The GDB 56.0 Wrap Up: Leafs @ Oilers

First time Connor McDavid played against embarrassed his childhood team. Final Score: 5-2 Oilers

Tonight’s game truly was a tank battle for the ages. We had the Edmonton Oilers, who can’t get anything done with four first overall picks on the roster, and the Toronto Maple Leafs, who haven’t been able to get anything done since there were only eight teams in the league. Regardless of who sucks worse (it can be a tight race) games like these have all the sexiness of poo stains in your gonch. As much as it’s fun to beak and chirp back and forth, Oilers and Leafs fans are both in the same miserable boat that seems destined to sink at any minute. 

To start this game, it was the Oilers that looked like they were sinking. The Leafs (read: Marlies) absolutely dominated the play throughout the first period, and badly outshot the Oilers. It was embarrassing to watch. The Leafs were barely icing an NHL roster yet they still found a way to make the Oilers look like they should be relegated somehow. It was only by the grace of Gord that the Oilers picked up their level of play, but that start was unbelievable. I hope the Oilers buy their goalie a drink because if it weren’t for Cam Talbot the Oilers would have been out of this one early.

Fortunately for the Oilers, the Leafs are a much worse hockey team than they are (despite what LeafsNation thinks), and tonight’s game ended the way it should have considering the tanked roster iced by Toronto. First period aside, Edmonton was the better team. They produced chances, capitalized on those chances, and won a game they should have. It just so happened to be a huge bonus that Connor McDavid absolutely lit up the team whose fanbase, likely, wanted him the most last summer. Never have I been so satisfied to lick the sweet and salty tears from the digital faces of Leafs fans.

We wrap.

THE BRIGHT SIDE

Miranda Kerr

  • I loved reading how salty Leafs fans still are about Connor McDavid being an Oiler, and it made my insides happy when he scored two goals (his eighth and ninth) and added three assists to twist the knife even further. He’s an Oiler now and Leafs Twitter should get over it. While I’m at it, you should probably get used to the idea of Stamkos signing literally anywhere else. 
  • Jordan Eberle continues to produce playing next to Connor McDavid as he scored his first career hat trick. The Oilers really pushed for Eberle to get the third goal, and McDavid unselfishly gave him the puck to finish it off in the empty net. 
  • The Pouliot-McDavid-Eberle line was hot fire tonight. Great night for that trio.
  • Brandon Davidson was rock solid again. He defends well, moves the puck better than most, and makes reasonable choices more often than not. It will be very interesting to see how Chiarelli handles his contract situation, this summer. 
  • The power play scored a goal! THE POWER PLAY SCORED A GOAL! They went 1/5 on the night.
  • Cam Talbot was rock solid. If it weren’t for him, the Oilers could have been out of this game in the first period but he kept them in it and gave them a chance to win. Talbot finished the night with 34 saves and a .944 save%. 
  • Have I fawned over Connor McDavid enough? What can you say about a kid that puts up five points in a game? Amazing. Incredible. All around sexy. 

THE FACE PALMERS

OldMan

  • The Oilers were outshot 13-4 in the first period. THIRTEEN TO FOUR! Ridiculous and completely unacceptable.
  • The Leafs ended up outshooting the Oilers 36-35 which is far too many shots for a team that bad.
  • The Oilers had pulled out to a 3-1 lead and they allowed the Leafs to score with under 30 seconds left in the second period. They need to eliminate those goals. They’ve been killing the Oilers all season. 
  • Taylor Hall had a forgettable night to the point where Todd McLellan demoted him to the third line for a little bit. In actuality, the Hall-Draisaitl-Purcell line was fairly quiet for most of the night. 
  • Why can’t the Oilers break out of their own zone? It’s amazing. Their only play is to dump it off the boards and hope to pick it up again. 
  • Nail Yakupov is a man lost at sea right now. He couldn’t get anything going tonight and Todd McLellan played him as such.
  • Darnell Nurse took a couple of semi bad penalties in the second period after losing position on his man. He’ll figure it out as he plays more games, but you’d have to think that Todd McLellan will mention it.
  • The Oilers took way too many penalties (five) and they were lucky that the Leafs’ power play is worse than their own. 

SCORING SUMMARY

1ST PERIOD
03:29 EDM Connor McDavid (8) Wrist shot – ASST: Benoit Pouliot (17), Jordan Eberle (14) 1 – 0 EDM
08:06 TOR Josh Leivo (2) Wrist shot – ASST: Martin Marincin (1) 1 – 1 Tie
2ND PERIOD
06:25 EDM Jordan Eberle (16) Wrist shot – ASST: Connor McDavid (13), Benoit Pouliot (18) 2 – 1 EDM
18:36 EDM PPG – Jordan Eberle (17) Wrist shot – ASST: Connor McDavid (14), Andrej Sekera (14) 3 – 1 EDM
19:45 TOR Jake Gardiner (5) Backhand shot – ASST: Leo Komarov (17), Brad Boyes (10) 3 – 2 EDM
3RD PERIOD
13:55 EDM Connor McDavid (9) Snap shot – ASST: Benoit Pouliot (19), Mark Fayne (2) 4 – 2 EDM
19:06 EDM EN – Jordan Eberle (18) Backhand shot – ASST: Connor McDavid (15), Benoit Pouliot (20) 5 – 2 EDM

BEST OF THE TWEETS

Be sure to tweet at @OilersNation and @jsbmbaggedmilk for your chance to land in Best of the Tweets. Talk to me, Twitter.

THE NORTH X NORTHGRETZ PODCAST

Live from the #NationSkiTrip in Jasper! This week the boys are joined by a very special guest, one of the ORIGINAL Oilersnation commenters The Towel Boy! They talk about the return of Connor McDavid, expectations for the rest of the season, how much fun they’re having in Jasper, share some old school Oilersnation memories, and much, much more!

As always you can follow North x NorthGretz on FacebookTwitter and Instagram, and subscribe to the podcast on ITunes

PREVIOUS EPISODES

  • geeker99

    everyone saying dont trade ebs has it backwards. this is exactly when you trade ebs. everyone knows buy low sell high but no one ever wants to trade guys when theyre playing well. get a dman already

    • I heard that Chicago, la, Tampa, Montreal, Ottawa, and Nashville are all desperately trying to offload their top defensemen for players that everyone in Edmonton insists are busts.

      I like that every canned lager swilling douche in Alberta could fleece the top gm’s in the nhl for a Norris trophy caliber defensemen.

  • bazmagoo

    All of the old “core” should be trade bait, but if we aren’t being offered comparable value then we shouldn’t rush into a bad deal for the sake of change. I think it’s possible to keep them all for the next two seasons and sign some short term free agents on defence to become more competitive.

    Klefbom, Nurse, and Davidson will all be a year older next season. Ference, Schultz, Nikitin and possibly Gryba will be gone and off the books. Sekera is a keeper, and Fayne is a reasonable 7th d-man which is unfortunate because of his salary, but manageable. The way I see it we have two spots to fill. Free agency or trade, or a miracle like Reinhart becoming an NHL dman, I don’t care how it’s done – as long as it’s done.

    Dan Hamhuis and Dan Boyle come to mind, but I’m sure Oilersnation will trash those suggestions, lol.

    • OILFANMEXICO

      We have a huge problem, we have Sekera,Nurse,Davidson,Reinhardt and Klefbom all on our Left defence. They all can’t stay unless you move them to the right side, which isn’t ideal. I hope Chiarelli packages one of them with another player for a #1 Defenceman, such as Hamonic (NYI wants a D-man back).

      Not sure a Yak and Reinhardt or Davidson gets you Hamonic, but worth a shot….Shultz sure wont.

      • OILFANMEXICO

        Uhhhh… Yak for Hamonic? Don’t think so. If they can even get a second round pick for Yak I’ll be floored. I think the Hamonic deal starts with Eberle, and will likely also include a dman like Davidson also, they’re not taking Reihart back because they just traded him to the Oilers.

        • OILFANMEXICO

          If you read my post, i said Yak AND a player. Your probably right they won’t take back Reinhardt, but losing Hamonic changes their D-man depth, so ya never know(they liked Reinhardt before). I think Ebs is an over payment for Hamonic. Shattenkirk 100%, but not Hamonic. I’ll take an offensive #1 D-man all day long over a stay at home #1.

  • Kevwan

    24 points in 19 games.

    If he continues at that rate Connor will score 57 points in 47 games. Did someone say ROY?

    Watching Connor chase the Calder makes the rest of the season worth watching.

  • Time Travelling Sean

    I’m just going to say that I didn’t think Hall was invisible.

    He did create chances and had some pretty good shifts with Letestu and Kassian, who were invisible without him, I thought, which I think speaks to how Hall can carry a line and move it in the right direction.

  • bazmagoo

    Not game changers, but when you have Clune and Polack taking runs at McDavid,Oiler role players,Kassian, and Hendricks did not register a single hit during the game. Seems to me Kassian only shows up when he feels like.Has disappeared in the last several games, but then again the entire 3 and 4 lines rarely show up.

    Lander, Korpokski,Letestu,Pakarienin, get rid of this garbage.

  • Dolby

    Not sure I understand that when we are missing half our top six, injuries are no excuse for losing. Then when we beat an injury depleted team all of a sudden it’s only because they are missing players.

    I am pretty sure no other team gave a crap that we were missing players when we were losing half of the games this season.

    I guess some people are just never happy no matter the outcome.

  • CMG30

    Nice win by the Oil, though the 1st period was shaky… Still, kind of makes up for the turd they laid last time the met Toronto. Icing on the cake that it was McDavid (they player they thought they were entitled to) that drove the knife in!

    At this point Yak is currently the front runner on the latest edition of ‘who’s most expendable.’

    Eberle and McDavid clearly have chemistry. So much so that even if other teams come knocking on Chirelli’s door, I doubt he can be moved at this point (barring an insane offer). The Oil are going to keep this pair together for the rest of the season to really be sure because having someone who strongly complements McDavid is the most important part of the current rebuild. Of course, anyone can score playing with McDavid but so far Eberle has been a clear cut above just anyone. The things he does really well, (stick handle in tight spaces and bury chances) are the exact skills that are needed to play alongside McDavid.

    On only needs to look at the gaping hole left by the absence of RNH to realize that swapping one hole for another is a sideways move at best. In order to build a team, you need to add not swap. In that vein, the big bargaining chips this summer for Chia to fix the defense start with the 1st rounder and probably end with Yak.

  • OILFANMEXICO

    So TH gets benched a few games ago, he then gets moved to the third line last night. He is in the top group for scoring, yet I have to watch JS every night do his best impression of a pylon and set up the other team scoring chances.
    Punish the good – reward the terrible?!? How does this make sence to the team? What is the message they are sending?
    Produce and suck – we will bench you. Don’t produce and suck you can play 25 minutes a night

  • Well with Byfuglin off the market, and maybe even Yandle headed out before the trade deadline. I predict Oilers get Hamonic in the off season, and sign UFA Yannick Weber over the summer.

    It could be likely one of the left side D men the Oilers have ends up going for Hamonic. As even though I like em all, I just don’t think you can have success with:

    Sekera, Klefbom, Nurse, Davidson, Reinheart, Laleggia, Legasson all on the left.

    But if they do stay, then

    Sekera Hamonic

    Klefbom Webber

    Davidson Clendening / Fayne / Gryba could be ok for next year.

      • That’s not a bad idea. If Chi can get Okposo under contract as a UFA, then that makes one of the RW a trade asset to land someone like Shattenkirk. I think Shattenkirk could more likely get traded for a forward over Hamonic.

        My only issue with Shattenkirk is his injury trouble. At the NHL level he only has 2 full NHL seasons out of 7. He’s the Hemsky of Defencemen.

        I think the Blues know that as well and are trying to sell high on a guy who will likely sit half a season for any team going forward.

        The Oilers have terrible luck when it comes to injuries and D men. Remember Ryan Whitney his first 20 games as an Oiler, then he took that ankle injury. Or how about Souray. That guy was never the same again.

        Hamonic seems a lot more durable.

  • notarealdoctor

    It was an alright game. D still has too many Holes. 25 took some stupid Penalties. Wonder how the game would have ended if the Laughs weren’ t so depleted. They’ve had a bunch on IR or traded during the week.

  • OILFANMEXICO

    I’m not sure Eberle is the guy we should be moving. He is tied for the goal lead on the team, he’s great in the shoot-out, has the best hand, barring perhaps McD. Why rush a guy like him out the door when you have guys like Yak, Schultz, and a handful of others. Eberle actually played his best game of the season last night, and not just because he got 3 goals…he also won some battles, skated hard, had confidence with the puck, and looked happy. All those things can make a guy the player he was supposed to be in the first place…and happy is right near the top for all these guys who are underachieving.

  • S cottV

    Eberle’s stock value – one way (trade) or the other (don’t trade), has certainly complicated things.

    Jury is still out, as to whether that line can continue the magic, with any consistency vs top end – physical teams.

    Too bad Nuge is hurt, because you would like to look at as many line options as possible, before pulling any trade deadline triggers.

    In the meantime – I think we can draw a few conclusions.

    Yak – is in trouble with respect to an Oiler future. Even most YakCity advocates, would have to admit that playing him with McD – makes no sense. You don’t do that to who will likely become the worlds best hockey player, to save a few bucks. Not nearly enough hockey IQ to hang with McD.

    Purcell – should go. The magic with that line has disappeared. PC ought to do it – sooner than later, while Purcell is still perceived to have some rental value.

    With the way Hall perked up with Letestu and mostly Kassian, I would put Hall / Drai and Kassian together. Kassian would help with rugged possession and a big time improvement in net presence. I think this would help Hall by simplifying things. Kassian goes to the blue paint. Hall and Drai – dangle only as much as is needed to take the puck to the net, which would never be a bad play with Kassian causing blue paint havoc. Allows Hall to continue pounding square pegs in round holes, with production coming in the form of fugly goals.

  • As a kid growing up in southern ont. I am unfortunately a closet leafs fan by birth. Having lived in Edmonton for 15 years I am an Oilers fan by choice. Last night a crappy hockey team for nearly 40years played a crappy hockey team for 10years. One is an absolute financial juggernaut……..I hope the oilers players looked and saw the ghost of Christmas future last night and make the appropriate changes. If doing this leads Katz to owning a franchise like the leafs…….he is delighted with the progress.

    • Smytysmullett

      As long as Katz has the loyal tier 1 fans, and filling his pockets with money.He does’nt give a $h!t about the team winning or losing. Getting CM saved him from losing his shirt on his oilers investment. They run it as a business first. We are the customers who can choose wether we want to support it or not..If they don’t make it happen this off-season I firmly believe all the non koolaid drinkers will finally had enough and walk away. IMO

    • Randaman

      That is a fair argument although who do you propose trading to improve the #1/2 D positions.

      I can’t get over the love affair this fan base has for a core that has failed. Yes, they have failed due to management not surrounding them with quality veterans but 6M contracts tend to limit the ability to get this done.

      One of Hall, Eberle or Nuge have to and will be traded. Personally, Nuge would have the most value in my mind.

      I think this doesn’t happen until summer unless someone makes an offer that can’t be refused but GM’s seem to have come to their senses for the most part.

      Tough call but finishing in the bottom 5 has to end this season and Chirelli didn’t cause this mess. He will however not be afraid to step outside the box to get something done.

      By the way, Yak has no value whatsoever. I was at the game last night and he is completely lost. Even Davidson was lecturing him on poor positioning more than once after a failed breakout due to poor positioning.

      My take

  • “Core is a failure, trade Hall, no Nuge, no Eberle, no Nurse! Yak will never cover the bet. We need better goal tending. Why can’t we have Petry back.”

    So, another year out of the playoffs for the decade long stretch. I understand we were all fed up like 8 seasons ago. But please try and have a memory a little longer than a week and a half.

    Out of the playoffs, and it’s Chi’s first summer after being able to evaluate the team. While we all had hope of making the playoffs or at least progressing, I think two things everyone seems to be forgetting are beguiling your judgment.

    Thing one: If your measure of progress was an improvement in standings, then the way the NHL has shaken out is going to leave you dissapointed. If, however you are looking at an improvement of points, underlying metrics, goal differential, then good news for you. I think the one big area the team has failed is the power play.

    Thing two: Again, I don’t know why everyone is forgetting this, the team is still number one in the league for man games lost due to injury. If you go back and look at the number one team in this category year after year, you will find a team in the bottom of the standings. Last year was Columbus. No team, no matter how deep, is going to be successful in the season when they lead the league in man games lost, especially when those players are as crucial as the ones the Oilers had out.

    Only FIVE players on the team have played more than 50 games. For comparison, in Calgary 9 players have 50 games or more, league leading Washington has 12 – more than double the Oilers.

    Question, if McDavid alone had a full season, how many more of those one goal games the Oilers lost, turn into wins or at least overtime losses? 4? 7? 9? How many extra points just to the Oilers, let alone points that don’t go to other teams is that? Say Mcdavid helps the Oilers win 5 more games, which I think is a pretty conservative number. That 10 extra points puts the Oilers in 17th overall before factoring in points taken away from those teams they would have beaten.

    Everyone is so concerned with trading away pieces of the team because the team ‘clearly’ stinks. But no one is acknowledging they haven’t actually seen this team play yet. None of us have seen even one single game where Nuge, Drai, McDavid, Hall, Eberle, Yak, Pouliot, Klefbom, Sekera, Nurse, Davidson, and Talbot were all in the same game. Not once.

    So before you talk about the core of the team being rotten and how no one is untouchable, shouldn’t you at least watch a game where the entire core of the team plays?

    Sorry for long post.

    • S cottV

      I would agree – the record is no particular big deal under the circumstances.

      I had no illusions that the Oilers would make the playoffs this year. I’m sure with a normal injury factor, the team would be several or more points ahead of where we’re at.

      That being said – change has to occur for other reasons.

      The salary cap is gonna become a factor.

      The team is not built to succeed in the Western Conference. Unless the right changes are made, what we have is probably destined to be a slightly plus .500 hockey club.

      PC has not realized his vision of bigger and harder to play against.

      We have too many small – mostly skills oriented forwards and not enough high end d corps talent.

      We need at least 1 high end rh d man.

      We have 3 high end or prospective high end – LH centremen and eventual cap room for two. Either someone has to go or one has to be capable of playing top 6 LW.

      We don’t have a proper 3 or 4c.

      We got Shultz.

      We got Yak – who is not gonna be in top 6 and who is the furthest thing from what you want in 3 or 4 RW.

      The bottom 6 needs work in general.

      Etc etc…

      Don’t kid yourself. There is a lot of revamp work to be done, regardless of the injury factor.

      I wouldn’t underestimate – what it’s gonna take to turn this thing into a contender.

      • I do agree with many of these points, but to be reactionary about players and saying they need to be traded because of another year out of the playoffs is weird. To say that without acknowledging the injury woes seems crazy.

        I agree we need one more top four if not two more top four right side D. If not one top 2 right side D and one top four guy.

        I am inclined to disagree the team is not built to succeed in the west. Chicago is built to succeed in the west and they do not play the way the Kings do. The Blues are also built to succeed and they are not the monster team they used to be. In fact, they get most of their scoring from… small skilled forwards.

        I too see the cap issues looming, which is why I think it’s strange a guy like Yak doesn’t fit in the top six. At his cap hit and what you might be able to sign him for long term, and what he was able to produce with McDavid, I would say that’s almost exactly what you need in your top six.

        Go put Eberle down with Letestu and Hendricks and see how much offense he creates.

        As for being a heavy team, well, Draisaitl, Kassian, Pouliot, Hendricks, Nurse, Klefbom, Gryba, Davidson, and down the way likely Shlepyshev and maybe either Pitlick or Chase. Not to mention McDavid and Hall are not small guys.

        This is not the Hemsky era team anymore.

        • S cottV

          When I say not built for success in the West, it’s a combination of size, hard to play against, imbalanced line up, redundancy in the line up, holes in the line up, full implementation of a 2 way system of play etc.

          You don’t have to be big to be hard to play against.

          I would consider Patrick Kane to be very hard to play against – as one example.

          I would consider Nail Yakupov to be very easy to play against – as an Oiler example. Both guys are probably similar in size.

          I know you are big on Yakupov – buy holy, Will – some guys just can’t play this game, despite being able to skate, stickhandle and shoot.

  • geeker99

    If they are not planning on trading Ebs then they should move him off Connor’s wing. it’s a no brainer that tandem works. put someone there that you are planning on dealing. on another website was quite annoyed on how many people want to deal Nurse. no even 60 games in and they want to off load a future captain. 21 years old and might be the only one with a set on the team.

  • OILFANMEXICO

    @Will . I think the Oilers for a few years now are top 10 in games lost to injury.To me that speaks volumes, that our team is too weak, small, out of position and on and on. We can’t continue “hoping” for a healthy team. We need to build a team that has proven they are not injury prone and either has the size,skill or knowledge to play the game and avoid injuries(fluke injuries aside). Our players are out of position a lot and it’s costing us. Even if we could have a healthy team, you would be looking over your shoulder for the hockey gods-REAPER to curse us. Time to do things different, because what we are doing, IS NOT WORKING.

    Every single day i pray for some major trades.

    • “Freak injuries aside”, So Yak being hauled down by linseman, McDavid being hauled down by falling Philly players, Nuge taking a puck to the knuckle, and Klefbom getting a STAFF INFECTION are what, not knowing how to play the position?

      I will grant you that in the last decade I don’t think the Oilers had a very good injury and recovery program. It sounded more like, suck it up, was their recovery program.

      However, you are perfectly illustrating my point that due to the horrendous combination of bad asset management, inept coaching, poor timing for player performance to decline, poorly timed injuries to key players, over the last 9 years, us Oiler fans now deem the team this year terrible?

      Yes our defence is bad, but I’m not sure how much that is going to matter when all our forwards are healthy and playing at the same time. Maybe our D is bad, but is that a reflection of the core or is that a reflection of how bad they miss Klefbom?

      I just don’t think any team can be accurately judged with this much injury to key guys. If in Dallas they lost Klinburg, Seguin, Spezza, Sharp, and hell, Hemsky for large stretches of the year, do you think they would be where they are? Do you think the fan base would be saying, clearly the Seguin trade has not worked, let’s trade him for help on D?

      Because that is the parallel right now. Oilers lost Klefbom, McDavid, Nuge, Eberle, and Yak, who I would put side by side with those stars players any day.

  • S cottV

    I think it’s part anomaly.

    Part – a temporary kick in the head, or “shock and awe” factor, surrounding the re-emergence of McD.

    Part – that Hall is forcing things, due to internal competitive pressure, even more than normal – which isn’t working.

    Part – McClellan is riding the hotter of the two lines with primo ice and pp time.

    Part – that in some of the games or parts of certain games, they didn’t have to score – as opposed to being more concerned about preserving a lead.

    Part – it probably time for a change. I would go with Hall / Drai / Kassian