Holy hell the kids helped this team get to the deadline, and in fact impacted Ken Holland’s wish list today. Ethan Bear, Kailer Yamamoto and Caleb Jones arrive at the deadline as NHL regulars, and the needs of the team are in different areas than we would have thought back in August. That’s a fine season for the draft and development group.
Last night’s game saw the return of Captain McDavid, and another impressive button down effort in order to win a close game. After midnight, Ken Holland added Mike Green. Today? Has to be a scoring winger for the No. 1 line.
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: Connor McDavid returns to the Oilers; now the task is to get him linemates
- New Daniel Nugent-Bowman: Oilers bolster blue line by acquiring Mike Green; Is a scoring winger next?
- Lowetide: Oilers’ European prospects offer interesting options for the future
- Jonathan Willis: The Oilers need a left wing before the NHL trade deadline
- Lowetide Trade Deadline: Oilers countdown to trade deadline involves age old dilemma
- Jonathan Willis: They shoot, they don’t score: NHLers who just can’t find the back of the net
- 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
- 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: 33-22-7, 73 points; goal differential +4
Tippett’s Oilers were uncomfortable in one-goal games early in the season, or maybe I was just uncomfortable watching them in those close contests. Now it seems to change little when things get tight. Good sign for the playoffs.
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: 1-1-0
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: 6-4-1, 13 points; goal differential +2
Lots of good things in this month, especially when you consider several of the wins came with 97 on the shelf. This team has some iron, first Oilers team in some time with it.
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) (Actual 1-0-0)
- At home to: WPG (Expected 1-0-0)
- Overall expected result: 8-5-1, 17 points in 14 games
- Current results: 6-4-1, 13 points in 11 games
This sets up the road trip well, Edmonton’s game in Anaheim on Tuesday will be another big one. Of course, btb in Vegas is wildly unfair but this is the world we live in.
McDavid returned and flattened the NHL with six shots, a goal and two assists. We’ll talk about the Mike Green trade in a bit, but first here are the five on five numbers unless noted, and all via Natural Stat Trick.
LINE 1 Nuge-Leon Draisaitl-Kailer Yamamoto played 16:10, going 16-10 Corsi, 9-5 shots, 1-0 goals and 7-3 HDSC.
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins scored again, he’s on fire with this line. Three shots, all HDSC, created two rebounds, damn near set up Chiasson late on the power play. Leon Draisaitl scored a power-play goal and at five on five had four shots, three HDSC, took a penalty and won 12 of 19 in the dot. He was robbed late. Kailer Yamamoto scared the hell out of everyone when he appeared to twist his ankle early on. He had an assist, a great chance that was tipped over the net, and did his usual feverish forechecking.
LINE 2 Sam Gagner-Connor McDavid-Alex Chiasson played 11:49, going 7-12 Corsi, 5-8 shots, 0-1 goals and 2-2 HDSC.
Sam Gagner had one good look but missed the net, he was useful on McDavid’s goal by making sure to be enough of a threat for Doughty to respect him. McDavid was brilliant as always, seemed to be even more effective after getting screwed over by the refs. Had a goal, six shots, three HDSC, created three rebounds and had two assists that came outside five on five. Alex Chiasson had an enormous power-play chance late, but didn’t get much done five on five.
LINE 3 Tyler Benson-Riley Sheahan-Josh Archibald played 9:25, going 7-11 Corsi, 5-7 shots, no goals and 2-4 HDSC.
Tyler Benson had a good chance early on a pass to the slot from Archibald. Had a giveaway later and is starting to hold on to the puck longer, that’s a good sign. Riley Sheahan had two shots, two giveaways and won four of 12 on the dot. Josh Archibald scored an EN goal, took a penalty and skated miles. Good player. I don’t think this line will last.
LINE 4 Jujhar Khaira-Gaetan Haas-Patrick Russell played 8:22, going 7-5 Corsi, 4-1 shots, no goals and no HDSC.
Jujhar Khaira had a reasonable chance, took a late penalty and hit several people. Gaetan Haas falls down more than any athlete since Lonnie Smith, but like Smith he does it so much his recoveries are quick and explosive. Drove the Kings crazy, drew a penalty, had one shot and won two of six on the dot. We’ll know tomorrow how the team plans to use him for the rest of the year. Patrick Russell had a third period shift that made me laugh, he just would not let that puck out of the Kings zone. He’s a dogged player.
PAIRING ONE Darnell Nurse and Ethan Bear played 23:31 together, 12-11 shots, 0-1 goals and 4-2 HDSC.
Darnell Nurse didn’t play the Dustin Brown goal well but I thought he had a fine game otherwise. Knocked down pucks, was physical, broke up plays in the neutral zone. Five shots, one HDSC. Ethan Bear played what might have been his best game of the year. Seriously. Under constant pressure, he consistently calmed the waters and sent effective outlet passes. I mean he was splendid. Two shots, TK, GV, 10 miles of great passes. Spent 1:08 on the PP.
PAIRING TWO Caleb Jones and Adam Larsson played 18:49, going 8-12 Corsi, 4-6 shots, 2-0 goals and 3-5 HDSC.
Caleb Jones had a tremendous evening, grabbing two assists on good passes (one on the PP). He got beat by Kempe to the net but rookies make mistakes and Jones doesn’t make many. Adam Larsson seems to be adjusting to Jones, relying on him for speed and passing options but also dropping the hammer and allowing Jones safe passage. Had one good look and got caught with outside speed a couple of times, but overall played well.
PAIRING THREE William Lagesson and Matt Benning played 8 minutes, going 6-8 Corsi, 5-4 shots, no goals and 2-2 HDSC.
William Lagesson had two shots, one a hammer, and blocked a couple of shots. He passed well although not often. Matt Benning had one shot and a hit, I thought he played well in limited minutes.
GOALIE Mike Smith stopped 21 of 23, .913, including seven of eight HDSC. It took some time but he has emerged as the starter based on January 1+ usage.
THE MIKE GREEN TRADE
Ken Holland pulled the trigger on his third Oilers trade (dealing John Marino, acquiring James Neal) by acquiring Mike Green from the Detroit Red Wings. He’s a good addition to a group who could use some experience and I also wonder about the health of one of the RH blue (Larsson or Benning specifically) as being the catalyst for this deal.
The return for Detroit is Kyle Brodziak (to make the money work) and a pick. The pick has some caveats: It’s a 2020 fourth but becomes a third in 2021 if the Oilers make the Western Conference final and if Green plays half the games in the first two rounds.
I’ll be on TSN1260’s trade deadline coverage today from 10-2, it looks like we’ll see the Oilers trade for a forward either just before or during the show. Jon and Daniel (and me) have written and are writing pieces for The Athletic to cover the Green trade (and ones to come) from every angle today. Please stay tuned and keep reading! Should be a fun day.