One of the things I’m looking for from the Oilers this season is gradual improvement. I wrote the team off as a playoff contender before the season began based on the roster, but that doesn’t mean I was without optimism; the Oilers have an extremely young roster and I viewed this as a development year.
Looking for improvement, I decided to go back through the scoring chance data collected by Dennis King and published at mc79hockey.com. There’s a noticeable trend in every aspect of the Oilers game.
The following charts show what percentage of the scoring chances the Oilers have logged as a team. 50.0% means that they had as many scoring chances as their opposition; 60.0% is a dominant effort while 40.0% is an underwhelming one. I’ve broken these down into three sections: overall, even-strength and special teams. The black line indicates the current trend.
The Oilers still aren’t a 0.500 team by scoring chances, but they’ve shown improvement in all areas of their game. This is particularly remarkable given the current injuries to key veterans Ales Hemsky and Shawn Horcoff. I’d suggest that were those players still healthy, the scoring chance data would be even more positive, as the young players on the roster seem to be getting better every night.
There is still a long way to go, but so far this season is easily the highlight of the Tambellini dynasties.