It doesn’t take long to develop a reputation, good or bad. Connor McDavid arrived to impossible hype and lived up to it. Now, in year six, with a little more help, he is exceeding it, personally and possibly as part of a successful playoff team.
We didn’t see that impressive Oilers team last night. I think the reason Edmonton’s poor effort was so striking is that it was unusual. Mikko Koskinen had a dreadful game, and his glove is a concern, but he wasn’t alone, at least early. For now, let’s talk of the good things the season brought to the organization.
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 Jonathan Willis: Oilers’ Mike Smith is putting himself in the all-time old-guy goalie conversation with a stunning season at 38
- Lowetide: Oilers’ Adam Larsson playing his best hockey with playoffs on horizon
- Lowetide: What should the Oilers do to get Kailer Yamamoto back on track?
- DNB: How Jesse Puljujarvi 2.0 is making an impact
- DNB: What are the Oilers’ pressing questions ahead of the Seattle Kraken expansion draft?
- Lowetide: Oilers complete April report card
- 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: An early look at ideal Oilers’ free-agent targets for the offseason
- DNB: Re-sign Ryan Nugent-Hopkins? Free-agency targets? Oilers mailbag
- Jonathan Willis: Should the Oilers re-sign pending unrestricted free agent Tyson Barrie?
- Lowetide: Are the 2020-21 Oilers better than the 2016-17 team?
- Lowetide: Oilers’ top 20 prospects, trade deadline edition
OILERS AFTER 52 GAMES
- Oilers in 2015-16: 21-26-5, 47 points; goal differential -19
- Oilers in 2016-17: 28-16-8, 64 points; goal differential +13
- Oilers in 2017-18: 23-25-4, 50 points; goal differential -24
- Oilers in 2018-19: 23-24-5, 51 points; goal differential -15
- Oilers in 2019-20: 28-18-6, 62 points; goal differential +6
- Oilers in 2020-21: 32-18-2, 66 points; goal differential +20
The Oilers went 29-12-2 after starting 3-6-0 and last night was the first hiccup in some time. I sent out a tweet after it was 2-0 talking about the team not playing well (everyone was blaming the goalie) and then the goalie let in two terrible goals. The coach agreed. It was such a night. It sounds like the coach would like the group to tighten up like Archie Bell and the Drells.
WHAT TO EXPECT IN MAY
- At home to: Calgary (Expected: 1-0-0) (Actual 1-0-0)
- On the road to: Vancouver, Vancouver (Expected: 1-1-0) (Actual 2-0-0)
- At home to: Vancouver, Vancouver (Expected 1-0-1) (Actual 0-1-0)
- On the road to: Montreal, Montreal (Expected 0-1-1) (Actual 0-0-0)
- At home to: Vancouver (Expected 1-0-0) (Actual 0-0-0)
- Expected May record: 4-2-2, 10 points in 8 games
- Actual May record: 3-1-0, 6 points in 4 games
Edmonton has four games to go, sounds like we’ll see the starting 19 most of the time over these last regular season contests. I don’t remember a season I’ve blogged that involved so few truly poor games by the club.
LOWETIDE TOP 50 (U18 SCORING)
- RW Dylan Guenther, Edmonton Oil Kings. (7, 4-3-7 U18)
- LW William Eklund, Djurgardens.
- LC Mason McTavish Peterborough Petes. (7, 5-6-11 U18)
- RD Brandt Clarke Barrie Colts. (7, 2-5-7 U18)
- LW Matthew Beniers, Michigan Wolverines.
- LW Kent Johnson, Michigan Wolverines
- LD Owen Power, Michigan Wolverines.
- LD Simon Edvinsson, Vasteras IK (7, 1-3-4 U18)
- LC Zachary Bolduc, Rimouski Oceanic.
- LD Luke Hughes, U.S. National Development Team
- LW Zachary L’Heureux, Halifax Mooseheads
- RC Xavier Bourgault, Shawinigan Cataractes
- LC Francesco Pinelli, Kitchener Rangers (7, 4-7-11 U18)
- RW Chaz Lucius, U.S. National Development Team
- RC Logan Stankoven, Kamloops Blazers (7, 4-4-8 U18)
- G Sebastian Cossa, Edmonton Oil Kings.
- G Jesper Wallstedt, Lulea.
- RW Nikita Chibrikov, St. Petersburg (7, 4-9-13 U18)
- LW Eric Alarie, Moose Jaw Warriors
- LW Matt Coronato, Chicago Steel
- RW Fabian Lysell, Lulea. (7, 3-6-9 U18)
- RW Oliver Nadeau, Shawinigan Cataractes
- LD Daniil Chayka, CSKA Moscow
- LW Brennan Othmann, Flint Firebirds (7, 3-3-6 U18)
- LW Fedor Svechkov, Ladia Togliatti. (7, 4-6-10 U18)
- LC Aatu Raty, Karpat
- RC Ryder Korczak, Moose Jaw Warriors
- LC Brett Harrison, Oshawa Generals (7, 0-2-2 U18)
- LW Oskar Olausson, HV 71.
- LW Ayrton Martino, Omaha Lancers
- LW Conner Roulette, Seattle Thunderbirds (7, 2-3-5 U18)
- LD Carson Lambos, Winnipeg Ice
- RW Chase Stillman, Sudbury Wolves (7, 2-2-4 U18)
- RW Isak Rosen, Leksands. (U18)
- LD Olen Zellweger, Everett Silvertips (7, 1-7-8 U18)
- RW Simon Robertsson, Skelleftea. (7, 3-1-4 U18)
- LC Cole Sillinger, Sioux Falls Stampede
- LD Evan Nause, Quebec Remparts
- RC Connor Lockhart, Erie Otters.
- RD Corson Ceulmans, Brooks Bandits. (6, 1-7-8 U18)
- LW Alexander Kisakov, Moscow Dynamo
- LW Sasha Pastujov, USNDTP (5, 5-3-8 U18)
- LW William Stromgren, MoDo
- LC Oliver Kapanen JYP (U18)
- LC Wyatt Johnson, Windsor Spitfires (7, 2-2-4 U18)
- RC Justin Robidas, Val d’Or Foreurs.
- G Alekesi Kolosov, Minsk.
- RW Samu Tuomaala, Karpat (7, 5-6-11 U18)
- RW Prokhor Poltapov, Moscow. (7, 2-5-7 U18)
- LD Ethan Dal Mastro, Mississauga Steelheads (7, 0-2-2 U18)
I’ll be updating my list and stretching it to 75 (on the way to 120) in the coming days, there were some impressive performances in Texas. The Russians specifically showed better than expectations and the underage group from all nations (draft 2022 or 2023) rocked the casbah.
THE MAGIC OF MCDAVID
We are watching peak McDavid in real time, this is something special. If we run his year by year pts-game totals, the trajectory is breathtaking:
- 2015-16: 1.07
- 2016-17: 1.22
- 2017-18: 1.32
- 2018-19: 1.49
- 2019-20: 1.52
- 2020-21: 1.85
This year, he is on a 152-point pace but of course will not play in 82 regular season games. Is this McDavid’s outer marker? If it is, what a magnificent peak he has delivered to hockey fans. He is 19 points beyond Draisaitl, 30 past No. 3 man Mitchell Marner. In the words of the great philosopher Tina Turner, he is simply the best.
I sometimes wonder if many Oilers fans are enjoying these good times. It seems even a winning season gets knocked for style points. I remember talking to a group of people after the 2015 lottery victory and I said something like “hopefully this will bring Stanley back to Edmonton in the next decade.”
The response was “has to be three” and it seems that is the prevailing wisdom. Most of the conversations I have with fans now involves underlying (or over the top) panic about what happens if Connor McDavid asks for a trade out of town.
Please enjoy these times. Tomorrow is promised to no one, Stanley lands once a year for 23 men and you only get so many chances. Enjoy the ride, the moments, the thrills provided by these fantastic athletes.
LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE
At 10 this morning, we get ready for the weekend on TSN1260. Steve Lansky from Inside the Truck Podcast will talk Oilers and how he’d handle McDavid’s 100th point call if he was inside the truck. Matt Iwanyk from TSN1260 talks Oilers playoff matchup and football. 10-1260 text, @Lowetide on twitter.