Now Eventually You Do Plan To Have Power, On Your Powerplay, Right? Hello?

The game-winning goal in Thursday’s game was scored by the Colorado Avalanche, while the Edmonton Oilers were on the power play. That’s bad. That it’s just the way Oilers power plays tend to go these days is worse.

The Goal!

Stop me if you’ve heard this before: Justin Schultz coughs up the puck at the opposition blue line.

This one isn’t especially complex; that’s the crux of it. The initial pass is inexplicable; Schultz had time and space but decided to force a pass to a covered Taylor Hall rather than hang on to it himself or pass it to the open man on the far boards.

That started a two-on-one. Hall did his level best to get back in the play and gained some ground but wasn’t able to get there in time. The Oilers would have been okay if Schultz had played the pass, like every defenceman defending a two-on-one ever is supposed to, but he didn’t and that left Devan Dubnyk hanging out to dry.

The Trend!

Here’s a statistic: In the last 13 games, the Oilers have surrendered 14 shorthanded chances. They have only managed to generate 11 themselves all season.

Here’s another one: in the last six games, Edmonton’s power play has been out-chanced 8-7.

Superficially, the power play ranks 16th in the NHL in overall effectiveness, with 23 goals on 130 chances (17.7%). However, after eight shorthanded goals are taken into account it slips to 25th overall in goal differential/opportunities. It’s a ludicrous number given the talent the team has at its disposal.

Edmonton plays games on Saturday and Monday, but then has a long-ish break before playing Calgary on Friday (Update: as Jason Gregor reminds me, there’s a little-known holiday called "Christmas" in that stretch, which makes it somewhat less than ideal as a time for practicing things). That break might be a good time to completely reimagine the power play.

Recently by Jonathan Willis

  • reaperfunkss

    I think i finally see what the problem is…I cant believe it’s taken me till Christmas to figure this out…Klowe and MacT do you guys have you notepads ready? ok… Here goes: We just aren’t any good.
    Thank you

  • Hauk15

    Why did Dubynk get the start? Its not that he was bad, he was actually decent with 35 saves..but in
    my opinion Deven Dubynk lost his privilege to start games a month and a half ago. LET ILYA BRYZGALOF COME IN PROVE HES BACK IN THE SHOW!

  • S cottV

    There is more talent in Yakupov’s left hand than there is in the entire Flames organization, let’s not kid ourselves here.

    He is absolutely horrid in his defensive play, but that is something that is learned. His shot on the other hand, is a skill and a G-d given talent that no Flames player will ever possess.

    His defensive liability means little if he remains on the half-wall on the PP. Remember the PP? Y’know, the topic Mr. Willis is talking about?

    Last year he scored 18% of the Oilers’ PP goals.

    This year, he has scored 17%. The only player to score more is Perron, at 26%. Hall trails Yak at 13%.

    What makes that stat remarkable, is that Yak plays on the second PP unit, which affords him 66% of the opportunity these other guys get. There’s another aspect to be considered which I’ll mention later.

    Hall and Perron average 3:30 min on the PP each game. Yak averages 2:34.

    What concerns me more than those minutes, is how those minutes are spent. Rather than getting a chance to start in the offensive zone, where a faceoff win can lead to an immediate PP setup, which can lead to one-time opportunities…the 2nd line comes in usually on a on-the-fly change, or a faceoff (that isn’t guaranteed to be in the opponent’s zone). So as I said earlier, this has to be factored into Yak’s performance. Offensive zone faceoffs matter when it comes to setting up a player who specializes in having a cannon shot.

    There are more issues, no doubt, some of which were put rather well in the first page of comments. But what I see here is an issue with using the right knife in our Swiss Army Knife, for the job. This also includes where you would put a guy like Yak. You don’t move him to the blue line, as we saw a couple times. He belongs on the half wall.

    One aspect of Yak that coaching has under-estimated are his passing skills. His passes are hard (perhaps too hard in some cases) and accurate. No opponent stick in the lane is able to stop those passes. I can appreciate wanting a player maker like Nuge on that wall, he’d be far more suited to setting up Yak.

    • DoubleDIon

      Yakupov has one even strength goal this year. He’s tied with Mike Smith, a goaltender and Brian McGratton. That shot must really be working for him. More pucks have gone in off of Bertuzzi’s ass then Yakupov’s stick. Honestly, he wouldn’t crack our roster. Not even close. He shouldn’t be cracking yours either. On the PP subject, he should be getting much less time than Hall or Perron. He’s not even in the same league as those two.

      • S cottV

        “Yakupov has one even strength goal this year. He’s tied with Mike Smith, a goaltender and Brian McGratton. That shot must really be working for him.”

        I was very clear that his shot is an asset on the PP.

        ES has a boatload of other factors that affect shooting and shooting percentage.

        Again, you seem to be unwilling to talk about the topic at hand, which is the PP. Mainly because the facts contradict your viewpoints.

        “Honestly, he wouldn’t crack our roster. Not even close. He shouldn’t be cracking yours either. On the PP subject, he should be getting much less time than Hall or Perron. He’s not even in the same league as those two.”

        Again, the facts demonstrate that you are wrong. He has the productivity of a 1st line unit despite being on the second line which has to deal with zone entries (1st unit gets offensive zone faceoff to start) and line changes (which slows down the rush).

        In regards to him being on the Flames roster, if you’re going to argue that Yak wouldn’t make the team, you should be arguing that 5 Flames currently playing shouldn’t, as they have comparable stats. You’re only kidding yourself here.

        I know this may seem extremely harsh of me, and this may be the most insulting thing ever said on this website, but you really sound like a “Calgary Puck forum poster” here.

  • dow7500

    Saw the 2 on 1 on shultz. As an old plumber dman, Get on your belly and stretch and make for a tough pass. He was a pillon that did nothing for the play. FKN teach him basic junior B defense, someone, anyone…please.

  • DoubleDIon

    The Oilers have a great deal of talent they can put out on the PP. The problem is that until they get a player, or train one, to have an agitating net presence they are going to have sub par results. At the NHL level a goalie is expected to make 100% of long range shots where there is no sceen in place (Dubnyk please take note). For some reason, I remember a player by the name of Craig Simpson. IIRC, he got 50+ goals for the Oilers one year being just that kind of player.