Through 56 games this season at five on five, the Edmonton Oilers are 111-128 (-17) in goal differential. Through 57 games this season, the Tampa Bay Lightning are 135-97 (+38). That’s before we factor in McDavid’s absence. This ain’t no party, this ain’t no disco, this ain’t no foolin’ around.
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: 10 overlooked trade targets for the Oilers before the 2020 deadline
- New Jonathan Willis: Meet Bob Stauffer, the Oilers insider who balances two roles: team employee and team critic
- Lowetide: Why Connor McDavid’s injury is unlikely to alter Ken Holland’s trade deadline plan for the Oilers
- Daniel Nugent-Bowman: ‘We want to take it as a challenge’: Oilers survive first game without McDavid as room for improvement remains
- Daniel Nugent-Bowman: Trying to make sense of Connor McDavid’s injury and Darnell Nurse’s new contract with Oilers
- Jonathan Willis: Faced with uncertainty, Oilers hedge their bet on Darnell Nurse
- Lowetide: Oilers sign Darnell Nurse
- Daniel Nugent-Bowman: Oilers Observations: A Connor McDavid scare, Leon Draisaitl’s back, boosting the top line and helping Zack Kassian
- Lowetide: The Oilers trading their first-round pick is a bad idea
- Daniel Nugent-Bowman: After a ‘long road’ to the NHL, Tyler Benson’s Oilers debut holds extra meaning
- Daniel Nugent-Bowman: ‘Emotionless’ Oilers fail yet again to match passion from a week ago
- Daniel Nugent-Bowman: 15 potential trade targets for the Oilers before the 2020 deadline
- Lowetide: Drilling down on right-handed centres for the Oilers to target before the trade deadline
- Jonathan Willis: Oilers trade suggestions: 50 proposals from readers, with our verdict
- Lowetide: If fast is the new big, the Oilers are trending in a very good direction
- Daniel Nugent-Bowman: ‘I got a text from Wayne Gretzky that I’ve still got saved’: 8 years later, Sam Gagner reflects on his 8-point night.
- Lowetide: What’s next for Tyler Benson and William Lagesson after being called up by the Oilers?
- Lowetide: Why the Oilers are more likely to trade Adam Larsson than Kris Russell
- Lowetide: Oilers prospects Evan Bouchard and Tyler Benson deliver best minor league performances in 20 years
- Jonathan Willis: An updated list of which Oilers are most likely to be traded in 2019-20
- Lowetide: Kailer Yamamoto gives Oilers a midseason spark, one of the best in team history
- Jonathan Willis: The Oilers’ road forward — and perhaps to a Stanley Cup — requires trusting the kids on defence
OILERS AFTER 57 GAMES
- Oilers in 2015-16: 22-29-6, 50 points; goal differential -27
- Oilers in 2016-17: 30-19-8, 68 points; goal differential +10
- Oilers in 2017-18: 23-30-4, 50 points; goal differential -34
- Oilers in 2018-19: 24-28-5, 53 points; goal differential -23
- Oilers in 2019-20: 30-20-6, 66 points; goal differential +4
This is a monster road trip, but I think reasonable expectations (considering McDavid is hurt) should be something like 1-2-0. If Edmonton hits Monday at 31-22-6, 68 points after 59 games, no one should complain. Need a goalie to steal one of those weekend games.
ON THE TENS
- First 10 games: 7-2-1
- Second 10 games: 5-4-1
- Third 10 games: 5-4-1
- Fourth 10 games: 3-6-1
- Fifth 10 games: 6-2-2
- Current 10 games: 4-2-0
The next four games are against Tampa Bay, Florida, Carolina and Boston. This 10-game stanza may end up being something like 5-5-0.
OILERS IN FEBRUARY
- Oilers in February 2016: 2-4-0, four points; goal differential -14
- Oilers in February 2017: 3-3-0, six points; goal differential -1
- Oilers in February 2018: 1-4-1, three points; goal differential -1
- Oilers in February 2019: 1-3-2, four points; goal differential -8
- Oilers in February 2020: 3-2-0, six points; goal differential +2
So far this month, the Oilers have delivered solid play and beaten some impressive teams. This road trip, the one that starts tonight, is another issue altogether. If we’re honest, even three points grabbed in any fashion over the weekend would be impressive.
WHAT TO EXPECT IN FEBRUARY
- On the road to: CAL, ARI (Expected 1-1-0) (Actual 1-1-0)
- At home to: SJS, NAS, CHI (Expected 2-1-0) (Actual 2-1-0)
- On the road to: TBY, FLA, CAR (Expected 1-1-1)
- At home to: BOS, MIN (Expected 1-1-0)
- On the road to: LAK, ANA, VEG (Expected 2-1-0)
- At home to: WPG (Expected 1-0-0)
- Overall expected result: 8-5-1, 17 points in 14 games
- Current results: 3-2-0, six points in five games
Oilers will be in California at the deadline, having played the LA Kings on February 23 with Anaheim the opposition two days later. The deadline this year is February 24, the Monday. The Oilers have six games between now and that date, and they are tough ones. I think Edmonton will go 3-3-0 in those games, meaning the deadline record would be 33-23-6, 72 points in 62 games. Does that put the team close enough to the playoffs to be a buyer? I think it does.
Where does Tyler Benson play? First, he might not get into tonight’s game, Edmonton won against Chicago and that usually means same lineup in the next game.
Given the choice, and with the understanding the No. 1 line of Nuge-Leon-KY probably stays together, I’d go Benson-Haas-Gagner. You can say ‘that’s the fourth line’ but they’re all fourth lines after Leon. I think coach Dave Tippett will rely on the Sheahan line for checking on the road, and the Cave trio suppressed shots impressively the other night. Benson with Gagner means some real skill and Haas has speed and can disrupt damn near anything headed the other way.
Bakersfield is a melluva hess currently and there’s nothing really that can be done. Condors lost last night had a lead going into the third but couldn’t hold it.
Even with that as a backdrop, there’s real talent down there. Evan Bouchard and Dmitri Samorukov are on a track that lands them in the NHL, Ryan McLeod and Kirill Maksimov showing good signs in the first year of entry deals. Stuart Skinner has impressed me. Since January 1, in front of a dwindling roster, he has stopped 400 of 440 shots (.909). Take out the last three games, when a skeleton staff was showing up for work and he’s stopped 373 of 401 shots, .930. There’s a player there. Pretty sure.
LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE
At 10 this morning, TSN1260, we’ll hit the ground running and talk the wide world of sports. Sean Woodley from Raptors HQ, Locked on Raptors and TSN1150 will talk about the end of a fantastic winning streak for the Raptors. Frank Seravalli from TSN will chat Jay Boumeester, Oilers road trip and the trade deadline. Erik Erlendsson of Lightning Insider talks about tonight’s home team, injuries and why the regular season is just a dress rehearsal in Tampa Bay. 10-1260 text, @Lowetide on twitter. Steady talking starts at 10!