The Edmonton Oilers are going to need to improve the penalty kill this coming season and I wonder about how management and coaching staff plan on deploying forward personnel on the PK. Let’s begin by looking at last year’s most used forwards on the PK, I’m using shots-against per 60 minutes as the measuring stick.
OILERS 2016-17 PK SA/60
To give you an idea about what outstanding penalty-killing forwards post, Lars Eller (37.55) and Daniel Winnik (39.11) were very strong among all NHL forwards, plus both of those men played over two minutes a game. All of this is via NaturalStatTrick.
If you drill down on the NHL as a whole, Benoit Pouliot was an excellent PK man a year ago, perhaps underutilized truth to tell. Of course, the first comment after I post this will be “they would have used him more if BP had stayed out of the damned penalty box” and that’s worth entering into the record for sure.
It’s also true that the two youngsters (Connor McDavid and Drake Caggiula) had some success and perhaps that’s something to build on. Six PK forwards are needed (three sets of two forwards) and maybe you need an extra just in case one of the 4×5 men gets into trouble with the zebra’s.
THE COMING SEASON
One of the areas Edmonton needs to improve from last season is on the PK. Edmonton finished No. 17 overall a year ago and need to tighten up. The goalie is always going to be the biggest part of a penalty kill but the Oilers can do themselves an enormous favor by improving personnel and deployment.
So far this summer, the team has added veteran Jussi Jokinen via contract and Chris Kelly via invite. How did these men do at the discipline one year ago?
- Jussi Jokinen 1:20TOI/game; 46.20 SA/60
- Chris Kelly 2:06TOI/game; 50.14 SA/60
Jokinen can be added to McDavid, Caggiula, Nuge, Kassian and Letestu, and perhaps Kelly makes the team based on his experience in this area. Iiro Pakarinen posted 47.62 in 1:09/game one year ago, he may also be in the mix. One thing we might want to brace for: Connor McDavid as a brilliant penalty killer. Makes sense, that speed is going to be effective everywhere. As a rookie, 97 posted 31.28 SA/60 on the PK in 48 seconds a game. Oh my.