The Edmonton Oilers pushed closer to winning a playoff spot (now well over 90 percent) and moved the Calgary Flames closer to the seller’s table at the NHL’s trade deadline. It didn’t come easy, Darryl Sutter’s Flames will be a better team with less talent a year from now and were a tough out last night, but now it’s done and it’s on to Montreal.
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: The Oilers’ big decision on defence — Caleb Jones or William Lagesson?
- New Lowetide: Oilers March report card
- Jonathan Willis: Who says no? NHL execs evaluate your Oilers trade proposals for Taylor Hall, John Gibson and more
- Lowetide: Lowetide’s Oilers trade deadline quiz: Test your knowledge
- Lowetide: Scouring the hockey world for a left winger for the Oilers’ skill line
- Lowetide: How the Oilers could benefit at the trade deadline from relaxed quarantine rules
- Lowetide: Every major transaction Ken Holland has made as Oilers GM
- Jonathan Willis: Five questions the Oilers need to answer by the NHL trade deadline
- Lowetide: Carter Savoie’s college season suggests Oilers could have a real goal scoring prospect
- Lowetide: Where does Zack Kassian fit on the Oilers, now and in the future?
- Lowetide: Oilers’ midseason depth chart informs their needs for trade deadline and beyond
- Jonathan Willis: A position-by-position look at the Oilers after 30 games
- Lowetide: How will Oilers GM Ken Holland make room in the lineup for Evan Bouchard?
- Lowetide: Are the Oilers and Elvis Merzlikins a trade match?
- Lowetide: Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Dominik Kahun, Dylan Holloway and a perfect storm on the Oilers’ left side
- Lowetide: Why Oilers GM Ken Holland shouldn’t wait for the deadline to make a trade
- Lowetide: Oilers’ top 20 prospects, trade deadline edition
- Lowetide: Why are some Oilers fans hesitant to give Darnell Nurse his due?
- Jonathan Willis: Can Oilers improve enough to beat TML it in May?
- Lowetide: Top trade targets for the Oilers at the 2021 deadline
- Jonathan Willis: Oilers 2021 trade value rankings
- Lowetide: Is this peak Connor McDavid?
OILERS AFTER 38 GAMES
- Oilers in 2015-16: 15-20-3, 33 points; goal differential -21
- Oilers in 2016-17: 19-12-7, 45 points; goal differential +6
- Oilers in 2017-18: 17-18-3, 37 points; goal differential -7
- Oilers in 2018-19: 18-17-3, 39 points; goal differential -6
- Oilers in 2019-20: 19-15-4, 42 points; goal differential -4
- Oilers in 2020-21: 23-14-1, 47 points; goal differential +14
This year’s team hasn’t endured many truly low points (three losses in a row to Toronto, poor performance against Montreal last week) and have recovered nicely from all downbeats. Can’t say they’ll win a playoff round, but it’s pretty certain they’ll be in one sometime in May.
WHAT TO EXPECT FROM APRIL
- At home to: Calgary (Expected: 1-0-0) (Actual 1-0-0)
- On the road to: Montreal, Ottawa, Ottawa (Expected: 2-1-0) (Actual 0-0-0)
- At home to: Vancouver, Vancouver (Expected 1-1-0) (Actual 0-0-0)
- On the road to: Winnipeg (Expected 0-1-0) Actual 0-0-0)
- At home to: Montreal, Montreal (Expected 1-1-0) (Actual 0-0-0)
- On the road to: Winnipeg, Winnipeg (Expected 1-1-0) (Actual 0-0-0)
- At home to: Calgary (Expected 1-0-0) (Actual 0-0-0)
- At home to: Vancouver (make up game) (Expected 1-0-0) (Actual 0-0-0)
- Expected April record: 8-5-0, 16 points in 13 games
- Actual April record: 1-0-0, 2 points in 1 game
The three Vancouver games won’t happen until late in the month, or in May. The road trip to Montreal and Ottawa should allow the team to get a strong start to what will be an important month as the contenders jockey for position. I think we’ll see Edmonton-Winnipeg as the opening round series.
LINES, LAST NIGHT
- Kahun-Draisaitl-Yamamoto played 10:57, going 6-5 shots, 1-0 goals, 4-2 HDSC and 10-8 Corsi five on five. This line had is going on all night and all three men contributed. Kahun scored the only five on five goal on the night, and a lovely setup from Yamamoto (via Bear via Draisaitl) and one HDSC, plus drew a penalty. Draisaitl picked up two assists, 7 shots attempts, two HDSC’s and a bunch of faceoff wins. He also looked close to flattening Matt Tkachuk. He also made a wonderful stealth back check coming out of the penalty box to save a good scoring chance from cashing. Yamamoto had a HDSC, a sweet pass on the Kahun goal, drew two penalties and generated lots of positive puck movement. A wonderful player.
- Nuge-McDavid-Puljujarvi played 10:12, going 2-4 shots, 3-9 Corsi five on five. Nuge scored on the power play and is a PK genius, my goodness he’s an effective player. McDavid scored the winner, Flames are effective at not allowing clean air so there was some frustration. Puljujarvi had McDavid in alone and couldn’t send him the pass, that can’t happen. That’s the job. He forechecked well, turned over pucks, but all anyone will remember is that errant pass.
- Kassian-Haas-Archibald played 6:51, 1-4 shots, 0-1 goals, 3-8 Corsi five on five. Kassian took a penalty that was unnecessary but his mates killed it expertly. He also had good moments, keeping the puck away from Calgary players along the wall and grinding out the game. Edmonton needs more of that from him. Haas fell down a few times, and was most useful when on the penalty kill. Archibald had two clean minutes on the PK and played a physical game, missed an empty net chance late. He was on the ice for the first GA, but came down low to cover the slot on Russell’s turnover. Tough to fault the winger for picking up his defender on a broken play. Previous incarnations of the Oilers would have had the LW waiting for the pass at center.
- Shore-Khaira-Chiasson played 6:24, going 5-3 shots, 0-2 HDSC and 7-4 Corsi five on five. Shore had one look and a pair of giveaways, but nothing bad happened on his watch. Khaira was on the PK for over a minute, had three shots and had his legs moving and won three of six on the PK. He is an effective NHL center. Chiasson got some PP time and made some nice plays on both PP goals, but most will remember only the physical beating he took net front. He’s very effective there. Two shots.
PAIRS AND GOALIE
- Russell-Larsson played 16:37, going 7-5 shots, 0-1 goals, 3-2 HDSC and 13-7 Corsi five on five. Russell played a lot, 22:58, blocking three shots, giving away the puck three times and surviving two shifts over two minutes in length. Lost control of the puck (unforced) a few seconds before the first GA, and then was a better door than window on the Mike Stone shot. Larsson much the same, although more effective across the board. The guy is a rock and the coach counts on him in big moments. The Monahan line didn’t get a sniff with Larsson on the ice (six minutes of five on five time).
- Nurse-Barrie played 14:21, going 4-6 shots and 5-12 Corsi. Nurse had a couple of shots, defended well, including a fantastic shot block on Elias Lindholm that could have changed the game script had the puck found its target. This pairing was at a disadvantage because Barrie is playing hurt. Barrie had four shot attempts, two blocked shots and his coverage suggests he is less than 100 percent. Barrie’s five on five rels were rel rel gone, something’s wrong.
- Jones-Bear played 7:07. going 5-1 shots and 7-5 Corsi. Jones had just one noticeable wobble, Derek Ryan working him and getting Calgary some zone time. Bear was rock solid, getting an assist, passing the puck well and generally keeping trouble from Mike Smith’s door.
- Mike Smith stopped 24 of 26, five of six HDSC’s and had a .923 SP on the night. Ken Holland pwned every math analyst and all the bloggers who use numbers, including this blog’s author. Absolutely outstanding season for Smith, who sits at .919SP for the season. All numbers Natural Stat Trick.
NHL DRAFT 2021
Someone asked me the other day about where players I’ve ranked so far will land on draft day. Below is my Canadian list, including all three CHL leagues and one tier 2 player. I will suggest seven or eight of these names land in the first round of my 2021 draft list.
- RW Dylan Guenther, Edmonton Oil Kings.
- LC Mason McTavish Peterborough Petes.
- RD Brandt Clarke Barrie Colts.
- LC Zachary Bolduc, Rimouski Oceanic.
- RC Ryder Korczak, Moose Jaw Warriors.
- G Sebastian Cossa, Edmonton Oil Kings.
- LW Zachary L’Heureux, Halifax Mooseheads
- LD Daniil Chayka Guelph Storm.
- LC Francesco Pinelli, Kitchener Rangers
- RC Xavier Bourgault, Shawinigan Cataractes
- LW Brennan Othmann, Fint Firebirds
- RD Corson Ceulemans, Brooks Bandits
- RW Oliver Nadeau, Shawinigan Cataractes
- LD Evan Nause, Quebec Remparts
- LW Eric Alarie, Moose Jaw Warriors
- LC Brett Harrison, Oshawa Generals
- RC Logan Stankoven, Kamloops Blazers
- RW Chase Stillman, Sudbury Wolves
- LW Conner Roulette, Seattle Thunderbirds
- LD Carson Lambos, Winnipeg Ice
My list will be 120 deep and all of these names will be on it, probably in the top 75. I’ll drill down on the USHL and NCAA plus USHS in the coming days, and then it’s the Atlantic crossing to most of the talent pool for 2021.