The Edmonton Oilers won yesterday afternoon in Ottawa, and that combined with a Montreal Canadiens loss contributes to the likelihood that an Oilers-Winnipeg Jets playoff series is in our collective futures. Only downbeat? Stephane Beauregard won’t be in the Winnipeg net.
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: Are the 2020-21 Oilers better than the 2016-17 team?
- New DNB: Q&A: Oilers GM Ken Holland on trade deadline needs
- Lowetide: Evan Bouchard’s season of inactivity — what is the risk for the Oilers?
- Lowetide: Oilers futures watch — how new arrivals are making an impact at AHL Bakersfield
- New DNB: What I’m hearing about the Oilers ahead of the trade deadline
- Lowetide: The Oilers’ big decision on defence — Caleb Jones or William Lagesson?
- Jonathan Willis: Finding the ideal centre for the Oilers at the trade deadline
- Lowetide: Oilers March report card
- Jonathan Willis: Who says no? NHL execs evaluate your Oilers trade proposals
- 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: 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: 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?
- 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 41 GAMES
- Oilers in 2015-16: 17-21-3, 37 points; goal differential -23
- Oilers in 2016-17: 21-13-7, 49 points; goal differential +6
- Oilers in 2017-18: 18-20-3, 39 points; goal differential -17
- Oilers in 2018-19: 19-19-3, 41 points; goal differential -10
- Oilers in 2019-20: 20-17-4, 44 points; goal differential -8
- Oilers in 2020-21: 24-14-2, 50 points; goal differential +14
The Oilers 2020-21 have a narrow lead over the 2016-17 team, and I expect it’ll be a battle to the finish (wrote about it at The Athletic today). The goal differential on this year’s team remains the best indicator, the current team will need to sustain.
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 1-0-1)
- At home to: Calgary (Expected 1-0-0) (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: 8-4-0, 16 points in 12 games
- Actual April record: 2-0-1, 5 points in 3 games
Another strong start to a month, and if Edmonton can win the next two games (against Ottawa and Calgary) the Oilers will hit trade deadline day with a record of 26-14-2 after 42 games. That’s 72 points in 56 games, or 105 points in 82 games if you extrapolate, which you should never ever do. One thing is certain: This is a playoff team.
LINES, LAST NIGHT
- Draisaitl-McDavid-Puljujarvi played 15:12, 9-11 shots, 1-1 goals, 1-4 HDSC and 17-22 Corsi five on five. Draisaitl was 1-1-2 at five on five, plus scored on the power play and added an empty netter. He was challenged by the young Sens, drawing a penalty and exacting some punishment on the opposition. McDavid was skating with an extra gear or two, going 1-3-4 (1-1-2 five on five) and could have doubled it. If this was an 82-game season we’d be tracking an historic point total. Jesse Puljujarvi had two shots, drew a penalty, had some good looks. He didn’t post any crooked numbers, Edmonton needs him to produce at least some offense if he is to remain on this line. He is increasingly involved physically and is a punishing hitter. It pisses people off. Music!
- Kahun-Nuge-Yamamoto played 9:31, going 3-6 shots, 0-1 goals, 2-2 HDSC and 5-10 Corsi five on five. Kahun was quiet save for some good forechecking work, Nuge had one HDSC and covered well. Oilers need more five on five offense from him Yamamoto had a HDSC and a takeaway, once again the best player on this line for my money. This trio needs someone who can push the river. Will he arrive Monday?
- Kassian-Turris-Chiasson played 9:19 going 4-6 shots, no goals, 0-2 HDSC and 6-9 Corsi five on five. Kassian isn’t touching the puck much these days, that’s a problem. Turris had one reasonable chance, he was in close and couldn’t corral it but the chance was there. Chiasson had a fantastic chance on the power play but it didn’t work out.
- Shore-Khaira-Archibald played 9:16, going 5-2 shots, no goals, 0-1 HDSC and 11-5 Corsi five on five. Shore had one good look at five on five and an even better one on the PK. He’s winning a contract. Khaira had two shots, won three of six on the dot five on five and was 2:19 on the PK without incident. He is having a positive impact on every game, his on ice goal differential (11-10, +1) towers over last year’s (15-34, -19) last year’s total. Archibald had two shots, got in some hits and a couple of takeaways. His is 13-19 five on five goal differential this year (-6), compared to 19-36 (-16) one year ago.
PAIRINGS AND GOALIE, LAST NIGHT
- Nurse-Barrie played 18:22, 10-13 shots, 0-1 goals, 0-5 HDSC and 19-23 Corsi five on five. Nurse had four shots (one HDSC) and four giveaways, he failed to cover on the first goal against Edmonton. Barrie had two assists, two shots and skated miles.
- Russell-Larsson played 15:31, 6-8 shots, 0-1 goals, 0-3 HDSC and 10-19 Corsi five on five. Russell defended a lot, had one good look offensively. The goal came on a screen, don’t think it was Russell (Nuge was more likely) but it was a goal either way. Larsson had two shots, four hits, and he was credited with a faceoff win but I didn’t see it.
- Jones-Bear played 9:19, 2-2 shots, 2-1 HDSC and 7-4 Corsi five on five. This pairing has some looseness to it lately, risky passes into the Edmonton slot, etc. Need to iron that out soon. Jones had a shot, blocked a shot and recovered well. Bear had an assist, two giveaways and passed the puck well (subtle, effective pass on the goal), save for a wildly dangerous back pass into the slot that turned into several seconds of sphincter defense. Not good.
- Mikko Koskinen stopped 28 of 30, .933 and had a great night, looking very good on 12 HDSC. I thought the Connor Brown goal could have been stopped but for a friendly screen. Now sports a SP of .903 for the year.
TRADE DEADLINE TARGETS
The list is updated from TSN (here) and the possible targets for Edmonton are either pricey (Taylor Hall, Mike Hoffman, Rickard Rakell) or of limited value (Luke Glendening). I would love to see this team acquire one of these young Senators forwards, perhaps for a lefty defense prospect, but that’s a summer trade.
LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE
At 10 this morning we shatter the airwaves with Oilers talk and Masters updates, TSN 1260. At 10:20, Nate Ewell, the College Hockey Inc. executive director will talk Frozen Four and dominance by the state of hockey (Minnesota). Frank Seravalli pops by to chat trade deadline, and things possibly heating up after the big NYI-NJD deal last night. 10-1260 text, @Lowetide on twitter. See you on the radio!