Crawling from the Wreckage

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins scored the winner on a gorgeous shot that followed a fine six-foot pass by Leon Draisaitl. Mike Smith stopped 38 of 40 to help the Oilers win an enormous game in the final minutes of February. This group does not resemble Oilers clubs of the recent past, save 2016-17 and this group is more of a team.

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 Lowetide: The Oilers’ 2017 draft and the value of waiting five years
  • New Jonathan Willis: Oilers’ AHL factory has produced three NHL defencemen, with more on the way
  • Jonathan Willis: Andreas Athanasiou injured, Mike Green elevated in Oilers’ loss to Vegas
  • Lowetide: Andreas Athanasiou acquisition might give the Oilers a scoring winger for McDavid cluster.
  • Jonathan Willis: Oilers salvage a point as newcomers settle in (and produce) with Connor McDavid
  • Daniel Nugent-Bowman: Are Oilers poised for a long playoff run after Ken Holland’s deadline moves?
  • Lowetide: Ken Holland’s Oilers trade deadline active, targeted and predictable
  • Daniel Nugent-Bowman: Andreas Athanasiou acquisition the most intriguing deadline move for Oilers
  • 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 65 GAMES

  • Oilers in 2015-16: 24-34-7, 55 points; goal differential -32
  • Oilers in 2016-17: 35-22-8, 78 points; goal differential +13
  • Oilers in 2017-18: 27-34-4, 58 points; goal differential -38
  • Oilers in 2018-19: 28-30-7, 63 points; goal differential -22
  • Oilers in 2019-20: 34-23-8, 76 points; goal differential +1

Oilers reach the end of February on a pace to finish with 96 points and that should be a playoff spot. The club won a big game on Saturday night and several teams in the chase lost. This thing has miles to go.

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: 2-2-1

OILERS IN FEBRUARY

  • Oilers in February 2016: 4-9-1, nine points; goal differential -10
  • Oilers in February 2017: 6-6-0, 12 points; goal differential -1
  • Oilers in February 2018: 5-8-1, 11 points; goal differential -7
  • Oilers in February 2019: 4-6-4, 12 points; goal differential -13
  • Oilers in February 2020: 7-5-2, 16 points; goal differential -1

Edmonton’s 2019-20 had the best February in the McDavid era, overcoming injury and various other issues. The goal differential only slightly underwater.

WHAT TO EXPECT FROM 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 1-1-1)
  • At home to: WPG (Expected 1-0-0) (Actual 1-0-0)
  • Overall expected result: 8-5-1, 17 points in 14 games
  • Current results: 7-5-2, 16 points in 14 games

The month landed close to expectations but if we’re honest these numbers are cherry considering McDavid’s injury.

OILERS 2019-20

Draisaitl (2-1-3), Nuge (1-2-3), McDavid (0-2-2) and Larsson (0-1-1) delivered the offense and the rest of the skaters worked like demons to keep a desperate Jets team at bay. All numbers five on five via NST.

LINE 1 Nuge-Leon Draisaitl-Zack Kassian played 15:22, going 12-16 Corsi, 4-9 shots, 1-0 goals and 5-2 HDSC.

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins was brilliant, two PP assists and the winning goal at five on five. Two HDSC, took a penalty. Leon Draisaitl was an absolute horse, scoring twice on the power play and making a brilliant pass on the Nuge goal. Two shots, one HDSC, three takeaways, one F-bomb, won five of 10 in the dot. Zack Kassian had an uneven game, had two HDSC and four giveaways. No penalties, that’s a key.

LINE 2 Andreas Athanasiou-Connor McDavid-Tyler Ennis played 9:48, going 11-12 Corsi, 4-7 shots, no goals and 6-3 HDSC.

Andreas Athanasiou had two HDSC and two takeaways, and yet looked tentative to my eye when playing with McDavid. He checked down to Riley Sheahan where he was quiet (but effective in possession). Connor McDavid was brilliant as always. Three shots, two HDSC, four giveaways, two takeaways and of course the two power-play assists. He’s also hauling ass on the back check, several times coming in handy as the third man back for Edmonton. Tyler Ennis feels like a natural fit for 97, he had one shot, two HDSC and was driving to the net with authority. Don’t give up on either new winger yet, ladies and men. Small sample.

LINE 3 Jujhar Khaira-Gaetan Haas-Alex Chiasson played 7:46 together, going 6-9 Corsi, 2-5 shots and 1-2 HDSC.

Jujhar Khaira had one great look, it happened so quickly he didn’t get a shot away but I’ve seen him score on that kind of play before. Bad luck or confidence? Don’t know. Effective on the PK, he sold out to make plays and he’ll score again someday. Gaetan Haas also had one great chance, a takeaway and won three of five in the dot. Alex Chiasson had a better game on this line, one shot plus a give and a take.

LINE 4 Patrick Russell-Riley Sheahan-Josh Archibald played 6:46, going 6-8 Corsi, 2-3 shots, 0-2 goals and 2-1 HDSC.

Patrick Russell had two shots, a HDSC and a giveaway on a night away from Haas. Riley Sheahan was effective on the PK, had a shot, HDSC and won six of 11 on the dot. He was in the photo on the first goal against, I wouldn’t go to the extreme of blaming him for the goal. Josh Archibald had one shot, drew a penalty and played well on the PK. He moved up to the McDavid line for a time.

PAIRING ONE Darnell Nurse and Ethan Bear played 18:04, getting caved via Corsi 14-30, 8-16 shots, 0-1 goals and 6-4 HDSC. Almost all of the deficit came against the Connor-Schiefele-Wheeler line. Were 11-24 Corsi and 0-1 goals against the trio.

Darnell Nurse had one shot on goal, two giveaways and a takeaway. He earned part of the blame on the second goal against, he was drawn to the puck carrier instead of covering his mark. Ethan Bear had a giveaway, plenty of impressive work including at least two painful shot blocks. Looked like a rookie (a rare item for Bear) against Wheeler by getting neither puck nor body. I see a lot of anger and rage focused toward Nurse online today, would remind you that Wheeler and Connor are world class, the play doesn’t happen if Bear stands up Wheeler or denies the sortie by knocking the puck away AND the sortie isn’t successful if Nurse stays with his man. So, flame away, but sometimes you have to give the other man his due. Helluva deke and pass by Wheeler.

PAIRING TWO Caleb Jones and Adam Larsson played 16:40, going 19-7 Corsi, 6-4 shots, 1-1 goals and 6-1 HDSC. Numbers were partly due to small sample against Schiefele line, but these are solid totals.

Caleb Jones had a giveaway and a takeaway, an accidental late penalty and skated miles. He was late closing the gap on the opening goal, but (like Nurse on the first goal) the die was cast. He’s comfortable now, making good decisions with the puck and transporting with confidence. Battle hardened by the playoffs, he and Bear will author a large portion of the team’s success. Adam Larsson had an assist, was not in the photo because of a pinch at center ice on the first goal (I don’t consider that a mortal sin but your mileage may vary) and generally played effectively.

PAIRING THREE Kris Russell and Matt Benning played 11:40, goin 7-13 Corsi, 1-7 shots, no goals and 2-3 HDSC.

Kris Russell’s return to NHL action was not without its challenges. Had a giveaway, takeaway, shot block, effective on the PK. Tippett trusts him, had Russell out for the second last shift of the game. Matt Benning was chasing most of the night, did have one giveaway. His last shift was completed at 13:50 of the third period. Coaches prefer aged defensemen, they just do.

GOALIE Mike Smith was absolute fire, stopping 39 of 41 (.951). Catherine Silverman told me July 1 the season would work out this way, with moments of savage brilliance and complete despair. To Smith’s credit, he’s .918 since January 1. That’s a substantial sample.

LAST NIGHT

Just enough time (it’s 8:28) to talk about last night’s game and its importance. If you look at the standings this morning and imagine a loss last night, then consider the schedule to come, it was a monster two points. Mike Smith, Leon Draisaitl, Connor McDavid and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins had impact evenings. Music!

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275 Responses to "Crawling from the Wreckage"

« Older Comments
  1. wolf8888 says:

    They haven’t had Buf all year. Not part of the team this year. Nobody is counting on him so he’s not really a missing piece is he?

  2. Fuhr and Lowething in Vegreville says:

    OriginalPouzar:
    Kulevich from Samorukov and Esposito pull the Condors to within one of Tuscon.

    ———-

    Rodrigue stops 28 of 29 in a 3-1 win – he continues to be one of the top tenders in the Q in the 2nd half of the season.

    Lavoie with 2G/1A and 9 shots, yes, 9 shots, in a 4-1 win.

    Can’t wait for him to turn pro next year – think he’ll start a little more “up the lineup” than Maksi and McLeod.

    So, you bringing up Lavoie prompted me to go look at his overall stats so far this season and this Egor Sokolov kids stats caught my eye.

    He’s leading the Q in goals, 44 in 48 games and top ten in league scoring. As far as I can tell he’s undrafted, so I’m curious what other people know about him and his draft status? Google tells me CBJ had him on a PTO and released him in the pre-season? Does that mean he’s eligible for any team to sign? Isn’t that how the Kngs orginally acquired Tanner Pearson?

    He’s huge, listed at 6’04/231…seems like an awfully intriguing prospect for a team to go after.

    https://theqmjhl.ca/players/17301p

  3. OriginalPouzar says:

    Harpers Hair: The Jets were unable to use Buff’s cap space to find replacements because his grievance is NOT settled. They currently have $20 million in cap space.

    All teams suffer injuries..Yamamoto, Russell and Neal are bit players in fact the Oilers are likely a better team without Russell and Neal.

    Really tough to take anything you say seriously when it includes Yamamoto being a “bit player” considering he has 21 points in 21 games while being plus 14.

    Not to mention, 2nd in the league in P/60 – sure, 21 games is a small sample size for that stat but not that small.

    Bit player, come on….

  4. OriginalPouzar says:

    CBJ cuts the lead to 3-2 – about 5 min left and on the PP.

    Guess I’m watching the rest of this game.

  5. OriginalPouzar says:

    Dubois rings one off the post – damn.

  6. OriginalPouzar says:

    Boom – Zack W. PPG ties the game – dominant on that PP.

  7. OriginalPouzar says:

    Jackets going right back to the PP with about 3 minutes left in the tie game.

    Rousel, tsk, tsk, tsk.

  8. pts2pndr says:

    Woodguy v2.0:
    Yeah, you gotta have some players to expose.

    EDM’s roster is shaping up like a 4-4-1 protection rather than a 7-3-1.

    I would be interested in your rationale for why the team might go this route. My thinking is the logical move would be to protect Klefbom, Nurse and Bear. Trade Larsson this off season. I guess my curiosity is who doyou see them protecting as the four D if they go that route.

  9. OriginalPouzar says:

    Jackets with another PPG and take the lead with 1:30 left…..

  10. npanciroli says:

    Bahaha hilarious collapse.

  11. OriginalPouzar says:

    That was a gorgeous empty net goal by Nyquist.

    What a collapse by the Cancuks who lose in regulation.

  12. flyfish1168 says:

    OriginalPouzar: Maybe Smith intentionally put it off his head and out of play to get the whistle without a delay of game penalty?????Ha!

    LMAO, OK, since he is that accurate he should be used in the shoot out using just his goalie stick. 😉

  13. npanciroli says:

    Pathetic by the Canucks.

  14. Bank Shot says:

    Awesome. Thanks for the entertainment Canucks!

    That was almost as good as the 3 on 0 they gave up earlier this season.

  15. Rickety Cricket says:

    I was driving through Utica this afternoon. I stopped at the 7-11 for some dinner, three taquitos. Guess who is in front of me in the check-out line? None other than Rogaine Braffertii! He said he got the call today, he is going to be playing goalie until Dan Cloutier comes back from his injury.

  16. Side says:

    Interesting fact: Bertrude Rounding is 1 inch taller and 25 pounds heavier than every NHL player. Incredible.

  17. yeraslob says:

    And poof! He’s gone.

  18. OriginalPouzar says:

    As per Spector: Oscar Klefbom is on the road trip, I repeat, Oscar Klefbom is on the road trip.

    No guarantees but injured players generally don’t go on trips unless there is a reasonable chance they will play – in particular a trip where there will be zero real practice time.

  19. Reja says:

    Harpers Hair: Has he been out all season and announced he wouldn’t be playing for the team in pre-season?

    Didn’t think so.

    If Demko shits the bed next game panic will set in they better protect that 1st rounder. The Refs aren’t buying the flopping anymore Petterson isn’t very bright looking at the refs for a penalty every time he gets touched you can’t show your weakness in this league. Now the opposition will be going at him hard with no help from the refs.

  20. Richard Roma says:

    Jones is better than Russell.

    Neal Is better than Chiasson.

    Killer tomato is a material top six player.

  21. John Chambers says:

    Reja: WRIGHT

    Good call. What’s going to happen in the markets this week?

    Jim Benning has brought the Canucks to the precipice of doom. Not good enough to overcome their injuries, having surrendered key draft assets and prospects just to arrive at mediocrity, and no latitude to overcome their cap problems.

    It’s all up to Brogan to fix this mess …

  22. jp says:

    BlueNoteNorth:
    The evidence that can be used in arbitration cases includes:
    The player’s “overall performance” including statistics in all previous seasons
    Injuries, illnesses, and the number of games played
    The player’s length of service with the team and in the NHL
    The player’s “overall contribution” to the team’s success or failure
    The player’s “special qualities of leadership or public appeal”
    The performance and salary of any player believed to be comparable to the player in the dispute
    Nothing there says to me a big raise is in the cards. Perhaps a bridge would work for both sides. Third pairing D are usually not in a position of strength.

    Alright. That’s pretty different from your original post that I replied to:

    “iirc Allowable evidence in arbitration is only team performance and player performance relative to the team. Other player comparable stats are not allowed. Given that, I do not believe Benning will command much beyond the QO.”

    Based on “performance relative to the team” Benning pretty much a god.

    In the last 3 seasons he’s finished 3rd, 1st, 1st among Oilers D in +/-.
    His P/60 at 5 on 5 in the same span is 2nd among Oiler D (behind Nurse).
    He 5 on 5 GF% is 54.8%. Nurse is 2nd among Oiler D at 49.2% (actually 2% better than McDavid as the best of all Oilers)
    Relative to team Benning’s GF% is actually 3rd among all NHL D over the past 3 seasons.

    He also plays 3rd pairing minutes and competition, but even considering that and the remaining criteria you posted he’s going to get a raise on his QO (IMO).

    I think Benning will be qualified and then traded to make room for others (Green, Bouchard) so Benning’s next contract will be someone else’s problem. Still, I have a hard time believing he hasn’t earned a raise based on his consistently positive effect on team goals results.

  23. leadfarmer says:

    Hughes now -8 in last 4 games
    That “notch” between Markstrom and Demko is a chasm

  24. Georgexs says:

    Woodguy v2.0:
    Georgexs,

    If Jones doesn’t have help he should drop back and play it like a 2-1 but the F1 is in the right spot so he closes to either stop the play now or force the puck carrier to remain on the outside.

    There was a very similar play in the COL-NSH game yesterday.

    https://youtu.be/pvpRu_g8Emc?t=342

    Makar and his back checking forward both attack the puck at the blue line after the other COL D delivered a check at center ice. Makar and Forsberg are mostly heading East-West, the COL forward is heading south. Everyone is on one side. Duchene is all alone near the middle of the ice. Forsberg manages to pass the puck through and Duchene is in all alone. He couldn’t settle the puck and he didn’t score.

    Seems like an exploitable defensive system for skilled players, if it’s in fact SOP.

    I’ll have to watch for it now.

  25. wolf8888 says:

    What’s that “bit player” for the Oilers? +14?

  26. OriginalPouzar says:

    pts2pndr: I would be interested in your rationale for why the team might go this route. My thinking is the logical move would be to protect Klefbom, Nurse and Bear. Trade Larsson this off season. I guess my curiosity is who doyou see them protecting as the four D if they go that route.

    The way things are going, there is a solid chance they may want/need to protect Jones:

    Klef, Nurse, Bear, Jones

    McDavid, Drai, Nuge (re-signed this off-season), Yamamoto

    Exposed: Lagesson, Benson, AA, Kassian, Puljujarvi, etc.

    Of course, this will depend on how Jones, Benson, AA play over the next year and a bit.

  27. Reja says:

    leadfarmer:
    Hughes now -8 in last 4 games
    That “notch” between Markstrom and Demko is a chasm

    But what about the strength of schedule.

  28. yeraslob says:

    John Chambers: Good call. What’s going to happen in the markets this week?

    Jim Benning has brought the Canucks to the precipice of doom. Not good enough to overcome their injuries, having surrendered key draft assets and prospects just to arrive at mediocrity, and no latitude to overcome their cap problems.

    It’s all up to Brogan to fix this mess …

    Borgnine Laffatmeski is surely up for the task… easy peasy.

  29. wolf8888 says:

    Wild just lost. More good news!

  30. Scungilli Slushy says:

    Truth

  31. OriginalPouzar says:

    jp: Alright. That’s pretty different from your original post that I replied to:

    “iirc Allowable evidence in arbitration is only team performance and player performance relative to the team. Other player comparable stats are not allowed. Given that, I do not believe Benning will command much beyond the QO.”

    Based on “performance relative to the team” Benning pretty much a god.

    In the last 3 seasons he’s finished 3rd, 1st, 1st among Oilers D in +/-.
    His P/60 at 5 on 5 in the same span is 2nd among Oiler D (behind Nurse).
    He 5 on 5 GF% is 54.8%. Nurse is 2nd among Oiler D at 49.2% (actually 2% better than McDavid as the best of all Oilers)
    Relative to team Benning’s GF% is actually 3rd among all NHL D over the past 3 seasons.

    He also plays 3rd pairing minutes and competition, but even considering that and the remaining criteria you posted he’s going to get a raise on his QO (IMO).

    I think Benning will be qualified and then traded to make room for others (Green, Bouchard) so Benning’s next contract will be someone else’s problem. Still, I have a hard time believing he hasn’t earned a raise based on his consistently positive effect on team goals results.

    Great post.

    I do agree that Benning will be qualified – that is a no-brainer to me and I can’t agree with Kurt L. on that one

    Sure, Matty may file for arbitration, as is his right, but I don’t imagine the two sides can’t work out a deal prior to the hearing. I don’t think it will be a contentious negotiation. I can see him re-upping for 2-3 years at a similar AAV. Sure, that may seem high for a 3rd pairing d-man but, to me, he’s a high end 3rd pairing d-man and would/does provide value for that AAV.

    There is some bolat up front and in net but we will have Jones, Klef and Bouchard all on fairly massive value contracts the next few years.

    ————–

    They very well could trade Benning to try and shore up a forward position or recoup some draft picks. I would consider that type of move if we received solid value back.

    Only one of Benning or Larsson can go though.

    There needs to be 3 incumbent, proven NHL, d-men on the right side. Bouchard can’t be gifted the 3RD spot – he needs to earn it and keep it. He is reasonably likely to do that, if not in September/October, shortly thereafter but there needs to be 3 NHL players ahead of him. He can’t be thrust in to 2RD after the first injury – that’s too much, too soon.

    Sure, maybe they can move both Larsson and Benning for value if they bring in a depth d-man on the cheap – I don’t think Green is that guy.

  32. Scungilli Slushy says:

    I feel sorry for Friedman, seriously

  33. flea says:

    The Canucks were playing great in the third up to the Nash goal. It was like watching paint dry.

    But they started scrambling after that, and Domingue lets in a weak one on the PP. They completely lost their composure – might just be fatigue. Anyways some great Sunday entertainment!

  34. yeraslob says:

    On second thought, it seems this Bromance Raffletree has yet to reach “bit player” status.

  35. OriginalPouzar says:

    Kings up early on VEG via a nice goal by the poor-man’s Drasaitl, Kopitar.

  36. who says:

    v4ance: In what rational defensive system is either of the last man back or the chasing back checker told to abandon the middle on a 2 on 1 and attack the puck carrier wide along the boards?

    The only logical explanation is that Jones is trusting his back support to cover the middle for him and it’s not actually a 2 on 1 but a 2 on 2.When it’s a 2 on 2, Tiipett wants the defenceman to pinch off the attack at the blueline before the puck gets close to the high danger zone closer to the net.If you can disrupt the attack there, you set up for a fast break going back at the Jets or at least force an offside.

    The only reason Sheahan and Jones are in the same lane is because Sheahan started drifting to the board side once he crossed the red line.If Sheahan stayed in the middle, Shaw wouldn’t have had that step on him.At worst, they’d be parallel with Sheahan ready to intercept the pass or to confront Shaw directly.But in any case, Sheahan would still have the inside position.

    In your proposed scenario, Jones is in the middle on a wide 2 on 1 with Sheahan in the chase position totally abandoning the middle while attempting to catch up to Shore on the boards.Shore would have loads of time to skate closer to the net as Jones backs in trying to intercept the pass as Shaw is flying down the wing. Despite what you feel, there’s no guarantee Sheahan can skate fast enough to catch Shore on the boards.

    In the AfterHours segement on CBC, Hrudey highlighted Sheahan’s bad track going towards his own blue line so it’s not just MY opinion.

    I think we are saying the same thing here.
    I thought you were implying that Tippett wanted his dmen to pressure the puck along the boards and just assume the backchecker is going to cover the other player. I think the dman has to make the read and be sure his backchecker has the other forward before he commits to the boards. Essentially, he’s got to take the man the backchecker doesn’t pick up.
    To my eye, Sheehan never locked on to Shaw. He could have, but his first step was to the boards. If Jones sees that, he has to protect the middle.

  37. OriginalPouzar says:

    Make that 2-0 Kings….

  38. Rickety Cricket says:

    Rumor has it Boregun Ruffurti has hired Joe Colborne as his personal skills coach.

  39. Scungilli Slushy says:

    pts2pndr:
    If you were to take a poll of which D Oileropponents least like to play against I think you would find it would be Nurse followed by Larsson. I doubt that Jones would even get one vote. It amazes me the number of fans that have so little appreciation for physical D.There is value in players that make opponents not want to go the front of the net.

    I like physical smart players, but only when they can also skate and pass. Missing either takes the shine off.

    This place killed gritensity for me. Long ago.

  40. OriginalPouzar says:

    wolf8888:
    Wild just lost. More good news!

    WSH had been sluming too.

    Even if VEG comes back against LA, this will be a fantastic 36 hours. Gaining on each of the three wild card competitors from the Central without any games in hand being given up, gaining on the Canucks and staying even with the flames but gaining a game in hand.

  41. Darth Tu says:

    Vancouver lost I gather?

    Time for them to light up the Raff signal. Hughes can’t do it all in his own. He needs support. He needs the Raffmeister

  42. v4ance says:

    Yep… exact same play.

    On the failed forcheck in Nashville’s end, COL #17 Jost is F1 first on the forecheck, F2 is COL #37 Compher chasing to the side boards and F3 high support is COL #13 Nichushkin.

    In Tippett’s system, F3 is supposed to come back through the neutral zone covering the center area from faceoff dot to faceoff dot. I think COL #27 Graves stepped up on the Nashville forward just like Larsson at center ice. At the blueline, COL #8 Makar was in good position to cut off Forsberg but #13 Nichushkin went after the puck abandoning Duchene.

    Once Forberg lifted #13’s stick, it was a quick pass to the middle to Duchene for the breakaway. F1 Jost tries to recover at the last second to catch Duchene but he’s in trail position all the way down the ice.

  43. wolf8888 says:

    Canucks road record is pathetic, If they can’t learn to win on the road they have no hope in the playoffs even if they get there.

  44. OriginalPouzar says:

    Skyler Brind’Amour making the national plays:

    https://twitter.com/QU_MIH/status/1234126794690891777

  45. Scungilli Slushy says:

    OriginalPouzar:
    Remember when Nugent-Hopkins couldn’t piss a drop earlier in the year, for a good quarter of the season?He had like a handful of even strength points, was struggling with a hand injury and not really helping the team? He missed 2-3 weeks with a procedure on his hand (apparently the same as on Klef’s shoulder).

    He’s now got 19G and isn’t far from PPG on the year with 53 points ini 59 games.

    His defensive game as a top 6 winger is higher end (he’s middling as a defensive center I think) and he’s a huge part of the PK paired with Kharia as PK2.

    What a player.

    Expansion draft ramifications notwithstanding, does Holland start talking contract with Nuge this summer. Are we cool with 5 years at $35M or under? Will Nuge sign for $7M per or under?

    If they are keeping Nuge or Larsson I hope they pull some Lou and have a handshake deal and sign them post expansion draft and don’t protect either.

  46. Scungilli Slushy says:

    dustrock:
    Nurse is mostly getting exposed because too many minutes.

    He’s a big mistake kinda guy which is why he gets so much heat.
    Grrat play by the Jets but come on, it seems pretty established at this point that he makes bad reads on opposing team rushes.

    Other thing was not getting the shot through late in the game which led to a Winnipeg break and almost a goal against.I just see it happening too often. Think his release is telegraphed.

    Petey was another big mistake guy getting exposed because too many minutes and the fanbase turned on him. He has been the Habs’ best d-man for some time now.

    We need to figure out if Nurse is another Petry.

    Nurse is better on the boards, Petry a much better passer and shooter.

    BoB turned on Petry because he isn’t physical IMO. Both make some beauty mistakes.

  47. tcho says:

    Imagine how much better than Draisaitl he’s going to be now.

  48. tcho says:

    He usually just switches to another team. Pretty easy pickings the last decade+. Less easy this year.

  49. Scungilli Slushy says:

    ArmchairGM: Holland shouldn’t have any problem getting a 3rd for Benning at the draft.

    Seems low to me for an established young RHD with killer stats.

  50. Scungilli Slushy says:

    To show my dedication to the blog, we’re sitting in an airport waiting to transfer and Mrs. Scungilli is getting on me to hurry up posting. Wants to walk.

    The sacrifices we make.

  51. Bank Shot says:

    OriginalPouzar: The way things are going, there is a solid chance they may want/need to protect Jones:

    Klef, Nurse, Bear, Jones

    McDavid, Drai, Nuge (re-signed this off-season), Yamamoto

    Exposed: Lagesson, Benson, AA, Kassian, Puljujarvi, etc.

    Of course, this will depend on how Jones, Benson, AA play over the next year and a bit.

    That would make the AA deal kind of a disaster if the Oilers end up making him available to Seattle.

    I think at this point you plan to protect 7 forwards and 3 D.

    Throw AA in with the protected group up front. Trade one of the defenders for a comparable forward and you’ve got 6 guys worth protecting. If Bouchard is the goods he should be able to hang as a top four defender in two seasons. Ideally Holland finds another forward worthy of a protection slot by then as well.

  52. Faustkarz says:

    Posts like this make me wonder why in the world we are getting rid of Benning, isn’t an outscoring 3RD on a relatively low-income contract in his mid 20’s exactly the type of player the Oilers should keep?

    I understand wanting room for Bouchard next year but Benning and Bouchard alternating 6/7th then getting rid of larsson after next year seems like the better play than signing a 35 y/o defenceman who really isn’t a defensive stalwart and isn’t in the long term plans at the same price

    I can see benning having trade value but he seems like the type of player that if he was on a team in the East all of this blog would drool over

  53. OriginalPouzar says:

    Scungilli Slushy: If they are keeping Nuge or Larsson I hope they pull some Lou and have a handshake deal and sign them post expansion draft and don’t protect either.

    As I said “expansion draft notwithstanding”.

    I’d be comfortable if they went with the extension in advance and got him re-signed this summer (to the extent terms are reasonable).

  54. OriginalPouzar says:

    Make that 3-0 LA with 7:30 to go in the 2nd.

  55. OriginalPouzar says:

    Bank Shot: That would make the AA deal kind of a disaster if the Oilers end up making him available to Seattle.

    I think at this point you plan to protect 7 forwards and 3 D.

    Throw AA in with the protected group up front. Trade one of the defenders for a comparable forward and you’ve got 6 guys worth protecting. If Bouchard is the goods he should be able to hang as a top four defender in two seasons. Ideally Holland finds another forward worthy of a protection slot by then as well.

    As I said, it depends on how things go with various players over the next few years.

    If Jones is a legit top 4 D and AA a middle six winger well, acquisition price two years in the past should mean little to strategy going forward.

    There is just way too much in flux between now and June 2021 to reasonably know what is the “right” path forward.

    It looks like this team is going to lose a good player which is a good thing.

  56. OriginalPouzar says:

    VEG gets that one right back, 3-1 in the 2nd.

  57. N64 says:

    Also depends on how Lagesson plays. Not so long ago Jones was a question mark too.

  58. pts2pndr says:

    It should be a given that the Oilers will lose a good player to expansion. The position with the most to fill internally is Left D. NHL calibre forwards is a need. My thought is protect the most players and add a sweetener if required to pick the player the team would not mind losing because contract.

  59. OriginalPouzar says:

    4-1 Kings and they are on the PP as the 2nd winds down…

  60. pts2pndr says:

    Happy wife Happy life?

  61. jp says:

    OriginalPouzar: A few months ago, there were many “no way Nuge re-signs in Edmonton” type posts (some here, many on other platforms).

    I suspect that, given how good a solider he has been through all the tough times, now that he’s playing with skill like he’s always wanted and the team looks to be set up to be a legit contender for a solid stretch, Nuge likely wants to see this through with this team.

    I don’t see him wanting to leave just when “the going gets good”.

    Of course, that doesn’t mean he will take a material “home town discount” or anything like that.

    I don’t know what the market is on him but, yes, I suspect he’d be able to get more than 6 X $7M on the open market.

    One benefit the Oilers have is the potential to lock him up a year early, this summer – getting his “UFA contract” done a year early and providing security and hedging against a bad season or bad injury may have some value.

    I don’t know what type of contract is value for Nuge or what might get it done in advance.

    Yeah we don’t know what Nuge really thinks/wants, but I agree it’s far less likely he wants to move on with the team seemingly having turned a corner.

    I never bought the “Nuge will never re-sign” talk anyway, but discussing an extension sure will be easier following a playoff run.

    Maybe he would take a bit of a team friendly contract, especially considering the Oilers salary structure, with NHL leading scorer Draisaitl making $8.5M.

    Whatever the case, I hope Holland can re-sign him to a reasonable number.

  62. N64 says:

    When he says a notch I think he’s think of something super small like the Notch in Jasper at 2510m.

  63. RonnieB says:

    For anybody thinking short-term contract on Benning, one year takes him to UFA status.

  64. Greenberg says:

    TMAC trucks roll over Vegreville.

  65. Pescador says:

    No wife, happier life

  66. Pescador says:

    Sure, but what the hell is wrong with that?
    1 year deal suits both parties perfectly

  67. duct tape and foil says:

    Well this weekend turned out about as well as you could hope for. Arizona and Vancouver both look like they are in trouble to me over the next 2 1/2 weeks:

    ARZ has: VAN, CGY, WPG, VAN, NYR, DAL, VEG, DET coming up

    VAN has: ARZ, COL, CBJ, NYI, ARZ, COL, WPG, TBL

    ARZ is already losing touch, and while VAN gets Markstrom back in 2 weeks, it’s probably be too late by then even with a softer schedule after this.

    If we go 2-1 or even 1-1-1 on this road trip then we are looking good with 10 of our next 13 games this month at home. We also only play 1 Pacific division team over the next 3 weeks (VEG on the 10th) while VAN & ARZ get to kick the stuffings out of each other. I’m picking EDM/VEG/CGY for the Pacific, STL/DALCOL in the central, and NSH/WPG as wildcards.

  68. duct tape and foil says:

    No problem. They could offer him a take it or leave it pay-cut to $1.5 million on a one year deal and he probably accepts. Nobody is paying Benning $2 million as a UFA if we don’t qualify him so I doubt there is any trade market for him either. So we probably just walk away and keep the cap space. With his history he might have to accept a PTO if that happens.

    Next year I’d go with:

    Klef Bear
    Nurse Bouch
    Jones Lars
    Lags or Green

    L/R, rookie/veteran, puck mover / cycle breaker on all pairs. Sign Berglund as first AHL call-up with Sammy as #9. Defensive depth is a beautiful thing.

  69. v4ance says:

    Drai stuff 19:45
    Pronger starts 33:10

  70. jp says:

    Harpers Hair:
    All teams suffer injuries..Yamamoto, Russell and Neal are bit players in fact the Oilers are likely a better team without Russell and Neal.

    And you keep going on and on about the Canucks missing “top 6 winger” Leivo and his 19 points. SMH.

  71. OriginalPouzar says:

    What a great weekend it was on the scoreboard – an Oilers win, , VEG loss, 2 Nuck loses, 1 flames loss (and one win), Jets loss, MIN loss, NSH loss.

    If the Oilers can gut out a regulation win tonight, well, they would really be in a great position.

    Klef and Neal are both on the trip (well confirmed Klef, speculated the Neal was going on the trip).

    Yama close.

    Very much looking forward to hearing what Tip has to say pre-game about the lineup.

    Goalies will split tonight/tomorrow – i would think Smith starts tonight.

  72. OriginalPouzar says:

    duct tape and foil:
    No problem. They could offer him a take it or leave it pay-cut to $1.5 million on a one year deal and he probably accepts. Nobody is paying Benning $2 million as a UFA if we don’t qualify him so I doubt there is any trade market for him either. So we probably just walk away and keep the cap space. With his history he might have to accept a PTO if that happens.

    Next year I’d go with:

    Klef Bear
    Nurse Bouch
    Jones Lars
    Lags or Green

    L/R, rookie/veteran, puck mover / cycle breaker on all pairs. Sign Berglund as first AHL call-up with Sammy as #9. Defensive depth is a beautiful thing.

    I’m not positive that Benning couldn’t get a $2M contract as a UFA. He isn’t a depth 3rd pairing d-man, he is a legit every day NHL d-man, an upper echelon 3rd pairing guy that excells with those minutes.

    Pencilling Bouchard in to the 2nd pairing is risky but at least that lineup has Larsson who is the incumbent top 4 guy. Only one of Benning or Larssson should be deal and, yes, a depth RD would need to be added or else the depth on the right side is too thin considering Bouchard will indeed be a rookie.

    We’ve heard solid reports on Berglund and he’s had a very nice season in the SHL. We hope he’s NHL ready with maybe some AHL seasoning but its a stretch to just pencil him in as first call-up and a guy that’s ready to step in.

    Has this not been our problem in the past? Moving out pieces assuming younger players can take those spots without ever having proven it? I mean, we hope Bouchard can play 2nd pairing, we hope Berglund is ready to be an NHL depth call-up but, at the end of the day, we don’t know these things.

  73. OriginalPouzar says:

    duct tape and foil:
    Well this weekend turned out about as well as you could hope for. Arizona and Vancouver both look like they are in trouble to me over the next 2 1/2 weeks:

    ARZ has: VAN, CGY, WPG, VAN, NYR, DAL, VEG, DET coming up

    VAN has: ARZ, COL, CBJ, NYI, ARZ, COL, WPG, TBL

    ARZ is already losing touch, and while VAN gets Markstrom back in 2 weeks, it’s probably be too late by then even with a softer schedule after this.

    If we go 2-1 or even 1-1-1 on this road trip then we are looking good with 10 of our next 13 games this month at home. We also only play 1 Pacific division team over the next 3 weeks (VEG on the 10th) while VAN & ARZ get to kick the stuffings out of each other. I’m picking EDM/VEG/CGY for the Pacific, STL/DALCOL in the central, and NSH/WPG as wildcards.

    A fantastic weekend.

    Of note, I think what they said on Markstrom was that he’d be re-evaluated in two weeks – not that he’d necessarily (or even likely) be back in two weeks.

  74. jp says:

    OriginalPouzar: I’m not positive that Benning couldn’t get a $2M contract as a UFA.

    I’d be shocked if Benning couldn’t get $2K plus as a FA, though I don’t imagine we’ll have the chance to find out any time soon.

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