2020 Playoffs: Pre-playoff Game 1 Oilers and Flames

by Lowetide

I didn’t know if we’d get here, so ran with a combination of draft, 2020 offseason and playoff posts for about 100 days. Thanks for hanging in. We now return you to regular programming.

THE ATHLETIC!

Great perspective from a ridiculous group of writers and analysts. I am proud to be part of The Athletic. Here are the most recent Oilers stories.

PREDICTIONS SEPTEMBER 2019

I like predicting opening night rosters a few weeks before the coach makes his final cuts. It’s usually close but there’s always a late story plot that sends the entire process sideways. Here’s what I predicted for opening night 2019-20 on September 10, 2019:

  • Leon Draisaitl—Connor McDavid—Zack Kassian
  • James Neal—Ryan Nugent-Hopkins—Alex Chiasson
  • Jujhar Khaira—Riley Sheahan—Josh Archibald
  • Markus Granlund—Gaetan Haas—Sam Gagner
  • Joakim Nygard, Colby Cave
  • Darnell Nurse—Adam Larsson
  • Oscar Klefbom—Joel Persson
  • Kris Russell—Matt Benning
  • Caleb Jones
  • Mikko Koskinen (Mike Smith)

I missed on a few. Riley Sheahan was injured, he would play on October 8, seven days after the opener. Joel Persson made the team but was on IR opening night, returning October 5.

Sam Gagner started the season in the minors, recalled for the October 24 game. Caleb Jones also began in Bakersfield, making it to Edmonton on November 14.

OPENING NIGHT ROSTER, LINES AND PAIRINGS

  • James Neal—Connor McDavid—Joakim Nygard
  • Leon Draisaitl—Ryan Nugent-Hopkins—Zack Kassian
  • Jujhar Khaira—Colby Cave—Josh Archibald
  • Markus Granlund—Gaetan Haas—Alex Chiasson
  • Tomas Jurco, Patrick Russell
  • Darnell Nurse—Adam Larsson
  • Oscar Klefbom—Ethan Bear
  • Kris Russell—Matt Benning
  • Brandon Manning
  • Mike Smith (Mikko Koskinen)

Ethan Bear made the club and started game one, he was partnered with Klefbom. What a story. Mike Smith started the first game, Joakim Nygard’s first shift came with McDavid and Neal.

Bear, Yamamoto and Jones were exactly what the McDavid cluster needed. Can Ken Holland find three more useful pieces in the offseason?

JESSE PULJUJARVI

Ken Holland told Bob Stauffer “we’ll see where it goes” and the two sides have talked more than once. I see Puljujarvi as being able to slide onto the roster on right wing, behind Yamamoto and Kassian. I think he could land a No. 3 right wing job on the 2020-21 Oilers, with Josh Archibald as the other regular on the starboard side. I don’t see him on a skill line to start, but that big body and skill set are going to be useful to an NHL team for a long time. Personally, I’d love to see him as an Oilers winger in 2020-21, but the bottom line is the young man should find his place in the sun. We don’t know where that will be, or when. However, it appears closer today than yesterday.

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ArmchairGM

The AA – Haas – Archibald line played very well together last night. Should they stick together for game 1?

The heavy line didn’t have a good game, Chiasson in particular. Could that line be Sheahan’s landing spot? If Tippett sits Chiasson he could run Sheahan – Khaira – Neal on the 4th.

OriginalPouzar

Fuge Udvar:
Can players leave the bubble roster before they are eliminated? If we go deep and it is pretty clear that Broberg isn’t going to suit up for a game. Can he leave early to make for the start of the SHL on Sept. 19?

Anybody can leave – its not jail.

Of course, unless a player is on an approved leave, coming back would be an issue (and, even if approved, there would be strict protocols).

Yes, they could release Broberg at any time they want. There likely is a chance that they could release him mid playoffs to get him back to his club team but I think he’ll stay for the duration – Holland did say he spoke with Broberg, his Agent and the Skeleftea GM re: staying for phase 4.

I don’t disagree that releasing him at some point may make sense – if they aren’t getting banged up on the back-end.

Fuge Udvar

Can players leave the bubble roster before they are eliminated? If we go deep and it is pretty clear that Broberg isn’t going to suit up for a game. Can he leave early to make for the start of the SHL on Sept. 19?

jp

Munny:

Jonesy was not available today but was scheduled to play.Wanted to give Broberg the start because out of all the remaining D he was the only one who hadn’t played any game at all at this level.

That sounds far less conspicuous than starting Broberg over Jones straight out. Works for me.

Munny

Bear: “…both teams hate each other…”

Make this kid Mayor or something.

Munny

Oil2Oilers:
Bear plays like he has been in the league 10 years, not one.

Rob Brown just said the exact same thing in the post-game.

Loubardias too was raving about both him and Nurse on Flames radio earlier.

Munny

Tipp:

Liked both goalies, liked two of the powerplays, other parts of the game, thinks (in general) they still have some kinks to work out before Saturday.

Hoping Sheahan is ready Thurs, but quite pleased with Haas’s work on the PP.

Jonesy was not available today but was scheduled to play. Wanted to give Broberg the start because out of all the remaining D he was the only one who hadn’t played any game at all at this level.

OriginalPouzar

defmn: What’s Bouchard thinking right now? I know they are not competing for the same spot but there was one extra guy who got to play tonight and they chose the younger guy.

Tip just said why Broberg played tonight – Bouch has NHL games on his resume and Broberg didn’t and they wanted to ensure he got one in.

OriginalPouzar

Tip says post-game that the reason for playing Broberg was simply to ensure that every d-man in the bubble has played an NHL game – really didn’t sound like he was on the verge to getting in a post-season game.

Munny

defmn,

Precisely.

Munny

jp,

I don’t think it is a bad read, JP. There’s something there, we just don’t know exactly what.

Perhaps Tipp will enlighten us during the post-game… assuming there’s a member of the media smart enough to ask the question.

One thing is for sure though… no way is he going to rank his D for the benefit of us poor schmos lol.

defmn

jp:
Could be. We’ll see.

I don’t personally have a preference, just trying to read what Tippett would do. I don’t think he’d play the #9 or #10 D in this game. Much less give him the minutes Broberg got (27 seconds more than Benning in the end).

What’s Bouchard thinking right now? I know they are not competing for the same spot but there was one extra guy who got to play tonight and they chose the younger guy.

Munny

Smith just confirmed neither of them know who is starting and they are taking it day-by-day. Tipp has indicated that he expects both will play during the playoffs.

jp

Unfriendly Regional Arachnid Individual,

N64,

I’m happy to be wrong on this. Whatever Tippett thinks is best is cool with me.

IMO he views this as a really important game though. We’ll see soon enough what he really thinks (well, or not).

And again, this is just my opinion based on what I think Tippett would/wouldn’t do here.

jp

GordieHoweHatTrick:
What is Russell”s points per 60
With McDavid?

Vs without McDavid?

😜

Turns out one of his regular season points was alongside McDavid (thought I remembered that!). So in the regular season he scored:
1.42P/60 with McDavid
0.57P/60 without McDavid

Add in tonight (40 second shift?) he’s scored:
4.19P/60 with McDavid
0.56P/60 without McDavid

🙂

N64

Unfriendly Regional Arachnid Individual:
jp,

I agree with the other guy. He wanted to see what he has in his #10 D whereas he knows what the rest can bring. This #10 D has never played on NHL ice before so keeping him around to let him get a feel for it and let Tippett know what he can expect of the player if it comes to needing him. Philly did the same with Zamula earlier today.

If I’m the coach I throw out the first bunch of wobbly shifts and give him enough time to leave them behind

N64

jp:
Could be. We’ll see.

I don’t personally have a preference, just trying to read what Tippett would do. I don’t think he’d play the #9 or #10 D in this game. Much less give him the minutes Broberg got (27 seconds more than Benning in the end).

Why not? It’s an exhibition game. Easier to argue against dressing him. But if you dress him you give him time. For all players with just one exhibition. But year Covid this is your chance to prepare him if you dress him

Unfriendly Regional Arachnid Individual

jp,

I agree with the other guy. He wanted to see what he has in his #10 D whereas he knows what the rest can bring. This #10 D has never played on NHL ice before so keeping him around to let him get a feel for it and let Tippett know what he can expect of the player if it comes to needing him. Philly did the same with Zamula earlier today.

jp

N64: I’d agree most years. But if you dress a rookie covid insurance D prepare him with some TOi

N64: Period

Could be. We’ll see.

I don’t personally have a preference, just trying to read what Tippett would do. I don’t think he’d play the #9 or #10 D in this game. Much less give him the minutes Broberg got (27 seconds more than Benning in the end).

OriginalPouzar

oilersfan:
I think the Draisaitl line is better with Nuge on it

Would prefer to swap Ennis with Nuge for the rest of the third

Well, yes, Nuge is better than Ennis so that would make sense.

With that said, Ennis has played very well through the scrimmages on the Drai line and, when that line was trying in the first period, they dominated and Ennis made the primary skill play on the Yamamoto goal.

Admiral Ackbar

Oil2Oilers:
Bear plays like he has been in the league 10 years, not one.

Sign that boy! 6 yrs x $2.9 per? Am I being cheap?

Admiral Ackbar

Younger Oil:
Really curious how the ice is going to hold up when there are three games in a day, especially if there are games that go to OT. Seems to be taking some crazy bounces just in this third period.

I honestly wonder what they’ll do if a game goes to 4OTs..

Admiral Ackbar

Oh McPrecious, how I’ve missed you…

jp

Nice game. I enjoyed that!

N64

jp: I find it a bit difficult to believe

Period

godot10

Younger Oil:
Really curious how the ice is going to hold up when there are three games in a day, especially if there are games that go to OT. Seems to be taking some crazy bounces just in this third period.

No fans. It shouldn’t be that hard. They never have to open the doors to the arena.

No fans also means they can keep the arena cold.

The community rink is always cold. The ice is fantastic.

N64

jp: This game is too important to give those minutes to a player who isn’t in the plans, IMO.

I’d agree most years. But if you dress a rookie covid insurance D prepare him with some TOi

Younger Oil

Really curious how the ice is going to hold up when there are three games in a day, especially if there are games that go to OT. Seems to be taking some crazy bounces just in this third period.

dcsj

Oh yeah. The boys are back

GordieHoweHatTrick

What is Russell”s points per 60
With McDavid?

Vs without McDavid?

😜

Unfriendly Regional Arachnid Individual

Alright, the last few shifts I can say I take no issue with the compete level here. Both lines started playing their games. I’m the jackass.

Gerta Rauss

P Russell still doesn’t have an official NHL goal LoL…..

Nice play to finish that

DevilsLettuce

David should of stocked his flip after that one.

godot10

P. Russell eating Kassian’s lunch.

Oil2Oilers

McDavid is being Covid19 smart in this game, it doesn’t look like he’s broken a sweat or will need a shower after the game.

Unfriendly Regional Arachnid Individual

Of course Russell gets his first goal here.

striatic

Nuge with the pitching wedge, sticking the green.

OriginalPouzar

McDavid can also put the puck in the next in an NHL arena.

P. Russell/McDavid – maybe we have a new 1RW………

Ice Sage

jp:
1st goal!!!!!!(sorta)

yeah, he looked so stoked

Munny

Nobody expects the Spanish Inquirussel!

lol now McDavid.

jp

1st goal!!!!!! (sorta)

OriginalPouzar

P. Russell can put the puck in the next in an NHL arena……

jp

OriginalPouzar: See my previous post on the subject.

I think they do want to get a look before the player disappears across the pond until the spring (well, except the World Juniors).

If it was truly only about getting ready on this point, wouldn’t we see Jones who is almost assured of playing time?

We’ll see I guess, maybe I’m way off base.

I think it’s highly unlikely Tippett would put Broberg in the lineup purely as a reward. And I think it’s even more unlikely that he’d continue playing him in full rotation as a reward. I just don’t see it.

He’s played both sides too. I find it a bit difficult to believe but maybe Broberg has actually passed Jones as #7D? For better or worse.

Oil2Oilers

Bear plays like he has been in the league 10 years, not one.

Munny

Some pucks on their net would be nice…

Unfriendly Regional Arachnid Individual

OriginalPouzar: The showed in the first period what happens when they try against a team like the flames….

Cool, still don’t like that they didn’t keep the foot on the gas pedal at least a bit. I get it’s an exhibition and I certainly don’t mind McDavid easing off his puck rushes for such a game, but there’s a difference between not playing recklessly and trying.

oilersfan

I think the Draisaitl line is better with Nuge on it

Would prefer to swap Ennis with Nuge for the rest of the third

jp

That was an absurd save!

OriginalPouzar

Wow – massive Smith save.

OriginalPouzar

Unfriendly Regional Arachnid Individual:
Top 2 lines look like they aren’t trying like they’ll need to.

The showed in the first period what happens when they try against a team like the flames….