2019-20 Game 61: Wild at Oilers

Along with all of the excitement of trade deadline arriving with the Oilers as a possible buyer, there’s also the downside of saying goodbye to some who have been here for the past few years. Based on Ken Holland’s cap comments yesterday, there’s a chance a current roster player will be leaving the organization between now and Monday at 1pm. The team needs cap room in order to wheel. Sail on, but whom?

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 Daniel Nugent-Bowman: Oilers lack deadline flexibility due to injuries, few assets and bonuses
  • New Lowetide: Making sense of the Oilers forward depth chart for the summer
  • Lowetide: For Oilers’ Kailer Yamamoto and Leon Draisaitl, first impressions are long forgotten. Why not for Jesse Puljujarvi?
  • 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
  • Jonathan Willis: 10 overlooked trade targets for the Oilers before the 2020 deadline
  • 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 61 GAMES

  • Oilers in 2015: 22-33-6, 50 points; goal differential -33
  • Oilers in 2016: 33-20-8, 74 points; goal differential +13
  • Oilers in 2017: 26-31-4, 56 points; goal differential -33
  • Oilers in 2018: 26-29-6, 58 points; goal differential -23
  • Oilers in 2019-20: 32-21-7, 71 points; goal differential +4

Edmonton has been winning consistently over the last two months, as well as gathering Bettmans while ye may. The results are real and spectacular.

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
  • Sixth 10 games: 6-3-1
  • Current 10 games: 0-0-0

OILERS IN FEBRUARY

  • Oilers in February 2016: 2-8-0, four points; goal differential -19
  • Oilers in February 2017: 5-5-0, 10 points; goal differential -1
  • Oilers in February 2018: 2-7-1, five points; goal differential -5
  • Oilers in February 2019: 2-5-3, seven points; goal differential -11
  • Oilers in February 2020: 5-3-1, 11 points; goal differential +2

The last two months have been very strong for this Oilers team, with better structure and consistency. How far is the balance photo? I expect we’ll see it in the fall.

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) (Actual 0-0-1)
  • 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: 5-3-1, 11 points in nine games

A win tonight puts the Oilers in great position to hit the deadline either on top of the Pacific Division or close at the trade deadline. Clearance is important but the club is definitely in the range where we can call them buyers at this time.

OILERS 2019-20

Connor McDavid’s comments aside, the Oilers formula will be in force tonight, meaning another close checking effort and a grinding game. I enjoy these very much, makes me melancholy for the MacT days. I could barbecue during those games and be confident the score wouldn’t change more than a goal either way while I was outside.

TRADE DEADLINE

Man did things change in a hurry. On December 1, I wrote an article for The Athletic called “Eight assets the Oilers could use to acquire Taylor Hall” with an eye to a package that involved picks, prospects and Jesse Puljujarvi.

Since then, several of the names suggested (Kailer Yamamoto, Tyler Benson, William Lagesson) have been called up to the NHL and shown well. I’m not certain any of them are in play at this time.

What does that leave? Considering Evan Bouchard was never in play and Philip Broberg is off limits, not much. I think the Oilers like these youngsters enough to keep them. The one area of redundancy is LH defense, perhaps we see an exit there.

Jon is covering the Condors tonight and this weekend, then hanging around for the Oilers road trip and trade deadline. Stay tuned for his coverage. Daniel Nugent-Bowman will be heading up things from Edmonton at the deadline, lots of stories to follow. We discussed those stories and more on the latest Oil Can Podcast which is available now (here).

I’ll contribute as well when deals come down, and will be on the TSN1260 deadline show which starts at 6am and goes through until everyone has spoken (usually 3pm, sometimes later). I’ll be part of the TSN1260 panel (hosted by Dave Jamieson) along with Dustin Nielson, Tom Gazzola, Jason Gregor and others). Can’t wait! Fun day.

We’re seeing some clearance now, Arizona has played more games than anyone and is in trail position. Edmonton owns just a three-point lead on the Coyotes but have four games in hand. That’s a problem for Chayka. Would he trade Taylor Hall on Monday? Seems crazy to speak out loud.

Big games tonight (Oilers versus Wild and Flames versus Boston) are major stories in the division. Massive evening.

LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE

A busy Friday as we kickstart the weekend beginning at 10, TSN1260. We’ll talk to Steve Lansky from BigMouthSports about the Oilers run, the trade deadline and Dave Tippett’s Edmonton impact. Matt Iwanyk from TSN1260 comes back from holidays to argue with me at 11, we’ll chat Oilers, CFL free agency and MLB spring training. I’m also working on another trade deadline guest, it’s a good conversation and hopefully we land him. 10-1260 text, @Lowetide on twitter. See you on the radio!

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570 Responses to "2019-20 Game 61: Wild at Oilers"

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  1. Woodguy v2.0 says:

    Bag of Pucks: As we well know as Oiler fans, having an analytics department and being analytics led are two different things.

    To qualify as analytics led, I would suggest ownership needs to be driving the cultural adoption of analytics with the owner likely having some core expertise in same and the GM hire reflects a similar level of commitment and expertise. This is the types of clubs I was referring to. AZ, TO, NJ, FLA

    The ones that successfully integrate it should undoubtedly have a competitive advantage over time. But as Dubas has shown, calculating the value of a player and successfully negotiating that value are two seperate skillsets.

    Oilers have never had an “analytics department”

    Your focus on Dubas is weird.

    He runs a team that finished with over 100+ points in the last two seasons and lost his 1D since Jan 12th and 1G for extended periods of time this season while being on pace for 95 points.

    I don’t get it.

    The worst thing he did was his 2G this year as far I can see.

    Agreed that he got owned by Marner’s agent. Very similar to Pete and Drai’s agent except Dubas didn’t get the term he should have out of that contract.

  2. Woodguy v2.0 says:

    Scungilli Slushy:If anyone who is an Oiler fan can’t recognize disaster in TO they don’t get NHL hockey.

    Nylander is a talented player. Some girls are pretty but are assholes and make lousy partners.

    Of course you need to score goals to win, but the game runs deeper than simply that.

    Nylander is a better finishing Eberle. OK if you can shelter them at the right price, but when the whistles go away I’m not convinced. And I’m talking choker of the like. Some players don’t like to get their noses dirty.

    If Ovechkin says you have to grind to win a Cup you know it’s true. The Leafs are the modern BoB Oilers.

    Nice hair, no hair on ass.

    18-19 playoffs

    5v5 goal share
    Nylander (4-1) 80%

    Eberle (6-2) 75%

    Blaming the best players on a team for the team’s failure is the Lennart Petrell of sports opinions.

  3. Woodguy v2.0 says:

    digger50,

    Nuge is not a finisher

    I too blame the player with 2 of the 3 goals for not finishing.

    Since Jan 1st he’s only 14th in the NHL is 5v5 goals scored!

    He better work on his game!!

  4. Cassandra says:

    Scungilli Slushy:
    Tipp and Co need to teach shooting skills.

    Going 5 hole and low blocker with no feint doesn’t score much. Without movement.

    Scorers go top shelf because most goalies cover the bottom when the shooter is going straight up. The

    Man, this is dumb. Goals go in 5 hole all the time. On purpose.

    Also the team got outshot and outchanced and your solution is they need to become better shooters?

    That’s like saying the problem is effort and they should try harder, as if trying harder was a strategy.

  5. v4ance says:

    It’s kinda funny.

    Last game against the Bruins, the attitude after the game was to give the team a pass for the loss because they were shorthanded.

    This loss against the Wild; not so much.. Was it because the team wasn’t as sharp or tenacious as the previous game? It’s not like we got any healthier between the two games. Also, posters were talking as if the Minny team should have been a gimme. They were 7-3-0 in their past 10 and fighting for their playoff lives. I felt Minnesota was the better team last night and we got the deserved result.

    ***

    I thought Koskinen played great early on but had a few bad bounces later in the game.

    The first goal, Fiala recovered the rebound with speed and Lagesson made a mistake trying to go for the puck instead of just taking the body. The second, Soucy scored past a screen provided by Archibald. The third, Spurgeon had all kinds of time to wind up for a full slapshot from the faceoff dot. The fourth was deflected in by Larsson but otherwise, Koski was in position to make the save.

  6. OriginalPouzar says:

    Woodguy v2.0:
    OriginalPouzar,

    I am wondering why you choose to post in an Oilers forum when you aren’t a fan of the Oilers?

    He posts here because he’ll get the response he’s looking for from some of the posters here, including you.

    and I’m fine with corresponding with him generally and its fun most of the time – its enjoyable watching him make straw man arguments, move the goalposts, cherrypick information, etc.

    Most of these “conversations” are later in the evening, between 9-11, when the comments are generally pretty slow on here.

  7. Woodguy v2.0 says:

    OriginalPouzar: and I’m fine with corresponding with him generally and its fun most of the time – its enjoyable watching him make straw man arguments, move the goalposts, cherrypick information, etc.

    Most of these “conversations” are later in the evening, between 9-11, when the comments are generally pretty slow on here.

    It great that you take it for what it is. That’s the key.

    He pissed me off for years until I smartened up about what he does and now I think its quite funny if it doesn’t delve into personal shots.

    Its also not coincidence that 9-11 are “drinking hours”

  8. Woodguy v2.0 says:

    v4ance:
    It’s kinda funny.

    Last game against the Bruins, the attitude after the game was to give the team a pass for the loss because they were shorthanded.

    This loss against the Wild; not so much..Was it because the team wasn’t as sharp or tenacious as the previous game? It’s not like we got any healthier between the two games.Also, posters were talking as if the Minny team should have been a gimme.They were 7-3-0 in their past 10 and fighting for their playoff lives.I felt Minnesota was the better team last night and we got the deserved result.

    ***

    I thought Koskinen played great early on but had a few bad bounces later in the game.

    The first goal, Fiala recovered the rebound with speed and Lagesson made a mistake trying to go for the puck instead of just taking the body.The second, Soucy scored past a screen provided by Archibald.The third, Spurgeon had all kinds of time to wind up for a full slapshot from the faceoff dot.The fourth was deflected in by Larsson but otherwise, Koski was in position to make the save.

    I think there is less of a pass because most of the goals against were due to poor play.

    I think everyone was pretty pissed about the reffing (or lack-thereof) and that anger needs to get channeled somewhere.

    I saw Larsson, Lagesson and Khaira pretty bad yesterday.

  9. Woodguy v2.0 says:

    Cassandra: Man, this is dumb.Goals go in 5 hole all the time.On purpose.

    Also the team got outshot and outchanced and your solution is they need to become better shooters?

    That’s like saying the problem is effort and they should try harder, as if trying harder was a strategy.

    Funny thing is that the fancystats has EDM as a “low quantity-high quality” shooting team.

    Its slipped a bit since McHeyHey went down as most of his shots and chances that he creates are high quality.

  10. Bag of Pucks says:

    Woodguy v2.0: Oilers have never had an “analytics department”

    Your focus on Dubas is weird.

    He runs a team that finished with over 100+ points in the last two seasons and losthis 1D since Jan 12th and 1G for extended periods of time this season while being on pace for 95 points.

    I don’t get it.

    The worst thing he did was his 2G this year as far I can see.

    Agreed that he got owned by Marner’s agent.Very similar to Pete and Drai’s agent except Dubas didn’t get the term he should have out of that contract.

    I don’t have a particular ‘focus’ on Dubas. Another poster had anointed him as the best GM in the league and I felt that warranted another perspective as he does have some warts, particularly on the contract negotiation and cap management side.

    Two questions. Do you like the Tavares add in light of how it impacted their subsequent contracts and cap?

    Do you see a long range plan playing out in TO? Or does it seem a bit short range and reactive?

  11. Bag of Pucks says:

    My lovely wife had the temerity to arrange a dinner party on game night. The horror! So i’ll be watching last night’s game today on PVR already knowing the result.

    Anyone else do this? It’s a weird phenomenon. I find my assessment of their play is way more objective when I’m not emotionally invested in the result. You can watch the game like a coach or scout would.

  12. Woodguy v2.0 says:

    Bag of Pucks: I don’t have a particular ‘focus’ on Dubas. Another poster had anointed him as the best GM in the league and I felt that warranted another perspective as he does have some warts, particularly on the contract negotiation and cap management side.

    Two questions. Do you like the Tavares add in light of how it impacted their subsequent contracts and cap?

    Do you see a long range plan playing out in TO? Or does it seem a bit short range and reactive?

    Ah. Was scrolling the thread and it came across that Dubas was your axe to grind. Best GM in the league is a bit much, but I think he’s good.

    Tavares has been one of the best in the NHL vs Elites since he signed that contract .

    Last year he had 47.1% TOI vs Elites, 52.3% DFF and 73.5% (!) GF

    That’s just nutty and dominating those minutes is critical.

    His results vs Elite has been worse this year, but his two most common Dmen are Holl and Barrie, not who you want vs Elites. His wingers have been in constant rotation too.

    No problem with the Tavares contract. Adding a legit high end #1 for nothing but money is good business.

    Gave Marner too much. If you’re going to give him that much at least get 8 years like Pete did with Drai and not 6.

    As for plan, his off season work this past summer seems to be mostly centered around getting rid of Lou’s shitty contracts.

    Paying a 1st to be rid of Marleau.

    Taking on Ceci and his expiring contract to be done with Zaitsev’s bizarre contract.

    I didn’t like his Kadri move, best value contract he had, but can see why he thought he had to move him.

    Taking Barrie for a test drive with an expiring contract was good along with ostensibly getting his 3C replacement in Kerfoot (which has mixed results)

    Adding Muzzin was a very good move and it sounds like he’ll resign so he’ll have his 1 & 2 LHD in Rielly and Muzzin for a while.

    They need better D and his moves this summer looked built to be able to do that this summer.

    He’s got good young D in Sandin, Dermott, Liljegren and Holl, but needs help at 1RD in a big way so I expect him to figure that out this summer.

    He seems to have a reasonable plan.

    It might involve trading one of his wingers for a Dman but Nylander at 6.9 for 4 more years isn’t the one I’d move.

    Like I said when Peter overpaid Drai, if you’re going to overpay, its best to do it at the top of the roster.

    I don’t see any overpays to non-core players and they have a good conveyor belt of ELCs and RFAs aged players to supplement the high prices ones.

    He needs better goaltending and his coaches to deploy Andersson less, he has the 3rd most TOI of any goalie in the league from the beginning of last season until his injury. We’ll see if Campbell can do that for him.

    His only reactive move that I can see was for his backup and that was a mess of his own doing.

  13. who says:

    The Tavares, and perhaps Muzzin, contracts are red flags to me. Dubas will be paying guys into their mid thirties who are average skaters. Tavares is still a good player, but how good will he be in year 5, 6 and 7?
    That signing always appeared gratuitous to me. Dubas already had his stud forwards. I think he miscalculated how much that contract would affect his RFA contracts.
    Someone suggested here that Chia set the bar, and inflated the market, for future RFA contracts with the Draisaitl contract at 8.5 million. If that’s true, why did Dubas pay 11 million for Matthews and Marner? With a lot less term?

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