MR. GORDON TO THE PANIC ROOM

gordon common

The Edmonton Oilers have holes up the middle and buckets of rain pouring in daily. One area they should get some cover: Center ice. Boyd Gordon is ready to get back into action.

In an article published December 17th on the Oilers website, Gordon talks about being ready to return to the regular lineup.

  • Gordon: “I’ve had a good couple days skating with the guys and things feel
    pretty good, so I’m excited to get back playing. Sometimes your body gets a bit run down, and it was one
    of those situations where I needed to take some time to get (my back)
    better and close to 100%. It’s felt good the last couple skates and held
    up pretty well. ” Source

How important is Gordon? Pretty damned important. Although described often by many as a ‘fourth line center’ let’s have a look at how much he plays and his faceoff totals:

  • Time-on-ice per game: 13:33 (No. 3 among Oilers centers)
  • PK TOI per game: 2:36 (No. 1 among Oilers centers)
  • Faceoffs (total): 538 (No. 2 among Oilers centers)
  • Faceoff %: 56.1 (No. 1 among Oilers centers)

It’s a lonely spot on the Oilers depth chart—responsible center who can win faceoffs and battle the other team physically—and a role Craig MacTavish (as coach) once had in abundance. Here are the 2005-06 Oilers centers and their totals:

0506 faceoffs

As you can see, Edmonton enjoyed tremendous depth at the position a decade ago, but have been running teenagers and minor-league hopefuls through the position in recent seasons—with predictable results. Here’s this season’s group:

1415 faceoffs

That really drives home the issue for the Oilers this season. There’s simply not enough here to compete against the rest of the NHL on a nightly basis.

THE BOXCARS & UNDERLYING NUMBERS

OILERS CENTERS NOW

This is where we see Gordon’s exceptional value to the team. His punishing zone starts give the other centers a chance to start their shifts (sans on the fly changes) in a very good spot. He STILL beats two of the current center’s in 5×5 points per 60, which is astounding.

Gordon’s presence on the roster is enormous. I think you can argue (and could have done it last season, too) that Gordon is a strong candidate for team MVP.

It doesn’t mean the Oilers should be content with their depth at the position.

VOLLMAN SLEDGEHAMMER

vollman sledgehammer dec 1415

This is a sensational graph, showing Dallas Eakins’ use of his centers. RNH and Arco getting terrific zone starts while also facing tough competition (coaching staffs are going to make life difficult for good players) and Leon Draisaitl in the rocking chair for rookies—soft parade and 80% zone starts.

Boyd Gordon? He’s in the Shawshank portion of the graph, crawling through five-hundred yards of foulness I can’t even imagine.

Every night.


Welcome back, Boyd Gordon. You were missed.

  • Kevwan

    There are only two ways to hire a GM really, you either hire a GM or experienced assistant from a winning organization, or at the least a GM who has had some history of building a winning organization (eg Benning out of Boston, Burke with his history in Vancouver and Anahiem)

    If you have a winning team you occasionally promote from within, but only if you have a winning team.

    To do anything else is an incredibly wasted opportunity, hiring a GM is a chance to get insight into how a Boston or Detroit run their organization, how they scout and draft.

    Hiring McT on a team that is obviously deeply flawed from top to bottom and has been the worst team in the league for the better part of a decade is an obvious failure and an intentional one in my opinion, Mc T represents a safe choice for the existing management, he represents no real change at all, he has no experience in a winning organization, he doesn’t have enough experience as a GM full stop so he is dependant on the existing management, he has no real ability to do much other than make the odd trade, to make it worse he doesn’t seem to be much good at that.

    The dressing room at the new arena should have
    ‘ABANDON HOPE ALL YE WHO ENTER HERE’ above the door.
    It’s an omnishambolic cluster eff up of almost unbelievable proportions.