is Andrew Miller. He might be the least famous forward on the Oilers
North American depth chart, and yet the club re-signed him this summer.
Why? Part of the reason may come from his second half performance.
Miller seemed to turn a corner, to establish himself, after New Year’s.
The Oilers had several prospects spike in the second half, and that
could bode well for the coming year.
The following numbers are pre-New Year’s and post, by player.
|Andrew Miller||2013||33GP, 5-12-17 .515|
|2014||19GP, 3-14-17 .895|
That shows genuine progress. Miller is a college
grad, somewhat similar in style and size to Mark Arcobello, and worth
watching in the coming season.
|Anton Lander||2013||18GP, 9-6-15 .833|
|2014||28GP, 9-28-37 1.321|
Lander stepped up in a big way during the season’s
second half, and earned his NHL contract for 2014-15. These numbers also
show he can deliver at the AHL level in offensive situations. Will he
be the one to take advantage of the lack of center depth? He seems the
least likely candidate, but you never know.
|Tyler Pitlick||2013||15GP, 1-5-6 .400|
|2014||24GP, 7-9-16 .667|
It was a big season for Pitlick, as he worked his way
to the NHL for the first time. This fall will be a defining moment in
his Oilers career, as there is a job waiting for him to win on the right
|Brandon Davidson||2013||27GP, 0-2-2 .074|
|2014||41GP, 5-6-11 .268|
For a defenseman like Davidson, who plays less of an offensive role, increased boxcars usually indicates more playing time. He has a very difficult road, but improved his NHL chances markedly this year.
|David Musil||2013||20GP, 0-3-3 .150|
|2014||41GP, 2-7-9 .220|
As with Davidson, David Musil’s second half spike suggests he played more and was a bigger part of the team. For Musil, as an AHL rookie, that’s a very good sign.
|Oscar Klefbom||2013||27GP, 0-3-3 .111|
|2014||21GP, 1-6-7 .333|
Klefbom struggled in November and early December based on reports, and then seemed to take a step forward. He would eventually play his first NHL games, and the season overall was a success.
WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?
It’s important to resist overvaluing the splits, but they do offer some insight. Coach Todd Nelson was using men like Davidson and Musil more often in the second half (based on these numbers) and Lander, Miller and Pitlick were finding the range more often.
Can they sustain it? It’s a better question for these players to answer than the alternative.
(Miller photo by Rob Ferguson, all rights reserved).