The Edmonton Oilers play in Ottawa against the Senators tonight and tomorrow night. Whenever I think of the Sens, to this day, I think of Mel Bridgman, a computer and the expansion draft. Do you know the story? I’ll tell you someday.
The one thing Ottawa has been very good at during the NHL franchise’s history is the entry draft. Some of the best players over the last 28 years were originally drafted by the Senators.
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: Bakersfield Condors are back, but true NHL prospects a roster rarity
- Lowetide: Dylan Holloway caps strong NCAA season with Hobey Baker nomination
- Lowetide: Oilers rookie Evan Bouchard’s 2021 NHL debut — a shift-by-shift review
- Lowetide: Edmonton Oilers report card for January
- Lowetide: Oilers’ line chemistry finally coming into view
- Lowetide: Some of the Oilers’ Russian prospects less than a year from the NHL
- Jonathan Willis: Oilers need misfiring elements to come together — and fast
- Lowetide: 3 auditioning Oilers who should be given time to find their groove
- Lowetide: Jesse Puljujarvi is ready for his No. 1 line audition
- Lowetide: Oilers’ scoring wing prospects having an impact.
- Lowetide: Oilers Kailer Yamamoto is the real deal.
- Jonathan Willis: Oilers risers and fallers: Ethan Bear, Caleb Jones among those stumbling early
- Lowetide: Is this peak Connor McDavid?
- Lowetide: Will Ken Holland let it ride in goal for the Oilers this season?
OILERS AFTER 14 GAMES
- Oilers in 2015-16: 5-9-0, 10 points; goal differential -6
- Oilers in 2016-17: 9-4-1, 19 points; goal differential +7
- Oilers in 2017-18: 5-8-1, 11 points; goal differential -12
- Oilers in 2018-19: 8-5-1, 17 points; goal differential +1
- Oilers in 2019-20: 9-4-1, 19 points, goal differential +7
- Oilers in 2020-21: 6-7-0, 12 points, goal differential -2
The Oilers are a week’s worth of winning away from threatening the 2018-19 season, but that could last for weeks. I don’t get the feeling we are dealing with the 1987 Oilers here, so there’s going to be a lot of one step forward, one step back weeks over the year. Trick is to stay away from a long slide.
WHAT TO EXPECT FROM FEBRUARY
- At home to: Ottawa (Expected: 1-0-0) (Actual 1-0-0)
- On the road to: Calgary, Ottawa, Ottawa, Montreal (Expected: 2-1-1) (Actual 0-1-0)
- At home to: Winnipeg, Winnipeg (Expected 1-1-0) (Actual 0-0-0)
- On the road to: Calgary (Expected 0-1-0) (Actual 0-0-0)
- At home to: Calgary (Expected 1-0-0) (Actual 0-0-0)
- On the road to: Vancouver, Vancouver (Expected 1-1-0) (Actual 0-0-0)
- At home to: Toronto (Expected 1-0-0) (Actual 0-0-0)
- Overall expected result: 7-4-1, 15 points in 12 games
- Current results: 1-1-0, 2 points in 2 games
If the Oilers were a team we could count on, I’d skip past the Senators games and ask if the club could go 3-1-0 this week. Best not to tempt the Gods. Ottawa is across the board poor so far this year but they did win last week. The Oilers should win this game.
This is five on five scoring (forwards), Corsi five on five (defense) and overall save percentage (goaltenders). Average or above average are McDavid, Draisaitl, Yamamoto, Nurse and the injured Ethan Bear. I think we’ll see some shuffling tonight.
OTTAWA SENATORS ROSTER
Average or above Senators: Tkachuk, Norris, White, Stutzle, Watson, Chabot, Reilly. I don’t think that’s all true but we’re dealing with one number here and the Sens have seven. This Stutzle fellow is emerging in real time (3-2-5 in four games).
TRADING FOR A GOALIE
I think they’ll give Mike Smith several starts in February and give Mikko Koskinen plenty of time to settle in (he hasn’t done it yet). After that, the club will probably make a few calls to teams that are falling out of the race as we get closer to the deadline. Holland increases the pool of talent by including the ancients. Based on five on five save percentage, here are the 10 best names.
- Antti Raanta (ARI) .980
- Marc-Andre Fleury (VEG) .952
- Chris Driedger (FLA) .952
- Petr Mrazek (CAR) .946
- Thomas Greiss (DET) .939
- Cal Peterson (LAK) .939
- Linus Ullmark (BUF) .919
- Joonas Korpisalo (CBJ) .914
- Scott Wedgewood (NJD) .913
- Darcy Kuemper (ARI) .909
SENATORS AT THE DRAFT
The first draft pick in Sens history was Alexei Yashin in 1992. He was a fine player for 850 NHL games. The following year, the team blew it with the No. 1 overall pick (Alaxandre Daigle) but hit a home run late (No. 227 overall) with Pavol Demitra. In 1994, they picked a solid NHL center in Radek Bonk No. 3 overall and the face of the franchise (Daniel Alfredsson) at No. 133 overall. The first five years set them up, and once the team drafted Marian Hossa in 1997 the team was formidable for a decade plus.
One of the cool features of the Senators drafting is that every few years the club gets four or five very useful players. That’s a cluster. Here, let me show you:
- 2001: Jason Spezza (1134 NHL games); Brooks Laich (776); Tim Gleason (727); Christoph Schubert (315); Ray Emery (287).
- 2008: Erik Karlsson (746); Zack Smith (662); Mark Borowicki (383); Derek Grant (274); Patrick Wiercioch (268).
- 2009: Jakob Silfverberg (571); Mike Hoffman (504); Robin Lehner (306); Jared Cowen (249); Chris Wideman (181).
- 2011: Mika Zibanejad (558); Jean-Gabriel Pageau (445); Ryan Dzingel (341); Stefan Noesen (203); Fredrik Claesson (155); Shane Prince (128).
The 2015 draft is headed this way, and I’d bet money 2018 and 2020 land in this range, too. It’s a big advantage for an NHL team to deliver more than two draft picks a year. Imagine the 2015 draft (McDavid, Jones, Bear, Marino) happening three times in a four-year span. Assuming you’re getting a good player in the first round (Oilers will never ever draft another McDavid) that’s a massive help to the NHL team within two or three seasons.
Encouraging news from across the pond, as young Broberg appears healthy again. Here are his splits:
- First 8 games, 1-4-5, 18 shots, 6-3 on ice even strength goal differential.
- Next 25 games: 2-4-6, 35 shots, 12-19 on ice even strength goal differential.
- Total: 33 games, 3-8-11, 53 shots, 18-22 on ice even strength goal differential.
He is 1-0-1, +3 in his last two games. I remain a believer in Broberg, this late spike (imo) indicates he is back to full health. Just as Dylan Holloway’s final 10 games at Wisconsin (nine points) were a harbinger of things to come, so to I believe Broberg finishing strong would be a true indicator of his current abilities.
LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE
It was a weird weekend in sports and that’s my wheelhouse. At 10 this morning we discuss the Super Bowl, Oilers in Calgary and the NHL’s true gift: Making it up as they go along. We’ll be joined by Chris Meaney from FTN to talk Super Bowl and what’s beyond. Jason Gregor from TSN 1260 will handle Oilers talk and what in hell did the refs decide in Columbus? 10-1260 text, @Lowetide on twitter. See you on the radio!