Photo Credit: Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports

Observations: Oilers vs Panthers

It’s my first game back at Rogers Place and I got here just in time for a couple of stinkers from Talbot and Reimer, excellent.

Here are a few observations and thoughts as the Oilers and Panthers “battle” it out for a couple of points.


Call me a fool. I thought the Rieder signing was a major win for Chiarelli in the off-season but he has literally not moved the needle at all. Heading into this game against the Panthers Rieder had not scored in his first 30 games as an Oiler. During his NHL career, he has averaged 5.28 goals for every 30 game stretch so this simply can’t be the norm. I still feel like he will contribute at some point and I’m ok with them having control of him at the end of the season.


So how important is Kris Russell to the Edmonton Oilers? I’m not asking how good he is but how important is he to this team? I’m asking because I noticed three plays in the first 15 minutes that I kind of liked. On the PK he stepped inside a Panthers player, took away a pass, calmly played it to Nurse who dumped it down the ice. He also made a nice one on one play against Barkov and eliminated him in the corner. On top of that, he had another very tidy breakup in the defensive zone. Don’t’ get me wrong they weren’t amazing plays but they are plays that a lot of other d-men on this team have struggled to make.

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So is he the fourth most important d-man? The third? I don’t think I’d put him in the top two…..but maybe? We all watched how this team looked without him and Klefbom who is clearly the most important by a country mile.


So we all know Bob Stauffer has been pushing the idea of the Oilers moving their 1st round pick for a forward with term.

I have searched the internet far and wide looking for a forward that has at least three years remaining on their contract, can play top-six minutes and makes less than $4,000,000 per year. I’ve arrived at Boone Jenner.

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Jenner scored 30 goals as a 22-year-old but now at the age of 25, he has just seven. Scott Howson, who is once again back with the Oilers, drafted Jenner when he was the GM of the Blue Jackets so he would be familiar with him. Would the Jackets be willing to take a d-man back as well to help a little bit with Jenner’s $3.75 million dollar cap hit?

I wouldn’t love this deal and I don’t expect you to love it either but what more would you really expect from Chiarelli at this point. Any other suggestions out there?


We saw a glimpse of this early in the second period against the Panthers. It actually led to a scoring chance and then that appeared to be the end of it. I wouldn’t be opposed to seeing more of it if it didn’t make me feel so damn bad for McDavid. I guess you could leave Chiasson with McDavid but whom would you play on the other side? May I suggest zero goal man Tobias Rieder.


When did Dallas Eakins get back to town? There were two big plates of veggies in the press box tonight. I stood next to Ryan Rishaug and Jason Gregor while they enjoyed them. I preferred to indulge in popcorn, after all, I can have veggies at home whenever I want, I just never want to.

Speaking of veggies, how much longer until former Oilers bench boss Dallas Eakins takes over in Anaheim? The Ducks have lost a franchise-worst 9 consecutive games and it certainly seems like Randy Carlyle is on thin ice. Imagine the Oilers in a playoff race against a Ducks team coached by Dallas Eakins.

5 on 3 Failure

The Oilers scored shortly after but the 5-on-3 chance they had at the end of the second period was troubling. They actually took a timeout to draw something up and it looked like the only plan was to stand around and try to pass it to Chiasson. The Panthers and everyone else in the world knew exactly what was going on.

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Fans at Rogers Place just chanted LOOOOOCH because he cleared the puck at the blue line. I have no bloody idea what’s going on.


A bad bounce in the third sealed the Oilers fate in this one but in no way did they actually deserve any better.

Darnell Nurse had six shots on goal while ALL OF THE OILERS FORWARDS COMBINED HAD FIVE. If your forwards can’t generate more than five shots on goal you don’t deserve to win a hockey game and likely never will win a hockey game. Draisaitl played over 24 minutes and didn’t register a shot on goal.

Maybe I should have stayed home and watched the game but I heard that sucked too.

30. Seconds. Later.


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Ok, so Draisaitl did finally get a shot and then he set up McDavid to tie the game. The Oilers somehow pulled this thing out in a shootout after Reimer stood on his head in overtime.

Thank god for Connor McDavid. That is all.

Previously by Dustin Nielson:


    Most fans and media in this town have the negativity and smarts of a goal post. I’m not surprised from the comments , the refs make themselves look amateur by the poor calls they make and the GM took some bad advice from the old brass here.
    Chia made some bad 1 for 1 trades yet drafting and small moves including young UFA and others have been good ( minus ) Lucic and Reider both fell off a cliff. They were both in high demand for UfA but the performance of the players should not be on the GM. The players need to be better. Anyone that held a stick before should be able to score a goal , even 1 goal next to Mcd , these players need to start finding a way to get some points.

    • JasonY

      Lucic was high in demand, but just because he was high in demand in a year where there was a lack of other high quality FAs doesn’t necessitate you overpaying. One of many Chia’s downfall has always been overpayment, term and salary. It had cost his organizations (Boston included) dearly. Not only that he gambled foolishly trading Hall in order to make room for Lucic. He should have offered less and stood his ground, which he did not do. Some of the best moves are the ones you don’t make. Ask MacT and Toronto with Clarkson.

      Reider was paid for a mid level 3rd liner and I consider it a good value contract. The issue is he’s played out of position due to the lack of depth (Chia’s problem). Same thing had happen with Strome. Chia is trying to strike lightning again like he did with Maroon.

    • Beer

      I was over at CapFriendly yesterday and found four D and four F that shouldn’t be on next years opening night roster. It worked out to roughly 13 mil. in cap. The 13 mil. in savings didn’t include getting rid of lucic’s contract, and Sekera wasn’t part of the equation. All can be done by trade (no NMC in their contract)or not being qualified(RFA), or buried. No buy outs. The UFA goaltending situation wasn’t factored in either, which could get pricey. I don’t see Talbot longterm, and Kosk will be too expensive as a back-up after signing a bonafide starter.

    • VK63

      Actually. Veggies are the most tainted products on a groceries shelves these days. I suspect the word “organic” is nowhere near the lead laden fare the Oilers roll out. :))

  • JasonY

    Regarding Tobias, I think it was a good signing. However, the expectations by this organization was awful. Tobias is a mid tier 3rd liner who can kill penalties. Nothing more. Because of this organization’s uncanny ability to gut the supporting team and be in cap hell to make any more significant moves, he has been forced to play 2nd wing which he cannot sustain.

    Trading that 1st pick for Boone Jenner is another example of Chia trading from a position of weakness. Although I like Jenner, he’s slumping and his value is all time low. To trade a 1st pick, an important and valuable asset, especially when Seattle coming into the fold, would be another example of poor asset management. It would not surprise me with this organization. Reading Scott Howson’s name and ties to other organizations which have failed in the past makes this organization completely irrelevant and will continue. It’s flabbergasting to see Katz giving promotions in what we can safely call his organization as one of the the most unsuccessful sports team in history.

    • MrBung

      Agreed. The damage has been done. Why make more bad trades. This season the Oil are not making the playoffs. Why do damage just to squeak in one season and get destroyed by a San Jose.

    • When Rieder was signed I thought he was a bottom six Cammelleri replacement. He’s not a top six guy. He’s exactly as you said: “a mid tier 3rd liner who can kill penalties.”

      And the proof is that he hasn’t scored–or even been a threat to score. Rattie has much more business being in the top six than Rieder. And thankfully, so does Chiasson and to a lesser extent, Puljujarvi.

  • Fantastic 4

    How about going after Duchene as a rental for a second plus a prospect. If he fits with McDavid figure out how to sign him in the offseason.
    Also I think Dougie Hamilton would be a great upgrade even if it cost Jesse or Yamo if Carolina would take Sekera s contract back.

    • IRONman

      Let’s call a spade a spade. McDavid makes the Oilers a team. Without McDavid the oilers are at the bottom of the league. Oilers scouting is horrible. From 2010 till now they have missed out. Outside of the first round they got what? Jones looks good. Pc trades have not been awesome. I like 44 and 6. But asset management is disgusting

      • McHitch

        Starting to get tired of reading this some post over and over again. .

        Yes our best player makes our team better.

        Our asset management has been terrible and cap management worse.

        That being said.. let’s say we had 6 mil in cap space this year because Chia was an amazing negotiator and did not waste any cap space.

        Let’s say we used such cap on a proven scoring winger like James Neal instead of a PTO signing of Chiasson.

        Would we be much better off? This negativity is getting to be too much for me. I may take a break from Oilersnation.

        • Frank Rizza

          Me everyday of my life: I’m only going to read the articles on Oilersnation because the idiots are too much.

          Me every day of my life: I wasted another hour of my life reading the posts from all these morons!

          To be fair there are a few decent posters but the other 90% are idiots. I’ve said it before but I wish I could trade the fans

      • Boba The Fett

        Yes Chias pro asset management has been horrendous but his drafting, especially with keith Gretzky has actually stocked the cupboards nicely in the last couple years. Our system currently includes.
        Bouchard, Samurokov, Maxsimov, Safin, Mcleod, Jones, Bear, Lagesson, Berglund, Benson, Yamomoto, Pool Party, Rodrigue, wells, Skinner and Kemp.

        College and euro products include: Marody, Persson, Gambardella, Hebig.

        Drafting has been fine, its the rest that sucks

  • Shaun Doe

    After seeing your Drai-Nuge-Pu line I hope that the Oilers aggressively pursue both Brock Nelson and Namestnikov in the off season. Birth of the Pu-Na-Ne line!

  • TKB2677

    I love that the fans are yelling Loooch every time he does something good. I hope they are doing it as a positive rather than mocking him. He’s here and the contract blows, that most likely won’t change. The fans were all over him all last year and the start of this year. He’s not playing well, hasn’t in a while. The guy has pride, he knows he’s not playing well at all. Even if he doesn’t want to be here totally, sucking BOTHERS him. If you have any sort of pride in yourself, it would bother you to play bad. So booing him and riding him doesn’t help the situation. Maybe by cheering him on, he will get some confidence and at least play a little better. He will NEVER be worth what he gets. It sucks and the Oilers are stuck with it. But if cheering him on can get him feeling good about himself that you can get even half the moneys worth, that’s better than nothing.

      • TKB2677

        So what is the alternative then fellas? He’s here, the contract blows, it’s next to impossible to get rid of. Chances are he’s not going anywhere anytime soon. So you either try to build the guy up in the hopes of getting SOME kind of production from him or you keep pissing on him, drive him down even more and get nothing? If you think driving him down more is the answer, that’s pretty sad. I don’t want the guy here but I’d rather get 10-12 goals out of him because the crowd gets off his back vs getting 3 goals and be all over him.

        The fact that fans would even want to continue to rag on this guy and make things worse is pretty sad to me.

  • Bluetomorrow

    Why not go for JT Miller instead of Boone Jenner, TB in huge cap crunch and MIller only forward without NTC currently. Bear+1st(top 5-10 protection) for JT Miller

  • Spydyr

    At least the media does not have to pay for their veggies tray. If it was offered at the concession it would be $27.95 for two carrots a celery stalk and a little cauliflower. Dipping sauce an extra $4.99 for a few tablespoons of ranch dressing.