After losing four games in a row, the Edmonton Oilers went into Dallas and beat the Stars 2-1 in a difficult match. That win tied the team with the Arizona Coyotes for the lead of the Pacific Division. It’s a place few would have thought the Oilers would occupy when the season began.
In fact, I have to admit that when the team lost those four straight games, I wondered if stars Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl had finally worn out from playing so many minutes. So I was pleased when the team pulled out the victory.
In this post, I hope to keep Oilers fans up with the news and rumors emerging from the organization. The team plays in St. Louis on Wednesday evening before it comes home for rare back-to-back home games in Rogers Place.
Item One: Leon Draisaitl Is Scoring Big This Season
Leon Draisaitl scored the game-winning goal the win over the Stars. To this point of the season, Draisaitl has scored 21 goals, 36 assists, and 57 points in 36 games this season. He’s well on pace to score over 100 points this season.
Item Two: Zach Kassian Is Having His Best Season So Far
Zack Kassian scored the first goal of the game against the Stars. He’s been on a point-a-game pace recently and, so far this season, he’s scored 12 goals and 11 assists for 23 points in 33 games. Better yet, he’s added a diversity and physicality to the Connor McDavid and Draisaitl line that wasn’t there previously.
That he’s been value-added to the top line of the Oilers is a surprise to anyone who’s followed his career. Often named as a problem in other organizations, it took Kassian a long time to become a part of the solution. As a result, the Oilers are talking with him to extend his contract.
Item Three: Mikko Koskinen Was Solid Against the Stars
Mikko Koskinen made 34 saves against the Stars, allowing only a single goal on 35 shots. His strong performance kept the Stars off the scoreboard for almost the entire game. There’s no doubt that his goaltending helped the team pick up its first win after four straight loses. His season’s record is now 12-5-2. He’s been steady more often than he’s been rocked.
Item Four: Connor McDavid Simply Keeps Setting Up Goals
Connor McDavid is having a very strong season, scoring assists on both Oilers’ goals in the win over the Stars. As it stands right now, McDavid has 39 assists, 20 goals, and 59 total points this season. He’s currently leading the NHL right now in both points and assists.
Item Five: Josh Archibald Hasn’t Scored In Seven Games
Contrary to McDavid’s prolific scoring, teammate Josh Archibald hasn’t scored a point in his last seven games. Although not known to be much of a scorer, he did have 22 points last season when he played for the Arizona Coyotes. But, to date this season with the Oilers, he’s only scored a single goal in 27 games. That doesn’t help the Oilers’ need to provide more secondary scoring.
Item Six: Darnell Nurse Has Another Assist
Darnell Nurse is having a strong season in all aspects of his play. Over the last five games, he’s scored four assists – including one against the Stars. This season, the 24-year-old defenseman has 17 points in 36 games. But, that’s not the entire story. He’s also recorded 87 shots, 75 hits, and 55 blocked shots.
Item Seven: Alex Chiasson Is Scoring More on the Power Play
Alex Chiasson isn’t having the season this year as last, but he’s getting more power-play time and is having some success. He scored an assist on the power play over the Stars. Chiasson now has 12 points this season, and more than half of them (seven) have come with the man advantage.
Item Eight: Rumor: The Oilers Were Making a Play for Taylor Hall
I’m actually surprised at this rumor, but the word is out that the Oilers were one of the final teams in on Hall as a potential trade target before he went to the Coyotes. At least, that’s what Jim Matheson of The Edmonton Journal reported.
Specifically, Matheson said that the Oilers general manager Ken Holland admitted he had spoken to the New Jersey Devils general manager Ray Shero a number of times about acquiring Hall. However, the fact that Shero wanted a first-round pick prevented the deal, because Holland wouldn’t give up that much for a half of a season of having Hall on the team – even if the team were on a Stanley Cup run.
In short, Matheson noted that there wasn’t a chance that the Oilers could have signed Hall past this season so it simply wasn’t worth it. (from ‘Holland couldn’t stomach giving up first-rounder for rental Hall’ -Jim Matheson – Edmonton Journal -12/16/2019)