Call out the instigators, there’s something in the air. It feels a little similar to 2016-17, when the Edmonton Oilers caught fire down the stretch. We aren’t there yet and any number of disasters could send things sideways, but for now it’s appropriate to do a little playoff daydreaming.
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: What Kris Russell does well and how the Oilers deploy him
- DNB: A 2nd Hart Trophy is firmly in Connor McDavid’s grasp
- Jonathan Willis: Which Oilers need to step up down the stretch?
- DNB: Get ready for Ryan McLeod
- Lowetide: A look at the best value contracts on the 2021 Oilers
- Lowetide: Dominik Kahun’s season of struggle with the Oilers has a silver lining
- Lowetide: An early look at ideal Oilers’ free-agent targets for the offseason
- DNB:McDavid’s latest goal shows why he’s in a class of his own
- Lowetide: Why Oilers fans shouldn’t worry about Philip Broberg’s SHL season
- Lowetide:Let’s make a final call on the Oilers’ 2016 draft class
- DNB: Re-sign Ryan Nugent-Hopkins? Free-agency targets? Oilers mailbag
- DNB: Oilers sign Dylan Holloway to ELC
- Jonathan Willis: Should the Oilers re-sign pending unrestricted free agent Tyson Barrie?
- Lowetide: Five Oilers prospects who deserve NHL tryouts now that the trade deadline has passed
- Lowetide: Are the 2020-21 Oilers better than the 2016-17 team?
- Lowetide: Oilers’ top 20 prospects, trade deadline edition
OILERS AT 47 GAMES
- Oilers in 2015-16: 19-23-5, 43 points; goal differential -24
- Oilers in 2016-17: 25-15-7, 57 points; goal differential +7
- Oilers in 2017-18: 21-23-3, 45 points; goal differential -21
- Oilers in 2018-19: 23-21-3, 49 points; goal differential -7
- Oilers in 2019-20: 24-18-5, 53 points; goal differential -4
- Oilers in 2020-21: 28-16-2, 58 points; goal differential +19
The 2016-17 club and this year’s model have intersected often this season and a loss tonight would have their records very close. The goal differential is exceptional this year, the 2016-17 club finished +36. This year’s edition could hit that with 82 games on the schedule.
WHAT TO EXPECT FROM APRIL
- 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
Edmonton has been strong by month after a subpar January (5-6-0). February (9-3-0) sent the club up the standings and March (8-5-1) was good enough to keep the team in a playoff spot. April has been the month of separation, with Edmonton’s 6-2-1 mark putting the team in second place at this time. Vital to finish well.
OILERS GAME 1 2017 PLAYOFF LINES
- Patrick Maroon-Connor McDavid-Leon Draisaitl: (13:39) 4-7 shots, no goals, 2-4 HDSC
- Milan Lucic-Nuge-Jordan Eberle: (12:18) 5-7 shots, 1-0 goals, 0-4 HDSC
- Drake Caggiula-Mark Letestu-Zack Kassian: (8:36) 3-8 shots, no goals, 1-2 HDSC
- Benoit Pouliot-David Desharnais-Iiro Pakarinen: (5:16) 1-4 shots, 0-1 goals, 0-1 HDSC
These are the numbers and lines/pairings for the first 2017 playoff game against the San Jose Sharks. Question: Do you like the current lineup more? Here’s an estimate of what the forward lines could look like opening night 2021:
- Dominik Kahun-Connor McDavid-Jesse Puljujarvi
- Nuge-Leon Draisaitl-Kailer Yamamoto
- Devin Shore-Ryan McLeod-Josh Archibald
- Zack Kassian-Jujhar Khaira-Alex Chiasson
Plenty of time for Gaetan Haas, Tyler Ennis, James Neal and others to find their way to the starting lineup, but my suspicion is that we see something like this. Now, is the big differences between 2017 and four years later are that 97 and 29 are in their peak seasons and have been split up? Is the current forward set superior to the one from four years ago? Who is this year’s Anton Slepyshev (worked his way into the starting lineup and scored three post-season goals)?
WINNING AND THE JETS
This is Edmonton’s final game against the Jets for this season and the Oilers have done well against a damn good hockey club:
- Ottawa Senators: 9-0-0
- Winnipeg Jets: 6-2-0
- Calgary Flames: 5-3-0
- Toronto Maple Leafs 3-5-1
- Vancouver Canucks 3-2-0
- Montreal Canadiens 2-4-1
Edmonton is about to see the Canucks a lot, I expect we’ll see some of the men who have been sitting for a long time in those games.
LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE
At 10, TSN1260, we preview the Oilers-Jets with Bruce McCurdy from the Cult of Hockey at the Edmonton Journal. We’ll also chat with Joe Osborne from OddsShark about what we might see at the NFL draft tomorrow night. 10-1260 text, @Lowetide on twitter. See you on the radio!