Every summer we argue about needing good 12 forwards but the truth is we should spend more time in identifying 10 defensemen. Man it’s a tough position to play. If you’re ever in the woods with a buddy and get chased by a bear, pray to the heavens your friend is a former NHL defenseman. Improves the odds.
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: For Oilers’ Kailer Yamamoto and Leon Draisaitl, first impressions are long forgotten. Why not for Jesse Puljujarvi?
- New Daniel Nugent-Bowman: Next-night masters: How the Oilers beat the Hurricanes and improved to 6-0 in the 2nd half of back-to-backs
- Lowetide: Oilers reap benefits of Bakersfield Condors’ strong development process, even in a losing season
- Daniel Nugent-Bowman: Stepping out and up, Leon Draisaitl puts himself in the Hart Trophy mix in Connor McDavid’s absence
- Daniel Nugent-Bowman: Despite ‘transformation’ with Oilers, Zack Kassian’s on-ice actions come under scrutiny again
- 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 60 GAMES
- Oilers in 2015-16: 22-32-6, 50 points; goal differential -31
- Oilers in 2016-17: 32-20-8, 72 points; goal differential +12
- Oilers in 2017-18: 25-31-4, 54 points; goal differential -33
- Oilers in 2018-19: 25-29-6, 56 points; goal differential -24
- Oilers in 2019-20: 32-21-6, 70 points; goal differential +5
Insanity that this year’s team can match the 2016-17 group but we are here. The Oilers have been good against the Bruins in recent seasons, but this game tonight features a banged up home side. Suspect the goalie is the first star if Edmonton gets a result.
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: 6-3-0
No matter the result, this has been a fine 10-game stanza. The Oilers are 12-5-2 since that wobbly spot in the middle of the year.
OILERS IN FEBRUARY
- Oilers in February 2016: 2-7-0, four points; goal differential -18
- Oilers in February 2017: 5-4-0, 10 points; goal differential 0
- Oilers in February 2018: 2-6-1, five points; goal differential -4
- Oilers in February 2019: 1-5-3, five points; goal differential -12
- Oilers in February 2020: 5-3-0, 10 points; goal differential +3
A strong February, coming on the heels of an impressive January, is the kind of new year the McDavid Oilers have rarely known.
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 2-1-0)
- 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: 5-3-0, 10 points in eight games
The month has marched in lock step with my predictions so far, that’s breaking news. I have tonight as a loss.
Lagesson is a fine young defender and the organization needs to find out about him. NO ONE would wish this as a way for him to get into the lineup and it’s not certain he keeps the job for any length of time. We know Kris Russell isn’t ready to come back yet, we know Evan Bouchard is the best recall option, we know the lefties in Bakersfield are Brandon Manning, Keegan Lowe and Dmitri Samorukov.
Elliotte Friedman’s 31 Thoughts was fascinating yesterday. Friedman heard from more than one source that Blake Coleman was the one player Edmonton was willing to deal their first-round pick for at the deadline.
Not Taylor Hall? Why Coleman? Several reasons, chief among them control. Coleman isn’t expensive and is signed for another year. Edmonton would have a chance to test him and then (one would hope) sign Coleman before free agency summer 2021.
What does he bring? A 1.85 five on five per 60 scoring number. 12.2 shots per 60 at five on five. Good possession numbers. Fantastic speed. Almost three minutes a night on the PK. And at a very reasonable price. All good. I wouldn’t trade the first-round pick in 2020 for him. Holland (based on reports) may have been contemplating the idea, although we don’t know the entirety of the deal. Maybe there were conditions on the trade that would impact things if Coleman didn’t sign an extension. He’s an exceptional deadline pickup.
Ondrej Kase, Andreas Athanasoui and Kasperi Kapanen (injured) are somewhat similar, but none of the speed/range of skills/current success offered by Coleman. I remain convinced the best targets are Tomas Tatar and Chris Tierney.
FIVE ON FIVE/60 AND CORSI FIVE ON FIVE (SINCE JAN 1)
Oilers since January 1: Interesting to see the scoring numbers across the board and improvement from Sheahan-Archibald over the last few weeks. Oilers need to get healthy in a quick hurry but these Jan-Feb totals are encouraging. The goalie numbers show Koskinen close to his season totals in GAA and off slightly in save percentage, while Smith has been quality for seven weeks compared to his previous levels. That top line has been insane since Yamamoto landed there.
It takes about 11 seconds for an opinion to become fact among Oilers fans online these days. I’m absolutely sure that this blog has contributed to these kinds of things over the years and yours truly would be a suspect for sure.
It doesn’t take long to check on someone’s verbal. A few weeks ago, I started reading about Philip Broberg being a shutdown defenseman who shouldn’t be expected to deliver much should he make the NHL. Question: How in hell does anyone know this?
Let’s use Filip Berglund and Broberg, who are teammates, as comparisons:
Broberg has scored five points in 461:25 even-strength minutes. That’s 0.65 points per 60 at even strength, age 18.
Berglund has scored seven points in 568:24 even strength minutes. That’s 0.74 points per 60 at even strength, age 22.
Are we sure about Broberg’s offense? Berglund is averaging over two minutes a night on the power play, so we know he’s an offensive contributor, right? Let’s do Oscar Klefbom’s numbers at the same age Broberg is now.
Klefbom scored two points in 398:12 even strength minutes. That’s 0.30 points per 60 at even strength, age 18. Keep in mind Klefbom’s career highs in the NHL are 12 goals and 38 points.
How can this be? He didn’t score at 18 in the SHL, that is apparently enough evidence to bury him. Or, you know, not.
I think we as a group, in our eagerness to show how smart we are (that’s a human item, nothing any of us can do about the urge), have thrown caution and curiosity to the wind. Need to temper the strength of our words, maybe couch our verbal with “I’ve been wondering about x, and will now do a thorough job of looking at it, will then post my work and sincerely hope you kick the hell out of it” because that’s kind of how it should work. We all know each other, generally speaking we’ve made decisions on ourselves as individuals. You can’t change people, but maybe we can change our statements from “these are the 10 commandments of GOD ALMIGHTY” to “hey, I just had a thought and wanted to share it” and possibly find more eyes and ears on the subject. I think all of us would benefit. Remember, we’ve already decided if you’re smart or not, the die is cast.
How long will he be out? By the five o’clock whistle in Edmonton yesterday I was hearing Klefbom was dealing with the issue for many days and the schedule allowed for time away at this time. Kind of a scheduled absence, times for ease of schedule.
Could be. We’ll know at the deadline, in my opinion. If Klefbom’s return is in real doubt, suspect Holland casts about to see if there’s someone he can add for the stretch run and the playoffs. He has other concerns (scoring winger, center) and the prices on blue are high. Evan Bouchard is very probably better than anyone the team could afford to bring in.
LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE
At 10 this morning, TSN1260, we say goodbye to the chilling cold and hello to spring (by God, I hope so). Bruce McCurdy from the Cult of Hockey at the Edmonton Journal will stop by and chime in on the Klefbom injury, McDavd’s return, the road trip brilliance and the Bruins in town. Joe Osborne from OddsShark will join us at 11 to talk changing odds with McDavid on the shelf, XFL moving the needle, odds on which NFL team will take Tua Tagovailoa in the draft, and the Astros over under on everything. Marisa Ingemi from the Boston Herald will join us to talk Bruins. 10-1260 text, @Lowetide on twitter. Talk soon!