OFFENSIVE?

People-Find-Me-Offensive-72dpi

Last night, the Oilers were shutout for the 5th time at home and 8th time all year. Many fans felt their play was offensive, and not in a goal scoring kind of way.

In his post-game press conference Dallas Eakins said, “We have some good offensive players but I don’t look at us as a real offensive team,” and that comment offended some fans more than the performance on the ice.

I tweeted that comment and many fans were livid and most blamed the coach. (Do you sense a trend in Edmonton?)

Are the Oilers regressing offensively, or have they been an offensively challenged team for years?

A good offensive team doesn’t rely solely on their powerplay to score, and when you look at the numbers over the past four seasons it is hard to see why anyone should consider the Oilers a team that consistently scares the opposition. Even when they had a good PP they were still a below average scoring team.

Here is where the Oilers ranked in goals scored the past four seasons.

2011… 27th with 2.33 goals/game.

2012… 19th with 2.52 goals/game.

2013… 18th with 2.56 goals/game.

2014… 21st with 2.48 goals/game.

Now let’s look at EV scoring both 5-on-5 and 4-on-4.

2011… 28th with 132, which equates to 1.61 ES goals/game.

2012… 24th with 142, which equates to 1.73ES goals/game.

2013… 24th with 82, which averages out to 1.70 goals/game.

2014… 20th with 108, which averages out to 1.77 goals/game.

To be fair, the Oilers have scored 10 goals at 4-on-4 which is double any of the previous three years so that does boost their  ES GPG up a bit. However, compared to the previous three seasons you don’t see much of a difference overall.

The PP hasn’t been as good this year compared to the previous two, and people are livid and blaming the coaching staff. It is fair to say they haven’t made the best adjustments, but teams have taken away the down low pass that the Oilers feasted on last year, and the Oiler players haven’t been able to adjust on the ice.

However, even if the PP was at the exact same % efficiency as last year, 20.1%, they would only have 8 more PP goals this season and they would only be 17th in the NHL at 2.60 goals/game. It might have helped them win a few more games, or it might have just helped prevent a few shutouts. It is difficult to say which games those 8 goals would have impacted.

Even if the PP was identical to last year, which very few teams maintain, the Oilers still wouldn’t be an offensive team.

HARSH TRUTHS…

When Eakins says they aren’t an offensive team he is correct.

They haven’t been one for a long time. The harsh reality is the Oilers haven’t been an offensively productive team under Tom Renney, Ralph Krueger or Dallas Eakins. I’m not giving the coaches a free pass, I’d like to see a more offensive minded coach on the current staff, but even when Krueger was on the bench this team wasn’t lighting up the opposition.

The Oilers do have some productive forwards in Hall (17th), Eberle (39th), Nugent-Hopkins (50th) and Perron (53rd), however after those four there is a drop offensively.

Most people expect Nail Yakupov to continue to improve and become a 30-goal scorer, but he isn’t one yet, and he is currently 188th in NHL scoring. I suspect he will improve moving forward, but this team desperately needs some secondary scoring, and mainly some production from the backend.

Justin Schultz is the only Oiler in the top-90 amongst D-men. He sits 40th with 24 points. Jeff Petry is 97th with 13 points. That is brutal.

The Oilers aren’t skilled enough, today, to beat teams offensively and we’ve all witnessed how much they struggle defensively.

I truly believe both issues should improve once they upgrade the talent on their blueline, but no one should be upset, shocked or surprised when the coach says the TEAM isn’t an offensive group.

RECENTLY BY JASON GREGOR

  • Doctor Smashy

    I don’t know how easy it is to determine this but I can’t help but think that the reason most of us think the Oilers ARE in fact a team with offensive capabilities (and I think most of us do) is precisely because so few of them do so much of our scoring. Good teams that win alot USUALLY wind up being in the top 10 of goals for (except the Kings for some boring reason). Those teams also have good players AND secondary scoring. The Oilers have some very good players that can very plainly play an offensive game but we have nothing in the way of effective secondary scoring. Any team with Hall, J.Schultz, and Nuge would have to be viewed as an offensive team but for some reason the culture, the coaching, the system, the assistant coaches, the nightclubs…whatever…keeps this team from performing to the level we all think them capable. We drafted OFFENSIVE stars with our wealth of 1st overall picks. We didn’t make safe choices on 2-way centres and solid D-men. Eakins is the man responsible for figuring out how the OFFENSIVE potential of these players can be unlocked at the NHL level. If he doesn’t or won’t, he is not the right coach for this team (the team it is now or the team we want it to become). I think that is why most people are pissed off about comments like that from Eakins.

  • tealyn

    Hall,RNH,perron and marcinin stay(sign Scrivens)everyone needs to go.use ebs and yaks+first round pick,klefbom and petry,ganger,hemsky and get us one true #1 legit defencman and a second line center,sign like crazy in the off season,otherwise to stay the course we will remain in last place till everyone demands trades!

  • Spydyr

    edm needs to keep the puck out of there own net before they can worry about scoring. good offense starts with good defense. haven’t had good defense since 2006.so much time and energy spent chasing opposition around edm own end of the ice. i have yet seen a forward in the history of the nhl to have sucessful scoring from ur own end and neutral zone. theres a reason why guys like hemsky dont get more than 80 points. i have watched hemmer have to pick up the puck and skate it out of our own end from behind our own net for ten yrs. hall to since joining. it appears to be a one man show at times but its the only way to generate somewhat of an attack. nobody gets these guys the puck. it was even worse before rnh come aboard. good two way centers are so valuable because they support d so well in own end. its been a big issue for a long time. but good two way centers arent even enough in ur own end. this team needs strong personel on back end and the offence will come. take the score last night. most assume 3-0 score means more offense. to me its the 3 in the score last night thats a problem not the zero!!

  • vetinari

    We’re not an offensively talented team…

    We’re not a defensively talented team….

    We’re not a talented special teams team…

    We’re not a well coached team…

    And we’re not a well managed team…

    That about sums it up?

  • ShakyDS

    The head coach doesn’t see the Oilers as an offensive team, and it’s painfully obvious that we are not a defensive team…so what are we? I’m afraid we all know the answer.

  • Jordan1126

    I started watching the games in fast forward on my PVR..

    1) game over in 10 minutes
    2) it gives me the impression that the team is actually skating
    3) well there is no other reason

    I called Telus today to get rid of my sports theme pack, and added on the news one, because I would rather watch locked up on CNN

    • Spydyr

      I was you 4 months ago. This team should be paying the fans to watch such crap not the other way around. I cut my cable and have an extra 200 bucks in the bank.

      • Jordan1126

        Even if I did, Im sure it wouldnt be a fraction as painful as actually watching this team play hockey.

        At this point id rather it rip right off then spend another dollar or minute of my time watching a bunch of employed athletes with no heart and desire who make more in a single year then i will in the next 15 or 20. No motivational factors for these bums, when I have to bust ass every day to prove my worth.