Did The Oilers Have Bad Injury Luck Last Year?

Jonathan Willis
August 21 2011 07:57AM

Injuries at the NHL level can have tremendous impact on the team. In 2009-10, the Oilers’ fall to last place in the NHL was blamed in part on injuries to Ales Hemsky and Nikolai Khabibulin. In the comments section here, various parties pointed to those injuries and asked how a team like the Penguins would do without Sidney Crosby and Marc-Andre Fleury (one hears that less often these days, for multiple obvious reasons).

Were the Oilers been particularly unlucky when it came to injuries in 2010-11?

Read Article | 58 Comments

Eric Belanger, Job Stealer

Jonathan Willis
July 29 2011 04:28PM

When it comes to the Oilers’ centre depth chart, it’s easy to forget about Eric Belanger, who the organization added via free agency this summer. Shawn Horcoff had something of a bounce-back year playing with the kids, Sam Gagner’s till quite young and of course Ryan Nugent-Hopkins’ debut is highly anticipated. Add it all up and there seems to be little room for Belanger, who some have slotted for fourth-line duty.

I think Belanger’s going to surprise.

Read Article | 26 Comments

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and the Comparables

Jonathan Willis
July 27 2011 08:00PM

Comparing players is, at best, an inexact science. To find comparables for a player like Ryan Nugent-Hopkins is exceedingly difficult – not only is he a unique enough talent to go first overall in the NHL Draft, but our access to data is limited. For a statistical comparison, essentially we’re relying on two years’ worth of games played, goals, assists and total points.

In other words, the following exercise – where I identify draft picks with similar numbers to Nugent-Hopkins – is a flawed one. All it does is give us a snapshot of players with similar offensive production at the same point in their career as Nugent-Hopkins, without consideration for style, intangibles, team strength, defensive play, or any of the rest of it.

Read Article | 90 Comments

Nikolai Khabibulin ≠ Tim Thomas

Jonathan Willis
July 22 2011 06:17PM

“Can the Bulin Wall get it back?” is the question that Bob Stauffer asks this morning over at the Edmonton Oilers’ official website. Naturally, given that the blog posting is written by an employee of the Oilers Radio Network and appears on the Oilers’ official website, Stauffer’s answer to that question doesn’t reference either hellfire or snowballs.

Read Article | 48 Comments

Omark: “I Am Really Glad They Sent Me Down”

Jonathan Willis
July 21 2011 08:30AM

Linus Omark’s at an interesting place in his career, and Oilers’ fans seem to have widely varying opinions of him. Some feel he could potentially be an offensive difference maker a the NHL level (I’m in that group), while others see him as a flashy but deeply flawed player crowded out by other options in the system.

Regardless, fans will be interested in an interview he gave to Norbottens’ Kurinen, translated by Yngve Elverhøi, and presented by Lisa McRitchie of the Copper and Blue.

Read Article | 57 Comments