What it Would Take for the Edmonton Oilers to Miss the Playoffs

Jonathan Willis
February 20 2017 09:00AM

Oilers fans

For Edmonton Oilers fans long since embittered by their team’s lengthy playoff drought, the club’s performance this season has been a welcome change. Now, in mid-February, the club is in such a good position that it would take a historic collapse to miss the playoffs.

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Johnny Gaudreau is playing much longer shifts this season

Ari Yanover
February 18 2017 02:30PM

On Jan. 24, Elliotte Friedman offered up some thoughts about shift lengths in his 30 Thoughts column. Specifically, it was about how much time Erik Karlsson spends on the ice over the course of a single shift (#17):

A year ago, Karlsson played the most in the NHL (2,375:55) and had the longest shift length (1:04). But he was tied for 72nd in shifts per game and 34th in overall shifts taken. It’s not like he’s stapled to the bench, as his overall time is eighth. But he’s now second in the NHL in shifts per game, going from 27.1 to 32.2 per night. His length has dropped to 0:50, which is 38th. He’s agreed to stay out a little less, but the trade-off is minimal as they put him out there more.

What does this have to do with the Flames? Well, shorter shifts generally result in more effective shifts. And Johnny Gaudreau has gone from being tied for 64th among all forwards in average shift time in 2015-16 to fourth this season.

That's quite a jump, wouldn't you say?

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Should the Canucks Commit to Jacob Markstrom?

J.D. Burke
February 18 2017 01:00PM

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Photo Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel - USA TODAY Sports

When the Canucks face the Calgary Flames on Saturday, they'll have played 22 games since the turn of the calendar. Jacob Markstrom's been their netminder for five.

The obvious story therein is the number of starts Miller -- a 36-year-old netminder who's raised concerns in each of his two previous seasons in Vancouver about his workload -- received in that stretch, and with good reason. It's neither to the team nor the player's benefit to do so, and nothing suggests they're changing their ways in the second leg of this most important stretch of their season.

I wonder, though, if that's equal parts faith in Miller as it is skepticism of Markstrom's ability to so much as hold the fort. That's idle speculation on my part, but for posterity's sake, I wanted to see whether the Canucks are justified in their reticence to commit to Markstrom in any meaningful way.

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By the Numbers: Manitoba Moose Production Levels

Garret Hohl
February 17 2017 03:30PM

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The Winnipeg Jets have been struggling to win games, so let's go over and take a look at the Manitoba Moose... who are also struggling.

Well, at least we can take a look at the individuals on the Moose to gauge the potential future help from the farm team.

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Canucks need to be decisive and take advantage of market

Ryan Biech
February 17 2017 03:00PM

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Photo Credit: Anne-Marie Sorvin - USA TODAY Sports

Here we are, just twelve short days from the March 1st NHL trade deadline. Things are about to get interesting.

The Canucks sit five points removed from the last wild-card spot and play the team they are chasing, the Calgary Flames, on Saturday. The L.A. Kings are hanging around, and have two games in hand. Coupled with a downright hostile schedule, it's looking like the Canucks will be in tough to make the playoffs.

All this underscores exactly why the Canucks need to be decisive as they address the topic du jour. They need to sell what few assets they can, and let the season wind down to its inevitable conclusion.

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