Discussing the Oilers slow start on the CBC Edmonton News (TV) + Notes

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Joined Adrienne Pan on the CBC Edmonton news last night. We discussed the Oilers slow start, the potential line-up for Saturday night and the upcoming schedule. Clip starts around the 20:20 mark: CBC Edmonton News (2017, October 12).

Also happy to announce that I’ll be on every Thursday evening for the rest of the season. Really excited to continue working with the great crew at CBC.

Notes:

I think what’s made this 1-2 start even worse is the fact that the Oilers will have had four days off between their last game and their next game. That obviously puts more attention on the practice lines and soundbytes from the coaching staff. And it gives us more time to stew about the plays that led to goals against. Saturday can’t come soon enough.

Taking a step back and focusing less on the goal differential, the Oilers have so far posted a 54.58% adjusted Corsi For percentage at even-strength (Source: Natural Stat Trick). It wouldn’t be wise to start predicting future goal-scoring with this small of a dataset, but these are still encouraging results. At the end of the month, I’ll dig a little more to see where the team stands, what sort of line combinations are being used and how they’re doing in terms of goal and shot-share.

The roster is still in need of some upgrades, especially on defence. The team chose to use this year as another assessment year, which I think will cost them wins. I understand needing to know what you have and how your prospects are doing before pulling a trade. But I think there’s enough of a track record for guys like Nurse and Puljujaarvi to know what they are, what they can provide and what their ceiling could be. Really, if there’s an opportunity to upgrade, especially on defence, the Oilers have to consider moving out some of their younger prospects.

When it comes to the forwards, we know the Oilers need to shore up their secondary scoring. The key is obviously Draisaitl centering his own line, but I really don’t think he can do it without Maroon with him on the left. I dug into how they did together (without McDavid) last season, and how it compared to a Draisaitl-Lucic combo.

With Draisaitl as C TOI CF% GF% PDO
Maroon 144:18 50.6 54.5 101.8
Lucic 119:19 46.5 40.0 97.8

Moving Maroon, would mean that Lucic is back on the top line with McDavid, which didn’t get great results last year, but the shot-share was still pretty good. RNH would play with Jokinen, and Letestu would remain with Kassian.

Here’s the forward line combinations I would like to see the coaching staff try out at some point this season:

  • Lucic-McDavid-Guy
  • Maroon-Draisaitl-Guy
  • Jokinen-RNH-Guy
  • Khaira/Pakarinen-Letestu-Kassian

Should note that I don’t mean to disprespect players like Strome, Yamamoto or Slepyshev. They’re all capable players, but they’re interchangeable depending on who the competition is.

And I’m probably in the minority here, but I can’t understand what the point of having Chris Kelly on the roster is and why he’s on the team without a contract. I get having an experienced player around, and someone that can mentor the players. But why would you provide a service without a contract in place? The PA has to be questioning this, but who knows. I get the feeling that if the Oilers were on a winning streak heading into this four-day break, they would’ve announced his signing.

 

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