Chapter One Complete

by Lowetide

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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Paulie

“Who’s zooming who?” I wonder this myself. More questions: Is Leon having a better season than Connor? By the eye test, Leon appears have a better 200 ft game. In the conversation about the top two NHL players, who else is in the conversation with Connor and Leon at this point in the season?

Andy Dufresne

Expos Win! Expos Win! Expos Win!

Party like its 1981 Baby!

#SmallBall

Andy Dufresne

Oilers Win! Oilers Win! Oilers Win!

JJ is Back Baby!

Smith to McDavid, McDavid to Draisaitl, Draisaitl to Neal

#ThankYouBrad

#BecauseOilers

Andy Dufresne

Paulie:
“Who’s zooming who?”I wonder this myself. More questions: Is Leon having a better season than Connor? By the eye test, Leon appears have a better 200 ft game. In the conversation about the top two NHL players, who else is in the conversation with Connor and Leon at this point in the season?

Leon is the new Kopitar

Leon is the Giant German Datsuk

#Richard

#Selke

Andy Dufresne

Question: Can the Expos win it all ?

Answer: Sure Sir

Headline reads: “Scherzer Strands Astros”

#TakinItToTheMax

Woodguy v2.0

19/20
EDM Goal Share after 14 games (9-4-1)

Even strength (5v5,4v4,3v3)
McDavid On Ice 18-7 (72%)(no shit)
McDavid Off Ice 9-18 (33%)
Net EV = +2

Sp. Teams (PP+SH For–PK+SH Against)
12-8
Net ST +4

Empty Net
2-3
Net EN = -1

SO & PS
1-1
SO & PS = Even

Net Goal Differential +5

Woodguy v2.0

5v5 Goal Share expanded:

At least one of McDavid,Drai, Nuge on ice:
(24-11) 69% (nice)
+13

None of McDavid, Drai, Nuge on ice:
(1-12) 8%
-11

Net +2

It’s like a challenge.

Woodguy v2.0

and goaltending that delivered well beyond expectations.

*cough cough*

Jethro Tull

Oilers made hay against a weaker team, as they should. Now on to Murderer’s row….and a Tabernac Saturday Matinee against The old guard of Sid the KId and Malkimania (google it).

LT, you’re right, the difference with Klef and Perrson is night and day.

I would argue that Russell is a shut down D. Also Nurse, but not so much. He has the ability to contribute. It’s one of the few binary things in hockey – either you’re a fast moving, puck dealing D, or you’re a shut down. Otherwise, what are you for?

Andy Dufresne

Woodguy v2.0:
5v5 Goal Share expanded:

At least one of McDavid,Drai, Nuge on ice:
(24-11) 69% (nice)
+13

None of McDavid, Drai, Nuge on ice:
(1-12) 8%
-11

Net +2

It’s like a challenge.

Would you want it any other way?

With the entire cast of bottom 6 hopefulls on expiring contracts and the cap set to rise.

#1 line in hockey in all of the world.

and a pretty good 2nd line Smith Nuge Neal 🙂

Stanley Cup appearance 2020-21

Stanley Cup Victory 2021-22

#KennysAGrinder

#TippettsAWinder

#MikkosAMinder

#ConnersABinder

#NugeIsJustKinder

Jethro Tull

Paulie:
“Who’s zooming who?”I wonder this myself. More questions: Is Leon having a better season than Connor? By the eye test, Leon appears have a better 200 ft game. In the conversation about the top two NHL players, who else is in the conversation with Connor and Leon at this point in the season?

If Connor hadn’t proven through a huge sample size that it doesn’t matter who he plays with, I’d be inclined to agree. But has Drai proven he can go at this pace away from Connor? That’s the “who’s zooming who…..m” test.

Jethro Tull

Woodguy v2.0:
and goaltending that delivered well beyond expectations.

*cough cough*

Buckleys? Some games, the Oilers have been Buckley’s – they played horrible, but they won. Last night was a good ol’ fashioned smackdown. I don’t think even Torts was too upset.

jonrmcleod

Speaking of the Expos, anyone know who their most famous draft pick was?

Paulie

Woodguy v2.0:
19/20
EDM Goal Share after 14 games (9-4-1)

Even strength (5v5,4v4,3v3)
McDavid On Ice 18-7 (72%)(no shit)
McDavid Off Ice 9-18 (33%)
Net EV = +2

Sp. Teams (PP+SH For–PK+SH Against)
12-8
Net ST +4

Empty Net
2-3
Net EN = -1

SO & PS
1-1
SO & PS = Even

Net Goal Differential +5

Thanks for this!! Would it be too much to ask for Leon on the ice #s and Leon/Connor (no Nuge) on the ice?

Yeti

Andy Dufresne: Would you want it any other way?

Yes, with strong confidence I do believe we would.

Andy Dufresne

Yeti: Yes, with strong confidence I do believe we would.

Rome wasnt built in a Decade.

#KennysAGrinder

Andy Dufresne

jonrmcleod:
Speaking of the Expos, anyone know who their most famous draft pick was?

I hope it was Bill “Spaceman” Lee

Paulie

Jethro Tull,

Very fair point. I would add that Leon’s defensive game appears stronger this year. But we need more games to see how long he can sustain this pace, esp. since he leads all forwards in ice time.

Professor Q

jonrmcleod:
Speaking of the Expos, anyone know who their most famous draft pick was?

Guerrero or Walker?

flea

Woodguy v2.0,

I’d like to see the splits on some other teams top three off and on the ice. I bet there is quite a bit of disparity throughout the league. could be wrong, but something tells me this isn’t just an Oilers stat.

Now I’d expect most teams to be a little better than the Oilers – the bottom 6 has been awful – but I still think there would be a split between the two on most teams.

Ben

Woodguy v2.0: None of McDavid, Drai, Nuge on ice:
(1-12) 8%
-11

Eight percent?! Out of a hundred?!

Much of the bottom six (and coaching staff) has turned over and is generally populated with players who’ve recently scored 10 (even 20!) or more goals. Still. Can’t. Piss. A. Drop.

Last year the 3rd and 4th lines were historically unproductive, this year could be even worse.

So you have to start wondering if there’s something else going on here–whether it’s usage or matchups or just the psychological effect of having two of the best clean-up hitters in the universe saving everyone’s bacon night after night.

PDO begs patience. I say call in the exorcist.

Jethro Tull

Andy Dufresne: Rome wasnt built in a Decade of Darkness.

#KennysAGrinder

FIFY

#KennyStillHasWorkToDo

Bos8

jonrmcleod:
Speaking of the Expos, anyone know who their most famous Erdraft pick was?

Carter, Walker was slow and Denver. The others weren’t drafted.

jonrmcleod

Bos8: Carter, Walker was slow and Denver.The others weren’t drafted.

Nope. Hint: Think of someone who never ended up playing baseball.

N64

Andy Dufresne: I hope it was Bill “Spaceman” Lee

Enjoyed the Expos Autumns when they were allowed, but the Spaceman is still a Red Sox to me..

frjohnk

jonrmcleod: Nope. Hint: Think of someone who never ended up playing baseball.

Had to google that one.

Wow. Never knew that.

Thanks

N64
Doug McLachlan

Ok really starting to like the Khaira-Nuge-Gagner line. No true sniper on the line but two gifted playmakers and a bull in the China shop who has clear expectations of his role. This was, btw, what Lucic was supposed to be and almost immediately wasn’t.

Super hopeful about the Neal-Haas-Chaisson trio. If Haas can figure it out quick enough, there is some potential here. Chaisson becomes the crasher/basher on the line (Neal can do it too but his soft mitts need to be above the goal-line).

We are about halfway through Larsson’s expected absence, maybe more, and everyone is penciling him back with Klefbom. Makes sense as that had been the history but I wonder if the relative success with Klefbom-Persson (along with the revelation that Nurse-Bear has been) it might not be better to pair the D up as follows:

Nurse-Bear
Klefbom-Persson
Russell-Larsson
Benning

Coach T had really talked, preseason, about a Nurse-Larsson shutdown pair but the magic that Nurse-Bear has created has to have put that idea back on the shelf even when Larsson comes off it. Doesn’t Russell-Larsson fit the “shutdown” skillset better? Whether creating a shutdown pair is desirable in today’s NHL is another question.

Bos8

Hated Carter for Blue Monday, hated Denver John for football.

texmex

I wonder what happens when Larsson returns? He could return in a couple of weeks (has been out for 4 weeks. Original injury diagnosis was 6-8 weeks.). Seems like Kbomb plays better with a puck mover, but does have history with Lars.

Klef Larsson
Nurse Bear
Russel Perrson
Benning?

I’m guessing they would slow play Larsson for a few games, so maybe he starts in the 3rd pair with Russell? I’m very curious to see how it plays out, assuming no injuries to the D b/w now and then.

Bag of Pucks

frjohnk: Had to google that one.

Wow.Never knew that.

Thanks

Crazy stuff. Didn’t know that either.

who

Professor Q: Guerrero or Walker?

Guerrero wasn’t drafted. Free agent signing.
I’m gonna go for the obscure and say Conridge Holloway.

Henry

jonrmcleod:
Speaking of the Expos, anyone know who their most famous draft pick was?

Randy Johnson

Andy Dufresne

Jethro Tull: FIFY

#KennyStillHasWorkToDo

Nice try but

#HockeysAConstantGrind

ArmchairGM

You know, for all the man-talk of food, whiskey and sports on here, we never really seem to broach the subject of cars. But those Alfa adds on this page, do they ever tug at the heartstrings… I’ll have mine with a cloverleaf, please!

Andy Dufresne

Yeti: Yes, with strong confidence I do believe we would.

We’ve got them right where they want us now. 🙂

ChiliChunk

Bos8: Walker was slow

I said pardon?

Durag

Paulie:
“Who’s zooming who?”I wonder this myself. More questions: Is Leon having a better season than Connor? By the eye test, Leon appears have a better 200 ft game. In the conversation about the top two NHL players, who else is in the conversation with Connor and Leon at this point in the season?

I encourage this kind of discussion because Connor is going to look at the scoring leaders, read some twitter comment like this, get angry, go to his special, soundproof Emotion Closet at home for 5 minutes and blow off some steam, then score 10 points in the next 3 games.

John Chambers

How many ‘soft’ goals have Oiler goaltenders surrendered this year?

Smith had a couple of giveaways against LA, and you might nominate a couple of lesser chances, but the absence of Talbot giving up first-shot goals does a lot to inform the Oilers’ record.

Bar_Qu

jonrmcleod,

That’s amazing

OilClog

If you’re watching the games thinking Leon isn’t zooming everyone right now, you’re not watching the games. When he skated down to make sure Smith was high fived in the goal celebration.. That’s the leader.

McDavid is amazing, but Leon is playing like he’s the best damn hockey player in the world at the moment.

Bask in his hockey glory while the trools tend to their garden of griefs.

Woodguy v2.0

Andy Dufresne,

Would you want it any other way?

I would like the bottom 6 to be 45%+ 5v5 Goal Share like good teams have.

pts2pndr

Jethro Tull:
Oilers made hay against a weaker team, as they should. Now on to Murderer’s row….and a Tabernac Saturday Matinee against The old guard of Sid the KId and Malkimania (google it).

LT, you’re right, the difference with Klef and Perrson is night and day.

I would argue that Russell is a shut down D. Also Nurse, but not so much. He has the ability to contribute. It’s one of the few binary things in hockey – either you’re a fast moving, puck dealing D, or you’re a shut down. Otherwise, what are you for?

Russell is a warrior. Russel at this time in his career is a very good left shot third pairing D, who can play second pairing for short periods when paired with a good partner. Russel is old school D whose default is to back in versus challenge at the blue line. He unfortunately is payed top four money on a cap crunch team which is not his fault. He therefore gets dissed for either being played above his abilities and or for his contract which are both out of his control. Whatever anyone thinks I respect that he gives his all on each and every shift to wit, his bruises have bruises.

Woodguy v2.0

Jethro Tull: Buckleys?Some games, the Oilers have been Buckley’s – they played horrible, but they won.Last night was a good ol’ fashioned smackdown. I don’t think even Torts was too upset.

EDM’s all situation SV% is .914

I had them (on this blog and elsewhere) at .905 or so and received strong push back.

Early days, but so far so good.

Rest is important for goalies.

Andy Dufresne

“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.”

This team is so old that every time Rendon came to bat my mind flashed to the scene in the movie MoneyBall where Billy Bean is negotiating on the phone with Mark Shapiro to aquire Rincon

#RendonRincon
#UmaOprah

Suzuki, Kendrick, Zimmerman…..I mean talk about your fossils…..makes a guy feel young again….almost

#BiteMeBryceHarper

Woodguy v2.0

Paulie: Thanks for this!! Would it be too much to ask for Leon on the ice #s and Leon/Connor (no Nuge) on the ice?

Have a look: https://naturalstattrick.com/linestats.php?fromseason=20192020&thruseason=20192020&stype=2&sit=5v5&score=all&rate=n&team=EDM&vteam=ALL&view=wowy&loc=B&gpfilt=none&fd=2019-10-02&td=2020-04-04&tgp=2000&strict=incl&p1=8478402&p2=8477934&p3=8476454&p4=0&p5=0

That’s Natural Stat Trick’s WOWY tool.

Its fun to play with once you figure it out (easy to figure out, make sure you pay attention to “game state” which is 5v5, 4v5 etc.

The NHL considers the TOI when the goalie is pulled as “Even Strength” so that option is pretty useless as empty net goals are not “even strength” in any sense of the term….unless you are the NHL

Fuhr and Lowething in Vegreville

Andy Dufresne: Leon is the new Kopitar

Leon is the Giant German Datsuk

#Richard

#Selke

And if things keep going as they are, maybe even #hart.

Also, any news on how long Sheahan will be out?

I still can’t wrap my head around the fact that we currently possess two of the top 5 centers in the world plus Nuge whom is a legit high end 2nd line C and yet everybody is screaming that we need to find a third line C? NO! We need to separate our current Centers and acquire some better wingers that are supposedly easier to obtain and cheaper.

GB&Q
Paulie

Woodguy v2.0,

Thanks!

Woodguy v2.0

flea:
Woodguy v2.0,

I’d like to see the splits on some other teams top three off and on the ice. I bet there is quite a bit of disparity throughout the league. could be wrong, but something tells me this isn’t just an Oilers stat.

Now I’d expect most teams to be a little better than the Oilers – the bottom 6 has been awful – but I still think there would be a split between the two on most teams.

Here’s 12 seasons of every team’s 5v5 goal share with their best player on/off the ice:

http://becauseoilers.blogspot.com/2019/05/12-seasons-of-nhl-teams-5v5-goal-share.html

What we see happening this year is amazingly bad.

Good teams are 45%+ (some are 50%+) in 5v5 GF% for their bottom 6.

I actually have the data on “top line, 2nd line, bottom 6” , but I don’t publish it.

What I linked to is “star on, star off”, but you’ll see that the best teams are over 50% with their star off, and there is no way they can do that with their bottom 6 under 45%……let alone the amazing 8% that we see here.