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Monday Mailbag – How much weight should we put into these early Oilers results?

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Photo credit:Tom Kostiuk
baggedmilk
6 months ago
Happy Monday, friendly Internet compadres, and welcome to a fresh edition of the Mailbag to help get your week started and keep you updated on all things Edmonton Oilers. This week, we’re talking about early losses, line combinations, the Adam Erne signing, and much more. If you’ve got a question you’d like to ask, email it to me at baggedmilk@oilersnation.com or hit me up on Twitter at @jsbmbaggedmilk and I’ll get to you as soon as we can.
Oct 11, 2023; Vancouver, British Columbia, CAN; Vancouver Canucks defenseman Filip Hronek (17) and forward J.T. Miller (9) and forward Phillip Di Giuseppe (34) and forward Brock Boeser (6) celebrate Boeser’s fouth goal of the night as dejected Edmonton Oilers goalie Stuart Skinner (74) tends to the crease in the third period at Rogers Arena. Vancouver won 8-1. Mandatory Credit: Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports
1) Kevin asks – Game one against the Canucks was about as bad as it gets, but I want to know the worst game everyone can remember watching. Doesn’t have to be about the Oilers if no specific game sticks out.
Jason Gregor:
It isn’t one game. It was a week of games. The final week of the 1987 Blue Jays season. They were three games up on Detroit with seven games to go. Detroit went 5-2 the final week, including winning the final three games over Toronto. The Blue Jays lost all seven and missed the playoffs. None of them were terrible losses. They lost four games by one run, two by two and one by three. But it was a week of pain. Utter pain.
Robin Brownlee:
Aside from the own-goal by Steve Smith in Game 7 of the 1986 Smythe final with Calgary — I didn’t attend that game — I don’t know how it gets worse than Game 1 of the 2006 Stanley Cup final vs. Carolina. The Oilers had a 3-0 lead with less than four minutes to go in the second period. They not only blew the lead on the way to losing 5-4, they lost Dwayne Roloson for the series when Marc-Andre Bergeron pushed Andrew Ladd into the crease. Ty Conklin and Jason Smith mishandled the puck behind the net on the winning goal by Rod Brind’Amour. The rest we know.
Liam Horrobin:
I don’t have one Oilers game that stands out but one that does is when my favourite soccer team Bolton Wanderers made it to the semi final of the FA Cup. Bolton are a very average team and didn’t have much success, so this was a big occasion. To cut a long story short, they got battered and lost 5-0 to Stoke City. A massively disappointing occasion.
Baggedmilk:
The best answer is Robin’s answer, but to be a little bit different, I’ll go with a game I went to at the Saddledome a few years back when the Oilers got absolutely lit up and the whole place was chanting, “We Want 10.” Being in the building when your favourite team is getting rocked like that is a special kind of pain.
Dec 27, 2022; Calgary, Alberta, CAN; Edmonton Oilers left wing Dylan Holloway (55) against the Calgary Flames during the first period at Scotiabank Saddledome. Mandatory Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
2) James in Peterborough asks – We know that lines are constantly changing, but it looks like the Oilers’ third line may be relatively locked in with Holloway-McLeod-Foegele. They seem to have some key ingredients for being one of the better L3s that the club has had in recent times. Thoughts on this and do you think they can be difference-makers on some nights?
Jason Gregor:
They are fast, big and attack with pace. I believe they matchup well against any third line. If they can finish a few more chances they will be fine.
Robin Brownlee:
We’re two games into the season and the Oilers have been outscored 12-4. Nothing about combinations in the bottom half of the depth chart is “relatively locked in.”
Liam Horrobin:
I completely agree and I think Jay Woodcroft does too. They were the line that played the most together at 5-on-5 versus the Canucks. They play with a ton of speed and are very tenacious. If the Oilers want to have success then they need that line to be effective, which they have the ingredients to be.
Baggedmilk:
I like the looks of that third line too, but unless the Oilers start scoring some goals at even strength, it won’t be long until the blender comes out.
Oct 11, 2023; Vancouver, British Columbia, CAN; Edmonton Oilers defenseman Evan Bouchard (2) and forward Ryan McLeod (71) watch as Vancouver Canucks forward Dakota Joshua (81) scores on goalie Stuart Skinner (74) in the third period at Rogers Arena. Vancouver won 8-1. Mandatory Credit: Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports
3) Oilers fan in Van asks – How much value do you put into early season results? It seems like teams are up and down throughout October every year while they get themselves going.
Jason Gregor:
Some are. The Oilers were 9-1 and 7-3 the past two first 10 game stretches, but last year they went 3-7 in their next 10. Edmonton has outplayed Vancouver for large stretches, but you will need to score a lot of goals when your goalie’s Sv% is .750 each game. Goalies need to be better and Oilers need to score more 5×5.
Robin Brownlee:
Games in October are worth the same two points as games in March are, so I put plenty of value in them.
Liam Horrobin:
It depends on the result and what happened throughout the game. If the Oilers are getting smoked then yes we need to be concerned; however, when we get to March and they are comfortably in a playoff spot it won’t matter.
Baggedmilk:
The Oilers are better than they’ve shown through two games, but that doesn’t mean the losses don’t still hurt. Put another way, it would be pretty nice to have four points locked into the standings instead of zero. These are the losses that end up mattering most down the line, it seems.
Oct 4, 2023; Edmonton, Alberta, CAN; Edmonton Oilers forward Adam Erne (21) against the Calgary Flames at Rogers Place.
4) Yves asks – Just looking for everyone’s thoughts on the Adam Erne signing and how you see him fitting in the lineup?
Jason Gregor:
He is a fine fit for a 4th line and he can PK. He’s a better fit on LW for that job than Rapheal Lavoie is. Depending how Erne plays that is a spot you can look to upgrade at the deadline if need be, or maybe Lavoie is more seasoned midway through the season and gets recalled to play RW and they look for a 4th line C instead.
Robin Brownlee:
Haven’t given Erne much thought. He’s a fringe player who can fill in on the fourth line, and that’s no real knock. He’s an NHL player who has two 20-point seasons. Nothing wrong with that if he’s moving between the fourth line and the press box for you.
Liam Horrobin:
Fairly irrelevant to me if I have to be honest. I feel like he’s going to be up and down all season but when’s with the team he will be a 4th liner that plays under 10 minutes a night. Perhaps he can contribute on the penalty kill from time to time.
Baggedmilk:
If Adam Erne can come in, throw his body around, kill some penalties, and chip in with a few points then that is the exact kind of player that this city falls in love with. Will it happen? We shall see. I’m more worried about what’s going on in the top nine right now, to be honest.
Apr 17, 2023; Edmonton, Alberta, CAN; Edmonton Oilers head coach Jay Woodcroft during the first period against the Los Angeles Kings in game one of the first round of the 2023 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Rogers Place.
5) Bob A. asks – With Jay’s penchant for occasionally favouring an 11/7 forward/defencemen alignment, do you think they would ever consider using one of their defencemen up on the fourth line to get more players involved? I’m specifically thinking of Broberg, who skates exceptionally well and has good size. Think Brent Burns.
Jason Gregor:
I see no reason to do it. Broberg has never forechecked. Hasn’t shows any finish around the net. I’d rather give extra minutes to Holloway, McLeod, Kane, Hyman, Brown, Foegele than try a D-man who hasn’t played forward at the NHL level.
Robin Brownlee:
No. A young player breaking in has enough of a challenge mastering one position on the blueline at the NHL level without throwing him the boat anchor of learning another at forward. Broberg comparison to Brent Burns at this point? No.
Liam Horrobin:
I think the Oilers would rather rotate one of their top six forwards through that fourth line than play Broberg.
Baggedmilk:
Brent Burns is a freak and I don’t think there are many players that can do what he does. Broberg is not one of those guys.

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