As we near the end of February, a few things are becoming clear. The Canadian Division houses seven teams, but only five appear to be packing for the long haul of March and April. Tonight’s opponent for Edmonton is eight points behind while having played two extra games on the schedule. In the land of the Bettman, that’s the Fraser Canyon.
A loss tonight is another crushing moment for the Canucks, who have too much talent to be here and yet the National Hockey League Official Guide & Record Book is about to receive a disappointing report on Van City.
I think most Oilers fans can have some sympathy for Vancouver fans while also being thrilled to see it isn’t the Oildrop losing touch with the playoffs. It’s difficult to be talking draft before the halfway point in a season. Ask an Oilers fan.
Meanwhile there’s a game to play, and the Oilers can’t go down by three goals again and expect to win. The Canucks were desperate on Tuesday, double that and double it again for tonight’s tilt. This is war.
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: Jesse Puljujarvi must be on the Oilers expansion protected list after breakout
- New Jonathan Willis: The Oilers’ 2020 trade deadline splash: What we learned, a year later
- Lowetide: Revisiting our preseason predictions for the Oilers after 20 games
- Lowetide: Oilers begin to separate from prairie teams in Scotia North
- Lowetide: If Dylan Holloway turns pro this spring, will it be with the Oilers?
- Jonathan Willis: Could an Ethan Bear trade improve the Oilers?
- Lowetide: Is Oilers centre Kyle Turris playing himself out of the NHL?
- 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 22 GAMES
- Oilers in 2015-16: 7-14-1, 15 points; goal differential -12
- Oilers in 2016-17: 12-8-2, 26 points; goal differential +10
- Oilers in 2017-18: 8-12-2, 18 points; goal differential -14
- Oilers in 2018-19: 10-10-2, 22 points; goal differential -9
- Oilers in 2019-20: 13-6-3, 29 points; goal differential +12
- Oilers in 2020-21: 13-8-0, 26 points; goal differential +11
If you look at the two Tippett teams (26-14-3, 55 points in 43 games) through the early portions of the two seasons, the group boasts a goal differential of +23. The previous four seasons? Goal differential -25. I know many Oilers fans and observers who are not thrilled with Ken Holland, Dave Tippett, or both. Imagine how mad they would be if the record was poor? What would make these fans happy?
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 1-1-0)
- On the road to: Calgary (Expected 0-1-0) (Actual 1-0-0)
- At home to: Calgary (Expected 1-0-0) (Actual 1-0-0)
- On the road to: Vancouver, Vancouver (Expected 1-1-0) (Actual 1-0-0)
- 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: 8-2-0, 16 points in 10 games
Even a split of the final two games of this month sets the Oilers up well. Winning both, and gathering 20 points in a single month, would be a major accomplishment and perhaps signal a push to the top of Mount Canada (which sounds dirty but isn’t meant to be).
OILERS 2020-21 ROSTER (FIVE ON FIVE PTS 60)
NHL trade deadline is April 12. PLD played three games for the Winnipeg Jets in the 30 days that followed his trade. I think teams are going to want to make deadline deals with American teams by the ides of March.
What do the Oilers need? I’m not sure they’re going to be active. Lots of assets dealt a year ago, no cap room, and it isn’t like last year on the roster. The team may be dealing with several baseball-style platoons, but they’re working. I think Holland may be quiet at the deadline barring injury.
OILERS PROJECTED 2020-21 SCORING
This is via Sports Forecaster, which is a helluva good site. They keep great records of injuries and project season-ending numbers on the daily. The extrapolated numbers suggest the No. 1 line will score 73 goals in 56 games, and the No. 2 line will finish close to a goal per game (51 goals in 56 games). That’s good productivity. The numbers are a little unreliable due to things like Jesse Puljujarvi’s entire season being projected. If you run just his time with McDavid, the goal total blossoms to 24 goals.
Nurse, Barrie and Bouchard are projected to combine for 29 goals in 56 games. Adam Larsson’s goal total is projected at 5, his career high is 4.
LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE
At 10 this morning, we hit the ground running with a hot show filled with cool guests. Jeff Krushell from Krush Performance will pop by at 10:20 to pump you up with MLB projections. Jeff works in the baseball industry and has all kinds of insight on rookies and old guys trying to make their return. I’ll ask about Vladdy Guerrero at third base and the San Diego Padres incredible offseason. Frank Seravalli from TSN will give us the latest on NHL trade rumours and talk about when we might see some movement. 10-1260 text, @Lowetide on twitter. See you on the radio!