Shot In The Foot

Edmonton has a problem with its power play, and his name is

The Oilers power play isn’t bad. It’s very average, in fact.
The Oilers sit at 16th place in PP efficiency at 18.7%. The thing is, the power play really shouldn’t be average. A team with this many high end pieces doesn’t
have to settle for that. Any club that has Yakupov, Pouliot, and McDavid
injured but can still trot out Hall, Eberle, Nugent-Hopkins, and Draisaitl
should be crushing it on the man-advantage.

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We’ve long talked about Justin Schultz’ limitations as a
player. We know he struggles to shoot from the point. We know he isn’t
assertive in the defensive zone. We also know that when he’s on his game he
should be able to join the attack and disrupt defensive coverages.

Now the power play should be his jam. There’s very limited
offensive chances generated against which means his noted defensive liabilities
have less impact than in any other game state. The fact that there are only four penalty killers on the ice makes his ability to join into the play easier and
also more impactful.

Unfortunately, the facts are plain. Justin Schultz is
unquestionably the worst of the main options the Oilers have to play the point
on the power play.

I always like to look at shots and shot attempts on the PP
because we know it’s very important. The last three coaches have all said essentially
the same thing: shoot often and shoot quickly. Eakins used the word Corsi, McLellan
uses shot attempt – they are indeed the same thing. As a reminder of some things
he’s said here’s McLellan on shot volume:

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Volume shooting, I don’t know what that does to Corsi or
Fenwick because I don’t even know what those things are, but volume shooting is
important. I think it breaks down defensive zone coverages, gets players out of
position, taxes the opposition, makes them play more minutes in their zone.

So back to the defenders manning the point on Edmonton’s power play. The team has run three d-men on the 5v4 man-advantage regularly:
Justin Schultz, Andrej Sekera, and Oscar Klefbom. Here are their individual
shot and shot attempt contributions.


There is an alarmingly low number of shots being generated
by Justin Schultz on the power play. The interesting part is that while he’s
attempting almost 27 shots per 60 minutes on the 5v4, more than half are being
blocked outright. We can see that in his iFenwick/60 which sits at a very poor
12.62/60 minutes. Then out of those unblocked shot attempts only half are
actually hitting the net. You can see the conversion rate of unblocked attempts
to actual shots for the other two players is significantly higher. Roughly 66%
of their unblocked attempts are making it through compared to Schultz’ 50%.

Andrej Sekera is attempting more shots and getting more of
them through than any other Oiler defender in the position to play big PP
minutes. Oscar Klefbom is much choosier about his attempts but he is getting a
much higher percentage through the defenders and onto net.

Their individual contributions aside, what’s more important
is how the PP unit actually performs as a whole. This is why it’s important to
look at the on-ice shot attempt information when those three players are
deployed. That’s what the next table does.


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I should begin by saying that the spread here is quite
alarming. It is especially so because we know that Schultz plays predominantly
with the top unit and when he’s on the ice the 5v4 PP is generating shots at
roughly the same pace as the worst power plays in the NHL. The Oilers’ power play
is basically comparable to the Calgary Flames’ (who are rotten) if Justin
Schultz is the defenseman manning the point.

Somehow, when Schultz is out there the Oilers are also
allowing almost twice as many shots against compared to what Klefbom and Sekera
are allowing. I’m almost impressed.

The problem really alleviates itself when the team puts
Klefbom or Sekera back there. In general, with Sekera out there the Oilers have
been generating shot attempts like a top 10 team in the NHL. With Oscar Klefbom
they are actually shooting on net like a top 10 club.

What it comes down to is that the Oilers have three options
that they’ve identified to play the point on the power play. With two of those
options the team actually performs like an upper end NHL club. With the other
the team is scraping the bottom of the barrel.

Edmonton is doing the other teams a favour by playing Justin
Schultz on the 5v4 if either Sekera or Klefbom is sitting on the bench. Given
how precious minutes are on the power play, I can’t see any reason to use
Schultz as the top option. The team is in a dogfight to keep games meaningful,
they don’t have the flexibility to waste opportunities to score.

  • The Goalie 1976

    This will not matter when over the summer Schultz is traded for cap room and the Oilers sign one of Yannick Weber, Dustin Byfuglin, or Keith Yandle.

    Personally I’m hoping for Webber as his point totals, age and size, match with what the Oilers are trying to do. But I’d also be cool with Yandle coming in and mentoring either Nurse or Klefbom. And I’d also be cool with a Byfuglin Nurse top pair as that would just make other teams haaaaaaate coming here. Also I here he can play up as a forward giving the team some impressive depth.

  • Delete

    I started writing a snotty (but witty) comment deriding Justin Schultz, but I remembered he is just a kid with a ton of pressure on his shoulders.

    I just hope he turns it around here quickly, or gets a new opportunity somewhere else.

    • BDH

      If the Oilers plan on keeping the ball rolling Shultzy is a key player….so Mehinks we will work him directly into the offense against the Sea-Slugs…not only Justin….lol….we will work a few d-men into the post-game statistical equation just for kicks,but ESPECIALLY JUSTIN.

      We will shift all of Mac-L’s Process into direct contrast,mirror it…….we wont worry about the Sea-Slugs they are easy pickings.

      Lol….like everyone else Schultz is just paddeling his way out of Eakins backed-up Shi#! Creek everyone spent 1 1/2 years thrashing around in.

      I say we will work Justin into the offense by proxy of Process …….NOW.Guaranteed.Against the San Jose Sea-Slugs.

  • A-Mc

    I don’t think there are any Oilers fans who understand why Schultz gets any PP time.

    No slap shot, can’t defend the line, slow decision making, weak shot selection, etc.

    Sekera and Klefbom are the better options and always were the better options.

    • bradleypi

      Lol. Even when the oil are winning MH rags on schultz. If shots from the point are so critical to a power plays success, as everyone here believes, why don’t the oilers put 2 guys at the point instead of 1? Wouldn’t that open more shooting lanes? I think McLellans power play is a little more complex than just shooting pucks from the point….. he clearly wants the down low play. Too bad he doesn’t have a Joe Thornton on this team to make it hum. It will be a better power play when McDavid gets back to run it. He’s the real key to it. Not schultz imo.

  • Puck JammeR!

    The Process makes the Player and the Oilers PP AND everything else is lacking in tactical contrast.

    J Schultz has to be utilised properly like any Player does,he should be bringing pucks in right to the Honey-Barrel and supported by process in doing so…he should be given some creative license which Eakins sapped out of everyone hitting Schultzy harder than scrappers like Nail.

    A d-man playing top line minutes should be good for 40 goals.

    Its the Coaches job to make this happen via process.

    There is a Program on the market for this….lol.

    A solid NHL PP should be over within one minute consistantly.

      • bradleypi

        He can come and get the NHS online where it was concieved,aknowledge and respect it,or not.I dont need Mac-L for validation , he needs me and the NHS, I was validated in 2008 when NHL players began using my data, and this culminated in the NHL in 2012 with the Kings using it and further so in 2013 when the Hawks began using it,I got sick of the NHLs dirty disenfranchisement and olde Boys Club tactics and guys like Eakins helping the advanced stats guys ripping credit for data impacts off, and branched out 2 years ago when I connected mainline to a non-hockey CHAMPIONSHIP Professional Sports Team,if Mac-L had the right HONEST connections he would know this already.

        Pat Quinn was using my NHS Processes IN THE NHL WITH HIS ROSTER a very long time ago.The Core are well versed in many concepts already,how did you REALLY think Silent Sam scored 8 points in one Game …lol… since 2008 they have been exposed to the NHS in escalating degrees….and they produced Dynasty record Breaking results ,unfortunately for them terminating with predjudice when Dellow was hired by Eakins .If Mac-L had HONEST leadership he would know his.

        I wouldnt step one foot into even the shadow of an organisation which employs Dellow,after what has been done to the Oilers,everything has a price-tag.

        I was under the impression Dellow had left the building….no goddam wonder Mac-L has been so reluctant to make System adjustments until 4 games ago when his balls were to the wall and he stopped making screwy uncalled for changes to his processes to support non-existant dynamics or incoherant dynmics.

        Someone just tell me Dellow is not in the building please.Because NewAge is putting this little 4 game series of improvements and the wee 3 game win-streak into perspective
        right now.


        Bob Nicolson…you now face your skeletons.

        NewAge has finished your incomplete Internal Audit for you Bob…and your 64,000$ answer rhymes with Bellow.

        I am sooo outta here if that influence is still in play to ANY DEGREE.

        The buck stops with the Sea-Slugs if Dellow is onboard,and the Hammer will begin to fall from the other direction.History repeats it seems,same trigger ,Dellow again,poor Mac-L he has no clue.

        We can work with Fee if he fesses up to his sources….but NEVER the Dark Side….We Never Forgive…We Never Forget.

        And Mac-L….history shows us when the data stops so does your Team,thats what BadMedicine does .Eject the time-bomb before the game with the Sea-Slugs make it hit MSM ,or Brace yourself Big-Dog….cause you are about to be remediated circumstantially and you WILL NOT feel it is judiciary or fair in any ways at all IMHO.

        I dont like knee-jerk reactions and committed to the Sea-Slugs game already,MMMmm.To spite Dellow if hes still there, we WILL drag his #ss through the Sea-Slugs Game…….just to do what I said with Schultz to prove the point of ease….but thats it then ,no mas….no mas…

        • You couldn’t find a clue if it was glued to your junk and you lost the belly fat hanging over your sweatpants. You used to spew this toxic garbage all over HF Oilers before you were (presumably, haven’t seen you post there in forever) run outta town as a laughingstock.

          I am sitting in my office currently surrounded by inanimate objects that know orders of magnitude more about hockey than you. Give it up. PLEASE. Your posts are poison.

    • Puck JammeR!

      have you ever thought that maybe d-men at the point on the pp should consider taking hard slap shots off the side boards to open up new lanes and angles? at the turn of the milenium we witnessed the birth of purposely missed shots off the end boards to create chances in front, this could be the next evolution.

      a hard shot off the side boards is largely undefended and could travel behind the net to players on the half boards or even to the other point because pkers don’t guard behind the net either.

      maybe point men could get good enough to double-bank shots off both boards so the puck ends up in the slot. the pkers would likely react by moving to the boards resulting in 4-on-0s or even 5-on-0s down low.

      do you think this strategy has a place within maclellen’s pp system?

      • Puck JammeR!

        You are explaining the basics if IDA and IDM,yes these things all MUST be considered within the scope of the overall Process,the easiest paralell is the one you use….the game of Pool.

        The NHS Tactical Shooting Program considers all of these variables within the process itself,building “habits”.Looking for Sympathetic engineered rebounds and adjusting timing accordingly with supports.

        The Kings rode some nifty N-zone transitions followed by

        • BDH

          one single basic properly executed IDM playaction worked into their existing System,which no one could identify or stop.

          No,it wasnt “just hockey Plays”…it was ALL optimal execution by process…and when this one simple playaction was paired with OPTIMAL zone transitions….wha la…insta-Cup.

          Yes,Mac-L as every other NHL Coach tries to work these things into his process…however there are a million details and only a few open slots….lol.

          There are NewAge interpretations of traditional philosophies and concepts which remove up to 75% of the volume of data normally processed.

          You can see a few vehement defenders of Dellow spewing their poison….lol …to late for those snowflakes the NHS has now produced Championship results in 2 Professional Sports and one will be validated upon request….lol.

          Yes,you are ABSOLUTELY RIGHT to be training your mind to anticipate the pucks movement using these principals……l advised Players about 8 years ago of a drill I used to use with a single sheet of binder-paper….just crumple it into a ball ,the paper will give you a wicked mega-multi-faceted surface to work with,then you simply bounce that bad boy on your open palm as many times as you can manage,high and with a FLAT LEVEL HAND so you generate an abnormally high volume of very difficult to anticipate directional changes,then just try to say under the bouncing-Barney… are training you mind to identify more complicated patterns and to fine-tune your co-ordination to a higher level in both areas than NHLers traditionally get to ,hands down.

          It only costs a piece of paper and some good intentions.

  • AJ88

    What an idiot TMac must be…Send him your analysis asap so we can get the PP working. Slow writing day? I know, Schultz has been back from injury for a few games, let’s pick on him…

    • bradleypi

      Is Dellow still part of the Oilers…..because if he is the win streak ends tonight.,and the lessons shall become more meaningfull until we see remediation.

      Will someone please verify if Dellow is in the Fold?

      I have a pin in each hand and one in my teeth…I need Fire-Order confirmation.

  • Romance14

    I agree with you a 100% Matt. When Schultz is on the point, he is just killing time. Nugent-Hopkins draws a defender towards him on the half-wall and tees Schult up for the one timer and he either has his shot blocked, misses the net or double clutches and then stickhandles the puck ten times before passing it back to Nuge. Opposing teams must love defending him because they know his shot is not a threat.

  • Eh Blinkin

    It has been a few days since the last “Schultz is the worst” article, you guys are slipping!

    The way hockey fans (not just Oilers fans) pick 1 player per team to be the sole cause of all their pain is amusing.

  • rkabyn

    What happened to Brandon Davidson on the PP, if memory serves he scored a pretty nice goal on the PP and had some really nice chances on his few opportunities. Get that kid out there over Jultz.

  • BDH

    “Any club that has Yakupov, Pouliot, and McDavid injured but can still trot out Hall, Eberle, Nugent-Hopkins, and Draisaitl should be crushing it on the man-advantage.”

    Come on man.

    Four great players mean the Oilers should be crushing it? Geez, who else in the league could find four great players to put on a power play? Ummm, maybe all of them? It takes a good system, and two strong units to make a good power play. Given the fact that Eberle was injured at the start, and now McDavid, Pouliot and Yakupov are all injured, having the Oilers be right in the middle of of the league is actually fantastic.

  • pkam

    J. Schultz does not decide how much PP time he has, the coaches do.

    This article is not a trash on J. Schultz, but McLellan and his assistants. And not only McLellan and his assistants, but Eakins and his assistants and Krueger and his assistants too.

    Either they are too lazy to look at the advanced stats, or they are idiots.

    • Delete

      He is a future Norris Candidate! …um, no.

      He is a valuable player going forward. …um, no.

      He is a third-pairing, PP specialist! …um, no.

      I’m sure Chiarelli and Maclellan heard from previous staff that Jultz has a lot of value. He was signed for one year. Jultz has the chance to show the new folks what he can do. They do that because they have to evaluate the player, and evaluate MacT’s evaluation skills.

      Jultz has been a poor defenceman on the D side; you put up with that if he brings something on the O side. Unfortunately, for him and the team, he isn’t bringing something on the O side. To be fair to Jultz, he has only had 14 games this year to show what he can do.

      If anyone is to blame, I’d blame KLowe and MacT. Who was the veteran defender he could play with or mentor him? He hasn’t really had one. Who was his coach for most of his NHL career? Eakins.

      It’s too bad, but he isn’t going to be a long-term fit here. Hopefully he signs on with a team that can shelter him and give him a veteran D to play with.

  • Chet.

    One thing I notice a lot on almost every powerplay is that no one just hammers it. Schultz is not the only one guilty of this. But his stupid muffin wrist shot or one thousand passes never gets anywhere. Keep it simple, take a clapper every now and again. The more times you hit the high man the more nervous he gets out there. Hall when he comes down the wing drives me bonkers when he whips a wrist shot wide and it comes back around usually setting up the other team on an odd man rush.

    • Oilcounty88

      That first year with Souray was beautiful. The guy had an absolute cannon for a shot. Plus you were guaranteed one of two things 1) The shot got through and the oil had a great scoring chance or 2) the guy blocking the shot was now laying on the ground regretting life.

  • Sheldon "Oilers Fan for Life!!!"

    I do not know if it would work but IMO Schultz needed to be tried on a different location on the power-play. Not saying it will work but he is here for the year and you should see what happens. The point is not where he will end up though.

  • AJ88

    To single out any Dman playing on the PP is somewhat of a joke considering the Oilers have a grand total of 2 goals from the D. I just don’t understand why another NHL team won’t handover a # 1 Dman to the Oilers!

  • Intermission

    We should look at Carolina’s (yes, Carolina’s) PP. Justin Faulk has 11 PPG and is leading the league in PP goals and all he does is blast bombs from the point whenever he touches the puck.

    I’d put Davidson on the point if it were me. Kids got a bomb.

  • Serious Gord

    So fayne waived. Nikitin banished to the ahl, ference mysteriously injured. And likely Shultz will be gone by the end of the year.

    Has there been a more miserable GM failure in the history of the league than klowe/Macts attempt at building a defense for the oil?

  • The Goalie 1976

    When Jultz is on the ice he’s like a double agent working for the other team, not just on the PK but evens too.

    Never thought I’d say I miss Petry

  • camdog

    In the month of November when Schultz was not in the line up the unit with Sekera and or Klefbomb was terrible. Oddly last season when Hall was injured the Oilers had their best powerplay percentage since Krueger was here.

    The Oilers Powerplay percentage doesn’t correlate to the shot numbers presented above.

  • Delete

    Great write up on a subject that need to be discussed more. JS does not like to shoot the puck, mainly because he does either have a slap-shot, or is too afraid to use it.

    If I’m TM I would bench PP defenceman who refuse to shoot the puck, when the shot is there. Use a guy like Brandon Davidson if need be as he is NOT afraid to shoot. Sekera seems to at least want to shoot, but has no real power behind his shot so our options are limited.

    Oh well, such is the life of a potential Norris defenceman.

  • bradleypi

    I will go on the record saying I hate Schultz. When I go to games I usually get scared when he comes off the bench, even on the PP.
    In saying that the coach has a good track record with this type of defenders and maybe he is trying things out. Also, they might be showcasing him for trade bait in fear to let him walk away for nothing….
    Which…. Wouldn’t matter really… We got him for nothing anyways (except the millions of dollars he has collected to be useless)
    There bradleypi I said it : Schultzy is useless