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GAME PREVIEW: Edmonton Oilers vs. Detroit Red Wings

NHL: Calgary Flames at Edmonton Oilers
Look who’s got a brand new deal!
Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports

Edmonton Oilers (23-23-3) (6th, Pacific)

Detroit Red Wings (18-25-7) (8th, Atlantic)

700 PM MST

Rogers Place

TV: Sportsnet One

Radio: 630 CHED

SB Nation Opponent: Winging It In Motown

The Edmonton Oilers are playing in their final game before the NHL’s All Star Break. Their last effort was a dismal 7-4 loss to the Carolina Hurricanes on Sunday night. The Hurricanes scored six goals in the first twenty-nine minutes to keep the Oilers far, far away any real chance at coming back.

Oilers are sitting at a Bettman .500 when they made some moves yesterday. They waived Ryan Spooner (!!) and Ty Rattie, then they up and signed Mikko Koskinen to a three year extension at 4.5MM AAV. These are all perfectly normal moves that a perfectly normal general manager of a perfectly adequate NHL team makes during a perfectly normal NHL season with a perfectly normal 22 year old phenom at centre. Don’t worry, there’s nothing abnormal about this.

Oh yeah, the game. Right.

Let’s go to the tape.

The Oilers are saying

They were ready to play, and we weren’t. We gave up way too many Grade A chances and left our goalie out to dry. It’s really unfortunate that was the way we came out to play after a loss last night


That’s Oilers forward Milan Lucic on suffering the second of two defeats on consecutive nights (7-4 vs. Carolina, 5-2 vs. Calgary).

I didn’t have super high hopes for the Oilers against the Flames, but I kind of didn’t see them yielding seven to a struggling Hurricanes club. I didn’t have them letting six slip by in the first half of the game either.

The Red Wings are saying

“We proved to ourselves and know we can play with these teams, we just got to learn how to win games now. We are a good hockey team, we got to realize that. We’ve got talent, we can skate, we’re big, we have strong guys on the team. All we can do right now is just stick with it. This team is going to be really good really soon.”


That’s Red Wings forward Frans Nielsen after Detroit’s 3-2 loss to the Canucks on Sunday.

Elias Petterssen returned from a five game absence due to a knee injury, scoring a goal and an assist. Frans Nielsen and Thomas Vanek scored for Detroit, who are tied for last in the Eastern Conference with the New Jersey Devils.


  • Monday was just a terrible day for the optics of this club. The club waives Ryan Spooner, who was the fruits of the Ryan Strome deal. You will recall Ryan Strome being the fruit of the Jordan Eberle deal. Eberle’s not having a great year for the Islanders, but his 23 points would rank him fourth on the Oilers right now. Spooner has three points in 24 games with Edmonton, and no one will claim him as he goes down the waiver wire. The club tried to make it work with Ty Rattie earlier this season, but eight points was all Rattie could come up with even though he played significant time with Connor McDavid this year. There’s an outside chance someone scoops Rattie for their farm club, there is zero chance that Ryan Spooner gets claimed by a team looking to hold a 3.1MM cap hit next season. None.
  • I hope you’re ready for Mikko Koskinen until at least 2022. The 6’7” pillar from Finland signed a three year extension with the club yesterday. He’s played 27 games this season for the Oilers, he’s played a total of 31 games in the NHL. Koskinen turns 31 in July and I hope this all works out for the best, though I’ve got serious reservations signing a guy to a three year deal who’s played 27 games and hasn’t blown the doors off. Is he better than a .911 SV% overall? Maybe. Is the goaltender market that bleak in the 2019 offseason? No. A 4.5MM cap hit is the 17th largest in the NHL next season, but I’m not even sure Koskinen is the 17th best goaltender in the league right now. Infuriating.
  • Koskinen’s deal also signals the end of Cam Talbot’s playing time in Edmonton. There’s no doubt that Talbot’s had a frustrating couple of years since the Oilers made the playoffs. The trade deadline is in just over a month, I’d be surprised to see Talbot appear in anything more than the tail end of a back-to-back at this time. The draft pick he’s eventually traded for is going to be sweet, you guys.
  • Caleb Jones was also returned to Bakersfield yesterday. Jones was playing some major minutes, he had some rookie mistakes. Jones is likely to be a major player for the Oilers in a year.
  • With Ryan Spooner and Ty Rattie getting waived, it signals the go-ahead for Kailer Yamamoto and Jesse Puljujarvi to start getting full time minutes. The question is: will Coach stop putting Puljujarvi on the fourth line?
  • NET GAINS: Expect Koskinen (14-10-1, .911 SV% / 2.78 GAA / 3 SO) to get the start for the Oilers tonight. Jimmy Howard (13-13-5, .915 SV% / 2.78) is likely for the Red Wings
  • SICK BAY: Andrej Sekera (ankle), Oscar Klefbom (finger) and Alex Petrovic (concussion) are out for the Oilers. Michael Rasmussen (hamstring) is day-to-day for the Red Wings.