2020-21 Game 53: Canucks at Oilers

by Lowetide

Sometimes I wonder if Oilers fans of today understand how much offensive firepower the 1980’s clubs employed. In 1984-85, the average NHL team scored and allowed 311 goals. Edmonton’s defense was a little better than average (298) that season, but the offense (401) was 90 goals clear of the average NHL team.

This year’s average NHL team scores and allows 153 goals. Edmonton’s goals against (141) is almost as impressive as the goals total (170). The Oilers offense ranks No. 8 in goals per game and No. 9 in goals against. That’s a team that has a story to tell and is on the rise but cannot be compared to the NHL’s best.

This year’s team was similar to the 1984-85 Los Angeles Kings in terms of quality of offense and defense. The 1984-85 Oilers placed into current context? The current Colorado Avalanche, when healthy have similarities (without having the same number of extreme talents). How do the current Oilers go from successful to formidable?

THE ATHLETIC!

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 AFTER 53 GAMES

  • Oilers in 2015-16: 21-27-5, 47 points; goal differential -23
  • Oilers in 2016-17: 28-17-8, 64 points; goal differential +11
  • Oilers in 2017-18: 23-26-4, 50 points; goal differential -25
  • Oilers in 2018-19: 23-25-5, 51 points; goal differential -19
  • Oilers in 2019-20: 28-10-6, 62 points; goal differential +4
  • Oilers in 2020-21: 32-18-2, 66 points; goal differential +20

The goal differential tells all. In 1984-85, Edmonton’s goal differential was +103. The Oilers beat the Flyers in the final, their GD? +107.

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

In 1984-85, there were 117 forwards league wide who scored 20+ goals. In a 21-team league, that’s 5.57 20-goal scorers per team. Edmonton had five. They were Wayne Gretzky (73), Jari Kurri (71), Mike Krushelnyski (43), Glenn Anderson (42) and an injured Mark Messier (23). How many above average top-six scorers are on the current team?

At this point in the season 13 goals represents 20 goals in a full season (80 games, as was the case in 1984-85). There are 123 forwards who have scored 13+ goals in the NHL this season, that’s 3.97 13-goal scorers per team (most of a scoring line is gone 36 years later). Edmonton has four. They are Connor McDavid (31), Leon Draisaitl (28), Jesse Pulujarvi (14) and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (14).

How best to build on that group?

PROJECTED OILERS ROSTER OPENING NIGHT 2021-22

Since there are always tons of questions I never answer, let me answer a few and then not answer the ones you wanted answered:

  • William Lagesson went to the Seattle Kraken. I protected Nurse, Bear, Klefbom and Jones, signing Larsson to a handsome contract just ahead of free agency. I know you’ll all agree that was a good deal, and the four year term will make you smile with delight.
  • James Neal’s contract was bought out.
  • I traded Mikko Koskinen (half the contract retained) and Dmitri Samorukov to the Carolina Hurricanes for RW Dominik Bokk and a sixth-round pick. He’s a fascinating prospect, there’s an overwhelming amount of talent and he could be a flat out steal if things break right. He has played 25 games in the AHL this season, scoring nine goals (five on the power play). He could be one of those men who scores an above average amount on a skill line and one day contributes to a Stanley. I looked at a lot of inexpensive scorers on the wing and chose him.
  • Blake Coleman was my preferred outside free agent, mostly because he is a solid two-way winger who should score 20+ goals with McDavid even without power-play time. I looked at Zach Hyman but don’t think the Oilers will be able to afford him.
  • I have Klefbom returning and healthy, that’s clearly a question mark and will have to be addressed if he isn’t able to perform.
  • The key is finding offensive contributors who can play in the NHL. That’s going to be the draft and there are possible solutions on the way (Holloway, Lavoie, Savoie). Bringing back Nuge, adding Coleman, Bokk and Benson from the AHL and adding Kahun to a fourth line makes the bottom six a more talented group.
  • The six PK forwards are Khaira-Archibald, McLeod-Coleman and Nuge-Benson.
  • The Coleman contract is four years and Nuge deal is five.
  • Driedger is an excellent goalie option, that’s a three-year deal.
  • Losing Samorukov is less than ideal but the Oilers still have plenty of Leftorium leftoverium.

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Jaxon

TOP 25 SEASONS ADJUSTED POINTS

McDavid is on pace for the 2nd best adjusted points per season in history!!! Draisaitl has the 15th best! (via hockey-reference’s method since 1950-51 season (to capture Howe’s seasons))

Rank Player PTSAdj, Season

1Wayne Gretzky*170,1985-86

2Connor McDavid166,2020-21Wayne Gretzky*166,1984-85

3Mario Lemieux*165,1988-89

4Wayne Gretzky*163,1983-84

5Wayne Gretzky*159,1982-83

6Wayne Gretzky*156,1981-82Mario Lemieux*156,1995-96

7Wayne Gretzky*155,1986-87

8Wayne Gretzky*146,1990-91

9Jaromir Jagr145,1998-99

10Jaromir Jagr144,1995-96

11Phil Esposito*141,1970-71Mario Lemieux*141,1987-88

12Wayne Gretzky*139,1988-89

13Phil Esposito*138,1973-74

14Phil Esposito*133,1971-72

15Jaromir Jagr131,2000-01Gordie Howe*131,1952-53Leon Draisaitl131,2020-21

16Bobby Orr*129,1970-71Mario Lemieux*129,1992-93

17Joe Sakic*128,2000-01Steve Yzerman*128,1988-89Nikita Kucherov128,2018-19Leon Draisaitl128,2019-20

18Wayne Gretzky*127,1980-81Mario Lemieux*127,1996-97

19Phil Esposito*125,1968-69

20Bobby Orr*124,1969-70Wayne Gretzky*124,1987-88Bernie Nicholls124,1988-89

21Sidney Crosby122,2006-07Alex Ovechkin122,2007-08Evgeni Malkin122,2011-12Guy Lafleur*122,1976-77Teemu Selanne*122,1998-99

22Joe Thornton121,2005-06Phil Esposito*121,1972-73Jaromir Jagr121,1994-95Eric Lindros*121,1994-95

23Jaromir Jagr120,2005-06Wayne Gretzky*120,1989-90

24Henrik Sedin119,2009-10Jean Beliveau*119,1955-56Guy Lafleur*119,1977-78Pat LaFontaine*119,1992-93Wayne Gretzky*119,1993-94Patrick Kane119,2015-16

25Peter Forsberg*118,2002-03Gordie Howe*118,1950-51Brett Hull*118,1990-91
TOP 25 SEASONS ADJUSTED POINTS

McDavid is on pace for the 2nd best adjusted points per season in history!!! Draisaitl has the 15th best! (via hockey-reference’s method)

Rank Player PTSAdj, Season

1Wayne Gretzky*170,1985-86

2Connor McDavid166,2020-21Wayne Gretzky*166,1984-85

3Mario Lemieux*165,1988-89

4Wayne Gretzky*163,1983-84

5Wayne Gretzky*159,1982-83

6Wayne Gretzky*156,1981-82Mario Lemieux*156,1995-96

7Wayne Gretzky*155,1986-87

8Wayne Gretzky*146,1990-91

9Jaromir Jagr145,1998-99

10Jaromir Jagr144,1995-96

11Phil Esposito*141,1970-71Mario Lemieux*141,1987-88

12Wayne Gretzky*139,1988-89

13Phil Esposito*138,1973-74

14Phil Esposito*133,1971-72

15Jaromir Jagr131,2000-01Gordie Howe*131,1952-53Leon Draisaitl131,2020-21

16Bobby Orr*129,1970-71Mario Lemieux*129,1992-93

17Joe Sakic*128,2000-01Steve Yzerman*128,1988-89Nikita Kucherov128,2018-19Leon Draisaitl128,2019-20

18Wayne Gretzky*127,1980-81Mario Lemieux*127,1996-97

19Phil Esposito*125,1968-69

20Bobby Orr*124,1969-70Wayne Gretzky*124,1987-88Bernie Nicholls124,1988-89

21Sidney Crosby122,2006-07Alex Ovechkin122,2007-08Evgeni Malkin122,2011-12Guy Lafleur*122,1976-77Teemu Selanne*122,1998-99

22Joe Thornton121,2005-06Phil Esposito*121,1972-73Jaromir Jagr121,1994-95Eric Lindros*121,1994-95

23Jaromir Jagr120,2005-06Wayne Gretzky*120,1989-90

24Henrik Sedin119,2009-10Jean Beliveau*119,1955-56Guy Lafleur*119,1977-78Pat LaFontaine*119,1992-93Wayne Gretzky*119,1993-94Patrick Kane119,2015-16

25Peter Forsberg*118,2002-03Gordie Howe*118,1950-51Brett Hull*118,1990-91

Last edited 1 month ago by Jaxon
JimmyV1965

It’s kinda cool that McDavid, Nurse and Drai all got points on the 100 pt play. Very fitting. Three franchise players – for another decade.

Ice Sage

What an incredible time we’re in – Connor McDavid… it may be sacrilege, but, like Crosby in Pittsburgh, this guy is competing against a legend. And could win!

JOFA

Give McDavid a game or two off please.

OriginalPouzar

The coach has already said that isn’t going to happen.

JOFA

April 06, 2019. Fun times😉

Pescador

Baahh
No fear mongering please

BanffOil

As I sit on my recliner in enemy territory, my two-week old fast asleep on my chest, I thank the gords that my son’s earliest recollections of hockey will be of Leon and Connor. Just as mine are of Gretzky and Mess. I love this game.

Munny

Starting with that opening shift… 97 had it in his mind he was hitting the Hunny tonight and would not be denied.

Mario didn’t play for my home team so I don’t know about him; the only player I do know capable of that was Gretz. Particularly on that 50 in 39 run. In my mind that’s Gretzky’s greatest individual milestone.

Tonight was so reminiscent of The Great One’s determination and energy over the last three games of that run. The closest I’ve ever seen.

Paulie

I lived in Pittsburgh from 1985-1998 and saw a lot of 66. What I remember best about his game was the combination of sick skill, size, and strength. Kinda like an uber-29 with 97s hands. And, like 29, he got shit early in his career from local press and some fans for being lazy. Had the pleasure of seeing him play live. Very different game from 97 but both a delight to watch obviously. Being an Oiler fan I would rag on him a lot to my buddies – yeah he’s good by he’s no 99. Really came to admire him as he fought through cancer and came back.

Munny

It’s always great when the site has been visited by angry Canuck fans.

I’m drinking a glass of their tears right now.

Gerta Rauss

This is a pretty good hockey team

Munny

That was a mature third period.

OriginalPouzar

A great lock-down third period!

StixMalone

Sweet history night

Sierra

I like this play-by-play guy. Who is it?

MADOIL

Harnarayan SIngh

Sierra

Thanks

Munny

Pull. Your. Goalie.

Material Elvis

Ok it’s Archibald’s time to shine.

SK Oiler Fan

There may be a few pops had in the room after this one.

Munny

They look a little loose over there on that side of the ice…

Paulie

Nice carry out of dzone by 16. He seems to do this every few games, bit of stick handling and taking as much ice as the defense cedes.

Seismic Source

Two 30 goal players in a 56 game season. UNREAL

OriginalPouzar

They’ve played this third period many times this year. They have been very very good at protecting one-goal leads in 3rd periods….. essentially locking it down and not giving up much.

The two PK’s aren’t on the script but they dominated those PKs.

Munny

Tippett screwed their heads on right between periods. This ain’t his first rodeo.

OriginalPouzar

Jesse has been so good in the offensive and neutral zones tonight….. again.

fishman

He should be good for 20-25 goals next season.

OriginalPouzar

He’s not far off that pace right now I don’t think.

fishman

He won’t be a question mark at the start of next season. Legitimate top 6 forward who has size and good defensively. Thank goodness Holland was patient with Jesse. A feel good story for the team.

theDjdj

Yeah his 15th goal is a 21ish goal rate across regular season

Munny

I would like to look at his splits. I mean this week was kind of a turning point unto itself.

jp

He’s 52 15-10-25 on the season.

He started slow, 11-0-2-2, so he’s been 41-15-8-23 since.
(you can project that to a 30 goal season if you like)

He’s also been hot in his last 15 games, 15-7-5-12
(could be the new LW who was there before tonight).

That gives you the following splits
(admittedly contrived, and based on when Pulju was hot/cold):

11-0-2-2
25-8-3-11
15-7-5-12

Monthly splits are here (also game logs, which one can get from NST as well):
https://sports.yahoo.com/nhl/players/7112/splits

Munny

Jesus. He could go asymptotic.

No ceiling shall be put on this young man till he at least takes a step sideways.

jp

🙂

OriginalPouzar

That last PK was dominant but back to back PKs are tough

SayItAin'tSo, Gretz, SayItAin'tSo!

McDavid’s assists are 5th in scoring this season. One ahead of Matthews.

SayItAin'tSo, Gretz, SayItAin'tSo!

Edit – his assists are 3rd in scoring, behind only Draisaitl.

Munny

Over 2 per game for a 28 game span… when was the last time that was done?

Munny

They have really come out with their emotions in check and are playing their asses off.

Material Elvis

Oilers putting on a penalty killing clinic.

SK Oiler Fan

That wasn’t necessary by larrson

Paulie

Love to see 56 and 71 score this period

StixMalone

Like to see any of the other supporting cast get a goal….

OriginalPouzar

who?

StixMalone

Anyone

OriginalPouzar

I know, it was a play on “who is the supporting cast”….

wolf8888

Who’s on first?

Pescador

What?

Munny

I’d be okay with a couple more from McDavid

Kraz

It’s official McDavid is too good for the NHL. He is now 34 points ahead of Marner. The difference between him and the third leading scorer is pretty much a first line player…

Paulie

Good shift by 16 line

Paulie

In NHL history players have avg 2.00 or more ppg in a single season 16 times. 99 did it 10 times, 66 did it 6 times . (Min 50 points).

fishman

A lot tougher to score goals in this era of hockey. Need some smart guy to figure out a adjustment factor by decade.

OriginalPouzar

Era-adjusted stats had him at the 12th best offensive season ever, that was a few games ago as well.

Lewis Grant

It’s been done.

https://www.hockey-reference.com/leaders/points_adjusted_season.html

In the modern era, only Gretzky and Lemieux have had better seasons than this one by McDavid.

Lewis Grant

To score at 2.0 ppg in 2020-21 would be equivalent to 165 adjusted points. That’s only been done twice in the modern era.

I’d also like to add that McDavid’s feats are not attributable to the high-scoring nature of the Canadian division. The Canadian division has seen 5.89 goals per game, the league as a whole 5.86 goals per game. The East division actually leads the league at 5.97 gpg.

Hence, even if we ‘adjust’ McDavid’s points to the Canadian division rather than the League as a whole (which, this year, would be fair enough), it wouldn’t materially alter McDavid’s sixth-best-all-time-in-the-modern-era scoring exploits.

We are experiencing a truly historic season. By a truly historic player.

jp

Thanks for this.

I was aware of the Hockey Reference adjusted seasons but didn’t realize quite how well McDavid compares.

Another way of putting McDavid’s season in context – he’s 12 (adjusted) point’s off of Gretzky’s best season.

That’s far more than just the ‘generational’ player we were told about back in 2015.

fishman

Kelly still pitching Connor taking games off to rest. Can’t see that happening unless he is a bit banged up. Doesn’t look it tonight!

OriginalPouzar

The coach has expressly said its not happening.

Kelly has been on it all night and he, as a member of the national hockey media, should know what the coach has said. Tsk, tsk

JOFA

An then there was that last game of the year a few years back against the Flames. That was fun😳

KnightRain

I shouldn’t be amazed anymore but I Totally Lost My Shit!!! lol I still can’t believe that we get to watch Connor play for the Oilers!
Cannot wait to tell my Grandkids I watched every single game Connor McDavid ever played. Life is soooooo good!

Halfwise

Glad to see that.

Now, there is plenty of time for McLeod to score his first. Gotta get these milestones done.

Solly

Wouldn’t mind if he saved it for a playoff GWG either.

Ancient Oilers Fan

HE only needs to average 4 points a game to get to 112 and 2 p/g. Should be doable.

tapper

That was fantastic. Every single sequence through 97. And the team’s reaction speaks volumes.

Paulie

2 more pts in 3rd for 97 then 10 in last 3 to finish with 112 in 56. Any takers?

Our Edmonton Operation

Now let’s win the game so a loss doesn’t take the edge off of McDavid’s night.

Material Elvis

I can’t imagine the energy in the Oilers dressing room right now.

StixMalone

Yes but they have to finish this out and tighten up in some areas. Let’s get ready for the playoffs

SK Oiler Fan

Unreal. I loved earlier in the PP when 97 stole the puck from Nurse in the Nuetral zone and the rest of the Oilers just about didn’t make it out of the zone before 97 was crossing back over the blue on the attack again.

Bling

Haha loved that reaction from Drai after the goal. Cool to see them having fun out there like that.

Munny

I can practically hear Toronto media collectively choking on its own spittle right now.

KnightRain

BOOM!!! 100!!!

geowal

Sealing 100 with a 4 pt night on HNIC should seal the Hart for McDavid for the eastern media

Our Edmonton Operation

Leon was classy. Usually the goal scorer leads the parade to the bench but it was McDavid who led it, even though he didn’t score the goal.

Munny

I’m going to crack a beer.

Solly

Or a 100

Ryan

I’m going to have a beer. Then another… 🙂

Munny

I admit, the way this one’s looking right now, there will probably be another here too lol.

Material Elvis

Same here. That’s cause for celebration. I feel giddy. What a player!

OriginalPouzar

I’m going to add 100 calories to my day tomorrow!

Munny

That’s a great cellie idea.

SayItAin'tSo, Gretz, SayItAin'tSo!

And another!

OriginalPouzar

The best part was how happy Leon was!

90s fan

I’ve never seen him smile like that!

Material Elvis

Almost strangled Connor with that bear hug ha ha.

Material Elvis

Wow! Leon wanted that the whole time. Connor McDavid…we are not worthy….

Munny

The One.

DevilsLettuce

100!!!!!!