If I Had a Hammer

by Lowetide

There are very few times in a season when everything rhymes on a night when two good teams get together in a battle for two points in a tight playoff race. Edmonton Oilers won again and now have a small one-point lead with two games in hand on the Winnipeg Jets.

The Oilers are 6-3-1 in the last 10, the best record in the division over that stretch. Coach Dave Tippett will want to ride the wild surf and hope the waves carry his team well into the playoffs.


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: 28-16-2, 58 points; goal differential +19

Stunning goal differential, I don’t think the Oilers will catch the TML but could get close in goal differential. A fine season, led by the best player in a generation. Or two.


  • 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 1-0-0)
  • 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: 6-2-1, 13 points in 9 games

I’ve been doing these predictions by month for a few years now and this year’s team is the most fun. It’s like having money left over at the end of the month. If Edmonton wins the final two games in April, the team will reach 30 wins by May Day.


  • Nuge-Draisaitl-Yamamoto played 13:31, going 3-6 shots, 1-0 goals, 1-2 HDSC and 9-10 Corsi five on five. Nuge got a five on five assist, a real skill play and he hit a post later. Good signs, Nuge is now 2-3-5 at five on five in his last 20 games. This is a start. Draisaitl was 1-1-2 (what a pass! what a shot!) along with two takeaways and 67 percent in the faceoff circle. Yamamoto isn’t getting a lot done but he still touches the puck a lot and the chances will come. Seemed like he had the puck several times at the end of shifts so dumped the puck in for a change.
  • Kahun-McDavid-Puljujarvi played 11:22, going 10-8 shots, 3-0 goals, 3-4 HDSC and 13-13 Corsi five on five. Kahun had a strong night, with an assist, two shots and another pass to spring McDavid on a breakaway. If he does that 40 nights a winter he’s going to retire a very wealthy man. McDavid was flying all night long, finishing 3-1-4 with more in the tank but Dad shut him down early. It’s such a thrill to watch him play the game. Puljujarvi had a strong night, with two assists, two shots and a takeaway.
  • Shore-McLeod-Archibald played 10:04, going 4-3 shots, 0-1 HDSC and 10-11 Corsi five on five. Shore was on the ice for the Winnipeg PP goal (Nuge, Bear, Nurse) but played a responsible game getting pucks out and forechecking. McLeod was credited with no turnover but beat challengers to several pucks, won three of five in the dot and used his speed to create problems for the Jets. Rock solid debut. Archibald took a shot to the hand right at the end of the game, Oilers don’t need more injuries. Like Shore, he worked hard to keep structure for the rookie center. I exect we see this trio again soon.
  • Neal-Haas-Chiasson played 9:04, going 3-6 shots, 0-1 HDSC and 5-12 Corsi five on five. Neal had a shot and a blocked shot, he isn’t at the play often enough and I wonder how long Tippett will go with this (Khaira coming back may be the pressure point). Haas had a hard time falling down so had Morrissey run him over to get the feeling again, he isn’t going to keep his job if McLeod can deliver any kind of offense. Chiasson scored, it was No. 100 for his career, absolute hammer of a shot.


  • Nurse-Barrie played 17:43, 13-18 shots, 3-0 goals, 4-7 HDSC and 18-24 Corsi for five on five. Nurse scored another five on five goal, 2 blocked shots and played a rugged game. Barrie picked up an assist. This pairing lost the shot battle against the Schiefele line 9-11, but won the goal battle 2-0. Bring McDavid to your five on five minutes and party line it’s 1987.
  • Kulikov-Larsson played 16:36, going 11-5 shots, 2-0 goals, 0-1 HDSC and 18-9 Corsi five on five. Tippett probably ugraded their rooms after the game guaranteed he loved their play. Battled the Connor-PLD-Wheeler line for eight minutes, going 6-4 shots and 1-0 goals. Kulikov was steady and effective, Larsson picked up an assist and looked fresh and in control all night.
  • Jones-Bear played 15:43, going 2-6 shots, no goals, 0-2 HDSC and 7-21 Corsi five on five. This pair had a tough time with the Schiefele line and were hammered 0-4 shots with a couple of HDSC but Smith stopped everything five on five. Jones had three giveaways, he’ll need to be consistent with Russell idling in the driveway. I thought Jones played well overall in defending and transported well. Bear was much the same, only his outlets were exceptional and consistent. He blocked some shots and worked hard along the wall. I think this pairing could be a big success in the coming years.
  • Mike Smith was splendid early and solid throughout, stopping 36 of 37, .973. He now sits at .923 for the season. There’s a chance they sign him, folks.


  • Swedish RW Fabian Lysell (I have him No. 21 on my list) scored a spectacular goal yesterday against Belarus to get the party started. He could rise in the coming weeks. Isak Rosen, who I have No. 34, also scored for the Swedes.
  • Russian RW Nikita Chibrikov had a strong first game against the Americans, going 1-2-3 despite 12 pims. My list ranks him No. 18 and he would be a worthy target for the Oilers.
  • Team USA LW Sasha Pastujov (ranked No. 42) scored 1-2-3 and Dylan Duke, who I did not rank but noted, scored a pair of goals.


At 10, TSN 1260, we review a most satisfying evening for Oilers fans and look forward to the rest of the week for the team. At 10:20, Matt Kassian, former NHLer and TSN1260 hockey analyst will break down last night’s game and tell us why the Jets were such an easy mark. At 11, NFL analyst Matt Youmans breaks down the NFL draft and gives us the latest rumours. 10-1260 text, @Lowetide on twitter. Talk soon!


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Ference? Hopefully TNT is hiring? Yikes


Bruins are 7-2 since the acquisition of Hall. Who scored a beauty of goal this evening and seems to be extending his blip while free falling over the cliff, Beautiful stuff.


I’ve been doing these predictions by month for a few years now and this year’s team is the most fun. It’s like having money left over at the end of the month. If Edmonton wins the final two games in April, the team will reach 30 wins by May Day.

When we get to the end, if you could lay out the season by all of the months and their Expected-Actuals, that would be really sweet!

A nice look back at more dollar than month… after years of eating KD till payday.


There was a 10% chance – we pretty much knew who was going to be in the playoffs and its played out that way.

We (or at least I) also have the ability to take in to account things like having watched Vancouver and Calgary all year long and “pretty much knowing” that they are simply not good enough to go on the run that would be required.

We knew.

We still know.


A very good AHL faceoff guy, Espossito, loses the defensive zone draw (somewhat scrambled), a solid stop by Rodrigue but the Baracuda kept possession and a skilled cross-crease pass is buried for the 3-2 lead with two minutes to go.


My new favorite non-Oiler, Sam Bennett with another 3 apples tonight and 68% on the draw while second among Panthers forwards in TOI including leading them in SH TOI.


Condors running around in their own zone but break the cycle and get a clear – Stanton’s outlet pass is picked off in the natural zone but Kesslering with full possession and all the time in the world at the defensive circles – for some reason he decides a full rim around and its picked off on the far side boards, a couple of passes and the game is tied with 8 to go.

Poor defensive plays.

Brogan Rafferty's Uncle Steve

Any hot new whiskey recommendations (preferably under $100)? Just finished a bottle of Ardbeg 10, a great drink on dark winter nights.


It isn’t new and you may have already had it, but everyone I know that tries Michter’s American Whiskey loves it. It is essentially their bourbon but they char the barrels again before casking which really seems to amp up the flavors even more. Just a beautiful whiskey and extremely easy to drink.

Fun fact: I had no idea that bourbon (or rye) can only made using first run barrels.

Brogan Rafferty's Uncle Steve

I have not tried it but it sounds delicious. I will definitely check it out! Thank you!


I recently tried Bearface after a recommendation and was happily surprised.

Brogan Rafferty's Uncle Steve

I will give it a try. I find Canadian whiskey/rye is usually pretty good value. Alberta Premium is still one of my favourites.


If you can get a hold of a bottle of Springbank 10 yr old and haven’t tried it, I’d give that a go. Light peat, bit of a halfway point between the Islay’s and the Speysides. Really smooth but a nice flavour too. Nice contrast to the Ardbeg you just finished. Took a look online and there aren’t a ton of bottles around but you never know who’s got one. Personally I like it better than a Springbank 15 but that’s good too.
Note: not actually new, but is under $100

Last edited 18 days ago by geowal
Brogan Rafferty's Uncle Steve

Springbank is on the list. I have heard nothing but good things. Thanks for the suggestion!


The Oilers got really lucky with the flat cap.  Teams that signed players to big long term deals in the 18 months prior to the cap freeze are really screwed with some of the signings. Jeff Skinner at $9 mill was awful when it was signed, but is crippling now. Charlie Coyle at 5.25 mill for six years was bad but maybe manageable when it was signed. Now it’s an albatross. How do you recover from Carey Price at 10.5 mill for seven years after this? Even Matt Tkachuk is a killer contract. You can maybe live with $7 mill now, but he needs to be signed at $9 mill in two years. How do you manage that? Trade him? Low ball him and hope no one else signs him for $9 mill? 

It sucks that we signed Kassian for $3.25 mill for four years. It was a bad deal the day it was signed, it’s even worse now, but it’s not even in the same ballpark as some of these other deals. The only truly long term contracts on the team are McDavid and Drai. As bad as Neil is, it’s only two more years. 

Ken Holland must be a righteous man because he’s hitting nothing but aces with the frozen cap. No crippling contracts and a bunch of cap space when it actually makes sense to sign free agents for the first time ever.  


Apologies for the lack of updates on the Condors’ game. With them playing in a community arena (basically) with the camera at basically ice level and the game being a parade to the penalty box, its a slog to watch. I’ve got it on but not paying as close attention as normal.

Rodrigue has been solid.


I, for one, forgive you. 🙂 Any updates are always appreciated


Gildon has been so good for the Condors this season, by far their best d-man, and its too bad he’s a Panther prospect.

With that said, he’s come back down to earth the last few weeks – some notable mistakes leading to uber high danger chances against. He just flubbed one at the blue on a PP and was lackadaisical in recovery – clear 2 on 0 the other way (but the Baracuda pulled a Jesse/McDavid).


I missed the Barracuda tying goal but the Condors get it right back on the PP.

A good zone entry and some nice board work – puck pops out to Griffith who fires one home from the circle – I think Marody popped it out to him but its tough to tell.


Canada’s U18 team kicking Sweden 4-0 in the first period.


If I’m not mistaken, like half their top 6 aren’t even draft-eligible until 2022 (Wright, Bedard, etc.).


Vladdy hits his 3 rd home run of the game. First was a grand slam. 7 RBI’s!


nice pass by Benson for sure


Beautiful goal.

Cracknel comes out of the box (for a 3 minute PP) and takes a great feed driving the net and gives the Condors a 1-0 lead.

Fantastic cross-ice pass from Benson (who took a nice feed from Grifith).


Seriously, the Solar4American ice arena looks like they are playing at Parkland out west of Edmonton. A wall behind the benches and both endzones (i.e. no stands). Some research tells me capacity: 550.


Some action early in San Jose.

Gravel got clipped high in the corner – he’s down for a while.

A big bru-ha-ha starts – Malone and Kemp the main aggressors but Marody also ended up on top of Merkley throwing punches. Kemp ended up squaring off with a Baracuda – took a good punch.

It was tough to see but I don’t think the hit/clip seemed all that bad – but the camera angle in this community arena set-up is awful.


Took aout 5-7 minutes to sort out the penalties.

The initial guy got 5 for headbutting.

Malone got an instigator and a misconduct – not sure if its 10 or a game.

Its now 4 on 4 but noone is sure of the exact penalties.


Interesting starting lineup, Marody back to RW and Malone centering Benson/Marody.


Marody is indeed in the lineup – great news after that collision last game.

Harpers Hair

Good gawd…here comes another one.

PuckPedia (@PuckPedia) Tweeted:
The #GoAvsGo signed 19 y/o ’20 #25 Pick RD Justin Barron to 3 yr Entry Level Deal, starts 21-22:

All 3 years: $832.5K Base, $92.5K Signing Bonus
Yr 1/2: $212.5K in “A” Performance Bonuses
Yr 3: $275K “A” PB

Cap Hit $925K, AAV $1.159M

31P in 33 QMJHL GP




But why would anyone here care?


Well, it is a standard signing of a late first-round pick after their draft plus 1 season in the Q.

It would likely be more newsworthy if he didn’t sign.

I mean, I’m sure Lavoie signing his ELC last year was big news on hockey community boards across the continent just like Yamamoto before that – plastered all over boards across the hockey world.


Well, we may be in the same division as the Avs one day.

I always like to keep an eye on what the enemy is up to…..

Harpers Hair

The road to the Stanley Cup likely leads through Colorado for the foreseeable future.

When they ice 4 or 5 defensemen who would be top pairing on any other team, that’s going to be a problem….even in Leadfarmer’s walled garden.

Ice Sage

Just one little problem for Colorado… Vegas. Like the Oilers / Flames of the 80’s, the two best teams in the west will meet early.
Having McKinnon at 6.3 M for the next 2 years is the key. Burnaby Joe will have some big decisions on goaltending, his captain and Saad in the offseason.

Rich M

Hi Art!


Rodrigue gets the start tonight (coming off a shutout in his last game).

Condors are back to back with travel and play 1st place Henderson tomorrow night.

Stanton is back from injury so I anticipate Kaldis is out.

No mention of Marody yet who left last game after sliding in to the boards backwards with speed. No news likely means he’s in, I would think.


Wasn’t around for the Gretzky years but does McDavid’s chase for 100 in 56 even compare to Gretzky’s 50 in 39? Both are only achievable by generational talents and if you asked someone a few years ago if a player would get 100 points in 56 games they would of scoffed at you


100 in 56 isn’t even close to a record for points per game. Ho hum.

50 in 39 broke the record like Beamon broke the long jump record in 1968. It was a generational break of a record.

Lewis Grant

This may be true, but the gap narrows when we look at the ‘adjusted points’ total, adjusted relative to era. All records set in the 1980s have to be somewhat deflated.

McDavid is now on pace for 151 adjusted points. Only two other hockey players since 1931 have ever done that. Crosby and Ovechkin have never been close to that. Nor have Yzerman, Lafleur, Hull(s), even Howe.

McDavid is heading for the 7th best individual point-scoring season since 1931.

It may not quite be 50 in 39, but it’s still mighty impressive.

Last edited 18 days ago by Lewis Grant

I watched all of Gretzky’s highlight moments and they were astounding. Wayne has said this week you can’t compare today’s hockey to his time. Scoring MUCH more difficult today for a number of reasons. Would be premature to label McDavid as best ever but absolutely no one has ever had the speed, hand eye coordination and pure offensive ability as Connor! As an old timer myself apologies to you old timers spitting out your coffee!




Gretzky’s awesome.

What’s up with the rest of those guys? Why are they wearing sweats? Was that a game or warmup? Why is there so little goalie, so much net? Why does the goalie stay on his feet? There seems to be exactly one guy who knows how to play hockey out there.

CMD would score, I dunno, 11 goals a game back then.

Gamma Cassiopeiae

Time for another old timey story:

In the early 1980s I was studying for a graduate degree in “Engineering Physics” at UBC. They liked to announce that they considered it the most difficult science program in Canada, just for the pleasure it gave the students.   

As usual I went home to Edmonton at Christmas. One year my mom’s neighbors dropped by and said, “Hey, GammaC, we have some standing room tickets for the Oilers game tonight, and we have one extra ticket for you.“

I reluctantly said yes to this proposition, thinking that I’d be drowned in ten hours of talk about how great Wayne Gretzky was (instead of the joys of studying Quantum Field Theory). I was, frankly, sick of hearing about Wayne Gretzky.

Anyway, since the ticket was free and they were even driving me there, I had to go. Yes, I had to go.. must be polite to the nice neighbors. They even guaranteed we’d have seats soon after the game started because of no-shows.

So we go to the game and everyone is talking about… you guessed it, Wayne Gretzky. It was December 30, 1981, a game against the Philadelphia Flyers. Gretzky had scored a huge pile of goals already that year, 45, and people were speculating about when he’d reach 50.

My mom’s neighbors were true to their word. They did the driving, paid for the parking, and we all found seats soon after the puck drop. They probably bought the popcorn too.

The game was also interesting, as they’d promised. I guess it will go down as one of the greatest games in Oilers’ history. Gretzky scored two in the first, once in the second (slacker) and then in the third scored two more (the last one into an empty net, showoff) to hit the 50 goals mark.

In fact, I didn’t find the subsequent ten hours listening to people rave about Wayne Gretzky to be too great a hardship. 

Of course the Quantum Field Theory was important too.  For some reason I don’t remember it quite as well as I remember the game. 


Ha! My son is a graduate of engineering physics from U of A.


Absolutely does, step back and look at the era. Gretze played in the wide open shoot for the moon. Now, look what mcd has to fight thru to score.


Gretz’s records almost untouchable. Gretz would be great whatever the era. Drop today’s CMD into Gretzky era and I dunno what he’d score. Quadruple digits?

None of this really helps to compare the two. You can’t.


Kucherov scored 93 points in his last 56 games of the 18/19 season when he won the Art Ross. Leon had 89 points in his first 56 last season. 100 in 56 will be a meaningful improvement on 93 and 89 points and will be phenomenal if he gets it, but it still not Gretzky like. 153 points in 51 games during his streak, when 2nd place was back at <90 points – that’s other worldly.


old: NBC 250M + Disney Streaming 100M
new: Disney/ESPN 410M + TNT 225M
81% increase


$410M +225M +433M from Sportsnet = $1,068M / 32 amounts to $33.375 M per season per franchise for national TV revenue.

Nothing to sneeze at.

Harpers Hair

Regional TV deals in the US pay even more.


With Ehlers out I definitely like the Jets as a first round matchup and let Habs clutch and grab the hell out of Toronto


If you threw 5 life sized wind up monkeys on the ice, that’s Montreal’s game.

Think about defending against that for a moment.


Hoe is Demko in 2nd place in the Vezina and Smith not mentioned? He has better numbers across the board doesn’t he?

Ice Sage

It’s some guy with a twitter account, just contrarian and Canuck enough for HH to amplify it. Rest assured that real voters and unpadded hockey folks don’t see it that way!
That being said, Smith will have to have a hell of a run and 2-3 more shutouts to enter the Vein conversation

Ice Sage

I meant ‘unjaded’ but ‘unpadded’ works too

Ice Sage

‘Vezina’ not ‘Vein’ argh, half my stash for an edit function!!!!


Not sure if you were serious but you do know that there is an edit button on the bottom right of your post for 5 minutes after you first hit the post comment button.

Ice Sage

Thanks, I think I lingered too long. Good to know

Harpers Hair

Apoplexy is a hell of a drug.


That’s ok. I knew what you meant. I meant how not hoe in my original post. 🙂


That figures. I guess I should have known it wasn’t anyone real. BTW, do you know it he tweets from under a bridge or his Mom’s basement?


Smith will likely be similar to Nurse – likely gets some 4th or 5th place votes but no chance at being a “finalist” based on voting.

Either way, the possibility of a couple of depth votes for these guys show just how great they’ve been this season.


Some chatter about McDavid getting to 100 points.

I hope this is not a team goal for the Oilers- I am wondering when a few of our guys get a night off. To prepare for a long play-off run.
It would be blasphemy to sit McDavid, Driasaitl, Barrie, Smith in a season with paying fans. This year I feel each of these guys should get a night or two off before the season ends.


There have been a few nights this year when McDavid has had 4-5 points before the half way mark and his ice was cut in the 3rd period. Similar to last night, when he had 4 points through 2.

While I’m sure it would be nice for McDavid to get 100 in 56, through the season its been clear that they won’t be giving him more ice in the name of individual points padding.

As far as sitting McDavid, Drai, Nurse, etc. for a game or two, I wouldn’t expect that until the last week of the season and the 4 in a row vs. Vancouver, if at all.

Resting for a few games this week likely won’t do anything if all the game are played next week and we can be somewhat certain that none of the players want more than a game or two off prior to the playoffs. These guys want to play.

I’d actually be surprised if Connor sat for any game other than the last game of the season.

Now, cutting minutes similar to last night – that’s a must – including when there are numerous PPs.


I dont think they sit any of them. Playoffs might not start til 4 or 5 days after the last game (May 15th). If u sat McD that game he wont have played for 7 or 8 days …

Do what OP said – keep the train rolling; just cut back the mins in games that are out of hand


They play Wed in Winnipeg and then travel back west to play in Alberta on Thursday – I wonder which goalie plays which game.

Tippet was asked about Stalock maybe getting a game and Tip’s response was along the lines of wanting to make sure the top two guys are playing well…… so no……

This does make sense to me.


Funny thing about Stalock – him playing well would be a pretty bad outcome for us, unless one of the goalies in front of him flames out. Consider: we have Kosk for another year at 4.5M, and his rep took a beating this year because he was the only guy who played in front of the “we didn’t get a pre-season” version of the Oilers we saw for the first ~9 games. For my money Kosk played quite well during that run considering the team in front of him and the fact that he didn’t get a rest. Problem is he hasn’t been able to establish himself since then. Smith is manna from heaven and that’s great, but nothing Kosk does will get him a start unless Smith falters or needs a rest.
Because few non-goalies know how goalies make saves, goalies tend to be valued based on their reputation. Koskie’s rep has taken a beating this year. IMO he is a useful asset who could be worked into an actual tandem, problem is he can’t handle the puck like Smith and I totally see why Tippet values that.
TLDR; if Stalock eats Koskinen’s lunch that will lower his reputation, and thus his value, even further. Next year we’ll have 4.5M on the books for a goalie who we’ve spent all year devaluing and we’ll have to give up an asset to get another team to take him, at which point in time he will probably make that team better. JMO


Mikko had his chance and shit the bed he stole 0 games for us and was constantly the second best goalie on the ice. How can he be under 500 with the team we have. It wouldn’t surprise me if he’s not traded with a sweetener he’s bought out. Holland needs to find a goalie for the Leon and Connor sprint for cups in the next 5 years.


I understand your point and don’t disagree with the general premise.

At the same time, I’m not overly concerned about de-valuing Mikko as he’s so de-valued already due to contract.

As of right now, I think the Oilers would have to retain close to half that $4.5M in order to move that contract.

A trade of Mikko is really only available with material retainment and/or additional valued asset(s) added on.


One place I could see him tradeable to is Buffalo. I doubt Ulmark wants to resign there and no free agent in his right mind is going to sign there unless its the last option. Yes, maybe we retain a bit of salary.


But would Koskinen waive to go Buffalo (assuming it’s on his list)?


Good point. Forgot about his 15 team no trade list.


Great thread again today. I agree with all the good things said about Smith, Kulikov, McLeod, et al, but I also thought the Jets were really poor defensively – it was not a 6-1 game.

The big unknown is the relative strengths of the four divisions. The Oilers current record would see them fourth in the South and West and fifth in the East. However, using some judicious cherry picking, if the 3-6 start is removed and the remaining 37 games (25-10-2) pro rated we would have 68 points and a goal difference of around +40 – only Vegas and Colorado have significantly better records than this. I am becoming ever more hopeful of a play off run.

Last edited 18 days ago by jm363561

It was a 6-1 game because the Jets were poor defensively – that created the gap in the game.

The thing is, the Jets ARE bad defensively – that is their biggest weakness and their one strong point (forward depth) is not a thing right now.


The Jets really missed Ehlers and Lowry, arguably their hardest forwards to play against.


People poopood the Kulikov acquisition even after being shown that he’s had a very good season.


To be fair, there was a desire to upgrade at wing. I think it was more disappointment at that than disdain for the Kulikov move. And to be fair, he’s had a bit of an outlier of a year


I’ll write my usual long take on this years swedish draftees closer to the draft but Fabian Lysell has the highest non-goalie upside out of Sweden this year. Still physically, and mentally, very immature but beauty set of skills and highly entertaining when on his game. As evident by the goal mentioned in LTs post.

Last edited 18 days ago by SwedishPoster
Todd Macallan

Very much looking forward to it! I’m particularly interested in your take on Stromgren and to a lesser extent Robertsson.


Would Oskar Olausson be the offspring of Fredrik?


“If this were a john wick movie there would already be 37 dead” -Jack Michaels April 26, 2021


This was such a strange thing to say, I couldn’t get it out of my head. I think he was comparing the opening action to action movie , but it came off as more of an arbitrary observation about John Wick movies than any sort of comment about the hockey game.

“If this was The Wizard Of Oz, Dorothy would have crushed the wicked witch of the east by now.”

“If this was this was The Life of Pi, there would be a tiger on the ice.”

“If this was a musical, all those players would be singing and dancing.”

All equally valid comparisons to make in that moment.


Dear Keanu,

Our dear friend Jack Michaels would love to be in John Wick IV.




The odds would be in our favour.

Fuge Udvar

I don’t see how they don’t bring Smith back next year. His win-loss record at 17-5-2 is truly elite. He won’t cost much or cause cap problems. It is doubtful that his performance is repeatable but even if he is close to that than the Oilers are near the top of the division and playoff bound.

Goalies W% (where they are the goalie of record)

Campbell .813
Vasilevsky .757
*Smith .708*
Fleury .677
Grubauer .676
Jarry .656
Talbot .654
Saros .643
Bobrovsky .607
Hellebuyck .553
Markstrom .472

Wins percentage is obviously highly dependent on how good your team is. But I think they have to at least give Smith the opportunity to try to repeat it.

They definitely need a 1B that can take over as starter if Smith does suddenly fall off a cliff. Koskinen is probably not the answer.


My initial thought is to resign Smith and move Koskinnen during the off-season somehow. But maybe we can start the season with both and add another goalie in season, if needed. Koskinnen will be easier to trade in season next year because it will be the last year on his deal. And maybe he puts it altogether next year and we don’t need to move him.

Fuge Udvar

To put it another way it is Holland’s job to go get a goalie who will outperform Mike Smith. It is not a given that Koskinen or Stalock will do that next year.

John Chambers

They could definitely go Smith – Koskinen to start the season and if there’s any wobble there’s probably a Koskinen + deal for Kuemper or similar where money in matches money out.

In any event there’s no reason to investigate a Koskinen buyout, a Markstrom-like contract, or a payout of significant assets for Elvis.

Smith probably deserves $2.5 – $3M in guaranteed money, but I think they can make that work.

Brogan Rafferty's Uncle Steve

Evaluating goalies by their win percentage is a terrible idea.

Smith is old and injury-prone. This will be a short off-season for recovery and training. If the Oilers sign Smith again it better be because Koski has been traded and a true starter has been brought in.


Oubvioulsy winning percentage is a team stat but, of course, sometimes the goalie is a part of that.

Its not just this season, it was last season as well – both seasons his winning percentage was four tiers higher than Mikko’s.

That doesn’t take in to account strength of opponent, who started more behind tired teams or faced fresher teams, etc. I’m sure that data is out there.

There is other data out there including the fact that, no only this season, but last season as well, the Oilers gave up 10% less shots with Smith in net. I can’t provide objective evidence on causation but I’ve got a pretty good feeling.

Last year the Oilers scored materially more goals with Smith in net and, while the gap is much smaller this year, I believe they are scoring a bit more in front of Smith as well.

I think there is less causation in the goals scored numbers but likely some.


Glenn’s # is off limits, but on McLeod 9 would have been money for Gene.

Woodguy v2.0

Here’s something (cc:TheOrangeDesk):

5v5 GF% this season
93-97-13 = 46.2% (12-14) in 257min
X-97-13 = 68.0% (17-8) in 184 min


X is mostly Leon though?

No fair?!



x-97-13 (where x is neither Nuge or Draisaitl) is 7-2 in 65 min.



No Draisaitl forces McDavid to use everybody.

Nugent-Hopkins strength is as a give-and-go player where he is sharing the creativity. He doesn’t get to touch the puck enough playing with McDavid. Nugent-Hopkins gets to touch the puck more playing with Draisaitl.

Draisaitl and McDavid sort of view each other as equals. So McDavid will give him the puck a lot, and Draisaitl is also an elite player without the puck.

Puljujarvi has become an elite player without the puck, which is why he is so good with McDavid already. He will be truly scary when he becomes one with the puck.

If Kahun can get the puck to McDavid-in-flight in the neutral zone, he will excel on his wing.

Harpers Hair

EvolvingWild (@EvolvingWild) Tweeted:
Here are our NHL Awards front runners for the 20-21 season (through April 26th 2021).

1. McDavid
2. Matthews
3. Rantanen / Mark Stone / Ehlers


Harpers Hair

EvolvingWild (@EvolvingWild) Tweeted:
1. D. Toews / Chychrun / Pesce
2. Sam Girard / Makar


Harpers Hair

EvolvingWild (@EvolvingWild) Tweeted:
1. Kaprizov
2. J. Robertson
3. Pius Suter / Nils Hoglander / Josh Norris


Harpers Hair

Leo ☮︎ Canes #1 fan (@sikamikanicoo) Tweeted:
@EvolvingWild Colorado has 3 of the 5 D-man lol


Harpers Hair

EvolvingWild (@EvolvingWild) Tweeted:
1. Vasilevskiy
2. Saros / Fleury / Demko
3. Petersen


90s fan

Wow, anyone else surprised by the omission of McKinnon and kane on this list?

Harpers Hair

What is really remarkable, other than Colorado having 3 of the top 5 D, is that Sakic got Toews for a couple of 2nd round picks.

Crazy Pedestrian

I’m more surprised by the omission of Hedman and Adam Fox for the Norris. Makar makes sense, but Toews and Pesce?? If those two are their picks for nominees, what does that make Nurse??? He’s putting up more points AND better in +/- (which is a stupid stat in isolation, but still being used by the NHL to show goal share of player). I’d even nominate Barrie before those two.

Last edited 18 days ago by Crazy Pedestrian
Harpers Hair

Hedman has actually been quite poor (for him) this season.


CF% 60.06

FF% 60.42

GF% 62.32

xG% 63.04

He’s killing it.

Harpers Hair

By way of comparison…Fox:

CF% 51.43

FF% 52.12

GF% 62.19

xG% 55.81

Obviously Toews plays on a better team so there’s that.


Evolving Wild’s model had Nichuskin a leader for the Hart so I’m going to go out on a limb as posit their model is flawed vis-a-vis major trophy accomodation.

Harpers Hair

I’m going to posit their model is not as flawed as yours.

No limbs required.


No Kooch, now no Stamkos

Harpers Hair

Stamkos is 68th in league scoring.


Stamkos has been out since April 8. But what also seems to be important for Hedman was he lost his main defensive partner Jan Rutta early in a game on March 30, and he has been in a tailspin ever since. His GF/GA 5 on 5 in the almost 14 games is 10/20 (33% goal share). At the end of March, he was the odds on favorite for the Norris, but things have changed quickly.

Harpers Hair

Corey Sznajder

Replying to @ShutdownLine
Hamilton would have been my choice out of the Carolina crew, but it’s always nice to see the little things Pesce does show up in the stats. Driving offense even if he’s not always the one getting the assist.

Harpers Hair

dom at the athletic


Replying to @ShutdownLine
pesce is 11th in gsva
so close to top 10 for me. been unreal this year

Material Elvis

Is Dom even allowed to vote this year? The guy didn’t have Draisaitl in his top 5 for the Hart last season. His anti-Oilers bias is even worse than yours.


We are not allowed to say “driving offense even if he’s not always the one getting the assist.”

In Oilerville, we love the D-men who are point parasites.

Elgin R

The front runners for the Hart, Art Ross and Lindsay are:

  1. McDavid
  2. McDavid
  3. McDavid

Nominations have now been closed and we will have to see how the vote goes. Hopefully Connor wins!

Material Elvis

2.Ha ha ha ha
3.Matthew’s wrist


McLeod and Kulikov were good. It won’t happen but I would be so excited to see Benson.

Benson – McLeod – Archibald
Shore – Khaira – Chaisson

That could be a pretty good bottom six.


Yep would like that. Would consider Haas in place of Chiasson depending on opponent. Would some speed to 4 th line.

Gamma Cassiopeiae

The discussion below (above?) reminds me of a crazy good hockey player I watched many years ago.

There was lots of buzz about a first-round draft pick made by the Oilers, playing hockey in the QMJHL. I stumbled on the fact that the player in question would be playing a match on television and I tuned in. The announcers were speaking French, and at that time I was not bilingual…

As soon as that player stepped on the ice you knew it. He seemed to take the puck and control the game completely, speeding down at the opposing goaltender. He didn’t score ten goals, but he was a constant threat. When he was off the ice, it was a regular game. The minute he stepped on the ice the francophone announcers just kept saying his name over and over again (mixed with other words I didn’t understand).  The guy was too good for the league.

I’d seen that with Gretzky, and we now see that with McDavid. I agree that if McDavid keeps developing his skills he will be in the conversation for the best player of all time.

Who was that QMJHL player? Ales Hemsky. 

tavvey tune

After watching the splendid performance by the Oilers I tuned in to a bit of the Ducks/Kings game (Flattop vs. The Dementor!). My gawd, it was awful and I thought, is this what we looked like for 10 years? It really made me appreciate the level this team is at right now.


Haha, I tried to watch for a couple of minutes but too painful. I’m very happy with the Good NEW Days and see the Bad Old Days in SoCal

tavvey tune

I remember a few years ago, when the SoCal teams were running the show, trying to figure out how we were going to get out of it and realized it was just going to take time. We were simply going to have to wait until their rosters got old and fell apart before we had a chance. It was kinda depressing…


At some point here soon, I am going to have to pull up a fork and a Knife and dig into some
Crow on the subject of Mike Smith.


Make sure there is enough to call it a banquet because the invitation list would be fairly extensive.


Wherever one started, I think it’s fair to say that Mike Smith has exceeded everyone’s wildest expectations.


I brought ketchup!

Brogan Rafferty's Uncle Steve

Both these things can be true:

a) Signing a 38-soon-to-be-39-year-old Mike Smith was a high-risk move by Holland.

b) Mike Smith is crushing it this season.

Brogan Rafferty's Uncle Steve

Further, despite Mike Smith playing great this season, it would still be a mistake to sign him again this offseason. He is old and injury-prone.

I am happy he is playing great. The Oilers still need a long-term solution in net.

Last edited 18 days ago by Brogan Rafferty's Uncle Steve

Both of these things can be true:

a) signing 39 year old Mike Smith to another small deal (1 x $2.5Mish) is a reasonable move.

b) the Oilers still need a long-term solution in net.


Yes, Driedger, Ullmark or Ranta. I wonder if Koski is tradeable with just one year left. If so, I would bring Smith back as 1b.

Paddy Morans Jockstrap

I think he might be a good fit on Philly as their young guy needs some help. Need to take salary back. How about JVR? Big vet LW might be useful but $7 million for 2 more years. Maybe toss Kass in?

90s fan

They do need a long term solution. And they need Koski’s contract to be a year shorter. And they should sign Smith.


The ship has sailed on Ullmark.

The time to acquire him was this past off-season via trade and then sign for term.

He will now be in the Markstrom category of contract.


Some observations from last nights game.
1. Kahun was good. Couple of nice passes, couple of nice defensive plays.
2. Draisaitl, Nuge and Yamamoto were pretty iffy to start, got better as the game wore on. Best case scenario is that this deployment breathes some life into Nuge and Yamamoto. Both guys have been pretty underwhelming all year.
3. Liked McLeod for the most part. Time will tell if he has the puck skills to create offense, and the jam to win puck battles. He certainly has plus NHL skating ability.
4. The only thing keeping that 4th line above water is the skating of Haas. Neal is done. He is sllooowwww, and he has the turning radius of an eighteen wheeler.
5. Larrson and Kulikov were very good. Keep Larsson, let Barrie walk.
6. Bear and Jones were good with the puck, but struggled without it. That pair needs someone who can break a cycle. Love Bears outlet passing when under pressure, but Russell may be a better fit with him.


5. Larrson and Kulikov were very good. Keep Larsson, let Barrie walk.
6. Bear and Jones were good with the puck, but struggled without it. That pair needs someone who can break a cycle. Love Bears outlet passing when under pressure, but Russell may be a better fit with him.

I agree that Lars/Kulikov were good. But I also agree with your next point as well. I’m hoping there are enough games left in the year where Tippet feels like he can experiment and try Kulikov/Bear, Jones/Larsson. I think the writing is on the wall in regards to Nurse/Barrie for the rest of the year, at least early in games when not protecting a lead.


Great post. Haas was the only guy going on the fourth line. Chiasson treads water, but Neil looks like he’s done. He simply can’t keep up. On defence, it might make sense to have nurse, Larsson and Kulikov all on different pairs. I loved the Kulikov-Larsson pairing, but Jones needs a lot of help breaking the cycle in the dzone.


Neil and Turris are both finished. Neil will certainly be bought out and guessing Turris on waivers and assigned to Bakersfield. Maybe he retires? Predict neither plays in the show after this season. Would have said same of Smith so what do I know!!!!

90s fan

What would Nygard look like with McLeod?




I presume that Tip is playing Neal in an effort to try and get him in full game shape and “up and running” as he likes to say.

We know that he hasn’t been 100% all year long due to Covid, Covid-related issues and then another non-Covid illness that put him out of commission for a couple of weeks.

I think Tip wants “full speed Neal” – we had that player in the short play-in and he was very good. Tip is trying to get that player but it may not happen.

I presume Tip switches off from Neal to Ennis or another if Neal can’t get there heading in to next week.


I really enjoyed watching Kulikov operate last night. Fantastic underlying numbers and I found his actual on ice performance didn’t match what I was expecting just from his stat line. He is surprisingly mobile, he jumped up into the play more than a few times and seems clearly comfortable transporting the puck out of danger if required. Just seems very very calm out there and clearly understands his role and positioning already on this team.

Also nice to watch him essentially step in front of a Jet on the cycle last night and stop it immediately. He has enough size to seemingly do what he wants and impose his will on other players for the most part (very similar to Larsson). I wasn’t a fan of the pairing before last night, but the performance was really good and I am curious to see how this pairing does down the stretch.

This is looking like a solid acquisition for Holland so far, considering how quickly Kulikov has stepped onto the team to make a difference.


I agree with all of this. Based upon what I had read I expected much less puck handling but he seemed very comfortable in that role as well as the good defensive work I thought they were acquiring.


I know it is WAY to early to start talking about this, but I would be open to resigning Kulikov in the off-season.

His last contract confuses me as it is a clear drop from what he was making and these defensive defensemen don’t usually play on “show me” deals? Also since New Jersey dealt him at the deadline I wonder what his contract demands will be like?

If him and Larsson can become a pairing that gives Tippet 20 minutes of black hole hockey, how do you disagree with that?


It’s way too early for many of the thoughts I’ve been thinking since last night.

If Kulikov continues to play like he did in his first game, I honestly might make signing him a priority. I’ve been thinking about what kind of deal he’d get and I have zero idea.

On one hand, he’s on a bargain right now, and we got him for a conditional 3rd. Not exactly a demonstration of interest.

On the other hand, if he plays like he did last night into the playoffs and he gets to showcase himself, I can see a team giving him 4+ million which is probably out of our price range.

Paddy Morans Jockstrap

I have lots of time for a LHD version of Larsson. Gives us a ton of flexibility to create a very hard shutdown pair together or split them up to support the younger offensive dmen. Of course money and term is an issue – but if he takes 2 x $2 million I’d be interested.

His numbers and visuals with Lars were very good for their first game. Somebody should tell Staples though – he really down-played him on CoH podcast last night. Man that guy hates Russians and it verges on bigotry sometimes. I enjoy his stuff but he needs to fix that.


One thing I would have liked to see last night – with something like 3:47 remaining a Jet got needlessly tangled up with Mike Smith. I’m not an advocate of face punching, but somebody shoulda kicked his ass, or gooned him bad, or something. When you have a hot goalie in a game that is beyond reach and some punk is running your goalie, I recommend any level of violence that does not result in suspension.

Last edited 18 days ago by Keeper_13

Pretty sure Smith might have done something Billy Smith style if it was that bad 😀


Smith did punch him in the back of the head…then made the amazing glove save


“I’m not an advocate of face punching”

“somebody shoulda kicked his ass, or gooned him bad”

“I recommend any level of violence that does not result in suspension.”

The last two comments seem out of synch with the first one. 😉


There’s the world I wish we lived in, and the world we do live in. Creating the first requires different conduct than surviving the second. It is a problem I have not yet solved :/

Scungilli Slushy

I’m the same.

The NHL won’t protect players. So as LT has said on his show you become a good team and the refs start helping more.

There are times though when teams need to be shown what happens when the Oilers think a line was crossed.

To me it should be earlier in the year when the stakes aren’t as high.

It also unfortunately takes Oilers players willing to be as dirty as the opponent. I think they are getting there this year.

The frustration builds enough, key players are mentally and physically mature enough, to basically say fine then let’s hack and spear this thing up.


Draisaitl cross checked him. He got his due.

Material Elvis

That was Jansen Harkins and Draisaitl gave him a good shot that he definitely felt.


Moneypuck has Oil at 99.95% chance of playoffs.
Boston only has a 0.1% chance to leverage Hall’s lottery skillz.


Worth remembering that game could have been lost. Smith was amazing throughout but especially early on and Conner needs his own League to play in, this one can’t keep up without the old “zebra zoom” (that’s when the ref says, “If I called the game it would be decided by who is best at hockey, and that wouldn’t be fair because Conner is fifteen feet tall and breathes fire!”).
About Smith – I have been very skeptical all season long. I know he’s streaky; I know he’s a heartbreaker. I’m becoming convinced. I’m seeing him really well. His reads and skating are good enough that he is almost always in position. He doesn’t use his size as well as Koskie does but he is a battler and, to my eye, isn’t making fluky saves after getting beaten clean. Granted he’s 39 so when he hits the cliff it’s gonna be a hot mess, but who could ask for anything more in goal than what he’s given us so far this year?
Last night reminds me of when Toronto shellacked us 3 games in a row – for my money Edmonton came out with a lot of jam in 2 of them and easily could have won if the first period bounces had gone differently. IMO final score does not reflect the game played last night. I sure enjoyed it though 😀
Also McLeod and Kulikov impressed me a lot.


The difference with Smith is he is not roaming as much, he is staying in his net and not over committing. Last season he would skate to the blue line to play the puck and mishandle it and open net…..


I disagree, in some ways I think he handles the puck more this year, he just isn’t going far from his net anymore. Simple plays like knock down the ring around, and make the play to one or the other d man from behind the net.

It changes the way the Oilers play, he allows them to get out of their zone quickly.

The team still has a tendency to get hemmed in a bit so having Smitty there to get it out more often than not is a huge, huge deal. Changing the way the position can be played, IMO.


Agree. Some pretty scrambly play early and Smith was locked in.


How about the Panenka by McDavid?

Elgin R

Not a footy watcher so had to look that up – very funny and an appropriate descriptor.

Litke 94

This season has been awesome because we’re not only a good team that has a great chance at home ice advantage in the playoffs, but we are also getting to watch a bunch of the kids contribute. It’s nice to have the best of both worlds.

Jesse and Yamo have been especially fun to watch. Even when the actual goal/assist production hasn’t been there, I have never felt like either player was out of place. They find ways to contribute in different ways. JimF points out that Yamo was tying up Pionk on the 2-1, he does this sort of thing often, in addition to drawing penalties. I don’t think it is a coincidence that Draisatil leads all forwards in +/- with Yamo on his wing.

Meanwhile, Puljujarvi has 85(!) hits this season. 85. I know hits maybe aren’t as valued as they once were, but they signal to me a player that is engaged, finishing their checks, and wearing down the opposition. This will have tremendous value in the playoffs.

Now McLeod is in the mix? Oh man. What a fun season.

Last edited 18 days ago by Litke 94

Hammer meet head of nail. Very well said. JP and KY are making key contributions, outside of direct point contributions. JP creates quite a bit of space out there…


Connor, Drai and Smitty deserve all the accolades today but how solid was McLeod last night in his FIRST game? I was impressed to say the least. What a skater! This will enable the Oil to move Khaira to the 4th line which is where he belongs. Also playing a great first game with the team was Kulikov. He looked like he’d played all season long in that spot. Things were much calmer when he was on the ice.


I do think that McLeod played very well for his first NHL game but, in my opinion, its being over-stated a bit. He was good on the defensive boards getting the puck out and looked very confident in transition through the natural zone and in to the offensive zone – those parts of his game were great.

At the same time, his line got hemmed in 3-4 times and got caved in shots in the first and third. The third may have been score effects a bit but I didn’t think the line as a whole was great within the defensive zone. They weren’t terrible and didn’t give up a lot of grade A scoring chances, I don’t think, but defensive positioning and breaking the cycle will take some time.

I think Kulikov was doing what Kulikov does. That’s his game. He’s been doing it all year in Jersey.


Lots of nice up arrows after last night. However, good to keep some context with the Jets injuries. Almost ideal situation to get McLeod into his first NHL game. He looked very good by my eye and met my hopes for his debut. Nice that he didn’t have to face-off against Lowry…yet. Mac looks like he can bring to this team what they need, an upgrade at 3C. Early days and there will be wobble…but so far, so good 😉

Kulikov also brought what this team needs. This modest deadline transaction could be a very significant difference maker in the weeks ahead…

Keep on rolling Oilers!


Yes, the loss of Lowry and Ehlers really hurts the Jets.

The Jets have one thing that separates them from other teams in the North – that is their forwards depth. They have the best forward depth in the division, however, without Ehlers and Lowry, they no longer have better depth and their one “elite area” is gone.

They become an average team with the potential for great tending.

They require Connor H. to out-goaltend the other goalie to win games when their forward depth is depleted.


Puljujarvi has really come on strong lately. In his last 4 games against Montreal and Winnipeg, he has 3 goals, 3 assists, 7 shots, and is +8. A great start, hopefully, it continues right through the playoffs.