Too Many Clues in This Room

The Edmonton Oilers lost a winnable game on the road last night, I think it was a weak PS call but those are the breaks. Frustrating? Yes. Disaster? Hardly. It’s important to remember that the Oilers, while trying to make the playoffs, are also building the future. Kailer Yamamoto’s two games this season are a welcome reminder of just how important staying the course is for an organization running out of balance and at the top of the cap.

I know you want a trade for immediate help but four months of a UFA is empty calories. The club is adding important pieces. Ethan Bear. Caleb Jones. Kailer Yamamoto. William Lagesson. That’s the way you do it.

We’re into 2020 now, and the club is in a position where the out of town scoreboard is important. Edmonton was not blessed by it last night.

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, less than two coffees a month offer here. 

  • New Jonathan Willis: It would be a mistake to write off the Oilers after their December slump
  • New Daniel Nugent-Bowman: From Leon Draisaitl to the penalty kill, the things the Oilers need to improve to get back to the playoffs
  • New Lowetide: A shift-by-shift analysis of Kailer Yamamoto’s 2019-20 debut in the Oilers’ New Year’s Eve game.
  • Daniel Nugent-Bowman: James Neal puts on New Year’s Eve show to remember in Oilers’ thriller
  • Lowetide: Midseason review of ‘reasonable expectations’ shows Oilers are on track with preseason targets
  • Jonathan Willis and Daniel Nugent-Bowman: How are our Oilers predictions holding up at the midseason mark? We decided to find out
  • Jonathan Willis: Oilers midseason report card shows an unbalanced team with a lot of replaceable parts
  • Lowetide: Oilers recall Kailer Yamamoto and William Lagesson
  • Daniel Nugent-Bowman: ‘If I have another one in a short time, my career could be over’: Recent head injuries concerning Oilers’ Matt Benning
  • Jonathan Willis: The Oilers have actual problems; Connor McDavid’s defensive game is not among them
  • Daniel Nugent-Bowman: ‘We didn’t come with the mindset to play a hard game’: Poor preparation leaves Oilers coach steaming
  • Jonathan Willis: Leon Draisaitl is struggling badly, even as the Oilers’ depth forwards seem to be coming around
  • Lowetide: Complete Oilers top 20 prospects list, winter 2019
  • Lowetide: Oilers’ No. 5 prospect, Winter 2019 — Raphael Lavoie
  • Lowetide: Oilers’ No. 4 prospect winter 2019: Tyler Benson
  • Lowetide: Oilers No. 3 prospect winter 2019: Ethan Bear
  • Lowetide: Oilers’ No. 2 prospect winter 2019: Philip Broberg
  • Lowetide: Oilers’ No. 1 prospect winter 2019: Evan Bouchard

OILERS AFTER 43 GAMES

  • Oilers in 2015-16: 17-23-3, 37 points; goal differential -23
  • Oilers in 2016-17: 21-15-7, 49 points; goal differential +3
  • Oilers in 2017-18: 18-22-3, 39 points; goal differential -24
  • Oilers in 2018-19: 20-20-3, 43 points; goal differential -11
  • Oilers in 2019-20: 21-17-5, 47 points; goal differential -7

I have to say this team’s ability to hang around with the 2016 team this late in the season is impressive. Now, they’re down 10 in the goal differential, but 21 wins and 47 points is a solid total. Edmonton is on track for 90 points. I picked them to post 88. The Oilers are in the playoffs this morning and incredibly lead the Flames in goal differential. This is not a strong division.

OILERS IN JANUARY

  • Oilers in January 2016: 1-0-0, two points; goal differential 0
  • Oilers in January 2017: 0-1-0, no points; goal differential -2
  • Oilers in January 2018: 0-1-0, no points; goal differential -5
  • Oilers in January 2019: 1-0-0, two points; goal differential +1
  • Oilers in January 2020: 0-0-1, one point; goal differential -1

WHAT TO EXPECT IN JANUARY

  • On the road to: BUF, BOS, TOR, MTL, CAL (Expected 2-2-1) (Actual 0-0-1)
  • At home to: NAS, ARI, CAL, STL (Expected 1-2-1)
  • Overall expected result: 3-4-2, eight points in nine games
  • Current results: 0-0-1, one point in one game

Boston on Saturday has to be an assumed loss, it would be incredible to grab a point there. Toronto is also damn near impossible if they’re firing on all cylinders and they are doing just that right now. Montreal and Calgary are the other chances to grab points on the trip.

OILERS 2019-20

That second line had some jump early, seemed to fade a little as time went on. Lots of frustration from the team last night based on the sound bites, that’s good. Now to channel all that energy into grabbing some road points this month. All numbers five on five unless noted, and everything comes from NST.

LINE 1 James Neal-Connor McDavid-Zack Kassian played 15:39, going 11-13 Corsi, 9-7 shots, no goals and 3-3 HDSC.

James Neal had two shots on goal and hit a lot but didn’t look as dangerous as the NYR game. Made some nice passes though, hope they give him time to get settled on the big line. Connor McDavid had four shots, three HDSC and won eight of 15 in the dot while drawing a penalty. Quality as always, no goals. Zack Kassian had a HDSC and took a penalty, more good passing. He is a better play now than he’s ever been and it isn’t close.

LINE 2 Ryan Nugent Hopkins-Leon Draisaitl-Kailer Yamamoto played 13:40, going 13-5 Corsi, 8-2 shots, 1-0 goals and 2-0 HDSC.

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins scored a nice goal, played well and made smart plays with the puck. Leon Draisaitl had a good game, including an assist, a giveaway, two takeaways and he won 12 of 15 faceoffs. Had a brief wobble in OT that led to the PS. He had a couple of rocket shots too, but didn’t score. Kailer Yamamoto had an assist, two shots and both were HDSC. He should have been in Edmonton sooner, makes his line better.

LINE 3 Jujhar Khaira-Riley Sheahan-Josh Archibald played 7:58, going 5-7 Corsi, 2-6 shots, 1-2 goals, 2-4 HDSC.

Jujhar Khaira was quiet, seemed lost at times (like on the Lazar goal). Riley Sheahan scored and won five of seven on the dot. He is playing well, as well as he has at any time for the Oilers. Josh Archibald let his mark get inside position on the first goal against, but also had an assist.

LINE 4 Joakim Nygard-Gaetan Haas-Alex Chiasson played 6:52, going 4-0 Corsi, 4-0 shots no goals and 2-0 HDSC.

Joakim Nygard had two HDSC, his foot speed creates an urgency everywhere. Gaetan Haas didn’t get much in the way of chances but worked hard and skated miles. Alex Chiasson worked hard but is in one of those funks where he looks like he’ll never score again.

PAIRING ONE Oscar Klefbom and Ethan Bear played 20:16, going 13-10 Corsi, 8-5 shots, 1-0 goals and 4-2 HDSC. Spent 12:06 with McDavid, this is easily the best pairing for the top line.

Oscar Klefbom had three shots, one takeaway and several good moments in coverage. Moves the puck so well. He was out in overtime and part of the exchange that led to the PS. I think Oscar’s injury has made his footspeed average. I don’t know if they should run him in OT. Ethan Bear had two shots, several good outlet passes and some good decisions. He has such good touch on his passes. Battled hard down low in the defensive zone, he’s winning more of those battles.

PAIRING TWO Darnell Nurse and Kris Russell played 20:04, going 10-17 Corsi, 7-10 shots, 0-1 goals and 3-3 HDSC. Pairing struggled mostly due to making poor passing decisions (both turned simple neutral zone five foot passes into jailbreaks the other way) and Nurse stepped away from Sam Reinhart in the slot in the seconds before his fine tipped goal.

Darnell Nurse had one takeaway and several moments when he was nonchalant with the puck. He did pause several times to settle down the play, Oilers blue haven’t been doing that lately. Kris Russell had two shots, two blocked shots and worked hard to get between the puck and his own net. Better outlet passes would save him hours of work every night.

PAIRING THREE William Lagesson and Adam Larsson played 9:21, going 7-7 Corsi, 4-5 shots, 1-1 goals, 2-4 HDSC.

William Lagesson had a blocked shot and appears to be settling in. Made a nice little play in the neutral zone in the first period with danger all around. He just needs to play. I don’t know how they’re going to find room for Bear, Jones and Lagesson in the final 38 games. Adam Larsson got an assist, shot, he made it to the far side of the net to foil Johansson but didn’t get support and Lazar put the puck in the net.

GOALIE Mike Smith stopped 23 of 26, .885. The Lazar goal could have been aided by a goalie who was quicker laterally, but the Reinhart and Eichel tallies weren’t on the netminder.

THE OT PLAY

Play starts behind the Buffalo net, Oscar Klefbom steps left, Jack Eichel gets a step going up the left side. As Klefbom hits the neutral zone in pursuit, Leon Draisaitl arrives but does not interrupt Eichel’s path to the net in any way. At this point, Klefbom is in trail position and is forced to slash and hammer. I don’t think it was a PS, but they don’t ask me in these situations. Blame? I’m inclined to wonder about Oscar in OT (foot speed), and you could blame Leon for not slowing progress. It’s also true that Jack Eichel made a nice play.

THE FUTURE

I’m looking for roster additions who project as solutions to problems over the next several years. Some of them have to be inexpensive. Kailer Yamamoto’s cap hit will be $894,166 next season, the good things he is doing in the NHL now are heartening for 2020-21. Evan Bouchard, Tyler Benson and others are percolating on the farm, perhaps they’ll contribute later this year.

The more I think about it, the more I would like to see a “Patrick Maroon” style trade. Grab a player who is underperforming and under contract. Acquire him at a good price. I like that better than chasing Toffoli because it helps (potentially) now and later.

Did you see Connor McDavid’s frustrated postgame? Many, if not most, Oilers fans want the GM to make a trade right now to help this 2019-20 club. I think the smarter play is to look for a player who is possibly on the outs with his current team. Someone like Sam Bennett.

LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE

Friday edition of the show kickstarts the weekend! We get rolling at 10, Steve Lansky from BigMouthSports will talk Oilers and tell us the biggest sports story (for him) of 2019. We’re fluid on the other guest, likely NFL and possibly Julian Edlow from Draft Kings. We’ll chat WJ’s and more, 10-1260 text and @Lowetide on twitter. Talk soon!

written by

The author didn‘t add any Information to his profile yet.
Related Posts

225 Responses to "Too Many Clues in This Room"

« Older Comments
  1. Bruce McCurdy says:

    hunter1909:
    Bruce McCurdy,

    What’s your take on the goalies? You say you’re a goalie, so, what do you think as a goalie about the Oilers current pair?

    Bruce McCurdy: What I say is that I am an “old goalie”, most recently coached by Howie Meeker at Prince of Wales Arena in St. John’s NL over 50 years ago. I was also a keeper in soccer of which I played substantially more. So I do watch the goalies, empathize with the goalies, to a degree think like a goalie.

    I also have high expectations for the goalies. I don’t buy “the goalie had no chance on that one” as if he was some sort of passive bystander rather than an active participant in the game. I also don’t buy “the goalie would like THAT one back” not because it isn’t superficially true but because it is such a trite description that got old by about the 3rd time I heard it, let alone the 30,000th. C’mon you “colour” men & women, be better.

    Koskinen has been mostly good, at least league average by eye and by stat (.912 in a .908 league, though the average starter would be a bit higher). He’s #20 in cap hit for goalies, which is pretty fair recompense. He did struggle a bit with more workolad in December, when he started 11 of 14 games.

    Mike Smith? Last night’s .885 save percentage was his BEST in his last SEVEN appearances. Just the third of his last dozen GP in which he exceeded .870. Over the same span he had three games below .770.

    In the ten games of the twelve he was below .900, the Oilers lost all ten games. A couple were mop-ups of already lost games, but he didn’t exactly stop the bleeding in any of those games either.

    By eye he’s been playing without his usual confidence, too often back in the crease, opening up holes as he moves laterally across the net front, and forever lunging at shots. His reflexes aren’t what they once were, as is to be expected with a 37-year-old. One might like to see a more polished technical netminder at that age but here we are.

    I’ll agree his early start — not to mention his contract — affords him a longer leash, but this isn’t the first veteran guy we’ve seen come through here as a putative #2 & struggle. Jason LaBarbera got 7 games (.878) before being cut loose in 2013-14. Jonas Gustavsson got the same 7 games (.870) before getting waived out of the NHL in 2016-17. Al Montoya got 9 appearances at a respectable .906 to finish out 2017-18 & had a year left on his pact & instead the club hired Koskinen to play with Cam Talbot.

    For Smith, it’s 12 games at .856. That’s rounding up for goodness sakes. 277 shots, 40 (FORTY1111) goals against. No trade, 35+ contract notwithstanding, at some point one might expect the Oilers to somehow acquire a Casey DeSmith or similar & send Smith packing to the AHL as they did LaBarbera, Gustavsson, & Montoya.

    He does have a strong personality and I think both his GM & coach are supporters, but this can’t go on forever.

    Nothing quite like taking 20 minutes out of one’s life to give a detailed answ to a directed question only to find oneself talking to an empty room.

  2. jp says:

    Granlund isn’t playing again for Bakersfield tonight. Any news on an injury? Can a player be assigned to the minors while injured? I actually wonder if he’s not too happy about the assignment..

    I don’t think the veteran rules are preventing him from playing, yet he’s not while Miles Koules, Jakob Stukel, Luke Esposito and Cam Hebig (fresh from the ECHL) play forward tonight for the Bakersfield Condors. Injury or unhappy with an AHL assignment are the only options, right?

  3. OriginalPouzar says:

    Bouchard springs Cave for a partial breakaway but he misses the net.

  4. Pescador says:

    Bruce McCurdy:
    Nothing quite like taking 20 minutes out of one’s life to give a detailed answ to a directed question only to find oneself talking to an empty room.

    I would submit that sometimes conversation with Hunter is tantamount to an empty room 😁

  5. slopitch says:

    Wilde:
    Bakersfield Condors vs. San Diego Gulls; January 3rd, 2020; after two Periods:

    35CF-39CA
    17FF-19FA
    2GF-2GA

    Top F: McLeod (1.77 Game Score)
    4 shot attempts, 3 shot assists
    1 primary assist
    16CF-5CA
    1GF-0GA

    Top D: Bouchard (1.67 Game Score)
    4 shot attempts, 3 shot assist
    1 goal
    17CF-9CA
    1GF-0GA

    Nice to have the kids driving the play! 👍

  6. slopitch says:

    Bruce McCurdy:
    Nothing quite like taking 20 minutes out of one’s life to give a detailed answ to a directed question only to find oneself talking to an empty room.

    Ha! I enjoyed the post!

  7. Oz says:

    Very good win by the Condors, solid team effort from the goalie out, likely best game I have seen Skinner, Bouchard and Mcleod play.
    Edit: Look forward to Wilde summary and OP’s comments

  8. Lowetide says:

    Bruce McCurdy:
    Nothing quite like taking 20 minutes out of one’s life to give a detailed answ to a directed question only to find oneself talking to an empty room.

    I read it, Bruce! Noted again that you’d actually met one of my hockey heroes and then raced off to do some work. As with all your posts, thoughtfully presented and highly enjoyable to read.

  9. jp says:

    Bruce McCurdy:
    Nothing quite like taking 20 minutes out of one’s life to give a detailed answ to a directed question only to find oneself talking to an empty room.

    There isn’t. But you weren’t talking to an empty room, I had a read and I’m sure many others did too.

    I was looking at Koskinen’s numbers a day or two ago and was surprised to see his .912 still in the top half of starters (checking again now, he’s tied for 11/12/13th among goalies >20GP). So that’s a thoroughly solid result for him (based on expectations).

    It’s interesting that .912 would have ranked 18/19th last year, and that Koskinen finished 26th among >40GP goalers last year with .906. The extra .006 has made a pretty huge difference this season.

  10. Wilde says:

    Bakersfield Condors vs. San Diego Gulls; January 3rd, 2020; game totals:

    46CF-54CA
    25FF-26FA
    3GF-2GA

    Top F: Benson (1.71 Game Score)
    2 shot attempts, 3 shot assist
    1 goal, 1 primary assist
    11CF-17CA
    2GF-0GA

    Top D: Bouchard (1.88 Game Score)
    5 shot attempts, 5 shot assist
    1 goal
    1 penalty drawn
    21CF-15CA
    1GF-0GA

  11. hunter1909 says:

    Bruce McCurdy:
    Nothing quite like taking 20 minutes out of one’s life to give a detailed answ to a directed question only to find oneself talking to an empty room.

    LOL Sorry Bruce! That was a brilliant response!

    Please post more often. You posts are some of the best.

    PS: Too bad about Smith. I still like watching him handle the puck.

  12. jp says:

    Wilde:
    Bakersfield Condors vs. San Diego Gulls; January 3rd, 2020; game totals:

    46CF-54CA
    25FF-26FA
    3GF-2GA

    Top F: Benson (1.71 Game Score)
    2 shot attempts, 3 shot assist
    1 goal, 1 primary assist
    11CF-17CA
    2GF-0GA

    Top D: Bouchard (1.88 Game Score)
    5 shot attempts, 5 shot assist
    1 goal
    1 penalty drawn
    21CF-15CA
    1GF-0GA

    Thanks again for this stuff.

    Nice to see the Condors outperform their Corsi for a change.

    5 shot attempts and 5 shot assists is more than a little impressive for one game, no?

  13. OriginalPouzar says:

    Bruce McCurdy,

    Rest assured your response was read and much appreciated.

  14. Bling says:

    Wilde:
    Bakersfield Condors vs. San Diego Gulls; January 3rd, 2020; game totals:

    46CF-54CA
    25FF-26FA
    3GF-2GA

    Top F: Benson (1.71 Game Score)
    2 shot attempts, 3 shot assist
    1 goal, 1 primary assist
    11CF-17CA
    2GF-0GA

    Top D: Bouchard (1.88 Game Score)
    5 shot attempts, 5 shot assist
    1 goal
    1 penalty drawn
    21CF-15CA
    1GF-0GA

    Just call Benson up already.

  15. Wilde says:

    jp:
    5 shot attempts and 5 shot assists is more than a little impressive for one game, no?

    The assist part is pretty good but having 10 contributions as a Dman is about top 10% iirc

  16. jp says:

    McSorley33: Russell, Caleb Jones, now Laggeson…way too many lefties.

    Forcing someone to play on the wrong side.Not ideal.

    This imbalance needs to be corrected in the summer.

    I have come to realize how it is not really fair to Russell at all.

    I agree it’s not ideal. But only 40% of the defensemen to play a game in the NHL this year shot right. Lefty D play the right side for most teams.

    If you look at the 185 D who’ve played 24 games this year (one shy of 6 D per team).. each team has had about 2.5 RHD and 3.5 LHD. Russell is one of those guys, but it’s not rare.

  17. pts2pndr says:

    JimmyV1965: LOL I knew that would be your response.Russell is an insignificant part of the scoring issues.

    The reality is that K Russel spends too much time defending and it is next to impossible to score goals from the D zone. He is a good third pairing left D. He struggles when playing up the roster.

  18. jp says:

    Wilde: The assist part is pretty good but having 10 contributions as a Dman is about top 10% iirc

    So very good but nothing to write home about. Cool and thanks.

  19. Wilde says:

    jp: So very good but nothing to write home about. Cool and thanks.

    NP, also for anyone who’s curious Bouchard leads iCF and iCFA per game of all Dmen with 4.68 and 2.19 respectively – I’m going to be conservative about the implications of that until I do detailed analysis of Persson’s WOWYs to account for the Lowe/Manning drag

  20. JimmyV1965 says:

    OriginalPouzar: Of course, having a 2RD:

    – that can tansition the puck out of the zone efficiently and quickly
    – that does not give the puck away in the neutral zone
    – that doesn’t defend via star-fish

    could help the team score more than 2 goals, no?

    Of course more offensive dmen would improve the scoring, but we literally need some dman to score 20 because our forwards don’t have the chops to do it. When the team does cycle, which isn’t often enough, we have very few natural goal scorers. This is why we can’t score and I think you know that.

  21. Professor Q says:

    Bruce McCurdy:
    Nothing quite like taking 20 minutes out of one’s life to give a detailed answ to a directed question only to find oneself talking to an empty room.

    I haven’t been reading much or contributing as much or as importantly lately, Bruce. Not as in it this season, to be honest. But you are always appreciated, as a person and thoughts-wise.

  22. Bruce McCurdy says:

    Thanks, all. Sorry for the outburst. The whole attraction of this comments section is the dialog. I have another platform for soliloquys. 🤓

  23. Ribs says:

    Bruce McCurdy: Nothing quite like taking 20 minutes out of one’s life to give a detailed answ to a directed question only to find oneself talking to an empty room.

    Read the re-post. Hope that counts! As usual, I see things very similar to you.

    Those lunges of Smith’s are so bad. They are not the things large goalies should be doing. He seems to be deviating from what made/makes him successful. Maybe we can get Sean Burke to come do a consult with the guy?

    ____

    I hope everyone had a merry Christmas and enjoyed the holiday season! Thanks to everyone for the entertaining reads!

  24. frjohnk says:

    Bruce McCurdy:
    Nothing quite like taking 20 minutes out of one’s life to give a detailed answ to a directed question only to find oneself talking to an empty room.

    There are those of us who linger around from time to time and enjoy your ( and many others ) comments

  25. Reja says:

    Bling: Just call Benson up already.

    Bruce McCurdy:
    Thanks, all. Sorry for the outburst. The whole attraction of this comments section is the dialog. I have another platform for soliloquys. 🤓

    I thoroughly enjoyed your take on our Goaltenders and Howie Meeker there’s a name that’s a blast from the past. Howie had influence over thousands of young kids back in the day.

« Older Comments

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!
© Copyright - Lowetide.ca