2014-15 Goals Projection: All the Defencemen

19-Schultz-2

How many goals should we expect from Justin Schultz and Co. on the Oilers’ blue line next season?

More importantly, how do reasonable (your mileage may vary) projections for both the defence and the team as a whole compare to the results posted by last year’s playoff teams in the West?

The Chart

85-Marincin-5

Player GP EVTOI PPTOI SHTOI EVG PPG SHG Total
Justin Schultz 77 17.5 3.3 0.2 7 4 0 11
Nikita Nikitin 69 16.5 1.9 2.0 3 2 0 5
Martin Marincin 65 16.0 0.3 1.2 3 1 0 4
Jeff Petry 81 17.7 0.3 2.8 3 0 0 3
Mark Fayne 74 16.3 0.0 2.8 3 0 0 3
Andrew Ference 71 16.0 0.2 2.8 3 0 0 3
Keith Aulie 23 9.1 0.0 0.7 1 0 0 1
Oscar Klefbom 36 15.0 0.0 0.3 0 0 0 0
Brad Hunt 3 8.5 1.2 0.0 0 0 0 0
David Musil 2 9.0 0.0 1.0 0 0 0 0
Brandon Davidson 1 10.0 0.0 2.0 0 0 0 0
Martin Gernat 1 10.0 1.0 0.0 0 0 0 0
  • Justin Schultz leads the pack, and that’s no surprise. Despite his struggles generating goals from the point on the power play last year, he has a brilliant offensive record in previous seasons. I also have him pegged for less strenuous duty at even-strength this season (due largely to the arrival of Mark Fayne on the right side) but also expect him to lead the Oilers in total per-game time on ice.
  • On the left side, Nikita Nikitin looks like the best option to take significant minutes next season (seriously, consider the competition). I have him playing in all situations and being the Oilers’ No. 2 choice on the penalty kill.
  • Martin Marincin didn’t score an NHL goal last year, but he has been a pretty reliable producer at previous levels in the past. He could well get more of a push than I have him ticketed for here; heck, he could be on the top pairing coming out of training camp and if he gets power play time that will impact this projection.
  • I’ve projected the Oilers’ three veterans as scoring a grand total of nine goals, three each. There is a gap in style, performance and likely also in usage (i.e. zone starts, quality of competition) between Jeff Petry, Mark Fayne and Andrew Ference, but all three will be counted on at evens and on the penalty kill, and none of the three should generate all that many goals for Edmonton.
  • The Oilers likely have a bigger role for Keith Aulie than I’ve pegged him for here, but he’s going to be hurt by Oscar Klefbom’s position as the team’s likely first recall. If Klefbom is called up, it won’t be to sit in the pressbox. That leaves Aulie without a lot of playing time. For our purposes it doesn’t matter much; neither player is a scorer.
  • On the cup of coffee side of things, the quartet of Brad Hunt, David Musil, Brandon Davidson and Martin Gernat are all decent bets to get some NHL time (and I’d personally put them in that order, with Davidson potentially ahead of Musil). Dillon Simpson could well work his way into the mix, too, but for the time being I’ve left him behind those four because he’s a rookie professional.

Total Goals & the Best in the West

Oilers fans

Total non-empty net goals from Oilers defencemen: 30.

Total non-empty net goals from all Oilers: 224.

  • Anaheim: 31 goals from D, 255 in all
  • Chicago: 31 goals from D, 253 in all
  • Colorado: 47 goals from D, 232 in all
  • Dallas: 30 goals from D, 223 in all
  • Los Angeles: 35 goals from D, 189 in all
  • Minnesota: 30 goals from D, 192 goals in all
  • St. Louis: 34 goals from D, 230 in all
  • San Jose: 34 goals from D, 232 in all

    Average: 34 goals from D, 226 goals in all.

Put it all together, and I think the Oilers can probably score like a playoff team next season.

There are some caveats. I haven’t projected major injuries, because they aren’t really predictable, so health is an x-factor. A number of players posted surprisingly low shots/hour figures last year in Edmonton; I’m inclined to believe coaching strategy was a factor. If that’s true, and if it isn’t fixed, these numbers will be overly optimistic.

Finally, most critically: the Oilers finished 24th in NHL goal-scoring last year, and 30th in goals-against. The jump required to get to the playoff cutline in the former category is much larger than the jump required to get to that same point in the latter category. I haven’t looked at goals against, and it’s a bigger problem.

RECENTLY BY JONATHAN WILLIS

  • #ThereGoesTheOilers

    Optimistic summer: How many goals should we expect to score?

    Pessimistic summer: How many goals should we expect to allow?

    I’m afraid eight years of this up and down has forged me in to a Negatron more than an Optimist Prime.

  • I'm a Scientist!

    Just curious… there are 492 (6 defensemen x 82 games) man games available, but your list adds up to 503 games played? Am I missing something? Predicting a 7th guy on the bench for a couple of games?

    Just trying to figure this out.

    • Hah! That’s me failing in my attempts to add.

      The total number of minutes is balanced, based on the average amount of ice time each NHL team gets at each discipline, but I forgot to double-check the games played totals when I was finished.

      In other words, the total goal projections shouldn’t change at all (the 11 fewer games would be balanced by an increase in ice-time for the various players involved) but I’d nick Klefbom and Aulie some GP.

  • Sevenseven

    Man does that Los Angeles number stick out. Only 189 total goals. Looking at it you wouldn’t really peg them as a playoff team. I guess +/- is a relative stat when it comes to winning.

  • HardBoiledOil 1.0

    hmmmm…..

    Schultz will get 26,
    Marincin will get 15,
    Klefbom will get 10,
    Nikitin will get 10,
    Petry will have a brain fart this year and get 15,
    Fayne and Ference…..well….maybe 5 each?

    will that do? 😛

    • justDOit

      Nikitin has 13 goals in his entire NHL career heading into this season, while Marincin and K-bom have one goal combined.

      So as for pulling numbers out of fat air, yes – that will do.

      • Actually, lots of work went into these numbers, but given that we’re talking about a range of 0-5 goals for all the non-Schultz guys I decided not to publish the breakdowns as I did with the forwards.

        Anyway, if you want we can go through some easy back of the envelope math.

        Nikitin has 13 goals in 206 NHL games. 13 goals, divided by 206 games played, multiplied by 69 projected games in 2013-14 works out to 4.42 goals on the season, based solely on goals per game. I have him down for regular second unit PP time, which he hasn’t gotten at every stop, as well as a bump at evens. That’s enough to bump him to 5 goals on the year. (This isn’t the process I used, which involved an aging curve and shots/hour, but it’s a pretty reasonable sanity check).

        Klefbom isn’t projected to score a goal on this chart.

        Marincin didn’t score in 44 NHL games, but he has a pretty long record of scoring at a nice clip in junior and in the AHL (roughly once every nine games in the minors). Using historic AHL translation rates for 22-year-olds, and my projection is actually on the conservative side (again, this is back of the envelope stuff, not how I actually put my projection together).

        In short, I have no idea what you’re complaining about.

  • The Soup Fascist

    Holy standard deviation, Batman! Colorado kind of sticks out like a sore thumb in this little study.

    The average number of goals from D-men on Western Conference playoff teams was 34. The range for 7 of those 8 teams was 30 – 35 goals. That is a tight little grouping.

    However, Colorado managed to blow everybody away by scoring 34% (edit: I initially included an empty netter) more goals from the point than the next closest team!

    JW, let me know if that is sustainable, in your mind. We are not exactly dealing with Murderer’s Row in terms of Barrie, Holden, Johnson, Benoit and Hejda. Look for Colorado to take a step back, this year – granted after a giant leap in ’13-’14. Their goaltending was unreal some nights and clearly they had a backend that overachieved offensively. Mix in a Stastny for Old Man Iginla trade off and while they will be a playoff team, I think they may just squeak in.

    • Dan 1919

      Maybe that stat is a result of a good coach that has a perspective on the game no other coach does; telling his players when and where to release the puck from. He was one of the best goalies of all time, maybe he might know where and what scenario is a very difficult shot for goalies to stop(above and beyond the typical coach). And if his system is developed with that in mind, maybe this is part of the reason for their instant success.

      Or maybe not and a step back from COL this year is expected… anyway has the season started yet?

    • One empty net goal for Nick Holden wasn’t counted for the purposes of this series (I’ve been ignoring them all down the line).

      Colorado actually led the NHL in scoring by defencemen last year, and it’s mostly a SH% thing. Two of the NHL’s top-four SH% D at evens, three of its top-10, and four of its top-20 all played for the Avs.

      I’m inclined to think some of it’s skill and tactics – Barrie, for instance, loves jumping up on the play – but I do think some of it isn’t likely to repeat.

      • The Soup Fascist

        Oops sorry missed the ENG. Thanks for that. I agree about shooting % issue. 15% for Holden and 13% for Barrie seems unworldly for a D-man.

        Stefan Elliot’s 100% shooting percentage is pretty manly, though. It WAS only one shot, but hey ……..

  • One other thing: one of the reasons for doing this series (not so much with the defencemen, who are small potatoes types anyway) is so that next year I can look back and see how well this exercise did at prediction and where, specifically, it fell short.

  • Hhhhmm, interesting comment about Marincin’s possible offense. I wonder how is AHL numbers compare to some of today’s heavy hitters. From a developmental standpoint he looks like a kid who understands the defensive side of things, will eventually be a monster on skates, and could potentially have an offensive side of his game as well.

    I still don’t think Edmonton will have a bonafide top pairing stud in the years to come, but maybe, just maybe, they will have enough mix on all three lines to compete, and eventually contend.

  • Serious Gord

    Everytime I think about the oilers I start to get a little optimistic, then I read about the defence and I remember why they always finish at the bottom of the league. Jultz leading oilers in time on ice? Lord help us

  • "Frank the dog"

    I’m interested to see how you calculate GA this year. Specifically shots against, because save% should be less difficult to calculate with poor Doobey Doobs out the picture.

    Next step, how do you calculate wins/losses? There’s the variable of the other teams, and then the prediction of change in goal differential from team to team….

  • Spoils

    goals against is going to be a pill that will take a lot of kool aid to get down.

    please preface that article with a couple puff pieces. for example:

    – How good can Taylor Hall be in 2 years?
    – Accolades of our upcoming DMen – Klefbom (WJC All Star, Nurse (7th overall), Schultz (rare offensive gem who will learn D)
    – Dellow hire could lead us to moneyball-style win streak.

  • Jaxon

    Looking ahead to next year or the year after, has anyone heard any new news on Kenney Morrison and the chances of him signing with Edmonton? I think he would be a monster catch for RD. Edmonton seemed to have a leg up on everyone as he is a Northern Alberta kid and was at the prospects camp last summer. Was he invited or did he come to this summer’s camp?

    • camdog

      I was like 8 when he did that, too young to remember much of the glory years. Surprised that the 12 people that have thus far propped you were even born yet, been a long time waiting for a return to success…

  • Maybe using WOWY in combination with total Corsi, situational SV%, and the resulting GA and Shots against would be a good starting point.

    Problem is there exists no WOWY for the combinations of Oilers that include Fayne, Nikitin, Pouliot, and Purcell. A stat like WAR would be extremely helpful in this instance. I like corsi and Fenwick but to me they are simply stepping stones in advanced stats for hockey. Just like OBP was for Baseball. Good stat, but not good enough. Hockey needs equivalent stats to ERA for goalies, OPS for single players and 5&3 player line combos, errors for all players and WAR for FA’S.

    There’s so many assumptions about playing partners, toi, usage and zone starts required for GA that the data available isn’t nearly enough.

    It would still be an interesting read, but I cant imagine a methodology that would be all that accurate.

  • If Nurse makes the team, it can’t be simply because he outplayed Aulie and Klefbom @ TC.

    He should come in and outplay Aulie, Klefbom, and Ference. If not, send him back. I’d much rather he develop properly and join the team as a #2-4 instead of squeek in as a #6-7 and hardly get any prime time.

  • Quicksilver ballet

    Anyone think goals against is easier to fix than goals for? The Oil were the worst in the league in GA last year. Surely they are a better team with the additions (players/coaches) and subtractions (players/coaches/system). Would a 25 goal difference in GA get them close to 10th in the West? If so, would 10th be enough to satisfy the fan base?

  • Serious Gord

    While these gF predictions are entertaining and certainly took considerable effort to compile, they overlook one absolutely key point – a point that is impossible to quantify: Hockey is a team sport.

    If the oil had bossy on one wing and lafleur on the other but me playing center most junior teams would probably beat us. Individually these estimates seem reasonable, but they overlook that the oil has – amazingly – worse strength down the middle than it had last year. And the defense still is devoid of real 1/2 players. Plug-in a very uncertain/unknown level of competence in goal and the team as it’s currently configured could be spending a heck of a lot of time in its own end and fishing pucks out of its own net rather than playing and scoring on offence.

    Couple that with another unknown/unknowable is the impact Father Time is having on a few key players who likely are on the back half of their careers – Gordon, Hendricks and Ference being three. If one or two or all of those three are exposed to be past the speed level needed to be in the NHL early in the season then even more holes open up in the already very shakey lineup.

    And all of the above flaws fall on MacT/Klowes watch.

    A few years ago bill belichek was asked about how to build a complete team – one that wins all season long. He said that the key thing to keep In mind was that very often – almost always – the weaknesses that you have during the season were not the ones you started with. Either due to injury or a player just getting too old to play, a part of you line up you thought you could count on becomes a hole.

    Granted injuries are far more common in the nfl and careers are much shorter making in-season line-up failures more Likely than in the nhl. But they still happen quite regularly. And that’s where roster depth comes into play. And if you start the season with huge holes in ones lineup – which the oil undeniably at this point in time certainly do – and depth is sorely lacking as well – injury/obsolescence holes that occur during the season could (will) be catastrophic.

    Imagine if RNH gets a stamkos-type injury two weeks in. The season is likely lost regardless of all the other machinations that have happened up to that point.

    And that weakness too is 100% MacT and Klowes responsibility. As it was last season. And if disaster strikes will they be held accountable?

    • Sorensenator

      How does this differ from any other team? MacT has done a relatively good job adding depth and filling holes left by his predecessor. There remains lots of work to do and he has limited assets to play chess with. We know. What exactly is your point?

      • Serious Gord

        EDM is in the bottom five in depth, defense and centre. And an unknown in net. So the elements I have outlined are far more critical for the oil than most – maybe all – of the other teams.

        And that is squarely the fault of MacT Klowe. It won’t be just bad luck.

        • Serious Gord

          The Oilers are starting the year with an improved Defence, improved Wingers, added Size, and RNH/Hall/Eberle et all another year of added experience. The only area that you could say has not improved is at Center which is at least treading water from last season. An average injury year as you say occurred last season. So if we expect an average injury year again with all these improvements wouldn’t you expect the team to improve somewhat? Playoffs no but 9th-10th is feasible.

          To say oh but what if RNH gets injured? Well then we most likely wont see a major step forward in terms of wins. To say this falls on Klowe/MacT*yawn* is fine. But ask yourself what happens to 50% of the teams in the NHL if they lose their #1 Center?

          • Serious Gord

            agree on you points re improvement, but my points still stand:

            “… bottom five in depth, defense and centre. And an unknown in net.”

            if nothing extraordinary goes arwy, then yes they should improve their position in the league to somewhere 24-20th.

            But perhaps more than any other team they are walking on a knife-edge and could have their season destroyed by just one injury or performance disappointment.

          • Serious Gord

            Fair enough. You tend to lean towards predicting less good luck then bad. And i tend to lean towards predicting less bad luck then good.

            So my prediction of say 9th in the West(18th overall) is based on just about everything going right. 10th-11th(19th-21st) average injuries and RNH remaining healthy.

            RNH goes down.. 24th-25th is likely. So, I think we are actually pretty close in our predictions.

          • Serious Gord

            Cool.

            The oil over the last six years or so have been one of the most often injured teams in the league or at least it seems that way.

            And I think its fair to say that young, inexperienced, small teams/players are more likely to get hurt than ones without one or more of those attributes. And the oil – at least until recently – was leading the league in all three.

            So I think my pessimism is better-founded than your optimism.

        • pkam

          Where were we in depth 4 years ago when we started our rebuild? Where were we in depth when MacT took over the GM last year?

          Only in the last 2 years we started to have some good top 6 forwards and some depth in defense prospects, but our forward depth is still pretty thin. What did we have to trade for what we needed in 2010, or even in 2012 or 2013? I know we still have holes in our roster, but where do we have redundancy? If we don’t have redundancy, how filling a hole with another hole improve the team?

          And do you honestly think top UFA’s would sign with the Oilers in the past 4 years? I guess all top young UFA’s will be lining up to sign with the Oilers with a hometown discount if you, instead of Tambo and MacT, are our GM.

  • Sorensenator

    Last Season:

    GF= 203
    GA= 270
    GD= -67

    This year expecting an average inj. year:

    GF= 223
    GA= 240
    GD= -17

    9th or 10th in the West Conference.

    This would be considered a major step in the right direction. But I think it’s a reasoneable expectation.

    • The Soup Fascist

      I’m with you in that this season’s success in my mind will be measured in goal differential more than any other factor. I know we’re weak in the middle, but is Nuge, Arco Draisaitl, Gordon, really weaker than Hall, Arco, Gordon, Acton that was last year’s opening night roster?

      Gordon did well, or as well as anyone could have expected in the tough minutes shut down role, but I think he did better when Hendricks joined him later in the season.

      Our opening night defence is much improved, and don’t even get me started on the goalies. I think barring injuries, this years team will make good on the whole, “the standing don’t reflect the true talent level of this team”.

      I’m also pretty sure Puolliot and Purcell will be a two way upgrade on Jones and Hemskey. Which also gives Eakins nothing but possibilities for line combinations.

      Hall Nuge Yak

      Perron Arco Eberle

      Poulliot Draisaitl Purcell

      Hendricks Gordon Pitlick.

      Those are the most complete four lines on paper this team has had in a while.

      • Serious Gord

        Well that is the sad fact of playing in the Western Conference. The team could see marked improvement on the ice and yet not see and major bump in the standings. However, I think if these things do occur and the team can end up in the overall GD of -15 to say even. This will be reflective in overall competitiveness and the fans will see some light at the end of the tunnel.

        Everyone judges success differently on here. As some only see playoffs as success. But I feel that considering the wreck that Tambo left this team in a 9th-10 place with a GD anywhere from -15 to zero would be a success.

        • pkam

          What teams do you think we can hop over in the West? My first answer would be Calgary, but I admittedly was impressed with how much fire that team played with last year. They truly tried to win every game my friend dragged me to go watch. Hard to say if Calgary is a better or worse team than last year. By my eye they have a young core like the Oilers, but without the top end talent. TJ Brodie being the one exception. But Bennet, Monahan, Guodroue(spelling), are no where near Yak, Hall, Nuge, Ebs, Draisaitl, the 3 defenders, ect.

          I also see passing Vancouver as a big possibility. They still have a pretty impressive defence, though now without Garrison. But at forward it’s really all up to the aging Sedins and Vrbata. After that it’s Nick Bonino and Kassian. I just don’t think that team can keep up in the west. And Miller is not as great as people think, especially not anymore.

          I would also like to think the Oilers can do better than the Yotes, but they are a team, who plays a system that gives them success, no matter who’s on the roster. It will be interesting to see if Gagner can have success in that system, but I seem to remember thinking Dubnyk would be a better goalie with the likes of Weber, Jones, and Jossi in front of him, he wasn’t.

          Lastly, I think this year marks the return of one of Edmonton’s greatest rivalries, and I’m excited to see that return: Dallas. Going forward in the years to come, I can’t help but think the top lines in Edmonton and Dallas are going to be the two most formidable lines in the west. Sure, Perry and Getzlaf will always be tough. And Coturier could centre something pretty special in San Jose. But the Kings and St Louis win with depth and size, Nashville is a disaster, and Winnipeg can’t seem to get it together. So I am looking forward to years of Hall, Nuge, Ebs/Yak vs. Benn, Seguin, Nichushkin.

          One final question for you. If the trade speculation on Petry is true, whether it be before the season or at the deadline, which one of the young D prospects replaces him, and what can the Oilers get for him?

          • The Soup Fascist

            Well for my prediction of 9th-10th place in the West they would need to beat out at least 4 teams in the standings.

            I would say Calgary, Nashville, Winnipeg, and Phoenix is there “best chance. I could also see if the chips fell right Colorado and Vancouver being on that list. So 4 0r maybe 5 out of those 6 would be my choice. I get this funny fealing that SJ is going to drop down quite a bit but not out of the playoffs.

            I suspect IF those trade speculations are true they are looking at Fayne as Petry’s replacement. So robbbing Peter to pay Paul if you ask me. MacT not signing Petry longer then 1 year is going to lower his value considerably… But I bet there is an astute GM out there that would have intrest with the hopes of resigning him. One day Marincin or Klef or Nurse maybe able to take a 1st pair spot? i just think its a mistake to expect it to happen.

          • Serious Gord

            I also think Fayne is penciled in with tough zone starts against top competition. Which is great news for Schultz and Petry who have been in desperate need of being knocked down the depth chart.

            It was a bad contract. The best case scenario is if he’s traded for a 2nd line C before the start of the season, and depending on Sabotka who isn’t necessarily a for sure to Russia, maybe this gets done? Or, against second pair competition, Petry looks like the defenceman his numbers suggest. That in turn ups his value as a rental player for a team looking to make a serious playoff run, and we can get something more than picks for him at the deadline.

          • Serious Gord

            Exactly which is why a 2-3 year would of been a better way to go. The only thing i would throw in and something that posters sometimes fail to mention is we don’t really know what Petry was asking for. Wether he was open to a 2-3 year deal? How much his asking price was? The impression out there is he was asking to be paid 1st pairing $$ on a long term deal but what does that mean? 5, 6, 7 Mill?

            My impression is he could be a 1st pair dman on a Championship caliber team if his partner is a bona fide 1st pair D (maybe 15 of these guys in the league). But truly he would thrive as a 2nd Pair D. at $6 Mill can a team afford this as a 2nd pairing and build a Championship caliber team under the Cap?

            As much as I dont think they should trade him. If he can fetch a 2nd line Center(not a rental) under 30. Then I would go for it. but I think he would be missed at least in the short term.

          • Serious Gord

            Lowetide has a good piece on Petry today. I think in there they report he was looking for 5.5 mill. I don;t know where they get that though.

            I think if Calgary can give that contract to Engellend, and Washington can give Orpik that type of money, then why would Edmonton not sign him. I mean, no where in the D is there a 9 mill top pair guy, so if everyone is making 4 – 5 mill, that should average out. My feeling is that Mac T is playing the long game, and thus making some tough decisions. He sees Schultz, Klefbom, Nurse, and maybe even Marincin as the future, knows he needs to make room for them, and will get them all for a period of time that costs the Oilers almost nothing. So I’m sure when you take all that into account, I bet some rather intriguing options open up for him.

            I think he sees his top two centres going forward, he has impressive depth on the wings and the real deal in Gordon. Scrivens hopefully will emerge, so what to do with the D? My guess or my hope is that he has something in mind. More importantly, I think he has a date in mind. He is building the pieces now, and in one or two years will pull the trigger on something that will vault this team.

          • Serious Gord

            @Will

            Engelland was possibly the biggest overpay this off season and Orpik was overpaid as well. I think in some cases teams have to overpay to get these FA’s but as long as it isn’t too long term such as in Nikitin’s case it can be benefit and is necessary.

            At $5.5 I wonder if he would of signed a 2-3 year? Or was he demanding more term? Its hard to analyze his treatment without knowing the details. You get the feeling they saw him more of a 2nd pair player and were not willing to pay him 1st pairing $$ long term because of it. This will be one of those moves by MacT that will be under the microscope this year.

          • The Soup Fascist

            I agree they were an overpay, my point was if you have to overpay a player would you rather it be Orpik, Engelland, or Petry. At 3 years full seasons in the NHL, I would take Petry.

            Interesting point about Nikitin. I see a lot of fans questioning the Fayne and Nikitin signings. Maybe they’re not worth it in terms of point production, but for a team playing in the West, trying to get bigger with guys that can actually skate, take and make a pass, having these guys in the line up is going to do wonders for breaking up the cycle and winning the one on one battles. By my eye only Klefbom was able to match up size wise last year and muscle guys off the puck. When Nurse, Marincin, and Klefbom (who’s already big) get some weight on them, our D core is going to be terrifying.

            I am still holding out hope for a Petry for Boychuck deal. I think we have the young talent in Schultz, Nurse, Klefbom, and Marincin, and would not be too damaged by a 30 year old vet from Boston who is big mean, and puts up decent numbers for a second pair guy.

  • Quicksilver ballet

    28th place is a relatively good job, if there’s 60 teams in the league. Not so much with 30. The Oilers were one win away from selecting first overall again.

  • Coppperhead

    So despite what looks like a much improved defensive corps the Oilers are not going to improve in goals from the defensive corps (30 total last year).

    Personally I think the Oilers will see 35 goals from the defensive corps. The PP should be MUCH improved this year (better coaching will help drastically). Last year the average team had 9.4 goals on the PP from defencemen and I see the Oilers reaching around that mark (if it’s 9, that’s +6).

    Last year Schultz and Petry combined for 16 goals at evens. Your prediction has 10. Where did they go? Petry shouldn’t lose any time at evens and was already getting tough zone starts so he should do just as well. Schultz could drop for 19 to 17 minutes at evens and that’s 1 less goal.

    Looking at the rest I could argue for one more here and one less there but let’s say you’re right. I’m at 9 goals on the PP and 28 goals at evens. 37 total. Seems within the range of possibility to me.