The first time San Jose and the Oilers played an NHL regular season game it was November 1991 and the expansion Sharks hammered the Damphouse-Manson-Mellanby Oilers. Since then, I never count on a win against the Oakland Seals 2.0. Call it the curse of Gilles Meloche.
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, less than two coffees a month offer here.
- New Lowetide: Analyzing Dave Tippett’s defensive usage and what the Oilers will do when Adam Larsson returns
- Lowetide: What’s going on with the Bakersfield Condors?
- Daniel Nugent-Bowman: Ryan Nugent-Hopkins shines, mad props for Leon Draisaitl and more to like as the Oilers beat the Devils
- Daniel Nugent-Bowman: What inexperienced defencemen like the Oilers’ Joel Persson must do to gain their coach’s confidence
- Lowetide: Oilers are closer to having an effective second line than a year ago, but few have noticed
- Daniel Nugent-Bowman: The beauty of a good night’s sleep can be elusive for many NHL players
- Jonathan Willis: Why the Oilers were wise to gamble on Tomas Jurco, even though it didn’t pan out
- Jonathan Willis: The unlikely goalie performances underpinning the Oilers’ hot start
- Lowetide: How far away is Evan Bouchard and what role will he play with the Oilers?
- Scott Wheeler: Analyzing Jesse Puljujarvi’s play in Finland to see what he could offer as an NHLer
- Jonathan Willis: Oilers right to wait until they’re sure before recalling Kailer Yamamoto, Tyler Benson
- Lowetide: Can Leon Draisaitl score more than 50 goals this season?
- Lowetide: Bakersfield Condors coaching staff continues to mold unheralded players into legit NHL prospects.
- Daniel Nugent-Bowman: Oilers Mailbag: Fixing the forward depth, slotting the big three, a Puljujarvi trade and more
- Minnia Feng: The 2019-20 Oilers fan guide to emotions and stressful circumstances
- Jonathan Willis: How much will the Oilers have to pay to keep pending free agent Zack Kassian?
- Lowetide: Oilers top 20 prospects summer 2019.
OILERS AFTER 20 GAMES
- Oilers in 2015: 7-12-1, 15 points; goal differential -8
- Oilers in 2016: 11-8-1, 23 points; goal differential +7
- Oilers in 2017: 7-11-2, 16 points; goal differential -13
- Oilers in 2018: 9-10-1, 19 points; goal differential -9
- Oilers in 2019: 12-5-2, 26 points; goal differential +12
The Oilers are in a great spot now but the season is long and slumps will occur. The 7-1-0 start is the key to this record, if the Oilers can play November a little above Bettman .500 the U.S. Thanksgiving standings rule (75 percent chance of making the playoffs if you are in position) should favor Edmonton.
OILERS IN NOVEMBER
- Oilers in November 2015: 2-4-0, four points; goal differential -4
- Oilers in November 2016: 2-3-1, five points; goal differential -4
- Oilers in November 2017: 3-3-0, six points; goal differential -2
- Oilers in November 2018: 2-4-0, four points; goal differential -6
- Oilers in November 2019: 3-1-1, seven points; goal differential +7
The goal differential is stunning compared to the previous four seasons. Lots of good defense and goaltending in those numbers. The next two weeks are massive. If Edmonton can avoid a slump, December will arrive with everyone in good spirits. No Donner party, no sad Bonnie Raitt songs, no “Nadir’s Raiders” posts from this blog. Music!
WHAT TO EXPECT IN NOVEMBER?
- On the road to: PIT (Expected 0-1-0) (Actual 1-0-0)
- At home to: ARI, STL, NJD (Expected 2-1-0) (Actual 1-1-1)
- On the road to: ANA, SJS (Expected 1-0-1) (Actual 1-0-0)
- At home to: COL, DAL (Expected 1-1-0)
- On the road to: SJS, LAK, VEG, ARI, COL (Expected 2-3-0)
- At home to: VAN (Expected 1-0-0)
- Overall expected result: 7-6-1, 15 points in 14 games
- Current results: 3-1-1, 7 points after five games
A win tonight and the Oilers are over halfway to my predicted point total with eight games to find six points. In fact, with the 12-5-2 start Edmonton could go 30-30-3 from this point to the end of the season and finish 42-35-5, 89 points. It’s a good spot.
TOP 20 PROSPECTS
I’m preparing this winter’s top 20 prospects and have been struck by the fact all of last year’s top 20 returns. There will be some movement as three or four new arrivals from the 2019 draft will push a few players out. Looking at the top five and I think that might remain the same (although in a different order).
Did I ever tell you about my idea to go all the way back to 1979 and do a top 20 prospects for each season? I abandoned it because it’s doubtful anyone cares, but as a curio I’ll drop one of them here. The idea is to rank these players where they would have been slotted at the time, not where they would be ranked after their careers. Here’s 1980 summer:
Coffey was the big pick in summer ’80, Anderson played for the Canadian Olympic Team and Seattle Breakers of the WHL (7, 5-5-10). Jari Kurri was playing well in a pro league (Liiga) in Europe, Poddubny caught fire after a mid-season OHL trade and Tom Roulston one of two quality players on the farm team in Houston.
Young Puljujarvi stated yesterday (if google translate is correct) that the plan is to stay in Finland and play in the Liiga all year. I’m pleased he made the decision and it is my belief this increases the chances he returns to Edmonton next fall. JP is playing a more confident game and having success, so whatever else happens he is increasing his own value. For Ken Holland, there’s no hurry and if the offers don’t get better there’s a very good chance we are at the same spot next November. I think there’s a sliver of a chance the player side realizes the situation next August and signs a deal with the Oilers. Nothing is working, Holland won’t budge. Stubborn mule! Sometimes a stubborn mule wins the day. Just saying.
LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE
At 10 this morning TSN1260 it’s been an eventful 24 hours. Jonathan Willis from The Athletic will join us at 10:20 to talk Oilers in San Jose, Jesse Puljujarvi, fall trades and the return of Adam Larsson. A special appearance from Steve Lansky of BigMouthSports follows, we’ll talk about the Don Cherry firing and what’s next for HNIC. At 11:05, Corey Graham joins us to talk about the Oil Kings loss to Tri-City Americans and the brilliance of Beck Warm.