The Edmonton Oilers defensive coverage brought back memories of the bubble series against the Chicago Blackhawks, and that my friends is very bad. There were some good things, but miles and miles of coverages blown is the main theme from last night’s game. The Oilers have room to grow.
I’m proud to be writing for The Athletic, and pleased to be part of a great team with Daniel Nugent-Bowman and Jonathan Willis. Here is our recent work.
- New Lowetide: First impressions of Oilers after opener against the Canucks
- New Jonathan Willis: Oilers opening night roster: A player-by-player breakdown
- Lowetide: Oilers risers and fallers and how they impact the opening night roster
- Lowetide: Will Ken Holland let it ride in goal for the Oilers this season?
- Lowetide: Oilers rookies with a chance to stick after one week of training camp
- Lowetide: 9 bold predictions for the Oilers’ season
- Lowetide: Early roster rumblings as Oilers open training camp
- Jonathan Willis: Oilers training camp: Forecasting the big roster battles
- Lowetide: Dylan Holloway’s world juniors work offers clues about Oilers future
- Lowetide: The Bakersfield Condors will be competitive in the coming AHL season
- Jonathan Willis: After a brilliant rookie Oilers season, how high is Ethan Bear’s ceiling?
- Lowetide: How secure is Zack Kassian’s role on Oilers’ top line?
- Lowetide: Why fans should expect an Oilers playoff berth in Canadian division
- Jonathan Willis: Dave Tippett has more options now thanks to versatile Oilers forwards
- Lowetide: What if Ryan Nugent-Hopkins doesn’t sign with the Oilers?
- Lowetide: Seattle Kraken expansion mock draft 5.0: Who could the Oilers lose?
- Lowetide: Why McDavid and Nuge together could be key to Oilers’ playoff success
LAST NIGHT’S LINES
- Nuge-McDavid-Kassian played 13:07 five on five, 7-10 shots, 1-2 goals, 10-15 Corsi for, 5-4 HDSC (all numbers Natural Stat Trick). I thought McDavid was quality, could have scored a few and set up others, and Nuge made some nice plays. Kassian got an assist on a wonderful pass to Nurse. This line has to outscore five on five. I believe they will but Tippett has options for right wing that we could see later in the season.
- Kahun-Draisaitl-Yamamoto was a delight, playing 12:03, 11-11 shots, 2-1 goals, 14-13 Corsi for, 3-2 HDSC. Maybe playing left wing is easier with Draisaitl than it is with McDavid. I’ll tell you one thing: If Kailer Yamamoto keeps playing like a freaking genius, he’s going to move to the McDavid line. The young man is a human cheat code. Kahun was the best of the newcomers by a country mile. Smart smart smart player, great skill, crazy passing and speed. Oh my. This is a line you can go to war with and gives the Oilers a promising No. 2 line without the Nuge on it.
- Archibald-Turris-Puljujarvi played 7:39, going 2-2 shots, 0-1 goals, 2-7 Corsi for, 1-2 HDSC. I thought the line had moments, Jesse gave the puck away in a bad spot and Turris was slow to the slot on the goals against, but the line earned more time together.
- Ennis-Khaira-Chiasson played 6:03, 0-4 shots, 0-1 goals, 1-3 HDSC and 1-7 Corsi for. Yeesh. Not good. Khaira was photographed chasing a goal scorer to the slot, and people may not remember the turnover by his linemate Ennis at the blue line. I think this line should rent.
LAST NIGHT’S PAIRINGS, GOALIE
- Nurse-Bear five on five played 19:10, went 10-11 shots, 2-1 goals, 4-5 HDSC and 14-17 Corsi for. They got caught on the Hoglander goal but Turris has to make sure the puck gets out. Played 9:37 with McDavid, 1-0 goals and 5-2 shots, suspect they’ll get that assignment a lot this season. Nice goal by Nurse, Bear was the team’s best defenseman to my eye.
- Jones-Larsson were 5-6 shots and 1-3 goals in 12:27, 9-12 Corsi, 2-3 HDSC. Larsson was unaware of Horvat on the first goal and a day late and a dollar short on two more. Jones was late to interfere with a pass into the slot and up too high on another. No blame on the pinch though, there were three Oilers back on that play. Nice goal by Larsson.
- Koekkoek-Barrie played 13:07 at five on five, 9-13 shots, 0-1 goals, 5-3 HDSC and 12-22 Corsi for. Barrie played five minutes each with the 97 and 29 lines, we’re going to have to see how this turns out. I thought he looked more comfortable after the first period. Koekkoek was noticeable and mostly in a good way.
- Mikko Koskinen had some good moments and was left alone more than any early season goalie since Devan Dubnyk against Toronto on October 12, 2013. He’ll need to be better next game, probably on the weekend.
OILERS IN MONTH NO. 1
- Oilers in October 2015: 0-2-0, goal differential -4
- Oilers in October 2016: 2-0-0, goal differential +5
- Oilers in October 2017: 1-1-0, goal differential +2
- Oilers in October 2018: 0-2-0, goal differential -6
- Oilers in October 2019: 2-0-0, goal differential +2
- Oilers in Month 1 2021: 0-1-0, goal differential -2
This is the McDavid era, the club has started 0-2-0 twice, missing the playoffs both times. This year (2020-21) is a weird one, so we’re not going to be able to make sweeping statements after five games, let alone one or two. I would expect a better effort tonight, but even if Edmonton loses there should be no panic in Dovercourt.
WHAT TO EXPECT IN MONTH NO. 1
- At home to: Vancouver, Vancouver (Expected: 1-1-0) (Actual 0-1-0)
- At home to: Montreal, Montreal (Expected: 1-1-0)
- On the road to: Toronto, Toronto, Winnipeg, Winnipeg (Expected 1-2-1)
- At home to: Toronto, Toronto, Ottawa (Expected 2-1-0)
- Overall expected result: 5-5-1, 11 points in 11 games
- Current results: 0-1-0, 0 points after 1 game
I think the Oilers will make the playoffs but the start of the season could be a little rocky. Missing Oscar Klefbom, asking Caleb Jones to step up and finding a good spot in the order for Tyson Barrie are all going to take time. On the other hand, the top two lines are humming and I saw some good things from the No. 3 line. Fourth line and goaltending are not trending well but it’s one game.
LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE
It’ll be wall to wall Oilers today, a review of last night and a preview of tonight. Guests include Frank Seravalli from TSN at 11, we’ll talk about the Nuge’s future and opening night across the league. We’ll also be letting you vent at 10-1260 via text, @Lowetide on twitter. Make sure to send in your thoughts on last night’s game between 10 and noon this morning.