Scoring Chances Through 50: The Forwards

Last night, we considered the scoring chance plus/minus for every defenceman on the Edmonton Oilers. This morning, it’s time to look at the forwards.

Data courtesy of Oilers blogger Dennis at

Player SC +/-, Season SC +/-, Last 10 SC/Game SC/60
Dustin Penner 23 22 0.5 2.0
Shawn Horcoff 12 15 0.4 1.7
Ales Hemsky 6 5 0.2 0.8
Taylor Hall 9 15 0.2 0.7
Jordan Eberle -10 0 -0.3 -1.1
Sam Gagner -23 2 -0.5 -1.9
Jean-Francois Jacques -8 5 -0.3 -2.5
Liam Reddox -7 -1 -0.5 -2.7
Andrew Cogliano -50 -4 -1.0 -4.4
Linus Omark -19 3 -0.9 -4.4
Zach Stortini -17 4 -0.5 -4.5
Magnus Paajarvi -55 2 -1.1 -5.1
Colin Fraser -38 1 -0.8 -6.1
Gilbert Brule -47 0 -1.4 -6.6
Ryan O’Marra -13 0 -1.4 -9.3
Ryan Jones -80 -11 -1.6 -9.3
Steve MacIntyre -9 -1 -0.6 -9.9

The top of this list is totally, completely, and utterly unsurprising. The top-six feature all four reliable veterans on the team, along with the two rookies who stepped into the line-up like they’d been there for five years. As currently constructed, these six are the engine of the team.

Jean-Francois Jacques benefits from a few different things. The Oilers have gotten better at even-strength as the season has worn on, and Jacques was injured at the start of the season so he missed some of the games that helped drag down everybody else’s numbers. That said, I’m pleasantly surprised by how little Jacques is giving up – and over the last 10, his scoring chance number is as good as anyone on the team not named Penner, Horcoff, or Hall. Perhaps we see part of the reason he outlasted Stortini?

Linus Omark and Magnus Paajarvi have been much better since being paired with Sam Gagner. While paired with Ryan O’Marra, Omark went minus-17 in the scoring chance count; since O’Marra was sent down he’s gone just minus-2.

I didn’t believe it, but it appears Tom Renney is serious about turning Andrew Cogliano into a defensive centre. Sure, his faceoff number is still atrocious, and his scoring chance number isn’t pretty, but he is playing against the toughs and he’s spending a ton of time in his own end. I’d still prefer to see him on the wing, but after a year of being treated as a miscellaneous part by Pat Quinn we can at least acknowledge that Renney has him slotted into a specific role.

Ryan Jones is a player that tends to polarize the fanbase; his goal-scoring and hustle appeals to many fans, while people like me look at his numbers and shudder. He’s easily the worst regular on this list, well back of Gilbert Brule, and that’s the biggest reason I think the Oilers should move him. Guys who bleed scoring chances at a rate of 9.3 per hour (particularly while playing the dregs) just aren’t likely to be positive difference makers over the long haul.

  • O.C.

    Hmmmm…. what to say….

    Same as D… Would like these broken out during situational and injury phases. If you are the top PK guy, your numbers will be crap. E.g. Ryan Jones.

  • Reggie

    The part about these stats that scares me is the talk of trade Hemsky or trade Penner. Just think of how much tougher it would be on the remaining players on this list to keep their heads above water with less NHL experience in the lineup.

    I understand the pending UFA status in 14 months … but don’t rush dealing solid, dependable players.

    • Alex Hemsky

      This is why the Oilers need to keep one, if not both, of them for next season and then try to extend them. Right now the Oilers are still a good 2 – 3 years away from being a solid playoff team IF the propsects and rookies continue AND they can develop a competent blue line.

      If you look at the current roster of forwards, how many would actually be in the NHL on a top 6 team? Hemsky, Penner, Horcoff, Hall, Eberle and Paajarvi are likely the only ones, but even then the latter two would probably be spending significant time in the AHL this season. Like Lombardi said in his interview, you need to build organizational depth for a couple of years before making deals to take a serious run.

      If the Oilers can re-sign Hemsky (I doubt that Penner will extend his stay here) at a reasonable rate (which is the rumor) then Tambi will retain some depth and have a tradeable asset in 3 years if need be. In addition, it would leave the team with two potential top 6 right wingers (Hemsky and Eberle) and two top 6 left wingers (Hall, if they keep him there, and Paajarvi) to build around. It is still a crapshoot whether Pitlick, Hamilton or any other 2nd or later round picks will develop into top 6 wingers, but all the team needs are two that become bigger bookends on a 3rd line that is big (Hamilton 6′ 3″ and Pitlick 6’2″), can shut down the opposition’s top line, and has sufficient skill to score on a regular basis.

  • OilFan

    To be honest, I guess I am not shocked about Jones. He is a floater until the puck is in the offensive zone. If it doesn’t make it into the o zone, it’s usually a 2 min clear the puck drill for the oil when jones is out there.

  • Seriously....Gord?

    I’m curious how our players as a team would compare against the rest of the league. Or at least, NYI at one end and a few of the top teams at the other (Van, Phil, Det).

    • There was something like a 90% correlation between scoring chances and Corsi numbers last season (it’s down in the ~70 range so far this season, which I’d mostly attribute to smaller sample). Fenwick numbers are a better proxy but are less readily available.

      Generally though, you can look at the Corsi numbers for any team to get a rough idea.

  • OilFan

    So Hall has all those shots and still 0.2 SC a game ? Where did the numbers come from ? Negative scoring chances really, shouldn’t it be no scoring chance ?

    • Alex Hemsky

      Scoring changes logged by Dennis @ MC79’s site.

      Scoring chances are based on if a player is on the ice, not if that player had a scoring chance.

      A positive scoring chance means the player was on the ice when the oilers had a scoring chance. A negative means the player was on the ice when the opponents had a scoring chance.

      Hall is + 9 in scoring chances so over 50 games that works out to 0.2 scoring chances per game.

  • oilbaron

    it would be nice to see where they started when they came onto the ice, either in the offensive zone or defensive zone or even if they changed on the fly. there could be many reasons for these figures and i could go on for a while.

    • There is. has info on zone starts for shift changes beginning with a faceoff.

      Nothing for on the fly changes, but there are enough faceoffs in a season to give you a pretty good idea of who is starting where more often.

  • Ryan Jones is a Saint Mr. Willis!

    Maybe if he were able to… well he has been doing… I mean at least he’s scoring goals. But seriously, look at his hair! What a beauty.

    As much as you’re probably right about trading him while he does have value, I just do not want to see another GlenX get away from us then bite us in the ass. He seems to genuinely want to be an Oiler and that is worth a lot and if he can chip in 10-12g a year while playing 3/4 line minutes and being on the PK then, in my opinion, he’s worth it.

  • Quicksilver ballet

    Ryan needs a haircut, the doors need to be trimmed off of his current model, should leave him with the ever popular mullet. He looks a little like Crusty the Clown with his hair popping out the ear holes like that…..other than that he’s a fine hockey player.

  • What interests me most is the huge improvements when you break out the last 10 SC. In the case of Andrew and Magnus, simply stunning. I guess it verifies what we’ve been seeing over the past while with our improved overall play at evens.

    You start to understand why Khabby has been playing more games than he should or why we’ve made no moves to improve our D or bring in any decent ST upgrades. It must be getting increasingly hard to put the brakes on this team.

    [EDIT] This was a great article Jonathan. You’re finding more ways to get us non-numbers guys involved in numbers related discussions. I like that.

    • Horcsky

      While I’m 100% on board with the play Dubnyk train, until the Oilers can actually score 3 goals in a game, it doesn’t matter who they play. Scoring 1 or 2 goals a game gets you a shootout at best.

  • I’ve been watching let’s say 80% of this team’s games since I moved back to the city in ’96 and for the first four years I watched all those games at a bar before I finally broke down and bought a satellite dish and the CI package.

    The whole scoring chance thing is something that Roger Neilson did a long time ago and I’m not sure if this but I think he was the first guy who tracked this stuff at the NHL level. He was really ahead of his time and as a very young kid I remember during the playoffs one year the announcers calling him Captain Video because he was doing some consulting with the Oilers and I eventually looked it up and it was for the ’84 season as I had remembered it.

    So eventually I figured I would take a shot at logging all the games and I think that when you put this together with quality of competition and zone starts you have a really good idea of who’s lucky and unlucky and the true value of a player.

    It’s a wonderful sign to see 4 and 14 rank as high as they do in this metric and especially considering their quality of competition.

    And, yes, just like Moreau’s ’09 season before him, 28’s current campaign looks like it’s unlikely to be replicated.