2020-21 Game 46: Oilers at Jets

by Lowetide

It’s fitting Ryan McLeod will begin his career against the Winnipeg Jets, because the young center made it to the majors with fantastic wheels (he can almost fly!) and an ability to play in the middle.

Ryan McLeod earned it. The thing he needed to work on (go to the uncomfortable areas in order to score) appear to be accomplished and now he arrives in the NHL for his first game. For the Oilers organization, it’s a sign the system (draft, develop, graduate) works.


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 in 2015-16: 18-23-5, 41 points; goal differential -26
  • Oilers in 2016-17: 24-15-7, 55 points; goal differential +6
  • Oilers in 2017-18: 20-23-3, 43 points; goal differential -23
  • Oilers in 2018-19: 22-21-3, 47 points; goal differential -7
  • Oilers in 2019-20: 24-17-5, 53 points; goal differential -3
  • Oilers in 2020-21: 27-16-2, 56 points; goal differential +14

Ten games into the season, two of the three playoff teams (2016-17 and 2019-20) were both 7-2-1 and had announced themselves. After 10, this year’s model was 4-6-0 with a goal differential of minus five. Since then, the 2020-21 club is 23-10-2, plus 19. Dave Tippett has delivered a strong year. You can tell because Oilers fans are merely wildly unhappy, with only the outliers calling for his resignation (I think).


  • At home to: Calgary (Expected: 1-0-0) (Actual 1-0-0)
  • On the road to: Montreal, Ottawa, Ottawa, Calgary (Expected: 3-1-0) (Actual 2-1-1)
  • On the road to: Winnipeg (Expected 0-1-0) (Actual 1-0-0)
  • At home to: Montreal, Montreal (Expected 1-1-0) (Actual 1-1-0)
  • 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)
  • Expected April record: 7-4-0, 14 points in 11 games
  • Actual April record: 5-2-1, 11 points in 8 games

I have the two teams splitting the next two games, suspect the Jets will have momentum tonight after a tough showing on the weekend. Mike Smith had a bit of a scare at practice on the weekend, Dmitry Kulikov will play and McLeod may be in the lineup.


I think Ken Holland and Dave Tippett have been focused lately on speed up front and trying to improve the center position. Here’s my suggestion for the forwards tonight (five on five pts-60):

  • Dominik Kahun [1.2]-Connor McDavid [3.19]-Jesse Puljujarvi [1.32]
  • Nuge [1.14]-Leon Draisaitl [2.62]-Kailer Yamamoto [1.46]
  • Devin Shore [1.25]-Ryan McLeod (AHL)-Josh Archibald [0.82]
  • James Neal [1.29]-Gaetan Haas [0.68]-Alex Chiasson [1.00]

Ideally he gets 97 or 29 but Tippett wants him at center and Shore plus Archibald are (imo) playing better than Neal and Chiasson right now. Kahun would also be interesting. Jets will be a fun team to face. I’d keep Nuge on the Draisaitl line, for the season at five on five Nuge is 2-1-3 in 66 minutes with LD (2.73 pts-60) and that’s a strong number. If those numbers fade, there’s either an injury we don’t know about (Nuge’s slump with 97 predates the recent injury and recovery) or this is a serious downturn in results that will impact RNH’s next contract. This is not a small sample size.

  • Nuge with Draisaitl 2020-21: 2-1-3 in 65:58 (2.73 pts-60) five on five
  • Nuge w/o Draisaitl 2020-21: 4-4-8 in 510:42 (0.94 pts-60) five on five
  • Nuge with McDavid 2020-21: 4-3-7 in 386:46 (1.09 pts-60) five on five


One never knows, but I think McLeod was handled pretty well in Bakersfield. The Oilers seem to have all of their prospect development arrows pointed in the right direction. Doesn’t mean everyone will succeed but consider these quotes from Oilers scouting director Kevin Prendergast in January of 2008:

  • KP speaks on Rob Schremp:We feel Robby’s skating at center is going to hurt him in the NHL. He just doesn’t possess that second gear.”
  • KP speaks on Marc Pouliot:We’ve moved Marc back to center he’s the #1 center down there now. Currently he’s playing with a bad shoulder at this point and still contributing. Kelly Buchberger has been working with him on things that coach MacTavish felt he had to work on. He has great hockey sense and an ability to make things happen.”
  • KP speaks on Jean-Francois Jacques: “He got confused as to whether he should be an offensive player or a physical player. From our standpoint is we want him to be a physical player. We had a long talk a couple of weeks ago, and told him in order to make the NHL the physical play has to come back in there.”

One can never tell from a distance (insert Charlie Rich’s “Behind Closed Doors” here) but the verbal communicates some concerning messages here. Buchberger had lots of experience in working with prospects on MacTavish’s priorities? WHY was Schremp at center if that was part of his game? WHY was Jacques confused? Anyway, it’s pretty clear there are solid coaches in Bakersfield today.


At 10 this morning, TSN1260, we have an actual game to discuss! Our friend Murat Ates from The Athletic will join me at 10:20 to talk Jets-Oilers and Winnipeg’s difficult weekend. Jason Gregor from TSN1260 pops in at 11 to discuss the Oilers side, including Kulikov and McLeod. 10-1260 text, @Lowetide on twitter. See you on the radio!


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RNH has played 41 games and scored 11 5v5 points, good for .27 5v5 Pts/GP.

That’s well below a top-6 rate which usually hovers around .33.

Concerning? Maybe. Maybe not.

Using the sampling distribution of the sample mean to estimate a 95% confidence interval for RNH’s “true” 5v5 Pts/GP given his results this year, I get a low end of .11 and a high end of .42.

Could I ask what sample you used to find Nuge 95% confidence interval above? I’m not really familiar with the method you used (nor am I a statistician) but from the linked page it sounds like you need to input a sampling distribution to estimate a confidence interval.

It seems you also used Nuge’s current season as the centre-point for your distribution, but (prior to tonight) this was the actual worst 5v5 Pts/GP season of his career.

I am somewhat capable of using excel and if you take the distribution of Nuge’s previous seasons by 5v5 Pts/GP, the mean is 0.41 Pts/GP (0.407) and the standard deviation is 0.0803. Nuge had scored 0.27 (0.268) 5v5 Pts/GP this season prior to tonights game when you did this (now he’s up to 0.285).

Using that mean and standard deviation, you can then calculate a cumulative probability distribution of his likelihood (based on his own past) of scoring at a given 5v5 rate this season.

If you plug in some numbers (or use +/- 2 standard deviations) to figure out where the 95% confidence interval lies (0.025 on either tail) you get the range .25 to .56 5v5 Pts/GP. So Nuge’s current season falls just within that range, but on the very low end.

If you look at just the ‘under’ end of the distribution you get a probability of him scoring .268 or less 5v5 Pts/GP of just .041.

So basically, if you use a one-tailed t-test, Nuge’s current season was/is a statistically significant outlier, but if you use a two-tailed t-test his season is unlikely, but not quite statistically significantly so.

Is that fair? I think it is, but I’m open to being corrected if not.


Godot must have been beaming from ear to ear watching those top 2 lines having such success.

I loved it myself, too.

Last edited 3 months ago by Numenius

McDavid is on a 50 goal / 82 game pace.


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We’re the princes of the universe.

Here we belong.
Fighting to survive in a war with the darkest powers.

And here we are.
We’re the princes of the universe.
Here we belong,
Fighting for survival.
We’ve come to be the rulers of your world.

I am immortal.
I have inside me blood of kings.
I have no rival.
No man can be my equal.
Take me to the future of your world.

Born to be kings.
Princes of the universe.
Fighting and free.
Got your world in my hand.
I’m here for your love and I’ll make my stand.
We were born to be princes of the universe.

No man could understand.
My power is in my own hand.
Ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh.
People talk about you.
People say you’ve had your day.

I’m a man that will go far.
Fly the moon and reach for the stars,
With my sword and head held high.
Got to pass the test first time.

I know that people talk about me.
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But I can prove you wrong
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Alright, let’s go, let’s go, ha, ha.
Watch this man fly.
Bring on the girls.
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Here we are. (Here we are!)
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We’re the princes of the universe.
Here we belong.

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Princes of the universe.
Fighting and free.
Got your world in my hand.
I’m here for your love and I’ll make my stand.
We were born to be princes of the universe.


Strong showing from the team, we finally saw the “fans choice” for top 6 alignment and it looked good. Oiler fans know their hockey I guess…

McLeod with a nice debut. His skating style is interesting. He’s got a pretty short stride, looks kind of stiff even, but still has great top speed which is fairly unusual. To my eye his high end skating ability is more related to explosiveness rather than technique. Bet he has a mean 30 yd dash. The benefit to this is that he can change both direction and gear very quickly while skating at high speed which is what drew the penalty and could make him a transition machine in the NHL. The downside is that once past 30 we might see his skating fade fairly fast but luckily that’s a bunch of years down the line.

Kulikov was quietly competent. The Larsson-Kulikov might end up extremely useful in the playoffs if they find chemistry, at first glance they did look good together.

McDavid. So good. I think he ends up hitting 100 pts.

Last edited 3 months ago by SwedishPoster
Victoria Oil

Not sure if it has been mentioned already, but who has the time to look over their shoulder on a breakaway to see who’s behind him and is still able to score? Who does that?


Drai is absolutely crazy with skill. If you can watch a highlight of that first goal, watch what Drai does with the puck on his skate to make the pass to Larsson. Small little play, but absolutely sick. He actually steps on the puck and moves it under his skate to push it to his stick and then makes a stupid crazy one arm pass to Larsson. No one outside of Edmonton will notice, but it was one of the best plays of the night. 


Similar to the one and only Linus Omark from this week aswell. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZqYv6OlsGT0

Minister D-

Pulijaarvi quietly building an MO of making excellent two-way plays that end up in the other team’s net. I like where this is going.

Last edited 3 months ago by Minister D-

I recall Lucic said he wanted to bring some “swagger” to the Oilers when he arrived here. Seems it took a couple of years but here we are… thanks Looch, I do believe the swagger has arrived.


One promising thing that we saw today was the return of Nuge’s deception and sneakiness. It has been missing, but he was being slippery out there again.


I love when they show the standings and seeing Anaheim, Kings and Sharks at the bottom of the league. So sweet.

SK Oiler Fan

I enjoy hearing P Maurice in this division


Has Turris played a single game at C this yr as steady as McLeod did tonight?


Turris was awful as a center this year but I’m not about to expunge greatness on McLeod as a great defensive 3C quite yet.

That line did well in the 2nd but they got caved in shots and shot attempts in both the 1st and the 3rd while being hard-matched with Bear and Jones for the most part.

No egregious defensive mistakes or turnovers and some very nice plays clearing the zone but they did get running around and hemmed in 4-5 times.


All true. It seemed like Turris would make at least one egregious error per game so by that low benchmark McLeod’s game was successful.


We can make my judge him on what he delivered tonight but all good arrows.

While it looks like he can move the puck, his offence will likely depend on linemates.

With a good off season we hope to get stronger on the wings.

Fir this year he may be one of those incremental improvements we were looking for.


McLeod looks fast and huge out there. Didn’t realize he was such a massive guy. Tipp mentioned that his positioning was very solid, and I completely agree.

He had a nice sequence along the board in the d-zone battling with Blake Wheeler, managed to knock the puck away from him. Tipp said he didn’t try to shield McLeod at all, and sequences like that are likely the reason why.

Drew a penalty and you can see he has some confidence hanging onto the puck to make plays.


Turris taking that two year contract was robbery.


Ya, not a huge deal though, the league min is going up to $750K next season so the amount that can be buried goes up to $1.125M.


Game started off looking pretty even, but as it wore on the Oilers looked like a really mature, solid NHL team. The past decade has made this really difficult to accept, but I think this is a good thing.


I think the Oilers should plonk one off Smiths nuts before every game.


Perfect Health. McDavid on 98.6 pace


I would round up😊


Ooooh, so close to that magic “100”. It would be insane considering this covid season of reduced play. So he’s gotta blast another couple of extra points to get there… just be Connor, the records will follow.


Well, I think the Oil got themselves two player upgrades.


Missed most of the game. How was McLeod?

Material Elvis

He’s good. An upgrade at 3C.


If you are asking me he looked hyped up and buzzed all over the ice. Fast. In the right places. Strong in front of his own net, good on the boards. He’s tough enough but not a hitter.

Played well enough that Holland wrote his name down for next years third line Center.

Very good NHL debut.


McDavid 16:03 TOI. McLeod 14:18. Nurse 21:25. Jones 19:06.


That is beautiful!


Kulikov’s first game:

65% across the possession metrics and 2-0 goals.

Played 10 minutes with the Drai line to which it was hard-matched (less than 4 minutes with any other forwards).


When the Oilers traded for Kulikov, I noted that he played a lot of tough minutes and didn’t get killed…then My post got ratioed.


Kulikov and Larsson looked good moving the puck. I was surprised to see how active Kulikov was in jumping into the play. Created lots of gaps in coverage.

I was expecting a real traditional stay-at-home D-man, but in the early going he looks like a different animal.


There was quite a bit of talk going in about “who it going to move the puck” on that pairing which I felt did a disservice to Kulikov.

I’m no expert on his game but from my post-trade research, he is not a black-hole with the puck and is a decent puck-mover, both by pass and carry. The Sportlogiq numbers provided by Gregor back that up as well.

He’s a MASSIVE upgrade on K. Russell.


Assuming they keep the top 6 together for the last 10 games will be interesting to see how Kahun does with Connor. He looked pretty good tonight. Nuge seemed to have some extra jump playing with Drai as well.

Brogan Rafferty's Uncle Steve

Agreed. Kahun made some great passes tonight.

Healthy line-up:


I think there is zero chance Shore comes out if healthy.



Material Elvis

Oilers now have a .644 winning percentage. The team is peaking and should be taken serious.


Smith is taking us to the promised land this spring boys buckle up.


That better not have broken Archie’s hand or wrist.


TBF, he can probably play with a broken hand and it wouldn’t noticeably impact his performance.




What a sweet Mike Smith save/sequence.

He just keeps climbing the ladder of all time favorites. What a loveable goaltender.


Probably my favourite since Roli. Like most I hated bringing him back but you can’t not cheer foe the guy.


4th line trying to earn Smith the Vezina…. yikes.


Ethan Bear wins the Leon Draisaitl Award for being the Oilers most improved player this season. He’s already an excellent NHL player.

He processes the game like it’s in slow motion.

Quick! Offer to lock him up for 3 million X 8 years :p


Can’t until July.


Wasn’t The Highlander a McLeod?


There can be two.


Oilers have to make “Princes of the Universe” one of their warm-up songs.


There can be only one!


It looks like we got the good McLeod. A couple years ago, his brother looked like the better player… now?

What you’re feeling McLeod, is called the quickening.


I wonder what McLeod and Kulikov think player with McDavid for the first time when he’s been how he’s been tonight?



Material Elvis

They think what all NHL players think — Connor McDavid is in a category of his own.


They think “I’d have to slash, whack, hold and interfere him too if I was playing against him”.

SK Oiler Fan

Man without Ehlers and Lowry the Jets look pretty average


That’s what I said earlier, their only advantage over the Oilers (and most other teams) is depth at forward…. take that away and they are average with a great goalie (but Smith has been just as good as Connor H. this season).

SK Oiler Fan

They need that forward depth to be a real threat. Have some great forwards, but lack consistent high end finishers


Post for Nuge.

I read the other day his torque on his snap shot is gone – was evident there….


First off I’d put RNH on a line with Neal; and then to complete the “Legion of We’re Doomed” line – then add whoever else on the team deserves to not score lol

Last edited 3 months ago by hunter1909

McLeod gets the defensive zone faceoff (coach’s choice, not an icing)….. might as well do it when up by 5.


And won it.


McDavid takes a bruise to his side from Pionk check, Drai showing his hand was hacked and the Nuge takes a stick to the face.

Just get through the game healthy now.


McLeods first NHL game and I don’t even think he broke a sweat yet. Kid can skate miles


I now await Nuge’s next shift after the stick to the face.


Did you catch who’s stick it was?


Nope, I saw it but didn’t catch which player.


Hope it wasn’t serious


He’s wripped one off the post since then so I think he’s fine.

Bank Shot

That Ryan Mcleod looks like a real NHL hockey player.

That McDavid kid might amount to something as well….

Last edited 3 months ago by Bank Shot

Bear has made some nice passes behind the net in tight spots tonight. Quietly having a good game.


He usually does…..


I was anxiously awaiting McDavid’s next shift after being stood up on the boards and holding his mid-section after.

Didn’t miss a shift. All good!


Solid save by Smith.

Lets not forget how good Smith was early before the Oilers opened the game up.

It could have been a vastly different game if Smith doesn’t stop them all early.


I like many, was dismayed when they resigned Smith this year. Who could have imagined how well he has played this year!!!


I don’t think anyone except Smith himself.

He was very good in 2020 (except one period in August) overall but he never looked like he does this year. His movements in the net are just totally different, he looks so much more confident in his movements, more balanced.

He didn’t just train this off-season, we worked on specific technique changes.

Its absolutely amazing that he can improve this much at the age of 38.


Good call. He’s been so good this year I just assume those saves are routine now for him.


Mcleod doesn’t look like a guy playing his 1st NHL game tonight. He’s playing confident with the puck and definitely has NHL speed.

Helllloooooo 3C!


He probably has some confidence after being a part of such a successful condors line.


Couple of panicky turnovers when he picked up the puck in the Edmonton slot, otherwise he looks pretty good.
Great skater. But everyone knew that already.


I think dreger is possessed

Crazy Pedestrian

Woah dude… those Dallas jerseys are sick…


Yea they are pretty wild!


McDavid stick handling like that on a breakaway is like the knife fight where the first guy does a bunch of crazy ninja shit and the other guy slowly throws his knife from one hand to the other.


I’m thinking I like Kahun with McD…seriously, he looks really good on that line. Nuge heard me and turned it on. Imagine having two first lines, McLeod driving a third line and I just saw our 4th line cycling the puck for about a minute in the zone. D-men are all playing tough and out letting good. It’s like the entire team “clicked”. Loving every minute of it. I want to see someone go home a Millionaire!!!
Over to you, Connor…


Forecast: “Troll Free Evening”




The rubber is about to hit the road!


When he shows up it’s like being at the pub and the one person everyone can’t stand walks in.

Or the Flames dressing room when Tkachuk walks in.


Brogan Rafferty is being sent to the Vancouver canucks AHL affiliate.

He hasn’t played a game in over a year.

of note…

There are no playoffs for either team this year so Brogan’s development will be severely stunted limiting his peak growth years to his 30s beginning next year.

Material Elvis

Remember when he wouldn’t trade Rafferty for Bouchard or Bear? You can’t make this stuff up.


Do you think that “opinion” has changed?

Material Elvis

No, I don’t think it has.

Brogan Rafferty's Uncle Steve

No. He is still convinced that Drai’s ceiling is Joe Colborne.


good times 😉


Mcleod on the bench taking notes!!


Winnipeg TSN announce team is in severe amounts of pain. Going to need another heritage classic in 20 years that Wheeler puts together.


Can’t believe it hasn’t been mentioned on the broadcast by Drai is now the leading German-born scorer in NHL history.


Hope someone grabbed that puck for him!

Unfriendly Regional Arachnid Individual

It was mentioned briefly by Jack after the goal, but they ought to draw more attention to it.


Sorry to nit-pick, but he’s about 300 points behind Dany Heatley.


fine, German-raised.

Whaler Slamamoto

Give him 3 seasons


Well technically as you described it, he isn’t. You need to drop the born part of the description. He is the leading German scorer in NHL history, but Dany Heatley, (loved by so many Oiler fans, as if) though a Canadian, was German born too and still holds the distinction of being the highest “German born” scorer. Heatley’s wiki page even describes him as a German born Canadian hockey player. Germany makes no claims on Heatley though, nor should they, since he was born there only while his Canadian dad played hockey, and they moved backed to Canada when he was very young. So Draisaitl is truly the top German scorer.


It’s early, but Kahun looks like a better fit with 97 and Nuge looks like a new man with Drai and Yamo.

Also: Puljujarvi keeps getting better.


I did post this earlier but then all the goals happened.

The Jets have one area and a second potential area where they are better than the Oilers:

1) Better – depth at forward
2) Potentially Better – goaltending (they have Connor H. but Smith has been just as good this year and dating back to the beginning of 2020).

With Ehlers and Lowry out, #1 is gone and they are just an inferior team subject to tending.