During the 2017-18 season, the Edmonton Oilers finished the year with the 31st ranked power play in the NHL despite having the best player in the world on their roster. So in this week’s What Would You Do
Wednesday Thursday, I want to know what you would do to fix it.
We’re only 79 days away from a new Oilers season and that means we’ve got just over two months left to figure out a gameplan to get our boys back in the playoffs. Alright, so maybe we don’t really have anything to do with it, but it’s fun to pretend that we have some kind of say in the matter. And from where I blog, one of the biggest and easiest ways to ensure more success for the upcoming season is for the Oilers to fix the power play. If they can do that, turning the man advantage into more of a weapon than a time waster, then I think we’ll all be much happier. With that in mind, the topic for this week’s What Would You Do Wednesday (Thursday edition) is all about what tactics you guys would deploy to help fix the power play that so often seemed to spin its wheels.
For me, the fact that the Oilers finished the season ranked dead last in the NHL on the man advantage is nothing short of shocking, especially when you consider the firepower they have up front. Are there still holes and question marks? Sure, but they still have enough skill on the roster that finishing dead last shouldn’t be an option. The interesting part, though, is that much like the penalty kill, the Oilers had a sizeable gap in the results when they were at home as opposed to on the road. Why does that happen? It’s a good question and one that I’ll need your help finding an answer for.
In total, the Oilers had 210 power play opportunities last season, which the lowest number of PP chances in the NHL I should add, and had limited success both at home and on the road, though they were better at Rogers Place. Let’s look at the home and away splits:
Home: 18.3% – 23rd overall – 20 goals on 109 chances
Road: 10.9% – 31st overall – 11 goals on 101 chances
Total: 14.8% – 31st overall – 31 goals on 210 chances
Last week, Dusty also looked at the power play and gave us all a dose of real talk that I don’t think anyone would have expected:
How ineffective was the Oilers top unit last year? Well, here’s a little bit of a wake-up call. Connor McDavid finished with 20 power-play points, Jeff Petry had 23. The Oilers captain finished 69th in the league in points on the man advantage. The only other Oiler to finish in the top 200 was Draisaitl with 11 points.
Looking at the numbers above, it’s no stretch to say that the Oilers really struggled to get anything remotely positive done on the road and were only slightly better at home. That said, for some reason, the team with Connor McDavid on the roster got royally screwed in terms of power play chances, but that’s a story for another day. Besides, it’s no surprise to anyone reading this that the refs called next to nothing in favour of the Oilers and the numbers don’t lie. Even so, what we’re trying to do today is offer up ideas to fix the power play so that when the Oilers do get one of those rare chances with the man advantage that they’re able to make something happen with it.
WHAT TO DO?
So what should the Oilers’ coaching staff do to fix the power play? I don’t have the answers. What I do know is that what was happening last season wasn’t working and we need to figure out a fresh approach that can turn the special teams into the lethal unit that we need it to be. How does that happen? Fortunately, this feature depends on the ideas that are living in your brain box and I’m asking what you guys would do to get the Oilers back on track when on the man advantage.
What I want to know is what you think the Oilers should do when setting up in the offensive zone with the man advantage. Where do they go? Who plays where? Which side of the ice does Connor set up on? Who are his shooting options? You get the idea.
Furthermore, I want to know how you would split up the units. Does McNuge stay together on the first unit or do you have Draisaitl with Connor because we know they can make magic? Maybe you overload the first unit and have McDraigent-Hopkins in the hopes that they get things done so efficiently that whoever plays on the second unit doesn’t matter as much?
With that in mind, I’m asking all of you to put on your coaching hats and come up with a power play system that works. Gord knows we need all the help we can get. What do you guys think?