Don’t look now, but much of the roster improvement again this season is coming via drafted players. In Evan Bouchard (2.54 points-per-60 five on five), Kailer Yamamoto (1.96 points-per-60 five on five) and Jesse Puljujarvi (1.51 points-per-60 five on five), the Oilers have added (Yamamoto arrived January 2020) a trio of valuable roster assets in a calendar year. Add in Ethan Bear, Caleb Jones, William Lagesson and there’s a small mountain of drafted prospects on the big league roster. They won’t all make it, and some will move on from Edmonton in the early years of their career, but this is turning into a productive era for prospect procurement, development and graduation.
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: Tinkering with the Oilers’ top six — what are the best line combinations?
- Lowetide: Philip Broberg and the Oilers’ Leftorium
- Lowetide: Jujhar Khaira, a waiver reset and the Oilers’ future at No. 3 centre
- Lowetide: What to do with the Oilers defence now that the rookies have arrived
- Lowetide: Mike Smith’s return calms the Oilers goalie hysteria — for now
- 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: 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: Oilers Kailer Yamamoto is the real deal.
- Lowetide: Is this peak Connor McDavid?
OILERS AFTER 18 GAMES
- Oilers in 2015-16: 6-12-0, 12 points; goal differential -11
- Oilers in 2016-17: 9-8-1, 19 points; goal differential -1
- Oilers in 2017-18: 7-9-2, 16 points; goal differential -7
- Oilers in 2018-19: 9-8-1, 19 points; goal differential -4
- Oilers in 2019-20: 11-5-2, 24 points; goal differential +8
- Oilers in 2020-21: 9-8-0, 18 points; goal differential +2
A win tonight and the current team is in a good spot compared to PMs (previous McDavids). Important to cut losing streaks off at the path, but remember all these teams are close to being equal so there’s a lot that will land on luck.
WHAT TO EXPECT IN 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 0-1-0)
- 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: 4-2-0, 8 points in 6 games
The first month of the season was a downer so it’s important to win at least six games during this month (and collect more than 12 points). A win tonight would give the Oilers 10 points with five games to play.
OILERS FIVE ON FIVE PER 60, 2020-21
This is five on five per 60 for the skaters, Bouchard ranks No. 4 on the list in a very small sample size. The club also has three additional defensemen between 1.23 and 1.39 per 60, a reflection of how much offense is coming from the blue line.
The bottom six has some performers now, including Ennis who looks like he’ll make a trip up the depth chart tonight. Alex Chiasson got healthy in a hurry.
Connor McDavid could reach 500 points tonight, tying Sidney Crosby in reaching that plateau in Game No. 369. When asked, McDavid mentioned the Stanley Cups owned by Crosby as being the goal. Pure McDavid. Focused like an eagle.
LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE
At 10, TSN1260, we have a busy show spent mostly teeing up the Oilers-Jets and talking about McDavid, Puljujarvi and the playoffs. Bruce McCurdy from the Cult of Hockey at the Edmonton Journal will talk about the Oilers and the week ahead. Joe Osborne from OddsShark will talk about NBA underdogs paying off consistently. 10-1260 text, @Lowetide on twitter. See you on the radio!