Ken Holland’s first trade deadline was a double album that had everyone talking. Fabulous in the good parts, fascinating in the parts that weren’t immediately accessible and with very little filler. If the Oilers deadline were an album, I’d call it Physical Graffiti, assuming you weren’t completely sure about “The Rover” (represented by AA) on first listen.
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: Are Oilers poised for a long playoff run after Ken Holland’s deadline moves?
- New Lowetide: Ken Holland’s Oilers trade deadline active, targeted and predictable
- New Daniel Nugent-Bowman: Andreas Athanasiou acquisition the most intriguing deadline move for Oilers
- New Jonathan Willis: Shrewd addition of Tyler Ennis gives the Oilers insurance, options up front
- Jonathan Willis: Connor McDavid returns to the Oilers; now the task is to get him linemates
- 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
- 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: 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
OILERS AFTER 63 GAMES
- Oilers in 2015-16: 22-34-7, 51 points; goal differential -35
- Oilers in 2016-17: 33-22-8, 74 points; goal differential +11
- Oilers in 2017-18: 27-32-4, 58 points; goal differential -35
- Oilers in 2018-19: 26-30-7, 59 points; goal differential -27
- Oilers in 2019-20: 33-22-7, 73 points; goal differential +4
Incredibly, the Oilers can pass the 2016-17 team with a win tonight. Holland spent silver but no gold yesterday, balancing the future and the now pretty well. Why? Have another look at that record.
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: 2-9-1, five points; goal differential -23
- Oilers in February 2017: 6-6-0, 12 points; goal differential -1
- Oilers in February 2018: 5-7-1, 11 points; goal differential -4
- Oilers in February 2019: 3-6-4, 10 points; goal differential -12
- Oilers in February 2020: 6-4-1, 13 points; goal differential +2
Remarkable just how much the team struggled in February through the McDavid years. Important to remember the team were sellers in three of the four previous years.
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
I have tonight as a win, tomorrow night as a loss and Winnipeg as a win. I projected the Jets to be struggling more at the beginning of the month. It’s possible tonight is the final win of February, should it come to pass.
The trade deadline changes the structure of the McDavid and Sheahan lines (I think) and allows the team to send Tyler Benson to the minors for more seasoning. The Green trade moves Benning to the bench (initially) and eventually William Lagesson to the minors when Klefbom is healthy (I believe). Lots of new ideas for coach Dave Tippett, one guesses we’ll see at least two of the new hires this evening.
SAIL ON, LONDON KNIGHT
I remember well the day Sam Gagner became an Edmonton Oiler. We’d been talking about him for weeks, and discussing options and preferences. The morning Sam Gagner was drafted in 2007, I wrote:
Jim Matheson says the Oilers have targeted Sam Gagner and that’s alright with me. I’d be a little disappointed with Karl Alzner (I suspect Prendergast likes him most of all, he’s been positively silly in his comments) and very disappointed if they dealt the pick at #6.
They took Sam.
Red Line Report: Sam Gagner is Kane’s running mate in London. He has wonderful vision and creativity and a variety of touch passes that he can make through traffic. He is also the son of former NHL standout Dave Gagner and has acquired his father’s intuitive offensive instincts and general hockey sense. Gagner’s lateral quickness and variety of shifty moves create problems for defenders.
I wasn’t convinced early. I could see his skill, but wondered about him at center and really wondered about him staying that fall. I went to training camp with my friend Louise and she convinced me (Louise is a wise person)—well, 89 convinced me, but Louise pointed it out—that he was the Oilers best option and earned the roster spot. In that first season, Gagner scored 49 points and could have had more—the lasting memory I have of Robert Nilsson was how many golden chances he missed on perfect and sublime passes from Sam Gagner.
He was a project at 18 defensively, they all are really. The thing about Gagner is that he improved a little each year, or maybe I just told myself that and hoped Horcoff would live forever. Well.
We know about Sam’s down arrows and I’m not going to spend too much time on them. Suffice to say that the moment Leon Draisaitl’s name was called in 2014, the die was cast for Sam Gagner.
His return was welcome, felt right and came to an abrupt and difficult end. I had just interviewed him a couple of weeks before (The Oil Can) and he talked about looking forward to making the playoffs with the Oilers after all those early, difficult years.
Seen some hard times, drawn some bad lines, no time for shoeshines, hard nose the highway. Sail on, Sam Gagner. We won’t forget you, and please come back again.
KEN HOLLAND’S TRADES
Based on some of the comments from Oilers fans, I think it prudent to have a quick review of the Holland trades in his first year with the team. The first deal was Milan Lucic and a conditional pick for James Neal, and we all agree that it was a brilliant trade no matter what Neal accomplished. Why? Say it with me: Lucic had an untradeable contract, needed to be protected in the expansion draft and was a drag offensively on all lines. Remember? Plan to re-write history or are we all still on board there?
The second trade was another of those Rieder-Benning trades where a good draft pick won’t sign and you have to send him away for a depth pick. Ladies and gentlemen, John Marino to Pittsburgh for a 2021 sixth-round pick. It’s part of his record, but tough to blame the incoming general manager in this case. A sixth round pick has a 16 percent chance of playing 100 games.
The third trade was Kyle Brodziak and a conditional fourth-round selection to the Detroit Red Wings for defenseman Mike Green. The pick is a fourth in 2020, goes to a third in 2021 if the Oilers get to final four and Green plays 50 percent of the games. The odds of a fourth-round pick playing 100 NHL games is less than 20 percent. The odds of a third-round pick playing 100 NHL games is 27 percent. I think this is a reasonable value trade considering injury concerns surrounding Matt Benning and Kris Russell.
The fourth trade was Sam Gagner and two second-round picks (2020 and 2021) to Detroit in exchange for LW Andreas Athanasiou and LW Ryan Kuffner. According to Scott Cullen’s work middle of the decade, a second-round pick has a 34 percent chance of playing 100 NHL games. Many are not onboard with this trade, I’m fine with it as long as Dave Tippett plays him with a skill center.
The fifth pick might have end up having the best value, Edmonton dealing a fifth-round pick in 2021 to the Ottawa Senators for LW Tyler Ennis. My initial thought is Athanasiou gets the shot on McDavid’s line, but if nothing rhymes Ennis is in a fantastic position to take advantage. Wonderful trade. A fifth-round pick has a 14.9 percent chance of playing 100 games.
The sixth trade saw RHD Joel Persson dealt to the Anaheim Ducks for goalie Angus Redmond and a conditional 2022 seventh-round pick. The condition requires Persson to play in 25 NHL games during the 20-21 season. The odds of a seventh-round pick playing 100 NHL games is nine percent.
A huge game for the Oilers tonight, with a schedule loss waiting for them tomorrow night. The new hires will be needed immediately.
THERE’S A HOLE IN THE 2020 DRAFT
Ken Holland didn’t trade Evan Bouchard, Philip Broberg or the first-round pick in the 2020 draft, but he blew a big hole in the rest of the weekend. It kind of looks like 2015 now, meaning scouts are going to need to make every pick count. Here’s what things look like this morning.
FIRST ROUND, No. 18: Oilers have this pick.
SECOND ROUND, No. 49: Traded to Ottawa for Athanasiou.
THIRD ROUND, No. 80: Traded to Calgary for Neal, although JN is two goals from hitting 21 and having the pick transfer. The more of the regular season he misses, the greater the chance the pick does not transfer. If Tippett keeps him off the power play, that pick may not transfer.
FOURTH ROUND, No. 111: Traded to Detroit for Mike Green.
FIFTH ROUND, No. 142: Oilers have this pick.
SIXTH ROUND, No. 173: Oilers have this pick.
SEVENTH ROUND, No. 204: Oilers have this pick.
LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE
A fun morning begins at 10, TSN1260. We’ll talk trade deadline and tonight’s game. Jonathan Willis from The Athletic will chat about the deals and the lines/pairings and Andrew Peard will set up today’s Oil Kings game at 10:40. At 11, Hailey Salvian from The Athletic will talk Tyler Ennis and the Senators draft. At 11:25, Michael Hebert from the Oilers Live Podcast will chat about the OilersLive Cup, the Adam Zukiwsky Memorial Trophy and a big event you’ll want to know about on Saturday. It’s at the Downtown Community Arena – Rogers Place Practice Ice. 10-1260 text, @Lowetide on twitter. Talk soon!