The Penalty Kill: Good News & Bad News

Jonathan Willis
November 06 2010 01:52PM

For the Edmonton Oilers, the not-so-proud owners of the league’s 30th-ranked penalty kill, there is some good news: the goaltending is part of the problem, and it’s bound to get better.

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Taylor Hall: Advanced Statistics

Jonathan Willis
October 27 2010 04:01PM

EDMONTON, CANADA - OCTOBER 16: Edmonton Oilers left wing Taylor Hall  warms up before a game against the Calgary Flames at the Scotiabank Saddledome on October 16, 2010 in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. The Flames beat the Oilers 5-3. (Photo by Dylan Lynch/Getty Images)

By eye, Taylor Hall is an NHL player. This is what I think, and it’s certainly the consensus opinion among editorialists in the mainstream media. Despite that opinion, Hall’s stats line remains underwhelming: seven games played, one point (an assist), and a team-worst minus-4. What do Hall’s underlying numbers suggest?

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Let’s Avoid Discussing That 6-1 Loss

Jonathan Willis
October 24 2010 02:04AM

Edmonton Oilers' Jordan Eberle flies through the air after scoring his first career goal on the Calgary Flames during the third period of their NHL hockey game in Edmonton October 7, 2010.  REUTERS/Dan Riedlhuber (CANADA - Tags: SPORT ICE HOCKEY)

Yeah, I know there was a game tonight. I watched it, and the only two points I have much interest in talking about are a) another lovely shorthanded goal for Jordan Eberle and b) Dany Heatley being on my fantasy team. Beyond that, the less said the better.

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Veteran Leadership

Jonathan Willis
October 16 2010 10:59AM

ANAHEIM, CA - NOVEMBER 03:  Bill Guerin #13 of the Pittsburgh Penguins looks on against the Anaheim Ducks at the Honda Center on November 3, 2009 in Anaheim, California.  (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)

Every time I look at the Oilers’ forwards this season, I’m amazed by how young a group it is. Hall, Eberle and Paajarvi are all under the age of 20, and playing in their first season. Gagner, Brule and Cogliano are all 23-or-under, and all are expected to play pivotal roles in the top-nine. Shawn Horcoff’s the lone top-12 forward over 30, Penner’s next at 28, Hemsky’s 27, and the remaining regulars are either 25 or 26.

And every time I think about that, I wonder if the Oilers could use a steady veteran up front.

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Jonathan Willis
October 13 2010 07:54PM

EDMONTON, AB - OCTOBER 3: Gilbert Brule #67 of the Edmonton Oilers skates on the ice in a game between the Calgary Flames and the Edmonton Oilers during an NHL game on October 3, 2009 at Rexall Arena in Edmonton, Canada. The Flames defeated the Oilers 4-3. (Photo by Jimmy Jeong/Getty Images)

There are a lot of reasons not to be worried. The season is two games in, and it’s pretty hard to see much meaningful in two games. Not only that, but the Oilers have won both of them, and the off-season’s biggest question mark, Nikolai Khabibulin, has been splendid. Still, faceoffs have been pointed to as an area of concern.

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