Oilers and the NHL are much different

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The Edmonton Oilers are in a much better position today than they were on December 23rd, 2014, but they aren’t the only team who looks at the standings and feels significantly different than last year.

The Oilers enter the Christmas break with 32 points (15-18-2) in their first 35 games, a massive improvement from this time last season when the Oilers had 21 points (7-21-7) in 35 games and were 20 points out of a playoff spot.

The NHL has played 516 games, 42% of the season, and at Christmas break in 2014 they had played 514 games (41.8%). The Oilers are a better team and their positioning in the league mirrors their play.

They are 22 points behind the league-leading Dallas Stars (54 pts). They were 30 points behind the Anaheim (51pts) last season. A 26.7% improvement.

They are three points behind the eighth place Vancouver and Colorado (35 points), Van is third in the Pacific so that is the final playoff spot, and last season Edmonton was 20 points behind the eighth place LA Kings — a stunning 85% improvement.

Many suggest the Oilers are only in the race because the Pacific division is weaker, and while that is true, the parity in the NHL is much more apparent this season compared to last year.

Last year, nine teams had 45+ points at Christmas, five in the East and four in the West.

Ducks: 51                                     Penguins: 49

Blackhawks: 48                             Islanders: 46

Predators: 46                               Canadiens: 46

Blues:  45                                     Lightning:   46

                                                    Red Wings: 45

This season only three teams have 46+ points: Stars (54), Capitals (52) and Blues (46).

Chicago and the Rangers have 44, NYI and Montreal have 43, while Minnesota, Boston, Florida and Los Angeles each have 42.

At the other end of the standings, the Ducks (30 )and Blue Jackets (29) are the only teams with 30 points of less compared to 2014 when four teams were under 30: Buffalo (29), Arizona had (28), Carolina (24) and Edmonton (21).

Essentially there are no Hurricanes or Oilers this season, thus the playoff gap is closer.

Here is a comparison from this year to last for all 30 teams on December 23rd.

2015

GP 

GF

GA

P


2014

GP 

GF

GA

P

Point difference 

 Dallas Stars

35

124 

88

54

 Dallas Stars

33

95

113 

33

21

 Washington Capitals

33

105

71

52

 Washington Capitals

34

99

90

40 

12

 Edmonton Oilers

35

91

106 

32

 Edmonton Oilers

35

75

121

21

11

 New Jersey Devils

35

83

87

39

 New Jersey Devils

36

78

104

31

8

 Carolina Hurricanes

34

80

101

31

 Carolina Hurricanes

34

70

93

24

7

 Minnesota Wild

33

91

80

42

 Minnesota Wild

32

93

89

35

7

 Arizona Coyotes

33

90

104

34

 Arizona Coyotes

34

80

112

28

6

 Ottawa Senators

35

105

104

40

 Ottawa Senators

34

90

94

34

6

 Florida Panthers

35

95

81

42

 Florida Panthers

32

73

82

38

4

 New York Rangers

36

104

93

44

 New York Rangers

32

97

83

40

4

 Boston Bruins

33

104

85

42

 Boston Bruins

35

91

91

39

3

 Buffalo Sabres

34

79

89

32

 Buffalo Sabres

35

69

115

29

3

 Philadelphia Flyers

34

74

92

37

 Philadelphia Flyers

34

97

101

34

3

 Colorado Avalanche

35

99

97

35

 Colorado Avalanche

34

90

101

34

1

 Los Angeles Kings

33

84

76

42

 Los Angeles Kings

35

97

88

41

1

 St. Louis Blues

36

92

85

46

 St. Louis Blues

34

100 

86

45

1

 Columbus Blue Jackets 

36

88

112

29

 Columbus Blue Jackets

33

80

107

31

-2

 Montreal Canadiens

36

105

89

43

 Montreal Canadiens

35

95

84

46

-3

 New York Islanders

35

96

82

43

 New York Islanders

34

105

94

46

-3

 Chicago Blackhawks

36

96

87

44

 Chicago Blackhawks

35

107

72

48

-4

 Detroit Red Wings

34

89

89

41

 Detroit Red Wings

35

100

87

45

-4

 Calgary Flames

34

91

113

34

 Calgary Flames

36

104

98

39

-5

 Nashville Predators

34

90

86

40

 Nashville Predators

33

95

70

46

-6

 San Jose Sharks

34

93

94

36

 San Jose Sharks

35

99

90

43

-7

 Vancouver Canucks

36

91

103

35

 Vancouver Canucks

33

99

91

42

-7

 Tampa Bay Lightning

35

87

82

37

 Tampa Bay Lightning

36

117

96

46

-9

 Winnipeg Jets

34

92

104

32

 Winnipeg Jets

35

88

81

43

-9

 Toronto Maple Leafs

33

86

93

31

 Toronto Maple Leafs

35

118

102

43

-12

 Pittsburgh Penguins

33

76

84

35 

 Pittsburgh Penguins

34

108

80

49

-14

 Anaheim Ducks

33

62

85

30

 Anaheim Ducks

36

104

98

51

-21

The Stars (+21), Capitals (+12) and Oilers (+11) have improved the most, while the Ducks (-21), Penguins (-14) and Leafs (-12) have lost the most points.

QUICK HITS…

  • Twelve of the 13 teams with the biggest drop in points had 42 or more points last season. There is no Buffalo or Edmonton in the league this year and it has created even more parity.
  • The Dallas Stars have made improvements everywhere. They were -18 in GF/GA ratio at this time last season, but are now +36. A whopping 54 goal difference. Wow.
  • The Oilers were -46 last season, but are now -15. The Flames were +6 last season, but are -22 so far this year, which is why they are only two points apart.
  • The Ducks have scored 42 fewer goals. The Penguins’ and Leafs’ offence is struggling, down 32 goals, while the Lightning are 30 goals behind last year’s pace.
  • Here are some individuals who have had significant point increases comparing this season to last year prior to December 23rd..

    Draisaitl +23 points. He’s only played 25 games thus far but has 9-21-30 compared to 2-5-7 in 34 games last year.

    Klingberg +22. He only played 19 games prior to Christmas, 3-7-10, but he has 5-27-32 this season.
    Hall +18
    (21 to 39, he missed four games last year)
    Benn +16
    (30 to 46)
    Hoffman +16
    (16 to 32)
    Karlsson +15
    (23 to 38)
    Kane +14 (36 to 50)

  • Some of the biggest drop in points come from some of the league’s best.

    Voracek -23. He had 46 points last year but only has 23 in 2015.
    Getzlaf -19
    (20 from 39 and only one goal, an empty netter)
    Kessel -18 (20 from 38)
    Crosby -15
    (22 from 37)
    Hudler -14
    (19 from 33)
    Giroux -13
    (28 from 41)
    Stamkos -11
    (25 from 36)
    Foligno -11
    (19 from 30)
    T.Johnson -26. He’s only played 23 games (4-7-11) this year, but he had 13-24-37 last Christmas.

  •  I wish all of you a very Merry Christmas. Thanks for reading the Nation and for always supporting my charitable endeavours.

FINAL DAY: MONTH OF GIVING

A massive thank you to AG for his unreal bid of $9,000 yesterday on the dinner package at Vivo Ristorante with Ryan Smyth and Matt Hendricks. We have raised $79,050 thus far, and we will surpass $80,000 in only 17 days. AWESOME.

Package #1

Chop Logo - Colour NEW

  • Dinner for 8 at Jason Gregor’s home catered by Chop Steakhouse.
  • It will be a 
    five-course dinner with wine pairings as well as special hand crafted
    cocktails.  We will personalize the menu to the guest’s tastes.
  • Chef Jonathan Ruby will prepare all of the food.
    He has worked at some of the best restaurants in the world. His most recent
    is Le Bernardin with Chef Eric Ripert.
  • Brad German will be doing the wine and cocktails, 
  • Your party of eight will be picked up and driven home by Blue Sky Limos.

You can bid by calling 780.444.1260 or text 101260 between 2-6 p.m. today.

Package #2

I have had many listeners and readers mention they would love to donate, but usually the bidding gets to high. So today we have do a fun draw. I will take fifteen donations of $100. Those 15 people will be in a draw and the winner will win:

  • Four gold seats to the Oilers/ Ducks game on New Years Eve. Section 120, row 15.
  • Includes a parking pass.

At 2 p.m. I will announce on my show on TSN 1260 how people can enter.

Thanks in advance. 100% of donations go to towards The Christmas Bureau and MS Society.

Recently by Jason Gregor:  

  • Randaman

    RNH may be a 3rd line center with the Oil soon, but might be a 1st line in Nashville. Jones is a 2nd pair D in Nashville but would be 1st pair with the Oil. That is what makes this thought so interesting.

  • Makaveli

    I’ve check tsn. I’ve checked sportsnet…. Maybe I missed something…. But no where can I find a possible oilers/preditors trade….. What are you guys talking about?!

    The oilers have their future top 3 d locked up in nurse, klefbom and sekera. Wouldn’t it make more sense to strengthen your bottom 6 forwards and your 3rd 4th d pairings?

    • Harry2

      Elliotte Friedman reported that NSH inquired about RNH.

      I think Edm is a right handed top pairing guy away from having a very good dcore.

      Nurse – (dman) Klef – Sekera Davidson – Gryba

      If they wait for Nurse and Klefbom Edmonton will be waisting another year of Mc’s elc next year. I have a feeling Chiarelli wants to improve the dcore

      • The Last Of Barrett's Privateers

        Take a minute and ask yourself “how does Friedman get his information” who’s putting this RNH for Jones out there to the media?

        If you look hard enough the only people who lose in this is Nashville..

        They know they can’t protect Jones, there’s a great chance he won’t even sign a bridge deal with what they can offer him, they have other priority players to sign.

        So they float a bogus trade to the MSM to stir up interest.

        Nashville has to decide if they want money tied up in just defence or have a balance.

        This is why Jones is being offered up now so they don’t lose him in the summer for nothing.

        • Harry2

          They won’t lose Jones for nothing while he’s rfa they will qualify him and if someone does happen to offer sheet him it’s up to them to decide to match or not

          • The Last Of Barrett's Privateers

            They have to sign.

            A third line centre.

            They have to find a goalie

            They have 5 forwards they have to qualify and two they absolutely MUST sign

            They have 3 defensmen they have to qualify.

            They are sitting at 56 million without any of these signings.

            Nashville is a budget team that has to sit around 65 million..

            That’s ten to twelve million to sign 10 players…..

          • Speed Junky

            A backup goalie behind rinne . The 3 defensman are second or third pairing 3rd line center they can get for cheap forsberg and Jones are the interesting contracts they will just bring up prospects or sign guys on the cheap.

          • HockeyYoda

            They would get picks if they choose to not match Jones and I don’t think they are in cap trouble anyways. Sure they pay weber and rinne a lot but not much else

  • The Last Of Barrett's Privateers

    I’m happy to see improvement expressed in statistics and by watching the team play. What does chap my tookus is the lame D corps with the obvious exceptions of Davidson, Nurse, Klefbom and Sekera (of late).

    I am not sold on Chia’s-pets like Gryba, Korpikoski and Letestu. I don’t see their value at all. Letestu on the PP? Give me a break. He has cement hands. I do think Chia needs time to fill in the knowledge gap to decide who stays and who goes.

    Lastly, I think the right coaching staff is in charge. I think the core of ‘keepers’ will get wrapped around a much more solid support group.

    I think Taylor Hall is the next captain because he has established a resolute determination to turn himself and this team around. That keeps the heat off of 18 yr old McDavid giving time for growth without excessive pressure.

  • Anton CP

    “The Oilers enter the Christmas break with 32 points (15-18-2) in their first 35 games, a massive improvement from this time last season when the Oilers had 21 points (7-21-7) in 35 games”.

    A massive improvement perhaps.

    It’ll take much more just to secure spot #8 going into April?

    Can it be done this season?

    I say not before 2017.

    I guess MacT was right with his “next year will be another developmental year”.

  • Anton CP

    Different coaches and emphasis in style of play from last season is evident in teams play . Certain players have adapted well , while the odd ones are still adjusting to up their games . For the most part , the increase in points is mainly attributed to last years players playing better .

  • a lg dubl dubl

    So trading RNH will leave the center depth like this

    McDavid

    Drai

    Lander

    Letestu

    Then what? That’s right, not much.

    Unless PC can add better centres than Lander or Letestu in the off season in FA, I don’t see Nuge getting traded anytime soon.

    Now Ebs ++ for a top 2 dman I could see.

      • a lg dubl dubl

        But that still leaves McDavid who will be 19 and Drai(21) as the top 2 centres. We all know how that worked out the last time the Oilers tried to do that.

        At least RNH has 5 years experience. I’d have no problem moving either Nuge or Drai to the wing to keep “the core” in the top 6, and when injuries happen one can slide over if needed.

        I hope PC is smart enough to keep the centre depth that he does have, as is for now.

        Ebs ++ is the way to go to get a top 2 dman

        • Harry2

          I would rather trade Eberle aswell but he wont get you a top 2 dman.

          Edm needs a defenceman so badly its crazy.

          Yes LD and McD are young but I think they are very capable of holding down the top 2 center positions. Especially with an improved dcore.

          • Max Powers - Team HME Evans

            You’re view that Drai and McD are “very capable of holding down the top 2 centre positions” is crazy.

            1) Defense. McD is out of this world, but he isn’t a defensive stalwart yet – he has some learning to do at the NHL level, best to allow that behind an experienced C. Drai is also not a defensive stalwart yet and though he has shown lots of improvement he is still learning. Nuge is one of the best all-around C’s in the league and has played against the NHLs best since his second year and done very well. Sure, he may only break the 60pt plateau a few times in his career or never, I don’t remember the last time Jonathan Toews was the top of the league in scoring. Not saying Nuge is Toews, saying you don’t have to score the most to be one of the better C’s in the league.

            2) Age. Why would you want your top 2 C’s in their first and second years? Especially after watching rookie saviours every year on the Oilers. Think about that, new NHL players hit rough patches. Nuge is almost a “veteran” on this team, the Oilers haven’t had an elite veteran C in years, Horcoff doesn’t count. Nuge is elite, no question. Vets are consistent, young players and rookies are not.

            3) Injury. Sure McD as 1C and Drai as 2C looks great on paper. Say Drai or McD blocks a shot and breaks an ankle, now what? Lander as 2C? Letestu? Can the Oilers still be a playoff team with one of them at 2C for an extended period of time.

            You keep all three. Play them how you like, 1C,2C,3C or move one to the wing but for the first time in forever the Oilers have centre depth and you want to trade it away?

          • Harry2

            If they were going to trade him, I’d guess it happens in the off-season. Then they can add a centre through the UFA market. It’s always been tough to add a 1C through the UFA market. They are not looking for a 1C; they have Drai and McDavid. They are looking for a 3C with size and can win faceoffs, and he will probably cost less than $6m.

            It really only makes sense if they can get a quality return for Nuge.

          • Harry2

            Your points are all valid and I would disagree if I could. My question would then be how do you fix the defence? Even with Nurse Sekera and Klef Edm is still bottom 5 in goals allowed

  • dougtheslug

    I did a quick run through NHL rosters, for the record there are about 27 centers who have scored 50+ points in each of the last 5 years(pro-rating the lock out year). The analysis is somewhat imprecise as some players switch between center and wing, I stuck with what the roster listed a palyer as. I also included a few players who didn’t achieve the last 5 year mark due to an injury year, but have achieved something like 10 out of 11 years (Datsyuk would be one of these).

  • The Last Of Barrett's Privateers

    Even if they wanna be at the cap floor next year they still have 8 mill to play with. If someone does decide to sign Jones for some stupid weber contract they will probably be okay with the four first round picks

  • smith

    I wonder if you could move RNH and a couple pieces to get a good defenceman and a decent 3rd line centre. Could you get Wilson and Jones? Hamonic and Lee? Shattenkirk and Berglund? Fowler and Santorelli? Byfuglien and Lowry?

    • Harry2

      Yes on buff because he’s a ufa at the end of the year the rest it would depend what your plus was. And I would say absolutely no chance on shatenkirk without a big plus

  • Max Powers - Team HME Evans

    I think they will trade Jones or Ellis for a cheap forward but I don’t think they are forced to if they don’t find a deal they like.

    • The Last Of Barrett's Privateers

      Ask Boston if there hand was forced to trade Hamilton…..What team forced that hand again?

      So much so Boston traded Hamilton to the arch rival for less…

      Trades are at a priemum and parady is at an all time high, those 3rd line centres are a primium player, those 2nd pairing defensmen are what we’re talking about trading RNH for.

      What’s the going rate to replace those players?

      On the cheap that’s 3 million and that’s ultra conservative, that leaves 8 million to sign two priemum players while somehow avoiding an O/S.

      Those RFA’s Nashville have to sign are not cheap, again this is a budget team with over ten players to sign and replace.

      Nashville has no choice to trade Jones or Forsberg, trading Ellis doesn’t stop an offer sheet.

      I wonder, why hasn’t Nashville locked up these two priemum players then?

  • The Last Of Barrett's Privateers

    Too many emotional attachments to Oilers player. So keep RNH and maitain the status quo is ok with some of you?

    Nuge + for Jones is a steal. Don’t say Jones is unproven. All of you were hard for Dougie Hamilton last summer and Jones already is infinitely better. He’s going to be better than Weber and sooner rather than later. Chris Pronger without the baggage.

    Newsflash: Ryan Johansen is also available and if Nashville is looking for a centre, I would bet that Johansen has more value around the league than RNH. If Nashville wants Nuge, pull the damn trigger.

  • The Last Of Barrett's Privateers

    The Oilers will have 29 games against divisional rivals (4 vs Sharks, 5 vs the rest).

    They’ve only played 8 of those 29 and they’re 4-4-0.

    Those 21 games are what, in my eyes, have the greatest affect on whether they make the playoffs or not.

    5 of those 21 games will occur this week, the 8 days following Boxing Day.

    It’s easily the most important week of the season!

    Maybe, the most important week in the past 5-6 years?