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.
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