Edmonton Oilers: Shots vs. scoring chances

Up front, three forwards separated themselves from the pack in both their ability to out-shoot and out-chance the opposition; on the back end one defenceman is well clear of the pack in those same metrics.

One quick note: the charts below express even-strength scoring chances and shots for/against as percentages. Fifty percent is the break-even mark, meaning that a player was on the ice for as many shots or chances for as against; over 50 percent indicates they were winning the battle while under indicates the opposition was. As the Oilers were not a very good a team, most of the players were under 50 percent.

The relationship between shots and scoring chances is a close one, with very little difference between the two, although a few players fared better in one category or the other.


The Oilers forwards this year broadly fit into three groups:

The three. Taylor Hall, Jordan Eberle and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins were head-and-shoulders above everybody else in the forward group, well north of 50% in both shots and scoring chances.

The middle of the pack. Most of the Oilers forwards fall into this category. Teemu Hartikainen and Sam Gagner are probably the most interesting – the black diagonal line shows the relationship between shots and scoring chances, and they’re the two furthest away from that line. By the shot totals, Hartikainen did pretty well, but in terms of scoring chances he was well back; Gagner was the opposite in that he did pretty well by scoring chances but not so well by shots.

The rest. Eric Belanger seems bent on playing himself out of the major leagues, and he had a better season by these marks than Ben Eager (waived, unclaimed, demoted to the NHL), Lennart Petrell and Mike Brown.


It’s worth keeping in mind that things like quality of competition aren’t being considered here, but Mark Fistric – despite, by eye, a pretty mediocre puck-handling game – excels in this category. I’ve been on the fence about this player, but the on-ice shots and scoring chances both paint the picture of a guy who had success in a third-pairing role.

Ryan Whitney lags the pack in a pretty significant way. Justin Schultz too likely could have used a bunch of time on the third pairing or even in the press-box as the year went on, by these numbers he was pretty clearly in over his head.

I can’t help but wonder to what degree Petry and Smid saw their numbers hampered by their role; my view is that both are good defenceman but as a pairing they’re much better suited to a three/four role than the one/two role they were forced into this year.


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  • John Chambers

    A single top-pair defenseman (ideally two) pushes the middle of the pack to the 50-50 range, simplifies the job for Petry, Smid, and the 3rd pair, and elevates Hall, Nuge, and Ebs into the range of total domination.

    Oiler games were strange to watch this year – something exciting would happen when Hall was on the ice, something excruciating would happen when Whitney & the bottom-6 fwd’s were on the ice, and once Hall hopped off the ice you hoped nothing bad would happen until he came back.

    It was like watching two completely different teams from one minute to the next.

    • I don’t think Petry took a step forward. But I’ll say this, too: last year for probably half the season Tom Gilbert was the top right side defenceman, meaning that Petry did get to play a second pairing role for a time – he excelled in it, passed Gilbert on the depth chart, and only got stuck in a top pairing role in the latter half of the year.

      I haven’t really researched this question – it’s one of a hundred or so I have about the Oilers this season that I’m going to try and get to – but off the top of my head I think that change in role might have something to do with it.

  • Quicksilver ballet

    We should start a pool. A pool to decide which one of those three kids asks for a trade out of here first.

    A musical chairs game as far as coaches and GM’s go. It’s always the last guys fault in an effort to cut the new guy some slack. When will the leader of this debacle finally take a bullet? After Rome is burning (Hall asks to be moved).

    • DSF

      I think the hiring of MacT likely gives the Lowe regime another 3 years at the helm.

      I expect this time next year we’ll be hearing that MacT needs to hire his own coach because the team missed the playoffs again.

      MacT’s new coach will get a couple of seasons before the whole House of Cards comes tumbling down.

      • Quicksilver ballet

        Can’t believe some here want the Oilers to trade down, only to add one more measly shot at a prospect at best, with this band of pirates running amateur scouting.

        Do you feel the Oilers should be moving up (Barkov territory), rather than selecting in that 7 spot (a player who may be years away from helping this club. Just feel the Oilers need help now, and rushing a forward isn’t as painful as rushing other positional players.

        • DSF

          I would do whatever is necessary to move up and take Barkov.

          He is EXACTLY what the Oilers need (other than TWO top pairing defensemen).

          You likely would need to target Nashville which means at least Hemsky, Gagner + would have to go the other way.

          I wouldn’t rush Barkov unless he seems ready to play (he might be) and if he isn’t, sign a veteran centre to help out in the interim.

          I hear Kyle Wellwood might be available 🙂

          • This. All day long.

            Except, are you suggesting we are trying to keep the 7th overall while getting Nashville’s pick? Or are you thinking Hemsky + Gagner + the 7th? (That’s not how it read but I’m making an inference)

            Anyone have an idea what + the 7th would get us into Barkov territory?

          • DSF

            No, the 7th would have to be included to get Nashville even interested.

            Bear in mind Hemsky has an atrocious $5M left on his contract and Gagner is going to wanting to get paid.

          • Too much. Hemsky’s contract issues are easily mitigated by us keeping some of that during a trade. And i also assume Gagner does have some trade value out there, otherwise he wouldn’t be such a candidate to “get paid”. 3 spots, that’s all we’re talking about here. I agree 7th plus Hemsky doesn’t get it done even keeping salary but plus gags is too much, Most I’d go is 7th + Hemsky (keeping around 2 mil) plus anahiem s second… Somewhere in that ball park.

            I’m not a GM for a reason though…

          • DSF

            That’s essentially the 7th plus a flawed Hemsky for Barkov.

            Anaheim’s 2nd might well be in the 25-30 range in the second round.

            I don’t think Poile would even answer the phone.

  • Hey Jonathan,

    Just wanted to comment on your Drouin piece on Cult of Hockey (I don’t have FB so cant comment there).

    Drouin has gone from a shooting% of 9% last year to 24% this year. By reference Crosby shot 19% both years he was in the Q.

    Unless he turned into a better shooter than Crosby over the summer he should likely be knocked down on that projected list. If he shot 19% (total average sh%) he’d have scored 32 goals and had an NHLE of 45, and if he’d shot 16% (average of 2 yearly sh%) hed have 28 goals and NHLE of 43.

    • That’s a fair point, but I didn’t consider shooting percentage for the other players on that list either; it was intended to be a simple overview based solely on scoring totals.

      If I were in a position to draft either guy, I’d want much more in-depth information.

  • Ducey


    I assume that a “shot” and a “scoring chance” requires an actual shot on the goal?

    It seems to me that Justin and Petry missed the net a lot and defenseman have to put up with a lot more blocked/ deflected shots.

  • DSF

    why are people so opposed to K-Lowe’s Six ring comment.

    If I had 6 cup rings, I’d mention it daily.

    I know how to fly helicopters, I mention that as often as I bloody can.

    K-lowe is the man, accept it

    • John Chambers

      Because his track record in management is atrocious, and his comment was made as an arrogant retort when questioned against it.

      So that’s the problem – lack of accountability for short-term failures due to success he had over 20 years ago when he wasn’t even one of the top-5 players on the Cup-winning teams.

      K Lowe was perhaps once The Man, or was handed a set of excellent circumstances that enabled him to for a while hang with The Men, but as a vision-less, bumbling hack, his “6 Rings” comment was well … pathetic.

      • His record in management started off well, he kept $30M team competitive against $75M teams. Once the landscape changed, he picked up Pronger, probably the best trade in Oiler history.

        He also was aggresive enough to bolster our team in 06 with Roli and Spacek and Samsonov, whithout any guarantees we would make the playoffs. People call 06 a “cinderella run” It’s clear to me it was excellent management, done by a man with VISION

        After Pronger left us in a lurch things clearly went off the rails, but at that point no stars wanted to play in edm so we HAD to overpay and gamble on guys like Penner and Vanek. This part of his resume is ugly, but as a whole, his record is not “ATROCIOUS”

        How many of the great dyansty guys have 6 rings?

        How many of them played over 1000 games with the OIL?

        How many of them returned to edmonton after their playing carreers were over?

        And “a lack of accountability”????
        What do you call a hundred thousand angry fans calling for his head for 5 years.

        This man has done nothing but support and contribute to our community, and people crap on him because he has their dream job and is arrogant.

        • 1) It’s arrogant and terrible because those 6 rings don’t translate into management ability which he implied they did. On top of the way he said it.

          2)I don’t think you get what accountability implies. If thousands of people are calling for the guys head for an extended period of time and he has earned that (not implying he has) then the fact that nothing comes of it means there is a distinct lack of accountability. If I do my job wrong and get many complaints from all the people who my job it is to serve and there is never any repercussions then I work in an environmental with no accountability.

          • Quicksilver ballet

            I hear ya The Beaker, but his job isn’t to serve the sheep that are calling for his head.

            His job was to ice a team that would keep selling out the arena, whilst not bankrupting the owners at the time. Playoff revenue being a bonus.

            Once the fat wallet owner bought the team, his job was to bring the best players possible to the team, and sell out the arena. Our city’s geography or maniacal fanbase or lack of culture wasn’t allowing that to occur so he found another way to bring GENERATIONAL TALENT to the organization.

            In my eyes, when this thing has gone full circle, he will have done one hell of a job.

            And in any other business, if you need to hire a mangager….do you hire a guy with management exp from a different culture? Or do you hire the man who has been with your business his whole life, and worked his way up the ladder.

            Kevin Lowe has done more for the Oilers than anyone not named wayne gretzky or Darryl Katz

        • What a load of hogwash.

          First if you didn’t shut up about knowing how to Fly a copter people would quickly tune you out. I suspect that may by the case inside the oil for Lowe

          Second if Lowe has been held accountable he would have been fired a few years ago. He still has his job – he’s failed at it thus he has not been held accountable.

          Third his record as a player is irrelevant to his merits and ability as a hockey manager/executive. There are probably hundreds of players who were better than Lowe who sucked as bad or worse in hockey once their playing career was over. Using ones record as a player to bolster your management bona fides – especially after the team you are president of has the worst record of any team over th last four years not only makes you look like an egotisitical idiot but confirms that you are.

          Fourth if Lowe wants to be the good community guy I welcome it – as long as he emulates lanny Macdonald and gets the hell out of the oilers management.

  • Quicksilver ballet

    Man, they should’ve just let Hemsky walk a year ago for nothing (like Whitney), he’s just bad news. We’re better off without his attitude in the dressing room. Hemsky and Whitney gone will be a good start to cleaning that dressing room out. Couldn’t give that dud away now with that contract.

      • But Willis, Hemsky holds his field hockey stick funny. And his foot broke because it’s made of glass.

        I mean real NHL players don’t want to come to Edmonton. So by that logic Hemsky can not be an NHL player. He would have wanted out of Edmonton years ago if he had any heart.

        Or the alternative is the man loves Edmonton, loves the game and continued to play until the team was out of the playoff race. Yeah keep him away from the kids.

  • DSF

    I agree that jasmine is probably a bot, but doesn’t it make sense that all the Klowe hate since the Tambo firing would bring Klowe supporters out of the woodwork?

    The man was the first ever pick by the oilers, had played the most games as an oiler, and has lived in the city longer than any oiler. And he has a rink in his backyard that he built for his son to become an oiler….what more can you ask for?

    • DSF

      How about not driving the franchise into the ditch and missing the playoffs 10 years out of the 13 he has been running the team.

      You may want to blame some of that woeful record on Steve Tambellini but, who hired Tambellini?

      Lowe did.

      Now, Lowe may be a stand up community oriented guy but that and 5 bucks will get you you a Grande Latte at Starbucks.

      Fact is, he has been a dreadful failure as a hockey executive.

      Results. Matter.

  • The Oilers Shot Clock

    Klein and Wilson would look good here. Nashville has a mini rebuild brewing. Give them the 7th pick and both second round picks plus Gagner. Second round picks are useless to the oilers anyways so the joke would be on Poile right?

  • ImTopher

    Love seeing graphs like these and charts like Vollman’s. it truly exposes the weakness’ (cough, cough, Whitney, cough, cough, Belanger triangle) and shows how well the pipe line have played against the toughs.

    Quick question Jonathan, is there any data out there for top tier teams like Chicago and Pittsburgh? It seems to me like the only thing missing is a high end comparable.

    Btw, Brossiot owned Rattie in the first!

    • ImTopher

      Watching the Oil Kings is such a strange , unfamiliar experience – cheering for a team that is defensively watertight, offensively coordinated and relentless, resilient, can push back – hard – when pushed. Great performance tonight, 4-1 win – Jones is definitely elite but Oil Kings D – anchored by Mucil and Gernat- was better tonight.

  • I love the Fist Meister. He may have the puck handling skills of a one eyed tyrannosaurus rex, but he throws more devastating,hits than anyone I’ve seen in an oilers uniform since… since… well maybe ever.

    when I saw him manhandle Jumbo Joe behind our net like a rag doll, I knew he was a keeper. When you have a guy who’s sole goal in life is to flatten the opposition and get the puck deep, you have a winner. Sure he was caught out of position jumping up in the play to make a hit, or leaving his side of the ice to make a hit, but he also gives us 5 seconds of 5v4 time every time he lands one of those hits. He’s exactly what this team needs for it’s #6 dman, and he’s everything I always hoped Teddy Peckman would become. So good riddance Theo.

  • Lets put. This whole MacT and Lowe discussion into perspective by using a different analogy:

    When either of these guys was playing would anyone have unquestioningly gone along with them permanently changing the position they played:

    IOW would making Lowe a first line center with no trials in a minor league be considered foolish, Ill-advised, reckless, and having a high risk of failure?

    I think it’s safe to emphatically “yes” to all accompanied by a “what the hell are you thinking?”

    Sure Lowe and MacT had skills as players of a certain type but there is no way one can say that they could have succeeded playing different roles even playing hockey.

    That this organization seems incapable of or unwilling to see that says a lot about the teams priorities and culture. A culture that at least in part has contributed to the worst record in the NHL over the last five years.