NHL History Five years ago today, Edmonton Oilers trade Justin Schultz

It was five years ago today that the Edmonton Oilers traded Justin Schultz marking the end of a tumultuous time.

The Oilers traded him to the Pittsburgh Penguins in exchange for a third round pick in 2016 latest used to select defenseman Filip Berglund.

Originally drafted by the Anaheim Ducks in the second round of the 2008 draft, Schultz had took his talents to the NCAA and eventually chose to not sign with the Ducks. Enter the Edmonton Oilers, who were looking for a right-handed defenceman with offensive upside like Schultz for years.

He came into Edmonton in the lockout shortened 2012-13 season and was nothing short of tremendous for the Oilers, scoring 27 points in 48 games. And while he put up a great deal of offence, his final season not included, and was almost everything the Oilers could ask for in that sense.

He had consecutive 30 point seasons on the backend, and over the course of his 248 games in Edmonton scored 28 goals and 101 points while operating the team’s powerplay.

But while he was strong offensively, Schultz was a tire fire in his own zone as he struggled to adjust to the NHL game. Sure, he was bit by a slightly below average on-ice save percentage, but he struggled in key aspects in defending his own zone.

It lead to heavy criticism from the fan base with him becoming the latest of many scapegoat defenceman in the organizations history.

Since he left Edmonton, Schultz ended up spending five years in the Penguins organization playing 234 games scoring 113 points — near identical numbers to that of his time in Edmonton. He hit free agency last year and signed with the Washington Capitals where this year he’s played in 15 games scoring eight points.

Zach Laing is the Nation Network’s news director and senior columnist. He can be followed on Twitter at @zjlaing, or reached by email at zach@oilersnation.com.

Marlies and Me Toronto is 4-4-0-0 to finish off road trip

The Toronto Marlies had an interesting road trip to start the season. At some points they looked like the most dominant team on the ice, and at other points they looked like they could use a few practices. It’s obviously not ideal for Toronto because of the amount of games and how much practice time they’ve got, but right now in this time, that’s the circumstances they’ve had to play through.

And it’s not an excuse to say and even players on the Marlies have said that, though you do have to consider that to be part of the reason. Toronto played eight games in 12 days and with any of the days off that they had, it was used for rest.

Overall on this road trip, there were a lot of positives that can be taken away from it. The Marlies are such a young team this year with the likes of Nick Robertson, Adam Brooks, Joey Anderson and a few others. It’s going to take some time to not only get used to each other but to have a good idea of systems and special teams.

If I had to predict one aspect of their team game that will be worked on in their next practice, it will likely be their power play. Throughout eight games this season, the Marlies have four goals on 23 power play opportunities. And with someone like Robertson who’s a player that should be deadly on the power play, it can be better.

Again, it will improve once they get some practices in and that’s what they’re going to do while at home this week.

I’m going to be honest with you and say that Timothy Liljegren has been one of the Marlies’ best players. After eight games, you can see how much he’s worked on his defensive and offensive game in the off-season, which has now got him a call-up to the Maple Leafs.

Going up with Liljegren is Kenny Agostino who has had another great start to the AHL season. He has seven points in eight games and was one of the players who I thought deserved this opportunity if it came about. And it has.

Something interesting that I’m thinking about is whether or not it would’ve been Agostino that was called up if Brooks hadn’t got injured. Marlies head coach, Greg Moore, said after Friday’s loss to the Stockton Heat that Brooks is day-to-day but he didn’t specify what they injury was.

The 24-year-old is playing in his fourth AHL season with Toronto and has seven points in as many games. He plays on the top line with Agostino and Anderson. Combined, the line has 19 points in eight games.

Before I close out this article, I do want to say it’s surprising that Tyler Gaudet, who leads the Marlies with nine points in eight games didn’t get one of those call-ups. It could be because the 27-year-old is on an AHL contract and that the Maple Leafs would need to sign him to be able to bring him up, but he’s proved that he’s good.

Along with that is the fact that he’s a centre and he Leafs are struggling with centre depth right now. If you brought in a player like that, I believe it would be beneficial in the long run. Again though, either way they’re getting a good player to bring up and right now, it seems to have been best to bring up Agostino.

All in all through in their first road trip of the season, I’d say it was successful. Their record may say differently but in the circumstances they were in and not really having that much time to get ready, it’s been a good start.

Andrew D’Agostini has been another great story but with Jack Campbell and Frederik Andersen returning to the lineup for the Maple Leafs, it looks like Joseph Woll will be sent down. Once that happens, everything is up in the air in terms of goaltending and it’s going to be a talking point for Moore and his coaching staff.

It’s still too early to give my overall opinion because it’s a different season and they haven’t played at home, but by next week I think we should have a good idea of what type of team they are and what they’re looking to do with this season. For now though, it’s just about chipping away and trying to get players going, which I think will happen in due time.

Welcome back to the Elias Lindholm debate

After a frustrating 9-10-2 start, the Flames moved Elias Lindholm from centre back to the right side of Sean Monahan and Johnny Gaudreau on Saturday afternoon. Calgary’s pivot back to August’s “bubble lines” paid off quickly, too: they took a convincing 6-3 win over the Ottawa Senators. I have been, and remain, a staunch believer in Lindholm down the middle long term. I also realize, however, it’s not quite that simple with how this team is constructed and how they’ve performed.

Lindholm at centre

The benefits: Lindholm is an effective two-way player and, in my opinion, the team’s best option to fill the role of “number one” centre. Monahan is a solid offensive weapon but isn’t effective at driving play and struggles defensively. Mikael Backlund has great two-way game when he’s on but lacks true high-end offensive upside. Lindholm blends both worlds and his underlying outputs have been strong this year. Underlying stats courtesy Natural Stat Trick.

GP CF% HDCF% xGF% G/60 P/60 OZS%
21 50.7 52.8 51.2 0.62 1.65 47.3

Lindholm’s results haven’t been at the same level as, say, Barkov, Bergeron, Trocheck, or Marchessault…but they’ve still been solid. Lindholm ranks in the top tier in all of the categories above, which means he’s been one of Calgary’s most productive five-on-five players despite facing the toughest matchups every night with significant defensive responsibility. There’s a great deal of value in what he has accomplished.

The downfalls: The Flames are significantly thinner at right wing without Lindholm there. Knowing they wanted to move Lindholm to the middle, Calgary signed Dominik Simon and Josh Leivo in the offseason with an eye to help fill that void. The experiment hasn’t come close to working through 21 games.

That fact has specifically hurt the Monahan-Gaudreau pairing, with the latter admitting on our postgame show Saturday it has been tough to find chemistry this season with anyone on the right side. We’ve seen Simon, Leivo, Sam Bennett, and Andrew Mangiapane all get looks without clicking. Yes, Lindholm has been good at centre on a line with Tkachuk and either Mangiapane or Dillon Dube. Unfortunately, though, the line he left hasn’t been as good without him.

Lindholm at right wing

The benefits: Lindholm is the best right winger we’ve ever seen play with Gaudreau and Monahan. No offence to Jiri Hudler, but Lindholm adds an element no one else has to date. He’s on the same level offensively as Monahan and Gaudreau, which is great. More importantly, Lindholm’s two-way game doesn’t force Calgary’s coaching staff to consistently shelter the line.

A secondary benefit is the team’s ability to reunite the effective line of Backlund, Mangiapane, and Tkachuk. At their peak last February and March, that unit was one of the two or three best in the NHL. At the same time, Bennett is open to slide back with Dube and Milan Lucic on a line that was very strong for the Flames in the 2020 playoffs.

The downfalls: When it has mattered the most, Calgary’s top trio of Lindholm, Monahan, and Gaudreau haven’t gotten it done. A lot of criticism has been thrown at the latter two for lack of postseason success, and rightfully so. But in 15 playoff games with the Flames, Lindholm has a grand total of two points at even strength. In a long playoff series, opposing teams have been able to effectively neutralize the line, which has wiped out any potential depth advantage for Calgary in the process.

In the bigger picture, it’s my belief the Flames will have trouble getting to the next level without a true number one centre. I still think Lindholm has the ability to be that guy, or to at least fill the role admirably. Lindholm has been strong in two different extended stints down the middle. Unfortunately, a lack of right wing depth has prevented it being a permanent thing thus far.

The verdict

Overall, I believe Lindholm at centre is Calgary’s best option in building a winning roster. Short term, though, the supporting cast hasn’t been consistently good enough for the Flames to keep Lindholm at centre. I fully understand why they made the change Saturday afternoon, and it probably makes sense to keep Lindholm at right wing for the time being. After all, the team has to get to the dance before thinking about how they matchup in the playoffs.

As it stands, Calgary’s drop-off on the right side feels way bigger minus Lindholm than it does when he’s not playing centre. That said, the hole on the wing is something the Flames have to address sooner rather than later. Once they do, maybe Calgary can finally move Lindholm to the middle once and for all.

Comets Weekly Utica goes 2-0, Rathbone lights it up, Gadjovich, Lind, Jasek, and Woo keep improving

A depleted Utica Comets roster went 2-0 this week while outscoring their opponents by a count of 11-4 along the way. Their penalty kill was impressive, giving up just one goal while pressed into duty 13 times; their power play, however, could use a jumpstart as they went 2/8 over the two games.

The Comets are currently without the services of forwards Sam Anas, Dakota Joshua, and Nathan Walker, along with defender Steven Santini, all of whom are currently up with the St. Louis Blues. To make matters worse, the team lost forward John Stevens mid-way through their first game of the week after he had picked up a pair of goals in the contest. That forced the team into running with 11 forwards and seven defenders for their Saturday game against Syracuse.

That doesn’t seem like a recipe for a team to come away with a successful weekend of hockey, but the Comets did just that.

First up were the Rochester Americans and we saw some guy named Jack Rathbone make his pro debut for Utica. I can’t say for sure, but I think this firey-haired fellow might have a future in hockey. Rathbone finished his first game at the pro level with three assists… seems good. CanucksArmy’s own Chris Faber got after it and wrote up a recap of Rathbone’s debut and it is linked below.

With all of the call-ups, we saw some different line combos in the game against Rochester, and that is to be expected in the AHL. Line combos don’t often get long runs of games together. With Anas unavailable, Kole Lind and Sven Baertschi had a new winger riding shotgun with them and his name was Lukas Jasek. That’s right, folks… the winger-turned-center is a winger again for the next few games and that trio clicked.

We saw a great shift from them early before Carson Focht showed well with a strong effort on the backcheck as he was now the pivot on the team’s second line between Curtis McKenzie and Nolan Stevens.

It was John Stevens who opened the scoring after that Rathbone fellow let fly with a shot that Jonah Gadjovich got a piece of before Stevens pounced on the rebound for his second goal of the season.

Faber was pretty jacked for Rathbone, so we can excuse him for giving the man a primary assist on this play when it was really the secondary. He was quick to correct himself in the comments section.

What you don’t see in this clip was the fact that Rathbone dished out a hit in the neutral zone to force a turnover that led to this play. The goal came at the 4:39 mark of the opening period, so Rathbone didn’t waste any time in getting things going.

Rathbone’s defence partner in the early going was fellow rookie, Jett Woo and the two paired well together. In fact, there were times when that duo happened to be on the ice at the same time as the Lind line and that five-man-group looked downright dominant. For my money, this was Woo’s best game at the pro level.

The first half of this period was going well for Utica until they started to take a run of penalties. Jasek was dinged for a slash and the team followed up the kill of his penalty by taking a too-many-men call. The plus side… if we want to look for one here, is that this young group got some good practice in on the kill.

Josh Teves was back in the lineup for this one after being a healthy scratch more times than he’d probably like this year and he had a solid game, for his efforts. He even picked up his first pro goal, but we will get to that shortly. He was doing some solid work on the PK to help his team defensively as well.

Rathbone was also showing us that while the points are nice, he is a capable defender too. He came up with a nice defensive read to break up a play in the Comets end before Mitch Eliot whipped out one of his stiff hits that we are treated to on a fairly regular basis.

Rathbone finished his period with another quality scoring chance before the horn sounded to end the stanza.

The middle frame started off with Rathbone showing us that he can dodge a hit to make a pass as he did just that to get the puck to Woo. The Amerks were pressing and had the Comets hemmed in their own end, leading to a Teves hooking infraction and it was back to the PK.

Steven Fogarty made Teves feel shame as he knotted the game at one.

The Comets weren’t going to lay down and go away in this game as evidenced by the hits being thrown around by Will Lockwood and Woo while Focht was doing some dancing around in the offensive zone.

The Comets’ pressure led to the Amerks being dinged for having too many men on the ice, but they couldn’t take advantage and came up empty. It was nice to see Rathbone getting second-unit power-play time in his first game and he looked every bit the part of a capable point-man. Utica came up empty, not once, but twice as the Amerks were back to the kill soon after and the Comets were shooting blanks.

John Stevens would put the Comets up 2-1 with his second of the game after some nice work from Lockwood and Tanner Kaspick to force the turnover that led to the goal. The goal was the third of the year for Stevens, who as mentioned, wouldn’t finish the game. Kaspick earned his first assist of the year on the play, while Lockwood grabbed his second.

The strong play of Woo continued as he put a pair of shots on the goal and nearly snuck the second one through, but he was denied. The Focht line followed up with some great pressure, but the Amerks would end up knotting things at two when Fogarty scored his second goal of the game.

Utica wanted to get that one right back and nearly did after Lind cut through the neutral zone like a hot knife through butter and hit Baertschi with a nice pass. Sven was denied and the game remained tied.

We saw the coaching staff swap the defence pairs a bit at this point as Teves was now with Woo, while Rathbone was paired with Eliot.

The physical play kept coming as Woo dropped a shoulder into his man at the offensive blueline to force a turnover and Lockwood followed suit by finishing his check with a thud. Tyler Tucker was also trying to be physical when he was called for kneeing… that’s not the kind of physical play that we like to see though. It was also at this point when John Stevens left the game.

The period ended with the rookie Woo jawing it up pretty good with the veteran JS Dea. You have to love seeing Woo playing with confidence.

The Comets opened the final frame tied at two, but they would score five unanswered goals to put an exclamation point on the Rathbone debut.

The forward lines were in the blender after the Stevens injury, and the coaching staff continued to tinker with the blueline as we saw a Woo/Eliot pairing.

Gadjovich was called for a kneeing penalty that he didn’t like and the Comets were right back to the kill. Lockwood and Kaspick showed some gusto when Lockwood forced a turnover for Kaspick but the latter was denied a shorthanded goal. Woo blocked a shot on this kill and it looked to be a stinger and the Comets were hemmed in their own end but managed to come away with a good kill.

Utica was having a tough shift after the kill, but Lind made a great play to head the other way and two nifty passes later, Jonah was ripping a shot past the goaltender for his fifth goal of the season. Lind grabbed his first assist of the year on the play while Baertschi picked up his fourth.

The goals kept coming as Josh Teves was rewarded with his first AHL goal off of a pretty nice shot. Nolan Stevens and Curtis McKenzie picked up their third and first assists of the season respectively. The Comets kept the effort level up as Lockwood was denied on a scoring chance before BigVinny picked off a pass, spun and fired for his first of the year. We would be hearing more from Vinny in the next game as well.

Lockwood has a motor and he used a smart stick to pick off a puck in the offensive zone that led to a Rathbone blast that was turned aside. No matter, as the Comets were soon off to another power play that saw Baertschi pick up his first goal of the season. Rathbone earned the primary helper on this goal, while Nolan Stevens grabbed his fourth assist with the secondary.

Utica would salt this one away when Rathbone danced past his man inside the blueline before setting the table for JonahOnTheSpot for his sixth goal of the season. Gadjovich is having himself a very good start to this truncated campaign.

Things looked like they might get out of hand in the late going when Arseneau rolled over half of the Amerks team before being sent off for a double-minor to close the game. Utica wins 7-2

All in all, it was a great debut for Rathbone, another strong game for Gadjovich, and the best game of the year for Woo.

The second game of the week came just 24 hours later and we saw the Comets ice a lineup of 11 forwards and seven defenders. Not ideal, but not something that we haven’t seen before in the AHL.

Once again, the Comets got the party started early and once again, it was the ginger-haired rookie who got the ball rolling. Rathbone used a simple outlet pass to send Arseneau in and the big man let fly with a shot that beat Sam Montembault cleanly. Seems like a solid start.

Jake Kielly got the nod for this game and he played a great one. Kielly gave up 11 goals over his first two games this year but had played well in both, for the most part. It was nice to see him rewarded with a win in this one. The netminder had to come up with a few timely saves and one of those came soon after the BigVinny tally to keep his team up a goal.

Utica went to the power play early when former Canucks development camp invitee Peter Abbandonato was sent off for a faceoff violation. The first unit didn’t get much going, but the second unit got a bit of traction thanks to a good stick from Rathbone to break up a shorthanded chance before he danced through the neutral zone and set Jasek up for a chance that was denied.

Have I mentioned yet that Rathbone is all kinds of fun to watch? Dude has some serious zip on his passes and can make plays at the pro level like a guy who has been in the league for a while.

The Comets kept the physical play coming as Tanner Kaspick forced a turnover off of a solid hit. Turnovers can win or lose a game for teams and the Comets were doing their best to be on the winning side of that game-within-the-game. This time it was Rathbone picking off another puck in the neutral zone and getting in for a shot that was gloved down by the Syracuse goaltender.

Jimmy Huntington was sent off for interference and the Comets were back to the power play. It took 41 seconds before Kole Lind redirected a Mitch Reinke offering past Montembault to put the Comets up 2-0. The goal was Lind’s fifth of the year, while Reinke picked up his fifth assist, as did Nolan Stevens.

We saw some back and forth after that 2-0 goal as Baertschi blocked a shot at his own blueline and headed the other way for some offensive zone pressure before Tyler Tucker made a bad pinch that led to an odd-man rush but Jake Kielly came up with a big save.

With the lines being in the blender for this game, we didn’t get to see the LFGLine often, but we did see a fantastic shift with that trio, (Lockwood, Focht, Gadjovich) along with the Rathbone/Woo pairing in the offensive zone. I have to say, It’s pretty exciting to have a five-man-unit of Canucks prospects out there playing the kind of hockey that has you on the edge of your seat for a few shifts.

The Comets kept it coming as Baertschi went in on a break and was hauled down… and you know what that means. The ref pointed to center ice and Sven had a freebie. Montembault had other ideas, however, and it was still a 2-0 game.

Kielly had to come up with another big save following the Baertschi penalty shot and showed some great rebound control, but he couldn’t stop all of them today.

Otto Somppi beat him for his second goal of the season to give the Crunch some life. It looked like they might get another quick goal, but Kielly flashed the leather for another save.

Utica would have to finish all but the final 30 seconds of the period down a man as Mitch Eliot was dinged for a cross-check in the late going. They would kill the penalty and go into the middle frame up by a goal.

The second period kicked off with a board battle in the Comets end that saw Taylor Raddysh come out on top over Lukas Jasek before he stepped toward the net with a shot that Kielly was sharp to turn aside.

Lind followed that save up with a cross-checking penalty of his own and the Comets were back to the kill. The four-man-unit of Nolan Stevens, McKenzie, Woo, and Tucker was out for the entire kill and managed to come away unscathed after some great work.

Lind, Jasek, and Gadjovich followed up the kill with a great shift that saw Gadjovich denied on a pair of quality chances. At the other end, Kielly was sharp with a pair of big saves to keep his team up by a goal.

Rathbone’s offensive instincts continued to show when he let fly with a one-timer that was turned aside. Teves used a smart stick in his own end to knock the puck out of harm’s way before Robby Jackson took advantage of a Montembault error to set up Arseneau for his second of the game. Jackson picked up his first point in this, his first game with the Comets this year.

We saw the action go back and forth with more big saves from Kielly before Ryan Lohn pulled the Crunch to within a goal. Syracuse had some nice puck movement to set this one up.

Utica finished the period with a five-on-three power play that came up empty.

I’ve made mention of the fact that Jake Kielly has been wearing an all-white mask this year after sporting a Canucks/Comets-based paint job last year. He started this game wearing that same white mask, but showed up with a painted bucket in the third, only to go back to the white mask after six minutes. Just something that I found odd/interesting.

The Comets started the final frame with Focht taking a high-sticking penalty and killed that off before getting a power play of their own. We saw some nice puck movement, but they couldn’t get it to go. Woo followed up the power play with a nice shot that was denied.

The officials made sure that we knew they were in the building as the parade to the penalty box continued. This time it was the Comets on the kill and they made good on it.

We saw some nice plays from Gadjovich to force a turnover and one from Woo to keep the puck in at the opposition blue line before Arseneau and Lockwood dished out back-to-back heavy hits. Vinny was whistled for interference and it was back to the PK. Woo had a great kill where we saw him start a three-man short-handed break out that didn’t result in a goal and Mitch Eliot came up with a big shot block at the other end. They came away with a good kill and soon salted the game away with an empty-net-goal from Baertschi after he and Lind broke in alone and Kole handed the puck to Sven for the goal. Jasek picked up the secondary helper for his sixth of the season.

That was it for this one as the Comets wrapped their week with a 4-2 win.

How the Canucks’ prospects fared

Gadjovich finished the week with two goals and an assist in two games.

Rathbone had four assists in two games.

Lind added one goal and two assists.

Jasek picked up a pair of helpers.

Teves earned his first AHL goal.

Baertschi grabbed two goals and one assist.

Lockwood, one assist.

Lind, Gadjovich, Jasek, Rathbone, Focht, Baertschi saw PP time.

Lockwood, Jasek, Woo, Eliot, Teves saw PK time.

Trent Talk

With a week between games, Trent Cull was asked how his staff was dealing with keeping his players ready for game action.

The coach said that they want to make sure their guys stay sharp. They had Mental Performance Coach Ashwin Patel working with the players over Zoom calls this week and spent time doing personal video work with the payers as well.

I asked Cull for his thoughts on Jett Woo’s game against Rochester as I felt it was the rookie’s best game of the season so far.

I agree 100%. We talked about Jett in the coach’s room after the game. We really liked his game. He is confident in moving pucks. We tell our defencemen two things, you’ve got to be able to move the puck and you’ve got to be able to defend. That get’s you more minutes here and it will get you more minutes at the NHL level. Jett has been playing with an edge, he’s keeping his game simple and he’s been tough to play against.

The Comets are back at it for one game next week as they take on the Amerks… again.

Until next week…

GDB 23.0 Wrap Up Twas not our night, Oilers start Leafs series with 4-0 loss

Can’t win ’em all, but we can get them back on Monday. Final Score: 4-0 Leafs

After the elation of wrapping up a sweep against the Canucks on Thursday night had subsided, my next thought was about tonight’s game and three-game series against the Leafs. Coming into this first of three meetings, the Oilers were four points behind Toronto with an excellent chance to pull themselves to within a single game of first place. And with the Leafs missing some key players due to injury, this was almost a gift of a chance to keep their streak going and I was hoping would get the boys fired up like nerds at a Pokemon card unboxing. As hoped, Edmonton hit the ground running with all four lines finding ways to manufacture chances to score of varying quality with the obvious problem being that they were unable to cash in on any of them. At the other end, the Leafs were able to convert on a pair of their opportunities and it allowed them to build themselves what turned out to be an insurmountable lead before the first period had ended.

Heading into the meat of the game with a hole to climb out of, the Oilers need to keep pushing for scoring chances while ensuring that they were also taking care of their own end. They basically needed a variation of the same story that played out against Vancouver and they needed to find the back of the net with a quick goal to get the snowball rolling. Unfortunately, on this night, finding the perfect mix required to complete the comeback was too tall of an order to execute as the Oilers’ push to draw nearer on the scoreboard actually resulted in avoidable mistakes that the Leafs were able to turn in shots on goal and unearned zone time. What I would say, though, is that the final score does make the game look a little more lopsided than it actually was, in my opinion. Yeah, the Oilers lost by four goals which is a tough pill to swallow, but I also think this thing could have easily ended at 4-2 or 4-3. The biggest difference, obviously, is that one side was able to make the most of their opportunities to score whereas our boys were unable to match.

At the end of the day, this is obviously a tough loss to take to start the series but it’s certainly not the end of the world either. For me, this game should act as a reminder that things won’t always go our way but is nothing more than a speed bump on the road to bigger things. Let’s get ’em back on Monday.

The wrap.


  • Monday’s bounce back game will be fun!
  • Connor McDavid may not have scored but I did want to include a note to give him some love for the way he was flying around out there, especially in the first period. I know he ended this game filled with frustration, but I can’t wait to see him turn that energy into dominance on Monday.
  • I thought Caleb Jones had his best game of the year so far and it was nice to see him progress a little bit from his first game back.
  • Darnell Nurse had another big night for the Oilers on the back end, finishing up with 27:20 in TOI, a career-high seven shots on goal, and a -3 rating. Does that deserve to be in the bright side section? I dunno. I’m reaching.
  • More Gaetan Haas!
  • The Oilers outhit the Leafs by a 41-21 margin. Sure, you could suggest that means the Oilers didn’t have the puck all that much but I’m trying to fill up the bright side section, alright?
  • Outshot the Leafs 30-29. YAY!


  • William Nylander opened the scoring (1-0) with a powerplay after taking a pass high in the slot and ripping a shot past a falling Mike Smith. Once again, I thought the Oilers had a decent enough chance to clear the zone but they couldn’t make it happen and got burned for it once again.
  • Shortly after Nylander got the Leafs on the board, Mitch Marner picked up the puck with some time and extended the lead (2-0) with a quick wrister from the slot that beat Smith between the arm and body.
  • Jason Spezza further salted the wound with a transition goal (3-0) that came immediately after the Oilers gave the puck up at the opposing blue line. With all the time he could ever hope to have, Spezza entered the zone and pulled a magic trick on Mike Smith as he froze him with a fake slapper before taking a step to the side and finding the open net.
  • Can I be honest? By the time Zach Hyman scored (4-0) in the third period, I had already shifted focus to watching TikTok videos.
  • The goals by Nylander and Marner came in a span of under two minutes which makes that the 11th time the Oilers have allowed that to happen this season. Weird, ugly stat.
  • Not a big fan of the Oilers making third-stringer, Jack Campbell, look like a Vezina candidate if I’m being honest.
  • Mike Smith was given the net again for a third-straight start and looking to keep his perfect run going but it was simply not meant to be. We all knew Smith’s Herculean string of games would end eventually and while I’m not saying he was horrible, it would certainly be fair to say this wasn’t his night either. Smith finished the night with 25 saves and a .862 save%.
  • Hard to believe that Toronto didn’t do a single thing to merit a penalty all night. Weird.
  • Unfortunately, the Oilers weren’t as lucky as to not get any penalties and, unfortunately, they weren’t able to kill it off either.
  • I can’t be the only one that doesn’t understand why Evan Bouchard was scratched.
  • Speaking of which, anyone else think that Tippett used his players oddly tonight?
  • You knew with absolute certainty that I would write about the Oilers winning only 48% of the faceoffs. You knew the stat was coming and here it is.



Talk to me, Twitter. Tweet at @Oilersnation and @jsbmbaggedmilk for your chance to land in the Best of the Tweets.


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TheLeafsNation Fantasy Game Day Toronto Maple Leafs play first of three against Edmonton Oilers

Welcome to TheLeafsNation Game Day where we take a look at today’s Leafs game and a few other things happening around the league all with daily fantasy in mind.

It’s an important three-game stretch here for the Toronto Maple Leafs as they pay visit to Edmonton. The Oilers, who are only four points back of the Leafs, have a chance to leapfrog the team.

The Matchup

Toronto Edmonton
Record 15-4-2, .762 points % 14-8-0, .636 points %
GF/GA 74-55 79-65
Power play %
Penalty kill % 79.4
CF% 49.37 47.33
xGF% 56.96 49.95
PDO 102.5 101.6

Goals in all situations, analytics at 5×5 c/o naturalstattrick.com.

Who I like

With Auston Matthews out of the lineup, they’ll be without the league’s high scoring player. Sheldon Keefe will have John Tavares ($6,400) slide up alongside Mitch Marner ($7,900) and Joe Thornton ($3,000) and any of the three could be a solid play tonight.

On the backend, Jake Muzzin ($4,700) continues to be a solid cheaper play on the back end and has scored nine points in the last 10 games. He continues to have tons of value.

In Edmonton Connor McDavid ($9,200) continues to tear up the NHL. He’s scored three goals and seven points against the Leafs this year and I could see another multi-point game from him tonight.

Around the NHL

Jonas Brodin ($4,300) will slide in on my fantasy roster tonight as the Minnesota Wild are red hot. He’s scored six points in the last 10 games averaging 10.1 FPPG over that stretch.

Speaking of red hot players from the Wild, Mats Zuccarello ($4,400) has come back from injury and in since games since, he’s been on an absolute tear. He’s scored three goals and 10 points averaging 13.8 FPPG. He’s well worth the add.

Jonathan Huberdeau ($5,300) has been scoring over a point per game with the Florida Panthers this year and at his cost, has been providing tremendous value. He’s scored seven goals and 23 points in 19 games this year averaging 10.2 FPPG.

And the last pick of the day is Nino Niederreiter ($4,800), who has scored five goals and seven points in the last 10 games notching 11.3 FPPG.

The Leafs Nation is a partner of DraftKings. I am also an avid fan and user (my username is zachlaing) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above. I am not an employee of DraftKings and do not have access to any non-public information.

Zach Laing is the Nation Network’s news director and senior columnist. He can be followed on Twitter at @zjlaing, or reached by email at zach@oilersnation.com.

Humboldt Broncos crash survivor Kaleb Dahlgrens memoir tells the story of a hockey life interrupted

“I believe I may actually remember what happened one day. Dahlgren satisfied with CBC at the SaskTel Centre, a 13,000 seat hockey arena in the city’s north end. Kaleb Dahlgren, who made it through the disastrous Humboldt Broncos bus crash, on the ice with the York Lions in Toronto.(Photo by York University)He also had the possibility at York to practise with the Lions, the university hockey group. The memoir is also a homage to the people who passed away that day.

Dahlgren met with CBC at the SaskTel Centre, a 13,000 seat hockey arena in the city’s north end. Kaleb Dahlgren, who survived the terrible Humboldt Broncos bus crash, on the ice with the York Lions in Toronto.(Photo by York University)He likewise had the possibility at York to practice with the Lions, the university hockey group.