I joined Lowetide this morning on TSN 1260 to talk Oilers. Clip is below and starts a few minutes in.
Topics we covered:
- Big win against the Ducks on Saturday night
- The season-long Corsi For% is trending downards
- Potential playoff matchups (vs Calgary, San Jose or Anaheim)
- The Oilers penalty kill and if Anton Lander could help
- Comparing the play of Drake Caggiula and Anton Slepyshev
- Upcoming road games in Los Angeles, San Jose and Vancouver.
- The more I watch this team, the more I think they might end up being like the Habs and Rangers in the past. They’re getting outshot now more regularly (rank 18th in the league with a 50.1, score-adjusted Corsi For%), but the Oilers are getting some very good goaltending from Talbot that’s just been bailing them out, night after night. The Oilers rank 6th in the league today when it comes to team save percentage at even-strength (92.9%), which is outstanding. If Talbot does this again next season, I’ll consider him elite (he’s just below that group right now, in my opinion). (Data: Natural Stat Trick)
- History has shown that the best teams, the ones that can contend for the Cup, have good possession numbers, especially in their final 25 games of the regular season. The Oilers need to be better, and really need to figure out how to slow down the rate of shots against. It’s been brutal, even with McDavid on the ice. Wrote about it last week:
- A Look Into The Oilers Declining Possession Numbers – The Copper & Blue (2017, March 29)
- Goal scoring is always tougher in the playoffs, so it’s great news that the Oilers have a pretty decent powerplay running right now. They rank 5th in the league (and 1st in the west) when it comes to goals per hour. And it looks to be sustainable, as they’re 10th when it comes to the rate of unblocked shots generated (75.67), and 9th when it comes to shots on goal per hour (53.65).
- And it looks like whatever adjustments the team made on the penalty kill has been working. They reduced the rate of shots against in the month of March, and the goaltending bounced back in a big way. Al mentioned this in our segment, which I didn’t touch on in my article, but Caggiula and McDavid are getting more reps shorthanded, and have added some much needed speed. Here’s what I wrote on the penalty kill last week:
- The Oilers Penalty Kill is Killing Penalties Again – The Copper & Blue (2017, March 31st)
- In my opinion, the most important prospect for the Oilers, aside from McDavid, is Draisaitl. He brings a lot of elements that the team needs to win championships. And I think he has the skill and size that could potentially drive a line in the future. But until there’s evidence of it, I have to remain skeptical. Without McDavid or Hall with him at 5v5, Draisaitl’s on-ice Corsi For% is 49.8%, which isn’t bad. And his on-ice goal-share is 40.7%. It’d be foolish to hand him a heavy, long-term contract without even knowing if he can drive a line, but I suspect that management has already made up their minds.
- PS: I’m pretty stoked about the playoffs, and happy to hear more and more people talk about really contending for a championship. For far too long, making the playoffs was the end goal, and I think that’s a poor way to build a team. I don’t think any club should be given a pass because they’re young, or that they need “learn how to win”, whatever that means. Championship windows, as we’ve seen in Dallas this year, can open and close pretty quickly, so it’s critical to push for a championship as soon as you can. With McDavid, that sped up the process considerably, and it’s nice to see the conversation around the Oilers start to change. The Oilers are in a fantastic spot right now and the pieces are coming together. Still some holes to figure out in the off-season. But for now, anything is possible.