May 03 2013 09:04AM
Up front, three forwards separated themselves from the pack in both their ability to out-shoot and out-chance the opposition; on the back end one defenceman is well clear of the pack in those same metrics.
One quick note: the charts below express even-strength scoring chances and shots for/against as percentages. Fifty percent is the break-even mark, meaning that a player was on the ice for as many shots or chances for as against; over 50 percent indicates they were winning the battle while under indicates the opposition was. As the Oilers were not a very good a team, most of the players were under 50 percent.
The relationship between shots and scoring chances is a close one, with very little difference between the two, although a few players fared better in one category or the other.
The Oilers forwards this year broadly fit into three groups:
The three. Taylor Hall, Jordan Eberle and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins were head-and-shoulders above everybody else in the forward group, well north of 50% in both shots and scoring chances.
The middle of the pack. Most of the Oilers forwards fall into this category. Teemu Hartikainen and Sam Gagner are probably the most interesting – the black diagonal line shows the relationship between shots and scoring chances, and they’re the two furthest away from that line. By the shot totals, Hartikainen did pretty well, but in terms of scoring chances he was well back; Gagner was the opposite in that he did pretty well by scoring chances but not so well by shots.
The rest. Eric Belanger seems bent on playing himself out of the major leagues, and he had a better season by these marks than Ben Eager (waived, unclaimed, demoted to the NHL), Lennart Petrell and Mike Brown.
It’s worth keeping in mind that things like quality of competition aren’t being considered here, but Mark Fistric – despite, by eye, a pretty mediocre puck-handling game – excels in this category. I’ve been on the fence about this player, but the on-ice shots and scoring chances both paint the picture of a guy who had success in a third-pairing role.
Ryan Whitney lags the pack in a pretty significant way. Justin Schultz too likely could have used a bunch of time on the third pairing or even in the press-box as the year went on, by these numbers he was pretty clearly in over his head.
I can’t help but wonder to what degree Petry and Smid saw their numbers hampered by their role; my view is that both are good defenceman but as a pairing they’re much better suited to a three/four role than the one/two role they were forced into this year.
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