Peter Chiarelli has no loyalty to any of the players procured before he arrived and if we’re going to see mid-season turnover chances are those men are vulnerable. One way to make an educated guess? Check out TOI per player and compare it to a season ago.
THE LIST (MACT’S HIRES)
Benoit Pouliot 2014-15: 16:37, including 2:02 on the powerplay
- Benoit Pouliot 2015-16: 16:11, including 2:37 on the powerplay
Pouliot has been effective (11GP, 3-4-7) on the McDavid line, although I read here and there that he isn’t cashing all his chances. He’s on track for 20 goals and about 50 points, plus McLellan is running him on par with a year ago (lots of LW injuries last season).
Teddy Purcell 2014-15: 17:09, including 2:16PP and 1:06PK
- Teddy Purcell 2015-16: 15:43, including 2:43PP
Purcell has fallen off in terms of minutes—striking if we consider Jordan Eberle’s injury meant more free minutes floating around. He’s off the pace on the McDavid and Nuge lines, unable to keep up with the speed demons. McLellan has given him some extra power-play time but has not been rewarded for it in the first 11 games (1-1-2 at evens, nothing on the PP).
Mark Fayne has only played one short shift in first 8 mins of 2nd period.#EJLive
— Jim Matheson (@NHLbyMatty) October 30, 2015
Mark Fayne 2014-15: 17:56, including 2:29 on the PK
- Mark Fayne 2015-16: 16:07, including 1:52 on the PK
This is a player who is currently going through a difficult period with coach McLellan, suspect Fayne isn’t delivering the kind of play required to remain in the lineup. Years of experience tell us Fayne could be suffering from injury, trying to adjust to a new partner/system and various other maladies. We do know, that at 28, he is not eroding because of age.
Matt Hendricks 2014-15: 13:09, including 2:10 on the PK
- Matt Hendricks 2015-16: 15:20, including 2:42 on the PK
Injury derailed his impressive start to the season, but Hendricks has performed extremely well when healthy this season. McLellan moved him up to give the Nuge line a digger and some grit, and the possession numbers were solid. Major upswing in fortune.
Rob Klinkhammer 2014-15: 11:04
- Rob Klinkhammer 2015-16: 10:44, including 0:49 on the PK
Another winger who got a push because of injury, Klinkhammer added a penalty-killing role under McLellan.
As Goes Schultz https://t.co/2p44vHpImf
Like it or not, Edmonton’s success is very much dependent on Justin Schultz
— Matt Henderson (@Archaeologuy) October 25, 2015
Justin Schultz 2014-15: 22:36, including 2:47 on the PP
- Justin Schultz 2015-16: 21:46, including 3:20 on the PP, 2:03 on the PK
His EV TOI is off over three minutes a night but increased PP time and a new role on the PK have Schultz playing monster minutes again. There’s no doubt McLellan sees value in his play but it does seem he’d like to have Schultz in a feature role on special teams. He ranks No. 3 among regulars in EV TOI per game (Oscar Klefbom, Eric Gryba).
Andrew Ference 2014-15: 18:52, including 1:52 on the PP
- Andrew Ference 2015-16: 14:50, including 1:19 on the PK
A tough season for Ference, who played on the 2011 Stanley Cup champion Boston Bruins (playing over 20 minutes a night during the playoffs). The contract is signed and both sides will honor it, but this looks like a tough road ahead for the veteran.
WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?
I think there’s a good chance Benoit Pouliot and Matt Hendricks hang around for most or all of their contracts. Justin Schultz is getting a major chance to show his stuff, either for a trade or that big contract that is probably out there (just a matter of what team signs it). Rob Klinkhammer may also get another contract, he’s a free agent at the end of the year.
Teddy Purcell and Mark Fayne appear to be on the outs, with Fayne’s fall especially sharp considering he was top pairing opening night. Andrew Ference has his contract and his no movement clause, suspect we’ll see a buyout in the summer.