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Photo Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

McDavid PP Time

Last week I wrote about Connor McDavid needing to play more minutes. I think we will see an increase in his minutes moving forward. His EV minutes are great. He played the most of any forward in the NHL last season, but his PP time is where I’d expect an increase.

Last year he was 61st among forwards in PPTOI/game, and 45th in total PP time on ice. My co-host, Jason Strudwick asked, “What percentage of the Oilers powerplay time did he get?”

It is a valid question and he asked it due to the fact the Oilers were last in powerplay time, so McDavid should be lower in total PP minutes.

So I decided to compare him to other stars in the NHL.

I looked at the past two seasons. McDavid played all 164 games, so I started with other stars who had played the same amount of games.

Over the past two seasons, the Oilers had 772 PP minutes. McDavid played 492 of them. He was on the ice for 63.7% of the Oilers PP minutes.

Here are other stars who also played 164 games and their PP time.

Alex Ovechkin played 650 minutes of the Capitals 797 PPTOI. He was on for 81.5%

Phil Kessel had 600 PPTOI of the Penguins 836 minutes. He was on 71.7% of the time.

Claude Giroux had 592 PP minutes of the Flyers 898. He was on for 66%.

Jakub Voracek had 584 minutes of the Flyers 898. He was on 65% of the time.

Patrick Kane had 558 PP time of the Blackhawks 849 minutes. He was on for 65.7%.

So McDavid was the lowest at 63.7%.

Now look at their PP point totals the past two seasons.

Kessel 72 points.
Giroux 67 points.
Voracek 58 points.
Ovechkin 57 points.
McDavid 47 points.
Kane 45 points.

I also looked at stars who had missed some time. I didn’t look up every game sheet, instead, I minused the average PP time/game of their respective team per game missed by said player.

For instance, Sidney Crosby missed seven games, and the Penguins averaged five minutes of PP time/game. So I deducted 35 minutes for the Pens total to get a more accurate read of his PPTOI percentage of the Penguins overall PPTOI.

*Will be the prorated minutes of the team, based on games missed by the player*

Crosby played 569 minutes of the Penguins *801 PP minutes. He was on 71% of the time.

Evgeni Malkin played 513 minutes of the Pens *716 PP min. He was on 71.6% of the time.

Nick Backstrom played 535 minutes of the Capitals *792 PP minutes. He was 67.5% of the time.

Nikita Kucherov played 529 minutes of Lightning *832 PP minutes. He was on 63.5% of the time.

Johnny Gaudreau played 514 of the Flames *818 PP minutes. He was on 63% of the time.

Leon Draisaitl played 459 of the Oilers *752 minutes. He was on 61% of the time.

Taylor Hall played 419 of the Devils *755 PP minutes. He was on 55.4% of the time.

Their PP totals over the past two seasons:

Kucherov 68 points.
Crosby 63 points.
Backstrom 61 points.
Malkin 61 points.
Hall 52 points.
Gaudreau 40 points.
Draisaitl 38 points.

It is interesting to note the Penguins run Kessel, Malkin and Crosby over 71% of the time and they are all in the top-eight of PP points over the past two seasons. You also had the duos of Ovechkin/Backstrom and Giroux/Voracek in the top-eight.

McDavid was 21st in PP points, while Draisaitl was 48th. They will be the PP duo of the Oilers moving forward, and more ice time could benefit both, although both also need to improve their PP strategy/approach a bit. Hall having 52 points with limited PP minutes is a bit of a surprise considering he wasn’t a great PP player until this past season when he produced 37 powerplay points.

If you want to know about this past year only.

Ovechkin played 87.3% of the Caps total PP time.
Kessel played 74.4%.
Crosby played 72%.
Malkin played 71.8%.
Giroux and Voracek played 68%.
McDavid played 66%.
Hall played 53%.

ICE TIME AND IMPROVEMENT

Mar 29, 2018; Vancouver, British Columbia, CAN; Edmonton Oilers forward Connor McDavid (97) celebrates after scoring a goal against Vancouver Canucks goaltender Jacob Markstrom (not pictured) during the first period at Rogers Arena. Mandatory Credit: Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports

I believe McDavid would benefit from more PP time. If Crosby, Malkin and Kessel can play over 71% of the Penguins PP time, I see no reason why McDavid can’t do the same.

In order for him to have been at 71% the past two seasons, he would have had to play 58 more minutes. That is 29 each year. It isn’t a massive increase, but if it leads to more points for McDavid, which it should, that will lead to more victories for the Oilers.

Of course it would also help if the Oilers drew more penalties. I think it is fair to say McDavid should have drawn more penalties last season, but they weren’t all called. However, the rest of the team needs to be much better in forcing the opposition into positions where they will take penalties.

The other factor that can’t be overlooked is McDavid, and Draisaitl, need to become better powerplay players. Being an effective powerplay player is a skill. It is different than 5×5, where the pace is much faster. On the PP you slow things down. I’m compiling an upcoming article about that and it will be ready next week.

But, after looking up McDavid’s PP% usage compared to other stars, I see no reason why the Oilers shouldn’t play McDavid, and even Draisaitl, more on the power play in the coming seasons. It will boost their point totals, but more importantly, it will benefit the team as more PP time for your best players should lead to more PP goals.

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  • Doctor Smashy

    I am not sure how you would factor this in but since the Oilers also had one of the PPs in the league you would expect a players share of the PP ice time to decrease when it lasted the full 2 minutes. A player who is on the ice for 1 minute and then the PP scores is on for 100% of the time. If a player like McDavid is on for a minute and 30 seconds of an unsuccessful PP is only on for 75% of it. Do you think that would skew the numbers?

    • Jason Gregor

      If it did impact it the numbers, it wouldn’t alter the fact the PP wasn’t that successful when he was on the ice, nor would it mean they had more PP chances. Pittsburgh also had more PP TOI, so that likely would even out any “skewing” of numbers you thought might be there.

      • Doctor Smashy

        True….there is no amount of data that would make that PP look better. I am just curious if far more Oiler PPs went the full 2 minutes than say the Capitals, McDavid’s 63.7% of total Oilers PP time might be closer to Ovechkin’s 81.5% of total Capitals PP time. It would be a ton of work but I suppose one could consider successful powerplays and unsuccessful powerplays separately. Then again, McDavid should be on the ice as much as is humanly possible so I guess the math doesn’t matter.

      • OilerForLife

        How is it that McDavid is the best 5×5 player and yet the Oilers have the worst PP. He dominates 5×5 but when 5×4 he doesn’t do as well. This makes absolutely no sense at all. Surrounding him with the right players on the PP, I think is key.

    • MrHeavyfoot

      I was wondering about that too. I don’t know where to find all of the PPTOI, time when goals were scored, etc, but substituting assumptions and estimates for hard data…. if the Oilers PP% was the same as the Penguins over the last 2 years, thus reducing the total PPTOI, best case scenario (not reducing McDavid’s PPTOI at all), it boosts his PPTOI% to about 67.3%. Give or take, if you hold your tongue just right, etc, etc, etc.

  • gordo

    earlier in the season an anonymous rival coach stated if the oilers ever figured out how to properly use mcdavid on the pp, that would be trouble for the rest of the league; i’m paraphrasing

  • The Future Never Comes

    The issue with the PP the entire year was as if the players take it as gravy time to relax. The intensity drops on the PP significantly and perimeter passing ensues, that is easy to defend.

  • Spydyr

    A powerplay is easy get the puck to the net with people in front. The hard part is getting the players to stop the peripheral play and go to the tough areas of the ice. Instead of always trying to set up the “pretty” goal.

  • camdog

    Oilers powerplay clicked at 14.8%. Penguins powerplay clicked at 26.2%. Assuming first unit starts the powerplay that’s roughly 10% of powerplays that were ended early because the Penguins scored. The Oilers powerplay’s lasted the longest in the entire league, because they had the league’s worst powerplay. McDavid’s time share easily matches everybody except Ovechkin’s if the Oilers score league average on powerplay.

  • Anton CP

    I think, part of it has to do that McLellan did not run more than 2 shifts on PP and also McLellan was for some reason trying to spread out PP minutes among players. The Oilers have total of 27 players getting PP times with 17 players getting more than 50 secs per game (which, did not include Puljujarvi who only averaged 45 secs per game…).

    Comparing those to the top 5 PP teams in the league:
    Penguins have 21 players getting PP times with 12 players getting more than 50 secs per game.
    Leafs have 26 players with 12 getting 50+ secs.
    Lightning are 24/12.
    Bruins are 30/19.
    Jets are 27/14.

    Other than Bruins that most teams have a very consistent same numbers of players on PP (Bruins are mostly because of injuries to their PP players) and the Oilers just endlessly scramble throughout lineups to put players on PP. It is puzzling when you realize that Lucic has 4th most and Letestu has 5th most average times on PP, both are more than Nugent-Hopkins. I mean, maybe it is good to give McDavid more PP times but McLellan needs to give more PP times to players THAT CAN SCORE period.