2020-21 GAME 6: OILERS AT MAPLE LEAFS

by Lowetide
Photo by Rob Ferguson

As time goes by, you’ll say goodbye to so many things you’ve valued. Family, friends, a good recipe for rhubarb pie (where the hell is it?), and your favourite players from your town team. Still miss the jean jacket I owned at 20.

As we get closer to mid-season, and the deadline, less Nuge contract talk means more realization that a decade of RNH may be the end of the line. Seldom have I enjoyed the intelligent play of an Oilers center more than the man from Burnaby.

THE ATHLETIC!

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.

OILERS IN MONTH NO. 1

  • Oilers in October 2015: 2-4-0, goal differential -4
  • Oilers in October 2016: 5-1-0, goal differential +7
  • Oilers in October 2017: 2-4-0, goal differential -7
  • Oilers in October 2018: 3-3-0, goal differential -6
  • Oilers in October 2019: 5-1-0, goal differential +6
  • Oilers in Month 1 2021: 2-3-0, goal differential -4

A win tonight gets Edmonton equal with 2018 and ahead of 2015 and 2017. The two playoff teams made themselves known early. Goal differential probably at least four games from reaching positive totals, if everything goes right.

WHAT TO EXPECT FROM MONTH NO. 1

  • At home to: Vancouver, Vancouver (Expected: 1-1-0) (Actual 1-1-0)
  • At home to: Montreal, Montreal (Expected: 1-1-0)(Actual 0-2-0)
  • On the road to: Toronto, Toronto, Winnipeg, Winnipeg (Expected 1-2-1) (Actual 1-0-0)
  • At home to: Toronto, Toronto, Ottawa (Expected 2-1-0)
  • Overall expected result: 5-5-1, 11 points in 11 games
  • Current results: 2-3-0, 4 points after five games

I’m not sure what to expect tonight. Toronto is going to bring more effort, and I expect they’ll score more than once this evening. Can Edmonton win? Either way, it’s a big game for the Oilers. A victory puts the record at 3-3-0, a loss 2-4-0. Edmonton hasn’t spent one night above .500 this season, we’ll find out how close they are to reaching that humble goal later tonight.

CURRENT PROSPECT NHLE

There are five (all over 20 NHLE) forwards who we can reasonably project as having plus seasons. Savoie’s year is a stunner so far, the Oilers may have drafted a true scoring winger in the fourth round. McLeod had a rock solid run in Europe, Blumel is roaring through the Czech league, Holloway and Lavoie are above the Mendoza line.

On defense, both Broberg and Bouchard have delivered offensively during 2020-21, Samorukov is having an exceptional season in the KHL and my guess is that he’s either NHL-ready or close. Konovalov would be a signing target for me, not sure if Holland considers him a priority.

NUGE

Elliotte Friedman had a quick note on Nuge during his recent 31 Thoughts, saying earlier rumblings about a contract extension have gone quiet. We’ve talked about this situation before and it comes down to cap and term. I’m a fan of Nuge, he’s a smart player and a talented one, someone who has improved in some significant areas over the years. He has utility, two-way acumen and is a solid offensive contributor. Here are his numbers per 82 games compared to some famous teammates:

  1. Connod McDavid 38-71-109
  2. Leon Draisaitl 32-50-82
  3. RNH 23-37-60
  4. Kailer Yamamoto 20-30-50
  5. Kyle Turris 18-29-47
  6. Tyler Ennis 18-24-42
  7. Dominik Kahun 15-26-41
  8. Alex Chiasson 14-15-29
  9. Zack Kassian 12-15-27

I think everyone values Nuge, the question is what is a fair price over the next five years? If you can get him under contract at a number that isn’t too dear, then the top-six should mostly write itself in the next few years. If not? Oilers need someone to step up or sign a free agent in the $5-7 million range. My own belief is that once RNH reaches free agency, the Seattle Kraken are going to leave Edmonton’s offer in the distance.

JACK STUDNICKA

It’s finally happened. Last night, against the Philadelphia Flyers, Jack Studnicka scored his first NHL goal. He is the man drafted with the selection gifted to the Boston Bruins for the rights to recently fired Peter Chiarelli. The NHL rule was in place long enough for Edmonton to lose the pick used on Studnicka and college goalie Mike Robinson (in exchange for Todd McLellan’s freedom), and then disappeared like a thief in the night.

PROJECTED LINES AND PAIRINGS

  • Nuge-McDavid-Kassian
  • Kahun-Draisaitl-Yamamoto
  • Ennis-Turris-Puljujarvi
  • Neal-Shore-Archibald
  • Nurse-Bear
  • Koekkoek-Larsson
  • Russell-Barrie
  • Koskinen (Skinner)

Nygard can be placed on the taxi squad, having previously cleared waivers. At some point Holland may be forced to waive William Lagesson, that seems especially likely with Caleb Jones also in the pressbox. If he plays, this will be James Neal’s first game of the season.

LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE

At 10 this morning, TSN1260, we have a loaded show for Oilers game day and the weekend to come. At 10, Steve Lansky from Inside the Truck Podcast will join me, we’ll chat about the Oilers road trip, how the rest of the NHL matters so much less now that we have a Canadian Division, and winning low scoring hockey games doesn’t have to mean boring hockey games. James Mirtle from The Athletic will be our guest at 10:40, we’ll chat about the Maple Leafs 3-2-0 start and roster tweaks with Joe Thornton now injured. At 11, Matthew Iwanyk pops in to talk NFL weekend (what happened to the Ravens) and we’ll go head to head on the makeup of the Draisaitl line (Iwanyk is vehement Nuge belongs there). 10-1260 text, @Lowetide on twitter. It’s the weekend starting at 10!

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JimmyV1965

Thought the team played much better tonight. Was very encouraging actually. Just need to find some kind of chemistry for the McDavid line.

SwedishPoster

Special teams lost the game, the PP just looks incredibly bad, they’re forcing everything from zone entries, if you have a clear path into the zone you don’t have to bring the puck back to McDavid, to passes. Was an ok effort 5v5, still not seeing much chemistry with the lines, but could have easily been a win with even reasonable special teams.
Larsson with the double give away on the 2nd GA was not a pretty look, not the first time he’s had a similar sequence this season, he’s been a rough puckmover but that panic mode is kinda new, it’s not like he had a lot of pressure either, wonder if he’s not trusting his skating or something. His passes when skating up ice has been fine the last few games, it’s when he has the puck down low he’s been handing it back on a silver platter way too often.

Neal looked extremely slow, not like he’s been flying around the ice before but this was late in career Douglas Murray slow.

Barrie’s decision making was awful all game. Just awful.

Jesse added something positive to the McDavid line, he gave them more zone time immediately when he was moved up. If he can be a little cleaner finishing he might find a role with 97. McDavid could use something added to his line, at this point he’s playing solo guitar with two guys on broken maracases. Kassian hasn’t found the edge he needs to be effective and Nuge is just a shadow figure when with Connor, not necessarily bad but he fades into the background completely. Maybe Jesse’s somewhat irrational style, willingness to go to the net and quality forecheck can shake things up a bit. Jesse is also a good playmaker when confident, hopefully we’ll get to see that in time.

Last edited 1 month ago by SwedishPoster
Kinger_Oil.redux

– Do we really have a team that is sh?t or are new guys like Kahun Barrie Turris and all the other new guys we got just having an adjustment period and the Jones Bear just adjusting to sophmore year and Kassian Chiasson going to get rolling and coach is going to figure it out?

– Asking for a friend who thinks this team sucks. Friend wants to know what’s going on?

jtblack

RNH Head Coaches since he broke in

Renney
Krueger
Eakins
Nelson
McLellan
Hitchcock
Tippett

Ok then ….

jtblack

I run

93-29-56
Kahun-MCD-JP
Ennis-Turris-Kass

4th LIne doesnt see the ice.

jtblack

I have mentioned it before.

At what point does Tippet reunite
93-29-56 ??

A 2-4 start is never good. But it’s worse in a 56 game season. Tippett doesn’t have 20 games to figure this out.

Make the switch. NEXT GAME. FULL STOP

hunter1909

Sadly predictable season unfolding…

Oilers “losing” this season

Last season Oilers were “winning” until the playins but Oilers are inherently unadaptable so predictably got bounced by the Hawks.

Season prior the team blew, totally

Season before that the team played well, made the playoffs until getting bounced due to bad bad playoff coaching

Season before that the team blew blew blew.

So, the Oilers have a “good” season followed by another “bad” season.

This year is another one of the “bad” ones lol

jp

You missed a “Season prior the team blew, totally”.

There were 2 of those between the playoff/in seasons.

hunter1909

It seemed like something was off. A team perpetually deciding its not important to have a top defenceman; meanwhile Nurse has no one to teach him the finer points as is made clear by some of his bad decisions offensively. Nurse is under too much pressure to get a huge payday and the team is nuts to hand it out but then again as always theyre over a barrel with no talent wtf both Swedes Klefbom always injured since they drafted him, and Larson and his bad back LOL just a recipe for disaster.

Holland hamstrung by previous incompetence and now it looks like the team might yet find a way to miss the playoffs and with McDavid+Draisaitl its ridiculous and time to start expecting the quadrienniel franchise management strategy of again blowing the team into the sun.

jtblack

At least Holland got the bottom 6 figured out …

Last edited 1 month ago by jtblack
Harpers Hair

Yep.

3 points and a collective -23.

jtblack

I did expect more from all of
TURRIS
PULJUJARVI

amd Kahun in Top 6

jtblack

It gets better.

Archie has 1 Goal. Empty Netter.
Shore 1 Goal. Shorthanded.
JP 1 assist. On PP.

Turris, Khaira, Chiasson, Nygard are skunked

Bling

4th line was -1 at evens AND they take a penalty with 10 minutes left leading to the GWG. Shore has been good but he also failed to deflect the cross-ice pass by Spezza on the first PP goal for the Leafs.

So you have a 4th line responsible for 2 GA and a 4th line C (who played 7 minutes at evens) responsible for 3 GA.

Good lord.

Sierra

But he didn’t. Oiler fans jumped on HOPE, like always.

OilClog

It’s on the coach to deploy them right, Holland isn’t telling the coach one bit about who to play where, it’s on Dave.

Bling

I really liked Ennis’ game today.

Lots of speed and tenacity on the forecheck.

OriginalPouzar

I wonder what they might do if they do want to give Bouchard a game. They would need to assign someone off the roster in order to activate him. Aside from Shore and Yamamoto, every roster player would require waivers (well, Skinner as well).

Harpers Hair

They could put Kassian, Russell, Neal, Turris, Archibald, Chiasson, Nygard or Khaira on waivers.

No one would claim them.

OriginalPouzar

Troll post!

I wonder what they will do if they do make the decision to play Bouch – I anticipate Lagesson on waivers and Quine assigned off the taxi squad).

Bling

lol

jtblack

Maybe Nuge has reflected on his time in Edmonton.

8 Head Coaches??
1 Playoffs ??
A team that is close … bur far at the same time.

Harpers Hair

How many head coaches?

jtblack

Might be 6 or 7. It’s enough ..

hunter1909

More like a kid who’s oilman Dad means he is perpetually getting new schools to go to and everyone wonders why his grades suck.

godot10

4 more seasons of #MarshmellowMan wandering around uselessly.

Harpers Hair

When you lie down with dogs, you get up with fleas.

Playing not to lose (Arizona hockey) will lead to Arizona like results.

Darth Tu

You broke my heart with Brogan.

Seriously though – can you really be throwing darts right now? We’re both 2-4. You’ve scored 3 more goals (hurrah for you). But you’ve also conceded the most in the league. Glass houses and all that.

Harpers Hair

No darts at all…just impassionate observation.

And I am not a Canucks fan despite numerous attempts to pin that on me.

Vancouver had a total meltdown last night and would seem to be in deep trouble with 3 top 6 D out and Pettersson not rhyming.

You may recall my pre-season prediction was:

Toronto

Montreal

Calgary
______________

Vancouver – Edmonton- Winnipeg in no particular order

______________

Ottawa

It appears I underestimated Montreal a little but, otherwise pretty much what I thought but it’s still early.

If Tippet keeps insisting on Arizona hockey, he will have trouble with teams that have better balanced forwards…like the Jets…although their D might give them away.

With Koskinen under .900, I expect he will fade as the mileage builds up and there is no back up plan.

Darth Tu

Ha. I definitely had you pegged as a Canuck fan. Completely without any trolling who do you actually support? It’s certainly not the Oilers!

I’ll be a little less quick to poke you about Vancouver in future (unless you keep sharing Canucks news….).

OriginalPouzar

Support of any narrative that is negative towards the Oilers and, if there isn’t one, support of a fake narrative that is negative towards the Oilers.

Harpers Hair

Bouchard!!!

The answer to all your feverish dreams.

Harpers Hair

Well, I live in the Canucks region so am exposed to their news a lot.

And any intelligent Oiler fan should be interested in what they are doing since it directly impacts the Oilers.

But there are some who prefer to live in an echo chamber and shout Bouchard at the clouds whenever they can.

McSorley33

Well, Ville Heinola really changes the complexion of the Jets D.

People got mad at me last year for pumping his tires but he is legit.

Again, this kid announced himself defending McDavid in preseason.

Also, rumours about Laine ( and Roslovic ) for Dubois swirl.

Time will tell.

Harpers Hair

Yep.

I think Heinola is the goods.

But they’re still little thin on the back end.

Will be interesting to watch how soon Dylan Samberg emerges.

OilClog

You can say you’re not a Canucks fan all you like, yet actions do speak louder then words.

It’s truly amazing the Rent Free space the Oilers occupy within your angry dome 🤣🤣🤣

“I’m not a Canucks fan, but I fucking hate the Oilers so much I know everything there is to know about the Canucks so I can inform Oiler fans they’re stupid, ya I got em good, back slap, self high five”

Rent free 🤣🤣🤣

Darth Tu

Dallas are absolutely not wasting any time after their delayed start to the season. They look hungry.

Saros is getting torched. 5-0 with 2 mins to go in the 2nd.

Harpers Hair

Not Arizona hockey.

godot10

And with no Seguin.

Darth Tu

Pavelski looks like he’s turned into old Pavelski again, he’s certainly filling the Seguin hole so far.

Harpers Hair

7-0 final.
Klingberg with 3A.

godot10

Draisaitl doesn’t have an even strength goal in six games. Kahun isn’t working out there. Kahun also doesn’t have a goal at all.

Draisaitl shot and playmaking ability is being totally wasted.

McSorley33

I was surprised….they (Drai line) got killed tonight on counting stats.

Sierra

This cannot be ignored.

Bling

Kahun has looked good to me.

For sure he needs to cash, but he is creating chances out there and getting quality looks. His recent history is that of quality top 6 production at evens.

That line had some nice sequences today.

Drai is owning the goal share and has 7 points in 6 games. I wouldn’t exactly say he is slumping. His shooting percentage is 11% versus a career mark of 16.8%. This is with the PP looking like steaming garbage.

Darth Tu

Jesse continues to impress me. I think it’s time to let him ride with McDavid.

OriginalPouzar

I thought Adam Larsson has had some very good games this year but he’s also had two games where he’s made major mistakes directly leading to goals against.

There is an opportunity to get Bouchard in to a game here, is there not?

——–

Also, 3 shifts in a row with Puljujarvi with McDavid and Nuge there was considerable offensive zone cycle and possession work with dangerous pucks towards the net.

I fear I will be required to provide an accounting of each movement by Jesse that contributed to that pressure but, in any event, its a continuation of his shifts on that line earlier in the seasons.

razor

Nurse Bear
Koekkoek Barrie
Russell Bouchard

McSorley33

Adam Larsson had 2 egregious give always *last* game.

It included a flip attempt directly to a Leaf in the high slot.

If Nurse had committed even half of Larsson’s glaring turnovers this site would melt down.

This has been a theme for a while now.

flyfish1168

I think it times they leave Jesse on that line. Let them have some time together to build and develop chemistry.

who

Considering how much you post on here, you sure get quiet real quick when someone asks you a direct question.
JP was better tonight. Leveraged his body better on board battles and in front of the net. Would have liked to see him convert on the breakaway but hopefully that comes with more confidence.
I liked the Oilers game tonight. Thought they were a bit unlucky to lose it. All 4 lines seemed to create some zone time and some good looks. Thought the defense was solid, other than the Larrson giveaway.
Except for Barrie. Not a big fan of his puck management so far. Seems to like the high risk plays, rather than the simple ones.

Sierra

I have not liked Barrie’s game at all.

Bling

I noticed that as well.

What stood out for me was that JP was able to get in the way, either with his stick or body, allowing Nuge and McDavid to collect pucks and do their thing.

The third guy on that line has to dig pucks like that, whether it’s Kassian or JP or whomever.

kgo

Bear looks slow…like he lost a step….maybe he put on too much muscle in the offseason…I remember Gagner bulking up over the summer around age 22-23 and he lost a step.

Bling

Tyson Barrie, 2 A in 6 gp, -6

Are we sure Evan Bouchard isn’t a better player right now? I think he might be better than Larsson as well.

fishman

Well at least he only signed for 1 year…

McSorley33

You mean, give a player like Evan Bouchard a chance to play
3rd pair minutes and spark our PP.

With his Elite passing and Cannon of a shot, I just don’t see a fit on our
power play.

Sincerely,

Dave Tippett

flyfish1168

Time for Barrie to sit a couple of games. Evan needs to get sooner than later

Sierra

This needs to be addressed.

Dac189

That last pass by Barrie was absolutely brutal…

nelson88

Barrie has been over rated for years. Would love to see him get a minor injury so the can but Bouchard in. “Knock, knock”

nelson88

worst omen of the evening it that we have gone back to “panic” mode coaching. I’m cheering like hell for Pujo but he should not be out there with nuge and Mcdavid. No confidence or not enough hockey sense or both. Tipett has really been losing me the past 12 months or so

OriginalPouzar

In apx 3 minutes together tonight, they were 8-0 Corsi, 4-0 Fenwick and 4-0 shots.

It was similar when they got a few shifts together earlier in the year

nelson88

Yes. He made lots of commotion in front of the net and did hid best not to “screw up”. That is not ideal the top line. I am a big Pujo fan and he will get some points playing with 2 of the best 4 players on the team. He is not the answer at this point

McSorley33

Tyson Barrie….Woof.

Sierra

Absolutely

Bling

Inexcusable for the fourth line to take a penalty with 10 minutes left. Get that puck deep and get off.

Best case scenario if Neal makes that play work at the offensive blue line? Nothing, because he isn’t fast enough to turn that into an odd man rush.

TheGreatBigMac

Most oil looked gassed in the third. You could see the Leafs go ahead coming. Even Nuge was just dumping pucks into the neutral zone.

Bling

Barrie was brutal all game.

Terrible passing on the power play.

That play when there was 15 seconds left…he retrieves the puck slowly, takes his time, and passes it into Nurse’s skates.

I guess you give him a pass because he’s new and adjusting, but big meh this game from me.

flyfish1168

Barrie is overrated full stop.

Sierra

Why should being new be a pass for passing into skates? He’s not new to NHL hockey.

Last edited 1 month ago by Sierra
leadfarmer

I remember a time Barrie was a wizard with the puck

flyfish1168

The Aves made him look good. Then the real Barrie should up in TO

fishman

Leafs played a strong game and got good tending. Our PP lets us down again. Like Puli with 97. Too bad he didn’t score. Put a grin on a Finn!

Bulging Twine

Too bad, can’t complain much, their goalie was real good, especially in the first period

Gerta Rauss

That’s too bad, but I think we’ll see JP start on McDavid’s line in WPG

Pretty sure

tileguy

Barrie has the smarts of………..Nurse.

OriginalPouzar

Two of the top 10 5 on 5 point producers over the last number of years…..

leadfarmer

Maybe time to declare 3rd line a black hole and play Kassian there

McSorley33

I think the ‘It’s early crowd’ is starting to get a feel for Kyle Turris.

leadfarmer

I think it’s time to declare him 4th line and pk duty

OriginalPouzar

Puljujarvi a significant contributor to that 1st line possession shift and scoring chance.

wood99

Great couple of shifts for JP

wood99

Good to see.

OriginalPouzar

Kassian and Jesse switching spots for a few shifts now.

Bulging Twine

Andersen has been good tonight

OriginalPouzar

Great possession and cycle shift by the McDavid line – no cash though.

Its coming….

wood99

Get Larsson off the f$&@“@“ ice!

Bulging Twine

Larsson, why you gotta chase so much

fishman

That was a very good power play by TO. Crap

OriginalPouzar

I wouldn’t mind if Tip find a way to get Bouch in to a game…..

Bling

That’s a silly play by Neal at the blue line. Puck gets turned over, sustained pressure for the Leafs, then a penalty.

leadfarmer

i don’t often complain about coaching
but when I do it’s usually because Russell and Barrie are on the ice together

Sierra

Lol 👍

OriginalPouzar

OriginalPouzar

 January 22, 2021 6:09 pm

Will the Oilers end the night with as many SH goals as PP goals on the season? Currently 2-3.

The suspense builds….

McSorley33

The Oilers PP is quickly becoming a story.

godot10

One needs a defensemen with no ego who is not a shoot first kind of guy.

Klefbom learned to give the puck back to one of the big three as fast as possible.

The PP last year was successful because Klefbom and Chiasson had no ego.

jp

I wasn’t able to watch the game but assume you’re referring to Barrie here in comparing to Klefbom.

I’ve posted before about Barrie’s low PP shot rates. Those have held with the Oilers so far this season.

Barrie’s PP shots/60 is 5.7 and his individual shot attempts/60 is 15.1.

Klefbom last season was 8.8 shots/60 and 18.6 individual shot attempts/60.

Whatever the Oilers PP problem, it’s not Barrie’s ego or his shoot first mentality.

hunter1909

For all his downside Klefbom is an effective player.

jzed

Kassian coasted up to center ice, then dumped…… oh , he flicked it to the Toronto D. So much for the engaged Kassian

OriginalPouzar

Damn, Kass, got to find a way to get McDavid the puck earlier, in the neutral zone.

Bulging Twine

Koskinen has been really good with his stick tonight

OriginalPouzar

That was a great play at the side of the net.

leadfarmer

More Bear less Barrie on pp please

fishman

Well Bear had big offence at lower levels, but then again so did #4!!

jake70

keeps it simple .. shoots

OriginalPouzar

That play started off with a McDavid bang on the offensive zone boards.

OriginalPouzar

Big defelction goal by McDavid – nice shot by Bear – good board work by Nuge to start it.