SHOOOOOOOT!

“SHOOOOOOOOOOOOT!” Everybody who’s watched an Oilers power play has said it one time or another in reference to whoever is manning the
point. The crowd gets frustrated when yet another prime opportunity to fire the
biscuit towards the net is missed to make a pass to somebody on the sidewall
and 16,000 people simultaneously suffer Hockey Tourettes. Maybe up in the
nosebleeds or in the comfort of your living room, “Shoot” is preceded by some
colourful gerunds, but at the end of the day you still told the PP to shoot the
bloody puck.

Then you jumped on Twitter or in the comment section of your
favourite Oilers blog and somebody already made a comment about those “mouth breathers” telling NHL players to shoot the puck. You screamed at your
TV because Justin Schultz opted to feather one to the corner instead of
taking a one-timer. That’s YOU this person is trying to silence.

Do they have a point? Sure. Not all shots are created equal
and if there’s somebody directly in the shooting lane then there’s a small but
still real chance that a blocked puck could bounce the other direction for a
shorthanded chance against.

The chances that the puck hits the penalty killer and
bounces directly back towards the shooter are pretty low. It ends up in
the netting or the corner significantly more than it bounces back and gives the blocker a head start the other way.

I understand the perspective of the people who hate when the
fans yell “Shooooot” on the PP, though. It’s not as if playing the game is easy
and anyone could do it. It’s certainly much harder to than it looks from the
couch or the stands.

However, there really is a problem with Edmonton’s shot
production from the blueline. They simply don’t generate enough shots from the
point. Here’s a comparison of the shot rates of defensemen who have played at
least 50 minutes on the power play for the Oilers vs those of the top three ranked power plays in the NHL.

Shoot

Justin Schultz is Edmonton’s number one point option on the power play. He is the guy. The problem is that he’s shooting the puck at a rate
that is significantly lower than the average for effective 5v4 power plays. Sixty-six defensemen have played at least 100 minutes on the 5v4 this season. Justin Schultz ranks 56th among them in Shots/60. That’s less than stellar.

gatling

There are players in the chart above who are shooting less frequently than him, but every
one of those top ranked teams (Detroit, Washington, Tampa Bay) has at least one
guy who is really hammering it. And they are not necessarily doing the same
things at even strength. For example, Niskanen goes from luke warm shot rates at even strength to a Gatling gun on the man-advantage.

The Oilers need somebody taking shots from the point again.
I’m happy with it being anybody, I’m not picky. It can even be Justin Schultz!
The last time the Oilers’ PP was respectable was the lockout shortened
2012-2013 season. The Oil finished 8th in league Power play
efficiency and, as percentage driven as it was, Justin Schultz was generating
11.21 shots per 60 on the Power Play. He was shooting like the point man in some of those top teams from this year. Actually, in 2012-2013 Schultz was ranked 18th in the NHL for shots per 60 with a minimum of 100 minutes played. The future looked bright but he’s since regressed quite a bit.

Somewhere in him there’s the ability to be more than just a
puck distributor. He needs to find it again or the team needs to find another
option. One solution might simply be giving Nail Yakupov a bigger role. He is
currently on the second unit but he is taking 12.58 shots per 60 and
many from between the point and the high slot.

Yakupov currently ranks 10th on the Oilers in PP
TOI/G while Justin Schultz ranks first. Since we’re not getting much
in the way of offense from Schultz and certainly not much in the way of defense
either, perhaps it’s time to re-order who gets the most ice-time.

That’s not to say that Schultz shouldn’t be on the PP. But having another player from his position on the Power Play who acts entirely different with
regards to shooting should keep the penalty killers on their toes and make them
respect that location of the ice.

At any rate, the next time you see somebody chastise the
fans for getting on the point man for passing up an opportunity to shoot,
remember that the better teams in the league really are shooting it more often.
They really are creating and taking advantage of more open shooting lanes. The
Oilers probably should have taken that damned shot.

  • 24% body fat

    Yak should always be on the high right side with his stick cocked!

    Imaging when Eichel is passing him the puck cross ice from the left half boards!

  • Butters

    As much as it pains me to say it Nikitan has a way better PP shot and puck movement than justin does. Shows how week our d-men are at the point on the PP. JMHO

  • mesa

    I think it would really help if Schultz takes the summer to develop a legit slapshot for the PP. If he’s able to wire it from the point and get it on net, the Oil’s PP efficiency will definitely shoot up quick. If he’s supposed to be the chosen one, as their primary offensive d-man, he needs to put in some work in the off season.

  • sportsjunkie007

    Schultz isn’t producing? He’s number one in points production! Well… two hundred and twenty one. But if you take away the 220 players that are ahead of him he’d be number one.

    Then the NHL would almost have to give him the Norris trophy. Except for the fact that his defense is pathetic. The rare time that he actually makes a defensive play I’ve come to expect that it was accidental. Blocked pass? He must have fallen down and gotten hit by the puck…

    Schultz & Eakins were easily MacT’s two worst mistakes as Oilers GM. Eakins is thankfully gone. If MacT re-signs Schultz this summer then it is time for a new GM. Katz could make his own bold move by hiring an experienced GM who didn’t play for the Oilers in the 80s.

    • Chainsawz

      Schultz is still young and has suddenly been thrusted into the number 1 pairing role. I wouldn’t give up on him yet and I wouldn’t be so hard on him either. I get frustrated too but he still has potential to be a good player maybe our second line pairing. Yak was absolutely abysmal these last two years. If he can turn it around (as he seems to be) then Schultz definitely can as well. AND I would argue he is. He has looked much better with Nelson behind the bench. I would argue he makes just as many mistakes as our other young players. They are just easy to spot when a defensemen makes them rather than a forward.

      WE DONT HAVE ANY OTHER OPTIONS ANYWAYS!

      • Serious Gord

        Shultz turns 25 in three months.

        He has had more than ample time to develop a slapshot. He is still hopeless regarding defensive instincts – often chasing the puck like a peewee player.

        I am done with him – trade him for whatever can be gotten. I don’t think I’m alone in holding that opinion.

        It is likely that he is THE biggest bust on the team. Had he not fallen into the oils lap the organization might have persued a legit number one instead of banking (and continuing to bank on) Shultz becoming that player.

  • sportsjunkie007

    Nothing more annoying then fans shouting shooot at oilers games, Especially since 95% of the time Its not even possible to shoot it on the net. If you read this and do that, Just stop, stop now.

  • Pizzy

    He must have a “no-shoot” clause in his contract………..that is the only thing that makes sense here.

    If he had an open net and no goaltender, he would still perimeter pass the puck into oblivion.

    What does it say about a defenceman that refuses to use the slap-shot or in general direct hard shots at the net?

    Another Norris candidate……….laughable.

  • The thing with Schultz is that he’s done it before. It wasn’t for very long, but he’s done it. Nelson’s PP has been very good in the AHL for years. He could still get Schultz to become as much of a danger to shoot as he is to pass

      • The Last Big Bear

        Yes, so many things haven’t improved that hopefully Nelson can get them worked out before year end. I see the turnovers at the other teams blueline when we don’t get the puck deep and a jailbreak occurs , the forwards are never back in time and its usually a 3 or 4 on 2 and guess what seldom do we get the big save from the goaltender either. With our weak goal tending we need to reduce those breakouts, that is killing us and not knowing how to defend a lead doesn’t help either.

  • Schultz’ situational awareness is horrific. I bet he’s shooting less to cut down on the chances of getting Jultzed. How many times have we seen him rip one off the back glass on the PP and it ends up going the other way for a shorty?

    #TooManyTimes

    • Please stop using the word rips one. Its more like he muffins one in there. justin shot is weak to the point that he should not be on the PP. justin would R.I.P. in on a team with legitimate PP d-man.

  • NICE THEORY…UNFORTUNATELY THE FACTS DON’T SUPPORT IT

    Mr. Henderson says the better teams on the PP take more shots.

    Here are the top 6 teams, total PP SOG: MIN 358, CHI 353, NYI 350, SJS 350, OTT 344, TOR 344.

    Here are the top 6 teams, total PP goals: DET 60, WAS 51, PHI 48, STL 47, CBJ 46, SJS 46.

    There is almost zero correlation.

    The people who yell “shoot” WHEN THERE IS NOT A SINGLE PLAYER ON THE OILERS WHO CAN GET THE SHOT THROUGH FROM THE POINT, really are foolish.

    • Chainsawz

      THE POWER PLAY IS ALMOST THE LEAST OF THE OILERS PROBLEMS

      The Oilers have taken 293 PP SOG (23/30), they have scored 36 PPG (17/30), and their PP % is 18.0 (16/30). Their PP is mediocre. In virtually every OTHER important statistical category they are abysmal. That is why they are in second last place.

      • camdog

        The article is about fixing a powerplay that has been the best in the league since the all star break. There is no problem with the Oiler powerplay I know people like to rip on Shultz for his poor defence (as do I), but knocking him for being a contributing member of the best powerplay over the last 2 months is ridiculous.

        • Saying the best teams in the NHL have people generating many more shots from Schultz’ position, showing that to be the case, then suggesting long term success comes from him shooting more or using Yak more to do that job isn’t ridiculous.

          • camdog

            If this article was written on Dec 15, 2014 it would make sense, but it wasn’t. Since Nelson took over Yak has been shooting more and the Oilers powerplay has been one of the best in the league.

            Are you now suggesting that Nelson’s success with the powerplay is not sustainable?

          • Raider Jesse

            I’m late to the party here, as usual.

            I read that the article is about fans yelling SHHOOT during the power play and that this power play would improve if the defense started taking more shots.

            I don’t see where he mentions fixing the power play. That would just be a by-product.
            You’re just trolling.

          • camdog

            Did you read the entire exchange?

            “The last time the Oilers’ PP was respectable was the lockout shortened 2012-2013 season.”

            The Oilers powerplay has been clipping high 20% since Nelson took over this team, the powerplay has been respectable, I’m not the one that was trolling…

  • camdog

    The Oilers powerplay was fixed when Eakins was fired. The above article is a classic case of misunderstanding the data set. The Oilers powerplay can be broken down into 2 data sets, an Eakins data set and a Nelson data set. Eakins powerplay was awful Nelson’s powerplay is among the best in the entire league.

  • 1979

    I hear what you are saying with Schultz. The problem is, you need a playmaker in the spot where Schultz plays more then you need a shooter. Ideally the player can do both well, but the edge goes to a good puck distributor up top over a good shooter. If Yak takes his spot it might make things worse. Maybe we could sign Omark and trade him for Weber….haha

  • Raider Jesse

    I’m too lazy to search, but when the Oilers were wooing Jultz, they referred to his shot from the point as one of his key strengths. When did he forget that?