Stanley Cup Playoffs 2020: Oilers vs. Chicago Game 3

by Lowetide

A five-game series is like having a job evaluation every day for a week. Even if you do well Tuesday, there’s another big test tomorrow.

Imagine a batter versus a pitcher. The count is 1-1. Strike two gives enormous advantage to the pitcher, 2-1 is a hitter’s count. That’s tonight for the Oilers and the ‘Hawks. This is fun, right? RIGHT?

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.

OILERS 2019-20 PLAYOFF SCORING

The top two lines have produced points, with McDavid leading the way in brilliant fashion. I’m a fan of Leon Draisaitl and believe he can create offense with any number of the available wingers. In the spring of 2017, he was a hammer with Milan Lucic and Anton Slepyshev (the line scored while getting caved in possession). James Neal has two goals, Chiasson another, the bottom-six forwards are doing good things.

Defensemen haven’t had much of an offensive impact but the second pairing has been good, the top pair was better in Game 2 and the third pair has been exactly as you would expect (dependable).

Goalie Mikko Koskinen has the edge on getting tonight’s start, it’s uncertain he’ll get the next three starts.

OILERS PLAYOFFS CORSI FIVE ON FIVE

Oilers so far this series are 51.5 Corsi (No. 9 in the NHL) and 45.45 goal differential (No. 14). Both numbers five on five.

Possession numbers are not the almighty but do tell us what the puck is doing with specific players on the ice. Edmonton’s bottom-six forwards are routinely in the 40’s in this metric, nice to see some real results from the Khaira and Sheahan lines.

Out clause will of course be part of this and I do believe Puljujarvi could be with the Oilers in 2020-21. That’s a big step from where this landed and spent last winter, seems a spring thaw has resulted in real progress. It’s easy to see how much value he would bring, with cap savings being a massive item. If Ken Holland can offload Alex Chiasson (Puljujarvi), Kris Russell (Caleb Jones) and Matt Benning (Evan Bouchard) it’ll represent $5 million or more shaved off the cap in 2020-21. Massive.

Plenty of room for Holland to wheel, he could add a more substantial goalie or perhaps an upgrade on Riley Sheahan in the middle. I have Bouchard, Lagesson and Gambardella making the team from Bakersfield, and suspect Tyler Benson, Cooper Marody, Ryan McLeod and Theodor Lennstrom may also be in play.

LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE

At 10 this morning, we hit the airwaves on TSN1260 with Bruce McCurdy from the Cult of Hockey at the Edmonton Journal. We’ll chat about tonight’s big game and moments in Oilers history when intelligent men had to contemplate the evening game as historic and possibly damaging. Joe Osborne from OddsShark pops by at 11 to talk NHL and NBA odds. 10-1260 text @Lowetide on twitter. We have live sports to talk about and we’re all very excited!

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flea

Yamamoto was the catalyst for the Ennis goal. I’m shocked he didn’t get an assist. Must have ticked a hawk on the way back.

These 5 game series are stressful. Hope they can put together a complete performance tonight and grab the stranglehold. For all the praise on game 2, I still didn’t think they were at their best and leaked a lot of chances into the slot again.

Expecting this to be more like a true playoff game, and finish 3-2. Not much OT here in the qualifier either – is tonight the night?

tileguy

Look at those goaltending numbers **whistles**
No question who gets the start tonight……..unless guts

Todd Macallan

Neal penned a new article on the Players Tribune. Excellent read:

https://www.theplayerstribune.com/en-us/articles/james-neal-edmonton-bubble-hockey

Woogie63

20/21

Solidify – Yamamoto (53 games) Bear (89); Jones (60), Nygard (33)
Adding Puljujarvi (139), Bouchard (7)

is a good conveyor belt

McNuge93

” If Ken Holland can offload Alex Chiasson (Puljujarvi), Kris Russell (Caleb Jones) and Matt Benning (Evan Bouchard) it’ll represent $5 million or more shaved off the cap in 2020-21. Massive.”

I would keep Benning for now. We need experienced depth especially if Russell goes. Also, I think we need a D to expose to the Kraken the following summer. I wonder how marketable Russel is, though, especially with the cap constraints for most teams.

hunter1909

Hunter1909 2020 Playoff Death March™

Enter Now!

It’s free! It’s easy!

https://oilersdeathmarch.com/playoffs-2020/

Elgin R

I credit JJ with two ‘coach’ assists (Neal and Chiasson goals) for his good work in helping make those goals happen. The line looks good to the eye-test, on the score sheet, possession and in the physical department.
The new 3rd line looks good and should be able to score or draw some penalties.
Oilers are have looked good the last 4-5 periods and are starting to feel it. Is the Draisaitl line poised for a breakout? Corsi is acceptable. Math, and history, suggest that it is just a matter of at bats. Tonight maybe the night – I sure hope so as the joy on Yamamoto’s face when he scores is priceless.

Assume that the AHL plays a limited schedule starting at the same time as the NHL 2020/2021 season.
– Keep Benning and start Bouchard in the AHL for RHD injury coverage
– Trade KRusty (how that hurts to say as he is a personal favorite of mine)
– Trade Chiasson
– Sign JP to take Chiasson’s spot
– Sign Ennis ($1 x 1 est)

Do not sign Sheahan, use money to upgrade at 3C (preferably a RC)
Move on from Mike Smith

slopitch

Todd Macallan:
Neal penned a new article on the Players Tribune. Excellent read:

https://www.theplayerstribune.com/en-us/articles/james-neal-edmonton-bubble-hockey

Good read!

Side

Todd Macallan:
Neal penned a new article on the Players Tribune. Excellent read:

https://www.theplayerstribune.com/en-us/articles/james-neal-edmonton-bubble-hockey

I enjoyed the part about all of the players gaming. Mostly because of the people concerned that these young millionaires wouldn’t be able to stay in the bubble without going out to a bar or a club like they were the 80s Oilers or something.

I didn’t think that would be the case as quarantine is kind of a great excuse for gamers to stay in and play games.

Except for Connor. I imagine he just lays in his bed staring at a picture of the Stanley Cup on his ceiling whilst squeezing a hand strengthener.

GordieHoweHatTrick

I generally like how the putative line-up is shaping up….but

I think it would be wise to sign Benning because there is a lack of depth in RD.
I think the Oilers need to upgrade at 3C, someone that can PK, RH….whether that could be Haas or Marody with quality wingers (e.g., AA and Arhie) remains TBD. I find JJ and Sheahan largely duplicative in what they bring to the team: Excellent PK, but basically 4C.

I also find Chia and Kass largely duplicative…if JP makes it back and plays near potential who is better to move: Chiasson or Kassian?? If recent trends continue, I would prefer to keep Chia (already signed for one more year and cheaper and contributes to the PP) and trade Kassian. I want things to work out for ZK here, but his inconsistency and now his nice new salary are a problem.

GordieHoweHatTrick

There should be no question on starting MK until he shows decline in performance. That is, if the Oilers want to make the play-OFFs.

PS: on the subject of G-spot; I agree Dell should be the hard target.

dustrock

Side:

Except for Connor. I imagine he just lays in his bed staring at a picture of the Stanley Cup on his ceiling whilst squeezing a hand strengthener.

If there ever was a player who played 7-dimensional chess….

Tesla's Hair

LT: “This is fun, right? RIGHT?”

TH: My kneejerk reaction is that I wouldn’t pick the word “fun” to describe it, although I do relate to your maniacal FULL CAPS rhetorical question.

This is nerve-wracking stressful precarious nail-biting disturbing disquieting tense unsettling uneasy unnerving distressing fraught anxious worrisome agitating hairy distressful nervous restless worrying did I say stressful exciting scary edgy nerve-wracking upsetting alarming disconcerting difficult troubling frightening trying nerve-shredding right? RIGHT?

dustrock

We haven’t seen the Oilers play their best game yet.

I’m not sure the Hawks could play better than in Game 1, they were just outstanding.

Tesla's Hair

Can we tryout Smith as a forward in the next practice? Hate to see that guy sitting on the bench when he loves to deke, dangle and dish. Why limit him to risky playmaking around Gretzky’s Garage?

tavvey tune

Tesla's Hair,

You’re both right!

Tesla's Hair

Side , Except for Connor. I imagine he just lays in his bed staring at a picture of the Stanley Cup on his ceiling whilst squeezing a hand strengthener.

==

Haha. That 97 hat-trick dude is really boring. Just wish Kassian was this boring too.

#HanginWithHeavensAngels

Pescador

McNuge93:
” If Ken Holland can offload Alex Chiasson (Puljujarvi), Kris Russell (Caleb Jones) and Matt Benning (Evan Bouchard) it’ll represent $5 million or more shaved off the cap in 2020-21. Massive.”

I would keep Benning for now. We need experienced depth especially if Russell goes. Also, I think we need a D to expose to the Kraken the following summer. I wonder how marketable Russel is, though, especially with the cap constraints for most teams.

I think people on this blog (good people) undervalue Benning and overvalue Bouchard.
Is Bouchard better than Benning now?
I don’t think so, and why do the Oilers need to rush it?
All that being said, hard to see another team taking on Russell’s cap hit, especially with a limited number of trade partners.
Whereas it’s much easier to see a team offering up a 3red or 4th round pick for an analytics darling like Matt Benning

dustrock

Pescador,

I am a pretty big Bouchard fan but hard to imagine Bouchard gets in without some kind of injury.

Pescador

Tesla’s Hair:
Can we tryout Smith as a forward in next practice? Hate to see that guy sitting on the bench when he loves to deke and dangle.

I want a second overtime period in the regular season
where one of the 3 skaters has to be the backup goalie

Pescador

dustrock,

For sure,
I was thinking more about next season

dustrock

Pescador: I want a second overtime period in the regular season
where one of the 3 skaters has to be the backup goalie

Make it like the video game and have the mascots available too

dustrock

Pescador:
dustrock,

For sure,
I was thinking more about next season

Oh I meant next season too, unless he really blows the doors off in the season.

Someone between Larsson, Bear and Benning will have injuries and I think he’ll be #4 but Benning is a known quality.

Tesla's Hair

Pescador: I think people on this blog (good people) undervalue Benning and overvalue Bouchard.

I think people on this blog (good people) undervalue HH and overvalue DSF.

leadfarmer

Todd Macallan:
Neal penned a new article on the Players Tribune. Excellent read:

https://www.theplayerstribune.com/en-us/articles/james-neal-edmonton-bubble-hockey

Good read.
Although the question is do we buy out James Neal this offseason or can we wait one more year. 3.8 mil cap savings is a good chunk of cap, especially if we cant move Russell

OriginalPouzar

Bruce and Al just told me this is really game 5 – well, l can buy in to that.

Here is hoping the Oilers continue to improve game over game because, although they were 450% better in game 2 than game 1, they were still “uneven” in game 2 and can play oh so much better.

More than anything, I would like to see the top D pairing of Klefbom/Larsson find their A game and, overall, the team make less “defensive mistakes” – giveaways, walkabouts, positional mistakes, etc.

I think they can beat the Hawks in 5 games some sloppiness in their game, however, once the real playoffs start, they will need to be a better defensive team overall.

OriginalPouzar

Speaking of the spring of 2017, if I remember correctly, Leon started slow offensively in the Shark series before exploding later in the series and against ANA to a total of 16 points in 13 games.

I have no concern about Leon – his line isn’t giving up much of anything defensively, they are playing and taking on tough minutes against top opposition, Leon is winning close to 60% of his draws and the line is creating.

The man hasn’t had his best offensive game and has 3 points in 2 games.

What a wonderful player!

OriginalPouzar

Look forward to Jesse having a great fall and then, fingers crossed, come on over with potential value contact signed up for camp near the turn of the calendar.

It may bust. It may work out amazingly. It may work out somewhere in between.

What it will do is provide another “option” for Tippett.

OriginalPouzar

Its fantastic that pretty much all of the main Oilers European prospects have a place to play in Europe this fall:

Samorukov
Lennstrom
Berglund
Broberg
Puljujarvi
Maksimov
Niemelainan

I think they are all available to come back except for Sammy – not 100% sure on Maksimov given he’s going to the KHL but he is “on loan” – I thought “loans” required contracts with the club teams (which would preclude his return) but I believe Maksi can come to the AHL when it starts up.

Of course, Broberg won’t be coming back over until the SHL season is over (once he heads back over after phase 4).

tileguy

OriginalPouzar:
Look forward to Jesse having a great fall and then, fingers crossed, come on over with potential value contact signed up for camp near the turn of the calendar.

It may bust.It may work out amazingly.It may work out somewhere in between.

What it will do is provide another “option” for Tippett.

If he is a bust at training camp do you put him on waivers?

tavvey tune

It would take several injuries, but how much of a drop off would it be to plug Ryan McLeod into the JJ role, 5v5? There’s evidence that he grasps the defensive responsibilities so could he be relied on if it came to that? I’d be curious to see how he would handle it

fries n gravy

The Real Steal, James Neal.

Eh Team

tavvey tune: It would take several injuries, but how much of a drop off would it be to plug Ryan McLeod into the JJ role, 5v5? There’s evidence that he grasps the defensive responsibilities so could he be relied on if it came to that? I’d be curious to see how he would handle it

I’m a big proponent of putting young players into the lineup, but McLeod is two years away. Just because he can skate at an NHL level doesn’t make him a NHL player yet. He needs to prove he can play top 6 minutes in the AHL and succeed. Then he’s ready to break into the NHL as a 4th liner. He’s two years behind Benson at this point.

fries n gravy

Whichever line has RNH is the first line.

(a stolen idea I like very much)

fries n gravy

leadfarmer,

The way he’s playing, Neal may be tradeable.

I like what he’s bringing to the team very much right now, but cap savings are cap savings.

fries n gravy

Todd Macallan,

Thanks for sharing.

Brantford Boy

Now the boys have shaken the rust/fog from game #1 I’m expecting an even more complete game by the entire team to prepare for the next round. I absolutely love what Tippett did with the lines last game, which I don’t believe anyone had those combinations. I really hope AA has another exceptional game transporting the puck up the ice, something he’s done since entering the league but didn’t show that much in his short stint after coming to Edmonton.

Let’s Go Oilers!

ArmchairGM

fries n gravy:
leadfarmer,

The way he’s playing, Neal may be tradeable.

I like what he’s bringing to the team very much right now, but cap savings are cap savings.

Sure but Neal can score 20 goals per season. How many goals does Cap Space score? :p

tavvey tune

Eh Team: I’m a big proponent of putting young players into the lineup, but McLeod is two years away.Just because he can skate at an NHL level doesn’t make him a NHL player yet.He needs to prove he can play top 6 minutes in the AHL and succeed.Then he’s ready to break into the NHL as a 4th liner.He’s two years behind Benson at this point.

I agree with not rushing prospects. It was more of a question that if you HAD to due to injury, could he handle the 5v5. He does seem to raise his game in the NHL environment. It would be interesting in a short-term scenario.

tavvey tune

Brantford Boy:
Now the boys have shaken the rust/fog from game #1 I’m expecting an even more complete game by the entire team to prepare for the next round.I absolutely love what Tippett did with the lines last game, which I don’t believe anyone had those combinations.I really hope AA has another exceptional game transporting the puck up the ice, something he’s done since entering the league but didn’t show that much in his short stint after coming to Edmonton.

Let’s Go Oilers!

AA is the player I’m really looking forward to watching tonight. Which is the real thing? The guy from game 2, or the guy we’ve watched since the trade? He has a huge opportunity here if he can just grab it. What a lift for the roster if he’s turned the corner.

jp

OriginalPouzar:
Its fantastic that pretty much all of the main Oilers European prospects have a place to play in Europe this fall:

Samorukov
Lennstrom
Berglund
Broberg
Puljujarvi
Maksimov
Niemelainan

I think they are all available to come back except for Sammy – not 100% sure on Maksimov given he’s going to the KHL but he is “on loan” – I thought “loans” required contracts with the club teams (which would preclude his return) but I believe Maksi can come to the AHL when it starts up.

Of course, Broberg won’t be coming back over until the SHL season is over (once he heads back over after phase 4).

Even if Maksimov doesn’t return for the AHL season it really doesn’t matter. He’s not likely to be an NHL option regardless. The main thing is he plays games.

Lucinius

Wow. Panthers might win a game. Bobrovsky is actually playing well and has a .933 save percentage so far, with just over half the 3rd period to go.

jp

fries n gravy:
Whichever line has RNH is the first line.

(a stolen idea I like very much)

Unless that line has neither Connor or Leon on it…

OriginalPouzar

I had never heard of the Handkerchief Dynasty podcast until about a month ago when it re-launched and had a solid guest (can’t remember who). Now, in the last 24 hours, its had McCurdy and Lowetide on as guests (separately) – its turning in to a must listen for Oiler content fans!

OilersFuture

Pescador: All that being said, hard to see another team taking on Russell’s cap hit, especially with a limited number of trade partners.

The Oiler’s would have (or work with another team) to retain 50% of Russel’s salary. Russel is easily a top 5 defenseman in this league. Also, in the current playoffs over 60% of the teams have their 5th highest d-man making 2 million or more. There will be a market for Russel.

The optimal way to move Russel would be to work with the Wings or the Sens. The Senators have over 25 million coming off their cap and will need to sign players with high caps and low salaries. Send also have no major pieces up for a new contract this off season. The Wings have roughly 20 million coming off their cap and have roughly 35 million cap space (however, they have some key players to sign this offseason) and I could see them being a player on the free agent market.

The Sens and Wings are the real wildcard this offseason and a smart GM should be working this.

PennersPancakes

Pescador: I think people on this blog (good people) undervalue Benning and overvalue Bouchard.
Is Bouchard better than Benning now?
I don’t think so, and why do the Oilers need to rush it?
All that being said, hard to see another team taking on Russell’s cap hit, especially with a limited number of trade partners.
Whereas it’s much easier to see a team offering up a 3red or 4th round pick for an analytics darling like Matt Benning

I think youre right, it should be easier to trade benning than russell, around same performance but Benning is RHD, much younger, less cap.

I think as an outsider its tough to tell and only Holland will really know but if theres some old school GMs still around Russell is an appealing 3rd pairing option. Obviously 4 mill cap hit is rich but 1.5 actual owed is appealing. Its been discussed to death though and theres very little cap floor teams.

But then Covid happened. Im going to single out Arizona because of the drama with Chayka seems to have been more tea spilled. There were a couple tweets (whether accurate or not) talking about Arizona trying to shed salary next season and that they were looking at options including Kessel and OEL for example. Combine that with the offer to Hall and it seems their spending may be trying to decrease more than the cap is.

TLDR: I think NHL business was hit harder than the cap was(thats why they broke the direct HRR connection) so there may be some actual teams looking for value contract dollar wise. Even Russell at half retained gets Jones in the lineup and Lagesson on the roster which would save 1.3 mill on the cap if Lagessons contract comes in at the same price.

GordieHoweHatTrick

OilersFuture: The Oiler’s would have (or work with another team) to retain 50% of Russel’s salary.Russel is easily a top 5 defenseman in this league.Also, in the current playoffs over 60% of the teams have their 5th highest d-man making 2 million or more.There will be a market for Russel.

The optimal way to move Russel would be to work with the Wings or the Sens.The Senators have over 25 million coming off their cap and will need to sign players with high caps and low salaries.Send also have no major pieces up for a new contract this off season.The Wings have roughly 20 million coming off their cap and have roughly 35 million cap space (however, they have some key players to sign this offseason) and I could see them being a player on the free agent market.

The Sens and Wings are the real wildcard this offseason and a smart GM should be working this.

Agreed. And then a smart agent would have already added those teams to the no-trade list.
More Chia syphilis remnants. Another couple of years and the creature will be healthy again.

PennersPancakes

GordieHoweHatTrick: Agreed. And then a smart agent would have already added those teams to the no-trade list.
More Chia syphilis remnants. Another couple of years and the creature will be healthy again.

Agreed on the Chia comment. Disagree on the smart agent comment. Im sure there will be some conversations but Russell has to see the writing on the wall. Nurse and Klefbom are guaranteed options ahead of him. Jones likely is on merit. Then there is Lagesson chomping at the bit.

Dont want Holland to be malicious but I imagine before Russell submits that 15 team list there will be a conversation about his expected usage and playing time. Sure the agent could eliminate the most likely 15 teams but Russell needs another contract at the end of the day.

They will have to assess whether consistent playing time in Detroit/Ottawa or staying in Edmonton but possibly being a consistent scratch is more valuable.

OriginalPouzar

jp: Even if Maksimov doesn’t return for the AHL season it really doesn’t matter. He’s not likely to be an NHL option regardless. The main thing is he plays games.

I don’t disagree generally.

Definitely not an NHL option in 2020/21- that’s not my “concern”.

With that said, my preference would be to have him in the AHL over the KHL for his development – I look for him to take on a larger offensive role with some more PP time and earn a top 6 role on the team. Want him to grow with the likes of Marody, McLeod, Kuffner, Mysak, etc……

You are right though, at the end of the day, as long as he’s playing games – if he stays in the KHL for the season, its not a terrible option.

Todd Macallan

OriginalPouzar,

Though unlikely, it would be great if while he’s there he can even convince new teammate Slepyshev to return to the Oilers.