GDB 76.0: Move up the standings

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The Oilers have won three of their last four games to move within five points of the 27th place Toronto Maple Leafs. Edmonton needs to win three of their final seven games and have the Leafs lose all six of their remaining games to catch them. If the Leafs win once the Oilers need to win four and so on.

Moving up to 27th could be tough, but the main goal for the organization next season will be trying to move up from 13th place in the western conference; and that will be much more difficult.

The Avalanche are currently in 12th place in the west, and they have 25 more points than the Orange and Blue.

You can make the argument that the Todd Nelson-coached Oilers are a better refection of their actual talent. So if you prorate the Oilers 15-18-6 record under Nelson over an 82-game season, they’d be a 75-point team.

That would place them about 20-21 points behind 8th place. Improving by 20 points in one season looks much less daunting than the 32-point deficit they currently face, but anyone who watches the Oilers has to realize they need significant improvements next year to have any hope of reaching the playoffs.

Climbing up the standings won’t be easy, especially when it looks like the Oilers will need to make a 30-32 point improvement next year.

The last team to make that big of a jump was the 2008 Philadelphia Flyers, who finished with 56 points in 2007, but bounced back with 95 in 2008. They improved by 39 points, but they also signed Scott Hartnell and Kimmo Timonen in free agency and added Jason Smith, Brayden Coburn (he was added late in 2007), Martin Biron became the starter and Mike Richards emerged as their leader increasing his point totals from 32 in 2007 to 75 in 2008. 

The 2014 Colorado Avalanche made a huge improvement from 2013, when they had 39 points in 48 games (prorates to 66 in full season), to 112 in 2014, an amazing 46-point increase. The Avs have fallen back to earth this season, but they still are competitive and only seven points out of 8th place.

The Avalanche were a statistical anomaly last season, and reality set in this season, but at least they are still in the hunt in March. The Calgary Flames will need 18-20 point improvement from last season, 77 points, to make the playoffs this year, and that might not be enough to get them in.

We know the Oilers need to make significant improvements, but even if they do that might not be enough to get them into the playoffs next year.

LINEUP…

Forwards

Defence

The Oilers will roll with the exact same lineup as Friday vs. Dallas. Richard Bachman gets the start. Boyd Gordon and Matt Hendricks were on the ice this morning, but their return looks more likely later in the road trip.

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QUICK HITS…

  • Friday evening was a rare night of excitement for Oilers fans. The team played great. Bachman recorded a shutout, Andrew Miller became only the 6th player in NHL history to score his first NHL goal on a penalty shot and the fans were rewarded for their loyalty with a host of free trips and prizes during the game. For one night it was enjoyable being an Oilers fan. Here’s hoping those types of games become the norm again rather than the exception.
  • Friday night was another example of why people need to stop thinking teams tank. The Dallas Stars were desperate for a win. They’ve been playing great, they are 8-2 in their last ten, but one of those losses was Friday night vs. the Oilers. The Oilers are a bad team, but they haven’t lost on purpose to increase their lottery chances by a few percentage points. Had the Stars won they would only be three points out of eighth place with six games to go. They knew how important the game was, but they still couldn’t win.

    You can say that management might make a move or two with the hope their team fails, but the players don’t lose on purpose. Their intensity might wane, but that happens to decent teams as well — often bad teams are simply just bad teams. With the new lottery in place the odds of winning are so low that tanking on purpose is simply a stupid bet by management.

  • Things I want to see happen by the end of the regular season: Alex Ovechkin score 50 goals. He needs one goal to become only the 6th player in NHL history to have six 50-goal seasons. Mike Bossy and Wayne Gretzky did it nine times, while Guy Lafleur, Marcel Dionne and Mario Lemieux did it five times. Ovie is one the greatest goal scorers the game has ever seen.

    I want the Jets and Kings to make the playoffs. I’d love to see playoff hockey back in Winnipeg for the first time in 19 years.

WHAT THEY’RE SAYING…

From Mile High Hockey

After holding on through a shaky third period against the league’s worst team, the Avs still have a faint hope for the playoffs at 82 points. While unlikely, if the Avs can win out, it would put them at 96 points, a total that typically makes the playoffs. In order to make the playoffs, the Avs would need the Jets to go 2-3-1 in their final six as well as have the Stars lose at least one game and have either Calgary or LA to win no more than three of their final six and seven respectively. It’s a tall order. But maybe just maybe it could happen. One thing is for sure: the Avs can’t afford to lose any more games, especially to teams like the Oilers.

TONIGHT….

zoolander

GAME DAY PREDICTION: The Oilers haven’t won three straight since October, and sadly I don’t see it happening tonight. Oilers lose a close one 4-3.

OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Eberle registers two more points to get back on the first page of point-producers at NHL.com.

NOT-SO-OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Brandon Davidson gets penalized in the second period and hears his name announced for the first time on an NHL PA system. Through his first five NHL games he doesn’t have a point or a penalty but that changes tonight. For extra fun he picks up an assist as well.

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  • ThinkingOutLoud

    I’m also really questioning how big of a difference Eichle will be from Strome when all is said and done. I think right now Eichle could step in and maybe impact the game. But a 6″3 17 year old centre who just won the OHL scoring title just seems like he will also be an incredible player one day. Bottom line, Oilers either get another great centre, or the consensus best D man in the draft. Not really seeing a downside to picking third or fourth.

  • El Pindo

    The players might not go out and purposely try to lose games but management in Arizona and Buffalo have definitely done all they can to try and finish last.

  • Spoils

    I hope they win again tonight. Our schedule gets so tough after this, it would be nice to see another win before the end of season train of despair.

    As for “huge improvements”, it’s hard to look at a team getting some wins and seeing Taylor Hall’s name on the third line and not think that the forwards are just fine. Especially if you consider Gazdic is no longer a liability, Gordon would come back, and maybe even Drai would take up that last winger spot on the third line. Just saying, the team looks surprisingly deep at forward.

    The defence looks like it’s in shambles though. Short of pulling Seabrook out of Chicago, or maybe Petriangilo out of St. Louise, there is not a lot of immediate ways MacT is going to fix that shipwreck.

    As for the goalie, I think our guy is out there, it’s just going to be about finding the right one from the list of possibilities.

    If he can fix the defence, and a goalie can appear, and the team can play as it has since Nelson took over for a full 82 games, then I really don’t think a ‘huge improvement’ is out of the question. You also have to remember that if the team is winning, then that means we are taking points away from higher western teams, also meaning the gap the team has to close is not nearly as great.

    Anyway, looking forward to this and the upcoming Calgary Game.

      • BobbyCanuck

        Great question! The name calling is a bit unnecessary, but hey I get it, it’s the internet and you have low self esteem, maybe it’s because you are short, or undesirable to women, or both. Whatever the case, glad I could help make you feel better about you.

        Anyway, to the business at hand. Now I did say Maybe, as in if Edmonton was very lucky as I think a few things would need to happen for St. Louise to consider trading a guy like that.

        First, they would need to choke in the playoffs again, prompting management to shake a few things up. Likely this also means Hitch is gone too, but that is a different argument in which you can use the anonymity of the internet to call me names I guess.

        If they did lose, and started to consider shaking things up, then there are a few reasons they may consider, if they were going to approve a trade like that.

        First. The team has Gunnerson, Zybnek, Boumester, and Shattenkirk.

        Second, Of all their defencemen, Petriangilo has a 7 mill cap hit kicking in starting next year.

        Third, even though Petriangilo leads defencemen on the Blues in scoring with 42 points, it took him 72 games to do it, while the much cheaper Shattenkirk has 40 points in only 50 games.

        Finally, They are really close to the cap and need to do two expensive things in the off season: sign 2 D, and give Taresenko a huge raise.

        Ipso Facto, they will need cap room, and teams that need cap room look for top flight prospects and high end picks.

        And after all that, I agree there is still only a slim chance that team would consider making a trade for that player…

        …stupid face!

        • james_dean

          Wow, you have no clue – if you think that St Louis is going to keep Jackman, Michalek, or Gunnerson over Pietrangelo then you are stupid. Just because Edmonton has a hard time finding quality d men and pays over market value for 4,5,6 d men does not mean St Louis needs too, because well they have their top 3 signed for year to come.

          St Louis has 55 million signed for next year, and the cap is projected to be 70 million, leaving 13 mil which is more than enough to sign Tarasenko at a hit of 6 and brink back Jackman at a hit of 3 and one other d man (like say Bortuzzo or Lindbolm will make under 1 mil), Allen who will be qualified at the min (1 mill)and 2 other forwards (one of which will be Rattie).

          IF St Louis wants to shed cap room then they would trade Berglund first.

          • Burnward

            Huh, there’s that name calling again. Small penis maybe? Just a 12 year old perhaps? The mind boggles.

            Again, not saying it’s a lock, just looking for teams who might be in a situation to get creative next year. And if you’re telling me the Oilers have absolutely nothing at all that might be worth St. Louise considering a deal involving Alex P, then I submit, it is you who are the one without clue!

          • El Pindo

            “Will” your passive aggressive comments seem to be more indicative of small dick size than what Jeremy was saying to be perfectly honest.

            Anyways, the reason I am responding isn’t to highlight your second rate insults, but instead to express my astonishment at your complete lack of common sense re: Pietrangelo. If you honestly believe AP is available for ANYTHING the Oilers have, you’re a brain donor, period.

            “rabble rabble cap crunch rabble rabble”

            You’re right, Chicago unloaded Kane and Toews when they were up against the cap, didn’t they? I mean, why jettison your garbage when you can dump your core players to stay cap compliant? Get a clue meat whistler

          • BobbyCanuck

            My ‘passive aggressive second rate insults’ are meant to be lame. They are there to highlight how sad name calling is on an internet comments board. I know, it’s high brow stuff but don’t worry we’ll all get there together.

            Let me see if I can find the point in your comment here, because that’s what I’m trying to promote, poignant discussion, not name calling.

            So, you use the example of Chicago as a time when team sup against the cap choose not to trade their core players. I think that is a bad example.

            When Chicago first won the cup, that off season was a fire sale of core guys like Byfuglien specifically because the team was over the cap. This summer, those dual 11 mill contracts will kick in and we will see if the team manages to keep core guys like Seabrook, Hossa, Sharp, ect. But, looking at the numbers I highly doubt it.

            And now to respond to your critisism that if I think St. Louise is going to trade a guy like that, I am a “brain donor, period.”

            (as a quick aside you do know the little dot that follows the word period is a period right? Speaking the word period can be effective, but in print it just looks redundant. Just saying… the more you know)

            Anyway, as stated in every comment, I do not think that is the case. I’m saying the Oilers have a problem, specifically they need a top pair, veteran, right side D man. In an earlier article I discovered there are about 4 of those guys in the league on teams that might – again MIGHT – be in a situation to part with them. Despite the math Jeremy used, I disagree St. Louis won’t be in a cap situation over the summer. Thus there is a hair line slim marginal chance a guy like AP could become available. And if you are inclined, I give some reasons as to why I think he could be, and what the circumstances are for him to be. So please, take a moment, read, think, then respond. And if at all possible, without the name calling, cause I like to think we’re better people than Leafs fans.

          • BobbyCanuck

            I’m going to keep it very simple for you. Try and keep up.

            Alex Pietrangelo is locked up until 2019-2020 on one of the most cap-friendly contracts in the entire league. The asking price on this player would be astronomical. Every one of the players you listed earlier to suggest AP could be moved was in a much different situation, or is a vastly inferior player.

            Please, list any remotely plausible situation in which he becomes available.

            PS I’d rather you dropped a directly rude comment instead of these snide weaselly remarks, tbh. Promoting discussion is fantastic, drop the holier than thou attitude and I’m sure people will respond reasonably.

          • El Pindo

            7 million a year cap hit is not “one of the most cap friendly contracts in the entire league”. Not even close. I’d say it’s worth the money, but best contract ever! Comon.

            I really don’t care how people respond, or what attitude you think I’m taking. Truth be told I was replying to Jeremy and you decided to jump on in to the conversation or something.

            PS I didn’t jump in on your conversation, you jumped in on mine, so go stuff yourself and your stupid opinions.

          • El Pindo

            Salary does not equal cap hit. Your white pointy hat is in the corner where you should be sitting. Here to help!

            AP at 6.5 is ridiculously good value. You can’t see that, I can’t help ya.

          • El Pindo

            Ha! You’re right I did misread that. He is a 6.5 cap hit.

            That does diminish my argument slightly. Hmmm, still do not think it is one of the best value contracts league wide. Fair? Sure. But those are matters of opinion.

          • Armchair_Gm

            I guess we differ on that but I’m sure we can both agree that it is gonna look pretty darn good the last couple years of that deal especially.

            Anyways, I of course will not debate the fact that the Oilers are desperate for someone to lock down some major minutes on the right side of that group. Preferably 2 guys if we are being honest.

            And don’t get me wrong, if Blues management are dumb enough to make AP available Katz should give up Rexall to get him.

          • BobbyCanuck

            Well yes, I do agree that’s would be a tough contract to give up. But, it’s not like they don’t have a replacement. Might just be a case of St. Louis selling high. My hope was they would be in cap trouble, and I still think that could be an issue.

            But as you say, it’s less about what the Blues will do, and more about what Edmonton needs.

            My other candidates were equally unrealistic with Seabrook (I think he has a limited no trade), Voynov (who would need to win his court case, so maybe roll the dice on that with a low pick and cross your fingers), and Franson (UFA would need a Nikitin like contract, and then still not really a bonafide top pair guy).

          • Zarny

            If StL runs into to cap problems they won’t move Pietrangelo. If they need to move one of their high-priced D it will be Bouwmeester and his 11 pts for $5.6M. Or they move a player like Berglund or Schwartz or they’ll sacrifice depth by letting players like Ott or Gunnarsson or Jackman go. It won’t be AP or Shattenkirk.

            It’s possible the Oilers could pry OEL out of Arz if the Yotes get Eichel and you package Hanifin with a few other 1st round picks, prospects or perhaps a player like Yakupov. Maybe.

            Otherwise, the simply reality is the Oilers aren’t trading for a “franchise” Dman. They undoubtedly need top-pairing D but other than maybe OEL none of their options will be of the Doughty, Weber, Pietrangelo, Subban, Hedman variety. They are going to have to target less sexier names than that.

          • El Pindo

            I like the Voynov idea haha. With the Oilers draft record, it’s probably a better roll of the dice than actually making a pick outside of the first round.

          • Spoils

            I think I included a double quote.. Sorry.

            I’ll say that Will is on to the heart of the issue. Instead of tearing down his proposals I would like to read others.

            I believe the single most important move this summer is to get a high end veteran for our def.

            The Campbell to our eikel
            The streit to our subban
            The weber/ekholm to our jones

            Etc etc…

            We desperately need a guy to play with Klefbom until nurse gets here then play with nurse for a season or 2 or 3

            The guy doesn’t have to be weber or sutter type but still a pretty effen good veteran player.

            I believe Seabrook could be had for a 2016 1st rounder and a solid prospect not taken in the 1st round. Gezz, in 1 year he is a UFA. The longer Chicago takes to trade him the less value he has. ( k… Let the roasting begin lol)

            I do lack some creativity in trade proposals. The St. Louis one was interesting and merits some genuine conversation in my opinion. Wondering if there are any other ideas out there instead of trolling proposals of others…

          • BobbyCanuck

            The only thing the mind boggles is how diluted the thoughts of Oilers fans truly are. Good job on the insults too, did you go with your buddy there who made the birth control comment to the park and ask the local kids for advice on insulting people.

            Yes you are right I have no clue yet you are the one who is stupid enough to think that St Louis is trading a 24 year top 10 in the NHL now d man because they will have “cap issues” (which I have just proven is BS). Who does Edmonton have that St Louis could possible want – Centres – nope they have Backes, Lehtera, and Stasney, D men – nope already have a top 10 D man, a great #2, and a #3 that on just about every team is a #2 – Wingers – nope unless they for some reason get sick of having big skilled guys like Steen and Tarasenko. I would love to add that the only three players of value – Hall, Nuge, and RHN have the same cap hit as the guy you want from St Louis, so remind me once again how does that help St Louis who you think is in such cap trouble ? Keep dreaming Oilers fans.

            I will leave you with this piece of advice you know how you get stud d men – DEVELOP THEM, contrary to what people like you dream (and there are a few of you on this board that need to put the pipe down) teams with stud d men do not trade them, why because they realize (just like EVERY NHL TEAM) how few and far between they are.

          • Armchair_Gm

            Boychuck was traded; Chara was traded; Phaneuf was traded; Pronger was traded; Neidermyer was traded; Burns was traded; Byfuglien was traded; Suter was lost to free agency; Sekara was traded; Yandle was traded; Garrison was traded; Bouwmeester was traded; Gonchar was traded; Goligoski was traded; Wiesnewski was traded; Meyers was traded; Bogosian was traded; you’re right though. Teams don’t trade those guys so why even talk about it like it happens? Man I’m glad you and your wisdom are here to lead the rest of us. People on this site have zero hockey knowledge, or decorum; so thank all forms of Jesus you have arrived to show us the way.

            At last Oiler fans! Rejoice! Our savior has come! And he has come with a message simple enough for us to all understand. Do not try, for there is no hope.

          • SSB1963

            There is so much wrong with this comment I won’t even bother. Why you even bothered typing out 80% of the names on that list is a little perplexing. Different situations, vastly inferior players, etc etc

          • Thumby

            I think you’re missing the point as it relates to the Oilers. We do not have the luxury of drafting and developing. Even though guys like Klefbom, Marincin, and Nurse look to be on track. The team needs one of these guys now. Not two or three or four years from now. Contrary to what Jeremy decrees, these guys do in fact get traded now and again. My hope is the Oilers are able to make one of those trades happen over the summer.

            You don’t agree there’s a possibility of that guy being AP… fine, great, point made, I do not care. But please, please try and engage in the idea that Edmonton needs someone, and that maybe there’s someone out there on a team, in a situation, where they might be willing to deal. Who is that guy? What is that team? And what is the realistic deal they make?

          • BobbyCanuck

            I cannot even take your comments seriously after reading this BS – if you think Yandle, Sekera, Garrison, Goligoski, Wisnewski and a older than dirt gonchar are legitimate top nhl d men then you are dumb. NONE of those guys are even in the league of a #1 d man.

            Chara was traded when he was barely a top 4 d man on the island, he left via FA when he was one of the top 5 in the league.

            I would also like to remind you Bogosion and Myers were essentially traded for each other so it was a wash

            Now on to the actual true number 1 d men – How about you address why two of those players were traded (and I am not including Pronger’s first deal because he was a prospect at that time not one of the greatest) – Pronger because St Louis was tits up financially and had to shed salary for survival or else no one was buying them and then for personal issues. Phaneuf was locker room issue as well – none of which exist in St Louis right now, Alex is not railing some broad or teammates better half and St Louis is fairly financially stable.

            Chara was traded when he was barely a top 4 d man on the Island

          • Thumby

            You’re just missing the issue here bud. If you want to win the AP will never be traded to Edmonton argument, great, thumbs up, you have won. That’s not why I’m here. I’m here to look at how the hell a guy like Mac T executes the impossible task of landing a top pair right side veteran D man THIS SUMMER. And that starts with identifying those guys, who the Oilers could realistically take on, and who would be worth paying a good penny for.

            There aren’t many in the league. I think AP is one, I gave reasons why; you disagree with those reasons; I disagree with the reasons you gave for disagreeing. It doesn’t matter. What matters is who are these guys, and how do the Oilers get one of them.

            Also Yandle has been in top five D man scoring for like 6 years in a row playing on a team known for not scoring. In what way is he not a top line D?

          • Phuryous George

            its got nothing to do with his opinion on hockey, and everything to do with his ignorant reply.

            I’m outta this convo for good. Not feeding any more trolls ( not aimed at you SSB)

        • ThinkingOutLoud

          Wow that is the best that you can do, did you think of that all by yourself or did you need to go to the local park to get help with thinking that one up ? if you do not like when a dumb comment like that gets addressed then go kick rocks or better yet play in traffic.

          If you or anyone else thinks St Louis, for example, is trading a stud d man just for the hell of it you and whoever else thinks that needs to have some common sense smacked back into you because you clearly lack it.

          • BobbyCanuck

            The defence looks like it’s in shambles though. Short of pulling Seabrook out of Chicago, or maybe Petriangilo out of St. Louise, there is not a lot of immediate ways MacT is going to fix that shipwreck.

            No that is not what the poster meant, he meant that high end D-men are out there, you just have to be willing to make the deal.

            Seabrook has 1 yr left on his deal in Chicago, perhaps we can dangle 8yrs/$8m per year, and throw in Eberle or Hall. It should be obvious to all but the strongest rose glasses wearers that niether of these players will ever be capable of carrying our team on thier back.

            St Louis may be a better bet, in the sense that after yet another shocking first round exit, they may finally realize that although Defence wins championships, you still need to score the occasional goal, so we may be able to get some of thier D-Men for not as much as we would have to pay a team that has goal scorers up front already

            Or do nothing, just develop and draft, and watch this gong show continue into the next decade

          • bazmagoo

            I think St Louis is doing fine scoring goals remind me again where they are this year, oh yeah the top oilers goal scorer would be St Louis’ 5th best. I would also point out that goal scoring last year was not St Louis’ problem, rather the fact Ryan Miller looked like an Oilers goaltender.

          • Serious Gord

            No they did not, Pronger was traded because St Louis was looking for a buyer and needed to shed salary to make it easier to sell the team, Pronger was the only guy of value because he was a free agent but good try

          • Thumby

            Hmmm, last I looked, having good players made your team worth more but whatever.
            How about Paul coffee then? Norris winner a year before and then bye bye for Craig Simpson.
            All it takes is one Phil kessel or sheldon souray moment by a player and they can be traded.
            If Gretzky could be traded, the best player in the game at the time, then any “regular” top d man today can be too.
            Just my 2 cents.