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