There are real roster uncertainties as I write this, transactions on Saturday to send Colby Cave and Evan Bouchard to Bakersfield Condors await the bookend maneuvre. Connor McDavid isn’t always the lead story, while also always being the lead story. If he’s playing tonight, the Oilers have improved enormously overnight. That’s a fact.
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 Trade Deadline: Oilers countdown to trade deadline involves age old dilemma
- New Jonathan Willis: They shoot, they don’t score: NHLers who just can’t find the back of the net
- New Daniel Nugent-Bowman: Why cap issues mean McDavid’s return could be Oilers’ only pre-deadline move
- Daniel Nugent-Bowman: Oilers lack deadline flexibility due to injuries, few assets and bonuses
- 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 62 GAMES
- Oilers in 2015-16: 22-34-6, 50 points; goal differential -34
- Oilers in 2016-17: 33-21-8, 74 points; goal differential +12
- Oilers in 2017-18: 27-31-4, 58 points; goal differential -33
- Oilers in 2018-19: 26-29-7, 59 points; goal differential -23
- Oilers in 2019-20: 32-22-7, 71 points; goal differential +3
Terrific season in those numbers, and many youngsters have emerged in real time. I don’t recall a season where more roster players enjoy career seasons or close, and in fact many players are enjoying impressive first full NHL seasons. Lots to applaud across the roster, coaching and management included.
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: 0-1-0
OILERS IN FEBRUARY
- Oilers in February 2016: 2-9-0, four points; goal differential -21
- Oilers in February 2017: 5-6-0, 10 points; goal differential -2
- Oilers in February 2018: 3-7-1, seven points; goal differential -4
- Oilers in February 2019: 3-5-3, nine points; goal differential -10
- Oilers in February 2020: 5-4-1, 11 points; goal differential +1
One of the things we’ll need to discuss in the offseason is the run by Edmonton starting January 1. I haven’t gone back to look over the team’s history this century, but this season (11-5-3), the 2016-17 campaign (13-8-2) and 2005-06 (8-6-4) all landed in a positive direction Jan. 1 through February 23.
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 0-1-1)
- 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: 5-4-1, 11 points in 10 games
Oilers need this game tonight. It sets up the deadline in a positive way (Edmonton would slide back into second in the Pacific) and gives the team enough breathing room to consider trading valuable assets. Big game. LAK aren’t an easy out, and that’s when everyone is healthy.
The article I wrote for The Athletic yesterday (the trade dilemma) drove home the fact Ken Holland needs to acquire a left winger for the McDavid line. You’d like Tomas Tatar but Tyler Ennis is a solid option.
Elliotte Friedman mentioned Edmonton’s interest in Mike Green last night, Jonathan Willis wrote about him recently so I won’t retrace his steps. I will post his Puck IQ numbers against elites, though, Green isn’t your ordinary broken down blue.
Oscar Klefbom has played 33 percent of his five on five time against elites this season, that’s the range for Green. Detroit is a terrible team, so Klefbom’s goal differential against elites (14-13) is superior to Green’s in Detroit (5-12) but that DFF percentage (48.20) for Green is quality. Ken Holland likes old people. This would be his first “I know a guy” deal since arriving, although he did sign Riley Sheahan as a free agent.
The big question for me is who is leaving to make room? Kris Russell has been mentioned but that’s the cap issue, what about the RH side? Edmonton currently employs Bear, Larsson and Benning there, so if Green is coming in, one of those men must be leaving. Right? Fascinating. Larsson? Benning? It sure as hell isn’t Bear.
Maple Leafs fans are hurting units this morning, that was a bad beat and it will be remembered. Exacerbating things is a long, long list of articles with titles like ‘How long before Mcdavid wants out of Edmonton?’ that have enraged Canadian outposts for decades. So there’s no sympathy, not an ounce, across this great nation this morning. To the contrary. Ken Holland might want to make a call to Kyle Dubas this morning, asking if he needs a rugged forward or defenseman. Hey, it’s a cruel business.