This blog is about a lot of things, but at its heart, everything is driven by hyperbole. I won’t say this is the biggest game of the year, but you should know I want to say it. That’s the spirit of the Lowetide blog. From Donner Party to ‘giants walk among us’ it’s always been my way. I thought you should know.
The first time these two teams met in Florida, it was a 4-4 tie. The big story for Edmonton was Brent Grieve, who scored twice. You may not remember Grieve, he was a big winger who could win puck battles and score some. Grieve’s career was shorted by injury but he had 13 goals in his first NHL shot with Edmonton (acquired by Slats in December 1993). Boxscore is here.
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 Daniel Nugent-Bowman: Despite ‘transformation’ with Oilers, Zack Kassian’s on-ice actions come under scrutiny again
- New Jonathan Willis: Why the Oilers are playing their best 5-on-5 hockey of the season
- Lowetide: Making sense of the Oilers defensive depth chart for the stretch run and the summer
- Daniel Nugent-Bowman: ‘It was reactionary’: Oilers’ Zack Kassian addresses alleged kick; Lightning depth strikes; and Kailer Yamamoto’s big game
- Jonathan Willis: 10 overlooked trade targets for the Oilers before the 2020 deadline
- 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
- Lowetide: The Oilers trading their first-round pick is a bad idea
- 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
- Lowetide: If fast is the new big, the Oilers are trending in a very good direction
- 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
OILERS AFTER 58 GAMES
- Oilers in 2015-16: 22-30-6, 50 points; goal differential -28
- Oilers in 2016-17: 31-19-8, 70 points; goal differential +13
- Oilers in 2017-18: 24-30-4, 52 points; goal differential -33
- Oilers in 2018-19: 24-29-5, 53 points; goal differential -25
- Oilers in 2019-20: 30-21-6, 66 points; goal differential +3
I’m fascinated by the goal differentials, all teams but the current group are stretching toward agony or ecstasy. My goodness three of these teams were bad.
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: 4-3-0
OILERS IN FEBRUARY
- Oilers in February 2016: 2-5-0, four points; goal differential -16
- Oilers in February 2017: 4-3-0, eight points; goal differential +1
- Oilers in February 2018: 1-5-1, three points; goal differential -4
- Oilers in February 2019: 1-4-2, four points; goal differential -10
- Oilers in February 2020: 3-3-0, six points; goal differential +1
It’s a big game tonight and we don’t know what the second line looks like, so you know the goalie will be important in this one. A bit of concern about the power-play entries as well.
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) (Actual 0-1-0)
- 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: 3-3-0, six points in six games
I see this as being the key contest this weekend, because the Carolina game tomorrow is the definition of a schedule loss. Today’s game is the one. Win it and the week is a success (2-1-0 going into Sunday).
I’m guessing Granlund (the veteran) draws in for Kassian on the No. 2 line, but suspect we’ll also see Tyler Benson this afternoon. Edmonton needs more skill, need some goals. Benson can’t be expected to have a major impact but his numbers suggest he can help.
The NHLE took some hits in yesterday’s comments, I’ll remind you that Kailer Yamamoto’s draft day NHLE (37.7) told us he had a real chance, while Jesse Puljujarvi’s (20.8) was a red sky in the morning. Anything over 30 NHLE for a forward is excellent, anything over 20 for a defenseman is too. If a player is beyond the age of the entry deal (20-22 for entry) then these numbers are probably embellishing a little. Here we go.
Now it’s easy to poke holes in the NHLE but math can be creative as well as precise. Kailer Yamamoto is more efficient in the NHL than he was in the AHL, but his numbers in the minors indicated he was a skill player. NHLE can’t tell us everything because we don’t have time on ice. NHLE never did betray John Marino as an example, because he didn’t play a feature role in college. It has value.
I will tell you that, in looking at these numbers, all of Benson, Puljujarvi, Lavoie, Jones, Persson and Bouchard are bona fide and can be expected to carry enough of the load to be projected as NHL players when their time arrives. McLeod and Maksimov will get a TOI push a year from now, their story has yet to be written. Based on their usage, these are solid numbers.