One of the my favourite scenes in Seinfeld ends with Kramer’s infamous, “Look away, I’m hideous.”
“What happened to your face, it looks like an old catcher’s mitt. It’s from all that smoke. You’ve experienced a lifetime of smoking in 72 hours. What did you expect?” saysJerry Seinfeld
“Emphysema, birth defects, Cancer, but not this! Jerry — my face is my livelihood. Everything I have I owe to this face! It is my allure, my twinkle,” replies Kramer.
“Your teeth are all brown,” says Jerry
“Look away — I’m hideous!”
It reminds me of the Oilers scoring depth.
1. I understand your best players are going to score a big percentage of your team’s goals, but the Oilers’ lack of depth scoring was on full display with Connor McDavid out of the lineup. Sometimes when McDavid is the lineup you can be hypnotized into watching him and then when the other lines are on, as long as they don’t get scored on, or lose momentum, it is considered okay. The depth lines haven’t struggled creating shots, but their lack of finish is beyond ugly thus far.
2. Here are the forwards goals and minutes played at 5×5:
Milan Lucic: Zero goals in 313 minutes
Tobias Rieder: Zero goals in 196 minutes
Ryan Strome: One goal in 321 minutes (combined EDM/NYR)
Zack Kassian: One goal in 259 minutes
Jujhar Khaira: One goal in 234 minutes
Kailer Yamamoto: One goal in 150 minutes
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins: Two goals in 390 minutes
Ryan Spooner: Two goals in 253 minutes (combined NYR/EDM)
Kyle Brodziak: Two goals in 247 minutes
Jesse Puljujarvi: Two goals in 179 minutes
Ty Rattie: Two goals in 160 minutes
Drake Caggiula: Five goals in 302 minutes
Connor McDavid: Six goals in 445 minutes
Alex Chiasson: Six goals in 252 minutes
Leon Draisaitl: Eight goals in 419 minutes
The last four are scoring at a good clip. Rattie has two goals in only 160 minutes and Puljujarvi is just behind him with a pair in 179 minutes. Rattie should be playing more if Ken Hitchcock wants production, and not just guys who can cycle the puck and put pucks on net. At some point, you need to score.
3. Many forwards are on terrible goal scoring paces and you’d think someone will snap out of it eventually, but it has to happen now if the Oilers hope to stay in the playoff race. McDavid’s return to the lineup will obviously help, but it doesn’t erase the fact the scoring depth isn’t good enough. Even RNH needs to produce more goals 5×5. He had one goal in 236 5×5 minutes with McDavid. I’d like to think he would produce more the next time they play together. He is better than that number suggests.
4.Speaking of scoring at 5×5, Draisaitl and McDavid have the exact same 2.29 P/60. Draisaitl has played 196 of his 419 minutes with McDavid (46%), but still has the same P/60. In my eyes the most asinine take today is blaming Draisaitl for the Oilers woes. That somehow his $8.5 million salary is the issue. Does any sane person actually think the extra $1 million would make any difference to the Oilers lineup? First off, they had over $5 million in empty cap space last season, and even if they had an extra $1 million on July 1st this past summer, they weren’t signing anyone of note. I don’t see how his salary is a concern. Debate if it is slightly overpaid, sure, but in the grand scheme of the Oilers it is a minor overpay.
5. Draisaitl isn’t a perfect player, but he has the 16th most points in the NHL since the start of the 2016/2017 season. He wasn’t moved up to McDavid’s line because he wasn’t producing as a second line centre, he was moved there because the RNH-McDavid combo wasn’t scoring as much as the coach wanted. So they switched RNH and Draisaitl. I don’t blame either centre, I blame the GM for not having enough competent wingers so Draisaitl could remain on the second line and produce at a decent clip. When no one else is scoring the coach put together the duo that scores the most. I understand why he did it. Can Draisaitl be better? Sure, but if you think he is remotely a problem, then I’d like to know what you think the answer is.
6. McDavid has nine points in 196 minutes with Draisaitl, and he has eight in 250 without him. Better players produce more with skilled players. I’ve read suggestions the Oilers should play RNH and Draisaitl together and have McDavid on his own line. You can, but you are seeing that even an elite player like McDavid won’t produce at the same rate if he doesn’t have a quality scorer. His pace would dip the least, because he is the best of the three, but asking any centre to dominate without having RNH or Draisaitl on their wing would be asking a lot. Hopefully, Oilers management realizes that scoring 25 goals consistently, or producing big points consistently, is hard, and you can’t just expect McDavid to magically turn an average player into a 25-35-60 point producer.
7. Valentine Zykov is skating in Edmonton with injured Tobias Rieder and Andrej Sekera. He is still waiting to get his work visa sorted out. The Oilers are hopeful he will be available to play by the weekend, possibly Friday night. Zykov has an absolute bomb of a shot, likely the hardest on the team. The question will be: does he skate well enough to get open often enough to use it? When he is cleared I’m curious where they play him. He did have 33 goals and 54 points in 63 AHL games last season, and in his 23 NHL games split between this year and last he has 3-4-7.
8. Three goals in 23 games would have him sixth among Oilers in goals and tied for eighth in points. You might as well play him in the top six and see what he can do. It isn’t a great option, but it illustrates how dire things are offensively for the Oilers.
9. McDavid has 17 points at 5×5 thus far. He is on pace for 53. Last year he had 71. I don’t think he is playing poorly, but the supporting cast is doing very little. If his numbers are down, why should anyone be surprised that Draisaitl wasn’t dominating the opposition without a proven top-six winger? Even the best player in the NHL is struggling, by his standards, to produce at 5×5.
10. The Blues lost 6-1 in Arizona on Saturday, but they also lost some key players to injuries on the road trip. Alex Steen has concussion like symptoms and Alex Pietrangelo left the Colorado game in the third period with a hand injury that might require surgery. Robbi Fabbri separated his shoulder in Arizona and Carl Gunnarsson and Jaden Schwartz are also injured. Five main starters are out tonight. St.Louis sits in 30th place, tied with LA with three games in hand, and they’ve struggled all season. This is another team the Oilers need to beat, and they can’t waste an opportunity to defeat a team weakened by injuries.
Month of Giving
Thank you to Trent and Glen for their generous bids and to Mr. Derk for the awesome suit package.
- Pub party for 10 at On The Rocks. Includes meals and beverages for all.
- $400 GC from On The Rocks as well as a Crab Boil (for eight)
- Pair of tickets (row 23) to the Oilers/Flames game this weekend.
You can bid by calling 780.444.1260 or text 101260 between 2-6 p.m. today.
Package #2: Tee It Up.
- 10 rounds of golf at the Ranch Golf and Country Club (hole 8 above) with a power cart for each round and use of driving range before every round.
- One round of golf for three people with their Head Pro Shawn Piercey.
- One round of golf for two with GM Murray McCourt and Kevin Karius from Global TV. This is a spirited match and usually involves some friendly “wagering.”
You can bid by calling 780.444.1260 or text 101260 between 2-6 p.m. today.
Thanks in advance. All proceeds will help out the Christmas Bureau and Brightfield Elementary breakfast program (A Rotary Club of Edmonton Mayfield initiative).
From peewee to the pros, Albertans loves the atmosphere, energy, and life lessons that take place at rinks across the province. And where there’s an arena, you’ll find an ATB branch nearby—with our team members cheering and fundraising along with you. See more information at ATB.com.
Recently by Jason Gregor:
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Source: NHL, Official Game Page, 12/05/2018 – 9:30 am MT