There were 30 days in the month of November. The Edmonton Oilers played 14 times and depending on how they do tonight against the Canucks, they will walk out of the month with either seven or eight victories.

To celebrate the end of another month of the season, here are 30 takes on the last 30 days of the season:

  1. The schedule in November was tough but the Oilers found a way to win some big games and they sit on top of the division after two months of play. The Oilers established themselves as a legitimate playoff contender this month and proved that October was no fluke.
  2. I don’t care that he’s shooting 20% on the year, or that 11 of his 14 goals have been on the powerplay. It is absolutely fantastic to watch James Neal score goals. He doesn’t drive the play at 5v5, but he’s finding the back of the net on a consistent basis. The Oilers needed this.
  3. If it wasn’t clear before, it should be now. Mikko Koskinen is this team’s #1 goaltender. He consistently keeps them in games and you can’t ask for much more than that. He posted a save percentage of over 0.920 in four of his seven starts in the month.
  4. I always expect a bump when a team gets a new Head Coach, but I must say that I have been very impressed with Dave Tippett. There are a handful of reasons why.
  5. The special teams are probably the most obvious. They’ve top three in both PP% & PK% for pretty much the entire season. They have talented forwards to help on the PP, but a lot of credit needs to go to the system that Dave Tippett has them playing, especially when they’re down a man.
  6. They’re also incredible at bouncing back from losses. The team lost four times in regulation during the last month and responded with wins three times. They can make it a fourth time with a victory tonight in Vancouver.
  7. The Oilers goaltending has been great and I’m loving the way that Tippett has handled the duo of Smith and Koskinen. He errs on the side of caution when it comes to playing time and seems careful to not overplay one or the other. I think that will really pay off during the final 20 games in the season. They should have two goalies that are relatively fresh.
  8. Not seeing Ryan Nugent-Hopkins in the lineup really cements how valuable he is to this team. Without him, their centre depth is almost non-existent. They need him anchoring that second line not only to give the team a secondary source of offence but also to allow McDavid and Draisaitl to be paired up.
  9. The injury to Nugent-Hopkins also shows just how badly Ken Holland needs to address this team’s need for a legitimate third-line centre before the trade deadline.
  10. After watching this team play for another 30 days, I’m convinced that they should be buyers at the deadline. I’m don’t think that they should be dangling assets like Kailer Yamamoto or the 2020 first-round pick, but they should be gunning hard for a strong third-line centre or an impact top-six winger.
  11. What assets Holland could look into moving at the deadline? Jesse Puljujarvi is the obvious candidate. I wouldn’t be surprised if Matt Benning or their upcoming second-round pick were made available as well.
  12. I really like the idea of adding JG Pageau, but I’ve been reading that he might fetch a first-round pick at the deadline. I wouldn’t pay that much.
  13. I think the Minnesota Wild could be a logical trade partner for the Oilers. They have a couple of good centres and a few wingers that I could see being available this season.
  14. Columbus would make sense as well. Some nice forwards on their roster that would look good in Edmonton. Boone Jenner and Josh Anderson would be perfect fits. Jenner has a higher cap hit though and the acquisition price on Anderson would be very high. Those two have had their names tossed around the rumour mill over the last few seasons. They aren’t rentals either.
  15. Ethan Bear has had a few rough moments, but for the most part, he continues to be just as impressive as he was in October. Like the team as a whole, Bear is proving that the first month of the season was not a fluke. He is here to stay and it’s looking like he’ll be a fixture in their top four for the next decade.
  16. I’m not going to argue that he should be a Calder candidate though. What Cale Makar and Quinn Hughes are doing as rookie blueliners is historic. Those two are locks to be nominated. I could also see one of Jack Hughes of Kappo Kakko getting going in the back half of the season as well. Not a knock on Bear, there are just some other out of this world rookies in this year’s class.
  17. The Oilers have an extra d-man when everyone is healthy. Do they want to trade Matt Benning now in order to keep Caleb Jones up with the big club? Or will they send down Jones after he showed well in his recent stint? Over the next six months, Ken Holland has some tough choices to make when it comes to their blueline. Those start now.
  18. I always felt as though Jujhar Khaira had the most potential out of all the Oilers’ bottom-six wingers. Early in the year he wasn’t moving his feet and looked like an unmotivated player who lacked confidence. He looks very different now. Big, physical, can control the puck in the offensive zone and has decent touch around the net. Could he hit the 15 goal mark this season?
  19. Markus Granlund has woken up as well. He’s found the back of the net twice and he’s still looking good on the PK. Considering the fact that Holland paid him $1.3 million this summer, he needs to keep up this solid play for the rest of the season.
  20. He hasn’t scored lately, but I really enjoy watching Gaetan Haas play. He skates hard and can handle the puck. Shoutout to whichever Oilers scout discovered him. He’s a legitimate NHL player.
  21. The bottom-six is slowly coming along but it’s far from perfect. Players like Nygard, Russell, Sheahan, and Archibald do some nice things, but they aren’t contributing any offence. 
  22. It still is crazy to think that the Oilers are sitting atop their division despite the fact that their secondary scoring has just started to come around. That’s the #1 reason why I think they can hold onto that spot for the rest of the season. Even if McDavid and Draisaitl slow down, hopefully, the bottom-six can continue to build confidence and win them a few games.
  23. Speaking of McDavid and Draisaitl… what if they don’t slow down? Connor McDavid is on pace for 55 goals and 88 assists. Draisaitl is on pace for 49 goals and 97 assists. I’ve always said that there will be one season where that duo makes history… maybe this is the year.
  24. While McDavid leads the NHL with 21 powerplay points, and Draisaitl is tied for second with 16, they have done a lot of damage at even-strength as well. Draisaitl leads the NHL with 32 even-strength points while McDavid sits 4th.
  25. Quick side note, I’ve never understood when people say stuff like “well, he’s doing all his scoring on the powerplay!” like it’s some sort of bad thing. If scoring goals on the powerplay was easy, then everyone would do it. It shouldn’t be a knock of players like James Neal or anyone. I could see bringing it up when it comes time to negotiate a contract, but you can’t deny that it still takes a lot of skill to score goals when your team is up a man.
  26. Mikko Koskinen has not slowed down either. He is 10th in SV% and 13th in GAA among goalies with at least ten appearances. The Oilers have gotten a point in all but two of his 13 starts this season. If Tippett can keep him fresh and rested, it will go a long way in this team winning the division.
  27. I trust Tippett and I believe Koskinen is an improved goaltender but there still is a little part of me that is scared that the goaltending will fall off. There really isn’t a solid reason to think that it will, it’s just a bit of an irrational fear of mine and I wanted to get it off my chest.
  28. At even strength, the Oilers have scored 60 goals and have given up 61 goals. That shows you how well their special teams has been. They’ve scored 24 powerplay goals and allowed just 11 goals on the PK. One more quick fact: they’re one of just four teams who haven’t scored a shorthanded goal. Winnipeg, Boston, and Calgary are the others.
  29. December is going to be a busy month for this team. There are only three stretches where they have more than one day off between games. If you count the game tomorrow against the Canucks, they’ll have two sets of back-to-backs as well (Dec 20/21 vs PIT/MTL).
  30. November featured a lot of divisional games. In December, the team will only play four Pacific Division opponents. They play seven teams from the Eastern Conference and three teams from the Central Division. I’ll go ahead and predict 8-5-1. I think they’ll have a really good month.


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