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Games 9 to 16 review - The below average, needs improvement and keep on keeping on edition!

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NHL: NOV 02 Oilers at Penguins
I don’t think Matthews is better than Connor. I don’t even think he’s better than me!
Photo by Jeanine Leech/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Welcome back to our second 8 game review of the season!

Last time it was Unicorn’s and Lollipop’s for everyone. 83% of you voted the Oil will make the playoffs as well. I made a minor error as I went for a ‘Marvel Movie ending’ and had some hidden content in the article but I didn’t frame it well and no one scrolled down to find the hidden part of the first article. If you’re bored, go back and scroll down after the Happy and Keep on Smiling stuffed animals.

Let’s get to the most important thing first:

Yup, that’s us at the top of the Pacific and in a playoff spot! The season is 20% done and this is significant. Also, American Thanksgiving is 23 days away.

In the last 8 game stretch we were 13th in the NHL with 3 wins and 5 losses. We trailed going into the third in 6 of those games. Our Powerplay completely dried up and was 26th for this span. Our PK was 15th. Our goals for was 27th (did I mention offence dried up?) and our goals against was 15th. So, by all signs, we were very mediocre the last 8 games as we were below .500, consistently trailing and all the more important stats had us middle of the pack. If not for a miraculous performance from Smith we would actually have been 2 and 6.

Here are are ALL the scorers we had with 3 points or more in the last 8 games.

Yup, 5 guys. You might also notice our D is not getting points and have dried up as well. Nurse and Klefbom were both in the Top 10 in D scoring last time. Here is the rest of the team:

12 points from 17 players. There is poor secondary scoring and there is a complete lack of it. Bear, Nurse and Klefbom combined for 2 points in the last 8 games!!!!

Last time, both goalies had outstanding stats. Little different this time:

Koskinen did not have a good stretch. Smith was very good.

Connor and Leon continue to do the heavy lifting and are 3rd and 4th in NHL scoring. That is the good news.

Here are the minutes played for those Top 4 guys. Basically, they play 4 more minutes a night than Pastrnak and Marchand. Connor is 4th in this group. I’m going to say having a guy return from knee surgery and playing him this much is not good.

Poll Time:

Poll

Will the Oil make the Playoffs?

This poll is closed

  • 64%
    Yes
    (34 votes)
  • 35%
    No
    (19 votes)
53 votes total Vote Now

Quick summary:

The good: We’re first in the Pacific and have been all season. Ethan Bear is now in Calder talk (a Trophy the storied Oiler’s have never won). Drai is really establishing himself as a Top 5 NHL player.

The bad: We are relying on 5 guys for all the offence. We’re losing more than winning lately. Koskinen is fading... again.

The Ugly: Our secondary scoring is awful. Joel Persson and Kris Russel are not getting it done in the Top 4.

Jesse P

Jesse P is having a very good season in Finland. He’s now a few points out of first in scoring. He’s also the youngest guy in the Top 10 in scoring. He’s also scoring a lot of goals. This seems to have sparked interest in him. Blueshirt Banter wrote a piece with over 300 comments on who they’d trade for Jesse (my Chytil or Hajek joke didn’t go over well at all). Then, Sportsnet wrote an article about interest in him. Lastly, he is 3rd on the TSN Trade Bait.

I’ve had Jesse at a similar value as Josh Ho Sang. My dream trade was Zacha (an underachiever but an excellent 3C who can Penalty Kill). A lot of people at Blueshirt Banter felt Lias Anderssen would get it done. My thoughts are this:

  1. The Oil own all the cards. Keep him in Europe. Let him shoot out the lights and hopefully he goes to the World’s and really showcases himself. Then revisit a trade or return to the Oil. I’d still prefer him back then a trade (unless Holland has another fleecing up his sleeve!)
  2. Try to get a similar pedigree player for him. Eg. Faksa, Zacha, Anderssen.
  3. Package him with some poor contracts (Gagner, Manning) and get a B prospect back.

The AHL

That’s not going the best either. I’ve been screaming for Yamamoto to be brought up into the Top 6. He dried up pretty quickly at the peak of my complaining. He’s now got 7 points in 11 games which is ‘okay’ for a guy of his pedigree. Really happy to see Bensen moving up to be the scoring leader but I’d expect a .ppg.

The Standings aren’t pretty either:

We have no games in hand and are firmly 4th in our division with a .500 record. I would expect a team this strong to be dominating right now. The team directly beneath us (San Jose) beat us 5-0 this week and have 2 games in hand.

For Next Time...

We have several things going amazing for us right now. Neal is still scoring. Bear looks awesome. The goalie rotation is working. We need those 3 things to keep going. We also need no injuries to Drai/RNH/McD/Nurse/Klef. The monstrous start has really helped us. When Larsson comes back we should have (due to emergence of Bear) a really competive Top 4 (Nurse/Bear, Larsson/Klef) and a bottom pair (Russel with either Persson or Benning).