HALLELUJAH FREEDOM

by Lowetide

As a fan of the Boston Bruins in my formative years, I learned to expect very little from a road game in Montreal. A win? Rare. A shutout? Get the hell out of here. In shutting out the Canadiens last night, the Oilers accomplished something I never contemplated, as a child, or now. A win and a shutout against the Habs. Helluva night.

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 AFTER 16 GAMES

  • Oilers in 2015-16: 6-10-0, 12 points; goal differential -7
  • Oilers in 2016-17: 9-6-1, 19 points; goal differential +4
  • Oilers in 2017-18: 6-9-1, 13 points; goal differential -13
  • Oilers in 2018-19: 8-7-1, 17 points; goal differential -5
  • Oilers in 2019-20: 10-4-2, 22 points; goal differential +5
  • Oilers in 2020-21: 9-7-0, 18 points; goal differential +3

This current hot streak is exactly what the 3-6-0 Oilers needed; now sitting pretty after a 6-1-0 run, the team gets a few days off and then four games in six days against the Winnipeg Jets and Calgary Flames. Those two teams are likely to be direct competition for the final playoff spots at the end of the season. Notice how closely this year’s model resembles the 2016-17 outfit.

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 3-1-0)
  • 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: 4-1-0, 8 points in 5 games

Yesterday I talked about falling behind my predicted pace for the month, but the Oilers are now ahead of my projection. Full value too, that was a team effort and the club didn’t rely on two or three guys. As you’ll see below, the skill guys hauled ass last night, too. A fine game by Edmonton.

LINES, LAST NIGHT

  • Nuge-McDavid-Neal played 12:12, going 8-7 shots, 1-0 goals, 3-3 HDSC and 14-14 Corsi five on five according to NST (all numbers five on five unless stated, offer expires Valentine’s Day, void where prohibited). McDavid had the only point by the line (assist) and the trio delivered 12 shots on goal (including seven by McDavid). Line faced Chairot-Weber pairing and the Suzuki and Danault lines on the evening. Excellent game, McDavid had three HDSC’s, two on the power play. Neal was a day late and a dollar short on most of the sorties, hopefully Jesse Puljujarvi is back at base by Monday night.
  • Kahun-Draisaitl-Yamamoto played 11:07, going 4-3 shots, no goals, 0-2 HDCS and 9-9 Corsi five on five. A fun line played compelling hockey with just enough mistakes to add to the excitement. Kahun turned it over twice on the same shift late, Draisaitl was a punishing physical presence who also got caught by the other guy a couple of times. Yamamoto made a fine play on the PK, getting the puck out after a hard day’s night on one of Montreal’s power play. I’d say it saved a goal. Only two shots by the line, who were engaged defensively and cut ice like crazy getting back on anything close to a jailbreak. I appreciate this trio. They are not currently threatening offensively like they were before. Draisaitl’s assist came on the power play.
  • Ennis-Khaira-Archibald played 11:03, going 5-8 shots, 1-0 goals, 1-3 HDSC and 9-14 Corsi five on five. Khaira scored early and continues to deliver a fantastic run (2-3-5 in his last five games) offensively while playing a strong defensive game. Ennis picked up an assist on the Khaira goal. He’s a smart player. Archibald sent the pass to Khaira that resulted in the game’s first goal, and skated miles while also helping (as usual) on the penalty kill. This line played almost as much as the Draisaitl line at five on five.
  • Shore-Turris-Chiasson played 9:55, going 1-9 shots, no goals, 2-2 HDSC and 6-14 Corsi five on five. This line won faceoffs and chased the game during their ice time, but the Habs didn’t have enough going on to take advantage of the mistakes. Both Turris and Chiasson received a minute of PP time on the night, Tippett really tries to get everyone involved and having success. Perhaps another day.

DEFENSE, GOALIES LAST NIGHT

  • Nurse-Barrie played 18:13, going 10-14 shots, 1-0 goals, 3-3 HDSC and 15-21 Corsi five on five. Nurse is in a zone now, they’re going in from the moon. I still don’t know why McDavid and Nuge don’t get assists on the goal, Weber’s encounter with the puck was a glancing blow. This duo had five giveaways and Barrie does truly baffling things (backhand pass behind his net to no one in the third period) but as I mentioned in my article for The Athletic yesterday this is the only pairing that has worked for Barrie since he arrived. Both men over 20 minutes, Nurse is going to garner a lot of chatter if he continues to deliver this kind of offense (on pace for 21-21-42 in 56 games this season). Barrie hammered home his third of the year on the power play.
  • Lagesson-Larsson played 14:46, going 4-5 shots (low event!), 1-0 goals, 2-2 HDSC and 11-13 Corsi five on five. Lagesson hammered the post so hard in the third period Charlie Watts woke up immediately and started playing Honky Tonk Women. He (Lagesson, not Watts) also got into a wrestling match with Josh Anderson, the veteran winger had a few things to work out and it cost him an extra penalty. Lagesson is a player I followed all down the line, mostly because Corey Pronman liked him early and then I was fascinated by his strong even-strength goal differentials. He really is a solid young player, another 44 seconds on the PK last night and Edmonton still hasn’t given up a goal in the discipline on his watch. He’s stealing Jones’ job. Larsson looks very good right now in my opinion. Maybe he’s just more comfortable played with Swedish blue.
  • Koekkoek-Bouchard played 13:55, going 6-14 shots, 3-5 HDSC and 13-15 Corsi five on five. Bouchard had a high-danger chance and moved the puck well, he’s making subtle plays like holding on to the puck and allowing the opposition to retreat before coming out of his zone. I don’t think Koekkoek is the right partner for Bouchard.
  • Mike Smith shutout the Habs, stopping all 38 shots. If he could have anticipated Larsson’s snipe, he would be on a helluva heater coming off the IR. He has a .985 SP for the season. This is the good Smith.

2018 DRAFT NHLE

  • Evan Bouchard 32.8
  • Ryan McLeod 28.3
  • Mike Kesselring 10.7

Bouchard is in the NHL now (that isn’t an equivalency, it’s his 5, 1-1-2 extrapolated over 82 games) and McLeod will play in the league soon, possibly in 2021. The 2019 list boasts Philip Broberg (16.3) and three forwards who cleared 20 points NHLE (Raphael Lavoie, Matej Blumel and Maxim Denezhkin). The 2020 draft, the latest one, has Dylan Holloway (52.3) and Carter Savoie (30.0). Some good players on the way.

FIVE ON FIVE GD BY LINE

I do this once a week or so, want to track any improvement on the third or fourth line. It gets difficult during the year because there is overlap, what I do is award the top line and punish the lower ones. So, 97-29 goals all land with McDavid. The five on five goal differential this morning is 34-36 (huzzah!!) and here’s what it looks like:

  1. McDavid line: 14-14, even
  2. Draisaitl line: 11-5, +6
  3. Turris line: 4-11, -7
  4. Khaira line: 5-3, +2
  5. Shore line: 0-2, -2
  6. Haas line: 0-1, -1
  7. Total: 34-36, -2

The McDavid line is experiencing some terrible shooting luck at both ends (97.6 PDO), that should recover but Nuge has to start cashing chances here. Draisaitl line has cooled off lately, but the big man has had a big first quarter of the fiscal. Turris continues to bleed but Khaira’s recent emergence has been manna from heaven for Dave Tippett. Credit to him, he snapped that trio into a more prominent role the moment it began to click. That’s good coaching.

LAGESSON

I spent a lot of time writing about the AHL trio of blue (Bear, Jones, Lagesson) beginning in 2017 when two of them arrived in Bakersfield. In my mind, two of the three succeeding was unlikely, while all three making it was impossible. The article I wrote for The Athletic (above) really brings the idea of having four (Bouchard is also here and ready) young blue emerge at the same time as being impossible.

Lagesson is eating Jones’ lunch. Jones has great speed and passing, but Lagesson is a better penalty killer, is aggressive and physical, and is strong like a bull. An NHL coach is going to endure rookie mistakes no matter the rookie he chooses, but there’s a limit on how many you can have in a single season. I believe.

If Jones is the odd man out, this is going to be a fantastic group of blue moving forward. I hope there’s a way to shoehorn him into the lineup. Could the Oilers run like this in 2021-22?

  • Nurse-Bear
  • Jones-Bouchard
  • Lagesson-Larsson/Barrie
  • Extra: Kris Russell

I think this might be the best path forward, but am fairly certain the organization will consider both Barrie and Larsson important additions. This is going to be a fascinating offseason.

LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE

We kickstart the weekend at 10 this morning, TSN1260. Steve Lansky from Inside the Truck podcast will talk Oilers, Brian Burke leaving television and media in Canada. Hernan Salas from TSN 1260’s Don Wheaton Post-Game show will breakdown last night’s game and look forward to next week, plus some Edmonton Football Team talk. 10-1260 text, @Lowetide on twitter. See you on the radio!

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hunter1909

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hunter1909

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razor

I said this on your article at the Athletic LT, but the Oilers should try moving Larsson to LD. This would allow the Top 6 current D to all play and pair a senior with a rookie:

Nurse Bear
Larsson Bouchard
Lagesson Barrie

I think Jones is our current 7th D, so I have a tough time placing him 2nd pair just cause he is a LD.

Last edited 18 days ago by razor
hunter1909

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Munny

Happy Anniversary to G Money.

Today is the 40th anniversary of the release of Moving Pictures.

Munny

It’s so weird now you know, this whole album thing and knowing what songs are on which albums because that was pretty much the only way to listen to songs when you wanted to… you bought the album or the tape and played the living hell out of it. That so doesn’t happen any more.

Now every song off every album is at our fingertips, whenever, wherever, and if we buy, it’s singles.

Last edited 18 days ago by Munny
jtblack

Which Island? East or West?

Todd Macallan

As a Newfoundlander we’ve had a tough couple days, after being one of the safer places in the world Covid wise for much of the pandemic.

I assumed that’s what our host was getting at but also thought DSF is on the west coast so I’m also confused haha. Stay safe all, on both coasts and everywhere in between!

Last edited 18 days ago by Todd Macallan
Munny

DSF will be fi-i-i-ne.

I don’t think you can catch covid if you drink that much hand sanitizer…

VanIsleOil

My guess it would be this brand of hand sanitizer….one free with every case of the demon juice…:)

https://tinyurl.com/y3evr4sh

Sierra

Maybe I didn’t see a big news story. What occurred on the Island?

VanIsleOil

Not much happened on this Island, a light dusting of snow is all.

Munny

Hawks shut out the Pioneers 3-0. Savoie did return for one shift after the hit, maybe two, I might have missed one. From what I saw, which was just the 3rd, Dakota was clearly the better team. A lot of one and done for Denver, even when they got some zone time.

That’s a huge loss. I believe that takes the Pioneers below .500 which means no invite to a tournament post-season.

Munny

Sorry, they’re 7-11-1, even farther from a tournament invite than I thought. Time is running out for Savoie’s crew.

Last edited 18 days ago by Munny
Munny

Judd Caulfield smoked Savoie into the boards… I give the St. Albert hobbit credit though. He picked himself up and skated up ice to lay a hit on Caulfield. Sadly he merely bounced off the 207 lb winger, but still full credit for the guts.

Last edited 18 days ago by Munny
Munny

Almost a line brawl in Denver v. North Dakote

Last edited 18 days ago by Munny
OriginalPouzar

Condors drop a 3-1 decision (empty netter with less than a second left).

Hard fought and even game.

Niemelainen and Marody the top Condors to my eye.

OriginalPouzar

Damn, Savoie with a 5-bell chance from the low-slot with 2 seconds left in the 2nd period but can’t cash!

OriginalPouzar

Maybe I’m watching the wrong college game on the 2nd screen – Savoie with a very quiet night so far but Kesselring with 2 goals in a 6-2 NE win!

Harpers Hair

Aidan McDonough with a hat trick.!

leadfarmer

But no one cares

Harpers Hair

Apparently you do.

OriginalPouzar
Todd Macallan

Thanks for the update OP.

I’ve felt Kesselring is annually the most underrated Oilers prospect, with the most potential of the late round picks in recent yrs. Thankfully in the past yr there has been more competition for that spot.

OriginalPouzar

I think he’s starting to get “rated” a bit. Definitely more potential to “make it” than a guy like Kemp. This is the type of guy who’s signing could be an issue as, he’s a project, and by the time the Oilers are ready to sign him, he’ll likely be approaching free agency.

WIth that said, I listened to an interview with his Dad Casey a number of months ago (wow is that guy a wealth of info on US high school and college hockey) – in any event, he spoke highly of the Oilers organization and it didn’t sound like Michael would have any issue with it. Time will tell though.

OriginalPouzar

Niemelainen with a nice offensive zone step-up there.

I wonder with his size and good boots if his game is more suited to the smaller ice.

He was a 3rd round pick from Saginaw so he did enough there to show potential – he’s generally meandered as he’s developed over-seas.

He looks good in the AHL though.

OriginalPouzar

Wow, Kaldis showing some skill in the offensive zone – patient with the puck at the blue line, a spin move, takes it down low and goes cross-ice to set up Brosseau who can’t bury it.

Of course, 10 seconds later, Kaldis has a breakout pass picked off the the SliverKinght’s take advantage and have a 2-1 lead half-way through the 3rd.

OriginalPouzar

Rodrigue with a very nice save coming across to stop a 2 on 1 one-timer to keep it a tie game in the 3rd. Kind of an Archi-shot though – back to the middle of the net to give the tender a chance.

OriginalPouzar

Niemelainen, not just a surprisingly offensive contributor – mashing bodies behind the Condor goal line – wow.

OriginalPouzar

I agree – Marody looks like 2018/19 Marody and he and Benson (along with Cracknell) looks like the Benson/Marody/Currie line – dominant offensive zone time, shift after shift.

I can’t tell though, do you notice any difference in Marody’s boots?

OriginalPouzar

3 games now and Ostap Safin can’t get in the Condors’ lineup – not even as a birthday present.

Last edited 18 days ago by OriginalPouzar
OriginalPouzar

Really nice pass by McLeod – cross-ice blue to blue for a quick strike break that draws a PP.

OriginalPouzar

He has looked impressive through two and a bit – I knew he could skate put his offensive zone blueline skills seem better than advised.

OriginalPouzar

Yup, the Marody/Benson due (with Cracknell) look like they did in 2018/19 – spending every shift in the offensive zone.

Marody looks good – can’t say if his boots have improved at all though.

OriginalPouzar

Denver Hockey

@DU_Hockey
·
15m

Starters: Savoie, Guttman, Barrow, Demin, Tuomisto, Chrona #PioneerTogether

OriginalPouzar

Good pressure by the Marody/Benson line and Niemellainen gets his first North American goal – a Lagesson like wrister that hits something in front and goes shelf!

Marody and Gravel with the apples – that’s a couple points early in the season for Cooper.

OriginalPouzar

Almost time to see how Savoie and the Pioneers fare against a strong N. Dakota team.

hunter1909

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OriginalPouzar

Benson/Marody/Cracknell looking alot like Benson/Marody/Currie from a few years back – the dominance in the offensive zone.

OriginalPouzar

PP1 starts with: Lennstrom, Benson, Cracknell, Quine, Griffith.

Last edited 18 days ago by OriginalPouzar
OriginalPouzar

It happens in the minors as well – Thomas Jurco haunts his old team with an early PP goal.

OriginalPouzar

Maybe I’m just used to monsters like Smith and Mikko in net but, every time I see Rodrigue in net, he looks super small and like he takes up a sliver of the net.

OriginalPouzar

Rodrigue gets the start tonight.

Malone with Joe G. and Brosseau.

I hope wonder if Benson is with McLeod or Marody?

OriginalPouzar

Benson confirmed in the lineup for the Condors – good to see.

Das Zuke

Happy to see the improved team play as of late but would like to see Tippett make a small tweek…switch RHN and Kahun. Neither are putting the puck in the net lately and I believe such a switch could potentially spark both lines. The two players are skilled enough to make the switch with not alot of downside. If it does not improve the play of the top two lines Tippett can always return them to their former positions.

OriginalPouzar

This does not seem to be an option for the head coach. There may be more at play here.

MushedPeas

I mean there has to be? at this point?

OriginalPouzar

One would think but it doesn’t seem to be – hence why I speculate there is more at play here.

kgo

Agreed, Tippet had been very flexible with the rest of his lineup…I think Connor and Leon are penciling in the top two lines.

OriginalPouzar

Wells and Shore are back to the taxi squad.

No surprise on Wells as we know Jesse doesn’t have Covid so Mikko is fine.

Shore means that either Haas or Bear are ready to go for Monday.

Elgin R

At this point we need Hass more than Bear, but hope both come back soon.

OriginalPouzar

Replacing the Shore/Turris/Chiasson line with Nygard/Haas/Kassian would be something.

I just don’t now what to do when Bear is back. None of the incumbent RD should come out, none should move to the left side, Bear needs to play and 11F is not a viable option with 4 games in 6 days (maybe the odd game here or there but not as the norm).

Dac189

A look at teams record not including any games against the lottery teams, Vancouver and Ottawa.

Toronto 7-1-1 +6

Winnipeg 4-4 0
Montreal 3-3-1 0
Calgary 4-5-1 -1
Edmonton 4-6  -2

Vancouver 3-10 -7
Ottawa 2-8-1 -6

Seems there’s a clear #1 followed by 4 teams fighting for spots 2,3 & 4.
I expect Montreal is worse than their overall record suggests. I wouldn’t be surprised if they miss the playoffs.
Edmonton 2-2 against Toronto. Only team to beat them (other than Ottawa)
I feel bad for Vancouver but they shot themselves in the foot.
Losing Markstrom for fear of losing Demko to the Kraken is foolish.

Harpers Hair

Calgary has yet to play Ottawa at all and will play both Ottawa and Vancouver a total of 8 times in the next 3 weeks.

They should be able to pull away from the mushy middle especially if Markstrom continues to play lights out.

Pescador

You’re a Cgy boster now?
Sweet! that’s as close the kiss of death as it gets around here.
You Canucks fans are all the same, all finger pointing & zero loyalty.
Yeesh

MushedPeas

Senators just now finding their groove HH! ‘Nucks, well… 🙂

Harpers Hair

Yeah…1-9 in their last 10 is quite a groove.

Dac189

This list completely removes the advantage of Ottawa/Vancouver games (of which Edmonton is 5-1).
Why is the counter argument “look at all the games Calgary has against O&V”

Every team plays them about the same amount.

Plus, both teams will go on winning streaks at some point in the season. Maybe it’s in the next 3 weeks

BornInAGretzkyJersey

Must be getting awful lonely on the taxi squad these days.

Who’s left? Nygard and Russell?

OriginalPouzar

For now, yes, that’s what happens with Haas, Bear and Kaas on IR and Koskinen being held back for precautionary reasons.

Jesse doesn’t have Covid so Mikko will be good to dress and Wells back to the taxi squad for Monday.

If Bear is activated, Shore likely goes back.

When Hass is activated, that will be a tough call with JJ and Ennis being plus players right now – actually, not a tough call, Chiasson heads to the taxi squad.

LMHF#1

Please don’t anoint Smith for 2 good games where his team played mostly strong defence.

We know this story. He’s streaky. It goes bad fast. Use it while it exists and then as soon as he starts backing into his net, don’t play him again.

Not. Reliable.

Harpers Hair

Those who ignore the past are doomed to repeat it.

leadfarmer

Cough cough Demko Cough cough

Harpers Hair

Hork hork hork Koskinen .895 hork hork Demko .896

The Canucks team defensive play this season has been nothing short of abysmal.

While neither Demko or Holtby have been stealing games they are also not the major issue.

The good news in a very bleak landscape is that the team has been playing better defensively the last couple of games so the goalies stats should improve.

Last night, the Canucks dominated the Flames early and could have easily won the game except for Markstrom putting on a .971 clinic and a couple of unlucky bounces.
The Canucks dominated the shot clock from the opening whistle so score effects didn’t factor in to the final tally of 34-26

You might want to point to Smith’s 2 games sample size as bragging point but the Op’s point was don’t count it as he has a long history of wildly inconsistent play.

If you want to look at the Northern Division goalies who are getting the job done, minimum 5GP:

Allen .933

Markstrom .921

Hellebuyck .920

Broissoit .918

Anderson .908

Price .896

Demko .896

Koskinen .895

Holtby .885

Notice anything?

Reja

Even though Kosh can’t make a safe when it counts I’ll still take him over Holtby, who’s done like dinner.

leadfarmer

I noticed you anointed the second coming of Hasek in Demkos super hot playoffs

leadfarmer

So I like how you had Skinner after one game last time for the sake of completeness as he did in fact play but now you don’t list Smith who has in fact played two games.
interesting, but not surprising

Harpers Hair

OK Sparky…run with Smith and see how far that takes you.

leadfarmer

looks better than Dembackup and HoltAHL

Redbird62

Well, Smith started 19 of Edmonton’s last 30 regular season games in 19/20 and went 12-3-4. He even had a few stretches in there where he started 7 of 8 or 7 of 9. It took them to the playoffs and to the highest winning percentage of any team in Canada. No question he was awful in his 26 minutes in the playoffs.

I am not sure what delusion you are under about people’s confidence in Smith. Most on here did not want him resigned as they were hoping for an upgrade in net, but Holland was not able to accomplish that. Most are pleasantly surprised at how well he has played the first two games, particularly since like you seem to, they put too much stock in a few games in the playoffs last year. I think many including Tippett realize the Oilers right now do not have one goalie who is likely to carry the team for the whole season, so he will strategically platoon them. Tippett probably has a better understanding of what he has in net than Green does, whose 2 goalies have had 11 of 17 games with save percentages below .900, and their 3 top performances were all against Ottawa.

Side

You have said before that the Oilers running 1 (Koskinen) and 2 (Smith) means Koskinen will be overplayed and his performance will suffer. You also said the Canucks will be in a better situation because they have a 1A/1B duo.

Koskinen has been overplayed but more so because of Smiths injury. And yet, it appears that a very overplayed Koskinen can still post the same results as your superior 1A/1B Canucks goalie combination.

So since Koskinen was very overplayed during the Smith injury and since Smith is back, by your own previous admission, Koskinen’s results should improve which since he won’t play as much as he already has.

Have you gotten tired of moving your goal posts and are now you resorting to running into your own goalposts?

Also, Canucks playing defense for 1 period against the Flames doesn’t mean much when they still lost the game.

And if the Canucks “could have easily won” than don’t you think they would have?

BornInAGretzkyJersey

The Canucks team defensive play this season has been nothing short of abysmal.

Wasn’t Nate Schmidt supposed to be the best thing since sliced bread?

pts2pndr

And don’t forget that number one D man that is currently minus 13 or some such! Quinn ( the smurf ) Hughes. HH the same guy that keeps saying Bouchard is a bust. His vitriol is never ending.

wolf8888

yeah, Holtby is dead last!

OilClog

This is why Vancouver has never won, and always picks the wrong goalie to keep 🤣🤣🤣🤣

Redbird62

Well fortunately no one on here will be making those calls, it will be Tippett. Based on overall performance so far with Koskinen certainly not yet demonstrating he can take the ball and run with it completely, I think Tippett for now will revert to a similar pattern of last year in the 1A 1B mode, unless going forward one gets hot or cold like these two have over the past season and a half. Tippett did say it will have to be a little different due to the more compressed schedule. Tippets was pretty good most of last year making that work especially after Christmas. That is workable over the course of a season, even a shorter one, but unfortunately in the play-in best of five, there was no time to adjust if things went wrong. A bad 10 minutes by Smith, and 2 average games by Koskinen and it was over. That is likely why Holland pursued Markstrom, hoping for a little more consistency. At least this season, assuming the playoffs start right at the end of the regular season, and no in-season trade for another goalie, Tippett will be going into the playoffs knowing how each is playing at the time, rather than having to completely guess where each is at after an almost 5 month layoff.

Revolved

I can count the number of people happy with Mike Smith signed as our back up on my cousin Morty’s amputated left foot (for the record, I do not actually have a cousin Morty). He is older than me (!), but still manages to hang in there every season, and I got to thinking why?

The thing that usually sees players fall out of the league is that their skating just doesn’t let them get to the play any more. I never hear it discussed when it comes to goalies, but I think Smith is a pretty strong skater and this is one of the reasons he is a strong puck handler. He seems to get behind the net very quickly to stop dump ins. It makes me wonder how much this helps him keep up with the play between the pipes and if this is an important reason why he is still in the league.

GMB3

All these people positing that Smith is going to re-emerge as a #1 goaltender at age 38… I hope none of you gamble.

LMHF#1

It’s abundantly clear that few here gamble or options trade.

“I can’t sell it NOW….it might go up again!”.

Last edited 19 days ago by LMHF#1
GMB3

Ohhhh yeah. This place was a breeding ground for analytics in hockey and yet the average poster here gets far too excited over a PDO-bender.

Nurse-Barrie is being floated as a legitimate first pairing here. Wild! Fool me once, fool me twice, etc.

leadfarmer

I don’t think anyone is saying that about Barrie and most would not re-sign him
Nurse is a legit defenseman though this year

Gerta Rauss

Fool me once, fool me twice, etc

We won’t get fooled again

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wNjczDq5D4E

This is the acoustic version from the Secret Policeman’s ball. Outstanding

Last edited 18 days ago by Gerta Rauss
Reja

He’s playing great has he got a magical year left in him for his team and city. Would he enjoy ramming it down the throats of the fair weather fans. I think he would.

GMB3

Does Oscar Klefbom have enough value to parlay James Neal or Zack Kassian in a trade? Or to Seattle somehow? Obviously a bit of a pie-in-the-sky scenario here but a kid can dream.

If we could open up some cap space to make a play for Dougie Hamilton it would make sense, IMO.

Nurse-Bear
Lagesson/Jones-Hamilton
Lagesson/Jones-Bouchard?

looks to be a strong D corps. I know Hamilton doesn’t PK much, and Tippett doesn’t trust Jones on the PK, but I think that would put us in the top 10 or so teams in terms of blue liners.

kgo

Guys….Klef is almost certainly never coming back….stop writing him into future lineups.

kgo

Based on taxes, expenses, and other assumptions, he’s probably got over $10M USD in the bank…he’ll retire in to the sunset and focus on life after hockey…we should focus on life after Klefbom

Redbird62

If Klefbom retires while there are still medical options that could return him to fit to play status, he may be walking away from his last 2 seasons of salary ($8.3 million gross, maybe $5 million net). Plus based on his interview, he still strikes me as a guy who wants to find a solution that gets him back on the ice. Not sure how the conversation would go with the insurance company that would pay for his remaining salary if a surgeon said Klefbom might play again if he has a surgery, and Klefbom chooses not to have the surgery. That may depend on the range of outcomes for the surgery. Certainly no team is taking him in trade until he is deemed fit to play again (or he legitimately retires on LTIR and some other team needs the LTIR cap dollars to make their situation work).

OriginalPouzar

His stated focus is on resuming his NHL career.

OriginalPouzar

This is very very very far from a certainty.

He is waiting to be able to fly to the US to have the surgery and his current intent and goal is to continue his NHL career. Maybe it never happens but clearly the doctors and experts he’s consulting with do not agree that his current plans mean he “is almost certainly never coming back”.

kgo

Go watch his presser again, his main goal is to sleep 8 hours a night without pain meds corsing thru his veins destroying his liver. Obviously he would love to play again but if the doctor says “we can fix this shoulder but no more contact sports”. His doctor signs one form saying his shoulder will never be 100% recovered and he is unable to play contact sports his insurance co will pay up no questions asked….do you have any idea how much these guys pay in insurance premiums? Hemsky once let slip his bill was over $50,000 per year…maybe Robyn Rehger should have paid a portion of that

Pouzar

Wow the hot takes today.

Crack is a dangerous drug.

Munny

Crack has nothing on shutouts, lol…

treevojo

Personally I love the Nurse is fooling everyone into thinking he is a #1 d so we should trade him for a true # 1 d before we have to pay him like a #1 d.

I would love to see people’s list of left D out there they think are going to be better over the next 7 years.

This guy has had a hard time gaining any respect since the day he was drafted by some.

There were few of us that had his back from the beginning.

leadfarmer

Yeah I would also love to get a list of players and players that actually have a chance of being available
and also keep in mind that free agents tend to sign elsewhere so putting all your chips on Zach Werenski for example is incredibly
risky

Yeti

OP (and anyone else who cares chime in)… if Samourukov comes over next year, would he be competing directly with Lagesson for a role on the team? They seem to fill a similar role and it’s not hard to imagine that only one would be needed long term… If they believe in Sami, Lagesson might be playing his way towards becoming a valuable trade chip.

GMB3

Ideally they work Samorukov in similar to how they did Jones last season. If he looks to be the goods, then Lagesson makes more sense as a trade chip.

Elgin R

Probably going to lose on of Jones / Lagesson to the Kraken. So on the left side that leaves one open spot for Sammy to keep for – not against either Jones or Lagesson. I hope that the Oilers can keep Wild Bill as he is big and will only get better.

OriginalPouzar

Don’t sleep too much on Lennstrom either – he was VERY good last weekend for the Condors. I’m excited to follow him and see if he can bring that game consistently. He’s an RFA and will be re-signed if he plays anywhere near as well as he did last weekend.

OriginalPouzar

Yes, I would say they are likely competing for the same job – 3LW, along with Jones and Lennstrom as well. Although, with the Klef situation unknown, similar to now, 2LW could be in play as well (almost certainly out of camp given Klef hasn’t been able to head to the states to get the surgery).

I would imagine that the org “believes in Samorukov” just as the have clearly shown they believe in Lagesson.

Sammy has the higher ceiling, a broader skill set (better skater and passer, better offensive instincts). At the same time, while I think that Sammy very well could be NHL ready in October, he hasn’t proven that and the organization will almost assuredly go in to training camp with Sammy needing to supplant an established player. Maybe that player is Lagesson. Similar to how Bouchard is having to supplant an NHL player to get ice time.

We are seeing examples right now of how important it is to to have established players for roles and not relying on prospects or youngsters to take steps they haven’t shown they are able to.

While Bouchard is looking like he is ready for the NHL, on the other hand, the org was counting on Jones to step up to 2LD (largely due to Klef’s injury) and he hasn’t been able to do so consistently yet. Thankfully Lagesson is stepping up but he’s likely not quite ready for 2LD night after night – Larsson as his partner sure helps.

Jones/Lagesson are potentially lost to expansion and Klef is potentially not available till well in to the year (if ever). There are a lot of unkowns.

GMB3

Caleb Jones has the third best defensive metrics on the team with no push in terms of QoC or zone starts. Larsson’s numbers look better beside him than anyone else. @koskiwin on twitter broke down the GA there and he doesn’t look outmatched. He’s fine at 2LD.

OriginalPouzar

I don’t know if a seven game sample size of metrics is conclusive.

The coach saw enough wobble and enough mistakes in his PK game that he has chosen two other, more defensive minded players with better PK ability, to play at 3LD.

Coach clearly wants a PK player at this position given current roster construction.

Elgin R

Hard to trust Tippet as he is the guy that started Brandon f*******g Manning and had Lagesson in the PB. Stubborn man.

OriginalPouzar

As I mentioned at the time (repeatedly), that was an egregious coaching decision by Tippett (and Playfair) and remains, in my opinion, his most mind-boggling decision.

At the same time, it was a mistake (in my opinion) but I won’t let it define the man as a coach and I trust the man.

All NHL head coaches are stubborn to some degree.

flyfish1168

Any word on Jesse today?

fishman

I believe Friedman just said Jesse needed a negative test today and then a second one tomorrow to be cleared

OriginalPouzar

Jesse never tested positive – he had an “inconclusive test” and he test negative later in the day yesterday.

Due to the “inconclusive”, under the protocols, the player needs 3 negative tests, 24 hours apart, in order to leave quarantine. He got the first negative yesterday and, presumably, will get the 2nd and 3rd today/tomorrow and will head to Edmonton on Saturday.

Munny

If you like kids and Ethan Bear here’s a little something…

https://www.sportsnet.ca/nhl/video/oilers-ethan-bear-surprises-moosomin-rangers-u-13-team/

Munny

Anyone notice Spector referring to Koskinen as “backup goalie” in his game recap?

Reja

Because there’s a new sheriff in town and his name is Mike Smith.

Oilman99

Smith’s last two games have been the best as an Oiler. Not over playing any pucks, staying calm, and positionally solid. He looks like he worked hard in the off season to improve his game.

Reja

I don’t get the disdain for Smith you can see our D finally playing with confidence in front of him. He definitely is the leader on the backend. Tippett’s going to ride Smith hard and get us back in the race.

Boil-in-the-Oil

Strange, because I’m pretty sure Koski was scratched (precautionary) last night… our backup was Dylan Wells.

Redbird62

That was the point Spector made in his column they are referring to. Edmonton had to replace Koskinen, it’s backup goaltender on the roster for that game with Wells due to the Covid protocol. Thing is, by definition, Smith had been named the games starter already, so Koskinen was to be the “backup” goaltender for that game, not that Spector was saying Koskinen was the second string goalie. Smith was the backup goaltender for the last game in Ottawa. I think based on how things have gone so far this season, Tippett will go the 1A and 1B for a while with a fairly even split in games unless one gets hot or slumps badly. We’ll know better after the 3 – 2 games sets against Winnipeg, Calgary and Vancouver.

Munny

No, I’m pretty sure Spec was making one of his usual barbed points.

Louis Levasseur

Clearly it was a mistake to trade Petry. However hindsight is always 20/20. I recall when he was traded, a good portion of the fan base had soured on him. It was the typical narrative of a big, soft US born collegiate defenseman. I also recall that maybe he didn’t want to sign long term with the Oilers. I thought he would end up in the US and I was surprised he re-signed with the Canadiens. I also think many fans would have been upset at the time if McTavish had re-signed him at the time for 5 years at $5 million, which he got from the Habs. Again, it turned out to be a mistake, but we can’t re-write history.

maudite

The majority of people who were lurking around this site were definitively angry how the whole petry affair was handled

We indeed should not rewrite history. In regards to petry that includes whitewashing incompetent management decisions.

Last edited 19 days ago by maudite
MushedPeas

Mac T’s quote at the time was “I can’t pay all my defensemen 4 million.” Before Petry’s final show me’ year with the Oil, that was the range at the time for a long term deal, for a key position. with no ready replacements.

LMHF#1

It wasn’t necessarily wrong to trade Petry. It was wrong for them to develop him incorrectly, deflate his value, and then trade for a bad return due to low leverage. The Oilers post-06 have done this constantly.

They could easily have made a good trade given he was a young, capable, right-shot defenceman. The issue was the how and the when, which was typical Lowe-MacTavish BS.

leadfarmer

I was saying why don’t they put him on the power play during that time
there was a lot of Petry bashing by the fan base but not here

MushedPeas

The thing that seems forgotten: Petry was only a free agent because Mac T walked him there with an extremely ill-advised one year contract. It made no sense then, it makes no sense now.

godot10

It wasn’t hindsight for a loud minority who asserted Petry was a legit high end #3D. I argued for a contract similar to the one he signed with Montreal. 6 x $5.5.

Aside: The Cody Franson fan club is awfully silent these days.

McSorley33

No 20/20 hindsight at all . We were terrible and Petry was one of the few good players we had.

MushedPeas

Earlier comment seems to have been deleted. Mac T walked Petry to free agency w a 1-year contract. Unforced error. Very frustrating to people here at the time.

Munny

Who off the Sens roster would you make inquiries on with regards to the trade deadline?

Galchenyuk? Less than $800k AAV.

Might be able to throw the Canucks failing roster in there too now.

BornInAGretzkyJersey

Derek Stepan allegedly wants out of OTT.

He’d be a nice upgrade over Turris. They’d have to retain close to half to make the salaries work.

Virtanen is a healthy scratch in VAN. Might be beneficial for him to get a second opinion.

Yeti

If the Oil could steal Rafferty (who is drastically undervalued) out of Vancouver, that would be sweet as pumpkin pie.

OriginalPouzar

Adam Gaudette is an intriguing name.

At this point, I want to stay the course and not give up futures (no 2nd round pick again this season).

I’d like to get Nygard, Hass some more at bats (and with Kass) – you know, a healthy lineup, to see what the bottom six can really do.

OriginalPouzar

If Jones is the odd man out, this is going to be a fantastic group of blue moving forward. I hope there’s a way to shoehorn him into the lineup. Could the Oilers run like this in 2021-22?

Nurse-Bear

Jones-Bouchard

Lagesson-Larsson/Barrie

Extra: Kris Russell

Right now, I think we are trending to lose one of Jones/Lagesson to expansion.

I see Samorukov as 3LD next season

I think that’s right on the right side and I think it has to be Larsson as I don’t think a Tyson Barrie extension can fit in to the cap structure. Will Larsson be amenable to 2-3 X $2.5M.

Lets not forget about Klefbom. Hopefully he can have that surgery soon – stupid Covid.

Given the delay in the surgery due to logistics, I don’t imagine he’s ready in October but he could be ready mid-season.

jjmclean

Who does the Kraken take? Jones, Lagesson or Russell. Lowetide needs to subtract one of those names. Sammy beginning of the year and Broberg the next?

OriginalPouzar

They won’t take Russell.

I can’t tell who out of Lagesson or Jones they might take – there are 40 more games and playoffs to go.

They likely don’t have a choice between the two as one will likely be protected.

pts2pndr

It will depend on if and or when they re-sign one of Larsson or Barrie. I do believe they will protect 7-3-1.

Reja

I can easily see 2 out of 3 of Larsson Jones or Bear not on the Oilers roster this time next year with the right shot D being the hot commodity. Holland has a windfall of D he needs to weed out the keepers and parlay the weepers into draft picks or a shoot first ask questions later forward.

OriginalPouzar

Holland has a “windfall” of right shot D right now, 4 legit NHL right shot d-men with varying skill sets and spots in the lineup.

Of course, 2 of them are UFAs so, at this point, he’s got 2 for next season and there is no internal help coming right away.

Berglund could potentially fight for a 3RD spot but its more likely than not that he’s not ready for NHL hockey in October (if ever). Kemp is a distant bell and years away from the NHL. Kesselring is years away from the NHL.

Right now he’s got Bear and Bouchard and, unless the return if very substantial, Bear should not be traded away – keep the two youngsters with the puck-moving skillsets.

Munny

Ideally we would have KBomb out there providing the training wheels for Bouch.

Lagesson is a good match for Bouch’s play but I feel like we’re at least a year away from the Coach having that level of confidence in the two youngsters.

dustrock

Yeah Klefbom would have been perfect for Bouch

OriginalPouzar

1) I think there are some real score effects in the numbers from last night

2) The Drai line is struggling right now but I think its a function of fatigue – Drai played some massive minutes in a short time frame over the last week and the two other guys are smaller players that play tenacious games – its tough to have that type of high energy during the the grind of an NHL season. These 3 days off will be huge for that line

3) The Oilers are winning games with the Drai line struggling and the McDavid line playing well but underproducing – that is money

4) I agree with most the Caleb Jones > Russell and Koekkoek but, at the same time, the PK is a real think that is valued by the coach and the spike in the PK has helped with victories. TOI shows that Koekkoek is clear a tier below the other 5 that are playing but, until something gives or there is an injury, its going to be tough for Caleb to get back in the game

5) This is William Laggesson. It was suggested by some that, if he got in to a stretch of games, the game would slow down for him and he would be able to show what he can do. That is what’s happening. A strong and aggressive defender who battles and wins battles, is good positionally and, while keeping it simple, is a decent/good puck mover with solid offensive instincts. He is not a black hole moving the puck or offensively and will be able to produce a bit at 5 on 5 and make plays in the offensive zone when the puck comes back.

6) My goodness JJ Khaira – more please. Actually, my goodness JJ Khaira with Archie and Ennis – more please

7) Mike Smith – even during his good runs last season, I never felt all the comfortable with him in net – he lunges, he tries to be aggressive, he just never looks calm with concise movements. He has been a rock this year – nothing like last year. Calm in the net, not lunging but making solid saves with solid rebound control – solid on the puck-handling – not trying too hard to “be a factor” but making little plays without major risk.

8) Jesse should be back for Monday and the 1st line is going to take off.

9) Sub Jesse for Neal and Haas for Turris and the forwards are money – no idea on timing for Haas (and don’t know if they will sit Turris but I think so)

10) I just don’t know what to do when Bear is back. No rightie should move to the left. No rightie should come out. I don’t like 7D/11F when there is 4 in 6 coming up.

11) Nurse is in the Norris trophy conversation to this point in the season – what a player.

Last edited 19 days ago by OriginalPouzar
ashley

Mike Smith is exactly the same as he was last year and every year since he came into the league. He’s always been streaky. The only difference is the outcome colours our impression of him. He almost gave one up handling the puck last night. That would have changed the narrative today…..but it shouldn’t.

He’s handles the puck well and most of the time, this helps the breakout immensely. Sometimes he F’s up and turns it over, but so does CMD and we don’t rag him for the entire offseason.

It’s shame Tippett didn’t go back to him in the play-in series in the summer. He had played a great game 1 with only one error that ended up in the back of the net, and everyone wanted his head for it. Cue Koskinen who let everything in.

The other Smith factor is his teammates love him everywhere he goes. That’s worth something. They like his leadership and believe in him.

Justthestatsman

Smith is certainly dialed in now, but I don’t think it was just one error for Smith in the play-in. Five goals against 6 minutes into the 2nd period before he was pulled. Fairly certain there was more than one he would have liked to have back.