says:

    pts2pndr: So with all that money they are going to the NHL defenseman store and purchase 3 top 4 D. Good luck with that!

    They have a lot of forwards they can trade for D as well.

    They can also decide to re-sign Muzzin and Barrie, although I think Barrie walks.

    Cap space doesn’t have to equal “spent on Free Agents”

  11. Woodguy v2.0 says:

    pts2pndr: I must apologizefor my curt answer as I value your opinion and knowledge. My thought is that Toronto
    will have one returning top four D. The balance of the D corps will have to be acquired via ufa signings or trade. Teams knowing they have the Leafs bent over are not going to be kind and the cost for said D will be very high assuming they are available.

    All good.

    TOR might also see teams that need forwards and have lots of D coming from a mile away.

    I think EDM and TOR might make interesting trade partners as each has what the other covets.

    TOR has good young forwards and EDM has good young Dmen.

  12. ArmchairGM says:

    For November, here’s who might have it easiest based only on average opponent expected win percentage:

    1. Carolina Hurricanes: 0.471

    2. San Jose Sharks: 0.471

    3. Minnesota Wild: 0.483

    4. Boston Bruins: 0.487

    5. Tampa Bay Lightning: 0.489

    That’s great for the Sharks who have looked cooked to start the season. November gives them a chance to turn their season around.

    And toughest:

    1. Buffalo Sabres: 0.536

    2. St. Louis Blues: 0.521

    3. New York Rangers: 0.517

    4. Chicago Blackhawks: 0.517

    5. Philadelphia Flyers: 0.516

    The Sabres are off to a dream start, but November will do a lot to prove whether this team is the real deal or not. The Canucks, for what it’s worth, have the sixth toughest schedule.

    https://theathletic.com/1340117/2019/10/31/16-stats-colorados-depth-doing-damage-vancouvers-stars-shine-and-nashvilles-power-play-comes-alive/

  13. Genjutsu says:

    Pescador: You forgot the rioting and vandalism these same “fans” beset upon their own city.
    Ha ha

    Twice fold they did this also they burned a bunch of cars too.

  14. Genjutsu says:

    Woodguy v2.0: They have a lot of forwards they can trade for D as well.

    They can also decide to re-sign Muzzin and Barrie, although I think Barrie walks.

    Cap space doesn’t have to equal “spent on Free Agents”

    This assumes Muzzin and his family want to finish his career in a cold weather fishbowl. After living the California lifestyle in relative anonymity for years thats a big if to say the least.

  15. Professor Q says:

    Pescador: Seattle Turncoats
    Seattle Flip Floppers
    Seattle Super Quitters
    Seattle Insufferables
    Seattle Shitbags
    Hey you’ll fit right in!
    All kidding aside, how could there ever possibly be a better name then the Seattle Sockeyes?

    The better name would be:

    Seattle Sockeye.

    The plural is the same as the singular, and it just sounds better.

  16. CallighenMan says:

    Harpers Hair: Honest answer.
    Your supposition about my life long Oiler fandom is correct.
    But I became disgusted by the Lowe/McTavish/Howson regime with their absolute arrogance and incompetence.
    I haven’t become a fan of another team but have instead turned my attention to teams that seem to know what they’re doing.
    The Oilers have been gifted with multiple high first round picks and still manage to fuck things up.
    Where I live of course affects what I see since Canucks games are easily accessed here.
    While I don’t express fandom based on geographical tribalism, it’s pretty obvious that the Canucks have built a roster that is better than the Oilers in far less time…even with some absolute bone headed moves by Benning.
    Their roster is balanced, their farm system is much better and the Oilers are riding two players to be competitive while the rest of the roster is pablum.
    Lowe and Howson still work for the Oilers.

    Just like the Wild, eh? Or are they not your flavour of the month anymore? hehe …

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