Last Night’s Good, Bad, and Ugly

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The Oilers might have lost the game against the Canucks last night, but this wasn’t really about wins or losses. This game was about seeing where Reinhart and Caggiula stood, and it was about the Lucic – McDavid – Eberle combination. Those were really the three focal points of the match for the Oilers. Let’s start with the good before we move on to the bad and the ugly.

GOOD

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This one is reserved for Drake Caggiula. The smallish college free agent who had perhaps flown under the radar to some casual observers has really done everything he could at this time to win a spot. It’s only the third game of the preseason and there’s a long way to go, but Caggiula has excelled playing with a variety of Edmonton’s skilled forwards. He looked great with Lucic and Eberle in game one, then followed it up with a two goal performance between Maroon and Versteeg in game three.

Caggiula finished the game with the highest Corsi For % on the team at 68%. On Monday against the Flames he had the highest Corsi For % on the team as well (a whopping 91%). He’s producing and keeping the puck moving in the right direction. He made several creative plays that showed the level of confidence he has. I particularly enjoyed some area passes in the offensive zone that made their way to the high slot where only an Oiler player could have received it.

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It’s too early to say he should be the 3C of the team so Draisaitl can play RW, but he’s at least still in the running for that job.

BAD

Milan Lucic and Connor McDavid did not have instant chemistry last night. It was the very first game they played together and only the second preseason game that Lucic played at all. McDavid, meanwhile, played many games for team North America and rightly should look a lot sharper today.

Still, Milan Lucic looked slow out there compared to the blazing McDavid. Ok, everyone looks slow compared to McDavid, but there were several times where Lucic was five or more feet behind the place McDavid needed him to be. When McDavid did get the puck over to Lucic, he didn’t appear ready for it. That’s a timing thing. I imagine it must be jarring for a nine year veteran of the NHL who has played with significant talent before to all of a sudden be receiving passes he didn’t think were possible.

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If I’m going to be optimistic, it’s that Milan Lucic will eventually remove some of that rust and start to recognize when and where McDavid will find him (hint: all the time, everywhere).

UGLY

Griffin Reinhart’s game was not a great one, even with the goal he scored. I will say that he had his high points on the evening, but overall it wasn’t without its share of lows. The former fourth overall pick was scrambly in his own zone and was turnstiled a few times by the likes of Derek Dorsett.

Reinhart ended up with a 34% Corsi For percentage on the evening. Easily the worst by any Oiler defender. His skating was an issue as well as his passing. The fact that this was his first game in a long time was really apparent, and it didn’t help that he was playing the right side of the ice as a left shot.

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I’m not writing him off, but he needs to bounce back in a big way for his next preseason game. The trade that brought him here was always questionable, but Reinhart was supposed to be further along in his development and pushing for a spot so he could impact the club sooner than the picks we gave up. Right now Mathew Barzal is having a very good camp for the Islanders and Reinhart is not for the Oilers.

Fair or not, Reinhart will be judged against what the Oilers gave up to get him. It was a hefty sum and they have not yet been rewarded for paying that ransom. 


  • MrBung

    People continue to make too many excuses for Yak. Some guys have it to be NHL players and others don’t. Yak doesn’t have it. It is another case of a Linus Omark or Robbie Schremp.

  • fran huckzky

    Can someone tell me whaat happened to the Oilers website and all the other Nhl team sites. They are all formatted the same and impossible to get info from. Grrrr, please help?????

    • Spoils

      Maroon-McDavid-Draisaitl
      Pouliot-Nuge-Eberle
      Lucic-Letestu-Kassian
      Versteeg-Caggiulia-Yakupov

      just an idea – but we know pouugerle has chemistry. Lucic and Kassian could be a wrecking crew. And it is a real soft minutes fourth line that could surprise for a goal or two every few games. versteeg might have the experience to switch sides. more like a 3rd line playing less than a 4th line…

    • Hemmercules

      That pickup was a weird one. Not sure if Chia just picked him up because he had him before or maybe they are expecting Brossoit to beat him out anyway?? Seems like there were better backup options out there but I guess it isn’t too late either.

  • Jay (not J)

    It was hard to keep defending Griff during the game last night. Never expected he would be an opening night Oiler, but I was hoping to see that he was going to give the critics something to think about. I want to say that I hope that it was just a lot of nerves related to the obvious pressure he’s facing right now, but I would rather that by now this guy could at least manage to play his A game in a pressure situation. Was it pressure, was it just sucking? Not really much difference in the overall scheme of things. Put him on a skid and ship him out.

    Regarding Lucic and McDavid I thought that one of them had a pretty good game where as the other one has to start getting himself prepared for that pass when he’s in a scoring position. There were a few times McD fed Looch the puck and he just didn’t look like he expected it to get to him. I have a hell of a lot more confidence in that tandem sorting it out than I do in Griff though.

  • HoLLyWooD

    Gustafson. Was. Horrendous. I don’t care if Looch miss out in some one timers from McDavid, Reinhart was bad (headed to Bakersfield anyway), or if Eberle was coasting in a pre season game. But that goalie was fricking AweFul!! And THATs the guy that is our second man up?!?!? Wow. My sister could play better in goal. My 1st worry is goaltending then state of Maroon.

  • madjam

    What is every teams strategy if Oilers run a lineup of small players like Cagguila , Versteeg , Yakupov , Eberle with a rather unphysical defence like we appear to have ? We got Lucic, Maroon and Kassian – beyond that not much for a heavy physical game . Losing Hall also cost us in the speed game everyone is trying to incorporate after Pitt’ won with speed .

    Therefore I propose a trade for Trouba , Laine and their next years second pick – centering around Lucic , Pouliot , Davidson and Yakupov .

    • McRaj

      That package you are proposing is so flawed. We just signed Lucic, no way we trade him.

      Plus that package may get you Trouba but that is all. You sir are once again dreaming. Remember when you thought my trade proposals sold our guys short? Well look what Hall got traded for. Sorry Madjam, you may be a very passionate and loyal fan but when it comes to gauging trade value and/or analyzing players, you have not a clue what you are talking about.

  • RJ

    Good – Drake playing well…it’s a good news story for sure.

    Bad – I said this before Lucic was signed. Just because you want him to be awesome with McDavid, there is no guarantee he will be. Kessel on the Penguins is a good example. He should have been great with Crosby, but he wasn’t. There is time for it to turn around, but this isn’t NHL ’17.

    Ugly – All the ON writers speculating that the Oilers should protect Reinhart, not Davidson, time to give your heads a shake. Nothing in Reinhart’s game shows he is any better than the 6th best LHD for Edmonton (Klef, Sekera, Davidson, Nurse, Musil at least).

    Trade him.

    • madjam

      It took Conner how many games with those up and coming talents to even get a point ? Now how long before he gets a point with Eberle and Lucic ? So what might that mean ? Perhaps Conner needs to shoot more and not always be the setup man ?

  • PB1976

    Can someone explain the Vancouver goal that apparently nobody saw? I saw it on TV. The announcers saw it and brought it up again. Then silence… No mention on the internet, no comments in post game reports, nothing… it’s like it didn’t really happen. Except I saw it. What’s the deal?

  • That's My Point

    Why would anyone rather have another small forward weighing only 175 lbs on the Oilers?

    Barzal = small forward

    On the other hand: Reinhart 6’4″ and 212 lbs and only 22 yrs old is exactly what the Oilers need in a dman for their future.

    • McRaj

      Would you rather have:

      Patrick Kane = small forward

      or

      Eric Gryba = 6’4″ and 228 lbs.

      Not saying that Barzal is Kane, but at this point Reinhart doesn’t look like he can even be as good as Gryba. Point being that the value of Kane and Gryba is very far apart, just as it is with Barzal and Reinhart. Barzal as trade bait is SIGNIFICANTLY better value than Reinhart as trade bait. And everyone and their mother knew this when the trade was made, and nothing has changed over one year later.