The Edmonton Oilers have some very nice things on right wing. A former No. 1 overall pick, one of Canada’s all-time famous international players and a recent hire with some nice bullet points on his resume. There’s also a very experienced fourth liner who is going to have a mighty mighty job this winter. A veteran group? In Edmonton? Come ON!
Jordan Eberle is an offensive winger and a solid goal-scorer. His even-strength offense ranks him among the NHL’s top 10 RW’s (this is NHL.com) and suggests the Oilers top line was rolling one year ago at 5×5 despite the shot differential worry. Eberle gets less applause since the $6 million deal kicked in, but he’s a valuable player and a big part of Edmonton’s future.
Yakupov had a tough year, and we can see a lot of it in the Shooting percentage. 21% as a rookie is a monster, you can’t expect to see that again. 9%? Low, a little low. I’d bet on 12% or more, but even if its 10% one season from now the Russian has to shoot MORE! And it would behoove Craig Ramsay to get him lots of power-play time. Lots and lots of power-play time.
Another guy who suffered from a shooting percentage dip in 2013-14, Teddy Purcell should be a fun player to watch with the Oilers. Much has been made about his lack of physical play, so we can expect the usual criticisms about big men who play soft. Here’s the news: he’s an NHL player! Yes!
- Jordan Eberle 2.03
- Nail Yakupov 1.43
- Teddy Purcell 1.37
You may recall that our LW look (Taylor Hall 2.91; David Perron 1.96; Benoit Pouliot 1.79) was silly good, and I’d say that Eberle number is a very nice one. Suspect there’s room for improvement with Yakupov and Purcell, and that brings us to six very interesting NHL wingers for Edmonton in 2014-15.
HOW MANY EVEN-STRENGTH GOALS?
Eberle scored 20 a year ago, that’s a terrific number. He scored 24 two years ago, so I think we can probably count on 20 this coming season. Nail Yakupov scored only 7 last season, and 11 in the short season of 2012-13. He’s a tough player to estimate because we’re not really certain of his role. I’m going to suggest 11 again because of the wide range of possibilities. Teddy Purcell scored 9 goals last season at evens, I’m going to suggest his shooting percentage improves a little and he scores 10.
So that leaves us with 41 goals from the right wingers at even strength. Fair?
HOW MANY POWER-PLAY GOALS?
This is the tough part of the process. Purcell scored only 3 goals, but had 17 points with the man advantage, suggesting he’s more passer than trigger-man. He’ll fill 89’s skates well in this regard. Eberle scored 7, and I think that’s likely again, maybe a little more.
Yakupov is the big hitter here. I think Craig Ramsay will use him much more this coming season, and the Russian is likely to at least double last season’s total (4). If Ramsay uses Yak City as the trigger man on the power play he could blow that total out of the water.
The absence of strong alternatives have me thinking we can count on the new No. 10 for 8 goals, meaning RW should contribute 18 goals with the man advantage.
WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?
I have a feeling Nail Yakupov is going to explode on the power play once he unlocks the code, but for this season let’s estimate the RW’s as scoring 59 or 60 goals (41 even, 19 power play or pk) from their top three options. I’ll address Matt Hendricks and the others when we look at that very specialized fourth line.