Thursday night’s 4 – 2 loss to Los Angeles represented Todd McLellan’s 100th game behind the Edmonton bench. Bruce McCurdy of the Edmonton Journal felt that’s enough of a sample to determine whether McLellan has delivered on the promise of guiding the talented team back to the playoffs for the first time in a decade.
McCurdy compares McLellan’s performance to this point to the five other men who have guided the club since the 2009-10 campaign; a list that includes accomplished NHL coaches in Pat Quin and Tom Renney in addition to first-time NHL bench bosses like Ralph Krueger and Dallas Eakins.
It’s a relatively in-depth analysis using a number of categories including; the Oilers win rate, their share of goals and shots for and the team’s performance in the special teams department. A full read of the post is highly recommended but ultimately McCurdy concludes that the Oilers have improved only marginally under McLellan and despite a ton of high end talent – including Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl and Jordan Eberle – there is still much work to be done to turn Edmonton into a perennial playoff team.
Other items from Edmonton:
- The club announced via their official Twitter account today that they have activated forwards Matt Hendricks and rookie Drake Caggiula, along with blue liner Kris Russell from IR. Also, Anton Lander who cleared waivers, has been assigned to the Bakersfield Condors of the AHL. Hendricks and Caggiula have yet to appear in a game for Edmonton this season while Russell, a late offseason free agent signing, has suited up for 11 contests and has three assists so far. Caggiula was a coveted college free agent last spring who capped off an impressive four-year career at the University of North Dakota with a 25-goal, 51-point senior season. He made the Oilers in training camp but a hip injury delayed his much anticipated debut. Now it appears as if he will get his chance in relatively short order.
- Lastly, Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal took note of the rumored availability of Arizona Coyotes blue liner Michael Stone and wonders if the Edmonton Oilers would have an interest, assuming those rumors are in fact accurate. Stone has just three points in seven games this season but turned in a productive 2015-16 campaign with six goals and 30 helpers. Stone has had a positive affect on puck possession over the last three years while playing for a team that ranks 24th in Corsi For % during that time. It’s unclear what Edmonton would have to give up to pry Stone away from Arizona but Pierre Lebrun speculates that when and if the team elects to move center Martin Hanzal, the Coyotes would want a young roster player who can contribute right now as opposed to prospects and/or picks. It’s fair to guess then that Arizona would request the same in any hypothetical trade of Stone.