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Photo Credit: © Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports

Quick Hits Oilers vs Avalanche: Remarkable Bounce Back Season

The Edmonton Oilers improved by 33 points last season, but they are on pace to finish with only 72 point this year, which would be a 31-point decrease from their 103-point season last year. Tonight’s opposition, the Colorado Avalanche, are having a remarkable bounce-back season.

1. The Avs had a dreadful 48 points last year, the lowest single-season total since the expansion Atlanta Thrashers had 39 in 2000. The Avs dropped 32 points after compiling 82 in 2016, and this year they already have 68 points, on pace for 94. The Avs have a chance to have one of the largest season-to-season point improvements, only one year after having one of the biggest season-to-season drop in points.

2. The 2007 Philadelphia Flyers tallied 56 points, which was an amazing 45-point decrease, from their 101-point 2006 season. The Washington Capitals dropped 33 points (92-59) from 2003 to 2004. That drop landed them Alex Ovechkin. The Carolina Hurricanes dropped 30 points (91-61) from 2002 to 2003. They lost the Stanley Cup Final in 2002 and then finished dead last in 2003. The Avs were bad, but not the worst season-to-season drop in recent memory.

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3. As for season improvements, the Oilers 33-point jump was good, but not close to the best we’ve seen recently. The Penguins improved 47 points (58-105) from 2006 to 2007. The New York Islanders improved 44 points (52-96) during 2001 and 2002. The Flyers bounced back from their brutal 2007 season with a 39-point jump in 2008 (56-95). If the Avs finish with 90 points, that is a 42-point jump.

4. The Oilers shouldn’t need that big of a bounce back, but they will likely need a 25-point improvement next season to get back in the playoff picture. I think we are going to see more big swings from one year to the next in the NHL from various teams. Edmonton, Montreal and Chicago could all have 25+ point drops, while the Devils are on pace to improve by 25 and the Avalanche 35+.

5. How fun was the Women’s Gold Medal game last night? Marie-Philip Poulin is unreal. Scored again in the gold medal game. Sucks to lose in a shootout, but the game was entertaining. I didn’t love OT though. Felt it wasn’t as exciting as it should have been for four-on-four.

6. I keep reading how many fans don’t think Drake Caggiula should be playing as much as he does. Fair point, although the suggestions he shouldn’t be in the NHL are an overreaction, but the Oilers don’t have many better options. He has three goals in the past 12 games. The only winger with the same is Zack Kassian. Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl have five and four respectively. Caggiula is also playing without many of his teeth.

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7. McLellan has limited Lucic’s icetime. In three of the last four games he’s played 13:22, 12:45 and 13:12. He played 16:00 in Colorado when he and Strome created some chances in the third period. It doesn’t make much sense to me to bench Lucic for a game, but McLellan has limited his icetime as he struggles through the longest goal-scoring drought of his career.

8. “You prepare yourself for it. I’ve prepared my family in case it happens. You don’t know for sure if it will, but you need to be prepared. My oldest is in grade one so if I’m traded my family won’t be coming with me. My oldest understands, but the two young ones don’t really get it. They just think Daddy might be getting a new jersey. They think it is cool and you need to try and make it a positive for them and include them in picking out a new number for example. It is the tough part about being a child of an NHL player,” Mark Letestu said as he prepares for what is likely his last home game as a member of the Edmonton Oilers.

9. Trade deadline is an exciting time for fans, as it should be, but we should never forget how it impacts player’s lives. If you don’t get to see your wife or hug, hold or play with your kids during home games, I don’t care how much money you make, you can’t buy that time again. We should always be empathetic about that aspect of being an NHL player and a father and husband.

10. Colorado is three points back of the second wildcard spot. This is their fourth game of a seven-game stretch against Canadian teams. They lost to the Jets and Oilers, defeated the Canucks in OT on Tuesday and after tonight they play in Calgary on Saturday and then host the Canucks and Flames next week. This is the easiest part of their remaining schedule, as Edmonton, Calgary and Vancouver are all out of the playoffs, so they should be desperate for some wins this week.

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Recently by Jason Gregor:

 

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Source:  Jason Gregor, Verified Twitter Account, 02/22/2018 – 10:00am MST

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  • Hemmercules

    We can only hope the Oil can be like the Avs and be decent next year after a totally mailed in season. Their GM is more of a thinker though, Chia is more of a knee-jerk-trade-just-to-make-a-trade kinda guy.

  • D

    After watching one of the best hockey games last night at the Olympics, I’ll probably skip today’s Oilers match. Why ruin the taste of a perfectly grilled filet mignon by eating rotten vegetables afterwards.

  • Glencontrolurstik

    OFF-TOPIC: I just want to go on record by saying that if the NHL ever goes to a shoot-out to decide a Stanley Cup?????
    I’m not sure what I would do? Any new fan (which the NHL is targeting) won’t know the difference, and Bettman & the Boys I don’t think could care less?
    Not out of the question, when a possible new network TV deal will ask if the NHL can guarantee schedule times…
    RANT OVER,… but really, might as well just flip a coin?

  • Rama Lama

    Three players that need to be traded ( best before date long expired) are Letestu, Maroon, and Cammalleri. These players are too slow and are taking up valuable ice time that should go to upcoming players that posses speed.

    I’m not saying that everything will be fine moving these players, but it’s time to give up on making the playoffs and start auditioning for the next season. I find it troubling that no one seems to be concerned that our team was not ready to start the season ( coaching) properly. The coaches were still trying to assess the roster 15 games into the season and all the lines were blendered to death…….this produced confusion amongst the players and gave no time to develop chemistry at the most critical time of the season, the start of the season.

    I hope the coaches figure that out and start the process of weeding out player much, much earlier in the preseason……..like most good teams do!

    • Hemmercules

      Plenty were concerned. All the hockey writers across north America were praising the Oil as cup contenders and it masked the fact that Chia had done really nothing all summer other than hand out money to the guys he already had. The team, including the coach, thought they would just pickup where they left off and didn’t realize every team in the league now had them on the radar.

      Before the season started I heard lots of chatter around here about not replacing Eberle, inadequate backup goaltending and the desperate need for an offensive R defensemen. None of which Chia bothered to find. I can only half blame Chia though, I didn’t expect the entire team to take a step back, no one did. With the current roster this team still should have been battling for a spot in Feb and looking to improve at the deadline. Chia sat on his hands and now he will be in panic mode to save his job or die trying. Scary times.

      • Dan 1919

        He handed out money and watched several NHL’ers leave his team with nothing but fringe NHL players as replacements. Pouliot, Hendricks, Eberle, and started the season without Sekera. The step back for the entire team should have been predicted given most players had career years last year.
        Chiarelli had a horrendous offseason, and looking back he basically put 0 effort into improving the team, he didn’t even put effort into signing players, he just handed Draisaitl the most he could reasonably ask for, plus a bit.

        Like I’ve said before, looking back at the root of this entire season, it’s because of Chiarelli’s off season. I would imagine his boss is expecting a pretty impressive plan for the next few years otherwise it would be very difficult to justify letting him to try and dig himself out of this mess given last offseason and the trades he’s lost.

        • Hemmercules

          I dont think the step back for so many guys was entirely that easy to predict. Klef, Larsson, Talbot, Benning, Drake, Lucic, Maroon, Letestu are all worse. I expected most of those guy to be as good as last year or even a little better or a little worse. Not a total fall off.

          That said, there was no excuse not to get another Dman knowing one of your top guys was out likely the majority of the year. There were tons of Dmen floating around in free agency. Most of them weren’t home runs but could of at least had a decent guy on a one year overpayment. Wingers were a little to tougher to acquire last summer but I wouldn’t have settled on Cammaleri. Try harder than that.

          I thought LB would actually be a decent backup but again Chia needed to try harder there, get a guy that can play 20 games without having to worry about him so much.

  • DOD BEGINS AGAIN

    Decent article Gregor. I just want to say though, that while we as fans need to understand how trades affect the family lifestyle, that hockey players know going in what to expect as do their families. What makes this any different than a skilled tradesman working in the oil patch. When one construction job finishes, the worker then moves to another construction job. Probably with another company, and many times, to another city or country. Like the hockey player, the skilled tradesman deals with this on a regular basis but both have the knowledge that this is the occupation they chose. Nobody cries for the skilled tradesman when these things happen. Why should it be any different for a hockey player? Edmonton is loaded with these types of skilled tradesman. Edmontonians especially, understand this probably better than any others in the world. Not sure why you made mention of this….

    • Dan 1919

      I was thinking the exact same thing. Not to mention these hockey players make enough money to fly their families around and meet out of town several times a year at luxurious locations… while a construction worker is bunked up in a camp or budget motel. There is a human aspect to everything sure, but lets be honest, making millions to play a game for a living and potentially being setup for the rest of your life by the time you’re 30 is a privilege, end of discussion.

      There’s a lot being made to about trading players and how difficult it is on the families and kids, which it is, absolutely. Now try and make those moves with kids and a family because you were laid off, have to hustle to get back to work just to make ends meet, and had to search for another job rather than being offered millions to be moved and play hockey in a different city. I’d take the NHL deal and keep my hardships relatively close to my chest knowing there are others in far more difficult circumstances.

      I get that the human aspect of pro sports exists and are a factor, but they need to be kept in context.

    • oilerjed

      While everything you said is true what does that have to do with what was written in the article? So what if he mentioned that Letestu was bringing his family to the game or that he was preparing them for a major life change? Did it somehow disparage the tradesmen? Military families get sent all over the world and get paid a hell of a lot less then most skilled tradesman but I didn’t see you sticking up for them? Sometimes it’s good to remember that the players are first and foremost people, especially on here where so many spend most of their time bagging on players for not being what they want.

    • Jason Gregor

      Did anyone say cry for Letestu? Having empathy is not a negative. Did I say it was different? Did I say others don’t deal with it? I don’t really understand your rant. You are mad because I mentioned it is difficult to leave his family? Is that not true? Did I say others don’t deal with it? I worked in the oil patch for seven years before going back to school. I know full well what goes on. Did Letestu complain? Did I say he was? No, I simply pointed out a fact that often gets overlooked.

      • Dan 1919

        I agree that you didn’t start a pity parade or anything Gregor; but I don’t think anyone is ranting, more just a point that is starting to generate more comments now-a-days. (Not specific to this article) I have to say I’ve heard more about the “human side” of things in the last 2 years then I have in the prior 20. Which again is completely legit, it’s just to me it just seems to be blown out of proportion like it would be to dwell on an injury someone got while playing. It kinda just goes with the territory.

        Not that you writing one sentence about it is overkill, my comment in particular was just a generalization.