The Oilers made it through October. Ten of their 14 opponents weren’t playoff teams last year.
They went 9-4-1.
The Oilers will end the month of October 1st place in the Pacific Division.
— Dustin Nielson (@nielsonTSN1260) October 31, 2019
And as Nielson mentioned, they’ll also finish the month as the best team in the Pacific Division. Not bad for a team who wasn’t expected to amount to anything.
Edmonton has cruised through an easy part in their schedule, but it starts to get tougher.
November will see Edmonton play 14 games — seven of which against non-playoff teams from last year. Many of them currently sit outside the top 10 in the standings.
So while there are some should-be-wins against the likes of New Jersey, San Jose, Los Angeles, the team will be in tough playing Colorado twice, St. Louis, and Pittsburgh, just to name a few.
What’s going to be important is how the team looks at the end of the month. There are still some big questions to be answered.
Is there going to be a push in secondary scoring? Will Jesse Puljujarvi return to the team ahead of his mid-December cut off date? Will the Oilers surprisingly-solid goaltending hold?
When Edmonton made the playoffs in 2016-17, after the month of October Edmonton had:
- a 7-2 record
- 14 standings points
- 1st in the Pacific
- 29 GF, 19 GA, 60.42 GF%
- 47.56 CF%, 104.2 PDO
This year after October, Edmonton had:
- a 9-4-1 record
- 19 standings points
- 1st in the Pacific
- 41 GF, 36 GA, 53.25 GF%
- 48.6 CF%, 101.7 PDO
So, the similarities are pretty apparent. Edmonton has a worse goal rate, slightly better possession rate, and a much lower PDO.
Most of all, there are many Oilers fans who are believing in the team — sure that another trip to the playoffs is coming in hot. We’ve still not seen enough for me to say one way or another, but some analytic models like Micah Blake McCurdy’s have the Oilers with a 44% chance of making the playoffs. That number was a few higher a few days ago, so more or less a 50/50 shot.
Edmonton continues to ride a bit of a PDO burner this year, so it’s safe to expect some regression there. But even after November in 2016-17, Edmonton had a winning record of 13-10-2 and a point per centage of .542.
Edmonton right now carries a .679 point per centage, so it will be interesting to revisit this in a month from now.
Their goal, without a doubt, is to come out of November with a .500+ record. Ken Holland sees this team challenging for a playoff spot at the end of the season, but you could bet the players in the room have a goal in mind of making the playoffs, not just challenging for them.
On Twitter: @zjlaing