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Photo Credit: Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports

The Rest: 2018-19 Season in Review

Summer’s pretty much over, the leaves are changing, and the 2019-20 NHL preseason kicks off tomorrow. Camps are open this weekend, so as we look forward towards the new NHL campaign, we look back at the last few players on last season’s roster and how they performed.

This entry will be a little bit different than the previous ones, as rather than deep diving into a single player’s season, this will be quick hits on a handful of players looking at their traditional stats, advanced counts, and who they played with the most.

Zack Kassian

GP G A P +/- PIM Shots SH% TOI/GM
79 15 11 26 -6 102 111 13.5 14:48

Kassian closed out the 2018-19 season riding shotgun next to two 100-scorers on the top line with Connor and Leon, and it stands to reason that it’ll be his spot to lose heading into the 2019-20 season.

5v5 TOI: 1048:43

CF% GF% SCF% HDCF/CA HDCF% HDGF/GA HDGF% On-Ice SH% On-Ice SV% PDO
48.28 45.28 46.98 180/230 43.90 21/29 42.00 9.29 .900 .993

Most frequent linemate: Connor McDavid (428:31 5v5 TOI Together)

CF% GF% SCF% HDCF/CA HDCF% HDGF/GA HDGF% On-Ice SH% On-Ice SV% PDO
48.39 50.94 47.95 82/110 42.71 14/12 53.85 9.78 .910 1.016

Even playing next to Connor for almost half his 5v5 time, Kassian’s numbers aren’t great. The top line right wing spot is certainly his to lose for the 2019-20 season, but with more competition on the roster it’ll be easier to squeeze him out of that position should he falter for an extended period of time.


Alex Chiasson

GP G A P +/- PIM Shots SH% TOI/GM
73 22 16 38 -1 32 123 17.9 16:58

A new two-year contract seems to show a commitment to Chiasson after he had his best goal-scoring season of his career. Can it be replicated? That’s what Chiasson’s going to have to prove in the 2019-20 season.

5v5 TOI: 963:40

CF% GF% SCF% HDCF/CA HDCF% HDGF/GA HDGF% On-Ice SH% On-Ice SV% PDO
45.65 49.23 46.98 147/188 43.88 19/23 45.24 7.57 .935 1.011

Most frequent linemate: Leon Draisaitl (570:19 5v5 TOI Together)

CF% GF% SCF% HDCF/CA HDCF% HDGF/GA HDGF% On-Ice SH% On-Ice SV% PDO
47.29 56.41 48.57 91/115 44.17 10/14 41.67 8.27 .944 .986

His counts aren’t spectacular, and with the arrivals of James Neal, Markus Granlund, even perhaps Joakim Nygard (if the hype is to believed) it will be a tougher road for Chiasson to get the prime real estate on one of the top two lines, so he’ll have to prove his goal-scoring worth on the third line in 2019-20.


Matt Benning

GP G A P +/- PIM Shots SH% TOI/GM
70 5 12 19 11 33 94 5.3 14:57

It would seem that even with the arrival of Joel Persson, and the possible rises of Ethan Bear, Evan Bouchard, and Caleb Jones, it would seem that the right-side spot next to either Oscar Klefbom or Kris Russell is one for Benning to lose. The concern might be expanding Benning’s ice time and giving him more responsibility and stretching him too thin.

5v5 TOI: 902:07

CF% GF% SCF% HDCF/CA HDCF% HDGF/GA HDGF% On-Ice SH% On-Ice SV% PDO
48.26 55.84 48.65 155/165 48.44 21/19 52.50 9.66 .929 1.025

Most frequent D-partner: Oscar Klefbom (40:19 5v5 TOI Together)

CF% GF% SCF% HDCF/CA HDCF% HDGF/GA HDGF% On-Ice SH% On-Ice SV% PDO
54.17 66.67 53.66 10/8 55.56 2/1 66.67 8.33 .938 1.021

Assistant coach Jim Playfair has stated that the coaching staff will look at pairing Adam Larsson and Darnell Nurse together, meaning Klefbom may be in the market for a new partner. Though they didn’t play a tonne of time together, the results were positive for the Klefbom-Benning pairing, so there’s an opportunity there for Benning to grab.


Jujhar Khaira

GP G A P +/- PIM Shots SH% TOI/GM FOW%
60 3 15 18 -12 43 64 4.7 12:34 43.6

Injuries derailed a decent run that Jujhar had playing with Nugent-Hopkins and Jesse Puljujarvi (something that Nuge mentioned that he lamented on the recent 31 Thoughts The Podcast episode), but there shouldn’t be any reason not to believe that he’ll get the opportunity to skate with Nuge (and possibly newcomer James Neal?) and have the chance to earn that second-line wing spot back.

5v5 TOI: 650:00

CF% GF% SCF% HDCF/CA HDCF% HDGF/GA HDGF% On-Ice SH% On-Ice SV% PDO
46.51 38.89 47.54 101/102 49.75 12/13 48.00 7.84 .897 .975

Most frequent linemate: Zack Kassian (222:52 5v5 TOI Together)

CF% GF% SCF% HDCF/CA HDCF% HDGF/GA HDGF% On-Ice SH% On-Ice SV% PDO
48.56 36.84 44.81 32/39 45.07 2/5 28.57 7.00 .894 .964

w/ Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (177:19 5v5 TOI Together)

CF% GF% SCF% HDCF/CA HDCF% HDGF/GA HDGF% On-Ice SH% On-Ice SV% PDO
49.12 46.67 57.55 35/27 56.45 5/3 62.50 10.61 .895 1.001

Though Kassian was his most frequent linemate last season, I included Nuge just for the sake of seeing how they did, in fact, play together (and how that might translate to the 2019-20 season). They created High Danger chances, and just created scoring chances in general. Perhaps with a more reliable linemate, they’ll be able to convert on more of those chances.


Colby Cave

GP G A P +/- PIM Shots SH% TOI/GM FOW%
33 2 1 3 -4 8 40 5.0 11:47 52.5

A player who seems to get forgotten a bit with all the discussion about the bottom six and all the newcomers that Ken Holland has brought in, but Cave got an extended look last year as the third and fourth line pivot.

5v5 TOI: 339:46

CF% GF% SCF% HDCF/CA HDCF% HDGF/GA HDGF% On-Ice SH% On-Ice SV% PDO
52.03 37.03 52.12 69/42 62.16 3/5 37.50 3.39 .933 .967

Most frequent linemate: Josh Currie (94:22 5v5 TOI Together)

CF% GF% SCF% HDCF/CA HDCF% HDGF/GA HDGF% On-Ice SH% On-Ice SV% PDO
48.88 50.00 56.12 20/10 66.67 3/3 50.00 6.00 .941 1.001

In my opinion, it seems that Cave might be the best option as the fourth line centre, winning face-offs and adding some much-needed depth scoring, which he appears to be capable of doing even with limited ice time.


Sam Gagner

GP G A P +/- PIM Shots SH% TOI/GM FOW%
25 5 5 10 -3 10 51 9.8 13:36 51.6

There might not have been a more feel-good story for Oilers fans during a dreadful season was Gagner coming back to Edmonton. Now, his cap hit doesn’t leave fans quite as warm and fuzzy, but there might be some offensive punch left in Sam’s stick.

5v5 TOI: 304:55

CF% GF% SCF% HDCF/CA HDCF% HDGF/GA HDGF% On-Ice SH% On-Ice SV% PDO
51.36 42.86 46.92 61/61 50.00 5/11 31.25 6.98 .897 .967

Most frequent linemate: Colby Cave (90:10 5v5 TOI Together)

CF% GF% SCF% HDCF/CA HDCF% HDGF/GA HDGF% On-Ice SH% On-Ice SV% PDO
60.48 60.00 55.00 17/12 58.62 0/0 3.56 .938 .993

There might still be some value with Gagner playing in the bottom six, shifting to the wing and perhaps providing some scoring touch on the second powerplay unit. His time with Cave proved that he can help with tertiary scoring in a limited role. Cave, Gagner, and perhaps Josh Currie or one of the newcomers might be an effective line together for 2019-20.


Thoughts on The Rest? Who has the best chance of repeating last year’s success? Improving on it? Regressing?

The comments section is yours!

Traditional stats courtesy of nhl.com
Advanced stats courtesy of naturalstattrick.com
Salary Cap info courtesy of puckpedia.com