2013-14 Division Rivals: Edmonton Oilers vs. Anaheim Ducks

Jonathan Willis
August 12 2013 08:31AM

The Edmonton Oilers have moved to the new Pacific Division, and with the summer free agent splurge all but over it’s a good time to see how they stack up against their rivals. We start with the Anaheim Ducks, who with 66 points last season would have led all teams in the new division.

For forwards, I’ve used points from last season projected over an 82-game schedule, for defencemen time on ice per game in 2013, and for goalies their 2013 save percentage. Players in italics did not play a significant number of games in the NHL in 2012-13; red indicates numbers come from the AHL or Europe while green indicates a previous NHL season.

Forwards

The exact combinations obviously involve a bit of guesswork, and the Ducks combos in particular are a little more difficult because I’m not as familiar with them. I’ve left last year’s successful Cogliano/Koivu/Winnik trio together, and plugged in Dustin Penner on the top line for now – though of course newcomer Jakob Silfverberg may get the job, or Kyle Palmieri or Matt Beleskey (both of the latter saw some time with Perry and Getzlaf last season).

There are two obvious things that jump out about the chart above. First, the Oilers have seven players who were on pace for 40+ points last season; the Ducks have only four (though we’re splitting hairs a little given Cogliano and Bonino). Second, the bottom half of the Ducks roster looks a lot more potent than the same part of the Edmonton depth chart.

Assuming head-to-head matchups with these lines, I like the Getzlaf trio a little better than the Oilers’ kids right now, but not a lot better. For the second line matchup, I think Edmonton’s group is a better bet – Cogliano’s coming off a career-best season, Daniel Winnik has never hit 30 points in the NHL and Saku Koivu turns 39 in November. If all goes well, the Ducks have a solid group there, but a lot could go wrong. Luckily for Anaheim, they have bottom-six depth the Oilers can’t match – while I wouldn’t especially want to bet on Bonino and Beleskey, the other four guys in the group are all young and have significant upside. Anaheim’s been top-heavy for years, but they finally have a young NHL group that can address that problem.

Overall, Edmonton doesn’t match up terribly in the top-six but their depth group doesn’t look particularly good compared to the Ducks.

Defence and Goaltending

On defence, the Oilers match up pretty well in the two through eight slots; I would even be inclined to give them the edge in the depth game. The difference is in the number one slot: Francois Beauchemin is a fantastic defenceman and until they show otherwise the Oilers don’t really have a comparable all-round rearguard on their roster.

In net, I’m not convinced that Devan Dubnyk is worse than any of the goalies on the Ducks’ roster, but backups don’t come much better than Viktor Fasth and Frederik Andersen is an incredible prospect with upside that Richard Bachman simply doesn’t possess.

Again, it’s competitive but the Ducks have a lead overall in my view.

Overall

I’m not convinced that the Ducks will end up winning the Pacific Division; they rode the percentages last season and weren’t able to consistently out-shoot the other team. In the three full seasons leading up to last year, the Ducks fired at an 8.6, 8.4 and 8.2 shooting percentage at even-strength; last season they fired at a 9.4 percent clip. It doesn’t sound like a lot, but over a full season that alone works out to roughly 15 goals. Still, I feel comfortable guessing they’ll likely outperform the Oilers next season.

This is a team that the Oilers could catch with a strong season.

Recently around the Nation Network

At NHL Numbers, new writer Travis Yost breaks down every Western team's Corsi - that's shots, missed shots and blocked shots, which gives us an idea of which team controls possession - and the Edmonton Oilers in particular don't fare so well. Click the link for the shiny graph, though this segment from his conclusion may discourage our readers:

Just stare at it. Don't look away. Don't even blink. If you're an Oilers fan who watched even-half of last year's circus, you are a masochist for awful hockey. And if you made it through the entire season, you deserve the Congressional Medal of Honor.

Click the link above to read more, or check out some of my recent stuff:

74b7cedc5d8bfbe88cf071309e98d2c3
Jonathan Willis is a freelance writer. He currently works for Oilers Nation, 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.
Avatar
#51 Supernova
August 12 2013, 01:38PM
Trash it!
1
trashes
Cheers
5
cheers

Interesting article, I was hoping someone would do a trip around the divisions.

I am not a huge reader of "fancy stats", (I believe they are valuable to a point, but they take some of the fun out of the game for me)

My question is though, didn't the fancy stats seem to indicate that Anaheim and Toronto played above their indicator levels? therefor might be in place for a dip in the standings.

In the "seen them good way", it also seems the ducks might be due for a pull back. Aside from Beauchemin it seems their Defense is vulnerable, and could perhaps be one of the worst in the Division. With Bobby Ryan gone their scoring Depth is also in question as teams will be even more able to game plan for Getzlaf and Perry.

Avatar
#52 DSF
August 12 2013, 01:47PM
Trash it!
22
trashes
Cheers
4
cheers
John Chambers wrote:

I seem to recall a lot of "blue sky" valuations on both Anaheim's as well as Minnesota's prospects prior to last season.

Let's see how DSF's favorites turned out:

Peter Holland - 5 pts in 21 NHL games, and 39 points (and minus -13) in 45 AHL games. This from a guy drafted 5 spots after Paajarvi. Specifically you said Anaheim wouldn't be a legitimate trade destination for Gagner because of Holland's inevitable emergence. Huh.

Charlie Coyle - 14 points in 37 NHL games, and 25 points in 47 AHL games. A far better pick than Tyler Pitlick indeed, but certainly not a difference maker on the Wild last season. Will almost certainly have a middle-6 role this season however.

Mike Granlund - just 8 points in 27 games. Bummer. I actually had high hopes for this player after a near PPG performance in the AHL at the beginning of last season. Like Coyle he'll probably play on the 2nd line this year.

These aren't bad players by any stretch, but to think that players with limited NHL experience will play meaningful roles on their clubs next year ... well that's just little boys' with hockey cards logic now isn't it?

Your analysis is pretty meaningless without the context or role, responsibility, TOI and injury.

1) Peter Holland - The Ducks, with two veteran centres in Getzlaf and Koivu can afford to bring him along slowly. He was 12th among Duck forwards in TOI/G last season so it's not surprising he didn't shoot the lights out.

2) Charlie Coyle - Here's a tidbit from the Wild website. Please note that Coyle scored at a 20+ goal per game pace in only 37 games which is pretty good for a 20 year old rookie.

"Coyle made a huge impression with Wild brass last season after being promoted from the Houston Aeros of the American Hockey League. The 21-year-old was so impressive he found himself playing right wing on Minnesota's top line alongside center Mikko Koivu and left wing Zach Parise. The 6-foot-2, 205-pound native of East Weymouth, Mass., had eight goals and six assists in 37 games in his first taste of NHL hockey.

He's unlikely to start this season on Minnesota's top line -- veteran Jason Pominville is expected to play right wing with Koivu and Parise -- but Coyle could remain a top-six forward. The question of where he'll play is likely to depend on center Mikael Granlund, another 21-year-old who's vying for a job. Should Granlund make the team, it is conceivable Coyle could be his right wing, with veteran Dany Heatley on the left side."

3) Mikael Granlund - tough season for him after suffering that high ankle sprain.

My "little boy hockey card" sees a line of Heatley - Granlund - Coyle next season depending on how Granlund performs.

Otherwise Coyle, a natural centre, can slide in.

Avatar
#53 MessyEH!
August 12 2013, 02:00PM
Trash it!
1
trashes
Cheers
7
cheers
DSF wrote:

As stated...that projected lineup is straight from the Ducks website.

I assume they have some insight into what management is thinking.

I also assume your projections are entirely based on last year's performance with no consideration given to changing roles or progression by young players.

For example, you have Silvferberg on the 3rd line and pegged him at 39 points when it's more likely he plays on the top line with Getzlaf and Perry where he should be able to surpass that number without breaking a sweat.

You also have Emerson Etem on the 4th line when it's much more likely he will get 2nd line minutes and blow your 22 point projection out of the water.

And, of course, there is no provision for the likely return of Selanne which would bump Penner to the 3rd line and he is likely good for 25 goals and 50 points if he returns.

All valid points. I think your over estimating Penners impact.

I really like your enthusiasm about the younger players improving. Unfortunately for the ducks and Colorado, the same is going to hold true for the Oilers.

The Oilers focused on addition by subtraction. Then they added some actually NHL quality defenseman.

I think these teams are closer than you care to admit. The Oilers just need one of the wildcard Dmen to meet expectations, that would solidify their defense by committee approach. 6 actuall NHL Dmen that would be 3 and 4s on most teams.

Avatar
#54 John Chambers
August 12 2013, 02:26PM
Trash it!
2
trashes
Cheers
16
cheers

@DSF

Getting back to the point - none of the three had a meaningful impact to their teams in '13 as you said they would.

So tell me again about all these upcoming players from other organizations who will provide depth THIS COMING SEASON, or should we just compile a list 10-deep of Florida's centre depth (and include wingers) and form a bizarre narrative about how they're all superior to Sam Gagner.

Bjugstad, Shore, Brad Isbister, Jay-Z, Mimi from the Drew Carey Show, etc

Avatar
#55 DSF
August 12 2013, 02:33PM
Trash it!
18
trashes
Cheers
5
cheers
MessyEH! wrote:

All valid points. I think your over estimating Penners impact.

I really like your enthusiasm about the younger players improving. Unfortunately for the ducks and Colorado, the same is going to hold true for the Oilers.

The Oilers focused on addition by subtraction. Then they added some actually NHL quality defenseman.

I think these teams are closer than you care to admit. The Oilers just need one of the wildcard Dmen to meet expectations, that would solidify their defense by committee approach. 6 actuall NHL Dmen that would be 3 and 4s on most teams.

I didn't say a word about Penner's impact.

Who knows?

I agree that young players improve and I think the most likely to improve are Yakupov and Schultz if he learns to play defense.

The Oilers bottom 6 and D remain huge question marks in my mind and, of course, if Hopkins sin;t ready to when the season starts, the Oilers could be buried before they get started.

Avatar
#56 DSF
August 12 2013, 02:40PM
Trash it!
19
trashes
Cheers
2
cheers
John Chambers wrote:

Getting back to the point - none of the three had a meaningful impact to their teams in '13 as you said they would.

So tell me again about all these upcoming players from other organizations who will provide depth THIS COMING SEASON, or should we just compile a list 10-deep of Florida's centre depth (and include wingers) and form a bizarre narrative about how they're all superior to Sam Gagner.

Bjugstad, Shore, Brad Isbister, Jay-Z, Mimi from the Drew Carey Show, etc

Suggesting Coyle didn't have a meaningful impact is just ridiculous.

Maybe try this C depth on for size Sparky:

Sasha Barkov

Drew Shore

Shawn Matthias

Marcel Goc

Scott Gomez

Nick Bjugstad

Quinton Howden

And, yes Huberdeau is a natural centre although he won't play there.

Avatar
#57 MessyEH!
August 12 2013, 02:43PM
Trash it!
1
trashes
Cheers
5
cheers

@DSF

Sorry I thought you said Penner was good for 25g and 50pts. You were obviously talking about Selanne.

Avatar
#58 John Chambers
August 12 2013, 03:15PM
Trash it!
1
trashes
Cheers
13
cheers

@DSF

Thanks for the list. I can always rely on you for one.

So do you agree that it's still LotteryTown (bottom-5 finish) for FLA next year or Drew Shore going to be a better 2nd line C in 13/14 than Gagner?

Avatar
#59 2004Z06
August 12 2013, 03:38PM
Trash it!
10
trashes
Cheers
2
cheers

@OilClog

"Goes out every single season and produces"? Really? Didn't produce much last season. I think this season will determine if Ebs is the real deal, or just another average player with a Horcoff-esque contract. I am hoping for the former!

Avatar
#60 Mikey
August 12 2013, 04:12PM
Trash it!
1
trashes
Cheers
5
cheers
DSF wrote:

Your analysis is pretty meaningless without the context or role, responsibility, TOI and injury.

1) Peter Holland - The Ducks, with two veteran centres in Getzlaf and Koivu can afford to bring him along slowly. He was 12th among Duck forwards in TOI/G last season so it's not surprising he didn't shoot the lights out.

2) Charlie Coyle - Here's a tidbit from the Wild website. Please note that Coyle scored at a 20+ goal per game pace in only 37 games which is pretty good for a 20 year old rookie.

"Coyle made a huge impression with Wild brass last season after being promoted from the Houston Aeros of the American Hockey League. The 21-year-old was so impressive he found himself playing right wing on Minnesota's top line alongside center Mikko Koivu and left wing Zach Parise. The 6-foot-2, 205-pound native of East Weymouth, Mass., had eight goals and six assists in 37 games in his first taste of NHL hockey.

He's unlikely to start this season on Minnesota's top line -- veteran Jason Pominville is expected to play right wing with Koivu and Parise -- but Coyle could remain a top-six forward. The question of where he'll play is likely to depend on center Mikael Granlund, another 21-year-old who's vying for a job. Should Granlund make the team, it is conceivable Coyle could be his right wing, with veteran Dany Heatley on the left side."

3) Mikael Granlund - tough season for him after suffering that high ankle sprain.

My "little boy hockey card" sees a line of Heatley - Granlund - Coyle next season depending on how Granlund performs.

Otherwise Coyle, a natural centre, can slide in.

I think what John is saying, what you said is, those players would be lights out last season.

They weren't lights out. Far from it.

Avatar
#61 Next up, is Connor McJesus.
August 12 2013, 04:32PM
Trash it!
27
trashes
Cheers
4
cheers

Only position that remains in doubt in the Pacific division, is who finishes last, the 6th and 7th position. Those positions are a lock for both the Oil and the Flames. Have to be drinking plenty of Kev's koolaid to not realize the Oil will be looking up at the butt hole of the Anaheim Ducks. That 1/4" woofer, won't be a pleasant sight I imagine.

Avatar
#62 Smythyyy
August 12 2013, 05:32PM
Trash it!
2
trashes
Cheers
9
cheers
2004Z06 wrote:

"Goes out every single season and produces"? Really? Didn't produce much last season. I think this season will determine if Ebs is the real deal, or just another average player with a Horcoff-esque contract. I am hoping for the former!

Ebs never made excuses but the guy was playing with an injured hand (fractured finger I believe). With that said, I don't know how you could say 'he didn't produce much last season' when he was on pace for 63 pts (projected over 82 games) last season -- good for 3rd on the team. If anything, with a healthier season and RNHs receovery; I could expect Eberle's number go up next season.

Avatar
#63 Citizen David
August 12 2013, 06:49PM
Trash it!
1
trashes
Cheers
15
cheers
DSF wrote:

Suggesting Coyle didn't have a meaningful impact is just ridiculous.

Maybe try this C depth on for size Sparky:

Sasha Barkov

Drew Shore

Shawn Matthias

Marcel Goc

Scott Gomez

Nick Bjugstad

Quinton Howden

And, yes Huberdeau is a natural centre although he won't play there.

If you add up the top four centers on Florida's depth chart that you for some reason think is so good and you compare them to Gagner ( 4 on 1 ) this is what you get:

Florida's team GP 784, G 103, A 145, P 248

Sam Gagner GP 414, G 91, A 167, P 258

Gagner has more points then all four combined. He has more than 100 games played over the top three, because you have an 18 year old rookie as their number one center and 22 year old with 43 NHL games as their second.

After Scott Gomez who is universally known as the least likely player to score a goal in the league who you have as number five you round your list off with Bjugstad-21 years old 11games played 1 point and Howden 21 years old, 18 games played 0 points and -11. Hopkins, Gagner, Gordan, Lander kills your list. It's a joke.

Avatar
#64 DSF
August 12 2013, 08:43PM
Trash it!
14
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

@Citizen David

Oh, good grief.

Try and look beyond the end of your nose.

Barkov, Shore, Matthias, Bjugstad and Howden are all very young players.

Shawn Matthias scored 21 points last season.

Boyd Gordon scored 14.

Scott Gomez scored 15 points last season.

Anton Lander scored ONE.

The Oilers #5C is likely Arcobello who scored ZERO points in the NHL last season.

You'll note that Matthias scored more points than Gordon, Lander and Arcobello combined.

Anything Gomez scores, likely more than Gordon, Lander and Arcobello combined, is just a bonus.

Avatar
#65 Harry
August 12 2013, 08:58PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
4
cheers
2004Z06 wrote:

"Goes out every single season and produces"? Really? Didn't produce much last season. I think this season will determine if Ebs is the real deal, or just another average player with a Horcoff-esque contract. I am hoping for the former!

Please tell me your not compairing Horc to Eberle?! They are world apart in term of pure skill. Eberle will easily be a 60+ point guy year in and out. Horcoff, not so much

Avatar
#66 Citizen David
August 12 2013, 08:59PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
15
cheers
DSF wrote:

Oh, good grief.

Try and look beyond the end of your nose.

Barkov, Shore, Matthias, Bjugstad and Howden are all very young players.

Shawn Matthias scored 21 points last season.

Boyd Gordon scored 14.

Scott Gomez scored 15 points last season.

Anton Lander scored ONE.

The Oilers #5C is likely Arcobello who scored ZERO points in the NHL last season.

You'll note that Matthias scored more points than Gordon, Lander and Arcobello combined.

Anything Gomez scores, likely more than Gordon, Lander and Arcobello combined, is just a bonus.

Funny that you made a big deal about Arcobello not getting any points in the NHL last year which he played only one game when you're in the midst of defending Bjugstad and Howden when they combined played 29 games had one goal and zero assists between them and were -19.

Boyd Gordon got an offensive zone start in the 30%'s.

Check it out

http://somekindofninja.com/nhl/usage.php?f1=2012_s&f2=5v5&f3=Shawn+Matthias&f5=FLA&f4=&f7=&bubbleType=corsiOn&yAxis=qoc&update-filters=Update+Results

http://somekindofninja.com/nhl/usage.php?f1=2012_s&f2=5v5&f3=Boyd+Gordon&f5=PHX&f4=&f7=&bubbleType=corsiOn&yAxis=qoc&update-filters=Update+Results

Third year Nuge vs, rookie Barkov? Not even a competition. Shore can't touch Gagner. You're full of it.

Avatar
#67 Harry
August 12 2013, 09:04PM
Trash it!
1
trashes
Cheers
9
cheers
DSF wrote:

Oh, good grief.

Try and look beyond the end of your nose.

Barkov, Shore, Matthias, Bjugstad and Howden are all very young players.

Shawn Matthias scored 21 points last season.

Boyd Gordon scored 14.

Scott Gomez scored 15 points last season.

Anton Lander scored ONE.

The Oilers #5C is likely Arcobello who scored ZERO points in the NHL last season.

You'll note that Matthias scored more points than Gordon, Lander and Arcobello combined.

Anything Gomez scores, likely more than Gordon, Lander and Arcobello combined, is just a bonus.

I am shocked at your apparent lack of knowledge when it comes to simple projections. If you think FLA has a better depth chart at center as of this.season then theres just no hope for you whatsoever. At some point peoples bias' just present themselves with idiotic comments such as yours on this blog over the past few weeks.

I am going to go out on a limb and say that your a Canucks fan. Am I right?.

Avatar
#68 Fatbob24
August 12 2013, 10:16PM
Trash it!
4
trashes
Cheers
2
cheers
Smythyyy wrote:

Ebs never made excuses but the guy was playing with an injured hand (fractured finger I believe). With that said, I don't know how you could say 'he didn't produce much last season' when he was on pace for 63 pts (projected over 82 games) last season -- good for 3rd on the team. If anything, with a healthier season and RNHs receovery; I could expect Eberle's number go up next season.

Yeah, well they better! He signed a big boy contract and he's going to earn it or I'm gonna get grumpy!

Avatar
#69 Wax Man Riley
August 12 2013, 10:21PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
10
cheers
DSF wrote:

Suggesting Coyle didn't have a meaningful impact is just ridiculous.

Maybe try this C depth on for size Sparky:

Sasha Barkov

Drew Shore

Shawn Matthias

Marcel Goc

Scott Gomez

Nick Bjugstad

Quinton Howden

And, yes Huberdeau is a natural centre although he won't play there.

Actually that is a pretty brutal list of center depth.

I would take RNH, Gags, Gordon, and Lander over that every day.

This list has a lot of maybes, ifs, and potential, but that is it. Take that out and you are left with: Goc, Gomez,........ That is it. Sometimes you have some points, but this is so far over the "troll" line it's funny.

Avatar
#70 madjam
August 12 2013, 10:37PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
8
cheers

Three fast emerging super talents in Hopkins , Hall and Yakupov , with a healthy dose of fast improving J.Schultz , Eberle Gagner and Perron spells a dynamic reach for the top . Not even MacT. and/or Eakins greenness should be able to screw that up . No way this club shouldn't do well/succeed this year considering all the talent we have . Knit pick on what we still might lack , but look at what we have in abundance that should all breakout this year !

Avatar
#71 Smythyyy
August 12 2013, 10:49PM
Trash it!
1
trashes
Cheers
8
cheers
Fatbob24 wrote:

Yeah, well they better! He signed a big boy contract and he's going to earn it or I'm gonna get grumpy!

You can go grumpy all you want. But Eberle is actually on a value contract and so far he's proven he's worth every penny.

Avatar
#72 cableguy - 2nd Tier Fan
August 13 2013, 07:13AM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
4
cheers

@DSF

Try and look beyond the end of your nose.

says the guy with more misses then a blind guy swinging at a baseball....

Avatar
#73 Harry
August 13 2013, 10:52AM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
3
cheers
DSF wrote:

Suggesting Coyle didn't have a meaningful impact is just ridiculous.

Maybe try this C depth on for size Sparky:

Sasha Barkov

Drew Shore

Shawn Matthias

Marcel Goc

Scott Gomez

Nick Bjugstad

Quinton Howden

And, yes Huberdeau is a natural centre although he won't play there.

I find myself reading this comment again this morning and laughing my ass off. You seem so sure in your statement that FLA has a good if not great depth chart at center?! If your going by those players that you listed off I have to say that you know absolutely nothing about.hockey

Comments are closed for this article.