Edmonton’s Player Usage Charts

Jonathan Willis
March 09 2013 09:38PM

The chart above comes courtesy of Rob Vollman, who has done some work here at the Nation and writes all over the place. It shows where the Oilers have started their shifts this year, what kind of opposition they have faced, and how well they have fared in terms of generating more shot attempts than the other team (big blue bubble = good, big red bubble = bad).

It’s an interesting way of looking at players.

The first, obvious thing is how well the kids fare by this metric. Eberle, Hall and Nugent-Hopkins have done a pretty good job of out-shooting the opposition, though they’ve all suffered from an inability to finish off the chances they’ve gotten (Nugent-Hopkins in particular seems to be shooting wildly this season). The problem is that they’re pretty much alone.

The depth lines have been a sinkhole – in particular the trio of Petrell, Belanger and Eager. They’ve all seen a bunch of time in the defensive zone, but they haven’t had to play top-flight competition, either.

Not much to choose from between the defence; Ryan Whitney fares poorly on here and that makes sense given how he’s looked by eye and how the coaching staff has used him.

Guys like Hordichuk, Arcobello, Brown, and Lander should probably be looked at cautiously, given limited playing time this season. Horcoff, too, for that matter.

That’s what I saw; does anything else jump out?

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Jonathan Willis is a freelance writer. He currently works for Oilers Nation, Sportsnet, the Edmonton Journal and Bleacher Report. He's co-written three books and worked for myriad websites, including Grantland, ESPN, The Score, and Hockey Prospectus. He was previously the founder and managing editor of Copper & Blue.
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#1 Wanyes bastard child
March 09 2013, 10:21PM
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The nuge bubble next to the Hall bubble look like boobs.

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#2 Rex
March 09 2013, 10:31PM
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@Wanyes bastard child

You've never seen boobs have you.

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#3 Butters
March 09 2013, 11:12PM
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The Horcoff bubble is floating away.

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#4 Bucknuck
March 09 2013, 11:53PM
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This team looked a lot better with Horcoff in the lineup. Looking at his quality of competition, it is easy to see why.

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#5 Jay
March 10 2013, 09:12AM
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Why do I still waste so much time reading about this team? How is it possible that I still care? It's like finding out every other night my girlfriend cheats on me! And even though she's ugly and doesn't care 1 bit about me, I still want to try and work things out. Man I need to dump this b***h

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#6 PeOiler
March 09 2013, 09:45PM
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Love these charts. Lately I am the smartest hockey bugger at my work.

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#7 Jay
March 10 2013, 09:12AM
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Why do I still waste so much time reading about this team? How is it possible that I still care? It's like finding out every other night my girlfriend cheats on me! And even though she's ugly and doesn't care 1 bit about me, I still want to try and work things out. Man I need to dump this b***h

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#8 Rod from Viking
March 10 2013, 09:30AM
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Jay wrote:

Why do I still waste so much time reading about this team? How is it possible that I still care? It's like finding out every other night my girlfriend cheats on me! And even though she's ugly and doesn't care 1 bit about me, I still want to try and work things out. Man I need to dump this b***h

That is just too funny, the difference is she knows she is ugly so she puts out every shift so you want to keep her.

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#9 StHenriOilBomb
March 10 2013, 12:44PM
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DSF wrote:

The bubbles tell you the job the players are being expected to do.

It tells you nothing about how well they are doing the job.

"It shows where the Oilers have started their shifts this year, what kind of opposition they have faced, and how well they have fared in terms of generating more shot attempts than the other team"

In case you can't read, here's a link to a text-to-speech site you could use to help. http://text-to-speech.imtranslator.net/

If the problem is tense recognition, this may help: http://www.superteacherworksheets.com/actionverbs/verbtenses.pdf

But this is probably your biggest problem: http://www.socialphobiaworld.com/im-addicted-to-trolling-39355/

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#10 StHenriOilBomb
March 10 2013, 01:51PM
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http://hockeyanalysis.com/ - says it better than I will: "Positive shot differentials is a result of good play and not because a team chose shot differentials as their goal and achieved it. The reality is, to generate positive shot differential you need to:

1)When you have control of the puck you generate an offensive opportunity from that puck possession more frequently and you give up control of the puck less frequently. 2)When you do not have control of the puck you force the opposing team to give up the puck more frequently and generate an offensive opportunity less frequently. 3)You gain possession more frequently than the opposition be that through winning face offs or winning the puck battles after shot attempts."

While not the be all and end all of hockey statistics, it quantifies some important areas. Don't be so quick to dismiss it.

What I am wondering - as gongshow asked - is whether this is EV or includes PP & PK. That makes a huge difference.

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#11 Dawn
March 11 2013, 12:10AM
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I'd be interested in seeing the same charts for OKC, before and after the NHL season started. It would be an interesting exercise to work out an NHLE conversion.

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#12 Ales Hallsky
March 09 2013, 10:26PM
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@Wanyes bastard child

Good call...at least we still have boobs

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#13 Oilfred
March 09 2013, 11:40PM
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Lots to think about here.

Petry clearly suffered from not playing before the season started.

Smid needs to be extended ASAP.

Sr and Jr are a decent tandem.

MPS is a player, a top 6 guy, man that's cool beans.

Belanger is asked to do too much.

Eager is a goon that can skate, but his concussion issues have made him a liability due to the fact he can no longer fight.

Packman can play in this league, albeit in a 6-7 roll. (just the right amount of power pellets this year?)

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#14 G Money
March 10 2013, 12:30AM
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While Lander has faced exactly the opposite situation as Horcoff (i.e. offensive starts against easy opposition), and it is a very small sample size, it does confirm what I saw by eye, which is that he looked a LOT better than last year. Time in the AHL appears to have helped.

I did not expect Teddy's bubble to be blue.

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#15 The Oilers Shot Clock
March 10 2013, 01:00AM
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Gags is still sheltered and is looking like he will always be ,and Belanger is a bust.

Maybe Krueger doesn't match lines because what's the point? If your 4th line is an abomination and your third already needs sheltering its over.

Poor Horcoff, paddling upstream again with no one else in his boat and making decent time. Great player.

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#16 The Oilers Shot Clock
March 10 2013, 01:06AM
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And browns bubble is going to share an apartment with Hordichuks bubble by season end. That's what a 4th rounder gets us Steve?

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#17 Mininorm
March 10 2013, 01:22AM
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I am usually a patient man, but I am beginning to lose my patience with Oilers management. Surround your stars with good role/support players. Therefore, Big red dots and medium red dots should be traded or sent down. Small red dots should be given a chance to improve. Blue dots should be kept.

I am hearing the Oilers management doesn't want to make trades right now. Fine, then call up players from the farm to give them experience and see how the perform. Start the process now!

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#18 The Oilers Shot Clock
March 10 2013, 03:47AM
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Please trade Gagner...there are teams out there that could take advantage of what he does well and shelter him defensively better than we can. Hall goes to center, Nuge gets the sheltered minutes.

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#19 Clarence Oveur
March 10 2013, 06:32AM
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THE BUBBLE!

It's frustrating...very frustrating!

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#20 non descript
March 10 2013, 09:11AM
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this team is so bad you would think tambo was trying for last place again. mind you given that they thought the '09 '10 could win do we not have absolute confirmation that management has no idea what a winning line up even looks like?

this team is five years away, minimum, from even being competitive, if they ever are. they have nothing in the system beyond what you see on the roster as they have not even drafted the players it will take to augment the rest of the roster.

it would be nice to see the team show up at the rink and at least put in an effort. they dont have to make the fact that they dont care so obvious.

there is nothing here but a group of people, players and management, that have no idea what it takes. there are no fairy tales in hockey. nobody is handing the oilers anything.

i am preparing to watch this club become a development stop/feeder system to the rest of the league.

if tambo has any pride whatsoever, he should at least be embarrassed on the draft lotto show this spring.

if katz has any brains it wont be these idiots making that pick.

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#21 Reagan
March 10 2013, 09:52AM
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Wonder how many other players the Belanger triangle will swallow into the red circles. Lol

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#22 gongshow
March 10 2013, 10:10AM
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JW - Do my eyes deceive me? Yak is blue but his line mates for most of the season (Hemsky and Gags) are red? Very surprising but also a very positive arrow for the kid, no?

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#23 SmyttyForMayor
March 10 2013, 10:11AM
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Is yakupovs bubble blue or red?

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#24 gongshow
March 10 2013, 10:21AM
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Question: I tried looking for it but couldn't find it using my dinky iPhone screen - is this chart just for EV or does it include all PP and PK time as well? If it includes PP and PK then that explains a number of these players bubbles as the guys getting PP time would mostly match up with blue circles and the guys killing penalties (or at least getting no PK time) would roughly align with the red dots. Even if this is the case, my comment above on Yak still stands, but would be an even bigger condemnation of Hemmer's and Gags.

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#25 Tim S
March 10 2013, 10:51AM
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Yakupov being in Blue discredits everything on this chart. He hemorrhages turnovers, and looks lost 90% of the time he is on the ice.

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#26 DSF
March 10 2013, 11:12AM
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The bubbles tell you the job the players are being expected to do.

It tells you nothing about how well they are doing the job.

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#27 Ramsa Lama
March 10 2013, 12:10PM
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All the charts, systems breakdown, expert analysis, will not change our fortunes. Hockey is played on the ice not on charts...........that's where our problems begin, on the ice that is.

I suspect that with the current management group that we have, nothing will change because all along the plan for this year was to finsih last. This is why Stauffer was saying, "there will be no cavilary coming to save the day". It seems that Oilers management have no desire, apptitude, or plan to re-build this team.

There will also be no changes to upper management as Katz is personal friends with the current management group.

Oh well at least Shawn the butcher Horcoff is back........everything will be fine now.

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#28 DSF
March 10 2013, 01:30PM
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StHenriOilBomb wrote:

"It shows where the Oilers have started their shifts this year, what kind of opposition they have faced, and how well they have fared in terms of generating more shot attempts than the other team"

In case you can't read, here's a link to a text-to-speech site you could use to help. http://text-to-speech.imtranslator.net/

If the problem is tense recognition, this may help: http://www.superteacherworksheets.com/actionverbs/verbtenses.pdf

But this is probably your biggest problem: http://www.socialphobiaworld.com/im-addicted-to-trolling-39355/

If you assume "generating shot attempts" is the goal in hockey, fill your boots.

If you then use that flawed assumption to compare players within a team to one another and then think you've discovered anything that is more than marginally useful, have at it.

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#29 WinterNightSky
March 10 2013, 01:39PM
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DSF wrote:

The bubbles tell you the job the players are being expected to do.

It tells you nothing about how well they are doing the job.

Er... The location of the bubbles tells you the jobs they're expected to do, and the size/colour relative to that location tells you how well they're doing at it. (usually) (edit: looks like you beat me to a response, and to the importance of that "usually")

For example, Horcoff is vital, Hordichuk is every bit as awful as we knew, and Jones is having some surprising negative results.

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#30 DSF
March 10 2013, 01:48PM
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WinterNightSky wrote:

Er... The location of the bubbles tells you the jobs they're expected to do, and the size/colour relative to that location tells you how well they're doing at it. (usually) (edit: looks like you beat me to a response, and to the importance of that "usually")

For example, Horcoff is vital, Hordichuk is every bit as awful as we knew, and Jones is having some surprising negative results.

I think I could have told you that without the bubbles.

Horcoff is vital as a sacrificial lamb but if you look at his actual results over the past season and a quarter he is getting killed by the opposition.

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#31 rob
March 10 2013, 02:09PM
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Wanyes bastard child wrote:

The nuge bubble next to the Hall bubble look like boobs.

No,horcoff and belanger are a couple of BIG BOOBS!!!!!!

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#32 DSF
March 10 2013, 02:39PM
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StHenriOilBomb wrote:

http://hockeyanalysis.com/ - says it better than I will: "Positive shot differentials is a result of good play and not because a team chose shot differentials as their goal and achieved it. The reality is, to generate positive shot differential you need to:

1)When you have control of the puck you generate an offensive opportunity from that puck possession more frequently and you give up control of the puck less frequently. 2)When you do not have control of the puck you force the opposing team to give up the puck more frequently and generate an offensive opportunity less frequently. 3)You gain possession more frequently than the opposition be that through winning face offs or winning the puck battles after shot attempts."

While not the be all and end all of hockey statistics, it quantifies some important areas. Don't be so quick to dismiss it.

What I am wondering - as gongshow asked - is whether this is EV or includes PP & PK. That makes a huge difference.

I have no issue using actual "shot differentials" but I don't abide using blocked and missed shots as indicative of anything but failure.

But even just using actual shots as a bellweather is fraught with peril.

Fo example, The Calgary Flames are even in shots for/against and yet they have a goal differential of -16.

On the flip side of the coin, The Toronto Maple Leafs have a shot differential of -4.4/game while their goal differential is +9.

Now, we can try and draw some conclusions here...

Is Calgary just unlucky, do they have horrible goaltending or what?

Does Toronto have some of the best shooters in the league and fabulous goaltending? (they don't).

Or should all of this be taken with a huge block of salt?

While, in general terms I agree that teams that outshoot the opposition on a consistent basis will win more than they lose, trying to extrapolate that information into an assessment of individual player quality is pretty sketchy given how many other variables are at play in hockey.

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#33 StHenriOilBomb
March 10 2013, 04:41PM
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DSF wrote:

I have no issue using actual "shot differentials" but I don't abide using blocked and missed shots as indicative of anything but failure.

But even just using actual shots as a bellweather is fraught with peril.

Fo example, The Calgary Flames are even in shots for/against and yet they have a goal differential of -16.

On the flip side of the coin, The Toronto Maple Leafs have a shot differential of -4.4/game while their goal differential is +9.

Now, we can try and draw some conclusions here...

Is Calgary just unlucky, do they have horrible goaltending or what?

Does Toronto have some of the best shooters in the league and fabulous goaltending? (they don't).

Or should all of this be taken with a huge block of salt?

While, in general terms I agree that teams that outshoot the opposition on a consistent basis will win more than they lose, trying to extrapolate that information into an assessment of individual player quality is pretty sketchy given how many other variables are at play in hockey.

No statistic gives a complete picture. What the shots attempted for and against stat. helps us do is determine to some extent who is driving play. Puck possession and attacking zone time are likely shown somewhat here. Maybe not much more is shown with any accuracy, but it's something. To follow it blindly is just as foolish as to ignore it completely

The Calgary and Toronto numbers are interesting, I think it's something which will likely even out over a long stretch. As always, sample size is huge. Something we should think about with these stats, too.

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